Living Legends: General Kass

Few know the reason for the war. Fewer are willing to speak of it.

Forming a technological powerhouse with Australia, the Aztec-Roman Empire (ARE) produced 99 legions to seize the United States. Rising above the rest was the 47th legion, stationed in the state of Southern California. After the horrific siege of Los Angeles, the 47th earned a fearsome reputation due to the sheer number of sacrifices collected by General Morris Kass. After the battle, the Aztec-Romans continued into the high desert, leaving a trail of blood soaked skyscrapers in their wake. From that day forward LA would be known as “The City of Angels.”

At the end of the war, Kass found himself in the relative safety of the Mo-Javi valley. While fiery mushroom clouds illuminated the valley walls, the General ordered the construction of bunkers to survive the incoming nuclear winter. Over the years, the 47th legion’s shelters grew in size and number until they combined into a fortress with electricity, running water (when available), paved streets, and thick concrete wall meant to keep out the wasteland’s unwashed masses.

kass-rough

A VERY early sketch drawn in 2011 (Credit to Ben Wright)

As the world around him deteriorated and society devolved into tribes and guilds, Kass maintained military discipline and the traditions of his people. Everyone in the Mo-Javi knew of “The 47” who lived behind ivory walls and refused to help those in need. Realizing that he was at an increased risk of attack from unorganized wastelanders and that the rations in his legion’s hypercube would eventually run out, General Kass founded the town of Abundance. Skilled workers from the Guilds of Academia were hired to train settlers in the arts of farming and animal husbandry. In exchange for food, the General provided the townsfolk protection and established trade routes.

Though many fear the old man, Kass truly cares for all of his subordinates. After every battle, the General ritually repents for each soldier lost under his command. Although General Kass will take educated or experienced wastelanders into his ranks, he cannot feel the same connection that he does for his original ARE veterans.

Though the General is often perceived as a hero of law and order, every action the old man takes is for the gain of his legion. Abundance provides him food. Trading routes provide him steel and gunpowder. The people’s trust provides him an army who is willing to fight and die so that ARE veterans might live.

Though he would never admit it, Kass hopes that the ARE’s capital city survived nuclear annihilation and will be sending a rescue party as soon as they are able. In another life, the General had a daughter, but was forced to leave her in the spire city of Tenochtitlan.

Living Legends: James Gray

Gray

Seeking to capture the west coast of the United States, the Australian army created a new type of soldier, the Bushman. These elite warriors specialized in survival and desert combat and were equipped with the finest weapons produced by either the Australians or the ARE. 100 squads were formed, each comprised of 25 soldiers. It is believed that only one of the Bushmen survived both the war and nuclear annihilation, James Gray.

                As a Bushman, Gray’s only goal is to survive. Before amassing his wealth of dog-tags, James Gray was willing to steal from or kill anyone who got in his way. Seeing Gray’s potential, the commander of the 47th ARE legion, General Morris Kass, hired Gray as his personal courier and assassin. As the years passed by, Gray became something of a wasteland celebrity. On Kass’ behalf, he has made deals with nearly every faction of the Mo-Javi and was instrumental in stopping high-profile raider attacks and mutant threats.

Despite his fame, James Gray chooses to cut himself off from others. More often than not, the Bushman traverses the Mo-Javi alone. Those few who are brave or stupid enough to follow him usually end up crippled or dead. Though he keeps an outwardly tough and even crazed persona, the truth is that Gray is haunted by shadows of his past and feels that any who follows him will meet the same fate as the rest of the Bushmen.

You can follow his wasteland exploits on Twitter: @thelastbushman