Shaun Prescott was a charismatic man leading a small group of mercenaries. He has waged a personal war of vengeance ever since he was a teenager. Following the sadistic and brutal murder of his family at the hands of a particularly monstrous Breach Creature, Prescott became obsessed with pushing what he believed to be invading forces back to their own worlds. Barring that, he is content to send any Beach Creature he encounters to meet their gods.
Population: 683 Humans (+452 in surrounding military outposts and roaming patrols)
Breach Activity: There are no nearby Hot Zones, only low breach activity to the southeast. Many Breach Creatures have made the nearby plains and surrounding mountains their home. To the south, well beyond the immediate reach of the xenophobic settlement, there are a few small, interracial villages.
Assets: The surrounding mountainous terrain is rugged and offers only one clear access point to the valley. There is a pre-Fall military complex just outside the valley from which New Caldera has obtained technology and assets which it has reverse engineered.
Liabilities: The mountainous terrain is extremely rugged and many dangerous Breach creatures, including Hoodlums, Leechers, and Maulers, have made them their home. While they need not worry about an invading force coming from the mountains, they do have to keep an eye out for Breach Creatures while they construct a protective wall around the rim of the valley.
Intelligence: The city lies in the valley created by the crater of a long-extinct volcano in what used to be northwestern New Mexico, near the ruins of Los Alamos National Laboratory. Their proximity to decent farmland just outside the valley and the technological artifacts of the military complex has helped them prosper and build a significant military force. They are known to be extremely anti-alien and dangerous.
Prescott was born during the latter years of the dark ages after The Fall in the wilds of what was once West Texas. He spent his early years learning the skills necessary to survive a harsh world and helping his parents farm a small plot of land. Like many others, his family only wanted to be left in peace to live their lives. Lacking any formidable martial skills, many Breach Creatures were simply too dangerous, forcing the Prescott clan into hiding until the danger had passed, rather than face them. This served them well for a while, but it was one of the most bloodthirsty creatures that Prescott has ever seen that introduced him to the truly inhuman.
As a teenager, Prescott was awakened by his mother in the middle of a moonlit Spring night. She hurried Shaun and his older brother to the cellar, hushing their questions as she instructed them to take shelter in the crawlspace below their house from which Shaun could hear his father calling out to them. Something was different, his voice seemed agonized. He looked to his mother and older brother, but they were both staring up through the floorboards. Following their gaze, Shaun observed the powerful limbs and monstrous visage of an alien creature. It had canine features and its eyes glowed a dark crimson, saliva dripping from its snout as it sniffed the air.
"Come out, come out," it taunted in a guttural, broken mockery of English. The creature stood overhead and the floorboards creaked. It sniffed one final time, then dropped its terrifying gaze.
In an instant, the floorboards above were reduced to splinters as the creature ripped through the sturdy oak. Before he could scream, it caught Shaun's older brother in a clawed hand, tore out his throat and tossed the body aside like a rag doll. His mother, shocked by the speed and viciousness of their attacker, could only tremble in fear as the creature grabbed her. Shaun cowered in a dark corner of the cellar, but his eyes were fixed on a horrific scene in the pasture outside.
Through cracks in the under-floor's enclosure, he could see two more of the creatures standing over the eviscerated body of his father. Shaun, too horrified to even scream, watched one of the beasts walk outside, dragging his mother unceremoniously by her legs as she struggled to escape. When the monster reached it's two companions, it tossed the woman to the ground and the three wolf-like creatures chanted in unison. A shadowy mist that accompanies the invocation of particularly dark Aether began to swirl. His mother, weak and tired from struggling could not escape. The Aether lifted her upright and Shaun remains haunted by his mother's scream as her skin was instantly flayed from her body and the creatures began to feed.
Shaun hid long after the creatures had left, tormented by what he had seen and unable to bring himself to emerge from the cellar until morning. Knowing only that hiding had done his family little good against the creatures, he fled the homestead seeking allies and some place he could hone his survival skills. Over the years, he learned combat techniques and with a few of his closest mentors and friends began wandering the region as a nomad.
For the first ten years, Prescott rampaged across the southern coast of North America, killing Breach Creatures wherever they were encountered, caring little about their disposition. As they grew in notoriety, they were dubbed Humanists, a term that has stuck as they believed in their mission to rid the world of the non-human plague. It wasn't until they moved into the deserts and high prairie of what was once New Mexico and stumbled into the ruins of a massive military complex that they became true regional power. In the storage vaults beneath the Chihuahuan Desert, the war machine of a pre-Fall nation sat idle with the fabrication facilities to create more.
Using the technology he found in the ruins, Prescott established the first fortified city since The Fall. He set his engineers to work salvaging what they could and outfitting his company of soldiers. They spent the next decade reverse engineering the equipment they found and twisting the manufacturing and research facilities to their purpose. The establishment of a community in New Caldera Valley (Caldera Valle Nuevo to many of the locals) and the fortification of the former military complex marked the beginning of a new age for the Humanists.
Today, New Caldera controls the entire valley in which it resides and the surrounding region within a twenty-mile radius (with influence by long-range patrols in a seventy-mile radius). A fledgling city-state, but organized thanks to the driven mind of Shaun Prescott and discipline of his closest advisors - men who have been with him since the beginning of the Humanist movement.
The valley has a single, easy approach from the southeast, aiding the city's defense. The soil of New Caldera Valley is fertile, providing resources which others must scavenge for relentlessly. New Caldera trades with the few small communities in their immediate vicinity and the occasional nomadic group of human tribesmen. Their hostility toward any non-humans is well-known beyond their borders, forcing any Breach creatures to circumvent the region or travel in disguise.
Some of the bolder races have been known to organize raiding parties, even very small armies, but none have been able to withstand New Caldera's defenses and were driven back. Animalistic Breach Creature attacks on the outskirts of the Valley are routine occurrences and dealt with swiftly by New Caldera paramilitary forces. The surrounding mountains are rugged and home to numerous dangerous species, but the scarcity of resources for fabricating a wall able to hold the creatures back has kept the city vigilant and only served to reinforce the inhabitants' hatred and hostility toward non-humans.
The city continues to grow as word spreads about the safety of the city and their need for able-bodied individuals. New Caldera patrols the immediate vicinity regularly, sending out long-range patrols to watch for growing threats in the region. Of particular concern are any growing communities which are friendly toward non-humans. Rumors have recently begun to filter in of a particularly large community some distance to the south, but outside their immediate reach. Prescott will pay for additional details about the city, its location, and the inhabitants.
Places of Note
- Guard Towers: The pass into the Valley is watched by several guard towers, each manned by at least a dozen soldiers that can handle most incursions. In the event of a particularly dangerous force, the soldiers can radio for reinforcements and have three times their number in a matter of minutes. Four other towers are strategically placed along the outskirts of the valley to keep watch for and protect residents from wandering Breach creatures.
- Marketplace: A small marketplace is situated near the fortified pass and outsiders' wanderings are limited without special consideration from the Ruling Council, a military-style tribunal of founding members that changes membership every three harvests.
- Administration Building: The Ruling Council convenes once every three months to discuss issues facing New Caldera and lay out strategic plans for the community's future. This building holds a meeting hall and several offices for each of the founding members and important individuals.
- Armory: A large warehouse is situated to the southwest of the Council Building and houses the advanced equipment, exoskeletons, and vehicles of the New Caldera paramilitary force.
- Prescott Residence: Shaun Prescott maintains a private residence on a small hill at the southwest edge of the city overlooking the valley.