| "Topanga and the Chatsworth Lancers" |
POD: March 17, 1998
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Date of Birth:||c.a. 2008|
Connor Tillman was born about ten years after The Change. His mother died from hemorrhaging during his birth and so he was raised by his father Jared. The two lived in an abandoned house in Topanga where they eked out a living farming and hunting plus scavenging in The Valley.
Connor, like other young men in Topanga went out on occasional patrols to the north end of Topanga Canyon to spot any attempts by the Chatsworth Lancers to sneak past the defenses of Topanga along Topanga Canyon Boulevard. He took along his blowgun and short sword on his belt but didn't ever see anyone. Connor had fought in a previous small war with the Lancers and had a puckered scar on his left arm from a skirmish so took patrolling seriously.
However, when Connor was about twenty, Bruce Delgado, the ruler of Chatsworth and the western end of The Valley was once more aggressively looking to conquer Topanga. Connor and his father went to an assembly called by the Brains to discuss the latest threat. After Kwame Curtis described the military situation and that the greatest threat was being burned out by deliberately set fires he also indicated that Topanga could do the same to Chatsworth. Curtis called this a smaller version of mutual assured destruction and would be more effective if Delgado was aware of it. Pete Reilly, the "Brainiest Brain", called for volunteers to go up to Chatsworth to deliver the warning to Delgado. Jared promptly volunteered and was accepted. After the meeting Connor asked to accompany Jared and Reilly agreed.
Connor and Jared rode horses up Topanga Canyon Boulevard toward The Valley. The two were stopped by a couple of border guards armed with bows. Jared told them they had a message for Bruce and they were allowed to proceed. Connor was stunned by the size of The Valley with buildings and roads spreading up and out to the distant mountains. When Jared said that there had been more than a million people living in The Valley before the Dieoff, Connor replied that people threw those big numbers around but they didn't mean anything until you actually saw it. The two met with Bruce with Jared doing the talking. He warned about retaliation for setting fires and that Topanga was ready for any attack. On that note, the meeting ended.
Jared wanted to see more of Chatsworth for himself and so he and Connor headed east to De Doto Ave. and then south back to Topanga. When they reached Vanowen St., Jared was inspired to head west and when they reached Canoga Ave, he was pleased to see Sierra's was still in business. The two went in for a meal and Jared chatted with the proprietor who had been working there for his father from before The Change. After paying with sandwich metal quarters, the two left and returned to Topanga.
After the Tillmans returned home, Topanga increased their patrolling in the wilderness areas on either side of Topanga Canyon including nature trails towards the Santa Monica Mountains in the old recreation area. On one such patrol, Connor heard battle horns blowing from the direction of the Glenview border defenses. He wanted to rush over but he was supposed to continue patrolling in case Chatsworth tried to slip forces around the defenses while Topanga was distracted by an attack at their wall. He did so and when he came to Eagle Spring, he refilled his water bottle. Connor started to go on an eastern trail but noticed some men approaching the other way. He hid in some nearby bushes and prepared his blowgun with several reload darts handy.
Shortly, a number of soldiers approached the spring. Their leader had what looked like a page torn from a road atlas and announced they were approaching a spring. When they reach twenty-five yards from him, Connor aimed and fired at the leader. The dart, which was based around a tenpenny nail, caught the leader between the eyes, dropping him immediately. Those behind him looked on in confusion and Connor managed to get another one in the right eye. A third soldier, who had his helmet on his belt due to the heat, bent down to see what was wrong with his fellows and was hit by Connor just behind his ear.
At this point, Connor knew his was pressing his luck so he slithered away and didn't stand to run until he was behind a reasonably thick tree. He started to run back to Topanga village and was quickly spotted. The Valley soldiers shot a few arrows and then began to chase him but Connor's luck held as the fastest enemy tripped, fell and then had a couple of others fall over him. When he got to the village, he found a detachment coming up from Fernwood who deployed to fight the attacking Valley soldiers. Connor joined them, drawing his short sword. After an exchange of arrows and a short fight with swords, the Valley men retreated back into the bush. The Fernwood commander hoped they would run back to the Valley but in any case they were out of the fight so Connor and the Fernwood detachment headed to Glenview.
En-route they learned that the Valley had broken through and so stopped at narrow point in the road about a half mile from the wall and set up a chest high barrier. They and the retreating Topangans from the wall manned the barricade and temporarily stopped the advancing enemy. However, the positioning of the barrier was part of Kwame Curtis' Plan B. The stalled Valley soldiers and especially the Lancers would be held up in such a way that they could be hit by an avalanche of prepared rocks. This succeeded in crushing most of the Lancers and many of the foot soldiers too. The survivors were made prisoners and put to work breaking up the rocks of the avalanche and hauling them away, both to clear the road and to remove the bodies of the dead. When they finished repairing the road, they would be released and sent home. Jared and Conner came up to watch the prisoners work and met up with Kwame who was doing the same. The older two discussed the smell of the buried dead and how it was nothing compared to that caused by the Dieoff. Connor was not impressed by the two old fogies talking about the old, lost world but could see neither cared.