| "Topanga and the Chatsworth Lancers" |
POD: March 17, 1998
|Type of Appearance:||Direct|
|Nationality:||Topangan (born in United States)|
|Date of Birth:||c.a. mid-1960s|
|Affiliations:||United States Marine Corps (before 1991)|
Kwame Curtis had been a young Marine lieutenant serving in Iraq when he lost three fingers from his left hand and was discharged. He returned to Toganga and lived through The Change. His military experience made him unusual in the more touchy-feely community but allowed him to become a leader or "Brain" who dealt with the now hostile outside.
Curtis organized the military defenses and supply of weapons available to Topangans to defend their territory. In addition to bows and arrows and swords, he devised blowguns out of aluminum tubes which were useful for hunting small game as well as a defensive weapon. He succeeded in defeating the Chatsworth Lancers in a couple of small wars, overcoming their large numerical advantage by using the narrow confines of Topanga Canyon as a choke-point. As well, he had Topangans build fortifications along the Glenview stretch of the Topanga Canyon Boulevard north of the town to help defend it. While normally open, the road could be closed in minutes and fortified as strongly as any other section within an hour. The wall was also protected by several trebuchets he had had built and pre-positioned at several strategic points.
About thirty years after The Change, Bruce Delgado, the ruler of Chatsworth and the western end of The Valley was once more looking to conquer Topanga. The Brains called an assembly held in the Theatricum Botanicum outdoor amphitheater to discuss the latest threat. Pete Reilly, the Brains' leader (the "Brainiest Brain") conducted the meeting. He had Curtis describe the threat who reported sentries at the wall guarding the canyon spotting Delgado looking over the terrain. When asked, Curtis explained that the biggest threat would be Delgado trying to burn them out by starting fires in the forest to the north when the winds were blowing from that direction. However, Topanga could retaliate in kind and so hold that as a deterrence. Reilly called for volunteers to go up to Chatsworth to deliver the warning to Delgado. Jared Tillman promptly volunteered and was accepted as the Topangan envoy along with his son, Connor.
The message the Tillmans took to Delgado was only partially successful. He didn't try to burn out Topanga but did launch a two pronged attack. His main force attacked directly at the defensive wall at Glenview but he tried to sneak a second force through the forested Canyon sides. Curtis had anticipated this and had patrols out to spot such an attack. In fact, Connor Tillman was out on patrol and gave warning of this foiling it. However, Delgado breached the wall with a battering ram and the Topangan defenders had to fall back. Curtis again anticipated this and had a Plan B. He had a reserve force at the rear and they set up a second barrier at a point where the Canyon narrowed about a half mile from the wall. This temporarily stalled the Chatsworth advance but before they could take action to clear the barricade Curtis triggered an avalanche. He had pre-planned the location for the barrier so the attacking troops would be stopped at a position to be hit by falling rocks. He had also had rocks added to the side of the cannon to increase the rockfall. This succeeded in crushing most of the Lancers in the attack and many of the foot soldiers too.
After this defeat, the surviving Valley forces surrendered. Curtis put the prisoners 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 although there had been some talk of putting them to work at the seaside salt pans. However, Topanga had avoided slavery to date and older Topangans like Curtis and Jared Tillman had enough clout to continue to prevent it. With all the dead, especially Lancers, Topanga was safe for some time since Delgado's little kingdom would be fighting a multi-sided civil war as the various vassal communities tried for supremacy. Curtis was satisfied with his work and so replied to Jared's jibe of "hippie Marine" with a mild "up yours". The two then discussed the smell of the buried dead and how it was nothing compared to that caused by the Dieoff. Conner Tillman was not impressed by the two old fogies talking about the old, lost world but neither cared.