|Shared Universe Story|
|"Topanga and the Chatsworth Lancers" |
POD: March 17, 1998
|Type of Appearance:||Direct POV|
|Nationality:||Topanga (born in the United States)|
|Date of Birth:||c.a. 1973|
|Occupation:||Farmer, Soldier, Diplomat|
|Spouse:||Unnamed wife (d. c. 2008)|
Jared Tillman was in his mid-twenties when The Change came. He was a second generation hippie living in Topanga on a commune with his parents when it occurred. Topanga survived the Dieoff relatively unscathed due to its low population and isolation and while Tillman didn't prosper, he did as well for himself as anyone. His mother died from a coronary a few years after Doc Leibowitz ran out of statins and blood pressure medicine to give her while his father, a smoker of tobacco and marijuana, died of lung cancer. Tillman had married but his wife had died in childbirth of their only child Connor when Jared was in his mid-thirties.
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 after losing two previous small wars. Tillman had an old scar on his left arm from being wounded in one of those battles but he and Conner 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. Tillman promptly volunteered and was accepted.
After the meeting, Connor asked to accompany Jared. Jared wasn't thrilled by the idea of having his headstrong son along so put him off by telling him they would have to check with Pete. To Jared's concealed frustration, Reilly hadn't minded Connor going along so he too was a Topanga ambassador to Chatsworth.
Jared and Conner rode horses up Topanga Canyon Boulevard toward The Valley. Jared, unlike Conner, hadn't learned to ride until he was an adult and so was awkward on horseback. 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. They met with Bruce and Jared did the talking. He warned Bruce that if he tried to burn out the Topangans, they would retaliate in kind. When Bruce claimed he could stop any infiltration by "firebugs", Jared scoffed, earning a sour chuckle from Eddie, Bruce's second in command. Jared also warned that Topanga was ready for any attack and that, along with the warning on fires, was the purpose of his trip. On that note, the meeting ended.
Jared wanted to see more of Chatsworth for himself and so he and Conner head 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.
Delgado did launch an attack shortly thereafter. Jared went to his station at a Trebuchet up by the Glenview defensive wall where the crew he was a part of launched hundred pound boulders at the invaders. The Chatsworth Lancers hung back from the wall waiting to charge while infantry from vassal communities tried to breech the wall with a battering ram. The ram was made of an iron tipped telephone pole and the crew protected by men with heavy shields. A pair of Topangans ran along the wall with a large kettle of hot oil to pour on the ram crew but one of them was hit by an arrow causing the kettle to tilt and spill indiscriminately on attacker and defender short of the ram. The ram did break through and Valley foot soldiers scrambled into the breach with spears along with swords and axes.
Ronnie, the trebuchet commander, saw the break and told his crew to arm themselves and counterattack. He did so himself and with Jared and the rest of the crew tried to stanch the break. Jared had picked up a handful of dirt along with his helmet and shield and flung it into the eyes of the first Valley pikeman he reached who was about to finish off a wounded Topangan. With the pikeman blinded, Jared stabbed him in his unarmored belly and then twisted his sword to make sure he cut guts. He kicked him in the face as the pikeman bent double then picked up the pike, hauled up Greg and handed him the pike to use as a crutch for his wounded leg. Greg hobbled off back of the lines while Jared went forward.
After some more hard fighting, the Topangans realized they were outnumbered and retreat was sounded on a bugle. Jared paused and looked around to see that the attackers were over the wall at a couple of other spots. While reluctant to fall back, Jared realized if he didn't, he would be cut off and then cut down. Disengaging was difficult but Jared managed and fell back a half mile on Topanga Canyon Boulevard to a new breastworks manned by the Fernwood detachment. There he learned from Lou that Conner was fine and had given warning of a Valley sneak attack through the woods. Shortly after, he and the other survivors along with the Fernwood fighters began defending the new works from the Valley footsoldiers.
This was part of Kwame Curtis' Plan B. The barricade was positioned so the advancing Valley soldiers and especially the Lancers would be held up in such a spot 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 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 Jared and Kwame had enough clout to continue to prevent it. 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. Conner was not impressed by the two old fogies talking about the old, lost world but neither cared.
- The Change: Tales of Downfall and Rebirth, pgs. 449-450, HC.
- Ibid, pgs. 459-463.
- Ibid, pg. 463.
- Ibid, pgs. 463-468.
- Ibid, pgs. 469-472.
- Ibid, pgs. 477-483.
- Ibid, pgs. 483-486.
- Ibid, pgs. 486-487.