No Really, We're Sheep
Connor pours himself a cup of water, takes a sip, and begins speaking, focusing mostly on Shayanna, but occasionally looking to the others. As he speaks, gaining tempo, relishing the taletelling, his Irish brogue becomes more noticeable:
The first thing you need to know is that when you’re told we’re fighting a war for Gaia, it’s happening on many, many fronts. The Wyrm is a many fractured thing, and its manifestations are as varied as the hates that dwell in the hearts of men. Surely you’ve heard that one of its primary tactics in its quest to raze Gaia’s surface is an assault on her physical body through the pollutants that clog our streams, our air, and our land.
And so it should come as no surprise that the Wyrm’s forces have targeted the most fragile, delicate, and majestic incarnations of life on this planet. The Great Barrier Reef of Australia, the unfettered riches of the subterranean mines of Africa, and the rainforests of the Amazon. For decades now, minions of the Wyrm, manifesting in its “legitimate” businesses, have decimated the Amazon rainforest. They stripmine for petty minerals, they deforest excessively large areas to make way for lodging and corporate headquarters, and they ensure that, despite making superficially popular efforts such as token reforesting efforts, that the end deficit is a sickening scar that permanently defaces Gaia’s very heart.
And so it should come as no surprise that we, Gaia’s warriors, have taken offense and come to our Mother’s aid. Many packs from across the world have been deployed to the Amazon to wage war both in the Umbra and in the physical world. News of the fights never leave the country, which is to our advantage as well as that of the deforesting companies – neither of us wishes to risk interference from the outside world, except as the occasional suggestion of some narcotic fueled drug feud. The reality, of course, is that these battles are routinely quite violent, quite massive, and when I earlier referred to the state of Amazon as a war, I did not exaggerate. The war comes in many aspects, and that is why it still rages. There are gunfights with weapons of such scale that it would seem to have sprung from the mind of Hollywood. There are midnight bombings, there are machete slaughters. We have lost hundreds of Garou to this war, but we have claimed thousands of lives – monsters, spirits, and executives.
So, back in 2003, one of the Wyrm’s foremost sponsors of the war, a corporation called Developers’ Forestry Group, staged a merger with a paper company called Scribbles. Upon the approval of the merger, they arranged a massive celebration in Chicago, in Grant Park, to ring in their Initial Public Offering. The Monkeywrenchers of the Glass Walker Tribe caught word of this plan and started reaching out to Chicago Garou to intervene. The Sept of the Second City was still quite young, their hold very tenuous, and their Caern still under constant assault, but a young Bone Gnawer named Carlton Fenton, who’d earned the deed name “Fangjumper”, heeded the call. He and his blood brother, a metis Garou named Bananasplit, took sole responsibility for raining the wrath of Gaia upon this farcical triumph of business.
On May 2, 2003, with press in attendance, and a massive ribbon prepared for the cutting, a 98 year old man lost control of his pick-up truck and careened through the stage, collapsing it while the too-happy executives waved and held their comically large scissors. The business men collapsed with the stage, and were trapped in the wreckage when the gas tank of the truck ruptured, setting the truck on fire, and melting the plastic and steel and fiberweave carpet that made up the stage. Their autopsies used phrases like “toxic inhalation” and “third degree burns secondary to superheated liquid plastics”, but we all read, “Final moments mimicked a flaccid reflection of the torture they have inflicted, and would have continuted to inflict.” The police report indicated that the driver, one Gunther Munsen, a retired executive of Scribbles, had been coming to witness the ceremony when he suffered a heart attack. The report said that he tried to crawl out the passenger side of his truck, but couldn’t make it.
This shouldn’t have stood up to scrutiny, but it did. The reality is that Gunther Munson suffocated to death fifteen minutes before his truck burst into flames. A rather pretty young homeless woman with a withered hand had tried to hitch a ride, and then smothered him with a plastic bag. That woman was Bananasplit. His car had only had about half a tank of gas, until Fangjumper topped it off. And sabotaged the fuel line to make sure that gasoline was dripping slowly, but continuously onto the circuit box on the car. After the crash, Gunther’s body was too burnt to identify the signs of strangulation, and the engine compartment of his car was too mangled to recognize the tampering. And that was only Fangjumper’s first strike. With the renown he gained for his assassination, Fangjumper had garnered the respect of not only the Monkeywrenchers, but also of a Get of Fenris warchief: Golgol Fangs First. And so, when Fangjumper was asked to join Golgol in his expedition into the Basin, he accepted. Fangjumper left a wife and his child daughter, and he left the country.
So, for the next three years, Fangjumper, Golgol, and several other recruits fought a guerrilla war in the Amazon. They joined with a native pack, the Ghost Raptors, and together they raised true hell. Not all of the stories made it back to us, but when the stories came back, they never failed to impress. My personal favorite involved Fangjumper and a hijacked excavator, but we save that for another time, because that didn’t earn Fangjumper Fenton the title of hero.
Instead, it was the Battle of the Valley of White Smoke that made him a hero, enough of a hero that dozens of recruits went to the Amazon just to join his efforts.
The Valley of White Smoke was a stripmining operation, an artificial valley made through the aggressive digging and explosive tunneling of combined efforts of the Developers’ Forestry Group and Platinoid Minerals. We call it the Valley of White Smoke because the stripmining equipment filled the air with white dust, dust that covered surrounding flora, smothering it, and a white dust that filled the lungs of the local fauna, choking it. Even the workers that worked the site had to wear full face gasmasks that required constant clearing. The roar of the drilling equipment filled the night, and imitated the roars of great banes that haunted the scars rent by the mining operation.
You see, when Developers’ Forestry Group got hit in the Park, their stock took a dive. When their stock took a dive, they started losing footing in the Amazon. They got military support, but they couldn’t keep financially backing their efforts. And so it was that another corporation, this is one you’ve heard of, Endron, the oil magnate, they started backing the effort. This was a problem, because with the Developers bleeding money into the effort, effort, the tide was turning against them. Our packs had almost unseated them, but the forthcoming support would undo all that work. So when Golgol asked Fangjumper to wrench the support, Fangjumper got to thinking. He got to thinking about how, probably, nobody with Developers would recognize any of the reinforcements from Endron, and vice versa.
Fangjumper and two of his packmates, Sulia Smiles Under Streetlights and Grey Teeth laid an ambush. They hit an incoming caravan, felling trees to block a narrow road, neutralizing the vehicles. As the reinforcements set off on foot, Fangjumper and the others opened fire with automatic weapons, putting the caravan on the defensive. While Grey Teeth and Sulia suppressed the caravan, Fangjumper isolated an officer and killed him, put on his clothes, and shot himself three times, once in the head. He mounted a motorcycle and road off into the jungle, towards the Developers’ camp. When he arrived, he reported the attack that had befallen the reinforcements, masquerading as the officer he had replaced. The gunshot wound in the head, apparently, put him beyond question. The Developers sent off a First Team to lend support to the reinforcements, and as soon as they left, Fangjumper took to his Crinos form, saving only the few seconds it took for his body to eject the bullets from his self-inflicted gunshot wounds. Striking from within their own camp, and having depleted their ranks with his diversion, Fangjumper killed two dozen that day.
After his grim work, he dragged the corpses of his efforts into a single building, which he prepared with as many of the Developers’ demolition supplies as he could muster. He took a position that provided him a good view of the camp and awaited the return of the reinforcements and their accompanying First Team. When they returned, he detonated the explosives, raining purifying fire down on the troops. Those who did not die immediately were quickly cleaned out by Golgol and the other members of the war party, and the Glory of the battle was dedicated solely to Fangjumper. The battle in the spirit world would rage for two more years: the damage done to the Umbral reflection of Valley is irreparable, and the corruption had made a welcoming home to all manner of demonic banes. However, with the physical troops demolished, the war could turn its efforts directly to the spirit world.
Over the course of five years, that battle continued to rage, but in 2011, a report came back from the Rainforest that no Banes remain in that Valley. While Fangjumper supervised and commanded the troops in that battle for many years, he has since moved on with Golgol, seeking the next great battleground.
Fangjumper is a true hero: one who gave up his own interests for the good of not only the Garou, but also the wellbeing of Gaia herself, and he did so to a resounding degree of success. His victory revitalized the Garou in the Amazon, reminding them not only why they continue to fight, but what they stand to gain. The costs and efforts are immense, but they can bear fruit."