Badges "RIDING SHOTGUN"
RECON REPORT – MILITARY/PARAMILITARY GROUPS IN THE AREA OF OPERATION
# 1 THE BADGES
Size: Estimated to be between 20 and 30. Badges usually operate in small teams of up to 6 members.
Activity: the role of “The Badges” is to (allegedly) safeguard travellers and enforce laws along the local road network.
Penalties for breaking traffic and anti-smuggling laws seem to be at the whim of the particular Badge who discovers the infraction – and can range from fine to imprisonment to confiscation (or even death if smugglers are found to be trafficking in certain illegal goods).
Badges patrol the road, enforce laws (according to their interpretation) oversee work gangs and generally supervise road maintenance. They also act as guards for travellers who can pay extra. Even when not acting as guards, they charge a ‘toll fee’ from every traveller or vehicle.
Some Badges appear to be honest (if a little shaky on legal issues) – but at least one group operates a simple protection racket. However, this is tolerable to travellers as the Badges ensure that they are the only group that collects such “tolls”. Some Gypsy Trucker Clans even hire Badges as extra security during ‘Bandit Season’
Location: – see above. “Badges” may be encountered at any point along ‘their’ road network. The HQ is in a former Highway Patrol building and includes a jail, an armoury and a primitive gunsmith shop.
Note: prisoners are supposedly used to maintain the roads, and should be released when they have served their sentence – but rumors persist that some are sold to Slavers
Uniform: Badges make an attempt at uniform dress and some remnants of Highway Patrol uniform are used (especially pistol belts and helmets). And, of course, ID Badges/shields.
Equipment: The most common Badge weapon is the shotgun, in a variety of barrel lengths (including ‘sawn-off’). Pump-action weapons are frequently used.
Note: the most common design seems to follow the philosophy of the Winchester 1897 shotgun – it lacks a trigger disconnector and is therefore capable of quite a high rate of fire.
Vehicles: Badges usually walk, or use horses for transportation. When acting as convoy guards, some will ride ahead and some will “ride shotgun” in the vehicles that they are escorting.
History: Unclear. Although they claim descent from a real Highway Patrol Unit, some records suggest that they have only been in existence for about 70 years.