This is a work of fiction created for the Twilight 2000 Role Playing Game. Original material © Dave Ross

The Birmingham Gangs

Despite being the second largest City in the UK with a population of just over a million people, Birmingham was not the target of any Soviet nuclear missiles during the 1997 nuclear exchange although several nearby towns were attacked. Despite this the city suffered heavy casualties from starvation, disease, and a breakdown collapse of law and order in the aftermath of Black Thursday as the population fought to escape or survive. An already desperate situation worsened on Christmas Eve 1997, when, unable to cope with the rising violence, local commanders ordered all police and military units to withdraw from the City – the mobs were now in control, and by the summer of 2000 much of the City was in the hands of a number of different gangs and factions, many of which were formed along religious or ethnic lines, with those living within the territories controlled by the gangs forced to pay “tributes” of food, water, and other supplies.

The VC

Whilst it had declined from its heyday in the 1980’s, despite the best efforts of both the authorities and the football clubs hooliganism continued to cast a dark shadow over English football in the years before the Twilight War, with many clubs having a hooligan element (known as “firms”) amongst their following. Formed in Birmingham in the early 1980's, the VC was one such firm, following the club throughout England and Europe, quickly earning a well deserved reputation for violence. The VC was almost exclusively white, and had links with several extreme far right organisations. Amongst its leaders was a man named Mark Lindsay, who worked as a painter and decorator.

When the authorities withdrew from Birmingham at the end of 1997 the VC was one of a number of groups that fought for control of the City and by the end of 1999 it controlled a swathe of territory in the north eastern part of the City which includes the campus of the City’s Aston University and the Aston Reservoir, a major source of drinking water. The VC have carried out an aggressive campaign of ethnic cleansing in the territory they rule; much of the area's pre War ethnic minority groups having either been killed or fled the area, while those that remain living in conditions of virtual slavery. Their foes included Afro Caribbean and Asian gangs, each of whom had their own territories, but their most hated enemies were a group known as the Warriors, who were the “firm” associated with Birmingham's other Premiership team before the War. Raids between different gangs were commonplace. Clashes were extremely violent, with no mercy shown; a Warrior captured alive by the VC could expect nothing but a slow and painful death while the reverse was equally true. However no one group was able to assert ascendancy over the others.

Fortunes changed for the VC at the start of 2000 however when a three man MI5 team entered Birmingham covertly. Charged with assessing what was happening in the City and attempting to link up with lawful enclaves if possible, the team was led by a man named Chris Bolton. Bolton had his own ideas however. After covertly observing the VC for several weeks he made contact with them. Taken to meet Mark Lindsay, he persuaded Lindsay of the benefits of entering into an alliance. With the alliance sealed, Lindsay lured his two fellow MI5 officers into an ambush. The other male officer was killed; Bolton handed the female officer, a woman named Laura Howard, over to Lindsay as a “gift”.

Soon afterwards Bolton radioed MI5’s HQ at Winchester and stated that he had made contact with a lawful enclave which included a number of former soldiers and police officers but was in danger of being overrun by the mobs. Convinced that Bolton had indeed contacted an organised group, MI5 arranged for a shipment of arms to be sent to Birmingham. The weapons were delivered in early February 2000, when two MI5 officers made the risky journey up the M40 in a transit van loaded with supplies to meet Bolton. The handover went smoothly, and Bolton was able to deliver to the VC twenty L1A1 SLR’s, twenty L2A3 Sterling SMG’s and a single L7A2 GPMG. Delivered with the weapons were five thousand rounds of 7.62N and six thousand rounds of 9mm P.

With the extra firepower that these weapons gave them compared to their rivals, the VC have slowly begun to emerge as the dominant force in Birmingham. Bolton has been able to get one resupply, with more ammunition and another ten Sterlings being delivered in April, but the officers making the drop were lost on the way back to Winchester and HMG, who still think they are dealing with a lawful group, have been reluctant to try and organise another drop.

In addition to the weaponry supplied by Bolton, Lindsay is working on a way to obtain heavier weaponry. Aston University has a number of intact engineering workshops and chemistry labs. The VC are holding captive a small number of students and faculty from the University’s School of Engineering and Applied Science who are being forced to work on producing improvised mortars and chemical weapons. So far these efforts have not come to fruition, thanks in no small part to several of the students deliberately stalling the work – one student, a young woman named Ayesha Hussein, has gone as far as sabotaging the first attempts to produce a poisonous gas. Lindsay’s patience has almost run out however, and the captives have been threatened with dire consequences if they do not produce something soon.

The VC is currently consists of some five hundred members, plus several hundred more “camp followers”. It dominates the north eastern part of Birmingham. The group is particularly brutal, with captives routinely tortured and killed. A particularly cruel method of punishment and, on occasion, execution, is “The Hole”, a twenty foot ISO shipping container into which captives are put and simply left in the darkness, sometimes for days on end. The fortunate ones are given something to eat and drink, but on several occasions prisoners have simply been put in the Hole without water or food and left to die, sometimes en masse (their corpses are removed by slave labourers). When she was first captured Laura Howard spent two days in the Hole stripped naked with no food and nothing but rats for company, an experience that has left her broken and subservient to Lindsay.

Mark Lindsay

                     Born in Birmingham in 1962, Mark Lindsay first became involved with the VC as a teenager                      in the 1980’s. He rose steadily through the group's ranks during the 1980's and 1990's                      (although he managed to avoid getting into serious trouble with the police), and has risen to                      be its undisputed leader. A violent, racist sociopath, Lindsay draws extreme pleasure from                      the suffering of others, particularly minorities. During 1998 and 1999 he frequently ordered fifty                      to sixty people at a time to be put into the Hole, with entire families being forced into the                      container and left to die, and regularly tortures prisoners purely for his amusement. Lindsay                      feels no guilt or remorse for his actions and is prone to moments of complete irrationality (as                      evidenced by his desire for chemical weapons, for which his own people would have no                      protection against should they be used). He is becoming increasingly frustrated at the lack of                      progress being made by the students to manufacture mortars and chemical weapons and is                      considering putting one or more of them into the Hole to see if that will "motivate" the others.                      He is also becoming irritated that Chris Bolton has not been able to deliver any additional

weapons or ammunition since the shipment received in April.

Lindsay married in 1987 and divorced in 1994. He neither knows nor cares what happened to his ex wife. He takes his pick of whatever women he wishes, whether they are willing or unwilling, although his favourite "plaything" is Laura Howard. He usually carries an L1A1 SLR from the first batch supplied by Bolton and a 9mm Browning pistol.

Chris Bolton

     Born in Cambridgeshire in 1965, Chris Bolton joined the Security      Service in 1987 after graduating from the University of Exeter with an      first class honours degree in history and has spent his entire career      with the Service’s G Branch, the section responsible for Internal      Security,  taking part in a number of operations at the end of 1996 and      start of 1997 as part of Operation ANTONINE, the Government’s      operation to round up suspected subversive elements following the      outbreak of War. He was in  Yorkshire when London was destroyed at      the end of 1997, however his wife and small son both died in the      nuclear attack on the Capital. After spending some time based at      Catterick Garrison, where he undertook a number of assignments in      the North East of England, he volunteered to join the team being sent      to Birmingham at the end of 1999 and was chosen to lead it.

Chris Bolton has a reputation within the Security Service as a conscientious and effective officer, who was deeply affected by the loss of his wife and son on Black Thursday. Unknown to his superiors however, he has a desire for power, and saw this mission as his opportunity to fulfil that ambition. Consequently, after the team entered Birmingham, he had no qualms about striking a deal with the VC and betraying his two colleagues, although he has professed remorse about his actions in conversations he has had with Laura Howard, although whether this is genuine or is simply intended to further play with his former colleague’s mind is unclear, for he has shown no hesitation in subsequently raping her whenever Lindsay has offered her to him.

Bolton views that alliance as one of convenience however, and whilst he plays the part of Lindsay's accomplice convincingly, being by the VC's leader side as he murders and tortures, Bolton privately sees him as a racist thug, who will need to be dealt with at some point, leaving the way clear for the group to have a new leader - Bolton. He sees control of the City as merely a stepping stone; his goal is to rule not just Birmingham but as much of England as he can.

He usually dresses in jeans, shirt and jacket, all in black. He carries a Steyr AUG assault rifle and a 9mm Browning pistol. He also has a number of items of military issue equipment, including night vision goggles, binoculars, and, perhaps most importantly, a long range radio that he uses to keep in sporadic contact with Winchester (who remain blissfully unaware that he has gone rogue).  His team drove to Birmingham at the start of 2000 in a Land Rover Discovery. Unknown to anyone except Bolton and Laura Howard, the Land Rover remains hidden on the outskirts of the City. It has a full tank of diesel, and contains a small amount of drinking water, military rations, additional fuel in jerry cans, and an L85A2 assault rifle with 500 rounds of 5.56N ammunition.

Other Gangs

Another gang built around a core of pre War football hooligans, the Warriors are the VC’s deadliest enemies, with the boundary between the two groups marked by the A38M Motorway, also known as the Aston Expressway. North of the Motorway is controlled by the VC, whilst the Warriors rule the territory to the south, with their power base focused on the area of Small Heath in the south of the City. Unlike the VC the Warriors have members from many different ethnic backgrounds, although this does not stop them being equally cruel in maintaining control of their territory - anyone stepping out of line can expect to be harshly dealt with.

The group currently number approximately three hundred effective fighters, with a similar number of camp followers. They are armed with a motley collection of weapons, including a number of firearms illegally obtained before the War and military and police weapons stolen during the riots of December 1997. Ammunition is in short supply however, and their firearms are supplemented by large numbers of melee weapons. The Warriors have borne the brunt of recent attacks by the VC, with the latter having carried out a number of raids into Warrior territory, making full use of their newly obtained weaponry to inflict significant casualties on their rivals and several of the Warriors' leaders have been killed in these clashes (during a recent raid the VC captured several senior members of the Warriors and their women - the men were tortured then killed, following which one of the women was sent back to Warrior territory with their severed heads). This has left the Warriors eager for revenge, however a number of the group are becoming increasingly concerned about their rivals' increasing dominance (which is largely due to their increased firepower).    

Elsewhere, much of the North West part of the City is ruled by a group of mainly Pakistani origin that is currently nearly four hundred strong fighters (their ranks were swollen during 1998 by Asians forced from the Aston area by the VC). The south of the City is the territory of the B12 Crew, who take their name from the postal code for the Balsall Heath area which is the centre of their power base. A mainly Afro Caribbean gang, which has its origins in the criminal gangs who were involved in the City's drugs trade, the B12 Crew is noted within the City for having large numbers of female fighters in its ranks. Its territory borders that of the Warriors to the east and the lawful enclave of Edgbaston to the west. Like the Warriors both groups are armed with an array of weapons, including military and police issue firearms seized at the end of 1999.