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The New York Rangers are an independent militia group dedicated to keeping order and defending civilians from raiders and gangs in southern post-Doomsday New York state.
In November of 1989 a group of Rock Hill residents were playing a game of pond hockey. Times were rough, the town had been raided for supplies several times that year and some people were questioning the possibility of not surviving the winter. Hockey was a welcome escape from the worries of the times. At one point during the game a group of armed men arrived and demanded supplies and shelter under threat of attack. This was common and while the group began to go off to gather the supplies and ready a shelter, one man, Evan Hammond, stayed behind. He began to walk towards the lead man slowly. He began to address the men:
- "We lived through nuclear war. We lived through fallout. We lived through famine, and harsh winters. We stuck together. We worked together to survive. All you do is live off of our struggles. God said after armageddon the meek shall inherit the earth. Well armageddon is long past, and the strong still seem to step all over the meek. I for one have had it up to here with being meek."
At this point Hammond charged the lead man and caved in his skull with his hockey stick. He was then shot by one of the others but the fight had already started. In the confusion others charged, some were shot, some made it through to injure or disarm some of the raiders. In the end all the raiders were killed but one, who escaped into the wilderness. Four Rock Hill men, including Evan Hammond were killed. The surviving men gathered others together and not wanting Evan Hammond and the rest of their dead to have died in vain put together a militia. Training heavily over the winter months in order to be prepared for future raiders.
Several months after the Rock Hill incident, a group of raiders approached the town, one of them being the survivor who had escaped. The leader of these raiders came forward and addressed the town:
- "A few months back some of my boys were given a not so warm welcome here. Seems some hockey players of yours didn't like the score. Rangers defending the meek or some nonsense. Send them out here and we won't have to kill everyone in town."
At that the militia at several strategic locations began picking off many of the more heavily armed raiders, while other townsfolk lobbed homemmade incindiaries at the group. Once the smoke cleared the raiding group was nearly wiped out, and the rest were in no shape to be raiding anyone else any time soon. Representatives of the Rock Hill militia soon began travelling to the other hamlets within the town of Thompson with their story and an idea: A group dedicated to defending small beseiged towns in the area and hunting down raiding parties and other dangerous gangs. Taking their inspiration from the address of the lead raider, they called themselves the Rangers, and began wearing the jersey of the New York Rangers as an identifying symbol. They established their headquarters in Rock Hill and began organization in March of 1990.
For the first years of their existence, the Rangers were content to building up their ranks, training, and establishing themselves in the Thompson area. In 1995 the group celebrated their first year without a raider attack. Scouts reported that the attitude of raiding parties was that the Thompson area was too dangerous to raid. This inspired the Rangers to began expanding, and being more aggressive in driving out raiders. Negotiations began with other towns to establish branch offices in major areas which would oversee defense, scouting and offensive missions in the areas. By 2004 there were branch offices in Delhi, New Paltz, and Walden. In 2007 offices were established in Catskill and Middletown, and in 2010 the group crossed the Hudson river, establishing a branch office in the city of Hudson.
The group is divided into several divisions denoting their specialty within the group. These take their names from positions on a hockey team.
- Forwards - The largest division of the Rangers, these are the front line fighters, scouts, etc.
- Defensemen - Defensemen are generally local recruits who have no interest in missions outside their home towns and make up the bulk of defensive garrisons.
- Goaltenders - These are the logistical support troops. They handle weapons and vehicle maintainance, engineering duties, building projects, etc.
These groups are generally divided into teams of 18, each with their own Captain. The administrator of a branch office is called a General Manager, and the leader of the Rangers is called the Grand Captain.
The effects the Rangers have had on the area has been mostly positive. People live in greater security, local economies have picked up due to the stability the Rangers have brought. Rock Hill has become a major center of trade and business, swelling to over 5000 people from its pre-Doomsday population of under 1000.
The Rangers on the other hand have created some negative effects outside of their zone of control. The threat posed by the rangers has caused many smaller gangs and raider bands who had mostly kept to small scale extortion to band together creating larger groups that threaten larger population centers. Many raiding groups have been killing anyone they find wearing a Rangers jersey, which outside the Rangers effective zone of control tends to simply be hockey fans.
Another major effect the presence of the Rangers has had is on the development of any sort of state in the area. With the rangers taking care of any threats in the area, most towns and villages haven't felt a need to band together for mutual defence and have mostly gone on independently.