Thursday, March 4, 2010

[Aftermath!] The D.C. Campaign: The City of Presidents

The District of Columbia has a long history, filled with tales of great men and women, great conflict, and great sacrifice. But forget about that. All that was swept away, as most man-made societies, in the flash of war. The history of this town is not in most survivors' minds, the present and the future is, though.

Twenty-five years after the Ruin, people are still fighting to survive: the environment, disease, pockets of bio- and chem-agents, radiation, wild animals, other humans, and even their own baser instincts. The town is a mess and it keeps getting worse.

The metro area once held over 5 million people, now barely 50,000 scratch and survive on it's corpse, fighting for any advantage for their people. About a dozen or so stable communities are spread across the rotting canvas of this once great city.

D.C. was a town of politicians and lobbyists, government employees and hangers-on. After the Ruin, the surviving structure of the government splintered into different camps and communities. The Pentagon is still there, probably the most powerful group, but unable to act much beyond their own borders. The FBI had some survivors as well, they retreated to Pooks Hill and the ertzatz CIA in Langley? They're a joke, but a deadly one. And even the Kennedys have returned to Washington, too. Didn't you know that?

But government wasn't the only thing in the District. There were people with businesses, neighborhoods tied together by ethnicity and religion, doctors, lawyers, indian chiefs, conspiracy theorists and political kooks. Now there are Commies to the west and Mennonites to the south, skinheads and gang-bangers and murderers and thieves.

Whatever their past or present, each one of these groups are vying with the others for limited resources, each trying desperately to survive. More and more, some are succumbing to banditry and violence, supporting rough men of their own to get the job done. These brigand groups are collectively known as Free Companies.

The Free Companies raid with impunity, scavenge like rats and run through the streets with abandon. Some are very dangerous, all crazies. Some have goals and beliefs that would make your hair curl. Others are just trying to get by, supporting their families. All are to be watched. Few are to be trusted, even by those communities that support them.

But not all is conflict and warfare. Oh, no. It's not the city of taxation without representation anymore. Most of the communities realized the benefit of some cooperation, so Treaty Hospital, at the Old DC General Hospital, still works, guarded by the smart majority of the population. The FFA, the food growers, are another community protected, otherwise the city would starve. The Weather Boys keep the town appraised of the wind and the fallout. Sure, D.C. never got hit but New York did and so did Philadelphia. Bad winds coming from those towns.

But what will the winds of change bring to the District? Most folk think History is something that happened yesterday and doesn't really help them today. The old world is becoming a place of magic to the young and the tall tales grow with each year. Dreams of a meal have replaced dreams of a re-built America. But there is hope in the Ruin. And maybe America and D.C. will rise again to greatness.

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