|Location:||Golden Triangle, Black Prairie, Mississippi|
|Factions:||Columbus Contract, Marshals, Dermit's Slingers, Glow Skulls various mercs|
|Current status:||surviving the wastes|
A meeting point and home for most of the mercenaries fighting in the hellish Golden Triangle, Columbus Gate is the only decent town in the region. Something of a fortress, the gates form the eastern border of the Triangle. There it has always been an obstacle for the Brethren of the Shroud who are eager to burn the place to the ground, but are constantly thwarted by the men of the Columbus Contract.
The city of Columbus, or 'Possum Town', was founded in 1821 by people who moved up the Tombigbee river after the flooding of nearby Plymouth. Back then, it was a common mistake to call it Columbus, Alabama because of it's proximity to the border. During the Civil War, Columbus had an armory that made gunpowder and cannons, and because of that, the city was attacked by the Union several times.
Ever since World War 2, Columbus Air Force Base was used to train pilots, and it remained active during the Cold War. In the first decades of the 21st century, it was one of only four basic Air Force flight training bases in the United States. When the Resource Wars began in 2052, activity intensified and the base and surrounding region once again earned a place on strike lists of several hostile nations across the world.
Columbus was hit with three warheads; two hitting the air force base and the third striking the town. Those not killed outright in the attack quickly began to panic as the radiation set in. Many tried to flee only for the roads to become gridlocked, and causing many to die in their cars.
In the weeks following the bombing, most of the residents either died or fled, leaving the town a withering husk. It was picked over by travelers but mainly avoided as just another wreckage of the old world.
It was in 2188 that it would finally be resettled, as a clan of nomads, the Palta's moved into a downtown general store. Originally planning on looted the unreached portions of the town, they were forced to stay as one of them fell ill and was in no condition to move. Their plan put on the back burner, they began to grow a few plants from old seed packets they found in the store, and began to clean up some of the surrounding buildings to have more living space.
It was around this time that a caravan stopped at the ruins of the camp for the night. Discovering that there were people alive, they exchanged medicine for space. After they left, they began to tell those they encountered about the clan in Columbus, causing people to once again come there.
Even after their aunt died, the clan decided to stay there because of all the traffic coming through the city. The caravan trade brought in small-scale merchants over time, and by 2194 Columbus Gate was a small community, relying on caravan trade. The settlement would slowly develop as outsiders sought the Palta's permission to live there.
The former nomads gladly let people settle, as they usually brought food and supplies with them or were willing to do labor. They would clear out several buildings and construct two more in the waning years of the 22nd century. The town would emerge as a caravanserai, with most in town either providing room & board, supplies, drink, chems, scrap, or sex. For their part travelers usually left guns, Glass Shards, tools and themselves.
By 2212 the Palta's had become too numerous for their word to carry full weight, so the head of the clan announced the formation of a city council.The merchants, most of them Palta's, started sponsoring campaigns for candidates, and people began giving speeches and promises. The vote was three months after the announcement, and as could be expected The Palta's took four seats. The rest of the council were a bit of a surprise, however; Amy Gourdon, a tough prospector rumored to be a former raider took a chair; Quincy James, a slick talking Alabama trader won one; and Albert Jones, a Ghoul farmer was elected by the farmers.
For the most part, the Palta's still decided things, but would take input from the others on important issues. The council managed to keep the peace in town until 2236, when raider activity increased. The caravans were forced to hire extra guards, which of course drove up the price of their goods. Eric Palta, a young nephew of a cadet branch, decided that he would be the one to take care of the raiders.
He gathered a few of his friends and siblings, and set off with sporting weapons and lunch. They would gravely underestimate the seriousness of the raiders however with the entire party hacked to pieces. Enraged with grief, The clan hired a dozen men as well as fielding another ten themselves. The party set out to where the bodies were found. They too were also ambushed by the raiders, but managed to fight back and rout them due to superior numbers. The group pursued the raiders through the woods, killing a handful of them before returning to town.
They declared the attack a success and returned to their daily lives. The raiders didn't forget them, however, as the other bands still targeted caravans on the roads. Desperate to try and keep trade coming, the council approved the sending of a representative south down the river to hire mercenaries. They would eventually import a handful of men from the Gulf Coast who made short work of the raiders. The mercenaries would depart after the raiders were dead, and life went on for the next two decades.
The town's good fortune would change in 2256 with the arrival of the Brethren of the Shroud. The mutants were immediately hostile and attacked the town in force. Barely beating them back, the townsfolk hired a group of traveling mercenaries to defend the town. This would prove a wise move as the mutants came again, and devastated the mercenaries.
This would create a cycle of the town hiring one group of mercenaries and the mutants being beaten back, but killing most mercs. This would eventually result in the Columbus Contract in 2260, which established a land grant for merc bands that helped defend the town. And a bounty on all members of the Brethren.
This would result in a series of assaults and murders of the mutant residents of the town, before they were forced to the ruins 'for their own protection' in early 2266. They would prove a valuable reinforcement for the Brethren forces, especially for propaganda. The battles would be fought between the Gate and Boardtown, the mutant bastion in the Triangle, though they did sometimes reach the Gate itself. The council would move to issue a law proclaiming all mutants would be killed if they tried to enter the town, Brethren or not. They would make an exception for those in mercenary bands, after protest from several groups.
They would be given a respite during the Crucifix War being fought to the south, with the mutants focusing on that for almost a decade. They would still have to defend against the Bishop of Boardtown's forces acting without assistance from the south. Despite this, the town is still a popular trading spot, perhaps more so due to it being one of the only safe places in the Triangle.
The government of the Gate is rather simple, with the shop owners (most of whom are from that original clan) and the residents electing 7 council members that oversee all internal matters. In addition to this, the council also is responsible for assigning buildings for mercenary bands, if they agree to abide by the Contract.
Internal crime and breech of Contract is handled in-house by the council's militia, most of which are only raised in emergencies. Punishment is usually either a swift death, being kicked out of town, or short-term imprisonment. With the high amount of raiders and mutants, most choose behaving to the alternatives.
The Gate is a six block area in the ruins of old Columbus, with city hall, the marshal's office and several war-shops located at the center. Going outward from this in any direction, one is bound to find small restaurants, hotels, and mercenary headquarters. Outside of this area are numerous defensive positions and blockades as the defenders are always holding back the mutants and raiders. There also exists a small Ghoul ghetto on the northern edge of town. Despite decades of trade and living together, the recent attacks from the Brethren caused the council to evict all ghouls out of the defended areas. Despite this several ghouls still live there, albeit as part of mercenary companies.
The City is in a semi-constant state of war with the Brethren of the Shroud and several mercenary bands shoot mutants on sight. Despite this, there are around forty ghouls that live in the ruins surrounding the town, banned from entering town unless part of a mercenary group.