|Establishment:||2221 (official founding)|
|Notable Individuals:||Herschel Waley, Nemesis Lake, Thornton|
|Factions:||Deadhead Company, Lake Caravans, New Disciples, Northwest Trading Company|
|Notable events:||The Opening of Vault 72, Treaty of Capitol Hill|
Emerald City is the largest settlement in its area and a central hub for trade in not only Seattle but Cascadia on a whole. Founded by vault dwellers who fled the automated oppression of Vault 72, Emerald City has sustained steady growth for close to sixty years, forgoing isolation to instead welcome immigration from the wasteland. The Treaty of Capitol Hill was formulated by the inhabitants of Emerald City, and they benefit the most from the treaty currently among Seattle’s three main city-states, at least in theory.
- "That fucked-up machine is gone now, locked behind the vault door. There’s nothing left to fight for, so why are your guns still trained on us?"
- ―Atarashi to the human guards outside Vault 72
Emerald City’s history is inescapably intertwined with Vault 72, even before the vault effectively collapsed in 2221 and spilled its contents into the wasteland. Vault 72's autocratic supercomputer, the Overseer Intelligence, first opened the vault in 2178 and established a small outpost outside the vault door. This surface outpost would be where the Overseer Intelligence would conduct trade with the outside and where it would stick the human side of the vault's security force. Vault 72's outpost would serve as a small bastion of civilization in the wasteland of urban Seattle. The human security force of Vault 72 were thrust into the harsh wasteland with little to no support from the Overseer Intelligence, and in return, they enjoyed some marginal freedoms compared to their compatriots within the vault. The surface outpost was initially a success, but more dangers were about to emerge.
The bombs, Skull-Taker, and numerous other disasters had vastly depopulated the ruins of Seattle in the years after the Great War. The only people really left were the scavvers, the mutants, the raiders, and the stubborn. All these groups scrambled to survive in a harsh urban environment and were all preyed upon by one organization in particular: the New Order. The New Order had known about Vault 72 from encounters in the past, and they were very curious about these newcomers to the wasteland, sending scouts to the surface outpost as soon as it emerged. After those scouts reported a high level of tech and "pure" humanity, New Order footsoldiers soon descended on the vault's surface outpost in steadily increasing numbers. The New Order and the vault dwellers battled in a war of attrition for years afterwards as the surface outpost struggled to remain alive.
At the same time, vault dwellers also began to escape from the vault's surface outpost, beginning with a cook. The number grew to such a number in later years that the Overseer Intelligence was forced to put robots in the outpost since it did not trust the humans there to actually police their fellows on their own. The constant skirmishes continued to the rest of the twenty-second century and into the twenty-third, with generations of New Order footsoldiers and vault dwellers living and dying in what seemed like an endless war.
The war would at least prove to be eventful. Vault 72's surface outpost was briefly overrun in May 2221 by the New Order, causing a mass panic in the vault. The surface outpost was later retaken, but the damage was done. The residents of the vault lost confidence in the Overseer Intelligence. It seemed as if a revolution was on the horizon. Surprisingly though, it was a grease monkey named Atarashi that brought down the Overseer Intelligence. Working alone, Atarashi hacked the Overseer Intelligence and caused a messy situation that led to the sudden abandonment of the vault by its panicked residents.
Those vault dwellers fleeing Vault 72, led by Atarashi, were soon confronted by security forces outside the vault door. Led by Security Chief Jake Sanders, the humans in Vault 72’s security force were confused by the vault dwellers trying to escape and there was an uneasy standoff. Atarashi talked Jake Sanders down and calmly explained the situation to the security chief. With that, most of the vault security deserted to save family still in the vault. Jake Sanders ushered the fleeing vault dwellers out, shaking his head all the way.
As time went on, any remaining vault dwellers made their way out of Vault 72 and robots began to come after them. Atarashi was scared that the Overseer Intelligence was emerging from the vault to kill them all, and he worked quickly on a solution: locking the vault door from the outside. Working hard in a quick fashion, Atarashi managed to close the vault door and trap the Overseer Intelligence inside Vault 72.
The conditions of the surface outpost immediately following their emergence from Vault 72 were abysmal. Hundreds of vault dwellers hunkered down in the overcrowded outpost while the remaining security and some volunteers scrambled for solutions to their current problem. They needed to expand the boundaries of the outpost, setting their goal for the nearby Death’s Needle, and the vault dwellers also wanted to secure their position in the wasteland. This whole process was pervaded by a deep sense of fear, with both xenophobia and agoraphobia being common. Luckily for a time, the New Order left the outpost alone.
The vault dwellers moved quickly to claim large sections of the nearby Seattle ruins. Raiders and mutants all fell to the vault dwellers’ bullets and bolts of plasma in a fall of blood in Seattle. Those hostile to the vault dwellers were not the only targeted, as scavvers were also forced out. Soon enough, enough land had been captured, and vault dwellers moved into new territory. The vault dwellers colonized the ruins and brought their own flavor to the remains of the Old World. Soon after taking over, the vault dwellers considered names for their new settlement. Names floated around included Vault City, New Seattle, and Emerald City. Emerald City was chosen by democratic vote.
Death’s Needle was the last part taken by the vault dwellers and brought a limit to Emerald City’s expansion in 2221. From then on for a long time, Emerald City tried to remain safe, secure, and isolated. This would lead to varied results.
Cautious or Callous
- "Fuck you wastelanders, vault dwellers don’t need you dirty motherfuckers! Respect this vault dweller or taste some plasma!"
- ―A drunk vault dweller threatens a wastelander
The divide between vault dwellers and wastelanders was already clearly evident when Emerald City was founded. The settlement was entirely made up of vault dwellers whose fear of savage raiders and mutants overruled any desire for openness or hospitality. The only people that might be mistaken for wastelanders in Emerald City in those days were vault dwellers who had escaped the vault during the Overseer Intelligence's reign but had now returned to the newly formed settlement. Repatriates included Thornton, Priscilla Chamberlain, and Rannier Weaver. These repatriates were treated with hostility by many vault dwellers, who often mistrusted them or saw them as part of the wasteland now. This was especially true if those returning vault dwellers had new wastelander families. This cruelty was accepted as a part of life in Emerald City. It was a harsh unforgiving world out there and from the vault dweller's point of view, you had to what was necessary to ensure the survival of yourself and your community. If that included excluding wastelanders, so be it.
After a couple of months of disorganized buildup, the vault dwellers of Emerald City decided to set up their own formal government. This government would have checks and balances to prevent a dictator like the Overseer Intelligence, and two major elections would take place for a mayor and an advisory council. The first election resulted in Carl Strout, a doctor in the vault, becoming the mayor and several other vault dwellers including the ex-dissident Mirjana Bilobrk getting on the council. Meanwhile, the former Security Chief Jake Sanders became the new Head of Security because of his experience. The little government went to work quickly to establish its own limits and powers.
Emerald City’s rise brought further attention from everyone in Seattle whether the attention be positive or hostile. Emerald City was approached by emissaries from Chinatown, the Geigers, and caravans asking to open up trade. Still paranoid, the vault dwellers kept to themselves as they built up their new settlement. That was until the New Order attacked again. After years of quiet, New Order footsoldiers attacked the vault dwellers of Vault 72 once again. The New Order, now with the help of Aldrich Whitney, savaged Emerald City but mostly abducted women and stole valuables instead of killing vault dwellers. That put a vengeful spirit into the vault dwellers, and after later smaller raids, Emerald City decided to tentatively join forces with Chinatown to attack the New Order at Camp Long in 2223.
Emerald City’s Head of Security Jake Sanders led a group of well-armed vault dwellers alongside several Chinatown militias into the gates of Hell. The road to Camp Long was waterlogged and full of ruins with various hazards all along the way. Sanders and the rest survived the entire way, but the little army was ambushed just before they arrived at Camp Long (they sent no scouts ahead). The New Order utilized V-150 vehicles and pure brutality to smash the invading force. All but three of the vault dwellers, including Jake Sanders, were killed. Those survivors limped their way back to Emerald City, with the image of Aldrich Whitney participating in gleeful slaughter burned into their minds.
Jake Sanders and the other two survivors came back to Emerald City, and they related what had happened to the scared vault dwellers. The vault dwellers heard these stories of the New Order’s butchery, which terrified them. Mayor Carl Strout and the council decided that the alliance with Chinatown had failed to save Emerald City, and they made the decision to further isolate their settlement from filthy wastelanders. People such as Thornton and Atarashi protested the decision, but the settlement’s government had decided. Emerald City became even more isolationist than before, preparing for another attack from the New Order. That was an attack never came as the New Order soon descended into chaos.
The next few decades for Emerald City were spent in quiet isolation as the settlement grew at a slow but steady pace. There would be more military adventures for the vault dwellers, and the wasteland was none of their concern. The next twenty years in Emerald City were a calm time of rebuilding the ruins, with the silence only being broken by Thornton’s occasional conflicts with the mayor and raider attacks.
As time went on though, cracks began to show in Emerald City’s progress. The tech level in Emerald City was above that of the wasteland, but in the vault dweller’s haste to leave Vault 72, they had left a lot of advanced technology behind. Therefore, Emerald City's medical and weapons technology were no more advanced than any other settlement in the ruins of Seattle. As such, Emerald City began to stagnate in the 2240s and began to feel something of an economic downturn. Thornton’s calls for strong leadership to fix the settlement’s problems became more appealing, and Mayor Strout actively persecuted him and his supporters, fearing an uprising. Thornton’s status as a ghoul, a caravaner, and a possible smuggler made him even more of a target in Emerald City. Only intervention from Jake Sanders, who sympathized with the ghoul, prevented Strout from exiling Thornton in 2243. At the same time, vault dwellers continued to reject wastelanders entering Emerald City with little or no sympathy for the dirt farmers.
In 2247, a new opportunity for change presented itself. This opportunity came with the decline of Emerald City’s longtime enemy, the New Order. The organization could not sustain its constant state of war anymore and its new leader, Commander Paul Turner, came to Emerald City to make peace with the settlement. Strout was taken aback by Turner’s overture, but he was persuaded by the council to listen to the man’s words. In the end, the mayor and the council decided to make peace in exchange for three of the New Order’s cryo-pods. This was highly unpopular at the time, and Thornton gained even more followers calling for a war against the New Order to put them down for good. Thornton’s followers were not enough to put him in power, but they were mouth to run heads, including Mayor Strout’s. Soon enough, even people who did not support Thornton were baying for the New Order’s blood. The mayor feared for his position as he was in an impossible situation: either he resist the public’s demands and get voted out or he go back on his promise of peace and probably lose a war against the New Order. 2247 seemed to be Strout’s last year with Mirjana Bilobrk looking to become mayor next. That was when yet another opportunity fell into Strout’s lap.
Another emissary, this time from Atlas Guard, arrived in 2247 to present Emerald City with another chance at revenge against the New Order. Atlas Guard had just been made aware of the New Order’s crimes, and they were assembling an anti-New Order coalition to take the organization down. Not wanting to seem weak in the face of the public (and Thornton), Mayor Strout and council decided to renege on their deal with the New Order and march to war for the first time in a generation. That satisfied the populace, who quickly mobilized. Thornton helped supply the settlement with new weapons and even proposed to crack open Vault 72 to pilfer its armory, though that latter proposal would be struck down.
The anti-New Order coalition would come down on West Seattle like a hammer. It would be a bloody fight to clear the white supremacists out of Seattle, but the war was successful in the end. The war cost Emerald City many vault dwellers and the life of their venerable Head of Security Jake Sanders. The anti-New Order coalition also broke down soon after their common enemy was routed. Nevertheless, the war against the New Order proved to be a net benefit for Emerald City and opened the settlement up to the wasteland for the first time. Thornton’s Northwest Trading Company began bringing in new commerce and wastelanders from the outside, with mixed results. The New Disciples arrived in 2255 along with one of Thornton’s caravans to establish a congregation in Emerald City.
Emerald City's economy entered a period of booming prosperity as cheap labor became an easy commodity. Nevertheless, the divide between vault dwellers and wastelanders remained with wastelanders being regulated to second-class status at best. It took a reluctance alliance of Thornton, several other businessmen on the advisory council, the newly arrived New Disciples, and the budding activist Lieber Waley to help pass a decree in 2255 legalizing wastelanders' ability to own property within Emerald City. This was done after stiff opposition by Mayor Strout and his council, and afterwards, Strout's vault dweller constituency literally revolted against "giving mutants rights". Many wastelanders were injured or even killed by angry vault dwellers the night the decree passed. Security was slow to stop the riot but eventually did. Mayor Strout was disgraced in the eyes of the public for looking weak, and he was soon voted out of his mayoral position that had been secure for nearly thirty years. Instead of Strout, Carl Rannier was elected to be the new mayor in 2256. This ushered in a period of unprecedented growth and social change.
Welcome to Emerald City!
- "Emerald City has not yet learned how to be open. And I think we are going to be part of the throes of that transformation, which must take place. They are now going into an open mode, and wastelanders will be resented because of their leading role. But without that leading role, and without that transformation, this beautiful city will not survive."
- ―Lieber Waley right before his assassination on Emerald City opening up
Mayor Rannier was unable to roll back the council's decree giving wastelanders property rights but he fought tooth and nail to prevent any other progressive actions. The mayor, taking inspiration from Chinatown's recent culture laws, instituted a sweeping set of laws to solidify the distinction between vault dweller and wastelander (a difference that became increasingly blurred as successive generations were born in Emerald City). Even as caravan traffic continued to increase and the economy boomed, social ills began to turn into something worse. The prosperity brought on by the caravans increased the settlement's population but also strained its ability to enforce its own laws.
The most frequent enemies of stability in Emerald City were the former allies Thornton and Lieber Waley, now opposed to one another and the settlement's established social order. Thornton was a crypto-fascist with dreams of “saving the wasteland” while Waley was an activist who wanted equal rights for wastelanders and unhindered immigration from the wasteland. They both were not diametrically opposed in their views on giving wastelanders rights, but Thornton was universally hated for basically stating his intention to become a dictator if he was elected mayor, so everyone opposed him. Still, Mayor Rannier opposed both Thornton and Waley, and he often tried to play them off of each other.
Emerald City’s prosperity continued in the early 2260s along with increased caravan traffic but worsened over time. At the same time, the social situation worsened. Thornton and Lieber Waley often held public speeches for change across from each other and once even directly debated each other. The close proximity of their followers often caused clashes that security was forced to break up. These street fights slowly escalated and came to a head in 2263. One day, Lieber Waley was giving a speech on giving wastelanders voting rights while Thornton was trying to rally his supporters to take control of their lives. While Waley was belting out a speech, a group of bounty hunters opened fire on the activist. Three shots hit Waley, one to the head and two to the torso, killing him instantly. The assassination sparked a riot that lasted a full day. The bounty hunters slipped away during the chaos, and no one ever really discovered their motives.
The initial riot ended after about a day, but the memory of that day haunted Emerald City for years to come. Mayor Rannier initially rode a cascade of goodwill to be elected again, but he was eventually voted out by a resentful populace as the economy worsened. Many vault dwellers and their descendants wanted to give wastelanders equal rights, an idea Thornton had been proclaiming for years. However, these vault dwellers wanted a different candidate for mayor besides Thornton, who was deemed unelectable. Instead, with the backing of Emerald City's businessmen, Charity Norton was elected mayor in 2266. Mayor Norton decided that now was the time to fix the mistakes of her predecessors, and she gave wastelanders equal rights for the first time. This was in the face of increasing civil unrest, the mounting Oregon Brushfire Wars, and the reemergence of raider gangs in Seattle. Mayor Norton's equality would not be what fixed Emerald City's short-term problems of civil unrest and economic depression. That would only come with a treaty that would immutably alter post-War Seattle.
The Treaty of Capitol Hill
- "This treaty is going to be the death of us, I swear..."
- ―Thornton on the Treaty of Capitol Hill
The Treaty of Capitol Hill emerged out of the anxiety of the three main city-states in Seattle: Emerald City, Capitol Hill, and Chinatown. All had fought to end the New Order, and all were scared of the slow but steady advancement of NCR to the south. Paranoia about the Republic’s push north in Oregon made it easy for caravaners to appeal for free trade to improve relations between the Seattle city-states. Thornton and his Northwest Trading Company initially also backed the treaty, and he, in a rare helpful move, cooperated with Mayor Norton to help the treaty go through. Thornton would come to regret this move in later years.
By 2270, Emerald City was all in favor of a free trade treaty and sent representatives to Capital Hill to hash things out. Around the same time, a host of smaller but important events were playing out. A teenage Draigh Cross left with a group of mercenaries to make their mark in the wasteland before the treaty was signed. Herschel Waley hunted down the second to last of the bounty hunters who killed his father using his position as a member of Emerald City’s governing council the day before the Treaty of Capitol Hill was signed. Soon after the treaty was signed, Thornton met Luke Crane for the first time and recognized the merc’s potential.
Emerald City’s history since the has been rather uneventful by comparison. In 2271, Mayor Norton died of uterine cancer, and Nemesis Lake founded Lake Caravans. In the following election, Thornton’s hand-picked candidate Luke Crane was poised to take power but was ultimately beaten by Herschel Waley, backed by a coalition of the newly-founded Lake Caravans and Thornton’s many enemies. Waley took over and has stayed in power ever since due to a good public image.
In recent years, things have finally begun to get more interesting. Draigh Cross and his mercenaries, now known as Deadhead Company, returned to Emerald City in 2276 and set up shop. Mayor Waley, seeing opportunity, hired the mercenaries to beef up security. As a result, raiders have become much less of a concern as of late. However, the economy has begun to slump, and many in Emerald City are starting to feel left behind by the prosperity brought to many of the wealthy by the Treaty of Capitol Hill. Thornton has capitalized on this sentiment and is currently campaigning for mayor on the platform of repealing the treaty. His supporters in Emerald City are growing more restless every day. Mayor Waley is contemplating dealing with the problem of Thornton permanently. These thoughts are separate from that of caravan manager Nemesis Lake, who often calls for Thornton’s exile. At the same time, the Northwestern Trading Company and Lake Caravans continue to jockey for the position of Emerald City’s leading caravan, with Thornton's caravan currently ahead. There are worries that this rivalry may turn violent eventually, and smaller caravans are worrying about being caught up in the middle.
Currently, Emerald City is in a state of stability but is sliding further into disarray every year. A settlement is full of people with diverging origins and ideologies with no real unifying element besides “freedom”, the largest successor to pre-War Seattle seems doomed to many to devolve into squabbling mobs of wastelanders. Nonetheless, many in Emerald City hold out hope for the future and offer gratitude for the freedoms afforded to them by their settlement, a rarity for groups in the wasteland. Only time will tell if this sentiment is the correct one versus Thornton’s crypto-fascism and Nemesis’s equality by force.
The government of Emerald City is more heavy-handed than the other city-states in Seattle, and it is mostly controlled by the interests of the caravan houses and mercenaries. Emerald City elects its mayor democratically, but it is big money that controls who actually has a chance of running. The current mayor, Herschel Waley, was elected with the help of Lake Caravans, but he has proved rather unhelpful in furthering their agenda as of late. In their position, the mayor can wield expansive powers regarding the city whether it concerns taxation, law enforcement, ceremonial and representational functions, and to preside over meetings for the advancement of public welfare. The mayor has a small bureaucratic apparatus below him that is also important, with the most important one being the tax collector. Emerald City's tax collector has always been hated by the populace, but they are accepted as a necessary evil. Emerald City's present tax collector is an unremarkable man named Bravo who carries out his office with a quiet diligence.
Law enforcement and defense are some other important parts of government in Emerald City. Emerald City's head of security right now, an appointed position, is Carson Nores, who is in the pockets of Jade. Nores is a lax enforcer of the law, but he has cemented his position by remaining close friends with the mayor. The security force in Emerald City is not well-equipped or well-trained, and it is generally regarded of something of a joke. The people in charge of defending Emerald City from external threats are thought of very differently, even though they are mercenaries. Deadhead Company, founded and led by Commander Draigh Cross, has defended Emerald City for close to ten years and have done a good job so far. Paid off by Emerald City's "tax dollars", Deadhead Company has been a topic of internal debate in the past. The members are mostly locals from Emerald City but often act in a brutal fashion antithetical to Emerald City’s “democratic” values. The mercenaries guard Emerald City's walls against the dangers of the wasteland and sometimes makes forays into Seattle if necessary. Within Emerald City, opinion on Deadhead Company is divided. Many residents of Emerald City dislike Deadhead Company for being mercenaries, but others like the mercs for being so effective and ‘badass’.
Emerald City's economy has remained rather stagnant in recent years, even though growth was promised from continued immigration into the settlement. Caps are made mostly through the two primary caravan houses, the Northwest Trading Company and Lake Caravans. Some light industry is also present in Emerald City, mostly independent businesses. Emerald City does very little agriculture and mostly imports its food supply. It makes up for this vulnerability by trading manufactured goods and acting as a trading hub.
The residents of Emerald City are some of the biggest consumers of chems in Seattle. Despite the efforts of Thornists, chems are legal in Emerald City, and Jade has had complete control over the chem trade in recent years. That led to some complications but has not come to a head so far.
The culture of Emerald City is summed up by its inhabitants’ two favorite things: freedom and caps. The various freedoms the citizens of Emerald City now enjoy (freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion) are in large part the result of a backlash against the oppressive actions of the Overseer Intelligence in Vault 72. People are allowed to say what they think, even if what they say is innane bullshit. Due to these large numbers of freedoms, Emerald City is seen as rather boorish compared to Chinatown or even Capitol Hill. The laissez-faire attitude of many in Emerald City also extends to the economy, which is unregulated. This has led to a culture of fierce competition for caps and a general callousness for the poor. The attitude of “let the poor starve” only intensified after wastelanders were let into Emerald City. This apathy for the poor is tempered by the presence of the New Disciples but only somewhat.
The divide between wastelanders and the descendants of vault dwellers does still provides tension in Emerald City. The move to allow people into Emerald City was an unpopular one with hundreds of vault dwellers consciously isolating themselves for nearly a generation after the move. Tension has gone down in recent time with election of Mayor Herschel, but descendants vault dwellers who want wastelanders out are still present in Emerald City.
One individual’s influence on Emerald City has been quite considerable: Thornton. A vault dweller who was ghoulified and returned to Emerald City after years in the wasteland, Thornton was influence primarily by Thomas Hobbes and Ayn Rand to create his current ideology: Thornism. Thornism calls for reclaiming the wasteland, veneration of Western civilization, and authoritarian leadership to bring the world out of “the current Dark Age”. Although Thornton’s ideology is predictably controversial, he has maintained his position in Emerald City by advocating for non-violence (for the most part). Roughly a fifth of Emerald City are adherents to Thornton’s ideology, and they make up a considerable voting bloc when not voting for a candidate of the Thornist Party (who have never won a mayoral election). The Thornists’ ideology is reflected in their lives where they have traditional marriages, abstain from chems, and practice rational selfishness.
Points of Interest
The Deadhead Compound, housing the eponymous Deadhead Company, serves as both an arsenal and a headquarters for the toughest defenders of Emerald City. Located near the edge of Emerald City, the Deadhead Compound was little more than a well-preserved ruin before Commander Draigh Cross took it over to headquarter his new mercenary group. There, the soldiers of Deadhead Company eat, sleep, and store all they need within its walls. The building itself is a broken skyscraper that used to house law firms in Seattle. The Deadhead Compound is well-fortified, similarly to Thornton's Headquarters, with turrets and forcefields installed by the mercenaries, and it would be a hell of a battle to take the building by force.
Also known as the Miracle of Seattle and formerly as the Space Needle, Death’s Needle is the city's most famous landmark (pre-War and post-War). Many Seattle residents say Death’s Needle’s survival was by Divine Providence, but in reality, it was because the nuclear weapons used on Seattle were of rather poor quality. The Space Needle, designed by Edward E. Carlson and John Graham Jr. for the 1962 World's Fair, has graced Seattle skyline for more than three centuries and continues to do so today, now within the confines of Emerald City. Death’s Needle earned it current name in the years following the Great War, when hundreds of people ascended the observation tower to throw themselves off in despair about the broken state of the world. People soon after stopped calling the tower the Space Needle and instead began referring to it as Death’s Needle. Before the establishment of Emerald City, Death’s Needle was considered haunted by many and only played host to the occasional raider sniper nest. However, the observation tower was taken over by Emerald City’s security forces after the city was founded and has served as an outpost ever since. The suicides have not stopped but have lessened since Emerald City was established. Mayor Herschel has considered installing a sort of net below the tower's top level to prevent the suicides but does not think Emerald City has the infrastructure to support such a project yet.
Dick's Drive-In is a pre-War restaurant that has been restored and given a post-War twist. Opened as a fast-food restaurant chain, Dick's Drive-In features fast-food staples such as hamburgers, hand-cut french fries, and individually made milkshakes. Dick's Drive-In was open right up to the day of the Great War and had recently installed experimental food dispensers. The owner hid inside the restaurant while bombs dropped and waited out later unpleasantness. The owner of Dick’s Drive-In, Pat Wallis, stayed there for the next half a century, surviving on remnants of his restaurant’s food and eventually marrying a wanderer to sire a family of his own. Ever since Pat, the Wallis family has jealously guarded Dick's Drive-In while also selling food to willing customers. The restaurant was already active when the vault dwellers emerged from Vault 72 and is currently in operation. Though the restaurant’s meat is bought from wasteland hunters or scavengers and some dishes on the menu have changed, Dick’s Drive-In’s spirit remains the same.
Emerald City Church of the New Disciples
Often referred to by the shortened ECC by churchgoers, Emerald City Church of the New Disciples is Emerald City's largest religious center and home to the New Disciples' newest Bishop, Maxwell Teague. The New Disciples first made their way to Seattle in 2254 with the arrival of a small body of Disciple missionaries led by Pastor Smokes Johnston. Pastor Johnston first set up a congregation for evangelicals in Seattle's ruins, ministering to the wasteland, but he later moved to Emerald City and helped build ECC in 2261. Ever since then, ECC has served as Emerald City's largest church, dwarfing the smaller Catholic and Universalist churches in both size and membership. The church building itself is that of a traditional church with a few post-War twists. ECC has a steeple with a cross atop it, and the congregation has been searching for a bell in recent years. Pastor Johnston became Bishop Johnston soon after ECC was built, and when he died, Maxwell Teague from Portland came to take his place. Teague currently holds the position of Bishop and diligently ministers to his flock, also making himself a prominent member of the community. ECC is active politically, and its members often act as a bloc to push traditional values in Emerald City. That puts them in opposition to the current Mayor and broadly aligned with Thornton, who many in ECC are uncomfortable with.
Free Oregon Radio Station
Free Oregon Radio Station is Emerald City’s lone radio station but is rather disliked for its highly partisan tone with many preferring to listen in on Harry Peters's radio station. A pre-War radio station owned by GNN, the radio station was brought back to life in 2262 by Andrew Doukas. Doukas was an early Oregon partisan who saw NCR's actions during Operation: RED Trail and The Brushfire War as an act of war against the people of Cascadia. He came from the wilderness of Oregon to Seattle to try to win hearts in the fight against NCR. Fortunately enough for Doukas, he found a radio station to help broadcast his message to the wasteland. Doukas's radio station, named Free Oregon Radio Station, proved to be more popular outside Emerald City than within it, and he has kept the radio station open over the last twenty years through a combination of donations and advertisements. Due to quite a few people in Emerald City having affiliations with the NCR through some means, Free Oregon Radio Station has been controversial to say the least. Nevertheless, Doukas is able to retain the radio station as long as he pays his dues to Emerald City's government.
Though its name may say 'inn', the Pine Inn mostly functions as a popular bar for the residents of Emerald City. The Pine Inn was founded soon after the opening of Vault 72 by a vault dweller named Leland Glover. The bar and Inn has switched hands several times since then, through both peaceful and violent means. However, some constants for Pine Inn have remained such as warm beds, a steady supply of alcohol, and an interesting collection of folks at the bar.
The Rice Factory
Founded by industrious chefs formerly of Chinatown, the Rice Factory is Emerald City's destination for post-War Asian cuisine. Owned and operated by the Cho Brothers, the Rice Factory produces a variety of different Asian foods from Japanese, Chinese, and Korean traditions while also giving things a wasteland flavor. That includes replacing cattle beef with Brahmin and chicken with iguana. The Rice Factory is located near the center of Emerald City, and it is a popular destination for people to just sit around and socialize.
Tate's Medicine is a medical clinic in Emerald City run by Austen Tate, the settlement's most skilled (and beautiful) physician. The property used to be a den for jet fiends who were cleared out when Emerald City was founded, so Austen bought the place for cheap and fixed it up. A hole in the wall with a big sign near the Deadhead Compound, Tate's Medicine is a very busy place at most business hours and mostly caters to caters to caravaners and mercenaries, the people who get injured the most often. Austen Tate also lives out of her clinic and buys chems to keep herself supplied to her out of the back of the building.
Formerly an office building, Thornton's Headquarters serves as both the HQ of the Northwest Trading Company and the personal fortress of its owner Thornton. Soon after he came to Emerald City with a modest sum of caps, Thornton bought the building and fixed it up to house his new business. What that business would be, Thornton did not know at the time. It became the headquarters for Thornton's various failed business throughout the 2220s and 2230s until he founded the Northwest Trading Company. That was when Thornton struck gold with the caravan business, and Thornton's Headquarters grew in tandem. More and more employees moved into Thornton's Headquarters, working to maintain Thornton's growing caravan empire.
Vault 72 lies practically in the middle of Emerald City and sticks out like a sore thumb. The vault is the origin of the majority of Emerald City's population but is not remembered fondly. Built to both save humanity and keep them contained, Vault 72 was overseen by the Overseer Intelligence. The Overseer Intelligence, an autocratic Overseer computer, kept the vault dwellers on a tight leash and founded the small outpost that would become Emerald City to alleviate pressure within the vault after a small revolution. Vault 72 did eventually erupt in violence again though, and that turned out to be the extreme detriment of the Overseer Intelligence. Most of the vault dwellers escaped the grasp of the despotic machine, and with the help of a particularly industrious hacker, they trapped the Overseer Intelligence inside Vault 72. Now, the vault serves as a tomb for the supercomputer that oppressed many ancestors of people in Emerald City.
- "Science is such wonderful and dangerous work. You never know what may come next!"
- ―Austen Tate cheerfully talking about her favorite subject
Austen Tate is a doctor, an amateur scientist, and a descendant of the vault dwellers who settled Emerald City. Armed with an Auto-Doc and a sunny disposition, Austen hopes to do some good in the wasteland but has no illusions about how harsh her world can be. She has lived in Emerald City all her life and still lives there. Austen Tate spends most of her time at her business, Tate's Medicine, and she often eats out at The Rice Factory, her favorite restaurant, to meet caravaners and people from out of town.
A quite amicable person, Austen Tate is seemingly friends with just about everyone in Emerald City. She is something of a social butterfly though and tends to not spend too much time on any one person. The one person Austen has spent a substantial amount of time with is Alana, the owner of a local clothing shop and the wife of Oscar Butcher. People have often wondered why Austen, beautiful young woman that she is, has not settled down yet, but there is a good reason for that. Over time as Emerald City's doctor and after witnessing numerous tragedies, Austen came to the conclusion, "Life is short, we're all gonna die and you can't stop it forever... so why not make each others' lives worthwhile and enjoyable? The only thing that matters is letting people know that you care about them, because whatever someone is, has, or can do doesn't mean a damned thing in the end." Austen knows how horrible the world can be, and she has decided to stick to being kind while not getting overly attached to anyone. That has served her well so far, though there may be some problems looming on the horizon.
Commander Draigh Cross
- "If it had been up to me, I would have lined them up against a wall by now and shot the whole lot of them."
- ―Commander Draigh Cross commenting on legal proceedings in Emerald City
Commander Draigh Cross is the leader of the mercenary Deadhead Company and one of the primary protectors of Emerald City. A mercenary through and through, Commander Cross has a penchant for brutality and a very high opinion of his own abilities. In other words, he's something of an asshole. Nevertheless, he, his power armor, and his mercenary compatriots have protected Emerald City for close to a decade now, and they have admittedly done a damn good job so far. He is not liked by most but instead feared or respected by many. As a teenager, Draigh Cross first came to Emerald City only to wander the wasteland. He returned years later with his mercenary company, being hired to help defend his home soon afterwards. Commander Cross is particularly renowned for his defense of Emerald City in 2284 against Badlanders and in 2285 against some raiders from King's Council. He is a frequent visitor to Thornton’s Headquarters, The Rice Factory, and Dick’s Drive-In when he's not at Deadhead Compound.
Seen as something of a bastard, Cross has a reputation for being unpleasant to people in Emerald City and as well as being a coarse vulgar person. He is also seen as being overly prideful in his attitude towards his power armor, something he recovered from the wasteland and has customized extensively. His reputation for being a boor is well-earned, but that is not all Cross is. He cares deeply about his men and shows it constantly, taking a deep personal interest in their welfare and always trying to ultimately keep them out of harm's way. That means Cross is friends with all the men in Deadhead Company, including Oscar Butcher, but has few other friends, including Thornton (on his good days). Mayor Waley has a love-hate relationship with Cross, and both Nemesis Lake and Cross loathe each other. Commander Cross is also a very devout man (at least on the weekends) and regularly attends services at the Emerald City Church of the New Disciples. Enjoying the good things in life such as alcohol, chems, and women, Commander Cross is a no-strings kind of guy regarding romance. He swears liberally but tries not to overdo it.
Mayor Herschel Waley
- "Who is the wise person? The one who foresees the consequences."
- ―Mayor Herschel Waley repeating an old family saying
Mayor Hershel Waley is the elected leader of Emerald City, the first not to be descended from those who emerged from Vault 72. Contrary to the view of many, Hershel is not overly attached to his category as an outsider, and he usually strikes more of a conciliatory role between the two groups in the town. However, Hershel is more attached to his family’s own traditions, being known to be a family man and a someone with principles. That partially hides his ability to network people and politic, things Herschel is quite effective at.
He was born in 2247 to Lieber Waley, the controversial activist who advocated for a total end to Emerald City's xenophobia towards outsiders. Hershel was raised largely without the supervision of his activist father and instead was looked after by his very traditional and overbearing mother Rebecca. Even though he was raised by two very strong personalities, Herschel never really developed many strong opinions of his own in his younger days. He remained mostly apathetic to politics and preferred to just smoke Geiger-made cannabis with his friends. Not even his own Bar Mitzvah aroused any strong feelings from Herschel. However, tragedy struck the Waley household soon after his sixteenth birthday with his father’s assassination at the hands of bounty hunters. After that incident, Herschel decided to finally take control of his life and do something important: bring justice to his father’s killers. Herschel did not even care about his father’s politics, he just wanted justice. The process of reaching justice was a long and arduous one that eventually sent Herschel into politics and ended with him in the mayor’s chair after campaigning on a “law and order” platform with the backing of Lake Caravans. Having taken his revenge, however, Herschel is not as driven as he was before. Nevertheless, Mayor Herschel carries out his office effectively and remains relatively popular within Emerald City. The mayor has recently campaigned to allow peaceful super mutants to enter Emerald City though, which led to a dip in his popularity.
A flexible but moral man, Herschel Waley does what he sees right in the eyes of the people of Emerald City while also staying true to himself. He has a good eye for appointing skilled people to appropriate positions (with the exception of Carson Nores). Mayor Waley has many friends and does not discriminate politically (with the exception of Thornton and his followers). His fiancé Lauren is his best friend followed closely by Carson Nores, a close family friend (and a puppet loyal to Jade). The mayor also has an amicable relationship with Austen Tate. His connections to both Nemesis Lake and Draigh Cross are both rather strained though workable. Thornton has always been seen as “the enemy” and a threat to Emerald City on a whole by Herschel, but he treats the ghoul hospitably in public. Herschel has internalized his parents’ lessons and often quotes their old sayings to his helpers, often confusing them. Having no biases against any one group, Herschel judges people on a case-by-case basis which gives him an advantage over many others in Emerald City who cannot look past their own grudges. Mayor Waley is forward-thinking and progressive, and he is, in the end, a nice person.
Manila 'Gentle Heart' Mollor
- "You ever seen the smoldering, radioactive remains of Salt Lake City at night? Or marveled at the magnificent ruin that is Hoover Dam? I have. The wasteland is a wild, beautiful place, and I’ll never forget what I saw out there."
- ―Manila Mollor on her time in the wasteland
Manila ‘Gentle Heart’ Mollor is an independent mercenary who grew up in Emerald City, led to wander as far as the Colorado, and later returned home. The ‘Gentle Heart’ projects a hardass image with a suave personality, but this hides a deeper trauma that has been eating away at her for years. Manila may have learned how to fight in the wastes, but she lost something important in exchange for that experience. She tries to remain sociable though and is often seen in public, talking about her experiences and current events in Seattle as if nothing is wrong.
Born in 2257, Manila Mollor was born to the prestigious Mollor Family who were highly influential water merchants in Emerald City. Manila grew up spoiled and often heard about stories of heroic vault dwellers from Vault 72 exploring the wasteland. Those stories fascinated Manila, and as soon as she was able, Manila left Emerald City for the wasteland. Manila’s wanderings took her East, and she explored as far as Hoover Dam at one point. That should have left Manila with experiences that she would remember well, but in the end, Manila ultimately wished she never left Seattle. Manila’s experiences in the wasteland left her scarred and broken, more or less. Her naïveté and innocence were gone. Manila ‘Gentle Heart’ Mollor returned to Emerald City in 2281 as a mercenary, and she has stayed there ever since. Often defending Emerald City’s walls, escorting caravans, or rescuing hostages, Manila has a mixed record in regards to her success record. People still hire her though, and she often hangs out at Thornton’s Headquarters to look for new jobs.
An experienced mercenary, Manila has been places and will not hesitate to tell people about it. She has a great degree of unearned pride and holds herself in high regard even though she is not much of a mercenary in reality. Her actual combat experience is overblown and her past in overshadowed by something Manila can never quite shrug off. Whether she can ever truly get beyond her past life is to be seen.
- "I used to be someone, my name used to mean something. Now, I’m old and broken, no use to anyone."
- ―Marko Bilobrk on his current situation
The scion of a prominent family from when Vault 72 was still inhabited, Marko Bilobrk is a grizzled former caravan guard for the Northwest Trading Company of Croatian heritage who now acts as Thornton’s lieutenant. Marko has lost a lot in his life, and he has a rather apathetic or sometimes even nihilistic view of the world. He is a close friend of Thornton, who is rather amused by Marko’s vaguely philosophical ramblings.
Marko was born around 2226 to the Bilobrk family, an old prominent family of Croatian descent who emerged from Vault 72. Marko Bilobrk grew up in the shadow of Death's Needle as both his family and Emerald City struggled to survive. He was raised Catholic by his parents, who were poor but proud. As soon as he came of age, Marko decided to leave Emerald City. He became a caravan guard with the Northwest Trading Company. Marko was a caravan guard for nearly thirty years, only coming back to Emerald City for short increments. This was the case even when Marko’s parents died nearly ten years apart. He just never saw the point of it. That and other factors led to Marko becoming increasingly isolated, both in the familial and romantic sense. Better at shooting a gun than talking to women, Marko has lived his life in a state of involuntary celibacy. That gave him an attitude of misanthropy, which entertained his employer Thornton. This led to Marko and Thornton becoming friends of sorts, with Marko becoming the caravan house manager’s lieutenant in the Northwest Trading Company. Currently, Marko Bilobrk lives a solitary life in Emerald City working for Thornton. He could buy a prostitute, but he does not, as he sees no point to it.
Marko Bilobrk is a lonely bitter man who hates the world and himself. He has little will to live and as Thornton always comments, he has no idea why he hasn’t offed himself yet. Marko is very attentive to his job, as work is one of the few things that gives his life meaning. He takes solace in the small simple pleasures of life, such as enjoying good food and reading books. Marko thinks of himself as something of an intellectual, though his pride is not something that is really valuable to him. He seems just fine with being a whipping boy for Thornton, who frequently insults him and demeans his sexual prowess as “even a ghoul like him could get some steamed clam”.
- "I believe in freedom and equality for all peoples, races, and genders. It’s abominable that even after the bombs dropped, people are still fighting over these things."
- ―Nemesis Lake voices her opinion on social justice
A descendant of dissidents from within Vault 72, Nemesis Lake is the leader of Lake Caravans and an individual still full of hope for the post-War world. Nemesis, a feminist and a lesbian, has a very dualistic view of the world with one group (herself being included) on the side of progress while the other group is on the side of repeating the same mistakes that caused the bombs to drop. Generally a very nice person, Nemesis is only really disagreeable when politics get involved and runs a relatively charitable caravan house, at least compared to her competitors.
Nemesis Lake was born in 2239 to older parents in Emerald City. The Lake family came from a long line of dissidents who had lived in Vault 72, and they had close connections to the Bilobrk family. Nemesis’s father, in particular, had been part of the vault dwellers who had made the mad rush out of Vault 72 when the Overseer Intelligence finally went insane. Nemesis Lake was friends with Marko Bilobrk as children, but the two drifted apart as they progressively grew older. Nemesis grew closer to her other friends as time went on, mostly other women of a certain "enlightened" variety. In her teenage years while she was getting her education, Nemesis fell in with a group of activists fighting for equal rights for wastelanders in Emerald City. Her idol was the activist Lieber Waley who she witnessed get assassinated by bounty hunters. That, the daily injustices Nemesis saw against wastelanders, and the street addresses of Thornton further motivated her towards social justice. That was until her education ended, and Nemesis was forced into the real world. Deciding that Emerald City was too much of a “bigoted hellhole” to stay, Nemesis went to Capitol Hill and joined up with the Geigers. The Geigers, annoying as they may be, accepted Nemesis, taught her many new things, and let her join up with one of their caravans. The experience Nemesis gained with the Geigers prepared her to found her own caravan, Lake Caravans, in 2265. Nemesis Lake made some pretty caps even though her initial efforts were met with little success. She had many 'adventures' across Cascadia in the 2260s and made much of her fortune then while the Northwestern Alliance fought the New California Republic. In 2272, Nemesis finally returned to Seattle and Emerald City to establish a headquarters for Lake Caravans there. This was after hearing her parents had both died. She was surprised to find that wastelanders were now accepted but also shocked to find Thornton and his ideology even more readily accepted. Ever since her arrival back in Emerald City, Nemesis has worked as a balance to Thornton's "crypto-fascism". Nemesis has little separation between her public and personal life with few friends or familial ties. She attempts to act as a constant advocate for the advancement of the disadvantaged and tries to never let up on her message. That has made Nemesis numerous enemies over the years, but that is a small price to pay for her cause.
The woman Nemesis Lake is less important than the figure, at least in her own mind. Her pet causes are God to her, and everything else is secondary. Her emotions are largely superficial with a small core of sincerity. She is an individual full of hope for the future but also full of misery regarding the present. Nemesis has connections with people all over Seattle due to her caravan house but not friends. Her biggest local allies are Mayor Waley, head of security Nores, and fellow caravan manager Shuang Brown. A love-life is out of the question for Nemesis, and she only has the occasional sleeping partner. Her last partner was an ex-Badlander named Soft Shell who currently lives in a boat floating around Puget Sound. Nemesis was too focused on her cause to form a real connection with another human being. Really, Nemesis’s closest relationship is her adversarial role opposite to Thornton. Though Thornton is relatively less powerful than many of Nemesis’s other conservative opponents in Emerald City, he is the only one with a fully formed ideology and following diametrically opposed to her. Nemesis hates Thornton and his Thornists like nothing else and expresses this sentiment whenever possible.
- "Respect for authority isn’t a bad thing if you give it away sparingly. I reserve my respect for my Commander, my Law, and my Lord."
- ―Oscar Butcher on authority
Oscar Butcher is a low-ranking mercenary within Deadhead Company, and he is one of the people who protects Emerald City on a daily basis. Oscar has quite a few opinions on things, being a devout Christian and a staunch traditionalist, but he prefers to keep his mouth shut most of the time, never being too outspoken. Oscar has an enormous amount of respect for authority as drilled into his head by his now dead father who frequently appears in his nightmares. For a mercenary, Oscar is a relatively well-respected member of society in Emerald City and has a rather large social circle, aided by his lovely new wife Alana.
A native of Emerald City, Oscar Butcher was born to vault dweller parents who often told him stories about Vault 72 and the Overseer Intelligence. They also told Oscar Bible stories before he went to bed, as well as war stories against the New Order. Oscar internalized the stories more than his brothers and sisters, never forgetting them. The teenage years for Oscar were awkward, but he did snag a sweetheart who he later married, Alana. Oscar later joined Deadhead Company and became an effective mercenary. His polite demeanor, traditional values, and emotional stability led to him being well-liked by many in Emerald City despite his status as a mercenary. Currently, Oscar is a well-respected member of the community who mostly keeps his thoughts and desires to himself. His sympathies to Thornism, in particular, are something Oscar keeps a closely-guarded secret.
Oscar thinks of himself as a family man who stands for his own code of conduct, mostly being governed by religion and tradition. However, he holds such a high standard of himself that he cannot fulfill his own expectations. That is why he is currently having an affair with Austen Tate, his wife’s best friend. Oscar feels very guilty about his affair but does not have the heart to stop. What Oscar doesn't know is that his wife knows about the affair and approves. He wants to have children soon, and he soon wants to start, though his affair will no doubt complicate things.
- "Caravans are pretty fucking good for Seattle, I admit, but I wish they didn’t wave their dicks around all the time."
- ―Synixera White on the caravan houses of Seattle
Synixera White is a restaurant owner of Pine Inn, and she is an all around unpleasant person. Descended from vault dwellers, Synixera is one of precious few people in Emerald City who still hold some form of bigotry towards wasteland west. She may make good food, but Synixera is an entirely too paranoid person, worried constantly about radiation and unclean wastelanders. She has been forced to deal with more and more wastelanders in recent years, which has defrosted her somewhat. Synixera also has some rather amoral business practices, as more caps are good for her.
Born in 2258 to poor parents, Synixera White was a third generation inhabitant of Emerald City and the granddaughter of vault dwellers. Synixera grew up with barely a cap to rub together, and she remembered the toils of poverty for the rest of her life. Also, Synixera experienced traumatic abuse from her parents. This consisted of physical abuse from her father and verbal abuse from her mother. Synixera took this abuse as best as she could but internalized it as time went on. That turned into a vitriolic hatred of her parents and the people they associated with aka the poor wastelanders who lived near them. As soon as she was able, Synixera moved out of her house to live in even more dire squalor. However, that still meant getting away from her monstrous parents. From then on, Synixera climbed the social ladder of Emerald City rapidly as she was a hard worker and very conscientious (if the situation did not involve her personal biases). Eventually around 2279, Synixera found her way to Pine Inn as a cook. The death of Pine’s Inn’s owner Mr. Serkis in 2283 left the Inn without an owner, and to everyone’s surprise, the business was willed to Synixera. Mr. Serkis has admired Synixera from afar and wanted to do something for her, even if it meant he was dead already. Since then, Synixera has run a tight ship in Pine Inn and made th business even more successful. This does mean dealing with filthy wastelanders, but Synixera will bear it, as long they maintain a certain distance.
Synixera’s personality is very visibly defensive individual, often getting in arguments and aggressive discussion. Her bigotry towards wastelanders is not often shown publicly, but it is always present in some form or another. Her food and bedding make up for her personality in the eyes of many of her customers. That is without the knowledge Synixera has secretly been putting pre-War additives into a lot of her food, uncaring about the potential consequences.
- "Strong, centralized leadership is what the wasteland needs, not the democracies of yesteryear. A man with a certain purpose and sense of duty should lead and shape society as he sees fit, unflinching in his devotion to his role."
- ―Thornton on his authoritarian leanings
Thornton is the head of the Northwest Trading Company, the biggest single caravan house in Seattle. A post-War ghoul who mutated after escaping from Vault 72, Thornton lived a rough life out in the Wastes, which, combined with reading Leviathan among other books, gave him a rather Hobbesian view on life. Thornton came to Emerald City soon after its founding with a clear vision for its future: a strong expansionist authoritarian state with himself at the helm. This goal has guided Thornton’s actions ever since his arrival in Emerald City, and he is inching closer every year. Unfortunately for Thornton, his lack of compassion and pettiness has held him back and made a shifting cast of people oppose him over the years. Nevertheless, Thornton and his Thornist philosophy are continuing to advance in Emerald City at a slow but steady rate.
The story of Thornton really began around 2195 when he escaped from the surface outpost of Vault 72. Thornton was a young vault dweller who grew up in the shadow of the Centennial Revolution and feared the violent Overseer Intelligence. He wanted to escape this oppressive atmosphere into the wasteland, where there was some modicum of freedom. Thornton found his freedom, at a price.
Seattle in the 2190s was a chaotic unforgiving wasteland with numerous dangers and few safe places. Thornton learned of the wastes’ violent nature quite quickly and struggled to adapt. Nevertheless, Thornton eventually did, learning to live on the edge as a scavenger with his Pip-Boy serving him well. He lived alone but had a solid life. That was, until a couple of raiders from King’s Council and some New Order footsoldiers clashes right outside Thornton’s scavver den and destroyed it. The footsoldiers emerged victorious in the end and, amused by his helplessness, stuck Thornton into a barrel full of pre-War radioactive waste before rolling him down a hill. Thornton survived the experience disfigured but with a strong resolve to fix the wasteland’s perpetual state of anarchy and warfare. At first, Thornton tried to learn more from other survivors in the wasteland before realizing he might find more inspiration from pre-War philosophy instead. For about a decade, Thornton scavenged in the ruins of Seattle looking for philosophical texts to inspire him. The Bible, Atlas Shrugged, Mein Kampf, and the Koran were all read by Thornton in those years and had varying levels of influence on him. However, it was ultimately Leviathan that gave Thornton the inspiration he needed. Thomas Hobbes’s book opened Thornton’s eyes to how truly broken the wasteland was, as Hobbes’s term “bellum omnium contra omnes” seemed to describe the current state of the world quite accurately.
After discovering Leviathan and poring through it extensively, Thornton finally started to articulate his philosophy that would “fix the wasteland”. This took the form of Thornton writing his own book in isolation somewhere in Seattle for close to a decade. Thornton’s only company would be a number of dogs he fed and the occasional scavenger he traded with for materials. His first book, named Abaddon in homage to Leviathan, basically reads as a somewhat modernized version of Hobbes’s work with notable yet confusing influences from Rand and Hitler. Soon after finishing Abaddon in 2220, Thornton heard that the Overseer Intelligence had been defeated, and Emerald City was free. The ghoul took that as his cue from fate that it was his time to return to his home to teach them what he had learned.
This was easier said than done. It was hard enough for Thornton to just get back to Emerald City in the first place, which had only been a surface outpost for Vault 72 when he left. Thornton was almost shot on sight when he approached Emerald City since he was both an outsider and a ghoul. It took weeks of Thornton showing his Pip-boy and trying to communicate with people he used to know from the vault. The guards around Emerald City were initially unconvinced, but after facing overwhelming evidence, they decided to let the ghoul in.
Thornton's first few years in Emerald City were very hard, even for someone who was used to living in the wasteland. His solitude was now due to being ostracized instead of isolation. His brief opposition to the closing of Emerald City also did not help. Thornton's status of a ghoul made most people avoid him, so Thornton tried to communicate with them directly. That basically started with Thornton walking the streets of Emerald City distributing pamphlets outlining his ideology and selling copies of Abbadon out of his place of residence (a shack). After a couple of years, Thornton saw this method was not gaining him many adherents, though it did gain him a few such as his longtime secretary and partner Bridget Lee. Thornton decided another method was needed to gain followers: demonstrate the success of his ideology in practice aka start his own business. That began a string of failed ventures in the next decade. From the late 2220s in the 2230s, Thornton partook in various high-risk enterprises to gain success for his ideas and his ideology. Most of these businesses failed but for the most part, they left Thornton in the black. At the same, Thornton was in the process of writing his second book, Mammon. Thornton did this after reading more authors such as Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche. This book took a more specific focus than Abbadon, looking at the various “governmental” systems present in the wasteland. Thornton identified four primary systems: a Throng with no strong leadership or higher organization (ex. raider gangs, wastelanders), a Petty Hierarchy with strong leadership but no higher organization (ex. raider warlords), a Collective with high organization but no strong leadership (ex. NCR, the Geigers), and a Proper Hierarchy with both high organization and strong leadership (ex. Thornton’s ideal society). Thornton concludes in the end of his book that only a proper hierarchy would be strong enough to pull the wasteland out of its current condition.
Mammon turned out to be a modest success within Emerald City and that success helped Thornton found a small caravan in 2235: Northwest Trading Company. At the time, there were dozens of other small caravans in downtown Seattle alone, and Thornton had never owned a caravan before. However, Thornton's group's high level of organization and solid chain of command put his caravan head and shoulders over the rest. The 2240s and 2250s were times of great growth for Thornton's business. At the same time, Thornton grew in political power in Emerald City as well. He became more effective in gaining followers and even obtained a useful figurehead. This came in the form of Luke Crane, an ex-mercenary turned firebrand politician who idolized Thornton. Luke Crane was the person who coined the term Thornism and used it to great effect in his speeches. Thornton, seeing an opportunity arise, moved quickly to advise Luke Crane when he was not running his caravan. Luke Crane failed in his attempt to become mayor, but both him and Thornton still scheme to take Mayor Herschel’s position someday, if possible.
Since his initial rise, Thornton has maintained his position in Emerald City but has failed to seize power outright. That is due to the near constant opposition to Thornton and his followers by various opponents over the years, the most notable being Carl Strout, Lieber Waley, Rannier Weaver, and Nemesis Lake. Thornton has outlived most of his rivals but have never fully beaten them. Currently, he boasts a still-loyal following who listen to his every word with cultish devotion. Thornton views his followers more as opportunities than as friends and is willing to do just about anything to attain more power. That has not included violence yet, but Thornton does not rule that out, looking for alternative options at the moment. He is also in the process of writing his third book Asmodeus on his ideas on morality and fitness culture, two topics he has only touched on lightly as of yet.
Thornton has never held an official or elected position within Emerald City and styles himself as more of a philosopher than a politician. Though his ideology Thornism may be labeled a “textbook fascist”, Thornton has maintained an air of respectability by consistently remaining non-violent in his actions and words to his followers. This is not out of principle, but instead, Thornton remains peaceful to ensure he and his followers are not violently purged by people who already hate them. Thornton is a joyless individual whose only two visible emotions are usually boredom and slight bemusement. The ghoul philosopher does what he does not because he actually wants to “save the wasteland” though that may have once been true. Instead, Thornton now does things for the hell of it. Probably, Thornton would not have any real joy in victory. His followers are much more fanatical in their beliefs than him. He has many enemies and few friends (none genuine).
- "A lot sunnier than the vault, but not much better in my opinion."
- ―Atarashi bemoaning his life in Emerald City
- "You see, Emerald City is the best city-state in Seattle (well, Seattle is a city but you get the idea). Chinatown is a xenophobic Charlie ethnostate, and Capitol City is hipster hell, bar none. Emerald City is Seattle’s latest, best hope."
- ―Thornton hyping up Emerald City
- "Should Emerald City get a bigger security force? Of course not. The forces they have right now are fine, and I don’t think I have to remind you about the mercs they have at their disposal."
- ―Commander Draigh Cross talking about Emerald City’s relationship with Deadhead Company
- "Woah! Dude... duhuuude! Look at that long ass stick thing. It looks like the fattest blunt. Hahahaha!"
- ―Kid Rothko sees the Space Needle for the first time
- "I admit, I often admire Emerald City for its rise over the years. Them coming from a vault doesn’t figure in much, as their vault didn’t help them much. The vault dwellers there were truly pioneers, and you also can’t discount the freedoms they’ve afforded to their descendants."
- ―Harold 'Harry' Peters advertising (shilling) for Emerald City
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