|Notable Individuals:||Albert Derringer, Otto Thornton|
|Notable events:||Pirate Takeover of 2190|
|Current status:||Seedy Pirate Haven.|
At one point Garden Key or Fort Jefferson as it is sometimes known, was a massive but incomplete Civil War era fortress built in the Florida Keys, which later turned into a popular tourist destination. Spared of nuclear attack during the Great War the Fort became a refuge for the tourists and reenactors that were on the island, for a time a the island lived in peace. But in 2190 the island and fort were taken over by the infamous Pirate; Otto Thornton and his band of buccaneers. Since then the island has become a seedy pirate haven.
Fort Jefferson was originally constructed back in the 19th Century by the US Navy in order to give the Navy a base in the Caribbean from which they could combat piracy that plagued the region. The fort's construction, however, was hampered by constant budget cuts and labor shortages and in the end the Fort's construction would drag into the late 1850s when the walls and ramparts were finally finished. However with the onset of the Civil War the small Union garrison on Fort Jefferson found themselves cut off from support, and lacking any heavy armaments they were forced to surrender after briefly resisting a Confederate landing party. The Confederates immediately took up the construction of the Fort and since the fort's exterior was for the most part completed they simply had to build the interior buildings, giving the fort two barracks, a powder magazine, a Lighthouse, Headquarters and mess hall. However, rather than use it for a military post, the Confederacy was content to ship their prisoners there for safe keeping.
In 1864 the Union Navy recaptured Fort Jefferson and promptly had the surviving Confederate soldiers and the prisoners taken in irons up to New York where they were held for the remainder of the war. The Fort was then repaired by the Union and put back into operation, being used as a base for raids on the Florida coastline. In 1875 the Fort saw it lowest military population of 124, 24 soldiers and the remainder being their families and civilian personnel. The island generally went into obscurity after that, with it being used to spot U-Boats during World War Two and was promptly turned into a tourist destination soon after it was shut down as a military post in 1947. Since then the island has been inhabited by reenactors, Park Rangers and of course tourists.
The Great War
The Fort wasn't targeted during the Great War, however in the hours following the attack several US Coast Guard vessels ladden with refugees from the mainland dropped off their human cargo and returned to the mainland for more survivors. With the help of some Florida State Policemen and a handful of Coast Guard personnel the refugees and other civilians were moved into the old buildings on the island. However no more ships returned from the mainland, and with no outside contact from the mainland the Lieutenant in command of the Coast Guard detachment took command, taking the fort and the people within under his command.
For many years afterwards the Coast Guardsmen, supported by the State Policemen and Park Rangers formed a Coalition to rule over the island's 257 inhabitants, collectively calling themselves the Fort Jefferson Regulation Company or the Company for short. The Company ruled over the people through an autocratic oligarchy that delegated each member of the community to a duty based upon their skills, some were hunters, others were craftsmen and others served to till the small vegetable patches that were grown within the Fort walls. The remaining members of the population were delegated to tearing apart the various bits of flotsam that drifted onto shore. Around 2113 the Oligarchy divided another group of the population up for tending to the island's newly domesticated herd of Mirelurks.
However by 2120 most of the old members of the Company had died off from one cause or another and their children and grandchildren that had taken their places were much more willing to allow liberalizations in the way their community was run. Thus the island held its first elections in 2122, electing Albert Derringer as their Mayor. As Mayor he led the town through a relatively prosperous time, with Rafter merchants reaching out to the island for trade, which brought in fresh goods from the mainland, new weapons and ammunition along with a small number of tools that allowed them to maintain their Island's fortifications. Yet when Albert died in 2181 from Gangrene the island was left in the less then competent leadership of his youngest son, Norton. Under Norton's brief rule the island became an increased target for pirate and Corsair raids and when the island's defenses began to slacken this caught the attention of pirate lord; Otto Thornton.
Otto was born in Texas outside of the ruins of Kingsville in the Corpse Coast, he had grown up in a German-speaking Tejano family but at the age of six he was kidnapped and impressed into a pirate crew plying the waters along the Gulf Coast. Eventually he rose to power among the crew he was a part of and after a brief mutiny, took over as ship captain. He captained El Trinidad for several months before hearing about a gathering of pirates at the Orange Bowl, known as the Admiralty Council. This council was a gathering of the strongest Pirate captains along the Florida coast and whoever its elected Chieftain was had the control over almost every aligned pirate crew and ship from Atlanta to Mobile. Otto immediately sailed his ship for the Orange Bowl and shot his way into the Council's meeting, naming himself the new Chieftain and immediately began looking for a more permanent base. Hearing about Fort Jefferson he decided this was to be his new base, sending his fleet of pirate crews to the island he had them shoot their way ashore and after overpowering the defenders assert themselves as its new rulers.
Since Otto's takeover the island has become a home for every kind of pirate and corsair, along with anyone looking to avoid the grips of bounty hunters, privateers and other would be lawmen. Although the town is now under the control of pirates, it is still a very shaky control as constant Privateer raids have made life very difficult for the pirates, even with several layers of brick and mortar to fight from.
The government of Fort Jefferson under the Fort Jefferson Regulation Company was in its early days a autocratic dictatorship looking to maintain the safety and security of the island, along with maintaining their own government through pure blunt force and military strength and society was strictly regimented for the populations' needs. However this form of control was done away with when Albert Derringer was elected to be the island's Mayor, replacing force with cooperation and a democratic form of government.
However under Otto Thornton the island's former has devolved into Otto's word is law and all those who oppose it are usually killed without trial, sometimes without even being arrested or restrained. That said the interior of the fort lives in relative anarchy as vice merchants and various pirates and other outlaws wander the courtyard going from tavern to tavern, chem stand to chem stand and so on. Pirate crews are volunteer affairs and their captains were elected by the vote of the crews and 15% of all captured cargo is taken by Otto's men as payment for usage of the Fort as a base, it also functions as a sort of rent to the Admiralty Council, who control the island.
The island's economy is somewhat reliant upon trade between the island's inhabitants and Rafter merchants, and transactions made between the various pirate crews and the Admiralty Council over what supplies are confiscated as payment and what is bought. Outside of this the various vendors and bawdy houses/taverns that fill the island make up a large part of the island's economy as well.
The culture and way of life on Fort Jefferson is fairly laid back and unrestricted with drunks wandering the streets at all times of day, tweekers looking to bum money off anyone for their next fix of chems and addicts literally willing to do anything for enough caps for another Jet. The brothels are always alive with the orgasmic cries of its patrons and working girls, while the piers are filled with the shouts of pirates arguing back and forth, and the Taverns the shots and sounds of a bar brawl. The island is as lawless as one would expect and it glows with life throuhout the night and day.
|This has been written by CaptainCain. Please contact this user before editing this article.|