Haven is a city found in southern Connecticut, on the shores of the Long Island Sound. The city is the capital of Born Again Nation.
Puritans from the Massachusetts Bay Colony were the first Europeans to permanently settle on the site that would eventually become Haven. Taking advantage of two Native American tribes at war with each other, the Puritans purchased the land from the Quinnipiac tribe. They sought to establish a more conservative religious community than the one up north that they had left. Called New Haven, the Puritans created a small theocratic community that did not permit other religious practices other than their own to be openly displayed in public. By the mid-1600s, external economic and political forces pressured the leaders of Newhaven to merge with others, to create the larger English colony of Connecticut.
For over a century, the men and women of New Haven were loyal to the British crown. In recognition for their loyalty, New Haven was declared the co-capital of Connecticut, and large grants by prominent English politicians and businessmen were made to turn the settlement into a center of learning, establishing Yale University. When the American Revolution broke out, the city was fiercely split between loyalist and revolutionary factions. As a result of the large presence of loyalists, New Haven was not completely sacked and torched by the British, as was the case with other cities in Connecticut.
After the revolution, in the late 1700s and early 1800s, New Haven became a center of regional industrial activity. Among world-changing inventions developed and produced in the city were John Fitch’s steamboat, Eli Whitney’s cotton gin, Samuel Colt’s revolver, and Charles Goodyear’s vulcanized rubber. The American Civil War boosted New Haven’s industrial economy further, with large wartime purchases of industrial goods, weapons, and bullets. After the war, the city’s population grew, and nearly doubled by the start of the 20th century due to an influx of European immigrants, particularly Italians and Jews.
As was the case with many cities in the northeast, an influx of poor African-Americans and Hispanic islanders prompted a mass exodus of middle class whites in the wake of World War II. This white flight contributed to an increase in crime rates and a decline in New Haven’s economy. At the turn of the 21st century, a more concentrated effort to revitalize the community began, with government and large business joining together to reverse the downward economic trends. Among the most important events during this time was the opening of the Dr. Pete Factory, the Winchester Arms factory and of a large New Jerusalem Ministries mega church
New Haven was the site of a Chinese terrorist attack in 2068. Years earlier, the Winchester Arms factory successfully tested and developed the P94 plasma rifle, one of the first plasma weapons utilized by the U.S. Army. Chinese operatives infiltrated the factory and detonated bombs, killing 32, destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment and putting an indefinite halt to the factory’s production line in the immediate future.
Mayor Gordon Rayburn
Because of the presence of the Winchester Arms factory, the Chinese targeted New Haven in 2077, when the Great War came to a fiery end. Like cities across the U.S., New Haven was struck by a nuclear bomb and was crippled beyond imagination. Unlike most other cities, which had leadership that either took refuge shortly before the bombs fell or perished in the nuclear flames, New Haven had a leader that took control and guided the city back from the precipice of total collapse and chaos. Elected in 2075, Mayor Gordon Dickerson was a young firebrand politician of the rarest kind: he actually cared about his constituents and got into politics to help his fellow Americans rather than to accumulate personal power. The mayor was at a political conference outside of Hartford, Connecticut to the north and lived through the bombing. Improbably, instead of fleeing like most of the city’s political leadership that survived, Dickerson made the trek back to New Haven and took control of the chaos, organizing disaster relief efforts.
Thanks to numerous factors, Dickerson’s leadership among them, New Haven fared much better in the wake of the collapse of America than many other places. He effectively organized medical and food distribution efforts, and was respected enough by the survivors in the city to deputize a militia force that listened to his orders. Until the turn of the 22nd century, New Haven existed in relative squalor, but was stable. People eeked out meager lives struggling to survive and rebuild, but were safe from starvation and from the malevolence of lawless ne’er-do-wells that were causing destruction and chaos across most of the country.
In 2109, Mayor Dickerson lifted his ban on outsiders, having decided that the city had rebuilt to a sufficient degree that it could start handling an influx of outsiders. Though older and in the early stages of failing health, the mayor never lost his empathy and desire to help others. Small groups from the city began scouring the immediate area, taking in wastelanders living nearby. These groups began exploring further and further from the city, prompting word to spread about the city. Wastelanders began flocking to the city on their own, having heard tales of a paradise on the bay, a Haven.
Gordon Dickerson died in 2113 at the age of 63 of natural complications. Though his successors did not have his natural empathy and altruistic personality, they continued on his life’s work, taking in wastelanders. Among the many that came to Haven was a ghoul by the name of Darius Dursley. The ghoul took residence in the abandoned New Jerusalem church. Because the church was located in a zone outside of the city proper that was still contaminated by high levels of radiation, Dursley was left alone. In addition, the ghoul was relatively harmless. A religious man, he spent most of his time in the church, periodically venturing into the city to purchase supplies.
The Blizzard of 2212 and the Rise of Born Again Nation
Though snowstorms and even blizzards were nothing not uncommon in the northeast, a particularly bad blizzard hit Haven in 2212. The storm dumped almost two-and-a-half feet of snow on the community, and brought in its wake bitter cold temperatures. The storm and subsequent frigid conditions caused major problems for Haven. Buildings and other structures collapsed from the weight of the snow and ice. Machinery malfunctioned. Men, women, and children died from exposure. With a handful of smaller storms over the next few weeks setting back recovery efforts time and time again, the blizzard became the costliest disaster in the city’s Post-War history.
Adding to the problem that the blizzard caused was ineffective leadership. Since the death of Gordon Dickerson died in 2113, the city went through numerous competent-but-ineffective leaders. While most were able to keep Haven running without major problems, they were not as loved as Dickerson, nor were they as politically adroit. They kept the city running, but did so without much imagination, failing to capture the love or even respect of most residents. Among those residents of Haven that began openly displaying displeasure in the city’s leadership was Darius Dursley. A fiery orator, the ghoul began railing against the city leadership in impassioned speeches that were part political theater and part religious sermon. Armed with what he remembered from his Pre-War upbringing just outside Jacksonville, North Carolina, the ghoul began preaching doom and gloom, with the blizzard just a sample of the calamities that would befall Haven if the leaders and population of the city did not repent and reform.
Dursley’s message- a corruption of Pre-War fire-and-brimstone Baptist- gained traction among the population of Haven. The message not only created scapegoats- the current political leadership and those that did not ‘believe’- but also plotted a path for how the disenfranchised could gain control of their futures. Fearing he had begun accumulating too many followers, the leaders of Haven attempted to have Dursley abducted and assassinated in 2216. Joseph Dalton, one of the rulers of Haven, had also converted to the Old World religion and warned Dursley. When the agents of the city’s government arrived at the New Jerusalem Ministries church, Dursley was surrounded by his followers. He angrily decried what Haven’s leaders had attempted to do, and rallied the men and women protecting him to instead banish the unbelievers from the city. Faced with an angry mob, most of Haven’s leadership fled, leading Dursley in charge of the city. Proclaiming himself Blessed Father of a Born Again Nation, the ghoul installed a theocratic government in Haven.
War and Aftermath
In 2231, Dalton Dursley was assassinated by agents sent by Duke Scott Metsband of Peekskill, one of the Old Lords of New York. Missionaries from Born Again Nation had begun preaching in Peekskill and the duke took offense to the outsiders fomenting discontent in his sovereign territory. Joseph Dalton succeeded Dursley as the Blessed Father of Born Again Nation and immediately rallied the people of the nation from his pulpit in Haven. While the Duke of Peekskill had attacked Born Again Nation as a matter of personal affront and slight political gain, Born Again Nation began marching on Peekskill in the throes of holy war.
The war between the two sides lasted roughly four years. Though Haven itself was never attacked, many men and women from the capital of Born Again Nation gave their lives in the fighting. The fighting was ferocious on both sides, but the High Inquisitor of Born Again Nation, Julian Reyes, went above and beyond in his ferociousness. When the conflict ended, word emerged of the atrocities he committed in western Connecticut and eastern New York- entire settlements razed to the ground for being unbelievers, prisoners summarily executed for being infidels, and other such crimes. When the High Inquisitor returned to Haven, he was excommunicated by Blessed Father Dalton and banished from Born Again Nation. The act almost caused civil war in the nation, as some the more conservative elements in the nation, as well as soldiers that fought under his banner disagreed with the act and questioned the legitimacy of Dalton’s rule. Ultimatley, the two factions did not come to blows, and the High Inquisitor and those loyal to him took residence somewhere in the Northwest Highlands.
Joseph Dalton died of natural causes in 2261, and was succeeded by Gregory Rivers. The newest Blessed Father has taken a much more interest in domestic issues than either of his predecessors. Since becoming leader of Born Again Nation, he has improved much of the infrastructure of Haven.
Because of its location on the north side of the Long Island Sound, Haven has direct access to the New York market, both on land and by sea. By land, the trip is roughly 100 miles through relatively safe territory and by sea, traders can sail from Haven through the Long Island Sound to the mouth of the East River, where the markets of Flushtown, Queensland, and Libertaria can be reached.
The Winchester Arms factory went back into operation in 2220, as a result of Blessed Father Darius Dursley’s fire-and-brimstone, us-versus-them worldview. Though the original Pre-War Winchester Arms company folded and their factory heavily damaged during the Great War, enough of it remained to be salvageable. While the factory does not have the capability to produce plasma weaponry as it had been doing during Pre-War days, it is still produces revolvers, pistols, shotguns and rifles of various specifications, as well as bullets of numerous calibers.
Born Again Nation is a theocracy, led by Blessed Father Gregory Rivers. While technically the leader of all spiritual and temporal affairs in the entire nation, Haven itself is governed by a pair of bureaucrats, Mark Osborne and Jack Sutherland, appointed by the Blessed Father to do just that so that he can concentrate on spiritual and national matters rather than the minutia of day-to-cay city management.
The original Pre-War city of New Haven stretched roughly 20 square miles around New Haven Harbor, an inlet in the Long Island Sound. The current city of Haven is only a fraction of that, clustered around the harbor itself, roughly following the path of the former I-95 highway. Much of the ruins of the Pre-War city are still irradiated from the Great War and are uninhabitable by non-ghouls.
The capital of Born Again Nation, Haven is seen as a glamourous place to live. As was the case when Blessed Father Darius Dursley was assassinated, its designation as capital can also make it dangerous.