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- "Well, hellooooo to everyone on this fine, fine day. This is once again, the proud and loud Lurker Lane, bringing you all of the majestic music from the days beyond. But first, let us praise the courage of our soldiers, who have managed to defend the Wall and the city for another whole day, against those slimy, six-eyed abominations! Huzzah! And remember, peepz, that every cloud...has a silver lining. Yes, even the irradiated ones. Let the good times roll; here is... Muddy Waters."
- ―A Lurker Lane radio broadcast
Once the proud capital of the western plains of Tennessee, with tall skyscrapers looming over the great Mississippi River in the west, it was the home of founders and establishers of various American music genres such as Blues, Gospel, and Rock n' Roll. Nowadays, it houses a few safe havens, but it is essentially a battleground between humans and mutants. The settlements work together to fend off their enemies, but the individual communities are too diverse and isolated to guarantee optimal cooperation. The complete opposite, however, is the bustling port and docks, which is a major hub for trading.
Because it occupied a substantial bluff rising from the Mississippi River, the site of Memphis was a natural location for settlement. The area was first settled by the Mississippian Culture, and then by the Chickasaw Indian tribe. For 10,000 years they occupied the bluffs along the river. European exploration came later, beginning in the 16th century with Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and French explorers led by René Robert Cavelier. The land comprising present-day Memphis remained in a largely unorganized territory throughout most of the 18th century. In 1796, the site became the westernmost point of the newly admitted state of Tennessee.
In the 1870s, a series of yellow fever epidemics devastated Memphis. The worst outbreak reduced the population by nearly 75% as many people died or fled the city permanently. In the following years, Memphis managed to recover from this.
Memphis grew into the world's largest spot cotton market and the world's largest hardwood lumber market. Into the 1950s, it was the world's largest mule market. During the 1960s the city was at the center of civil rights issues. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in 1968 at the Lorraine Motel, the day after giving his prophetic speech at the Mason Temple.
Memphis was well known for its cultural contributions to the identity of the American South. Many renowned musicians grew up in and around the Memphis and Mississippi Delta. These included such musical greats as Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, Robert Johnson, B.B. King, and many others.
Somewhere in the course of the 21st century, the mayor of Memphis, a man named Martin Halford, decided to take precautions to ensure the safety of his fellow Memphians in case of any outbreaks of the New Plague, or even a nuclear attack against the U.S.A.. Once every paper was filled in, construction was started at several buildings and landmarks in the city. Four of these places were the skyscraper of the First Tennessee Bank Tower and the nearby Memphis Redbirds Stadion, the Wellington Healthloop Clinic, and the Memphis Light, Gas and Water Division building. It took a couple of years, but eventually, the tunnels were finished. Due to budget shortages, though, only enough room had been built for the upper-class citizenry, and those of little importance or without any significant talents would not be allowed entrance to the safety of the underground.
Somewhere in 2076, the tunnels were stocked with an abundance of food, water, and medicine, and the tunnels underneath the Memphis Light, Gas & Water Division building were stocked with weapons, ammunition and a number of small power generators and solar panels capable of producing enough electricity to make a power grid for an entire city block, in case of a city- or nationwide blackout that could occur after a disastrous event or attack.
When the messages of Chinese nuke launches came to Martin Halford, he immediately started the evacuation procedure. The citizens were orderly relocated to their designated tunnels, and when all were inside, the heavy tunnel doors were closed. Several nuclear bombs fell on Memphis and destroyed most of the city and its surrounding villages. The tunnels withstood the 1st salvo, but when a 2nd volley struck the city, about half of the underground structures collapsed, killing several hundreds of people inside. Most of the remaining persons were located underneath the baseball stadium and the Gas, Light & Water Division building to the south, where Memphis' old government, including the mayor, Martin Halford, was housed, along with a part of the local police force.
After a couple of months, the survivors in the high-class citizens tunnels, ran some tests to determine the level of radiation. It was low enough for a human to survive. They sent out some small scouting parties equipped with radiation suits and Rad-Away to explore the surface. When they decided that it was safe enough, they went outside.
The survivors scavenged the old Memphis Redbirds baseball stadium and the surrounding buildings. They also got in contact with the tunnels underneath the nearby First Tennessee Bank Tower. When those survivors came out as well, the number of survivors was almost 200. The survivors soon started to divide tasks, like farming, scavenging, guarding, etc., and they eventually grew into a real community. This led to the founding of the settlement Tenner, located inside the old baseball stadium. The settlement became somewhat isolated when large wooden barricades were built between the gaps and entrances in the walls, and when a couple of gun shops were looted, the guards had the weapons to fight off the ghoulified citizens of old Memphis.
Mutant Invasion of 2180
Tenner remained to be the largest trading hub in Memphis for over a hundred years. But in 2180, a large force of mutated humanoids and monsters from the northern swamps, an army of half a thousand that had started to form only a few years after the Great War, entered the city and layed waste to whatever they couldn't take with them. To make matters even worse, the gangs of Tenner used the temporary absence of authority - most of the guards were busy fighting the horde outside the walls - to strike at the heart of the settlement and take control of it. In the end, the guards of Tenner achieved a Pyrrhic victory against the foreign enemy, only to return and find that they had lost against another, domestic enemy.
The uneasy stalemate between Tenner and Ponto ended when the chief of Tenner's ruling gang organized an attack on their neighboring enemy. Thanks to the heroic efforts of Ponto's Felix Wintress, the gangs did not succeed in conquering the town, and they were eventually defeated in what is now known as the Lauderdale War. The football stadium that is Tenner, however, lay in ruins. Years without proper maintenance and the perpetual abuse of her occupants had taken its toll.
Ponto started out as nothing more than a small gathering place for travelers and roughnecks just south of Tenner. The old football station was frequently short of space, and newlings were mostly redirected to the camps at Ponto. After the attacks of 2180, chaos once again reigned in the streets, and former gang leaders tried to regain their old power. Luckily, a small group of vigilantes calling themselves the Ponto Protection Association, back then just some farmers who took up arms, were able to repel most of the attacks. When the PPA heard about Tenner having been taken over, they declared their interdependency and strengthened their walls. It was then that the shop of Ponto's Wintress family was ransacked and burned, killing the parents and leaving the son behind as an orphan.
Ten years after this regretful event, Ponto was being threatened by Boss Hogg and his band of misfits who ruled Tenner, and collisions between the two forces happened daily. This small urban war was causing casualties on both sides, but Ponto didn't have as much able men and resources as its opponent. The situation was grim. A young man, the Wintress boy who had survived for all these years, joined Ponto's militia in an effort to help save his former home.
The Swamp Wall
- "The Wall might not be much to look at, but never forget, soldiers, that it is the sole reason why this city ain't crawling with those damned mutant freaks. Defend it, and defend it well."
- ―Isaac Gibbons speaks with the Militia's recruits
Caravan companiesAlthough it's toilsome to compete with the Mississippi Traders Union at times, there is a fair amount of independent caravans who work for neither the Union or the Dividers.
Arguably the most famous of these caravans is the Remoir & Doyles Company, owned by a married couple with French roots and a lot of money, from down south. Remoir & Doyles is well-known for selling a large variety of Pre-War clothes and keepsakes, something that is favored by a shady group of hillbillies from Nashville.
Techno BazaarThe most northern part of civilized New Memphis, about half a mile to the north from Tenner, the Techno Bazaar is stretched out along the remains of Poplar Avenue. As its name suggests, the traders here primarily focus on selling electronic appliances, spare parts for a plethora of machines and books that contain knowledge about mechanics and repairing machinery. A lot of merchants also sell maintenance robots, like Mister Handy's and Loadlifters, and some even sell fully-functional military robots like Protectrons, Mister Gutsy's and Sentry Bots. The Gun Dividers have been trying to get a foothold in the Bazaar for years, but their lack of knowledge about robots and technology, and the fact that Gun Mill is on the opposite side of New Memphis has prevented them from successfully setting up shop.
New Memphis has two main currencies: Ring pulls and bottle caps. Most merchants also accept pay in barter, in the form of furs, clothes, guns, and ammo. For some reason, maybe their isolation from the rest of New Memphis, traders in Tenner, especially the old baseball stadium, use a currency based on ammo casings, something that makes it complicated for others to sell their wares in Tenner.
New Memphians, or at least the majority of them, are tough and hard-working people, and most of them scoff at those who are unwilling to contribute to the city through labor or in other ways. Inside the major settlements, people have been able to move beyond the savageness of hunting, trapping and scavenging from the old days, as they instead have the smaller communities do that for them.
Music and dance are common. The richer folk likes to organize and watch theater, often in the form of street plays, or go hunting in the suburbs or along the Mississippi when bored. A radio station called 'Lurker Lane 11.7 'Mudtown'', based in the Mud Island Peninsula and operated by a couple of enterprising MTU flicks, is known for broadcasting Rock n' Roll, Blues, Ska and Jazz, which can be heard on radios throughout the entire city and many miles beyond. For some reason, always in the month December, the soundtrack changes into jolly music in which the words 'kristmess' and 'raynedirs' can be heard, and some people celebrate this with song and dance.
New Memphis Council
When the 2 original settlements in Memphis; Tenner and Ponto, joined forces to form the city of New Memphis in 2219, the first mayor, Felix Wintress, chose 50 of the most capable men and women in the ruins and joined them together in the First Tennessee Bank Tower, where he created the New Memphis Council. All of them had shown signs of great intelligence, were known for a particular talent, or just had the luck to be in a high enough position. The Council handles most affairs in Memphis, from deciding what penalty they should give to a criminal (sending them to Midtown works most of the time) to voting on new laws. Although most of the individual Councilors occupy a position in the middle-class, their wealthier friends often support them in the form of money and guards. Over time, the Council has created a sort of 'private army', consisting of about a hundred guards in and around the city, which they are allowed to mobilize in times of war, to prevent a coup by the Militia or other faction, or in case the Swamp Wall falls and Memphis is overrun by the mutated beasts from the north and the Militia isn't capable of defending the entire city. The mayor is the leader of the Council, and thus also the head of the legislative body that watches over the city's economic structure.
The ammo press and machinery in Gun Mill are operated and maintained by the Gun Dividers, a family (although not everyone is related by blood) of technicians and merchants. The descendant of the Pre-War Mayor of Memphis, one senior Logan Halford serves as their leader and is their representative in the Council.
The doctors, scientists, and engineers in Little Rho rely on the other settlements for food and water, as they believe that their intellect should only be used to advance in the fields of science and medicine, and not to watch plants grow, a task that better befits the 'lesser' people of New Memphis. But because of this, they are also obligated to provide the settlements with goods and services, especially in the form of medicine and healthcare. Most of the scientists work independently, taking on contracts and challenges as they come, but they still have a governing entity that consists of a handful of the most gifted scientists you can find in Little Rho. Amistad Maçenda, a talented scientist and respected for founding the settlement many years ago, is the one who supervises the activity and scientifically affairs in Little Rho, and has a say in the affairs of the Council. Several engineers from Little Rho are perpetually tasked with the construction of rafts and boats for the Militia and the Mississippi Traders Union, and the maintenance of the power grid that runs through several settlements in the city. Several engineers from Little Rho are perpetually tasked with the construction of rafts and boats for the Militia and the Mississippi Traders Union, and the maintenance of the city's power generators and solar panels. These are among the most important tasks in New Memphis, and this gives the engineers much prestige.
The prisons of New Memphis are mostly unorganized and very, very dangerous in that there is little safety even for travelers that just need to pass the buildings to get out of the city. The prison's guards need to be tough to withstand the daily fights and insults of the inmates, and every day many are send to Ponto or Little Rho for medical treatment, ranging from simply stitching cuts to amputating entire limbs because of infections caused by things such as the with feces covered, rusty knives of attacking prisoners. The Memphis Jailers are a part of the Militia, and are tasked with keeping the prisoners in line and making sure that none of them get over the walls when another riot occurs, or when one of the inmates has the stupidity to run for it. The Jailers have the permission to shoot any and all hostile or suspect prisoners, with rubber bullets or live ammunition, and they make full use of it.
From west to east, starting at the Mississippi River and the Hernando de Soto Bridge that spans to the other side and ending at I-90 that serves as a borderline between downtown Memphis and the wasteland, a number of distinct regions and clusters of civilizations can be seen. Bombing along the Mississippi leveled and obliterated huge swaths of downtown Memphis, and many of its iconic structures and skyscrapers. Subsequent bombing further from the river annulled Victorian Village, Midtown, and Balmoral, turning these urbanized regions into craters.
The lifelines of New Memphis are I-69, which goes from south to north, and I-40, which goes in an east-west direction, although most of the organized communities are located south of I-40.
Covington: New Memphis gets little from Covington in the form of goods and materials, but their friendly relations with the ghouls has given them access to Trenmont University and the knowledge of its ancient caretakers. The Council would love to see Covington become a part of New Memphis, but the distance and the dangerous marshes in between them makes that very difficult.
Cull: The City receives building materials and scrap metal from the work camps at Culleoka. The deliveries are very irregular, though, and no one's ever sure when and if the next caravan will come.
Jackson: Jackson is regularly visited by caravans from Jackson; most of them make the trip once a month, bringing with them scrap metal and mechanical parts to sell, preferably at the Techno Bazaar. Some eccentric New Memphians like to make the trip there to buy various train- and railway-related things.
Mikado: A group of Jackson's Railroad Nomad branch has moved into the old Central Station in downtown Memphis to work on the Tennessee Midland Railway line and the Illinois Central line. They have good relations with the MTU, who sell them most of the materials and equipment they require.
Pinnacle Mutants from the Pinnacle occasionally visit to trade furs and small amounts of explosives to buy food and ammunition. The Militia would like to aid them in their predicament, but they simply don't know enough about the situation to take action or send any kind of representative to investigate.
The Rock: Memphis and the Rock are allies and trading partners, but the relations between the Council and Mr. Price has always been tenuous at best. Lately, the Council has been talking about annexation, and skirmishes between New Memphis' and the Rock's forces aren't a rarity. As the Militia grows and the Price Foundation arms itself, the townies are afraid that they will be dragged into another pointless war.
Klansmen Confederacy: The Confederacy knows of New Memphis, and New Memphis knows of the Confederacy, but no Klansmen has ever come to curry favor with the New Memphis Council. Good riddance.
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