The small town of Tupelo Ranch is a collection of homesteads and corrals in the ruins of Tupelo, Mississippi, a rest stop for ranchers and caravans like the Mississippi Traders Union, owned and maintained by a (nearly) all-female clan of technicians. It is known for its strong beer and pretty women, although both come with a hefty price.
Before the War, Tupelo was just large enough to be a county seat with around 40,000 people and another 100,000 living in the surrounding cities, but was fairly unimportant. Tourists frequented to see the famous birthplace of Elvis Presley, visit the annual Gum Tree Festival and the old cotton mills, or to simply spend the night before moving on towards Memphis to the north or Columbus and Meridian to the south.
Tupelo eventually got caught between the bombing that wrecked Columbus and Corinth, leaving it a 'safe spot' between the two, but was not completely untouched by the Great War. As the local power grid went down, thousands fled their homes and went in either direction, and, unaware of the global scale of the attack, ended up dead or stranded in some suburb of Tupelo.
It wasn't long before the first post-War communities started to appear throughout the crumbling homes of Tupelo, as groups of survivors were forced to cooperate with each other. These small bands of people had little to no contact with others, and because everyone was so busy looking after themselves, the first signs of an emerging disease were missed or ignored. For more than a century, it claimed only a handful of lives and was largely believed to be a form of radiation sickness. But suddenly, in only a matter of months, it became a pandemic. The few who were unaffected blamed the strangers who sometimes passed through, and they accused them of bringing the disease with them from the wasteland. The outsiders recognized the disease, which they called 'Dead Lung'. It was an infectious disease and only few who had it, survived. The living were shot, and the dead were burned.
When everyone was dead, Tupelo lay dormant for years. The elements kept on wrecking its buildings, and the living avoided it completely. When it seemed to have become yet another ghost town filled with corpses, a group of peculiar individuals entered the ruins; men and women clad in white hazmat suits with scientific equipment. For months they were busy testing the air, the water, and the soil, experimenting on the dead bodies in the city, and the wildlife in the area. On the rare occasion someone wandered into the outskirts of Tupelo, they were either captured alive or eliminated immediately, depending on some unknown factor. As soon as they'd found what they needed, the scientists wrapped up everything and removed every evidence of their visit before they set off towards the east.
Tupelo was rediscovered one last time in 2261, 50 years later, by a small caravan working for the Mississippi Traders Union on its way to New Memphis. The then yet unknown Lilly Steffenfield, who led the group, chose to settle down in Tupelo to make use of the fairly undamaged buildings and its convenient location between bustling Memphis and war-ridden Columbus. It didn't take long before the first bars and brothels were overrun by Clientèle and people bent on proving themselves in the Triangle.
Aside from the occasional caravan passing through or stopping in Tupelo Ranch, the town seems somewhat quiet. The female mechanics mostly stick to their safehouse in eastern Tupelo, the brothels only open their doors and windows when there is a potential customer insight to lure them in, and the local homesteaders and farmers stay to their homes to look after the crops. But once in a while, the ranchers see groups of mercenaries stroll into town, hardened men from the irradiated warzones of the Golden Triangle who come to stock up on food and water.
New Memphis: Most visitors from New Memphis are simple caravaneers who normally stay one day and move on, or Militia soldiers on leave who want to drink and have some fun without having to bother about breaking any rules. Recently, though, I-22 between New Memphis and Tupelo Ranch has become less attractive for travelers as the settlement in Holly Springs is having some trouble with local critters and mutants in Boardtown becoming agitated.
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