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> North Monroe County, A more rural location in Alabama
Thane36425
post Mar 8 2007, 05:20 PM
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This location is is, as stated, in South Alabama. It is a more rural location, sort of like some of the outlying regions of Seattle, only farther from the sprawl. If anyone has any questions or the like, post them and I'll get to it.

North Monroe County

Location: Southwestern Alabama approximately an hour and a half down the interstate and along state highways from Mobile on the coast and Montgomery, the state capital inland.

Overview:
Monroe County, particularly the northern end, is still largely rural in 2063. Monroeville, the largest city and county seat, has only about 35,000 people in the city proper and perhaps twice close by. This post will start here and then head north, following an historic trail into the county's past.
The land itself is varied. Being in the farthest foothills of the Appalachain Mountains, steeply sloped hills mix with flatlands and swamps, the change sometimes coming in less than 100 meters, though long stretches of flatland is common. Much of the hilly land if forested, as are the hollows in between. The flatlands are either forested or are home to farms and ranches (yes, real ranches with real cattle). Swamps are also common, as are somewhat drier land between ridges called bottomland.
That so much forest and "wild land" exists is due to three main causes:
First, much of the land is owned by large Agricorps with private landowners making up most of the slack. Both groups have an interest in keeping the sprawl away. Perhaps surprisingly, they also have an understanding allowing both to coexist peacefully.
Second: The spirits like it that way. An understanding of sorts seems to exist between the spirits and timber companies. As long as the timber companies take care of the land (including replanting after harvests and maintaining the health of the stands between harvests), the spirits allow the companies to do their thing. Those that don't abide by the rules find that they have problems during harvest or that timber quality isn't as good, thus coasting them money.
Third is the local Creek Tribe. The Creek made some noise after the Great Ghost Dance. However, they decided it would be more productive to work with the state rather than pick a fight. They've never been any trouble, but their presence does unnerve the cityfolk some.
If they don't mind the natives, the wildlife gets them, sometimes literaly. Many of the Urban back to nature types lose their idealism the first time they total a hitting a Greater Armadillo, and seeing the critter wander off as if nothing happened, or come face to face with a Deathrattler. At least one wealthy urbanite was scared back to his high security condo by the sight of a Wyvern snatching a horse out of a paddock behind the house he was examining. They don't bother the locals much though. Most houses have barred windows and security doors to keep them out and know enough not to bother the Novapossum slobbering its way into yet another trashcan. Be careful about shooting the critters. Many are protected and most have hunting seasons. Fish and Wildlife Wardens will probably cut you a break in clear cut cases of self defense, but don't press your luck.
Spirits are another matter. Stick the roads and built up areas and you shouldn't have any problems. Wandering off into the woods still shouldn't be much of a problem, the wildlife being more dangerous. Mind your manners though: vandalize the land and the land might return the favor. On the other hand, there are reports that spirits have aided and protected those using the trails and otherwise being respectful of nature. Given the nature of sprawl folks, most reports of of the negative variety.
Several times per year, special events are held. These include market days, sportsmen's events and the like. The whole of this end of the county participates to get a little of tourist and history buff action. Hunting seasons, rodeos and fishing tournaments also take place. One or two canned hunt facilities also exist, though most of the locals dislike them. They are maintained and secured by the Mobile based corps and the Agricorps to give the execs a place to experience the thrill of the "hunt" and get a garaunteed kill, even if a guide mage has to magick into standing still.
Most industry in the area is still agriculture related. The vast tracts of forest, mills both small and large, and processing plants are common. More traditional farms, orchards and ranches also exist in good number. A number of small co ops that specialize in growing organic foods to sell locally and via matrix sites can be found as well. A small number of talismongers comb the the few suitable areas for arcane materials.

Locations

Monroeville. The country seat and center of government. Located here is the courthouse, halls of records, etc. Nothing fancy or ornate, the aging buildings are easy missed as attention is draw to the Old Courthouse nearby. A highly rated hospital offer a wide range of services (but only very minor cybersurgery such as datajacks and maintainence of the simpler items), which is a good thing considering it is the only such facility for many a mile. Ground and air ambulances range far out into the county and into parts of neighboring counties. Industry is primarily agriculture related, though some garmet and light manufacturing also takes place. The largest employer is a plant that extracts sugars from wood pulp that is then sold to vat food companies that use it to grow Myco-protein and other products.

The Old Courthouse. This is the actual building of "To Kill a Mockingbird" fame. It is preserved and as a museum featuring local exhibits and is the headquarters of the county historical society. Every spring, a troupe performs a play version of the novel. The performances last for several weeks before the troupe goes on the road, often as far as Europe and Japan. Several haunts and at least one spirit call the courthouse home. They are more commonly seen during the performances, particularly the spirit. It appears as a well dressed man in 1920's fashions and is most commonly seen in the courtroom. It rarely allows people to get close or even observe it for very long. Those few who have actually spoken to it invariably did so without realizing they were speaking to the spirit.

Historic trail.

This road and the system of trails that follow it head north into the county following old trade routes. Today it still links several towns and leads north into neighboring counties. Newer roads exist the bypass the old road, carrying most traffic east and west across the state. Still, much traffic uses this road, much of it commerical. The trails are mostly abandonned rail roads that have been converted for hiking, biking and horseback riding. Remains of the Federal Roads built int he 1840's can also be found here and there. Most are overgrown but clearly visible and a few are passable. Reports of animals and paracritters are fairly common, but attacks are rare and most are cause by people annoying the animals

Peterman. An old railhead town. It has lond been on hard times and many of the original sotres and houses near the rail depot are in ruins. Some businesses do exist ranging from convenience stores and farm related operations to a few white collar outfits.

Pine Hills Community. Near Peterman, this development featuring large house on modest lots was meant to be a secure place in the country for Mobile execs. The attraction was to have a place of their own in the country, really a subdivision, that had ample security and was close to a city (Monroeville), even if it was a rustic backwater. Construction did not go smoothly and there were a number of odd incidents, but nothing that was cause for concern, according to the developer. In the summer of 2045, a few years after Pine Hills opened, it all fell apart. The place was full up with execs and their families escaping a hurricane bearing down on the Gulf Coast. It was a big one and reached Pine Hills with plenty of strength. The sheriff got a very strange call and headed out into the storm to investigate. On the way, he was nearly run off the road by cars fleeing from Pine Hills. Every last person fled into the teeth of the storm in en mass. Not a one every breathed a word about what happened, save maybe to their therapists and none of them would ever go back. A few people tried to move in after that, but none stayed more than a few days. Pine Hills now lies abandonned and is slowly rotting away.

Beatrice. Several miles up the road from Peterman, passed much forest, a few farms and houses and decaying structures, is this town. Another rail town, it has fared better than Peterman. With a dispersed populationg of around 2,000 it is home to privately owned convinience stores, service stations and some light industry. One of these is a sausage factory that makes venisons sausage, though they sometimes have special runs of paracritter sausage if enough meat presents itself. The rare Wyvern edition always rakes in the Nuyen. The town is also a center for the events listed above. The nearby state lake is a favorite of fishermen and recreational swimmers and boaters.
For all its history, Beatrice is a quiet place, supernaturally speaking. A few ghosts are known or suspected, depending on who you talk to. From time to time, spectral travellers have been seen around the town hall, which is built on the site and in the form of the old railroad depot. Even more rarely another apparition occurrs. Back in the early days of movies, when they used celluloid film, an enterprising fellow would show movies at night by the depot. They'd string up a sheet or something like that, put out some chairs and show the movie at night. Now and then it shows up again, complete with projectionist and an audience. It is a fleeting andfragile apparition that vanishes instantly in headlights or other sudden disturbances and only manifests for a few mintues. You can approach carefully on foot without it disappearing but that is not encourged: an out of town hunter stumbled on the show one night, took a seat to enjoy the movie and vanished along with the apparition, or so rumor has it.
(Beatrice has only one full time sheriff. He has a pot belly and is jokingly called Deputy Dog (from an ancient 2-D cartoon character) but he is well liked by the community. Appearances are also deceiving: he is a former Knight Errant officer and still has his cyberware and keeps it and his skills SOTA. Some of the locals will come to his aid if necessary and will form a posse if need be.)

Rikard's Mill. This water-powered grain mill was built in the 1840's, perhaps earlier and was once a vital part of the local economy. It is now a living museum and the centerpiece exhibit. The rest are in reconstructed cabins around a central commons. Open most of the time, it is during the special events and school tours that the mill is in operation. Water spirits are known to live in the pond behind the wooden dam and congregate in fascination around the water wheel when the mill is working. A ghost or possibly spirit has been reported in and around the mill, but like most spirits here about, it isn't social and avoids contact or observation.

The Great Oaks. Somewhere near Rikard's Mill is a grove of ancient oak trees. Prior to the Awakening, their location was kept secret by the locals and county officials. These days, the grove hides itself. it is known that several strong, free spirits live there but it is not known if they conceal the grove or if something else is going on. There is speculation that the trees could be sentient like the Joshua Trees in the Mohave Desert or that the grove is power site. Whatever the case, if the grove doesn't want you to find it, you won't. Even technological devices like GPS won't help as they too are affected. Still, sometimes groups of tourists will be allowed to find it, if escorted by someone the grove "knows and trusts", but they'll never find their way back to it on their own. Yes, some of the locals can find it easily and probably know some of its secrets, but they aren't talking. Some have even been granted arcane materials from the grove, but no telling what they had to do to get it. Talisleggers who have sought the grove either never find it or or never again found themselves.

Buena Vista. Once an important part of the local economy because of its store, the village is now a small resort. Founded in the 1840's, it reached a peak population of 80 families, but after 2000, it was empty. Soon after than it was slowly turned into the resort. Several of the orginal houses have been modernized inside and are rented out by the week, usually to mid-level corporate types looking for some time in the country. A small hotel also stands above the 4 acre pond and pavillion. Other attractions are the store/museum, two original barns, two churches and cemetaries, fishing, skeet shooting and plenty or trails for hiking. Mostly though people just come to relax. Things are more lively on special event days though and during hunting seasons. One of the houses has been converted into a simple hostel for people traveling on the bike trails.

Two spirits of note inhabit the village. The first lives in the spring across the road from one of the churches. It appears as a fey woman and is never more than a few meters from the spring. She has been reported as life sized but also as small as a doll. Like most spirits here about, she is shy, vanishing if approached or if she realizes she is being watched. However, some have reported her allowing them to get very close, even to taking a drink from the spring, or of her appearing near them while they were sitting by the spring. No verbal communication has been reported. BTW, the spring water is clear and extends far into the ground. The water is crisp and refreshing, but has no special properties. A small, tin ladel is always present there, hanging on a nail in a small wooden peg by the water's edge.

The other spirit appears as a man dressed in a 1900's business suit, complete with matching hat. Usually appearing near the store, but has been reported throughout the village, this spirit enjoys the company of people. It knows a great deal of the history of Buena Vista and will chat with visitors for as long as they are interested, and behave themselves. Rude people or those posing a threat risk being run off or worse. When very angry, the spirit manifests a double-barreled shotgun with external hammers. It isn't just for show: the shotgun is symbolic of the spirit's ability to attack at a distance. One street mage learned this hard way, after trying to banish the spirit. Since the mage and his friends were in the process of vandalizing one of the cemetaries, no action was taken by the authorities against the spirit.

Fire Watch Tower. Located atop a tall hill a few miles from Buena Vista. Built exactly like the original tower it replaced, the tower has a stairway leading up some 10 stories inside the cage created by the tower legs and supporting struts. At the top is a small cabin just large enough for two adult humans to fit in. While it could be manned, the observation work is carried out by remote these days. Located here are a number of cameras and other weather gear that watch for fires and record conditions.

Unlike the other towers in the area, this one has attracted a group of air spirits. Just why they are here isn't known. What is known, is that they delight in harassing those who try to climb the tower. To resist the wind and stay standing, the tower is designed to twist, often as much as 90 degree each way in strong winds. The spirits like kicking it around and giving the climbers fits. They aren't malicious and no injuried have been reported, it just seems the spirits like having their sport. This is probably why the gate in the security fence at the bottom never stays locked and that the tower is in a better shape than the others in spite of its more frequent acrobatics.

Hooks

A corporation wants to arrange for an exec to change firms. He will be staying in Buena Vista with his family for 5 days. The runners are to get in, take the exac and his family, and bring them to a location where they will be given over to copr operatives. Complications include the spirits and security from other execs in the area.

A team from a well known University's parabiology department went to the area to try to find the Oak Grove and has not been seen since. The Runners are hired to try to locate them. (Even if successful, it is recommended that the location of the Grove remain secret.)

A talislegger wants to work in this area and hires the runners for security. They have nothing by trouble from spirits, locals and perhaps even the law if they harm any of the local people.

Two of the agricorps are feuding. They hire the runners to sabotage logging equipment used by the other corp. The locals won't be happy about this but won't pay too much mind so long as the team sticks to corporate targets and does not hit private contractors.

As the corp feud grows, the runners are hired to sabotage the other corps mills. They don't want them destroyed as that would bring down too much heat, just monkied with enough to lose a few day's production. The locals will like this even less because those mills also process timber from private lands.

A corp exec in Mobile is worried about something he left behind in Pine Hills. It is data that could ruin his career even after all these years. Given his rise to power, he is now wants that data retrieved and destroyed. The runners are hired to get it. Complication could be rivals teams looking for the same data, to whatever force drove all the people out all those years before.
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Thane36425
post Mar 10 2007, 09:37 PM
Post #2


Moving Target
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Group: Members
Posts: 548
Joined: 21-December 06
Member No.: 10,416



This is what I have so far. If anyone has comments or questions, post them and I will answer them. Since I recall seeing a couple of people asking about rural type settings, I hope this helps.
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