The Convergence

A group of modern day convicts are revived in the year 2043 to find they've been used as test subjects by the XCOM Project, in a failed attempt to thwart an alien invasion. A tabletop RPG campaign inspired by the X-COM/XCOM computer games. Savage Worlds (Pinnacle Entertainment Group)

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The Convergence

Post by nemarsde » 05 May 2014, 12:18

In the new world order of 2043, "The Convergence" is Earth's de facto capital, a global city born from the ashes of war and volcanic super eruption. The seat of the aliens' power and headquarters of the UN's successor can be found in a highly secure, restricted area in the middle of a vast urban sprawl. Like the Hong Kong of the West, it's built in the one of the world's largest natural harbours, the Hampton Roads.

[The look and feel of the Convergence is inspired by the Mars colony, in the 2001 Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.]

Recent History

The aliens had established a base in the Hampton Roads years before the creation of the High Commission in 2025.

The area they'd secured around Newport News Point was commonly known as the Green Zone, or jokingly the Little Green Man Zone. The Treaty of 2025 officially named this area the Extraterritorial Controlled Area (ECA), governed by international law and where the High Commission's headquarters would be located.

Although Hampton Roads was a popular tourist destination, with the longest pleasure beach in the world, it didn't explain why the aliens had decided to set up camp there. At least to the uninformed.

More astute obversers would note that Hampton Roads is one of the most militarily secure locations on the planet, ringed by military bases, including the world largest's naval base and naval airbase in Norfolk, Langley Air Force Base, Fort Eustis Army Base, and the Joint Expeditionary Base of the Amphibious Forces (navy and marines). Also nearby are multiple bases for the reserves, the Coast Guard, and the National Guard; NASA's aeronautics research centre and NATO's Atlantic Command.

With the US Government firmly on the alien's side, there was simply no way the Green Zone could be attacked by conventional means.

After the Yellowstone eruption In 2017, the population of Hampton Roads had swelled with migrants from the Midwest, refugees from the West. The Roads were sheltered from the worst of the violent weather, had ample land for property development, and the best emergency infrastructure in the States. What's more, the aliens themselves had established a base there. In a time of change, you could feel safe in the Roads.

So it was already a booming metropolitan area, and the Treaty of 2025 accelerated the growth. People from around the world flocked to "The Convergence", as it was labelled by the media. Many were the families and support staff of the High Commission. International business moved in, with a rush of high-rise office construction in the surrounding towns and cities. The Coliseum Stock Exchange was built inside the ECA. The world's first cybertronic stock exchange, accessible to the general public, it quickly overtook New York as the world's largest stock exchange. The Roads had become the de facto capital of Earth and all that entailed. By the 2030s, the aliens were building out into Chesapeake Bay, the Hampton Roads population had more than quadrupled since 2012, and the medley of local governments in charge of it all were in chaos.

The aliens stepped in. In 2038 the US complied with an alien mandate, incorporating the densely-populated cityscape around the ECA into the Hampton Roads Metroplex. Although inarguably a global city, the unique metroplex designation was created to denote equal status to all districts it contained.

The districts themselves were formed largely along the previous county/city lines, with the Green Zone occupying much of old Newport News, Hampton and out across the water.

Present Day

After effects of the Yellowstone eruption on the Hampton Roads climate was darker, colder and drier weather, causing a severe die-off in the area's verdant wood and wetlands and encouraging urban sprawl. It lasted little over a decade before the weather stepped sharply back to its pre-eruption norms.

Nowdays the Metroplex has an idyllic climate. Hot and balmy during the summer, with highs over 30 °C during the summer, and dropping to freezing during the winter with regular snowfall.

Approaching by sea from the south, passing Roanoke Island, there are a veritable cornucopia of wildlife reserves, mostly lagoons and "pocosin", backed by deep woods. It's very scenic, largely uninhabited wilderness with only remote beach resorts and the nearest Interstate Highway being around 200 km inland.

The complete opposite is true of the approach from the north. One after another, the major cities of the Eastern Seaboard, from DC up to New York and Boston, with smaller cities crammed in between.

The sea lanes also converge at Hampton Roads, and the first thing a sea traveller will notice are other ships, growing rapidly more numerous and varied in size and function as they approach the Bay. On a clear day, they might also notice busy skies above, as jetliners roar in and out of the international airports at Williamsburg and Cabin Point. At dawn, an atmospheric anomaly can often be seen in the sky above the Green Zone. It's been compared to everything from a Damocles Sword to a Holy Cross and Sign from God, to phallic representation of alien hegemony. But it's actually a vertical mirage, essentially a Fata Morgana; according to the aliens caused by transdimensional communications and not a health risk. It was nicknamed the Lightning Rod, Rod or Roddy by the locals.

The headlands around Chesapeake Bay are nearly as built up as the prime real estate on the Virginia Penisula and southern shoreline. So from the sea, the first glimp of the city is as headland is rounded, and a breath-taking, innervating spectacle it is. Skyscrapers thronging dry land and rising directly from the water, criss-crossed with bridge, tunnel and causeway systems, some up to 40 km in length.

On the street, the Convergence has all the crowded walkways and traffic jams of any global city, though the TT (tram-train) has good coverage and at least the cars are all highly efficient hybrids. Crowds are diverse, multicultural, international, but reassuredly human. Aliens might be encountered in the Green Zone, but elsewhere in the Metroplex they're an extremely rare sight. Alien technology is far more common, but the lines between human and alien invention are more blurry every day.

The Metroplex PD wear crisp, navy uniforms and drive blue and white patrol cars, very similar to the NYPD. Like elsewhere in Virginia, SWAT teams wear olive drab gear, and are well equipped to handle any threat. The Green Zone is policed by the ISC (Internal Security Contingent), and their special investigators and Crack Teams will sometimes deploy outside the walls, when a situation is deemed to have global ramifications. Special investigators tend to wear dark suits, whilst the Crack Teams always wear black.

Crimes rates for the Convergence are in the same bracket as New York and Las Vegas, with major improvements made since the chaotic, post-eruption period. Although still dangerous in places, most people are amazed that the Authorities were able to cut crime at all, as it seemed totally out of control only a decade ago.

Today's city is vibrant, exciting and home to over 7 million people, packed into an area some 1300 km2.

  • Extraterritorial Controlled Area, aka "Green Zone" (Central)
  • Seaford (N District)
  • Poquoson (NE District)
  • Virginia Beach (E District)
  • Norfolk (SE District)
  • Nansemond (S District)
  • Smithfield (SW District)
  • Rushmere (W District)
  • Mulberry Island (NW District)

Posts: 332
Joined: 20 Jul 2007, 20:04
Location: UK


Post by nemarsde » 29 Jun 2014, 10:34

S District, Nansemond, is defined as the large rhomboid of land between the Nansemond River in the west, and the Elizabeth River in the east, with its southernmost extent bordering the uninhabitable Great Dismal Swamp.

These lowlands were once the recreational backcountry of the Hampton Roads, dotted with golf courses, ranches, fishing lakes and creeks, and duck hunts. Most of the wilderness in between had been cleared, creating a glut of greenfield real estate, and leading to the protection of what woodland and swamp habitat survived.

Because of the low land prices, the Convergence expanded more rapidly into Nansemond than anywhere else, becoming an over-populated, low rent district, rammed with immigrants from across the world. Earth's melting pot, famously once described as a "high energy collision of Lagos, Mumbai and Shanghai" by Mayor Perez. He meant it as a positive soundbite, but to many Americans it just sounded like another alien invasion, and the district has a reputation as a dangerous ghetto.

In truth, the tenements and tower blocks of Nansemond, often built on concrete pilings of varying depth, create a haphazard skyline on what was once flatlands. There is a rich, multicultural vibe to the place, the sights and smells, so many creeds and colours, the polyglot languages heard on every street corner, can be overwhelming. Many buildings in the district suffer from poor quality construction, even some of the pilings, and wild, unregulated contruction is rife. So Nansemond's building collapses, sink-holes and headline-grabbing blazes are frequently in the news, as is it's over-crowding and sometimes ridiculous living conditions.

Nansemond has the highest crime rate in the Metroplex, undisputedly, and there are many secrets hidden amongst the menagerie. It is the poorest district. Alien-derived narcotics are a problem. But even then, taking a global view, Nansemond is relatively safe, and far safer than several US cities. The heavy presence of police drones is partly responsible for this. These flying, anti-grav spheres are painted in the blue and white and equipped with lightbars and sirens and electrolasers. Semi-automated, these drones provide surveillance and first response, and can support Metroplex PD officers on the scene.

With such a diversity, organised crime in Nansemond is not a huge problem, and can be largely divided into outlawed religious cults and diablo gangs. Since it's not technically illegal to have a religious gathering, only to operate a revenue-generating religious organisation, the police barely monitor cult activity. Diablo gangs on the other hand are so-called because of their miriad, stand-alone organisation and propensity for evil. These are violent street gangs on a street-scale, not international like they were in early 21st Century. Although there's potential for a Great Satan to unite them, it seems unlikely given the diversity of the people.

Shequoiya Mall is a huge, labyrinthine shopping centre, covering over 400,000 m2, with around 700 lots, and possibly upwards of 1000 unlicenced stalls, with no chains or franchises. Located centrally, next to the Junction 11A of Interstate 664, it's the hub of the Nansemond District, and a mecca for budget shoppers, though the brands aren't genuine and "mecca" is a taboo word in 2043.

The Great Dismal Swamp, aka GDS, is a National Wildlife Refuge, lying along the southernmost border of Nansemond. Forested wetland, covering over 500 km2 with Lake Drummond at its centre, it's a rugged wilderness that can only be reliably navigated by foot and canoe. It's criss-crossed by gravel roads for use by conservation staff, but no public access is allowed. The influx of migrant workers to the Convergence led to "tent cities" appearing in the swamp, and problems with wildfires, littering and other polution, until it was locked down in 2038.

Just after the highway interchange, a short way along Portsmouth Boulevard is the turn off for a private estate, built in the war years by Indonesian chemicals tycoon, Machtrein Machram. The road crosses the maglev tracks, and runs alongside a freight yard and platform, before heading into the forest.

Once a massive auto salvage yard, Machram purchased the eye-sore and converted it into a high tech, bio-oil research facility in 2016. From above, it looks no less ugly, and is easily mistook for a sewage treatment plant. All noble and good, but about 2 km away, deep in the woods, surrounded by impenetrable cypress and black gum, Machram also built a mansion. Accessible from a gated private road, off Jericho Lane to the west, it was fashioned after the traditional Virginian mansion. White stone, blue slate, simple, elegant shapes with gables and Ionic colums.

Around 2325 m2 of living space, with 2 master bedrooms, 8 in total, indoor swimming pool, spa and gym, squash court, 3D theatre, and even an 8 car garage. All powered by waste heat from the bio-oil research facility, and solar panels on the copious roof. This was supposedly Machram's home, but as plans for another, near identical mansion surfaced, he was accused of mortage fraud, of not occupying these homes, but building them as investments. He was found guilty and sentenced in absentia in 2017, since he wasn't foolish enough to return to the US.

After Yellowstone, the mansion and research facility were bought by Energen, also heavy investors in renewable energy, and remained abandoned until very recently. Energen announced that climate conditions had proven favourable to the restarting of the operation. The research facility's automated systems would be upgraded and the mansion would be renovated, possibly opened as a showhome and sold on.

Posts: 332
Joined: 20 Jul 2007, 20:04
Location: UK

The Rest of North America

Post by nemarsde » 29 Jun 2014, 10:34

The Yellowstone super eruption ended the war and rendered two-thirds of the continguous United States uninhabitable for a decade. Over 87,000 people were killed instantly, and millions more died in the immediate aftermath.

From the border with Canada in the north, to the Mexican border in the south, from the West Coast and as far east as Chicago, America was buried under volcanic ash, with barely a roof left intact.

In California, the 8th largest economy in the world, even the walls weren't left standing as the volcano triggered a 9.6 mega-quake.

Millions of Hispanic Americans fled back across the border into Mexico, and American refugees swelled the towns and cities of the Eastern Seaboard and Southern States.

To the north, Western Canada was entirely devastated, the cities of Vancouver and Calgary lost under volcanic ash.

North America was one humanitarian crisis, but its nations proved surprisingly resilient, and the Elders themselves chose the Hampton Roads as their capital.

Canada, Mexico, and especially the USA were forced to spend overseas by the crisis. They were greatly dependent on foreign markets for their food supplies, at a time when the rest of the world was suffering poor yields due to the darker, colder weather.

Soaring cost of food and dwindling availability caused a major reassessment of priorities for most of North America, but the hard times didn't last. EXALT technology created genetically-engineered crops that would feed the world until 2027 when the weather started rapidly returning to its pre-eruption norms, puctuated by freak, stormy weather.

As the rains fell, in those areas covered with volcanic ash, a startling transformation took place as the incredibly fertile land sprung to life.

Nowadays, the Hampton Roads Metroplex, aka the Convergence, has become Earth's capital city and home to over 7 million people.

Much of North America is verdant, untamed wilderness once more, with re-occupation strategies being pursued by the US Government. A lot of pioneering, enterprising and civic engineering, that sits well with a more multicultural people who have rediscovered the American Dream.

In Mexico, the Drug War also ended in 2017. Neither national government or most people had time and money for recreational drugs. Worldwide, drugs crops failed like any other, and food crops were suddenly bigger business than narcotics anyway.

With much of the wealth and population California pouring in Mexico, a New California has developed around Bahía de Banderas, and Puerto Vallarta (PVR) is a gleaming centre of high-tech industry, equal to pre-war Silicon Valley. Mexico has become a stable First World Nation.

Canada suffered worse than the US and Mexico. Western Canada was the country most densely populated region and had the fairest climate. Yellowstone caused massive casualties and a mass migration east into Quebec. This led to tensions boiling over amongst the Francophone separatists. The perpetual 10 year winter in Canada meant far harsher conditions than in more southerly climes. There were frequent outbreaks of civil unrest in Quebec, and Canadians started leaving their shores for elsewhere in the British Commonwealth or French Territories. Canada has barely started to recover, being depopulated and struggling economically, yet many settlements in the Far North have endured the past few decades with relatively minor disruption.

Vast areas of North America are still deserted, with many small, rural towns seemingly thrown back to the 1950s. Although no longer struggling for power or food, those who hail from these towns, who survived the war's aftermath, have instilled a frugalness in their offspring that won't be forgotten for generations. The further west one travels, the more remote the settlements and harder the toil. It isn't the Wild West, there's no boom time, just slow recovery. Many big cities are still ruins, yet to be reclaimed from the volcanic ash and overgrown by the wilderness. They are being rebuilt, but resources are limited, relying on foreign investment of capital and manpower. The new face of North America will likely be inherited from the Convergence. Very chaotic and colourful, very international, and ultimately very alien to someone from pre-war times.

The XCOM Project's base, known as the Antfarm, was located in the Sand Hills, Nebraska.