|Detroit House of Correction|
Before the Great War, the Detroit House of Correction was a prison facility with a dark reputation of violence, brutality and corruption. After being half-destroyed and sitting abandoned for years, it was occupied by the Metal Bitches raider gang, who transformed it into an arena to sate their own twisted pleasures.
Before the Great War (1861-2077)
The prison reached the heights of its infamy under the control of warden Roscoe Muckwaller in the decade before the Great War. Deeply corrupt, Muckwaller used the prison as his own personal kingdom, ruling it through a culture of fear, intimidation and brutality. Under his control, the guards were encouraged to treat the prisoners entirely how they saw fit, with violent beatings and abuses commonplace. Particularly problematic prisoners either had ‘accidents’, or were sold by Muckwaller to the US Government, the military or various companies for experimentation. Those members of his staff that spoke out were silenced, usually through accidents similar to those that befell problem prisoners.
After Muckwaller was bought down (through a scandal that had nothing to do with the way he ran the prison) the situation did not change. The institutions and processes that he had put in place were too heavily integrated to easily correct, while those who had risen to power under his reign, both among staff and inmates, were determined to keep their places at the top of the food chain. Acting Warden Evan Cain would continue the same regime of brutality and corruption, although his hand was somewhat lighter when it came to dealing with problematic members of his own staff, preferring payoffs and intimidation over out and out murder.
Under Cain, the already overcrowded prison became somewhat run-down as the maintenance program was allowed to deteriorate. Funds that had been allocated for building repairs and the like were reallocated to pet projects or simply went into the pockets of Cain and his cronies. In the last days before the Great War, parts of the prison had become positively squalid in their conditions, being filthy, unkempt, serviced by facilities that were only partially functional (if at all) and ever-increasingly overcrowded. Cain felt that whoever took over the prison after him could deal with these issues while he made his life as comfortable as possible. His plan would eventuate, but not in a way that he could have possibly expected.
The Great War and the Great Dying (2077-2137)
The morning of October 23rd, 2077 started as normal for the staff and inmates of the Detroit House of Correction, but would swiftly change forever. When Cain received warming of the Chinese nuclear attack, he realized that the world as he knew it was about to end. All of a sudden, the barriers between him and the prisoners that he had abused and mistreated for so long seemed very flimsy and insubstantial, and for the first time since taking the job he feared for his life. Not wanting to face the wrath of an overcrowded prison full of desperate, angry men with nothing to lose, he chose to take action.
Acting Warden Cain ordered an emergency lockdown of the facility, securing all prisoners in their cells and then sealing their habitation wings shut. Once the prison was secure, he had his men evacuate, telling them to flee the prison and get as far away from it as possible, knowing that from there on out that it would be every man for themselves. He left the prison ahead of the rest of the staff, effectively abandoning them, while instead doing his best to find some form of shelter ahead of the certain atomic annihilation of the city.
While Detroit was spared immediate destruction, those in the prison who had south-facing windows realised what was going on as Windsor was vaporised in a single nuclear strike. As the mushroom cloud rose over the city, word spread like wildfire inside the prison as to what had happened, sending the cooped-up prisoners into a frenzy. Brute force and sheer strength of numbers saw many escape their overcrowded cells, only to find that there were no staff present at all and nobody to hold them back from doing whatever they wished.
Almost immediately the prison’s population broke down and factionalised as different groups vied for power. Many wanted to just leave the prison and take their chances outside. Others saw it as a safe haven against whatever was happening in the rest of the world, reasoning that the same walls that were designed to keep them in would also keep everyone else out. Many others took the opportunity to exact vengeance on their fellows for past slights, or to renew old gang conflicts that had been kept suppressed while they were locked up.
The prison very quickly degenerated into an orgy of violence and mayhem as order collapsed and the prisoners turned on each other. While many tried to form alliances, the majority were simply looking out for themselves in what became a kill or be killed environment. Battles for food, water, medicines, weapons left behind by the staff and smuggled goods such as chems became key to control of the prison as the most powerful groups sought whatever advantages they could find. Portions of the prison burned through deliberately lit blazes designed to flush out rivals or kill them.
A week after the Great War, order had been achieved after a fashion. Tyrone “Brutus” Jackson, a former gang enforcer serving life for multiple murders, took control of the prison, unifying its disparate gangs through a combination of brute force, violence and intimidation. His plan was to consolidate their remaining resources and hold up in the prison, staying secure while the world burned around them. Only when they were ready would they emerge and carve out their own empire in the new world that emerged. Detroit, he announced, was theirs for the taking.
His plans would face their first obstacles almost immediately. The chaos that had consumed the prison had destroyed much of the resources that they would need in order to survive, let alone build an empire. While reduced, the population were still short on food and weapons. The prison had never had deep supplies, the results of Cain’s cutbacks and a deliberate effort to keep the populace in line. Most of the weapons had been taken by the staff during their evacuation, and much of what remained had been expended during the riot.
To overcome this problem, Brutus put those surviving prisoners who had any technical skills to work building them an arsenal of makeshift weapons. So-called ‘pipe’ guns had been commonplace in gang warfare in Detroit before the war, and the ruined portions of the prison gave his people no shortage of raw materials to work with. Besides various guns, they also went to work on other makeshift weapons, such as clubs and knives, as well as scratch-built body armour.
The second issue was somewhat solved through a rather brutal solution. Brutus pointed out that the fighting within the prison had left them with a lot of ‘raw meat’ in the form of the dead prisoners. He ordered those bodies that could be recovered to be carved up and used as food for those remaining. While even among the hardened criminals that remained there were those who found this act repulsive, few dared to argue out of a combination of desperation and fear. Of course, this would prove to be only a short-term solution as the supply of usable dead bodies was limited.
However, it was an entirely external factor that would bring down Brutus’ plans. A harsh nuclear winter set in, quickly burying the entire city, prison included, in a thick layer of radioactive snow. Simply venturing outside became a hazard, with many of the former inmates dying during storms form radiation or exposure. Others began to mutate, degenerating into savage, mindless beasts that turned on their one-time fellows. Instead of venturing forth to conquer, Brutus’ army found itself under siege by the elements and a growing army of ghouls.
By the middle of December, the situation had grown grim. Food had completely run out, and attrition was grinding the remaining population into the dust. Many had tried to escape the prison, only to either be killed by the ghouls, succumb to the horrors of the environment and disease, or be shot as deserters by Brutus’ remaining loyalists. Brutus and his men were forced to yield control of the prison block by block as their numbers deteriorated and more of those remaining turned to Ghouls. Ironically, the prison walls served to keep the Ghouls inside, forcing them to turn on the remaining humans rather than seek prey elsewhere.
Brutus was killed in the early hours of December 21st, torn apart by a pack of crazed Ferals. The remaining inmates made a break for it, with a handful leaving the prison to flee into the ruins of the city.
Like much of the Detroit Wasteland, the prison would remain silent for the next forty years, empty and forgotten about by those who had fled the city. Most of the Ghouls would eventually wander elsewhere, their remaining minds realising that there was nothing left for them in the ruin. Save for the occasional scavenger or traveller seeking shelter, it would remain empty, occupied only by the bones of the last inmates. The structure deteriorated over time through neglect and exposure, with much of the interior coming to resemble a twisted labyrinth of concrete and metal.
The Silent Years (2137-2273)
While people slowly returned to the Detroit Wasteland in the 2130s, the House of Correction remained largely empty. The growing settlements of Grand Central, Chryslus Castle and Park Lane emerged in the city’s west and centre, putting the prison a long way from the re-emergence of human civilisation. Its physical isolation, originally an asset in its role as a prison, now became a deterrent to anyone accessing it. Instead, those who emigrated to the Detroit Wasteland chose to move closer to the centre of the city, taking up residence in other structures that had more to offer.
That was not to say that the House of Correction remained untouched by any means. Aside from wild animals, humans would still find uses for it. Initially, many of those were transitory; be they explorers who were looking to discover more about the ruins of the past, or scavengers who were seeking to take anything that was of any value. Its first long-term inhabitants would not come until 2149, however, when a gang of raiders took up residence in the abandoned facility, seeking shelter and a fortified base of operations to work from.
After driving off or killing both scavengers and a pack of wild mongrels, the raider gang did their best to make the facility habitable. They made makeshift repairs to the structure in many places, shoring up walls, patching holes and the like. In addition, they established their own fortifications in order to better protect it against attack and to serve their purposes; after all, they did not need to protect against people getting out, but instead against those who wanted to get in. The raiders would also finish what Brutus started, setting up their own workshops to allow them to build their own weapons.
This gang, now calling themselves the Rock Krushers, would use the prison as their base of operations for the next six years, striking out against trade caravans and the poor communities of the Detroit Wasteland’s eastern side. In mid-2155, the gang suffered substantial losses in a failed attack, including their leader, leaving them substantially weakened. Not too long afterwards, the prison was attacked by a group of mercenaries specifically hired to finish them off. What was left of the Rock Krushers fled the prison, leaving it abandoned again.
This process would repeat itself several times over the next century. Different groups, usually raiders, would make themselves at home in the prison, setting up shop there. Inevitably, they would suffer some great loss or degenerate into in-fighting as Raiders often do, which would gut their numbers and leave what was left substantially weakened. The survivors would abandon the facility, leaving it open for the next group that came along. During those periods when it was not occupied, the prison would often become home to wild animals, such as dogs or feral ghouls, or even migratory Yao Gai.
The facility experienced a brief renaissance in the mid 2180s, when it was occupied by the Butcher, one of the so-called Warlords of Detroit. As she was marshalling her forces for her planned campaign of conquest against Chryslus Castle, she used the prison as her headquarters, as well as a barracks for her facility and storehouse for supplies. Following her death, it was looted of anything of value by her ex-lieutenant, Hacksaw, and then simply abandoned again.
Under a twisted cross (2273-2281)
This cycle would change somewhat in 2273 with the rise of the Twisted Cross raider gang. Lead by Edward Guse, a former officer in the Army of Revolution, the Twisted Cross were driven by a combination of fanatical ideology and a stronger tactical and strategic acuity than the average raider gang. A believer in the Army’s goals of ‘purifying’ the Detroit Wasteland of Ghouls and Super Mutants, Guse took their beliefs a step further. A radical white supremacist, he wished to establish a caste system ruled only by ‘pure’ white American men. Of course, two centuries after the great war such a concept was ludicrous, but Guse was not one to let logic get in the way of his ideals.
The Twisted Cross had managed to build up their strength through a series of alliances, most notably with the Gentlemen slaver gang. The majority of the captives that the Twisted Cross took would be sold to the Gentlemen, which in turn gave the Twisted Cross the caps they needed to support their operations. Guse had something of a love-hate relationship with his partners; while he respected the Gentlemen’s desire to maintain some degree of old-world order and their only letting men be a part of the gang, inwardly he saw them as being decadent and weak. However, Guse was careful not to let his true feelings be known.
Seeking a fortress to protect him from his enemies, Guse and his gang occupied the House of Correction complex, killing or driving out the ferals that had taken shelter inside. By this point the building was in poor condition, with the interiors of the prison wings half-collapsed into a tangled mass of concrete and metal. However, there were more than enough functioning cells for his purposes. However, there were still plenty of areas that were largely intact; the warden’s office and other staff facilities, the infirmary, dining hall and so on. Most importantly, the exterior walls were still standing.
The Twisted Cross took what was left and used it to their advantage. The walls were shored up, with guards posted in the remaining towers to ward against attackers. The functional parts of the prison were used as the quarters for the Twisted Cross themselves, including workshops that they used for producing weapons and armour. Guse turned the warden’s office into his own throne room, decorating it with his collection of memorabilia that included relics of the 19th Century Confederated States (a nation that he admired to the point of taking it as inspiration for his own creed). Finally, their slaves were housed in the ruined prison complexes, shoved in wherever they could find space. Overcrowded, cold, filthy and leaky, conditions in the slave quarters were abominable.
For the next eight years, the House of Correction would be the home to the Twisted Cross as they grew in power and influence. Unlike the raiders who had held it in past, however, they did not have much to fear from retaliation from their enemies, who were usually too weak and scattered. With the balance of power in the Detroit Wasteland having shifted more towards the west-central region, the Twisted Cross faced few real threats to their rule. Their position was also underscored by their alliance with the Gentlemen, who in essence ensured that there would always be somebody watching their back. At the same time, it also meant that the two would not be competing with each other.
This alliance of power and resource sharing would eventually breed complacency in its members. Much like how the Gentlemen failed to realise how far their power was dwindling, the Twisted Cross became complacent and lazy in their actions. Once a ferocious, aggressive force, they instead degenerated into slow, reactionary actions, fighting back while doing little to actively stop the threats that were rising against them. Rather, their leadership had become focused on their own comforts. In many ways, their situation mirrored that of the Hellfire Gang, especially in the lack of awareness of what was to come.
2281 saw a rising threat against the gang as they were faced with an insurgency that deliberately targeted their operations. Their men were being taken out in well-staged ambushes that seemed to be directed with a degree of precision that suggested insider information. As losses mounted, Guse began to desperately search around for a solution, not realising that the truth was right under his nose. Bob Bragg, one of his lieutenants, had been seduced by Blaze Reign, another raider. She had convinced him to sell out the Twisted Cross in exchange for the promise of control over a new gang that they would form from the ashes of the Cross. Bragg did enough to deflect attention away from himself that Guse had no idea what was going on.
On the night of the 23rd of May, 2281, Blaze and a small group loyal to her infiltrated the prison, using information Bragg had provided them. Once inside, they moved to eliminate the guards before breaking into the slave quarters. Freeing the slaves and arming them with the weapons they had taken, Blaze and her loyalists started an open revolt against the Twisted Cross. With Bragg’s help, they moved quickly, eliminating the remaining loyalists and gutting the gang. Guse was wounded and taken prisoner, bought before Blaze who revealed to him that it had been Bragg who had made all this happen. She then promptly shot Bragg in the head and then desecrated Guse’s collection of memorabilia before torching it in front of him. Guse himself was hanged from the from the front of the prison gate. His body would remain there, slowly decaying, for the next month.
The Twisted Cross had been destroyed, with control of the prison now in the hands of the newly-formed Metal Bitches.
While Reign had cleared the prison of the Twisted Cross, she had no intent of abandoning what could be a useful asset to her and her gang. Rather, she took the prison as her own, making it the lair of her newly formed gang. The same intelligence that had allowed them to infiltrate the prison was now used to reinforce it, fixing those flaws and holes in its defences that had resulted in the Twisted Cross’ downfall. Most of the facilities were simply repurposed, with the Metal Bitches taking over the former living quarters and workshops for their own.
The slave quarters presented another issue. While the Metal Bitches were raiders, they also were not slavers by any means; in fact, arming the slaves had been key to their victory. Blaze gave the surviving freed slaves options as to their futures. All of them were free to go if they wished, but the women would have the option of joining the gang themsleves. Many of them took up the offer, eager to experience the same power that they had previously been victims of and perhaps extract a measure of vengeance for themselves.
That wing of the prison was left empty at first as the Metal Bitches concentrated on building their numbers and strength. There was some talk of clearing it for use as storage or even quarters if the gang’s numbers grew, but the tangled mess of concrete and scrap provided too much of an obstacle to make those plans practical. Their short-lived war with the Gentlemen provided them with a use for it after a fashion, as they simply used the wing to house the prisoners they took from the gang during the fighting. This caused a rift within the Metal Bitches as some wanted to simply kill their prisoners, while others wanted to use them as labour (and other things) as the Gentlemen had used their slaves.
A third group, lead by Sheena Crew, Blaze’s second in command, had their own ideas. They wanted to use the Gentlemen for entertainment, to humiliate them in the same way they had humiliated those they traded in. More of the gang swung their support behind her, leading to Reign agreeing to her plan. In short order, a makeshift arena was set up in the derelict wing of the prison, complete with spectator seating above it. The prisoners were led into the arena in pairs, and told that they could fight each other to the death and that the winner would get the opportunity to serve the gang. Those that refused to fight were simply shot on the spot.
The result was a bloody spectacle as the prisoners slaughtered one another for the Metal Bitches’ amusement. Between the fights, those that refused and those that succumbed to their injuries, only a handful survived to be kept in slave-like conditions by the Metal Bitches. Even then, they were treated better than the Twisted Cross had treated their own slaves.
This event would serve as inspiration to Blaze and the rest of the gang, and would become their signature in the years to come. Putting her gang to work (including their captives), she had the makeshift arena expanded upon and converted into something larger, more elaborate and more permanent in nature. Rather than simple one-on-one fights, the new arena could house groups of captives who would be forced to fight each other to the death; alternatively, it could be used for last man standing events. Later additions included cages to house wild animals captured from the wastelands.
The original layout of the Detroit House of Corrections was simple and unexceptional. The prison consisted of several separate buildings, each one containing a single prison wing. These buildings were connected by enclosed passageways that were designed to limit the number of people who could move between each building at one time. Front and centre of the prison was the administrative ward, which included the staff facilities, armoury, sickbay and so on. Finally, the prison was surrounded by high walls, with watchtowers on each corner.
Years of wear and neglect took their toll on the buildings, which were already in poor condition before the Great War. While none have collapsed all together, some of them have partially caved in over the years and been left only partially usable. The interiors of the buildings are often in worse shape then the outside, with partially collapsed floors, caved in ceilings, crumbling walls and so forth. Some of the buildings still have power, but that is often sporadic and isolated.
The central administrative ward is in the best shape of the buildings, having been looked after by its various occupants over the years. Like the Twisted Cross before them, the Metal Bitches use it as their quarters, and have repurposed its facilities to their own ends. The warden’s office is the home of their leader, while other offices are used as sleeping quarters for the gang’s members. Having purged any remnants of the Twisted Cross, the Metal Bitches have redecorated to their own tastes, with their graffiti and banners adorning the building.
The Metal Bitches arena occupies an entire prison wing. The gang built on the existing cell walls to turn it into a convoluted maze that ended in holding cells for people and creatures. In order to ‘spice up’ events, the Metal Bitches have added various traps to their arena to wound or even kill unwary combatants. The upper storey of the wing has been modified to include seating for the gang so that they can watch their spectacles, protected by mesh fences from the arena and its occupants. More recently, several automated turrets have been added to the arena in order to ensure that those inside don’t get too ‘unruly.'
Presently, the prison is home to the Metal Bitches and their staff of male ‘servants’. The raiders themselves, along with a select few servants, live in the central administrative block, taking advantage of the better facilities and accommodation there to maintain as comfortable a standard of living as possible under the circumstances. Those servants who are allowed to live in this block are either housed in separate quarters or, in a rare few cases, live with their mistresses.
|This has been written by GrimWing77. Please contact this user before editing this article.|