|Notable Individuals:||*Mayor Jackson Stone
|Factions:||Grand Central Police Department|
|Notable events:||Founding, Raider War, Revolutionary War|
|Current status:||Active Community|
- "An island of civilisation in a sea of madness"
- ―Mayor Stilton Jarlsberg
Grand Central (Or 'The City of Grand Central' to give its full title) is the largest single settlement in the Detroit Wasteland. The city is based around the pre-war Michigan Grand Central station, which survived the Great War and its subsequent aftermath relatively intact.
Following several years of harsh winters in the greater Michigan Wastelands in the 2130s, people began to migrate back towards the largely abandoned ruins of Detroit seeking shelter. Those that did often sought out the largest, still-standing buildings as places to build new homes and new lives, or at the very least, to offer them some protection from the ravages of exposure, starvation, disease and the various dangers of the wastelands. One such structure settled in this way was Michigan Grand Central Station, which had survived the war and the subsequent collapse of civilisation with relatively little damage.
The first settlers arrived in the station in 2138, finding it suitable for their needs. Despite its size, the structure was mostly clean from infestation. There was a surprising lack of Ghouls, with only a few stray ferals found living in the station's upper floors. After clearing them (and the inevitable Radroaches) the settlers chose to stay in the building and see what they could make of it.
Initial inspections confirmed that the structure was still sound and had was not running the risk of failure or collapse. While time and neglect had taken its toll on the building, the problems were far from insurmountable and could easily be either repaired or worked around. Most importantly, those settlers found that the reactor installed in the station's basement during its 2060s renovation was still functional. Restarting it provided them with an abundance of power, enough to get lighting working throughout much of the building itself.
Stories of the station began to spread, with more settlers flocking to it, seeking refuge from the hazards of the wastelands. Very quickly, the station came to resemble an overcrowded shanty town, which lead to shortages and violence. In order to counteract this and prevent their new home from descending into chaos, senior members of the groups within the settlement met and worked out a provisional government, naming themselves the City of Grand Central. In addition, a law enforcement and security decision was formed to protect the fledgling city from outside attacks and internal problems. At first the Grand Central Police Department was a very ad-hoc formation, but it quickly began to develop a more professional air.
The city slowly grew and by the mid-2150s had begun to reach its current form. Initially just focused on the Grand Central building itself, the community grew outwards out of necessity over time. Several collapsed buildings nearby were converted into reservoirs, thanks to the efforts of several skilled engineers who were able to set up water purification facilities. Likewise, some rudimentary crops were established in the open space around the building itself.
This growth attracted the attention of several nearby communities, with Grand Central establishing trade routes with other settlements that had grown up across the Detroit Wasteland. Trading for food became essential, as the meagre croplands established by the city probed to be unable to sustain its population. A famine in 2156 following a particularly bad winter proved the point, with the city resorting to rationing to survive.
Unfortunately, it also garnered attention of a less favourable sort, with raiders seeing the city as being a target ripe for the picking. Following several such attacks, the GCPD began to fortify the city, building defensive walls and setting up turrets around the exterior in order to protect its citizenry.
Not every project was a success, however. The Railyards began as an ambitious project to expand the city's living space, but instead became its biggest failure. Foreseeing a need to give the city more room to grow, in 2190, then-Mayor Stilton Jarlsberg authorised a program to clear and settle the rail yards beyond the building proper. This lead to a lengthy and often bloody battle to clean out the feral ghouls that were nesting there, with the GCPD suffering not insignificant casualties before the area was deemed 'safe.'
Unfortunately, despite the so-called success, the city had a hard time convincing members of its populace to leave the safety of the actual structure and re-settle in the far less protected and more exposed railyards. Added to this, the yards themselves proved to be much harder to defend, with Feral Ghoul and Raider attacks becoming a problem. By 2195, the city had all-but abandoned the district, with much of the Rail Yards walled off and abandoned. What was left quickly devolved into a slum, filled with the city's poorest people.
The City's next biggest challenge came from an external threat. In 2235, an army of Raiders, under the command of the self-declared Warlord Killmeister launched a campaign to size the city and make it their new capitol and base of operations. After first cutting off supply routes, the raider army moved on Grand Central itself, laying siege to the city. After two weeks they elected to attack, expecting to find a weak and demoralised opposition on the brink of collapse and willing to surrender in exchange for food.
Instead they faced unexpectedly harsh opposition from the get-go, with their forces facing not only the GCPD on the city's walls, but also the very determined populace within. Many of the citizens had volunteered to aid the city in its time of crisis, massively bolstering the defenders' strength. The raider attack failed, with their army crumbling. Warlord Killmeister himself was captured, given a show trial and subsequently executed with much fanfare.
While the city had suffered some damage, most notably to its outer reaches and defences, the rebuilding process was relatively straightforward. This proved to be needed as the city faced another threat. The death of Warlord Killmeister and the fall of his army had created a power vacuum, one that was exploited by the Super Mutants of Zug Island. Becoming more aggressive, the mutants began to attack the city’s perimeter, including its patrols and trade caravans. On a few occasions, they even were so bold as to attack the city itself. As their numbers swelled in the 2240s, the pace and intensity of the mutant attacks increased, forcing the GCPD to step up their own operations and even hire mercenaries to reduce the mutant threat. Eventually the Super mutants were driven back, but would never be fully contained. That Grand Central was the closest settlement to Zug Island ensured that they would never be fully safe from attack.
Despite these problems, life in the city itself remained relatively stable and secure, especially for those living inside the station tower itself. While the city’s population and economy continued to grow, their external relationships remained somewhat cool and tended towards isolationism. Grand Central had never had the best of relations with the relatively nearby Park Lane, seeing the community as being a hub of scum and villainy due to it’s support for the mercenary trade (That Grand Central had hired some of those mercenaries in past was apparently beside the point). When the Army of Revolution began to attack settlements in the 2260s, Grand Central opted not to get involved; their geographic location meant that they were largely beyond the Revolutionaries’ reach, and as such, the attacks were seen as being somebody else’s problem.
This attitude would continue to prevail until the Revolutionary War. While news of the large-scale invasion of the Detroit Wasteland, including the fall of two of its settlements to the attackers did reach the ears of its people, there was a by and large air of indifference to the whole matter. The frontline of the conflict was nowhere near the city, and there was a feeling that Grand Central’s walls and defences would make it safe from any attack. While Mayor Jackson Stone wanted to stop the attackers before they got near the city, he faced a civic council that was largely indifferent to the problem and an electorate that was opposed to using the GCPD to fight other people’s battles.
It was not until the frontlines of the war reached downtown that people began to take notice. With Park Lane in the line of fire, all of a sudden the situation became a lot more urgent. While few in the city had any love for the rival settlement, there was an acknowledgement that if Park Lane fell, Grand Central would be next. This swing of opinion gave Mayor Stone the leverage he needed to take a more active approach to the problem, contributing not only to the hiring of the Black Skull Company to help turn back the invasion, but also sending GCPD officers to assist in the fighting.
At the end of the war, Grand Central had remained largely untouched by the conflict, but now faced the renewed threat of the Zug Island Super Mutants. Internally, many of its citizens congratulated themselves on their contribution to the war effort, and began to see themselves as being the saviours of the Detroit Wasteland from the Army of Revolution. Movement began to not only take a greater role in the affairs of the region, but for Grand Central to step up as being some sort of leader of the Detroit communities.
Grand Central is divided up into several major areas. The first and best known is the heart of the city itself, the old Michigan Grand Central Station, Having survived the war largely intact, the structure was repurposed into a vertical habitat. Today, most of the city's population lives in the large tower section of the station, dwelling in apartments built out of what was once intended to be office space. (In an ironic twist, the station's tower space is now more completely utilised then it ever was before the war). In general, living conditions within the tower are cramped but functional, with residents glad to put up with small spaces in exchange for the security that the building offers, as well as regular supplies of light, heat and clean water. In general, living conditions in the tower are the best in the Detroit Wastes. The Mayor's office as well as the city council are also found in the tower, inhabiting the top few floors.
The lower areas of the tower, the former station areas, are given over to markets and commerce. The Grand Central Markets are always busy, and are home to just about every service and store one could expect to find in the wastelands. Traders come from across the Detroit and Michigan areas to buy and sell goods, while the local populace use the markets to stock up on supplies. The markets are also home to several bars as well as an inn that caters to visiting traders. This area is also home to the GCPD, who have their headquarters and lock-up in the station's old baggage handling area.
Basement areas of the building are given over to infrastructure. Much of the car parking space was removed in Grand Central's 2060s renovation to make way for a reactor to power the building. That same reactor provides the city with its power and lighting, but also requires a lot of maintenance work to keep operational. Much of the maintenance staff live in this areas so they can be constantly on-hand to deal with any problems that emerge.
Outside the city itself lies the Railyards, the disorganised shantytown that grew out of the city's failed expansion plans. Many of the structures here are simple, thrown-together shacks, or are repurposed railway carriages. Living conditions here are terrible, with clean water and power nearly non-existent. The Railyards are largely lawless, with GCPD largely only concerned with protecting the area from external attacks, rather than actually keeping order. As such, prostitution, gambling and chems are rife in the area, even if they are absent from inside. The Rail Yards are home to the city's poorest people, including those that have often emigrated from outside communities. It is also home to the city's Ghoul population; while there are no laws preventing their living in the city proper, they are rarely seen as welcome.
Finally, the city's boundaries also encompass the open area around the station, as well as the ruins of a couple of nearby buildings. These are given over to both water and croplands, providing much of the city's supply. These areas are well patrolled, especially after the failed invasion of 2250.
Grand Central is the largest and most populous community in the Detroit Wasteland, a result of its early rise as well as the presence of a pre-existing, large, secure structure for its people. Broadly speaking, those living within the tower proper have the highest standards of living for those within the Detroit Wasteland, with a secure roof over their heads, access to clean water and a reliable food supply. However, those living outside the city proper or in the rail yards are usually a lot worse off, with the latter more resembling a shanty town then anything else. (Although even then, the poorest person in the Rail Yards is still better off then somebody living in Arsetown). The Grand Central community is, as such, somewhat divided between the “haves” and “have nots”, but there are few on either side who would want to live anywhere else.
The majority of the Grand Central population are humans, including almost all of the tower dwellers. While there are no laws banning Ghouls from the city or the tower, the truth is that they are rarely seen as being welcome. As a result, the majority of the city’s Ghoul population live in the Rail Yards where the tower dwellers can largely ignore them. Conversely, Super Mutants are entirely unwelcome in the city, and are usually treated with a ‘shoot on sight’ response.
Finally, the city has a small staff of old Protectron and Mister Handy robots that were a part of the pre-war facilities. These robots are used in the maintenance and operation of city facilities, especially the generators and the water pumps.
Grand Central Police Department
The defence and policing of the city is the responsibility of the Grand Central Police Department, or GCPD for short. Having started out as a makeshift citizen’s militia, the GCPD has evolved over the years into an organised, professional force of full-time personnel. Internally, the GCPD constitutes the entirety of the city’ criminal justice system, dealing with crimes in a straightforward matter with no trial or jury. Punishment for minor crimes are usually fines or having to spend time in the lock-up. More severe offences are usually punished with exile from the city. In the advent of violence, the GCPD has the authority to shoot in sight.
Externally, the GCPD is the front line of defence against attacks. The force mans the watchtowers and gun turrets on the city’s walls, as well as mounting regular patrols around the perimeter of the city. In the advent that a large-scale incursion of Super Mutants (or other hostile forces) is encountered, the patrols will usually send runners back to the city to provide a warning whole the rest of the team tries to delay the attackers.
The relative wealth of Grand Central has allowed it to outfit the GCPD with something resembling a standard issue kit. All officers wear security uniforms with clearly identifiable badges, as well as security armour. Those operating inside the city all carry batons and 10mm pistols, while those on patrol often have heavier weapons like automatic rifles or submachine guns.
Since being elected Mayor in 2282, Jackson Stone has been trying to run the city towards a reformist agenda. While he appreciates the wealth of the city (being born and raised in a tower family), he also feels that Grand Central could do more with its wealth and power then just hoarding it all. Mayor Stone has been a vocal proponent of greater cooperation with other communities beyond simply just trading, He sees the relationship between Park Lane and Grand Central as being especially problematic, with the two communities having a long-standing rivalry for no real reason. Ironically, the Revolutionary War did much to further his agenda by forcing Grand Central to aid other communities.
Despite his position, Jackson Stone has a reputation of being a straightforward and honest man, and a genuinely pleasant person. He is married with two children and a dog that can often be found sleeping in his office.
Bob Robertson Jr.
Bob Robertson Jr. Joined the GCPD as soon as he was old enough to, and worked his way up through the ranks from a patrol officer. His drive and loyalty to the city, as well as a dedication to the job, saw him eventually rise to the position of Police Chief, the overall commander of the GCPD, a position he has held for the last decade. Bob Robertson Jr. has a rather over-inflated opinion of himself, and has been known to act like he personally is the only thing standing between the city and complete chaos. Since the Revolutionary War, he has also been painting himself as being a war hero for his role in the conflict. A role that he has rather overstated, since he never left Grand Central itself and the forces he contributed to the campaign were placed under the Black Skull Company’s command.
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