When the Great War destroyed civilization, humanity’s petty rivalries died along with the people who harbored them. From the leaders of nations right down to neighbors squabbling over their gardens, the voices went silent when the bombs fell. But there are is a small group of people who survived the war and kept on living for hundreds of years afterwards. Along with their deformed bodies and deteriorating minds, they’ve also kept alive their grievances from hundreds of years ago. They call themselves a microcosm of the old world, and they play an endless game of treachery and manipulation that has lasted so long they can barely remember why they’re fighting.
The old world was filled with secretive people and organizations. Small towns and seemingly innocent locations could hold both wonders and horrors. Beneath those wholesome diversions were many secrets, some of which simply refused to die. Point Lookout National Park was a ways south of Washington DC, far enough to not get scorched by the bombardment during the war, but it still got a good dose of fallout pouring in through the waters of the Potomac.
There are some records of what it was like in the final days, left behind by a medical team that passed through.
The backwater residents of the place were hit hard by the New Plague that spread across the land in the years before the war. The government had sent in a series of medical experts to curb the spread of the plague, but the locals weren’t exactly hospitable to outsiders. And that was back before they’d had two centuries of inbreeding and mutation.
Now the place is crawling with a local flavor of mutant hillbillies who survive off a regional fruit called the punga. They supplement their diet with whatever protein they can find, and that usually comes from travelers who visit Point Lookout searching for pre-war loot.
The only way to reach the peninsula is by boat, and on the Potomac there used to be a man with an antique paddle steamer. Claimed that he once sailed up the Atlantic coast all the way up to the Commonwealth.
He would sell punga fruit to traders in Washington – although he never seemed to bring any goods with him back to Point Lookout, aside from passengers. Those passengers usually didn’t return to their point of origin but, according to the few that have, there is a church down in Point Lookout that is surprisingly welcoming to newcomers.
The church was the Ark and Dove, named after the ships that brought the first settlers to Maryland close to eight hundred years ago. The Calvert family was among the first people to settle the region, and by the time of the Great War, they had influence in politics, finance, and industry. They could pull strings with General Atomics, and had the clout to acquire and scientific acumen to modify the military biogel that keeps disembodied brains alive.
They had the kind of resources to keep a person alive through the apocalypse, and beyond. That kind of influence also brings enemies. One explorer came back from Point Lookout full of stories of pre-War rivalries that bubbled up again like swamp gas. A ghoul had been stalking the Calverts for over two hundred years, and the knowledge that one of them might still be alive drew him back to the Calvert ancestral estate in Point Lookout.
Desmond Lockheart has been an international operative since the Resource Wars of the twenty first century. Now, that man’s on the radar of every organization from the Regulators to Talon Company, to Littlehorn & Associates. Not many ghouls in the wasteland have a British accent, so that “bloke” stands out wherever he goes. Doesn’t make him any less conspicuous that he always travels with a pair of tough as nails attack dogs, and carries enough ordnance to blow up a Brotherhood bunker.
I was never sure how his rivalry with Calvert turned out. Desmond isn’t the sort to linger around swapping stories of his exploits, but one or both of them must be dead, for sure. But that feud was only one of the hidden horrors of Point Lookout. The locals called it haunted long before things like ghouls ever existed, and that swamp has deep roots that dig down to what a praying man would call hell. But that is a story for another day…