Peoria, Ill

Excerpts from the

NORTH AMERICAN ROAD ATLAS AND SURVIVAL GUIDE, 3rd Edition

by the Peoria Piledrivers


(Found in pre-blight pamphlet entitled "Northern Utilization Research and Development Division," published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in May of 1970.)
Peoria, 160 miles south of Chicago and 170 miles from St. Louis, with a metropolitan population of 300,000, is located on the bluffs of the Illinois River. It is believed to be the oldest settlement in Illinois. Peoria was selected out of 80 cities by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the site of the Northern Regional Research Laboratory. It is the home of Bradley University, the Peoria Symphony orchestra, and a new arts and science center available to many civic and professional organizations.

History

Prior to the food riots, Peoria had been all things to all people. It was a natural agricultural trade community as it was located in the heart of Illinois corn and soybean country, as well as being on the Illinois River. Peoria was also an industrial center, containing the home and world headquarters of the Caterpillar Tractor Company. Despite its wholesome, small-town image, Peoria had its darker side -- it had become a hotbed of illegal activities in the Roaring Twenties, when Chicago gang lords used the city as a place to cool off whenever Chicago got a little too warm.

The mere presence of Chicago seemed to emphasize the divided nature of Peoria. Peoria was an industrial city that needed to unite with its agricultural neighbors in order to avoid confiscatory taxation from the political machine in the north. In the eternal battle between Chicago and downstate, Peoria was caught in the middle. When the blight struck, tensions increased. City dwellers felt betrayed by the farmers' inability to feed them, and the farmers felt that the blight was somehow a product of big city science and high living. Thus it was singularly appropriate that the Peoria Ag Lab would do for edible algae what it had done for penicillin -- create a process that made it commercially feasible to produce large quantities of the stuff. It does seem a pity that the official announcement of the process started the first of the Great Food Riots, the Chicago Stampede.

The most savage fighting was around food distribution and storage facilities. Many refrigerated warehouses were disabled or destroyed by looters. Grain elevators were likewise hit. Predictably, more food was trampled than eaten. Tear gas contaminated much of the food not destroyed or stolen. As the remaining food was distributed on the basis of political patronage, the rioting worsened. Millions left Chicago, most fleeing to the south and eating anything/everything in their path.

It is impossible to say how many of the rioters actually had Peoria as their goal, but of the 2-3 million who fled Chicago, at least 1 million made it to Peoria. This included some 200,000 oddly (but heavily) armed people who had been a part of the assault on the Rock Island Arsenal.

Very little of Peoria survived. The rioters were met by a hastily organized coalition of National Guardsmen, Army Reservists, and State Police; an even more hastily organized coalition of local police, street gangs, and area hunters calling themselves the Peoria Urban Defense Squad (PUDS for short); and a surprisingly large and heavily armed group under the personal command of the mayor. It was called the Mobile Ordinance Brigade. Area farmers fought a guerrilla action on the rioters flanks and rear.

The defenders tried to protect important city facilities such as electrical substations, the water purification plant, industrial centers, the Ag Lab, and Big Al's Speakeasy. Unfortunately, the rioters followed the path of greatest resistance. They overwhelmed anything that was defended, assuming that the only thing worth defending was food. The vastly outnumbered defenders put up their best fight at the Ag Lab. Naturally this was where the rioters made their most determined human wave assaults. The destruction of the Ag Lab stopped further research, but a single brave scientist was able to save the discovery. Taking a culture of Chlorella peoria™, along with plans and schematics of the crucial growth vat equipment, he escaped the fighting to Spring Bay (#3 on the map), a Peoria suburb just over the Illinois River. Thus it was in the suburb called Spring Bay that the green goo that would save mankind grew.

An area which had held over 300,000 people, and had been invaded by millions, had been reduced to under 50,000. The population of the city itself had been cleaved from just over 150,000 to a little under 15,000. Peoria city government set up shop in Spring Bay and Mossville (#2 on the map). Most of the remaining inhabitants were remnants of the rioters who settled down into three major locations: Bradley University (#4), the downtown Peoria Civic Center, (#5), and the East Peoria Caterpillar Tractor Industrial Plant (#6). Few buildings in the rest of the city remained standing, but the desperate and the insane continue to live in and off of the rubble. Unwary passersby were the primary source of income (and entertainment) for these people.

Once thngs had largely settled down, the local government began quietly auctioning off Chlorella peoria™ "starter kits." The resultant influx of wealth and favors financed the toughening of Peoria's defensive systems, as well as the eventual rebuilding of the Peoria Speedway.

Peoria Today

The devastation of their city left Peorians more than a little leery of the outside world. Furthermore, Peoria's almost instant wealth allowed it to be independent of a reliance upon autoduellists for the defense of the city. The townspeople feel so strongly about weapons in town that only PUDS and members of the Mobile Ordinance Brigade are allowed to carry more than light arms. The only excep- tions to this policy are the few businesses who have a legitimate need for extra defense on their vehicles. This need is determined by the Mayor's office and the PUDS council.

While local forces do not patrol outside of Spring Bay and Mossville, they will make raids on suspected sources of trouble. They do not hesitate to fire on any unknown person or vehicle not given clearance by CB to approach the city.

Newcomers who can pay their own way are welcomed. A common method for gctting started in town is by autoduelling. While originally cool to the idea, Peorians have become strong supporters of autoduelling... as long as it stays in the arena.

The area around Peoria is not completely pacified, as three gangs (descendants of rioters) hold sway over the ruined part of the city. Two of the gang settled in the Civic Center and at Bradley University, and cause the city relatively few problems. It is widely suspected th current Mayor Aldo "Don" Giacobazzi Jr. developed his own "Food for Peace" program, and is trying to incorporate these groups into outside arms of the Mobile Ordinance Brigade. The East Peoria gang (known as the "E.P.s," or "Eeps") is rather independent, and will attack most anything that looks edible-- including people. They control the only other intact bridge in the area, the Franklin Street drawbridge running into the former dowritown area.

Autoduelling in Peoria

While not the first to be completed in the midwest, the rebuilt Peoria Speedway (#1 on the map) is one of the best equipped autoduel arenas in the country. The arena itself has complete broadcast facilities, all protected by heavily-armored walls. It also has a variety of movable steel or concrete walls and bunkers, allowing unparalleled arena versatility.

Most duellists and arena staff are transported between the Speedway and Mossville by an underground mini-subway, built in the viaduct under the old Interstate-474 northern bypass. Other duellists choose to live outside the protection of Peoria. While they are allowed to drive their autoduelling vehicles to and from the arena, many choose to park their "highway" vehicles in a special parking area when visiting the arena for a competition. This allows them to keep their somewhat more visibly customized vehicles at the arena. Chrome makes too good a target on the road.

Peoria is also the home of the first city backed autoduelling team, the Peoria Piledrivers. Unlike other autoduelling groups, the Piledrivers receive a salary and have their vehicles provided to them by team sponsors. Competition for entry into the team is quite stiff.

Facilities

Within the walled areas of Spring Bay and Mossville are complete facilities for body, soul, and automobile. These include garages, sporting goods stores, churches, a Gold Cross registered medical facility, a joint network/hospital helipad, boating facilities, a Greyhound terminal, apartments, and several places a fellow can go to have a good time. Some repair facilities, mostly controlled by the larger gangs, are available outside of the city. There is also an active black market in food and weapons. Across from the Speedway is The Big K's Junque Yard. The Big K is a retired combat wrestler who buys trashed vehicles from individual duellists. He also purchases some of the worst wrecks from the arena. A complete part pulling service is provided. All in all, the Big K is the area's leading dealer in reclaimed marketables.

[Map of Peoria]


ADQ 5/1, Spring 2037, pps 6-9
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