By Alex Rhodes
Mercer County is home to the capital of New Jersey, Trenton. Trenton was hit badly by Food Riots, and now mostly in shambles. While the Government offices remain in town, most government employees and elected officials live in Princeton or another nearby community and commute by subway. Most of the permanent population of Trenton is squatters and dregs, though some tenements survive, controlled by the big corporations that run most of the state.
Mercer County has the only significant tourism in the whole state, due mostly to the New Jersey Turnpike, which runs through the country. The greatest driving hazard on the turnpike is craters and debris from EDSEL/NJ attacks on duelling motorists.
Early in the 20TH century, most of Mercer County was farmland. In time, the land became steadily more developed. By the 1980s Mercer County was beginning to get overcrowded. Farmers, who found it harder and harder to make a profit, sold their land to housing developers at windfall prices. Housing developments grew like wildfire, the houses snatched up by yuppies and businessmen. By the turn of the century almost all of the farmland had disappeared.
The highway system did not keep pace with the changes in population that occurred during the last half of the 20th century. The existing roads were not designed to take the new levels of traffic. Many towns unexpectedly became major thorough fares. New roads were built to handle the traffic. When autoduelling became popular, it was promptly declared illegal on most roads, but the ban did not last long, due to the difficulty in enforcing the law in such traffic. Not even EDSEL/NJ could keep incidents down. Traffic jams became more and more common as more and more wreckage and debris piled up. The dangers of driving and the incredible volume of traffic led to a spontaneous increase in car-pooling, which actually decreased the traffic dramatically. Government employees commuting to Trenton formed cooperatives to buy themselves mini-busses to transport them to work. This experiment proved remarkably successful, and soon the corporations were offering their employees incentives to carpool, including the use of new-model corporate vehicles. Overall traffic volume decreased by more than 50%.
In recent history, until 2039 the governor of New Jersey was managed to win the active support of both EDSEL/NJ and the state's autoduelling community with his slain by a still-unknown assassin, shortly after it was revealed that he was secretly channeling state funds to EDSEL/NJ to support EDSEL's anticorporate policies. A formal investigation of the assassination is still underway, but many independent observers see little chance of the true culprits ever coming to light. Johnson's death marked a major blow to EDSEL/NJ.
The new governor is Mason Ford., who makes little effort to conceal his status as a puppet of the corporations. Over the last few years, incidents of road duelling have increased. Ford insists that this not a result of cutting off state funds to |EDSEL/NJ, but popular sentiment disagrees.
Points of Interest
1. Municipal Center. This is where the governmental offices for the state of New Jersey are located. It was all but destroyed in the Food Riots, and had to be rebuilt. The headquarters for most of the major corporations that operate in New Jersey are also located in this area.
2. Trenton Death Sport Stadium. The "stadium" is actually an old tenement neighborhood surrounded by concrete walls. There is no live audience - spectators watch only on video, on a pay-per-view basis. Though ostensibly a government-funded public resource, it is generally known that the stadium is actually a corporate front. Many events are run here. The most common are automotive street duels, but private wars between rival street gangs are among the biggest attractions. Although Trenton is vigorously campaigning for the AADA to sanction the stadium, their petitions have so far been denied, both because of unsafe arena conditions and in protest over the Johnson assassination.
3. Princeton. Princeton is perhaps the safest place in all of New Jersey. It is surrounded by protective walls, and patrolled regularly by helicopters and patrol cruisers. The walls were paid for by donations from the residents, Princeton University and the state government.
Princeton has much to see. The Governor's Mansion is located here, and there is a subway leading from it to the Municipal Building in Trenton. Princeton University is alive and well, although enrollment is limited and tuition is very, very expensive (currently at least $50,000 a year). Point of interest inside the walls include PU's campus and Nassau Sweets, the best ice cream parlor in New Jersey.
Vehicles are strictly prohibited within the city limits. However, trucks are allowed in to make deliveries to the local merchants. Others must leave their vehicles outside the walls, in well-armored garages protected by the Princeton Police Force. Anyone caught trying to steal, break into or tamper with anyone else's vehicle will, in addition to risking bodily harm and criminal charges, have his own vehicle confiscated and impounded. The PPF is a shining star among New Jersey's local police departments. They can rarely be bribed.
4. The Route 1 Corridor. Also known as the Highway to Hell. This is the heart of the New Jersey business Community. This district is one of the corporate espionage capitols of the world.
Duelling can be nasty in the corridor. In addition to frequent EDSEL/NJ chopper patrols, corporate mercenary ambushes, designed to target key personal traveling to work, are also a frequent hazard. finally, the affluent commuters that frequent the cooperatively-purchased car-pool minibuses are particularly well defended, and should not be provoked.
Corporate mercenaries have been known to imitate EDSEL/NJ patrols. If you have reason to suspect such an impersonation. the AADA recommends that you report it to EDSEL/NJ immediately. Duellists who have accurately reported such incidents have, in the past, been identified to EDSEL/NJ patrols with instructions to "look the other way."
Police in the corridor are completely controlled by the corporations. Police are extremely stern with out-of-towners, as they are under orders to consider every stranger a potential corporate spy.
5. Mercer County Community Park. The park is indifferently maintained. Though echoes of its former beauty remain, it is now choked with trash and overgrown with weeds. A haven for smalltime gangs and drug dealers, it is presently completely unsuitable for most recreational purposes. However, several impromptu offroad duels occur here each week. Several corporations are reportedly considering plans to take advantage of this.
6. Hightstown Iron Works. Located just off the Route 33 exit of Route 130 lies the HIW. A registered Uncle Albert's dealer, it specializes in helicopters and metal armor. Metal armor is readily available, and can be seen on many cars in the vicinity. HIW is the exclusive dealer to EDSEL/NJ.
7. Hightstown. This is the center of Windsor-Hights. Local residents vehemently insist that it be call Hightstown, which was the original name before it officially merged with East Windsor in the early 21 st century. For reasons that remain inscrutable to outsiders, it is considered an insult to ask a Hightstownian, or any native of New Jersey for that matter, what exit he or she lives on. Such a question will be met with return fire, no questions asked.
Most of the outlying area is wasteland, destroyed in the food riots. In the last few years, a few farms have begun to struggle back to life.
Hightstown High School is also in this area, and is protected by walls and machine gun nests. School buses are escorted by private security forces, as well as the HADDOCK (see below), as the local police are corrupt.
8. Pa's Saltshaker Truckstop. Located just off the New Jersey Turnpike (Exit 8), this establishment should be avoided at all costs. The food is terrible and overpriced, the place is filthy and the management corrupt. Though there is no hard evidence, local rumor has the truckstop as the front to some sort of illicit operation, simply because that seems the only possible explanation for its continued existence.
9. Hopewell Toxic Waste Dump. One of the worst of the myriad dumps in the state. The entire area should be avoided, as safety regulations are none too strictly enforced. leaky drums from the dump have been reported floating in the Delaware River.
10. Washington=on Crossing State Park. This is New Jersey's only real tourist attraction. Many Cultural events are held here, including drama, music and dance. However, scenery is minimal, and the park service personnel are known for their unfriendly attitudes. Nearby are several shops in the "safe" (i.e., furthest from the dump) part of Hopewell, where almost anything under the sun having to do with crafts or hobbies is available.
11. Fortress Development. These housing enclaves represent the evolution of the housing developments of the late 20th century. The houses and condominiums inside the developments are themselves very expensive, and in addition each resident pas a large monthly fee, for hired guards and maintenance of the walls, and this rule is rigorously enforced by development security. Fortress developments can be found all over Mercer County.
There are several autoduelling groups in the area, the most militant of which is The Hightstown Autoduellists Disgusted with Oppression, Corporations, and Kickbacks (HADDOCK). They can be identified by the fish logo appearing on the hoods of their vehicles. They are not yet officially affiliated with the AADA. They have been known to work with EDSEL/NJ against corporations flying EDSEL colors for their own purposes.
A new group in the area is the Autoduellists Who Hate Incredibly Long Acronyms Like This One (ADWHILALT). As their name says, they are a sarcastic bunch, normally dedicated to the elimination of organizations with overly-long and contrived acronyms. They have an ongoing rivalry with HADDOCK for this reason. they are known to be rabid fans of the classic comedy troupe "Monty Python's |Flying Circus," and their CB conversations are smattered with quotations from their shows and Movies. In general, they are more humorous than they are dangerous. Nonetheless, the group contains several skilled duellists, and they should not be provoked lightly.
The only other autoduellist association of note is the Princeton University Pro-duelling Squad (PUPS), which is made up of students attending PU who have also won a AADA sanctioned event.
Workers for the corporations usually travel to and from work in packs of commuter minibuses. Rush hour should be avoided, as the workers can be testy after a day at the office.
The headquarters of EDSEL/NJ is located somewhere in Mercer County, but State Commander Barbara Hampshire constantly moves the base to keep herself safe from corporations, autoduellists and (it is rumored) certain higher echelons of EDSEL. She maintains 73 squadrons of three helicopters each, with six squadrons normally patrolling Mercer County. The squadron leaders are hand-picked by Hampshire. Their favorite haunts are route 1 corridor and NJ Turnpike.
Edsel/NJ's helicopters are much deadlier than other EDSEL chapters'. However, Johnson's assassination and the end of EDSEL's financial support could not have happened at a worse time. Hampshire had just started revamping her chopper force to compete with the increased deadliness and survivability of road vehicles. She had just started receiving shipment on the new HIW Enforcer Mk III. She only received 50 before the money ran out. As a result, only the best squadron leaders fly the new Enforcers. In addition, Hampshire has been forced to reactivate her mothball fleet of Enforcer Mk Is. She may have to divert funds from counter-espionage operations against the corporations in order to buy desperately-needed new helicopters. As noted above, they are purchased from Highstown Iron Works.
The standard model deployed by EDSEL/NJ is the Enforcer.
Enforcer Mk I: Standard copter, super copter plant, pilot, gunner; 2 4 space EWP's with VFRP (AP ammo) and MML (Incendiary ammo) in each (forward) with ejection systems (linked) and 10 points plastic armor each; CD (back); HDSS (back); ITL (front) linked to VFRPs and MMLs; OG (bottom); 3 space bomb rack with 3 CBs (bottom); IFE; laser guidance for all 80 rockets to ITL; radar; radar jammer; radar detector (linked to chaff dispenser); infrared T&D; LDR; 2 HRTCs (driver, gunner); 2 ejection seats; computer gunner; 2 pairs of maneuver foils with jettison option (each pair linked); CACR; fiber optic web )covers back armor, EWPs, and both rotors), 5 photocells (links above webs to HDSS); links: both VFRPs, Both MMLs, ejection seats and rotor jettison system; Rotor armor 10 points each rotor. $156,250 19,945 lbs., accel 5, maximum speed of 240 mph. Metal Armor F20, L20, R20, U30, B21, T18. HC3. Ejection seats work as they do in the Firebrand.
The Mark II improves upon the mark I by converting the pod armor to fireproof, adding fireproof armor to the maneuver foils, and changing the Metal armor to a metal FP plastic composite.
Enforcer Mk II: Standard copter, super copter plant, pilot, gunner; 2 4 space EWP's with VFRP (AP ammo) and MML (Incendiary ammo) in each (forward) with ejection systems (linked) and 10 points FP plastic armor each; CD (back); HDSS (back); ITL (front) linked to VFRPs and MMLs; OG (bottom); 3 space bomb rack with 3 CBs (bottom); IFE; laser guidance for all 80 rockets to ITL; radar; radar jammer; redar detector (linked to chaff dispenser); infrared T&D; LDR; 2 HRTCs (driver, gunner); 2 ejection seats; computer gunner; 2 pairs of maneuver foils with jettison option (each pair linked) and 8 pts FP plastic armor; CACR; fiber optic web )covers back armor, EWPs, and both rotors), 5 photocells (links above webs to HDSS); links: both VFRPs, Both MMLs, ejection seats and rotor jettison system; Rotor armor 10 points each rotor. $164,035 19,995 lbs., accel 5, maximum speed of 240 mph. LR Metal/FP Plastic F19/17, L18/16, R18/16, U19/18, B18/16, T18/16. HC3.
The Mark III is the latest model in the Enforcer Series. It takes advantage of new technology, and makes change in design philosophy, with some items being replaced by cheaper alternatives, and others being removed altogether. This results is a deadlier, more efficient, and menacing helicopter.
Enforcer Mk III: Standard copter, super copter plant with platinum catalysts, pilot, gunner; 2 4 space EWP's with VFRP (AP ammo) and MML (Incendiary ammo) in each (forward) with ejection systems (linked) and 10 points FP plastic armor each; MML (back, with smoke stream loads); ITL (front) linked to VFRPs and MMLs; OG (bottom with 3 magazines with regular, flaming, and ice ammo with a magazine switch); IFE; laser guidance for all 80 rockets to ITL; radar; radar jammer; redar detector infrared T&D; LDR; HRTC (gunner); HRSWC (pilot to ITL); 2 safety ejection seats; 2 pairs of maneuver foils with jettison option (each pair linked) and 10 pts FP plastic armor each; improved tail assembly; 2extra main and 2 extra stabilizing blades; retractable landing gear; fiber optic web (covers back armor, EWPs, and both rotors); links: both VFRPs, Both MMLs, ejection seats and rotor jettison system; Rotor armor 10 points each rotor. $167,870 20,993 lbs., accel 5, maximum speed of 210 mph. LR Metal/FP Plastic F20/22, L20/21, R20/21, U22/23, B20/20, T18/20. HC3