30 April 2009

The Great Hadleyburg Turkey Shoot

This is the first part of a ten-part action figure story that I started to-day.

Hope you enjoy it.

Of all the towns found in the Pacifica Department's Middle Belt, one of the oddest, and certainly the most corrupt, was Hadleyburg.

Located well in between the major cities of New Metropolis and Blackwater, it was settled by a small agricultural colony of vintage GI Joes in 1999, and, prior to Pacifica's independence from Centralia three years later, the settlement eked out a marginal living from raising cabbage, corn and potatoes.

But, after independence, the need to connect the department of New Scandinavia to Pacifica's north with Blackwater, Central City and New Metropolis resulted in the construction of National Routes 4 & 6, which respectively ran from east to west and from north to south, and the east to west Trans-Pacifica Railroad.

Being situated by the proposed lines of all three routes, Hadleyburg was in an ideal position to take full
advantage of its position, and take advantage it did, of the road and rail construction companies, their workers, the Pacifica Department's government, and the Amalgamation of Pacifica itself, for all it was worth, and then some.

There were those individuals, from both in- and outside of Hadleyburg, who raised their voices against the feather-bedding, over-charging, sweetheart deals and out-right theft that went on before, during and after the highways' and rail-road's construction. But, ways of shutting them up, whether through bribery, bullying, blackmail or bashing in of heads, could be and were always found and used.

So much for Hadleyburg's critics.

The town shot up like a weed in a tropical field, and, by the time the Pacifican-Centralian War of 2007 happened, it was a thriving mini-metropolis of some 300-plus souls. During the 10 day-long war, Hadleyburg, like most of its Middle Belt neighbours, suffered little directly from its effects, but was ideally positioned to press its advantages on the armies of soldiers and refugees that passed through or stayed in the area. And yes, take advantage of them, Hadleyburg and its citizens did.

It kept on doing that after the war, with all of the refugees from the devastated towns and cities temporarily settled near Hadleyburg and its neighbours for the several months after the war that reconstruction took.

Like with the highway and rail-road construction, there were voices that protested the various forms of robbery, overt and disguised, inflicted on them by the good citizens of Hadleyburg. But, as before, they were either bought out, beaten up, or broken in one way or another.

A few small-time malefactors were offered up to the departmental and Amalgamated authorities as sacrificial lambs, with much trumpeting and fanfare in the local media.

But, the real villains, and the whole rotten show, went merrily on, even after most of the refugees returned home, and Hadleyburg remained snug, and smug, in its piously hypocritical ways.

In the autumn of 2010, all of that would change in the course of a night.

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