Posts tagged: BakersField

Project Log: June 19th, 2161 : Coffee Run

By , 03/14/2010 3:57 pm

Frederick Douglass Johnson
Inland Empire Trucking Company
On contract to the Morrow Project CA-4
June 19, 2161

 Highway 126 through Santa Clara Valley

 Today the team did something that’s near and dear to my heart: we took a little trading trip. What was different about this trip is it was west through Santa Clarita to Ventura. Usually, I go down into Los Angeles (the Deadlands), not out to the ocean. 

The team roster was myself, Vod, Keshawn, Tim and Cathy Smithfield of CA-07. Smithfield was along because we had a cattle trailer hooked up to the V-150 full of prime stock from the Lazy-Circle-Eight, prime California Longhorns and she knew a lot more than I do about selling them!
Anyways, we followed the Highway of Death for a little while. It follows the course of I-5 north from the Deadlands all the way to Bakersfield, although we turned off at Highway 126. I have only been down the Highway of Death a few times, as I go through this area as little as possible. Inland Empire doesn’t have too much business with Bakersfield, for one thing. For the other, it’s really depressing. Abandoned communities line either side of the road, and wrecks litter it as well, making it hard to safely travel fast. A lane has been cleared down the centre, but there’s so much cover from the wrecks and easy to block. The few times I’ve been up the road we’ve needed to keep an eye out for trouble, and it always found us.


There’s always the bones, of course. I-5 was the main route for refugees escaping the LA basin after the nuclear attacks. Tens of thousands, maybe hundreds, maybe millions jammed this road as they fled north, joined by others as their cars broke down. Bakersfield, panicked by the enormity of the situation, first blocked them from continuing north and then started slaughtering them. Disease, thirst and starvation got most of the rest. The areas near Bakersfield were cleared of bodies within a few years but the other areas closer to Santa Clarita remain littered with human remains. Bones and skeletons are everywhere, not so much on the pavement any more, but in the overgrown yards of the houses and apartment buildings alongside, piled into drifts down in the ravines and gullies by the rains when they come. I guess they had suitcases and belongings, whatever they thought they could bring with them like clothing, shoes, and whatnot, but all that’s long gone now, eithe r scavenged or rotted away by the sun or carried away by the wind. 
At any rate, for a change the trip that morning was fairly uneventful, if creepy. Bakersfield must have been stepping up patrols of I-5 further south than usual. Whichever, once past Santa Clarita we were down in the Santa Clara Valley. It’s an agricultural region, with a few small vegetable farms and mostly citrus orchards lining the Santa Clara River. Some of the larger farm-holders occasionally block the roads to collect a levy for unspecified “road work” and someone actually had the stones to stop us. I was all for blowing through them in true Trucker style, but, not wanting to make enemies, we decided to pay the toll of a silver coin and proceed. I think they were quite surprised, and I hope they think we’re just generous instead of pushovers. 
It was still morning when we reached Valencia, the southernmost city of the California Coastal Republic (CCR) and the independent Port Hueneme. Just short of the marketplace we passed a checkpoint manned by well-armed mercenaries of the Gold Coast League. This group is a little mysterious, they come out of the east about ten years ago and earned a reputation for utter ruthlessness towards any troublemakers. So far, they seem to prefer to let a group of merchants run Port Hueneme itself, but presumably they charge well or take a percentage of transactions. From what we saw I think they’re well worth the money but there’s always the danger they could simply take over for themselves. From the mercs on duty there and at the market I saw plenty of Chinese-made AK and SKS rifles and SAWs, a few machineguns (GPMGs and a cal.-fifty) and even a couple RPGs. More importantly, they had a couple APCs, as well as radios. They seem well-organised and I would assume at least mor tars and other fire support on call. 

We were assigned a space in the market, a patch of ground where we could park and either sit on the ground, set up a table or a stall, even a semi-permanent structure like a restaurant, bar or whorehouse. There were traders from all up and down the coast, even overseas. They were using “Trade Speak”. Mostly English but with a healthy mix of Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Vietnamese, even Polynesian and Hawai’ian, I’m told. I speak a bit, enough to get by. We got set up okay in our assigned spot in the market and started trading. It went really well; we got maximum value for our trades. We scored several hundred kilos of high-grade Kona coffee beans, from Hawai’i. The beans were sold to us at a great price by Craig Goldman, a coffee merchant with the Islands Trading Company who needed to unload them quickly. He and his cargo sailed here on the Yankee clipper Pride of the South Seas out of Hilo, Hawai’i. 

We also got a refurbished washing machine for the base. The market was full of goods like that. Salvage in the form of manufactured goods (appliances, high-tech goods, car parts) and various valuables is taken from the Deadlands and the ruins in California. Along with raw materials like minerals, metal, foodstuffs, timber, hemp and textiles, the salvage is traded at the market to be shipped across the ocean. The raw materials and the best of the salvage feeds consumer markets in Asia. The rest of the salvage is refurbished and sold back to California, along with weapons, ammunition, medicine and of course drugs like opium and heroin. It’s a flow of trade, but the best of what we have left is traded away for mostly guns and drugs, and a few rebuilt car and truck parts. Kind of like what MORGANA calls the opium trade, in reverse. All that’s missing is some West American Company (like the West and East India Companies) with its own army, as these are fortunately most ly small-time traders, but it’s probably coming some day when the market for Californian goods becomes lucrative enough for someone to want to monopolise. 

Yankee clipper Pride of the South Seas out of Hilo, Hawai'i

After trading was done, we headed up to Ventura where we met some local merchants from the California Coastal Republic, and even some naval personnel. The traders were Jacob Marks and Neil Commings from San Luis Obisbo, of the Sun State Trading Company. We had dinner with them at the Chrome Gyro, an inn and tavern, and discussed the local political situation. They were aware of the HDF and kind of thought of us as unsophisticated hicks, which isn’t too far from the truth, I guess. They’re really more worried about Bakersfield, as it and the CCR have had serious conflicts in the past and there are ongoing tensions. They were really nice, really convinced the CCR embodied the democratic values of the old pre-war USA. They figure that the Morrow Project should have started in the CCR, instead of the desert rabble up around Barstow. 

Also, we noted earlier that there was a CCR naval vessel, the USS Lassen , docked in Port Hueneme under some kind of agreement with the neutral port. The CCR was formed from a core of US naval personnel from the 7th Fleet which returned from across the Pacific during the war. It stretches from Ventura north past San Luis Obisbo to about 100 miles south of Monterey. The official northernmost outpost is King City, a walled town. About 50 miles north of San Luis Obisbo is a major military base of some kind, maybe Fort Hunter-Liggett or Camp Roberts. Aside from coastal transport and highway 101, there is a railroad line that goes from Ventura northwards. The CCR is a long and narrow coastal strip, including some offshore oil rigs. Strategically, they are vulnerable to Bakersfield, which occupies the central valley and outnumbers them three or four times.


In Ventura we met a Lt. Commander Horness and a Petty Officer Nguyen from the Lassen. They told us a little of the CCR’s naval situation, including how they fought off a major Mexican naval invasion some years ago. This makes sense; the Mexicans would have wanted to bypass the uncontrolled and uncontrollable Deadlands if they were pushing north. The Lassen is the backbone of the CCR’s fleet, although the cruiser USS Shiloh is still listed as officially active. Another destroyer, the USS Fitzgerald, was stripped for parts to keep the Lassen operational. The submarine USS Houston  is permanently moored in Santa Barbara to provide electricity for the city, although there is a sub tender moored there, too.

Lassen in Drydock at Port Hueneme

There was a lot to absorb, and we arranged for communications between the CCR and the HDF. I have great hopes for an alliance between us to keep Bakersfield in check and fight the Mexicans. It’s possible that the Buffalo aircraft Bakersfield were buying from Edwards were intended for use against the CCR, which could make sense if the CCR doesn’t have advanced aircraft.  

Later that night, we got an emergency call from Poole at CA-01. We were being recalled to Stallion Springs. Apparently, we got word that some kind of crucial Morrow Project facility back east had been located. Wouldn’t you know, some kind of rescue was needed and we were the only spare personnel. Just our luck, we didn’t even get a chance to drink the damn coffee!   



CA4 MISSION FILE: March 17th, Part 2

By , 07/15/2009 4:46 pm
Eagle Air Frieght Last Flying UH-1 Heuy

Eagle Air Frieght Last Flying UH-1 Heuy

DATE: 3/17/2161 (10:30pm)
LOCATION: 4 Miles South of Ballart Ca.

“Two if by Air… Three if by Land.. and we are not from Morrow Bay by the Sea….”
Aka “What went up.. went down hard”

After spending the night at Big Jakes, the team enjoyed breakfast at the Ranch. Apparently due to the news of the Mexican forces, there was a general call up of Militia forces in the area and Big Jake was in a hurry. He was able to spend some time talking about the area.

Fred and Hannah left for the circle-lazy-8 ranch early in the morning, and we arranged to meet them up in the Ballarat area.

Apparently the Ranch is supplied with power from local wind generation, and the area in the high desert is scattered with various Electrical production facilities. Mirror Solar arrays (by Barstow), Geothermal(china lake). Apparently the high desert area trades Electrical power for Oil from Bakersfield.

The Aqueduct facility is what allows the high desert to exist in an agricultural way, but it is running about 10-15% capacity, and is in very poor shape. It is the one thing that ties them all together, and about twice a year everyone pitches in to dredge it and maintain it. The Aqueduct is probably the reason they do have good pumping technology in the area.

The Marines are sort of the enforcers/police of the area, and Barstow containing some railway functionality, and is their main base of operations. I am sure they got their name “marines” and their equipment from the Marine Logistical base there.

Edwards AFB is apparently occupied by “The Air Force” a unit which has it closed down, with no access allowed.

We packed up a couple days fresh food from Jakes’ and headed out on the route laid out by Fred towards Ballarat, via Mojave. The road was in good shape, apparently used for trading often, but most traffic was headed in the other direction, apparently due to the Militia call up. We even spotted an M1A1 tank which appeared to be immobile on a flatbed truck heading out towards Jakes’. The area seems pretty well populated with maybe 15-30K people. The buildings are either serviceable, or stripped of anything that could be of use. Nothing has gone to waste in the area. There are no wrecked or abandoned cars to be found anywhere on the side of the road. Travis noted that the GPS system was acting funky, like the satellites were out of place. Apparently it loses accuracy over time, and has to be recalibrated based on landmarks periodically.

After a couple hrs on the road, we stopped at a diner to meet some locals, stretch our legs and get a bite to eat. The meal of Ham and Eggs was tasty, and at that point I realized that a key point was forgotten to be talked about at Jake’s. What’s used for money? What’s the general trade ratio I the area? ARG. So I dug into the trade pack, and settled the bill with a small bag of tobacco. The way the other locals in the bar snickered and joked, I’m sure we got taken big time. Note to self… talk to Fred, and get some bartering skills for the area. We have to get a feeling for what things are worth. For now, it is not a huge priority, since due to the note we have to get up north ASAP. Back on the road, we made it the rest of the way to Mojave, but it looked like the weather was starting to turn bad, snow or rain I’m sure was coming.

Mojave had a working airport operated by Eagle Air Freight. We approached the chain gate and got the guards to take us to someone who we could talk to about hiring a plane to check out Ballarat(per the note). Crazy Eddie said they could scout the area up there… fly us up there, or we could use the chopper to fly up and drop off. In view of the time criticality we opted to split up the team, with 2 of us taking the chopper to scout the area “south of the dead” and the other group driving up the vehicle to meet us. Keshawn joined me as we loaded up our gear, the desert survival pack, and the PRC70 unit as we planned to probably spend the night while the rest of the team drove. The airport itself was a crazy mismatch of planes, from an F4 Phantom, some strange P38ish type aircraft, to a couple of C130s, some civilian jetliners, and even a massive C-5 Galaxy. People in various uniforms or clothing decorated the area, obviously this was a trade hub or of some kind.

The Helo started with some coaxing, and eventually took flight. The flight up to the area was uneventful. We noted that Ridgecrest seemed to be a pretty intact city, with lights and power. The rest of the landscape was dotted here and there with settlements, and such, becoming more sparse as we journeyed north east past Ridgecrest and Trona.

We reached the area of Ballarat, and there was nothing there. Any building that did exist had obviously been worn away over time. We identified the graveyard from the air, and then began to sweep “south of the dead of Ballarat” following the Windgate road South, looking for anything the MP might use for a Bolt hole.. or something that we are supposed to “see from the air”.

We were about 2km south of Ballarat when both Kesawn and myself saw a flash of metal to the east. We directed the pilot that way to take a closer look. Using the telescopic site on the rifle, I spotted 3 vehicles, and even could tell one was a earthmoving caterpillar type, another was what appeared to be an M2 Bradley, and the third made my blood run cold, as an M113 –AA gun vehicle began to swivel the Minigun into our direction. “Get the hell out of here right now!” But luck was not with us as a burst from the Minigun perforated the Helo. We made a dash southwest, but then a 2nd burst hit the tail rotor, and we were going down. The Helo hit hard, and I found out later that I fractured my left leg in the crash. Keyshawn was thrown clear, and was able to get the pilot, myself, and our gear out the Helo just as the fuel cell went up. He’s shaken, but not severely hurt from the concussion of the diesel fuel igniting.

We estimated that we are about 1 ½ km south west of the vehicles we spotted with a couple of ridgelines between us. With the weather starting to snow, the fire and smoke should be obscured. We patched up Patty, the pilot who had a compound fracture of her right arm, and a nasty bump on the head. Luckily we still had the gear, and we were able to set up the tent for some shelter tonight.
Taking turns on the radio, we attempted to reach the team, who should be coming up to rendezvous with us as soon as they can (tonight or tomorrow depending on weather). While trying to contact them, we intercepted what appears to be a burst transmission coming in very close to our location. It must be from those vehicles we spotted. About 10pm we actually made contact with them as they rolled into Ballarat. I briefed them on what occurred, and Tim said he intercepted the transmissions as well, but the MP computer couldn’t decrypt them, so it wasn’t a MP transmission.

Tim said he took a smoke break out in the graveyard, on a hunch from the message referencing the dead of Ballarat. Apparently he took a piss on a gravestone, and it was labeled BRUCE MORROW! Details on the gravestone indicated a MP coordinate location for what must be CA-2 our High desert command Team. The coordinates locate to the area that we spotted the vehicles in, and it can’t be a coincidence.

Bruce Morrow Grave Stone at Ballarat Ca

Bruce Morrow Grave Stone at Ballarat Ca

Bruce Morrow
2nd BN
California Vols

We shall be
Reborn in the
day of atonement

We have to get the team back together, and investigate those vehicles, who they are, and why they are here. In addition we need to get the helo pilot out safely.

Economic Report: Southern California Jan 2161

By , 07/03/2009 10:03 pm

SUBJECT: Economic dependency of Regional Governments
DATE: 1/16/2161
LOCATION: Southern California Region

Compiled by Chief Economics Officer Charlot Jackson


There is a lot of Trade with Bakersfield and the High Desert Federation Towns and the California Coast Republic. Even though the political sides might now like each other, the merchants do and all areas make a large amount from taxes and tariffs on each others goods.


Most of the Taxes take place at the border check points between the governments on the Major connection Highways. All vehicles are forced to pay a “Tax” to travel to each of the areas lands. This tax varies between the governments, with the highest with Bakersfield, and the lowest being with the High Desert Federation.


When the vehicle pays the Tax, it is given a special plate (much like a Old license’s  Plates  that allows the vehicle to travel on assign trade routes (Highways)for a given amount of time.


In theory these Taxes pay for road work on the trade routes, but this is different for each area, with the High Desert roads being in the worse repair.




With the HUGE amount of savage from the Deadlands, people have been looting the Los Angeles area for 150 years now. Because of this, it is big business for all three governments, and quite well organized. Each Government gives special salvage licenses to select companies to operate contracts for goods. These contracts are much sought after as the rewards are great.


It is not unheard of to have competing salvage companies sabotage each others teams or even attack them. Once the Teams leave the civilized lands, anything is up for grabs, though there are alliances and treaties between various companies.


Also some teams are known for cutting deals with local Los Angeles clans or gangs while others just move into an area and take what they want.


As a standard, most Teams are well armed and travel in large caravans then break into smaller teams when in a target area.


Metals (Copper + Steel + Almost anything else), Car Parts, Machinery, Heavy Manufacture Equipment, Computers, pumps, weapons, aircraft, tires, ect.


Because of this, there is not a lot of heavy industry in the civilized Lands as most of it has been taken from the Los Angeles area and no one has needed to make car parts or other machined parts.


Another side effect of this is that Most working electrical items are now made up of many different parts of different time periods and equipment. So a working radio might be made up of 3 to 4 different pre war radios. This is a nightmare for support, but there is many a handy man who makes there livings from knowing what parts go with what equipment.


 Bakersfield survived the war with a large surplus of refugees from Los Angeles Area who in time functioned as SERF slave labor. This means the large farms around Bakersfield are run much like the old southern slave plantations in character so manpower is not a problem.

 Thus Bakersfield does not use much in the way of mechanical devices for the plantations even though they do have them if needed.

 Bakersfield also by far is the most populous of the three areas but 60% of the people are serfs so they do not consume much in the way economic goods. The Top 5% of the population, the Bakersfield Elite (The Plantation Families, technical elites, and the Family heads of the council) consume most of the trade goods in the region.

 The Economy is a planed one with a highly conservative  autocratic view point. Because of the tight restrictions on commerce, Bakersfield economy is growing very slowly at best. Many of the middle class are watching all the wealth go to the elite, and are slowly be priced out of the society. This is causing a lot of strain in the society and there is talk of some sort of redress for the middle classes, but it is being fought tooth and nail by the ruling family council.

Bakersfield do have some factories left that combine old prewar equipment to finished lower tech goods

 Examples. Coffee Pots, Shoes, Cloth, wool, cotton, food stuffs, Meat, leather working, some electrical goods (toasters, washing machines (For the Rich Only), simple sowing machines (Foot Powered), Some Light Tools.

They do grow sweet wines as it is to Hot in the central valley to grow good red or white wines.

Because of the control of the Oil wells and the Bakersfield Refinery:
Tires, Oil, Diesel, lubricants, some rubber products.


 The High Desert Federation is a very lose alliance of the Desert Cities. It does not have a per say economic policy as every area has its own rules. The One thing that all HDF members share, is no tariffs within its membership on goods within the HDF.

 The Economic power of the High Desert Federation rests in its Rancher Elites, Its Mining companies, Its High Tech Manufactories, and abundant amount of surplus power from its solar, wind, and geothermal power plants.

 The Major trade good for the High Desert communities is power. Most of the electricity that Bakersfield uses comes from the High Desert, while most of the High Deserts Fuel comes from Bakersfield. This causes large amounts of friction with the politicians, but the agreement has lasted over 150 years.

 It is also the closest to the Los Angeles Area, so it has the greater share of the Salvage goods.

 The High Desert areas also have the largest amount of prewar factories still in operation as climate and the raiding of Los Angeles keep them in operation.

Aircraft are still being “Built / Combined” in the area as well as other higher tech goods. There are factories (like Bakersfield) that combine old prewar goods with modern goods to keep systems in operation such as phone, electrical, radio, and most important water delivery.

 The High Desert was also the site of many secret company projects, research centers, and operational testing grounds scattered around Edwards AFB. Thus one might even find ultra modern equipment mixed in with older equipment.

The High Desert Trades:

Cattle, Horses, Leather Goods, pre war salvage, High Tech equipment, Aircraft, raw metals, power, some food stuffs, some manufactured goods. 


(Area of Coast from Ventura to past San Luis Obispo)

 This is more democratic in nature than the other governments. It still uses the Bill of rites, and the constitution, and most of the business is done by companies or partnerships. In many ways its is a Andrew Jackson styled government with light on government and more on the Citys to run things.

 It does not have the manufactory base of the HDF and is mostly agriculture based in character. Average level of Technology is 1940’s in the countryside and 1980’s in the cities with economies to match.

 San Luis Obispo still has an operational university (The Only one in any of the three governments)which is why the technology level is as high as it still is.

 It is the Major trading route for both Bakersfield and HDF to the outside world vial the Deep Sea Port at Port Hueneme, and Morro Bay.

There is trade with Hawaii, central American countries, and the pacific rim, though this has only really started to become a force in the area within the last 10 years.

 There is always the thorny issue of the pirates operating on the coast islands, and there leader, Dead John Parsons, but so far most merchants simply pay off the pirates rather than battle them.

 The only source of Coffee, Tea, Cane Sugar come from these trading ships.

The California Coastal Republic Trades:

Horses, Wine (Some of the best California wines before the war were in this area), Leather Goods, pre war salvage, Shipping, Oil, some food stuffs, some light (Pre 1940’s) manufactured goods.

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