Fear in a Handful of Dust
Containing the terminating railway stations for both Bayou Vermillion and the Deseret Combine, the Pony Express main office, a major Helstromme research facility and some of the richest mines in the region, Silver City is the economic powerhouse of the Waste.
Set deep in the Devil’s Teeth mountain range that divides the Republic of Deseret from Back Yonder, Silver City itself straddles the Rio Plata near its source, allowing for easy and quick transportation of resources from the city to river and lakeside communities in Back Yonder. The city has some 10,000 permanent inhabitants, not including those who live in surrounding towns and farms, seasonal workers, or the substantial Nephilim slave population.
Known for being one of the few cities in the Waste for having a substantial number of stone buildings (only Deseret City can boast more), Silver City is also notable in that it has an urban infrastructure to speak of – not only are the streets cleaned and maintained by a group of men in the employ of the local governments, but the city also maintains a sophisticated (and reasonably priced) system of trolley-cars throughout.
POINT 1: Town Hall
Administered by the Honourable Mayor Galveston, this is the seat of government for Silver City and its environs. Although called “Mayor”, Galveston’s clout compares easily with the Prophet of the Republic of Deseret or that of the heads of the major technological combines. Needless to say he is a busy man and does not see visitors lightly. However, visitors are welcome to explore the public galleries of the Town Hall at their leisure, and may take pleasure in the historical murals that decorate the walls.
POINT 2: Courts and Sheriff’s Office
Overseen by a group of five elderly judges known collectively as the “Quorum”, Silver City’s judiciary is famous, both for its conservatism and the punishments it bestows (one must confess that they have a rather Old Testament character to them). Thankfully, Silver City’s Sheriff, Tyler James, is both fair and eminently reasonable… as long, of course, you pay the right price.
Sheriff James has also deputised a number of underlings who keep order in the city, with varying degrees of success. As Sheriff James likes to point out, “No point gilding a turd”, and it appears his deputies share the same sentiment.
POINT 3: Pony Express Office
The headquarters of the Pony Express, the head office is in a walled compound at the eastern end of Mission Street. Being at the junction of the two major rail-lines, this is also the busiest office in the Waste, employing fifteen administrative staff in addition to the Postmaster General and a variable number of bonded Expressman.
The Postmaster General is a wily old Mestee by the name of Tacitus James. Unsurprisingly, he’s one of the most powerful men in town – so powerful in fact, that he managed to get his good-for-nothin’ dipshit of a nephew promoted to Sheriff. However, word has it that he doesn’t care for the fellow much, and only performed the favour to honour the dying wish of his dead brother.
POINT 4: Workers’ Camps
“Worker’s Camps” are a nice way of describing the slave pits. Criminals who avoid the death penalty almost invariably find themselves in the camps, working off their debt to society alongside thousands of enslaved Nephilim from the hill tribes. The camps themselves, though administered by the judiciary and and combines, are run by Nephilim overseers – administrators are quick to assess which Nephilim have the most clout amongst their peers, and then coddle them accordingly in order to guarantee their loyalty.
And if their loyalty can’t be bought? Well, the Rio Plata runs deep and cold.
POINT 5: Mission Street
The primary commercial strip in Silver City, it contains the regional offices of Bayou Vermillion, Deseret Combine and Helstromme, as well as a large number of shopfronts and services of all kinds. If you need a lawyer, a doctor or to rob a bank, this is the place to go.
POINT 6: Dockside
Given that Silver City straddles the source of the Rio Plata, Dockside is primarily for goods leaving the city rather than entering it. Nonetheless, small boats occasionally punt up the river to ply their wares. Dockside is also the home to much of Silver City’s black market activity; the area sustains a healthy number of thieves, cutthroats and mercenaries for hire. Visitors should watch their wallets and their lives (but not the former at the expense of the latter).
POINT 7: The Seven-Pointed Star
Silver City’s finest casino. Although gambling is legal everywhere in Silver City, the Seven-Pointed Star is the grandest and most decadent. Upholstered in gold and red, festooned with feathers and attended by bar wenches wearing very little, it is certainly the de rigueur establishment for lushes, sybarites and reprobates from all over.
Run by the enigmatic (and some say slightly batty) Jefferson Anders, the casino stays open come rain, hail or crime.
POINT 8: Sheb’s Saloon
Not as glamorous as some, nor as dangerous as others, Sheb’s Saloon is only remarkable because it is run by Sheb, a slow mutie recently arrived from Wyatt’s Chapel. Seems like a nice enough fellow, though he refuses to speak about what happened in Wyatt’s Chapel under any circumstances.
POINT 9: Helstromme Research Facility
Little is known about this facility other than the fact that it is surrounded by guard dogs and slavering hounds. Helstromme have not been unambiguous regarding their policy concerning visitors.
POINT 10: Van Bernasse Bridge
The main thoroughfare between the southern work camps, the Helstromme facility and the rest of the city, it is heavily guarded by both Helstromme agents and city deputies. Visitors must provide clearance to pass.
NOT ON THE MAP:
Although not shown, the Bayou Vermillion and Deseret Combine trains both terminate a short distance to the north of Silver City, and a coach service transports those who are unable or unwilling to make the trip on foot.