2322 –2471 The Shadow Years
Colorado was not spared the destruction of the Apocalypse. Both Denver and Colorado Springs were targeted with Thermonuclear fusion missiles. Norad, The North American Air Defense Command Headquarters deep in the bowels of Cheyenne Mountain, once thought to be safe from a nuclear attack endured wave after wave of missile attacks. Every day for three weeks ballistic missiles with multiple fusion warheads impacted on Cheyenne mountain. The complex survived for nine days, and on the ninth day Norad simply vanished, turned into a ball of superheated plasma and slag from one more direct strike. On the twenty-second day, when the last ICBM struck, there was a crater approximately 6 kilometers in diameter, and a kilometer deep where Cheyenne mountain once stood. In later years the radioactive crater filled with water, a water that glows and illuminates the surrounding area with light at night to this day. Most mutants cannot survive long here, so strong is the radiation.
Fort Carson, Pete Field, The Air Force Academy, and The Space Command were leveled with missile strikes as well. One full brigade of cavalry, along with the special forces detachment, and some airmobile elements of the 4th mechanized infantry Division were away from Fort Carson on maneuvers near Pueblo in the beginning. After the first attack, the combat units moved north to render aid to refugees and civilian casualties. Later, when they themselves began to run out of food and supplies, the Brigade commander ordered all the surviving members of the Brigade into the high country. They went into the mountains west of Colorado Springs. The first winter was terrible. More than seventy percent of the Brigade sized strike force died of starvation, from disease, in fighting with locals, or from freezing in the first nuclear winter that lasted four years.
In May of the fifth year after the apocalypse the temperature broke freezing, and although the summer was cold and rainy a small crop was raised in the short two month growing season with help from the Mech Lands at Pueblo. Only four hundred men remained from the original combat force. About a thousand refugees had survived as well, civilian men, women, and children that had joined the 274th Special Forces Detachment, and the 1-4, the 1st Brigade, of the 4th Infantry Division. The combat command had made their way west over Wilkerson pass and they had built a base camp in the South Park just south of eleven-mile reservoir. The little town that sprung up here came to be known as Eleven-mile Camp.
In the sixth year the super plagues began, biogenetic strains of viruses that mutated, or that mutated their hosts. The plagues swept through the front range of Colorado and scythed through the isolated mountain communities killed 95 out of every 100 people remaining. The plagues also mutated about 1 out of every 100 people as well. The mutants, if their mutation was obvious, were exiled from the 1-4 communities out of fear from further contamination.
In the eleventh year, 2321 the biogenetic and thermonuclear attacks stopped. The attackers dead, or their weaponry exhausted. A short quiet peace ensued as the survivors gathered or migrated to build new communities.
The Brigade, only 300 strong now, still having the best weapons and firepower around, quickly consolidated their hold on their territory which stretched Through The North Park and South Park areas, East to Woodland Park, North to Hoosier Pass and South to Four Mile Creek and West to the Continental Divide They occupied the towns of Woodland Park, Eleven-Mile camp, Cripple Creek, and Deckers. And installed garrisons of militia in these towns that they trained.
It was the long winters that kept the pure strain humans here alive. The cold killed the plagues, and lessened the effects of atmospheric radiation. The great high peaks to the west shielded the mountain valleys from the fallout. In the end, the peoples here remained more or less human, with a high amount of birth defects, and stillborn children, sporadic mutations spontaneously erupting, and just as quickly exiled, and with some increased sterility in the general population, especially among travelers that ventured outside of the enclaves.
The 1-4 had survived 250 strong (From an original strength of 3,245), along with just 25 members of the 274th Special Forces Detachment, and some 1400 members of the civilian population. The 1-4 commander, a Captain in rank from the prewar days was a smart cookie. He was quick to make a mutual protection treaty and alliance with the androids and Artificial Intelligence brains of the mech lands at Pueblo. He received beans, wheat, pinon nuts, and corn, and in exchange, provided pure water from the snow-capped peaks, and the use of the 1-4 as a mercenary defense force. Many, many times in the early years of the shadow years, helicopters and gunships were dispatched from Eleven-Mile camp South to Pueblo to engage some attacking army of refugees, mutants, or even a couple other military units that thought that the Pueblo Mech lands should belong to them. To this day members of the 1-4 are called to go on a rotating duty assignment for two months out of the year to serve as guards, and to conduct search and destroy missions in the areas around the Pueblo Mech lands on the plains.
The 1-4 commander openly declared the entire group as Knights of Genetic Purity after an incident in 2412 where females and young in the community were being kidnapped and mutated, or kidnapped and forced to raise mutants by mutants in other communities surrounding the mountain enclave.
Other areas in Colorado did not do so well. Denver was struck by several waves of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. There are rumors that the Rocky Mountain Arsenal survived. It was once a nuclear weapons research facility, and in the years immediately proceeding the shadow years, it became a defense complex that specialized in AI and robotic warrior design. Little is known though, since so few survivors ever return from the forbidden zones around where the city once stood.
Denver International Airport survived as well, though it was later abandoned for a time in the years of the starvation, and during the plague. Now a small trading community of humans and mutants has sprung up here. Bold adventurers that go into the radioactive wastes in search of treasures, and who lead trade expeditions through the wild zones to other enclaves elsewhere.
Boulder was never abandoned, As one of the only publicly declared Nuclear Free Zones, they did well as they were never selected as a missile target. It helped that the educated and free spirited members of this town opened up and declared Boulder a prejudice free zone as well, welcoming mutants, and biogenetic plague survivors as well. Boulder was never a direct target for the biogenetic plagues, which led to some speculation that it was a command center for the Apocalypse group that started the war. Still the plagues killed hundreds of thousands here, and in the ensuing nuclear winter, many more died of starvation and disease. By the end of the war, only a small group of several thousand remained. Today this population is around 25,000. A Mix of Humans, Mutants, Androids, that live together in relative peace. Boulder is the only town in Colorado that has round the clock power. Weapons of any kind are outlawed in Boulder as the town has declared itself neutral, and has further declared itself as a parley zone in recent years as well, making Boulder a great trading center in Colorado. In addition you can contact just about any cryptic alliance, or political group here at one of the many embassys that have sprung up in the town. Boulder is home for a large group of restorationists, as well as several groups of healers. The only group that is noticeably absent here is the Friends of Entropy, sworn enemies of the Boulderites because the people in the community protect pure strain humans as well as everyone else. Boulder gets power from the Ft. Saint Vrain Nuclear Power Plant (Still operational) and trades power and metals for food with the North Platte Mechland community. Boulder is also a great center of learning as Colorado University is still open, with a vast library of books, documents, and information carefully guarded by the restorationists.
To the west of Boulder is the genetically mixed communities of Idaho Springs, a strong mining community, and the twin towns, Blackhawk, and Central City, Dens of iniquity where gambling and outlaw activity are encouraged.
Further west is Roads’ End where I-70 ends. Here, Eisenhower Tunnel collapsed cutting off the mountain communities to the west.
Further West of Roads’ End are Dillon andVail, predominantly Mutant communities that are almost continuosly at war with the 1-4 to the south. Border skirmishes and raids are common across Hoosier pass at all times during the summer or winter, and this is dangerous ground for anyone to be traveling in, almost as dangerous as the dead forbidden zones in the fallout of Denver and Colorado Springs.
In between the two dead zones is Castle Rock, and Monument, two strong Mutant communities. Humans without any obvious mutation are in peril traveling in this area without a strong escort of friendly mutants.
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Dirk T. Collins. All Rights Reserved
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