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The Pacific, grim

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About this City Journal

The near future, and my how things have changed...

Entries in this City Journal

logintime

May 12, 2013

After a long time abroad on a research trip to Southeast Asia, Professor Margery Evans was finally heading back to the US. It had been a difficult return flight- layovers at Hong Kong, San Francisco, and Phoenix- and she couldn't wait to get home. As her plane neared its final destination of Yuma International Airport, she glanced out the window and caught a glimpse of her hometown, the suburb of Ligurta Vista:

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As a professor of linguistics, Prof. Evans had spent the last three months studying an under-researched Tai language spoken by a single village named Phong Sec, which lay on the border between northern Laos and southern China:

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As fruitful as the trip had been, Professor Evans was glad to be back in Ligurta Vista and its dry summer heat. Her husband Carl picked her up from the airport and drove her back to their house. Ligurta Vista was merely an outer suburb of Yuma, but one of the fastest growing suburbs in the city. Its suburban homes sprawled out into the desert scrubland, with even more development planned to keep up with the number of people loving in.

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Ligurta Vista's town center was dominated by the Southwestern Arizona University, where Professor Evans and her husband both taught.

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The campus was small but pleasant, with well-tended fields and several decent sports facilities.

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At the main academic building, the university taught over 5,000 students each semester. While many of its academics were considered average, Southwestern Arizona University had two particular strengths: one of the best medical programs in the Southwestern US, via the LS Medical Center; and strong undergraduate programs in sociology, anthropology, and linguistics.

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Over the next few weeks Margery settled back into her home life. Still on academic leave, she spent her days writing up her formal research papers and attending department meetings, while her husband taught courses on East Asian history. On June 9th, she noticed reports that China and Laos had both closed off the border region where Phong Sec was located, officially due to problems with local rebels. This struck her as odd because she hadn't noticed much trouble with rebel groups in that area, but she didn't look very closely into the issue. Her department was locked in an argument with the university administration over funding, and she still had her research results to formally submit.

On June 20th, nearly six weeks since she'd returned, Margery developed a cough. The next day, she felt a little ill as well. She reasoned that it was probably the flu, which despite being out of season, had been going around on campus. So she took some Benedril and went back to work.

On June 23rd, she had a fever. Her husband Carl insisted she go see a doctor, but Margery insisted she was fine. She was only 47 and in good health; she could handle the flu. But when he continued to press, she agreed to see a doctor if she felt any worse tomorrow.

On June 24th, she was dead.

An autopsy should have taken place, but a problematic employee at the local hospital decided to skip the procedure so he could leave early that day. He fudged his work and listed the official reason as complications due to influenza. After a brief funeral, her body was laid to rest at the local cemetery on the edge of town, overlooking a seasonal creek:

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And that might of been the end of it, if all she'd had was the flu. Or if the hospital employee had conducted a proper autopsy. Or even if Margery, while she was still in life, had reached out to her contacts in Laos to find out what was going on there. But none of these things happened.

For a week, things were the same in Ligurta Vista as they'd always been. Then one Monday a handful of people came to the medical center complaining of a severe flu infection. Then a dozen came. Then several dozens. And then the waiting rooms were full, and people were standing outside waiting to be let in...

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And what was happening in the village of Phong Sec?

The same illness was rapidly infecting people in the village, and throughout that entire region. Fearing a potential pandemic on their hands, both nations had moved fast to clamp down on the problem. The border region was quarantined, with the true reason why being withheld from the media. And military forces were deployed, with authorization to use any means to contain the disease...cj1493.jpg

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Its symptoms looked like the flu. It spread like the flu. But time would show it to be something far, far worse...

logintime

@escilnavia and taliz81: Thanks, both of you!

@hahei: yep! I'll try and go into the backstory for this upcoming chapter.

@benedict: I appreciate the kind words! I'm not as good as some of the CJers on here- really, you guys are all beyond amazing- but I'm hoping the story and the images will segue nicely for readers

CJ Update, and a Teaser for Chapter 2

It's been a lot longer than I would have liked since my last entry. I'll aim to be a bit more consistent with the next several updates, so hopefully there will be a new entry each week for this month.

Also, this marks the beginning of Chapter 2! We're going to dive back to 2013 for these next several entries and explore how the crisis started. I'll have a full entry up tomorrow evening. In the meantime, here are two images from our next town, the Arizonan suburb of Ligurta Vista.

A town overview:

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And an up-close look at part of its commercial area:

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logintime

Welcome back. Let's take a brief respite from the Pacific and head over to the other side of the world.

Broekhaven, The Netherlands, 2012.

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Originally settled by Frisian farmers in the 9th Century, and later inhabited by numerous German settlers before it ultimately was absorbed into the greater Dutch culture in the 1700's, Broekhaven displayed a variety of cultural influences.

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The city was the second-largest urban area in the northeastern part of the Netherlands, and the relative proximity to Groningen was a great plus to its economy. Broekhaven's busy downtown held a number of well-preserved timber frame buildings which had been converted into offices and shops. They were lovingly tended to and quite famous in the area as some of the best examples of older architecture in the region.

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Elsewhere, on the outskirts of town, were fertile farmlands which stretched on throughout the decidedly rural Groningen province. On a hill overlooking the local farms was the Verhagen estate, named after the wealthy family for whom it was built more than ninety years previously.

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At night, the narrow streets of downtown Broekhaven bustled with local traffic.

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The suburbs, meanwhile, possessed a quaint and low-key feel.

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Yes, Broekhaven was a lovely city, with a great location almost equidistant from Amsterdam and Hamburg. With its lush surrounding farmland, the cool breezes coming off from the coast, and a quaint Old-World charm, Broekhaven offered a great standard of living for most of its inhabitants.

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But of course, not all good times could last...

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Broekhaven, 2025. Broken. Abandoned. Its prized timber frames, once so well preserved, now quickly falling to decay.

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At night the city is pitch black, with not a single light to be seen.

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And by day, Broekhaven sits as an empty husk of its former self. Like Jefferson, California, it is deathly silent. There are no people. There are no cars. There is no sign of human life anywhere to be found.

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It seems like there is nothing left in this town. Maybe we should move on to somewhere else- wait, did you see that? Look, over on the hill by the Verhagen estate! I see signs of movement!

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Wait...

It isn't...

It can't possibly be...

Oh no, zombies!

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See you all next week

logintime

Replies:

@tsimmer77: thanks!

@a_muses: It was actually intentional, but I got the idea from a previous city where I kinda didn't realize the power plant was aging until it was far too late... I might be a bad mayor....

@escilnavia: I'm glad you liked it. I've got a couple ideas on where to take this journal. The next entry should (hopefully) have the first large story reveal

@Benedict: Much appreciated! I was nervous about using all Maxis, so I'm glad it went over well.

CJ Update:

I apologize for the delay with this next entry. Real life caught up with me this week, so I haven't had as much time as I'd like to update. Hopefully by this thursday or friday, part 3 will be ready to go and posted. In the meantime, I thought I'd put up a teaser from the upcoming entry! I'm taking a one-time excursion away from the Pacific and over to Europe, so here are two shots from Broekhaven, a town near the Dutch-German border:

On the edge of town:

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And part of Broekhaven's town centre at night:

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Hope to have the rest up for you all soon!

logintime

Replies:

@Benedict: Thanks for the kind words! 1.gif

@Fbi123: Um, I'm not sure what you are referring to. I don't think this CJ has any relation to Liberty City or any of the GTA games...

(Foreword: Please forgive this entry for being made almost entirely with Maxis content. I decided to go with it as it fit with the narrative of this particular CJ entry, but I can safely say that all entries going forward from here will be primarily custom content.)

Something Wicked this Way Comes

Let's go back a bit and visit Jefferson, California! The year was 2013, and Jefferson was the third largest city in California, with a highly-developed downtown area and well over three million people in its metro region.

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Situated on a small harbor, it was the largest urban area between San Francisco and Portland, and a hub for the entire Northern California area.

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In fact, as part of former Gov. Schwarzenegger's government reforms passed in mid-2008, the state capitol was moved to Jefferson in 2012, over Sacramento's very vocal protests.

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Life in Jefferson was always busy. Cars lined the city's steep hills, and on every block you could see people out and about. With its thriving economy and very agreeable climate, Jefferson's future looked very bright indeed.

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But that was then, and this? This is now....

Jefferson, California: 2025.

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Today, the city sits empty, devoid of people. But for the wind and the sound of the sea, it is eerily quiet.

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Many of the buildings in Jefferson are beginning to crumble from years of neglect.

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Cars no longer drive upon Jefferson's decaying streets...

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And when fires break out in the abandoned buildings, there are no people around to put them out...

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Where has everyone gone?

logintime

Welcome to Namane, a tiny Japanese village in the mountains of Akita Prefecture!

Namane has gone through many ups and downs over the last several years. For most of the 90's and early 00's its population shrank dramatically, but today the number of inhabitants is on the rebound. Over one hundred fifty people call this place home.

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The central fixture of the village is the Ashikagawa monastery. A traditional Buddhist retreat, it has been used for hundreds of years to teach new students. While at one point the monastery was in danger of falling into disrepair, today Buddhism is undergoing a strong revival in Namane. The Ashikagawa monastery is the heart and soul of the village, and the place where most social gatherings occur.

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During the 80's and the 90's, the majority of the men in Namane were employed at the cement production facility over at the town of Ugonagatoro, six kilometers down the road. Today however, the vast majority of the village works in either the security industry or in rice farming.

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Namane is remarkably isolated. A single generator on the southern side provides electricity to most of the village. Since the power supply is limited, villagers use their lights and utilities sparingly...

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...and the road that used to lead down the valley into Ugonagatoro is no longer traversable. Over the years it has fallen into disrepair, and the asphalt at one end has been ripped up and slowly overgrown by grasses.

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Life in Namane is peaceful and slow. The air is clean, the summers hot and humid, and the winters cold and snowy. The locals spend most of their days tending to the surrounding rice fields. It is a calm and quiet place...

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But, wait- what's this?!? Why is there a guard tower at the edge of the village? And what's with the cement walls?

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What is going on here?

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logintime

Welcome to The Pacific, grimly....

This CJ mostly takes place in the near future; as you can imagine, a lot has changed in the ensuing decade or two. It will be focusing on a number of different regions around the Pacific basin, and what's going on in their pockets of the world. My goal is to update about once a week, though that pace might slow down a bit later on. Hopefully, you'll see an overarching narrative emerge around Chapter 3.

I'll be using several different terrain mods, mostly from Heblem (Yucatan and Chihuahua) and Cycledogg (Painted Desert and Columbus Terrain), and as many of the items on my plugin list as I can muster.

I hope you enjoy this city journal- it's actually my first CJ. Feel free to comment if you have any thoughts or suggestions! 1.gif

And to leave off, here's a teaser image from the next entry: the local cemetery at the Japanese village of Namane...

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