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About this City Journal

The Jahono Territory. A remote region largely ignored by its owning country, this pristine landscape has been solely occupied by a small town named Cypress Creek for many years. But change...

Entries in this City Journal

HalcyonSpirit

Flaming Rage

Cypress Creek had also been on an expanding spree during Benzoate's growth spurt.  The western half of the city was proving to be a popular area for new immigrants.  Both Michele and Jason agreed that it needed to be capitalized upon using the open land separating much of the already developed housing from the businesses near the Dessan River.  The construction began in the fall, and by the spring a whole new section of the city was complete.

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The majority of the new buildings were already fully occupied by the time the flowers and trees were in full bloom.  It was a testament to the efficiency of the construction workers, to be sure, but even more so to the simplistic construction methods mandated by Michele.  While the buildings kept up the necessary safety standards, the designs were simple and unvarying for many of the new buildings so that more could be built in such a short time.  It was extremely obvious with some of the apartment buildings sprouting to the south, but the smaller homes were also showing these characteristics.  It didn't please Jason's sense of aesthetics, but he could definitely appreciate the efficiency it brought.

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The influx of people to the region left the roads clogged with cars for miles.  The city's infrastructure was starting to show a great need for upgrading, including the power plants.  A new power plant was needed, but too many geothermal plants were already in place; the ground could not support another.  Solar power wouldn't suffice, and oil would be too expensive to import.  There were known coal, oil, and natural gas reserves in the mountains to the west, so until the coal and oil could be unearthed, the easy-to-reach natural gas deposits would be enough to power the city for the immediate future.  The air and water pollution levels throughout the city were rising at an ever-increasing rate, especially with the new power plant operating.

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This didn't concern Michele much, as her mansion was located high above the main city where all the pollution gathered, but the people living there did care, as did the original residents of the mountain village known as Cypress Creek...

It began with the torching of a single building that spread to a nearby warehouse.  No one claimed responsibility, but it was clearly a case of arson.  Thankfully, no one was present at the time and thus no injuries were reported.

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The next day three more buildings fell victim to arson.  This time, however, the attackers deliberately targeted more populated buildings, and three people were injured in the ensuing chaos.

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A week passed without any more incidents.  And then, at approximately noon, a riot broke out in a side street not far from the downtown train station.  Many buildings were set aflame as the rioters recruited more and more followers of chaos and destruction.  The rioters soon broke up into groups, overtaking the downtown businesses by storm.

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The riot broke out so suddenly, and so many people in the area were taken in by the chanting out against the mayor, that it was almost an hour before police arrived to put an end to the unrest.

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They were far too late to put a quick end to the conflict, however.  Far too late.  It wasn't until late at night when the police were finally able to get an upper hand over the rioters.  That upper hand came in the form of police helicopters, which were put to great effect in rounding up the people involved.  The police spent the rest of the night patrolling the streets, seeking out any stragglers that may have escaped arrest.

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HalcyonSpirit

One month later, I return!

My absence has been a direct result of the end of my senior year of college.  Senior design project, exams, job and housing searches... it's been a busy time.  But summer is here, and since I've been denied having a job for now, I'm free to work on this more!  Woohoo (sorta)!

---------------

Crossing the River

Back in Benzoate, Mayor Vi was tirelessly dealing with the logistics of running a rapidly growing farming community.  Unlike Cypress Creek, she had no planner to defer to when making plans became too complicated.  As such, the continuous growth of the town was stealing more and more of her personal time away from her.  In an effort to streamline the process a bit, she set aside money to construct and operate a census building.  Hopefully it would help her keep track of the town's population, farms and needs.

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It was a simple building, no fancy exterior or interior.  The townsfolk greeted the new building with great enthusiasm.  It wasn't the building they were cheering for, however; the people of Benzoate genuinely appreciated their mayor and wanted her to still have a life outside of helping theirs.

The outpouring of support moved Vi.  She couldn't be happier with how the community was so tightly knit.  She knew half the residents personally, and had met nearly all of the rest at least a few times at the newly opened Farmer's Market.

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Her delight led her to finally decide it was time to implement some of the public services that the town was starting to need.  The first to go up was a network of basic medical clinics, followed by elementary schools for the growing child population.  The volunteer fire and police departments were doing a fantastic job already, so Vi saw no need to have either in official forms.

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Unfortunately, while the population of the town was growing, it was the child population, not the working population, that was driving the growth.  The rapid development of Cypress Creek next door was drawing away the commuting workers to jobs inside their own city.  Benzoate was facing a severe shortage of farm workers.  If Benzoate was going to drive off the possibility of degradation new housing would need to be provided.  The town's previous method of development that put small areas of houses near the new farms for the permanent residents just wasn't going to be enough.

Against the wishes of her friends, Vi asked Cypress Creek's planner, Jason, for advice.  She had no idea how much land to put toward the development and what should go with it, and she figured that since they seemed to be on good terms, Jason would help.  If Michele caught wind of it the situation would probably get worse, but she threw caution into the wind and made the call.  The conversation was short and to the point, and when she hung up Vi had her answer.

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The new section of town, nearby the train stations, extended the main part of Benzoate enough that it could effectively be called a downtown.  Vi had followed Jason's advice to the letter and had the expansion crafted specifically to provide a nice place to live for the new residents.  Businesses flourished nearby as well.  The most noticeable addition, though, was the water treatment plant.  When Vi asked Jason for advice, she gave him the newly released census data for review.  He suggested the treatment plant because of the farm pollutants contaminating the water system.  Her closest friends, upon seeing the data for themselves, had to agree with the assessment, and the treatment plant was immediately built within two months.

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The flourishing new section of town brought enough money to the town that Vi decided to make use of the land she had been granted.  Unlike Cypress Creek, Benzoate's official borders extended beyond the banks of the Dessan and to the mountains on the other side.  The soil on the other side was fertile and ripe of farming.  Not wanting to be boxed in by Cypress Creek's rapid expansion to the south, she had two bridges and a ferry system established.

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The newly arrived workers helped with the farmland and road system.  A month passed, then two, and then five months and a harsh winter later, the new agricultural expansion was complete.

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Quite a few of the farms that popped up specialized in things other than food.  Many grew trees for lumber or aesthetic purposes, and some exclusively grew flowers for sale in Cypress Creek.  One flower farm in particular, however, was dedicated to Vi as a gift for her dedication to the townspeople.

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A few months passed, and the town suffered its first great loss.  The pastor of the Phantom Cow Church, the town's predominant religious institution, died after a long fight against cancer.  In honor of the man, Mayor Vi ordered a town cemetery laid out next to the church so that the pastor could rest peacefully next to the religion he helped establish.  All cows that perished in the town would also be buried in the cemetery in the hope that the Phantom Cow would bestow great fortune on the town.

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After the ceremony, Mayor Vi returned to her house and pulled up the news on her TV.  Cypress Creek, as she had feared, was about to suffer from great unrest.  She made preparations for the coming storm...

HalcyonSpirit

Mystery Man

Comrade Thomas, leader of the small village of Vascrenard, hit the ground running in his bid to quickly establish the town as an industrial stronghold.  An engineer at heart, he knew the initial stages of Vascrenard's development would be absolutely crucial to its survival.  His home country would need proof that the town was viable before they would truly support it.  Even if he were to convince the government to support them, any supplies would need to come by sea, and by relatively small ships for quite some time.  The more northern location of the valley also caused him worry, since winters could be brutal and any supply shipments could be delayed by ice.  He would need to make sure the town could survive even without outside help.  Achieving both viability and survivability at the same time would be extremely difficult.  Mayor Thomas immediately called a town meeting to decide on a course of action.

"We should focus on making the town profitable," one advisor commented.  "If we do that, we'll have a constant supply chain from our homeland and we'll never have to worry about providing for ourselves again."

"And if the supply chain is broken at all?  What then?" another advisor asked curtly.

"We'll make sure we always have emergency resources on hand if anything were to delay shipments.  It'll never become a problem!"

Mayor Thomas noted that the residents attending the meeting seemed to largely be in agreement with that idea.  He knew it was a foolish line of thought and needed to put it down quickly.  "And if our government decides not to fund us even with our profitability?  Or if our government, for whatever reason, can't fund us anymore?  What then?"  The looks everyone was giving him were that of slow realization.  "Right, we'd have to go back.  Leave this place behind.  I don't think anyone here wants that.  Let's focus on actions for our survival first."

Pointing out that single fact turned the public's opinion in his favor, and it was soon decided that the logging industry would be beneficial for their survival if things went bad.  More residents were recruited for logging work, and the logging sites became even more active.  Logs that escaped from truckbeds and railcars soon became a common site on the shores of the bay.

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The farmlands were next on the list.  While Mayor Thomas knew that the valley would not be able to support enough farmland to feed the current population, let alone the immigrants still to come, the food they could provide meant that much less needed to be shipped from overseas.

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At the same time, a new area of houses for arriving immigrants was laid out beyond the farmland.  Whenever the main industrial sectors were constructed, the factories would need workers immediately, so having that workforce already there would make it much easier to get everything up and running.  The new citizens of Vascrenard arrived late at night, thus bringing about an unusual midnight rush hour as they traveled to their new homes.

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Mayor Thomas realized that the possibility of nighttime shipments in the future was quite high, and so a lighthouse soon became the centerpiece of the bay area.

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Several months passed.  It would be some time before there was enough material to resume construction of new buildings.  Money was also tight, and some people were beginning to grumble about the lack of services like basic healthcare and schools.  It was then that Mayor Thomas was approached by one of the residents.  He was an older man, easily in his sixties.  He invited the mayor to his house for lunch to speak of matters concerning the town.  When he got there, Mayor Thomas took one look at the man's house and realized just what kind of person he was.

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Over lunch, the man explained how he wanted to live in Vascrenard for the rest of his life, and would devote his financial wealth to making sure that happened as long as the town agreed to having some limitations placed on it.  A compromise to benefit both parties.  The mayor wanted assurances of his sincerity, however.  The man, unfazed, sent out a request for a shipment of materials the very next day.  A month later the ship arrived, and the materials unloaded.

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The materials were for an extension of the railways to the new residential community and, more significantly, a new natural gas power plant!  The town had been straining the portable geothermal generators for quite some time, and so the new power plant couldn't have come soon enough.

The town advisors, seeing this and having been briefed by the mayor about the deal, practically forced the mayor to sign the deal before he could even have a chance to go through the formalities involved.  At the same time, new shipments were finally arriving from the homeland and new factories began churning out products for use by the town.  A landfill was finally zoned due to the rapid increase in waste products building up in the town from the new factories.

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Mayor Thomas, seeing two things come together at once, had a feeling that Vascrenard had a very bright future ahead of it...

HalcyonSpirit

Construction in the new industrial sector began almost as soon as it was zoned.  Despite the downturn in residential immigrants, industries were finding Cypress Creek a highly desirable place to set up factories.  Since Jahono was only a territory, no federal taxes applied to the industries, and so producing products was far cheaper even with the greater distance the goods had to travel.  As such, it was imperative that the railways and shipyard be able to handle ship the goods without incident.  Jason knew the new freight yard would make that task much easier, but the seaport was another story.

 
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The seaport was the main link to the outside world for the factories in Cypress.  The recent expansions of the city were taking a toll on the workers, and the seaport had fallen into disrepair.  Jason recognized the need for a new port, one more capable of handling the rapidly growing industry.  He brought the issue to city hall for review to pick a site for the new port.  Although Mayor Michele had entrusted him with the power to make unilateral decisions regarding planning and construction, he found such power unsettling.
 
Ultimately, the city council approved of his recommendation that the Dessan River be widened and the new seaport be constructed behind the two bridges connecting the new development to the rest of Cypress.
 
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Like many other large construction projects, Jason had the seaport be constructed almost entirely out of prefabricated parts so that the project would be completely quickly and efficiently.  Within a month, the new port was ready and the first shipments loaded for transport.
 
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Meanwhile, during the construction process, Jason approached Michele with a proposal.  Guessing she wanted to quickly develop the opposite shore of the Dessan River, he brought forth his own proposal of how to do so.  Truthfully, although he liked Michele, he wasn't the biggest fan of her planning skills.  He asked that he be given some breathing room in planning this new section of town.  He wanted to experiment with some planning techniques that could substantially increase the amount of money flowing into the town's coffers.  It was a proposition Michele jumped on with such enthusiasm that she didn't bother to hear the actual plan before approving it whole thing.
 
With approval in hand, he set about putting the whole thing together.  His idea was simple: the reason for the downturn in the immigration rate was mainly due to a lack of jobs available.  The quick residential development without properly increasing the commercial and industrial jobs available led to people not being able to find work before attempting to move.  So they never did.  Not only that, but resources were becoming scarce; imports through the single seaport couldn't keep up with demand and the factories didn't have the capacity to meet the rest.  The solution, naturally, was to better plan for the future.  The first step would be putting enough jobs out there so that businesses would be actively looking for workers.  The additional resources needed could be met using the new seaport.  It would cut into the city's profits, but the added demand would more than make up for it.  He was sure Michele would understand.
 
The first commercial district on the west bank of the Dessan River was prepared for development in short order.  It primarily consisted of the usual zoning, but he incorporated some plaza areas as well.  He wanted to see how such recreational areas would affect the district.
 
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The main aspect was the food court of sorts toward the southern edge.  While small and simple, it was clearly attracting attention from the local businesses.  Customers and workers alike could gather in the area, which made it an ideal place for customers to gather and businesses to advertise.
 
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Michele was the first to see the local businesses' income statistics in the weeks following the initial surge of construction.  Compared to the surrounding area, those businesses around that plaza were far, far, far more profitable.  The customers also reported being happier overall.  Michele, upon seeing this, asked that Jason attempt the same on a larger scale.  She wanted him to expand the commercial district to the west with a much larger plaza in the center.  It was not in Jason's original plan, but he obliged.
 
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The newest businesses fared just as well.  The plaza certainly cost the town money, but the added income it brought the businesses would certainly attract further interest in Cypress Creek.  Ultimately, that pleased Michele even more than the money itself ever could.
 
For Jason, however, his experiment was a success for commerce purposes, but what of the residents?  Would adding more recreational areas have a similar effect?  The people certainly were crying out that this was the case, but such cries left Michele... unswayed.  He needed concrete proof, and he had the leeway to get it.
 
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The attempt was small, but the effect was noticeable.  The people in the vicinity were happier, and the businesses nearby flourished as a result.  He would be sure to incorporate it into his planning in the future... so long as Michele approved of it.
 
Surprisingly, she wasn't thrilled by his request that all future residential developments have a park system nearby.  When he pointed out that the decay other parts of Cypress were suffering from, likely due in park to the lack of recreational opportunities nearby cheering up the citizens...
 
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... Michele practically dismissed him out of hand!  "The people can get by on very little.  We don't need to hold their hands while they find something to do for fun!" was her response.
 
Undeterred, Jason still wanted to test what he saw again.  Unfortunately, it was quite apparent that Michele would never go for it.  Even after being granted some space to test theories he had, she could still shoot down anything he proposed if she felt like it.  He needed to disguise it somehow...
 
His opportunity presented itself when Michele came to him with a large housing project she wanted him to handle that let more people move into the region.  When he looked at her plans, it obviously didn't include any parks whatsoever.  He asked that he be allowed to put some in.  When she wholeheartedly objected, he said it was a little something for himself and her.  He wanted to move into that part of town, and so he wanted a place to relax away from home when he wasn't working, and she could do so as well.
 
Jason didn't exactly expect Michele's response to be so... overwhelmingly approving.  Still it was a victory for him; he'd take it, even if it was done a tad underhandedly.  Not wasting any time (and before Michele could change her mind), he finalized the plans and had the construction workers lay it down.  Now that the commercial and industrial sectors had recovered, the immigrants were pouring in again.
 
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He built a trail park through a part of the area, which extended to the ferry dock on the south side and ran right behind his new house on the river's edge.
 
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The trail definitely was a perk of the deal.  While its primary purpose was to continue testing his theories concerning city-planning, he would certainly enjoy having it at his own disposal whenever he liked.
 
As he looked back upon the past four months, he realized just how much Cypress Creek had grown.  While he hated to raise himself up, he had to admit, he was one of the main reasons it was a reality.  Cypress Creek was no longer a backwater town in the middle of nowhere.  Cypress Creek was now a city in its own right.
 
A city in the middle of nowhere, of course.
 
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HalcyonSpirit

Moving West

Cypress Creek's city planner, Jason, found it to be relatively easy to find the problems causing so much trouble: funding.  Budget cuts early in the town's history had never been reversed, leaving a substantial hole in public service funding.  He had never thought to check the funding levels during the town's rapid expansion, and his oversight had left the town without healthcare workers and a prisoner population that escaped temporarily.  Berating himself over the mistake, he brought the issue to the attention to Michele, who promptly fixed it.  Additionally, he proposed having several new medical buildings built, plus a prison for future criminal incarceration.  The mayor approved the prison but refused to build any new medical clinics for the time being.  In her eyes there wasn't a need, since with the extra funding the capacity problem was already fixed.

 
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Determined not to make the same mistake, Jason refused to continue with any further expansion until a complete overview of the town's situation was completed.  A census taken the previous year provided him with additional information regarding the state of the town.

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Crime was definitely becoming an issue; he'd have to put some effort into containing the problem in the near future.  Traffic, despite the spread-out nature of the town, was still adequately low.  Some problem areas were popping up, sp he made of note to address it quickly.  The education system was particularly worrisome, however.  He respected Mayor Michele's decisions, but her refusal to implement any education system beyond grade-school levels bothered him.  He knew the town would stagnate at some point without an educated workforce, but he couldn't convince Michele of that fact.  What was she thinking?
 
Regardless, the budget appeared to be fine beyond the initial healthcare fiasco.  He made his report to Michele the next day, and with it he recommended a mass transit system be implemented before the roads became congested beyond use.  He also put forward a proposal to begin construction of recreational facilities to help placate the citizens; the town's lack of them was starting to show in the citizens' expressions as they walked about the town.  Mayor Michele passed the mass transit proposal without argument, and merely stated that the recreational facilities were to only use undeveloped land, be low-cost, and low-maintenance.
 
The transit system was the simplest to put together.  Jason put through a mass order of prefabricated bus stop stations and had them distributed throughout the town.
 
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The recreational facilities were going to be a greater issue.  He laid down a small park area in one of the residential areas that had not yet developed, but found that undeveloped areas elsewhere were in short supply.  Working with what he had, he engineered a holdover plan while better solutions were implemented: trees.  Lots and lots of trees.  Many of the low-density residential areas had unzoned land between rows of houses.  Trees were transplanted into these grounds in short order to give Cypress Creek a less harsh feel to it.  Even the "historic" section of town was given trees for transplantation, though Michele had them plant the trees themselves due to the agreement that Mayor Michele would not force the people living up there to build anything they didn't want.  She obviously extended that policy to all aspects of her decisions.
 
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With those improvements to the town completed, Jason gave Michele the go-ahead for any further expansions of Cypress Creek.  When Michele heard that, she was elated.  Immediately she scheduled a meeting with Benzoate mayor Vi.  Jason sat in on the meeting, but did not participate.  After going through the ceremonial greeting process that must occur when two mayors meet, Michele quickly laid out her desires to Vi.  She wanted permission from the farmland mayor to expand Cypress Creek inside Benzoate's borders.  Benzoate's southern border with Cypress Creek was a considerable distance away from the actual town of Benzoate, and Michele wished to utilize the extra land.  She promised Mayor Vi that 60% of any revenue generated within Benzoate would go to her town, rather than Cypress Creek.  Michele believed this was a reasonable deal.
 
Mayor Vi, on the other hand, was less than thrilled.
 
As she explained to Michele, she had a very specific setting in mind for Benzoate, one placing natural beauty over money and population.  Michele's cruder methods of construction were not welcome within her borders.  Mayor Michele, frustrated with the answer she got, left the meeting as politely as she could manage - not very, from Jason's viewpoint.  He exchanged a few words with Mayor Vi following Michele's exit:
 
"You know, I could probably design the town to your liking if you let us build here," he said.
"Maybe, but I just don't like her very much.  I wouldn't let her greedy hands into my home even if you were restraining her," was Vi's reply.
 
Jason merely smiled at the comment.  He took his leave after giving Mayor Vi a formal farewell for both himself and Mayor Michele.
 
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Cypress Creek's land ownership only extended to the rivers surrounding the mountain.  Legally, they were not permitted to develop on the other sides of the rivers, nor were they legally allowed to develop the mountain due to Michele's agreement with the original residents.  With Vi rejecting their desire to build into Benzoate, Cypress Creek was effectively cut off from further expansion.
 
Legally.
 
Jahono was merely a territory owned by the country's government.  The government had no actual presence there, and would likely not find out about any legal transgressions until long after they were committed.  Michele wasn't stupid; as long as she didn't overtly announce the expansion, no one in the outside world would likely find out.  She could then take her time in applying for the purchase of the land beyond the rivers while continuing her town's expansion westward.
 
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Jason had reservations about the plan, but he ultimately gave in to Michele's pressuring.  By the following year, a road bridge to the west was completed and the foundations of the new section of Cypress Creek were laid down.  Two ferry docks were also put down to assist transit across the river.
 
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The new expansion would be industrial; since residential growth had stalled, Jason surmised that they would need to attract more jobs to the area.  The added industrial base would be a good jump-start for the town.
HalcyonSpirit

Meanwhile, elsewhere in Jahono...

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A small bay, at the entrance to one of the many valleys within Jahono, had always been one missed by surveyors.  The valley was small, and the bay was the home of many marine animals seeking shelter from the powerful storms that frequented the region.

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And then an unexpected group of visitors sailed into the bay.  It was a cargo ship filled to the brim with supplies destined for the shore of the bay.  When the ship made landfall, the passengers onboard carved out the lowland marshes to extend the bay further inland.  They then set up a dock for their ship and for the ships already on their way.  The colonization had begun.

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Before the immigrants arrived, however, the town needed to be constructed.  A small logging operation was quickly established on the nearby mountain.  Several logging sites were run at once to provide enough material for the town.  A hunting lodge was also constructed nearby a hot spring for the early-arriving workers so they would have enough food until farms were planted.

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After a long year of tireless working, the town was ready for the first immigrants, who came shortly thereafter.  The massive influx of people provided enough of a workforce to complete the commercial, industrial and agricultural buildings.  The ships carrying these people also carried with them a portable geothermal generator capable of powering the town until a more powerful plant could be constructed.

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A year later, the town was already bustling with activity.  The town was created for the purpose of eventually supplying other regions of the world with resources, including lumber, and the citizens of the town were preparing to fulfill that duty.  The dock was expanded so it could handle larger ships, and the construction of a railroad was begun, which would provide transportation to future, larger logging operations as well as eventually connect to the world via a land route.

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It was at this point of expansion that a formal government for the as-of-yet unnamed village was to be formed.  Lacking a government building, the residents convened at the hunting lodge up on the mountain to discuss the town's administration.  It was there that the town was finally given a name and a mayor.

The town's name was to be Vascrenard.  As for the mayor, he was an individual living in a small, green house in the middle of town.

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He was known only as... Comrade Thomas.

HalcyonSpirit

Cypress Creek's troubles did not go unnoticed by Benzoate's mayor.  The morning after the news broke, she was all smiles as she strode along the tree-lined streets.  When asked for her comments on the mini-crisis by reporters from the Daily Chronicle, her grin spread and she merely said, "Serves her right for treating her citizens like dollar bills."  She then continued on her daily walk, taking in the autumn beauty.

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Despite her disapproval of Mayor Michele's mayoring ability, Vi saw fit to help Cypress Creek's people.  She made a public announcement that afternoon that Benzoate would be expanding its farmland significantly over the autumn and winter months to help accommodate her growing neighbor's dietary needs.  Some new housing would also be established for anyone in Cypress Creek that wished to move in and experience the more simplistic life Benzoate had to offer.  The announcement, many felt, was a thinly-veiled attack on Michele's mayoring ability, as actively offering new homes to people in Cypress Creek would likely result in showing Michele that many people in her town were more than willing to move out.

True to her word, Mayor Vi quickly set about laying down the framework of the new farmland.  Always conscious of the town's feel, she worked with the current residents to plan the roadwork and plant the trees that would line most of the streets.  She would not allow her town to fall prey to the efficiency of grid farmland, preferring instead to keep the town's calming appeal by having the roads turn and follow the contours of the land.  By the end of the season, the entire expansion was ready for development.

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Development rights for the new land were completely exhausted within days; demand for the new farms was high in Cypress Creek, and many of its citizens did indeed readily abandon their former town in favor of Benzoate.  While this was no surprise to Vi (in fact, it was very pleasing to her), her encounter halfway through the winter did come as a surprise.  While walking through the streets, she happened upon Jason, Mayor Michele's city-planner, surveying the town.  Having met him once before at an intercity meeting, she knew he was probably there on his own accord.  This brief exchange occurred:

"What are you doing here, Jason?"

"Michele wants me to lay out parks and other services for Cypress.  You seem to know something about it, so I'm looking at your handiwork."

"You're not actually supposed to be here, are you?"

"Nope."

"Well, good luck, then."

Vi could see he was reluctant to speak more on the matter, so she left him to his work.  She was, however, left wondering why he was working for such a money-loving mayor; he seemed so much nicer than his leader at the intercity meeting!

Spring finally came to Benzoate, and a large portion of the expansion was already fully developed, with more farms in the process of being laid down.

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Realizing the importance of organizing the farming activities in her town, Mayor Vi established the Department of Agriculture in the southwestern end of the town, near the rail depot.  A small business for renting out farming equipment was created by the department soon after.  She also hired a small group of veterinarians to found an animal health center for the farm animals that would inevitably become sick.  Mayor Vi had her mayor's house built directly next to the veterinary clinic; when asked why, she simply responded with "I like cows!"

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Much to her pleasure, several cattle ranches had settled into her town, and Vi could often be found at these various ranches, spending time with the cows.  She was even the first to report a sighting of what would become known as the infamous "phantom cows."  No one has ever been able to confirm or deny the existence of these phantoms, but just a few months after their initial sighting by Mayor Vi, the people of Benzoate founded the first House of Worship in honor of the phantom cows.  Mayor Vi's involvement in the faith was unclear, though she was a primary benefactor in the building of the church.

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By autumn, the entire town's expansion had been completed.

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The town's agricultural dominance in the Jahono territory was firmly entrenched.  This, while enviable, was not the direction Mayor Michele wanted to take Cypress Creek.  She was content in letting Benzoate provide much of her city's farming needs while she continued to march forward in a completely different direction...

HalcyonSpirit

Mayor Michele didn't take too kindly to the founding of Benzoate right next to Cypress Creek's borders.  Without permission from Benzoate's mayor, Vi, Cypress Creek would not be able to expand to the north.  Despite her town's rapidly-growing population, she was not in a good position to bargain with Mayor Vi over development rights.  She set out to correct this.

Enter Jason, a 22-year-old middle-class worker and recent immigrant into the town.  He wasn't extraordinary in any sense, but Mayor Michele took quite an interest in him.  Jason had been attending the weekly administration meetings at town hall for several months and was already an outspoken citizen among the spectators.  He would often make suggestions to the town council and even to Michele herself concerning the development of the city.  At first he was mostly ignored, but as the months passed even Michele began to see some merit in his thoughts.  The most recent expansion of town - specifically the downtown area - was largely based on Jason's proposals, and it was a booming success.  Michele saw in him a reliable planner for her city and offered him a job as head of the city planning department.  He agreed, and was given a nice single-person home nearby the town hall as a gift.

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Michele announced his appointment at an administrative meeting, detailing his job duties as "serving Cypress Creek's needs by providing the most efficient infrastructure and zoning plans."  Behind closed doors, however, Michele gave him a higher set of instructions that overrode his official role in most cases: "plan the city to put as much money as possible into the city's coffers" was her words to him.

Jason immediately put himself to work.  His initial construction plans involved the expansion of the downtown commercial area toward the Dessan River, followed by the residential and industrial sectors.

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New businesses, factories and people almost immediately moved into the city.  Within a month, the whole area was fully developed and integrated into the city.

This immediate turnaround took Jason by surprise.  Cypress Creek, despite its recent growth, was still in the middle of nowhere with little communication to and from the outside world.  Yet, somehow, it seemed as if people were lining up and waiting just to get a chance to populate this remote region.  He'd never seen such a thing before.  How was word of the city's recent expansion finding its way out to the rest of the world, and why were people so eager to move in?  It got him thinking: did Michele have a secret she wasn't telling anyone?

Regardless of the reasons, Jason saw it as an opportunity.  If people were so willing to move in, why stop them?  It would, after all, put more money into Cypress Creek's bank, and he could gain the mayor's respect!  Eager to please his boss, he proposed a large expansion toward the river to the south, the namesake of the town.  It would involve zoning a large area of high density commercial for future developments should the town expand so much that it was needed.  When prompted at a meeting to discuss the proposal, he was quoted as saying "how can we call this town 'Cypress Creek' if we aren't even near the river we get our name from?"  Ultimately, the town approved the expansion and it was laid out in a matter of two weeks.

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Once again, people migrated to the city in droves.  Soon, the entire residential area was filled.  There was still a significant amount of commercial zoning available, so Jason asked that additional residential zones be mandated quickly.  She put it through and the further housing was developed.

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However, at a few town meetings factory owners were starting to complain of strain on their construction lines and a backup of orders.  They couldn't handle the recent explosion of growth and demanded Michele correct this problem.  She put it to Jason to expand the industrial sector to meet the demands of her ever-growing city.

The new factories were beginning to be built when an outcry came from the mountain-dwelling residents: they demanded that factories not be built in Cypress Creek anymore because the air quality was becoming horrendous.  The support these cries garnered from the general population kept Mayor Michele from dismissing these demands outright.  However, she explained, the city needed new industrial growth to support the city.  A compromise was made; the rest of the current industrial expansion would be primarily cleaner industries that were beginning to knock at the doors of the city.  It was then that Jason realized that a crucial component of the city was missing: a seaport.  This critical link to the outside world would open the doors to even more financial gains.  Cypress Creek's first port was opened as the industrial sector expanded.

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Yet this wasn't enough for Mayor Michele.  Riding on the rapid growth of the city and the relatively high approval of her policy of growth (the cries for limiting expansion from the original residents notwithstanding), another large housing district was built to the east, along the Cypress River.  A court for the justice system was also erected in anticipation of the new arrivals.

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Jason had tried to warn Michele that the influx of residents would probably slow, but the mayor was undeterred.  She erected a new radio tower to further enhance communication with the outside world with the intent to attract even more people to the bustling new city in the middle of nowhere.

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When the area was opened for construction, the results of Mayor Michele's efforts became evident:

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There was not enough interest in the city anymore to continue growing as it had in the past few years.  Despite the lack of complete development, the influx of recent arrivals also brought with them another of the outside world's problems: overcrowding.  Insufficient capacity began to plague two important parts of Cypress Creek's public services, healthcare and public safety.  Nearly simultaneously, many local clinics' doctors began to strike and prisoners in police jails broke free of their cells.

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The public backlash was almost instantaneous.  The citizens cried out in a single voice that Mayor Michele needed to spend more money on them rather than horde it in the city bank!

Turning to her city planner, Michele said with great regret, "Our profits are going to suffer..."

HalcyonSpirit

Once the people of Cypress Creek realized that their mayor had brought in outsiders to their land, they were left feeling rather upset.  The feeling was worsened by the industrial sector that set itself up nearby as well, sullying their picturesque view of the landscape with dirt and smoke.

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Mayor Michele had not told them of this part of the deal, if it was even a part of the deal at all.  Several people met with the mayor at her home soon thereafter to find out what was going on.

"It wasn't a part of the deal, but how did you expect to maintain the lands?  We needed more people to keep the town from collapsing in the future," was Mayor Michele's response.  "Besides, it isn't too bad, is it?  They're living aaaaaall the way down at the bottom of the mountain, not up here.  I've already made it a law that nothing can be built up here on the mountain without the express permission of the original residents: you people.  It's a lot better than having to leave here because no one else moved in.  Plus, the extra money let me fund the school properly and open a medical clinic!"

None of those present were entirely satisfied by this, but they nonetheless accepted it.  It was better than having to move back to the outside world, and actually having qualified teachers was already having a positive effect on the town.  The opening of the local medical clinic made injuries suffered from working the land far less dangerous, too.

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Some concessions did have to be expected if Cypress Creek was to survive, they decided, and the benefits were outweighing the negatives for the moment.  They could handle it, and they hoped that eventually the newcomers wouldn't be needed anymore and would leave.  Their concerns about the pollution were also heard clearly, with Mayor Michele immediately signing Clean Air and Automobile Emission Reduction ordinances.

However, it soon became apparent that the newcomers weren't going to be leaving anytime soon.  In fact, more and more were moving in by the day!  Within a dew months the town exploded in population; the residential and industrial sectors more than doubled in size and a new downtown was built to satisfy the demanding new residents.  It wasn't long before a garbage disposal plant was built and a new geothermal power plant constructed.

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Again, the native citizens of Cypress Creek descended upon the mayor's mansion.  This wasn't what they had imagined as their salvation, and Mayor Michele was not turning out to be a leader with their best interests at heart.  They wanted a peaceful life beyond the reaches of the world, yet she was bringing the world to their doorsteps!  They would put an end to this madness!

"I've been letting the people come in and build as they pleased," Mayor Michele explained to the angry crowd.  "It frees me up to handle improving everyone's livelihoods, including all of yours.  But I can put an end to that now, since we certainly have enough people to keep this town afloat for quite some time.  From now on, all development will need to be approved by popular vote."  And so, working quickly, Mayor Michele commissioned the new town hall at the base of the mountain.

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There was one individual who argued with Michele for several hours in the new town hall about how the town was becoming too much like other cities in the outside world.  "There's too much government here now!" he insisted.  Mayor Michele promised him that, with time, he would see the light and come to agree with her decisions so far.  The man left, unconvinced, but a few days later he eventually saw the fiery red light of reason.

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No one claimed responsibility for the torching of the poor man's house, but the native residents suspected Michele had let it happen, if she didn't simply do it herself.  They immediately tried to force her from her position, but to do so required a general vote; the native residents found themselves outnumbered 3-to-1 by the newcomers, and the measure failed horribly.

Seeing her mayorship in jeopardy, Mayor Michele quickly set up a new police force to protect her from anyone daring enough to try to physically oust her from her position.  She had a police checkpoint built down the road from her mansion for extra security.  According to her official statement, it was "at the insistence of my close advisers."

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The establishment of a strong police force all over the town was a clear signal to everyone in Cypress Creek that Mayor Michele was there to stay.  Cypress Creek would never again be the small town in the middle of nowhere that it once was.

HalcyonSpirit

Introduction

Cypress Creek.  The residents of this small town were once fairly well-off in another, distant region, but desired a simpler life away from the big city.  They grouped together and, upon scouring the maps, discovered a remote, undeveloped region along the west coast of the northwest continent.  It was a perfect location for them.  They sold all their collective assets to purchase, develop, and relocate to their new home.

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The small town in the middle of nowhere was built to be both self-sustaining and aesthetically pleasing to its inhabitants.  Located on the side of a mountain, it would be the residents' safe haven from the rest of the world.  The people's homes were nearest the top of the mountain so they could have the best view of the land.  The "downtown" area was situated just down the slope from the homes and served as a hub for both people and goods.  The farms, the lifeblood of the town, were located further down the mountain, where the land was fertile and the farmers' views of the land was unobstructed.

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For 15 years, the townspeople lived simply and peacefully in Cypress Creek without any contact from the outside world.  But change was on the horizon.  The outside world they had so purposefully shunned seemed intent on intruding on their livelyhoods once again.  Unbeknownst to them, the world's wasteful population was altering the planet's environment in small yet significant ways.  The rains that had given life to the fertile mountain soil began to fall less and less often.  The farms of Cypress Creek could no longer sustain the entire population anymore, but the town did not have any more people to help farm more land.  They needed help from the outside world to keep going, but the town had no money to pay for supplies.  It seemed as though they would have to abandon their sanctuary.

And then one of their own came forward with promises of renewed prosperity for the people.  She promised to bring money to the town so that they could buy everything they needed to help them live comfortably again.  The townspeople, although apprehensive about handing their fate over to a 20-year-old girl, had no one else to turn to and were drawn in by her promises.  They ultimately gave her permission to do what she needed to do.  She immediately left for the nearest town to negotiate a deal.  Two months later she returned with supplies and a deal with a town to earn the money they so deperately needed.  The citizens of Cypress Creek were ecstatic.  They threw in their support behind the girl as she laid out what they would need to do to uphold their end of the deal.  Three days later, Cypress Creek had its first elected official, Mayor Michele, and she was given her own mansion by the people soon after.  The people expected great things from their new leader.

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In the next year, Mayor Michele breathed life back into the town.  More land was plowed to support the town and uphold the deal to grow produce for the other town.

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With the money earned through the deal, Mayor Michele struck deals with power companies to build small solar power plants to bring electricity into the town as a goverment-approved experiment in sustainable energy.  She also established the town's first railroad to further help transport goods to and from the savior town.

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The people's expectations were realized.  Mayor Michele had saved the town.  However, what they did not expect from their leader...

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... were the new neighbors she brought to the region.

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Welcome to the Jahono territory.  Enjoy your stay!

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