Serenity Articles : Parson City, Persephone

Here’s an expansion of Persephone which I always felt had more potential than just Eavesdown.

Sprawling across the top of a broad mesa and backed up against a breathtaking mountain range, Parson City overlooks the breadbasket of Persephone. In the summer, standing on the edge of the mesa, one can look eastward across a swath of green fields cut by several glistening rivers. Rich farmland producing food which is in turn, brought to Parson City to be frozen, dried, canned, and otherwise prepped for shipment across the ‘Verse.

Parson City, more than most border world settlements, has stuck to its original layout plan, broad circular avenues bisected by roads leading out from the city center like radii. Roads have been laid out past the edge of the settlement through civic vision, plentiful nearby stone quarries, and the need to keep workers busy. The only place where this order and regularity breaks down are the Boneyards south of town. Regular streets end at the edge of the vast field of rusted metal hulks and scraggly vegetation. Parson City continues to grow north and west, but south they’ve left aloneā€¦ for now.

The biggest figure in the city is its mayor, the Right Reverend Hezekiah Lawkins, leader and Superior of the Parson City Traditionalist Church. With his muttonchop beard, full hair, and easy smile, he often seems more like a snake-oil salesman than a holy man, but there is no arguing that he has Parson City’s health and success dear to his heart. Some say the Right Reverend IS Parson City.

But if one is willing to turn away from the Right Reverend’s brilliance, one can find other important people in the city. There are the Right Women of Parson City, the most devoted zealots and supporters of the Right Reverend. The Right Women exert enough influence to keep the brothels off the main streets and folks lookin’ respectable.

Jack McCollough, Persephone’s own robber baron, owns several food packing plants and many of the necessity stores that serve his workers. Lizzie Proud owns the most profitable mines in the region and loves to stick it to McCollough, her fiercest rival. The Macabies are an odd sort of fraternal club/company of thieves who keep the underworld orderly.

If you look long and hard, you can find dens of debauchery and hives of scum and villainy. They just don’t walk around twirling gold watches on Main Street like in Eavesdown. Some of the most successful enterprises serving the darker needs of society are actually set up inside the Boneyards, inside the rusting, stripped hulks of spaceships. An informal community called Bonetown lies a half mile into the mothball zone and supports a small population of the criminal class who serve more “visitors” than the Right Reverend admits.

Places to stay aren’t too hard to find in the city, though you’d better keep your mouth clean in most of the rooming houses you’ll find. One too many gorrams and you’ll be tossed on the street by somebody’s grandmother. Finding work isn’t too hard either, though it isn’t work many people would be looking for. Working 12 hour days in the cannery or meat-packing plants is exhausting and poorly paying work. But most folks arrive in Parson City having spent their money on the trip, with little chance of leaving again.

Landing a spaceship at the city means either landing at Lawkins Airfield under the watchful eyes of the city government or at one of the company zones around the city. Things are orderly enough in the city that you’d have to go out over twenty-five miles to find unclaimed land big enough and hidden enough to leave a ship.

Adventure Ideas

At the end of the war, the lucrative canned/preserved food contracts that Parson City Foods has with the Alliance were quickly lost. A loss of income that big brings a lot of pain. The powers-that-be in Parson City may set their eyes on Eavesdown, moving in on smaller operations, disrupting current arrangements, using muscle if necessary.

The Right Reverend Lawkins is the face of Parson City, but he has secrets. A special yacht adorned with all the luxuries he claims to eshew? Secret control of Parson City Foods when he professes to be uninterested in material things? He could be the hand behind all manner of dastardly deeds.

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