In 2006, the Pentagon relocates its NORAD operations from the heart of Cheyenne Mountain to nearby Peterson Air Force Base, estimating that the reduced risk in intercontinental nuclear attacks no longer justifies the cost of operating the underground facility. The Cheyenne Mountain facility is renamed Cheyenne Mountain Directorate and is maintained in a low-level state of readiness in the event that the protection it offers might be needed again in the future.
In 2049, the Pentagon reactivates the Cheyenne Mountain Directorate facility and initiates project NORAD City.
The objective: build an underground city below Cheyenne Mountain.
The requirements: provide shelter to 5000 inhabitants; facility must be autonomous and self-sustaining for several centuries.
The 5000 people on the list are preselected and the list is updated annually. It includes an elite roster of the best generals, officers, soldiers, scientists, and engineers, accompanied by their spouses and children to ensure procreation and the preservation of the human race. NORAD City’s famous Survivor List prominently features the name of the current President of the United States.
The city is completed in 2056. Unfortunately, the President never reaches NORAD City on A-Day. Given the rapid escalation of events, only 4590 people make it to the city.
For the duration of their underground exile, the people of NORAD, consisting mainly of military personnel, fear attacks against their city as well as the emergence of new conflicts after the time of Rebirth, the expected time when the people of underground cities will finally surface again. Therefore they spend their time underground actively maintaining and enhancing their military arsenal and combat readiness.
In the aftermath of the Apocalypse, people in the city start doubting the exact origin of the massive attacks against the United States that led up to A-Day. The leaders fear possible enemy reprisal against their city in response to the US’s attack on A-Day. With their very survival at stake, the NORAD citizens develop a climate of paranoia, which they maintain for over two centuries, transmitting their fears from generation to generation.
As a result, the city’s available skill set rapidly specializes in the fields of military tactics and technology, at the expense of other fields.
In year 145, the first surface-capable prototypes, the Combat Walkers, appear. They are airtight surface reconnaissance units, equipped with radiation and biological shielding, requiring only a volunteer soldier at their helms. Unfortunately, surface contamination levels are still much too high for the current shielding and decontamination technologies. Therefore their deployment remains on hold.
Inside the city, the death rate is on the rise due to madness, suicide, and the emergence of new illnesses caused by a lack of sunlight and fresh air.
By year 250, NORAD City’s population is reduced to 3450, those men and women who are the strongest both mentally and physically.
Around 263 p.a., the new illnesses are under control. Psychological symptoms now only affect 5% of the population. Morale is at its highest, and the birth rate explodes, resulting in the first baby boom of the post-apocalyptic era.
In 310 p.a., the city is slightly overpopulated with 5350 inhabitants. Surface detectors still indicate extraordinarily dangerous levels of radiation. The scientists in charge of surface world analysis will not yet approve any reconnaissance missions. They expect that another 150 years must pass before any such missions can be attempted. The news demoralizes the population...
The following decades proceed under the guidance of Archpriest General McNeal. Hoping to increase population morale, he creates a religious order dedicated to the cult of Rebirth.
He declares December 24, 460 p.a. as the Day of Rebirth. He inspires the people of the city to prosper, procreate, and prepare the future generations for the glorious coming of Rebirth. More than 80% of the population become followers of the “Rebirth Generation” faith.
Archpriest General McNeal dies in 335 p.a.
Following the ideals of Archpriest McNeal, the population continues to increase for 150 years. The city must be built out to accommodate this increase. The Combat Walkers, which have remained unused until now, are retrofitted with giant drilling machines, allowing them to drill underground galleries, and thus expand the city.
By 450 p.a., NORAD City houses 7470 inhabitants. The underground exploration technology develops exponentially, allowing expansion and exploration of the Earth’s crust on a large scale.
Morale is at its highest in year 460. Christmas this year will be very special with the Day of Rebirth. Unfortunately, on Christmas Eve, the Scientific Council delivers the worst possible piece of news: surface contamination levels are still too high. More time is needed before safe exploration of the surface can begin.
That night, out of despair, a third of the population lashes out in riots. They accuse the Scientific Council of heresy against the holy word of Archpriest General McNeal and his prophecy of the Day of Rebirth, and suspect the Council of trying to keep the population under its own control. One hundred ninety people manage to escape NORAD City that night, never to be heard from again. The rest of the population is somewhat appeased by the Scientific Council’s reassurances that there are only 40 years left to wait.
On August 1, 498 p.a., the first military reconnaissance mission officially leaves NORAD City to explore the surface and send back reports every six hours. They will not be allowed to return to the city for fear of contamination. Each volunteer soldier is equipped with a drill-retrofitted Combat Walker. They enter the surface from the section furthest removed from downtown NORAD City, to limit the risk of exposure. After 48 hours of exploration and survival tests, the marines get out of their Combat Walkers for the first time.
For the next two years, the Alpha Squad continues to operate within a 10km radius of the city, reporting no illnesses or unusual symptoms.
Consequently, the city votes in a law allowing citizens to volunteer for surface missions. The frequency and objectives of the missions are tightly controlled and regulated by the NORAD City high command, under the leadership of General Arthur McNeal VIII.
Reconnaissance and exploration missions become more numerous, pushing the NORAD squads to further points on the ex-North American continent, looking for lost knowledge and technology, and seeking other survivors...
During the five centuries that the NORAD faction has spent underground, it has developed the following competencies: enhanced weaponry, fighting techniques, discipline, sustained morale, motivational skills, industrial and computer technology.
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