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Following the Great Nuclear War, Washington County, Ohio was thrown into chaos. Looting and rioting occurred all throughout the state, and Marietta was no exception. In order to combat the lawlessness in their city, and in Belpre, the Emergency Council was formed. They enforced strict rationing, martial law, and other safety measures. Local townspeople, sheriff, and police officers were conscripted into a militia. For a while, the county was safe. Crime went down as people attempted to find ways to survive the coming winter. Radio contact with Columbus was attempted, though only scattered intermissions came, none what the Council wanted to hear.
Summer of ‘63
Following the harsh winter brought by the atomic weapons used in the War, many people had died of starvation and hypothermia, approximately 15% of the population. Post-War and post winter, 43,936 natives remained in Washington, with some townships and villages being nearly depopulated. Soon refugees from the surrounding counties flooded in, numbering approximately 6,000, though beyond this, contact had yet to be made with the state government. Soon the Emergency Council decided it was time to send scouts north, and along the rivers.
Scouts/ The Four Horsemen
Four patrols were sent, one to each of the cardinal directions. People took to calling them “The Four Horsemen,”, and each was sent with the meager supplies Marietta could manage. Before the Northern Patrol could be launched, a messenger on horseback rode into Marietta. He wore a national guard uniform, claiming to be Private John Moore of 1092nd Engineer Battalion. The Emergency Council convened momentarily. The Messenger said that Lt. Colonel Jay Thompson sought to claim a more permanent home for the people of his country, and sought to parley with The Mariettans. He further revealed that a large portion of the population had succumbed to the winter, and the southern cities of Newark and Rockport were under attack by raiders.
The Issue was debated for several days, with the majority of people unsure of Thompson’s Motives. The conclusion was reached, that three companies would move to Marietta, and one would move to Mcconnelsville. The Council voted on declaring independence from the United States, and to write into law a constitution.
The verdict was a landslide for independence, and on August 15th, 1963, the new nation was named Muskingum, after the river which flowed through both Morgan and Washington County. Upon Thompson’s insistence, the Emergency Council convened and motioned for the people of Wood County to move across the river into Washington County. The 62,664 refugees would prove difficult for the Muskees to handle, most of them moving into Belpre, Mcconnelsville, and the larger villages. The Wood County diaspora would remain unincorporated for another 15 years.
Muskingum maintains an armed force of about 6,000. This army exists mainly to defend it's borders and war with aggressive raider settlements to the north. A majority of the arms used have been converted from civilian arms, or leftover from Thompson's old battalion. They operate no armored forces due to the cost, although a large number of the armed force is deployed on horseback, affectionately referred to as the "Muskee Dragoons". Indeed, one could mistake a Muskee Dragoon for an 1800s era cowboy, except for the modern weapons that the soldier carries. Naval operations on one of the nation's various rivers are handled by the Army, which operates ten patrol boats. These boats are mainly to monitor gang activity across the river.Serving two years in the Army gives you the right to vote. Women are excluded from open combat duty, but are allowed to enlist in the Military Police and non-combatant roles.
Muskingum has a highly agrarian economy, producing large amounts of corn. Lumber is also an important industry, though it remains limited.
The brewing of beer is very lucrative, as the water in Muskingum is considered undesirable, sometimes unpotable. "Muskee Ale" is known for being sweet, as hops are not grown in Muskingum.
Unemployment is incredibly high, at a tremendous 20%.