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The Republic of Merrimack is a small sovereign nation located in the former state of New Hampshire. The nation, originally a small community of survivors, currently has influence over much of Hillsborough County, and the surrounding area.
Before the apocalypse the town of Merrimack had a population of about 25,494 people, according to the 2010 US census, making it the eighth-largest municipality in New Hampshire. Merrimack is located in Hillsborough County, New Hampshire, United States. Named for the native term for sturgeon, a local fish, the town of Merrimack was first incorporated in 1746.
When the call first arrived that nukes were on route to the United States mass hysteria broke out in the Boston area. Southern New Hampshire was stormed with refugees and people fleeing the east coast. In the newly constructed, local Merrimack Premium Outlets mall, news first reached the shoppers over television late December 21. The mall was heavily crowded with shoppers attempting to get last minute holiday shopping done, and when the news struck, and all-out panic ensued. At least two individuals were killed by cars speeding from the mall. Another shopper crashed into the Bloomingdale’s outlet. By late that night the highway was a virtual parking lot. The outlet mall, strategically placed off exit ten along the Everett Turnpike, was stormed by looters and desperate refugees fleeing the highway. Several shots were fired in the ensuing fighting, injuring at least five others. New Hampshire state police arrived off the highway in an attempt to establish order, stationing a dozen police officers near the Industrial Boulevard intersection. Fearing the worst, many chose to stay in the mall rather than face the chaos near Boston. Local shops inside the outlet mall were raided and filled with refugees, wall to wall. Others slept in the granite cliff side near the mall. Close to midnight the refugees huddled within the food court reported hearing several explosions miles away. After hours of anarchy and chaos, all was quiet.
Several hours of restless sleep ensued in the early hours of December 22. In the early morning several individuals were elected from the food court to scout the outlet mall remains. Several state police barricaded within Merrimack arrived into the mall, alerting the mall refugees that Nashua and Manchester had been hit, and possibly other sites. The city of Merrimack itself had sustained large scale damage during the night. Radiation poisoning spread rapidly through the south killing thousands more. As the day progressed individuals reemerged from the wreckage, rallying at the mall square. Later that night it became clear that no aid would arrive for quite some time, and that the mall inhabitants would have to establish a basic government to avoid falling into complete madness. Survivors met in the mall center on a patch of fake grass surrounded by children attractions, collecting votes on scraps of paper. After two recounts by several older inhabitants, Victor Schultz, retired retail buyer and church regular from Nashua was elected the first president of the newly proclaimed ‘Republic of Merrimack’.
Immediately after electing the first president, the townspeople also nominated a half dozen elders to serve on a legislative branch. The inhabitants then fell back to the food court where food was distributed evenly to each voter. During the next few days, President Schultz organized a small militia to restore order and reduce crime. Select stores were designated as sleep quarters, filling these quarters to the brim. The congested parking lot was looted. Cars were siphoned of gas to power heaters in the mall, and some were parked to block mall exits, creating a basic wall around the mall. The mall’s natural barriers and strategic location were also used to the inhabitants’ best advantage. The mall, which rises several feet up from the highway below is surrounded by granite cliffs, helping to defend the settlement. The Everett Turnpike around Exit 10 is also barricaded. A steady flow of refugees trickled into the settlement over the next few days, filling the many sleeping quarters. Living conditions are low, and many already infected from radiation or disease add to the death count. Bodies are thrown off the granite walls into the forest below. On December 25 the inhabitants gathered once more in the center of the mall to celebrate Christmas. The event was a sad, yet uniting occasion, as the strangers gathered shoulder to shoulder around the small tables from the food court. President Schultz spoke to the people from the sidewalk in front of the Dairy Queen, urging the brave people of Merrimack to unite to remain strong. The inhabitants are handed out food looted from the mall and local stores, feeding many left hungry up until arriving at the mall.
In early January President Schultz ordered that the militia search every store and collect all US currency to create a national bank. This stabilized the economy slightly and laid the foundations for a future economy. The Bank of Merrimack, originally established in the Fragrance Outlet, fueled the early markets with government subsides and investments. The economy of the republic continued to be heavily influenced by looted items from Merrimack, known by the inhabitants as 'foreign imports.' As small herds and gardens were able to be established, the domestic product began to gain strength, first in the food industry, but eventually into manufactured goods. Early small businesses emerged, including the infamous Barret Weapons Co, supplying the nation with some domestically produced goods.
On February 1 the council of Merrimack, President Schultz, and the head of the militia, Robert Beaumont, met within the newly established State Hall, formerly the food court, to draft a basic constitution for the nation inhabitants. After almost a week of drafting and negotiating, the Constitution of the Republic of Merrimack was signed. The constitution, the foundation for all laws, was loosely based on the US constitution, employing many similar rights. The position of High Judge was created, to act as an official mediator in settlement issues. Basic rights were established, including the freedom of speech and the right to bear arms. Regulations were also created for business practices, still used today. Unlike the former US work regulations, many of the basic regulations were lowered or non existent. Knowing that many were forced to work 14 hour work days to support their families, the delegation chose not to limit work days, for example. These seemingly unlimited business practices led to increased domestic production, even if at the cost of the local citizens.
The new laws enacted by the constitution ended the old law stating that all individuals had to remain indoors, and when entering the outside be completely covered, that were first created to lower fatalities from radiation poisoning, leading to increased agricultural productiveness. The military was expanded and tasked with scouting of increasingly further away areas, in search of food and equipment for farming. Refugees from Boston and Manchester continued to trickle onto Merrimack, most of them settling within camps and small houses near the mall, after pledging their allegiance to the government in the mall. The mall soon served the role of a castle over looking the farmlands below. Small farms were established in the area around the mall, and by March approximately 70% of the Republic's registered population lived outside the mall. Medical supplies were in short supply and many injured survivors from the outside were unable to get treatment. Hundreds died along the highway to Merrimack from the south. The makeshift camps that sprung up around Continental Boulevard were plagued by overpopulation, disease, and starvation, as more and more people arrived.
To help combat the overpopulation, President Schultz helped draft the 'Employment and Housing Development Plan', similar the the New Deal created by the US in the thirties. The plan promised payment to any worker willing to work on government projects for a year or more, and eventually became common among almost every member of the camps. Hundreds of workers were tasked with clearing trees and earth for housing projects. Government contracted blacksmiths within the mall were able to construct dozens of shovels, pickaxes, and other equipment for use in the program, being used to chisel away the large granite formations and tough soil in the area. Small explosives manufactured within the mall and repaired trucks and excavators were also used to construct the large clearings. Camps were then partially relocated and reconstructed using local timber and rock. As the stability of the nation increased, its population spread out to the town north of the mall, where continental boulevard crosses under the Everett Turnpike. Radiation from Manchester and Nashua continued to be a problem, plaguing many early attempts to settle further from the mall. Crime continued to be a problem in the outskirts of the national borders, and in many cases national militia had to be called in to pacify the town.
One venture that proved to be profitable for the nation was the seizing of the local Anheuser Brusch factory, located about 2000 feet from the mall. The factory which had remained dormant since the apocalypse remained in a state of disrepair. Looting and other causes had led to the factory falling into ruin until republic armed forces arrived in mid March. After about one month of repairs from local engineers, the factory was put into working order, however constant problems and a shortage of supplies meant that little beer could be massed produced. The factory continued to be operated by the state, brewing beer relabeled as the Merrimack State Draft. Beer from the factory was often used to pay workers and became a regular product in the mall markets.
Another popular venture occurred later that month. Taking notice of the poor medical equipment being used in the mall, President Schultz ordered the occupation of Merrimack Medical Center, located only three miles from the mall. The hospital, which had been badly raided, was searched by the militia. Equipment was shipped back to the mall to be used by the mall inhabitants. A small garrison was also stationed in the hospital itself, which became the northern outpost for the nation, watching over the outlying town and providing some medical aid. By the start of April the national borders now reached from Peninchuck Brook in the far south, to Green Pond in the west, Last Rest Cemetery in the north, and bordered by the Merrimack River to the east.
The former state of New Hampshire, in which Merrimack is located, was a part of the New England region. Before the apocalypse the state of New Hampshire was bordered by the state of Massachusetts to the south, Vermont the west, the nation of Canada to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. The area near the Republic of Merrimack is referred to as the Merrimack Valley, one of New Hampshire's major, natural regions. The Merrimack Valley is one of the largest waterways within the region of New England, facilitating many of New Hampshire's major cities. Before the apocalypse, the modern town of Merrimack had a total area of 33.4 square miles, including 0.8 square miles of water, and at maximum height, 512 feet.
The Frederick E. Everett Turnpike, also known as the Central New Hampshire Turnpike, runs through Merrimack along its 44 mile route from the Massachusetts border to Concord in the north. Near the Merrimack Premium Outlets mall, and future location of the republic, the Everett Turnpike lets off via exit 10 to U.S. Route 3, and onto Industrial Drive. Industrial Drive, which connects to the single road into the mall, is surrounded by large granite cliffs, before trailing off as the road reaches into town.
In the early days of the republic the military consisted entirely of militia from southern New Hampshire. As more equipment was looted from the Boston area the military was able to slowly be upgraded to a formidable fighting force. Consisting entirely of volunteers, many of whom former hunters, the army is noted for its effective guerrilla warfare and skirmish tactics. By late January of 2013 the army numbered about one hundred irregular soldiers.
The Republic of Merrimack has a capitalist mixed economy, loosely based on the US system, and heavily utilizing traditional bartering. Since at the time of the apocalypse the mall was in an abundance of US currency from the holiday season, the US dollar continued to be used extensively. President Schultz, first president of the republic, ordered that the militia search every store and collect all US currency to create a national bank. This stabilized the economy slightly and laid the foundations for a future economy.
In the early days of the republic the economy relied almost entirely on looting to be barter between goods. As food begin to run low the military was ordered to begin searching the town of Merrimack for supplies. These 'foreign imports' were then purchased within the mall by its desperate inhabitants. As the population of the nation increased, many citizens began turning to more sustainable methods of obtaining food and other products. Livestock taken from small farms outside of Merrimack became the first domestic product within the republic. Animal herders were subsidized to ensure that the food supply could remain intact, leading to the occupation becoming extremely sought after. Small gardens were also formed around the mall, creating some crops to be used by the mall inhabitants.
Eventually other Merrimack-made products begin to appear with the formation of local businesses. Many early businesses, such as Tom Barret's infamous, government-sponsored arms store, closely resembled sweat shops in terms of working conditions. Clothes and tools begin to be made domestically, being sold in the local markets. Other important products, such as ammunition, were also traded heavily, becoming a popular bargaining chip.