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The United Counties of Stokes Forest is a small survivor community based on Sussex county in northwestern NJ, Pike and Wayne counties in northeastern PA, and a small bit of surrounding territory in both states as well as in New York state just across the former border. The name as chosen for the Stokes State Forest in Sussex County which is where the original band of survivors organized into a functional community.
When warning of the impending strikes reached this area, residents panicked. Those who were able fled the area, for fear not of being a target, but of the inevitible fallout that would reach this area; possibly from New York City, and (if it proved to be a target) from Philadelphia. Unfortunately for those who tried to flee west into Pennsylvania, they ran into the strike zones of Scranton and Wilkes-Barre, while those trying to flee north hit the strike at the Stewart Internation Airport in New York state. Some few did manage to follow interestate 80 west and bypassed the worst of the northeast Pennsylvania damage, eventually finding themselves in areas that became, in time, the State College survivor nation. Others fled northwest through sparsely populated of New York, hoping to reach the larger cities along the Great Lake shores, or the state capital at Albany. Many of these died along the way, or were to be disappointed when reaching their destinations which had been targeted by the Soviets.
Within the days immediately following Doomsday, refugees began streaming into the Sussex county area from northeastern New Jersey, with tales of the firestorm and holocaust that had not only destroyed New York City, but also destroyed and badly irradiated the areas of Bergen, Hudson and Union counties that were across the Hudson river from the city. At the same time, small bands of survivors (some as small as individual families) began arriving from central New Jersey, with news of strikes that had destroyed Perth Amboy, Lakewood, Fort Dix/McGuire AFB and the state capital at Trenton, which (very) effectively split the state in two, leaving no way to get to any of the shore communities (if any had survived).
The Mayor of Newton (the county seat of Sussex) together with the Sherrif's department and the Sussex County Office of Emergency Management quickly pooled resources and information to try to keep order. Police units from across the county were combined into a unified service whose primary responsibility at this time was to not only keep the peace, but (as much as possible) to keep the calm. Refugees (and local residents) in need of immediate medical attention were directed to Newtown Memorial Hospital and St. Claire's Medical Center, while those patients where were already in those facilities were discharged (where possible) or moved to quickly-established hospice facilities. When it became apparent that these facilities would be overcrowded, hotels in the area were taken over by the local government via emergency decree to provide rooms for the sick and injured. Other towns in Sussex County began to look to Newtown to take the lead, and before long, Newtown's mayor was the de-facto (if not du jure) governor of a small statelet filled with panicked, ill, and injured citizens.
Four weeks following Doomsday, a group of men was escorted into the Mayor's office. They had come, they said, from similar survivor communities across the Delaware River in northeastern Pennsylvania. The news that the citizens of Sussex weren't the only people left in the country provided an immense morale boost (and did the same to the folks in Pike and Wayne counties in Pennsylvania when the news reached home). The Mayor in Newtown immediately reached out to his counterparts across the river, since access was readily available via the interstate 80 bridge to the south, as well as the Quinn-Mariotti-Angelo bridge between Layton NJ and Dingman's Ferry PA, the US Route 206 bridge between Montague NJ and Milford PA, and the interstate 84 bridge at the junction of the borders of NJ, PA and NY.
The Three Expeditions
In the late spring of 1985, it was decided to send three expeditions, one north, one south and one west, to explore, to connect with any other survivor groups, and to return to Newton with any news and supplies they could find. They opted to forego sending an expedition to the east knowing that in that direction lay the post New York City wasteland.
The government is a triuvirate, formed of the mayors of Newton, Honesdale PA (County seat of Wayne County) and Milford PA (county seat of Pike County). Mayors are elected (via universal sufferage of everyone over the age of 18) to a five year term, and may serve no more than two consecutive terms (it is possible to serve more than two terms, just not in a row).
Each town within the counties elects two representatives to a national council (the populace has resisted attempts to call this either a "Congress" or a "Parliament") which meets quarterly, in rotation between the three "Capital" cities.
Primarily barter. There is still some United States currency in circulation, and it is accepted, but due to scarcity of goods, barter is simply easier.
more to come...
more to come...
more to come...