15 NOV 2053
CHI TRIB>NEWSNET>JACE BRENNAN
After months of posturing, the Cabrini Refuge Act was finally passed after a narrow vote Tuesday. The passage of Special Order 162 marks the first time since the Awakening that the UCAS government has formally recognized the rights of a new metahuman race and accorded such a race legal protection.
The first refuge will be located in Chicago, on the site of the former Cabrini Green Public Housing Development, a UCAS spokesman said. A federal judge has ordered the city to secure the area within 60 days or face undisclosed fines, the spokesman said. City officials plan to move the estimated 600 squatters now living in Cabrini to temporary housing units in the Robert Taylor Megaplex.
The passage of the refuge act represents a major victory for the fledgling Metahuman Rights Coalition. At first glance, the passage also seems a victory for Mayor Ronald Quince, who surprised many observers by announcing his support for the measure in May. Political analysts speculate that Quince backed the plan in an attempt to bolster his sagging approval rating among voters. Quince seems to have misjudged public opinion, however, as our exclusive RediResponse poll shows a staggering 64 percent of his constituents opposed to the Refuge Act.
NEWS AND VIEWS
16 NOV 2053
“How do you feel about the Cabrini Refuge?”
“You mean that Ghoultown shit? They actually went through with it? I can hardly believe it. We already gotta live with the orks and the trolls, now we gotta live with the fraggin’ GHOULS? Un-fraggin-believable. What is this city coming to? Quince’s gotta be on simchips or somethin’.”
Daniel “Brick”Garrety, 32, human
Night Watchman, R.A. Malcolm and Sons ReSalvage
“Nice to know there are still a few people in our government with compassion for our less fortunate brothers and sisters. Without tolerance we have anarchy. Have you forgotten the Night of Rage? I for one am grateful to our mayor for having the guts to stand up to the system.”
Mari Anders, 24, elf
Teaches “Metahuman Awareness”at the Discovery Depot
“What amazes me is that so many people seem to think they are doing us a favor. We get to live where you decide and may only feed when and how you say. Not a great deal, to my mind. If being an outcast is the price of freedom, I think I’m ready to pay.”
“Wicked,” 41, ghoul
Unemployed, Has not Sought Asylum
“They eat human flesh. Eating human flesh is wrong. Giving them permission to eat human flesh is wrong. I am not the only one who feels this way. There will be a reckoning and those who dance with the devil will get what’s coming to them. Mark my words.”
Allin Klarc, 36, human
Shift supervisor, Thriftrite Athletic Shoe Outlet Superstore
“I never met a ghoul but I know they do bad things and I am afraid because they are moving in over by Lina’s house but Mom says they will be locked up tight and if they try to do bad things to us the police are going to take them away so I guess it’s OK.”
Grace, 9, human
Enrolled in the William Morris Pre-Secretarial program
::::MATRIX BACKFILE: DATA/POST LOG (CABRINI/GHOULS DISCUSSION)
>>>>>[They say it’s pretty bad in there. I haven’t been inside myself, but I hear it’s like living in a sewer and feeding time is like a zoo. Poor bastards—why didn’t we just kill them and get it over with?]<<<<<
>>>>>[I hear dat’s da plan. Get ’em all in one place and set up a happy accident dat blows ’em all to hell. Whizbang idea if ya aks me. Shoulda done da same to da trolls. We’d all be better off.]<<<<<
—Mistah Happy (03:44:21/11-24-53)
>>>>>[Just erased 4 MP of death threats against the Happinator. Might be a good idea to keep the rhetoric down to a dull roar. Play nice or I will have to shut you down.]<<<<<
—SYStem 05 (23:54:11/11-27-53)
>>>>>[Genocide was the plan from the beginning. I am in a position to know. The entire project is a sham intended to eliminate an awkward problem before it becomes a major national issue. As soon as I gather sufficient evidence to prove my claims, I am going public and we are going to put and end to this monstrous charade before Cabrini becomes a death camp. Any assistance I can get from the shadows will be greatly appreciated.]<<<<<
>>>>>[You realize you are a dead man.]<<<<<
>>>>>[Not too smooth, Bitsy. You must be new here. There’s a time and a place for everything—which you won’t have time to learn if Philly’s right. Haven’t you been introduced to Mr. Johnson?]<<<<<
—Calgon Green (16:21:44/11-30-53)
>>>>>[I just intercepted a nasty traceback/blackout nanocycles before it fried our innocent little NewFile. I don’t like foreign burners in the system, so his problems have become my problems and now they are your problems. Do what you can to help “BitBurn”and I will get you that extra datastore you’ve all been clamoring for. Deal?]<<<<<
—SYStem 05 (09:53:28/12-01-53)
>>>>[Switching over to Naked City. Catch me at the BitBurn SIG. Looking forward to filling up the new dumpster.]<<<<<
—Calgon Green (12:55:35/12-01-53)
07 DEC 2053
CHI TRIB>NEWSNET>JACE BRENNAN
An estimated 100 people died at the Cabrini Refuge Thursday night when a group of vigilantes attacked the residents of the protected area.
The incident began when members of the extremist Humanis Policlub attacked the housing development with automatic weapons and at least one rocket launcher, police said. Apparently, Cabrini residents had been expecting such an attack and had moved underground or to unused areas of the complex. As soon as the majority of the Humanis force moved onto protected soil, the ghouls attacked in force, overpowering and consuming their foes. Attorneys for the beleaguered refuge claim that under Article 16 of Order 162, the residents were within their rights to devour anyone found on their property. Apparently Article 16 classifies trespassers as “fair game.” Edward Talbot of the Intemperance League has filed a class–action suit against the UCAS government on behalf of those who were slain.
Police said tensions between ghouls and nearby residents had been high in past days, apparently as a result of persistent rumors of a citywide conspiracy to exterminate the population of the Cabrini Refuge. The refuge was created by a special order of the UCAS Congress acting at the request of Mayor Ronald Quince.
CABRINI STANDOFF CONTINUES
23 DEC 2053
The respected Knight–Errant private security firm will honor its contract to provide security in the Cabrini Refuge, the company announced Tuesday. An estimated 100 people died at the refuge on Thursday, December 4th, during a raid by members of the Humanis Policlub. Despite continued violence at the refuge in the wake of that tragedy, Knight–Errant plans to honor its contract with Refuge Interim Director Jonathan Meir, a Knight–Errant spokesman said Tuesday.
“Knight–Errant has a reputation for dependability,”the spokesman said, reading from a prepared statement. “Anyone who has dealt with our firm knows that we will honor our contracts under the most extreme circumstances. We have even maintained service with foreign clients after the government that signed the contract had collapsed. Regardless of continued pressure from powerful special interests we have no intention of changing our policy now. Anyone who tries to enter the Cabrini Refuge without proper identification or authority can expect to face our trade- mark efficiency. It’s like we say in our adverts: Knight–Errant—you can depend on us.”
KE ABANDONS CABRINI
04 JAN 2054
CHI TRIB>NEWSNET>JACE BRENNAN
Knight–Errant will not renew its temporary contract to provide security at the Cabrini Refuge, a company spokesman said Saturday.
Citing an “overcommitment of regional resources,”Knight–Errant personnel will evacuate the refuge at midnight, when the contract between the Cabrini Refuge and Knight–Errant Security elapses, the spokesman said. Despite eleventh-hour efforts to resolve the refuge situation peacefully, bloodshed seems unavoidable, as protesters from both sides of the issue have gathered in force outside the refuge, forming a teeming throng that has blocked all access to the housing project. In an ironic turn of events, the city apparently has secured the services of Knight–Errant to subdue the crowd should violence erupt.
Channel 32 has won the rights to broadcast live any fighting that may occur, but the Urban Combat Network will rebroadcast highlights on a ten-minute delay.
GHOULTOWN>CABRINI REFUGE>RIOT/KNIGHT–ERRANT EXCERPT DIARY OF A SAMARITAN
When you volunteer for an intervention team, you expect anything and everything. I have helped dwarf programmers through picket lines, pregnant elves get into free clinics that would not admit them, and I’ve rescued a troll baby from human kidnappers who intended to sacrifice him to some kind of toxic spirit. But I have to admit I never expected to be called in to help defend a ghoul lair.
I wasn’t able to attend the meeting where we decided to consider ghouls a sentient metahuman race, deserving of our protection, but I understand it was a real circus. Apparently, the highlight of the whole thing occurred when some lunatic wheeled in something that appeared to be a human corpse. It was lying on a bed of greens with an apple in its mouth, cooked up all nice and brown and everything. It was supposed to be shocking—you know, some kind of statement about the gruesome fate that awaited us all if we decided to help them—but it didn’t come off that way. Some droll eleven mage offered the poor bastard a bit of thigh, and the joint went up for grabs.
Sitting in the back of our van the night the Knight–Errant contract expired, I had some time to think about our new “brothers.”Can’t say as I approve of cannibalism, but the biologists claim the ghouls don’t have a choice. My brother was twisted by some magic and wound up with a face like a mound of rotten fruit. He didn’t ask to be an ork. Did they ask to become ghouls? I doubt it. It all made sense as long as you could keep everything nice and rational, but on some gut level the whole thing sickened me.
We were not the only ones who showed up at the party—far from it. Everybody knew the trid crews would be there, so anyone who could think of a reason to be there showed up. And they all brought every member they could muster—as well as a few street people thrown in to beef up their contingent if they didn’t look important enough. A couple hundred bleeding hearts from the Metahuman Rights Coalition showed up, along with a small horde from the newly formed Society for Traditional Values and clusters of tough-looking characters who waited until the last minute to pull on their Humanis hoods.
All we had to do was look for heavy weapons—anything that could make a real difference if it came down to cases. It was a damn good thing we were there, as it turned out.
As zero hour approached we got the order to circulate. The detail contained only five of us, but that’s all we’d ever needed before. Cronk and I swept the rear, looking for anything the others might have missed. Then five minutes shy of midnight Cronk spots a kid wandering through the crowd. He tells me there’s something strange about the kid’s thermal signature, so we check him out and frag if he ain’t a ghoul. He seems disoriented, so I go to check him for injuries but before I can reach him I fall unconscious.
A couple of days later I woke up in a private hospital unable to move anything but my eyes and the fingers on my right hand. When Cronk showed up he told me the ghoul kid had canisters of nerve gas taped to him. Apparently, the Humanis boys needed to build some popular support quick, so they decided to frame the ghouls for a massacre. If it weren’t for that extra filter in my right lung I would probably be dead right now. And if Cronk hadn’t iced the kid as quick as he did, the riot might have gotten really out of hand.
Would have been nice if the city had stuck to its guns. What happened to the Refuge was a fragging shame. Thank god I didn’t end up a ghoul.
GHOULTOWN>CABRINI REFUGE>SO 162
Excerpt from the pretrial hearings in the class–action suit brought by Jonathan Meir on April 1st, 2053, against the legislative firm of Dumas, Alexander, and Tate on behalf of the residents of the Cabrini Refuge. Dumas, Alexander, and Tate were employed by UCAS to draft and administer Special Order 162. The following is the testimony of Gery Alexander as submitted to Judge Andrew Gregory.
ALEXANDER: When we drafted Special Order 162 we had no way to gauge the hostility it would elicit among many longtime Chicagoans.
GREGORY: Come now, Mr. Alexander, you expect us to believe that you had no idea that there would be an unfavorable reaction to the Special Order, Article 16 in particular?
ALEXANDER: Our initial surveys suggested some resistance to Articles 11 and 16, as well as the program as a whole, but nothing on the level we encountered after the Knight–Errant pullout.
GREGORY: Do you normally base your human rights policy on the ability of the victim to defend himself?
ALEXANDER: Of course not. For the record, I must object to your tone and to the hostility of the entire panel. This is a board of inquiry. No charges have been filed, yet you are treating us as if we’ve already been convicted.
GREGORY: Withdrawn, but I would like to add to the record that this is your third objection of this kind and that you have phrased your complaint in exactly the same way each time. We have brought you here to get answers, not speeches.
GREGORY: What led to your decision to recommend that Special Order 162 be repealed?
ALEXANDER: In the 48 days following the Knight–Errant pullout, there were 218 deaths among the residents of the Refuge. GREGORY: The situation was turning into a war.
GREGORY: On what did you base your recommendation?
ALEXANDER: Look, I know what you want me to say, but I won’t. You have to understand what was going on at the time. As soon as we realized that we were dealing with more than a couple of isolated incidents, we tried to protect them but we just didn’t have enough manpower—and the attrition rate among those assigned to garrison the Refuge was unacceptable by anyone’s standards. We explored freelance security options but after the Knight–Errant debacle the low bid was outrageous. No one would go near the place.
GREGORY: It wasn’t worth protecting them.
ALEXANDER: We couldn’t protect them.
GREGORY: So you cut them loose.
What opinions do the characters have about ghouls and Ghoultown in Chicago?
Please answer in-character.