City of Light
Serpentfall (July 1945)
When word of the serpent reached Buffalo, the mayor immediately put into effect the emergency protocols which his war council had been preparing for the last three years. While nobody could predict what was to come, the city was as prepared for it as was possible. With refugees from the Drowned Coast flooding into the capital, Buffalo mobilized to get aid to those in need.
The Storm (Aug 1945 to May 1946)
When the snow began to fall in August of 1945, it hit Buffalo particularly hard. The Great Lakes were warm and full of serpent poison and the cold air soaked it up and dropped it on Western New York for nine months, during which time the city was inaccessible. Railroads and highways were snow-choked. Lake Erie froze in the first couple months, making the port useless. The halting of shipping worked in Buffalo’s favor, leaving it with grain elevators full of untainted wheat, but led to mass starvation and riots downstate. By the time things started to thaw in May of 1946, the roads were strewn with the frozen corpses of the desperate trying to reach the City of Light.
The Evacuation (May 1946 to December 1946)
Spring and summer brought a mass exodus of people west. Buffalo, being a transportation hub, became the stopping point for anyone in the northeastern United States looking to get to the West Coast. C-46 Commandos were refitted to serve as passenger planes and those with the money or pull could be flown over the Rockies. The rest left by road, rail, or boat. Once the extent to which the earth was poisoned began to be revealed with the year’s stunted and twisted crops, desperation turned to panic. As a new winter approached, things grew bad and the local authorities struggled to protect the populace. Luckily, they had been preparing for years for these sorts of eventualities and they managed to survive them.
Consolidation (December 1946 to March 1947)
Since the lakes never warmed up (Erie barely unfroze), the next winter’s snow wasn’t nearly as bad and this was a town that knew how to deal with snow. That said, it was very functional and, with the panic over, the city began to look forward. Elections were put off for another year until the population stabilized. With so many of the surrounding suburbs depopulated by weather and the exodus, it was decided to consolidate the governments of Erie County and Buffalo. Given the new circumstances, it was also decided that the War Council and Office of Civilian Protection should become permanent institutions. They were absorbed into the already existing city government and their powers and oversight made formal. All of this was helped by the governor moving the state capital to Buffalo in the spring, Albany having been devastated by attacks over the winter. He brought with him what troops he had left, which were absorbed into Buffalo’s brigade.
State Capital (May 1947 to May 1948)
Most of the effort in the following year involved changing the city to match its new realities. Many of the old retired street lines were restored and automobile factories were refitted to produce abandoned electric car designs. Police and deputies greatly expanded their mounted units. The vehicles in use that used gasoline were refitted for ethanol. Most importantly, trade was established with neighbors and the West Coast. Buffalo still had a tremendous industrial capacity and the largest steel factory on the continent. In exchange for these goods, Chicago and Detroit sent iron ore, Pittsburgh sent coal, and California sent untainted food. Most important for that last one was the city’s aeronautic industry. Once Bell had a successful test flight of its first rocket plane in the summer of 1947, jet technology became its main export to the West Coast (which became increasingly desperate to get Buffalo engineers to relocate).
Current Events (May 1948 to present)
Governor Dewey and his staff took a plane to the West Coast in May so that he could pursue his presidential run. This leaves Mayor Kelly as the defacto authority in what’s left of New York, at least until the elections this November. His office now has a great deal more authority than it ever has. Niagara Falls is a persistent problem and fear of losing the hydroelectric plant there is being used against him.