An Encounter with Townspeople. Or are they “Badges”, “Slavers” or even a “University”?
The City of Poplar Bluff – “The Gateway To The Ozarks” – is one of the many trading communities that have appeared along the Interstates and rivers that lead to and from ‘civilized’ areas such as the New Confederacy, and the KFS. It provides a market and a way-station for river traders and Gypsy Truckers. The City has survived – and even prospered – because it ‘enjoys’ a number of advantages. It has a strategic location: the city is at the crossroads of U.S. Highway 60 and U.S. Highway 67. The surrounding area is commonly called the “Three Rivers” . The three rivers (Current River, Black River, and St. Francis River) are about 60 kilometres apart and Poplar Bluff is near the the center (located on the Black River).
Poplar Bluff has 3 Other assets that may impact any Morrow Project operations in the Three Rivers area
1. Three Rivers Community College provides training and education to the brighter/luckier/wealthier members of the community. As well as general education and some professional courses, it has a well-respected paramedic course. Each year, the top paramedic student is accepted for further training in the KFS.
Three Rivers College also trains craftsmen, mechanics/technicians and gunsmiths.
The City is extremely proud of the college and most of the local elite are alumni. They meet for monthly reunions and contribute a tithe to college finances – all of which gives the College staff an immense amount of influence on local politics
2. Troop E of the Missouri Highway Patrol has been headquartered just outside Poplar Bluff since the 1930’s – and now recruits exclusively from the City. All new recruits must be graduates of the Community College’s “Criminal Justice” course (which includes training in weapons use, law, and the operation of motor vehicles and small boats).
The Patrol attempts to enforce laws for the protection of travellers and to ensure that Highways are safe and the 3 rivers kept navigable. Unfortunately, this laudable activity involves some questionable interpretation of legalities and – if arbitrary fines cannot be paid – involuntary work on repair gangs. Even more regrettably, it’s common for these “repair gangs” to find themselves allocated to other work. Some of the more troublesome (or attractive) workers have been “leased” to the Kentucky Free State or the New Confederacy. Few of these convicts ever return
Incidentally, it’s difficult to say which is the best customer. The NC only wants to “lease” Black convicts, which limits the opportunities for trade but they do provide trade goods that the KFS won’t.
3. Poplar Bluff Municipal Airport. The KFS has negotiated rights to use the Airport as a Weather Station and an emergency landing zone for its aircraft (a P47 visits at least once each year). The KFS pays rent in 2 ways: a little refined fuel and regular weather forecasts (both important to a farming community).
A KFS watchtower has been constructed at the Airport and is home to a small garrison of specialists