High Tech Wanderers: The Silicon Circus
The Silicon Circus is a semi-nomadic group of Wanderers. It consists of circus families, truckers/mechanics, travelling medics, merchants and scholars/teachers. It is famous among the towns and villages of the “Mother Road” (aka Route 66)
The Circus has its winter quarters in Elk City Oklahoma where it is a welcome guest for about 3 months every year. For the rest of the year, the Circus travels up and down the Mother Road; one year it will go West/North (to Chicago), the next year it will aim for Pasadena and the California Coast. It usuallly takes 8 months for the Circus to complete a “half tour” (from Elk City to “the end of the road” and back again)
Oklahoma was often seen by circuses as a good place to spend the winter (Hugo, Oklahoma for instance). The Silicon Circus was first formed soon after Death Day, under the orders of a National Guard unit that had been tasked with protecting Oklahoma’s oil assets (and eventually became the de facto Overlords of southern Oklahoma). The Guard commander wasn’t a highly-skilled politician – but he had an understanding of the “Bread & Circuses” concept. He ordered the formation of the Silicon Circus (drafting in circus people, teachers, doctors and entertainers) and used it as a way of distracting and reaching the citizens.
It later decades, the Circus became so popular and so useful that it was able to become semi-independent
Most of the Circus vehicles are horse-drawn, but there are 5 or 6 diesel trucks (Elk City can provide fuel because it is an Oiler Town). The Circus also has some jeep-type vehicles and light motorbikes which are used to scout out the road (the bikers can also put on a display of trick-riding for the show)
The Big Top
The Silicon Circus has a Big Top with many of the traditional acts: clowns, trapeze artists, jugglers, stilt-walkers, and so on but it also has a more high-tech side: the Circus has video projectors and a fairly extensive collection of videos (some of them newly-made: by Universities, the KFS or various groups in Texas). There’s an ongoing argument among the Circus members. Should they show “escapist” or “educational” shows?
As well as carnie booths and animal shows (with some mutated exhibits) the strip features medical clinics (which can perform minor surgery), a dentist or two,and some very popular “history shows” and “science shows” which try to be educational as well as entertaining. There is also a small bookshop and a travelling library (patrons are expected to return the books the next time the circus is in town).
The Biker Circus puts on a dazzling display of trick riding and is currently experimenting with an ultralight aircraft: a powered parachute. The Barnstormer mechanics run the equivalent of clinics: they try to repair any engine that’s brought to them (or at least give out tickets in exchange for the spare parts)
Cost of admission
The Silicon Circus accepts the following
Scrap metal (especially stainless steel and copper)
Electronics (working or non-working)
Food & livestock
Blood donations (they do have an operating theater)
Books, microfilm, recordings
oil & lubricants
Most communities are happy to see the Circus – but many don’t really trust these “outsiders with their fancy learnin’ and flashy toys”. In most places, the Circus is allowed to operate with only minor inconvenience. For example, the Frozen Chosen and The Inquisitors always require the Circus to allow their preachers to address the crowd and a few Badges insist on receiving tolls or fines – but these things are regarded as face-saving formalities. It’s rare to find a group stupid or greedy enough to cause real problems
The only real enemy of the Silicon Circis is the group known as “The Breeders”. The Breeders are appalled that the Circus is sharing the Secrets of Science.
The Silicon Circus would be useful allies for the Morrow Project’s Reconstruction Effort. However, the Circus has never encountered a Morrow project team – only stories, legends and KFS propaganda. Therefore, some members would be extremely cautious if they met anyone who claimed to be a member of this semi-mythical group. They would also be easily insulted if Morrow Project personnel insisted on carrying large weapons into the Big Top or around the Strip (holstered pistols are OK).
The Circus’ Powered parachute uses a nylon parachute. Where did it come from? An old (salvageable) airbase? Was it left over from a KFS supply drop to one of its Advisory Teams? Was it a gift from the Ballooners?
The Breeders attack the Circus. How do the players react?
The player characters travel with the Circus – perhaps as non-project members?