The Red Stripe Mall & Motel

The first – and still biggest – Red Stripe operation.

This Red Stripe facility is known as “Intersection Market & Motel”. It is located on the outskirts of North Platte Nebraska, near the intersection of I-80 (east-west) and I-83 (north -south)

The facility is robust even by Red Stripe standards of fortification: the walls are concrete and reinforced with steel rails (taken from the nearby marshalling yards of Union Pacific).   The only external decoration is a stripe of red paint around the upper edge of the exterior wall

Initial impression: A hollow square, 2 storeys high, and over 150 metres wide.

The “courtyard” is approximately 100 metres square and open to the sky. Once inside, the visitor is welcome to visit any of the stores and businesses that operate here. The more established enterprises have permanent facilities in the many niches and openings that line the walls, while other entrepeneurs operate from temporary stalls that are dotted around the courtyard. Some of these stalls might only be present on Market Days (about once a week)

Established businesses

Red Stripe Motel: The upper floor is mostly used for accommodation.  Many merchants pay to live “above the shop” (and appreciate such decadent luxuries as indoor plumbing) but there is enough space to provide 30 private rooms and two dormitories. For the convenience of Badge or Slaver customers, each dormitory is lockable from the oustide and only has (small) skylights

Red Stripe Stables: food & shelter for horses. A small blacksmith shop is also found here

North Platte Bodyworks: Craftsmen working with wood, plastic or sheet-metal can provide all your repair & maintenance needs (they manufacture & repair horse-drawn wagons/carts, also repair the bodywork on trucks & cars)

Intersection Fuel and Service: Mechanics and distillers. This business has both the equipment and the skills needed to perform routine maintenance on most vehicles (although Bikers & Truckers usually just rent the space and tools and do all work themselves). They make ethanol fuel, and “brew up” biodiesel.  One valued service that they provide is the repair of tires.

Red Stripe Savings Loan & Pawn (SLAP): You can’t run an economy without some sort of money and this is where the “money” is stored. Currency used within the Trading Post is “Red Stripe Cash” or RSC. All other currency (anything from scrap metal to manufactured goods to gold to KFS credits to Texas Dollars) is converted into RSC and becomes basically a bookkeeping exercise – this avoids the problem of bartering (“I’ll give you 2 sheep for that saddle” “But I don’t need sheep, I want a revolver”). The SLAP also provides a valued service by issuing “certificates of deposit” . It’s a lot easier for merchants/truckers to tranport a piece of paper to another Trading Post than transport the goods they exchanged in return for their original stock. Bandits are also discouraged because these certificates can be queried by other Red Stripe Trading Posts (the network operates a crude morse code radio system). Certificates can be cashed at any Red Stripe facility

US Mail: Local mailmen operate from this establishment. It is a safe place to leave/collect mail and staff will make local deliveries (they have horses and a couple of motorbikes with sidecars). They also provide a writing/reading service for customers who are not literate. At least one Mailman will be designated to escort any mail which is being forwarded on to the next Red Stripe facility

Slaughterer: Animals are killed and processed here. Meat and raw materials are sold to a wide range of businesses. Some of the businesses include: butchers, tanners, candlemakers (and biodiesel makers), catgut makers, glue makers, etcetera

Red Stripe Mall: This is where the Red Stripe sells goods to the general public on Market Days. They like to showcase rare/expensive items

Law Office: Disputes, arbitration, contracts and accusations are dealt with by the “Judge” , her staff of clerks and 5 large, quiet men with steel clubs. The judge is also a representative of the local Overlord and has a great deal of influence.

Freddies Bar & Grill: a restaurant/cafe/bar, “Freddies” is usually busy and is renowned for having the best beer and the prettiest waitresses (some of whom may be available for “other services”)

Keela Bakery: Producing bread daily for the facility and local families. The bread is rumored to have medicinal powers. (advertising slogan “Electric Bread made with ELECTRIC ovens”)

Red Striper Brewery: The Platte river isn’t ideal drinking water – but the products of the Brewery are a lot safer to drink than the local water. Most of the “beer” is pretty weak (and often diluted further by customers) but it’s not a bad way to rehydrate after a day’s work

Power & Light: The facility’s electric hydropower generator is controlled from here (most Red Stripe facilities use hydropower and this location uses a generator attached to the I-83 bridge). Customers can also charge batteries.

Clinic: An Emdee & a couple of nurse/midwives are welcome guests of the Red Stripe Corporation (no rent is charged)

Security: A dozen men & women patrol the facility. They are usually armed with clubs & revolvers – but have access to heavier weaponry

Types of Market Traders

These are stall-operated businesses and are often only present on market Days – many are operated by local farming families and craftsmen

Cutlery (knives a specialty – handles are made from horn)
Gunsmith & Ammo (after a few unfortunate accidents, Red Stripe policy is not to allow ammunition manufacture inside the facilities)
Cheeses & smoked Meat
Glass goods (modern manufacture)
Jams & preserves
Printer, Bookseller & Bookbinder (some old, some new)
Paper (poor quality stuff – more like papyrus or parchment)
Tailors (also sell buttons, thread)
Rope & strings (rawhide & catgut)
Smokes (dried tobacco and ‘herbal’ substances)
Plastic-worker (melts & recycles old plastic)
Bone-worker (needles, buttons, buckles, decorative handles)
Hardware (nails, screws, hinges)
Candles & Lanterns
Kindergarten – a safe place for kids while you shop or go to the bar

When the Truckers, Bikers, Salvagers and Wanderers come by, the Courtyard Market is a crowded, noisy place – with a wide range of goods & services available. It’s a particularly BIG day if some Balloonists make an entrance or a tribe of Amerindians appear.