May
20
2019

Princeton Army Air Force Forward Base [The Day After Ragnarok]

Princeton Army Air Force Forward Base

[The Day After Ragnarok]

Location: Princeton, West Virginia

Staff: 30, 800 Dependents/Civilian Staff/Support

Commander: Lt. Ruth Tolley Gwinn, USAAF

Runway Size: 2,000 feet

Capacity: 5 planes (Piper J-3 Cubs)

Elevation: 2,400 SF

Theoretically, West Virginia should have been in a strong position to withstand Ragnarok: the state is mostly mountainous, Serpent-taint does not bite as strongly there (thanks to the high mineral content), and there is still a lot of oil and coal to access.  Unfortunately, the state government fell apart after plagues destroyed the cities and even larger towns; the settlements that remain are mostly self-sufficient to the point of obsession. But they do still try to keep in touch with each other, if only because they’re aware that there are increasing numbers of bandits, warlords, and other monsters that would be only too happy to take out each hamlet, one by one.  And one reason that this doesn’t happen is because of Princeton Army Air Force Forward Base (Princeton AAF).

Princeton AAF represents pretty much the entirety of ‘formal’ American military might within 200 miles of Princeton, West Virginia (the town itself was largely wiped out by a post-Serpentfall plague).  Its elevation kept it from being drowned in the tsunami that wrecked the East Coast; its continued survival is thanks to a variety of factors, including the fact that it’s fairly far away from most of the main ‘action’ in the Poisoned Lands and/or Drowned Coast.  Princeton AAF is also the largest operational airport in southern West Virginia, which turned out to be very important.

Most of what Princeton AAF does is deliver mail; the base’s planes do regular — if infrequent — runs to various towns that have at least primitive landing fields. Besides the mail, they also do routine recon patrols.  Princeton scouts have been instrumental in warning communities all over southern West Virginia about raider parties and monsters; most of the former are smart enough to harass places that don’t have aerial patrols, and so far the latter have only shown up in manageable quantities.  Everything more or less works. Or as well as it can work, in the Poisoned Lands.

For the record: the reason that Princeton AAF is run by a woman is because Ruth Tolley Gwinn was the first woman female instructor in West Virginia, and was in fact still busy training cadets to fly when the Serpentfall hit.  The reason Lt. Gwinn got a commission in the Army Air Force (via radio transmission) is because her husband is highly placed in what was once the Pacific Theater (he’s also on the other side of the planet and desperately worried about his wife, but that’s a personal matter), and pulled strings.  And the the reason that Princeton AAF is still a going concern (and a growing concern to those who would conquer West Virginia) is because Lt. Gwinn doesn’t make stupid decisions.

She also makes deals with reasonably presentable and self-controlled adventurers; at the very least, Princeton AAF has tools and a small amount of parts useful for patching up a damaged light plane, and there are a lot of towns in West Virginia that will react favorably to known friends of the air base.  So, getting on her good side is thus always a good idea. Getting on her bad side is contraindicated — but then, that surely was obvious already?

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