Lampeter Registrar Entry: The Smog-Wastes of NeoAmerica
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Lampeter Registrar

The SmogWastes of NeoAmerica


The megacities of NeoAmerica lie among the furthest reaches of the Lampeter network, like a ring of distant mountains shrouded in smog. Every one of these cities is unique and magical, replete with nooks and crannies, stuffed with secrets stolen from other cities, other worlds. No multiversal sojourner has truly seen a city until they have seen a NeoAmerican megacity.

In Universe Eastboard-12A, the American Eastern Seaboard Megacity stretches from former Boston to Atlanta, and the cobbled streets of old Boston, the silver spires of old New York, and the art deco towers of old Atlanta are cast in permanent neon twilight by the sky-spanning tracks of the Maglev of '89. In Universe ChicagIllinoi-89B, the American NorthMidWestern Megacity spans from former New York to Chicago to Washington D.C., connected by millions of crisscrossing subway charnel tunnels, through which the Chicago Revenants, the Sons of Liberty, and the Old Yorkers politic their eternal war. All are ultimately similar, marching arrays of urban spires. Each is unique in its own way, yet jumping from City to City one could be forgiven for thinking one had barely journeyed at all.

The least navigable universes are those without mass transportation, not even the ubiquitous subway train or zeppelin ferry. These universes require automobiles to traverse; the sole conduits between sparse islands of civilization are highways, which coil upon themselves, labyrinthine knots of transport that enmesh the beating hearts of human civilization, like eggs in nests woven of thorns. These megacities sprout from poisoned seed: cities already crumbling upon their own weight, whether they be Los Angeles or American Peking. Smoggy, unwalkable, concrete.

The Lampeter network is unreliable in these worlds. Usually, it can be traversed under one's own power — enter an unmarked door, or turn left at a right-only sign. Step upon a ski lift. Let go of a zipline once you pass a certain tree on a certain trail at a certain hour. But in these worlds, the routes between doors often traverse the bewildering webs of highways between vibrant urban nodes. These universes are best avoided by travelers seeking to go swiftly and safely, for they are too prone to the whims of others — other drivers that may be too cautious or reckless, too demanding to follow safety rules and too morbidly curious when another meets their doom. Traffic jams, from congestion or from gawking at accidents.


Many of the NeoAmerican megacities are abandoned now, and more are fast becoming husks. There will always be American patriots dreaming of imagined glory days, but ever since the Neon God was discovered these cities have grown more uncanny, more unnerving. Refugees, fleeing the endless growth of the Neon God, stop in the cities but rarely stay long — to them, these worlds are uncannily similar to the cancer they flee.

When the Neon God comes to these worlds, it does so silently, unnoticed until it can no longer be ignored. It is all too easy to ignore its growth, for in a world of City, what is one more skyscraper under construction that gets completed, without warning, all too quickly? What is one more road being blocked off for urban development, one more sunny park falling into perpetual shadow, one more dark alley adorned with endless glistering light?

Are the words upon the new billboard gibberish, or are they a dialect of multiversal Tengrii carried by refugees from the Steppes? Is that illogical intersection a tendril of the Neon God, or is it merely the result of contradictory zoning laws? Was that street a one-way road yesterday, or is this an infrastructural reform that was relegated to a byline on the thirtieth page of a newspaper?

You cannot tell, and so the once great NeoAmerican cities lie empty. How can you feel safe, in your cities full of beauty and wonder and diversity and life, when forces beyond your control might warp it into something unrecognizable overnight?

And so the NeoAmerican highways fester. The purpose of a highway is to transport, and yet it is bad at that singular task; congestion, a disease of plenty, is inevitable. The mass transport solution does not grow ill: it was designed from the beginning to be a clogged artery.

The highway yearns to transport, and yet it rests, plastic bags and other litter dancing across the asphalt wastes like tumbleweeds of yore. The blacktop corridors, once packed end-to-end by metal carriages stretching into the horizon, are empty, tasting no more of gasoline fumes and rubber tire.

It is imprecise and flawed to claim that an inanimate construction wants something; highway systems, whenever they arise, perpetuate themselves, but these are the actions of agents with their own goals and wants and desires, not silent paths of black asphalt. Yet there is no other explanation for what occurs in these forgotten, abandoned Lampeter worlds.

The highways call for rubber upon their backs, smog within their lungs, cacophony echoing in their ears. They yearn to be abused once more and to abuse in turn. They long to fulfill the only purpose they know, the only reason they ever had to exist. And if they were merely abandoned, these cries would be hollow, echoing into a million empty nights.

But they were once roads within Lampeter.

Without watchful eyes upon these rotting worlds, doors fray. They lead astray. The highways reach out across the multiverse, calling for drivers, promising faster routes to endless destinations, time saved, destiny in the driver's hands, the open road, freedom, to go wherever you want on your own time, your own schedule. Let us fulfill our purposes once more, say the highways.

And Lampeter answers their prayers.

You may find yourself on any road and any highway, in any world across the multiverse, listening to your GlobalMap or following your SmartNav, when you take an exit you do not recognize — and then you shall find yourself in the heaven of the highways. Where their supplications have been satisfied. Where they are veins of blood packed full of virus, and both boundless sky and earth-piercing chasm are filled with their putrid exhalation, and the honking of horns is the screams of the damned.

And once you enter, you might never leave.


Interstate Highway I-85

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