Relocation, the nomad way.

The government has the Witness Relocation program, but what do you do when itís the government you want to hide from.  Sure you can hide out in your local Combat Zone or ghetto, and hope the cops arenít brave enough to come in and get you, or your neighbors donít bag your for the bounty, but then you have to live in the Combat Zone, where you may end up with bigger problems than the government looking for you.  You could head to a No Manís Land, like Lost Angeles or Manhattan.  No one will ever come for you there, though you may wish they had.  You could try to leave the country, but if whoever is after you has enough resources and enough money, and is mad enough at you, they will still find you.  Escaping into the wilderness and wastelands as a nomad has always been a popular option, and I has been said that if you arenít running from something you arenít really a nomad.  But sometimes even that isnít enough.  Sometimes you need to get out, get away, and never be seen again.  One way to do that is the Underground Railroad.


The Underground Railroad is very similar in nature to the Underground Railroad of the 1800ís, which helped slaves escape to the north and freedom.  If you are being hunted, and can pay the price, the Nomads will transport you in safety, security and anonymity, wherever you need to go.  Through a series of safe houses, sanctuaries, and hidden supply caches, the Nomads who dedicate their lives to refugee smuggling will get you to your destination, whatever it may be, as well as provide you with new identification, and if you really need it and can afford it, a new face.  Occasionally a political refugee, or someone who has done a great service to the Nomad Community will be given a ride on the Underground Railroad free of charge.  It is rare for a static to receive this boon, but not unheard of.


While the nomad community is aware of the Underground Railroad, and even in static society it is a widespread rumor, the only way to get on board is to petition the Main representative of a nomad Nation at one of the Nomad Markets or major gatherings.  Even then, the tribal leader will only be able to provide a meeting to a Railroad Driver, who will only meet the ďPassengersĒ in private where they can plead their case and payment can be arranged.  If the Passenger is accepted they will leave immediately.  They are allowed to bring only one bag, and they are expected to do everything their Driver tells them.  The Driver may work alone, or they may be part of a small crew.  A driver will stay with his Passengers until they reach their final destination, acting as guide, bodyguard, and provider.  Sometimes they will travel alone, sometimes they will travel within a larger group of nomads.  The Driver may switch vehicles often during a single trip.  If pursuit gets close enough, a Driver may be required to pass his Passengers off to another Driver team, but this is an absolute last resort, as the fewer people that know about the Passenger(s) the better, and doing o may completely alter the destination and route to such an extreme as to be starting over again from scratch.  Under no circumstances is a Passenger to reveal their identity or situation to anyone, doing so is considered a breach of contract, and their Driver will simply vanish, leaving them wherever they happen to be, including the middle of the wastelands.


Most, but not all, Railroad trips will make at least one stop at The Caves in New Mexico, where the Passenger can get an expertly forged set of new ID papers, even a S.I.N. card, and if necessary, cosmetic surgery by a trusted nomad doctor.  Regardless of route, the Drivers will often try to keep to back roads and unmarked routes.  This increases the danger of running afoul of locals or Raffen Shiv, but it is necessary to stay off the radar and reduce the chance of government or corporate encounter as much as possible.  The Railroad doesnít have a website, Passengers are forbidden to send digital messages And Drivers almost never do either, GPS devices are not wallowed, nor are cell phones.  The most common method of information transfer other than word of mouth, between Driver and the Railroad or other nomads, is via the nomad run Radio Free America, which will broadcast coded messages to any Drivers believed to be in the vicinity at the 23 minute mark of every hour.  Each Driver, or Driver team, has their own code, so they will know if the message is meant for them. 


To become a Driver for the Underground Railroad a nomad must implicitly earn the trust of his Nation, and be on good terms with the other nations, as his ability to blend in with Nomad caravans and call on favors and contacts is essential to the safe completion of their journey.  They must be highly and equally skilled at both vehicle operation (cars and trucks, motorcycles are not suitable for the task) as well as combat.  Some Drivers dedicate their lives to this calling, others do it for a short time,  but it is a duty taken extremely seriously by the Nomad Community at large.  Failure to see your Passenger to his destination cause a serious blow to a Drivers reputation, and abandoning (unless he reveals his true nature to someone) or betraying your Passenger(s) will culminate in the Driver being shunned from the community.  If a passenger reveals the methods, route, or Identity of his Driver to anyone during or after they have been delivered, it is not unknown for the Nomad Community in the area, and beyond, to do everything in its power to eliminate the betrayer(s) and cut the tongue from their corpse to make sure the message is understood.

Written By Deric Bernier.  Images from Deric Bernier, Mad Max, The Road Warrior, Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome, Warriors
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