Some of you may remember me asking about world building for the 6th world.. well I created a history for Buffalo in 2075 starting from the 2000's.
IF YOU'RE PART OF ARTEMIS-UB, DO NOT READ THIS. Minor spoilers involved. You'll get a redacted version.
I'd appreciate any feedback from those who want to take the time to read it. If you just enjoy the read that's awesome too!
EDIT: I need to give lots of credit to The Shadowrun Supplemental #16
, A Shadowtourist's Guide to Buffalo (https://the-eye.eu/public/Books/rpg.rem.uz/Shadowrun/Magazines/The%20Shadowrun%20Supplemental/TSS%20-%2016.pdf
). Lots of inspiration came from that.
===== Introduction =====
Buffalo became a full-fledged city in 1832. The city began as a boomtown on the Erie Canal and it soon became a major hub for sea traffic and shipping by rail. The hard economic times of the 20th century soon slowed Buffalo's growth to a trickle, but with the new millennium came new growth and new opportunities for the Queen City. Greater Buffalo and Niagara Falls make up a large portion of the Toronto-BuffaloSyracuse Metropolitan Corridor (TBSM).
The city of Buffalo alone boasts over a million in population, with most of the expected facilities. Institutions of higher learning include the UCAS University at Buffalo and Buffalo State College. Numerous state, city and county parks and easy access to beaches on Lake Erie and Ontario provide yearround opportunities for sports and recreation.
Western New York fans enjoy seeing Sabres games during the season. Buffalo is also home to the Buffalo Bisons (AAA baseball), Buffalo Stampede (Combat Biking), and Buffalo Destroyers (Urban Brawl). Skiers and snowmobilers have up to a dozen excellent resorts for winter fun between 10 and 60 miles of the Greater Buffalo area.
===== 2000 - 2010 =====
=== 2001 - === Grand Island has a two day blackout when all tranformers burst within 10 minutes of each other. Blames faulty grid.
=== 2005 - === Earthquake levels Manhattan. Causes economic growth in Buffalo. NFTA expands greatly in public transportation with the influx of people.
=== 2006 - === Buffalo moves for state to increase size of Buffalo proper to include the surounding suburbs of Amherst and Cheektowaga. It is accepted with very popular approval of the city folk. Buffalo offers tax cuts for construction of Downtown buildings. University at Buffalo and Buffalo State plan growth to accomidate influx of population from NYC. NFTA continues expansion with funding to have lines to UB North and Buffalo State.
=== 2009 - === State grants former Seneca Indian Reservation to Shiawase Corporation, which purchased Niaga Power Authority earlier this year. Shiawase purchases NFTA. Power fluctuations begin occuring on Grand Island.
=== 2010 - === Buffalo quarentines itself during VITAS outbreak in India. Protests occur around the city. Economic growth comes to a standstill. A criminal underground starts to surface.
=== 2011 - === Protests turn to riots as the quarentine stays. Buffalo Bills are sold to Rochester. Criminal Underground begins to grow in South Buffalo. Unemployment drops by 20% in North Buffalo.
== Dec 24 == Grand Island becomes uninhabitable 1st day: trees in the area grew overnight by almost 2 feet in diameter. 2nd day: wildlife all over the place seemed to just appear overnight. People begin to leave. 3rd day: All transformers explode overnight. State of emergency declared and population begins evacuation. 4th day: The land suddenly begins to change. Land raises and lowers, houses are split in half. Panic ensues. 5th day: Gigantic trees appear. Paracritters also begin to show up. Some friendly, some not so much. 6th day: Grand Island is no longer livable. Buffalo declares no trespassing without government allowance. 7th day: National Guard is sent in to investigate. 24 go in and are never heard or seen again. 14th day: After a 2/3rd majority vote, all bridges connected to Grand Island are destroyed.
=== 2012 - === Quarentine is lifted from the City. Buffalo avoids major devestation from VITAS. Buffalo offers to suspend property tax for 5 years to corps willing to build downtown. Ares Macrotechnology Tower is built downtown as a twin, spiralling spire. Spans six square block area on the waterfront. Grand Island starts to look like something out of a fantasy novel. UGE causes panic in Southtowns. Many UGE babies sent down niagara river. New Era field is abandoned.
=== 2014 - === Mitsuhama Computer Technologies purchases Toshiba and absorbs it. Begins construction of more research labs downtown. Shiawase begins continuation of NFTA lines.
=== 2015 - === Fuchi Industrial Electronics and Renraku Computer systems begin constructing compounds downtown. New Era Field starts to gain a homeless population.
=== 2017 - === UB and Buffalo State begin taking in more students with sponsorships from the megacorps. Shiawase purchases UB North Campus. Still part of University at Buffalo. Focuses on Engineering and Computer Technologies.
Shiawase continues NFTA lines.
Oro begins constructing a compound downtown. Purchases Grand Island from Buffalo and gains extraterritoriality of it. Economy of Buffalo is recovering.
=== 2018 - === Treaty of Denver causes large migration of people from Canada. Lockport sees large economy boost from migration. Many housing buildings are purchased by Shiawase and renovated. NFTA lines begin extension to Lockport.
Shiawase purchases Boring Company. Shiawase purchases NYC Subway system. Shiawase begins construction of tunnel from Buffalo -> Rochester -> Syracuse -> Albany -> New York City.
Police give up trying to remove homeless population from New Era Field.
=== 2021 - === Goblinization rocks Buffalo. Hard. Buffalo goes into a state of emergency for 3 days. New Era Field becomes a safe haven for all Metatypes. Becomes central of black market and smuggling.
Mayor gives a speech after about how we must be accepting of others in these hard times and how all people are equal. This was promptly followed by his head exploding like a water melon. Panic follows the city even more after this. Ares is contracted out by Buffalo to handle the rioting and mayhem. Curfew is put into effect on the people. Violence slowly went down.
Tunnel to Rochester is completed. Tunnel to Albany is completed.
=== 2022 - === Ares Arms Military Division is officially hired as the local police force. Protests happen from Police Officers which leads to many "accidental deaths". Bullet trains between Buffalo and Rochester is created. 20 minute travel time. Bullet trains between NYC and Albany is created. 30 minute travel time.
Oro becomes Aztechnology. Aztechnology purchases UB South Campus. Still part of University at Buffalo. Focuses on Magical Studies
Buffalo gets hit by VITAS this time around. Lockport gets hit hard.
=== 2023 - === Ares Macrotechnology buys up land in Lockport to build a manufacturing plant.
Kaleida Health purchases Roswell Medical Center. Builds more medical centers downtown.
=== 2026 - === Tunnel to Syracuse is completed on both sides Ares manufacturing plant is created. Lots of people from Rochester and Syracuse end up working there.
Kaleida Health purchases UB Downtown Campus.
=== 2027 - === Bullet trains between Rochester and Syracuse is created. 20 minute travel time. Bullet trains between Albany and Syracuse is created. 30 minute travel time.
Aztechnology sends researchers with proper magic defenses into Grand Island. The bodies are found in the screens of Niagara Power Plant.
=== 2029 - ===
== Crash of 29 == A single NFTA subway is destroyed from the Crash Virus. 200 people were killed. Buffalo sends researchers to help combat the Crash Virus. They're never heard from again. Massive protests happen over companies shutting down. Ares combats with force. Governement closes the City. Businesses hurt due to commuters. New Era Field gains a larger presence in the city as smuggling and protection becomes more needed. Dubbed [[Locations:The Grid Iron|The Grid Iron]]
=== 2030 - === With the formation of UCAS, Buffalo acquires Fort Erie, Ontario and the western side of Niagara Falls. Shiawase immediately begins building tunnels in those districts. Fort Erie was recognized as one of Newsweeks Magazine's 10 worst places to live due to its high population, high crime rate, and undesirable businesses. Fort Erie is filled with Casinos, Strip Clubs, sports and music venues, and bars. Dubbed "Little Vegas in the East"
Kaleida Health purchases more places downtown. Growing into a megacorp.
Aztechnology attempts some ritual around Grand Island. During the ritual, each one was struck by lightning at the exact same time. The lightning jumped out from the middle of the island.
Buffalo economy booms more. Many new businesses spring up in Medical, Science, and Engineering fields.
=== 2037 - === Kaleida Health becomes AA corporation.
=== 2039 - === Night of Rage - Metahumans protest discrimination. Protesters are met with gunfire. Gunfire is returned. Hundreds are killed. Tensions rise high between Amherst and North Buffalo. Ares is blamed for letting this happen.
=== 2040 - === Ares loses Police Contract to Lone Star. Ares seems to leave with a smile.
Kaleida Health builds a massive medical health and research center. The building is shaped like an H, with the center piece 20 stories up.
=== 2047 - === Branch of Humanis Policlub is founded in Amherst.
=== 2063 - === Horizon builds an office building downtown.
My son has reached the age at which he can enjoy my stories. By now, his friends have gathered that I am “the guy” who wrote those books and Creepypastas that they have read and listened to on YouTube. Sometimes, when they are over the house, we’ll sit out around a bonfire in the backyard and share stories. Each time we do, it never fails that someone asks “Yeah, but do you have any true stories?”
True? Are you insinuating that my stories aren’t true? Well, for the most part they are not. There are a few that are mostly true, or based on true events; but I recently remembered one that is entirely true, and it still gives me the shivers. Let me digress a bit and properly set the background.
There are three types of campers. The first are the “glampers,” who drive around in their two-hundred-thousand dollar motor homes with king sized beds, satellite TV and internet access, and more televisions than are in my entire house. Then are the “campers,” who rent lots at campgrounds or state parks and sleep on the ground in tents telling themselves that, unlike the glampers, they are really roughing it. And that leaves the stone agers. My friends and I fall in that last category.
Our idea of camping was to drive out to the wilderness, pull off the side of the road, stuff as much as we could into our backpacks, and take off on foot up into the mountains. Give me a sleeping bag, a gun, a bottle of cheap whiskey, and a can of beans and I’m set for the weekend. That is how my friends and I spent most of our summer weekends in our younger years.
Growing up in Cleveland, Ohio, the nearest place that we could find actual wilderness included a four hour drive to the foothills of the Appalachians in the Allegheny National forest. We would hit I- 90 right after work on Friday and drive east along the great lakes until we reached the outskirts of the forest, then plunge south into its heart. Our destination was the little town of Red House near the Seneca Nation Indian Reservation. It was a long, boring drive – especially after a hard day’s work – but our excitement would begin to grow when we spotted the first familiar landmark. Driving along the Allegheny River highway, it was impossible to miss the Kinzua Dam. Built for flood control and used to generate hydroelectric power, the one-hundred-eighty foot high concrete structure was massive and visible from miles away. It was, and still is, the largest dam east of the Mississippi River.
Passing the dam, we would go over a long bridge that crossed the man-made Allegheny Reservoir that had come to be known as Lake Perfidy – an interesting and fitting name, as you will soon find out. Red House was not far beyond that. On this particular occasion, our party consisted of myself and two friends: Mike and Rob. We reached an abandoned gas station – our “base camp” – shortly after nine o’clock. As usual, we packed our things and begin climbing into the Appalachian foothills. We were in a hurry to get to one of our favorite spots as soon as possible. It was freezing cold, even though it was the middle of August, and we still needed to locate some dry wood for a campfire.
Finding cut logs and kindling was never a problem, as that part of the forest underwent a constant process of selective logging. Trees were thinned out rather than clear-cut, allowing the logging companies to get their take while leaving a sustainable forest to repair itself. There was always some waste left over, and as soon as we dropped our packs and sleeping rolls, we went off hunting for chunks of wood. Another advantage of having the logging companies working out there was the network of primitive logging roads that they left behind. Narrow, flat, and paved with pressed sawdust and wood chips, the roads made great trails to follow. Theoretically, we could have used them to drive further up the mountain but a ranger had long ago warned us that they were dangerous. They twisted and turned without warning, were sometimes blocked by fallen trees, and if the weather was wet they tended to slide out from beneath your vehicle, potentially leaving you hanging from a mountain ledge. In addition to that, he told us stories about the local drunks who would use the roads at night to get from the bars in town out to their homes in order to avoid using surface roads, where they might run into the sheriff. Two vehicles trying to negotiate the same road, in opposite directions, with (at least) one drunk operator was a recipe for disaster.
Friday night was uneventful. We gathered some wood, got a fire started and laid out our sleeping rolls. We sat around the fire for an hour or so passing around a bottle of Echo Springs and talking about our plans for Saturday and then, exhausted, hit the hay.
Okay, the one downside of sleeping under the stars is the potential to wake up half-submerged in a puddle of water. Sure enough, it had rained overnight. Not enough of a downpour to wake any of us up, but enough to thoroughly soak our campsite. The coals from the previous evening’s fire were still sizzling. My sleeping bag, and my clothes, were soaked. First order of business was to get a roaring fire going and try to dry out and warm up. That done, we decided to head back to the truck and make a run for the reservation. Surely, we thought, there must be some type of general store where we could buy some tarps so that we would be prepared in case more rain should come on Saturday.
Although we had camped near the reservation for years, we had never actually been to the reservation. Driving in, we were all a bit anxious. We did not know what to expect. We had heard that the natives didn’t hold any fond feelings for “the white man.” I suppose that we half expected to find teepees and wigwams but instead found trailer parks and bingo halls. It was a thoroughly depressing place. Squalid living conditions and poverty oozed from every pore of the place. Maybe the white man really did screw these people over. They could always leave, though, right? Make their way out in the real world? I suppose it’s not that simple and I will never truly be able to understand. In our modern age, a reservation is just a place where a tribe has sovereignty to run their own government and enforce their own laws, even if contained entirely within another state. Hence, the bingo halls and casinos, which would be taxable or outlawed in the surrounding area. Of course, the prospect of gambling was not helping out the Seneca people. Big spenders did not often flock to little towns in the middle of nowhere.
We weren’t having much luck finding anything other than what I just described when we stumbled across an old man sitting out in front of one of the bingo halls. Tanned, high-cheeked, and sharp featured, the man was obviously an Indian – an Iroquois, actually. He was also clearly drunk. If we couldn’t tell by looking at him (which we could) then it was readily apparent by smelling him from ten feet away. Of course, we had heard the old clichés about lazy Indians living off the government’s teat while they spent their days lying around drinking. That isn’t really the case, though. In fact, this guy was just an alcoholic, plain and simple. He could just as easily have been a white, black, or Asian man sitting in the doorway of an abandoned building in downtown Cleveland.
Mike rolled down his window and called out to the man. “Hey dude! Is there a hardware store or something around here?”
The old Indian looked up and tried to focus on our truck. “Huh? What are you looking for?”
“A place we can buy some supplies. We’re looking for some canvas tarps – you know, to keep the rain off.”
“Oh,” the Indian nodded, “Campers, eh? If I were you I would count my blessings and just go home.”
“Not an option, man.”
“Let me think, then.”
We parked and got out of the truck. You could almost see the gears grinding away in the guy’s head. “Nope,” he finally said, “Can’t help you. But you should really leave. Full moon tonight.”
“We’re not the superstitious type, man.”
“Not superstition,” the Indian said shaking his head vigorously. “Fact. It is very dangerous for you to be here. Onekahokwe comes, if not tonight then tomorrow for sure.”
“Onekahokwe.” He sounded it out as oh-NEEK-ah HOCK-way. “The water man.” It was obvious that he was itching to tell us the legend, and we had nothing else to do, so we sat down on the sidewalk next to him and he began speaking.
“In 1796, Pennsylvania gave Seneca Warchief Cornplanter fifteen-thousand acres of land in this valley as thanks for his support as protector of American families settling in the Allegheny River valley. In what would become the oldest treaty between the Indians and the whites, General George Washington granted the land to the Seneca tribe forever.
“The white man has a funny idea of forever, though. In 1965 they built the dam. It flooded the river valley, covering our ancestral land. Our homes, our farmland, the graves of our families. All of it, hundreds of feet below water. Our tribal leaders begged the government to stop the building of the dam, but in 1960 the president of the United States broke the longest standing treaty with Native Americans that ever existing. They claimed to have relocated our burial grounds further up the hillside but we do not believe them. Many of the graves remained, including that of Chief Cornplanter himself.
“The Seneca people still consider it a vile act of desecration. The whites simply referred to the man-made lake as the Allegheny Reservoir, but to the Seneca it has always been called Lake Perfidy – as a reminder of the treachery and deceit visited upon us by the U.S. government.”
Rob raised his eyebrows. “So where does aqua-man play into all of this?”
“Dude,” I interjected, “Have some respect. Can’t you see that he’s serious?”
The old Indian raised his hands, as if in surrender. “No, no. He is right to ask. That is the only way to understand.” He turned to face Rob. “The park rangers try to keep it secret, but divers inspecting the dam encountered a terrifying creature. It was ugly, fierce, and so threatening that they will only dive in cages now. We believe that was Onekahokwe. He protects our ancestors’ remains from being despoiled even more than they already have.”
“That’s just a rumor, though, right.” I didn’t know if Rob was making a statement or asking a question.
“No. It is the truth.”
I’ll admit that the hairs on the back of my neck were raised, but I still felt relieved. “Well, even if it was it won’t be a problem for us. We don’t plan on doing any swimming.”
“Does not matter.” The old Indian shook his head. “When there is a full moon, Onekahokwe walks on land. He comes for his sacrifice and to be worshipped. It would be best if you did not meet him.”
“Walks on land, eh?” Rob slapped his knees and stood up. “Well, I think we’re done here! Thanks for the story, man. I think we’ll take our chances, though.”
We all laughed nervously and then left the Indian to go back to the bottle that he had been hiding behind his back. We never did find any tarps, but (not surprisingly) the old man was able to direct us to a duty-free liquor store where we could replenish our supply of whiskey.
While we had no trouble believing the Indian’s story about how the government reneged on their land treaty, we drew the line at the story of the fish man. Our interest having been piqued, though, we took a ride up to the dam to see if the visitor center was open, figuring that we might be able to find some brochures or some other sources of information about Kinzua’s history. We lucked out and, despite the previous night’s rain, the gate to the causeway over the dam was open and we were able to walk out to the small blockhouse at the end of the spillway. There was a park ranger there and we started to shoot the shit with him, telling him about the old Indian and his story.
The officer assured us that the divers from the Army Corp of Engineers did not use cages and had never spotted any “fish creatures.” He said that they had run into some very large catfish and muskellunge. The muskie grew up to eight feet long had some pretty wicked teeth, but they stayed away from the divers and were not enough of a danger to warrant using a diving cage. He also told us that unfortunately, what the old Indian had said about the U.S. government screwing them over was entirely true, right down to the tidbit about there still being some graves that never got relocated. The ranger excused himself for a minute and returned holding a pair of binoculars. One by one, he directed our attention to areas where we could glimpse the remains of the town of Corydon breaking the water’s surface. A church steeple, the roofline of an old building and some brush – the latter which he said were the tops of trees. If you were to take a boat over to that area, you would be able to see the trees’ entire canopies below the surface. More evidence of prior human settlement appeared during periods of drought.
An entire submerged town, sort of like Atlantis. Creepy, but certainly nothing as hair-raising as fishmen.
Having spent the morning listening to the old legend about the valley that we had camped in numerous times before, we were happy to see that the overcast sky was clearing. Perhaps we didn’t need any tarps after all. We returned to camp and spent the afternoon and early evening hiking in the mountains, making a side trip to bring some more large logs back to camp, which we set around the fire to dry out so that we could use them later that night. After dinner, we washed up our kits in a small creek and set to drinking. Once thoroughly drunk, we pulled out our guns for some target practice. Alcohol and guns – a logical combination, right? Fortunately for us, there were never any problems.
After a while, we had settled down and were sitting around the fire waxing nostalgic about previous trips and making plans for future weekends, when we heard an engine revving up nearby. We were about one hundred yards into the woods off the nearest logging road, yet we could see headlights glimmering through the thick forest. Before we had time to realize what was going on, the headlights were speeding past us. The sound of the engine was louder and we could hear the vehicle’s tires skidding on the wet sawdust road. Within seconds, its taillights winked out as it turned a corner.
Eyes wide, Rob exclaimed “Must be one of the locals heading home from the bars.”
“Yeah but… Jesus! He was moving too fast even for dry roads.”
“I’m sure that he’s an old pro,” I said. “Anyway, no skin off our noses.” And so we went back to our business of drinking and bullshitting, growing tired and lying back on our (still squishy) sleeping bags. After what was probably half an hour, we heard the sound of twigs snapping nearby, as if something was walking toward us through the forest undergrowth. Adrenaline surging, we instantly snapped out of our stupor and sat up straight. Something was out there. Looking into the woods in the direction of the sounds, we could see a glowing pair of eyes. It had to be a bear!
There were plenty of black bears in the area, and we had run across more than a few in the time we spent in that forest. One bear in your camp is one bear too many. The bears in the area only ran between ninety and one-hundred fifty pounds, but I use the word “only” very loosely. They have those big, sharp, pointy teeth and claws, you know. The old myth is to hang your food up in a tree to keep the bears away. Well… Bears are very good climbers, and it just becomes a big bear-piñata, so that never really worked. We found that tightly sealed plastic bags work better – even for garbage. Nevertheless, the bears in the area are a bit too familiar with humans and get curious sometimes. Usually making a lot of noise was enough to scare them off, so we tried that this time but the bear answered back.
“Hey! Anybody out there?”
Wary of the late night visitor, Rob already had a hand on his gun. “Yeah. Who’s asking?”
A young guy, maybe early twenties, emerged from the woods. He must have noticed the gun because his hands were raised. “I don’t want any trouble guys. I saw your campfire when I passed by.”
Still on the defensive, Rob asked, “So what? Are you Smoky the Bear?”
“No, man. I was hoping that you could help me out.”
“With what?” As the guy stepped into the light from our campfire, we could see that he was pretty banged up – forehead and left arm bleeding – and that he was limping a little.
“I, uh...” he started sheepishly, “I had a little accident. I was going a bit too fast and flipped my truck up the way.”
“Oh, so that was you!” I said.
“Yeah. It’s slippery out tonight. So, do you guys think that you could help me flip it back on its tires? It’s kinda’ sideways right now. I could probably get it back straight up with some help.”
It sounded like the guy may have been through the same thing before – either himself or with a friend. We put our heads together and talked it over in low voices, then agreed. Rob and Mike would go with him and try to help him out. Being the paranoid city-folk that we were, we decided that I should hang back at the camp. There was always a slim chance that it was a setup. This guy draws us away, and his friends sneak in and take our stuff. It was an unlikely scenario, but we felt more comfortable that way.
Rob and Mike went off into the woods with the unfortunate driver, and I settled back down next to the fire. I laid back and started to relax. Knowing that I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep until they returned, I lay there and listened to the insects and frogs chirruping. It couldn’t have been more than ten minutes before I heard the snapping of twigs again – much too soon for my friends to be back, as I had calculated from the time it took the guy to get from his truck back to us. The thought of facing a bear on my own was a little daunting, but I had done it before. I stared deep into the woods and let my eyes adjust to the darkness.
Once again, it quickly became apparent that it was not a bear coming toward me. Not even a bunch of bears. I saw multiple sets of eyes reflecting the moonlight, and heard voices. The people were speaking in what I assumed to be the Iroquois tongue. There must have been about a dozen of them. In all of our years camping out in the woods in that valley, I had never seen any of the Indians out in the forest. Now, here was a whole band of them – and I was alone. My anxiety grew in proportion to the volume of their voices.
The Indians must have seen my campfire. They passed so close that they could not have possibly missed it, yet they continued on, passing me as if I were not even there, intent on getting to their destination. Curious – or perhaps just plain stupid – I decided to follow them and see where they were going. I don’t know if I was being as stealthy as my drink-addled brain thought or if they truly did not care that I was following. I got bold and closed the distance between them and myself. That’s when I noticed that two of the Indians were half-dragging, half-leading another man who appeared to be in a stupor. Seeing that concerned me, so I dropped back further into the woods.
They group arrived at a clearing at the top of a hill. I recognized it, as there was one very tall, dead, and completely stripped birch tree smack dab in the center. We had thought about cutting it down for firewood at one time, but it was just too darn big. The two Indians who were leading the impaired man approached the tree and lashed him to it with leather thongs. Then they all stepped back and began to chant. I must have gone on for a good half an hour but I remained there, transfixed by the sight and the sound of their invocation.
Then… I shit you not… this thing came out of the woods. I can only attempt to describe it because it was like nothing that I have ever seen. It was like nothing that should possibly have existed on earth.
The creature was undoubtedly Onekahokwe. The fish man. Although it was definitely part fish, I could not have attributed any features of “man” to it other than its un-fishlike appendages. Like a fish, the transition between its head and body was almost indistinguishable. The head/face portion was bulbous and spherical, probably three feet in diameter with a mouth that extended almost all of the way across it. It had two bulging, opaque eyes and a fin running down its spine – sort of like the dorsal fin on a marlin, only bigger. It was scaly, too, and it smelled funny. Not fishy, just… funny. Unlike a fish, though, this creature had long arms that hung from just below its head to the ground. It also had two stumpy legs. All of its limbs ended in flat, webbed, paddles that appeared to have a finger-like bone structure supporting them. Each “finger” or “toe” was tipped with a sharp barb. Based on the proportion of its height to the surrounding men, I would guess that it stood at least eight feet tall.
It was obvious that the Indians had expected the monster to appear, but they still seemed startled and afraid. They quickly scattered and fled into the woods, leaving behind the poor man that they had tied to the tree. He seemed to snap out of his trance at the sight of the fish man, and opened his mouth in a silent scream.
The last clear memory I have of Onekahokwe was when it looked directly at me. Our eyes met and it was as if it peered into my soul. I don’t think that it was at all concerned with my presence but I was not about to hang around to find out. I took off blindly into the woods, slamming my shoulders into trees in the darkness. I had the bruises to prove it the next morning, but at the time I did not care. From behind me came a combination of blood-curdling sounds. One was a human scream, letting me know that the man – a sacrifice, obviously – had found his voice. The other, much louder sound, was like nothing I had ever heard before. I had a feeling that if fish made sounds, it would sound very similar.
In my terror, I got lost in the dark and eventually had to work my way back to a logging road that I could follow back to our campsite. Apparently, I had beaten Rob and Mike back. They must have had quite a bit of trouble getting that guy’s truck set upright. At least I hoped that was why they hadn’t returned yet. I finished off the dregs of the bottle of Echo Springs and then dug into Rob’s backpack looking for more. I was happy to find that he had brought along a bottle of Jack Daniel’s – the good stuff – probably for an “end of summer” or “beginning of fall” celebration. We didn’t need many excuses for celebrations. I felt bad for opening it without the others there, but I needed another drink. That drink ended up being half the bottle.
I wondered what I would tell the guys. They would think that I was crazy or making the whole thing up. The decision had to wait until morning, though, as I had passed out before they returned. I was too hung over and befuddled to say anything the next morning, and I realized that the more time that passed, the more my credibility would suffer.
In the end, I never did end up telling Rob and Mike anything about what had happened. In fact, after a while I even began to doubt myself. Maybe it was all just a bad dream inspired by the old Indian’s story and fueled by the whiskey and too many baked beans. These days, I like to tell myself that it was. Nevertheless, that was my last trip to Kinzua.
Kenneth Kohl http://amazon.com/authokennethkohl
ALBANY – Frustrated by the lack of a casino revenue agreement with the Seneca Nation, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Wednesday proposed permitting a new Las Vegas-style casino in Western New York if voters statewide approve a gambling expansion amendment to the state constitution. submitted by
If that statewide plan fails, Cuomo proposed locating two gambling halls with slot-like machines in Western New York to compete with the three Seneca casinos.
The dramatic escalation of the state's fight with the Senecas came a day after Seneca President Barry Snyder Sr. called Cuomo a “bully” in between Snyder's meetings with state legislative leaders to try to beat back Cuomo's casino expansion plan. Cuomo officials, according to sources involved in the negotiations, called Snyder's comments the final straw that led to the governor releasing his bill Wednesday with the added Western New York gambling sites to challenge Seneca casino operations.
The casino bill still needs legislative approval and the backing of a separate constitutional amendment change by voters in a statewide referendum as early as this fall.
The bill calls for a “destination resort” casino located in Western New York if the Seneca Nation's 2002 casino compact with the state is not in “good standing.” It does not say who determines such standing, and the Senecas have insisted Cuomo cannot unilaterally impose such a condition.
In addition, the legislation states that two new video lottery terminal facilities, which offer slot-like devices such as those at the Hamburg and Batavia harness tracks, can open in Western New York if voters do not approve the broader statewide casino expansion. The VLT facilities cannot offer table games such as poker, but the existing nine track-based casinos have proven increasingly successful for their operators in recent years.
Both sides said Wednesday evening that negotiations have not broken down and that talks are continuing, but Cuomo has publicly and privately described the progress as nonexistent.
The governor's overall casino plan would locate the first three of seven casinos in upstate regions. He divides upstate into six areas but takes two out of the running – a large swath of Central and Northern New York – because of recent deals he cut with Indian tribes already operating casinos in those areas.
If the Senecas and the state reach a deal to end the dispute that has halted $600 million in tribe revenue-sharing payments to the state and Buffalo, Salamanca and Niagara Falls, the region would be taken off the list of eligible areas for a Class III casino that offers the full array of gambling, except betting on sports.
The additional casino and two possible VLT-only casinos for Western New York would be competitively bid, with the operators chosen by the state Gaming Commission, which Cuomo controls, or a panel appointed by the commission.
The Senecas, under their 2002 compact with New York State, were granted exclusive gambling rights in a large zone that extends from about the middle of the Finger Lakes region to Lake Erie.
While Cuomo proposed a new Class III casino for Western New York if the state and Senecas don't resolve their fight, the two other facilities could only offer video lottery terminals. No table games would be allowed in those facilities, which would only be placed in the region if the Senecas' compact was no longer considered valid.
Cuomo has floated the idea of trying to get a commercial developer to open a casino in downtown Niagara Falls as direct competition to the Seneca Niagara Casino.
Wednesday, Snyder said in an interview with The Buffalo News, in which he twice called Cuomo a “bully,” that the tribe doesn't fear Cuomo's threats and believes that its casino in Niagara Falls would still flourish even with new competition.
Other upstate areas that could have a Las Vegas-style casino would be a part of the Southern Tier, the greater Albany area and the lower Hudson Valley, including the Catskills region. Casinos would be banned in New York City. Other areas of downstate could get one of the remaining four casinos under the seven-casino plan, but not until at least five years after the first upstate casino opens.
The Cuomo plan also calls for casino franchise operators to pay the state at least $50 million in upfront fees and to pay Albany 25 percent of gross gaming revenues. That is less than half the tax rate imposed on racetrack-based casinos, meaning the future gambling operations under the Cuomo plan will be far more lucrative to their owners and provide a smaller percentage of funding to the state than the nine track casinos.
Bettors must be age 21 or older to gamble in the facilities, and, unlike the Indian casinos, gamblers will not be able to smoke in the casinos under the Cuomo plan. The legislation also proposes to ban political contributions by casino applicants to statewide or state legislative officials, and a new Inspector General's Office would be created within the Gaming Commission.
Lawmakers and Cuomo have until June 20 to negotiate the casino bill before the scheduled end of the 2013 legislative session. Lawmakers last year approved a resolution amending the state constitution to permit up to seven new casinos; the same, vague resolution has to be approved again this year if voters are to consider it in November. That 17-word resolution states that casino gambling will be permitted at no more than seven new facilities in the state.
A separate enabling bill, like the one Cuomo proposed Wednesday, is needed to lay out the specifics of how the casino expansion would work; there is nothing to stop future governors or lawmakers from changing those terms if voters approve the casino amendment to the constitution this fall.
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