The Ork Underground
Following the Great Seattle Fire of 1889, which destroyed some 33 city blocks in the Downtown area, the city decided not only to require new buildings to be constructed of more fire-resistant stone or brick rather than wood, but also to regrade the streets of the area one or two stories above the then-present level. This led to the network of underground basements and tunnels, even sidewalks, which became known as the Seattle Underground. The Underground was abandoned for many years until a revival as a tourist attraction in the mid-20th century led to its refurbishment and expansion.
Although it is commonly believed that metahumans, mainly dwarfs and orks, moved into the Underground following the events of the Night of Rage, in fact several groups already occupied the area well before, although the violence in the streets above led to an influx of new metahumans seeking shelter. By the 2040s, the Underground was well established as a haven for metahumans and became known as the “Ork Underground.”
- Still a sore spot for some dwarfs, too, let me tell you. After all, although orks are the most numerous of the Underground inhabitants by far, they’re by no means the only ones, and the dwarfs did (and still do) a lot of the work in expanding and maintaining the place. The majority of dwarfs left the Underground after disputes with the ork population, which has continued to grow over the years.
- Some of the, shall we say, less pretty changelings have found their way down into the Underground, some accepted into the community, others driven out to the fringes or even back to the surface. After all, some of the SURGE transfor-mations are better suited to life underground, while others just prefer not to be seen in the light of day, which usually suits the norms on the streets just fine.
- Baka Dabora
The Underground has seen a series of expansions and renova-tions over the years, with much of the initial structure and bracing work from more than a hundred and fifty years ago still in place. This includes brick support archways and glass blocks that filter in sunlight from the street level, tinted purple over the years by impurities in the glass. The ork inhabitants have cleared out and expanded many sec-tions of the Underground, creating an entire community beneath the Downtown streets.
Tours of the Ork Underground are available; inquire at The Big Rhino Restaurant or in the basement of Lordstrungs downtown. If you are in the market for ork craft items and unique gifts, as well as shops that cater specifically to metahumans, be sure to check out the Underground’s bazaar area.
- I recommend Tusk, near the Lordstrung’s entrance, for ork- and troll-sized cloth-ing, from casual to formal wear, and expert tailoring that includes alterations to armor-cloth and body armor designs to fit larger metahumans.
- More than that, the Goblin Market in the Underground is home to a lot of smug-gling that goes on in the tunnels, so you can find a lot more there than just quaint arts and crafts, if you know the right places to look and the right people to talk to.
- Traveler Jones
- The Underground is more than just a tourist trap and metahuman shopping mecca, it’s a thriving community in its own right and in recent years has been developing other aspects of its economy. Take Fungitek, for example, a corpo-rate start-up in Snohomish specializing in mycocultures. They struck a deal with the Underground to set up a fungus farm down there for some of their new experimental strains, not only bringing more credit into the community, but also a potentially valuable new food source.
- Baka Dabora
- The Ork Underground is in for a rocky future with Governor Brackhaven in office. For decades, the community has existed under a kind of “gentlemen’s under-standing” with the Metroplex Government. Much like the Barrens and other areas that do not much interest the straight citizens of Seattle, the place has been left alone. That’s all well and good so long as the filthy goblins are grub-bing in the dirt under the streets, but another matter entirely when they’ve got not only a thriving economy but also a potent and growing sense of pride and identity, to say nothing of a burgeoning population, right under the streets. Brackhaven has already said the “Underground question” is due for some “seri-ous consideration” from his administration, and that likely means legal hassles and restrictions imposed on the ork community intended to strangle it, or at least curtail its expansion and development. Of course, that will lead to protests by angry metahumans, perhaps even some violent incident, right? Perfect pre-text for the governor to declare the Underground a “haven for terrorists” and send in the Guard to start checking SINs and root out those dangerous elements. Don’t think it’ll happen? Just watch.