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The Imperial Empire of New York City, the Imperial Empire of Mamaroneck, or The Empire, is a series of self-declared nations located on the outskirts of the ruins of New York City. Beginning in a single 3-story apartment building in what was once Co-op City, the Bronx, the Empire has shifted around somewhat as different people have taken up its name and iconography. It claims the entirety of New York City.
On Doomsday, James Church was in a theatre on the outskirts of New York City, watching Return of the Jedi for the 5th time, when the bombs fell. During the aftermath, James' fight for survival caused him to gradually lose his sanity, but he also found he had a knack for getting through tough spots. As he wandered in search of supplies and shelter he began gathering followers attracted by his ability to provide for them. Due to his tendency to give orders and quote Star Wars these followers began jokingly referring to him as "Emperor". Eventually, the group came across a small apartment building that had been abandoned, but was in generally good condition. This building was near the ruins of much bigger buildings, in worse condition. It is presumed that they helped shield the smaller building from the blasts.
It (or buildings nearby) had an emergency generator and several nearby gas stations that still had ample supplies of fuel in their reserves. Also, there was plenty of charcoal from the burned trees in nearby Pelham Bay Park. (This was handled carefully because of radiation.) The group settled in the building, venturing out for supplies, but eventually converting the grounds and a nearby parking garage's roof to open air gardens. Nearby, former businesses, such as home improvement or hardware stores, a nearby library, and James' knack for finding useful salvage eventually allowed the group to build makeshift wind generators for power generation and greenhouses for winter growing. Eventually, the small commune became completely self-sufficient and routine salvage operations became unnecessary. Unfortunately, James' sanity never recovered; for the rest of his life he insisted that he be referred to as Emperor. The others of commune accepted James' quirks and continue to take his orders, despite his tentative grasp on reality because, even with that, he apparently was a competent administrator. During one of his "imperial addresses", James laid claim to all of former New York City for the glory of the Empire.
The original commune lasted a few years more, but life expectancy was short so close to the nuclear wreckage. The original emperor seems to have been dead from 1990. However, the Imperial Empire lived on. Many of the original tropes laid down by the Co-op City commune - the black flag, the use of "Galactic Credits", the use of the name "Alderaan", the designation of an "Emperor" and "Apprentice" - resurfaced a mile or so away in another group that may have been started by former subjects of James Church, using some of the supplies that he had salvaged.
Since then, the concept of the Imperial Empire has endured, and the Bronx and Westchester County regions have rarely been without an Emperor. The commune, in whatever form, has variously taken the form of an armed gang or as a haven for drifters and social castoffs. Explorers and fishermen from the Outer Lands began to report on the Empire's existence starting in the 90s, and in the 2000s sent a humanitarian mission to bring some supplies.
The Contemporary Empire
As of the early 2020s, the Empire is based at Mamaroneck, a bit further out, its people a hardy band who largely grew up in the ruins of the New York metro area and know how to live off its land. Another faction of the Empire seems to have returned Co-op City, where the mausoleum of James Church is, while another tiny group with Imperial symbolism inhabits Throggs Neck. Boats from the Outer Lands come to Mamaroneck a bit more regularly now, bringing some supplies in return for providing a sheltered spot to land. Its unusual imagery certainly makes it stand out from the other semi-nomadic groups that eke out a living in the area, but otherwise it is no different from them.
There is an "imperial palace" at Mamaroneck Harbor. It's been called the "Palace of Shit" by some travelers, as it was (allegedly) built upon the town wastewater treatment plant (!). This building was, however, large, with an impressive lighthouse-style tower, by a large park area (turned over to agriculture), and some of the grungier parts made a more than suitable dungeon. Moreover, it overlooks the town harbor, which is greatly important for trade.
A different Mamaroneck faction is said to have a base at the Mamaroneck train station. Some people call the Mamaroneck factions the "Imperial Empire of Mamaroneck" (or, less respectfully, the "Imperial Empire of Shit").
There has been talk among Imperialist factions of renaming the Empire to something less related to Star Wars fandom. At least one faction calls itself simply the "Imperial State of New York", a play on the state's old nickname, the Empire State.
Government and Politics
The Empire is an absolute monarchy, Upon the Emperor's death, rule of the commune is supposed to go to his "Apprentice". The succession has rarely been so orderly, however. At intervals the group has broken up in different directions; the legitimate Emperorship is associated with possession of the black flag and some other hallowed objects of James Church.
The Empire is primarily based on subsistence agriculture, with all citizens pitching in to grow food and construct and maintain amenities. A little trading goes on with the outside world (particularly Long Islanders).