Tunnels run throughout the entirety of New Albion. While many parts of them are related to sewers and aqueduct systems, some sections exist as an entirely separate city beneath a city. For generations a tribe of albinos has lived and thrived underneath the city, trading more or less peacefully with the inhabitants above.
The tribe survives by trading in gems and minerals they procure through their intimate knowledge of the New Albion underground, as well as tending archaic machines which operate deep beneath the city. Some of these machines perform tasks related to powering aspects of the city and some serve functions which no one living in the sunlight remembers.
The tribe’s numbers have never been very large and in recent times have thinned significantly. it was thought for some time that they could not breed with the surface dwellers due to a modicum of Fae blood they possessed, this might in fact be pure fancy.
Many parts of the New Albion underground are privy only to this tribe, although in they have seemed to not only welcome, but more or less merge with the influx of the Underground’s newest immigrants, the Voodoopunks, who, as of the time of the Dieselpunk Opera, have established a settlement in the tunnels.
There are some of the Albino tribe who remain separate and plan to always do so. A faction led by three brothers lives and operates interdependently. They have grown quite powerful and their reach extends even up to the surface world. It was the brothers who discovered that some of the old power generators excrete a chrome colored dust that functions as drug when snorted, smoked, or even injected. The drug is mildly psychedelic and decently euphoric and over the past several years has become the second most popular drug in the above ground city amongst the war weary denizens.
No one above ground knows exactly where the drug comes from and only a very few people know to procure it from the albino brothers. There are various interests desperate for this information including the red haired lad who runs a gang of feral youth (whose great grandfather was a dwarf). However hard this lad is trying to find out the source of this drug, and he is indeed trying hard, other powerful interests are competing also, including various mafias, the government and some rebel groups. It is a veritable Maltese Falcon chase and sooner or later someone will succeed. The three Albino brothers are well prepared for various contingencies.
A number of kilometers north of the New Albion, years before the city was founded, there existed a settlement populated by a tribe of very fair skinned people, quite sensitive to sunlight. Their settlement was on the edges of a forest where Fae dwelled. Their relationship with their Faerie neighbors was for the most part decent and there were even rumors that they had in fact descended from the Fae, that years before a few young Fae had left to see the world of humans, had fornicated with them one night after shape shfting and their mostly human descendants had one day returned to settled outside the forest from which a few of their ancestors had come.
Eventually, the Wager came.
The Tribe was warned of the coming of the Wager and a great City that would spring forth around it. Rumors as to whocould possibly knew of this and warn them of this abound, but the most insistant rumors claim Angels. Whether this is so or not is a discussion for another time.
To avoid being subsumed in the great city, whose rise was inevitable, the tribe constructed a network of underground tunnels which could be sealed off and where they could hide when these raids came. Over time the tunnel system became so elaborate and well equipped that they abandoned the above ground settlement all together. For generations they flourished underground, becoming fully albino after some time. Their numbers were kept in check. There were even a few hidden passages, only able to be found by the truly adventurous and dedicated, which led to underground Faerie mounds deep in the forest and occasionally a youthful member of the tribe would cross over and never return, choosing to live amongst the Fae.
While most of New Albion’s citizens concentrated on building in the sunlight, the Albinos began constructing an underground. They simply bought a property and began digging tunnels in the basement. Within a few generations they had already established a sizable underground network.
As New Albion grew from a town into a city it began needing a properly developed sewer system, an aqueduct system not to mention methods of transporting good that were slightly more risque and outright illegal. The Albinos were clearly the people to talk to. They were the workforce that built most of the New Albion underground.
There were of course numerous troubles. Plans for the underground network would be drawn up by surface dwellers without consulting the Albinos who would then utterly discard the plans and build according to their own preferences. This caused friction and bitter disagreements on occasion.
Mafias would try to use the tunnels for illegal cargo, nefarious acts, secret meeting places, which would often not be acceptable to the Albinos. The Albinos had to learn how to handle gang warfare. Over time however, their mastery of the underground combined with a new viciousness made the tunnels a place to be feared. If you crossed them, your disappearance underground could be achieved flawlessly, even while other men were standing right beside you.
Entire raids would go down to the tunnels never to return. The Albinos raised pets, discarded by the above world who flourished in the sewers. New Albion maintenance teams knew that they would be left undisturbed to work on necessary parts of the sewer and plumbing systems, but would never venture to wander down unknown corridors.
The Albinos are not actually so vicious as their reputation became over time, but the reputation serves them well and keeps them safe. Numerous denizens of New Albion have numerous stories of contact with the Albinos while underground and the stories can vary wildly.
By the time of The Dieselpunk Opera, when the city above is in a civil war lasting years, the Albinos have achieved a lasting arrangement with the Red Haired Lad. Indeed one of the ways in which the Red Haired lad’s improbable little gang managed to succeed and flourish is that he was the first smuggler to actually reach a friendly agreement with the Albinos and thus is the only gang able to use the underground tunnels to transport all manners of contraband across the war torn city.
The Voodoopunks found a home underground, and many have lived their for years after the brutal police crackdown following the riots. They and the Albinos coexist amicably, though how that came about is only a matter of speculation. Some Voodoopunks continue to live normal lives above ground but descend into the underground for the weekend rituals which have yielded very, very interesting results as will be shown during the 3rd Act of The Diesepunk Opera.