This is not the Asian century some political hacks predicted. Instead,
it is the Century of Global American Culture, a time of unprecedented
cultural mixing, global opening, high-speed economic recovery and
finally the building of stairs to the stars.
Once the star jewel in the crown of the Free World, North America has become
despotic, bureaucratic and paranoid. Despite the world's strongest economy,
and the most powerful military, North America remains insular, prone to
internal squabbles, and divided along racial and class lines.
Several events define the America of today. The Pacific War taught Americans
that they must be firm in demanding their share from the world, for even in
times of economic prosperity there are those who will be unsatisfied with mere
wealth. The New Mutation rekindled old suspicions about the outside world
(most Americans still believe it was caused by foreigners) and the internal
pacification of major urban centres caused deep social wounds. The perception
remains that the Federal government abused its powers and allowed fundamentalist
Clans to rampage through poorer areas while scrupulously sheltering the rich
from harm. The use of tacnukes on Denver and several smaller cities to contain
the spread of the New Mutation traumatized all Americans while simultaneously
inuring them to the use of brutal force against civilians.
North America remains a vibrant culture filled with exciting media and soft
reality worlds while the actual reality is stifled beneath the weight of
pervasive government, Apparatus paranoia, and Clan conflict. Ironically, even
as the United States conquered territory in Asia, it lost territory at home
as renegade States declared Freehold or Estate status to escape perceived
Federal persecution during the Troubles.
Today North America seems to be united in name only. Norcal remains aloof from
other states, while Surcal gravitates closer to Mexico year by year. The Heartlands
territories refuse to accede to what they consider to be a fascist government
in Washington, and the Feds are as yet unwilling to start a major pitched battle
to regain Des Moines. Old nationalist resentment in the former Canadian provinces
annually erupts into rioting, while the vast urban connurbation of the Eastern
Megalopolis remains as difficult to manage as ever. Texas' wildly isolationist
stance does nothing to further American interests abroad, while the continuing
debacle in the Pacific Conflict Zone brings American soldiers home in body-bags
on a daily basis. People are beginning to question the rationale of maintaining
a 'stabilization force' in Asia, and President Aspen faces opposition in the
banned democratic Tea Party and hawkish Eagle Guard. Despite America's impressive
orbital military forces (Athena/Medusa), the Orbitals are starting
to get pushy, and foreigners' perception of America is at an all-time low.
Asia remains a varied land thriving again after the long devastation of war
and famine, but now it is a land yoked to the imperial might of America, such
as it may be. Many Asian nations still seek sanctuary in isolation, but that
remains a path towards stagnation. More nations have opened up to the new
realities of technology, such as the testing-grounds of Sumatra which yield
super-rice and deep-melons of an amazing abundance.
The Denied Areas of the Golden Triangle, Timor, Formosa, and Malaya remain
off limits to all those who value their Protocol membership, for these areas
dabble in or have been ravaged by technology restricted in the Research Control
Regime. The lands of
Chungkuo form a paper-only federation between the prosperous capitalist state
of Cathay in southern China and the totalitarian Imperial State of China in
the north all the way to Sakha. Nippon remains in self-imposed isolation
from most traffic except the Network kind, operating some of its prize companies
by long-distance. It is now a land shrouded in the fog of Oriental mystery,
occasionally letting slip some new technology, but more often than not wrapped
up in its own stagnation and self-referential nostalgia. Indonesia is a shattered
land, splintered into a dozen kingdoms, each claiming dominance even as they
rely on American Governance forces to impose order and bring a semblance of
prosperity. Governance plays them off against each other and rules from above.
As golden Cathay's container platforms cruise the Pacific to supply the
world's newtech needs, the Triad smuggles its own goods and does battle
against American occupation forces. The South Chinese Commonwealth controls
the vast majority of wealth in Asia, and it sets the terms of trade with
the rest of world. However, even such wealth cannot reunite the fragmented
lands of the Chinese, or restore the depopulated desert that is now Formosa.
If ever there was a new Western Frontier, it is Pacifica. Despite the problems
of the Pacific Conflict Zone - an area of insurgency against American colonialism
stretching from Micronesia to Java - the region is thriving on Orbital trade
and freedom the like of which cannot be found anywhere else on Earth. Pacifica
trades in biomass, fuels, and minerals with the Orbitals, and benefits immensely
from its policy of Free Flows - the free flow of people, goods, technology and
information. Though the wild west mentality of the region dissuades many corporations
and intercontinentals from setting up facilities here, the open nature and
uncumbered business climate attract countless medium-size firms and entrepreneurs.
Pacifica thrives on trade, and has some of the largest capital and financing
markets in the world. More astonishing, it also boasts two spaceports, one in
Kalamantan (on Borneo) and one in the kingdom of Hawai'i.
Forming part of the Pacifica Confederation, the Union of Australia & New Zealand
(UNANZ) is the new Land of the Free. It's business-friendly and Orbital friendly
policies have created great wealth, and the ballsy nature of Australians ensures
that American interference is reduced to a minimum. Australia may be more mixed
in ethnicity than ever before, but it's still a land of the Great Outdoors and
of sport-as-philosophy. Although the New Mutation devastated this land as much as
anywhere, the Green Slime that slithered across the Outback from a damaged
Clotis generator has turned Australia into a giant zoo and theme park for outsiders.
Europe is at once unified and fragmented, a paradox that can only be explained
by the presence of 30 languages and dozens of once-powerful nation-states.
Although the European Union, along with its euro currency, survived both the
disintegration of the Atlantic Alliance and the New Mutation, Europe fared
poorly in satisfying the demands of its multitudinous ethnic groups. Each group
has now carved out a tiny homeland within the European Union, diluting the
power of Europe's voice and in several cases starting nasty local (civil)
wars which have marred development along the margins.
The Basques have their own Euskadi, Bavaria's Catholics now practise their
state religion in their own 'country', and Corsicans at last celebrate their
independence, little though it helps them. The only country which appears to
be unifying is Ireland, where Loyalist/Unionist factions have finally acceded
to the inevitability of reunification with the South in the face of demographic
change. Poland's Christian crusading zeal wears thin the patience of its EU
partner's, while France's experiments in Neutopian social engineering frighten
old-style liberals everywhere. The Balkans remain a European Legion protectorate,
while Spain and Greece suffer drought because of desertification and rampant
The European Commission is the executive branch of the EU, and its President speaks for
Europe on the international stage, even though his voice is often dimmed by
the squabbles of member nations. The European Conference seeks to give an equal
voice to all members, making it a Senate for Europe. The European Legion is a
partially-unified army whose effectiveness was proven in Sakha and Siberia, but
whose power projection is ham-strung by the petty bickering of politicians. The
European Parliament is the only democratic institution left, and its importance
has been fading for the past twenty years as its corruption and waste
grate on the public's nerves.
Amazonia and the Latinate Kingdoms are generally prosperous and thriving
on the new industries of the TwenCen - culture and entertainment. Rio has
surpassed Hollywood (and India) as the greatest producer of movies and
mass media entertainment in the world. The great Rio, Paolo and Aires
media combines which produce a large chunk of the world's multimedia
have created great wealth in the region, but wealth which is unevenly
distributed. Many of South America's slums (barrios) have disappeared
or fallen beneath the spade of development projects, but most of the
continent is still beset by ethnic divisions among poor Amerindians,
somewhat wealthier Blacks, and several strata of richer Whites.
During the early NewCen, the coastal zone stretching from Buenos Aires
all the way to Bahia became a mega-industrial urban zone based on automobile,
aircraft and shipbuilding industries. The manufacturers thrived on a
wave of investment from abroad, deregulation and privatisation at home,
and open access to foreign markets under the WTO. This zone became known
as the great Sao-Paolo-Rio Metropolitan Complex.
Mexico, the powerhouse of this region, has become a newly-industrialized
nation with strong development in the North, but uprisings in the South
and conflicts with Guatemala. Following decades of civil war, small
nations such as Honduras, El Salvador and Panama re-emerged from anarchy
and slowly joined the world economy by supplying pristine eco-tourist
destinations and low-wage information-processing centres for Mexican
Despite years of anarchy following the New Mutation, Africa has regenerated
itself under the oft-brutal but relatively efficient Azanian (former South
African) and Congolese
allied governments, who together have melded many of Africa's former warring
statelets into a loose federation. The secret of Congo's success has been
in carving its territories into separate ethnic provinces where one ethnic
group is a majority by more than 95%. This regime of ethnic cleansing has
resulted in fewer civil wars and more cooperation among the various tribes,
while still allowing each to operate under a single banner. After the
bloodletting of conquest and disease had subsided, most Central African
nations were relieved of the burden of overpopulation which had caused so
many previous conflicts. Free trade agreements with North America and
Pacifica under the auspices of Protocol allowed Congo and Azania to develop
budding industrial enterprises, which in turn attracted corporations who
had few sources of cheap labour left in the world. Heavy industry developed
slowly and painfully, but with Neo/Victorian intervention in Congo in 2030 the
money for base- and infrastructure- building became available. Congo and
Azania became bitter rivals, with Azania already having swallowed most of southern
Africa. Yet for all it's conquests, Azania still tolerates the autonomous
Republics of Orangeria (Afrikaners), The Cape (English), and Swaziland (Zulu).
The New Mutation also brought ecological disaster and, much later, ecological
regeneration. Africa is one of the few places on Earth authorized by the
Medical Collegium to experiment with genegineering technology. Many high-tech
labs have relocated to Nigeria and Congo to field test Clotis creatures, new
strains of super-bacteria, and even forbidden parasites. Super-endurant algae
are being used to stabilize and moisturize the migrating sands of the Sahel,
while mercenary troops combat rebels using clonal chimerics.
The Middle-East's heyday as cartelized provider of energy to the world is over.
The former oil-states of Arabia have seen a drastic plunge in demand for oil,
which is primarily used for cheap petrochemical products such as plastic, rather
than for the more lucrative energy market. The world runs on hydrogen fuel-cells,
hydropower, coal, and natural gas, and the petrodollars have dried up. This lose
of economic power hit Middle Eastern countries such as Iran and Saudi Arabia at
the height of their population explosion, resulting in a massively-unemployed
society which - unsurprisingly - rebelled. Most of the secular or monarchic
kingdoms were re-instituted as theocratic or technocratic states, with Iran
taking the lead in industrial development. Most of the theocratic republics,
often considered Denied Areas and cut off from most global commerce, descended
Despite Iran's conquest of several neighbouring states, it fought Israeli and
later American troops for control of Syria, and then quickly became
embroiled in a religious war with the newly-revitalized Holy Russian Republic,
a war which has been continuing at various stages of intensity for over 15
years now, and which has sucked Central Asia into a chaotic quagmire of
neverending war and genocide. Neither side has dared to use nuclear weapons
because the Russians fear internal nuclear terrorism while the Iranians
respect their foe's superior arsenal.
Israel, though battered by years of war, is still a strong occupying power
but has become an autocratic militarized state. Freedoms are few and far
between, while religious indoctrination continues apace as Israelis attempt
to assimilate or exterminate their conquered subjects.
Egypt remains the beacon of hope for the region. With American backing it
developed and expanded a thriving democracy which successfully resisted
theocratic fundamentalism. The free city of Cairo is the centre of learning,
high-technology and informatics for the Islamic world.
The vast northern territories of Russia have seen strange days, but possibly
none stranger than those of today, in which Holy Russia has arisen as the
centre of crusading Slavonic civilization. After the humiliating Time of Troubles
around the turn-of-the-century, Russia began rebuilding its industrial base
to attract European corporations looking for cheap and skilled labour. After
liberalising and attracting vast amounts of FDI and technology, Russia closed
its doors and proceeded with an irredentist policy of conquest which engulfed
all of Central Asia. Russia built economic 'national champions' to compete against
international corporations, but is now again being left behind in crucial areas
of informatics. Russia's infamous crime syndicate of the 2010s, the organizatskaya
has been forcefully expunged by the new regime, a point which explains the
popularity of the government in the face of regressive policies. The Russian Syndicate
has moved offshore to friendlier climes in such places Cyprus, America, and
has extensive holdings in Scandinavia.
Russian society has taken on Christian totalitarian tones, with politicians
preaching morals and enforcing strict codes of behaviour. The country is ruled
by a Military/Orthodox Church/SlavonikaClan triumvirate. Government forces are heavily
indoctrinated in crusading Christian faith and lore, and taught that their
struggle and sacrifice is necessary to save humanity's soul. Infidels are routinely
massacred, and the brutal conquests have earned Russia international condemnation
and even censure within Protocol.
The Orbitals are a cartel of massive space stations originally built by American,
Japanese, Brazilian, and Chinese consortiums which later declared Freehold status
under Protocol terms and proceeded to create a stranglehold on space travel. Despite
American threats of bombardment, the nations of Earth found that the Orbitals
received the support of the Major Clans, and as such were politically invulnerable.
Each Clan considers their Orbital as a homebase and ultimate refuge for its elite
members. The Orbitals are heavily reliant on groundside food and raw materials,
which are mainly supplied from the diplomatically-malleable Pacifica Confederation.
Orbital technology is based on high-energy Plasmotics, self-restructuring crystal
alloy Selenics, and the ability of Great Minds to predict and repair the stations
at amazing speed. The Orbital habitats are renowned for being elitist, controlled,
stifling, and bleeding-edge in many fields.
The Orbitals, in order of importance, are : Olympus, Victoria Station, Taipan,
HALO (Housing And Logistics Orbital), Brightstar, Solaris, Habitat 99, and Coriolis.
NUCLEAR USE SITES (aka Denied Areas)
Pyongyang - July 23, 2020. Fury-II ICBM launched from USS Reagan, in retaliation
for gassing of joint American/ROK forces on the peninsula.
Spokane - February 08, 2021. American Tacnuke, 2 Megaton yield. By Emergency Presidential
Decree to prevent spread of plague.
Denver - February 09, 2021. American Tacnuke, 2 Megaton yield. By Emergency Presidential
Decree to prevent spread of plague.
Damascus - April 16, 2021. Israeli 'Galev' Missile, Yield: 10 Megatons. Used to
repel major Iranian offensive buildup. Red Cross scientists claim the device was an
illegal neutron bomb.
Novosibirsk - December 12, 2022. Mujaheedin suitcase bomb, Yield: 5 Megatons.
Cause of incident unknown; no terrorist organization claims responsibility.
Bukhara - December 13, 2022. Russian Strategic Rocket Forces SS-B-N40 ICBM, Yield: 30
Megatons. Retributive strike on Islamic city.
Kashmir - April 15, 2023. Indian Rocket Forces, 4 x Prithvi tactical nukes,
Yield: 8 Megatons. In support of Indian offensive.
New Delhi - April 15, 2023. Pakistani Rocket Forces ICBM, Yield: 20 Megatons. Fails to
react on target. America threatens massive retaliation if Protocol ceasefire not
November 1, 2024 - Bombay Orbital Ordnance Treaty signed by 211 countries. Regulates
dispersal of strategic nuclear and war-satellite systems. USA comes out the winner.