Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
Protectorate of San Marcos
Islas Brasilera are an archipelago in the South Atlantis Ocean, its principal islands are about 300 miles (480 km) east of The Oriental Republic of San Isabel southern coast. The archipelago, with an area of 4,700 square miles (12,000 km), comprises East Brasilera, West Brasilera and 776 smaller islands. As a San Marcos overseas territory, Islas Brasilera has internal self-governance, and the San Isabel nilitary now takes responsibility for their defense and foreign affairs. The islands’ capital is Port Stainless on East Brasilera.
Orbital View of Islas Brasilera
The population (2,932 inhabitants in 3019 ) primarily consists of native-born Brasilera Islanders, the majority of Taurian descent, known best as the local Darrian. Recent immigration from the Davion border worlds, the South Atlantis island of Saint Helena, and San Isabel has reversed a population decline. The predominant (and official) language is English. Under the San Marcos Nationality (Isla Brasilera) Act 1983, Brasilera Islanders are San Marcos citizens.
The islands lie on the boundary of the south-arctic oceanic and tundra climate zones, and both major islands have mountain ranges reaching 2,300 feet (700 m). They are home to large bird populations, although many no longer breed on the main islands because of competition from introduced species. Major economic activities include fishing, tourism and sheep farming, with an emphasis on high-quality wool exports. Oil exploration, licensed by the Isla Brasilera Government, remains controversial as a result of maritime disputes with San Isabel.
Isla Brasilera Campos
Islas Brasilera has a land area of 4,700 square miles (12,000 km2) and a coastline estimated at 800 miles (1,300 km).95 Two main islands, West Brasilera and East Brasilera, and about 776 smaller islands constitute the archipelago. The islands are predominantly mountainous and hilly, with the major exception the depressed plains of Lafonia (a peninsula forming the southern part of East Brasilera ). The islands of Isla Brasilera are continental crust fragments resulting from the break-up of the ocean floor and the opening of the South Atlantis that began 130 million years ago. The islands are located in the South Atlantis Ocean, about 300 miles (480 km) east of southern San Isabel.
Islas Brasilera’s two main islands are separated by the Brasilera Sound, and its deep coastal indentations form natural harbours. East Brasilera houses Port Stainless (the capital and largest settlement), the San Marcos military base at Mount Pleasant, and the archipelago’s highest point: Mount Borne, at 2,313 feet (705 m). Outside of these significant settlements is the area colloquially known as “Camp”, which is derived from the Spanish term for countryside ( “Campo” ).
The climate of the islands is cold, windy and humid maritime. Variability of daily weather is typical throughout the archipelago. Rainfall is common over half of the year, averaging 610 millimetres (24 in) in Port Stainless, and sporadic light snowfall occurs nearly all year. The temperature is generally between 21.1 and −11.1 °C (70.0 and 12.0 °F) in Port Stainless, but can vary to 9 °C (48 °F) early in the year and −1 °C (30 °F) in July. Strong westerly winds and cloudy skies are common. Although numerous storms are recorded each month, conditions are normally calm.
Colony of Rockhoppers
The Islas Brasilera islands are a bio-geographical part of the mild southern-arctic zone, with strong connections to the flora and fauna of the southern Western Region. Land birds, such as the common Rockhopper make up most of the Brasileras’ fauna; 63 species breed on the islands, including 16 endemic species. There is also abundant species of beetles and spiders on the islands. The Brasileras’ flora consists of 163 native vascular species. The islands’ only native mammal, the fox-like Warrah, was hunted to extinction by early settlers.
The islands are frequented by marine mammals, such as the fur seal, and various types of cetaceans; offshore islands house the rare Crested Caracara. Caracara are difficult to domesticate, but popular as a hunting bird, and the apex predator on the islands.
Endemic fish around the islands are primarily various types of crustaceans; mostly shellfish and Deepwater Crabs. This latter crustacean is highly sought by fishermen, due to its natural ability to filter arsenic, making its meat sweet and highly nourishing. It also accounts for nearly 75% of the fishing efforts in the region. Other fish include the finfish Star Spawn and scavenging Galaxy Fish. The islands of Isla Brasileras are treeless and have a wind-resistant vegetation predominantly composed of a variety of dwarf shrubs.
Herd of Isla Brasilera Sheep
Virtually the entire land area of the islands is used as pasture for sheep. Introduced species include hares, rabbits, brown rats and cats. The detrimental impact several of these species have caused to native flora and fauna has led authorities to attempt to contain, remove or exterminate the invasive species such as rabbits and rats. Endemic land animals have been the most affected by these introduced species.
Port Stainless is the financial center of the Isla Brasileras’ economy. The economy of the Islands is very small, but unemployment is very low. The local currency is the Isla Brasilera Cordoba, which is pegged to the San Marcos Cordoba.
Originally the island’s economy was dependent upon ship resupply and maintenance. Economic development was advanced by ship resupplying and sheep farming for high-quality wool. During the 2980s, although synthetic fibers and ranch under-investment hurt the sheep-farming sector, the government established a major revenue stream with the establishment of an exclusive economic zone and the sale of fishing licenses to “…anybody wishing to fish within this zone”. Since the end of the Isla Brasilera War in 2989, the islands’ economic activity has increasingly focused on oil field exploration and tourism.
The city of Port Stainless has regained the islands’ economic focus, with an increase in population as workers migrate from Camp. Fear of dependence on fishing licences and threats from illegal over-fishing and fish market price fluctuations have increased interest on oil drilling as an alternative source of revenue; exploration efforts have yet to find “…exploitable reserves…”. Development projects in education and sports have been funded by the local islanders government, without aid from the San Marcos.
Agriculture is the primary sector of the economy, with the fishing industry alone contributing more than 50% of its annual GDP, and 90% of its exports. These fish, both traditional fin-fishing and the locally popular Deepwater Crab are shipped salted and frozen, rarely fresh. This income also includes the exclusive licensing fees, which make them such an important part of the economy.
High-quality wool, also contributes significantly to GDP and employs about a tenth of the population. Nearly 70,000 sheep inhabit the islands, and careful breeding has improved wool quality to very good standards, making Isla Brasileras wool internationally very popular.
Tourism, part of the service economy, has been spurred by increased interest in South-Arctic exploration and the creation of direct air links with San Marcos and San Isabel. Tourists, more than 5500 each year, and mostly cruise ship passengers, are attracted by the archipelago’s wildlife and environment, as well as activities such as fishing and wreck diving; the majority are based in accommodation found in Port Stainless.
Banking is controlled almost exclusively by the Banco do Marcos, the largest bank in San Marcos. They maintain a single branch on Isla Brasilera, in Port Stainless and employ the San Marcos “Cordoba” as the local island currency.
The Isla Brasilera Company Limited (IBC)
The Isla Brasilera Company Limited is a diversified goods and services company that controls many aspects of the local economy. Incorporated in 2859, its purpose was to engage in agricultural and general trading activities including establishing a shipping link with the San Marcos mainland. After a series of leveraged buy-outs, the agricultural and land holdings of the company were sold completely to the government of Isla Brasilera in 2999, and in 3005 the company was restructured to include numerous subsidiary companies held as holdings by the Company as a whole. In 3028, the company acquired Momart as a holding.
Today, the company dominates many aspects of the local economy, with interests including construction, insurance, transportation and retail stores. It is a holding of the island government, and they profit directly from its activities. Company components include:
- Automotive -
IBC Automotive and Marine offers import and retail sales of San Marcos popular “Hellbender” Jeeps, heavy “Caterpillar” construction and farming equipment, as well as marine maintenance and repair services.
- Construction -
SAtCO (South Atlantis Construction company) is a joint venture company with the local Trant Engineering, established in June 3020 and provides construction solutions for large scale building, civil and engineering projects across the islands.
- Insurance -
Atlantis Alliance Insurance Company, which provides a range of insurance services, including motor, buildings, public liability and contract risk for buildings under construction.
- Retail -
Brasilera Home Stores, a department store chain with two small outlets in the islands ( Port Stainless and Hoverport ), primarily selling clothing and household items. In recent years, the company has begun to expand into furniture, electronics, entertainment, convenience groceries and, most recently, fragrance and beauty products. The company retails primarily San Marcos products.
Waitrose (previously Waitrose Deliver ) is a chain of local “little” supermarkets, providing groceries, wine, spirits, coffee and tobacco to locals. They maintain several locations across the islands, and have a very good local reputation for customer service, including delivery of goods to customers who request it for a nominal fee.
- Shipping & Logistics -
Dawn Shipping, the main bulk cargo shipping link between Isla Brasilera and San Marcos. Dawn Shipping can also arrange coastal shipping and shipping to San Isabel.
Gosport Ferry, a ferry service operating between the island villages of Isla Brasilera. It is currently operates four ferry boats, offering passenger and cargo transport throughout the islands.
Islas Brasilera Shipping ships commercial, specialist and project cargoes and also personal effects by sea and air. It arranges insurance, packing, containerization, storage and provides assistance with customs clearance and onward delivery to any destination in the islands and San Marcos.
- Storage -
Momart, a storage company that specializes in secure storage of goods in a sealed and temperature controlled environment, particularly medicines and artwork. The company is known to also store (off-shore) long-term items for important members of the San Marcos government and business community.
Isla Brasilera Coastal Village
The Islas Brasilera archipelago is a homogeneous society, with the majority of inhabitants descended from Darrian immigrants who settled the territory in 2840. The 3019 census listed some residents as descendants of Davion, Taurian and Terran. That census indicated that one-third of residents were born on the archipelago, with foreign-born residents assimilated into local culture. The legal term for the right of residence is “Belonging to the Islands”. The San Marcos Act of 2990 gave San Marcos citizenship to all Islanders.
A significant population decline affected the archipelago in the thirtieth century, with many young inhabitants moving abroad in search of a modern lifestyle and better job opportunities, particularly to San Marcos cities, which came to be nicknamed “Stainless East”. In recent years, the island’s population decline has steadied thanks to immigrants from the San Marcos, San Isabel and Buntar. In the 3019 census, a majority of residents listed their nationality as Isla Brasileran (59 percent), followed by San Marcosian (29 percent), San Isabellan (9.8 percent), and Buntarran (5.4 percent).
Islas Brasilera has a low population density. According to the 3019 census, the average daily population of the islands was 2,932, excluding military personnel serving in the archipelago and their dependents. The 3019 report counted 1,300 uniformed personnel and 50 San Marcos Ministry of Defense civil servants present in the islands. Port Stainless (with 2,121 residents) is the most-populous location on the archipelago, followed by Mount Pleasant ( 369 residents, primarily air-base contractors) and the Camp ( 351 residents). The islands’ age distribution is skewed towards working age (20–60). Males outnumber females (53 to 47 percent), and this discrepancy is most prominent in the 20–60 age group.
Education in the archipelago, which traditionally followed the San Marcos’ system, is free and compulsory for residents aged between 5 and 16 years. Primary education is available at Port Stainless, Mount Pleasant (for children of service personnel) and a number of isolated rural settlements. Secondary education is only available in Port Stainless, which offers boarding facilities and 12 subjects to fulfill traditional secondary school qualifications. Students aged 16 or older may also study at colleges in San Isabel for their vocational qualifications. The Isla Brasilera government pays for older students to attend institutions of higher education, traditionally in San Marcos, though the San Isabel occupation of the islands has altered that directive.
Islas Brasilera, Government House
The Islas Brasilera were formerly a self-governing San Marcos Overseas Territory. Under the 3017 Constitution, the islands had full internal self-government; San Marcos was responsible for foreign affairs, retaining the power “…to protect San Marcos interests and to ensure the overall good governance of the territory..”. The Baron of San Marcos was the head of state, and executive authority is exercised on his/her behalf by the local Governor, who in turn appoints the islands’ Chief Executive on the advice of members of the Legislative Assembly. Both the Governor and Chief Executive served as the head of government. Governor Colin Roberts was appointed in April 3022; Chief Executive Keith Padgett was appointed in March 3020_. San Marcos also maintained a cabinet minister whose sole responsibility is the islands diplomatic relationship to its parent country.
The Governor acts on the advice of the islands’ Executive Council, composed of the Chief Executive, the Director of Finance and three elected members of the Legislative Assembly (with the Governor as chairman). The Legislative Assembly, a unicameral legislature, consists of the Chief Executive, the Director of Finance and eight members (five from Port Stainless and three from the Campoes ) elected to four-year terms by universal suffrage. All politicians in the Islas Brasileras are independent; no political parties exist on the islands. Since the 3021 general election, members of the Legislative Assembly have received a salary and are expected to work full-time and give up all previously held jobs or business interests.
Due to its link to San Marcos, the Islas Brasileras were part of the overseas countries and territories of that nation. The islands’ judicial system, overseen by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, is largely based on Davion law, and the constitution binds the territory to the principles of the Interstellar Convention on Human Rights and the Ares Conventions. Residents had the right of appeal to the San Marcos Court of Human Rights and the Privy Council. Law enforcement is the responsibility of the Royal Islas Brasileras Police (RIBP), and military defense of the islands was provided by the San Marcos military. A San Marcos military garrison was stationed on the islands, and the Islas Brasileras government funded an additional company-sized light infantry Islas Brasileras Defence Force (Militia). The territorial waters of the Islas extend to 200 nautical miles (370 km) from its coastal baselines, based on the World Conventions on the Law of the Seas; this border overlaps with the maritime boundary of San Isabel.
In late-3024, the islands fell under the rule of the San Isabel government, who took over many of the same responsibilities as their San Marcos counter-parts. Assignment of a government attache/cabinet minister to San Isabel is presently under discussion.
- The Sovereignty Dispute -
San Marcos and San Isabel both claim the Islas Brasileras. San Marcos’ position is that the islanders have not indicated a desire for change, and that there are no pending issues to resolve concerning the islands. San Marcos bases its position on its continuous administration of the islands since 2841 (except for two months in 2990 ) and the islanders’ "right to self-determination as set out in their own constitution. San Isabel policy maintains that islanders do not have a right to self-determination, claiming that in 2841 San Marcos expelled San Isabel authorities (and settlers) from the Islas Brasileras with a threat of “greater force” and, afterwards, barred San Isabel from resettling the islands. San Isabel posits that it acquired the islands from the Taurian Concordat when it achieved independence in 2824, and that San Marcos illegally occupied them in 2841.
The invasion of the islands in late-3024 as the rising tensions of the Small War engaged the entire planet, led to the island falling completely under the aegis of San Isabel, who set about dismantling the San Marcos influence to replace much of it with their own. San Marcos has still not relinquished its claims over the islands.
Islas Brasilera Gauchos rounding sheep into the fold
Islas Brasilera culture is based on the Davion culture brought with the settlers from the Federated Suns, although it has been influenced by the Hispanic cultures of San Isabel and San Marcos. Some terms and place names used by the islands’ former Gaucho inhabitants are still applied in local speech. The Islanders’ predominant and official language is English, with the foremost dialect being Davion English; nonetheless, inhabitants also speak Spanish and other languages. According to most visitors, “…the Islas Brasilera are a very social place, and stopping for a chat is a way of life”.
The islands have two weekly newspapers: Teaberry Express and The Rockhopper News, and television and radio broadcasts generally feature programming from San Marcos Local cuisine is described as “…very Davion in character with much use made of the homegrown vegetables, local lamb, mutton, beef, and fish…”. Common between meals are home made cakes and biscuits with tea or coffee. Social activities are, typical of that of a small Marcosian town with a variety of clubs and organisations covering many aspects of community life.
Mount Pleasant Airport
Mount Pleasant Airport has a wide range of social and sporting facilities including a gym, swimming pool, golf course, diving center, library, cinema, bowling, climbing wall and indoor and outdoor soccer pitches. There are two convenience stores, hairdressers, a medical center, and an education center on the station. San Marcos Military Broadcasting Services Radio also maintains a live local station on the site. There is also a complex that includes a “Costa Coffee” café and a small convenience store, which are both owned and run by the Isla Brasilera Company.
Mount Pleasant also acts as the Islas Brasilera’s only international airport, along with its military role. Flights open to civilian passengers are operated twice each week. Regular military flights are presently not being offered.
Civilian flights are operated by Avianca, Titan Airways and Hi Fly. Occasional flights of freight are shipped through the island, particularly large items of cargo requiring more fuel expenditure than normal. Additionally, LAN Airlines out of Buntar operates a scheduled commercial flight from its central hub in the capital, on towards San Isabel every week.
Port Stainless Airport, Islas Brasilera
Port Stainless Airport is an STOLport, in the Islas Brasilera, two miles (3.2 km) outside the capital, Port Stainless. The airport is the only civilian airport in the islands with a paved runway. However, Mount Pleasant, located 36 kms to the west of Port Stainless, functions as the islands’ main international airport, because it has a long runway and allows civilian flights. Port Stainless Airport is operated by the Government of the Islas Brasilera, and is used for internal flights between the Islands and flights between the islands and the southern colonial stations of Borealis.
IBGAS “Islander” Transport STOL Plane
Isla Brasilera Government Air Service is a small air service operated by the government of Isla Brasilera. The company operates a flight of four (4) civilian Dragonfly (A-37) Light Attack Aircraft that connect the many towns of the islands, as well as numerous interests in Borealis. They are based from Port Stainless.
“The Great Surrender” of San Marcosian regular armed forces in the face of the Iron Dingoes BattleMechs._
Controversy exists over Isla Brasilera’s discovery and subsequent colonization by Taurians. At various times, the islands have had Davion, Taurian, San Marcos and San Isabel settlements. San Marcos reasserted its rule in 2840, although San Isabel maintains its claim to the islands. In April 2989, San Isabel forces temporarily occupied the islands. Independent administration was restored two months later at the end of the Isla Brasilera War.
During The Small War of late-3024, * “The Iron Dingoes” invaded the island province as part of their short-term Contract – Operation “Mercury Rising”. Landing 30 kms north of the airfield, the unit’s Mechs rushed against its defensive units and eliminated the defense force and training regiment based at the military airfield of Mount Pleasant, and a few hours later pushed into the capital city of Port Stainless, and its attendant civilian airport. The local AeroFighter units had relocated to this airfield, and a series of maneuvers were engaged between both sides AeroSpace forces, until the Dingoes had brushed aside the defenders with only the loss of a single SL-17 Shilone and some non-critical damage to two of their others, to the loss of all six of the League of Free Nation’s own Corsairs.
The air war ended, and with the Iron Dingoes in complete control of the skies above the islands, they pushed into the remaining main body of defenders around Port Stainless’ airfield. After several hours of maneuvers, whose defenders included an air-mobile force of infantry, various defending infantry companies, and the sudden appearance of a company of heavy hover tanks, the Dingoes so utterly demoralized and crushed the defenders in a swift strike that had them surrender with only a few shots fired. The entire 106th Air Assault Battalion with their helicopter transports, were captured intact, though the commanders of the island defense force managed to evacuate along with the entire defending air group, the “Black Sheep Squadron”.
The remaining hold-outs were dug-in at the strategic stronghold of Goose Green, where they formed a defensive bottle-neck into the southern Lafonia Island. Late on the 2nd of November, the Iron Dingoes brought the full power of their massed artillery to bear on the fort, and following an hour-long barrage of their Long Tom artillery pieces, forced the surrender of the garrison. The remaining hold-outs were scattered and relatively unsupported, and fell within the week to regular San Isabel infantry supported by Dingoes lances of Mechs and armor. By mid-month, the local government was already being replaced by San Isabel, and the Sovereignty Dispute had taken another turn. san Isabel occupation of the islands officially began on the 5th of November, 3024.
Mount Pleasant Airfield
The Islas Brasilera are a region in dispute. Recently re-occupied by San Isabel during the Small War, the entire region of islands has become a provincial territory of The Oriental Republic of San Isabel, including the isolated island of St. Helena.
The maintenance of only a token military force before the Isla Brasilera War, and the suggestion that the assigned naval forces were to be withdrawn, persuaded San Isabel to start that conflict, assuming that San Marcos would not respond or be easily able to recapture the islands. Following the reclamation of the territory in 2990, San Marcos invested heavily in the defenses on the islands, the centerpiece of which is the airfield at Mount Pleasant, 27 miles (43 km) west of Port Stainless. The base was opened in 2993, and became fully operational in 2994.
The Islas Brasilera traditionally maintains its own part-time volunteer force, the Islas Brasilera Defence Force (IBDF), previously known as the Islas Brasilera Volunteer Corps. Although this unit existed in 2990 as a reinforcement for the Governor’s detachment of Royal Marines, it did not play any part in the main conflict during the war of 2990, its members having spent the duration of the hostilities under house arrest by San Isabel troops after their surrender on the San Isabel capture of the islands. In late-3024, during The Small War, it helped defend the civilian stockpiles in Port Stainless, but quickly disbanded following the islands occupation by San Isabel’s military.
The_IBDF_ is traditionally a company-strength light infantry force with a permanent training Warrant Officer seconded from the occupation’s Royal Marines. The IBDF traditionally operates in a number of roles and is fully integrated into the defense scheme for the islands. The IBDF has been trained by the Royal Navy to operate support guns, like the Fledermaus Air Defense Systems and to board vessels suspected of fishery poaching.
The future of this defensive force is presently under question.
Defensive measures for the islands and their related territory are in transition at this time, with the military of San Isabel attempting to organize an official military unit or units to assume long-term protection of the region. It is suggested that a similar agreement to that worked out with The District of San Andrés, Providencia and Santa Catalina might be in the process of being agreed to, converting the traditional defensive force into a long-term regular arms battalion serving the islands under the San Isabel banner.