Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
The Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Most remote island community of Dumassas
The Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha was, until recently, an Overseas Territory of The Federative Republic of San Marcos located in the South Atlantis and consisting of the islands of Saint Helena, Ascension Island and the archipelago of Tristan da Cunha.
Its name was Saint Helena and Dependencies until September 1st, 3017, when a new constitution came into force giving the three regions equal status within the territory. Despite this change, the whole territory is still commonly referred to as simply Saint Helena after its main island. Similarly, the demonym Saint Helenians (or “Saints” ) and the derived name for the local nationality is commonly understood to include Ascension Islanders and Tristanians, as well.
Strategically the islands of St. Helena are of immense value, even though they produce nothing of note, nor do they have any other special considerations beyond their military value. Combined, the islands of this district cover a vast swath of the South Atlantis, but even with an extension of 200 kms away from its coastal holdings, none of the regions touch borders, nor do they connect with other nationality controls. San Marcos claim to these islands has long been part of their claims on Islas Brasilera.
St. Helena is a tropical island of volcanic origin in the _South Atlantis Ocean_, 2500 kms south-west of San Marcos capital of _Rio_. It is part of the Overseas Territory of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, which also includes tiny Ascension Island_ and the islands of _Tristan da Cunha. Saint Helena measures about 16 by 8 kilometres (10 by 5 mi) and had a population of 4,255 in its 3023 census.
St. Helena orbital view
The island was initially settled by San Marcos as a prison stronghold for captured solders, and has remained one of the most remote island communities of Dumassas to this day. Largely a military stronghold, it has no civilian airport, and even the military airport remains relatively independent from outside influence, seeing only a weekly visit by military Victory C-3 STOL Frontier Transports, the military sea vessel San Andreas logistics ship every month, and civilian shipping from time to time.
The island of Saint Helena has a total area of 122 km2 (47 sq mi), and is composed largely of rugged terrain of a volcanic origin (the last volcanic eruptions occurred about 7 million years ago). Coastal areas are covered in volcanic rock and warmer and drier than the center. The highest point of the island is _Diana’s Peak_ at 818 m (2,684 ft). Much of the island is covered by wild-growing flax, a legacy of former industry, but there are some original trees augmented by plantations, including those of the Millennium Forest.
When the island was discovered, it was covered with unique indigenous vegetation, including a remarkable so-called “Cabbage Tree”. The island’s hinterland must have been a dense tropical forest but the coastal areas were probably also quite green. The modern landscape is very different, with widespread bare rock in the lower areas, although inland it is green, mainly due to introduced vegetation. There are no native land mammals, but cattle, cats, dogs, donkeys, goats, mice, rabbits, rats and sheep have been introduced, and native species have been adversely affected as a result. The dramatic change in landscape must be attributed to these introductions. As a result, the String Tree (Acalypha Rubrinervis) and the St Helena Olive (Nesiota Elliptica) are now extinct, and many of the other endemic plants are rare and near extinction.
There are more than a dozen notable barren rocks and islets off the coast, all of which are within one kilometer (0.62 miles) of the shore. Temperatures vary widely across St. Helena, with warmer temperatures in the coastal regions and cold, wet weather in the interior highlands.
Ascension Island orbital view
Ascension Island is an isolated volcanic island in the equatorial waters of the South Atlantis Ocean, around 1,600 kilometres (1,000 mi) from the coast of and 2,250 kilometres (1,400 mi) from the coast of San Isabel, which is roughly midway between the Horn of Buntar and the isolated community of The Independent Territory of Borealis. The island of Ascension is in constant volcanic turmoil, with forty-four (44) active volcanoes
Tristan de Cunha
Tristan da Cunha orbital view
Tristan da Cunha, colloquially “Tristan”, is the name of both a remote group of volcanic islands in the South Atlantis Ocean and the main island of that group. It is the most remote inhabited archipelago in the world. The territory consists of the main island, named Tristan da Cunha, which has a north–south length of 11.27 kilometres (7.00 mi) and an area of 98 square kilometres (38 sq mi), along with the smaller, uninhabited Nightingale Islands and the wildlife reserves of Inaccessible and the Gough islands. As of January 3026, the main island has 262 permanent inhabitants. Meanwhile, the other islands are uninhabited, except for the seasonal personnel of a weather station on Gough Island. Most islands of the chain still experience volcanic activity on a regular basis.
Longwood House, Government center of St. Helena
Traditionally, the territory is divided into the same three parts as the territories geography, namely Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha. Each is governed by a council. The Governor of the territory presides over the Saint Helena Legislative Council, while he or she is represented by an Administrator on both Ascension Island and Tristan da Cunha that preside over these two area’s own Island Councils.
Executive authority in Saint Helena is traditionally vested in the Baron of San Marcos_ and is exercised on his behalf by the _Governor of Saint Helena. The Governor is appointed by the Baron on the advice of the _San Marcos_ government. Defense and Foreign Affairs remain the responsibility of the San Marcos government.
There are fifteen seats in the _Legislative Council of Saint Helena_, a unicameral legislature, in addition to a Speaker and a Deputy Speaker. Twelve of the fifteen members are elected in elections held every four years. The three executive council members are the Chief Secretary, Financial Secretary and Attorney General. The Executive Council is presided over by the Governor, and consists of the three executive councilors and five other elected members of the Legislative Council appointed by the Governor. There is no elected Chief Minister, and the Governor acts as the head of government.
Both _Ascension Island_ and _Tristan da Cunha_ have an Administrator appointed to represent the Governor of Saint Helena. They have regular elected seats on the Legislative Council, but also represent their islands directly as a regional territory, like other parts of the island, despite the title.
With the difficulties and lack of a central authority in San Marcos, the local government of the district, is largely under military control, and has been placed under the occupational forces of the remaining assets and troops of the San Marcos Navy.
Containing the most remote islands in the world, only St. Helena has limited contact to the mainland through regular shipping services every few weeks, and a single commercial airport on St. Helena itself, with reconstruction started (though not finished) in late-3025 following the failure of the Small War. Weekly flights out of San Marcos provided connection to the islands, until their disruption with the collapse of that nation. The military airfield on Ascension also provides access to civilian flights, but this is not its primary purpose.
Telecommunications are the island’s primary value, with the military orbital station on Ascension connecting with most of the nation’s extensive satellite network across the Atlantis Ocean and western portions of the mainland, including The Republic of Buntar, The Republic of Carbina, The Republic of Delancourt, The Tragnar Confederation, The Independent Territory of Borealis and The Federative Republic of San Marcos itself. This network of military satellites was long considered key to San Marcos’ domination of the region, and was highly valued as a military asset. It also provides limited communications to the civilian networks as well.
San Marcos Infantry
The San Marcos military operated a direct non-stop service via Victory C-3 STOL Frontier Transports, lasting roughly 3 hours each way to the San Marcos mainland, though this has been supplanted by military transports from The Oriental Republic of San Isabel.
San Marcos viewed the islands as an overseas territory and, as such, they relied on San Marcos for the guarantee of their security. These territories in the South Atlantis, including Saint Helena, Isla Ascension and Tristan da Cunha all fell under the protection of the Marcosian forces on Isla Brasilera (also known as San Marcos Forces Isla Brasilera ), which includes commitments from the San Marcos Army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy, but with the complete fall of that government and military organization, support has collapsed.
In early-March, the islanders met with representatives from The New Republic of Sangria, who offered to support both the navy taking refuge there, as well as their dependents. As a result of these negotiations, they agreed to take the protection of the Sangrian military,and at least temporarily, accept Sangrian rule, while their future is debated in the Legislative Council. Rumors persist that both _San Isabel, and advisers from * “The Iron Dingoes” remain present in the islands during these discussions. The islands future is yet undetermined.
- (Former) San Marcos Royal Army -
Only a small company of infantry garrisons the airfield and protects its orbital communications arrays, but an additional engineer company provides support services and technicians for the airfield and the satellite facility. They have no heavy weapons support, and only a single battery of Rapier AA Missile Battery w/ Blindfire Radar to defend the facilities.
While these forces continue to fly the San Marcos flag, their true allegiance remains in question. Rumors persist they have been ear-marked as the core for a new defensive force from the nascent organization of The Commonwealth Star Guards.
- (Former) San Marcos Royal Navy -
For a few months, he remnants of the San Marcos Royal Navy and their surviving dependents took refuge at Ascension, and occupied the small harbour facilities as a resupply post for their forces. Wile the fleet has since moved on, the Ice Patrol Ship, the “Almirante Maximiano” has remained, providing contact and supplies between the scattered islands of the chain, though its true allegiance is under question.
- (Former) San Marcos Royal Air Force -
The remnants of the air force that fled Islas Brasilera settled into cantonment at Ascension, and have remained over the difficulties following the Small War. They absorbed the few resources present, and have since proven important only in the sense that they help protect the satellite tracking stations located just above the airfield.
No. 905 Expeditionary Air Wing – “Black Sheep Squadron”
No. 1312 Flight – Two (2) Victory C-3 STOL Frontier Transports and one (1) Victory VC-10 Air Tanker.
No. 1435 Flight – Four (4) Defender D-35 Strike Fighters
No. 1564 Flight – Two (2) M8-53 Sea Stallions, and two (2) Pegasus Utility Helicopters.
The history of the islands of St. Helena is dominated solely by strategic military interests.
Though charted during the initial planetary surveys, they only came into the interest of humanity with the establishment of a military garrison in 2824. Over the following years, the site of Ascension City became host to houses made of local stone, a small fortress, hospital and general store. This eventually developed the site into a supply point for the San Marcos navy, and a site to dump unwanted nationals.
Regular communications were established by the installation of an undersea cable in 2908, but otherwise remained a military-controlled base under the San Marcos Navy, until 2931, when it was chartered as a territory of The Federative Republic of San Marcos.
When The Oriental Republic of San Isabel invaded Islas Brasilera in 2989, the value of the base at St. Helena expanded, and the site became the staging point for the San Marcos counter-attack. Wideawake Airfield was established, and occupied for several years, but in 2992, however, strategic interests moved back to Isla Brasilera, along with the local military, and the remaining 200 population struggled along without further interest by its controlling government.
In 3003, the San Marcos military returned, and established a substantial listening post and military airfield on Ascension, called simply the Ascension Military Airfield, and by 3011 had extended the existing air facilities to larger aircraft to use the facility for refueling, and also establish an orbital tracking site Within three years, the site was further expanded to become the leading military tracking site of the nation, with its relative isolation and low population deemed a benefit to security for this key facility.
During the initial operations in planning for the Small War, the islands were left alone, mostly to keep interest away from its facilities, but after the conflict on Islas Brasilera, all its military forces that survived the fight were relocated to Ascension Airfield, and the islands became its only remaining possession off the mainland. The remaining military interests mostly lost interest in the site, but as San Marcos interests in the islands waned, the navy took an especial interest, seizing control, and making the islands an almost serene stronghold of order in the world, forgotten by most everyone.
Today, a remnant of the San Marcos military hold to the islands, while their senior officers along with the Legislative Council, works closely with advisers from San Isabel and Sangria to determine the future of its few thousand citizens.