Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech : The Farscape Campaign
The (Territorial) District of Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha
Most remote island community of Dumassas
The (Territorial) District 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. On June 16th, 3028, the region formally became a part of The New Republic of Sangria as its third territory.
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. Today, they constitute the sole reason for the Sangrian navy’s ability to patrol the southern stretches of the Atlantis Ocean.
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 was traditionally vested in the Baron of San Marcos_ and exercised on his behalf by the _Governor of Saint Helena. The Governor was appointed by the Baron on the advice of the _San Marcos_ government. Defense and Foreign Affairs remained 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.
The fall of San Marcos central government has led the region into a formal position as part of The New Republic of Sangria, giving the island citizens direct input into who its Governor should be through an elected vote, much like every other territory of that nation. While the present Governor continues to act on behalf of his people, there is a formal election for a new governor to be held in 3029, prior to the national election for a new president of the nation.
As a territory, the region has its military and foreign affairs placed directly under the aegis of the national government in Ciudad Garcia, but has control over its own territorial economy and development of its educational and other vital budgets. As a territory, it receives more income than it generates, and is supported in local initiatives by national investments and interests. Many of the region’s citizens are looking forward to the improved opportunities to determine their own futures.
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 3024 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 satellite control station on Ascension connecting with an 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. When combined with Sangria’s own military network, these satellites are considered key to Sangrian (and her ally San Isabel’s) domination of the region, and was long highly valued as a military asset. It also provides limited access to the civilian satellite networks, as well as improved weather reporting throughout the western half of the world.
Other government services have become the purview of Banco Nacional de Sangria, including land registration, the national mail service and common banking and payroll services. Long used to this arrangement, the company has quickly assimilated local control over these departments and proven capable of the task, as well as helping their own bottom-line.
While all electrical generation is provided by local communal organizations that use wind generators, the water purification efforts have been taken over by Aquatech, the national company responsible for this effort. Their experience in providing the service, as well as its contacts with Iron Claw, have resulted in an immediate improvement of local services, as they have begun rebuilding the local water network to all houses in the islands. The widely dispersed island chains have made centralization difficult, but each of the communities in the region have a regional office, and they work closely with the local civilian government, to ensure everyone has access to clean water.
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, 3028, the initial overtures by the islanders to join The New Republic of Sangria met with overwhelming support by the citizens of the islands, and was quickly followed by the formal assimilation of the military forces present, while the regional government began its own formal assimilation process. By mid-April, 3028, the islands were formally a part of Sangria.
Today, the military presence of 16th “Expeditionary” Infantry Company – “The Rampagers” and an “expeditionary” flight of conventional transport and combat planes are assigned to the defense of Ascension Airfield and its associated communications center. There are no additional military resources, beyond the permanent assignment of the ice patrol ship, “Almirante Maximiano” to the islands. Numerous naval vessels from Sangria, San Isabel and Buntar all call on the ports of the chain, however, making the islands a strong naval position.
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 3024 Small War, the islands were left alone, mostly to keep interest away from its facilities, but after the conflict on Islas Brasilera, all the military forces that survived the fight for the islands were relocated to Ascension Airfield, and the islands became San Marcos 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.
With the defection the remnants of the San Marcos navy in 3027, the island recognized it needed larger protection, particularly with an increasingly aggressive Buntar military. The islands of St. Helena formally petitioned for entry into the Sangrian state as a territory. Initial polls regarding the concept sat at approximately 90% of the population being in favor of the idea.
On March 1st, 3028, the Legislative Council supported by the Governor of the territory, tabled the proposal to a full vote by the citizens of all three administrative regions. The resulting vote on April 9th, was supported by 65% of the population, and negotiations began with the Sangrian government for formal inclusion as a territory of that nation-state.
Key to these negotiations, was the presence of the local military force, formerly of San Marcos origins, who were to be included in the national military. On the 13th of April, the local military force was inducted under the flag of Sangria, with the formal acceptance of the local garrison commander’s sword by General Luis Arturo Pérez, who then gave it back, along with a flag of Sangria to replace the central flag at Ascension Airfield. The local air force and army assets immediately came under the payroll and logistical supply of Sangria on this date.
By the end of April, The New Republic of Sangria government formally accepted the region as its third territory, allowing the state to keep its own governing traditions, while adapting their existing facilities under Sangrian standards, such as the Banco Nacional de Sangria assuming the former San Marcos government facilities, and conforming local currencies to the Sangrian Colon. As of June 16th, 3028, these matters were considered complete enough that the islands were officially declared a formal territory of Sangria, with the ratification by all district and territory governors of The New Republic of Sangria.
Today, the islands and their citizens are busy assimilating to their new identity as a Sangrian territory, and adapting to a new currency, new culture, new language, and new rights as a member of a democratic republic. Everyone is aware, however, that their existence remains solely on the presence of their strategic value, and the role the military plays in its economy.