Campaign of the Month: June 2014
Battletech (Farscape) : The New Breed
The Gatun Foundation
The Gatun Foundation, is an emergent nation-state, created from the ruins of the collapse of The Federative Republic of San Marcos. It formed following the double punches of the 3024 Small War and its follow-up 3025 Pandemic, and the nuclear devastation of the capital and its subsequent national disintegration. Today, this nation-state is a loose confederation between the two controlling towns of the Gatun Canal, and their occupying paramilitary forces.
Gatun Canal : The Gatun Canal is an artificial canal of locks and fresh-water lakes that provides passage to cargo and most military ships between the Atlantis Sea to the south-west, and the Sea of Tragnar in the north-east. The canal has been a holding of The Federative Republic of San Marcos for more than a hundred years, but has since fallen into independent control.
While The Republic of Buntar has long looked on the Canal as a potential source of revenue and military control, even at the height of their recent invasion of San Marcos territories, the location remained out of reach. The problems associated with controlling and absorbing Petrópolis, further restrict their interest in the region.
Today, the Canal remains an important part of the regional infrastructure, allowing the passage of goods and personnel from coast to coast across the Ithmus of Colón, and provides the basis for the entire economy of the nascent nation-state.
The Towns : The towns of Colón (to the north-east) and Balboa (to the south-west) are the only notable communities in the region, each controlling one end of the Canal, and possessing the technical support required to keep the Canal in operation. The two have since joined forces under the protection of their occupying militia, largely former Policia Militar that have become unified in their support of the emerging civilian government of the region.
Both port towns are host to cargo cranes for large-scale loading and unloading of container products, typically the Standard (5-ton) Cargo Containers found everywhere cargo moves from ground to sea, or space to ground. Additionally, the locks at each port hold two multi-purpose berths for dealing with larger, sea-going vessels. Located near each town is a small hydro-electric plant, each damming a fair-sized river, the Kampia and Madden (respectively), which give the communities almost unrestricted access to electrical power for the local industries, as well as their own lock systems.
La Palma : The region between these two towns, is known as La Palma, and is a very warm river basin that sports scattered fishing villages and little else. Military patrols using a handful of Monitor Naval Vessels, which constantly patrol the river and ensure traffic moves safely through the region. Independently-owned civilian boats are the most commonly used methods of transporting people and small cargoes across the region.
Outside of these handful of civilian boats which use the Canal, there is little traffic inland. Roads are virtually non-existent away from the lowlands near the Canal, and this makes traffic into the highlands above the Canal both difficult and sporadic. A handful of independent buses exist, known locally as “Diablo Rojos”, but there is little else in the way of public transport beyond a handful of private or military vehicles.
Darien Highlands : The Darien Highlands are the rough, thickly forested regions above the Canal, that are cooler and host to many small independent villages. While the lowlands farm corn and fish, the highlands raise goats and rice, and are fairly self-sufficient for everything beyond the usual luxury goods of salt, munitions and fuel oils.
Agricultural surpluses have always led to the export of fish and corn from the region, but the influx of refugees in 3025-6, has largely “eaten” these reserves away. While there are a few noted gold and copper deposits, they are insignificant and have never attracted the investment requires to try and develop them. In short, outside of supporting the local population base, there is nothing of international value to the nation, other than promoting trade through the Gatun Canal.
The primary means of bulk trade is general barter of goods and services, though the traditional “Brass Tax” is also increasingly popular, trading bullets for small purchases of goods. San Marcos currency is not accepted and considered worthless, though some trading companies are moving to the C-Bill standard when dealing with international markets.
Given the nascent nation-state’s location between Buntar, Tragnar and Peregrine, it has become an increasingly popular place to exchange goods between these potentially hostile nations. Both port towns are popular places for agents from each nation to sell goods and seek resources for transport to their own nation’s markets. As a result of this, transport companies from these nations are commonly encountered and increasingly prevalent in the port towns, as well as shipping goods along the Canal. Shipping has therefore actually increased over the last couple years to the point it is an economic boon to the region, providing jobs and welcome influxes of foreign capital in supplying these shipments.
San Marcos Policia
The Gatun Public Forces (GPF) : Not a traditional standing army, the local defensive forces of the Gatun Foundation, is the paramilitary Gatun Public Forces. Consisting of eight (8) independent paramilitary companies of formerly Policia Militar, they are solely garrison/police forces with a handful of small 10-ton boats and Jeeps for transport of its personnel. They are equipped to Dumassas Militia Field Kit standards, but have no true heavy weapons support.
A small flotilla of six (6) Monitor Naval Vessels and a collection of Pegasus Utility Helicopters are used by the “military” of the region for anti-piracy operations, and little else. The GPF also inherited two (2) Silverfin Patrol Cutters that keep watch over the seas near the ports on either side. The units all answer directly to the civilian governor, and have no single commanding officer above the Captain level; most have fairly independent control over their respective regions, and receive their pay and supplies directly from the civilian government.
Long an ignored portion of the San Marcos border region, Davion interests first attempted to found a canal here in 2982, but the project was abandoned after more than a decade of effort and investment. In 2913, Concordat investments continued the work, and finished it just over ten (10) years later. The passage proved to be of immediate strategic value, and guaranteed cheap cargo shipments from Peregrine and Tragnar, to Buntar, San Isabel and Sangria. It also allowed San Marcos to extend its naval efforts between both its coasts, while limiting its potential enemies to do the same.
With the collapse of the central government of San Marcos, and the subsequent destruction of its capital by the tragedy of the nuclear blast that ravaged it in late-3025, the possession of the Canal came under question. The arrival of refugees first came to the region fleeing the troubles of the central states, and there was some degree of chaos, but the region has long maintained both an agricultural and electrical surplus, and was able to easily absorb the increase in population along the lowland areas, and in the central towns.
Local Policia Miltar companies took charge of the region and in the peace they afforded, combined with the inability of foreign powers to dominate the region, allowed the locals to establish their own government. They began to rebuild the district into a semi-independent nation-state, declaring itself in the wake of the acceptance of The Marcosan Mandate by The Commonwealth of Nations, and emboldened by the local town councils, to entertain the concept of independence.
In mid-3030, the towns and villages of the region finally held an election, and the write-in candidate from Balboa, Rafael Pino Pinto won easily, taking the title of “Governor”, and establishing the Gatun Foundation. The first act of the government was to establish the local Policia Militar forces as a paramilitary force supported by the state, and united in the independence of the state from its former government. It presently holds the overwhelming support of both its military and citizenry, but unless things quickly improve, this could change.