The first world out from Sol, Tirane is by far the single most important colony world. The oldest of the colonies, Tirane is a hub of commerce for virtually all other colonies and outposts.
- Name: Tirane
- Distance from Primary: 1.28 au
- Size: 12,700 km
- Core Type: Rocky
- World Type: Garden
- Gravity: 1.0
- Escape Velocity: 11.2 km/s
- Atmospheric Pressure: 1.00 ATM
- Average Temperature: 19 deg C
- Water Presence: 60%
- Atmospheric Composition: N2 77%, O2 20%, Ar 2%, Trace 1%
- Satellites: (Name, Size, Core Type, Orbit Radii, Density, Bases)
- Esa: 2,000 km, Rocky, 40, 20, none
- Europos: 1,400 km, Rocky, 60, none
- Amaterasu (Japan): Population: 17,945,000
- Freihafen (former Bavarian): Population: 194,576,000
- New Canberra (Australia): Population: 98,023,000
- Nouvelle Provence (France): Population: 238,832,000
- Provincia do Brasil (Brazil): Population: 102,000,000
- Tirania (America): Population: 17,945,000
- Tundukubwa (Azania): Population: 68,405,000
- Tunghu (Manchuria): Population: 2,200,000
- Wellon (former British): Population: 212,000,000
Like Earth, Tirane is mostly water. There are seven continental landmasses and a myriad of smaller islands, almost all of which are inhabited by the colonists. Every landform found on Earth has its analogue on Tirane as well, and the two worlds are very similar since they have undergone similar planetological development.
The biosphere on Tirane is a mixture of native and offworld types. The primary introductions are from Earth, but a few other worlds have conributed lifeforms as well. The biochemistry of Tirane was similar enough to Earth’s that little had to be done to adapt Terran life to the world. This was a blessing and a curse to the early colonists. they and their livestock could eat the local plant and animal life with minimal problems, but the reverse was also true. Careful survey work (the identification of potential disease-causing organisms and the preparation of appropriate countermeasures) kept problems with disease to a minimum. All colonists and their livestock were inoculated before they arrived and strict quarantine procedures were in effect from the start. The larger forms of life on Tirane were not difficult to deal with-fences and various environmental barriers kept the local equivalent of wolves from the colonists’ meat animals and kept the local herbivores out of the grain fields.
There were a few problems, but by-and-large, the various colonization efforts have integrated themselves well into the local ecology.
In addition to the normal seasons caused by orbital conditions and axial tilt, there are “grand seasons” caused by the proximity of Alpha Centauri 6. The radiation from Alpha Centauri B is not significant by itself (even at its closest approach, the companion star only comes within 1 1 AU), the few degrees added barely enough to change the climatic zones of the world. The “grand seasons” each last 19.75 years and can be summarized as follows:
Grandspring and Grandautumn: These are both periods of median temperatures during which temperatures moderate themselves around a habitable mean. During these grand seasons, the ecology of Tirane gradually adapts itself to the coming extreme season.
Grandsummer: The tropical regions become hot, and sensitive organisims migrate to cooler regions. Temperatures peak at about 45 degrees C (the oceans moderate the increased heat fairly effectively and most plant life can survive quite well). The balance of plant and animal life alters, and tropical creatures increase their range.
Grandwinter: The polar regions become very cold (averaging – 40 degrees C), and most animal forms migrate towards the equator or enter a long term hibernation. The tropics cool off, and temperate life forms expand their ranges at the expense of tropical ones.
Because of the constantly shifting weather patterns, farming has taken on a unique pattern. Instead of individual family farms, a system of farming corporations has arisen. A corporation will own large tracts of land in several locations, and a given tract of land will be used for various purposes depending on the season and grand season. Farm families will often undertake to farm a section of land for long-term periods (20 local years is an example of a standard contract).
As a colony’s climate shifts, the employment demands of agriculture also shift, and the population transfers from agricultural jobs to other jobs on a cyclical basis. Farm workers could be said to be migratory in one sense, but since they often spend two or more generations in one place, their life is relatively stable compared to other migratory agricultural workers.
Tirane is a garden world in the Alpha Centauri system and the site of the oldest human colonies in space (there are older outposts, but Tirane was the site of the first attempts at full-scale colonization). It was a tremendous coincidence that Alpha Centauri had a world similar to Earth, but this coincidence spurred the search for other such worlds. Had the system contained no world suitable for human habitation, the course of future interstellar exploration might have been considerably different.
The first interstellar probe (an unmanned vehicle, launched under the auspices of the ESA) arrived in system in 2137 and made a detailed survey of the constituent worlds. The probe dropped an instrument package on Tirane, which included the flags of the member nations of the ESA. On the basis of this, when the data about Tirane arrived back on Earth, the member nations of the European Space Agency (at the time, the active members were France, Bavaria, Azania, and the United Kingdom) announced their discovery and claimed the system for colonization. Several nations immediately filed diplomatic protests and began speeding up their interstellar programs. Argentina (in company with Mexico) sent a probe to the system in 2138 to establish their claim to it.
American and Japanese probes soon followed, but no human had yet set foot on the world. Manchuria was the only major power to support the ESA, although many remained neutral (especially those without hope of an interstellar exploration program). In 2129 a joint ESA survey party went into orbit around Tirane and spent the next four years studying the first world outside the solar system found suitable for human life. The party landed and planted flags, reasserting their claim to sole colonization.
The ESA began construction of a large fleet of interstellar transports with a view to colonization (many of these were converted interplanetary freighters). Other nations followed suit, but Argentina built warships instead, and the Alpha Centauri War was the result.
Most of the war was conducted in the Alpha Centauri system: the Argentinean warships battling the converted merchant ships of the ESA. Both sides were unsure how to go about conducting an interplanetary (indeed, an interstellar) conflict, and the war was characterized by great delays while both sides awaited instructions from Earth. Neither side could gain a clear advantage, but both sides were unwilling to expand the conflict to Earth in more than a limited way.
When Australia offered to mediate, the two sides concluded a cease-fire which turned into an armistice. Both sides later claimed victory, and the war is still a touchy subject in some circles. The Melbourne Accords which ended the war also opened Tirane to settlement by all spacefaring nations and established the precedent of open settlement which continues to this day (albeit somewhat modified). The nations of the ESA had a head start, however, and Tirane’s present demographic situation reflects this. A majority of the planet’s 1.05 billion inhabitants are descendants of the ESA colonists. Several colonies failed for one reason or another and were absorbed into one of another of those listed below.
The two moons of Tirane were named after the European space agency, Esa and Europos, and they currently contain nothing but a few small observatories, research facilities, and navigational beacons. There are several orbital colonies and factory complexes around Tirane, as well as four solar power satellite arrays and numerous communications and land-use satellites. In the last few decades, demographic pressures on Tirane are such that a large surplus population has left to settle in the outer fringe colonies. As the frontier areas of Tirane became more civilized and opportunities for land began to dry up, increasing numbers of colonists have emigrated from Tirane to other worlds where a person can make a fresh start, get in on the ground floor, and generally escape from the pressures of civilized life (such as bill collectors and door-to-door salesmen). In many ways, Tirane has become a second Earth.
There are numerous individual colonies on Tirane. However, though Tirane boasts the largest population of any colony world, its billion inhabitants are sprinkled rather thinly across the continents-Tirane’s overall population density is fairly sparse.
According to legend, the sun goddess Amaterasu is the divine ancestor of the Imperial family and, by extension, the whole of the Japanese people. A century and a quarter after its founding, her namesake, Japan’s first extrasolar colony, has not only produced a prosperous new “land of the rising sun”, but one of rising contradictions as well. A modern power that pays fealty to an ancient monarchy; where state-of-the-art technologies are launched with timeless Shinto rites. A land of great concern for the environment…and the most smog-choked city on Tirane. A Place of civilized people living in harmonious law and order…and capital of illegal cybernetics throughout human space. A land of bumpkins, lumberjacks, and living mascots…who are well on their way to becoming the new center of the Japanese Federation.
For reasons which were never completely clear, Japanese survey teams began staking out claims which overlapped those of Australia. The situation was complicated by the fact that tantalum was discovered in the disputed area (called “Duffer’s Strip” by the Australians), and several small scale skirmishes resulted between Australian and Japanese survey teams before a mutually satisfactory settlement could be negotiated. The strip went to the Australians, but the tantalum would be mined by a joint Australian/Japanese corporation.
The Tiranische Freistaat und hafen – or in English, the Tiranean Free State and Haven – is a young country, dating its existence from its 2292 declaration of independence from the emerging German state. This declaration, made only a few short months after the tumult of the War of German Unification and the collapse of the French Twelfth Republic, irrevocably transformed the political map of Tirane and the astropolitical arrangements of humanity.
Until September of 2291, the Bavarian colony of Garten was the jewel of the Bavarian colonial empire. With a population more than six times as large as that of the Bavarian homeland, a liberal colonial regime that included limited self-government at the local, regional, and colonial levels, and an immensely prosperous industrial economy whose products drove the expansion of the Bavaria’s interstellar possessions, Garten was a major power inside the Bavarian sphere.
Yet, Garten was different from Bavaria. In the last quarter of the 22nd century, it was imperative for Bavaria to settle the vast demi-continent that it had claimed on the nearest habitable world to Earth, yet Bavaria itself was still underpopulated thanks to the Twilight War almost two centuries earlier. In order to people its colony, Bavaria turned to its European neighbours, to the weaker German states to its north but above all to its southern and eastern neighbours – Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Austrovenia, Poland, Croatia, Serbia, even Greece and Turkey.
These diverse immigrants arrived on Freihafen, some settling their own autonomous cultural communities, others joining Bavarian citizens in the major settlements of the colony. In the century after First Settlement, Garten managed to accumulate one of the most diverse and largest populations in the world, even as the colony blossomed into one of the largest and most prosperous industrial economies in human space. The inhabitants of Garten, one century after the beginning of Bavaria’s interstellar colonization, made up a majority of the population of the Bavarian empire and profited accordingly, yet they did not think of themselves as Bavarians, at least not in the same strict sense that München would have preferred: They lived in a natural and human environment far too different to do that.
Accordingly, when the War of German Reunification led to the annexation of Terrestrial Bavaria into the new Bundesrepublik, and threatened to bring in Garten – German-speaking but definitely not German in the narrow sense used by the Hannoverians – Garten split. The Garten Kolonialtag voted against Bavarian unification even when a decisive majority of Terrestrial Bavarians voted in favour, and promptly organized a referendum on secession. This referendum passed by a margin of three-to-one, and after the Tirane Council refused to acknowledge the legitimacy of the representative sent by Germany to take Freihafen’s place, Freihafenian independence was assured.
Freihafen has been an independent state for almost eight years. In that period, the Freihafeners have begun to become used to their independence. As one of the most populous countries in all of human space, and one of the dozen largest industrialized economies in same, Freihafen is already a major force. With its inherent appeal to the ex-Bavarian colonies and even to Terrestrial Bavaria, and with its intimate (but not compromising) links with France, America, and even Manchuria, though, Freihafen seemed to be almost destined for greatness as this – arguably the first major independent starfaring country created off of Earth – gropes towards its future.
Combine the Latino “mañana” relaxation with the Australian “she’ll be right” optimism and part of New Canberra’s soul will be found. But, like a lot of other stereotypes, much of the truth will be missed.
New Canberra, Australia’s slice of Tirane, contains the bulk of Australia’s overall population, national wealth, military strength, and economic vibrancy. As a result New Canberra sets the political tone for the rest of the nation, a fact not lost on either NovoCanos (as New Canberrans call themselves) or their fellow Australians on Earth or the Rimward (“American”) Arm. But Yeats may have been correct by saying, “the center cannot hold,” and could have easily been talking about New Canberra were he alive on Tirane now. Centrifugal forces are now becoming apparent, with minority concerns becoming felt within New Canberra itself and a growing cultural gap between the colony and Australia proper.
NovoCanos are a diverse lot, with little to unite them but pride in their homeland and optimism in its future. From Australia’s Boomerang Coast and the Pampas of Argentina, the lush tropical archipelago of Indonesia and the vibrant lands of Nigeria their ancestors came, along with others from the fractured Indian States, the Scandinavian Union, Thailand, and Tirania, all seeking new lives on the southern half of Tirane’s Araki continent. It is perhaps appropriate that Australia’s largest colony be named for Canberra, the first capital of that nation, which itself took its name from an Aborignal word meaning, “a meeting place.” But the meeting hasn’t always been cordial.
For the average visitor, though, New Canberra offers rich, vibrant, diverse cultures, spectacular natural beauty, and great opportunity for excitement and adventure, from Duffer’s Strip south to the Costa Desolada (Sp: Desolate Coast), the Nuevas Malvinas across to Pulau Timor Bahru and the mainland in between. Australia should be justifiably proud of what it created in New Canberra, and what the NovoCanos created on top of that.
The French colony of Nouvelle Provence occupies the largest part of the continent of Arcadie, sharing the continent with newly independent Freihafen and Azania’s Tundukubwa. Nouvelle Provence is the most populous and prosperous part of Tirane, with a population that mirrors the diversity of the French Empire on Earth. Nouvelle Provence is officially a part of Metropolitan France in the same way as European France, Algeria and Zaire are, and plays the same role on Tirane and France does on Earth. First amongst equals.
Nouvelle Provence is home to many astounding sights. The capital of Mirambeau is the undisputed cultural centre of the new world, and is home to the prestigious Université de Tirane. Arcadie is the only continent to be home to Tirane’s sauropods and the majestic Fon, which draw tourists and scientists in equal measure. Whilst high above Nouvelle Provence are the starship yards that produce the merchants and warships that maintain the French Empire’s power across human space and buttress humanity against the Kafer threat.
Whilst Nouvelle Provence is a loyalist heartland proud of its place in the French Empire there are some secessionists at work in the colony. The fall of the 12th Republic effected Tirane as well as Earth and the military government introduced several heavy handed measures in Nouvelle Provence which caused serious resentment. The Nouvelle Provençal people voted en-masse for Ruffin and the Empire and his reforms have relieved much of the pressure, yet a small and dedicated band of secessionists remain. Nouvelle Provence as a whole is a bastion of resistance to the Tiranista cause across Tirane and looks on with concern at events in Freihafen, Wellon and Tirania.
IEX Le Parc Zoologique Extraterrestre
In the colony of Nouvelle Provence, Le Parc Zoologique Extraterrestre, established by the Institut des Etudes Xenologiques, has become a major tourist attraction, drawing visitors from all over Tirane as well as from Earth and also many of the colony worlds. Although its exhibits are limited to those relatively safe animals that can survive in an environment fairly similar to that of Tirane, the zoo boasts an unparalleled variety of diverse species collected in one place. For those who have never been to Earth, the zoo also has representatives of some of the more interesting terrestrial species (among some of the colonists these exhibits have proven more popular than many of the extraterrestrial ones). IEX staff associated with the zoo are involved not only in maintenance and care of the exhibits, but also in procuring new species for inclusion in the zoo. IEX expeditions are sent out on a fairly regular basis to capture new animals for exhibit. In the case of a few species which have become extinct in the wild since mankind moved into their territory, the IEX zoo is the only place where such creatures still survive and flourish.
Provincia do Brasil
Brazil became a spacefaring power on the basis of its native tantalum deposits and purchased American and French technology in order to construct ships. Their colony on Tirane is still their proudest achievement.
Provincia do Brasil is the Brazilian settlement on Tirane, mostly located on the continent of Cabralia. Brazil took a conscious decision to treat their colony as an integral part of the Brazilian state, which has so far paid dividends as the Tiranista cause is relatively weak in Provincia do Brasil. Like most of the other colonies on Tirane Provincia do Brasil has a polyglot population with Greeks, Italians, Portuguese, Angolans in addition to native Brazilians in the mix. One over-riding factor in the cultural life of Provincia do Brasil is the influence of the Roman Catholic Church which has its Tiranean base here.
Triania is the American colony on Tirane. After decades of corporate shortsightedness followed by the benign neglect of a distant colonial parent, the people of Tirania have begun a thus-far nonviolent struggle for independence. Oddly enough, the American government is beginning to listen though perhaps only to avoid violence in the future. Impatience on either side, however, can push the tension to a breaking point and bring civil war to Tirane. Still, Tirania offers a lot to a visitor, much of which is unmatched anywhere in Human Space.
As a result of its history Tirania doesn’t match the overall levels of development of either Freihafen or Wellon, with most of the investment in the major cities and towns. The benefit of this is unspoiled natural beauty throughout the territory, available to those hardy souls willing to brave the trek. In particular, the New Cascadia Territorial Park is comprised of a majority of the northwestern corner, and preserves for future generations over twenty percent of the Tiranian land claim. Other wild spaces include much of the Lefthook Peninsula along the Rocard Straits, Boreal County in the polar region, and the peaceful serenity of the Washington Sea. With its available open wilderness, it is easy to lose yourself in Tirania.
In direct contrast, the cities of Tirania offer all the amenities of similar locations throughout Tirane and Earth. In addition to economic viability, internal infrastructure was a major factor in urban planning and investment, making Tirania’s cities easy to get around and communicate in. Yet outside of the Free Haven-Tirania City Metroplex there’s little of the sprawl found with other cities, giving Chinook, Emerald Bay, Liberty Point, Mendonovo, New Anchorage, New Racine, and St. Claire the feeling of being outposts on the edge of the unknown. Each of these cities offer unique attractions to visitors and new settlers alike, and despite the seeming remoteness are easy to reach by a variety of transportation means.
The people of Tirania have been compared to Texans for their forthright views, pragmatism, and pride in their homeland, yet do so with a modesty their counterparts have yet to achieve (or desire). In fact, when the average Tiranian does express an opinion it’s usually wrapped in self-depreciating humor and subtle satire, accompanied by a wink to see if the listener has caught on. It’s not that Tiranians don’t grasp the gravity of the situations they’re faced with, they just won’t let those situations get the better of them.
Perhaps that’s why the independence struggle for them has been mostly peaceful. At least both sides are willing to talk. But if the talk drags on too long, if Tiranians feel they’re being placated by offers of autonomy with no timetable for implementation, if the old-guard federal civil service refuses to relinquish control when it is most appropriate, then the Tiranians will act. Nobody’s sure yet whether they’ll act peacefully or not. “The Shot Heard ’Round Tirane” has yet to be fired, but the available weapons are locked and loaded.
Tirania is a nation in transition, preparing for its day in the sun. After decades of neglect, the people of Tirania are ready to take their destiny into their own hands. Through evolution or revolution remains to be seen.
The Azanian colony of Tundukubwa is the smallest of all the major settlements on Tirane, only Tunghu is smaller, and is today home to some sixty-eight million people. Azania’s colony was placed on the continent of Arcadie alongside French and Bavarian efforts, however where the Europeans attempted to build copies of their homelands on Tirane, the Azanians took a more practical approach.
The first settlements were established to exploit the best mineral resources and begin to pay back the immense sums of money Azania had sunk into their colonial programme. Azania was particularly badly hit financially by the delay imposed by the Alpha Centauri War and needed near instant returns. The first city and mining complex was set up in the ‘great hole’ or tundukubwa, a crater formed by an asteroid impact. The mines proved quickly profitable but conditions for the colonists were very poor, and the overall growth of the colony delayed. This policy paid dividends in the longer term, laying the foundations for further Azanian colonial efforts on the French Arm.
This model of development has impacted on the way Tundukubwa has developed with the crater-city at the hub of all colonial growth. The colony is centralised in a way not matched by any other Tiranean nations and the people are less sentimental about exploiting the natural resources of their land. The Tiranista cause finds few adherents here, although many of the colonial elite talk about loosening the ties to the mother country for practical reasons.
Today the City of Tundukubwa is one of the most advanced and heavily populated cities on Tirane, surpassed only by Mirambeau in Nouvelle Provence. Built into the walls of the crater it overlooks an area of lush parks and lakes that once were the mines that established the colony’s prosperity. In the hinterlands of the colony things are less advanced with towns and mining sites spreading out from the city. The people of Tundukubwa are mainly of Azanian origins, but include people from across southern and eastern Africa and even further afield.
Tunghu is a storefront. Specifically, Manchuria’s storefront. In the early days of colonization, Manchurian isolationist dreams sought more distant worlds where they could pursue their projects without undue exposure to the generally better funded programs of other nations. Beijing’s officials understood that a Manchurian colony on Tirane, if forced to compete with the others, would become visibly second rate. Perhaps, they thought, this is good enough for Azania, but it did not accommodate Manchurian pride.
But, Tirane was too important to be bypassed. It needed a presence, if only to allow Manchuria access to the economies of a planet that would inevitably be second only to Earth and incomparably advanced over any other colony. Tunghu was all that was needed. A small area, politically harmless, could be developed to the point where it could be on the cutting edge of Tiranian society. So, with just over 300 square kilometers of property, Tunghu is Manchuria’s front desk, advertising kiosk, and cultural/economic/social interface point. It tries, but fails to be all of Manchuria rolled into one city. It succeeds at being a place of uncommon openness for a society far more closed than most.
The Commonwealth of Wellon is one of the major nations of Tirane and the largest independent state on that world. Wellon was a British colony for much of its existence and even today its head of state is the Queen of the British Isles. However Wellon has enjoyed home rule since 2241 and gained complete autonomy in 2277, although links with Britain remain close. Wellon is a stable, economically powerful state with an increasing sense of its own cultural identity both on Tirane and in wider terms.
However not all is rosy, social divisions between rich and poor remain manifest, whilst the southern part of this vast nation is tainted by corruption and criminal syndicates. Political divisions also exist with republicans and Tiranistas demanding an acceleration of the process of breaking links with the mother country. Also Wellon now has a substantial military force, the Wellon Expeditionary Force, fighting against the Kafers on the French Arm and an increasing number of dead and wounded soldiers as well as politicised veterans are returning home to Alpha Centauri.
Wellon’s population has not just been drawn from the British Isles but from throughout the Commonwealth of Nations and from other allied states. Consequently Wellon has a population of great cultural diversity and depth, yet with the exception of the Lion Cape area has largely escaped large scale racial prejudice. Wellon’s population and economic strength has already exceeded that of Britain, and has earned itself the tag of ‘the New America’ in some quarters. As Wellon approaches its first 150 years of existence it remains to be seen what niche this powerful young state will carve for itself in human affairs.