|A short history of Geocity|
Chapter 7: A short history of Geocity.
When the Internet failed at the turn of the millenium, the world became a bit bigger again. Information no longer flowed as easily or as quickly, primary channels were flooded with the information needed to keep the governments and major corporations going. It is not suprising that Science research was not of a sufficient priority to warrant attention. Unfourtunately, that lack of priority was, in hindsight, a major mistake. Tectonic activity in the Pacific Basin was rising rapidly, but only in the deep water areas - the populated islands experianced a few more earthquakes than normal, but nothing out of the ordinary. Then came the Great Easter Earthquake or 2005. The rising tectonic activity was slowly generating a major shift of the plates in the deep pacific, and in 2005 a new island was born. With the birth of the new island was born, Tsunamis devastated the Pacific Rim. Japan, Indonesia, Malaysia and several other island and coastal nations were hit and devastated. The rebuilding is still ongoing. The new-born island was not a big one - only a few kilometers in a diameter, but it was in a perfect place for the UNs Project Icarus. Project Icarus was to establish a new space launch site for international usage, and provide a completly neutral site for space research and exploration.
In order to settle the new unnamed island, several shipyards were quickly reactivated and new classes of mobile platforms were constructed. Six Atlantis class platforms were built, each was seven to ten kilometers in diameter, providing living and administrative facilities as well as the living space to expand. Most of the living space is provided in the superstructure of the Atlantis platforms instead of the suface as is commonly thought. As the Support pylons are emplaced and integrated together there will be a massive expansion in usable space as the structural network will allow for three dimensional expansion (Out, Up and Down). Lighting for the lower levels has been provided for through the use of strategically spaced "gaps" in the topside structures. This has incidentally provided for some of the most exceptional undersea life viewing away from the Barrier Reef, and some hostels have already taken advantage of this fact by buying up some light cell sections.
To support the each of the Atlantis platforms, the Mu class was built. Mu class platforms are mostly aquaculture/hydroculture specific - they provide the parks, recreational failities (swimming, riding etc). For every Altlantis platform there are two detached Mu class platforms apporximately 1.5 Kilometers away from the core platforms.
Lemuria class platforms were also built - these are the industrial platforms that also double both as docking facilities and as the structural strongpoints for the entire network of platforms. Manufacturing mills and Mining sub docking facilities are provided in the float sections of these platforms, as well as a bit of minor kelp and mussel farming. These also house a UN Naval unit as well as UN ground forces (the military forces are meant more for civil defense in case of emergencies). UNSC is also heaquartered on a submerged Lemuria class platform. only four Lemuria class platforms were built due to expense.
There is one Gaia class platform also in use as an Airport and Hazard Control Facility. The Gaia platform is four Km in diameter and is specially built to handle aircraft and transients into and out of Geoisland. What is not know by many is that the Gaia platform is also used for emergencies, natural or man-made. For natural disasters the platform can handle up to 2 million refugees indefinitely (although not in great comfort) or provide a staging site for relief operations. In case of external disasters the platform can submerge and hide itself from trouble (typhoons, tsunamies, attack etc etc). it is exceptionally well built and would take a major effort to sink. The airfield is used for joint operations with Civil aircraft providing the bulk of traffic and the UNAF providing the control. This platform is 8 Km away from the Atlantis classes and is serviced by regular ferries (Airfares include the price of the ferry ride).
Once the first triad of platforms were in place (one of each class)the island was opened for international settlement - priority of space was given to the nations that contributed the most to building the primary platforms, but all that wanted space was given some.
The second thruough fifth triad (along with the second MU class each Atlantis class was required to have) were built and intergrated quickly when the builders of the first set were freed up to help. Population growth helped fill the empty places and curently construction is ongoing beneath the waves connecting and filling the support pylons to allow the cities to expand further.
Because each of the platforms have been recently designed and built, they are very modern, clean units. The Atlantis classes are chrome and steel marvels that reach into the sky with elegance and efficiency. Bicycles, motorcycles, and small cars are all common means of personal transportation, with large cars being much rarer. A large minority of them are pure electric vehicles, while most of them are combustion/electric hybrids, and only a few are pure combustion powered. Emissions standards are very, very tight. The usual fuel is alchohol, fermented from seaweed. For businesses, small to medium sized delivery vans are not uncommon, with a few semi-type vehicles for the serious hauling to less-than optimal (as in, was not planned to need large shipments, and so doesn't have a train stop) locations. The majority of large stores and businesses have a train stop and a small spur to the loading area Public transportation is also readily available, in the form of a web of trains that can generally get you to within a block or two of your destination and numerous elevators, some of which go from the lowest level of a float/support pylon all the way up to the top floor of a tower. Other freight elevators are capable of lifting no less than 18 fully loaded shipping containers, each the size of a train boxcar, in three layers of six.
As mentioned for the customs forces for Geoisland, they wear ( in the course of their duties only) a powered armorsuit called skiffdress. In this setting skiffdress is SOTA - it does /NOT/ (<-extreme emphasis here) get any more advanced than this.
Sensors: Std, ASP, marine suite (all in helmet)
The population of Geocity island comes from all over the world - indeed the first generation of true Geocity citizens have almost reached their majority. Due to the way the platforms were emplaced there are still "enclaves" of ethnic types, allowing for a bit of nationalistic heritage without the potential danger of ethnic rivalry - everyone has a part of this artificial island complex they can point to and say "we did this", and since it is all important nobody feels slighted. Even with the enclaves the public language is English with a large dose of Japanese and a smattering of words from other languages. Inside the enclave areas the host nations language predominates
Industry was kick started both with the dicovery of minerals in the seabed that was now much more accessable, (this included oil and precious metals) and the attachment of two Lemuria class platforms. The resultant capability has generated a signifiacant trade surplus for the UN and will allow the residents to pay off the nations that built the platforms and become a free international island. Construction is still ongoing, as it is for any major metropolitan area, with most of the labor provided by the American Indians and Australian Aborigines. With a general lack of any fear of heights, and a solid history of quality craftmanship, these builders are highly sought after.
Even the ecologists are amazed at the Geocity construct. Minimal impact on the local Aquacology was accomplished by the floating platforms as the industry there was designed for zero tolerance control of waste emisions to the seaborne evironment. Added to that, the support pylons of the platforms were designed from the beggining to act as artificial reefs for the sea life. The greater impact comes from the single oil rig (whose platform is surrounded by its own containment ring to avoind any possible oil leak to become a black tide; on words of the spokeman of Shinzato Corp oil division, owners of a 13% of the oil rig, "it was very expensive but it was well worth the cost") and the mineral extraction facilities, which renounced to extremelly destructive large scale seabed mineral scooping in favor of slightly less cost-eficient but much less destructive mining tracked minisubs.
The few island-bound industrial and residential facilities were also built with similar preocupations; while the bare volcanic rock mountain that is Geoisland originally had little in the matter of its own animal or vegetal life, it was the Council's desire to help Nature take care of this on time, as opossed to actually hinder her. At first the only green that you could see on the island was that of the city's many parks and green areas, but, two decades after the island's rise, pioneer plants, bugs and birds are everywhere, and thanks to the Council's ecological consciousness they're there to stay.
While the floating platform are clean, wide boulevards and chrome and steel towers reaching for the sky, the island-bound areas of the city are more of a dirtier sprawling boomtown with hastly constructed one and two level structures fronting narrow streets that have spread out from the city or manufacturing centers in a ramshackle mannor. These include the Harbor and industrial districts, or rathe, the sprawling of aditional buildings surrounding the clean actual harbor facilities and industrial buildings (and including bars and the like for the workers, for since most workers would actually live on the residential district, as the city was actually planned, these downtown zones have NO neighboors arguing about the bars making noise at night...)
The island is currently serving as the worlds largest freeport and transshipment site for the Pacific Rim area and the west coast of the United States. This gives the island some non-proportionate clout in the international trade arena that will only increase when Geoisland purchases its independance from the U.N.
Current exports, in addition to the resources mentioned above, include broadcast power from tidal power units (to be supplemented by an experimental geothermal core tap in the next two years), modest food exports, and information system technologies. The last is worth more than all of the others in the long run, because the knowledge and capabilities provided from the success of Project Icarus will take humanity from Earth and plant them firmly among the stars.
The government of Geocity is fairly simple. Each Atlantis platform has a Mayor, and all of the Mayors form the Council. The mayor are elected in a popular vote - the only qualification aside from a desire to serve, is that candidates have to undergo a Glen-Hopskins evaluation for psychiatric evaluation and integrity indexing. The GH eval provides a baseline biometric that allows for faster investigations of wrongdoing - the current supreme lie-detector. The psych eval portion keeps those that are only "power-hungry" out of public office. The system is not perfect and there has been one individual that was evicted from office for theft of public funds - that person was Exiled from the island and returned to his host nation with only a plane ticket. Judiciary matters are set in a three tier court system, first tier is the local Atlantis circuit, second tier is the Appeal court that covers the entire island. The final tier is the Governing council. So far nothing has made it to the third tier, but that doesn't prevent the mayor from being prepared in legal matters -note that the mayors are NOT lawyers, only individuals with sound judgement. The U.N. is currently the source of all legislative items, with challenges are handled through the appeals circuit by open vote.
Law enforcment is still a neccesity in this day and age. Geoisland is lucky in that most crime is of the low level petty class. It's safe to go out at night, unless you actually look for trouble (like going to a harbor bar dressed with a tuxedo or strolling RLA's grounds dressed as a commoner). Minor theft and the occasional burglary are known to happen, and since the police's presence is not high nor heavy-handed, the kids can go and pick fights (or get picked) without sleeping at the jail that night, unless they are stupid enough as to made it on public. Violent crime (rape, murder and the like) has yet to rear its ugly head, but the Council has refused to take chances and has recruited the best Action teams and trainers, as well as a top notch detectice corps to keep things under control. An average "beat cop" will carry a shock baton and Zipcuffs, as there is rarely a need for more. Occasionally a tazer will be seen, but, being based on the British model, the folks in blue dislike the use of them. Still there are some aggravated crimes that happen. At the other end of the spectrum the Special Units of Geocity sport the latest in lethal firepower. Sniper rifle and Enhanced SMGs with variety of ammo, along with light enhanced body armor (Skiff-dress as it is called) provide their staple. The Special Units job has been publicly stated to be the "removal of demonstrated violent elements that have (or are suspected to) caused a significant threat to Geoisland or its inhabitants". Ever worried about public relations, the council also has the Special Units perform demonstrations for the public and for the schools. Also EVERY member of these teams undergo a GH eval every month, both to ensure loyalty and (more importantly) make sure they remain stable. Since what they do is public knowledge there is very little fear of these folks turning into "Secret Police". The detective corps provide both investigative and intelligence functions. These guys operate both in the public view, but also in the shadows. Detectives are most often seen after a fire or after "incidents" at docking platforms when a smuggler has been discovered. The public never sees the preventative work they do, because that is done in the shadows after insinuating themselves inside a criminal ring or organization. Like the Special Units, Detectives undergo a GH eval after deep cover/penetration missions. The Geocity Maritime Customs Agency is the best funded and manned however. The GMCAs job is to enforce the customs regulations and provide security and rescue services within the international water boundry. They are provided with high speed interception corvettes and skiff-dress as standard issue. They work in teams of five and have designated patrol zones that do overlap and can call in UNSC forces if needed. Because of the potential for corruption here, the customs officers live seperately from the rest of the island and are monitored constantly - their bank accounts and their living areas are known to be checked regularly. In compensation for these indignities they are paid well and compensated lavishly - 10 year retirements with medical and a decent pension is at the lowest level.
Educationally, Geocity ranks first in the world. With the assembling of the worlds best and brightest, both to build Geocity and to kick-start Project Icarus, the educational system could not help but be the best. Each Atlantis platform has a primary, secondary and high school (with comptetions between all) with the flegling Geocity University providing post high-school education up to the Masters degree level (Doctoral candidates are encouraged to work through a host nation university). Education is free through high-school, and you still have to pay for tuition at the university. Primary areas of study at the university include: Information technologies, Oceanography, Maritime Biology (the evolution of the island's new ecosystem is the subject of ongoing study by the Biology Faculty.), Physics, Astrophysics, Astronomy, Engineering (all flavors). Degrees in other areas are also offered, for further information visit the Geocity Universities interactive site or go by the campus and pick up a catalogue.
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