Density (per km²): 93,669
Capital (and largest city): Ionica
Official language: Natrain
Chair: Kathaleen Samia
Vice-Chair: Raye Hacopian
CEO (ops): Ilse Searl
Legislature: Board of Directors
Land area (km²): 1,548
GDP (nominal) (US$M): 6,345,253
GDP (nominal) per capita (US$): 43,760.37
Currency: Ionican credit (ICR) (on parity with US$)
Named after the island upon which it sits, the word Ionica is of unknown origins. Some speculation is that it is an old word for 'woods', based on the deciduous forest that once grew on the island. Other hypothesis state that it refers to the original shape of the island, which was once a loose crescent.
The history of the island of Ionica is one of conflict and uneasy unification. The first recorded history of settlement on Ionica was from nine thousand years ago, when hunter gatherers first arrived on the island, drawn in by the abundance of animals and the lush forests that covered the island. Overpopulation and the hunting to extinction of the large fauna on the island caused the eventual demise of that early culture, who left only archaeological remains such as spear and arrow head and the occasional cave painting. Ionica was left uninhabited for another three thousand years before settlers from the mainland arrived and used the natural harbour-like shape of the island to build a settlement that benefitted greatly from sea trade in the area.
Ownership of the island was passed back and forth over the millennia, with any rulers of the island recognising its strategic importance as a port and building on its existing facilities, before a stint of self-governance four hundred years ago brought great wealth to the island and a huge increase in its population. This sudden growth saw the last of the island's forests cut back to allow for expansion and the virtual end of the island's self-sufficiency in food production. This period of independence was not to last, with financial issues and leading the ruling Burghers to allow the annexation of the island 315 years ago and its incorporation into a larger empire.
Ionica's return to self determination came barely 75 years ago when, with the break-up of the empire that had previously ruled it, the islands rulers effectively resisted its incorporation into the local nation and instead gained independence once more. Whilst the island was far from self-sufficient, indeed, the population had grown even more in its years as a vital imperial port, its wealth and economic importance allowed it to import whatever it needed. Supported by the remnants of the old empire, and building new alliances with its successors, Ionica flourished.
The transition to its current form was a gradual process and the inevitable result of the laissez-faire economic policies enacted on the island. As more and more corporate money poured into what was now a city-state, so the influence and power of the island's already impotent civil government reduced. Eventually, it was decided to formally end the old system of governance and the six biggest multinationals created a joint board of directors to oversee the larger, long term policies of Ionica, whilst they continued to manage their own affairs. The Ionican Directorate quickly amassed power and whilst the corporations have effective control of their own sectors, all of them defer to the Directorate and its now all-powerful Chair.
Government and Politics
Ionica has been, in its past, a monarchy, anarchy, a colony and a republic. The best description of its current governmental form is that of a Corporate Confederation. The dozen corporations with a significant presence on Ionica are each headed in a typical corporate manner; with a chief executive appointed by a board of directors, lead by a chair, who are accountable to the shareholders of that company for profits. Within the areas controlled by that corporation, whatever their rules state, that is the law. Each corporation has its own security forces and most citizens live, work and buy from the corporation who employs them. Transfer between corporations is uncommon for the vast majority of the under-educated working classes, but is relatively common in the qualified classes.
Over-arching the entire system is the Ionican Directorate, who have authority over matters that affect the state as a whole. Where the corporations initially planned for this to be a toothless role that did their collective bidding, a succession of strong Chairs has garnered a significant amount of power to the role and now, whilst the corporations still retain absolute power in their own domains, the Directorate has the authority to over-rule this, should the matter be deemed necessary to the security or functioning of the state. It is only the power of the Directorate that prevents the corporations from treating their employees like slaves, for example, or for letting their frequent conflicts escalate into all-out street wars.
Whilst there are a dozen or so corporations who have the right to send a representative to the Directorate Board, only six are large enough to be considered true powers in Ionica. The Directorate is responsible for ensuring each corporation is restricted to its own sphere of expertise, with little cross-over in output and production. This does not stop conflicts, however, as each is still jockeying for more power and income. The six main corporations are:
- Gravitas Technologies - High end electronics, entertainment and media
- Welandi Corp. - Heavy engineering, vehicles
- Qinetica - Weapons and armour, synthetic materials
- Consolidated Holdings - Infrastructure services, consumables
- Natural Resources Inc. - Energy production, mining
- Deep Star - Aerospace, telecommunications
Each corporation maintains its own security forces, typically large enough to police their own sectors, and to protect their own facilities from rival corporations. External operations, particularly in resource rich areas, are common, with open conflict between parties breaking out over scarce resources. The Directorate takes great effort in ensuring such conflicts are kept out of the city, although it is not unheard of for corporately sponsored gangs to take part in low level conflicts in the more deprived areas of the city. Larger scale conflicts do break out on occasion, especially if the Directorate is distracted elsewhere.
Legislation passed in the last twenty years has ensured that all corporate military hardware is built to the same basic specifications. Previously, the competing corporations had their own lines of equipment and weapons, and marketed each for export. However, the Directorate took the view that this was counter-productive and took central control of the manufacture and sale of military hardware. Each corporation now buys basic stock from the Directorate and modifies it themselves.
For domestic policing, most security forces carry non-lethal weapons such as a pulsed energy projectile (PEP) rifle, and are supported by wheeled urban combat vehicles armed with sonic and microwave based weaponry. Drones are a common sight in Ionica's airspace, used for a variety of surveillance and scouting duties, both security based and economic. For external operations, whilst energy weapons exist, most corporate weaponry is still ballistic based due to its ease of manufacture, reliability and to prevent proprietary technologies being stolen.
Current military hardware
Note: all hardware is produced by manufactories operated directly by the Directorate. Corporations may buy base hardware which they can then refit with their own weapons, electronics and such forth. Hardware is also available for export, contact the CEO of Trade for more information.
The island of Ionica has a Mediterranean climate (Csa in the Köppen climate classification) with cool winters and hot-dry summers.
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It is thought that the island is an ancient volcanic caldera, with the highest peak being Yarros, at 213 meters (this has been eclipsed by the growth of the megastructures that now cover the island). Originally, the island was covered in deciduous forests and scrubland, but the entire island is now considered urbanised. Some areas of parkland exist, but are entirely artificial. Earthquakes are uncommon, perhaps only once every few decades, and barely hit 4 or 5 on the moment magnitude scale.
Occasionally, storms will blow in from the ocean; until recently, this wasn't very frequent, but the changing climate and rise in sea temperatures has raised the occurrence significantly. In a related matter, the projected rise in sea level has led to the building of more reinforced sea walls, with the low-lying parts of the island protected to a rise of five meters, and a tidal barrier preventing the water levels in the Ionican Bay rising any further.
Ionica has a strong, service and manufacturing based economy, largely dominated by financial services and manufacturing of complex electrical items and components. It has a strong import market for raw materials, particularly foodstuffs and fuel, although a growing renewables sector is gradually replacing the island's reliance on imported fuels.
Each of the corporations is required by treaty to contribute 15% of their revenue to the Directorate (before any other expenses). This ensures the continual funding of the central body. Of all the corporations, Deep Star is by far the biggest, although it interferes little in domestic policy, being more concerned with its deep space and off-world holdings. Of the rest, Gravitas Technologies and Welandi Corp. are the more influential.
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Whilst each of the corporation's exact financial budgets are confidential and shown only to shareholders (although corporate espionage is rife), the accounts of the Directorate are fully visible to all. Of its total revenue of around 300 billion ICR, about 60% is spent on security and enforcement; a total budgetary spend of 195 billion ICR.