27 September 2015

City Of Mists: Introduction

City Of Mists is a strange place. A huge city on a small Caribbean island. While the rest of the island enjoys tropical sun, the city itself is usually veiled in mists rising from its port—a silent testament to the cold current from a depth to the north struggling with the warm sea around the island.

At first the island was settled by French colonists. There are no records of indigenous population, though they might be simply forgotten. The bulk of the island's "indigenous" denizens are descendants of black slaves brought here by French. They are a minority on their own island now, however, a mere few tens of thousands as opposed to three-four million population of the city itself. Most of them are fishers and farmers on the gentle western and southern slopes of Mont Charniere, the mountain dividing warm and sunny part of the island, from the much cooler and misty bay. The bay, despite its mists is the center of the City's existence, a natural deep harbor that was harnessed in the XVIII century by slavers and pirates, and later in late XIX and early XX century by whalers. The City itself arouse in the Roaring Twenties from the earlier makeshift port. Its vague legal status and unorganized administration made it a useful port of call for many criminals smuggling rum into newly (and shortly) dry United States in bulk. Flow of cash from the smugglers led to development of warehouses, repair docks, hotels, and entertainment avenues that in return attracted first wave of legitimate businessmen, tourists, and vagabonds from all around the world. In the Thirties, the development slowed but not stopped, as the smuggling became marginalized by short lived companies dealing in stock and speculation, trying to make living in the times of Great Depression. Many of the newcomers of that time were fleeing poverty, outstanding debts, and bankruptcies. The second World War brought a number of refuges, spies, and war profiteers trying to take advantage of the island's neutrality. End of the war did not stimulate the economy and a slow decline pushed the second president toward the mild socialist reforms in the middle of the fifties. This lead to a military coup, sponsored by major businesses and companies of that time, that forced the presidential resignation and oversaw forming of a new national legislature that abolished presidency, reformed existing ministries into Departments, and established the rule of Council Of Departments—a collegiate body composed of the Departments' Commissioners. The highest ranking officers became the first Commissioners of the new governing body. This did not helped the declining economy. In the sixties, after the Cuban Crisis, the ruling junta managed to acquire financial aid from the United States (in the form of favorable loans and bogus military contracts) to fight socialist and communist influences. The military rule and economy alike declined in the seventies and eighties, with some stimulation from drug cartels and international weapon traders. End of the Cold War stopped the meager financial aid from United States and de facto finished the military oligarchy. Communication and computerization progress in the nineties, combined with lax laws led to development of financial sector and turned the City into a huge hub of brokerage later further stimulated by a number of big and small corporations moving from Hong Kong just before its return to China.

Since the turn of the century, the City Of Mists development is steady and fast acting, with wide array of corporations and organizations benefiting from lax financial, work, and custom laws, governing departments' institutionalized corruption, and tangle of law and security enforcement branches of various Departments undermining each other, more interested in competition over financing from the Council than prosecuting wrongdoers.

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