The Mineman Saga

Tirania: New Hope for an Old Colony


"The USS Boorda pulled into Tirane to drop off the other Mobile Mine Assembly and Deployment detachment that had come with us to Kie-Yuma.  We had initially picked them up at L-4, but the Captain decided it would be nice to drop them of at home, so we wouldn't have to stop at L-4 and take up yardspace war-damaged ships need.  During our time at Kie-Yuma, we rotated living spaces: while we were in the hold building and sending out mines, they racked out in the same bunks we slept in while they were on the line.  Fortunately we each had our own set of bedding, and all of us were sticklers for hygiene.   During the ride back, it was much the same: just because we weren't building anymore didn't mean the number of bunks multiplied.  We just spent our time doing basic make-work tasks that kept us busy, such as supply inventories, compartment cleaning, catching up on paperwork, those sorts of things.  Once at Tirane, however, the Captain gave us all liberty dirtside again.  Finally, a chance to breathe fresh air, instead of recycled...."

Tirane ( Alpha Centauri A) has a total of nine colonies from many of the major starfaring powers of Earth.  This article deals with Tirania, the American colony.   Initially settled after the end of the Alpha Centauri War of 2162 and the European Space Agency's signing of the Melbourne Accords, Tirania was always the 'stepchild' of the American colonial effort, as other, less crowded worlds were found along the American Arm.  However, after a decade of decline in population and investment in the colony, Tirania has bounced back, as American companies,  fringe groups in America, and settlers from other Earth nations have discovered the potential opportunities to be found on humanity's second Core world.

With the passage of the Adams-DiFranco Act of 2290, citizens of non-starfaring nations friendly to America such as Italy, Portugal, Palestine, New Zealand, Papua ( or Papua New Guinea, for those using my alternate timeline),  the Philippines, Indonesia, and Indochina ( or Thailand and Vietnam individually; again, in my alternate timeline) are given subsidized one-way passage to any American colony world that needs their skills, provided they not attempt to relocate to America proper until they've been naturalized as American citizens after the five-year residency requirement.  The other provision of the Adams-DiFranco act is that anyone receiving the relocation subsidy are sent to the colony that needs them most -- only those who are paying for their entire voyage get their choice of colony.  Many of those sent to Tirania are taking skilled positions in Tirania's offshore banking and data centers, and are giving Tirania a greater cultural sophistication and cosmopolitan nature than any other colony on Tirane.

The colonial government has also enacted a number of laws allowing companies from nations who don't have colonies on Tirane tax breaks and investment incentives to relocate to Tirania, and use it as a base for operations on the entire world.  One Canadian firm in particular, North West Interstellar, has decided on Tirania for its Tirane headquarters, over the offer by Wellon, as a result of Tirania's aggressive relocation incentives.  The Indonesian firms that operate mines and research facilities throughout the Alpha Centauri and Proxima Centauri systems have their Tirane headquarters here as well, and, with the breaking of Friehaven from Germany in 2293, an effort is being made to convince German companies to also relocate here.

Tirania occupies a peninsula jutting south from northern polar continent, with the southern tip of the territory within 200 km of both Provence Nouveau and Friehaven.  Summers are cool, and winters harsh, particularly during Tirane's 'grandwinter', when many of the temperate plants growing in the northern region of the colony dying off due to the ground becoming tundra.  The southern end of the peninsula is the only place where agriculture can be done on a continuous basis, without regard to grandseasons.  However, this is usually sufficient for the colony's needs.  This is supplemented by Tirane's largest fishing industry, where local fish and introduced Terran species thrive in the cooler waters off Tirania's east coast.  New Anchorage salmon is prized throughout human space, and is a staple of many of Tirane's and Earth's finest restaurants.


"I was one of the first off the Boorda to the Australian orbital station where we were to catch our transports down to Tirania.  Call me a liberty hound -- I don't care.  Give me chance to walk in natural gravity and breathe fresh air and I'll be right there.  I was hanging with Meyerson and one of the local guys -- another Mineman Second Class named Bobby Running Deer.  Running Deer was telling us how when the colony was founded over 130 years ago, his great-great-grandparents left South Dakota to try to restore their Native American culture on the new world.  Native Americans from other tribes emigrated as well, and that many of the older industries of the colony are now dominated by their descendants: the fishing industry in particular.   He invited us down to his family's longhouse on the eastern coast.  Since I've got two free weeks and nearly five months of back pay in my pocket ( I didn't spend it all on Kie-Yuma..), it might not be a bad idea."

The initial settlers of America's Tirania colony were mostly employees of major American companies sent to create a Tiranian presence for their employers, but a number of Native Americans from the Cascadia region ( the Pacific Northwest in 1998), Alaska, and the Great Plains also emigrated.  Their intent was to create havens for their own tribes as well as other Native Americans who wanted to live a more traditional lifestyle.  They were encouraged by the American Extrasolar  Colonization Administration ( AECA), setting a precedent for the Australian Aboriginal community of Rapinawab on Botany Bay nearly a century later.  On Tirania in 2300, there are at least three cities that are predominantly Native American: New Anchorage, Chinook, and Lakota, each averaging 200,000 residents.  The major industry of the first two cities is fishing, and Lakota's main industry is eco-tourism, receiving and educating nearly two million visitors mainly from the other colonies of Tirane in local ecology and the various Native American cultures represented in the colony.  Lakota is also the home of Sequoia University, the largest Native American institution of higher learning throughout America.  Native Americans make up 40% of residents in the colony, and as a voting block have ensured that the environment of the colony was not overdeveloped or polluted in any way, in their desire to see Tirania maintain its natural beauty.

Other settlers who've eventually made their way to Tirania over the decades were new-age spiritualists wishing to 'return to nature', artists who've found new inspiration in Tirania's rugged natural beauty between the cities to the south and the northern tundra, and retirees escaping the crowds of Earth, but not willing to forgo the comforts of the Core.  With the increase in business activity in the two main cities of Freedom and Tirania City, with two million and one-and-a-half million residents respectively, as well as the new Adams-DiFranco settlers to take many of the skilled positions created by it, future growth seems assured.  While that growth may be slower than that of the colonies in the American Arm, Tirania should no longer be considered a 'dying' colony.

Military Presence

"One of the things I noticed on the airfilm train to Chinook was the number of military facilities: communication stations, army training bases, airfields, and the big Naval Interface Station Chinook just south of town.  When I asked Running Deer about this, he said, "Davis, with all the available land on Earth being used for farms and subdivisions, where do you expect the Army and Air Force to train?"  I mentioned that on Ellis, there's still so much empty land for training exercises.  "But Ellis is so damn far away!  It's cheaper for them to come here and train."  He seemed depressed about that -- apparently the idea of the regular Army and the local National Guard tearing up the local landscape on training maneuvers makes him and a lot of others in Tirania upset."

Tirania has within the last twenty years been one of the main training areas of the American Military, with several training areas and depots set up throughout the territory.  North of New Anchorage is America's Peary Arctic Environment Training Center, the primary arctic training center for the entire American military.  Other military bases include the Joint Communications Station in Langhorne, Fort Powell near Blue River, the New Cascadia Training Center near the city of the same name, and Naval Interface Station ( NIS) Chinook, where the arriving troops land and are processed before reporting to their specified training areas.  This often takes a few days for all the supplies and equipment of the unit to arrive.  During these periods, the arriving troops take advantage of the liberty opportunities of Chinook, and the southern end of the town is predominantly geared to the entertainment of visiting and permanent troops.

The main off-base strip, Casino Road, has many casinos, restaurants, arcades, hotels, and places of other entertainments for the men and women of NIS Chinook.  The local police patrol this street well, and street crime is kept to a minimum.  However, visiting military personnel are often gouged by bar and casino owners, knowing that the victim won't be around long enough to complain.  Permanent party troops know better than to stay on Casino Road, and visit more tourist-oriented places like Chinook's waterfront.

In addition to being a place for the fishermen to unload their catches, the waterfront was developed as a farmers' and fishermen's market, with a number of local craftsmen selling their wares in the market as well.  Tirane's second largest brewery, Chinook Brewers, sells a number of beers popular throughout Tirania, and competes favorably against Friehaven's Stern Brauerei throughout the planet.  Potlatch Square, near the initial settlement of Chinook, now has a number of upscale bars, shops,  and restaurants, catering to locals and tourists alike.  Many of these establishments have specialties particular to themselves, and a few have been mentioned in Provence Nouveau's Guide Tiraneean as the best of their type.


"Meyerson and I had a great time at the Running Deer longhouse, and I learned a great deal more about the original cultures in America before European colonization than my high school back on Ellis probably knew.  Certainly gave me a lot to think about the effects of our colonization throughout the stars we're currently seeing now.   Chinook was a beautiful city, clean and for the most part orderly, with a lot of open park space to just lay back in.   Michaels seems to have bad luck wherever he goes.  He got taken for nearly two hundred dollars at a strip club on Casino Road.  We need to get him back to Ellis before he's bankrupt!  I bought some outstanding Native American carvings and wall hangings for my apartment back in Ellis, and while I was doing so, I almost forgot what my apartment back in Northbeach looked like.  Even in a place as beautiful as Chinook, and Tirania in general, I still felt homesick.  So, when our two weeks leave were up, I was anxious to return to the Boorda for the ride back home."

The Mineman Saga