Provincia do Brasil
By Ben Levy
This warm and mostly pleasant Estado occupies the far western end of the island continent of Cabralia. This is a hilly, forested subtropical region known for heightened local climate sensitivity to the Grand Seasons. This climate effect, known as the Alegre Oscillation, sees a warm ocean current draw nearer to the land mass during Grand Summer, accompanied by warm tropical winds. Conversely, in Grand Winter, the northern warm current recedes, and a deep water cold current rises to the surface off the southern coast. This causes shifts in the offshore fish population while reducing the overall temperature in the area. The effect has been likened to the El Nino/La Nina phenomenon on Earth, but of course the climatic cycle driving the Alegre Oscillation has no counterpart on Earth. Generally, the region is blessed with more than adequate rain, and the forests are thick and continuously green, but not quite dense enough to be called jungles.
The Rio Paraiso, the largest watercourse in Alegre, begins in the neighboring Estado of Nova Ostia. One stretch forms a section of border between the two Estados. The point at which the river turns away from the border is also the point at which it becomes navigable. From here on in, boat traffic exploits the river. Continuing southward towards the coast, the Rio Paraiso grows steadily in volume, absorbing tributaries and ground water from the surrounding amply watered countryside. It is well over two kilometers across by the time it reaches the suburbs of Sao Celestino, although from here it enters the estuary, the flooded caldera of an old and very large and thankfully long extinct volcano, upon which the city was built. Downstream of the Nova Ostia border, the river is typically deep and not swift, and is teeming with fresh water creatures, including the "Paddlers". (See Lemanja)
Although Earth plant forms have been established in many areas, the most common vegetation is the native semideciduous forest. The treelike plants have tall, strong trunks, and sport leaves continuously. During the rainy seasons, however, a riot of other vegetation bursts into life, and the trees respond by unfurling sets of secondary leaves. At the height of the wet season the plants are as dense as they are in any Earth jungle. At the end of the rainy season, the lush vegetation dies back, and the trees lose their secondary leaves, and the terrain again resembles Earths pine barren biome. The forest thins out towards the eastern area of the Estado. During the occasional extremely dry stretch, the primary leaves area shed as well, and the Earth species need irrigation to compete.
Most of the land is quite rugged, but not mountainous. Although Alegre sits well beyond the juncture of two major tectonic plate boundaries in Campobelo, there are some complex local fault networks and tectonic hotspots, resulting in occasional minor seismic activity. On the whole, however, geologic forces have been quiet here for a millions of years, a long past eon of uplifting ended millions of years ago, and most of the mountains have been worn down to hills. The regions volcanic past is evident, though, along the northwest coast, in the rock formations and jagged hills, canyons, gorges, and grottos. The only true mountain range is along the west coast, a minor but rugged remnant of volcanic action called the Velhonos. This range is noteworthy for its ability to present brutal, impassable terrain while rising to relatively low altitudes.
The Estado of Alegre is home to Provincia do Brasils fourth largest city, Sao Celestino, founded in 2192 and named in honor of Pope Celestine VI, who had passed on seven months before. (Not named after him, obviously, as the newly deceased pope was not a saint, but named in honor of him, after a previously canonized Celestino. This is an important distinction, to church officials at least.) Sao Celestino is the Estado capitol, and also the cultural center of "western" Provincia do Brasil, ie., everything west of Campobelos capitol, Lusitanium. With 742,000 square kilometers, Alegre is almost twice the size of Pre-Twilight Japan. With only 10,960,000 people, its a lot less crowded, with a population density of 14.76 per square kilometer. With only half the population density of Cabo Vitorio, it is still the second most densely populated region in the colony. . It is a major waystation in Provincia do Brasils links to Amerateratsu, New Canberra, Tirania, Freihaven, and Tunghu. Despite its being on the far side of the continent from the more established cities of the east, great effort was put into Alegres development, as developing the colonys "far shore" was national policy. In fact, the early years of the Colony, Alegre had priority status in the Ministry of Colonization, as the national government wanted to establish a strong presence on the side of the colony nearest the Argentine colony. Unusual luck played a role as well. Early in its history Alegre absorbed many immigrants from the failing Argentina/Mexico colony, people who evidently felt that they would be more at home in a Latin culture than the Australian alternative, regardless of the political differences between the respective home nations. Their descendants have assimilated into Brazilian culture almost entirely. This makes for a peculiar relationship between the Argentine descendents in the Islas Malvinas in the Australian colony, and the Argentine residents here. Attempts by Malvinian activists to stir Argentine flames in Alegre have all failed, and this has made those activists all the more hostile to the Argentine descended population of Alegre. For their part, these Alegreans hold almost nothing of their ancestors culture, having long ago dropped the use of the Spanish language in favor of Brazilian Portuguese, (although with substantial Argentine idiom surviving). In most other matters cultural, there wasn't that great of a transition in the first place, regardless of the distance between governments. Alegrean popular tradition holds that the Argentines abandoned their colonists and in doing so forfeited any "rights" to their loyalty. The Malvinians, to the Alegrean point of view, have nothing to offer except ancient, pointless arguments with no relevance to their current lives.
The early population boost helped this region become a Brazilian Estado on December 23rd, 2138 (Hence the local nickname "Estado do Natalo" or "Christmas State") As "Alegre" , in 2300, can be translated as both "joyful" and "intoxicated", the Estado is the subject of a few colonial jokes.
This is the third Brazilian starport on Tirane, although the facility was established as a military airbase several years prior to its operational debut as a starport in 2192. Therefore, there is some dispute as to whether Portoestrella Oeste should be regarded as older or younger than its sibling in Campinasur. In addition to serving as a starport, it has been, almost since its inception, a major hub for international air travel on the planet. Portoestrella Oeste has also been fortunate in its original design. It was allotted ample room from the beginning, and so hasnt had problems handling increased traffic as time went on. Currently, in terms of shuttle and spaceplane service, it is the second busiest starport in the colony. It has its own hotels and a well known commercial concourse, one which actually attracts a fair percentage of non-business travellers.
Portoestrella Oeste has excellent orbital approaches over the ocean, unlike the other starports in the colony, which must be approached over land. That, along with the increased length of its runway, means the starport has a superior landing envelope to its peers, and as a result can handle a broader range of landers. The available room also means low fees for spacecraft needing a few days or more for turnover, and excellent chances of finding room when and where needed, an important plus for ships with irregular schedules. Of all the starports in the colony, it is the most popular with independent merchants, whose ships often need the increased envelope. These ships are only small a fraction of the merchants ships in space, of course, and many are not interface capable, but several a month put in at Portoestrella Oeste, connecting the western Estados with the frontier destinations frequented by these ships.
Boaventura Lines: This company has six medium capacity passenger liners, and is headquartered here. All the Boaventura ships are extensively reconditioned older vessels. Three travel between Earth and Tirane, and three between Tirane and Paulo. None of their ships are interface capable. The company has a dedicated squadron of spaceplanes, based here, with another squadron on Earth. Like most Brazilian passenger haulers, Orbital Quarantine Command inspections necessary for arrival at Earth are begun by on board inspectors the moment the ships leave Tirane, and thus the ships are spared wasteful quarantine time. (The improvement to turnaround times more than justifies the added expense. The ships making the Earth run are commonly the Luar, the Espirituoso, and the Graca. Exaltana, Jubileu, and Mistico handle the long route to the Latin Finger. The companys corporate headquarters is in Sao Celestino, and their sales efforts against their competitors often play up the local nature of the firm. This gets them the lions share of travelers from western Provincia do Brasil. The company is privately owned but fairly transparent with its operations. This is a change from the recent past, when several scandals lost them the opportunity to bid for government contracts.
Aerotrans Brasil: This company, further described under "transportation" below, operates four passenger starships, similar in design concept to the Marseilles type but smaller, with only half the passenger capability, less cargo, and less fuel. It is quicker, though, and more advanced. The "Recife" ships leave major components of the ship in orbit, allowing them to land only the minimum weight necessary. They were built specifically for the Brazilian Earth-Tirane run, lacking the fuel for longer voyages, and use Brazils on board inspector protocols to speed through the Earth Quarantine. The ships are tough, and their schedule demands a fairly vigorous 28 round trips a year each. Aerotrans Brasil acquired them with the thought that they could provide in the same company, complete surface to surface connections throughout Brazil, both on Tirane and on Earth. Though the space travel arm of the company is holding its own and doesnt lose money, it is not an exceptional success, and serves a small market, offering convenience and speed, at high costs. The factors working against Aerotrans Brasils space operations are twofold. First, Brazil is already well connected with spaceports. They are generally close to major cities, and therefore most travellers do not need long distance air connections on the ground. Secondly, Aerotrans Brasil is an aviation company, but the skills and infrastructure needed to run a space operation, though overlapping, are not identical, and the space operation is a proportionately high drain on the companies resources. Currently, their most profitable market is actually foreigners, wishing to visit off-world Brazil (Either Tirane or Earth being off-world, depending on the travellers point of view). They fly in to one of the spaceports on an Aerotrans Brazil flight, then catch the transport whose departure has been scheduled to match the aircraft arrivals. There is no quicker and more convenient way, for example, to travel from Wellon to Sao Paulo. Investment experts have predicted a rise in Aerotrans Brasils stock price if the company were to divest itself of its space operations wing, provided it gets a good deal and works out a partnership with the new owner to maintain profitable routes. As a result, the company has been cautiously and quite unaggressively seeking buyers.
Service facilities for spacecraft are provided by three companies. Aerotrans Brasil works strictly with its own spacecraft. Boaventura will service other spacecraft. Their maintenance crew is unionized, they tend to work "by the book", and they are expensive, but the service they provide is considered top notch. As their primary endeavor is servicing the ships of a passenger line with a commitment to service and safety, Boaventura Maintenance is very professional. They have the latest diagnostic tools, and their engineers receive frequent advanced training. Typically, they can update and enhance ships in addition to merely maintaining them. But some operators dont fancy their rates, so theres another game in town, the local franchise of the American owned but L-5 incorporated "QuickShip" chain. Basic, reasonably competent, and low cost. Just bear in mind that QuickShip has an "Acceptable Error Rate" set by their Actuarial Board. They accept as a standard business practice that any process that results in damages, that in the long run are cheaper to insure than to address by changing process, well
The Brazilian Space Agency Tirane registration center has its main planetary office here. The function of the registration center is twofold. First, the administration of programs for nationally registered starships is performed here. Inspection records are kept and analyzed, performance, safety and other statistics are composed and studied. Second, in addition to monitoring Brazilian civil ships, the facility helps in assembling databases on foreign registered vessels. The fact that most civilian starship orders are proprietary information, along with the slow speed of information collection and transmission across human space, and occasional unplanned ship losses, means that at any given time the "picture" of humanitys civil space fleets held by the registration center (or its foreign counterparts, for that matter) is a vague one, subject to continual improvement.
Alegre, despite, or perhaps in response to international exposure of the Estado, has always maintained a very conservative outlook on government, but a less restrained attitude towared culture. The Partido Republicana has generally been strong in the Estado, as has the Partido Renovador Nacional, which sees the "Left Coast" Estado as its natural home base on Tirane, for very unclear reasons. The Estado Legislature Building is housed in a spherical structure in Distrito Oficios, the uppermost level being a round auditorium under a transparent dome, where the legislature actually meets. Alegres government has become the self-declared leader of "western" Provincia do Brasil, the region containing the Estados of Alegre, Nova Ostia, Acre, Campobelo, Campinasur, and the Brazilian Islands. Representatives of these governments are commonly invited to meet with the Alegre officials and work on regional policy. They are often in attendance at Alegre legislature sessions, since the actions of Alegre, the most populous Estado (by far) in the region are seen as precedent setting. No such regionalism exists in the eastern part of colony, where the two dominant Estados are political rivals. The government is a classic three-part structure, with a governor elected for a five year term, a legislature with four year terms, and an elected judiciary with seven year terms.
Law enforcement in the Estado has always been focussed more on outsiders than Estado residents, since the early years when the Estado was the colonys "Front Line" against the Argentines. Even today, the popular press is quick to consider the agitators from the Australian colony as the obvious instigators behind anything that goes wrong, from a robbery to a bad coffee crop. Despite the rhetoric, smuggling really is a problem here. In reality though, outbound smuggling is even more prevalent than inbound smuggling. If a plantation owner can sneak his coffee or chocolate beans or his sugar out of the country, and sell it in a foreign port, not only can he reap an untaxed profit, but his plantation will appear to the authorities to have been, that year, less bountiful than it was in reality. This allows the plantation owner to claim losses due to failed crops, further reducing tax liability, and possibly even helping him submit claims for government assistance. Unfortunately, political influences make it less rewarding for the Navy to watch outbound ships with the same alertness it reserves for inbound vessels. On the other end, intercepting boat loads of chocolate just doesnt seem as important to other nations as illegal pharmaceutical and technological shipments, and little effort is made to control the movement of untaxed Brazilian cash crops. The result has been that agricultural smuggling has become a major problem in the Estado, and one that has been ignored for too long. Some analysts believe that the "under the table" cash generated by smuggling the fairly innocent products of Alegre are a major bulwark of the "underground economy" as the money must travel often circuitous routes to hide its illicit origins.
As foreign criminals are seen as problem in Alegre, the Estado has a sizeable contingent of National Police backing up the Estado Police, which number some 8,000, and the urban police forces, primarily the Sao Celestino metropolitan police but also several other departments, which match that number.
Humanitarians have been trying to attract official attention to a problem they see as being ignored in Alegre: the exploitation of workers in the agriculture. There are many plantation and farms with very limited access. Reports have claimed that the workers there are frequently denied basic rights, find their pay docked for trivial reasons, and cannot easily leave their jobs because of the remoteness of the sites. There have been recent claims that conditions for some of the workers have descended to conditions recalling slavery. Evidence other than indirect reports is spotty, and the non-government agencies claim that the employers have become adept at hiding and transferring workers before an official visit, so that the human evidence is simply never seen by the proper authorities.
The Estado government has traditionally been populist but very pro-business, having adapted some lessons from the Americans: If you let your businesses prosper, business can make your people prosper. They are actively helping to advance world trade through Alegre. The Estado Department of Commerce is an important agency, at the forefront of this work. They have the largest promotional budget of any such agency in Provincia do Brasil, and are extremely hospitable to representatives of potential investors or buyers of local products. They also work to develop the Estados small industry, still seen as an element of catering to the business traveller. Political activists have accused them of turning a blind eye to problems in the pursuit of economic development.
The Cultural Agency is another very active force in Alegre. It is dominated by the Catholic Church, and supports the operations of the Church, and overlooks the arts throughout the Estado. As Alegre is one of those Estados that considers itself on the cultural cutting edge of Brazil (which, compared to America, has become a rather dull and rusty cutting edge, with a few keen spots miraculously remaining) the Cultural Agency sees itself as a sort of esthetic gardener, nurturing the young flowers while squashing the weeds. Alegre is a prime point for the import of foreign entertainment. Fear of losing foreign tourists has kept the Agency from being unduly harsh towards legitimate tourists who unknowingly bring in culturally offensive materials. On the positive side, the steady collection of fines gives the agency huge resources to promote the more "positive" arts, and free or low cost public performances are sponsored by them. They also operate three free public art galleries.
The Estado Transport Agency oversees the roads, ports ,and airports of Alegre. It has a small workforce, with most of its operations being given to private companies, some as projects put out to bid, some as a way to earn tax credits. As an example of the latter, the Estado frequently charges plantations, mines, and other rural businesses with the maintenance of the roads around them. This they do willingly, as without the roads business would suffer. Critics claim it gives some rural business owners too much power over their area- the control not only their business, but the level of services in the area around them.
The center of "western" Provincia do Brasil, urban heart of the colonys left coast, and most outwardly oriented of the colonys cities, Sao Celestino was founded early in the Colonys history, and was originally a support town for the Brazilian military, which kept most of its Tirane force in the region. At the time, the Argentine population of Santa Maria and the Islas Malvinas was considered a threat, and the Brazilian armed forces here were oriented to deal with them. The city was located on an ideal natural harbor. At Sao Celestino, the Rio Paraiso meets the sea in a circular estuary formed from the caldera of a volcano extinct for about a half a million years, at which time it was located much closer to the tectonic rift cutting through Campobelo. The land has sunken slightly to let the sea flood the caldera. Parts of the high rim around the caldera to seaward have eroded away, leaving two pincerlike hooks, remnants of the rim, jutting seaward, creating a natural interruption in the barrier beach, which, this far west, is rather narrow and fragile, shifting around with each major storm. The rim segments are more stable, and allow for permanent construction close to the sea, which is much harder elsewhere. The Brazilians have taken full advantage of this, and the city continues along the two seaward "arcs" until it meets the ocean, a design unique on the southwest coast of Provincia do Brasil. The elements of the southern arc of the caldera rim that are still above water present a curve of islands that protects the estuary from the sea, creating a fine natural harbor almost on par with that of Vitorio de Conquista. Eighteen kilometers in diameter, the circular city-lined harbor is easy to recognize from space.
Downtown Sao Celestino was originally constructed with the intention that it would be the major government center west of Missaoprimo. Planners thought big from the start. On the western side of the estuary, roughly in the "eight oclock" position, this is the citys major cluster of high-rise commercial towers, with bright, colorful facades, due north of International Plaza. Many of the buildings are open all night, with office workers retreating after hours to the lounges and bars that occupy the top floors of some of the buildings. These tall buildings were built with expensive seismic dampers and counter-oscillating weights to help them survive any seismic activity. Fears of earthquakes kept the skyline low elsewhere in the city. The district has a small waterfront, which has the citys main passenger terminal. Passenger ships include charter yachts, commuter ferries that cross the estuary, tourist boats, and ferries to the Brazilian Islands. The districts waterfront area is also a highly developed park and entertainment complex. High speed "water taxis" run passengers to nearby International Plaza, and also, but with less frequency, elsewhere along the circumference of the Estuary. The citys best restaurants have estuary views, and the oceanside construction presents many interesting structures. For example, the well known Amazonia, a theme restaurant recalling the deep jungle of Brazils interior, has a glass enclosed structure sitting atop a wharf with a distinctively primitive design. Another nearby theme restaurant also exploits the waterside locale: "Chowabunga" supposedly recalls pre-Twilight southern California.
This district occupies the northward arc of the two natural jetties formed by the rim of the extinct volcano. It is a rare location- a strip of seaside land in the southeast of Cabralia that is stable enough for large construction. Not that one can tell it by sight: Distrito Areias has a broad beach, and pre-development pictures of the area show it to have been largely covered with sand and loose rock. But this was just a surface covering. The rock beneath the sand is stable. It was an ideal location for development along the ocean. The beach, of course, was just an added attraction. The beach is still there, and a long, thin and very commercialized strip of entertainment oriented property parallels it for kilometers. This has become a public beach in the old traditions of Atlantic City in America, with hotels, restaurants, shops and entertainment facilities of every kind facing the broad public plaza along the beach. Parts of it have become quite seedy, and some of the entertainment offered in sections of the beachfront are clearly not what Brazilians consider proper, but the Cultural Council seems to be convinced that the foreign visitors to Sao Celestino need such an outlet, (Of course, none of the patrons of the less dignified establishments could ever be Brazilians!) and if it wasnt properly confined to sections of the Areias peninsula, it might spread across Sao Celestino, bringing chaos and wanton hedonism its wake.
In addition to the beach, Areias is also home to a small Brazilian naval base on the estuary side of the peninsula, flanked by the two broad urban wildlife sanctuaries which help keep the base secure by giving a very small actual frontage with the commercial center of Areias. The base is an auxiliary depot that supports the much larger facility that occupies the opposite, southward arc of the caldera rim in Distrito Lacuna. The commercial area is roughly "T" shaped, with a broad, north-south area crossing the arc of the peninsula from the naval bases main entrance in the north to the beach in the south, and a long thin strip along the beach. On either side, there are residential neighborhoods with apartment buildings, most of them arc shaped in plan to maximize ocean or harbor views. The eastern tip of the peninsula is occupied by a small naval outpost, the Hotel Abrigo, a large park at the terminus of the beach, and some upper middle class and middle class neighborhoods with detached homes and townhouses. Inclement weather has battered this exposed district on several memorable occasions, and most of the buildings are built to very strict "Storm Codes", giving the buildings of Areias a solid, often vaguely bunker-like appearance, with no easily removable architectural frills.
This expansive district of upper class and upper middle class homes lies on the northeast side of the estuary. There is a coastal strip, with ferry and water taxi stations, and a large wholesale and retail fresh fish market, the largest west of Cabo Vitorio and certainly the best known in the colony. Fish are delivered from fishing boats at sea by refrigerated cargo zeppelins that rotate continuously between the market and the boats, thereby eliminating the "morning rush" in the predawn hours so typical of many other fresh fish markets. The best catch could come in any time, and some high end retail markets and restaurants station permanent buyers here, waiting for something special to turn up. Inland, the district is known for its parks, maintained by the Eastern Sao Celestino Horticultural Society (A minor foundation staffed mainly by fussy elderly women. Troubleshooters be warned: this is not a bunch to cross.) . In between the parks are small low density professional and commercial neighborhoods, and the tree lined residential streets. Homes here are usually set far back on their lots, the thick vegetation hiding them from view. Desabrocha has a small independent and privately hired police force charged with keeping order in this very orderly District. This organization is often accused of having a vigilante attitude, abusing rights of out of area Brazilians who enter the District, and it is true that they are not closely watched by the Sao Celestino or national police. One reason is the Desabrocha forces hiring policies: They offer good jobs to retiring public police officers. The younger set of the District spend much of their time prowling the finer clothing stores throughout the citys retail areas. For them, to be caught wearing out of date fashions is socially unacceptable.
Commercial, entertainment, and transport hub of the city, built around the Airfilm terminal. This is the western terminus of the Superestrada Sur, although state run airfilm lines radiate out from here, reaching to Portoestrella Oeste and points across the Estado. International Plaza was originally conceived as a combination travellers gateway and permanent homage to international cooperation. The district is actually built around not one but a series of seven large plazas, all interconnected by an advanced system of moving walkways. A number of nations have representation of some sort here. The Pan American Trade Building is home to interest sections from America and Texas. Consulates in the area belong to Azania, Italy, Portugal, Canton, Manchuria, and Japan., the last three being placed (at the insistence of the Brazilian planners,) on the elaborately gardened Asian Terraces Square. Brazil may have made a move towards world peace with their "shoe-horning" of the Asian interests into one area. The small community of oriental expatriates in the city frequent the same streets, and the same shops, as Alegres only noodle bars are to be found on the avenue that radiates outward from Asian Terraces Square. When interacting in Sao Celestino, these Asians from often mutually antagonistic nations seem to get along quite well. Freihaven and Australia both maintain small Interest Sections, to serve the tourists and the business interests that bind Freihaven and New Canberra to this side of Provincia do Brazil.
International Plaza is also both start and terminus for the citys famous Christmas Parade, the high point of a festival that recalls not only the religious holiday but the founding of the Estado of Alegre. This is a very well attended event, drawing visitors from Earth as well as around Tirane. The crowds in the International Plaza are enormous, and there are events running non stop during the three days prior to Christmas. In accordance with the instructions of Celestine VI, of course, Christmas follows the Earth Calender. This makes for a festivity which wanders across the Tiranean calendar, and the Alegreans seem to prefer it that way.
This is the eastern pincer of land enclosing the estuary, formed from the southeastern quarter of the caldera rim. The Alegre Naval base occupies most of the district. The remainder is dense commercial and residential land, with a forest of tall buildings crowding right to the waters edge. The seaward side of the Distrito has a beach, not quite so broad as the beach at Areias, and much rockier. It lacks the recreational improvements, and buildings are built to the water where possible. The estuary side has no beach, although there are a great many small piers for private and commercial fishing boats.
Largada is the unfortunate flip side of Alegres development strategy, which concentrates its efforts on crown jewels such as International Plaza. It is on the northern side of the city, north of the industrial district, warehouses and commercial shipping terminals that occupy the Distrito Porto Primo. This districts warehouses spill over into the southern area of Largada, which is a very orderly, but very worn and tired looking lower class residential, commercial, and light industrial neighborhoods. As is common in many cities, the lower class seems to get the brunt of the infrastructure, such as waste reclamation, power transmission, and transportation facilities, but a major study in Largada uprooted the standard sociological/economical analyses of the situation. In the Largada study, it was shown that the low income population actually drew benefits from these installations in three ways. First, and most importantly, land values in the areas surrounding these facilities dropped, allowing people of moderate means to afford homes and stores superior to those they could otherwise obtain. Second, the placement of these installations, many of which occupy large amounts of land area, tends to interrupt the dense housing patterns of the area, resulting in a lower population density overall and subsequent increases to quality of life. Third, these facilities bring sources of employment and economic opportunity directly to these neighborhoods. Despite all of this, there are still social activists that protest when the government wishes to build a refuse recycling plant in an area like Largada.
Northeast of International Plaza is a small wedge shaped district dominated by tall, needle-like office towers. A number of the earlier buildings, and the most prestigious ones, belong to the major banks of Brazil and other nations. Other office buildings are used by a variety of firms in the financial, media, relations, legal, medical, and data related industries. Some buildings are apartment buildings, these being the residences favored by the urban professionals who work in these information-based industries. The district is home to the Urban Campus of the University of Alegre, as well as the Nome Santo Medical center, the largest and most sophisticated in Alegre. A number of the taller buildings are linked by "skyways", passageways suspended about a hundred meters above the ground. As the buildings tend to have controlled access, the skyway system acts as a safe and virtually crime free pedestrian route through the district, reaching to the Jardim Opulento luxury apartment building in the International Plaza District, which acts as the skyways eastern portal, and to the Black Arrow Building in Oficios to the northeast. The financial buildings themselves are almost deserted in the evening, and with many of those who must work late using the skyways to get around, the street level sidewalks are deserted. Locals do not trust these streets after dark, despite the evident prosperity of the buildings all around them.
Aviation traffic control in Provincia do Brasil is the responsibility of the Air Force, which operates the air traffic control network, and has the responsibility for the air space between the ground and sub-orbital altitudes. Air traffic is monitored by satellite based sensors, which are supported by 62 ground based air space surveillance radar installations, and 38 local weather and detailed environmental sensor arrays. In the early days of the colony, Brazil consider its settlements threatened by the Argentine colony, and the closest point to that colony was the western end of Alegre. Alegre therefore received sophisticated air space surveillance radars long before any other area of the colony. The Air Force established the headquarters for its air space management division here, and it has remained here since. The entirety of Provincia do Brasils sky is monitored from a large building in Sao Celestino. Backup facilities are located in Missaoprimo, (Lemanja) and Porto Paradeo (Chaparaca). Airports have the ability to exercise local control over their airspace, but the main stations are needed to coordinate long distance flights and interface flights. The Brazilians are long past the age of paranoia. The folks at Alegre, however, are still on the alert for the unauthorized flights from Santa Maria. Provincia do Brasil has been stung by terrorists originating there more than once. Flights arriving in Alegre from points west receive a little more scrutiny than flights elsewhere. Even so, and even at the height of counter -terrorist security alerts, the Brazilians have not threatened a civil flight in many years.
Alegres Portoestrella Oeste serves as Sao Celestinos airport. Many of the older airports in Provincia do Brasil are undersized. This is the exception. The airport here is actually much larger than necessary, having been built to function as the main aviation and logistics center facing a hostile power. Even though the Argentines were essentially abandoning their colony as the Brazilian air base was being built, the Brazilians had a number of clashes with the de facto independent settlement left behind, and units based at Portoestrella Oeste played key roles as well as supporting roles in a number of actions. Today most of the original base is given over to commercial interests, although the Brazilian Air Force still occupies about a third of it. It is the most popular destination in Provincia do Brasil for foreign airlines, as the large cities to the east are not as convenient to many aviation networks. All the major international carriers have service here, as the airport has a natural hub location for flights linking Wellon, Nouvelle Provence, Provincia do Brasil, Tundukubwa, Ameraterasu, and New Canberra. The terminal buildings, although., are grand structures built with the expectation of great times to come. They are soaring, vaulted neo-Roman structures mimicking the design of the nearby Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew, headquarters of the Chaplain-General of the Western Military Zone. Alongside these venerable structures is the newer Transit Facility, part travellers lounge, part restaurant and shopping arcade, and part hotel, with the upper seven floors of the building occupied by the Hotel Estrellaviajantos. Despite the name, air travellers are welcome at this establishment as well, and for a majority of the clientele. The hotel is known for a state of the art automated voice activated guest service system fluent in over twenty languages. You dont have to tip it, making it very popular with visitors.
Sao Celestino is the western terminus of the Superestrada Sur airfilm line, the national airfilm service that links the southern coast of Cabralia. The Estado government owns its own line, as many Brazilian Estados do. Alegre does not buy used airfilm trains from the national line. The overland transit system here is considered important enough to justify the purchase of new equipment, and then maintaining it. Alegres trains are green and gold, with bright blue flowers painted on the nose of each engine, echoing the colors of the Estado flag: blue flower superimposed on a gold diamond on a green field. One airfilm route circles the coast of the Estado, reaching almost to the northeastern limit of the Estado, where just 180 kilometers more track would have joined it to the Nova Ostia Line. The other two run through the center of the Estado, linking the towns of the Estados plantation heartland.
Roads in Alegre form a fan pattern of overland routes radiating outwards from Sao Celestino. The Rio Paraiso Highway follows its namesake river, reaching the city of Puxada in Nova Ostia after a 500 Km winding route past the Base Militar do Presidente Bilac on the northern fringe of Sao Celestino and town of Santa Anita at the midway point of the journey. Alegre keeps its main roads in excellent repair, and they are finished with with heavy duty plasticized-asphalt covering which, although initially expensive, adds years to the life of the roads. This is manageable because Alegre sees a high volume of truck traffic, moving the output of numerous rural plantations to towns and cities. While driving in Alegre, its worth keeping several things in mind. First, although the Estado is very densely populated compared to other regions in the western part of Provincia do Brazil, towns seem further apart, and there is sense of isolation in many areas. This is because Alegres roads bend around numerous geographic features, making road distance greatly exceed map distance, as well as the forested terrain. Unlike in Campobelo, in Alegre you only see a town when youve arrived. Secondly, the truckers can be intimidating. They know every meter of their routes, and they know their trucks, and theyll be pushing to get where theyre going as quickly as possible. Watch out for them, especially on dark, rainy nights along curvey roads. Alegre has more traffic fatalities per driven kilometer than any other Estado in Provincia do Brasil. Thirdly, remember that the road system is set up for the benefit of these trucks, and fuel, food and lodging is not always available where the tourist traveller wishes it would be. There is no economic value to setting up fuel points in areas where trucks would not need to stop, and hence, there usually arent any.
Activists in the Estado have pushed for increased spending on public transportation lately. In particular, they see a need for a bus system connecting many of the agricultural towns to the points along the Airfilm lines. The roads already exist, but the people of the rural areas are isolated if they don't own a private vehicle.
Sao Celestino is a marine port of particular importance to the economy of Provincia do Brasil, as most of the shipping of the cash crop production is done through here. Some is shipped off world, some goes by airfilm to markets throughout the Cabralia area of the colony, and some is shipped out from other ports such as Ageanopolis, which is growing in importance, and Baia Enevoado on the north coast of Alegre. As elsewhere in Brazil, responsibility for control of Marine traffic belongs to the navy. As this is one of the busier areas of the country in that regard, the large naval presence in the area is a blessing. A number of shipper have freighters based in Alegre, most at Sao Celestino, although a handful of ships (The Dry Bulk Freighters Chorinho, Uakti, Maracatu. Forro, and Samba, all owned by an Earth Based shipping management corporation) make their home in Baia Enevoada. This minor port is popular with shippers of perishable produce, and certain other crops. Most of the Alegre Vanilla Bean crop moves out of this port, for example. Freight handling here is fairly primitive and not at all automated. Strangely enough, crop wholesalers seem to prefer it, as the general wisdom seems to be that mechanized loading systems damage the beans. Other shippers are not convinced this is true. The ships based in Sao Celestino are more varied. The major port facilities for them are in Sao Celestinos Porto Primo district. This port can simultaneously handle numerous ships of different types, and in addition to the freighters moving the output of Alegres plantations, one can find natural gas tankers arriving from the Nova Cabinda and bulk carriers with loads of metal and lumber from Campinasur.
There is a passenger and vehicle hovercraft ferry service along the Rio Paraiso, that carries people upriver as far as the town of Puxada in neighboring Nova Ostia. This is provided by an independent, private company. The river route to Puxada covers about 500 kilometers, and takes several hours. The same trip, by airfilm to Nova Ostia and then on the Nova Ostia airfilm line to Puxada, covers 870 kilometers., but takes a similar time, as the airfilm is much faster than the hovercraft ferry. One may also travel by private vehicle along the road paralleling the river. Although allowing the traveller greater flexibility, this is the most time consuming way of making the journey.
In the early days of the colony, defense occupied a much more important part of development planning than it does now, in large part due to the presence of a real threat, the Argentine colony. With that threat now gone for decades, the Brazilian military is still affixed in part to that ancient pattern, making Alegre a major focal point of the colonys defenses. In fact, no other Estado has such a concentration of military forces, including the heavily populated eastern Estados.
There are three major army posts in Alegre. On the northern coast of the Estado is Fortaleza Santa Serena, with Fortaleza Benzeiro located in the central area of the Estado, and the Base Militar do Presidente Bilac on the northern fringe of Sao Celestino. The Western Command Support Brigade is headquartered in the later, and is composed of high echelon administrative, logistic, maintenance, and medical units for the support of the other units in Alegre and other units in western Cabralia. Fortaleza Benzeiro is home to the 59th Missile Defense Brigade, which includes mobile missile launch batteries and their support units. These batteries are designed to leave the base quickly in the event of an emergency (and until the discovery of Kafers, this was an admittedly remote possibility) and seek hidden positions in the forested hills of western Alegre, so as to launch long range missiles against attackers. This capability is tested annually. The Brigades weaponry can be directed against land, sea, air, and space targets. Also stationed here is the Zorro Zangado (Angry Fox) Brigada Aeromovel. The Airmobile Brigade is one of Brazils elite assets. They provide an infantry force that can be deployed rapidly over Alegres rough terrain, and protect the missile brigade. In addition, they can be used as a quick response commando force and have anti-terrorist and hostage situation training. The Brigade is equipped with helicopters and VTOL aircraft which allow it to self-deploy rapidly over long distances. They also have an attack helicopter battalion which supplies the heavy firepower which most army brigades rely on from artillery (they have some light artillery pieces as well) Fortaleza Santa Serena, which is near the Marine Base at Cabo Perfido, has a garrison and support unit, and is home to one battery of the 59th. Another tenant is the Western Command Intelligence Group, which operates a string of antenna sites along the coast, mostly directed at Santa Maria, and has its analysis and operations center here.
Aerodromo General Cantrero is located southeast of the midpoint of the Estado, near the town of Santa Anita, in the area where the Rio Paraiso bends towards the east and its headwaters in Nova Ostia. There is also a substantial section of Portoestrella Oeste given over to the Air Force. Six squadrons are assigned to Cantrero, making up the Alegre Regiment, the largest Air Force combat command in Provincia do Brasil. Two are comprised of a total of 24 Choupa multi role long range strike aircraft, backed up by support squadron of 6 Choupa-C countermeasures aircraft, and 6 Choupa-E training aircraft. One more squadron has 8 Galgo long range air superiority aircraft, getting on in years but still valuable for high speed, long range patrol missions, as well as their ability to carry air to orbital weaponry. The fifth squadron has a dozen interceptors of British manufacture, while the sixth squadron has support aircraft. In addition to the aircraft of the regiment, there are utility and transport aircraft stationed at the Portoestrella, which is home to a flight of interceptors as well.
About a third of the 55,000 Brazilian Marines on Tirane are based in Alegre. This force includes two combat brigades, the Fifth and the Cabralia Special Operations Brigade. The former is a fairly standard naval infantry force, that supplies forces afloat for the Fifth Flotilla as well as garrison forces for naval installations. It includes three infantry battalions, a heavy weapons battalion, an aviation battalion and a support battalion. The Cabralia Special Operations Brigade includes a commando battalion, a combat walker company, a combat diver battalion, an intelligence battalion, and specialized support units. Also present in the Estado are the Headquarters Brigade of the Provincia do Brasil Marine Force, Tirane Marine Engineer Brigade, and the Tirane Marine Support Command, which includes signal, logistic, and medical brigades. Except for the Marine Bases at Cabo Perfido in the northwest and Costa Solposto at the extreme western tip of Alegre, the marines share the facilities of the Navy. While the support units are located mainly at the Alegre Naval Base, the combat units, along with support elements, are based at the smaller Marine Bases, and the Colono Oeste Naval Station, and they are shifted around at the whim of their commanders.
The Fifth Fleet is headquartered at the Alegre Naval Base and has responsibility for everything west of the Brazilian islands in the south, and west of Vinicao in the north. The fleets forces are centered around four nuclear powered aviation cruisers of the Xavante class. This is half of the total "Xavante" force available on Tirane. These are modern, versatile ships capable of taking on a wide variety of roles. With up to two dozen aircraft embarked- typically about twenty, these ships may be carrying Marines or acting, in wartime, as commerce raiders or sea control vessels. They are available for disaster response, and are frequently on fisheries patrol duty, as their embarked aircraft can secure a wide area. Typically, two of these vessels are at sea, with another in port but available on several days notice, and another in port but "stood down" for intensive maintenance. The navy has other forces as well, including patrol craft, escort vessels, support vessels, and a few submarines, but operations and tactical thought are organized around the aviation cruisers. These ships are home ported at the Alegre Naval Base, The Colono Oeste Naval Station, located on the western coast of the Estado, is smaller and cannot support ships of their size. The commander of the Fifth Fleet is generally considered the senior military officer in the western region of Provincia do Brasil, and has operational control over other units deployed in Alegre.
A quirk of Alegres business world is the Pan American Commerce Building in the International Plaza District. The property on which the building stands was ceded to America for the purpose of building a consulate in 2212. The 60 story office tower the Americans filed plans for quite exceeded consular needs, but in the interest of friendly relations with the reemerging North American power Brazil gave the green light. Perhaps the Brazilians overlooked the American regard for Tirane as a playground for its corporations, but the American building, christened the Pan American Commerce Building upon its completion in 2216, quickly became overrun with corporate offices exploiting the American consular status of the building. Brazilians expressed outrage over the American governments action, which all but handed over the operation of their consulate in Sao Celestino to corporate tenants. Within a few years, however, local outlook changed. America had, and still has, the idea that if the world is made safe for the unfettered operation of its corporations, the corporations will bring prosperity. Thus, American law extends many rights and guarantees to corporations, which other legal systems deny them. Thus, when two corporations of foreign incorporation wish to conclude a deal, its often considered a safe bet to conclude the deal under the auspices of American law, even if neither of the corporations involved are American. This phenomenon has existed in various forms since long before the Twilight, for example, in New York City, where, in recognition of the citys ability to properly mediate and judge art related disputes, artists and buyers from Europe and elsewhere would find some excuse to have their cases heard, even if none of the parties had ever been to New York before the dispute. So, in Sao Celestino, the American government offers the use of the state of the art Pan American Commerce Building (Where the "Old Brooklyn Deli" is the only place in Alegre to find a really GOOD corned beef sandwich) to corporations from around Tirane, as a place where they can hold meetings and conclude proceedings on sovereign American territory, making American law binding on contracts. (The building is still recognized as American consular territory). The attractiveness of this has immensely increased interest in Sao Celestino on the part of foreign corporations, and many of them now have their Provincia do Brasil offices in the city. Indeed, some corporations have their primary Tirane representation in Sao Celestino. The list of foreign corporations with major interests in Sao Celestino is large and growing; Wellons Black Arrow recently purchased a building in Oficios, and Tunghu Business Daily produces a Portuguese Language Edition (and closely monitors the Sao Celestino business world) from its building in Distrito dos Bancos.
Alegre is the only region of Provincia do Brasil to receive a genuine humid tropical climate, the remainder of the colony being too far south of the equator. The early settlers saw no special value in this, after all, terrestrial Brazil has plenty of humid tropical terrain, and as this was supposed to be a new planet, some novelty in the environment was to be anticipated. However, the early settlers rapidly came to realize that along with novelty, some familiar things were needed. Especially coffee. Brazilians could never be expected to tame a new world without ample supplies of coffee, and as the nascent population swelled, delivering this vital provision from Earth quickly taxed the available freight capacity. In due time, plantations of various tropical crops were opened in Alegre. Success was hard won, as Terrestrial crops often reacted in unpredictable ways to the alien soils, but this was a task from which the Brazilians- often with foreign help, were not to be daunted. By 2300, Alegre had become an important net exporter of agricultural products- the vital tropical cash crops that sustain Provincia do Brasil. The Estado still imports most of its food, as a tropical hectare used to raise grain is considered a tropical hectare wasted.
This is the crop Alegre is best known for, even if, by value ,it is the second most important agricultural product of the Estado. The existence of highlands in the only sufficiently tropical area of Provincia do Brasil was considered a godsend, as the vital berries do not thrive in lowlands. There are over two hundred Coffee plantations in Alegre employing some 80,000 workers, directly, with many more indirectly supported by the coffee industry. Coffee was planted here early in the colonial history, but the first several crops tasted terrible. Today, the eastern flanks of the Velhonos are carpeted in many areas with plantations, and few more spring up every year. Some have yet to make a profit, but future promises are high and the investors consider the risk minimal. With few exceptions the plantations are backed or owned by large corporately. These companies spent lavishly in their efforts to overcome the Tiranean Taste Problem, a challenge that still haunts them, as it still takes a blend of Earth raised beans mixed in to the Tiranean stock to make premium coffee. Premium coffee as good as the best earth grown product is the Holy Grail of the Alegre Coffee industry. Researchers employed by the plantations are gradually approaching their goal, but the impatient owners are constantly sending new expert agriculturalists in, then, in frustration, removing them and replacing them with new experts before they can actually learn anything. Generally, the coffee produced at these plantation has a distinctive local taste, regarded by most aficionados as too sour to be as good as Earth coffee. They produce a rich, slightly sharp flavor peculiar to the coffeehouses of Provincia do Brasil, but public and foreign demand for coffee replicating the taste of premium Earth coffee is strong. Of the few privately owned plantations, most are just getting by or fairing poorly. The other, the Tucane Plantacao, has apparently hit upon a way to produce top quality Tiranean coffee. They are keeping the technique a secret, and the knowledge is clearly worth tens if not hundreds of millions of Cruzeiros.
The sugar industry is the unsung hero of the Alegre economy. With the eyes of economic analysts focussed on coffee, and the much handwringing and sleepless nights just prior to the sampling of each seasons crop, followed by either exultations of great joy or the lamentations of despair, the sugar industry soldiers on quietly, exporting to retailers and even more so to the food processing industry, with much less observation, and much more predictability, even though they employ more workers than the coffee industry and have much a much higher gross revenues. One primary reason of course is the lack of brand name specificity in the sugar industry. Its an ingredient after all, and not a primary flavor (except to children, apparently) and most Brazilians, and foreigners, could care less if they buy Platina Alegre or another brand, as long as they get a good price. Coffee buyers on the other hand, may look for Saco Jade and settle for nothing else. The sugar industry in Alegre also has the advantage of a higher percentage of export sales in their revenues than do the coffee producers. Sugar from Alegre winds up not only in the coffee cups of Provincia do Brasil, but the teacups of Wellon. As a result, the sugar industry quietly employs some 118,000 workers. This is 3.2 percent of the work force in Alegre, so the big, quiet sugar industry, dominated by Platina Alegre, Do Frade, and Dolcande, has a lot of subtly exercised political power.
Aside from the two vital crops above, Alegre produces a number of tropical crops important for local, domestic, and foreign production. Among these are Earth spices, herbs, flavorings, and similar crops. Alegre is a major producer, for example, of chocolate, the third leading crop in the Estado, although a distant third. Vanilla beans, Cola beans, bananas, coconuts, ginger, cinnamon, and many other crops are grown primarily as flavorings and additives. Tropical fruits like citrus fruits are produced. There is almost no dairy or meat production other than what farmers dabble in as side trades in addition to the principal crops of their farms. Most of the local produce is sent to the restaurants and upscale markets in Sao Celestino, where consumers will pay a premium to purchase fresh, local produce instead of food that has spent hours on an airfilm train enroute from Campobelo.
The waters off Alegre experience the same North-South productivity oscillation that is described in the Nova Ostia section. A number of fish farms established along the coast have experienced the same phenomenon. These farms werent established with the intent of supplementing local production- the fishing off Alegre is rich, and so far there is no real danger of being over fished. The real goal of the fish farms is to adapt Earth fish to the Tirane ecosystem and introduce then to Tiranean waters. This has gone on elsewhere in Provincia do Brasil, with mixed results and frequent outcries from preservation minded environmentalists. But the work has gone on, and the schools of fish caught off Alegre now include, in addition to native forms, small populations of Anchovies, Tilapia, Tuna, and Pompano. Squid seem to survive in the fish farms, but cant compete in open ocean. Its not so much the richness of the waters as the presence of these Earth species that makes fishing off Alegre so lucrative. Mankind has had a century and a half to adapt his tastes to local creatures, but the fact is most people when given a choice would still rather eat a Tuna than a Gordi. And the Pescasaliti just doesnt match the status of the Anchovy in recipes, despite some overall similarities.
The plentiful fish attract fishermen from beyond Provincia do Brasil. The water is frequently fished from boats from New Canberra, and as luck and geography would have it, Santa Maria in particular. There are frequent claims by Brazilians fishermen that the Santa Marian crews harass them and plunder the precious stocks of Earth native fish. Differences in fishing style have much to do with it: the locals, close to home, send fresh catches back to shore with the aid of Lighter-than-air "Cargo Zeps", while the Santa Marians arrive with much larger vessels capable of processing and freezing catches on site. Conflicts can boil over quickly. The Brazilian Navy often has vessels and aircraft riding herd on both fishing fleets even before the trouble starts. When there is trouble, they race to scene to put an end to it, and sometime later, Australian vessels will usually show up to escort their countrymen to less controversial waters. Its been noted how rarely an incident will occur when one of the "Xavante" class aviation cruisers is on the horizon. In spite of the friction between fishing fleets, one Alegre town capitalizes on it: Tres Molas is frequented by off duty New Canberra fishermen, and works to separate them from their money as efficiently as possible. Those that refuse to part with their last few coins here, and have a bit more free time available, use Tres Molas as a their "gateway" to Sao Leonardo.
The local penchant for recovering fish from the boats by zeppelin as quickly as possible makes Alegreans a bit snobbish about their fish. When abroad, they have a habit of asking waiters "Has the Fish been Frozen?" in a way that makes it clear they believe only a heathen barbarian would ever freeze a fish. They sometimes get their comeuppance in Provence Nouveau, where the waiters can answer "Of course not" in a way that makes it clear that only a heathen barbarian would ask such a question about their fish.
Alegre, specifically, the urban area of Sao Celestino, is home to a number of high technology manufacturing based firms. Many of these companies received a big boost by the presence of so much of Brazils military in the area, especially in the early years. All that military power meant a strong demand for the companies that would provide parts, service, and eventually, new equipment.
The hunt for minerals hasnt been that strong in Alegre. Certainly, theyre down there somewhere, but there is a strong national pressure against mining in the Estado. Popular thinking seems to be that the colony as a whole has relatively little tropical forest, the land form that is most characteristic of Brazilian culture. With so much other environment to dig up in search of minerals, this idea goes, it would be a shape to despoil Alegre. Curiously this attitude hasn't stopped them from clearing land for agriculture. The consensus seems to be that agriculture is a separate issue, as the supply of coffee and sugar is a vital national concern.
Morsa, SA, is a major manufacturer of underwater diving and engineering equipment. They were an early arrival to Alegre, being founded here in 2197, and cutting its teeth on support contracts for the navy. This led to larger contracts, and within a few decades Morsa had moved into the civilian deep sea engineering field. Morsas equipment is used by undersea farms and resource extraction companies throughout Provincia do Brasil and elsewhere in Tirane. They have begun to fill off world orders as well. Morsa is entirely owned by a multinational holding company, headquartered in America. This is just a "paper office" (the origin of the phrase is obscure and pre-twilight, however, it means a legal incorporation in a location where the incorporated entity has no real functional presence other than the bare minimum necessary to maintain the legality of the incorporation). Stock is not available, and company earnings are so badly scrambled amongst the intra-company dealings within the holding company that outsiders have no way to accurately judge the financial health of the company. Morsa has about six thousand employees, about a third of which work in their company headquarters in Sao Celestino, the remainder working in plants and distribution sites, sales offices, and their laboratories in Ilha Nova Flores, Alegre, Tirania, and Saint Tyraine. (Morsa Caribe Sporting Goods Division)
Brazil has one aviation engineering company, Aviacao Mando do Brasil, or AMB, which has been the center of Brazils national aeronautical engineering efforts since the reorganization of the Brazilian public corporations in the 2040s. AMB is headquartered on Earth, but their Tirane offices are in Sao Celestino, and they have manufacturing plants in rural areas of the Estado, as well as an assembly plant west of Portoestrella Oeste. AMB survives partly because the Brazilian government wishes it to survive. Even when the Brazilian military buys foreign aircraft, for example (which is usually), the agreement dictates that AMB will perform the maintenance, and if at all possible, will build some of the aircraft under license. Brazils government aviation needs on Tirane are limited, but AMB manages to keep about 3,300 employees occupied in the state. Currently, in addition to producing tactical VTOL aircraft for the Army and Navy, and gearing up to produce, under license, a Brazilian version they are working with Promarc, based in Lemanja, to outfit a number of aging Galgo intercepters as electronic warfare and intelligence gathering air craft. In addition to military aircraft, the company turns out civil and private aircraft. Being a semi-public corporation, AMB has shares available on the Fazenet, but company policy strictly limits the voting rights of shareholders. AMBs main assembly plant offers tours to the public, and is housed in a series of buildings designed by the firm that later produced the designs for the central area of the city of Miranda in Cabo Vitorio. Some military analysts have questioned the vulnerable location and design of Provincia do Brasils most significant aviation manufacturing plant. The Brazilian thinking is that first, there is very little threat on Tirane, and second, if something did happen and the AMB plant were to be attacked, in such circumstances the whole planet would be fast on its way to hell in a handbasket, and how many aircraft the plant could turn out would be a moot point.
Alegre is a major computer manufacturing center, although not for Brazilian firms. Wellons Black Arrow corporation has a major subsidiary, Black Arrow Alegre, based here, which turns out a significant portion of Provincia do Brasils computer production. Taking advantage of the very favorable local policies and the skilled work force, several other major foreign firms have begun to assemble computers and related electronic systems in Alegre.
On the other end of the scale in national security terms, but nonetheless an important if overlooked sector in its own right is the vending machine industry. Two major manufacturers, American based Mahill Corporation (A division of a much larger megacorporation) and the smaller, more specialized, locally based Autovarejo Alegre, have offices and plants in Sao Celestino. The vending machine has come a long way from the simple mechanical box of the pre-twilight era. Todays machines are often integrated into the communications net, so a customer can access one with nothing but an account code, usually accompanied by an identification such as a handprint, which assures the machine that it is not merely being given a stolen code. In this way goods can be purchased at any time of day without a salesperson being present. A much wider variety of goods are available as well, although convenience food items remain the standard of the vending machine industry. Autovarejo has built vending machines for use on starships, in zero gee environments (where gravity can no longer be counted upon to hold your products in place and deliver them for you) and Basilicade in Acre, where they dispense candles and novenas.
Science in Alegre is a businessmans pursuit- most of the endeavors here are sponsored by an economic interest and expected to, sooner or later, pay its own way. The University of Alegre may seem, at first, an exception, with its strong programs in areas of basic and theoretical research. But these academic interests produce trained scientists who are often led into the more immediately practical lines of research conducted by Alegres corporations. Even the sociology and foreign relations departments, both of which have been widely recognized, produce specialists in the fields of marketing and relations research, for example. This latter specialty is the product of one of Sao Celestinos more interesting corporations, Virtuon. Virtuon uses advanced and esoteric computer simulations to study feedback relationships between hypothetical corporate policies and products and the markets in which they will be sold, in the case of products, or operate, in the case of policies.
The university is a strong one, and works on a slightly unusual plan. All students of the Alegre University are required to attend the basic program in Sao Celestinos Urban Campus. After two years year, they disperse across the Estado (or elsewhere, for many) to the smaller rural campuses to pursue education in their specialty fields. Many work as interns in corporate labs, like those run by AMB or Morsa.
The university system maintains a number of experimental farms. These are supported by grants from the agricultural sector, and are exploring ways to expand traditional Brazilian agriculture to Alegre, the Estado most suited for it. One current program is the development of adapted Earth tropical luxury hardwood trees to the Tiranian ecosystems here. There are natural trees galore, but there are those Brazilians who have a yearning for things like Mahogany. This is a long term project, as the trees grow slowly, but the commercial establishment of Mahogany plantations is expected soon.
Alegre's best known private college is Institudo Amici, a non-technical, non-science oriented school with a limited but respected Liberal Arts curriculum. This is known to be a hiding place for old thinkers, writers, and philosophers, who find the royalties from their works insufficient, and are willing to lecture in front of a room of students in return for wages. This school is known as the home of a social curiosity and best selling book, "Tiranish" which argues for the creation of a new language to better adapt humanity to a new home. An excerpt:
International Plaza is the center of high end culture for the region, and very obviously all of Provincia do Brasil west of Oxala. The International Plaza Opera House is the best known cultural offering in Alegre, and the differences between it and the Opera Houses of the eastern cities are telling. In Vitorio de Conquista, and Missaoprimo (two cities sharing more similarities than they would ever own up to, in the eyes of the Alegreans) In the east, audiences and managers of the largest companies are interested in the classics, and sure fire crowd pleasers that will pack the house every time. They tend to avoid untested, little known, or avant-garde productions. In Alegre, the International Plaza Opera House will often deviate from the tried and true to throw something unusual in front of the audience. There is a similar feeling in the virtual theatres and holo houses here, and Alegreans are accused by other Brazilians of a certain sense of artistic elitism.
Conversely, Alegre seems to have little faith in amateur artists. Theyll certainly try a new thing, but they want that new thing done by a professional. They have no patience for a bunch of half trained university dropouts trying to pass off lack of skill as innovative expression. This can be seen in the fine arts as well as the performance arts. One rarely finds the quaint little shops so well known in Recuoco here, although travellers report some of the far west coast towns have some interesting if eclectic offerings. Art here is high budget and professional.
Emotive sculpture is an interesting development native to Sao Celestino, and excellent examples can be seen in International Plaza, and in parks surrounding the estuary. These are sculptures crafted of malleable neo-acrylate, capable of shifting form, often containing colored, glowing liquid media inside.
The people of Alegre are no strangers to Futbol, of course, and in Alegre they have a choice. The Provincia do Brasil Military League is headquartered here, as are most of the teams, which belong to units of the Brazilian armed forces. Many of the their games show an intensity and team fervor the professionals lack. The top military teams sometimes play the professional teams in exhibition games, and the results are evenly mixed. For professional play, the Estado of Alegre has the Alegre Arpaos, one of the few publicly owned professional futbol teams in Provincia do Brasil. The Arpaos have an excellent record, second only to the Conquistadors of Vitorio de Conquista, although very strangely, the Conquistadors consider their arch-rivals to be the team from Missaoprimo, not the Arpaos. The Arpaos play in the Alegre Peoples Stadium in Sao Celestino.
Athletics in general is considered important to Alegres culture. Most of the schools, even those run by the Church, have larger and more important athletics programs than is prevalent throughout much of Provincia do Brasil.
Although the Estado has many attractive wilderness areas, they do not attract many visitors. The feeling seems to be that if a Brazilian wants to see tropical forest, then he or she ought to be travelling to Earth to see the real thing, in the Amazon. Although it is true that the Amazon Rain Forest is much more impressive than the tropical forests of Alegre, this attitude sells the local forests short. They are certainly impressive in their own right, and the resort industry could flourish here if only the Brazilians gave the northwest coast the attention it deserves. As it is, the area is home to Colono Oeste, a thriving town with an adjacent naval station, where several resorts have sprung up along the lush and scenic coast. Although the beaches are narrow, the scenery is exquisite, and the Embaixada Oeste, the Tropicana, and the Royal Asian are growing in reputation, particularly among Brazilian Tiranean honeymooners, who see this remote nook as the most romantic getaway in all of Provincia do Brasil .
Alegre is more than just some warm, hilly humid forests and plantations in the wilderness beyond Sao Celestino. Some of the other points of interest:
Cidada Paraiso, near a national park where a number of fast moving and scenic tributaries joins an unspoiled section of the river, has about 50,000 citizens.
Puxada Oeste, west on the Rio Paraiso from the Nova Ostian town of Puxada, is a regionally important manufacturing center and home to the University of Alegres civil engineering school.
Santa Anita, on the Rio Paraiso, is the second largest city in the Estado with 250,000 people,
Tres Molas is on the coast west of Sao Celestino. It is yachting and fishing town with the Estados only Protestant Church, and an oceanside strip notorious for its bars. Go figure.
Colona Oeste is a Navy and resort town in a particularly attractive west coast bay.
Baia Enevoada is a frequently mist shrouded harbor town on the north coast.
Milaina is a town lodged in the Montanas Velhonas, a very old town with log buildings, in an area with the oldest plantations in Alegre.