Provincia do Brasil
By Ben Levy
Vinicao is the long, thin Estado occupying 2,100 kilometers of mountainous coastline on the northern coast of Cabralia between Chaparaca in the east and Acre to the west. Due south, except for one southeastern stretch bordering Lemanja, is the Estado of Sera do Prado, occupying most of the mountain range of the same name. The terrain is steep, and the climate warm, usually dry in the lower altitudes, with the upper altitudes moistened by frequent dense fog. Native trees are short, spindly, and shrub-like members of Division Constanphyla, although in the lowland areas, many species have shed all but remnants of their true leaves in the course of evolving to meet their habitat, now present tangled walls of spikey green leaflike petioles. More typical native trees are found to the extreme east, the only area in which the native timber of Vinicao approaches the quality of the forests of Chaparaca. The weather is usually mild, and surprisingly stable, for Tirane. The region has fertile soil, and sufficient precipitation in most areas to support agriculture, the main obstacle being the rather vertical nature of most of the countryside. In some areas, especially the steeper lands in the west, near the heart of the Prado mountains, the land is cut by deep gorges and canyons. Some of these see direct sunlight at their bottoms for only a few hours a day. The dim light and high humidity support unique pocket ecosystems. Plants of Division Clematisphyla flourish here, with many species being unique to specific canyon and gorge systems, and many still unstudied. Elsewhere, where the topsoil is thick, but the slopes steep, the local farmers have adapted by using terraces, or by raising small crops of specialty produce in pocket sized farms. The principal crop, by value, is grapes, and the bulk of them are fermented into wine, a backbone of the local economy for most of a century, and the product that gave the region its name. The vineyards and wineries of Vinicao employ 3.5% of the Estados workforce, and the industry indirectly supports several times this figure. The regions shape, its status as a wine and produce exporting region, and the oddly coincidental presence of large copper deposits in the highlands at the extreme west end of the Estado, near the border with Acre, has earned it the nickname of "Tiranes Chile." Few if any residents are of Chilean descent, though.
The Estado of Vinicao occupies an area of 716,750 square kilometers, a little larger than pre-Twilight Texas. Its population of 5,000,000 is fairly rural, with 1,550,000 people living in Sao Leonardo, the Estado capitol, another quarter million living in the nearby port city of Recuoco, and the rest dispersed amongst small towns, farmsteads, and vineyard and winery estates. Its status as an Estado dates to July 9th,2252. The population is almost entirely of Euro-Brazilian and Portuguese descent, the area receiving a higher than average proportion of Portuguese settlers and almost none from nations other than Brazil and Portugal. These settlers were for the most part, independent folk with a strong work ethic and a conservative mind set, choosing the rather remote life of Vinicao over the faster paced, more cosmopolitan world of the southern Estados. They began arriving early in the regions history, prompted by Catholic missionaries who sought to establish small farming towns in an area remote from more worldly distractions. (In those days, the Church was already aware that it would acquire a large holding somewhere on the Cabralias mountainous northern coast , but no one was yet certain where it would be. Although Acre was decided upon in 2235, up until that time, Vinicao was a strong contender.) The people of Vinicao are still practical, hard working, religiously observant and very conservative. Theyve adopted a creed of dour agrarianism that provides for strong social and family bonds across the scattered towns and villages.
There is, however, a recent social trend that bucks the fabric of rustic simplicity of the Estado. It has recently become fashionable among the ostentatiously and newly rich of Provincia do Brasil to acquire vineyards and wineries in Vinicao, especially highly visible, pretentiously manicured and landscaped property producing wine under the personal label of the rich property holder. Failing that, property that looks as if it could produce wine is the next best bet. The people of Vinicao, far from being taken in by the glamour of their new neighbors (most of whom actually spend little time in the Estado. It looks pretty enough, but to them, its culturally lacking.) resent them, and seem to go out of their way not to extend welcome to the "Celebritos". The Celebritos are considered to be unfairly purchasing and commercializing Vinicao wine reputations that took generations to build. They are accused of squeezing traditional vintners out of sales by relying on their personal marketing appeal rather than the quality of their product (which, in most cases, does seem to lag far behind the traditional labels). The situation has caused some tension in the Estado, nothing serious but the occasional protest, strike, or looted store. In most cases, the Estado police seem to go easy on the frustrated locals; after all, they come from the same stock.
The capitol and largest city of Vinicao dates back to 2202 with the establishment of a Roman Catholic convent, the first settlement in the region, and in fact the third such establishment on the entire planet, the other two being in the southern Estados. In 2216, after several years of tests proved the regions suitability as a wine growing center, several investors planted vineyards, around a town that had grown up a decade prior next to the convent. They thereby established Sao Leonardo as a commercial center to support their industry. Growth was very slow, until several other industries (electrical generators and power transmission systems, for example) gave the region a more rounded economy. By 2250, a quarter million people lived in the city. The city sprawled outwards after that, and it was in the middle of this boom that Vinicao was granted Estado status. Sao Leonardo reached 500,000 people in 2272, and 1,000,000 in 2284. Its rapid growth continues.
The geography of Sao Leonardo confounds typical examples of urban growth. Most cities seem to push agricultural land further and further from the city center as the city grows. Not so in Sao Leonardo. Here, the city has grown like a living intrusion amongst the farms and vineyards, displacing some, growing in amoeba-like tendrils and pseudopods between others, forming dense patches of urbanization in and among productive agricultural lands. One strip of commercial and industrial property cuts an east-west course through the city, paralleling the Superestradas course. While the city has grown, it has not displaced many of the earlier farms and vineyards. Certainly, many farmers sold out and moved onward as the growing city pushed the value of their lands upwards, but the growers of grapes tend to be a stubborn lot. Added to this was the fact that vineyards are not easily moved. They are difficult enough to establish in the first place, and the flavor of the grapes, and the resulting wine, is heavily dependent on local conditions. Many vineyard owners, convinced they have found their ideal location, have chosen not to move, and Sao Leonardo has grown up around them., The city today is a patchwork of very open urban area and farms, mostly vineyards. In places, livestock still crosses urban roads on a daily basis. The people of Sao Leonardo have come to respect, and even enjoy the arrangement, although there will always be those who object to the horrible traffic snarls resulting from bottlenecks and ad hoc intersections, and the odors wafting across from freshly fertilized fields. Important areas within Sao Leonardo include:
The oldest part of the city, home to the Estado and municipal government buildings, including the gray stone Vinicao Court, a stark, angular, and nearly featureless monument looming over a wide public plaza. The citys office buildings are found here, as well as the citys major communications nodes. The Centro area is the citys downtown district, built along the Superestrada Norte, and its hub is the airfilm station. The station itself has grown into the districts main retail center, with level after level of shopping area, fringed by café and restaurant lined terraces, stacked up like an old fashioned wedding cake. Across a wide plaza from the Municipal Hall is the Administration Building and Main Chapel of the Convent of Sao Leonardo, built here in 2202 as the new home for the nuns of the Celestine Order, an ancient Holy Order long retired but restored in honor of Pope Celestine.
Today this institution, in addition to providing a home for nuns of the order, is a womens shelter and womens prison (the nuns prefer to use the term "reformation facility". Throughout Provincia do Brasil, there are two parallel means of incarceration. The Estado run facilities, and the national facility in Campinasur, have fearsome reputations. Prisoners are there to be punished, and no thought is given to their care or rehabilitation. Several church orders run public prisons of a different kind, under contract to the government. In these, prisoners deemed corrigible are given discipline, but also education, with a heft dose of spiritual instruction. They are cared for humanely, and the facilities, if Spartan, are comfortable. This dual set of prisons, and their differing conditions, is well known to the population of Provincia do Brasil. The inmates at the Convent prison are fully aware that failure to meet the expectations of the nuns can mean relocation to Estado facility, or even the dreaded National Prison for Women Campinasur. Theyre usually a fairly docile bunch. In fact, the nuns use their charges as labor for their other endeavors, many of which revolve around educating and improving the lot of the lower class residents of Vinicao. The inmates are also provided with a very traditional, conservative education heavily imbued with Catholic philosophy. The convent, which, with the exception of the prison has become a tourist site of its own and now includes and art gallery and a gift shop, is the setting for the opera "Retrospeca". Retrospecas protagonist makes a long journey from savage, thieving "bad girl" from an Encercador (see Lojandos, below) family to a wise and kind nun, who must eventually reform a young girl she finds similar to herself. A holo version of the opera was filmed at the convent, and was Provincia do Brasils best movie of 2294. It is already considered a Brazilian classic
Elsewhere in the district are the town houses belonging to the urban professional class, including many government workers, the Estado police academy and headquarters (a complex of faux-rustic native wood buildings with a general look somewhere between logging camp and small but prestigious college), and the citys main public transportation depot.
Several kilometers north east of the downtown area, another commercial district grew up around Sao Leonardos original airport. The citys growth rendered the original field obsolete, and a racetrack for horses was built on the site, with part of the original airport still in service for small private aircraft, agricultural aircraft, and the aviation section of the Estado police, Eastern Division. The new airport, Aeroporto Vale de Vinha, was built further north and further east, along a relatively flat stretch of coastal land. Sao Leonardos field can still act as a secondary airstrip in an emergency. Distrito Aerodromo still has a number of major hotels, restaurants, and diversions for travellers, as well as Sao Leonardos Estadio Arcebispo Losano. A number of warehouses and service industries are located here, as well as a strip of vehicle sales yards. Residences in Aerodromo tend to be middle class to lower class, with proximity to the runways and their approaches being the prime indication of the social level of the neighborhood.
Many of the growers of Vinicao need labor on a short term basis, especially during harvests. This demand was, decades ago, a reliable source of income for a class of people that wandered the length and breadth of Cabralia, a sort of modern day gypsy native to Provincia do Brasil. (Not actual gypsies of course, as few members of this ethnic group were included in any colonization efforts, and their lifestyle tends to preclude acquisition of sufficient funds or skills to seek off world transportation on their own) These people became known a the Encercadors, and although the name was eventually associated with a life of adventure and freedom, the reality was that as the Encercadors wandered, their children lived in often primitive conditions with little or no traditional schooling. The Church fought this arrangement for decades, often sending priests, nuns, and monks to travel among them as tutors, and promising them that if only they would settle down, the Church would see to the care of their children. As Vinicao became a more prosperous agricultural state, there was eventually enough work in the Estado to limit many of the Encercador families to wandering around Vinicao instead of all of Cabralia. It soon became practical only for the laborers themselves to travel, leaving their wives and children behind. With substantial support from the Church, Lojandos became the place where they established their families as they travelled from farm to farm, vineyard to vineyard. There homes grew up around a retail center that formed a loose skein of commercial avenues in between a series of small farms. This was the origin of Lojandos, and it remains a residential district of lower class laborers and farm workers, who still spend much of their life away from the city. The commercial strips have declined in character, and now exist as crowded, discount retail zones serving the labor class. The area has a high crime rate for Sao Leonardo.
This small but very wealthy district is growing quickly, as Celebritos swell the ranks of the upper strata in Vinicao. (Most have distant estates, but more than a few have luxurious homes in Sao Leonardo, and the Celebritos have brought in tow the members of the elite service class, artists, craftspeople, professionals, and charlatans, who command high salaries from the indulgent rich. These people buy opulent homes in Centena Carvalhos and tell each other how splendid they look. Despite the disdain the locals have for them, they are undoubtedly a boon to the local economy, as their demand for goods and services is high. The streets here are deliberately narrow and winding, with numerous Earth native trees alongside. Some Earth native trees have prospered, not surprisingly, the same tough, adaptable species that tolerate the difficult conditions of Earths cities. Magnolia trees are very common.
This is a dense section of small to medium retail and residential buildings, south of the downtown area, wedged between two of the citys largest and most prominent vineyards. Several of the major streets, like Boulevard Sampaio, are lined with shops and terraced cafes where patrons drink wine and watch the passersby on the sidewalks below. The district is home to artists, students, young professionals, and urban farmers and merchants. People come here for the nightclubs, restaurants, cafes, and theatres. Also in Cariocas are the office buildings, trading centers, and sales offices devoted the wine industry. The headquarters of the Vinicao Wine Association is a rambling affair built to resemble a rural vineyard estate house, only much larger. Aside from their responsibilities, the VWA sponsors various social events, usually incorporating wine tastings, that are open to the public.
This is an area of newer development. The homes are all on geometrically planned lots, forming neat arrangements of residential cul-de-sacs radiating off of winding through roads. Its a popular residential area with people of middle class technical backgrounds. The newly constructed primary schools in Rampanorte are considered the best in the Estado, and real estate prices in the district have been rising steadily for a decade. FPL Development has been responsible for most of the construction in the district. Theyve been blamed for abandoning Vinicao tradition in the styles of the neighborhoods and homes theyve built, but the buyers certainly havent complained, and FPL has enjoyed a decade of strong profits. They continue to add to the district daily.
This is a compact port city situated on a small fjord, a natural intrusion of the sea into the rugged northern coast of Vinicao. Recuoco is hemmed in by the local topography, and consists of the city center and almost no surrounding suburbs. The transition to farmland and wilderness is abrupt. The population of 250,000 is supported by a transport and commercial economy. The citys character is somewhat busier and more practical than Vinicao as a whole, and the people of Recuoco view their little city as the one part of Estado that keeps the rest working.
Recuoco served as Brazils naval base on the colonys northern coast until the construction of Porto Paradeo was completed. The Brazilian navy today occupies only a small portion of the once sprawling base. Part of the base has since been given over to commercial interests. Recuoco is a very convenient port for shippers, as the sea routes to several other colonies, especially Wellon, are short and direct from here. Recuoco offers limited warehouse space, though, and a second rate local transportation net, so the port does not live up to its full commercial potential. It may be that the people of Recuoco want it that way.
A section of the old base that once housing for the senior staff is now a waterfront neighborhood of small privately owned shops, a few larger stores, and a variety of taverns and eateries. Most of these are quite small, and a few are perched on terraces at the waters edge. A number of artists and craftsmen have set up shop here, and all sorts of oddities may be found in the windows of the shops. This area is called Burrio dos Capitaos. The buildings originally sat on lots, but now newer structures have been stuffed between the old ones, crowding the area and giving it the dense, mazelike look of a very old Earth city. The construction was done in ad hoc style, largely with expedient materials, brick, block, stone and wood, by individual merchants, artists, and residents, to suit their own personal tastes as they developed their own little piece of Burrio dos Capitaos. The stores and restaurants tend to open late in the day, and are open late into the night, attracting people coming off shift throughout the rest of the city, and the surrounding area as well. The streets are festooned with decorative lights and illuminated signs and advertisements. Much of Burrio dos Capitaos is off limits to vehicles, the streets having been turned to pedestrian malls. This is a popular area for casual visitors. Highly visible patrols by the Recuoco municipal police keep crime down, but crime is not unknown, with robbery being the principal concern.
Vinicao has shown a lack of loyalty to any one political party. Currently, the Partido Republicano holds the power, and they are popular, but their majority in the State Legislature is slim and they could just as easily end up the minority party after the next election. Sao Leonardo is the capitol, and home to the state office buildings, most of which are in the part of the city called "Centro". The Estado Legislature building was built in the 2250s in the Neo-Metric style, incorporating impressive if repetitious geometric forms built from steel and plas-crete an faced with polished stone from Sera do Prado. Citizen involvement in government tends to be high, with strong grass roots level political activity on the communications net before every campaign, and there is a strong tendency to support members of long established local agrarian families as candidates.
Police services in most of Vinicao are provided by the State Police, who have about 6,000 members. In addition to their headquarters and academy in Sao Leonardo, 52 small police stations are scattered along the length of the Estado, typically in towns close to the major transportation route. Only Sao Leonardo and Recuoco, and the towns of Cebalo, Castaro and Melova maintain Municipal Police departments, numbered at 920, 190, 38, 24, and 22 respectively. The national police keeps a small number of personnel here, mostly belonging to the Rural Police. The police forces here are considered only mediocre, as the crime rate was traditionally low. The swelling numbers of Celebritos and their attendants, though, has appeared to have created a strong underclass resentment, and crimes against the rich have grown in frequency and severity. Vinicaos police have seemed reluctant to pursue offenders in some incidents, and some wealthy folk have hired private guards. There is considerable tension between the private security companies and the "native" police forces.
Emergency services are the province of the State Police, who can call on military forces for assistance with search and rescue or disaster relief, and the Cadres Bombeiros, the small professional firefighter detachments that can be rapidly augmented by reservists. Since most construction is built to be fore resistant, these groups are mainly concerned with rural fires that can wreak havoc on farms and vineyards. They are scattered across the Estado in small detachments, with some stationed in urban areas to fight the rare city blaze. The police maintain and ambulance corps, as well as a large Aviation Section, which has two Divisions, the eastern based in Sao Leonardo and the Western based south of Recuoco These units have a small number of light observation aircraft, and a some VTOL tactical transports purchased as hand me downs from the Brazilian Air Force. These aircraft have medical, emergency, and logistic missions and can also be used to deliver police teams to remote areas quickly. The State Police have canine teams, but no mounted units. The Rural Police, a branch of the national police, have several mountain police units assigned to the Estado, these have not only horse units but a handful of Mule Teams, these animals being the only way to access certain mountain areas. Llamas, of course, were considered, but the mules were determined to have several advantages in supporting police work, not the least of which was superior intelligence. The government animals are bred and trained in the Rural Police Facility in the town of Lilas, near the mid point of Vinicao along the north coast.
Vinicaos department of transportation has benefitted from the recent influx of wealth into the Estada. Newly arriving Celebritos often choose properties based on their perceived esthetic qualities, with other considerations such as roads often being left out of the thought process. Besides, the ragged, pitted gravel road leading their new estate shows off the rustic charm of the unspoiled landscape, right? That lasts not long. The Celebrito soon notices that the showy neighbors in the next valley have their guests driving up to their home on a new plas-crete road, and now they want one, to. The Estado has responded by levelling high "development fees" on new properties, while reserving the right to waive them for low income homesteaders. These development fees, in the past few years, were put, among other things, to the purchase of four new Hanomal 800C mobile Breaker/Crusher/Pulverizer units, and these machines have pushed new roads into areas of the estado considered inaccessible just a decade ago.
The Department of Education is one of the smallest and most conservative in Provincia do Brasil. Home schooling is encouraged, and the Estado agency leaves it to local school committees to determine the curriculum of their own institutions.
Naval Detachment Recuoco is the only Brazilian naval unit based in the Estado. Occupying only a remnant of the original naval base, the Navy keeps several support vessels and a few patrol craft here, as well as a detachment of Pelicano VTOL amphibious aircraft. These powerful craft were built by Pomarc 22 years ago, and can set down almost anywhere on an inflatable hovercraft-type plenum. They never saw widespread military use, due to a small payload, but serve the Brazilians in small numbers in a variety of unusual roles. They can perform search and rescue missions, lay or remove mines, deliver and retrieve naval special forces, conduct surveys, move passengers and cargo, and be fitted for limited combat roles.
The 21st Marines Training and Replacement Brigade is stationed here, with a large reserve along the coast to the east of Recuoco. This base occupies 288 square kilometers between Recuoco and the town of Melova to the east. The latter is actually preferred over Recuoco by off duty Marines, as the town culture seems somewhat more adapted to their wants. (Brazilian Marine trainees generally get very little "off post" time, but the cadre visit both towns) Brazilian Marines endure a sixteen week training course here, before being deployed to other units or schools for specialty training. The 21st is the major Brazilian Marine training unit on Tirane. At any one time some 5,000 trainees are assigned to the Brigade, as well as a training cadre and garrison of some 1,100.
Estacao Defesa Presidente Dalan- named for Presidente Cristina Dalan, who served three terms around the end of the 22nd century as president of Brazil and moved to Tirane upon retirement, this facility is home to the 2nd Battalion of the Montano Prado Brigade, a light infantry formation, and the 2nd Battalion of the 57th Missile Defense Brigade which actually includes offensive, in addition to defensive missiles, although these are not discussed in polite company, as some of them are capable of striking targets on other continents. The bases garrison is provided by the Air Force, which maintains the 16th Regional Support Group here, as well as their Search and Rescue School, which practices in the mountains. Other than some utility aircraft, and the schools aircraft, (Mostly older VTOLs and helicopters inherited from higher priority units) there are no aircraft stationed here permanently. The Search and Rescue School performs an invaluable service to the people living in the rugged Prado mountains, despite the joke about the lucky survivor recovered from difficult circumstances by the schools trainees, only to be told by the cadets that since they didnt score high enough grades for the rescue, theyd have to put him back where they found him and start over.
The principal ground transportation route of Vinicao is the Superestrada Norte. An older concrete highway hugs the coast, and the Superestrada, although often in sight of the sea, usually cuts an inland route to keep the bends in the road and accompanying airfilm tracks to a minimum. A number of steep coastal hills pierced by the superestradas tunnels, and many deep canyons and gorges are crossed by graceful arched bridges. The unevenness of the terrain marked much of Vinicaos stretch of the Superestrada Norte as a project for the National Engineering Corps, and their insignias are reproduced in concrete facings along the route. Even with these improvements to the route, though, the stretch of Superestrada Norte through Vinicao has more curves and grades than any other long section of the Superestrada system. Therefore, traffic on this superestrada, especially airfilm traffic, moves at a slower speed. This is just one of the factors hindering development of Vinicao and other areas of Cabralias north coast, and favoring development on the south coast.
Slower it may be, but the Superestrada Norte is far less crowded over most of its Vinicao length than is the Superestrada Sur. Like the other Superestradas, the Vinicao line collocates highway lanes and an airfilm track. With fewer and smaller population centers, airfilm traffic is less frequent. The National Airfilm Line links Sao Leonardo, Recuoco, and Chaparaca in the east and Acre in the west. (No airfilm line crosses the Prado range yet. Routes hae been surveyed and studied, but the funds have never been set aside for the project, which would easily occupy a major part of the National Engineering Corps for years.) The Estado Department of Transportation operates a local service linking the smaller towns along the route with hand me down airfilm trains from the national service. Their colorful hulls distinguish the Vinicao trains, naturally, pale green and reddish purple. Typical Airfilm rates and times: (E= Estado Train, N= National)
From Vinicao to:
From Recuoco to:
The public transportation system of Sao Leonardo is the worst in Provincia do Brasil for a city of this size. This is due to the nature of the ground, which has made tunnelling impractical, and the dispersed structure of the city. There is no public train system at all, Instead, a bus service based at the citys central depot provides very slow connections between various key points in the city. Fortunately, the transit system is cheap, with a few Cruzeiros providing unlimited travel for a day. People in a hurry and people with money to spend often rely on Taxis. All taxis are manned except for a rare few auto-cabs chartered to operate along the main avenues, and out to the airport. The manned taxis often have special arrangements to use the private roads through the farms that form patches across the city. By doing so, the taxi driver can spend minutes on a trip that can take a city bus an hour. When a Sao Leonardo taxi driver brags about his special shortcut, hes being serious. Typically, a driver with a really good shortcut asks something for it, maybe a ten or twenty Cruzeiro bill, and often he shares the take with the land owner. "VWA Building? Maybe a half hour from here, for 20 "Cruzys" more, only 15."
The Estados principal airports, although Modesto, Cebalo, and Lilas have municipal fields, are at Recuoco and Sao Leonardo. The former is a regional airfield, served by Impulsos and Aviacao Oxanja. (See Cabo Vitorio and Lemanja respectively). The latter outgrew its original airport, leading to the construction, in 2262, of Aeroporto Vale de Vinha. This is an international airport, with direct flights to several foreign destinations as well as major cities throughout Sao Leonardo. Aerotrans Brazil and all major regional airlines except Alaoeste serve it. Of the foreign carriers, Wellon Airways is the most important one serving this airport. Although the airport is still considered modern and well outfitted, it is one of Provincia do Brasils smaller international fields. Surrounded by a single commercial avenue (the main road leading to the airport from the city, Sao Leonardos only truly tacky retail area.), vineyards, orchards, and rangeland, Vale de Vinha lacks facilities for travellers, who typically stay instead at the hotels of the nearby Aerodromo District.
Years ago, lighter than air aircraft (LTAs) were common place in the rugged areas of Provincia do Brasil. Airships, though versatile, cannot compete with trains across land, or ships across water, in terms of cargo carrying economy, and they are certainly outclasses by conventional aircraft in terms of passenger carrying economy. Today there is only one important LTA service left in Vinicao, Linha Sparano. This is a private company with a fleet of some 42 LTA airships, in the difficult situation of watching its traditional market- farms, vineyards and small towns in the more inaccessible mountain valleys, shrink annually as more and more of these places are connected by highways and rails. Proud of their airships and not willing to see their business crumble, the owners of Sparano have adapted by finding new, profitable uses for their airships. They have pushed hard into the luxury passenger market, remaking LTA travel as something one does for the comfort of it, rather than the convenience. Some are outfitted as charter craft, allowing clients to hold in flight parties or conferences that would be difficult with other forms of air transport. A few are available for hire as luxuriously appointed private yachts. Aggressive marketing has kept some cargo shipping clients away from the truckers and railways. Sparano allows its patrons to use the LTA craft as flying advertisement space, and the highly visible, graceful approach of an LTA craft into a city offers excellent display opportunities. (Not constrained by the need for runways, the craft often set down close to the final destination of passengers or cargo, hence, they are more apt to draw spectators.). Fortunately for Sparano, just as they were needed the most to sustain the new corporate vision, many wealthy, image conscious potential clients- the Celebritos- began arriving in Vinicao.
Recuoco is Vinicaos only commercial port, although there are numerous fishing marinas and the Brazilian Marines maintain a small logistics facility at their training base. Commercial marine traffic out of Recuoco is mostly through small independent shippers. Exports through Recuoco are typically limited to the industrial and agricultural output of Cabralias north coast. Goods from anywhere else on the island continent simply have an easier time leaving through the larger ports on the south coast. The only automated freight handling system in Recuoco is at the ex-naval wharfs. The difference in time between loading and unloading here, and elsewhere in Recuoco is so great that ships will often simply wait a day or so "on queue" , forgoing manual cargo handling entirely. Typically, 6-12 merchants ships are in the harbor at any one time. Many are foreign owned. There are some well known privately owned Brazilian registered ships such as the "Zephyro do Vinicao" and the "Volante Violeceo". One ship makes continual runs between Recuoco and Saint Tyraine, the Carib registered "One Eyed Parrot". Only one significant line is based here, "Linha dos Baccaneiros". This company has a flotilla of relatively small, quick "packet" freighters. They move some of Vinicaos most prevalent high value cargo, wine, to distributors around Tirane. Linha dos Baccaneiros is owned by a Sao Leonardo based transport company, Grupo Tolamo, with a variety of subsidiary firms, each serving a specific niche market, including trucking, rail, LTA aviation, and freight forwarding and storage companies. Tolamo is publicly held, trading on the Fazenet (see Cabo Vitorio, Miranda) although about half the stock is institutionally held. Constant reshuffling of Tolamos assets has unsettled industry analysts and has kept the stock price low, but the price to asset value ration has always been good. Although most analysts do not give this stock a buy recommendation, it is kept under observation and the recommendations may change if Tolamos board ever decides they have a company mix they can develop instead of trade.
Wine is the most important export of Vinicao, and the industry employs many thousands of workers in small vineyards, and wineries, as well as in the transport, marketing, and distribution sectors associated with wine. The making of wine is, as it has always been throughout humanitys history, a deeply personal affair, involving a close connection between the vintner and his land. As a result, this is not a place ruled by megacorporations. On the other hand, individual farmers find themselves outclassed and outgunned in the sphere if inter-global trade, and as a result, the Vinicao Wine Association was formed in 2241, to protect the interests of the small wineries. About 35% of Vinicaos wine is produced by corporate held wineries, too large to be represented by the VWA, a foundation that accepts only small, private wineries. The VWA unifies the marketing efforts of the Vinicao producers, and regulates, studies, and promotes the product vigorously. After close to a century of growing grapes on Tirane, the wineries of Vinicao can hold their own with those found anywhere else, including California and France, although the producers in those two bastions of grape legend refuse to admit it.
Sao Leonardo is the center of this industry, and every year the city celebrates a wine festival, where festivities and celebrations of various kinds occur throughout the city, and locals and tourists alike find plenty of excuses to drink great quantities of the regions best known product.
One of the recent trends in the world of Vinicao wine making has been the number of celebrities, especially those in the entertainment industry, acquiring vineyards and wineries. It has become a status symbol among the trendy rich of Provincia do Brasil to have ones own wine labels. These newcomers rarely produce any of Vinicaos quality wines. At this time it seems enough for them just to produce wine, and to own an extravagant villa on their vineyard land, preferably on a mountainside with a spectacular view. With the exception of a few refugees and recluses, the super-rich do not actually work these properties, in fact, they may rarely visit them. They rely on the talent of the locals to produce their signature wine.
Vinicao wines tend to be light table wines with a low alcohol content and a low tannin content, although they vary from dry to sweet. Most of the production is in white and rose wines, with red wines forming a small percentage of output. The vintage of 2231 was the first truly outstanding vintage of Vinicao wines, and the quality of that years output proved to the wine world the seriousness of the producers of this new region. Since then, Vinicao has produced many outstanding vintages, with 2263, 2279, 2288, and 2292 becoming almost legendary. The crop of 2300 is also considered destined for greatness, by every early indication.
Vehsa is a local beverage made from white wine and fruit juice, and is a distant cousin of Sangria. The alcohol content in very low, as is the sugar content, and the drink is tart and slightly acidic, with a strong citrus taste. Vehsa is extremely popular in Vinicao, and bottles of it are found on restaurant tables and at family meals throughout the Estado. Consumption of the mild drink has spread to other parts of northern Provincia do Brasil, especially the rural areas, and a small quantity is exported. Mostly, however, it remains the regional drink of Vinicao. (Dry white wine, grapefruit juice, peach juice, and spring water can be combined to make a poor simulation of true Vehsa, if none is available in your area.)
Along with those grapes that do not get pressed into wine, and which get exported either as "table grapes" or as raisins, Vinicao farmers grow and export large quantities of citrus fruits of several kinds. Unlike the small, private vineyards, the citrus orchards are large farms owned mostly by agribusiness corporations. Figs and some other fruits are grown as minor export crops. Other crops include beans and tubers of several types, and Cassava, but these are grown mostly for local consumption. Livestock raised in Vinicaos small fertile valleys include some dairy cattle, and a lot of goats, sheep, poultry, and ostriches, these last creatures producing a small amount of lean, red meat for export as well as home consumption. Exclusive of wine, Vinicao is a net agricultural importer in terms of calories, but an exporter of monetary value. Some 95,000 square kilometers are under cultivation or in use as range land, some 13% of the country. Vinicao farmers are fond of claiming that if only someone managed to flatten all their mountainous lands out, people would see that their farms are really a lot bigger than the maps show.
Neither of these two industries are large in Vinicao. Forestry, based in the eastern area of the Estado, employs some 1,500 workers, a small amount, many of whom are employed growing cork trees just so the wineries of Vinicao can put traditional cork stoppers in their bottles, and oak trees out of which wine makers make their casks. Groves of these Earth native trees were first planted in the early part of the century by far sighted settlers, and the area in which they have been planted has grown steadily, even in the face of occasional vandalism by people who have decided they have some sort of holy mission to preserve native Tiranean plant life. The wine industry actually experimented with local trees as well as imitation oak synthetic materials. Neither produced the flavors wine makers wished. As for the cork, plenty of other materials seem to work well as bottle stoppers, but the purists insist that nothing matches the qualities imbued to the wine by a proper cork stopper. Others forestry workers work for Mulwe S.A., a small company harvesting trees (actually, their Tiranean equivalents) from the coastal forest in the eastern area of the state, and processing them into lumber at the mills in Modesto.
The fishing industry employs about 5,500 people who harvest and process fish, as many Tiranean fish are very edible by humans. Fishing boats are based in Recuoco, and in numerous small towns along the coast. There is some limited export, primarily to other areas in Provincia do Brasil. Despite the mild and stable climate of Vinicao, subtle shifts in offshore currents cause the fish populations to fluctuate, so this is seasonal work, with some fishermen plying different trades when the fish become scarce.
Commerce, Finance, and Media
Sao Leonardo is the major commercial center and retail center in the Estado, although many small specialty shops can be found in Recuoco. Vinicaos pleasant weather has caused merchants to eschew the massive indoor shopping centers found in other areas. In Recuoco especially, much is made of the tradition of wandering up and down narrow streets, looking in shop windows.
Banco Nordeste is a regional bank headquartered in Sao Leonardo, with branch offices scattered across Vinicao and Chaparaca. It is the principal commercial bank for local businesses and underwrites most of Vinicaos agricultural sector. Although most of the general public favors the bigger banks for their private accounts, Banco Nordestes experience and connections with local businesses enable them to compete with, and beat, the national and multinational banks, as long as they keep to familiar turf. The bank is publicly owned, and has over a thousand employees. The companys fortunes rise and fall with the economic cycles of Vinicao, Currently, prosperity and growth fueled by the Celebrito settlement has helped Banco Nordeste, and the Bank has returned the favor by making lower cost loans available to the businesses it serves. The average Vinicao native may detest the Celebritos, but rarely sees the economic connections through which their arrival spreads benefits around the Estado.
Mondaque is a firm headquartered in Lilas, but with offices in Sao Leonardo, Recuoco, and other towns. It has recently expanded its operations outside the Estado. Mondaque is a personnel agency providing temporary employees, with an emphasis on skilled specialists, to companies in need. Privately owned, they are in the midst of expansion and
One of the few businesses headquartered in Recuoco is DDF Scrap and Salvage. Like Sparano, they cling to the use of LTA craft. DDF, however, uses theirs to recover scrap metal and other salvageables from whatever remote location they happen to be stuck in. From an initial small, family operation, DDF has grown into a firm of over 3,000 employees and grossing about 155 MLv a year. Their original recovery focus has expanded to include removal of hazardous and dangerous materials, marine salvage, and emergency shoring and recovery. In addition to their LTA craft (mostly small utility ships) they maintain several ocean going barges and work platforms, including a portable dive support platform. DDF is privately owned and seems unusually cooperative with Brazilian government officials at times. There is some speculation that the Brazilian government has used DDFs salvage projects as a front for covert operations.
Vinicao has only a few native media institutions, the best known being the aptly named Vinimedia, which net-casts news and programming of local importance throughout the Estado. IT also broadcasts (from satellites) to cover those areas of the Estado not fully wired into the communications net, and to provide service to vehicles outside of the Estados few mobile receiver net communication zones. Vinimedia is considered as accurate and impartial as news sources get, and locals trust it far more than they do the national and international services (which are also available throughout Vinicao) Vinimedia was a news story itself when, last year, a Celebrito annoyed by Vinimedia scrutiny of his life allegedly hired thugs to attack Vinimedia news crews. Now, after months of accusations, denials, confessions, and evidence gathering, the case is set to be heard before the Vinicao state criminal court in Sao Leonardo.
The wine industry supports a number of specialized local light industries. Small plants in Sao Leonardo produce bottles, labels, casks, fermentation equipment, and other necessities of wine production needed nowhere else. The glass industry here is dispersed among a score of small producers, none are very large, but a few are well known. Vinicao wine bottle, especially those for export, are generally distinctively and artistically molded pieces, the bottle design adding to the overall impression of the wine in the way that French perfumes were historically augmented by their specially crafted ornamental bottles. Several of Vinicaos glassworks have branched off into supplying consumer glassware (despite the availability of high technology materials with properties far superior to glass, glass is cheap, and, to consumers, possesses an old fashioned charm lacking from even the finest hyper-carbonates. Lida is the best known glass manufacturer, producing, in addition to fine bottles for fine wines, ornate crystal tableware, sculptures, and other crystal goods. Most of its production is still sold locally, in small shops in Vinicao and Recuoco, but Lida exports glassware on and off world. Lida is 51% owned by the founding family, and details on the company are hard to come by. The have about 700 employees, and the stock is considered a good prospect, even if hard to come by due to the small size of the company.
Vinicao is Provincia do Brasils largest source of copper, and two firms are currently mining copper from sites in the western area of the estado. Refining tends to be a small town industry, with most of the plants located in rural areas. Often, the refinery is the only significant employer in a town of several thousand workers. Many of these towns are scattered across western Vinicao. Most of the deposits are near the town of Cebalo (population 78,000) which acts as the economic center for mining operations, and the most convenient destination for off duty miners. In order to separate them from their paychecks with maximum efficiency, the Chamber of Commerce of Cebalo subsidizes a free bus service connecting their town to the nearby mines. Cobrebras was once a government owned agency, but was sold off to private investors to raise cash during the first Dalan administration (2184 thru 2187). The sale included lands in Vinicao already known to contain excellent reserves of easily exploited copper. Cobrebras has become a somewhat elderly and lethargic corporation, riding the strength of its early years. It is still profitable, and the situation is expected not to change for decades, until the copper reserves in its holdings in Vinicao begin to become harder to exploit. Everyone knows the company should be preparing now for the tougher days to come, perhaps by getting ready to dig some of the deeper, thinner veins, but Cobrebras seems to prefer to continue working just the easier areas, and deferring the harder work for the future.
After Agribusiness, this is Sao Leonardos second largest economic sector, with some 60,000 workers employed in manufacturing, sales, and administration by several major manufacturers. Several factories constructing generators opened up in the 2230s, simply because the abundance of locally produced copper made production here relatively inexpensive. In the 2280s the industry went through a consolidation period, and now only four manufacturers dominate this sector in Vinicao. The largest is a Brazilian subsidiary of a Japanese firm, Matsani Electric, which managed to establish itself here in the early settlement days by taking advantage of ancient family connections between certain Brazilian settlers of Japanese ethnic origin (the Twilight war stopped immigration from Japan to Brazil, and the Japanese population in Brazil assimilated almost completely in the generations following, but a significant few kept up connections with the Asian branches of their families) and the owners of Matsani. These early investors prospered in Vinicao, with Matsani eventually buying up many of the competing plants during the previously mentioned consolidation. Despite the reaction locally against "Celebritos", the wealthy Japanese Brazilians running Matsanis operations in Vinicao have never been looked upon as outsiders. They are accepted as pillars of the community even if they do work for a faceless foreign conglomerate. The corporation itself, on the other hand, has often invoked local ire. Matsani employs about 18,000 people in Vinicao.
Vinicao has a has a number of small firms producing materials in the industrial chemical category. The industry is centralized in the Sao Leonardo urban area, where almost all the plants, as well as the corporate offices, are located. Most produce chemicals in demand by other local industries. A few produce materials recognizable to the consumer. One company that supplies both markets is Limo-Brite, a manufacturer of cleaners, polishes, and disinfectants. Limo-Brites materials help keep the wineries of Vinicao clean, and they make a light duty industrial cleanser used in exterior cleaning of building surfaces and factory floors. This product, Limo-Brite 202 Exterior Cleanser, has a noticeable but pleasant citrus smell and is environmentally friendly. It is exported not only throughout Tirane but off-world as well, where it fights atmospheric grime in distant colonies, and brings sparkling brightness to the far frontier (at least, the advertisements claim it does). The company employs some 900 people, and is traded publicly, being considered a moderate performer.
No one is quite sure why this industry found a home in Sao Leonardo. It seems somewhat out of touch with the rest of the Estados economy. Nevertheless, 20% of the commercial lighting fixtures in use in Provincia do Brasil were manufactured in Vinicao, a testament to the primacy of this rural state in this small industrial sector. This is all the work of the giant in the lighting business in Provincia do Brasil, Lumizon S.A. Headquartered in Sao Leonardo, this company is an employee-owned firm with a small amount of shares traded on the Fazenet. Their plants are primarily in non-urban locations, although a few are located around the periphery of Sao Leonardo. Showrooms and offices, however, are found exclusively in Sao Leonardo. The company employees some 20,000 people, and is the largest corporate employer in the Estado. The company has had a lot of difficult times recently, but shows no signs of imminent danger and will likely be an important player in the industry for years to come. Lumizon reported an income of 440 MLv in 2300, a sum that, due to the concentration of the company in one estado and its simple organization, takes a very little effort on the part of government and independent research accountants to verify. The export business, although small in comparison to other goods manufactured in the Estado, is key to Lumizons profitability.
Vinicao and Chaparaca share a common public university system. The school has campuses, in Vinicao, in Sao Leonardo, Recuoco, Modesto, Cebalo, and Lilas. Despite the strong agricultural element in Vinicaos society, this is not a strong field in the university. Agriculture is still considered something one learns on a farm, not in a class room. Instead, the farmers of Vinicao send their sons and daughters to the university to learn the ways of business, to keep their family farms running in a competitive world. The School of Agribusiness in Modesto is considered one of the best available in this narrow field.
Long after Vinicao established itself as an agricultural center, their government caught up and created a department of agriculture. This agency was criticized over decades for doing absolutely nothing of use, so in 2275, at the direction of then governor Manuel Pina, the Department of Agriculture created the Research Division. This organization studies native botany, agricultural science, genetics, and other disciplines in an effort to improve the output of Vinicaos farmers. Several experimental farms are scattered across the Estado, in which all sorts of crop plants are tested among a variety of conditions to determine the best crops for Vinicao farmers to try on their own lands. For example, research projects have recently shown that several new hybrid varieties of cucumber, properly irrigated, can grow extremely well in Vinicao, and farmers have recently begun adding this crop to their produce.
This is Vinicaos only true high tech research company. AnarLab tests and develops sensors and navigational equipment. They rarely sell these systems. Except for one of a kind specialty devices, AnarLab leaves the actual production and marketing to the corporations which hire it. Anarlab is headquartered in Recuoco. They have several test ranges in Vinicao, including a large facility on an off shore island. AnarLab is not involved in the sort of sensors used in space, their specialty being sensors for atmospheric, marine and submarine use. They had 700 employees in 2300, 500 of whom worked in Recuoco.
The city is naturally the cultural capitol of the estado, even if it cant compete with the powerhouse cities n the south. Although Sao Leonardo has only secondary economic status and a decidedly uncosmopolitan style, it makes a yeoman effort in providing citizenry and visitors with access to the arts. The annual Wine Festival is the citys most important cultural event, with the entire city participating to some degree in the week long party. Sao Leonardo hosts a public opera house, which has an excellent if often overlooked repertory company and often attracts visits by more professional casts from Vitorio de Conquista and other places. The locals are exceedingly supportive of their own group, and many of the senior members have turned down offers from other opera companies on Tirane and Earth, choosing to stay with their very appreciative Sao Leonardo audience. The city also manages a zoo and public garden- the latter displaying over 50 different varieties of grapevine, and several art galleries. These galleries are slowly being transformed by the Celebrito class, but on the other hand, the artistic taste of the Celebritos is being slowly transformed by exposure to Vinicao style. The zoo is actually the oldest in Provincia do Brasil, having been started by the Convent as an educational feature long before any other city in the colony reached the point of thinking about a zoo seriously. It now boasts Earth native as well as Tiranean animals, and is planning to import a few species from other planets. A delegation from the zoo is planning to visit Paulo to ascertain which creatures there might adapt best to the Sao Leonardo Zoo.
The city has a limited nightlife. The general feeling is, if you have to go out drinking at night, then you clearly havent done enough during the day, and youre obviously an amateur. Hence, although the balcony cafes of Sao Leonardo are packed in the hours after the workday, the city seems asleep a few hours later. The exception is the Cariocas district, with such well known spots as Jafis and A Cisneroca.
This third rate city, (in size, at least) generally passed up by visitors who dont know any better, has better cultural offerings than one might expect, generally in the Burrio dos Capitaos district. Recuoco is the city of choice for the street artist, and the independent shopkeeper-craftsmen who sell their creations from tiny stores sometimes seeming more like closets with street frontage. The city has a reputation for being a haven for street musicians and performers of all kinds, and once a year Recuoco holds a street festival (timed so as never to interfere with Sao Leonardos Wine Festival), inviting the tramps and vagabonds of the entertainment world, the street performers, from all over Tirane. A few even arrive from Earth. The result is a two week celebration that resembles a convention of misfits, in a way, attracting visitors from all over the planet. Not many visitors, though. Hotel space in the area is very limited, and most of the performers, and many guests, stay in pre-fab temporary facilities set up for the occasion. Still, the event is not to be missed. The Burrio dos Capitaos district, crowded normally, becomes an almost impassable maze of music and mayhem, and the sounds, sights, and smells of dozens of cultures blanket the tiny city. Even the harbor becomes choked with vessels, including the private yachts of those who have found the best answer to the problems of Recuocos limited lodgings.
Vinicao has designated over half of its land as park or preserve of some kind. This is not exceptionally generous; much of the Estados land is unsuitable for development. The parks, while containing areas of extraordinary natural beauty, lack creature comforts and amenities found in more the improved parkland of the core worlds. As a result, Vinivao often attracts visitors who want to experience pure, unspoiled wilderness, and all the challenges thereof. It does not attract tourists and families seeking yet still be near to the comforts of civilization. Much of the shoreline of Vinicao is unsuitable for building, as the land experiences mudslides, occasional very heavy surf and flooding, and other natural calamities. Therefore, most of the shoreline is protected as a national wilderness area. The national government has also shown interest in many of the mini-ecosystems in the canyons, valleys, and gorges, and these too are protected.
Estadio Arcebispo Losano, in Sao Leonardo, is home to the Vinicao Vencadors, a low budget and lackluster futbol (soccer) team that nonetheless draws a loyal following. This is the only stadium in Provincia do Brasil where the beverages of choice are wine and "Vehsa", as opposed to the more common coffee and beer. The stadium is aging, and the team has been seeking funds to rebuild it, but the city has not been keen on footing the bill, and private contributions have been slow to materialize.
The city also has a horse racing track, as does Recuoco, and an indoor multi-funciton arena used for jai-alai and other sports. Hunting is less of a draw than one might think in Vinicao. Much of the wilderness area is very unimproved, and a successful kill on approved hunting grounds can often mean a grueling journey on foot carrying ones prey. Fishing, on the other hand, is very popular.
Vinicaos wildlife is adapted to a mountainous lifestyle. This is especially true of the animals that have adapted to the arrival of humanity, as human agriculture has occupied many of the valleys. As a result, some species that once lived in the valleys only are very rare today, and might face extinction if they were not surviving in Vinicaos parks and wildlife preserves.
Chaser. No. Appearing: 2 D 6 Initiative: 8 Melee Hit Chance: Easy, Size: 30 Kg Speed 95, Armor 0, Consciousness: 2 Life: 3 WPM 2 DPV .2 Signature -5
This is a small, quadruped, very agile carnivore. The Meninoro can move around the most formidable mountain terrain with ease, and is notoriously clever. Generally, they travel in packs. Often, theyve been known to intrude into human range land (or has human range land intruded into Meninoro habitat?) and attack human livestock. They are inquisitive creatures, and they have also been known to enter human vehicles and dwellings, to explore and make a mess of the place. They often take things from houses or vehicles, and carry them back to their dens for no apparent reasons. Even if they cant gain entry to houses or vehicles, they have been known to carry off interesting items left outdoors. They avoid humans, despite their extreme interest in human artifacts.
Chaser. No. Appearing: 6 D 10 Initiative: 6 Melee Hit Chance: Difficult, Size: 20 Kg Speed 180 in flight 70 swimming, Armor 0, Consciousness: 1 Life: 3 WPM 4 DPV 0.1 Signature +0
The "Rock Swan" is a found along mountainous coasts from Acre to Chapacara. The creature is a true triphibian, capable of flight, swimming underwater, and walking on land, although it is notoriously clumsy at that last pursuit. 9 species are known, differign in size, habitat, and diet. The statistics above are for one of the larger examples, Fodros Broad-winged Cisneroca. These species builds nest on steep mountainsides or cliff ledges, and flies many kilometers out to sea in search of schools of fish. They tend to group together in swarms of about 20 to 50 animals before beginning their hunting flight and upon sighting a suitable school of prey, they entire flock will drop into the water and begin eating fish. When sated, they fly back to their nests, and regurgitate a portion of their meal for their young, as well as pregnant Cisnerocas that did not make the flight. The Cisneroca is warm blooded and gives birth to live young, but shows no other strictures that would classify it as a mammal, and some structures that would seem to disqualify it, such as its birdlike body and lack of hair- the fine fur on the creatures body is not true hair, but the fringe-like fibres growing from the creatures almost vestigial scales. (Tiranean animals are extremely difficult, at times, to define in terms of Earth taxonomy.)
Hunter. No. Appearing: 1 Initiative: 7 Melee Hit Chance: Easy, Size: 10 Kg Speed 80 Armor 0, Consciousness: 1 Life: 3 WPM 4 DPV 0.1 Signature -6
The term "Grape" is a misnomer. These creatures will snatch the occasional tasty fruit from easily accessible vines, but they lived in Vinicao long before humans did, and they got along just fine before the introduction of the grape. They are slim, furry quadrupeds, with long skinny necks reminiscent of the Earth Native wading birds such as herons and egrets. Consuming, in addition to fruit, insects, small animals, and young plant shoots, the creature often positions its body for a quick getaway while its head probes for food. Whether their raids damage vineyards or help them by destroying pests has not yet been determined, but is believed that the vineyards have been good for this genus of weasent. Before the arrival of Man, the Long Necked Weasant was confined to the "pocket gardens" formed in the canyons and narrow valleys of Vinicao. Their range has since expended, and there is every indication that human alterations to the land have benefitted this species. Some residents, once of a mind to destroy every grape eating weasent they could find, have since decided that the creatures are a valuable ally to the farmer, filling a role between cat, mongoose, and scarecrow, and have been trying to tame them, with some good results.