|From:||Les Ward <lward@*******.COM>|
|Subject:||[NAGTTW] Siberia (History - 2 of 5)|
|Date:||Mon, 1 Dec 1997 21:58:14 -0500|
Siberia (part 2 of 5)
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Even sleepers are workers and collaborators on what goes on in the
-- Heraclitus, The Cosmic Fragments
Before the Awakening
Pre-Awakening events in Siberia are nearly irrelevant to the region
today. Therefore, they will be glossed over, mentioning only factors
which may have impact on today's Siberia.
Human presence can be found in Siberia dating all the way back to the
Paleaolithic, with settlements discovered all over the region. There
are rumors that magical artifacts have been recovered at some of these
sites, but the Advocate found no credible evidence confirming this.
Since these ancient times, Siberia has hosted a number of cultures.
The Huns southern Siberia by the 3rd century BC. Turkic tribes moved
in the first few centuries AD, eventually becoming the Khyagas, who
controlled central Siberia from the 6th to the 13th century. At the
same time, the Bohai dominated the southeast. Genghis Khan drove out
the Khyagas in the early 13th century, adding nearly all of Siberia to
his -- the world largest -- land empire. Russian influence in Siberia
began in 1552 when Ivan the Terrible started to seize Tartar
strongholds. By the late 1600s, Cossack mercenaries, Russian soldiers,
trappers and traders reached the Pacific coast, driving out the
remnants of the Golden Horde. Russia began to creep into Manchuria at
the expense of the Manchus (who where occupied with the Mongols),
leading eventually to the Treaty of Nerchinsk.
(>) The Russians just kept going east after this. They took over
Alaska and even had a fort in California.
- From about 1650, Siberia took on one of its major roles: a place to
which criminals are exiled. Siberia's other major role, as a source of
natural resources, became clear in the 1700s. To meet the labor
requirements for extracting these treasures, more and more people were
exiled and forced to work. More offenses were made punishable by
exile, and many were exiled without trial. By 1890, Siberia accepted
3400 exiles a week, and prison and labor camps were common.
In 1886, Tsar Alexander III authorized the construction of the
Trans-Siberian Railway, prompting a huge influx of voluntary
immigrants. Fearing the railway's ability to move troops quickly into
the far east, Japan attacked Russia in February 1904, eventually
winning some territory.
On June 30, 1908, an object presumed to be from outer space exploded
with a force of 10 to 20 megatons of TNT over the Tunguska region of
Siberia, incinerating reindeer and trees for hundreds of square miles.
Though the area is now regrown, the area seems to have a much higher
than normal astral background count.
(>) As a preemptive strike against all you conspiracy theorists out
there (you know who you are), move all chatter about what this object
was to a more relevant area. You have been warned.
(>) Captain Chaos
In the year following the Soviet revolution in 1917, a
counter-revolution seized the Trans-Siberian Railway. By the time the
leaders of this counter-revolution were defeated, it had pushed the
Bolshevik government out of Siberia. The Soviets managed to regain
control by early 1922.
The Soviets (Stalin, in particular) turned Siberia back into place of
exile, known as the Glavny Upravlenie Lagerey, or Gulag. During
Stalin's rule, roughly 20 million people died in the Gulag. After
Stalin's death, two-thirds of those in the Gulag were freed, though
the camps continued to run. The Soviet Union focused most of its
energy in Siberia towards taming the wilderness and extracting its
wealth. To that end, a number of colossal and, ultimately,
environmentally destructive projects were undertaken, including
hydroelectric dams, smelting mills and strip mines. Nearly 80 years of
such projects left scars and environmental damage that has yet to be
repaired. Also during this time, the Soviets' Cold War plans seeded
Siberia with tanks, radar and nuclear missiles.
Once the Cold War ended, and after several years of economic chaos,
Russian citizens (though not necessarily the Russian government)
embraced capitalism with a vengeance. Old soviet groups in charge of
extracting natural resources pooled together to produce companies,
entirely Russian owned at first. After an initial period of resistance
to the idea of foreign investment, these new natural resource
companies began to make deals with foreign investors, particularly
from Japan, Germany and the United States.
(>) The problem with "embracing capitalism" is that capitalism
embraces you back. During this deal making period, the Russians were
way out of their league when dealing with foreign companies. The
foreigners had more experience with world markets, tax law and
everything else. They managed to wrangle some pretty sweet deals, at
least the German and Japanese companies. The goal of their deals was
long-term control of the resources. They had no qualms about handing
short-term profit percentages and cash to the Russians if they could
get more controlling shares in return. By contrast, American companies
tended to use immediate profits to justify the risks in participating
in what was thought to be an unstable area, yielding little long-term
(>) A couple megacorps got part of their start here. Several of the
German oil and coal companies expanding into Siberia were merged into
BMW, which eventually begat Seader-Krupp. A Japanese natural gas
company was a cornerstone in the building of Shiawase. Most of the
other megacorps own companies or divisions in Siberia, but S-K and
Shiawase were partly built there.
(>) The Chromed Accountant
These new companies, especially those in the oil industry, became
extremely successful in the opening of the 21st century, paving the
way for a re-emergence of Russian power. Siberia, like the rest of
Russia, enjoyed sustained economic growth and prosperity. During this
period, the Trans-Siberian Railway and other parts of Siberia's
infrastructure were greatly expanded, largely due to private efforts.
Russia owed its growth almost entirely to the businesses operating
inside it. The economic picture in Russia changed so quickly during
this period, that the government had been able to do very little to
control, restrict or guide it. By the time the government reacted to a
given situation, it had already mutated into something else.
(>) For a number of years after the Cold War, Russia didn't even have
it together enough to collect fraggin' taxes. Keep in mind that a lot
of people in the government still weren't sure about this capitalism
stuff. No one was really sure which way the country would go.
(>) The Russian Mafia did. They grew like crazy. They actually
collected "taxes" of their own for a while.
(>) Economists point to this period in Russia as the best modern
example of a nearly pure free market. Neoanarchists call it the
Russian Lesson: without government interference (or coercion, as the
neoanarchists call it), markets ran themselves to the benefit of many.
(>) The Chromed Accountant
(>) Probably good it didn't last much longer than it did, though. Free
markets have a nasty tendency to breed monopolies, and all the
neoanarchist rhetoric in the world can't change that.
Several years into the 21st century, the government stopped trying to
guide the nation and focused doing what the rest of Russia was doing:
making money. For the government, this meant generating and enforcing
a tax policy. The government marginally succeeded in convincing people
to pay taxes, but the policy did not firmly take hold until after the
Lone Eagle missile was stopped by Russian missile defenses May 5,
2009 [SR2, pg 22]. This event, coupled with one of President Nikolai
Chelenko's most famous speeches, turned public opinion in favor of a
strong government and an increase in military spending.
(>) People are such sheep.
(>) Maybe, but Chelenko was an impressive guy. People are constantly
comparing him to John F. Kennedy. They both seemed to take hold of the
spirit of their countries. They were both young and handsome. They
both helped bring the world to the brink of nuclear holocaust.
(>) Dr. Love
(>) They both had their heads blown off.
While still somewhat isolated from Moscow, Siberian citizens were also
caught up in Chelenko inspired patriotism. Some Siberian businessmen,
however, began to perceive the government as lazy and corrupt, getting
fat off their hard work. They also realized how much control they had
seeded to foreign investors, again blaming the government for a lack
of protective foreign policy. Portions of the military assigned to
Siberian posts also disdained the Russian government for allowing the
prestige of the military to degrade. While the government was
attempting to rebuild the military, to the cheers of the public,
Russian citizens tended to treat career military men with
indifference. Some high ranking soldiers longed for the Soviet days,
when they were the cream of the crop. Many also saw the Russian
embrace of capitalism as an abomination.
Towards the end of 2010, these military officers and the Siberian
businessmen put in motion a complex plan, the ultimate goal of which
was the coup d'etat of Russia. Unfortunately for the conspirators, the
VITAS plague erupted during the very early stages of this scheme,
killing all of the plotters but one, a minor player named Colonel
Yvgeny Mikhailovich. History, however, would provide Mikhailovich
another chance to take over Russia.
In February of 2011, reports began to filter in from Siberia of packs
of huge, extremely viscous wolves attacking humans and terrorizing
settlements. Survivors of these attacks reported being terrified
beyond measure, painting the wolves as embodiments of evil. These
packs turned out to be canis lupis aesiri (fenrir wolves), and the
attacks are thought to be the first recorded accounts of an Awakened
Shortly after, humans began to Awaken as well. Afraid UGE might be
some kind of viral outbreak, Russia immediately relocated all UGE
babies and their parents to Tomsk for study. This continued, even
after fears of contagion were laid to rest. Large portions of the city
were set aside for UGE families, who were not allowed to leave. Many
buildings were converted to medical research facilities and Tomsk soon
became a leading center of research into UGE, with scientists visiting
from all over the world.
(>) As cages go, Tomsk was as gilded as you could get. Growing up
there, you could do pretty much anything you wanted, except leave the
city. Some of my more rabid fellow Khakassians spew all sorts of drek
about it being worse than the gulags a century ago, but it really
wasn't a bad place to grow up.
(>) Baaaa. Baaaa.
By 2016, President Chelenko was prepared to free those held in Tomsk,
but he never got the chance: an assassin's bullet obliterated most of
his head during a performance at the Bolshoi [SR2, pg 24].
(>) In yet another Kennedy parallel, no one has ever satisfactorily
explained the motive behind the Chelenko assassination. Because it
came so close to the assassinations of Garrety, Rodale and Schon, many
claim it was part of some international conspiracy. This theory died
down for a bit, but came back recently when rumors of a group called
Winternight were posted to Shadowland. Others claim it was the Russian
Mafia, who were basically getting more and more screwed as Chelenko's
government got stronger. Still others claim it was Russian military,
given what happened after.
(>) Dr. Love
(>) It was all a plot to stop Tomsk from opening. I just need the
Along with VITAS and UGE, Chelenko's death proved too much for the
Russian government. Now leaderless, Russia effectively ceased to be a
country, as factions squared off. From the cauldron of three years of
low-intensity warfare, one leader finally emerged.
Yvgeny Mikhailovich, though no longer a Colonel, had strong military
backing. In the three years of pseudo-war after Chelenko's
assassination, Mikhailovich combined his political abilities with the
force of his military friends. While most rival factions were pursuing
either political, military or economic methods to gain control of
Russia, Mikhailovich actively orchestrated all three into a long term
plan. Though it took slightly longer than he anticipated, Mikhailovich
declared himself Premiere of Russia on August 31, 2019.
(>) A lot of Mikhailovich's "victory" had to do with the Russians
getting scared of not having a strong, centralized army. Russians
watched the United State's troubles with Howling Coyote with great
trepidation, and Mikhailovich fed their fears, offering strong
military protection. In the end, Russia just got sick of the fighting
and insecurity. When Mikhailovich declared himself leader, and it
seemed to strike a chord with the population, many of Mikhailovich's
opponents were relieved.
(>) Most immediately backed him, vying for positions in his regime.
Why he wanted that many noses in his hoop is beyond me.
Mikhailovich looked to Stalin and the Tzars for his policy decisions
and, as it had under Stalin, Russia flourished. He drastically
increased defense spending, swelling Russia's dwindling military. He
kept Tomsk a prison, and stepped up efforts to detect families with
UGE children across Russia and exile them. Laws were also passed
preventing non-citizens from buying property in Russia and foreigners
were all but kicked out of Russia. Fearing United Nations retaliation,
he did not invade the CIS republics, but applied significant political
pressure on them, gaining more official control over them.
Those corporations brave enough to remain in post-Chelenko Russia were
mostly mining and drilling operations in Siberia. With no central
government to impose environmental restrictions, these companies
reaped huge profits at the expense of the land. Mikhailovich had a
love/hate relation with the corporations, resenting foreign presence
in Russia, but needing the capital they provided to fund his military
Russian embassies in Germany and Japan suffered several bombing
attacks in the following years. A mysterious blast leveled several
blocks in Novosibirsk, as well. At the time this was assumed to be a
terrorist attack, but is now thought to have been a private magical
experiment gone horribly wrong.
(>) Russians became extremely xenophobic during the Mikhailovich
years, which I'm sure is the way he wanted it. His government launched
several of what can only be called propaganda campaigns. There were
posters and TV spots featuring white, well-chiseled Russians making
Russia safe. The ads subtly implied that foreigners were the root of
April 30, 2021 changed Russia forever, as ten percent of the world
population began to turn into orks and trolls. The Mikhailovich
regime, fearing these mutations, quietly sent troops to re-open
several of the gulag camps in Siberia and prepare them for holding the
goblinized. While these preparations were being made, a small group of
Russian purists demanded the extermination of the goblinized,
picketing -- and on two occasions storming -- the hospitals caring for
them. In Moscow, a troll woman was dragged out of her home and stoned
to death. Hours later a dozen orks and trolls rampaged through Moscow,
setting fire to several city blocks and killing scores of people. In
the following weeks, Moscow and other Russian cities became
battlegrounds between humans and the goblinized.
(>) Not really. "Battleground" implies two matched groups fought
somewhere. It was more like slaughter. The goblinized were few, and
weak from metamorphosis. They didn't have much of a chance. Orks and
trolls were hung, stabbed, shot, even flayed. One hospital even burned
to the ground for treating the goblinized.
(>) In the early weeks of May, most human Russians didn't know that
the orks and trolls were changed people. It wasn't widely understood
or reported until mid May that these new "monsters" were really people
The government brought in tanks and troops to quell the violence. Once
the rioting stopped, soldiers began to round up metahumans and truck
them to the old Siberian gulags.
(>) From what I hear, the government originally wanted to ship the
orks and trolls to Tomsk, but the elves and dwarves didn't want them.
(>) Doubtful, Blitz. The Russkies started exterminating the trogs
almost as soon as they got to Siberia. Tomsk was a prison, but it was
no death camp.
As quietly as it could -- again fearing United Nations intervention --
the Mikhailovich regime began killing the captured orks and trolls in
cyanide gas chambers [SR2, pg 26]. Other parts of the Commonwealth of
Independent States followed Russia's lead, rounding up and sending
their goblinized to the gulags. Kazakstan -- where many middle eastern
metahumans ran, fearing the jihad against the Awakened declared by the
ayatollah [SR2, pg 223] -- sent metahumans into Siberia by the train
Urban metahumans, already in hiding, began to flee to the Siberian
wilderness to escape the troops and civilians out to capture them.
Mikhailovich managed to prevent Russian media from reporting anything
relating to goblinization for nearly seven months, until KSAF reported
the death camps to the world.
(>) KSAF footage of the camps, as horrible as it was, didn't even come
close to the true evil of the camps. They said the camps were like
Auschwitz, which they were, but they missed the real story. When
people found out about the Holocaust after WWII, nearly everyone
reacted the same way: with horror and disbelief that anyone could
commit such terrible acts. After the KSAF story appeared, though,
people cheered. Some even threw marches in support of the camps. In
Magadan, I saw my mother raped, beaten and flayed alive. I saw my
father die in agony as they replaced his blood with horse's blood.
Watching recordings of those marches, though, was far worse.
While many people worldwide cheered the news that Russia was killing
metahumans, most Western governments vocally condemned Russia's
actions, some even imposing sanctions. Mikhailovich made no public
response, but stopped the gassings in favor of using the strength of
the metahumans as labor. The camps remained prisons, however, and more
camps were opened to handle the growing numbers of metahumans
(>) And not just captured, either. If 10% of the population of the CIS
goblinized, that's about 20 million orks and trolls. About half of
these were orks. At least 4 million of these were brought to the death
camps. In seven months, the camps officially gassed about 3 million.
The ork gestation period is about six months, and they have litters
four or more. Since times were tough, conservatively figure that only
5% of the female orks gave birth during this period, most in prison.
That's still around a million newborn ork children by the time the
camps stopped gassing.
(>) Dr. Love
Camps in eastern Siberia, especially those near Magadan began to hold
growing numbers of Japanese metahumans. Most of these were captured
trying to sneak into Siberia by boat, attempting to escape Japan.
There is some evidence, however, which suggests that the Japanese
government deported many metahumans to Russia, with the cooperation of
the Russian government.
Though there were some break-outs, VITAS outbreaks, bombings, riots,
and at least one magical assault, little changed in the camp system
for the rest of the decade. By 2030, the Russian camp system held
nearly 17 million metahumans, most of them orks. It is estimated that
at least that many were living in the wilds if Siberia.
Proportionally, the metahuman population vastly outweighed the humans
that guarded them. Busy recovering from the crash of '29, Russia did
not realize the implications of this imbalance until it was to late.
Unlike most revolutions, the Awakened takeover of Siberia did not
initially have one leader or even a unified revolutionary movement. In
fact, the opening blow of the revolution was not even recognized as
such until much later. While Russia was pre-occupied with rebellion in
the CIS and brewing conflict in Eastern Europe [SR2, pg28], all
communication with settlements and cities in the forests around the
Podkamennaya Tunguska river suddenly stopped. Though not a high
priority for the Russian military, several reconnaissance missions
were sent to investigate. Several corporate security missions were
sent in as well, as this area was a lucrative lumber source. No one
going into these woods was ever seen again. Unknown at the time, the
dryads were claiming Evenki as their own and eliminating all
In 2030, the EuroWars began to heat up. Russia was not fully involved
at that point, but much of the personnel guarding the metahuman camps
began to be transferred back to European Russia. Though not in
communication, several metahuman groups, some within the camps
themselves, executed plans to free those in the camps, then proceeded
to take over the surrounding area. All of these plans occurred within
weeks of each other. A few examples: seven bear shamans, who managed
to hide their magic from their human captors, led a lightning revolt
against a camp in Noril'sk. Thirty well organized trolls took over
camps in Nizhne-Vartovosk with tactics as brilliant as they were
brutal. All of the camps in Viluysk were liberated in hours, largely
due to the efforts of a pack of wolf shamans who had been hiding in
the surrounding forest. The small coal mining camp town of
Sredekolymsk was surrendered without conflict to a numerically
superior metahuman force which included nearly a dozen sasquatch.
Without warning, the hundreds of camps in and around Magadan were
attacked by orks in armored trucks with heavy weapons, twenty or more
human mages and at least one greater dragon.
(>) Any guesses who the dragon was? From what I hear, it was an
eastern dragon, so my money's on Ryumyo.
(>) Doubt it, chummer. I was penned in Magadan, and this looked way
different than the trid of Ryumyo. My guess is that it's the same wyrm
The Russian military and corporate security forces attempted to regain
control of the situation, succeeding in some cases. The metahuman
groups that remained in control managed to get in touch with each
other, mostly through captured television stations. By then, the large
numbers of metahumans freed by isolated groups of rebels were being
formed into armies, some of them very well equipped with plundered
Three weeks after the start of the rebellion, leaders of the various
mini-revolts met in Vitim, a metahuman controlled airstrip in central
Siberia, though the dragon was notably absent. In a few short hours,
they elected Ekaterina Umanski, the troll who led the Nizhne-Vartovosk
revolt, as leader. She identified two immediate goals: cut the
Trans-Siberian Railroad to slow any Russian troops sent to stop the
rebellion and gain control of as many nuclear weapons as possible.
(>) You gotta hand it to Ekaterina. She thought big. The fear was that
once the Russians realized that they were screwed as far as getting
troops into Siberia, they might decide to cut their losses by lobbing
some fusion our way. Ekaterina reckoned that if we had nukes of our
own and were willing to use them, we'd be safe.
Then, as now, magic was Siberia's main weapon. A small force of wolf
and bear shamans was assigned to cut the railroad west of Yekaterinbug
and north of Vladivosktok and prevent it from being rebuilt. The human
mages from the Magadan attack were sent undercover to assist in
harassing rebuilding efforts.
While these forces were in transit, Awakened forces simultaneously
attacked three nuclear missile facilities above the Arctic Circle on
October 23, 2030. Though the Russian defenders were well trained and
had some magical defense, they were simply not prepared to defend
against magical assault from scores of magicians and a dragon.
Umanski's forces captured two of the three sites.
(>) In spite of what you might have heard, it was not a full on
assault. In fact, very few shots were fired. I'm sworn not to reveal
how we did it, but can tell you for certain that it was not a frontal
Almost immediately, Umanski broadcast a message to the United Nations
declaring Siberia as independent from Russia and a haven for all
metahumans. Siberian airspace would be closed to any and all traffic
until the U.N. was notified otherwise, and any incoming air-traffic
would be shot down. Not wishing to cause a world-wide panic, Umanski
did not inform the U.N. that Siberia was now a nuclear power. Instead,
she sent an encrypted video message to the highest levels of the
Russian and Japanese governments. In this message, she politely
indicated that she possessed nuclear weapons, and would use them if,
and only if, "any nation launched a missile strike" against a Siberian
target. Attached to the copy of the message sent to Russia were the
launch codes for the captured missiles.
(>) No fraggin' way. Even controlling the launch sites and the silos,
it would have taken days, weeks even, to crack the launch codes.
(>) Maybe, maybe not.
(>) The quoted bit above was sheer genius on Umanski's part. Most
assumed that by "missile strike" she meant nuclear missiles, but
others thought she might have meant any missile. From what I gather,
Japan spent at least six hours debating this point. I'm sure the
Russian higher-ups spent even longer. She also, quite deliberately I'm
sure, did not specify who would get nuked if Siberia was attacked.
Some (not many) argued that if any country attacked Siberia, Siberia
would launch against anyone, not just the nation that attacked. This
led to a stream of communiques to Russia from Japan, advising against
missile attack. These two facts probably gave Umanski an extra week
before Russia counterattacked.
(>) Where did the Advocate get this intel? I've never heard of Siberia
having nukes this soon until this post. I admit, it explains a lot,
but why hasn't this come out before?
For Russia, the timing of this revolt couldn't have been worse. Ukrane
and Belarus were chafing under Russian demands, and Russian troops had
been sent in. These troops had to also guard against possible invasion
from an increasingly hostile Europe. In addition, as most of their
computer systems were military, the crash of '29 had hit Russia
especially hard and repairs were still underway. Most crucially,
Russia needed resources, especially metal and oil. With access to the
natural treasures of Siberia cut off, this problem became even worse.
Assuming Russia would divert troops from Europe to take back Siberia,
independence movements in Ukrane and Belarus increased their
activities. Countries like Poland and Romania also seemed poised to
take advantage of the situation.
Of most concern to Russia were the nuclear weapons and Siberia's oil
and gas; however, Mikhailovich vastly underestimated the strength of
the Awakened Rebellion. Though unable to spare the equipment and
troops from Europe needed to beat down the rebellion, Mikhailovich
sent several regiments into Siberia to secure natural resources.
Several special forces missions to retake the nuclear missile
facilities were also launched, all meeting with failure.
Like many armies before it, the Russian army succumbed to what had
historically been a Russian savior: winter. Unable to move by train,
nearly a third of these soldiers died during the frigid march. Slowed
down by extremely heavy snow and lower than average temperatures, the
troops did not reach their first goal, Nizhne-Vartok, until late
Awakened forces spent the intervening time establishing a secure
communications network, at least some of which relied on astral
projection and spirits. Knowing the winter would limit their movement,
the Awakened forces organized into independent resistance cells.
Through short raids, recruiting drives and other tactics, these cells
grew outward from their central base. By winter's end, many cells had
connected with neighboring cells, controlling a significant portion of
Siberia. Apart from the troops sent from Europe, Russian soldiers and
bases still operated in Siberia. A primary goal of the resistance
cells was to disrupt the communications of these outposts and to
eliminate as many of these soldiers as possible. Some of the bases and
several other nuclear facilities were also captured.
(>) I bet tons of humans died during this consolidation. Anybody care
to deny it?
(>) Dr. Love
(>) No comment.
Umanski sent several spirits covertly into Japan to seek out metahuman
allies. Most of these sprirts were intercepted, but one made contact
with an Oni woman named Yumi Yashikawa, leader of a group hiding from
Japanese authorities. Knowing the only fate awating them in Japan was
persecution, imprisionment and death, Yashikawa and her group escaped
to Siberia. Once there, she coordinated with the Awakened forces to
smuggle more and more metahumans out of Japan.
As the metahumans began to consolodate, tribes of native Siberians
like the Chukchi quietly joined with tribes from polar North America.
Having resisted Russian assimilation since 2010, Chukchi
traditionalists took advantage of the Awakened rebellion to join the
Trans-Polar Aluet Nation, claiming the extreme north of Siberia [NAN2,
Like their counterparts in the West, Chukchi shamans could work
powerful magic. Several demonstrations of Chukchi magic made it clear
that neither metahumans nor Russians would be allowed to encroach into
the small remaining area occupied by indigenous Siberians. Though the
Chukchi were nowhere near a Ghost Dance level of threat, Umanski
ordered the cells around their lands to keep out of them.
One the western front, Mikhailovich, ordered many flights over
Siberia, mostly reconnaissance flights. In spite of warnings, only two
planes were shot down, both bombers. The first major conflict between
Russian and Siberian ground forces occurred, after many skirmishes, in
Nizhne-Yartok March 2, 2031. A swarm of earth and fire elementals were
sent into the main Russian camp, apparently targeting the munitions
dump. Russian magicians engaging the elementals were killed by sniper
fire and astral ambush. Siberian mages then destroyed tanks,
communications placements, buildings and other hard targets. Siberian
troops, mostly heavily armed orks, then attacked. By the time Russian
air cover arrived and destroyed most of the Siberians (and a good
portion of Nizhne-Yartok), over 60% of the Russian soldiers were dead.
All but one of the planes sent in for air cover was destroyed before
it got back into Russian airspace.
(>) When the Russian wizards threw the fork away, several spirits they
had controlled went free. Some of these immediately joined the
Several weeks later, Japan attacked the CIS island of Sakhalin,
beginning the Karafuto War [Imperial Japan web site]. Russia,
obligated to protect Skahalin but still unable to use the
Trans-Siberian Railway to move troops from Europe, ordered all Russian
military units still intact in eastern Siberia to abandon their posts
and move to the southeast, eliminating any war materiel they could not
transport. Once crossing the Amur river into an area still under
Russian control, Russian troops regrouped. Part of this force was
dispatched to defend Skahalin. Remaining troops took up a defensive
stance along the Amur river, apparently intending to protect
Khabarovsk and Vladivosktok from both Awakened rebels and potential
invasion by Japanese Imperial Marines.
Simultaneously, Russia began a series of air strikes in western
Siberia designed to destroy as much of the military equipment captured
by the rebels as possible. Mikhailovich, no longer underestimating the
rebels, began to assemble an invasion force near the Urals. Using
political leverage, Mikhailovich convinced Kazakstan to lend troops,
forming a second invasion force to the south. It took several months
to assemble enough soldiers for the invasion. In the interim, the air
strikes pounded Awakened forces.
(>) Gods, those were interesting times. We had captured a number of
SAM emplacements and brought down quite a few Russian birds. We had
captured airfields and more planes than you swing a cat at. Trouble
was, without the pilots to fly them, or ground crews to service our
jets, the Russians could do pretty much whatever they wanted in the
(>) Why not just pull in trained people from somewhere friendly to
(>) Oh, we tried chummer. Europe sent us some instructors, but with
the EuroWars going on, they couldn't spare much. The newly-formed UCAS
was careful to avoid taking any side in the EuroWars, so didn't want
to help us for fear of hurting Russia. Nearly everyone else hated
metahumans with a passion. You can bet the Middle East, China and
Japan wouldn't have wept if Russia nuked us off the face of the Earth.
We got some help from the NAN, but even they were starting to have
second thoughts about metahumans, what with elves and others starting
to push tribes out of the way.
(>) Pozhar's right. We got training, but you can't go from zero to
flying jets in three months. We needed skilled pilots. Lot's of 'em
and right away. Nowadays people dump on Umanski for what she did, but
I woulda done the same.
Ekaterina Umanski, in desperate need of air cover, sent a collection
of negotiators to several megacorporations. Saeder-Krupp, Mitsuhama
and Yamatetsu seized the opportunity, supplying pilots, crews,
training, equipment and satellite intelligence in exchange for mineral
rights, land, political concessions and access to Russian military
(>) "Access" is an interesting way to put it. If the megacorps have
nukes, this is probably where a lot of them came from.
Several other corporations, most notably Shiawase, were still fiercely
fighting against the Awakened rebels to protect their assets in
Siberia. The Awakened negotiators signed several agreements with these
corps, ending such fighting at the expense of land, Russian equipment
and some control of resources.
(>) I bet the folks who escaped Yomi just love the fact that they got
saved by mostly Japanese corporations.
(>) Dr. Love
(>) Don't get me started.
In early June 2031, weeks before Siberia's air force was ready, Russia
launched a ground assault. An initial wave of armored LAVs, most
containing at least one magician, penetrated as far as Tyumen,
clearing Siberian defenses along the railroad. After devastating air
raids and bloody urban fighting, Russian troops regained
Yekaterinburg, meeting with the Kazakstan troops driving from the
south. Within days, the combined army took Tyumen and the intervening
railway. Troops began to spread north, seizing control of mines, oil
wells and gas pockets.
Once out of the cities, these troops met heavy resistance from
Siberian guerilla attacks, but were not slowed significantly until
Siberia finally got planes in the air towards the end of June. Russia
kept most of their veteran pilots fighting in the EuroWars, sending
only young flyers to Siberia. These unseasoned pilots were no match
for the highly trained corporate pilots, especially those from
Yamatetsu, who used new, experimental cybernetic control systems, some
of the earliest vehicle control rigs. Even so, the sheer number of
aircraft at its disposal allowed Russia to contest Siberian skies for
the rest of the revolution.
Experimental Yamatetsu rigging systems were also installed into the
handful of LAVs captured by Siberia. As Russian forces began to march
on Omsk, these LAVs led a strike which cut the troops off from Europe,
effectively trapping them in Siberia. Undaunted, the Russian army
Though the Russians now controlled a significant portion of Siberia's
oil and gas, they were unable to transfer it back to Moscow. Desperate
for the industrial and agricultural resources no longer available from
Siberia, Russia steamrolled across Belarus into Europe, shifting the
EuroWars into high gear [SR2, 28].
Umanski, knowing that the Russians controlled a great deal Siberia's
best farm land, began an aggressive campaign to contain the Russians
in the cities, driving the troops from rural areas. By the time
harvest came, these efforts were marginally successful, but the
Awakened army was taking staggering losses. Russian forces, though
unable to break back into Europe or expand their holdings, resisted
any and all efforts at expelling them for the rest of the year.
(>) An awful lot of magic got thrown around back then, both defensive
and offensive. Added to the Soviet rape of the land and the emotional
output of the Gulags, and you have some pretty severe astral changes.
At the start of 2032, without input from Siberia and without warning,
Mitsuhama and Shiawase influenced the Kazakstan government to pull the
support of its troops. Soldiers in the Kazakstan army, in some cases
in the middle of firefights, all simultaneously abandoned their posts
and marched home. Awakened forces took advantage of the confusion to
regain Yekaterinbug and part of Omsk.
Though still in a strong defensive position, Russian troops were low
on supplies. Pressing her advantage, Umanski called for Russia to
surrender. Both Moscow and the generals in Omsk refused, but asked for
a cease-fire to talk truce. Against the warnings of her advisors,
Umanski agreed to speak to Russian negotiators.
Yvgeny Mikhailovich recognized the Siberian Declaration of
Independence March 1, 2032. In a national address, Mikhailovich
confirmed what many already thought: with war in Europe, Japan
attacking, and revolts in the CIS, Russia faced far greater threats
than an independent Siberia, especially if Russia could get decent
terms in a treaty.
Three hours before this address, Mikhailovich and Umanski signed the
Treaty of Krasnowosk. Russia recognized all lands west of the Ural
Mountains and north of the border with Kazakstan, Mongolia and China
as independent Siberian lands, apart from Russian lands south of the
Amur river (including Khabarovsk and Vladivosktok). In exchange,
Siberia would repair the Trans-Siberian railroad immediately and
Russian military troops and equipment would be granted passage on it
to Sovetskaya Gavan (and only Sovetskaya Gavan) until the Karafuto War
was over. Russia would be allowed to remove personnel and 45% of the
nuclear weapons housed Siberia, leaving Siberia with a sizable
conventional and nuclear arsenal. Siberia would also agree to give
Russian "first buy" options at market rates on all Siberian natural
gas and oil for seven years. Lastly, Russia and Siberia agreed to a
seven year peace between them.
(>) With one stroke of a pen, Mikhailovich proved what a traitor he
(>) A lot o' people would agree, Blackie old chummer, but I ain't one
of 'em. The Treaty of Krasnowosk is probably the only reason Russia is
still a country. Fighting wars on two fronts is hard enough. Add
independence fighting in Ukrane and Belarus and ya got a nearly
unwinable situation. Add fighting magical battles in the cold in
remote areas and ya got the impossible. Mikhailovich knew that he
didn't have a snowball's chance in hell to retake Siberia with all
that other drek flyin'.
(>) What he needed, and badly, was oil, gas and metal. The treaty was
the easiest way to get access to Siberian resources on something close
to his own terms.
Siberia followed the treaty to the letter. Umanski brought together
leaders of the various independence cells in Yakutsk, laying the
groundwork for what is now called the First Circle. After weeks of
debate, visits from corporate deal makers and meetings with foreign
ambassadors, the First Circle hammered out the structure of the
Awakened Siberian Confederation. Umanski was nominated for Prime Arc
of the First Circle, but turned down the nomination. The First Circle
eventually appointed an ork named Karl Rostovtzeff. The First Circle,
after long debates, divided territory along mostly racial lines,
ceding land to each of the main leaders present.
(>) "Prime Arc of the First Circle"? Gimme a break!
(>) "Visits from corporate dealmakers"? What for?
(>) To make sure their agreements were being upheld. The corps were
mostly concerned with making sure that the First Circle passed a law
equivalent to the UCAS Shiawase Decision, giving them
(>) Legal Beagle
(>) Some strange things happened in the First Circle meetings. A cadre
of dryads from Evenki were in attendance, as were two shapeshifters,
several Sasquatch and a representative of at least one dragon. All
were excited at the new world they were shaping, but each of them was
hell-bent on getting as good a deal as they could.
(>) Lots of 'em pretty clearly hated each others guts, too. The Japs
had a serious mad on for Umanski for dealing with Jap corporations.
The elves had a serious attitude problem, treating us like hired help
or something; most couldn't stand them. Nearly everyone glared at the
human mages, too, but they seemed not to care.
(>) Human mages?
(>) Some of those invited to the First Circle were not strictly
speaking metahuman. For example, the human magicians who fought with
the revolution were granted Okhotsk for their trouble. Some groups
were not even involved in the revolt. The shapeshifters approached
Umanski and asked for and were given a voice on the council on the
grounds that they had similar goals. It may be that Umanski feared
alienating potentially powerful allies.
Russia took full advantage of all of the terms of the Treaty of
Krasnowosk but one: they moved very few people out of Siberia. After
the treaty, nearly 10 million humans remained and the ASC spent much
of the following year determining what to do with them. The member
states of the ASC prohibited any human from entering their borders
(with the exception of Okhotsk, which allowed in only magicians, and
Jimen which allowed any who pledged themselves to the church). The ASC
unanimously agreed to allow humans one year to leave Siberia. After
that, individual member states were free to deal with any remaining
humans as they saw fit. Humans left in droves, especially into China,
Kazakstan, Russia, Seattle and California.
When the year was up, member states had various solutions to the
"human question". Some, like Jotenheim and Evenki, chose a path a zero
tolerance, either exterminating humans or dumping them at the nearest
border. Though claiming that they drove out all their humans, rumors
persist that Taymyr, Almaz and Serstsevina enslaved remaining humans.
Other nations took no official action, usually because no humans
Quite a large number of elves left with the humans, most of them bound
for Ireland (which soon became Tír na nÓg) and Sinsearach (part of
which later became Tir Tairngire). Interestingly, though some elves
were present at the initial First Circle, only the dryads petitioned
for their own member state. Already vastly outnumbered by other
metahumans, the elves' political power declined rapidly with the
(>) So, three years before Tir Tairngire is formed, the elves pass up
a chance at making their own nation in Siberia and leave. Makes you
wonder what they knew.
Several months into 2033, three great dragons led a force of Awakened
beings and metahumans into South America. After a short but bloody
conflict, these forces claimed the Amazon basin, forming Amazonia
[SR2, pg 28]. Every nation of the ASC immediately recognized the new
country, forming strong ties that continue into the present.
(>) I wouldn't be at all surprised if some of the tech and training,
hell, maybe even the troops for this attack came from Siberia.
(>) There's evidence that one of the great dragons was the same dragon
who led some of the revolts in Siberia. I'm beginning to wonder if all
of the events in Siberia were just practice for Amazonia.
The following years saw Siberia unhindered by warfare, though fear of
Japanese attack was almost always being discussed. Under the guiding
hand of Prime Arc Karl Rostovtzeff, the fledgling nations of the ASC
began to find themselves and grow.
(>) "Guiding hand", ha! "Referee" is more like it.
(>) "Babysitter" may be more accurate. No one ever agreed on anything.
It was a good thing we got set up as a Confederation, 'cause if
Umanski tried to make one country outta us, it woulda been civil war
for sure. Rostovtzeff spent much of the first two years getting
everyone agreed on what should concern the First Circle and what
should be left up to the national governments. Mostly, it was just a
madhouse. Still is, really, except fist fights don't break out as
(>) One of my biggest headaches was finding the right environmental
policy. Our attempts a finding a balance acceptable to both the miners
and the green movement almost caused wars on several occasions. I
don't mind admitting that I don't miss the job at all.
(>) K. Rostovtzeff
One of Rostovtzeff's most successful efforts was a global media
campaign aimed at convincing metahumans from all over the world to
relocate to countries in the ASC. A financial aid program, funded by
both ASC and megacorporate coffers, paid expenses for qualified
applicants who could not afford the relocation on their own.
(>) Nice and fuzzy warm o' the corps, ain't it? The real motive was to
thin out the trog ghettos growing up in their back yard and quell the
race riots. Hell, some countries and cities even donated to the fund.
(>) Looking at some of the trid spots in this campaign, I think that
was the idea. Some of them seem to me, as a "plain" human, to have a
subtle subtext of "donating to this project will help get those trogs
out of your hair". Not sure, but it seems like this may have been a
goal of the ads.
(>) The Chromed Accountant
(>) Ah, if only my sight were that far-reaching.
(>) K. Rostovtzeff
The ASC was almost immediately flooded with metahuman immigrants from
all over the world, including several metahuman sub-races (cyclops,
gnomes and ogres, to name a few). While this provided a much needed
influx of labor, it created some new social problems. First, the
addition of speakers of European and African languages pushed the
already significant language barrier even higher, stratifying some
neighborhoods -- and even regions -- by language. Second, the
began to aggressively pursue their own political agendas, even
demanding their own nations, creating quite a bit of resentment and
(>) The Roman Catholic Church, through Christ, our Lord, assisted
those metahumans unfortunate enough to be trapped in nations that
would persecute them. By protecting, concealing and moving them into
Siberia, God's will be done.
(>) Uh... amen. And this holy underground railroad won the Vatican
hooploads of converts here, lemme tell ya.
On May 1, 2035, Tir Tairngire announced itself [TT, pg 29], and was
immediately recognized by the ASC. Within months, nearly every elf
remaining in the ASC (apart from the dryads of Evenki) had relocated
to the Tir.
Two years later, Karl Rostovtzeff completed his term as Prime Arc.
Soichiro Nakamura, an Oni (in both nationality and race) was selected
to succeed Rostovtzeff. Nakamura, known to be a capable soldier and
excellent leader, was well-loved in the ASC for his vocal
anti-Japanese views. While publicly pressing the First Circle to
commit to the expansion and modernization of the ASC navy to defend
against Japan, Nakamura and the First Circle secretly hatched a plan
to remove the last vestige of Russian control from Siberia.
Damien Knight, now in control of Ares Macrotechnology, privately
contacted Nakamura as early as 2034. While other corporations has been
cutting deals in Siberia, Ares -- then under the control of Lenard
Aurelius -- had nearly no presence in Russia. Knight, however, saw a
myriad of opportunities in Siberia, including resources, nuclear
weapons and a long term market for military hardware.
On March 1, 2039, exactly seven years after the signing of the Treaty
of Krasnowosk and less than a month after the Night of Rage [Seattle,
pg 17], Awakened forces, supplemented by staggering amounts of Ares
military hardware, swept past the Amur river, annihilating all Russian
forces in the way. Within days, ASC forces raised their flag over
Vladivostok. Nakamura reportedly sent a crate full of Russian dogtags
to the Russian President, but no prisoners or bodies have been
returned to Russia.
(>) This attack had obviously been planned long before the Night of
Rage, but it's pretty clear that the events of that the Night of Rage
radically colored the tone of the invasion.
While never apologizing or even explaining the attack, Nakamura told
the Russians that the ASC had no interest in Russia's European
territory and that the ASC would still honor its treaty agreement to
allow passage for troops bound for the still ongoing Karafuto war.
Russia, though severely weakened by the EuroWars, massed troops along
the Ural mountains. The ASC did as well. The face-off continues to the
time of this writing, though neither side seems intent to attack.
Immediately after the ASC raised their flag in Vladivostok, the First
Circle was swamped with petitions requesting rights to settle the new
territory, especially the monsoon rainforests of the Ussuriland. The
First Circle heard nearly two hundred groups state their case,
chambers jammed to capacity with increasingly surly dignitaries. Many
petitioners were openly heckled and security was twice called upon to
stop shoving matches. Once all petitions were heard, the floor was
opened to debate, and immediately erupted in shouting, shoving and
eventually punching. After about a half an hour, and again calling on
security, Prime Arc Nakamura managed to get the debate into some
semblance of order. The debate continued for several days without
violence, until a racial slur generated another bout of fist fights.
Using ever more security, and ultimately threats of deadly force,
Nakamura continued the debate.
After nearly two weeks and much political maneuvering, two groups
managed to dominate the debate. The predominantly Japanese metahumans
of Kakureba contended that their population had the skills needed to
make Vladivosktok a tremendous asset to the ASC. In addition, they
insisted that they were best qualified to patrol the coast between the
ASC and Japan, and few doubted their zeal. The other group, a loose
collection of ogre soldiers, presented proof that members of their
race did the brunt of the fighting to take the new territory, and
therefore the land should be theirs, by right of blood.
(>) Philosophically, the ogres really didn't present much of a case
compared to Kakureba, but we mostly had the impression that Kakurebans
were stuck up. Still do. A lot of people backed the ogres just to
prevent the Kakurebans from getting it.
On March 25, 2039, just as one of the Khakassian delegates was
suggesting the two groups split the new land, a delegation of
shapeshifters entered the First Circle. Though the shapeshifters had
been given a seat on the council, no one had sat in it for four years,
so most assumed they had abandoned the council. Their surprise
entrance gave them the full attention of all in the room, and
generated the only contiguous fifteen seconds of silence in the entire
proceeding. Without waiting to be recognized, and without prologue,
the lead shapeshifter announced that they would be taking Ussuriland.
Having issued their mandate, the shapeshifters turned an left, without
waiting for acknowledgment or debate.
The delegation had almost left the room when two members of the ogre
group rushed them, one with a smuggled knife, the other with a chair.
The knife-wielding ogre was stopped long before he reached the
shapeshifters by Saori Nishida, a dwarven physical adept from the
Kakureba delegation. The other ogre was not so lucky, quickly
eviscerated by one of the shapeshifters. In retaliation, several other
delegates attacked both the shapeshifters and Nishida, many with
concealed weapons. Deadly fighting soon engulfed the room. Some
delegates wrestled guns from the security team and began firing. As
magic began to fly, security sealed the room and unleashed clouds of
Neuro-Stun VIII gas. Security mages also began to carpet the room in
stunballs, attempting to bring unconsciousness to as many people as
possible, even other guards.
These measures worked, knocking out nearly everyone in the room.
Unfortunately, this allowed several elementals to go free, at least
two of which killed their summoner before leaving the area.
(>) I was one of the security guards left standing when all this went
down. The lead shifter, the one everybody called Kolot, was still
standing, as if the whole thing hadn't happened. To no one in
particular, he said "even so, we will be taking Ussuriland," and
turned to leave. I was closest to the door, and I couldn't open it
fast enough. Even through my gas mask, his eyes fraggin' near melted
The smoke and gas cleared, revealing hundreds of wounded and 63 dead,
including First Arc Nakamura. Reports of the incident spread quickly.
The Russian-speaking press dubbed the event the draka. The
Japanese-speaking press called it kakuto. To the UCAS, and most of the
rest of the world, it is known simply as the Fray.
(>) The Imperial Japanese propagandists had a field day with kakuto.
Japanese trideo was saturated with hundreds of variations of "see, we
told you these metahumans were scum. They can't even be civilized to
each other." I bet the Russians got a good chuckle out of it as well.
For several months, backlash from the Fray threatened to set the
nations of the Awakened Siberian Confederation at each other's
throats. Acting Prime Arc Tomoharu Hatano, a koborokuru from Kakureba,
spent most of his time preventing all out war. Riots broke out in
several major cities, though few deaths were reported. With
superlative negotiation skills, impressive oration, and the timely
help of religious leader Viara Tsarkova, Hatano managed to convince
the leaders of the ASC nations to reconvene the First Circle.
The initial regrouping of the First Circle, towards the end of 2039,
dealt with only one issue. By unanimous vote, the First Circle
building in Yatusk would be turned into a memorial to the people and
beings who gave their lives in forming the ASC, especially those who
died in the Fray. The First Circle would be moved to new headquarters
in Irkutsk. Once installed in the Irkutsk, the First Circle officially
named Tomoharu Hatano Prime Arc.
One of Hatano's major goals was the reparation of the environmental
ravages of the Soviet and Mikhailovich regimes. Though strongly
opposed by member nations which relied heavily on mining, like
Jotenheim and Khakassia, Hatano enacted environmental protection
guidelines that had to be followed by all members of the ASC. He also
created a task force of magicians, engineers and scientists to
investigate and implement methods of repairing environmental damage.
In mid 2040, the Japanese-Russian Karafuto war ended, eliminating the
last of Siberia's obligations from the Treaty of Krasnowosk. Shortly
after, the government of Kakureba announced that the city of
Vladivostok would be renamed Shiro. In celebration, and as part of an
urban renewal project, a dozen Soviet era buildings were
simultaneously explosively demolished. Ares added to the announcement,
unveiling plans to build several state of the art military shipyards
The next several years were prosperous ones for Siberia. In 2042, the
Trans-Siberian Railway was privatized, intrusted to the Siberian
Railway Corporation. Almost immediately, the SRC began expanding the
rail system into the north. A year later Tomoharu Hatano founded the
hashi no sora, a network of LTA and conventional craft designed to
efficiently and quickly move cargo and passengers to and from remote
parts of Siberia.
In March 2042, as many of the German governments were moving to enact
anti-metahuman eugenics programs, several of the Eifel Mountains
erupted, the resulting lava flows and earthquakes destroying several
German cities [Germany Sourcebook, pg 29]. Most people assumed that
these catastrophes were artificially created with magic, many pointing
to vengeful metahumans in general as the cause, and to Siberia in
particular. The ASC remained silent on the issue. Only when the German
states abandoned their eugenic laws did Siberia speak, and then only
to congratulate the German states on their wisdom.
(>) So, anybody want to share the real deal on this one?
(>) Dr. Love
The ASC sent financial aid and "military advisors" to the Troll
Kingdom of the Black Forest immediately after the kingdom was declared
on February 19, 2043 [Germany, pg. 29]. The ASC initiated similar
arrangements with several other metahuman nations in Germany and
elsewhere, eventually signing trade agreements with most of them.
On August 8, 2044, Tomoharu Hatano was gunned down in public by Vicha
Kolmonov, a troll from Taymyr. Kolmonov threw himself in front of a
train to avoid capture. Though an investigation showed that Kolmonov
acted alone, many still suspect the Taymyr government was involved.
Combined with the Fray, these suspicions created simmering, but
steadily increasing, hostility between Taymyr and Kakureba which
continues to the time of this writing.
In August of 2046, Ekaterina Umanski died of natural causes. She had
been leading the country of Taymyr and, though she left instructions
as to her succession, Konstantin Izhevsky took control of Taymyr by
force, leading it into a breif civil war. The Noril'sk Compact brought
a peaceful resolution to the war, leaving both Izhevsky and Umanski's
government sharing power.
Anatoli Statiev, an ork from Serdtsevina, served the remainder of
Tomoharu Hatano's term as Acting Prime Arc, ending in 2047. Though
normally the First Circle allows only one term as Prime Arc, since
Statiev only served part of a term, he was offered another. Statiev
refused, instead nominating Natalia Grantcharova, a charismatic troll
from Jotenheim. After a longer than normal debate and a very close
vote, Grantcharova was named Prime Arc.
(>) No one would admit it, but a lot of people opposed the
Grantcharova nomination solely based on her sex.
(>) Justin Sane
In September 2050, amidst a media frenzy, Irkutsk University opened
its doors. Built almost entirely with donations from Fuchi Industrial
Electronics, Irkutsk boasts strong programs in computer science,
electronics, cybernetics and other technical fields. It is also world
renowned for its programs in metahuman studies and medicine. The
following year saw the opening of many new schools in Siberia. Chief
among these were Shiawase-backed Umanski University in Noril'sk --
focusing mainly on biotechnology -- and an elite, mixed
hermetic/shamanic school in Okhotsk known only as the Crucible.
Towards the end of 2052, an unimposing collection of businessmen,
mostly from the areas around Lake Baikal, ignited a controversy that
raged for months across Siberia. These men, representing the tourist
industry, petitioned the First Circle to relax border restrictions and
allow humans into Siberia for the purposes of tourism. Debate in the
First Circle, and indeed throughout Siberia, was fierce, though
members of the First Circle seemed intent on avoiding the outbursts of
violence that plagued the it in the past. After four months passed
with the First Circle nearly deadlocked on the issue, two of the main
opponents of the petition died within several days of each other.
Bashkir dignitary Bilal al-Sayf ben Ibrahim al-Tyumen had a heart
attack. Seattle-born Harrison "Chet" Martinson, from Serdtsevina, and
his wife were killed in a car collision when Martinson ran a stop
light. Successors to these men proved more amenable to the idea of
humans as tourists.
On June 4, 2053, Natalia Grantcharova gave her most famous (and
infamous) public address: the Baikal Speech. Over national trideo,
with the crystal clear Lake Baikal as a background, Grantcharova
announced that the member nations of the ASC were now free to declare
regions of their countries as Tourism Zones, where members of all
races, including humans, would be welcome. She invited everyone in the
world to visit the first of these zones, Lake Baikal. With a cunning
mix of humor and philosophy, Grantcharova went on to outline her plans
for the future of Siberia: Siberia as a major player in world events.
Grantcharova recorded this speech separately in languages she spoke
fluently (Russian, English, Japanese, German, French, Portuguese and
Arabic) and the speech was aired all over the world.
(>) Rumor has it that she also did a version in Latin that she sent
exclusively to the Vatican.
(>) Dr. Love
Reactions to the Baikal Speech were mixed. Many governments, and
nearly all hate groups, took Grantcharova's plans for Siberia world
influence as an implied threat; however, Grantcharova's eloquence
surprised most humans, especially in the Western Hemisphere, where
Siberia was widely regarded as a primitive land of spectres and
goblins. Corporate leaders in the West also reacted favorably, and
corporate interest in Siberia and Siberian markets has increased ever
Internally, Jotenheim reacted by announcing its own Tourist Zone
around Maskimin Yar, one with an emphasis on hunting. While some
member nations, most notably Throolmak't, were outraged with this new
announcement, hunting in Maskimin Yar has proven to be a lucrative
tourist attraction. There were few initial visitors to Lake Baikal in
2053, but word of Baikal's extreme beauty and great service soon
spread, especially among higher corporate management. In the following
years, Baikal became a favorite vacation spot of many high level
corporate fast-trackers, especially at Fuchi.
When Grantcharova's term ended in 2054, she nominated Fariba Seipolt,
an orkish snake shaman from Bashkir, as her successor. Though most
Prime Arcs are named by a majority vote of the First Circle, by the
rules set out by Ekaterina Umanski any magician or adept nominated for
the position must accepted by three-fourths of the First Circle. After
several weeks of discussion, the final vote turned down Seipolt, just
shy of the three-fourths needed. The First Circle then nominated Zijin
Shen, an ork from Serdstevina. Within days, he was named Prime Arc.
(>) It's a pretty open secret that Shen pulled some strings to
influence some key voters to reject Seipolt. This has made him quite a
few enemies in Bashkir, not the least of which is Seipolt herself.
Despite growing rumors of human slavery within its borders, Siberia
began to get a reputation as a natural paradise. This reputation
suffered on December 24, 2054, when several blocks of Yakutsk were
flattened by a massive explosion. Coming as it did on the anniversary
of Rymryo's initial flight over Japan in 2011, the blast was assumed
to be the work of a racial hate group. Several hundred such groups
claimed responsibility for the blast.
The Advocate has obtained curious evidence that, minutes before the
blast, two groups (Chistota and Mokuteki) independently claimed they
were solely responsible for the blast, but provided inconsistent and
incorrect details. More curiously, a call allegedly from the Human
Nation was also received before the blast, claiming that while the
Human Nation had no objection to the target of the blast to come, it
was "being done for the wrong reasons". The call went on deny any
Human Nation involvement in the blast.
(>) I was on the team sent to investigate the blast, and a lot of us
doubted that a hate group caused the blast for two main reasons.
First, the target of the blast made very little sense for a hate group
attack. Yakutsk is deep into Siberia and contains very little of
political importance. Almaz also is extremely rabid about border
security, mostly in an effort to stop diamond smuggling, so it would
have been much easier for a hate group to target another city.
Secondly, the blast was just so fragging huge that, even if you
believe in Alamos 20K, not many hate groups would have had the tech to
make such a large bomb. Those that did would have certainly been smart
enough to target something more important.
(>) So what kind of bomb was it?
(>) Officially, we determined it to be a fuel-air explosive. Off the
record, I'm not really sure. The wreckage was really hinky. Most times
the evidence did point to an FAE, but other times, it seemed like
magic was the obvious culprit. Several members of the team swore that
it was some kind of subtactical nuke. One guy even painted a
reasonably believable scenario involving what he called a
microThor--you got it, a miniature, precision Thor hit from orbit. It
was uncanny. I've never seen anything else like it, before or since.
(>) Hm. A subtactical nuke set off inside an urban building for no
apparent reason. Where have I heard that before? Maybe Ares was doing
a little field testing?
The day following the blast, Almaz sealed off its borders, preventing
all but the most critical crossings (food shipments, for example). It
even severed Matrix connections with the rest of the world, though
trideo broadcasts still cross the border in both directions. The rest
of Siberia considered the Almaz reaction a bit extreme, but did call
for better border security from the ASC, especially against terrorist
In response the First Circle commissioned the construction of the
ograda, a magical and technological barrier surrounding the entirety
of Siberia. Though progress on the ograda is kept classified, most
believe that at the time of this writing, the ograda extends from the
Kamchatka/Jimen border all the way to Turkestan-Siberian rail line in
Khakassia. The First Circle has promised that the ograda will surround
Siberia by 2060.
As in most of the world, Dunkelzahn's will brought some interesting
changes to Siberia. Most notable was the September 1, 2057 formation
of Svoboda, a nation governed and populated by ghouls. Contained on
land donated by Almaz, Svoboda was immediately recognized by the ASC.
Hoping to gain the money offered in Dunkelzahn's will, Svoboda
continues to lobby for recognition from the United Nations.
With some of Dunkelzahn's bequests, Mothers of Metahumans recently
moved its world headquarters to Tomsk. The Advocate was able to
confirm rumors that MOM has stocked this headquarters with state of
the art security and Matrix presence.
In matters more mystical, a dozen of the free spirits known to reside
in Siberia made a brief press announcement earlier this year that they
would be joining the Astral Space Preservation Society, formed by the
Draco Foundation. Shortly afterward, these spirits, along with several
members of the Dunkelzahn Institute of Magical Research, dedicated a
building in downtown Okhotsk as the main Siberian chapter of the ASPS.
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