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Nova Porta

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About this City Journal

Catalog and Chronicles of Nova Porta

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617squad

Region: Nova Porta

Population: 3.4 Million sims

Capital: Grand Harbour

Government Type: Tricameral Constitutional Monarchy

Head of State: Maximus Caesar (previous), Antonius Nero Caesar (heir apparent)

Head of Government: Felix Septimus (previous), currently vacant

History:

Founded about 600 years ago by various settlers; some refugees, some nomads, even a few criminals were in the mix. District 23 was among the first cities to be founded and grew to well over a million sims prior to its disappearance. Eventually, society started organizing itself into houses, most prominent of these was the House of Caesar which currently holds dynastic rule since Nova Porta's founding. Other houses, like the House of Septimus, have hold governmental positions like Senator. After the founding of District 23, some settlers decided to continue exploring and eventually established the various other towns and cities as seen on the map. The House of Caesar has held leadership position in near absolute power since it's founding. Reforms enacted during the year 210 has made the government to adapt democratic measures such as open elections of Senators and other representatives. But recently, Maximus Caesar has been threatening to disband the Senate and both houses of Parliament and has the agenda of restoring the absolute monarchy.

Geography:

The Sparrow River effectively bisects Nova Porta into Eastern and Western Portions, while the Great Dividing Ridge further divides the region into Northern and Southern Portions, thus creating the 4 Portions. In the middle, Wolf Pass is where all these geographical barriers meet. To the south is where the majority of the cities are, as well as the Great Archipelago of island cities that call the various islands and atolls of the Great Southern Seas home. Climate on these islands can be best described as tropical to subtropical, but it is not uncommon for snow to fall during the winter months.

To the north is the southern coast, where most of the region's population resides. The city of District 23 lies at the delta of the Sparrow River and various coastal communities stretch both eastward and westward of the delta. The relative flatness of the coastal plain allows for unhindered lines of transportation and communication across the southern portion. However, when one draws close to the foot hill communities of St. Roch and Foothills, the geography changes from relative flat to hilly and finally the Great Dividing Ridge itself.

The Northwestern Portion of Nova Porta is home to the Forsaken Range. This impenetrable mountain range utterly fills up the Northwestern Portion of the region and only very few have ever dared to venture into the Forsaken Range. Fewer still have returned alive to tell of the horrors of the Forsaken Range. However, a hardy few have established a small mining community along the south western edge of the Forsaken Range. The small village of Darkhorse works the Darkhorse mines, extracting iron ore and coal, and is considered the only permanent settlement within the Forsaken Range.

Going eastward from the Forsaken Range, the city of San Raquel sits at the headwaters of the Sparrow River where the waters of Lake Sparrow begin their journey to the Southern Sea via the Sparrow River. Slightly younger than District 23, San Raquel is starting to experience its share of growth spurts. To connect the cities of San Raquel and District 23, high speed rail lines, heavy rail, and various roads cross over Wolf Pass and link these two regional powers together.

In the Northeastern region, the mountains once again give way to a massive plain. Here lies the breadbasket of the region, the largest of which would be Black Boulders which produces well over a million tons of produce. Everything from choice rib eye steak to military rations to experimental bio fuel plantations are grown right here.

Government and Politics:

Each city is effectively self governing. However, anything that affects the stability of the region as a whole is discussed in Grand Harbour before the Monarch. The Legislature is comprised of 3 houses: the Senate (upper house), the Parliament (middle house), and the Council (lower house). Only the Senate and Parliament can decide on matters that would affect the entire region, while the Council is made up entirely of each city's elected mayors and is arranged as a courtesy by the Monarch as a way for each of the cities' mayors to interact and settle disputes with each other. Mayors are elected, but in addition to their duties to the city, they are also expected to participate in the biannual Council of Mayors held in the Parliament chambers in Grand Harbour. The Council is not allowed to participate in the passing of laws and can only suggest changes to bills.

If the region was bicameral, then the Parliament would function as the lower house. Representation here is based on each city's population, usually to a ratio of 1 member to 200,000 constituents. However, a provision for 1 member for cities with less than 200,000 constituents is allowed. For a bill to pass this house, a majority of "one more than half" is needed. If a confirmation is needed for the bill to become law, the Parliament would need a 2/3's majority vote to ensure the bill's survival. Members are elected for 5 year terms, with no term limits.

The Senate is the highest house of Legislature in the whole region. Two senators are elected from each city, with each senator needing Parliamentary approval for confirmation of a senator. Senators are elected for 8 year terms, but after their second term, must take at-least an 8 year hiatus off the political stage before being allowed to run for re-election. For a bill to become law, a 2/3's majority vote is needed. For reasons of tradition, the Monarch usually presides over the Senate during sessions, but can differ this honour to other members of the Legislature, excluding Mayors.

The Monarch is the head of state. As such, he or she is expected to both enforce the laws and see that the laws are properly executed. The Monarch may use emergency powers to order martial law either across the region or to a specific area. The Monarch also has a panel of advisers known as the Council of Ministers. Each of these ministers oversees the daily affairs of state from recruiting members of the Imperial Guard to ensuring the safety of the food supply. The Monarch can also fire anyone within the government, be they a clerk or a minister. However, the Senate or the Parliament can challenge the Monarch's firing of any government official. If either house attains a "one more than half" majority vote, the fired official is allowed their old position back with whatever pay during their absence refunded.

Judicial powers are delegated to the Capitoline Court in Grand Harbour. 7 judges are appointed by the Monarch and are confirmed by the Senate. As with all Judicial powers, their job is to translate and interpret laws. The Court's main document that stands as the standard of law across the entire region is the Monarch's Charter. The Charter, signed in 210, is considered the pinnacle of the democratization of Nova Porta. If there is a law that conflicts with the Charter, the Court can declare the law in conflict and render it void.

Economy

Regionally, Nova Portia enjoys a well and diversified economy although it's agricultural sector takes up a large 40% of it's GDP. The heavily industrialized cities of McGath and City of Industry take up 30% of the GDP and primarily focus on the export of heavy industrial equipment, such as mining tools and blast furnaces, although a small yet burgeoning high tech industry is starting to sprout in McGath. The final 30% is split between mining, lumber, and general trade.

Transportation

The relatively wide Sparrow River provides an important mode of transportation and allows even large ocean going cargo ships to pass though without the need to widen the river and it is deep enough to avoid the need for dredging. Ferries connect the cities of District 23 and San Raquel with each other and to the Great Archipelago. Deeper inland, roads and highways are fairly common as a few highways cross the southern coastal plains and connect District 23 with the rest of the south coast. However, the region also features a heavily developed railway system that consists of light rail, subways, heavy surface rail, and high speed rail. Unfortunately, the Great Archipelago does not have such a well developed railway and tram system and relies primarily on water based transportation to get around, although the islands do get a heavy amount of car and pedestrian traffic. And finally, the region is home to 3 international airports. The Alberto Santos Dumont airport in District 23 is the region's hub for all the major airlines. However, due to the rapid urbanization of District 23, land is scarce and an agreement has been reached with District 23's neighbor, City of Commerce, to build the replacement of the Alberto Santos Dumont airport. Construction is underway, but the megaproject will take a very long time to complete. San Raquel's airport is nearing completion and has yet to be named.

617squad

By popular demand, a database is provided here to better understand the events and history behind some of the cities and events that happen in the story. Not sure how often I will update this section, but rest assured you'll be filled in as the story progresses. Therefore, let us start.

<run> C:\Program Files\Nova Porta\Database\database.exe

<please wait>

<login required>

username: MWILLIAMS

password:********

<DATABASE ENTRY PERMITTED>

<menu>

1. People

2. Places

3. Events

4. Log Out

<end>

617squad

Act 3: Loose Ends

Date and Time: July 500 (3 months before the disappearance of District 23) 50 hours after assassination of Maximus Caesar; 20:00 local

Location: Grand Harbour

2 days have passed since the death of Maximus Caesar. Although the city is still on lock down, you've decided to send a message directly to the conspirators. Felix Septimus, leader of the senate and patriarch to the House of Septimus, is target number 2. The police uniform will grant you access to most of the apartment tower, minus the penthouse where Felix resides. The plan is simple enough; slip inside using the police uniform, then kill an Imperial Guard for his uniform. Next, use a hacked key card to gain access the penthouse. Then, after eliminating whatever guards are in the penthouse, throw Felix off the balcony and let gravity do the rest.

As you are preparing your gear, there's a knock at the door. Arming yourself with the carbon fiber knife you challenge "Who's there?". A woman's voice is passes though the door, "Aquila". You sheathe your knife and open the door. A woman, somewhere in her early 30's, enters. She nods and walks right in. You close the door and lock it. "Sarah Livingston, I presume?" you inquire. Sarah nods in confirmation, "they sent me here, saying that you needed help in hacking the security systems of the tower." She produces a laptop and proceeds to show you various schematics, plans, blueprints, and layout of the apartment complex. "Now here's the hard part: extraction. How exactly do you intend to leave the penthouse?" You get a smile. "Watch and learn," you say to her, "watch and learn".

Donning your police uniform you enter the ground lobby of the apartment tower. Several groups of guards are ahead, some wandering, some just chatting. There's one guard standing by the elevators, all alone. You go up to him, and he eyes you with some suspicion. "Hey, there's something suspicious in the restrooms. Some sort of package on the sink." You follow the guard to the bathroom and indeed, there is a package on the sink. As he is distracted, you tie your choke cord around his neck. He struggles, so you pull the cord so tight that the strands of the cord actually start to snap. It takes the better part of a minute before the guard collapses and stops struggling. Your hands feel the burn as the imprints of the cord are burned into your hand. At least you're wearing gloves. You strip the guard of his uniform and dump the body into a supply closet.

Walking outside, nobody seems to notice the missing guard. But, it's best to play it safe and you go catch the elevators on the other side of the building.

The hacked key card works wonders as you board the elevator car without suspicion. In your pocket, you switch on the signal scrambler you had with you since the assassination of Maximus. You put on a small earpiece and you hear Sarah on the other end. "Signal scrambler seems to be working. I've hacked into their security feeds. They can't see a thing. I'm detecting only 1 heat signature in the penthouse bedroom. Has to be Felix." You smile upon your good fortune and just to be safe, "Sarah, disable all elevators, and cut the power on my mark." As the elevator doors open, you say "Now" in a hushed tone. As the power is cut, the door jams, half way open. You slide your way out and hear snoring. Doubtless, it's Felix. You follow the snoring and find Felix sound asleep in his bed.

Thinking quickly, you open the balcony door and grab Felix by the collar, instantly waking him up. "No! No! Please! Let go of me!" he pleads. He struggles to free himself to no avail. "You have done a terrible thing Felix." you say to him as grimly as possible. "You MURDERED Quintus! Huh?! Tell me, how does that feel?! To betray your own friend!" You back him up all the way to the balcony railing. The half moon shines and illuminates the face of Felix. He is in absolute fear, as he clings to your arms and tries feebly to wrest your grip from him. "I killed him! I admit my guilt! I killed him!" he declares. His fear quickly turns into self righteousness as he adds "I killed him because he was too weak! The Empire is falling apart! To keep the Empire together, to keep Nova Porta together REQUIRES a firm hand. Not some limp wrist like Quintus!" You are absolutely embroiled with rage and punch him in the kidney. He recoils downward just as your knee lands squarely on his forehead. One final look into the face of the conspirator, and with all your might, you throw him against the railing and trip him, sending him hurtling earthward.

Felix's screams ring though the night air. And then, silence. Almost instantly, guards surround the splatter of blood and gore that once was Felix Septimus. Far below, you can hear the commotion and as they look up, they scurry back in to arrest you. The power's been cut so the elevators are completely gone. The stairwell leading down doubtlessly has every single guard coming up. Only one way out. You tear off your guard's uniform, revealing a wingsuit and parachute. The first of the guards are now banging on the stairwell door. Nearby, you an open canal free of patrols. Thinking quickly, you jump off the building and vanish into the night as the guards swarm the penthouse. You swing behind an office building, it's power also cut thanks to Sarah, and deploy the parachute. You overshoot the canal and land in the outlaying field beyond it. You ditch your gear into the canal and walk off, crossing the boarder into Farmerston, bypassing the checkpoints along the way.

A few minutes later, after crossing into Farmerston, your phone rings. "Master Williams, this call is untraceable. A job well done on the death of Felix. The money will be wired to your account. Expect payment within the hour. Also, we assume your current location is in Farmerston, correct? We have arranged transportation for you within a few days. In the meantime, I suggest you lay low in Farmerston for a few weeks and let all this cool off. You know where our safe house in Farmerston is". The other side hangs up. After walking for a little bit, you manage to hitch a ride with a passing car. "You headed to town?" you inquire the driver. The driver nods and you jump in. Dawn is starting to break and the driver drops you off in the town. You produce a 20§ bill and give it to the driver, thanking him. As he drives off, you make your way to the safe house.

617squad

Date and Time: July 500 (3 months before the disappearance of District 23) 32 hours after assassination of Maximus Caesar; 01:00 local

Location: Grand Harbour

The Imperial capital, Grand Harbour. Not exactly the best place to be after assassinating the Monarch. Imperial Guards and police are out in force and the city is on lock down as well; no traffic is allowed in or out of the city, the train station and airport are closed, and all the canals now have nets and chains to restrict boat traffic. Getting out and into Vince City will not be easy. You've been holed up in the safehouse in Grand Harbour for the last day. Getting into Grand Harbour was easy enough with the "borrowed" police boat, but with the city cut off from the rest of the world, getting out will be tricky. Luckily, the authorities have absolutely no idea who they're looking for and are still questioning that sniper you framed the assassination on.

There are a few possible ways to get out of Grand Harbour. The first option involves swimming your way out by using the city's canals. Equipped with a re-breather and a diver propulsion vehicle, you just might be able to out fox the guards and police and slip out from Grand Harbour. However, it will be complicated with all the underwater nets and chains blocking your path. Also surface patrols have been doubled and will not hesitate to drop grenades on you and kill you on sight. To further complicate matters, as you're underwater most of the time and escaping will rely heavily on stealth, you will have no weapons of any kind but your knife. But with the cover of darkness you can make your way to the locks and get onto a waiting boat that will take you to Vince City.

The other option is to run the police and guard's blockade on foot. By using that stolen police uniform of yours, you might be able to give the police and possibly a few guards the slip before you get caught for suspicious activities. However, if you're careful and watch your steps, you can make it out to Vince City in one piece. Remember, the train station, airport, and canals are shut down and road traffic in and out of the city is now privy to the guards and police checkpoints. A car is available for your disposal and use.

A third option does exist: waiting it out. By allowing the search to wear out, you can make your escape easier once they reopen the boarders. You are confident that the search parties won't be able to find the safe house, and since they don't know who they're looking for, you can lie in wait at the safe house until the lockdown is lifted. But, there's a catch: by wasting valuable time waiting for the lockdown to end, the other 9 conspirators have a chance to go into seclusion themselves. Right now, 3 of the conspirator's locations are known but that can change at any moment. To make matters worse, they know that they're next and all of them might as well be packing up and moving to safe houses of their own.

There is an optional assassination. Felix Septimus; a known conspirator of the assassination of Quintus Caesar and leading member of the senate, is living in Grand Harbour in a small apartment not too far from the safe house. Killing him will do much to assist Antonius in his enthronement. Cold hearted, but a necessity as he is the one who instigated the lock down and search for you in the first place. His death will ease Antonius' own ascension to the throne as senate confirmation is needed to legally recognize Antonius' claim and ascension and Felix Septimus has been adamant against Antonius' claim. However, choosing this option will prevent you from escaping Grand Harbour and will not guarantee the lifting of the lock down, so you'll also be going back to waiting it out. Also, since the only way in and out of Felix's apartment is to scale it from the outside, the authorities will be closer to finding out who to look for now and you will be attracting a lot of attention just by scaling the apartment.

The choice is yours to make.

617squad

Act 1: The Storm

Date and Time: July 500 (3 months before the dissappearence of District 23); 19:00 local

Location: Imperial Estate, Ostschloss, Nova Porta

It is a quite night. The crickets chirp within the fields of grapevines that surround the Imperial Estate. There is no wind, but the sounds of canal and road traffic break the stillness of this moonless night. The driver looks at you using the rear view mirror, and you give a simple nod. "Shall I wait beside the main gate or at the docks, sir?" the driver inquires. Beside you, you open up the briefcase and inspect it's contents: a jammer, a Beretta 9mm handgun with silencer, chloroform, lock picks, and a carbon fiber stiletto. "Wait for me at the pumping house, I shouldn't be too long." you reply as you load the Beretta and fix the silencer. "By your command, sir." responds the driver. You drive by the gate house and before you is the main imperial Estate: Ostschloss. You put the contents of the briefcase into your tuxedo's pockets and activate the jammer and head for the entrance of the schloss.

Inside, the security guards stop you for the usual metal detection scan. Nothing out of the ordinary, as the jammer is working wonders right now. As the security guard lets you by, he slips a note into your pocket and says to you "Have a nice evening, sir". Politely acknowledging him, an attendant at the top of the stairs announces "Dinner is now served" and the double doors behind him swing open. The crowd that had been mingling in the atrium now hurriedly go into the great hall. Tonight is the Monarch's birthday, and all invited are "A" listers and those in the know. A great dinner, but instead of following the crowd though the doors, you quickly and stealthily make your way out to the gardens.

Outside, the patrols are out but they'll not bother you. Donning gloves, you climb your way up the 3 story building. However, there are snipers on the roof. For the first one, you simply pop up over the ledge and grab him behind the collar and drop him. You quickly pull out the 9mm and get a clean headshot to ensure his death. The next few snipers were easy to get rid of, as they all were paying attention overlooking their sectors. The last sniper you chloroform and render him unconscious. With the roof clear, you head over to the glass dome where all the guests and the Monarch are having their dinner. Dragging the unconscious sniper's body, you plop his body where you intend to take the shot at the Monarch. The unconscious sniper is now next to you as you take his weapon and aim it at the Monarch. Down below you the Monarch is about to raise a toast.

Maximus Caesar is the current Monarch of Nova Porta. A corrupt and utterly incapable leader, he's been suspected in dealing with the more untrustworthy elements of the Parliament and Senate. His ascension to the throne is anything but legitimate; Quintus Caesar, the elder brother of Maximus and previous Monarch, was suspected to be assassinated by Maximus in a bid for the throne. However, as with most usurpers of the throne, the details of the conspiracy has been sealed by order of Maximus and has exiled the son of Quintus, Antonius Nero Caesar, deep into the Forsaken Range. Fortunately, karma has a way of going around; a senator from District 23 had stumbled upon the details of the conspiracy and has thus formulated a plan to restore Antonius Caesar to the throne. Maximus Caesar is only the first of 10 people in the original conspiracy. 10 people who simply must die.

The monarch raises his glass as you raise the cross hairs of the rifle's scope to his head. As the monarch raises his glass to his lips, you fire the rifle. So precise was your shot that the bullet went though the stem of the glass and utterly destroyed it before entering the monarch's head and out his brain stem. Time stands still as the monarch breathed his last breath and recoils backwards at the force of the bullet. As his body falls on the floor, you raise your Beretta and readily scream out with utmost conviction "ASSASSIN!!! HE'S HERE!!!". You lay the unconscious sniper in a prone position with his rifle in hand. As the Estate goes to lockdown, and with the guards now rushing in to meet the sniper, you quickly make a run for it. You jump into a bush and wait as the guards run past you. As the last guard passes you, you make a run for the canal. The dock has been locked down as has the main gate, so you scale the outer wall and jump into the canal. Behind you, chaos envelopes the Estate as you swim toward the pumping house.

As you near the pumping house, a police boat speeds up to you. As the boat lights you up, a familiar face appears; the driver of the car that dropped you off at the entrance. He pulls you up and remarks "I take it that your mission was a success, sir". You nod as you are led below decks and are given a police uniform. You quickly change clothes and go back up, stashing your tuxedo into a briefcase. "Maximus is dead," you declare, "One down, nine to go". The Captain nods as dawn breaks, revealing the fleet of police and Royal Guards' vehicles that now surrounds the Estate.

Your phone rings and you decide to answer it. "We're on an encrypted channel, Master Williams. Our plans are in motion. The money has been wired to your account. Expect payment within the hour. Congratulations on a job well done Micheal." The other end hangs up and you follow suit. You disassemble the phone, remove it's vital components, and throw the rest of the phone into the canal. The boat's captain orders, "Set a course to Vince City". The engine starts and the boat swiftly leaves the scene.

617squad

First and foremost, let me just say that I've been waiting to do this for a while now. But school, work, and general other stuff has prevented me from doing so. Now that summer has arrived and work has slowed down enough, I've decided to re-visit SC4 and begin this CJ in earnest.

At first, I just wanted a simple CJ to start off. Something just to showcase my cities. But as the cities I built developed over time, the more personified each city became and more unique characteristics emerged. And SC4's MySim function actually accelerated the personification of each individual city more and more. So I became more interested in a Role Playing Game approach with this City Journal. So, here it is, my first City Journal! (yay)

While the overall theme will be focused on the rebuilding of District 23/ Nelson and Victoria, Journal wise the story will be told from a 3rd person narrative of a central character. However, since cities take decades and centuries to mature, sims can only live for so long, and lets face it, being the same character for well over 400 years gets boring and is utterly unrealistic. Thus, I feel that it is for the better that the story be told as a generational series. With each successive generation, the predecessor passes on his/her legacy to the seceding generation and thus the story continues with minimum interruption. It should be noted that successors are not necessarily blood related to the predecessor and can be a complete stranger from out of the blue.

Perhaps what will make this CJ slightly more unique is the fact that you, the readers, will have a chance to participate and help decide the outcome of each character via polling. At anytime there is a decision in the story, I'll deffer to your wisdom (or lack thereof) and put a poll out within the CJ update or on the forums. The decisions can be as mundane as whether the character chooses coffee, tea, or orange juice for his/her breakfast to as exciting as deciding who lives and who dies.

For now, I leave you with a picture of Ostschloss, the private estate of the monarch Antonius Nero Caesar.

PS: I know that the portion of the HUD that displays the current date will not be synchronized with the story. Therefore, ignore it at all costs.

617squad

Prologue

District 23. Used to be the biggest city and crown jewel of the Nova Porta region. There one moment, and the next it's vanished without a trace. 1.3 million sims, just disappeared with no clues left behind nor even a note. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me start at the beginning.

District 23 was founded almost 500 years ago as colonists from another region sought a new home. With them, they brought many new ideas and technologies yet untested and ripe for application into a city. From day 1, District 23 was envisioned as a metropolis with a population of at least 1 million focused solely on commercial offices and residential sky rises. Needless to say, District 23 had reached it's goal of 1 million sims and a spill over was imminent. So the city further expanded to the surrounding areas and suburbs like Newport, Wells, and McGath.

But a small problem arose. District 23 had expanded to the point where it simply cannot function as a test bed for new ideas anymore. Enterprising individuals soon crossed the Dividing Range and founded San Raquel to the north of Wolf Pass. The cities had been fierce competitors, challenging each other in everything from prestige and economic might to games of baseball and poker. To ensure that this competition did not go out of hand, Caesar, from his lofty throne of Grand Harbour, carefully monitored the situation but was biased in favour of San Raquel. Some say District 23 had simply gotten too prestigious, others say that the mayor of District 23 had slighted him during a state visit. Whatever the reason, District 23 completely outclassed San Raquel, Grand Harbour, and Vince City even with all 3 of the latter combined.

It was a golden age for District 23. New high speed rail corridors connected it to almost every city and District 23 served as the central hub. The colonized islands to the south were accessible by ferries mainly based in District 23. Many highways linked District 23 to it's suburbs and even to the far off capital of Grand Harbour. In short, everything that moved had to go though District 23 in one way, shape, or form.

And then, it all came to a halt. District 23 is now a memory and a collection of dusty photographs. San Raquel is now the new regional power house and Caesar, along with almost everyone, is happy with it. Almost everyone. Now, new settlers are trying to rebuild the once coveted city and reclaim the glory due to the crown jewel of Nova Porta.

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