New Suez

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Travelling in the orbit of the Elyran capital of Persepolis is the planet’s only moon, New Suez. It is small in size, even by lunar standards, but remains a bustling centre of trade and commerce for the Elyran republic, and a central, essential component in the country’s expanding economy. Not only is the moon the largest single port in the New Ankara system, but it is the only place in Elyra where foreign megacorporations are allowed to host their headquarters for Elyran operations. The combination of these two things ensures New Suez is perpetually involved in any discussion about Elyran economic relations with the greater Orion Spur. The official title of New Suez is the New Suez Free Trade Zone.

History

New Suez, named New Ankara IV originally, was colonized at roughly the same time as the planet which it orbited, starting only a few years after the official colonization of Persepolis began. The moon was settled originally by colonists wishing to turn the moon into what would be a port for the planet and an area where goods, both imported and exported, could be stored and shipped from without taking up the space and planetary resources of the newly-minted colony below. Terraforming followed, taking many years to turn what was essentially a rock into a place that was habitable, though perhaps not all that comfortable, for humans. This was the purpose that the moon served and many viewed simply as an extension of Persepolis itself, taking on the nickname of “Persepolis 11⁄2” after its establishment. During its early days, the moon was dominated by vast warehouses, shipyards, and a growing hospitality industry that existed around providing services to those aboard the large interstellar freighters that would stop there before legally entering or exiting the New Ankara system. Life for the most part on New Suez was calm, though not very exciting, before the Elyran Revolution of 2302. The moon’s name was changed to its current, New Suez, after the revolution in an attempt by the Elyran government to make each planet or moon in its space build new, Elyran identities for themselves, rather than remaining as nondescript astrological names.

The effects of the revolution brought sweeping changes to the moon. This is all despite the fact that it didn’t see any fighting or formal involvement in the revolution at, all aside from the Solarian garrison on the moon withdrawing without a fight. What changed for the small moon was that it no longer was just the primary port of entry for a large planet in a Solarian colony, but the primary port of entry for what would soon become the most populated planet in a new, fledgling country. This reality caused the Elyran government to enact many reforms around New Suez in the years following Elyran independence. Many of these were new investment initiatives into the businesses and facilities of New Suez to further broaden the moon’s efficiency as a port, but also to ensure that its capacity was able to keep up with the rapidly growing economy and population of Persepolis. Most of what was handled in this time were food shipments coming in from Damascus II to feed Persepolis, but as time progressed, and as Persepolis further developed, the moon also began to handle all the exports from Persepolis’ growing industrial and manufacturing sectors, ensuring that they would all reach wherever else in the Elyran Republic they were so destined for. This time to many, though none are alive to remember it, was the best time to be living on New Suez, not because it was when it was the richest, but because it was when the place was dubbed by the newly-formed Elyran Development Bank as “the gateway to Elyra,” a moniker the moon still keeps today— though really and only for tourist purposes. It wasn’t uncommon to see double-digit growth numbers for the moon’s economy in the 2310’s and 20’s as the moon’s ports tied the new republic together, but eventually, New Suez’s economy indeed slowed down. It did not recess after its boom of growth because the ships still came in, and the traffic was constant.

The largest change did not come to New Suez in this time, however, but a few decades afterwards. Elyra gradually was becoming a much more insular place in terms of its foreign policy, already guarded to and suspicious of the Solarian Alliance and at times openly hostile to the upstart Empire of Dominia to their galactic south. Increasingly, the country’s economic policy reflected this as well, with new laws and directives encouraging and rewarding investment within the Republic and the development of Elyran businesses and enterprises over foreign-owned ones. Something that needed to be addressed by the Elyran state, in what now was the late 2370’s, was the presence of megacorporations in Elryan space. These massive private enterprises were essential to the Elryan economy, none of them were Elyran, with all having their offices and headquarters on far-off Solarian planets.

In an effort to make the economy less vulnerable to outside interference in the event of a conflict, the Elyran government established what is now known today as the New Suez Protocol of 2381, or simply New Suez Protocol, so named because New Suez would be at its heart. The government knew that it could not entirely cut megacorporations out of its economy— the Republic itself would collapse— but they also knew that with the value Elryan markets provided, they could leverage their importance to exercise greater control over the megacorporations. The protocol created the “NSFTZ,” or New Suez Free Trade Zone, which would turn the entire moon into a single, massive free-trade area in which foreign megacorporations had to establish Elyran Headquarters or no longer be allowed to operate or conduct business in Elyran space. Another component of the protocol, though less relevant to New Suez, was the mandate that all foreign megacorporations could now only operate in Elyran space in partnership with private firms or state enterprises of the government.

The impact of the New Suez Protocol changed the small moon overnight. Within months of its signing, megacorporations had established their Elyran headquarters as agreed, with all of the primary megacorporations we know today building large facilities to direct their operations around the Elyran republic on the moon’s surface. Most notably though, this also brought in millions of new residents to the moon, creating a demographic that still carries on to this day of New Suez having more non-citizens than citizens living on its surface. Quickly, the already-important economic center of New Suez became a paramount instrument not only of Elyran economic policy, but of foreign policy as well. The moon was established as the primary area where the government and foreign megacorporations would debate and negotiate further terms or changes to policy between them from the enactment of the Protocols to the present day. This new influx of foreigners has also turned New Suez into not only the largest cargo port in Elyra, but also the largest passenger port, being not just a destination in itself, but the primary vector by which many reach Persepolis.

Geography and Environment

New Suez was originally a rocky moon that had an odd characteristic to its appearance: the surface was blue. This occurred due to the primary mineral in the crust of the moon being azurite, something which many geologists believed formed in the moon’s crust due to the weathering of copper deposits there which were then thrown to the surface in great volcanic eruptions. Liquid water is also believed to have been naturally occurring on the moon in the past, as it is a fundamental component in the formation of azurite. Even post-terraforming, New Suez still holds its blue color in many places, leading it to take another nickname: “Persepolis’ Sapphire.”

The terrain of New Suez is still a rocky one in most places, yet there have been efforts to forest and make arable some parts of land on the moon. Most importantly however in the terraforming process was the establishment of an atmosphere in which humans could breathe. Gravity generators were also installed at many points around the moon so as to give it a gravity level equivalent to Earth’s, the goal for most gravity generation operations. There is one large body of water on New Suez, the Crater Reservoir, and it serves as the primary water source for the moon’s residents. As the name implies, it was created from a massive impact crater on the surface. Efforts to populate it with some species of fish and squid, along with continued terraforming of the area around it, have led it to be the most “natural” place on New Suez.

Aside from the crater reservoir, there is not much natural variety on the moon. Forests exist in some areas and are populated with small-sized mammals and birds, but the majority of the surface of New Suez is still a blue and rocky moonscape encapsulated by an atmosphere. The seeding of the atmosphere with clouds has also led to the formation of often small rainwater crater lakes and rivers across the surface of the moon, which while lifeless and remote, are often described as very picturesque. There are also no craters large enough on the dark side of New Suez that could serve as potential reservoirs which, along with the rocky and impassable terrain, has deterred colonization. It remains almost entirely untouched.

Economy

The economy of New Suez is not only important to those who live on the moon, but to the entire Elyran Republic. Its status as the only place in Elyra where megacorporations are allowed to head their operations in the republic has made it not only a hub of anything related to these corporations, but one of the largest financial services and banking centers in all of Elyra. New Suez’s finance industry, combined with its continued importance as the largest port of entry in the republic for foreign trade, ensures that the moon will continue to be a lynchpin in the Elyran economy for decades to come. Because of its proximity to Persepolis as well, it is also the hub for many spacelines and delivery services. The moon has also kept its hospitality industry strong, and while it does not have the great resorts or entertainment centres found on many other planets, there’s still a consistent quality and profitability from this sector of the New Suez economy. From its importance as a shipping hub, New Suez has also established a minor, but growing, shipbuilding industry mostly centered around building space freighters.

Many businesses and facilities on New Suez are operated entirely by foreign megacorporations, something entirely unseen anywhere else in the republic. Zeng-Hu hospitals, NanoTrasen laboratories, Hephaestus factories, Idris banks, Zavodskoi offices, and Einstein Engines shipyards fill the landscape of the inhabited areas of New Suez. Housing for many that live here is also provided by the corporations as well. This is not to say that the economy is entirely foreign-dominated however; Elyran businesses also are active on the moon and actively compete with foreign corporations there in certain sectors, while others exist solely to mediate the interactions between foreign megacorporations and the Elyran domestic economy. Suezbank, the largest Elyran banking and financial services institution, has its headquarters on New Suez. The New Suez Stock Exchange, or NSSE, is also located here and is the only exchange in Elyra where foreign stocks may be bought from foriegn traders and corporations and actively interacts with markets in places like Biesel and Callisto. Once the stocks are bought here, Elyran traders are free to trade the stocks they own as they please throughout the Republic.

Curiously however, the area that is most well-known of New Suez’s economy aside from its financial services industry is its retail sector, mostly filled by migrant labourers and IPCs in its more luxurious facets. The status of the moon as a free-trade zone ensures that all goods sold on the moon are non-taxable and therefore duty-free. This has led to New Suez garnering a reputation of a place where many in Elyra go to buy goods that would normally be heavily taxed such as alcohol, tobacco and marijuana products, weaponry, and, most importantly, foreign goods imported from Tau Ceti, the Coalition of Colonies, or even the Solarian Alliance. These can range from luxury goods from the finest craftsmen and artisans on Venus or Luna, to top of the line Himean industrial equipment, to the newest, most cutting edge pieces of technology developed in Tau Ceti. The largest shopping mall in Elyran space, the Sapphire Retail Complex, with its tagline of simply, “Anything and Everything,” reflects the sheer variety of goods that can be bought there. While the Elyran government cannot tax what is bought there, anything bought on the moon that is leaving it, must be declared to the Elyran Customs Office. This process which often carries a fee to allow the government to profit at least a little off of goods they cannot tax. This is also done in part to help combat the moon’s smuggling problem, as with so many non-taxable goods changing hands on New Suez, its only natural that an illicit economy would develop there. This black market, while small, has been growing at an alarmingly fast rate in recent years as the megacorporate presence on, and immigration to the persepolian sapphire has increased. Elyran customs enforcement officials believe that as much as 90% of illicit goods smuggled into and out of Elyra pass through New Suez, with most being moved by criminal groups comprised mostly of non-citizen persons.

Government

The government of New Suez is unique in comparison to many other Elyran planets and moons, in that its equivalent of a lunar governor, the High Commissioner of the New Suez Free Trade Zone, is not elected by the citizens that live there, but is instead appointed by the Elyran state. The High Commissioner is only answerable to the Elyran government, though an assembly of elected representatives, simply called the New Suez Lunar Congress, serves an advisory role to the High Commissioner and creates civil legislation for the moon. Only citizens residing on New Suez can vote for these assembly members, meaning that a majority of the moon’s population cannot take part at all in the governing process of New Suez. This unique status reflects the Elyran government’s prerogative to keep the economy of New Suez under close watch and ensure that if any measures need to be taken on the moon to alter its laws or economic protocols will be done so without hesitation or any wavering from whoever is in charge of the moon. For this reason, all High Commissioners of New Suez, with the exception of its current, have never been from New Suez. All have instead been appointed on the criterion of economic and civil expertise, along with perceived loyalty to the Elryan State and its vision for the Elyran economy. This has led to many protests from the Elyran citizens that live on the moon decrying their lack of representation in the affairs of their own jurisdiction. The Elyran government however, has consistently held firm in its status quo stance of prioritizing the economic importance of New Suez over the representative rights of its citizens.

Along with the High Commissioner, the primary sources of authority on the moon are the various Corporate Commissions, one for each megacorporation, set up by the Elyran government to interact with and regulate the various megacorporations that operate in the New Suez Free Trade Zone. They hold massive amounts of sway over what the corporations are and are not allowed to do on the moon, and by extension, hold great influence over the lives of the many residents, both foreign and Elyran. Megacorporations are constantly in a back and forth with these commissions, trying to expand their operations on New Suez and to a greater extent, throughout the Elyran Republic, while the Commissions exist to limit, regulate, oversee, or outright prevent these advances. The current High Commissioner of New Suez is Atena Rashidi, an economist and formerly the head of the NanoTrasen Corporate Commission. She has been the High Commissioner of the moon for nine years.

Culture and Society

The culture of New Suez is truly a fusion of foreign cultures throughout the spur and the Elyran domestic culture. This is most seen in the numerous settlements of entire quarters of New Suezian cities being populated almost entirely by migrant workers brought by the foreign megacorporations from around the Orion Spur. It’s not uncommon to see parts many cities on the moon called, “Little New Hai Phong,” “Xanutown,” or “Bieselland,” names which reflect the demographic origins of those that live there. Small xenos populations of migrant NCPs can also be found here, primarily Unathi. These all exist in contrast to the more “Elyran” areas of the moon which have distinctively Elyran architecture, and are inhabited primarily by citizens, though there are numerous places on the moon, especially within its big cities, where Elyrans and foreigners intermingling is the norm.

Elyran culture on New Suez is similar to culture elsewhere in the Republic, most noticeably Persepolis due to its close proximity; however, there are some noticeable differences. New Suezian Elyrans are more likely to have a more lax attitude to Elryan isolationism since they interact so much with the outside Spur and, similarly, are likely to embrace more aspects of foreign culture themselves. New Suezian Elyrans are also almost entirely trilingual from a young age, usually knowing Elyran Standard plus two more or even a third extra language, either from schooling or just from exposure to so many foreign migrant employees on their moon. Many have also adopted things like certain elements of fashion from their foriegn counterparts, combining Elyran articles and holo-clothing with elements of dress from around human space. Most noticeable in New Suezian citizens though is an attitude of political apathy. Many do not care about politics because the status of the moon on which they live gives them such little recourse to actually change anything about how their homeworld is governed, leading many to find talking about politics, no matter the opinion or stance, to be rude or distasteful.

The dynamic between citizens and residents is what defines much of the civil society on New Suez. Being an Elyran citizen grants numerous rights and privileges to a person that a non-citizen resident would not have. These include things such the right to own property or transportation, being able to use the Elyran state healthcare system, having increased legal representation in a court of law, being able to vote in Elyran elections, access to Elyran banks, and being able to leave the jurisdictions where they reside without permission from both the Elyran state and their employer. This contrast has divided New Suezian society into two very different subsections, those being Elyran citizens making up roughly a third of the population and the rest being non-citizen residents working primarily for the megacorporations there. While this dynamic of interaction between citizens and non-citizen residents is seen across Elyran space on nearly every planet or moon to some degree, it's most stark on New Suez. There is some resentment had by the non-citizen residents of New Suez towards their more privileged citizen counterparts, especially because the process of obtaining Elyran citizenship is a long, arduous, and difficult one, and protests from the non-citizen majority of New Suez for more migrant worker rights are common, though are usually dispatched quickly. While usually under the surface, there is often tension between these groups of New Suezian society, usually with the non-citizen residents holding a grudge of perceived systemic injustice against them. New Suez is one of the few places in the Republic of Elyra where Sol Common is spoken commonly.

While there is conflict at times though, New Suezian culture is defined by its diversity. This can be seen in not just the diverse ethnic make-up of the moon, with people from all over human space coalescing here as either migrant workers or corporate employees, but also in other things too. The language spoken by the majority of the population on New Suez is not Elyran Standard, but is instead Freespeak, with Sol Common coming in at a very close second, Elyran Standard at third, and Tau Ceti Basic fourth. As a result, signage, official forms, and other state functions can be found in any three of these languages along with Elyran Standard, something that would be strange in any other part of the republic. Radio broadcasts and holonet streams are also in these languages along with Elyran standard, and some QQ firms have made personalities specifically to target the different populations of migrant workers on New Suez. Food on New Suez is also known to be some of the richest in all of Elyra. The moon itself has no naturally occurring plants or animals that could make food on a large scale, with only very small cultivation and hydroponic efforts taking place on the moon. This has led to various fusion dishes dominating the scene there, with food from all over human space coming together and making odd, new creations never before seen. While not as diverse as a place like Biesel would be due to the exclusion of xenos from most of the moon, many do consider New Suez to be the most varied and diverse place in the entire Republic of Elyra. This diverse and unique culture does not leave New Suez however, as it is nearly impossible for a New Suezian migrant worker working for a foreign Megacorporation to enter the rest of Elyra, and many New Suezians are pressured to assimilate into whatever other planet they go to if they leave New Suez, making the rich and vibrant culture of contrasts on the sapphire moon almost entirely self-contained and unable to spread throughout Elyra, something that the Elyran state wishes to see continue without the rest of the country being “polluted” by foreign cultural influence.

An unofficial holiday of the non-citizen community on New Suez is something known as “Patchwork Week,” a week in which many across the migrant community, regardless of origin, come together and celebrate their origins through a variety of local festivals and traditions imported from their homeworlds all occurring at once, usually starting on the first Saturday of June. Notable attractions to visit during this day are the various New Hai Phongese street markets in many cities, Callistean film festivals showing both classic and new films from the Jovian moon, and Biesellite-styled night clubs that often offer special deals for admittance or host headlining musical acts. While still unofficial to the Elyran government, many Elyran citizens actively participate in this holiday as well and involve themselves in the festivities. Already duty-free shops on New Suez also usually host their largest sales of the year called “Warehouse Sales,” for their tendency to empty entire warehouses, where they sell their products at greatly reduced prices for the entire week. Many flock to them to buy things for the festivities, or as retail tourists from Persepolis or elsewhere in Elyra simply looking to buy New Suezian goods at even cheaper prices than their untaxed usual.

Major Settlements

Qamar Azraq - Literally meaning “Blue Moon,” in old Arabic, Qamar Azraq, usually shortened to Azraq, was the first permanent settlement on New Suez and is currently its largest. It is where the majority of the financial services industry is located and is where all major megacorporations host their headquarters on the moon. Completed in 2462 after eight years of construction, the Suezbank Lazuline Tower which serves as the headquarters of Suezbank is not only the tallest building on New Suez, coming in at 201 floors, but the tallest in the entire Republic of Elyra. Facades of deep blue crystal glass adorn the building along with interlockings of white hard-light. The Sapphire Retail Complex, the largest shopping mall in Elyran space, is located in this city as well, along with the New Suez Stock Exchange. The city serves as one of the primary ports for passengers and cargo both to and from Persepolis. The largest “Little New Hai Phong” is located here as well, indicative of the New Hai Phongese Community being the largest migrant community in this city, though nearly every ethnicity from across human Space can be found here with the exception of Dominian cultures. Many who work in the city are involved with a foreign megacorporation or Suezbank in some way and many work in facilities reflective of their employer’s specialisations, Hephaestus factories, Zeng-Hu hospitals, NanoTrasen laboratories, EE shipyards, etc.

New Hormuz - New Hormuz is the second largest city on New Suez and is unique in that it is a “synthetic city” due to its very methodically planned nature. It was not an original settlement on New Suez but instead was created as a result of the great amounts of economic investment that the moon saw from the Elyran Government in the early 2320’s to create a city strictly devoted to being a massive cargo port, unrivalled in its efficiency. Taking nearly half a century to finish, the port of New Hormuz is the largest in Elyran space and sees more cargo traffic than nearly anywhere else in the Orion Spur aside from perhaps the gargantuan ports of Callisto, Biesel, and Xanu Prime. Many of those who work in New Hormuz are involved in the shipping industry. Because of this, the largest migrant community in New Hormuz is Xanusii, and many have had prior experience in working on the ports of that planet. Jewel Aerospace operates many shipyards in this city and has a large office located in New Hormuz.

Rasht - The smallest of New Suez’s major cities, Rasht is situated close to New Hormuz and functions mostly as a massive housing project meant to house incoming migrants. As a result, it has the largest foreign population by percentage of any New Suezian city, with a large majority of the city’s population being from outside the Republic of Elyra. Most come from the Republic of Biesel and Coalition of Colonies, with the largest demographic in the city being New Gibsoners. The city is known for its rich fusion culture and nightlife and is where many Elyrans travel to in order to “travel without travelling.” It is where the tradition of “Patchwork Week,” originally called only “Patchwork Day,” began on the moon. It is also the place where many consider to be the hub of the Elyran black market and where most illegal items go to after being unloaded from the ports of New Hormuz or are stored before being shipped out of the country through the same ports.