Mana Dimension (post White-Cell)

Tasnica Republic
Outwardly, Tasnica is trying to focus on moving forward with happier times, focusing on economic growth and letting the good times roll. This happy-go-lucky consensus only goes skin deep, and barely conceals better resentment over the loss of vast territories and stature in the Web, the betrayal of the founding principles of the Republic during the war, and the fear that individuals with enough wealth, technology, or magic no longer care about Tasnica’s long tradition of democracy and individual rights.
But, on the other hand, Tasnica wasn’t nuked from orbit, and its fundamental way of life is intact. So, there’s that.
The Mana Dimension saw intensive fighting during White Cell, as White Cell forces secured a base in the Upperlands and tried to push in on Centwerp and Olivawk in order to secure the war industries they needed to keep going. Tasnica essentially fought through mass production, choking the battlefield with tanks, mecha, and killer robots; even then at the decisive moment the Republic may have fallen without influxes of troops from Pandora and Kakkara, a moment in history that has forced Tasnica its neighbors not exactly as equals, but at least as sovereign nations.
Status of Tasnican extradimensional territories :
(Although longer descriptions should go in their respective dimensions, putting them all here makes life easier)
White Cell supported various independence movements and anti-Tasnican elements throughout the Republic’s far-flung empire. Kenny Brackhaven met this challenge with a grand bargain: if everyone fully committed to Tasnica’s central leadership during the war, after the war the countries in question could each hold a referendum on independence. (It should be noted that Tasnica’s territories inside of the Mana Dimension itself weren’t offered this deal. This particularly grates in Woldheim, where Northtown and Southtown have long lagged behind the Quad cities economically.)
This worked better in some places than others.
Carrion – Referendum for independence passed. The Carrion Federation is an independent, democratic state, and maintains trade ties with Tasnica. Carrion’s government is actually quite similar to the Tasnican model.
Tasnican Moogle States – Referendum for independence passed, and reformed as the Principality of Kudel.
Winlan and Prima – Referendum for independence fails, and both countries stay part of the Republic, but negotiate increased autonomy. Pro-Tasnica sentiment is much higher in Prima then in Winlan, but Tasnicaport sees them as strategically interlinked. Continued membership in the Republic is seen as a way to avoid the wars and other disasters plaguing the rest of the Dragon Dimension, which has really gone to hell.
Veldt – Tasnica’s Veldt territories have been overwhelmed by hordes of horrifying, Rinsterical monsters. The monsters haven’t bothered to vote on the subject of independence, but Tasnica isn’t really pressing its claim, either.
Tasnican-Ticonderan Territories – In the run-up to White Cell, Tasnica contracted security in the 3T to the Moonslayers, a mercenary unit of ex-GA soldiers. The Moonslayers turned out to be sympathetic to White Cell, and they seized the territories and turned the region into a key White Cell base of operations. Whatever happens in Light, Tasnica no longer has the power to project its highly spurious claim over the region anyway.
Tasnican Space Colonies – Largely cut off from the rest of the world during White Cell after the RAF was defeated soundly by SAGA forces. Tasnica has re-established and repaired most of its colonies inside of the Mana Dimension. However, its more farther flung colonies have become ghost towns, smugglers havens, and pirate ports, using Tasnica as a “flag of convenience” as cover for their activities.
(The poli-sci nerd in me likes the idea of forming a British Commonwealth-type organization for former Tasnican states, but the writer in me feels it’s kind of a cheat to say “Tasnica’s empire is gone, but it sorta still has this international organization kicking around.” I dunno.)
Of course, Tasnica’s positions INSIDE the Mana Dimension didn’t get the same deal, and had no opportunity for a referendum. This particularly grates in Woldheim, where Northtown and Southtown have long lagged behind the Quad cities economically.
In its relations with other nations, Tasnica has been warm, but low-key. It is well aware that foreign trade and investment abroad are driving its economy at this point, and current Tasnican leaders are wary of making waves.
From a time when Tasnica flew its flag in 8 dimensions, it now has only a significant presence in Dragon, and even many of its territories in Mana are somewhat restive.
Corporations Go On
Tasnica’s various AAA corporations not only survived White Cell, they profited. They are more wary of playing politics, now, though, preferring to exert their considerable influence from behind the scenes.
Though there is some shaking up in the ranks, all your favorite #brands are back. #KuatLovesYou
Although they rarely have regimental-sized forces anymore, the AAA corporations still have healthy “security” and special operation assets. In fact, between the Moogle Wars ™, the Defense of Egmont, and corporate troops’ role in the war against White Cell, corporate propaganda has begun to insist that these forces are an essential part of Tasnican tradition and defense.
Rise of the Robots
Perhaps the most controversial decision of Tasnica during the Grand Army Civil War was the mass production of robots explicitly for combat. The creation of what amounts to a slave race in betrayal of the deepest, most foundational principles of the Tasnica Republic. It almost certainly saved Tasnica from destruction at the hands of White Cell forces, as the nation’s vast military industrial complex was able to churn out enough mechanical men to wear White Cell out over attrition.
The most common model built during the war was the “Combat, Tasnica Republic” (CTR), nicknamed “Cutter,” a heavy infantry robot with a bulky armored shell, several retractable appendages, and lots of weapons. Together with other robots they formed the Tasnica Shock Korps (TSK), and launched in mass wave assaults to break White Cell positions. Their burned out bodies form huge robot graveyards across the Upperlands.
After the war, these soldier-bots were “emancipated” and given free will. (After they were disarmed, of course) and further production was banned. Of course, purpose-built killing machines didn’t segue easily into civilian life, and most of them ended up working as mercenaries, bounty hunters, criminal enforcers, and other violence-oriented jobs. A shockingly large number have voluntarily opted to have their memories wiped and returned to a state of robotic servitude.
The citizenship rights of Tasnica’s existing robot population of RT-Series and V-Series was unchanged throughout, and their legal status as sapients was never infringed. Nonetheless, the whole episode has created robotic-organic tensions as the mechanical denizens of the Republic worry that they’re essentially disposable. More and more robots have moved to the all-robot colony on Mana II (“Capek”), and pressure for autonomy and independence has greatly increased. Most organics take a “can’t we all just get along?” view, which seems hopelessly naïve and condescending.
Officially, the Upperlands Special Administrative Zone (USAZ), because it’s not Kupopolis without an acronym.
During White Cell, the Upperlands saw some of the fiercest fighting in the dimension (the “Four Seasons Campaign.”) White Cell initially focused their efforts here in an attempt to avoid damaging the infrastructure of major cities. This didn’t work out very well, as the Tasnicans destroyed the Upperlands Dam in order to flood White Cell positions.
After the war, the Upperlands has become a frontier zone, a no-man’s land. It is nominally still part of Tasnica, who assert that their original claim on the vast forests still hold. Pandora and Kakkara, however, argue that Tasnica’s Age of Imperialism claim on the region was kinda bullshit, and a more equitable arrangement can be found for the strategically vital, research-rich area. Particularly at stake is riverine management of the mighty Rheen River, as it is essential to Pandoran agriculture and the Tasnicans want to dam it again (and continue their practice of price-gouging the Pandorans for electricity.)
In this relative political vacuum, the Upperlands has become an anarchists’ paradise, a place for people for whom even libertarian Tasnica is too much of a heavy yoke. The Upperlands has become a magnet for whom earning a day’s work by the sweat of their brow has great appeal. (Also, criminal syndicates, “scavs” salvaging the copious amounts of military hardware laying around, and, of course, AAA corporations.)
Kakkara’s actually doing really well!
White Cell attempted to invade Kakkara to gain a foothold in the dimension, but the native desert warriors total mastery over their environment and use of hit-and-run tactics frustrated White Cell, just as it had the Tasnicans in the Leviathan War and the Dark Wrath in the Great War. Although strategically unimportant (the prize in Mana was always far to the south, in the cities of Tasnica’s Quad) the Kakkarans did an excellent job of propagandizing their victories through the omninet.
A quite unlikely triumvirate emerged as the leadership of Kakkara. Legendary general AJ Fremen, returned from his long years in exile to save his beloved country to a hero’s welcome. Under his leadership, Kakkara not only repulsed White Cell but helped make a contribution in fighting in other parts of the dimension. The second member was the aged koradji, Islen the Dreamer, who inspired and trained a new generation of Elementalist Priests to “restore balance to the elements by expelling the invaders.” And finally, there was the face of Kakkaran resistance, a truly gifted performer, the former pop star Bertha Javelins, who abandoned her “stage name” in favor of her “ancestral Kakkaran name” of Adel’a Dunesinger, which is totally not a made up name. (Why, yes, she was totally full-blooded Kakkaran the whole time and was of course proud of her Kakkaran heritage!) Although her pop-singing career had been eclipsed by older starlets, Adel’a found a new career as being the face of Kakkaran resistance, memorializing their great battles in song, and putting a pretty charismatic face on the whole affair. After the war she was chosen to be Queen (after coyly refusing power at first), with Fremen in charge of the military and Islen the Dreamer as her “spiritual adviser”. (Most people believe the general and the holy man hold the real power, with Adel’a as an attractive but vacuous front.)
Modern Kakkara is booming thanks to two major sources of income. The first is to loan out a section of their military as mercenaries. After White Cell they had an enhanced reputation. The Khurgee soldiers come from a warrior tradition, and carry a (mostly symbolic) throwing chakra but mostly use high-speed, light vehicles in the hit-and-run tactics that made them famous. There is always work to be found in Dragon or Ticondera or somewhere.
Kakkara has used this money to invest in becoming a premier tourist resort for the Web, with beautiful beaches, ski resorts, and a Fascinating Ancient Culture ™ with dozens of Sacred Temples ™ to explore. (boy, they’ve learned a lot from centuries of sharing the dimensions with Tasnica!) Even Queen Adel’a’s detractors (like the heartless people who didn’t like her pop music) have to grudgingly admit she has leveraged her celebrity quite well to promote the country as a destination resort.
Of course, some groups worry that the wholesale commercialization of the traditional Kakkaran culture is a little worrisome, and the Manchugu represents an ancient civilization of nomadic desert dwellers thousands of years old, and not a pack of exotic trinkets and novelties to sell to tourists. The biggest is the proposal to turn Urajuga Mountain, long a holy site for Elementalism, into a ski resort.
Said tourist development is mostly confined to the beaches; the interior is still ruled by some of the most dangerous creatures outside of the Veldt, including giant venomous spiders. Here, the traditional Manchungu people live as they have for thousands of years (many don’t even speak Common). Outside the locals, the area is mostly of interest to the truly adventurous tourists and archaeologists.
Pandora made a decisive contribution of troops, especially magic users, during the siege of Centwerp, which some Pandorans feel entitle them to play a larger role in the politics of the dimension. The country is very much in flux, with several competing claims for influence, and the Tasnicans no longer have enough clout to guarantee an outcome favorable to them.

Also, with Bertha gone, the pop queen throne of Mana must be filled. … edirect=no

There’s a blank space, and I wrote her name.

It took me a minute to get Bertha Javelins.

This is some cool stuff! Who ended up in charge of Tasnica politically? I remember that the White Cell stuff had a political shakedown for their parties, but I’ll need to go read through it again. Obviously: robots!

…possibly… …killer robots…

I hadn’t really committed to who was the political leader of Tasnica – it sort of depended on where we ended up. I had two minds of this:

-A political nobody; someone the corporations can control. Part of my goals with Tasnica Reborn is to get back to the Shadowrun roots that inspired it. No one ambitious like Palmerston or Brackhaven; people just want to “return to normalcy” – maybe a “Silent Cal” type?

-Rycar Mountbatten, as a more dynamic leader and war hero (and hey, an openly gay Prime Minister!). I kind of thought I would keep him in the back pocket, and have his election be a possible future development to try to show a more re-energized Tasnica.
Also, Mountbatten is tempting, because it’s so easy it’s like Roosevelt–Truman–Eisenhower like Palmerston—Brackhaven—Mountbatten. (Ok, that logic has several flaws, but consider you have an inarguably great man followed by a flawed one disliked by his contemporaries but vindicated by history followed by a war hero.)

-It’s tempting to start Reborn with Kenny leaving office to give him a proper sendoff, but I feel like our timeline doesn’t allow for that. It’s ironic, one of his early inspirations was LBJ (and his opponent, Franklin Yeats, was more Nixonian), and here we have a situation like LBJ’s where Kenny’s dream of transforming society into one that is more just is ultimately derailed by the exigencies of fighting a war. It is bittersweet for Kenny knowing that he will forever be judged by his much more illustrious predecessor, but he also knows that the Republic survived (and a lot of places in the Web didn’t!)

Oh, and I was DEBATING the end of the war in Mana ending Ghandhi-style, with the hordes of killer robots only serving to stall out White Cell until the final weapon could be developed, because I really, really wanted to give Kenny, depressed sadsack overweight Kenny, at least one badass line:

“My words are backed by Ultima weapons!”

…but I was also not really sure I wanted reborn Tasnica to have Ultima weapons, or anybody to have Ultima weapons, except for maybe a few old caches laying around that could serve as macguffins.

Oh, yeah, I could see both of these cases; Mountbatten would be memorable and that might be good as Reborn starts back up? Conversely, it’s more character-focused and a nobody might work.

If I remember right, 60 WR was tossed around as a time for Reborn to happen; I think that might be a little late for Kenny? Maybe? I don’t recall some of the specifics.

Oops! Nope, 55 WR. So 3 years after White Cell.