HISTORY FROM 2000
The nuclear exchanges and conventional bloodbath of the wars
shattered Europe into a patchwork of petty warlordships, city-states and communities.
Remnants of the Italian Army quartered near Venice became the focus of the Nuova Italia
(New Italy) movement and began, by negotiation, alliance and conquest to reunite the
Two tactical moves were to be of long lasting significance. One
was alliance with the Italian Communist Party, the only nation-wide organization-
with the discipline to survive the fall of 20th-century civilization. Its eurocommunist
stance had ensured it stood with, not against, its country and had not been tarred as
unpatriotic. The second was the Tuscan Declaration, wherein the central command of Nuova
Italia refused to accept the in- corporation of cities and baronies under any terms other
than full acceptance of the leading role of the movement. Even the powerful city- state of
Naples was eventually forced to accede to these terms after a six-month siege in 2025.
The new Italy sprang from disciplined, hierarchical
organizations, uncompromising in their approach to power. This was to become a
characteristic of the Italian state through the painful years of reconstruction and
beyond. Government by a small group of experts wielded near absolute power, not so much
representing the people as acting in their interests and in the interests of the state.
The Inauguration of 2100: The task of reconstruction
demanded such a firm and authoritarian approach. And under the tutelage of Nuova Italia
the country slowly recovered from the traumas and dislocations of war. The culmination was
the inauguration, in 2100, with Rome as the national capital once again. The old city had
to be all but rebuilt from scratch, and in its rebirth, it was a proud symbol for the
The Space Age: Through the 21st century and the first half
of the 22nd, Italy muddled along like most of the other lesser nations of Europe. It was
content to rely on the French Peace for security and follow in the technological, social,
and cultural wake of its superpower neighbor. Despite a near war with Spain in 2168
concerning sub-Mediterranean mineral rights, and a rumbling, ill tempered border dispute
with Austrovenia 2206-8, Italy was hardly in the world news. That is, not until the Neon
Technocratic Humanism: This was a philosophical movement,
and the art, literature and politics associated with it flowed from that basis. The
doctrine of Technocratic Humanism was not, in itself, particularly novel. But it was a
synthesis which managed to capture the spirit of the age and turn it into a concrete
system of values and plan of action.
Its ideological roots were nothing new. The belief (generally
called Hegelianism), was that the universe had its own reason for being. And once man knew
his inner purpose, he would live in harmony with himself and his universe, content in his
role in the grand design.
Two other forces, though, went to reshape this framework to
create technocratic humanism the growth of the leisure economy and a resurgence of
interest in the Twilight War.
Despite recurring fears, automation never made man obsolete, but
a 20-hour working week became increasingly commonplace. Automation did allow for more
leisure time and an ever-widening range of options to occupy it. This breadth of
possibilities bred dissatisfaction with the situation and a feeling that life was becoming
devoid of genuine purpose. In the words of one commentator, man was becoming a
"polymath of trivialities, never realizing that many zeros still don't add up to
After its publication in 2236, Depardieux-Lafontaine's epic
portrayal of World War III triggered a general resurgence of interest in that dark chapter
of history. It was particularly popular in Italy on account of its sensitive study of the
formative agonies of the Nuova Italia movement One consequence was are new and critical
analysis of the concept of the nation state and, in the intellectual classes at least, its
rejection. Having discarded the nation-state as the basic unit of human society,
philosophers (notably the radical and energetic faculty of the university of Padua) looked
to other concepts. Interest focused on the concept of the unity of humanity, which contact
with the alien races inevitably threw Into sharp relief. Be- sides. ease of travel and
communications were beginning to marginalize the very concept of "nationality."
These various strands were tied together in compelling form by
Salvatore Fulcini in 2242. His academic paper in 2240 was followed by a best-selling book,
Time, Man and the Universe.
The dominant theme was that increased leisure time provided man
with an unparalleled opportunity to plumb the depths of his soul and discern the wider
truths of his existence. The horrors of the Twilight War had, if not discredited the
nation-state system, at least shown the potential dangers it entailed, But man had
survived. Was this not, it was argued, the sign that there was more to humanity than a
disorganized state of political and ethnic allegiance?
This was an upbeat and dynamic message keeping with the
essentially optimistic mood of the mid-23rd century which could provide a raison d'Ítre
for those unmoved by the colonization of the stars. Artistically it fostered the
"humanist romantic" movement, which stressed internal harmony over appearances.
Literature saw a resurgence of concern with motivation and human growth over the rather
sterile obsession with form and style which had characterized the early decades.
Politically the effects were liberalizing and progressive Technocratic humanism had no set
creed but concerned the discovery of the inner plan whatever it was. By lack of any firm
direction. it became a very tolerant force. It was manifested in a new laissez faire
culture and an eager embrace of cultural, social and political change. Italy's effects
were much stronger. The Italy of the Neon Renaissance underwent a cultural explosion. It
was known for a passion for the exploration of the human psyche and purpose that
frequently veered into the self indulgent.
Post-Humanism: Technocratic humanism was to decline in
importance under a number of influences, many of their own creation. In Hanover,
Westphalia, Saxony and Brandenburg, the quest for a hidden destiny was soon turned to
nationalist ends and used as a rationale for the reunification of the German nations. The
War of German Reunification of 2292-3 dismayed adherents across the globe.
But the optimism they represented had already begun to dwindle.
The Third Rio Plata war of 2275-9, the Cantonese-Indonesian War of 2264-8 and finally the
vicious, hard fought Central Asian War in 2292-3 all seemed to presage a new age of
conflict and nationalism.
Besides the very concept of the unity of humanity, given such a
boost by the discovery of the sung, was soon infected with an ugly xenophobia with the
discovery of their treatment of the Xiang. The Slaver war and contact with the
less-advanced Ebers prompted a smugness which struck act the very heart of the philosophy
about human growth and change. Fortunately this never realized its ugly potential for an
new sense of manifest destiny, but it had already undermined one of the bases of the Neon
Italy is still governed on very corporatist and rational lines.
It is run by experts whose powers are tempered by close supervision and open discussion by
the people and their elected representatives. The president is elected every six years but
fulfills an essentially ceremonial role. Real power is vested in the Consiglio, or
executive council elected from the Council of Representatives which, in turn faces the
electorate every five years. The prime eonsigliere, effectively the prime minister, chairs
the eight person body which wields considerable and far reaching powers through a series
A wide range of groups and individual views are present in the
council of Representatives, but most fall into one of three political blocs. The dominant
Social Reformers are an essentially traditionalist grouping. They are benevolent
bureaucrats who want the population to have every intellectual freedom imaginable while
leaving the actual business of politics to the professionals The Liberals are relatively
libertarian and free-market oriented. while the Progressives veer toward various
collectivisms and socialisms.
Citizenship: Anyone living or working In Italy must pay
taxes, but every resident in the country or of Italian descent can petition for
citizenship. citizens can vote and pay reduced taxes, but all have to spend 18 months in
the service of the state sometimes as a soldier. but usually as a specialist. bureaucrat
or the like.
The Law: Nothing demonstrated the duality of modern Italy
more than her criminal code. In keeping with the individualistic tenants of technocratic
humanism, all sons of sexual, social, even narcotic practices have been legalized.
However, the authoritarian tradition is visible in the state security laws. On even the
slightest suspicions. the state has almost absolute powers of surveillance, arrest and
detention all for the "public good." This tension is particularly evident in
Italy's liberal freedom of information laws. Her system of government depends on an
informed people. But an elitist bureaucracy often feels practical considerations demand
secrecy. The result is usually a running battle between judges and journalists on the one
hand and civil servants on the other, with neither ever winning as ascendant for long. The
police and the Guardia Nazionale customs service are obliged to consult the Servizio
Segreto in every instance a case may have an internal security implication.
International Relations: Pragmatism and traditional
friendships combine to keep Italy on good terms with France. But abortive Italian attempts
at establishing a leading role among the secondary powers of the Mediterranean have led to
some friction. The continuing presence of a traditionally German speaking minority in
northern Italy has defied attempts at integration and remains a ground for sporadic
dispute with Austro- venia. In the face of an increasingly aggressive UAR, old disputes
with Spain have been settled, and the two nations signed a treaty of friendship in 2286.
Security: The Italian Army (the Celeri) is a small
formation, divided among an all- professional rapid deployment force. It protects Italy's
frontiers. A large territorial army of conscripts and reservists trained in techniques of
guerrilla warfare make occupation too expensive a task for any invader. The army also
sponsors three small mercenary units, both for the currency they earn and the
opportunities they offer to provide combat experience for Celeri. The Secret Service's
espionage counterpart is the Servizio di Sicurezza Statale (State Security Service or
The Economy: Social ownership or partial state control is
the norm in Italy, and all but a few of the largest Italian enterprises have sizable state
shareholdings. For this reason Italy and the large multinationals do not see eye to eye,
and the country is largely free of the zaibatsus and multinationals. Italy is known for
its thriving, light industrial and fashion sectors, and still excels in design. It has a
small spacecraft construction sector Michelangelo SPA's range of freighters and various in
system short haulers.
The unit of currency is the Scudo (sc.), which is generally
pegged at about sc.1 0 to the livre. The three main banks the Banco d'ltalia, Fondo
Nazionale Veneziana and Banca Commerciale Lombardaail issue personal finance cards and are
partly owned by the state's Banca Nazionale. They are, therefore, backed by the Banca
Nazionale's reserves and, more importantly, data processing resources.
The Nuova Italia movement was based in Venice, the only city to
escape nuclear attack. Nevertheless, Rome remained the focus for the "idea of
Italy," and the return of central authority to a largely rebuilt Rome in 2100
represented the climax of over a century's work.
History has left its mark on the political structure of Italy.
Whereas Rome is the legislative and ceremonial capital of the country, Venice remains its
administrative center. After all, it is an epoch characterized by its communications
revolution, and the two cities are less than an hour's tube journey away.
Urban Italy: Like most of the other nations of Earth,
Italy is predominantly urbanized, and the countryside is characterized by myriad small
towns and villages, linked by an excellent network of over and underground airfilm train
lines. Padua is known for the unconventionality of its university, Genoa Nuova for its
magnificent new airport, and Naples for the surviving criminal traditions of its
inhabitants. Florence, still the Mecca of millions of tourists every year, is domed in a
protective bubble dating from pollution scares of the 21 40s. Naturally defensible Perugia
became the retreat of what was left of the papacy during World War III and has remained
the papal city ever since. The Cathedral of St. Joan, completed in 2243, remains one of
the great sights of the religious world.
Rome: The Eternal City is a grandiose monument to the
Italy of the past and the present. The old Roman forum was largely undamaged in the wars,
but the coliseum was destroyed, and a replica, cunningly aged, has replaced it. Nearby is
the Palace of Representatives where the Italian elected legislature meets, as well as the
Palazzo Ebraico the so called Hebrew Palace, official residence of the president. In Rome
the streets are wide, the museums many, and tourists everywhere. It is quite a small city,
with most residential suburbs out along the main commuter train and tube lines.
Venice: Venice, on the other hand, is a far more
business-like center. Recurring problems of subsidence and pollution have been
successfully dealt with, so the city remains as distinctive as it is picturesque. But all
the major ministries are here, as well as most of the main banks and financial
institutions . The city of St. Mark is unquestionably the powerhouse of the country.
Milan: The third city in Italy is Milan, primarily an
industrial center. The original city was effectively razed by direct nuclear attack and
secondary fires, so Milan is the most modern and most planned city in Italy. Generous
development grants and the opportunity to start from scratch attracted a large proportion
of the country's industries to Milan. It dominates the domestic, light industrial sector.
LIFE IN ITALY
Italy is still heavily influenced by the spirit of technocratic
humanism. As a consequence, people usually work only 15 to 20 hours a week, and they are
free indeed, encouraged to discover their true metier or purpose in life. Clubs,
societies, and mystic. groups abound. Transferring between jobs of widely different nature
(or, indeed, holding several at once) is regarded as perfectly normal as people continue
in the endless quest for the "right" one. It should be noted that this does not
revolve purely around fields such as the arts or sciences. Those, for example, who feel
their vocation is fighting are welcomed in the Celeri or the mercenary units, while a
successful chef can be feted just as highly as a top engineer. , Education: In keeping
with the humanism of the age, the Italian educational system is both flexible and very
capable of allowing a pupil to progress as far and as fast as possible. If the required
aptitude is there, a citizen can make a career of studying! On the other hand, the
Ministry for National Defense has steadfastly refused to brook any interference with the
Italian's traditional two hours a week of paramilitary training.
National Service: Every Italian citizen is required to
serve the nation for 18 months before the age of 26 (or within five years of citizen ship,
in the case of people petitioning later). Only in a few cases does this involve serving in
the army, police, Guardia Nazionale, navy, or air force. More often it is in some aspect
of the civil service, from teaching to sanitation to working as a clerk or an accountant.
Considerable effort is made to match the individual with an appropriate job (both the
efficient and humanist approach), and many elect to stay afterward, if only for awhile.
The state also retains the power to co-opt the services of any of its citizens in times of
war or "in the national need" and all embracing clause.
Culture: Italian culture is vigorous and original, still
propelled by the creative vigor of the Neon Renaissance. Maroni's huge holosculpture,
"The Womb," a stylized globe superimposed with impressionistic images from
history, has become the unofficial symbol for Mother Earth. The Acchielli school of
composers has set new standards for synthetic music. Expatriate Brazilian author Emiliado
Costae Silva wrote the magnificent "Stairway" cycle in Florence, Italy remains
the cradle of this new genre of art and literature, dominated by the themes of equality,
liberty, and internal growth.
THE ACADEMIA DEl LINCEI
The academia was established in 2036, in the midst of the drive
to rebuild Italy. Its members were academics and other influential people concerned lest
Italy's distinctive culture and history be forgotten in the day to day struggle for more
practical aims. Originally run from a small set of offices in Pisa, it moved to a larger
block in Rome shortly after the inauguration in 2100.
The year 2100 marked a turning point in the history of Italy and,
with it, of the academia. With the return of stable government, the trustees and
benefactors of the academia looked increasingly to broadening their role. From them
championing the study and reverence of the past, it was a short step to the founding of
the Italian Traditionalist Party. This movement espouses a return to ancient morals and
values and the revitalization of the Christian Roman Empire.
Much to the horror of the austere bureaucrats of Venice, this
populist mix of nationalism and fundamentalism, heavily backed from the pulpit of the
Roman Catholic Church, rapidly gained support. There was a justifiable fear that the
Traditionalist Party could destroy the still precarious national consensus and plunge the
country into reckless foreign adventures.
The state showed its teeth. Every weapon at its disposal, from
the national news networks and the tax service to the secret police and local government,
was brought to bear on the academia and its political arm. By 2183 a combination of public
morals charges, vicious rumors, and open harassment led the central caucus of the
Traditionalist Party to wind it up. In 2186 a very real question hung over the continued
existence of the academia. The government announced that the academia's support for a
political organization had jeopardized its tax free charitable status and threatened it
with 123 years of back taxes and compound interest.
In the end the state settled for emasculation over elimination.
An apolitical board of trustees was appointed, and the constitution of the academia was
red rafted to prevent any further forays into politics. In this form the Academia dei
Lincei has gone from strength to strength.
Purpose: The academia is devoted to the quest for
antiquity its artifacts, its ideals, and its knowledge. This makes it essentially an
Earth- based foundation, though it has, for many years, broadened its field of study
beyond the borders of Italy. Nevertheless, a small but vocal contingent has begun to argue
that the academia could fruitfully turn its attention to alien history, too. A sign of the
times is the semiofficial outpost on Daikoku studying Eber artifacts under an eccentric
academician, convinced it reveals Christian beliefs among aliens.
Resources: The academia is a rich organization, thanks to
numerous bequeathments and the fees earned by its museums and experts. In keeping
with its global role, it has offices in major cities and cultural centers across the
world, and a large staff of archivists and experts. In addition, the academia has contacts
with all sorts of individuals and institutes, contacts which can be called on in the
course of its work.
The academia often has the need for expert investigators to track
down works of antiquity still held as a form of investment, frequently in breach of the
law. The academia can pay well, and successful agents may find themselves approached again
if the board was impressed with their resource and, particularly, tact.
LE COMPAGNIE DELLA BELLA MORTE
The three picturesquely named Companies of the Good Death are the
official Italian mercenary units: namely, the Granatieri di Sarzana (Grenadiers of
Sarzana) and Lupi d'Umbia (Wolves of Unbrtia) light infantry, and the Pugni d'Accaio
(Fists of Steel) light armored companies. They are all individual joint-stock companies
with a majority government shareholding, and the commanding officer is a senior Italian
soldier on attachment.
In this way the government keeps a slight arm's length from the
operation of the units (e.g., allowing them to under- take missions within the gray areas
of legality and diplomatic nicety) without compromising their overall control.
All soldiers sign on for a four-year tour, and receive a salary
and a share of profits. They are equipped to Italian standards, though individuals and
units have some distinctive touches. Most are Italian citizens, but approximately 20
percent are foreign.