Athena City is one of the largest cities within the Unified Republic of Stars, with over 15 million inhabitants. It is also one of the first cities to be established and helped spark the independence movement within the former Colonial Star Cluster.
By the time Athena City was officially incorporated in 2110, the island on which it occupied already had over 400,000 inhabitants. Development up until that point had been done on a rough grid system of uneven blocks that remain to this day, with each building or block providing its own power and sewer lines to the ocean.
The idea of forming a city government was not so much to create law & order as it was to remove utilities from private responsibilities. The new city government planned out more logical water, sewer, and power systems to go into effect the next time a given block was redeveloped. Because of the rapid growth and constant churn, most blocks within Athena City had adopted the new plan in less than twenty years. Individual developers bore the cost of tying into and extending where necessary the lines but the city oversaw the process to ensure compatibility.
The city government also organized a trash collection service in order to discourage the burning of garbage and the inevitable stink and pollution.
Because most of the island had already been divided up into lots, there was little the city could do about the organization of it even if its charter had empowered it to do so. Instead, it focused on the importation of Ion-Plasma power plants to be placed around the city to provide adequate electricity and paved the streets every five years.
It wasn't until 2130 that the city launched its first capital plan, the acquisition of land for public squares. Up until then, the beaches surrounding the island were considered commons with the city responsible for maintaining them. The idea of squares within the center of the island was not popular and viewed as a general waste of money since the city would need to issue bonds to pay for the land acquisition. Most parks were built on the roofs of the tallest buildings, maintained by the building owner and usually free or accessible for a nominal fee to the general public. When the charter amendment proposal came up for a vote, it was universally panned.
The next attempt at a capital plan received much more praise, the moving of the spaceport off the island and onto landfill just in the ocean. While this would mean a three kilometer piece of beach being removed from public access to create the bridge, the public was generally more supportive as the original spaceport was an informal area near the south-center part of the city where shippers had traditionally landed but where developers were eager to build and which would also reclaim more beach than would be taken up by the new proposal.
The charter amendment was approved by a wide margin and the city soon issued bonds to fund the new construction. The bonds would be repaid by a modest fee on goods brought out of the port, charged by the half-ton. The Business Council of the city took over day to day maintenance and operation of the port when it was completed in 2135.
Pleased with the result of its project, the city soon embarked on it's next improvement, the building of an elevated railway for rapid transit through the city. In 2138 it proposed a new charter revision to fund the project and was met with mixed reviews. The complaints against the system fell into three camps, one that the city was exceeding its mandate, two, that the train running overhead and beside the buildings would lower property values, and, three, that the city was not the proper body to undertake such a task. However, the charter revision was won by a slim majority and construction began the following year, the plans having been completed before the bond was even put to the voters. The contract for building the system went to Maglev Technologies, the company mostly responsible for the train systems in New Chicago and Puerta Nueva.
By the time the project was completed in 2150, public sentiment had turned mostly toward the positive and approved a new measure to extend the elevated train system into a subway system as well. This, also, was built by Maglev Technologies. By 2164, Athena City had the most complete public transportation system anywhere in the Colonial Star Cluster, serving over fifteen million people.
Athena City played a major role in the independence movement that led to the Unified Republic of Stars.
In 2165 when Planetary Governor Liam Michaels ordered the PPF to shutter the offices of The Athenian Daily Current, a mob was formed to force the release of the newspaper's editor. The governor looked for help from the mayor, Iskender Abaz, but found little. After two and a half hours of protest, the besieged governor released the editor to the mob. Though this instance resulted in little violence, it was merely a harbinger of things to come.
Soon after, in 2167 Governor Michaels attempted to collect taxes from the populace of Athena City using any means necessary. This results in the PPF forcing their way into both homes and businesses demanded payment. This does not sit well with the general populace and two weeks after the "tax collections" began, a mob formed up within the city and began physically attacking any and all members of the PPF it encountered. Michaels recalled the PPF to the governor's mansion and again asked May Abaz for help and again found a refusal.
Attempting to disburse the crowd, the besieged PPF fired shotguns above the mob and ordered the crowd to disburse through bullhorns. The crowed, angered by the tax collection methods of the PPF, rushed the gates. Fearing that they might soon fall, the PPF commander ordered his force to fire on the crowd. The mob responded with gunfire of their own. As the gate held, it didn't take long for the mob to escalate to Molotov cocktails and soon, the Governor found himself trapped in a building on fire.
The mob refused to allow in the fire brigade in to put out the flames until Michaels and his PPF commander surrendered themselves. They did, thirty minutes later and the PPF commander soon was hanging from a nearby lamppost. Michaels, however was saved from death by some of the protesters, but still run to the spaceport in his underwear to be sent back to Earth.
In 2172, Athena City was one of the primary battle sites during the First Republican Defensive. Mobs of citizens helped repel the UUHA forces, marching through the streets and hanging or shooting any soldiers who they caught or surrendered to them. However, the toll was great and over 25,000 Athena City residents died in the Defensive. Also, because UUHA soldiers had discarded their uniforms, many of the mobs began killing those suspected of being UUHA and burned many buildings just to flush them out.
During the Second Republican Defensive, Athena City found itself much less prepared for occupation and the city was quickly taken over. If not for the efforts and organization of Stewart Todd "Dutch" Warner, the result might have been very different. Warner organized the dispersed militias and began taking back one end of the island city. Once taken, he began pushing across the island, driving the UUHA forces into the sea and linking up with additional militia units to add to his force. The action, in the years that followed, became known as the "Dutch Push".
These efforts have remained deeply ingrained within the mindset of the Athenian people and Athena City remains a staunch defender of republican principles even after independence was finally secured.
Athena City is known as the "Most Civilized" city within the Republic. Between an aggressive investigative police force and a healthy respect for civil liberties, Athena City strikes a good balance between the heavy handed enforcement of laws on planets like Columbus and the violently libertarian world of Galileo. People can live in Athena City without the fear of everyday gun violence but still with a healthy caution against pickpockets, muggings, and the like.
Perhaps the one area of life that Athena City is vigorous about prosecuting and enforcing is the issue of guns. While places like New Chicago tend to turn a blind eye to gun fights between two people where no additional people are harmed, this sort of violence in Athena City is discouraged. Citizens of the city are routinely recommended to take their issues to the police to be adjudicated there. While weapons cannot be outlawed, any drawing of weapons will be seen as criminal "brandishing" and if the police are nearby, they will arrest people who produce a weapon. Any argument that ends in a gunfight, regardless of whether any of the parties, including third parties, are injured, will end in the arrest of all involved and charges ranging from both brandishment to public endangerment will be pressed.
However, for those not inclined toward violence, Athena City remains very much a paradise. With its miles of beaches, four baseball teams, and miles of parks built on the roofs of private buildings, there are plenty of opportunities to take advantage of the brilliant weather. Most citizens of the city are involved in some form of outdoor recreation, be it sailing, surfing, recreational baseball, or swimming.
But poverty does exist within the city. Wealth is determined by where people live. The richest generally live in the newest buildings and the closer to the top, the richer they are. The poor, on the other hand, tend to occupy the lower floors and are nicknamed "basement dwellers" though few, if any, actually live in the basement. Even in new buildings, those on the lowest floors--and thus receiving the least light through the canyon of towers--tend to be poorer than those above them.
This mix, of upper versus lower floors, though does tend to mean there is a high amount of mixing between the social classes as they often have to share elevators or, at the very least, lobbies with a wide range on the social economic scale. As such, while some of the upper class call the lower floors dwellers "basement dwellers" they very rarely say such in public and it is viewed as highly impolite to say so.
Athena City also boasts a healthy nightlife. There are both clubs in the literal basements and at the top of mixed use towers, ranging from posh cocktail clubs to local dives. While few dives exist at the top of a tower, more than a few exist in the older buildings while many of the basement bars can be very posh indeed, making up for their subterranean locations with high decor.
Additionally, Athena City is a city that prefers to eat out. Restaurants abound and almost everyone delivers. The most hip establishments tend to be on the top floors of newer buildings, however, more than a few classics also exist on the middle floors of older buildings. And though most apartments feature kitchens for their tenants, the most used kitchen implement tends to be the telephone.
Meanwhile, paying for these amenities remains relatively easy. Public transportation can get a citizen from one end to the island in as little as an hour-and-a-half while unemployment remains low and employers needs for employees remains high. Income mobility also remains high and it is not uncommon to see a family with little or nothing to rise to the richest within two or three generations. It is also not uncommon to see rich families fall from grace and be a shadow of what they once were.
The most popular religion in Athena City is the Church of the Cosmic Angel though, as a whole, the island city tends not to be very religious as a whole and frowns upon any religion or religious beliefs from being enacted into law.
Because of their success with baseball, the sport remains the most popular sport within the city. Many recreational leagues exists also.
But because of the limited land mass on Athena City, most livestock intended for consumption remains imported from other Republican worlds while the vast majority of the agriculture grown with in the city, and indeed the planet, takes place within Vertical Gardens.
Athena City is where baseball got its start in the Republican Star Cluster. Originally founded in 2125 as the Athena League, the original four teams in the league were folded into the Capitol League as a division. By 2120, the four Athena City teams had appeared in the Republican Series a record 28 times, bringing home the championship another record 20 to be the most winningest city in the Republic.
The teams are:
- Athena City Sand Dollars
- (Athena City) Ocean Park Sea Creatures
- Athena City Palms
- Athena City Skyscrapers
Unlike many cities with multiple teams, two of the four clubs play in their own parks, the Athena City Sand Dollars and Ocean Park Sea Creatures playing in Sand Dollar Stadium and Ocean Park respectively while the Palms and Skyscrapers share Central Bank Park.
- Athena City was the setting for the story Ayla Athena, which told the story of Sevda Behar and how she was forced into broadcasting for the UUHA invasion force of the Second Republican Defensive.
- ↑ The colonial worlds were forbidden from creating governments as they were known on Earth. Instead, most of the "governments" created in the colonies acted more like collectives, taking on shared tasks and paid for via either lot fees or use fees. It was hoped this might avoid the ire of Earth. It did not.