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Sober Thought


Name: Cholmestay
Nickname: The Western Province
Domain name: .cy
Population: 10.1%
Capital: Nordentor (3.0%)
Metropolis: Zalevfyerma (3.1%)
Leader: President of the Executive Committee
Legislature: House of Representatives
Postal Codes: 8000-8999

Cholmestay is located near Thuvia in the northeastern reaches of the Gemeinde of Sober Thought. At 10.1% of the national population, it has the fourth largest population in the country. However, its economic power puts it roughly on a par with neighbouring but more populous Thuvia. Cholmestay's avowed conservatism in all matters attracts a great deal of attention (and frequently approbation) from the rest of the country.

Geography and economy

The physical geography and subsequent development of the economy of the province are closely entwined. However, once the low-value extractive industries were exhausted or superseded, the province latched on to commercialism with a vengeance. To paraphrase Herbert Hoover, the business of Cholmestay is business. And to paraphrase Enron, the province is about solutions not products. Many white-collar activities which would be considered civil torts in other provinces are perfectly legal here.

The province is located mostly on a semi-arid plain which supported wild bovids of various types and now is the centre of Sober Thought's main industry, beef-based agriculture. The land rises somewhat in the northeast where there are foothills on its fringes bordering Thuvia. These boreal forests provided a good mixture of deciduous and coniferous trees which were logged to become hardwood interiors and softwood framing for buildings.

Secondary industry was slow to develop, but took off when the discovery of fossil fuels in the province provided cheap power. The coal seams, natural gas beds and oilfields follow natural formations below the land which extend a little into much smaller, poorer and less developed Pastbeshchye. Dark theories of conspiracy or demonic influence are sometimes bandied about and more than half believed by some residents of Cholmestay.

Cholmestayans regard this black gold as their God-given birthright, and of course by the constitutional division of powers grants provinces the exclusive right to natural resources. Even then, though, they become annoyed and even incensed when the federal government sets environmental standards and applies greenhouse gas taxes as part of business full-cost accounting and corporate responsibility.

The private services sector is also very large, focusing on trade and financial services. Three major financial institutions are headquartered in the province, and the central bank maintains a branch in Zalevfyerma. Sometimes, the ostentatious display of wealth offends the religious sensibilities of the very same people who are often motivated to excel by the Protestant work ethic.

People and society

Cholmestay's dual metropoleis of Zalevfyerma and Nordentor maintain a fierce rivalry. Each city has about 3% of the national population and together the have about 60% of the provincial population. One might think such a high level of urbanisation would make for a cosmopolitan, liberal and open-minded populace, but one would be wrong. The Western Province, as it is colloquially known, is conservative with an uppercase and lowercase C.

The true character of the province is more evident in the other four federally chartered municipalities and the unchartered rural territory in the province. Official municipalities style themselves counties: Krasna with 0.8% of the national population, Bela 0.6%, Cerna 0.5% and Pontloue 0.5%. The first three counties take their name from the Slavic colours of red, white and black, respectively. The last county takes its name from French, meaning "bridge that is let or rented." The rest of the province is as sparsely populated as it has been since it was founded, with populations densities rising in step with the provincial population by maintaining the relative balance with chartered municipalities.

It is in these counties and unorganised territories that rugged individualism, self-reliance, religious intolerance, reactionary behaviour and xenophobia are inculcated. Paradoxically, Russian, Ukrainian, Polish and other Slavic emigrants to the province so quickly went native that they almost immediately began anti-immigration campaigns directed at non-white immigrants.

The province's sole official language is English, but French has secondary status in the most rural municipality of comté Pontloué/Pontloue County. The others have taken to the melting pot and heritage languages exist mainly among the old and recently emigrated. However, as one wag noted, money is the real language everybody speaks around here.

Cholmesty is the only province in which religion dominates the social and political discourse. Protestant Christians of the Pentecostal, Baptist and Evangelical stripes form a majority. Religious extremism of sorts may even be found among the Slavic Orthodox and French Catholics, where more mystical and charismatic variants of those religious are practiced. This sense of moral rectitude easily translates into greater social and economic conservatism, in part because many extreme Protestants interpret economic success as a sign from God and due payment of their covenant with him.

Provincial government

Virtually all Cholmestayans believe government is evil; the only question in most people's minds is whether it is a necessary or an unnecessary evil. Apparently most believers, as they are reading the Bible, skip over Luke 20:25. This important passage, repeated in two of the three remaining gospels, supports the separation of church and state, legitimises government and justifies the latter's taxation. Quoting directly from their preferred King James Version (only a four hundred year old translation will do!): "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God that which be God's."

This seething pool of anti-government resentment and hatred provides fertile ground for agrarian parochialists in the Rural Alliance (Sober Thought), business libertarians in the Free Enterprise Party (Sober Thought) and religious zealots in the Christian Unity Party (Sober Thought). All three of these parties are on clearly on the right. Add in the centre-right Conservative Party (Sober Thought) and you get a bird with one massive right wing and a virtually nonexistent left wing represented by the Socialist Party (Sober Thought)'s toehold in Nordentor.

The provincial government is modelled after that of corporations, giving enormous power to the executive at the expense of the legislative and judicial branches. The head of government is the President of the Executive Committee, who tries as much as possible to avoid and ignore pleadings from the House of Representatives and verdicts of the Provincial Court. Given the righward list on this ship of state, the only question is what rightwing party will lead a majority or coalition government and how few voices in the wilderness there will be.

Health and education

Believing that God will help those who help themselves, Cholmestay offers its residents the best health care and education money can buy. Really. Health care for those who are well paid or well insured are well above the national average, but for the majority who aren't, they are well below the national average. Hospital and transplant lists are established on the "first paid, first served" principle rather than the "highest need, highest priority" system common to most other provinces.

Cholmestayans give the federal government the greatest challenges regarding the strict adherence to secular and publicly funded education for primary, intermediate and secondary schools. Additionally, the province is the most enamoured with charter or magnet schools, and educational vouchers. While these are great in theory, they rarely work in practice and only at the cost of insulating students from socialising with people of different socio-economic backgrounds.

Tertiary -- i.e., college and university -- education is completely left to the free market, so arts students and even many business students cannot afford the cost of high tuition fees. This benefits the other northern provinces, since cash-poor students emigrate there for their education, work there for a few years to discharge their state-supported education and then return to Cholmestay for good -- or at least until they retire and need social supports provided by other provinces. This is yet another example of how Cholmestay does well economically by externalising the costs of its laissez-faire policies.


In most people's minds, the only law is that of God. Hence Cholmestay rarely exercises its exclusive jurisdiction in the realm of civil law and it often degrades its own courts. Residents respond by hiring their own arbitrators to mediate disputes.

For every ten million provincial residents, the province equips and funds four Police Regiments (one each for the twin metropoleis and their respective hinterlands). These units are responsible to a Police Chief but the latter's forces are equipped and organised more like true gendarmes or the former East German Volkspolizei. The Police Chief's influence and relative rank is increased with the troops raised. Every second wave three Brigadier Generals are appointed to command Brigades, every sixth wave three Major Generals to Divisions, ever twelfth wave three Lieutenant Generals to Corps and every twenty-fourth wave three Generals.

The Cholmestay provincial police proper is small compared to other provinces, however with the police auxiliaries it is actually quite large. Armed security guards, paid by individuals and corporations, patrol private and pseudo-public property on a contract basis. The constitutional requirement that all people paid to enforce civil and criminal law be government sponsored police is skirted by designating private guards police auxiliaries and paying them a nominal provincial salary.

The province addresses its own public security insecurities regarding the central government and the Community Defence Forces by raising a militia outside the structure of the CDF Civil Guard as part of the Police Auxiliary. Cholmestay raises two battalion-sized police regiments each population wave of 100 million national inhabitants, both before and after the figure of two billion has been reached, who are armed with assault rifles or less. Police Auxiliary Regiments consists of 800 all ranks, organised into eight companies of identical size: three security, one engineer, one quartermaster, one transport, one medical, and one headquarters and signals.

The rank structure of the militia is a modified and rank-inflated form of the pre-unification federal army. Each regiment is headed by a Colonel assisted by a Lieutenant Colonel, each company is headed by a Major assisted by a Captain and each platoon by a 1st Lieutenant assisted by a 2nd Lieutenant. An uncharitable person might say such a structure ensures the government a large number of patronage appointments to officer positions in the militia; the Cholmestay government prefers to regard it as providing more leaders in crisis situations.


As much as the province loathes the federal government and finds dealing with the latter distasteful, Cholmestay is required to contribute to the shared jurisdiction of defence. The Cholmestay Civil Guard is prepared to meet the needs of both the provincial government in times of natural disaster and the federal government in times of national crisis. Each wave of 100 million in national population, it raises the following number of battalions from these respective regiments:

  • one Cholmestay Horse, armoured, to the 5 series divisions of armoured infantry
  • one Cholmestay Mounted Rifles, armoured infantry, to the 5 series divisions of armoured infantry
  • one Cholmestay Rangers, mountain infantry, to the 7 series divisions of mountain infantry
  • one Zalevfyerma Light Infantry, to the 6 series divisions of light infantry
  • one Nordentor Light Infantry, to the 6 series divisions of light infantry
  • four (railway, civil and maintenance) Cholmestay Engineers, to the third corps
  • one Cholmestay Supply Regiment, to the 7 series division.

It also raises headquarters companies for three demi-brigades or brigades. For federal service, the 1st Cholmestay Brigade serves with 5 Armoured Infantry Division, 2nd Cholmestay Engineering Brigade with III Corps, 3rd Cholmestay Light Infantry with 6 Light Infantry Division, etc.

For provincial service, there are regional commands for the capital, the metropolis and each of the four counties' districts. And as mentioned previously, the Cholmestay auxiliary police-cum-militia is funded by the province alone, cannot be mobilised and is subordinated to the provincial service regional commands.