Hueromont (meaning “Hollow Mountain”) is a megalopolis located on Gallente Prime and is the ninth largest city in the Gallente Federation, with over thirty-six million inhabitants in the greater metropolitan area. It is the site of the Hueromont Incident, where a fragment of Admiral Yakiya Tovil-Toba’s burning carrier struck the city during the early days of the Gallente-Caldari War, killing approximately two million people and destroying a significant portion of the age-old city. Though it has since been reconstructed and expanded in the two centuries, the incident has generally been regarded as a sore point for Gallente pride and remains something of a taboo subject in international political circles. Though not as large as places such as Des Ponticelles on Bourynes II, Hueromont defies its past by being extremely influential on a social, cultural and economic level, known across New Eden as being one of the Federation's leading cities.
During the seafaring days of the Gallente, an island was discovered that was the site of an extinct volcano. The island’s sole mountain was missing a large chunk, leaving a flat clearing from inland to the coastline, not only making it ideal for settlement, but also lending the island’s name of Hollow Mountain, or Hueromont. A coastal town was established, which eventually grew into a maritime city-state that became an important port for trade routes across the vast seas of Gallente Prime. The city valued its policy of non-alignment, signing trade agreements with many of the larger states of the time. Its economic importance ensured that Hueromont was left alone both politically and militarily, with the prospect of foreign invasion doing more harm than good for the would-be conquerors. For a long stretch of history thereafter, the city-state was often referenced as being one of the many key locations in where trade and diplomacy became such an integral part of Gallente culture.
Hueromont passed out of the limelight after the fall of the Garoun Empire and the rapid technological advances thereafter, but its independent status meant it was able to continue to prosper peacefully as other nations expanded. Hueromont grew significantly during this time period, as many immigrants moved to the low-rise island city to escape the hyper-industrialization and resultant political instability occurring elsewhere. It soon became one of the largest cities on Gallente Prime, rivaling Caille in size.
Gallente-Caldari War and the Hueromont Incident
When the Gallente-Caldari War erupted in 23155 AD, Hueromont was forced to comply with the extreme Ultra-Nationalist government, as did the rest of the Federation. The general population hoped that by remaining quiet and subservient, they would be able to escape the violence of the war. It was during the Caldari Breakout that these hopes were brutally extinguished. In a desperate attempt to draw the Federation Navy away from the besieged Caldari Prime, Admiral Yakiya Tovil-Toba directed his badly-damaged fighter carrier down towards the Gallente homeworld. Breaking up into several pieces and killing all aboard, the largest fragment crashed into the city of Hueromont and killed roughly two million people from both the impact and subsequent fallout, while the other remnants landed in the ocean. The Federation was plunged into turmoil, yet the hysteria and hatred following was not directed against the Caldari, but instead towards the fascist government in power. The people of Hueromont blamed the U-Nats for allowing such an atrocity to happen, and their anguish rapidly spread across the rest of the Federation. The leaders and citizens of Hueromont were at the forefront of toppling the current regime and establishing a new one, hoping for a government more willing to listen to those wishing for peace. The war continued for years, with the people of the city remaining divided in their support for the conflict. The Hueromont Incident, as it came to be known, would remain in the cultural memory of the Gallente for decades to come.
As a symbol of defiance in the face of atrocity, the new Federation government pledged millions in aid relief to the construction of a New Hueromont. The new city was built on a raised tier above the current conglomeration, with crystal spires so high that they would pierce the clouds. The nationwide excitement and fervor over the project drowned out the disgruntled voices below who preferred their ancient city to remain untouched by the extravagant and indulgent architecture of other modern Gallente cities. The project went ahead, and Hueromont was reborn.
Since the construction of New Hueromont, the city began to climb in stature, becoming Gallente Prime’s second foremost city after Caille. Hueromont is consistently top-ranked as one of New Eden’s top class cities by various journals, though these journals in particular have always had a Gallente bias. The city has become culturally significant amongst the Gallente, with invoking the name of Hueromont doing either one of two things. On one hand, it morbidly reminds individuals of the atrocities of the Gallente-Caldari War, with “pulling a Hueromont” becoming a part of the Federal military lexicon to describe anything resembling the actions of Admiral Yakiya Tovil-Toba. On the other, its name is used to foster the spirit of rebuilding after an atrocity and emerging in a better state than before; “Like the people of Hueromont” has been used by many politicians in such cases.
Despite its cultural significance, it is New Hueromont that has claimed much of the glory in terms of its ascendancy. The Old City has fallen to urban decay, living not only in the shadows of the city above, but also the catastrophe that struck the city two centuries ago. The contrasts between the two halves of Hueromont are considerable, social commentators noting the stark differences between rich and poor being similar to elsewhere in the Federation. The two-tier design (as opposed to the multi-tier system favored in richer parts of the nation) has been criticized for contributing to a much harsher line of social segregation. Eager immigrants that move to Hueromont with hopes of wealth and prosperity are often confined to the ground-level Old City (colloquially ‘Lower City’ to detractors) when they find themselves with inadequate wealth to make any sort of living up top. This problem has gradually compounded over the decades, and little has been done to counteract it.
During the YC 108 presidential elections, candidate and then-Head Senator Mentas Blaque visited the site of the calamity during his electoral campaign, invoking much criticism from his opponents. In particular, local figures did not appreciate denting the bustling Hueromont lifestyle with reminders of a darker time, slating Blaque for drumming up nationalistic sentiment at the expense of the local inhabitants. Souro Foiritan's ultimate triumph over Mentas Blaque, however, has rendered these grievances moot to most Hueromonters.
Geography & Environment
The barren island of Hueromont straddles an oceanic and subtropical climate, being located north of Gallente Prime’s equator. The rocky terrain that is mostly solidified lava has given way to some flora over the centuries, while the volcanic sands shade the hills a variety of exotic earthly tones. The city itself encompasses the southern half of the island, at the base of the extinct volcano and along the coastline. Various mining towns can be found dotted across the volcano that once supported urban growth of the city, while the relatively flat northern half of the island beyond the mountains is home to winery villages that dot the formerly volcanic landscape. The tourist resort town of Noiplaja, renowned for its black sand beaches, is found on the westernmost peninsular, not far from Aegis Port, a now-automated Federation Navy seafaring base constructed after the Hueromont Incident. The island’s local spaceport, Hueromont International, is located east of the city, and is the second busiest transport hub on Gallente Prime after Doule dos Rouvenor Spaceport in Caille.
The waterfront around the Hueromont urbanization suffered from pollution and environmental degradation, especially with oceangoing freighters that used crude fossil fuels. Despite advances in technology, particularly with the advent of solar-powered sea vessels on Gallente Prime, the damages to the local sealife and coastline remained. Along with the construction of New Hueromont, however, the Federation constructed water treatment and rejuvenation plants that has significantly repaired the damage done over centuries of industrial abuse. Many poets and painters have explored how the gleam of the crystal spires of New Hueromont and the blue waters beneath are bright enough to hide the post-industrial decay of the Old City nestled in between.
Cityscape & Infrastructure
Hueromont is split into two separate urban tiers. The ground level section of the city, known as Old Hueromont, has existed for centuries, composed of industrial-era terraced housing and tenement blocks. The architecture is primarily masonic with gabled, domed and mansard roofing of orange-brown shades. Cobblestone and redbrick are the most common materials used. Pollution, particularly from the Industrial Age, has permanently darkened the brickwork, though the effects of which were reset when many portions of the city had to be rebuilt after the Hueromont Incident. As the city was constructed over a period of centuries, the road network is irregular in nature, notoriously narrow in some places. Early modern areas of Hueromont, which were not reconstructed, included office and apartment towers built with reinforced concrete, steel and glass. An underground metro system continues to operate into the modern day.
New Hueromont is built on a high platform above the Old City, blocking out the view of the sky on ground level in most places except for the docks, outer suburbs and other areas (such as those under large skylights or translucent sections). The underside of the platform projects lighting in necessary areas, particularly those which do not receive natural sunlight. Certain skyscrapers act as pillars, starting at ground level in Old Hueromont and reaching several hundred storeys high, accessible from both levels of the city. The platform almost acts as scaffolding around these spires, which is otherwise held up by support struts at the edges of New Hueromont, each of which double up as shuttle ports and elevator towers.
The city itself is spacious and pristine, with large avenues and plentiful greenery, including parks and lakes. Everything follows the crystalline architectural style, from the skyscrapers, down to the luxurious apartment complexes and organic-looking maisonettes. The majority of New Hueromont living, however, takes place in the cloud-piercing skyscrapers that the city has become renowned for. Each functions as a towering arcology, with the most common habitations being large apartments or penthouses, with the richer citizens found living in garden terraces built off the side of each spire. Other habitations include massive transparent domes that encase several acres of carefully tended flora and woodland, either suspended between buildings or erected on their own pylons.
Primary transportation methods in New Hueromont is air-taxis from building to building, and hovercars on the ‘ground’ level. A suspended monorail system covers most of the New City, connecting with overground sections of the Old City metro system at the edges of Hueromont. The massive energy requirements for the entire megalopolis is provided by wind farms out at sea, solar receivers across New Hueromont, and a geothermal power plant built deep under the extinct volcano.
For much of its history, particularly pre-industrial, Hueromont has functioned as a maritime city-state, with a ruling elite over the commonfolk, composed mostly of traders and artisans. A Provost was elected by District Masters as the city’s chief executive who, while possessing de facto rule over outlying towns and villages on the island, in practice only held any real control over Hueromont itself. These district heads had extensive connections with the city’s guilds, each of which held a monopoly over one of the various trades the state exported, such as crystallurgy. The Provost held absolute control over Hueromont’s constabulary, militia and navy, charged with dealing with organized criminal gangs, bandits and sea reavers respectively. This lent them great influence, as the safety of the city often rested on the provost’s authority.
After the fall of the Garoun Empire and the rise of the democratic republics, Hueromont’s ability to continue to function as a major trading nation was compromised by what was perceived by other states as an increasingly unfashionable and anachronistic government. Kneeling to both internal and external political pressure, Provost Cyrlo Henson founded Hueromont’s first Congress in 21891 AD, composed of representatives elected by universal suffrage. Over the following decades, the Congress grew in power, effectively curbing the influence of both the Provost and District Masters. In 22143 AD, an attempt to violently dissolve the Congress by the faltering executive was met by a popular resistance, and, with the assistance of the constabulary, the offices of the Provost and district heads were eradicated from the Hueromont constitutional system. A direct democratic system followed, with the Congress of Hueromont ruling over the city-state for following generations.
By popular vote, Hueromont applied to be registered as a megalopolis not long after the founding of the Gallente Federation. Congress agreed to be dissolved and replaced with a nationally-recognized city council, along with a mayor and local judiciary, as part of the legal requirements for megalopolis status. The remains of all previous governments, including the Provost and District Masters, survive into the modern day as nothing more than historical tourist attractions and cultural relics.
Today, the city is fully autonomous (as per its megalopolis status) so long as it complies with planetary, district and Federal law. In truth, the historical significance of Hueromont means that its affairs are often left alone by higher authorities. In a city that was almost destroyed by what the locals perceived as an oppressive and failed government, the Federation has been extremely reluctant to meddle in local politics ever since the Hueromont Incident two centuries ago. Despite this, New Hueromont is often used as a meeting place between dignitaries of the various empire factions, particularly under President Foiritan.
One of the two global cities of Gallente Prime, and home to the Federal Stock Market and Chamber of Commerce, Hueromont rivals Caille in economic output in many sectors, including the finance, entertainment and service industries. Its position on the coast, unlike its sister city, has enabled oceangoing trade that laid the foundation for its economic importance centuries prior. Hueromont is home to many local corporations who have operated for generations and are entrenched enough to keep off-world interests at bay. They are powerful to the point of having considerable leverage over daily living in Hueromont, but their influence is subtly noticed other than the glaring advertisements at every street corner.
The international strength of Hueromont’s economy, however, can only realistically be attributed to the New City. Though there are pockets of Old Hueromont that are wealthy thanks to tourism centered around pre-industrial era attractions, the upper half of the city claims much of the profits in this sector, advertised by many vacation agencies for its extravagancy. In some ways, however, the prosperity of the top-half of Hueromont relies considerably on the opportunities in the lower-half. An example of which is the local music industry, who are quick to recruit talented individuals from the Old City, fully aware of how marketable rougher cultures are to the well-off youth, but they are are just as hasty in casting their proteges back down to the shadows once profit turnovers have been maxed out.
The holoreel industry follows a similar pattern, creating gritty and violent stories centered around the youth gangs of Old Hueromont, or films noir set in the late industrial or early information era. Period dramas are sometimes commonly found being recorded in particularly ancient areas of the Old City, but Caille is mostly always preferred in this specific genre.
Demographics & Culture
Like with everything else in Hueromont, the specific demographics and cultures of the city is split between the Old and New portions. Many famous figures have hailed from Hueromont, though observers have noted how each half of the city yields a different kind of prominent individual. For New Hueromont, it is often politicians and businesspeople, the most recent and notable example being former President Souro Foiritan. Meanwhile in the Old City, social activists and independent musicians are the most common type of figure to emerge.
Old Hueromont is home to millions of non-ethnic Gallente, immigrant families and their descendants. A culture of kinship has been developed over the years, creating a remarkably diverse population even below the poverty line. Vherokior herbal apothecaries, Jin-Mei sweet bakeries, Caldari takeouts and Amarr coffeehouses are some of the many attractions that can be found in the run-down city of Old Hueromont.
Gang-related crime, however, has been a persistent problem in the Old City for years, not unlike in other impoverished and multi-ethnic areas of the Federation. Bodymodding Mannar gangs often clash with tattooing Minmatar groups, while organized crime syndicates (often proxies for larger cartels such as the Serpentis) exploit the Gallente habit for recreational drug use. Local police struggle with laying down the law due to inadequate funding, though the Federal military has begun to recruit from these disenfranchised individuals in recent times.
New Hueromont stands in complete contrast. The denizens are extremely well-off by New Eden’s standards, and have enough wealth to indulge in various recreational pursuits. The domed penthouses of New Hueromont have become a staple of the city’s high culture, being criticized by other empires as being dens for a variety of decadent activities. In truth, however, these penthouses host many events for wealthy citizens across the Federation to visit. These range from art conventions to music exhibitions, but high-class parties and other celebrations are also a common activity. Though the population of New Hueromont is mixed, many of those who migrate to the city, either striking it big down below or from elsewhere, rapidly find themselves assimilated into the Gallente culture of mass consumerism and luxurious lifestyles.
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