by Max Barry

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The Dare to Dream of
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Roulons overview [WIP]


Free City of Roulons
Libreburg a'Roulons

'Skyline' of Roulons


Motto: "Tulikah unt Raev Kaudi"
"Through Fire and Fury"

General location of Roulons


Independent (de facto)
Albali (de jure)

Largest Quartier

Roulons (city-state)

Official language
and national language



Albalian, Roulonian


58.1% Zyist
41.9% Atheist



• Civil Dictator
• Military Dictator

Amaki n. Suurewie
Lahja Aasmae Eskola


Office of the Dictators

• Total
• Water (%)

3118.3 km2
(1204 sq mi)

• 2040
• Density

(10477.43/sq mi)

GDP (nominal)
• Total
• Per capita

₪404 billion


Albalian Raha (ALR, ₪)

Drives on the


Roulons, or more officially the Free City of Roulons, is a subterranean city constructed between 2035 and 2038. It is located somewhere under the Inara Peninsula, on the planet of Elmarth in the LinkCalifornia Nebula of the LinkMilky Way. The idea of Roulons and cities like it were conceived many times throughout Albalian history, but only came to fruition during the War Against Heaven. Despite being underground, Roulons and the area around it has its own weather patterns, which were added by the city's designers to make people feel more at ease. Around one-third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers, canals and lakes.

Roulons's economy is primarily based off of the private sector, the vast majority of that being heavy industry and manufacturing. Despite technically being in isolation, trade is a valuable source of income for Roulons as there are numerous cities on the surface which inhabited by the planet's natives. Roulons is, despite its newness, a beacon of education, politics, science and military power when compared to the cities which neighbour it. The city has a robust maglev and road network, allowing for short travel times to anywhere within the city. There are no plans to expand this network to its neighbours.


Before Roulons

The city of Roulons is located in an immense natural cavern, approximately three kilometres beneath the planet's surface. The cave was created as a result of a number of underground rivers corroding the rock over millions of years. Eventually, this resulted in a gigantic lake. The cavern and the lake continued to grow over thousands of years until it was around the size of Scotland. Approximately 3.1 million years ago, an asteroid 12 kilometres in diameter struck the planet, causing an extinction event similar to the one that wiped out Earth's dinosaurs; one of the many effects of this impact was an earthquake with a magnitude of 12.1, which caused the total collapse of most of the cavern. The water within was forced upwards through cracks in the rock, creating an event resembling a volcanic eruption with water.

Magma cooled over and within these cracks over the following years, leaving the cavern completely separated from the outside world. Soil had, however, seeped into the cavern through these cracks before they disappeared - this, along with what little water remained, meant that hardy natural life could make a home there. Small grasslands and even trees eventually began to emerge. The Albalians discovered this cavern when they landed on the planet in 1873 CE - the cavern was named 'Roulons', after the crew of the ship that discovered it. Despite sending some scientists to explore and study the cave, the Albalians did not take any further action.


Roulons was considered by the Albalian government to be a very good candidate for an underground city in an official report in 1962. A few research posts were already present in the cave, but the construction of a full city was decided to not be worth the expense. This changed when the War Against Heaven entered its third year; the Albalian populations would need somewhere safe to live while the war was ongoing. The military government poured trillions upon trillions of rahas into projects like this one all across Albalian territory. The project in Roulons began in 2034 with efforts to make the land suitable for construction, which itself began in earnest the following year.

Small Army units guarded the budding city for the next few years, and their engineer units assisted in construction. Roulons was intended to act as a massive military city which would be part of a wider network with the goal of rebuilding Albalian strength. However, with the war progressing worse than first thought, the goal was not to eventually fight back but to hide and survive. Thus, the plans were changed partway through construction which resulted in Roulons being built with a strong industrial capacity and an enormous military garrison in mind, in addition to large amounts of civil housing and facilities.

To take full advantage of the cavern's space, buildings stretched right to the roof of the cavern and then began to spread from there, effectively doubling an above-ground city's capacity within the same space. With the change to a civilian city midway through construction, the architects required plenty of green space such as parks and fields. Engineers began to terraform the cavern so that it could actually support these ideas; in addition, artificial rivers were created. Besides the aesthetics of these rivers, they were also envisioned as valuable defence lines in the event Roulons was to be attacked. As well as these green spaces, architects required artificial weather patterns. Despite this being a colossal and expensive project, weather patterns were soon established.

In early September 2036, a permanent garrison under Komentaja (Brigadier General) Amaki nar Suurewie arrived within the city limits. Originally called the 19th Army, its name was soon changed to the 'Roulons Defence Army'. This garrison would eventually become the independent armed forces of Roulons.

By April the following year, a government for the city had been finally selected by the residents of Roulons. The leaders of the government, Major General Amaki nar Suurewie and her protégé Colonel Julian Eskola, were named the Civil Dictator and Military Dictator, respectively. Today, Roulons remains totally isolated from everything outside the planet; the only outsiders that know of Roulons and its location are the natives of the planet.


The cave, which bears the same name as the city, is one of the largest natural caves that has ever been discovered by the Albalians. Its natural height, from floor to ceiling, is on average 530 metres tall and it has a surface area of 3118.3 km2. The volume of the cave is approximately 1,652,699,000 m3. However, the cavern has been expanding as a result of Albalian interference; it is estimated that the surface area has increased by around 5.6% since the Albalians began to expand the cave outwards.

By way of natural features, the cave has none save for a few pre-existing patches of grassland. With the Albalian terraforming efforts, much more greenery was since introduced. 31% (967 m2) of the city itself is, in some way, a green space. Many of these spaces are simply massive fields, though plenty others are devoted to specialised purposes such as parks and communal gardens. Several large rivers also flow through the city. How this works, being underground, is still officially a mystery, but there are several theories. The most likely scenario is that when the river water flows out of the city and into the cave walls, it is filtered, cleaned and then sent back into the city by way of a different river.

These rivers are the main method by which the city is divided into different geographic regions; these regions are, more often than not, named after the river that flows through them. For example, the Odwielki river flows through the Odwielki and the Pilszny-Odwielki Districts.

While much of the inner city and central business district is heavily urbanised and industrialised, a huge portion of the city's outskirts is made up of farmland. Hydroponic and vertical farms make up a majority of plant farms within Roulons, though natural farming is still used for things such as cattle, pigs and other meats.



The demography of Roulons is monitored by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (NISES). As of 1 April 2042, 12.6 million people lived in Roulons, making it the largest city on the planet, and also one of the most populated nations. Roulons is an outlier when compared to the nearby native cities, in having a fairly high rate of natural population growth: by birth rates alone, Roulons was responsible for almost all natural population growth on the Inara Peninsula, with the natural growth rate (excess of births over deaths) rising to a maximum of 400,000 in 2038, though by 2040 that growth rate had fallen to just over 120,000. From 2037 to 2040 population growth was on average +2.44% per year.

The life expectancies for citizens of Roulons is the highest on the planet owing to the advanced technology of the Albalians, though race is still an important factor; Aquariians have the lowest life expectancy at 123 years for males and 125 for females; this is down from the Aquariian average lifespan of 136 years for males and females before the War Against Heaven - it is believed that the environment of Roulons is to blame as there are no large bodies of water for Aquariians to truly thrive. Caniciens have the second-highest life expectancy at 137 years for males and females, while Ausar are the highest with 138 years for females and 140 for males.


The population of Roulons is mainly of Ausari or Canicien origin; Aquariians are a minority within the city as a result of wide-scale emigration to the surface to found their own settlements closer to the oceans. A NISES survey in February 2041 estimated that approximately 3.2 million (26%) citizens were Ausari, 2.8 million (23%) were Canicien and 738,000 (6%) were Aquariian. The remaining 5.5 million (45%) were mixtures of two or more races, e.g. Ausari-Aquariian, Ausari-Canicien or maybe of all three.

Roulons does have a small but nevertheless legally significant number of natives living within the city limits. Most of these natives are of the Kaithrit race (i.e. catgirls/boys). These Kaithrit represent the first ever outsiders to be allowed into the city. While there are no official records regarding their numbers, NISES estimated that there were up to 3,000 Kaithrit within the city as of 17 January 2041.


According to the Constitution, the sole official language of Roulons is Albalian, a language derived from the Aquariian and Ausari languages following their nations' unification in around 3700 BCE. The Academy for the Albalian Language is Roulons' official authority on the Albalian language, although its recommendations carry no legal weight. The only other notable language spoken within the city is Kaith-tongue, the language of the Kaithrit people. Kaith-tongue is not a recognised language, and Kaithrit residents are strongly encouraged to learn Albalian.

Despite the short time that the Albalians have been present, the Albalian language has managed to spread throughout the local areas and into many native settlements. Many local leaders such as monarchs or mayors have taken to learning Albalian to make international relations that much better. NISES believes that the Albalian language will continue to spread into the rest of the continent in the near future, and may possibly become a lingua franca for the native ruling classes.


Roulons is a secular country, with freedom of religion guaranteed by the Constitution. Albalian religious policy is based on a strict separation of church and state under which public life is kept completely secular.

According to a survey held in 2039 by NISES, 58.1% of the total population of Roulons was Zyist as of that year; at the same time 41.1% of the population had no religion, while 0.8% were undecided about their faith. As estimates on the numbers of Kaithrit within the country vary widely, there exists no official numbers regarding their faith. However, the NISES estimate of just over 3,000 Kaithrit is widely considered the most reliable out of all investigations; it is believed that all of those Kaithrit follow the Kaithinian Pantheon. The Kaithrit faith thus takes up only 0.0025% of Roulons' religions.


Public education in Roulons is operated and regulated regulated by the Office of Education, subordinate to the Office of the Civil Dictator. Children are required to attend school from the age of three until they turn 18. Primary education usually lasts for seven years, starting at four years old. Secondary education includes three traditional types of schools focused on different academic levels: the Junior College enrols the most gifted children and prepares students for university studies; the Intermediate School for intermediate students; and the Working Academy prepares pupils for vocational education.

A system of apprenticeship leads to a skilled qualification which is almost comparable to an academic degree. It allows students in vocational training to learn in a company as well as in a state-run trade school.

All of Roulons' universities are public institutions, and students study without paying tuition fees. The general requirement for university is the Certificate for Secondary Education, which is granted to a student provided they pass their exams in secondary school. However, there are a number of exceptions, depending the college and the subject. Some 93% of students that attended Junior Colleges went on to go to a University, while only 37% of Working Academy students went to a University after their secondary education.

Of Albalians 25 and older, 99.7% graduated from secondary school, 68.1% attended some college, 35.7% earned a bachelor's degree, and 11.2% earned graduate degrees. The basic literacy rate is approximately 100%.


Roulons functions as a highly centralised dictatorship; according to the Constitution of Roulons there are officially two main branches of government - the Civil Dictatorship and the Military Dictatorship. The Civil Dictatorship is responsible for handling law, most infrastructure (i.e. roads, power stations, etc.) many public services and civilian industry such as farms and factories that produce consumer goods. The Military Dictatorship is responsible for handling the military, police, military infrastructure and military industry (i.e. arms plants).

While they have absolute power, each dictator has ministers for various fields that manage their own departments; and give advice and recommendations to their dictator. These ministers and departments are relatively autonomous, capable of acting independently of the dictators whenever required. They are the highest authority when it comes to the day-to-day running of their departments; however, the ministers need to seek permission for any major changes in their field, i.e. the Ministry of Energy can repair and install power lines and transformers without telling the Civil Dictator, but the construction of a new nuclear plant must be authorised, for example.

The Vehrhaer (Defence Army) is Roulons' primary military organisation; the Vehrhaer has 973,000 active personnel, and upwards of three million reservists and paramilitary troops such as police officers and gendarmes. About eight percent (or 1 in 12) of the city's entire population is an enlisted soldier, and approximately 25% of the populace is a reservist. The Vehrhaer has two main branches - the Ground Force and the Aviation Force. The Aviation Force is small, and is typically placed under the command of the Ground Force. Command of the Vehrhaer lies in both the Supreme Command of the Defence Forces (Grosokomento d'Vehrmisjoud; GkV) and the Office of the Military Dictator (OMD); the GkV is subordinate to the OMD.

The Ground Force is by far the largest branch within the Vehrmisjoud; it has around 958,000 soldiers divided into 145 mechanised infantry brigades, 53 tank brigades, and 19 artillery brigades.



Economic indicators

Nominal GDP

₪404 billion

Real GDP growth


CPI inflation




Fiscal year

16 July- 15 July

The City of Roulons has a capitalist mixed economy that combines extensive private enterprise with substantial state enterprise and government intervention, which is fueled by abundant natural resources and high productivity. The government retains considerable influence over key segments of infrastructure sectors, with majority ownership of railway, electricity, nuclear power and communications. The Roulons economy has a highly skilled labour force, a large capital stock, a low level of corruption, and a reasonably high level of innovation.

Heavy industry is Roulons' leading manufacturing field, employing some 840,000 workers. There are almost 4,300 mines of various types in operation all around the city's outskirts and even further beyond the city limits, producing approximately 5.4 million tonnes of steel per year. In addition, Roulons mined and produced 2.4 million tonnes of iron, 3.4 million tonnes of coal, 576,000 tonnes of copper, 4,000 tonnes of silver and 346,000 tonnes of titanium.

Much of these metals goes into producing armaments, vehicles, heavy machinery and the two warships currently under construction. Production of luxury goods such as jewellery is another large industry. Roulons is the largest producer of goods on the planet, being the only nation to have the capability of mass production.

Agriculture is intensive, highly mechanised and efficient, easily producing well over 100% of food needs with less than 5% of the labour force. Around two-thirds of production is devoted to livestock, one-third to arable crops. Agriculture accounts for just under 3% of GDP, yet Roulons is among the world's top producers of corn, wheat and barley, and rice. The National Institute of Agricultural Statistics (NIAS) maintains agricultural statistics for products that include wheat, rice, peanuts, oats, rye, barley, cotton, corn, hay, sunflowers, and oilseeds, among others. In addition, NIAS provides livestock statistics regarding beef, poultry, pork, and dairy products. Biotech crops are ubiquitous within Roulons' agriculture sector.

Roulons' arms industry's main customer, for whom they mainly build guns, tanks and other equipment, is the Roulons government. Record high defence expenditure (currently at ₪56 billion) goes largely to the Albalian arms industries. Canine-Massey Arms Plant, the largest arms manufacturer in Roulons, produced upwards of 180,000 rifles in 2040, of which 87% went to the Defence Army with the rest going to the civilian market. In addition, the Naphtali Transport Dynamics in Pilszny-Odwielki produced around 17,000 trucks and 862 tanks for the Army.

The automotive industry is a significant part of the city's manufacturing sector and employs around 210,000 people, producing a 2039 turnover of ₪14 billion. Roulons' auto-plants produced 681,000 passenger vehicles and 149,000 commercial vehicles in 2040 alone.

Roulons guarantees its workers paid vacation, and has paid family leave for both parents as a legal right. While law does not require paid sick leave, it is a nearly universal benefit for workers and full-time employees at corporations. 96% of full-time workers get paid sick leave, according to the National Institute of Labor Statistics (NILS), although only 41% of part-time workers get the same benefits.



A TFR train at Liwelki Interchange

Roulons has a robust maglev network that connects all regions of the city, for the purposes of cargo and passenger transport. Passenger railway lines are built at the same depth as the city, while cargo lines go even further into the ground to avoid major disruption. There are seven major railway hubs within the city, and nearly 200 smaller stations and stops. Over four million journeys are made every day on the passenger network, over 1.4 billion each year through 13 lines, 215 stations and 220 km of rails.

In addition to the rail network, the Roulons central region is served by a light rail network consisting of small trams; there are five lines that connect much of the city centre, deigned to support the train network in transporting commuters during peak hours.


Roulons' road transport infrastructure is highly complex, providing a diverse range of urban mobility. Although the majority of journeys involving central Roulons are made by public transport, car travel is common in the outskirts. HY-20 (a major ring road around the city centre), and the outer orbital freeway (the FY-1, outside the built-up area) encircle the city and are intersected by a number of busy radial routes—however, only one freeway (FY-11) actually penetrates into the city centre. FY-1 connects to some minor communities on the very outskirts of the city, but currently the freeway network does not extend to either the surface, or Roulons' neighbours. A total of 1,246 bridges cross 300 km (186 mi) of the city's waterways. 5,422 km (3,369 mi) of roads run through Roulons, of which 197 km (122 mi) are freeways.

The average traveller in Roulons experienced 34 hours of traffic delay per year according to a study made by the Transport for Roulons Data Institute; this puts it well below the Albalian average of 59 hours p/a for major cities before the war. The average travel time for consumers was 18 minutes in 2040 according to the same study, once again putting it below the pre-war average. The extensive road network was originally put in place to speed up mobilisation for Roulons' military, and many barracks can be found short distances away from major freeways and highways.

Parks and gardens