Cocoon

Ah, Cocoon. The only place where fishmongers and executives walk the same paths. It’s hard to tell which smell worse.
- Eric, local

Cocoon

Basics

Cocoon is the commerce hub for the continent. Due to the historically low tax rates and corporation-friendly laws and regulations, many businesses have put their main offices in the city. Though current executives can not join the city council, what they want has a lot of influence in how things are run in Cocoon.

The city, to it’s credit, looks great. The key to impressing and getting clients is to look nice, and Cocoon is kept in a very clean state with many active waste disposal services and public works companies. The streets are clean, the buildings are washed, and the parks and recreation areas are well-tended. Flowers hang on most street lamps. Overall, Cocoon is exceptionally presentable – one of the few taxes that are levied on every company adds to the fund for public sanitation and beautification.

The city’s other major claim to fame is that of water proximity. Able to send products down the Axis River is a major advantage, along with the natural food advantages of being close to the ocean.

Geography

Cocoon is roughly bisected by the Axis River, running east to west. Administratively, it’s a patchwork of private districts, the intricacies of which would baffle any newcomer. Practically speaking, however, it can be broadly grouped into four “centers”.

The Corporate Center, the western portion of the city north of the river, is the heart of Cocoon. Some of the largest structures in the world dominate the local skyline, and house a small army of white collar workers during the normal working hours. Any corporation worth its salt has at least one office here, if not THE office. The Commercial Center isn’t entirely corporate holdings though; what passes for government in Cocoon is located here, as well as prestiged establishments such as libraries and museums. Numerous small restaurants, shops, and other facilities are dotted about to accommodate the “residents”, with a price point matching the wealth being tossed about them.

North and northeast Cocoon is the Upper Residential Center, mostly consisting of gated communities or high-rise complexes. Properties in these parts command a premium, and most executives have a residence here. For the have-nots (or have-lesses), there’s the Lower Residential Center south of the river, with much more affordable apartments and suburban dwellings.

The eastern portion of Cocoon, as well as much of the riverside, is the Working Center, where the actual shipping and fishing takes place. Filled with the brunt of the city’s workforce, the docks are always bustling and busy during the normal working hours, and often busy anyway outside of those hours. Outside of the numerous packing plants and processing centers for the fish, several eateries and markets dot the area, providing nautical related goods and foods to the hungry.

Places of Interest

Anima and the Spire: A gleaming obelisk standing upright at a very slight angle, Cocoon’s guardian Crystallis is the tallest natural or artificial object known to exist. In addition to keeping the Miasma at bay, Anima is believed to be responsible for the nearly-always fair weather about the city, as well as the existence of the Axis River. Once a ship approaches to within ten miles of the Cocoon shoreline, favorable breezes and currents seem to guide it unerringly to port, and at night the Crystallis shines with stored sunlight to light the way for lost seamen.

Only the top third of Anima is still visible, however, due to the massive skyscraper built around it, properly known as the Anima Spire. Constructed steadily over the centuries after the Crystal War, having holdings within the Spire is seen as the ultimate status symbol in a city where status is everything.

The Shacks:

Culture

Politics

Cocoon is, and has always been, adminstrated by the City Council, a body of elected officials who responsible for the best interests of the city as a whole. However, corruption is inevitable in a territory with such a strong corporate presence, and proved to be a problem that Cocoon struggled tremendously with for many decades. Eventually the outcry grew loud enough, and the bribery wars grew expensive enough, that a handful of companies reached a mutual agreement. With much fanfare and PR, they renounced the “undue and underhanded” influence of elected officials, and began sending representatives directly to the Council (to publicly countermand their business rivals who were still dealing in secret). The public’s reaction to this move was mixed, but generally speaking they found this more acceptable than the existing situation. Having been given a way out of the scandal enveloping them, the City Council formally established the Corporate Council.

In exchange for accepting binding City arbitration in the event of disputes, each corporation with significant Cocoon holdings is allowed to appoint one Advisor to this new Council. While having no formal power, members of the Corporate Council are virtually guaranteed influence in the running of Cocoon, as well as other legal benefits. As a result, companies still jockey for power in the political arena, but most of that now happens above the table; the Corporate Council has thus proved a stabilizing influence on the city.

One of the perks to being on the Corporate Council is that, provided the corporation can ensure and prove that City laws are being enforced within their holdings, they are mostly allowed to self-police. Thus, transgressions that occur on corporate territory tend to be investigated and rectified by that corporation, subject to sentencing regulations by the City Council. Issues that happen across district lines are resolved jointly by the corporations, with the City Council stepping in only on issues where cooperation is not possible or that directly affect Cocoon as a whole.

Military

Partially due to the aforementioned ability to self-police, and partially due to natural self-interest and security concerns, nearly every medium-to-large company either owns a private mercenary company as a subsidiary, or is one outright. As a result, there are a large number of PMCs in Cocoon – so many so, in fact, that the City has almost no standing army. One of the stipulations for owning or running a PMC in Cocoon is that, if the city is threatened, its forces will be contracted for the militia. This hasn’t happened for quite some time, though, so whether that regulation would still be obeyed is uncertain (albeit likely). Notable mercenary companies include:

Even if the call is not answered, Cocoon is far from defenseless. The city itself is structured as a corporation (shareholders: everyone), one with majority ownership in a “public” mercenary company – the Mounted Brigade. When the City Council requires them to deploy, these specially trained, Chocobo-mounted soldiers reach the scene swiftly, ready to answer any threat to the city. Rather than specializing, as is the case with their elite Lindblum or Narshe counterparts, these fighters are good all around, and take full advantage of their extreme mobility. Each new member of the Mounted Brigade is given a freshly-hatched Chocobo which they raise to adulthood, ensuring a full and useful bond between mount and rider. In addition, as a tradition, each rider decorates their lance with feathers from their particular Chocobo.

Cocoon

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