[The look and feel of the Convergence is inspired by the Mars colony, in the 2001 Cowboy Bebop: The Movie.]
The aliens had established a base in the Hampton Roads years before the creation of the High Commission in 2025.
The area they'd secured around Newport News Point was commonly known as the Green Zone, or jokingly the Little Green Man Zone. The Treaty of 2025 officially named this area the Extraterritorial Controlled Area (ECA), governed by international law and where the High Commission's headquarters would be located.
Although Hampton Roads was a popular tourist destination, with the longest pleasure beach in the world, it didn't explain why the aliens had decided to set up camp there. At least to the uninformed.
More astute obversers would note that Hampton Roads is one of the most militarily secure locations on the planet, ringed by military bases, including the world largest's naval base and naval airbase in Norfolk, Langley Air Force Base, Fort Eustis Army Base, and the Joint Expeditionary Base of the Amphibious Forces (navy and marines). Also nearby are multiple bases for the reserves, the Coast Guard, and the National Guard; NASA's aeronautics research centre and NATO's Atlantic Command.
With the US Government firmly on the alien's side, there was simply no way the Green Zone could be attacked by conventional means.
After the Yellowstone eruption In 2017, the population of Hampton Roads had swelled with migrants from the Midwest, refugees from the West. The Roads were sheltered from the worst of the violent weather, had ample land for property development, and the best emergency infrastructure in the States. What's more, the aliens themselves had established a base there. In a time of change, you could feel safe in the Roads.
So it was already a booming metropolitan area, and the Treaty of 2025 accelerated the growth. People from around the world flocked to "The Convergence", as it was labelled by the media. Many were the families and support staff of the High Commission. International business moved in, with a rush of high-rise office construction in the surrounding towns and cities. The Coliseum Stock Exchange was built inside the ECA. The world's first cybertronic stock exchange, accessible to the general public, it quickly overtook New York as the world's largest stock exchange. The Roads had become the de facto capital of Earth and all that entailed. By the 2030s, the aliens were building out into Chesapeake Bay, the Hampton Roads population had more than quadrupled since 2012, and the medley of local governments in charge of it all were in chaos.
The aliens stepped in. In 2038 the US complied with an alien mandate, incorporating the densely-populated cityscape around the ECA into the Hampton Roads Metroplex. Although inarguably a global city, the unique metroplex designation was created to denote equal status to all districts it contained.
The districts themselves were formed largely along the previous county/city lines, with the Green Zone occupying much of old Newport News, Hampton and out across the water.
After effects of the Yellowstone eruption on the Hampton Roads climate was darker, colder and drier weather, causing a severe die-off in the area's verdant wood and wetlands and encouraging urban sprawl. It lasted little over a decade before the weather stepped sharply back to its pre-eruption norms.
Nowdays the Metroplex has an idyllic climate. Hot and balmy during the summer, with highs over 30 °C during the summer, and dropping to freezing during the winter with regular snowfall.
Approaching by sea from the south, passing Roanoke Island, there are a veritable cornucopia of wildlife reserves, mostly lagoons and "pocosin", backed by deep woods. It's very scenic, largely uninhabited wilderness with only remote beach resorts and the nearest Interstate Highway being around 200 km inland.
The complete opposite is true of the approach from the north. One after another, the major cities of the Eastern Seaboard, from DC up to New York and Boston, with smaller cities crammed in between.
The sea lanes also converge at Hampton Roads, and the first thing a sea traveller will notice are other ships, growing rapidly more numerous and varied in size and function as they approach the Bay. On a clear day, they might also notice busy skies above, as jetliners roar in and out of the international airports at Williamsburg and Cabin Point. At dawn, an atmospheric anomaly can often be seen in the sky above the Green Zone. It's been compared to everything from a Damocles Sword to a Holy Cross and Sign from God, to phallic representation of alien hegemony. But it's actually a vertical mirage, essentially a Fata Morgana; according to the aliens caused by transdimensional communications and not a health risk. It was nicknamed the Lightning Rod, Rod or Roddy by the locals.
The headlands around Chesapeake Bay are nearly as built up as the prime real estate on the Virginia Penisula and southern shoreline. So from the sea, the first glimp of the city is as headland is rounded, and a breath-taking, innervating spectacle it is. Skyscrapers thronging dry land and rising directly from the water, criss-crossed with bridge, tunnel and causeway systems, some up to 40 km in length.
On the street, the Convergence has all the crowded walkways and traffic jams of any global city, though the TT (tram-train) has good coverage and at least the cars are all highly efficient hybrids. Crowds are diverse, multicultural, international, but reassuredly human. Aliens might be encountered in the Green Zone, but elsewhere in the Metroplex they're an extremely rare sight. Alien technology is far more common, but the lines between human and alien invention are more blurry every day.
The Metroplex PD wear crisp, navy uniforms and drive blue and white patrol cars, very similar to the NYPD. Like elsewhere in Virginia, SWAT teams wear olive drab gear, and are well equipped to handle any threat. The Green Zone is policed by the ISC (Internal Security Contingent), and their special investigators and Crack Teams will sometimes deploy outside the walls, when a situation is deemed to have global ramifications. Special investigators tend to wear dark suits, whilst the Crack Teams always wear black.
Crimes rates for the Convergence are in the same bracket as New York and Las Vegas, with major improvements made since the chaotic, post-eruption period. Although still dangerous in places, most people are amazed that the Authorities were able to cut crime at all, as it seemed totally out of control only a decade ago.
Today's city is vibrant, exciting and home to over 7 million people, packed into an area some 1300 km2.
- Extraterritorial Controlled Area, aka "Green Zone" (Central)
- Seaford (N District)
- Poquoson (NE District)
- Virginia Beach (E District)
- Norfolk (SE District)
- Nansemond (S District)
- Smithfield (SW District)
- Rushmere (W District)
- Mulberry Island (NW District)