Siren City was established on the Pacific Coast of the Americas in the year 888. Its history reaches back to the cradle of civilization and beyond, intertwined with the storied and tumultuous history of the Siren people. A unique culture that once covered large swaths of the globe, now collected on a single island not diminished but, beyond all odds, thriving.
For the earlier periods, we must rely on the landdwellers historical accounts in order to fill some of the holes in Sirenian history. These accounts however are skewed and influenced by the migration, war and inevitable chaos and destruction landdwellers create in their coming and leave in their wake.
Sirenian civilization was already well established when landdwellers began to record their own histories, create their own art and weave their own mythologies. Unfortunately, all the Sirenian accounts from that period are lost to time. They lived predominantly in the warmer waters of the Eastern Hemisphere with cities established in the Mediterranean, Africa and Asia. Mythological accounts from the cradle of life in Babylonia & Assyria; to Greece & Rome; to China & Japan; to Ghana & Nigeria all reflect the co-existence of landdwellers and Sirens peacefully living alongside each other, if only tentatively.
Over time, this peace would fade with the expansion of human civilization. Little concrete knowledge exists regarding what drove conflict between land dwellers and sirens so we must turn to our mythologies. In Ancient Chinese tales, they were regarded as jewels of the sea, their tears producing pearls. Greece and Rome painted them as hostile and malevolent intent on luring their sailors to a watery grave. Japan believed they could grant immortality. With modern eyes we can look back and see that, likely, these myths were used simply as the propaganda by which to demonize them. In actuality, the motivations were likely more socio-political in nature.
Sirens are an entirely female species. That is to say, only female children inherit the Siren traits, while male children are much closer to their landdweller counterparts. Male Sirens still possess an affinity for the sea and an ability to hold their breath for minutes, but they walk and swim with two legs. If a Siren lured a sailor, it was not to his death, but to a new life. For hundreds, if not thousands of years, they welcomed strangers into their society regularly. It was not with curses or spells, but with intelligence, beauty and earnestness. The lengthy Siren lifespan (as high as 200 years) was gravely misconstrued as immortality. The splendor of their environment and cities, a product of a harmonious relationship with nature affording them access to all the riches of the sea, was viewed by landdweller outsiders as the ability to grant unimaginable wealth through some form of sorcery.
As human demands on the land and the sea increased, they inevitably did as humans do, and looked to conquer opposition. Through the propagation of myths Sirens were cast as hostile and violent ‘others’. In the Mediterranean they were hunted, their cities destroyed and their presence erased. By 100 AD the last Sirens of the region had fled beyond the horn of Africa to Asia to escape the massacre of their species. Sadly, there too they eventually found hostility. The legends associating them with immortality and jewels became the catalyst to their destruction. It cannot be ignored that Sirenian society was always more advanced than the landdwellers they lived near so perhaps something simpler, envy, was at root. By the year 500, the Sirens were looking East again to escape a death sentence. Trusting knowledge sourced from the Polynesian people who they had always coexisted with peacefully, they were told of a vast sparsely populated continent that the Polynesians had reached in their ships.
With population numbers dwindling, knowledge being lost, and a bleak future on the horizon a mass exodus occurred to the Americas in the 6th and 7th centuries, leaving Europe, Africa and Asia behind forever. In the Americas they found the aboriginals with whom they shared a commonality of beliefs and lifestyle. Deep ties to the land and the sea united the seemingly disparate peoples. Tribal folklore painted them as benevolent water sprites always willing to lend a hand and ever curious in temperament. The Sirens that did not embark on the migration were wiped out, relegated to myth and fantasy, forever forgotten as real inhabitants of the earth. In the Americas, the Sirens left behind the previous centuries of persecution and thrived, reestablishing their vibrant culture.
For eight centuries they inhabited many islands off the coast of the Americas, trading and intermixing with the local aboriginals. In 888, Siren City was established on a large island off the Pacific Coast. It grew to be a wonder of the area, renowned for its vibrant art, enthralling music and gorgeous architecture attracting both Sirens and landdwellers alike.
In the 16th century when large numbers of Europeans began to arrive on the Atlantic coast, the Sirens reacted with haste, remembering the not so distant past that had brought them to these lands, and retreated to the Pacific coast. Determined to outrun and outlive the Europeans, the Sirens sacrificed their cities but vowed never again to sacrifice their bodies. Crystaline became New Amsterdam; Neptonia to Montreal; Azul to Hispaniola and so forth. The abandoned Siren buildings were simply disregarded by the conquerors as Aboriginal ruins. As the Sirens watched the slow and steady decimation of their aboriginal kin, they felt no solace in having escaped – instead, they simply reflected on how little time changes the very core of people. These conquerors, settlers and invaders were no different than the Europeans from hundred of years ago. Disease, conquest and destruction came to the peoples they had cohabited with. The Sirens wept for their fallen friends but also for the souls of the Europeans who seemed, to them, to be forever striving for some impossible form of tangible happiness.
Their flight to the Pacific secured only temporary peace. As the Americas were conquered and populated, the last remaining cities faced hostility again. There was nowhere left to run, and they had to fight to avoid extinction. Not experienced or trained fighters, and not overly numerous in numbers, one by one the last cities were wiped out. Siren City, perhaps a luck of geography and timing, became the last remaining city of the Sirens.
Siren City successfully defended their island and remained free into the 19th Century. Their numbers grew as they received refugees from both the lost Sirenian settlements and aboriginals who were searching for any place to live in safety. Their combined effort held the colonization wave at bay and a century later, having narrowly secured a degree of safety, they reestablished a thriving culture as a City-State separate from the European descended nations.
As modernity saw more war and leaps forward in technological advancement around the world, the culture of Siren City established itself as a wonder. Immigrants were attracted from many of the landdwellers cultures. Great artists, musicians and scientists wound up calling Siren City home, nourishing their blossoming metropolitan city. Starkly opposed to war, dedicated to equality, celebrator of art, protector of the environment, guarantor of individuals’ freedom and pursuer of prosperity, Siren City existed as a symbol of inspiration and of envy to the nations around the world.
Siren City life cannot be defined as paradise – it has problems as any culture does – but compared to the rest of the world, many held it as such. But its greatest threat continued to be the imperial nations of the world, which sought to undermine its counter-culture and seize its riches. Propaganda would permeate the 19th & 20th centuries with politicians labeling them as ‘the Blue wave culture’ of rebels, agitators and anarchists. The WTO would issue sanctions and trade restrictions for their practices of free water and energy, but it would only hurt their neighbours and never Siren City itself. The US tried to invade a handful of times, but once the haze of propaganda vanished in face of the real inhabitants of the city, their fighting force retreated or defected.
The continued hostility to Siren City could be derived from how their philosophy stood in contrast to the hegemony of the other world powers. How can you fight conflicts over limited resources and knowledge, when somebody stands in contrast giving it away freely? How can you ignore the plight of the environment when there are intelligent beings saying their homes, the very same waters, are being poisoned? How can you argue that you are fighting wars for peace and safety, when a truly peaceful society’s only obstacles to continued peaceful existence are those same wars? And for these reasons, the powers of the rest of the world would never stop the slander of Siren City, in fear that their own residents might demand an equal quality of life. Fortunately, the hostility has existed only in words rather than bombs since the final defense of Siren City in 1902.
It surprised many that in the year 2138 when extraterrestrial life made first contact with earth, they did not choose Washington, London, Beijing or Johannesburg. They did not engage the World Nations Union or the Non Aggression Global Allies (both formerly of the United Nations) but arrived in the skies above Siren City. Who better to serve as ambassadors to new lifeforms than the inhabitants already seen as alien on their own planet.
The partnership forged with the aliens from Xi-ef’, located in the Alpha Centauri system, began the current chapter of space exploration for Siren City. Relying heavily on their non-Siren populace, and technology sharing with the off world visitors, Siren City Space Port XO was established as Earth’s gateway to the stars in the year 2188.