The southernmost proper city of Rastakgan, Ratago was a major harbor for over two hundred cycles before The Reformation War. After a brief period of independence, Ratago voluntarily acceded to membership in the Hierarchy to protect its interests and economic development from exploitation at the hands of Serican Supercorporations. This was largely successful, with Rastakgan’s deeply protectionist trade policies preserving the government of Ratago despite near-constant efforts by Serican clandestine forces, supercorporate agents, and criminal enterprises to destabilize the city for their own ends.
Always a harbor of tremendous importance, Ratago quickly sprawled inland over the mountains and around the entirety of its natural bay. Though other Rastakgic cities sported a much greater tourism industry or acted as stopovers on longer, safer trips between Serica and the Unity, Ratago almost always possessed the largest permanent settlement of foreign nationals in the entire Hierarchy. As a result it was the most ‘diluted’ Rastakgic city, with the trademark culture (and somewhat xenophobic attitude) considered so endemic to Rastakgan all but nonexistent.
Ratago was secured by ESIS forces very early in the war. The Hierarchy military, expecting the attack on Midstream to be the first and last move of the conflict, was utterly unprepared for the severity of the Serican counterattack. Rather than hold the city, they expended the entirety of their heavy anti-ship munitions as quickly as possible while conducting a minimal evacuation of the civilian population, abandoning the area entirely less than a day after Serican warships sailed into firing range. As a result, Ratago was untouched for most of the war, and even had time for significant infrastructure repairs under Serican occupation. With the release of the Mutagen and surprise Hierarchy counterattack at Menganno, Ratago was once more within reach of the conflict, and came under siege by Hierarchy ground forces who mercilessly pummeled Serican positions within. Ultimately Serican forces simply retreated to their fleet, safe from Hierarchy ground fire and close enough to Midstream that their supply chain and line of reinforcement were secure in the event of a naval attack. The tide turned against the Hierarchy once more, and Serican forces reclaimed the city without major incident after hostile forces throughout Menganno were surrounded and rendered incapable of threatening Ratago proper.
Some historians and anthropologists would claim this twin abandonment, first by the military of their homeland and then by their occupiers, drives the fickle and unstable nature of politics in Ratago to this day. After the was Serica retreated from the city altogether, with no effort expended to repair its infrastructure or otherwise stabilize the region. As such, Ratago evolved into the ‘One-cycle City’ or ‘City of Warlords’, a den of organized crime and piracy ruled (never for long) by a string of despots and manipulators. Though it has never had a government for more than 1.6 cycles or regime for more than 3, Ratago has developed an extensive ‘administrative class’ who have grown both wealthy and powerful by playing their part in maintaining the eternal crucible of the city’s politics without ever entering it themselves, using their knowledge and skills to ride out even the most severe changes of government. Some members of this class may represent foreign powers, nationalist movements, or supercorporate interests, but the sheer profusion of competing goals prevents any particular objective from being pursued for long (though keeping the city in its current state may well be desirable for some).
Ratago is still a major port, though most heavy shipping would prefer to deal with the significantly more refined environment of Islebridge if not simply reroute to Midstream or further South. In addition to being a sort of haven and staging area for pirates and criminal organizations, Ratago is also a relatively secure source of natural narcotics and foodstuffs produced further North. The city still bears the marks of the Hierarchy counter-siege, with most of its infrastructure still in total disrepair and districts named after the danger level presented by their distance from hostile artillery (black, red, yellow, blue, and white). The vast majority of the population ekes out a living in the sprawling salvage homes and human warehouses of the yellow district, while the administrator class and especially well connected live relatively comfortable lives in the elevated interlocking towers of the blue district. The white district only encompasses a few peaks and valleys protected by their elevation, and is generally used to hoard particularly valuable merchandise or keep batteries of anti-ship missiles safely out of range. The inland red district tends to house whatever faction is most at odds with the current government, further protected by its vast network of subterranean tunnels and canals. Good salvage and an early death can be had easily enough in the black district, where Hierarchy artillery left nothing of note standing, but plenty of craters to hide in and steel to scavenge.
Ratago is the typical name used not just for the city but also the island it resides on. The vast majority of this once vibrant combination of sheer desert cliffs and lively valley forests is now encompassed in the desolation of Menganno to the North. The port of Alacruz on the opposite end of Ratago’s landmass is the only other significant settlement on the island.