Goban is a large land mass near Iami.
Nothing interesting happened on Goban during the Alliance era.
During the Long Night, what few inhabitants remained on Goban left for greener shores or simply died out altogether. Lacking large-scale ocean travel, there was no reason to visit it. By the end of the Long Night, Goban was completely uninhabited.
New Day Era
In N.D. 381, gold was discovered in Goban; a large, previously uninhabited landmass near Iami. Goban had been a sovereign state during the old Alliance-era, but had at the time possessed no known natural resources of any note. A remote backwater, despite the large size the nation still had to import most of its food. Located halfway between Ral'Parthia and Iami, a confluence of ocean currents left Goban a cold, unforgiving place. As the Long Night fell, Goban had been abandoned.
The rich mineral discovery changed all that. From a legal perspective, no known claim existed on the land. It was near Boothari and Iami, but the only visitors for the past four centuries were dragons, and indeed it was they who had discovered the gold deposit. Being dragons, they could little accept that anyone else would have the gold, and the island was claimed in the name of the Sandria Desert Flight, the first time a dragon flight had claimed new territory in recorded history.
This in turn led to an argument with Boothari. Technically an independant nation, they were among the few powers in the region to have a navy all their own (though they also relied heavily on the Trans-Draconic Federation Navy by way of membership in the New Day Alliance). Boothari landed troops on the island, though given strict orders not to engage, they felt that a military presence might provide them with a legal claim. In a rare move, the Federation in turn landed dragons on the island.
Both parties, however, soon discovered a small Ral'Parthian outpost which, while built for a mostly military presence, had erected several greenhouses. According to the Ral'Parthians, under Alliance law, once a nation had grown crops somewhere, it had officially been colonized, and thus Goban belonged to them. In point of fact, this had been a law under the old Alliance and was commonly accepted during the era. The dragons, however, had explicitly omitted this law when they took part in building the new Alliance, at the time because they felt humans might use it to encroach on their ancestral land claims. Now, it was a handy excuse to deny Ral'Parthia's hand.
The TDFN brought in a carrier battle group, and the Federation made arrangements to import human colonists from Iami. In order to appease Boothari, the Federation agreed to contract Bootharian mining firms to carry out the mineral extraction, allowing Boothari to profit at least somewhat from the discovery. Ral'Parthia, however, refused to give up so easily, and began to bring in forces of their own.
By this time, Ral'Parthia had a powerful domestically-produced navy, including aircraft carriers, and a locally-built and improved-upon copy of the Doer-Daisy multi-role strike-fighter. In addition, they had a fleet of nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines that was suspected to be much larger than anyone knew. Lastly, Ral'Parthia was suspected of possessing ballistic missiles capable of delivering atomic warheads at least as far as Goban.
There was never an open battle, but several small skirmishes were fought, with each side taking warning shots but making no direct hits. Ral'Parthia demonstrated that their locally-built weapons were superior to those the Federation had purchased, and if it did come to open combat, there would be heavy losses. The Federation then attempted the dragons' standard form of 'big-stick' diplomacy, and made it known that they had placed a ballistic missile submarine within range of Ral'Parthia's capitol city. They also made references to Korsic-Phong, a gentle reminder that they were willing and able to resort to such measures.
This caused a massive uproar in Ral'Parthia, who had been petitioning for some time to join the Alliance and was making progress. They decried the Federation, called them bullies, and threatened to sink the submarine. The Ral'Parthian president made a big show of publicly issuing the batteries-release order, giving his submarine commanders permission to fire on the Federation submarine. The Ral'Parthian's own land-based missile sites were also placed on high alert, with the president issuing the order to counter-launch if enemy missiles were detected. The exact range of their missiles was unknown, but anecdotle evidence suggested they should be able to shower Serpentia and Bident with missiles.
The Crimson Blade already had a fast carrier group in Kiatra, and had had them on station in the Drunlake Sea. Once the threat of atomic war had been made, the task force set sail immediately for Goban.
The interdiction of the Crimson Blade turned the conflict into a crisis. It was well known that while the Gudersnipe Foundation supplied arms to the Federation Navy, the weapons they kept for themselves were far superior. Further, as the dragons were strongly allied with the Foundation, it was obvious they would not risk a conflict. The Foundation stated the task force was dispatched to take and occupy the island and expel all others, and that it would be interred until a peaceful agreement was reached. While they did support the Alliance and Federation, the Foundation was strongly opposed to the use of in-atmosphere atomic weapons, and had demonstrated many times they were willing to use force to prevent it.
This put Ral'Parthia in an uncomfortable position. While they were willing to go to war with the dragons because they knew the threat of a nuclear attack on Iami would give them a strong position to negotiate a favorable settlement, they had no such luxury with the Foundation. Modia was well out of range, and the Crimson Blade Elites were easily on par with their own forces. Moreover, the Foundation had the capacity to bring in a much larger army as needed.
With the Crimson Blade task force just three days out, the Ral'Parthians attempted to provoke a conflict. They ordered their captains to maneuver aggressively, and to go to complete radio silence. The belief was that if they could insight the TDFN to fire the first shots, they could retain their claim on the land. The TDFN, however, was just as aggressive, but equally unwilling to be the ones who fired first.
Somewhere in the confusion, T.D.S. Serpentine was sunk. The cause was believed to be a torpedo hit, though 23 crewmen were rescued before the fast-attack submarine sank in three miles of water. Since the first shot had been fired, the Federation retaliated by sinking one of Ral'Parthia's battle cruisers. The stage was set for an all-out offensive, but brought to a halt when Crimson Blade fighters arrived overhead. Unencrypted radio transmissions warned that the fighters were only painting targets, and cruise-missile submarines already in the area were prepared to put an end to any further aggressive action. To demonstrate the validity of the threat, targets were painted on all four Federation carriers.
While the Foundation would later state that they had no intention whatsoever of firing on their allies, the bluff was necessary to show Ral'Parthia of their serious intentions. The Foundation went on to garrison the island group and put a 99-year moratorium on any mining operations. The dragons themselves were fine with this, as 99 years was very short in dragon-terms, though the lose of potential mining revenue caused a great deal of resentment in Bootharia. Ral'Parthia was forced to withdraw entirely, though they were offered a deal: they would be allowed to build an agricultural colony on the island in exchange for granting the Foundation rights to build a garrison on Ral'Parthia.
It was an interesting act of charity. On the international stage, it offered Ral'Parthia a chance to save face by rejecting the terms. The ardent defense of their homeland was a deeply-seated cultural ideal by this time, and so of course it was ridiculous to imagine they would let an unfriendly power have a base on their soil. Of course, by the same vein, it tacitly forced them to admit they had never intended to colonize the island, as it was quite obvious it was a terrible place for growing crops.
In the end the conflict was resolved without further bloodshed. The TDFN lost 62 sailors about Serpentine and the Ral'Parthians lost 577. The standoff soured relations between Bootharia and the Federation, and bred strong anti-dragon sentiments. It further planted the ideal that, somehow, in some way, there was tension between the Crimson Blade and the TDFN. This was not true by any measure, but the notion lingered in the public consciousness.
In N.D. 480, the 99 year mining moratorium on Goban drew to a close. The Gudersnipe Foundation still had the island garrisoned at this point, and had since turned it into an important strategic center for naval operations - a concession they were unwilling to give up. The Ral, meanwhile, were still very much interested in mineral explotation of the region. And, somewhat more importantly, in denying it to the Trans-Draconic Federation (TDF).
In the intervening decades, Ral'Parthia had successfully petitioned for entrance into the New Day Alliance and become a full-fledged member in good standing. This gave them a strong position to lobby from with their own point: that they had colonized Goban and it should be returned to their control. This would mean, however, expelling the naval base constructed by the Gudernsipe Foundation.
Boothari, being a member of both the Alliance and the TDF began to renew its original claims on the land. However while Ral'Parthia was positioning itself as a strong member of the Alliance, Boothari's actions over the past 99 years had left them slapped with the label of "belligerent". A few very high-profile dragon-slayings in the 470s also had them in hot water with the Federation, leaving little support on the world stage.
The dragons, meanwhile, were interested only in the gold. Since that would need to be mined by humans, they weren't much concerned with exactly who dug the shiny metals out of the ground as long as they ended up owning it when all was said and done.
Right around when the moratorium was set to end, the three sides involved reached a compromise everyone was happy with. Goban consisted of three major land-masses, all three of which had to be garrisoned in order to support the Foundation's internment of the space. The Foundation would then surrender the two smallest bases and retain ownership of the third (the only one really used), while the Ralians would use the other two as the basis for their colonization efforts. They would be given total mining claims to the region with a few caveats.
While the dragons had few qualms about the loss of territory, the islands were still an important stop-off on their pilgrimage routes. Further, dragons have long memories, and had not forgotten the 62 human sailors killed during the conflict 99 years previously. Therefore the dragons agreed they would seed their claim on the island under two conditions: first, that a few areas of land be designated as "Dragon roosts" for use by passing pilgrims; and second that the Ralians would pay them a tribute of 11,160 pounds of pure gold. This equated to roughly 180 pounds, or the average weight of each sailor lost in the previous conflict. While the gold itself would be distributed among the flights, the value of the gold would then be paid out to the descendants of the lost sailors.
There were additional caveats, which would become known as The Goban Accords:
- Dragons were to have "first claim" mined from the region; meaning that it would be sold at market value immediately to the TDF. There is no time limit on this condition.
- The Gudersnipe Foundation would have "first claim" on all other minerals mined for a period of 99 years.
- Boothari would receive a 34.8926% stake in any petrochemical exploitations for a period of 99 years.
The Accords worked well for most of the interested parties. The dragons got the gold. The Ralians, who were primarily interested in the other minerals, would have access to them and ready markets (though originally they planned to exploit the resources for domestic use). The only ones unhappy were the Boothari, whose stake in the petrochemicals had been very carefully calculated to ensure they could not turn a profit. The Ral further refused to exploit any of those resources, thus making the situation even worse for Boothari.