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(Im)possible Chicago #9
The United Great Lakes

The United Great Lakes is a hydrostate encompassing the entire drainage basin of the Great Lakes plus a chunk of the St. Lawrence River Basin. These territories ceded from Canadian provinces and American states are organized into administrative cantons coterminus with the sub-basins of each individual lake. The capital city is Chicago.

The choice of Chicago as the capital was controversial at first, because it had for decades allowed the Illinois and Michigan Canal to wastefully drain water out of the lakes. No one objected once the flow of water was re-reversed, especially since everyone realized it was strategically positioned near the parched city-states of Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix, their main hydro-export markets.

Indeed, Great Lakes freshwater is their main commodity. It is also their only major industry. Gone are the Boeings, the GMs and the Dow Chemicals: they've all either moved to the low-tax pastures of Texas or gone bankrupt. But with unquenchable demand of the petrostate of New Alberta and more distant markets like China, linked via the Mississippi River turned international waterway, the economic impact of their desertion and erasure was minimally negative.

Below the city and following its grid system are the cavernous reservoirs of thousands of Mega-Notre-Dames, buttressed with buttressed buttresses, columned and aisled with service passages and emergency tunnels. Jutting out from each one and puncturing the surface are Neo-Gothic spires housing pumping stations, pressure release valves and permanent crew quarters, with the grander ones additionally housing the federal government of the water cartel. Some are quite tall, even reaching the height of the once standing Sears Towers. Not for anything is Chicago now nicknamed The City of Spires.


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