In the early 20th century, the small commonwealths on Manitoulin and its surrounding entourage of islands were united together as single entity known as the Orbin Federation.
In the years immediately following this unification, the nation experienced a massive boom in all areas. What had prior been an agrarian culture of sailors, miners, loggers, and farmers transformed into a fully industrialized nation with factories, large cities, skyscrapers, and all the amenities of modernity. More widely available medicine combined with traditional family-planning practices resulted in the country's population doubling in course of 50 years.
Orb had become a manufacturing powerhouse, with a fleet of Great Lake freighters larger than either the United States or Canada's. Its location in the effective center of the Great Lakes helped it achieve many an ambitious goal dreamt up by a nation with one of the youngest populations in the world.
As the Cold War between the lands of the East and the lands of the West simmered, Orb, strictly neutral, powered forward with its ambitions, completely unafraid of the threat of annihilation. The country was called by observers "the Yugoslavia of the west"—that is, an industrialized capitalist powerhouse that, like Tito's rogue communist state, was not aligned with the superpower respective to its economic ideology. Orbins were said to "have the fierce independence of Americans, mixed with the staunch neutrality of the Swiss."
Yet the Pax Orbanna eventually came to an end. Economic stagnation, industrial migration, and outsourcing for cheaper products left many of the once great factories abandoned. They were now great, silent corpses of rusting steel; monuments to their nation's manufacturing golden age—a nation that was almost entirely part of the Rust Belt.
In the easternmost province of Daawinaki, in the southerly region of said province, was a town called Wacovia, which, in its heyday mid-century, was a small but strong manufacturing town, boasting a proud industrial sector.
…But now two thirds of that sector sat silent and dead. Empty buildings that stood largely forgotten by the townspeople while they gradually crumbled to dust.
And as the steel containers crumbled, that which those steel containers held gradually leaked out, seeping into the soil, where they mingled and merged with the groundwater, completely unbeknownst to the locals…