Another braindump, unedited and bad prose and all. Enjoy.
The Brave New Order
The beginning of the 21st century saw the world reeling from capitalism gone bad, from fundamentalism growing in the cracks of a world inherently unfair. It had to come down. And the advent of digital immortality, the IBrain was the final straw. Emergent AI and increasingly automated factories, 3D printshops and piracy brought the whole thing down.
The world was collapsing in on itself. Rampant unemployment, exploding social cost, the whole 1st world civilization looked more and more like the third world, and to protect itself, they all went on a looting spree. Again the big boys against the small, I guess it is human nature. Which again fuelled the plausible promise of revolt and retribution, flaring a thousand small groups trying to protect themselves against the grand satan of capitalism. Some people wanted this, hoping to create a Brave New World from chaos.
I guess those people never read Mazlow. I don’t expect you to know who the fuck that is, google it. As things went from bad to worse some smart little fucker in a formerly socialist country suggested the unthinkable. His company would provide a stable living environment and a basic paycheck. All sie wanted in return was your vote. And people nearly ran down hir gates. And sie became a political power. Never underestimate the Have’s ability to remain on top of the foodchain.
Social unrest faded into the background as the first world sold its votes to the Pancorporations, and representative democracy just represented mammon instead of the people. It was quick and easy when it first begun. And to prevent any backbreaking competiton the big boys, the Orbitals and multinationals agreed to the maximum value of a vote. That is when they named it the Universal Wage.
The Brave New Order was here.
World within worlds.
You think it is unfair, no? Well that is a luxury you can afford since you are one of lucky ones. Yes, you may be a drone, accepting the UW and a place in an arcology, a modern serf. But you’re still modestly looked after, a part of the First World, and the 1W looks after its own. It’s always been like that. An be honest, you wouldn’t want to swap for some third world hell hole now would you. We stood on the edge of that abyss, and we chose this instead.
Now imagine, you’re on the outside and looking in. You do not care about fair and unfair. You just want a piece of this bright and shiny world. So you head out. Most likely you die crossing the border, or somewhere on the way, victim of some barely human predator. Another random casualty of the BNO. Let’s say you make it, to the land of gold and honey, the City.
But when you are here you realize there is a Fourth world. The one of the Displaced, the fugees, SINless, without any rights, without any way of getting the UW you will sink to the bottom, to the District. Where beggars without legs pray for alms under holosigns advertising pirated French skillware, where the gangs rule and life can be just as hard as back home. If you are smart, aggressive, lucky or desperate enough, you end up with a lowgrade IBrain. And you get to see the Floating World. But you still live in la Sona, and there is no escape.
Unfortunatly there is a human failing called hope. And you will cling to this.
So yes it is unfair. But be honest, you wouldn’t want to trade now would you?
The topology of concrete.
The city. A sprawling, teeming mass of humanity. Arcologies rising from the crowded, smog filled streets like hives. Filled with drones living their lives submerged in the Floating World, or carrying out menial tasks to give their pointless lives meaning. This City is the 1world. Sure, there are others like it, but they are all the same. An aggregation of humans spread from one end of the continent to another.
It is just natural. The UW is easier to get back if the unwashed masses are kept close together. We are easier to control. The Floating World there to distract us, and enough small opportunities to spend our 30 silvers to keep us occupied. It is funny how this neon and concrete jungle is a balanced ecosystem of want and need. There is just enough of both to keep the drones pacified. And not enough to make them not ask questions or want something more.
I want something more. I am a predator in this jungle. Do not get me wrong. I am no social revolutionary. I don’t care about the drones. Now the feudal lords owning them. Now they I care about.
On top of all these UW drones sit the zaibatsu lords. A stratified hierarchy made up of an elect few. Living in exclusive small compounds, with enough to make them want more. Each one daily making decisions that affect millions to ensure a good weekly rapport. Always looking out for the claws of the ones underneath, and for the next opportunity to toppled the one above.
The lifeblood of the city
The city is submerged in information. The Floating World lies like a layer atop everything. Everywhere is tagged, commented and have likes. ADbombs, viral memes and targeted marketing controlled by semi-AI lies atop the streets like fine dust, where ever you walk you stir it up. Everydrone is surrounded by their P.A.N sphere of information. It is omnipresent. Information is the lifeblood of the city. But the Floating World isn’t it. That is just noise.
Now, the true data, the vital one, exist off the grid, hidden in secure servers, in offline databanks and in the minds of an elect few. This information is power. This is what fuels the city. The pancorps and orbitals will go to war over the right bit of code. But war’s are expensive, and nobody wants to deliver a bad quarterly.
That is where we come in, the Operators. Freelance and SINless, deniable and hidden under the noise, our Ronin status our trademark. We steal, we move, we aquire and sell this information. Be it a chip with Paydata, a rumor, an ugly truth, a defecting asset’s IBrain or hir whole shell. We do it contracted, we do it because it drops in our laps, we do it to maintain our SOTA. But most of all we do it because we can.