The United States
Once the star jewel in the crown of the Free World, North America has become
despotic, bureaucratic and paranoid. Despite the world's strongest economy,
and the most powerful military, North America remains insular, prone to
internal squabbles, and divided along racial and class lines. Once the land
of the free, America is now a surveillance society.
"Johnny's in America.
Johnny looks up at the stars...
Johnny combs his hair and
Johnny wants pussy and cars.
Johnny's in America...
God is an American..."
- I'm Afraid of Americans, David Bowie/Trent Reznor
Several events define the America of today. The Pacific War taught Americans
that they must be firm in demanding their share from the world, for even in
times of economic prosperity there are those who will be unsatisfied with mere
wealth. The New Mutation rekindled old suspicions about the outside world
(most Americans still believe it was caused by foreigners) and the internal
pacification of major urban centres caused deep social wounds. The perception
remains that the Federal government abused its powers and allowed fundamentalist
Clans to rampage through poorer areas while scrupulously sheltering the rich
from harm. The use of tacnukes on Denver and several smaller cities to contain
the spread of the New Mutation traumatized all Americans while simultaneously
inuring them to the use of brutal force against civilians.
North America remains a vibrant culture filled with exciting media and soft
reality worlds while the actual reality is stifled beneath the weight of
pervasive government, Apparatus paranoia, and Clan conflict. Ironically, even
as the United States conquered territory in Asia it lost territory at home
as renegade States declared Freehold or Estate status to escape perceived
Federal persecution during the Troubles.
Today North America seems to be united in name only. Norcal remains aloof from
other states, while Surcal gravitates closer to Mexico year by year. The Heartlands
territories refuse to accede to what they consider to be a fascist government
in Washington, and the Feds are as yet unwilling to start a major pitched battle
to regain Des Moines. Old nationalist resentment in the 'partner' Canadian provinces
annually erupts into rioting, while the vast urban conurbation of the Eastern
Megalopolis remains as difficult to manage as ever. Texas' wildly isolationist
stance does nothing to further American interests abroad, while the continuing
debacle in the Pacific Conflict Zone brings American soldiers home in body-bags
on a daily basis. People are beginning to question the rationale of maintaining
a 'stabilization force' in Asia, and President Aspen faces opposition in the
banned democratic Tea Party and hawkish Eagle Guard. Despite America's impressive
orbital military forces (Athena/Medusa), the Orbitals are starting
to get pushy, and foreigners' perception of America is at an all-time low.
The United States has also fallen in love with surveillance. Privacy is a thing
of the past when police departments can surreptitiously scan your gene-profile
from fifty metres using portable sniffers. Smartcams and eyesats by the millions
buzz over cities, reporting the minutiae of everyday life and fingering every
suspicious or subversive activity. In such a paranoid state, everyone is a suspect.
The bloated corpus of the Registry - the international citizen database - keeps
a file on every legal citizen on the continent (Canada is officially part of
the US Registry) and can track people's movement anywhere. Guns, though still
legal and ubiquitous thanks to the tenacity of the National Rifle Association,
are imprinted and tracked by the Federal Bureau of Security. Many guns are
geneprinted so that only their legal owners can activate them. Bypassing these
built-in safekeys is a booming black market business.
The public attitude has also shifted toward the paranoid and intolerant.
Americans are more and more willing to give up their freedoms in exchange
for security, prosperity, and promises of a Golden Age. Americans view
most other foreigners as enemies nowadays, since the Europeans 'backstabbed'
them during the Pacific War and the Asians have been hollering for American
blood for the past thirty years. America has much less diplomatic clout
in the world than it used to, and must pursue its international policies
by force. The fact that living conditions Surcal and the Eastern Megalopolis
have plunged in recent years has embittered many people. The New Mutation
profoundly affected American attitudes to each other as well. A legalistic
society long before the NewCen, the US was now swamped with legal suits
for damages incurred during the plagues, damages so astounding and often
so trivial that it almost destroyed the financial system. Reforms have
been passed to limit the power of the justice system in order to protect
important institutions and corporations. The power of a private citizen
to find justice is now very curtailed.
Corporations, now known as Intercons
have not - as predicted by many - taken over America. Corporations have
no need to publicly take over government when their business plans are
best served by subtle manipulation. Intercons are prevalent on the continent
and provide most of the jobs in the American economy. Informatics, research,
design, projectioning, simulation, and coding are the backbone of the
North American economy, with highly-specialized high-tech construction
a distant second. The manufacture of physical goods such as cars, satellites,
dishwashers, etc. has long since moved to other parts of the world.
Intercons have managed to mold American society to their need for efficiency;
the daily wage-scale, in which employees daily submit their resumes and
work profiles to dozens of employers for evaluation every day, has now
become a normal work practise. Employee security and biological screening
knows no bounds. At the same time, a rigid doctrine of political correctness
pervades the workplace, killing social life and turning the office into
a cold, sanitized mind-factory. Still, Americans generally enjoy a high
standard of living, and most seem content to put up with the 'nuisances'
for their good paychecks. After all, you might be stuck in some godawful
island in the PCZ working for Governance.
Major conurbations in North America are as follows: Los Angeles (LA-San Diego-Long Beach-Tijuana),
Sea-Port (Vancouver-Seattle-Tacoma-Portland), Boswash (Boston-Baltimore-Philadelphia-Washington),
Delta SEZ (New Orleans-Baton Rouge-Helena), Atlanta, Miami-PalmBeach, Golden Horseshoe (Toronto-Hamilton-Detroit & Buffalo),
Milwaukee-Chicago, Bay City (San Francisco-San Jose-Sacramento-Oakland), Tampa Bay,
Mexico City, Monterrey.
Canada shares the North American continent with the US, but the beginning
of the century was not kind to this federation of 35m people. In 2005 the
province of Quebec finally - after years of protests - voted firmly to
separate from the rest of Canada. The separation of negotiated over 2 years,
during which the economy slid downhill and money fled the country. The
poor economic conditions of later years eventually pressured the government
to sign an 'association' with the United States in which the remains of
Canada would agree to a customs union, adopt the American dollar, and become
a de facto autonomous American territory. The provinces of New Brunswick,
Newfoundland, P.E.I. and Nova Scotia were amalgamated into the Maritimes
province. The province of Nunavut, formed in 1999, was granted additional
powers and its Amerindian leadership began to slowly separate from Canada.
Today Canada remains a troubled land beset by rising nationalist sentiment
directed at the US and faced with mounting debts from its generous health
and social security systems.
Official Name: Mississippi Delta Special Economic Zone
Other Names: Delta-Z, Delta Freezone, Delta Megacity
Ethnography: 30% White, 25% Black, 20% Hispanic, 12% Mixed, 8% Yellow
Languages: American English, Creole, Spanish, Chinese, Melanga
Location: New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Helena, Mississippi Delta
Delta is an American city like no other; half commerce and half entertainment,
it hums with a potent cocktail of pharmas, smuggling, cutting-edge research,
and rustage heavy industry. Delta is a hub of American 'dirty industry', a special
place in the grand federal design for revitalizing the shattered South.
Following the unpleasant Year2000 Bug Recession that swept across most of the world,
the Mississipi Delta Region plunged into an economic slump which destroyed the local
economy and made politicians in Washington despair of ever jump-starting this part
of America. The region was dirt-poor to begin with, and the slump in tourism
during the recession, followed by decades of flooding and pollution from the dirty
petroleum industry, left the region a ruin. The scary days of the War and the
weakness of the federal government during the New Mutation gave the region its
opportunity. The mayors, governors and councillors
of the region gathered in the months of 2022 and formed the Delta Region Council,
a de facto amalgamation of their territories into a single special economic zone.
Legal and corporate entities within this zone paid very little tax and were exempt
from most work, health and environment provisions. This attracted some corporations,
but the poor working conditions were not an incentive for middle-class employees.
The greatest coup came from advertising the region as an environmental haven during
the New Mutation (which it wasn't) coupled with an expensive extermination campaign
which secured in the minds of most Americans the idea that "The Delta is Clean".
As people flooded into the region, Delta underwent a massive public-works project
to 'sanitize' the city and make it safe against contamination. The scheme was a
partial success, and the confidence it inspired in residents allowed Delta Council
to re-institute the old health, worker and environmental provisions. Taxation and
investment rules remained attractive, violating Protocol rules and leading to
several clashes with the new federal government. In 2027 Delta Council ingeniously
bestowed special territory for all major Clans and Intercontinentals investing
in the region. Having a stake in the region placed most of them on Delta's side when
the FedGov threatened to re-organize the area in 2030. A booming trade with
Amazonia fuelled the region's expansion, and today Delta is the third-largest
city in the United States.
Today life in Delta is hyperfast and exceedingly traumatic. Many of the rigid
rules of post-Mutation society do not apply, the federal government is weak,
and the people here are young and free. Delta encourages entrepreneurship,
looks the other way in regards to minor criminal offences, and offers a warm
and exciting atmosphere reminiscent of Sao Paolo during its heyday. Several
cultures mix on the Bourbon Streets and Claire Avenues of the region, forming
an intersection of cuisine, street gangs, style and beliefs. Technologically
backward but desperately trying to be as bleeding-edge as Norcal, Delta
tolerates a budding hacker culture and even sponsors friendly 'intrusion
competitions' to encourage youngsters. Helena has become the industrial
powerhouse of Delta, providing several assembleries and design houses while
Baton Rouge thrives on bohemian streetlife and New Orleans on Caribbean
trade and smuggling. Fringer culture is strong and mild sabotage is an
accepted part of daily life. The local french/caribbean creole language
is supplemented by a large dose of Melanga, a mixed Asian/Creole/Spanish/English
streetslang spoken in rapid pulses and only comprehensible to taxi drivers
and street urchins.
+++as if it was ever gonna get easy. Life is fast and complex, more than all the lives
and chores you had to do in the TwenCen. It's not as if you had to go out and do your
own laundry anymore; people feel more secure knowing that 'it's being taken care of'.
And it doesn't matter by whom+++[DeDuke]+++
Delta is a Clan cluster and as such tensions between certain areas remain
high. Atlanteans, Heartlanders, Latinates and the small Alliance Cajun
predominate and generally hold their peace, but law enforcement is incompetent
and often has to bring out the big guns to stop a clash that could easily
have been prevented with skillful street intelligence or diplomacy.
Criminal activity is centered around smuggling, gunrunning, street gangs,
and American Apparatus shadow operations into Amazonia. Mercenaries,
veterans and AWOLers from the Pacific Conflict Zone often end up in Delta.
Triad, Syndicate and Kombinat activity is low, but the Cartels often
try to invade in force. The compartmentalized distribution of territory
in Delta makes this difficult; any potential 'big man' would have to
eliminate a dozen sovereign entities to establish a firm hold on his
turf, and the varied Clans and Intercons make this nearly impossible.
For their part, the Intercons wish to maintain a stable situation in which
outside interference in Delta is rebuffed and the FedGov does not have
the stranglehold it exercises in other parts of the country. For this
reason eyesat coverage in Delta is publicly-owned and can be purchased
(ie: turned off by someone with money) for sections of the city.
+++Shit, nothing 'bout the Webworks. Well, lemme say it snows in the
Menagerie (as the local 'werks is known to the native breakers) like it was the deep
north. Security holes big enough to drive an OS through, and enough
garbage and spawn to make you feel like you're diving through a dumpster.
The Menagerie ranks 6th in overall spawn activity, and plays host to
(claimed) 3 Minds with enough creative potential to fill a hundred
Prados. Julius, one such Digital Sovereign Entity, keeps the whole shitpile from
infecting the rest of Sunbelt by virtue of his creactive barriers, but
I think he sub-consciously drills holes in his own network just to keep the
local turbohacks amused. Ahem, and Julius also runs most of Delta's municipal
investment flagships. Intercons
probably offend its sense of justice, so it lets artists (or anyone else with
a sufficiently fried brain :-) roam the webworks for free. Go figure+++[Thomas
+++And don't respond to any Psi that tries to give you a tour of Old New Orleans;
it's an old inside joke that'll scramble your translation routines, mebbe fry
a GM (just like ol' times). Forewarned is ....+++[Krypter]+++