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Editorial #7: "Futureshock: New York City"
Nine plus years is quite awhile, especially considering the wealth of information and continuity packed into the 2099 universe. It’s easy to forget the little details that make 2099 great. Also, for incoming readers, the sheer enormousness of the world of tomorrow can be nothing short of daunting. Arenas such as Lotusland, Transverse and Nueva York are layered with so many forward-thinking attributes, they can seem like almost alien vistas which newcomers may never understand.
Well, fear not True Believers of Tomorrow! We have decided to use the Editorial feature of this site as something of an ice-breaker to the foreign, yet familiar world that is 2099. In these digital pages, we will showcase some of the “hot spots” of our futuristic world. From Doom’s homeland of Latveria to the bustling metropolis of New York, you’ll be privy to a guidebook of sorts that will familiarize you not only with how many of these twentieth century staples of the Marvel Universe have changed from the preceeding century, but also what has happened to them since the first 2099 issues rolled off the stands!
In a sleek fashion, of course.
Scroll down, and prep for the info-dump.
It was once a brick-and-concrete metropolis littered with fuel-burning cars and tarmac threatening to swallow every last inch of wildlife and empty space. Buildings dotted the horizon line in all directions as advertisements and digital entertainment were showcased on crude, but workable electronic billboards. Traffic jams were almost constant, and noise both verbal and electronic intruded on every last square inch of empty airspace. But, it was a city with promise. A central landscape with a wealth of information, technology and potential.
New York City. Constantly changing. Constantly expanding. Constantly “in-style”, which was fitting for a city that never slept.
Now, a century later, New York City has completely run out places to expand to. And so, it grew up. Newer, taller skyscrapers, made from plastic steel and alloys impervious to environmental damage were constructed. They were fitted with support structures and tied together with walkways, becoming a new city structure far above the old one. The wealthier of the city’s denizens then decided to “level up”, abandoning the decadent ruins of the old city. The poor, the disenfranchised and the unwanted were left behind down under.
This has all resulted in two areas of New York. In one, labeled “Uptown”, the citizens share a rich standard of living. Populated by people of prestige and high credit rating, this metropolis has become one of the densest concentrations of population and sheer technology that anyone’s ever witnessed. Gold and black carders drive skycars and float up to work in futuristic elevators on a day-to-day basis. They have holographic servants, uploaded with the best artifical intelligences their credit ranks have to offer. Webs of automated traffic control prevent mid-air collisions.
Over all this lord the corporate infrastructures of America. Alchemax Incorporated, the leading corporate entity, controls most of the eastern seaboard, its main offices centered in New York. Stark/Fujikawa Incorporated remains a fierce competitor, as both corps specialize in scientific research and development. Synthia Incorporated also has a hand in local business, specializing in corporate production of foodstuffs used for population control.
Both Alchemax and Stark/Fujikawa own separate police force entities, the Public Eye and the Watchdogs respectively, that provide universal law enforcement and protect private citizens at a previously unheard-of cost: Private citizens must subscribe to these protection services. Otherwise, they are treated as non-persons and are promptly ignored. That means that anyone without a subscription is on their own when an organ-legger or serial murderer comes around. Hey, it’s just biz as far as the Big Brothers are concerned.
But most of the Uptown citizens can afford the subscriptions, the corporate-owned housing and all the other blackmail politics the corporations enforce upon their citizens. It’s the Downtowners who are truly out of luck.
These are the dregs. The downtrodden. Downtown is more or less what remains of old New York City. If you look hard enough, much of the architecture might seem familiar to you, provided it hasn’t been hit by gang mortars or crumbled to dust from neglect.
Citizens in these streets have substantially decreased cred ratings. Beatings, rapes and murders are commonplace. Police forces don’t bother to venture here, as they rarely get paid to.
Food and water is scarce, as is adequate heat, plumbing or electricity. Crime is up a few thousand percent, and morale is VERY low. As a result, much of the dirty and disease-stricken populace have joined cliques or gangs in order to survive. These cliques constantly fight over food, territory and just simple frustration over how shocked-up life is in Downtown.
There are few air-vehicles, with Downtowners using land-based gas-gusslers if they’re even able to afford cars at all. Docs in the Box are the “bones” that corporate structures have thrown to this “surplus populace”. Docs in wealthier areas charge a fee. Docs in impoverished areas are free for the most part. They get their supplies from the corporations, and their unspoken job is to placate the Downtowners with piecemeal medical care, keeping a certain percentage of the disenfranchised healthy enough to be taken advantage of. The corporations are always in need of labor or test subjects from time to time. And so, a semi-steady feed of both propaganda and medicines keep the downtrodden happy enough to keep from working together and revolting against the corporations. Instead they fight amongst themselves for necessities and serve as their own population control.
As far as Downtown goes, it’s mostly shrouded in darkness, with the infrastructure of Uptown blotting any available sunlight it may receive. There are vestiges of culture and society that exist down in these dark places, but most citizens not part of cliques have given themselves up to despair. Suicide rate’s huge. Others venture out into endless virtual reality trips. Still others prefer “total reality” vidism instead. Without any auto-interrupters or any sense of the real world in their unending VR scenarios, TR-users usually starve to death while plugged in and never know it. Organ-leggers prowl ever corner, carving up unprotected citizens and selling vital organs on the Red Market.
So, if you’re going to New York City, please…avoid that section of Uptown highway that reads “Road to Downtown: Enter at your own peril”. Stay Uptown, where the only things you have to worry about are polluted air, shattered ozone and cancer-laden water supplies. Be exploited by the corporations and die grandly as a cog in a machine.
Stay away from the in-fighting and gang warfare. From the murderous Fenris. From the cannibal Freakers. From the backward Throwbacks, heretics for wanting freedom and democracy for all. From the Thorites worshiping heroic-era superheroes as “gods”.
Don’t take the risk of going below.