North America (Canada and the U.S.A.)
"Buildings fall, after all,
But we're still livin'/
Drop the bomb, right or wrong,
But we're still livin'/
Turn the page on the rage/
Are you down with it?
Keep on dreamin' now... Dreamin' on."
-Handsome Boy Modeling School, "Down With It"
Still common, nowadays, to call it the U.S.
What a joke.
Look at this- look at this. Here's your United States, here's your Star-Spangled Banner. Rust, dust. Y'know they take this s**t apart for the scrap metal? F**king tribals. Don't know where they came from.
Well, anyway, take a good look.
There's a lot of people spread all over this continent. Course, not as many as there used to be, but still, we got population around here.
Heh. Population. Tribes all over the place. They call their warriors "cowboys", or vaqueros if you're down around the Lone Star Republic and in the Hotlands over yonder. Bunch a crazies, the tribals, but then again, who isn't these days?
Up northwest you got yer' remaining U.S.A., for what it's worth. People don't go in and out of there. Don't know if that Campbell motherf**ker's still alive, but my bet is that he's sticking around. Yep. Bad deal, that.
Let's see... There's the Lone Star Republic, but don't expect to find any help there. Every ranch has it's own king down there, and anyway, they're busy fighting off tribals and giant bugs. Yep. Hannegan's the boss around there, but don't expect him to listen to you, and don't expect the ranchers to listen to him. Little Rock ain't much better; yer' liable to get your head cut off if you say anything bad about the King around those parts.
Way off yonder, there's Nuyork. I've heard that the King around there isn't too bad. But you'd have to go through Mutie-Land to get there. And I ain't steppin' foot near Florida. Crazy bastards; don't go 'round there unless you want to get your head blown off in the name of Jesus.
I suppose, if you really want, you can go west towards Ellay and the Republic of California. Not sure what it's like down there, but closer that way, they talk about Sacramento like it was Heaven. I dunno', man. Ellay... Well, freaks, hippies, and muties, and they're all living in the ruins. It was big enough before it got fried- you could probably find a place to stay, maybe even for free.
Arizona, New Mexico- I'd wanna' go there about as much as I wanna' go to Hell. F**king hot, burning deserts, tribal cowboys and muties and huge bugs (bugs like you never seen, partner); I know there's some crazy military types about those parts.
You could stick around here- the Midwest, they used to call it. You get what you pay for. If you can find a safe place to get out of the sun and the storms, more power to you. But don't be surprised if you get jumped by muties on the road, or the little town you go to turns out to be full of cannibals. It's happened before- I could tell you a story about my cousin...
But anyway... Up north of here, maybe, but I dunno' about Idaho, Montana... And way up north, what they used to call Canada, but now they call the Coldlands... Good luck.
The United States of America
"Fascism is capitolism in decay."
-Vladimir Ulyanov Lenin
"We're all living in Amerika/
Coca-Cola, sometimes war/
We're all living in Amerika/
Welcome to the United States of America, the Greatest Country on the Planet Earth, the Home of Democracy, the Cradle of Freedom. Are you immigrating? Voluntary, involuntary, slave, or annexation? Very good. Line on the left. Please fill out Forms A1-15, B-6x, 7R-PT, and your Possessions documentation, and prepare to be fitted for your uplink. Have a nice day!
Long ago, the name America, the name U.S.A., used to mean something. To people across the world, to the oppressed, to the downtrodden, the poor and the hungry, America was the golden land, the land of freedom and opportunity.
America's physical dimentions are rather reduced from what they once were- the U.S.A. now consists of the states of Oregon, Washington, a western strip of Idaho, northern parts of California and Nevada, and southern parts of the former Canadian province of British Columbia, including Victoria Island. Much of the land is heavy pine forests or (in eastern regions) high desert. However, in and around the city of Seattle (the capitol of the United States in this day and age) and the Puget Sound on which it sits, the land is covered in one huge city. In fact, population centers throughout the U.S., including Olympia and Tacoma in Washington, and Portland, Salem, and Eugene in Oregon, have become megacities, joining together into miles and miles of black cities, sparkling with brilliant colorful lights, dark skyscrapers spearing into the air. The distinctive style of New American architecture is seen everywhere- structures seem almost unfinished in their abstractness, with large sections of irregular black-stained concrete and dark metal, walls of colorful glass, exposed machinery and wiring encased in ephemeral green containment fields, bridges everywhere. All skyscrapers are bridged between each other; most activity goes on amidst the skyscrapers, roads are suspended on static-cables and containement fields. Brilliant colorful lights are everywhere.
The poor live below.
It is often said among those who dwell amongst the towers and on the balconies and in the skyscrapers that America is like a coral reef, a beautiful living organism that makes itself greater and greater upon the sacrafices of its elders. Those live a bit lower down will tell you that America builds high on the broken backs of the dead, growing like a fungus out of the stinking corpse of its past. The layers of American cities read like a fossil record. The upper reaches, bridges, towers, balconies- these are the strata (often called Upper Layer or Sky Level) of the rich and the priveliged. A little lower is the sooty, damp regions of the small middle class- this is also the place of the major shopping centers, the public places, the major movement of American society. This layer (known as Commons Layer or Earth Level, despite being considerably higher than the actual ground, in most American cities) is a mixing point between the classes of the U.S., though don't expect many to acknowledge that these classes exist. Below, stretching down, down, below the ground layer and deep into the underground (and into barely-sealed, barely-pressurized chambers beneath the Pacific Ocean and Puget Sound in some of the coastal cities and Seattle) are the layers of the poor and the poorer, and the factories and production yards (really more like production caverns) that work all day long, belching their wastes forth through venting tubes to reclamation centers to be recycled or encapsulated for storage and removal from the Earth (as necessity; if the government could get away with it without destroying the weak environment, they would gladly let such pollutants go). In the lowest layers, the people are hardly human, living like the rats and mutant animals which dwell in those dank, dripping, foetid concrete-and-metal caverns beneath the planet, scrabbling for survival just as desperately as mutants and tribals in the blasted lands outside.
The Upper Americans live like kings, the beneficiaries of super-advanced technology, nanotechnology, boosted lifespans, and all the amazing technological advancements which Americans have preserved or created. Every person is in perfect health (for the most part), strong, fast, intelligent, and extremely well-educated. Many have lived to be 120 years old. Most appear to be much younger than they are. They dress beautifully, look beautiful.
In contrast, the majority of Americans live in indescribable misery. Their rotting jumpsuits are stained with years of the excreta of their society. They are frequently diseased and injured, despite nanomedicals and regeneration fields. They live on handfuls of government-dispensed rations each day, and barely, if ever, scrimp together enough money to purchase better nourishment, more protective clothing, or medical care on the Commons Layer. They toil every day in dark factories or deep pits, or deeper in the tunnels; they are manual workers where robots cannot be, they are technicians and janitors. Most, however, are without employment, and live each day in a haze of drugs (government-dispensed or purchased or killed for) or simply battling their fellow Americans to survive. The luckier ones, those who make up the middle class, may wear better than jumpsuits- they might wear actual clothes, do more than shamble too and from work or battle, have actual social lives. The middle class may be technicians and workers in the Upper Layers, or anonymous corporate slaves in sealed concrete cubicles, managing endless computer networks and uplink patterns. In centuries of computer production, the digital makeup of the United States, even with the big cleanup that the Big War created, has become hopelessly tangled.
Every American is implanted with uplinks to the network. No longer must one log into a terminal to access the Internet or use a computer- it is done through the uplinks in one's brain at special stations (resembling the phone booths of an earlier era, one after the other in huge banks) that must merely be touched- the Upper Classes may simply have to be near to a conduit. How the uplink is used often depends on the class of the person- the Upper Classes use them for games which overcome their own realities, and for finding information, while the lesser folk use them for many different purposes. Communication, art, information-gathering- all are possible. The uplink can also become a very sinister drug; many are addicted to other realities which the uplink can overlay onto their own. The uplink is also the American government's secret spy tool- the age of Big Brother is truly come, when even an American's thoughts are monitored by the government. Strangely, despite the despotism of the American regime, it seems that there is still some respect for the old right to free speech and thought- it is rare for a person to be arrested for their thoughts, though not unknown.
The ruler of the United States of America is President Arthur Campbell, styled Mister Campbell, Friend of the People, Defender of Freedom, Protector of the Constitution. Also styled (in less respectful locales) Campbell the Bastard, Campbell the Motherf**ker, King of America, the Tyrant, the Despot, the Old Man. President Campbell's beatifically-smiling face can be seen everywhere in the United States, adorning patriotic banners alongside the American flag (now red, white, and black in remembrance of all those slain in the Big War) and printed propaganda, projected in holograms above the streets, celebrated in sculpture in the windows of structures, and in profile on the black hovercopters of the Freedom Police, the black-coated enforcers of his regime. Campbell is over 250 years old- he was one of the footsoldiers who stormed Riyadh in Saudi Arabia at the beginning of the Big War- and is sustained by constant regeneration fields, nanites that swarm through his body, and robotics. He lives in the White Tower (spiritual descendant of the White House and the only skyscraper in America that is allowed to be white) in Seattle, and is constantly attended by the Presidential Guard, the fanatic white-uniformed superwarriors who guard him at all times with their lives (though it is not entirely clear if they are living, or even human), and the black-uniformed leaders of the Secret Service, who are now his secret police. Where a job must be done too secretly for the Freedom Police, the Secret Service are sent in.
America depends very much on robot and slave labor. Robots are more reliable and easier to repair, but slaves and the lower classes make up a sizable portion of the work force where robots would be inefficient, impossible, or just silly to use. Slaves are also kept by the rich for help and amusement, though some have qualms about this and instead hire help instead of purchasing it.
The U.S.A.'s technology level is amazing, verging on hypertechnology. Hydrogen and nuclear power is the norm, though zero-point power systems have been experimented with. Nanotechnology is everywhere, as well as highly advanced robotics and cybernetics. Weapons are still generally material, though it is well-documented that the special Red-White-and-Black Units that are dispatched only during the U.S. military's most dangerous jobs wear super-advanced powered-armor and utilize energy weapons.
The Lone Star Republic
"So what is Texas? The simplest answer is that it is America on steroids."
-The Economist, Dec. 21-Jan. 3, 2003
It is certain that free societies would have no easy time in the future dark age. The rapid return to universal penury will be accomplished by violence and casualties of a kind now forgotten. The force of law will be scant or nil... because of difficulties of communication and transport. It will be possible only to delegate authority to local powers who will maintain it by force...
-Roberto Vacca, The Coming Dark Age
Now you listen here, an' you listen good- I ain't gonna' have you hangin' 'round here, suckin' up all muh' grub, unless you work your share and gimme' your taxes. Thas' how it works 'round here- this is Texas, and you work for what you get, an' yer' loyal to yer' Boss. An' don't you gimme' no bullsh*t about this not bein' a Republic- you sound like a d**n Californian when ya' talk like that. 'Round here we're independent.
Oh, an', uh, if ya' see a Mutie, put a round through his skull, not his arm, alright? We had some trouble with a man outta' Little Rock a month back. Said Muties was as human as us, an' wouldn't kill 'em. We had to feed 'im to the bugs.
Texas was the only state that became part of the U.S.A. by treaty. In that treaty, the Texans reserved the right to seccede at any time. Texas has always had a reputation for being independent, for being larger than life. There was just something different about Texas that wasn't true of the other states, for better or worse.
When the war came, Texas was hit hard- many military operations into South America had been facilitated by the bases there, and in addition, Texas had always been the basis of the international image of the rude American. It was wasted not only soldiers swarming out of Mexico, but by inferno weapons which charred the land, and nukes from four different countries. In the midst of this nuclear destruction, the genetically-engineered beasts of the government genelabs of northern Texas swarmed forth, converting many regions into totally bizarre environments unlike any other on the Earth. The Mutie Forests of northern Texas still are there, to this day, though much of the rest of the land is a blasted desert.
The current Lone Star Republic, though its size fluctuates due to the fractious and quarrelsome nature of Bosses (the Republic's equivalent of the dukes of medieval Europe), could be described, roughly as the former state of Texas, with parts of Oklahoma and eastern New Mexico. Essentially, it is most of the land between the Rio Grande and the Red River could be considered, at most times, a part of the Lone Star Republic.
Though the Lone Star state is known as a Republic, it is better classed a heavily decentralized alliance of landowners. Texas has once again become a land of ranches, and these ranches function like the manors of medieval Europe, being ruled by Bosses who oversee the government and protection of their people in exchange for work and service. Most ranches are governed in this way- others are more democratic in nature. Ranches in a given area cooperate to govern said area (generally called a "county"). Each area periodically sends one Boss as representative each year to the Lone Star Senate in Dallas, which is generally held to be the "capitol" of the Lone Star Republic, such as it is. There is no one ruler of the Republic- the Lone Star Senate is a year-round voting body which represents the interests of the Bosses. Each representative Boss gets one vote on every issue in the Senate- generally, a representative's colleagues in his county will send messengers to provide the consensual opinion on how the representative should vote.
Being pseudo-feudal and aristocratic, it is surprising how independently-minded and proud people of the Lone Star Republic are, even those who are not of the class of the Bosses. There is a general opinion among Lone Stars (as Texans are called) that they are as free as could be, and have a higher standard of living than anyone else (which is largely true, in relation to the states around it). Most Lone Stars are not fat, but they do not go hungry. They live in relative safety, though punishments are harsh for poor work or disloyalty. Lone Stars have a keen sense of justice and honor, and tend to be loyal and truthful, though mistrustful of outsiders. They despise slavery, and there are very few slaves to be found on any ranch. Most are excellent riders and good shots with a bow (or a rifle, among Bosses).
The typical Lone Star ranch is centered around the ranch-house, a large, rambling, one-story structure that generally has several wings. Imagine a rambling, many-winged combination of American-style farmhouse and stone-walled bunker. Around the ranch-house is a stone wall, generally about 8 feet high, usually with battlements and guardhouses. The wall and ranch-house together are known as the holdfast, and in times of danger (such as raids from tribals or scavengers), the people of the ranch will retreat within the holdfast and fight from there. Most holdfasts are built near by wells.
Outside of the holdfast, there are the barns and outbuildings, as well as the bunkhouses of the ranch's people (serfs), which are built in a ring around the holdfast. Outside of this are fields, and beyond may be the scrublands which ranchfolk use as grazeland for cattle and sheep or various other purposes.
The dominant religion in the Lone Star Republic is the Revised Baptist Church, a Protestant Baptist religion that differs very little from the older Christian faiths. Lone Stars are known to be quite pious, and blasphemy is often a capitol crime.
(That's all of Lone Star, for now)