Edotown, The City in a Briefcase.
Moderators of the wildly popular VORPG, Polyworld, had no idea that one of their most famous cites Edotown had been stolen and for quite some time. No wonder there were so many complaints and bug reports coming in.
Edotown one of the most beloved cities in the wildly popular Polyworld Series of VORPGs, has been having some strange issues lately. In game bug reports from thousands of players has come in non-stop as of late. Complaints of theft, loss of lives, bullying, and cheating have been running rampant through the city. The new development involves a hefty transaction in the event a player wishes to leave the city. The cost so great many can't begin to pay it, forcing them to log out there character forever stuck in Edotown. Most heinous of the issues that have recently developed is the first death not associated with negligence has occurred; people are starting to panic.
People won't simply make new characters, much of the world's commerce has moved into VR many if not all players have their livelihood tied to years of work, simply deleting a character or starting over is practically a real form of suicide.
History: The World
Virtual reality has progressed much in the years leading up to 2189. It was soon discovered that the digitizing of ones thoughts, made into action for a game, had deeper consequences than many realized.
The VR systems of the future work by electronically interfacing with the brain to read and write information directly into the cerebral cortex. A decision has been made by nearly all residents of first world societies to remain connected at all times. So much of the world is automated that few ever leave their homes choosing to have sustenance directly connected to their bodies, as per what is glibly referred to as a P.E.G. (Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy.) Automated food trollies moving slowly down the street refilling food storage tanks with protein slurry are all too common.
Much of the first world country's run on automated systems with automated backups, but for over 10 years many of those backup systems like security and repair have begun to break down. Simple wear and tear from natural disasters, negligence, and overuse have left a number of key systems in Polyworld open to physical attack, and with no one physically checking on these systems anymore they might as well be sitting out in the open.
Factions: Somali Pirates
As the rest of the first world retreated into VR, the third world countries each began to prosper, slowly till reach the levels of technology and sophistication resembling the early 2000's in the USA. Dissatisfied that only the wealthiest could afford to spend any time in Polyworld or any of the mega VR corporations a plan was set into motion to take what they wanted. Somali Pirates, as they are called, boarded ships to the US and landing in California. From there they made their way to LA the last known location of a Polyworld systems server hub. They scouted hundreds of buildings searching for the most decrepit and defenseless server still in use. They dodged what little automated security was present in the city and casually strolled into the server room. There they located there prize a single server hub, from it they seamlessly stole a 500 petabyte drive, installing it into a briefcase equipped with Wi-Fi/ satellite hijacking capabilities so that those connected to the city they had stolen were none the wiser. The drive they stole contains what they would discover as one of the most popular work cities in Polyworld, Edotown.
The Somali Pirates quickly set to work learning as much as they could about the programing and systems of Polyworld. The few documents they discovered in the remains with the server granted many forms of access either little known or forgotten mainly due to the fact many were physical commands requiring keyboards, key fobs, and card scanners. Such devices were obviously obsolete, but left intact for the purposes of maintenance once upon a time. They stole everything they could carry and returned home. There they tirelessly programed until they had all of the power over Edotown. They locked out admins, and closed the gates, declared themselves the new rulers of Edotown and demanded tribute. What they soon realized was they few of the pirates themselves really enjoyed Polyworld so much to abandon reality for more than a few hours a day. So it was decided that the destruction of Poly world was to come to pass or the world would perish.
The City: Edotown
Edotown was one of the most popular work sites in all of Polyword, thousands of people are logged in there. Much of the town, in its hay day, closely resembled a romanticized feudal Japan. The cast system was a fun game and many crafters sold there orient inspired tools and avatar pieces there.
Once Edotown was stolen the main gates to all the other cities was cut, though by this time hundreds of new ports and portals had been created, by the Somali. To be trapped in Edotown is to be a hostage of sorts. Those unable to pay the Pirates for exit fees are more often forced into joining the Pirates under their guise of a crime syndicate. Their true goal is to tear down a VR mega-corporations one by one.
Edotown under the Somali has taken on a new look much of the feudal look is present, but now huge swaths of modern buildings, night clubs, Somali offices, and VR-trip bars litter the roads. Those enslaved have been hacked so that they are tracked and monitored mentally by the systems they inhabit at all times. The Somali discovered that they can tell the brain new things they thought impossible. The learned to program the brain to believe that what happened in the game could be real. They incorporated this hack into weapons and called them simply killing weapons. Weapons programed with this hack are incredibly difficult to detect visually or by code, as so few moderators have a true sense of code to begin with any more. These weapons, often katana and pistols, program the brain to cut ties with those body parts upon being struck or shot. Normally, being hit with a weapon is a simple fun part of the game, limbs simply grow back overnight. While limbs grow back even if a killing weapon was used the mind can no longer control their limb in game and sadder in real life either. Guns often cause shock and simply death with head and chest; shots in the extremities cause the same kind of damage bladed weapons do. With this the Somali use their enslaved to go out into all the other worlds and sell their wares to the already present gangs and war bands as a solution to the never-ending conflict and flame wars. With this Edotown has become a black market hub for killing weapons and with their first hack a success they are working on new deadlier weapons and tactic to bring down Polyworld.
'Edotown is the city of death.'
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? Responses (9)
This sub - especially the last section - feels very 'matrixy'. Wherein the pirates have discovered how how make people believe what happens in Edotown is real, and the weapons that can injure the actual person by injuring their avatar.
a very interesting read; the world is consumed by virtual online games, so pirates hijack the games to control this, and then shape it in their image.
i can see this sub as being a bit difficult to adapt to other games, because the idea of it is that the world is consumed by the VORPGs. But then again, on a smaller scale it could work; the video fame company has hired the pc's for a task - they disclose that a city in their game has been stolen by pirates, and ask the pcs to hunt it down...
at any rate, a nice piece!
So, I talked out a similar realization with a friend over the weekend its one step or two back from The Matrix and one step further than that Bruce Willis movie Surrogates. Your right, it might not be the most easy to incorporate under my original idea. However it could be fairly easy to adapt to a modern setting of a single country or even a set of cities/ region. The main difference is it's not so much an AI in control, it's a conscious decision made by 'customers;' like upgrading to premium, the only catch is that everyone already has and you're lame/ SOL if you don't. Thanks for the input.
Cool, though I don't love physical damage caused by cyberspace injury, probably since I've been using computers for a rather long time.
I can see PTSD type effects if the images are realistic enough. Perhaps these effects are enough to drive people into raging psychotics in the physical world.
This said, it has good writing and the premise of people trapped in cyberspace is a good one.
Interesting, I wonder if these hacks can affect you with psychosis in the 'real world' what if the game itself, while dystrophy and atrophy have obviously set in on the human body, hasn't imparted some psychic ability due to the overuse of the brain alone to act in VR space. like using magic incantations from the game as a focus of the mental energies in the real world, to create spectacular affects, simply because the user 'knew' they were supposed to work. i.e. - A complete sense of disbelief in how the real world works, allows the mind to do things we who live in the 'real world' may understand as impossible.
Lol, now that was 'matrixy'!
This is the sort of level of immersion that I see in the Cosmic Era setting, but rather than a global phenomenon, this is the sort of thing that is much more common inside the arcos, with semi- and permanently connected people in the CogNet working virtual/online jobs, or using the network to remote access a robot surrogate to do manual labor somewhere else.
Nice work, I like the concept of hackers stealing an entire city.
The concept of stealing an entire city was the original premise of this idea, the rest sprang up to support it. As a side note; I'm seriously thinking about running a side campaign next to one of my medieval ones where the PC's discover the world they live and work in is actually a videogame in which the level of emersion was so deep they forgot the real world altogether. With the Somali disruption acting as a kind of wakeup call they emerge from there houses in 'real life' to discover, them selves overrun with pirate insurgents; nearly completely enfeebled by life in VR to stop them.
Hackers stealing the city was the key to this one. Love that idea and the fact that all have gone so inward that those in the physical world were so scarce that there was nobody left to maintain or protect these things. Great vision of a interesting future.
Only a little confused how they think cutting of Edotown will help destroy the rest of the Poly. Would see them loading VR virii into visitors and sending them out would make more sense for that goal. But if they just wanted VR cash and grow in power in Poly, then hijacking a city makes sense. Either way, the entire idea gives tons of options to play around with so there is no right answer, just a great scenario.
A VR city under the pirate flag. 5/5