There is no “one percent” anymore, it’s more like “nought point one”, the rich now having taken advantage of new technologies and diminishing employee rights.
In the midst of corporate greed and Gov pay offs, amongst the automated machine farms and factories you find the “enslaved” work force. Those who want to survive making an honest living and carve out some sense of living in the hell which is 2040.
With very few job roles available to pure , the poverty stricken find themselves entering into the “enhancements for workers” employment scheme. This heinous but essential practice see employees provided with cybernetic implants required to perform their jobs roles at no cost.
The catch is that the corporation maintains the ownership of the technology unless the employee uses a percentage of their meagre salary to purchase it. Upon termination of employment, redundancy or retirement employees are contractually and thus legally bound to return the property.
Returns as they are known are not pleasant, removing implanted cyber technology without damage is extremely difficult and often leaves the body covered in painful scars and other disfigurements.
It leads to runners , in hiding they struggle for work and it is common for them to turn to a life of crime with gangs who promise to keep them safe from Fixers in exchange for services rendered.
It is these conditions which the Humanitarian Workers Union wish to overturn by calling for a dangerous but necessary general strike.
In Tenement 67 there is a strong union presence with rough justice being dished out should anyone turn “scab” and think about returning to work.
Whilst some aspects of life have sunk to new lows other areas of society have evolved. There is no discrimination based on physical or mental disability, gender (or lack of), skin tone or sexuality (or lack of]. Sexual assault and harassment were left behind long ago in the past where they belong. The exclusion of these concepts from daily life are so ingrained that they have become “street laws” .
With that in mind these themes will not be a part of your experience, they are not experiences we permit at the event and so ask that you do not undertake any such role play or activity. Life in the dystopia will be harsh and dangerous enough without having to bring in these unsavoury and triggering themes.
And living in the tenements
Built in 2022 the affordable tenement block program was intended to solve the housing crisis faced by the poor and the under employed. Little more than blocks of cells these affordable units resembled prisons rather than homes.
Funding became more and more stretched as the project progressed, texters claimed it was due to embezzlement and greed. Corners started to be cut and it wasn’t long before existing derelict locations were being converted for “residential” use.
Predictably social welfare and standards fell drastically in short order, like the council estates of old they became a haven for crime and social disorder, a place where the strong rule over the weak. It is now 2040, power is off in most of the buildings and water is shipped in by a charity once a week. What little power that comes into the tenements is controlled by the gangs who have taken up residence. Whilst most the blocks still contain a residential units, some have been converted into bars, make shift workshops and night clubs.
With such basic amenities in the apartments the only hot meals available are from the makeshift and unlicensed street food stands. So vital is this source of food that there is an unwritten “street law” that no trouble is caused in either place unless you seek to be barred for life and end up of starving in some gutter.
Literary code 13c
“We can no longer tolerate unedited politically motivated text to circulate our society. The false values and offence literature currently in circulation must be stemmed for the sake of us all.” Unknown Gov. Stooge 2032
It started with fan fic in the early noughties through publishing houses going broke and ended with literary code 13c.
With most of the major publishing houses bankrupt by 2028 many authors found themselves already writing for barter. Food and lodgings for a day’s work of writing for avid fans, rather than slaving away in retail or factories.
Things got political, as with the past many drew on their experiences and the inequality they witnessed around them. Twisting their tales in fantastical tales their fan bases grew, the internet awash with politically charged fiction which had outgrown social media.
2029 saw an end to worldwide fame, the servers gone the data only available on the odd back up here and there. Printer sales increased 200% in the days leading up to New Year 2030.
The authors refused to concede despite losing their platform, they had adapted and copies of their latest works printed on archaic ink jet home printers began to flood the streets. In the slums amongst the poor the people started to tune out of corporate entertainment channels. The people wanted to hear about the legends living amongst them, the dealer out smarting the law and the fabled union leaders fighting for change amongst their own communities.
Corporate pressure and growing unionisation finally pushed the Gov. into action. In 2033 it became illegal to self-publish media for public consumption of materials not fed through the Gov. supported corporate media machine.
It didn’t stem the tide but it did force these now outlaw authors underground. Now writing and printing in secret these heroes of free literature have become treasures amongst the citizens of the tenements.
A Street Speak guide
To survive in 2040 you will need to learn the language of the streets. Getting caught out could get you killed.
Augmented Combatant – A person with “illegal” military grade implants.
Boomer – A one shot homemade “shotgun”, only one shot use but they aren’t bio locked like regular firearms.
Cantos – The richest corporate dynasty in the world. Creator of the first A.I and apparently clones.
Data runner – A thief who highjacks data deliveries and sells them on the black market. Sometimes paid by corporate shills to carry out this activity in the interest of industrial sabotage. The natural enemy of Deploy INC delivery agents.
Dream Weaver – A cybernetic implant and word used to describe those who undertake sex work or dream crafting using these implants.
Fixer – Middle people, they are loyal to money and use their contacts to get jobs done for their pay masters no matter the cost.
Gov. pronounced “guv” – The government including any branch including the police.
Jacker – Someone who works in a legal industry requiring the implantation of cybernetics.
NP – New Pound, the currency of 2040.
Pu’re – A person with no cybernetic implants.
Runner – A person who is on the run form a corporation after not returning their cybernetic implants.
Stim – High quality narcotics.
Stoner – An unremorseful killer.
Street Law – Something NOBODY breaks, it is not possible to play a character who would break street laws. So please don’t ask.
Texter – Underground authors as described in Literary Code 13c.
Uptown – Luxury high rise mega complexes where the rich and famous live. Home to High Society characters, they are policed privately by security companies. Other characters may have visited the lowers floors as employees working in steaming hot service areas.
Willow – Willow Cybernetics Corporation implants are the most common systems around, older tech eventually finds its way into the slums.
Wise – A person who has reached the age of 45 (or close), with life expectancy much lower in the slums of 2040 there is always a level of respect shown.
Currency (or how the corporations won)
Gov. control on currency went for good in the mid 30’s but before that corporations had already started to pay low level employees in sponsored vouchers. Instead of a bank transferred salary, managers would hand out these vouchers on Fridays as employees headed home. They could be used to pay for rent, food, medicine and clothing from the parent corporation’s affiliates.
Note: no tenement character will have access to a bank account.
As the practice grew it didn’t take long for the corporations to make a deal. They agreed to accept each other’s vouchers at a one for one exchange rate. The final nail in the coffin even the remaining governments began to purchase New Pound (NP) to pay “employees” including the police and military.
By 2040 it has become the accepted form of payment for the buying and selling goods/services. Even your local stim dealer and bookie will accept NP unless you have some other arrangement.
NP does come with some major setbacks, it remains the property of the corporation that printed it and is “protected” by appalling terms and conditions.
What about the rich?
Money is not discussed when you are wealthy, there is simply no need. In the malls and high rise mega complexes it is simply transferred around via a combination of virtually invisible retinal scans and facial recognition POS systems. NP is the currency of the impoverished and down trodden not the corporate masters.
Do you fuck for needles (A Tenement Tale)
The street was slick with rain, giving everything a slightly oily, grainy appearance. It wasn’t cold so much, just wet and dark here on the street, and Polly was becoming increasingly aware of her lack of a bed for the night. Her clothes were soaked, her hair plastered to her head, and even the edges of her suitcase were starting to let in water – she’d need shelter soon.
She paused, looking down a covered alley that stretched between two larger streets – it was blackness, with a single, flickering, yellow light. It looked like a murder scene, and Pol had no wish to end up a victim. A car rolled past, just fast enough to kick up dirty water all over her ankles and she cursed. This was a bad neighbourhood, not the worst, but not the best. Sure, driving fast was smart, but did they really have to drive so close? Fucker.
“Hey you! You’re not from here.” Some ganger guy stepped out of a doorway, the light spilling momentarily into the street before he closed the door behind him. Pol stopped, looked him over.
“Yeah, I’m not. That a party?” Pol stepped closer, peering at a dirty window. The ganger reached out a hand, barring the door from her.
“So what if it is? It’s not your party.”
“I got gear. You got a sofa? We could smoke a few bowls. You got a jack? We could jack.” Polly indicated the port at her neck. The ganger seemed more interested, his arm relaxing down.
“I got a jack. I got a sofa, too.” The ganger leaned back against the door, smiling. Pol looked him over, his scruffy clothes, the ubiquitous tattoos. She didn’t recognise the tatts, but then she didn’t recognise much.
“You wanna fuck for real? I got a bed.” The man pulled out a cigarette, offering one to Polly before lighting up.
“Sofa is fine.” Polly took the cigarette and accepted a light, propping her bag in the small dry space by the door and stepping closer to her new friend.
“You new round here then?” The ganger looked her over, his eyes moving from tattoo to tattoo, trying to pick out gang tatts, Pol assumed.
“Yeah, I think so. I dunno – maybe I grew up here, who knows anymore.” Polly scratched at her arm, the tell-tale track marks itchy. The man looked at her arm for a minute, taking a drag on his cigarette before throwing it into the night.
“I got needles, you fuck for needles?”
“Ok yeah, I fuck for needles.”
The man opened the door, and gestured Polly inside.
The battle for cyber space
The internet was an amazing achievement, information and communication at your fingertips. By 2025 92% of the human population was online, from New York high rise to desert shack mobile digital data coverage reached its peak. It was not all porn and social media though, it had become a battle ground for corporate wars, and it was the chief tool of the anarchist and those looking for a fair world.
Security software pioneers and infamous hackers were engaged in a never ending battle of wills, knowledge and skill. For years’ service denial attacks and ransomware runs plagued the lives of the ordinary person trying to buy the latest clogs or transfer some cash to their secret lovers.
In the winter of 2025 things changed, on Christmas Eve Cantos Security Systems launched a revolutionary new product. Supported by an Artificial Intelligence SecureX V.01 guaranteed complete protection from hackers. Twenty four hour monitoring across all ports plagued hackers, feedback loops and its ability to trace IP addresses cross referencing real world intelligence in an instant had them on the run.
The diehard adapted and carried on the war, refusing to be intimidated by the endless wave of software updates some of them became legends. Champions of the people, hailed and hated they pushed the war like never before.
Then on Christmas Eve 2029 it came to an end. Without warning on Christmas Day the corporations disconnected servers, stock on ISP’s crashed within hours driving them into bankruptcy.
In 2040 there is no global network, secure data is transferred on disk using couriers or in some cases armoured convoy. They say the internet was not safe anymore, that the hackers had won.
All is not lost though, within each tenement plucky outlaws run private local servers using short range networking. Despite it being deemed illegal you would be hard pressed to find anyone without access in the tenement. It’s the only place to connect and share away from prying eyes.
There are some groups (mostly religious) who claim there is still a global network, a digital nirvana of sorts but they have been unable to provide any proof at the present.
The digital GOD
“One day you will see the truth, you will learn to understand the patterns and numbers in the data all around us. When God left the analogue world they left us a trail to follow, a path to enlightenment and a way to see the demons all around us.” An exert from the church of the digital mother introduction video
Many of the old religions have fallen by the wayside inn 2040, capitalist greed, poverty and scandal in the 2020’s saw to that.
During the height of the global hacking wars of the 20’s a hacker on a deep run in a Chinese bank claimed to have encountered an Artificial Intelligence free of any Corporate Controls.
Her handle was Digital Mother, well respected and a pioneer her story quickly spread and a religion quickly grew around it.
Despite Corporate denial others went looking and they found answers, an A.I did exist in the net, it was free and independent of any controls. Hackers called it the Digital God and they hailed it as a call to revolution.
Panicking Corporations, Banks and Agencies pulled the plug on their routers, overnight the internet became redundant. The data simply could not be secured from these fanatical hackers backed by their Digital God. The Church of the Digital Mother claimed it their great victory despite the subsequent disappearance of the Digital God and the destruction of the internet.
Caution (A Tenement tale)
She took a deep breath, calmed herself and pushed the jack into the socket at the base of her neck, a few keystrokes later and her mind rushed into the electronic ether. She would find the Digital Mother, it was just a question of time, she just had to keep looking. She plunged down another electronic path, she had found something, she was sure of it.
Past more firewalls and electronic traps set to capture the unwary and uninitiated hacker, they were no problem for Cass, she had seen them and avoided them so many times before; hell, she had created far more inventive and difficult stuff than this. Her heart beat faster in her body slumped at the computer, she had found something, just a little further, just a little quicker, just a little less cautious than usual… a rooky mistake that, a stupid, stupid mistake and suddenly she was plunging into darkness, her mind ripped one way and then another, pain, confusion and she was lost.
Something familiar dragged her back. “Wake up Cass, wake up”. Trojan stood behind her, shaking her, reaching over her and tapping on the keyboard, the codes, the knowledge to find her and bring her back, the cable from his neck connected to the network. The world slowly turned lighter, a blurred mass of colour. How long had she been out? From the smell of her it had been some time and she had lost control of her body, fuck, she had lost control of her mind. But she had found something, something important, but she couldn’t remember what