The prologue to what I hope will be a cycle of stories set in a cyberpunk future.
| After ages of sacrifice, the human race perfected civilization on the North American continent. With the help of the great corporations, the states of our nation eliminated all threats and suffering and want (personal results varied, of course.)
Having unified the practices of corporate sponsorship of all government functions, our nation renamed itself the Incorporated States of America and reset the calendar in collaboration with various European and Asian entities.
It was a perfect age. The agents of the ISA were cybernetically empowered and legally beyond reproach. The common citizenry was kept in a state of carefully controlled productivity, docility interspersed with outrage, all of it given reasonable outlets and expressions. Deliciously drugged food ensured that everyone felt just what they needed to feel at any given moment to keep the various communities at their work.
Of course, the small 'rural' communities were difficult to completely police and control, so they were surppressed. Some communities resisted suppression, but no one hears about them.
No one was hungry (access to food was guaranteed to anyone with proper employment.) No one was threatened - and insurance was available for anyone who suffered losses due to accident or criminal activity (and everyone worth mentioning could afford insurance.) No one was angry, or if they were they just made a video and vented their rage for everyone's entertainment (some people probably attacked people and destroyed things, but the police took care of them so that no one noticed.)
Everyone had everything they ever asked the government for, and no one had a right to complain.
It was the year One, and everything was under control.
Now it's the year Eight, and something has happened. A chemical spill let something loose last year that killed people, which happened sometimes so no worries. Except this something was a contagion that kept spreading, and it didn't just kill people. Sometimes it changed you, mutated you. It was called the Carbon Plague, and the governments of the world were ready to quarantine everyone who had it, or even might be a carrier.
And if you didn't want to go to quarantine, they'd cut your net license and give you no airtime while they shot you and burned your body.
What makes it strange is that a lot of people seem willing to take the chance. It's almost as if lots of people don't like living in the ISA, and being a mutant makes them brave about saying it. They've even given themselves a name - the CyberEvolution. Capital E. They call themselves the cyberevolved. Like they are better.
I hope they are. I mean, I hope we are. See, I'm seeing this silvery shine on the palms of my hands, and that's supposed to mean you've got the Carbon Plague, and the symptoms are supposed to get really bad after that.
And if I live, I'm supposed to report to the Bureau of Relocation so they can arrange transfer to a quarantine zone. But I don't know if I'm going to do that.
See, I'm fourteen years old and I don't know of a single person over the age of twenty who seems happy. So I'm wondering if maybe the ISA is a great as it's supposed to be. And I wonder if I can change it, if I'm a mutant.