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Showing posts with label strata 11. Show all posts
Showing posts with label strata 11. Show all posts

Jan 4, 2024

Strata 11, Immersion V1, Crossroads (Guessing)

horror illustration for the Book of Immersion by Tale Teller Club

Welcome to Immersion, You Have Reached Strata 11, Crossroads (Guessing)


To predict is always about a future possibility. Guessing, for a human, is usually more abstract, more emotional and about the now. Artificial intelligence uses a different sort of guesswork based on mathematics, likelihood, statistical evidence, and machine experience. Humans, whilst using all these models, albeit to a lessor degree, also use intuition. It is this fluid intuition that creates a human view of the environment and allows a person to act accordingly. An intuitive machine can offer insight in an unexpected situation, but is of no use unless acted upon. Proprioception, the sixth sense, refers to how the human brain understands where the body is in space. A seventh sense manifests in peripheral immune cells detecting microorganisms and delivering the information to the brain. The sixth and seventh senses are likely to help create 'gut feelings' in humans.

Shabra looks at Renyke. 'What now Mr Renyke?
The Robodog jumps onto the car roof barking excitedly.
Out of the enclosure, there is a crossroads.
The left turn goes back onto the street where the bank was. It is dangerous, especially at night, because gangs of criminals take control of the streets in convoys of vehicles running drugs and weapons. 

The control the Zones with violence and the offer of protection. They are empowered by gangs of decommissioned droids under their control. Criminal humans at the helm have created an organised crime network. Anarchy prevails and there is no official system of state policing or philanthropic social care. Dog eat dog is the only expectation.
Despite this, there is a underclass of *urchsreferred to as *lowers, who are very happy. They have been able to carve out an existence in the *zones where colour, dance and music are their pleasures. They smoke and party all the time. They are mostly nomadic living in temporary movable homes. Many have pop-up tents that fold onto pouches or vehicles they have fashioned from old wreckages. 
There is a network of tunnels under all the zones from the now unused underground trains.
Some of the tunnels are better than others in terms of safety and usability. Some areas are used as habitats. The territory and ownership of tunnel zones is fiercely fought over and protected.
There is no downtime in the Zones. Many businesses run all night because when they close they are vulnerable to robbery, arson, or take over. Market traders sell their wares using shift workers and can pack their goods away quickly when there are battles between the gangs.
Flex is an u and was born in the zones. He has no other cultural experiences to call upon but he has developed excellent survival skills and is even respected by people outside of his tribe. In terms of hierarchy Flex is more of a maverick operator avoiding obligations than getting along and not aggravating situations. Flex is something of a diplomat and his height and sense of humour have made him affable and connected over the years.
The right turn leads to the savanna. It is safer from the gangs but there are other dangers, wild animals, noxious substances from old mines, and low flying craft from the official police trying to keep the greenbelt around the Midcast projects clear.
The ground was heavily polluted after the Russia/China wars. The habitat is overrun in places with and mutated farm animals who were exposed to these dangerous substances making their heads and teeth massive. They are also extremely aggressive and will eat human flesh whenever they can.
There are caves where there is safety from the animals and there are connecting wet tunnels and lagoons but these have never been mapped correctly. Word of mouth is the only reference but survivors are few.
There are tribes of people from the savanna who have made their homes there but are rarely seen. They are deemed reasonably placid as they have never caused any trouble elsewhere. They are rumoured to be shy, excellent hunters, highly superstitious and have been thought to possess witchlike powers.
There is an urban myth that an old centre for strategic warfare lies beneath the savanna and that the tribes who live there, with access to hi-tech equipment, scramble satellite information allowing them to be hidden.

The road ahead leads directly back to the *Midcasts from where Renyke originally came.
Beyond the projects are the government departments, airports, factories and centres of information. Further still are the palaces and homes of the very wealthy. The Midcasts are medium to high wage earner homes, with schools and facilities for professionals and academics.
The way that mainstream society is structured in the present is based on a capitalist idea of perfection: consistent innovation, counteracting labour fallout due to advancing technology by placating a keen and able workforce, and protecting the ownership of the means of production for as few empowered individuals or corporations as possible.
There is very little opportunity for upward social mobility. Hard work and study will create a good life for families but becoming wealthy or powerful requires access to the means of production. Governments and landowners are careful not to allow ordinary workers and lower professionals access to these avenues of power and control.
The biggest means of production is the internet and interactive media. Both are tightly controlled by a group of related conglomerates, most of whom made their fortune through the production of weapons and vaccines.
Downtime for workers is spent in the VR cafes where *mersers can get drunk, have sex, take a swim on holiday and even murder people, albeit in their heads, during their coffee breaks.
RR, real reality, is frowned upon as anti-intellectual and subnormal.
But some Midcasters have abandoned their lives for RR and have gone to the outer zones to seek fulfilment. For these people, RR is their calling or obsession. Others, like Renyke, find that their continued presence in the Midcast Projects is dangerous or compromised and came to escape an undesirable situation or death.
Renyke makes a decision based on the only experience and knowledge he has.
'We go left....back into town.'

to be continued © 2023 Sarnia de la Maré 


Other Episodes


glossary

Strata 1

Strata 2 

Strata 3

Strata 4

Strata 5 

Strata 6

Strata 7

Strata 8

Strata 9

Strata 10

Strata 11