In the year 2090, everything is about The Triad. The once before grand Megacorporations shaped this trust that nowadays holds absolute power.
How did they end up holding that kind of authority? Don’t be as naive as my generation was. Decades ago the trend was to merge. Big companies becoming bigger and more powerful. Organizations that extended their networks over the resources and strategic sectors of every country, swallowing the Nation-states. The weak regulations of national reach were no rival for their dealings, taking place outside the international sphere of influence.
Truth be told, we didn’t have time to even think about what was going on. We were too busy. Lost in our thoughts, head low, bouncing from one job to the next. We sold our time to pay for the credit that financed brief moments of happiness, be it buying the latest subdermal-smartphone or some other crap. Then 2049 came around, a tragically key year for humanity.
Despite the constant outcries of the scientific community, the planet, this time for real, was utterly screwed. The only way to dive in a coral reef is through Augmented Reality. Maybe, thanks to your Pre-Great Pact History lessons you are familiarized with concepts like the Amazonian rainforest or the Arctic. I remember the environmentalist campaigns depicting famished polar bears, an ever increasing agony as the ice layers became less and more fragile. Needless to say there isn’t a damn polar bear left alive. Well, there is Hogui, that nutritional supplement’s mascot which slightly resembles a polar bear of odd proportions and cyber-implants...but let’s get back on track.
You needn’t be a hippie to throw your hands up in the air, it wasn’t just about bears. The human population was doomed, absolute chaos and misery.
While being just a kid I witnessed with my own eyes someone getting their face blown by a shotgun, just for an argument over a can of sardines. Humans had lost control over the chaos they themselves had unleashed.
How could the puppet governments deal with such a challenge? They simply couldn’t.
For the first time in history the three Megacorps sealed a deal, an alliance in order to save humanity. I’m talking about a never before seen operation, an almost unthinkable endeavour at the time, you know it: The Great Pact For The Reconstruction ( or just the Great Pact). Of course, all in exchange for the last bits of power outside their reach. Absolute hegemony. A transformative process at a planetary scale on every single area. Politics, society, economy, urbanism, environment, the energy industry and a long etc. A sort of colossal New Deal in the hands of the private sector. All that humanity needed to do to reach salvation, was to “just” give up their freedom.
The idea of an international command structure, well meant at the beginning, to deal with global issues, was corrupted by The Triad. Turning into a team hand-picked by a very select group of individuals. Executives, investors and administration councils in close-door meetings. The ballots became obsolete. But tell me, who gives a damn about democracy...when the alternative is wandering a wasteland?
Despite everything, it is fair to say it was not only ambitious, but also highly effective, at least during the initial stage.
The old skyscrapers became the paradigm of the new densely populated vertical cities: The Megalopolis.
The Triad designed, planned and built the three huge cities that are home to most of the human population these days and which, when seen from afar, seem to reach up to infinity.
As the population density increased in the cities, the territorial spread diminished. We started to generate power using renewable sources and closer to the consumption point, as well as reduced pollution and mobility needs.
On top of that, we were able to save a few areas that were still fertile, and we turned them into Farm Sectors that provided us with raw materials, but always from a sustainable standpoint.
However, all those measures were insufficient to deal with a delicate issue:
there were still a lot of people, too many...and what’s worse, still growing. The Triad launched a very successful and massive media campaign. No anti-natalist policies that would force you to not produce offspring or that would limit the number of children, and no forced sterilizations. What for? It was enough to educate the bulk of the population. In the past, the families with most children were from under-developed countries...when one has an education, hobbies, culture...Life is meant to be enjoyed! Not to take care of five or six brats. I don’t mean to say that having kids makes you an idiot. Or maybe I do.
Do you have kids? If you are a parent I’m sure you understand me when I talk about this “ wonderful phenomenon” of existence. If you don’t, you will. Thing is that, statistically, couples with higher education have on average two children, with no government regulation involved. Two parents, two children. Population stabilized.
Another matter to talk about at length would be whether the current education system, universal and provided a single institution, is a mechanism of social control or not.
We’ll talk about another time though…
Journalist specialized in Takkure
For a while things had been working reasonably well.
The transformation process of the Great Pact generated a large amount of jobs, but some issues started to appear….or rather, they became more visible.
The social differences between Triad Neofunctionaries and the regular folk were rapidly increasing. I’m not even talking about the hierarchs, demigods with lives far removed from us. And no, I’m not exaggerating when I say demigods, I chose that word intently. Thanks to their implants and regenerative treatments, they will keep on living and governing the fate of humanity long after your grandchildren become worm food.
Be that as it may. With all three Megalopolis working at full capacity, not a small number of industries fell from grace, specially those less technical and those not related in some way or another to robotics. It was the breaking point of a paradigm shift. Even the harvesters at the Farm Sectors travel, operate and repair autonomously, or at worst, controlled remotely. Life for those at the bottom was getting worse. And to add to that, we were feeling more and more removed.
Those who did not assist to weekly meetings with their therapist, spent most of their credits in psychiatric treatments. We worked from the cubicles we called home and barely knew anyone because, in the vastness of the Megalopolis, everyone was a stranger. We took some drugs to sleep and some to stay awake.
Anxiety and depression were as common as a cold in the old days. We had lost our sense of self in a social structure in which we were, more than ever, treated as numbers. Alone, in a highly digitalized and interconnected environment, paradoxically lonelier than ever.
The new environment was taxing us. We needed some common element, some kind of social glue, a way to feed the needs of our inner social animal. And the Triad had one more trick up the sleeve. That’s how Takkure came into being.
From the roman Panem et circenses, a release valve. The new trending sport at a planetary scale, adapted to the current state of the world. A sport that can be played almost anywhere, with just four players per team, but that at the same time, attracts millions of followers and generates juicy profits, especially in the bright Chrome City.
Bloody, immoral and damn entertaining. Have you ever been dumped, likely for being a jerk, and have gone straight to enjoy the wide array of legal drugs available? It’s something like that. Takkure is a way of further removing yourself from an already alienating reality. Pure opium, numbing your senses. Or at least that’s how it started.
Over time it became something else, a space for protest. A very powerful tool for the dispossessed, for those whose voices are never heard. Those who compete for their teams with barely any implants, sensorial reprogramming or pharmaceutical engineering.
A place to make ourselves visible through high definition punches, and with a bit of luck, grave injuries with live diagnostics simulation for some elite bastards.