Teaser: Sudamérica Part 2 [Trinity Continuum: Æon]
You guys provided a ton of great feedback last week. It’s already led to some changes — for example, “First World” and “Third World” terminology has been replaced. The team are taking other comments under consideration. We’re glad to have so many fans who obviously care about the property.
Incidentally, Æon developer John Snead was a new blog commenter, so his replies to last week’s thread were unfortunately getting held back for approval; that’s been fixed.
All that said, let’s finish the Sudamérica teaser:
Brazil is exceptional in many ways. It’s by far the largest country in Sudamérica, and the only one with Portuguese as its official language. It is also the epicenter of Candomble, an animist religion sweeping the entire continent and wresting believers away from the traditionally dominant Catholic Church.
Natural wealth is Brazil’s key to success; vast jungles in the Amazon rain forest and wetlands in Pantanal give Brazil its pick on what it wants to exploit and produce. The Urban Schism spread Brazilian population deeper inland, changing the balance of regional power. The Amazon is now home to thousands of small settlements devoted to cultivating the verdant wilderness around them, granting more voting power to previously abandoned districts, and pushing environmental conservation to the top of the government’s agenda.
Living in the Air
Come to São Joaquim da Silva! We are a growing quilombo where fantasy becomes reality. Enjoy the magnificent sunrise in the Amazon rain forest, and wake every day to the song of a thousand birds.
Our homes are built 20 meters in the air, supported by the latest in biostructure technology, and connected to the town’s reactor with secure vinelines that can resist anything the weather throws at them. Leave your worries on the ground and come to São Joaquim da Silva; it’s a dream among the clouds!
—Villarana Real Estate advertisement.
Brazil is leading the way in biotechnological research thanks to the wealth of Amazonian life its bioengineers have to work with. It has used its wealth well, even funding expensive projects like the Brasilia BioArcology project, and building the Averiguas extrasolar colony.
The people of Brazil are trend-setters on the international stage. Fashion star Kostbaar works from Rio de Janeiro, dictating world fashion from the cues of his adoptive culture, while São Paolo’s cosmopolitan population churns out new subcultures every year. Minas Gerais is the headquarters of an active but oddly respectful black market, and the country is polarized between the deeply Catholic Belo Horizonte and the strongly Candombleist Bahia.
Despite, or perhaps because its great wealth, Brazil is at the top of the Sudamérican inequality index, with a higher percentage of it population living in poverty compared to any of its neighbors. Crime, however, is low thanks to strict law enforcement and ubiquitous surveillance. As in other wealthy and powerful nations, most of crime that remains is controlled by well-organized criminal gangs.
Brazil, Norça, and the Qin collaborated in the most ambitious biotech project yet: growing an entire, fully functional arcology out of vegetal-template biotechnology. The modernist but sterile layout of old Brasilia was the foundation for a new garden of wonders. Gigantic trees are both buildings and pillars, flowers are holoprojectors and cameras, vines transport water and support bridges, and the AR landscape is a fairytale of elegant images and noetic resonance.
The arcology is a few years from achieving self-sufficiency, some of the trees in recreational areas can also produce fruit, and there is a whole hydroponics sector that can already feed half of the population comfortably. Most structures can repair themselves via either internal processes or ant-shaped maintenance biobots, with a minimal amount of biomass needed from the outside.
The only hardtech to be found in Brasilia consists of vehicles, a few architectural and engineering fixtures and people’s personal property. Everything else is organic. Lighting blends fluorescent organisms with biocrystals that reflect light captured from sunflower collectors, combining to match outside illumination during the day, and produce any color mix during the night. The buildings themselves cool, filter and circulate the air, even providing subtle fragrances in certain districts, and giving rise of urban legends that Brazilians are being chemically mind-controlled by their own city.
The citizens of the bioarcology are not like people in regular arcologies. The arboreal surroundings have inspired many to undergo both cosmetic and genetic alteration, from utilitarian prehensile tails to cosmetic, yet somehow fitting antlers. Brasilia is also the only city where AR has a conceptual layer in addition to the visuals, only perceived through little bug-like links that transmit the information noetically rather than simply optically. Connected citizens trade information at near telepathic speeds, and their speech is full of gaps and metaphorical imagery completed through their AR links, something that greatly confuses outsiders. The inclusion of social media in such conversations is creating a complex network of collective understanding and shared tropes and idioms that is quickly setting Brasilia outside, or perhaps beyond, the rest of humanity.
Brazil may have the best recognition as the ideal, progressive Sudamérican nation, but it’s Colombia who supports the backbone of Sudamérican economy and power. Colombia was one of the countries hit hardest by the ecoterrorist actions and hacktivism of Nossa Força Verde, but after the milestone policies of the Mapuche Nation, it also became the nation that made the most extensive and far-reaching reforms and changes.
Colombia has three arcologies: Bogota, its capital, Medellin, and Cali, and plenty of large cities that host the headquarters of many Sudamérican transnationals. The AR landscape in Colombian cities is among the most comprehensive, well organized, and useful in the world, kept clean from vandals and pranksters by a dedicated cyberpolice, and maintained by career curators and managers.
Research, development and production drive Colombia’s culture of success. The presence of the administrative and research wings of top global companies means that industrial espionage is at its most sophisticated, but so is security. Sudamérican media is full of news and fiction serials starring industrial spies, elegant scammers, and crusading conmen.
While Brazil is the capital of body alteration, Colombians indulge in “inner” alteration, using drugs to change their moods and attitudes at will and free of undesirable side effects, such as a detective taking a pill to increase his empathy before an interrogation, a harried freelancer using skin patches to banish procrastination as well as the need to sleep, or a meek person finding chemical courage to stand up to a bully. Experimenting with noetic bioapps is just the logical next step.
During the Aberrant War, a local Aberrant created a vast zone of Quantum Flux in the middle of the country. It is similar to Wycoff’s Blight, but rather than laying waste to the land, it mutated the flora and fauna into monsters that promptly attacked the human population and transmitted Corruption like a virulent disease, soon creating a veritable apocalypse of mutant aberrations living in a nightmarish landscape. Neighboring countries closed off their borders to Venezuelan refugees, and many were shot on sight to prevent the mutating plagues from spreading further.
Suddenly, in 2104, at the same time that Wycoff’s Blight shrunk by 30%, the Plaguelands shrank by 20% and the plagues became far less contagious. Today, Venezuela survives as a strip of habitable territory along the Atlantic coastline, isolated from the Plaguelands by heavily guarded walls and regular Norça patrols. Its new capital in Maracaibo governs many floating and underwater towns. The rise of Oceania makes Venezuela fear a new loss of territory if other oceanic settlements follow the example of Pearl City.
Sudamérica and the World
Sudamérica is often its own worst enemy. Competition between Colombia and Brazil has created a multitude of small conflicts where the two countries’ interests meet. Espionage and sabotage remain common tools of local politics. The Andean nations also undermine their neighbors’ efforts using subtle propaganda campaigns and exceptionally sophisticated espionage.
However, Sudaméricans rapidly unite when trouble comes from the FSA. Sudaméricans have not forgotten the long history of intervention, invasion, exploitation, and abuse from the North, and sometimes go out of their way to ruin FSA initiatives abroad. However, not wishing open military confrontation, they most often use covert means that are difficult to trace.
Most Sudaméricans consider China and Australia to be respectable rivals and competition with these nations is quiet and professional. Europe and the UAN are important trading partners, and many charitable works go towards aiding ruined European countries. The only advantage Spain and Portugal have is a shared language, but Sudaméricans deal with them as fairly or abusively as they deal with anybody else.
Threats & Features of Interest
Under a civilized facade, industrial espionage and high-class crimes are a thriving sector and an important part of the Sudamérican business environment. These grey market sectors are dominated by three main groups in addition to many talented thieves and security professionals: Argentina covertly funds and hires out foreign mercenaries of every profession, while the Peruvian Yana Llanthu hide behind their own legends as supernaturally capable spies and assassins. Finally, the Psi Order Norça walks the fine line between legitimate use of force and vigilantism, using illegal methods to guide Sudamérica towards a better future.
Sudamérica’s large protected wilderness presents many challenges and hides many secrets. Aberrants and their creations still lurk in the darkest corners of the Amazon rain forest, the Venezuelan Plaguelands, unreachable Andean heights, and oceanic depths. However, this continent is also home to many new, as-yet undiscovered resources; innovative bioapps can be created from biotemplates found only in the Amazon or the Brazilian Pantanal, and competition to locate new species sometimes becomes lethal.
The social structure in Sudamérica can be equally volatile; in addition to their intense rivalry that threatens to erupt into a full-blown economic war, Brazil and Colombia are struggling with cultural phenomena that question the concepts of identity and free will, while the Mapuche Nation is a hotbed of unrest as an imposed state of racial relations begins to unravel. Cutting-edge technology and avant-garde cultural phenomena also share memetic space with deeply rooted traditions and superstitions.