Imagine a dark world. A world of global pollution, raging wars and
A world where gigantic cities which extend from coast
to coast consisting mainly of slums and ruined houses, whereas some
isolated islands, downtown areas with gleaming scyscrapers reach for
A world of high technology, where most people have to
eat whatever they can find from garbage bins. They have never driven a car or
flown in a plane, nor seen any cybertechnology.
A world where information is the only real power, and the value of people
is determined by their skills and political power.
A world, where most unemployed people have sold their rights vote to
corporations, and now they live in corporate suburbs with
nothing else to do but to watch TV or virtual tapes.
It is 204th decade. It is the world of Syndicate.
Remember: It is your game and world. If you do not like it, change it.
In Europe, as a counter-action to increasing corporate power, the European Union
is now like a new United States, being perhaps now the worlds most powerful
country. Its main city is Europoli, an immense everlasting city expanding from
English Channel to Berlin and beyond. The other major city is Istanbul, which
is a main gateway to Middle East and Africa.
In Northern America, United States and Canada still exists, but they
have very strongly fallen under corporate power, and so the USA is no
longer a strong player in world politics, with the power divided among
several multinational corporations.
In Third World, most Southern American and African countries are controlled by military
juntas or generals loyal to some specific corporation. Occasionally, they are
at war with each other. Most areas in southern hemispehere are polluted or wasted
in countless wars, and the people living there are mutated, starving and
desperate. New wars break out daily, and illegal weapons are used
In other countries, democracy is still the official type of government -
in theory. While the people leading the countries are elected in
fair elections, the votes are not from the people, but from the
corporations, which have bought the rights to use their votes in
exchange for free lodging, food and entertainment. Such corporate
'slaves' live in gigantic corporate suburbs, corporate city blocks,
eat corporate food and watch corporate channels. They do absolutely
nothing, their life is boring and uneventful, but at least they are
There are still some countries, which have had no need to give
corporations rights to buy votes or have their representatives in
government, but such countries are rare. Even in Europen Union there
is corporate participitants in government.
While it is finally possible for the human body and the computer to join
their forces, most people will never see cybernetics in real life.
High technology is expensive, and only a small minority has enough money to
buy even a small cybernetic eye. Most people are limited to goods
quite similar to the late 20th century, made of some synthetic material.
There are rumors about full cyborgs and such things, but they are just
rumors - at least for the 99% majority of the population.
And when you move, you move by electric train - or car, if you can
afford such a thing. Rich people may have vehicles using gasoline,
and corporate vectored thrust tanks are sometimes seen
flying across the barren landscape. And in more developed countries,
vacuum trains move people across the country faster than any plane.
Seaweed is everywhere. When you eat pizza, you eat seaweed. When
you eat kebab, or tacos, or whatever, you eat seaweed. Unless you are
very rich. Seaweed is available from all seas, and processing and
manufacturing it have become one of the most important industries. Seaweed
is the secret behind a population of billions surviving in a polluted planet.
Processing is so efficient nowadays, that you do not know that you
are eating the seaweed, unless you are told.
And seaweed is not limited to food; it can also be refined into
countless other products, used as a main component in plastic, for example.
No wonder that seaweed is one of the main strategic resources
Virtual Reality and Wetware
With enhanced data storage and manipulation systems it is now possible
to explore almost-real virtual reality. Virtual reality is used for
training and entertainment, but it is not very fast with interactive
systems. Computers and information can be handled with it, and so does
many everyday workers, but the real data is still in zeroes and ones
in computer memory, so the fastest and most powerful way to handle
data is still the old fashioned "command line".
Virtual reality, however, has many uses in training and entertainment,
but it is not normally all-senses experience. No, it is mainly display
and earphones plus trodes for mental impulses to send commands to
computer. Virtual reality systems do not send anything directly to
brain, as this is very complex and dangerous operation.
It is, however, possible to get complete feed into brain, including
all senses and feelings. Recordings with all senses and feelings are
called wetware, and they are recorded and playbacked with
special equipment. Such a recording and equipment is very dangerous
because wetware recordings can have programs putting brain into
comatose state or burying special triggers into mind. Thus, wetware is
illegal in most countries. Do not fuck with your brains.
Real artificial intelligence
(AI) is still on development boards,
but people can meet intelligent systems (agents) everywhere, like in
clothes, home entertainment systems and especially in service systems.
So, when you call a corporate information service, you will most
propably talk with service agent, but unless you are trained, cannot
make difference to real well trained person. And your high-tech home
entertainment system can learn your favorite TV shows and record them
up for you if you miss them. However, most people dislike all more
independent agents as they are not completely reliable and you cannot
harm them if they fail you, just erase them.
GlobalNet was founded upon the remains of the Internet, when the
bandwidth and overall services of the Internet structure became
inadequate for the ever growing datastreams. Now, the GlobalNet broadcasts
billions of bytes of information bytes around the world each nanosecond,
spreading the corporate propaganda, ads and news. But is is not a
highway to fortune, because corporate systems are usually separated
from the outside world very carefully, and no external connections are usually
possible. With suitable equipment, all information moving in datalines
can be eavesdropped.
So, if one needs to break into a corporate system to monitor, edit or
otherwise manipulate data therein, he must find a cable
containing that actual data, tap into it and then process
onward. Breaking in from the outside is very, very difficult and requires
some bug successfully slipped into security systems, passwords, sheer luck and time.
Although man has walked on Mars, and the moon has permanent space
stations, space is still largely unexplored area, mainly because of the cost
to reach it. Space travelling is mainly used for scientific research and other
secondary projects, and corporations are much more interested in
oceans, which offer nearly unlimited resources if used wisely.
The space is crowded by hundreds of thousands of satellites, from
corporate spy satellites to scientific mappers.
Fusion power has finally made its breakthrough, and most corporations
and rich governments use it as their main energy provider. And thus the
electricity is not very expensive, and people can afford to ride
around in electric cars and trains.
But fusion power is not always available, and then fission power,
internal combustion, solar power or other older energy providers
are used. The main problem with some of them is that the resources are
rare, and thus most of the time expensive. Not many men have wealth to
drive around with gasoline-based vehicles, which nonetheless still
have more powerful engines.
Genetic, Nano and Cybertechnology
Nowadays, genetic technology allows you to have children with
properties almost whatever you like to - if you can afford
it. Similarly, all harmful organisms and bacteria can be destroyed by
specialized bacteria or constructed cells, but it also allows
generating some horrible biological weapons.
With enhanced medical and synthetic regeneration systems, it is possible
to have the brain separated from the body and kept active, thus allowing
the creation of complete cyborgs or almost infinite life as a separate
brain in a cell connected to the computer network. And simple body
structures like muscles and skin can be regrown in laboratory
environment in weeks, nerves requiring much longer time. Thus, it is
possible, but very, very expensive to build a new body to a man, who
has lost his entire body in an accident.
The computer is now perfectly merged with human brain and flesh, and it
is possible to have a direct link from your brain to the computer systems. Tiny
Nanotechnology robots skim in your veins killing the bacteria, when
more custom-built organisms cannot be used or are not available. And with
the best available biotechnology, all cyberware systems can be replaced
with similar bioware systems with completely organic systems.
But all this is still very experimental and expensive, and most people
never experiment or even see such things, except on TV, but who can
trust it nowadays?
Corporations have all the power that is available from the struggling
goverments - which are mostly owned by various corporations. Most
corporations are ruthless, cold and calculating, because it is their
only way to stay ahead of the technological progress of others. And when
the world is
in global chaos and disorder, corporations more or less openly fight
for the control of sea and land areas, important resources and highly
educated people, their weapons ranging from propaganda and agents to open wars.
In the countries which are still democratic to some extent, corporations have to
keep a good public
profile, and the most important thing to them is publicy. But when the
country becomes more anarchic and people more desperate and have less
chance to fight back, then the corporations attack to destroy their enemies and
may even act openly, in the name of 'freedom', 'brotherhood' or
And in a world like that, there is a need for professional agents.
Some of the biggest corporations are:
The main multi-branch corporation. Though its leaders are Chinese, and Chinese traditions pervade the company, it also has Japan among other Asian nations covered. Market leader in seaweed production and research, most
important locations around Asia, mainly in Taiwan (independent
country) and Pacific Ocean. Owns most Asian vehicle manufacturers. Headquarters in Peking.
A branch of Esoku specializing in military, security and high technology.
While Esoku itself concentrates mainly on seaweed and
Asian countries, Yanaka sells weaponry and high technology all around
the world. Yanaka and Esoku have specialized shock troops in most countries not
completely controlled by other corporations. Headquarters in Peking.
World leader in the field of genetic research and nanotechnology. Leader of the
seaweed and other food productions around Atlantic Ocean. Controlled
mainly by European people, and is a strong power in European community.
Headquarters in Europoli.
Security Technologies Incorporated is the world's largest weapon and
security technology provider. It is mainly located around Europe
and Northern America, but is selling weapons all around the
world. Holds majority of shares for almost all western arm manufacturing
brands. Also interested in other things, as are all corporations.
Headquarters in New York.
- Sania Corp
An European corporation building space systems, fusion reactors and
transportation systems. Largest player in Africa, controlling mines and
oil fields. Has a vast fleet of gargo fleets and world largest mercenary army.
Headquarters in Istanbul.
Living in the Dark World
Your life could be easy: you could be living in a corporate city-block, doing your
daily computer system work or research, and occasionally going for a
vacation to some island.
More propably, you live in the streets, gathering what you can from
garbage, and doing whatever work is offered. Or maybe you are living in a
corporate suburb city-block barracks, with nothing else to do but to
watch corporate-censored channel with corporate propaganda all the day
between those stupid soap operas. Or fighting for your life in a
distant ruined country, trying to survive radioactive fall-out or
Or maybe you are not one of the ordinary people. Maybe you are one of
those professional agents, who are hired to do various jobs.
Money should not be your main concern nor daily living. This ain't no
While the electric money has made its breathtough, the ancient paper
money is still widely used and accepted. Usually, change is given as
small notes, while bigger purchases are made with credit cards or
certified cash cards.
Rule number 1: Do not believe in anything, unless it is certified,
real-time output. Picture and sound manipulation is so efficient with
modern computer systems, that it is quite a trivial task to manipulate,
change or edit any video, TV or other data. And since most media
organizations are owned by some corporation, and you rarely see
anything like objective news - unless that pirate channels taps
temporarily on the same bandwidth with some main channel.
The only way to show liable data is by tapping to several certified media
satellites, and to send real-time data through them. This way, the
data is certified to be real-time, and not edited if watched at the
same time. Add ten seconds, and then you cannot trust it anymore.
Prices for Daily Goods
To give a little approximation of prices, here are some guidelines
about prices in the Syndicate world.
- Synthetic (seaweed) homemade food. 5e/day
- Synthetic (seaweed) fast-food. 10e/day
- Hybrid food (seaweed and other ingredients). 20e/day
- Fruits and vegetables. +10e/day
- Meat, fruits and vegetables. 50e/day
- Suburb city-block cell, 20 m2. 100-300e/month
- Downtown apartment, 20 m2. 300-4000e/month
- Downtown apartment, 50 m2. 500-10000e/month
- Downtown coffin hotel (one coffin). 20e/night, 100e/week
- Suburb hotel, 10 m2. 20-50e/day
- Downtown hotel, 10 m2. 50-300e/day
- Downtown hotel, 30 m2. 100-500e/day
- Ticket for electric train. 1-5e
- City travelticket. 5-10e/week, 20-50e/month, 200-600e/year
- Vacuumtrain trip. 50-100e
- Aeroplane trip. 1000-10000e
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- Syndicate: The Corporate Future (c) Kalle Marjola
1997,2000. All rights reserved.