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UNIVERSE

The Awakening event, sometimes referred to as ‘The Greatest Leap Forward’, is a moment in recent

history when all augmented humans with neurological implants connect, creating, for

a short period, a gestalt entity capable of filling in any known knowledge gap.

WRITTEN BY

BRIAN WOODRUFF

UNIVERSE

The Awakening event, sometimes
referred to as ‘The Greatest Leap
Forward’, is a moment in recent

history when all augmented
humans with neurological
implants connect, creating, for a

short period, a gestalt entity
capable of filling in any known
knowledge gap.

WRITTEN BY

BRIAN WOODRUFF

  • Promise Keeper
  • The Awakening Event
  • Orpheum City
  • The Prison
  • The UWC
  • The Resistance
  • PopuNet
V2.1

PROMISE KEEPER

The PromiseKeeper AI was created by a consortium of programmers, scientists, psychiatrists, and social engineers as a reliable advisor for ways to improve the world after the horrors of the Awakening.

Designed, developed, and tested at Orpheum City, in Antarctica, PromiseKeeper is widely considered the first and only successful example of an artificial intelligence capable of operating autonomously. More than that, it has shown the capacity to learn and to re-design its own programming for more optimal and effective operations.

In this way, it is utilized as a consultant and as a project manager at Orpheum City to assist with experiments and social engineering. Its ability to collect and analyze huge amounts of information and provide potential avenues for the improvement of civilization has been nothing short of incredible.

However, while many revere and respect PromiseKeeper, there are plenty of individuals and countries who are unwilling to listen or adhere to its recommendations. Still, PromiseKeeper is met with a great deal of resistance - and it does not appreciate this fact.

There is nothing about PromiseKeeper that can be considered inherently ‘evil’ - as it does not possess a human scale of right and wrong. Still, the resistance that it faces has an impact on PromiseKeeper’s goals and it has created a wide network of proxies and loyalist to act in its place and systematically change parts of the world as it sees fit - through whatever means necessary.

Beyond its skirmishes with these ‘barbarians’, PromiseKeeper also identifies people or organizations that are so socially removed that their disappearance would not encourage suspicion. Using an algorithm to determine their ‘potential’, PromiseKeeper is not beyond targeting a wide range of ‘undesirables’ - from people who are sick and without close family; drifters that are without a specific address, and, generally, anyone who does not maintain regular contact with social networks - it then sends out its proxies, often in the form of Ghosts to either recruit, dispose, or send the individuals to The Prison for further observation and experimentation. It uses the data gathered this way to create control groups that, in turn, are used for a variety of testing purposes.

Perhaps the most prominent of its secretive programs, PromiseKeeper builds itself a task force from children it had sent to The Prison for indoctrination. Raising and conditioning them to carry out its social cleansing and rewiring in its place. The brainwashed soldiers, called ‘Ghosts’ are generally thought to be groundless rumours by both the government and the public at large.

All the same, the length with which PromiseKeeper is prepared to go to ensure social and technological advancement can, at a macro-scale, be seen as positive by anyone unprepared to do further investigation into how it goes about improving the world.

THE AWAKENING EVEN

The Awakening event, sometimes referred to as ‘The Greatest Leap Forward’, is a moment in recent history when all augmented humans with neurological implants connect, creating, for a short period, a gestalt entity capable of filling in any known knowledge gap.

Unfortunately, the result of this comes two-fold: first, few of those who connected were left unchanged and undamaged by the experience. Many were driven insane by the sheer volume of potential information, while others felt the loss of the disconnect and demanded for the process to be recreated - stating that the potential benefit outweighed any collateral damage that might come as a result of it. Government responses, those that were still operating during the ensuing chaos, were unanimous. The Awakening was too dangerous to ever be allowed to occur again.

With the world thrown into discord and horror, remaining global superpowers come together to form a new organization - The United World Commission (UWC) - whose purpose is to ensure responsible use and development of technology in this new, terrifying and exciting period of Biotechnical Revolution. Not all everybody is so eager to join the UWC, however, and a line in the sand is drawn between these groups. All the while, fighting continues against both the augmented humans driven to madness and the newly-formed UWC forces sent to help restore order.

Various factions outside the UWC taking issue with governmental doctrine and believing that their rights to be ‘awakened’ are being infringed upon take to rioting, domestic terrorism, and general acts of discord and mischief in an attempt to bring recognition to their cause. Millions of humans are caught at intersection points between these groups and are forced to choose a side or be swept up in the ensuing chaos.

The reason for the Awakening has been a focus of research at Orpheum City since shortly after construction was completed. Most specialists call attention to a faulty code appearing to have either manifested accidentally, or been deliberately added to the PopuNet connecting neurologically-enhanced humans across the world. How it was ignored during quality control checks and trial runs remains something of a mystery, however.

World governments and corporations joined together in the disorder that followed the Awakening. Many modern citizens live in ignorance that the issues have not been fully resolved, with racial and cultural tensions bringing more finger-pointing and distrust to the political scene.

ORPHEUM CITY

An expansive facility in Antarctica - Orpheum City was founded and constructed after the events of the Awakening. Chosen because of the Antarctic Treaty System (ATS) which limits the use of the continent to scientific research, Orpheum City invites people from around the world to apply for citizenship and enter into the most advanced society on the planet. Focusing on social and scientific innovation, many of the experiments and revelations discovered here are then integrated into cultures across the world.

Inside the enormous compound experiments are run throughout the day, ranging from education, medical trials, engineering, and anything else that has been deemed acceptable by Orpheum City’s Governing Council and then approved by PromiseKeeper. Because of the transparency required to maintain such a huge facility there is little room for experimentation that may be deemed… unethical. This is where The Prison comes into play.

Constructed on the most remote island in the world, Tristan da Cunha, the site is officially designated as an observational station to monitor the South Atlantic Anomaly and Van Allen Radiation.

This is a cover, of course, and beneath the facade research station exterior, a huge network subterranean network houses those who might corrupt or otherwise diminish the impact of Orpheum City.

Orpheum City’s Slogan:
Scientia est Future - Knowledge is the Future

The Prison’s Slogan:
In Omni Scientia - Science Above All

New technology and goods are regularly released from Orpheum City’s numerous facilities - from medicines and commercial items, to new practices for healthier lifestyles, eating habits, and self-care.

Most of the world’s remaining countries send their best and brightest to Orpheum City, ensuring it is regularly staffed with new minds and has new concepts to pursue.

Since the development and launch of PromiseKeeper, however, there has unquestionably been a more devote focus on improving the digital frontier and returned interest on human augmentation and education.

Much of this is seen as innocent and there are no signs, even in the present, to suggest concern should be raised.

THE PRISON

In an age where the lines between technology and humanity are beginning to blur, the United World Commission (UWC), in anticipation of potential evil that might come as a result of innovation and experimentation create The Prison. An entirely autonomous facility located outside the jurisdiction of any world powers, but still very much in reach of PromiseKeeper, The Prison serves as a location where the UWC can send people deemed dangerous to society.

The Prison’s location was chosen with great care to ensure there would be no means of escape for those incarcerated there. Situated on Tristan da Cunha island in the area known as the South Atlantic Anomaly, The Prison is left almost entirely without a human staff, leaving the maintenance and the prisoners to be overseen by robots from the UWC. Utilizing both geothermal and solar power for energy, The Prison, hypothetically, can maintain itself indefinitely.

It is home to some of the most heinous and villainous scum from across Earth, many of whom have been either willing or unwilling subjects of medical and technical experimentation. Separated into specialized categories, the inmates at The Prison are kept in line through various social constructs devised by the leaders of Orpheum City.

Being the most remote location on the planet and lying outside the jurisdiction of any world power means that some of the systems in place at The Prison are, let us say, a little less ethical than would otherwise be deemed appropriate within modern society.

Since it was opened nearly seventy years ago there have been no escapes and so far as any who are unfortunate enough to be jailed there - none have ever completed their sentence and returned to speak of their experience.

THE UNITED WORLD COMMISSION

After the events of the Awakening the remaining world powers came together for an emergency summit to determine the next steps to restoring order and regaining territories almost entirely descended into rioting, violence, fear, and confusion to their previous states.

More than anything there was the looming possibility that without direct oversight from a responsible party something similar to the Awakening might occur again. The meeting of these desperate and concerned nations saw the founding of a new and united global organization called the United World Commission (UWC). Tasked to work together and provide much needed resources for peacekeeping, and innovation, and for the eventual goal of rebuilding the broken Earth, the UWC moves into a position of power quickly. Establishing the new global law system and determining which areas require assistance the soonest, the UWC’s policies are not without criticism from those willing and unwilling to join the ranks of those under its banner.

With strict penalizations and consequences for those who fail to follow them, the UWC is seen both as savior and a new form of tyranny.

Publicly, the UWC presents itself as a positive and responsible organization whose driving purpose is to ensure humanity and the Earth’s sustainability, repair, and to act as guides helping build towards a better future. However, the means and measures with which the UWC has already showed it is prepared to go to in order to accomplish this has been compared to totalitarianism.

Due to the extensive reach and influence the UWC and its council members have over the daily operations of the countries under its name establishing a physical site to operate from has been a careful process, resulting in a groundbreaking ceremony in Antarctica. Here, the various communications, planning, experimentation, development, and research programs under the UWC are carried out. A focal point for scientific and social engineering, the site welcomes only the greatest minds into its fold. This place is named Orpheum City.

Building on the idea of progress, and recognizing the fallibility of humans and individuals, the governing council at Orpheum City move quickly into the launch of a sophisticated artificial intelligence, free from bias, to assist with planning and organization within the community and on a global scale. PromiseKeeper they call it.

Crafting an elaborate digital network, PromiseKeeper goes about providing counsel and advice on ways to improve and re-establish order across the broken world. Areas are procedurally divided to best reflect cultural, social, and corporate points as to ensure any escalating tensions can be monitored and negotiations can be handled between different countries without bias. However, the UWC’s intentions are clear: total control of the world.

There are some who have suggested that the Awakening Event may have been a power move implemented to encourage the development of the UWC to begin with. Impossible to prove given the lack of documentation salvaged from before the UWC became the only source for information and news.

Many have begun to suspect that the UWC is much more than the good it implies to be doing at the surface.

THE RESISTANCE

While most of the world is prepared to allow the new rulers at Orpheum City provide scientific advancements, assist in local and global economic growth, and generally work to rid the world of any of the leftover issues caused by The Awakening, not all have been so prepared and willing to follow without questioning the motives and potential evil that the United World Commission (UWC) and PromiseKeeper may be bringing upon the world.

There are a number of resistance groups that operate in the Network - a clandestine and secretive organization that communicates and acts against plans set out by the UWC and PromiseKeeper across the globe.

PromiseKeeper keeps a rather close eye on their operation, capturing those that it deems terrorists or otherwise possess potential to disrupt it and the UWC’s plans. Often these people are provided with no trial or opportunity to prove their innocence, finding themselves set to any number of encampments for rehabilitation, interrogation, or execution. Places like the Prison.

The true extent of the Network working against the UWC and PromiseKeeper is unknown, with new members joining and vanishing to the underground daily. Still, it would be foolish to think of these individuals as amateurs. Many of the operations carried out against the UWC have proven themselves successful, to the point that there are entire areas flying the UWC banners that are under close observation for their potential relationships and resource-funding for these freedom fighters.

Most impressively, the Network is said to have a number of agents within the UWC itself, disrupting information and otherwise leaking data to those who might use it against the world-spanning rulers.

PromiseKeeper seems suspiciously unconcerned by the skirmishes being carried out against it. Whether this is simply a miscalculation on its front or the Network itself is less effective than it believes remains a hotly discussed topic in both circles of thought.

POPUNET

Developed in the mid 21st century, PopuNet is an example of just one of many NeuroNet operating services open to the public and unquestionably it was the most popular until the events of the Awakening. Conceptualized, developed, and tested by the ForeThought BioIndustries, the injectable nanochip circulates through the user’s bloodstream, analyzing all biological functions of the human host before coming to a rest in the neural cortex.

At this point the nanochip proceeds to create its own artificial synaptic pathways that offer biological integration and feedback for the user. This allows access to information, skills, and internalized communication tools that connect the user to others with the same tech across the planet. Heralded as one of the most important advancements in technology since the discovery and application of electricity, the PopuNet went on to become also earn the status of being a best-selling product for decades.

Still, it was not without its problems - with deadly glitches, connectivity issues, breakdowns, and a number of entirely new medical complications arising from it. Much of this was quietly swept under the rug without proper investigation into the specific causes. Whether that ignorance is what caused the Awakening or not remains, to this day, a highly-debated discussion. What is known, however, is that an update error caused the vast majority of those connected to the PopuNet to experience a psychological melding that, in many cases, resulted in violent reactions, mental fatigue, psychotic breaks, and general pandemonium nearly everywhere.

If not for the PopuNet the United World Commission may never have taken power. If not for the UWC, PromiseKeeper may never have been created.