The following are several pages of design notes for a setting called Atoll that I preserving just in case I ever make something out of it.
The following are several pages of design notes for a setting called Atoll that I preserving just in case I ever make something out of it.
There are four major economic entities in the year 2074. The first of these is the Confederated Economic Entities (The CEE, often just called "The C" in the vernacular). It is composed of independent businesses from North and South America, Australia, Japan, South Africa, India, and a few other spots throughout the world. It was precipated by the Privatization Act of 2049, in which basic government structure became relegated to economic bodies, i.e. big business and the United States congress was dissolved and replaced by the prototype of the CEE, called the Economic Entitiy League (an unfortunate acronym is often blamed for the quick demise).
Currency in the CEE is maintained directly out of its base consituents. The basic division is a "nan", which represents one-billionth of the total value of the entity. What this ultimately means is that each entity (or company) has its own currency equal at base value to one-billionth of the company. Because of this, most big businesses have a nan equal to thousands of times a single nan of a smaller company. With this in mind, there are the additional units of Micros (one millionth a company's worth) and Picos (one-trillionth a companies worth) for smaller and larger companies respectively.
Workers are generally allotted a given value of nans at any one time based on their position and worth to the company. This value is spent to other companies or given back to the base company for basic life needs. The higher up in the company, or the higher the workload, the more nans allotted. Also, the more valuable the company the more than nan for that company is worth. These are considered the primary inspiration for work.
Welfare tends to be linked only to company personel, meaning that it is nonexistent. With that being said, some companies (Microsoft for one) has allotted a particular amount of nans to maintain select charities. Non employees are generally considered non-entities, though.
Due to the nature of the economy, then, the only time someone can actually own a billion nans of any one company tends to be when the company is very small and very poor and is not large enough to have workers. In this light, the word "Billionaire" is considered a term of disrespect for people that have unsuccessful companies.
Trading amongst companies can be furious at times, and further effect market value, resulting in a quite Baroque exchange market and causing a simple shopping trip to sometimes be a complicated thing as commodities and nans are traded. It is not uncommon for people to have a small or even large quantity of "banked nans" which are earned from business transactions. Sometimes these are traded directly back to the original company for supplies.
Essentially, it is a massive hybrid of the barter and stock exchange systems.
The second main body (about a fifth the size and shrinking compared to the CEE) is the People's Bank of Asia, handling most of Asia and portions of what was once Russia as well as some Eastern European countries. It is more traditional in its formation in that all companies and governments (which still exist in the PBA, especially China) share a common currency, the HighSen. Their economic value is derived out of the relation to a general worth to the total system. In most dealings with the CEE, the PBA is treated as single entity with a highly fluctuating nan-mark. Because of the relative instability of the HighSen market value, a number of key companies have migrated into the CEE. This sparked a scandal in 2070 when the PBA mobilized military action against those companies and managed to sieze and freeze a decent amount of property now legally supported by the CEE. One company, Yushai, which mainly dealt in media, offered itself to become liquadated to East Coast Media, a CEE business, in exchange of military support. ECM launched an actual attack on the PBA and was able to free about 30% of what was now its holdings before a cease-fire contract was formed up.
Since then, there have been no more defections, though rumors of them are constantly flying.
Welfare in the PBA is actually moderately good, if one considers work camps a good way of handling it. There are almost no homeless, though, and people do not have a reason to starve or go without medicine, which is an improvement over CEE.
The third largest body, about 2/3rds the size of the PBA, is the Europeon Union is largely tied down to nearly a century of paperwork and protocol. It now had three heads, the Mineralists, the Humanists and the Economists. The Mineralist branch of the European union deals with raw goods. The Humanist branch deals with the work force. And the Economist deals with the transaction between the other two branches, itself, and the rest of the world. Each has its own Euro, noted Euro-M, Euro-H and Euro-E, also known by the colors of "brown", "pink" and "gold".
Most predictions hold that the EU will liquidate some of its eastern most and southern most holdings over to the PBA, and will generally migrate into the CEE, possible maintaining govermental entity status as a whole.
It is much the same as it is today, as far as culture and welfare are concerned.
The smallest, but some would say most vital group, is the Free Data Guild, composed of hundreds of data havens and existing throughout the world. It is supposedly outside the confines of political and existing economic boundary, and most of the smaller havens are inside of other countries, but with that being said almost all havens have had to leave areas controlled by the PBA because of constant harrassment and legal transgressions. The CEE is "openly supportive" of the havens that it hosts, and the world's largest is located in what would have been Northern Mexico 50 years ago. With that being said, Haven Zero members report increasing amount of encroachments and at least one shoddy excuse to raid an outlying branch in order to "track a criminal".
The EU is actually quite friendly towards the FDG, and because of that more and more havens are cropping up there. Right now, the FDG is even been known to help the EU out for time to time, purely on a favor for a favor basis. This means the possible EU to CEE merger might have a larger impact than previously thought.
The second largest haven, and general considered the most affluent in a global sense is the Atoll, composed of the parts of three aircraft carriers, a dozen large navy vessels and hundreds of makeshift smaller vessels, a couple of islands and whatever else can be strung together; it hosts a massive amount of global data and is often used (from its location south east of the PBA) as a transfer point between other havens. It is said that as many as two smaller havens join it per week.
The FDG deals in "slots", which is about a gig of convential memory. Much like nans, they are traded and bartered. Sometimes they are used to buy more information, and also they are traded for HighSen (makes sense because of the proximity) or nans (more valuable). Since the FDG prides itself on its data centric autonomity, it carefully tries to regulate the given amount of non slot value it contains. If it were to start stockpiling nans or HighSen, it might be perceived as a threat. Since it currently has no true military abilities outside of its massive amount of distributed data, it would be in position to fight off an onslaught and would have to call in favors that might end up entrapping one or more havens to another economic body, which could be disastrous.
Welfare in the FDG requires one to be adopted into the home of a data baron or a civilian (a civilian owns data, and therefore has value). Those that cannot do this are pretty much evicted from the Guild.
Some African countries, Arabian countries, and South American countries consider themselves independents, with mixed results.
Thom Hausen, an ex-patriate to the AppleSoft corp, relocated finally to Germany in 2067. At that time, AppleSoft nan was plummeting due to a debacle with trying to rewire the world wide web, known generally as the Complex since the 2050's. It was known by many people that Hausen had actually tried pushing forth several innovative ideas which had been debunked and outright ignored by AS. Hausen traded in his nan for a position in a French security firm, and then from there pretty much transfered over broke and nearly washed up to a tiny data transfer unit under the control of the European Union's Economist branch.
In the year 2070, the data branch transfered over to the Berlin haven and the prototype for the Hausen box was released. It was a one meter tall box which was half a meter square. He declared the "Genesis" for his new project, the Plexus Quatrum.
The principle was in many ways already established for over half a century. There would be a series of clusters spread more or less evenly around the earth, whose algorithm would help to keep their load evened out. They were optic, and so could take use of the "Sweet 16" background, though there were a series of tweaks that Hausen engineered to amp the total up to 256 colors with 100% utility. He refered to the 16's 16 as a "Square", which is the basic unit of data in Hausen's system.
Each cluster can support anywhere from 2 to 256 nodes, like the one Hausen demonstrated. One node must be fully dedicated to maintaining the rest of the cluster, hence the reason why the second one is required to actually be used.
Furthermore, each node could support up to 32768 "accounts", which each active account allotted up to 16 avatars (Hausen and others of the FDG stress the important of each user only using one avatar, for the future of the net, though many of the FDG disagree. The additional avatars were for family or for coworkers would share an account). This means that some trillions of possible users could have accounts open.
The basic subset of the operating system behind the nodes is something known as Neo-Latin. Hausen used the rigid structure of Latin, with tweaks for even greater clarity and including words for technological advances as well as leaving (amazingly) 20 thousand slots open for advancement in the language. He fully intended it as a basis of a new way of computing. On one hand, it had appeal as a universal language that could be learned by all users. On the other, it was restricted to 65536 words being the product of two Squares. Lastly, though, each word could be "spoken" in the Complex, as well as could be "stamped" as a command. For instance, word 0,0 is Plexus. Spoken, it means a network, literally the Complex itself. Stamped as 0,0, though, it is a command for your computer to connect. Hausen chose the name of Language-Through-Node Protocol as the standard which dictated what words were viable, what their dual purpose as data tranfer might mean, and how best to transfer the data. The joke of the acronym is obvious.
Currently, the standard is for each active node to be able to transfer at precisely one giga-Square to any other active node. This has caused some havens to migrate to underpopulated areas to boost signal strength. The Atoll owns one whole cluster of nodes (Cluster 243, which has 7 active nodes in it with more expected by the end of the year).
Overall, there are 969 active clusters, with 1024 being the system limit. The inactive clusters tend to be areas that are not geographically suitable (Anartica, the Pacific, etc) to maintain true distribution.
Essentially, all nodes and all node-based computers "speak" Neo-Latin. Which means that all computers connected to the nodes must be able to translate into neo-Latin (there are many conversion programs). The glory of this, though, besides enabling lots of data to be transferred relatively quickly, is the fact that computers of vastly different architectures and pedigrees can connect, enabling a certain freedom on the engineering side as long as a Neo-Latin emulator is made available. Also, since Neo Latin is a very wide band of information, it can actually be used to stamp visual audio and tactile descriptions for those using true virtual hook ups. Preliminary tests are even showing potential for mood transfer, as well as more esoteric uses.
Communication across the Plexus is somewhat universal, in that any idea-string is converted into its Neo Latin equivalent, which can then be converted to whatever the other users base language is.
Hausen's original intention was for the users to learn Neo Latin directly, though as of 2074, only about 12% can with any degree of success, and this number stands to grow smaller as better translators become available. Right now, it is generally the lanague of the most elite.
The term Plexus Quatrum is often misunderstood. Many have ridiculed Hausen for calling it the "fourth network" when there had actually been 14 iterations of the "internet" (called the Complex at iteration 10). Hausen intended "Net 4" (as it is called in the vulgate) to representative of the fourth basic network of human lives. The first three are family, community and society. His philosophy is that Plexus Quatrum would extend and bind societies truly together.
Which is somewhat true.
Cybernetics are not as advanced as many futurists hoped they would be. It is generally just a sense of pragmatism. First off, the constant advancement in technology means any enhancement will be summarily passed within a year. Combined with the fact that it can take over three or four months to properly heal from such major surgery, it quickly saps the value of getting the augmentation.
Also, another problem inherit in the system is the simple fact that nearly a third of such enhancements are summarily dropped from the human system, and can do irrevocable nervous and muscle damage. Only those looking for a quick run as a Mercenary (called Deathers, now) would do such a thing, seeing as they could receive high levels of pay for about a year or two of service, and then retire and drink it up as they waste their remaining years. For any one else, there is no good call for it.
Thanks to miniaturization, improvement in alloy development, the increased ability of sensors to detect small aspect nerve fluctuation, there was an alternative in what was generally called "dry-ware". This idea was basic armor, even armor set up that could increase grip and aim though a goggle set up and servos. Improved vision enhancement equipment as well as other sensory enhancers was quite popular. There was not a lot that could be done for a relatively cheap price, but what could be done was effective.
The biggest improvement in augmentation came out of hybrid "wet"/"dry" ware, in which a small neuro-split or some bone anchors could be placed into the human, with minimal injury (relatively speaking), but allowing for increased amount of dry ware, and more effective dry ware, to be connected to the base human.
Written by W Doug Bolden
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