Earth, 2102 AD. Life is cheap.

The world is dying. Decades of industrial production have decimated the forests, poisoned the oceans, polluted the air: radioactive waste, chemical spills, artificial viruses, genetic plagues, global epidemics; corporate, domestic, and foreign warfare, have all caused a drastic decline in the human population, and brought the world of mankind to its knees; the earth is burned and blasted, much of the surface now inhospitable wasteland and desert: the world's wildlife is all but extinct, and most of its vegetation destroyed or contaminated. Cities have become rubble, or given way to nests of corruption and crime: all human beings are changed - eroded by moral bankruptcy and by engineering - both genetic and cybernetic; artificial lifeforms and alien intelligences have seized control of vast power bases, and for those without access to money or power, the squalor is all-pervasive.

Life is cheap.

Gleaming towers of glass and steel punch skywards from architecturally perfect plazas. Medicine is close to perfection, with domestic and acquired technologies having advanced the sciences so far that most forms of disease are in defeat: even death can be held at bay - at a price, either thru a full rebuild or just a short wait in a cryo-tube while your cure is evolving. Technology can achieve almost anything - cybernetics are commonplace; intelligent computers, synthetic humanoids, cyborgs, smart weapons; powered armour, remote-pilot vehicles, flight-abled personal transports. Space travel has become as ordinary as taking the hi-bus to the mall, and humankind has expanded its reach into the solar system to establish pioneer colonies off-world.

Leisure-time has vastly increased as more and more of life's menial duties are assigned to non-humans and computers; and biological technologies allow the synthesis of practically any foodstuff requirements. Accommodation is plentiful, consumerism is ever-increasing, and the entertainment industry can cater to any need - sensual, virtual, or otherwise.

Life is cheap.

Life is cheap: organ-runners trade in life, and its constituent parts - limbs, organs, implants, nothing sacred - and what they take for nothing and exchange for hundreds of dollars, can reap thousands for the marketeers dealing to unethical medics. Streetcrawlers have been known to finance their lives, wives, houses, or habits, through sales of their own less essential bodyparts: if it's in working order, it's worth money to someone; or, of course, there are other kinds of bodily needs that people will pay for, seems like the cheaper the better....

Welcome to the new millenium. Watch where you tread.


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