THE HIGH LIFE: CORPORATE ENCLAVES
The corporate enclaves are shining bastions of civilization, and the driving force that will save this fallen world!
Well, that’s what their propaganda says. The reality is a little uglier. Still, on the whole, the folks living in corporate enclaves have a chance of dying of old age, which is more than most people on the outside get.
Corporate enclaves are typically built around cities that didn’t get much attention back during the big one. Nukes missed them, or failed to go off, and bioweapons were vaccinated against or never reached town in the first place. The corporations usually either put up a dome or a series of high walls to keep refugees and health hazards out, and keep their interests safe.
Most corporate enclaves are ruled by a single corporation… There were a few shared ones to begin with, but most of those saw power struggles between the corps beginning the minute the walls went up. In some cases the conflict ended with a merger, or a corporation moving out and finding another enclave that would take them in. In other cases, the halls ran red with blood.
Corporate enclaves are typically cramped, and filled with artificial materials, and recirculated air. The water’s been treated to an inch of its life, and probably has some additives in it to keep the citizens placid. Space is lacking in most enclaves… The buildings in it have grown skywards as much as they can, but living space is at a premium. Only the most wealthy can afford what we consider an average house today. The poorest don’t even have homes… They make do with coffin hotels that provide sleeping space with barely enough room to turn over.
Food is always an issue, in the enclaves. 90% of the population eats soy or algae-based food, and supplements it with synthetic vitamins. The corporations have learned many ways to dress soy up nicely, but you can always tell it by its aftertaste.
Everyone works, in an enclave. The ones that don’t are ejected. If you’re not contributing to the success of the corporation, then they don’t need you, and that’s a little more space they can rent to more-productive inhabitants. You get some grace if you’re a kid, but you’re expected to take on a part-time job as soon as you turn twelve… Your parents get some pretty nasty tax burdens if you don’t.
Growing up in an enclave also means being bombarded by propaganda, from your earliest age. Other corporations are painted as inferior, while the corporation that owns the enclave is touted as beyond reproach. Corporations that end up as rivals or enemies demonize each other to their populace, sometimes a little too well.
It’s still possible to buy goods from other corporations, thanks to a network of free trade agreements set in place to prevent a second series of corpwars, but these goods are usually taxed heavily. And those who make a habit of purchasing a rival corporation’s goods on a regular basis may find themselves shunned by their neighbors. In some of the more fascist enclaves, they can be slated for patriotic re-indoctrination, or even disappear in the middle of the night.
All that aside, living in a corporate enclave guarantees you a roof over your head, food, medical care, potable water, and some form of law enforcement on a regular basis. A lot of people are fine with that.
The technology level in the enclaves is roughly equivalent to 2050. Nanotech is a known science, and is in use in limited quantities. Fusion generators power most enclaves, and food is grown with advanced hydroponics. Most vehicles inside the enclaves are used for mass transit, and powered from the electric grid. Cloning is possible within enclaves. Most enclaves avoid human cloning due to space limitations, but a few secretly use it to get spare parts for medical purposes, or to supplement their foodstuffs. Animal cloning is fine, and undertaken on a regular basis when the appropriate facilities and materials are available.
Needless to say, travel outside of the enclave is restricted. The outside is seen as a hellish waste, with bandits, cannibals, wild animals, and toxins around every corner. The corporations don’t like too many unauthorized people moving back and forth, either. That leads to smuggling, infiltration by their enemies, and worst of all the chance that their population might become dissatisfied with the enclave life.
Since magic’s return, and the rise of metahumans, a lot of enclaves suffer from racism. In some places, metahuman fetuses are aborted before they can come to term, or confiscated by the corporation at birth, and traded outside the enclave. These disgusting practices are starting to fade in recent years, however… It’s turned out to be really bad PR, and as the population of metahumans in the Wasteland and other enclaves rises, it eats into the profits of the worst offenders.
In other places, the population shuns metahumans, or the corporation puts unreasonable taxes on them, or relegates them to the more distasteful jobs. Even the ones that prove their worth soon find a glass ceiling above them. This form of racism is probably the most troublesome at the minute… It’s hard to fight, and the propaganda and attitudes of a media-savvy corporation can fool even the oppressed metahumans into thinking that they brought it on themselves.
Fortunately, there’s hope. Some of the more progressive corporations are starting to pick up the stick on metahuman equality, and while there are still hatecrimes in their enclaves, a metahuman in one of the more tolerant cities can expect roughly equal treatment as a human. Don’t think the progressive corps are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts, though… The bottom line of every corporation is its profit margin.
Magic’s another point of contention… In the aftermath of the Dragon wars, the general feeling about magic in most enclaves is fear. Magic and magicians are declared illegal in some enclaves, and strictly monitored and regulated in most others. Adepts get a little more slack due to the fact that their powers aren’t always obvious, but the ones who show off or get caught can expect to have an interesting life ahead of them.
The exception in most enclaves as far as metahumans and magic goes is in the armed forces. Since they’re out of the public’s eye 90% of the time, and have a high turnover rate, outcasts from the enclaves can make a life there, serving their corporation until the end.
Not all’s peaceful in the enclaves… Recently, a lot of them have been experiencing sabotage and unrest. The more totalitarian ones are feeling the sting, as various resistance groups object to corporate dominance, and seek a revolution. Of course, no one’s entirely in the right, here… Many resistance groups cross the line and engage in terrorist activities, and the corporations sometimes sacrifice bystanders to get rid of troublesome resistance groups. No one here is innocent…