|description:||After a century and a half of unchecked industrialization and horrific, world-spanning machine wars, the Earth is reeling and heaving for a breath of fresh air. With the first water wars on the horizon, the United Nations calls representatives from the major economic alliances together at their seat in Geneva. A plan is laid, with a single dissenting voice; that of the North American Trade Union.|
Now, a generation later, the world is changed.
Coal is buried and forgotten, what remains of petroleum is relegated to the production of plastics, deserts have been repurposed as country-sized solar panel fields. New and daring designs of nuclear power plants burn every last drop of energy from what was once thought of as unuseable waste. Happiness is on the rise. Economic inequality has fallen to historically low levels, and keeps dropping. Everywhere, that is, except for the COS.
Only in the glass and concrete towers rising high over Arnold Island have they seen through the lies, and the veil. Only in the COS is a man truly free. Free to live, free to earn, free to pursue true wealth and happiness.
And, you discover as you arrive, free to starve to death in a gutter.
You've heard voices and chatter on the bus. Some have arrived to seek fortune, to claw their way to the top; to an apartment and an office and all the luxuries that come with it, Downtown. Others have come, believing that WARD and the COS need a reckoning, to be brought into step with the rest of the world, and with designs to make this happen. Others yet have come in search of lost or missing family, friends, loved ones, hoping to find them, fearing that they'll only find their remains, or rumors.
As you listen to the loud roar of the buses departing far above, you consider your own path.