S is for: Stardom

From the public vidstreams to the avatar blackrooms on the darkmesh, fame and infamy abound.

 

Becoming the latest vidstream spokesmodel gives a fleeting pass at fame, having any kind of reputation or ability to maintain a public persona is what keeps it.

Corporations have been happy to turn to those with reputation from criminal activities, and whole street gangs have ended up promoting the latest energy drink or fast food brand.

 

The infamy of the datamesh can be just as fickle and fleeting, but the biggest superstar deckjockeys and data warriors still pull an audience.

Whilst once people thrilled to the concept of eSports, joining blackroom meshcasts showing live system probing and hacking is what helps greener deckers to get their start if they can avoid the authorities long enough to log in.

R is for: Representatives, the Secretariat, and the Board of Executive Trustees

Elections to the Committee of Representatives are held every two years. They form the largest part of the legislative branch of the Bureaucracy.

Representatives are elected based on population sizes – one might work on behalf of a small island out on the fringes of the IICP, whilst another might represent a small neighbourhood in New Pacific City.

Whilst their campaigns for election may focus on local concerns, upon election to the Committee they are able to amplify their ambitions. A start working to fight substance abuse on a small island, and the promise to secure government funding in that regard, often leads to work with the Department of Health to tackle the wider issues and funding levels. Starting out as a union rep often leads to joining voting blocs of similar interests in the Committee, and securing better standards not only for their union members but for the rest of the general populace.

Representatives can have ties to and work on behalf of communities, unions, corporations, organised crime, gangs, quangos and nomad families.

There is no term limit.

 

Elections to the Secretariat are held every two years, but terms last for four – only half face the ballot at a time. Whilst forming a smaller part of the legislature, they sit on management boards for the various Departments of the Bureaucracy, playing an active role in the steering of important decisions and public policy.

Secretaries are elected based on population centres. One might cover a couple of smaller islands or one larger island. There are several secretaries representing New Pacific City, and one for UPtown.

Generally, secretaries have served a term or two in the Committee of Representatives, and it’s not unknown for them to return there after serving in the Secretariat.

Secretaries serve a maximum of three terms.

 

The Board of Executive Trustees, normally referred to as ‘the Board’, is the executive branch of the Bureaucracy.

Elections for the Board are held every eight years. Nominees to the positions are proposed by members of the Secretariat and the Committee of Representatives, though the nominees do not have to be members of either.

The trustees are each elected to their role in the management boards of each Department in the Bureaucracy. They may introduce new policies but do not vote on their implementation unless a deciding vote in needed. They more normally manage the day to day affairs of each Department, ensuring it

They more normally manage the day to day affairs of each Department, ensuring each runs smoothly and important decisions of policy are implemented as swiftly as possible.

Board members serve a maximum of one term per trustee position, though no one has been elected to multiple seats to date.

Q is for: Quangos

Most quangos were originally set up to move relationships with various Megacorps a step away from the government itself after protests about corruption. They also helped by taking money of the budget.

However, many quangos now have a bigger role in the lives of some citizens than the government itself.

 

The Office of Public Works and the Committee for Environmental Affairs are the biggest and most well known quasi-autonomous bodies in the Pacific, responsible as they are for continuing the work of the IICP Department of Culture and Department of the Environment, from which they were formed.

Now better able to work on an international level outside of government, they partner with corporations and indeed other governments around the world to enable their founding mission statements.

 

Other notable quangos in the IICP include the Committee on Allied Infrastructure, the Fisheries Board, the Agency for Veterans’ Welfare, the Languages Institute of the Pacific, and the Research Commission for Artificial Intelligence.

P is for: Pills, stims and other illicit materials

Whilst many materials once considered illegal drugs are available for sale and regulated y the government, there’s still a thriving black market for narcotics and other unsavoury substances.

 

Stims are a perfectly legal substance, however their use is strictly regulated to prevent substance addiction. Because of this, pushers carry some at all times, knowing that there’s always a steady market for those who have reached their legal limit but need more.

In the same way as stim users, pill poppers have access to their crutch of choice legally but can score more on the black market.

 

WideAwake is an illegal variant of the normal commercial stim, created by dealers themselves. A distillate of the active ingredient in stims is cut with pure caffeine and epinephrine, and repackaged in a standard stim injector.

Budding techno-shaman across the globe have begun to produce a pill nicknamed Spirit Guide. A cocktail of salvia, DMT, MDMA, psilocybin, and melatonin, the pill is supposed to let the user experience new planes of reality.

 

Cybernetic augmentation doesn’t exclude a user from the substance abuse.

A digital version of stims in software format hack into a user’s cybernetic neural stack and temporarily overclock its performance.

A computer virus called Deathstrike has been repurposed as a digital drug, causing a drunken, stupefied state to users for a short time. Some users have begun to tinker with the virus code to lengthen the effect, but mistakes have caused lasting effects.

O is for: the Office of Public Works

One of the largest Quangos in the Pacific, the Office of Public Works raises funding and provides grants for artistic works and installations throughout the Islands.

The OPW also works with corporations to source new artistic and architectural talent for new construction, and has been responsible for the start of many careers of young artists, now superstars.

 

Originally a part of the Bureaucracy, the Office was once the Department of Culture. Freedom from the strictures of the government, whilst meaning a loss of definite access to funding, allowed the Office to work much more expansively – many artists were reluctant to work with the government for fear of interference in their work, as was happening in other countries of the world at the time.

 

The biggest efforts of the OPW to date have to be their work to secure the Olympic Games for the IICP. Whilst plenty of time remains until the Games begin, the OPW has already begun funding works of art to be installed across New Pacific City, and is currently working with the Bureaucracy to choose designs for the various stadiums still to be built.

N is for: Nomads

The Nomads travel the open waters of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, and many make their home in the waters of the IICP.

 

Sailors, fishers, traders, the Nomads are all of these. They follow the currents to catch fish, they seed and farm banks of seaweed, they carry information and new hardware from port to port.

 

The wealthier families of the Nomads are also responsible for running the Floating Market, perhaps the biggest temporary marketplace in the world. It could occupy the port of a small island for a day, or sit out on the edge of international waters for a week, but to get in you have to have an official invitation from one of the Nomad matriarchs.

M is for: Muses

Muses. Ghosts. Cybersouls.

Muses are extremely advanced AI programs, bonded to an individual. In theory, they become an unconscious extension of the individual, a filter for the overwhelming amount of digital information accessed by an individual.

 

With enough use, the intelligent algorithms can extend beyond consciousness, allowing a person to never fully sleep, as their muse maintains their digital presence whilst they rest.

With an always-on muse able to continue the interests of the individual whilst they would be otherwise engaged, billionaire stockbrokers continue to get rich, engineers can maintain a watch on their nanofactories, and soldiers can maintain a greater awareness of their surroundings.

 

Generally, muses adopt a similar personality to their user, acting only as an extension, however in some cases they form antithetical behaviours.

Several punishments for criminals involve the deletion of their private muse, and the installation of either a fresh software iteration or one preconfigured to act as a counsellor and later as a parole officer.