The Earth In 2081
The Earth that is presented here is presented from a Western viewpoint.
That's not to say that every one in the world woke up one morning and decided
that they were all from Iowa or something, but rather that I'm a Westerner
and I'm writing the damned thing. Besides, most of the people who will
be reading this are Westerners also, so, if you don't think that that's
politically correct, go somewhere else.
>From the sprawling cities of the American coasts, to the smallest villages
in the heart of Africa, the overall quality of life has increased. No longer
is it necessary for a couple to have 15 children in order to have one or
two survive to adulthood. Most childhood diseases have been nearly
wiped out across the globe. Doctors in remote villages have instant access
to medical databases, and can consult with colleagues anywhere in the world,
if necessary. They can have medicines delivered to their location within
48 hours or less. The average life expectancy is 85-90 years.
Most people have access to educational opportunities. It is possible
to get a college education via the Internet and never physically enter
a class room. With most of the major nations in the world showing their
presence in space, the chance of conflict on Earth is very small.
At least that's the story you get from the media.
The fact of the matter is that in most nations, children are implanted
with a contraceptive device by the time they reach puberty, and if a couple
wants to have children, they have to apply to the government in order to
have the contraceptive nullified. In the larger urban areas, this is looked
upon as a necessary evil, but in the more rural and productive areas, it
is looked upon as another infringement on human rights.
Most children are immunized against all of the common childhood diseases,
unless they happen to be in the third world, the slums, ghettos or they
aren't in the computers. Of course, medicine is easy to get, if you have
money or power.
Conflict can occur anywhere. Guerrilla actions are going on throughout
South America, Africa, Eastern Europe, Spain, Asia, and even in the former
United States. Most of the warfare is between regular troops and guerrilla
factions, but some of the more extreme factions on either side have resorted
to attacking civilians, either to get a message across or to blame it on
the other side. Terrorism comes in many guises - immediate action teams,
special diplomatic services or even the old "People's Front For the cause
of the week. Very little of it is done by fanatics and idealists any more.
It is far more likely that the power behind the group will be a government
or a corporation, and the group it's self will be for hire.
On any given day more than 1.2 million phone calls are tapped by various
governments. It is estimated that illegal eavesdropping by corporations
and other private bodies may be as high as ten times that much. Other types
of surveillance are in evidence, too. In most large cities, there are cameras
on the streets, and automated drones hovering overhead, just waiting to
catch you on State Camera.
In most countries, a person's genetic code is on file somewhere, whether
on the national, state, or local level. There are even a few countries
that do an automated psychological screening of their citizens before they
are allowed to get an ID card. If the screening shows that you may have
the potential to commit a violent crime, you can be detained by the authorities
as a threat to public safety, and re-educated.
Orbital stations abound in both planetary orbit and at LaGrange points
throughout the solar system. They run the gamut from research stations
to zero-gee factories to international gateways to military stations. Ownership
runs the gamut from international to private. The asteroid belt and inner
planets teem with corporate and independent miners and processing plants.
There are, of course, ships who's only business is to shuttle between the
belt and Earth, bringing supplies and passengers to and from the belt.
Last year, in 2080, the Gateway station was destroyed in a shuttle accident,
killing 42 people. A prototype shuttle owned by the U.S. lost control
due to a computer malfunction and impacted the hub and crushed part of
the habitation ring. The shuttle pilot was rescued before the shuttle
entered the atmosphere. The co-pilot did not survive the initial
impact. Nearby ships responded to the emergency, keeping the loss
of life to a minimum.
The international scene is quite different than it is today. The most glaring
example is the shape of the North American Continent. The following is
a list of the countries that make up what used to be the U.S. and Canada.
California Confederacy: The California
Confederacy consists of the former states of Arizona, Nevada, California
south of Sacramento, and Baja. Technically, they are a democracy,
but there is a strong tendency towards centralization.
Independent States of America: Encompassing
the Pacific Northwest, along with the western Canadian states and Alaska,
the ISA is a huge, resource rich area with relatively few people in it.
Roughly 3/4 of the households in the ISA have at least one privately owned
weapon, in addition to any military weapons issued to the military reserve.
Of course, it is quite common that both terrorists and criminals end up
staring down the muzzle of a concerned citizen's gun. Needless to say,
violent crime isn't much of a problem in the ISA. The armed forces are
modeled after the Swiss armed forces, with every able-bodied citizen serving
at least 4 years of military service after their 18th birthday and remaining
on reserve until age 70. Also like the Swiss, reservists are required to
keep their basic load and their issued weapon in their home. At first,
the political scene was very libertarian in nature, and an Athenian style
democracy was started. Now, nearly 70 years later, it has eroded into a
representative democracy that has broad emergeny powers due to the current
tensions with the California Confederacy and the United States.
Transportation: Highway network, autonav city streets, maglev train
network. LAX is a major space port.
Major Imports: Construction metals, fresh water
Major Exports: Fruits, vegetables, electronics
Currency: Bruin (Br)
Republic of Texas: During the breakup
of the USA in 2012-2014, Texas used the exit clause in the 1836 treaty
with the US to become an independent nation. The California/Texas
border (that's the California Confederacy, not the state.) is heavily guarded
and controlled. It is almost impossible to cross this border without
some Texan going through all of your luggage.
Transportation: Interstate Trucking Highway, Maglev and rail way
trains, several major sea ports, SEATAC International Space Port
Major Imports: Manufactured goods, high tech items
Major Exports: Agricultural goods, raw materials
Currency: Dollar ($ IS)
Southern Alliance: The southeastern
section of the former US is a nation on the verge of collapse. There are
so many factions at war with each other, that it is doubtful that anyone
knows who is in charge. There are rumors that the US is backing one of
the more powerful factions with the expectation that they will soon ask
for help from the US. Texas is also blatantly courting factions in
the western end.
Transportation: Interstate Highway, rail system, seaport at Corpus
Christie, airports and minor space ports.
Major Imports: Fresh water, some agricultural goods, some manufactured
Major Exports: Agricultural goods, oil, armaments
Currency: Dollar ($ Tex.)
United States of America: Fragmented
during the Breakdown of 2012-2014, America still remains a powerful nation,
as well as a major economic force. The America of 2081 has become an oligarchy
that still pays lip service to the democratic ideals that it was founded
on. There isn't a point in time where someone could look back and see where
what was left of the country ceased to be a democracy. The media tells
the populace what the government wants them to hear, and it's coverage
shows the government in the best light possible. It is quite common to
see police in full riot gear in the streets of major cities along with
specialized riot control vehicles. Demonstrations and riots are common
and are brutally put down with beatings, water cannon and even gunfire.
All cities have some sort of automated surveillence equipment installed.
It doesn't matter which party you vote for, since they are different sides
of the same coin. The capital is Philadelphia, PA since the destruction
of Washington during the Subsistance Riots of 2012.
Transportation: Old US interstate system, old US rail system, various
Major Imports: Manufactured goods, power, raw materials
Major Exports: Agricultural goods
Population: Between 25 million and 40 million, estimated
Transportation: Interstate system, Maglev railroad, several International
Airports, Dulles International Spaceport.
Major Imports: Agricultural goods, Oil, raw materials
Major Exports: Manufactured goods, weapons
Currency: Dollar (US $)
By 2081, humans have finally done more than just look around. Many nations
have set up mining and manufacturing stations in orbits around the various
planets. Below are a few of the more famous ones.
Luna Prime: The first colony, Prime
is located near the Sea of Tranquility. It is made up of 20 surface domes
and several miles of tunnels under the surface. It's major industry is
the baking of oxygen and hydrogen out of the lunar rock in order to make
water, air and fuel for spacecraft. Once the fuel is extracted, the rock
is sent on to extract aluminum, silicon and titanium for the various construction
Transportation: Tubeway, shuttle
Major Imports: Processed foodstuffs, luxury goods
Major Exports: Zero- and low-G manufactured goods
Currency: International Credit
HOUSTON, TRANQUILITY BASE HERE. THE
EAGLE HAS LANDED.
Tranquility Base International Peace Park:
Here you can view the original landing module from Apollo 11, Neil Armstrong's
footprints and the famous plaque. There is also an indoor mockup of the
landing, complete with a VR experience.
Here Men From Planet Earth First Set
Foot Upon the Moon. July 1969 AD. We Came In Peace, For All Mankind.
Titan : The Titan colony
serves as a rest stop on the way to the outer system. Many types of hydrocarbon
compounds are extracted from the surface and the atmosphere of Titan.
Ceres Station: A gathering place for
belters who want to trade, meet and party. There are a few decent restaurants
and bars here, as well as a few shops.
Transportation: Surface rovers
Major Imports: Processed foodstuffs, luxury items
Major Exports: Plastics, fuels, light metals
Currency: International Credit
Mars: There is an actual attempt to
terraform the Red Planet in progress. Eventually, Mars is supposed to have
a breathable atmosphere as well as a fair amount of water. The climate
should be dry, but Earth-like. There are several large ice chunks being
pushed from the Oort cloud on a collision course with Mars. When impact
is imminent, the colony will be evacuated and instruments will be set up
to monitor what could possibly be Mankind's most ambitious undertaking.
Major Imports: Luxury Items, Food, Fuel,
Major Exports: None
Population: 200 permanent, More, passing through
Major Imports: Everything except water and basic food supply
Major Exports: Knowledge
Economies vary from nation to nation, but some things remain the same.
Smart Cards: Imagine a credit card: a plastic rectangle with
embossed numbers on it and your name at the bottom. Now add a hologram
of the owner, as well as thumb and retina prints, add enough computing
power to equal a palmtop computer and give it access to all of your bank
accounts. The smart card is the preferred way of doing business in the
world. With it, you can make deposits, move your accounts arround, get
a loan, keep memos, access the news and computer networks, and of course,
spend, spend, spend! It also gives the ability to track your purchases
to anybody who wants to, and knows how to go about it. Of course, there
are thousands of people who want to: Banks, police departments, credit
companies, manufacturers, governments, advertising agencies, charities
and even friends. Just imagine: The whole world is at your door, with its
Bearer Debit Cards: These are a disposable version of the smart
card. It is accepted at most of the same places where smart cards are,
but when the card is out of money, you throw it away. Of course, for the
security minded, it holds the advantage of anonymity. It's virtually untraceable.
There is a price, however. If the card is lost or stolen, it can be used
by anybody. No passwords, holograms or thumbprints. Just pick it up and
Cash: The ultimate in anonymous payment options. Cash is accepted
at about 60 percent of the stores in existence on Earth. There are quite
a few that don't accept cash and that number is growing. It is something
of a rarity to see someone pay for any purchase in cash. It would be a
similar to someone paying with $100 bills now. Not terribly out of the
ordinary, but it's the kind of thing you tend to remember. In most countries,
purchases in cash of over $50 or the equivalent are supposed to be reported
by the store.
To learn more about this science fiction world background, e-mail
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