Topic: DIVID-30

Spawned from a random shower thought that I had to write down, DIVID-30 is set in a cyberpunk future heavily inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Background

A pandemic in the 22nd century erupts, known as DIVID-30 (l33tspeak for DIVIDED), scarring the infected and sparking germophobia to the point of radical isolationism.  Many cities drove out the infected and asymptomatic and declared themselves Havens.  Decades later, social stratification created three classes:

  • Invuls, privileged citizens born in Havens, free of infectious diseases, living a premium life style

  • A-syms, working class struggling outside Havens to earn a living in an age of automation.

  • Divs, infection-scarred humans ostracized from the rest of humanity into quarantine camps and the underground of old 21st century infrastructure (sewers, subway stations and tunnels, etc.).

The majority of countries have dissolved in favor of a planetary government, the United Earth Alliance.  The UEA seek to extend space colonies beyond the moon and funds mega-corporations to develop the infrastructure and system to carry out the UEA's mission.

Automation is king, universal health, income and education is standard, but the UEA cannot sustain billions of people without a purpose, so an economic system had to be developed to keep people busy instead of "getting busy".  While Invuls live like princes, A-syms are conscripted into the workforce, supporting education, childcare, meal prep and delivery service, hospitality, security, maintenance, santization, etc. with credit incentives to buy premium Haven amenities, even possible admittance into a Haven.  Divs, however, live like the homeless.  Told to be treated as equals by the UEA, Divs, instead, are treated like street dogs in many communities and practically shot on site if they try to step foot into a Haven.

Haven elitism makes A-sym entries difficult at best.  Some Havens put A-syms through lengthy, expensive certification, demonstrating a clean bill of health, strong immune system and not carrying any major contagious diseases.  A-syms born with such statuses are branded Exempt and can freely enter Havens.  This status brought the Exempts praise and jealousy among A-syms.

Story

Our story is set in Merlion, a Haven formerly known as Singapore, in 2176.  The sovereign country of Malaysia was hit hard by the DIVID-30 pandemic decades ago.  The government crumbled and civil unrest threatens UEA spaceport operations in Merlion so the UEA absorbs the region and tasks OSMIC, a corporate conglomerate, to begin redevelopment of the region while a provisional regional government acclimates its citizens into the UEA.  We follow an adolescent girl travelling to Merlion with a visa wristband, allowing her to visit relatives in the Haven.  But before she could enter Merlion, her visaband gets stolen  and she is forced to adapt to life in a Haven bordertown until her wristband issue is resolved.  We see high-tech-low-life, police brutality and corruption, corporation governments, human augmentations, virtual reality, AI, etc. through this character and the characters she encounters.  Following cyberpunk tropes, there'll be discoveries like Invuls having weaker immune systems due to generations of hypochondriacs living in Havents, corporation cost-cutting and scandals, stolen military technology, knowledge that can threatened the status quo, etc.

Themes/Commentary/Inspiration

This series or anthology idea is a rehash of a dystopian superhero idea I had ages ago, which in turn was inspired by the old Super community project idea, which was inspired by Heroes (NBC).  Point is, the original premise was Havens were established to keep out unregistered enhanced humans.  Anyone with superpowers had to be registered and issued a visa to enter Havens.

When talks of COVID-19 immunity papers came up, the connective tissues started to form and I redeveloped this superhero idea into a cyberpunk idea.

The Exempt branding would be like a badge of honor...or a badge of shame like the yellow badges during Nazi Germany.  In other words, it paints a target on their backs.

On a map, Havens look like outbreak points across the globe, except they're not outbreaks, obviously.

A-syms have to work jobs to earn a living and keep the UEA economy going, much like how essential workers during the pandemic must work to keep the food supply going.  There's also gig workers struggling with lack of unemployment support.  This is very US-centric, by the way.

Antibody black markets and gene splicing exist as people find ways to supercharge their immune system or at least demonstrate they have a strong immune system to gain access to Haven Amenites, much like how people will likely donate their antibodies and others want to buy antibodies to be able to go outside.

If you want to read more about this idea and/or want to contribute to the story development, message me your gmail and I'll give you access to the story treatment doc file.

https://i.imgur.com/4b9NnS3.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/GUIl0qk.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/ox64uld.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/v3iyhE5.png

Re: DIVID-30

I thought of The story of Scout in the shower! I like it! mini/bigsmile

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Re: DIVID-30

Wow, this is a very fleshed out idea! Good work, seems very interesting.

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Re: DIVID-30

2x4 studios wrote:

I thought of The story of Scout in the shower! I like it! mini/bigsmile

Writer's block? Take a shower mini/wink

rioforce wrote:

Wow, this is a very fleshed out idea! Good work, seems very interesting.

Thanks.  I read or watched a YouTube video somewhere about worldbuilding to tell a story or tell a story to worldbuild.  Had a lot of time available to world build recently.

Haven't incorporated much of the face mask and social distancing aspects yet.  DIVID-30 isn't a contagious respiratory disease but a dermal one.  In the long run, might not be essential to the story.

Also the social stratification is a reference to India's old caste system where moving up out of a caste you're born in was almost impossible.

https://i.imgur.com/4b9NnS3.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/GUIl0qk.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/ox64uld.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/v3iyhE5.png

Re: DIVID-30

Well done!

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Re: DIVID-30

Sounds really cool! Showers are awesome.

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Re: DIVID-30

Talks of immunity passports being a bad idea, which makes it a great story element.

Started catching up on Westworld Season 3 and the RICO app is giving me more ideas for the merit/credit system.

https://i.imgur.com/4b9NnS3.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/GUIl0qk.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/ox64uld.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/v3iyhE5.png

Re: DIVID-30

Note: some of the following existed in some form of development prior to recent worldly events but were nonetheless refined and developed further based on those events.

CREDITBAND

A-syms are issued creditbands at age 13 or whatever age is deemed working age.  Creditbands record two things: a credit balance and a multiplier.

The credit balance is how much credit the A-sym currently has.  They spend it on products and services beyond universal healthcare, food, housing, education, etc.  Think getting fresh cooked meals vs government vending machines.  Think taking a Skillshare class while schools make you solve for x.  Think paying for more data beyond the basic 10 GB/month cap.

They earn more credit by working.  The UEA try to encourage more working and spending by encouraging businesses to offer pricey yet attainable products and services and making up jobs, such as gig work.

The multiplier is a rating, adjusted by law enforcers, employers, and community leaders.  Businesses use the multiplier to exclude low ranking individuals.  Housing authorities can give high ranking A-syms better housing compared to low ranking A-syms.  A-syms use the multiplier to multiply their payment during a transaction.  2x A-sym pays with $5 for a $10 cup of coffee .  A 1x A-sym has to pay the full price.  A 0.5x A-sym has to pay $20.  The merchant gets the total $10 for each transaction, regardless of the customer's multiplier.

Compliant citizens can earn their 4x multiplier and afford to apply for Haven entry.  Deviant citizens will find themselves struggling with 0.5x or 0.1x multipliers to afford any premium goods and services, even with a weekly 1,000 credit income. Think credit scores, think Black Mirror "Nosedive" episode.

Creditbands also act as identifications for workforce-age A-syms.  An A-sym without a creditband can be forced to return home or be subjected to imprisonment or be mistaken for a Div by Caritas and law enforcement.  It's kind of like mandatory facemask.

0x Multiplier

In times of civil unrest, protest, curfew breaking, unlawfulness, etc. law enforcers set up Zero Pylons around the city.  Zero Pylons transmit 0 ratings to any creditbands within range.  Depending on the range and interval, the multipliers of any A-sym in the area can start averaging down rapidly.  Protesters can be financially devastated.  Being out too long after curfew can result in being unable to afford breakfast the next day.  Entering restricted areas can cost you access to a 4x restaurant or store.

"DON'T GET 0'd" warning signs and symbolism can be seen on LED displays at night.

CARITAS

Merlion-owned UEA military police.  Tasked to keep the infected out of Merlion, they also have the responsibility of enforcing Merlion and UEA laws and suppressing DIVID outbreaks, which grants them some judiciary authority, which, obviously, leads to abuse of power.

Prior to the story, in the time of the DIVID-30 pandemic, in the Malay Peninsula, a task force of skilled medics dubbed Caritas operated from Merlion to support the UEA's quarantine and treatment of the infected.  At some point, neurological deterioration from DIVID infections made handling the infected more dangerous so Caritas started arming themselves or were escorted by armed guards.  More and more resources would eventually be put into training, arming and armoring Caritas to the point that treating and quarantining was no longer their main responsibility.  When the DIVID pandemic finally overwhelmed the peninsula, Caritas became made up of mostly trained soldiers or anyone good with a gun.  Medical training was no longer required of the Caritas.  Their responsibility now was protecting Merlion's borders, riot control, and cordoning DIVID hotspots.  Sometimes this meant putting down the extremely infected.  A Carita task force of medics would do it humanely.  A Carita task force of armed soldiers without compassion used whatever they brought on site (flamethrowers, chemical weapons, guns, etc.).

In the time of the story, Caritas focused on enforcing outbreak rules.  During outbreak periods, they zero citizens who don't put on protective equipment in public places and transportation.  They aggressively relocate Divs down below the sunny levels of border towns.  Systemic discrimination and judiciary authority over Divs has resulted in numerous unwarranted execution of Divs who didn't have neurological deterioration.  A Carita uses any reason to justify executing a Div.  They'll occasionally detain lawbreakers to remind citizens of their extensive authority.

When a few too many minor-scarred "normal-looking" Divs were executed without just cause, protests, rallies and civil unrest began as citizens demand the removal of Caritas and the judiciary powers over Divs from Merlion's law enforcement branch.  We see Zero Pylons flashing warning signs as armed Caritas and local law enforcement stand guard outside border town government facilities and protesters shout just out of range of the Pylons.

https://i.imgur.com/4b9NnS3.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/GUIl0qk.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/ox64uld.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/v3iyhE5.png

Re: DIVID-30

I've turned this idea into a classroom RPG storytelling activity.

Campaign #1 (still ongoing) can be found here.

https://i.imgur.com/4b9NnS3.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/GUIl0qk.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/ox64uld.pnghttps://i.imgur.com/v3iyhE5.png