Please note - Afterlife is not currently in active development, these pages are here for reference only.
The Struggle for Unity
In the late 21st century, life on Earth had become unbearable. Environmental problems that had gone unchecked for over a century manifested as global catastrophes. Overpopulation and mismanagement led to a rapid depletion of basic resources and nations tore at one another, fighting for oil, territory, and food. The RAD Wars devastated the planet. Chaos reigned. Across the world, people suffered, starved, and died.
Behind closed doors, the largest multinational corporations in the world met with political leaders not just to restore order, but to save human civilisation. The first international cooperative measures led to the development of hyper-mechanised bio-agriculture and research into alternative energy sources. Blueprints were laid out for the first hyper-cities, which would not only house the burgeoning population, but provide workers for the industries needed to bring about global change. The line between corporate entity and sovereign power became blurred. The ascendant multinationals lobbied for increased freedom for the world’s citizens that would allow the unchecked recruitment of workforces anywhere in the world. The idea of the Pan-Continental Union was mooted: one world, one nation.
Still, the world was deeply fractured, and the shadow of war once again hung over humanity. It was not long before hostilities broke out among remaining sovereign states and for the first time the cyclopean ‘mega-corps' became involved in the fighting. Tens of millions of migrants fled the conflicts, sparking civil unrest across the globe. Private armies were hired to protect resources and entire regions under corporate control. Increasing demand for military tech saw the rise of munitions manufacturers that supplied whoever could afford their arms – Union peacekeepers, mega-corps, consortiums, or even private citizens; it mattered not as long as the price could be met.
The conflict expanded until it seemed that the entire globe would burn. Power blocs, ruled by multinationals or petty governors, became embroiled in conflict in the name of the Union. But as their business interests conflicted with their social responsibility, they began to turn on each other, in boardrooms and on the field of battle. Smaller corporations grew by eliminating their rivals in open warfare. Constitutional monarchies attempted to re-establish old borders. As the death toll rose, humanity teetered on the brink of destruction.
The First Unity Wars - 2.BU to 3.AU
In the darkest hour, one man strove to bring light. Armand Tennyson, the head of the Krono-Tech mega-corp, managed to bring company chiefs, fractious warlords and political heavyweights to the negotiating table. A director of relentless ambition and ruthlessness, he could see the destruction of society approaching, and with it the end of his wealth and power. By his will, the other parties fell into line. The mega-corps signed an endless series of restrictive covenants in lieu of trust, before turning their attention to restoring order. Tennyson and his followers pooled their resources to form a new global alliance so powerful that none would dare challenge them. A new coalition was formed: the Unity Congress. An embittered populace raised their voices as one in support of the new organisation, which promised to end war and suffering once and for all.
In a military campaign lasting less than three years, the Unity Congress eradicated warring factions, and aggressive national governments. Troublesome corporations were liquidated or bought out and forced to adhere to the new laws. Military hardware was seized and further development of weapons technology prohibited. National borders were erased, and the old Union dream of a single global nation became a reality at last.
Implementing a new calendar system, the signing of the Articles of Unity marked the first day of Anno Unita (AU) – ‘the first day of the future’. From the members of Congress, an elite ruling council was democratically elected, representative of every industry and faction on earth. Tennyson became First Councillor, and set about rebuilding a fractured world.
The new Unity Council built a society upon a foundation of high principles; liberty, fairness, and free trade. The Council assumed control of the global economy, world resources and infrastructure. The first hyper-cities were completed, each providing homes for over 100 million souls in hab-blocks that touched the clouds, birthing a generation that never walked beneath an open sky. The populace was educated under a new system that promoted the greatest philosophers of the ancient world. A universal currency was adopted, using virtual cred-chips to store Unity Credits, whilst Unilingua became the new global language. Most remaining independent mega-corps and nation-states gradually fell in line and signed up to the utopian vision offered by the all-powerful Unity Council. As the reach of the Council lengthened, responsibility had to be delegated to trusted agencies. Governance Corporations were tasked with fulfilling the council’s mandate and regional authority was franchised, with overall control held by the Unity Council.
The Terra Nulia Schism - 14.AU
Despite the undeniable benefits, there were still those who refused to accept the Articles of Unity. Fledgling consumer states, rogue corporations and crumbling monarchies of the old order held out against the inevitable guidance of the Congress. Their petty disputes and outmoded national pride led to continuing conflict, a constant thorn in the side of progress.
Eventually, the Unity Council took drastic action. Those regions and corporations who refused to sign the Articles of Unity were cut off from the rest of humanity, erased from maps and labelled ‘Terra Nulius’, or 'the Null Zones'. Perimeter defences were erected, spanning tens of thousands of miles on every continent, and Council-funded kill-drones patrolled the borders ceaselessly, trapping rebels and outcasts in a timewarp of their own making.
Those who would not recognise the Council's authority would not benefit from its economic and industrial might, nor participate in its vision for a new society.
The Council determined a policy of total containment, preventing any trade or communication with the inhabitants of the Null Zones and publically denying the existence of any remaining population. The vast majority of current Unity citizens have been born since the Schism, and know of the Null zones only through hushed rumour.
The Rebuilding - 15.AU to 88.AU
After a period of relative peace up to 35.AU, the Unity Council unveiled its masterwork: the Sphere, a global information and computation super-network, quickly integrated into all electronic systems. By 48.AU, the Sphere had almost eliminated waste and inefficiency in every industry. Its advanced resource allocation protocols, coupled with its quantum processing power, enabled the Sphere to determine the most efficient way to achieve any given economic aim. Though the Sphere was incapable of calculating the human cost of its efficiencies, few could argue with the rapid economic expansion made possible by its existence.
In 58.AU, the thirty year construction of Unity City began. Designed to house over 300 million people, as well as the newly designed Terra Consulate and Unity Tower, the new seat of Unity Council power. With the aid of the Sphere, the Unity Council determined a series of global scientific and industrial objectives to channel the output of every industry across the world. A major priority was the exploration and colonisation of space – an objective made more pressing with every passing day, as precious resources on Earth became more limited than the council could ever reveal. Work began on the first space elevator, which would allow for the colonisation of the lunar surface, and ultimately provide a springboard for mankind to venture to the stars.
The largest multinationals began to race for great discoveries that would end the world’s problems and secure power and wealth for their stakeholders. Pharmaceutical and Biomech organisations doubled their efforts, and the war on disease and even death was fought in labs across the globe. Life expectancy increased dramatically, many common ailments were eradicated, and bionic and synthetic augmentation made the loss of limbs or even organs little more than a minor inconvenience. Yet these advances came at a high price: as the wealthiest men and women in society took tentative steps on the path to immortality, the poor lived short lives full of hardship.
Still, humanity seemed destined for a bright future. The elevator enabled the first lunar mining colony and the first orbital settlements to be established. Unity City became a beacon of human progress, not only the largest population centre on the planet, but also the nexus for a commercial fusion grid which rid the world of the need for fossil fuels. In over one hundred years of peace and prosperity Unity civilisation had transformed, and on the surface, it seemed that the Council’s plan was sound.
The Path to Ruin - 134.AU onwards
Below the surface, all was not well. As itinerant workforces travelled the world in their millions, humanity clustered in the ever-expanding hyper-cities. The lower levels became dark pits of corruption; mega-slums the likes of which the world had never seen, attracting the damned and the desperate to a smog-shrouded, twilight existence. Above the persistent clouds of pollution, millions of workers continued to go about their business, never knowing that unrest, disease and poverty lay just beneath their feet. Higher up still, amidst the glittering spires, the wealthy and powerful lived in the lap of luxury. Their lives became extended by astonishing medical advances that were dubbed ‘Afterlife’ technology, and they enforced rigorous population controls upon their subjects to prevent further expansion of an already unwieldy populace. Armand Tennyson, by this time an impossibly old man, passed away in 134.AU with no obvious champion to continue his vision. Even as the populace mourned his passing like a beloved saint, the Unity Council slowly began to amend Tennyson’s original Articles of Unity. The old Unity Congress became a ceremonial organisation, with no real powers other than to carry out the bidding of the ruling elite, while the Unity Council politicked ceaselessly to hold on to their status and wealth.
Like all grand political projects in history, the dream became corrupted, slowly twisting from idealistic dream to nightmare. Over the course of many decades, the Unity Council transformed human society, in many ways for good. But through the process of change, power became more and more centralised, and the response to challenges to that power increasingly brutal. From an organisation that stood for peace and prosperity, Unity society slid, almost without anyone realising it, into an authoritarian police state. With the Sphere, the Council began to control the flow of information across the globe, so as not to shatter the illusion that citizens lived in a harmonious utopia. The Council focused inwards to reinforce its power where it mattered, to the benefit of the elite corporations that form its core support – neglecting fringe territories and the massed populations in the lower levels of the Hyper-cities.
At first, the global standing army and hyper-city police forces were separate organisations tasked with maintaining local order, but they gradually grew in power, size and remit to form the Unity Council’s ‘Peace Corps’, a multi-layered organisation tasked with both overtly and covertly maintaining control and order. With their vice-like grip over a totalitarian regime, the risk of worldwide conflict seemed to have been eradicated at last.