Throughout all time and space, wherever people have existed, they have largely proven themselves to be pretty garbage creatures. Evil is defined as knowing better and doing worse; what better way to summarize humanity? Regardless of how crap we are, we continue to exist even when everything is stacked against us. But however you view people as a whole, it cannot be denied that humans are remarkable beings.
Civilizations have risen and then fallen repetitively throughout history. Despite having documented all past failures of said civilizations, we hardly ever learn how to ‘be better’. The Decadence of the Romans is a perfect example. Depicting the gluttonous lifestyle of the people of Rome before its collapse, it also foreshadowed the demise of artist (Thomas Couture)’s contemporary (1847) society. Things do not happen once. Our world is one of repetition. In fact, at times it feels as though we are stuck in an infinite loop of our mistakes. Our own personal hell of repetitive self-destruction. How do we escape but by completely obliterating ourselves? How can we be better?
This story takes place after humanity has nearly collapsed from an outbreak of illness. At least one small metropolis survives. Almost everything was lost to the GWO virus, Guillaime-Wilmund Opisthorchis virus, an airborne virus that infects the human brain. Much like the phiocordyceps unilateralis fungus which infects the brain of the camponotus leonardi ants of the tropical rainforest, GWO disrupted normal behavior pattern and reprogrammed the host’s brain to act in a way that ultimately led to their demise. Whereas the fungus drives the ants to climb trees until it explodes out their brains, GWO made a host’s hearing so sensitive they wandered into the wilderness. For days. Just to get away from the noise. Those who did not die from exposure eventually killed themselves to escape the noise of existing. People were drowning, jumping off buildings, cutting, and even tearing at their own flesh in a mad frenzy in the middle of workdays, in the streets, in their homes, and in front of their families. It was an epidemic of suicide and self-mutilation. There was no cure. But with any virus, some are immune.
It is thought that each continent has at least one civilized metropolis, but no one knows for certain. Nearly all the world’s population had fallen victim to the GWO virus. Those who survived felt the need to start new and leave the old to decay. Nearly all the original survivors were dead now so their children now populated the limited world. When the metropolis in Texas, America was built, some unintentional divisions arose inside of it. Since there was no more real estate to develop inside the confines of its walls, extra consideration needed to be given to who one’s neighbors were to reduce crime and stress as well as to increase civility and productivity. That is to say that the people were not divided against each other; instead, like-minded people formed pockets or subcultures that seemed to section off the city into 8 ‘sectors’.
Sector 1 is at the heart of everything. Living there gave you fast access to every other sector and was therefore the most desirable to live in. It was the central hub of information and money. Residents of Sector 1 were old money or politically powerful people. Namely, they were all descendants of the Colmes family. Sector 2 was were people who cared deeply and continuously about the earth collected. Sector 2 had no walls since it was mostly coastal land. They were sea lovers, beach bums, and tree huggers. Sector 3, it’s neighboring sector, took their beach land for granted. They were more sedentary people though deeply compassionate and ethical, especially in comparison to those that lived in Sector 4. Sector 4 was filled with people who were logical to the point of sterility. They were often seen as brown-nosers and would likely sell your soul to Satan for a corn chip if they were in the mood for salsa. Sector 5 contained the greedy schemers. People not worth talking about. Sector 6 contained people who had no definitive personality but somehow all acted similarly. Basically, Sector 6 was filled with very vanilla people. Skipping 7, Sector 8 was where the morning people, the athletic types, and the high energy people lived. These are the people you would call to help you move furniture to your new place. They never strayed from lending a helping hand. Lastly, there is Sector 7.
That is where the story starts, Sector 7. The ‘creative & free-thinking sector’ where MC lives. It was quite debatably the most isolated sector because it was separated from all the others by a river that cut through the metropolis, making it its own little island inside an oasis. It was like a slice of cheesecake that is about to be put on someone’s plate, disconnected from the whole. A really delicious slice of cheesecake, different from the other but equally delicious slices of various flavors. Except for the marshmallow flavored slice. That one is gross. The marshmallow one would probably be Sector 4 because that was the one for politicians and people who got along with lawyers…basically, the worst kind of people. Either way, people were free to move from sector to sector, kind of.
To keep things orderly, there were several laws specifically pertaining to moving between sectors. For example, to make sure that no one sector became comparatively poorer or richer than another, citizens were only allowed to buy large ticket items within their own sector (the exception being works of art). Additionally, you could only buy a maximum of four smaller items per day outside the bounds of your own sector. That means, that if one wanted to go to a restaurant in a different sector, one could only buy a maximum of four items from the menu. Even worse, it meant that the bill had to be split at nearly every outing. This and rules like it kept money and people within their own sector. It promoted economic equality. In order to monitor all this activity and enforce the rules, payment and tracking of persons was done with the swipe of chip embedded in each citizens’ wrist. Although this could feel like an uncomfortable government intervention, it was proven to promote civility and productivity so it was accepted as a necessary evil by everyone. There were those, of course who did not feel the same way and chose to speak out, but those people were asked to leave, forcibly asked.