INTERFACE:
The Dark Future of RMSS
Copyright Michael A. Bott 1999

 

 

Dateline: Los Angeles, 2200PST, December 31, 2096

 

"The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be."

-Paul Valery
 
The background history is one of the most important elements of setting up the story for any RPG. The interesting bit about history in a cyberpunk world is that much of it is not fictional. Much of the important history in a cyberpunk genre has already happened from our RealLife™ standpoint. In fact, events occurring in the world today can often be projected into a future history, to create a plausible yet exciting world for players and gamemasters.

 

Keeping that in mind, I have created the beginnings of a timeline that sets the stage for the world as our characters will know it. This will give gamemasters the advantage of being able to set appropriate tech levels and world-states for their players. Hopefully it will also give gamemasters the ability to create the feel that the world is actually in motion, complete with timely advances in technology.
 

 

TIMELINE
 
Date Events Little Known Facts
Jan 2000 

 

Worldwide chaos begins at "turn" of century, perpetrated by religious zealots, runs on banks and stock crashes due to "Y2K" bug scare. 

The United States is hit hardest by rioting and looting in the densest metropolitan centers (Chicago, Los Angeles, Seattle, NYC). Little is done by the US Government to stop west coast riots. 

Planetary alignment causes widespread religious panic, as well as playing havoc with tides. 

The threat of a nuclear suitcase bomb in Times Square, NYC sends millions running inland, but no bomb ever surfaces. 

Massive hacker activity simultaneously brings down large corporate networks worldwide, paralyzing commerce for a number of days. Hackers extend the paralysis for months, wreaking havoc on the earnings of those companies. 

 

 
March 2000 Several revolutionary groups surface and make an attempt to install new governments and/or secede from the union. Most notable is the revolution started in California. Revolutions also happen in the EEC, China, Brazil, and Mexico, but these are put down quickly with help from U.S. 

Nat'l Guard publicly authorized to use deadly force. Losses on both sides climb. 

Dubbed "The War to Free California," California receives covert personnel, economic and equipment support from Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, Washington, Oregon, Japan, China, and Korea. 

Media manages to turn the war into a circus. California's stronghold on the Media begins a guerilla war as troop movements and deployments of US military are broadcast, but California actions are not. 

 

 
August 20, 2000 The President, Vice President, Speaker of the House, and Secretary of State of the USA are assassinated nearly simultaneously. Several terrorist and revolutionary groups claim responsibility. Californian revolutionaries are blamed. 

 

A certain agency that "oversees" the government is actually responsible for the assassination. Their intent: to incite the U.S. Government into retaliation.
August 21, 2000 A small tactical nuclear "exchange" in the military sector of San Diego, CA, ends any and all revolution very quickly. The United States government calls on emergency powers, establishes martial law. Rioting and looting cease immediately. 

 

It worked. Californian revolutionaries are blamed and retaliated against.
November 2000 California is given certain "liberties" with Federal law in reparation for the nuclear damages in San Diego. 

Draft reinstated for Nat'l Guard, or "Peacekeepers." It is necessary due to loss of life from ending the revolutions and terrorist activity. 

 

 
December 2000 Cleanup begins on San Diego nuclear targets. 

Nuclear testing by Israel as show of force, followed closely by Iraq's test of a 3000 mile delivery system. US immediately imposes sanctions on Iraq, but merely slaps Israel on the wrist, increasing tension. 

 

 
January, 2001 Religious zealots of all kind, disappointed twice in a row by "millenial letdown," see their way clear to setting off an all-out war in the Middle East, engulfing Saudi, Iraq, Iran, Israel, India, Pakistan, Kuwait, UAE, Oman, Yemen, Jordan, Lebanon Northeast Egypt (including Cairo), and Afghanistan. Exchange occurs over the entire month via "suitcase" bombs, bombers, and short range rocket artillery. U.S. enters as a peacekeeping force trying to shoot down nukes with Israeli satellites, but fails to destroy the majority of weapons. 

China is attacked as well, but no missiles strike targets. 

The entire area is turned into a desert of radioactive glass. 

 

 
February, 2001 Worldwide Oil Crisis begins. 

 

The Oil Crisis is not as bad for the United States Government. They are sitting on a huge deposit of Oil, with Mexican and Canadian oil readily accessible. 

 

March, 2001 Severity of Oil Crisis hits consumers, and stockpiling and hoarding of gasoline begins to occur. U.S.A. Oil companies are forced to double production, and consumer unrest increases as gasoline and plastic product prices skyrocket. 

Japanese fuel-efficient car sales skyrocket. 

 

 
July, 2001 Oil and Gasoline prices continue to skyrocket. 

Natural gas and electric car sales spike for Q2FY2001. Stock prices spike accordingly for manufacturers on all exchanges. 

 

 
September, 2001 Alternative fuels are not as abundant as previously hoped. Natural Gas in high demand. Even firewood is selling very well. 

 

Oil is ALSO not as abundant on U.S. soil as previously hoped.
October, 2001 Impending winter and poor forecasting leave the world unprepared for what is to come. Countries with lower standards of living actually fare better. 

Peace officers and "Peacekeepers" in many countries are all but paralyzed by gasoline shortage. Nat'l Guard for the U.S. still has abundant gasoline. 

Commerce slowed worldwide. R&D Departments of large technology companies are paralyzed, as are thinktanks. 

 

 
December, 2001 Worldwide fossil fuel shortage delcared. Many nations declare it a state of emergency. U.S. responds very well to said emergency, keeping the Nat'l Guard well-supplied and armed. 

 

 
January, 2002 Mexico sells soul to USA. USA allows a certain # of "immigrants" per year in exchange for low oil prices and exclusive worldwide distribution rights of Mexican oil. Widespread immigration begins. (Also in the deal, U.S. fission plants built on Mexican soil) 

"Nuclear threat" against Canada forces them to hand over control of worldwide oil distribution to the United States as well. 

 

 
February, 2002 Gasoline prices still at all-time high, but demands are being met now, stabilizing the rising price. 

Rumors are leaked of a new "fuel source" being created by a large company in Southern California. 

 

Oil prices kept artificially high by Big Oil companies and the U.S.A. Both prosper in this time of worldwide crisis.
June, 2002 Production of Mexican and Canadian oil continues to increase, and American car manufacturers begin manufacturing more efficient engines. 

 

 
October, 2002 A new organic fuel, dubbed Soyol for it's similar color and viscosity to Soy sauce, is created. It is almost completely compatible with old gasoline burning cars with only slight modification—electric cars are not even necessary. Considering that a gallon of Soyol sells for 1/50th what a gallon of gasoline is worth, most people have the conversion performed on their cars immediately. Gas stations have methanol AND Soy AND Low Octane Gasoline on the premises now. Soyol burns roughly 50% as clean and twice as efficient on a converted engine. 

 

Amgen acquired Petrochem, a small organic fuels research company in Long Beach, CA. They had to spend a year fighting with the U.S. federal government before being able to release the fuel. In addition, they forged a multi-billion dollar agreement with Exxon/Mobil to distribute the fuel, thus appropriately placating Big Oil.
January, 2003 Amgen releases earnings. Stock doubles and splits. Faith in the R&D business model is renewed the world over. 

General Motors purchases Ford/Jaguar and Chrysler/Benz. Anti-trust suspiciously does nothing to stop them. 

Anti-trust lawyers break up Microsoft. Loud voices of protest against the government suppressing "The Right to Innovate." 

 

  

Mr. Gates' refusal to "lobby" properly lands his company in the toilet. They will carry a vendetta to the grave.

July, 2003 Microsoft begins to close up shop. Millions around the world are forced into unsupported operating systems. 

 

 
2004 Amgen purchases most biotech firms in Northern California. 

Anti trust laws repealed. 

Toyota and Honda merge to compete with the GM Goliath, and begin an acquisition spree. Nissan, Hyundai, Daihatsu, etc. are all bought within the year. 

Open Source Software development becomes the only way to go. Microsoft top executives founds a "company" and a fund for Open OS and Networking development. It becomes known as The Enclave of Developers. 

 

 
2005 Massive advances in tightbeam wireless communication released to the public. Satellite latency improved drastically. Data transfer rates over consumer-level wireless networks exceed 10 megabits/sec. 

Major OS manufacturers join The Enclave of Developers. Secrets of the OS are released, but with the developing capacity of thousands and thousands of coders worldwide, no single company can keep up with advances. 

Lucent Technologies begins buying up cable and long-distance providers. 

Most smaller corporations begin merging to keep up with larger multinationals. 

Amgen posts a CY2004 earnings statement of $0.75 trillion. 

The Enclave of Developers negotiates an agreement with the U.S. Federal Government. Details are undisclosed to the public. 

 

 
2006 Lucent installs fiber networks everywhere they can. When they can't, they make use of existing copper and wireless data transfer. All new buildings are "wired." Many older ones in reasonably high-value neighborhoods are hooked up as well. Lucent becomes de-facto standard for final data provider. 

U.S. Government suddenly adopts an isolationist attitude and concentrates on internal welfare issues. Military projects begin to be disbanded. 

Alternative Open Source groups join The Enclave of Developers and are quite pleased with the result. 

 

 
2007 U.S. Government's isolationist attitude forces multinational companies to hire mercenaries for peacekeeping and security reasons. 

Market demand for well-trained paramilitary mercenaries begins to grow. 

Switch improved, given more intelligence, merged with concept of router, bridge, and terminal server. 

 

 
2008 Improved session negotiation protocol developed by the Bill Gates enclave allows better high bandwidth sessions on the Internet. Priorities are set at the administrator level for individual domains, and video/voice can be transferred at any data rate, negotiating "resolution" upon connection of sessions. Protocol explodes, entire internet community adopts it within a year. Sets the new standard for data communications and standards resolution. 

 

 
2009 


 
 

2010

Internet stratified—multiple private networks exist not only between company satellite offices, but between industries as well. Security for stratified networks increases dramatically, as does hacker activity. In many cases, private networks are physically separate from the public ‘Net, only allowing access for on-site individuals. Of course, hackers find ways around this. 

New model of intelligent client-workhorse server integrates with dynamic session capability to provide better data distribution than ever before. 

Revolutionary Operating system that "learns" a user's preferences is released by The Enclave of Developers. Contrary to the belief of most of the Hacker/Open Source community that anything released by ex-Microsoftites would be bloated, the operating system is free, fast, standardized, and light on system requirements. It also is portable to just about every personal and enterprise hardware architecture available, and makes use of new SNP and IC/WS de facto standards.