On Earth, everybody lives in habitat rings. It seems the planet has gone through several reforms. Traces of former ambitious amelioration projects can be seen here and there. Other changes – such as a migration of animals and elevated water levels – reveal the planet’s present condition.
Space Scrapers presents Earth of the 40th century as being run by commercial magnates, clients of many bounty hunters out there, willing to pay for valuable technological finds that date back to the age when human civilization was at its peak. Archeology therefore becomes the passion of the three humans who come together, joined by a renegade sentiment. They excavate on Earth, but also – and more so – on exotic planets in and out of the Solar system.
On Earth though, they find something that another alien race wants so badly. The intergalactic treaty – a part of the 40th century judicial system on Earth and on other planets – calls for a claim of the first rights of ownership. The tension between the aliens and Central Command sets the precedent to the events in ‘Return to Timbuktu’.
Earth is well equipped medically, treatment is available, and so is the technology. Biomed advancement is the key to Dr. Teig’s ambitions and aspirations. He runs a lab on Earth, that becomes the setting for the story line of Ava Nagoya, the female protagonist.
The planet is still pretty much livable, beautiful and clean. Certain environmental hazards are outlawed – such as a general anesthetic that (as we presently know) contributes to global warming. The picture ain’t so peachy though – black market is in place, where one can find what one seeks.
In Space Scrapers, Earth is ruled by a unified government called Central Command.
The Guard is the military organization that ensures the implementation of the law and the firm grip on the human population.
Human space extends far beyond the realm of the Solar system. A thousand years prior to the events in Space Scrapers, human civilization was on the rise, utilizing powerful technological advancements and looking forward to a seemingly bright future. But, as life often has it, no rise comes without a fall. When Earth fell prey to attacks of interstellar warlords, Central Command had to secure the perimeter by all means necessary, to ensure human survival. This was when the Guard invented the Wire.
In the Space Scrapers’ Universe, all humans go through the installation of the Wire, a tiny cord that is inserted into the brain. The Wire connects people into a cyber mental network, the Hub. There are several modules – think of them as levels – that should be mastered before an individual is fully capable to operate his/her Wire. The Wire allows people to communicate with each other by means of neurofeedback, and send alerts and may day signals in case of emergencies. One’s weakened signal on the Wire usually means trouble. Sometimes, the Wire doesn’t work. It’s still a piece of technology, and is therefore imperfect. An example of its imperfection is the situation on Seta Prime – a distant planet in the void space outside the Milky Way galaxy. There, humans need a proxy array to maintain their Wire. Another example is the situation in the Nagasaki Expanse. In lieu of the mentioned above, next to the Wire, regular means of communication became available – desktop communicators, derivatives of which are portable sensor communicators.
Beginners get a time off, to rest their nervous system. Usually, it takes an average of three years to get used to the cord. Occasionally, the Wire can be muted – but not disconnected – and there are exceptions to this rule as well! Look for it in ‘The Initiation’.
For advanced users, a time off is not advised, but is granted on occasion – based on the level of clearance and the line of work, usually to the Guard officers only. However, should such absences be unauthorized and occur too often, the Guard resorts to punishment. Everybody’s Wire is kept on record. Regular check ups reveal offenders, but skillful bounty hunters come up with a way to excuse themselves from the Wire and mute their signals for a lengthy period of time without raising suspicion. How? Read about it in ‘Return to Timbuktu’.
History recalls that a certain group of humans did not become a part of the Wire’s outreach – due to circumstances that are revealed in the first chapters of Space Scrapers. These individuals later became known as Meltdowners. They are mentally unstable, unreliable and pose a threat. The Guard keeps them at arm’s length. Meltdowners have a hub of their own, where they gather to resolve their mental issues – in a violent, brutal way. Sometimes, other humans join them with the same purpose. They frequent a get away called ‘Tal’, a planetoid that is maintained by most peculiar alien characters.
The Guard has a rival in the Space Scrapers’ Universe. They call themselves Free Walkers and are mainly consisting of alien humanoids, but humans may join them as well. Free Walkers form a powerful, well equipped union, but that is not how they appear to a casual observer. They lead a monastic way of life, and the first impression of their order is somewhat distorted. However, they show peculiar solidarity with humans once the entire Universe is threatened by a most unusual enemy.
Camilla Stein ©2011. All rights reserved. Images courtesy Stock.XCHNG