In the second decade of the twenty first century an unstoppable set of circumstances displaced over one billion human beings from their homes and livelihoods.  Nearly a quarter billion more died from food shortage and disease.  In North and Central America, Africa, and parts of the Asian interior, global warming expanded deserts.  It decimated forests in the south and Pacific north west.  As salt and oxygen levels in the oceans dropped, ocean life began a precipitous decline.  The effect of prolonged drought on food supplies struck another blow to eager economies just beginning to recover from a major worldwide depression.  Oil stocks, once thought to be limitless, began a steep decline as world demand continued to escalate.  Oil shortages became mundane.  At two hundred US dollars per barrel, middle classes around the world collapsed.  As hunger and poverty spread in a population that was set to double by 2050, civil unrest became a way of life.

Refugee camps, once relegated to developing countries, spread to developed nations as well.  Meanwhile the well-off became increasingly dependent on technology fueled by advanced information systems via the internet, and a decentralized nanotechnology.  This technocracy fortified itself with an array of cybernetic enhancements designed to enable humans to perform as well as computers.  But this benefit did not inure to the vast increasingly unwashed multitudes.  It left them in the deserts.

In the second half of the decade slim relief efforts were being co-opted by a mafia culture which increasingly protected and controlled the camps.  In the Port of Los Angeles pirates blocked shipments and redirected them to the benefit of a growing elite within the camps, who began their own home grown cybernetic enhancements.  The early failures of these experiments became poster children for the needs of the dispossessed.  Yet in spite of laws prohibiting their use and intense police pressure, the demand for these unlawful procedures burgeoned, and a black market boomed.

The Trogs, as they came to be called for their misguided experiments, organized riots and began an insurgency which rocked the law establishment.  Fueled by illegal guns sold or simply dropped by the very government that was trying to limit their use, wars erupted.  For awhile, it was believed by powers, this would keep Trog numbers and their strength in check.

Governments attempted other passivity measures; increasing the availability of opium based drugs in camp zones, and by co-opting the video game industry which by now had created technologies enabling direct transmission of signals into the human brain, which were decoded by nanite enzymes delivered either orally or intravenously.  This coupled with the continuing invention and expansion of virtual worlds had a desirable chilling effect.

However, as unrest continued and the public outcry for stability and control hammered officials’ ears, think tanks and government agencies started to reprocess decades old data, and began reporting that in spite of the best efforts of city re-engineeers, agri-experts, and the new energy economy, there were still not enough resources – and there would never be – to meet the demands of twelve billion people on planet Earth.  In fact, it became widely recognized that a significant population reduction was in order.

Hence at the beginning of the twenties, off the records and budgets of national governments, operation “Black Delta” was born.  Phase One of Delta included the “Pop- Laws” (population laws) enacted in 2021, which enforced draconian controls strictly limiting who could conceive.  Approximately one of every 3 newborns was sterilized at random through an injection of nanites (human engineered viruses) which prohibited the growth of reproductive cells.  Compulsory abortions became commonplace in Africa, China, and island nations.  While frowned upon in the Americas and Europe, the procedure was performed commonly in refugee camps like Angel City in the Port of Los Angeles.  Additionally, all stem cell tissue regeneration, all organ transplants, and “life extension” techniques were outlawed.

Phase Two, with its participants and events, is the subject of this book.

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Evocronik Novella: Ch 1 | Meat Hook, Part 1
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