a ghost robot world

The World

the_gates_800x800The Traffic Gate System was passed by city council in the early 1980s. It divided Palomar City into 20 socioeconomic Districts, each separated by imposing traffic Gates.

The Gates created an impromptu rezoning of the neighborhoods. During the population boom of the 1990s, local tensions rose and angry, violent forces galvanized their communities in a power-play to take over their own Districts. In the unrest that followed the City further divided.  Independent Districts fell to their own governance while a majority, still governed by City Hall, remain as City Districts.

Officially each District was assigned and recognized by a number. Unofficially each became known by what body modification (aka Wetwork – elective, reconstructive surgery, some of which stretch the imagination to its limits) the ruling ‘elements’ sported.

The Gates are physical barriers between each District. Some Gates are manned 24 hours a day by STRC force personnel. Some sit empty, plastered with posters, ads and flyers, while others are merely kiosks selling candy and smokes. But at every Gate the Gatecrasher lane is revered and protected by everyone from the most corrupt city politician to the most beneficent crime lord.

From the affluent “Tiffany” District 05 to the immigrant controlled District 08, Palomar City’s social structures are fractured but not broken. Life in the City is not so dissimilar to life as we now know it. Schools are overcrowded. City services are at capacity. The best hospitals serve those with the best insurance, while those inadequately equipped and under-staffed struggle for survival.

Ambulances, known on the streets as sleds, now operate like City cabs. Rented for twelve-hour shifts, sleds are run by a two-man freelance medic crew. The teams are paid for every body (aka Drop) that reaches a hospital.

Special traffic lanes are dedicated to emergency vehicles throughout the city so that travel between the Districts is unrestricted through the gates. The need for speed and the required skills to navigate the City have earned the sled teams their nickname – The Gatecrashers.