The story of 2050 is a story of have and have-nots. A small number of ultra-rich life large, while their corporate drones in huge corporate arcologies work to keep them in the lavish style to which they are accustomed. Meanwhile, a massive underclass of cash-workers and unemployed drifters looks up at their chrome and neon towers from dirty, violent, streets and shanty-towns.
If you’re a member of the Elite – the Golden, the Glitteratti, the One-Percenters – then life is a futuristic whirl of parties and conferences, rubbing shoulders with the big names in business, government, the media and fashion. Your food is grown in farmscrapers or on massive corporate farms, the real deal rather than textured soy and algae. You take designer drugs tailored to your personal biochemistry or indulge in virtual hedonism that feels as real as it can be. Your clothes are designer label – just like your vehicle, your discreet cyberware and your smart-chipped, vat-grown, bioborg bodyguard. If you see the streets at all, it’s through the armored windows of a limo, or from the 100th floor of a corporate tower. You probably went to the best schools and colleges before using your family name and vast connections to land a job as a lower=level executive and now the only way is up. Dystopia, what’s that? The future’s so bright, you got to wear shades! Designer ones, of course.
If your lucky, you work for a corporation or the government – which is just another corp these days and not the biggest. You probably did the college thing, in business administration or engineering or some other useful subject, and managed to get yourself one of the few fully-salaried positions left. You keep things running, but you make a fraction of what your department head does, even if he’s twenty years younger than you. But you keep your head dowm, work hard, and don’t rock the boat. After all, there’s plenty of others (not all of them even organic) after your job and if you mess up you could end up like the great unwashed out on the mean streets. You live and breathe your corporation: wear their uniform, live in their arcology sealed away from pollution and global warming, use their storecard to shop, have their cyberware installed in their preferred facillities. You eat textured soy and algae most of the time – real food is a treat – and you’re probably under company restrictions on movement, associates and even how many kids you can have. The street calls you Prole or Corpbot or Drone, but hey – you’re what’s left of the Middle Class and proud of it!
More likely, you didn’t get so lucky in life’s lottery. You work – when you’re able – at something manual, or otherwise for money-in-hand. If you don’t work, you starve. Your meagre income manages to keep a roof over your head, even if it’s in one of the massive Prospect blocks with their gangs and drugs and violence. Still, it’s better than being homeless or living in the slums known as the Combat Zone out on the fringes of the city core. If you live out in the country, then you’re home is probably an RV or van and you make a living by travelling to where the work is with your Nomad Pack. Rain or shine, smog or duststorm you’ll do whatevers available to make an honest buck, from construction to fruit picking to scavenging the ghost towns. But in either city or country, you’ll also have contacts in the grey market for when you simply can’t get something you need the totally legal way – like the gun you tote for self-defense against the street scum. Your education came from the Net and grey-market Tutor skillchips, you eat soy and algae, your cyberware might be slightly used, and you do your best to numb your life with media shows, or drugs, or something. But at least you get to wear your own style, you know? The corporates say you’re Termites, or Trailer Trash, or Doles, but you’re part of the Majority nowadays, the working class citizens who know the bosses won the class war. But really, you don’t have much to lose by bucking the Man, do you?
And then there’s the bottom rung – the homeless, the dispossessed, the down-and-out. You might be a refugee or just unlucky, but for you the future stinks bigtime. Chances are, you were in a gang in your teens. Maybe you’re still in one. Any cyberware is likely combat-oriented and was installed by ripperdocs in some back-alley black market clinic, paid for by stolen goods and a bit of body-snatching. You live in a shantytown or a derelict building in the Combat Zone, if you’re lucky, and make your living by crime and violence or by selling yourself. You eat when you can, which isn’t every day, and get high enough to numb the pain of existence at every chance. You wear what’s available and you never go unarmed, otherwise life would be even shorter than it’s likely to be. You and your friends get called all kinds of things – Boosters, Streetscum, Zoners, Zeroes – but you’re jusy one of the countless Poor. One thing you know – you’ve got nothing to lose and if you get a chance to smash up a little of the chrome and neon dream lived way above your head, you’ll take it.
And finally…you might just become an Edgerunner. It doesn’t matter where you came from as long as you’re willing to live on the very cutting edge of life, and of the future.
Not finished. Need to work on several things.
Status and Cost of Living
|Cost of Living Table|
|Typical Status||Examples||Cost of Living|
|8||Chairman of the Board of the HUB||$600,000,000|
|7||Sovereign Megacorp CEO||$60,000,000|
|6||Megacorp CEO, National President||$6,000,000|
|5||Multinational Crime Lord, Megacorp VP, Congressional Leader||$600,000|
|4||Crime Lord, Corporate CEO, Congressional Representative, Metroplex Mayor||$60,000|
|3||Glitterati, Megacorp Manager, Metroplex District Manager||$12,000|
|2||Elite Professional, Corporate Manager||$3,000|
|0||Prole, Gang Boss||$600|
|-1||Doler, Nomad, Gang Lieutenant||$300|
This list contains examples of how people of each Status level typically live and travel in 2050.
Status 8: You probably own your own space station, lunar colony, or small nation. You have thousands of employees at your command – and that’s just your personal staff and security service. You never travel anywhere without an entire army of security guards paving the way, and your personal airline and vehicle service provides the best vehicles with military-grade protection for you to travel in.
Status 7: You probably own several large buildings, each with a multitude of employees at your command. You can get a hold of just about anything you want. Your head butler makes more than most big city mayors, and your team of chauffeurs have access to more vehicles than most major auto-dealers.
Status 6: It’s most likely you own the entire luxury building you live in, you servants include your own private medical team and scores of skilled professionals. You’ve heard some of the lower class people shave their own faces – how quaint.
Status 5: You probably own the floor of a luxury high rise, half of another floor is rented out in your name to house your entourage of servants. You never have to perform menial tasks or eat anything synthetic. You rarely wear the same article of clothing more than once.
Status 4: A luxury high-rise apartment suit, many of your servants have their own personal assistants.
Status 3: A flat with a view. Your extensive wardrobe is cleaned and pressed for you and your vehicle is most likely driven by a trained professional. Most of your meals are actual foodstuff.
Status 2: A well furnished flat, complete with building security and cleaning service three days a week. You most likely lease a nice vehicle for six months at a time.
Status 1: A comfortable condo or well furnished suburban home, a new vehicle (most likely leased) and several changes of clothing. Your home is probably visited weekly by lawn-care and or housecleaning services. The majority of your meals do not come from a plastic bag of insta-goo concentrate, and a good meal out may include a few choice portions of real fruits, vegetables, or meat.
Status 0: A reasonable apartment or condo, possibly even a small house a bit outside the urban area. Adequate clothing for a week and a half of work and most likely a nice suit/dress for social occasions. You have a yearly prepaid transit pass or, if living in a rural area or required for work, an old or inexpensive personal vehicle.
Status -1: A small apartment, poorly furnished, with 1 bedroom and an open, sparsely furnished living-dining-kitchenette area. Most likely a communal bathroom down the hall. Enough clothes for a 5 day work week. You’re lucky if your vat-grown food includes artificial flavoring.
Status -2: Shared quarters somewhere not very comfortable. . . or whatever space you can find. You have the rags on your back.
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