The New Slavery

Since the Collapse, the dark specter of slavery resurfaced as a major influence upon the world. While the majority of nations still respect the old laws banning human trafficking, the definition of ‘what is human?’ has changed and blurred over the years – and just because somebody isn’t considered ‘property’ doesn’t mean he can’t be treated similarly to the slaves of old.

Debt Slavery

One of the old forms of slavery still thrives in the world of 2050. While it is rarely called out as ‘slavery’, the megacorps, the pimps, and the hustlers all know the truth. The crippling cost of higher education and the augmentations and pharmaceutical enhancements required to thrive in corporate culture leave the majority of young corporates deeply indebted to their patron corporations, forcing them to work for the rest of their lives for their patron, no matter what jobs they’re given or ethical boundaries they are asked to cross.

Dolers and zoners have it worse. While the sheer magnitude of the average doler or zoner debt is orders of magnitude lower than a corporate’s, those they are indebted to rarely accept payment plans the corps would be happy with, and the interest rates on doler or zoner debt are absolutely usury. When these lower classes are strung up on debt, to their dealer, to their pimp, or even to the neighborhood grocer, they work it off – and the work available to a doler or zoner isn’t the nice desk job the corporates get. Often, it involves physical labor and hazardous conditions – salvaging, mining, or even physical security work aren’t uncommon. Those special someones, those with the physique and appearance for it, are selected for special duty – as workers in the brothels, strip clups, and party dens. Most moddern sex workers make use of ‘puppet’ biopresence implants and limited agent AIs in order to stand the kinks and fetishes that are foisted upon them daily, retreating to a VR world in their mind while their body is operated on auto-pilot by an AI. It isn’t uncommon for these workers to be injured, even killed, while they remain blissfully unaware deep in VR when they are saddled with a sadist client.

Those in such debt may not technically qualify as ‘slaves’, but they’d never be able to tell the difference.


In the 2020s, Rossum Universal Industries has been in the business of providing ‘Slates’, mind-wiped convicts sentenced to ‘death of personality’ and retrained using high-tech ‘deep learning’ methods. Over the years, Rossum Universal has introduced several different ‘series’ of Slates, enhancing and altering the deep learning methods each time in order to produce better or more specialized workers. The vast majority of Slates are cybernetically augmented in some fashion during the deep learning process, though sometimes this process is left out, especially if the Slate is to be sold immediately rather than retained for use by the corporation.

While Slates are biologically human, they are officially considered either non-humans or deceased. They are variously referred to as ‘Gols’, ‘Golems’, ‘the Undying,’ ‘the Undead,’ or ‘the Unliving’. Slates are considered property, and as such are not legally liable for their own actions except to their owner. Some Slates have been able to gather enough money to purchase their own contract, buying themselves out of servitude, but this is extremely rare – Rossum works hard to breed that desire out of its products.

Rossum currently produces well over one hundred thousand units yearly, the majority the low-cost ‘Spartan’ design and sold off to interested parties. Janissary production has begun to slow down recently as Mamluk production ramps up.

Spartan: The first Slates, and still the most numerous, are the ‘Spartan’ series, featuring a minimum of cybernetic enhancement or training beyond that required to function appropriately. Spartans are slow-witted and lack initiative, but fiercely loyal, and still retain human faculties – while they won’t win a Nobel prize, they seem much more real and natural than any AI. Spartans are often used as physical labor, for sex slaves, as guards, or any number of other positions adequate for the simple-minded.

Janissary: The Janissary series was the jewel of the Rossum Universal crown for many years, featuring not only full human intelligence but an ability to push aside fear or emotions at any time and focus solely on the task at hand, while retaining a human’s ability to assess risks and preserve their own life if the situation warranted it. A Janissary can easily be reprogrammed by Rossum in any number of way, including altering their base memory – Rossum exploits this to market its Janissary series as workers who can be hired for a job, and then have their memories of that job permanently erased, ensuring secrecy. Janissaries perform jobs as diverse as espionage agent to security guard to engineer. Janissaries have been criticized for having too much free will; several Janissaries have worked towards purchasing their own contracts, thereby granting themselves freedom.

Mamluk: The Mamluk series is a refinement of the Janissary series, addressing the concerns about their freedom by instilling extreme loyalty to the Rossum corporation through deep learning indoctrination methods. Further, Mamluks feel absolutely no pain, no fear, and have no attachments outside the Company, making them perfect soldiers. The Mamluk series is currently in the first stages of a production roll-out, with the first units coming online in late 2049; so far, Rossum has kept them all to its chest, not selling any of them right out, and the frequency of outside contracts that it accepts for them is a small fraction of that it accepts for its Janissaries or Spartans.

Biological Androids

Known variously as ‘Bioroids’, ‘Synthetics’, or ‘Replicants’, Biological Androids are the primary competitor with Rossum Universal’s ‘Slate’ technology. First created by a partnership of the Umbra Corporation and Ormand-Lytell Industries in the late 2030s, Biological Androids are a merger of flesh and machine. By using a biofoundry and forced-growth tanks, Umbra is able to ‘paint’ biological tissue into place on a robotic lattice provided by Ormand-Lytell. Biological organs are fused with miniature biofoundries and other robotic parts in order to create the organ structure for the resulting creature, and a biological computer system is installed in place of the brain. By utilizing robotic shortcuts and nanotechnology, Umbra and ORLY have been able to creatures that are superficially similar to humans in nearly every way – but they aren’t human, or even close. The biological computers installed in the Biological Androids run adaptive agent AIs, not true human brain patterns; the Androids so far produced do not use normal human blood, but instead a milky-white polymer coated in perfluorocarbons – a substance that nearly-immediately clots, preventing death due to blood loss.

The New Slavery

Edgerunners Langy Langy