DEBRIEF TRANSCRIPT #3
SUBJECT: E. Stein
INTERROGATOR: Lawrence Caramundi
DATE/ TIME: 11.9.2055, 10:13
PLACE: Planetary Commission, All-purpose room F, Philadelphia
LS: Good morning, Rick. I'd like to talk about how the world got to where it is in, um, 2212.
ES: I've never been great with history. It bores me. I know the basics, though. In the late 21st century, the world's democracies and dictatorships all succumbed to infrastructure collapse, food and water shortages, rampant disease, violence and general disorder on a global scale. It's coming soon, believe me.
LC: How soon?
ES: As I said, history isn't my strong suit. There was the continuing temperature rise, the flooding, the ice-melt, staggering droughts followed by hellish rains. Shorelines eroded, landmasses started shrinking, then drowning, then drying-up as the atmosphere started going haywire. Hence, the slow collapse of all systems over two decades, animals and plants dying off. And of course, the people.
LC: The people?
ES: I've read different numbers, 40-percent, 30-percent. It seems like either no one really knows, or no one wants to know.
LC: You've referenced several times Beijing Command, Wyoming Command. What are they?
ES: When the corporations stepped in to fund rebuilding projects, every bridge, road, utility and building had Galaxcon or Intel or Amaglon somewhere in its name. By about 2120, the Big Five-- add Rezlin and Skytron--pretty much laid down the rules of survival, requiring planetary compliance in exchange for the infinite benefits of their combined, staggering wealth. That was the beginning of the New Reformation. The Big Five mega-corp then created the regional Commands, which are run as paramilitary hierarchies in Beijing, London, Wyoming--Jackson to be exact--Jakarta, Jerusalem, New York, Santiago and Vancouver. I don't remember how those locations got picked, but that's what we have, eight Regional Commands in place of what used to be called government. The military is run out of the Regional Commands as more of a planetary guardian force. There hasn't been a war in a couple of generations. The Big Five demanded an end to armed conflict as a condition.
LC: Must be nice. The end of war.
ES: Things seem to get done. Everyone does some kind of work for the Big Five and 80% of the workforce is cube-based and connected. People get paid with credits, which they use to purchase their food services, clothing and anything else they need from Amaglon. They get their drugs from Rezlin, info services from Skytron, and so on. Total voice control and AI replaced old-style computers, retina scans and fingerprint scans around the time I was born. The cube's image screen is the universal interface for everything. Communications are instantaneous. You touch your screen, think about what you want to create, who you want to talk to or what you want to buy. Then you say it out loud and it happens.
LC: And, you seemed surprised during our chat yesterday about there being buildings and a farm, grass, etcetera. What happened to all that?
ES: I missed the fireworks because I wasn't born yet but the temperature rise finally brought action from the Big Five. They decided that geo-clearing was the only way to start over. The average temperature rose almost ten degrees over two lifetimes, so by the time I was a kid, there wasn't much left outside. I read about the master plan to rebuild and replant things. Never happened. Now we have master cubes, the IC, metal ruins sitting in toxic bogs and the massive distribution centers of manufactured food, clothing and, well, everything, dotting the landscape. The oceans are big and violent. Look outside at any given moment and you might see a silhouette of the sun through the perma-haze, but it's mostly overcast and the rain comes without warning anymore.
LC: The temperature's been going up for decades. You're describing the ultimate worst-case scenario.
ES: I'm done. I got a headache.