The following is a brief background to the new novel ‘New Messiah‘, set in the latter half of this century.
The AmRus and E-Fed AI-Biotech Confederations
Following ever-destructive AI-Biotech wars, the USA and Russia finally joined forces with Europe, forming the AmRus Confederation. This was partly in response to the Eastern Federation (E-Fed), and the influence of a despotic, egotistical US president. E-Fed developed out of the trade agreement between China, North and South Korea and Japan.
But the true AmRus powerbrokers were a shady group of trillionaire bankers preoccupied with wealth and control. This cabal has no regard to the future of the planet or the happiness of its inhabitants.
The AI-Biotech Cabal
Each of the 10 members of the Cabal represents a dynasty, passing on power to their descendants. The dynasties of interest are the Brights and the Vorns. Notably, the Elder Rosco Bright was the current chair until his sudden death. Read more about the main characters here.
In the first half of the 21st Century, international aggression manifested through cyber attacks, boosted by AI. Soon, it became inter-AI warfare. This alone did not satisfy the powerbrokers. It did little more than create a no-win situation, whilst global wealth became increasingly polarized. Following the first viral pandemic of the century, biotech also evolved. Now, AI-Biotech could manufacture new variants, using genetic targeting to create the first genocidal weapons to eliminate families and races. And the primary concern was to control the diminishing natural resources, rather than save them.
The Global Ecosystem
Focusing so much attention on the AI-Biotech arms race left the planet to rot. Massive, uncontrollable fires further decimated forests and tundra, releasing hundreds of millions of years of Carbon back into the atmosphere. The oceans were becoming acidified, resulting in the death of the plankton layer and coral reefs. Fish and sea mammal populations plummeted, and the faster the biosphere shrank, the greater the investment in biotech. This was hidden from large swathes of the population – they believed that the planet was healthy, and blamed subversive influences for pessimistic information.
Partly in response to the new AI-Biotech power structures, but largely due to human misery, global religions also polarised. They became more extreme, exploiting the Internet to brainwash and recruit to their cause. But extremism and terrorist acts merely strengthened the hold of the Confederations.
Despite their best efforts, people started to turn away from traditional religions. Instead, they put their faith in AI-Biotech services provided by the Confederations. These manifested as personalised AI advisors that knew everything about individuals. The on-line advisors soothed their fears, fed them drugs, and provided endless escapism. Eventually, people lost the ability to switch off and became part of an always-on society far removed from reality.
The global reach of AI-Biotech
By mid-century, AI-Biotech could reach all parts of the planet, boosted by new satellite networks and Wi-Fi services. The Confederations ensured that every home had a device and every citizen had a smart-phone – itself driven by AI. In this ultra-connected world, it had become too easy to misinform. Genocides could be easily hidden and cyber wars raged continuously, far beyond the reach of the human mind.
But total connectivity also created a new vulnerability. The AI had not considered the possibility of a New Messiah or the power of the word.
The creation of Isoland
Axel Cain, the new messiah, was born in Isoland. Created to test new generations of AI-Biotech weapons, Isoland was also one of the few remaining places where new ideas could emerge, because of its remoteness.
Ringed by mountains and an insurmountable 30 metre wall, Isoland was built on land once known as the Navajo Nation. It is located between the remains of Denver and Albuquerque. The land is desolate and sparsely inhabited by a mix of the original Native American owners and escaped prisoners. Maxim declared them free citizens, but also used them to test out weapons and vaccines in a semi-natural state.
After several culls, the Isolanders have developed a certain level of immunity but sickness is rife. The inhabitants of Isoland have dark skin and dark eyes. They also possess ancient skills and powers that manifest strongly in the new Messiah. They refer to the world beyond the wall simply as ‘the Outside’. Some even choose to believe that it doesn’t exist at all.
However, some villages have acquired internet access, provided by disruptive influences. This has been used to recruit rebels to a false cause, and weapons have also arrived from across the wall with the help of hostile AI. Alex’s brother Salus is one of the rebels.
Located at the very centre of Isoland, the settlement is hexagonal with 50m high smooth grey walls. Gun turrets sit at each corner with movement sensors around the walls. AI operates Homested, including all logistics and other decisions. Axel Cain the New Messiah, is a prisoner here for several years.
Maxim employs 50 staff. 40 are security / troopers. He also has over 100 raiders (essentially intelligent killing machines), again processed and controlled by the AI.
The central building contains the luxurious quarters of Maxim Vorn’s family. At the centre of the hexagon lies a lush garden with fountains and peacocks, and an artificial river complete with fish. Many windows look down on this AI-run paradise, which mimics true ecosystems. The building is called ‘the Kingdom.’
The Kingdom possesses five floors, and Heidi has her own, shared with her personal tutor Cat. Maxim’s offices are on the top floor. The ground floor contains security. Steps and an external elevator lead down from the first floor to the paradise.
Buildings 1, 2 and 3
There are three other buildings (see map below). Building 1 is for new recruits being prepared for trials. The second building 2 is for vaccines, The last focuses on behavioural change and includes the incinerator. Few survive Building 3.