‘New Messiah‘ is set in the latter half of this century. AI-Biotech originated from the merging of Artificial Intelligence and Biotechnology. By 2070, independent and fully automated processes design, manufacture and release biological agents in a war of attrition over dwindling resources. Biological agents (typically viruses) are able to target by area, race, gender, family, immunity and a host of other characteristics. At the same time, other intelligence ensures citizens of the world never learn the truth – that they are living in a new mass extinction and first in the queue.
The AmRus and E-Fed AI-Biotech Confederations
Following evermore destructive AI-Biotech wars, the USA and Russia overcome their traditional stances and join forces with Europe, forming the AmRus Confederation in response to E-Fed. Rival E-Fed developed out of a necessary trade agreement between China, North and South Korea and Japan. Behind the visible policies and motives of the confederations lies a more sinister objective – to decimate the global population whilst preserving their own elitist lifestyles.
The AI-Biotech Cabal
The AmRus powerbrokers are 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. Each member of the Cabal represents a dynasty, passing on power to their descendants. The dynasties of interest are the Brights and the Vorns. As conditions worsen, AmRus forms an alliance with E-Fed, exchanging information and sharing technology, whilst seeking small victories. The murder of Walther Bright, Chair of the alliance, leads to destabilization and in-fighting. Read more about the main characters here.
A new disruptive force emerges in the shape of a new Internet channel, TheTruth. Created by trillionaire Adam Jovas, the new force exploits revolutionary quantum hyper-chaos tech, able to piggy-back on existing networks to reach a global audience. Adam bases his blueprint for global survival on a book written a century earlier – Small is Beautiful – a Study of Economics as if People Mattered, written by E. F. Schumacher. Adam’s empire is based in London, and he effectively rules the last free city on Earth.
The Global Ecosystem
Focusing so much attention on the AI-Biotech arms race has left the planet to rot. Massive, uncontrollable fires further decimated forests and tundra, releasing hundreds of millions of years of Carbon into the atmosphere. The oceans have become 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 were led to believe that the planet was still healthy, and blamed subversive influences for pessimistic information. A rising sea level and rising sea floor (due to tectonic heating – where increased weight of ocean causes the sea floor to heat further and swell) flooded many cities and reduced land areas by 25%. San Francisco, Los Angeles and London, which are visited by the novel, all have suffered greatly and are much changed.
The global reach of AI-Biotech
By mid-century, AI-Biotech could reach all parts of the planet, boosted by new military satellite networks and Wi-Fi services. The Confederations ensure that every home has a device and every citizen has a smart-phone – all driven by AI. In this ultra-connected world, it has become too easy to misinform. Genocides can be easily hidden and cyber wars rage continuously, far beyond the reach of the human mind.
But total connectivity has also created a new vulnerability. The AI has not considered the possibility of a New Messiah, or the power of the word. And when Axel Cain finally joins forces with TheTruth, a new force is unleashed that cannot be stopped.
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 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’s 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. Isolanders 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. E-Fed is behind the incursion, seeking to disrupt AmRus.
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. New Messiah Axel Cain is a prisoner here for several years.
Maxim Vorn 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. 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 is for vaccines, The last focuses on behavioural change and includes the incinerator. Few survive Building 3.