All posts by paroughan

Pat Roughan – Metal City

In the not-so-distant future, technology has advanced significantly. Humanity passed beyond Steven Mann and Google Glass, and perfected the art of merging organic bodies with robotic pieces. It is routine practice in this part of our future for people to undergo procedures to replace their working limbs and parts with robotic replacements. These replacements, called Augments, allow any person to become superhuman; for a price, of course. People who have the means to chose to get the Augments, but others either did not have the money or disagreed with the practice. Non-Augmented people, dubbed Organics, were viewed as lower class citizens by the Augmented. Sports and other entertainment events became split between Organics and Augmented, and each became hateful from the other. Laws changed, companies and institutions became separated, and society became split into Organics and Augmented, with the Augmented acting as the group in power. Without Augments, Organics became unable to participate in many ways of life, since entry to events, shopping in most stores, and going to certain doctors required valid Augment Identification.

The hate finally burst into the Revolution, a time when Organics protested the actions of the Augmented. Riots broke out, Organics attempted to break into Augmented-only zones, and Organics demanded that Augmented politicians step down from power. The Augmented fought back, taking away more of the Organic rights, until a civil war broke out between the two sides. Organics tried to fight using the guns and bombs of their fathers, but the Augmented soldiers had the upper hand. After thirty years of war, the Organic population was silenced, either through death or legally forced Augments.     These events led to mankind’s desire to Augment not only themselves, but the entirety of Earth, a time known as The Evolution of Earth. Oxygen producing factories replaced vast forests, and 3D printed food destroyed the agriculture industry. In this new world, man saw no need for the natural world. Some animals were kept for Augment experimentation, but most species went extinct during the Evolution of Earth movement. As humanity Augmented the Earth, they continued to Augment themselves, and eventually became a race of purely mechanical beings. The natural world of Earth was entirely replaced by vast metal cities. Though these cities were originally powered by the sun, wind, and sea in the time of the Revolution, the Evolution of Earth required much more power. Weather machines created constant lightning storms in certain areas in order to power the new world. The cities in this area were constructed with large clear ceilings outfitted with lightning rods and water collectors, so the constantly falling rain and lightning would never strike the city itself.

In this new Augmented world, the previously human beings work much like bees did in the time of nature; each body acts as one part of a super-colony, and though each has the ability to think on it’s own, they act as drones for a much larger project; in this case, maintaining the huge cities that grant power and shelter to their society. Everything is automated in the cities, but physical errors still happen, and maintenance is required on most of the machinery. In addition, program errors in the drones can occasionally cause chaotic drones that cannot connect to the colony mind, which act as the new world’s criminals and lunatics.

Now the world has reached what we would see as the truly distant future. Deep in the city of Nexus, the monitor drone DTL-08 (known as DTL, or “Deetle”) hovers around the rooftops of the city, ensuring nothing has gone drastically wrong at any of the stations. During DTL’s patrol, an alien form darts past him, jumping from rooftop to rooftop. DTL is able to get close enough to run an analysis just before the alien darts off again. Computations show that the alien is a “deer,” an Organic unit from before the Evolution of Earth. After uploading the image to the colony mind, DTL receives a response from another drone stating that the Organic Containment Facility has been compromised, and a number of Organic beings are now running around all of Nexus. As the only drone on patrol, it’s DTL’s responsibility to trap the Organics so they can be returned to containment.

DTL’s job has two parts: Find the escaped Organics, and trap them. Finding the Organics involves searching rooftops for their heat signatures, and getting close enough to them for a clear image to upload to the colony mind. The Organics will run from DTL if they see DTL, so stealth is required for this part of the job. Once an image has been uploaded, DTL can download information on the Organic’s patterns and behavior. The next part of the job is for DTL to capture the Organics so they can be returned to containment. In order for an Organic to be trapped, it needs to have no valid “moves,” or places to go beyond it’s current location. This can be accomplished by DTL changing the layout of the rooftops to make it so the Organic becomes cornered or otherwise surrounded by blocked space.