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Pushed to the brink farther back than anyone can remember, humans remain only in the bastion of the Tower. Run by the power of an artificial star and the research of biological engineering firm Strand, the Tower is a model of efficiency. Find Your Fate , Strand's slogan, is taken literally. Citizens of the Tower must perform a function, well, and not just by typical human means. Strand's research has yielded Augments, installed directly in the body to maximize the output of the system. Everything from lung capacity to blood flow to memory storage can be enhanced with a circuit, chip, and spark. The most powerful of these is the Beacon. Every few decades, a young woman is chosen from among the populous to become the Seeress, and Fitted with an Augment that converts her life force to combustion. In time, the Seeress becomes the Beacon, a star to shine down over all the Tower, to grow its plants and power its homes.
Citizens of the Tower are divided by occupation, deigned by Strand Supervisors throughout their Academy education. Students undergo constant screening and monitoring. Interest is weighed against efficiency. Students are guard-railed into careers that suit them best, then Augmented to peak performance. In a contained space, hundreds of square miles, only those can provide can remain. Contribution to the Tower determines a person's residential level among its three Layers.
The lowest level of the Tower, the only part of it that touches the crust of the planet. The Nether is the only part of the Tower with unrestricted animal life. Indigenous wildlife from beyond the Tower lurks in forests, lakes, and mountains for study by Strand biologists. Residents of this Layer include a range of people deemed Unfit to contribute to the Tower, pushed to fringe villages and outpost towns. Law enforcement here is a phantom vestige, serving only to keep the supports of the Tower safe and corral any unsavory "wild-men". Downshipping to the Nether Layer is a grim fate, wished on few and accepted by fewer.
The middle layer of the Tower, home to the majority of the populous. It is where most are born, and more Find Their Fate. This layer is laid out over a residential grid, a sector for each square mile, each with its own specialization. Some focus on generating energy from the Beacon's light, some produce construction workers, and yet others farm soy and other vegetables, efficient food sources for both the Terra and Venter Layer. While rife with roads, only the highest middle-class officers are afforded the luxury of cars to travel between them. Most Terra citizens live on a track- attend their birth-sector's Academy, attain the skills necessary for a given occupation, get Fitted for an Augment, and relocate to the sector of that occupation. The majority finds laborer or simple technician jobs, the lucky become engineers or scientific officers, and the truly gifted can ascend to the Venter if proven fit for administration. After extensive evaluation, those with no measurable propensity for a preferred skill are labeled Unfit and Downshipped to the Nether Layer. The Terra Layer is supervised by the Secretary of Defense, whose office commands both the common guards, the Ranks, and the elite Bolt Rangers.
The very apex of the Tower, and of the society Strand has nurtured. Children born in the Venter are extensively analyzed to ensure resources spent on them there will be funneled back into the community. Only the most talented and affluent are allowed to remain here, the home of the Beacon. Just under the Tower's life-giving star lays the offices of Strand's highest ranking officials; lawmakers, researchers, and Augment developers. Here lives the Strand Chairman and his Board, responsible for the baseline of everything for what remains of humanity. Between residential clusters are countless parks, solar collection zones, and picturesque business complexes.
The science fiction ebook of Quincy Famino: artist, dropout, terrorist, accidental savior. The first of three free books in the Strand trilogy.
Coming at a later date.
Coming at a later date.