Friday, March 5, 2021

States of Change Chapter 31: Eureka (California)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 
Fifty independent States have forged unique societies from revolutionary technology and ideology

The Wall of SanFran reaches distant to the north and south. I look east to the expanse of wilderness beyond and my eyes tear up. After twenty years my permit to explore has finally been approved. Even as a modestly popular influencer it cost me ninety percent of my culture creds to earn the right. One week of backpacking supervised by a state conservation guide. No AR gear permitted, only the old tech camping equipment permitted by California regulation. The plasti-pad journal and a pen were an additional 10 k conservation fee.  As program launch approaches, I feel like one of the characters from that show Naked and Afraid that streamed in my thirties before the Second Data Purge.

Tracie Liu, our guide motions for me to join the group. Our eight person ensemble will be the only humans in the southern wilderness for the week ahead. Stringent environmental regulations might seem obsessive to a Century 20 Ooser or to anyone outside California for that matter. In California after the national infighting imploded decades ago ending the American Federation, our state leadership went full fission power ahead, making the wilderness the very soul of our State's constitution.

The subsequent consolidation of the three cities itself took a decade, and the reclamation of sprawl-ville continues to this day more than thirty years later. One might argue it amounted to environmental fascism, nevertheless the results are inarguable. Not only has the State prospered in the three cities building upon its entertainment, the green value of the whole state has gone through the roof. The elimination of natural resource grabs, and for profit capitalism has been a near-topia boon for the California society psyche. All the classic economists thought our State was mad to sequester land away from production and private ownership. Of course, they changed their tune or risked banishment. Nowadays, firm and compassionate pressure by our green military forces keeps dissenters in check while also enforcing California immigration protocols.

Approaching the wilderness gate, the smiles on last week's returning backpackers speaks terabytes. The eight thrilled faces radiate with elation. We mix with them for the traditional exchange party hour and their stories of the Yosemite sector further underscores the experience of a lifetime. Our appetites whetted we begin the Eureka ceremony. In the ritual each adventurer hands off their Eureka wristband to one of us. The invulnerability of the wristbands is mostly folklore. A fall from Half Dome or a confrontation with a brown bear will still be quite deadly. This ain't no sim trip. Still, the wristbands will deactivate biomites while out in the wilderness, which is critical. If lucky, a human might last an hour outside the city walls without a Eureka band on her person. Indeed, the conservation grade biomites that drift the land of California by the trillion trillions will systematically deconstruct human cells otherwise. Without the bands' proprietary gps-blockchain override you'll be a puddle of nutrients by the end of the day. The disappearance of thousands of so-called nature-libertarian speaks volumes to California's conservation efficacy since Restoration microtech was approved in '39.

With my Eureka band fastened and my backpack mounted I take a final deep breath of the sterile city air. My hope is to return anew as a trailblazing influencer, perhaps even selling my story to the AR guild. Sure I have decades of AR sim time under my belt, not to mention hundreds of multi-wikis researched, nevertheless my very essence is anxious to see if all that training has prepared me for the real thing.

I guess there's only one way to find out. Fifth in line I hike out with my comrades into the gritty green.

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