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. Bringing a plasti-pad journal and a pen along ran an additional 10 K in conservation fees.  As the exploration program launch approaches, I feel like one of the characters from one of those real stream shows I used to watch, like Naked and Depraved, but that was decades ago, 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 Southern Wilderness Area 2 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 in the 30s at the end of the American Federation, our state leadership went full fission power ahead, making the wild lands of our state the very soul of our constitution.

The consolidation of the three cities itself took a decade, and the reclamation of sprawl-ville continues to this day forty some odd years later. One could 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 roots, but 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, those dissenters mostly changed their tune or risked banishment. Nowadays, firm and compassionate pressure by our land management forces keeps would-be Keynsians 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 as we mix with them for the traditional exchange party hour. Their stories of the Yosemite sector in Area 2 further underscores the experience of a lifetime ahead of us. 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 the multitudes of biomites while we're out in the new wilderness, which is critical. the conservation biomites that drift the land of California by the trillion trillion will deconstruct human cells not within a Eureka field. Without the bands' proprietary gps-blockchain override codes you'll be a puddle of nutrients by the end of the hour. The disappearance of thousands of so-called nature-libertarians speaks volumes.

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 with a trailblazing spirit to further my career as an influencer, perhaps even selling my story to the AR guild so others can taste the wonder. With decades of sim time under my belt, not to mention hundreds of meta-wikis researched, I feel prepared, nevertheless anxiety bubbles in my synapses, waiting 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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