The World

The world is a fine place and worth fighting for
Ernest Hemingway

The InfoWar is global, but different regions are facing it in different ways. In many cases it is already deeply involved with local struggles, complicating the issues to no end.



China itself was reaching the cusp of its decades-long transition from brutal totalitarian communism to brutal totalitarian capitalism: a slow seamless morph from Mao to Pinochet set to the enthusiastic applause of its trading partners and the international financial agencies.
Greg Egan, Luminous
The People's Republic of China is immense, powerful and ruthless, the new Evil Empire (TM) if you are to believe the western media. The truth is that the PRC is too big and diverse to have any special characteristics.

PRC is ruled by the People's Liberation Army (PLA) since the coup in 2001, but the formal power was restored to the National People's Congress (which is now little more than a forum for the PLA and their allies) in 2006. Premier Xiu Qiyun is an old general well known for his efficiency in administrative matters; however, it is fairly clear that the real power is in the hand of the leading men of the PLA. The central goal of the PLA regime is to preserve stability. To this end it holds a tight grip over the provinces and central government, doing its best to keep the economy under control. The different provinces are however managed quite differently depending on their governors and their connections; some are still traditional command economies while others are market economies and some are practically industrial combinates themselves. Several of the more remote provinces are dangerously independent. The potential for corruption, bureaucracy, lassitude and shady profits is immense, and there have been several crackdowns on local administrators.

In 2015 PRC is the largest economy in the world, despite huge internal problems and outside resistance to its expansion. Under the PLA rulership great industrial combines have come to dominate entire regions, "Confucian capitalism" combining the Confucian ideal of a rigid social hierarchy with western corporations and classical Chinese bureaucracy. Much of the economy is turned inwards, but China has come to dominate whole areas of consumer goods manufacture through its enormous output. Through its ASEAN connections it has begun to exploit the natural wealth of northern Australia and Indonesia, setting up Chinese enclaves under strict control ("Cantons").

Mainland China has severe environmental problems, despite a large program to replace the high-sulfur coal as fuel with nuclear power. Many areas suffer from severe pollution, and erosion and desertification is damaging the agriculture severely. Demand for water outpaces the supplies, creating tricky tangles where various regions, industries and fractions struggle for exploitation rights. The envirocorps employed to solve some of the problems have so wide ranging authority that they rival some of the regions themselves.

The standard of living in PRC has improved significantly since the last century, even if the majority still lives in rather low standards compared to the West. However, there is a demographic bomb ticking away. The strong family planning programs of the '60s and forward combined with people selecting to have mainly male children is threatening the structure of society: in a few decades a significantly smaller population will have to provide for a much larger group elderly. To aggravate this, with higher living standards diabetes and cardiovascular disease have become an immense problem and will cause tremendous costs fairly soon. The rulers of the PRC realize they must find a way out of this bind, no matter what. The youth is also growing more and more disaffected and violent.

Chinese culture has developed into its own peculiar blend of Chinese and western style. It has adapted some western memes, but mutated them into a "nationalist" style that is a weird hybrid between classical chinese, communist austerity and western ideas. Western-style clothing is popular, but often almost exaggeratedly severe. The media industry is booming, and VR addiction has become another major problem. The PRC has surpassed Japan in developing its own style of cloyingly cute interactive VR characters of national popularity, or dark violence/sex/destruction epics popular among the disaffected youths. Still, the PLA has realized that it is better that people dream their spare time away in virtuals than in making trouble, so it doesn't fight VR addiction as strongly as it might.

The democracy movement still exists, despite the Hong Kong crackdown in 2001 and the Nanjing riots in 2007 where the PLA ruthlessly eliminated them. The movement has learned its hard lessons, and works discreetly in secrecy against the PLA. The West is ambivalent about giving them support, on one hand they represent democracy, but on the other hand nobody wants to anger the PRC too much. The result is that the movement gets a lot of encouragement but little practical aid, except from some groups (including the IAFAI and UA).

There also exists a guerilla movement, the Broken Star Army, in western China, often hiding in Mongolia (which PRC dominates but has little control over) or south-east Asia. The Broken Star is based on the remnants of Deng Xiaoping loyalists that survived the 2001 coup. They have turned into a tiresome problem for the PLA, since they are too dispersed to be easy to track down and attack, but now and then make attacks against outlying cities or installations. The Broken Star is little more than an organized band of marauders, but it is exploiting some new technology likely stolen from the PLA (or, as the Concordat guess, given to them by the WETF) and slowly gaining in strength.

There are many different Concordat cells in the PRC, but they have a much harsher FOG to deal with. Especially The Look Upwards Combine has shown great potential, and is rapidly becoming a major player in both Concordat activities and some of the hidden economy of the PRC.

The Middle East

People have predicted the imminent collapse of the middle east for decades, but nothing has happened. The situation is tense and no resolution is in sight, but at the same time it has become normal life for everyone involved.

Israel is slowly shriveling up economically and politically due to the slowly increasing force of the ultra-orthodox, who pose a heavy drain on its economy and political flexibility. For every year the situation gets a little bit worse, a little bit more intolerant and a little bit more violent. The intellectuals and liberals are draining to the US, leaving an ever weaker economy in the hands of politicians that cannot do much without angering anybody. The Palestinians are having about the same problem, and the zealots on both sides are busy enraging each other.

The rest of the Arab world is doing slightly better. After the west got global warming on its mind, oil has become harder to sell there. Petroleum is still an important source of chemicals for the industry, but high taxation and environmental laws are decreasing demand for Arab oil in the west. The industrialization of many middle world nations such as Mexico have provided new trading partners, but given the pressure from the blocks and the general instability of many of the deals it isn't like it used to be. The economies of the region have gone into a prolonged slump. Many Arabs feel that the west has turned its back to them, or even actively tries to hold them back.

There has been a resurgence in pan-arabism, a romantic movement back to the bygone days of the caliphate when the Arab world was the center of culture, science, politics and trade. The enthusiasts proclaim "the west has turned its back on us, let's turn our back on the west". Various religious movements are also supporting Arab isolationism and a return to the good old days of simple faith.

The TU is weak in the Arab world, but there are a few sympathizers or members with very powerful connections. Especially The New Savak is doing quite well, providing the Concordat with essential information about what is going on.


India is a country that seems always to be on the brink -- the brink of imminent socioeconomic collapse or the brink of breakthrough into the twentieth century. Every conceivable hardship periodically racks the population-plague, drought, cyclone, industrial disaster, riot, massacre, and the list seems endless. At the same time, India is a remarkable place. The country produces more college graduates and advanced degree holders than any other country. It pulled itself up from economic collapse to self-sufficiency after the departure of the British Raj. And it has a cultural history that has survived for millennia.
Clayton A. Hartjen
India is a local power in the region, a wildcard the blocks truly fear. It has a huge potential: a large, reasonably educated population combined with an economy that is on the edge of booming. At the same time it is held back by internal conflicts, corrupt government and conservatism. So far it has been held back by pressure from the blocks (often citing environmental or human rights concerns; some suggest that even more devious methods have been used to cripple the economy), but it is uncertain how long it will last. There are signs that India could break free, rapidly jump into the information era and become a terrible competitor to the blocks.

The Concordat is taking great interest in India, and encouraging education projects in rural areas as well as some universities in the cities. While the government is quite often in the hands of FOG or worse, the sheer size and confusion of the sub-continent gives the TU ample opportunity to work in the shadows. The gene pirates of Calcutta are legendary, as well as the Bombay psychologists working with integrating mental techniques with wearable computers. In the countryside the Spreading School is spreading: barefoot teachers providing essential and subversive education. Things will become interesting sooner or later.

South east Asia

A populous and potentially very important area, currently mainly run by slorks. The complexity of the conflicts are staggering.

There are plenty of local conflicts, most ethnic in nature and directed against the local juntas (and of course between the ethnicities and religions). But then there is China: off-shore Chinese form an important part of the economic structure, often having significant wealth -- which makes them the target for local violence when tensions run too high, but at the same time they pay the money the slorks desperately need. The PRC is of course interested in the area, and often sets up heavily protected cantons with the cooperation of the greedy slorks, but the old Chinese networks are often opposed to the expansion into the area and work against it in various ways. The Chinese triads are also very strong in the area, and some were founded by refuge nationalist Chinese military, and remain strongly anti-PRC. This has made the area a staging ground for the Broken Star Army, adding even more to the complexity. Then add in the TU.

The cities are reasonably peaceful and show a growing prosperity. The slorks are strong, and there is plenty of everyday corruption, but overall they work -- more or less. But this because the cities are more ethnically homogeneous than the rest of the countries, and somewhat easier to patrol.

The spread of modern communications has begun a serious shift in power. If the poor farmers can warn each other by cheap satphones that the tax collectors are coming, they can hide some of their cattle and rice crops -- undercutting the government. Not to mention what happens when the guerrillas get them. Even worse, through the spread of the Net in the cities, the city people are being exposed to subversive ideas -- and the slorks cannot remove the net without removing an important growing part of the economy.

The Concordat is involved in the situation, but nobody knows where it will end. There is a risk that the whole region collapses into a mess of ethnic conflicts like in Africa, or that it jumps ahead into something new. Even the best sociomodellers of the UA have no idea. The Spreading School, UII and the Ghosts are especially active in the area, as well as some of the Arab, PRC and Japanese cells manipulating investments.


Japan is ailing. The economic miracle of the 20th century is over, leaving a society without clear direction. The old are retiring, and with them the ideals of hard, selfless work that made the industrial economy possible. The currently active generation no longer feels its duty, and the youth is downright rebellious against a rigid, crumbling society.

Japanese industry is still huge and one half of the economic backbone of the Oceania trading block. But the zaibatsus are no longer as profitable as they once were, and constantly need government support in various matters. There is a distinct lack of radical improvement, just gradual refinement and harmless inventiveness.

Socially the youth problem dominates. Nowhere else is the conflict between the old and young so clear. The young are rebelling against the old values, something that is doubly unthinkable in proper and decent Japan. The politicians and social organizations are desperately trying to deal with the "Problem" as it is called, without much success. Some have called it an otaku revolution -- the young are channeling their energy into all kinds of directions except into becoming parts of proper society. Bunkers frighten and enrage the adults, bizarre sects sprout overnight, the Age of Mayhem, Green Nation and WETF preach openly and tensions rise daily.

The TU has a fairly strong local following in Japan, providing invaluable leaks of information from the companies, technical skills and ambition. Dawn Garden is one of the most well known Concordat groups, recruiting youth and building alternative economic networks, while the Hokusho Society is infiltrating traditional politics.


The European Union covers practically all of Europe. The exceptions are Switzerland and some parts of Balkan. Russia is officially not a member, but in practice it is run from Brussels as much as from Moscow. While the member states may not be equally integrated into the union, it is becoming ever clearer that the EU is the real power and the national governments just local representatives.


Apparently, a democracy is a place where numerous elections are held at great cost without issues and with interchangeable candidates.
Gore Vidal
Did you know that Schiller's original text for the "Ode to Joy" was about freedom? Instead of "Freude" it was "Freiheit himmlische Götterfunken". But considering the secret police he changed it to joy instead of freedom. Still, when Herbert von Karajan conducted the Ninth Symphony at Brandenburger Tor after the fall of the Berlin Wall, he changed the text to Freiheit. Isn't it amusing and ironic that the national anthem of the EU is really about freedom?
"King Mob" in TU TV interview
The European Union covers the whole of Europe except Norway, Switzerland, some micro-nations like Monaco, eastern Europe except Poland, the Czech republic and Hungary which joined the EU in the '00s. But in reality, all the European countries are dependent on the EU.

The EU organization is complex. The nation states remain, but on top of them there exists a federal level as well as a number of organizations and institutions to bind together the different levels, nations, organizations and regions -- often having very different responsibilities, jurisdictions and methods of operation. The overall strategy has been to counter an increasingly complex world by increasing the complexity of organization on the federal level. Many citizens (and even some EU people) haven't got the faintest clue about how it really works. Beside this, there is a division between the political structure and the administrative structure. They have become increasingly intertwined but still the executive branch isn't forced to do what the legislative branch decides. There is a booming business for EU experts that can help individuals and organizations to cope with this maze of political and administrative bodies. Without a guide, you're lost.

The borders are open wide for the organizations that have taken the leap to become continental. Private citizens, small companies and organizations haven't, they are way behind. This also holds true for dealing with Brussels: if you're large you can afford the lawyers, experts and lobbying groups to get good deals, if you're small you have to rely on your local politicians who may or may not help you. Note that this doesn't necessarily mean corruption (even if there have been some major scandals) but the system itself promotes big solutions on as a high level as possible, instead of local solutions.

Boring? Yes, but the EU is a sedative.

The real political games are between the federal level and the regions -- the nation states are just in between. Its a competition for subsidies, economical development, political status and large infrastructure or ecological projects. The "UMBERTO zones", urban relief projects for certain problematic areas that require special attention, are quite heavily supervised from Brussels.

The best and brightest in practically all areas -- politics, administration, industry, science, culture -- tend to move to Brussels or other centers for federal activity. Which leaves the second grade back at the national level.

The economy is stifled from the EU's heavy involvement. It is a free market economy heavily controlled by EU regulations and subsidy projects, with big companies run by people in the same social sphere as the people in Brussels. The fact that trade between the blocks isn't encouraged also contributes to the "eurosclerosis".

The EU prides itself of being the most democratic part of the world - the citizens are constantly having elections on the local, regional, national and federal levels, as well as numerous referendums. But there is a difference between rituals and real power: the mandate given by the voters is interpreted quite widely by the politicians and administrators. This is not to say the voters are right, they are usually not aware of the extent of the issues at hand. Parties with ties to the activist movements have been able to gain political influence on local and even national level.

The "European culture" is a weird mix between nationalism and eurification. On one hand, the EU wants to encourage the local and national cultures, on the other hand there is a definite EU policy to promote an united European culture. The problem is that the elements are so disparate; this confusion has created a climate where the old cultures cannot function, but no new culture has arisen to take their place. What is left is a place where Beethoven's ninth symphony is played all the time -- and people tune in other channels.

Europe is a marketing analyst's heaven. Practically everything done in Brussels or on television is first carefully analyzed and screened, and the best possible angle covered. The chorus of Beethoven's ninth symphony is used all the time, but usually carefully tuned not to seem too oppressive or gigantic. Police uniforms are designed to look friendlier and promote respect rather than fear. Official buildings tend to grow organically into complexes that have no truly noticeable shape or exterior, just to look like something on the human scale.

The TU is very active in the EU. The InfoWar is waged on all levels, and unlike in the other blocks it is clearly directed against the central power. EU is the most vulnerable and at the same time strongest block -- the Brussels administration is very thick and resilient but at the same time open to attacks of all kinds: polihacking, infohacking, plain intrigue, economic and technological subversion, propaganda and setting up alternative underground systems. Things are moving very fast here.

The Balkans

The Balkans have gradually stabilized, from civil wars to persistent terrorism to occasional terrorism to unsteady peace, usually through a process of attrition except for the Albanian crackdowns at the turn of the millennium. The EU hasn't directly interfered, but clearly, sometimes covertly, supported the "democratic" fractions control of their respective countries. The EU's political goal has been "no new Sarajevo". Note that this only means that there should be no open civil unrest in the region, it doesn't mean that the region should advance. It is poor, underdeveloped and has little political clout.


Together with the EU Russia forms the Eurasian block. Russia is still not as economically or politically strong as western Europe, but its sheer size and population gives it power. While it on the paper is a democracy with a market economy, the truth is that it is undermined by the Underground, the huge networks of organized crime, black markets and corrupt politics that thrives in the turmoil of Russian society. To deal with the crime problem there was an official request for aid from Europol in 2010; the EU was only too happy to step in. Despite a long series of political assassinations and public protests Europol has established strong ties with Russian law enforcement agencies. The result of the new international cooperation has been that the worst excesses of violence, criminality and corruption have been rooted out, but the Underground has simply become a bit less crude. Accusations continue that the EU is acting like a colonial power, that Europol is corrupt and mainly protects western investments, but many people (especially businessmen and politicians) feel that one can have the best of two worlds: euro investments, and the Russian system. And the Underground still remains, powerful as ever.

Russia is center for some of the largest environmental projects ever undertaken, including the Bajkal restoration and the systematic cleanup of the Kola peninsula. The projects are mainly founded by the EU, and employ thousands of laborers modifying the environment.

The Russian Underground is big, ruthless and deadly, a kind of dark reflection of the Concordat. Its roots stretch back to the KGB and the Soviet Mafia, to the black markets and spy networks of the Cold War. In the turmoil since then the Underground has consolidated its position as a persistent influence in Russian society. It is not a single organization, but an entire system of underground power and economy, able to exert a great deal of influence on the rest of society. Like the FOG it doesn't want the situation to change, but profit and power are foremost; it leaves the governments to deal with the dangers of change and tries to exploit them in the process.

The Underground also contains a number of researchers and technologists; Russia has a long tradition of brilliant scientists doing miracles despite (or thanks to) a lack of money and advanced technology. For many there was a choice between a dead-end job with practically no pay at a government institute, exile or the huge opportunities in the Underground. Outside members of the TU call them 'Dr. Pavlovs' and claim that like the rest of the Underground they are just interested in a quick ruble with no concern for the consequences of their work. But the Underground scientists point out that in many ways they are safer and freer than their colleagues in the West; they have powerful friends and backers, and while the Underground certainly doesn't want to change society, it has nothing against developing at least some technologies for sale on the black markets overseas. The Western TU remains ambivalent, the idea of a Russian Mafia with nanotechnology is frightening.

The rest of the TU is limited in Russia, they either have to deal with the Underground or remain completely isolated.


Australia exists in splendid isolation, not wanting to get too involved in the American mess, but in real need for revenue. It has found itself more and more tied to the PRC, something that leaves its population ambivalent. There is a lot of money in it, but at the same time it feels like the nation is slipping away from the West into the uncertain East. Many decry the PRC cantons springing up in the north as a new colonialism, this time from Asia.

In addition racism and internal violence is on the rise after the land policies that gave prime farmland back to the aborigines -- who promptly leased it to a few major agricorps. There are several groups who openly promote white supremacy against the aborigines and Asians, fought vigorously by equally fanatic "antiracists".

WETF is unusually strong in Australia. The Concordat would really like to know why and how, as well as do something about it; several Concordat cells have vanished without a trace lately, suggesting that it is neutralizing any local competition.


I'm a crazy general, I don't have to consider politics.
General Michel Taxpandjan of Upper Togo, right before he ordered the CNN team shot
The northern African nations are mainly run by corrupt slorks, having serious trouble with fundamentalist movements like the Blaze of Islam. Tourism has been in a steady decline as westerners become ever more frightened.

South of the Sahara the real trouble begins, the Fourth World. Chaos, violence, poverty, disease and starvation are rampant. The process that began with the end of colonialism is still continuing, becoming ever more depressing and violent. Ethnic conflicts have practically dissolved all the old national boundaries, and now the ethnic groups are breaking up under the strain of the chaos. Refugees flee, and bring with them their predators. What is left is marauding bands led by warlords, desperately trying to profiteer from the ever poorer population. Warlordism is of course self-defeating in the end (there will be nothing more to take), but at that point hundreds of millions will have died.

The rest of the world cannot stand by passively at this tragedy, and do try to help. But rescue and relief operations seldom give more than temporary relief (and the local warlords a real profit). There are no structures left to build on, and going in pacifying a region by force has proved impossible in practice. But the US and EU are forced to help, by their voters and their own principles. Occasionally high-profile interventions become possible when a local dictator goes too crazy or when it looks like truly unsavory groups might gain power. CNN can be expected to be on site as the smart bombs fall.

South Africa is in a tricky position. There are internal ethnic conflicts, and the chaos in the north always threatens to spill south. The nation has attempted to become a welfare state of the European or American style, but the economy has not been able to pay for it. This has made it dependent on aid from the EU and US (who of course cannot avoid paying -- there is nothing more politically correct than helping the last democratic African nation). To make matters worse, the money comes with strings attached -- South Africa is often forced into "police actions" to the north that the trade blocks don't want to do themselves.

There is very little TU presence in most of Africa, the only active cells are in South Africa, and some individuals elsewhere. Still, there are continual discussions on the Africa forum on the SubNet about what to do. A virtual foundation called Raindrop has been organized to study what can be done. At present it seems that the best solution would be to create demilitarized zones using nanotech and other advanced technological systems completely outside the reach of the local warlords; unfortunately this cannot be implemented yet due to the FOG. Some Concordat members are trying to set up cells in the Fourth World, helping them along and trading bioprospecting for advanced technology.

North America


Where is the American Caesar?
Iggy Pop, Wild America
We want to see three things in the 1988 Republican Party Platform... First, a constitutional amendment banning all abortions in the United States. Second, increased funding for law enforcement and a mandatory death penalty for drug dealers. Third, LESS GOVERNMENT.
Speaker at a 1988 Republican Straw Poll in Iowa
The United States suffers from an unofficial civil war, between the beleaguered and splintered mainstream and a growing sea of everything else. The WASP middle class and allied groups still hold the reins of the institutions, they are the major voters and the people that influence the economy. But the academic world is increasingly dominated by people of Oriental descent (and a new influx of Israeli brain drain). The Hispanics are becoming a very large fraction of the population, black ethnic movements are gaining ground, and beyond the pale other groups are growing stronger. Green Nation is competing with religious groups of all kinds to transform communities, and various lunatics band together into militias, sects, activist groups and subcultures. As a reaction a kind of "nationalism light" has developed, praising the good old American values but at the same time doing its best to be politically correct. Mainstream America, or "True America" as it sometimes calls itself is not overly unified, but at least agree that the old institutions ought to be preserved and the worst lunacy kept away. Minor details like party politics are of secondary relevance compared to this.

The US government is suffering from a severe case of power division; the three branches of government has grown increasingly apart and frequently collide in practical matters. The American people have continued to elect presidents and congress that don't match each other, and the behavior of the supreme court baffles everyone. So far relatively few of the non-mainstream groups like Green Nation, have won significant power, thanks to the election system. But locally they are gaining ground and it is only a matter of time before some get into congress. On the other hand, they do their best to influence national politics, and marches on Washington are a daily occurrence. There is also the eternal problems of minority veto appearing time and again on all levels -- nothing that is the least controversial can ever be done unless it is sneaked through the process in secret or forced by a massive public opinion.

The various police, security and intelligence forces are stretched thin; despite huge increases in budgets there is simply too much weirdness out there to keep track of. A single maniac 2015 can do the same damage as an entire cult in to '60s, and while most maniacs, rebels and subversives are too stupid or disorganized to pose true threats there are enough out there to give law enforcement officials nightmares. Add to this various ethnic movements and special interest groups, plus international crime and the InfoWar, and it becomes clear that keeping America safe is a practically impossible task that still has to be done -- on budget.

The economy isn't doing terribly well, but it isn't crashing either.

American style is dominated by the mainstream; a return to the middle-class dream of the '50s, repaired and refurbished to some extent but still with some cracks and flaking paint showing. Official architecture has returned to the traditional American neoclassicism, but since it is hard to get funding for new buildings old buildings are simply renovated and extended into large complexes. There is a lot of flag-waving and nature scenery hiding a deep uneasiness that the mainstream will erode further.

The Concordat has many cells in the US, especially in the academic belts on the east and west coast, Silicon Valley and certain small communities.

Mexico and Canada

Mexico and Canada have become tightly coupled to the USA and the rest of Oceania. Canada has always fiercely tried to stay independent from the USA but the same problem that afflicts its neighbor has now struck Canada too. The problem with the French speaking Quebec remains too, even if the French speaking aren't in majority in Quebec any longer. Mexico is in chaos; it has nearly become industrialized, but guerilla movements like the EZLN do their best to keep the country down. The Mexican Mafia has considerable power over the corrupt government. It is definitely the most problematic area in the Oceanian power sphere, but it supplies manufactured products and cheap labor to the others.

South America

Most of South America is part of the middle world -- trapped between the third world that cannot provide trade opportunities, and the economic blocks that protect their own trade and place heavy demands on the middle world. Most nations are slowly industrializing. Peru and Colombia are the last countries of South America to have a major problem with guerrillas; mostly they are covers for the narcotrafficantes like Sendero Luminoso in Peru.

The juntas no longer actively control politics, but remain shadows in the background that the politicians have to consider. The catholic church and the caudillos (wealthy landowners, now diversifying into industry) also remain important factors; decisions better be acceptable to all of them, or there will be trouble.

The cities have their share of violence, poverty and corruption but they are beginning to become major industrial centers, like Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Brazil, the continent's economic giant could quite soon take a leap into being a first world power. The Sao Paulo region is heavily industrialized and affluent. What is holding Brazil back is its corrupt politicians and high crime-rate, and of course the fact that an UN armed force is occupying the Amazon region, depriving the country of much needed raw materials. To this day the resistance of Brazilian peasants and caudillos has been quite disorganized, but it is getting better since a confederation of cells in the Concordat hired some Ghost instructors to help out.

South America provides an opportunity for the Concordat. The power elites aren't fond of the FOG, and it is possible to run certain Concordat activities under the protection of some patron (especially since it can provide an extra income). Warning, these are often mini-FOGs of their own, but at least not on the global scale. There are a few, very secretive local Concordat cells on the continent.

The Seas

For a long time libertarians and others have been dreaming of setting up free states in international water, using floating islands, extended guoyts or oil tankers. None of the projects ever got anywhere, due to economy and the ugly facts of realpolitik. However, the TU has found that it is quite possible to place "floating servers" on international water, keeping in touch through satellite networks. Usually they simply consist of a friendly captain who donates a bit of the satellite bandwidth of his ship to set up a temporary SubNet node when he leaves national water. Since no crime can be proven, and it is quite trivial to make the node vanish when needed, this is a safe way to provide SubNet computing power and earn IOUs for the captain.


Antarctica is the last cookie in the jar. Protected by international regulations, watched over by zealous environmentalists and researchers -- but also brimming with resources the three blocks would love to exploit. But as long as PRC has no claim on the continent it will lend all its strength to the preservationists, keeping the others away. And the US and Europe will of course not let PRC in on the cake. So for the time being, Antarctica will remain uninhabited and unused beside the research stations.


Space might be the final frontier, but it is more or less closed right now. While there are several well-thought out schemes for space colonization, most activities are either mundane satellite systems or high-profile research funded by the blocks. The US has been planning a manned Mars mission for decades, but only recently has the project got off the planning stage thanks to some PRC support/competition.

The international space station is functioning reasonably well, given that it is funded and run by four major agencies (the NASA, ESA, Russian space organization and the PRC space program) across the block borders. Many claim it has little real value except as a showpiece of international cooperation, media events and Big Science. Still, it has become an important part of space business since it provides an excellent way of repairing the many satellites in orbit.

The Earth is more or less cocooned in satellite constellations. There are the GPS and CPS positioning systems, several satphone networks, the geostationary commsats, small spysats, scientific satellites like Hubble II and EarthMonitor, not to mention obscure devices with no official explanation. There might be very few humans out in space, but a lot of human artifacts with eyes and ears.

See the J-Track 3D page for a realtime image of how crowded space is right now.