Past investments allow SAR citizens free access to unparallelled Interface bandwidth, at least when the power’s on: live Immatrix broadcasts are the latest luxury, allowing the audience to feel actors’ every sensation in real time. 24/7 celebrity gossip feeds, bootlegs of L.A.’s latest, manhua webcomics, and mahjong gambling “schools” are welcome distractions from the squalor of life underground. Of necessity, the region is a hotbed of innovation for wearable air filtration gear.
Hong Kong’s “fragrant harbor” is a fetid mess; seasonal typhoons and pollution from mainland factories fuse into month-long acidic downpours, forcing the masses into warrens extending hundreds of meters into the bedrock. Only The Clean can afford the augmentations that keep unfiltered time outdoors non-lethal; everyone else makes do with coated raingear and filter-masks. When the Air Pollution Index dips low enough, the streets erupt in impromptu festival; there hasn’t been a safe day in years.
On the surface, the city is thriving. But triad and corporate corruption of government officials has enmeshed the city in debt, and left it unable to maintain its infrastructure, negotiate with the mainland, enforce the law, or compete as a port. Periodic power outages turn the slums into a claustrophobic hell for hours at a time, with air filtration and temperature control limping along via jury-rigged batteries.
This Transmission was released as bonus to backers of the Technoir Kickstarter.