From the Introduction:
In the late 1900's, corporations took advantage of low taxation and many hundred acres of available land in the mid-eastern region of North Carolina to create Research Triangle Park. The goal of the development was to create an aesthetically attractive area in which large companies could perform their R&D with physical and political privacy. Though the original tenants were diverse, large pharmaceutical firms eventually dominated the region pushing out all commerce that did not support their functioning. These firms still stand, though most have branched out into related fields such as genetic engineering and mega-agriculture. The ever-looming influence of the Bible Belt plus
good old Southern tradition prevented 'artificial' life technologies such as cybernetics or electronic subdermal implants from taking root in favor of more 'natural' or 'organic' methods. Attaching a bionic arm may be a social faux pas, but regrowing one using 'all-natural' and 'locally produced' pharmaceuticals (actually synthesized from various non-native plant and animal species raised in a lab or greenhouse) seems perfectly fine around these parts. In fact, it's quite amazing what folks will accept as “natural” sometimes.
Residents of the Triangle take great pride in what they call their 'pristine wildernesses.' Most of the time these supposed 'preservations' are in fact built around megacorp headquarters or universities, both as a display of influence and a buffer against spies, protesters and the government. Stray too far and you will soon end up in what's now simply called the Interior – the former cities of Raleigh, Durham, Cary, Morrisville, Carrboro and Chapel Hill. This sprawling mass of haphazard urban
planning houses most of the middle and lower class populations and service industries. While not terribly dirty, the Interior is vastly overcrowded and unpleasant to view since much of the original natural beauty was transplanted for 'protection.'
The relative affluence of the Triangle during the difficult economic times of the early 21st century attracted a wide variety of emigrants from across wildly different cultures and backgrounds. Unfortunately, some of these cultures did not mesh well together and racial tensions reignited, further aggravated by a new structure of ethnic social stratification. Well-educated immigrants from East Asia – particularly Chinese and Indian – took the lion's share of the high-paying technical pharmaceutical work. The “native” population, most of which had some combination of Caucasian, African and Hispanic heritage, failed to catch up to the rapidly progressing technology and were largely relegated to unskilled labor. Reaction to the Asian immigration influx created 'purist' groups among each of the various "native" ethnicities. The purist groups tend to be small due to the difficulty of proving single-ethnic heritage but the few that exist can be vicious.