Mar 29th, 2013
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  1. SPARCS: Ch1
  2. >Be year CE 2097 on Earth
  3. >Or close to 2097, it’s a little bit hard to tell
  4. >Humanity has advanced, regressed, and stagnated… depending on who you ask
  5. >Some twenty to forty years ago was The Collapse; a massive global breakdown of the interconnected webs that made up economies, communication, infrastructure, and culture
  6. >Nobody is too sure what exactly happened, some say the increasing conflicts between failing nation states drove it, others say the explosion of new and fearful plagues, several are quite vocal in pointing out unrealistic ideologies and policies, and countless other reasons cloud the airwaves as well
  7. >All that most people can agree upon is that several wars happened, delicate communication and infrastructure collapsed, and many people were thrown into a temporary dark age due to overdependence on unsecured technology
  8. >Anything more than that is diluted and spun by the various factions and ideologies into painting their enemies as causing it
  9. >However, that was then, this is now
  10. >Humanity as a species as recovered; electricity restored, cities rebuilt, farms reestablished, satellites reconnected, factories retooled
  11. >But it always seemed that there was a lot more just being left in ruins or to decay; massive slums sprawled out from every city, clean water and food were expensive, and large swaths of Earth were borderline anarchies where your safety ended at the range of your gun
  12. >Despite all of this technology marched on
  13. >The majority of advances were in a few select fields due to the massive reduction of the collapse
  14. >Communications, cybernetics and body modifications, computers, manufacturing, meta-materials
  15. >These fields dominated the research labs and academies
  16. >But some things were not as good as they were before
  17. >Knowledge lost, resources denied, and wealth diminished made the average man’s life a bit worse off in the terms of comfort as electronics, travel, education, and even food and water became a lot more unobtainable
  19. >The Collapse forced most of the outdated and inefficient nation states and ideologies into extinction
  20. >In this vacuum emerged several powerhouses of force that formed thanks to having the right people, at the right place, with the right resources, at the right time
  21. >A massive regressive religious movement called The Orthodoxy that seeks to end all of the ‘evils’ of man
  22. >Several African nation-states that use excessive military force as the solution for all of their problems
  23. >An expansive Indian super-state that has a massive hate-on for all of its neighbors
  24. >Collections of Mega-Corporations that rose the from ashes of the collapse; each one as powerful and shady as the nations of before
  25. >And of course the xenos…
  26. >The Equine Refugees
  27. >They came to Earth about five years ago through a planet-wide ‘portal storm’
  28. >No one quite knows where that name came from, but it seemed to describe the giant rips in the sky for those two faithful weeks pretty well, so it stuck
  29. >Small colorful quadruped creatures appeared on almost every continent
  30. >They were fractured, scared, and almost hopeless when they saw what they landed in
  31. >But it was still a step up for them; they came from a dying world
  32. >None of them could give a reason WHY their world was dying, or even have an agreeable description of HOW, but all they knew was that they couldn’t stay there
  33. >However, soon after their arrival their ‘gifts’ became well known
  34. >Proficiencies in “magic” and arcane sciences allowed them victories against localized groups
  35. >From which they carved out small chunks of stability and dominance in the world
  36. >Not enough to threaten any human power, let alone humanity as a species, but enough to give pause
  39. >But that doesn’t concern you too much
  40. >For you are Anonymous, Anon for short
  41. >Mom was some sort of hippy activist who was against everything ‘normal’
  42. >People were wearing shoes; she went bare foot. People ate from grocery stores; she grew her own garden.
  43. >People gave their children normal names; she gave you a name to show how she ‘fought the system’
  44. >Based on the teasing you got as a child you weren’t exactly too fond of her for that…
  45. >You are an employee of TerraFirm. Part of the N.Amero Comm Team 51 to be precise.
  46. >Job Title: Omni-Tech. It meant that you were required to know how to fix, research, and create anything that you would ever need for anything.
  47. >You were also Deployable Rated, which meant that you needed to be smart, agile, flexible, adaptable, and ‘enhanced’ with several implants
  48. >…
  49. >In reality this meant that you spent ALL of your damn time in schooling or training to learn the most basic of things, only to then owe a few decades of service to TerraFirm so that they can get their investment’s worth out of you
  50. >Also your job sucks
  51. >Specialized in system control/repair, rated as a 5 or higher in all board proficiencies, full STEM ground work, minor implants, full access to the VPPnet
  52. >But what do you do?
  53. >”Hey Anon, someone hacked into the printer, it keeps saying PC LOAD LETTER. Fix it”
  54. >”Hey Anon, the company car won’t start. I think I heard something about it needing more headlight fluid”
  55. >”Hey Anon, the secretary is out and I need someone to fix the coffee maker”
  56. >You fucking hate your job
  57. >”Hey Anon, if my computer is moved to another cubicle will all of my programs still be on it?”
  58. “…No, they won’t…”
  60. >As you left that day your phone rang and lit up your buggy VHF transponder implant
  61. >The implant which is supposed to connect you to a network, not just malfunction and ping every-fucking-thing within fifty meters that has an antenna
  62. >”ANON! You faggot! You coming down to the Tap tonight?”
  63. >The place that you found your employment is a coastal locale called Bay City
  64. >Two guesses on why it’s called that
  65. >With a deep breath you took status of your situation
  66. >Worked sucked, your asshole of a friend is annoying you, one of your jacks in your neck is itching like crazy, and your implant just bugged out and is constantly pinging your phone like a clingy girlfriend, which you can’t even disable until you get home
  67. “GAAAHHHH!”
  68. >To put it lightly you were a little angry
  69. >But you still figured getting drunk with your friend is better than going home
  70. >You kick a chipped bit of sidewalk down the street
  71. >After a few minutes of fuming a loud scream is heard nearby, and then quickly silenced
  72. “Not my problem, not my problem-“
  73. >Right down the side street you are walking by are three xeno ponies and a guy in a grey coat
  74. >And the three ponies are beating on another pony on the ground
  75. >No more than a few meters from where you are standing
  76. >…
  77. >Just keep walking and ignore that
  78. >*Ping*
  79. “Huh?”
  80. >*Ping*
  81. >Your VHFT just located the guy’s PDA
  82. >Before you can do anything about it the guy steps away from the beat down and reaches for his pocket
  83. >But stops as he sees you
  84. >”The fuck you looking at?”
  85. >It’s cool, just look scared and walk away and then he’ll leave-
  86. “Sorry, I didn’t think they piled stacks of shit that high”
  87. >God Damnit Anon
  89. >You stand there like an idiot with something to prove
  90. >He comes at you like an angry, pissed off, street scum
  91. >It quickly becomes apparent that the guy is rather large and has a few inches on you
  92. >But before you can react in any meaningful manner he punches you square in the jaw
  93. >Blinding pain shoots through your head as you drop backwards and land on your ass
  94. >And then a little slab of silicon and phosphorus in your spine notices the pain signals
  95. >”That’s-“
  96. >[Nociception Implant: 0xFF7: Pain threshold detected]
  97. >”-what-“
  98. >[Nociception Implant: 0xFF9: Priming epinephrine]
  99. >”-you-“
  100. >[Nociception Implant: 0xF01: Routing reflex]
  101. >”-get foAHHHH”
  102. >Your fist kicks out and hits the guy
  103. >Right in his crotch
  104. >He falls over with a slump in front of you
  105. >But in your chemical rush all you can feel is energy
  106. >And pain in your wrist from that sucker punch to the pelvis
  107. >The rage and annoyance that built up from the day is unleashed on the guy in front of you
  108. >You jump up and begin kicking the guy in the gut as hard as you can
  109. >Then, when he curls into a fetal position, you began stomping on his side and knees
  110. >With every yelp he gives you can feel your rage subside a bit
  111. >A minute later you back off and give a look around
  112. >The gray coat was lying on the ground, breathing heavily. Two of the three ponies disappeared, with the third being thrown against the wall. The pony that was on the ground was now up and finishing kicking the hell out of him
  113. >Holy shit, she left him in a worse state than you left thuggy here
  114. >After giving a final kick you start to walk over to her
  115. >She was bruised and muddy. Her purple coat showed slight scuffs on it, and her white-blue mane was flattened and somewhat dirty. A tattoo-
  116. “Cutie mark”
  117. >-of a shooting star lay upon her flank. She seems… appreciative? Apprehensive?
  118. >She meets you halfway with a slight limp
  120. >”Hey…”
  121. “Hey…”
  122. >Her purple eyes meet yours and she tilts her head
  123. >”Uhh… thanks for that, I think…”
  124. “Ha… yea, no problem”
  125. >Then, before you can react she hugs you at about waist level with her front hooves
  126. >You freeze for a second before returning it
  127. >A memory floats to the surface: Ponies tend to be very physical when expressing emotion
  128. >And another floats as well: Ponies aren’t that populous in this area
  129. “Uh, do you want me to get the Police or something for you?”
  130. >”Huh? NO!”
  131. >She jumps back a bit before continuing
  132. >”I mean no, it’s fine. Just let’s get out of here, huh?”
  133. >The two of you walk back to the main road, avoiding the groaning guy on the ground and the beaten pony against the wall
  134. >”So, uh, can you do me a favor and point me to the metro…”
  135. “Sure, I’m going that way for a bit. I’ll just walk you there”
  136. >The two of you talk “polite conversation” considering you both just got out of a fight
  137. >Several strange looks are given to the two of you, most to the beaten pony walked next to you
  138. >Eventually you pass by it and show her
  139. “Yup, there it is. Red line”
  140. >”Thanks…”
  141. >She walks but turns back
  142. >”I’m sorry, I never caught it”
  143. “Huh?”
  144. >”Your name. I like to get the names of pon- people who help me in fights”
  145. “Anon. Call me Anon”
  146. >She giggles a moment before responding
  147. >”Mine’s Cloudchaser.”
  148. >Cloudchaser?
  149. >Wow, you thought your mom gave you a shitty name
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