The City

The City is your world. Beyond its streets lies only insignificance and irrelevance. Everything and everyone of importance is here. Nothing beyond The City matters.

Over ten million processes live in The City. Some hundred thousand are part of the Arba, the Four Families, whose alliance and privilege let them rise to power and control The City. Their all-encompassing Corporation funnels property and reputation to the Arba, letting them maintain their tight grip on The City.

You and 9.9 million others are Nikan - those without family, "the alone." The Arba live above; the Nikan live below. They are wealthy and respected; you are poor and unheard.

The City is grime and neon. It is polished glass and dirty concrete. It is smog and lightning, a sky the color of television tuned to a dead channel. It is airships and rickshaws, spiraling highways and the twisted Maze of the Nikan.

The City is your life, and you are its blood.

The Nikan

  • We are all "processes". (Everyone gets processed at birth, their code checked to see if they're actually part of the Arba.)
  • Cover for one another in front of the Arba.
  • We all have each other. We are all crushed beneath the Four Families.
  • Know the Maze well.
  • The Arba can't stop us from having art. Manga and zines are everywhere. Finely painted Mahjong sets, tarot decks, etc. are commonly handed down from parent to child.
  • Nightclubs, street art, arcades, games houses, and all manner of nighttime activity are common, since no one sleeps. The Maze is constantly being repainted with murals.
  • The Arba think you are stupid. Don't get caught.
  • Respect your elders
  • Fighting is outlawed - but there are some underground clubs anyway.
  • Ghosts should be respected and listened to.
  • The MCP and its various subroutines are sentient creatures worthy of respect and veneration.

The Arba

  • We are all "citizens", or sometimes "cousins". Call the Nikan "Nikan" as if it were their name.
  • Never talk to the Nikan about how we do things or why.
  • Family is everything. If you didn't have your family, you'd be no one. Betraying your family is unforgivable. Other families are always are out to get you.
  • Make sure everyone knows what you are. Have pride in what you are. There is no pride in trying to be what you are not.
  • It's not arrogance if it's true.
  • The only Nikan who matter are those with talent - artists, singers, dancers.
  • Respect the aged - to a point. Once they've lost their edge, you can ignore them.
  • You don't fight within your family. You don't fight other families where the Nikan can see it.
  • Ghosts should be ignored or studied, not talked with.
  • The MCP isn't sentient; its subroutines might be dangerous and powerful but they're just natural phenomena, like the weather.

The Four Families are: the Hiim, the Agra, the Kula, and the Matr. House Matr is currently in power, and their leader Divu Matr, is the leader of the Corporation. It is said that there were once other families in the City, but that all their names have been erased, and that is why the Nikan no longer have family names.

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