Crack in the Wall
Crack in the Wall
You live in Promise Sector 23. Or maybe you died there. Either way, you probably know it more by one of its more common names: Hunger City, the Crack in the Wall or simply The Zone. Officially, it and all other Promise Sectors are simply arease where private entities have stepped into the growing chasm between local government’s responsibilities and its ability to pay for them; a corporation taking over the provision of basic social services, from sanitation to maintenance of order in exchange for exclusive right to all commerce within. Most of the time, Promise Sectors are just contemporary company towns, suburban enclaves where half the residents work for the corp and the other half operate the company stores where they shop. The Zone is different; besides being the largest on the East Coast, PS23 exists not only because of some arcane set of socioeconomic factors, but also a barely-understood disaster theat struck the region about seven years ago. Barely understood by all the officials and civilians outside the Zone, at least; all they saw was news reports about a sudden spike in gang and urban warfare, or maybe it was a plague, or possibly an earthquake. The dark truth that’s whispered around the Zone is that it was all that and more, and that it probably had something to do with the vampires.
Life and Death in the Crack
Most outsiders have no reason to go there; the name “Crack in the Wall” itself is a dig on people outside who think that the entire Zone literally existsinside the checkpoint in the Wall that separates the two, and have no idea that there’s an entire civilization just on the other side. Those inside also stand virtually no chance of ever leaving; exiting the Crack means paying the Company for their goods and services which have supposedly sustained your life for however long you were inside. These prices are set by the Company itself and tend to be exorbitantily high for anyone but the incredibly wealthy, and even they can mostly only afford short trips. A Zoner who’s lived there since the Wall went up would today owe an amount larger than the GDP of most any Latin American nation if they wanted to actually get out, supposing they could even pass the health inspection and background checks that prove they don’t pose a threat to the nice people out there in the real world.
On the plus side, as long as you mind your own business, you can go months at a stretch without even seeing anyone who represents any kind of governmental or even Company authority. For the most part, the Company keeps up its end of the Promise Sector contract, supplying dispensaries with the vaguely food-tasting nutrient paste (now in three flavors) that keeps most of the Zone alive, occasionally sweeping streets clean of whatever trash hasn’t been converted into building material by squatters or eaten by the cat-sized roaches that seem to have chased all the rats into the ocean and “maintaining order,” usually by razing to the ground any neighborhood known to harbor any criminals bold enough to threaten the existing Syndicates.