Node C -06 The Prisoner Alt 05:00 - Spectre Wins
The gate is in Mammoth Caves
In this alt, Spectre wins the great shadow war in the 1960s and 1970s.
It's 2013 now. The world has become globalized with multinational corporations running much of the world economy. Everything is glitzy and flashy and decadent... but people are growing slowly more poor and don't know why.
In many cities, it's not what you know, it's who you know and in some places, money can buy you anything.
It looks a lot like modern day earth, but with a deeply cynical cast.
Governments look similar, but are run by tools of corrupt powers, and their job is to see that the Right People are never bothered. on the side they can take bribes to do the the things they should be doing.
From Bejing to Bolivia, From Washington D.C. to the Australian outback - it looks like borders are open, and trade happens - sometimes money flows, sometimes things get better for ordinary people who serve some mega corp.
The long term outlook is not pretty.
Reformers and crusaders for the little guy get discredited by scandal, bought off or die in mysterious accidents. Cops who don't go along to get along are run off the force or killed in mysterious accidents or crimes.
Inside the Elite Circle, there is a super-elite, the numbered chairs of Specter. You get one of these by buying it and the price is heart stopping.
In return the numbered chair gets ownership of a chunk of the earth. His subordinates must obey or be terminated.
The Numbered chairs act as an executive committee, they can depose any other member by vote. The deposed member is usually killed.
Number 1 and number 2 run the executive functions of Specter as well as acting as the chief enforcers of Specters will.
Deep down, this group is designed to run the system for maximum personal profit, and maximum profit to the organization. (Everyone pays a cut to the organization)
Getting wrapped up in something costly and destructive, Like a war aginst vengeance crazed action heroes, or diving into one's personal vices to the point of neglecting business ... well the board will ignore that until it affects the bottom line. Once that line is crossed, the offender is usually exterminated and a new board member is selected from the second ranks.
If a national leader miss manages his country to the point of civil unrest and loss of productivity, he is removed and a new puppet put in his place.
It's hidden fascism.
Although in some places the Spectre affiliate is the national leader, in other places they're CEOs of mega corps, and the political faces are just spokesmen, meant to sell the program and take the blame.
The numbered chairs, there are 13 of them, conduct espionage and plot against each other. However if this becomes public or destructive enough to impact the Bottom Line, then both members run the risk of being eliminated - as do their subordinates. It can take time and quiet maneuvering for #1 and #2 to arrange forces properly, but when they strike - the results are permanent.
Each chair has 8-15 subordinate chairs, who are usually highly placed people in their own right.
For instance chair #6 might have responsibility for north America and count among his subordinate chairs the CEO of Noxxon oil and the Chief of Staff of the U.S. Air Force.
This structure is a lot less fluid than the ruling elite of the real world, so for people in the know, it makes itself more obvious and is more damaging to Morale of people who observe it.
The various fiefs are run in a distinctly mafia like structure. Loyalty and getting results count. Outsiders are sources of profit or obstacles to be eliminated, nothing more.
As part of their master plan for control, the United states has more draconian gun control laws - armed cattle are less fun than helpless cattle.
Goods available on the market are similar to todays, but much more locked down and pay as you go. IP law is strictly enforced, and violations carry heavy penalties.
Drugs are decriminalized. In the 90s drug cartels tried to break away from Spectre. This lead to horrifying "Civil" wars and bloodbaths.
Now, corporations own drug manufacturing. Drugs are of a consistent quality and quantity.
In this world, low priced goods and services are of poor quality. But better quality is available by paying more. The rich people own stuff equivalent of any luxurious modern day. All the economic energy is being sucked out of the lower levels, the base first.
Almost none of this would be visible in the Mammoth Caves region. Local towns struggle under a slowly strangling economy.
In Bowling Green:
The economy runs on US dollars, these are different US Dollars meant to be more conterfieting resistant. Older types from off world can be changed at the bank..
Prices are high and wages are low. Gun Control means that firearms are single action. Hunting rifles are lever action. Handguns are revolvers. Ammunition is older types, consistent with the guns available. All are are 200% the price compared to our earth. gunshops can only sell 100 rounds of any caliber at a time.
Gear is available, but it is of cheap quality. It costs the same as average quality stuff. High quality stuff is available at boutique shops, if the buyer shows he can afford it. They have a list of acceptable people, for whom military quality firearms are available.
Cars look older and they're lemons. People are poor, so they're nursing old machines and keeping them in service for much longer than in a more wealthy culture.
If revealed the Gate will be cause for "National Security" concern.
Local cops are more interested in meeting citation quotas and asset forfieture than protecting people. People with auto loading weapons will have them confiscated and be issued sizable tickets.