In my quest to worldbuild a dystopia that integrates a "live-action MMORPG" and the concept of eugenics applied on a large scale, I have revamped the original outline of this world (which I'm just calling "Eugenics Dystopia" for now). This is a portion of the summary, which I hope you will enjoy.
It started with the homeless. The "transient epidemic," as they called it. The illegal immigrants were next. Then the nonhumans. That word alone should say something about how they were thought of back then. "Transients," as though they were a temporary problem, "illegal aliens" as though their very existence were against the law, rather than simply the way they entered the country, and "nonhumans." Not humans. Less than humans. Sub-human. As if humans were the standard by which all other races should be measured.
The Committee for the Preservation of Civilized Society (CPCS) had become much more powerful than anyone had thought they would. After all, CPCS was a radical group. They didn't pull their punches, and they didn't lower their goals just to make them more palatable to their audience. But that very drive, that honesty, seemed to meet some political need that the people hadn't known they had. Support for the CPCS surged, and within five years, they were a major political movement, making changes that no one else had dared to. They were ending homelessness by putting the homeless into homes. They were eradicating illegal immigration by... well, mostly blocking immigration altogether and promoting isolationism, demanding a self-sustaining economy. All those people that had complained for years about sub-standard foreign goods were all for it, and it seemed to be moving in a very positive direction.
There were the nonhumans. No one came out and said they were inferior to humans. But there were undercurrents to the news stories. How this troll had failed to understand the consequences of those actions, or how this elf had set fire to a human dwelling out of an overblown sense of "revenge." Gradually, the news shifted until it seemed like every story that featured a nonhuman was delivering these unconscious slights. They weren't "sub-human," but they just didn't fit into human society. They ought to be separated, given a place of their own. Of the ethnic groups that had previously seen poor treatment didn't seem to notice that the same thing was happening to someone else. The ones that did (mostly the Native American tribes in Central and Pacific Northwest America) didn't do anything to stop it.
If they're focused on them, then it won't happen to us. That's what they told each other, or so we can only assume.
There were, of course, those that resisted. The homeless who didn't want to take on homes and employment. The nonhumans that didn't want to be held to human standards. The immigrants who needed to support their families, but couldn't do so when the paperwork for a green card took more than a year to process. Those that fought back became "the enemy" in the public eye. The public was so enthralled with these changes that were supposed to make America "whole" that the news never featured the stories about asylums and rehab centers shutting down. The "neurodivergent awareness" that had been all the rage before the CPCS started its major push into the political arena seemed to fall away. The loudest voices, the strongest proponents, quietly disappeared. Their social media presence faded or disappeared entirely. There was nothing left of them, and no one thought about it - or if they did, it was only in a passing way. "I wonder what happened to those guys."
Behind the scenes, the CPCS made a deal with the Fair Play Game Organization, formerly an investment company that specialized in gamer culture. They had found an investment too good to pass up, and started to expand. It was in "beta" for more than three years as they built up their "game base." When they finally went live, it was simply called "the Game." For a modest subscription fee, you could direct a real person through real adventures. In exchange for room and board, training and gear, you could sign on with the Game and become a Grinder. But what made this really groundbreaking, what made it different from all those LARP events still held nationwide, was the enemies.
Fair Play had paid millions of dollars to a magitech research company in North Dakota, who were performing controversial experiments to create new creatures. The original intent had probably been to revive extinct species or something, but when Fair Play stepped in. they found a more lucrative endeavor. Create monsters for the Game. Fire elk, river snakes, tree rats, swarming crickets, giant owls. Some only lasted a short while, but others were miraculously fertile, and started to breed - both with their own kind and with their mundane cousins. When the saber wolves started breeding with their kin in the wild, the result was smaller, but hardier than the original monster, and after three years of population buffering, the Game was ready.
People loved it. Players subscribed by the hundreds, and just as many signed up as Grinders, signing contracts for 20 years or life, depending on how much gear they wanted to start with. The Game was the biggest thing since the Sega Genesis, and the public just ate it up. They didn't ask where the extra people came from. The CPCS was free to funnel the aggressive homeless and the resistant nonhumans into the Game in return for some financial favors.
10 years after the CPCS had started muscling onto the political stage, the original framework for the nation collapsed. For a number of reasons, not the least of which was the steady attrition of the low working class, the economy failed, the government ground to a halt, and the isolationist policies of the last two presidential terms robbed them of any external support. This was later called the "Collapse," and resulted in widespread panic and an abortive move toward anarchy, which nearly resulted in a second civil war.
The CPCS, one of the few large organizations to have survived the Collapse, took control of several large cities on the eastern seaboard, and expanded slowly from there, south and west. The new country called the Neo-American Nation (NAN) was founded in the wake of the Collapse, unifying those cities that survived under the rule of the CPCS, now simply called the Committee. In addition, the former states of North and South Dakota were more or less owned by the Fair Play Game Organization, with close to 90,000 square miles walled off and dedicated exclusively to the Game, which by then was almost entirely self-sufficient.
Together, Fair Play and the Committee organized a social structure that fed "unproductive citizens" into the Game, and sold the fruits of their labor or the contents of their daily lives to the citizens of Neo-America on a subscription basis, providing for them the freedom and excitement that had been filtered out of their lives when the Committee set in place certain rules for their safety and health.
In the modern age, there are so few nonhumans in Neo-America outside the Game, that some are even convinced that they were created (like the fire elk and the saber wolves) by Fair Play, and belong in Game as "natives." #Worldbuilding #Dystopia #TooMuch