The Quadrant Archive
QUADRANT FUNDAMENTALS: The following terms describe the main concepts
and basic components of The Quadrant environment. Choose any link to take
you to a description, or simply scroll down the page.
LINKS: The Quadrant, The
System, Screen/z, Auto
Upgrade/s, SysProg (System Programming),
Nowtime, Out of Tech,
The Quadrant: A
Thousand years ago, travellers from a war ravaged and dying Earth, fearing
extinction, sought out and built a temporary enclosed world called "The
Quadrant" on Titan, the largest of Saturn's moons. From here they explored
the stars of deep space, searching in vain for a habitable planet to colonize.
After a few generations, the original mission was forgotten, and The Quadrant
gradually devolved into a strange life of its own.
Physical description: 10,000 square kilometers of physical/geopolitical
space bounded and covered by an enormous dome, goverened and/or controlled
by The System (see description below), inside which approximately 5 million
people live and work; also, a place in time and space, a closed artificial
environmental system heated and lit by an advanced form of atomic power,
and running on a 24 hour clock 360 "artificial" days (and nights)
per year (see below for amplifications).
Enfranchised inhabitants (those connected to The System) know little
of the "outside" and seem to have no curiosity about it. To them,
there is nothing outside The Quadrant but darkness and death, or an environment
so toxic that it would mean instant death. The Quadrant dome's physical
design reinforces this insular view: climate control systems provide lumination
during what is called "day," but the inner surface of the dome
is opaqued so nothing on the outside is perceived. Lumination is dimmed
at "night" and features a rudimentary artificial "starscape,"
reputed to be akin to something seen and enjoyed by The Quadrant's forbears
over a thousand years ago. To: TOP of Page
The System: Generally, the
political/social/communications structure governing and organizing social
life in The Quadrant. Specifically, it is a permanently on-line electro-chemically
interfaced telecommunications computer network connecting all enfranchised
inhabitants of The Quadrant to Krania (see below) and to each other. The
physical link used, simply called a Screen (see below), is a small audio/video
communications device worn on the inside of the forearm and connected through
the skin to key nerve groups (see "Screen/z, below, for amplifications).
To: TOP of Page
Screen/z: Name for the 6X8
centimeter A/V communications unit worn by all enfranchised inhabitants
of The Quadrant, which is fixed (strapped) to the inside of the forearm.
The device houses two separate systems, (1) a video telecommunications unit
with its own transmitter and receiver (the "screen" part), and
(2) an electro-chemical interface receiver which is plugged into connectors
implanted under the skin.
These small connectors are installed at birth and attached to a complex
set of neural receptors in the body by means of an electro-chemical interface,
providing a way for specific digital transmissions to be routed into the
body through the interface connection to the neural system, and then on
to the brain. The System uses the interface receiver to pick-up the constant
series of signals it transmits to all enfranchised inhabitants. The signals
are transformed by the interface into a kind of synthesized substance which
stimulates neurotransmitters in the limbic system of the brain. The stimulation
makes all activities more pleasurable and increases the problem solving
powers of the brain. However, The System is not as much designed to improve
brain capacities of people as it is geared to keeping them at a certain
level of pleasurable alertness , i.e. addicted to The System.
The Screen's design incorporates a laser-cam lens and mini-light source
(at the top of the device) for visual communications transmissions, such
as televid calls between individual enfranchised inhabitants and/or between
Krania and anyone connected to The System. The unit features a 4X6 centimeter
video receiving screen, multi-use alphanumeric keypad, and a small speaker
for audio. It has an A/V suppress mode which can be activated during downtime
(sleep), but this can be overridden by Krania if it is deemed that A/V transmissions
are necessary to communicate certain critical information.
Each Screen assembly carries an encoded personal screen I.D. number
assigned to the person who wears and uses it (usually for life). Enforcerz
systematically compare the I.D. numbers of Infractors' (law breakers) screenz
against their educenter data records to check for irregularities or evidence
of tampering. Willful alteration of a Screen or screen number (though seemingly
an irrational act) is Anti-Korpus (a serious crime) and punishable by temporary
disconnection from The System. Any person in possession of a screen with
an I.D. number which fails to match the original screen number assigned
to that person is immediately disconnected and exiled to Downshaft (see
Reconnect/s, Disconnect/s, Sanctions, etc. below). To: TOP
Auto Upgrade/s: Automatic
changes in The System transmitted Audio/visually and/or electro-chemically
through the computer telenetwork constantly to all enfranchised inhabitants
of The Quadrant. Auto Upgrades introduce new options and new Regs (laws),
enable new instrumentations and modes of communication, refine and adjust
the constant "neurotransmitter-stimulus" of all in the Quadrant,
and generally "enhance" the System, making all older forms of
interface (and sometimes screen) communications technology obsolete. To:
TOP of Page
SysProg (System Programming): All
organized transmissions, including Auto-Upgrades, Quadrant wide surveillance
monitoring, Quad Information and Virtual Entertainment transmissions, and
all official announcements, originate from the master (and only) network
communications broadcasting system (called "SysProg") located
in Krania Tower in Krania (see the "Important Quadrant Locations"
page). If the transmission is deemed important enough, SysProg will even
override personal screen communications between enfranchised inhabitants
of The Quadrant. To: TOP of Page
Nowtime: The state or condition
of being "online," or connected to The System -- properly stimulated
and with a fully operational interface and screen -- on the "Boardz"
(including "downtime" or sleep). Also, the normal mode of an enfranchised
inhabitant. To: TOP of Page
Out of Tech: The state or
condition of being "offline," or disconnected from The System
(no stimulation or screen communications capability). If temporary, the
initial sensation is physically and psychologically traumatic and demoralizing,
causing disorientation, confusion, often nausea, and in extreme cases, loss
of the will to comply, or even physical death. When actually reconnected,
a "Recon" undergoes a painful and maddeningly draining re-absorption
process, requiring tremendous exertion of energy and will to learn new upgrades
lost when deprived of Nowtime (connection to The Sytem).
If more than 72 hours elapses before a reconnection can take place (whatever
the cause, including accidents), it is physically impossible to get back
to fully upgraded status. In this circumstance, the subject either dies
or suffers the ultimate indignity of "involuntary disconnection"
(if an accident) or "voluntary disconnection" (if more than 5
infractions have been committed). Both result in expulsion from the System
to an area of The Quadrant below or "off" the Boardz known as
"Downshaft" (see below). To: TOP of
Board/z (also Inner and Outer Boardz): A
series of six concentric circular areas, or rings, extending from the center,
or "first Board," (7 Boardz in all) outward to the outer boundary
of The Quadrant dome. These are the designated places in The Quadrant where
enfranchised inhabitants -- those people connected to The System and who
share "Nowtime" -- live and engage in activities to enhance, support,
or sustain The System ("work").
The first innermost board, called Krania, is primarily the province of Conzecs,
or Virgins (those who have never been disconnected from The System), and
at its epicenter stands the monolithic "Krania Tower," where the
top people (The Director, Praetorz, and their assistants) work managing
Nowtime and The System. Many of the enfranchised inhabitants of The Quadrant
work in the "City" but few of them (only Conzecs) live there.
The second Board -- or the first concentric ring out -- is for Conzecs only,
and is simply known as "Conzec Board" where all facilities and
services are first class and where The Kolony, and other elite Conzec living
areas, including The Reezort, are located. Many of these on the innermost
edge of the ring, have extraordinary "City" views across a wide
lake ( simply called "The Lake"), which, like a vast circular
"moat," divides Conzec Board from Krania.
Moving outward from Conzec Board, the remaining 5 "Recon" Boardz
stretch into the hazy distance with various "greenbelts" separating
them. They house and service -- with substantially less luxury and more
crowding as the distance from Krania increases -- the numerous "Recon"
population of The Quadrant (law breakers who have been temporarily disconnected
from, then re-connected to The System, suffering a consequent demotion of
status). Recon 1 and 2, known as the "Inner Boardz," support approximately
a million and a half people of The Quadrant. Though not luxurious by any
means, living conditions on the "Inner Boardz" are adequate, facilities
are clean, and services are reliable.
However, this is not the case on the "Outer Boardz" -- Recon 3,
4 and 5. Because the Outer Boardz must support over three million people,
significant overcrowding puts a huge strain on all facilities, resulting
in poor quality services, squalid conditions, and pervasive unrest among
the population (see Quadstat, Standard Domestic Units, below, and entries
on the "Important Quadrant Locations" Page). To: TOP
Standard Domestic Units ("Domz," "Minis,"
or, "Stops"): These are houses
or apartments (living units) available to enfranchised inhabitants of The
Quadrant. In Krania there are a few extraordinarily large penthouses in
the city and approximately 25 mansions located in Praetor Park, an exclusive
area on the first Board. Most of these are purchased from former members
of the Quadrant's top management elite who, when replaced or retired, move
out of "The City" to Conzec Board. The houses or "Domz"
available on Conzec Board may be purchased or rented (from other top managers
or "Privates"). Domz on the inner circle, with unobstructed views
of Krania across a wide lake, are exceptionally luxurious and expensively
appointed, often boasting 30 rooms or more and fully equipped with one or
more wall sized Screenz on every floor (see The Kolony).
Toward the outer circle of the largely forested Conzec Board, the Domz are
smaller (10 to 20 rooms with one wall Screen), yet still very comfortable.
At the outer edges of Conzec Board are the "domplexes," which
look out over a wide, richly landscaped greenbelt, toward Recon 1 Board.
These contain six 6 room mini-doms, or "Minis," each with a half-sized
wall Screen per unit and central laundry facilities. They are usually rented,
mostly by mid-level Quadrocrats, or by young assistant managers and junior
designers, fresh out of the Inztitut.
Progressing outward from Conzec Board, almost all living units on the remaining
Boardz are rented rather than purchased, and their quality and size diminishes
as the distance increases from Krania. Recon 1's inner circle features a
few Conzec style "domplexes," but most are eithier 12 or 24 unit
2 story buildings with four room "minis" per unit and only one
central Screen per building. Recon 2 Board has a few 24's on its inner circle,
but most are 3 story 48 unit buildings with 3 room "minis" and
four centralized 4 shower bathroom facilities per floor (there is no common
Screen room). Recon 3 Board predominantly features the "96ers,"
which are 6 story 96 unit buildings with 2 room "Minis" and two
small single shower bathroom facilities per floor. The "96er"
motif is largely repeated on Recon 4, but a good number of the 2 room "Minis"
are converted to "Stops," or one room living units (putting greater
pressure on sanitary facilities).
On Recon 5 (the most populous Board), a handful of the "96ers"
exist, but only on the inner circle. The remainder of the Board features
a large number of 8 story 200 unit "Stops," with one small bathroom
per floor and one shower stall (at the other end of the hall from the bathroom).
On the outer fringes of this last Board, the "grey giants" loom
up out of the dark, swirling, gritty air (poorly maintained climate control
equipment characterizes conditions on the outer boundaries of The Quadrant).
These massive 20 story unpainted concrete structures house fully 800 Stops.
Almost all are shared, and many (called "Semis") are divided in
half in order to create extra income for those willing to sub-let the other
half for a few extra "chips." There are 4 free standing chemtoilets
per floor and and one shower stall every fourth floor, with 4 outside showers
(sprinklers) on the ground floor. To: TOP of