Page 1

THE


an

online

sim ulat i on

g a me

depicting our future as a world divided by levels of pollution. Each zone is a projection into a possible future; all projections are based on current facts.


S eve n t y

years

in

the

fu t u r e ,

the world has changed into a dynamic global marketplace. It has also changed into a waste dump. The little land available for habitation has been cleaved into zones, with each region being marked by its level of toxicity. Each zone is carefully monitored with its own standards of toxic materials and environmental practices, and border patrols are akin to warzones. Only the elite are allowed to move between regions— once a person crosses from a low toxicity zone to a high toxicity zone, they cannot go back for fear of contamination. Mee t

J e d , short for Jedidiah. His father raised

him after his mother passed away. Thankfully, Jed was born as a normal, healthy baby. Some infants have mutations of too many or too few limbs– and those are the lucky ones, treated with surgery or bionic prosthetics. There are times when the problems are more complicated, with defective organs,


1


hormone systems, and brain damage. The healthiest infants generally manage to slip by with two or three potentially lethal allergies. Jed’s mother’s greatest gift to him was his health, as he had no mutations, and as far as doctors could tell, no allergies. But numbers of so-called “toxic” children have been steadily increasing, despite all medical advancements. But

J ed ' s

u n usual

h e a l t h could be

because Jed lived in Zone 1, the cleanest zone out of the four. It has the best schools, the best toxicologists, the best hospitals, and the best military. Peaceful and undisturbed, Zone 1 is the ideal place to live. Like a parasite, Zone 2 skives off of Zone 1’s anti-toxin technology, and sells it at three times the price to its own citizens. The rich waste it while the poor fight over every droplet. The mafia thrives in such conditions, making heavy profits off disadvantaged citizens, while the police in Zone 2 terrorize the powerless. Despite its violence, Zone 2’s air is still breathable and clean water is obtainable.


2


ENTER

ZONE

3 . Unchecked and untreated, Zone 3

is in a desperate shape. For the past seventy years, the ecology in the toxic zones has been mutating to create an entirely different ecosystem. A sip of untreated water in Zone 3 is lethal, especially to young children. It would affect the elderly too, but people rarely live longer than 50 in such a toxic climate. Water is, undoubtedly, the most expensive commodity. The community tries to help one another, and social infrastructures are in place to provide for the less fortunate, but it’s hard to do much in a decaying world. J ed ’ s

b ee n

to

Zone

2 on a couple of field

trips, but nobody is allowed to go to Zone 3. Once a person enters Zone 3 without the proper HAZMAT suit, they’re never allowed back into Zones 2 and 1 for fear of contamination. People try to escape, of course, but the armed border patrol is like a barbed-wire fence with a one-way flow. Kids whisper about the monster creatures that live in Zone 3: mutated beasts


3


that have developed curious tastes for human flesh. Acid rain that can reduce corpses into bones and buildings into rubble. And the people themselves– curiously misshapen heads with decreased brain mass from pregnant mothers ingesting dirty water. Short, stooped figures from lack of proper nutrition due to food scarcity and developmental problems. Mutated limbs sloppily treated by well-meaning doctors. Zone

4 , as even Zone 1 kindergarteners could tell you,

is an abandoned site. No one really knows what it’s like, but they’re told that it is the same as the Waste, which is the rest of the world that is too toxic to inhabit. It used to have a thriving community, but a freak storm wiped it off the face of the map. There were no survivors.


4


J ed

g re w

up

re l a t i v e l y

n a ive

to the political squabbles between Zones. His father, an elite researcher at the Epidemiology Department of the IBE (Inter-zone Bureaucracy for Environment), was gentle and kind, though eccentric. His father was always reviewing old documents and recent news articles on the Zones, late into the night. One day, his father disappeared. And everything Jed ever thought he knew about his life changed. The Border Patrol came to his house and took him away to Zone 4, the Waste. But what Jed soon found out was that the people that came to take him away weren’t actually the Border Patrol, but the Anti Zone, a resistance group that was thought only to be a legend. He learns that the Anti Zone had a number of wellconnected undercover members, including his father, who was discovered and eliminated. Together, Jed and the Anti Zone members go to Zone 4 where Jed sees for his own eyes...


Well—

that’s

for

the

g a me .


S pe a k

Lab

Sharon Kong Fall 2011 sskspeak.tumblr.com | tellmeastory

The Zone Game  

An introduction to a fictional game about water pollution in a dystopian future.