History and politics of COLUMNAE
We start with great news: if you haven't already noticed, there are now more than 500 of us. Hooray! :)
Now here's one more text-heavy update. Ready?
The industrial revolution was not something that happened overnight. For a long time, people perceived new inventions in the same way they perceived exotic animals or tricks with cards. The wealthy and the skillful laughed at those interested in new ways of harnessing energy, but soon their laughter was replaced with astonishment, and astonishment with respect and envy. New powerful social class was formed from those who recognized and adopted new technologies before others, and for the first time the society entered a period of constant increase in wealth, health and happiness… or so claimed those who profited the most from the new ways of production.
In this new world, the underground resources were the key to securing the political power. However, after an unexpected discovery of new major fossil fuel deposits, the supply became potentially infinite, and now the only important question was how to extract and use these resources faster than your competition. This resulted in an accelerated growth of extremely narrow technology fields, while other areas like medicine, ecology and social sciences lagged behind. This is how the same society that still hadn’t discovered antibiotics was already able to build huge and fully automated underground mining complexes.
The race in production speed led to a rapid urbanisation - giant cities and industrial areas swallowed what was once villages, forests and fields. Pollution soon stopped being just an inconvenience as heavy poisonous gases made air unbreathable in some areas. Unfortunately, the answer to this problem was not the introduction of pollution standards - the influence of big businesses on government was too massive for that to happen. Instead, the problem became another opportunity to make profit.
Beyond The Apocalypse Inc.
The government issued a call for tenders in an attempt to find a solution to the problem of air pollution. The accepted proposal that was to be funded by public money came from a controversial company called “Beyond The Apocalypse” and officially included building an autonomous high-altitude public space “Deus” for recreation and relaxation purposes - with some property reserved for luxury residencies. In reality it was intended to be a haven for the rich with the purpose of permanently sheltering them after the upcoming environmental catastrophe. Even though early during the construction Deus was marketed as a place where anybody and everybody could “refresh their lungs and minds”, it soon became clear that only those who pre-purchased real estate in Deus will be allowed to enter it once it was finished. When the real purpose of Deus as well as the existence of the inevitable catastrophe became known to the public, riots and chaos ensued. It is not known anymore how was the project actually completed and if its purpose remained the same.
Whatever the case, the poisonous gases continued transforming the surface of the earth into an uninhabitable wasteland that it is today, and soon the metallic bud-shaped shell protecting Deus was closed. Those who were left outside began searching for a way to escape: some found their shelter on the nearby Cliffs, and others improvised their new homes in Columnae - the pillars built to hold Deus high above the ground and to connect it with the underground Machina which still successfully extracts the underground resources and pumps them up via pipes. People living in Columnae have long ago perforated many holes in those pipes and are constantly using part of the resources intended for Deus.
Around 140 years has passed since this “apocalypse” happened, and Deus is still closed. Columnae are currently divided into two territories ruled by seemingly opposed and ideologically different groups. The Democratic Republic is centralized and governed by parliament (with upper and lower house), has complicated system of laws and is supposedly more liberal - women are allowed to vote, for example. The United Protectorates on the other hand are generally viewed as more conservative part of Columnae. They are ruled by a number of “archons”, united only by their allegiance to the supreme leader of the Protectorates, and allowed to individually set their own rules in the columns they control. On the surface, those differences may look important, but they mean almost nothing to the working class of Columnae. Common people, just looking for a way to make a living and be left alone see both parties as equally corrupt and heavily influenced by interests of wealthy factory owners.
Recently, a new religious teaching started spreading rapidly through Columnae, especially among poorer parts of population. It is centered on the idea that Deus is not just a heavenly place to live in, but that it literally IS Heaven, and that the “ascension to Deus” is the only goal worth pursuing. In this light, the conflict between the Republic and the Protectorates is seen as artificial and harmful, and their proclaimed ideals and goals as false and irrelevant.
When the apocalypse reduced the surface to wastelands, the only other known place for survivors to seek refuge (aside from Columnae) were nearby Cliffs. Naturally elevated enough to still sustain some flora and fauna, but without the luxury of resources coming from Machina, the society and culture on the Cliffs evolved in a different direction from those of Columnae. Communication and trade between the two areas were generally non-existent or minimal, but recently exotic and luxury goods are increasingly being smuggled from Cliffs by a group of individuals known in Columnae under the name of “Air Pirates”. Through those, the word has also reached Columnae that certain “Oil Baroness” is building an enormous Greenhouse Dome in the middle of wastelands with the purpose of extracting oil from the ground, and hiring people to live there and work for her.
For a change, today's game recommendation is not a point and click adventure! What a surprise! Instead it's a "post-apocalyptic action adventure with player driven dialogue, weapon customization and fast-paced combat". The main character is a dog ... AND a motorcycle garage mechanic who "decides to leave everything behind to find the truth behind the disappearance of a girl". They are currently on Kickstarter (but not for long!) and have just reached 100%, congrats guys! We backed Buck, and you should definitely at least check it out!