Boulder City Chronicles — Part 0 — Introduction

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Intro post. When two worlds merge and their races have to coexist, the job market fluctuates and some breeds get left behind. Decades after the dimensional tear, people are content to live out their lives as if this were the norm. Some are less content, however, to simply accept this New World.

I’m going to do my best to relay these stories the way they were told to me, with a little creative observation strewn here and there.  Consider me the narrator: a faceless entity in all of this.  I might be one of the characters, I might just be reporting, or I might not even exist at all.  The way things played out, though, beginning to end, someone has to know.

As of my writing this, we live in a world where humans and “monsters” coexist.  My accountant is a giant fly, my mailman is a werewolf, and my favorite actor is an elf.  It might seem like chaos to you, and I’m sure it did to us at one point.  This kind of thing is the norm, these days.  Maybe that’ll change.  I don’t really know.  I’m just here to tell you what is, what has been, and what happened.

I collected these stories from, well let’s just call them acquaintances.  The truth is, I don’t know how much of it is skewed by perspective.  I just know that, right now, everyone in this city is still trying to sort out what just happened, and maybe this will help.  Maybe it’ll just make me feel better about it all.  Who knows?

Boulder City isn’t an especially bad nor especially good city. Every city in the world has their weirdos and their crossbreeds, some with higher crime rates than others. Boulder City, though, was (at the time) perhaps a little above average insofar as nice places to live, only due to Aiden Traux and the many companies that he owned and ran out of this very city. It was no secret that all of the tiny companies with the name Traux written on them were just subsidiaries for CyberCorps Industries, a global monster of invention and creation, ranging from space travel to cybernetic enhancement to foods that adapt to your personal preferences. If it was something someone had thought of at some point at some time, Traux had capitalized on it.

When the boom of non-humans swept the planet, the veil being torn between this dimension and another where humans didn’t even exist, Aiden’s father Maxwell was the first to speak up in favor of living peacefully with this new world. Overnight, the city we lived in suddenly had doubled its population as freaks appeared on the streets calling this their home. The only sign that this truly was our earth, and not some other dimension, was Traux Towers. For all the mutants and monsters that our world absorbed, none of the newcomers recognized the towers. They could tell you the name of any street and how to get anywhere, but Traux Towers were exclusive to this world.  So we knew, without a doubt, that this version was our version.  We were the originals, and these other things were just unwelcome guests.

At first, it was chaotic. Suicides, homicides, threats of genocides, pesticides, and all out civil wars started. Gun nuts flashed their weapons and protected their rights to kill anyone who wasn’t like them, religious nuts burned their neighbors for being witches and demons (which, to be fair, they actually were), exorcisms had a grand coming back, and riots filled the streets.  The chaos only lasted for two days, when Maxwell Traux took it upon himself to be a beacon of hope in an otherwise torn world.

People didn’t much like the idea of a military state. There had always been conspiracy theorists who knew it would happen, but damn if it wasn’t the only way to keep us from destroying ourselves and all of those people who came here against their will. Traux set in motion, without government approval (though he easily got it afterwards, along with a few peace awards and probably a giant ice cream cake with strippers or something), an act that allowed the hiring of individuals nonhuman, and the firing of anyone who wasn’t okay with that plan. The fine print in this act gave Traux the right to do unlimited testing on those non-humans (with proper compensation for their time), and also allowed him to genetically alter any human so that they could better ‘fit in’ with the current times. Of course, he didn’t reveal this part of his plan until just before he died, and his son Aiden took over the company, giving a new flavor to CCI, by new blood for new blood.

Most humans have a little something on the side, nowadays. It’s never genetic, though it’s common knowledge that it usually changes the taste of their blood. Some of them want implants, some want ‘super powers’, and some just want to look weird, but pretty much everyone just takes what they can get. It’s not a cheap process, and the results are not always exactly what they expect them to be. But, in this day and age, humans are having a hard time keeping up without some sort of alteration, what with trolls taking all of their construction jobs, dwarves taking over the engineering departments, goblins running the waste disposal businesses, and the list goes on.  Even hookers have been replaced by insatiable succubi, and (unless you’ve found someone with a human fetish) it’s impossible to compete with a demon made for sex.

Most humans can’t even make enough money to feed themselves, let alone live in anything bigger than a cardboard box. So, suffice it to say, CCI has made trillions of dollars off of people who have nothing, to give them something so that they can finally be back on par with the rest of the world, so that they can make enough money to maybe one day pay off CCI for all the work they had done. But hey, if that endless loop comes with the satisfaction of being able to at least work for a living and maybe get a date every once in a while, it’s worth every penny.

The only thing that CCI hasn’t made a fortune off of (because they can’t figure out how to do it) is people who aren’t human who wish that they were. For a company that’s been doing human testing far longer than they can legally admit, they’ve only had about half a century to toy with the other races, and so far there is no way that they can find to change them. The assumption is that, since they’re from another reality, our sciences don’t apply to them. The counter argument to this, then, is why our alcohol and other drugs effect them just the same.

DNA, though, is a whole other ballgame, and CCI hasn’t been able to find a way to change the DNA of anything that wasn’t originally from here. It had taken this long to learn as little as they still knew about DNA compared to what there was to discover, and now entirely new factors -impossible factors- had been thrown into the mix. Even scientists were beginning to simply shrug and resign that it must just be magic.  With only one generation passed, even cross-species mating isn’t entirely understood. Of course, you can’t mate a goblin and a harpy and get a human or anything like that, but oddly enough most of the new ‘people’ had tended toward their own species up until the time they came to this world. It was like melding dimensions with this other world somehow meant their rules no longer applied.  Now, you get a Giant hooking up with a werewolf, and I just shudder to think what their children would look like.

Before recent events unfolded, you didn’t find the Humanist types in big cities anymore. Lots of them had gone to jail for taking extreme action against people who never did anything to them, while the rest just decided they wanted nothing to do with it all and left. There are colonies all around the world where ‘freaks’ aren’t welcome, and more often than not they’re content to leave the Humanists alone. People like that can’t survive in cities, especially not these days where every corner has some new surprise or skin color or deformity.

Of course, with any major change, corporation, or social upheaval, there comes the other side. The other side isn’t always strictly against what the main side is doing, but they’re usually some flavor of not-all-for-it with a little of we-could-do-it-better sprinkled on top. In this case, you have the aptly-named Underground. The Underground are mostly humans -people without jobs or hopes for a future- who have nothing better to do than complain about the way the system works and ‘sticking it to the man’. However, amidst the whining and the fist bumping and hormonal imbalances, there are inevitably always people who actually know what they’re talking about and why.

Residing in the literal underground (a sub-city area where the subways used to run), somewhere mixed up with lowlifes and nobodies there’s a group of folks that call themselves Ego. Fliers can be found all over the underground for Ego, and in a few places in the actual city. The fliers don cartoon characterizations of the Id (depicted in the flier as a chimera with the head of a lion, body of a horse, a snake for a tail, and tattered eagle’s wings ) and Super-Ego (the CCI logo given arms and legs and a great big sword) fighting to the death. The Ego in the background is shown as a pair of angelic wings, and below the picture is this text:

A secret war wages between what you are and what you’re told to be. Embrace Ego, find balance in this world where your instincts are being suffocated by the corporate hammer of CyberCorps Industries.

At the bottom of each flier there are a bunch of little serrated tabs of paper, the front having EGO on it in big red letters and a phone number with an out-of-town area code just beneath it. On the back of each tab was a date and time, and a physical address for a location on the streets somewhere. As corny as it all might seem, it was a very good marketing strategy, because most people took a tab just to remember the hilarious cartoon on the front, but many actually called and showed up for meetings just because their curiosity couldn’t avoid it anymore.

Outside of all the political junk, though, most of us live like normal people.  We wake up, eat whatever our digestive systems demand, go to work, come home, eat again, rinse repeat.  Some people party at nights or on weekends.  Some people have odd lines of work, while the majority of the population is made up of tax-abiding citizens, human or otherwise.  It took us a long time to get to this point, and even longer to actually accept it.  We share this world, this city, for better or for worse.

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