“And there shall be no more death….” Rev. 21:4
The issue of human mortality has been solved, or has it? Technology now allows the upload of one’s neural network, (net) the source of human consciousness to Cloud. Cloud began with experiments to preserve the greatest minds (Gems) performed secretly in underground labs, so these extraordinary individuals could voluntarily continue their work for the betterment of humankind. As the covert projects needed funding while still maintaining secrecy, immortality or, “imming,” was offered to the moneyed elite for a price few could afford.
As rumors got out, and the technology improved and grew less costly, this service expanded to the middle-classes with independent or employer supported afterlife programs that covered the cost of transference and maintenance, later dubbed, “TM plans.” Protests and political pressure brought Cloud under the control of an international elected board, “The Committee for the Administration and Maximization of Cloud,” aka, The Committee. Riots by right-to-afterlifers and politicking led to a policy of socialized immortality, subsidized by a global tax. Subsidized linksites allow human interaction with Cloud residents, or, “Ims,” for, “immortals.”
The Committee, a dedicated group of scientists, computer engineers, health care professionals and citizen monitors ensured the smooth function of Cloud, updates, repairs, intercepting hacking and other threats. But soon trouble showed up in Paradise, with petty clerks demanding bribes for links in under-served areas, tyrants and special interest groups fought for control. While maximum security was in place for the Gems, other Cloud populations lacked those resources, and were subject to kidnap hacks, where lone wolf and hacker groups would demand ransom in the form of money, sexual and other favors or political compliance with the threat of subjecting their im loved ones to torture and abuse.
Increased frequency of Cloud hacking, with Cloud a prime target for terrorism, an alliance of military, politicians and clergy, (The Alliance) seized Cloud and took control of The Committee, subjecting citizens, Ims and loved ones to a cruel, petty banana republic, inescapable, even in death. Citizens initially agreed with the logic of security advisers, who insisted that threats of eternal punishment would act as a deterrent to a spreading epidemic of violence. A religious order, Karma Nation, ran on a platform of the utility and justice of an afterlife upload commensurate with one’s deeds, joined by the Purgitors, a party that insisted on an Im upload diversion program, where all new ims fulfill a sequence of reflection and correction prior to promotion to Cloud. Several extremist factions of the different parties seek to wrest control of Cloud, in order to promise heaven to their loyal adherents and hell to their enemies. Hackers, bureaucrats, clergy and various political factions battle for favors, bribes, indulgences and political power all gained via access to Cloud .
A forgotten, off-the grid, research group with back-door access to Cloud via a specialist sub-contract , “DawnStar Systems,” aka,” DawnStar,” embark on a quest to destroy Cloud, with the covert assistance and united agreement of Gems, Cloud residents and other rebels.
Their mission: Return heaven to the gods, hell to the demons, and life to the living.