«Here man and the sum of his knowledge will never die, but go forever forward to perfection»
Zardoz, John Boorman, 1974
All around the world there were planned more than twenty Megalopoli to shelter the rich and powerful, although some of them never were more than a simple project and a few of them have been destroyed. Not even the Eden dreamed by the world elites was really such a thing, as envy, corruption and hate, inherent to the human race, survived inside these idyllic walled havens.
This megalopolis was planned for the wealthiest people in the east coast of the former United States, raised over the ruins of old New York. It hasn’t hesitated to use its military might against other megalopoli when it saw it fit, annihilating the neighboring countries of Cuba and Venezuela even during its own construction, as it saw them as potential threats to its future safety. Now both Caribbean zones are vast radioactive badlands due to the amount of nuclear bombs launched on them. This megalopolis was the first one to reach the technological peak dreamed by its rulers, which in the long term led to severe problems of laziness, indolence and weariness among its population, which didn’t find any motivation or pleasure whatsoever in its mere existence inside that high-tech paradise. Ambrosia, a synthetic drug which greatly increases the sensory and perceptive capacities of its users, is becoming a trend among the most decadent elites. The side effects caused by its continued use and abuse are giving the authorities some serious headaches, that have been forced to set up some kind of “asylum-jail-quarter” in the old isle of Manhattan to seclude those worse affected by the drug, in an attempt to put a stop to this modern plague.
Maple Leaf City
The Canadian megalopolis was a “rara avis” among the world Megalopolis. Setting itself apart from the global planning for their creation, its rulers even let those poor middle-class bastards inside the city and offered them something similar to welfare inside its walls. It was less populated than the standard among the megacities, and it even put in motion several sustainable development plans to be completely green and ecological. Its only mistake was to be built far too near to Liberty City, which erased it from the face of the world with two devastating thermonuclear attacks before its communist hippious utopia spread to any other city.
On the west coast of the former United States a megalopolis was created much in a natural way. For many years San Francisco, Los Ángeles and Santa Mónica had grown in size and population until they became a single urban area to almost all intent. Clearly Latin in population, this city always felt closer to the Latin American ones, especially to its close neighbor Nuevo Álamo, than for the far and demanding Liberty City. The hideous ravages caused by street gangs in the old three cities were almost entirely eradicated in the new megalopolis, as its rulers made a huge sweep of all undesirable elements before sealing the city gates. But due to that forced eviction, the Wasteland around this city and the south-west area of North America has became one of the most dangerous and lethal places in all the world, as the scum who survived the purge and its adaptation to the hard, barren lands of the Wasteland is the worst of the worst out of an already nasty selection of individuals.
A city that shouldn’t have existed, but thanks to putting wads over wads of petrodollars and narcodollars on the table became a reality. Texas oil tycoons wanted to build their own Paradise on the south coast of the country, but those damn bureaucrats from Washington kept inventing all types of legal obstacles to undermine the project (it was basically out of pure fear of losing their supremacy in the new world order, as the least competition they had at their own home, the better). When Liberty City turned Cuba and Venezuela into radioactive wastes even before the megalopolis was finished, the great fortunes of the Gulf of Mexico started desperately to look for ways of seeing their project through without their northern neighbors’ green light. Help came from a morally despicable and not much appealing place, but the sheer amount of money contributed to the project helped a lot to ease any prejudice: billions of dollars from the drug cartels of Central and South America. Between both groups of power raised Nuevo Álamo/New Álamo (both names are legally accepted out of mutual respect) from scratch, a divided city from the very moment of its creation: for now both groups accept each other and live together more or less correctly, flashing their money, class and education, but down in the bottom there exists a hive of rivalry, cultural barriers and prejudices that sooner or later will set it all on fire.
Shielding themselves against extreme poverty and the ongoing street riots caused by the revolting population, the great fortunes and governing elites from South America’s Atlantic coast built an idyllic city fit for their expensive tastes. For their part the downtrodden, whose ranks numbered several millions, seeked refuge in the dense jungles and set up a number of insurgent networks to harass their traitorous former rulers. This area of the world is one of the very few that still has ample green zones ripe with lush rainforests and jungles, which not only have survived but also thrived in a hostile environment where Mother Nature should have been vanished long ago. This fact is seen by many of the guerrilla leaders as a signal from Gaia, the Mother, and several religious cults on Her name have popped up here and there, forming a weird mix of paramilitary movement and religious sect unique all around the world. The commander-santeros of the Río Brasilia surrounding area have sworn to tear the megacity’s walls down and annihilate all its inhabitants; judging by their numbers, determination and zealousness, these freedom fighters are the ones with more chances to make it, in an unparalleled fight that has been passed down for generations.
Ciudad de Plata
At the southernmost reaches of South America exists the last city of the American continent, financed by the riches of Argentina, Uruguay and Chile. Paradise for philosophers, writers and orators, their governing elites are by far the most erudite, learned and cultivated out of the entire world’s megalopoli (its Spanish name means “City of Silver”). That didn’t prevent them to enforce the old saying “Everything for the people, but without the people” with an iron hand and taken to its most radical conclusion: inside this enlightened utopia seeked refuge the last Literature and Peace Nobel Prizes, winners of the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society, honorary members of the Panamerican “La Otra Orilla” awards, runner-ups and winners of the Interamerican Journal of Psychology medals, and all kinds of internationally renowned scholars in their fields of humanities and social studies. The rest were judged unworthy and the city gates were closed in their faces without a second thought. Ciudad de Plata might be one of the most unusual megalopoli, in the sense that within its boundaries it keeps huge libraries and knowledge vaults filled with countless terabytes of information about the World of Before, including lost works of art, incunabula, books written in hundreds of dead languages, full encyclopedias and all sorts of socio-political essays previous to the Great Devastation.
The European Union was going to build a single Megalopolis for all its member countries, called Eurocity, but that project sank even before it could start to be discussed. Warring among several factions, the European Union nations started on their own to seek the way to build their national megacities. Down around the Mediterranean basin a coalition was formed between Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece to create a great vacation city full of theme parks, funfairs, restaurants, casinos and whoring. It was projected on the shores of Spain’s Eastern coast, partially financed with money coming from German, Swiss and French investment funds, as these countries manifested their will to support this plan as funding partners. But this groundbreaking idea died when news came to light that the foreign investment was mainly made up of high-risk hedge funds sold in turn to vulture funds, which left a huge black hole in its finances. Local developers disappeared in thin air with the rest of the money still available, giving the coup d’grace to Mediterránea and leaving behind them only the terrains where the city was going to be full of rusted machinery and flooded pits.
France wanted to build its own city of light taking its old capital city as the initial core. It will be a lighthouse of knowledge, art and innovation, set apart from the savage ways of the rest of the barbarian European countries and living up to the savoir faire and greatness of the French people. This project was brought to a successful conclusion thanks to the good relationship with their allied and neighboring country, Belgium, where the EU seat of power was firmly established. But what both countries did not take into account was the pan-Germanic factor. The city founded by the Germanic orbit, Freiheitfestung, didn’t tolerate for much long the arrogance and glee of their unbearable neighbours, and thus launched a relentless attack with neutron bombs that annihilated the entire population of Noveau Lumière without damaging its buildings and infrastructures. The German Kaiser hated those baguette-eating frenchies with all his guts, but he also acknowledged that their city was a technological marvel and a real pleasure for anyone’s senses, so he chose to use N-bombs (which have a mortality rate close to 100%, but which thermal pulse leaves structures almost undamaged) to use the deserted city as his personal place of retreat when taking some days off.
United Kingdom not wanting to take part in the Eurocity project was a fact from the very first minute. The British Isles had never really felt part of the continent, and they always had had their eyes and hopes put on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, on the United States. Uncle Sam’s money flooded in and the House of Lords shielded the entire main island from the outside world. A wall was raised hundreds of meters high all around the English coast, guarded by drones, automated weapons, sea mines and coastguard ships, leaving inside this fortress a funny megalopolis that combines great population centers crowded with skyscrapers and financial nexus, with wide parks formed by the old and bucolic English countryside, which still holds its picturesque manors, forests, streams and even medieval castles. The old island of Ireland came to a refugee place of shorts, where most of those judged “undesirable” for mutual cohabitation were expelled on the last minute so those who survived here have developed a deep hate against United England. The internal “quarrels” among the North American cities have supposed a slight setback for the megacity’s economy, as its transatlantic investments have been severely reduced, but United England is still firm in its intention of remaining outside the European continent’s affairs.
The Scandinavian countries didn’t want to have anything to do with their rude southern neighbours neither, so they closed ranks and created their own idyllic Eden on the northern reaches of Europe. This megalopolis was the refuge of the most outstanding scientists, the most groundbreaking researchers and the most renowned geniuses not only from the three original Scandinavian countries, but also from their closest neighbours and allies such as Denmark, the Baltic republics or even Iceland. In this knowledge and technology paradise have recently revived the old pagan cults to the Norse pantheon, creating a really bizarre mixture of scientific progress with ancestral costumes. Generally speaking this is a really peaceful, stable and civilized megalopolis, with extensive educational programs for all its citizens and first class full health coverage, which remains isolated from the daily affairs of the southern megacities.
The pan-Germanic countries and satellites always wanted Eurocity to be in their territory, under their rules and with their conditions. That was indeed one of the greatest obstacles faced by the original project, forcing the rest of European countries to close ranks against this imposition by Germany and its allies, until everything blew up for good. All the central and Eastern regions of Europe, from Holland to Poland, the territories of the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Hungary, part of the former Yugoslavia and Romania, pledged themselves to the Germanic project and joined it as cooperation partners to create Freiheitfestung, the Fortress of Freedom, where the self-proclaimed German Kaiser planned to rule with an iron hand. Warlike, expansionist and authoritarian to the bone, this megalopolis laid waste to the nearby Noveau Lumière simply because it could, preserving the French buildings intact so the Germanic ruling elites could use it as their summer resort. Its closest neighbours usually treat this megacity at least with suspicion, if not open fear, due to its overwhelming heavy industry and its economy based almost entirely in military development, although for now Thule and United England prefer to keep their distance from the Germanic sphere of influence. Putingorod is the only city that does not cower before the pan-Germanic war machine and is developing a similar arms race. The Slavic leaders are convinced that Freiheitfestung’s next move will be an expansion towards the east, and they are decided to face up to it whatever the cost.
Religions still played a main role even at the end of the 21st century, in spite of all the scientific and technological advances made by humanity for the good of the entire planet. One of the main religions, Catholicism, amassed such an amount of wealth that its Pope and Cardinal ranks had no remorse at all in putting them out of danger when the known world went to hell with a nuclear mushroom cloud. Locked inside a network of underground bunkers, built and secured under Saint Peter’s dome with the best technology gold-plated relics could pay for, the Pope, Cardinals and senior officials of the old Vatican Court still broadcast their self-righteous babble through every available communication channel. Their cult has degenerated into pure idolatry, in which they prefer to worship the physical remnants and relics of their deceased Popes or the mummies of the most outstanding Cardinals who protected them from the Apocalypse, than rising their prayers to the God above who has obviously abandoned them.
The Russian megalopolis rises on the remnants of the old city of Kiev, where Vladimir Putin’s mummy rests under a huge statue depicting the Russian leader riding a bear with no shirt on. Wanting to expand its boundaries westwards to put pressure and fear into decadent Europe, Putin consecrated the last years of his rulership to invade again almost all the countries which had been part of the Soviet Union in the past and restore part of the former imperial glory. He moved his capital to Kiev, jewel of the crown of his conquests and one of the most enjoyable for him, leaving Moscow to become a dangerous ruined city infested by mutant monstrosities in which the few survivors seek shelter in the old underground stations. The current political European status-quo, in which Freiheitfestung rules as the leading metropolis without any opposition, is making the Neo-Politburo members and the Party leaders really nervous. Putingorod is arming itself to the teeth, putting all his industrial might to full production thanks to its huge population almost unparalleled in the rest of the world’s megacities, and investing nearly all its economic, industrial and logistic resources in the shadowy Red One project.