Sambar Novum / 4747 DR
Discharge tubes filled with glowing gas hummed above the seemingly deserted lower districts. Sambar Novum’s nightscape, thanks to their constant output pulse, glowed eternally like one gentle albeit coolish solar fire. The burning neon truly cast everything in a magical luminescent light which reflected off dark chilly facades and damp windows, off vehicles making them look as if polished, and even off the slightest puddles. Warm yellow, erotic red, palish green and above all coral pink which completely scored out the starry sky, have been an omnipresent reality for as long as she could remember.
Even from afar, the sparkly skyline was without any resistance part of the city’s visual identity. Especially since Lantan’s capital for decades had lured clientele -whom helped safeguarding its wealth and lead- like moths to a flame. Over the centuries, other federations and empires, especially Amn and Chult, more than once had weighed up the possibility and their odds of conquering the Three-Island nation with its state of the art tech. But as a few carefully planned skirmishes had proven, they were no match for the sophisticated island population. Especially once they ran out of resources which literally left them sitting in the dark, whereas Lantan sat on an nearly inexhaustible reserve of power.
Juniper smiled to herself. The Star metal, which sat in Lantan’s belly in the shape of a large meteorite, had been -thanks to the rediscovery of long forgotten alchemical processes and significant meta-engineering-, transformed into the nation’s primary source of wealth and prosperity. She couldn’t blame other lands for being envious, but she could not appreciate nor tolerate their attempts to take over, let alone any arrogant warmongering. She would help her nation always to stay ahead of this, and thus today she was headed to the Bottlesocket facility to receive her upgrades.
After tonight she would be head of its Biotronics departement, and she would have the responsibility to develop new chipsets based on Star metal which could be implemented directly into human bodies. There were reasons enough to assume this together with new algorithms would help communication flow a hundred times faster than the silicon-based integrated circuits of nowadays. More, data links between minds would no longer require a cable-based power grid in order to operate, and finally this last category of data transfer could now run wireless as well.
Juniper looked outside the window. The hover train neared the facility which was funny enough erected on a spot that had been in the family’s possession for thousands of years, and which once had resembled the home of her likewise called ancestor. The research of the Juniper who had lived in the fourteenth century amazingly enough contained essential pieces which oriented today’s approach in the developments of the new micro’s. And all that just cause she had become engrossed by her ancestor’s history after bumping into one of her journals on the Dataspace.
She sighed softly in front of herself. To her, her Ancestor had looked like a hero in a world that was filled with magic. And although the 14th century Juniper had possessed magic, she always had tried to figure out other ways to solve a problem. With Tech for example, which at the time was known as simple ‘tinkering’. Would she have lived right now, she’d likely would have in a rather indulgent way shaken her head at the attempts of those living outside Lantan who attempted to reboot the Weave.
Magic... left the world long ago, together with the gods and outsiders from whom it had derived. Portals were closed and sigils had been destroyed to prevent the Void from eating their world. But there were still believers, people who had no faith in Tech, people who hoped and wished for a better world thanks to things that had actually lead to the nearly extermination of all species. Not that they would succeed. At least not here.
Within her own nation, Inquisitors monitored so called vibrations and derogations in the Datastream, keeping them safe from forces and groupings who were inspired by other ‘passions’. Lantan was a safe nation, but in order to achieve that, a necessary evil had had to be installed. The Dataspace could be accessed by any subject, on the one condition they agreed with the Inquisitors’ meddling. At the expense of this privacy the nation had flourished however, and could with ease take over the world, with the exception of the Great East perhaps.
In the fourteenth century Kara-Tur had been a vast human empire, just like today, and their Imperial Authority could have easily moved its subjects to dominate the entire planet. Their emperor at the current time however found more pleasure in culture and knowledge rather than military expansions. Nowadays was not very different, with the exception that the powerful nation was now in control of Zakhara, the isolated Land of Fate invaded by them a few centuries ago. Said invasion stopped right there, likely also cause of the same lack of resources from which other nations suffered. Nevertheless, the Eastern Dominion was not to be underestimated, and Juniper knew that over the past secrets agents had stolen things from Lantan in order to copy them. The Datastream wasn’t very specific on which.
The train hovered to full stop at the lower levels in the middle of the large dome-shaped facility. She got out and quickly hopped on the platform that would elevate her to the floors above the basements. She smiled as the hatch above her opened with a soft buzz and she was pushed through and into the streaming light and warmth produced by supersized Star engines, an invention which some day would push them into space. Another dream of her likewise called ancestor.
Juniper sat, leaning back, and enjoyed the ride upwards while she enjoyed the sight of the bustling mini city within the facility...