Vertical#1 was the first of her kind. A city built towards the sky, conceived by the greatest minds of her time. She stood as a symbol against the irrationality of ancient cities, a ray of hope in the battle against growing pollution and overpopulation.
The personification of rationalism and functionalism, she was heaven on Earth. With mesmerizing views above the clouds, her air was pure, and her levels piles up with the most beautiful architecture, the most breathtaking gardens, shimmering views of new technologies.
Soon, it became an international economic center. Wealthy as no other city before, it was Vertical#1 the first to really dwell into cybernetics. Her scientists invented the neural lace, her corporations sold virtual reality to the masses, and, at some point, what had begun as an escape from reality, became freedom from Death itself. The rich would have their consciousness rebooted to bionic bodies, while the others, stored in the computers of whoever owned their immortal souls, were allowed to continue living as software.
With the monopoly of the Afterlife held by her corporations, Vertical#1 was bought, bit by bit, citizen by citizen and, as everything else, Death was privatized. The corporations controlled everyone's lives, and they owned their deaths. The afterlife became merchandise, a service to be bought, only as good as one could afford it.
It didn't take long before they invented Hell. Above the uttered protests of terrified people, it became real. The ultimate class division, an infallible means of social control. Make the wrong choice, break the wrong rule, take money from the wrong people, and you're gambling your eternity.
Hell is real.
Are you even alive if you're not in a hard drive?
Who's afraid of the big bad self-aware AI?
Weird things are going on in the Lower Levels. Come do something about it!
Plots are picking up with a lot of open positions to jump right in!