In the Beginning..

LATMA. The Los Angeles Tijuana Metropolitan Area. No one mentions the area in between - the Radiation Zone - the land ostensibly scoured by the fallout that occurred when the San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant had a serious meltdown. Since the evacuation - it's been swept under the carpet and forgotten about. For most norms, it's just that stretch of blasted desert between LA proper, the San Diego domes, and the Mexican border, home to nothing any good citizen would want to care about. The United States are now only called the United States by other countries -- to residents they're designated by Metropolitan Areas. There is, apart from LATMA, the NewBos (New York/Boston), the UEC (Upper East Coast -- Baltimore to Raleigh/Durham, NC), the LEC (Lower East Coast -- Atlanta to Jacksonville, FL), SunVille (Miami to Key West), the SKIMA (the popular skiing areas of Colorado), the the Rust Belt (Chicago/Milwaukee/Detroit), Texas (Houston/Dallas/Austin), and the NWA (NorthWest Alliance: San Francisco/Portland/Seattle). The areas are huge, sprawling areas patrolled by independently contracted police forces, governed by groups within the cities, and surrounded by well-patrolled border areas that separate the cities from the barely populated, outlaw-ruled wastelands of the rest of the country. Within the cities, the buildings are crumbling and old but at the same time regularly updated with the newest technology, juxtaposing the decrepit and incredible in ways that make the bleak city almost supernatural and ghostly.

The geography and culture of the rest of the world has changed drastically, however. In March 2000, during a live telivised political debate, the Nosferatu Ancient who originated the legends of 'Baba Yaga' killed the Russian Premiere in a singularly bloody incident. Within the next two years, numerous Vampire Authorities came out of the woodwork to demand that the paranormals be destroyed, offering 'proof' that these groups had been responsible for everything from the Great Flood to the death of Elvis. The American military acted swiftly for once, adopting the now notorious Order 47 (the punishment of the 'crime' of being a paranormal by whatever neutralisation is deemed appropriate, typically death) to help justify their eradication of resistance as they secured base after base, and city after city, in a violent display of martial law. In Europe, old hatreds were flamed into fire by the mobilization of the Russian military, and someone - somehow - seized the province of Georgia in 2006 and the majority of the nuclear missile sites within it, to set them off. Who it was, how they did it, what happened to them still isn't known - Georgia no longer exists. The fallout, though contained to Eastern Europe and the Arabian peninsula, was dramatic nonetheless.

Western Europe is a land of martial law and violent extremes - the haves who make a living still in a war-shattered realm that battles to contain the 'savages' from the east within their radiation blasted, charred countries; the have nots who fear losing what little they have left to either those in power, or the encroachers, or even the paranormals against whom an age-old superstition has once again arisen. The royal families and much of what was the 'government' in the early part of the century fled into various forms of exile, either within or without their countries, fearing facing charges of collaboration with the supernaturals. Eastern Europe is a blasted heath, where lo- techs battle it out over parcels of arable land, goods either bought or stolen from the West at an exorbitant cost, and sources of water. The Arabian peninsula has disintegrated further still, with jyhad on more levels than one fought across it in bloody, almost pointless battles - Jew against Arab, Arab against Arab, supernaturals of varying stripes behind the scene, pursuing their own agendas through the use of agents mortal and otherwise.

After the decay of Europe, most of Asia was taken over in a bold move by the joined forces of China and India, now recognized as the League of Hind-Mancu. This new country has become the next big superpower of the planet, eclipsed only by the once again Rising Sun of Japan, and is currently waging a new Cold War with the United States, whose military and last vestiges of federal power are still based in Washington, DC.

Life in LATMA today is a hard, often frightening existence. Huge corporations wield the real power, controlling what government there is. Magic and creatures of darkness have become a part of reality, and humanity seems to be rushing to give itself to the machine. The city has a Bright side -- its suburbs and business areas, where John and Jane Doe raise little Billy and Susan to be model citizens, slaves to the corporations which feed off them and turn them into automatons. It also has its seamy, Dark side -- the nightclubs and slums and back alleys where unregistered outlaws and fugitive supernaturals hide. This is a patchwork world in which a privileged few live in glass and chrome and experience all that technology can offer, and the rest live much as they always have - with drugs and sex and music and other diversions to ease the pain. Biker gangs roam the highways at night or during the day. Predators and security forces are everywhere. Guns have been illegal since 1998, but they're still available (see news guns)...just not legally.In the cities themselves, most of the laws are enforced by independent corporations of mortals greatly enhanced by cybernetics and contracted by the city to serve as a police force. In LATMA this group is known as MetSec -- Metropolitan Security, Incorporated. Founded as a response to a police department unable to continue to handle the nature of the streets, their first contract was at the San Onofre Power Plant - before it was raided by the Garou (see news order 47). They are a highly trained and inordinately powerful force that few defy...for long. After the devastation in Eastern Europe, the ash fallout left the rest of the world a darker place. The very active environmental groups of the late 20th century gave up when faced with the uncontrollable pollution in the atmosphere caused by rediation and fallout. Due to this pollution, the nights are longer, the twilights darker (see news twilight), and breathing the air in most places is about as bad as smoking a couple packs of Lucky Strikes...laced with asbestos.