Fortress Europe

The European borders

Eurosource Plus p. 77. ISBN # 0-937279-67-6. Property of R Talsorian Games, Inc.

Europe has always been overprotective, maybe best described as paranoid. Nothing and no one harmful should enter and damage their beloved citizens, they should be protected at all costs. At least that would be the advertised reason.

The borders of Europe were enforced via many, many mechanisms, most of them involving violence of course. The border police and their extreme aggressiveness was the major enforcer, neatly completed with more mechanized yet no less lethal methods: the land borders with mines, walls, and surveillance, and the waters with submarines, armed high-speed boats, drones and bombers.

However, the biggest advantage the border police had was satellite surveillance. The response time for possible intrusions in the borders was almost instantaneous thanks to the European Space Agency (ESA) and their surveillance satellites alerting the many policing stations across the borders, especially on the Mediterranean sea. The destruction of satellites and facilities during the 4th corporate war and the loss of the presence of the ESA in orbit, because of the seven-hour war and subsequent creation of the Highrider Confederation, virtually eliminated the capability of Europe to massively surveil their borders.

The response of the authorities was panic, and with panic came force. Being aware of the huge influx of people and smuggled goods that would come with their borders weakened, came strong and decisive punishment to those trying to cross. On the legal access points, people got rejected on the most minor of infringements, and beatings and confiscation of goods became common. The land borders got massively reinforced with heavy weaponry, drones, armed turrets, more and stronger minefields, and a no-prisoners policy to those caught crossing illegally. The water borders, and in particular the Mediterranean, became a battlefield. The navy sinking ships and submarines from the smugglers and the smugglers ambushing and trapping the navy. Tensions grew strong between Europa Sur and the border police (and government) of Greece, Italy, and Spain.

However, no amount of violence deterred enterprising smugglers and desperate people to try to cross to the core countries and their opportunities. Hundreds of illegal immigrants and smugglers died crossing the borders during the early years of the weakening of the borders, however many thousands more managed to cross.

By the year 2030, most countries managed to strengthen their borders to a better state, and thanks to some economic incentive in the NCE migration reduced. But without the support provided by the satellite surveillance system, the borders never got back to their previous state. Thousands still cross the borders and enter the core countries. The fortress resists but with shattered walls.

The European ID card system

Eurosource Plus p. 7. ISBN # 0-937279-67-6. Property of R Talsorian Games, Inc.

One of the stronger, and controversial, components of Fortress Europe was its totalitarian identification system, where every citizen has not only their IDs but records, DNA, profession, health records, and licenses associated with them via their ID card. However, as with many other systems, Rache Bartmoss’s last farewell did its work. The datakrash for one side damaged the records database, and the fall of the old net made the entire system useless altogether.

Losing such information would be chaotic for any country, but for Europe this was particularly destructive. The government is the provider of food, housing, and health for millions of citizens, and, for better or worse, the distribution of those services was, of course, tied to the ID cards. The fall of the ID card system was not bad news for everyone. Those living outside of the law found a new freedom, either because their records disappeared, or because their lack of ID no longer made them stand out. Some win, some lose.

The ID card system, once CitiNets and data burst links were established throughout the EEC, was restored, although it had to be recovered from scratch as records were lost. The EC, not letting a crisis go to waste, took the chance and rebuilt the system to be much more difficult to manipulate. The new document system is much more secure, citizen information is now kept in secure architectures, accessible publicly in a read-only mode and tightly curated by governments and the interior commission and only changed by a few public officers that input new data. This does not mean that it’s now impossible to fake information, you just need to know the right people and pay more. It is for certain more difficult to create fake identities, but it is possible to clean undesired lines in your files, as long as you pay well enough.

The recreation of European IDs was also an opportunity to the overcrowded governments to take the undesired from their responsibility: Unemployed, illegal immigrants and those impoverished enough to have no way of proving their citizenship. The policy to get into the new system was simple: you need to have your previous id to be registered. If you did not, or did not have a way to pay the fines for not having it, you were rejected and became the same as an illegal immigrant and faced two options: hide or be deported. This was, for certain, a double-edged sword. For one side it allowed the European governments to alleviate the load off their welfare systems and take illegal immigrants and poverty out of the public eye (if you do not have an ID and try to enter wealthier areas in the cities be ready to be imprisoned and deported), but, on the other hand, it sent more people to the fringes, increasing crime.

Next: United Europe

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