In the world of Powerpunk, science and technology occupy a funny space. During the Cold War, technology was viewed as a necessary median; “the only true measuring stick for a nation’s greatness” necessity. It was a grand love affair, with the known limits of science being reestablished almost quarterly and the great nations treating scientists like rock stars. The East and West both took to collecting doctors, professors and engineers, like children collecting trading cards. Giving them larger budgets than many of them had ever dared to imagine, these scientific minds were tasked with finding and cultivating any potential advantage against the opposing bloc.
It was amidst this age of political desperation that all avenues of science, including the fringe sciences, were being treated with open minds and open wallets. This was a glorious time for scientists who started signing up with grant after grant and put real effort into experiments and inventions that they hadn’t ever thought they could complete. This was the age of “hypertech”.
Super-science tools capable of bending terrestrial and celestial energies into fuel for weapons and vehicles, bending minds, transforming the body of a person into a walking arsenal of bio-weaponry. These tools that pushed through the established limits of the scientific field and into storied fiction appeared in every field. All the while the tensions of the Cold War grew closer and closer to the brink of open conflict.
The era came to a screeching halt as prolific communist agents like “Soviet Supreme” and other frequent criminal collaborators from soviet nations were caught time and again by the U.S Government’s special forces, D.A.N.G.E.R. These communist agents seemed to favor the use of hypertech knockoffs from the Eastern bloc that never seemed to quite work as intended under pressure. They favored it so much that although the USSR was pretty far behind the U.S in production of hypertech in both number and quality it became, in the eyes of the public, communist or”pinko” tech.
This stigma brought an end to free and unchecked scientific experimentation and discovery and saw the rise of tighter restrictions on independent laboratories. Hypertech faded into obscurity, a technological oddity known for being highly unreliable for some to marvel at while the wider world passed it by. However, the turn of the millennium saw a drastic slowdown in hardware innovations across all markets.
The early 21st century, as the short lived Russo-American alliance went to war against extremists in the middle east, was perhaps the last time new hardware was released. Very quickly companies had to turn to releasing re-packaged versions of the same model already on the market over and over as programs grew in complexity to sell the illusion of breakthroughs. Cracking into the hypertech market had made anything less seem paltry by comparison.
A generation of people grew up with the knowledge that advancement was out there and being kept just outside their reach and so some turned to expensive, custom goods that could grow as they needed. Still a few companies have re-discovered the idea of Hypertech and with clever re-branding are eagerly rushing to market determined to ride at the forefront of an inevitable tech-boom.
This is where characters in Powerpunk find themselves currently; mostly recycled tech that has inched on slowly for more than two decades. Programming has grown at a reasonable pace but has seemingly caught up to hardware now and both are growing at a controlled, predictable pace. All the while, visible on the horizon, is the dreaded return of hypertech.
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