Out of the Great Regression rose OmniStat. Inspired by tales of ancient utopias and classless societies where every citizen had equal value and production was owned and shared by all, OmniStat quickly swallowed up the majority of the isolated settlements and surviving cities – sometimes peacefully, sometimes not. Some refused to acknowledge the OmniStat way of life and resisted to the bitter end, causing much strife and paranoia.
Progress was still made though, ancient ideas were rediscovered and new technology developed. Slowly but inexorably civilization began to restore itself after the limbo of the Regression and the OmniStat cities grew fast as people abandoned the smaller settlements and migrated to the urbanized areas. Some of the Greylands that had been blasted in the old wars were recultivated with varying success and the population grew considerably.
The Krugers were one of the ancient families. They had survived the wars and the Regression, retaining their pride, and even some of their gathered knowledge. When OmniStat rose to power they accepted its rule, making sure to secure important positions within the Party as it grew. But they never truly accepted the philosophy OmniStat was founded on, and as the decades passed the Kruger family began plotting drastic change – believing that for civilization to truly move forward a radically different society had to be formed, one based on free enterprise and individual achievement – concepts that were anathema to the Party.
Wary of betrayal the Krugers still managed to gather a few other families to their cause – some were prominent party members, and others important contributors to society overall. The Brysons, Malus, and Wanderborn-Farchilds all rallied behind the Krugers and when the time was right they helped light the flames of rebellion all over OmniStat.
The Kruger Uprising coincided with a widespread famine, which made many citizens more than ready to join the cause – fed up as they were with the secret police, the Party elite and its stifling political teachings. Decades of accumulated hate and frustration helped turn the flames into a conflagration far more devastating than the conspirators had planned and soon enough OmniStat was torn apart in a bitter civil war.
The fighting lasted for years and the Krugers were forced to acknowledge that theirs was not the only vision of an ideal society. There were others who also saw the turbulent times as an opportunity to set up their own assemblies, and when the dust eventually settled three nations formed from the ashes of what was once the most powerful civilization on the planet. The largest part would still be OmniStat and remain under Party rule; second largest was to become "Cascadia" – shaped by the families supporting the initial Kruger Uprising; finally there was Sabaeus, a theocracy founded on a religious text of obscure origins.
The fighting also caused many bitter losses, among them Dieter Kruger – head of the Kruger family and an inspired, altruistic visionary who, had he lived, might have had a profound effect on what was to come.
A fragile and tentative peace was agreed upon and borders drawn up, but the obvious enmity between Cascadia and OmniStat remained a severe threat to the conference, and had it not been for skilful negotiating by Sabaeus clerics the whole initiative would have failed and the war started anew. But in the end everything was settled into the Neridian Concord, and the representatives withdrew to rebuild all that had been lost.
It had been Dieter Kruger's vision to create a nation founded on democratic principles, individuality and personal initiative. But with Dieter's demise Cascadia's founding was off to a flawed start, as the other major families had more selfish intentions. The constitution stipulated voting rights for citizens of a certain standing and free elections of a president and an assembly to govern the nation. But with voting rights curtailed from the outset, the first steps down the road to tyranny had already been taken.
The Cascadian Constitution not only dictated how the country should be governed, it also included the Corporate Charter – allowing anyone to start an enterprise and nurture it to prosperity. The Charter too was flawed from the outset though, since little thought was given to regulatory statutes governing competition and unfair practices. Also, the families leading the uprising made sure to secure the main industries and natural resources early on, giving them a vast head-start.
Everything was closely watched by OmniStat whose ideals were diametrically opposed to Cascadia's, and to no-one's surprise, they made a surprise attack on both Cascadia and Sabaeus only a few years after the birth of the new nations. The Triumvirate War lasted for two years and mainly consisted of an endless string of intense border skirmishes. The conflict was ended only after an uneasy alliance formed between Cascadia and Sabaeus, and since then a cease-fire has been in effect between the three nations though no official peace-agreement has been signed.
A deep fear and hatred of OmniStat and the Party drove a nation-wide initiative to eradicate the old and rebuild anew. All memories of the OmniStat era were to be destroyed and in their place new symbols were to be erected, celebrating freedom, and the original twelve families leading the uprising. Within a decade those same families controlled almost 80% of the "free" market, and their dominance kept growing. The Cascadian Assembly struggled to create laws that would limit corporate influence. But with most assemblymen belonging to one of the families the laws remained toothless.
The families became known as the Corporate Houses, their dominance grew and eventually they became the true rulers of Cascadia in all but name, having banded together to form a joint Conglomerate. However, wise from the OmniStat era they were careful to seem inclusive to the general populace, and stories abounded about regular citizens climbing the corporate ladder to achieve the same level of affluence as the corporate house members.
The growing affluence of the increasingly complacent midCaste was completely dependent on the loCaste, whose access to health-care, schooling and other services was severely limited, bordering on non-existent. Many were forced to live in the Greylands where the corporations ran their enormous factories, foodDomes and mines and life there was short and hard. Work-place accidents were common, as were cancers and other sicknesses caused by the toxic Greyland conditions.
Tensions grew and movements formed and fell apart – until one of them, based on pacifistic ideals, took root and grew steadily. It found its strongest support in Glass where it had also been founded by Martin Connors, a charismatic and popular musician.
Things were brought to a head on a chilly November day when the largest demonstration to date was held. Thousands marched to the Zephyr Transit Hub where they gathered to listen to speeches and political songs. But something went terribly wrong, shots were fired, and within moments the peaceful gathering had turned into a rioting stampede. Hundreds were killed and thousands wounded. For three days the riots raged unabated and Glass burned. Martin and Erika Connors and their daughter Caitlin were among those killed.
Among the general populace, and especially the midCaste, there was an outrage at the protesters and the damage and deaths they had caused. The Conglomerate made sure to also point to the weak Assembly and their ineptness in handling the volatile situation. Laws were passed forbidding large gatherings and protests, further strengthening the Conglomerate.
The measures taken by the Assembly proved to be too little, too late though, and when the Conglomerate declared the Assembly unfit to rule the nation, only a vocal minority opposed it. Those who did soon disappeared and so the Conglomerate came to rule Cascadia. Glass was chosen to become a symbol of Conglomerate greatness. The refurbishing was accelerated and immense resources spent on making Glass a pristine bastion of Conglomerate power, trumped only by Cascadia Prime, the Capital, where the Conglomerate Board resides.