WHO SAW THE DEEP is a sci-fi noir set in Hong Kong in the immediate future: a world at the threshold of the first megacorporations, where shares of an entire city and all of its components–infrastructure, local government and police–are up for sale. This is a world where net neutrality no longer exists, and the “Internet” is now a series of compartmentalized networks locked off from each other and owned by separate ISPs. Where access is a sacred privilege, and users who are locked out must turn to illegitimate ways to get back online.
The series follows GENE FOSTER, a sort of hardboiled, old-fashioned internal security chief working for INSILICO, currently the world’s largest multinational corporation and commanding a near monopoly over the entire internet. On the horizon is the ALL THINGS DIGITAL CONFERENCE (ATD), a big tech convention held this year in Hong Kong, at which InsiliCo is expected to demo their latest consumer product. As to be expected, this announcement is shrouded in secrecy.
InsiliCo has also recently come under intense scrutiny for imposing bans on certain websites. Where it has done so with impunity before, this is the first instance where the offending domain is not associated with piracy, pornography, or other copyright infringement. Rather, THE WHISTLE, a guerilla journalism network operated by media mogul ERIK WIKSTROM, is believed to have ties to an anonymous affiliation of worldwide hackers known as the SYNDICATE. A recent series of EMP attacks perpetrated by the Syndicate has cast a shadow over the upcoming electronics show, evidence of an escalation in cyber terrorism. And, in a world where InsiliCo has made free access to information all but impossible, Wikstrom has become a thorn in the side to JACOB DOWD, the company’s chairman and retired CEO.
Served in the U.S. Army Rangers, was discharged for issuing a questionable order that resulted in the deaths of several squadmates. He has worked for PRAETOR SECURITY SERVICES throughout the Far East, receiving numerous citations for valor, marksmanship, and boasting an impressive kill record. After retirement, he was promptly headhunted by InsiliCo and joined the company’s Singapore office as the new head of INSEC, the Internal Security department. Most recently, he was reassigned to the Hong Kong office after a restructuring within the company.
A fast-rising exec on the corporate ladder, currently the Chief Audit Executive of the Department of Regulatory Compliance and Risk Management. The function of his office is to conduct regular mandated visits on company areas or facilities in violation of any number of criteria which form “best practice,” typically matters of safety or efficiency. His job is to find new ways to increase work performance in problem areas by conducting audits on personnel, procedures, or other company assets.
Quick to embrace new technology, Stuart is marked by businesslike professionalism, a crisp sense of decorum, and an affinity for order. He remains seamlessly “patched-in,” each decision informed in some way by metainformation. To this end he wears a bluetooth earpiece comboed with augmented reality glasses providing a constant visual metadata stream, and employs a projected, gesture-driven wrist interface.
The Chairman of InsiliCo, the most powerful and expansive multinational corporation in the world. InsiliCo has all but monopolized a vast number of communications and technology industries, but only Jacob has been there since its humble beginnings as an applied sciences startup firm in the late 1960′s. As the Vice President in charge of Technology, Jacob was responsible for expanding into new, previously nonexistent markets and making major foot roads in computer research. He became known as a sort of cowboy in the business world, characterized by tough, unscrupulous morals, and earning a reputation for not only making hard, pragmatic judgment calls–but sticking by them to the bitter end.
A media mogul and power player at the forefront of global affairs and politics. He is rarely seen on video and remains highly illusive; as such a vast mythos surrounds his identity. He has been accused of being in league with the Syndicate to build his empire.
Erik’s specialization is information–acquiring it; his aim is total information dissemination. To this end he owns and operates the Whistle, a loosely-affiliated network of guerilla journalists brought together by their advocacy of net neutrality. While InsiliCo all but controls the media, The Whistle lies just outside its reach, continually threatening to disseminate the Truth, and holding accountable anyone who would be damaged by it. In recent years, the Whistle has cracked conspiracies wide open, leaked sensitive information across the internet, and made examples out of those in power who previously remained untouched by the law.
The Whistle has recently been banned from the InsiliNet; this has naturally caused outrage amongst the InsiliNet subscriber base.