Cyberpunk Vancouver, 2077
-Okay, so intro is this:
The State of the world^2
Due to smothering greenhouse effect, and depletion of the ozone layer, planetary warming has resulted in a reduction of the polar ice caps and inundation of coastal areas. New global temperature records are set every year.
(Setting is alt-history 2017, this background starts in the late 80s and moves quickly)
Desperate farmers over farmed and eroded land, choking rivers with silt. Water tables dropped, and traditional crops being unable to survive the new climates withered in the fields. Fossil fuels became essentially non-existant; and microwave power from orbitals seemed the best solution. Heavy industry moved to the orbits, as pollution and cheap automated labour wasn’t an issue.
The 1% became the orbital residents (gross profit of the average Orbital concern was higher than the GNP of any 10 Earth governments), sucking up the best brains and finest tech.
When the chafing restrictions of ‘dirtsiders’ on the Orbitals’ military, political, and economic agendas became too much, they agitated, and desperate earth refused.
The war lasted about 12 hours.
Earth cutters, boosted on solid fuel rockets, were shot down by laser, microwave, and particle beam satellites repossessed by the Orbitals, as they lifted off their launch pads. The 10% of fighters that survived to orbit, were torn apart by the Orbital’s own cutters.
Microwave energy satellites, slightly shifted from aiming at rectenna fields, to roast a few cities like a microwave oven. Mass drivers on Luna and in orbit fired 10kT rocks at cities instead of at the orbital refineries and factories built to capture them.
Mombassa, Calcutta, Atlanta, Colorado Springs, Omaha, and Ottawa vanished in seconds.
Terrestrial (earth-side) space facilities were occupied by Orbital forces; and in the ensuing treaty, terrestrial armies were severely limited. Aerospace became restricted to Orbital manufacture and operation; even most commercial air flights were forbidden. Any large non-Orbital economic blocs were simply appropriated. Great powers were forcibly balkanized.
Cops often, sometimes even entire departments, are on the take. A known place for criminals to go to ‘look’ legit. Unless it’s Orbital heat.
And the post war damage effectively got rid of the remaining ice caps.
Some alternate history tech changes:
Liquid Crystal processors changed computing.. hence the state of the ’net. (data pools. You make a request, and the data comes out. Usually.)
Encryption algorithms became ludicrously complex, or simple, depending on how it was examined. Hacking a system directly is effectively impossible. Social engineering still works, proving as always that humans are the weakest link. Liquid Crystal bricks (size of a sugar cube) hold vast amounts of data, and are often used with their own encryption as cred-sticks.
Directed thrust vehicles, desktop engineering, and super efficient batteries are much more common than on Earth prime.