(essay by Mandy Samunaptra, grade 8 student at IOT Academy for the Gifted)
Angelus in 2123 is composed of 48.9 million souls (according to the official census). Angelus is a mega-city, encompassing 13 sectors each as large as or larger than many other global metropolitan areas. Angelus spans over 20,000 square miles and is borne aloft over the ocean swells by means of cold-fusion powered countergravity units colloquially known as "hydrolizers."
Fog and rain are constant meteorological events due to shifts in weather patterns from the cataclysm of 2032. Angelus is predominantly anglo-saxon with a significant population of ethnic Japanese and Chinese. Clades are present in record numbers, though most Clades remain isolated within Rohr sector rather than mixing with the population at large.
Angelus law prohibits megacorporate interests from extraterritoriality, insisting on full responsibility under local regulations. In protest over this ruling, many megacorporations reduced operations or pulled out altogether from Angelus over the last decade. Factories have closed, research facilities shut down or reduced, and unemployment is at an all-time high. This is not to say that megacorporations do not do business in Angelus—not at all. The city is simply too large, too significant to completely ignore. However, the impact of Angelus' decision choked the bottom line for many industries, and there has been an upswell among corporate groups of irritation.
New businesses struggle to compete with the big boys. There is a form of social Darwinism at work in Angelus's financial scheme. Franchising has become increasingly popular and there is a gradual disappearance of owner-founded firms.
The megacorporate attitude towards Angelus has had a disastrous effect on the city's economy. Rampant layoffs and closings led to a sharp decline in the standard of living for most of the citizens of Angelus, and quite a few properties dropped in value considerably. The average citizen in Angelus lives just above the poverty line. Pre-fabricated goods ranging from meals to homes are offered for sale at low prices. Most jobs pay only slightly above the minimum wage. Misdemeanor crimes have grown drastically in recent years—petty theft, shoplifting, muggings.
The downturn in the economy has also affected the city government. All public works have had budgets slashed to the bone and many outreach programs and benefits have been cut altogether. Agencies struggle with skeleton crews or shoestring allocations to meet demands.
Epsilon, Iota, and Psi sectors are all considered high-poverty areas. Epsilon nearly escaped being labeled a ghetto region back in 2112 but since then has become increasingly dangerous. Beta is the only true middle-class district in the city. Omicron sector is fast becoming more of a ghost town than a true corporate center. Many buildings in Omicron are entirely abandoned or condemned, and some of the empty floors have been taken over by vagrants and criminals. The "Steam Tunnels" below Angelus thrive against all odds and becomes an illicit haven for smuggling.
After the twin disasters of an armed invasion and mass entity encroachment in 2112, Angelus had a great deal of real estate damaged or destroyed. A state of emergency was declared for 4 months into 2113 until the worst of the debris had been cleared. Efforts to rebuild were underway by the end of the year and were declared complete in 2114. Nevertheless, some large stretches of the city bear scars from these events, both physical and social.
Reconstruction as an idea continues—old buildings are torn down to make way for the new, while roadways and flight paths are continually being upgraded or expanded to accommodate the shifting needs of Angelus' citizenry. Construction companies make up a hefty percentage of those businesses that are flourishing in the wake of the other upheavals the city has witnessed over the last decade.
Few places in Angelus represent that drive to rebuild than the monument built to honor those who fought for the city. Memorial Park was built over the site where the Class 5 Entity Gurzorath was defeated and destroyed. Statues and plaques list the names of the dead and tell the story of the courageous stand by the city's defenders at Rutger Bridge. Less happily, the Park is also at the center of many urban legends and rumors regarding paranormal activity.
Rho sector was signed over to the Free Clade Republic in 2113. Since then, the semi-autonomous region has become both a hotbed of political and civil unrest and a safe, pleasant environment for Clade-kind. Recognized as full citizens in 2113, Clades have drifted into Angelus from all over the world seeking asylum and a place to call their own. Unfortunately, the treatment of Clades in other parts of the globe has led to racist incidents on both sides of the issue. The FCR government does their best to contain the riots but often has to call for assistance from the beleaguered Angelus Police Force.
The media regularly accuses the FCR of running an illegal "underground railroad" through Angelus' steam tunnel region, emancipating Clade runaways wherever they can. The FCR, naturally, refutes these allegations. Meanwhile, Rohr sector remains one of the city's most destitute areas and suffers heavily from gang violence. The residents of Rho sector provide most of Angelus' underprivileged work force, mostly performing menial labor in return for minimum wage.