We were prepared for violence, for jackboots. Totalitarianism, in its most naked and vaguely cartoonish form. And, to be sure, some tried it. But the old stahlhelms didn’t fit anymore, and things proved unsurprisingly resilient to that nonsense.

Instead, people were simply…disconnected.

Blacklisted.

Biometrics meant there was no real possibility of false identities, of begging and borrowing, at least not for most. If the powers that be decided that you were a threat, they simply took you off the grid. No access to the global data net, no access to most services, no electricity.

It was possible to live that way; many did. It was even possible to relish it, as some did. But for the average person, who had never known real want or fear…it was a death sentence.

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