That was decades ago now, and this colossal conurbation that rose out of the ashes has its layers. Layers that reach up and up for some, but layers that stretch down and down for most. Cities built on cities. Buildings piled on buildings. People stacked on people, and dreams stacked on dreams.
This place runs deep. From Nuremberg's catacombs along its Western Wall, to the underground ruins of Old-Warsaw and NEO-Budapest itself, and there's a darkness in these places.
Crypto and greed have divided the people and piled concrete, and steel, and neon, high-up and driven those without down below.
For so many, building down was the only way to survive after Black Lake. Building up, that was reserved for the few. The ones with the resource and power and connections to keep a glimpse of the sky. Even after the Lincoln Contingency turned it to a permanent, pale ash.
For everyone else, when you've got nothing, there's no place to go other than down. Down into the pits of the Triangle, away from the firmament and into the earth.
And when the only way you can head is down, all you want to do is look up and to catch a glimmer of hope.
When you're driven into the depths from the cartels, the gangs, the police, the corporations, and everything else, you'll do anything to find that glimpse of something brighter.
You'll claw the ground to find a different place. You'll reach inward to imagine a changed world. And you'll swallow down whatever they have, to hold on to a dream.
That dream, that need, that desire for something brighter, that's what the cartels use. It's what they've been preying on for years now. It's the reason they sprang up in the first place, and where the shroom came into play.