An occasional practice is to have one's SSN number dermographically implanted under their skin so that there is no way for an object containing it to be stolen. A person's SSN number is their key to the good life.
Life as BrightEdit
You are born in a medical facility certified by the LATMA Board of Medical Regulation. It may be a small business, a franchised operation, or a corporate owned major hospital. In any case, the process is the same. Blood samples are taken, tests are made, and then you are assigned an SSN number by the Consortia Bureau of Population and Identification. Your DNA, blood samples, and fingerprints go on file, and you are released into the custody of your parents or guardians. You are now a citizen.
There is an extremely high probability that you live with your mother and father. The corporations support the family unit. Single parents must devote more time to their children, and thus, are less productive. The corporations frown on this. Children, as a result, are rarely born out of wedlock. When they are, they are generally put up for adoption. Your parents are married and probably work for the same corporation, or perhaps different subsidiaries of the same corporation. It is also possible that one may be supported by the other, or may work for a separate business. Whatever the case, they will not work for different, competing corporations. If they are in the same corporation, they will be in different departments. Chances are very good that they will remain married throughout your life.
If your parents have decent jobs, your home is probably a good-sized apartment in a massive complex, perhaps even an arcology, owned by the corporation they work for. The family car is probably a used automobile, no older than 10 years, if there is one at all. Usually, a car isn't necessary. If they have better-than-decent jobs, your home is probably in a carefully maintained suburb owned by the corporation they work for. The family car is a new automobile, or maybe even a company aerodyne. If they are low income, they probably don't work for a corporation, either directly or at all, and you live in seedier versions of the above. You take the TUBE.
The chances of you being an only child are pretty low. Equally low are the chances that you'll have more than two siblings.
There are two types of schooling: general and vocational. Which type of schooling you go through is largely dependent on the results of aptitude tests sponsored by the Consortia, which you are required to take. Vocational schooling will generally revolve around a particular field of study. If your parents work for a corporation, nine times out of ten, the field of study will ultimately be tied into an industry that the corporation is involved in. This is where the engineers and the technicians of the future come from; the corporate "talent" of tomorrow. General schooling is simply that. From this sector come the future management personnel, lawyers, accountants, and so on. Vocational schools are always privately owned. General schools are usually, but not always, CMC (Cooperative Management Consortium) funded, and are as close as you're going to get to a public school in LATMA. Both approaches cover the basics: reading, writing, and arithmetic. Subjects such as history and social studies, however, have been replaced with courses that are little more than corporate propaganda sessions.
There are also two types of schools. If your parents are low to moderate income, you actually go to an institution with other students. There is always a dress code. Girls and boys are separated. It is structured and run like a business. If your parents are in a high income bracket, you probably don't physically go anywhere. You stay at home and attend a virtual school. Although it is still structured and run like a business, there is far more personal freedom. It shouldn't be surprising that there are more vocational virtual schools than there are general ones
The datajack is now more a symbol of adulthood than a car.
Almost everyone wants to work for a corporation somehow, but not everyone can. Some people end up working for one of the CMC bureaucracies, which is the next best thing as far as most people are concerned, and, in some ways, maybe even better. Others end up working for smaller businesses that have not, or cannot achieve corporate status. If this is the case, it's considered best to shoot for a field that is at least represented by an association or union of some sort. A rare few actually start businesses of their own. However, the most common goals are safety and security, and you're not likely to obtain that by going out on your own. People covet the protection of a corporation.
Right now, the average LATMA citizen tends to get married in their mid to late twenties. The institution of marriage is supported by the corporations, and it is on the upswing in LATMA, the numbers increasing every year. It is viewed more as a societal institution than a religious one, although most licensed marriages are further consummated with some form of ceremony that will be religious in nature, or at least carry those undertones. People who are not married by their mid-thirties suffer a degree of social stigma. Married couples tend to receive a fair degree of benefits from corporations. Same sex marriages do occur, but they are not common.
A steadily increasing mass phobia about burial has developed over the past 30 years, and it is not a trend that is unique to LATMA. There are a host of possible contributing factors to this phenomenon, and theories abound. Certainly, the underlying fear of the paranormal must be playing its part in this development, as is perhaps the fear of looting for 'parts' and genetic materials, which is largely without basis, but remains a vivid horror in most minds anyway. Today, a staggering 83% of people are cremated. Another 10% are either cryogenically frozen or body-banked. Burial comes in dead last, if you'll pardon the pun. Several corporations have invested in the construction of massive, elaborate columbariums for the interment of the remains of their employees' loved ones.
Known Bright CharactersEdit