2032, London is a shadow of it's former self.
A powerful tech conglomerate governs society after Solar Flares have taken out most of the globe's electricity.
This world looks familiar but is marked with signs of a decaying dystopia. You can feel the presence of a young totalitarian regime.
Every twenty or thirty blocks you’ll come across a queue of people waiting for their weekly Food Block rationing. There's little evidence of natural growth... the streets are mostly dark except for a few street lights and a dim lamp emanating from an apartment block.
Whilst the fight for control of energy was not a new thing, the Solar Crisis, 4 years ago, crystallised the rise of totalitarian corporate governments around the world. With satellites, transport systems and major communication paths incapacitated by the strong solar flares of a CME, countries and even cities have become increasingly isolationist.
In order to deal with the situation, The Government in London decided that the only solution was to take over complete control over how its citizens use energy. It first decided to halt all animal and vegetable agriculture in favour of the energy efficient production of Food Blocks - nutrient blocks synthesised in a lab. Cities are kept functioning to the most basic levels - pumping a small amount of water, some street lighting, etc. Every person is restricted to a few hours of energy use per day and a specific window of time where they have access to running water. Alternative energy sources are totally illegal under the pretext of poor safety standards of home-made generators, wind and solar sources.
Due to the state of things many black markets have sprung up. There are a few underground markets where one can purchase ‘real food', grown on rooftops or indoor planting systems. People trade in energy - a portable phone charger would buy you a couple tins of beans. Several batteries might buy you some hydroponically grown lettuce. There’s also several underground printed presses free from The Government’s influence.
Aside from homemade battery systems, there has been a revival of analogue and hand-cranked devices that don't rely on power supply, lending this world a retro feel against a backdrop of discarded electronic devices.
The energy crisis has also heavily affected individuals who had a nanochip installed by Mindstyle during the optimistic AI revolution prior to the Solar Crisis. Because their chip-enhanced brain functions heavily rely on the central servers which are running minimal service, the wearers are in a zombie-like state for most of the day. The majority of them are cared for out of sight in dedicated asylums on the peripheries, though some individuals still live in the city, mainly cared for by relatives or living on the street.
The crisis has had a different psychological effect on people. The majority have succumb to apathy and basic existence mode, fulfilling their role as good citizens and social beings through their handheld devices. Some have, however, turned to extreme forms of activism, religion and cults in a search for meaning in this new world.
The Government originated from a start-up founded by tech prodigy, Todd Harris. In it's ascent to becoming the biggest corporate conglomerate, over the years it monopolised all services available to people: communication, food production, housing, water and energy supplies.
After several financially successful apps Todd began buying up various companies and realised he could control every aspect of the way people lived, supported by a stream of data on peoples behaviours and desires. He thrived on the fact that he could control not only how people function in their current lives but could optimise their futures and The Future. He could essentially run an entire society by controlling their thoughts, desires, what they wanted to buy, and who they wanted to be. One of his biggest ventures was Mindstyle Corp - a place where he could create a race of 'superhumans' by AI enhancing customers brains through nanochip implants, and who would in turn depend on his programmers and servers.
After the Solar Crash which collapsed the electricity and technology-dependent infrastracture, people needed a 'leader' they could 'trust.'
Since Todd owned pretty much everything anyway and the state of emergency required a bold move, he was elected and formed The Government. He promised the people he would use his business savvy to help save them and return their lives to normal as soon as possible. People accepted restraints in their freedom of movement and communication in return for basic civic services and survival.
In order to keep order in a transitional society, there is only one news organisation allowed to broadcast and it's owned and operated by The Government: News Org. People are allowed to have a Government issued portable device which operates on their censored internet network. Society has in large adapted to rely on one source for all of their information in exchange for basic supplies and orderliness.
However, there is a conspiracy murmuring underground that The Government is diverting energy in order to build a utopia populated by the tech elite whilst letting the rest of civilisation burn out.