THE ONE-WAY RAIN: Sirocco, Inc.

By 1997, with its acquisition of Lollybella Fundustries, Sirocco’s hold on power was complete. It controlled not only the economy of the United States but its government as well. In accordance with the strategic plan developed by Clark and Davis in the seventies, the company’s immense structure remained virtually invisible to the public eye, while its thousands of brands appeared to compete with each other in a vibrant free marketplace.

A crisis was brewing, however. Since the war began, Vesperian, Inc., had been methodically cutting off Sirocco’s access to export processing zones in Southeast Asia. Without a stream of extremely low-cost, high-profit consumer goods, the company’s financial model was threatened. It was young Phelps, the budget analyst out of Chicago, who suggested the scheme that would determine the course of American society for the next sixty years. Why not, he asked, create export processing zones right here at home? He laid it out for the executive team over drinks at a strip club: a catastrophic strike on a U.S. city, leading to widespread fear and panic. Follow-up strikes decimating certain areas. A legislative package creating special assistance districts, unfettered by labor regulation, where qualified individuals could be relocated and provided with manufacturing jobs. Additional legislation providing for adequate supervision of those districts.

“But who would those qualified individuals be?” asked Jan Courtney, VP for Human Resources. To which Phelps replied, “Who do you think?”

From The Long Fall of Sirocco: African-American Resistance, 2001-2045, by E. A. Hunt