What role do the smaller elements of society have in the big picture? Part three of my 2021 Worldbuilding Challenge inspired by this reddit post from a person named Faranesque:
Kids. A difficult subject. Because till this moment I did not think about children in any way. So let me pull out something right now.
Of course, different countries, different customs. So I am going to differentiate a bit:
Almost no children. Only a few couples and families still decided to have children the conventional way. More often than not, they are outsiders to their peers, having been brought up regularly, with love and care and all that nonsense.
Thus there are almost no young people in New Slomania. If you mean small kids that is. As most of the population is grown in red boiling vats and dumped in big batches out into the world, most of the freshly born are already grown, even though they are hardly older than a year. Thus you can have battle hardened veterans who are only slightly above then years old. And yes, they will be smug about it.
The Endless Trainworks
After bearing a child it will be immediately categorized and subjected to a wide array of tests to assess its potential and eventual contribution to society. Those tests are mostly arbitrary and results vary wildly even when taken by the same infant.
From the first week onward, their future job and work environment is mostly set in stone or in their case in form. They get put into their respective schools, get trained and put to work at the good age of sixteen.
Also, having kids in the first place is only allowed if you filled out the proper forms. And not many exist in this day and age. The black market around these is surging exponentially since the last couple of decades.
You don’t see a lot of children here. Most of them get eaten at a young age, you see. The common swamp alligator kind of got an appetite for them.
Those that do survive often possess a very good instinct, sharp eyes and good reflexes. You won’t find a single living child in any of the cities of silver and glass, that runs around without a weapon. Most carry three or more. You encounter them with a bandanna on their head, the end of a lollipop sticking out of their mouth and one or more scars across their faces. They congregate in groups or gangs and work their way to adulthood together. You can actually hire most child groups. They are very good mercenaries. Most freelance work in the Swampmarshes is done by people under twelve years old.