This is the Preface for Sentient, which should have been posted prior to Episode One, but hey, I can't remember everything, I suppose. And you will see at the end of the Preface that it says what happens next is "up to you" and that is true! You can participate at my website: www.sentientexperience.com
United States, year 2044. Society has delved deep into a state of separation, illness and suffering. Chronic illness now effects one in four Americans. One in every three children is either obese or overweight. The number of hospitals has tripled since 2015. Due to their overuse for livestock production, antibiotics are rationed only to the families who can afford them. Citizens are now required to wear surgical masks to prevent the spread of illness and exposure to pollution. People are also encouraged to utilize sunglasses when outdoors in order to prevent damage to eyes from the sun's rays due to depletion of the Ozone layer.
The climate has faltered. Temperatures and natural disasters are also on the rise. Sea levels have risen and drought has plagued many Western states, causing countless rural families to move inward to cities. The following states are now uninhabitable: California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, New Mexico and Louisiana. What remains is the intensity of disorganized and suffocating major cities, juxtaposed against the vastness of empty and abandoned land throughout the nation. The citizens of the United States are increasingly brainwashed by a media frenzy of fear-based news, which has led to the institution of cocooning, where citizens spend a majority of their time indoors and isolated from others. The concept of community has therefore floundered.
The first female president, Frances Walker, elected in 2024, was a Democrat and a vegetarian who developed popularity with the masses. The threat she posed against the power-hungry meat and dairy industries led to threats on her life. Not long after she entered into office, the United States experienced a massive terrorist attack in which US soil was exposed to deadly chemicals, leaving the soil unfit for future use. Not long after, the president was assassinated.
What once began as a revolutionary rise of animal rights activists against the industrialized food movement quickly delved into the sudden, yet subtle, disappearance of thousands of activists throughout the country. Anyone who stood against the agricultural system was arrested for Ecoterrorism. Due to fears of being completely depleted by the government, many activists went into hiding. The vegan and vegetarian diet disappeared, only to be read about in history books.
As a result of the terrorist attack, water has become 100% privatized. Public water fountains have been replaced by bottled water vending machines. All individuals are now required to pay for water service no matter where they live and regardless of their income. This has resulted in an increase of water theft, violence and other illegal acts, leaving lower income and poor families in constant disease, frustration, dehydration, and often, death.
The use of animals for human consumption, product development, entertainment and testing has tripled since 2014. The number of factory farms has been consolidated as one major corporation, The Industry, which now controls the US food system. With the USDA and FDA minimally funded by The Industry, food is now 100% genetically modified within the walls of laboratories throughout the country. Animals continue to be locked away in confinement, violated, their families and lives torn apart for human gain.
The family farm has gone extinct. Industrialized farms have devolved into a system of indentured servitude, where land owners are manipulated, abused--their lives even threatened--if they do not comply with The Industry's standards. Federal laws and policies are now dictated by politicians bought off by the meat, dairy and pharmaceutical industries.
Enter the main character, Bray Hoffman. In the year of her conception, her father and mother had successful careers in law and politics. Bray’s childhood nightmares of the torture of animals, left her with trouble feeling rested. Due to frequent visions of and voices from animals in pain, which she could not understand at her young age, Bray was sent to a psychiatrist, diagnosed with Schizophrenia, and placed on anti-psychotic medications by the age of 12. Throughout her teenage years, as she found herself carted in and out of the hospital due to non-adherence to her medications; Bray grew increasingly imbalanced. She found herself inside a vicious cycle of skipping medications, experiencing and feeling the pain of animals and humans both, and then growing numb once medications were forced upon her. Labeled "sick" by the outside world with no one to believe in her abilities, Bray began to question her own sanity.
And so we arrive in present day, 2044. We find Bray waking from her place in the psychiatric hospital. What happens next is up to you...