Entry 30 – Italy
I'll put it bluntly. Had Ferguson told us the whole plan back in Ireland, I'd have told her 'no.' Simply and plainly 'no.' It sounded like a suicide. But to understand its insanity, I have to tell you a bit more about Italy.
In a way, Italy's the polar opposite of Spain nowadays, the ultimate example of the age-old principle of every ruling class: 'rules for thee but not for me' and of extreme conservationism going wrong. Tuscany's always been a symbol of nature's beauty and a home of the rich and powerful. In fact, from what I heard, you're not considered successful in certain circles until you own a Tuscan villa. And such people with power – they don't see others as citizens, only as servants.
It started slowly at first with strict environmental laws. After all, who could oppose protecting Mother Nature? You're not supposed to ruin the environment around you. That makes total sense. Only, it didn't stop there – it never does. Over the last two decades, the laws in first Tuscany and then the whole of Italy became progressively stricter and the penalties for disobeying them harsher. Nothing was ever banned – you can own anything you want. Weapons, cars, you name it.
Only... you can't, because the operating costs, fees and other levies become so high only the rich can afford it. That's why Tuscany is a region with the highest super-car share on the planet – in reality carbon taxes make operating cars so expensive nobody-does that anymore and those few in service are allowed only to be used to cater to the new nobility.
Travelling became expensive as well with the new 'eco-friendly solutions,' and vacations became a thing of the past. Only bio-grown food became allowed in some regions. Housing prices went up due to extreme regulations ensuring that after a few years, the rich had the entire areas for themselves. The regular folks typically moved to the few zones without such strict regulations left, or had to rely on the grey market to survive (because that sure as hell is not living, that's just survival).
Much like Ireland, Italy also has a digital ID system but instead of an AI controlling your every step, you have legions of administrative officials controlling every aspect of your life through a carbon credit system that practically prohibits people from eating luxury goods (meat included), vacationing or keeping up with their hobbies. Instead, many are condemned to live their lives indoors, hooked up to virtual reality channels with controlled content. Dystopia at its finest.
And therein lies the problem with any plan. To travel anywhere, let alone blend in, you need a digital passport that's impossible to obtain. Except for us, apparently, but it's risky as hell as any foreigner sticks out as a sore thumb.
The plan to get to Italy is simple. Every year, a private security forum takes place in Rome and that's where we're headed. Ferguson is supposed to give a speech there, representing Murdoch and his breakthroughs in computer security systems while we as a private security force are to be a part of the Perihelion expo stand. That's our way in – only we'll have to do something we never wanted to, ditch our armor as it would stick out like a sore thumb and someone might connect some dots – in a place with a thousand cameras per square mile, someone always does.