Skin vs. Tin

“What kind of question is that? Hey, you new around here or something? Yeah? Well, let me make it real simple for you then - being a Skin is good and being a Tin is bad. Why? That’s just the way it is, kid. There are lots of reasons. Probably how it will always be, too, unless the revolution takes off. Pretty small right now, but don’t all revolutions start that way? Don’t worry, I could tell you were a Skin a mile away, so you don’t have to sweat anything around here. That is, unless the Tins really do take over the show one day...

My job? I try to keep the peace between the two classes. That’s not easy in a big city like this. Oh, you come from the Farmlands? No wonder you’re so clueless! They even have Tins where you live? I didn’t think so. Here, read this. I have better things to do with my time than answer all your questions. Good luck,’ll need it.”



Skin: Slang term referring to a fully organic human. Through certain means (proper upbringing, healthy lifestyle, wealth, power, etc.), a Skin has managed to properly protect and care for his/her natural body, thus eliminating the need for a synthetic replacement (see Tin). Today’s environment is a harsh one, and this is no small feat. You will usually find Skins in positions of leadership within government agencies, private corporations, social clubs, and anywhere else requiring a high level of discipline, motivation, and intelligence.

Tin: Slang term referring to a human possessing his/her organic brain, with said brain being housed within a synthetic body, normally in the cranial chamber*. The vast majority of Tins are those who either abused their natural bodies (drinking, smoking, poor diet, improper environmental precautions, etc.) and/or did not have the money required to protect themselves from the ravages of time and disease. You will usually find Tins in positions considered undesirable (hazardous waste, environmental sterilization, high risk labor, etc.).

* It has recently been discovered that rebel Tins are relocating their brains into heavily reinforced torsos, using the cranial chamber to hold less essential hardware.

Dent: Slang term referring to an Indentured Servant. Dents are almost always Tins, as the financial hardship that precipitated the indenture also facilitated the failure of the natural body and subsequent need for a synthetic replacement. You will rarely find a Skin in servitude; they are generally Masters of at least one Dent. Synthetic bodies are costly and often purchased by a Master on behalf of a newly created Tin. In return, the Tin becomes an Indentured Servant until the debt (plus interest) is paid. This practice is seen as unfair by some Tins, and has led to the formation of rebel groups across a multitude of Urban Zones. The fact that they made a conscious choice (servitude over death) does not seem to matter to these rebels.


The young man reads through the definitions a second time, then a third, struggling to fully grasp their meaning. How can this be? Back home, no one ever spoke of Skins and Tins and Dents. Of course, the government is notorious for withholding information about the Urban Zones. Food produced by the Farmlands is essential for the well being of the entire Commonwealth, and they can’t risk any backlash from its residents. Technically, all regions are under the same harsh rule, but most necessary goods produced in the Urban Zones are done by robotic facilities and rely less on manual labor. Farming requires a human touch that no robot has ever been able to reproduce.

Tired of the endless work in the fields and quiet rural atmosphere, the young man jumped at the chance to be a Farmlands Liaison and live in an Urban Zone. Several friends had accepted the same sort of job, never returning to the dull agricultural life they left behind. He assumed it was because they were having such a great time in the big city but now he was not so sure. Where -or what- are they now?

A wave of panic hits him hard as he answers his own question. They are Tins...and Dents. Like him, his friends were born and raised in the Farmlands and left there eager for adventure but flat broke. Too broke by far to afford a synthetic body after the acrid air of the Urban Zone destroyed lungs used to breathing fresh country air. A lifetime of being kept in the dark about how things really were in the Urban Zones, and now the young man will learn the truth, whether he wants to or not.