Photoshop, about 8hrs.
My entry for the latest
this round's magic phrase is " Abandoned Subway".
After initially being thrilled by the topic, I rapidly realized something: I kept coming back to ideas that were cool, but a little too reminiscent of the beautiful metro areas from Fallout 3, or something out of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (The original was my favorite cartoon as a little kid and I watched every episode like a bazillion times). The big problem being that I hate doing something someone's done before if I can help it at all, and between the two they had covered a huge amount of the potential scenes and uses for abandoned underground structures.
I finally had to sit down and clear my head of rubble, genetically altered wildlife, flaming trashcans, raiders, the occasional zombie movie invasion (see the previous "avoiding cliche" statement), and even one of the greatest supervillains ever, the Ratking... and figure out a completely novel way to something I had seen a hundred times before.
And this is what I came up with:
Deep below many of the partially dismantled scrapyards that were once the Earth's cites, lie endless mazes of tunnels that once served as subways. Here one can find those eccentric humans who, for incomprehensible reasons, choose to live outside the bustling high-tech cocoons of the great Arcologies have created an intricate and fiercely independent society of their own. Sheltered from the ravaging storms of a barely controlled greenhouse climate by tons of concrete and earth, they live their lives almost entirely belowground. Most venture to the surface only for recreation and excursions required by their economy, which is primarily based on a combination of extensive subterranean hydroponic gardening , hunting of the plentiful game that has reclaimed much of the abandoned territory once occupied by man, and scavenging what has not already been stripped from the landfills and cities. They barter the products of their labor both among their own tribes and with the Arcologies for the latest technological advances- who happily oblige, as non-synthetic meat and produce can sell for exorbitant prices on the open market, and raw materials are at a premium. Many of the most well-to-do tunnel dwellers have begun their careers as scavegers, and made their fortunes on the antiquities market with finds like functional complete automobiles, or rare primitive computer components dating from the Silicon Age of man, which collectors will spend fortunes to add to their private collections.
While many of the arcology dwellers look down on these "feral humans", recent census data indicates that many of the wealthiest individuals on Earth live not in the penthouses of the orbital cities in the sky, but in sprawling mansions carved beneath the surface, a fact which continues to lure those willing to trade a life above the clouds for a chance at freedom.