The City is a huge urban conglomerate, which over the years, due to uncontrolled growth, has merged entire cities into a singular megalopolis. It has become an autonomous ecosystem with its own climate; you can't really tell the difference between day and night, because the artificial sky is always grey.
I heard a guy describe it as "a cancer, evolving out of control and absorbing everything in it".
He wasn't so wrong.
The blocks in the center of the City are owned by the Mega-Corporations. Whole districts are ruled by them, where they apply their merciless law. Don’t get me wrong:living there might be even described as a good life. If you keep being loyal to your corporation, you can get some good food, a nice place to live for you and your children, and even medical assistance.
But the moment you’re even justconsidering to betray your employer, you’ll be left alone.
Outside the wealthy inner city blocks, the Sprawl stretches out for miles. It’s where the vast majority of the habitants live, struggling to survive from day to day, as there is no real law there. Apart from the oldest and truest of them all.
Government presence here is non-existent, and entire blocks are usually dominated by a single gang. Their turf wars for dominion over territory are the norm. But the gangs are not exclusively violent and criminal. In their territory, they are the only one to provide something akin to a social net. That’s the actual way they keep control over their turf. When you’ve got nobody else looking out for you, they’re there to protect you, to provide for you, to give something like safety in a warzone.
Do you wish to survive in the Sprawl? Remember the old saying.
“The actors change, but the play remains the same.”
Outside the Sprawl, lies the deserted Nemolands. It’s a hostile place, mostly devoid of flora and fauna – if you don’t count the enormous field owned by the mega-corps, in the few places that are yet cultivable, dedicated to the monoculture of the cereals that literally fuel our society.
It’s not a place you wanna go without a lot of friends, and a lot of guns. Because it’s the territory of the Nomad factions, in frequent conflict with one another. They are groups of renegades and outlaws, crammed into a ragtag fleet of cars and bikes, roaming the wild lands looking for supplies, odd jobs and spare parts.
Each Nomad family it’s a town on wheels, with their own leaders, teachers and mechanics. They survive by terrorizing cities, and sometimes working as muscle in Corporate wars. It’s not an easy life, but they would never choose anything else. Because they’re free. Really free.
When you’ve got a gun and a bike, that’s all you need for riding the hard trail.
Placed approximately near the border of the Inner City and the Sprawl, Chiba Station has become a focal point of exchange between the two.
If you want to make something of your life, you have to live there.
Because for the wealthy cunts of the Inner City that have money and need a more or less legal workforce, it’s an open market. For us, the poor nobody of the Sprawl, it’s a great place to find jobs. You just have to sometimes ignore your moral compass.
But that’s not the only reason that secretly everyone wants to take control of it,as it hosts the only decent machinery for augmentation surgery in the radius of kilometers. For us sprawlers, this is the only chance to get a decent implant without half of our brain spilled on the floor.
Furthermore there you can freely access the NET. No one really knows who maintains it, but also no one is going to complain, as it is free. And in the Sprawl, you never complain for free shit. But the cunts coming from the Inner City seem to like it, as well. As they say that it is a NET sector different from the others. A great place for business that they want to keep private.
The troubled history of the Station begins more than two hundreds years ago, being built as a military fortification for a forgotten war. Can’t tell you more: almost no one cares that much for past history nowadays.
It was pretty much abandoned for two centuries, as the government gradually lost power. It was suddenly reopened as a prison in the 90s, given the astonishing high level of crime that the State was barely able to cope with. We’re talking of hundreds of criminals, held in conditions that were at the edge of human decency.
At the opening of the new millennium, as the State declared bankruptcy, the prison was left to its own demise. Without control the prisoners revolted, and turned the fort into a free and independent city.
But it was not going to last. As the fort started to become a transit station, it attracted many attention. And in the Sprawl, you have to learn to be ready to defend the few things you have with a lot of firepower.
In the autumn of 2006, a booster gang known as Golden Mask took possession of the fort by sheer force. That was quite the sight. They made it their HQ, and proceeded to take control of the surrounding territory. A lot of people ended up in the fort, and were never seen again. Some folks talked about cannibalistic rites, caused by the first recorded episodes of cyber-psicosis. I prefer not to think too hard about that time.
But in the spring of 2015, the fort was suddenly silent. Over the span of a single week, something happened behind those walls. The first reckless that ventured inside found the corpses of the Golden Masks lying everywhere. They seemed to have shot each other. Maybe an internal rivalry gone wrong? I don’t want to go into too much detail now. I knew a guy, a veteran of a half dozen wars. He was one of the first to enter- He still doesn’t want to talk about what he saw.
But a few days later, a mysterious message spread through the NET.
“Chiba Station opens its doors”.
Albeit slowly initially, the fort started to be inhabited again. A seemingly functioning society took place, independent from the control of both the government and the mega-corporations. And, somehow, it managed to last up until today. Five different gangs took residence, living in a... let’s call it peaceful tacit agreement, not having better words to describe it.
But I see in your eyes that you want me to tell you about the latest news.
Yeah. It’s true.
Few days ago, another mysterious message spread on the NET.
“Chiba Station is ready to fly”.
I have no fucking idea what it means.
But take a word of advice from someone that managed to survive in the Sprawl for a lot of years.
These words means something is about to change.
And change is never peaceful.