Gangs and locations
Lights (a tenement tale)
She slings the rucksack carelessly over her back but pulls the straps tight as she lets the door swing shut behind her with a solid thump, the cold night air hitting her as she skips across the curb towards the other side of the alleyway.
The growl of the idling engine is clearly audible rumbling up and down the street. As she approaches the alleyway, lights flick on causing Cass to squint while her implant whirrs, adjusting to the new light level.
“For funt’s sake, really?” she says somewhat unimpressed, working her way around the light and running one hand over the battered and dented metal of the frame.
“Hello old thing” she says.
“Huh” comes the reply.
“I was talking to the bike” she says smiling at the man who she can see is sat casually on the bike now that her eyes have readjusted. “Amazing it’s still going really” she says arching an eyebrow in his direction, waiting to see his response.
There is a momentary pause and she wonders if it has been too long to get away with that kind ribbing.
Suddenly he bursts into laughter, eyes crinkling and mischievous.
“You’ve not changed, I see” he replies “Just hurry up or else it’ll already have kicked off by the time we get there”.
She barely has time to climb on the back before he kicks the stand away and guns the engine. The whole chassis seems to thrum. “I’m taking the shortcut, best hang on” he says screeching out of the alley, back wheel sliding as it hits the road.
As they reach the corner, he lets the revs drop, slowing to a crawl. She smiles, feeling him tense in front of her: both of them knowing what’s coming next. He looks over his shoulder at her and she grins back, nodding once and tightening her grip. With that, he opens the throttle and pulls sharply to the left taking them over the open wasteground towards the chain link fence. They continue to accelerate until they speed through the jagged gap in the fence, skidding to a stop.
“I forgot how much fun that was” she says still grinning like an idiot as she leans on his shoulder to help her dismount. They both turn as they hear the announcer shout out the first match. There is roar from the assembled crowd and she starts towards the flood lit ring looking for a prime spot to watch from. Spotting a familiar figure she drops down next to them,
“Hey dickhead, what’s the deal?” she says thumping him solidly in the arm.
“Funt sake Cass” he says looking up and rubbing his arm “He’s gone to get ready, his bout’s up after this” he says pointing towards the pit. “Which isn’t gonna take long by the looks of it” he continues, wincing as one of the fighters brings both fists down on their opponents back, knocking them to the ground.
“His odds had better be good. Who’s working the books tonight?” she asks looking around. Clipper points them out and she saunters off to place a bet, making it back just as the fighters are called.
She watches him enter the ring, oblivious to the crowd: focussed only on sizing up his opponent as he prowls the edges of the cage waiting for the signal to start. She feels a knot start to form in her stomach as she watches him and subconsciously checks that her rucksack, stuffed with all the supplies that he might need afterwards, is still firmly on her back.
There is a roar from the crowd as the match starts and he kicks off from the wall, charging at his opponent without a second’s hesitation. She watches as they get into it, swept along with the crowd as they trade brutally punishing blows. Breathless they circle each other, looking for an opening.
“WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR, FUNT THEIR SHIT UP YOU TWAT” she shouts down at him.
It’s impossible to know whether he heard her but a second later he feints to one side, then dodges back to bring his boot down hard on their leg: causing them to stagger backwards and following it up with a rain of blows.
In the shade of Tower One
It is a truth and a commonly known legend that Tenement 67 aka Winston Churchill house is the worst of the worst but there are places were the threat does not only come from the residents.
In the shade of Tower One amongst the air conditioning plants which feed the corporate HQ’s and high society apartments sits Tenement 13. Clouded in smog and toxic fumes you could easily miss it from the air and street level.
With Gov. Regulations on air pollution abandoned years ago the plight of those who make this place home goes ignored. Despite this the conditions have bred strong resilient people, they call it home and are proud of it.
Under most circumstances this toxic pit of hell would be abandoned but the unique gases engulfing the streets and roof tops offer protection from prying eyes. Despite their best efforts no technology has been developed which can penetrate the clouds.
Away from prying eyes it became a haven for criminals and also houses regional office for the Humanitarian Workers Union.
For anyone visiting they would think the place deserted, the presence of masked look outs and guides the only signs of life until you enter a block building. Inside is a different story, like other Tenements the people have adapted, restaurants, bars, clubs and trade stalls are a plenty.
Note: If you wish your character to be a Tenement 13 resident please inform a member of the design team when creating your character.
In December 2039 the group known as Red Flag detonated a large series of bombs within the Tower One cooling towers, this spewed burning toxic waste all over T13 causing massive damage and secondary explosions. Whilst some blocks got off lightly a significant number were virtually destroyed.
The 25th legion
Amongst the thousands of gangs found in the tenements the 25th Legion [B.E] are one of the most successful and brutal.
Gang lore holds that the founder of the 25th Legion was an augmented soldier, decorated and bloodied in the worst black op’s shadow wars.
Tired of the unethical violence for corporate paymasters she gave notice but not before challenging her superiors on the immoral actions of her unit. In the Tenements she found a new purpose and a new army to build.
She is only known by her black ops handle “Freya” and her word is law.
“Extortion is the fault of the weak willed.
It is only entertaining when blood is shed.
Be strong and fight for your own, no others will.”
Becoming one of the 25th Legion (B.E) is only possible by the introduction of existing members. If accepted the Wise of the gang will educate and train, ready for the future and to face the challenges that gang life throws in our way.
The final test before becoming Legionary is a process known as the Sacramentum. In solemn rituals, oaths are taken and individuals subjected to intensive questioning by the gang, its history and expectations for a path through life.
Famed for their brutality the gang are known to crucify those who have wrong the gang. In many Tenements snitches may get stiches but here you are lucky if you are beaten to death in the fight pits.
With Freya's sword the legion arose and conquered the city with fury and grace In it was I born, in it shall I die, in it shall I lose name, station and face Death over weakness, death over despair, death over personal gain Death over dishonour, death over the fire with no flame All this I pledge to thee my legion, Great Freya, to serve and protect over death's endless tide With your word in my heart, your eyes in my face and your tooth in my hand, by my side" Vivat XXV legion (A chant heard in the night)
It's Political (a tenement tale)
He just stands there looking out the window at the scarred grey sky – waiting for my answer. I make him wait before I respond.
'It's– political, Franc.'
I can see his scowl reflected in the smoked glass of my office windows. His response is weary and over familiar.
'Isn't everything?' he says. 'All eyes are on me, Yansin. This guy fucks up on my watch, it won't just be his career they erase.'
Franc and I were friends before I was his boss -- I let his tone pass.
'He's a good cop. Just a bit... naïve,' I say.
'Bullshit,' he says. 'I've read the file. Believes in the letter of the law, doesn't understand the spirit. Fuck– We're trying to enforce laws conceived by people who couldn't have conceived of any of this.' He waves a hand at the muted cityscape outside.
He's still peering out of the window, trying to see past the tinted facade to the world he knows. His shoulders are sloping slightly now – for a moment I think he's going to go for it and wonder if he's intentionally calling my bluff or if he really thinks I'm that out of touch with the street. We both know this good cop wouldn't survive a day in that tenement. Then, he pushes back and I allow myself to relax a notch.
'Where is this coming from?' he asks. 'Do I have a choice?'
My eyes twitch at the screen – an old model – a polygraphene film as thick as a human hair, clumsily mounted in a floating charge-frame. I blink twice rapidly before answering.
'There's always a choice. It's your taskforce.'
'Bullshit.' That same word from him in response. It's always been a favourite. 'It's the minister's taskforce.'
'There's always a choice.'
He walks back to my desk and I oblige him – turning the screen to face him. I watch his face as his eyes run over the words on the display and his voice follows in their wake.
'Disciplinary warning - written; disciplinary warning - verbal; suspension - indefinite. Reason... insubordination –' He pauses. 'What did he really do?'
'Went after a corporate.'
'Too stupid to understand that charges would never stick, or too stubborn not to try anyway?' he asks.
'Good. I need mules – not donkeys. Might have to transfer someone off the team to fit him in though.'
'I'll provide cover if you do.'
'For starters. I'm taking a chance on this and trusting you – you owe me.'
'Fair enough. You'll find I pay my debts.' I say. I don't say that this is all about paying back a favour owed. For me it's about maintaining a balance.
The death of Freya
A 25th Legion block party in 2039 saw a major incident change the face of the gang forever.
Amongst the party goers a team of undercover police found themselves exposed and in desperation one opened fire on the gang who were assaulting him. The violence was quick and bloody with several people injured and dead including the police officer, it was only after things had calmed down that her daughter Tam noticed blood leaking from a wound.
Without a state of the art surgery available her death was inevitable.
Still coming to terms with the death of their founder the gang did not foresee the coming T.R.U raid lead by the surviving partner of the murdered officer.
On the dance floor the music had been stopped, individuals forced to their knees witnessed first-hand the corruption as high society clones were evacuated without charges. One by one amongst this the officer walked, pointing out the killers to the support team, taking them to one side and then lined up against a wall.
As the machine gun fire still rung in peoples ears the poor became unified. Outraged by the police action the Union who had just voted to strike supported their new found allies in the 25th Legion and surprisingly the 67 Saints.
The police were not welcome before this incident, now the tenements had become downright hostile and fatal.
The 13 Foxes are not a gang, they say. Gangs are criminals, thugs with no honour. The 13 Foxes, as they style themselves, have a strict code. They live and die by this code...
Want to know what it is? Best ask them.
A biker gang obsessed with the romantic image of Samurai found in antique and very illegal media (see literary code 13c), members wear top knots (where their hair is long enough) and sport modified breather masks in a Men-gu style.
Whilst they believe themselves to be “honourable warriors” seeking to 'protect' common folk in the hell that is Tenement 13 the locals call it what it really is “nice extortion”. Whilst some have mixed feelings about the expected 'tithe' and show of respect the gang feel they are due, they all agree it isn’t any worse than any place else and they have clean air!
Even the Union had a semi-official place in Tenement 13 due to the stable nature of the blocks as petty crime plummeted when they took over many of the block buildings. Muggers, buglers, pickpockets and drug dealers saw swift and brutal reprisals.
Gambling is acceptable to the gang so long as it is done in a 'civilised' fashion and the house is being fair. As a result there is currently no Big Beats Big Beats franchise in Tenement 13, instead card dens and other dice games are prevalent.
Unlike other well known gang such as the 25th and 67 Saints the 13 Foxes also have a steady income from selling residents of Tenement 13 'clean' air. This is simply air run through jury rigged air filtration units attached to block buildings, rumour is they have a number of Union technicians working with them to keep them up and running. Since the strike went into effect it is not unreasonable to assume that some Union members are keen to find out who they are so they can have a chat about the profits.
The 13 Foxes is organized around local leaders whose ceremonial title is 'Daimyo', they rule like any other gang leader though and to the gang the leader’s word is law.
Entertainment for the next generation
The TV show is virtually dead, sitcoms and reality TV hit their peak (not in a good way) in the late 20’s with such shows as “My Cyborg and I” and “Death Row Death Run”.
In everything there is always an exception and in the world of entertainment that is Charity Banks star of the Tower One Intra Broadcast (and many pirated DVD’s). Big attitude and controversy keep the show in the spot light. If you are lucky enough maybe you can get an autograph.
With rising poverty and the global networks being turned off entertainment has evolved (took a step back some may argue). Localised live events, self-published fiction (see literary code 13c), Dreamweavers and stims have replaced binge watching on the sofa.
Excluding illegal stim sales and #1 (the DJ), the number one form of entertainment in the tenement is pit fighting.
With Big Beats Big Beat Bar franchises now a common sight in all tenements it’s rare that you will find some underground action unless you know where to look. Out of these fight legends have risen, champions of events and crowd pleasers.
If you wise your character to be an infamous pit fighter please include that in your character introduction.
The most famous of these fighters, known by anyone who has attended slum fights and even B5 know his name. They are Blazer Flip, the one who toured most of the slums, won a thousand fights, the bare knuckle beast. Their career began during the early days around 2034, picked up by the now retired Casper Blacks and his “The Next Big Thing” management agency. They rose quickly alongside other legends such as Cassidy (retired), The Hammer (dead), Long8 (missing), fighting 5 nights a week for a variety of clients.
Then the big time and big bucks called in 2038, Big Beats wanted Blazer for B5, the opening act, the holding act. That night Blazer Flip turned betrayed their manager, the rumours say that immediately after receiving the call Blazer told TNBT to “get fucked”, picked up their bag and walked out. Furious Blacks sent Cassidy after them to “deal” with them. Cassidy was found the next day, spin snapped and suffering severe head trauma which they never recovered from. That isn’t the end of the story though.
After six months in B5 Blazer was ejected, nobody can confirm it but someone you know may know someone who knows someone who was a cleaner there who knows that they were caught with their hand in the till. In 2039 Blazer Flip made a comeback on the scene looking for fights, rumour has it they are doing the old circuit of block parties trying to make some quick cash.
Her eyes still closed (A Tenement tale)
Her eyes still closed, Seraph reaches back and disconnects her client from the plait of connector cables, tucking it back around her neck. She raises her hood and turns it on, her face obscured by fabric and light.
"How are you feeling?"
Her client's eyes flicker open, glazed. Her cheeks are flushed, her breathing rapid.
"Fucking...fuck. I...yes. I'm...good. Wonderful, really. But that was..."
"Yeah. You were...we were...?"
"Thank *you*. I didn't know that was even possible. I mean, I'd heard rumours, but..."
"You should sit for a few moments longer. It takes some time for your mind to readjust. And they will want you to re-join the negotiations soon. May I get you a drink? There is Recaff, Bounce, tea?"
"Ugh, yes, the negotiations. Bounce, please."
"I am sorry to have reminded you so quickly, but unfortunately it is part of my role here. The Union..."
"Never mind the Union right now. Let me thank you properly. Let me see your face."
"You have already seen it. Please let go of my wrist. They are monitoring my vital signs and if they believe you have harmed me or intended me harm, it will damage your position in the negotiations significantly."
"I...my apologies. It's just that, what you and I shared just now, it was..."
"I know. I am glad to share the experience with you. But you must understand that it whilst it was memorable, it was also virtual, temporary, and a gift."
"From the Union. I know."
"The Union have paid for my time, but the gift does not come from them. It is my gift, from Our Digital Mother, and I have shared it with you."
"You believe in all that?"
"How could I not, when She has blessed me so? I would be nothing without Her."
"And the Union?"
"The Union are...a reasonable ally. As I hope you too will come to appreciate."
"People like you...Dreamweavers, I mean. It's easy for you to pay off your gear, if you want to freelance. Right?"
"It is more possible for us than for many who work for the Corps." And more possible to acquire the gear without a Sponsor, she silently adds. "But not for all."
"I can understand what the Union get out of the deal. But...why do you do it? Ally with them, I mean?"
"That is a question for another time. I believe they will be looking to begin again soon."
"I will never be able to afford another time like that."
"Perhaps you will, if negotiations go well."
Big Beats Big Beat Bar
From small time crook to small fry corporate franchiser, the life of Big Beats has been a rocky one. A promising career as a DJ Big Beats wasted it all by getting into bed with a Stim dealer cartel back in 31. Once a rival of the infamous #1, but no more.
“A setup.” They cried out to the cameras at their trial. “That hash tag one fucker set me up.” Two years later Big Beats got out of jail, stronger tougher and much smarter, they made waves on the pit fight scene. Two fights a night witnessed by a few gangers in a car park quickly grew to multiple fighters in three way death matches with capacity crowds.
2035 Big Beats “made it”, rumour is a corporate backer invested heavily, greasing the palms of the Gov. to legalise the fights no matter the outcome. With the monopoly on untouchable pit fighting secured franchises started popping up everywhere across the tenements.
As a legit front for business the majority of the Big Beats Big Beat Bar franchises have been taken up by gangs and other criminal groups.
2038 saw Big Beats hit the big time with the opening of B5, a classier, more sophisticated and generally more upmarket version of the brand in Tower One, an exclusive entertainment venue for the corporate super rich.
How far will this ex DJ tenement trash rise? Only time will tell, but for now if you want to run a pit, “Get a franchise license and get violent.”