Paris: Places of interest and power players


Places of interest

Places of interest in Paris. Modified from map by Eric Gaba, Wikimedia Commons user Sting, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
  1. 8th arrondissement: A very sumptuous area of Paris. Famous for the Champs-Élysées garden and the Arc de Triomphe. A select area for the fashion and cosmetics industry, the region is filled with high-end businesses, specially around Avenue Montaigne, where the elites flow to and live. A historically diplomatic area, the zone has several embassies and consulates, particularly around Parc Monceau. Parc Monceau also attracts the top elites, who have Maisons around the area.
  2. 7th arrondissement: The house of the Eiffel tower, the 7th is a central area of Paris. Its northern area has many governmental buildings, including the Palais Bourbon. The southern section around the Ecole Militaire and Les Invalides has many military contractors and businesses. The Eiffel tower attracts affluent people who want to have a good flat with a view of the tower. Faubourg Saint-Germain is the home to the aristocracy and the goldenchildren who love to mingle right at the heart of Paris.
  3. Caïds: The last bastion of the old days of the 19th when the milieu controlled the area, Caïds is a ganger bar right at the edge of Paris. Used often for negotiations between the gangs, the bar sees its good share of death and blood. Keep your combat on the low however, the owner is on the brink of losing his license and he will kill you if you bring any trouble to him, if your opponent doesn’t do it first that is. The closest you can get to the combat zone without being in it, Caïds is a great place to hire muscle and lose your wallet.
  4. La Chapelle: Do not go to La Chapelle! I repeat, do not go to it, do not go anywhere near it at night. An immense club built in the lands of the former Cimetière parisien de La Chapelle at the border between Paris and the Saint-Denis combat zone. A tall makeshift building with multiple ambiances to cater to all their patrons: chrome rock, dance club, brothel, fight club, shooting range, and VIP zones (if one can call them that). The club is next to the Bd. Périphérique road, and any vehicles going through there can be certain they will be shot; avoid it at any cost.
  5. Salle d’attente: Spend enough time at the hospital waiting for your team to be patched up and you gotta find some other entertainment in the meantime; collect edgerunners for long enough in a single place and see business flourish. A small old-fashioned bar right across the street to the Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital. It has transformed to the place to find the next job after (or while) you and your buddies get patched. Its iconic wooden counter is busy with exhausted solos, and their tables packed with fixers doing business. If you need a foot on the ground team, salle d’attente is the place to go.
  6. Bichat-Claude Bernard Hospital: A shabby hospital in the 18th, right on the edge of Paris with a nice assortment of no-questions-asked doctors. The quality might not be the best, but their bodybank is always stocked with replacement limbs and organs. The clientele is diverse, but a decent amount of it is definitely gangers, runners, and anyone who needs to hide their injuries or their identity.
  7. Alwadi: A shisha lounge close to the defense ministry at Balard. Tacky, filled with neon lights, bad stereotypes, and foul smelling smoke. Regulars are often rookie solos trying to make a name of their own with the French army. The military is aware of the reputation of the place and recruits disposable mercenaries from their halls; some might make it big, but most end up dead or disgraced.
  8. Balard military base: House to the defense ministry, the office of the État Major Armées, and the elite training program for advanced tactics. A large and heavily secured complex, with grey and black tall buildings with no view to the inside, anti-heat detection materials, and dozens of automated security systems.
  9. Le bistrot du Raoul: An opulent restaurant that no longer lives to their bistro name where the top smoothie players mingle with each other. Originally the place where senior military dined together, it outgrew itself and now serves as a social club where solos and corporations network between each other.
  10. Romarin: A beautiful restaurant on the top of a skyscraper with an incredible view of the Bois de Boulogne, the Eiffel tower, and Champ de Mars. A select place for exec to wine and dine and impress each other. With a classical Louis XIV look, opulence exudes from every single element of Romarin: the furniture, the staff, the guests, the cutlery, the menu, and the disdain with which every patron thinks of each other.
  11. Palau: Without a doubt the most exclusive establishment of Paris, Palau is the club managed by renowned fixer Xavier Codorniu. A discreet and well-guarded club, the highest execs, goldenchildren, and aristocracy socialize and secretly deal in there. An interesting duality as Xavier is the information dealer by excellence, he guarantees his patrons that anything said or seen in its quarters will not leave them, as long as it does not endanger the Palau’s reputation. With multiple areas that cater to each guest liking (satin, leathers, neo-Asian influence, and many others too explicit to discuss) luxury dominates every hall.
  12. Militech regional offices: A short building, at least to the Parisian city center standards, in the heart of the Invalides district. Once a signifier of Militech power and influence, close to so many French government offices, now it’s just one more of many buildings in the chaos of Paris. Of course, the building is still operational, managed by a fund on behalf of the French people, but has lost most of its flare.
  13. Petrochem regional offices: A tall and stylish building in the Place D’Italie, custom-built recently for Petrochem since they expanded operations in 2030. A modern arcology designed with photocatalytic purification systems cleaning both the air inside and outside the building and several greenhouse levels containing a small forest inside their offices. They designed the whole campus to cater to their workers and the public’s environmental sensibilities, advertisement their commitment to renewables and a cleaner environment (Let’s refrain from emitting judgement on the truth of their promise).
  14. SovOil regional offices: A sober building in the heart of the Rue de Rivoli shopping district. With its granite colors, squared edges and dignified tallness, the building stands out in between the posh and colorful fashion stores that dominate the area.
  15. EBM regional offices: A large multi-building campus next to the Seine river with bright buildings and green all around. Their public area contains a mall with several showrooms and shops showcasing EBM consumer products with many walkways and beautiful views, a pleasant stroll for a couple on a weekend. The headquarters section is closed to anyone unauthorized, heavily guarded with military-grade drones and first-class surveillance systems. Protective of both their corporate offices and research laboratories, EBM does not want anyone or anything foreign inside their offices in Paris.
  16. Lazarus regional offices: A fortified compound relatively close to the École Militaire and the Balard military base. Solemn and elegant, it stands tall and intimidating. Access to the building is tightly controlled, only by appointment and previous security clearance, and limited to a few authorized areas.
  17. WorldSat CommNet HeadQuarters: An avant-garde cluster of buildings surrounding the Place de la Nation. The main corporate offices are a ring of modern, trendy and colossal buildings connected to each other and strategically placed, so sunlight, when available, always reaches the park in the center. The central offices belong to management, sales representatives, coveted employees and potential customers. The neighboring constructions serve as operational facilities for the company, with a few thousand employees going in and out of them every day. The corporation manages the public areas around the campus with the blessing of the local authorities. Always clean, well lit, and patrolled by corporate security, they are one of the most beautiful blocks of Paris. Even though free passage is permitted through the streets near their headquarters, nothing there happens without the sanction of WorldSat and without their eyes onto you.
  18. Barracks of the garde républicaine: The headquarters of the elite Parisian police force in the heart of the Madeleine district, in charge of securing public buildings and keeping order in Paris. A large classical brick colored building where no edgerunner would want to be in. The building also houses the GIGN local offices, the tactical unit of the gendarmerie.
  19. Préfecture de Police: A majestic and somber building in the Île de la Cité, filled with dark colors and tinted windows. Rebuilt from the ground in the early 30s, the building is famous for being the command center for the test drive of the TTWS (Through the Wall Sensors) system. With sensors through the Parisian city center, the system using radars, allows the police to have a basic idea of the lay of the land and location of targets in the inside of the buildings being scanned.
  20. Tribunal Judiciaire de Paris: The main courthouse of Paris, and debatably, France. A huge modern skyscraper almost 200 meters tall with dozens of courts for all civil, financial and criminal matters. With a facade of glass, supposed to reflect their transparency, below, the tower has dark grey walls showing the more accurate feeling of the justice in the 8th republic.
  21. Hôtel de Ville: The main city hall, administrative office, and house of government of Paris. Rebuilt during the 2010s after the previous building had to be demolished because of heavy differential settlement failures appearing after soil moisture changes in the terrain, the building is an incredible deconstructivist structure very distinctive among the collection of classical buildings and skyscrapers of the Parisian city center.

The power players

Satoshi Dutoit (Exec/Rockerboy): The founder of Satoshi Advanced Systems, board member of it, and, arguably, father of the French futarchy. A goldenchild, son of billionaire Marc Dutoit and marchioness of Assche from Belgium, Hiroto Rii. He studied engineering and business and became interested in the application of technology for public affairs. While still working in his education, he founded his first company, creating shipping port management systems. The company kept growing under his leadership until it became entrusted with improving and managing the French voting systems. The datakrash was a golden opportunity for Satoshi, since all EEC systems became useless. His company rewrote dozens of them, including surveillance alert systems for the European border police. However, his magnus opus was definitely pushing for and implementing the systems behind futarchy.

But if you’d ask Satoshi what is his true calling, he would say it is creating and pushing technology to the future. He is very opinionated in all matters of technology and politics, clashing often with the experts and investors. Often appearing on vid, posting inflammatory content in his social media, his opinions are controversial and hyperbolic, but adored by hundreds of thousands. Surprisingly, even when wrong or out of his depth, his influence is almost unlimited. His followers will act for whatever he proposes, even at their own monetary cost. Being somewhat of a contrarian, he has strongly affected trends on the futarchy’ prediction markets to unsuspected places, but has never flipped one altogether. One day he might.

Satoshi, on first glance, will appear meek, shy, and awkward; particularly in his vid appearances. Do not let yourself get fooled, with agreeableness he will sneak himself out of difficult situations and dominate public opinion. He is unusual compared to most goldenchild, dressing modestly, approachable, as long as you agree with him, when his viciousness comes out.

Commandeur Björn Dünhaupt (Solo): The elite solo every smoothie wants to become, a star on the rising in the solo scene, but by no means a novice. Björn organized the extraction of the politicians from the Palais de Bourbon and took part himself in it, staying until the last second, keeping at bay protestors, redirecting them to empty sections of the building, and fighting them until the last worker was safe. Regardless of one’s opinion on saving corrupt politicians, Björn’s tactical and combat abilities are to be admired, and in the corporate edgerunning circles, his are.

Björn was no unknown solo. He had a brilliant career. A trainee in the military academy of Berlin, he later participated in dozens of missions across Europe, with expertise in the NCE theatre in particular. But the discretion of the secret soldier for the elites does not grant notoriety, so coordinating the extraction operations in the Palais put him in the spotlight, and Björn took the opportunity and exploited it fully. Being granted membership in the legion of honor and with the prominence that his public appearances gave, Björn immediately formed his own elite corps with trusted fellows and remarkable solos from all across France. If a customer needs a first-class team without having to go all the way to finding the angels, the best one can get is a handpicked team by Dünhaupt, and if circumstance needs, you might get Björn himself, for a fee of course.

Having Björn work for you is not as simply as requesting and paying, he vets every single job that comes his way. He works with trust: He puts himself and his people in the field for you, and in exchange he will want to know what the job entails and for whom he is working for, an unusual trait for a solo. Regardless, he will never betray his clients, and he is very careful about not leaving any trace of his encounters with them, but all details are firmly written in his head. His customers are in the highest levels of influence as well, megacorporations, goldenkids, even the EC itself. Secrecy is paramount for Björn’s teams. He won’t accept jobs where his soldiers cannot get in and out undetected, and if there is a need for open combat, you’d need to convince him that those he needs to fight against are an enemy worth taking. With the foes he’d encounter in the circles where he operates, the danger is too high to rack up hostilities.

Björn is a stern, disciplined, and organized man. Well spoken but brief, he isn’t one to engage in idle chat. He has an impressive memory for both data and faces. If he has seen you once, it’s unlikely he will forget you. Few people meet with Björn in person except for customers and the closest of his leadership. Measure your words around him; between his memory and his social skills, he will profile you in a few interactions. Always well dressed, but never flashy, he will stand out regardless, as his build and height are striking. Some believe that he has travelled to the crystal palace, where he got fitted with state-of-the-art bio and chipware, but nobody can confirm it, as if he has any he hides it very well.

Xavier Codorniu (Fixer): The most coveted and exclusive escort of Paris, former at least, he doesn’t seem to work on it anymore. Xavier owns a few top end clubs who serve as places where his “associates” work. His clubs are lavish, only open to the elite of society. Yet, Xavier’s largest business is not entertainment, is information.

No one is a vault, no one. Make anyone comfortable enough and they will speak freely, and nowhere else is this more true than in Xavier’s business. Invisible to their customers, escorts have a lot of information that mostly goes with them to the grave, but sometimes, they talk between each other. Xavier saw a path to the top, and meticulously gathered and catalogued all the information he could find useful from others in the industry. He was careful, though, never selling the information himself, mostly through intermediaries or the net, keeping a safe distance. But he knew he was couldn’t keep it going forever, and anonymity just made him easier to eliminate.

Xavier, with time, patience, and furtiveness grew a network of informants and customers, made himself a name as the peddler of information. Got knowledge for sale? He is the one to go to. Need some intel? He is your guy. Xavier’s grip over Paris is fierce, and trying to cross him is not in your best interest. Everybody owes him a favor, and he has dirt on someone high, wherever you can think of. Corporations are too afraid of what Xavier has on them, and his informants do not dare betray him or feed him bad info. With a single word, all those whom an informant sold info from will know it was them, and it would be their end.

Xavier is a jovial but calculating man. He has survived the streets and remembers their ways. Cautious, almost to paranoia, Xavier is always close to his security detail, hired from Dünhaupt himself. His network is deep and wide, and, unless you have earned his trust, he will follow the information he gets, and will reward or punish for it, it’s up to you.

Laura Black (Media): Europe is no strange to propaganda, specially in the core countries, and if someone would be an indoctrination emissary, it would be Ms. Black. Head newscaster for the national France Visions, everyone knows her face, voice and opinions. Laura, despite her stardom, still behaves as the same correspondent she started being, and will often be seen on the ground, covering breaking news. Laura’s claim to fame was her coverage of the second Bastille day, right on the line of fire between the rioters and the gendarmes, and she keeps that brand alive, but has expanded it as well.

Black, with no sugar” has to be the show for which Laura is known the most. An opinion program where she discusses current affairs with guests, both those that agree with her and those who don’t, her fame and growth came from it. Being a guest on Laura’s show is two different universes at the same time. The guests that share the message of the show will find themselves with a jump in popularity and a wonderful platform for their ideas, but those who don’t will have to tread her spider web. Laura’s debate abilities are solid, and aided with her team’s rhetoric skill and well-crafted narratives, few viewers walk away disagreeing with her. No trick is above the show: digging dirt on the guest, hyperbole, overwhelming the viewer, trapping, misinterpretation; anything that will carry the message forward.

Laura is an elegant, educated and eloquent media. She is severe and calm, won’t ever raise her voice, but will neither yield to her opponents. Her team is large and resourceful. Even if she no longer follows the news herself, her team gives her all the details and means she needs. Whatever is the portrayal of the day, Laura will know its smallest subtlety and will be ready to defend it.

Píèsíe Omenaa (Exec): The regional director of Orbital Air and ambassador of the highrider confederation, Mr. Omenaa is an extremely influential individual in politics, economy and society not only for Paris but for France as a whole. Born in Ghana, son to a labourer working for Orbital Air, Píèsíe grew in Nairobi surrounded by the longing for progress out of the planet. He was very intelligent and got a great education thanks to the growth of the country on the back of the spacefaring business. Píèsíe is an accomplished man, versed in business, science, management, and technology. The corporate and political world are second nature to him. His connections go far and wide: in the business world, in the politics of France where he is regularly consulted, and with his status as a highrider envoy.

A corpo from top to toe, Píèsíe is sophisticated, congenial, and amicable. This is nothing but a front. In his work, Mr. Omenaa is ruthless, cunning and won’t spare means to achieve his goals and defend his interests. He will sabotage anyone getting anywhere close to endangering Orbital Air business and will fight for the Confederation’s goals with loyalty and fierceness. Warring in many fronts at any time, it’s possible that a job you got in Paris is involved in an intrigue planned by Píèsíe or against him.

Lucas “NP” Iskowitch (Netrunner/Lawman): The head of the French office of netwatch, Lucas is a cruel and greedy individual who will do anything to propel himself higher in the hierarchy, whatever it takes. Once a mediocre netrunner nicknamed NP, he was in the right place and right time to procure for himself a cozy job at netwatch. Part of a crew of netrunners who ran into a cache of old net technology, Lucas was unhappy with the share of his profits, so he did what he knows best, destroy others for his benefit, and sold them to the Europol in exchange for a job.

Lucas might have been an undistinguishable netrunner, but he certainly made a successful and merciless net-police officer. He worked for a while in the netcrime division of Europol and made a name for himself by delivering his old contacts to the Europol (passing them as just found criminals) and extorting other netrunner names and locations from his prisoners. His reputation put him on the sight of netwatch, who hired him as a detective. He quickly rose through the ranks thanks to his unconventional methods and got himself a reputation for being great at his job, but terrible to work with. Now the head of the regional office of netwatch, he has been in a campaign to have informants in every corner of France. As soon as any prominent netrunner rises to glory or any clue about unauthorized use of the old net comes to his ears, he will hunt them and take them, whatever it takes for his quest of glory.

Lucas is a foul-mouthed, short-tempered, violent, and hateful man. Anyone working for him knows him for his belittling, his fits of rage, non-stop screaming and unrelenting demand for results. If you are a netrunner in Paris, keep your head underground, because if Lucas wants you or anything you have, he won’t stop at anything to take you. He will threaten, extort, torture and even kill. There is nothing too extreme for him.

Dr. Antoine Lucy (Tech): A prolific French researcher and engineer, creator of the photocatalytic air purification system used in French metropolises. Born and grown in Paris, and graduated from the Sorbonne university with all bachelor, masters and doctorate degrees. He coauthored and produced dozens of research papers, mainly in materials science under the banner of the Sorbonne university under grants with several corporations of all sizes, up to Orbital Air. Dr. Antoine’s scientific prowess goes to even doing research work in orbit, where he created the base technology that led to the purification system.

Dr. Lucy’s contributions have placed him on the top of the European scientific community: A respected researcher with over two hundred published works to this day, dean of the Sorbonne university, president of the French academy of science, and leader of the scientific committee of public affairs who oversees and proposes policies to be voted in all matter technology and science. He often appears on public vid, the go-to reference for scientific journalism and diffusion. His word has a lot of weight with anything science-related in Paris and France. Dr. Antoine is a serious but amicable person. He is well aware of his power and influence and takes advantage of it. As good as he is in engineering he is at politics, and will play the game, so be ready yourself as well.

Lucie (Solo): A mysterious mercenary on the top of their game, very secretive and effective. Every edgerunner knows their name and feats, but no one has ever met them or seen their face. Lucie manages their entire operation of training, recruitment and planning remotely, even to hire them or their crews for a job, they will do it via the net. Lucie does not work with fixers intermediaries, they find them bothersome and a liability, another link where it all can go wrong.

Lucie’s fame came from their extraction of over three hundred trafficked people from the hands of the Corsican mafia and the Organitskaya. In an astoundingly well planned operation, Lucie and their crew smuggled out forced laborers and abused victims out of a casino in Saint-Raphaël and transported them all the way to New Barcelona, where, working with medias small and large, exposed the casino operations and abuses. With such an exposition, the French police had to act and closed the casino, costing millions to the milieu. Lucie avoided any mention of their name in media coverage for their own safety, but in the edgerunner circles their reputation spread like wildfire. Naturally, such exposition has made them a target for the French underground, but they know the mafia methods, and a game of cat and mouse (where the mouse keeps winning) keeps going between the two.

Working with Lucie is not a simple task, those who had worked with them before have access to the pirate sites where Lucie receives requests, and those networks keep changing. Only by referral from those acquainted with Lucie one can get in contact, and, if lucky, you will get a reply. Transference and delivery happens via a vast net of disposable intermediaries and drop points, as to never get nowhere close to Lucie herself.

Gino de Rooms (Nomad/Fixer): The heart and soul of the Parisian Roma federation trading post, Gino is a fixer and nomad knowledgeable in all things transportation, logistics and smuggling. Born in a once small family of Yenish itinerant metalworkers, Gino’s intuition and cunning took himself and his family to becoming one of the most notable smugglers in the Benelux and northern France region. Rarely riding anymore, Gino spends most of his time moving goods and products in and out of Paris aided by his traveller and Roma fellows. You’ll find him often in and around the Saint-Ouen docks screaming at someone to hurry and move their product or negotiating a deal here and there.

Grown in a small pack of around 20 travellers, Gino learned the ropes of their trade, metalwork, but hated it. Sick of the poverty and meager pay for their hard work, he kept working in their business, but slowly stole small amounts of materials from their employers to fit their vehicles, working towards his goal, smuggling. After some negotiation, and in exchange for training, his family worked with other travellers to modify not only his family cars but the others as well. Gino’s family grew, merging with others, doubling between smugglers and seasonal workers, now in the low hundred members. He had contacts and routes throughout Belgium, the inundated south of the Netherlands, and the northern coast of France. When the Romano jekhetanipe formed, Gino was ready to jump in and transformed their entire fleet of cars into cargo lorries for corporate transport. Gino now finds contracts not only for his family that still runs routes between France and Benelux, but for many other travellers.

Gino is a loud, braggart, and blunt man, but also a generous one with his people. Still dressed in his old traveller leathers, he is simple and modestly looking, contrary to his stories, always adorned with flare and class. When not seen in the Saint-Ouen docks and bars, he’d be around Aulnay-sous-Bois industrial areas, supervising his operations there and looking for new contracts.

Fiona “Grisette” Lemoine (Medtech): The medic in charge of what she calls “the xenodochium of the new prole”, Fiona is an activist of the yellow helmets who uses her abilities and resources in helping the needy, while pursuing the revolution she pushes for. Fiona used to be a workplace doctor in a factory in Strasbourg where she saw many injuries and death from poor safety and cut corners. She joined the unionist movement there and became learned in communist theory. She firmly believes and lives her ideals, devoting her life to fighting capitalism the best way she knows how, as a surgeon.

Fiona affiliated herself with the Yellow Helmet movement early and works with them treating anyone that needs it. She won’t charge to those who cannot afford it, but will request hefty payments to those who can to keep her operations running for everyone. What this translates to is that Grisette’s edgerunner customers will get top quality treatment and confidentiality for a high price. Also, the secrecy Fiona offers, even if by necessity, is beyond your regular ripperdoc. Fiona means it when she says that she will treat anyone, that includes escaping edgerunners, ecoterrorists, public enemies, anyone; she fervently believes in rehabilitation, but this has made her a lot of enemies. So, regardless of her wishes, Grisette needs to be on the move, constantly. Fiona’s practice is only available through the yellow helmets. They are the only ones who know where she is hiding. Also, Fiona has so many enemies that she won’t sell you to anyone, it’s not worth it for her. She probably hates whoever your opponents are more than you do anyhow. The price for Fiona’s care is worth times its value if you really need to hole up.

There is another price to Fiona’s attention, and that is going to be hours of lecture over communist theory, the evils of capitalism, her reformist ideas and the evil of subtracting value from the proletariat by the exploitation of the bourgeoisie. But Fiona is not a violent revolutionary, she genuinely believes in a revolution without violence, in slowly overtaking the system from within, transforming the businesses, in unionism, in cooperatives, in the end of capitalism without bloodshed.

Fiona is ill-tempered, anxious, hasty, and always absorbed in her work, be it medical or her studies in politics. She will voice her opinions and fight for her beliefs over anything; current affairs, business, whatever it might be. She is very passionate about all her causes, but specially her practice. Her handle, grisette, is an attempt at recovering the demeaning and discardable status of being working class in the France of the 8th republic. The original Grisette stereotype was a working woman who often was represented as a mistress and an object in literature. But Fiona believes that the grisette woman, same as the worker, has nothing to be ashamed of, nothing to be diminished for. They are the core of society.

Andréa Mendonça (Media): The most influential independent journalist in France, Andréa used to be a combat correspondent, but after losing their legs, turned to another type of fight, corporate intrigues. Arguably an even more dangerous line of work, Andréa has a vast network of contacts in all underworld and corporate world and is not afraid to expose governments and business alike. But Andrea’s fight is not about revealing the dirty dealings of corporations, they have resigned themselves to that truth long ago. Instead, what they report are the undercover skirmishes corporations engage in.

Andréa used to be a naïve journalist, looking to report truths and bringing the cost of the war to their viewers in Europe. They were quite successful, viewed by millions, and their work shared and rebroadcasted by dozens of vid channels all around. While reporting in Romania, Andréa’s father, a journalist as well, died in a terrorist attack to an AEJ (Association of European Journalists) conference, which was just a coverup to taking down a media whose nose had gone too deep into SovOil businesses. Devastated, Andréa let their guard down in the field and was hit by grenade fire. Andréa lost their two legs, one kidney, and half of their lower abdomen. They replaced their lost body parts, but the event changed their perspective of the world. The naivete now gone, Andréa wants now to, at least, make corporations be afraid to escalate their conflict, that the cost of collateral damage feels immense. They know well they cannot stop them, but they can do their best and make them pay when they do.

No path is too dark for Andréa to walk, nor they care too much about the enemies they make. Dancing on the edge between self-preservation and their crusade, they keep as many enemies as allies. Andréa won’t hesitate to kidnap, torture, or sell opposing edgerunners to corporations, whatever it takes to get the intel. To fund the operation and secure protection, they have an extensive list of select mercenaries and allies to whom they sell targets and information to, with the added benefit of many times sabotaging the objective of the day.

Andréa, contrary to expectations, is timid and introverted, but their meticulousness and determination compensate for their lack of social skills. Their bodyguard and partner, Miguel, also fills the gaps. Brutish, loud, and extroverted. He knows how to drive himself and Andréa through their missions, and their years of relationship and work made them a finely tuned team, exploiting each other’s abilities to their best. Andréa identifies as non-binary, using they/them pronouns. They will present themselves in varying gender expressions, although to the uninformed they might appear more masculine presenting.

Vergunning (Fixer): A former netrunner for the EC’s interior commission, Vergunning is very knowledgeable of the ins and outs of everything about procedures and documents, including forgery, naturally. Nobody in the core countries can produce higher quality fake IDs, permits, and documents. Faceless and nameless, V, as many call him, is so suspicious of anyone that he will make you jump through hoops to only get in contact with him.

A security expert for the Interior Commission, Vergunning was very knowledgeable of the antifraud and anti-falsification mechanisms and measures used in almost every system that affected everyday life in the EC. A talented netrunner, V was a netizen, fought his battles against intruders many times, built dataforts, wrote his own cryptographic engines and designed protocols for authentication of innumerable systems used in the entire continent. The datakrash hit V very hard, his house, his calling, it was all gone. He tried adapting to the novel ways, learned meta, fitted himself to the virtuality trash, but it was never the same, it felt fake, artificial. Still, Vergunning realized he knew too much, his clearance was deep. He had used and read many databases, many documents. He knew many procedures; hell, several of them were his. V knew what he had was valuable, so he settled with the French milieu to extract him in exchange for his services. Having said that, he also fought the underground, knew them, and he needed insurance. Nothing is as effective as the old carrot and a stick. With hundreds of documents with evidence on leaders of the criminal underworld, V walked out of the Interior Commission with a dead man switch on his hand. The carrot? Keeping the documents hidden. And the stick, you ask? I think you can guess that one yourself.

Vergunning only communicates via text, no voice, no video. Nobody really knows where he is. If you need a document, he will send you some address for a drop point. If you need information, you’ll get a key and an encrypted device, dropped in two random places in the city. Be wary that working with Vergunning means he will investigate you, and he has the intelligence to do that, he won’t trust you otherwise. He is still in a secret wanted list by the Europol, although neither himself nor anyone else knows if they are actively looking for him. Not that his not knowing appeases his anxiety, probably to the contrary.

Yerbolat “барон” Bakhytzhanev (Solo): Leader of the Organitskaya in the de Gaulle combat zone, a self-made and callous fighter who reigns the combat zone by blood. One to be feared, regardless of the side on which one fights, барон keeps his people and his enemies in line by terror.

Born and grown in Kazakhstan, Yerbolat had to fend for himself since childhood. With a dead father and a neglecting mother, he grew in the streets. A ganger from an early age, he learned to fight, steal, deceive and kill without remorse. At 10 years he was homeless and surviving in the streets of Almaty, jumping between gangs, joining and leaving in months because of his bad temper and violent tendencies. His 19th birthday would change his life. While celebrating, his attitude got the best of him, and he entered a fight with a local mafia leader, killing him. He went into an employment agency, which, upon knowing he had no family, sent him to an address for a supposed interview for a training and job as a builder in Germany. But it was a human trafficking operation of the Organitskaya. The bratva smuggled him into the core countries and made him work in a drug manufacture ship in the Mediterranean sea. Yerbolat was a troublemaker even then, regularly beaten, starved and punished because of his short fuse. Sick of his life making drugs for others to sell, he decided to just escape, but not without taking something to start with. With a RIB and some drugs, Yerbolat threw overboard a look-out and escaped. He made it far, but they caught him eventually. Even so, he impressed some higher-ups, who tortured and beat him regardless, but gave him a chance afterward. His behavior made him the perfect muscle, and he rose through the ranks. He discovered in himself an ability to use his personality towards his goals. An unusual moment of clarity shown him it was better to let his impulses out in his work for the mob and use his lucidity to direct his anger towards where he needed to.

Both Yerbolat and the Organitskaya knew that his place was the combat zone. They needed someone cold and cutthroat. He learned the rules of the zone, got into the mind of the other gang leaders and used his rage against his enemies. Yerbolat discovered his lust for power in the de Gaulle combat zone, and as with his other defects, he used them. He learned to lead through terror, to indulge in anger, to create a reputation with cruelty. Yerbolat’s leadership has earned vast territories in de Gaulle to the Organitskaya and his name alone keeps other gangs away.

The барон of de Gaulle is still an irascible and savage man, and will often shout and beat whoever provokes him, deserved or not. Yerbolat has packed himself with illegal combat cyberware, is always heavily armed, and uneasy anywhere and with anyone. Never seen outside of de Gaulle, Yerbolat rules with an iron fist over his territories and has eyes and ears everywhere. At the minimal suspicion of treason or peril, he will kill you.

Zada Gilson-Aym (Rockerboy/Fixer): An activist and former politician, Zada is the heart of the Parisian Arab/African community. She works as the grease to make community projects come together, both for profit and for none, putting people in contact with those who need to be. She is beloved by the community, known all throughout Paris, even, and maybe specially, in the combat zone.

Grown in Paris in a middle class family with a friendly and neighbourly father, Zada loved her community, culture and people from an early age. She studied management; her goal was to grow her father’s business, believing she’d be happy in this path. Unfortunately, she hated it. Small businesses, her father enterprises, large corporation even; it simply did not fulfil her. Zada worked managing her father’s business while studying a master’s degree in literature, where she met her boyfriend, Awash Gilson. Awash was an Ethiopian combat zone boy who, a bright man as well, worked hard to carry his studies forward. However, Awash’s family was still in the combat zone, and he often visited them. Zada learned the harsh reality of the combat zone through him, and in that she found her vocation.

Zada worked with charities and community groups, first on the ground, but later using her skills. She became interested and learned about politics during her work, and understood that to have any impact, it would need to be from a higher place. After a successful campaign, Zada got elected as a delegate for Saint-Denis, aided by Awash’s family. Two terms later, or almost, the 7th republic fell down. But during her terms, Zada’s ability for politics flourished at an incomparable speed. With an ability to make coalitions happen and to understand the hidden threads connecting people, many pieces of legislation believed dead, passed thanks to her aid. No one in the chamber had such an instinct for the balance between compromising and pushing, how and when to make opponents talk to each other, and just a knack for greasing things to make them happen.

Zada saw the flaws in futarchy very early. She already knew the money that ran into politics, the influences power had, and that profits for one, if unchecked, means loss for others. Her role in politics had changed. There was nothing for her and her community in the republic, they’d need to go back to her roots. But now Zada had a better way of doing things. Her time in parliament thought her the value of alliances and networks. She had finally understood her father. Once again, in the reins of her father’s business, she grew it tenfold and made connections in the way with all the business people of the Maghrebi community. That was the first step. Zada then turned to the other side, to the impoverished people of the combat zone and of the outskirts. Putting her own money on the line, she trained them and placed them in employment. If new business ideas come from the people in her communities, she will be the first to invest in them, for a profit for sure, but the cash to keep the cycle going has to come from somewhere. Zada’s influence goes to the Milieu even, after all, nothing cannot happen in the combat zone without them, even if she does not approve of their violence or drug businesses. Zada is more than the heart of the Arab and African community; she palpitates in it, is one more of it, binds it together; she is heart, veins and blood.

Zada is industrious, always on the go, even showing in her speech. A fast speaker, with ideas bustling constantly, she has a hard time making her mouth keep up with her mind. Sarcastic but friendly, there is always a moment to catch up with her people and throw one joke or two. Zada does her work for her love of it, but her time in politics has made her somewhat of a cynic, and she is not one to quickly trust others. At the same time, her cynicism makes her straightforward: You need to give to gain, but that doesn’t mean you need to let others take from you for free.

Carla Bonnut (Fixer): The queen of the roads, Carla was the leader of one of the most brutal road gangs who ever roamed the French highways. No longer riding, her business grew on the back of the goods stolen during her years. Now a established fixer in the French milieu, Carla is the one to go to get rid of those hot items you just got from that warehouse.

The Bonnut gang, 2027, the terror of the Le Havre roads. Assailing transports and convoys for profit and pleasure. A self described anarchist group, the gang saw the 4th corporate war, the datakrash, and the chaos of the postwar era as the symbol of the end of the debauchery of the system, as the advent of the revolution. Bonnut and her gang knew themselves. They were miscreants and vagabonds, not activists or academics, and if they were to contribute to anarchy, it was going to be in the way they better knew how: by accelerating the social change. Not all members of the gang were anarchist, but those who were did not really care if the others were not, they served a purpose.

Wickedness defined the Bonnut gang. Often murdering any resistance, enslaving and abusing captured people, burning encampments, their reign of terror was long. With the outlands as their friend, dangerous and outlawed as it was, they could go and do as they pleased, vanishing in the chaos afterwards. But that didn’t last as the roads cooled off; it was becoming dangerous for the gang to hide and escape. One by one members fell dead, captured, or both. Eventually, the gang disappeared, never to terrorize the roads again.

One day, years later, a woman appeared in Paris, alone in her tuned car, looking for someone to buy her huge cargo of electronics, claiming she scavenged them. A few weeks later, more. Then some food, later materials, a few weapons for a good price, maybe? She made some fame for herself with her impressive inventory, and customers looked for her instead of the other way around. Her prices were decent, the stock appearing unlimited, customers and the milieu alike enjoyed doing business with her. She finally settled in Paris with a network of customers from all around. Not only did Carla keep selling a wider set of products, but bought them as well. Got some goods you just found “lying around”? Don’t fret, Carla is there for you. The operation is simple: buy stolen products, take them out of the city with some road gang’s help, stash them somewhere, clean them, and sell them after their owner forgot about them.

Carla’s name eventually caught up with her. Images from her time on the roads made it to Paris, and word of her new business made it to Le Havre. But she has protection now, allies in the underground and in the roads, and her own security. Nobody has tried to come from her, be it an angry relative of one of her victims or a hitman hired by one, but who knows, one day not only her name might catch up but also her actions.

Ensar Vidovic (Rockerboy): The de facto leader of the crypto gangs, if such a title exists. He mediates and coordinates the gangs and tries to keep peace down there. The many factions respect and listen to Ensar, even if he does not order them or have any actual power over them. His years creating public services and negotiating trade between the people below have made him a public figure by pure appreciation.

Born from a Bosnian family who illegally crossed to the core countries, Ensar had to grow by himself; his parents working, trying to survive. As with many other children, either neglected or abandoned, he had to find his own entertainment, and his was the underground. One of the first to set a camp in the tunnels below, as a child thing initially, Ensar became handy in building and repairs. As the crypto kids generation grew up, turning into violence and crime, Ensar did not want to fight or steal, nor he needed to. He loved the underground; not to explore it, but to scavenge and build with what he found.

After Ensar finally brokered some semblance of peace, his work truly began. With his people he created public services: energy, water, transportation, and many more. His towns, with some envoys from different gangs, maintain and operate the services, and his facilities are respected by the other groups. Ensar is no longer the same awkward kid he used to be. He has learned to find his own voice and his own way to deal with people. He is still introverted and concise, but has learned to use his status and alliances to keep the crypto society alive and peaceful.

Louis Boulle (Tech): A bright, ingenious, and laborious tech, and the expert of all things cyberware in Paris. The go-to if you need custom technology made, Louis will scrap, mix and match, and create almost anything one can imagine. Blind since a combat injury, Louis intensely modified his body with parts of his own design that allow him to have the closest to sight he can have.

Orphaned since a very early age, Louis grew in an adopted family of corporate workers that took him from the system and had him as their own. Louis’ education might not have been top tier, but was better than the usual public education. In there, he discovered his ability and attraction towards electronics and programming. After graduating, Louis wanted to continue his pursuit of engineering, but his parents did not have the means to and his scores in anything else not science related were too low to get him a grant. The closest Louis had to accomplish his career was to join the military and go the engineering path, so he did.

Louis’ military career was very successful. The French army recognized his natural talent and trained him in equipment operation and maintenance. In there he learned his guerrilla style of tech: scraping, refining, and experimenting. Exceeding any expectations, they promoted him further to more training, until he joined the engineering and research institute of the army. Thanks to his time serving there, he learned science, improved his technique, and became better at understanding and deconstructing advanced technology. Louis became a proficient engineer, made hundreds of optimizations to designs made by much more experienced techs, and even created a few pieces of his own.

Louis served in around 30 missions with the army, mostly with the foreign legion, either as a combat engineer or as an analyst, but always with finesse and acclaim from his superiors. Louis was a fine soldier too. He might not have been an elite, but he was not inept either. His success put him on the radar of military contractors, including the big ones, but one got Louis’ attention: Lazarus. He accepted a job with them, and with it, he got access to top tier technology. He worked in mechatronics and electromechanics, creating drone parts and software. Louis felt on top of the world with Lazarus. He rapidly rose the ranks and at 32 was a respected and recognized member of their French office.

But luck was about to run out. On a mission in Britain trying to recover a cache of experimental air combat vehicles, Louis got hit with shrapnel and was seriously injured. Many metal pieces lodged in his whole body, but most importantly, in his face and skull. Miraculously surviving, Louis needed several surgeries to extract the pieces near his brain and to rebuild his battered body. Lazarus replaced several parts of Louis’ body, but the medics noticed the neurological damage to his visual nerves was too large, making it impossible for him to receive a replacement for his eyes, either biological or electronic. Louis was devastated. He tried to prove he could keep working for Lazarus, if maybe not as a soldier, at least as an engineer, but they weren’t willing to listen. Lazarus thought of him as a liability, and as fast as they hired him, they kicked him to the curve.

Louis became depressed, almost suicidal. Taken from his life work, he felt lost, pathless. But he didn’t want to give up. He worked for months, trying to train himself to use tact as his sight, and for the simplest things, it worked, but for the finest work he could not. His frustration was growing; Louis felt useless, only able to do the most basic of repair and maintenance jobs. He was in survival mode, just one day after the next.

Inspiration comes from the weirdest places, and the local drunkard must be among the strangest ones. Filipe was a broke painter, constantly drunk, with a worn and outdated cybereye that kept breaking. People avoided him, eluding his eyes and ignoring his calls. If one got caught by Filipe, you’d be stuck listening to him for hours. But Louis liked him and continued to repair the man’s eye, getting paid with random knick-knacks and conversations. An eccentric man with a talent for hyperbole, Louis enjoyed his company and was happy to help him for free; the company was enough. But the man always refused and gave him whatever object he had around that reminded him of the story of the day.

After a repair where the drunk artist was telling him about the time when he sneaked into a goldenkid party and had to compete in a poetry slam to not get kicked out, Filipe insisted in giving him a poetry book, a classic one, in paper. Louis reminded the inebriated painter he was blind, after which the man screamed, pointed upwards and rummaged through his entire apartment until he found an old magazine written in braille. Filipe gave it to Louis and told him that in the old days, blind people used to read like that.

Louis was dazzled by the writing system. He had never heard about it or used it, and then the epiphany hit. He needed braille; this was going to give him the accuracy he needed! Louis designed a microrobotic surface where each nanobot would move responding to contact detected by its neighbor; defining any object by surface tact with nanometric precision. Louie created a way of feeling the world with exact precision, every bump, to the microscopic level. He wrote the software that would allow his brain to process the information from the mat and then placed the mat into a pair of cybernetic hands. It was overwhelming, the amount of sensation the nanobots sent almost made him collapse. Some tuning and familiarization later, Louis was working like he never could before. He had a sight better than what his own eyes once had. But that wasn’t enough, he had found a path and wanted to walk it to the end. Louis created systems and implants to process distance, sound, vibrations, heat, and color, process it, and feed it to his brain.

Now as effective and efficient as he ever was, maybe even more, Louis is booked for weeks in advance, always busy tinkering in his laboratory. Talented and ingenious, the cyberware and electronics produced by Louis are top tier, nothing alike in the whole of France. His commissions take months to get done, but bring a task challenging enough for him, and you might cut the line.

Next: Grand Paris