Politics in the FTZ

The Valley

This is one huge shopping mall running from I-5 east to I-15 along the bottom of the valley formed by the San Diego river. Every major chain you can think of has an outlet in here somewhere and there are a grand total of 600 stores ready to serve every normal (and some not so normal) need. Security in the mall and its associated parking areas is tight and well armed (chic armor jackets and automatic weapons). No self-respecting runner would be caught dead here.

Mission Bay

This area is truly beautiful, it’s too bad you can’t swim in the water.

The Mission Bay aquatic park is a picturesque bit of fluff in the middle of a big city and features thousands of acres of parks and beaches. During the day, everything is fairly safe. But at night, you have to watch where you go.

Balboa Park

Built in the early 1900’s, Balboa Park looks like a piece of some South American banana republic recreated in the middle of San Diego. It is a large, rectangular area full of buildings in the old Spanish style and acres of eucalyptus trees. During the later part of the previous century, the park was having problems with a large transient population and the buildings fell on hard times during the early part of this one. With the stabilization of the local economy in the last five years, the area has been cleaned up and renovated into a grade A tourist trap. Still, it is a breath of somewhat fresh air in an otherwise concrete jungle. Parking in the park costs 5¥.

Security in the park is maintained by a private company (cunningly called Park Patrol Inc.) with extra-territorial rights within the park’s limits. The security rating here is AAA.

The San Diego Zoo is alive and well, though it has expanded to include para-biological specimens as well as the mundane variety. Entry is 20¥

La Jolla

The jewel. La Jolla was, and still is, the model wealthy community. La Jolla is bounded on the west by the Pacific, to the south by Turqoise Street, Foothill Blvd., and Beryl St., the west by I-5 and to the north by Genessee Ave. It is a place of wide thoroughfares, twisting residential roads, and palatial mansions with ocean views.

Downtown La Jolla is a socialite’s dream, full of high class restaurants, shops, art galleries and boutiques. Everyone is here to be seen and everyone is trying not to look. Limousines and pricey sports cars are everywhere, moving at a studied, unhurried pace. This is as close to landed gentry as it gets in the thin social atmosphere of Southern California.

The security rating throughout all of La Jolla’s neighborhoods is AAA, due in no small part to the incredible police presence. The La Jolla Police Department is locally and obnoxiously well funded. Don’t mess around here, it is not appreciated.

All major surface entries into the district are checkpointed. Any vehicle in the district without the appropriate ID plate or a day pass will be stopped and questioned. Unless, of course, you are driving a Nightsky.

La Jolla is not a place to play. The kinds of shops which can open here are strictly regulated. Drug trafficking will result in loss of life. All in all, the area is an armed camp of well to do people who don’t want to be disturbed by the real world.

La Jolla is run by a fairly standard council with six members elected by popular vote. The council is presided over by mayor Jean Delagon, a local monied brat with a flair for the public life.

There is very little organized crime in the area because it isn’t worth the trouble. Those who want to do such business can simply drive fifteen minutes east and get anything they want. Many of the higher ups in both the Mafia and the Yakuza make their home in this part of town.

Del Mar

La Jolla’s little brother, Del Mar is like an economy version of its neighbor to the south. Everything is a little less expensive here, a little less clean, a little more beachy, a little more real. But don’t let it fool you, this is still a playground with a fence around it. In this case, the firm is SDPD, and the price is major protection taxes.

Del Mar fills the strip between the ocean and I-5 from La Jolla north to Solana beach. It is full of expensive homes, little restaurants, small cafes, bars, and salaryman drivel. The area maintains a studied, rustic nature by enforcing rigid municipal codes. The race track is a going concern.

Del Mar’s security rating is AA.

Solana Beach, Cardiff, Leucadia, Carlsbad, and Oceanside

The La Jolla wanna-be’s that never made it, these communities get less and less upscale as you get further north. Oceanside is a real beach town, complete with bums on the sidewalks and sand in the streets.

All of these communities suffer occasional invasions from bad elements (read normal people) to the east. This is especially the case in the north because of the proximity of Vista and San Marcos.

Security ratings are as follows:

Solana BeachA

Linda Vista, Clairemont, and University City

These areas began life decades ago as naval housing projects. As San Diego prospered and land became more and more expensive, these areas became a haven for the upper middle class that did not want to move north and east in search of reasonably priced homes. This trend continued into this century right up to the Awakening. The subsequent turmoil of the next twenty years had a massive effect on the outlying areas of San Diego. Huge populations of indigent workers from Mexico and unemployed Americans turned the east county into a battle zone unfit for habitation. These neighborhoods would have gone the same way but for three facts.

First, they are geographically separated from the Northeast sprawl by I-805 and the canyons it was constructed in. The huge highway acts as a barrier restricting traffic and allowing for security personnel to more easily combat the go-gangs and other groups who occasionally foray down into the area.

Second, both La Jolla and the City appreciate the value of this territory as both housing for its mid and low-level employees and as a buffer against the anarchy that reigns in the sprawl.

Finally, the yakuza and seolpa maintain strong influences in these areas and frown on too much outside disruption.

These are not garden spot locales. Security is satisfactory during the day, but at night, the flavor of the areas changes significantly. Both Linda Vista and Clairemont have security ratings of B, University city has a rating of A. All major routes from the north and east into these areas have twenty four hour surveillance. These watches are not intended to stop individuals but to provide warning against groups or gangs. The SDPD will respond with significant force to such incursions, using its tactical unit. This unit is very heavily armed and armored and consists of 100 officers in full armor carrying fully automatic weaponry, explosives and artillery, four panzers, and eight Ares citymasters. Standard orders for this unit are to maximize body count at any expense. The gangs know this and are unlikely to risk a direct confrontation.

This tactical unit brought to you by the La Jolla corporate and the Law and Order fund (a non-profit organization; right).

The Frontier

Welcome to no man’s land. This is the frontier, so called because there is no law here except that which you bring with you, or someone shoves down your throat. The frontier makes up sixty percent of San Diego’s populace. Its face is changeable and unpredictable. One moment, you walk through a seemingly standard suburb, the next you enter something out of Dante’s inferno.

The Frontier includes Imperial Beach, Chula Vista, National City, Lemon Grove, La Mesa, El Cajon, Santee, and Alpine. These areas are not under the umbrella of either Aztlan or the San Diego municipality. In other words, they are entities onto themselves. Each has its own legal system, ranging from an actual court system all the way down to the local sheriff or gang leader. Each protects itself in its own way and each provides various services for its residents. The key to moving around in the frontier is to be aware of where you are. Rules and attitudes change from street corner to street corner and ignorance is no excuse, especially for outsiders. Here is a quick rundown on the varous territories.

Imperial Beach

The Beach, as it is known, has become a counter-culture territory. It is ruled by a council of twelve who are elected from the various neighborhoods. Each of these representatives seeks to forward the interests of his or her ’hood. Basically, the ’hoods have learned enough politics to negotiate water and power rights with the corps and Aztlan because without these necessities, what little civilization they have left would disappear. The security level ranges from C in the more organized areas to E in the southern and eastern sections.

Chula Vista and National City

These areas exploded in a blood bath of racism and anger during the early 2000’s. Law and order, such as they were, fell back under the constant onslaught of poverty and despair. Finally, all attempts at control stopped and the area was left to itself.

All hell broke loose. Gangs fought openly in the streets. Crime was a matter of course. True Social Darwinism at its best. The result was a classic study in group psychology. After two years, this was declared a dead zone. The city stopped supplying electricity and did not attempt to maintain utility service. Without water or power, people died. The plague raged through here like a wildfire, killing more than half the populace.

Today, Chula Vista is a wasteland of abandoned buildings and businesses. The people that live here do so because they have always done so. This jungle is their home, with its own rules and reasons. There is no law here except strength, nothing of value unless it means survival. Security rating in these areas is Z.

Do not make the mistake of underestimating the inhabitants of the Jungle. People who survive in here are either cunning, strong, or both. Many pseudo-tribal groups have arisen in the area and they maintain a kind of order only they can understand. It is rumored that a religion has even birthed here, though one can only imagine its nature.

Lemon Grove and La Mesa

These areas narrowly avoided the fate of their southern neighbors. When city turned off the lights in the Jungle, it announced that it intended to do the same here unless some kind of agreement could be reached with the gangs and organizations that were ruling the territory. At first, the local powers rose up in defiance and troops from Camp Pendleton were moved into the area. A small war broke out and the area was blockaded. The city shut off all support and darkness dropped. But out of that darkness came Jason Tulley, head of the Blades, the area’s largest gang. Jason called a meeting of the ’hoods. He stood before them and he told them of their future in the darkness. He pointed south and called up the image of despair. Finally, he summoned the spirit of the city and, wrapped in its power, told all present that they would agree to his rule or perish. No one who disagreed with him left the meeting.

Jason Tulley ruled the Hoods for thirty five years. He was a shaman of incredible strength, able to tap the very spirit of the areas he ruled. His magic was violent, decisive, and powerful. When he left, his daughter Kella took his place. Rumor has it that both father and daughter are actually spirits and cannot be killed. At the very least, they are intimately connected with the spirit world.

Kella rules with an iron hand in a velvet glove. Unlike her father, she is apt to try diplomacy before fear. She sits on the San Diego city council like a king of old, willing to deal with outsiders in order to save her people. Though each Hood is allowed to rule itself, she is the final word and even the gangs bow to her decisions. In fact, the Boyz will often resolve their conflicts as quietly as possible rather than attract her attention and have to suffer her judgement. Don’t get the idea that these folks are tamed, because it just ain’t true. Kella doesn’t stick her nose into territorial disputes unless it gets in her way. Basically, they can kill each other and those that offend them all they want as long as Kella’s interests are not affected. Of course, it is hard to know where Kella’s interests lie, and that uncertainty restrains their actions a good deal.

The following gangs are active in these areas: Crips, Blades, Bloods, Breakers, Bones, Caps, Siders, and Skulls. The Skulls and Siders are white gangs. The oriental populations are represented and protected by the Yakuza and the Seolpa rings.

Don’t come here without a gun, and be careful whose colors you’re wearing.

Law level is D. Enforcement is by the local Boyz and does not usually involve due process. The SDPD does not patrol these areas. (Surprise, surprise.)

El Cajon and Santee

Cajon, as it is known, and its neighbor to the north are like a scene from the old west, complete with gun-toting locals and a sheriff in every town. The only difference is that this old west is rougher.

Locals wear their independence with pride, right alongside their firearms. Cause trouble out here and you are in for a world of hurt. If you rob a store and the locals catch you, they will probably string you up on the corner traffic light and leave you there as warning for the next deadbeat. People know each other and look out for one another, within reason.

Biker gangs that cause trouble are likely to run into sniper fire as they try to escape, if they get that far.

The key here is not to make waves. No one cares what you look like as long as you don’t hurt anyone. Hell, most of these folks own Harleys themselves.

The local sheriff is the law in these territories and he is backed by a very touchy set of gonzo deputies who just love to rumble. Nothing too high tech, but effective nevertheless.


There are three dominant presences in Coronado: Aztechnology, the Aztlan Military, and Hunsakker Technologies. Hunsakker is the leading european technology conglomerate and is swiftly making inroads in the Americas. For years, they competed against the various local corps with limited success but the Aztlan takeover provided them with just the opening they needed to make a serious move.

Coronado is old military. Many of the houses here were built during the heyday of the American industrial-military complex. The Coronado Police Department is well funded and well trained. The locals have been here awhile and are not likely to leave soon. Many of them still remember the USA before the break-up. Fondly.

Tensions sometimes arise between the locals and the ‘imports’ as they are called. Hunsakker employs many caucasians and so avoids some of this strain. Both Aztechnology and the Aztlan military are less ‘white’. Nobody on either side of these fences is particularly impressed with the other side.

This does not mean, however, that anyone will ignore transgressions here. The island has only a few access points and these are easily blocked. There are checkpoints on the the strand, which comes up from Imperial Beach, and the Coronado bridge, which comes over from just south of downtown. Security at these checkpoints is particular about what you wear, drive, and carry on to the island. They are attentive, but not anal.


Hunsakker purchased SAIC, a long time defense industry brain trust, and Mass Biosystems, a biotech pioneer, and then applied massive funding to collaborative R&D efforts using their own engineers as ‘reality guides’. The gambit paid off with lucrative product designs for both the consumer and corporate markets. Hunsakker America holds the patent on the trode constructs currently being used by both Fuchi and Sony, the simstim recording matrix used by almost all major manufacturers, the viral genetic splicing simulators that form the basis of modern organic engineering systems, and several pieces of rigger interface hardware.

Hunsakker America is strictly an R&D facility, but it includes all necessary resources for prototype production and testing. The arcology fills all of what was once the United States Naval Amphibious Base and includes living quarters, laboratories, fabrication facilities, production simulators, test fields, and various creature comforts.

Security in the facility is tight and public access is restricted to the public relations offices at the end of Admiralty Road and the Mall which runs along Strand Way. The mall caters to both the Hunsakker employees as well as the well to do residents of Coronado.


The Aztechnology Arcology, better known as the Pyramid, is second in size only to the Seattle offices. It is primarily a prototype development and military liason site and works closely with the Aztlan military base which it is adjacent to. Quite a bit of Aztechnology’s equipment is tested and fine tuned here.

You will not find Aztechnology’s best and brightest here. This is a nuts and bolts operation concerned with turning the high tech wizardry coming out of other R&D facilities into something people can use in the real world.

Public offices and living quarters run along the length of Alameda Blvd, the main building fills the area bounded by Read Road, 4th Street, Roosevelt Blvd., and Saufley Street. The intervening distance along McCain Blvd. is littered with warehouses, bunkers, fabrication facilities, and simulated production sites. An elevated tram runs throughout the arcology.


The Aztlan Military appropriated the old North Island Naval Air Station and uses it as a base for the occupation as well as for equipment testing and special troop training. Several of Aztlans more elite military cadre’s, including the infamous Panthers, call this base home and conduct training exercises both here and in the Pendleton buffer zone.

Point Loma and Ocean Beach

The Point, as it is called, is an upper-middle class neighborhood bordering on suburbia. It is also a merchant district, a beach town, and a naval base. Basically, its a little of everything.

One of its more interesting features is the old navy base on the end of the point for which this area is named. Originally a hush hush catacomb of old WWII bunkers and tunnels connecting various research facilities, the area was abandoned in the late 1990’s. When the Aztlan moved in, they leased it to NewSec, a firm specializing in security consulting and technology. The area is now a high-tech training ground for security personnel and an R&D facility for NewSec’s technology division. Needless to say, security is tight. Though the right credentials and enough nuyen will get you a room in the ‘hitman hilton’ and a month’s intensive training in ‘industrial counter insurgency’. Don’t bother looking it up.

Ocean Beach is a little bit of scuz in a basically nice place. Somebody forgot to make the payments on the upkeep and the whole place went to seed. This is not to say that the area lacks charm, but it includes drug dealers, bikers, junkies, derelicts, and a few folks that somehow inherited the baggage of the 1960’s. It’s a cool place. I live here. Lots of other runners do too. If you keep your head low, no one will notice you.

OB runs along most of the usable beach from the Jetty into Mission Bay north to the cliffs along the point. No, Sunset Cliffs is not part of OB.

The City

This is the chrome and neon heart of the FTZ. It is all new, all polished, all clean, all corp.

The City runs from what used to be the old airport south to the Coronado bridge. It is heavily patrolled and very well lit. This is where the Corps from downtown work and play. Lawyers, accountants, buyers, managers, salesmen, secretaries, and paper pushers of every other imaginable type move along the beautiful streets and in the beautiful nightclubs.

Downtown is exactly that, a core of skyscrapers concentrated between I-5 to the north and Market street to the south. This is where La Jolla and Del Mar work, this is where Pt. Loma toils. This is where the money from all over the North American continent comes to buy the things they can’t get at home, to deal with the folks they shouldn’t.

Aztlan has made everybody welcome, and every major corporation in the world has at least and office here. The buildings are modern and clean, the restaurants and nightclubs are the best money can buy, and through it all runs a kind of fever. These people are all in the business of business. They deal in numbers. They deal in money. They deal in things, even if those things are people.

High class callgirls. Limousines. Dark corners that seem dangerous, but aren’t. This is the Disneyland of corporate america. No one wears a gun here, it’s too gauche. The sec patrols are everywhere. Everybody is posing and everybody is buying.

Cyber Clinics on the 21st floor. BTL boutiques. Private clubs. This is the place to be.

The shadows here are all bugged and scanned, except when someone pays for the privilige of privacy. There are no checks on who comes or goes, but no one brings in a weapon unless they have greased the right palms with more nuyen than any shadowrunner is going to have. Runners in here are dealing with the enemy, which is cool as long as he doesn’t turn into your friend because no one can afford friends here.

All patrols will stop anyone out of place. If you are not correctly tagged, you will be ‘deported’. Do not pass go. Do not collect 100¥. All the building scan on entry. Incorrect tags and/or metal will result in deportation. Altercations will result in deportation. Suspicious activity will result in deportation. Loud and unruly behaviour without sufficient nuyen will result in, yep, deportation. BTW, deportation usually involves a game of ‘Beat the cluck’. Not pleasant by a long shot.