The Havens

Glossary

ack n. Short for acknowledge. Formally affirming that an electronic record is accurate.
chit n. Electronic record of an offering of a good or service, used in the Haven economy.
credit n. Time- and location-limited shadow currency with the approximate value of a nuyen, backed by arbitrage of chits. Symbol: ¤
Haven n. A community that relies primarily on the Haven economy.
Havenly adj. Descriptive of the Havens. Often used as a noun to describe the citizens of Havens. (While those from outside Havens are SINners, those from inside aren’t saints, both to avoid hubris and to avoid confusion with Mormons.)
panhuman Inclusive term for humans and metahumans.
Mess, the n. The megacorp-dominated world outside the Havens.
prestige n. The value, in credits, of gifts you have given that were matched by gifts you have accepted.
SINner n. A citizen of the megacorp-dominated world.
Routing:
Or: Seattle 21
Des: Denver SLBBS
Date: 17:44:56/2050-03-14
    

What are the Havens?

Apparently, Fuchi Internal Security are in the habit of recording senior level staff meetings. Here’s an interesting one— does anyone know about these Havens?

Fastjack

Present:

Miles Lanier: I’m seeing a lot of expenses for travel into the Redmond and Puyallup Barrens. Your varying divisions are interacting with these Havens with no unified policy. What are they?

Karen Nishimura: A bunch of academicians created a modern digital currency based on a form used in the middle ages, and hooked up with the hobbyist maker movement to create their own backwards civilization in the z-zones. Ten to twenty years behind the state of the art. Quaint in practice, but the papers they publish are fascinating. No private land ownership, so no rentier class. They have a system that prevents the accumulation of wealth. Imagine if the contents of your bank account caught fire just before every paycheck, so you have to invest in your neighbor’s business or give to charity.

Miles Lanier: They can’t save for the future? Do they put old people out on ice floes?

Karen Nishimura: No, they deliberately produce too much of the basic necessities and track charitable giving as a form of prestige. Ideally, by the time you get old, you’re so well invested in your neighbors that you don’t need to work much, and they don’t need to hold down full-time jobs anyway.

Silvia Hernandez: They’re big on open source, so they give all their designs away for free.

Miles Lanier: What’s the point?

Jason Gardner: Blah blah social justice blah blah. Only instead of trying to change society like other movements, they created their own to take over any place where our society doesn’t go. They design everything so they don’t need us. They believe modern megacorporate civilization will self-destruct, and they’re content to wait for a vacuum to fill. They even refuse to aid terrorists who actively work against us.

Silvia Hernandez: After the initial investment, their tech base is now self-sustaining. They can manufacture their own food, tools, buildings, cars and trade the plans over the Matrix. The tech is badly out of date, but it beats squatting.

Miles Lanier: Who backed all this?

Darnel Green: It was crowdfunded, but the donor records on Swarmfund are not difficult to hack into. Lots of neo-anarchists, people affiliated with the Liberation Theology movement in the Catholic church, a lot of Pentecostalists with ties to Central and South America, some folks in AresSpace R&D, and we think some Great Dragons, but the data trail is very well camouflaged—

Miles Lanier: Which ones?

Darnel Green: Dunkelzahn, 70% probability. Hualpa, 55%. Kaltenstein, 40%. Masaru, 40%.

Miles Lanier: No sign of Lofwyr, Rhonabwy, Celedyr, Lung, or Ryumyo?

Darnel Green: None. Several independent reports of Lofwyr seeming amused. We didn’t think he had a sense of humor. No sign of Saeder-Krupp treating the Havens differently from any other megacorp, though.

Miles Lanier: As long as it’s just the dilettantes and environmentalists, I’m not so worried. Hell, if they’re going to be a big headache for the Azzies, we might want to back them ourselves. Do they pose any threat to Fuchi’s interests?

Jason Gardner: There is a brain drain risk, but the vulnerable people would be vulnerable to other movements as well, and the Havens turn them into z-zone recluses instead of terrorists and rebels. Their explicit policy is to avoid confrontation; they even publish cost-benefit analyses that show it would cost us more to wipe them out than to let them alone and the numbers are pretty good. We’ve adjusted our propaganda to emphasize the importance of personal wealth and saving for the future, and have a couple more lottery programs as counterprogramming.

Silvia Hernandez: Try the you don’t want to get sick angle. Their medicine is well behind the state of the art. I sleep better knowing I have a clone in storage in case I need something replaced; the Havens can’t do that.

Jason Gardner: Nice! Anyway, if they became super popular, they would be an existential threat to every megacorporation, but who wants to live in a z-zone rubbing shoulders with trogs and freaks, with outdated tech? They don’t even have simsense! Think of them as a damper to keep the Barrens from becoming a problem like El Infierno in Los Angeles.

Silvia Hernandez: Also, the Havens are useful for, well, I guess you could call it intellectual property laundering.

Miles Lanier: Explain.

Silvia Hernandez: So I got wind of this Renraku breakthrough in non-Abelian N-dimensional matrix—

Miles Lanier: Skip to the good part.

Silvia Hernandez: I hired some deniable assets to make off with the info. But remember how last year the Corporate Court got into a snit about intellectual property theft and we all had to get our logbooks ready for audit? Once I had the data, I gave one copy to my R&D team and had them start working on throwaway prototypes, and then sent another copy to some contacts in the Havens. Two months later, the Haven guys release the Renraku secrets as open source under their Public Privateering License, and all the megacorps jump on it… but my team have just spent all that time moving up the learning curve on the tech, and we released competing products well ahead of everyone else.

Miles Lanier: I presume everyone else is doing the same thing.

Silvia Hernandez: I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s helping advance the state of the art, but getting the data for a study would be really difficult. But yeah, every lab has a quick scramble to look at every new library published under the PPL.

Miles Lanier: Dare I ask what this “license” purports to do?

Silvia Hernandez: Any corp that releases all their patents to the public instantly gets a ton of charity cred in the Haven system, earned from their previously leaked patents. They don’t allow restriction on intellectual property, but they do tend to tip its creators based on the license they choose. *laughing* It’s supposed to be an incentive for us to come over to their side.

Miles Lanier: Is anyone else finding them useful?

Kyose Ueno: It’s a useful place to stash deniable assets and anyone else who needs to spend time off the grid to let their data trail go cold. We have this sweet little bed-and-breakfast there, with real coffee!

Jason Gardner: Real coffee? How the hell do a bunch of trogs in the Barrens get real coffee?

Silvia Hernandez: They grow it. In vertical farms. They even have a kopi luwak project in the works! They call it klepto luwak. They sequenced the genes of the Asian palm civet and—

Jason Gardner: How is that not threatening our soykaf business? How is it not undermining the prestige of people who can afford real coffee?

Karen Nishimura: It’s too risky to cross the Barrens to sell it, and it’s not grown in an FDA inspected facility, not that the FDA would cross the Barrens to inspect it anyway, so it’s strictly underground trade.

Kyose Ueno: If someone has coffee beans that they shouldn’t be able to afford, it’s a dead giveaway they deal with the Havens. Very useful signal. And we’re pretty sure that a fair number of other intelligence operations have similar operations in Havens.

Silvia Hernandez: They do a lot of pure and applied research and just give it away; it’s not like they can get patents or have them enforced. Most of it is far behind the state of the art, but they go down paths that we didn’t, back in the day, and the perspective is useful. Their resource constraints are getting them to do some really interesting innovation with graphene and carbon nanotubes. And they sell their tailored bacteria and engineered plants for cheap, with no restriction mechanisms, so we can buy once and propagate indefinitely. They’re also doing some really good work in bioremediation: they’ve cleaned up most of Glow City.

Miles Lanier: How can they possibly afford that?

Karen Nishimura: It’s that or set your money on fire under their system; the last time people had a monetary system like that, it led to people building cathedrals. They’re stuck in the middle of z-zones and can’t trade in anything but information, so comparative advantage and the economies of scale are curtailed. Their system could never compete with global civilization.

Miles Lanier: So they aren’t a threat right now. How hard would they be to neutralize?

Kyose Ueno: Laughably easy. Cut their landline Matrix access, jam their communications with the other Havens, have snipers take out point to point links, and they’ll wither away when they can’t collaborate with experts scattered in other Havens.

Miles Lanier: Blockade? Can’t our deckers just wreck their infrastructure?

Kyose Ueno: Er...

Silvia Hernandez: They’re incredibly difficult to hack because they’ve chosen a different path of technological development that prioritizes reliability, security and stability over getting features to market.

Miles Lanier: If we tried that, the other megacorps would eat our lunch.

Karen Nishimura: Sure. We have to compete against a global marketplace. They have to compete against dumpster diving and soup kitchens. So they can afford to be a decade or two behind the state of the art.

Kyose Ueno: If you don’t like the blockade option, a Desert Wars platoon could wipe a Haven out in an afternoon. They’re equipped for gang warfare, not the real thing.

Karen Nishimura: Or you could just integrate them into global markets. It would be a minor splash in some existing markets, but it would destroy the crucial mechanisms that make them work.

Darnel Green: They’re big on transparency and put everything online, so they’re laughably easy to monitor. We do have some sleeper agents in the community to keep an eye on things in case that’s a smoke screen, but the bigger problem is the ones who go native and take early retirement because they like it there.

Miles Lanier: So on balance, they’re slightly more useful than they are trouble, and not worth the expense of wiping out, by their own design. They’re manipulating us, in a way... Oh frag. I think I know why Lofwyr is amused.

Darnel Green: Sir?

Miles Lanier: With all the skullduggery in megacorporate operations, having opponents using radical transparency just has that je ne sais quoi. They want us destroyed, but they’ll wait for us to do it to ourselves. If we’re right about our own success, we never need to worry about them. If we’re wrong, they’re the least of our problems. It’s... elegant, in a way. Gah. I did not get up this morning thinking that I would get insight into Lofwyr’s sense of humor. This situation calls for whisky. Do Havens make whisky?

sounds of glasses and ice cubes clinking, pouring liquid

Silvia Hernandez: Not really. Takes too long, not enough warehouse space, and hardwood for barrels is scarce. They have some interesting fakes where they simulate the aging process.

Kyose Ueno: Some good beers and vodkas and pelagos, decent rums, mediocre wines, really interesting liqueurs.

Miles Lanier: Our official policy as of now is to continue to use them as a source of research and intelligence, and to use them in supporting covert programs as needed. Mr. Green, please coordinate with the others on monitoring the Havens and send me reports. And for frag’s sake, when new groups show up in the future, talk to each other instead of making policy independently like this.

You’re the ultimate in work-from-home, Jack. The Havens are a great place to relax and lay low, though they’ll kick you out if they find out you’re a magnet for corporate hit squads or similar trouble. They’ve been carving little niches of civilization out of the Redmond Barrens, the Puyallup Barrens, Northern California, the Carib League, the favelas of Metrópole de Amazonia, the GeMiTo Sprawl in Italy, the abandoned cities of Madagascar, and other places that the megacorps and the government have written off as a loss. Paging my Havenly chummers Homesteader, Nicole Mac, Neal the Ork Librarian, and Professor Johann Steamhein!

Bung

Diplomacy

Yeah, here’s something I found in the Redmond Municipal Government host while doing some unrelated, ah, research in early 2049.

Neon Wraith

Mayor Gasston:

The new construction visible in the Plastic Jungles is the creation of a group calling itself the Paradise Lake Haven. The population includes a large number of metahumans who fled the Night of Rage in 2039, and a fair amount of former squatters from the Redmond Barrens, most of them SINless. They have built their own vertical farms, in which they grow food and feedstock for 3-D printers, which is where all the material for those buildings is coming from. They are sufficiently well armed to keep out the local gangs, and organized enough to have the rudiments of government.

If they were in the middle of a well-patrolled neighborhood, we would have a crisis on our hands: they are, after all, an armed group that does not acknowledge the authority of the UCAS government. In the Redmond Barrens, though, they are feeding and clothing people who might otherwise be scavenging in patrolled neighborhoods. They even maintain city infrastructure; apparently, the local go-gangs trade road escorts through Z-Zones for fixing potholes on roads that City of Seattle crews don’t dare maintain. Their doctors don’t report gunshot wounds to us any more than the other unlicensed practitioners in the Barrens, but unlike the street docs, they insist on vaccinating people, which reduces the chances of a pandemic brewing there.

Some of our officers have had contact with the Haven. While the Haven has their own correctional system for their own people, they are quite happy to hand over anyone who goes in there and stirs up trouble, and they’ve even called us up to hand over a terrorist who was trying to use them as a hiding place. They treat this as an informal sort of extradition when it comes to violent criminals; they aren’t so friendly to debt collectors. A number of small thrillgangs have been decimated or simply wiped out after going up against the Haven. Lone Star has no official position on Havens at this time, but as a practical matter, they save work for us and don’t create it.

They have their own currency, which is only valuable within the Haven, and would be difficult to tax. (They have been there long enough to establish adverse possession, so you could easily make the case that they owe property taxes.) If you want to pay a visit to them, the community appears to be friendly and fairly safe; we would need to provide you with an escort to get through the Z-Zone. I doubt there is much to gain, though, as they are eager to point out that they pay no taxes because they receive no services from the city government, and evicting over ten thousand metahumans, many of them armed, for nonpayment of taxes would be an expensive operation requiring massive expense from the Metroplex Guard.

I recommend maintaining resource allocations for dealing with the gangs in the Barrens, and continuing unofficial contact with the Havens without any formal relations that could complicate future legal matters.

Lee Matheson, Chief, Investigational Division, Lone Star Seattle

Economy

I ran into this when I was looking at some school records.

Crystal

ECONOMICS 101 — Professor Falstaff

Spring Semester Term Paper

GRADE: F

COMMENTS: Wildly inappropriate topic. Show this to other students and you’ll be expelled.

Decentralized Banking: the Haven Monetary System

We are all familiar with the operation of modern fiat money, where a central bank issues new currency, and may allow the further creation of money through fractional-reserve banking. When the bank is well-run, the amount of money in the economy stays roughly equal to the amount of value in the economy, and prices stay stable. Constant vigilance is required to make sure that money laundering and a shadow banking system do not thrive to support criminal activities.

In some of the spaces where the traditional economy does not reach, the falling price of information technology has made it possible for even SINless people to engage in productive commerce. A network of “Havens” has sprung up in places where cities no longer provide traditional infrastructure services as power, water, data, sewers, and law enforcement. Their commerce is in representative currency, where the units of currency represent physical goods (all of which have a shelf life ranging from days to decades, or even more for a few things like gold) or promises of labor— a time-based currency, building on a concept developed in the 19th century, where people offer allocations of their labor time in a near-term time window such as two weeks. This means that the money supply automatically scales with the goods and services available.

This, of course, sounds like chaos! How do you decide the fair value to trade between one person who has a chicken to sell and another who wants to sell promises of babysitting services? What happens if the babysitter gets sick?

The Havens have resurrected the notion of medieval guilds; almost no one buys services directly, but instead purchases them from a guild, who can supply equivalent labor if someone is unable to meet their commitments due to illness, injury, or vacation. The guild acts as an insurer, and as a certification body. It is in their interest to train people and share expertise.

The Haven economy is based on representations of real things: physical goods, energy, and promises of human and machine labor. The data record of any given thing is called a chit. It says who made it, what it’s good for— a live chicken, an extra-large pizza with two toppings, an hour of you exercising any skill you offer, a healing spell that leaves you wanting to take a nap— and it has an expiration date. If it isn’t redeemed by someone acking receipt of the good or service within the expiration date, it’s canceled and worthless.

Each Haven has a local currency that is issued on a regular basis, usually weekly, and that currency comes with an expiration date, which is usually twice as long as the issuing period (so with a weekly issue, the currency loses all value in two weeks). These credits (¤) are defined to reflect the price of a particular basket of goods representing daily necessities. So in practice, every Monday morning, most people promise a week’s labor to their guild, get paid in credits, and then have two weeks to spend all those credits.

What about bullets? Bullets are a daily necessity for me!

Feral

There isn’t a lot of use for lead in the Havens, but you can find people who reload their brass with copper bullets, which have good stopping power and don’t fragment like lead, or poison the environment. But copper is useful for electronics, and gunpowder doesn’t have a lot of alternative uses, so bullets are a lot more expensive in Haven credits than they are in nuyen. Rubber bullets and shotgun shells are cheaper than metal ones there.

Note that if they don’t know you, armorers are not going to sell you much ammo. They don’t want chaos in their community, or to become known for facilitating it in someone else’s, so they aren’t going to help you stockpile ammo for your upcoming rampage. Same goes for plastic explosives, det-cord, and other tools of our trade.

Hatchetman

While you can technically pay for seriously illicit stuff with this system, each local economy is too small to pay for major crimes; you can’t accumulate that much liquid wealth in any given community, so biz will go where they can get fungible, hard currency in bulk. If you want to commit fraud on a massive scale, you’d have to have a massive number of people participate and throw away their reputations on it, and even if you crashed the economy with it, it’d recover in a matter of weeks as the credits expired.

The down side is that it takes a lot more effort to get people organized to do anything big, like build a skyscraper or a stadium or a highway or a dam. Most of the bigger stuff in Havens is inherited from the days of centralized governments, before they receded after an economic crash, but they can do impressive things if they persuade enough people.

The Chromed Accountant

The biggest illicit thing going on in the Havens is the number of spy agencies, corporate black ops divisions, and organized crime syndicates who maintain safe houses there. Havens are a great place for anyone laying low and avoiding leaving a data trail, so they have a lot of people who run bunkhouses, flophouses, and bed-and-breakfast inns in Havens who are ready to keep someone stashed.

Note that you never know who is running hidden cameras on anything from their business signs to their contact lenses and running them for facial recognition, so if you’re on the run, moving to a Haven won’t save you.

Argent

If someone pays you in a Haven’s credits, you need to spend it pretty soon, and in that particular Haven; if you spend it on basics like food, toilet paper, rent, and so on, the prices will look pretty similar to nuyen, because that’s how they calibrate their credits. You can trade credits from one Haven for credits in another, as there’s plenty of trade over the Matrix between them, but it’s rare that you’ll wind up with them being more valuable than in the original Haven. Paradise Lake credits have to be converted to Beaver Lake credits to be spent there, even though they’re both in the Redmond Barrens, but you don’t lose much going to Puyallup or the Ork Underground. There’s automated arbitrage that will let you do it all the way to the GeMiTo Havens in Italy if you want to.

Financial instruments are banned there, even ones as simple as interest-bearing loans. Debt is considered synonymous with slavery.

Technically, the calibration of the credit to a basket of goods that match the local nuyen’s purchasing power is a financial instrument. So are the exchanges that handle insurance and arbitrage that makes sure your credits spend even if the individuals backing them flake out. But they’re not financial hocus-pocus like derivatives and collateralized debt obligations.

The Chromed Accountant

Debt is a dirty word in the Haven system. A fair number of people who join up have a SIN that is buried under a mountain of debt that they can’t escape through what’s left of the UCAS’ bankruptcy laws. Most cyberware bought with loans doesn’t come with a cortex bomb, but it often comes with firmware that will lock down its capabilities if you don’t keep up the payments; mages who skip out on their college loans may find themselves targeted by ritual sorcery and dragged back to work, sometimes with an explosive collar around their neck. And if you don’t have elite talents, the private prison industry can always put you to work.

Homesteader

Since credits expire, it is impossible to save for the future with them. People can prepare for emergencies by paying for insurance, and insurers can pay reinsurers, but this only goes so far if there’s a catastrophe that will cause numerous payouts; Haven reinsurers are primarily disaster recovery organizations. One of the major ways of saving for retirement is investing in local businesses.

Credits go stale just like groceries. Keep that pay from Mr. Johnson in nuyen.

Frostfire

So how do I get filthy rich on Haven cred if it rots on the shelf?

Feral

Invest in your community until you’re getting more out of your investments than you can personally use, then plow the excess back into the community and keep going. Eventually that leads to people paying for public art, playgrounds, and so on. If you create an information good that is very popular— art, music, literature, software, fabber templates— that can spread like wildfire. Though usually info goods like that net you gift cred, which gets explained later on in this document. Some of the richest folks in the Havens are the team who came up with a nifty design for cranking out soft, absorbent toilet paper from a cellulose printer.

Neal the Ork Librarian

If you have a load of hot goods, physical or virtual, and you want to unload them in the Haven economy, use a fence. The Havens are not equipped to cope with the people coming after the goods, and no one will ever want to deal with you again.

Hatchetman

Suppose I just drained some corporate skag’s accounts and want to shake the data trail. Can I use the Haven economy to launder hard currency?

Moomindecker

Yes, but it’s ruinously inefficient; you’d be lucky to keep 1% of the value. Layering is easy, though you have to spread it across a whole lot of Havens, but integration is extremely difficult, as there isn’t a lot of hard cred floating around in Haven economies to which it can be converted. If you need to unload a lot of hard currency and can’t find a datafence who can handle it, there are groups like the Poor Siblings of St. Nicholas who can spam it out over all the Havens in a region, even the whole planet if you get around a lot, who will invest it in local businesses and buy you shares in them (after taking a cut for themselves). Scroll down to the bit on the gift economy to see how that works; suffice to say that it’s never a bad thing to jander into a Haven and find out that you’re the guy who, two years ago, bought the local street doc a state-of-the-art deepscanner, a vaccine assembler, and a dozen carboys of feedstock for it, and she’s been using them to help the neighbors ever since.

The Chromed Accountant

You mean the Poor Brothers of St. Francis? I can see Franciscan monks being fond of the Havens, but that seems a little odd for them...

Hatchetman

Nope! Formally they’re the Poor Siblings of the Ophanic St. Nicholas. They’re not acknowledged by the Vatican. One rumor has it that they’re a deadpan parody that never lets up the façade of being Catholic monks that help the Havens, and they’re really a front for the Cacophony Society. Another is that they’re what happens when shadowrunners and similar such operatives genuinely seek to atone for harm they’ve done in their lives. I will note that St. Nicholas is both Santa Claus and the patron saint of repentant thieves.

The Chromed Accountant

Local currencies are an exercise in protectionism, as is the emphasis on investing in the community. Much like corporate scrip, you can’t pack up and leave and take your accumulated wealth with you if you decide to move.

The Keynesian Kid

You can always sell your interest in local businesses to someone else who’s moving in. If everyone wants to leave, though, it all becomes worthless to people who want to get out... so residents have an incentive to make sure their Haven isn’t being run so poorly that it gets that bad.

Neal the Ork Librarian

Because it is impossible to sit on a large pile of credits, this means that there is huge demand for opportunities for capital investment, and the Havens are full of entrepreneurs making the case that they can create a business that will thrive and pay dividends. The wealthiest people invest in the local schools just to have an early chance at young talents that might be a good bet.

The other way to save for the future is the gift economy. Currency expires, but unless you choose to completely anonymize it, the record of charity given and received persists forever. Chits of gifts given are logged with their credit value at the time, and this total is tracked as your gift cred. Then when someone gives you a gift, that cancels your outstanding gift cred and gets logged to prestige.

People with credits left over at the end of a week will usually do something rather than let them expire, and while there are many feasts and parties that occur the night before a batch of credits evaporates, many other folks will contribute to food, rent, and medicine for the less fortunate, knowing that the gift cred might come in handy later. You can give directly as a person-to-person gift, or give to a charitable organization that then helps people. It’s effectively a social insurance program built into the very nature of the economic system.

It’s 21st century potlatch! Whenever someone starts a Haven in the Tsimshian Nation, it takes everyone about five minutes to fast-forward past the standard chits and go straight for accumulating prestige.

Holly

The gift economy only runs well when people have enough of a surplus that they can afford to give things away; it can dry up in hard times. The limited-duration nature of the currency, though, strongly encourages making gifts when there aren’t enough buyers.

The Keynesian Kid

Restaurants gain gift cred by giving away food that would otherwise spoil, street docs gain it by helping people who can’t otherwise afford their services, artists gain it every time people access their work (reading a book, listening to a piece of music, etc.), and engineers who work on Haven code gain it every time people use the libraries they write. A cheap WristScape loaded with Haven apps is often the first gift received by a squatter joining the Haven, and that usually gets them started on a path of reliable food and places to stay in exchange for doing odd jobs.

Does an indiscriminate drive-by shooting get you a ton of anti-cred?

Feral

The architects of the Haven economy designed it to have minimal opportunity for griefers to mess with people, so about the worst thing that can happen to you without your consent is the system considering you so unreliable that your chits are worthless as cred and you have to spend months doing simple menial labor to prove yourself again. The system is designed to reward those who do something about troublemakers, rather than perform direct punishment. There’s a voluntary system for people who commit crimes and want to stay in their community instead of being exiled; that comes up below.

Neal the Ork Librarian

In the Native American Nations, many communities use the Haven system. The government taxes people by creating chits for all the services they personally receive from the government, they ack it, and the government gets the gift cred. (Some things happen automatically as well when you use services like roads.) Then they allow government workers to tag up on the government’s profile when they’re on duty. Communities like that aren’t exactly a huge tax base in the first place, and it can be eye-opening to trawl through the data to see just what the government says it’s doing for you.

Holly

How do you live the dream of a house with the white picket fence and 2½ kids if you can’t get a mortgage?

Feral

No one owns land in the Haven system; land ownership leads to do-nothing rentiers and entitled jerks who enact the tragedy of the commons with the local water table. If the Haven is hosted by a country that believes in land ownership, the Haven holds title to it. It’s up to the individual Haven to make decisions about land allocation; most of them have a you make it habitable, you get to live there as long as you want policy.

Homesteader

But you have to kiss the ass of your Haven’s town council to make sure they don’t change the rules and kick you off your land?

Frostfire

In theory. In practice, most of the people living in Havens would bring out the pitchforks and torches if they saw that kind of thing happening because they know that once it happens to one person, it could happen to them. The Havens do expect people to pay attention to and participate in local government; taking our eyes off the ball and letting megacorps and billionaires buy governments is how we got into this mess in the first place. Puyallup Havens tend to have direct democracy, Redmond ones let you pass your vote to a proxy who goes to all the meetings, the Ork Underground has a council with democratically elected leaders and big town hall meetings, most of the ones in the Native American Nations follow the traditions of their tribe.

Modern city folk are used to not knowing their neighbors and not having to get along with people. That’s an unnatural state for (meta)humans; that kind of alienation is part of how the SINful world keeps its grip on people, along with debt-induced desperation. It’s okay to be an introvert in the Havens as long as you’re polite.

Nicole Mac

There is a mechanism for acclaim as well: if someone does something for you that you consider a gift, but they don’t, you can create a gift chit and ask them to ack it, and put value on it based on your own time. This chit can be passed around to others who can also ack it, resulting in a single gift chit that has huge value. The traditional ones are (wo)man of the hour (for people who did something spectacular, for which everyone affected would happily do an hour’s work in thanks) and hero of the day (for something amazing, where everyone is chipping in a day’s work). It’s rude not to accept a high value gift chit.

This is often a shadowrunner’s first introduction to the Haven economy: your team just gave a very bad day to someone annoying the Haven and suddenly people are taking up a collection to reward you. Be gracious in acceptance, come back later to inject some hard currency into the local economy, and you can develop a lot of new contacts.

It’s very handy to have a lot of cred in a Haven if you need to stay off the grid for a while. If people are actively hunting you, hunker down in that safehouse, but if you just need to spend a while with no datatrail in the outside world, Havens are a great place to stay. Do not make one your home base if you’re running the shadows; they are not equipped for trouble following you home.

The Neon Samurai

Note that the code running the currency can’t impose morality, so if a Haven is full of bigots, they can acclaim lynchings of innocent people. If you walk down the street and don’t see a mix of pointy and round ears, an active gift economy may reflect some ugly practices.

Bull

Havens can trade with each other; usually in services that can be performed over the Matrix, though sometimes in physical goods as well. Credits issued in one Haven need to be converted into those issued in another. Credits issued in the Paradise Lake Haven in Redmond don’t lose much when being converted into Ork Underground credits, because the expense of moving physical goods between the two places is reasonable. Converting credits between Paradise Lake and the Havens in Milan falls off a lot faster, because shipping to Italy is much more expensive — particularly since you have to buy hard currency like nuyen if you want to use non-Haven shipping networks, and nuyen only trickles into the Havens from outside.

The Syndicate Perspective

If we’re all digging out our Haven-related material, I might as well throw in a bit of research I did as a favor for a Seattle boss whose details I’ll redact; it’s been long enough that I can post this without violating any agreements.

The Chromed Accountant

Salutations to ██████ ██████. Your ██████, ██████, commissioned me to bring my experience from the worlds of finance and deniable operations to an evaluation of the Havens: are they what they seem? Are they viable in the long term? Do they present an opportunity for your syndicate? And do they present a threat?

I visited the Redmond Havens (Paradise Lake and Glow City), the Ork Underground (which has quietly adopted the system), and the Puyallup one (Carbonado), and contacted a number of other ones over the Matrix. The movement is spreading in Z-Zones, free cities, and pirate havens around the world, so you may wish to share this information with your peers.

The Haven Project started out in the wake of the Crash of ’29, when a group of people did a root cause analysis and declared that the problem is that all the incentives for modern civilization optimize for short-term profit over long-term resilience. The software exploits that made the Crash Worm possible only existed because developers were ignoring security to get features out before the competition. So they decided to invent— this is not a joke— an entire alternative civilization.

That alternative includes an economy (including its own currency), a technology (which emphasizes recycling and local production over comparative advantage and trade in physical goods), and a culture (which emphasizes the values that keep the other two working). There are some parallels with your own syndicate in that it has roots in providing for a disadvantaged minority, though your syndicate’s cohesion came from common origin in ██████, while the Havenly (as they call themselves) are mostly people who have been left behind by the rest of the world. The first Haven, in Redmond, broke ground in ’36; they took in a lot of refugees in the wake of the Night of Rage, and have built their identity around being the place that takes people in.

What you need to know about the economy is that if you get paid in Haven cred, you can only spend it in that Haven, and only on goods produced or services provided there, and fast, because it expires in two weeks. Because they share all their designs over the Matrix, you can buy pretty much anything that any Haven can produce. If you convert it to cred from some other Haven, you’ll take a loss. I have an appendix to this document explaining it in detail, for any of your personnel who need the specifics. You can easily buy Haven cred with hard currency; there’s always demand for goods from the Mess (as they call the outside world). If you need to use up Haven cred before it expires, you can either give it to charity (they keep track of that and you’ll look good), or buy something they’re good at (like coffee beans or fresh fruit).

The Mess because of all the violence and inhumane treatment?

Connie Connoisseur

That, and it’s like a mess hall. Where you are on the menu.

Neal the Ork Librarian

The technology is built around recycling and automated manufacturing, with everything from 3-D printers to specialized robots. They have a lot of vertical farms and vats producing everything from food to printing feedstock. Their tech is generally generations behind the state of the art; no one would pay nuyen for it, but it beats dumpster diving. In some areas, this produces a higher standard of living than outside— everyone drinks real coffee, for instance, because when there’s more demand for it, they just build more vertical farms and grow more coffee beans. People wear cotton and wool and silk because their biotech people have been able to graft genes from silkworms and cashmere goats into cotton plants, and their clothing is all tailored because everyone gets it cranked out from sewbots instead of buying off the rack. Mass production in standard sizes would be cheaper, but their communities are too small for that to be a big advantage, and they don’t have to compete with international retail chains. If your suppliers in ██████ try to jack up prices on ████ for you, you could easily use standard Haven technology to crank out your own vertical farms and start growing the plants in Seattle. It wouldn’t cost much to pay for your own personnel to spend time in a Haven getting trained on the tech.

They have invested a great deal of effort in making their underlying economic system secure; I could go into detail, but because math is a sufficient summary as to why you shouldn’t waste the time of your deckers attempting to hijack Haven infrastructure.

Because math?

Feral

I had a look at the design documents and some of the code, and it’s... different. If you want to understand how it all works, first read through the Open Courseware from MIT&T on Public Key Encryption; Distributed Secure Ledgers; Encrypted Group Computation; and Zero-Knowledge Proofs. Then log on to scatterhub and read the architecture documents for Project Haven.

Fastjack

I liked because math better.

Feral

Seriously, how does this operation not get turned to slag by professional deckers?

Frostfire

First, the whole thing is running on locked-down systems that are horribly limited compared to a regular Matrix host. They’re tuned for doing a very limited range of things and doing them well, and other kinds of software are horribly slow, or they just crash, or they don’t even work because the host doesn’t support fancy stuff like data packets with executable headers.

Second, the protocols require that everything be widely distributed. Your transaction isn’t considered settled until a majority of the systems agree on it. You’d need to hack thousands of systems that report to hundreds of administrators if you wanted to subvert it, in jurisdictions belonging to dozens of nations. This kind of architecture is easy to run when you’re serving the population of the Redmond Barrens, but it would halt and catch fire if you tried to run all of Seattle on it, let alone a class-A megacorp. But the thing about a local currency is that it doesn’t have to scale up; it only has to serve its local Haven. No one cares if it takes five seconds for a transaction to settle when they’re buying flapjacks. Stock exchanges freak out over milliseconds.

Third, a lot of it uses different underlying technology. When everyone is scrambling to keep up with the competition, they need to use evolved code written in languages like Darwin and Gould and frameworks like Fracas and Stampede, often with custom extensions and libraries that are hush-hush trade secrets for the megas, or so DRMed that your code will commit seppuku if you don’t pay your license fees. Sure, you may run into a bug, but you smack it when it misbehaves and the accelerometers sense this and rerun the code with new mutations and it learns from its mistake and propagates it to the other instances, and by the time it gets out of beta, it’s good enough for the AAA megas and it’s keeping up with the state of the art.

The Haven economy infrastructure uses languages like Euclid and Hypatia, frameworks like Forum and Legion. They’re open-source languages that create code that can be verified to be correct through mathematical proof techniques. I was stunned when I first discovered that: it takes some serious brains to use them well, and it takes a lot longer than using the popular languages and frameworks; in industry, you only see that stuff used to create firmware for expensive components where a crashing bug can wipe out a hundred-million-nuyen aerospace vehicle. And they’re using those technologies to make distributed virtual banks for squatters.

Fastjack

Wait a minute: there’s tech that could just put deckers out of a job?

Moomindecker

Sort of. Technically, you can build everything out of provably correct code running at-least-triply redundant code paths and get something that is efficient, reliable, bug-free, and secure… but it takes long enough to make it that you’re two to four generations behind the flaky, insecure state of the art, which will get you killed if you’re up against a SOTA opponent with equal skill. So we all get flaky, insecure code instead, because that only might get you killed. We would need a worldwide technology armistice to undo generations of expectations that software crashes regularly and you shake or smack the device until it gets it right.

There’s also the problem that it’s a lot harder to write that kind of code, and there just aren’t enough people smart enough to do that. So in addition to bug-free and secure, it’s also expensive, and it can’t be churned out by grunt coders making caffeine-fueled races to meet deadlines. The only way Project Haven can make it work is by giving it away for free, and the competing products are being a squatter and debt slavery.

Silicon Mage

If you’ve just been burned by a mega and you’re good enough to code like that, start volunteering for grunge work in the code base and build up your open source reputation. You can make a pretty good living on the computer without ever having to worry about confronting black IC.

Neal the Ork Librarian

The culture is why you don’t have to worry about the Havens competing in that market. Their first law— they call it a Principle because of all the anarchists, but it’s essentially a law— is minimize coercion, and that includes everything from not polluting the land, water, air, or astral space to not inviting trouble from outside. They know perfectly well that if anyone in a Haven tried breaking into the ███████ market, the syndicates would have an incentive to attack them, so anything they produce is for their own consumption. The only thing remotely close to your markets are the artisanal batches of original-recipe Coca-Cola.

So they have their own laws, or laws I guess. What does that mean for, say, doing wetwork there?

Feral

If a noncitizen is hiding in a Haven and you do it with no collateral damage and sneak out without being detected, you’re probably safe, though if they figure out you did it, you’ll be arrested if you come back. They hate being used for cover. If you go after a citizen, or catch one in your collateral damage, you may discover that some retired shadowrunners are very protective of their adopted Haven.

Hatchetman

Log into a Haven net and download some Tamara Washington, Troll for the Truth! episodes if you want a good look at the Haven justice system. They have a judge, jury, and advocates for the prosecution, the defense, and the truth. The main character is an advocate for the truth, with no incentive to spin things either way. The writers clearly enjoy their vintage Perry Mason episodes.

Bung

That culture is also why you won’t find many opportunities to grow your business there. They consider debt to be a form of slavery and have explicit support for charity, so loansharking is not a good start there. One of their societal goals is that all people should live comfortably, without the kind of competitive pressure that creates demand for performance drugs in the day and party drugs at night, so there isn’t a lot of market there. Low-stakes gambling is common, but the concentrations of wealth for high-stakes gambling don’t even exist, and anyone with a gambling habit would receive considerable social pressure to seek treatment. Anything that makes people feel miserable creates an unpleasant astral background count and is considered pollution, so you couldn’t conduct any business where anyone is forced to do something through blackmail, addiction, or desperation.

Their justice system is focused on restoration and rehabilitation, not punishment. If they miraculously took over the world overnight, you and I would both be required to see therapists and get job retraining, and perhaps wear personal locators to make sure we didn’t cross paths with certain people, but we wouldn’t be in prison. It’s only with the incorrigibles that they get creative. I strongly recommend you not conduct operations in a Haven that would lead to any of your people being considered incorrigible. While some Havens have old-fashioned solutions (double tap to the back of the head is an option in the Ork Underground) and some new variations (permanently jacked into a gaming rig and your body exercised through a puppet implant is an option in Redding), there are some that are downright eerie— the prospect of spending years transformed into a golden retriever by a Dog shaman, or having my soul kicked through an astral gateway into the metaplanes by a Free Guidance Spirit giving me a quest, makes the prospect of a Lone Star chain gang sound positively pleasant.

Havens usually start by co-opting local gangs: Paradise Lake found it easy to bring in the Crimson Crush because the Crush were already big in community protection and they have no problem being paid in Haven cred that they could then use to buy Haven-produced food and medicine to help their people on the fringe of the Barrens. The Rusted Stilettos insist that they only allowed Glow City to become a Haven because the gang insisted that all the buildings had to look like they belonged on heavy metal album covers, but I suspect it was more practical considerations over medical aid. They don’t rely solely on gangs, though: Havens have both Rescuers, who are trained for the emergency response parts of the jobs of police, firefighters, and paramedics, and Defenders, who are often ex-military or trained to military standards. Gangs that try to make trouble in Havens either perish or have a sudden change in leadership. They lack the resources to take on a serious syndicate or megacorporation; their stated defensive policy is summed up in make them pay. Their goal is to make the cost of conquest much, much higher than the value of victory.

The main risk they pose to your syndicate is talent drain: people who would prefer to live in a Haven will take all their expertise there. This could also be seen as an advantage: people who chafe under your system will leave for what they see as greener pastures and avoid stirring up trouble in the ranks. If the Havens somehow take over the world, they could drive you out of business entirely, but this is an absurdly low probability; they haven’t even taken over the Redmond Barrens. They do a good job at bringing in certain personality types, but are extremely uncomfortable for authoritarian personalities who would prefer to be in a syndicate, gang, or corporation with clearly defined roles and a strong leader. That’s easily a third of the population even in good times, and more when people are feeling threatened, which is pretty much all the time these days.

They provide possible opportunities as well: Havens are very comfortable places for people to spend time without leaving a data trail visible to most deckers. While their ideal is that everyone shares the plans for goods that anyone can re-create, that doesn’t work for anything magical, or any physical piece of art. They may be customers for your smugglers when those goods would be inconvenient to ship through other means.

Regarding the approach they made to you, I believe you can take it at face value. I suspect the gifts were an advertisement for things they can produce that your syndicate might buy, but they cannot sell openly due to market regulations, and they always have a need for hard currency. I can discern no hidden traps in the favor they asked of you. They don’t want a war with any syndicate, and if you tell them someone is using them as cover for trying to interfere with your business, they will certainly investigate. If the perpetrator is a well-established citizen, they’ll want to take care of the problem in their own way; if they’re newly arrived, the Havenly may be angry enough to deliver them to you wrapped up with a bow.

In summary, they pose a negligible threat to an organization with your resources, and you may find some modest advantage from dealing with them.

Sincerely,

The Chromed Accountant

Principles

You know the Havens have all their documents on the scatterweb, right? You can go right to the source documents of the actual Havens? Here’s the quick intro on the Principles.

Bung

Haven Principles tl;dr

[Revision 5.04, 2048-11-18]

The Havens have principles, which are high-level goals; best practices, which are the currently accepted wisdom about how to implement those principles; and case studies, which are detailed examples for people to follow.

A lot of Havens are run by neo-anarchists, and a lot more are run by Native American tribes, and a lot more are run by people who have opinions on how people should govern themselves. The Havens are a system for running a community, designed to make some things easy and other things difficult, but they aren’t a code of laws. It’s up to each Haven to implement the principles in the way that works for their culture:

  1. Minimize coercion. Let your neighbors be who they are, say what they want, worship however they wish, so they’ll do the same for you. Don’t make it worthwhile, or easy, for the governments and megacorps and syndicates to come after us. No matter how much love we share for the environment, Green Cell terrorists can expect no welcome in a Haven.
  2. Maximize community. For the Haven, this mostly means a lot of stuff about building codes and organizing people. For you, it means pay attention when the Aunties talk with you.
  3. People are people. Panhumans are people. Sasquatches are people. Naga are people. Centaurs are people. Shapeshifters are people. Free Spirits are people. For the Haven, this means there’s work in making sure all the infrastructure works for everyone. For you, this means respect your neighbors.
  4. Resilience is more important than efficiency. If you build stuff, this means doing it right. In Seattle, build buildings for a 9.0 earthquake. In the Carib League, build buildings for a Category 5 hurricane. If you build tech, take the time to do it right; move fast and break things is for megacorporations, not Havens.
  5. Keep it real. Private citizens can keep all the secrets they want; anything public is transparent by default and needs a court order to have secrecy. Journalists can’t be forced to give up a source. Courts have an advocate for the truth, as well as for the prosecution and defense. Governing is in plain language. Prices must always reflect actual costs, without hiding any externalities, which means trade with the Mess is seldom ethical given the lack of transparency.
  6. Natural monopolies belong to the people. Water, sewer, power, data, and all that are government jobs. Land is owned by the government and leased out.
  7. We hold the world in trust for the next generation. Havens provide universal education as best they can. Share your knowledge, and give credit to the people whose ideas you use. If you make stuff, use cradle-to-cradle design.
  8. Own your failures and learn from them. A postmortem is the most important restitution for an honest mistake. If you were negligent, or ignored best practices, you can expect to pay material restitution.
  9. Welcome newcomers. When we get more people, make room for them; build more infrastructure and train more people as necessary.

If you have to violate a best practice because the principle is more important, and you know what you’re doing, then do the right thing and go update the best practices later.

They take minimize coercion so seriously that most Havens are all roundabouts with no stoplights.

Z-Zone Zena

The roundabouts and the meandering roads are also about geomancy. Straight roads let the mana flow too fast, and apparently that’s not as good for the magical ecology.

Homesteader

Unlike places like Hong Kong, where there’s constant fighting over geomancy to maximize luck for individual homes and businesses, Haven geomancy policy is meant to diffuse good fortune over the entire community and its ecosystem. This means fewer places of power, but it may be key to the way Havens can clean up an unhealthy background count.

Magister

No private ownership of land! Do they allow private property at all?

The Keynesian Kid

Sure. Make all the deals you want regarding capital that wears out. That rule is there to prevent people from turning into parasitic rentiers that do nothing but rent out land they own. If you want full-on Marxism you have to go to Angola.

Neal the Ork Librarian

Does minimize coercion allow for occupational licensing? Does maximize community permit limited liability corporations?

The Keynesian Kid

Guilds generally handle the equivalent of licensing— they vouch for a person’s quality of work. There’s usually some arrangement for investing in your neighbor’s business; if you aren’t involved in their decisions, the worst thing that happens to you is that you lose your investment.

Neal the Ork Librarian

Note something implicit in that first rule: successful Havens need to build in the Z-zones, where corporations have written them off as a source of profits and governments don’t want to provide services. If they think there’s money to be made, they’ll sponsor military coups or flat-out invade. The history of Haiti, all the way from the slave revolution that led to their independence in 1804 to the elections of Jean-Bertrand Aristide in 1990 and 2000, shows the pattern.

Socio Pat

It’s also how they negotiate with organized crime syndicates: a Haven can pay more for protection than a bunch of squatters, but most refuse to supply goods for the black market because they don’t want to make it worth the while for law enforcement to pay a visit. They usually wind up with tribute taking the form of a mix of Haven-created goods, medical services, and training for the people who will go build their own vertical farms to grow poppies or coca or whatever on syndicate turf. They always provide respect, which is important currency with any syndicate.

Nuyen Nick

Coercion doesn’t just mean forcing people to do stuff; it also means forcing things on other people. Don’t do drek that pollutes the land, the water, the air, or the astral plane, like creating pollution or running sweatshop labor or breeding antibiotic resistance into bacteria. Don’t incite other people to do drek, either; we love free speech but have no patience for stochastic terrorism. Any attempt, no matter how polite, to deny personhood to any class of person is considered incitement to violence. We’ve seen that drek before and we know where it leads. Once someone starts spouting Humanis or Sons of Sauron drek, we don’t wait for them to assemble in large groups and put on hoods. And don’t use Havens as a base for making trouble for other people. Green Cell terrorists may use Haven tech, but they don’t follow Haven principles.

Grow hydroponic coca or poppies if you want to make artisanal batches of original recipe Coca-Cola or drugs for pain management for someone who’s allergic to the stuff that comes out of the bioreactors, but don’t scale it up and sell it to the Mess and bring Lone Star or Knight Errant down on our heads. Same for anything that violates patents and trademarks.

Or any of the organized crime syndicates, which don’t appreciate the competition.

Connie Connoisseur

Especially not the coca. Aztechnology doesn’t want their prices undercut. They keep their hands clean and always go through shadowrunners when they want to make an example of someone.

Pyramid Watcher

Usually, the Havenly politely ask troublemakers like that to please take their growing and manufacturing elsewhere, but with the real jerks they find someone they like in the nearest police force and hand them a collar on a silver platter. It’s the damnedest thing for a cop to get a go-gang escort into a Z-zone to bust someone who’s wanted for distribution. Cops, be nice to the Havenly and they’ll give you a lot more than donuts and coffee.

X-Star

The mob often buys gear from the Havens and sets up their own vertical farms in their home territory where they can protect it better. There’s no secret sauce here. They often send some of their folks to learn the ropes in the Havens... and some of them like it so much they retire here.

Homesteader

Do Havens have a problem with drug addiction?

The Neon Samurai

Some, but less than in the SINful world. When people aren’t miserable, they have less desire to escape it; we’ve known about that since Bruce Alexander’s research in the 20th century.

Holly

So there are no restrictions on guns? You can keep a whole arsenal at home?

Feral

If you show up to contingency drills with the Haven’s Defenders, teach firearm safety, have all your weapons locked up and preferably safed so an ingenious child couldn’t fire them, and are generally regarded as a stable, upstanding member of the community, your arsenal and military-grade armor will be seen as reassuring. We like having badasses who are firmly on our side.

If you’re twitchy, paranoid, and isolated, people will get very nervous about your arsenal, and you’re going to need to go to a lot of effort to reassure the neighbors. If you’re a combat mage, you are the arsenal, and people will feel the same. If an Auntie offers to connect you with a PTSD support group, massage therapist, meditation class, or yoga studio to help you get a grip, take them up on it.

Homesteader

This is a side effect of the technology: you can’t stop people from fabbing weapons, so we have to make sure that people are so deeply connected to the rest of the community that they will make better choices. There are four billion tons of uranium dissolved in Earth’s oceans. It is vital that we work out how to do this before it becomes practical for anyone with access to a beach to quietly amass a critical mass of U-235.

Professor Johann Steamhein

If people need shelter, we fab more buildings. If people need food, we fab more vertical farms. If people need medical care, we fab more vat labs and train more doctors and nurses and medtechs. When the corporations eat themselves, we’ll be there to take people in.

The usual policy is if we aren’t producing emergency supplies to bring to neighbors during disasters, we don’t have enough vertical farms.

Homesteader

What happens if you run out of land?

The Keynesian Kid

Build upward. Which means making it worth the while of the people currently occupying the land that needs to be rebuilt to be good with the change. It requires listening to them and coming up with a good offer; most folks are pretty happy with a nice place in a less-dense area (if you have them) or their choice of a really nice place in the new building. We try to make it a matter of acclaim rather than shoving people around with bureaucracy.

Nicole Mac

Peacekeeping

While I’m copying Haven source docs, here’s the peacekeeping intro for newcomers. Yes, that’s really the title; the Havenly like their humor.

Bung

The Audubon Field Guide to Haven Peacekeepers

Out in the Mess, the rules are all backed by violence. You break one of thousands of rules and goons from Lone Star or Knight Errant show up and, if you don’t have enough money, can beat you to a pulp on a whim, then throw you in jail, seize everything you own, hold a trial, and sell you off to a prison that will extract as much value from your labor as they can. We don’t do that here. No asset forfeiture, no torture, no jails, no slavery. The nature of any laws is up to the government chosen by the people of the Haven, but the Haven architects do a lot of work to support minimize coercion. That means not forcing drek on other people.

Here you see the Neo-Anarchist influence on Haven culture: everyone is free to decide what’s in their own best interest, and no one gets to coerce anyone else.

Captain Chaos

Except for the de facto coercion of empty bellies and pressing medical needs. The gift economy is there to encourage freeing people from that kind of coercion.

Neal the Ork Librarian

We have four groups dedicated to keeping the peace:

Balancers— the Aunties

We’re big on solving problems before they need coercion to solve them. We like freedom, and understand that sometimes people need a little help keeping up the matching responsibility. So we have this program called Serendipity that tries to understand as much about your needs as you’re willing to share, and it makes sure to send a Balancer around to chat with you every so often to help you stay connected to the community and get back on balance if you’re a little off your feet. Balancers have no direct power. If you share enough info with Serendipity, you’ll get a little ping when it knows you’re doing something that could use a little help, and if you accept, a Balancer will turn up to help out and have a chat while you’re getting things done, or even help you make and eat dinner if you let Serendipity know that’s welcome. Other times, or if you don’t trust your chore list with Serendipity’s security tech, they’ll meet up with you for coffee or something stronger. In Havens with a lot of Asian cultural influence, they instantly got called Auntie or Uncle, and now everyone calls them the Aunties.

You can find all genders and species among Balancers, but they all embraced Auntie quickly enough. Especially once the Uncles noticed that all the fragile-masculinity types didn’t even try to join once they started using Aunties to refer to Balancers in general.

There are naga Aunties, of course, because naga understand naga needs. It also turns out that a naga Auntie can be more effective with an panhuman neighbor because some folks are just fed up with all panhumans and it’s easier to feel a sense of community with a giant talking snake.

Nicole Mac

Aunties are expected to use their judgment to override Serendipity and give it training feedback; understanding people is a job for people, not computers. They’re generally unarmed, though a fair number of them can put you in a joint lock if you start something. They’re super-social folks who talk to people, organize parties and book clubs and game nights, talk people down when they’re wound up, and offer advice that helps you avoid misery and remove obstacles to happiness. They’re there to hear you grouse and vent and brag and rant and then hook you up with connections who can make your life better, anything from parenting support to business advice to helping shoulder your load for a little while until you aren’t under pressure and can start helping others. If you think someone ought to talk to that person about a problem, call an Auntie.

If your social network is too insular, they’ll introduce you to folks outside it. If you have a sudden interest in something dangerous, they’ll introduce you to responsible, dangerous people who will peer-pressure you into being responsible like them. If you ignore them and go down a path to being a menace to your neighbors, they can talk to other people and make your life so difficult that it’s easier to leave the Haven. If they keep files at all, they’re private; this is not a Social Credit System! If they tell you to take an anger management class or take your dog to obedience training, do it; it’ll make your life better in the long run. Domestic violence is an early warning of mass violence, so if you can’t learn to control yourself, people are going to get very concerned.

Aunties are the substitute for cops? How effective can that be? What if I don’t want to go to a fragging anger management class?

Shadowspawn

For that job, very effective. Their job doesn’t involve escalating to violence, so they have time to talk to people, and those people aren’t sweating about being fed to a phony justice system. No one would physically drag you there... but they’d talk to some big burly folks who benefited from anger management classes, and they would start showing up in your life, having beers with you and exerting peer pressure until you finally gave in and went to the class or got so exasperated you moved out of the Haven just to get away from them. Or until you waved a gun at them, and then they left, and then some scary, armed people showed up to give you a choice between giving up your guns or leaving the Haven. We haven’t abolished coercion by violence, but you only see it when someone escalates.

Balancers only have the power of persuasion, so they have to earn respect and keep it. It’s possible for a clique to wield a lot of power, but if enough people start complaining about them, no one listens to them any more.

From the Haven perspective, failing to form a community with your neighbors is an aberration, a denial of a hundred thousand years of human history. Considerable design effort went into the system to encourage people to form connections, and people from modern cities often need help to learn how to do it, even more than people from monocultures do getting used to jumping in the deep end on diversity.

The Serendipity kaffeeklatsches are pretty impressive: experienced social connectors passing on tips to each other and making connections.

Nicole Mac

Some of the best movies to come out of the Havens are the Kung Fu Auntie series. Kung Fu Auntie has a bunch of sequels, and there are spinoffs like Karate Auntie, Capoeira Auntie, and so on. The formula is: Auntie walks around her Haven talking to people and finding ways to help them with troubles they’re having or suggesting they help someone out or just plain matchmaking. Auntie pieces clues together from all the people she talked to and discovers The Big Bad Threat to the Community. Auntie calls up characters introduced during the buildup and they all go kick the ass of the Big Bad Threat. They’re great fun and they give a good sense of the community spirit that the Balancers are there to nurture.

Bung

That is a huge investment compared to a regular police force. Normally you have like 20–30 cops per 10,000 population; according to the Serendipity dashboards, Balancers are around 2–3× that, because even social superconnectors have their limits. So by that measure, you could consider the Havens a police state... if the police bought you coffee, helped you fold laundry, coached you on dating, and introduced you to neighbors to your mutual advantage.

SPD

There were two petty constables per hundred people in England in 1285. The Mess paid a price for scaling up.

Neal the Ork Librarian

Aunties get called in as soon as it looks like someone needs talking down. They usually have a budget for giving out Haven-wide gift cred to enlist bystanders to help out; if an Auntie asks a couple of people in a bar to see a drunk guy home safely, the cred is usually good for another evening out.

And finally, when people start talking about mutual aid during a crisis, Aunties help organize it: introducing people to each other, recruiting experts, setting up rotations so no one burns out.

Rescuers

Rescuers are trained as firefighters, paramedics, and minimally lethal combat. They show up to deal with things that are going wrong right now. They’re trained in de-escalation, but when that fails, they also trained in martial arts like judo and aikido and have access to an arsenal of less-lethal gear like narcoject pistols and rifles, gloop guns, net guns, bola guns, tasers, tangler grenades, SodOffs with baton rounds or rubber shot, telescoping batons, and so on. Rescuers get called in as soon as it looks like someone is going to need to intervene physically. If someone is reeling drunk, they call an Auntie to talk them down; if someone is reeling drunk and waving a gun, they call an Auntie and a Rescuer who can step in if needed. They usually wear white outfits that provide light body armor.

Investigators

Investigators are a lot like police detectives, but their job is only figuring things out; they usually have a Rescuer along if they think someone is going to give them trouble. Some Havens simply post a bounty of gift cred (spread over the entire Haven, just like they charge for infrastructure) for figuring out who caused a problem, and then another one for someone to check their work.

Defenders

Havens do come under attack from outside, and Defenders are there to discourage that. In an urban Haven, they’re usually the local gang being paid to provide protection, or sometimes a crime syndicate. In others, they’re often military veterans. Haven Defenders can go toe-to-toe with gangs and bandits, but they know perfectly well that they’re not in the same class as megacorporate military forces, so they specialize in dirty tricks and attrition, driving up the budgetary cost of assaulting a Haven to the point that the bean-counters will decide it isn’t worth it.

Defenders wear hard armor and have the best toys the Haven can fab. They have lots of agents that can foul jet intakes and air filters, heavy-duty bolas that can foul propellers, aerosols that deposit a filth-attracting coating of grease on everything from goggles to windscreens, solvents that eat the rubber seals on vehicles, caltrops and little bots that scatter them.

All these goodies are open source, as are most of the playbooks the Havens use. The Defenders in Orkland post videos of every assault that comes in from the occupiers in San Francisco, and it’s fascinating to watch. They get very creative in finding ways to make invaders pay for every inch they travel in hostile territory, quite literally: their goal is to run up the maintenance costs and hit them in the budget. It sends the message: we know you’ve seen our last set of tactics and we’re already working on the next set of surprises.

Argent

An estimated 4.5% of people are psychopaths. Havens are no exception. They know that psychopaths can thrive in society, particularly if they get cognitive-behavioral intervention in youth, and if they’re in highly structured environments... like the Defenders. So if you go up against a Haven, while most of the citizens would have difficulty pulling the trigger on you, don’t expect the Defenders to hesitate.

Holly

So they’re like a lot of successful shadowrunners.

Feral

Flexible Response

Flexible Response teams handle weird, unexpected stuff. It’s usually a part-time job, with most of the team members being Balancers, Rescuers, Investigators, or Defenders as their main work. The goal of Flexible Response is to solve problems, understand problems, and create doctrine for them to dealt with as a routine matter.

From the FR teams I’ve talked with, the job is a lot like running the shadows, if shadowrunners got free psychotherapy after traumatic experiences.

Hatchetman

Psychotherapists always say the best way to deal with the jitters and insomnia is to stop running the shadows. Useless.

Feral

The first draft name was Formless Response, but it only made sense to people with a Taoist background.

Nicole Mac

Justice

When Investigators report, Havens choose what to do with the information; some let the wronged person decide between punishments, some have someone independent decide, but it usually comes down to restitution, exile, or a therapy ward. There are a few Havens— monasteries, mostly— that accept exiles who want to atone for having done something bad, and people that voluntarily spend a long time there can be accepted back in the rest of Haven society. Therapy wards are similarly rare, but receive sponsorship from other Havens.

Note that there is a certain frontier justice attitude in the Havens when it comes to repeat offenders. Havens have a policy against coercion, but the Havenly tend to be pretty forgiving of a neighbor who takes extreme measures against someone who violates exile to resume stalking. Likewise bounty hunters who want to deliver Havenly to debt collectors.

Homesteader

Runners, if you have a target that goes into a Haven, the best thing to do is ambush them when they leave. The Havens get very persnickety about anyone bringing violence onto their turf, and are very protective of their own citizens. They also get cranky about people trying to use them, so if you’re chasing a terrorist who is trying to go to ground in a Haven, approach the local Defenders with evidence and they may just hand him over.

Hatchetman

Those little taser drones they have scooting around the perimeter for catching devil rats are also equipped for stunning full-sized trolls wearing combat boots.

Argent

Punishment for crimes is up to whatever government the people of the Haven choose. Prisons are discouraged because locking people away from society isn’t a good way to make them fit for society; anyone can voluntarily take on a restitution goal where they make a goal of accumulating gift cred doing odd jobs for the community. The bigger a goal you take, the higher a percentage of the Haven you need to work for, directly, in order to meet it, so you can’t earn it all by helping people in a small clique. If someone is facing exile, they can offer some time of monitoring and amount of community restitution. If you see someone wearing matching black bracelets, they’re trying to earn their way back into the good graces of the community by gathering gift cred from a big cross-section of the Haven population.

Kind of like a big scarlet A?

Findler-Man

A lot more subtle than that. It’s a way to prove you’re earnest about trying to turn your life around. They’re bracelets, not shackles; you can take them off any time, and you can delete your restitution goal if you want. The idea is that when you wear them, you’re on call to help out, and the more gift cred you’d get for a task, the faster you work through it. If you wronged someone and they don’t trust you, the bracelets also report your location if you’ve taken them off for too long.

Homesteader

The Haven architects consider the rest of civilization to be in a disastrous state, with everyone living driven by fear, and suffering from isolation and trauma. They compare mental health out in the Mess to the days of open sewers, and the design discussions have a lot of talk about how to help people recover from the habits needed for survival in the SINful world.

People Watcher


The Neighborhood

Havens are usually built out of the wreckage of cities and towns that have been abandoned by the Mess: property prices went down, property taxes went down, infrastructure and services went to hell, and Lone Star gave it a security E rating and left it to the squatters. Sometimes we renovate old buildings, but more often we knock them down and replace them from scratch with ones that have enough headroom for our troll citizens.

Any Haven neighborhood is going to have:

That’s a lot of planning for something as supposedly anarchic as a Haven.

Hatchetman

The process more resembles some Haven crew saying hey, people are starting to reclaim that block, better go stake out a new chowspace before it fills up! than a city council meting out zoning policy. Then they go recruit people to help build things and it turns out you can get more people volunteering to put together a brewpub than a mere chowspace, or a water park attached to the waterspace. There can be interesting wrangles about the downtown in mature Havens, often culminating in we’ll chip in and build you a really nice house over here if you’ll yield your space for this project.

Haven crew training includes a lot of failure analysis of how things went wrong in the past. A lot of things are overengineered, because the alternative is much bigger cleanup after a disaster and a lot more misery during.

Homesteader

In downtown areas, we build multi-story with residences above businesses. Outside that, you get a mix of renovated single-family detached houses or condoplexes, old-style boarding houses, and new-style multifamily homes that can accommodate a few generations of one family or a group of friends.

There are some Havens in find an appropriate spot that are building in old skyscrapers, with much higher density than most. Serendipity makes sure that its Agents introduce people to nonadjacent neighbors with similar interests to spread connections around, that sort of thing.

People Watcher

Multi-story? With all that volunteer labor? And they don’t fall over in earthquakes?

Shadowspawn

It’d be a disaster waiting to happen if we used dumb materials and paper blueprints. All our girders and panels are full of sensors, and everyone on the site has a Scape to tell them where they go and if they’re even slightly out of true. As long as you have the patience and discipline to follow the plan, you can be part of swarm construction.

Homesteader

There are parks, but they usually do double duty as farms; it’s rare to have trees that don’t bear fruit.

Farming

Even in urban zones, we have farming. We don’t often have soil to till; mostly we have vertical farm style buildings that use insect-fed aquaculture to crank out food (mostly plants, a little shrimp and fish), textile fibers, and cellulose feedstock. Most roofs are covered in something productive: solar panels (which sell their energy on the local grid), or greenhouses, or beehives, or genetically engineered vines that are cranking out glucose squash, flour melons, cashmere bolls, dairy gourds, burgerfruit, cocoa or coffee beans, or just fruit that normally grows on trees, or an old-style maze of transparent pipes circulating tailored algae that gets processed into flour, or feeding the bacteria vats and bioreactors that produce egg and milk proteins and cooking oil and leather. Genetweaked trees grow the same stuff.

Plants expressing animal genes! Orks and elves living together! Mass hysteria!

Bung

Nice reference, but there are still people who get upset about getting cashmere wool from a cotton boll because it’s tampering with Mother Nature. This kind of chimerical wizardry is small-time compared to the research going on at places like Universal Omnitech.

The Smiling Bandit

I admit I was troubled the first time I saw such a thing. But there are too many people on this planet to make goods for everyone in the old ways, and it is better that they be harvested from plants grown by your neighbor than made in a factory, particularly if inhumane factory farming methods are applied to the animals.

Man-of-Many-Names

There are genetic engineers who do open source work?

Shadowspawn

For decades, all the way back to the Open Insulin project to create bacteria that crank out insulin for diabetics without requiring that they pay through the nose. Haven scientists even publish peer-reviewed papers in open journals, then nuyen-backed scientists in universities and megacorp research labs leverage it for their own discoveries and never even cite the Haven-authored papers. The Haven scientists in turn ignore corporate patents.

Doc

The genetic engineers aren’t all underground working on a shoestring budget; the gift economy and the move to biotech infrastructure get a lot of support in the Native American Nations— particularly the Sioux Nation and Pueblo Corporate Council— and Amazonia; it’s able to peel off a fraction of back-to-the-old-ways types who would otherwise oppose modern technology entirely. (It also riles up another fraction.)

Sarah Bright Water

I don’t recognize half that stuff. Have I been eating it the whole time? And how do I get my hands on a vine that grows peaches?

Feral

Recently, yes. They finally got those good enough for distribution in the late 2040s. Before that it was all algae vats and tailored bacteria that needed to be raised in a clean-room environment, or regular stuff growing in hydroponics. Vats are more efficient than growing genetweaked stuff in fruits, but it’s easier to learn to raise the fruits and you don’t need as many precautions. Glucose squash can be crushed for pure sugar, flour melons are full of seeds that can be milled into flour or pressed into cooking oil and the end product tastes a lot like it came from wheat, maize, rice, olives, etc.; bolls are full of cotton, wool, flax, wormsilk, spidersilk, and so on; dairy gourds are full of milk or egg proteins; and burgerfruit pulp is chock-full of heme molecules so it tastes like meat once you grind it up. (If you want something like an actual cut of meat, you either need to kill an animal or get a synthetic cut created by a 3-D printer printing vatgrown cells. The very few tissue printers in the Havens are Mess tech and are usually busy printing human organs for people who need transplants, so don’t expect filet mignon.)

Doc

You still need to fertilize the plants with the right stuff or the fruit comes out wrong; buy soil analysis kits in twelve-packs. Pests go after the fruit; they give it a tough rind to keep them out, but that won’t always do the trick, especially if devil rats climb into your roof garden. (The genetweakers keep trying to make rinds that the pests hate, but it always ruins the taste of the fruit.) Don’t throw away or compost the rinds; they can be pulped and turned into paper products. Maintaining the clean-room vats is a nightmare compared to vertical farms, vines, and trees.

If you want to grow some of the stuff, the farms will sell you sprouts for a modest cost— ask for a cornucopia vine if you want variety— and you can set up hydroponics at home. It’s all open source.

Homesteader

Some of those vine-covered buildings are sufficiently well-covered that they’ll keep out any snoops on the astral, and can be good for a discreet discussion. Look for a tag advertising modern privacy.

Frostfire

Of course they leave out our pioneering work in geothermal energy! Thousands of Havenly have steam heat and clean electricity now. Elemental magic saved years off our research program; tunnelbots are much less versatile.

Vertical farming trades cost in fertilizer, water, pesticides, and land area for a much higher cost in electricity; if we didn’t have the geothermal and well-tuned quantum dot lighting that only emits what the plants need, we would need huge amounts of wind, solar, and hydro power.

Professor Johann Steamhein

We had to come up with a whole new protocol to keep the thermal plumes from those from spooking the SINful; we don’t advertise that we’re doing things that can cause earthquakes if we screw up. Heavens know what we’ll need to do if your work with plasma wakefield accelerators and Farnsworth fusors bears fruit.

Homesteader

What’s with all the crazy weathervanes?

Argent

They’re on top of the airscoops for the vertical farms, bioreactors, and graphene/nanotube farms. The amount of plant life growing in there needs a lot of CO2, especially because we concentrate it using nanopore membranes as much as we can before the plants get less nutritious, so we need a lot of air intake. And why would we have unadorned airscoops when we can have original sculptures on top of them?

The clean air has to get vented somewhere, so we usually make sure the playgrounds and dog parks are smog-free no matter what.

Professor Johann Steamhein

People also keep livestock: chickens, pigs, goats, and angora rabbits. Some Havens raise fish in their ponds, cisterns, and reservoirs when there isn’t a drought. Real eggs and meat cost a lot more than the equivalent from a bioreactor, as you’d expect.

When a drought is announced, expect specials on catfish and tilapia tacos.

Neal the Ork Librarian

And if it persists long enough, to see a lot of that greenery trimmed back as it dries, to reduce fire danger.

Homesteader

There’s also the Haven data infrastructure. There are standardized plans for server bricks that you can buy and plug into your local power and data grids, and let other people store data on them and use processing time, usually on the Scatterweb. The infrastructure code of the Haven economy relies on there being hundreds or thousands of these scattered throughout every Haven. Usually you buy one, or a stack of them, give the keys to one of the local admins, and just keep it dust-free, and the cred trickles in.

The server bricks spend a fair amount of time running distributed ledger operations for Havens; mostly local ones, but you can wind up helping validate transactions on another continent. There are also lots of small-scale local data services, running stripped-down Matrix protocols that are just enough to read books, listen to music, watch trideo, that kind of thing. When you store data in the scatterweb, it’s encrypted and scattered redundantly to server bricks all over the planet; once it’s in there, the only way to silence it is to shut up the person with the encryption keys, and if it was openly published, forget it.

The server bricks are likely sitting next to big banks of ultracapacitors— more bricks— that charged up when electricity was cheap (like when the sun is out and the wind is blowing) and sell it when it’s dear. If you can afford server and power bricks, get some and contribute to your Haven. And they make wonderful housewarming gifts.

Finally, we farm data itself. Get some sensors and deploy them and pick the rules by which people can get the data. If it’s atmospheric temperature and barometric pressure and soil humidity, give it away. If it’s a recorded camera feed out your windows, lock it down until someone asks you for access because they’re trying to figure out who wronged someone else so the wrong fragger doesn’t get punished.

Individual Havens can sometimes be self-sufficient when it comes to materials— though you can’t capture iron and copper out of the air— but never for information. Coders maintaining the software that powers the Havens, civil engineers designing the physical underpinnings, architects creating building templates, user experience designers making it all usable, artists making all the things we print out beautiful, specialist doctors consulting via telepresence with someone in a distant Haven, and more— we need that network of expertise to sustain the Haven civilization. This is why every Haven has multiple redundant communications links to keep in touch with the rest of the world.

Professor Johann Steamhein

Infrastructure

People are maintaining the local power, water, sewage, and data grids in Havens. The folks with the talent and organization to get them going are very popular, and there are a variety of crews who travel around doing the work. The best teams have a hermetic mage with an earth elemental doing excavation (and a fire elemental to work on the clay pipes that the earth elemental is creating on-site), a shaman with a city spirit who can point out the best places to build things and prevent accidents, and some experienced planners, plumbers, and electricians who can do the setup. In their wake they leave water cisterns, storm drains, sewer lines, cable conduits, and a whole lot of happy people.

And in places that get enough rain that they need storm drains big enough to stand up in: happy shadowrunners! Nothing like being able to go to ground in a place where you need a Haven economy identity to access the blueprints for the pipes.

Feral

There are manipulation spells in the Open Grimoire that help separate out the right components from excavated soil to make good bricks or cinderblocks, and lime and sand to make mortar. The elementals can’t do everything for you. Mages and archaeologists teamed up to write some good tutorials on turning excavated dirt into bricks and Roman Empire-quality mortar.

Talks-With-Cats

There are endless opportunities for clean energy we are neglecting! We could create geothermal power plants along fault lines which would decrease the magnitude of earthquakes while increasing their frequency! Harness the power of tornadoes with Atmospheric Vortex Engines!

Professor Johann Steamhein

Damnit, Johann, how many times do I have to say it? Your designs are not compatible with keeping a low profile!

Homesteader

If you have these kinds of talents, volunteer to join one of the traveling crews, or to help maintain the local ones. Shamans who can ask city spirits to diagnose clogged drainpipes or even dislodge a clog can earn cred quickly. And if a pump has broken down, people will pay for water elemental services to pump from an underground cistern into a gravity-feed one.

When there’s a lot of excavation involved, they turn the tailings into bricks, and construction work ensues. If you know how to trowel mortar, or want to learn, creating new buildings is very satisfying work. Less satisfying is building defensive fortifications when your Haven is trying to carve a pocket of safety from violent anarchy. Look up more details of making concrete, mortar, asphalt, and alternative ways of creating paved roads.

Manufacturing

We don’t really go for twentieth-century things like factories with assembly lines. Our manufacturing tends to be using 3-D printers cranking out individual parts that are then assembled by skilled humans and the occasional dedicated robot, sewbots cranking out clothing made from locally grown materials, that sort of thing. (Humanoid robots are more maintenance trouble than they’re worth right now.) The open source physical design library keeps growing. Some of the designs even creep into the Mess because our stuff conforms to the Maker’s Bill of Rights and you can’t maintain the half the stuff coming out of megacorps without paying licensing fees.

Organizing a bunch of Havens for a big project like a reservoir or large-scale water treatment plant is a lot of work, and some Haven thinkers would rather have a thousand small cisterns than one big reservoir anyway. Those same thinkers tend to be against mass production of one-size-fits-all goods instead of custom-printing things that are individually tailored to each person, but sometimes you really do want the economies of scale working to crank out identical nuts and bolts. They would consider freeways to be a sign of bad housing policy because people can’t live near their jobs.

Homesteader

Distributed-and-resilient is an excellent design philosophy, but the heart yearns for wonder as well! Havens need cathedrals and colosseums that make our hearts soar, amphitheaters and agoras to bring the community together. Even a young Haven quickly develops public art, but as they mature, they find opportunities to express their civic pride at proper scale.

Professor Johann Steamhein

We also have plenty of brewing and distillation going on. There are a lot of beers and some fairly nice vodkas. Some glucose squash are made using agave genes and those get made into pulque and distilled into tequila.

If you’re bringing gifts into the Havens, it helps to understand how booze is made. Making flavored vodkas from locally grown algae and fruit is quick and relatively easy. A good whisky, bourbon, brandy, tequila, or rum requires years of aging in oak casks. Tequila requires a lot less aging, so some of it gets made in the Havens, but it’s still less common.

Windsinger

One thing we don’t yet source well is advanced electronics. A couple of 3-D printers working in metal and plastic can easily crank out the parts for an AK-47 assault rifle, but if you want a knockoff Ingram Smartgun with wireless Matrix integration and a smartlink, you’re going to have to scavenge the parts from a broken gun or get the raw stuff from the hard-currency economy. At some point, the boffins working on self-assembling materials and nanoprinters are going to announce that we can start cranking out our own chips and cyberware, but right now you have to buy things from the megacorps and then overwrite the code with something you can trust.

The thing that 3-D printers need is feedstock: extremely pure powders of metal and plastic and cellulose and whatnot that they can use to build all those parts. (Some Havens even have 3-D printers that can print buildings, out of concrete or even mud.)

The Haven design aesthetic is proudly universal. There are numerous architectural and furniture designs to make sure that everyone from dwarfs to trolls to naga can comfortably drink at the same bar and eat at the same table. Single-metatype Havens will build for their people, of course, but by and large the Havens are bucking the global trend of different metatypes going their own ways.

Holly

We do have recycling efforts to create those from existing waste, so don’t throw things in the corporate dumps and sewers if you can avoid it. These days, they’re all highly secured reprocessing facilities that extract rare earths from electronics and phosphorus from urine. We do a lot of surreptitious mining from old 20th century landfills; at some point, the megacorps are get out of the resource-extraction mindset and they’ll stake claims on all the old garbage dumps.

We also don’t have a whole lot of industrial chemical synthesis or fancy multilayer manufacturing yet; only the biggest Havens can set up that kind of infrastructure.

Services

If you came here from the corporate world, you may have skills that are valuable here in the Haven. If not, you can learn them here. The standard in the Mess is 996 for wageslaves and 40 hours per week (with as much overtime as they can get away with) for people with expertise. We’re nowhere near a leisure world where everything is supplied by robots, but we have enough automation that most folks can put in a 20 hour week doing something critical to keep the Haven running and another 20 on child care, teaching, art, hobbies, research, or helping out on a swarm project like putting together new buildings.

There are a lot of jobs critical to keeping a Haven running. You need at least half a dozen people just to run a sundries lab that can crank out soap, shampoo, deodorant, shave gel, hair gel, hand lotion, and so on. The minimum number of people to manufacture the core goods to keep a Haven running is about a thousand, plus hundreds more running the infrastructure. You won’t find a Haven under 5000 people that cranks out graphene microprocessors, or under 10000 that makes neural-dust cyberware.

The discipline to keep bioreactors and vats running clean is not common, and the tailored algae and bacteria crank out a lot of raw ingredients that feed people. If you have better-than-neurotypical powers of concentration, almost any vat shop will be happy to take you on as an apprentice even if you have no training at all.

If you have a green thumb, we grow stuff everywhere, mostly in the vertical farms; food, fiber for clothing, anything the genetweakers can grow in a vine or bush or tree that helps us be self-sufficient. Likewise beekeeping. We have a lot of plants and can keep a lot of hives busy.

Even an entry-level system administrator can help keep Haven data services running.

If you were a health care worker, your local street doc may have work for you. Or the flophouse next to her shop where people recover. Your local street doc’s closest connection to a medical school may be the training of the doc to whom they apprenticed and the pirate textbooks they reference. Medicine here doesn’t look like hospitals outside because we’re constantly training people; expect that any time you see a doctor or nurse, they have an apprentice or two along, and maybe a journeyman getting hands-on experience if it’s something routine. If you need a specialist, you may need to consult via the Matrix with someone on another continent, if the expert systems assisting a local doctor can’t figure it out.

Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, and painters are in demand, though you may have to apprentice yourself to another one to learn all the tricks to making do when you can’t just pop down to the hardware store to buy new fittings with hard currency.

If you were good at babysitting when you were a teenager, there’s plenty of work like that, though you’ll have to help out at a nursery for a while to develop enough reputation that people will trust you with kids on your own.

And if you can teach, that’s excellent. There’s a good network of Montessori schools in the Havens, which go all the way to the time they’re ready for apprenticeships and MOOCs and OpenCourseWare. We contribute a lot to Orkwork, designing advanced apprenticeship programs for training up orks, who are adult at twelve years old. And yes, you can teach part time and do blue sky research part time.

If you were in law enforcement, be very careful about who you admit it to. Most people have experience of the folks who enforce the laws that only apply to the poor while the rich get away with anything they want. Our best cops are the ones who look like they’re auditioning for Motorcyclist of the Apocalypse and know how to talk someone down from a killing fury.

An ex-cop who knows their Peelian Principles and has a real dedication to the serve and protect motto can do pretty well stepping up for things that are too rough for the Agents. The trick is getting out the story that you were a good cop that got burned by bad cops without anyone freaking out over your having been a cop.

SPD

A lot of keeping the peace is talking people down who are getting cranky with each other, and that means negotiating skill. We don’t have much in the way of legal codes to argue, but we have a lot of people who need help coming to a fair resolution in disputes.

Best career move I ever made. Just in case, though: Keep the suit, pay a decker to get you a fake SIN with a law degree, and take the bar exam again. You never know when an entanglement in the wageslave world will cause someone a problem that needs a lawyer to fix it.

No Tie No Problem

Art is one of our biggest sources of hard currency. That stuff sells on Etsy and other forums all across the planet. Your local gang may hire you to spraypaint classy gang tags to mark their territory, local homes and businesses may appreciate a good mural, and while you may have to start out helping someone else execute their designs, they’ll give you a leg up on making your own pretty soon.

If you’re a specialist in something very technical like industrial chemistry or nanofabrication, talk to Haven crew. Some Havens may be happy to sponsor you to come apply your talents to their supply chain; there are some things we can’t yet crank out with self-assembling materials, synthetic biology, and gengineered plants.

We don’t have casinos here, ’cos they’re all about inducing addiction, fleecing the little people, and laundering money. Ask around if you want a friendly game of low-stakes poker; those aren’t hard to find.

Transit

There are lots of variants on the bicycle, particularly the pedicab. Most vehicles are bodged together from a mix of scavenged parts and freshly printed open source designs. Used cooking oil from restaurants gets processed into biodiesel and sold to the people who refurbished ancient diesel cars or have more modern multifuel ones, and there are plenty of drivers who will be happy to take you all the way from one end of your region to the other for reasonable amounts of cred from either Haven; just load the Unicorn Express app on your Scape and they’ll courier anything from packages to people. Lots of Havens have a bike share.

Most of the vehicles you’ll find in the Havens are junkyard resurrections, but there are some with good enough print shops that if you show up with a few crates of the right electronics and a bunch more of feedstock— enough to make a few vehicles— they’ll be happy to put together a vehicle from scratch for you from a chunk of it. The megacorps rip off all the good open source designs, of course, but there are open designs that fit all the metatypes that never make it to the corporate assembly lines.

Nightmare

And if you’re limping in after a big fight, they’re good at patching things up. If you’re doing a smuggling run and have any space left over, contact your chummers in the local Haven and see if there’s anything you can bring them. Making yourself a carrier for Unicorn Express isn’t a bad idea, either, but be honest about the level of risk you’re assuming on a run. If someone’s shipping handmade jewelry, they’ll be very unhappy with you if you lost it because it got impounded with that black market headware you were smuggling.

Spike

Sports

Major league sports in the UCAS are a scam, dating back to a US Supreme Court ruling that an exhibition of sport was exempt from monopoly-busting. The Havens are more like Europe: every neighborhood has a team, and teams play other ones nearby, and someday we may all be rich enough that we can have a Haven World Cup or something.

The most common sports are, in descending order: basketball, football (aka soccer), and baseball or cricket (depending on the local culture). Most of the players have day jobs.

Magic

Like everywhere else, in the Havens, magicians are rare and valuable, and the Havens go to great effort to make sure that they feel welcome there. For Hermetic mages, the Open Grimoire is available to everyone, even outside the Havens; for shamans, it doesn’t take much prestige at all to get access to the useful-and-not-dangerous spells like healing and repair. Anyone who can cast healing spells (or do that adept laying on of hands trick) has a bright future ahead of them. A team of elementals can accomplish a whole lot of infrastructure work faster than digbots.

Talk to your local magician about magical opportunities in your own Haven.

That would be the yes, we have initiatory groups, so impress us with your good sense and reliability hint. They usually require an oath to support the group and their associated Havens or the Haven system in general: that means that you have to learn spells that may require creative thinking to apply while shadowrunning, to join ritual circles to perform them when you’re doing unexciting things like convert a huge mound of construction debris into several different types of sand that will be used to make bricks and cinderblocks and cement and glass, and to make an ethical commitment to general prosperity. They maintain a good network of Medicine Lodges and permanent Hermetic Circles. Shamans get all the really cool ritual work like growing trees overnight. I would be more jealous but I take great satisfaction in coordinating a balanced team of elementals to fuse ceramic pipes out of soil and excavate new homes for people.

Talks-With-Cats

On a happy day, it’s turning saplings into large fruit trees. On a grim day, it’s creating walls of blackberry brambles to keep the violent neighbors out and create tactical chokepoints. But they are both in hope of delicious fruit preserves on your flapjacks next year.

Man-of-Many-Names

Running Civilization

The problem with building a nice Haven is making sure that it stays that way. If things seem too peaceable in a Haven on the edge of civilization, corporate skags will start to get ideas about moving in, and then they start investigating the deeds to property that was long abandoned and paying for chromed-up hulks with guns to evict folks, and there goes the neighborhood.

You can get out ahead of this by acquiring the deeds, but be careful about it. Use shell corporations and make it look like one of those financialized chess games the markets love to play. Once someone picks up a deed and takes responsibility for it, the government wants a taste, so you may have to start paying property taxes in hard currency. Giving the Haven the deed to the properties they’ve been squatting for twenty years is nice, but not if they can’t afford the fees that come with it.

No Tie No Problem

It also helps to have a good face in the Haven, someone who can schmooze the SINful cops and the county property assessors to keep security ratings and property valuations low.

Imperatrix

Dealing with organized crime is another matter; they aren’t as easily fooled. Generally it works to show up with gifts for the boss representing the best things the Haven can fab, then explain how using the Haven as a base of operations would eventually cause the Haven to go away.

Homesteader

Now, if someone wanders in from the nice part of town without getting mugged along the way and starts buying stuff in nuyen, make sure someone explains the Haven thing to them and get them to buy in. There’s nothing wrong with having someone who has a hard-currency job living in a Haven, but they have to know how important it is to invest in the neighborhood instead of the stock market. And if they don’t get it, if they think that money is power and might makes right, do your best to make sure they don’t want to come down here even in an armored limo.

There’s nothing like visible orks and trolls to make racists think a place is more dangerous, so there’s this back-and-forth discussion going on about exploiting that to keep the SINners out of the Havens as a practical matter or whether one should be a strict egalitarian in all things. Personally I find it refreshing to get first pick of the terrace seating at restaurants and to see so many ork fashion mannequins in the windows at the clothing fabbers.

Neal the Ork Librarian

We don’t want a showdown with the megacorps and the governments, because we’ll lose. They’ll outlaw our currency and mine every bit of value they can get out of us. They play their power games, wreck stuff, and we step in and pick up the pieces. One day our tech will be so good, they’ll be obsolete, and they’ll just fade away. Meanwhile, we need to keep our heads down.

An Austrian city named Wörgl went with a local currency after World War I when the economy was a wreck. Created an economic boom in the middle of a depression. Thirteen months later, the Austrian Central Bank declared the currency illegal, and things went to drek again. There are lots of examples like that if you go digging, all the way back to medieval grain receipts.

The Chromed Accountant

The current state of affairs is an interesting exercise in game theory. The Havens are hardly secret, but the megacorps find them more useful as a way to harry each other by leaking each others’ secrets, and as control rods to keep riots from breaking out and the very, very bad optics of mowing down mobs of poor people on live trideo.

Sun Tzu II

Havens can be politically useful if they spring up in buffer zones between rival states. The Havens will resist anyone trying to take them over, so you don’t have to worry about your rival encroaching on your borders. You can dump your dissidents there, and the locals will take them in and tell them they have to leave if they want to foment trouble; a large fraction of them will get so comfortable that they’ll settle down and stop giving you grief. The weirder the Haven, the better, so only your fringe elements will be tempted to migrate there.

Matador

Recruiting

The megacorps prefer to keep Havens out of the news entirely; when they do come up, they’re portrayed as primitive communist hellholes where no one is allowed to accumulate a life’s savings, and the most dangerous-looking orks and trolls get all the camera time, with a few naga thrown in to creep out the ophidophobes.

The Haven principle of keeping a z-zone around you cuts down on tourism. People do not go into the Redmond or Puyallup Barrens on a lark, and an invitation to come on down, never mind the go-gangs, is generally scoffed at as a transparent ploy for a mugging or worse.

But Havens need to recruit people with good training and education, so they have scouts who go out into the Mess looking for likely prospects. Some of them bear greetings to people who already have kinfolk and old friends in the Havens, ready to set up video conferences to persuade people to take the risk of visiting. Others look for folks who are getting close to the what do I have to lose? point: folks who are in debt up to their eyeballs, out-of-work veterans, cops who got fired for putting serve and protect ahead of the corp and their colleagues. Some Havens specialize in treating PTSD, drug addiction, and other problems caused by the dysfunction in the Mess, getting people into an environment without the underlying fear that runs the Mess and where they can get the treatment they need.

Occasionally, they find someone whose debt can be purchased at a fraction of its value. Instead of a bounty hunter showing up, a Haven scout does so, tells them they’ve gotten a personal jubilee, and then plays on the gratitude to convince them to visit a Haven, find out what it’s like there, and then tell all their family and friends. It’s rare for that kind of debt to be available for people with heavy-duty skills (doctors, full magicians, top notch researchers with expensive headware) because coercing them is so valuable, but there are plenty of folks who are still reasonably talented who end up getting fragged over by the system.

Pirates and smugglers, and even normal merchant traffic who are in the know, sometimes rescue people and drop them off at island and coastal Havens in exchange for reprovisioning.

Haven Gear

The goal of the Haven project is to have a complete backup civilization ready when the Mess implodes. Haven gear tends to be made of things that are available without massive resource extraction: abundant elements, gathered by growing plants or recycled from already-mined materials. The designs follow a cradle-to-cradle design philosophy, with everything built to eventually be broken down for reuse. This means lots of cellulose, ceramics, digestible plastics. Electronics tends to rely on graphene and carbon nanotubes for everything from conducting electricity to energy storage in ultracapacitors, because most of the metal in Havens got recycled from the Mess; we save metal and rare earths for things like the magnets in motors. Some designs really do demand real metal, but it’s easiest to make things for dirt cheap if you can make the feedstock from air and dirt.

The philosophy permeates the culture there. Haven crew who pass away almost always have their bodies recycled into fertilizer and placed at the base of a memorial tree. The other residents are adopting the custom rapidly.

Holly

High-tech fabrics are pretty rare, so the Havenly don’t have glowpanels and flexscreens on their clothing, or smartweaves that tighten the weave when it’s cold. They do have an abundance of cotton, silk, cashmere, and engineered spider-silk, and all manner of dyes, thanks to the gene splicers. With autolooms and dye printers and sewbots, Haven fashion can be very colorful.

Parks usually have clean air coming from the nearest vertical farms to wash out the smog on bad days, but we can’t keep out pollution entirely. They fabbed up filter masks for kids that look like animal muzzles, and they even caught on with adults.

Electronics are currently far behind the state of the art, so infotech is extremely general and produced in bulk. You’ll find the same little slab of black glass controlling dishwashers, cars, and thermostats, with only a 2D screen. It’s all built to work through Carrington Event-level solar storms, though, and EMP from critters like thunderbirds at most causes it to reboot. The best Haven-tech cyberdeck costs a whole lot of cred, isn’t a whole lot better than a tortoise, and is best described as luggable.

Fabbers can only make stuff in a few materials each, and bots can do some assembly of the results, but they still need a person to get involved. For fancy stuff, you want to go to the pros, but for a lot of standard stuff, you can find a lot of adolescents hanging out in makerspaces ready to babysit the fabbers while they’re doing coursework, clearing jams and doing final assembly.

It’s standard for people fabbing popular sundries to create extra and leave them in the makerspace for the next person who needs them, for gift cred. The fabbers all default to private, but if you at least leave anonymous stats about what you designs you used, there are better odds someone else will have made the thing you need when you get there. It leads to a nice pay it forward practice.

The research labs are working on graphene nanocircuitry and hoping to have something only two generations behind the state of the art by 2060. We’ll be able to make our own ScapeTacts!

Professor Johann Steamhein

It’s been a while since Econ 101, but how do the Havens expect to compete with the outside world? They’re forgoing the economies of scale, comparative advantage, and their tech is years behind the state of the art.

Doc

They aren’t competing with the world of semi-content megacorporate citizens. They’re competing with life as a squatter, or under crushing debt. The megas will only feel threatened if they start running out of exploitable workers, which is why the Havens stick to the z-zones and do their best to look scary to the sararimen.

The Keynesian Kid

If Havens are so great, why aren’t they taking over faster? Why haven’t they sucked in the entirety of the Barrens by now?

Feral

Some folks are too violent to join, so they think we’re a threat. Some gangs want to be dictators in their own territory and aren’t really interested in taking the whole protection racket thing seriously. Groups who have designs on the same territory can interfere. One-metatype groups don’t like the idea of rubbing shoulders with other metatypes, not to mention sasquatches and naga. And we really don’t want to share a border with the Mess, because we need them to see this place as a horrific hellhole that merits a z-zone designation, or they’d either crowd us out with gentrification or send in their troops to take over and drag us into their drekshow.

Nicole Mack

Some boardroom minutes I’ve seen debate the value of the Havens as control rods damping out potentially explosive squatter populations, versus the brain drain of potential employees; the consensus seems to be that they keep people busy who would otherwise be making trouble on the corps’ turf. They usually put at most five minutes on it before worrying about higher-value problems.

Red Wraith

What you won’t see in boardroom minutes is the implicit calculation that squatters are a ready supply of slave labor: any time the prison-industrial complex runs short of warm bodies, they ramp up law enforcement until they have enough people to exploit.

The Neon Antichrist

With everything being fabbed, it’s easy to customize things to your own taste, so every Haven is a wild mix of styles. Most buildings have doors and ceiling sized for trolls, and prefer ramps to stairs for accessibility; when they do have stairs, they tend to be shallow enough for dwarfs and broad enough for sasquatches.

Culture

Time Management

This varies a lot from Haven to Haven, depending on the underlying culture from which they formed. Some value timeliness and have a culture of aim to show up just a little early and don’t create so much stress that people run late, and develop norms of a pleasant thing you do when some folks show up early. Others take a more relaxed attitude: if you’re worried about the trains running on time, you already have a problem.

Entertainment

Music

There is a lot of live music because the usual deal Havenly conjurers make with spirits involves art. Most bands publish both recordings and sheet music; while spirits can flit across the world if they really want to see a band perform, but spirits enjoy their laziness just as much as us incarnate folk and are happy to catch a local performance. Of course, each band puts their own spin on things, and often sends the recording back to the original creators, who sometimes riff on it in turn and lead to some wild collaborations.

Dance

With music comes dancing, and with dancing comes choreographed performances, and paying off spirits means there’s a lot more economic interest coming the way of performers than there would be for embodied artistic appetites alone.

Stage

Like music and dance, there is a lot of stage acting because of the demand for entertainment for spirits.

Simsense

The Havens do have simsense tech, but the most popular public use for it is recipe calibration: answering the question am I cooking this right? Producing simsense on a deadline without putting the actors through the wringer is really difficult, and a lot of Hollywood burnouts drift into Havens and act in stage or trideo.

Trideo

The Santa Cruz Island Haven has a lot of Hollywood refugees and has become the Havens’ big trideo producer, but production can happen nearly anywhere thanks to green screens and rigger-controlled scenery drones. They make movies well as serials:

What’s on the trid?
Boldly GoFar future science fiction. Has clear heritage in Star Trek and Farscape, with animatronic alien puppets controlled by riggers.
The Camelot AwakeningReinterpreting Arthurian legend with a mini-Awakening in medieval Britain.
Sects and ViolenceWuxia fantasy adventure with excellent fight choreography. They invented the notion of Taoist Bronze as the magical material for artificial limbs, and the look is so popular that many people with Haven cyberlimbs use the style.
WanderjahrA group of young Havenly friends travel into the Mess and solve problems that the society ignores.
Under One RoofA situation comedy with a large mixed-metatype extended family all living on one floor of an apartment building. (The genetics is actually plausible, though it would take a lot of coincidence to get those results.)
The Coyote CommandmentsA stolid young man in the Kadoka Haven is visited by Coyote and, haltingly, learns the ways of the shaman. Comedy with moments of profundity.
Gods Like UsFigures from a variety of pantheons across the world are incarnated in a Haven, find mundane jobs, and gradually rediscover the connection to their own divinity. Drama with moments of hilarity. Noteworthy for all-magical special effects. The team moves to a different Haven to film each season.
Santa BeachThe portly, white-bearded troll who likes to lounge on the beach on Santa Rosa Island is called Santa as a street name... but he meddles in the lives of Havenly and pirates, to good outcomes, and there are hints that he might actually be Santa Claus.

One really interesting thing about Haven trid is that the taste in catharsis is diverging from the outside world. Hollywood action movies like to give the audience spectacular, violent death scenes. The mark of a good villain actor in Haven action trid is someone who can really emote that moment when they realize they’re done for, and then the next scene shows them accepting their sentence and beginning to make restitution for what they’ve done. Sometimes the climactic scene just has the payoff of one ally after another, who each got an awesome fight scene earlier, showing up until the villain drops to his knees without a fight, and the audience feels satisfied— mutual aid works! End credits scenes often show the reformed villain, decades later, sometimes still working on their redemption.

Bung

Literature

Books are treated like any other design you can fab: people chip in to sponsor authors and publishers just like they sponsor design teams, and it’s considered polite to send a little cred— charity or otherwise— the way of the creator when you print a book or read it on e-ink or listen to the audiobook.

Solidarity

Every Haven has their own culture, and some of them are wildly different. There are numerous forks of the best practices and case studies. What keeps them from diverging too far is that Havens offer each other mutual aid, because they know they might need it sometime— Defenders to protect against a threat that would affect a second Haven after a first fell, or disaster recovery. Cooler heads in each Haven argue for policies of let the other Havens do things their own way even if they’re wildly different from ours and keep rivalries friendly where they occur at all.

Haven kids all learn First They Came... in school.

Game Information

The cred system is there to simplify bookkeeping for players as well as for characters. If someone dumps cred into a particular Haven’s economy, just record Gift cred: Paradise Lake 10000¤ rather than worry about the nature of the goodies purchased for that Haven. While technically, a nuyen is worth more than a cred, by the time you get done with all the transaction fees converting it into the system, 1¥→1¤. Going the other direction, it varies greatly, but expect 10¤→1¥ on average.

The MessHavens
Technology Advanced, but very hard to secure. Gear is sleeker, slimmer, lighter because of a lack of modularity or accessibility for repair, but suffers from planned obsolescence, DRM locks, and is hard to recycle. 10–20 years behind the state of the art, but very hard to subvert. Haven gear starts out behind-the-times and is either made to use up and recycle quickly, or durable and easy to repair, so people will use good enough for a very long time before they get around to replacing something. There is no notion of this year’s model in the Havens.
Advertising Ubiquitous. Any flat surface where there’s a captive audience; all over augmented reality, mitigated by the quality of spam filter you can afford. Restrained by social custom; store windows usually show off the quality of things they can make, but other than for artists, design and fabbing are two different things. By contrast, public art is everywhere, from statuary to murals to spraypaint art.
Clothing Commonly has integrated tech; even working class gear has illumi-strips, and middle-class has color-changing fabrics that even include TV shirts. Working and middle classes buy standard sizes off the rack. The same myomers used in cyberlimbs are used in shapewear and more. Organic fibers, often with organic dyes. Genetech makes it as easy to grow silk and cashmere as it does cotton in a vertical farm. Other than premade stuff for emergencies, everything is personally tailored on a fabber. Smart undergarments exist due to demand, but are much more expensive.
Community Children are taught not to talk to strangers. People live in housing that isn’t meant to hold more than a single nuclear family. Venues for getting to know your neighbors are uncommon. Social media like MemeStream is all about proving your popularity. Adults are held to a social expectation of being worthy of children’s trust, even if only to get them to someone who can cope with them. Housing made for multigenerational families or extended families-of-choice is common. Neighborhood get-togethers are common. Social media like Bubble— sort of a fractal Twitter— is designed for branched conversations and knowledge sharing.
Education Sharp separation between school and work. Many professionals are expected to have certifications from a central authority. Vast amounts of do-it-yourself lectures, videos, trideo shows, and instructional augmented reality overlays are available online. Top talent may get scholarships, but the rest spend twenty years paying off student loans. Apprenticeships start as early as anyone shows interest and aptitude. It’s common to have anyone from a hairstylist to a doctor explaining the trade to an apprentice while they work on you, and there’s usually a sliding scale of costs for a service performed by a supervised apprentice, performed by a journeyman, performed by a master explaining everything to students, or with the undivided attention of a master. These levels of skill are backed by a guild vouching for the quality of a person’s work. Evening lectures and demonstrations by experts are a common community activity. DIY media are just as common, with special emphasis on augmented reality how-tos.
Employment Working class: job security is precarious. Middle class: strong incentives to hook up with a single megacorporation and stick with it lifelong. 50–60 hour workweeks are common when the pressure is on; overtime pay is largely a thing of the past. People invest in the stock market and hope it will be valuable when they retire. Many people work 20 hours a week at a job that pays the bills better and 20 hours at something they enjoy more. People invest in their neighbors’ businesses to generate value for the future, and give to charity to create a reserve of gift cred, in expectation that more people will be doing the same.
Entertainment Lots of simsense with people wearing trode helmets or plugging into their datajacks; trideo is for news shows and the like. E-paper is common, as are physical books from fragile mass market paperbacks to durable hardcovers. Music is everywhere, as are earplugs. Trideo, often watched in groups; simsense is expensive, rare, and rough on its performers. E-paper is common; physical books tend to be durable— if it’s worth the effort to fab, it must be good. Music is common, though there are spaces where the need for quiet is respected.
Food For the working class: Factory farmed eggs and milk, soy and krill and flavored mycoprotein passing for meat, vegetables grown with industrial agriculture. For the middle class: factory-farmed meat. Everything lasts longer; even without preservatives, the underlying breeds are chosen for appearance and longevity over flavor. Vat-created egg and milk proteins, engineered fruit passing for meat, vegetables, fish, and shrimp grown in vertical farms; real eggs a splurge; real chicken, goat, and pig a luxury, usually consumed only on special occasions. True beef is only found in Havens adjacent to rural areas. Lots of heirloom breeds chosen for flavor, but they don’t keep as long.
Medicine Practiced by licensed professionals in specialized facilities, with clearly delineated areas of responsibility. Supply is carefully constrained to keep wages high, and people spend years in school (usually with huge and expensive student loans) to gain entry. Practiced by guild members who may each have wildly different skills and hand off to each other, locally or telepresent, as needed. Most services are offered at a modest discount if you don’t mind a gaggle of apprentices and journeymen present so you can be used as a lecture subject, and a deeper discount if you don’t mind being hands-on practice for someone learning routine procedures.
Security Predictive policing sends law enforcement resources to locations determined by algorithms with built-in bias or trained on biased data. Vulnerable people are used as fodder for prison labor. More people are involved in keeping security, maintaining ties to the community.
Shopping Goods are made all over the planet and shipped to supermarkets, superstores, and malls. Comparative advantage and the economies of scale make most the Mess goods inexpensive compared to Haven goods. Goods are made locally. You have to traipse around to pick them up from the places they’re created, go to a fab lab, or have a person or bot run the errand for you.
Sports Urban Brawl, Combat Biker, Major League sports; athletes tend to have cyberware or be adepts, and can face a lot of physical punishment. Neighborhood basketball and football (aka soccer); athletes tend to be part-time.
Surveillance People are resigned to it. Any public place with a B security rating or better has camera coverage being cloned to the Matrix for anything from virtual tourism to drone navigation, making cyberstalking possible in real time. Automatic recognition tracks vehicle number plates; in rating AA or better, face recognition is employed as well. Cameras are still everywhere, but you need to persuade their owners to share recorded footage if you’re investigating a problem. City-owned cameras raise alerts for fires and city-owned microphones raise alerts for gunshots, but in the Matrix all you can see is the CrowdCloud that abstracts the presence of people.