Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Ruralpunk 3: 10 more locations

I was going to write a long article about the Ruralpunk opposition, but I don't have the time. Instead, here are some more locations!

1. Animal Pharm

A farm devoted to genetically engineered animals - spidergoats, phatcows, narcollamas... probably has heavier fencing and more cameras than the average farm, to prevent theft and propagation of GMO creatures into the wider environment.

People: Pharmer, ecoterrorist, animal uplifted by a rogue doolittle virus/experiment and out for revenge

2. Rectenna Forest

A forest of alloy trees, miles wide, receives a low energy microwave transmitted from solar power collectiors in orbit. GEV smugglers love to hurtle through these at high speed, as the microwaves confuse all sorts of sensors...

People: mechanic, automated guard, high-tech smuggler (for about a minute and a half)

3. Biohazard Range

The hunting range of a rogue cyber/mutant/genetically modified predator with a taste for humans. Probably heavily wooded or dense terrain away from civilization - tiger country!

People: horrifying monster, corporate hunters, naive teenagers kissing in a cadillac

4. Abandoned Farm

Dozens of private, family farms have been driven out of business and abandoned. While the fields have been sold long ago, some of the buildings still stand empty in the midst of the agri-corporate, drone operate fields.  

People: prison escapee, refugees on their way somewhere else, horrifying monster

5. Abandoned Government Military Base

When the tax dollars dried up and the soldiers came home, dozens of military bases were left standing empty, ghostly monuments to the lost era of Empire and Big Government. In strategic locations the PMCs have moved in to assume control of the facilities, but out here... close your eyes, listen to this, imagine: still radar domes silhouetted against the horizon, empty barracks blocks, murals to honour and duty crumbling in the elements, broken windows...

These places - and especially the airfields - could be put back into use quite fast by organisations who need a base of operations. They often include underground tunnel networks and fuel bunkers used by smugglers and corporate cells alike.

People: quiet, except for old ghosts, desperate stragglers, and the occasional old veteran here to pay his respects to dead comrades.

6. Privateer Airfield

When the smugglers are crossing borders in fast panzer GEVs (a T-bird, in Shadowrun) and stealth aircraft, police cars and customs officers aren't enough. You need helicopters, fast planes, drones. These guys are under-capitalised by well armed, working with prop planes, ex-military helicopters, tilt-rotors mounting .50 cannons and signal seeking Air-to-Ground rockets. The planes have machismo-drenched names and paint-jobs. There's a constant race between the privateers and the smugglers, aided by 3d printers that churn out new chaff rockets and ablative armour systems every day.

The nightmare of any GEV is a fast attack helicopter, if it's airborne. But if you can catch it on the ground, smashing through the outer-perimeter in an explosive dawn raid, that's a whole other matter...

(Yes, this is taken from that dizzying, incredible sequence at the beginning of the novel Hardwired. So is the Rectenna Field, for that matter.)

People: mercenary bush pilot, hard bitten veteran, corporate accountant, weapons mechanic, supply sergeant 

7. Dolphin Colony
During the last war, the government modified squads of infantry for underwater combat, and provided them with cyber-enhanced dolphins for support. Now the survivors, unwilling or unable to live away from each other or in an ordinary environment, have assembled themselves a lake town colony of posthumans and postdolphins. 

Being so cut off from the ordinary concerns of society, the community doesn't much respect the laws or politics of the outside world. They'll happily hide or shelter friends, old military buddies or people with things to trade.

People: cetacean master hacker, transhuman diver, independent bioremediation specialist, ex-military PI, ex-special forces soldier with PTSD

8. "Prohibition Crick"

Out in the wilderness there's a long, hidden valley leading across a border. A determined man with a rucksack can get a lot of contraband over the border, if they can dodge the drones and the guns and the survivalists. Smuggling dynasties might own land on both sides of the border, with the Constitution posted to the entrance roads...
People: hippy smuggler, hunting guide, BEARS

9. Weather Station

Funny thing I learnt at work the other day, in RL: the British Meteorological Office procures guns. It's armed (apparently by a bloke called Brad, who knows nothing about guns).

The futuristic version might include a battery of cloud seeding anti-aircraft cannons, lasers, or weird conspiracy-theory-HAARP-nonsense! It's a definite target for people who want to sabotage the local agriculture by dumping unseasonable rain on it.

People: armed meteorologists, saboteurs, laser technicians, AA battery crew

10. Tent Installation 

In the Gulf States the US army has permanent Special Forces encampments operating in high-tech, air conditioned tents - that technology is now global and common. Nomads carry plastic yurts from encampment to encampment, while mining teams and agri-corp worker move with the seasons. Rebel forces house their 3d printers under camouflage covers, turning out katyusha launchers for their ATV attack vehicles.

People: practically anyone: well equipped migrant workers, storm chasers, soldiers, mercenaries, techies, seasonal workers, 'runners...