Midtown

Center City
a.k.a. “Midtown”

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Borough Overview

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Center City is the middle class shadow of Society Hill and home to the hard-working professionals who are brushed off by Society Hill as wannabes, and disdained by the poorer districts as snobbish yuppies. Economics are good and crime is low here, thanks to the district’s proximity to Society Hill, a strong police presence and the mega-freeways that separate it from Brisby Flats. Like an invisible wall, criminals simply don’t cross the highway in search of new targets; they would rather stay on their side of town and ply their devious trades there. While this is good for Center City, it is bad for the town as a whole, because it concentrates the crime problem in such a way that the richer, more stable parts of town simply write off crime in other subdistricts as a cultural proclivity to shiftlessness and dishonesty. (“I mean, really! Why send police over there if those slackers are just going to rob from each other anyway? I say let them find real jobs and pull themselves up by their bootstraps!”)

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Retropolis

Population: Approximately 112,000.
Land Use: Commercial, Industrial, Residential
Urbanization: Intense
Wealth: Middle Class
Crime: Moderate

Overview: Like Xenophon, Retropolis currently sits on what used to be pure urban post-industrial blight. It was redeveloped during the Project Daedalus days and rezoned for predominately commercial use. What few industrial and residential places remain are mostly to support Retropolis’ many commercial ventures, all of which hearken back to the city’s idealized past in a burst of unprecedented (and some say, inappropriate) optimism.

Places of Interest:

  • Casino Row: Gambling is legal but strictly regulated and heavily taxed, which means that only large, well-organized casinos can afford to run games of chance in this town. All such operations have been confined to Retropolis’ Casino Row, where a dozen top-flight establishments all compete for business. Most of these establishments are cash-rich businesses with such extreme security measures that the chances of robbery by anyone other than one or more superbeings is virtually nil. With omnipresent video surveillance and “consultants” with super abilities (many psionic), there is no way crooks could work this place and not get caught.
  • Sentinel Park: The city’s amusement park, featuring Babylon, the world’s tallest wooden roller coaster. On any given weekend this place is packed with kids of all ages, making it a priority security concern for the CSPD, who perpetually fear that no supervillain could possibly pass up a target this tempting.
  • The Theater District is a pleasant array of theaters, music halls, restaurants and dining sure to entertain and delight out-of-towners. While not a world-class theatrical hot spot like New York or London, Century Station is considered one of the better “second tier” performance cities, getting popular stage shows after their initial run on Broadway or elsewhere. This is where the more cultured citizens like to spend their time, and to be seen by their peers. Several bomb scares in the theaters recently have heightened security concerns, but the elite patrons cannot be bothered with pedestrian incivilities like metal detectors and bomb sniffers, so the theaters choose to forego additional security, hoping that one day they will not have to pay for it. A number of heroes and vigilantes keep an eye on this area.
  • Yesterday Park: A large shopping district filled with expensive boutique shops. The entire place is modeled after a 1950’s view of the future, so everything has rounded edges, polished chrome, flying saucers, and other bits of retro-tech that currently is all the rage in the city. In another few years, this retro fad will go out, and the Park will have to find a new atmosphere.

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Everett

Population: Approximately 200,000.
Land Use: Residential, Commercial, Industrial
Urbanization: Moderate
Wealth: Middle Class
Crime: Moderate

Overview: Everett has been dubbed “the next Silicon Valley” by computer industry experts who note the interesting nexus of software development firms, hardware/software outlets, and a population of energetic kids who represent the first generation of citizens raised on computers. Having never known a life without a computer at their disposal and a CityNet to explore, the “Everett generation” is proving to have an extremely high concentration of computer savants. It is also giving rise to a new wave of cybercrime, as less honest-minded youngsters use their hardware and a wide open city network to hack, plunder, and vandalize data architectures all over cyberspace. It is said that cybercriminals are more popular with some kids here than any of the city’s heroes, which is a creepy prospect.

Places of Interest:

  • Everett Community College: A technical school specializing in computer science and turning out wave after wave of talented young programmers and data architects. The school is considering founding an associated school for robotics, and perhaps even teaming up with a hospital or medical college to provide one of the world’s first colleges dedicated to cybernetics.
  • The Gremlin: A cybercafe that is very popular with most of the teenagers in the subdistrict. Free CityNet nodes are all over the place as are wall jacks and “freeports” where users can connect their computers directly to the Net and surf while sipping java. It’s one of the few places where the clattering sound of active keyboards is louder than the sound of vocal human conversation.
  • Bits and Bytes: A do-it-yourself superstore for high tech experts. This place provides all the components one needs to build their own computer or other sophisticated electronic hardware. Coupled with the equipment available at nearby hardware, automotive and industrial machinery shops, a kid with enough money could buy the parts needed to build his own robot. In fact, a few already have.
  • The Cyber-Shop: Depending on whom one talks to, this is either a fictitious “urban legend,” or an ultra-secret illegal cybernetics shop. Word on the street and among hackers has it that it is the ultimate underworld cybernetic outlet, where safe (as good as the best cybernetic labs in the world) bionic augmentation and repairs are available at double the normal list price. According to legend, this “shop” is run by a mysterious criminal mastermind who has created and outfitted some of the most notorious and powerful bionic criminals in the world! Truth or fiction?

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Javarta

Population: Approximately 190,000.
Land Usage: Residential, Commercial, Industrial
Urbanization: Moderate
Wealth: Middle Class
Crime: Moderate

Overview: This district is best known for its high concentration of academic sites, libraries and museums. This used to be a much nicer part of town, but like much of the city, it has gone downhill in the last decade. So far, the rising crime prevalent throughout the subdistrict has left the schools and museums untouched, but administrators and civilians alike justly fear that it is only a matter of time before these places are stained by the blot of crime.

Places of Interest:

  • Copernicus University: While not quite an “Ivy League” university, Copernicus is a respected school with strong departments, especially in the scientific disciplines. Copernicus has roughly 15,000 students (12,000 undergraduate, 3,000 graduate), and its campus takes up nearly a quarter of Javarta.
  • The Century Station Public Library: The twin marble statues of Hope and Reason greet anyone ascending the magnificent stone stairway leading into this, the largest collection of printed knowledge in the city. Thanks to a fresh infusion of capital from some very rich philanthropists, the library has been able to transfer all of its copyright-free volumes to a digital format. This impressive body of work, over 500,000 volumes, is stored on computers and hosted on the library’s CityNet and Internet sites. The library’s digitization effort has been lauded by scholars worldwide as a “great democratization of knowledge.”
  • The Forum: Built around the old City Hall – which was knocked down about a year ago and replaced with a reflecting pool – are a ring of museums and one of the city’s best tourist draws, despite the rising crime rate in the area. Of particular note are the museums of Natural History, World History, Modern and Ancient Art, and the recently built Museum of Superheroes and the Museum of Technology. A handful of heroes and vigilantes keep a watchful eye on the museum district.

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Ogilvie

Population: Approximately 60,000.
Land Use: Industrial, Residential, Commercial
Urbanization: Moderate
Wealth: Middle Class
Crime: Moderate

Overview: As one of the few active industrial sectors left in Century Station, Ogilvie has reinvented itself from a heavy manufacturing zone to an environmental industries zone, with operations dedicated both to cleaning up the damage done to the area by older industrial efforts, as well as establishing commercially viable environmental projects that could substantially improve the quality of life in the city and throughout the country. A number of genetic research laboratories have found a home here.

Places of Interest:

  • Hydromeda: This company designs and manufactures ultra-efficient water purification and desalinization technologies. Recognizing that the world faces an impending shortage of clean drinking water, Hydromeda’s advances in purifying sea water and cleaning up dirty water could very well eliminate this problem from the planet altogether. Hydromeda has just established an experimental desalinization plant off the coast, south of Victoria Beach, and is observing its performance. The plant supplies the city with a great deal of new fresh water, free from many of the nasty chemicals that have built up in the local water table, thanks to years of heavy industrial activity.
  • Solar and Wind Farms can be found throughout this subdistrict, as people have learned that the district, in accordance with an old law established many years ago, must buy excess electricity from anybody who produces more than they can use. Thus, many citizens here have started their own “energy farms” using solar panels and hyper-efficient windmills to cash in some quick money from the city government. While this has cost the city plenty in hard cash, it has also spared it from any lasting power shortages over the last 25 years.
  • Gaiatech, Inc. is a startup company that has built a number of recycling plants in the area. It has also bought an old plastics production facility, and as a side operation, makes a variety of products with much of the plastic it recycles. All of the outdoor furniture in the city’s parks, for example, has recently been replaced with simple but extremely resilient recycled plastic units. Since Gaiatech’s inception, the annual trash yield in the city has dropped more than 20% as recycling awareness and participation has become commonplace. As a result, the city landfills are all expecting longer life spans, and plans for installing a new incinerator on the edge of the metro area have been shelved. But Gaiatech’s big plan is to build a fusion reactor that will use garbage as its fuel. That way, the city will have clean energy and will get rid of its garbage at the same time. Of course, finding funding for this is very difficult, since the project sounds too close to what Project Daedalus was for most investors’ comfort.
  • Bio-Spawn Gene Institute: This is a satellite operation of a genetics corporation associated with the famous genetic and mutant scientist, Doctor Feral. Although the research company has never been known to participate in any illegal activity or deal with known felons, a number of unsubstantiated accusations have been made about their business practices and animal research.

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Xenophon

Population: Approximately 110,000.
Land Use: Commercial, Industrial, Residential
Urbanization: Extreme
Wealth: Rich
Crime: Light

Overview: This part of town used to be a nasty commercial dock area that had fallen into decay some years ago. When project Daedalus came in, Xenophon was extensively redeveloped into a premier commercial plaza featuring sports, shopping and entertainment.

Places of Interest:

  • The Paolo Jessup Memorial Stadium: Built in memory of Paolo Jessup, an ace jai alai player and the city’s first real sports celebrity, this stadium is a beautiful sight to behold for any sports fan. Seating 150,000 people, the arena has a retractable roof so games may continue rain or shine. The place is home to Century Station’s five big sports teams: The Silverjacks (football), the Reaction (basketball), the Peregrines (baseball), the Highlanders (ice hockey), and the Peacekeepers (soccer). After games, fans often line up along the garage exit to catch a glimpse of the players as they leave the stadium for the ride home.
  • The Adelphi Bank Coliseum: Formerly the Century Station Coliseum, the place was renamed when its new corporate sponsors took over and in a display of great tackiness, slapped their name on the venerable concert hall. Here, open-air concerts of every kind are held for much of the year. Top-name musical acts and comedians perform here routinely. Thanks to excellent stadium design and good crowd control measures, foot traffic in and out of the coliseum is smooth and orderly, even with the multiple security checkpoints patrons must endure.

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Calaverada

Population: Approximately 400,000.
Land Use: Commercial, Industrial, Residential
Urbanization: Moderate
Wealth: Middle Class
Crime: Moderate

Overview: This hard-working and relatively prosperous community has recently had a serious upward spike in crime. This is blamed in large part to the rising crime rates in its more run down neighboring districts, such as Quincy Flats. Still, the Calaverada District Council thinks there is time to stem the rising crime rate and make the subdistrict a safe and friendly place for folks to raise their families. As such, it is aggressively pursuing the formation of citizen watch groups and working in tandem with the CSPD, which is helping many citizens from this district join the Auxiliary Police Force.

Places of Interest:

  • Sun Street: An artists’ colony and bohemian shopping area where folks from surrounding districts like to come and shop on the weekends. In the many studios lining the streets, a new breed of innovative painters, illustrators and graphic designers are in the making. Already a few have earned names for themselves in the entertainment industry.
  • Raceland: The streets of this district tend to be long and straight, perfect for a quickly growing population of hot rodders who have taken to drag racing during the evening. After nightfall, the main streets of Calaverada become highly dangerous as souped-up muscle cars and motorcyclists contend for the championship in what locals call the “Elimination Olympics.” It is so named because of the high likelihood of dragsters fatally crashing during their brief daredevil careers.
  • Koan Memorial: A world-class research hospital specializing in various forms of cancer treatment and revolutionary cybernetics. Despite funding cuts from the city and its original benefactors, the hospital continues its noble and tireless search for a cancer cure, as well as new treatments to help ease its patients’ suffering. Its strong reputation as a cancer hospital has attracted VIPs from around the world to come here for treatment, including heads of state. As a result, Koan Memorial is looking into implementing added security measures to prevent any acts of “political homicide” from occurring at its facility. These elite also help fund its continuing research.

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Quincy Flats, a.k.a. “The Quince”

Population: Approximately 380,000.
Land Use: Residential, Industrial, Commercial
Urbanization: Intense
Wealth: Poor
Crime: Intense

Overview: Another hard luck subdistrict with major overcrowding, serious unemployment, and explosive crime problems. However, much of the crime here (car theft, fencing stolen goods, illegal gambling, and vice) is nonviolent and strictly controlled by a number of syndicates, which means they tend not to harm innocent bystanders.

Places of Interest:

  • The Quince is home to the city’s largest and most professionally run auto-theft ring and chop shop, known as The Wheels. A place where stolen cars are stripped down for parts which are then sold to shady garages and even auto dealerships. This operation nets well over $300,000 a week, and nearly every car stolen in the city either passes through here, or was boosted by somebody who knows somebody in league with this outfit.
  • An Illegal casino also runs in the Quince, an underground joint that requires a secret password to get in. The password is changed nightly and can only be obtained from select individuals. Security at this casino is very tight, and anybody caught stealing or cheating in any way is killed without hesitation. Several superbeings and psychics work for this outfit, and members of the underworld, including superhumans, are said to frequent it.
  • Rochelle’s Modeling Agency is really a high-priced “escort service” that ferries ladies of easy virtue to clients all over town. Rochelle, the owner and boss, keeps a black book of all clients, past and present. She intends to use it as blackmail material if she is ever sent to jail.
  • The Pit is an illegal bloodsport ring where fighters duke it out for prize money. Most of the fighters are normal people, but once in a while, superhumans are recruited for the festivities. Grudge matches and disputes between criminal superbeings are sometimes settled here too. The CSPD has been looking to shut this place down for quite some time.

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Kilgore

Population: Approximately 425,000.
Land Use: Residential, Commercial, Industrial
Urbanization: Intense
Wealth: Poor
Crime: Moderate

Overview: Out on the farthest edge of Center City lies Kilgore, a district sandwiched between the bulk of the metro area, the Rattle Ridge Expressway, and the 109 Freeway that divides Brisby Flats from Center City. Separated by only a highway from the Dreadzone Waingroh and the soon-to-be Dreadzones of Lennox and Norwood, Kilgore has a bad crime problem, but not as bad as one might expect. In fact, in the last few months, the crime rate has actually started to drop, in large part because a number of vigilantes and superbeings started using the subdistrict as a base of operations. It is a well-known fact that criminals generally do not cross the 109 Freeway to victimize folks in Center City; they would rather stay within Brisby Flats. Thus, those who prey on the criminals seem to enjoy an extra degree of safety operating out of Kilgore, as if they can invade enemy territory at their leisure and not have to worry about having the same happen to them.

Image by Joakimolofsson

Places of Interest:

  • The Avenging Angels private enforcement agency. A cross between a gang of Robin Hood-style thieves, mercenaries, spies and private eyes, this team of enterprising thieves, warriors and specialists are willing to hire themselves out for any job, so long as it involves the bad guys taking it on the chin somehow. The group’s base is unknown, just that they operate out of Kilgore and that their crew includes a so-called Reformed Thief, a martial artist (reportedly a master with all edged weapons), a master of disguise, an ace gunslinger, and a bionic mercenary.
  • The Tomorrow Legion, one of the city’s newer super-groups, makes its headquarters in this district and is actively recruiting.
  • There also lives in Kilgore a man who is a Caribbean martial artist who might just be the greatest living master of the dance-like martial art, capoeira.

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Willingham

Population: Approximately 75,000.
Land Use: Industrial, Commercial, Residential
Urbanization: Intense
Wealth: Poor
Crime: Light

Overview: Named after a famous artist who used to own large parts of the subdistrict before selling them to urban developers a century ago, Willingham is a poor area of old industrial centers and factories. It is jam-packed with row houses that have remained relatively crime-free due to the strength of the neighborhood block watches, and more importantly, to the expert urban planning present throughout the district. Unlike other parts of town, Willingham features wide sidewalks, many parks and plazas, and pedestrian-only avenues that encourage people to spend time out of doors, and among other citizens. There is scarcely a spot in the district where one will not find a lot of civilians present. To the criminal mind, this represents a very hostile territory, for crime is easiest to pull off where there is nobody to oppose it. In Willingham, there is no such place. There is only one busy thoroughfare after another, filled with people on the lookout for any criminal scum who would dare invade their part of the city.

Places of Interest:

  • Century Station Crime College: A grass roots community awareness center where block watch veterans offer advice and training to other concerned citizens on how to maintain a visible citizen presence in one’s neighborhood. The Crime College is actually against vigilantism, it merely states that if you make it clear that the community is always out to look after themselves, criminals will go elsewhere in search of easier targets.
  • Community Centers and Churches of all kinds dominate the landscape as visible reminders that there are few places where criminals can “hide in plain sight.”

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Center City Points of Interest

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Midtown

The Tomorrow Legion Glistam_ Glistam_