In the Long Shadow of Steel & Glass
The followings are a summary of what Security Ratings, in descending order from the bleach-white AAA districts down to the bloody, nasty Z-zones, have going on in them. They are broken down as follows:
Getting in: What kinds of perimeter security, if any, are present, and the resulting tangles for a runner intent on mischief. Here, you will find the general Device Ratings for security apparatuses (scanners, etc.) which will be challenging fake SINs and Licenses.
Big Brother: This section describes the levels of security, particularly Wireless PAN scans and cameras, which comprise the surveillance systems present in a given zone. Use these descriptions to get an idea of what kinds of shenanigans one can get away with, and for how long.
Meat & Chrome: Mundane security, including living, breathing security operators and drones.
The ’Trix: Hackers only, here. This describes the average device rating of systems in a zone, the extent and lethality of IC, and the presence of security spiders.
Awakened Only: Magical threats are listed here, including the presence and rating of deterrants such as Watcher Spirits, Barriers, as well as the likelihood of encountering an awakened security operator or an awakened critter.
Examples: Locations or districts that typify this kind of security. Keep an eye out, as a C-zone can have a AAA client within them. To the same token, an high security zone could have regions with significant security holes.
AAA – A triple A zone has truly omnipresent security.
- Getting in: Perimeter security often includes walls with periodic observation / weapons towers and all major entries are covered with arch scanners. Large scale transportation is through-way only with all exits passing through automated security checkpoints. Entering a AAA zone requires logging onto a security network, inciting immediate scans of your SIN by a high rating (5 or 6) system. Operating in hidden mode, if discovered, is an immediate alert and results in foot units and drones being sent to intercept, escorting the offender out of the zone or to jail as needed.
- Big Brother: Nearly every inch of the street is covered by cameras that monitor the public under the premise of enforcing traffic laws. Security Spiders manage a pool of drones that provide roving eyes and ears as well as on-call scanning and queries for any illegal gear, checking SINs etc. Data gathered is held in an off-site security network, Rating 5 or 6 and is protected by Black IC.
- Meat & Chrome: Major sites, such as public buildings or large corporate facilities, recieve special treatment and have armed guards at all times. Manned vehicle and foot patrols are common, with response times typically being under two minutes, sometimes far faster. Security operators are well armed and armored, even lightly to moderately cybered. High Threat Response teams prioritize these zones and can arrive within four to six minutes – or less – via Thunderbird. A significant portion of patrol drones are armed with lethal and less-than-lethal weapons.
- The ’Trix: Users must be in Active mode, 24/7. Required logons to the security network will result in periodic scans of a commlink. Any programs running must have a license and may need to conform to limitations (nothing over rating 3, for example). Loading a hacking-soft is not advised. Network device ratings are high (5 or 6).
- Awakened Only: The zone is under contract for magical support and may even have a mage operating in the astral or meat-world nearby. Perimeter security includes watcher spirits looking for active foci or sustained spells, sending a note for a security mage or spirit to begin tailing the subject until they can provide a SIN and licenses. Astral barriers are not uncommon. Responding security mages will show up astrally with several bound spirits.
- Examples: Sea-Tac. Downtown’s cushy Fauntleroy or Magnolia Bluff districts. Hunt’s Point in Bellevue. Renton’s choice Lake Youngs housing district.
AA – This level of lockdown, while not as draconian as AAA, is still a mailed fist.
- Getting In: Often still walled in (even with towers), the security checkpoints engage lower rating scanners (rating 4-5) to check SINs for legality. Entering a AA zone requires logging onto a security network, inciting an immediate scan of your SIN by a moderate to high rating (4 or 5) system. Operating in hidden mode, if discovered, is an immediate alert and results in foot units and drones being sent to intercept, requesting the user go active or escorting the offender out of the zone / jail as needed.
- Big Brother: All major intersections, and may minor ones, are under observation by cameras. Security Spiders manage a drone pool dedicated mostly to observation and coordination of manned units. Off site data havens are rating 4-6 and are protected by Black IC.
- Meat & Chrome: Major public works will have manned security at all times, though they are not always openly armored or armed for heavy fighting. The majority of patrols are managed by drones and common response times for manned units is on the lower end of two to four minutes. Some manned operators are lightly cybered, experienced operators moderately. High Threat Response teams will take four to eight minutes to respond to calls for assistance and only calls from a AAA will re-task HTR assets. Drones are armed with less-than-lethal weapons with few exceptions.
- The ’Trix: Active mode is compulsory. Periodic scans of users commlinks occur, causing alerts if the programs loaded do not match with licenses to the currently active SIN. Devices on the network are high rated (5).
- Awakened Only: Astral security is likely, though not necessarily on site and must be called in whenever a problem comes up. Perimeter security includes watcher spirits. Astral barriers may be present. Mages respond promptly to security alerts.
- Examples: Downtown’s Iverness or Arbor Heights. Melborn Park in Tacoma or Jaunita in Bellevue. Snohomish Bothel or Mountainlake Terrace neighborhoods.
A – Single A rating represents the intersection of security penetration and cost. Security is active and tight enough to ward off most undesirables.
- Getting In: Walled, porous, singe A zones have checkpoints on all major access routes. Less common access routes have lower security, but holes in the system are still rare. Entry requires a logon to a security network and a scan of a users PAN and SIN by moderate rated scanners (rating 3-4), checking legalities. Operating in hidden mode, if discovered, causes an alert and matrix requests to enter Active mode – failure to comply will cause manned security assets to intercept.
- Big Brother: Major intersections are under constant surveillance. Understaffed Security Spiders manage a drone pool of largely autonomous drones dedicated to observation. Off site data havens are moderate ratings (3-5), protected by Grey IC.
- Meat & Chrome: Only vital public assets or high paying corporate clients receive constant manned security. Most patrols are semi-autonomous drones, querying SINs or scanning for weapons and other contraband. Common response times for manned units are three to six minutes, sometimes less, sometimes more. Manned operators are occasionally lightly cybered. High Threat Response teams will take a call to an A rated security zone unless AAA or AA zones are currently hot, taking five to ten minutes to respond by VTOLs. Drones are armed almost to the one with less-than-lethal weapons.
- The ’Trix: Active mode is required of all users. Periodic scans of a users commlink and PAN will check for illegal program usage, querying the linked SIN. Security devices on the network are moderately rated (3-5).
- Awakened Only: High priority assets may have watcher spirits or the occasional astral barrier. Mage support will respond astrally if needed, but may take as long as a minute to arrive.
- Examples: Rainier Valley or Beacon Hill in Downtown. Parkland commercial district near Fort Lewis. The public sprawl of Federated Boeing in Everett.
B – Value contracts designed to provide security to the majority of the district without breaking the bank.
- Getting In: Rarely, if ever, walled, B zones and below rely on automated security checkpoints at major access intersections and transportation hubs. Less common routes have lower security and several holes in the system exist at any given time. Entry does not require logon to a security network, but Active mode is required of all citizens with moderate rating scanners (3, sometimes 4) checking legality. Operating in hidden mode, if discovered, results in a series of warnings to enter Active mode and advising the user to vacate the zone before security elements are sent.
- Big Brother: Major intersections and public spaces are under surveillance, though outages and gaps are not unheard of. Understaffed Security Spiders manage a drone pool of observation drones, managing SIN queries and scans for cyberwear or weapons. Data havens may be located within the district and have moderate rated devices (3-4).
- Meat & Chrome: High paying, high value assets have manned security at all times, though understaffed. Patrols are almost entirely drone based, checking SINs and surveilling the public. Manned response times are three to six minutes, though most operators are entirely mundane, though adequately trained. High Threat Response teams will respond to calls via ground transportation and will take up to twenty-thirty minutes to respond. Bribery and extortion are relatively common. Drones are almost entirely used for observation.
- The ’Trix: Active mode is still required for all citizens, resulting in PAN and SIN scans at checkpoints and when a security operator / drone is nearby. Security devices have moderate ratings (3-4).
- Awakened Only: Only high priority assets have any serious astral presences. Mage support is handled with a extra-protection-contracted on-call system, with response times measuring one to two minutes.
- Examples: Lowest ratings of coverage in central downtown. Bellevue’s budget housing district, Newport. Nelson’s Corners near Federated Boeing in Everett. Auburn’s Timberlane and Covington mixed commercial-residential districts.
C – Sub-value contracts in the lower end parts of the city. Lawlessness threatens.
- Getting In: Only specific assets have any fixed security worth mentioning. Major intersections and transport hubs have automated security checkpoints of questionable quality (rating 2-3). Active PAN mode is required, but less heavily enforced. Operating in hidden mode, if even discovered, will at worst cause requests to go active. These requests can be blocked by most Spam filters. Users in the know run Hidden as a matter of course.
- Big Brother: Cameras cover major public and private spaces, though dead spaces and downtime are relatively common. Off site Spiders control a drone pool with little oversight, relying on average Pilot autosofts to manage security. Data havens are often local and have average to moderate ratings (3 and sometimes 4).
- Meat & Chrome: Premium customers have manned security, the rest of the zone is left thinly patrolled. Manned response times can be up to seven minutes, rarely any faster than two or three, and responding officers are entirely mundane and have entirely average training. High Threat Response teams rarely respond to calls, as most customers in a C zone do not have High Threat coverage. If HTR teams are requested, they most often deploy with wheeled vehicles and take up to thirty minutes to arrive. Bribery and extortion are the order of business, with gangs sharing the role of ‘security’.
- The ’Trix: Active mode is less required than ‘encouraged’, and a well placed bribe can avoid any confrontations. Security devices have average ratings (3).
- Awakened Only: Little to no astral support is available to manned security units, taking several minutes to arrive astrally. Premium contract customers may have faster response times.
- Examples: The majority of Tacoma: the south, central and docks regions. Redmond’s Touristville. South Bellevue’s dirtier side.
D – The scraps in terms of security contracts. Where there is little in the way of budget, there is correspondingly little security. The filth encroaches.
- Getting In: Some high value assets may have fixed security. Major intersections and transport hubs still have scanners, though they are often ‘on the fritz’ – maybe due to graft, bribery or lack of maintenance. PAN security is functionally no-man’s land. Operating in Hidden mode is considered compulsory.
- Big Brother: Cameras cover some public and private spaces, but holes in the system due to breakdowns and poor design are common and easily exploited. Drones patrol infrequently, and rarely on the street level. Data havens are largely unnecessary, but have low ratings (2-3).
- Meat & Chrome: Manned patrols take three to seven minutes to respond to most calls, sometimes less, sometimes more. Officers are mundane with barely adequate training, or are simply so understaffed that it doesn’t matter. Bribery, extortion, graft and corruption are rampant. Organized crime, gangs and the cops all squabble over how much of a cut goes to whom. High Threat Response teams do not generally take calls in D class zones or lower as entry in force is ill-advised. If arriving, they will come in armored wheeled or tracked vehicles, taking as much as an hour to arrive.
- The ’Trix: Nearly all users operate in Hidden mode, since Active mode draws malware, spam and virii faster than flies to fresh dung. Those locations not outsourcing their matrix security will have low rated network devices (2-3). The most dangerous things on the ’trix are not law-men.
- Awakened Only: Unliscensed magic rarely draws much attention. Companies providing contract magical security to D zones will respond to watcher spirit alerts within several minutes.
- Examples: Outer Everett’s Pinehurts and Lowell. Boise in south east Auburn.
E – It’s a jungle out there, omae.
- Getting In: Gridguide till it stops then hoof it or take the bus / train, if it is still running.
- Big Brother: The only people watching you are trying to see if you are an easy mark.
- Meat & Chrome: The cops don’t come to E zones. You deal with gangs and syndicates for ‘protection’.
- The ’Trix: Hidden only, unless you want to get hacked by whatever ’trix gang prowls these streets.
- Awakened Only: Keep it on the DL or you may make yourself a juicy target for unbound free-spirits hungry for unwary mortals…
- Examples: Loveland in Puyallup. The Plastic Jungles of Redmond. Hollywood in Redmond.
Z – Failed State / Warzone.
- Getting In: Why would you want to go in?! Getting out in one piece is hard enough!
- Big Brother: Anybody bigger than you that ain’t your brother is worth avoiding.
- Meat & Chrome: Everybody is chromed out, tweaked out, strapped to the max and are probably having a bad day. Cops come here to die. Even the syndicates find it hard to operate here, choosing to use the gangs as pawns. They run whatever gang currently runs whatever corner the mob is interested in.
- The ’Trix: Flashing any wiz electronics is a great way to get murder-mugged.
- Awakened Only: Certain Z zones are crawling with all kinds of nasty awakened critters. Security of a kind, right?
- Examples: Hell’s Kitchen or Thrift in Puyallup. Redmond’s Rat’s Nest or the dangerous, deadly Glow City.