1. Cyber Knight Quantum Chip implants are highly illegal, but all public data terminals have a specialized port to hook with them? Can there be a little clarification on this point?
[TB] We have fixed the dialog in the story to state: “Data terminals like this have a service port that my quantum computer can override. They are the only way I can get a secure connection with my contacts.”
Data terminals provide communication access to Citizens in the zone and also are used for everyday, maintenance and security purposes. Due to the power of the Cyber Knights computer, the fundamental security protocols on the terminals can be overridden and the terminal can be used illegally by the Knight.
There are many legal uses for a Data Terminal. Data Port cyberware is not illegal and is possessed by many citizens. The Cyber Knight’s Quantum Chip allows a secure connection to be made using a V-Chip. This type of encryption cannot be trivially broken by any Faction, it is inherently illegal.
2. Who makes the law?
[TB] The 1st tier mega-corporations view each of the domed cities in the way a multinational corporation views a country. Any major corporation operating in the Zone joins into the city’s treaty to gain access and rights to operate, produce and sell within the Zone. Mars, AzTek, and Yakashima were the first to sign the “Boston Accords” in 2184 which enforces a limited peace and structure for competition as well as a establish a cooperative Corporate Council.
Civil Officials are primarily concerned with the contracts for supplies, security forces, electrical power, and structural maintenance that keep their particular Zone afloat. The contracts and treaties that define the relationships between the Security and Mercenary corporations vary from city to city and even zone to zone. They are negotiated with the Civil Officials and Governing Councils of the zones and are often historical or long-standing contracts.
The strict rules of the treaties signed in domed cities across the world require protection of Citizens, fair play, fair competition and due process of law. Everyone -- the great mega-corps, criminal elements, private citizens, and the gangs -- turn to Cyber Knights for anonymity and security when they skirt the rules … or break them outright. In this shadow war, Cyber Knights are the elite urban mercenaries: expendable, deniable and effective.
3. I was under the impression that the New Boston Zone was a domed city. How can it be "toxic," have "acid rain", and have such 'crumbling infrastructure' that the first two (toxic and acid rain) become a factor?
[TB] The NBZ is a sealed metropolitan structure. Imagine a steel tent stretched over a tripod of massive skyscraper towers. The support towers are approximately 1km tall and have sunk almost 200m since they were first constructed 65 years ago.
The dome was built in stages to shelter the exiting Boston Core and the vast existing underground highway system. Entire neighborhoods were enclosed as the dome entered it’s final stages of completion. Those areas left outside of the dome were left to rot in poverty and pollution. Due to the toxic nature of the world, the infrastructure of the dome is aging and under daily assault. Only constant maintenance efforts allow keep the deadly elements at bay.
The zone itself is broken into many segmented areas. There are the tunnels beneath the city, where smugglers and survivors live in the remains of the sprawling underground highway system that was built below Boston through the 21st century. There is the street level, which is cordoned off into multiple sections by security checkpoints, walls, and gates. The environment of the surface level of the zone is made dangerous by the holes, gaps,and cracks to the outside world, as well as the buildup of internal pollution, smog, and deadly nano.
As you progress through the different levels of the street, from the gang-turf into those areas tightly controlled by security forces, and into the Boston Core, the conditions inside residences, towers, shops, and corporate enclaves improve. The external street can be just as dangerous. The safest and most clean areas of the NBZ are within the great mega-corp towers that fill the upper sections of the dome’s superstructure or deep beneath the city in buried mega-corp installations and bunkers.
To augment the above answer, the area “above street” level in the NBZ (that you cannot access in the game) is called “The Towers.” Those living in the upper levels of the corporate towers and residences certainly have the best water, air, light, food, and security. The towers provide the city’s R&D, indoor farming, computing centers, corporate living space. Each corporation maintains an independent Tower.
However, the very safest and most secure places to live or work are the private corporate enclaves that have been erected or excavated farther away from the dome. It is rumored that none of the leaders of the mega-corps actually reside in the NBZ or other domed cities.
The Dome extends over the bay by a substantial distance. International shipping is completed using cargo submarines instead of air travel.
4. Do people, fauna, flora exists outside the NBZ?
[TB] There are floral, fauna, and even humans outside of the domes, but it all clings to the cities and their external infrastructure like parasites. It would be easy to underestimate the decimation that the world faced when the nano-pollution reached critical levels. Between Chicago and New Boston lie hundreds of miles of completely uninhabitable wasteland. These wastelands are ravaged by extreme environments, nano-pollution and mutants. There are stories of 600mph winds, mile wide nano dust storms and half-living creatures infected with self-replicating nanorobotic swarms.
The humans, plants, and animals that do survive in the waste stick close to the cities and their arteries. For example, those surviving in the NBZ tunnels are shielded by the dome itself. There are gangs and tribes that live within the shadow of the NBZ dome, in the wreck that was once Cambridge, and in the Allston Wastes. These survivors are close enough to parasite off the city’s existence, but too low to fight their way in. The Los Valentinos gang is an example of a Faction that recently made a power play and entered the dome from outside, based on their savagery, new armaments, and a willingness to fight a pitched battle for territory against Knight Horizon.
The industrial and utility sites which provide the NBZ with manufactured goods, weapons, and power also sustain populations. Many of the islands in the Boston Harbor are inhabited by looming factories and power-plants employing thousands of sub-Citizen workers.
Perhaps the most interesting survivalists are those that live within and around the transportation arteries. In the great underground railroad that runs to Chicago, the south-bound highway running out of the NBZ, and the Transatlantic Artery, small communities of destitute humans gather like fleas, sucking off the power grids to survive.
5. Who enforces the law, investigates murders, etc?
[TB] Officially, the policy force in the NBZ is Brave Star and they have the “Contracts of Justice” with the city, which they have held since 2172. The Laws of the NBZ are passed and voted on by the Civic Council (elected) in cooperation with corporate affairs appointments by the zone’s corporate sponsors and shareholders. In
The duty of enforcing the Law, and of various types of crime is a complex issue. Given a correctly issued Warrant of Cause, a Brave Star or Knight Horizon agent can investigate, arrest or question any citizen or place of property (some properties and locations are specifically excluded in various Treaties.) For the most part, the laws of the NBZ are written to afford due process and other legal rights.
Very limited information is available about the history of Knight Horizon. The first records indicate that Knight Horizon Limited was employed to provide automated security forces for long-distance freight shipments. They arrived in New Boston years later with ground-breaking drone models, highly trained security forces, and innovative security technologies. In 2202, they won their first security contract over Brave Star, who had held exclusivity for more than 30 years. Once the door was opened, the Yakuza scored a security contract as well.
The number of yearly refugees entering the NBZ has begun to slow over the past decade, however there are still regular new arrivals of both the official and unofficial type.
6. Kidd Blaze, who is not a Cyber Knight, hacks the Matrix. To what degree can Hackers Runners delve into the Matrix without the use of a Cyber Knight Quantum Chip Computer?
[TB] Data Port cyberware is not illegal and is possessed by many citizens and allows for Citizens and hackers to perform many actions, such as selling Paydata, processing data, writing or running Programs. Corporate and security deckers are Citizens equipped with a Data Port implants and charged with protecting systems and Matrix resources.
The advantages that a Cyber Knight provides are the unique and powerful CPU of the Cyber Knight computer and the encryption that only a Quantum Chip can make possible. This encryption provides a level of anonymity and protection that can only be gained by a Cyber Knight or a Runner who is plugged into the Cyber Knight’s computer.
However, even this encryption can only protect the Knight’s identity, but cannot prevent physical traces and other techniques from pinning down the Knight’s location or alerting other security countermeasures to his or her presence and raising their Heat due to illegal Matrix activity.
8. What is Nano-slag?
[TB] Nano-slag is a slang term that refers to large volumes of elements of malfunctioning or non-functional nanorobotic systems. Nano-slag usually appears as either black or grey dust, foam or oil. Nano-slag is universally harmful to life and can range in effect from moderate irritation to instantaneous death. It has been 30 years since the peak of the fallout and 65 years since the Tokyo meltdown.
The best corporate science has offered is that the first generation nanorobotic components will decay completely within the next 50-100 years.
12. How much movement goes on between the domes? How do the elite of the world travel between domes?
[TB] To the average Citizen, this answer is not easy to discover. It is clear that equipment and goods are transferred between the domed cities by freight transportation. Nano-shielded thopters, jets, and other types of air transportation exist, but their range is very limited because even with the besting shielding the damage caused by the pollution and nano is unavoidable. Freight submarines are used between certain cities, as top-side travel is impossible over open water of the oceans or “the Black Soup.”
There is an underground high-speed train between a hidden location in the NBZ and a corporate transport hub in Chicago. There are cargo submarines that transport goods and people between the NBZ harbor and West Africa, Hamburg and the SFRZ.
4. Do people, fauna, flora exists outside the NBZ?
... Perhaps the most interesting survivalists are those that live within and around the transportation arteries. In the great underground railroad that runs to Chicago, the south-bound highway running out of the NBZ, and the Transatlantic Artery, small communities of destitute humans gather like fleas, sucking off the power grids to survive. ...
Could this mistake please be corrected in this great treatise? The offending word has been corrected and bolded.
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