Like All Good Neighbors
- Visiting the Mile-High City? Pack a breather, a warm coat, and
remember that four borders + one city make for interesting times!
The Front Range Free Zone (FRFZ) began to take shape when the 2018 Treaty of Denver was signed in the aftermath of the Great Ghost Dance. Since then, the names have changed, but the city
remains a political hotbed. The contrasts between the different governments led to a dynamic and frontier lifestyle.
When Ghostwalker returned in 2061, he chased Aztlan out and then claimed the region as his domain. After the destruction he had sown there weren’t any forces willing to argue the point. Since then, representatives of the CAS, PCC, Sioux, and UCAS nations have run their sectors with the white wyrm’s forbearance. All four nations contribute troops to the Zone Defense Force (ZDF), which answers directly to Ghostwalker.
In spite of Ghostwalker’s authority, each of the four sectors of Denver are ostensibly under the rule of their home governments. In keeping with this, the borders between sectors constitute international boundaries. These boundaries are secured by technological, physical, and magical
resources. As security between these sectors and their home nations is kept to a minimum, the level of security at the sector limits can be substantial — dependent upon current international relations.
Unfortunately, increased Ute resistance to PCC control means there’s a lot of unrest in the PCC sector—unrest that has been spilling over to other sectors. Security on the PCC borders is even more stringent than normal.
The sectors follow the laws of their home nations. This means that smuggling opportunities—both for people and goods—exist for those who can safely cross the borders. Abandoned utility tunnels, ancient caves, ruined buildings, and other holes in security have created an array of smuggling routes with varying degrees of reliability. Specialized fixers, called Coyotes in the FRFZ, aid those who have the money to cross the border.
The presence of so many international borders and the bureaucratic red tape created a wealth of
opportunities for criminal syndicates. The Casquilho Mafia family, the Yamato-gumi, the Golden Triangle Triad, and the Koshari are the four most powerful syndicates in Denver. These four organizations maintain an uneasy working relationship, which sometimes sparks into open conflict.
“Some-when, while the world was paying attention to other
things, Devner mysteriously became the Geneva of the Sixth World.
In addition to playing home to a great dragon and hosting the 2072
Olympic games, the city has become a ashpoint for international
politics. ough only four nations currently hold territory in Dener,
several other nations and megacorps are maneuvering for a place at
the Council table, or at least a bit of someone’s ear. is is where the
power-players hang their hats, and people are taking notice.”
Maria Chen, CBC Anchor
The Macmillan Group
The Front Range Free Zone’s cultural landscape is informed by the politics as much as the politics are shaped by the culture. To understand one, you must understand the other. I’ll try to separate the two things as much as possible, but the two subjects definitely overlap.
Defining culture is a dificult science at best. Anthropologists have argued about the definitive meaning for centuries. By one definition, culture is when both artifacts and nations have reference points, a zeitgeist, that informs behavior. By another, culture is the shared consumption of common products such as food, clothing, music, and entertainment.
Denver is a balkanized city, fragmented into six distinct areas with six distinctive cultures. Clockwise from north to west, the main sectors are Sioux, UCAS, CAS, and the PCC. The other two districts, the Aurora Warrens (UCAS) and the Hub (Sioux & UCAS), are not national sectors in their own right, but are special districts distinctly divided from the rest of the FRFZ by invisible boundaries of politics and culture. While sector leaders endeavor to keep their territories separate and functional within their own national identity, outside influences have penetrated sector borders and created a hybrid character that is entirely unique to the FRFZ.
The Pueblo Corporate Council and the Sioux Nation retain direct physical access to their territories in Denver, while the UCAS and CAS sectors are national enclaves, cut off entirely from their motherland with a sense of being the forgotten stepchildren of their respective governments. It’s a situation much like Seattle’s. History shows similar circumstances to be detrimental to the citizens of such cities, like the East and West Berlin of the midtwentieth
The belief that Denver is a city under siege is quite mistaken, however. The would-be isolationism of the four nations is undermined by Denver’s shared economy, the transfer of technology, the availability of cross-border media, the in ux of tourists, and the shared Matrix node run by the PCC. Short of walling off the remaining border posts and preventing all traffic in and out of the individual sectors, there is no chance Denver will fall into the “siege mentality” many sociologists expected. The money to be made and power to be wielded brings new blood into the sectors, further facilitating the fracturing of societal boundaries. The intersector movement creates an exchange of ideas, philosophies, and information, which forms the backbone of a new cultural and political identity wholly unique to the Denver of the 2070s.
Denver is a city of extremes, fiercely protective of individual identity at the cost of a national identity while emphasizing cultural elements that transcend national boundaries. There is no other city in the world where arrogant racists take a knife in the back with a smile while picking their murderer’s pocket.
- Or as a chummer of mine once put it, “The FRFZ is a psychopathic
free-for-all where your best friend is your enemy, your enemy is
your best friend, and you can’t trust the face you see in the mirror.”