Clutch of Dragons
The city is controlled part and parcel by the EARC— Europort Administrative Ruling Council. The Council divided it into thirteen districts where all manner of corporate production and negotiation happens. Their investment has force-evolved the artificial enterprise zone that is Europort into an automated industrial moloch. Over half the sprawl is taken up by the Portoplex, a vast superport incorporating a plethora of docks, plants, and refineries, as well as multilevel container parks, warehousing and logistics centres—all interlinked and reconfigurable. Even the docks are adaptive, combining floating docks with adjustable pylons and mobile locks to configure themselves to different sizes of vessels, from local barges to cargo whales and behemoth freighters from all corners of the globe. If you believe the rumours, there’s a xenosapient AI in the primary node making all of it function.
While robotics are cheaper and more capable, metahumans are employed in minor supervisory capacities, though a number of cranejacks and spiders were recruited from other ports after the technomancer and AI scares of recent months. Human network admins, sysops, and techtypes are also in high demand as security is higher than ever. The security is redundant, and items are tracked on a dozen different systems due to the Gordian Knot that is their network. Upside is that if something doesn’t get entered, it’s lost forever, but pulling off a hack to sneak something out of the system would take a crew.
Maintenance contracts for the artificial dikes that protect the city from the toxic North Sea, power, public works, sanitation, security, and public transportation—like the aboveground maglev train system that interconnects shopping, apartment, and corporate districts with the Oude Centraal and the Portoplex—are outsourced to local corps and supported by tax funds raised from the city’s registered residents (more than eighty percent of whom have corporate affi liation). To keep all communication channels as short as possible, the administrative bodies are clustered around central De Kop van Zuid (“the Head of the South”), Europort’s de facto cerebellum where all corporations’ representations, including Regulus’ HQ, are located.
Surprisingly, the Eurocorps cooperate extremely well, with Regulus functioning as an arbiter in disputes. However, rumours abound that some of the Eurocorps (those with longstanding grudges like Mærsk, Spinrad Industries, or Z-IC) have forged an alliance with Regulus to keep Saeder-Krupp in check. De Maas Waker Politie, Europort’s private police organization (now owned by Regulus), is on the EARC’s payroll. An independent inter-corporate taskforce is usually dispatched for special missions.
Europort’s remaining ten districts, all laid out by corporate architects, are divvied up by function; work and leisure are kept strictly separate, and most are simply dormitory areas that orbit the bustling Portoplex. Contrary to what you might expect, the worst places are the desolate residential areas for metahuman workers and their families around Vlaardingen and Schiedam. No matter how the corps spruce them up with AR and colorful paints, they always feel lifeless and desolate. The soot, grime, and vague chemical smells that permeate the sprawl don’t help.
Vice and leisure also have a place in Europort, particularly in a red-light halo around the Oude Centraal known as the Reefer district where stevedores and suits rub shoulders and blow off stream. Originally home to a number of up-and-up recreation and leisure businesses, the area has seen better days. In many areas of the Reefer, legitimate casinos, nightclubs, and Dutch “coffeeshops” have given way to gambling dens, fight clubs, brothels, table dance clubs, or virtuaporn cafés. Corporate “cliques” are a curious feature of Europort’s bars and clubs, recognizable by their own distinctive corporate styles and behaviours. Cliques develop within different ranks of the corporate hierarchy, united by common interests (rebellion against the corporate establishment, if nothing else). Since there are few if any lower-echelon SINless in Europort, these zoku-like cliques occupy the gangs’ social niche in the urban microcosm. Many are adept at small-time felonies like robbing apartments, blackmailing for corp scrip, prostituting classmates, organizing fight club events, or hacking corporate vaults from the inside.
If you are looking to stay out of sight, stay on the southeastern edge of the sprawl—just outside the enclave, there’s a thriving community of stragglers and hangers-on. They feed off the scraps of the city and prey upon travellers entering Europort from the Autobahn.