The Docks are constantly fought over by the Mafia, Yakuza, Triads and others. But there are a few less interesting bits.
Well, at least until recently. The abandondoned docks have mostly been used as a backdrop for some dodgy deals. It was never
very clear whose territory they were. A few years ago, somebody became interested in the area and its rusty vessels. Started
refurbishing the boats with some help from homeless people and some garage owners in the area.
Of course, this attracted the attention of above organisations who suddenly felt they had to find out who should be the owner of this formerly undesirable stretch. After much fighting, somebody came and bought the area: the Draco Foundation. Fighting ceased, but there is still a great deal of unease in the air...
Today, a few years later, the area sports three rather large ships refurbished as dwellings for a considerable number of people. The new residents are still working on improving their habitats, both functionally and aesthetically. The boats also sport small areas of vegetation and even an apiary. Its residents are mostly families, but also all sorts of other formerly homeless people.
Opposite the ships is a small canteen run by a Troll called Geoff, a former ship cook. It doesn't have a sign and if you didn't know if was there you would
probably miss it. That was sort of the idea, but since the place has become legal, this might change. Amos serves cheap and pretty
decent and nutritious food, mostly to the boat people.
Next to the canteen is an improvised health clinic that is open about twice a week for a couple of hours. It is run by volunteers, one of them an elven ex-junkie called JoJo (Joanne Jones-Rice) who dropped out of medical school.
There are also a number of illegal and semi-legal garages in the area who all have their special clientele. Some of them support the 'boats' while others dislike the attention. The biggest supporter of the boats is a garage run by the vampire and bike racer Hate and her business partner, a troll named Amos who is part Native American. Hate and Amos employ mostly streetkids to teach them a profession they can maybe live off one day.
I am sure, this establishment exists in another RPG, but I haven't been able to trace this. '1001 Flavors' is a bar in Downtown Seattle that sells slushies, ice lollies and ice cream infused with the silliest flavours imaginable. They have programmes running in their machines that accept specific commands such as 'strawberry' or even multiple flavour parameters at once, and can also be set to 'random'. In between there are lots of options, the culinary adventure can explore (flavour strength, colour, texture etc.) The place is usually packed with geeks of all ages. It is also rumoured to be a place where kids who operate as runners do their deals.
>> Neon Corner
Neon Corner grew out of a number of small shops that went a bit crazy with their signage. Over time, the neon frenzy spread to other shops and restaurants in the area. As the surrounding area is really bleak, the artificial lighting stands out even more. Most establishments on Neon Corner are open 24-hours. They include a number of popular restaurants that serve cheap, but comparatively decent grub from all corners of the world. Popular places are the Jamaican restaurant which sports three-dimensional neon palm trees, the Indian restaurant which provides the most psychedelic colour-experience and the Chinese restaurant which has some cool animations from Chinese mythology.>> Zen Corner
Zen corner started off as the home of the famous decker Angel, her girlfriend and their kids. Gradually, their friends started moving
into the other flats in the building, and soon, they started taking doors and even some walls out. What you have at the moment
is a tank girl style place filled with runners and artists. The name 'Zen Corner' is a pun on Neon Corner,
which is just a block away, to which the house is trying to be a counterpole with its earthy, cozy, bohemian interior. The rivalry is,
of course, not serious, as most residents are quite enamoured with the craziness that is neon corner and occasionally go there for
food and vision-shock.
Despite is neo-hippy appearance, Zen Corner place is wired with the latest security features. After all, the resident kids as well as the precious hardware have to be protected. So, depending on who you are, this place is either a welcoming chill-out place complete with cake and incense (at any time of the day, there will be at least one person painting in the house)- or an impenetrable fortress.
>> Flashlight Barbers
Flashlight Barbers is an African American men's hair salon. It is located a block away from Neon Corner across the road from The Pink Cadillac. Its main criteria for employing staff is that they must 'like the funk'. This is clearly an understatement. The salon is run by Jay Harper, who inherited it from the previous owner, a much revered icon of the local African American community. In addition to great parties, Flashlight Barbers hosts small library of old African American revolutionary books and music biographies upstairs, as well as a tiny cinema and 'old skool' club in the basement where DJs mostly play vinyl and tapes. It also has a secret hack space that can be accessed through a tiny door behind a speaker. While the barbershop is men only, the hackspace, library and parties are open to both sexes.
>> The Pink Cadillac Salon< /A>
The Pink Cadillac is an African American lady's salon owned by avid motorcycle racer Jesse LaVerne (called LaVerne by everyone). The salon got its name from a certain vehicle that somebody drove into the building and left it there just after Jesse bought the place. No trace of the owner or driver was ever found. Instead of worrying about how to remove the vehicle, LaVerne, passionate about anything motorised, got out her welding gear and took the car apart for salon decoration. The car seats were re-used and carefully repainted as part of the waiting area. The front of the car was mounted over the salon's entrance, doubling as a rain shelter for an old wheel-chair bound woman called Lorraine who likes to watch people from this location.
LaVerne is the friend, biker rival, hair dresser and occasional lover of the Midnight Angel Hate. She is also in a relationship with the cousin of Jay from Flashlight Barbers, the physicist Carl Elliott Young. They have a son named TJ who also aspires to be a physicist. When TJ isn't at school, he sits around the salon reading comics and science books, occasionally making coffee and tea for staff and customers (that's how he earns his pocket money aside from helping his mum fix her bike). LaVerne likes her hair short at the sides and long at the top, with varying textures and usually a pink streak or two in the mix.
Other people at the salon include Simone, who is also LaVerne's best friend & fellow biker, Lisa a bicycle courier who also brings the ladies food from local take-aways, and Carla, the (almost deaf and blind) grandmother of the owner of Flashlight Barber's.
There is a humorous rivalry between the Flashlight Barber's and The Pink Cadillac.
>> The Racing Ground
The Racing Ground is an area where illegal bike races (motocross based) take place (think Charlies Angels movie). Women make up at least half of the racers, and the place is run by a charismatic 'butch' Mexican-American lesbian called Rodriguez. Rodriguez used to be a great racer herself, but since her partner died through a racing accident, she has dedicated her life to promoting races. Rodriguez was involved in many accidents during her career and has acquired many 'replacement parts' as a consequence, including an arm and a leg. These have not always been of great quality. She jokes about her bikes being more high tech than her 'augmentations'. Having started off in a motorbike repair shop, she can reasonably maintain her prosthetics, even occasionally participating in races. Rodriguez' current partner is a woman called Macie, a former engineer who started racing to support her son Zac. Zac, not even a teenager, can occasionally be seen on the Racing Ground assisting the mechanics. Macie now helps Rodriguez with the running of the Racing Ground.
The Racing Ground also has a popular bar, which attracts a wide range of people, including motorbike gang members, transgender activists and even the occasional rebellious corporate worker. The bar staff is mainly recruited from the queer and illegal immigrant scence, with transgender barkeeper Marlene leading the team. An elegant well-spoken middle-aged English woman, she should stand out in the gritty race course environment, but somehow fits in perfectly, even with her team of 'punks'. Like many barkeepers, Marlene is regarded as the resident agony aunt, and she also uses her psychological skills to maintain order. If that fails, she is also very capable of physical pacification.
The Racing Ground is also regarded by many as a sanctuary, a place where gang wars and other conflicts between parties are temporarily suspended. Rodriguez and Marlene have a lot of respect from all sorts of groups and individuals, and nobody wants to be seen violating them or their turf. If anyone was to go against any staff or part of the Racing Ground, they would have a lot of people seeking punishment on their behalf. Having said that, this only goes for the 'underground'. Should a big real estate developer, corporation or crime organisation take a fancy to the Racing Ground, the underdogs would have a problem.>> Fuji-san Japanese Restaurant
In every city in the world, there seems to be a Japanese restaurant called 'Fuji-san' or 'Fuji-yama'. This is Seattle's version.
The restaurant is run by Hiro Fujiwara. It is known for its excellent cuisine and quite pricey, but, as most of its customers will
agree, worth it. After all, the fish is carefully grown and screened in the cellar vats of the restaurant. The interior sports a large, U-shaped bar at which most customers are eating. Inside the 'U', chefs are
preparing the food. For a more romantic experience, the meal can also be taken at one of the tables.
Fuji-san's cellar vats are rather spectacular. They are meant to mimic an ocean environment, to give the seafood the best taste possible. They also double as research lab for oceanographers and food industry types. In a sense, Fuji-san's customers are guinea pigs, but then, the food is VERY carefull screened...