Mars City Shadowrun
There is one primary city on Mars, Mars City. This is the main population hub, though there are some outlying towns along the highways in the wastes, as well as near the spaceport. Security in the city is provided by the Mars City Police Department, which is operated by LoneStar but overseen by the Mars City Government on Phobos. Breaking the law may earn you a one-way ticket to the prison moon, Deimos.
In the wastelands, security is much more piecemeal, and ‘justice’ often both harsher and more immediate. Needless to say, the Corporate Arcologies are considerably better guarded, both against intruders and would-be escapees.
The city itself is divided in two. Above, there is the glitz and dazzle of the upper city, where the Corps reign supreme and the stars shine at night. Beneath the plate that serves as the base for the upper city, lies the rest of the town: the undercity. See, when the Corps first showed up and claimed their stakes, they brought a lot of cheap laborers and desperate immigrants along with them. They all lived near the bases of the Corp towers that they built, and tried to make a go of their new life on Mars. Problem was, once the rich, famous, and influential started showing up, they didn’t want to be bumping elbows with all the riffraff, so the Corps hatched a plan. They closed off the bottom half dozen stories or so of their towers, and built a new street level above the original Mars City. Of course, all the folks living there didn’t get an invite to the topside. They’re stuck in the artificial glow of the undercity, unless they can scrape together enough nuyen to buy their ticket up. Of course, anyone not wanted by the law can visit the topside, but staying there is the trick. The undercity also continues to serve as the destination of choice for anyone looking for a new beginning: fugitives from Earth, as well as migrants from the wastelands. Life, as they say, is cheap.
Hoi chummers-here’s a brief history lesson for you. Don’t believe that drek the corp types tell you-this is how it really went down. If you’ve been living under a rock (or in a vat), metahumanity has expanded out into space. There is a sizable Lunar base, used as a fuel station and focal point of the space exploration effort. Mars has been heavily terraformed with massive doses of applied tech and magic, and supports one megacity: the imaginitively named ‘Mars City’. Outside of that, settlers, corps, and research labs take their chances. Mars, similar to Earth, registers as a major (and near-impenetrable) astral presence, and gained a significant amount of mass near it’s core during the awakening-the greater density increasing it’s gravitational pull to approximately Earth levels. Attempts to mine or extract down to this “liverock” core have so far proved disastrous.
As far as atmosphere construction, initial seeding of microbial life was followed up by heavy introduction of chlorofluorocarbons into the atmosphere, to warm the planet to human standards-Earth plants and algae were farmed and imported to help the process. The heavy addition of atmosphere has helped to lower the scouring effects of the solar wind, and also to limit the size and frequency of the previously planet-spanning dust storms. There is now a largely habitable belt ranging from the equator out to about 30 degrees. Moisture farmers (as well as those who really don’t want to be found) make their living out past this line, as the polar ice caps and the cold-fusion atmospheric processors are the main sources of water on the planet, and it’s unrealistic to import large quantities of water from Earth (not that this stops the rich and powerful-after all, what does?). Some of the corps involved in terraforming were rumored to have deployed loads of experimental nano-tech to speed the process, alongside powerful ritual magics, but this is all hush-hush. To this day, all offical migrants to Mars get a mysterious series of shots-supposedly inoculations, but who really believes that?
Other solar system planets are under survey for bio-compatability and suitability for future expansion. The Luna and Mars projects are “cooperative” ventures between a number of major corps and world governments. A number of corps, especially Evo and Ares, have begun mining asteroid fields and belts as well as the nearest planets. Exploitation of space resources is a common topic of protest by those nations and corporations not yet involved. Mars’ moons host mining operations and research facilities, as well as lush palatial estates for the ultra-rich and the Mars Planetary Government on Phobos and a moon-wide prison colony on Deimos. Hard to escape from a moon when they drop you down from orbit. Both moons are also terraformed (largely as practice runs in atmosphere building). Aside from the space projects, life is pretty much the same as ever, chummers. The rich get richer, the poor get poorer, and the runners keep running, hoping for that big score, or at least a little excitement along the way. Whatever brings you to Mars City, stick to the shadows-it’s an unfriendly world._ (excerpted from Neo-Anarchist Field Guide to Mars City and Surrounding Environs)_