SoS Boston: Behind the Wall
Boston History Past and Present
POSTED BY: SOUTHIE
So they asked me if I’d give a little history on Boston. I politely reminded them of my opinions on history from the Damon file, and they said that’s exactly why they asked me. No long-winded babble on settlers and city expansion, just enough highlights to set things up, and then on to the nit and grit of day-to-day Boston.
One thing before I start, for anyone wondering what I’m doing outside the Quarantine Zone: work. I was on the outside when the cordon went up. But I have friends on the inside. Lots of friends. I’m as eager as anyone to know what’s up and what I can do about it.
So here goes, pals.
Boston is one of the oldest cities on the eastern seaboard. Been around since the 1600s. Fast forward four hundred years or so (told ya I’d be brief). Every city needs its niche, that thing that makes it different, its reason to be there. When that niche goes away, all ya can do is wait for the next whatever to come along and hope tourism keeps ya afloat ‘til it does. Boston started out as a harbor and fishing town—whaling too, which isn’t fishing but is close enough. Did a star turn in early American politics, then pretty much retired—one giant historical landmark relying on tourism. Until the late 1900s, that is. That’s when tourism started to fade, the pleasant folk stopped coming, and the slums started to greatly resemble downtown. And vice versa.
Then came the quake. It shook New York and woke Boston up. The city jumped at a chance to become the new home of the East Coast Stock Exchange (ECSE). The stock moguls came to town, and Boston swept the dirt out (where it settled in Roxbury!). Money started flowing in, putting Boston on the map again. Like any growing city it started absorbing all the smaller cities, towns,
villages, hamlets, neighborhoods, and unincorporated areas foolish enough to get too close. Before long you had yourself the Northeastern Metroplex Axis (NEMA). Boston absorbed almost everything inside the I-95 loop on the south and up to around Malden north of the Hub. A few spots stayed independent, like them smartfrag Cambridge snobs, and a lot of the neighborhood folks still refuse to call themselves Bostonians or NEMAns (like this Southie tusker), but it’s all still part of the Axis and Boston.
So the city grows, draws in megatons of money and power, and becomes a primary target for Winternight when they went all Ragnarok on the world in ’64. A Matrix nightmare at the ECSE for Novatech’s IPO (I actually don’t know that that means) spread around the world, followed by an EMP that trashed the power grid and electronic infrastructure. Pretty much knocked the Nub
down to the level of the Rox.
We made it through, but it hasn’t been the same since. The ECSE moved back to New York—fraggin’ MDC and their rebuilding efforts. But a lot of companies liked working out of Boston; they’d wrangled pretty firm control of Beantown—and with the new Matrix so easy to get around in, there was no reason for most of the moneymen to move. We kept our corporate overseers and just moved on.
In recent years, the city has recovered from Winternight’s attacks and put a lid on the old ECSE; kept whatever trouble might be lurking there under wraps. I kept asking myself why they didn’t just wipe everything. You know me—silly tusker thinks he knows better than the megacorps. Bit them in the ass, though, didn’t it?
And that pretty much gets us to today.
Boston was one of the first cities to get the new Grid system. NeoNET and MCT had an unprecedented fit of intermegacorporate cooperation (is it just me, or has that gotten eerily common since this latest Matrix update?); they developed the new system in record time and had it up and running April of ‘75. Outside of the test cities like Bogotá, Boston was the first city to go totally new Grid. Yeah, I know others started playing with what it could do earlier, but Boston was the first to go all in. I’m not sure what good it’s doing the folks on the inside now, but it gave me a few pretty amazing months of not getting my ‘link hacked by every MIT&T freshman looking to walk on the wild side. I know there are some pretty wiz new decks out there that can shred my poor ‘link in a blink, but it’s not like before.
Having this new grid meant less hackerfests, more B&E gigs, and a drastic uptick in operations against Neo-NET and MCT here in Boston looking for base code to use in those new decks. Not your everyday gigs, but it came to mind and you all should know what the runner scene looked like before the quarantine. It helps give you some idea of what’s possible by way of resources
and/or allies in the QZ. The skillsets are there for some interesting ops. On the same note the number of new “deckers” in town was also higher than you might find elsewhere. These codewizards aren’t the script-kiddies of the hacker generation—they are skilled pros. Hah, that slang makes me almost sound like I have a clue. I don’t, but that’s why I respect my tech guys.
The everyday in Boston is pretty simple. Every morning the Downtown fills with commuters, mostly from the greater metro area but a good number from as far away as New York and Maine. Downtown buzzes all day every day and usually into the late night. The Downtown crowd starts thinning around 1800 hours, but the local population doesn’t get down to official census levels until 2200 at least—or early the next morning on game days. The T is a 24/7 operation so people are always able to catch a train out or into town. It was business as usual the day the cordon went up, so you know the population density inside the QZ is way above normal. Speaking of the T, that could be next.