The Shadows of Oz
WHERE THE NUYEN FLOWS
lf Sydney is the heart of Australia, then Melbourne is the brain, or possibly the wallet. Home to the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX), Melbourne is a glossy, cosmopolitan city that oversees most of Australia’s daily financial transactions. Easily the richest city in Australia (or most expensive depending on your point of view) Melbourne also features the biggest divide between the rich and the poor.
The ASX used to be based out of Sydney but in the rumblings of Sydney’s mana storms and Independence fever the Stock Exchange administration sought to distance themselves from the danger of the time. In the aftermath of the Crash of 2029 the ASX took the opportunity to rebuild in Melbourne, seeing the city as a more stable alternative. The corps followed, of course, and now the city centre is densely packed with high-rise development corporate installations and high-flying young execs.
• The ASX’s presence has had a large effect on the city You can’t walk around downtown without being bombarded by stock quotes, overrun by hordes of stockbrokers or overhearing some lucrative insider gossip while lounging in a trendy sidewalk coffee shop.
• Shadowrunnlng in Melbourne is all about the ASX. You won’t find anything as direct as trying to hack into the exchanges potent Matrix systems, but you will find all sorts of work leaning on Investors, conducting insider trading, datasteals, jacking with share prices by spreading rumours and similar games to get on edge In the market.
Like other financial centres around the PacRim, Melbourne is a battleground between the japanacorps (represented here lay the PacRim Bank and Mitsuhama) and the Pacific Prosperity Group (Wuxing, Yamatetsu and the Malaysian independent Bank). The PPG currently has the upper hand, as Wuxing’s local subsidiary Anataeus Offshore Investment Corporation underwrites several of Australia’s major financial institutions (Including the government), and Wuxing Financial Services is Australia’s largest corporate bank. Yamatetsu’s MetaBank lures in the private accounts of Australia’s meta community, and the MIB secures support with generous financing and vetting local corporations for prospective entry into the PPG.
In response, the PacRim Bank has been getting extremely desperate over its rapidly decreasing pool of potential customers. Aside from contracting numerous sabotage runs to ruin the MIB’s public image, it has expanded quickly to block Wuxing’s efforts to increase their market share. These efforts only served to overextend and destabilize the banking group, which took a severe shock when the Ring of Fire exploded In late 2061 and investors fled in droves. Some analysis fear the PacRim Bank may be nearing financial collapse, especially if lt suffers any more unexpected setbacks.
While the city centre sits at the top of Port Philip Bay ln Victoria, the rest of Melbourne sprawls all the way down both sides of the bay to reach the coastline, covering well over three thousand square kilometres. The average Australian treasures their quarter-acre block of suburban-like land, and Melbourne residents have resisted high-density even more than the rest Australia. While you will find many neighbourhoods with quiet one- or two-story single-family residences and stretches of green and leafy streets, these are the ’hoods where the average salary is astronomical and armed guards patrol the boundary fencing. These gated communities stand in stark contrast to the rest of the squalled sprawl, rampant with poverty and violence.
Melbourne’s law enforcement contract is served by Archon Enforcement, Australia’s largest local security corporation. Archon is acutely aware that they stand right on the class divide, to the point where each walloper seems to have two modes of consciousness. An Archon cop will bow and scrape and be the epitome of sharp but polite security whenever a suit is present, but when dealing with gutter-trash they‘re violent, brutal and extremely authoritarian.
• As o result, most Melbourne runners tend to be more high-class and aloof than elsewhere. Most Js and corporate contacts expect a very high degree of politeness and professionalism from the runners they deal with, and if you can’t play in that league you’ll quickly be out of work. On the positive side, the high average Income and Intense corporate rivalry means that jobs in Melbourne are plentiful and well paying.
• Their shadow community remains fairly small though since the rarefied corporate atmosphere is rather off putting to the average local criminal with the typical Australian laid back approach That makes it easy for out of towners to get work
• Southern Cross
Outside of shadow ops the Melbourne underworld is thoroughly dominated by the Italian and Greek Mafias. These syndicates have become the de facto authorities in the slums that Archon Enforcement avoids and most of the dozens of street gangs are tied in to one or the other The Greeks are the dominant influence with scads of links to various corps and a convenient understanding with Archon that keeps the cops off their backs. But Don Hawkes Italian mob runs a nice little shadow exchange that gets a lot of business from those who prefer to trade their stocks less publicly
• The Mafia’s shadow exchange is perfect for conducting hostile takeovers as the targeted corp will take o bit longer to realize they’re being gobbled up
• E Trader
Melbourne s Royal Botanical Gardens are worthy of individual mention traditionally recognized as amongst the best in the world the Gardens received a new lease of life following the Awakening Many of the Gardens plants Awakened as did the ever present native animals and the Gardens are now a notable public exhibit of Australian parafauna and paraflora.
• One thing locals don think to mention because they re used to It the weather. While not actually as rainy as Sydney Melbourne is famous for its changeable weather. A day that begins with rain and storm clouds can easily wind up as a balmy subtropical sunny clay. lf you’re planning work that is in any way reliant on environmental conditions, it pays to have contingency plans.