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Terri Quan

Part of the next gen of San Paro media, and reporter on 211 in Progress, the city's crime-as-it's- happening live news channel - your 24-hour round-the-clock guide to who's caught, who's shot, who's dead and who's not in San Paro. Press the red button on your remote now, for an update on daily crime statistics, and a choice of in-progress events currently being covered by our news cameras!

Terri started by doing voiceover work for the channel's trademark CGIed reconstructions of violent shoot-outs that the station's roving news teams had somehow failed to get to in time. She was an immediate hit with viewers, her breathy voice capturing just that right edge of excitement as CGI bullets drilled in slo-mo into jerking wireframe mannequins. The physical details of bullet wound trauma and forensics analysis of crime scene blood spray patterns always sounded more interesting when narrated by Terri Quan. A face to match that voice and an ambitious streak a mile wide soon put her where she wanted - in front of a live TV camera.

Channel 211 in Progress's official policy is to stay neutral and only report the facts. It carefully plays both sides of the streets, and Terri spent as much time riding shotgun with SPPD patrol cars or sitting in on tac briefings with Praetorian Operations Commander Saul Linklater as she did interviewing shot-up gangbangers ("The paramedics say you might not make it to Bankside General ER - any last words you wanna give to anyone you know who might be watching?") or running stories on CSA vigilante brutality. Still, everyone - especially the station advertisers - knew that it was crime that kept the viewers watching, and criminals that a significant percentage of the viewers sympathised with and even idolised.

She wanted to do a series of stories from inside one of the city's street gangs. Her station manager was unconvinced - he had already lost two reporters that way, and the station's insurance rates had increased accordingly - but Terri's perseverance and an appeal to the account executives of some of the station's biggest sponsors got her what she wanted. Besides, she had already done the groundwork and found a way into one of the gangs.

Arlon Benjamin was well known as a regular critic of the Derren administration and the City Security Act. Terri had interviewed him before, and knew enough about him to know what his generous sponsorship of certain youth projects in some of the city's inner city problem areas really meant. Benjamin thought most of 211 in Progress's output was sensationalist trash, but he also thought Terri's proposition might work in his favour, if he could get some of his G-King kids on TV so that people could see they weren't the demonic street gang monsters the mainstream media painted them as. One private cellphone conversation was all it took for Terri to get inside the G-Kings.

It had started off as an assignment - another big step up the career ladder - but she ended up loving every illicit and exciting minute of it. She hung out with Veronika, went on midnight sabotage raids with Shift, talked street-side revolution with Javez and got an electrifying insight into what goes on inside the head of a kid like Double-B. She got shot at, caught up in the wrong end of a high-speed pursuit and found out what exactly Saul Linklater meant at those Praetorian tac briefings she attended when he talked about "maximum suppression techniques to be brought to bear on street gang insurgency".

Her station manager loved it. The viewers loved it. The Mayor's office made an official complaint about it glamourising street crime, which made the station manager love it all the more. Faces and voices of all the people she filmed were digitally altered, and no real names used, all as per the agreement with Arlon Benjamin, but there's only so much you can conceal when your on-camera interview subject looks like Zombie, and he and the other G-Kings became instant street stars.

The G-Kings were this week's news and media stars, but 24-hour live TV needs to be fed something new all the time, and Terri's station manager already wanted his new star reporter to come up with a list of new projects for his approval. She gave him what he wanted, but her mind was still on the G-Kings.

Arlon Benjamin had been expecting her call for days, when it finally came. He had seen that look in her eyes, and knew what she wanted. She wanted in. To be part of the Gs, and experience more of the wild side of street life. He was happy to oblige. The enemy had plenty of pet media outlets of their own, so it would be useful for the G-Kings to have one too, and her contacts with the Praetorians and other law enforcement wings could give invaluable information on the enemy's plans.

She lives in the Waterfront, in one of the new developments in Little Fin, a location that suits Benjamin's plans to low-key expand G-King operations outside of Havalynd. She still works for Channel 211 in Progress, and she still files reports from both sides of the street, but her sympathies are now firmly on one side of it.

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Level Activity
10

I need some footage for my show tonight, 211 in Progress. Can you get out there and make some noise? I don't want footage of you getting carried away in an ambulance or something so get out there and complete five objectives, okay?

Complete 5 objectives.

Missions
ORDERS FROM ON HIGH
SPRAY ME UP, BUTTERCUP
THE ARTISTRY OF THE SPRAYCAN
SKIDMARKS
CONSUMER RIGHTS
CASH FOR CLUNKERS
NO UNACCOMPANIED G-KINGS
YOU'RE FIRED!
THE MAN KNOWS HIS JEWELRY
ONE NIGHT IN SOFIA
IT'S A STEAL!
BLIND JUSTICE
DELIVER THE LIVER
CLEANING UP CONTROVERSY
POWDER TRAIL
KLEPTOMANIA
BADGE OF DISHONOR
ROUTERS AND SHOOTERS
TAGGED AND BAGGED
Subject
Magazine Excerpt: Effigy (June)

This month we take a stroll through the mean streets of San Paro, where up in the sky the parties last for days, back in the hood the old-skool hip-hop still thumps out of the lowriders cruising along Green and Hinton, and something new is brewing in the simmering cauldrons Downtown.

'The scene here is really alive.' We're talking to Pasquerelle, one of the crop of new DJs taking the high-rise clubs of San Paro by storm, with a mix of breezy beats and summer-lite keyboard washes that has captured the imagination of the cocktail crowd. 'I can play SkyCity, Tranquile, sometimes we play several places a night, and everywhere we go, there are smiles and happiness.' Building on a strong house tradition that started back in the eighties in the warehouse parties on Cortland Point, DJs like Pasquerelle, Hang Ten and Kitty Klark have made the shift upmarket, entertaining the exclusive crowds that don't even gather until the elevator's hit 60.

'Oh god, it's a different world than it used to be.' says Klark. 'I remember seeing The Boardmen and Zunami, people like that, down the warehouse parties in Red Hill. They were good times, I think, but look around you. There's more money now.'

Head to Midtown, south of Havalynd, and the street life gets a little wilder. Business suits give way to bespoke, the uniforms of finance quickly morph into a menagerie of colours and textures. The clubs here are ground level, patrolled by heat, and crowds of peacocks mill around outside waiting to get in. Not Sofia. She steps out of her zebra-stripe limo and beyond the rope, and we glide through in her wake. In this world, the right connections can save a lot of time.

She's resplendent in a coat fashioned entirely from soft black feathers, and knee-length pink leather boots sat on six inches of inlaid ebony platform. I ask her where she finds her costumes and she looks through me like I'm fresh air. The club is Pasha on Klein, and she happens to own it. Inside, there's an ugly lowdown growl of bass and snare, jungle inflections darting in and about a crawling hip-hop beat. The dance floor is just starting to fill, and the bar is a gauntlet of gleam and bling. We walk straight through and into a backroom which is done out in purple velvet and leopard skin. The skin feels real; I don't like to ask.

She unfurls like a panther across the seat. Either side of her are the two biggest men I've ever seen. Chrome Uzis, customised by Armstrong & Chen, for killing with class. Over a glass of sparkling mineral water she tells me with a straight face, 'Fashion is more important than life.' Her answers are largely monosyllabic, until I get to wondering why she even let us in. No, she doesn't see a connection between the club culture and the street violence that dogs the area. No, she's never seen trouble at any of her establishments. Yes, there's a good life for people here in Midtown, if they want it, if they want to work hard. Before we know, the audience is over, and we're back out in the club. It's a room full of strangers, but in a way that's difficult to finger, the crowd seems to have closed ranks. It's in the half-glances, the shoulder profiles, the eyes that turn away; there's a cover charge here that we can't afford.

Fortunately for us, San Paro isn't all sophistication and glamour. Only a few blocks away, in the grimiest section of Downtown, a new scene is finding its voice. Bands like Fister, Pinchsquint and Blind Vortex are refashioning old-skool emo into an altogether more aggressive beast. Lovelorn tales of boy-girl hi-jinx and awkward assignations, buttressed by the bludgeoning force of gristlecore; ladies and gentlemen, this is Nu-mo.

The fans are easy enough to pick out. Heavy leather boots and belts, tats and small-arms. Their rainbow hair teased into implausible structures, they tear through the streets of Trasket on modified streetbikes. We catch up with Blind Vortex, one of the leading exponents of the new music.

'Love is violence, man.' says lead singer Danny, 23. He's intense and wiry, chain-smoking beneath a tall coxcomb of purple hair. He looks like he could use a good meal. 'We could paint it pretty, try and be Kristabel or somethin', but what's the point? Some fucker looks at my girl, I wanna kill him.' Isn't that a little extreme? 'You fuckin' think so? You ever been in love, chico?'

That evening we see Vortex tear up the stage at the Octopus. The volume is intense. The hometown crowd are in fine fettle, going nuts; the whole basement is swallowed by the mosh. One fan down the front, a big guy with a scorpion tattoo coiled around his shaven head, is spitting what looks like a bottle of his own piss onstage at the band. Three songs in and Danny hurls his mikestand like a caber. It goes scything through the crowd, knocking two fans to the floor. A skirmish erupts, security intervenes and one of the bouncers takes a bottle to the side of the head. The fight spills out into the street, Danny is still screaming about a girl, and the raucous feedback whine mingles with the sound of approaching sirens.

The kids are angry again, angry as they should be, and everything is fine.

Pasquerelle - 'Live at SkyCity' is released on June7th on Descender Records. Blind Vortex new album, 'Snip the Rib' is out on Fantomb on June14th.

Biography: Havalynd (Financial)

Havalynd was always about money. When the banks first moved in, with their tidy little fortresses made out of brick, horses were still shitting in the gutters outside. Things were nice and conventional then, almost a gentlemen's agreement. The banks kept the money in big metal boxes, and the crims tried to get in the boxes and take the money. Everybody knew where everybody stood.

Trams came, then cars. Havalynd expanded outwards and upwards. An initial wave of vertical engineering, growing in momentum through the first few decades of the twentieth century, stalled in the shadow of global conflict. Throughout the decades after, the centre gradually emerged above the stunted grids of the surrounding districts.

By the eighties, Havalynd was reaching its fingers into the sky. A newfound optimism and stridency had infected every sphere of society. San Paro was a boomtown, and money was pouring in. Developers competed to create the biggest, the greatest, the most priapic monuments to their wealth and power.

At ground level, sheet glass gives way to marbled foyers. In the forecourts stand cantilever steel sculptures, fountains spume skyward. And at nearly every corner, regular as lampposts, men wait rigid, fake-nonchalant, all the time scanning behind their dark suits and dark shades. Utopia patrolled by private security.

The flagship stores of the fashion cognoscenti line Border Street. Behind the tyre-traps and raid barriers, Sensay rubs shoulders with Carlo Vitorelli, Devereaux jewels glitter like waterfalls under the reinforced displays, and even Testero and Lyka, whose very public spat at the San Paro Fashion Expo the previous year had exploded into a legal fireball of suit and countersuit, were willing to share space in the invitation-only Golden Mall that graced the ground floor of the prestigious Pyramid complex on Shianxi Boulevard. Even the shop dummies here are fashioned from chatoyant mahogany and inlaid with ivory. At ground level, Havalynd has always had the power to dazzle. But then, most of Havalynd doesn't happen at ground level.

Biography: Waterfront

The Waterfront is a schizophrenic district, part sprawling anonymous hinterland of commercial transit, part coastal resort for the comfortably-off. To the west the giant wharves jut with unyielding potency into the Nantego. Go east and the landscape softens, palm-trees line the roads and smart residential blocks spring up. Head into Prentiss, where the money lives, and things change again, all for the quieter and more genteel better.

San Paro Port has been an eternal engine in the commercial development of the city. It is the conduit through which the trade came that drove the growth of the young metropolis. In early years, merchants and vagabonds rubbed shoulders in the rowdy bars along the port area. What seemed like a hundred different tongues mixed and churned in a babble of deals and cross-purposes. Little Fin in particular was a den of impropriety and vicious exchange. Drink flowed and the prostitutes displayed their wares across the quays.

As the port grew in size and importance, the inns and hostels were swept back and away, replaced by warehouses, yards, all the paraphernalia necessary for systemic management of import-export traffic on a much grander scale. A rail-link was built that vastly improved the throughput of materials and goods. There was ship-building in the yards south of Armory Wharf. By the turn of the twentieth century no-one lived in the west port, but 12,000 men earned a daily crust working its platforms.

The maritime tradition persisted. Shipbuilding ended, but the great passenger liners made dock here.. Twice they were supplanted by squat grey machines of war that bristled in the channels. After a few years they would return, bigger and brighter, to disgorge their cargos of blinking passengers onto the sunbleached quays.

Nowadays, the Port never sleeps. At every mark of the clock, the whirring, the jolting, the crash and creak of loading and unloading emanates from the area surrounding the wharves. As one ship arrives to loose its burden, another departs plimsoll-deep and grunting beneath the weight. At night the arc-beam halogens describe a world overrun by giant mechanical beasts. An occasional mushroom belch of fire and smoke marks the human activity, as the gangs skirmish across the surreal blocky wastes of Yard Stretch.

East of the docks is the low-rise district of Little Fin. Once a dense knot of rat-infested housing ripe even for San Paro, it was levelled at the end of the nineteenth century, an unmourned victim of the port expansion and of the housing reforms of the time. Since then it has soaked up the overspill of warehousing from the Port. Now money is washing across the coastal districts and Little Fin is up-and-coming, with property developers sweeping in from all angles, in a scramble to swallow territory and increase yield.

The new-style developments are typified by the bland luxury of Fortuna Village, a multi-storey sprawl of spacious condominiums serviced by its own mall and characterized by a homogenous adherence to upper-mid brandthink. Lacking the time-accrued undergrowth of personality, the area serves by turns as an abstracted environment in which human beings have been replaced by the tinted SUVs, or as a blank canvas for the Blood Roses and the Tigers, punching their ballistic tattoos into fresh brick.

The same could not be said for Prentiss. The residents who sip gin slings by the well-tended lawns and pools consider their little empire to be a separate entity from San Paro, a port town and a community with its own history and identity. This attitude has garnered them a reputation for snobbery, largely justified. Prentiss is certainly the most genteel district, its lack of strategic value for a long time allowing it to remain aloof and untouched by the routine street warfare afflicting most every other corner of the city. Only recently have they started growing their own gangs, middle-class parents abruptly realizing that they can no longer distance themselves from the carnage, looking on in helpless horror as their children bear arms and tear up the night.

Radio Broadcast: WTF San Paro

"I've said it before, and I'll say it again - WTF is happening, San Paro? Back in the day, kids wanted to be rock stars and get blown from one backstage party to another all round the globe, or be some kinda sports star and get paid about a million bucks a day to knock a ball round some piece of astro-turf, and get paid a million more bucks to wear some faggoty-looking pair of sneakers while they were doing it. And you know what - there was nothing wrong with any of that. Nothing at all. That's what the talented and just plain lucky exist for; to give us all something to aspire to and envy and generally hate the crap out of. Now? Shit, where am I even gonna start...

"Being famous is all that matters in this town. I'm kinda famous in my own small way - and, let me tell you, being famous rocks - so I know what I'm talking about. I get to hang out at some of the famous people places. But I gotta tell you, the currency of fame in this city has definitely been devalued. There's been a stock market crash in the value of one of our city's most treasured assets. Its celebrities.

"Used to be, famous people parties were full of models, designers, artists, movie stars and - if it was one of the more low rent famous people events - some buncha retards from TV. Sure, there was always that unsavoury element present too - usually someone's agent or coke-dealing cousin, or a politician or two - but now it's all heisters, gangbangers, getaway artists, protection racketeers, glorified stick-up punks and assorted street trash. Shit, even the politicians are starting to look semi-respectable by comparison. That's how low we've sunk. And, let me tell you, all you people out there who know I'm talking about them, and that are probably right now doing an internet search on where I park my car at night, listen up good. There's more to being a celebrity than colonic irrigation, paying $10,000 for ridiculous-looking suits and having your apartment designed by some flavour-of-the-month Effigy-featured European powder-puff called Jasper. You got that?

"Ahh, why the hell do I even bother? I mean, I'm living in a town where Deke Swearinger and Kiki Monroe are what passes for heavyweight cultural -icons. Hey, and let's not forget intrepid little Mikko Wong. 'Hello? Is that the San Paro Standard? Yeah, put me through to your holier-than-thou liberal muffdiver desk, please...'

"You wanna know how bad things have got? Look at our bimbo heiress celebrities, surely one of San Paro's greatest contributions to global culture. Used to be, you could comfortably divide them all into three broad categories - fucked-up charity guilt case do-gooders; fucked-up wannabe rock & movie star dilettantes; and those in a state of strictly temporarily unfucked-up transience between rehab, prison and oh-gosh-I've-just-found-religion-again court appearances. Hell, on a good month, at least one of them would be hitting every one of the points along that same line. Now, though, they're all wannabe badass bitches that you're gonna see in some Needles club as part of the entourage of some genuine badass, or posing with a machine-gun on the cover of Effigy.. That sound like progress to you? Only thing that's still the same is that most of them are still called Seindorf, and that they're still all gonna be photographed falling dead drunk or drug-trashed outta a limo in a way that's gonna show they routinely go out on the town without any thought about the need to wear panties.

"Oh shit. You done it now, Marta. Better change the subject quick, while the station management fields another call on the hotline from the Seindorf family attorneys...

"Yeah, so... CSA vigilantes. You think they're much better than the crims? Most of them are just gutter punks too dumb to pass the final exam that would move 'em up to street trash level. And the rest? I swear, I feel so much safer, now I know our city streets are protected by a combination of soccer moms and overgrown boyscouts with access to automatic weapons, cops and ex-cops who borderlined the psychology tests that shoulda transferred them over to the rubber gun squad, and trigger-happy yahoos who think having a certificate from Mayor Derren saying it's okay to shoot people now is a bonus point to be included on their personal résumés..."

- Excerpt from 'WTF, San Paro', a popular daily drive-time show hosted by well-known and controversial San Paro radio personality Marta Riviera. Riviera later seriously wounded after being gunned down by a celebrity-obsessed fan in the station parking lot. Many critics dismiss the incident as a ratings-booster publicity stunt.

Level Subject
2 Watch out for these high-level games as you move up.

My station manager's saying they've been getting complaints about me - the 'lack of impartiality' in some of my onscreen coverage. And he canned my story on Shadow Strike - 'not newsworthy' enough, apparently.

I think the Praetorians are putting pressure on. Follow the trail - who owns Channel 211? Who's the CEO of the company that owns that company? Who does that CEO play golf with every week?

Oh, Justin Teng? Big surprise.

I know you're moving on in the Gs, but I'm staying on this, doing it in my own time. People have to know the truth, just like Shift's always saying.

Stay Gresty!

-Terri

4 You feeling what I'm feeling?

It's such a buzz, isn't it? Being out where all the action is. I've tried talking to some of my colleagues about it, and they look at me like I'm crazy.

To them, it's like a trip out into some place full of dangerous wild animals.

I guess it was doing that undercover story on the Gs that got me hooked. It wouldn't have worked with just any other gang, though. The Gs are different. There's this crazy, positive energy about them. Once you connect into it, you know they're going to change things.

Exciting times!

-Terri

6 Shadow Strike - beware!

Remember I was talking about what the Praetorians might do if they ever found out about me? It's worse than you think...

Ever heard of Shadow Strike? It's Justin Teng's dirty little secret - a Praetorian covert action squad, full of the ex-Special Forces merc psychos that they don't put on the Praetorian recruitment posters.

Remember that N3 reporter who got killed in a gang drive-by a few months ago? Only it turns out he was researching a story on Shadow Strike, so I'm starting to wonder now whether it really was the work of Crims at all...

Scary stuff, but I'm going to hang in there.

-Terri

8 You're famous!

One of the worst things about my job? Having to attend CSA organization press briefings and listen to their homogenized bullshit.

One of the best things about my job? Getting to attend CSA organization press briefings and pick up any inside info that the G-Kings can use.

I was at the weekly Praetorian press call and caught a sneak look at some Praetorian intel docs. Your name was there - highlighted as a possible up-and-comer within G ranks.

Guess that's either good news or bad news, depending on how famous you want to be with the bad guys.

DEFINITELY take care,

-Terri

10 Confidentiality is key.

Hey,

Good to touch base, and thanks for handling that thing the way you did. You're definitely on my Go To list now.

And thanks for keeping quiet about me - my link to the G-Kings ever comes out into the open, and I could be in a lot of trouble. Getting fired from the TV station could be the least of those problems, though.

The Praetorians hate the media enough as it is. Them finding out that I was with you guys would pretty much send them over the edge.

Thanks again

-Terri