Posted by: Umsturz
If you ever need a stepping stone into Lofwyr’s backyard, a place to crash on your way to Oslo (aka Chiba-West), or just a rock-solid opportunity zone, the Hanseatic Free City of Hamburg is your port of call. It’s been a rat’s nest of smugglers, pirates, and other zwielichtiges Gesindel (shady characters like
you, mesh-head) since the Hanse-times of old, and still hosts the largest scene of criminals and wannabes in Northern Europe. Back in 2011, Hamburg took a hammering from the Black Tide when Mutter Erde puked up all the toxic crap her disrespectful children had been dumping in the North Sea for
decades. The toxic deluge flooded northwestern parts of the Allied German States (including large tracts of Hamburg) and several neighboring nations (Norway, United Kingdom, and the United Netherlands) turning the sprawl into a true North Sea harbor—the “Venice of the North” as we call it here, on the
new Elbe estuary.

Welcome to toxic paradise! And don’t forget to bring your
breathers and filters, ’cause even if you don’t intend to walk
around the mud flats near Hamburg at low tide (and if you do, I
strongly advise sealed chemsuits), the stinking sea-breeze in the
western parts of the city is often … intoxicating.

Ow. Bad pun.

Thank you.

North Sea urbanism

When several streets suddenly became waterways, folks got creative. Flooded stories were waterproofed and shored up to be converted into basements for new constructions—leaving several
(sometimes conveniently air-filled) underwater hollows that are used by smugglers and fixers to store and handle goods. Low-lying streets gave way to plascrete jetty’s for water-taxis or hovercraft
routes, or even underwater docks for mini-subs. Pontoon streets and floating quarters, consisting of small areas connected via planks and bridges, mark the cityscape of Hamburg. Dikes, bridge piers,
and elevated tracks carry the Autobahn and monorails (including the Hamburg exits to and from Euro Route 7, linking Hanover to Copenhagen) above the flooded parts of the city, linking important
traffic junctions like the Central Terminal Moorfleeten or the huge orbital-capable Lufthansa Airport in Kaltenkirchen. The mouth of the Elbe, home to the city’s harbor, gives the sprawl a classical North-South divide. The uptown districts like the Nordstadt enclave (a whole district’s worth of corp-zombie offices and apartment towers), Eimsbüttel (media biz and bean counters), and Wandsbek (metroplex administration) are the home ground of wageslaves of all kinds, while the dilapidated
buildings of the southern districts like Harburg and Bergedorf houses all the lower echelons of society.

The Z-zone Wildost

(Wild East) contains a former Baltic Polish refugee camp sprawling over a concrete reef of submerged
building blocks. It’s a hotbed for criminal activities. Illegal immigrants, the SINless, and anti-tech or green communes like the Klabauterbund eke out their miserable existence in this stinking
silt morass, making do with floating container blocks, house-hovercrafts, and yurt barracks. The locals just call it die Sickergrube (the Seeping Pit) because any scum picked up uptown inevitably
ends up in these waters. Though Wildost is dreaded as a base for ruthless pirate outfits like Störtebekers Erben, HanSec (Hamburg’s private police department) tolerates the ghetto because round-ups wouldn’t be cost effective—after all, the area’s population is hostile
to authority. The strangest peculiarity of all is the “Hansestrafvollzuga nstalt I.” Built as an Alcatraz-like prison island/labor camp on the remnants of the former district of Wilhelmsburg (hence the nickname Big Willi), the prison is surrounded by a drone perimeter and guarded only on the island’s rim by HanSec. The prison itself is autonomous (and extraterritorial), except for food parcels that are dropped into the area daily and distributed along the prevailing food chain. As part of their punishment, the prisoners
work 24/7 in automated production lines for the benefit of the city and if they don’t, food delivery is suspended.

The HanSec is owned by the Senate and European media giant
DeMeKo. Naturally, the DeMeKo takes advantage of this relationship
by catering the pay-per-view prison-fights to bloodthirsty
sport fans and a special clientele on Channel 13.


Mittenmang translates literally to “in the thick of it,” and it’s the best expression to describe Hamburg’s central districts. Mingling up and downtown, the Neue Mitte (most of which is nerved by waterways) and Altona are the districts where the class divide blurs under shining holo-projections, colorful arrows, and flashing neo-lights.

Tell the truth Umsturz—it’s kerosene and water. You can put
them together, but they don’t really mix, and the kerosene still
burns when you put a light to it.
Baka Dabora

No surprise then that Neue Mitte is an AR spam zone. Since Ætherlink (S-Ks new AR powerhouse) and European giant DeMeKo set up a high capacity grid, Hamburg’s media- and technophiles have been exploiting the system for all its worth. You can’t walk through the Reeperbahn—the (in)famous red
light district in St.Pauli—in open mode without being swarmed by kinky RFID body tags that hookers and hustlers employ to advertise their goods (and price-lists) or assaulted by naughty peeps
from brothels and simstim cybersex clubs. However, runners and fixers have been known to use the tag system as info drop boxes, hiding and encoding data under what appears to be normal information
or virtual graffiti. Thanks to virtual Big Brother DeMeKo, nanosecond updated global news briefs are omnipresent and readily accessible via mediatronic surfaces or link.

Trust me: if you go here, you want to shell out for some grade-
A spam filters. Erika’s got a new batch on the market, and there’s
nothing better when you can’t take a step without being assaulted
by arrows, spammed by rad manifestos, or driven insane by newsticker
updates that are sure to slow even an Ikon to a crawl. Don’t
get me wrong—some of the media biggies provide more than junk.
DeMeKo, for instance, pays good scrip for infobytes and snoop stories
on the Senate (and its dark twin), the Eurocorps, and the bold
and the beautiful of Europe’s high society or Grand Tour. Recently
they’ve been laying moves to undermine Sol Media assets in
Southern Europe, so they’re eager for scoops.


(that’s what Germans call their Johnsons, pun intended) also use the nightlife environment to set up face-to-face meets. Black markets (some of them underwater) float around the Neue Mitte on a regular
basis. My favorite is the old Fischmarkt, a pontoon market that opens early every day.
You can pick up about almost anything there except fish (I wouldn’t recommend
eating anything pulled from the North Sea anyway), including illegal goods like weapons
and restricted tech, all traded under the counter. The Scandinavian Lobatchevski
Vory still ride high on the tide in Hamburg, subcontracting their illegal operations to
Scand Vikings gangs, Dutch Penose thugs, and hover-gangs like the Wasserratten (Water
Rats). They’ve kept some competition at bay by sharing the market with indy smugglers,
kapers, pirates, the Luden (Hamburg’s independent panders), and the Likedeelers (a fixer-
ring of North-born former runner types), but the constant influx of unemployed former
Polish freedom fighters and Baltic Red Vory enforcers into the underworld has led
to serious flare-ups in the canals. A Rat ’s Nest Politically, the city is run by the Senate of
Hamburg, which was founded after Hamburg became a free city in 2015. The senators each
governing a certain office of the sprawl’s administration are elected by Hamburg’s residents
for a four-year term. While multiple reelections are possible, corporate citizens have
been banned from running for office since the Twenties to minimize conflicts of interest.
With Hamburg a breeding ground for political agitators of all sorts, the Senate has always used its ties to activist groups and rads as a front to restrain the corps from excessive meddling in the sprawl’s affairs. With the nationalist, left-wing, Green, anti-corporate, and anarchist politicos backing their senators in the ongoing conflict with the AGS’ government, Hamburg has become a thriving hive of subversive political elements in the last few years.
In truth, there have long been rumors that the welfare of Hamburg is actually in the hands of a shadow cabinet calling themselves Altermänner (an old German expression for the abbot of a trading post) and consisting of an unknown number of senators and influential Hamburg citizens. From what I’ve heard about local patriotism and the anti-corporate stance of its members, they are a frighteningly influential bunch of hardliners.

Guess who’s on the payroll?

Euro Pol Classified Memo

:: Potential Political Security Risks ::
:: European Rad Groups & Activist Movements ::

Anarcho-Syndiaklistische Union (ASU): The parliamentary mouthpiece of different syndicalist worker’s unions contains fringe elements. Embodies anarchist ideals and supports various autonomous anarchist movements.
Anti-Eurocrats: Formed in response to the foundation of the New European Economic Community, the Anti-Eurocrat movement is an association of different anti-NEEC organizations in different countries (mainly Austria, the AGS, Italy, and Scandinavian Union). The Anti-Eurocrats promotes nationalism and protection of national sovereignty.
Attack!: Global anti-corporate direct action network. Strikes against installations and assets in Europe are often coordinated by an associated Matrix
anarchist group called UV-X.
GreenWar: Eco-terrorist organization consisting of environmentalist hardliners, deep ecologists, and eco-fascists. Allegedly founded in Hamburg after
the Black Tide. Doesn’t shrink from bioterrorism or collateral damage.
Grüne Zellen (Green Cells): Radical direct action environmentalist network that punishes polluting corporations. Often form one-action and ad-hoc networks that are hard to track. Green Cells have links to autonomous anarchist movements, feminists, and anti-fascists like the Antifa Direct Action.
Klabauterbund: The Klabauterbund consists of eco-anarchists that often form dropout communes. Members advocate an eco-conscious lifestyle without over-reliance on technology; consequently they also draw numerous freethinkers and neo-pagans. They support piracy as long as it is anti-corporate.
Mutter Erde: The Mother Earth policlub (globally active) promotes feminist aspects, nature magic, eco-awareness, and spiritual beliefs with druidism, shamanism, and witchcraft. Radical spin-offs of the Mutter Erde are Rote Zora (women-only direct-action feminist cells) and Sie (radical neo-pagan feminists).
Nationale Aktion: Ultranationalist extremist organization that advocates both Aryan and human supremacy. Responsible for several terrorist assaults on metahuman and EuroWar refugee enclaves in the AGS.

Word on the street is the Altermänner have ties throughout the
underworld, not just the shadows. They also sponsor a number of
direct action and terrorist rad-groups.
Red Anya

While this policy has undermined a major Big Ten presence, the city is pervaded by mega and Eurocorp proxies. A variety of local subsidiaries of S-K, Renraku (through military shipyards of Blohm & Voss), AG Chemie, Zeta-ImpChem, Maersk, and Proteus make their homes in Stade, with direct
access to the North Sea.

I once looked upon Hamburg and saw pitch-black streams spilling
into the stygian sea of the new world. It was clear that Mother
Earth’s children have already forgotten their lessons. Make of that
what you will.

Free Port Trade Zone

Conducting business within a Free Port Trade Zone naturally has its own draw. Though Hamburg was forced into several compromises regarding shipping tariffs and regulations through NEEC agreements—which ended up benefiting of the corp-controlled high-tech Europort harbor (perfect for
behemoth-freighters and cargo whales)—smaller tankers and cargo ships still call at Hamburg port, which is a cash cow for the city. While transport and logistics powerhouses Hapag-Lloyd (Maersk), Worldwide Shipping, and Regulus Transport Services are constantly wrangling for more authority in the
FPTZ (and playing dirty tricks on each other), the Senate-controlled armed customs authorities keep the docklands under tight control—at least when it comes to corporate freightage. Unregistered freighters, free merchants, and pirates regularly dock without hassle from customs officials or the harbormaster.
Hamburg publicly condemns piracy and smuggling (at least for the DeMeKo hacks swarming like flies around here), but the authorities turn a blind eye to a significant amount of gray market action out of enlightened self-interest. The parallel economy keeps the sprawl from overdependence on the megacorps, which serves the Altermänner’s agenda. Most of the independent freight goes in and out unchecked, though port authorities are a little bit picky when it comes to arms, BTLs, and drug smuggling. Likedeelers also use their international connections to have goods hitchhike on corporate freighters across the globe, rather than rely exclusively on “conventional” smuggling. Didn’t take
them long to crack the ARO data glyphs companies tag their cargo with these days, but even then you need local muscle to move containers around the dock, especially if you are not crazy about hacking the transponder-ridden system just to make some four-meter-high cubes disappear.

Throughout the FPTZ, companies still heavily rely on metahuman
stevedores who are underpaid and thus easy to bribe or
convince to look the other way. Try that with the work-droids that
float around Europort these days.

With the Allied German States inexorably sliding towards a corporate democracy (an S-K owned “subsidiary”) due to economic recession following the Crash 2.0, the Senate has made no secret of its disapproval of S-K’s and the Frankfurt Bank Association’s meddling in the country’s political and financial
decision-making. It reached the boiling point when Hamburg reps walking out of the last session of the Bundesrat (the Federal Assembly). To add more fuel to the fire, several senators—including Vesna Lyzhichko, the new Speaker of the Senate and nominal Mayor of Hamburg—have been linked to the nti-Eurocrats, a movement that demands the abolition of the NEEC. Hamburg hasn’t seceded from the AGS yet, but I’ve heard that the Senate (most likely somebody among the Altermänner) is negotiating
with ruling factions of the North and Baltic Sea Free Cities to propose some kind of league or alliance.

Their proposal might fall on open ears. Since the end of the Polish
Civil War, the Kapers (Polish pirates) are being increasingly pressed
to hand the vital Tricity port back to Poland. While Koenigsberg remains
observant, both Tallinn and Riga, who have been brushed off
by the NEEC Council of Ministers often enough, are willing to join
such an alliance. I am not sure about free-for-alls like Kronstadt and
the Scandinavian Ship City, though. I don’t think that the Russian
anarchists will get involved in such an alliance at the present stage,
unless S-K or Evo is starting to put the screws on them.
Traveler Jones

Heya, heard on the grapevine you might be planning a visit to my backyard. If you need toys for the op, ping me or look for me at the Empire in St. Pauli. I keep my cache well-stocked and I always cut a comrade a good deal.

1. Shadowrun 4th edition 26005 runners havens
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