The sky gradually changed towards a lighter shade of brown than it had been; the only natural indication that a new day had broken somewhere above the smog and haze and the near-constant rain. Most of the city didn't rely on this kind of cue to start their work though, instead following the directions of various electronic gadgets either in their habitation pods or, more and more frequently, in their own bodies. The notion of natural "circadian rhythms" or that there was such a thing as real "daylight" had started to fade away from the public consciousness, as peoples' lives became almost entirely defined by the artificial constructions and electronic media that surrounded them.
It's not like everyone's
life was just an endless cycle of sleep, work, and sleep... every once in a while the smog would clear enough for people foolish enough to look up at the sky to see the top levels of some of the skyrises that the cities sprawled out beneath, and they would be reminded that the drudgery going on at street-level and below was really just so those few company elites could enjoy their life up in the sky without having to worry about wanting for anything. Eventually though, anyone who lived in the cities would train themselves not to bother looking up... I mean, what good did it do? You were never going to get up there, after all.
I'll admit it, I've been luckier than most. Not that I always was- I started my city life in one of the hab-pods over by the Armscor metalworks- not exactly the nicest neighborhood, you know. My life was basically just going from my hab-pod to my company terminal every day, authorizing bottom-of-the-barrel corporate asset documentation. I'd been lucky enough that my hab-mate was eventually recruited by a low-level copyright enforcement squad though, so like all the rest of them, he was able to "help himself" to a little of the contraband that his team was supposed to be eliminating, and sometimes that surplus made its way to me. Not exactly honest work, but when your job is to go into back-alley bio-labs, interrogate and arrest the owners, and destroy all the contraband implants and bio-cybernetic research, it's not like your official work was "honest" either, so most of the time, no one gave that kind of corruption a second thought. Just part of the game, really.
Last year, his squad was charged with conducting a raid on a bio-lab that was selling communication bio-implants a little too close to the ones Subarashii was developing. (The copyright wasn't official yet, but everyone knew Subarashii would win no matter what, so it didn't seem unusual to anyone for them to send a copyright enforcement squad in a little ahead of time) The owner was hauled away to one of the containment compounds and the contraband implants were destroyed. Somehow, my hab-mate ended up stuck with handling the title transfer of the lab to Subarashii, and I started to wonder if I could get something out of this. I knew he was useless when it came to property transfer, so when I offered to take care of it in exchange for a week's consumables ration, he jumped at the chance.
The next day, once I plugged in to my Corporate terminal, I was able to actually see what the property was. It was a lot bigger than these bio-labs usually were, which I guess made sense since it was almost at the end of the West Mag-Lev transit line, in a part of the city that was still mostly empty warehouses and metalworks. Usually, I'd put the title for a property like this into a corporate auction, and some licensed contractor would bid to start making the same exact bio-implants that the previous owner had, but without the fear of an armed copyright enforcement team breaking down the door and hauling them away for interrogation. If they got the bid (and they almost always did- these contractors didn't usually bother to bid unless they had someone on the property team feeding them info beforehand- Hell, I'd passed along property info to them myself more than a few times), the title would come back through one of the property terminals, and someone like me would approve it again.
This time though, I changed a few lines of code in the auction so that it would just route to the auction and then back to my terminal immediately, before any contractors had been able to bid. Once it was back, it had the auction tag added to its data, but displayed a vendor error that I was supposed to fix; essentially, I was supposed to dig through the auction files and see which contractor had bought it, and correct the record. Well, I knew there was no "correct" buyer this time, that was the point. Instead, I added in my old Corporate codes, listing myself as the contractor, essentially transferring the bio-lab to me, and even giving me a partial ownership record to back it up. Sure, it was all illegal, but for just one bio-lab way out by the west shipyards, I figured Corporate wouldn't really care.
Skip forward a few months, and I'd actually managed to change a few more property documents so that my official residence was shifted to the bio-lab as well. Hab assignments shifted often enough that my hab-mate didn't think anything of it, not even enough to say more than just "bye" as I left the alcove. Without spending any money, and by clandestinely changing just a few lines of code in Corporate's system, I'd managed to more than quadruple my living space, and had access to a bio-lab and a small storefront to boot.
I knew better than to try to use the bio-lab to manufacture any corporate-controlled implants or prosthetics or anything that might bring a copyright squad calling on me,
but there are plenty of other uses for a bio-lab, and it's not like I couldn’t still get some use out of the cyber-processing equipment that was there in the meantime. After all, the newest cybernetics are the only ones that Corporate's security forces care about- more than 5 years old, and you can get away with selling just about anything on the black market, and let's be real here- there's plenty of older-model robots and processors and cybers out there that people will still pay plenty for.
So, I started to run a tech processing and repair shop out of the old bio-lab storefront. Didn't make me rich, sure, but it was plenty to keep me alive and out of trouble. Corporate this far from the city center tended to be a little easier to buy off, if they even bothered to come calling in the first place, and it's not like the cost of consumable rations was any higher here. I hated to see that bio-lab just go to waste though, so I started to take apart some of the incubators that had been used for bio-implant growth, to see what else they might be good for.
Looking at a holoprojection of some of the luxury habitats on the higher levels of some of the skyrises one day, I realized that there might be a legitimate
use for those incubators that were just sitting around corroding away right now. The pollution levels in the cities, combined with the near-constant haze, had gotten so bad that for almost a hundred miles in any direction, even once you left the city, you wouldn't see a single green plant growing. Even the weeds and vines that used to gradually creep into abandoned districts had eventually died away. There was a reason people at street-level had to wear respirators almost every time we stepped outdoors, after all… the atmosphere here wasn't something that any living thing could breathe for long if it wanted to keep
living. Down in the sub-city tunnels the air wasn't so immediately toxic, since buildup underground could be lethal for the workers there (not that Corporate cared about their health, they just didn't want them to drop dead so often that it started to hurt profits), so there were a few fungi and mutated insects and rats and the like that managed to eke out a living, but that was about it- once you got up to street level, anything that looked green was almost sure to be an advertisement.
But those elite habitats were above a lot of the low-level pollution and haze, and they even got honest-to-God sunlight from time to time, so one of the biggest status symbols a hab there could possess was greenery. Obviously the people who lived there wouldn't bother with the genetic engineering that keeping a plant alive in this kind of environment required (it took more than sunlight to make something biologically able to survive in the cities' atmospheres), but they'd buy plants that someone else had altered for them, and for a pretty good sum too.
It didn't take too much alteration to get the incubators reprogrammed so that they maintained an environment suited for plant growth rather than cybernetic tissue- all I needed now was the genetic code of a few plant species to start modifying and growing. The only genomes officially licensed by Corporate were things like maize and soy- crops that could be grown on some of the Consolidated hydro-farms far from the cities, and processed into the consumable rations they sold us, but there were still a few outdated genomic libraries that could be accessed through Corporate's archives, and thankfully, my access codes still worked.
Skip forward another few months, and my re-coded incubators had actually managed to get me a good batch of plant life. It wasn't a product that my cybernetics clientele had much interest in (no surprise there- these weren't exactly the type of people who lived anywhere near sunlight, after all), but eventually, I managed to find someone who worked in the section of Consolidated that sold hab decorations to the elites, and she promised me a connection within a few days.
Not too bad for someone who grew up next to the Armscor metalworks... I'd just have to keep things quiet enough that Corporate wouldn't start looking into the records for this bio-lab too closely.
See, I told you, sometimes the stories behind my lots are more fun (for me, anyways) than the lots themselves! Not that I didn't like this lot once I was done with it, but I like the world building and storytelling that some designs call for even better than the lot itself, and since I haven't done anything even remotely close to cyberpunk before, I figured this could be a fun challenge! This lot is actually heavily based on a drawing (flipped so that the garage would work) I found on DeviantArt in my occasional forays for inspiration, but the story is all me.
This isn't a huge lot, but it is still pretty densely built-up, and with more than $200,000 worth of stuff on it, you may need to find some kind of property fraud for your cyberpunk Sims to commit to be able to afford it!
Still, it should be considerably easier on your processor than many of the lots I post, so there's that…
No CC was used here (surprise, surprise), and I did playtest a clone of the lot. Aside from some odd routing decisions made by my tester Sim from time to time (which I still cannot figure out), there didn't seem to be any glaring problems with this lot. If you find any in your gameplay, please let me know, and I'll see if I can get Corporate to help in fixing them!
As always, enjoy!
Lot Price (furnished):
The exterior and parts of the interior of this lot were inspired by an image on DeviantArt by ortsmor, so thank you to them for the initial spark!