Los Angeles is, well, one of the birth places of the Internet… if you can say the Internet has a place. To the Technocracy and the few Traditions that love it, the Silicon Desert aka the Digital Web of L.A. is prime territory for the Great Race. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, Void Engineers and Virtual Adepts formatted the net like they did anywhere else, but the Race in Los Angeles is a little more complicated to to its unique history.
Bonfire of the Vanity Phones
During the 1910s, Los Angeles was in the middle of consolidating its telephone service into a single company. Difference Engineers had backed the Sleeper run AT&T, and only one thing was delaying its implementation of the Timeline in LA was rival company Sunset Telephone. This was a small, local carrier run by an Etherite going by the name of Dr. Dialtone. He had all kinds of kooky ads all over LA that managed to make his service popular, but what really galled the Technocracy was his ghost telephone service. Apparently, if you bought one of his vanity handsets, you were able to dial into the Burbank switch office, and talk to the dead. Whether Sleepers believed in this telephone medium is another matter, but the service was wildly popular. The Technocracy didn’t want to wait him out, and a Difference Engineer named Penn Zenith was assigned the task of knocking out the competition.
Accounts say that this turned into a tit-for-tat battle of the brands that ended up with the telephonic David and Goliath. Dr. Dialtone inspired the few remaining smaller carriers to rebel against AT&T, and this resulted in all kinds of mudslinging in the press. Apparently this this drove Zenith to the edge. He just couldn’t handle it. He called for a scorched earth policy against Dr. Dialtone in the name of a unified telephone system, and the Technocracy, of course, just throws more boy scout juice on the whole thing until it turned into a conflagration. Literally. Around 1905, in an attempt to intimidate the competition, Zenith and a group of HIT Marks raid Sunset Telephone, make big pile of all the vanity telephones, and burns them in the street. Then he burns down Sunset’s central switching office taking the lives of several Sleepers with it. While this tactic succeeded, Zenith went completely insane, and vanished into the Digital Web.
There are rumors that Zenith resurfaced in the 1980s during the break up of Pacific Bell, and wrought havoc on Technocracy constructs, but they deny anything like that ever happened. Virtual Adepts say the Mad One has actually bonded with the Los Angeles telephone system, but maybe that is just a story for Lamers. As for Dr. Dialtone? Strangely the Etherites have no record of a Dr. Dialtone in Los Angele or anywhere. Maybe he was just a product of Zenith’s madness.
The ARPANET & LO-Sector
The ARPANET is known among the Sleepers, but to the Awakened it redefined the Digital Web. When those two letters, “LO” were transmitted a Wellspring opened with an explosion of Quintessence. Some say it was from that Wellspring that the Digital Web was given an enduring form. Whatever the case may be, it positively flooded Los Angeles’s Web creating a near infinite supply of Virgin Web. It this power source that made One Wilshire possible (for better or for worse), fueled the reboot of Crystal Palace in Silicon Valley, and continues to nourish Webcrawlers all over the city. The source of all this power? LO-Sector. Lo-Sector is one of the Web’s most enduring mysteries, and its guarded heart is at the center of LA’s Great Race. LO-Sector is the Node by the first transmission of the ARPANET, but that’s all that is known about it. Protected by a class of Digital Umbrood called the Talos, LO-Sector is an independent player in the Ascension War.
The Great Race & One Wilshire
All over the Web, Adepts and Irontooth raced to format sectors and duked it out over the legendary turf war that is the Great Race. In LA, the race was even more heated. Irontooth literally moved the city’s grid so they could channel it into One Wilshire, one of the most connected places on the planet. While the Elite are loathe to accept defeat, this was a battle they lost. In 1993, as the Sleepers were all signining up for AOL accounds, One Wilshire quietly became one of the most hotly contested sectors on the Web. The Cryptkeepers talk about running its ICE, battling digital HIT Marks, and pour one out for all those who got fried in the process. One Wilshire, for better or worse, slowly became the anchor point of the Southern California’s datasphere. What does that mean? Its too big to fail. The Techncoracy became victims of their own their own success. In their hubris, they thought they could manage the world’s 3rd largest telco holel. As Sleeper lawyers made way for the the Information Age companies, it became unmanageable. The game of virtula chicken the Adepts played suddenly became more like hid-an-go-seek. Operation A||URB@S3$ was a crazy plan hatched by the Cypher and Cyberpunks under the cover of the LA riots. While Technocracy goons were trying to get the city back under control the Adepts snuck in and stole the keys to the castle. What did we do with them? We used them. And then the lights went out. And woudn’t come back on. One Wilsh going down caused a rolling White across entire Los Angeles. Adepts and Irontooth hit the panic button while Sleepers screamed at their ISPs. The only thing that remained up was Lo-Sector, and weirdly enough, a little place called Nighthawks. When Irontooth tried to bring One Wilsh back online they found all their passcodes had changed. Becaue we changed them. We had one, but the problem was we couldn’t get back online either.
Nighthawks was an out of the way digital watering hole in the Angel’s Flight sector. The classic film noir setting was created sometime in the 80s, and was mostly fogotten until Operation A||URB@S3$. Br0ther T1ger from ZooDio, and a few other folks from the Crystal Palace met with the Irontooth’s top brass at Nighthawks, and hashed out a deal. In exchange for the codes, the Adepts got to link directly to Lo-Sector, and do whatever they wanted with it.