Bills to Pay
California became a literal beacon of hope in the years immediately following the Awakening and hasn’t shown any signs of flagging in that role in the following decades.
The Republic of California initially responded against the wave of terror and violence that swept the world. The dispossessed and bewildered metahumans and the refugees from the Ghost Dancer’s War were welcomed within its borders, and against all expectations, the Republic rose to the challenge. The rich and powerful sacrificed their personal wealth and power to house, feed, educate, and protect the masses. The government that arose is the sort of communist paradise that Marx envisioned and that never came to be. As the world settled into its new borders, however, a new wave of immigration threatened to overwhelm the Republic, and the great bear closed her borders. There are two border crossings, one on the Northern border and another on the Southern, and the port of Los Angeles manages millions of tons of maritime and aviation shipping. But there’s no tourism and very little diplomacy. California sells her massive agricultural surplus at pretty damn good prices to the outside world, and Seattle especially gets a lot of its food from the farms and fisheries of California.
This sort of success has, of course, spawned curiosity and jealousy. There’s an annual trickle of the poor, the lost, and the hopeful that attempt to sneak in every year. These are generally deposited, disappointed but alive, on the other side of the closest border crossing. Spies, either alone or as teams of elite operatives, occasionally attempt to infiltrate in past the borders. These are, so far as the characters are aware, never heard from again. On the other hand, there does not seem to be any retribution falling on whoever may have ordered these attempts, so they continue to occur on an irregular basis as foreign corporations and governments come up with a new technology or new operative they’d like to test (or perhaps get rid of).
The National Bank of California also runs the escrow business through which pretty much every Shadowrun contract is paid.