It’s almost hard to believe that Beaver Lake used to be a nice area for commuters and families to live, grow old, and retire, free from the radioactive ash and almost universal lawlessness that would later come to define it.

“Glow City” formed in the wake of Redmond’s nuclear meltdown catastrophe in 2013, a home to everyone pushed out by regular society, for whom life without running water or a stable roof overhead was already common. With the Awakening in full swing and fears running rampant, more than a few orks and trolls found their way to the Barrens, their natural physical stature a benefit when it came to survival in the gang-controlled streets.

The SIN-less population outnumbers those with legal documentation almost three-to-one, but even those with government records won’t find peace and quiet—law enforcement of all levels have given up on Redmond, leaving everyone therein to fend for themselves. There are even plenty of Shadowrunners who won’t take jobs in Redmond; the risks are just too high. Corporations, and their security forces, are generally fair, if heavy-handed, when it comes to defending their property. In the crazed wilds on the metroplex’s outskirts, there’s no such tacit professionalism.

In the swirling ocean of street chaos and perpetual violence however there exists a small island of tranquility, an eye in the storm just beyond the contaminated lake waters. On a small street whose name has long been ground under by the forces of entropy, for two city blocks, there is peace.

There isn’t running power, water, or sanitation—other than what the residents can jury-rig themselves—but gangs give the area a wide berth, and while most of the buildings have boarded-up windows and bullet-holes, nobody inside can remember a time where shootings, stabbings, or violence entered their quiet hamlet in any great measure.

In a world where Megacorporations are building bases on Mars and immortal dragons fly through the sky, where magic and technology have advanced to a degree unthinkable just decades before, it’s difficult to take comfort in faith or religion. Every night however, the lucky few who make that nameless street their home give a silent thanks to Ghost for keeping them safe.

Some think Ghost is exactly that—the spirit or soul of a powerful magician who grew up near ground zero, whose care and concern for the area extends beyond even the veil of death. Others believe it’s a team of retired Shadowrunners trying to ensure their own peace and quiet, in a place they won’t be sought after. One political researcher, in a long-buried treatise, suggested it was evidence that collective activism could work wonders, even in the most blighted places in the modern world, and that it was the residents themselves, working in unison, who carved out a home for themselves.

Whatever Ghost may or may not be, there’s no denying that there exists a stretch of the Redmond Barrens, no matter how small, where violence is all but unknown and the residents are left to live in peace. It’s not a glamorous existence by any means, but compared to the chaos and terrors which plague the rest of Glow City, it’s a vast improvement. Even if nobody knows the answer, everyone in the area knows you don’t bring violence, push drugs, or bring trouble to the small oasis; that kind of excitement will ensure your friends—or anyone else for that matter—will never see you again.

Header image by carloyuen from Pixabay