Shadowrun - Just Another Job
The Lay of the Land
The farm is located in the Snoqualmie river valley. The Salish-Sidhe border lies to the east of the property, across from the disused I-203. Salish-Sidhe patrols are a frequent sight but never interfere with activity within the Barrens. A mile to the north is the Rat's Nest; the people who live there do a good deal of business with Kaur's Farm, although it would be a stretch to say that they actually like each other. Uphill and directly west of the farm (about two kilometers) is The Plastic Jungle. Kaur's Farm has a longstanding rivalry with the Plastic Jungle, one that has occasionally turned violent. The area between the two is densely wooded with eucalyptus, another half-hearted attempt to bring some natural beauty to the Barrens.
To the south of the farm, along the banks of the Snoqualmie River, are a series of squatter settlements. These range in size from a few families to sprawling shanty towns with hundreds of residents. They susbsist almost exclusively on regular shipments of food stuff from the Metroplex, shipments that are often delayed or stolen by gangers along the rout. This is crushing poverty at its very worst, a portrait of people without a future.
Overview of the Farm
Kaur's Farm is named after Kaur Singh's late wife. Kaur (pronounced "Core") is a Sikh surname, the female equivalent of Singh and signifies a level of equality between the sexes that is rarely encouraged in traditional Indian culture. The farm is built around an old dairy farm and is surrounded by stone barricades, rusted barbed-wire fence segments, and chain-link perimeters. The farm has six floodlights around the perimeter and entrances on the north and south sides with small guard shacks and moveable barricades made of old vehicles.
The warehouse-like cow barn has been converted into living and storage for a community of 50, half of which are under 16 years old. Radiating out from the center building are greenhouses that extend 500 feet from the barn. The farm has survived in the Barrens for 15 years for a couple of reasons.
Its owners, Mr. Singh and his wife, have left a sizable pile of dismembered and ventilated gangers just outside the farm's perimeter over the years. The smaller fish understand that Kaur's farm is too tough of a nut to crack and that any attempt to do so will be met with a terrifying amount of violence. However, Singh is a wily businessman who knows how to make deals and friends almost as well as he can carve a man into bite-sized pieces. His approach to the local area is best described as a "carrot and shotgun" policy. If you mess with his people, you get the shotgun; if you'd like to buy some fresh vegetables (at a local discount, of course) then there are plenty of carrots to go around.
Singh built a reputation of taking care of his people and whole families live on the farm now. Everyone knows they most work together or perish. The life they lead, while isolated and difficult, is vastly preferable to fighting squatters for food rations or selling their children into slavery. It is not much, but in the Barrens it is more than enough to fight to the death for.
Singh's wife died before they could have children. As a result, Singh has sought to create his own family by adopting a staggering number of abandoned children. This is one of the major reasons Donnie Hua brought Chaaya here instead of abandoning her to the child welfare system. As a SINLess child, it is unlikely that she would have been able to receive any sort of actual treatment for her abuse and stood a good chance of becoming another broken squatter or worse.
Singh utilizes a form of farming known as Aquaculture. By using a series of simple pumps, water is circulated from tanks that hold fish (mostly tilapia) to trays of vegetable plants. The water contains fish excrement that acts as a nutrient source for the plants, which in turn filter the water until it is clean enough to be recycled back into the fish tanks. Properly managed, this method of growing allows farmers to avoid planting in the highly-polluted and ground of the Barrens. It is also fairly compact and self-contained, so a great deal of farming can be conducted in a small area. Plant/fish tank combinations are stacked on top of each other three meters tall, and these are protected from the elements by greenhouses constructed of discarded windows, plastic sheeting, and other debris. The gangers to which Singh pays the largest share of protection money are the Red Hot Nukes. Due to the farm's remote location, the Red Hot Nukes are not able to provide much physical security. Instead they act as brokers, ensuring that Singh is able to sell his product throughout the Barrens without having to ever leave the farm.