Sunday, September 18, 2011

Berk Locations: Cyberdome

Image from Wikimedia Commons.
Gibson gangs may be semi-nomadic, erecting temporary camps and moving on when they have picked an area clean. Other Gibson gangs are completely nomadic, living out of RVs and trailers that follow the main pack. Yet others have permanent residences of sorts in the Unsettlement and strike from there. No matter where a Gibson lives, though, he or she has a second home at Cyberdome.

Cyberdome is an enormous, somewhat decrepit dome out in the wasteland northeast of Berk, past the Unsettlement. The dome covers dozens of apartment buildings, street shops, back alleys and thoroughfares. Video game machines are everywhere. Many are broken and are decorated with lights to give them some semblance of life, but just as many are functional. The whole Cyberdome is active at all hours of the day or night with the noises of the machines.

Thanks to the dome overhead, it can be hard to tell whether it is day or night outside Cyberdome. It matters little to those who are there. Cyberdone never sleeps. It is lit at all times by electric lanterns, neon signs, and strings of electric lights that crisscross above pedestrians' heads. Food stalls are open at all times, with the shouts of the vendors competing with the tempting smells wafting from the cooking pots and barbeques. There are stores for weapons, trenchcoats, sunglasses, electronics, tattoos, and all combinations of those.

According to legend, Cyberdome started when some Gibsons settled around a working automated clinic that could graft cybernetics to people. The place was a sort of neutral ground between Gibson gangs, as the gangs decided to share the precious clinic for fear of damaging the priceless technology in fighting over it. Opportunistic Gibsons started setting up shops around the clinic to sell the loot they got on their raids, and eventually a massive dome was raised in the single greatest act of cooperation the Gibsons had ever seen.


Though the clinic is the most vital part of Cyberdome, Cyberdome's main attraction for crowds is Shootergame. Shootergame's primary function is as a way of resolving disputes among various Gibson clans. Especially the larger clans would rather send a champion or team of champions to Shootergame than risk the loss of fuel, ammunition, and lives of an "IRL" war between the clans.

Shootergame is set up at the very center of Cyberdome. Contestants sit on a raised platform surrounded by arena seating. Each contestant has a computer, a mouse, and keyboard. The games are overseen by the "Master of Cerem-pwn-ies" known as The Modder. The Modder is tasked with designing the in-game stages of Shootergame that the contestants will go through, and the Modder is also the final moderator and arbitrator over the ubiquitous accustations of "hax."

Nobody is sure what "hax" are, but accusing the other player of "hax" is a traditional last attempt by a losing contestant to change the outcome of a a fight. If a fight is arranged between two feuding Gibson clans to resolve a conflict, the forfeit the losing clan must pay is decided before the fight. It sometimes, though not always, calls for the deaths of the losing contestants, but it is just as often a forfeiture of weapons, ammunition, technology, fuel, or territory.

Shootergame is also how the all-important "rankings" are determined. "Rankings" determines the position of a Gibson gang in Cyberdome. Games fought for "rankings" are arranged by the Modder, and the winners go up in the strict caste system of Cyberdome. Top-ranked clans always have first choice at stores and get seats of honor at the street restaurants.

While Shootergame always draws a big crowd, anyone in Cyberdome can know how a game is going simply by looking up. The inside of Cyberdome is entirely covered by a collection of thousands of televisions and monitors, all hooked up to a form a single display showing what is happening in Shootergame. Gibsons who bring a new screen to Cyberdome are rewarded with cybernetic augmentations, ammunition, and fuel.

Who Runs Cyberdome

Cyberdome is controlled by a mysterious entity known as the Uberleet. Rumors circulate about what the Uberleet might be, and claims are that it is anything from a champion who hacked his own brain so that he could control his body like a gamer controls his character, to a girl gamer who used her girl powers to take over Cyberdome, to a gamer who became so good that he ascended to the digital world of the game, to a sentient computer virus who controls Cyberdome like the Modder controls Shootergame.

Whoever or whatever Uberleet might be, it keeps a tight control over Cyberdome and enforces neutrality. Anyone causing a disturbance soon disappears and is never seen again, if the transgressor is fortunate. If the transgressor is unfortunate, he or she will be somehow integrated into the next Shootergame...


Cyberdome is the place where Gibsons go to "unlock" their cheevos. Cheevos are a sign of standing among Gibsons. Many of them are obvious - going from a "noob" to a "pro" will net you the "Noob No More" cheevo. Many cheevos are more obscure, though. For instance, defeating a Bearcoon with a single shot will earn the "Coonskin Cap" cheevo.

When the requirements of a cheevo have been met, the Gibson must travel to Cyberdome and present proof to the representatives of the Uberleet. Whenever a Gibson "unlocks" a cheevo, a box appears in the video showing Shootergame to announce the Gibson's name and the unlocked cheevo.

There are rumored to be thousands of possible cheevos, and most of them are so obscure that nobody would ever earn them without specifically trying for them. Therefore, many Gibsons make regular trips to Cyberdome to check for cheevos they might try to go out and get.

Non-Gibsons in Cyberdome

Nobody is quite sure whether the truce that reigns over Cyberdome extends to non-Gibsons, so anyone who is not clearly a Gibson should tread cautiously if he or she has business there. There are always guards patrolling the perimeter of Cyberdome, but if a non-Gibson approaches with no sign of hostility, there is a pretty good chance he or she won't be used for target practice, assuming the guards are not particularly bored that day or trying to show off their new weapon to their friends.

Non-Gibsons can have many reasons for visiting Cyberdome, from trying to make a transaction to trying to make contact with someone to wanting to (or having to) compete in Shootergame. Whatever brings the non-Gibson to Cyberdome, he or she would be wise to leave as soon as his or her business is concluded there.

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