Locations of interest
Perhaps the most sterile and boring quarter of the city from an aesthetic standpoint, Valles Center is none-the-less one of the most interesting, as this is where many of the hypercorps hide their secrets. While most of the corps have a conspicuous presence in other parts of town, it is in the anonymous office parks of Valles Center that many of their private networks, design centers, and engineering labs are located. The painfully monotonous design of the place serves another purpose: security. Very few people live under this dome. The streets and tramways are crowded with commuters during rush hours and lunch time. The rest of the day, foot and vehicle traffic is incredibly light, relative to the rest of the city, and at night the streets are virtually deserted. This makes keeping the area under tight surveillance nearly idiot proof, which is how the corps like things. Meanwhile, the detestably uniform building designs mean that when someone’s ill-advised nanowarfare project gets out of control and breaks half a block down into its component molecules, rebuilding things so that they look exactly the same three days later is a relatively simple matter.
At the center of the dome is the Exchange, a complex of massive office towers and very expensive housing that is the trading center for much of the Martian securities and commodities trade. The three tallest of these, known together as the Trident, are the tallest buildings on Mars; they extend 3 kilometers above the dome, affording well-heeled occupants a stunning view of the Eosian countryside. Although trading is an entirely mesh-based activity, the trading houses still cluster together for social reasons. Also located in the Exchange are several of Valles-New Shanghai’s most prominent law firms; the current cock of the walk is Chen-Boltzmann-Marcos. If there is any proof of karma at work in the universe, it might well be the number of pre-Fall lawyers slaving away as infomorph paralegals for these firms.