So in my story, partially mechanical dragons have replaced cars as basic transportation (mass transits in the form of trains, subways and transport by planes and ships is still available, though the latter two are uncommon at best for private use). Partly mechanical to enhance flight speed and durability; it's hard to puncture dragon scales. Most are nonsentient, though can parrot a limited number of phrases to indicate if something is wrong with them ("Maintenance", for example, or "Hungry."). They subsist on solar energy and biofuel in the form of "pet food", which can subsequently come in either dry or wet form. Most people use pellets because they make less of a mess.
Typically, a dragon is implanted with a variety of chips; a locator, an ID, and a device that allows the rider of said dragon to call it to them if they are in different areas. The dragon will naturally land in the nearest open space available, unless said space is obviously dangerous.
A real fire-breathing dragon requires an extensive licensing process loaded with red tape, and are generally only in the hands of the military, the police or bodyguards with particularly wealthy employers.
Dragons come in two types, natural and utility. Utility dragons are more common, low-maintenance, primarily factory made and have seats set direcly into the equivalent of a spine. What kind of system would allow them to be controlled by nerve impulses?
"Naturals" are less mechanical, obviously, but require full tack and harness in order to be ridden for any distance. They can also be "bred", but only with proper licensing. Unlicensed breeding is quickly shut down by the government.
What kind of changes would I have to make to society to accomodate having dragons instead of cars? Economic impacts?
What would people use for an equivalent of a "trunk" on a dragon, for example? What would the riders do in case of inclement weather? What could be used in the place of "parking lots"? (Most dragons don't require constant companionship; left to their own devices they will stare at clouds, sunbathe or socialize with others for hours on end until summoned by their masters.)
How much would I have to retool my cities? Wider streets to accomodate walking or flying dragons and holographic billboards for example (no damage if flown into).
And more importantly, how would you manage traffic? Regulations, the equivalent of a "stop light", if applicable, etc?
I have honestly no idea how to google this. :( There will probably be some Completely Obvious Source that I haven't even thought of floating around, I just can't think of what it could be for the life of me. ><
Also, my protagonist (an idle wastrel with rich parents) gets caught looking at some rather sensitive information pertaining to some secrets of the company their parents are employed by, and as such has to pay for it.
This company has its hands in some Rather Shady Business, which is why they're so concerned about security leaks. They can't kill him/her outright, and the information the protagonist found out won't be the end of the world, but particularly damaging and embarassing if leaked.
What kind of information could this be?
I need my protagonist to get involved in the business (I can railroad them, if neccessary), preferably in a position that will expose him to violence of some sort, preferably from agents of rival companies or gangs mixed up with said companies. They will also have to carry a gun of some sort as part of the job.
How do I get him there, and what kind of position would that be?
Setting is an original world similar to a futuristic America, though not quite at the level of typical sci-fi.
...suggestions for an actual gender for my protagonist would also be welcome, though I am leaning towards male. D:
I will clarify information if things seem too cloudy or general.