March 3, 2019 at 8:50 pm #16198
Mato doesn’t look particularly sympathetic to Gao’s situation. ”Life in the Sixth World is tough. Someone always wants what you have.”
He shrugs noncommittally. ”You’ll need to hire someone, but – as you say – he’s getting irrational. It doesn’t make any sense to firebomb your shop out of retaliation. There’s no profit in that, just anger. The levers you pull to manipulate angry people are different from the ones you pull to manipulate rational people.”
He comms the team. <<Is this a job we want to take? Ginsburg dipped out, but I figure any job we take is going to piss someone off. Just the nature of the biz. Money’s good, and we have our debts, but we have to be willing to cross an angry Triad. But, from the sounds of it, an arrogant loner. Could be as simple as confronting a bully and calling them out. I’m sure Bobby has his ways of making an impression on a man.>>March 4, 2019 at 5:42 pm #16202
One thing that Jawsey appreciates about trodes is that it makes it easy to converse while eating. While enjoying his slice of pizza he sent
<<Dividing 15k between the four of us would be nice. Think we could scare him indirectly? Haunt him with crazed animals, spirits in the night, and the like? With a bit of luck he’d not be able to track it back to us. Although either he’s a summoner or he has access to one, spirits would make that plan a lot harder. I guess the first step could be to investigate Gau a bit more thoroughly — we are supposed to be detectives after all.>>March 4, 2019 at 7:24 pm #16207
Mato does the same thing as Jawsey, eating while comming.
<<I don’t even know if it’s as complicated as all that. It might be as simple as cornering Chau and informing him that Gao has protection. If Chau reacts rationally then that’s the end of that. If Chau responds irrationally then we ratchet up the pressure until he sees the light.>>
Mato chews thoughtfully.
<<If we wanted to tailor the experience, we could. Everyone’s afraid of something, doesn’t matter how tough you are. Might be something physical, like heights or clowns. It might be something mental, failure or rejection…>> He studies his own hand momentarily while eating a piece of pizza. <<Or a combination of the two, like obsolescence. Perhaps AM dips into Chau’s commlink and digs up his deepest fear. This could be as easy as talking to Chau while Bobby’s a two-meter spider. Or maybe Bobby doesn’t transform at all, and just sweet talks him.>>
Mato looks over to Bobby. When you needed someone charmed, you sent Jawsey. When you wanted someone scared, you sent Bobby. He had a special talent for pinpointing his drek-talk like a fencer with his foil.March 5, 2019 at 12:29 pm #16212
AM texts >>Most important thing, strike the iron while it is hot. This point in time is the most we are going to get from Gau as the experience is still fresh. Tomorrow he may grow some boldness and return to his cheapass nature.
About Chau, we can do many things to him, all on the table, and we can do what works. Perhaps we even want to pay him off a little bit to drop the matter. The man seems desperate, and deep down he accepted that he would get nothing from Gau.March 5, 2019 at 1:53 pm #16213
Jawsey put down the crust of his slice, swallowed, then summarized”You are pretty fragged. You can’t run a business with this gangster arranging attacks on your store, on you, and on your customers. In no time at all you’d have nothing, after all the years you put into building it up. Stock burned or stolen, building gone, customers too scared to contact you, you and your wife burning through the 15k on this credstick for medical bills, before you start selling all your possessions … I have sympathy, I know you didn’t mean to get into this situation, you didn’t realize how much drek sticks to these cards. But it happened, you stepped in the drek, and now it is pulling you down, down, down.” Jawsey shook his head in dismay at Gau’s situation, then ate part of his crust while he made a show of thinking.
“Part of your problem is that nobody wants to switch places with you. Taking on the triads, it just isn’t smart! They are so vicious that nobody wants to mess with them. They may not be as big as the Mafia or Yakuzza families, but they make up for it by being ruthless and merciless. It can take a lot of money to pay for that sort of risk, and if you get somebody who isn’t good enough to get the job done, then you just make the situation worse, like wounding a tiger.” Tiger? Maybe it was bears that went crazy when they were hurt? Bears had been wiped out on Haida Gwaii long before Jawsey was born, so even coming from Tsimshian he’d had no more experience with bears than he’d had with tigers.
“But we’ve already dealt with this joker a bit, and we don’t like him. And you do good work, even if you are a racist bastard, and we’d like you to stay in business. So how about we keep ourselves in this together. We get this guy off your back, and we keep making sure that the triads don’t turn on you – provided you don’t go do something stupid to rile them up again. And beyond that, we come to you for all of our magic related supplies, and recommend you to other clients who might need your goods or services. In return, we keep this credstick, and you give us a ten percent discount on our future purchases – personal use only, no re-selling to our clients, we send them to you to buy directly from you. This helps stabilize your business, and makes sure that you don’t have to make a lot of one time payments if the triads come back at you, so you can focus on making your business prosperous. And this gives us incentive to keep you in business and thriving.”March 5, 2019 at 2:16 pm #16215
<<Pay off Chau?>> Mato frowns to himself. <<Maybe he likes leather products: a belt in the mouth and a boot in the ass!>>
Mato nods along with Jawsey’s speech, both to show visual solidarity but also because he’s genuinely impressed. It’s all there: building up the threat, posing it in personal terms, then unwinding it with a viable course of action that might actually work. Mato would have turned Gao’s screws a little more – or maybe a lot more – but it doesn’t really matter to him. Given that the odds of Mato buying something from Gao are just about nil, he’s not really in a position to benefit from any negotiated discounts, so he doesn’t really care if they’re 10% or 20%.March 5, 2019 at 3:37 pm #16217
Gau stands up “15k? Discounts?… You are killing me Jawsey, I got a wife two children, and business is already slow.” He stands up and walks around like a caged animal. “Fine, but keep the discount purchases within reason. Agreement or no agreement, I won’t sell you items at a loss, and I won’t work for free. I can discount only items that are profitable, no reagents or fetishes and stuff like that. You take away 10% from these, and I lose money for selling them to you. You said that you want me in business – you have to agree.”
AM continues with her pizza, amused to see Gau struggles like that.March 5, 2019 at 3:50 pm #16219
“Alright. So let’s catch Chao and put the fear of god in him.” Bobby had inhaled his second piece of pizza and was now patting his stomach.
“Do you think his flat is warded? We could have a spirit sneak in and leave a message written in blood on his wall.”March 5, 2019 at 4:42 pm #16223
“No discount on the items that we’ll need the most? What are we even providing on-going protection from the Triad for then, and promotions of your store? I thought you ran a better business than that, not having even 10% margin! Maybe we would be better off finding another source for what we need?” He asks that last question of AM, and at the same time messages the team <<AM, no need to answer. But if you could all start standing up like you were going to leave?>>
Jawsey pulls back his chair and stands up, and takes the first step toward the door, but then turns back to get his cane from where it was leaning against the table. Taking it in hand he hesitates, then admits “You did do nice work on this. OK, how about this, we’ll accept no discount on reagents or fetishes, but we get three things back: priority, respect, and promotion. You are running low on shamanic reagents, we are not the ones you screw. One of us comes in for a focus, you don’t make us wait around on it. That’s the priority part. Clear enough?” Jawsey gives Gao a hard glare.
“The respect part shouldn’t be hard to figure out, but you seem to struggle with it, so I will. No calling Mato a trog or me a keeb. And you respect that we are private investigators, you don’t call us names or put us down, or try to claim that we are common criminals. And that leads in to the promotions part: we get to leave some physical cards in your shop, and if you have customers who could maybe use our help you mention us and pass along a card.” <<Do you think asking for respect was a step too far?>>
March 6, 2019 at 7:29 am #16228
- This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by Beta.
AM stands up and do the show ”15k for going against the triads?! nobody else would do that for so little. We’ll find something better.” she tends to the exit. Gau says “Oh, stop it, Amy. I know that you guys are completely broke, this is the only reason I could hire your friends in the first place. You probably missed out on the job because you did favors to your creditors… I background check – seat. You need money like a starved trog needs food.”
Gau explains to Jawsy, a bit more relaxed and gaining confidence as he explains “You are pushing it Jawsey. Reagent collecting yields perhaps 20 drums per day, which I buy for 150 nuyen from my suppliers. I sell them for 200, and there are expenses as they take room in the shop. Rent electricity, it is a small margin.
Nobody gets rich from reagents, collecting them is a terrible work for adults unless you have access to lucrative places with rare reagents. My suppliers are all awakened street sparks with a hint of talent and too much spare time. They do it so they don’t starve. I sell reagents because it gets people to enter my shop, I don’t make much money out of that.
Fetishes, I usually buy for 1850 and sell for 2000 hardly many margins for discounts. The materials alone cost 1700, not including the hours of work. Hard labor for apprentices that seek to gain experience in enchanting without risking their lives in foci crafting. They are not something I’d like to do for myself unless I am desperate… Just imagine how many of these I need to sell to make your ‘lousy’ 15k wage.
Foci pay the bills, I do them myself and I have enough profit there to discount you. I don’t know about promotions, and respect and all that. No offense, but you stole a card and worked with convicted criminals like Ginsburg. You are not exactly the kind of people I’d like to introduce to respected clients. I respect that you have your uses, but you are borderline criminals deep in debt to various criminal organizations. I really don’t want to be formally associated with you, no offense… You will scare off some of the richer clients. If you mean to stop calling you keebs/pixie/trogs – okay I guess, I just thought that this is how you criminals speak to each other. “
He shrugs “As for priority, it is expensive Jawsey. Important people pay more to get things done faster. You can’t expect to get a discount and priority put yourself in my shoes, I earn less money supplying to you, and you make me give up a more lucrative job for some corp dude that pays like 30% extra? This is hardly fair, I can perhaps make two perhaps three foci in a month. It is not the production time, it is the fact that the enchanter leaves a part of himself in each of them. Doing more is possible, but it is bad for me long term. Perhaps you can pay normal and get priority as if you paid 10% extra, or you can get 10% discount?”
March 6, 2019 at 2:12 pm #16241
- This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by Gilga.
Bobby shrugged, leaving Jawsey to do his thing, but he sent one comment nonetheless:
<<Don’t mention respect – if you have to beg for respect you ain’t got none.
So, let’s do this – we haven’t got anything better to do anyway.>>March 6, 2019 at 4:57 pm #16248
Mato pauses chewing for a moment as Bobby comms, then comms back.
<<Let’s not confuse respect with esteem. I don’t care how Gao feels about us when he’s laying awake in bed at night. I do care how he acts in person or in public. We don’t need his deference or his high opinion, but we do need a certain degree of civility and courtesy that’s been lacking. Gao’s been out-of-line, and now Jawsey is setting him straight.>>March 7, 2019 at 1:46 am #16256
AM suggests ”Fine, you established that you cannot give us a discount on fetishes and reagents. I get that let’s move on – we think we deserve a more generous payday, and you did not deny it. You have few alternatives to us, and in that spirit perhaps you can give us a single focus at a larger discount? Perhaps taking a third off?”
Gau did not hesitate ” I’ll add 25% discount on a single focus providing you order it soon while business is still slow, and I am relatively free. This is the most I can do for you, and I do have alternatives, don’t push your luck.”March 7, 2019 at 9:44 am #16267
<<Since this ganger has taken one run at us, we need to deal with him anyway. Let’s take this, and I’ll kick back to the rest of you if I save big on a focus.>>
“Fine, we can take that. And to show our good will, we won’t talk to people about how you hoisted the known criminal Ginsburgh on us, a group of respectable private investigators.” He holds Gau’s eye during that last part, emphasizing that perhaps Gau wasn’t in a strong position to start throwing around slurs and accusations.March 7, 2019 at 3:34 pm #16268
<<Alright, let’s get to work.>> Mato has a sleep regulator and doesn’t pay as much attention to time or fatigue as a result. <<Chau could make another run at Gao’s shop tonight and I don’t want to be on round-the-clock guard duty. Let’s see if we can track down Chau and have a polite conversation that may or may not involve Bobby as a two-meter spider. Maybe we can start with his nightclub in Tacoma, Opium Club or whatever it is.>>March 7, 2019 at 5:29 pm #16274
<<Yeah, clubbing is one of my favorite things to do with criminals. I’ll take a nap first, but otherwise I’m game.>>
Bobby replied, giving Gao a wink and a nod. “By the way old man: Could you spare some drams of reagents right now? Went through a fair bit of forms and wouldn’t mind avoiding burning out my brain with drain.”March 8, 2019 at 6:38 pm #16279
<<You can nap in the car. It’s 70-75 kilometers between here and there. That will take an hour.>>
Mato stands, taking one last bite of pizza and one final slurp of soda. ”We’ll be in touch,” he tells Gao. He opens his mouth to say something else, thinks better of it, then leaves.
<<I was going to tell him ‘try not to die’, but we get paid the same either way so I guess it doesn’t matter. I suppose the finger wigglers would need a new source for their pixie dust if he dies. So I guess I could have said it. Oh well.>>
He heads out to the car. If AM is joining them, he’ll leave the driver’s seat for her.March 9, 2019 at 2:21 am #16281
AM happily joins in the driver seat. She texts >> Sadly, I am too broke to buy a focus even after this gig. Glad we took the job, triad or no triad, it is a lifeline. She was already in bed with the Mafia, it was a good debt as it allowed her to learn technical skills while providing matrix overwatch, or sometimes being the on-site specialist.
Road to Tacoma, about19:00 (Not sure if we agree on a date).
The drive to Tacoma is eventless, the hour not ideal for the trip as many workers finish working at 19:00 and then hit the road to commute. Regardless, traffic is not terrible and delays perhaps half an hour all in all. You arrive at the Opium Club at about 20:30, early enough so you do not have to wait to enter, but apparently late enough for the club to be active. The club is far from full, but there is a movement of well-dressed men and woman into the club and the psychedelic pop music from within is audible even at the parking lot. Apparently, some clubs are not concerned with neighbor noise complaints.March 11, 2019 at 2:55 pm #16295
Bobby turned to Mato: “I know it’s getting old, but you don’t mind if I go bug again and ride in with you? Saves on ticket costs and provides you with sudden backup if you need it.”March 11, 2019 at 4:27 pm #16297
Jawsey asks AM “Can you tell what sort of scanner they are running at the door? I’d like to take my sword cane in if I can, but not worth making a fuss if they are using a decent scanner. I’m assuming there is no way we can get guns in. Not that I’m much of a fighter anyway, but sometimes weapons make people back off long enough to run away. Anyway, I’m going to make a quick astral sweep before we go in.”
Jawsey’s body goes limp and his spirit goes exploring. He checks for spirits or other awakened near the entrance, then more generally around the outside of the club, before quickly and carefully checking the inside.
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