May 22, 2019 at 9:54 pm #19105
“Seeing the cyberdeck… He might as well ask me to show him my panties. It would be embarrassing, but less dangerous.” She thinks and moves uncomfortably, in her chair. Her darn Erika nearly killed her already, it killed a lot of her principles, due to the stress – and sometimes horror of owing the wrong kind of people so much money. The deck is on her body, under her loose shirt, AM never takes it off, but she is too protective of her 50k piece of hardware to comfortably show it to the man.
AM’s body langugage makes it clear that she agrees to the offer. She takes out a credstick from her purse and transfers her share of the protection to Jawsei’s stick. Being so broke, she is not so liberal in giving away useful credsticks.
>> The way I see it, we’ll be paid for our work even if they’ll pay less. What’s important is to get more work days for us, we established the value of the favor, anything above that he’ll pay us – just like the Mafia paid me for my service.May 23, 2019 at 1:00 am #19106
”Great,” says Andrew with somewhat less cordiality than you might have expected. He stands to signal that tea and negotiations have concluded. He accepts the nuyen and extends a hand to shake.
”Shall we begin?” he asks, rhetorically you surmise. ”There’s something I’d like you to do for me. A tiny, insignificant thing which will satisfy our agreement for the month of October.”
Oh? What must you do?
Andrew laughs curtly. ”Like us.”
Like them? Andrew and the chivalrous organization?
”That’s right,” he says, nodding, pleased by your comprehension. ”Like us. Be our chummers. Say nice things about us in the neighborhood. Become one of the boys. Now, that isn’t asking too much, is it? You’ll be surprised at how easy you’ll find it to like us once you begin.”
He gestures to the front door, requesting that you escort him out, presumably onto the street where everyone can see you together. ”Exit smiling.”May 23, 2019 at 4:13 am #19110
AM relaxes a bit, she is uncertain who will see them in the rain after the merchants were released but she plays along. AM would clearly like the man better if he helps her pay the bills. ”I’ll do that, but you’ll have to like us as well. “ she with half a smile, already practicing her content look. With a slight pause, she adds ”You know, remember us when a profitable opportunity presents itself.”.
May 23, 2019 at 1:59 pm #19130
- This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Gilga.
Bobby showed a lot of teeth – although it was hard to classify that as a smile. It was just too feral. “Your wish, my command, etc.”
He turned to his partners and said: “Alright. I’m happy that we all have come to an arangement. If you’ll excuse me. I’ve got to talk to a man about a horse now.”
With that Bobby left the table, walking back to the laundry room.
Once inside he sent to the team: <<Gotta fly, I’ll be back in a few minutes.>> That done, he stripped and changed into one of the ubiquitous pidgeons of Touristville, ready to follow Andrew unobstrusively for a while from the air – just to make sure there wasn’t going to be some renegotiating in the form of a bunch of Yak goons…May 23, 2019 at 5:20 pm #19139
”Of course, Amy,” he says as he smiles, not knowing to call her AM. ”You can call me Andrew. We’re chummers now.”
He nods to Bobby too. ”Null persp, Bobby. Just remember that we’re friends.”
”Osewa ni narimasu,” Andrew tells Jawsey, thanking him for everything. ”Ojama shimashita!” He gives a polite bow.
Outside, on the sidewalk, he makes a great show of smiles and handshakes and congenial pats on the arm. Bobby, observing things from on high, can feel the chilly gazes of the locals. They can see what’s happening out of the corners of their eyes, and their looks are colder than the October rain falling from the sky.
Bobby follows, keeping a sharp eye out for any peregrine falcons that might be looking for a tasty, distracted snack. Andrew walks away, seemingly unbothered by the rain. He has a jaunty step, and even seems to be whistling at one point. The misery of Redmond doesn’t seem to weigh on him.
The locals give him space. They get out of his way and take pains to keep their eyes averted. The Japanese locals bow deeply, keeping their eyes on the ground as he passes. Other locals who are unfamiliar with Japanese etiquette just duck inside, or cross the street, or flat-out run in another direction. If Andrew notices, it doesn’t seem to disturb him.
Bobby doesn’t see any other Yak goons. He doesn’t see any backup, nor does he see anyone covertly shadowing Andrew. Similarly, there doesn’t seem to be a strike team of Yak enforcers stacking up, ready to breech the HQ. All seems quiet, what with the rain keeping most people inside by default.May 23, 2019 at 11:49 pm #19151
“Amy” brings AM a strange and warm feeling, such is the power of names and memory by association. It is the name her mother chose to her after all, and despite anything objective, it brings back fond memories. “Alright… Andrew” she says, and moving from Musai-San to Andrew feels a bit strange. However, she already knows how to behave around criminals – respect them, yes but humility and fear are less useful. Crimelords would not loan a fortune to a broke and humble woman. They’ll land a fortune to a decker and a mage that has the potential to make them a lot of money. She needed to be brave and confident to get the loan – and most of the time it worked out very well. She needs to show confidence right now as well, despite the strange situation. Andrew is clearly showing them off for his own needs inside the organization, she will study the man once they are done and try to make sense of it all.
As she realizes the kind of attention they receive, AM feels a bit uncomfortable as she is unused to such attention. She is a bit worried that appearing so close to a criminal organization would spoil her relationship with the other crime organizations. She dismisses it or at least tries to dismiss it. She owes the Mafia money, and she made them a small fortune by now. It is an established relationship – and they’ll trust her.
May 24, 2019 at 9:54 am #19161
- This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Gilga. Reason: edited a bit of more thoughts
It certainly helped to have a finely developed combat sense to survive as an urban pidgeon. Bobby had to evade two attempts on his feathery life – one by a bored looking guy shooting with a small gun from his balcony and one from some kind of wannabe rigger testing an armed rotodrone.
Once back at the office, he grabbed his trousers and his vest before rejoining his partners:
“Seems like Andrew is the real deal after all. So for the moment we can relax a bit again.
So anyway, as we were discussing during lunch: I can pull desk duty the next four days from 8 to 6, but on Thursday I’ve got an appointment. Also next month or the one after I’ll have to take off to get my chakras realigned and confer with the great maneater spirit.
Hopefully we can find another fat gig to keep the wolves at bay until then.”May 24, 2019 at 2:11 pm #19179
“Well, being chummy with the tax man may have saved us some money, but I doubt it has made us more popular with the neighbours. Nobody ever likes the tax man, even when the tax man is nebulous accounting software. Certainly nobody like the tax man in person. I doubt I can make him loved, but maybe I can least convince some people that he’s a better option than most.”
Jawsey dug out a rain poncho that would let him keep his cane mostly dry, put some small amounts onto credsticks, and headed out to visit neighboring businesses. Noodles here, soycaff there while losing a bet over a game of dominoes, some new spray that is supposed to waterproof his shoes, a new cheap umbrella, a six pack of dubious looking local soybeer, and a bunch of dried ramen noodle packs that are barely past their ‘best before’ date.
Everywhere he went, his message was the same “I wish I could buy more/better, but we just had to pay our ‘taxes.’ Don’t you hate when that happens? And they are so much!” and after the other party would mumble some sort of agreement, Jawsey would muse “Although I suppose touristville is calm and safe compared to most of Redmond. It seems like the money actually buys something here, not just ‘not a broken leg’ like with the gangs in the rest of the city. I hate to see so much money leave my hands, but I didn’t much worry about walking over here, I guess that is worth something? Maho-San said they offer a number of services, do you know anybody who has used them, is what he says true?” Usually he’d hear something to the effect that yes, the Yak would loan money or arrange medical services or so on, but at such a price! Which would let Jawsey admit “I owe money to someone down in Auburn, and it is much the same, the interest alone might kill me. Well, I at least like it when they keep some order and keep the street gangs from taking over. Business is business, they have to make money, but if they keep the peace then we have a chance of making money too.”May 24, 2019 at 2:59 pm #19185
Jawsey’s outing is rough. The locals who are usually only too happy to take his money are decidedly cool and distant. His cup of soykaf is cold. The portion size of his noodles is only half what it normally is. The locals usually smile at Jawsey – perhaps his cane makes him seem approachable and less threatening – but the friendliness is now gone. Maybe it’s just tax day and it’s cold and raining and everyone is in a bad mood, or maybe you’ve just allied yourselves to the neighborhood bully.
Jawsey sees a pack of street kids, the same ones he fed/bribed just a week ago with several cheap pizzas, a case of bottles of water, and a case of bottles of the enriched simulated orange juice that he’d grown up on. They’re playing outside in the drizzling rain because what the hell else is there to do when you’re semi-homeless and don’t have Matrix access? He waves to them but only receives stony looks in return.
”Oi, look at the gimp,” one says loudly. He mimics Jawseys limping walk. The others laugh.
”Fragging knife ears thinks he’s all that,” says another. It’s a bit rich given that at least a quarter of the kids are metahumans who have pointed ears too. But the context of the comment makes it clear that it’s directed at Jawsey in particular, and not elves in general.
”Git outta here, stumpy!” a kid dwarf says, throwing a rock. It’s not a large rock, and the throw isn’t particularly good, but the negative sentiment is there all the same. The other kids seem to like the idea; they pick up rocks and throw them too. Their arms are sad and malnourished, but they have plenty of practice for lack of anything better to do with their days. A few stones find their target and harmlessly thump off Jawsey’s vest. They might hurt if he catches a rock to his head or his face, but mostly it’s just insulting. A young troll throws a brick; again, a terrible throw and way off target, but the mass of the object is rather more alarming.
The locals look on, impassively. Nobody says anything, or moves to intervene. At least none of the adults are throwing things. They just look away when Jawsey looks at them, and go back to whatever they were doing before.May 24, 2019 at 5:02 pm #19200
AM uses their time to genuinely warm up to Andrew and she tries to make the most out of it hoping to establish a relationship of trust. Yes, she understands that dick move – and is not surprised later when they get icy responses. It is just that some people matter, and some people do not. Friendly strangers would not protect her from her creditors, starved kids would not hire her. Crimelords might, one crimelord that trusts her is worth a thousand of broke weaklings that do not smile at her. Survival of the fittest, the weaker animals get hunted – it is the way of nature. Iktomi – also approves being cunning to survive. She returns home once the show-off is over to research Andrew and see if she can find something of use.May 24, 2019 at 5:07 pm #19201
Jawsey really wished he was good at being threatening. A bit of magic and a tough-guy one-liner and the kids would at least show some respect. Sadly he’d never really developed that skill, he’d spent most of his life too damaged and powerless to even think about scaring others.
Still, he had developed other talents. He took a moment to re-frame how he viewed the situation — he was out here because he wanted to be, everything was going according to his long-term plan, and these ragamuffins were playing their part admirably. Then he gave his biggest grin, showing off all that dental work, and stage whispered to them “Perfect! You are doing it exactly right. I’ll send a couple of pizzas over later.” Then he gave them a broad wink, rested his cane up on his shoulder, and did a little caper to show how quickly he could move. Then he strode off whistling, cane still posed jauntily up over one shoulder.
He took a slightly long route back to their house, but didn’t waste much more time outside. He was going to want to stretch his back out after showing off like that, and he needed to talk to the others.
Once he got home he announced “Well, our neighbours do NOT approve of our getting chummy with our Yak toll-taker, and were hostile enough that I didn’t get much chance to change their mind. I would guess that we are going to have to live with this for a while. Perhaps next month when we get called up in public and give our payments we’ll start to seem more like part of the people again, but for now be a bit careful out there. I’m starting an effort to make it seem that we want it to appear that the neighbourhood is against us, that it is all part of some sort of plan or con. I might be able to do something with that eventually, but it also won’t be any sort of quick fix.”
Then he places an order for drone delivered pizza, and calls up a spirit to deliver a couple to where he’d last seen the feral children. They may not trust the pizza, but he doubts they’ll turn it down. If they do, then he’ll know that they are really in it deep.May 24, 2019 at 5:40 pm #19203
AM responds ”Frag them, they would all do the same if they could but they can’t. The insane interest rates are fair as well. Look at it this way, I convinced a Mafiosi to land me over 60k to establish myself as a decker. I do not have a stable income, I can get myself killed, or worse – I may lose the deck… I am a high-risk investment, not a wage-slave that wants a new car. I got a fair deal, and all these hypocrites would have taken our deal if they could have. They would do anything to keep more money in their pockets everybody would.”May 24, 2019 at 5:49 pm #19206
“Ah, that explains why some guys threw eggs at our back window.” Bobby replied, looking up from the front desk. As expected, there had been no clients coming in, so he was cleaning his critter armor while browsing through some textbooks.
“Looked like pidgeon eggs. Damn shame. You want me to go out and lay down the law about that?
May they hate me as long as they fear me…”
May 24, 2019 at 6:05 pm #19207
- This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Jack_Spade.
AM suggests ”You are going to do so sooner or later, might as well do it now before they touch the cars. “May 25, 2019 at 7:18 am #19218
“Alright, man the counter for me while I go shopping.”
It didn’t take long for Bobby to encounter the first hostile neighbors – although compared to Jawsey they didn’t quite so freely express their distaste for him in public.
When he was served the same cold soycaf, he took a sip, made a face and tossed it back to the serving man behind the counter. The lid was still on but there was still some spill. “If you fraggers think you’ll make your life better by treating us like shit, you have another one coming. We can either b good neighbors or bad neighbors to each other. Think twice about what you want. And now get me a new one – fresh and hot. Or I’ll heat things up myself. Same for my colleagues.” Just to make the point, he smiled again and tossed a slightly smoking plastic money chip on the counter where he had let a bit of electrokinesis singe the edges.
Finding the throw happy kids was another matter. Bobby estimated them to be less than 40kg each – beside the troll boy.
Those he reconned would not be receptive to mere words. So he figured, it was time to teach them a lesson who was the apex predator in these streets. He made sure they spotted him and let them follow him to a less populated area with fewer witnesses. Somewhere they had found more eggs and were just about to throw them, when Bobby lifted his hand.
Just for an instant, the three scrawniest boys turned into rats. Bobby let go of the spell after only a second and just shook his finger: “Behave like a rat and you stay a rat.”
He felt the pain in his head and could almost feel how his eyes turned red from tiny ruptured blood vessels.
But from his perspective, the pain was worth the look on their faces – especially since two had by turning back now two legs stuck within one pants leg, flopping like fish on the ground.
That done, he went home.Spoiler:May 25, 2019 at 12:34 pm #19221
A proper Sioux response, AM could appreciate the aggression and warrior focus of her culture. It was the right move in her eyes, even if she was perhaps the least intimidating of her kind. Warriors deserve respect, and when one disrespect a warrior – well this is not good. She asks Jawsei – ”Know anything about computers? I background check our new friend. You are welcome to help.”
She replaces Bobby in the office and spends the next few hours doing research, on Andrew, his organization, their influence, and past actions.
When Bobby returns she lifts her head from the deck’s screen and asks ”How did it go?”
May 25, 2019 at 3:54 pm #19231
- This reply was modified 3 weeks ago by Gilga.
Jawsey helped out with the computer search. His understanding of the matrix was pretty superficial, but he was smart and tenacious enough that he could often bumble his way to useful information. Although he was distracted by worrying what Bobby was going to do. His own inclination was to let things go for a bit, let the current resentment fade into the general misery of life in Redmond, at which point they could probably charm people. The others though, they were more militant. And they were a group, he defered to the majority. All the same, he worried about the injuries that Bobby could cause.May 27, 2019 at 2:55 am #19258
Bobby shrugged: “Just made it clear that it’s much better to be our friends instead of our enemies. Kids might need some extra pizza to get over being turned into rats. But I bet they aren’t going to throw any stones any time soon.”May 27, 2019 at 8:48 am #19264
AM finds Bobby to be very useful and helpful, and while she usually tasks him with the more simple search tasks she gets more done that way.
To Bobby she responds ”Wish I could do the same, Bobby. You have grown quite adept with transformative magic. Anything other than kids we should look out for?”May 27, 2019 at 2:38 pm #19265
“A blessing from my totem. Not a lot I could teach you about it. As for what to look out for: Customers, mainly. The Yaks have us by the short and curlys. Still, it could be a lot worse. If worst comes to worst we might have to do a bit of vigilante work – pick off some gang dealers and confiscate their proceeds. Not the best plan, I know, but much better than getting in debt with the Yakuza.
Quite soon I’ll need to go on a spirit quest. I can nearly taste the call. And I’d prefer doing so with my debts mostly settled.”
Bobby refrained from drawing another cup of soycaf. Too much of that stuff could turn you into an adict. Instead he began emptying a bottle of spring water.
“Thing is: We are still neither well known nor popular enough to draw customers. The video was a good first step, but we might to be more proactive.
aren’t their any shadow boards that people use to offer jobs that would be up our alley? A cushy protective detail job or tracking down of stolen merchandize. Something where we can flex our skillset a bit.”
- This reply was modified 2 weeks ago by Jack_Spade.
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