May 27, 2019 at 2:56 pm #19269
AM responds ”Nothing wrong with relations with the Yakuza, they have money and they often require specialists. Part of why I am working on being a proper decker.
A spiritual quest? Where do you plan to go? I have this project in the back of my head, I want to create something more substantial than a watcher. A proper spirit that will be tailored to our needs, I was thinking to try something unusual – I made even made a few sketches. ” she says.
Then hesitantly she adds with a hint of frustration “My debt will probably keep the lid on that project for a while as not working for a month may actually get me killed.”May 27, 2019 at 4:13 pm #19278
Bobby shrugged: “I haven’t done one before, but one of my training chiefs explained the theory to me. I’ll probably go out in the wilderness and try to survive for a month. That in theory should open my mind for the great spirit.
So you want to find a familiar? Ambitious. You could learn to be a medicine woman and craft fetishes. That at least would give you a source of income.”May 27, 2019 at 5:22 pm #19282
AM responds ”Not directly, the spirits interact with me through sorcery alone. I should be able to create a familiar that can craft though, it should be possible.”May 27, 2019 at 5:36 pm #19284
Jawsey sighed, and admitted “I just need to focus on strengthening my magic before I look at anything much more advanced. But I wonder sometimes if I should get a little bit of ware and not worry about my casting so much? Might help me more when we are in places where magic is weakened or going astral is not as useful.”May 28, 2019 at 1:18 am #19289
Bobby’s “Let them hate, so long as they fear” campaign gets off to a strong start. The neighborhood kids scatter, with various screams of ”he’s a witch!” and ”run away!” The kids who were transformed are blubbering messes, likely emotionally scarred for life. They’d run home to their mothers, but they don’t have mothers so instead they wrap their arms around their knees and rock themselves while crying in an abandoned building somewhere. But the rock throwing stops. I mean, it worked for Caligula, why not you? (It did work for Caligula… right?)
Meanwhile, AM spends a few hours researching Andrew. Her search is thorough and covers some of the shadowy corners of the Matrix. Mato’s MonaLisa software is a big help, and leads her to a bulletin board system where shadow-types can ask questions and compare notes about other shadow-types in an open forum. It doesn’t go so far as to offer starred reviews, nor are the responses curated – so they could be complete bulldrek, or deliberate misinformation – but it’s better than nothing.
>>>>>(Anybody know this guy? Clean cut, tight smile, tidy manicure, running with the Yaks up in Redmond.)<<<<< -Hawwwnuhhh
There’s a photo attached that’s clearly the same person as Andrew.
>>>>>(Oh, is he running up in Redmond now? I don’t know his name but in his teens he was part of a go-gang called ‘The Nameless’. They were a Yak feeder gang, with the implication that you don’t get a ‘name’ until you initiate with the Yaks. The gang’s turf was around the International District downtown, which they used as a base of operations to tear up and down Highway 90 across the lake. They had their Suzuki Mirages and their Yamaha Rapiers and neon mohawks. Tame as gangs went; mostly into street races and acting wild in public. If he’s running with the Yaks up in Redmond, that means he made the leap.)<<<<< -Slippery Nipple
>>>>>(His name is Katsuo Musai. He’s an up-and-comer with the Kanaga-gumi. As you know, anyone in Redmond – whether cop, criminal, or anywhere in-between – is either an ambitious climber trying to get out, or incompetent and/or insane. Andrew is the former.)<<<<< -Abacus
>>>>>(How do you know?)<<<<< -Peekaboo
>>>>>(About a year ago, I was, mm, ‘independently contracted’ to audit their Kanaga-gumi‘s books without their consent. The Yaks seem to expect their street-level muscle to wet their beaks a little bit, to skim a little off the top from what they collect. 5% is fairly common, 10% if you’re greedy, 15% if you’re suicidal. This guy only skimmed 2% on average. Enough to say ‘hey, I’m not a pansy’ but little enough to say ‘you can trust me with more’.)<<<<< -Abacus
>>>>>(He’s a wakagashira-hosa now. It’s a tough job, like a non-commissioned officer in the military. You’re like the nervous system that transmits orders from the officers to the street-level operatives. A wakagashira-hosa doesn’t just know where the bodies are buried and who buried them, they know who gave the order too.)<<<<< -Tricky Nicky
>>>>>(He’s a stone cold psycho. When he was the one getting his hands dirty, he usually found creative ways to do it. Drench a guy in water then trap him in a chest freezer until he’s ready to talk. And when he was done with you, he might just leave you there. Also a fan of slow, lingering poisons. They don’t have to be fatal either – sometimes organ failure gets the message across too.)<<<<< -Anonymous
>>>>>(I don’t know about that. He’s always been a nice guy when I’ve talked with him. Very polite. Those stories are probably bulldrek, or maybe he spread them himself so that he could avoid the type of messiness they describe by intimidating people in advance.)<<<<< -Peanut
>>>>>(He doesn’t get his hands dirty anymore. Now that he’s moved up the ladder, he dispatches a team of kumi-in – soldiers – to do the dirty work for him. He is civil at all times and will never argue with anyone. No one toys with him for fear of what lies beneath his polite veneer.)<<<<< -Saber-Tooth SerpentMay 28, 2019 at 1:33 pm #19301
Bobby had stopped reading his nature magazines to review what his colleagues had unearthed about their Yakuza contact.
“Lovely. Seems like we are dealing with a highly intelligent sociopath. All the better you guys resolved that situation like you did. But it’s probably a good idea to keep a bug-out-bag ready at all times.”May 28, 2019 at 1:54 pm #19303
“If we have an opportunity to someday show him what has happened to people who have crossed us, that might be educational for him. Carrot and stick — working with us is good for him, and messing with us is bad.”
Jawsey got up and moved around a bit, stiff from too much time in AR. “As for our neighbors, there is too much miserable in life around here to hold much of a grudge against us if we don’t aggravate it too much. In a while once the freshness fades we should have a chance to win them back, at least a bit. But we can’t wait too long, if he concludes that our association has only served to make us less popular rather than to make him more popular, he may not stick with our deal.”May 28, 2019 at 4:36 pm #19309
Bobby shrugged: “We’ll burn that bridge when we get there. If we have to we can relocate – I just hate moving and starting fresh. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t.”May 28, 2019 at 5:04 pm #19310
AM responds to Jawsei ”You are blessed by the spirits with the most generous gift of a person can receive – and I feel that you should celebrate it rather than burn it out. Besides, it would cost a fortune to augment yourself last time I checked we were all broke. We were haggling over a few hundred nuyen a month with a sociopath that normal people avoid at all cost.”
She nods her head in agreement to Bobby’s assertion of Andrew, and adds
”As for our neighbors – I don’t feel a particular need to be liked, respected yes. Liked… it is a matter of taste, we should keep our word and be reliable. We should not actively screw them as you do not piss where you drink and everything. Other than that, life is difficult for everyone.”May 29, 2019 at 6:22 pm #19329
Saturday Dinner, October 1, 2078, Touristville, Redmond
”We’re in bed with the Yaks?!” Mato exclaims, his hands grabbing his hair. But metal hands with superhuman strength pulling your hair is uncomfortable, so he lets go and wrings his hands instead. But metal hands don’t really twist and bend the same way that fingers do, leading to an uncomfortable metal-on-metal scraping noise.
Mato is back from swimming. Bobby can still detect the vague whiff of chlorine around him. You’re sitting around the conference room table, eating takeout that was delivered for free by your neighbor, Lotus Rising Restaurant, without you ordering it. As best you can tell, there’s no spit in it. As best as you can tell.
”¥1,800…” Mato mutters to himself. ”There’s no way. That had to have been a test. Or a fishing expedition. That’s way above market rates.” He paces a bit, not eating at all, obviously fixated on the situation. ”I did the research, I did my due diligence, it should have been ¥600… I could have paid the difference… Made up for it by canceling my subscriptions…”
He stops and holds up his hands. ”I wasn’t there. I’m not a negotiator. I probably couldn’t have done better. What’s done is done. I’m worried about the open-ended nature of the favors, about how he could ask for something as a favor that we would charge 10x as much for to a client. Or, worse, a situation like this month where he doesn’t want to own our hoops, but our hearts and souls.”
The objection is a bit rich coming from an ork who sold off 99.34% of his soul for life-altering cyberwear, but perhaps the difference is that the ‘ware was elective.
”I know we’re in debt, but I probably would have paid. That would have made us the Golden Goose that’s too rich to kill. That would have put him under our thumb, would have tied his fortunes more directly to ours. I know it’s a lot now while we’re establishing ourselves, but soon it will be a drop in the bucket.”
Mato pauses long enough to take a drink of the strange Japanese sodas that were delivered with dinner. He grimaces, looks at the bottle, and tries to figure out what the flavor is. Coconut Curry? Aloe Vera? Shrimp & Octopus? The mind boggles.
”Alright,” he says, although clearly not everything is all right. ”That’s that. Let’s pay our bills. Everyone have their share?” He holds up a credstick of his own, ready to contribute.May 29, 2019 at 11:04 pm #19332
AM shrugs ”If we paid an unusual amount of1800 without any form of resistance, it would be 2,800 next month until eventually, we’ll show that the money matters to us. Appearing rich and weak is dangerous in my opinion. Yet, when all the merchants were submissive and fearfull we were polite but did not show any sign of fear. We are business partners, not vassals.
So we offered him 1200 discount for hiring us but we get paid what 20k sometimes around 30k? We are still going to get good money if the Yaks hire us. In the last month, we worked for only two days and we managed to pay up debt, now imagine how much more we could have accomplished if we had three days to work in. If the Yakuza is joining our list of clients, 1200 in services is a good investment. “May 30, 2019 at 4:20 am #19334
Bobby just shrugged: “No sense in debating that to death. We made our bed and now we’ve got to sleep in it. If the favors get out of hand, we vanish the bastard and move somewhere else. Maybe we stop being a brick and mortar office alltogether and AM builds us a nice virtual one. Might attract more customers if they don’t have to move past all those miserable small time criminals. Or maybe not. It’s not like I have any marketing experience.
At least the food is good around here.”May 30, 2019 at 4:37 am #19336
- This reply was modified 2 months ago by Gilga.
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