[SR-ItB] Alaizante & the Terrible, Horrible, etc.

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[SR-ItB] Alaizante & the Terrible, Horrible, etc.

Postby Chance » Wed Feb 18, 2015 5:05 pm

So, it's one of those nights. 

Bad enough that I wound up with actual meat on my salad instead of the soybacon bits I like. I should have guessed that lunch was the harbinger of a very drek-laden day indeed. Not to mention that they charged me for real meat. Bastards. I'll be picking a new place for my salads. Stupid slots. 

After puking up lunch -- never been a carnivore, so my stomach doesn't like animal flesh -- and brushing my teeth three times to get the foul taste out, I had little time to make a meet with a low-level Mr. J that Sweet-T set up. Couldn't miss that, because I need the connects, I got to the meet, and lo and behold, no Mr. J. Two hours later, I get a blip on the 'comm saying he had another appointment conflicting -- which is J-speak for 'I blew you off for someone with more juice.' 

Shove it up your sloppy hoop, jackass. 

So I call Sweet T. She tells me he had a job and went with another fixer, someone whose name I won't even mention. I loathe the skanky little rodent. Seriously, he looks like rattus norvegicus on two legs. How he wound up doing well in this business is a mystery -- or maybe not such a mystery, if he offers the Js sweet deals to steal other fixers' meets. 

This left me with a curious question: How the hell did he know about it?

----

I found the answer. So... yeah, I had to wipe the comm, get a decker contact to clear it off and make it fresh and shiny-new, and then I spent two hours getting the data back onto it. I'm just glad I managed to keep the data safe by using the chip-and-key method of security. Can't access my datafiles without both. I learned about paranoia from Damien. 

Tonight I had no other meets scheduled, but I have to make myself visible. Tonight's personal sked had me at the 'shee. I still hate that place. Reminds me of Lawson and the Bad Old Days... but then again, I met Damien there. I hated him when I first met him. It was snarl at first sight for us. 

Didn't stay that way long. D was the only one in my life who didn't give a shit whose colors I wore or what metatype I was, he was just loyal beyond any reason at all. You don't usually see frosty-balled sammies with only a spark of metahumanity left with those kinds of feelings. D and I were... I dunno. Serendipitous, I guess.

Nobody here remembered me when I made it back a year ago. That's a good thing. The Shadows shift, and more than a decade and a half made for lots of turnover. Lots of dead people. Lots of people who moved on. Nobody remembers the ganger slitch who used a Savalette to put a bullet in her belly in the park -- and I sure's drek don't want to remember her. Only thing about her I want to hang onto is that D and I built a life after that, and it was good. Dangerous, full of insanity, but good. I had his back, and it goes without saying he had mine. 

...and now here I am getting all fraggin' maudlin. Frauleinchen, get a tall ladder and get the merde over it. 

Wish I could.

Nursing some soykaf -- some places I frequent get me real coffee on request, but here, I get soykaf. At least it's fresh -- smart runners don't drink alcohol when it's biz-time.

Smart fixers never drink when we're stylin', which is all the time. I hate warming this ratty chair in this filthy hellhole. I've pissed in the alley rather than use what they call a restroom. The pissoir here is as foul as the rest. Funny to think that when I was sixteen, this place held a dangerous sort of glamour for me -- not because it's swanky, but because its clientele ran the Shadows.

Time passes. Familiar faces stop by; I get a few runners lined up for some future work. Mostly kittycat runs, but hey, cred's cred, right? Ten percent of zero is zero. A couple of young bruisers (pair of orks) find a low-pay but easy job from me, giving someone a bit of a Come to Ghost intervention about his gambling debts. I'm happy to give people work, and today, I'll take all the warm fuzzies I can get. 

Then someone walks up to my table. I wasn't expecting anyone, but it doesn't show. I scoot back a little to make room at the other side of the table, and motion for the visitor to sit. He's an elf, looks about as old as I was when I left Seattle the first time. Wearing a synthleather jacket -- yeah, I know those colors. All too well. I wore them myself.

"So," he says, without preface. "You're Zan."

"Hai. And you are?"

"Flow," he says. I'm guessing he doesn't mean the sort that requires tampons. Maybe he's some kinda shaman. "I'm here repping the As. We wanna talk to you. Leader thinks maybe we oughtta interface about gear." Oh, this kid is so green. so, so green. Was I ever that green? I know I was. 

"Yeah. Okay. So where's Siz?" Siz being 'Sizzle,' their current leader in this part of town. 

"Siz wants you to come out to--"

I stop him, holding up a hand. "Now, Siz knows I stay in the DMZ. So I think you're handing me a line of crap, raen. I think maybe you're frontin' for your own purposes. Or maybe figuring you're gonna try and take some surprise tax off the fixer chica. Am I warm?" I take a sip from my 'kaf, completely calm. Frosty. First lesson I learned about the Shadows.

"Siz said--"

"Siz didn't say drek. I got his digits. You want I should give 'im a jingle and ask?"

The kid frowns. I snort. "Lemme give you a piece of advice. Free." I sit back, fix my gaze on him, and say, "Rule one: Never shit where you eat. Sizzle and I, we're good. So ka? You, I don't know, and if you're trying to pull a quickie scam to get some cred to buy a handful of beetles, baby boy, you got another guess comin'. And As don't fuck with raen. Now, you wanna be smart? I can work with that. I can even slide some cred your way time to time, if you got eyes and ears that pick up some paydata. But... first, you gotta make me think you're worth it."

Kids. 

The kid finally figured out that he's out of his league. I've handled bigger than him without breaking a sweat, but he doesn't need to know that. He nods and listens.

"First off. what you ridin'?"

"Firty-two Scorp," he says with pride. 

"Not bad," I nod. Me, I prefer a fast bike over a badass one, but I'm not gonna diss his wheels. "You good on it?"

"Frag yeah, I--"

"Yes is an adequate response," I tell him, cutting him off. "I'm gonna give you a thirty second head start, just 'cause you're pointy round the ears just like me. Then, that chico over there," and I motion to a more badass looking elf across the room, "Is gonna chase you on his bike. And if he catches you, he's gonna give you the beatdown you had planned for me. You make it back to HQ without getting caught, you're home free. 'Course, he's riding a crotch rocket. Much better speed. You make it back, you tell Siz to call me. Siz calls me and tells me the deal, I pretend this little chat never happened."

His eyes move to the other guy, who gives me a faint wave back and stands up.

He looks back at me and blinks.

"Thirty. Twenty nine..."

He's out the door. 

The buff elf heads to the toilet. 

Okay, maybe the night is looking up.

----

The night progresses. I head out at my usual time, with a round of brief 'see you later' noises at the people I knew and cared enough to deal with, and then it was on home. My bike was just how I left it, thanks to the protection of the local gangers. I pay them some yen every time I go there, and they make sure nobody tweaks my ride... or takes it. 

Man, I miss my old Blitzen. I had a vintage '44 in Berlin -- perfectly maintained, gorgeous gloss-powder-blue with aftermarket holopaint... used to love changing up my bike with my mood. It was fast, it was sweet. 

It's half a world away. Of all the things I miss, my bike's high on the list. 

Soon, I will have the cash to buy a new Blitzen. Maybe I'll pay a ganger to steal one for me and tweak up its GPS... hrm. Yeah, still out of my budget. I need to get together the capitol to finance a run on the old stash pad back in Berlin. Some group of runners will get rich as fuck off that, if they're willing to take the chance. I have the inventory list. I'd need a rigger with a whole lot of capacity, to start with... meh. It's a dream. The place is so well hidden that I'm pretty sure it's still hidden, but for all I know, some slot could be living the high life off my black market inventory and Damien's run gear. And my bike, and his bike, and our cars, and fuck, my jewelry... most of that got left behind, but D's katana came with. Go figure.

I kick the rice rocket to life and settle in. Being on a bike is still one of the things I love best. There's a freedom and a danger in kicking up a bike past the red on the tach that makes me feel like I actually have a beating heart in my chest again.

Well, I technically do. I have a muscle that pumps blood there. Just not much heart any more.

Sometimes I wonder why the hell I bother -- why I don't just go somewhere and find some straight job, get a normal life. Whatever. Then I remember: I can't. I just keep on to keep on.

There's got to be more to this. I've got a long-ass time ahead of me, and if I don't find something to hang onto, it's just gonna be a life sentence, in a very literal way. 

Fraggin' morbid. I need to get my head out of this.

So... where do you find your spark once it's lost? 

Where do dreams go when they die?

...fuck, I keep this up, I can get a job writing synthpop lyrics. 
Chance
 
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