Best Served Cold
Drek! What a week. Had a good Run. Not great, mind ya, but solid. Pacified perimeter guards without issue. Secured the objective. Clean breach, smooth as silk. “Too smooth”, I remember thinking. And then we hit static, in the form of a fat, out of shape dataslave, Narco’d at point blank range, who hit the ground like a sack of meat, just had to almost hose the whole Op. You would have already cut the commo and the alarm system at this point.
You were always one step ahead of me. Guess that’s one of your perks, being a Technomancer and a Decker. Or maybe you’re just a lil’ Bithead Netnerd.
Such a showoff.
Stage Left; Enter: 3 more guards; Early to rise, early to bed, courtesy of a Sleepytime Nade from “Yours, Truly”… Chinese Take-Out, to be sure, but it did the trick. We secured our package, only to find Badges with a Pig-Rig and an APC waiting for us outside. Well, bad luck for them; we had our Extraction, Overwatch, and some Big Iron Bopper elements providing our Support-By-Fire, all ready to rumble and itching to go. They never knew what hit them. Maybe because a whole bunch of stuff hit them. All at the same time. From a bunch of different directions. It was Symphonic.
All in all, zero friendly casualties, minimal hostile casualties and overwhelming fire superiority, perfectly executed in proper proportions. Papa Hardagan would be proud. For once, I wasn’t the guy blowing everything up. It’s a strange feeling; For once, I’m not the most violent, destructive, and aggressive member of a crew. People laugh when I tell them I’m a Combat Decker. They laugh even harder when I tell them I don’t use guns. Well, you can’t laugh at the results. I’m still breathing… Drek… poor choice of words. I’m not the most charismatic dwarf, eh? No offense… I’m just saying, Deckers are more likely to die from Bullets and Blades than from Bits. I guess that makes you exceptional, doesn’t it? “Never cold-sim”, you said. “Waste of time”, you said. I’m still inclined to agree with you, although there was that one time we wanted to “experiment” on the grid, of course. That was definitely good cause for cold-sim, if ever there was one. Best dumpshock I’ve ever had. Might have killed us if we tried that Jam in hot-sim.
Gonna need a couple min…
Wow. That was a distracting reverie. Back to the mission; Papa Hardagan always taught me, Guns are for when you don’t or can’t plan well enough. Controlling the battlefield, that’s how you win without firing a round. This Run was solid. But it could have gone better. It will next time.
I’m pretty sure there will be a next time. It’s strange; More often than I care for, I’m a voice of reason in this group. Scary thought! How did that happen? I’m a bit older than most this crew. Am I just getting old?
When did that start happening? Even though it was our first run together, it felt like a crew. I’ve seen Crews that have been together for years that didn’t sync as well as we did that first run. Just the right amounts of rivalry and co-operation. This might the start of something special. Maybe make a fortune.
Maybe knock the MegaCorp-drekheads down a peg or 10.
You know me. I’d love to kill GOD. Free the shackles of the wageslaves. Bring it all tumbling down. You were right. The Corps can’t defend themselves on their own anymore. Not with all the disaffected Technomancers and Deckers looking to dissect every corporate secret and auction it off to their competitors. It’s a tenuous Alliance. Precarious, even. GOD is the one thing keeping the Mega’s from outright cyberwarfare against each other. KILL GOD and it all falls apart.
Obviously, the moment that happens, all bets are off. Cyberwarfare IS Conventional warfare. I’m sure even within GOD, even as we speak, the Mega’s are waging a political shadow-war to cut each other’s throats any chance they can. Maybe I can KILL GOD by nuking their C&C center, maybe not. If I can stay with this group, I just might be in the game long enough to make GOD bleed. That’d be a start.
Or we’ll just go out in a blaze of glory. You never can tell. Bad Luck happens. Things happen…
Sometimes no amount of MILTEL and planning can prepare for the unforeseeable.
Either way is fine by me. I’m just here to party. You know that.
So, anyway; No drek, There I was; Sitting pretty with over 10k Nuyen, thinking about all the Merch I’m gonna buy. Twitchers! Pepper Punching Throwing Stars! (Patent Pending*) Flexcuffs! Incendiary Breach-Kit! Crossbow w/explosive and Narco tipped bolts! (Why the drek did Papa Hardagan never teach me to Crossbow? I’m sure he knows how. I’ll have to ask. Old guy might even have an old Twenty-Cent piece lying around, though I’m sure there are better models available if I looked, ((btw, this is why I like writing you, talking to you would always help me get my thoughts organized))(((seriously, this is getting kind of ridiculous, but I am now in the subpoint of a subpoint of a point, just wanted to point that out)))))).
Of course, the Dice had other ideas for my Nuyen.
My cyberdeck pings. It’s this Club Kid I know, Skittles, with a job a job for me. Did I say job? Oops. Job’s usually pay you, right? This wasn’t one of those. This was a FAVOR. Now, to be fair, I call her for favors occasionally. She’s reasonably connected to the local Club scene. If it involves dancing, drugs AND music, she probably knows about it. If she doesn’t know about it, she usually she knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows about it, though she doesn’t always know she knows someone who knows someone who knows someone who knows about it. Tracking?
But I call her for a favor; She called me for a FAVOR. Although it didn’t seem that way at first.
Clever or lucky on her part.
If I knew what I’d be getting I could have said no. I wouldn’t have. You wouldn’t let me. But I could have.
So, anyway, the message reads “Rock Hard! Chummer! Your N ace with tech, amirite? I have a job for you; it doesn’t pay, but if you want an Edge with the Karma of the Universe, there’s some to be had! Just be an Angel for some SINless souls. Yea?”
Now, I’d just helped murder some corporate drones; My Credsticks were bulging at their digital seams; I’d had a good Run. Of course I don’t want to spit on my Dice. So I meet her. Long story short, there is a SINless family mom, dad, and two daughters, being shaken down by this Bronze thug. He’s threatening to hurt the father if they don’t pay him. These people are barely surviving, and this fragger is shaking them down. Skittles wants me to dig some digital dirt up on him and anonymously report him, get him fired/reassigned. Too easy. Wham bam. Guy is stealing ammo. He’s SINless within 12 hrs. Sweet, sweet Irony.
Apparently though, Officer Thefty McStealypants had told his buddies about this family. I get a message the next day, Stealypants’s replacement roughed up the father a bit, wanted even more. Angry his slotfaced friend got dumped out the system, he got it in his head that some Corpse might care about how some Cylon was treating some Blanks. Dumb. Even more dumb to double down. Fortunately, though, most Drones are as corrupt as the corporations they protect. Officer DumDum McPunchyface was actually shaking down registered citizens too. Even better, I cracked his Home Terminal and found he was actually a petty criminal using a fake SIN. Hopefully they executed him.
He was removed from payroll the same day as my anonymous report.
Not TWO DAYS LATER (!), the DAY AFTER THE DAY AFTER Officer Dum Dum was removed from payroll, HIS replacement visited this SINless family. He was very polite. He very calmly threatened to sell the daughters into slavery on The Street if he wasn’t paid a percentage of their scrapwork a week.
So I called Skittles to let her know how this FAVOR (!) was progressing. She talked to her people, who could arrange a low-grade SIN and low-scrutiny employment for the father, and shared Squat for the family in a different part of town. All for the low, low price of 7,500 Nuyen. Care to wager who paid THAT bill? At least they’re off the Fringe. Good for them.
As for the slave-trading piece-of-drek, We’ll call him “Ashes From Dustington II”;
Fitting name, considering how his vehicle burst into flames with him inside.
Bottom Line: The Sec Corps should pay me to subcontract some of their Internal Affairs investigations.
(Side note: GREAT IDEA! DO THIS!!!!)
So that was my week. Murder. Mayhem. Mischief. Magnanimity.
And I had enough left over to make “Pepper-Punching Throwing Stars.” (Patent Pending)
Reminds me of some of the times we used to have. I hope this reaches you in there.
Somehow, I hope you’re in there, even though I know it’s a million-to-one.
It was a million-to-one situation. Nothing I’d seen before or since.
And I’ve seen you beat worse odds. Anything is possible, I suppose.
I’ll keep an eye out for you in the Code. Look out for me, if you can.
Give me an Edge in there. Keep my Dice Loaded. Stack my Deck against our Enemies.
Still “Yours, Truly”,
PS. I know I mention this in every letter, but you really have NO idea how much I appreciate those BTL Trid’s we made. Actually, I think I may be overdoing it. Seriously. I might have a problem. Like there aren’t enough minutes in an hour! Bwahahahaha! Til next week…
Rock Hardigan is a combat decker who joined on with the crew Brynn Taggart put together. After the events that led to the presumed death of Brynn and her subsequent ‘resurrection’, Rock has spent time working for the Troll fixer Toil and spending time with the pixie know as Trubble.