Date: 3rd September, 2177
Outfit: right now I’m in a Gun Teddy crop top with ice packs on my belly, but yesterday was a job interview so I went conservative, pastel colours and a pleated a-line, nothing too fancy because I didn’t want to look arrogant, which is just as well because sub machine guns really did a number on my tights. But I didn’t want to look like I don’t have class so I loaded up a SubOne clothing line on one of my digital bags, and DoBeaver donuts on the other bag so I have that Office Lady chic going on. I think it worked because Alt seemed to like me. Shame about the blouse though, between the suppressive fire and the oily rain I think it’s past repair. No loss, I shredded it when I got home and used it to clean my rifle.
News: Apparently the strikes in our home district, D68, are getting worse, because some dumb biotech company called Biotechnica has decided to move all the residents of D63 up here, and there’s nowhere for most people to live, and people aren’t happy about it. There’s some kind of wrangling going on in the courts between them and some other corp called Zentech that wants to find out why they’re moving people around, probably some kind of stupid biohazard leak or something, but no one’s talking. Also there are giant goldfish eating people down at the docks. But that’s probably just a coincidence right?
Today Pops told me I should read more, because apparently Solo of Fortune is “low brow.” We had an argument because I was angry about armour, and he told me that there was a time back before, when people could go about their business in the street without wearing any armour, and that in many countries they didn’t even carry guns. This was back before the collapse and The Incident With His Daughter, so it’s like ancient history now, even before Pops’s time, but it sounds kind of weird, right? And this is when I realized that I’m happy I never got an education, or at least not a real one, because what’s the point of learning about things if they just make you mad? I mean, it’s just too bad for some old grandma and grandpa that once they could wander down to the shops in their bikini back when they were young, and not worry about getting a cap in their toosh, I guess now those old folks must think things are pretty sad and wrong, but what does it mean to the rest of us? The only reason Pops even feels anything about whether it was better back in the Oil Age or not is because he gets sentimental about dumb stuff he reads in old books – what’s the use of that? I tried pointing out to him that knowing who sunk the Zeppelin doesn’t pay for this apartment, but he just got all snippy and told me icebergs can’t fly. I guess he doesn’t like nautical history, or something. Anyway that’s when he got all Serious Dad, and told me I should read more books.
Anyway we only had our argument because I was getting angry about armour, and I guess Pops is right that things would have been better way back when grandma and grandpa were young, because then probably those four booster dudes who trashed my hoverbike wouldn’t have been wearing armour, and I would have blasted them all straight into next week instead of having to run home through the rain with a feeble 50% kill rate. Which is why I’m frustrated.
Last night we had our interview with Alt, this super sketchy hacker who thinks she some kind of computer god but looks like a strung out hippy with an LED fetish. Now we’ve extracted Ghost from his apartment we have a full team, and the minimum for this job with Alt was that we had a hacker, I don’t know why we need a journalist as well, let alone some weird dude with glow-worms for skin, but now we have the team we went to meet Alt. He/she runs this mega nightclub on the edge of district 73, and when they say the edge they really mean it – it’s built into the walls of New Horizon’s central well, so it has an amazing view and lots of stylings. Which is kind of spoilt by giving it a dumb retro name, but I guess the.edge is an honest name, if nothing else. It’s a pretty fancy place, to be honest, and we went with Switch, the dodgy dude who fixed us up with this job, and he got us all in with minimal hassle. Well, I should say, he got us in with minimal hassle, but not himself. The club is full of these transhumanist weirdos, who’re into gross-out genetic manipulation stuff, and he ran into this lizard dude called Copia who really didn’t seem to like him – seems they had a disagreement about some low quality goods that Twitch ran him, colour me oh! so surprised! – and before we could get to meet Alt this lizard dude and his big scaly mates had taken our fixer away for a chat. Just as well as it turns out …
After Twitch went away to renegotiate his fees with the lizard guys, we were led off to Alt’s interview room by these lights in the floor of the club. This club is huge – it must be six floors down, and the main dance floors are on this kind of crystal room that actually sticks out into the New Horizon well, and has a crystal floor, so if you’re dancing there you’re able to see right down into the well, which would be cool if it wasn’t always raining down there. The floors are huge, like the size of a department store, and they’re split apart into different zones and dance floors, so they have everything. For 100 Nuyen you can get a kind of membership card that’s programmed to your tastes and has the latest Support Vector Machine Intelligence, so it learns your tastes from your movement through the club and your music purchases and it can guide you through the club to places you want to go, plugs into the set lists so you can time your dancing just right, and if you’re taking stimulants I’ve even heard it reminds you when to drink or renew your dose. Pretty cool, but for 100 Nuyen I can get 300 rounds of AP ammo and have money left over for pearl tea, so I passed on the music junkie experience. It’s a shame I didn’t bring any AP with me …
When you go down to the lower floors they change into the usual seedy stuff you come to expect from somewhere on the edge of District 73 – rich suits screwing around in masked balls, business deals being conducted in sushi bars with human tables, that sort of thing. Nothing to write home about, but Alt’s place was pretty ordinary in comparison. Just this glass tunnel full of lights and then a waiting room, and after about half an hour we were led into this kind of interview room with a big desk and a couple of bodyguards, and a glass floor that hung over the well. I guess Alt doesn’t like to employ agorophobes. Alt is this completely weird transhuman man/woman, sitting in this huge chair with all these super-flashy dreadlocks coming out of his/her head and his/her eyes rolled back like an ash-junkie, lights twitching and running over all the hair and the face. Ghost didn’t seem impressed with most of it, but I’m not gonna take lessons on Husk fashion from some dude who wears a spacesuit while he works and put his address on the public web so the only reason he has all his organs is our timely intervention, about which we still have some loose ends to discuss btw Ghost if you’re hacking my diary and reading this right now. After a few minutes of pretending not to care he/she rolled his/her ash-junkie eyes forward, and then he/she does this trick where he/she searches for data on one of us, and while he/she’s searching all these pictures of the person flash in those big anime-girl eyes. Ghost wasn’t impressed by that either, but that’s probably because he/she thought I was interesting and he would “do”. I guess he gets that a lot …
Our chat with Alt was pretty short and simple. Alt is looking for this guy called Lima, he’s an ex-cyberpsycho who ran away with some info of hers, and she wants it back. He is wicked cyber – all his arms and legs are metal and he’s loaded up with stuff – and his psychosis is probably not treated, so he’s also wicked dangerous. She wants him dead or alive, “dead would be easier,” and the only minimum is that we don’t touch or damage any hacker gear he has lying around. We find him, we ice him, we call her agent to come collect the gear. Any non-hacker stuff is ours, and we get 15k Nuyen – not 10k like Twitch said! No other minimums except that we can’t let anyone know Alt ordered the hit (like I would! I’m a girl with standards!) and we have two weeks to get the job done or no money. Of course she may have given others the job too, so we may have to ice some rivals but she won’t care. Collateral damage is not an issue, which is good because Lima is hiding out in District 73 which is a gangzone, so we’ll probably have to ice a few locals to get to him. Shame we don’t get paid extra for urban renewal, but you take the jobs where you can. We agreed and left.
Unfortunately things went a bit sour when we left. Four booster gangers in purple were waiting in the bar when we came out, they were dressed in purple and obviously from the same gang that we had to liberate Ghost from a few days ago. They were watching us too and they left ahead of us. We were delayed when we got outside because we found Twitch lying in a pool of his own worthless blood, three transhuman lizard dudes giving him a well-deserved kicking. By the time I’d asked them if they were going to kill him (so we could sort out changes to the cut of the profits) and Coyote had told him off for trying to rob us, I think he was past help, so Coyote tossed him some painkillers and we left, but by then it was too late. When we got to the car park we found the dude Twitch had arranged to protect our cars smeared all over the wall, and our cars trashed and graffiti’d. Those stupid booster-gangers are some kind of American degenerates, so they’d scrawled stars and stripes all over my bike and smashed the headlights. OhMYgod! Also Coyote’s car was pretty trashed but whatever, it’s a clunky thing. But he was pretty angry even though his car is some steroid-jacked pile of junk, and he got Ghost to find out where these dudes went. Ghost hacked into the computers of the carpark and found they were going out the slow way, going around this big spiral to the top, but if we could get Coyote’s pile of junk running and Ghost could hack open a service gate we could go right up the middle of the park and catch them at the top. There were only three of us – did I mention that Pops and Huang Lin had “more important” things do do than meet our employer!? – but we decided to do it anyway. I took the sun-roof, rifle ready, and we broke into the central column and Coyote took us up so fast I thought we were going to hit orbit. Coyote may have bad taste in facial design and the communication skills of a trained ape, but he’s good with a car, and he got us up there and into a perfect ambush position really fast. I was standing in the sunroof with my gun on the exit, and Ghost was using the cameras to track the boostergang car, so I was ready as soon as they came out. We sprung our trap.
Unfortunately they were coming out in a fast loop, maybe worried about an ambush, and pretty much as soon as they hit the exit they were heading straight at us, even though they didn’t know where we were – just bad blind luck. I unloaded a whole clip into the car, it should have minced all four of them but because Coyote had to jerk our ride around to avoid their car I only hit three. They were coming straight at me and so close I could see their shock when they realized they were right in my line of fire, and even in the heavy rain it was so clear and close that I could see the guy in the back right looking oh so shocked as he got brains from the guy in front all down his face. But I didn’t kill those two in back straightaway, and then we were behind them. Coyote was whooping and yelling and shooting this enormous pistol of his while he drove, but he still got really crisp control of his bashed up old car, so we got a stable platform for another shot from behind. I got another chance from there and tried to shoot the driver but my gun kicked – there’s something wrong with it, it nearly jammed three times in a row, cheap American trash – and I missed. Ghost had hacked into the car though and he slowed it down on the turn, then Coyote drove us over the top and down in front, so the car had to hit us. Which it did, and that knocked my next burst wild too, so I couldn’t shoot again and then as we were rocking away from the impact those two guys in back went full auto on us with two submachineguns. They tore the guts out of all the funky leather seats in Coyote’s car, and we got covered in stuffing and springs from the chairs and a bit of light scratching from all the shattered glass and metal but somehow – I do not know how – they didn’t get a good hit. Not that it matters, my skinweave can handle most light weapons like that. I guess I’d be dead now if I was dressed like Pops’s grandma! But their car was pushing us towards the edge of the carpark now, and it turns out the outer edge is right against the New Horizon Well, so we were going to go over the edge. Ghost stopped their car dead with some kind of hacking, but Coyote thought it might be cool to go over the edge anyway and sank us down the side over the well, so that only my head was visible, and I had a perfect line of sight to put three bullets into the driver. And that’s when my stupid gun jammed and I had to drop out of sight. Coyote pulled the car up now so we could see what to do, while I was trying to unjam my gun, and took another shot, and Ghost managed to do something nasty to the driver so he started twitching and spazzing. The two guys in the back must have not seen me stripping my gun down in the car, because they obviously decided they’d had enough and decided to do a runner. Right-hand-door guy got out and sprinted back for the exit tunnel, but left-hand-door guy tried to haul over to an air-con duct for cover. Unfortunately for him reality caught up with him halfway across and he collapsed under the weight of his wounds. I guess even a cheap American assault rifle will find the measure of a man once it has sunk four bullets into them. Eventually. But not before he got a chance to waste my new tights and tear up a cheap blouse. I need a better gun. I mean really, two dead out of four, when they were sitting in a car 10m away from me? My old team-mates would laugh at that…
Anyway, the job was pretty much done now. Coyote finished off the hiding dude, and he and Ghost stuffed the driver in the car to have a chat later. I tried to drive off with the booster-gang’s car but the cops were onto us too fast and I had to run. I got back to my scooter and got away before anyone could catch me, and got back to my apartment wet, bruised and trashed. Somehow in the firefight with the rocking of the car I got slammed into the side of the sunroof and took some bruising, and I think I got hit when the booster dudes redecorated Coyote’s back seat. Not happy. I’ve stripped and cleaned that gun three times but I can’t find what went wrong. From now on I need a spare assault rifle, but fortunately after they had their chat with the booster-gang driver Coyote and Ghost found a repo man and were able to recycle him, so we got a bit of money, maybe enough to scrape together for a second rifle.
So we are still entangled with that stupid booster-gang, who obviously still want Ghost for some reason. Trust our luck to get a marked hacker. But we need him, because we’re going to have to do some high-grade hacking to find out where this Lima dude is, and in order to do it we’re going to need to build some kind of device called an Extreme Range Husk Aligned Scanner, which means we can cruise around district 73 while Ghost scans around looking for signs of the cyberpsycho. Then I ice him. Simple. Then we find the rest of that booster gang, and I find creative ways to make them pay for my bike. I’ll tell you all about it as soon as it happens, dear Diary!