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[6E] Dome Sweet Home IC

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[Early Evening, Monday November 13th, 2079; Downfall, Redmond, Seattle Metroplex]
The Downfall was nice, at least by the available standards of Redmond.  He’d done some research on the way here and it seemed like as good a place as any to collect his thoughts, although now he was beginning to regret his decision to come at all.  The clientele were the usual eclectic mix of street toughs and SINless just trying to scrape by after whatever crap job their limited status afforded them.  But there was also some Talent here, and from the curious glances he’d received when he came in he knew they’d seen the dim spark that was in him too.
The air wasn’t too laden with nic or stale alcohol and piss and the music was loud enough to drown out casual conversation but not make your ears bleed!
Watcher nursed his drink musing at the water still pooling off his cuffs from the soaking he’d taken getting to Redmond from his ratty apartment all the way over in Puyallup.  He ruefully reflected that he was getting jaded, a bit of rain had never bothered him much but he would once have made more of an effort to stay dry at least.  He’d removed his damp gloves and his metallic right cyber hand tapped an unconscious rhythm on the faded table top as he considered the message from his daughter again.
> Hi Dad, hope you’re ok?  Sorry haven’t got time to talk, maybe next week?  Tom’s in trouble, possibly big trouble, I’ve seen it coming.  I know you don’t see eye to eye and if I could I would be there myself to stop you two fighting, but I can’t…some things are even more important than family.  He won’t want your help, he’s too damn stubborn, but I know you will want to do something.
> Lace
He sighed, damn it Beth, Silkie, Lace, whatever she was calling herself these days…  He’d tried, he really had.  But Beth was right, Tom blamed him for the death of their mother and the wound was fresh even after all these years.  He’d gone to where Tom had holed up with his tribe, had tried to speak to his son… and had been turned away.  But he knew that Beth wouldn’t have sent him there without good cause, so a new plan was needed…
Time to recruit some outside assistance.  With what he wasn’t sure but there were runners that would help a cause for more than just nuyen.  He’d briefly pondered trying to recruit some himself, possibly even at a bar like this one, but it was too random, he didn’t know this part of town any more (too many painful memories) and he didn’t want to end up on the wrong end of some street razor’s grudge.  So that meant squeezing his limited funds further and getting hold of a fixer to set him up with a team.  Thankfully Feather owed him one and it might be time to check in that marker…

[Early Morning, Monday November 13th, 2079; Enumclaw, Auburn, Seattle Metroplex]
The little apartment wasn't much, but the lock on the door was strong and the electrical grid only rarely suffered from blackouts; aside from the omnipresent hum of heavy industry in the area, the wireless signal to noise ratio was better than any of the other places he would have been able to afford.

Viktor was seated at the large workbench in the middle of the room, the internals of a Shiawase Cyber-6 laid out before him and surrounded by spare parts and various junk. He adjusted the overhead lamp to provide better light for the task at hand, and gingerly slipped the tiny optical relay into place. Despite being mostly broken and in pieces the deck had cost him most of his savings, and that was even after the trade-in on his old model.

"The circuits are good, but she needs a little TLC before she'll purr like a kitten." Max, one of Viktor's corporate contacts at Shiawase, had been adamant that the deck was worth the price even in it's present condition. "If anyone can fix 'er up it's you, and I'll give you a real good price on part. Chip truth!"

Thinking back on that conversation, Viktor realized he should have picked up on the somewhat obvious attempt at flattery, but the temptation had just been too great. Outside of the corporate elite and state of the art tech, a Shiawase Cyber-6 was about as advanced a deck as he'd ever expected to see, no less own! So instead of haggling like he should have, he had thrown caution to the wind and now all of his hopes and dreams rested on the various little pieces of plastic and metal arrayed in front of him.

He sighed deeply, then set to work reassembling the miniaturized cyberdeck. Everything fit onto a slot no larger than a couple of credsticks, and within a few hours he had everything neatly wrapped up. The circuit tester chirrped happily when he applied it to the optical connection port, indicating that the procedure had gone well.

"Only one way to find out," Viktor thought as he slid the deck into the receptacle in the back of his head. A barely perceptible *click* announced that the connection had seated firmly, and the dwarf subconsciously moved his hand over the implant location before steeling himself for the next crucial part. He couldn't afford the hospital stay if this didn't work, and the deck going critical inside his skull would be the least of his long-term issues. He inhaled deeply, closed his eyes, and leaned back in his favourite chair.

"This is it. All or nothing, chummer. You got this."

With a mental trigger, he bridged the neural interface between his cyberjack and the new deck lodged firmly inside his skull. For several nano-seconds nothing seemed to happen; his stomach began to sink, when all of a sudden the Matrix rushed out of nowhere and wrapped his consciousness in digital code.

Clad in the blackened armor of a modern samurai, 0day, his persona, rose from a smoke cloud into the Emerald City host.

"Time to see what this baby can do..."

[Early Evening, Monday November 13th, 2079; Enumclaw, Auburn, Seattle Metroplex]

Hours had passed and the Cyber-6 has handled every test he'd thrown at it. Viktor had sliced through the Matrix for hours, and he couldn't have been happier.

The notification that someone was at his door had brought him back to reality, and he checked the video feed from the tiny MCT Gnat positioned in the corner of the hallway leading up to his apartment.

"Ah, delivery!" he exclaimed to no one in particular inside the host he'd been decking. He had completely forgotten that he'd placed a McHugh's order earlier that day to ensure he would eat, but now that he was reminded of it he realized he was starving.

Jacking out of the Matrix brought the familiar sense of loss with it, and it took a few tries before he managed to get out of his chair.

He plodded to the door after grabbing his commlink, and was instantly reminded of how low his funds were. "Drek. I should have gone and picked it up myself" he muttered to himself as he opened the door.

After ensuring his note about no soy had been adhered to he settled up, and shook his head at the mere ¥195 left in his account. Back in the apartment with a plate of chick pea falafel neatly organized on a tray in front of him, he began cataloging local events and news stories in the hope that he could find some work.


Phaeton and Dynamyt stool holding hands at the flames lick up around the box that contained their mother's remains. They probably should have buried her but the idea of devil rats knawing on her did not sit well with either of the sisters .
"I spoke Mr Wu you can stay at his and work on his stall." said Dynamyt as they stared at the dying flames
Phaeton tried to speak but Dynamyt held her hand up,
" you need a place he needs the help, with both his boys dead "
" but he don't speak English and I ain't got no 'nese "
" he speaks English plenty good when I sort his burns and cuts, he just pretends"
Both girl giggled
"we better get back, Grimble will be there soon."
Grimble was dutifully solemn but everyone knew he had wanted this pitch of years
"I be sorry for your loss there Shaman, glad it were quick. She were go people. Look theres te things you wanted even fueled it up and here's some script n cred. You can be turned can you, folks are no happy you going an all"
"Grimble, I gotta go find what behind the mountains, I got Phaeton a good 'prentice. An' got me a bike" she eyed the keys "you sure this feather is straight up?"
Grimble chuckled "peice of advice, e everyone wants something, nothin' 'ti's free"

Omen sat at his acustomed place at the bar he had chosen as his current haunt - drinking away what remained of his last mission's salary.
As usual he raised his glass in a silent toast to his dead brothers in arms. 'Vive la mort, vive la guerre, vive le sacre mercenaire'.
The drink tasted bitter - not just because of the quinine from the tonic water, but also because of the memories of their last mission.
For a moment he thought about going back on board of the ship, before remembering that the "Sea Witch" had already left two days ago while he had decided to go on a bender.
Seattle was as good a place as anywhere to get back on his feet now that the malaria had finally been purged from his system.
Better in fact, since he actually new someone here. Right. Enough self pity. He pulled out his commlink and searched for her number.
"Hey honey, guess who."
"Omen? Curse your disease ridden hide. I hope the jackals finally got your balls."
"Bah, after living with you for three years, a jackal's bite would be akin to a soft kiss.
Speaking of which, are you still with that prick of a pimp Marshall?"
"You've been away for awhile. Marshall's dead. I took over his business."
"Seriously? You are a Madam now with a stable of mares? Congratulations, I guess.
Anyway, I'm not calling for a quicky for old times sake. I'm back in the city and I need a job."
"Sorry, there's currently no demand for a good-for-nothing piece of drek that can't even manage to get himself killed with the rest of his unit."
"Listen Sandra, forget for a moment that you are my ex and try to act like a goddamn business woman: You know my talents, you know the commission that's in for you and you goddamn know I'm calling you instead of Sharkeye, because I don't want the kind of jobs he is handing out.
So either use old Mars' contacts for me, or hang up and think about what a man with my talents can do for a real piece of work like old Sharky."
"Don't get your knickers in a twist. I'll put the word out that you are back on the market. And stay away from Sharkeye. Bastard."
The call dropped and Omen smiled.
Sandra wasn't half bad all in all - in any case she'd be a better fixer than a wife.

"Mrs. Mary, Quite contrary
How does your garden grow?
With souless shells and about three hells
and mutations all in a row."

Elga seemed calmer if Tipperman made himself heard before walking into the 'cottage'.  And recently she seemed to be responding to silliness and wordplay, so the dwarf had been digging up vaguely remembered songs and rhymes and playing around with the words.

He entered the converted shipping container, and was pleased to see that Elga was still there, that she was not hiding in a corner, and that it looked like the posts and dishes were still in the sink.  In the first weeks she'd kept taking things like that and hiding them, or making shivs out of cutlery.  He'd almost think that she had been in prison, but her skin just seemed too good for that.  Or it had been, somewhere between living on mostly soy paste and living in a radiation zone she was losing some of her glow.

He made small talk at her, and even coaxed out a few 'yes' and 'no' answers -- along with the usual ratio of what seemed like nonsense.  But his thoughts were elsewhere, and eventually he said out loud "I think you'll be OK for a while if I take on some work."  He definitely needed to find a way to move her somewhere better, and to get proper treatment for whatever had happened to her.

There was a lot of people he could call, but in the end he decided to start to start with his old protege.  The image on his link still showed Brianna in her Neonet security uniform, dark hair buzzed short, a petite and athletic figure.  It was hard to remember that her hair was showing grey, her face and hips had rounded out and she'd been civilian for a decade.  But at least her mind was still sharp -- he may have changed less physically but his mind was not as fit as it had been back then.  And he had to remember to use her business name, not her personal one.

<<Branta, Got any work you could throw my way?>>
<<Tipperman, you coherent enough to present to a Johnson?>>
<< I'm as clear as one credit beer.  I've got someone I'm taking care of, keeping me focused>>
<< Spirits, you've adopted another stray?>>
<< More like a discard.  Found her half dead, still making less sense than me>>
<< If you found her around your place she's lucky.  Almost anyone else would have seen her dead or ... well you know.  I'm glad you have a cause and you ready to work, but I'm afraid I can't risk adding you to an existing team, nor trust you solo -- not until I see that you can stay focused.  Let me see if anyone is looking for a less proven team.>>


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