All is Fair in Corporate Politics + War
- The Shadows – Better In Than Out -
4:03 a.m. Tuesday. The 4th week of June.
Damn, rent is due in another week… Jobs have been sparse, maybe 3 weeks since a good gig? Well, that’s life in the shadows… Hard. Grimy. Dark. But, it’s not all bad, really. There’s something to be said for not being a corporate Stiff or a straight and narrow Cog with a SYN and a simple life outside and above the shadows. This life offers you freedom, choice, and the opportunity to say “Fuck You” to the machine and its participants when the day is over.
Then again, it would be nice to be able to get a meal without a wacko trying to kill you. You still can feel the adrenaline pumping a bit from your run in at the Stuffer Shack less than an hour ago. Too bad the sim chips’ ability to occupy your attention has faded already, and the fizzy goo and teriyaki rice cake puffs left you no less hungry than before your trip. You’d thought about dropping by Mr. Chun’s Famous House of Ramen, but you just had ramen that afternoon, and it wasn’t sounding too appealing for your midnight run. It would have been a bit less hectic than the Shack though, that’s for sure.
There was also delivery, which you’d contemplated, but the amount they charged these days, come on, you were strapped on creds, needing a job, not in a drunken joy filled post-job spending haze. And that last guy that came was a real wack-job, kept calling himself the Deliverator and referring to himself in the third person. You know there are crazy as fuck people out there in the world, and it’s best you go visit them, not ask them to visit you. Otherwise you might risk your pad being ransacked or blown to shit because some delivery jack ass has a conniption because he’s almost late and he’s worried he’ll be reamed by Uncle Enzo on your doorstep, which he claims is because your van isn’t in the same place as it was two weeks ago. You heard that some shit like that happened to an old friend. Not you, that’s what you decided after the run in with that character…
You just can’t shake that encounter though. What would compel a person dressed in a hybrid of a cowboy and vampire getup to make a hit and hold up a Stuffer Shack at 3:20 a.m. with two lackeys with more cyber than brains? I mean, really, the red cowboy boots, black hat, and goth tunic and pants, highlighted by that black eye shadow and pale face, was too much for that idiot elf to begin with… He’d have his shit messed up before breakfast if he left during daylight hours that morning for looking like a stupid joke. But, who in their right mind then blows up a Stuffer Shack and then tries to rip off its limited creds on file with its heavy surveillance, not to mention runners like yourself that don’t tolerate punk shit that ruin your night, and does it with help no less? Who knows…
At least you were able to take care of them quickly, only traumatizing the bimbo behind the plate glass at the register in the process. Well, and taking off one of the thugs’ arm. Come to think of it, until the human let off that grenade, almost shattering the safety cocoon she calls home each night, she seemed like she hadn’t even realized that the buffoons were there. How could she be that dense, given the troll smashed through the front windows?
Once again, who knows; the world is full of some crazy as fuck people… After the three were put down, you said your piece, took some snacks for your vigilante help, eyed the register clerk once more as she cowered in the corner too dumbfounded to regain her senses, and high tailed it out of there as you heard the comedy act called law enforcement on their way to the “rescue”.
But, that again, was the life of a runner in the shadows. You had to deal with shit each time you walked out of your door, and often before you rolled out of your own bed. It wasn’t so bad, after you got used to it. You took care of your shit, the few you “trusted” well enough to be on your crew had your back, hopefully, and other than that you tried to make your jobs without getting caught in the middle of a cluster fuck. Because really, who’d rather be in the middle of the shit storm caused by the megas as a corp Stiff or Cog? Having a Johnson hand you simple tasks was much better.
Luckily, Mr. Fang had you covered; a crazy son of a bitch almost as bad as that Deliverator, but at least he wanted to keep you employed… An odd job here and there delivering unsavories, maybe if you were lucky you’d hit corp gold, a heist of data, intel, or somewhere between, the only other currency besides credits these days. Just as long as you had no ties, you didn’t get caught up in anyone’s agenda, and you got your payment, then you’d be fine, and shadows were a decent place to run. But was it really that easy to keep ties cut, get in, and get out?
The short and simple: Hell no…