March 2, 2052
Socrete’s commlink pinged twice, indicating that he was getting a call from his fixer. He hit the newly programmed receive button on his cyberdeck and waited. He was answered a couple seconds later with another two pings from his commlink. Socrete’s muttered under his breadth, he was still unsuccessful at breaking the protocol WireStream was putting on their mobile network. He thought briefly about hiring some runners to get him into the WireStream facility in Renton district. A third set of pings roused him from his mechanizations.
“Hey Fox, what’s up?” Fox was a fixer that worked out of the Redmond Barrens. Probably not the best fixer, but it was the first number he found after hours of searching. Fixers are a damn secretively lot and if you don’t have a habitué vouch for you, they won’t talk to you. Fox did not seem to work that way, he seemed borderline desperate when he got Socrete’s call. They hit off, Fox may be all pomp and shadows, but they needed each other for the moment.
“Hey there…” Fox paused trying to remember the name, “Socretes! Hey man, I got a run for you.” Fox actually sounded impressed with himself. It had only been two weeks since they met and Socretes called every few days to check the waters.
“Yeah? What kind of job?” Socretes’ interest was piqued. This would be his virgin run and wondered what it would entail.
“It’s a data steal.”
“What does it entail?”
“uhm… stealing data.” Fox was a little confused at the question, as if his first answer should explain all the nuances of the run. Sure both of them had seen a number of police trids where the elite runners perform a data steal, only to be caught by Lone Star’s unbeatable foresnic ability, but neither of them really knew what in entailed. “Here let me send you the details.”
Socretes got an email, unencrypted of course, about a run to steal some files from the Microtech corporation in Belleview. Someone was going to have to show Fox how to hide his data trail or he was gonna get a runner killed. Socretes only had a week to complete the run. The Johnson was looking to schedule a meeting sometime in the next couple of days. Socretes could probably get the passcodes to some minor slave node in a week, but that wouldn’t leave much time if he got iced and they had to physically connect to the environment. It would probably be quicker to deck from the inside.
“Fox, I’m gonna need someone who can get me into this building and watch my back while I deck the system.”
“Ok… ok, I’ll get you some muscle. A sam. I’ll call you back.” Socretes could tell that Fox was going on the hunt. He speech picked up in tempo and Socretes imagined his eyes were probably darting around looking for what he needed to do next. Socretes pondered how Fox would acquire and actual street samurai for a moment before his attention settles back on his commlink.
“Kagin, I’m going out.” Fox’s eyes rolled over his cluttered desk. Translucent data sheets covered the surface causing him to rifle through the contents in order to find his credstick and car fob. He grabbed a can Axe Istanbul, a cheap knock-off of Ambre Topkapi, and sprayed himself liberally. The ork known as Kagin scrunched his nose, causing his already intimidating visage to horrific ends. He wore the colors of the Crimson Crush, but the smell was not enough stop him from playing the iConsole Game System he boosted last week. Kagin gave Fox a nod as the fixer made for the door. Fox didn’t even worry about locking the door behind him. The Crush occasionally crashed at the ‘clinic’ and it was not a good idea to get on the Crush’s bad side.
Fox walked the two blocks to Touristville; he was offered drugs, guns, propositioned by two glitterslitches, and he had to kick one chip head off his leg on his way. He saw a few other Crushers, but luckily no other gangs were on the prowl to increase their turf. Fox needed to score a runner and there was no better place than Touristville for that. He spotted a seedy bar as he got into Touristville. a couple of the neon letters were burned out and the sign read “BAN HE”. This caused Fox to chuckle and decided it was as good as any to find a street sam.
One might think this place got its name from its crappy Thursday night karaoke sessions with a tinny sound system and drunken patrons who can’t carry a tune in a bucket. The Banshee is strictly no-frills: a bar, some strings of LEDs, a pissed-looking ork bouncer, and cheap synthahol. Its prime appeal is being so unremarkable tat it is low-key enough to do business in, provided you keep an eye on the hungrier-looking patrons.
Saying the Banshee was a hole in the wall was like saying living in Redmond was similar to living in the Arcology. Fox stepped over a river of yellow orange liquid streaming from the bathroom that the bartender was currently hosing down. A strong scent of ammonia wafted out of the bathroom and did not seem to bother the man; he was probably preparing for the evening crowd. A small yellow sign sat on the floor in front of the bathroom. It had an image of the person outlined slipping on the ground. The image moved back and forth across the face of the sign. The japanese characters change to read “Cuidado! Piso mojado”. Fox couldn’t read the sign, but understood “Don’t slip on the piss, choomba.” Fox held his hand to his mouth to prevent himself from loosing what little food was in his stomach and proceeded into the bar. Fox didn’t know if runners hung out this early, it was just after 5 and the wage slave slummers weren’t even hear yet. Two working girls, both orks, and thier mack were sitting at a table in the corner. The only other person in the bar was a human nursing a shot glass and smoking a cigarette butt that he should have put out five minutes ago.
“Can I buy you a drink?” Fox sat down beside the patron which caused him to raise an eyebrow.
“Last I checked this was still a free country. You can get on the bar piss in the shotglasses for all I care, but my dick don’t swing that way.”
“No no, it’s not like that. You got me all wrong. I am entrepenuer of… alternate employment oppurtunities. I have a need for someone who can work late in the ‘darkened’ streets.” Fox ordered a couple drinks of cheap synthahol in regular sized glasses. As soon as the bartender set the glass down, the patron threw the drink back, finishing it in one gulp. He motioned for the bartender to refill the glass.
“The name’s Constantine. What kinda work we talking about?” Constantine spoke through a hoarse whisper, adjusting to the burning sensation as the synthahol went down. This particular brand of Vodka synthahol, 44 Degrees North, tasted like turpintine, but it got you drunk just the same. “How much does it pay?”
“Let me get my friend to discuss Biz with you.” Fox made a call to Socretes and with thirty minutes the decker was seated at the bar. Fox made introductions and the two runners eyed each other, trying to gauge the other’s intent. Constantine finished his forth glass of Vodka, but showed no signs of innebriation.
“So what do you know?” Socretes decided to initiate conversation. He didn’t know how much Fox and told him. If Socretes was gonna trust this guy while he was jacked in, it appeared that he would have to find out for himself.
“I have this job, I have to obtain this case in order to regain my rep. The crew I had ran into some trouble and we had to split up. When we did, the others bailed and I need to complete the job or just get out of the biz.”
Socretes noticed the perplexed look on Fox’s face. “Fox, you thought he was gonna help me with my job didn’t you?” Constantine realized that Fox was Socretes’ fixer. He tried to play off the line as a joke, but neither of them bought it. Noggin would not be appreciative if another fixer knew where the case may be. The case was hot and every fixer in seattle wanted to get his hands on it. The fact they had botched the first run causing Rollo, one of the most unscroupulous fixers in settle to get his hands on it only exacerbated Constantine’s situation.
“I’m sorry Fox. I don’t know how you normally handle biz, but I would feel more comfortable talking to Socretes in private.” Constantine smiled and downed what he presumed was his last free drink for the night.
“Not problem Cont… you guys talk biz. Get the job done and we can celebrate afterwards.” Fox called the bartender over, slotted his credstick and paid for the remainder of the bottle of Vodka. With a tip of his hat, Fox left the Banshee, gingerly stepping over the area where a river of piss had previously drained from the bar. The wage slaves were filtering in now and Fox noted the two runners from the door frame. In the eerie drone of touristville, the two were intent on hashing out their plans. The bar was nearly half full and Fox wondered if anyone else took interest in their conversation. If they had, they weren’t showing it. Fox turned away from the door and started walk towards the clinic. He pulled out his commlink, need to make some more money.