1st November 2071
[no time stamp]
Well, hello Chummer. You’re not quite the trusty old Sony Emperor I carried around for so long… I hope you like your new upgrades. I neglected this venting mechanism for a while, but.. There is just… So. Much. Shit. To do. I almost got more stuff on my to-do list than I can handle without straight up going insane and that might seem like a strange claim coming from someone who barely needs to sleep. Let’s start with the tame stuff, just to ease into this and get it out of my system.
After Glow City, I realized Screech left a kind of supply vacuum and I wholeheartedly intend to fill it. My Scavvies got a new joint. Supplies, repairs, rest, company and two safe places to stay… we all got that now and it works. Like, really works. We’re no longer the lone revenants completely on our own, but instead everyone knows there’s a shoulder to lean on somewhere and a full magazine if you’re in need. Rod manages the logistics, though he still scratches the old scavenging itch from time to time, and with a bit of my leftover money it’s easy to keep us afloat. The fertilizer plant is clean and Ytong recovers, slowly but surely. It’s like… after more than half a year of kicking, reeling and screaming I finally feel my feet planted firmly into the ground again, ready to smile and welcome any challenge ahead. It’s a subtle difference, but I kinda prefer this to the usual digging in of heels and defiantly clenching my fists, when I tell the world to fucking bring it on, you know?
Ain’t all sugar and unicorns, though. Kiki and I broke up. The cracks were there and I guess my constant dangerous escapades and lack of attention did their part and our general outlooks didn’t synergize as well as I’d thought. You know what they say about anchors, something about how they safeguard you, but they may also drag you down. Felt kinda like that. Always thought someone like her, someone kind, peaceful and normal would be just what I’d need. But it turned out I just had to carry her baggage as well and we kinda grew distant, fought a lot, ‘cause she and Rook didn’t really get along and we didn’t even remotely understand each other, like, deep down and… well, anyway, I’m single again, that’s what I wanted to get across.
On the plus side, since then I could fully focus on getting my Partner back on the right track. Things didn’t exactly get better at first. She lost access to her magic as she was kinda between a rock and a hard place, spiritually, and I wasn’t that big of a help. Though, to my credit, I got that anchor part right. In the positive sense. Nautical metaphors aside, she was right, as my partner tends to be. I couldn’t understand what she was going through and it surely wasn’t easy to choose. Crow’s path brought her grief in the end and he dropped her like a hot potato, while his twisted brother made some pretty sweet pitches. It’s how magic works, how we work and there is no simple solution. Which doesn’t mean there’s no solution. I promised I wouldn’t push her or anything, but I’ll be damned if I wouldn’t prevent that asshole from trying to win her over for good. Maybe Crow wasn’t allowed to help directly, but that’s what I’m here for, right? It’s just something that runs in the family I guess. My dad always told me, the only fight you can lose in good conscience, is your last one. Mom had a bit of a calmer stance but she was a strong advocate of ‘there’s no quit in a Kyldrasic’ as well. Anyway, off to the meta planes we went to seriously sort this mess out, one way or another. We’d never let each other down again, that was the operative principle we would agree on, no matter how many Mentors fought over our souls. It was a weird trip and though Rook changed in some ways, the woman I respect and admire is still there, maybe even more than ever and that she and I proved. She’s back with Crow. Back with me. Still a bit harrowed, but whole. Told you it takes more to break us. And it feels so good to be out there together again. I swear to all spirits, even the Barrens seem happy to know that both our boots are back on Glow City’s scorched soil and in search of shiny treasures hidden in the ruins.
While I was literally busy saving the most important soul in my life, the physical world had its own problems. The Nest, our home, got strongarmed by some Eco-Corp and the Recyclers were about to go on strike. Aislyn’s son got kidnapped, though, so her hands were kinda tied. So were mine. I would’ve loved the challenge of infiltrating the former Renraku Arcology, but another team took care of that. Nebraska went with them and they got Cobble out but… Well, from what I’ve heard, they had their problems and Nebraska almost drove the whole team insane by diligently fucking up every single step along the journey. Wasn’t there, but I kinda had the feeling that her ambition to become a decker wouldn’t really turn out so good. The whole job seemed batshit crazy, but I reckon there’s some exaggeration involved… maybe. Seen, heard and did crazier things actually, so…
Speaking of Nebraska… ever since Glow City, she… I don’t know… changed. It’s hard to describe. Our bond is still the same, so am I, I guess. I hope. It’s like she lost something. That Arcology job did a number on her as well, like getting dragged through a cactus-field-on-fire-grade. She broke up with Eric shortly after that, too, so that didn’t really help. Her self-esteem was at such a low I could sense it through the link without even focusing, but she pulled herself together and started training to be a drone-jockey with some old combat rigger or something. Seems to go as well as you can expect, buuuut… I mean, that’s not what I’m trying to say. Faceplanting, and trying again is normal. So is fucking up. The weird thing, the thing that makes me think that something’s, well… wrong, is that it’s like something got cut out and replaced or something. I’m an adept, I say things weirdly, so bear with me. See, if you enjoyed my previous ramblings, you already know that this girl was never easy to handle. In fact, I know people who’d rather tape a bee hive to their face before they’d actively try to figure out how to handle Nebraska. But Fog, we already know that, why would you even still whine about this?! I’m glad you ask. Her tendency to just do stupid shit got out of hand. Badly and rapidly. On top of that, she’s all talk, all fucking excuses, insecurity and no solid action to back those words up, lately. If she wouldn’t still occasionally substitute proficiency with determination and dangerous half-knowledge, I’d go as far as to say she got replaced by a bug spirit, that’s how alien and out of place her behavior feels sometimes, you know?
But yeah, let’s literally get down to business. We… somehow have an influx of real jobs these days. Like, people want to hire us to do running for them. Seems like we got us some street cred. Let’s break’em down:
So, that one job we got recently went pretty smooth. Go to… shit what was that place called? Yacutia or something? Well, some island in the Bering-Sea to retrieve plutonium from an old Russian lighthouse. Good, clean scavenging job, kindly offered by the Draco Foundation and a test of our skills I guess. Apart from the usual dangers and fuckery we did really good. I enjoyed that one. Even got a cool keepsake for my partner. She liked the old hand-cranked lantern.
After that we continued to save our home. All we needed to do was crack a safe and thereby ironically throw some dirt at the Eco-Corp, so another corp who didn’t care much for our landfill could swoop in and feed on their carcass. We went in silent and out very, very loud. Nebraska’s new toys came in handy as did the spells and kickass Voudou spirits of our new spellslinger, Sam. They broke him out of the Arcology and by now I count him as one of our own, as long as he’s responsible with his mind-mojo, that is. After that gig, though… Let’s say a certain young woman still has this fucking ninja fetish. I got the whole picture way too late, but while we were cooling down, she started to get excited about some perfectly regular japanese dude, claiming he was a ninja, she knew from the clinic. We told her to leave him alone. If he was a ninja, he’d slice her up and I’d have to go all Path-of-Vengeance for her stupid corpse and if not, she would harass some poor dude and Neil would flip his shit like it was Cirque du Soleil if he ever finds out she stalks her patients. Needless to say, she didn’t listen and that man was an honest to god ninja. He called me and I… talked to him. The ninja, you heard that right. We had an awkward moment when I picked up Nebraska who tried a B&E at his place and to no one’s surprise failed. I was grateful he didn’t kill her and think we both were grateful we didn’t have to test who was the greater warrior in pale moonlight or some shit.
For the next job, I put her on the bench because I was just done with this constant drekshow and maybe she’d learn if there were real consequences to her actions. In that moment, I pondered for a second if it was me. If I somehow let that whole team-captain thing get to my head or if I, after all that drek me and my people went through, got kinda jaded. Well, only for a second. She got grounded and we set off to Miami. Another crazy job scavenging mutated jar-babies from an old hospital. There were pirates, a subnautic dwarf with a chainsaw who sawed a boat in half, three dudes decked in less than 3 seconds by me, some rando who had a heart attack and died while winning the horse race bet of his life, even more pirates and their drones fried by high-mana lightning bolts, a Rusty in distress, several iguana eggs, a hovercraft which now belongs to us and enough pirate’s gold which we sold legitimately to earn us 120k Nuyen. Per person. Also, manatees. Got to pet one. So fucking adorable… What an awesome job, right?! For once, we really hit the jackpot. You can imagine what a certain benched girl thought about that.
The madness doesn’t stop here, though. I’m home for, like one fucking week and I get stalked while fishing. Alright, I can deal with that. Then, Zach asks me if I’d be willing to headshot him. Let me explain… He had a… well, date… with Glaera. And he was terribly afraid she’d abduct him to have another pet Technomancer or something. Probably rightly so. Told him to pass on that one, but he was hell-bent on meeting a dragon. Why are my friends so weird?! Spirits… so, yeah, Rook and I kept him in the crosshairs, while he had his fancy ass BBQ with our dragon next door. We kept tabs on their conversation and… well, we had to summon all our composure to not burst with laughter. Zach kept raving about how awesome and special he was and whenever Glaera as much as tried to change the subject and talk about the Nest and people she was actually interested in, he was almost… puzzled how she was here for anything but him and kept talking about himself. He’s either a genius, or a moron. There’s never anything in-between with my annoying little surrogate brother.
So, this all started with me getting stalked, but before I can get into that, there was the first ever positively cured Tempo addict, with the fucking plant spirit leaving him alone and all. Yeah, I kinda negotiated the poor sod out of his predicament. Rook would’ve been fucking proud, but she wasn’t around to see me almost get into a brawl with a category 12+ spirit on our doorstep before I made him an offer too good to reject. Usually, I’d let Neil handle such matters and he was there, actually. But Tempo killed his de-facto son and that’s still riding his back pretty hard.
After that, we found out we had fans… seems our… errrrm… various recorded stunts and escapades attracted an enthusiastic audience. They came to see us in person… nice kids, I guess, but since we’re sort of professional criminals, we told’em to keep it down… or something. I let Zach handle the details. The stalker, right…
The next, and most recent job was commissioned by… military AIs. Combat bots, to be precise. They wanted out of the whole military deal, it seems and they seem pretty fucking adept at keeping a low profile. It took me a solid week to track one of them and I’m not completely sure he didn’t just let me find him in the end. Called himself Tim and needed us to get some parts so he and his three buddies would stay in operating condition. Turned out they became fans of our antics as well and correctly deducted that we’d help anyone with a good enough sap-story. Of course, I had to tell everyone what they were in for, when I took the job. Stan wasn’t keen on helping robots, everyone else was basically on board and I’m pretty certain Zach was so jazzed and overjoyed that he defragmented into his digital pants the moment he heard ‘AIs in distress’. He’s really downright creepy when it comes to those subjects. This was another silent in, very loud out-job. I never, ever had so many bullets stuck in my suit. For the first time in my life, I had to pop a stim pack to stay in the game. That was definitely an experience and the cops I knocked out or those who surrendered didn’t seem to be too sore losers… so, no hard feelings over a few broken ribs, bruises and another scar for Zach who, admittedly almost saw the light.
After that hasty display of crisis management, decent improvisation and another successful job I’m really down for a vacation. I need to reflect on a couple of things and just… be on the road for a while. Scandinavian Union seems nice and my partner is on board. She seems to know a lot about foreign places and told me there’s all kinds of stuff, from giant awakened forests to remnants of the Euro War we can check out for shinies. I’ll leave the team in Zach’s capable hands, if they get any jobs… never thought I’d say this… but as the rest of us, he came a long way during that last year we’ve faced all this insane stuff together. Here’s to hoping no one sinks the ship while I’m gone…
Alright, system cleaned, ramblings finished. I should do this more often…