Part V: Meet My Rigger

Stuck’s Carnival sprang up overnight in the blue-collar mecca called Auburn. In a community where residents lived hand to mouth, this wild “anything-goes” casino represented a chance to be more. Stucks fed on that hope, growing fat with profit. Now it had expanded to the point where it was practically a micro city—a glowing oasis of neon and glass so long as your nuyen kept flowing, you could at least feel like you were somebody.

Kat’s crew picked an outdoor patio space wedged between a brothel and a petting zoo. It looked like a good place to meet new talent. If the crew planned on having any more fast getaways, they had to get a rigger. Interviewing potential shadowrunners used to entail walking up to a guy in a bar and asking if they shot straight, but Seattle was growing, and finding the right mix of talent was more difficult than ever.

The first interviewee, Larry, wasn’t even interested in shadowrunning. He just showed up to get them to support his lounge act a few blocks away. The second, a former F1 racecar driver named Andrea Florio, showed serious promise. Unfortunately, he kept insisting that everyone get Italian Linguasofts. But they immediately loved the third guy.

            “Haegemon, right?” He looked like a trid show mechanic—brown skin, sloppy black hair parted where a tusk sprouted from the side of his head, old jeans, an armored jacket zipped up to the collar, and a knapsack over one shoulder. His smile showed white teeth and polished fangs. He nodded and pulled up a chair next to the three shadowrunners.

            “Odd place to take a meet.” Haegemon took in his surroundings.

            Kat said, “We figured if it didn’t work out you might be able to score a few nuyen on the slots; make the trip worth your while.”

            “And here I thought you picked it because security made sure I wasn’t carrying a gun.” They made small talk in this fashion, no direct questions about the biz, but each question designed to reveal a bit more about the kind of runner they might be hiring. It wasn’t long before Kat was convinced.

            “I think you’re someone we could get used to, Haegemon.”

            Haegemon’s eyes never left Kitsune, no matter who was talking. He said, “I’m looking forward to it.”

JT snorted, “Yeah? Make sure your Docwagon is paid up. In fact, you better up your coverage to gold.”

Haegemon shrugged and flashed a Docwagon gold card.

Kitsune leaned in. “I’d love to see your car. What sort of ordinance did you build in?”

“Oh, I don’t have a car. Drek, I don’t even know how to drive.”

            “What are you talking about? How can you rig without a vehicle?”

            Haegemon smiled. “Drones. They’re smaller and more maneuverable than cars and even bikes. I can send a drone through a doorway, leave it to cover a hall, park it on a rooftop; whatever I need for a job. “

            Silence followed for a few seconds. Finally, Kat said, “I’m not sure a drone rigger is what we’re looking for. We were looking for a getaway driver.”

            “Why would you want that?”

            “Excuse me?”

            “Why would you want someone who is only useful on the way out, or maybe into a run? A guy like me can provide extra fire support, peak around corners without getting shot, even cover your exit so you don’t need to worry about being chased. A vehicle rigger just, well, waits in the car.”

            Kitsune grinned, “I like him.” That part seemed obvious enough.

Kat said, “I’m not convinced. Are you willing to let me see you in action?”

“What did you have in mind?”

Kat took him on a short trip down I-5 to the newly opened Clone Zone Mall. Kitsune drove. This late all of the shops were closed. The near empty parking lot was patrolled by a half-dozen toaster sized drones that whirred and dipped between the lights like chrome fireflies. Kat climbed out of the passenger seat pointed to a store on the west end of the mall. The sign above the entrance read ‘Microtronics’.

“I stopped in last week and saw a wiz response upgrade. If you can take care of those drones, I’ll go get it.”

Haegemon unzipped his backpack to reveal a rigger control deck. He plugged a black cord into the device and slid the other end of the cord into the datajack port behind his left ear.  Immediately three of the drones broke off from their pattern and zipped towards the east end of the mall. Kat took her cue. She made short work of the maglocked rear door and disappeared into the store.

Five minutes later the group was on the road, laughing and trying to figure out where to celebrate the addition of their newest member. JT offered up a VIP Pass to Orkgy, the all-nude ork club. Instead Kitsune drove the crew across town to a club called Jagged Nails where she liked to hang out. Even Kat was having a good time. She left the group behind before the sun came up. Kat still had a shadowrun to plan, and she really missed her kitten.

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