Monday, April 22, 2013


Han asked me to be his second at a cyber duel. He had pissed off a young woman named Dee and she blew him out of the water after two seconds or so. Han was in pretty bad shape afterwards and the fact that he lost his host to Dee didn't help any.
Dee invited us to drinks afterwards and I talked a bit with the guy she brought as her second, Cyphar. Despite his unusual looks, I take him for Japanese. It's been a while since I had the chance to practice my own Japanese and we chatted a bit...even after I told Cyphar where we come from. The Rat's Nest has a bad reputation and an even worse one in the Japanese community, so I fully expected Cyphar to politely finish the conversation as soon as possible. It's nice to be surprised, sometimes.

The cops raided the club about halfway into the evening. By that time, Han was already totally wasted, so I pretty much carried him to my truck. Cyphar had the same problem with Dee and there was no way he could get away in time with her on his bike, so I offered a ride. We made a stop in Touristville to get something to eat. I don't know what is is with eating out, but it seems every time I do, I get into trouble. The lights went out and all screens showed the mesade: die, Dee die. Lovely.

Outside, it was total chaos, with people losing control over their cars. One of them almost crashed into us and that was no accident. Add sirens coming in our direction to the mix and even more die, Dee-messages. We piled into my truck again and I drove to the Nest - at least there's very little Matrix in the Barrens, so whoever was out to get Dee couldn't wreak that much havoc there. I closely avoided a couple of cars on a kamikaze mission and we savely arrived at the Nest.

Kimba took care of Han and we found beds for Cyphar and Dee at the MASH container we had added to the clinic to house the patients who can't be send home immediately. The war of the First Nations brings a lot more casualties than the clinic can house normally. Dee was asleep as soon as she had puked her guts out - at least we won't have to worry about that happening in her sleep now. Cyphar didn't look very tired, so I invited him for a drink into the Barrel.

If you've ever seen a Western with the mysterious stranger stepping into the saloon, you pretty much have Cyphar's entrance into the Barrel. I've never seen the Barrel so crowded and so quiet. If Cyphar had been alone, the entertainment for the evening might have been "whack the Jap". But as he was my guest, people made do with staring and whispering. He met Eric and to his credit didn't freak out. At least not noticeable, although I did hear his whispered Yokai. But compared to the reactions Eric usually provokes form people who haven't seen him before, that was downright tame. And I doubt Eric heard.

Friday, April 19, 2013


Saturday, January 24 2071

I did a routine check on the clinic's finances and we're 10,000NY short. I couldn't believe it - 10k is a serious blow to the clinic, I have no idea how we are going to make do. I can sink some of my own money into the funds, that would at least make things a bit easier, but still.

I checked the surveillance. Liz is the one who took the money. I think I sat there for ten minutes, watching the few seconds of Liz burning the sticks like it was no big deal over and over again. There was no way I could get myself to believe that she was actually guilty, no matter what I was seeing.

I went to her and showed her the tape. She was absolutely stunned and promised me that she didn't do it. We both knew that very few people would believe her in the face of the evidence and that it would mean at the very least her banishment from the Nest, if nothing worse.

We talked to Growler and decided to have the hackers check the surveillance data. Aillén was the obvious choice, but I wanted Han to be in on it, too, to have two opinions, just in case one of them was involved. And I highly doubt that they would pull off anything like that together. Unfortunately, the data was not manipulated in any way, according to both of them.

Which left us with three possibilities: drugs, magic and the kind of mind-control we already had a run-in with. I can think of any number of drugs that would make Liz forget that she took the money, but of none at all that would make her take it. Magic might be possible, although I have no idea who would be responsible in that case. As for the mind-control, I made a brain-scan of Liz and I did find traces of manipulation, similar to those I found when I scanned Han or myself after the whole Matrix Surgeon-thing. It still doesn't rule out magic, though.

And it doesn't get us any closer to finding out who is actually responsible for this. However this was done, it took some planning and some inside knowledge. It doesn't do shit for my trust in the people I live with, I know that.

At least it got Liz off the hook. I told the committee about the theft, word would have gotten out anyway (I don't trust Aillén to keep a secret, for one) and people need to know that things are not hushed up. None of them were happy - welcome to the club - by they accepted my explanation and there will be no consequences for Liz.

Thursday, April 18, 2013


Friday, January 23, 2071

Flipside is making its way into the Nest. The First Nations have kept their word about not dealing with it here, but people still get it, pretty much as we expected. I know that Whistler took it at least once, also pretty much as I expected. I've stopped trying to talk to him about anything else than work, it's not much use at the moment. I know that he has problems, I know him damn well enough for that, but I can't force him to accept my help (always assuming there's actually something I could do).

And then there's Liz. She badly underestimated how long Flipside lasts and came to work, still high as a kite. I really wish people wouldn't always try to lie to me. Anyway, when I confronted her, she gave me the bag with another dose and promised to never take it again. I did my best to explain that Flipside certainly is not just a party drug, as everybody seems to think. People are messing with magic and they have no idea what they are getting themselves into.

I made the mistake of touching her while she was still flipped and while I was using astral sight. The effect was intense and if it felt like that for me, it must have been that much stronger for Liz. I probably should have let go of her hand, but frankly I was too shocked to react - and then she kissed me. I would have had to use force to get her off me, so I let her and after a few seconds, she let go, apologizing. But she also asked me why I didn't sleep with her if I wanted it so much. Without waiting for an answer, she ran out.

It might have been better to just let her go, but I'm so tired of this shit coming up again and again, so I followed her and she repeated the question, but this time out on the street and loud enough for everyone to hear. She ran into her container and I went after her. I'm sure we're the hot topic of the Nest's gossip, but I couldn't care less.

Anyway, it started to dawn on me that Liz probably couldn't tell her feelings and mine apart. Astral sight is overwhelming and with the added effects of the drug...I'm fairly sure that I couldn't deal with that any better than Liz. She asked me right out to sleep with her - just this once. To help her stay away from Flidside, to help her get over being in love with me. I said no - what else could I have said, even if Liz hadn't been totally wasted. I'm not about to destroy my relationship with Ruby - I couldn't hide that from her and even if I could, I would know. I don't appreciate being emotionally blackmailed, either.

So I held her while she cried and then left when she asked me to. I ran into quite a crowd who suddenly looked extremely busy... Liz didn't mention any of this later on and I won't either. But she hasn't completely taken leave of the idea, unfortunately. I hope she manages to stay away from Flipside, at least.

Oh, and she told me who gave it to her: Kimba. No surprise there. I won't do anything about it just yet, but I'll keep it in mind.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


January 19th, 2071, Monday

The war between the First Nations and the Crimson Crush is in full swing and we're busy treating the First Nation's casualties at the clinic. So far there have only been comparatively minor injuries, nothing acutely life-threatening. But I guess it may be only a matter of time. In any case, we are getting three or four gangers in here every day, plus the usual patients from the Nest.

Simon is doing a good job and I'm glad that we have him. I think he's going to stick around, too. He's a lot more confident than he was when he first came to the Nest and no-one gives him any shit. It may have helped that I told a couple of people that he really knows how to handle that sword he is carrying.

Whistler is getting a lot of hands on experience. Frankly, I'm using all this as an opportunity to teach him and to let him handle some more complicated cases himself while I keep an eye on things. People yet have to complain and he hasn't fucked anything up. I wish I could give him a real education that would qualify him for work in a legal clinic because he's already good enough for that, has been for a while.

The First Nations have been fairly good guests, if we can call it that. There has been some bickering, but nothing serious. No idea if it's going to stay that way, though. It's not like we could do all that much if they decided to take things over here. We'll see.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

First Nations

January 15th 2071, Thursday

It seems we're about to get caught in the middle of a turf war. This morning, about thirty gangers on bikes drove up to the bridge and three of them came into the Nets under a white flag, with the message that their leader wished to speak to Growler. I recognized their colors as that of the First Nations.

Growler agreed and called Monkeywrench, Ningbo and me to join the conversation, as well as two people as guards. The First Nations brought two guards and their leader Blood of the Buffalo was joined by their shaman Walks With Spirits. It was absolutely clear that they could just have taken what they wanted, the First Nations have, as far as I know, over a hundred members and they are heavily armed. The Scrappers with their crossbows and Streetsweepers are no match for them.

Blood of the Buffalo told us that the First Nations would be waging war on the Crimson Crush over the territory of The Verge. They wanted the Nest as their base of operations, as well as support in form of Matrix and technical help as well as medical care. We bickered a bit about the price and, after declining an offer to be paid in drugs, we came to an agreement. This will last for two weeks and then the First Nations expect the war to be over. I'm not so convinced. But we'll re-negotiate then, at least that's what we agreed on.

For now we're having guests and I don't plan on getting much free time once the real fighting has begun. Plus, there's also the question what will happen once (if) the First Nations have their new territory - pretty much the only way to get there is through the Nest. The fact that the First Nations are big in the drug business doesn't help to ease my mind one bit, but on the other hand, if it's not them, it's someone else. And Flipside will become a problem whoever is dealing with it, I don't care how harmless it's supposed to be.

Simon Says

January 4th 2071, Sunday

We have a new med tech, an ork named Simon. Glitzy met him when she was out for a drink at the Bawdy Lass. He was looking for a job and since he has been in jail, he had no luck finding one, at least not as a med tech. I remember how that feels.

So we agreed to meet for lunch at Yoshiro's to talk it over. Glitzy had already send me his resume and I have to say, I was ready to do pretty much anything it took to get him to work at the Nest.

Simon was obviously nervous, not just because this was a job interview, but because he was going into the Barrens and the Rat's Nest. He had read all the media reports about us and frankly, those are less than flattering. I probably would have been terrified as well. But after we were done talking about the basics like work hours and salary, I could tell that he wanted the job. So I suggested we go and take a look at the Nest.

The Nest still doesn't look its best and it's something of a cultural shock at the best of times for someone who has been a more or less lawabiding citizen until now. But I think that Simon was surprised by what he saw and I know the clinic impressed him. When we came in, Whistler had just taken in some kid with a gunshot wound and we let Simon deal with it. Which he did very well.

We agreed that he will start on Monday and after a month, he will decide if he is going to stay. I hope he will.


December 31st 2070 Wednesday

Yesterday, I was just talking to Liz when Ella almost kicked down the door to the clinic. She had been to the Bargain Basements with Kerry to sell stuf for Monkeywrench and the Kabuki Ronin had recognized the colours of the Scrappers. The Ronin were on the lookout for whoever had stolen one of their bikes and a katana from them and since Rusty did wear his colours during the run, they blamed the Scrappers.

They took pretty much everything Monkeywrench had brought to the market, a loss of about 35k. And they smashed Kerry's hand, she's going to lose it and I'm still trying to figure out what to do, although the final decision will be hers.

Anyway, Growler, Monkeywrench and I talked to Rusty and he swore that neither Maggie nor he had stolen anything during that run. I already knew form Glitzy that Ray had taken the katana and Monkeywrench remembered that Ray sold him a bike. So we decided to talk to Ray because if he planned to keep this up, he'd be a danger for the Nest and we certainly would not appreciate him on our turf. Rusty mentioned that Ray did have a reason for stealing, that he didn't do it out of greed, but said that it was not his place to tell us more about this.

So I called Ray and he agreed to come to the Nest. Growler told him what happened, in the back room of the Rusty Barrel, and Ray told us that he needed money to buy drugs for his sister, who is suffering from Bowden's Malady. We argued back and forth for a bit whether the whole thing could have been avoided, getting nowhere fast.

It dawned on me that Ray was probably expecting to be taken out to the back and shot or something - if he did, he was hiding it extremely well, but the situation cannot have been very pleasant. So we agreed that in future Ray would adhere to any rules for the runs the group would be doing or bow out if the rules were not to his liking. That we could all live with.

I talked to Ray about his sister Ember. I don't have any experience with Bowden's Malady, although I've read about it. The street doc who's clinic we raided after he had been killed had been treating Ember and I still have his files, so at least I don't need to start from scratch.

Oh, and speaking of the clinic run, Eric has become something of an oddity at the Nest. People know what happened of course, there was no way we could go on hiding that. So far no-one has been giving him any trouble, but anyone who did that to his face would have to be near-suicidal anyway. I wish I could write an article about the whole thing, but that would bring so much trouble for the Nest, it's really not worth it. At the very least Eric would disappear into some lab and I would probably go along with him. I think we can both do without that experience.