Rebecca did quite a number on one of the beds by the garage. The rosebush was cut back and all the other greenery was completely felled. A scorched earth policy, so now there's a mostly clean slate on which to start over. With some help from Rebecca, I attacked the hedge in front that borders the alley. Like most things at our place, it's terribly overgrown, and leaned way out into the alley. It didn't obstruct traffic, but it was pretty hairy. It was also growing upwards, with many little shoots flying up well over my head. I spent a fair amount of time carving it into something more manageable and respectable. Ah, how I love watching leaves and stems and branches flying through the air, and the heady smell of the sap that oozes from the severed limbs. The efficiency of power tools resulted in a situation where we had entirely filled up our trash can with plant matter by 9:30 AM. Usually, it takes us til noon to lay waste to that much vegetation.
After the morning herbicidal mayhem, I moved on to homicidal mayhem. Last night was Tarnished Chrome, a one-shot cyberpunk LARP. I was playing "The Verge", a somewhat broken-down bodymod with ancient (but strong and sturdy) implants (which naturally required the ingestion of drugs to keep functional). A novelty of the game was that we were all hanging out in the bar looking for jobs. A few people were sort of brokers who knew what jobs needed to be done, and were charged with putting together a team of people with the right skills to go out on a mission. The missions would be done separately in another room in a quick session with one of the GM's. Kind of a neat system, but there were a few kinks.
Anyway, The Verge had a busy night. I was a Boom-Boom combat monster, with a couple other marginally useful skills, but as subtle as a sledgehammer. With the right supporting team, I was awesome, but on my own... well, when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And I did a lot of nailing.
My first mission was the worst. Stupid cyberdogs at Forest Lawn gave us a bit of trouble as we chopped off a head with some data in it that someone wanted. The dogs didn't give me much trouble, but the van of security people managed to put a few depleted uranium slugs in my chest, before I erased them. And what was it all for? After paying for the drugs I got on credit and the meatball surgery from Doctor Vlad, I'd earned a measly 2,000 profit. But that was the last job that had any problems in it as far as I was concerned.
The second job was to kidnap some Hollywood madame. We get to the house and I make a distraction so the others can sneak up to the house. Apparently, their sneaking was more distracting than my distraction, because the next thing I know, the rest of the team is getting shot at by four security guards. The team flees past my position, and I hose down the guards without any fuss. I tell them, we have to do this fast, and then jump in a window. We corner the madame in a room, and the Maori grabs her.
The third job was a bit of a cock-up. I go with Cross and Base Pair to rub out some hacker who lives in a gated community. Cross tries to sneak up and kill the guard quietly, and gets shot at for her pains. That's my cue to unleash the hand-cannon and spatter the guard all over the inside of his kiosk. Base Pair hacks the gate, but the alarm stays on. I can smell the cops on the way, so we haul ass to the house. We spot a guy walking around in a front room with a handgun. We blow him away and enter. I'm asking, "Are we done? Is this the hacker?" Cross doesn't seem to know whether we're done or not, but makes some sort of noncomittal, "Yeah, we're done" sort of noise. I'm thinking about exit strategy. Meanwhile, Cross and Base Pair are hunting around looking for souvenirs and loose jewelry to steal. Fuck that, Five-Oh is coming. So I head out, on foot, looking to get out before the cavalry shows up. I run into a couple coppers on the way out, but they don't put up much resistance, and I'm on my way back to the bar, thinking that the job's been done.
[Unbeknownst to me, Cross and Base Pair find another room with a mom and 13-year old daughter on the bed. The mom's begging to be left alive, and the kid's wheelchair is beside the bed. Cross notices a dataplug in the girl's head and the penny drops. This is the hacker. Like a pro, Cross takes out the cripple and her mom. Then they're still looking for things to steal, like the kiddie's rig. Of course, by this time, the police helicopter has arrived on scene, and to make a short story shorter, Cross and Base Pair get picked up by the police and arrested for the murder of a little crippled girl and her parents. Sayonara.]
I get back to the bar and tell the Whale that we did the job, but that he probably wouldn't be seeing Cross and Base Pair again. The Whale is pissed that Cross isn't coming back, since she'd been arranging a lot of his deals, and he gets pissed that I don't have proof that I did the job (I tell him to watch the local news) but he eventually pays me a fair amount for the job (and there's no one left to share it with).
Fixer Chu had been setting up a nice fat job worth 200K, but his plans came apart when he found out that Cross and Base Pair wouldn't be taking part. He and CC tried to locate some help, but time was short and there wasn't a lot of help to be had. They eventually talked me into it, and we got our group together. I'm driving the team to the gig, so I ask CC where we're going. He doesn't know. Who are we kidnapping? He doesn't know. I tell him to call Fixer Chu, and just listening to Carbon Copy's side of the conversation, my level of confidence in this plan evaporates utterly. I stop the car, but it in park, open the door, get out and leave. Even a share of 200K doesn't sound like much when you're faced with a clusterfuck in the making.
Well, it was around closing time, so that's when people tend to pair up and watch each other's backs to avoid getting jumped by anybody with a grudge. Mica, who got The Verge started on his successful evening with his first two jobs and some drugs on credit, asked me to bodyguard her, Spider Jerusalem and Yelena. The initial offer was 5K for a walk to the car. I had made a reasonable amount by that point, and the only other person who asked me for protection was Bitbot who offered me a piece of gum. 5K sounded better to me. As we're leaving, we notice Doogie getting ready to leave. He'd done fairly well on the cemetery raid, but apparently, he'd run off with one of Mica's whores and Mica was pretty pissed about it. She offered me 50K to wax him then and there. Fastest 50K I've made in a long time.
On the way to the cars, Spider got jumped by some corporate goons. I unleashed some small arms fire at them, and once again escaped unscathed. Spider tipped me another 5K. Then Nathaniel Smith couldn't stand it any more, and he tried to jump Spider. I interposed myself and aerated his innards. Another tip from Spider. That last walk to the car netted the Verge over 60K. I wound up with almost enough to replace the faulty neural interface that's been giving me troubles.
Okay, my patient readers, here's a few photos, mostly taken before the game, or after the game. I know some of you have a mental image of Aaron that includes long flowing locks. These photos will offer you a chance to see another side of Aaron.