Ghost in the City Cyberpunk Gamer SI

So Motoko is cool with BD's of her acting like an ax murderer but still gets embarrassed about her music being released? Are we sure she isn't a cyberpsycho?
Fujimura you dummy. If Jun was involved in an assassination attempt, so would be Motoko, and then the target would just be dead and you wouldn't even know why.
Knowing and not saying anything is still a problem. It means Jun was disloyal, even if he didn't take action himself. Every military and police force in the world today will punish you (maybe not lethally, but sometimes that too) if you know an attack to your group is coming or someone in your team is going to be assassinated, but you don't tell anyone.
Fujimura you dummy. If Jun was involved in an assassination attempt, so would be Motoko, and then the target would just be dead and you wouldn't even know why.
He knows that, but he still needs to keep up appearances. Why do you think he assigned Jun and Motoko's friend to guard Jun?
Knowing and not saying anything is still a problem. It means Jun was disloyal, even if he didn't take action himself. Every military and police force in the world today will punish you (maybe not lethally, but sometimes that too) if you know an attack to your group is coming or someone in your team is going to be assassinated, but you don't tell anyone.
You're missing the point.

The Tyger Claws is supposedly really lean on the Yakuza system.

And amongst them, the Honor system is the legacy of the bushido philosophy that still survives in the Night City.

If you recall, while Jun didn't want to help him, he also didn't want him to get caught.

This is due to the fact that he owes the Claws his loyalty as parent organization, but that he also owes his friend a debt of honor.

And both applies at the same time.

That's why he sit nice in his home watched by Akari.

This way, he can honor his loyalty to the Claws and to his friend.
Also the fact that Akari is there watching him is evidence enough that the Claws understand the conflict of honor and respect it, weebs that they are.

Wonder if the Claws will decide to pull the Gordian Knot thing and hire Section 9 to resolve the situation :cool:
Chapter 182
I stepped down into the bright light of the netrunner club, waving a hand at the woman that was seemingly just watching the door. She didn’t bother to look away from her file but I knew she had seen me regardless.

Walking inside I quickly found a booth and accessed the system, taking a look at the battle that was currently being shown. It wasn’t anything special, but I knew Ichi would enjoy it as I kept half an eye on that screen, so he could see it, while I opened up another part of the system.

A chat layer.

There was a main discussion, and then sub chats, for offers, and discussions. Many of them were battle requests, or sales, and purchases of things that were needed.

While I waited, I browsed through what was being sold, and what was being asked for.

Unfortunately it didn't seem like anyone really used this place for programming help. But I did see a few interesting offers on netrunning equipment.

*So who do you think is going to win?* Ichi asked me, and I looked over at the battle screen for a moment.

*Hard to say.* I admitted, although I did pay more attention to the battle since it was giving me plenty of ideas on how a normal netrunner battled.

It reminded me of why I was really here.

I started checking the battle request section, searching. I had just battled whoever I wanted last time, but I was here for a reason.

I found it.

A netrunner looking for a battle, that was a well known for using Daemons. Exactly what I wanted.

I smirked as I sent the request, and waited a bit before it was confirmed, Our battle would be three more down.

*I got a match.* I told the boys and settled in to wait.

St33lSister huh? This should be fun.


An hour later I left the arena with a bit of a wince.

St33lSister had not been happy to deal with my sort of netrunner shenanigans.

I had gone into this battle for two things. One, some experience to level up even more, and two, a test to see how long I could remain completely out of sight against someone that was considered actually skilled.

I uh… Hadn’t kept in mind this was supposed to be a fun game, and what happens when gamers stop having fun.

St33l had spent the last two minutes cussing me out in broadcast over the entire arena before retiring.

Definitely going to have to offer an apology to the woman.

But on the other hand? I had killed a lot of Daemons. She had summoned a custom version of the hound daemons, and then backed them up with an array of IMPS and Soldier types.

She was a one woman army. Of course it wasn’t extremely efficient, she was obviously using the battle as a way to show off her daemons. Something I had only realized after I had spent thirty minutes tearing through her summons, and forcing her to keep resummoning them.

I had turned the Digital Jungle into a death trap for anything that walked inside, and St33lSister wasn’t happy about it.

I kinda was though.

With my HEAT bullet hack, I was taking out Daemons very quickly, with very little RAM usage. The real trick had been keeping out of sight as I continued to mulch her little army.

Two levels.

I had killed over a hundred Daemons, and gained two levels from this battle alone. When I exited the arena, I looked around for St33lSister, but didn’t see her unfortunately. I felt kind of bad, but at the same time it had been so incredibly profitable for me I couldn’t help but want to do it again.

*That was awesome.* I sent the boys reconnecting as I once more took a seat around the club. I noticed I had eyes on me, but no one had come to talk to me this time.

*That was kinda boring to me, but it was still cool.* Malcolm offered, trying not to offend.

*It was cool for the first bit, but eventually it was just kinda there. The other runner got pissed, what happened?*

*Well normally you aren’t really supposed to just kill the Daemons over and over like I was. I was sort of being weird.*

*Motoko weird? Never.* Malcolm responded back and I promised myself I would slap the back of his head when I left the server. I considered joining another session, and started looking through the network. There were a few that used Daemons, not nearly to the same extent though. But as I sent out a request for a match each of them denied me…

I think I might have over done it a bit.


After realizing I wasn’t getting any more matches today, at least not without putting up some sort of anty to drag someone into it, I logged out.

The boys were happy to eat on my dime, but eventually we split up. I went back to the netrunner cave while they headed off doing whatever boy things they got up to when Hiromi and I weren’t around.

I wanted some peace and quiet to get my stats figured out.

Two level ups was a lot. More than enough to get something good.

But I had made a promise, one for adaptation, one for levels, now just to figure out what I should upgrade.

I was tempted to put another point into my ODA Neural link, but the first point had cleared up most of the constant issues.

Instead I dropped one into my Sandevistan.

Despite being such a high adaptation, I didn’t really have any day to day issues with the Sandy. It was just a chip after all, and I wasn’t using it constantly.

But turning it on was an issue, if not for my ability to heal so quickly, it might have been dangerous just to use it.

Dynalar Sandevistan Mk.2 *Adaptation Dynalar Sandevistan 1/4*

One point was added, and then I added the other stat point I had free into my Intelligence.

Intelligence 13 (14)

The only issue here, was that I was getting close to maxing out my available Cyberization. I would need some more chrome that enhanced my netrunning to be able to level it higher.

Which only opened me up for more adaptation costs and the spiral continues.

Either way. The points were gone, and I still had lots of skill points.

I dropped another point into programming. Programming 13. I couldn’t help but hiss as the knowledge flowed into me, it was so much the density of the information actually made me stop and take a moment.

There were structures, on structures. Tricks, and pathways. Digital understanding that could write code in a way a human mind couldn’t reach, and I was starting to touch on it.

The Tachikoma might be a solid seed for a mortal created AI, but what could it do, if I created it fully as a digital entity?

Could I ever understand the ocean better than a fish could? Could a human ever understand the digital sea, as well as an entity born into it?

But it was possible. I had taken another step closer to being able to do it.

Eventually I shook it off and stood up from the couch, pacing around a bit just to let the feeling of my brain filling up cool down. I walked to the fridge, opened it, ignored the many burritos and grabbed a soda, taking a drink of it, and letting the cold liquid ground me.

I was okay, that had just been a lot. I couldn’t believe how much more I was gaining in programming. I had thought myself a master when I hit programming 10, but now? I think I was only a master of one way of looking at the programs.

There was a whole other frontier to learn about.

Once my head stopped buzzing, I used a second skill point.

Breach Protocol 12. Technically I could level it again, my Intelligence was 13 now…

I hummed as the knowledge flowed into me. I would take a rest, get some food, do some other things and then put another point into the skill. I hadn’t leveled it up to max like I should have last time I really thought about my stats, and it was too important to not keep maxed out.

Satisfied by my improvements so far, I decided to get some other work done.

My 3D printer was set up, and I went to work, grinding out some more grenade cases for now. It wasn’t anything special, but it would keep me occupied, and help me level up while I let my brain cool down.


I got a bunch of Crafting and Tech ability alerts, but no level ups when I was interrupted by a phone call.

*Hey Hiromi, what’s up?*

*I got it! The armor for Rebecca! I put in an order through the Arasaka channels, and finally got confirmation! Well… Technically Papa ordered it, but it’s in! I even got an ECM package, although this one is a Kang Tao version not the Militech system. Will that be okay?* She chattered away excitedly and I felt my own grin spreading at the news.

*Yes! FInally! I’ve been waiting forever! Yeah that should be fine! Okay! Meet me at the Netrunner cave. I have my equipment here. Have you called Rebecca yet?*

*Okay! No not yet.*

*Alright I’ll take care of it. You’re the best Hiromi!*


We hung up and I made a call to Rebecca, it took a few rings before she finally picked up.

*Yo. What’s up Choom?*

*We got your armor in! I’ll need you so I can fit it to you.*

*Wait what? What armo-Oh shit. I thought you guys forgot!*

*Nope! It’s just taken a while to get in! Can you meet me?*

*Ah, my brother has the car right now. He’s the least known in Maine's crew, so they got him doing supply runs now.*

*Okay. How about I pick you up?*

*Yes. Sure! Definitely.*

I grinned at Rebecca’s excitement, and headed out. Hopefully I could make it back before Hiromi did.


I arrived at Rebecca’s home parking out front and waiting just a bit before she came rushing out. Her jacket flaring out behind her, and instantly I noticed she wasn’t the exact same as before.

“New chrome?” I asked, and she grinned, flexing her arms for a minute, even if I couldn’t really see through her jacket.

“Got some quick change mounts!” She offered, as she pulled down her jackets sleeve and showed the seam along her upper arm.

Something that was familiar to me from her design in the future.

“Interested in different Cyberarms?” I asked, smiling despite already knowing the answer.

“Hell yeah choom! Gonna get some big beefy fuckers so I can properly control all the kick.” She said, holding her hands in front of her as if holding an HMG, and holding the recoil.

“Preem. You know what you want yet?”

“I have a few ideas. I got my eye on these older Militech Cyberarms. They’re absolute monsters. Pre Gorilla arm, but they do the same shit.” She went on and on, about the chrome she wanted as I started driving back to the netrunner cave.

It was hilarious that I knew exactly what she wanted, and what they would look like in the future.

It felt kinda nice as Rebecca and I chatted, about chrome and things we wanted in the future.

And not once did she bring up Sasha. I wasn’t sure if I wanted that conversation or not, but she avoided it.

Instead something more interesting came up.

“Fucking Pilar, that-Ugh! If he wasn’t my brother I’d blow both his knees off.”

“So he took the car without even running it by you?”

“He does this shit all the time! Any time he wants it he just takes it! Never bothers to let me know. It’s not like I didn't put eddies into that thing!” Rebecca grumbled, arms crossed as she leaned back in the seat, her feet rising up to barely rest against the dash.

Rebecca really was smole.

“Why not just get another car?” I asked, I mean. It wasn’t like it was hard?

“Rides cost eddies choom.” She replied back with a snort and then I opened my mouth and closed it and then when we came to a red light I stopped and looked at her.

“I got this car for free by murdering the previous owner. Hell we sold dozens of vehicles to Dakota. If you want a car Becca, we can just go get one. Like… It’s easy.” And then as my smile shifted into something wicked I leaned over. “The corp’s don’t want you to know this, but the cars in the badland are free.” I said, barely holding myself back from laughing. “I have a bunch of cars at home.”

I didn’t actually have cars at home, but a meme was a meme.

Rebecca blinked at me with those big red cybereyes, and then just burst into laughter. “What? That’s crazy choom, the Nomads get pissy about their rides, you know!”

“Not if you flatline them first, hard to get pissy when you’re dead… Well, yeah, they piss themselves when they die, but that’s neither here nor there.”

“Heh. Well if it was that easy I would totally do it.” She said, still giggling at my offer, which is when I decided right then and there, that it was in fact happening. As we drove to Straight Lane Apartments, I sent out a text to Hiromi and the boys letting them know the problem.

Pulling into a parking lot down the street, I guided Rebecca inside, all the while explaining to her what this place was, and telling her the story of how it became mine.

“Wait, your Choom bought the basement of this place?”

“Technically? I don’t know if she has the actual deed or anything, but I control the elevator access, and no one else can get in unless I want them to.”

Rebecca looked around in interest as we entered the apartment complex, and headed towards the elevator.

“I’d uh, appreciate, if you didn’t tell anyone about this place? The less people that know about it, the less I have to worry about someone trying to kill me while I’m netrunning.”

“Yeah, course. I won’t tell anyone. Promise.” Rebecca offered as the elevator doors closed and I smiled down at her in thanks.

Then the doors opened to a party.

“Motoko!” Hiromi cheered as Malcolm, and Ichi were already here as well. The three of them already half dug into cartons of food.

“Hi!” I greeted and hurried out of the elevator, heading straight for the case. I flipped it open, and started scanning checking out the Arasaka armor in the same style that we used. It didn’t take me long to go through it, checking it over and noting happily that everything was there.

In fact it was in the same condition our armor had been when we first got it, right out of the box.

“Satisfied?” Hiromi asked, and I nodded at that.

“Very! Okay Becca! Before you get comfy, come here, I need some measurements!” I called out, noticing that she had already taken a seat and was digging into the food the boys had brought.

The fact she looked like she fit into the picture only made it better! Steal the smole girl!

I grinned at the thought and then stood up holding the chest rig up. “Let’s see what I need to adjust past what it already comes with.”


While everyone settled in to enjoy themselves, I went to work.

Rebecca really was small, and this armor was not made for someone her size in mind. Even the adjustable straps would have left the armor swallowing her.

Not exactly efficient. So I would need to cut it down heavily, and then re-adjust where the armor padding would cover.

But honestly, it wasn’t bad. I had a full scan of it from my Kiroshi, and a model of Rebecca, and I could easily use the Arasaka CAD software to compare the two, and make the digital adjustments.

I even got a Technical Attribute alert from making the changes!

Then I got to work cutting, between my 3d printer, and my own knowledge of crafting, I actually made the adjustments pretty quickly, under the interested eyes of my chooms I cut, and burned, reshaped the armor, re-used cut armor to alter the shape and in the end came out with a chest rig that when Rebecca put it on, it actually fit,

“I did alter the adjustment straps, so if you need you can mess with it a bit. Also, the arm sections are heavily adjustable, so when you get those new arms of yours they will still attach.” I offered to the girl with a wink as she was checking herself out as shifting left and right noticing the fit.

“Damn, this actually fits really good.” She whispered out surprised and I just laughed.

“Of course it does! I wouldn’t make something that didn’t fit you! I still need to work on the rest of it, but this piece is done… Mostly. The ECM hasn’t been added, or the lights needed to run it.” I explained ticking off points on my chrome fingers for what still needed to be done.

Rebecca just whistled, and the rest of the chooms smiled.

“Anyway! That can wait until after though!” I explained and my chooms all smiled like sharks as the plan we had been cooking up while I worked was brought forth.

Hiromi had called Dakota and Saul, Ichi and Malcolm, had kept Rebecca distracted, and I made her armor so it would fit.

All so that when I was done, the plot could happen.

“Huh?” Rebecca asked, looking around at everyone's smiles that were maybe a bit too shark-like.

“So Becca, you doing anything for the next… twelve hours?” I asked, and she blinked a bit in surprise at that length of time I requested.

“Perfect.” I added, and then all my chooms rushed off. They would have to get their own stuff after all.

Time to go Raffen Shiv hunting.

Poor Rebecca just didn’t understand yet.

A/N Sooo. I'm going on another short hiatus after this chapter. This time it's less "Stuff is burning down." But I'm going to be busy over the next few days so since I'm already still a little behind on the backlog. I'm just going to skip at least one update. Maaaaybe two. Thank you all for your support, and your patience, this has been a rough year so far, but I'm glad that people have been really nice about my constant update schedule mess.
If she ever decides to hit a Corp target *hard* then she totally needs to set the run to Muse - Uprising :cool:

Love this chapter! Ties up some loose ends and sets up for an awesome rampage against some deserving gonks. Will Moto ever get to truly let loose with her HMG?
I agree, muse would be an excellent choice to draw from.

I'm imagining a BD set to Knights of Cydonia now.
Chapter 183
“Ugh. This is why I don’t go out of the city. The sand is fucking everywhere.” Rebecca grumbled. We had taken a pit stop a few hours into the drive to let everyone hit the bathroom if they needed, and poor Rebecca got the worst of it.

“Well you aren’t supposed to press your ass into the sand.” I joked back, and she glared at me.

Rebecca’s squeals as she had lost her balance while out squatting in the desert had gotten me to come running, only to break down into a laughing fit when I found her on her back legs in the air after falling over.

“Fuck off! How much longer anyways?” She grumbled at me, arms crossed, but it wasn’t very threatening, more cute.

“Not too far. Dakota gave us the exact info. Seriously, these Raffen should know better.” I offered back. The gig was easy enough. A small band of Raffen had kidnapped the daughter of some rich woman in the city. The stupid girl had come out to party in the badlands, and the Raffen had gone through and took everyone mid party to ransom them back.

But this girl's parents were more interested in sending a message, than sending eddies.

Which worked for me.

I waved at Hiromi who waved back at me. The whole crew was moving on this gig, just in different cars, but this time Rebecca was with me instead of Hiromi. Ichi once again was stuck driving the truck as we headed out.

I wasn’t sure how much loot these Raffen would have, but I was going to find out!

“All done?”

“As done as I can be.” Rebecca grumbled, as she climbed back into the car. Then we were off. Our little convoy continued on. As we moved, I went over the information Dakota had given me. Like normal the Raffen had taken over some old buildings in the desert and were using it to hold their hostages.

Technically the gig only cared about the one girl, but I planned on cleaning up the entire group, and so I would have to worry about the hostages as well.

I had come up with a plan that I think would work, and this time it really would be mostly about me.

I would go in first, infiltrate, find the hostages, and then secure them, then once I was done, I would call it in, and the rest of the team would move in, and all together we would take out the rest of the forces with me working as netrunner support to ensure the hostages wouldn’t be harmed.

As we turned off the main road, and onto a dirt path I kept an eye out for our contact. Dakota had been keeping an eye on the Raffen for the last three days after the kidnapping, she had been putting together a team to rescue the hostages, but hadn’t taken care of until we had shown up.

Seriously, I was going to have to talk to her, she could have let me know about this gig without us reaching out.

Or more likely I knew, I needed to talk to Hiromi about setting up a fixer connection. If Hiromi was talking to all of them, or seeing what gigs they needed done, she could poke me about good gigs and Section 9 could take them on.

I was lazy when it really came down to it. I had plenty of eddies, and not a lot of things I was planning on buying so I kept putting off taking more and more gigs.

Which thinking about it was rather stupid. I did want to get a Full Body Conversion at some point, even with all the politics involved in that level of Cyberware.

Stupid full body restrictions. Blah blah had to have someone vouch for you, blah blah.

I’d probably just put in the paperwork saying I worked for Hiromi and that would be that. One of the benefits of having a choom so into the Corpo network.

I slowed and pulled off, seeing the man sitting at an old bus stop with a dirtbike that was our contact.

“Alright we’re here.” I muttered, and Becca perked up. Looking suddenly excited.

“Finally! I was waiting for this!” She cried and stepped out as soon as my car stopped. Really I was going to have to talk to her about the seatbelt thing.

I stepped out and noticed Malcolm’s car pulled up behind us. The rocket launchers on the top of the thing always distracted me whenever I saw them.

Stupid dibs, that was supposed to be my rocket launcher car!

Ichi’s truck pulled up behind that, and Hiromi behind him.

“You lot… Section 9?” The man asked, and I felt my face brighten into a smile before I calmed it, and went stone faced.

“We are. You are Milton, Dakota’s contact.” I greeted him in turn as I approached him. “Where is the compound?”

“It’s an old farm house. Just up the road. I’ve never been in it before, but from what I was able to gather, it has a basement. That’s likely where the hostage is.” He explained, sending over some fairly basic data about the insides, but brand new pictures of what it looked like from the outside and above.

The man must have a drone or something.

“Alright. We’ll take it from here, unless you have anything else?”

“Nothing that Dakota wanted to pass along.” He offered with a shrug, and then just settled back into the bus stop. Feet up on the bike. Relaxing back as if planning on just waiting to see what would happen.

I thought about commenting, but it wasn’t worth it, or important.

“Alright, suit up!” I called out as I turned, and I got nods from everyone besides Rebecca, who looked confused, before I smiled at her, and took a moment to pull out the case of her armor from the trunk right alongside my own.

“Suit up.” I told her and she looked a little hesitant, as she took it. “Hiromi and the boys can help you get it on.” I told her.

“Don’t stress about it, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of it.” Hiromi added as she walked over to help.

“Yeah sure. Can’t be too hard.” Rebecca admitted, sounding more sure of herself.

“Alright go ahead and arm up as well I’m going to head in first.” I told them already, pulling on my chest rig, strapping it in, as I started securing my weapons and equipment.

Everyone got to it. Hiromi walking Rebecca through suiting up, it thankfully let me focus on preparing.

Attaching the silencer onto my Copperhead, I nodded as it was secured. Time to get to work. I made the call connecting everyone together and then headed out into the desert.

These guys wouldn’t likely have any sensors in the desert, but I would still be heading in alone on foot, so I could try and find out before we got closer.

Stomping through the desert once again I wanted to laugh to myself at how often I found myself sliding through the sands outside Night City. The Raffen just couldn’t help themselves, and I guess they were an easy target considering how rarely they would go into Night City. Low risk, high reward.

I controlled my breathing, moved cautiously, and let myself fall into a rhythm, checking everything as I stalked closer and closer. Soon enough I crested a ridge and could see the farmhouse, and the cars surrounding it in the distance. Staying low and hiding in the shadow of a bush I sent up to date information to my team, marking the cars to focus on.

More interesting was that I couldn’t see any defenses, this place didn’t even have cameras set up that I could see.

Moving over the ridge after making sure no one had eyes on me, I moved closer and closer, lining up with a section of the back side of the farmhouse that didn’t have any windows. I approached closer and closer, until I quietly leapt over the fence that surrounded the property.

*I’m in.* I confirmed to the team. There was no hesitation, this wasn’t my first, infiltration. I followed along the back of the house until I was on the shadowed side, Then slowly peaked in through the armored windows.

It was a Kitchen, and it was empty so far that I could see. Taking a moment I gathered as much about the layout of the house as I could before moving on.

I didn’t trust the window guards to not squeal if I opened them, so that wasn’t my entrance. Everything was so old and rusted, that I would have to worry about noise, which meant the front was the best access point.

Sliding along the wall, I peaked around at the cars. None of them were on, but with their Crystal Dome it was impossible to tell if someone was inside them with their doors closed.

This would be so much easier, if I could get eyes on someone and just ping them.

Slipping through the shadows, I crouched and made my way to the front door. It was unlocked, and an old style door, instead of one of the electrical doors that were so popular in Night City. I crouched up to it, and slowly opened it, peeking inside.

The front hallway was empty, but I could hear sounds of a TV playing. Obviously these guys had gotten some power going. I slipped inside, closing the front door silently behind me.

I felt the cold flow through me. Time to move and find the hostages. The assumption was they were downstairs, but this farmhouse did have a second floor as well.

I’d check down, but have to be careful about what was above me.

Sliding along the wall I came to the first opening. On the right the hallway opened into a living room, where the sound of the TV was coming from, and there was a small door to the left to the kitchen I had seen before. Further down the hall was a few other rooms, and stairs up.

Where was the basement entrance?

I prepared myself and peeked around the corner into the living room.

Instantly I engaged my Sandevistan.

The couch was facing the doorway, the TV was up against the wall I was against, and there was a Raffen sitting on the couch drinking a beer.

I moved, even as his eyes widened in surprise at seeing me, my knife came out and before his voice could make a sound I chucked it, the knife moved through the air like it was in slow motion.

Then it crashed into the man's throat. I was right behind it, the metal cut off his cry of alarm, as I grabbed the hilt of the blade and jerked it out, tearing his throat out and silencing him permanently.

My Sandy turned off and I pushed the man down into the couch so he would bleed out into it, instead of on top of me.

*100 Blades XP Gained.*

*500 XP Gained.*

I waited, listening urgently for any noise. A ruffle, a cough, the sound of a boot on flooring.


I released the corpse and turned up the TV a bit. Unfortunately I hadn’t pinged him before the murder so I was still going in blind. Idly I noticed my Sandevistan didn’t feel too bad. It was still warm, but that was the actual chrome's heat, and not my nerves on fire. I shifted my neck a bit as I I checked the room. I felt good.

My eyes roved over the room, before I noticed that it had a strange shape. Instead of being square or rectangular, there was a harsh angle in the corner. The same corner that would be across from the stairs up.

I think that was where the basement access was.

Heading back out of the living room I moved quietly down the hall, Copperhead raised. Knife was quieter, but if things got bad I was ready to fire. There across from the stairs, was a door, and as I gently opened it up, I found the basement stairs.

*I found the basement. Heading down now, move in.*

Then I slowly went inside, testing each step to make sure none of the construction creaked as I slipped down. It wasn’t dark though. No, the lights were on, and as I headed down I heard it before seeing. The sounds of quiet crying.

I slipped farther down and caught sight of the situation.

A large basement, well lit, with a pile of teenagers tucked into a corner sitting on the floor.

It looks like they had been given access to a small bathroom nearby, but that was the extent of their comfort.

Then there were the Raffen watching them. One guy was sitting at the base of the stairs in a big chair with a tactician.

No one saw me yet as I was just peeking through the small gap where the stairs left the ceiling. I quickly breached into the Raffen, and then when that was done, sent a ping through.

The golden light branched off and I noticed that he wasn’t alone. There was another light leading near him in a corner of the basement I couldn’t see.

Two of them.

Then another three lights upstairs.

I connected the information into the network with my chooms, so Section 9 would have the information on where the Raffen were.

Now what to do?

Even silenced my Copperhead would make noise. A bullet smacking into concrete tended to make noise…

Then again the hostages would make noise when I appeared as well. They always do.

I gave myself four seconds to come to a decision, and in the end got up and moved bouncing off the stairs so I landed at the bottom skipping everything in between, and giving the Raffen no time.

Sandevistan activated, and I once again felt the warmth on my neck, but it wasn’t as bad. Then I moved. I back flipped, landing on the back of the large chair, behind the first Raffen, my knife slipping into and then out of his throat in a single motion as I kicked off again, bouncing off the wall I saw where the second Raffen was. A couch settled into a corner facing a TV although it wasn’t on this time.

He was just starting to react, as I leapt, his eyes dilating, in slow time as his brain registered the movement. Registered that something was there. Something dangerous. The adrenaline spiked, his brain sparked, but it was all far too slow. I landed on top of him bodily pushing him into the couch for a second before simply stepping away, his throat now ripped open leading his life to trail out over his dirty shirt.

Sandevistan off, a burning fire up my neck told me I was at my limit.

*500 XP Gained.*

*100 Athletics XP Gained.*

*500 XP Gained.*

I almost laughed at the odd XP. I guess doing backflips counted.

Focusing on the hostages, who were also just starting to react and raised a hand to where my lips were hidden under my helmet.

A single finger telling them to be quiet, I didn’t move for a few moments letting them all register what was happening and see my motion.

It mostly worked, a few gave squeals of shock at the sudden death, and at my appearance, but the ones that were smart shushed their fellows and soon the entire room was quiet again.

Taking a few quiet steps forward I returned to the stairs and waited, my directional microphone pointed upwards, trying to catch anything.

It was quiet. The three lines of light leading above didn’t shift. Nodding, I turned to the hostages.

That… was more people than expected.

I had thought we were talking about four or five, but this was more like twenty hostages stuck down here. I ignored them though, instead focusing back up the stairs as I could hear the sounds of vehicles approaching.

Section 9 was here.

I felt myself grow a sinister grin as I raced back up the stairs, setting up at the entrance to the basement with my Copperhead pointing towards the stairs.

I could hear the Raffen upstairs tumbling around hearing the sound of approaching engines that weren’t their own.

And I prepared myself.

“LET’S GO! Ahahahaha!” A familiar voice rang out and suddenly a roar started up. I could hear the rounds slamming into the second floor as Rebecca opened fire with the Ichi special.

Ichi had set up the behemoth for a quick mount of his HMG’s. So of course that would be where Rebecca ended up.

I could hear the hostages below cry out in fear at the sound, but they were completely safe. The HMG was firing up into the second floor, I could see the golden lights flicker out as the HMG rounds punched straight through the old farmhouse.

In the end, two of the lights flickered before the HMG went silent.

*You know it’s a pain in the ass to reload those things right?* I asked over the line as I raced upwards.

*Aw, C’mon! Do you have any idea how long I’ve been wanting to let loose with one of these baby’s! Militech’s Mark thirty-one, is practically my dream! Aaaah! I want to keep firing! Ichi! Reload! Pleeeeease!*

*Not a chance. I’m safe in here. Armored Cab.*

*Alright, alright, clear comms. I’m going after the last one.* I offered back fighting my desire to laugh at Rebecca’s cherry sweet pleading towards Ichi.

Malcolm had rushed in as soon as the guns stopped and formed up behind me as we went upstairs. Might have to talk to him about getting some Lynx Paws, he was a bit loud, but it didn’t matter.

We found the last Raffen hiding in a bathroom that somehow had kept the rounds from reaching him.

He died quickly enough with a couple shots of the Copperhead.

*500 XP Gained.*


“This is a mess.” I grumbled as I grabbed what was left in the fridge the Raffen had stored up and took it downstairs. These kids weren’t just from one kidnapping. It was more like three. The Raffen had the bright idea of setting up parties in the Badlands and then coming in and kidnapping anyone that had eddies.

So some of the kids had been stuck out here for more than a week, and the Raffen weren’t doing a great job of feeding and watering them.

Made worse with the fact those that were still here after a few days meant their parents weren’t able, or planning on actually paying the ransom.

Why waste food and water on dead kids after all?

Fucking Scum.

“Alright, I got some more food here.” I called out as I stomped down the stairs. Technically we were only here for one person, but I wasn’t so cold that I would leave these people to die.

Malcolm was actually doing a damn good job playing hero, having gone downstairs to check on them, he had worked to get them all comfortable, getting them food and water.

More than a few of the teens closer to our age were making doe eyes at the big damn hero.

It was cute.

On the other hand…

As I walked down, there was a sudden tenseness in the atmosphere. I guess my cold blooded murder of the two Raffen had left an impression. None of the teens seemed brave enough to want to interact with me.

“Thanks.” Malcolm offered, grabbing the food and drink from my arms and starting to pass it out.

Ichi had already commandeered Rebecca, and they were going through everything they could find for loot. Although I had noticed Rebecca giving the vehicles outside strong looks.

I already knew which one she would take too. There was a nice Archer Quartz that she had been keeping an eye on. The little two seater would fit Rebecca perfectly.

Either way I was more focused on helping Malcolm.

After the food and drink was handed over, Malcolm continued to act as the face, calming everyone down as he assured them he would get everyone back to the city without any issue.

Eventually everything calmed down. I found our actual target, and sent a picture to Dakota confirming rescue.

She would be sending a truck to pick her up, and then the rest of the kids were our responsibility if we wanted to do something.

I headed back up, to check in with Ichi, who didn’t look enthused.

“We aren’t getting much out of this one Motoko. The vehicles, a few things of value inside, what they were wearing, and that’s about it. They didn’t bother to set anything up here.” He explained as I met up with him and Rebecca searching through the old rooms.

“Eh, can’t win them all. It’s fine we did this mostly for Rebecca anyways.” I offered shrugging, and the girl looked up as her name was called, before looking a little pleased.

“Thanks Choom.” She offered and I smiled back at her before remembering I was wearing my helmet still. Taking it off I gave her a smile in return.

“Alright, find what we can, and load it up in the other vehicles first. I think the behemoth is mostly going to be full of our friends downstairs.”

“Dakota isn’t going to take them?” Ichi asked, and I shook my head.

“Apparently she was only paid for the one, and doesn’t care. They are our responsibility.” I answered back with a grumble. It would have been a lot easier if we didn’t have to transport twenty two people.

“Well at least we’ll have room?” Ichi said looking around the room and the complete lack of loot piles.

“Yeah, alright you two finish up, I’m going to make sure we have water for our friends on the trip.” I headed back out, and went in search. It’s not like I could use the taps. The water was awful, so I would have to find something else. There was probably an old SCSM somewhere.
Chapter 184
“Alright, everyone up. Slow and steady now.” I called out as we were guiding the people into the Behemoth. There was an understandable hesitation in wanting to enter the massive truck.

“Hey, it’s alright! We’ll be heading into Night City to drop you all off, it’s not like there are buses out this far yeah?” Malcolm called out, reassuring everyone as he even ran up and climbed onto the back of the behemoth. “I’ll be in the back with you. Come on. Let’s go home!” He shouted and that got them moving.

I shrugged. Malcolm had done a better job than I had in getting the hostages to relax. He jumped into the back of the truck with them, to be their contact as Ichi started up the truck. I would drive my Quadra, Hiromi would drive Malcolm's car. And Rebecca?

I looked over and blanched.

“That is not what I expected you to pick.” I whispered to myself Rebecca had not jumped into the Archer Quartz, the little two seater that I thought she had been eyeing.

No, she had jumped into a massive Thorton Mackinaw. The same truck Panam drove, only Panam was normal sized. Rebecca looked like a kid while sitting in the drivers seat, but I couldn’t deny her massive grin was rather telling.

I walked over and climbed up to see what she was up to. And I laughed as she was working on the switches and things on the dash.

“Trying to figure it all out?”

“It’s a lot!” She argued, flushing a little embarrassed at her confusion.

“No worries. That one is the Crystal Dome Opacity. That one is the wheel differential. That ones the scanner.” I started, and each time I waited for Rebecca to play with the switches to get a feel for what it did.

“That one I have no idea. Some custom option probably.” I offered and of course Rebecca flipped the protector on the steering wheel and hit the switch.

The roar of two machine guns built into the front of the truck went off and absolutely destroyed an old shed next to the farm house.

We both went silent for a moment.

“Ffff-AHAHAHAHAHAH!” Rebecca broke into horrendous Goblin laughter as she realized her new truck had weapons.

“Of course it has weapons.” I mumbled, why did my Quadra not have weapons!? I should attach weapons!

“This is awesome!” Rebecca roared out and I couldn’t help but smile at her.

I was just happy, she was happy.


The trip back to the city wasn’t too bad. We had to stop a few times for bathroom breaks for the hostages, but Malcolm had stayed with them specifically to be able to reach us in case something like that was needed.

Ichi didn’t want someone peeing in his truck.

When we all reached the city we released everyone at the first bus stop, which while half were relieved we weren’t kidnapping them, the other half complained about us leaving them on the edge of the city and not driving them all home.

Pretentious little shits.

Luckily no one pushed past complaining and we were soon on our way. The small bits of loot we had gathered would be dropped off for Hiromi to sell, and Dakota had already taken the other vehicles we had left behind, adding a bit of eddies for the gig.

More interesting though was Rebecca.

We had given Rebecca a monster truck.

“I kinda regret everything now.” I mumbled, as I watched her drive off, nearly driving over another car that was driving too slow.

Rebecca was splitting off to get her car painted and registered. And then she had said she really wanted to show it off to her brother.

In the end I was pretty happy with how everything had worked out.

Dropping off the loot didn’t take long and twenty minutes later we were all gathered up at Lizzies for an after gig party.


After the party I headed home. Flopping onto my bed and passing out for the night. I woke up the next morning without much to do, so I ended up settling onto the couch and messing around with some Quick Hacks.

There was a lot that I still wanted to work on, my netrunning resources still weren’t complete, but the fact was, a lot of the high end stuff I wanted to do was out of reach still.

My mind often ran back to the Laughing Man, from Ghost in the Shell. The ability to in real time hack into someone and change what they were seeing.

The Major even used it to make herself invisible in a later episode, but the complexity of something like that was beyond me. If I wanted invisibility I would need to somehow hunt down some Optical Camo, which was basically impossible to find. It was a cyberware that was rarely put out on the market, as it was highly coveted. Any stealth solo wanted Optical Camo.

Imagine a thief that could go invisible. Of course they would want it.

Unfortunately I would have to take out some Arasaka ninja, or Militech hitman to get my hands on it at this rate.

So since neither option was reasonable, I was stuck doing something else.

Currently I was cleaning up another request from Yoko. Someone wanted a skeleton key to a network. Basically, they didn’t have a netrunner good enough to breach into the system themselves, but they still needed to get in.

That’s where I came in. They sent the data to Yoko, and she passed it off to me, as a test.

Well, really it was more that she just didn’t want to do the work I think. But it was alright. She promised me some favors for the work, and it wasn’t really hard.

I knew exactly where the security system was weak, and with a bit of work, I had a quick hack that was small enough even some rezzer could breach through the system.

I sent it off to Yoko, but only after sneaking a little bit of code into it, that would basically blow confetti into her face when she opened the file.

She might have thought it was slick to send along a Daemon into the information packet she had sent me, but I was pretty sure she wouldn’t catch my little present until it blew up in her face.

I could only hope she was around other people on the net when it happened.

Stretching as I rose up from the couch I noticed Jun was missing. Him and Akari had been disappearing together a lot recently, but it was all because of that little shit that tried to get Jun into trouble.

Jun might not want me tracking him and killing him, but I swear if Jun had any further blow back over this nonsense, I would hunt that little shit down. Old friend or not.

I was just thinking about going out and grabbing a bite to eat when I got a call from Hiromi.

*What’s up Hiromi?*

*Motoko! Okay, listen! You need to turn on the radio! Right now! Go to Growl FM! 89.7! This is huge! Aaaah!* She squealed into the phone, and suddenly I felt… A disturbance.

*Hiromi, what did you do?*

*I talked to a ton of people! Radio now! It’s almost time! Ash said it would be coming up next!*

I blinked, because… What station was Growl FM? I don’t remember it from the game, was it gone by then? Then because I knew what I was going to hear, I glanced over to the radio and flicked it on with a quick breach.

“Of course that doesn’t mean Biotechnica are innocent in this. The Securicine reveal will be a black mark the corp may never recover from. Or from their last stock prices, they already have. That’s the truth of the game folks. Anyway, here is an amazing amateur track that was played last week at a little dive called Red Dirt. I want to introduce the whole city to Ghost in the Shell, and this will be, Smells Like Teen Spirit.”

I need to sit down. I stumbled over and managed to flop into the couch as my song started playing.

I could hear Hiromi chattering away in my ear, but I was too shocked at what was happening to properly hear her.

My version of Nirvana was on the radio and Hiromi had set this up. It was a copy of the BD track. I could hear the distortions of the club, people chattering and talking and singing along in the back.

It was like a live track almost. Well, the quality wasn’t all there, too much deterioration from the mediums, but it was… Okay.

It was okay.

I’m okay. This was okay.

Right. If I told myself that, I would believe it…

The song finished.

“So that’s the first track that was played, and I’d say the artist Ghost? Ghost in the Shell? Apparently it’s the whole thing? Whatever, it’s nova. I liked it. I’ll probably try out the other tracks from this set as well, quality isn’t great, but that’s the name of the game with our pirate station isn’t it? Anyway, let’s switch over to something a bit older.”

I flicked the radio off.

*-Believe she agreed! I talked to Judy, and she talked to Rita, and Rita apparently knows Ash, which I guess should be obvious, she is a Mox after all. So Rita put the-*


*Motoko! You are still there, I was starting to get worried you know?*


*I honestly don’t know whether to cry or scream at you right now… I’ll talk later.* I hung up.

Then I flopped over into the couch and screamed into the cushions.


A few hours later after ignoring phone calls I had told Hiromi to meet me. The fact was I didn’t wait for her to come up though.

The moment she had parked her car and headed the the elevator I was inside, as the doors opened she startled for a moment seeing me right on the other side of the metal doors.

“We need to talk.” I informed her, and then hooked my arm around her elbow and tugged her inside.

“Wha-Motoko, hey.” She muttered before realizing I was smiling at her. “I’m sorry I didn’t ask before going through with it, but I was put in touch with Ash, and it was a one in a million chance! I had to accept…” I didn’t answer as the elevator started up without me pushing a button.

As if I hadn’t hacked into the building security and had my own overrides by now.

The elevator ride was quiet as Hiromi seemed to realize I wasn’t responding and she started fidgeting.

Finally the elevator reached our floor and I dragged Hiromi along, her faint resistance no where near enough to slow me down, before I entered the apartment and finally let her go.

Then I started pacing, not even heading to the couch.

“What the fuck Hiromi?” I demanded, and she jerked.

“Wha-I, I just wanted your song to get big!”

“That’s not the problem here.” I told her. “You know I’m uncomfortable with this, I only agreed to the Red Dirt gig because… I think I was ready for that. I was ready to try it, and see how it worked, but this… I wasn’t ready for this Hiromi. You pushed past my boundaries and you didn’t even ask.”

She opened her mouth to respond before closing it. “I know. I didn’t ask, because if I did, I knew you wouldn’t be ready for it, and the opportunity would be gone. So I just… Did it. I knew you’d be mad… But I hoped I could convince you this is a good thing. An opportunity like this was huge.”

“I’m not mad it’s on the radio Hiromi, I’m mad you did it behind my back! I trust you. Completely. You handle all my eddies practically, and I never second guess, or check to see if you are cheating me or something, because I don’t have to. Because I trust you.” I told her, and my words had their intended effect.

Hiromi flinched, her face paling a bit as I stopped pacing and just stood in front of her, glaring at her until the overconfident demeanor shifted into the real Hiromi.

“I just wanted to… I wanted to be your manager, and get your career started, and… I wanted it.” She slowly whispered out, and I nodded.

“I know. Your desire to keep pushing for more is one of your cute points.” I admitted, then I stepped in to wrap her in a hug.

Honestly I wasn’t that mad. Not really, not about the song on the radio. My words had been the truth, I was more hurt Hiromi would do this behind my back, despite knowing I wouldn’t be okay with it.

But I also knew that Hiromi wasn’t perfect. She made mistakes just like I did, and she wasn’t trying to be malicious.

She was just fixated on improvements, and growth, and sometimes that blinded her.

“Hiromi. You’re one of the few people I trust completely. I don’t, no, I won’t break that over something like this, but… I hope you’ll treat my trust with a bit more gentleness from now on.” I told her, still hugging her tightly.

“I will.” She whispered into my neck, hugging me back tightly.

“Great. Good.” I nodded and stepped back. “You’re my manager after all, I don’t think I can find a better one, especially one that I can actually trust, so… We’ll have to make this work.”

She nodded her eyes watery, but not quite falling into tears yet.

“Okay. Okay. So, my song. On the radio.” I started pacing again. “You said, they wanted a studio version? Ash?”

“Yeah, she said the live version is okay, but if you want it to really blow up, we need a studio version.” Hiromi spoke softly, her voice gaining strength now that I wasn’t letting what happened come between us.

“Fuck. I don’t know if I want to do this.” I muttered still pacing.

Okay Motoko, cost benefits. The costs are, people might start knowing me. The benefits? Eddies? Hiromi will get more experience dealing with high end deals with something I don’t really care that much for.

If someone tricks us and ends up with lots of eddies or something, I’ll just let it go, or kill them depending on how bad it is. The benefits of my wide range of skills.


“Okay. Let’s set up an appointment for Denny’s studio?”

“I can do that.” Hiromi confirmed with a fierce look on her face, excitement filling her now that I had accepted.

I watched as her eyes flashed gold as she started making a call and I kept pacing for a while. I never expected this Rockerboy thing to get this big! I was just doing it for fun, and I mean, sure hearing my own voice on the radio had been…

Well It was kinda flattering, and cool. If horrifying as well.

But was this what I wanted? Rockerboy Motoko? I considered it, Cold Blood flowing over me for a second. I wanted to think about this without a single emotion getting in the way.

I had decided to become a merc because eddies, and because it seemed to be the right path. I liked it. I enjoyed the challenge, and the growth and the killing. As fucked up as that was.

Music? I enjoyed that too. I liked it, it was a rush, and fun, and it was the only way I would be able to hear some songs that I missed.

So was I going to try it out as a career? It would take a lot of time away from… Well… I blinked, realizing my schedule wasn’t limited by anything. I mean eventually I was planning on getting a Gemini, and with my healing, and with technology improving, I might end up living for a very very long time…

I looked down at my hands. They weren’t shaking or moving, I didn’t do that anymore thanks to the Cool Nerves perk, but even without it I don’t think I would be showing any signs.

I would do this, see how it goes, let Hiromi push it as hard as she could and in exchange I would spend some time, make some music, and if it doesn’t work? I just go back to killing like normal. Who cares if I succeed or fail?

The fact that it didn’t matter, that I didn’t need to be anxious about trying out a new career, that its success simply didn’t matter?

It was kind of freeing.

“Okay! I got a slot in an hour, all paid up-”

“Hiromi.” I cut in, causing her to stall out and stare at me wide eyed as I looked at her confidently, hands on my hips. “I’ve decided. We aren’t going to play around with this. Let’s hit this hard. I’ll start doing songs, you start pushing it, and I’ll even do some more gigs. I want to see how far this Rockerboy thing can go.”

“Oh my god.” Hiromi whispered her eyes practically had stars in them considering how excited she looked at that moment. “This is going to be the best!”

I nodded. Glad I still had my best Corpo in my corner.

This one... feels a bit odd.

Like, there should be more issues with Hiromi just doing stuff without asking. That was a breach of trust and not cool.

But that seemed to last for a few seconds and it's over already.

I'm not saying it SHOULD have become a big thing but this feels like it went too far in the other direction.

Laughing at Rebecca getting a monster truck.
Rock Star life is probably less dangerous than being a mercenary.
It isn't about the danger. it is that she feels scared of showing her songs. whether that is the crowds or performing or just showing her art off she feels nervous about it. she was trying to take it slow and do some small gigs to get used to it. Hiromi just ignored that and forced her to go bigger. she likely intended to do something along those lines in a while. but that is the key. in a while. likely after another point or two in rockerboy.

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