GOT ANOTHER JOB FOR YOU MAN!
Toro couldn’t hold in his excitement. This new handler was amazing. Say what you will about his personal life, hygiene, friends or eating habits, the man might as well have been a genie that pooped loaded credsticks. It was a slow day around the orphanage so Toro had no problem taking the day off. Mort was more than happy to give Toro a lift, though Toro was not incredibly fond of his new “sit on your hands rules” for the van.
As they arrived at Freegrass’ apartment, Toro was half-shocked to see Bach waiting for them. The man seemed like half a bottle of barbiturates with a conspiracy theory where the warning label should be, guys like that tended to leave town when the ground beneath them literally started shaking. A short conversation with Freegrass later and the team was on their way to meet Mr. Johnson.
Bach had been the one to suggest the location again. A fact Toro didn’t mind as long as it continued to be places with a menu. Though “restaurant” was a loose term for what the establishment was, Toro still managed to settle in and not attract too much attention from the miscellaneous tough-guys eating their lunches. The waitress sneered as Toro ordered his water, he’d have to remember to swap Bachs drink with his own. Bach and Mort eventually sat down at the table, finished with whatever it was they were doing in the van for an entire hour. Mort had just polished off a gray-purple fish entrée that for some reason needed the gristle trimmed off when the Johnson joined them. “I can say I was pleased with your work. This is unusual, but I decided that another job might be in order for you all. Easy. Just go to the Baron district and upload this program into four communications arrays around the area. There might be some gang trouble and you’ll probably need your own equipment, but otherwise, it shouldn’t be too hard.” The Johnson gave Bach a flash drive and everyone nodded. Seemed simple enough.
“When do you want this done by?” Asked Toro, waving the waitress down for another slice of pie. She would be hesitant to spit in any food of the table a Johnson sat at.
“The sooner, the better.”
The job took place in a neighborhood that housed a few local gangs, but Toro guessed they’d all be laying low for the moment, lower than usual at least. With nightfall setting it would be anyones guess. He decided to go ahead and get a feel for the area himself. The first thing of note Toro saw was a disaster relief tent. An over-worked volunteer spotted him walking down the street, “Hi, just go inside and they’ll give you your meal”.
Toro shook his head apologetically, “Oh no, I’m not…”
“You’re a volunteer then?”
Ladling soup for half an hour revealed little information about the area and Toro managed to sneak out the back to continue his reconnaissance. As he strolled down near-empty streets he soon realized he had somehow gotten lost. The map on his commlink boldly stated his location with important sounding beeps and large flashing letters, the signpost Toro stared at stated another location altogether. Just as Toro was about to try knocking the side of the commlink against his palm, a voice jeered out of the darkness at him. “Hey there kangaroo boy!”
Not these jokers again.
A ganger from the West Wallabies stood from his stoop and walked over to Toro. Several of his buddies joined in his taunts. “Whatchoo doin’ ‘ere kangaroo-boy?”
“Nothing tonight I’m just leaving guys.”
“I don’ think so kangaroo-boy!”
In an instant Toro was most of the way down the block. It was almost time to escort Mort an Bach to the job locations, he couldn’t be late just because he was busy beating fools to a pulp with their own monogrammed knuckle-dusters. Toro managed to ditch the gangers and find Morts van parked near the first location. Reporting to the two runners that everything was “Okey dokey”. Bach rolled his eyes and slunk into the darker shadows of the night.
The first two job sites went smoothly and Toro began to wonder if he would be needed at all for this job. Johnson’s didn’t always appreciate extra security, hopefully the night would pick up.
As Bach and Toro started up the stairs of the third job site, they were stopped by a large indistinct man, except for the rather dangerous looking shotgun he held. “Turn around and walk away,” he said, his voice menacing. Toro knew the area, this was mafia territory. Bach apparently did not.
“Look we’re just here to repair the array at the top of your building and get it working, so if you don’t mind…” Bach tried to slide his pistol out of its holster as he walked up the next step. Toro reached to grab Bach, but before that, a shotgun barrel leveled against Bach’s chest.
“We’ve already got power. And what kind of maintenance man carries a piece like that?”
“Bach, let’s just leave. All right?” Toro was worried about the repercussions to his private life and thankfully, Bach turned and stormed off. An explosion erupted behind them. Toro paused for only a moment before he ran through a crowd of mafia men and began busting down doors. This was mafia territory, but still a residential building, children could have been injured in that blast. Many busted down doors later and only slightly fewer gunshots at Toro, he was satisfied that no children had been harmed. Still, he would have to double check on this area later.
The final site was little more than rubble. Toro sat patiently as Mort and Bach fiddled with the collapsed tower until an official looking van from the nodes company pulled up next to Morts. A man in a technicians uniform stepped out, “What do you think you’re doing here? Scavenging?” The utility worker looked at them suspiciously, as would almost anyone. They were a motley crew.
“Oh, we’re just trying to help and fix this tower. Sir.” Mort tried to sound sincere, but the worker wasn’t buying it. “I’m going to have to see your SIN and name please.”
Toro had already reached for the sword at his side, if this went any further it would get unpleasant. The government was worse to have on your tail than most gangs. Mort, however, just smiled, gave his SIN, a fake name and apologized to the man. The worker nodded and waved them off and that was that. Toro removed the hand from his hilt, he’d have to ask Mort for one of those fake SIN’s. Civil servants were so nosy after all.
“Easy money,” said the Johnson the following morning. Everyone agreed, especially Toro who hoped he could ride this train straight into the sunset of a golden horizon. Tomorrow felt like a good day.