Get a Job Pt 2

The next morning I woke and growled <!— scurried away, leaving the files gathered for me about the Ares squad. I’d had some horrible dream. Not a dream. Magic. The woman in the group had used magic on me. Though I wasn’t sure it had worked so much as I had wanted to get out of there.

I pulled up the information I’d found yesterday and checked my back door to Jer’s commlink. It was still open, he was playing another game. I waited until he finished a game with someone and started up a new game vs a random player and jumped in. There was a conversation component to the game and I shook slightly with a little exhilaration as I edited the game files.

Sir Jer I have a mission for you. You must rally your men to storm the dragon’s lair and save the princess. Sir Jer I have a mission for you. You must gather your team and destroy the Ares team to earn next month’s rent.

I couldn’t see his response but the long pause made me nervous. He selected to continue the dialogue.

I have additional information for this mission which you may find useful. But first Sir Jer I must know where your allegiances lie.
I scrambled to fix the optional responses before they displayed.
My men and I are ready to storm the dragon’s lair now. SAVE THE PRINCESS! AVENGE THE KING! I wasn’t able to fix in time, but I figured would work well enough for me.
I will not say where I got this information and the nurse won’t tell my team I was crying.
My team knows everything I know, I trust them completely.

There was a long pause this time and I went into his comm and checked on my information, it hadn’t been accessed. Based on the rest of information I saw at a glance I was pretty sure he was really into cars and drones, he must have had nearly a dozen autosofts hanging out for a wide range, including a helicopter.

I will not say where I got this information and the nurse won’t tell my team I was crying.

I only had one more dialogue option before the game formally started. I had to make it count. Upon successful completion of this mission you will receive a location for the information you need.

He started the mission up and I edited the final files to give the location on his comm along with the code to open them. I paused for a moment to wonder if he would lose. I frowned. I kept part of my attention on his game and pulled up the the information from <!— sorting through it. I wasn’t their next target, but I was on their list. Apparently someone who had formerly worked for Ares might be living in the same neighborhood. It was kind of rife with criminals and former criminals so I wasn’t too surprised.

Jer was winning the mission pretty easily and I let out a sigh I hadn’t realized I’d been holding. If he’d lost all my clever work would have been wasted and I would have had to come up with something new.

Jer either didn’t know how to clean me off his commlink or had intentionally left it open. I kept checking in over the next couple days, and played a few more games with him. I really missed playing games with Meg.

The Ares squad had been quiet, I was hoping they were staking out a location for the former Ares corp man. I had moved and had been staying in different motel rooms since I’d found out though. It just seemed prudent.

Jer had the files open and I was watching what he was looking at, he seemed to be digging for a piece of information. I was considering just opening up a channel to him when he tried using his analyze program. He was bad at it. Really bad, I wondered how he was even able to find himself a place to go to dinner. After the fourth attempt I realized what he was looking for, I rifled through the materials and pulled a couple of sections that would be moderately helpful. I started to return these as results to his query with the content called out. After a moment I pulled another piece and returned that as well. Not what he was looking for at all, but what he needed.

There was a long delay as he read all the materials and typed in a new query. It was even worse than the previous ones. I grabbed actually useful things in frustration and shoved those in. I pulled them back not caring that I was clearly not just a program anymore. I highlighted the specific areas he needed to focus on and returned them.

This time his next query was nearly instant. I know you are there. I miss you. How can I help you?

I miss you? Clearly he knew that something was responding to him, but something he thought he knew. I struggled for a moment. It would be so easy to just let him believe I was what he wanted. I returned a file with highlighted words based on a guess. Not. Her. I paused and highlighted a couple more words. I want to help.

I waited.

A few hours later I checked back and this time there was another message. If the info is good I’ll give you a chance to explain yourself.

I thought runners were supposed to get paid, but I supposed I had to start somewhere. Over the next few days I sorted through the information and even played a few more more games with Jer. Viper even came around to see me without having to be called.

Soon another message. Challenge. No cheating. I win you tell me your name. You win 50% of my cut for this job.

You’re on.

It was a game I didn’t recognize at all but I’d played a lot of games, a quick rundown of the rules. I was supposed to draw a word, there were a lot of complex rules to prevent throwing the game. Jer would have to guess the word and then we’d switch. My word was chocolate.

I wrinkled my nose and frowned. The disgusting stuff they fed us as a “reward”. They told us over and over how rare it was and it was supposed to be a prize. A prize for killing sprites or attacking each other until we were physically injured.

The 2 minute timer started ticking down. I tried to draw a block, they always gave it to us in tiny little cubes. I colored it in the sort of grey tinged brown that I remembered. His guesses poured through. Unprocessed nutrisoy? Seed starter? Gun clip? An arcology? A bunker? A loaf of bread? I tried to think of what else I knew of chocolate. It was a bean, or came from a bean, or something. A chocolate bean. I drew a long thin set of sort of parallel curves that came together at the tips. A boat? A canoe? Moon? Time ticked away too quickly. A bean? I drew a line connecting the cube and the bean. Soybean! It was a damn good guess. I was a really bad artist. Time was up.

He drew two lines, curving in toward each other but not connecting. It started to look like a heart but didn’t connect. He started filling it in with a rich bright red color. The top of the curves didn’t dip as low as a heart but met in a shallow dip which he gave perspective to, it looked like a little well in the middle. A thick brown line emerged out of the well along with a pair of green curves with a stripe down the middle and veins branching out. The bottom dimpled up, leaving the object sitting on two smooth curves. He started to give it dimensionality and I could tell I was supposed to know what it was. Ball? Mars? I could almost see his eyes roll as he started something fresh. A crescent slice, red on the bottom, a shell with a crisp white color and a few teardrop shaped things up near the center of the straight line. I had no clue.

The timer ran out. Apple. Oh, I likely should have known. But it wasn’t like I had a lot of apples in my life. Corps basically fed us flavorless nutrisoy with the occasional “reward” of something that was horrible. Apple. I wondered what they tasted like.

I paused and sent my real name. Mellie.

Nice to meet you Mellie. I’m Jer. You’re a horrible artist.

I couldn’t help but smile. You’re pretty damn good. Though you’re terrible at looking for things.

Yeah my team thinks I’ve been using some fancy new skillsofts.

Get a Job Pt 2

Out of Toronto 4.0 loudlyquiet