The drive puts the job at a no-name corporate warehouse-office at the edge of the corporate district, and says to meet the team at 4pm tomorrow in an abandoned lot in the slum district.
I organize my weapons and armor. Once that's done, I watch reruns of some stupid sitcom with the punchline 'zimbabwe' or something like that until two AM when I pass out. I wake back up at noon.
After getting dressed, I head to the address at three thirty pm, and get there at three fifty. There's a van parked there and a a bored looking man behind the wheel.
According to what I've been told, he's our driver. His hair is brown and he's slightly grease-blackened, he does look like he's taken the time to wash up though.
He's wearing what appears to be a set of armored coveralls, appears to be a mechanic of some kind as well. He notices me shortly afterwards, and opens the door. As I climb in, he speaks.
"What you go by?" He asks.
"Call me Johnny Red. You?" I respond.
"I go by Rubber." He says.
We sit there in silence until another guy turns up.
His hair is dyed blue and red and all over the place, he appears to be wearing a badly faded Star Wars t-shirt, a blue unzipped sweatshirt, grey cargo pants, and a pair of mirrored aviators.
The interface plugs on his wrists and the piece of computer hardware he's carrying confirm my suspicions. He's the hacker.
All the good ones are weird, only the weird ones can tolerate 'net interfaces. Rubber introduces himself.
"Call me Rubber, this one goes by Johnny Red." He says, pointing to me.
"I'm Crashed System." He responds.
"Well then," I say, popping open the van's back door,"That only leaves the street samurai."
Once again, we wait, and at four exact, a woman turns up.
Blond hair, blue eyes, what appear to be old German military fatigues, the bearing of a soldier, and a body that has seemingly been torn apart and been rebuilt with steel and circuitry.
All of her limbs are cybernetics, and the arm cybernetics don't seem to end at the shoulder. Probably one of the German cybersoldiers, the Panzermensch.
"They call me Panzerfrau." She says flatly and without emotion in a distinct German accent as she climbs into the van. People tend to get weird when you jam enough cyberware in them.
"Well, that seems to be all of us," Rubber says "Time to get going." With that, we pull out of the lot and head toward the address.
As we head from the slums to the edge of the Corporate district, the buildings go from tenements to run-down apartments to our stop, one run-down warehouse office among many.
I step out of the van into the alleyway, the rest of the team just behind. My shirt and pants are both synthetic, the shirt imitates white cotton, the pants blue denim.
My boots, jacket and gloves look like real, matte black leather, but they're just as synthetic.
Between that, I wear a ballistic vest, matte as well, thin enough to be concealed under the jacket.
Off of it hangs two magazines, loaded with caseless rounds, pieces of lead buried in tan blocks, ten millimeters in diameter.
Resting on my side is a holster, in it a gray plastic pistol with a barrel ten millimeters across.
Slung across my back is a firearm, about as long as a forearm, with the trigger set in front of the magazine and simple iron sights, chambered for the same ammunition as the pistol.
My face is of an average size, with sharp, bony features, a small nose and mouth, brown, close-set eyes, and ears laid flat.
The pollution and overcast days leaves most people paler than you would expect, and I am no exception. My hair is black, close-cropped, the tips still bearing a bit of dye.
Going down my left cheek and onto my neck is the first of many scars. I have them in all sorts of places, down my back, on my chest and arms to name a few.
Many of them I got from normal work as a mercenary. Some of them I got from shoddy cyberdocs. Most of them I got so my pride could remain unscarred.
As the team gets out, I say to them "Should be a fairly easy op, security is run-of-the-mill, weakened by our employer, building is not particularly high tech, but be on alert anyways,
I'm not going down as someone who can't outsmart basic corpsec."
Panzerfrau and Rubber follow me up to the door, while Crashed System connects to his computer, then the computer to the door data port.
After a few seconds, the door comes open and on my commlink, a text comes through from Crashed System, a map to our target and a request:
"I found a juicy looking file on the target, but it can only be accessed directly from the terminal, so get it. I can't find anything else on it in the system."
I head in, the team sans Crash follows me. The cameras are turned off as we encounter them. Approaching the stairs, I see a guard at the bottom, looking down another hallway.
I walk up on him and pistol whip him on the head before he can do anything. He hits the floor like a stone afterwards.
I head up the stairs, and at the top is a hallway and a door with the kanji for Midori. Before I can open it, Panzerfrau bolts down the hall, as she does, I hear footsteps headed her way.
After that, I open the door, and inside is a terminal and desk in one corner, a man dressed like a scientist at the terminal, and one more door.
I knock out the scientist and take a look at the terminal. On it, there's a function to open the door and one encrypted file, same one Crashed was looking for.
I copy it to my commlink, send it to Crashed and delete it to the computer.
"Our street sam friend aside, if he could make it this easy, why didn't 'Mr Tanaka' do it himself?" I say, as gunfire and screams wind down the hall, and I check the door utility.
"All he needed to do is what he already did, open the door, and smash what's insi - WHAT?!". Upon opening the door, it suddenly makes sense.
On the other side of the door is a small room, something like a prison cell, except with more creature comforts.
Sitting on the bed is a girl of 19 at most, dressed in some kind white of jumpsuit with a green stripe down the middle, skin pale enough it borders on pallor and black hair.
Not just an 'Advanced piece of biotech'. Before I can decide what to do, Panzerfrau comes back in, stained red, while a message comes in on my commnlink from Crashed.
"We have about five minutes before corporate SWAT is on us, I already jacked out." He warns.
"How much?" I ask.
He responds with "Yes."
"Well then," I say, grabbing the girl, "time to go."
I run out, dragging the girl along with, Panzer and Rubber clearing a path before us, down the stairs, out the door, into the van.
Rubber peels out in the van, and we head toward the harbor district, parking by an abandoned wharf.
I shoot off a text message to Rubber telling him to take her to the end of the wharf and distract her. I follow quietly, as Rubber converses with her.
When we reach the end of the dock I draw my pistol and aim. My finger comes down on the trigger, but I can't do it. I've done a lot of bad things but this, I can't.
I reholster my gun, and as we walk back toward the van, Rubber speaks quietly to me.
"I won't either, I never wanted to live like this in the first place, but what's a mechanic without a shop supposed to do? Street racing pays poor anyways."
When they see me coming, the girl still alive, I get two texts from my other two teammates.
"I could barely kill someone coming at me with a gun."
"If I did that, I might as well be a cyberpsycho."
Ultimately, we decide to tell our employer that our target was already gone and keep our advances.
I decided I'd take the girl with me, we resolved to stay in contact, and Crashed said "I'll contact you when I crack this."
On the way back, I strike up conversation with her, starting with "What's your name? Do you have a name?"
"They've only called me Project Midori as long as I can remember." She says.
"In that case, I'll just call you Midori." I respond.
"Fine." She says, no small amount of sass in her voice.
The rest of the trip back to my place is in silence. When we get there, I let her into my apartment, a clear look of disappointment on her face.
"This is a dump, I've been living as an experiment, and I can tell that." She snarks.
"Well, I was hired to kill you, so be grateful you're alive, you little snot." I respond.
"Yes I should be grateful to a criminal-for-hire because he has something resembling a conscience." She continues.
"Look," I say, the day catching up me "I don't have the energy for this, I'll heat up something for us, you can sleep on the couch."
As I get out some SKM meals, I receive a message from Crashed.
"I decrypted the file, I think we should keep together until we're at the bottom of this."
I take a look at the file on my commlink, at the top is a picture of Midori, the file is quite dense,
but I am able to pick out that the project was started by a biotech firm in the second half of the 'teens and that firm was acquired by Toriumi shortly into the project.
Midori is the product of this project, and has a variety of genetic modifications. I go down and check the list of 'genetic material sources'. None of them have names, just numbers.
I open the first one, see the picture, and vomit. It's almost like a living pile of Gelatin, but something about it is just wrong, beyond being a living sack of goo.
God, how could such a thing exist! I vomited into the trash can fortunately, and after finishing the meals, I bring them in to the living room, and look my new charge.
"You look like you've seen a ghost", she says.
What the Hell have I gotten myself into?