Part 6: Update VI - Getting Into ShowbizUpdate VI - Getting Into Showbiz
Alright, so last time, we had a run that was a complete and total success and anybody that says otherwise will eat some magic.
You've had a long day. Why don't you get some sleep? I'll check with my superiors and see how they want to proceed. Here's a partial payment. I know the Aztechnology job wasn't finished, but I appreciate your efforts. We'd be in much worse shape without you.
And with that, we get 1000 nuyen and 7 Karma.
With the Karma, we upgrade our Chi Casting and Close Combat, since both of those will allow us access to better items. And now, it's time to talk to everybody!
I heard that you paid a little visit to Aztechnology. How is it looking?
That place looks far worse now that I've happened to it.
I'd thought as much. Had I mentioned that I used to work in that building? Probably not. It's not a fact I advertise often. I saw the writing on the wall long ago, even before Saito-san landed in the city. When Aztlan first declared war on CalFree, I knew any association with Aztechnology would be poison, and started making plans to disassociate myself from that corporation. I do feel some regret for former colleagues who have lost their lives, but frankly, the fewer connections I have to that place, the safer I will be. But enough of that. What can I do for you?
Well, let's do some scouting.
What do you know about Colma?
Ah, yes, Colma. I've never visited, but I understand there's powerful magic there. Millions of dead souls gathered in one place can cause some strange phenomena. It's off the radar of technocratic elites like the megacorps and Saito, but don't get complacent down there. That place is filled with history, and history has a way of manifesting in unexpected ways.
Mysterious. Anyway, since we already have the next level Chi Casting spell, we don't need anything from this guy right now.
(Research paydata.) What will you pay for this file?
Oooh, that's a sparkly one. Lots of little nuggets in there. Unfortunately, Aztechnology is quickly exiting the scene here, so there won't be a lot of interest in the file. Still, I can offer you ¥750 for it.
We could use a Corporate Etiquette to get more out of this, but alas, we just have to take the 750 nuyen.
Groovy, woman! There's a serious fire sale on used electronic equipment now that Aztechnology is biting the dust. I'm sure they'll try to bring in some ringers to shore up their so-called 'Pyramid Operations' or whatever, but until then, there's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grab some megacorp-quality tech for a bargain price.
Nothing much else to get from The Dave right now.
Kali's here too!
How is business?
Getting better every day, but it's a constant struggle. As our resources grow bigger, so do the demands of Saito. Fortunately, now that most of the local megacorps have gotten a taste of Eclipse, they won't tolerate Saito getting rid of us. I'm looking forward to the day when I'll be free of his grasp and can run Antumbra Enterprises without looking over my shoulder.
Why did you name your business Antumbra Enterprises?
That nightclub wasn't the start of my career, but it marked the start of my climb up the corporate ladder. Up until that Site of Power emerged, Mitsuhama thought I was just another minx in their portfolio, useful for drawing in eyeballs. After you helped me clear the Site and turn it over to them, they started involving me in the decision-making process. Without Antumbra, I'd just be another singer. With it, I'm becoming a force to be reckoned with.
Amelia has some shiny new gear, and we're relatively flush with cash after the last run used up less medkits than expected, we grab some better armor and a better weapon, which I'm sure will immediately pay dividends. And after we check her gear out, we can ask something else:
You seem better-stocked than before.
You are absolutely correct! My, ah, network of acquisitions experts have been busily combing over the former offices of Aztechnology, and finding some terrific equipment. The marines are mostly concerned about hunting down any Aztlan agents, and the megacorps are focusing on taking over Aztechnology's contracts, so nobody cares very much if a few guns and fetishes go missing. I've spread the wealth around and helped restock the other Eclipse merchants with some new gear. For a modest fee, of course. Well, not too modest. Nobody's complaining, though. This stuff is still a steal compared to the wholesale prices we were paying last week!
Hey, we actually have a bit of an explanation why there's better gear over time. Now, let's head upstairs and see if new people showed up.
Do you want anything?
Who are you?
I was born Idril Nellas, but I go by DJ Omphalos these days. I specialize in thrumming music, and have played most styles and clubs at some point in my career. I've also helped several people record demo tracks and launch their own careers.
What do you think of Kali?
Oh, she's fantastic. I'm so glad that she came to San Francisco, her talents were wasted in Seattle. She's not just a terrific performer, but she's one of the few artists who can relate really well to people outside of our culture. That's proven to be extremely useful here in the city. Ever since martial law was imposed, most clubs have been dying a slow death, but Kali has quickly found the right palms to grease, the right favors to collect, and the right compliments to pay Saito. It's making her very rich, but it's also giving us the first decent venue we've enjoyed here in years.
OK, what was that you said about helping people launch their careers? Because I think we still have a favor to call in...
Can I record a track?
Sure thing! Kali was mentioning that she owed you a favor from Seattle. Here's a blank recording deck. Find Kali below and see if she can free up some studio space for you. Good luck!
Alright, let's do it.
Can I record a demo with you?
Hm, I suppose I do still owe you a favor from before. Before we can start recording, I'll need to know where we're going with this. What kind of music do you want to perform?
Our choices are Chromatic Metal, Coruscat, Glitch Punk, Thrumming or Toxic House. I decide that the only true genre for Kami is the one that sounds like something you could make a baseball bat out of, so we pick Chromatic Metal.
Cool. Let's step into the studio.
And we just get a fade out and fade back in to exactly where we were.
Not too bad for a newbie. Here's the deck back with your track on it. I can take it now if you're ready to release it, or you can take some more time to polish it. You might want to check in with some other people here if you'd like help finishing it up.
Alright, let's see who can help us.
Can you help me with my demo?
You're hopping on the Kali gravy train? I cut a demo of my own right after I opened this shop. I had high hopes, but it didn't go anywhere. Kali tells me that there isn't a market any more for filk music about open-source software. Such a shame, I was hoping to open peoples' minds. Kali did say that she really liked the beats I synthesized, though. Do you want them? They're just gathering dust on my deck at the moment.
Yeah, why not?
Sure, I'll take them.
Let's do this!
[The Dave cables your two decks together, then rapidly runs through a series of mixing programs. He adjusts the tempo of his beats to match your existing track, adds a few breaks at appropriate moments, and makes other adjustments too quickly for you to follow. After less than a minute, he disconnects the deck and hands it back to you.]
There you go! May my beats serve you better than they did me!
Cool. Let's see who else is willing to help out.
What do you think of my demo so far?
[DJ Omphalos plugs your deck into a nearby sound system and cranks it up, ignoring the annoyed glances from nearby partiers.]
Not bad! Have you done this before? There's nothing wrong with this, and I think you could release it and do rather well. If you'd like, though. I'd be happy to remix it for you. It might sound a bit fresher that way, and, frankly, a lot of my fans will buy anything that I remix. What do you say?
Sounds like making a name for yourself in the LP subforum by collabing with more known LPers. I can dig it.
Sure, go for it.
[DJ Omphalos opens up a mixing program and sets to work. She collects samples, loops them, distorts them, pulls apart your track elements and rearranges them. When she finishes, no new elements have been added, but it sounds like an entirely different song.]
That was fun! I hope it turns out well. No need to worry about royalties, but if this one does well I'd like you to collaborate on one of my next tracks, okay?
Now, anybody else?
What do you know about Colma?
What a creepy place! My friends and I used to go there at night, hoping to see some ghosts. We spotted a couple, but nobody we recognized. I guess it's pretty famous. A hundred and fifty years ago, San Francisco dug up all of their graves and moved the bodies down to Colma, so they could make room for more houses or whatever. Lots of famous people are buried there. William Randolph Hearst, Joe DiMaggio, Wyatt Earp, Levi Strauss, lots of folks. Why, are you going there? Maybe you can meet some of them!
How about another run?
Wow, I guess I did good, huh? You got me back in one piece, so I'm pretty happy about that! I gotta warn you: If you're heading out of the city, my wiz decking skills might not be all that helpful to you. There aren't a whole lot of computers in the country, y'know? Still, I'm not totally useless at other stuff. I'll tag along for ¥750, how does that sound?
We'll think about it. But here's the question we're really here to ask:
Can you help me with my demo?
Wiz, you're a recording star? That's hella cool! I've been dreaming for ages of having a go at Kali's boards. Let's give it a listen!
[Hailey jacks into your deck and listens for a while, nodding enthusiastically and tapping out the rhythms on her knee.]
I won't lie to you: This could be a ginormous hit. Right now, though, it's a little... generic, y'know? Kali will release this in the CalFree market first, so you might want to connect the lyrics more to local culture. Otherwise folks might think you're just some carpetbagger from Seattle, right? You want some help?
More help, more fun!
That would be great.
[Hailey jots down a few lyrical edits, incorporating local slang and some contemporary references. The meter is unaltered, so you'll be able to easily dub your new vocals back in.]
There ya go! Hey, when you make it big, give me a call, okay? I want to help produce your next track!
Now, before we head back to send in our deck, let's check around to see who else we have available for our next run.
How are your studies progressing?
Quite well. I feel that my central thesis has achieved sufficient clarity, and anticipate that all my supporting arguments will fall into place shortly. From then on, it should be a relatively straightfontvard process of revision, as I try to anticipate objections to my platform and work to preemptively resolve them. That isn't to say that it will be easy. I fully anticipate great resistance, due to the knee-jerk reactions people tend to have when confronted with terms like "xenocide". Nonetheless, I remain optimistic that this thesis will provide a stable basis of work upon which future scholars can build their own theories.
Have you heard of Colma?
Yes, I have heard of this place. I have not visited it myself. From what I understand, it used to be sparingly populated. In recent years, as my fellow metahum ans have increasingly been forced from the city, it has become a haven of sorts. Few humans would willingly live among the tombstones, so it has grown into a most unlikely refuge for the outcast, the violent, the dangerous, the insane.
May I hire your services?
I gladly make my resources available to anyone in need who is willing to pay. More specifically, I requite a sum of ¥750.
We'll get back to you on that.
Man, you're really pushing it.
[Dalmin looks at you expectantly.]
Anything new happening here?
Yes and no. Many new faces, but they're always playing out the same old story. Boy meets girl. Boy buys expensive drinks for girl. Girl leaves with boy. Why mess with the classics? If I ever open up my own bar, I'll try to shake things up a little. Maybe have the drinks buy a boy for the girl?
Heard any news from Seattle?
Hm. There's a rumor going around that Dunkelzahn will apply for UCAS citizenship. I don't believe it, though. There are much better countries in the world. Oh, and the old Antumbra site is still bubbling with activity. Lots of mages are applying to visit and figure out how that phenomenon could have appeared. It appears localized for now, though, so the rest of the city shouldn't be affected.
Dunkelzahn applying for UCAS citizenship? I'm sure nothing will come from that.
Care to go on a run?
You know what? I would. It's good to stretch my legs occasionally. And, if you don't mind me saying so, you certainly seem like you could use the extra protection. You can have my services for the low, low price of ¥1000.
A thousand fucking nuyen? I, uh, will get back to you on that. Now, let's drop off our deck.
I'm done working on my track.
All right, I'll take over from here. We'll release to local markets first, and if it does well, Antumbra Global will start promoting it across UCAS, NAN, Aztlan, and other regions. Good luck to us both. I hope this earns a lot of nuyen!
Alright! Look forward to the first release by the new Chromatic Metal supergroup, "Kami and the xwOBAcons", wherever fine music is bought.
Before we end the update, one thing we still need to do is get some sleep.
And now we're ready to start the next run! We're going to be checking out Colma, on the trail of the troll that broke into the Azzie pyramid and took what we wanted to take, and that's just unforgivable.
But before that, Kami needs to ask the voices in her head. Who are we taking along on this run? We can afford all of them, so money is not an object. Do we take along Hailey, who we've already had success with, but who probably won't be too useful in this run? Do we take Orion, who is probably the coolest of the bunch, but duplicates our skillset by being a street samurai and leading to us just being two guys that do damage? Or do we take along Dalmin, who is kind of a prick and the most expensive, but who would probably be the most useful? The choice is yours.