Personal log of Kowalski, Roger
We spent a few days with Richard and Sarah and it was nice. But then the ten days were over and on Monday they brought us back. Miss Simpson said, it was safe to return, at least not worse than before, which means we can just get shot while we try to buy a milk in the stuffer check on the corner or mugged for our commlink in a dark alley.
We talked with those two about Native American myths, like the wendigo. Which was the thing that Sarah had used to spook us at that evening at the fireplace. The ones who are taken by the storm spirit of a blizzard and that roam around, with the crave for the warm blood of humans and animals, for they just have a heart of ice left.
There were a couple of other stories, but Babsie said, that thus are not things you must make fun of. We are living in the Sixth World. This means they might be true. She had bad dreams in the nights about that and I had to hold her in my arms. Even if I wasn’t feeling much better myself.
She let it out physically. The stress and the fear of life. Tears and kisses and robbing me of my sleep. And I would be a liar to tell myself that I didn’t want her. My hand sliding up from her naked knee. Stopping just below the groin, touching her soft skin. She opening up just a little, pressing against me.
I should not do this. But it was such a relieve, such an urge. I still don’t think we have a sexual relationship, I just hope not, because I don’t think this can work. But you just can’t bed with a girl like Babsie after a thing like this and nothing happens. Even if she is manipulating me with this, even if this is the wrong thing to do. While I still don’t think it has anything to do with love, but I believe her, when she says she needs me. And with Richard and Sarah it’s no shame to do. I guess they eavesdropped.
“It’s important to prepare for the end of days, all you have then will be your children. It’s a fresh start for humanity”, Sarah said and they kissed in a very romantic way. Kind of weird, kind of desperate way to look at this. They don’t seem to have any kids.
We used the time for some training, Babsie and me. They had some bows, crossbows, slingshots and that in a lean-to shed, so they were teaching us “to survive the zombie apocalypse.” It was fun and Babsie enjoyed the lesson very much, jumping enthusiastically every time she managed to hit the target, which was a cardboard-zombie.
“But that won’t help me on the streets”, Babsie said. “I can’t run around with a fucking bow like a savage, or what?” “What’s about that sling-shot?” “For kids?” “Legal. You make holes with it. As I understand it, it’s a modern bow. Just with rubber, no bulky arms. You are sexy with that.” “Hm.” The issue is still unsolved.
Monday we contacted Miss Simpson. “Ten days of work”, she said, “that’s 2k. Your companion is not on the roster…” “But I was tortured!”, Babsie complained, “this is not fucking fair. You can’t just fob us off with lousy 2k!” “If you would stop complaining, I would like to complete my sentence, please.” The icon looked amused. “…but she was fully involved and this makes another 2k for her too.”
“Hey, lady”, Babsie complained, “we really worked our asses off. There was mortal danger and we were in this blizzard and the fucking extraction team put a gun to our head and you can’t seriously think this is worth ten days work for the usual lousy 200 creds a day. It’s at least worth… double?” Miss Simpson was looking calm. But she had stopped smiling too much, at least her avatar did so.
“I can’t pay you more than that. I’m not permitted to pay out more than 200 a day, if the contract wasn’t on a higher level. It is your job to get better. You are still on rookie level.” “Rookie level, my ass”, but I put a hand on Babsies shoulder, that she should better not piss off our employer. “I can offer another 2k credits on your franchise account for buying gear for your agency. How about that?” “Does that include weapons, vests and things like that?” “Of course, everything that you can find on our net-site.” “Sounds fair.” “Fair?!” “Babs, skip it!”
Miss Simpson watched for another second. “I can offer you a deal. There is something we have to talk about if you, Mister Kowalski, do want to have her as an asset for the agency. She has no PI background.” It was not a question. “She has no SIN. How can we officially put her on the roster?” “I have no idea. I just take her with me and…” “…and you two try to work for 200 a day? That’s a lousy income for two people.” “Fuck me sideways, lady! That’s what I said: lousy!” “But I can try to arrange something. I send over Miss Wu to arrange that personally.”
“The mob is from our tails?” “Yes. But if I were you, I would try to keep out of their sight.” “Word!”, Babsie said. “I have seen your report, Mister Kowalski. Quite an adventure. I wish I was there…” And after a pause: “not.” Then she hung up.
Miss Wu, all in white again, showed up a few hours later, an elven angel. She watched Babsie, who was loitering on the couch. “This is your young… apprentice, Mister Kowalski?” “She is quite an asset.” “He would be already dead without me.” Miss Wu smiled and turned on the water tap in the room. Without trying to drink the stuff. Noise. “The thing that we can offer is this: we give 50% discount on providing a SIN. Fake of course. We can play some contacts. It’s your choice if you like to include biometric data, it works better with than without. This is the reason I am here. Of course this conversation never has happened.” She was standing at the window, looking out on the street, where the March rain was washing what was left of the day into the gutter.
“It’s 3k for the simple thing that will blow up at first serious inspection or 4k for the real thing. With the discount offered, you pay 1.5 or 2.0k it’s your choice.”
We looked at each other. Babsie smiled. “Like in the flicks?” “Like in the flicks, but this is for real.” “Stop”, I interrupted. “If Babsie gets caught with that thing she is going to serve for quite a time.” “Don’t get caught. Else it is as solid as it gets – for this price. We can’t offer more. If you decide for the real deal, I am here to take some data.” “Can I chose a name?” “Not for that price. Neither a background. But it will match race, gender and looks. With data we can make it almost perfect. Without – you can easily find out it’s fake by inspection. Your choice.”
Babsie was indifferent and chewing on her lower lip. “I don’t like that.” “Babs, you should consider this – you are in for a penny in for pound. Do the real deal or no deal. But you have to know yourself.” “Will I be eighteen?” “Of course. That’s your real age anyway, isn’t it?” She checked her data-pad. “Age eighteen, gender female, race elf. Dark hair…” “It’s dyed.” “Whatever. Size 171 centimeter. Weight 55 kilogram. Clothes size…” “Where do you know all that?” “Baby, we are Tyrell. Knowing things is our job.”
We looked at each other. “I don’t have a good feeling about that, Babs. It’s illegal.” “Fuck that. I want a real chance. And this is the one I get. Give me the fucking real deal.” “Babs, that’s all your money.” “I get more of that with the next job, when I work with you. I want all in. Still have some creds left. Fuck it.”
She was pulling back her sleeves and showing her veins, closing her eyes, as if Miss Wu would now get out a syringe and pull some heavy blood from her. She laughed. “It’s not that dramatic, just touch this sensor with your fingers. One after the other. Right hand, left hand.” She hesitated. “That’s not a trap to put me back into the system?” “To search for your real identity is an extra job and I don’t get paid for that.” She bid her underlip. “And now?” “Just taking a picture. Stand there. At the white wall. Thank you. That’s all.” “No blood or retina check?” “Not on this level. My advice: avoid being checked for that. Blood type we have. That will be correct.”
Babsie was flopping back onto the sofa. “In for a penny in for a pound. Shit.” “Don’t worry.” I asked: “And if the thing blows?” “You should contact us. Describe what happened. Try not to get caught. Don’t mess with the police. Don’t do something highly illegal. Don’t go and try to get high credits, or try to live in double or triple A zones. The background check there might be too tough. It will still be a false ID.”
“And if we need some licences on that thing?” “Don’t go the legal way. Contact us. It will cost you extra.” Babsie stared at her feet, her boots turned inwards. “Then I’m in the system again?” “No. You are not. But everything you do will then be registered. After a year or so you might receive as much spam as everybody. Depends on how much you use it. There might be some misleading data. That thing was alive before.” “You mean a dead person?” Miss Wu just smiled.
“Can I leave the country?” “I would not try to go by plane. Most airports are easy, some are nasty. Travel by train, bus, car, ship.” “Money?” “No transactions over 20k, I’d say. But most people just take your money and are happy with it. Never ask a bank for credit. Never ever. Try to pay everything with sticks. Don’t get cocky. Cocky, lazy, dead.”
“When?” “A few weeks from now.” Miss Wu was just standing in the room. “What?” “The money please.”