Lately we’ve been releasing mostly guides and things like that and I know a lot of you have been wondering what’s been going on in our little worlds over here. So, I figured I’d write up an old thing that happened late last year that’s been lingering on the back burner for a while here. Without further ado, let’s get into our newest adventure in City 08!
To put it simply, City 08 is your typical sci-fi cyberpunk-styled city where it’s always dark because it’s situated under a huge dome that keeps it shielded from the suns UV during the day and shows off the stars and moon during the night. During the day, you’ll just see a big black nothing above your heads which… arguably takes some adjustment before you stop seeing it.
Previously, I decided that I wanted to own a bar in this city. I ended up brokering a deal with an old witch of a woman who called herself “Madame Wyzage” who owned a bar called “The Fade”. It was a dark and grimy place, cheap drinks, cheaper clientele and pretty good music and cage dancers of all sexes. Pretty awesome if you ask me. We had some good times in that place until the federal government that ruled that country found us out and set a trap for us. In the end, I blew up the bar since it’d never be a safe place for us again. It turned out Madame Wyzage had sold us out despite me paying her handsomely for simply running the place as my manager. I resolved to get back at the bitch and had our omnipresent AI Sarah put up a ridiculous 300 million credit bounty on her head. (For those of you wondering, one credit equals about two euros)
Months passed and Wyzage seemed to have vanished into thin air, every time I’d remember and ask Sarah about it, she’d reply that the bounty had not yet been filled. Over time I resigned to the fact that we’d probably never find her and that she was likely in some fed pen somewhere being held for numerous crimes she’d committed over the years.
This whole thing though made it apparent to all of us that the feds wouldn’t stop being a thorn in our side, so we enlisted Sarah again to make a push to get the Triads involved into it. Since most of the world in this timeline is dominated by China, it stands to reason that they’d be interested in anything that showed economic potential. With that in mind, I used Sarah to feed false information into the Triad network to make their AI’s start suggesting over time that City 08 would perhaps be a profitable venture to take over.
A few weeks later, the Triads moved in and pushed out the fed presence in the area, thereby solving the biggest problem we had at the time. But, I was still missing a nice dank bar where we could sit and chill or maybe make plans for future adventures. So, together with my SO Niky whose also a tulpamancer, we decided to have a little adventure to try and find a new one. After a short phone call to Jane, she told us that she knew of a rough bar in the industrial district that might be up my alley.
Soon enough, we exited the doorway from the gallery of worlds and headed down the alley of City 08, in the distance ahead of us, we could see the front of the new club they’d built over the ruins of The Fade, which was called “Evolution”. I hated it, it had big stylized and formal letters that were back-lit with a golden hue against a creme colored facade. I’d seen the inside before too and it wasn’t any better, mostly white and sterile and formal as hell. It was safe to say that I had no love for the place.
I looked up at the lettering and shook my head “One of these days I’m gonna blow up this place.” as I pulled out my phone and dialed Jane.
A few clicks and beeps later, she responded with a world weary “Yeah?”
“We’re here. Outside of Evolution.”
“Right, I’ll be down then. We’re going to that other club then?” she asked with a teasing tone.
“Yep. Then we can maybe check up on your lead.”
“No can do, my lead is on the other side of the city, we’ll do that some other time.”
I slightly shook my head while looking at Circe and our immediate area “Alright, some other time then.”
“See ya outside.” she finished and hung up on me.
I turned towards her and said “Alright.. she’s heading down.”
Circe grunted “I knew it, she’s totally hanging out at that club now.”
I chuckled “Yeah, probably just to spite me, you know?”
We headed closer towards the club, as we got closer we saw the familiar bouncer standing there, I gave him a smile and a nod which he promptly ignored.
“Yeah.. nice to see the stiffs are still STIFF.” I said to myself with some scorn in my voice.
Circe stage-whispered to me “Don’t piss off the mountain of muscle please.” while winking at the bouncer who proceeded to ignore her as well.
I leaned against the facade of the mutely colored exterior, trying to ignore the disgusting cremé colored brown lights as Jane came out of the door leading to the club.
The bouncer turned his head towards her “Oh, leaving so soon?”
“Yah, got business.” she deadpanned back at him.
“I see, these people are here for you then.” He indicated us with his fleshy hand.
She walked over towards us and flashed Circe a flirty smile. “Sup C?”
Circe rolled her eyes at her “Oh just waiting for you. Waiting for things.. I don’t know.”
(Authors note: Circe and Jane used to be together, it ended on a really bad note. Circe moved on, Jane.. didn’t.)
“So C, where’s your little girlfriend?”
“She’s got other things to do.”
“Then how about -“
Jane shrugged “You’re such a bore these days.”
A havac swooped down and the three of us got inside the plush and expensive looking interior. As we got comfortable in the nice sofas on either side of the small cabin, Jane opened up the complimentary fridge and got out some bottles which she handed out to us.
I looked down at it and saw a blue and gold label with both traditional letters and Chinese ones “What’s this one?” I asked her and then read the label again “Oh.. right.. Tsing.. Tao?”
Jane nodded at me with a satisfied smile “Yah, old beer.”
“Wait.. I recognize this from somewhere…” I said as I googled the name IRL and got a hit. “How about that shit.. it exists!”
“It’s in your world too Fairy?”
“Yeah, this is awesome!” I drank a bit from the bottle and nodded “This is a pretty nice one.”
“Eh.. I like Klobb better. This tastes like water.”
Circe chimed in “This is pretty nice for a beer… say.. got any of those snacks?”
Jane grinned at her and went back into the fridge and tossed Circe a package of pink cracker looking things. Circe opened it and handed me one, which I declined.
“Sorry, but I’m already having fried eggs IRL. So, Jane, what did you pull up on this Afterlife club? What kind of place is it?”
“Don’t know, not gonna spoil the surprise.”
“Aren’t you the one that’s always saying information is power?”
“Yah, but sometimes ya gotta trust your instincts.”
In our earpieces, Niky’s tulpa Andrei’s voice crackled to life. “I bet it’s gonna be vampires there.”
(Authors note: These days I tend to write out our adventures into a chat me and Niky have going, sometimes her tulpas respond as well even though they’re technically not there with us in our macrocosm)
Jane smiled and replied “Dracs? Nah man, they don’t go out this far. Those fucks like it nice and connected, close to everything.”
(Glossary: Dracs are a group of people that use implants and other things to simulate being vampires, they’re exactly as cringy as you’d expect.)
She continued “My guess is that this bar is some kind of industrial worker dive. If you thought The Fade was rough Fairy, prepare your ass, this is probably worse.”
I gave her a grin and pulled down my shades and gave her a wink “Yeah, that’s what I’m counting on.”
Circe again chimed in “You weren’t joking when you said you were gonna buy this place?”
“Nope, I’m totally buying it, assuming they’ll sell. Jane, got an ETA for us?”
“Ten minutes man.”
During this time we discussed lighter things, Andrei pointed out that I obviously didn’t have enough money to buy the club, to which I replied that I was going to blatantly cheat. He suggested I could win the lottery, which Jane objected to since that would absolutely draw attention to us. She ended her long lecture by telling us to stop acting like tourists as the havac landed in a heavily industrialized place that looked rough.
All three of us stepped out and got a good look the place. The building in front of us had definitely seen better days, the windows leading out to the sidewalk were covered with steel iron bars, the windows behind them were practically opaque with decades of accumulated dirt, fat and grime. The door leading into the club looked curiously made out of a thick slab of some sort of wood. A curiosity in this city for sure, and more importantly a statement to whomever went inside.
“Man, what a dump.” Jane flatly stated from behind me.
In front of the door stood two bouncers, one was thin wiry guy while the other had a bit more muscle to his body. Both were sporting visors in front of their eyes, covering their upper face.
Jane gave out an appreciative whistle “Oh man, that’s old tech right there.”
I turned towards her with a questioning look.
“Those things they’ve got on their heads, old Markovs I think… basically shit that allows you to find weapons and other stuff.
“Shit” I replied, feeling apprehension at the fact that we’d likely be disarming to go inside. In a city like this, you never let go of your weapons unless you absolutely had to.
We walked up to the bar and the two bouncers, one of them nodded at us in an appreciative manner.
I made my voice as soft and melodic as I could as I said “Pardon me, but .. is this the place one goes to if one wishes to see .. the afterlife?”
The bouncer looked me over with a wry smile and answered “One must leave their possessions to truly enter the afterlife. Lose the hardware friend.” and he nodded to a crate already containing some weapons.
I reached over and pulled out my pistol and my knife and put both of them in the box and stepped back, leaving room for the others to do the same. Jane came over and dropped her plasma pistol in the crate, making a face to show she wasn’t too thrilled with it. She moved in front of him and extended her arms to her sides and grinned.
“K guy, do I check out or what?”
The bouncer looked her over with his visor, the other bouncer came closer too, they both studied her very intently for a while until the first one exclaimed “Hunter?”
“Yah.” she replied flatly.
“I’ll need to see your license and for the record, you are by the accord not allowed to make any arrests in this establishment.”
She handed over her cards to the bouncer who studied them as intently as he’d studied her. After some time of inspecting it, he handed it back “S-class… curious. .. you’re green. Head on in.” he nodded towards the door. She wasted no time heading past me, giving me a wink and tapping her necklace which looked liked a big metallic rectangle that was in actuality her shredder rifle in its compact mode
“Girl’s best friend..” she whispered as she breezed past me into the club.
Meanwhile, Circe was staring down both the bouncers as she slowly pulled out her sword from its sheath.
“You lose this sword and I’ll kill you and everyone you ever knew.”
The bouncer nodded at her “It will be treated with respect.”
She leaned it against the wall, next to the crate. As she stepped past them, he grabbed her arm and thrust a small flat and cube shaped chip into her had about the size of a matchbook into her hand.
“We see you.”
Circe looked at him for a bit before responding “I have been seen” and entered the club. I followed her as well and soon enough we were inside the place.
The interior was simplistic and mostly covered in wood and some of the supporting metal beams had been left exposed and rusted, clearly an aesthetic choice. Some tables and sofas were strewn about the room which was decently big. On the left was also a second floor which divided the room with an upper area that had some more tables. I marveled at it all for a moment.
(bottom floor and upper floor plans)
“Whoa.. wood Jane.. this must have cost a fortune….”
She turned back and me and gave me a sarcastic grin “Nah, it’s fake.”
“What? .. why would… … never mind.”
We sat down at one of the sofas on the right side. A few people were dancing on the dance floor and a weird blend of countryish guitars and meandering pop was blaring out of the speakers around us.
“So, we’re meeting somewhere here, or are we just here for the shitty rusted metal and faux wood bullshit?” Jane snarked.
“What kind of bar is this anyway?”
“Industrial people bar.”
She nodded at the people sitting at the bar, most of them were sporting heavy augments to various limbs.
“So, people working heavy industry?” I asked her.
“Yah, mostly cool people. But there’s some hot heads who think their augs are the strongest.”
“So, what was that thing between you and the bouncer back there?”
She gave me a smirk and said “Some places pay extra to keep their clientele safe, means you can’t arrest anyone on the premises. Once they’re out though… whooole other story.” She scanned the room as if to make a point, no doubt she was tagging everyone’s faces for future use.
“Alright Circe, let’s go up to the bar, there’s someone I want you to meet.” I said with an enigmatic grin.
“Uh.. sure?” she replied, not really sure where this was going.
I helped her up as some kind of metal started playing playing, we both made it over to the bar cutting through the crowd forming on the dance floor. The bartender soon sidled up to the bar, curiously he was missing an eye and had a patch in front of the cavity. A strange choice in a world where you can get implants for practically nothing.
“What’ll ya have?”
“I would.. hmm.. I would like to speak to the manager of this place please.”
“She only meets people with appointments and I’d remember someone like you if you were on the list. Sorry.”
I gave out a bit of a frustrated sigh “Could you relay a message to her though? Tell her that the dreamer has arrived.”
The bartender gave me a look that suggested he didn’t think she’d give me the time of day “I see.. alright, a second.” he said as he turned over to a terminal and tapped in a few things and then turned back to us again.
“Done, but if you’re wasting my time.. drinks’ll cost you double from now on.”
“Alright then, on that note, do you have anything for a .. err new couple?” I responded to him with a smile.
“Uhm.. maybe a drink for the both of you?”
Giving Circe a loving smile I said “Sure, just make it pink ones…”
The bartender gruffed and went back to the bottles and started grabbing at them, mixing us something.
“What are you doing?” Circe half laughed, half whispered at me.
“Following a hunch.”
“You’ve met this .. owner before?”
“Nope, I just had a dream about this place, dreamt about her.”
The bartender came back to us with two drinks that were shockingly pink “Do enjoy… that’ll be .. 300 creds for both of you.”
I gave the bartender an incredulous look “You’re kidding right?”
He let out a short bassy laugh “Sorry , just wanted to see your pretty boy face frown a bit, it’s on the house.”
I raised my eyebrow “Oh?”
“I have a feeling about you.”
I grabbed the two drinks and bowed slightly at the bartender and we move back to the table, I put our drinks down and we sat down once more.
Jane took one look at our drinks and laughed at me “Hahaha whoa.. pink bombs, you’re in for a treat!”
“Playing the couple huh?”
“WHAT?” Circe exclaimed with some annoyance.
“Typical thing for new couples to get. Kicks like a mule, but it’s so good.. just .. eh.. you know.. keep it in your pants k?”
“What’s in these things?” I asked with a suspicious tone in my voice.
“It’s cool, nothing I wouldn’t drink, just enjoy them and have fun” and she had a bit of a chuckle and went silent.
I sipped my drink and the taste could only be described as a fruity, creamy, tutti frutti flavor with a sort of fresh and sparkly aftertaste.
“This tastes like a .. rainbow…”
Circe sipped hers and nodded “I was gonna say falling stars.. wow…”
Jane shook her head “Man you’re burning through money though. Shit’s expensive”.
“… Actually the bartender said they were on the house…”
“Really? .. guess he’s a total sap then. Those things cost around 200 creds a pop.”
I raised my eyebrow again and sipped my drink “So he wasn’t kidding.”
Circe gave me a puzzled look “What?”
I patiently said “One cred is worth 2€, do the math, that’s a lot per drink.”
Circe sighed “Always with the luck Fairy, always with the damn luck…”
“These are great though.. fucking hell….” I emptied half my glass in one go and felt it kick hard.
Jane patted my cheek “Hey there tiger.. take it easy or it’s gonna knock you on your ass.”
From a set of double doors a tall and slender woman appeared, she gracefully veered over towards our table with purpose in her steps. She was dressed in what looked like a normal shirt with some slightly baggy workers pants, her most striking feature was her very long auburn hair and eyes which shone with a green, almost fluorescent intensity.
She leaned forward a bit as she spoke “So.. there was someone here to see me?”
I smiled at her “Yes. .. I know this is your place, but .. please.. come join us please.”
She nodded and sat down on the opposite side of the table and I noticed that she had long, sleek leather boots almost going up to her knees.
“This might seem really silly, but .. alright here goes. I had a dream about this place and about you.” I told her, gauging her reaction, I continued “In the dream, I saw you in front of a cross and you were wearing a very brilliant white dress. You smiled at me and I knew you had a place called the afterlife. I’m sorry if this sounds like complete bullshit to you, but that’s why I came here.”
She tilted her a head a bit and then gave me a serious look and put her hand on the table.
“Do you believe in fate?”
“No, I really don’t.. but .. I’ve… seen things.”
“And you?” she said, looking at Circe who shrugged back.
“I believe in the sword.”
“I saw that when you came in.” She turned to Jane “And I already know what you believe in.. hunter.”
“Yah.” Jane snapped back, her face molded into a stony mask.
She returned her gaze to me “Take my hand.” she offered as she looked at me intently.
As I gently took her hand, she firmly grasped mine, I uneasily said “Alright….” with a questioning glance at her.
“Yes.. yes… fate.” she said, as if almost tasting the word. “You’ve also died once. Like I did. And you saw things?”
“I didn’t see things, but it opened my eyes yes.”
“Yes, money doesn’t mean much to you does it?”
“It’s .. useful.”
Jane took a swig of her beer and chuckled “I like my money.”
The woman ignored Jane and looked at me even more intently as if making a decision on the spot.
“Yes, I think you’re the right person.”
“I’m dying. I’ve been looking for someone to take over this place after I’m gone.”
Inwardly I reminded myself that I should be careful what I wish for.
“No, nope, fuck no, not like this.”
I froze the world around me and stood up as Circe and Jane both gave me a look of “what the fuck is he going to do now?”
“You hear me world? You’re NOT going to fucking get me a bar by having the person who made it DIE alright? NO, just FUCK NO!” I sat back down and growled out “Sarah, cancel my cheated funds.”
From all around us, an ethereal voice rang out “Funds removed.”
I unfroze the world and turned to the woman.
“So, you’re dying huh? May I at least ask you for your name?”
The woman seemed a bit surprised at first and then answered “My name..? I’m Sandy.”
I nodded, feeling chills coming down my back IRL. “I’m Fairy, this is Circe and this hunter is Jane.”
“Hmm, Fairy.. an unfamiliar name, it doesn’t… resonate with anything.”
“OK, let’s get to the heart of the matter here Sandy, why are you dying? If I may ask?”
She gave us all a wistful smile “I was young and reckless too many times.”
“What does that mean exactly?”
“It means that when you work with certain high risk substances, sometimes they work you over if you’re not careful.”
“… How long?”
Sandy shrugged and tried to sound casual “Depends on fast they work, but a few months at best.”
When the silence hung over the table, she continued “I used to work a disassembly plant, the stuff they use there is made to eat through stuff quickly. Break it down.”
“And you got some on you?”
“No, I just didn’t wear my mask enough times.”
“Is there any cure for whatever it is that you’ve got in your body?”
“Yes, but .. I couldn’t afford it. And even now, it’s a crap shoot whether it’d work or not.”
She stared down into the table and her face hardened a bit.
“I’m not going to give you false hope here, but I wanna use my friends here to try and help you.” I said carefully.
“Don’t bother, I’ve made my peace with death. I just want this place to remain a beacon as it’s been for so long now.”
She nodded “Let’s get to know each other a bit better before I tell you the whole thing.”
Circe took the opportunity to fish out the small chip and put it on the table for all to see.
“So, does this mean anything to you?”
Sandy picked up the small metallic object, studied it, flipped it over and then studied it from the other side and then put it down again.
“Who gave you this?”
“The bouncer. He told me I’d ‘been seen’, whatever that means.”
“I see, you’re quite interesting people then.”
I sighed “As much as I’d love to stay and talk all night with you Sandy, I’m afraid that we’re all getting up early tomorrow for our jobs.”
She nodded “Yes, I understand. You, you hold on to this, it’ll give you luck.”
She pushed the square towards Circe who picked it up and stuffed it down her bra again.
“Luck how? What’s this about?” she asked Sandy.
She smiled at both of us and then looked at me “You love her very much don’t you?”
“More than you’ll ever know.”
Her smile grew wistful as she pushed some of her hair out of the way.
“I knew a guy like that once.. oh .. another lifetime ago.” She seemed lost in her memories before she got back up on her feet. “Later then.”
We also got up from our table and straightened ourselves out a bit.
Sandy leaned forward towards me “And one final piece of advice for you dreamer… when you dream, be careful whose house you visit. I saw you too in your other clothes….”
Then she turned around and started heading for the stairs towards the second floor.
“What?” Circe said, looking towards her and back to me. “What did I miss?”
I sighed “I hate my subconscious, I really hate it.”
Jane stretched a bit and grinned “She’s a weirdo. Probably one of those spiritual types, don’t mind her C. She’s just bullshitting, like they all do.”
“I guess it’s time to leave though.” I said, being mindful of the time.
Jane made a gesture towards our drinks “At least finish your drink… those are worth a small fortune ya know?”
Both me and Circe got our drinks and clinked glasses before emptying them, the taste was somehow even better this time around. (I later on re-created this drink IRL). As we both put down our glasses, I felt a wave of warmth wash over me.
“Oooh man.. “
Jane leered at both of us “Hahah you’re in for it now kids…”
Circe gave me a lust-filled smile as she licked her lips with relish “Oh yes… definitely…”
We wasted no time heading out, as we passed the bouncer, Circe’s eyes immediately went to her sword, as if sensing her doubt, the bouncer gravely said “It has not been touched.”
Circe gave him a small bow “That means a lot to me. Thank you.”
“To get between a warrior and their weapon is a foolish thing.”
I turned to Jane “So….” but I was interrupted by a havac swooping down “Our ride?”
“Figured you two would need it sooner rather than later.”
Both me and Circe got into the plush interior, which was somehow even softer and more luxurious than the last one. Jane stayed outside and grinned like devil as she waved at us comically as the door closed.
As the havac started taking off, the sounds from the engines soon got quieter and soft music began to play inside of the cabin.
“What.. the fuck?” I said, more out of surprise than anything else.
Circe smiled “She’s always up to something isn’t she?”
I looked at Circe and nodded breathlessly, lust was now definitely making itself known as a factor in the equation. I took a deep breath which only seemed to make it worse.
Circe cut me off by leaning over and kissing me passionately and for a moment, that was all I felt. She stopped and gave me a look that made it all too clear what she had on her mind.
“We need to do this now… “
And with that, I’ll just say that we definitely enjoyed the rest of our trip back to the entrance of City 08. However, this adventure was far from over since this was the first introduction to the bar known as “The Afterlife”
If you have any questions of comments, we’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading and see you in about two weeks for the next part of this adventure that’s entitled “Kicking It High In The Afterlife”.