You should have known that 100,000 nuyen to walk away was too good of a deal to be true. Things went sideways, and you’re still stuck with this commlink. You can’t just ditch it out the window and let the corps and the crusaders fight it out. Even if you dropped it in a dumpster, no one would believe you’d done so. They’ll keep coming for it until they know that they, or one of their rivals, has their hands on it. Zuma’s people may well keep coming until they’re sure they’ve eradicated every single copy of the data, or until it’s a moot point. At this point, the thing is such a giant bullseye that you’d practically pay to offload it, but you should get some nuyen for your trouble. Sell out while the selling’s good. But to who?
Bringing up your commlink’s AR display, all except Roy see that you have a message pending.
“God Damn it! The commlinks are racist now.” Roy mutters.
A Premier Call
Your commlink chirps, and you see you have an incoming call from an unfamiliar number. Answering it, you see a woman of German heritage. Her brown hair is feathered with dark red highlights, and she wears a Mortimer of London longcoat. You recognize her immediately as Helen Zille, the Premiere of Western Cape.
“Hi, I’m glad you’re still alive! Okay, maybe not the best way to start a conversation, but I really am! I understand that Seth Dietrich’s commlink found its way into your possession. If you didn’t know, I think that Dietrich has the dirt on Jacob Zuma that we need so we can see that pig hang once and for all. The DA is willing to pay a lot to get our hands on that data. Even better than the money, though, the DA would owe you a big favor, and so would I.”
Making the World a Safer Place
Two vidmails are left on your commlink. The first has the telecom code of Zach. “Hey listen Grace, a contact of mine from Ares reached out to me, I forwarded them your comm number.”
As for the second vidmail that has been left on your commlink; the telecom code is from the Ares Macrotechnology headquarters in downtown Johannesburg, so it’s either Ares or someone going to great expense to look like them. The speaker is a dark-haired human woman, with severe features and a bearing that is clearly military or ex-military. She looks displeased, but is attempting not to scowl too intensely. The Ares logo is partially visible behind her on a very expensive looking wall.
“This is Karen King, Executive VP with Ares South Africa. I want to apologize for the actions of some overzealous mob assholes who thought they were advancing our interests. They weren’t, and their error will be corrected. Now, allow me to make it up to you. As you no doubt know by now, you have some information in your possession that’s valuable to me. I’m willing to pay a finder’s fee of 225,000 nuyen if the information is delivered to us—and only to us—in a timely fashion. Please get back to me soon; my personal secretary can be reached at #9206 (78-4730).”
Maneki Neko Waves Your Way
A voice-only message is recorded on your ‘link’s voicemail. The speaker has a noticeable Japanese accent,
but an excellent mastery of English, fluent and idiomatic, not chipped. “Greetings; I do not know you, nor do you know me, but I have a business proposition for you. Ordinarily I deal with individuals of your stature through a series of intermediaries, but my intermediaries have disappointed me, and time is of the essence.”
For someone who says time is of the essence, he sure does like to drag things out. He goes on talking at length, and you worry he’s going to hit the message length cutoff before getting to the point.
“Recently a document may have surfaced concerning the competence of a high-ranking political official in South Africa’s government. Specifically a document that directly ties that individual, whom I will not name, to high-level corruption and criminal dealings. Surely it is in everyone’s best interest to see such an individual replaced with all due haste. In the interest of achieving such a desirable outcome, the people I represent—hardly a secret, but it would be vulgar and inappropriate to name them—would be willing to
make a generous donation in the interest of bringing this information to light. A donation in the vicinity of 200,000 nuyen. If you believe you could help with this public service, you should contact LTG #9201 (31 7683) at your earliest convenience. Aragato gozaimasu.”
From The Shadows
The picture-in-picture cutout of the incoming vidcall in your AR display holds the face of a male, african human in its frame. In his mid-40s, he has a bland, forgettable face, black dreads, and bluesilver cybereyes. You can make out the collar of an armored jacket in the lower portion of the image.
“The name’s Zane,” he says, speaking in short, clipped, efficient sentences. “I’m a shadowrunner, just like you. It’s not important who I represent, and I’m sure you understand I won’t divulge that data. What is important is that I want to make an offer on that hot commlink you’ve been hauling around. I think you’re going to like what I have to say, because it is—” he allows the slight hint of a smile to show”— a nice chunk of change I’m offering. Call me back on this commcode; you have my word as a pro there won’t be any bullshit.”