After I went my separate ways from the rest of the team for our 10-ish hours of preparation, I remember being pissed. Incredibly pissed. It wasn’t like I couldn’t do without my Reaper or even my Carbine, but it was my strong point, y’know? Played to my strengths quite capably. Besides, I liked my Reaper. Nothing made me feel stronger than it did. That goddamn Emir. If his lackey didn’t dwarf me, and his bastard-ness himself wasn’t paying me very handsomely to do this right, I would’ve just dropped that Sobranni and looked for a head-hunt job.
So, I dug around. I needed a solid pair of guns, so I dug. It didn’t take anywhere near as much… well… “work” as I thought it would. I only had to break one guy’s hand to know who I needed to look for. Some guy called Stick who lived close to the border of Cargo Town. Didn’t wonder why he was called “Stick”. Figured it was just some back-alley nickname. All I thought was that if he swindled me, I’d have to stick it to his dip-shit ass, and hunt for someone else.
I knocked on the door of his shack of a house. I had knocked three more times when the door was answered by a small boy. He looked bi-racial, but that could have been the dirt. He was covered head to toe in it, and his jeans looked like they were woven from mud. “Si?” He said in a cheerful high pitched tweet, confirming my bi-racial suspicion.
I stared at him with a little concern before deciding to just handle my business. “Uh… Stick here?” I said, trying to convince myself not to shoot the person responsible for the boy’s grubbiness.
Before he could answer, the skinniest man I had ever seen, even in the Mexican war-zone slums, had just stepped up behind the kid. He began to loudly scold the child in Spanglish. “What did I tell you about answering the door?! Nevermind, just get yo’ happy-ass in the bath! You look like a fuckin’ mess.” He said, in the best I could translate. The boy bounced off into the dark of the house, seemingly unfazed by the scolding.
“You sell-” I began, but was instantly cut off by him.
“Yeah-yeah-yeah come in, Tonto. Scott told me you were comin’. And told me to kick you in the rocks for breaking his hand.” He growled. He sounded like he had been smoking since he was five. He looked like he was about 60, but I couldn’t tell if that were old age or if he just looked like shit from drug abuse. His goatee had a bald spot in the mustache that I could bet was the side that he smoked from. All the guy was wearing was a wife-beater, pair of shorts, and a ball-cap.
I followed him through his shack of a house and immediately noticed bits that didn’t add up. The floors and the wallpaper were faded and worn, but the security panel at the doorway screamed top-line, making me shiver at the idea of me being stupid enough to try to barge in. The furniture and tables were dime-store plywood at best, while the TV and kitchen stuff were last year’s models at the worst. But the lack of vermin running around in this weird little house, especially because most of the houses in this area were loaded with roaches to say the least, was actually the most concerning to me.
What was this junkie? Some upper prole with a zoner pose? Either way, being born in a zone myself, I was neither impressed nor amused.
He lead me out back to a rusted Ford F-150. It had no wheels and wasn’t even on cinder blocks, just stuck on the ground.
“Neat.” I growl. “You keep your guns in a busted truck?”
“Shut up for a second, will ya?” He rasps, as he lights a cigarette before yanking on the hood of the truck. With a creak of grinding metal, the entire front blooms open, revealing stairs leading underground. “Got the idea from an old movie.”
“Neat.” I repeat, this time without sarcasm, as I followed him into the concrete tunnel.
Stick walks down the tunnel, the tunnel lighting itself as he walks through. “Whatcha lookin’ for? Pistols? Rifles? Ammo? Kick in the ass?” He rasps, pointing to the prospective firearms mounted on the walls.
“Pistols. Pair of them. Any MAUL Pacifiers?” I grated, admittedly very hopeful.
“Naw,” He gurgles, puffing out a cloud of smoke as he speaks. “Sold my last pair to a gringo a lot like you yesterday.”
“Know when you’ll get more?” I ask, still hopeful.
“Naw,” He gurgles again. " I’ve got one more that I’m modifying myself right now. Wanting it to use clips, rather than a fuckin’ revolver, see? If I can get that to work, you’ll be the first to know, huh?" He rasps, as he pulls down a pair of pistols second to the top of the rack. “’Ere.”
He handed them out to me with ridged hands that gave off the almost imperceptible whir of cyberware. Little wonder that a guy this thin could only move by cyberware.
“Armatech Urban-Fox 3 Ultraheavy Pistol, 12.5mm. Packs as much of a punch as an Aries, just no APHEX. Remember to program yourself into that, or those things won’t do dick for ya.”
I weigh them in my hands, quietly impressed. “How much?” I ask, testing the aim as I do so.
“$1,400. $2,800 for the both of them. Market price. I say, this time for market price, but next time it’s gonna cost more.” He says, punctuating his sentence with another drag from his cigarette.
“Deal.” I grate, racking the slide, before lighting a cigarette of my own.