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May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

Ice Phisherman posted:

I was hoping someone would notice that.

I'd be more surprised that someone didn't at this point


Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Pretty Pink and Min Yun – Sunday, July 28th, 2075 – Evening –Downtown Seattle

In a greasy spoon diner in the shadow of the ACHE, Saanvi sat waited nervously. Just in case, she’d set up some failsafes in case she was kidnapped. A girl couldn’t be too careful, though she didn’t tell Kenji about that part though and likely never would.

She drank soykaf and ordered a pancake while she waited at the booth in the back. At the appointed time, a small woman in a grey hoodie strode in and past a tired looking hostess to Saanvi’s table, and she pushed her hoodie back. The woman she saw was of East Asian descent and had a sort of timeless look that to Saanvi’s eyes put her somewhere between eighteen and forty-five. She had a round face, delicate nose and lips, short, straight black hair and hard, brown eyes that evaluated her surroundings carefully. What she noticed most of all was the woman's smell. She reeked of a trash fire and it was all Saanvi could do to contain her revulsion to keep from offending the woman.

“You the talent?” asked the woman.

Saanvi nodded silently and the woman slipped into the booth.

“I do not talk much,” said the woman, “My English is only fair. If you do not understand me then say so. If I do not understand you, I will say so.”

“I understand,” said Saanvi, quietly.

"Good, know why here?" asked the woman.

Saanvi had the feeling that if she answered incorrectly this would be over as quickly as it began. So she kept her response simple and discreet.

"It's about running," said Saanvi, slowly.

“Good,” said the woman, who nodded, “Delvers on teams don’t have shadowrunner names. Delvers not normal shadowrunner. Little need of secret in the ACHE because easy disappear. We call by our positions on a team or our names if they are trusted. Normally don't care in ACHE, but this is outside. Makes cautious. Until I trust you, you call me Shaman.”

“I understand, Shaman,” said Saanvi.

“Good that understand. Your name?” asked Shaman.

She thought about what she should use for her name. She’d given this some thought and researched names for shadowrunners, though only through movies she’d watched over the years. Those movies leaned heavily on tropes like burning chrome, running mascara, pink mohawks and spells that could level buildings in ways that were not possible in real life. As an EOD, there was a term for someone who’d been so thoroughly blown up that matched the shadowrunner aesthetic. That term was pretty pink mist, which she’d shortened.

“Call me Pretty Pink,” said Pretty Pink.

Shaman pulled out a battered, old white noise generator that was about the size of a pack of gum and flicked it on. The noises of the greasy spoon diner disappeared.

“Good enough,” said Shaman, “One of fixers recommended you along with Dog if dreams are to be believed. If fixer recommended you on own never would have met you. His methods seem strange unless know he is new to Dog. Clumsy. Still, first steps with Dog always clumsy. Is good. I am proud. Dog powerful over emotions for a time. Makes mistakes. I watch over him. Understand so far?”

“I think so,” said Pretty Pink.

“Good,” said Shaman, “What do you do? Why consider you for team?”

Saanvi bit beat back her doubt and sense of worthlessness. She knew what she could do and used that to prop up her self-esteem. After all been through boot camp and advanced individual training for almost a year and a half. She was useful and that was what helped her through most days.

“I’m an explosives expert and good with a rifle,” said Pretty Pink, “Not long rifles, select-fire only. Oh, and pistols too.”

“Ex-military?” asked Shaman.

“Something like that,” said Pretty Pink.

“Good, I work with ex-military before. I like,” she said, stopped and searched for a word, “Professionalism, yes. Hard to find. Not always professionals, ex-military, but more often than not. Bomb maker highly sought after though. Much money if good. Not on this job though. Fixer do not want deaths. Do not know why, but I like Fixer. Pack.”

“Pack?” asked Pretty Pink.

Shaman hesitated before speaking, opening and closing her mouth several times.

“Does not translate well,” she finally said, “Even in own language. Seen combat?”

“No,” Pretty Pink admitted.

Shaman wrinkled her nose as Pretty Pink took a nervous sip of her soykaf.

“At least you admit,” said Shaman, warily, “Many boast. Fixer mention you not have own gear. Is true?”

“Yes,” Saanvi admitted.

“I can provide,” said Shaman, “You know Kalash?”

“An AK?” asked Pretty Pink, “The 97’s or the 98’s?”

“97’s,” said Shaman, “No grenade launcher attachment like the 98’s. Bad for enclosed spaces.”

“Yeah, they are. Okay, the 97’s. The barrel climbs like a motherfucker and it’s heavy enough that even without the drat ammo that it’s more like carrying a piece of furniture than a gun,” swore Pretty Pink, “I’m more familiar with the Ares Alpha, but I’ve fired an AK before, yeah.”

Shaman barked out a sudden laugh and nodded.

“Yes, old but good. Never fails,” said Shaman, “Pistol. Ares Predator? Have some. Many sell them. We have too many.”

Pretty Pink nodded and Shaman wrinkled her petite nose at the mention of Ares.

“They have supply contracts with everyone,” said Pretty Pink, “It’s hard not to use Ares weapons.”

This smoothed the wrinkle and she nodded.

“Good. Armor? Grenades?” asked Shaman.

“Yes,” said Pretty Pink.

“Have flashbangs and smoke. Have others too, but non-lethal job, or at least try. Bad if we use frags when pack member ask no. You can rent weapons and armor. Buy after job if want,” said Shaman, “Rent costs twenty percent of take. Will waive ten percent if buy afterwards.”

“Sounds fair,” said Pretty Pink, “I’ll look at the gear afterwards and see if it’s worth it.”

Shaman raised a delicate eyebrow.

“No bargaining?” asked Shaman, “Why?”

This spiked Pretty Pink’s anxiety. She’d made a small mistake. As she thought about what that mistake had been, she realized that shadowruns were ultimately jobs, or at least that’s what they were portrayed as in the movies. However, there were other types shadowrunners from what she’d seen in the movies. They were the types with a cause.

“You know that bombing a week ago?” asked Pretty Pink, quietly, “I knew someone in it.”

Shaman stayed still for a few moments, but her face remained carefully impassive. No, Pretty Pink realized. Her eyes went out of focus. She knew awakened and if she were a shaman like she said she was, she was probably reading her aura.

“Know I’m reading you,” said Shaman, appreciatively, “Nice. Not good at it. ACHE bad place for practice. Personal motive means more serious. No kill mission though.”

“You said that before. Really no?” asked Pretty Pink, a mix of disappointed and relieved.

“No,” confirmed Shaman, “We steal, we embarrass. Still do damage though. Ammo…Less than kill. Stick and shock rounds. Expensive, but other fixer has many. Wants them gone. Take up space. If makes feel better, gang is weak. Weakness not tolerated. Gang wars. Will be wiped out if made to look weak. Also less than kill doesn’t mean leave alive. Prefer alive, dead happens, yes? Maybe get lucky.”

“Maybe, yeah,” Pretty Pink growled, “Dead happens sometimes.”

“Good feeling about you,” said Shaman, “Low pay run, but we do…Ah…Legwork think is called. Lowers risk. Small team needs low risk. I am magical help. Spells and spirits. Good with pistol. When are you free?”

“Most nights after 1800 hours,” said Pretty Pink, “Have to be back before 0500.”

Shaman slid her a burner commlink.

“Be in touch, Pretty Pink,” said Shaman, “Might be short notice. Two others on team. Meet them later.”

Without another word, the woman that Pretty Pink only knew as Shaman turned off her white noise generator, flipped up her hood and walked out of the diner just as Pretty Pink's late night pancake came to her.

Kenji and Saanvi – Saturday, August 3rd, 2075 – Late morning – Downtown Seattle

"Sounds like she likes you," said Kenji

"Really?" asked Saanvi, "She seemed ambivalent."

"That's about as good as it gets," said Kenji, "If she invites you to play cards and doesn't cheat, that's when you know she likes you."

They continued to wend their way down the path, though the noises of the park and the city in general were canceled by the white noise generator.

"Pretty Pink huh?" asked Kenji, "I like it. It sounds like one of the old runner names."

"Gentoo called it uh..." began Saanvi, who thought about it, "Very glam rock."

"What did you think about him?" asked Kenji.

Saanvi thought about it and there was that happy smile again. Not just a tugging at the corners, but a real smile. She was so free with them right now and he loved that.

"Nice guy, sweet, a little scary, wears black and white and smells like uncooked seafood," said Saanvi.

Kenji laughed and nodded.

"Yep, that's him," said Kenji, "Keep going?"

"Right, okay," said Saanvi, "I met him and Octo an hour before go time. They picked me up."


Min Yun rolls her intuition 4 + English 2 skill and gets 4 hits. It seems like she’s good at business English. That is her limit for etiquette, which is pretty high.

Saanvi again crushes an etiquette roll with 7(!) hits and Min Yun gets 4. No crit, but Saanvi impresses Min Yun.

Saanvi has 6 intuition and 6 in the pop culture knowledge skill. Shadowrunners have been in movies for years, though many people think they don’t exist and are just a media fiction. Saanvi is able to keep from looking like a total idiot by saying little when she rolls a 3 on pop culture.

Saanvi rolls 6 intuition + 6 perception and gets 6 hits. She notices Min Yun check her aura after Saanvi mentions having someone important to her in the bombing. This is true, because Krupa went there. She wasn’t caught in the blast, but bad stuff could have happened to her anyway. Min Yun doesn’t have much need for the assensing skill because opening up to the astral in the ACHE could potentially kill or drive her insane. She has 5 dice and only needs 1 hit, which is what she gets. Min yun is able to see that Saanvi believes what she’s saying. Saanvi wasn’t chasing money. She’s chasing revenge.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Oct 22, 2018 around 08:37

Oct 21, 2010

Pretty Pink?

May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here

Every post makes me love her more

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Pretty Pink, Min Yun, Gentoo and Octo – Wednesday, July 31st, 2075 – Past Midnight –Downtown Seattle

“Get to the meeting place – Shaman” read the text.

Roused out of her sleep after a long and boring day of training how to act around foreign dignitaries with Gilbrand, she'd almost missed the text on the burner commlink she’d gotten from Shaman. For a horrified moment in those seconds before she truly woke up, she thought her mother had called again to berate her and call her a whore again or whatever made up nonsense existed in her head about what Saanvi was up to. Sadly, that used to be normal. Her mother had often called her in the middle of the night while working late since before Saanvi’s then child self had been old enough to know what her mother’s insults meant. Like most things in life, Saanvi had been a quick learner.

However, Scrapper was the one who handled those sorts of calls now that Saanvi was no longer protected by being in the military. He was a great robot and a good friend. Again, Saanvi left this part out. Kenji would be meeting Scrapper soon enough and she didn’t want to take time to explain just how weird she was right now.

In three minutes from when she received the text she was ready to go. The Tir Peace Force didn’t allow for anything less than speed. Those habits were hard to break and she only spent ten seconds Scrapper to give him some love before she left. She gave the “retired” bomb defusal robot him a warm kiss on his camera eye before she left him behind.

“Have fun, Saanvi!” called Scrapper’s excitable, tinny voice.

“I’ll try,” she said, but paused, “Oh, just in case. Don’t run brainworms.exe if my parents call. Let it go to voicemail.”

“Will do!” he said, happily.

Saanvi waved and Scrapper waved back with his pincer manipulator before she left the apartment.

Saanvi left her commlink behind and paid the taxi driver extra not to ask questions about who she was. It was a short hop. It was only three miles until she reached an underpass. Again, she’d documented where she was going, the number of the commlink and a number of other factors for a dead man’s drop that would help make sense of her disappearance if she did indeed disappear. If she didn’t turn on her commlink before Thursday, the consulate would get a text. Again she didn’t tell Kenji about this. She felt guilty, but it was hard to trust anyone besides Krupa after being burned so many times. So as she was dropped below the I-5 in in a sketchy part of town, she kept her Taser close.

“You going to be all right, miss?” asked the cabbie.

“It’s fine,” said Saanvi, “Drive away.”

Reluctantly the driver took off. Saanvi took the burner commlink in hand.

“I’m here,” she texted.

A van rolled up and she was thoroughly creeped out, but before she could leave a door opened and she saw Shaman. She jumped out and handed Saanvi a heavy black duffel bag.

“Open it,” said Shaman.

Reluctantly she unzipped it. Inside was an ancient, battered AK-97, a scuffed armored jacket, two grenade pouches complete with flashbangs and a ballistic mask which had been carefully spray-painted pink. In the darkness of the city, she saw Shaman roll her eyes.

“Gentoo’s idea. Put you at ease. New people nervous sometimes,” said Shaman.

Pretty Pink searched through the duffel and found the Ares Predator V heavy pistol which she’d become familiar with in boot camp. Since it was a backup weapon, she found one magazine of stick and shock ammo and one full of regular rounds which she identified by looking at the tops of the magazines. She pointed to the regular rounds.

"I want to make sure this isn't a prop," said Saanvi.

Shaman raised an eyebrow, but said nothing beyond a shrug. Pretty Pink changed the safety from on to off. She kept the gun pointed down at the ground and away from the shadowrunner. Shaman seemed to have an idea of what she wanted and pointed to some graffiti on a far wall. Pretty Pink raised the pistol at the wall, fell into a stance, squeezed the trigger, the gun roared, there was a shock that ran up her arms that shook her teeth and she felt a thrill as the far concrete wall had a new gunshot hole.

“Holy poo poo, this is real,” she whispered, as she lowered her weapon, the barrel smoking ever so slightly.

“You good?” asked Shaman.

“Hell yeah. Better than good,” said Saanvi, “I’m great.”

She switched the safety from off to back on again and put the gun in the duffel. Saanvi hadn’t fired a weapon in months. Gilbrand didn’t trust her with them, but it seems like Pretty Pink was trusted enough with a loaded weapon. She got into the van, ready and eager to kick some rear end. Saanvi was definitely better than good. She was Pretty Pink.

“Sup newbie? Firing your weapon indiscriminately already? We’ll make a shadowrunner out of you yet,” joked the driver. “I spray-painted your ballistic mask pink as a housewarming gift. I’m Gentoo by the way.”

Pretty Pink got a look at him. He was a chubby elf with brown, slightly frizzy hair with average features beyond his bulk. He wore stark black clothing with a white t-shirt in the middle. However, what he lacked in distinguishing features he made up for in smell. Despite his features, he seemed to ooze a kind of greasy charisma. He also oozed seal grease, though Pretty Pink didn't know this at the time. The trash smell that clung to Shaman was added to by the scent of some sort of fish smell that wafted from the shadowrunner. Thankfully, he rolled down a window and she leaned against it to grab the slightly fresher air of downtown Seattle.

“You mean like the penguin?” asked Pretty Pink.

Gentoo hit the gas while Pretty Pink struggled to put on her seatbelt.

“Someone finally gets it without being told!” exclaimed Gentoo, “I’m suddenly glad I went the extra mile with your mask. I got a good feeling about tonight. Low pay, but it’s a feel good job. I wish I could waste these Human Nation fucks. I like Ken-kun so I'll put in the minimum, but if someone catches a sudden case of the death I won’t be crying.”

Pretty Pink remembered herself seconds later as they drove past a stuffer shack and a few houses.

“Wait, this is a residential area?” she asked, “Will the Pea…Police show up?”

She caught herself before she said Peace Force, which was Tir’s military and police force in one. That may have caused problems.

“Nah, Knight-Errant is putting out some real fires,” said a disembodied voice through the van’s speakers, “No one cares about stray gunshots. Hi newbie. Sorry that I don’t know your name. I’ve been doing sixteen hour shifts on legwork for three days. I got sucked in against my better judgement but it's just so fun messing around under their decker's nose. Their local computer wiz thinks HeilHitler is a safe password and no I'm not joking. Not only is he a poo poo decker, but he's been trying for this girl who is way out of his league and he's been bemoaning just how unfuckable he is on forums posts to other unfuckables who think they deserve sex on demand. He's a laugh riot. Meanwhile I’ve been finding paydata and felonies for the past few days as I copy the data of every single commlink that enters the clubhouse. A few thought it was smart to record some murders. I’m Octo by the way.”

The voice sounded playful, but the unisex voice turned bitter near the end. Since Saanvi was wearing smart contacts, an augmented reality cartoon octopus flew through the air in front of her. It carried an old style cyberdeck on its back.

There was a moment of silence as the group took in the idea of murder selfies. After all, Human Nation required a murder of a metahuman and it was no secret, but it briefly set a somber mood in the van.

“I’m S…Pretty Pink,” said Pretty Pink, almost dropping her name by accident, "Also by the way."

Again a pause and Pretty Pink quietly berated herself for being the first to speak.

“Very glam rock,” said Gentoo, after a long pause, “I like it.”

Gentoo's remark was like a breath of fresh air.

“Please ignore Gentoo if he flirts,” said Octo, mockingly, “Sea creatures love to warn the newbies. He’s already got two pregnant Asian girlfriends whose stage names are Yin and Yang like he’s some sort of horrible stereotype."

"Sea creatures?" asked Pretty Pink.

"Octo thinks he's an octopus," said Gentoo.

"Oh," said Pretty Pink.

"The most noble of creatures, the octopus," said Octo, piously, "You’re still a dumbass by the way, Gentoo. Don't change the subject. You're not getting away from this conversation before you get ruthlessly mocked for knocking up hooker sisters.”

“Stupid,” grunted Shaman.

“Hey, they like me!” said Gentoo, his tone offended.

“Con…Congratulations?” said Pretty Pink, more confused and questioning than she wanted to sound.

“Thank you!” exclaimed Gentoo, his tone full of vindication, “At least someone appreciates me! Hey, if I buy it, she gets my share.”

The father to be took a turn onto an on-ramp and headed south on the I-5 towards Tacoma.

“Oh, not your hooker sisters? No wonder they don’t like you!” countered Octo, “I’ve been telling you for six months now! They’re just living with you for free room and board!”

“Right, scratch that, they get it. Sorry Pretty Pink,” said Gentoo, though his confidence didn’t sound shaken at all, “Anyway, Octo, you just don’t get it. They’re into me. We’re soul mates, the three of us.”

“You are all of the stereotypes!” exclaimed Octo.

"Oh yeah? And what kind of stereotype is that?" asked Gentoo, completely unflappable.

"The kind that knocks up hooker sisters, apparently!" challenged the resident matrix octopus.

Shaman grumbled something in what Pretty Pink thought was Chinese, but Pretty Pink wasn’t sure. She suddenly realized that this was nothing like the movies. There was no burning chrome, no running mascara, no magic strong enough to blow up buildings, no pink mohawks - Just three shadowrunners and herself.

But what struck her most of all was that in the movies there was no petty bickering. These were people, not action heroes.

Kenji and Saanvi – Saturday, August 3rd, 2075 – Late morning – Downtown Seattle

Kenji was laughing so hard he was crying. He didn't miss shadowrunning, but he did miss moments like the ones that Saanvi just described. He missed the banter before a job and the elation of success. What Kenji missed was sharing moments like what Saanvi described with his friends.

"Holy poo poo he is so stupid," Kenji said between breaths, "They're probably not even his."

"Really?" asked Saanvi.

Kenji continued to laugh for a while and he shook his head.

"Probably not," said Kenji, who ended his laughing fit with a sigh, "I've been warning him but he's not too bright when it comes to women. Li and Vi, who were Yin and Yang when he first met him, well they hate each other. They just wanted a way out of the ACHE. I keep telling him and he keeps not listening. Maybe he doesn't care though. I don't know if he's in on what's happening or completely oblivious."

Kenji passed a reasonably dry park bench and stopped.

"Mind if we sit down for a bit?" he asked, "I want to put the groceries down."

"Sure," she said.

Kenji took a seat and put his groceries down next to him. As he tried to remove his jacket to put over her side, Kenji's noble gesture was foiled as she sat on his lap.

"Now where was I?" she mused, as she leaned against him.

"Walking before. Now you're on my lap," said Kenji.

"Complaints?" she asked.

Kenji checked with himself and found none. She wrapped an arm around him to steady herself so he in turn wrapped an arm around her waist.

"Not a one," he said, "In fact I rather like it."

She ran a hand through his hair and smirked at him as he felt the electric feeling of her fingers once again. When she smirked, it wasn't the small smile that tugged at one corner, but a real smirk.

"Good boy," she said.

"Don't tease the Dog shaman, we bite," snarked Kenji.

Saanvi winked at him and then cleared her throat. He squeezed her side and she squirmed. Then she took a breath to steady herself and took a swig of the orange juice. Telling stories was thirsty work.

"So anyway, since I'm not particularly stealthy, Shaman scouted the house in the astral and gave us a headcount. Octo killed their commlinks and let us know what to grab and where. Gentoo and I were about to kick down the door," Saanvi said, as she continued the story.


Saanvi gets Gentoo’s name with a 5 logic -1 default knowledge check and gets 3 hits. She’s just rolling crazy high lately. Gentoo is pleased that she gets his handle without being told. It colors the scene with some flavor.

I roll another etiquette test to see how the flirting goes. Kenji rolls slightly higher with a 3 compared to her 2.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Oct 22, 2018 around 19:24

The Sandman
Jun 23, 2013


So, I've, like, designed a really sweet attack plan that I'm calling Attack Plan Ded Moroz, like "Deadmau5!"


Wouldn't surprise me if Gentoo is fully aware of the situation with his "girlfriends" and just a) doesn't care and b) thinks it's funny to make it seem like he's oblivious.

Can't wait for Fuzzy and Sasha to eventually meet Saanvi. I think they'll like her.

Dec 31, 2002

Ice Phisherman posted:

The music that piped through was soothing to the senses, pleasant and bland, like some sort of sugary audio gruel. The smell of strawberries and fresh cookies filled the store which only made him even hungrier, which was the point as hungry people spend more money. As he shopped he found the source of the cookie smell and it was a smiling young man stood behind a glass counter where he was baking cookies. The baking cookies were on display behind heatproof glass and a harried looking woman had to pull her child away from pressing his nose against it since the baking cookies were at the height of an average child, which was the point as the children would want cookies. He was trying to drag the woman like an anchor back towards the cookies as she tried to quickly pass by.

“Mom, I want a cookie,” said the child.

“It’s too early,” she said, “Maybe next time.”

The child took a big breath and held it so quickly Kenji knew that he'd done it before. She sighed heavily and let him know that it wasn't going to work this time. Kenji quickly bought a cookie and left before he witnessed the child further emotionally blackmail his mother with the threat of passing out.

Just catching up again, have yet to read yesterday's post. Just wanted to point out that you could do without the heavy handed exposition of capitalism here.

Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.

Volmarias posted:

Just catching up again, have yet to read yesterday's post. Just wanted to point out that you could do without the heavy handed exposition of capitalism here.

But then how would we know it's cyberpunk?

Jul 15, 2009

Falcon Punch!

jagadaishio posted:

But then how would we know it's cyberpunk?

Yeah, if this was a movie, Ice could show how exploitive the setting in the grocery store was, but in book form, he kind of needs to describe how the future grocery store is worse and more gross, it’s much more cyberpunk this way.

Feb 14, 2013

someone introduce jojo to lazyb

Surprised the ad cab doesn't have (even more) invasive and hooking advertisements, somehow.

Dec 31, 2002

These are things that happen already though, not the distant cyberpunk future. I'm saying that it doesn't need "AND THAT WAS ON PURPOSE BECAUSE MONEY".

Jul 17, 2007

"Hey, where did Steve go?"
Design by Kamoc

Gentoo is 100% on the level and just likes bangin' these ladies.

Octo is trying so hard to internet troll the dude and he simply isn't taking the bait.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Volmarias posted:

Just catching up again, have yet to read yesterday's post. Just wanted to point out that you could do without the heavy handed exposition of capitalism here.

Kind of torn on the explanation. I remember doing papers in college about how stores manipulate people into buying more than what they need.

For example, many stores put candy within reach of children. The checkout isle at the grocery store is an example of this. After all, what adult is going to reach all the way to the ground floor? You must really want those skittles to bend over like that. You know who doesn't have to bend over much? A four year old. They grab it and ask mom if they can have it. However, they will sometimes wait because their parent is busy or will be ignored while their parent is busy.

Human psychology dictates that in about fifteen seconds, the feeling of ownership of an item sets in when someone picks up and holds said item. The faster you get the child to put the item back, the less likely he or she is not going to pitch a fit or that it won't be as bad. However if he or she has held onto it for too long, that feeling of ownership has set in. The child will feel awful because they will feel like not only are they not getting candy, but they will have an irrational feeling that they are having what is theirs stolen from them. They may not be able to understand or vocalize that feeling, but that feeling of pain is real. Checkout lines take a while to pass through and the longer you're in that line, the longer that child is bored, sees the brightly colored candy and grabs it because children are curious and highly driven to eat refined sugar because humans are not meant for the bombshell of rewarding drugs from the sugar that excites the pleasure centers in the brain.

In many stores, especially high end ones, smells of food will be pumped through the AC or just released in an area. People who are hungry make worse decisions when it comes to food. It's why I always try to eat before going to the grocery store for this very reason because they cook pizza not far from the produce isle. My bills are always higher if I go in hungry and I will buy food that I know is worse for me which is often less filling.

Grocery stores are tightly designed to manipulate shoppers into controlled experiences which maximize profits, often in ways that are extremely unethical. I state it outright because people assume these experiences are normal or perhaps merely incidental instead of tightly planned. This is just the grocery store. Ethically grey or even highly unethical practices come through multiple attack angles through business decisions, how labor is treated, our assumptions about "what is acceptable", design, placement, engaging the senses and even manipulating children. It's so ubiquitous that we don't even question it and it only becomes strange when these influences are suddenly gone. We live in a consumerist substrate and we take it for granted that this is normal in the same way a fish thinks its fish tank is normal instead of realizing that it is a tightly controlled environment.

I feel compelled to talk about it in more overt ways because most people who read it accept these practices as normal when they are in fact highly manipulative and unethical. I believe that cyberpunk should be about more than bricks through windows and the aesthetic of rebellion over actually being critical of consumerism and capitalism. I don't think it's really enough to wear synthleather and give the middle finger to the man anymore. That's a start, but a lot of people get stuck there in the aesthetic - In the look of being rebellious. The first step in dismantling unethical practices is understanding that they are unethical at all. And perhaps it looks small on the individual level, but these threats are institutional. You look at them in the aggregate. Hundreds of millions of people being manipulated in unethical ways every single day in small ways adds up quickly, especially when you realize that these unethical practices are not static. They are being constantly tinkered with and refined to squeeze even more money out of people.

I'm not really sure how to express that in story though without going on a long rant. It's a difficult topic to address and because most people take these practices as normal, I feel like I should be more heavy handed than normal.

Deadmeat5150 posted:

That was incredibly adorable and I love that now that Kenji is moving into an actual relationship direction, the dice made him a total dork. It's very fitting.

I'm liking it too. Kenji is probably the mature out of the three protagonists (or so it feels to me) and being reminded that life can be new to him and that he's still inexperienced in ways makes him more relateable and likable in my opinion. The dice also go a long way in preventing anyone from becoming Mary Sue style characters because while everyone has something they excel at, no one is good at everything. Unlike in other systems where you get a flat bonus, Shadowrun dice will both delight and betray you because there are no flat bonuses, only the chance of getting more successes and further insulation from critical failures. You are guaranteed nothing.


HiHo ChiRho
Oct 23, 2010

Then you remember. You have a message to send.

Something everyone must know.

You have the power. You have the means.

Let it be known.

Volmarias posted:

These are things that happen already though, not the distant cyberpunk future. I'm saying that it doesn't need "AND THAT WAS ON PURPOSE BECAUSE MONEY".

These certainly are things that already happen but they are often not things that the average consumer thinks about happening to them. Let's take a topic that not necessarily the average person would understand it happening but not realize it.

Proponents of capitalism tend to repress criticism of the predominate economic system in the world. Most econ programs tend to just study 4 years of cheer-leading the capitalist system without providing actual critical analysis to the system, looking for any faults or finding solutions to make the system better than it already is. What they do instead is handwave away complexities in an economy - money, debt, banking in general - and instead create overfitted modeling systems to match what they consider to be representative of a capitalist economy, and not what it is in actuality. The DSGE model, widely used in governments and financial institutions had an inability to predict or handle the economic crisis of 2007. It would aggregate all consumption of goods and services into one "agent" in the model, completely missing the point that there are different kinds of consumption going on depending on the wealth of a given person aggregated: People who live paycheck to paycheck handle crises much more differently than a wealthy person with a lot of safety cushions. Also it was DSGE models that were supposed to prove that deficit cuts and austerity would be the best method to regain private sector growth.

Of course most sane people would find the above topic utterly boring or complex, even though it's as important to understand as how your own government functions. The more people get heavy handed on these topics, the more people can begin to understand and call for changes in a system that drastically requires changes.

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