The retro-chic feel of the venerable Club Penumbra might be viewed by some as “retro-cliche”, but the landmark of the Seattle scene still carries some cred when one needs a quiet place to talk. And cliched synthahol still gives you a buzz.
It still seems is a bit strange to be meeting a fixer in person. Normally he’d call and arrange the meet with the Johnson without ever being seen in flesh, but Jimmy the Card is a big enough name that saying “no” to his request isn’t an option for someone new to the shadows.
The privacy of the booth is solid, with wi-fi barrier, white noise generator and privacy screen covering the basics (Wolfe can also see the astral ward surrounding the booth). The service drone carefully stops outside the screens before inquiring about your order. Mid-afternoon is a slow time for the club and you’re the only customer in the section.
As the drone drops off your drink, a short, heavy set, middle-aged man walks up and sits down. He mostly resembles Jimmy’s ’link avatar, but with less hair, more flesh, and a cheaper suit. A datajack is visible just behind his right ear, partially hidden by the thinning brown locks. His eyes are partly hidden by shades, flare-comp dialed down in the dimly lit room. Telltale flickering eye movements confirm active AR, probably scanning dossiers or other data sources.
After re-introducing himself, Jimmy proceeds to ask a series of seemingly random questions, ranging from inquiries about skills, gear, and experience to personal questions like family connections, toilet training, relationships and favorite foods. He makes no attempt to push when you hesitate or refuse to answer the less (apparently) relevant questions, and no surprise or amusement is visible if he is given a strange or shocking answer.
Apparently satisfied, the fixer nods and passes you a card with only his name and a commlink number printed on the face. Reflexively, you trigger your commlink to query the card’s data, but are surprised to discover that it contains no electronics or wireless capability, just heavy grade paper.
Jimmy stands and says, “Syberspace, day after tomorrow, seven-thirty. Show that [indicating the card] to the troll at the door. Commlink quiet before you go in, until after the meet.”
“Make sure you don’t drek up your first job.”
He extends his hand once more and drops a certified credstick to the service drone on the way out. The privacy screens melt away, reconnecting you to the rest of the world as the bot arrives to inquire if you would like a refill.