Mother Knows Best
|Mother Knows Best|
|ShadowHaven||Trans-Polar Aleut Nation Security|
|IG 2 for Zero|
Absolute Zero's mother is in town for a conference. Unfortunately, so is a T-PA security force that would love to talk to Zero about the circumstances of her recent emigration.
While out purchasing snacks in an attempt to cheer Vip3r up, Zero sees a news article announcing a conference on climate change taking place at the University of Washington, headlined by Dr. Eva Ashevak. This would all be well and good, except for one problem: Dr. Ashevak is Zero's mother, and all of the messages she has sent to let Zero know she'll be in town have been getting filtered to her spam folder. Zero runs home in a panic.
Zero rushes by Vip3r and Harebuck in the kitchen, only stopping to drop off the pile of snacks before barricading herself in her bedroom to call her mother. Dr. Ashevak is excited to hear from her, and invites her to bring her roommates to hear her talk so that they can all get dinner together after. She seems happy that Zero is making friends. Zero is less happy, because she and her friends are career criminals and, already feeling like a massive disappointment in comparison to her mother's achievements, Zero would prefer it if she never found out.
After the call, Zero invites Vip3r and Harebuck to accompany her to her mother's presentation, on the condition that everyone do their best to act normal. Or as normal as would seem reasonable to someone who birthed and raised Zero. The day of the talk, the three of make themselves presentable and proceed to U Wash.
Zero tries to focus on her mother's presentation, but struggles with anxiety, which is only made worse by the presence of a Trans-Polar Aleut Nation security force accompanying Dr. Ashevak. One in particular seems to be paying entirely too much attention to Zero, and it quickly becomes clear that he is assensing her. Viper reminds Zero that leaving is going to look suspicious and probably result in security descending on them, preventing her from making a run for it in a panic. Harebuck decides to distract the security guard during the intermission to allow the others to slip out unnoticed, and seduces the man so hard he ends up realizing that he is both gay and a furry at the same time and invites Harebuck back to his hotel room. Zero and Viper manage to evade notice as they leave, and Harebuck hears over the guard's comm that they have lost track of Zero and are sending guards to tail Dr. Ashevak.
Desperate to prevent her mother from finding out the kind of trouble she's gotten herself into, Zero sends her the location of KungBao '76 and convinces her that it's worth the long drive to buy them some time. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, Zero is forced to come clean to Viper about her past and why she had to leave the T-PA. Viper uses the information to run a search on the incident and get in touch with some contacts, leading to the discovery that the man Zero accidentally killed was named Gong Fang, a member of the Red Dragon triad likely in the area due to smuggling operations involving the shipyard where Zero was once employed. Now thrown into a panic over the potentiality of having accidentally pissed off a triad, Zero proposes the aggro solution, which is made worse by Illuktuk's uncharacteristic agreement and the idea that she may be corrupting her mentor with her own bad influence. Viper reminds her that they need to be keeping a low profile now that MCT has their signatures, which doesn't help at all, but she manages to redirect the situation and calm Zero down by letting her know that she is here for her and is going to help in any way she can.
Zero calls Sarah Snow, who is shockingly sober, in search of legal advice, and reminds her that she won't be able to do any more novacoke off of Zero's fur if she winds up in a mage prison in the T-PA. Sarah agrees to help and sends a location file for a meeting place where they'll be able to make a legal case for Zero's innocence by way of self-defense. With time running out and no other options, Zero is forced to follow Illuktuk's advice and come clean to her mother, who agrees to meet them at the courthouse. Zero spends the time before their departure in misery, pained at proving to be a massive disappointment once again. She's cheered slightly when Viper tells her that she's never disappointed her, and the two make their way to the courthouse.
Sarah is able to successfully argue to case, and Zero is cleared of suspicion. Unfortunately, this also means that she's forced to register a mage license with her legal SIN, putting her astral signature in the global registry. Zero concludes that she's just going to have to get better at hiding and manipulating her signature from now on, while Viper silently makes tentative plans to burn the SIN altogether.
Harebuck eventually rejoins the group, having concluded his business and gained a commcode in the process, and the following evening the three are able to have dinner with Dr. Ashevak, who definitely does not buy that there's nothing going on between Zero and Viper.
Dr. Ashevak is in town for several more days, and Zero is able to have some quality time with her mom.
10 CDP - 4 RVP
Analytical Mind - 5 RVP
5 karma - 5 RVP
4 ranks in the knowledge skill The Power Of Love as an Interest - 4 RVP
That security guard's commlink number
SINner (National) (Phoenix Kelvin, Trans-Polar Aleut Nation)
Astral Chameleon - 9 RVP + 1 GMP (needed to put in)
T-PA Security Guard, suddenly realizing he's gay and a furry: ...Yes. Yes I do.
Zero: It's Kelvin. Please don't laugh.
Player After Action Reports (AARs)
I love occupying the shithole state of desperately wanting your parents to be proud of you and knowing that you're too much of a fuck-up to ever make it happen, no matter how hard you try. Feels good. Feels fantastic. Not a soul-crushing pit of abject misery at all. Is it wrong to be kind of jealous of Viper? I mean, probably, all things considered, but like...her parents chose her, ya know? Mine just got stuck with me. I'm pretty sure if you asked my parents if they could go back in time and just not have me, would they, they'd say no, but they'd think about it first.
Sorry, I'll try not to be such a sad sack. I know my mom loves me. I know that. And I've had it a lot better than a lot of people. I get it. But, frag, it still hurts to never be enough.
And now even more people have my astral signature on tap, and that's a problem. Big problem. Because it puts Viper at risk, and that's unacceptable. But I think I'm on my way to a breakthrough. All of this mess has given me an idea. Signatures are just...energy, right? Bits of energy left behind when you redirect mana from its course. And energy is convertible. Kinetic to thermal, chemical to kinetic, so on and so forth. You can't create it and you can't destroy it, but you can transform it, one form to another. It's malleable. Moldable. If you know how to do it.
And now...now I think I do.
I know it's not terribly often that other runners tell me about their personal lives, and even less often when those personal lives are, like... normal and uncomplicated. It always makes me a little jealous. Zero spent her whole childhood growing up with two reasonably attentive parents in one family who loved her and took care of her and never needed her to figure out how to make extra money for groceries because they "accidentally" spent too much on dreamchips; like, I doubt it was perfect, but I can't help wondering what it would've been like to grow up with a life that simple.
But, back on the actual topic. T-PA cops escorting her mom to Seattle was weird, and Red Dragon troops scouting out Utquiagvik was weirder. I just hope the Triad doesn't connect her to the murder, or we're gonna have way bigger problems on our hands than Zero being wanted for questioning. The fact that she's in the Global SIN Registry now is also a big problem; hopefully having her astral signature in there now doesn't link my mom's extraction back to us, since it wouldn't have come up when it happened and I doubt they plan on giving it another check. I think I have a plan to make that SIN stop being a problem permanently; I'm just worried about what it's gonna cost.