Han asked me to be his second at a cyber duel. He had pissed off a young woman named Dee and she blew him out of the water after two seconds or so. Han was in pretty bad shape afterwards and the fact that he lost his host to Dee didn't help any.
Dee invited us to drinks afterwards and I talked a bit with the guy she brought as her second, Cyphar. Despite his unusual looks, I take him for Japanese. It's been a while since I had the chance to practice my own Japanese and we chatted a bit...even after I told Cyphar where we come from. The Rat's Nest has a bad reputation and an even worse one in the Japanese community, so I fully expected Cyphar to politely finish the conversation as soon as possible. It's nice to be surprised, sometimes.
The cops raided the club about halfway into the evening. By that time, Han was already totally wasted, so I pretty much carried him to my truck. Cyphar had the same problem with Dee and there was no way he could get away in time with her on his bike, so I offered a ride. We made a stop in Touristville to get something to eat. I don't know what is is with eating out, but it seems every time I do, I get into trouble. The lights went out and all screens showed the mesade: die, Dee die. Lovely.
Outside, it was total chaos, with people losing control over their cars. One of them almost crashed into us and that was no accident. Add sirens coming in our direction to the mix and even more die, Dee-messages. We piled into my truck again and I drove to the Nest - at least there's very little Matrix in the Barrens, so whoever was out to get Dee couldn't wreak that much havoc there. I closely avoided a couple of cars on a kamikaze mission and we savely arrived at the Nest.
Kimba took care of Han and we found beds for Cyphar and Dee at the MASH container we had added to the clinic to house the patients who can't be send home immediately. The war of the First Nations brings a lot more casualties than the clinic can house normally. Dee was asleep as soon as she had puked her guts out - at least we won't have to worry about that happening in her sleep now. Cyphar didn't look very tired, so I invited him for a drink into the Barrel.
If you've ever seen a Western with the mysterious stranger stepping into the saloon, you pretty much have Cyphar's entrance into the Barrel. I've never seen the Barrel so crowded and so quiet. If Cyphar had been alone, the entertainment for the evening might have been "whack the Jap". But as he was my guest, people made do with staring and whispering. He met Eric and to his credit didn't freak out. At least not noticeable, although I did hear his whispered Yokai. But compared to the reactions Eric usually provokes form people who haven't seen him before, that was downright tame. And I doubt Eric heard.