August 17, 2036
After a couple of relaxing days aboard the Galveston Star, the team disembarks at the Miami port. Being everyone’s first visit to Miami, everyone is astounded by the impressive wealth of the city. Years ago, Miami basically declared itself a city-state, independent of Florida. The main reason for this decision was the citizens, wealthy to begin with, got sick and tired of being forced to fund the state’s wasteful spending. Apparently the move worked, because the massive glass encased skyscrapers that dominate the downtown give the city a startlingly clean look, something that is very rare nowadays.
As the team walks the streets (with Riptide on crutches) to the Miami Interstate Transit Port, it quickly becomes clear that they stand out. The cops, in their neatly pressed and spotless uniforms, eye the group suspiciously, as they move about town in fatigues and carrying military style duffle bags. The first order of business has to be getting some civilian clothes. Luckily there happens to be a shopping mall along the way.
With the clothes issue resolved, the team finishes its journey to the Interstate Transit Port. Moving through the clean, white painted, well-lit interior of the multi-floor structure, the group follows the ample signage to the ticket boot. From a distance, the woman behind the counter appears quite attractive in her pristine, body-hugging MITP uniform. But upon getting close to the counter, her slightly blank expression and repetitive movements reveal her to be an automaton.
She smiles and says, “Welcome to the Miami Interstate Transit Port Departure Ticket Terminal, what is your intended destination?”
Any attempt at small talk is met with a blank stare. This expression remains unchanged until someone finally mentions Night City. She smiles and says, “Here are your travel options:
Option 1 is a direct flight via passenger jet from Miami to Night City. The cost is $400.00 for a coach ticket, and $800.00 for first class. This trip has a travel time of 5 hours and 30 minutes.”
Option 2 is direct flight via dirigible from Miami to Night City. The cost is $100.00 for a coach ticket and $400.00 for a first class ticket. This trip has a travel time of 35 hours.”
Option 3 is a flight via dirigible from Miami to Atlanta. At Atlanta you would transfer to the Mag-Lev train which will take you the rest of the way to Night City. The double ticket cost is $250.00 for a coach ticket, and $750.00 for a first class ticket. This has a travel time of 7 hours to Atlanta via dirigible and 13 hours and 30 minutes to Night City via the Mag-Lev.”
What type of ticket do you wish to purchase and how many?”
After some initial discussion, Riptide suggests trying to get work on a convoy heading out west in exchange for free passage, maybe even a little money. Torrent and Saito both indicate that they have calls to make, so the group breaks, agreeing to rendezvous a few hours later.
Riptide takes to the docks where cargo is transferred from ships to trucks. He spends the next couple of hours trying to drum up some work, but being complete unknowns, the team doesn’t have much of a selling point. Ultimately, he comes up empty.
Saito gets a hold of his overseas contact in the Mossad, who indicates that they have been getting pounded by attacks from troops in Arasaka power armor ever since he disappeared. They do have a contact for him in Los Angeles named Apoc. He gets Apoc’s contact information.
Torrent checks his bank account and finds out that it has been cleaned out. He decides to call his mother, but hangs up before the line picks up. Taylor’s words about how someone powerful wants him dead come to mind. At least for now, it’s probably best to let that someone believe he is dead. Despite his concern for his mother, he walks away from the phone.
Eventually the team meets back at the Transit Port and purchases coach class tickets on the dirigible. At 10:00 PM, they board the cramped passenger space and begin the trip. Its 36 hours crammed shoulder to shoulder and knees to back with the other passengers. The smell of unwashed bodies and the constant noise of crying babies and yelling children make the trip seem even longer.
August 19, 2036
At 10:00 AM, the dirigible arrives at the Night City Airport. Unlike the clean and well-ordered appearance of the Transit Port in Miami, the NCA is crowded, noisy, and dirty. Eventually, they make there way to the train. Once on board, they watch the scenery pass as the train winds its way along the coast. They see several gated corporate communities with massive houses poking up from behind the walls. Paramilitary forces guard the gates and walls. Riptide makes a comment about how he intends to live in one of those communities someday. The others scoff at the notion the he would give up edge running and live in a posh neighborhood, but Riptide hints that for him, edge running is merely a means to an end.
As the Night City skyline grows closer, the skyscraping towers of the corporate zone can be scene off in the distance. Much closer though is the massive stretches of poor and destitute neighborhoods, including the ones that are so dominated by booster gangs that they have been designated as Combat Zones. But before the train reaches the city edge, it plunges into darkness as the tracks guide it underground for the rest of the trip. After someone comments about how dark it is, Helios and Saito both smugly state that they can see just fine, referring to the advanced optics in their cybernetic implants. “I can see fine too,” says Riptide, as he fishes his flashlight out of his pocket and switches it on.
Eventually they arrive at the central transit station in Night City. Riding up the escalators, they find them selves in the shadows of the massive corporate center towers. A quick check at a data terminal reveals that the Forlorn Hope is nine city blocks west of the station. They debate getting a taxi, especially for Riptide who is on crutches, but they ultimately decide to walk it.
At about 11:00 AM, they walk into the front entrance of the Forlorn Hope. The bar takes up most of the first floor of a converted office building. Banners and military insignias decorate the walls. The bartender, who is also the owner, introduces himself as John Freeman. He is a South American War vet, as are most of the regulars here. He indicates that Dollar Bill will be in around 5:00 PM.
Torrent surfs the Net using the public data terminal, trying to get a lay of the land. Saito places a call to Apoc and places an order for a weapon.
Right on schedule, Dollar Bill arrives, and the team introduces themselves to him. He has their new IDs ready. He indicates that the IDs are expensive to make, so they should take care of them. They are getting them free because they agreed to help Taylor rescue the POWs from the drug lab. As another vet of that war, Dollar Bill greatly appreciates their actions.
Inquires about a place to stay mostly leads to getting directions to the nearest coffin place. Torrent, however, finds an available one-bedroom apartment for only $1,100 per month. It would be cramped with five people, but its cheaper, and still roomier than a coffin. A phone call to the landlord reveals that they do not have enough money to cover the security deposit and first months rent. A loan with Dollar Bill is applied for and accepted.
Torrent and Riptide head to the apartment, while Helios, Zen, and Saito go job hunting. Torrent and Riptide find out why the apartment is so cheap. The place is filthy and infested with vermin. The crime rate in the building is sky high, with deaths being a common occurrence, despite the fact that it is located right across the street from the local police precinct. Torrent, having grown up in much more antiseptic environs, immediately runs to the store and stocks up on cleaners, rattraps, and insecticide. He returns, along with bedding for himself and Riptide, and sets about cleaning the place.
Meanwhile, Saito and Zen secure 3rd shift jobs patrolling warehouses as security guards. Helios gets a job as a mechanic at Jimmy Two-Teeth’s Repair and Custom. The jobs don’t pay much, but it will cover the rent and keep them in kibble.
Over the course of the next five weeks, the team settles into their new life in Night City. Torrent job-hops until eventually landing a nice paying job doing software engineering at Raven Micro-Cybernetics. He also gets a deal on a broken cyberdeck that he is able to fix and get running as good as new. Saito gets a second job riding shotgun for Red Cab, providing security for fares that go into the slums and combat zones. Zen picks up extra work at Guido’s Fashion Trim, providing stylish yet affordable looks for the fashionable Night City male. After going stir crazy for several weeks, Riptide is out of his cast and finally free. He scores a job as a bouncer at the Golden Saloon Gentlemen’s Club. The pay is horrible, but the scenery is nice. It also provides ample networking opportunities. Helios spends his free time at the garage trying to get an old truck up and running, that Jimmy promised to sell him cheap, although the definition of cheap is debatable.
Everybody was working hard just to make ends meet, only to go home to an overcrowded, shitty apartment. That’s life in the big city. But things were about to get interesting, and very dangerous. That’s life in Night City.