<span class="mu-s">2076.01.01, 00:01
Flashing lights cut through sheets of heavy rain, far off fireworks and distant neon advertisements mingling in bright sprays of color among the dark and storm. Pink and cyan starbursts, blossoms of Arasaka crimson and Militech yellow. The dull thumps of the largest fireworks sound moments later, interspersed with the staccato rattle of celebratory gunfire from gonks and gangers alike. A cheery voice sounds through your cheap earbuds, piped in from your agent’s feed of N54.
<span class="mu-b"><span class="mu-i">“ . . . Happy New Years, Night City! Here’s to 2076, another neon bright year in the City of Dreams! Grab that someone special and . . .”</span></span>
Blinking and cursing as a few heavy rain drops land in your ‘ganic eyes, you look away from the overhead show and pull the cheap plastic hood of your transparent single-use raincoat tighter. For a few more minutes you just walk like that, hood tight and head down, alone and cold and hardly paying attention to the droning newsfeed in your ears.
<span class="mu-b"><span class="mu-i">” . . . NiCola! Taste the love! . . . Welcome back to N54 news. As new year celebrations enter into full swing in Night City, tragedy has already struck the Kabuki marketplace in Watson. The NCPD is reporting an ongoing cyber-psycho situation, with casualties reported as already reaching as high as thirty four and expected to grow. Stay safe out there, Night City! Now a word from our sponsor, Budget Arms . . . ”</span></span>
With a flick of your thumb you kill the feed to your Agent, swiping drops of water from its screen. It’s an old model, a little metal box about the size of a deck of cards with a flat screen and no flare to speak of - it’s a decade out of date, but it still runs half decent encryption. Not much else positive to say about it. Stepping under the patchy sheet metal awning of a closed scop shop, you take a moment to check your messages.
“Out alone, kid?” A scratchy voice asks from within the rolled down security mesh of the shop’s counter, interrupting you.
Turning, you spy a tired looking asian man sitting in a white plastic chair concealed in the shadows of the closed shop. Only the light of a mobile comp illuminates him, barely enough to make out an old Militech tattoo on his arm and the silhouette of a stubby pump shotgun laying across his lap.
“...Yeah.” You admit, refraining from getting any closer to the steel mesh, “Mind if I stand here for a sec?”
“Free country, kid. Do whatever you want.” The man replies gruffly, tapping away at the keyboard of his comp for a moment with one hand, “...Get kicked out?”
“Mm. Sort of.” You half mumble back. It’s none of his fucking business, but you’re not half gonk enough to say that to a stranger cradling a shotgun.
Finally you check your lone message.