Warning for all the people reading this story forward.
I'm huffing a considerable amount of copium to be able to write this story, because as you might have guessed, I made the mistake of watching [Cyberpunk: Edgerunners] and now I have the BIG SAD. David, goddammit you gonk, why are you so relatable and tragic!
Since Fanfiction still doesn't have the anime tag, I'm putting this under the [games tag], since I will also try to play 2077 and the other games. I discovered a new niche that might just consume me for the following months, but oh well! Still, even while huffing copium like a crackhead, I still strive to write this story in my typical way, which means the usual seriousness when it comes to my stories.
This one is a side-project, as Blood God is my main baby and the greedy fuck that gets all my creative juices, but it is nice to unwind from the usual with a different work.
Hope everyone enjoys this new work!
Cyberpunk: Edgerunners – A Far Cry From Normal
Summary: Inside Night City there is little room for naïveté. The so-called city of dreams is ever so willing to chew up and spit out people; David Martinez knows this reality very well. He is piss-poor, hated by his fellow Arasaka students and is just about done with everything. Yet despite all the crap that he is forced to endure, deep in his heart he is a caring person.
After Night City throws him a rather large curveball, David is on the edge of the abyss.
However, his stars align in the right way and he dodges a terrible fate. All because he met this weird, tattooed dude.
"Well, kid. We mash up the place and let us have ourselves some fun!"
Prologue: [Daily Life in Night City]
Night City, California.
Local Time: 23:57 P.M
"NAHHHHHHhhhahhhhhhhh!" A shrill, loud squeal left a teen's mouth as his body stretched to the limit atop the cheap synth-leather couch. His breathing pattern was a mess and he could feel his heart thumping inside his chest like it was going to pop. It took a few good minutes until David could calm down from the adrenaline flooding his system, only now being capable of noticing the call notification that he got.
His hands were still trembling when David finally managed to get the wreath off his head, his eyes still blurry from the XBD he had just watched. Removing the device, David's chocolate brown eyes lit with yellow lights as he took the call.
/RipperDoc: So, Davyy…how does it feel to jack in de head of a cyberpsycho? Dat one is fresh from de streets. /
/DM: Fuckin' Nova, Doc! I still got shivers from it! How do you even get stuff like this? /
/RipperDoc: JK is how I dew it! Now, how abouts you check out de otha one I sent ya?/
David – hands still jittery from adrenaline – smiles like a chrome-junkie who has been promised a new piece and searches his pockets for the extra slot chip that Doc had given him; it would be nice to check it out before he had to pawn it off.
Placing the chip inside the wreath, David took a deep breath before he let himself be carried into the starting point of the dance.
"Do it harder, daddy!~"
"Fuck!" The teen immediately disconnected from the BD and chucked the wreath from his head, throwing the device on the couch in a startled surprise. Unmuting the call, David spoke again.
/DM: What the hell, Doc?
/RipperDoc: What is it? You don' like Joy-toys?
David huffed and sighed, wiping some sweat from his forehead.
/DM: It ain't like that…it is just that I don't want to mess with my brain like that.
The teen heard the older man scoff and then hold back a chortle.
/RipperDoc: Davyy, you really are fucken weird, choom! You watch de craziest XBDs from JK, but you won't crank one out?
/DM: Lay off okay, choom? When is the next one coming out?
/RipperDoc: Fuck I know! When de next gonkhead with too big aspirations flatlines.
/DM: Yeah-yeah, I get it. I'll call you then!
/RipperDoc: A'ight, don't forget de 'eddies too.
/DM: Fuck off!
The call cut off as David took another deep breath, rubbing one hand on his nape to try and alleviate the pressure that had built up in his pants. Yeah, he was a teenager so of course seeing a bunch of naked women would get him going, but something about watching sexual BDs felt weird to him. He could go for extreme violence no problem, but using a synth joy-toy or experiencing sexual BDs felt…cheap.
Whatever the case may be, it was nigh time for him to call it a day and pack up. He stretched and took his things to his room, heading soon after to the shower. Considering what he had just watched (even if just a glimpse), he turned the knob into the coldest setting and stripped, placing his uniform in the washing machine.
Barely had David stripped, he noticed the annoying warning that flashed over the machine's door.
[Rent past due]
"Tch!" He released an annoyed noise, his earlier arousal gone as life reminded him of his place. He almost slammed his fist atop the machine, but opted to avoid damaging it. One bill was already enough, accumulating another would just not do. Still, annoyed at his lack of funds, David could only endure in frustration as the showerhead spat cold water and hit his back.
After cleaning up, the teen went to his room to put on some clothes and do his homework. His frustrations aside, he wanted to avoid giving his school mates another reason to be pains on his ass.
""You are just gutter-trash, David. You should just learn your place, David."" He parroted their words in a high-pitched tone. "Fucking corpo-ass munchers riding coat-tail; I wanna see you reach top score without your fancy chips and implants." He bitterly cursed, focusing his eyes on the screen of his busted-ass computer.
As far and for as long as David could remember, life was like this. He was a poor kiddo from Santo, trying his best in this damn city with his mother. They were poor, but at least they were much better than most of the saps in the vicinity. He had a bed to sleep after all, and considering Night City, that was a whole lot better than 70% of the people here.
Still, Gloria (his lovely mother) did her best to give him the best life possible. Nah, scratch that! The woman did the impossible to give him a chance at fighting back against the city's influence. Being a single mother of Dominican descend, Gloria made sure to put the fear of God on her son when it came to the worse that NC could offer. Nothing would straighten a man out faster than an angry mama equipped with la chancla!
David chuckled to himself, deciding to focus on his work instead of distractions. He still had school tomorrow and it would suck bad to get a warning from the 'saka system about tardy arrival. He didn't need more bullshit to deal with than the usual.
Night City, California.
Local Time: 06:45 A.M
David woke up early and did his usual morning routine of washing up, getting ready to face another day. School wouldn't start until nine in the morning, but between dodging problems and the NCART ride, he always opted to err on the side of caution.
He could hear the TV echo out in the living room/kitchen, broad-casting news.
I guess mom arrived late. David mused, searching for something edible to eat. The pantry had kibble, which earned a bitter smile from the teen. It was – technically edible – but then again…Hmm, fine fine. The teen shoved the food in his gullet and dry-swallowed it.
"Hey mom, take the bed." David managed to speak through his mouthful of food.
The woman stirred in her sleep, her whole body expelling an exhausted aura that made David feel extremely guilty. She had fallen asleep in a rather uncomfortable position on the couch, using her EMT jacket as a makeshift blanket. She was a warrior for sure: hell, he had the sole room of their small condo just because she wanted him to have some privacy.
Tiredly cracking one of her eyelids open, Gloria found the chocolate-brown eyes of her son worriedly staring at her. She managed to carve a smile on her lips, even as her back complained about her bad position.
"Good morning, mijo." Gloria muttered, feeling her neck complain.
"Hey, ma." David replied, going towards the washing machine and picking up his crumpled uniform. He merely got the jacket, wearing it almost like it was a coat, letting it hang open and expose his inner red shirt and cross necklace. Momma would whoop his ass if she were to see him walk around the city without his proteccion de Dios.
"Why are you wearing that again?" She asked, sleep still heavy in her voice.
David shrugged, pointing to the washing machine, the obnoxious neon-red warning popping up again. "Someone forgot to top the washer." He commented, wincing internally as his comment ended up sounding a lot like sarcasm. Never his intent (especially if he enjoyed living), but sometimes it naturally slipped into his tone.
Much to his luck, Gloria did not pull out any hidden tactical chancla, instead the woman widened her eyes in surprise. "Lo siento mucho hijo, I have been so busy that I forgot the payment." The apologetic tone in her tone made David cringe. She should not be apologizing.
"It's fine." He answered, trying to sound tough. His uniform wasn't truly dirty, but Gloria always wanted him to be at his very best when attending Arasaka. The stiff uniform never seemed to be clean enough for the pricks, but then again, unless you were some corpo-rat nothing was ever good enough.
Gloria groggily stood up and headed for the kitchen sink. Splashing some water on her face, the woman seemed to manage to spring some life back into her tired frame. Her amber-colored orbs shone in yellow, and David received a notification on his personal bank account.
-You have received 300 eurodollars from Gloria Martinez.
David frowned his brow. "What's the eddies for?"
Gloria dried her face with a nearby towel, but soon frowned at the cloth, finding it to be less clean than she hoped for. And in the kitchen. "Don't play games with me now, Davvy. You need to pay for the latest update of the academy's software." She pointed out, making the teen groan.
"It's fine, mom. I got it covered." He began heading out, counting on his mother's sleep addled mind to just go with the flow. Of course, life would not simply go his way as David felt his left ear heat up, consequence of his cartilaginous appendage being pulled by an iron-clad grip. "Ah ah! Mom, I got it, okay?! I'll get the update!" He tried to escape from her grasp, but all that he managed to do was increase the force of the pull.
"Nah ah, don't think you can get smart with me, chico! I don't want you to be using some bootleg trinket that you got from that sketchy doutor! Get the proper update, Davvy." Gloria insisted in her point.
David tried to resist, but in the end gave up and slumped his shoulders, his ear finally being released from the cruel grasp of his mother. "Yes, mom…"
Seeing that she had managed to curb the skullduggery out of her boy for the moment, Gloria grasped David's head and cradled into her shoulder. "I know things are hard right now mi amor, but you have to promise me that you will properly follow through with things, okay?"
David squirmed in her grasp, slipping away and heading for the door in a hurry. "I promise mom! Bye mom!"
As her child slipped away, Gloria saw him off with a big – if tired – smile. She then turned to stare at her EMT jacket, wondering if at any moment some TRAUMA team or MaxTec assault group would bust through her door and blast her to kingdom come. Seeing as she was still breathing and alive now, it was likely that she had managed to get away with her own bit of dirty play.
Complain all you want, she had a child to put through education, bills to pay and a life to live. One or two pieces of Mil-Spec Chrome missing wasn't that unusual, the corpos never truly bothered with proper follow up on cases like this and the government sure as shit was going to risk angering the Mega-Corps by instigating some deep search. It was all going to be brushed aside and under the mattress in a few days, and she would manage to scrape by for another month.
"I do this for you, hijo." Gloria muttered to herself, tiredly heading to the pantry to find something to eat.
All that was available was kibble.
"Puta madre!" Gloria cursed, then immediately placed her hands over her lips. "Maine paid well enough for it, we can eat something proper today." The EMT sighed, looking at the electronic screen that popped at the corner of her sight.
(BGS: Who's ready for Tomorrow)
David made his usual way from the condo to the NCART station, all the while grumbling to himself, his ear still stinging from his mother's assault. He wanted to grumble and complain, but with 300 credits burning in his pocket – even if he'd to use them almost immediately once he reached school – the teen from Santo had little choice but to keep pace.
The path was the usual. He would have to dodge all the beggars and homeless bums that camped around the corridor until he reached the stairs. Then, dodge the prick that blocked the only way not entirely covered in trash and drop a few good meters in height to the side, landing on more (you guessed it right!) trash bags that would soften up his fall. A bit more walking and he would reach main street, taking one of the many side paths that would eventually lead to Jig Jig Street and get him into an station that would head towards Arasaka Academy.
He glanced around, unbothered by the common occurrences that surrounded him. Night City had a way to dull you to the immoral. You see one bloody corpse on the streets, you see them all.
One old lady threatening some dumbass that had crashed into her car with a shotgun. A couple of fat fucks publicly using joy-toys. A pregnant woman vomiting her guts out and probably high on some synthetic drug. Machine guns decorating the top of some store. The usual spiel, for sure.
Yet, something seemed different today.
David felt almost as if something was calling him out today. Not in the ads telling you to saw off your dick and replace it with the latest model, but more in a fate-is-calling type of way. A neon-pink wavy pattern called his attention to a high platform, some sort of white-and-black leotard frame calling for him.
However, as he rushed to try and catch up to it, he merely found himself on the main street, being overlooked by the people that walked around him, unwilling to deal with whatever brand of crazy he had. The teen sighed in frustration, but collected himself and began to once more make his way to the NCART station.
Or so David would like say occurred, but his eyes got sight of a fucking nova as hell thing. Mama Gloria hated ink, but David did think that it was preem. Of course he was not looking to join a gang or anything like that, but some designs were undoubtedly calling.
MOX's battleaxe and goat came to mind. Normally you would rarely see people rocking ink these days, as chrome was more useful and versatile, but some of the bigger Nomad clans still used ink as a sort of badge of honor and identification signal.
Most of the ink that was used was simple and had known designs, but David had never seem the particular set he was observing today. A full sleeve tattoo covered the very organic left arm of the man. Caucasian features, about 1,70cm in height and sporting a carefree look, the man was taking with some other individual whose features David could not identify as the person was inside a car. It was a beat-up old thing, covered in dust. Most likely a Nomad car.
Still, David's focus was on that preem tattoo'ed left arm. It was some sort of tribal set that as far as the teen could see, covered the entire left forearm of the man leaning on the car. It had all sorts of shapes and animals; definitively something from far deep into the Badlands, considering all the gangs with tattoos in NC were very well known.
He tried to sneak a bit closer, to take a better peek at the ink. There were all sorts of people passing close to the two, however the moment David tried to approach, he felt cold sweat begin to run down his back.
The tattooed man finished his conversation with the driver.
"Thanks for the drop off, V. I'll see you around." The man's voice wasn't all that rough, so he most likely wasn't that old. He seemed carefree enough, carrying himself with the swagger of someone that was confident (to be point of arrogance) in their own skill. He was dressed in brown boots, black slacks and a sleeveless jeans jacket, using it open to reveal a black vest that looked to be carrying some old-school ballistic protection.
"Damn, that thing must be old." David couldn't help the commentary. In the age of cybernetic advances, you would be hard pressed to find someone relying on old-school tech like that. People would likely prefer subdermal armor plating interweaved with synth-muscle instead.
His commentary earned a chuckle from the man that was approaching him. Shit, should've kept my mouth shut!
David tried to puff his chest and appear at least semi-confident, but once the tattooed man stood in front of him, David felt his confidence leave him almost like air escaping a balloon.
The man raised his right hand, David now noticing that it also had ink, but the teen was too busy flinching. The hand then settled over his head and…
Messed with his hair?
"Relax, kid! It wouldn't do well for me to off a kid merely because he looked with some curiosity my way." The man spoke in a friendly tone, but David could see the handle of a blade tuckered on his waist, just about ready to be used. "Do you mind doing me a favor and pointing me way towards a NCART station? I'm new around these parts, gotta get to my appointment or my doc's gonna neuter me."
David wondered the nature of this new man. He certainly was a friendly fellow, but that sort of attitude rarely lasted in this city. Still, it wouldn't do any harm to point him to the right way.
"I…hmmm…am going to a station, so if you want to follow me?" He felt some courage come back once he realized that his new acquaintance wasn't going shank his ass. At least he didn't seem to be willing to at the moment.
"Oh, that so? Good then, lead the way, kid!" The man agreed to it, shouldering a rucksack and waiting for David. He also lacked any of the slang that David was so used to hearing in NC.
The newly formed duo made their way to the station with David leading the walk, the new arrival taking the time to glance around. It was kind of amusing to see someone so impressed with the holographic banners and images of NC; it most likely felt very fresh for him, whereas for David it was a common sight. Pretty for sure, but still common in his daily life.
It didn't take long for them to arrive at the station, the man's black eyes lighting up as he most likely received a call. David hung back and waited for the man to finish up, considering he still had plenty of time to reach the academy. Also, he wanted to take a few stills of that tattoo, it was even more fucking preem up and close.
The man didn't take long, soon turning his head back to David.
"Thanks for pointing the way, kid." He said, but remained in his place.
"Yeah, it was nothing, choom." The teen said that, but his eyes remained glued on the man's left arm.
The man chuckled a bit and pawed at his pant pockets, pulling out a leathery-brown wallet and two 100-eurodollar bills. "Here, kid. That should cover up your time." He offered David the bills, the teen now removing his gaze from the tattooed limb and staring in confusion at him. "What?"
"Wait, you sure, choom?"
The man tilted his head in confusion. "Isn't that how things run around here?"
David grabbed the bills and immediately shoved them in his uniform's pocket. "I mean, I'd have helped you out free of charge, but hey man, since you offered it I ain't saying no to some extra eddies."
The tattooed man released another chuckle. "Right, it's always nice to have some pocket change. See you around, kid. Try to stay out of trouble!" The man then left for another part of the station, David missing the NCART that he entered.
"Fuckin' nova!" He muttered to himself, excited and happy to have scored some extra money.
"Thank you for your purchase! Please remember to always keep up to date with your license! Arasaka Academy is grateful for your choice!" The synth voice of the computer terminal grated on David's ears, but most importantly, it also hurt his bank account deeply. He wanted to rely on doc's expertise to bypass the system and avoid having to pay the ludicrous prices of these software updates for him to be able to attend the damn academy, but his mother's persuasive techniques from earlier in the day convinced David to follow the procedures and buy the damn upgrade.
Those eddies could have helped back home, but in the end it was best that he buy the proper thing for now. Doc's guarantees were non-existent and David really would rather not bother his mom's short rest time with some nonsense from school.
Besides, it wasn't as if he was fully stiff, since he still had the XBDs to sell off to his classmates. They could call him all kinds of names, but in the end when they wanted something smuggled within the prim and proper walls of the prestigious Arasaka Academy they came to buy it from him. And also the cash from helping out the tattooed man! That was nicely tucked in his pockets. The (negligible) weight of the money in his pocket felt like blessing from the heavens.
He picked the chip almost as if the thing was made of glass and placed it inside the slot socket of his outdated wreath, being careful to hide the previous BD chip. It would have been rather embarrassing to try to log in to class, only to have his display light up with some Joy-toy BD recording.
Walking to class, David quietly took his place and connected the cables necessary to his wreath, putting the thing on his head and ignoring the smug prick at his side.
Katsuo and his small troupe of followers glared at him.
"Try to not mess things up this time, Martinez." The prick's voice was filled with smugness, but David ignored it, his good mood not interrupted.
The A.I that ran the classes booted up, greeting all the students.
"Student Martinez, I see that your uniform in is violation of the student's code of ethic and conduct." The emotionless voice stated, earning a few snickers and some clicking tongues. "Please state a reasonable excuse for your breach of conduct."
David groaned internally, feeling some blood rush to his cheeks in embarrassment. "I forgot to put in the wash and this was the only piece I had left." He stated, hoping that the program would hurry and leave him alone. It was bad enough to be singled out like this, did the thing also had to prolong his suffering?
"Please remember that all rules must be followed thoroughly, else disorder reigns king. You shall be excused due to your early arrival." The voice stated, getting some groans from the other students as they most likely wanted to enjoy David getting chewed out some more. "Please do try to avoid further incidents."
"Yeah, yeah, I got it." He muttered, sensing the glares from his neighbors. He discreetly sent them a middle finger, strategically hidden behind his crossed arms. Corpo-fucks think are better than everyone just because they got some cash.
"Iniciating today's lesson." The I.A began the start-up process, everyone's sight being covered in white light as the wreaths connected and synchronized their brain waves. It was a bit jarring for David, since his setup was outdated, but at least it was running properly with the upgraded access chip. Lord knows what would have happened had he tried to run Doc's bootleg version.
Today seemed to be David's lucky day! He wondered if he would manage to push the XBDs on the kids. It would make his day pretty preem!
AU END NOTES
As I mentioned before, it is a side project mostly because I have the BIG SAD due to the anime ending up like that. Don't get me wrong, it is a good ending and it displayed the message very well.
But since we are here in fanfiction land, why not go crazy with it and have some fun!?
Let's make it bum dem!