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Cyberpunk: Arasaka Secret Son

It follows the story of Hanako Arasaka's secret child. That she had to hide from everyone including her family in order to protect him. For the sins of the father of her son. --- -- - For all those who like the story and want to support it I leave the link to my Patreon; patreon.com/user?u=8326781

Jhunior_ll · Anime & Comics
Not enough ratings
143 Chs

The beginning of a new gig

Author; Phew, this is one of the long ones, I'm sorry for the delay. Reminding you that I have a Patreon where I'm posting translations in advance. I'll leave the link in the comments. Don't forget to comment and write a review if you haven't done it yet, that's all, as always, I hope you like the chapter!

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Sora, carrying Rebecca from the collar of his jacket, and Pilar following behind, headed towards Maine and Dorio's open booth. As the chaos continued in the Afterlife, with glasses and bottles flying through the air when anything not anchored to the ground became an improvised weapon in the massive bar brawl that Sora had triggered.

Once they arrived, Sora released Rebecca and settled into one of the seats on the blue L-shaped sofa in Maine and Dorio's booth. With Pilar and Rebecca doing the same.

Maine and Dorio, who had been talking to each other while enjoying the bar fight, looked up and Maine, with a touch of envy, said, "Kudos kid. Too bad you didn't take down Smasher; you'd be a legend by now."

"Good to see you. Congratulations on your fight yesterday," Dorio said, offering one of the beers they had on the table, which he had ordered upon seeing Sora enter.

Sora grabbed the beer Dorio offered with his only mobile arm. While, Maine, eyeing Sora's arm firmly attached to his chest, and added, "I see that 'famous' arm everyone's been talking about is still there, huh?"

"Thanks, Dorio, it's always a pleasure to see you... not like you, Maine..... " Sora said, and pointing with his metallic arm to the only person sitting in the booth who hadn't spoken yet, asked; "What's going on with her?"

"Do you know her?" Maine asked, somewhat surprised that Sora seemed to know the new Netrunner on their team. Sasha Yakovleva.

"I was introduced to her the other day by Rebecca," Sora replied. Despite them discussing her right in front of her, Sasha remained absorbed, completely lost in her own world.

This prompted Pilar to recall something and ask, "Oh, were you the one who gave all those weapons to Rebecca? Where the hell did you guys get them?"

"You wouldn't want to know," Sora replied to Pilar before turning back to Rebecca, who pouted at the way the conversation was being diverted. "Hey, Rebecca, weren't those weapons for your brother's birthday and the rest?"

"What the hell! My birthday was months ago!" Pilar exclaimed, also looking at her sister.

"Eh!, did I say that? I think you misunderstood me; Pilar's birthday was months ago!" Rebecca replied shamelessly, repeating her brother's words, to the disapproving looks from the others.

Dorio shook his head and sighed, at Rebecca's excessive love for collecting weapons without control, before refocusing the conversation. "She's been like this ever since she got a mysterious call offering her a job, whoever it was, it really got into her head, and she's been like this all afternoon."

Sora gave a nonchalant "Hmm" in response. But inwardly, he was impressed by the diligence of Bes, who had not taken a day to contact Sasha.

"Ugh!" Annoyed by her friend's distracted state, Rebecca crawled across the sofa to sit next to Sasha, snapping her fingers in front of Sasha's face and exclaiming, "Earth to Sasha!"

"What? Rebecca, I was listening!" Sasha replied, trying to hide her obvious distraction, and upon noticing Sora sitting at the table, "Oh, you're here too?... Hi," She added without hiding her lack of enthusiasm towards him.

Sora, not caring too much, raised his beer and nodded his head, returning Sasha's 'unfriendly' greeting, as he opened his helmet automatically revealing his mouth and took a swig of his beer.

"Girl, we're wondering if you're actually going to take that mysterious job," Dorio asked.

"I don't know yet. I want to meet with her face-to-face before getting involved in anything... Maine, Dorio, there's something that's been bothering me. If I accept, I might be..." Sasha began.

"Don't worry, girl. It's okay. It seems important to you. We'll have to find another Netrunner to replace you, but you're too good to lose. Your spot will always be secure if you want to keep working with us. But... if things get complicated or you need help... you know where to find us, okay?" Maine reassured her.

"Yes, thanks, Maine," Sasha replied, smiling at Maine as she stood up and added, "I'm going to get in touch with her, see if we can meet up. We'll talk later, guys."

"Sure thing! Take care, girl," Maine said, also smiling.

"Yeah, and be careful," Dorio added in harmony with Maine.

"Sasha, do you want me to come with you?" Rebecca asked, concerned about her secretive friend who didn't share much.

"No, I have to do this on my own, Rebecca.... I'm sorry" Sasha replied, feeling guilty for turning down Rebecca's honest offer of help.

"Goodbye, Girl," Pilar said in a close tone as Sasha passed by her.

"Goodbye, Pilar," Sasha responded in kind.

"..." Sasha as he passed by Sora's side.... 

"...." She didn't say anything, but upon seeing the small head poking out from Sora's shoulder, she couldn't help but say, "Goodbye, little one," while patting his little head.

Eco, mimicking Sora's mannerisms, responded with a cold nod of his little head, clearly disliking Sasha's attitude toward his human, whom she hadn't even said goodbye to.

As she left, Eco jumped off Sora's shoulder and walked over the Sofa in front of everyone's eyes, towards the depressed Rebecca, cheering her up as he put his little paw on her leg. Causing Rebecca to stare at him for a moment, before quickly grabbing him between her arms, instantly restoring her mood.

Sora turned to Maine after witnessing Sasha's almost affectionate tone and asked, "Oi, Maine, why don't you treat me that nicely too?" while pointing at himself with a finger.

"Because you're not a charming girl, you're more like... the annoying neighbor who makes noise and doesn't let you sleep on weekends," Maine replied with an accurate analogy, taking a sip of his beer.

"How nice! And here I was thinking of offering you a job." Sora responded, feigning indignation at Maine's spot-on comparison, grabbing the attention of everyone at the table.

"Huh? What are you talking about?" Maine asked.

"I'm looking for a handful of Edgerunners I can use for my convenience and possibly have them kill..." Sora replied, taking another sip of his beer.

"You certainly know how to sell your jobs..." Pilar said ironically, considering changing professions after listening to him.

Despite the way he had presented it, Sora threw out a bait that would make most merc's bite, when he added; "But... the payment is good."

"What's the payment?" Maine asked.

"What do you want?" Sora replied, metaphorically giving them a blank check. This caused...

"..." Maine...

"..." Dorio...

"..." Pilar...

"..." And Rebecca to remain silent in the face of Sora's irresistible offer.

Until Pilar asked, "Are you serious?"

"I am. What do you want? Weapons? Cyberware? Eddies? I can manage any of the three." Sora responded.

"Hoh! Look at you, talking like a big shot. So, kid, if I were to ask about that fancy Cyberware that the rumors say you've got inside you, capable of sending Smasher flying, what would you say?" Maine inquired, testing Sora and referring to the rumors circulating about him.

"I would say that, 'it wouldn't be of much use to you', and you wouldn't be the only one interested. From what I'm hearing on the mic I planted in Rogue's booth, it seems like IEC is the fifth corporation she's met with today, all of them asking for information about me and my 'fancy' cyberware. With IEC being the third corporation to suggest an unreasonable amount of Eddis to Rogue for betraying me... and take it off my corpse," Said Sora repeating the information he was gathering, as if it was someone else's problem.

Causing the Booth to fall silent, with Pilar being the first to speak when he asked, half-jokingly, "So, is she going to do it? Because if she betrays you, I don't think your gig will last long."

"For now, it doesn't seem like she's too inclined to help them, but who knows..." Sora responded, taking another sip of his beer.

"The Queen of the Afterlife isn't someone who does such things!" Rebecca exclaimed, more agitated by the situation than Sora himself.

"You don't know that, Rebecca. It's true that Rogue has the best reputation as a Fixer in the city among the Mercs... but she's no longer one, she's a Fixer, and like any of them, they all have a price," Maine added, speaking from experience.

"Kid, aren't you worried she might do it?" Dorio added to Maine's words.

"That's why I'm keeping an eye on her, but... as Rebecca said, I don't think Rogue would agree. But and I repeat; 'who knows?'" Sora shrugged, and lightening the heavy atmosphere, asked; "So, what's your answer to my offer?"

"What would the job be, and how long would it last?" Dorio asked.

"The job would be Security," Sora replied.

"Huh? 'Security'? Are you kidding?" Pilar added, somewhat puzzled by the mundane job that didn't seem as dangerous as Sora had portrayed it and was willing to pay for.

"No, I'm not kidding. I want you to protect the Iron Beast headquarters for at least a month," Sora said.

"Is that your... wait! A month? Kid, that's a long time without earning a single Eddie," Maine said.

"Don't worry about the Eddies. I can pay you a salary" Sora added.

"Are you saying that you'll pay us a salary, in addition to the upgrade!?" Rebecca interjected.

"That's right, I'll pay you a salary, in addition to the upgrade, and the Cyeberware it'll be upfront. The sooner you have it, the better you'll be able to do your job," Sora affirmed.

"Even... a Sandevistan?!" Rebecca quickly asked, enthusiastic.

"!" Drawing the attention of the other three, who, along with her, stared at Sora, waiting for his answer regarding the coveted military-grade Cyberware that any Merc would kill to have.

Sora smiled and said, "Even a Sandevistan, with a Neural-port personally crafted by me, which, you won't even notice is implanted in your spine. What do you say, Maine? You've shown interest in my rumored Cyberware before... If that's what you want, I'm willing to make one for you."

Although Sora's words might make anyone listening doubt, everyone at the table knew who was hiding behind Okami's helmet, with the small Eco that Rebecca was playing with as a reminder of the promising company he co-founded and wanted them to protect.

This left Maine in momentary silence, hesitating between choosing the Sandevistan, like the others, or the enigmatic Cyberware with the potential to enhance his strength to the point of sending someone like Smasher airborne.

Recalling Sora's earlier words, Maine asked before making a decision, "Hey, earlier you said your Cyberware wouldn't be of much use to me."

Sora, who had been expecting Maine's question, thought he could kill two birds with one stone and replied, "That's because the 'Gear Limit' works by enhancing organic muscle, and you, Maine, don't have much of that... do you?"

Sora's words caused Maine to look at his metallic hands negatively for the first time, which were getting heavier to carry every day, starting to feel how they were starting to overpower him. Even now, as he looked at them, Maine could see how his hands trembled slightly...

Not being the only one who noticed, Sora added, "That's why I'm offering you this, to change the mistaken image you have of me. In addition to a Sandevistan, I'm willing to install the 'Gear Limit.' in you. But, with one condition... you'd have to remove one of your two arms."

"Hey! Why does he get two and we—" Pilar could not finish his complaints about the preferential treatment of Maine. When a sudden shout interrupted him.

"SHUT UP, PILAR!" Dorio's shout, lacking her usual patience to tolerate Pilar's complaints. it was the first time she had found a potential solution or at least a more hopeful path for Maine, fully aware of the price Maine was paying and how it would only get worse because of those 'damned' cybernetic arms.

That's why Dorio reacted this way to Pilar's complaints, grabbing the attention of everyone in the booth and around it, even startling Rebecca and Eco, who ended up hugging each other. Being possibly the only way to convince the stubborn Maine that he'd rather die than undergo a downgrade to his cyberware.

In the calmest tone she could muster, though unable to completely contain her enthusiasm, Dorio said, "I apologize for the interruption, please continue."

Sora smiled before continuing, "I'm not asking you to stay one-armed. For the 'Limit Gear' to work on you, besides a hell of an operation to reinforce your circulatory system and heart, we'd need to cultivate an arm from your DNA. And it can't be just any arm; it would have to be an organically modified arm with bones made from a resilient alloy and enhanced organic muscle. Luckily, I happen to know someone who can make you an arm like that."

"Why would you go through all that trouble, kid? What you're saying costs a little fortune. Why would you spend it on me?" Maine said, as hopeful as he was skeptical about the too-good-to-be-true offer.

"What does that matter? How long have we known each other, two and a half years, right? Since my first week as a mercenary"

"Three years, if we count when you were unconscious. We even know your grandfather! Right?" Dorio chimed in, overly excited, thinking that the higher the number, the better for this situation. Even looking at Pilar, making him nod against his will, still remembering the blow from Sora's grandfather.

"All that matters is that I'm willing to do it. My reasons are inconsequential compared to what you earn, but since I know you won't settle with that, I'll tell you what I've said to you countless times in these three years, something you don't like to hear: those arms you're sporting," Sora pointed at Maine's "damned" arms with a finger, adding, "are going to end up killing you, and not just you..."

"Again with that!" Maine exclaimed forcefully, hitting the table and denting it, annoyed every time he heard it... believing it without understanding why.

With silence prevailing over the booth after Maine's table-thumping, the bar erupted in cheers as the defeated corpo's group left, supporting each other, with the representative Rogue had been talking to, leading the way, eager to get out of the Afterlife as quickly as possible.

A few seconds later, in the quiet booth, one of Rogue's entourage approached and said, "Rogue can meet with you now"

"Great! Tell her I'm currently engaged in an important conversation. She can come and wait for us to finish" Without glancing at the shocked Rogue's entourage member again, Sora turned to Maine and asked, "So, what's it going to be?"

-

Having spent 33 minutes...

In Aoi's favorite shopping district within District Zero, a place she had been visiting since her first week in Night City and where she usually took Sora, when he was a kid. Formed by several floors filled with luxurious stores in one of the skyscrapers surrounding the corporate center.

Musashi and Aoi, their arms entwined happily, were finishing up their shopping as they prepared to enter their last stop, a small shop featuring gourmet products from around the world.

They stopped and stared at a young boy, about 14 or 15 years old, running as fast as he could through the shopping district. He stood out among the shoppers due to his worn and dirty clothes, which made him look out of place. He entered the small shop just before Musashi and Aoi.

Curious, they too entered the shop and positioned themselves right behind the nervous boy, who was impatiently waiting his turn in front of the store counter. When it was the boy's turn, both Aoi and Musashi could see the disgust on the shopkeeper's face as he looked at his "next customer."

In the absence of words from the shopkeeper, it was the boy himself who said, "I'd like to buy... Ume? Ure? Ah, yes! 'Ure-mochi' plums! Japanese pickled plums, please!" The boy finished with a bow to the Western shopkeeper, as it was one of the few things he knew about Japanese culture. He thought it was a Japanese product store rather than a gourmet shop, as it actually was.

Musashi and Aoi couldn't help but stifle their impending laughter upon hearing the boy in front of them incorrectly naming the Umeboshi plums, and seeing his unnecessary reverence.

Their lively mood It didn't last long, before they witnessed the shopkeeper's treatment of the boy, who, with a look of disgust on his face, refused to sell him anything and insulted the young vagabond in front of him, saying, "Get out of here, 'riff-raff' Haven't you realized where you are? We don't sell to your kind, and I highly doubt you have the Eurodollars to buy anything here." He added, readjusting his tie pedantically, "This store only serves 'upstanding citizens' of Night City! So, scram before I call security."

"No, please, I have the Eddies," begged the boy, showing a black chip in his hand.

The shopkeeper's words and the boy's reaction, despite having done nothing wrong, stirred something in Musashi, especially when he heard words like "riff-raff" and "upstanding citizens," the same expressions he had used himself.

This prompted Musashi, 'And who draws that line' while hearing Sora's voice in his head again, to stare at the shopkeeper behind the boy and with a short and icy "Oi," accompanied by a dangerous intent, made the pompous seller's expression turn paler.

"Why don't you want to sell to the boy? Huh? He says he has the Eddies, don't waste any more time and... sell them to him!" Musashi said, with a tone that even surprised himself, almost resembling... his grandson.

The boy, after hearing the familiar "Oi," almost identical to what he had heard exactly 35 minutes ago, turned around and stared at the intimidating figure of the man behind him.

Dressed in a suit, without a tie, with pronounced muscles around his neck, and a face with a ferocious expression that emphasized the black patch covering one of his eyes, while the elegant woman accompanying him had a serene and amused smile on her face.

The shopkeeper didn't waste a moment, leaving the counter and picking up the vacuum-sealed bag of plums, but instead of handing it to the boy due to Musashi's intimidating attitude, he handed it to him. 

Musashi had a bad taste in his mouth because of the terms he used, sounding more like the pedantic shopkeeper. Took the bag with the intention of buying them for the boy. 

Aoi, knowing her husband and aware of his intentions, turned to the boy and said, "How about we buy them for you? As an apology for the rude treatment from the ill-mannered shopkeeper."

"No!" exclaimed the boy, though he felt grateful for their intervention, he stubbornly said, "I have the money to buy them!" He extended his hand toward the intimidating Musashi and audibly swallowed, hoping he would hand them over... and after a few seconds of maintaining eye contact, he made another bow, looking away.

"As you wish, kid. Tell whoever sent you that 'He' has good taste. Take them," said Musashi, handing the bag over, making a small self-praise.

Once again, in front of Musashi and Aoi, the boy took out the matte black chip and inserted it into the counter's slot to pay with it. He left as quickly as he had entered, but as he left, he turned around and shouted, "Thank you!" to Musashi and Aoi who had helped him from outside the store.

As the boy left, having recognized the distinctive matte black chip he used to pay, with an elegant blue line, Aoi said, "I hope you enjoy the Umeboshi, dear."

"Um, it just makes me more anxious about what Sora is waiting to tell me, if he has to resort to bribes," Musashi replied with a sigh.

-

40 minutes since Sora had placed the order.

Back in the Afterlife club, Rogue, having waited for Sora in her booth for several minutes, and knowing how stupidly stubborn he could be, reluctantly decided to take the initiative. She almost regretted turning down the outrageous offers from corporations like IEM, Militech, and Arasaka to betray him.

As Rogue made her way toward Maine's booth. Sora seemed to be engaged in a, surprisingly to her, serious conversation. She observed how Maine nodded his head one last time before Sora suddenly rose, and from his black wrist, a rather large, menacing black needle extended, moving toward the fearful Maine, who was now shaking his head and trying to escape.

Maine's partner, Dorio, intervened, pouncing on him and instructing Pilar and Rebecca to assist her. With the two siblings holding Maine's arms, along with the little Eco doing his best to help. While Sora, with his helmet open through his mouth, could be seen wearing a sadistic grin as he approached Maine, and plunged the imposing black needle into his neck, making Maine scream like a little girl.

Rogue found herself staring at the chaotic group with everyone essentially on top of Maine, with an expression on her face, clearly conveying her thoughts of; 'What the fuck are you doing?'

After a brief "Ping" and a green light at the base of the needle still embedded in Maine's neck, Sora withdrew the needle and with a flick of the wrist retracted it into his arm. As if nothing had happened, he sat back down and, he ask what would be his new catchphrase to Rogue. "So, have you betrayed me yet?"

She responded by tossing a small, triangular black device with tiny protruding filaments on one of its sides, onto the table. As she returned Sora's microphone, she answered, "I'll do it when I'm sure you're not listening," smiling as she claimed the booth for herself.

"Hmh!" Sora replied with an endearing noise, placing his hand over his heart, and said, "How considerate." Meanwhile, Eco "released" Maine and growled at Rogue, as he stepped over rogue's legs, to climb back onto his human shoulder and there, staring at her "threateningly," not fully grasping the ironic tone of their relationship.

"So, why did you want to talk to me?" Sora inquired.

"Have you finished your 'important conversation' that brought me all the way here?" she added, her annoyance evident.

In response to Rogue's complaints, Sora quipped, "Oh, poor queen had to move three steps in her own bar!" As he then examined the DNA sample he had just extracted from Maine, he repeated; "So, what did you want?"

"My complaints aren't about the 'three steps,' it's about having to be ME, the one to come to see you in MY bar. But aside from that, how about giving me a heads-up on your damn plans to confront Smasher... it was you, wasn't it?" Rogue clarified.

"The one who almost finished off Smasher? Yes, it was me" Sora replied distractedly.

Rogue clarified, "No, I mean the one who blew up the Ebunike."

Rogue's words made everyone, except for one person, look at Sora in surprise, recalling the supposed terrorist attack at the Arasaka port, with the person responsible for the Ebunike explosion sitting in their booth

Maine and Dorio turned to the surprisingly quiet Rebecca, who suspiciously avoided their gazes. While Pilar was the first to ask, "No way, was it you?" Quickly connecting the dots in his mind, he added, "Wait, don't tell me all those weapons at our house are from Sma-AAAHH!" He couldn't finish due to Rebecca's sudden stomp, which silenced him with a cry of pain.

"I have no idea what made you think it was me," Sora responded.

"Aside from the faces, your hurried friend who doesn't know where to look is making. I knew it was you when I found out that you got Smasher to attack you at the Gala, with the song..." Rogue glanced at Eco on Sora's shoulder and continued, "Black Dog. I imagine it was the same song you used before blowing up the ship, right?"

Sora, before answering Rogue, he told her "Just a second," turning to Rebecca and exclaiming "Rebecca! Seriously, WTF!"

"What!? I didn't say anything!" she said, trying to defend herself.

"It doesn't matter if you didn't say it; if your face gives you away, idiot!" Sora retorted.

"Don't call me 'idiot'. What do you want me to do!" Rebecca asked annoyed.

"Am I dealing with a 12-year-old here? Learn to lie, for fuck's sake! If you can't keep a poker face, at least wear a helmet or a mask to hide it," Sora gave Rebecca a response she hadn't considered, and looking at his illuminated helmet.

She, In the same tone they were arguing in, said, "Fine, make me one!"

"Alright!" Sora replied in the same manner. Though pissed off, he immediately agreed to Rebecca's demand as it was about her.

After that brief exchange, Sora turned to Rogue calmly, as if she or anyone else in the booth could have heard his conversation with Rebecca, and shamelessly said, "You're quite the cynic; I bet if you saw an old man fall, you'd think I pushed him... Don't get me wrong, I'm flattered, but it wasn't me!"

Sora then leaned towards Rogue, as if she had a microphone in her cleavage, and said, "I'm a model citizen who pays his taxes, incapable of committing an act labeled as terrorism by our beloved and capable government of the N.U.S.A!, N.U.S.A!, N.U.S.A!" Ending up chanting like a patriotic enthusiast the new acronym of New United State of America, while raising his arm.

Maine, Dorio, and Pilar had to restrain themselves from laughing, with Rogue sitting in front of them. Meanwhile, Rogue had to silently curse within herself and grit her teeth while maintaining a smile on her face.

Trying to react as little as possible, having experience dealing with characters like Sora, and not wanting to give him the satisfaction of seeing his antics have an effect on her.

"Whatever you say... I've called you here because someone asked me to do it. I was surprised to hear that 'he' was in city. I'd heard rumors that you'd fought someone on Urmland Street in Little China, but to find out it was-," Rogue had to interrupt her words when a new commotion erupted in the Afterlife,

Adding, "It seems he's already here." As a man with a black long coat, featuring geometric patterns and pyramid textures. Covering half of his face, smoking a cigar, with the high collar of his coat, entered.

Most of the mercenaries, who recognized him, remained silent when they saw him, and those who didn't, did so when some of his comrades told them which legend they had in front of them. 

Morgan crossed the bar, and after not finding Rogue in her usual booth, he looked at her entourage, who pointed him in her direction. Causing Morgan to smile with his cigar in his mouth at the sight of Sora and Rogue, heading towards them.

As Morgan arrived, he nodded to the people around the table and sat comfortably next to Rogue. Creating a striking group had gathered in the same booth, with Maine, Dorio, Pilar, Rebecca, Sora, Rogue, and the newly arrived legend, Morgan Blackhand.

Morgan glanced at Sora and said, "What? Now you're not going to throw a tantrum because I planted myself in your apartment, are you?"

"Nope, I won't. Although a call would have worked just as well." Sora answered.

"If I had done that, then..." Morgan paused, turned to Rogue and with a charming smile he said; "I wouldn't have had the pleasure of seeing and saying; 'Hi, Rogue, you're looking as stunning as ever.'"

With a flattered smile, Rogue replied, "Same goes for you, Morgan. It's been many years since the last time you graced Night City with your presence."

As Sora witnessed Morgan's "close" relationship with Rogue, which had probably been "intimate" at some point, he remarked, "Go to a geriatric home, you're making the beer taste bad."

"Sure, Kid, we've got work to do, remember?" Morgan responded.

"I'm injured, remember?" Sora replied in the same manner, moving his immobile arm against his chest. "Besides, I have a meeting with the old man in a bit... it's important."

"Don't worry, our meeting with Night Corp is scheduled for a couple of hours from now. The sole survivor is still unconscious. We can meet with your grandfather first."

Hearing about the "sole" survivor, Sora recalled the news he had heard on the radio and asked, "The Night Corp server shit?"

Morgan nodded and said, "The Night Corp server shit, yes"

Sora fell silent, pondering whether the culprits might be the group of hobos led by Gear, whom he had encountered in the landfill, along with their mysterious 'Master.' Despite his reservations about working for Lazarus, this thought made Sora agree to assist Morgan with his mission. 'Tch... fine! We'll be leaving in about 10-20 minutes, as soon as an errand that I have done, arrives."

Morgan confirmed and said, "By the way, Avaray called me. He plans to visit the Iron Beast headquarters tomorrow."

"Great, these would be the mercs he'd lead as head of security," Sora remarked, pointing his thumb at Maine and Co.

"Huh, so you guys are the kid's merc friends? Pleasure to meet you I'm-" He was unable to finish, when two excited siblings intervened.

"Morgan Blackhand!" Pilar and Rebecca exclaimed simultaneously.

"We're huge fans! We even worked for you once!" Exclaimed the shameless Rebecca, surprisingly to the rest, somewhat embarrassed.

"Oh, is that so? Where was that? I haven't been to Night City in nearly 20 years," Morgan replied, finding it odd that they had worked for him.

"In Anchorage," Pilar answered.

This prompted Morgan to have an epiphany, recalling two siblings, and he said, "Wait! Are you two the siblings who guided me through the city and to whom I gave a few eddies?"

"Yes! Mr. Blackhand, and don't say they were just a few eddies. Two kids with 1000 eddies in Anchorage is reason enough to kill, and they were the first eddies we saved to get out... we always wanted to say 'Thank you' if we ever saw you again," Pilar said, surprisingly serious, with Rebecca adding, "Thank you" as well.

"Heh, no need to thank me. I just paid you for your work. Thanks for guiding me through that hellhole," Morgan turned to Maine and Dorio, who hadn't spoken yet, and said, "You two are definitely not from there. Maybe you," Morgan pointed at Dorio, "But definitely not you, although you're trying to hide it... you've been in the military, haven't you? What? Served in The Unification War a few years back?"

"Thank God I got out of that shit before the war started, but yes, I enlisted and participated in the small conflicts before the Free States unilaterally declared their independence from the N.U.S.A, and the war began," Maine replied with respect and sincerity, but normally, taking another sip of his beer to wash away the memories of that time.

"You were lucky then," Morgan said.

"Yeah, luckier than many," Maine responded.

"Yes..." Morgan raised his recently arrived drink from one of the waitresses and raised it to Maine, saying, "To those who weren't so lucky."

Clank! Maine clinked his beer against Morgan's.

They continued talking amicably for another 17 minutes until Rebecca, remembering something interesting, looked at Sora and Morgan and asked, "Rogue, mentioned earlier that you two faced off... who won?"

Both fell silent, looking at each other for a moment before saying simultaneously, "I obviously did," "I did."

Their differing opinions led to a heated exchange. "Are you blind, old man?" "Kid, I barely even tried."

"Neither did I, old man. What, do you want a rematch?" Sora asked.

"Huh, weren't you injured? When you lose, do you want to use it as an excuse?" Morgan said, looking at Sora's immobilized arm.

"Old man, that's even better! When I beat you, you won't be able to cry like a baby and say 'you weren't trying,'" Sora's words caused them to face off from their respective spots in the booth.

But when Sora's gaze turned toward the entrance, Morgan did the same. They both saw a blond, dirty-haired boy in shabby clothes trying to enter the bar but being stopped by the bouncer, who grabbed him by his coat.

Unable to stop the boy, he shrugged off his coat and passed under the bouncer's legs, shouting, "Mr. Okami, I got 'em!" while waving a bag of plums in his hand. The boy's face lit up with relief as he saw Sora still inside the bar, worried about his 8-minute delay. 

However, the boy's shouts caught the attention of one of the mercs. One of the few people the boy had pushed on his way out, knocking over his drink and staining his clothes. Resulting, when the boy walked past the Merc, he grabbed the boy by the neck and hoisted him into the air, making the boy drop the bag he was holding.

"Brat! The bitch of your mother did not teach you anything before dumping you? do you know what you've done? Give me the eddies for my drink and to clean my armor, you wretch!" the merc demanded.

The boy screamed, "I don't have a mother, let go of me!" as he struggled in the merc's grip, fearing that someone would step on the bag of plums, inadvertently breaking it with his attempts to free himself, the ridiculous circular sunglasses the merc was wearing.

Annoyed, the merc raised his right arm with the intention of hitting the boy, in a fit of anger. At least he had the sense not to use his cybernetic left arm, which would likely have killed him.

Seeing this, Rogue, noticing how Morgan and Sora were watching the situation intensify, chose not to intervene. Instead, she sighed as she watched them both disappear simultaneously.

When the merc's fist was about to connect, the boy closed his dark green eyes in fear, getting ready for the imminent blow, only to reopen them when he heard the impact, but not the expected force and pain that should have followed.

When the boy opened his eyes, he saw a black hand gripping the fist that was about to strike him, and a silver weapon at the end of a black arm pointed at the merc's head, freezing him in place.

Sora was momentarily annoyed by the taciturn attitude of the Afterlife mercs, who, despite the rule of "no weapons in the Afterlife" and the reason he hadn't drawn his own, had not dared to draw and aim their weapons at Morgan, who had broken the rule by drawing his silver Colt AMT Model 2000... revealing the unconscious preferential treatment the mercs gave to a legend.

Without needing to say it aloud, Sora tightened his grip on the merc's fist with his black arm, while Morgan, pissed off, let out a puff of smoke from his cigar into the merc's face, pointing the barrel of his Colt at his head. It was one of the things Morgan disliked the most: adults hitting children, just like his father did to him.

The merc with a grimace of pain, and seeing how all his companions remained motionless despite the weapon pointed at him, let go of the boy, and with an almost robotic movement, slowly raised the only arm he could.

The boy fell to his rear and, before getting up, lunged for the somewhat crushed bag of plums, protecting them with his body as he got to his feet.

Sora, still holding the merc's fist, looked at him and said, "Here, for your drink, for cleaning your shitty clothes, the stupid glasses, and for your Ripperdoc," Moving his left arm, which was in a splint, he pulled out another black chip from the left side of his helmet, containing a few thousand Eddies.

Tossing the chip at Merc's feet, he concluded; "And this is for acting like a fucking pig of the Ncpd" He punctuated his words with a twist of his black hand, creating an unpleasant noise as he also twisted the merc's fist. Who screamed in pain and dropped to his knees, clutching his broken wrist.

The pale young man, shocked by what he had just witnessed, turned to Sora, who looked at him and said, "Let's go," leaving the bar as he bid farewell to Maine's booth, with Eco on his shoulder imitating him, saying goodbye too. Morgan followed suit, but before leaving, he silenced the Merc's screams by shattering his jaw with a brutal knee strike, knocking him out. Then, he then bid farewell to the booth, just like Sora, before exiting the bar.

The young man snapped back to reality as they exited the bar, with all present staring at him. He hurriedly left the bar, following them.

Outside, Morgan activated the autopilot on his black Rayfield Caliburn with copper-accented. Stopping, along with the characteristic noise of the autopilot shutting down, in front of them at the entrance to the Afterlife alley. Morgan then, "seated" the perplexedly boy, in the gap between the seats. 

The three of- "Waaf!" The four of them headed to the address Sora reluctantly provided, of his new apartment in Heywood.

-

When they arrived, Morgan had no intention of waiting in the car, neither to leave the kid alone in his Calibur, so he took him out and followed Sora into the sturdy building with giant red-metal beams reinforcing its structure. The boy, not having been told otherwise, followed them.

Once inside, the lobby was clean with practical and functional decor, featuring brick walls, indirect lighting, and metal beams serving as columns and crossbeams on the ceiling.

There were several high-ranking Valentinos chatting amongst themselves who greeted Sora upon seeing his Okami helmet entering. Sora also greeted the "charming" woman in red and gold chrome, the Valentinos' colors, who was smoking behind the reception desk.

On the top floor, Sora opened the Penthouse door, turned on the lights, and let Morgan and the kid in.

Morgan whistled in awe at Sora's new Penthouse and wasted no time heading to the bar, pouring himself a drink, while the kid, with wide eyes, eagerly looked at the view from the apartment and then tentatively touched the elegant billiard table.

Just as he touched it, the boy heard an "Oi" that made him quickly pull his hand away, only to be followed by an affable offer and a trivial question he wasn't expecting.

"What's your name, kid? If you're hungry, there are pre-cooked rations in the fridge," Sora offered, while casually tossing his jacket and the annoying splint immobilizing his arm into the armored room.

"My name is Mathew Earnhardt," Mathew replied proud of his name.

Sora, upon hearing Mathew's proud tone, played along, whistling in amazement under his helmet. "Shhhs, quite the name!"

"Where have I heard 'Earnhardt' before?" Morgan commented as he interrupted his drink, adding with raised eyebrows, "Kid... don't tell me your father was a racer?"

Mathew shifted his green eyes away from Morgan's gaze as he remembered his father, responding slowly, "Yes..."

Seeing Mathew's change in demeanor, Sora opened the fridge and microwaved one of the pre-cooked meals for a few seconds. "Here you go, kid," he handed it to Mathew, granting Mathew's iDn permission to control the apartment's large TV.

With his mood restored as he ate a hot meal and planted himself in front of the huge Tv, Sora approached Morgan at the bar to inquire about the boy's old man.

Morgan sighed deeply before beginning his tale. "A tragic story, the father's name was Jack Earnhardt. At the start of his Formula H2 racing career, he was a formidable driver."

"Hmm," Sora responded thoughtfully, reflecting on what he knew about hypercar racing. Besides working with CHOOH2, hence its name. Formula H2 was known for its mind-car synchronization technology, similar to what was used in military hovertanks like the Basilisk. But it was taken to extremes in these races, where drivers became almost an extension of their vehicles, allowing them to perform incredible maneuvers but also exposing them to deadly dangers, as any damage to the car was felt by the driver's mind.

Morgan continued as Sora pondered: "However, abusive contracts with sponsors, with clauses that penalized Jack if he had a bad streak in races, were what sank him. At first, it wasn't a big problem, as he remained an exceptional driver, but the corporations sponsoring him reached a point where they profited more if Jack lost.

They turned other second-rate drivers they sponsored against him, to make Jack the target in races, causing him to abandon many of them, due to multiple crashes and wrecked cars, although miraculously, he always managed to get out alive"

"All that crap," Morgan went on, "led him to accumulate a massive debt with his former sponsors, and he was forced to rig races as one of their 'goons' on the tracks. Finally, in the final of a Grand Prix, where he was supposed to let the new star of several corporations win, Jack had had enough. He raced like no one had ever seen, climbing positions and even surpassing drivers with better cars, turning it into a legendary race, a favorite among many motor fans, including myself."

"Ahmm..." Morgan let out a sudden sigh, his expression turning somber. "I can still remember him being excited, saying in the post-race interview just after getting out of the car, 'I've had the race of my life, thinking of my son,'" Morgan said as he watched the young vagabond eating in front of the TV with a smile on his face.

"And it was exactly that... 'the race of his life.' He lost his life just hours later in a car accident on his way home... Can you believe it?" Morgan asked rhetorically, with a melancholic glint in his eyes. "A man who had raced like no other, according to official reports, lost control of his car and went off the road... It's... really sad," Morgan concluded with a heavy heart.

As Sora was about to answer something to lighten the mood, ["Bzzzd"] the intercom buzzed. Sora approached it, allowing his grandfather Musashi to enter the building. Then, he turned to Mathew with his mouth full and with his hands extended, said to Mathew, "Kid, the Umeboshi."

Mathew stopped eating and pulled a bag of plums out of his coat on the sofa, tossing them to Sora's hands .He grabbed a couple of ochoko cups and headed upstairs, telling Morgan, "When he arrives, tell him to go up to the rooftop using the stairs."

"Got it!" Morgan replied, adding something he was curious about, "Hey, kid, what do you plan to tell him?"

"Morgan, you've met Ojii's three sons, right?"

"Hm!?" Alarmed by the sudden mention of Musashi's sons, Morgan asked with some regret, "Yeah, kid, why do you ask?"

Sora, from the second floor, looked seriously into Morgan's eyes at the bar and asked, "How...?"

-

["Ding."] The doorbell chimed.

"Welcome to the Men's Den! We've got food and booze!" Morgan wasted no time in opening the door.

"Morgan?" Musashi asked in surprise.

"What's up, Musashi?" Morgan replied.

"I was expecting to find Sora. Which apartment is this?" Musashi inquired, double-checking the doorframe number before stepping inside.

"Well, it seems to be your grandson's secret apartment," Morgan replied, allowing Musashi to enter.

When Mathew saw the newcomer, he exclaimed, "Ah!" Much like Musashi, whoi smiled and said, "Hello again, kid. Looks like you've completed your mission."

"Do you know Mathew?" Morgan asked a bit surprised

"His name is Mathew? Nice name. Yes, I met him a few hours ago when I was shopping with Aoi," Musashi said, not giving much importance to his words.

Without realizing that Morgan would use them to complain, "How nice of you to brag about having a woman in front of a bachelor. A classy man as always, Musashi,"

At Morgan's irony, Musashi replied in annoyance with sincerity "Morgan you scoundrel! You've been single for as long as I've known you!" 

"That's because no woman knows what I've endured!" Morgan replied unperturbed, taking another puff on his cigar.

Unable to contain himself any longer, Mogan's behavior made the young Mathew laugh "Pfhahah, I-I'm sorry I didn't mean to-" Only to quickly try to excuse himself as if he had done something wrong by laughing, that could get him kicked out

"Calm down, kid. That's why I say nonsense like that all the time. Hey, do you know how to play pool?" Morgan said to reassure Mathew.

"No," he replied.

And Morgan responded, "Well, let me teach you," before turning to Musashi and pointing upstairs. "As for you, Musashi, he's waiting for you upstairs, by the second-floor exit, to the rooftop."

"Morgan, do you know what Sora wants to talk to me about?" Musashi asked.

"Yes and no. I know something, and I'll tell you as I said to Sora when he asked me, 'If he hasn't told you anything yet, there must be a reason,'" Morgan said, curious about the conversation they would have but expecting them to tell him later.

"Tch, not very helpful," Musashi complained.

Causing Morgan to chuckle and add, "He told me the same thing."

-

As Musashi climbed the narrow spiral staircase to the rooftop, the wind whipped against his face, and he was met with a spectacular view of Night City at sunset.

With Sora sitting on one of the two cheap folding chairs he had set up, facing a small table with two ochoko cups and a blue label of his favorite brand of Sake, various types of roll-your-own cigarettes, some of them are surprisingly green, and a mix of Musashi's favorite snacks, including some slightly crushed umeboshi plums.

This made Musashi smile, as he sat down next to his grandson who had gone to so much trouble. He remained silent until Sora mentally prepared himself, not quite sure how to begin. It was then that he said, "Ojii-san, before I tell you what I think I've discovered... Aoi Obaa-san told me the story of my older uncle Miyamoto, Uncle Hiroyuki told me Ishida's story. I know you've never wanted to talk about them... but I would like you to tell me how the youngest of my three uncles, Tashin Hatake, 'supposedly' died."

Musashi, upon hearing Sora's request, and before answering, felt a lump in his throat as he thought of his children, especially young Tashin.