Bright neon lights lit up the alley where a small corner store that only had a few employees was situated. Inside this store, a young man named Ayden Townson was currently getting some of the worst news he could get at this moment and time. "Look Ayden, it's not that I do not want to keep you on, but there was a complaint from one of the other staff against you."
Ayden stood there, not understanding what the boss meant. He hardly talked with the others and always did his job. Yeah, he might be a bit dirtier than the others due to always saving the hot water for his baby sister, but that did not mean he didn't wipe his body down every night with some cold water. His clothes were old because he only bought what he needed once a year, so they would sometimes have tears and rips in them, but they were still fairly clean. "Boss, is there really no way to keep me on?"
The middle aged man with a cybernetic eye sighed as he shook his head. "Ayden, this is out of my hands. I can only give you this week's pay, and that is it. I am even giving you the credits tax free so you can get a bit more out of the check. I can only say I wish you luck. If you need a reference, I will be happy to supply you with one."
Ayden looked at the chip being handed out to him and frowned. He needed this job as it was paying for his sister's needs and keeping food on the table. Unlike others, he was unable to buy those expensive cybernetics. He was still mostly cybernetic free besides the port just behind his ear that was implanted when he was young. But this was something all newborns got and grew up with because it was needed in today's society. "Thanks…. And sorry for whatever I did…."
Ayden had no idea what he had done, but that was just how it was. He had no means of arguing with his boss, so he could only take his payment and leave. This was his fifth job in the past few months that he was abruptly fired from. It seemed no matter how hard he worked he was still let go for one reason or another.
Feeling quite depressed about this, Ayden walked out of the shop and out onto the neon lit streets. "What kind of bad luck is this…."
Ayden let out a sigh as he stuffed his hands into his pockets and lowered his head as he walked down the crime riddled streets of Neo City. "How am I supposed to explain this to Madi…. " Ayden mumbled under his breath.
He had no idea how he was going to deal with this situation. It was already amazing enough that he had found five jobs so easily in the past few months. But now, he was truly out of options. Unless he sold his organs or became a drug runner, he was not going to make enough money at this time to survive. He could only dip into his savings.
The chattering of the people passing by and the sound of the cars honking as traffic comes to a standstill filled the air. No matter the time of day, the streets were always bustling with some form of traffic. Ayden kept walking with his head lowered, making his way back to his one bedroom apartment that was nothing more than a hole in the wall. But it came with a small bath, kitchen and living area, and a small bedroom which he gave to his baby sister. It was very small, but it was also a lucky find. That was because it was in a more secure building. It was also because of the way this world was that he did not dare take any overnight jobs. And this reduced his ability to find more jobs. He did not wish to leave his baby sister alone past eight at night when the true underworld life began to raise its head.
As he continued walking down the same road he had walked hundreds of times before, Ayden raised his head to look at the path in front of him, only to have something catch his interest from a side alley he was just about to pass by. "Hmmm?"
Stopping his feet, he turned to walk down the alley. This was also something he did often. It was also how he was able to get most of the things his sister needed to keep going to school. He would find different kinds of tech, such as computers and phones that were not as widely used, and fix them up as best as he could so that his sister could stay somewhat up to date for someone without cybernetics. He did not want his sister to be picked on at school for being poor. It was something he worried about the most since the school she got into was one based on a scholarship that she worked hard to get in order to continue her education.
As Ayden knelt down and picked up the headgear, he realized exactly what it was. "A deep dive headset…. If I am not wrong, the other people at my old job were talking about a new game that was just released that allowed you to make real world money in game."
Ayden looked the headset over a few times before looking around to see if there was anything else there of interest. When he saw nothing, he quickly left the alley with the headset in hand. Such headsets would cost thousands of credits. But here, he was able to get one for free. If it only needed a bit of tinkering to get working, he was willing to give the game a try and see if he could make some extra money while he hunted for a new job.
Deep dive VR games allowed you to sleep while playing, so it was perfect for him. He could job hunt during the day and play at night. He had never played games before since he never had the luxury of actually getting such a headset, not to mention he had to drop out of school at fourteen to begin taking care of his baby sister when his parents died during a gang war against the rival Beast gang and the Steamrollers gang.
While this was all a long shot, and he would need to pay a few credits to purchase the game or pay some monthly fee, if what he heard was true and people were making really good money off the game, then he would try to give it a shot. There was no harm in trying, especially if an investment could pay off, but that was only if he could get this headset working.
As he walked home with the new headset, Ayden began to wonder for what reason he was always getting fired. Like this past job, his boss didn't give him a firm reason and only said it was out of his hands. "It's almost as if someone is keeping me from working on purpose…." Ayden couldn't think of anyone he had angered. He never had time for himself since he was always working. He thought maybe it was due to his clothing, but this did not seem to be the case. At least he did not think it was anything to do with this.
With many thoughts in mind, Ayden arrived at this apartment building. He hit the button to buzz the room multiple times in a strange pattern before a sweet voice came over the intercom. "Brother?"
"Mm… Madi let me in…."