Log Title: Dealer Incentives, Mileage May Vary
Summary: A Meth fallen from grace needs a new sleeve to try to escape the prejudices associated with his name.
IC Date: 05/14/2377
OOC Date: 05/14/2018
Related Logs: None
rhysgalen

 

 

Welcome to Sleeves-R-Us! (Name to later be changed when the player is less brain dead)

This rather opulent sleeve resale establishment is perfectly on the legal up and up (honest!) when leasing a sleeve from the Government just won't do. The holos in the main white glossy showroom are tasteful and high definition, showing a myriad of organic options as well as synthetic that the company currently has in stock though when money is no object, surely every customizable option can be found or programmed. Currently a single salesperson is on the floor, dressed in a manner befitting a Meth with his finely tailored suit and shiny shoes. A tablet rests against one forearm where he's undoubtedly playing some game to pass the time as he waits for his next sucker. Er. Customer.

*

It's harder than one would think to decide on a sleeve appearance that is both nondescript and likely to invoke cooperation. For Roland, he's been trading on the Riebald name so long that he really had to think about it as he stared in the mirror, making minute adjustments to the synth's face.

"Why are you worrying so much? This is like putting on your best outfit before you go clothes shopping."

In the end, he settles for a relatively young face, slim of build and narrow of shoulder and waist. It's the kind of body that sample sizes at a fashion show are made for. He tones down the synth's natural inclination towards perfect symmetry with a pair of unneeded black plastic frames. The synth would be entirely suitable if it didn't give him a headache to wear it after a couple of days. He's had to spend time in VR just to get a break from it. His mother blames it on the fact that he had to jack the high end sleeve when it was in the middle of a repair cycle - and they certainly don't have the money to repair it.

Not anymore, at least.

He straightens the lapels on his…well, denim jacket, then steps inside, peering around for signs of staff.

*

Discerning eyes are discerning, and there's just /something/ about an Synth sleeve that becomes apparent to the ex-Praetorian after a moment of observation, watching Roland as he enters the showroom and glances about. It's like Galen's mentally sizing up the pocket book before he springs into action. "Friend, welcome!" He gives his best dazzling smile that has sufficiently paid the bills and allowed for a nice tidy nest egg of commissions thus far. It's a charming sort of cheesy. "I can see your hesitation, but let me ease your trepidation that you are in good hands." Speaking of, his right one juts out. "Galen Sparks. What can I do you for today?"

*

"Well, I'm clearly not looking to buy a vacuum cleaner," says Roland with a bit of a sparkle in those too-clear blue eyes. He doesn't offer his name when he shakes Galen's hand. The warmth of his hand is a bit too even. It's not something anyone who isn't trained to notice these things would pick up on. It is a high-end synth after all. "And if you're seeing dollar signs by looking at me, you shouldn't. I can pay, but probably not the sums you're imagining. People with that kind of cred tend to shop in a different neighbourhood." Defensive, a little. But also observant.

*

"Vacuum cleaners are two doors down, if you tell them I sent you, you might get a discount." The last is said in mock-secret, Galen leaning forward slightly and lowering his head a tad to impart the words which are then punctuated with a laugh. Sparks shakes Roland' hand firmly and friendly before tucking it behind him at the small of his back, while his left arm still wields his little computer. "Whatever you budget, I can put you in the sleeve of your dreams. We have just about everything your heart could desire available, whether you want to go cross or combat but something tells me you're looking for something a little bit more practical. Classically handsome, fit. Leaning towards average with a little bit of oomph, but nothing too in your face about it. Do you see anything that tickles your fancy?"

*

This is a new experience for Roland. Meths don't shop - they order bespoke. He's watched his family customize their cloned sleeves or high end synths, or on occasion - ride in other sleeves. But there was none of this choosing from an available inventory. He didn't enjoy the benefits of being on the top echelon of society nearly as long. He is the baby, after all - but it doesn't take much to skew expectations.

He starts to walk down the aisles, examining the inventory on-hand. "Healthy, yes. Nondescript but not bland. You're not far off." His accent is difficult to place. It's got a clip to it, but it doesn't tie to any nationality or even clearly give him away as a Meth immediately. It has a slightly nasal quality.

*

As he talks, Galen makes adjustments to the holos that are being displayed with little finger strokes on his tablet, culling down the options based on Roland' parameters. Where there were once a hundred male and female options, now it has been narrowed down to twenty or so male choices and consolidated so Roland doesn't have to travel far to see them all. "If there's anything you like in the holos, I can arrange for you to see it in the flesh though we don't permit test drives due to frag and liability." With long strides, he catches up to Roland' side. "Also, if you don't see a particular hair color or eye color you prefer, those can be modified, as well as bio-enhancers add for nearly any option. We also carry a full line of Synths if that's up your alley."

*

Roland flashes a grin at Galen that is both genuine and a bit guarded, "Removing the women that quickly, ay? Is that your salesman's insticts? Are customers so sure about what they actually want to make that call so early in our interactions?" More than just verbal sparring, he seems to be interested in how the other man operates.

He stops walking and then turns to face the other, chin uplifted. His current synth specs don't put him as particularly tall - certainly not to Galen's impressive height. "You are, in a manner of speaking, a tailor. And I trust a tailor more than my own intuition. What would you pick for me?"

*

"Your expression didn't light up when I mentioned combat sleeves or cross sleeves. There wasn't a," Galen wiggles a finger to indicate his own throat. "Jump in your pulse. Dilation of the eyes, nor a quickening of your breath." He so very rarely reveals his tricks of the trade, but then again, he never really gets called out on them either. "So. I made the assumption." He's asked to make a pick, or rather pick what he believes Roland is looking for. At first he stops in front of one holo as if that was his choice. It's physically perfect, muscular and tall. A certain kind of salesman would have pushed it in a second, as no doubt it's one of the most expensive options. But after Galen eyes it for a moment, he presses a button so all other choices dissolve and only one is left which slides over in front of them. "Him. He's attractive but isn't going to turn every head in the room when he enters unless he wants to. His face is honest. The kind you tell your secrets to." And before this gets too down to earth, Galen presses a spot on his screen and his digital clothing dissolves so Roland can see the full 'package' as it were. "And generously appointed without being showy."

*

That reveal provokes a longer assessment from Roland. he looks at Galen's face long past when he's moved to play with the display. He doesn't even look over until the display has changed from the perfect specimen to the one he's selling. There is a very faint capillary response at the removal of clothing that the synth sleeve overdoes a bit. He looks, but doesn't linger, then pretends to be interested primarily in the face. "A little older than I was imagining, but I'd think that would help the price point. Any physical ailments? Neurachem? Bad habits, like smoking or chewing his nails?"

*

Galen doesn't seem to notice the assessment, he just moues his lips and looks down at his readout of the sleeve. "Appearance: Looks like he originally had some tattoos which we've scrubbed. Five foot ten inches. Brown naturally wavy or curly hair. Brown eyes. Birthmark on his lower back…" He presses another button so the image rotates. "Ah, right there." He points a discolored patch of skin the size of a coin. "Medically: had his tonsils removed instead of opting for the pricier care to keep them. Broken tibia as a child which was replaced with a titanium upgrade. You might get a little stiff when it gets cold. Habits: caffeine risk high, alcohol risk low, drug risk nil. All of that is taken into consideration in the pricing. You complete the purchase today, however, I'll cut you an even better deal so I can make quota."

*

"How many previous owners?" asks Roland as he examines the face. It's so strange to stare at someone else's face and imagine how it would look on you. A synth sleeve deals primarily in constructed, rather idealized images. It's honestly why most people can't stand them long-term. Dulled senses aside, nothing matches the full-on sensory experience of a true human meat suit. He exhales softly, then asks, with a touch of shame to his words, "Do you offer any kind of payment plan?"

*

"You're in luck. Just the one who opted for an upgrade." Which is either the truth, what Galen perceives to be the truth, or he's an adept liar. That's the risk with any sort of these operations. Even the ones run by the government can be shady and corrupt, but a sleeve like this isn't the type to end up in the recycle bucket but rather would be leased out for profit in a heartbeat. "Payment plans? We most certainly do!" His smile grows once he feels fairly confident he has Roland on the hook. "If I could just get your DNA marker, we'll see what kind of terms you qualify for while I have our boy sent up from storage." Of course, he fails to mention any of the steep costs for failure to make said payments. "We also offer a trade in option, if you're tired of this sleeve and don't plan to store it." He motions to a pair or doors that lead back into the facility where it will be more comfortable to complete the transaction.

*

"I don't intend to sell this sleeve, no." Even though even a glitchy synth sleeve of this quality could cover the cost of the highest end sleeve that Galen sells and then some. Roland looks a little hesitant when it comes to the DNA scan, but he follows the other man.

When he presses the thumbprint, the name that pops up would first excite, then fade to disappointment. Riebald - a Meth family, and one of the older ones at that. They were early investors in synths, which explains the sleeve he currently wears - and that's where the family made their earlier fortune. But the first name, Roland, brings a great deal of pause. He and his mother, Alma, were excommunicated from the family legacy about three months ago under suspicion of unspecified misconduct. Roland himself was born into the life of a Meth, but the age connected to his stack marks him as only twenty-three. His mother clocks in at three hundred and twenty six. Before Roland was born, Alma hadn't been pregnant in a century. She was protective of her son from the start, and closer to her than the rest of the family. Although Roland wasn't charged with any crime, he was cut off from the family legacy along with his mother.

Credit is…not particularly good. It's not dismal, but he's not deeply liquid. Mother dearest still had some friends, clearly, that made sure her favourite son wasn't destitute. The cost of the sleeve outright would take half of every penny he has. And the payment plan he qualifies for has such strict terms he's better off buying it outright.

*

There is the not so subtle rise of Galen's eyebrows at the name that accompanies the scan, eyes flicking up briefly in surprise before thinking of his manners (and his quota) before they demure again to the screen. He does have to clear his throat, however, before he speaks again. "You can either pay in full or as you can see, here are the payment options laid out for you. Three, five, or ten year options. Interest in compounding. Failure to make a payment may result in the revocation of your sleeve and you'll be iced at your own expense until a replacement is arranged…" The way he just sort of glosses over that is akin to verbally saying 'yada yada' when it comes the fine print. "You'll also need to purchase sleeve insurance until payment has been made in full to cover any incidental damage that may occur. Sleeves-R-Us retains sole ownership of the sleeve until payment has been made in full, even if you stack occupies it."

*

Roland frowns, but doesn't look surprised. He scratches his synth hair and lowers the hand. "Well, at least you didn't deny me outright or offer me a geriatric sleeve." It becomes apparent then, that this was not his first stop. Some businesses, it seems, have enough prejudice against a Meth (even a fallen one) to turn him out cold, or would just rather not deal with someone with his profile.

*

"Well, if you want to go cheaper, I have some downgraded models I can show you but if you want to occupy Grandpa and his overactive bladder, I'm afraid you'll have to go someplace else, yes. We are a higher class establishment that prides ourselves in being able to work with our clientele to put them in only quality. It'd be a moral shame to sleeve you in yesterday's bargain bin, Mr. Reibald." Does Galen mean it or is he just trying to close the sale? YOU DECIDE.

*

Roland looks around him reflexively as Galen says his surname out loud. He's started to learn it's not a name you casually say in mixed company and expect a good reaction. People either tend to get nervous, or they figure out just who he is. "I would appreciate any help you could give me to secure this sleeve, Mister Sparks." He straightens, pushes up the glasses on his nose. "I may not be in the best position at the moment, but my family has a resilient streak it's known for. Should I find myself in a better state, I would owe you. And of course, I would recommend your services." He moves a half a step closer, still outside the personal bubble, but slightly more intimate body language. That's the movement of someone who is used to being attractive and knows he is.

*

Galen's eyes slide down the synth sleeve of Roland with a smile that grows by the time his gaze makes the return trip to Roland'. Trying to play a player, is he? "I've already given you the friends and family discount, and /might/ have overridden the credit application fee to bypass the stringent checks because you seem like an honest man." And because money is money, of course. "And while I appreciate the word of mouth, I also like our work to speak for itself." This said as there is a gentle tone ringing, and Galen gestures to panel in their 'closing' room that slides open to reveal the sleeve looking comfortably encased in a bio-pod. (as opposed to those tacky bags the government uses).

*

Which is a good thing. Roland has never seen one of those glorified chicken wrappers. It does make the whole thing much more industrial and visceral than the experience of being decanted into a clone or a synth sleeve. This, by itself - a body with miles on it, is new and shocking enough. He moves in further and takes a look at the face in more detail. "What guarantees do you offer that this sleeve is as advertised?"

*

"Provided the sleeve is in the same condition you received it, if you are not one hundred percent satisfied with your purchase, you can return the product and get a full refund or exchange within forty eight hours. Minus re-sleeving charges and restocking fee, of course." Which no doubt are excessive. "This gives you time to get a scan by a physician of your choice and acclimate to any sleeve sickness. Sleeves-R-Us is not responsible for any frag that may occur during DHF transfer either to a new purchase or from a return, as that is the sole responsibility of the stack owner." Galen could probably recite the speech in his sleep.

*

"Now you see, I was conviced you were a real person until just now," drawls Roland good-naturedly. He tilts his head and reaches out like he's attempting to poke through his shoulder. "Now I see you must be an AI, because you recite your terms and conditions so perfectly." Then, "I don't require your services for decanting - just transportation of the sleeve. I don't suppose that nets me any sort of discount?"

*

The finger hits solid flesh, Galen's shoulder rocking backwards good naturally with the poke though there is a slight resistance to it like muscle that doesn't want to give at first. "I just like to make sure all the t's are crossed and i's are dotted, which I'm sure you can appreciate. So you'll have to confirm that you're declining our decanting service which nulls and voids any warranties or return policies as we cannot guarantee that another facility won't harm the sleeve during the process. But I'll throw the delivery in for free."

*

Roland isn't actually surprised when the finger meets muscle, but he feigns a little bit of a half-gasp just the same. "Mhmm. Well, I'll have to take that option as this sleeve," he motions to his synthetic face, "…requires special decanting. And I know your facility isn't equipped for it." In that his sleeve's synth interface is technically proprietary and the property of Riebald Incorporated and he had to pay a hacker to get it to work at all. Otherwise, he was never going to get out of the glitchy synth.

He eyes the big numbers on the screen (numbers that really didn't seem big at all a short time ago) reviews the terms once more, then presses his thumbprint to the pad. Sometimes in life, you just have to take a chance.

*

Galen was getting a little tense there at the end, unsure if he'd be able to close the deal when it got down to the nitty gritty of it. His smile comes much easier now that the thumbprint makes everything official. "You made an excellent choice, you won't be disappointed. Feel free to stop by after you get used to your new sleeve and give a testimonial and we'll give you a discount on a new ONI or your first biotech upgrade, after all we love a good success story." This all followed by a congenial slap on the synth body's shoulder. Never mind his well wishes were wrapped in a opportunity to milk Roland out of more money.