Harshed Glow Here’s the first official roleplaying scene from the new Earth grid featuring Busby, the CEO of Spark, and Rodger Harrison, a corporate security officer: Standing near the Research Wing of the East Rotunda is a larger gentleman. Given his bulk, sunglasses, and the presence of an empty holster, it’s hard not to guess that he’s some sort of corporate security goon. Beyond that, he’s difficult to place – but one would guess he’s working for Spark as they have the largest non-governmental presence. Busby ambles in from the research wing, plucking a pair of round-lensed, blue-tinted spectacles from a pocket of his tweed jacket and resting the glasses on the bridge of his nose. He pauses near Rodger, looks him up and down, and concludes: “Groovy.” Up close it’s hard to miss that Rodger is a Spark employee. The sunglasses, while an expensive design, have been upgraded with several in-house Spark upgrades – including having all of his actions recorded by a micro camera. The guard provides a diplomatic smile. “Mister Busby,” he intones politely. “Can I be of service?” Pays to the know the boss, especially if he’s on TV. “Make sure the Vannies don’t try to shoot me, right, man?” Busby activates his made-for-holo megawatt grin. “All I ask, man. Well, that and directions to the cafeteria, because I am craving coconut cream pie.” Rodger nods. “Of course, sir. I wouldn’t worry about the Vanguard, though, they don’t shoot without orders. At least around these parts.” There’s the hint of a smirk at the side of his mouth, though. One would assume that a fair amount of corporate security would be drawn from Vanguard veterans. “The cafeteria would be this way, sir. Not sure if they have coconut cream pie, but I am sure we can find a diner nearby.” “Sure, man, sure thing,” Busby replies. Then something starts buzzing. It’s the matte black earpiece with the pulsing blue light, looped around his right ear. He taps it: “Listening.” A pause, then, “Man. Seriously?” His brow furrows. “Sonuva…” Sighs. “Look, man, I’m down to the last baggie or two. Best find me another supplier or…” He shakes his head. “No, man. No, not cool. I don’t mind supporting a man who knows how to run his business, but Lloyd’s obviously got some leakage. He can get his own lawyer, right? I didn’t take him to raise. Bad enough I got three ex-wives to deal with. Find me someone competent. Soon. Busby, bye-bye.” The earpiece goes dark. He turns toward Rodger and says, “Fuck it, man. Some days, it just pays to call it an early night.” A distant look overtakes the man’s eyes as his boss goes on the phone, focusing elsewhere. He forces another diplomatic smile. “Of course, sir. Know the feeling.” Not that Rodger usually gets to call it an early night. “So. I believe we were trying to find you some pie, sir?” He motions in the general direction of the staff cafeteria. Busby shakes his head, waving a hand in frustration. “No, man, it’s a vicious freakin’ circle. I get high, I eat, makes me want to get high all over again, makes me hungry for another pile of pie, and it ends with me hugging the porcelain Buddha and yawping my commandments all over the place.” He sighs again. “Fucking Lloyd, really harshing my glow.” A shrug. “Whatever, man. The thing is, I’m so damned close on this idea. You ever get that bug in your brain, man? It starts buzzing around, way off in the inner distance, like, and you can hear it, and you want to home in on it, but the little bastard always stays just outta reach? So you blaze one up, try to moth right up to the flame, sneak up on it. So close, man. So close. And now Lloyd. How’s a brainstorm supposed to brighten up my day with that shitty news clogging the pipes?” “Just say the word if this Lloyd needs to be taken care of, sir,” Rodger says a little too lightly, although ‘taken care of’ has a variety of connotations. “But I understand what you’re saying, sir. Sometimes it helps me to focus on something else, allow that idea to uncoil a little. Something to relax. Like the shooting range.” The guard is talking from experience, although he’s no fancy CEO which brings into question exactly what experience. “Exactly, man, exactly,” Busby replies, scratching at the scruff of beard growing around his chin and cheeks. “Maybe I should get a gun.” He muses about this for a few seconds, then says, “Or a bath.” He turns to walk back down the hall into the research wing, but stops in the archway and turns back toward Rodger. “Hey, man, what’s your name, man?” “Rodger Harrison, sir,” the guard replies. He lets the bath comment slide, thinking better than arguing the point. The ex-soldier sticks close, but not too close, to the CEO as he moves towards the research wing. “And, sir, it is required that I remain a stickler for the rules. We will have to check your id tag before you can enter.” There’s an apologetic smile, perhaps with a growing sense of actual warmth. Busby nods. “Good, man. Didn’t want to have to fire you.” He holds up the holographic badge on the lanyard, then lets it drop and asks, “You ever work on a dirigible, man?” “Cannot say I have, Mr. Busby,” Rodger says, nodding at the ID and using his own to unlock the door. “Generally too slow, in my experience, for travel or rapid insertions.” “No better way to fly sublight, Rodg,” Busby replies. “Think about it. The Gasbag needs a security chief.” Then he vanishes into the research wing.