“Secure.” You command as you casually toss the shoulder slung H&K-23 onto the comfortable pseudo-leather of your Ops chair. Recognizing your voice pattern and the command, the lighting system in your doss-compound illuminates softly as doors and security systems go live. Another long night and tedious Op has drawn to a close as you stretch and allow some of the tension to gradually drain out of your augmented muscles and kick your reflexes offline.
The gig had been simple, just another delivery. See that unspecified cargo, reached unspecified destination. The four other Lancers, like yourself; had expected trouble. Counted on it. If there’s one thing you learn walking the tightrope between Corporations and the Streets, it’s that something as simple as delivery guard duty can turn into a cluster without so much as a moments notice.
Take the chaos of tonight for example. Only 32 clicks from the pick up, and the Edgers show up. You have to give them credit… they fought like friggin PMS ridden banshees. The bastards whacked two of your associates before the Rigger-Lancer managed to lose them on River Bridge Avenue. Ruefully, you wonder if they’ll change the name since there no longer is a bridge on that particular Avenue.
Superior planning, that’s what it had come down to. The charges that had taken out the bridge had been planted only hours before the operation had begun. It sucked that Shaft and Quick-Blade had eaten it, but on the upside the mission had had the standard full recompense clause. Though two of their number hadn’t made it, the cred that would have been theirs would now be split equally between the three surviving Lancers. You know it could have been you who was donating your cut to the others, but it's all in a days work...
That is if you didn’t count the whole Op as nothing short of a waste. As is typical when you work as a hired grunt for one of the Mega-Corps, another Corp had somehow gotten wind of the mission and been waiting for you. The two Lockheed Stealth Peregrines and the Tac-Swift hovercraft, had convinced your group to stop without much real resistance. When you’re outclassed you’re outclassed.
You’d even known the Lancer running the show for the rival Corp. BlackHawk was civil for once, though the look on his face when his men had opened the trailer compartment had been priceless. Just another decoy run. Another situation where the Corp had expected blow-back and opposition to show, so had hired them as a decoy run but as was typical hadn’t seen fit to share the intel with the 5 Lancers risking their asses to provide something as mundane as a diversion. That’s biz…
Freelancers, under the misnomer of Lancers are just that. Freelance mercenaries who do the job, generally regardless of the criteria. Morals, scruples…they don’t get the job done. Disinterested in the Edger mentality of us against them, or the Corp paradigm of us against everyone, Lancers settle for, looking out for me, myself, and I.
Why sacrifice yourself to a cause? Whether it be the cause of the Edgers or the Corpse. When it all goes South an Edger can vanish into the streets and the Corpse will cut the ties that bind and disavow all knowledge of you. Might as well go that route from the get go and not have false loyalties or any illusions eating at what should be a clear, focused, all about business mindset.
Sure, you’re not winning any brownie points on the streets, more often enemies if anything. And the Corpse see Lancers as little more than viable, deniable assets or agents requiring only a modicum of investiture. That’s fine. You don’t humor any illusions about how the world works, or that a single individual can change the direction of society as a whole. Let the idealists and dreamers buy into that crap.
You’re a professional. Doing the jobs that need doing so that you can keep up on the wares and tech needed to keep your own skin intact and your senses keen for things you should notice, and in some cases, things you shouldn’t. Knowing certain things can change you from an asset into a liability in the blink of an eye. You play the part of the brainless brawn, except where missions and Ops are concerned, and it keeps the client happy and your own life relatively uncomplicated.
You’ve got contacts on the streets, nothing compared to a full-blown Edger but that’s to be expected, contacts in the Corporate tier of society as well, hopefully enough to keep yourself out of the utterly deniable assets division that sees a Lancer pull a job and then get zeroed himself. No loose ends and all that tripe. In general you have to treat every deal with a fixer or Corpse as a potential death warrant and you've gotta listen and read between the lines, they'll carve you up and send you merrily off to your death while making you think you're snagging the deal of the century if you're not careful. Edgers on the other hand you can usually take at face value, if they commit they'll stay all-in, even if it gets their own hide taken.
It’s a job, and it almost can’t be otherwise. If it gets personal, you’re faced with fighting a hopeless war against a Corp that can out man, outgun, and out resource you. Or you’re faced with the streets that seem to almost open up and swallow any Edger who wants to go to ground and lose themselves. It’s business, pure and simple. Anyone who loses that edge threatens to run afoul of the tenuously thin line that Lancers as a whole walk, between the streets and the skyscrapers. And that’s a fall that few if any survive…
Like both Corpse and Edger archetypes, Lancers have very diverse views regarding the world at large, though most of them can be summed up as coldly pragmatic. Coming from all walks of life, Lancers are most often ex-military, Corp-Sec, Sec-Pol or Edger types who have lost touch with the pulse and rhythm of the streets or become somewhat jaded with the seemingly endless frontline wars between the Mega-Corps or governments of the world. Largely disinterested with politics and grand issues like the state of the world, they generally tend to focus on the things that will directly or indirectly affect their own lives. They have enough knowledge about the Streets and the Corporations to keep themselves up to date on who's presently making waves and what contracts are best to avoid. The primary difference between Lancers and the two other archetypes is one of diffusion. Where Corpse have strong contacts and feelers amidst the Corporate world and a few Lancers, and Edgers are steeped in the ins and outs of the Streets and all they have to offer, Lancers again fall into the middling category; having just enough by way of connections both Corporate and Street-born, to make themselves a viable asset in either world.