Human Merchant, Vehicle Recycler
Blanche grew up hearing the tale of how she was born every day. Born amid flames, flying through the air, and in the sight of half the world so it is said. Customers coming to the yard would retell it to her. Some spoke as if they were there. You would think they had helped raise her themselves from the way they told the story. She was sick of it. When she was 5 and 6 years old she loved hearing about how her mother, Barbarella Nampeyo, was a hero, how women were finally paid as well as men in trideo thanks to her mother, although she couldn’t understand that connection. She was just born in an odd way, and quite frankly she was a bit resentful that her mother had used her as a means to fame.
People eventually started telling the story less often, and Blanche never stuck around to hear anyone finish it anyway. She’d just go about her work and, if there was none, leave the office and head out into the yard. The people who came buy were just transactions with a boring story. She didn’t care to hear about what trids the movie was in, what her mom did for women stunters, or how they thought the blood would wash out of the seat fabric. She just tallied the parts, noted the resell value, calculated how much time it would take the mechanics to do the work, and made the customer an offer. The customers never liked her offers, but they didn’t have to like them. They either had to accept them, or get out of her face. And more often than not, accept them they did. (she had a formula for that, too)
The yard was never very profitable, though. Her mother was paying too much for vehicles with sentimental value for someone, or donating half of their operating budget to charities, but that didn’t matter much. Whenever money was needed, Barb always had some tucked away somewhere.
‘61 comes and rocks the city again. Barbarella was speaking at a gala full of hasbeens in Hollywood when it happened. Blanche was invited, but skipped it as always. The riots, though, made her wish she hadn’t. Barbarella never came home that night, or any other night. A mob of rioters screaming about justice for the El Infierno massacre waded into the gala striking down anyone they could grab.
Blanche got the news when the dust settled and the PCC had restored order. She wished she had been there with her. Not to rescue her mother, but to die with her. She wanted to die for all the times she refused her mother, for every time she told her friends that her mother wasn’t a big deal, and for every time she walked out of the room when another adoring fan tried to tell her that goddamn story.
Blanche wasn’t there, though. Blanche didn’t die. Nor did the junk yard go away. Earthquakes are good business for junk yards. Cheap inventory coming in, high demand for the parts you have. Work was all she had, and now she was in charge of it all. So she held back her tears when she could and let them flow when she couldn’t. No matter the tears, though, she had to move forward.
Years went by and Blanche cared less. Less about the yard, less about the quake, less about life. The only thing she cared about anymore were her calculations. Her formulas. Her mom’s contracts with the trideo studios all seemed to dry up shortly after her death, as well. She didn’t even care about the nuyen so much as the profit if that makes sense. She found that there were some cars that people would pay her to take, so long as she promised to make sure nobody could trace them. That was easy in a junk yard.
When word gets around that a yard will take anything, things start to get sketchy. Races started nearby and they weren’t always racing for nuyen or parts, sometimes they raced for blood. Those types of races had been popular for years, but the losers were often driving stolen rigs and the winner would come cursing to Blanche about getting ripped off and not being able to do anything since the loser was dead already. Made no difference to Blanche. Roll the wreck into a faraday cage, strip the good parts, then melt down the identifying bits. Easy profit.