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we love our bread, we love our butter

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The year is 2045. Night City is bustling with criminals, low-lifes,and corporate lackeys, and Applesoft has put emojis behind a microtransaction paywall. In world news, social media conglomerate LinkedIn has re-acquired the website Tumblr after years of contract negotiations. And in Night City, union busters have taken to using experimental anti-cybernetics, and Burger Chainz’ legs are falling asleep.

 

“I told you that having Vang0 sit on your lap wasn’t a sustainable seating plan,” Dapper Dasha says, rolling her eyes. “There are two seats. It’s a van . I mean, how are you even managing to drive like that?”

“We practiced,” Vang0 Bang0 says, looking surprisingly comfortable in the lap of his friend. “This is uh, kinda how we normally drive nowadays?”

Burger nods in assent. “Legs… who needs ‘em, really, I mean, if you think about it?”

YOU!! You need them! You are driving this van with the gas and the breaks and that! involves! your legs!!”


“Dasha,” Burger says, “I just need to take a little stretcheroonie. All I’m saying - Vang0, keep your hands on the 10 and the 2, buddy - all I’m saying is you can unbuckle your seatbelt, crawl down, hold the gas with one hand, I’ll get up, you sit down-”

“Wait, I would also need to stand up in this situation,” Vang0 interrupts. “Um, Burger, my legs can actually reach the gas, if you need-”

“I appreciate that, my good pal, but it’s not so bad. Ya know what? Just scootch over a little- perfect, great - okay, this should be good. See, Dasha? All good, we fixed it.”

“You could have Vang0 in this seat, you know,” she mutters.

“And where would you sit? In the bunk? With Keanu? He’s been a bit glitchy lately, you don’t hafta do that.”

“I wouldn’t sit anywhere, because I don’t need to be here, on some trip to god-knows-where to meet your fucking family! ” Dasha exclaims, throwing her hands in the air.

“Hey, that’s kinda rude,” Vang0 interrupts, playing intermediary. “He, uh, he asked us, and don’t you wanna see people and stuff? Eat uh, food? Food is good.”

“Vang0, the only foods I have ever seen you eat are individually wrapped MicroDebbie cakes,” Dasha says, unimpressed.

“Sometimes I take a Xebra cake, and I take it apart, and I take a Stellar Brownie, and I kinda, um, smoosh them together like a sandwich? Where the brown is the filling, and that’s sandwiches, babey,” Vang0 says, in a tone that seems to imply this information will help Dasha see how functional of an adult he is.

“Oh my god, how are you still alive, do you not have, like, scury -

“I read on the net - and I’m very good at the net! - I read that you can’t get scurvy anymore because the enriched flour they use to-”

“GUYS!” Burger yells, slamming down on the breaks and jerking the van (and the bickering) to a halt. “This is supposed to be a nice trip . A bonding activity . I wanted you to come with me because I care about both of you, and sure, there’s gonna be some real good food, but Thanksgiving is about family, and you’re kind of my family, but not related to me, so what I’m sayin’ is I’ll turn this van around, and no one can have fun, and that would be really sad, so let’s all just get along, please.”

Dasha and Vang0 both look somewhat cowed by their friend’s outburst. 

“Now, can you apologize to each other?” Burger asks patiently.

“Sorry I called you rude,” Vang0 mutters.

Dasha lets out an airy sigh. “Vang0, I’m sorry I shat on your eating habits.”

“That’s fine, I forgive- that’s not why I was upset?” Vang0 is back to fiddling with his agent, presumably looking over his forum. “It was more, uh, that you seemed like you didn't want to be here, and I get that, I get that I’m annoying sometimes and I, we’re not friends so much, we work together sometimes, but it, uh, hurt my feelings a bit.”

“Alright.” Dasha closes her eyes for a second, and shifts to face Vang0. He’s not making eye contact, but he rarely does. “Vang0, you guys are my- um, we’re friendly, wouldn’t you say?” Vang0 nods. She hates that she made him feel unwanted or unwelcome or less important. She knows how a few words can cut deep, whether they were intended to or not. She swallows her pride. “I’m sorry that I made you think-- I’m sorry that I said I don’t want to be here. I’m. I’m happy? I’m happy that you two invited me.”

Burger grins like she hung the Kenyan Space Station, though, and Vang0 nods and relaxes his posture a bit, and they keep driving.

“Well, I’m glad we worked all that out, because Keanu might not be workin’ right, but I don’t need him to tell you we’re halfway there! It’s gonna be great,” Burger says happily, and starts reeling off a list of extended family members with increasingly ridiculous names. The hacker on his lap seems to be listening, so Dasha feels fine about rolling out her neck and tuning him out.

She looks out of the window, at the dunes of rubble and dirt they pass by, and wonders when she started caring about whether or not people saw her as a friend.