Chapter 109: Job Assignment

A few days later Arron and the probationary members were once again gathered at the meeting room once again.

Everyone was now sharply dressed wearing similar suits, shoes, haircuts, and the dumbed-down version of wrist-datapad.

The Old man had already been waiting for them, so when the last person entered the room the meeting started.

“Hand over your temporary identifications,” said the Old man holding out his hand. One of the guards walked forward and took the badges from everyone, before returning to the old man’s side and handing him the stack of badges.

With a swift swipe of his hand, a small data-stick appeared and pressed down on the badges one by one wiping out the information on them. As he did this a security drone floated from the ceiling and one by one scanned their entire face and body before sending the information to the Old man.

When the information on the badges was all wiped the old man pressed another button on the data-stick and filled it with the badges with the new data that had been gathered. When he finished this task the data-stick disappeared into his pocket.

The hidden door behind the Old man slid open at this time and a group of grizzled yakuza members, all showing signs of scars from past battles, entered the room.

The hidden door stayed open allowing Arron to see a pitch-black hallway but nothing else.

The Old man did not pay any attention to the grizzled yakuza members that had lined up behind him and looked at each of the new probationary members.

“Some of you are skin and bones and not fit to fight, while others are buff meat heads built for nothing but fighting. But this does not matter much when weapons are involved. You can be dumb and useless in your daily life, but as long as you have the resolve, honor, and courage needed, you will be able to pass your probationary training and be accepted into the family.”

The old man paused to let his words sink in as he stared at them for a few seconds.

“Some of you have brains and graduated from Barkary College. You are not the first nor will you be the last to join. In the Ryu family, there is a job for everyone. No matter what your status is, you all must earn money for the Ryu family. If and when you do join the family you will go through the ceremony as every member does, and receive your Izumi inking,” said the Old man. 

Several of the other probationary members’ faces lit up upon hearing about the Izumi inking causing Arron to scratch his head silently unsure if it really was such a great thing or not. He was still unclear about what to do about this troublesome issue.

“Now that you have become probationary members you are now loosely connected to the Ryu family. This means your actions will cause us to look good or bad. Thus you must follow the rules set forth. You are now stuck with us. If for some reason you want to leave there are only three ways to do this: #1. Using a knife, you are to personally chop off a number of fingers based on your rank in the family. Since you are the lowest rank, fewer fingers will be needed. You are not allowed to regenerate the cut fingers or else… #2. Pay a large sum of credits to buy your freedom depending on your status in the family. #3. ‘Fly away’, the coward’s way of ghosting the family and its members while fleeing to another area to hide. When we find you, and I do mean when, not if. We will drag you back to the head of the family where he will give a verdict. If you are lucky you will only have to chop off a few body parts. If you are unlucky… death.”

Several loud gulps could be heard from some of the probationary members near Arron. 

Just thinking about these rules caused a few beads of sweat to run down his back as he thought about being found out that he was working with the Office of Reason. There was no need for the Old man to explain what would happen to people like him.

“Based on your recorded test, biological data scans, and information that we have gathered on each of you over the last few weeks, we have picked out the proper jobs that you will have during your time with the Ryu family. You will have these jobs until you are either promoted to a new position or you die. When I call you forward, take your new probationary badges and leave with your new mentor,” said the Old man pointing to the group of grizzled veterans.

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“Twig.”

The skinny man who had been beaten badly and was still wearing casts and bandages from his wounds hurriedly hobbled forward and awkwardly used his bandaged arm to take the badge.

“Although your fighting skills are not that great, your dedication and perseverance have not gone unnoticed. You will help Bug-eyes with housekeeping and planning.”

An equally skinny man with thick glasses that made his eyes look several sizes too large stepped out of the group of veterans and looked over the wounded probationary members with a sharp glint in his eyes.

“Come on, we have a lot of work to do,” was all he said before turning and disappearing into the dark hallway.

One after another the probationary members received their new jobs and left the room. The jobs were all varied and wide-ranging, housekeeping and planning, enforcer, guard, accountant, and special manager. The old man did not explain what the jobs entailed so it left Arron and everyone else guessing and judging them by their names.

So far only two people had been given the [housekeeping and planning job], while [Guard] and [accountant] each had 1 person. The majority of probationary members were given the [Enforcer] job.

Seeing all this Arron thought of his test results and tried to guess which task he would be given… When everything was said and done it was not hard to figure out which one it would be.

Arron was sweating more as each of the members left the room one by one until he was the only one left in the room with the Old man, a dozen or so guards, and the last grizzled veteran. He discreetly wiped his sweaty hands on his pants.

“Sorry.”

Arron stepped forward and nervously took the badge with his sweaty hands.

“Your test results and our research has shown personality to be a cold no-nonsense, get the job done quickly without a fuss. The soft but hard approach you have shown has landed you the [Special manager] job under Ox.”

The large muscular man built like an Ox stepped forward and extended his hand.

Arron grabbed it only to grimace as his hand felt like it was being crushed. Even though Ox had graying hair that revealed his age, his strength was still nothing to laugh at.

“I hear you’re from a village outside the mega-city. If you have any questions about how things work here you can ask me. Of course, I will also be in charge of guiding you in the daily tasks of our job,” only after saying this did he let go of Arron’s now throbbing hand and enter the dark hallway.

Arron did not hesitate and followed him into the dark hallway as well. As soon as he stepped into the dark hallway the wall behind him slid shut. The hallway was now completely pitch black even with Arron’s bionic eye he was unable to see more than a few inches in front of him and could only follow the sound of Ox’s footsteps.

He shivered as he felt he was being stared at by a wild beast that wanted to tear him apart. But he could not hear or see anything around him to verify these feelings. 

The hallway started to slope down quickly heading deep underground.

Finally, after what seemed ages, a gray light coming from a room could be seen at the end of the tunnel, but oddly enough this light was still unable to pierce through the darkness of the hallway.

The dull gray light was blinding compared to the pitch-black darkness of the hallway making Arron blink for a few seconds as he regained his vision.

On the walls of the room, there were several stairwells each going back up toward the ground level. Above each of the stairwells, there was a carved sign on the stone wall.

Ox led Arron to the stairwell that said [Special management].

After being quiet for the entire walk so far, Arron finally got up the courage to ask Ox a question.

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“Um… what exactly is the [Special management] job?”

“That depends. Most of us have different tasks. You and I are in charge of all the gambling activities and specialty shops in one of the many subsections of the family’s territory. It is our job to make sure things are working as they should be. If things get out of control, not only will the lower rank members get into deep trouble, but so will we if we neglect our duty.”

 “Gambling?”

“Cards, slots, dice, and other games of chance. For the most part, our main places are all above board. They are not like the small-time gangs who all create different types of fringe gambling games. Right now their most popular shops are the different variations of shops that promote gambling for random unknown items.”

“How can it be all above board if it is illegal? Isn’t that why all the shady shops have been showing up to try and work in the gray areas?” asked Arron.

Ox looked over his shoulder and grinned at Arron and his bumpkin-like question.

“It may be banned on the 2nd to 4th level but not here,” said Ox, not saying much else.

‘No it definitely is banned on the first level as well,’ thought Arron as he remembered his encounter with a few scammers that Kix knew.

“If a special situation pops up, we will also be called to help out the family to take care of it,” said Ox. They exited the stairwell and entered a large stone office room that had several cubicles separated by holo-privacy walls.

It looked just like any other normal office that you could find in any business. It was just as busy with members chatting on conference calls with several other floating holographic heads, writing up reports, while a few of them were threatening and screaming at someone on the other side of the holo-call until they were red in the face.

The members inside the cubicles did not pay them any attention nor did Ox disturb them. They did not stop at any of the open cubicles and instead headed toward one of the hallways that led away from the noisy office.

On each side of the hallway, there were smooth metal doors each with a number and a name. Ox led Arron down many twists and turns in the stone tunnel until they reached a dead end.

At the very end of this dead-end hallway was room #6932 which had no name yet.

“This is where you will be staying,” said Ox. With a swipe of his hand over the door’s primitive holo-lock, the door opened.

Arron looked inside and found the room was very basic. A bed, desk, chair, and a small bathroom. That was it.

The room was carved out of stone and looked to be sturdy enough to withstand a large explosion or attack from the outside. Or to put it more accurately, keep someone locked inside if needed.

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