The latest Netrunner big box expansion, Data and Destiny, brought a brand new challenge in the form of three individual ‘mini-faction’ runners, and the community is still trying to work out how to get the best out of some pretty weird new cards. In the mysterious country known as England, three wise men saw the Data and Destiny star and decided to each undertake a journey with one of the new runners, hoping to arrive bearing useful gifts for all. The first, Tim Maytom, tells the tale of his time so far with working mum and all-round corporate ass-kicker Sunny Lebeau.
Having It All
As a working mother, you find that life pulls you in all sorts of directions. There are the challenges of your professional life, making time to be a good partner, the pressure that society places on you to look and behave a certain way, and, if you’re lucky, you might even find space to carve out some kind of social life or personal time. But at the heart of every day, no matter how you structure it, there are your children.
These are mine:
And what beautiful kids they are. The middle one, Shrike, was a bit of a struggle to deliver at five creds, but with Sherman, the youngest one, I barely even noticed it. They all have huge potential, able to power through anything the world throws at them, and once they get going, they’re hard to stop.
The first thing that you notice about my kids is how fast they grow. At +3 strength for two creds, they are bounding over ice as soon as they look at it. There is a downside, of course – sometimes that ice is going to be just out of range for them, and you feel like you’re wasting your money pushing them harder than they really need to go. However, a clever mum has ways around that. I’ll get on to them later.
With all this gushing, you probably think I’m just a proud mother babbling. I’m not delusional – I know my kids have their fair share of problems, the main one being how expensive they are to keep busy. But they’re also not fussy. If I need them to squish up together in the cloud while I use the rest of my house for other stuff, you won’t hear a peep from them, which in turn makes it easier to manage their expensive habits.
Now, I’m not saying I can’t imagine a life without my kids. I’m sure there are plenty of versions of myself out there, walking around with completely different children, or maybe no kids at all. But I feel like if I truly want to express my full potential, they need to be here alongside me, inspiring me and driving me to greater things.
I’m a working mother, so naturally I do bring in some help. My neighbour Adam recommended this wonderful service, Multithreader, that can help keep my kids busy, and while the staff takes up some room, they pay for themselves several times over by the end of a working week.
(Adam’s a sweetheart by the way. Very focused, very clean, a big believer in order and rules, if a little dry. The house on the other side is supposedly unoccupied, but I keep hearing things moving around in there, seeing lights flash under the front door and smelling an odd, meaty odour. Very strange)
There’s a few other tricks I use to keep my kids in line – a Datasucker or an Ice Carver can be really handy when it comes to saving money by bringing ice down to their level, while a Personal Touch to their outfits can make them stand out and really work at their best. I also like to invest in something to aid their creativity, so I always have a Paintbrush with me.
Some people may question that choice – after all, with such a wonderful trio of children, why would I need to Paint anything? Well, sometimes, especially early in the week, you may only have one of your kids at home, and giving them the option of Painting means you don’t have to limit your own activities until one of their siblings shows up.
Of course, sometimes the kids can stay home with me, and my partner can head out to take care of errands. We have a wonderful marriage, and I like to think that we really complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
It can take a fair amount of effort to get Security Nexus sat at the kitchen table (the kids take after her in this regard) but once she’s here, it’s hard to imagine life without her. Even when the kids are all away from home, she can run servers, testing the water for the kids or even bringing back an Agenda. She can pair up with them when they head out, keeping an eye on the training wheels and dealing with any high strength ice.
She brings her own demands to the house naturally. A couple of Rabbit Holes, some time spent getting Access to Globalsec, but these are relatively cheap essentials and more than worth it to make traces a stress-free experience. She even gets on with my boss, Jak Sinclair, and together the pair of them can go out for an early run before the kids are even awake.
People will tell you that it’s the special moments that you remember when you’re raising kids, but I don’t hold by that philosophy. Obviously, there are some occasions that stand out, like taking a Gamble that lets one of my kids have a really special outing, or when one of your children arrives home early thanks to some Modding, but for me, it’s the everyday things that make motherhood.
I’m a firm believer in the phrase ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, and day-to-day, it’s the support of the people around me that truly allows my children to flourish. It might be some drudge work from an old friend that pays the bills, or someone I know in the underworld slipping me some cash every morning. It could be a Technical Writer at work giving up his time to keep my kids entertained, or even the fans from my parenting video-cast offering me some support.
Between my kids and my partner, life isn’t cheap, and I have to keep working hard to support them. It’s all worth it, though, for those days when the whole family is together, smashing into a well-defended server. By the time we get to the weekend, with the entire clan ready for an outing and a healthy balance sitting in the bank, it’s truly uplifting to watch the kids work out their energy on some subroutines, while Security Nexus leads some ice on a merry chase through link after link.
So what’s next for the household? Well, I’d be interested to build myself a Personal Workshop and see whether it lets me spend more time with the kids. I’d love to work with Kati Jones, and thanks to my high link score, I don’t have to worry about handing her loads of cash then watching her get chased off by a Corp.
I could probably make my time more efficient with some Professional Contacts, knowing a Film Critic would make life safer for everyone, and, given the time it takes to get my family ready in the mornings, it would be good to slow down the competition with Chakana, The Source or a Clot. But all these things cost influence, and while I have more than most people, I also have more favours I need to call in. Plus, fitting all these new elements into my life would probably mean an extension on the house, and it’s already big enough that sometimes I lose the kids for a couple of hours. Life is hard work, but right now it’s good, and I’m raising my kids to kick ass and take names. What more could a proud mother want?