Subsubsection: 16 March 2016 (in Acapulco, getting a job request) Up Subsection: Operation Hard Sell Subsubsection: 13 April 2016 (Ishiyama Lumber) 

30 March 2016 (investigating Sacramento and the casino)

He also gives some Delphi Council passwords, though he warns the group to be careful: not everyone who recognises them will be a friend.
They bank some of the cash, then fly to San Francisco, still in Core Earth and just outside the recently-recovered zone. Talking to the locals reveals that the reality storm fronts, clearly visible from here, dispersed over a matter of a few minutes; nobody saw anything more, such as a falling maelstrom bridge.
They buy a pickup from Honest José’s Used Truck Emporium and drive to Sacramento. There’s some sign of damage to buildings, perhaps from explosives, but most structures seem intact. Diamond notices quite a few oriental faces in the crowds: that wasn’t unusual in San Francisco, but perhaps it might be here.
The group heads for a bar, which is mostly occupied by construction workers; quite a few people have been brought in, or hired locally, for the rebuilding. The damage was mostly from fighting in the original invasion. Most people are rather unclear on what they’ve been doing for the last few months as part of the Living Land, but that’s probably for the best. There does seem to be a fair bit of Japanese money involved in the rebuilding, but this is dismissed as some sort of government deal.
The whole place seems to be a bit on the dodgy side; maybe it was like that before. The team heads for a motel to spend the night; in the morning the truck’s been rifled, but not damaged. They spot the casino, built into the stub of a damaged brownstone, but it’s not yet open. Yaohan Heavy Industries seem to have supplied most of the construction equipment in use, and the team heads for City Hall to find out more; Thorfin picks up some PR flyers, and it certainly seems as though there’s some kind of sweetheart deal going on, with Yaohan as the preferred contractor – though they still can’t be making a huge profit given the weakness of the American dollar.
The timing seems a bit quick, and David phones City Hall in San Francisco (muttering darkly as he uses a coin-box phone). It seems the equipment was pulled from various Yaohan projects already in progress there, and more’s being shipped from Japan so that they can resume.
The construction gear looks advanced, but still Core Earth. Of course that doesn’t mean much.
Diamond heads to one of the biker bars that seem to be a popular business model now. There are open drug sales (including to a uniformed bike cop) and what certainly appears to be prostitution. Someone tries to get her involved in a cigarette truck heist that’s due the following night, and she declines politely.
Meanwhile, Thorfin and David head to the casino. They lose a little money at roulette to establish their bona fides (there’s the usual American double zero but otherwise it seems fairly honest), then chat with the barman, who’s happy to talk about things and regretful about the crime wave (and the police taking kickbacks), but not particularly informative. Raised voices draw their attention to a man in a cheap suit shouting something about “cheaters” and being thrown out by a couple of bouncers; David notices one of them reaching for a pistol as they take him outside, and follows sneakily.
The man spots David nonetheless, though he’s being held against the wall by one bouncer who threatens him with brass knuckles, while the other points a pistol at his head. He looks relieved, and calls to David “it’s about time you got here”; the thug holding him is distracted briefly, David plays the role of an uninvolved drunk, and the victim gets in a good solid kick to the bouncer’s knee while slipping away. David stays in the shadows, as the fellow seems able to look after himself; he takes a few hits from the other man with the pistol (he’s using it as a fist load rather than shooting), but wins the fight. David asks him what’s going on, but he glances upwards (to the surveillance cameras that are so much of David’s default landscape that he hadn’t noticed them) and presses a business card into David’s hand. David continues to lurk in the alley.
Diamond heads for the casino and meets Thorfin; they go out to look for David in the alley, meet, move away from the surveillance cameras, and bring each other up to date.
The business card reads “Joe Reynolds, Private Eye – Their Business is Your Business”, with a local address. They head over there; it’s above a second-hand bookshop, and the bored receptionist looks up from her nails for long enough to yell “Boss! Clients!” before getting back to important things. After a short pause, Reynolds invites them into his office, covered with paper files. He says he’s also looking into the crime wave, as “it makes a change from fighting lizards” and “the air’s wrong” since the liberation, and mentions that he’s pretty sure the casino is a Yakuza operation. He’s been keeping an eye on things, but he’s also attracted attention; he was hoping to get taken into a casino office before being thrown out, but that didn’t work. But there are definite connections between the Yakuza, Ishiyama Lumber and Supply, and Lunton Biochemical; the two companies are in suburban areas of Sacramento, and a source told him there to have been substantial shipments between the two. If the team would care to look into it…
As they leave, they spot a black-clad figure keeping an eye on the office. It’s late afternoon by now, and they rest for a few hours before heading out to Ishiyama Lumber that night.
The site is mostly bare ground with piles of cut timber; there’s one big open-frame building, presumably the sawmill, and one smaller structure that might be administrative. The whole area is surrounded by a chain-link fence, and dimly lit: not brightly for work, but the patrolling guards (at least two of them on foot) don’t need their torches to see where they’re going.
 Subsubsection: 16 March 2016 (in Acapulco, getting a job request) Up Subsection: Operation Hard Sell Subsubsection: 13 April 2016 (Ishiyama Lumber)