Friday, July 29, 2016

An elf's gotta eat - 1.2

An elf's gotta eat - 1.2

Rain pulled the Growler to the side of the street, and up onto the sidewalk, where he dismounted and cut the engine.  He walked the off-road model bike up to a currently abandoned store front with a panhandler in front.  The too clean (1) talismania adorning the filthy street rags let Rain know that the bedraggled woman was not as helpless as she seemed.  He dropped a non-descript credstick (2) into the open guitar case on the ground.

“Keep an eye on this for me?”

The beggar gave a perceptible nod, so Rain continued to wheel it past her and into the old store front.  Out of the saddlebags he pulled out a ragged tarp, and covered the bike.  At least it would not be as easy to determine what was underneath from the street.

As he left, Rain signaled the woman (3), without looking back, his thanks.  As he headed towards the designated meeting place, he covered his head and face with the deep hood of his real leather duster.

The designated meeting place was to take place in an alley behind a Chinese Noodle restaurant in the SoHo neighborhood.  The streets were not overly crowded as those who lived in the area were never seen alone, or after dark, on the streets.   Still, the ‘after dark’ denizens were beginning their run of the place.

Rain stopped a half block short of the alley entrance, and pretended to become interested in some designer knock-off eyewear.  From here, he kept a watch on the street as he tried on a couple of pairs, all of them too gaudy to be taken seriously in his opinion, but, it served the purpose. (4)

After several minutes passed, Rain moved to be directly across the street the meeting place.  The ambient light was no longer able to light the space between the buildings.  The street lights in between him and the alley, blocked his ability to see within very low light levels, so, he crossed the street to try and get a better look. (5) When he reached the curb, he was so focused on the alley, a troll barreled into him blindsided, causing him to spin around and his duster to flail open, almost knocking him off of his feet.  For a moment, Rain lost his sense of direction, and had to reorient himself.

Closing the remaining three meters to the corner of the alley without further incidence, he placed his back against the wall, and then peered around the corner. (6)  Within, there were only two men, both human.  Neither man stood out as who “Mr Johnson” was. (7) The one closest to the alley entrance had his back to him.  He was dressed in a mix of corp and street business casual, with no visible weapons.  The next one was a human with a… presence about him that caused Rain more than a little disquiet. 

He slipped into the shadows, just around the corner, into the alley, and watched the pair for a while longer.  The feel of the city was still new to him.  Everything smelled of dust.  Even the sweet smells of rain as it fell changed… it still calmed him, but… it wasn’t home.

A few minutes later, another approached the team, from the back door of the Noodle Shop.  He was completely encased in a form of armor.  Rain had only heard stories of shock troopers.  He’d definitely not seen anything like it back home in the Sioux Nation.  The man walked up to the group, obviously expected, but he still cradled his assault rifle in his arms, like he was preparing to walk into combat.

“What are you walking into Rain?” he asked himself.  But, he also knew that he needed to make rent.

He went over his gear in his mind, moving his hands to check, but leaving his eyes locked on the three men around the fire barrel.  Colt 2066, his pair of companion swords, the scope from his Winchester, and the cumbersome medkit in his backpack. 

“Alright, let’s…”

“So, you here about the job too?”

Rain’s heart jumped into his throat, and his adrenal glands immediately maxed out production.  Still, the sudden appearance of a man, in a stealth suit, suddenly appearing to his left, which was supposedly blocked by a wall, caused him to lurch a meter to his right.  Rain instinctively knew that, if the man wanted him dead… he would be looking up from the cement right now. (8)

The elf let out a string of expletives in a language unknown to the newcomer(9).  When Rain regained his senses, he stammered, “yea… a man’s got to eat”.

“That he does”, the mysterious human said, pulling down his hood, and synching up the street clothes that covered his suit.  “Let’s go see what this is all about, shall we.”

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Part 3 - pending
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1.       Perception: 1 – (Perception 1 +Intuition 5 [Average] = 6 DP) – (3, 6, 2, 6, 4, 1 = 2 hits, success)
2.       A Credstick is similar to today’s “jump drives”, but include highly encrypted algorithms for day to day financial transactions.  Within the shadows, most of these are not directly connected to someone’s identity (or SIN), and are similar to “burner” phones of today.
3.       Street, Localized jive and signals (i.e. how a ‘thumbs up’ sign means one thing in America, and entirely something else, say in the Middle East): default (Intuition 5 – untrained (1) [easy] = 4 DP) – (3,1,3,6 = 1 hit, success)
4.       Perception: 1 – (Perception 1 +Intuition 5 [Very Hard] = 6 DP) – (2,1,3,4,4,6 = 1 hit, failure)
5.       Perception: 1 – (Perception 1 +Intuition 5 [Very Hard] = 6 DP) – (1,6,6,1,1,3 = 1 hit, glitch)
6.       Perception: 1 – (Perception 1 +Intuition 5 [Average] = 6 DP) – (6, 2, 4, 5, 4, 4 = 2 hits, success)
7.       Perception: 1 – (Perception 1 +Intuition 5 [Very Hard] = 6 DP) – (2,2,4,2,3,3 = 0 hits, failure)
8.       Surprise test(3) (Reaction 5 + Intuition 5(3) = 10DP) – (6,4,4,2,5,4,1,4,1,2 = 2 hits, failure)
9.       Entirely in Lakota, and a mix of Japanese, Romani, and Sperethial

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Sunday, May 15, 2016

Humble Beginnings - 1.1

Everyone has to start somewhere - 1.1

The throbbing of music from the hipster dance club behind his shack began to pull him from his restless slumber.  Rain could not remember the last time he had had a decent night’s sleep, and sleeping during the day because of his chosen “profession” didn’t help.  Neither was the fact that he lived in an old re-purposed garage, in the alley behind a popular night club just added to the issue.  He glanced at his commlink, the display read 2101. 

Must have been tired,’ he thought to himself. ‘It took a whole minute to wake me up’.

Slowly the half-dressed elf sat up, and put his feet onto the cold cement floor.  The stark change in temperature helped him get the blood flowing.  For a few moments more, he sat, rubbing his right hand vigorously back and forth, through his hair.  It didn’t improve the unkempt condition, but it helped him focus his thoughts.

Once he was sufficiently conscious, he moved through his regular ‘morning’ routine; some reading, unarmed and sword katas, finishing up with a few minutes each of stretching and meditation.  Afterwards he cleaned himself up to get ready for the rest of the day, or, in this case, the rest of the night.  He needed to find something paying out decent Nuyen, or, despite the generosity of Samantha’s intervention, he would find himself back out on the streets.

He always started his night at the club.  Not because he enjoyed the pounding music, or the hipsters who frequented the place.  Actually, the atmosphere often left him in a bad mood, but it was loud enough that several “Johnsons” felt compelled to conduct business there, if for no other reason than it was virtually impossible to listen in on their conversations, even with audio enhancements.  They barely gave him notice though.  He was an unknown.  After all, he was still a stranger in a community that values its privacy, and trusts only in ‘known qualities’.

He waited until his head throbbed, but none of the “Johnsons” had even acknowledged his presence tonight.  I think I’ll wander up into Queens again… maybe head over to the island’, Rain said to himself despondently.

“Hoi!  Rain!” The Ork bouncer at the door raised a clawed hand and motioned for him to come closer.

Wow… what’s his name? (1) You really got to work on that Rain’, he said to himself as he nodded his acknowledgement of the bouncer’s beckoning. 

“Sam’s lookin’ for ya!”  He had to shout just to be heard over the tumult of the club.  “She says she’s got something for ya!”

“Thanks chummer!” Rain yelled to be heard over the din.

Rain turned back into the crowd, and headed for the back of the club.  Samantha always took the bar by the dance floor.  It was always crowded with a throng of bodies, pulsating to the music, and thirsty from the exertions of the crowd.  Samantha seemed out of place.  Her emaciated appearance was a stark contrast to the healthy spectacle of metahumanity in its rawest and most sensual forms.  Often towered over, she was often looked down upon, both in reality, and figuratively.  Still – the tips back here were better than the ones closer to the front door, or so she said.  As he approached the bar, he had to look over, and around the mass in front of the counter, until he spotted her.  She was pouring drinks, and plugging credsticks, as fast as her two hands could manipulate the tools of her trade.  Despite her outward appearance, she was easily keeping pace with the demands of her clients.  When Sam spotted him, she smiled, and nodded for him to take the small gap at the end of the bar.  Rain liked it back there, close to the kitchen door.  The acoustics vented towards the floor, and he was outside the invisible cone of cacophony that passed for music here.  She motioned for one of the others to fill in on her end for a minute while she tended to some private business with Rain.

“Hoi pointy”, Sam said with a joking smile.  “I came by a piece of data that says a ‘Johnson’ over on the island is looking for a Street Sam.  Time is short, and his usual contacts are all out on runs.  If you’re interested you gotta slot and run now.”

Rain grimaced inwardly, but he needed the pay.  “You’re an Angel Sam.  Trans the data to my comm and I’ll buzz.”

Without further conversation, Rain headed back to the front of the club, hesitating for a brief obscure nod to the ork bouncer, he headed into the night, grateful for the relative peace and quiet of the streets of New York.

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Part 2
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(1)    Memory check [Logic (5) + Willpower (5) = DP 10] - [2,2,4,3,5,1,1,4,3,2 - 1 hit]

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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The Path of Fate - 0.7

The Path of Fate - 0.7

The elf rode the Yamaha Growler on in solemn silence for a time.  Allowing the cool air to help him shake the memories from his dreams last night.  The last dream made no sense to him and yet, it was the most disturbing of the three.  Other than his mandatory term of service with the SDF (1) he had never been much further than the old missionary.  The mountain of steel, and glass… made no sense to him.  It didn’t look like any city he had ever seen… not even Seattle.

When he finally arrived, he knocked gently.  Mother answered the door, and bowed very slightly to acknowledge her guest, and then motioned for him to enter, but never said a word.  She quietly led him to his old room, where he found Grandfather and the mystery man from the highway.  With her obligation complete, she turned and left the room.  Rain sighed as he watched her leave.  He knew why she was angry though, and turned back to enter the room.

“Erurainon, this(2)” Grandfather said as he lifted his arm to his guest, “is Mr. Johnson.  It would seem,” he continued as he stood up to leave, “you two have much to discuss.”  And with that, the old man left the room, and shut the door behind him without saying another word.

“Erurainon?” The man inquired.

“Do not use that name.  It is not for you to speak.”  Rain replied, struggling to find the right words in English.

“Ah, ok.  Well, what should I call you then?”

“My name is Magazu Waki ya. (3)

“Oh-kay,” the man replied hesitantly.  “Well, Magahzue as you…”

Magazu Waki ya” Rain interrupted.

“Um, right… well, Mah-gah-zoo,” the man tried again.  “I was on a very important business trip that got… interrupted.  Your father…”

“Lala,” Rain interrupted again.  “…Grandfather” he said, struggling to find the correct English word again.

“Ok, Grandfather, told me that I have you to thank for saving my life last night.”

Rain stood impassively for a moment, “I was only using the gifts that… um… the Great Spirit, gave me.” He said dismissively.  There was something about this man that he did not like.

“Well… thank you.” The man said.  “I will not be able to complete my work,” indicating the porta-doc wrapped around his upper thigh where, Rain knew, he was missing most of the muscle and a large chunk of bone.  “I would like to offer you a job.”

Rain’s first instinct was to decline it flat, but there was an itch in his mind to hear the man out.

“I need to retrieve something… well, someone, who stole something, from my company.”  The man paused to gauge Rain’s reaction.  “I know where she is,” he said pulling out a tracker, with a small monitor screen at the top.  “She’s in New York.”

The image of the mountain made of steel, glass and light, leapt into Rain’s mind, causing him a moment of disorientation.

“I just need you to get her, and deliver her to the local Lone Star offices there.  They will do the rest.” The man finished and offered Rain the tracker.

Without fully knowing why, Rain accepted the proffered device.

“I can pay you twenty five thousand Nuyen.”

That got Rain’s attention.  Unless one worked for one of the corporations in the Sioux Nation, that kind of money was very rare.  He absentmindedly, not fully knowing why nodded his acceptance.

“That’s great,” the man said extending his arm to shake hands with Rain.  Rain looked down at the extended hand, and years of history class rushed through his brain.

“Ah, yea… sorry wasicu (4),” Rain replied.  “Your hand shake does not mean much to me, but… I will do this because Atkuku ki Wakan Tanka (5) is compelling me to.  Just give me your SIN information… and I will contact you when I am finished… then, we will see about that handshake.”

Once the man gave him the information, Rain turned to leave.

“Thank you Mayguzee”, the man called after him.  Rain ignored the mangling of the pronunciation of his name... again.

Grandfather met him in the center room.  “You have long worked to avoid your destiny Erurainon… but, it seems to have come to you.”

Rain was not sure what to say, but he acknowledged his elder’s words with a respectful nod of his head.

“Mother had these made for you… before… well, you know.” The old man said handing Rain a pair of samurai companion swords.  “She had told me that you had earned them when she had them made, but her pride is too strong to give them to you herself.”  Rain was speechless as he accepted the honored gift.  He was still staring at them, when the venerable elder held up a hand, and let drop a medallion, suspended by a sturdy chain.

“I always knew you would return one day… although… I had hoped it would have been sooner… and for a longer stay.”  The old man paused, deep in personal thought, “I had this crafted for you… it is of good quality… but, it has not been… well, never mind that,” he said as he leaned forward to loop the chain around Rain’s neck.

As his elder took a moment to move Rain’s ponytail out of the way so that he could secure the clasp, Rain held up the 75mm diameter pendant.  It was made of two different metals.  One was highly  polished platinum, the other a cobalt blue alloy.  The two were formed into a perfect yin-yang symbol.  Within the platinum circle of the blue tear drop, the cobalt blue alloy formed the Japanese kanji for 'samurai' ().  Within the cobalt blue circle of the platinum tear drop, platinum the Japanese kanji for 'doctor' (or, medicine) ().  The craftsmanship was exquisite.

Rain was rendered speechless with the presentation of such honored gifts.  He respectfully remained with his head bowed to his elder, in grateful thanks.  The old man reached forward and held his arm lightly, and then turned him to the door. As he walked Rain to the exit he said, “Wakan Tanka has put within you the spirit of the yin yang… think on this as He leads you along your new path.”

Rain nodded his acknowledgement of Grandfather’s words.  He moved to leave, but then hesitated and turned, “please tell ‘mother’ that I am sorry… and that I am grateful for the gift.”  Without any further words, he turned to his motorcycle, and left.


(1)    The Sioux Defense Force 
(2)  Speaking in English
(3)    (ma-gh-ah-zue) (wah-kee yahn)  - Lakota /// Thundering Rain
(4)    (wah-shee-chue) white person (aka Anglo in ‘modern’ form of Shadowrun)
(5)    (ah-dkue-kue kee)(wah-kahn dahn-kah) // Father God

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Monday, November 16, 2015

No Rest for the Weary - 0.6

No rest for the weary – 0.6

Sleep did not come easily for Rain the rest of the night.  It started with the recurring thought that he had missed something.  Something back at the accident, something about the car… something about the driver… his mind could not lock on whatever it was.  He replayed the entire encounter over and over in his mind. Then, when sleep finally did over take him, his dreams kept him from getting any real rest.

The first dream was of a luminescent bear.  It sat on its haunches as it overlooked the wreck site he had been at earlier.  Only now, the full moon shone brightly down on the scene.  Off to the east in the distance, was a pair of tail lights of an unidentified car.  To the south, a trail of a whirling dust cloud connecting to the tail light of a motor cycle.  The bear glanced between the two vehicles, and then let out a low growling roar.  Its howl shook the heavens.  After the third outcry, a wispy, white shape began to form in the sky above, and slowly descend to the bear.  When it finished taking shape, it was that of a tall muscular man, a face like a lightning bolt, fierce flaming eyes, arms and legs that gleamed like polished chrome, and a voice like that of thunder.   When the two beings began to speak to one another, Rain felt it reverberate throughout his entire being, but could not understand what they were discussing.  It was so vivid, that when he jolted awake, he looked around, fully expecting the creatures to be standing over his bed.  His heart pounded in his chest, and echoed in his ears, but he felt drained and weak.  After a few minutes, he was able to coax himself back to sleep.

When sleep finally did return, his second dream began.  This time, he was standing within his foster parent’s center room.  It was vaguely familiar.  ‘Grandfather’ was kneeling, seated back on his own heels, among a circle of a dozen other tribal elders.  He could hear that they were talking, but again, not what they were saying.  He watched respectfully as they conducted their business, when it was interrupted with the unannounced arrival of… himself!  When he went to move, Rain realized that he was not shackled, but nor could he move a muscle.  He watched himself disappear into the bathroom, and close the door behind him.  The older men continued to converse, when one caught the attention of all the others, and performed a ritual which Rain had not seen before.  When he was done, the form of a man stood in midair, in the middle of the group.  None of the shamans seemed alarmed in the least.  It was when Rain saw himself reemerge from the bathroom that the scene ‘clicked’, but he was helpless to alter the outcome.  He watched himself become consumed with fear and aggression and launch himself at the floating image.  Forty years later, and it still made him wince when the thing landed a solid backhanded slap to the young man, sending him skidding across the floor.  He slid to a stop at the feet of ‘mother’s’ shrine for her ancestors.  A suit of ancient samurai armor, perfectly preserved, and mounted in a kneeling position, to the immediate left of the statue were her ancestral swords.  Rain wanted to scream caution to his younger self, but nothing came from his vocal cords.  He was powerless to stop the image of his former self, now totally consumed with rage for the ethereal guest.  Without a thought, Rain saw the lad grab the long sword from its resting place, but he never had the chance to draw it.  “Mother’ was at his side with blinding speed, and without any outward effort, she grabbed his free wrist with one hand, and her family’s heirloom with the other.  She shifted her feet ever so slightly, perfectly using the out of control man’s aggression, to launch him against the adjacent wall.  It was only by the slimmest of margins that the man was able to get himself to take the landing across both shoulder blades, and thus avoiding serious injury.  Still, when he flight was concluded, he was upside down, with his waist and legs extending comically up the wall.  Rain’s disenchanted form glanced to ‘mother’.  Her, he heard perfectly.  She slowly stood upright and said, “Your time with us has come to an end Erurainon.”  The disembodied form looked to Grandfather who only nodded his acknowledgement.  This time, Rain awoke with a deep sense of regret, and pain.

His final vision for the night had him riding the ‘Growler’ on an unfamiliar highway.  He was following closely behind a fierce storm, not unlike the one he had enjoyed earlier.  It was then he realized that the boke was accelerating uncontrollably.  The landscape became a blur as he raced headlong towards the storm.  Just as he was sure that he was going to crash, he instinctively recoiled, throwing his hands and arms in front of his face, and he clenched his eyes shut… but then nothing.  When he reopened his eyes he was completely disoriented.  Nothing seemed familiar.  Before him lay a large mountain range, but something was very wrong about it.  As he concentrated, abrupt angles, ridges, and peaks, made of metal and glass came into focus.  It made him uncomfortable to contemplate such a thing.  His eyes wandered over the mountain range.  It went on for several kilometers in both directions.  As he tried to makes sense of it all, swarms of… of… something like fireflies began to flutter in and around the monstrosity.  Just a few, here and there, but the numbers kept growing at an exponential rate until they engulfed the entire mountain, but they didn’t stop.  Finally, the swarm exploded like a shockwave, and overtook him before he could consider a reaction.  This time he awoke, drenched in sweat.

Rain got on his knees and repeated, “Atkuku ki Wakan Tanka, canl waste yuha onsi la akaya misnala (1)” until his breathing and heart rate returned to a normal range.

Still shaking slightly, his Commlink chimed.  Pulling it from his pack, it showed an incoming call from his foster parents.

“Hau?” Rain answered.

“Your patient is asking for you Erurainon.”  The man’s voice on the other end said matter-of-factly.

“I… I’ll… I’ll be right there”, was all he could manage to stammer.

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(1)    (ah-dkue-kue kee)(wah-kahn dahn-kah)(chanl wah-shday)(yue-hah)(ohn-shee lah)(ah-kahn-yahn)(mee-shnah-lah)    // Father God, please have mercy upon me.

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