The Real Scoop:

I know it's sounds like a bad trid piece, but as you are reading this, I'm either dead, incapacitated, or in prison. What follows are the real stories of my life. A life I lived in shadows and in light. Names have been changed to protect the innocent, and in some cases, the guilty.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

I did the crime

Thursday, September 13th, 2057

I came downstairs from my loft, and opened my shop for the day.

I was reading the morning scream sheets over a cup of tea.  Some big wig in Hong Kong had announced that he was expanding this corp footprint on that down trodden plex, much to the applause of all. Well, except for those people the corp footprint was about to land on, I imagine.  I finished the sheets with little interest, and decided to indulge in a guilty pleasure of mine, old twentieth century flat vid anime.  You haven't found entertainment until you've experienced the golden age of anime.  Now you have simulated persona, limited AI, directing their avatars in a plot outline set in motion by the "writer" and the chief director.  No one ever really knows how the story will end, or what twists it will take, so you often get story flaws that make perfect sense to the AI but...

{Deleted 3.4 MP of Shade taking issue with the state of modern animation. You're welcome ~ Angel}

...when she gets her glasses and is finally able to focus her power.  Yeah, now that is a story.  The credit screen was running for that episode when my door chime chirped.

I saw two very large troll gentlemen and Cassie enter.  It was a little before ten o'clock in the morning, so it was unusual to have customers at that time. "Doctor Smith, can I have a word?" Cassie's tone was friendly.  She and her companions walked up to my display case, which doubled as my transaction counter, and she smiled warmly.

"Certainly, Miss (I honestly don't remember the alias she was using at the time).  How may I help you today?" I was polite and very happy to see her again.  She had, after all, just recently made a very large purchase.  To my mind, she was looking like an excellent customer.

"Doctor Smith, I find myself in need of a focus item. I'm afraid my needs are very specific, and I was hoping you would be willing to take on the job. I would require discretion in this matter."  She smiled.

"All custom enchantments are, or course, completely confidential."  I said. I was then suddenly interrupted by a large hand grasping my skull.

The very large troll gentleman whose hand was grasping my head spoke up in a most alarming fashion, "she means, no paperwork drekhead!" He gave my skull a painful squeeze.

"Nick, please let Doctor Smith go." Cassie said.  It sounded almost like she was chastising a child.  The pressure on my head suddenly abated, much to my relief.  "My apologies, Doctor Smith, Nicholas is very protective of his friends and we've known each other for ages.  He does make a keen point, though. I would very much like to arrange this between you and I, without authoritative entanglements.  I wouldn't want some decker to find out I had a valuable focus and make myself a target of such miscreants."

{Never did like her ~ Angel}

"I think I understand," I said.  The thought of risking my licenses was frightening at the time. I tried to formulate a plausible rejection when Cassie interrupted my cognition.

"Excellent Doctor Smith, I can certainly make it worth your effort and risks."  She placed a piece of actual paper on the counter.  The specifications for what she wanted were challenging, to say the least.  Much of my concern vanished though as she placed four credsticks on top of the paper.  I read the amounts, found them to be more than agreeable, and pulled up a stool.

"Yes, I think I see your point.  Are you a police officer, federal agent, or corporate investigator?" I asked.

Cassie laughed.  It was a melodious thing to hear and {deleted, Shade had a thing for her once ~ Angel}

"No, Doctor Smith, this isn't some form of entrapment.  Do you think you can manage the enchantment?"  She asked.

"I can, certainly, but it will take time.  I'll also need to do an aura analysis and ask you about some specifics with regard to the construction.  It would be best if I could harvest some of the materials myself.  We're talking about three months for optimum results on construction and enchantment.  Then I can also assist you with the bonding ritual to lessen the strain, if you like."  The sale of powerful foci is a tremendously profitable endeavor and an opportunity you don't have very often.  This particular focus, was very specialized, as such it would require particular care and effort... so more nuyen.

"Doctor Smith I do believe you have a deal." Cassie said.  She gave me a com number for her, the  two 'friends' glared at me a moment, then the trio left.


*****

Creating a focus is a lot of work.  I spent a month designing the focus elements, discovering what materials I would need, and tailoring it to Cassie's particular needs.  The actual formula was drafted onto several sheets of real paper bound in in a binder.  I scanned the images into a single data file, which I planned to provide to Cassie.

I spent two weeks in Salish-Sidhe territories, north of Orofino (Nez Pierce lands), gathering materials for the focus.  I spent the following month refining materials and ordering my laboratory for the coming enchantment work.  I kept my shop open in the late afternoon and early evenings during this time, which made for very long days.

November 29th, 2057

I was committing my very first criminal act. After ten weeks of hard work, I was pouring magical power into the focus to bring its carefully crafted enchantment to life.  It was painstaking work and it can damage your magical talent if you aren't careful.  It takes skill, a feeling for the flow of the mana, and a bit of your personal power.  When you create a focus you always feel, "depleted" I guess is a good word.  I was certainly pouring in a lot of power for this work.  Cassie was there, hands on the focus object, repeating my chant and pouring some of her own power into building a mystic connection to the enchantment.  It took hours.

Cassie and I both collapsed as the final words sealing the enchantment echoed throughout my laboratory.  We both sat there for several minutes, recovering from the strain of handling so much mana.  "Was it good for you too?" Cassie asked with a smile.

"Best three months I've ever spent." Okay, so my witty banter was not up to par.

Cassie took up the focus and smiled widely.  She took a magnifying lens and inspected the focus, paying careful attention to the true name carved around the bottom.

*****

This was my first brush with the shadow community.  It was my first crime.  It was also very profitable.

Through my contact with Cassie, I was soon dealing with others in the shadows.  Selling formula I had created, buying materials "that fell off a truck", and basically making myself a valuable resource for a small and very select client list.  Business was good, and laundering the money behind my own shop was a simple matter of spreading the money around between various reported transactions (well, it was a little more complicated than that).  But this is how it started for me.  Like all shadowrunners I've even known, my crimes started small.

{Shade wasn't just an enchanter and talismonger. He was also one hell of a magician in the streets. Don't let the academic minutes of his "first crime" fool you. When he stepped into the shadows, it fit him well.  ~ Angel}

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From the author:

Thanks for reading my fan fiction.  Your comments are most welcome, so please feel free to post below.  If you enjoy it please share it with other Shadowrun fans.

W.S. Quinton














Friday, February 2, 2018

Introduction

My name is Jefferson Lane Smith, PHD.  I'm also known, in certain circles, as Shade.

I have had an interesting life.  This is where I'm going to record what is, essentially, a modestly redacted autobiography.  I'll be referring to myself by name, and by the names by which I was known during certain "events" I'll be telling you about.  I will be using pseudonyms for persons I know to still be alive.  Or perhaps more accurately, I'll be using pseudonyms for those persons whom I do not know for certain to be dead.  It is likely that some of my associates, both in the "real" life and in my "shadow" life will survive me.  To those of you who read this and doubt the veracity of this account, I can only assure you that it is true to the best of my recollection.  Read on, and I'm certain you'll see the evidence of this truth.

I was born on December 24th, 2026.  While some would point out that their may be some mystical significance to having been born on the 25th anniversary of the Awakening, I can only say that as a child it sort of sucks to have your birthday so close to or upon international mandatory gift giving day (the corporate perversion of the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth, and the date of the ancient pagan celebration of the birth of Apollo).    You end up getting the same number of presents as any kid in your socio-economic background, but they are "split" between your birthday and the holiday. 

When I was a child my pediatrician believed I suffered either from Synesthesia, or some form of delusional psychosis.  I saw things.  Things other people didn't see and didn't believe were there.  It happened at random, usually when I was relaxed and daydreaming.  I would see 'things' that could fly through the air, and move through walls, things my parents didn't believe were real, and other things that whispered to me.  Some of the things I was told were horrific and would cause me to have nightmares, while other things made me smile or helped me comprehend the world around me.  Like many awakened children, I was slipping into a state where I perceived the astral space around me.  Fortunately I had a loving and happy home life in a relatively clean neighborhood, so my native astral environment was fairly benign, except for the occasional astral entity with malicious intent.

My family and I lived in Boston.  I had a happy childhood, and I can't fault my upbringing.  My parents sent me to church twice a week, and I had a few friends who didn't think I was too weird to play with.   In 2037 I met a girl at church, I was ten and she was much older eleven (about two months older to be precise, her birthday being October 31st).  She would become my very best friend over the coming months, and the reason I stopped considering becoming a priest.   For my narrative here we'll call her "Beverly".  Beverly and I were at Christmas mass, the day after my eleventh birthday, when saw an angel in the church.  I saw things like that sometimes but this was the first mass I attended with Beverly sitting next to me.  I was staring at the angel when Beverly nudged me and said, "do you see it too?" I started and turned to look at her, I know I must have looked terribly surprised.  It was the first time I had ever seen another awakened person up close, and absolutely the first time I locked eyes with another person while they were perceiving the astral plane.  Eyes are the windows to the soul. I found myself staring into her very soul and her into mine as we saw the depths of each other's aura.  We must have stared at each other for to long as my mother put her hands on my checks and turned my head toward the priest.  Beverly's father did the same to her.  As a consequence, Beverly's father never left us alone in a room together and insisted that a chaperon was with us whenever we were at my home or elsewhere.

In November of 2038 there was an incident at school.  Beverly was pretty, twelve, and starting to develop.  One of the larger boys in our class pinched her bottom as she opened her locker.  I was coming out of the bathroom, saw it happen, then saw her slap him, hard, across the face.  His face twisted up and he punched her in the nose.  I saw red, Beverly later told me she did too, but what everyone saw was that boy's hair burst into flames.  All of the hair on his head suddenly, spontaneously, combusted.  His eyebrows, eyelashes, the hair on his head and the few scraggly hairs on his face all flashed with a discernible "pop" sound.  The hair on his head burned for a moment as he swatted at his head and managed to put out the fire.  He ended up with minor burns over most of his head, but nothing that would leave him with any permanent physical scars.  He never pinched Beverly again though.

There was an investigation.  As we were at a Catholic school, the investigation began with a visit from a particular priest who happened to be from an order of exorcists.  Quicker than you can say "I'm not a demon" both Beverly and I were tested and outed as awakened. We were allowed to stay in our classes, but the church recommended that we each be sent to special classes "so that we might learn how to safely use our God-given talents in accordance with the practices of the holy Church".  Translation:  they wanted me to become a priest and Beverly to become a nun.  I told my parents that I didn't want to become a priest and they understood. They insisted I remain in the church, and in a Catholic school, then they told the cardinal's office that I wasn't leaving home and that was that.  Beverly's father thought the idea of her becoming a nun was the best thing to happen since the creation of trideo.  She was to be leaving once the regular term was complete in May.

March 17th, 2039: The restaurant Arcadia, Boston.

Beverly's father got a promotion at work and so he, Beverly's mom, Beverly, and her little brother Eric were at the Arcadia having a celebratory dinner.  The Arcadia was a fancy, upscale place that served elven cuisine and it was said to be the best food in town.

Do you remember the day your childhood ended?  Several shadowrunners I've come to know over the years can tell you exactly when their lives had some critical change.  My childhood ended on March 17th, 2039 at 8:17pm when a bomb planted by the Knights of the Red Branch detonated in the Arcadia.  They killed my best friend and her family, along with several other people.

The bombing kicked off Bloody Thursday.  A lot of people died.

*****

It took weeks for any resemblance to normalcy to return to the streets of Boston. It was a tense and dangerous time.  In June I snuck out of the house one day and took a bus to the stop nearest the ruins of the Arcadia.  There was graffiti of various sorts over the ruins, and the clean up was slow going.  I cried as I saw the place my best friend died.  I was wiping away tears, when I saw an angel rise up from the ruins.  I watched as it floated over to me, its three faces seeming to stare into me. I was staring at it, when it spoke to me.

"Do not despair."

I flipped out.

"Where the frag were you!?" I demanded.  "How could you let them die!?" A construction worker across the street was staring at me.  I must have looked like a lunatic child screaming at nothing.  "You could have saved them!  You could have saved her! And you just let her die!" Tears were flowing freely as I ranted with the kind of rage that only a hurt child can bring to bear. I yelled, and committed a number of sins regarding the quotation of scripture and the failings of the angel and all their kind.  I must have ranted for a full five minutes.  The angel took it all without a word of protest.  When I ran out of breathe it spoke again.

"We were there when they most needed us.  We took them home." then the angel vanished.

*****

I worked through my grief with the benefit of some counseling, and through talking to a nun who had been mentoring Beverly.  I told the nun about my encounter with the angel.  There were a lot of conversations with the nun and the exorcist.  By August I was functioning. The city was still a pressure cooker of ethnic relations stress and periodic bouts of violence, and I was getting ready for a new school year.

I'll not bore you with my teen years.  I focused on my studies and graduated two years early.  I earned an academic scholarship to MIT&T, and a scholarship from the Church which actually made it possible for me to attend, live, and not have to work.  In the thaumaturgic program I was one of the youngest freshmen starting that year, but by the end of the first semester I was the youngest in the program.  Its a hard program, a lot of students drop out after the astral theory and travel courses.

I had my BA in three years, and earned a T.A. position that I kept me funded through my Masters.  I took on a position with the university's alchemy labs and worked there through 2056 when I earned my PHD.  I was twenty-six years old and everyone expected me to go on to brilliant career in academia or in a corporate or government research facility somewhere.  I spoke with several recruiters, and found reasons not to accept any of the positions they offered. I surprised everyone when I moved to Seattle, and opened a small shop.

I sold a small amount of orichalcum I had created to fund my business. I bought a small old building, had few updates done, and settled in. I joined the United Talismonger's Alliance, picked up my permits, set up my alchemical lab in the basement.  For the first year I was completely legit (honest).  The money was coming in pretty well.  Like most alchemists and enchanters I made the bulk of my sales in refined materials and selling licensed spell formula.  Business was never booming, but it was sufficient to pay the bills and set aside a little extra for the future.

*****

August 1st, 2057

I voted for Dunkelzahn.


August 9th, 2057

Dunkelzahn was assassinated.  I went to church and stayed through a vigil mourning the loss of the President elect.

September 9th, 2057

I met the first person I would later discover to be a shadowrunner.

For her name we'll call her Cassie.  Cassie was an amerind-elf with beautiful brown skin and brown eyes flecked with gold.  She was a hermetic magna, a powerful and skilled conjurer, and she payed in certified cred.  Her first transaction was for a batch of reagents, nothing special really but she was buying a large quantity so I had to fill out a form.  I plugged in the data required, got a soft error but received an authentication that verified the legality of the sale.  I bagged up her reagents, processed her payment, and thanked her for her business.

Little did I know, I would see her again soon.

I'll resume my narrative soon.  Since I'm likely dead I know I'm in no hurry.  I'm confident I'm going to live long enough to get further into my tale, so look for the next entry.

*****

{Shade was a chummer.  Do not attempt to tamper with this record or I will end you.  I'm uploading his memoirs individually as I want to make certain there isn't anything nested in the data that could compromise anyone.  So far, from what I've seen, Shade was very careful not to endanger his chummers, which is just like him.  ~ Angel}


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From the author:

Thanks for reading my fan fiction.  Your comments are most welcome, so please feel free to post below.  If you enjoy it please share it with other Shadowrun fans.

W.S. Quinton