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.

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



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