Why would someone take certain cyberware, or push their 'ware so hard?
The Johnson surveyed the assembled 'runners with a haughty appraisal; everyone but Sammy was wearing ill-fitting suits. Sammy, as usual, looked like a well-dressed pretty-boy and too bad he was human. Redline figured she couldn't comment too much on that, being all she could wear was a blouse and jacket. The synthetic cotton itched, and was already fraying in the sleeves from the hard edges of her custom chrome arms.
"What is this, a mascot or something? I need a professional group, not some fixer's pity case."
Redline smirked and gave the man the finger before deftly turning to leave, careful not to knock anything over with her chrome pony-sized centaur lower half. The other patrons of the high-class restaurant were carefully not-looking, aside from the dwarf child in a booster seat openly staring.
*Red, you want me to convince him to let you stay? I mean, this place has real meat here, and we haven't even got to the appetizers!* Sammy's translated sub vocalizations sounded in Redline's cyber-ears.
*Nah, I'm good, Sam. I'll go for a walk around the block.*
*Silly cyber-freak,* Slim Joe, the team's ork wannabe-samurai had to chime in. Audibly too, Redline's cyber-ears could pick up the mutter across the silent restaurant.
At least the front door wasn't a revolving one this time.
Redline listened in on the conversation as she ducked into an alleyway to change to something more suitable: the top of an urban jumpsuit, and a toggle of her fake SIN to Jenny Queens, working for Pony Express Courier Service. The surface of her centaur limbnal body seemed to ripple as the brushed stainless shifted to a violet color and a cartoon picture of a pegasus with a box appeared on either flank. A smuggling compartment popped open, and the heavily cybered elf unfolded a plastic box and activated the RFID tag inside stating that it was a delivery of air, pressurized container, from K. Roland to P. Skroob.
Hiding in plain sight, Sammy once said something about a purloined letter, whatever that meant, Redline played the part of a special courier dashing around while listening in on the team's meet. She really itched to stretch her legs, but showing off around here would be a Bad Idea. Hard enough to keep being associated with past work as it was, but so worth it for the thrill.
Turned out a go-gang had hit an underdefended Horizon semi and made off with a prototype dohicky mixed in with legit cargo of commlinks. DocNo, the team's decker, subvocally muttered something about a hacked setup.
The good part of the meet was coming up now. Sammy expertly judged the opposition, the Johnson, and had gotten the prospective employer to settle toward a good price with a bit of hemming and hawing and--
"I SAID, MISSY! I want you to deliver something for me!" An old, doddering, ugh, human with more money than sense and a teacup poodle gazing forlornly from her purse whacked Redline's backside with her cane. At the same time, there was a *thunk!* over the team network as DocNo fell over backwards in his chair, laughing at Redline's situation.
The cybered elf was forced to stay in character, listening to the harangue of the old fool about kids these days, and I need you to pick up this box from the post office-- *who uses government mail, for Ghost's sake?* commented the peanut gallery of her team-- and drop it off at such and such an address. The biddy didn't geek at the thousand nuyen charge up front which usually worked to establish Redline's service as high-end, too high-end for mere mortals. Cred is cred, even if her team was ribbing her about 'going legit' and 'working for the man.'
It was the easiest kay of cred Redline had ever earned. No guns, no cops, and the wonderful feel of servos and myomer humming along at a smooth gallop. So tempting to go faster, but the need to have everything working right for the 'run in a couple hours was more important.
It was a new group, calling themselves 'Cave Kings,' styled themselves as caveman thugs and hanging out in a burned-out McHugh's in, where else, the Redmond Barrens. Redline was stuffed in the back of the team's Bulldog, her cyberware set to a light-drinking matte black. The Johnson really wanted the thing, and in a hurry, over 70K nuyen to the team. In the short time available before go-time, DocNo found news reports of a team of shadowrunners apprehended in the Horizon facility the truck had come from. The Johnson was a blank though.
As they approached the gang's squat, a swarm of flying eyes and flyspies dispersed from the truck. The blue-and-green case of the gadget was visible peeking out of a pocket on an armored jacket worn by an ork with a bone through his nose. Unfortunately, so many drones meant they were spotted quickly in turn.
*Told ya not to let the dogbrains think,* Redline grumbled to the rigger, BK, when the latter whined about one of his fly-spies suiciding in a bucket of what was hopefully beer.
Slim Joe's wired reflexes were top-line, and two gangers fell riddled with bullets. The gang may have dressed like Neanderthals, but they were smart enough to split and run when shadowrunners came knocking. Sally, a properly elven shaman, tried to call up some mojo but the ork with the target shrugged it off, jumped on a battered Harley, and peeled off in a panic.
Redline grinned the eager grin of an addict seeing a bottle of her favorite. A deft hop out of the Bulldog, and she took off after the motorcycle.
"Need to remove that stupid warning," she muttered in annoyance as she poked an AR window closed while sending mental commands to override several safety features. Power surged through servo and myomer, light flashed through high-bandwidth fiber in her cybernetic body as Redline lived up to her street name. A blinking light in the corner of her vision represented hundreds of alarms and alerts about material strain, use voiding warranty. Smooth as silk, custom mods made themselves visible as sleek radiator fins deployed in low profiles along arms, legs, and her lower body's back. The motorcycle was still gaining ground, but Redline had another trick even as she pushed meat and metal to their limits, breathing hard despite being mostly chrome. She was grateful for her helmet, at speeds well over 75KPH bugs in the face were distracting. The ork chanced a look back, saw the black-clad, black-bodied cyber-centaur hot on his trail, and somehow coaxed more speed out of his bike, weaving through a series of burnt-out cars half-blocking the road.
Redline loved to show off, and instead of dodging through the cars, managed to run right up over the hood and jump from one to the next, gaining a little ground in the process.
A carefully timed series of mental commands, and a tricky gait change at 100KPH caused sparks to fountain and shower while wheels unfolded from each mechanical hoof. There was a faint glow from the radiators as overworked cybernetics tried to dump waste heat; anyone with thermal vision could see the elven machine from kilometers away. The team, most of the world faded from Redline's mind as she focused on the road and her target, damping down the pain as the bond of flesh and chrome was tortured by stresses the cyber techs never imagined.
The expression on the ganger's face was the sweetest thing in the world when Redline tapped on his shoulder while pulling the macguffin from his pocket. The ork turned to look, his expression turned horrified, then lost control of his bike. The rear wheel clipped Redline's front right leg, and everything went to drek.
The cyber-elf curled as best she could around the device thingy as struts bent and myomer fibers snapped. She tumbled head over tail at 120KPH; her left front foot caught in a pothole and sheared off, feedback from hacked sensors sending agony through her body. She managed to balance on her lower back and slid for half a block, expensive chromatic shell scraping off on asphalt, custom radiators shearing off, one starting a smoldering fire in a pile of trash bags.
"You. Stupid. Slitch," was the first thing Redline heard when she swam up from anesthesia in her cyber-doc's clinic. Oh, fun. Another lecture. A mental ping ran diagnostics; she had just had some very expensive repairs done, but everything was working normally.
"My overrides!" she moaned. It had taken her months to go through and edit half the files in her mechanical half, and felt crippled in a deeper way than the shattered metal had. Nodding at all the right places, making the right noises, Redline began the daunting task of getting everything just right again. Now where was that forum post with the edit key...