Shadowrun General => Fan fiction => Topic started by: Raphael diSanto on <04-13-17/1142:00>

Title: The Wells Effect
Post by: Raphael diSanto on <04-13-17/1142:00>
A little something that came to me some years ago. Just thought I'd share... One day, I may continue it.

The Wells Effect

Do you remember, Talia?

Do you remember that summer, when the flies were buzzing around our door, when I told you I loved you and when you said you'd marry me? Do you remember taking our boots off and dancing barefoot in the stream, high up in the Rockies? We were so far from the world and so far from everything, it was almost as if we owned the universe. Do you remember those days, Talia?

That was the summer that I first had trouble sleeping, remember? That was the summer the dreams first came.

I'd never suffered from nightmares, not even as a child. And then, when I met you, and you held me as we slept, the threat of those nocturnal invaders that seem to trouble so many other people seemed yet more distant and remote.

And so we slept, you in my arms, or was I in yours? It didn't seem to matter, with the sky at our back, and the fresh air on our bodies and the sheer joy of being alive, being out of the sprawl, with no one to answer to but ourselves.

But that summer, that was the summer that started in the Rockies and ended with the rumbling of the machinery all around me, every day, every waking moment. A low insistent noise that seemed to vibrate my very bones and penetrate into the depths of my soul. A noise that never left me, even when I was home, with you, in your arms.

Daen. I'll never forget his name. An elf, a magician, an inventor, an artist, a visionary. He was so far out on the edge it was as if he'd leapt from the precipice of sanity into the crevasse of the unknown, pushing back the boundaries until his vision was so far lost, it was as if it had taken life of its own, running wild and free towards some distant goal that only he and it could see.

I remember his laboratory, stacked into some over-and-under shantytown in the Redmond Barrens. Hiding in plain sight, a diamond lost in the coal, with undercover SyMex security on every street and camouflaged securecams on every corner. I remember the bright, flickering overhead fluorescents and the gleaming steel workspaces, covered with chemicals and fetishes, circuit boards and reagents. Hastily-scribbled notes in a well-worn notebook, discolored and stained with the evidence of his genius. Or maybe it was insanity. You remember that laboratory, don't you, Talia?

Daen never seemed to notice the gunfire and the gangs, the guards and the cameras. He barely, if ever, left the workshop. I think he only thought of the next thing he could invent, the next thing his vision led him to, the next magnificent fusion of man and machine, or man and machine and magic, the next step on the evolution of metahumanity.

Until you arrived, Talia.

He worked for SyMex, remember? They kept him locked away in that little workshop, hidden from prying eyes. Who would think to look for a top secret research facility a hundred feet below the turf wars and the wiregirls, behind an off-the-'trix state of the art security system that culminated in a steel-titanium vault door, artfully and masterfully crafted with dirt and grime, gang colors and graffiti and fake rust patches. He was going to be SyMex's ticket into the big leagues, their dreams of Zurich-Orbital and triple-A status given form. I don't think he cared about their ambition. I don't think he cared about anything outside his own imagination and the things that existed in there.

I wasn't supposed to like him. You weren't supposed to love him. We were supposed to steal him. Do you remember, Talia? When Fargo came to us the winter before, in Denver, huddled in the corner of some anonymous little dive bar in the Pueblo sector to talk about an extraction, with the wind blowing all around us and the snow as thick as Daen's SyMex security. Do you remember that?

You asked him what he wanted with Daen.

I don't think I much cared what his answer was. I don't even really remember it. Not anymore, although I remember so much else of that day. That was the day we ate properly. Real food, not soysteak and synthicaf. We were moving up in the world. I remember I took you out right after dinner and we danced. We danced all night in Denver and you wore my ring and the dress that I bought.

What happened, Talia? Where are you now with my ring and the dress? Where did you run to, with him? Where are you now?

Fargo told us that Daen was important. That he knew someone who would pay very well to have Daen working for them, instead. He didn't tell us, but we knew, didn't we? The answer wasn't complicated.

Where did you take him, Talia? Did you get a better price? Why did you run, Talia? Why did you run and leave me to face Olympus and their anger alone?

Was it one of Daen's inventions that did it in the end? Were you seduced by his dreams, like I was? I spent weeks with him, working in that little laboratory, grooming him for the move to Olympus, being the test subject for any number of experiments. Always looking for something new, always looking for the edge of tomorrow. He liked me, respected me, found my skill with a blade and a gun useful, even productive; and never once did he talk about you.

So I always came home to you, to that high-rise apartment Fargo found for us, towering over the streets of Seattle, and I slept in your arms until the dreams came. Mad crazy insane dreams. Dreams of the stars, or were they atoms? Of magic in the matrix and speeds faster than thought. Wild dreams. Daen's dreams. Like a virus, I was being infected. Intellectually. Infected by the power of his vision, contagious and subliminal.

Until the day I came home and you were no longer there. We'd planned his extraction well. Oh yes. How to get past the locks and the guards and the cameras. We'd planned it well. And you followed the plan precisely, didn't you? I still wonder how long you'd been thinking about it, exactly when you'd decided to do it. You moved you when I was with him, and then you moved him when I was on my way home, because by the time I got back to the Barrens, back to the laboratory, it was empty and he was gone. Gone with you.

But the dreams didn't leave with him, and now I sit in bar after bar, drinking bad wine and making worse conversation, dreading the moment when I have to sleep again, for now I have no one to talk to. No one to explain them to. No one to build them for me.

So please come back, baby. Only, please… Bring Daen with you.
Title: Re: The Wells Effect
Post by: RowanTheFox on <04-13-17/1419:19>
Never stop writing. This is amazing!
Title: Re: The Wells Effect
Post by: Raphael diSanto on <04-13-17/1748:32>
Never stop writing. This is amazing!
Thanks! This forum might just be the motivation I need to work more on this :)
Title: Re: The Wells Effect
Post by: RowanTheFox on <04-14-17/1653:05>
Never stop writing. This is amazing!
Thanks! This forum might just be the motivation I need to work more on this :)
The forums inspired me to start writing again after years of depression-induced writer's block. The lovely folks here never fail to inspire.
Title: Re: The Wells Effect
Post by: Raphael diSanto on <04-15-17/0016:49>
He folded up the letter, tucked it back inside his jacket. The paper folded easily under his fingers, the creases and folds worn right into the page. He'd never sent it. Didn't know where to send it. It was almost two years ago that he'd written it, and every night he'd taken it out and read it, as if by reading the words he could get the message to her.



Two years ago. Two years on a suicidal downward spiral in this drekhole corner of the Redmond Barrens. The Village, they called it around here, a mass of broken brickwork, boarded up buildings and failed dreams. If you were a nobody, the Village is where you ended up. If you were a somebody, the Village is where you came to be anonymous. He'd seen enough of those pass through here. Some came and went; some stayed, sucked under by the social inertia, driven beneath the surface by the oppressive need for survival.

He'd survived, running deals on a fool would consider, dealing in goods no one else would handle. Magical artifacts that would fry you mind. Novahot BTL chips that would leave you a drooling mess on the floor. Selling cheap and buying cheaper. After Fargo had spread the word, not a single Name would touch him. He was persona non grata. Doors that had been opened were closed and locked. Faces closed down when he tried to talk. He simply didn't exist. Fargo had been his ticket. Their ticket. Their ticket to a new world, a new life. He and Talia, together, in the glass and plastcrete skycrapers of Downtown Seattle.

And now? Now it had all gone to hell and back. He didn't even think he'd last another week.
Title: Re: The Wells Effect
Post by: Raphael diSanto on <04-15-17/0032:34>
Caliban Torarun was a rogue, a maverick, a loose cannon. The people in the Village, survival experts in the undercurrents of a desperate society seemingly designed to kill them, recognized the signs and stayed away. He'd been a 'runner, but in that business you're only as good as your name and now his name was worth less than mud. He'd managed to carve out a niche existence drifting from job to job, taking poor jobs for worse pay, dealing only with people even crazier than he was, people who cared less than he did.

Although sometimes, these days, he doubted whether there was anyone out there who cared less about him than he did.

"It ain't that I'm poor. It's that all them other buggers are rich."

The joke was old, but it still got a laugh. It always did, here in the Village. Cal heard the voice come from somewhere behind him, cut off abruptly by other conversations, voices jostling for space in the overcrowded market air. Deals were being made here, deals he wasn't involved in. A thousand dreams, reaching up with nervous fingers toward the sky, their owners ready to snatch them back down into the warm safety of anonymity at a moment's notice. He shrugged off some tattooed whore and pushed his way past the bodies to Pyle.

Pyle was a fixture here in the market. Tall and emaciated, with one arm and piercing bright blue eyes, everything that was anything went down through Pyle. Cal had always wondered why Pyle never got the arm replaced, but had never asked. The morning sunlight glinted off the plating covering his head. Cal suspected that he polished it, just for the effect. Here, in the Village, effect was everything. People weren't rich enough to have anything else. He grinned his shark's teeth grin as Cal forced his way towards him. Three of his teeth were gold.

"Business, friend Cal, or pleasure?" The 'friend' didn't mean anything. Neither did the grin. Cal had seen Pyle grin like that while watching his hired vatboy pull the arms of some unlucky sob who owned him money.

Cal shrugged. "Always business, Pyle. You know that. Federil been around?"

"Been and gone, been and gone, dear boy." The voice was noncommittal.

Press him. "Gone where?"

Pyle waved a hand deprecatingly. "How should I know?"

"C'mon, Pyle. It don't happen around here without you knowin' about it."

Pyle looked thoughtful for a moment. Considering. "Since it's you, dear boy." Reached into a pocket, pulled out a chip, scuffed and worn. "Here. He gave me this." Held it out.

Cal took it as Pyle turned to talk to a tattooed dwarf with wild hair and wilder eyes. Pyle's remaining hand was tough, like leather. Cal moved his long hair back slightly, slotted the chip into the small jack behind his right ear. The AR kicked in, and his SezuTek G120 eyes overlaid the message header. Federil's neat handwriting. Cal's name.



"This is addressed to me." Monotone voice.

"Really, dear boy? I hadn't noticed." Cal could read nothing in Pyle's tone. He might have been lying, or he might really not have known. You never could tell with Pyle, and Cal knew when not to press his luck. He settled for nodding, unslotting the chip and dropping it into a pocket. Here's not the place to read the whole thing.

"Thanks, Pyle."

Pyle waved a distracted hand, already deep in conversation with the dwarf. Cal pushed off the trestle table Pyle used as a stall, back into the mass of bodies. Back into the never ending hustle.