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This year's Scramble character pre-fic...Hotspur!

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Critias

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« on: <07-20-12/1846:27> »
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In continuing the tradition I started last year, of having a good time writing up some fic about my Scramble character to stay motivated, I present my Technomancer.  Sort of.  This is way-back backstory, prior to his Emergence, but it will -- eventually -- get him caught up to where he's at, timeline-wise. 


Hotspur, here, is actually the very first Shadowrun character I ever played.  As the story unfolds, you'll see that -- back in the day -- that wasn't actually very impressive.  He had maybe a half dozen runs under his belt, given my attention span as a fifteen year old.  But I dusted him off for if I needed to go "screw it, I'll just quasi-NPC the Matrix parts" character more recently, for my local playtesting and games.  He's gotten a lot of mileage quite recently, and the fact he was around back in "the day" is mostly just flavorful icing...but it's still fun.
2051

Now this is a story all about how
My life got flipped, turned upside down.
I’ll talk real fast, so don’t you go too far,
It’s how I became a ‘runner here in Tarislar.

The Telestrian Habitat, born and raised,
In the Matrix was where I spent most of my days.
Hacking at sixteen, I had the impression
That I was good enough to mess with the Rite of Progression.
Not traced, tracked, or hammered, no IC made my cry,
Told my sister my big plan, she wouldn’t let me try!
She went running to mom, yes she straight up tattled,
Mom said “You’re dodging the Peace Force and you're moving to Seattle.”

I hitched a ride with the Ancients, took a smuggler’s route,
Then I got to Seattle all “Man, check this out.”
Orks, trolls and humans, megacorps and pollution,
I miss the pinnacle of elf-nature collusion.

Now I live in a shithouse here in Puyallup,
Gotta hack to get a bath, man my life’s messed up.
Can’t afford a swanky pad in a place Downtown,
So I sit on the curb, with tuskers all arou--


"What?"

"Nothing!"

The elf flashed his most innocent smile.  The orkish guard narrowed his eyes suspiciously, but eventually turned his broad back away and continued his pacing.  Gabriel, short and not terribly fit for an elf, let out a relieved sigh.  Being a console cowboy was all well and good when you were plugged into a console, but if the ork had genuinely taken offense at his time-killing little sing-song, it's not like he'd be able to hack the big tusker's muscles or fists to stop a sound beating.  There were times -- times like this, fidgeting at an entrance to the Ork Underground, surrounded by Skraacha toughs while carrying a cyberdeck worth over half a million nuyen -- that the young elf still felt very much alone in this place.

The Beretta on his hip didn't make him feel much better, since each of these hulking orks was toting some sort of Kalishnikov.  Just like they were twice his size, their guns had plenty more firepower, too.  Most of them were the same age as him, though, which, given how moody and irrational his own teenage hormones could make him, wasn't precisely comforting. 

But none of that would matter, he told himself as his hand slid down the strap to rest on his Cyber-7, once he jacked in.  When it was him and the electron horizon, all the meatheads and musclebrains in the world couldn't touch him.  He'd been in Seattle for three weeks now, and he was almost out of nuyen.  He needed to work to make more.  Wasp and Sting, the closest thing he had to a criminal network, had pointed him here.  The Underground.

"Go make them an offer, they said," he muttered to himself in lieu of continued singing.  "It'll be fun, they said.  The tuskers need a decker more than we do right now, they said.  Don't forget to give us twenty percent, they said."

"Twenty percent of nothing is still nothing, kid."  The hoarse voice came from behind him, and Gabriel turned to see a flash of light off datajacks and tusks alike, as a broad ork stepped into the light.  "And stop talkin' about the tusks, if you want our help."

"Uhm, yes!"  Not knowing what else to do, Gabriel just agreed with the ork's acute mathematical assessment.  "And no!  I mean, I will.  Err, I won't?"

"Relax.  It's just that I'm not going to be here in the 'plex for very long, and you're going to have to make a good impression on these guys if you want to stick around."  One big hand reached out to swat the scrawny elf in a way that was probably supposed to be supportive, but instead nearly bowled him over.  "If you're as good as the dandelion-eaters said, I can use you for back-up.  It'll be nice not to tackle the whole damned Matrix solo."

"We won't pay you anything for this first gig.  It's an interview or an internship, not a job, you get it?  Whatever paydata you manage to grab, we get half.  I'll be piggybacking to see how you do, and if we want you for more work after that, Wasp can take his cut from those jobs.  You scan me, chummer?"

Led along further into the Underground by the big ork, Gabriel just nodded.  The ork kept talking, conversational but loud, making it clear to everyone nearby that the kid was with him.

"Most of what I do down here is to help trick the grid into supplying us some basic necessities.  The Metroplex ain't exactly keen on us SINless schmucks getting regular heat and water, so I do what I can.  You'll be helping me with that sort of thing, if I decide to keep you on.  I see you've got program carriers, not just that sweet Fuchi rig.  Why?"

"I can't take my deck everywhere," the elf managed to shrug a bit despite the ork's companionable arm dwarfing his shoulders.  He held up his right arm, letting the program carrier ports behind his knuckles catch the dim light.  The way the Skraacha at the door had first reacted, Gabriel didn't doubt they'd mistaken them for combat augmentations.  "And I'm good enough on the fly I don't need to."

"You're confident, I'll give ya that."  The ork snorted.  "About the Matrix, at least.  If you sling code as good as you think you do, those must be some pretty hot spurs you're packing..."

2074

The Orxploitation music blared straight into his inner ear, relayed there by forces man didn't yet fully grasp.  The Matrix simply was, and the elf called Hotspur acknowledged that on a fundamental level it was a glorious and sublime fact of life that he was one with the Matrix in a special way...but in another, more practical way, he really should change this particular ring-tone.  Not only because the skull-pounding bass and the profanity-laden Or'zet lyrics made his head hurt, but because his old coworker -- the only person in the world who had this charming ditty programmed as their incoming call identifier -- would hate him if he found out about it.

But reprogramming, even at the speed of thought-twitch, would have to wait.  An inhuman hand, all polymer and carbon, stark white and glossy black, flicked out serpent-quick to stab at a button on a battered old Fuchi keyboard.  The commlink nestled deep within the guts of the perpetually-updated machine replied to the external command, answering the call and cutting out the blaring music.

No one needed a cyberdeck these days, but the elf needed one less than most.  He kept the thing out of nostalgia, to remind him of his roots, to make him a memorable potential freelance employee, and -- lately -- as a cover.  No one needed a cyberdeck, but he didn't even need the commlink he'd wired up inside the old Fuchi case.

He still hacked naked, yes.  But the program carriers had been removed decades ago.  He didn't need them any more.

"MacCallister, you ugly bastard."  The elf ran his meat hand through his hair, blinking himself awake.  "Don't you pretend you forgot about the damned time zone difference."

"Hey, kid, sorry to interrupt your precious beauty sleep.  But I hear through the grapevine New York's getting a little hot, lately.  You want to take a break from the Rotten Apple, and maybe come give me a hand again?"

The ork's broad features filled an imagined pop-up window, an augmented reality creation that Hotspur wished into being just so he could see that old, tusky, grin.  The elf was nodding before he realized it. 

He was tired of the East Coast, anyways.  Juggling all these assholes against each other, trying to be a monkeywrench that bugged them all equally, was wearing him out.  It was only a matter of time before he slipped up and they stopped playing pattycake with him.  Once the Neo-A's had put a price on his head, too, he knew it was time to leave.  MacAllister might not have known the call was reaching Hotspur under such dire straits...but maybe he did.  Either way, the elf knew what answer made sense.

His custom arm, a Spinrad special that had cost him more than he liked, flashed a shining thumbs up.

"Sure.  Why not?  It'll be just like old times.  Only the Ancients won't be after twenty percent, and you better be paying me a little more than nothing."
« Last Edit: <07-21-12/0601:38> by Critias »

Critias

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« Reply #1 on: <07-20-12/1849:30> »
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And for the record, I know Bull wasn't actually in Seattle at this time.  He was jumping all around Chicago, being crazy.  But for the purposes of this little pocket of the universe claimed by my single character and his sliver of backstory, I'm handwaving it away to say that the big guy was helping the Underground a bit, back in the day.  Because Seattle is where the original Hotspur pulled off his tremendous crime wave of like four published adventures and two GM-winging-it stories, so Seattle's where the action's gotta be, to start.  ;)

Crimsondude

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« Reply #2 on: <07-21-12/1213:17> »
[size=78%]Now this is a story all about how[/size]

My life got flipped, turned upside down.
I’ll talk real fast, so don’t you go too far,
It’s how I became a ‘runner here in Tarislar.

The Telestrian Habitat, born and raised,
In the Matrix was where I spent most of my days.
Hacking at sixteen, I had the impression
That I was good enough to mess with the Rite of Progression.
Not traced, tracked, or hammered, no IC made my cry,
Told my sister my big plan, she wouldn’t let me try!
She went running to mom, yes she straight up tattled,
Mom said “You’re dodging the Peace Force and you're moving to Seattle.”

I hitched a ride with the Ancients, took a smuggler’s route,
Then I got to Seattle all “Man, check this out.”
Orks, trolls and humans, megacorps and pollution,
I miss the pinnacle of elf-nature collusion.

Now I live in a shithouse here in Puyallup,
Gotta hack to get a bath, man my life’s messed up.
Can’t afford a swanky pad in a place Downtown,
So I sit on the curb, with tuskers all arou--


rasmusnicolaj

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« Reply #3 on: <08-06-12/0412:41> »
Excellent lyric and a cool story  ;D

Rasmus
Deplore killings made in the name of religion. Can't it just be for fun?

Critias

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« Reply #4 on: <08-13-12/1613:48> »
Dangit.  I planned on about two more installments (instead of just one story, split between the beginning of his story and the "end" of it, current time)...but GenCon kinda snuck up on me.  Oh well.  I'll type 'em up some other time.