The Shadows of a Worm (Worm/Shadowrun 3ed crossover

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« on: <06-17-21/2223:55> »
posting this here to get more thoughts on it, i'll start with the opening, and then slowly expand on it as i haven't gone far with this story. Worm is solely owned by a writer by the handle of Wildblow and most of the issues with that universe is his. Thoughts would be appreciated, mods, if this should not be here, tell me and i will remove it.

The Shadows of a Worm
I don’t know how I got here, or really where here is right now. It looks like a supply closet, or a janitor’s closet somewhere, or I should say somewhere other than Winslow. If this was Winslow, there would likely be graffiti all over the door and strange smells coming from the mop bucket that seems to be under my feet. Still though, how did I get here, wherever here is, and how long have I been unconscious. I kind of remember seeing something, some kind of chasm with a destroyed stone bridge spanning the gap. But other than the vague impressions of a great wrongness on one side, and a sense of love and stalwart defense on the other, I just don’t know.
Finally, I pulled myself to a position where I could stand up and opened the door that my head had been brushing against. Peeking out through the door, I found a dark hallway in a building that was obviously still under construction and the fact that it was after dark. Dad, if he notices, is going to be worried, I thought as I made my way down the hallway. I didn’t see any windows, so I stuck to one direction until I hit a solid wall and had to turn, and that turn led me to a window. The view however, shocked me to my core. This isn’t Brockton Bay, my brain gibbered at me. Where the hell am I? Is that the Space Needle? HOW IN THE HELL DID I END UP IN SEATTLE?
Winslow was an average under-performing, inner-city high school in the middle of the night. Quiet, peaceful, but with no security what-so-ever, so when a tear appeared in the fabric of reality there was no one there to see it and react, let alone when a strangely dressed young woman stepped out and the rift sealed behind her. “Huh,” she muttered to herself before walking toward the doors as if she owned the place. Same old Winslow, she thought to herself seeing the banner proclaiming the next weekend’s basketball game against Clarendon. No matter how long you’re away, it’s still the same fragging drekhole. The kind that makes the Arcology seem like a vacation spot. Her stride was long so it didn’t take her long to reach the outer doors and walk out. As the door opened there was no wailing of an alarm, nor the crash of chains holding the doors shut. She knew that the school didn’t have much of anything worth stealing, and that which was worth it was kept under lock and key. Access to the building itself? That was easy and as open as a joygirl on payday. While most people would have been surprised by this, the young woman paid these things no mind. Where she had been, it took a miracle to stay alive, or at least a decent sense of paranoia, and paranoia, Taylor Hebert had in spades.
Danny Hebert woke with a start at the creak of the front porch step. Someone had just stepped up onto the porch, and by the sounds of it were about to open the front door, probably by picking the lock from the sound of it. “Wrong night assholes,” he muttered as he hefted a baseball bat and waited for the door to open. When it did open, he gaped in shock, first because it was swung open by the gentle toeing of a combat boot while the person opening the door stood back and watched. “Annette?” he asked as he saw the woman’s face and figure, gaping as he damn near dropped the bat on his own head.
“Hey dad,” the young woman said in his daughter’s voice, “I got home as quick as I could, I promise.” With those words, Daniel Hebert collapsed to the floor.
Danny Hebert’s eyes blinked as he awoke and realized he was laying on the couch in the living room. The couch back and the ceiling being in his field of view. What a dream, he thought as he sat up and rubbed at his eyes before starting to chide himself. Danny-boy, you’re an idiot, Annette isn’t going to just walk through those doors, not ever again damn it. With a sigh he listened for a moment and was rewarded by the sound of dishes rattling in the drain board as someone washed and stacked them there. Looking at the clock he scowled, Its three in the damn morning, she should be asleep so she can go to school tomorrow, not doing the dishes. Of course as soon as that thought bounced through his mind, his guilt countered with, Well if you had bothered to clean up after eating she wouldn’t be doing dishes now would she. which caused him to sigh again and pinch the bridge of his nose. “Taylor,” he called out, “could you come in here please.”
“Sure dad,” she answered. He heard the water shut off and her steps toward the living room from the kitchen sink. He let his head drop into his hands and rubbed at his face as she walked into the room and sat down next to him on the couch. Shame at himself and irritation at the hour and the circumstances colored his thinking but he corralled his temper and just before he spoke, she started talking instead.
“Dad,” she said softly, “Let me start off by saying that none of what has happened was your fault. I never told you what was going on, and honestly, even if I had, all it would have done was ruin another friendship, one that was older than I was.”
He raised his head from his hands and blinked again, I’m not going to dwell on whatever that was about, he told himself before speaking. “Taylor,” he answered, “I haven’t been the best parent since your mother passed, in fact there for a while I wasn’t even a good enough parent to keep food on the table for you.”
He felt his daughter wrap her arms around him in bury her head in his shoulder, and even though she was nearly as tall as he was, Has she gotten even taller? all he could see was the top of her head and her long hair where she had pulled it into a loose ponytail while doing dishes. “None of that dad,” he heard her say. “We got through that and moved forward. All we have to do is keep moving forward, no matter what.”
“I know baby girl,” he replied before reaching over and ruffling her hair with his other hand. “Now,” he continued, “do you think you can tell me what kept you out so late?”
Her first response was a low growl that suddenly cut off as she froze solid. “Dad, what is today’s date?” she asked hesitantly.
“January 4th,” he answered. “Why? Does it matter?”
Faster than he could blink his little girl was up on her feet and cursing a blue streak in at least four languages as she stalked through the room. She was taller than he remembered, thin and hard muscled but with her mother’s face and hair. The cargo pants and combat boots were worn as if they were a part of her, as was the tank top that showed the wiry muscles of her arms. She picked the lock on the front door, he thought, remembering the “dream” that was apparently her coming home. “Lazy good for nothing overgrown lizards!” she said finally finishing her diatribe. At his raised eyebrow she explained, “Dad, for you I’ve been gone for less than twenty-four hours, but for me it’s been seven fragging long years. Years where I had to fight just to survive in that world.” Finally, her anger spent, she sat back down on the couch next to him. “I was afraid that this was some kind of test,” she said, running her hands over her face and back through her hair. “That they had pulled some kind of fast one on me. Thank heaven this is real.” She said letting out a long breath and relaxing on the couch.
“Do you at least remember what happened that day,” Danny asked, “what caused you to be wherever there was?”
“Oh yeah dad,” she answered, leaning her head back and rubbing her eyes. “Emma, Sophia and Madison shoved me into my locker and left me there for, I don’t know how long. However long it was though, I passed out, and when I awoke, I was in Seattle Washington, in the year 2057, in an alternate universe that never had parahumans.”
Danny blinked at that. Not just where his daughter had ended up, that itself was just too fanciful to acknowledge just yet, but at who had done that to her. “I thought you and Emma were friends?” he practically gasped.
Taylor snorted in response, “Dad,” she replied, “in that world I learned real quick what true friends are, and how fast a friend like Emma would stick a knife in your back for the least little thing.” She sighed before getting up. “If I can remember exactly how to get to them, my abuse journals should still be in my room. If you promise not to fly off the handle, I’ll let you read them.”
“Taylor, I’m your father,” he said looking at her.
“I know,” she replied, “that’s why I want you to promise not to go charging over there and starting a fight. Uncle Alan probably doesn’t know what has happened, and there is no good reason to ruin that friendship. As it is, I’ve grown past all that high school crap, and with the exception of the locker itself, it was all childish bulldrek. I don’t need to do anything about it as life will settle Emma soon enough, and there is no reason to ruin your friendship with Uncle Alan.”
“Alright,” Danny said grumpily, “I promise I won’t fly off the handle and cause trouble with Alan, but if I think he needs to see these and probably reign Emma in some I reserve the right to make that argument.”
Taylor smiled a sad smile, “Fine dad,” she answered, “I’ll just go get them and then I’m going to take a shower and a nap. It’s been a long day for me, and I need some shut eye.” With that she went upstairs to get the journals and once she brought them to him, he settled in to read while she got a shower and went to bed.
Two hours later Taylor was still out cold in her bed and he was drinking his second cup of coffee as he went through the two notebooks of incidents that she had recorded. A note in the beginning of the first notebook explained what she knew at that point. She had returned from nature camp and gone at her first chance to see Emma, who when she arrived had told her to leave. Taylor had tried to find out what was wrong and that was when Sophia Hess entered the picture. From that point the two of them, and later a hanger on named Madison Clements had heaped the worst and most consistent cruelties and abuses on Taylor. She had even documented going to the school officials who told her that without any proof there was nothing that they could do, which was understandable in one aspect, but still a pile of bullshit as far as Danny was concerned. Still, Taylor had been right, nothing here, with the exception of her belief that they had stolen her mother’s flute from her locker, was really anything more than children acting out. That the school had not tried to catch them at it after Taylor’s complaints was troubling, but it was Winslow, the teachers and administrators had more to pay attention to than one girl getting picked on. Most would have joined a gang by this point, if for nothing else, the protection. Not Taylor though, he thought with a smile. She’s proven herself tougher than that, able to stand on her own in more ways than one.
Closing the second of the two notebooks he looked at the clock and walked into the kitchen and the phone that hung there. Picking it up he dialed a number from memory and then waited for it to ring through to the voicemail. “Edna,” he said once the system had beeped at him. “I’m going to be out today, call it a family emergency on the paperwork. I’m about to call Kurt and give him the rundown on what needs to be done, so he’ll be in charge today. I’ll call you later and let you know what’s going on and how things are going.”
Using a finger to close the line for a four count, he then punched in another number, again from memory, and waited as the phone at the other end rang a couple of times. “Hey Lacey,” he said when the other end was picked up by his co-worker’s wife. “I’m sorry to call so early but I need to catch Kurt before he heads out.”
“Fine, just a minute,” The woman responded and then apparently handed the phone to her husband who Danny needed to talk to.
“Hey Kurt,” Danny said, still hearing the mumbling of the tired woman. “Sorry for calling so early but I’m going to be out all day dealing with what’s fallen into my lap.”
“Taylor must have had some story to tell when she got home last night,” his buddy replied.
“Kurt, you have no idea,” Danny answered. “But I need you to keep an eye on things for me, most everyone should be on either the Greenbriar site, and those that aren’t should either be working on the equipment or doing clean-up on the Fortress Construction site.”
“I got you Danny,” Kurt replied. “You see to your little girl; we’ll handle this stuff.”
“Thanks Kurt,” Danny said, “and apologize to Lacey again for me, I didn’t want to wake her up.”
“Not a problem Danny,” Kurt answered, “I’ll talk to you later.” With that the other man hung up and Danny put the phone back in its cradle before looking at the clock. Not quite five-thirty huh, he thought. Maybe I could get a bit more sleep, probably shouldn’t but what the hell, I don’t have to go in now anyway. With that thought in mind, Danny made his way upstairs and to his own bed. “Thank god she’s safe,” he murmured before dropping off to sleep. He knew he would be lost without her alive.
The next thing Danny Hebert knew he was once again looking at a ceiling. This time however, it was the one to his own bedroom. With a sigh he sat up and rubbed his eyes before reaching over onto his bedside table and grabbing his glasses. That’s what made her look so much like her mother! he thought, realizing that his daughter had not been wearing any glasses the night before. I’ll ask her about it after things get going today, he told himself as he settled his glasses and stood up. A sniff of the air told him that someone was cooking bacon, so he headed downstairs to see what else was for breakfast.
Arriving in the kitchen he found his daughter hard at work making breakfast, and doing a damn sight better than she had only three years before when she had insisted on doing it for father’s day. She seemed to practically bounce around the kitchen to the beat of some poppy foreign rock song that she had playing out what he could only guess was some kind of music player. “Hey dad,” she chirped as she pulled more bacon out of the pan and set them to drain while she poured the majority of the grease out of the pan. “How do you want your eggs?”
“Anything is fine,” he answered, heading to the coffee pot. Unlike normal, she had apparently taken a cup for herself instead of making herself some tea. “So, you’ve started drinking coffee?” he asked as he poured himself a cup.
“Not really,” she answered before taking a sip from her own mug and grimacing. “James couldn’t drink the stuff, but he always kept a pot of what he called ‘Garfield’s Goat Locker’ coffee ready for any of the rest of the team who wanted it. Taught me how to make it so that he didn’t have to anymore,” at that point her grin became almost feral, “taught me a bunch of other stuff too, things that have kept me alive over the years.” Suddenly her face went back to its chirpy cheerfulness and she continued, “Regardless of that though, it’s better than that damnable soy-kaf that the corps would force on you.”
Danny absently took a sip of the coffee and blinked. He knew what Goat Locker coffee was, that was the coffee that was triple brewed for navy chiefs. His father had told him about it when he had been younger than Taylor. This however wasn’t so thick that you could stand your spoon up in it, nor was it so bitter that it puckered your face. I wonder what the Garfield’s part of the reference is? he thought before mentally shrugging and sipping a bit more of the coffee. This didn’t have the bitterness to it that even one of his regular pots would have had. “It’s good coffee Taylor,”
He watched as she broke a pair of eggs into the frying pan, using the grease from the bacon to cook them. Suddenly, not having seen his daughter move, Danny saw a plate appear and six slices of bacon land on it. Expertly, Taylor flipped the eggs themselves before scooping them out of the pan and onto the plate. “Plate up,” she said with a smile, holding out the plate to him.
He smiled at her and took the plate. “Was cooking something else this James taught you?” he asked as he sat down.
“No,” she answered, shaking her head as she broke another pair of eggs into the pan. “That I learned in the six months I spent undercover working in an Awful Waffle waiting for a damn spree robber to come in and rob the place.
“What the hell?” Danny asked, looking up from his food with alarm.
Taylor looked over at him and smiled. “Dad,” she said, giving him a touch of a glare. “I spent the last seven years working as a freelance security consultant and operative. Sometimes there were perks, sometimes there were pains, but regardless I survived.” What she wasn’t going to tell him was the number of times she’d been cut, stabbed, burned or shot, nor would she tell him some of the things that she had been required to do during those seven years. “That said, the spree robber was a particularly interesting case and I just had to work the stove at that store, it was the rest of the team that dealt with his psycho hoop.”
“It wasn’t just you alone?” he asked, settling back into his food.
“No Dad,” she answered while putting her own bacon and eggs on a plate. “I had a good team to work with, smart, dedicated, practically family.” She smiled slightly at a memory before taking up a slice of bacon and using it to point at him. “We’re going to need a lawyer,” she said flatly. “Someone other than Uncle Alan, and unfortunately we’re going to have to talk to the PRT about what happened.”
“Why do you figure?” Danny asked. It happened that he agreed with her, but he wanted to hear her reasoning before he said anything.
“I don’t have any contacts here,” she said with a sad look on her face. “No one I could trust to come up with a decent fake ID, or to get into the government’s computer system to change the data to use my own. That and they need to see if something is still happening with my locker, to see if there is a portal to that other world.”
“Problem?” Danny asked as his daughter morosely took a bite of eggs.
“Possibly if there is still a portal to then,” she answered after a minute. “But I imagine that one is one way, because otherwise Winslow would have been invaded by a mad AI and I would have had a very hot reception.”
Danny grimaced, and then nodded. “I’ll call the office and see what the union lawyer has to suggest. Are there any other reasons?”
“Yeah,” she answered. “The PRT can get me an official ID and they will likely need to document the changes so that I can move about without being labeled a cape.” Danny nodded but kept his mouth shut, letting his daughter eat her breakfast. Eating his own breakfast, he made up his mind that when he finished, he would first call the lawyer’s office and see what they suggested and then the PRT’s offices to arrange a meeting about the locker. It was going to be a busy day, but one that would get a lot of things accomplished.
May god grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, to change the things I can, and the firepower to make the difference.

Suicide is never the answer, now homicide on the other hand, that has posibilities.

7.62 Russian, when it absolutely has to be done under budget