Ride the Resonance

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« on: <02-16-15/2047:19> »
I'm a new player to Shadowrun and decided to write a short story after our first session.

   “Ride the Resonance,” he muttered to himself, sliding into the virtual world known as the Matrix.  He flew into a world of colors, small streams of light flowing all around him as data packets moved throughout the wireless realm; this was Torque's home, and he felt a small twinge of pity for those who would never experience it like he could.  Then again, those who could not live in the Matrix were not actively hunted, either.
   His physical body was located inside a van, this model he affectionately referred to as Kimmy, in the warehouse parking lot near the shoreline in Seattle, but his mind gladly left it behind, turning into the image of a surly dwarf decked in black synthleathers.  Despite what others told him this was his true self, and he subconsciously stretched, feeling as if he was just waking up from a night's rest.
   He had heard about the disappearances in the city, but last night it hit too close to home.  A member of his guild had been taken.  The technomancers in the city were few and far between, but Torque knew of a few.  Calling them friends might be going too far, and he chuckled to himself as his persona flew silently through the warehouse district.  Friends?  More like those who had an agreement to watch out for one another.  At least that was true for most...
   It had been three days since Monarch had been online, and he knew the itch his type got when they could not feel the Matrix.  It was subtle, under your skin.  Always complaining in the back of your mind, but there was no way to scratch it apart from diving in and becoming one with the Matrix.  He shuddered, briefly contemplating spending a week away.  It was for this reason that he knew something was wrong; Monarch should have been online by now.
   After asking around, and slipping the right contacts some hard earned nuyen, he had managed to trace down a vehicle that was seen hanging around his apartment complex.  Within a day he had found the icon for it, and sent one of his sprites along for the day to report back on everywhere it had been.  That was what led him here to Warehouse 31.
   His persona, still silent, stopped in front of the building, the icons in the area slightly blurred and occasionally crackling due to the Noise, and he methodically scanned the outside area, searching for any signs of security.  This area was much less traveled, and he could only see a few icons naturally, all at the edge of his vision.
   There.  He smiled as he spotted two darker icons, engineered to blend into the dark gray background.  Carefully he marked them both, placing a small image of a wrench on each – these were cameras designed to cover the front of the building.  Circling to the back side he could also see a matching icon over a door, and he marked this as well.  Slowly he moved forward, his persona entering the warehouse's walls; however, he was immediately greeted by a wall of static.  Going back to the front he tried again with the same results.  A Faraday cage.  He cursed his luck – there would be no signal in or out of the area.
   He paused for a moment before having the footage from the front camera rewound and played for him.  He could see the Ford Americar he had been after, driving up two nights ago and two armed men in cheap suits, one an ork, pulling a large, black bag out of the trunk.  It could easily have fit a body, possibly even a troll if they were on the smaller side.  There would be no way to know what was inside without going in. 
   Sending a message to Kimmy he waited while the van moved his body and gear closer, and once she was in sight he mentally ordered both of his bug drones free, each with specific instructions to crawl in and map out the area as much as possible.  Blaze, his ork fixer, had just gotten them for him, and the metal gears in each made a soft clink as the bugs whirred to life, scurrying off on their task.  Their icons blinked out of existence as soon as they crossed inside the warehouse, the signal blocked by the Faraday Cage.
   The warehouse was small, and he did not have to wait long before the icon of one returned into sight.  He replayed the recording from the drone, watching as it scurried into each of the four storage bays along that shared the right wall.  The last contained three men surrounding a table, two were from the video earlier, but the third was an elf with tattoos of snakes creeping out of his shirt and wrapping themselves around his head.  Dried blood could be seen on the ground surrounding it, but he was unable to see what was on top of it from the angle the drone had recorded.  The second drone had not returned by the time he had finished viewing the recording.
   “Drek,” he muttered.  They had likely discovered the other bug; he would have to move fast.  There was no way he could take all three on foot, even with the two Roto-drones he had stored in the van.
   He built a virtual map of the inside of the warehouse from the drone's records as his icon slowly faded, and his consciousness merged back into the body in the driver's seat.  As he cut off the wireless signal for his van he engaged manual control, steering the vehicle along the right-hand side of the warehouse until it was down a side road, facing the warehouse's wall.  At this time he wished he had brought the Aztechnology striker his team had recovered from their last run, but he would make do with what he had.  Kimmy might get a few scratches, but that was why he had paid for the reinforced plating on her.  Pressing the gas to the floor he grit his teeth as he stared at the ever-growing wall in front of him.
   The van roared as it slammed into through the side of the warehouse, and the crunch of metal could be heard as the wall splintered and shattered under the impact.  Sparks flew off Kimmy's side as she pierced through, and Torque violently shook as he entered the warehouse.  The van came to an abrupt stop as he slammed into the ork from the video feed earlier, and Torque saw the body crumple against the far wall, slumping lifelessly into the floor.  One down.
   The human he had seen earlier stood dumbfounded for a moment, before pulling out an Uzi from the inside pocket of his suit and peppering Kimmy with bullets, none piercing the reinforced plating.  The elf was standing over the table, focusing intently on Monarch, seemingly unperturbed by Torque's intrusion.  A wicked knife was in his hand, and now Torque could see the repeated cuts that had been made in Monarch's body.
   Releasing his two roto-drones, he jumped into the first, merging his persona and the drone's icon into one.  Monarch's icon could not be seen, despite breaking through the Faraday cage that surrounded the building.  His persona grimaced; Monarch had been a good runner, and a better friend.
   Carefully aiming up the crosshairs that overlaid his vision he mentally flexed his hand, firing a spray of bullets into the human who fell beside his ork companion.  The other drone, acting on autopilot, fired its own salvo at the elf.  Supernaturally quick the elf moved back, dodging the three bullets that ricocheted off the ground where he once stood.
   Torque cursed again, a mage would be trouble, and he had no desire to fight an adept in the confines of his van.  He jumped out of the first drone, fully returning back to the physical realm and to a body that felt all too constrictive, and as he did he sent a message to both drones simultaneously.
   “Dodge this,” he muttered as both drones began firing on full auto, filling the air with as many bullets of possible.  The elven adept wove through the air, darting away from the bullets that whistled by; however, he was forced back against the far wall.  Each time he attempted to move towards the table another barrier of bullets intercepted and pushed him back.
   Torque jumped out of the van, grabbing Monarch's body and hauling it back through the side doors.  There would be time to respect the dead later, but only if he made it out alive.  The elf snarled and lunged forward once more only to be finally caught by a burst of bullets that forced him to the ground in a fit of rage.  Throwing himself and Monarch's corpse onto the floor of the van he mentally shut the door and instructed it to back out as he melded his persona with the van.  The rotodrones continued to fire as they, too, whirred out of the forced entryway, only to miss the adept who had rolled back against the wall and found his feet once more.
   The rotodrones continued their suppressive fire until the van rounded the corner, and then slowly docked with the installed grappling mechanisms before being pulled into and hidden within the confines of Kimmy.  As he drove away he shifted the colors, license plate, and signature, and let GridGuide control the vehicle to a parking garage several miles away near the edge of the Redmond barrens. 
   Both of his drones had blown through most of their ammunition, and he would have some repairs to do from breaking into the warehouse; despite this his mind was far from the cost of the night.  Someone had hunted Monarch.  Dissected him.  As the van drove he meticulously crafted an encoded message, encrypting it and then forwarding it to all members of the guild, detailing what he had known so far about Monarch's disappearance and death.  He would need to find out who was behind it, but for now he simply drove.
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   The cloth he had wrapped Monarch's body in burned easily, the smoke gently lifting and becoming part of Seattle's ever-present smog.  He waited, watching as his former guildmate's body burned beyond recognition.  Turning slowly he climbed back into Kimmy and let her comfortable presence surround him as tears began to fall down his cheek.  “Ride the Resonance, old friend.”