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Reverend

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« Reply #180 on: <07-29-19/0105:17> »
Long overlooked and had a bit of writers block, but here's the additions to the dossiers!



Dossier: Jan

Physical: 
Dwarven male. German. Physically unassuming, often dresses down except when acting in coordination with others. Magically active. Relatively nondescript.
Notes: Like any magic user, don’t expect the wrapper to give any hint to what’s beneath. Does tend to have a few fetishes on hand, but also masking abilities.

Combat:
Often carries a machine pistol or an automatic rifle, but the real threat is his magical ability. Highly skilled in magic with numerous combat spells known.
Notes: Seriously, do not underestimate threat with this one. Reminds me of some of our specialists without the classroom time. All his skills seem to be from this line of work, which means punches won’t be pulled. What he lacks in traditional magical understanding has gone right into extra applications of it.

Demeanor:
Most often paranoid to a fault. Highly confident. Takes input from team members on things he has not decided on but does not seem to accept input after his mind is made up. Believes himself team leader, often butting heads with those who think the same of themselves. Does well with planning and utilizing team strengths especially where magic is concerned. Highly unusual morality; seems to have little regard for sacrificing non-targets while occasionally being squeamish about treatment and removal of enemy combatants.
Notes: Could make for a good lead with training. Damn stubborn at times. Can go on for hours discussing theories that interest him but does not do well with debate. His confidence seems to come from surviving past difficulties. The headstrong nature is like mid-level gangers; survived and thrived in tough spots, doesn’t take well to backtalk, but seems to lack a high-end goal. Will often try to immediately use magical means to an end, frequently relying on magic for questioning and assessing situations.

Goals/Motivations:
No demonstrated goals or motives other than nuyen thus far. Little sign of double-cross nature so far, but quite likely to grab a bit extra on a job. Does not show a pressing drive for magical knowledge but does have a desire for foci as expected of a magical runner. Enjoys wealth but seems more adapted to low-income life.
Notes: Given the ability to slum it, the high magical aptitude and meager technical understanding of magic, I suspect him a sorely missed opportunity. Certainly not from somewhere with even a decent corp presence, or he’d have been recruited long ago. Doesn’t seem particularly predisposed to any corps though, so likely has flown under radar for majority of his career.

Personal Estimation:
Proven Asset

Reverend

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« Reply #181 on: <07-29-19/0105:42> »
Dossier: Icenark

Physical:
Older male Orc. British. Physically fit. Often dresses in business suits.
Notes: If not for being an older Orc, he would easily be lost in a crowd of stockbrokers. A bit of an oddity as an older orc but mind most don’t reach such an age due to violence; those that do, survived. However, some mentions of past events make me think the tusks aren’t as old as he is. Poseur perhaps but those tend to embrace the stereotypes; Comet possibly?

Combat:
Skilled in long arms of varying types, likely several melee weapons and unarmed as well. Solidly rated skillwires make it difficult to tell which skills are trained and which are downloaded. Again note: Skillwires.
Notes: SKILLWIRES. Good ones. Do not let the analysts forget to mention these things. Remember Aspen?

Demeanor:
Affable, amiable, professional. Ex-corp internal security perhaps. Willing to put ideas on the table, offer assistance and stay in the background when that seems best.
Notes: Consummate professional. Either been a runner with a pro group for years or came from high-level corp security. Seems too comfortable voicing thoughts and opinions to be from military or basic security, while being deferential enough to strongly lean from high ranks. If military history, likely was a captain.

Goals/Motivations:
Unknown so far, but likely more than just for the nuyen. Professionalism and team player attitude make it seem that whatever life was behind, regaining some aspects of it are the motivation.
Notes: Something about this guy really makes me think he’s looking for a solid team. Put him in your rolodex.

Personal Estimation:
Proven Asset

adzling

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« Reply #182 on: <07-29-19/1102:20> »
xclnt +2 karma!

adzling

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« Reply #183 on: <09-20-19/1308:07> »
The End, at last...?

This is it, the frakkin' terminal run. The last hoorah, the finale, the climax, the culmination, the finish, the close, the ending.

Over 3 years in service to the ancient drake Lung, traveling the globe as his covert operatives has brought you to this point. Although more and more you’re feeling less like assets and more like pawns. Lack of candor from your employer tends to do that..

What final horrors await below? Only one way to find out, right?

As you gather at the tunnel entrance piercing the flank of the newborn volcano two happy face icons float up on the tac-net.

That’s the signal that Bloodhound and Synthesia have secured the sub and Tog and Wyt have disabled the missile defense tower on the far side of the island.

It’s go time.

Dressed in cultist robes and descending single-file through the roughly hewn tunnel that plunges directly into the heart of the active volcano gives you a few minutes to collect your thoughts.

Olof spits out across the tac-net “Man it’s getting freakin’ hot”.

It IS hot, the team’s sensors are showing 90° F, glancing over at Olof you can see the sweat pouring down his face.

The cultists in front and behind the team don’t seem to complain, you suspect these robes won’t be staying on for long if the previous rituals are anything to go by.

The poor schlubs destined for the altar are pushed roughly in front of you, some weep uncontrollably. No one breaks cover to sooth them. Stone-faced killers, is that what we’ve become? If we stop the ritual but not the sacrifice does that mean our morality also dies on that altar? Does that make us the “good guys” or the “bad guys”? Is that even relevant anymore? Drek knows. Maybe we’ll have time to sort that out after this is all done, if we live that long.

Finally the tunnel opens up into a large chamber, strewn around the edges of which lay piles of broken crates and packing materials. However your attention is focussed on the huge ballistic rocket standing over 10 meters tall in the center of the cavern, surrounded by cultists and fish-men.

You’re immediately struck by two things, how the fark are they going to launch that thing through the cavern’s ceiling and wtf is that damned blue glow around it??

Jiao and Jan audibly groan and a message pops-up on the tac-net, “some kind of force barrier” Jan pings.

“No, that’s a ritual spell” Jiao pings back.

“Actually it’s both” Jan again.

The team pauses as a quick conversation ensues…
« Last Edit: <09-20-19/1420:35> by adzling »

Jrezky

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« Reply #184 on: <10-12-19/1921:27> »
OOC: A bit of a jump back in time, I finally found my original write-up of Olof's backstory. However, it is missing the racism element and the night of violence that took over his town and affected him so deeply. I will try and spend some more time editing that in at some point. Just wanted to put this up so I don't lose it again and so hopefully it can be of some use.

Olofmeister, a troll in his mid-late twenties from Essen, Germany.
Strangely enough, Olof was not born with the assumption that he would wind up the intimidating beast he has become. Born human to a strictly human family tree, he was actually quite a sickly child. By the age of 6 he developed eczema and severe asthma. Olof's eczema meant he always wore long sleeves, turtle necks and gloves, and his asthma meant he was unable to partake in exercise, and was consequently relatively skinny. He was bullied on a daily basis as a result of his size and appearance.

He became interested in martial arts at age 12 after his family went on vacation to France; the trideo remaster of Enter the Dragon starring Bruce Lee was playing at the local movieplex. Olof could not get in because it was rated 17+, but he and his brother Hannes were able to sneak into the theatre. After he saw the movie, he immediately wanted to master martial arts. Olof started training kickboxing in the backyard of an elementary school with a friend. At first, his fairly conservative parents didn't allow him to pursue his new goal, but after two years of begging his parents, at age 14, they allowed him to practice Tae Kwon Do. His passion meant he picked it up very quickly and after a few months he got in a street fight with the biggest bully in town who pushed him around and tried to torment him many times. Olof, now more confident, took the challenge, broke the bully's nose and KO'd him in a rapid succession of one kick and one punch. Later that day the local constabulary showed up at his home, and he was prohibited by his parents from practicing any more martial arts.

It was around this time that the 2061 events Haley's Comet led to Olof's SURGE, and he began rapidly expressing troll features. His parents were loving, but their family system struggled in dealing with his metahumanity and the targeted racism brought to their small town. His parents had a lot of difficulty in the first year in dealing with this transformation, and Olof felt that by living with them he caused all their problems. At age 16, he moved out of his parent's house and once again started training. He was committed and eventually earned a 2nd degree black belt in Muay Thai. He then learned Jujitsu, and earned another 2nd degree black belt.

Olof is large, even for a troll. This means that most of his work consisted of taking jobs as bouncers in bars & clubs around town, considering he could bounce at a club for Orks and even other Trolls. He began drinking heavily, especially while working, which led to many mistakes, including accidentally pounding a belligerent ork to death who had repeatedly insulted and attacked him that night. Human juries in the area being what they were, he ended up in prison not for manslaughter, but for murder in the first degree.His time behind bars did not hinder his training. He was able to learn the prison art of 52 Blocks from a strange and mysterious older man with a life sentence who took a liking to him. Mysteriously, he was out within 5 years, told it was simply for good behavior and a convincing appellate lawyer.

Olof made a name for himself almost immediately after being released from prison by single-handedly stopping a gang shootout in a particularly hole-in-the-wall dive bar. Afterwards, Olof was approached by someone who called himself J-ReZ, an Ork who happened to be hanging out at the club and witnessed the event. J-ReZ said he was a Shadowrunner, and if he was looking for some shadow work, to contact a fixer in Hong Kong by the name of Andrew Zhou.

Quite fed up with the typical troll-level legit work he was getting, ushering those too messed up to help themselves out the door for too little money. He got in touch with this Zhou character, who introduced himself as Jin Zhou, Andrew being a sort of preferred nickname. Having not considered a street name until that very moment, He introduced himself as Olof. Zhou said just using his given name was probably a bad idea. Olof said, "I like my name, I never cared about having a different one," and Zhou apathetically wrote down "Olofmeister" on his commlink. "Im not calling you just by your first name, you want to keep using it, it's your funeral."

Olof was able to make a couple trips to Hong Kong, enough to get a lay of the land and even had enough successful solo work to land a name for himself. The frequent traveling between Hong Kong and New Seattle, while lucrative, has been leaving Olof with the feeling he'd never see his hometown again. As long as the money keeps coming, he's okay putting it off with a commlink connect once in a while, but sometime when it's convenient he'd like to visit the friends and family he had in Essen.

Regardless, Olofmeister, being a very quiet character who generally looks intimidating without trying, isn't one to gossip or talk about the good ol' days. Quiet and contemplative, he's usually happy just going with the flow as long as there's good pay.
« Last Edit: <10-12-19/2100:50> by Jrezky »

adzling

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« Reply #185 on: <12-26-19/1309:21> »
Chicago hadn't worked out how he had expected it to.

Tog had been sold on a few days kickin' it in Chi-Town while helping Jan "recover a couple of cyber-eyes customized for his HMMV infected brother". It would be a nice change of pace from the globe-trotting, save-the-world stakes of the past couple of years. He was even looking forward to slipping in some R&R on the side.

Instead it had turned into a series of fedex jobs for various small-change, low-life street types that were tangentially connected to Jan's target. "Mostly busy work" he had assessed until that nut in the CZ had put a 0.5 BMG round through his shoulder. Over the next few days shit rapidly devolved as it seemed like the team was finding bug and toxic shamans under every mother-fraggin rock and ghouls under all the others. Then to cap it off that slitch from his past turns up expecting a family-fucking-reunion. He still wasn't sure if he should dump her off the nearest pier or use her to set the hook. Fish, cut bait or hit the road, which way to go?

Whatever he settled on one thing had become clear, fuck Chi-Town.


Iceanark

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« Reply #186 on: <01-14-20/0422:42> »
It was another late night working tough leads.  BoldHound was flicking though all the old school paper records wile I had the job of watching old video clips on outdates video chips.  This was boring work but in the shadows this is what makes nebee runners into prose.  I had one advantage, with so much of me being cyberwar I never really got the feeling of frustration with made me preface to endless flic though video after video….…

There was no real reason for doing this but to see if anything popped up that may link to our current situation of being stuck as a play thing for the games of megercops.

I was nearly finished with the clips and was just getting to a file titled “documentary”, as I flick in waiting the neck video though my sucker eyes I got a jolt of recognition and a sense of some long lost emotions.  I was watching footage of my old mentor, the one that I first meet as he dragged me out from the roti between the cops mussel and the residence of Lambeth.  The site of him in the clip shocked me and I did not know why or how this had come to be playing out in Chicago of all places.

After the initial shock I continued to view my old mentor and key member of the Lambeth Martyrs………..  A memory flowed back of our time spent hiding away making plans together of  how to infiltrate Adams-Hoffmann and how to put a stop once and for all to the testing they where doing to the populace of Lambeth……..

Man this was unseal for me, I really lost my focus and the was important,  my shock increased as I saw flickering behind my eyelids my Mentor talking to a corp in a sure.  He talk some money or a small item from the guy………. just then the recognition software that had been running in the background flashed up the identity of the corp as being Saeder Krupp (Lofwyr) (Simon the Dragonoid’s employer)…… I jolted where I sat and had the sense of quickly scanning the other in the room, had that noticed.

I had found something but this was for me not the team, how to handle this what to do.  There was only one coshes open to me, finish watching the vids and see what els came up.  The rest of the clips showed that after receiving whatever it was from the corp figure my mentor went to a safe witch looked familiar as I watched and placed something inside.  The shot was at an angel but it was not heard to make out the code he put in,  I made a snap decision to quickly edit out the bit of the code and save to my personal file.

I continued to watch and saw him opening a door and I suddenly realised that this was just before he came in though that door to finalise plans with me for our bogies opp.  Memories of that discussion flashed before me and I realised that was the last time that I felt any real emotion.  Soon after that I was sent off shout for the cyberwere that would need to accomplish the wet-work planed in Tynesprawl……. that was infill now, I felt chock, fear and pain from the grand image of my mentor.  My identity was in question,  did my life as a runner start off as a plot for some other corp……..

What to do, I shared the info with the team (except the code) just to insure that If i need support they would be in the loop.

Jan sad that someone at the Valt was asking about the old vids, did they know something ?????

I rewatched the clip a few more times and was able to pice tother 3 key facts

>> My mentor was clearly talking with a Corp figure head of Saderkrupp and shaking hands. A Johnson maybe? Either way they weren’t yelling or going at it which is odd for a martyr.

>> After their cordial conversation my mentor our opens a safe code 1529 and puts something in there.

>> The video stops when he would then open on your door to talk with you.

I remembered my last meeting was at a building overlooking the Squeeze across the river, it was in a three story apartment complex on the outside.  It was a front for the Lambeth Martyrs and was primary used as a staging area for getting people in and out of the Squeeze.

I then mad my mind up then and there that I will have to be carful but I needed to find out what is in that safe and most importantly see if my life has been built on a lie……………

adzling

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« Reply #187 on: <01-15-20/1018:48> »
nice post +1 karma!

Jan Schaefer

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« Reply #188 on: <01-19-20/1923:28> »
It was pretty far from the most restful night Jan ever had.   It should have been the sleep of the just:  Jan’s friends had showed up in force, and with one exception, backed him to the hilt as he chased down Rudi’s ticket to freedom. 

 Olof and the boat met him in Germany and they  picked up Icenark on the way.  Ice looked amazing:  20 years younger, and not as lean and gaunt as he had been towards the end of their time in the Southern hemisphere.
Tog and Bloodhound joined in New York, and Tog was more mentally together than he had been in a good while.  He denied that the torture and horror of the cult campaign unsettled his brain, but Jan knew what PTSD looked like, and it looked like Tog two months prior.  Bloodhound was his old imperturbable self, wisecracking and watching his drones like he expected them at any time to start conjuring spirits or writing poetry. 
Jiao couldn’t make it, doubtless chasing Elven tail in Tir Na Nog, even though she denied that the mission was anything that mundane or selfish.  “She never did get over that Japanelf street sam with his fancy moves with his, um, sword”, Jan thinks.

And even though they had fought bugs, dogs, radiation spirits, a wendigo (what the hell is a wendigo?), had run from cyberzombies, replaced 8 pints of Tog’s blood when he was shot in the back twice on two successive days, and eaten way too much deep dish pizza, they triumphed.  Everyone showered for three hours straight to get the stink of the toxic shaman’s lair off, but come off it did, eventually.  The team left behind some solid friendships:
    * Angel the ghoul entrepreneur,
    * Dr. Tate and his newly upgraded cybersurgery,
    * The talismongers Lothan and Kirsch,
    * The cynical detective Nick Ryder,
    * Sam the technomancer (admittedly, she was likely to disappear in to Ares, or at least Los Angeles, and it seemed unlikely that the team would ever go there again,)
    * Quantum Princess thought the team was somewhere between competent and fantastic depending on the job,
    * And last but not least, the CZ gypsy cab company has the team marked as a  “reliable business partner.   

On the corp side, they had burned bridges more thoroughly than ever before with Renraku, but Tog’s file was now marked “closed for good” (or so the team thought….)
    * The team had intel on Aztechnology and Ding Ramos trying to muscle in on the Chicago Beautification project, and hated the Azzies enough to at least consider outing this fact to MCT. 
    * One interesting conversation with Gracie Junior made them think that there just might be a way to get a mole into Ramos’ HQ.
    * Maggie the up-and-coming Mitsuhama Johnson owed them bigtime.
    * Silverleaf was humiliated, and hopefully Lothan would make her eat shit from his lofty throne inside an anonymous bar.
    * Ares might actually pay back BH’s favor recovering his old teammates’ gear from the CZ.

 With the money the team earned doing side jobs, the upgrades to His Dark Mistress were going nicely- Tog had contacts in Carribea that would be glad to turn the rich man’s toy into a regular Q ship, bristling with hidden defenses above and below the waterline.  And the new labs would perfectly complement many future acts of deception and skulduggery.  It should have been a clean exit.  But of course, fate conspired to make the trip out of town a little too exciting. 

Despite the thoroughness of Tog’s attempt to intimidate his “mother”, it was clear that Renraku was game for risking  one last try to recover their long-gone Mission Impossible asset.   Who else would have the guts and money to fin ance an air pirate Zeppelin and chase us down on the open water of the Great Lakes in January?  Flying a lighter-than-air through sleet was sheer folly, but Renraku’s team did a superb job of sneaking up to HDM and boarding it in the dead of night- their stealth equipment completely fooled Tog’s inexpert eyeballs.  The footage, reviewed later, showed suspiciously identical “cloud patterns” from all different angles that the surveillance drones filmed… a dead giveaway that Ruthenium Polymers were at work.   Before anyone on the team had even a second to grab their guns or gear, the invaders were aboard and had their hands practically at Jan’s throat.   Smoke was billowing through a massive hole on the foredeck, the aft deck was swarming with drones, and there were intruders inside our computer, both in meat space and the Matrix.  It wasn’t looking good for the good guys. 

The next six seconds may have been Jan’s finest hour.  Some combination of luck, intuition, years of surviving on the streets, and incredible willpower kept him dancing, rolling and weaving as three highly trained agents sought to subdue him.  Bullets couldn’t touch him, nor could the mage’s spells or the oge’s hairy arms.  Nothing less than an HE grenade at point blank could pin him down.  His desperate evasions bought enough time for Olof to KO the enemy mage and for Tog to lacerate the ogre into unconciousness with two swift and brutal strokes.  When Ice armored up and brought his rifle to the top deck and Olof and Tog turned their attention to the rest of the Renraku squad, and when Bloodhound stopped their hacking job cold after they were sure they were in, it was over.  And the all-orc squad of deniable assets knew it. 

Almost at the same instant, they slagged all their electronics, and the two agents who were still concious and able to suicide did so.  Hardcore Bushido.  They may not have had the muscle to subdue a slippery, squealing, naked dwarf, but they definitely had the discipline to cover their tracks and terminate their incursion with a bang.  If their adept had been as savvy as the demolitionist at placing his armload of grenades, the ship would surely have sunk as they clearly intended, taking their mark, their agents, and the rest of the team to the bottom.  Dead men tell no tales from Davy Jones’ Locker, and all those other trite cliches.  But it was not to be- after the smoke cleared, the boat was still afloat.

Not a single team member died, at least not permanently.  Jan’s medkit printed a grim ekg hardcopy of of the twelve seconds where his heart was not pumping, but at this point, Jan can hardly tell a near-death experience from a trip to the Stuffer Shack for a watery American pilsner.  Is that a light at the end of the tunnel?  A noizquito with its strobe improperly synched to the Tacnet?  A fire spirit conjured by Ho Fong, a shedim emerging from an impossible spacetime rift, an imp returning from the far astral to make its home once again in his favorite focus?  No, actually, just the “ready” light on the microwave.  Time to eat your General Soy’s Chikin flavored Cup o Noodles, count your blessings, and walk it off. 

On the smoking, bloody deck of the pleasure yacht.  Just another Shadowrun in Chicago. 
« Last Edit: <01-20-20/0200:28> by Jan Schaefer »

adzling

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« Reply #189 on: <01-20-20/1109:58> »
nice post +1 karma ;-)

MathBlade

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« Reply #190 on: <02-01-20/1154:58> »
Bland white walls, bland wooden bunk beds.
Bland bookshelf over with bland history books.

From the outside looking in, this was some college that could barely scrape by. Two young “college students” on each of the beds sleeping the day away. On the bottom a young 20 something male elf, pale thin, possibly took as many classes as Jiao did in athletics. Red t shirt like it came from a box chain and unassuming light jeans hung from his body. The female elf, Jiao, was also dressed in a similar manner. To the outside, this would seem maybe like a cult compound or college campus.

The rest of the building was also very unassuming. Trying to hide in plain sight. Tir was a place known for magic spells and so the last thing that was wanted was to stand out. Hell, it took Jiao a bit of time just to find the place, but alas that’s a story for another time. Her friends had called and updated her about the boat. Never before had she been so happy to discuss something in the real world.

After hanging up from her friends phone call (for which Jiao was grateful for), her instructor simply said a single word, “Again.” Before heading back into the astral. They have been at this for weeks the same repetitive stuff, just positioning and stance and patience drills and book learning. Jiao internally was crying though she knew it was necessary. Her social energy was almost drained.This time however it all changed.

After three days of positioning ones self and aligning ones self to balance, things finally changed. She saw through her instructor’s mask and realized that she was with a person in their mid 40s gender seemingly fluid. She stared at them rather puzzled.

Careful not to say anything she just got into her stance as practice dictated.

The instructor turned to Jiao and replied simply with “Now you see” while kicking Jiao’s tennis shoed foot a bit to the left and summoning a spirit behind her as he did. “The real world cheats”. They immediately backed away and Jiao crouched down to miss an earth elemental swiping where her head would have been. How they spoke in the astral she didn’t begin to fathom but she was a little distracted.

“Out!” She screamed in her own head positioned towards the spirit. Nothing happened and the spirit raised its arms up ready for a death kill. Panicked Jiao threw everything she had into sending this thing back to where it came and right before it collided with her face the rocks fell down all around her. In sheer exhaustion Jiao laid down in the astral on the floor, blood trickling down her nose and running down her right arm.

Without a word, the instructor was gone leaving Jiao alone in the astral. She stayed a few moments alone and then gathered her composure before heading back to her body.

When she did she found that her younger roommate was clearly not so and turned to Jiao. “Congratulations you passed. Welcome to the warrior caste. Rare we have one such of your...build..”

It was then she got introduced into the different castes etc (source: https://beepos-shadowrun.fandom.com/wiki/T%C3%ADr_na_nÓg) and instead of working off second hand knowledge she became an actual practitioner of the religion. No longer so much concerned about this life and how fleeting it could be it’s now about becoming the center of the wheel and the future King/Queen/Monarch.

Sure she may have came a spoiled prima Donna brat but the Wheel was working it’s way in her always. Making her want a haven for warriors and not just herself. Just instead of retiring she needed to make sure everyone could get closer to center. And there’s no way to do that if spirits are fucking everyone’s lives over. Sure we respect them but it’s about time they respected us too.

Spending the next day or so recouperating and book learning, the school sent her back out for a well deserved vacation to the Caribbean and told her the balance battles are outside not here. Just to remember that what you take someone else might lose and to be sure of yourself.

How much of that will stick may leave a impression now but how much long term is to be seen.

MathBlade

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« Reply #191 on: <02-01-20/1155:33> »
Sorry for the brevity lost this post a few times. Plan on expanding more later.

adzling

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« Reply #192 on: <02-03-20/1909:07> »
congrats on your new initiate grade and the Exorcism metamagic.
+1 karma for a nice IC post!

Jan Schaefer

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« Reply #193 on: <02-08-20/2121:14> »
Jan’s fourth initiation had been the stuff of nightmares.  Too traumatic to recall completely.  A few nightmare scenes, half-remembered, made him shudder.  Rather than fading with time, the memories had sharpened and became even more painful.  Weeks of sleep deprivation, bodily mortification, and degradation had worn him almost to the breaking point.  But it had worked as Father Fall advertised, breaking down the barriers between Jan and the source of Romani magic, the mysterious astral Sponsors.

Jan knew he had to go a very different route to make further progress.  For several months, he had been corresponding with a succession of successively better connected Linked Chain mages.  For the most part, they were enchanters, summoners, or ethernauts, barely willing to acknowledge that what Jan did was up to par with their own powers.  But the Linked Chain was always hungry for three things:  money, power, and dignity.  All he had to do was show them that he could bring the Chain more of the first two without sacrificing the third.  Climbing the Chain, he knew, was necessary to reach their top sorceress.  Probably the only manaslinger in the world who could speak to him in his own tradition and teach him how to fine-tune and shape the massive, ragged bolts of raw power that his previous mentor had taught him to hack out of  the Other Side.

Finally he was allowed an anchorless chat window with Vadoma Shaw.  Waiting for the call, Jan fussed at his hair for the fourth time, coughed nervously for the fifth, and looked again out the window at the bleak Pennsylvania coastline.  A dusting of snow, blackened by soot, lay heavy on the banks of the canal. 

“Snow should be clean”, Jan thought as he always did.  In Istanbul, the snow had been the only relief from the rubble and corpses everywhere that there was somehow never time to bury.  He jerked his attention back to his ‘link, muttering to himself angrily  “Why the hell am I thinking about corpses today.  This is what I’ve been working toward for eight years.”  He ticked over his selling points in his mind, ready to make his best sales pitch to Shaw.  With her fame and status, she would surely need persuading to spend time with him.  Surely she would assume he was a cultureless hick; at her level of stardom, she probably never even ordered coffee from someone without an agent and a half-dozen trid credits.  Jan knew he could be charismatic when he put his whole aura into it, but he feared that the lack of in-person contact would hold him back.   He only hoped that somehow the laws of physics would bend, allowing  his Awakened aura to translate over the Matrix and tip the balance.

Her first words blew past all his preparations.  “Show me how serious you are”, Shaw snapped.  He barely had time to register her latest look:  thick, brutal earrings and lip piercings, jagged inverted lightning tattoos, severe bangs, and plucked, arched brows.  But the cheekbones and noble brow were the same as ever:  she looked exactly like all the publicity stills and vids of her he had ever seen, while also looking radically and angrily different.  He gulped.  Trembling, he held up his left hand, palm facing Shaw, fingers spread . 

“How many?”, he asked, trembling. 

“Would you give them all?”   He realized that she was not looking at his hand, and maybe not even at his face.  The dark, slitted eyes seemed to be driving daggers into his soul.

“J- J- Ja, Meine Dame.  Alle, wenn es noetig ist.”  He cursed himself for trembling. 

Shaw switched to German as well.  Oddly, he had not noticed her Scottish accent until she switched from English.  Perhaps she was still in character from her last one man show, a mashup of last decade’s smash hit Kadeera with the neglected classic, The Vagina Monologues.  Her tone started severe, as she began to grimace.  “Ja.  Allen.  Deine finger-”  She began to draw her finger, ending in a wicked inch-long burgundy nail, across the screen at the height where his hand was exposed.

And then she cracked up.  “Hahaha, ach mein Gott!”  Continuing in English again, “Father Fall must have scared you to death.  Oh, god!”  She cackled and guffawed for what felt like minutes, though his Transys told him it was mere seconds.  Jan mustered his will and attempted a grin.  He felt it sliding, sickly and inadequate, off his face as she continued. “Oh, mann, whodja think we are, the bampot Yakuza?  Gee on, cetcher bawhead outcher breeks guy!”  Jan’s eyes flicked desperately to his CC line and found no translation.  “Umm, sorry,” he sputtered, not sure how to continue. 

“Ah couldnae help meself, lad, jew unnerstan."  She chuckled a bit more, and then leaned forward.  In an instant she transformed back from the jocular to the intense. 

“All right, man, ye’ve got three weeks wi mae.  The money’s good, and I’ve three aethers think they can keep up with me all together tae gee it.  We’ll see how many of yae last.  For nea, getcher chankin arse aboot pronto, choom.   We start in nae tayim.”  Bewildered, Jan’s fingers twitched a desperate query to Bloodhound.  “Umm, well, I think that sounds, umm…”  But before the grizzled hacker could rouse himself to assist, the signal cut out.  For a second, Jan sat stunned.  Not knowing if he had succeeded, failed, or been told to go wash his face.  Until an address appeared on the screen. 

With a sigh of relief, he realized the address was in Berlin.  He had been accepted into tutelage by Vadoma Shaw! Of all people.  He exhaled stress and lowered his shoulders.  “OK”, he said out loud, realizing from the stinging of his eyes that he had not even dared to blink for the whole conversation.  “The easy part’s over, I guess…”


« Last Edit: <02-08-20/2126:18> by Jan Schaefer »

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« Reply #194 on: <02-12-20/1101:31> »
nice personal flavor +1 karma!