by Rick Goon
the first chapter of a shadow run book where a rigger starts a new life
| I left the army on a medical, because one of the chips in my head fried. They fixed it but said they didn't want to risk it happening again. So I found my self back in Seattle all my belongings at my feet. The only thing I was allowed to keep was my remote deck ( which I am glad since I bought it myself) (when I bought it, it was the best on the market)That my clothes, knives and a cred stick loaded with my severance pay and enough extra to not sue about the faulty chip.
Picking up my bag I look around at the barrens bus station. "What a cess pool" I step out side the station and hail a cab. The cab I get into is driven by an Orc and if I had to guess I would say he was older but I was no expert. I asked him to take me to a place where a rigger could get good gear at a good price. As we drove I tried to make small talk. That's when I knew he was older and even though he tried to act a little slow he was a lot smarter than he wanted me to know. He told me to call him Bubba and that if I needed a ride or directions I should call him and he handed me a card. When we arrived at what looked like a used car dealer he pulled over, I slotted my cred stick and gave him a heavy tip.
As I got out he said "I will wait right here till I get another call just in case you need another ride"
"Thank you" I said and walked inside. What I saw stopped me in my tracks stunned. Right there in the middle of the show room was a Rolls Royce Prairie Cat. It is just the most luxurious RV on the market today but, being modified for a rigger would put it way out of my price range.
"Hi there admiring the Prairie Cat I see." Says a voice startling me. "If you are interested I can make you a good deal"
"Ya but then to modify it for a rigger will still be more than I have."
"Come on let's take a look inside and I'll tell you about it and maybe we can make a deal."
We enter the RV and it looks like it hasn't been used. As I'm checking things out he continues "about a year ago this young hot rigger came to me saying she was going to hit it big and wanted this as her new home. She gave me one hundred thousand as a deposit to start the search and promised payments when she could. Well she was good to her word and I received payments semi regularly. So after six months I have it all modified and ready for her. She picks it up and I let her take it since she was good about paying. She parked it right down street there in the RV park by the beach she was one of the few who stayed all year, well she was planning to. She drove it from here and parked it. Well that was the last time any one saw her. This RV just sat there for two months before I repossessed it. And for the last five months she is still gone and the riggers who come in here can't afford the RV. Now the few civvies who walk in here want it un-modified and won't pay to have it done. So I am stuck with it like this."
"That was definitely an unusual story" Rick thinks wondering what could have happened. Looking in the glove box Rick sees six remote units stacked perfectly square. Closing it for now. "What kind of mods did you do."
"We'll installed all the rigger and remote hard ware with an extra port in the large bed room and decker port there as well. A complete sensor package and an armor package there are ports for a decker in the passenger seat and in the dining area. Storage compartments in the floor for smuggling I believe. Now there are two heavy chain guns front and rear and a missile launcher in the middle all three are concealed in the storage compartments on top. And you can open each from here individually."
"Ok not that I can afford this castle on wheels, but how much do you want for it?"
"Well I was hoping for five hundred and fifty thousand."
"Not bad you must know how much I have. That would be all I have, but what about four hundred K and I will buy my other vehicles from you as well."
"Hmm if you come to me first for all your gear needs now and for the foreseeable future."
"I can do that you have a deal." I shake his hand "now I'd like two more vehicles a Yamaha Growler with a light machine gun concealable mounted out front. The second will be the GMC Bulldog van and there needs to be two medium machine guns that drop down facing front and another one in the back. I would like two light combat suits two colt manhunters, a Remington Room sweeper and a combat axe."
"The vehicles are here and set for a rigger I need to have my mechanic mount the guns on the bike and van in a couple hours and you can maybe pick it up tonight but definitely by morning. Your personal gear I can have in a hour. But if you get stopped lone star will confiscate them without a permit."
"That's ok I am going over to Lonestar to take care of that next and then to the camp ground and I will pick up what you have for me."
As I leave I see my taxi is still there waiting. So I get in "take me to the nearest Lonestar station"
"Ok I'll have you there in no time."
He was right I paid him and said "it may take some time but I will need a ride back"
"I will wait here till you come out or I get another call"
I walk into the lone star office and ask the officer at the front "I'd like to talk who ever is in charge."
The officer just pointed across the room "through that door."
Thinking this is strange I knock on the door and get an immediate "come in"
So I enter "what who are you?"
"I am Rick Jones and when I asked to speak with who ever was in charge he pointed to your door."
"He is just pouting because he has to work tonight. Normally I'd go out there if it was something they couldn't handle. Please have a seat and tell me the problem."
"It's not a problem really I just needed some information and thought I would ask for some one who had the most knowledge here."
“Oh so what is it you want?’
“Well I was just discharged from the Army…”
“Really well thank you for serving. You know i was enlisted when I was younger, and I still even have a couple of buddies still there. What unit were you in?
“Wasn’t your commander Colonel Ironsides?”
”Ah ya but……”
“He is one of my best friends. of course we hardly ever talk any more. Well I am Captain Jim Dobar and I would be happy to help out one of Old Ironside’s troops. What do you need?”
“Well this place has only gotten more dangerous since I left I would like some permits. I want to be able to legally carry a pair of colt Manhunters and a Remington Roomsweeper and my combat axe. it’s more sentimental I just don’t want it confiscated since I am living in an RV.”
“Ah yes no problem consider it done.” He speaks into the intercom “Hey Smitty prepare a carry permit that will cover two Colt Manhunters a Remington Roomsweeper and a combat axe and i will sign it to make it legal.” turning back to me “Is there anything else?”
“Do you know what the A Yamaha Growler is?”
“Some type of motorcycle I think?”
“Ya it’s an off road bike. Is there a way for it to be driven legally on the road so i don’t have to drive an RV all over Seattle?”
“Well if it has lights most officers won’t stop you. How about i ask something from you. I can give you Special plates and ID if you work for Lonestar as a currier.”
“what would that entail?.”
“Well sometimes we need to send something to another precinct, or agency. So if something comes up you will get a call you come here or where ever, pick up a packet documents, hard drive videos pictures evidence what ever. deliver it some where. It could be the other side of Seattle or in the tribe lands or across the street anywhere. since its an on call situation you get paid by trip and the amount is dependent on how important it is. It isn’t much but it is income, do you want the job?”
“Sure for now, I do need money coming in.”
“Ok lets come out front here and we will do the paper work get your plates and permits and you will be all set.” he stands and we walk out to the front desk.”
“Here you go Captain. says officer Smitty handing the Captain some papers.
“Thank you.” Says Captain Jim print the currier contract for me and get a set of bike plates.”
“Ok sir.” says Smitty.
“Now Rick sign here and I need one thousand to process it.”
“What that much. here take off this.” he hands the captain his cred stick.
“Ya know but just think if you weren’t one of Ironsides I would have charged you a handling fee as well.”
Smitty walks back in from out back and sets some papers and license plates on the counter. “here you go.”
“Ok here are your permits” says the captain handing rick a data card. “It will not truly be Active till tomorrow when everything is processed. so don’t get caught carrying anything, and read this.” he hands him the stack of papers. “It’s your work agreement detailing the job and what we expect. Just sign on the last page and put your contact information under that..”
When he finishes reading he signs the last page writes down his contact information. “ok”
“And here are your new plates. they look normal but if Lonestar runs them it comes up one of our curriers. they should just let you go unless you are doing something stupid.”
“Well if there is nothing more I will go and wait for a call. see you later.”
Out side Rick spots the cab and gets in. “I need to talk to whoever is responsible for the RV park see what kinda deal i can get.”
“No worries I think she is one of the campers that is there all year.” says the driver “You can call me bubba most people do.” and he drives almost to the dealer ship and makes a left turn into the park.
Right at the entrance is a beat-up Ford Bison with some decorative skirting concealing the wheels. Rick had his doubts that would even be able to make it to the road.
"Well this is the place, that RV right there, thats Dora's. She manages the place." Says Bubba.
"Ok I shouldn't be long wait here leave the meter on." Replies Rick.
"He mounts the steps and knocks on the door a gruff voice yells "just a minute." The door opens and a female dwarf steps out. "You must be Rick. Santa called me."
"Who?" Asks Rick
"The car dealer he called said you wanted a spot. So I called Lonestar the captain could say enough good things about you. So I'd like to make you a deal. Normally for our long term residents it's twenty five percent off. Now I also need some one to help out around here. Repairs rent collection asking folks to leave, and those things that sometimes require a little muscle. I do have a friend that helps me, but he isn't always around. So if you will lend me a hand when I need one. I can get you fifty a week plus utilities."
"We allow our guests to plug in to the parks water, electricity and sewer, but each connection is monitored and you are charged on usage."
"Ok sounds good can I have the most secluded spot."
"Yup all yours that would be down at the end almost on the beach."
"Ok I'll be back with my rig."
"Stop here and I will have you sign the agreement and you will be all set.
Rick gets back in the cab and they head back to the dealership. When they pull up they see the prairie cat sitting out front ready to go.
Rick pays bubba what he's owed plus a hefty tip. "I should be all set now but if I need a ride you will be my first call."
"Well ok if you're sure, but give me a call if it turns out you need some help."
Rick enters the dealership. And sees Harvey sitting at a desk. As Rick approaches Harvey looks up "please sit I need signatures on these your equipment is already loaded with a thousand rounds for each weapon."
"What are these?" Asks Rick
"These are the bill of sales for the three vehicles I will get your titles and drop them off with the van or you can pick them up. This makes it all legal, I can sell them to you under the table but it is going to cost a lot more to make it look legal. It's up to you."
"Legal is fine I was just curious."
"Just sign here, here and here."
With the paperwork done Harvey hands Rick two remote cartridges. "This
Is the remote for the RV and this one is for the bike. The bike right now is in a mount on the back of the RV if you did not see it. Let's go make sure you are happy with everything so far and there is good news your van will be done tonight and I will drive it over for you."
"Cool lets take a look in the RV."
They leave the building and enter the RV. On the kitchen table were Rick's requested equipment.
"Looks good" says Rick after checking out the guns and putting on the dual shoulder holster. "Thanks a bunch." And he shakes hands with Harvey.
Rick stores his clothes in the master bedroom at the back. His pistols go into the shoulder holsters the axe he puts in a compartment by the driver where he can easily grab it. The Ammo he puts into the compartments above the driver and the passenger. The room sweeper and ammo gets a home in a cabinet close to the door for easy access.
Sitting down in the driver seat Rick plugs the RV into his data jack and is overwhelmed, everything seems blurred and fuzzy. He yanks out the jack thinking something is frying again, but there is no pain and everything is clear. He carefully plugs back in and the fuzzy blur is back he stays calm and tries to focus, the best he manage is a blurring affect that seemed like he was receiving multiple sensor readings overlaid one on the other just a little bit off. He Unplugged quickly before it could give him a headache. Trying something different Rick takes his remote deck and connects the RV to it and plugs in. This time though there was one ring and the echo or shadow of four others. The echoes are centered towards the back of the RV. Thinking he might have figured it out. He gave the command to open the bottom rear compartment. As the door lowers Rick sees four drones all on and charging sensors on, when the attack drones guns orient on him he closes the compartment and steps away. He then walks over to the passenger door opens it then the glovebox. When he checks the Remote modules his suspicions are confirmed. The modules are connected so the previous owner used the RV like a giant remote deck. As he removes each the sensor echoes disappear one by one.
As he shut the glove box he sees Harvey "everything ok?" Harvey asks.
"Oh ya just fine I wanted to make sure it was all perfect and that i didn't have any more questions" replied Rick stepping down and shutting the door. "It all looks great." He reaches out and firmly shakes Harvey's hand. "Thanks for everything I am heading out."
"Ok. Let me know if there is anything you need and I'll find it."
With half the day still ahead Rick parks In the nearest grocery parking lot and stocks up on food beer and liquor. Then he pulled into the mall picked up anew wardrobe and a bunch of movies, some dishes, cook ware and other things to make living out of the army possible.
With the little necessities taken care of Rick pulls into the RV park and onto his lot. Dora came down and should him how to hook up the water electricity and sewage.
Once he has some dinner he sits down takes his remote deck and plugs the four found drone modules in. Not wanting Harvey see that he has more than Harvey thought he figures he will shut each down and one by one run diagnostics. Looking for something that would tell him what happened to the previous owner.
He starts by putting each one on standby, and starting with the little one he runs a diagnostic check reviews it's sensor reading and data records before transferring them to the data banks on the RV. Once the data has been copied and he is sure there is no more to be found he wipes the memory and reprograms them to recognize him as their owner something felt off on the fourth drone but since everything seemed right he let it go.
Just like clockwork as he finishes and a van starts coming towards him. It parks in his parking spot and Harvey comes gets out. "Here you go as promised."
Rick checks it out all over and even plug in the remote module and do the same thing he did to the drones. When he is done he offers Harvey a ride but Harvey turns him down saying he is drinking with Dora tonight and playing some cards.
"Well, see yah around."
"Yup have a good night."
Once Harvey is out of sight Rick opens up the rear compartment. Starting with the Steel Lynx he gives it a thorough once over looking for anything that might be associated to where the missing
rigger went to. The Lynx was clean so was the Nissan Doberman. Looking in looked unusual first was something he'd never seen before. Powering it on remotely and driving it out it looked like a box with four floatation tires with steel claws allowing it to climb stairs. At each front corner was a telescoping mounted shotgun, it raised from two feet to five feet off the ground.now the truly remarkable thing was the giant cast iron Rams head that was mounted on a hydraulic ram between the shotguns. It was a complete breaching drone that Rick wishes he had a hundred times if not more while he was in the service. Rick thinks "this has to be some kind of prototype." Checking it out he made notes and diagrams but still there was no indication of where the original owner disappeared to. Looking at the last one,it looks odd seeing a handle he grabs it and slides out a small coffin like box. With a MCT Fly-Spy sitting on it. He wheels the three other drones back in to the compartment and secures it. He takes the box and Fly-Spy inside. A quick look and the Fly-Spy showed nothing out of the ordinary just like the rest. Stowing the dragon fly like drone in a cubby by the drivers seat. Turning back to the table Rick grabs a beer and sits down not knowing what to expect.
Opening the mini coffin Rick is stunned and knows this is a prototype. It like old like something from one of those old sci fi movies. It's an android with out the synthetic flesh and two feet tall in what looks like black combat armor, at its feet is the remote module and a diagnostic tablet. Looking at the tablet first shows a schematic both hands hinge inward revealing a stun baton that extends out of the left and a light machine gun barrel out of the right.
Seeing that everything looks right and no secret messages he stands up the droid and powers it on.
"Good day sir, have you seen my mistress.
"I am sorry but no. I am the one who inherited her equipment and the mystery of her disappearance. So I am your new master till we find her. Is there anything you can tell me about the last time you saw her." Responded Rick.
"I'm afraid not she turned me on once and said she had big plans for me. After some test she told me to sleep tight and she'd be back tomorrow and that means today."
"I'm sorry but that was months ago. I am your master now."
"So are you a robot or a drone?"
"Both. I am a robotic drone, you can take over my form and do things with my body. My processors are a lot more high tech and I can follow more complicated instructions. If you haven't given me anything to do I will use previous commands that fit the situation I'm in. If you told me to inventory the ammo one time the next time I had no commands and I may inventory the ammo and give you an update."
"So you are my robotic butler."
"Yes i. Am. Sir what is a butler?"
"Never mind. Just go to stand by till I need your help." After reviewing all the drone info again and not finding anything Rick goes to bed hoping for some ideas with the new dawn.
Rick was up with the sunrise and after reviewing all the drone data he still had no leads just two remote modules.
Giving up for now he plugs the modules into his remote deck and heads out the corner diner for breakfast.
He walks in and sees a dwarf sitting at the counter and two couples an older set sitting by the bay window Ana young couple probably skipping school in the back. The dwarf sees him and signals him over " Hi there" he says "You are Dora's new renter right."
"Yup that's me, the names Rick." Responds Rick extending his hand.
"They call me Taz and I'm Dora's friend I help her with the site maintenance when I can. She said I was to show you around. And we have to find you some kind of nickname. Sit eat. Maggie bring the big breakfast."
They ate in silence for a bit then Taz broke it "have you thought much about What you plan on doing for money "
"Well there is my job. At Lone Star as a currier, and my severance pay. What more will I need?"
"Well in this day in time a lot can happen, your lone star gig is good and keeps the law on your side but it doesn't pay shit!"
"At least it's something. What would you suggest?"
"Have you thought running in the shadows?"
"Isn't that against the law?"
"Some of the government officials are trying to make the profession illegal, but a lot of stuff that you may do is legal.
As a rigger you could be a glorified chauffeur or the cavalry coming to rescue a team of shadow runners. I can help get you started."
"I don't know I don't want to land in prison the moment I leave the military. All the statistics say there is a good chance that is where I will end up, because I can't handle the non structured lifestyle."
"Relax kid I talked with Captain Dobar and he thinks you are the greatest thing since the smart link. He is not going to believe anything bad about you unless you tell him and he would probably protect you for it. I don't what you said or did to him but he is your minion or something now. That makes your Lonestar gig the perfect cover for running the shadows. Aside from that you got me my ole lady loves you too, your so sweet I can't let anything bad happen to you. So if you want I can get you connected and you can do the runs you want to. As long as you don't become indebted to a fixer you are pretty safe.
"Can take it at my pace. I still want to solve this rigger mystery."
"Of course and you could always go work for corporations they always want riggers. They are cheap and won't pay much plus most are corrupt and play by their own rules. I think your girl might have gotten dragged into that."
"She is not my girl I just feel like I should try to help find her if she is still alive?"
"Ok what ever. What is your decision?"
"Maybe I'll try it out as long as I can stop when I want too."
"Ok but first I have to introduce you to some one so eat up."
When they had finishEd their breakfast Rosie the waitress cleared the dishes, Taz leads him to a booth in the back "this is Davey Bones."
"Hello" says Rick.
"Hello there matey" responds Davey Bones.
"Matey?" Questions Rick.
"You see he is a pirate, you know Davey Bones and his locker? Or some such thing." Answers Taz.
"Oh you mean Davey Jones"
"Not that guy, the famous pirate and his locker." Corrects Davey Bones.
"Ah ok." Says Rick.
"So who are you and what can I do for you?" Asks Davey Bones.
"Come on kid tell him your name." Urges Taz with an elbow to the ribs.
"Fine call me Kid!" Says Rick
"You mean Billy the Kid right? The famous gunslinger." Asks Davey Bones.
"Who? Wait never mind" says Rick before anyone can explain. It doesn't matter, just Kid ok! You can call me Kid.
"All right Kids it is. So What do you do and are you looking for work?" Asks Davey Bones?
"I'm a Rigger. I just left the military and Taz says I need to work." Replies Kid.
"As a Rigger you can always find work especially in the shadows. I also have legal work from time to time. If you choose to make yourself available to me I will give you everything from currier to drop off and pick up runs. Now if you have drones and can remote them I have spy work and combat runs available. So you tell me do you want to run the shadows for me?"
"Can I quit any time? Asks Kid
"You can but once you get a taste for the money and excitement you won't want to quit." Interrupts Taz.
"Can I think about it?" Asks Kid
"Sure you can." Answers Davey Bones.
"Thank you." Kid turns and walks away.
"Hey Kid grab a cup of joe or something, I got a little business to discuss." Yells Taz.
That's when he sees her a dark haired beauty the likes of which he hasn't seen since his leave in Germany when he met those Gypsies. The best part she was staring at him to and gesturing to a seat across from her. "Please sit with me while you wait" she then waves to the waitress. " hey Flo bring me a carafe of coffee and two more cups."
"Just a second honey and I will." Answers Flo.
"Well if you insist." Replies Kid taking the offered seat.
Once he is seated she asks "so are you going to be the newest rigger to run the shadows, or join the Megacorps in their bid for world domination?"
"I haven't decided if I'll be a Shadowrunner yet. I won't work for a corporation though. Not after my years in the military, I just want to keep my freedom.
"Then it would seem that you will be running the shadows soon."
"Are you a Shadowrunner too?
"Yes I am a decker." She gestures to the jack in the side of her head. "I run the matrix."
"I know what a decker is I worked close with one in the military, and my vehicles are usually set up so a decker can plug in from my copilot seat. It's an added precaution for them if they encounter hostile ice....."
" yes I know too you can even safely disconnect if they can't do it themselves. I love running like that. It's usually a nice warm comfy place to sit and safer feeling. It would allow us to talk through our electronics which can be nice for me on some of the more tedious runs."
"Ok, and I am going to be called Kid."
"I know I overheard. You can call me Raven, after the color of my hair. Where are you squatting at?"
"I used my severance pay to buy a high end RV I got it parked at Dora's for a good rate if I help out around the place."
"I am squatting in an abandoned warehouse by the docks. You riggers must really like RVs my friend Misty Moon did the same thing, till she disappeared."
Yup only she used an advance pay for some project she was working on for a small cooperation. Before she disappeared that is."
"Do people disappear often from around here."
They usually do but someone eventually says they saw it happen or there is some record of capture in lone star or the mega corps this time there was nothing she was just gone."
"Hey there Raven how's it going?" Asks Taz sitting down and pouring himself coffee into the unclaimed cup.
"Not bad." She answers "just a little boring."
"I thought you were into girls, from over there it looked like you were flirting with my young friend"
"Hey I'm into whoever is going to treat me right. Besides that he's cute."
"Well if Kid signs on we will have transportation and can do some big runs, and that should cure your boredom."
"What the three of us?" Asks Kid.
"No Kid this is kinda the inner circle of our team and we want you to be a part of it. Depending on the run I have muscle magic or both to bring in depending on what we think we will need. For muscle my number one chum is this troll Moose he carries this huge iron club and his primary weapon is a 50 cal chain gun that he an hold and fire one handed and he use a room sweeper for his side arm. Now until Renraku captured him I had a samurai into stealth and hand to hand named Ghost, he had swords knives and who knew what else including twin Uzi pistols and two man hunters. Always two handed for magical support I have Elvin Mage all into fire called Pyra and a dog shaman named Rex for support and healing. Rarely do we need more than them. I can always find more and you always have to be careful of new runners they maybe plants for someone.
Kid left the diner and walked across the street to the beach to think. He see's a woman with short dark hair watching him. Just then his com rings and its captain Dobar. He says he has evidence that needs to be taken to the court house and a box for another precinct.
So he heads home takes the crawler and heads to Lonestar.
As lunch time nears Kid heads back to the diner thinking about lunch. At the door he turns around and looks down on the beach, he can not be sure but it looks like the same woman is watching him from the surf. Putting his thoughts aside he enters and sees Raven getting ready to order. "Make it the same for me." Says Kid as he sits down across from her.
"Ok but you're buying." She replies "I bought breakfast."
"No that was coffee, but seeing I am a gentleman I will pay for lunch. Now what about dinner."
"My my aren't we getting a bit forward." She says with a laugh. "I'll take you to my favorite restaurant, how's that?"
As they ate they made small talk just getting to know each other, and when they were done Kid paid and went separate ways with Raven telling him she had a couple of matrix runs to do, but she would meet him at his RV at about six.
With nothing else to do kid tries again for a walk along the beach. Now out in the water he sees what could be that same woman that was watching him earlier. It all seems kinda strange. Pushing away strange thoughts he let his mind wander as he enjoyed the beach and the cool breeze blowing off the ocean. His thoughts kept coming back to Raven and how nice it would be to spend more time with her. Then the other women would come into his thought the short haired one that has been watching him. Why is it me or something I've done or will do. Then he would push those thoughts away again. At the end of the beach he walked up to his RV grabbed a beer and sat out side he watched the woman swim knowing she was watching him watch her till Raven met him here.
"Hey there sexy you want to grab some grub and see we're the night takes us?" Giggles Raven as a greeting.
"I would love to dahling and you ain't to bad yourself. Answered Kid with a smile. Off they went.
Now after dinner and a few drinks at the bar they end up back at Kids. "Raven I am gonna guess that all your possessions are in that bag."
"Most of them. I haves a couple lockers at the bus station and airport. Why?" Answers Raven.
"Why don't you stay here you can have the other cabin if you would like. We get along well and I don't want you arrested or killed from that abandoned warehouse and in the morning I will go tell Davey that I will run the shadows for him."
"Ok then I'll stay, at least for awhile." And that night she crawled into bed right next to Kid "goodnight Rick." It was the safest night she had had in a very long time.