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Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

You do not need to know anything about Shadowrun to enjoy this CYOA.
This story is friendly to newcomers of Shadowrun.
Check "So What is Shadowrun" below to get everything you need to know to get started. It's not very long.


I also thought about how to convince you fine folks this might be worth a read. So I've taken the liberty of pulling quotes from the thread.

Bear Enthusiast posted:

Well, the time has come where I'm glad to finally be caught up with the thread after starting a few days ago and incredibly eager for there to be more.

As someone who adores Shadowrun this is probably my favorite piece of fiction in the setting (so it beats a few novels I read in middle school and the three PC games). As a very minor hobbyist writer I am consistently floored by how the setting comes alive in your prose, contributes to the plot and themes effectively, and all the while stays grounded where it seems like it could easily devolve into Mirrorshades Harry Potter.

Shogeton posted:

Well, just finished binge reading this one. Hotdamn, it is hella intriguing.

Esper posted:

Just discovered/caught up on this over the past two days. It's the first entry into the Shadowrun world for me. I love it and want to learn more - thanks for both introducing me to the setting as well as your great writing. The story is fantastic.

Chatrapati posted:

Just caught up with this. Excellent story! I'm not familiar with shadowrun, but I feellike I'm immersed in the setting. I really like seeing the behind-the-scenes rolls too, which I didn't anticipate. It's cool seeing how differently things could have gone.

Deadmeat5150 posted:

Wow...

Uhhh...

Yeah...

I want more.

nothing to seehere posted:

Just binge-read this entire thread: took 7 hours, but was worth it. Wish I'd found it earlier, but glad to be able to shape the story from here onwards. Your writing is incredible, Ice.

Althair posted:

Just caught up and want to say this is cool as hell. I can't get enough of your way of making the Shadowrun world come alive. I love how skillfully you make the characters distinct and believable while simultaneously doing the same for the world they inhabit. Everything feels very balanced.

Hexenritter posted:

This is absolutely brilliant and I've thoroughly enjoyed it so far. I think the pacing is shockingly good, especially when some of the other CYOAs I follow can have enormous gaps between updates (I'm looking at you, loel ) due to real life circumstances, writer burnout and the like.

Your prose is excellent, and you're doing a fantastic job of characterising the various players. They come through as realistic, three-dimensional people with likes, dislikes, hopes, dreams, fears and social quirks rather than two-dimensional cutouts (which I often worry some of my own characters tend toward).

CourValant posted:

And, caught up!

This CYOA is amazing so far, the writing is wonderful; its great to see character motivation drive plot, as opposed to just bouncing from one set of decisions to another while on rails.

Discord link for CYOA's in general

https://discord.gg/97PkqpN



Fuzzy, Kenji and Julie - Monday, July 23rd, 2074 - Morning - Blake Island

"Who knew that one square mile could squish so much bullshit into one little package?" griped an older student.

Summer was over and it was time for the first day of school. To the older students it was the same old garbage as last year. To the first years, they had all been ripped out of their previous schools and away from their previous friends after being tested. Most were more disoriented than they'd ever been given their newly minted status as awakened. Given time the freshman would learn to despise the fish. Oh how they would learn.

The students didn't know exactly how old the augmented reality cartoon salmon was, but as is tradition in education the cartoon mascot was both old and dumb. It was some sort of failed education branding program that never took off. Even surrounded by this much nature and magic, one still couldn't escape the matrix, augmented reality or the enormous sprawl that was the Seattle Metoplex. In fact if you went to the eastern beach you could see the downtown area rising from the ground like some form of steel and concrete cancer. Its skyline was dotted with famous buildings the old Renraku Arcology, now a gigantic slum hive, the Aztechnology pyramid and of course the Space Needle which still hadn't fallen down yet despite years of neglect.

If you were a tourist you could get that stock emerald city overlay in AR that made Seattle look like something out of Oz, but only if you didn't mind the mandatory data mining that came along with it. Sadly even that load of shovelware couldn't help with the smell. The stink of thirty million people and all that heavy industry smelled foul and wasn't the greatest for the environment either. Thankfully they were all upwind of that. Most days at least. However that was miles away. They were stuck in the middle of the Puget Sound on a tiny island. They were far away from such modern conveniences like Stuffer Shacks with their greasy soy food, a decent matrix connection, social media and generally anything fun to do.

"Welcome to Blake Island!" said a cheery augmented reality mascot as it swam about in the air. "And to those of you who were here last year, welcome back! I'm Sammy the salmon!"



"loving kill me," groaned another student.

Sammy the salmon wasn't programmed to notice the complaints of the students on the wooden benches. It was designed to educate children by educators desperate to stop educating. One of the teachers did shush them in a fashion that never went out of style though. At least as much as teachers could be said to have style.

"You're here because you're some of the most talented magically active teens of your age. Your teachers are here to mold that talent into something truly special. Well, your teachers and me of course," teased the fish as he swam around jauntily through the air. "Now Blake Island just isn't a school for magic, oh no. It's chock full of history too! Did you know that the Suquamish tribe used this very island as a camping ground and that according to legend, chief Sealth was born here? Seattle is named after him you see so, he was a very important chief indeed! Bet you first years didn't know that! Also in 1993, Bill Clinton visited this very island. Neat, huh?"

"Who's Bill Clinton?" whispered another student.

The student was answered by a single shoulder shrug from another student and yet that whispered earned a second shushing from an increasingly stern faced teacher. The student covertly activated her smart contact lenses and tried to access her social media feed.

“What they hell? I can’t even get a signal,” she grumbled.

“There is no matrix connection,” she read.

A second Sammy the Salmon that only she could see swam into view in augmented reality as it crossed in front of the error message.

"Sorry kiddo," said the second Sammy the salmon, only to her. "No outside social media access on the island. If you want to link up to a social media account you can ask me later about Salmon Run!"

She groaned. She new so she didn’t know it yet, but Salmon Run had been terrible when it was first released and it was dead now. It was rumored that the teachers liked it that way.

It was true that this was a school for magic, though it was also a high school, not some fancy college. The test for awakened status was taken at fifteen and if one was found to be magically active they were whisked off to a different school where teachers knew how to handle magically active teens. This meant careful handling. The teens were a lot like live grenades, if grenades had feelings, opinions and raging hormones. So beyond their studies into their talents and the awakened world they'd also learn all the trivia that's instantly useless once one becomes an adult.

It was also true that this place used to be a school for talented youngsters. However, in this day and age, reputations for excellence are made to be ruined. Twenty years ago the school was known for the high quality awakened it produced. Rich corporate types, politicians and the leisure class found that out and started parking their kids there as if to soak in prestige and talent like a sponge. Nuyen is no substitute for talent, but it sure does pay the bills. So while everyone here had some sort of magical talent, as is the price of entry, their actual potential was questionably varied. Also as their parents were loaded, the teens were almost all human or elven with few exceptions.

However, parked in the back were three teens who did not buy their way in with nuyen. They bought their way in with talent. Nuyen had been allocated for "talented children of troubled circumstances". Officially it was to help pump new blood into the school and introduce "cultural diversity". Unofficially it was just a tax write off. Whatever the actual reason for them being here, there they sat.

This is their story.

So what is Shadowrun?

This is a choose your own adventure styled game based off the game Shadowrun. Shadowrun is a story about the near(ish) future where magic has come back, but technology advanced right along with it. So there's a mix of cyberpunk and urban fantasy with a sort of 80's aesthetic to it. Lots of neon, chrome and mascara in other words. A world where corporations are their own countries, America is fairly fractured, magic and spirits are back, there are other races besides humans along with animals that were only previously dreamed of, and that this is a new thing. Before 2012 magic was not a thing that 99.9% of the world experienced in a tangible way. Now magic and high technology exist in the same world, the old competing with the new and competing well. Dragons even run a few corporations. So imagine Bill Gates during the 90's. Ruthless, cunning, business oriented, but he's also eaten several people that you've heard of and is a gigantic magical flying lizard. One was even president for five minutes before being assassinated by someone.

The first arc is written from the perspective of someone who doesn't know anything about anything save for her little patch of the world which we probably won't visit again for some time. She helps explain the world. Here's the bare bones of what you need to know to understand the story.

1. This is set in the near future. So stuff is high tech. People can get cybernetic everything or new organs that do super cool stuff.
2. The internet, called the Matrix, is wireless and everywhere.
3. Magic is back in a big way and has been for over fifty years.
4. Other races of metahumans, fantasy races, have been born into the world. Orks, trolls, elves, dwarfs, etc. They're just average people.
5. The US is fractured and has become a number of different successor states. The western half is mostly controlled by Native Americans Nations (The NAN). Seattle is controlled by the UCAS, basically what remains of the old US and eastern Canada, which means Seattle is all out by its lonesome surrounded by nations that want to take it over.
6. Corporations are people times ten. The biggest ones, the "Megas" or "Triple A's/AAA's" have become tiny nations unto themselves that control enormous sections of the world economy.
7. Poverty is rampant and your social identification number (SIN) is how you get around in the world. However a fair portion of people don't have it, sometimes as high as 1/3 of a nation, making a permanent underclass.
8. Shadowrun is named that because of Shadowrunners. They're essentially mercenaries whose loyalty depends mostly on the pay that they're promised and that they get paid on time. They're also completely deniable, hired through Mr. Johnsons. These anonymous men and women promise money for theft, kidnappings, smuggling, assassination, infiltration, really whatever you can imagine that's illegal and needs a deniable asset.
9. This story isn't about Shadowrunners. It's about teens going to magic school so they learn how to use their magic and not incinerate themselves or others by accident.

That's it. The rest I'll explain the rest in the story as I go.

So why are you setting this at a school?

I liked the idea for one. The school is for the children of the rich and influential, and the three teens the story will be focusing on are definitely not. Culture and social class clash interests me. It's not going to just be magical slice of life. The teens are competent to one extent or another and I'm going to push them towards danger. Just how much will be up to the thread.

Also when I read the novels the focus was almost always on people who were already shadowrunners for their own reasons and never on their initial struggles or how they got there. Struggle is interesting to me, as are failure and consequences. I'm going to be rolling dice, so if there's a bad roll they can get hurt or even die if they're really unlucky. They're not invulnerable Mary and Gary Stu characters. I've intentionally made them heavily flawed, because mercenaries who work in deniable operations probably don't have the best home life. At the same time as the teens get more and more into the life as runners (and it will be gradual) coming back to school after that firefight will probably feel more and more strange as time goes on.

Finally, this is a writing exercise for me. I was once a professional author and I never really lost the itch to write. I'm experimenting and honing my craft. I'm trying to write heroes that aren't reactive and trying to reestablish the status quo, villains that aren't proactive and trying to tear down the world. Just people with varied interests that clash when those interests conflict. No one gets tied to the train tracks by mustached men. Everyone should have a reason for what they do.

How often will you update?

Previously I updated daily save for Wednesdays and Sundays. Currently I update 2 to 3 times a week, but the updates tend to be about 4-6k words.

Characters

Unlike other CYOA's the characters we don't pick will still exist. In fact the other two we don't pick will be important as they'll be more or less part of a crew of misfits. There will be three to choose from and we'll make a final choice about who we play at the end of those three short stories. The character we pick we will have direct influence over without skill rolls. How we treat the others and our charisma skills will inform me of how we act with them and how much they either like or don't like us. As this is the Blake Island School of Magic we will have or pick of three misfit students. Each will get a short story and at the end of the three we'll pick who we're actually going to play.

It looks like we'll be picking Fuzzy, the half feral teen girl who's good with weapons and animals. She has radically different ideas about life as someone who had to scrape for everything she ever had in a totally lawless and abandoned area of Seattle that was essentially a crumbling urban wilderness. She's a sort of all rounder, which is good because we'll be developing her skills over time and she can go really in almost any direction. Her thought processes are going to be more simple and direct and so that will inform how I write.

This is long

This isn't your normal CYOA on rails where decisions make no difference and there are no consequences. I'm highly responsive to peoples' requests and thoughts. It's also a bit of a slow burn. Not to say that there's not plenty of good stuff in there, but I do a lot of character introduction and development before we get to torching corporate security while wearing cybermascara. We'll get there. This is Shadowrun after all, but it may be a little while.

Be aware that this CYOA is already the size of several novels. It will take time for you to get through it, but if you like to read this is the story for you. This CYOA is more in the vein of a long form web series.

Building a character

After the four short stories are complete I'll put the character in some sort of situation that you will choose. It'll inform me of his or her skills. I'll try and make it entertaining. After that the character will earn karma. The amount of karma earned has gone up since the last edition. However if we spend karma I would rather have a justification for why we have earned that skill or skills or are going to earn that skill or skills. Doing shadowruns against megacorporations doesn't suddenly teach you how to speak Spanish after all.

CYOA

Normally I offer choices labeled A, B, C or 1, 2, 3, but those are suggestions. If I hear an awesome suggestion, nuanced or not and it's got traction I'll run with it if I can. It really is choose your own adventure. Not choose from a discreet list.

If you feel like your vote won't matter, I do pay attention to the "Yes, and" style of improvisation. If the thread is all going one way and you want to put your own influence on it, add your own suggestion to what the character should do or why they should feel the way they feel. If I like it, even if it doesn't have enough votes, I'll mix the "Yes, and" suggestion into the mix. I won't guarantee it, but good ideas are more likely to get traction with me. Please don't feel offended if I don't mix it in. It might still be a good idea, but I can't work all of them in.

Editing

Small side note. Let me know in the comments if I screwed up something in editing. I'm not exactly the best editor of my own work.

Disclaimer

The Topps Company, Inc. has sole ownership of the names, logo, artwork, marks, photographs, sounds, audio, video and/or any proprietary material used in connection with the game Shadowrun. The Topps Company, Inc. has granted permission to Ice Phisherman to use such names, logos, artwork, marks and/or any proprietary materials for promotional and informational purposes on its website but does not endorse, and is not affiliated with Ice Phisherman in any official capacity whatsoever.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Mar 13, 2018 around 07:23

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Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy – Tuesday, June 1st, 2074 – Morning - Puyallup Barrens

Fuzzy was never sure when she awakened to her powers. She just got better at reading animals. She was born in the abandoned urban area that was the Puyallup (pronounced Pew-Al-up) barrens. Its sister slum, Redmond, located about an hour away, was like a bone picked clean. However there was at least enough marrow for the dogs to fight over. In Puyallup there wasn’t even that. There were just the dogs that ate one another.

Fuzzy had parents once. Probably. She wasn’t that great with the details. Time was fairly foreign to her. Even the sun is hard to see sometimes in the barrens due to the smog, the falling ash from Mount Rainier and Seattle area doesn’t really do seasons all that well anyway.

Fuzzy didn’t look like anything special. Her blonde hair was cut short enough to keep from being grabbed with a haircut that looked as if she did it herself, and with a knife. Her build was lithe and muscular with little fat to speak of, and due to her short stature, as she was only five feet tall; she looked more like a young boy than a teenage girl. Especially since she tended to hide her body under layers of clothing and she often kept her face covered under her gas mask to keep the pollution and ash out of her lungs. Her eyes were a light blue, and her face, when not hidden, concealed fine, androgynous features.

Her most important possession was her bow that she’d cobbled together out of scrap and would hunt and sell rats and other varmints for their meat. She’d even kill devil rats, which were the size of small dog, if she could find one alone. That was rare though as they usually ran in packs that could take down a full grown man, much less tiny Fuzzy.

The man who’d raised her when she was little would pay well for their hide to make leather and meat to eat and so she ended up going to him when she needed something. As time went by and she became a better huntress she received a better bow too through trading numerous kills. With a better bow she could hunt bigger game. She bought traps. Not just glass and trash, but real traps that would snap into a leg or rope that would break a neck. More meat, more hides and therefor more nuyen. Life was tough in the barrens, but good.

“Nuyen is like magic. It can buy you anything,” said Rat Man.

“Like meat?” asked Fuzzy.

“Yeah, sure. Good meat too. Not just rat meat,” he said.

“You mean like dog meat?” she asked.

Rat Man wet his lips as he thought about what to say.

“More like soy meat. Maybe even some real bacon if you bring me two of those devil rats. Do you like pork?” he asked.

“What’s a pork?” she asked.

Rat Man smiled a greasy smile. He wasn’t creepy or scary. After all she’d lived and worked with him for years. He’d taught her how to shoot a bow when she was little. She knew men with creepy smiles and she knew to run away and hide, or if absolutely necessary, shoot one of her precious arrows at them. No, he was just physically greasy because he was Rat Man. It was a hazard of working with meat and leather all day.

“Tell you what. You bring me two devil rats and I’ll bring you eggs and bacon. The real stuff, not soy meat. Think you can do that for me, Fuzzy?”

“I know what eggs are,” she scoffed.

“drat straight you do. Like a little runner you are,” he said, affectionately.

“I’m good at running,” she boasted.

So she set up a few traps. Lone devil rats were trouble, but you rarely saw two. You either saw one or lots, and lots were bad. She’d have to be smart and try to find one and then one more. She had a special place for skinning. Too much blood and death attracted ghouls and they were lots worse than devil rats and she wasn’t a good enough shot to kill one as they were fast, but she was small enough to slip away in the crumbling concrete buildings that dotted Puyallup or lead them into a trap because ghouls are blind and usually stupid, and Fuzzy was smart. Rat Man told her that traps were no good if they got ghoul blood on them, but more importantly she’d be no good if a ghoul got her. She was too sneaky for them though. They’d hunt by smell, but she smelled like rats.

Fuzzy – Friday, June 8th, 2074 – Morning - Puyallup Barrens

After a week of hunting she killed two devil rats, each the size of a small dog. Making good on his promise, Rat Man cooked her eggs and bacon. She tasted bacon for the first time and it was glorious. She came to the conclusion that porks are the best and that she wanted more. She wondered what porks looked like. Rat Man told her he’d seen them before. They were pink, had squashed noses and curly tails which she thought was funny, especially when he made the “porks face” at her with an upturned nose and snorted at her.

“They snort you see. They like covering themselves in mud,” he said.

“Well I like bacon. Can I get more?” asked Fuzzy.

“Get me two more devil rats and we’ll talk,” said Rat Man, slyly.

“That took me a loooong time,” whined Fuzzy.

“Less time if you're tooled up. What’re you working with?” asked Rat Man.

She blinked at him.

“Let me see your gear,” he explained.

She narrowed her eyes.

“It’s mine,” she said, suspiciously.

“Do you want better gear or not?” he asked, impatiently.

“I’ll keep my gear. You can have new ends instead,” she countered.

“Nuyen,” he corrected.

“That’s what I said,” she lied.

You didn’t admit weakness in the barrens. However a few days later she had a new bow, a spear and not-rusty steel traps. And they weren’t made out of trash or anything. She got real arrows with white feathers. She’d only seen raven feathers before, but these were white instead of black which awed her. She had to be careful with those though. They were expensive. Pretty and expensive.

Fuzzy – Friday, June 22nd, 2074 – Morning - Puyallup Barrens

One night she found a puppy while on the hunt. It was wandering around aimlessly, barely even able to walk without stumbling. This was weird for the barrens. The puppy was weak and weakness wasn’t permitted. It was a surprise that she was the one who found it instead of some other predator. She hefted a stone to kill it because meat was meat, but it started wagging its tail at her. Consummate huntress that she was, she couldn’t follow through. It was just too cute. She sighed as she picked it up, and lifted her gas mask to take a better look at it.

“You’re too skinny for meat,” she groused.

The tiny, brown puppy licked her face and despite her misgivings, she giggled as the puppy was enthusiastic with its licks. Maybe Rat Man would have ideas about what to do with it.

“Yep. Just a mutt,” he said. “I thought it might be a barghest at first. Their spines don’t come out until they’re older, but its old enough that its eyes should be glowing by now if that was the case. I had to check the astral to make sure. It’s a shame. It would've been a serious payday for you. It’s probably going to get big though. Are you going to keep it?”

She pulled the animal away from him and frowned.

“It’s mine,” she said, suspiciously.

“Got a name for it?” he continued, undeterred.

“Puppy,” she decided.

“Right,” he drawled.

Rat Man furrowed his brow as if remembering something. He let his eyes relax again like he’d first done when he looked at the puppy. Then his eyes darted to her and opened wide. His greasy smile broadened, though he quickly hid it. Fuzzy didn’t like that.

Fuzzy – Thursday, July 19th, 2074 – Morning - Puyallup Barrens

The next time she came to see Rat Man, which was some weeks later, she met an elf. He wore clean clothes and seemed to know Rat Man. She’d seen elves before, but never one so clean. In fact she’d never seen someone so clean before.

The man was tall. His hair was long and blonde, and not greasy at all, yet still somehow shiny. His eyes were blue like hers too. Unlike other elves, his cheekbones weren’t high. If his pointed ears were hidden he could definitely pass as human. He had strong features and a somewhat hooked nose. He wore funny looking clothes that she’d later come to know as a suit. When he smiled in a way that tried to be disarming, but instead she was momentarily startled his straight, white teeth.

“Hello there. My name is Julian. What’s yours?” asked the elf.

She just stared for a few seconds and sized him up before supplying him with an answer.

“Fuzzy,” she said, simply.

“Okay Fuzzy,” he continued. “I’m a teacher. It’s nice to meet you.”

“Okay.”

Awkward silence prevailed. She tried to catch Rat Man’s eye, but she got nothing from him.

“I teach at a school called Blake Island School of Magic,” he explained further.

More silence. Fuzzy fidgeted nervously with her hands.

“I want to take you to school so you can learn,” he said, more carefully.

“Learn what?” she asked.

Julian smiled, which made Fuzzy feel increasingly nervous. She didn’t like it when people smiled if she didn’t know why.

“How to use your magic,” he explained.

If she was shocked or bothered by the fact that she possessed magic, one couldn’t tell just by looking at her.

“Oh. Okay,” she said.

“So you’ll come?”

“No.”

Julian frowned. Fuzzy liked that. Someone who was all smiles wasn’t good, but she knew frowns.

“Why not?” he asked.

She shrugged and unsuccessfully tried to stop fidgeting. She only succeeded in cracking her knuckles instead.

“I’m fine here,” she said.

He closed his eyes rubbed his temples which was a little funny to Fuzzy. No one should ever close their eyes this close to someone in the barrens. You never took your eyes off people. But here he was, doing it. Weird.

“You’re weird,” she said.

“I know,” he said.

“Okay. At least you know it,” she said, and smiled slightly.

“Are you happy here?” he asked.

She shrugged and he cocked his head at her. That she understood. He was trying to read her.

“Where I live there are no ghouls,” he said, smiling slightly. “He tells me you hate ghouls.”

He made an expansive gesture to Rat Man, who nodded sagely.

“Good read,” she said.

“I’m sorry?” he asked, puzzled.

“What you just did. Good read. Yeah. I don’t like ghouls. They’re sneaky and fast. No ghouls at school?” she asked.

He chuckled softly and smiled, which made her frown again.

“No. They’re not allowed. There are no ghouls on the island…” he started.

Then he checked her back where her bow was unstrung and stroked his chin thoughtfully.

“There’s good hunting there too,” he said.

“I’m good at killing devil rats now,” she said.

“I bet you are. There aren’t any devil rats there though,” he said. “There are a few deer, some birds and a lot of small game.”

“What’s a deer?” she asked.

With a smile and a flourish, he pulled out a pair of black goggles and a disposable commlink. She’d seen commlinks before. There were for making calls and checking something called the matrix, though Rat Man told her once that something called reception was bad out here.

“Wear these goggles and clip this to your ear,” he said. “I want to show you something.”

She squinted at the items and looked to Rat Man.

“It’s fine, I’ll watch your back,” he said, as he tried to suppress a smile.

She scowled at first, but did as she was asked. It was just a simple disposable metaclip commlink. Nothing fancy. There wasn’t even a display screen. However, the goggles stopped showing the world in front of her eyes and instead showed her deer. She was so awed by the look at the new animal that she didn’t throw off her goggles.

It was an introductory video with a man’s voice doing the narration. She’d never owned a commlink before, so this was all new. There were pictures that moved. Trees that weren’t scrubby, but tall. There was dirt that didn’t look sick and it wasn't all covered in ash. Deer. Oh sweet meat those deer looked so slow and lazy and their heads were the wrong size for big teeth. Colorful birds! Why are those people smiling and hugging? Weird. She had so many questions and Julian answered many. Deer didn’t have big teeth. Those brown and green plants were what trees and bushes looked like when they weren’t sick. That water was called the ocean, and its name was the Puget Sound. No, she couldn’t drink it. It was too salty. That was okay because most water was bad anyway.

“Okay, how many devil rats do you want?” she asked.

Julian blinked in confusion.

“I’m sorry?” he asked.

Fuzzy huffed out a breath in annoyance.

“How. Many. Rats?” she asked, as if to a stupid child.

“None. You don't need to buy your way in,” he said, slowly.

“Oh, so I am for sale?” she asked haughtily, and frowned, eyes narrowing. “I am not for sale.”

“Oh! No! That's not it at all! You are definitely not for sale. I want to train you,” said Julian, quickly. “That’s what schools are for.”

“Oh,” she said, and turned her head. “Rat man! Do schools cost new ends?!”

Rat Man sighed as he met her eyes

“He wants to pay you to attend. He’ll pay you in knowledge. I’m jealous. You’ll have opportunities I’ll never have. drat kid,” he grumbled.

That grumble made her happy. It was the good deal grumble. She could trust that grumble.

“Okay. I have three conditions,” she said, raising her fingers.

“They are?” asked Julian, his tone politely interested.

“I want porks, new ends and Puppy comes with me.”

Story focus: Half feral teen in a strange land. A girl and her dog. Voted #1 most likely to escape ghouls. Half trained mystic adept.

Likes: Meat, hunting, porks, new ends, puppy, lone devil rats, leather clothing, hoarding.

Dislikes: Ghouls, packs of devil rats, go gangers, bad water, people who correct her.

First Choice of the CYOA

Does Fuzzy think she was sold out by Rat Man?

In actuality, did Rat Man call Julian because he wanted to improve her life or score some nuyen? Maybe a mix of both?

Character Sheet

Name: Fuzzy (Smith is her technical last name)
Runner Name: None
Nicknames: Nogway, Fuzzy Nogway
Metatype: Human
Body: 4/6
Agility: 5/6
Reaction: 4(6)/6
Strength: 4/6
Charisma: 4/6
Intuition:4/6
Logic: 2/6
Willpower: 5/6
Edge: 4/7
Magic: 5/6
Adept Points: 5

Street cred: 4 (6 in Touristville)
Notoriety: 2
Public awareness: 2

Qualities:

Animal Empathy: +2 to all animal handling rolls.
Catlike: +2 to all sneaking tests.
Hawk eye: +1 to all perception tests and all range modifiers come down by 1. Long becomes medium, medium becomes short, etc.
Mystic Adept - Can cast spells, summon spirits, use adept powers, but cannot see the astral (without the adept power) or astrally project.
Natural Athlete: +2 to all running and gymnastics tests.
Legendary Rep: +2 to street cred in one place (Touristville)

Illiterate - Bought off
SINner - She has a system identification number. This is new and she got it when she entered school. She is now a person in the UCAS database and has to pay 15% in taxes.
Uneducated - Bought off. She'll be completely caught up by the beginning of year 2.
Phobia of promises (specific, minor)

Contacts:

Rat Man - Connection 3/6 Loyalty 6/6 - Shaman and armorer
Sasha Oliver - Connection 3/6 loyalty 6/6 - Blake Island student / Ares corporate princess / Assensing specialist
Kenji Okamura - Connection 3/6 loyalty 4/6
Marco - Connection 3/6 loyalty 5/6 - Blake Island student / Christian Theurgist Healer
Julie - Connection 3/6 loyalty 4/6 - Blake Island student / Touristville Healer
Devin Faris - Connection 3/6 loyalty 3/6 - Doctor / Ork and Troll activist preacher / Runs Our Abbey Underground in Touristville (located nearby the entrance to The Big Rhino)
Dave - Connection 1/6 loyalty 5/6 - Tacoma and Ork Underground street ear / Delivers flowers
Swamp - Connection 3/6 loyalty 2/6 - Knight-Errant R&D. Non-lethal weapons specialist.
Peter Duro - Connection 4/6 loyalty 1/6 - Deputy ambassador to the Seattle area

Enemies:

Christina (Last name unknown) Connection 2/6 occurrence 3/6 (Can appear at any time)
Human Nation (Human supremacist gang) Connection 2/1 occurrence 1/6 (Appears only in certain parts of Seattle: all of Tacoma, southwestern Renton and southern downtown)

Skills:

Archery 6 (+2 bows) + agility 5 = 11(13)
Animal Handling 2 + charisma 4 + animal empathy (adept) 2 + 2 animal empathy = 10
Banishing 1 + magic 5 = 6
Blades 4 + agility 5 (spearknife +2) = 9(11)
Binding 1 + magic 5 = 6
Counterspelling 2 + magic 5 = 7
Etiquette 2 + charisma 4 = 6
First Aid 1 + logic 2 = 3
Gymnastics 3 + agility 5 + natural athlete 2 = 10
Intimidation 4 + charisma 4 = 8
Navigation 5 + intuition 4 = 9
Negotiation 3 + charisma 4 = 7
Perception 5 + intuition 4 + hawk eye 1 = 10
Performance 1 + charisma 4 = 5
Pilot Ground Vehicle 2 + reaction 4(7) = 6(9)
Ritual Casting 2 + magic 5 = 7
Running 6 + strength 4 + natural athlete 2 = 12
Sneaking 5 + agility 5 + catlike 2 = 12
Spellcasting 2 + magic 5 = 7
Summoning 1 + magic 6 = 6
Survival 5 + willpower 5 = 10
Swimming 1 + Strength 4 = 5
Tracking 5 + intuition 4 = 9
Unarmed Combat 1 + agility 5 = 6

Knowledge skills:

Area Knowledge: Puyallup Barrens: Intuition 4 + 3 knowledge = 7
Area Knowledge: Seattle : Intuition 4 + knowledge 1 = 5
Art: Intuition 4 + 1 knowledge = 5
Critters: 4 intuition + 2 knowledge = 6
English: Native speaker
Gangs: 4 intuition + 3 knowledge = 7
History: 4 intuition + 2 knowledge = 6
Math: 2 logic + 1 knowledge = 3
Or'Zet: 4 intuition + 1 knowledge = 5 (basic)
Science: 2 Logic + 1 knowledge = 5
Spanish: 4 intuition + 4 knowledge = 8 (conversational)


Spells (7 free):

Heal - Heal one hit per round of damage. One try only per set of wounds. Touch based. Duration is permanent. Drain value -4.
Stun Bolt - Fling bolts of stunning force at range. Line of sight. Ignores armor.
Improved Invisibility - The target is invisible to all sight. The net hits are rolled against the target's logic+intuition. The subject can still be hidden if they're sneaking though.
Trid Phantasm - These area spells create convincing illusions of any object, creature, or scene the magician desires. They can create an illusion of anything the magician has seen before, from a flower or a credstick to a dragon breathing fire, as long as the illusion is no larger than the spell’s area of effect. Anyone who might pierce the illusion must successfully resist the spell. Simply make one Spellcasting Test and use the hits scored as the threshold for anyone attempting to resist at a later point.

Phantasm only affects living beings, while Trid Phantasm affects technological sensors as well.

Adept powers: 4.5/5 used

Animal Empathy 2 - Cost .5 Adept points - +2 at current level to animal handling checks.
Combat Sense 1 - Cost .5 Adept points - Roll perception to avoid being surprised. Add +1 to dodge tests.
Improved Reflexes 3 - Cost 3.5 Adept points - Adds +3 to reaction and 3d6 to initiative at the current level. The reaction improvement also increases initiative and dodge chance.

Gear:

One Hermes Ikon commlink (rating 5)
One bow
Hip quiver
Ares Pilum (Transforming Spear/Staff/Knife) [spoiler](In Julian's possession until summer) (No longer in Julian's possession. He saw that Fuzzy took down Minuet with a punch instead of her blade despite the fact that Fuzzy is far better with a blade. Her Pilum has been upgraded with the body (in this case teeth) of a fallen enemy with magic by Mr. Peters, but it lost its wireless capabilities. It is now a +2 weapon foci.)
One quiver (Full of normal arrows and 10 narcojet arrows)
One skinning knife (Well used and maintained)
Armor vest (birthday present from Rat Man)
Two steel traps
One puppy (Named Puppy)
One book of stun bolt (Learned)
Haptic Gloves
Haptic Clothing
Miracle Shooter game bow

Vehicle:

Marley Davidson Scorpion (Chopper)

Handling: 4(5)/3(4) (On road/Off road)
Acceleration: 2
Speed: 4
Pilot: 1
Body: 8
Armor: 9
Sensor: 2

Mods:

Smart Tires (+1 to on and off road handling. Can run flat.)
Security System 2 (Trying to steal without the key locks the vehicle down and needs 4 hits on a hardware test to undo.)

300 nuyen per month income (200 of which is used for the Ares pilum)

13780 total nuyen for the end of the year

Lifestyle:

Student Cabin (High) (Free during the school year)


Spent on:

Etiquette 1 (2 Points)
Buying off illiteracy (10 points)
Buying off uneducated (16 points)
Etiquette 2 (4 karma)
Animal handling 2 (4 karma)
Or'Zet (1 karma)
Magic 4 to magic 5 (25 karma)

Her spearknife getting turned into a weapon foci. 6 karma.
Ettiquette 2 to 3
Martial arts: HEMA (7 points)
Martial arts: Kyujustu (7 points)
Adept power level 5 (5 points)


Karma breakdown:

Money turned into karma: 7
Karma turned into money: 0
Adjusted Karma Earned: 103
Karma Spent: 98
Karma Left: 2
Lifetime Earned Karma: 96

Karma was earned when we (Don't read below if you don't want spoilers):

Kenji introduced us to Seattle and helped us become an educated person- 4
Treated Sasha with respect, softened our heart and healed the deer - 8
Ambushed gangers and disrupted a gang murder initiation - 8
Saved Oli from a ganger. - 2
Learning new stuff! - 2
Helping Tek - 7
Helped Kenji - 10
Pork karma - 5 (money turned into karma)
Summer karma - 5

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 7, 2018 around 12:29

Tias
May 25, 2008

Destroying property is not violence, no matter how much corporate media tries to create the equation.

Put this loser on ignore immediately!




1. No - I don't think Fuzzy would necessarily consider this being sold out. It's scary and a culture shock, but also pretty drat exciting. Plus, the good deal grumble

2. Yes. Kinda. There's definitely something in it for Rat Man, but I like to think even a barrens freejack has some heart left. After all, he could probably have arranged for something horrible to happen to her for a quicker payday before he heard of Julian.


E: Welcome back, dude. I've been waiting for this for a long time <3

Tias fucked around with this message at Sep 22, 2017 around 08:39

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Fuzzy doesn't think she was sold out. She's smart enough to understand when she got something good. Porks, no ghouls, and stupid-face deers instead of devil rats? That's something good.

And the rat man? Sure, there was something in it for him. Some kind of finder's fee. But he'd have gotten a whole hell of a lot more selling her out to Tamanous or the Mafia or something. Everyone's got to make sure they make a little on the side if they want to get by in the Barrens, but he picked the option that was best for her instead of what was best for him. That sentimentality might get him killed someday.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?







jagadaishio posted:

Fuzzy doesn't think she was sold out. She's smart enough to understand when she got something good. Porks, no ghouls, and stupid-face deers instead of devil rats? That's something good.

And the rat man? Sure, there was something in it for him. Some kind of finder's fee. But he'd have gotten a whole hell of a lot more selling her out to Tamanous or the Mafia or something. Everyone's got to make sure they make a little on the side if they want to get by in the Barrens, but he picked the option that was best for her instead of what was best for him. That sentimentality might get him killed someday.

Yeah, this sounds about right.

RudeCat
Aug 7, 2012

The rudest cat for the rudest jobs

I'm in agreement with everybody else so far.

Dog Kisser
Mar 30, 2005

But People have fears that beasts do not. Questions, too.


Yo, this is phenomenal so far. Also, thirding this:

jagadaishio posted:

Fuzzy doesn't think she was sold out. She's smart enough to understand when she got something good. Porks, no ghouls, and stupid-face deers instead of devil rats? That's something good.

And the rat man? Sure, there was something in it for him. Some kind of finder's fee. But he'd have gotten a whole hell of a lot more selling her out to Tamanous or the Mafia or something. Everyone's got to make sure they make a little on the side if they want to get by in the Barrens, but he picked the option that was best for her instead of what was best for him. That sentimentality might get him killed someday.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy doesn't think that Rat Man sold her out.

Fuzzy has people she can rely on besides herself. She gets a small bonus to charisma and intuition and a small penalty to strength and agility.

The rat man told Julian about her so he could get her out of there, but not just for altruistic reasons. He got a small payday out of it. Everyone's got to make a living, right?

Rat man has become a permanent contact. I'll flesh him out more if we end up playing as Fuzzy.

Fuzzy's gear:

One bow
One quiver (Full of nice arrows)
One skinning knife (Well used and maintained)
One spear (Bad quality)
Armor clothing (Devil rat leather jacket and pants)
Two steel traps
One metalink commlink
One Credstick (50 Nuyen. Rolled a 5 on street lifestyle.)
One puppy (Named Puppy)

Fuzzy's weapons are currently unavailable to her upon reaching the island.

Fuzzy's Mood

Suspicious, but excited. Feeling naked without her weapons. Somewhat paranoid at the large group of people, but not full on paranoid as she is able to put at least some trust in people.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Julie Freeman

Sometimes to understand the child one must understand the parent. In Julie’s case, this would be her father, Charles Freeman. To understand her father one must understand two things. One, he loves his family. Two, he hates meta-humans. In life when an irresistible force meets an immovable object. First they clash, but in the end either the force is resisted or the object is moved. Things fall apart.

Charles Freeman - February 7, 2039 - The Night of Rage - Seattle Metroplex, Tacoma

"gently caress you, knife ear!" jeered a man.

People don't know when they're living through history. No one in the crowd knew this would be what would be called "The Night of Rage" by scholars in their ivory towers or by bitter, suspicious meta-humans for years to come.

"Get the rope!" cried another.

Men laughed while the elf cried. Rope was thrown around his neck just for being different. The old hatreds came out to play and with it came old costumes. White cloaks, white hoods, pointed hats, burning crosses, rope, firearms and strength in numbers. These are the tools of the trade of Humanis Policlub, but they weren't the first to use these tools and methods. The humans who didn't want a part in this stayed indoors tonight. They looked the other way. Atrocities aren't just committed after all. They're tolerated or even permitted. The Night of Rage never would've happened if people stood up in enough numbers and with enough ferocity to beat back people like sixteen year old Charles Freeman and those who fed his fear and anger.

Blood was pouring out of the mouth of the crying man. Someone had kicked out most of his teeth a few minutes ago and much of what remained were broken. They hadn't exactly been precise and so his face was a ruin. Beer was poured over his head and the crowd laughed. The noose was tightened.

The knife ears and the stunties were uppity, but they weren't too bad. Then came the trogs just a few years later. All those "people" goblinizing at once. loving animals, that's what they were. Animals wearing the skin of humans to be shed over a few scant days. Some called them monsters. Others were sons of Ham. These were the thoughts of Charles Freeman.

In the end though, Charles only wanted to call them dead. No one knew what was next. It was too much for Charles Freeman, but at least these freaks didn't have the vote. That is until they did. In sweeping proclamations around the world these monsters were declared people. Nationally that meant the fourteenth amendment of the UCAS. Only a few right thinking countries wouldn't give these freaks the vote. Japan was a holdout. There were a few others, but so very few. A stand had to be taken. A message had to be sent. The Night of Rage wasn't planned. It was a spontaneous explosion of violent anger. It was bloody catharsis. There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen. That was this week.

No one came to save the elf. The man was hoisted up by the rope. His neck wasn't allowed to break as that requires planning and some modicum of mercy. Instead he was strangled to death and died hard over the course of minutes.

People in white hoods took selfies. "Had a lot of fun, wish you were here," one of the tags would read. No one stopped them. They came and went as they pleased. The corpse was eventually cut down a day later, but not before Charles lifted his mask just high enough to spit on the man. It was somewhat ineffectual. He was too high up and Charles wasn't particularly tall so it just hit the elf's ragged jeans. Charles smiled though. He'd done his duty to humanity today.

If one were to peek under the mask one wouldn't find a crowd of lily white faces. Not entirely anyway. The old hatreds simmered down as entirely new ones stirred up. In some places, race stopped being about skin color and started being about metatype. Whether you were one of the new elves or dwarves born into the world, or whether you were one of the orks or trolls whose body changed spontaneously over the course of a few agonizing days.
In their minds, humanity needed to stick together or get exterminated. It made for strange bedfellows. So when Charles dropped his mask it covered not only a pleased, evil smile, but a brown, Hispanic face. He wasn't the only one hiding a darker skin tone under those hoods. In an ironic twist, Humanis was a sort of rainbow coalition of humans, any human, willing to hate. They were accepting like that.

Charles, Patty and Julie Freeman - March 1st, 2059 - Seattle Metroplex

Charles was doing well for himself. The Lord said to be fruitful and multiply, and so he did. He was thirty-seven years old and had seven, count them, seven beautiful human children. His wife, Patty, swore up and down that little Julie would be their last. He could deal with that. Neither of them were getting any younger after all. If he were lucky he'd be fifty-seven by the time she was twenty. It was time to stop making children and focus more on raising them.
He'd done well with his life. He worked with his hands like a man should. Brought home his pay like a man should. Worked hard for his family like a man should. Life was good. Not great, but good. Humanis went "legit". They'd lost their momentum three days after the Night of Rage when a terrorist group took down the Sears Tower in Chicago. The media claimed it was some splinter group of Humanis, but they never made it stick. False flag terrorism, that's what it was. All that momentum, all of that change he’d hoped for evaporated overnight. Now they had to live with the freaks and Humanis went legit. Now they weren't anti-freak, they were pro-human.

You can't even say trog anymore without some ork or troll getting uppity. He feared for the world his daughter was growing up in. When he was younger one of those trogs made eyes at his oldest and a burning cross in their yard put that to rest. Those were the good old days. He decided to get out when he heard his fellow Humais members speaking out against that. They were trying to get into "soft power". Trying to "change things" at the political level. gently caress that. You can change things the old fashioned way: Boot knives, rope and shotguns. It seemed those were out of style. Maybe he was just old fashioned.

"Love you, little Julie," he cooed.

All of that hate vanished as he tickled his daughter's feet. It was hate that was replaced by fear. He wasn't sure what he'd do, but he knew he'd do his best for his family. That's all he could do.

Julie and Paul - July 30th, 2072 - Seattle Metroplex, Tacoma

Julie Freeman could read minds and that terrified her. Not exactly read minds, but sort of. It happened in school one day. People fall asleep at their desks all the time after all. Her friend, Paul, who worked late at the Stuffer Shack was asleep at his desk.

"Hey Paul," said Julie, "Class is over. Time to get up."

She was a gawky teen, but her mom had been too when she'd been younger. Though Julie was sprouting up like a weed and had grown taller than not only her mother, but her father as well. Even in the 2070's acne was still a thing and while she'd been able to avoid the worst of it, Paul hadn't. It must've been from all of that greasy soy food. She couldn't blame him though. He’d told her once that what food he got from school and the Shack were the only two solid meals he got a day.

"C'mon. We'll be late for lunch," she continued.

Talking to him usually got him up. Paul wasn't the best. He had terrible skin and didn't do well in school. If she were mean she would have said that he wasn’t attractive, but she didn’t. However he worked hard and he was human. That put him in her good books. Dad complained about public schools and mixing with...Well...She wouldn't say those words. They were people, just not human people. People people. Not like her or Paul, but close. She didn't talk to them much if she could avoid it.

“Come on Paul, get up. I know you’re hungry,” she said, louder than before.

Julie groaned, rolled her eyes and finally shook Paul’s shoulder. However something unexpected happened. She found herself transported elsewhere. Paul was working behind the counter at the Stuffer Shack and he was getting yelled at by someone. It was one of those gangers. This one was human. He wore black and orange colored clothing, and it looked filthy, though the ganger looked filthy too. He wore an orange and black jacket with a jack-o-lantern on the back. His hair was spiked orange as well. She saw that Paul's hands were in the air. The ganger had something in his hand. A gun? Holy poo poo he had a gun. Had he seen her? Paul looked terrified.

"Gimmie your fuckin' creds, pimples," jeered the man.

He waved the gun in Paul's face and laughed. Then he turned the gun upwards. A gunshot barked and stucco fell to the floor.

"All your nuyen and a soy'kaf too. Pumpkin spice. My favy. Now give me your money or I'll just kill you and take it. Makes no difference to me," said the man, now laughing.

Paul was in trouble. Her dad told her never to look away. Do the right thing now. NOW. Not later, now. She could've left, but that wasn't in her. She was tall, but that didn’t mean she was big, and he had a gun. She tried to call the cops, but strangely she didn’t have her purse. No commlink. Instead she cast about for someone to get help, but there was no one.

In desperation, she found a glass carafe for coffee. The classics never go out of style, and the Stuffer Shack wasn't big on safety. They were big on piping hot soykaf. She picked it up. It was so full and it steamed dangerous. It sloshed as she crept forward, and when the ganger began to level the gun at Paul she dumped it over his head. If this were some trid flick she would've quipped something heroic like, "Get away from my friend!" or "Here's your pumpkin spice!" Instead he screamed as the near boiling hot liquid drenched him. His gun dropped and clattered to the floor. He turned around and his black and white grease paint ran off his face in rivers as his skin blistered. He screamed. She screamed. Paul screamed.

She woke up, still screaming. Paul woke up screaming. She was in school. What was that? What was with this headache? It felt like someone was driving their knuckles into her temples.

"What did you..." started Paul.

"Lunch! We're late for lunch," she cried.

Her voice was reedy and shrill from the terror. Paul held his heart and caught his breath. He looked pale. He looked horrible in fact. Those dark circles under his eyes hadn't been there before, had they? Why hadn't she noticed? She was supposed to be his friend. When he finally calmed down he began to speak.

"Sorry about the…Noise," said Paul, haltingly. "I had a bad day at work last week."

Julie couldn't stop herself.

"How bad?" she asked, quietly.

Paul rubbed at his tired eyes.

"Real bad," whispered Paul. "I almost got shot."

Eventually Julie figured it out. Not by trial and error, but sometimes you forget and sometimes you touch people and sometimes they're sleeping. Without fail she would jump into whatever that person was experiencing and emerge with a massive headache. She told no one. Dad didn't talk about it much, but his hate wasn't just reserved for those people, but freaks in general.

Freaks like her.

Julie Freeman - June 2nd, 2073 - Seattle Metroplex, Tacoma

She'd been careful not to touch anyone in quite some time and when the day to get tested for her freak status at school she simply declined. Dad was proud that she’d declined. It was her right after all, and sure enough a few teens in her freshman class turned out to be magically active and were taken to other schools. She'd been terrified that they'd know anyway. She’d seen the bored looking mage from afar, but he’d never seen her. She was in the clear. She could finish up school and go on to be a nurse like she'd always wanted to. They wore gloves when they worked on patients after all. That way she’d never have to make direct contact with anyone.

It happened on the softball field. Baseball is Seattle's home sport after all. You show civic pride by going to a Seadogs game and many a kid and some teens swung a bat and caught fly balls during the baseball or in her case, softball season.

She was in the dugout talking to a friend when something began to happen. Her skin started to itch. Not a regular itch, but everywhere. Not bad, but weird. As the feeling continued and intensified past her ability to ignore it she realized that was not how itching worked. So she scratched. She got some weird looks because her chosen spots were everywhere which she tried to scratch all at once, but that darn itching wouldn't stop. In fact it got worse. The itching became pain. She doubled over from her seat on the bench. The pain felt like fire, though there was none. She screamed. Her friends looked at her in horror as she hit the ground. They didn't know what this was. The catcher, Philly, she knew though. Julie didn't talk to her much. She was people, but not people people. She was all right for an ork. So while the game stopped and people called 911, Philly crouched over her, her eyes lit with understanding.

"Don't worry. I know what you're going through," she said. "Here. Bite down on this."

It was her glove. Julie shook her head.

"Bite down. It'll get bad if you don't," she whispered soothingly past her tusks. "You're goblinizing. Most people don’t do that anymore, but my cousin did. I know it when I see it. Bite down on this or you'll break your teeth when you clench."

Julie cried. Julie hurt.

“You’re going to be okay,” said Philly.

Julie Freeman - June 2nd, 2073 - Seattle Metroplex, Downtown

Goblinizing is the constant fear of teens and parents. Elves and dwarves are born and they don't have to go through this. Humans goblinize. Orks and trolls have ork and troll kids, and in some rare cases human kids, but those kids almost always goblinize. Mostly they turn orks. Orks are what you get if you make a human bigger and tougher with small tusks jutting out of their lips from their teeth.

The process is awful. Magic rips through the body. It changes and rearranges the body with no thought towards gentleness. Bones crack and reform. Skin splits and twists. Tusks or horns in the cases of trolls sprout where there were none and their skin toughens as well. It's like being on fire for days. Like your body is flaying itself with a searing, jagged knife while a madman smashes cracks bones.

Not everyone survives it which is why Julie was in the hospital. This was day two of three. Julie yelled herself hoarse on day one, though her voice was an octave lower than she remembered. She still felt the urge to scream, but could not manage it. Drugs normally help cut the pain, even if just a little, but she hadn't been given any. This was the University of Washington Medical Center. The biggest hospital in the 'plex and she couldn't get something to kill the pain. It was her father of course who had managed it somehow, though she didn't know that. No one had come to see her save for nurses and doctors. Then out of nowhere, the person she'd both hoped and dreaded to see walked through the door.

"Daddy..." she croaked, weakly.

Her voice was deeper than she remembered on the first day. She hated that voice- Her voice. If she hated her voice, than her father…She'd hoped that he'd put aside that hate. She prayed that he love her like a daughter and accept her. She was his after all she he was hers. She dared to hope.

"I'm not your daddy," he spat.

Her hope died. A new pain hurt her. It didn't cut her heart. That would've been too neat. This slashed at her heart. The wound it left was ragged and as continued to speak he left so many more. All she could see was her father’s hateful face, as if that hate was carved in. She’d seen that before, and it scared her.

"Well will you look at that. It’s a filthy little trog pretending to be mine. I spoke to your mother,” he seethed. “She says you're mine, but there's no way that's true. I'll have the truth out of her one day or another as for you…”

Those ragged, emotional slashes came at her fast and rend her heart deeply. She thought she'd cried herself out days before, but more tears came. Fat tears welled up in her eyes. She shut her eyes and turned away from that mask of hatred that her father wore. She knew she was a freak ever since she'd touched Paul that day in school. She thought she could hide that from her family. In fact she probably could've gotten away with it if she hadn’t touched anyone. Not this though. There was no hiding this.

"Don't you turn away from me," he roared.

She opened her eyes only to see a blur. As is turned out that blur was his hand. When he slapped her she saw static for a few seconds. Even from her bed the world spun. Her dad had never hit her. She’d had spankings when she was little, but that had stopped when she grew up. He’d never hit her in the face before. Reeling emotionally, physically and mentally, she was struck again and again and again. Slaps soon became punches to the body. Body blows became hands curled around her throat. She gagged as he wrapped his thick, working man hands around her throat and squeezed. Julie Freeman heard her own heartbeat hard in her ears.

Her father smiled. He wasn't some old man in his fifties. He was sixteen again and hauling up that knife ear by his neck. He was taking charge again, something those new wave pussies at Humanis didn't know to do. This was real. Strike out against the freaks. A new Night of Rage. It could start right here as he put the lie that called itself his daughter to death since this abomination had killed his sweet, darling, human daughter.

He smiled and Julie saw that smile. Her eyes rolled back in her head and she began to black out, but as she grasped at his hands she felt that power again. Dreams weren't going to help her, but this wasn't a dream. Something happened. Something exited her body through the hand she’d weakly tried to shove him away with and struck her father. He shrieked as her own pain fled her. The fire stopped. She stared at him in horror as the man she'd loved all her life tried to kill her and went down screaming. Eyes open, mouth agape, his shriek tore at his throat until it didn't. She watched him die on the floor, bits of his flesh now gone. The pain came back. A nurse ran into the room at the commotion. Julie fainted. She had a single thought detached from all of this before losing consciousness.

"Why couldn't I have just passed out before he got here?"

There was no unstoppable force. No immovable object. Just an old man, the hate that was more important than his love, his daughter, her guilt, her new body and her magic.

Julie Freeman - July 14th, 2074 - Seattle Metroplex, Everett, Darrington Correctional Facilities

"Prisoner 417539-D, you have a visitor," said the guard.

She was tried as an adult for second degree manslaughter. She had no visible wounds to speak of, or at least none that looked out of the ordinary among all the rest of her body’s changes. After all, bruises are the least of what one goes through when goblinizing.

Julie had killed her father. She’d been found guilty on all charges. She didn't fight a one of them though her public defender told her that she had a serious case for getting off the hook. But what was out there for her? More pain? To see her family and their hateful eyes stabbing her with accusations? No, she didn't want that. She just wanted to stay here and be forgotten. She was too scared to live and too cowardly to die.

"Yes ma'am," she called back.

She stood up from her bunk bed. She was clad in her orange jumpsuit complete with her last name and number which was baggy on her. She was a full six feet tall now. That was tall even for an ork woman, as she’d grown to her full height, though she was still willowy. At least by ork standards. Her skin tone was the same mocha color as it was before though her skin had roughened slightly. She wasn’t sure if that was from being an ork or because of the cheap soap in the prison showers. Her hair was the same as always. It was black, straight and hung down to her shoulders. Her eyes were dark brown, her mouth was too wide for her tastes even when she was human, and wider still now. Her facial features on her round face were pretty more than beautiful, though Julie believed she was neither. Quite the opposite. Her features were now wider to fit properly what was a larger face due to her larger body.

The guard patted her down. She was used to roving hands and invasive searches via said fingers, magic and tech. She'd become acquainted with the humiliation of squatting and coughing on day one and this was almost a year later. This was gentle by comparison.

"Right. Hands in front where I can see them,” said the guard, bored.

It was all routine by now. Cuffs go on, go where you're told, wash once a day, eat terrible food, watch the same shows in the lounge, keep your head down and stick with your kind. Her kind. Julie felt like she didn’t have a kind.

“Or is there some club for magical trogs who kill their parents?” she whispered under her breath.

“No talking,” said the guard.

Julie nodded silently as she accepted her authority. It was accept or be tormented. To her there was no choice.

So she was led past checkpoints and cells. Then even more checkpoints and more cells as she came to a part of the prison she was unfamiliar with. Cell block after cell block, row after row, every single prisoner in this wing was awakened. It was a rare thing that anyone here got slack. She'd heard that the day before she came some woman lit her mattress on fire and got ripped apart by an air spirit for her trouble. People talked about it for a solid month. Not that she Julie how to use her magic. She just wanted that part of her to go away.

She was lead into a room those who are familiar with visitation in prison are familiar with. Not the circular tables where people can touch. That's for lower security. No, this was a simple pane of bulletproof glass reinforced with a barrier and an honest to goodness phone. Julie had only seen those in old movies, and she’d never actually been here before. No one visited her. Anyway, some things never go out of style.

She wasn't familiar with who was on the other side of the glass. He was kind of cute in a way. Wait, no, pointed ears. drat it. This guy could pass for human if he tried, though it looked like he wasn’t trying. Of course the first man she’d seen in weeks would be an elf, and she despised herself for feeling that way for some dandelion eater. He tucked a lock of blond hair behind his ear as he put the phone up next to it. Reluctantly she picked up her own phone.

"Hello miss Freeman. My name is Julian," he began.

"What do you want?" she said, curtly.

She felt the snarl building up inside of her, but suppressed it. That's what she wanted to do, but if she was defiant the guards would remember. Instead she looked at him with dead, uncaring eyes. She was so tired.

"I have an opportunity for you," he replied.

“What sort of opportunity?” she asked, her interest momentarily piqued.

“I'm a teacher. I’d like to teach you,” he said, with a warm smile.

She squinted at him, but couldn't help but smirk.

"You're kidding me," she said, and turned around to look at the guard. "Is he kidding me?"

"Eyes front, prisoner," said the guard.

She turned around immediately. Eyes front it was. Toeing the line was risky. Instead she stayed as far away from the line lest she find out exactly where it was.

"I'm not kidding you," he said. "You were brought to my attention and the attention of my school. We looked over your files and saw that you plead guilty to manslaughter without even defending yourself. I'm here to interview you."

"Wow. I must be interesting," she said, sarcastically. “Please go on. Don’t pull any punches if this ends the talk any faster. Tell me all about how I killed my own dad. The orks in trolls in my cellblock love hearing about how I killed a racist.”

Julian’s gentle smile turned pained. If Julian hadn't been pulling his punches he'd have wondered how she'd cast a manabolt on her father and killed him without any training and without shredding her body from the drain while under extreme physical pain. Safe to say he was pulling his punches, but Julie wasn’t. However, it seemed like she was more interested in beating up herself.

"Punches? I thought I was being rather restrained, actually," he admitted.

"Seriously?" she asked. “Whatever.”

"I don't make it a habit to lie to my students," he said.

"I'm not your student," she snapped.

He quirked a smile and there was a short pause. It was almost theatrical.

"Not yet,” he said, with a hint of smugness.

Julie ground her teeth. They were large teeth with tusks on either end that pushed past her lips jutting upwards.

"Julie, what are you getting out of being here?" asked Julian.

She furrowed her brow.

"What?" she asked, her tone confused.

"What are you getting out of being here?" he repeated.

"I don't understand,” she said, still confused.

"Therein lies the problem. You don't understand. You're just..." he made an expansive motion. "Here. You're out in five years. Three with good behavior, which I have on good authority that you are well behaved. Then what? You're an untrained awakened with a criminal SIN. What's next?"

Julie shrugged. Julian leaned forward towards the glass.

"Speaking as the person who was once sitting almost exactly where you were once upon a time, I've got to say that you should take the deal," he whispered, and then grinned. "The food here sucks."

She couldn't help it. She giggled. It was low and guttural, but that's what it was. She smiled, and then realized why she shouldn't. She sighed.

"I deserve to be here," she whispered.

"Again, me out here, you in there, I've got to say that if this were a contest about who deserved it more, I'd be in there, not you," he continued.

"What? You’re just a teacher. You don't know anything," she snarled.

"Yes, I'm a teacher. That actually means that I know a lot,” he countered.

She glared at him. He took it as permission to continue.

"This isn't the first time something like this has happened. Teens die during goblinization and sometimes that's just convenient", he said, making air quotes, holding the phone to his ear with his shoulder. "I know that a girl going through goblinization with a father linked to the Night of Rage probably wouldn't have survived if it'd happened at home. Instead it happened at..."

"What?" she interrupted.

"The Night of Rage. It's in your history books," he said. “You would have learned about it in school.”

"I know what the Night of Rage is,” she said, irritably. “It was a worldwide race riot that happened a million years ago. What does my dad have to do with that?”

Fear welled up in her. Pain. She didn't want to think about her father. That wound was too fresh.

"I did the legwork. He was..."

"Don't want to hear it," she interrupted.

"Okay,” he said, simply.

They didn't talk for a time. Despite herself, she was the first to break the silence. A morbid fascination was overtaking her. Who was this man who visited her? What did he want with her?

"Fine. Show me," she said.

"Show you what?" asked Julian, innocently.

She growled in frustration.

"You said you did the legwork. That means you have something," she said, irratibly.

"Perceptive. I like that in a student,” he complimented.

"I'm not your student," she snapped.

She found that she was no longer detached, but growing angry. Angry wasn't good here. It could get you tuned up just outside of the cameras with stun baton, thrown in the hole for a week or two or just killed if someone decided you were worth the paperwork. She struggled to get her anger under control. Julian realized what she was feeling. After all, he felt that once upon a time too. He’d been right. She was internalizing all of her anger and guilt. It was best to channel that in the correct direction to the real source. It wasn't fair and it wasn't right, but life rarely is.

"Are you sure? This was what I was going to pull out at the end to convince you, not the beginning. You can't unsee some things, Julie," he said, his voice concerned.

"I thought you didn't lie to your students," she said.

"I don't need to lie to you," he said.

He was improvising. However he was good at that. If he couldn't win her trust he'd use more brutish methods. Not by lying to her, but telling her the truth. After all, Julian was always going to walk out with Julie in tow today. This was what he was good at. However he had reservations about showing this to her if he didn't have to. He worried that she may find her way back here.

"Yeah. I want to know," said Julie.

Julian pulled out his commlink, tapped it and made a few gestures with his hands. Not magical ones, but working with his eyes and hands. He made flicking motions and the bulletproof glass became a screen. Men in white hoods. A hanged elf. Scrawled underneath, edited to look like a postcard were the words, "Wish you were here." It was a selfie. Self-aggrandizement and narcissism never went out of style, nor did posting stupid things to the matrix.

"You know they're still prosecuting people from that night? I had a friend poke through their archives. Metadata never goes out of style. February 7, 2039. The Night of Rage. The one holding that cell phone is your dad. You know, back when they had cell phones, not commlinks. We don't know if he killed that man, but he's reveling in it. Not just that. Social media accounts. Political affiliation with Humanis. Not the "family friendly" Humanis, but the stringing people up kind. Burning crosses in peoples' yard kind. White hood kind."

She looked away. Now for the truth.

"It's not your fault," he said.

"gently caress you, knife ear," she spat.

"Going to have to work on that," he said, blithely.

The guard cleared her throat. The conditioning of violence and humiliation that is prison beat down her temper.

"You are who you are. You're not a freak. You're special,” he said, soothingly.

Unable to properly express her rage at this man behind the glass, Julie Freeman began to cry. A cry like this had been coming on for months, because one didn’t admit weakness in prison. But here she was doing it anyway. Minutes later when she was done she came back to the conversation. After all, the guard would wait as long as she was told. Her boss had been paid handsomely. This conversation wasn't done until Julie decided to come with him. That was Julian’s mission.

"What do you want?" asked Julie, feeling defeated.

"To teach you. I work at a place called the Blake Island School of Magic," he said.

"What, like a principal?" she asked.

"Ah, no. No, I'm just a teacher. A pretty skilled one if I'm pressed, but just a teacher. This year I’m also a talent scout for people like you,” he explained.

"Like me?" she seethed. “What do you want with me?”

"You’re a troubled young person with talent," he said. “With emphasis on talent. I only believe that you’re a threat if you’re given no other option. Julie, I can give you other options. Many young people your age don’t feel safe being able to do what you do. I can help you with that.”

She paused, momentarily tempted. She licked her lips.

"I'm more than just some troubled student," she said.

He grinned ruefully.

"I might have some history with the hard cases, like I said. Years ago I was hired for my unique perspective. Here's my promise to you," he said, trying to cut past her retorts, "I become your guardian. We seal your criminal SIN and clear it completely when you graduate. You learn to control your powers, earn back your freedom and improve the quality of your food."

He waited for a beat before flashing a winning smile.

"It’s not hard to beat prison food, but we make due,” he teased.

Story Focus: Overcoming her hatred and guilt, learning to manage her power, finding a place where she belongs, voted #1 most likely to stand up for her friends.

Likes: Living in the past, good food, friendship, baseball.

Dislikes: Magic, metahumans, being a metahuman, feeling guilty, dreams, prison.

Second choice of the CYOA

Deep down, does she wish she'd died in that hospital?

Does she feel bad for calling Julian knife ear?

One last short story to go before we make a choice about who we'll be playing. Then we jump to the camp.

And not including this I wrote 4488 words. A real short story. They'll get a bit shorter as I move past introductions (for my own sanity if nothing else), though I'll try to keep the quality the same.

Name: Julie Freeman
Runner Name: None
Metatype: Ork
Body: 7/9
Agility: 3/6
Reaction: 5/6
Strength: 3/8
Charisma: 5/5
Intuition:5/6
Logic: 4/5
Willpower: 5/6
Edge: 2/6
Magic: 6/7 (Julie initiated)

Street cred: 4
Notoriety: 3
Public awareness: 1

Qualities:

Magician - Can cast spells, summon spirits and can astrally project.
Living Focus rating 6 - Can sustain spells up to level 6 for free.

Criminal SINner - She's a criminal. Narrative problems along with 1 notoriety. Bought off.
Bad rep - Killed her dad. It was in self defense, but she never defended herself in court. 3 notoriety.
Prejudiced (Common, Biased, Metahumans) - 1 to social rolls with all metahumans Bought off.
Prejudiced (Specific, Biased, Elves) - 1 to social rolls with all elves.

Contacts:

Fuzzy - Connection 2/6 Loyalty 4/6 - Blake Island Student / Touristville Connected
Sasha Oliver - Connection 3/6 loyalty 4/6 - Blake Island student / Ares corporate princess / Assensing specialist
Kenji Okamura - Connection 3/6 loyalty 4/6 - Blake Island student / Fixer / ACHE specialty Shadowrunner
Marco - Connection 3/6 loyalty 5/6 - Blake Island student / Christian Theurgist Healer / Boyfriend
Devin Faris - Connection 3/6 loyalty 3/6 - Doctor / Ork and Troll activist preacher / Runs Our Abbey Underground in Touristville (located nearby the entrance to The Big Rhino in Touristville's north end)
Big Rita - Connection 3/6 Loyalty 3/6 - Prisoner / Troll Street Shaman / Spikes Shot Caller
Patricia Freeman - Connection 1/6 Loyalty 1/6 - Mom
William Peters - Connection 4/6 Loyalty 2/6 - Teacher / Environmental activist / Tailsmonger with a specialty in local reagents/ Alchemist/ Cook

Enemies:

Christina (Last name unknown) Connection 2/6 occurrence 3/6 (Can appear at any time)

Skills:

Arcana 2 + magic 6 = 8
Assensing 1 + intuition 5 = 6
Banishing 2 + magic 6 = 8
Binding 2 + magic 6 = 8
Con 1 + charisma 5 = 6
Counterspelling 3 + magic 6 = 9
Etiquette 1 + charisma 5 = 6
First Aid 3 + logic 4 = 7
Intimidation 4 + charisma 5 = 9 (13 for street cred)
Perception 3 + intuition 5 = 8
Ritual Casting 3 + magic 6 = 8
Running 1 + strength 3 = 4
Sneaking 1 + agility 3 = 4
Spellcasting 3 + magic 6 = 9
Summoning 2 + magic 6 = 8

Spells:

Stunbolt - Throw a bolt of stun damage. Bypasses armor. Doesn't work on machines.
Manabolt - Throw a bolt of physical damage. Bypasses armor. Doesn't work on machines.
Increase Logic - Increase logic by number of hits. Must be sustained.
Improved Invisibility - Be unseen even by machines. Must be sustained.
Levitate - Lift 200 kg for every hit. Unwilling subjects resist with strength + body.
Heal - Heal one hit per round of damage. One try only per set of wounds. Touch based. Duration is permanent. Drain value -4.

Metamagic:

Shielding: A character with the shielding metamagic learns to better protect herself and others against hostile spells as they are cast. When the magician declares spell defense, they can add additional dice to the spell defense pool equal to his initiate grade. These additional dice cannot be used for any other use of Counterspelling, including dispelling.

Knowledge Skills:

Area Knowledge: Seattle 3 + intuition 5 = 8
Botany: 1 + logic 4 = 5
English Native Speaker
Gangs 2 + intuition 5 = 7
Humanis Policlub 2 + intuition 5 = 7
Geology 1 + logic 4 = 5
Magic Traditions 3 + intuition 5 = 7
Magical Law 2 + logic 4 = 6
Magical Threats 2 + logic 4 = 6
Marine biology 1 + logic 4 = 5
Or'Zet (ork language) 1 + intuition 5 = 6
Spirits 3 + intuition 5 = 8
Zoology 1 + logic 4 = 5

Gear:
Commlink: Microtronica Azteca Raptor
Commlink: Metalink commlink (contains her notes, wireless turned off)
A full middle class wardrobe
Armor vest (armor 9)
Medkit: Rating 2
Trauma patch
Stim patch: Rating 2

330 nuyen


Karma Earned:

Getting some information from her initiation rite. - 6 karma
Keeping Mother Bear in the conspiracy. - 2 karma.
Helping Kenji out of his funk. - 3 karma
Julie and Minuet. - 9 karma.
10 karma (donating time to Touristville, 1000 per karma up to a max of 10. Just Julie.


Karma Spent:

Getting a home and having it paid until summer. - 5 karma
Julie initiates. -13 karma
Julie reduces her racism to all metahumans to just elves - 4 karma.
Julie learns about alchemy and picks up some knowledge skills. - 6 karma
Julie creates a spirit buddy. - 24 karma
Criminal SIN gets taken down to normal SIN. - 10 karma
Julie gets a specialization in gunshot wounds in healing - 7
Julie purchases cure disease as a spell - 5
Julie purchases


Karma breakdown:

Money turned into karma: 15
Karma turned into money: 5
Adjusted Karma Earned: 85
Karma Spent: 69
Karma Left: 6
Lifetime Earned Karma: 75

Lifestyle:

Student Cabin (Free) - High Lifestyle

House/Clinic - Middle Lifestyle - Comes with a workshop (a clinic)

3000 per month (Subsidized by Touristville) (Paid through year one)

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Mar 24, 2018 around 19:33

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?







God, Dad really pissed me off. Like, in real life. But that's good, stories don't usually get to me in real life, I can tell this is gonna be amazing.

Yes, and no. We really are a self-loathing racist little rear end in a top hat to start off. Thanks, Dad.

Dog Kisser
Mar 30, 2005

But People have fears that beasts do not. Questions, too.


No and no. We're somehow less lovely than our upbringing would imply, but we're still not handling all this well. Also again, holy poo poo this is some good stuff!

RudeCat
Aug 7, 2012

The rudest cat for the rudest jobs

Yes and absolutely no.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

Yes,
No

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Kenji Okamura and Julian Smith - Monday, July 16th, 2074 - Seattle Metroplex, Downtown, Elliot's French Cuisine

"So yeah, I did some running," admitted Kenji. "Mostly guide work through the ACHE sub-basement, but it's nothing to thumb your nose at. It's a living. It seems like everyone wants to pick up scraps from uncle Deus' nightmare basement."

The ACHE was the name for the old Renraku arcology, one of the megacorps. Now it's a gigantic housing project full of about a quarter million of the city's poor. It was too big to fail, or at least too expensive to tear down. Instead they stacked people deep in the remnants of what once was a nightmare factory. In fact if you still knew where to look you could find some of those factory's machines still whirring. Kenji was one of its "tour guides".

“At the risk of sounding petulant,” whispered Julian, “What is this? Shadowrun babies?”

“Yeah, you totally sound petulant,” retorted Kenji.

“Then I’m in good company,” Julian replied.

Kenji drank his soykaf with one hand and made a fencer’s salute with the index finger of his free hand. They were at Elliot’s, a French restaurant that specialized in soy cuisine with a bias against normal humans. Not because they were humans, oh no, but because they just weren’t exotic enough. Kenji was dressed for the occasion, looking ghetto fabulous. His clothing and masculine jewelry were just tasteless enough to blend into the ACHE, but tasteful enough to be admitted into Elliot's.

However he was put off because Julian was older than him and looked like he could be his dad as they were both elves, both of a similar height, their hair was styled similar, though Kenji's hair was long and black while Julian's was blond, and Kenji's eyes were a light brown compared to Julian's light blue. They even had just a similar enough facial structure that the mistake could be made that Kenji might be Julian's Asian son, though Kenji was too exotic to pass for anything save for an elf. There were differences though. Kenji had more in the way of muscle, but ironically while Julian might be called handsome, Kenji could be called beautiful with fine features like his cupid's bow lips, piercing eyes, pointed chin and killer dimples when he smiled. His looks, while striking, were both a blessing and a curse in the ghetto for a myriad of complicated reasons. However, what defined him most, and actually anyone from the ACHE out on the town was the telltale smell of burnt trash. It was hard to scrub away the smell that clung to its residents days, weeks or even months after they'd leave.

Despite the small differences, they looked quite the pair. However Julian was bucking the system and making Kenji look worse by dressing in his best dumpy teacher’s attire and therefor completing the look of a father making his son embarrassed out in public, though neither were related. Julian was apparently a big enough deal or represented an organization that was a big enough deal that the offer caught Kenji's attention, but he didn't mind being seen in his teacher's worst while out on the town.

“So you’re trying to recruit me for this school of yours. That’s cool," said Kenji, his tone businesslike. "Not the first time I’ve been scouted, but it is the first time I’ve been scouted for educational purposes.”

Julian smiled knowingly.

“Though I have to be up front and say that the pay sucks,” remarked Kenji. "At least compared to what I'm used to billing for my time."

“The food sucks too,” teased Julian. “It's real though. I will say that while the pay isn’t the greatest, meaning non-existent, that education of this caliber is rarely free. Education like this makes you worth more. As I understand it, while you are good at what you do, it’s pretty niche.”

“Tour guide to the old Renraku arcology? Yeah. Super niche, but lucrative if you know your way around, and I do know my way around. It’s been my stomping grounds since I was a kid,” said Kenji.

Julian shuddered visibly. The old Renraku arcology, now the ACHE, was seized years ago by the UCAS government after almost all of the one-hundred-thousand people that were trapped there were experimented on and killed. Normally there wouldn't have been that many, but there had been Christmas shoppers that day on the floor that contained the mall. The astral plane was thoroughly polluted not only inside but out as the stain of those deaths leaked out into the world like a haze, though mundanes, those without magic, couldn't see or feel it. Julian once assensed a meat packing plant for all of two seconds before fleeing back to his body on instinct and vomiting. All of those people dying, being experimented on and trapped, honestly it was the perfect camouflage for Kenji. He was an adept and most adepts don’t work the astral. Julian hadn’t found Kenji through a comm call or by scanning prison records. Kenji had been recommended. Kenji knew people. He knew people who knew people who knew Julian.

"I know that shudder,” said Kenji. “All you magic types wonder how an awakened can be there. Well like I tell everyone, I’m blind to the astral. In fact I so rarely ventured out of the arcology that it wasn’t until a few months ago that I even knew I was awakened. I took the test and passed with flying colors even though I don't go to school, but honestly it didn’t change much. I am what I am, and adepts don’t need years of college like magicians. So I’ve been offered prospects that to another person would look enticing, but to me it's kind of slumming it. Yes, I realize how ironic that sounds. The fact that I’m here and talking to you is in part because you’re paying for my meal, but I’ll hear your pitch. I like Elliot’s. They do soy right.”

The waiter sauntered up to the table, dressed so smartly that he even made Julian look bad. He looked dubiously at the two for a brief instant. One looked like a dumpy teacher and one smelled like trash. He plastered on his best fake smile.

“Gentlemen,” he said, smoothly. “Have you decided what to order?”

“I’ll have the Basque-Style Fish with Green Peppers and Manilla Clams,” said Kenji. “Also a slice of that Mocha Dacquoise Cake. Oh, and do you have those long sticks with chocolate that go in soykaf? What are those called?”

The waiter waited politely and kept up his smile.

“I think that they're called Pirouettes or Piroulines,” said Julian. “I’ll just have your seafood stew.”

“Very good. My apologies, sir, we do not have Pirouettes. However we do have a number of pastries you could select.”

Kenji shook his head.

“I just wanted something for my soykaf. It’s fine,” he said, dismissively.

The presence of the waiter was part of the charm. He didn’t actually take any orders. The two men used their commlinks, highlighted their choices and that was that. They ordered their food wirelessly. The waiter was a pretentious display of wealth so other people coming here could be that much more pretentious. They both ordered what they wished out of habit. Julian started from the top left of the menu and worked his way down, and rarely too far. Kenji went to the bottom right and worked his way up. The waiter strode away having fulfilled his purpose as a callback and a novelty to a time when waiters were necessary and thus enhanced the prestige of Elliot’s. Even the menus were real, though you ordered with your commlink. In this new world of magic and tech, menus were a luxury when what was hot today was not tomorrow. Augmented reality menus were the norm, so real menus with real laminate that needed to be printed in a shop were like finding that telephone in prison: Anachronistic and slightly bizarre.

Julian waited for Kenji to talk. Kenji wanted to talk. He wanted to brag, to be noticed and appreciated. Occasionally Julian would explore with a light social jab here and there to keep him on his toes. Not too much though. Too much and he'd risk pushing him away. Too little and he’d get bored. He fired off a text and waited for Kenji to make the next move.

“The seafood isn’t real you know,” sighed Kenji. “Elliot's is good, but I like the real thing. That stew? Soy and maybe some reconstituted krill. Maybe the green peppers are real, but the fish, clams, even the cake are all soy. I’ve had coffee a few times, but it's easier to find soykaf. It’s everywhere.”

“Sure the seafood and kaf is soy, but this is Seattle. We’ve at least gotten a whiff and maybe even a taste of the real thing at some point,” retorted Julian. “If there’s anything that the bright boys and girls in the corps know how to do it’s to properly replicate the food Seattle is known for. It's cost efficient too. The school food isn’t fantastic, but it is real. Cooking the real stuff is a dying art, but it still is an art.”

“Hence the ability to gently caress up enough for old timers to complain,” teased Kenji.

Julian mirrored Kenji’s fencing salute with the same index finger. Kenji smirked. Julian for his part was mirroring Kenji. The small shifts in posture, the way he folded his hands, even down to what he focused his eyes on. Kenji was a charisma adept and so he’d read Julian's attempt as a blatant way to understand his emotions and manipulate him. So Julian pretended he was doing so and in the doing accomplished his goal without giving away the game. Otherwise he risked Kenji sending false tells to lead him astray. It was better to be underestimated. So he pretended to be negligently twirling the glass of water in his hand, ice clinking against the side. He pretended to look bored while paying rapt attention. He pretended to lay back with terrible posture while attempting not to look interested in the other patrons and wonder if they were interested in him. He sat up straight and put his elbows on the table which elicited a thin smile out of Kenji as he'd done the same. Terrible manners, and this was a terrible place for terrible manners, but as a badly dressed teacher and a teen who smelled like the ACHE trash fires, they were expected to have terrible manners.

“I suppose you’re right,” said Julian.

Just then a man in a suit stepped into view, nodded to Julian, then to Kenji, and deposited a small, metal cylinder in the middle of the two men. It was what Julian had ordered, and it'd been quick too. He nodded back to the man, sent him a tip for the prompt delivery, gently tipped it over and rolled the box of Pirouettes with a finger.

“Oh, that’s cheating,” griped Kenji, but he was smiling.

“There’s another word for cheating. It’s called craft,” said Julian. “I’m crafty.”

He kept it rolling this way and that.

“All right, what do you want for it?” asked Kenji, his voice resigned. "I love those things."

“Well you’re one of just a few go to guides to the old arcology, and probably the only magically active one since it makes anyone looks into the astral go insane and die. Got any stories? You've probably seen some stuff. That's my price," said Julian.

“Didn’t think you wanted to hear about shadowrunner babies,” scoffed Kenji.

“Humor me.”

“That’s not how this works. I’ll take fifteen percent up front as retainer," said Kenji, seriously.

Julian let out a real belly laugh. That brought him back. He pulled out three of the long, thin, chocolate filled cookies with the delicate, crunchy outside and handed them to him. Kenji received them happily, stuck one in his soykaf, ate one and left the other to the side. He stirred with the straw shaped cookie and thought.

“I specialize in sections K through Q. Mid to lower parts. Not the lowest. Down there’s it a death trap. You know the place went down in Christmas all those years ago? Some rooms haven’t been visited since all those people got trapped down there. So now and again you find presents, dead guy in a Santa suit, artificial Christmas trees, poo poo like that and you know it's a time capsule from when poo poo went down. People in the ACHE don’t celebrate Christmas, or at least it’s bad manners. New chums do it, or try," said Kenji, dismissively. "So you open up a room no one has opened since everyone got dead and it's like Christmas every day. Anyway, I went to an abandoned section with this team lead by this guy named Razorboi. Not with a Y, but an OI. He let made the distinction frequently. His fists might have been filled with weapons, but somehow it didn't keep him from being a tool.”

Kenji shrugged and rolled his eyes at that. Mentally Julian did the same.

“They were a totally green team. Walked away from a few milk runs like they're hot poo poo and they think they can tackle the ACHE sub-basement. Way over their heads, but I needed the money. I was barely past section M. Not even really testing myself, you know? Avoid the traps, test for rads or biologicals, pop turrets that may or may not have bullets, that sort of stuff. You know ghouls are down near the lowest levels? They're totally nuts too. Some ghouls can talk, but the ACHE just drives every single one of them insane for some reason."

Kenji pulled his Pirouette out of his soykaf and munched appreciatively on it.

"Well we didn’t even have to deal with them," he continued. "So I’m playing pathfinder and making sure these idiots don’t get killed because I get a bonus for a completed run. They think since they’re all chromed out with used gear and kickass that they can tackle this place. That’s how it gets you. Long periods of boredom before wham, you get caught in a trap. So we get the place, clear out the trash in front of the room, bust out the mini welder and in we go. So what sets me off immediately is that there are Christmas lights and that they’re on. Fourteen years later and every single one of them is working. They toss the place for artifacts and I’m on edge. I feel it in my teeth. I’m telling them that they should scrub the mission and I’m telling them that from outside the room, because I’m two seconds from noping the gently caress out. Then this idiot, Razorboi, this dumbass chromejob, unwraps a present. Why? I dunno. Because he can. Chromejobs like him aren't paid to think so I'm not sure why he felt like he deserved a present. Anyway, inside it he finds this concrete brick and everyone starts looking at it. The room gets bad fast. I see that brick and I start thinking about how when I was a kid. Like a little kid.”

Julian couldn’t help himself. His mirroring tactic was being unraveled by the story. He leaned in closer as Kenji got quieter and quieter, but at the same time more animated.

“So I look at this brick. It reminds me of something. You know what it reminds me of? My little brother. I remember this time in the park where he was wearing a bunch of blue balloons. So many that he might float up into the sky and he's looking all adorable in his overalls that little kids have. He had this smile that could warm your heart. And I knew this was weird because it’s a brick, you know? Just this concrete building brick in a Christmas present in the middle of Deus' murder basement. Everything is screaming weird, but I want to go in the room because I want that brick. You know why all of this is weird? You glomming onto it yet?”

Julian didn’t speak. He only shrugged, but stayed focused and interested. It was because despite himself, he was.

“See, my brother didn’t smile like that. He didn't have those blue balloons. No cute little overalls. See, I don’t even have a brother. Not dead, not alive, don’t even remember my birth parents, but this brick is telling me these things and I think I’m not getting it full blast because these shadowrunners are drawing down on Razorboi and his hand razors come out. This mage starts conjuring, freaks out, gunfire, Razorboi screams and I’m fighting not to go in there and fight them to steal the thing. I run as far away as I can to the top level. So down there is probably a nice payday in nuyen and scrap cyberware. I know exactly where it is, but that brick is there and it’s a loving deathtrap. Now and again I wonder how my brother is doing before I remember that I don’t have one and that it’s the echo of some deathtrap set up by this psycho AI named Deus, and that it’s not the Renraku Arcology anymore. It’s the ACHE, arcology and commercial housing enclave, because someone in government has a sick sense of humor. I didn’t even go that deep. You just get fooled sometimes. poo poo creeps up on you. It's Christmas everyday.”

“drat,” said Julian, meaning it.

Kenji took the cylinder of candy from Julian’s unresisting hand, gave it a toss and smiled.

“Nice,” he said, and smiled. “Now you get to decide if that’s true or not.”

Forced out of his reverie, Julian smirked. It was hard to remember that Kenji was only fifteen, but easier to remember when he smiled like a kid just like he was now, big and broad. Life is hard on ACHE kids. He’d found his niche and he’d survived. Even if that story wasn’t true, it probably had enough truth to it hidden somewhere among the lies, if there were lies at all. That was when his smirk turned sour.

Their meal came and they ate in silence. Kenji managed to get not one, but two deserts, and shamelessly tasted Julian’s stew despite knowing it was a faux pax. He ate his own food with gusto and they didn’t resume talking until they were done.

“So about this school?” prodded Kenji.

“You’re going to attend," said Julian.

“You got it,” he said, cheerily.

“And you already knew you were going to," said Julian, wryly.

“Mhm,” he agreed.

“You were just hungry," said Julian, his tone mildly exasperated.

Kenji grinned and Julian shook his head.

“Expense accounts are great, aren’t they?" joked Kenji. "Besides, I’m doing you a solid by pretending to be wined and dined. That stew of yours wasn’t bad. If I’m not going to be as active I can break some unwritten rules about table manners."

“No. Not bad at all,” said Julian. “Tastes like the real thing.”

Kenji smiled big and broad. Not only had he had his cake and eaten it too, but he was also filthy rich in Pirouettes.

Story focus: Scheming, schmoozing, lying, kinda sorta experienced with the shadows, learning how to put his skills to use for good or for ill. Voted #1 best smile.

Third choice for the CYOA. After this we’ll pick characters

On a scale of 0% to 100%, how much of his story was true? Or at least what's true and what's not? Go nuts. Whatever you feel like.

Did Kenji always know he was going to join the school and just wanted a free meal? Or did he decide during the conversation, and if so, when?

An easier 2500ish words this time. After all the questions are answered (feel free to keep answering the previous questions, I just wasn't done writing today) we'll wrap up and choose a character who we'll be playing.

Character Sheet

Name: Edward Okamura
Runner Name: Kenji
Metatype: Elf
Body: 4/6
Agility: 6/7
Reaction: 5/6
Strength: 4/6
Charisma: 8/8
Intuition:4/6
Logic: 1/6
Willpower: 3/6
Edge: 3/6
Magic: 4/6

Street cred: 5
Notoriety: 1
Public awareness: 0

Qualities:

Adept - Use adept powers
Home Ground: Ache - +2 dice to all rolls inside of or having to do with the ACHE.
First Impression: +2 Dice to all social rolls when meeting someone for the first time.

SINner - She has a system identification number. This is new and she got it when she entered school. She is now a person in the UCAS database.
Poor Self Control 4: LeBlanc Training - Kenji is a slave to his training.
Astral Beacon: Lights up in the astral. Also use of powers last twice as long.
[ur=https://forums.somethingawful.com/showthread.php?threadid=3835049&userid=0&perpage=40&pagenumber=18#post477316956]Compulsion (Severe) (Moderate): Leblanc Method slave[/url]

Contacts:

Sasha Oliver - Connection 3/6 loyalty 4/6 - Blake Island student / Ares corporate princess / Assensing specialist
Fuzzy - Connection 2/6 loyalty 4/6 - Blake Island Student / Huntress / Mystic Adept
Marco - Connection 3/6 loyalty 4/6 - Blake Island student / Christian Theurgist Healer
Julie - Connection 3/6 loyalty 4/6 - Blake Island student / Shaman / Touristville Healer
Min Yun - Connection 3/6 loyalty 4/6 - ACHE Shadowrunner / Dog Shaman
Gentoo - Connection 2/6 loyalty 3/6 - Shadowrunner / Diving specialist
Sawbones - Connection 3/6 loyalty 2/6 - ACHE doctor
Clever - Connection 3/6 loyalty 3/6 - ACHE Gang leader / Fixer / Family member (cousin on moms' side)
Seymour - Connection 2/6 loyalty 2/6 - ACHE Fence
Octo - Connection 3/6 loyalty 3/6 - Technomancer
Julian - Connection 3/6 loyalty 2/6 - Blake Island Teacher
Knives - Connection 3.6 loyalty 1/6 - 1%er Biker Lieutenant and weapons dealer.

Enemies:

Christina (Last name unknown) Connection 2/6 occurrence 3/6 (Can appear at any time)

Skills:

Artisan 2 + intuition 5 = 7
Automatics 6 + agility 6 = 12(13 with laser sight)
Blades 1 + agility 6 = 7
Disguise 5 + intuition 5 = 10
Etiquette 4 + charisma 8 = 12 (14 new people)
Hardware 1 + logic 1 = 2
Impersonation 6 (8 LeBlanc) + Charisma 8 = 14(16)
Intimidation 6 + charisma 8 = 14
Leadership 6 + charisma 8 = 14
Locksmith 1 + agility 6 = 7
Navigation 3 + intuition 5 = 8
Negotiation 4 + charisma 8 = 12
Palming 5 + agility 6 = 11
Perception 4 + intuition 5 = 9
Running 1 + strength 4 = 5
Sneaking 5 + agility 6 = 11
Survival 1 + willpower 3 = 4
Unarmed Combat 1 + agility 6 = 7

Knowledge:
Ache Rumors 2 + intuition 5 = 7
Area Knowledge: Seattle 2 + intuition 5 = 7
Chinese 2 + intuition 5 = 7
English: Native
Gangs 1 + intuition 5 = 6
Japanese 1 + intuition 5 = 6
Korean 2 + intuition 5 = 7
Shadowrunner rumors 2 + intuition 5 = 7

Adept powers:

Commanding Voice: Roll leadership + charisma vs. target's willpower + intuition. +1 to defenders roll per person in the group to a max of 6 rolling for the highest. Take the highest dice pool. -2 cumulative penalty after the first time per 24 hours. If successful a target must do whatever they are ordered in five words or less or be confused. Targets will either obey or act confused. - 1 Power Point

Facial sculpt - Change your face! Adds its rating to impersonation rolls. Lasts for (magic) hours. - One rank - .25 power points

Keratin Control - Change your hair over the course of about six hours. It can be changed from curly to straight, long or short (though going from long to short needs a haircut). Also the nails can be grown out. Hair can be grown out even faster than six hours for one stun per hour shaved off. - .5 power points.

Melanin Control - Change racial skin tone to that of another race or metatype. The effect is immediate and lasts for (magic) hours. It takes a complex action. - .5 power points.


Weapons:

Combat Knife

6P
AP -3
Conceal -2

Colt Cobra TZ - 120

7p
Recoil 5(6)
Conceal +2

Armor:

Lined Coat - Armor 9
- Chemical protection rating 2
- Radiation shielding rating 2

Gear:

Gas mask
Survival kit
Grenade: Flash Bang
Paint Grenade (Lube)
2 Paint Grenade (DNA Chaff)
Renraku Sensei commlink
1 magazine APDS ammo (32 each)
2 magazines Stick and shock ammo (32 each)
10 magazines regular ammo (32 each)


-150 per week for Edward's counseling.

Karma rewards:

ACHE diving, keeping everyone alive and coming back with the loot - 9 karma
The horseshoe crab blood run on Gaeatronics - 8 karma
Taking care of Edward - 2 karma
Healing Octo - 4 karma
Operation lube grenade - 2 karma


Karma Spent:

Compulsion (Severe) to compulsion (moderate) - 6 karma
2 points into artisan - 6 karma
1 more point into edge from 2 to 3 - 15 points


Lifestyle:

Student Cabin

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at May 7, 2018 around 12:46

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?







Almost entirely true. The one lie is that he does have a sister. Or rather, did. Oh and we have no idea what the gently caress set up the trap.

Totally knew he was going to school beforehand. He'll take anything that gets him out of the arcology. Even if he plays it off like he's fine, he's very emphatically not fine after that incident

Crazycryodude fucked around with this message at Sep 23, 2017 around 04:47

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

Mostly false, there are a ton of true horror stories about the ACHE but Kenji's figured out the kind of details that impress even the most savvy rubes and he also understands the value of making it personal. However, the biggest lie was claiming to be blind to the astral, he knew he was awakened way before he got tested as an adept and any other explanation would've been far less reassuring.

Yes, he specifically took the test expecting to be noticed by somewhere like the school. The other offers he received were better than he'd let on, but the school had more potential for the kind of long term payoff he'd been looking for.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Julie wishes she'd dyed before she ever even goblinized. While she was human. When she was still loved. She doesn't have a death wish. She'll keep moving forward. But it would have been... easier that way. Kinder. For everyone.

She does feel bad about the slur. She's a racist - there's no denying that. But unlike her father, she has the basic human decency to feel guilty about it.

Kenji's story is completely true - every word of it. He gets a kick out of telling the truth, but only once nobody can be certain of whether he's lying. It's cathartic, but in a way that doesn't make him feel emotionally vulnerable.

And he still doesn't know if he's actually necessarily going to attend. He's said yes to move this forward, to get a better look at his options. He's ready to cut and run at any time, though, if it doesn't play out like he wants. Until the day he graduates, he's only going to have one foot in the door.

Side note, did most orks/trolls goblinize in the older fluff? Because in the current stuff, goblinization mostly tapered away after the initial wave, and most orks are born as orks to ork parents. Some people still goblinize out of nowhere, but it's uncommon, not ork-puberty. I'm not as familiar with the classic editions, though.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

jagadaishio posted:

Side note, did most orks/trolls goblinize in the older fluff? Because in the current stuff, goblinization mostly tapered away after the initial wave, and most orks are born as orks to ork parents. Some people still goblinize out of nowhere, but it's uncommon, not ork-puberty. I'm not as familiar with the classic editions, though.

I'm going to have to change this a little bit. It seems that orcs and trolls can have orc and troll babies. I swear that wasn't the case in one of the novels I read because there was a human girl with a bunch of ork brothers and she hadn't goblinized.

However it being more rare makes it all the more shocking. I'll think about it.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Ice Phisherman posted:

I'm going to have to change this a little bit. It seems that orcs and trolls can have orc and troll babies. I swear that wasn't the case in one of the novels I read because there was a human girl with a bunch of ork brothers and she hadn't goblinized.

However it being more rare makes it all the more shocking. I'll think about it.


There are definitely throwbacks in both directions. Humans born to orks, orks born to humans, people born humans to orks and then goblinizing, and other combinations. You can even have troll parents with an unexpected dwarf child. It's not a cut and dry kind of thing, just greater trends.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

jagadaishio posted:

There are definitely throwbacks in both directions. Humans born to orks, orks born to humans, people born humans to orks and then goblinizing, and other combinations. You can even have troll parents with an unexpected dwarf child. It's not a cut and dry kind of thing, just greater trends.

In this case I'm going to let it ride. Teens goblinizing isn't going to be a huge focus. It might happen once more in the entire story. I'd rather write going forward than fix stuff going back. Nice spot though. Thanks.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

All right. I waited for a bit and got some answers.

Julie definitely wishes she died it seems. Not enough to take her own life, but enough to feel a ton of negative emotions. Small penalty to charisma, but a bonus to body for being tough enough to survive.

And it seems that she didn't feel remorse for tossing a racial slur at her soon to be teacher, Julian. Overwhelming no. Looks like she's going to be an angry, sullen, self-hating, racist teen. Poor girl. Penalty to etiquette (the diplomacy skill) and a bonus to intimidate.

For Kenji, one that he was lying and two that he was at least mostly telling the truth. So I'm going to give him some bonus dice to acting as everyone had a different answer as to not only his truthfulness, but his motivations. At the same time it looks like he always knew he was going to attend, but for different reasons. I may test if he's telling the truth at a different date.

Bonus to conning people for getting a great dinner and some extra to charisma for the plethora of answers. I feel like he might be untrustworthy though and relationships are formed with trust. He might have fewer contacts or become untrustworthy in general which keeps him from forming new ones.

Time to pick

Make your choice. Fuzzy, Julie or Kenji. What I will say is that if I feel like the character has been explored enough or things are getting dull we can switch again. We're not going to be locked in for the whole CYOA with one character. Or at least we don't have to be.

(Belatedly I've realized that all their names end in an E sound. Oh well.)

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Sep 24, 2017 around 00:13

Dog Kisser
Mar 30, 2005

But People have fears that beasts do not. Questions, too.


Julie, I think. Should make for an interesting viewpoint, if a very sad one.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?







Fuzzy. She seems like the kind of kid to pull together a band of misfits and stick it to all the rich assholes.

Plus we'll have the maximum amount of time with Puppy this way. It's mostly about Puppy, tbh.

RudeCat
Aug 7, 2012

The rudest cat for the rudest jobs

Fuzzy. She's coming into this as the ultimate outsider, I think that would be the most interesting way to see things at first.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

Definitely Fuzzy for a bit. The perspective of a fish out of water type is the best opener for the school.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy - Monday, July 23rd, 2074 - Morning - Blake Island

Fuzzy was interested in the talking fish for all of a few seconds, but grew bored. She had to wear these goggles, they were on too tight and she didn't know how to adjust the strap at the back. She'd worn goggles before, but normally they were attached to a gas mask that more or less fit her as the Puyallup barrens is often too toxic to live in without protection. The fact that she was wearing these to see a floating figure which didn't really look like a fish at all annoyed her. There was also a definitely thread of fear and paranoia at being disarmed. She'd asked for three things, but she felt like some things were just so implied that going without them was insanity. She had no bow, no spear, no arrows, no knife, no traps. None of them. She wasn't big, so how was she supposed to defend herself? Not from predators, because there weren't any on the island as she'd checked. No, from people, who were worse than predators. People who surrounded her. People with power. She'd never seen so many people in one place who weren't actively hunting or being hunted. Normally the former. Men on motorcycles with guns with harsh words in their mouths and violence in their minds. She'd feel safer with a blade, and if she couldn't get her knife back, she'd have to steal one.

"Hi! I'm Sonya!" said a smiling, young human Latina girl.

Sonya was tall. Taller than any woman she'd seen before, though thinking about it many people here were tall. Her hair was dark and long, her face finely featured, her eyes dark. She didn't seem to be visibly armed. No scars. Pretty. She wondered if she belonged to someone.

She was waving with both hands to everyone and smiling big and broad with her teeth, which set Fuzzy's own teeth to grinding. Predators showed their teeth. She wore the same thing everyone else wore. Something teacher-Julian called a uniform. Dark blue shorts and a light green shirt with the insignia of the island on it. All the same colors. The gangs did that. Normal people wore whatever they could, but these were definitely gang colors.

"I'm Ross!" called another man as he stepped onto the stage, a pretty looking blond haired white man.

Ross' blond hair was short cut. That was just good sense. Long hair like that Sonya girl was begging to be pulled. It was how one was dragged down. No hair means no leverage. Less to cling to. He was muscular, but bulky. He'd looked powerful, but slow. Bright eyes, strong features. No scars. At least not obvious ones. Not visibly armed. Wow, his teeth were white. His teeth were white and he had all of them. She could almost count them they were so big.

Pretty was dangerous and the two were definitely that. It called attention to you and attention made you a target. They hugged in a strange, side armed hug without looking at one another. Did they not trust one another? Obviously they did because they weren't looking at one another. They just smiled and showed their teeth to the crowd. People...Smashed their hands together? To make noise. They're making noise. Fuzzy shivered. This was a bad place.

"This is weird. I don't like it. They're loud," whispered Fuzzy, urgently.

"Way too loud," griped Kenji.

"Whatever," said Julie.

It seemed Julie didn't take the threat seriously, but Fuzzy looked to Kenji and nodded ever so slightly. He didn't look like much, but neither did she. Looks were deceiving and those that deceived lived another day. Kenji nodded back. Good.

"We just want to say welcome to everyone!" continued Ross. "We were in charge of the junior cabins last year and we're honored and flattered to be chosen again this year. Not just for the seniors, but for everyone. If you need someone, look to us. We can help you."

Aha, it all made sense now.

"Which gang are the Kab-Eenz?" asked Fuzzy.

"I'll tell you later," answered Kenji, immediately.

Julie looked at her incredulously, then burst into a fit of resonant giggles. She was immediately shushed by a teacher. Some older, severe looking woman. She must be tough to be so old. Fuzzy kept quiet while Julie held one hand to her mouth. Julie was strange.

"We hope you have a wonderful year at Blake Island and hope you learn a lot," said Sonya. "We're sad that this is our last year, but we hope you'll make it count like we have!"

They said a few more things that didn't make sense, but Ross mentioned something that piqued her interest.

"...And there's going to be a bonfire tonight! Make sure to come by. It's tradition after all."

They waved and stepped off the podium. Now finished. More people talked, but Fuzzy thought. This must be the Kab-Eenz ritual initiation. She'd never been in a gang but she knew of them. She'd seen beat downs new members got. The ones she normally saw were five minutes of kicking and punching. They'd get a drink or some drugs and hugged and patted on the back when they got up. If they got up. They didn't always get up. Perhaps there would be some sort of branding? Apparently she'd missed something. She didn't pay attention, because everyone was up and milling about. She'd lost Kenji and Julie. Suddenly panicked now that she had no weapons and not even the possibility of a close ally she cast about for Kenji or even Julie. No one. Not even Julian. She drew someone else though. Another pretty girl. Pointed ears. Tall. No scars. Red hair and purple streaks. She knew about hair dye, after all the gangers used them. Large breasts. Somewhat chubby. No, she would not survive long.

"I have to ask," drawled the girl. "Who does your hair?"

"Does?" asked Fuzzy.

The girl was stalking around her. Fuzzy tracked her with her eyes, and when she was about to disappear out of sight Fuzzy turned to face her. She squared her shoulders.

"Dear, it looks like someone cuts your hair with a knife," she said in a stage whisper.

A few people behind her giggled. Fuzzy turned her head, not taking her attention fully away from this stranger. Apparently the look she shot them stifled those giggles. One even stepped back. Good. Fuzzy flicked her eyes back to the girl.

"It is cut with a knife. I cut it. They took my knife," she said, curtly.

"I think they should've taken a little more," she teased.

"I only had one knife. They took it from me."

"I meant your hair, sweetheart. Maybe...Even it out a little? Maybe I could help you. I'm Christina. And you are?"

"Fuzzy."

"I'm somehow not surprised," she said, and rolled her eyes.

In a fit of teenage cheek she reached out to try and ruffle Fuzzy's hair, like one might touch a stupid child or a pet. Fuzzy struck her wrist before she got too close, but close enough that she judged that she would follow through if she hadn't. After all, she hadn't cut her hair in some days.

"Owww..." whined Christina. "Why'd you do that?"

"Weren't you trying to touch me?" asked Fuzzy, confused.

Perhaps she wanted to do that strange sideways embrace? Is that what people did here? If she was, Christina wasn't telling. Those girls snickered not at Fuzzy, but Christina this time. Fuzzy looked back at them again. They were close, but stepped back again. Three of them. They feared her though. Good. She turned back to Christina.

"Christina. You are pretty. Your hair is long. Your arms are thin. Your hands look soft. You display your body for others. You are fat. I do not think you will survive long," said Fuzzy. "I will not protect those who look unable to protect themselves. You will only get yourself and others killed. Stay away from me."

Not giggles nor snickers. Stunned silence, then suddenly a roar of laughter. Great guffaws of laughter. Rippling peels. Christina's face turned scarlet with rage. Impotent rage. She was weak after all, and Fuzzy turned away from her. Even took her eyes off her in a blatant sign of disrespect. She turned to the girls behind her.

"Tell me you were recording that," said one girl. "Please, if there is a God you were recording that, Sasha."

"Bitch, I record everything. Nice one new girl. What's your name?" said presumably, Sasha.

"Fuzzy," said Fuzzy.

Christina stalked away, humiliated. Normally if she were to challenge her to regain her pride she would have struck Fuzzy, or at least shoulder checked her. Nothing. Weakness. She slipped entirely from Fuzzy's mind.

"I've never seen someone gently caress Christina up like that. Nice!"

"I barely touched her," said Fuzzy.

"Could've fooled me. Want to get lunch together sometime?" asked Sasha.

The other girl turned to look at Sasha.

"Okay, fun is fun, but you want to catch lunch with the weird girl?"

"That moment made this lame intro the best. Way better than last year."

Sasha wasn't pretty. At least not enough to be noticed. Thin, short black hair, brown skin, big smile, no scars though. Fuzzy relaxed. Not totally, but more than she had before.

"Yes. I was told there'd be porks," said Fuzzy.

"Porks?"

"Bacon."

"I see you got your priorities straight," said Sasha.

Fuzzy nodded sagely as the other girl left. Perhaps life wasn't too different from the barrens after all. She would find Julie and Kenji later. She could have a meal with Sasha so long she brought enough food for herself.

Question time.

Did Fuzzy defeat Christina so soundly that she will be left alone, or did she make an enemy?

How much of her life will she share with Sasha at the lunch table if prompted?

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Feb 14, 2018 around 23:50

Strobe
Jun 30, 2014

I've never liked lasers. Not enough kick. I've never liked missiles. Too impersonal. Give me the rumble and the thunder. Give me the guns, guns, guns.

She made an enemy. By humiliation if not by injury. Whether said enemy is potent enough to be more than mild inconvenience is still up in the air.

Superficial details. Nothing about her own capabilities or weaknesses. She doesn't trust Sasha yet.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?







Definite enemy

Some basics, but nothing too personal. Maybe little tidbits to keep her interested, but we don't trust Sasha. Yet.

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

Halfway between. Christina will be hostile to Fuzzy from now on but won't try anything overt because she thinks Fuzzy is practically a feral animal.

Don't really share much.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


She made an enemy.

And she'll share a lot, but her priorities are all screwed up on what is and isn't relevant information. She'll never reveal where she stashes or sleeps, never reveal how or where she does anything. That's valuable information that could be used to hurt or hunt her.

But details about how hard, mean, and dirty her life has been come easily. Freely, even. They've long since faded from traumatic to mere fact.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Destroying property is not violence, no matter how much corporate media tries to create the equation.

Put this loser on ignore immediately!




She probably made an enemy. Christina probably thinks she's hot poo poo herself.

Share some personal things. Fuzzy doesn't quite realize what information is personal and what isn't, it seems.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy, Julie, Kenji and Mother Bear - Monday, July 23rd, 2074 - Morning - Blake Island

That which was called "class" was bizarre. Everyone sat in a desk chair facing forwards towards a teacher, as apparently Julian was not the only one. Fuzzy sat at the back in a corner so as not to have anyone behind her in case of ambush, which was good. The class size was small and she counted only twenty people.

What startled her most was that everything was so clean and new. She'd never been surrounded by so many clean, new things before. In fact the shorts, t-shirt and underclothes she wore were clean and new as well. This was a first for her, though she did keep her old, scuffed up black boots. That feeling of newness all around her so close it was even touching her was also bizarre, but a good bizarre. She liked clean clothes and last night she’d been shown that she had more. They were in the small house in a closet. The house was barely two rooms, a bedroom and half bath, but to Fuzzy all of that space just for her floored her. She’d slept in a clean bed with clean sheets last night. She wondered how everyone here survived if they were surrounded by such ease and softness without growing soft themselves.

Also upon further examination she found that while the shorts and shirts everyone wore was mandatory, people accented what they wore. There were different kinds of shoes, necklaces, facial piercings, earrings, hair of many different styles and colors along with ornaments in them. Some of the older teens even had tattoos. Some people wore goggles for viewing augmented reality like she did, but most people either wore glasses or as she later learned, they wore contact lenses. Everyone had a commlink, though they rarely came out. However she was the only person who had a commlink that clipped to her ear so far as she could tell.

The teacher at the head of the class was not Julian. Instead she was that severe, older teacher from before. A woman with grey, plaited hair down to her lower back, a leathery, brown face, maybe Amerind of some sort, and her face was creased in a permanent scowl, brown eyes hard. She was also much shorter than everyone else, stooped with age, though she did not use a cane.

"I'm Mother Bear," said the teacher. "You may call me teacher or Mother Bear. I'm here to teach the introduction to magical safety course," she started. "I have been teaching this class for nearly thirty years. I plan to teach you not to do things, and what not to do. I'm here to teach you how not to use your powers and how not to hurt others or yourself.

Fuzzy noticed that Mother Bear stressed the word “not” quite a bit. She also noticed that many of students who looked excited at first found their faces falling.

“This is a safety course, and as of right now most of you are unsafe,” she continued. “Right now you are a danger to yourselves, a danger to others and unlikely as the case might be, a danger to me. Now most of you were assessed when you found out you were awakened at school. Some were assessed by less orthodox methods.”

Her eyes flicked to the back row where Julie sat.

"Julie Freeman. Stand up," said Mother Bear.

Julie looked around at the room. It was a room that did not contain a single other ork or troll. She stood up nervously, her eyes forward.

"Julie here is the most powerful awakened in terms of raw power not only of the freshman class, but including the sophomore, junior and most of the senior class."

Julie allowed herself a rare smile. Fuzzy saw her back straighten with pride, but then she slumped seconds later for some reason. Strange.

"She has absolutely no control over her power and seems to have some instinctive idea of how to cast a manabolt," continued Mother Bear. "Combat class is not until junior year, and then we only teach non-lethal spells. Lethal spells are taught as an optional course for those on the security or military tracks. Consider her to be dangerous. Do not mess with her. There’s always someone who jumps the gun and learns combat magic before they get to school every semester, but you’re the first person in all of my years who didn’t learn it on purpose. Let me be clear, using combat magic on any student for any reason is grounds for immediate expulsion. Even the non-lethal stuff won’t be tolerated on campus unless you’re under the guidance of one of the teachers with their permission. Please sit down, miss Freeman.”

Everyone turned to look at her and Julie had to weather their attention. Julie, now scowling and miserable, sat back down.

"As of right now until this course is finished you will not bully one another. You will not be snide or cruel towards one another. You will not get into any physical altercations with each other. Until all of you learn to get your powers under control you will not use them. The course is two weeks long and mandatory, and if you do not complete it to my satisfaction you will stay with me even longer during your free time, which will become my time. Anyone violating these rules will be tied to the shame pole in the middle of campus for the weekend,” explained Mother Bear.

She made a hand gesture and a picture of a pole appeared against the blackboard, now a view screen. Then simpler graphics rolled across the screen in black in white of a simply designed person being lead to the shame pole, tied to it and being made to speak to others when they approached. She pointed at each picture as they became relevant.

“You will tell anyone who passes you what you did. You will tell them why you did it. You will tell them you are sorry and you will mean that you are sorry and unlike when I was a girl, you will be allowed food, water and bathroom privileges. Feel blessed," growled the tiny old woman. "Today you have one and only one test. You will describe to me what I just said back to me. This will be a written test so the inattentive ones can't cheat. You will use the application relevant to this class. I have administrator privileges for all of your commlinks and so I had it installed while we were talking. Anyone who fails this test will be tied to the shame pole for an hour. If there are too many of you I will get creative. The rest will have free time. You have five minutes. Begin."

Sudden fear spread through the teens. People began to work furiously with their commlinks to describe what Mother Bear just said back to her. In another age the scribbling of pens and paper would've been heard. Now people mumbled and tapped on keyboards provided by the school, tapped out messages on their commlinks instead or used haptic gloves to tap keyboards that existed only in augmented reality. Unless you were a decker or at least an excellent hacker there it was difficult to cheat off peoples’ tests.

Fuzzy did not know what to do. Her commlink wasn't even on. The shame pole sounded bad. It would draw attention to her and leave her vulnerable. She tried to access her commlink, but she didn’t know what to do. She’d never owned one before. After some desperate flailing she found what she thought was a test, but wasn’t entirely sure. However, something stopped her.

There were words. Fuzzy didn't know what they meant. Not a few of the words, not some of the words, but all of the words. Fuzzy didn't know how to read. Julian made it seem so easy when he helped her before. Now she didn't know what to do. She sighed and turned off her commlink. She resigned herself to the shame pole, and as she looked around, she could tell that she wouldn't be the only one. She took off her goggles. They hurt her head and were still too tight. She now saw the world as it was and allowed herself to make a single, miserable sigh.

Out of the twenty students of the freshman year four were consigned to the shame pole. One girl, one boy, Fuzzy and surprisingly enough, Kenji.

"Class dismissed,” said Mother Bear. “Find something else to do for an hour then go to lunch. Except for you four," she said. "You four stay here."

The girl and the boy looked disheartened, but Kenji only looked bored. She went to each of them one by one, but cast an angry look at Kenji.

"Elizabeth, why were you not paying attention?" she asked.

Withering under the mighty gaze of the diminutive woman, she whispered something.

"Speak up. I'm old."

"I was texting someone," she said, miserably.

"Follow the AR tags for the shame pole file that's being installed on your commlink. I don't want to waste my twighlight years punishing you myself. I'll get the highlight reels later. Remember that you're not just wasting my time, but wasting your own. Shame pole. Go."

She scampered off. Mother Bear glared again at Kenji, but turned to the other teen.

“Damien, why were you not paying attention?” she asked.

"I was..." started the young man.

"Texting as well,” she said.

Apparently her question had been rhetorical.

“It looked like you were texting Elizibeth it seems. Peer to peer. It’s a short hop so you dodged the matrix block,” she said. “You thought you were being sneaky, and yes, I read the chat logs. Neither of you are clever and you need to work on your flirting technique young man. Even I thought they were bad. Next time I'll send out a mass text with the file. Hrm, tell her too. I forgot about that. Anyway, I trust you have listened to my lecture by proxy and know what to do?"

"Yes ma'am," he said, humiliated.

"I am teacher or Mother Bear, not ma'am. However, your heart is in the right place. Remember next time," she said.

There was a pause before he nodded.

"Yes, Mother Bear," he amended.

"Good boy. Go to the shame pole," she said.

Off he went. She rounded on Kenji and glared at him. Kenji smiled placidly.

"Well?" she seethed.

"Porn," he said, placidly.

"Pornography!" she bellowed, her face inches away from his, though she had to look up. "You were watching pornography during a safety class! A class in which I teach you how not to injure or kill one another or yourselves! That is not acceptable behavior!”

Her hard little eyes attempted to burrow into him, but failed to make even the slightest impression. He continued to smile placidly while she sentenced him.

"Shame pole, and if you ever do something like this again I will eat your entire weekend, young man," she seethed. "It won't just be the shame pole. I've smoked out young men who thought they were funny back in the army. I’ll have you mop the dirt in the rain for everyone to see.”

"So I just follow the..." started Kenji, blithely.

"Get! Out! Now!" she exclaimed, each word its own shout.

He turned to Fuzzy, winked at her in a way that made her feel decidedly uncomfortable and left. Fuzzy didn't know what pornography was, but it must have been very bad for her to yell at him like that.

"And what is your excuse young lady?" she seethed.

She didn't turn that anger on Fuzzy. Instead she tracked Kenji as he left. Her face was back to her normal scowl when she was met with Fuzzy's commlink in her upturned hand. She'd taken it off her ear.

"What? Is it broken?" she asked.

She reached out for it, but Fuzzy clenched it in her hand and pulled it away.

"It's mine," she said.

"Young lady, I'm not interested in if it's yours. I'm interested why you weren't paying attention," she said.

"I was paying attention," said Fuzzy. "I always pay attention."

'Your inability to send me your results tells me otherwise," said Mother Bear.

Fuzzy ground her teeth. Admitting weakness was bad, but she was stuck between admitting she didn't know how to use the commlink and being accused of not having paid attention.

"Do not harass other students and do not be violent towards other students or I will go to the shame pole. If I am tied to the shame pole I will tell everyone what I did when they pass. I will be given food, water and bathroom privileges. It will take the entire weekend," recited Fuzzy.

Mother Bear’s scowl lessened in intensity and she quirked an eyebrow. The teacher’s posture became more relaxed and she clasped both hands behind her back. Fuzzy reasoned that the old woman must be dangerous to move her hands so far away from someone so close.

"Okay, so you learned the lesson. Honestly I don't understand why it's so hard to listen," she said to herself, and her tension continued to ease.

Her eyes slipped out of focus for a moment.

"Your commlink is barely even set up. So you are unprepared?" she asked.

This was again a choice to admit weakness or not. Everyone else was gone though. She resolved to be prepared next time.

"I don't know how," admitted Fuzzy.

"You mean to tell me that you are a fifteen year old girl and you don't know how to use a commlink? I find that unlikely," she said.

Her eyes were still unfocused, but then they came back into focus a full minute later. Fuzzy waited silently and was rewarded for her patience.

"Oh. So that's what I missed at the staff meeting. You're from the barrens. Redmond?" she asked.

"Puyallup," amended Fuzzy.

"And from deep enough in that you didn't use one of these? I’m half surprised you're not toxic,” she said, under her breath. “Julian wouldn't bring that back here, no...Girl, erm, Fuzzy. You don't know how to set that up, and I see that you didn't even bother to try. Can you read?"

Fuzzy said nothing.

"No, I suppose not," she said, wistfully. "Feel naked without your weapons too, huh, child?"

Fuzzy’s eyes narrowed.

"Julian took them. He made promises about what I would get but not about what would be taken away," said Fuzzy, angrily.

"Don't worry, child. You get used to it. I was in the army for eight years. We awakened are never truly disarmed. At least once you get older," said Mother Bear, who smiled wickedly.

Fuzzy shivered. She’d been right. Mother Bear was dangerous.

"I'll see if we can get you some of your things back. Within reason of course,” she added. “You must be powerful if Julian thinks getting you caught up is worth the school’s time."

Despite the invitation to talk, Fuzzy said nothing.

"No shame pole for you. Go enjoy yourself. It's a nice day outside. You don’t get many of these near Seattle. I'll tell Julian to help you set up your commlink," she said. "Among other things..."

Fuzzy and Sasha - Monday, July 23rd, 2074 - Noon - Blake Island

Fuzzy was free for a time and so she went home and spent it with Puppy. He was in her room. He had a cage, but she didn't allow him to be put in it. It was a big cage, so it seemed he was expected to be very big indeed which pleased her. She spent some time with him outside so he could explore and not use her room as a bathroom. She played with him and he licked her face when she picked him up, which she did often. Fuzzy giggled and smiled a rare smile, and when it was lunchtime she brought Puppy with her. After all, he needed to eat too.

Puppy was the star of the show at the lunch table, though the lunch line wasn't open just yet. He gamboled about on the wooden lunch table outside wagging his tail and occasionally barking and growling. Girls and even a few boys cooed over him, but most didn't stay for too long. She kept Puppy close so no one could steal him, but did allow others to pet him if she was holding him. She kept a close watch. She sat with Sasha, Julie and a few other girls she didn't recognize.

"He's sooooo cuuuuute," cooed Sasha. "What's his name?"

"Puppy," said Fuzzy.

"I love dogs. I didn't know we could have a dog here," said one of the girls.

"Can't," said Sasha. "Not unless you specifically work with animals."

The girls looked to Fuzzy and then to Puppy, suddenly understanding something Fuzzy did not.

"I bargained to bring him along," said Fuzzy, proudly.

She was feeling a little full of herself. After all, no one else she’d seen so far had dogs on the island. She also noticed that Julie was being quiet, but seemed as if she wanted to come closer. At the same time not twenty feet away from her Kenji was tied to the pole with rope around his stomach. It seemed that he was speaking to someone. That someone laughed uproariously and pelted towards a crowd of people. The young man talked to a crowd of people who laughed uproariously, who then spread the word. Fuzzy was brought back to the conversation by Sasha.

"Where'd you get him?" asked Sasha.

"I found him while hunting," said Fuzzy.

Fuzzy omitted that she'd nearly killed Puppy when she first met him. She knew not to say that much at least. Sasha seemed to like dogs.

"Oh cool. What do you hunt with?" asked Sasha.

"Bows, traps, and sometimes a spear," said Fuzzy.

"My brother does some bow hunting sometimes on the weekends," said one girl. "He has to pay out the rear end for it. Private grounds."

Fuzzy didn't understand why he kept new ends in his butt, but these people were strange. Perhaps he had a lot and had to hide it.

"It explains the look you got going on. Cut your hair with a knife, hairy legs, all that whipcord muscle on that small frame of yours. Real woman empowerment. I like it," said Sasha.

Sasha scratched Puppy between the ears absently as Sasha continued to make assumptions.

"I like hunting. Anything I can find, really. I can't be picky. Most of my clothes are leather though," said Fuzzy.

She took pride in that after all. She could share a little bit. It wouldn't hurt her to let them know she was dangerous, and if she was dangerous people were less likely to start problems with her. If people were less likely to start problems with her she wouldn't be tied to the shame pole and if she wasn't on the shame pole she wouldn't be isolated. Yes, being known as dangerous would make people less likely to hurt her.

"Neat. All my stuff is synthleather. Real leather is hard to come by and needs all of that care," said the girl. "It’s a big hassle. What kind of leather is it? Cow? Deer?"

"Something exotic?" probed Sasha, eagerly.

They were corp princesses after all. To them, Fuzzy wasn't some poor half feral barrens child. No. She was wearing the same thing everyone else was. Her commlink was cheap, but everyone knows that metalink commlinks are just burners. No one uses that as a main link. Everyone knows that. To them, Fuzzy was just making a statement that she didn’t need to display riches. Rich people aren't weird, they're eccentric.

"Devil rat," said Fuzzy, thoughtlessly.

"Ew," said the girl.

"Shut up, no way," said Sasha, her voice awed.

"That's gross. They're dog sized gutter rats," said the girl. "You really wear that stuff?"

Fuzzy felt uncomfortable all of a sudden. She picked up Puppy and clutched him to her.

"It's mine," she said, quietly.

She was talking about Puppy, but the girls took it another way.

"I think it's bad rear end as hell," said Sasha. "Going out on an urban safari to go and kill devil rats with a bow and a spear? Then getting a leather coat as a trophy? My dad would never let me do that. Hey, do you have the coat?" she asked.

"It's mine," repeated Fuzzy.

Though the subject of "mine" was now her coat, not Puppy.

"Yeah, can I see it though? I'll know if you killed it. I'm really good at assensing. If you killed it, it should be linked to you. So you killed it, right? You're not just bullshitting me?" asked Sasha, excitedly.

Fuzzy felt stuck again. Either she'd be called a liar or had to produce her coat. Her coat was in her room and she easily bring it by, but somehow she thought Sasha wasn't going to let it go. She was way too interested. Her brown eyes were alight with thoughts of the hunt. Fuzzy respected that, but still was unsure of how to feel as she thought about how to respond.


What happened

Now that we picked Fuzzy I'm in the process of creating a sheet for her. She's smart enough to learn how to use a commlink, but she has no skill in it. However she's functionally illiterate. Not terrible in a world where everything can be in audio through your commlink, but definitely a problem. So she had a good roll and a bad roll.

Despite having no etiquette skill Fuzzy rolled a critical and so was able to not only not get put on the shame pole, but is getting her commlink set up and will be taught how to read with no public shaming (so far).

Fuzzy didn't do that well in the social etiquette test even with a bonus from shutting down Christina earlier and the bigger bonus from Puppy (they are teenage girls after all). She failed, getting only one success while they got four (a critical) and gave away way more than she planned to. The girls seem to have accepted for the moment that Fuzzy isn't some half feral teen who hunted rats the size of dogs to live. No, she's big into women's empowerment and goes on ultra cool urban safaris to hunt dangerous creatures with primitive weapons.

What's next

She can go and get her coat. It's only a few hundred feet away after all.

After that she can try and do damage control/build relationships with Sasha, talk to Julie (currently alone), talk to Kenji (currently on the shame pole) or something else.

edit: Did some editing.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Feb 16, 2018 around 07:36

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?







Get the coat. If Sasha senses that we really did kill it, she'll know we're not the kind of person to gently caress with. Then see if we can't introduce ourselves to Julie. Mother Bear said she's the most powerful magician in the whole place. That's the kinda person you want to be friends with.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


Crazycryodude posted:

Get the coat. If Sasha senses that we really did kill it, she'll know we're not the kind of person to gently caress with. Then see if we can't introduce ourselves to Julie. Mother Bear said she's the most powerful magician in the whole place. That's the kinda person you want to be friends with.

Exactly this. If there's still time, talk to Kenji relative safety, plentiful resources... He seemed friendly earlier, and we can afford to build that rapport. Plus, he's wasn't afraid of the teacher at all - he knows how to show strength like these weak, soft people don't.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy and Sasha - Monday, July 23rd, 2074 - Noon - Blake Island

Fuzzy wasn't used to this. She was used to being challenged, but by nature or gangs, not in social situations. Rat Man was who she trusted with people and he'd been good to her. She was suspicious of almost everyone else to one degree or another. The people here were nice, but niceness could be a trick. They seemed to have different values than her and she didn’t understand them. The coat was easy to show, even positive as it would demonstrate her prowess and truthfulness, but maybe she needed to learn what was important to these people if she was going to talk to them. Keeping fully to herself was not an option. She needed allies if she was to survive here.

She stood up abruptly without excusing herself. She took Puppy with her to the sound of a few disappointed, "Awww's," and she went back to her room. Her room was clean and Spartan with no ornamentation or affectations at all. Most of her effects were practical and lethal after all and therefor missing. However she'd been allowed to keep a few things, her coat was one of the few items she had. She had a sneaking suspicion that some of her less clean clothes were gone forever as well. That galled her. She could throw things away. She wasn't a hoarder after all, but when she threw something away she made sure it had no more value to her before she did.

Her coat came with pants, but those could get hot. There was neither zipper nor buttons to fasten it at the front. There were just a number of laces that could be drawn and tied together. Her jacket was not just leather, but armored as well as it was her hunting attire. There was reinforcement at the vital points: Neck, stomach, heart, sides, forearms and elbows. It even came with a hood and that gave her head a little extra protection too, though it was sort of lumpy. She wasn't actually sure if she killed what she wore. She never saw Rat Man make it. That was his business and she hadn’t made clothing for him in years. She’d been better at butchering kills for him when she was little.

Still, the odds were good that the kill was at least in part hers. After all, the pieces came from many pieces. It smelled a little though. She'd never noticed it before, but in this clean place the unclean stood out. She came back wearing it. A few heads turned as she stalked back towards the lunch table wearing armor clothing. That made her nervous. She didn't like the attention. She brought Puppy back with her as well, who wiggled excitedly as he was introduced to people once again.

"Here it is," said Fuzzy.

As she sat down the other girl moved away a bit.

"That coat reeks," she said. “Wait, is that jacket armored?”

Fuzzy shrugged at her and looked at a more dubious looking Sasha.

"Yeah, you might want to wash that," said Sasha.

"Okay," said Fuzzy, simply. "You asked for it. So it's here. You can tell if I killed them?"

"Yeah. Might take me a minute," said Sasha.

"Make it a quick minute," said the girl, obviously put off.

Sasha's eyes went out of focus and she frowned in concentration.

"It's in so many pieces, not just one piece. I'm having a hard time with it," said Sasha.

"Hurry up," complained the other girl.

Another minute passed before Sasha reached out. Fuzzy was curious, but backed away just enough not to be touched. Frowning, Sasha stopped and looked not at Fuzzy, but almost through her.

"You don't like to be touched," declared Sasha, who blushed slightly.

"No," confirmed Fuzzy.

"Sorry. Is pointing okay?" asked Sasha.

"Pointing is okay,” responded Fuzzy.

Sasha pointed to pieces of the coat one by one, her eyes unfocused. The other girl, mildly grossed out, still looked on with a sort of morbid curiosity.

"It's made from six different animals, but all the same kind. I’m guessing that’s devil rat. It's gone through some really chemical heavy processing. That threw me off at first. Anyway, the left sleeve and right lower part of the coat are from animals you killed, both different. The rest are from other people," she said.

Her eyes came back into focus again and she rubbed her temples.

"You know, this is really fascinating and all, but could you put it away? I really don't want to have that around while we eat lunch," said the girl.

"I'll put it back," said Fuzzy.

"Can I hold Puppy until you get back?" pleaded Sasha. "I know he's yours, but he's so cute."

Fuzzy puffed out her cheeks, looked down at the wiggling Puppy who'd been wandering around on the lunch table under Fuzzy’s supervision and nodded.

"Be nice to him," said Fuzzy.

“I will,” said Sasha. “I promise.”

Sasha seemed okay to leave Puppy with for a few minutes. Her anxiety was higher than normal as she thought of Puppy being gone by the time she got back and wondered if she’d made the right decision. She walked back quickly, again drawing stares from the patchwork armored leather clothing before she went back into her room. She put it away and wondered how she would go about getting it cleaned. She sniffed her clothing, didn't notice any stains from the armor, nodded and went back to sit. Sasha was holding Puppy and Puppy seemed to like her. She even let Puppy lick her face. Fuzzy smiled. Dogs were supposed to be good judges of character, right? Maybe she could like Sasha too. The girls went to get in the lunch line with Puppy cradled in the crook of Fuzzy's arm.

Lunch was an absolute feast and there was so much to choose from. There were sandwiches with real bread that was soft and wasn’t moldy at all. She had her choice of condiments and there were so many. Was the meat in her bread real? She wasn’t sure what kind it was. It wasn't porks, raven or rat. She may have gotten excited and used too much mustard to get a good taste of it. There were soy fries, apple slices and mashed potatoes and gravy. Also she had chocolate milk by the pint in those small cartons that had never gone out of style even over a century later.

The lunch lady didn't know what to make of her. In her excitement Fuzzy resolved to ask what everything was upon her second visit to the line when everyone was gone. What was painfully obvious to others wasn't to her. She'd seen the fries before and knew what bread was, but that was it. Apparently the meat was real chicken. She got a little extra of the meat for Puppy, who was intensely curious about what was on her tray and snuffling merrily from his place inside of her coat. She’d expected to have to haggle for her food, but apparently it was already paid for. Eventually she made her way back to the table.

"Don't get excited. The food isn't as good as last year. The soy fries are definitely a new addition," said Sasha.

She wrinkled her nose as she uttered the word soy almost a curse.

"Food is food," said Fuzzy.

The food was amazing and there was so much of it, and it was real, not soy. She'd only had real food a few times in her entire life as she sold most of her meat for cheaper food, but here there was so much of it. She huddled over her tray a bit to make sure no one would take any and fed Puppy some scraps. She knew enough not to eat everything with her hands, but was somewhat perplexed by the chocolate milk carton. She managed to open it without looking foolish. Fuzzy decided she liked the brown water and so while she tore through her food with a will, she would delicately sip the chocolate milk, savoring its rich texture and flavor. Puppy would have to do without that. That was hers. She drank half and would save some for later.

The girls at the table mostly ignored her and talked about other people at camp while Julie ate quietly. The topics mostly seemed to be about people: Who was here, who was missing, boys they liked, who was dating whom, favorite teachers, how much they both loathed Mother Bear, how much they missed social media and having a stable matrix connection. Apparently they’d been here last year.

Half of their conversation was nonsense to Fuzzy, so her attention slipped away from the conversation. Fuzzy's attention turned to Julie. She sat close, but far enough away to be alone. She stared at the ork girl who noticed and glared back. Done with her food, Fuzzy took Puppy and her milk over with her so no one took it and sat down next to Julie.

"What?" asked Julie.

"You're powerful. I thought I'd talk to you," said Fuzzy, simply.

Julie’s expression soured.

"I thought you'd want to stay away from me. You know, no control? I could go off like a bomb at any moment?" she seethed.

"You'll get control," said Fuzzy. "You wouldn't be allowed here if you were that dangerous. I think she's just making sure everyone else knew."

That caused Julie to pause her prepared retort to pause and think about what to say next. Fuzzy waited patiently for Julie to speak.

"Well you seem to be doing well for yourself. Mother Bear didn't put you on the shame pole like Kenji over there. What, did talk you way out of it?" she asked.

Fuzzy nodded. Julie snorted deeply in disgust, covered her mouth, looked angry and then away. Fuzzy idly stroked Puppy as she looked at her.

"Maybe you shouldn't be seen with me," whispered Julie. "Don't think I don't know, but you, Kenji and I are different than everyone else here. I'm not stupid. You're weird, but you could fit in. You could carve yourself a little niche like you're doing right now. I don't know what Kenji's deal is, but maybe you could fake it till you make it. Me, I can't. I'm different than everyone here."

In a fit of sudden empathy for the girl, Fuzzy offered her some of her half drank chocolate milk. She pushed it towards her. Julie didn't understand at first, but frowned more deeply in disgust.

"I can get my own, thanks," she said, scathingly.

Fuzzy took it back and nodded, unaware of what she'd done wrong, only that she had. That was serious generosity she’d just shown her. Charity like that was rare in the barrens and she'd been refused her outright. Confused, she stood back up to sit back with Sasha and the other girl whose name she hadn't bothered to learn yet. She thought she might talk to Kenji, but she felt like she didn't want to screw things up even worse. Navigating social interactions was complicated. Instead she kept an ear open during the conversation while Julie ate alone.

"I don't see why you want to talk to her," said the girl.

"Mother Bear said she was the most powerful person in the school except for maybe a few others," said Fuzzy.

"Like in your year?" asked Sasha.

"No. In the school," said Fuzzy.

"Holy poo poo," said the girl.

"I'm soooo jealous," groaned Sasha. "I have to scrape by for power. I'm really only good at assensing. I'm great with the astral, but..."

The two girls cast a second glance at Julie who was pointedly not looking back. One was wary of her power, one envious of it.

The rest of the classes for that day went by without incident. Class that is. There was just one class and it was Mother Bear's. She lectured extensively on what not to do. She talked about how to control ones' emotions. That a spell was best stopped before it was cast and not after, as it couldn’t be taken back. That if one was feeling unsure about their power to contact a teacher immediately.

Mother Bear’s lecture sort of felt like how Rat Man taught Fuzzy about weapons and traps. Then it clicked. This was about weapons safety, but with emphasis on controlling one's emotions as well. This she understood, and by the time the class was over it was getting dark. It was fall after all. She could go to the bonfire if she wanted. She didn't want to bring Puppy in case she lost him so she put him back into her room. After that she wasn’t sure. There didn’t seem to be any instructions on what do and she was left to her own devices. She thought about what to do next as she sat on her bed.

Choice time

So in Shadowrun you can succeed and fail at the same time, called glitching. Fuzzy did that while speaking to Julie in an etiquette test. I'll let you all decide what that means. How did Fuzzy succeed and how did she fail while talking to Julie?

How do we feel about Sasha and how do we think Sasha feels about Fuzzy?

How is Fuzzy going to spend the rest of her night?

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Feb 16, 2018 around 08:15

super sweet best pal
Nov 18, 2009

No need to sign, we'll take care of that.


Lipstick Apathy

No opinion on the character interactions.

Go to the bonfire for our gang initiation.

Tias
May 25, 2008

Destroying property is not violence, no matter how much corporate media tries to create the equation.

Put this loser on ignore immediately!




The glitch is probably to do with Julies opinion of us. I'd wager that if Fuzzy becomes more ostracized, Julie will like her more, or perhaps attempt to encourage Fuzzy to become an outsider so they can be miserable together.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

I don't care if it's ethical; I want a Mammoth Steak.


The success is that Julie likes Fuzzy more. The glitch is that she felt pitied. Even if she thinks the weird girl is pretty alright, that kind of pity is a real blow to her fragile self esteem. Being nice to her will get pushback until it stops feeling like pity.

We think Sasha isn't dangerous or trying to backstab Fuzzy. In Barrens terms that's practically a BFF. Sasha, though, is mostly just curious about the audi weirdo. They could end up friends maybe, or they could never talk again. Depends on whether Fuzzy stays interesting/builds a rapport or not.

Let's make sure not to eat too much. Wouldn't want to barf during the gang-joining beatdown. Just enough nourishment to keep her energy up, then save something that'll hold for later after the bonfire.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

....Is that still a valid thing to jingoistically blow out of proportion?







Yeah I like that. We think Sasha is a relatively harmless rich girl, maybe even a potential friend. She seems nice enough. Sasha thinks we're totally weird, but in like, a kinda cool way. Also, everyone loves Puppy. We're going to the beat-in tonight, better to be initiated into the... Kab-eenz, was it? now than to get caught on the outside if they stop taking new members. They must run the whole drat place if even the teachers are advertising it.

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Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

We'll always have our memories won't we? Those special memories that I’ll always treasure. You, writhing from the jellyfish sting, me, urinating on the wound.

Fuzzy - Monday, July 23rd, 2074 - Evening - Blake Island

Fuzzy gave Puppy some food and water for a few days just in case she would get too injured to come back immediately. The bonfire was tonight and she wasn’t sure if it was optional, which meant she had to attend. In the barrens people made fires for a reason. Nothing that could be burned was wasted. She didn't think that the teens looked particularly vicious, but looks could be deceiving. Not to mention that one didn't have to be vicious if they were getting beat in by twenty people which was what she was expecting. Fuzzy groaned, resigned to her fate of being initiated into the gang that she’d come to think of as the Kab-Eenz. She wanted to get it over with rather than live with the fear of it. She’d never been in a gang before, and wasn’t looking forward to this at all.

It was just past dark, but this close to the Seattle metroplex it was never truly dark. The light pollution lit up the night like a beacon. Planes and drones dotted the night sky with their own moving lights while buildings provided larger, stationary ones. Ships in the Puget Sound, the body of water that surrounded the Island, moved to the north and south as the Bremerton ferry and Southworth-Fauntelroy ferry made their last stops for the night. They conveyed travelers back home to places far nicer and more importantly, upwind of the smell of the metroplex. The path to the bonfire was lit by lights and small arrows in augmented reality which brought Fuzzy to the right spot. Plus it was hard to miss the music. She didn't know what it was. It was something cheerful and upbeat with female vocals. It was near the beach so people were dancing, milling about and even a few were playing in the surf. Steeling herself for whatever was to come she stepped into the crowd.

The bonfire was bright and there were people all around her. She didn't fear for her immediate safety. Initiations would be constrained by ritual, but when she looked at people they looked as if they were just having a good time. There were drinks on a table as well as snacks. There was a full spread of finger food both fancy and not. Seeing that everyone else was freely eating and drinking from the table she grabbed a red cup, filled it with some sort of liquid, tasted it and found it to be delightful. It tasted like the apple slices she had before but in liquid form. She slapped together a hot dog with plenty of condiments. Even Fuzzy knew about hot dogs after all. She snacked and waited.

An arm was thrown around her shoulder and she froze, her instincts kicking in, hot dog half chewed. Was this it?

"Hey fellow weirdo," said a familiar voice.

She looked and saw Kenji's pale face and distinctive Asian features. He was taller than her by a foot, had an above average frame and with black hair that recently tousled. His light brown eyes looked cunning and he had a pointed chin.

"Hi," said Fuzzy around a mouthful of food.

She swallowed and relaxed by a degree.

"So I promised a favor for someone to keep an eye on you today. I have to say that you're doing better than I expected. You're not a wallflower, but not trying to reach above your station either. I respect that,” he said.

Fuzzy said nothing in response.

"See, I'm trying to carve out a place as a lovable bad kid with a heart of gold. An outsider basically," he said, and lowered his tone, "Because that's what we are, because pretending like we belong won't work forever."

Again, Fuzzy said nothing. Kenji looked at her more closely.

"I'm trying to weave a reputation that I can comfortably fall back on before that day comes. Maybe accessorize to speed up the process. Semiotics is a hell of a thing for getting people to make their own assumptions," he continued, his tone probing.

Still nothing. Kenji eyed her suspiciously.

"I can tell that that you and I, we're embiggened by this place, but I have a perfectly cromulent way to help us both,” he said, magnanimously.

Kenji sighed as Fuzzy continued to say nothing. He drew her in closer. He spoke quickly and quietly just barely audible over the sound of the music and laughing people.

"You have no idea what you're doing. You're quiet so you don't betray that. It'll work for maybe a few weeks before you fail, at which point one of us is going to get outed, which will probably out the others. Say nothing if that means yes," he said, and grinned.

Fuzzy glared at him and grumbled.

"Fuzzy, when I first saw you here you looked like you were prepared for a fight. I came here to you because if you were going to hit someone, I'd rather it be me so I can play that off instead of you getting into serious trouble. So instead of thanking me, maybe you just tell me what exactly you think was going to happen when you came here," he whispered.

To an outside observer it might look like Kenji was flirting heavily with Fuzzy. His body language, his posture, the way he whispered all betrayed an oily charm he was working on her, and that Fuzzy was uncomfortable being near him. For her part, Fuzzy wondered if he was telling the truth. She sighed and decided to put a small measure of trust in her fellow outcast. After all, she'd considered him a possible ally hours before. It would be best to test that.

"This is a ritual gang initiation for the Kab-Eenz. Possibly beating, possibly branding," whispered Fuzzy, hoping against hope it wouldn't be worse than that. "I'm being lulled into a false sense of security before it happens."

He nodded once and thought about it for a few seconds before nodding again to himself. Fuzzy sighed internally. She was right. He was confirming it.

"Yeah, I can see why you're being quiet now. Fuzzy, you're wrong. This is a party. This is not a gang and you are not being initiated. People are here to socialize and not beat each other up. You're in no immediate danger unless you place yourself there. I'm willing to teach you how to talk to people and what's expected so you can survive here. Don't give me an answer right now. Talk to me tomorrow at the shame pole," he whispered.

"I don't understand," she whispered.

Fuzzy felt wildly uncomfortable as Kenji slipped an around her waist.

"C'mon girl, it's fine, don't be like that," he said, and projected his voice.

People turned to look at them and Fuzzy’s back stiffened and fists balled up as she readied herself for a fight. His lips pressed against her ear as he whispered one last time.

"So we're going to end this abruptly. When I'm done whispering you'll step away from me, hit me, then walk away scowling. When everyone asks tell them I grabbed your rear end," he whispered.

The hand that rested on her lower back dropped, but he didn't grab her, though he made the motion with his hand. Feeling wildly confused, but not knowing what else to do in this sort of situation she channeled her fear and confusion into a strike. With strength that surprised her, reached back and did not slap, but punched him. Her punch was perfect and there was a smacking sound as she drilled her fist into his face. His head snapped back and he was flung to the ground. He wasn't out, but he was definitely hurt. People stopped and looked at them. There was a chorus of "Ooohs" and "Ouches" and "What happened's" and even a few laughs. Not knowing what else to do she stuck to the script, picked a direction and walked away.

Choice time

Fuzzy hit Kenji hard enough to knock him out, which would have been bad, but rolled enough of his body to barely stay conscious, taking eight out of ten hit points of stun damage.

Fuzzy walked away, but was never given a direction. Does she go towards the docks, the cabins or the woods?

Kenji seems to be sure he's going to the shame pole tomorrow. Are we going to meet him? And if so, will we take his offer? Kenji didn't ask for anything, but Fuzzy is actually decent at negotiation in case he asks for something in return.

Author's note. Fuzzy is living in her head quite a bit and that's not particularly fun to write or read so I'd like to get her talking. How I get her talking is up to you folks, but if not Kenji it'll be someone else with different results depending on who we pick to trust.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Feb 16, 2018 around 08:39

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