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HiHo ChiRho
Oct 23, 2010

Then you remember. You have a message to send.

Something everyone must know.

You have the power. You have the means.

Let it be known.




Hey, it's about time we get back to Fuzzy. I would say Kenji too but i'm not sure if we will get him back to good ol' Kenji in time, so he may need some straight talkin' with Fuzzy too.

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CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

So run Shadowrun for a few months, some call of C'thulu, Dresden Files, Red Markets, that sort of stuff.

I. Volunteer. As. Tribute!!

Nothingtoseehere
Nov 11, 2010



Kenji goes mix of social/combat, with most the combat stuff more on survival than offense.

Julie partakes in the drink, not being sure what to do now, and gets some basic info out him, tries to ease him into talking about his problems naturally. But does force him to have a shower at some point. Got that must stink.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Ice Phisherman posted:

I was thinking of doing mini-campaigns and tightly editing them so it's fun to listen to rather than hearing a bunch of dice rolling and table chatter. So run Shadowrun for a few months, some call of C'thulu, Dresden Files, Red Markets, that sort of stuff.

Man, I'd be super down for that, schedule permitting. Live streaming tabletop games is some of the most fun I've ever had in the past.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here



Anyone who votes against Fuzzy Learns to Mosh is a wrongvoter and that's that

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Hexenritter posted:

Anyone who votes against Fuzzy Learns to Mosh is a wrongvoter and that's that

See? SEE!!?

Lemniscate Blue
Apr 21, 2006

Here we go again.

Fun Shoe

Ice Phisherman posted:


It'll be a bit. I'll need to upgrade my internet at some point. It's not exactly stable or reliable at the moment. I was thinking of doing mini-campaigns and tightly editing them so it's fun to listen to rather than hearing a bunch of dice rolling and table chatter. So run Shadowrun for a few months, some call of C'thulu, Dresden Files, Red Markets, that sort of stuff.

Ooh, if you're taking down names I'd like to get mine on the list early. Sounds awesome. If it's too early yet to worry about it then no big deal.

Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Hexenritter posted:

Anyone who votes against Fuzzy Learns to Mosh is a wrongvoter and that's that

Fuzzy Nogway, more ork than ork.

sheep-dodger
Feb 21, 2013



I'd say we accept Julian's help.
Re: Kenji Julie partakes but paces herself, I don't think she has a lot of experience with drinking, so she should use it to get Kenji talking. If she fails the etiquette rolls she will absolutely rely on intimidation, loyalty be damned.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here



sheep-dodger posted:

I'd say we accept Julian's help.
Re: Kenji Julie partakes but paces herself, I don't think she has a lot of experience with drinking, so she should use it to get Kenji talking. If she fails the etiquette rolls she will absolutely rely on intimidation, loyalty be damned.

Yeah I agree with this. At this point Julie is heading for the Bad Ending and I can see frustration, fear and a need to protect what few friends she has manifesting in an increasingly aggressive intimidating streak when she meets pushback. Sadly, it'll just keep feeding the "angry Ork" stereotype but fear and frustration at a loved one refusing to listen when you objectively know they're harming themselves or heading toward their doom can turn into anger very easily.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


All right. Looks like the thread votes are in. Sorry for all the questions. I've been doing some character sheet cleanup. Here's what we got.

1. Julie accepts Julian's help. He will aid Julie in setting up her clinic but will also occasionally meddle in her personal and professional life more often going forward. Why he's doing this she doesn't know yet beyond the fact that he's neither malicious nor 100% altruistic. This means she'll get assistance in setting the clinic up as even a small clinic comes with tons of expenses and paperwork. She'll dodge all of that hassle. Currently Julie really isn't set up as a character to practice anything more than emergency medicine. She has the first aid skill and the heal spell, but long term care, professional diagnosis and curing diseases is beyond her at present. As a caveat I'll ask the thread what everyone is going to be doing over the summer. She will have the option to expand her little clinic into something bigger or focus on other stuff like making contacts, spending time with friends, personal growth, working on flaws, feeding spirit, making money, etc. This goes for all characters. They're not just going to hang around bonelessly for four months. They're going to be doing things. We'll pick a major and minor focus which will inform what they're doing come year two.

2. Julie doesn't know what to do with Kenji now that she's pierced that shell of his. She's going to drink, but probably not a lot. That's not why she's here. She'll lead with etiquette, but failing that she'll risk his loyalty and intimidate him, whatever that means.

3. The thread was mixed on whether Kenji was going to go half combat, half charisma, full charisma or a mix inbetween. I'm going to go 70/30 charisma/combat with his remaining magic points with an eye towards defense with his combat skills.

4. Fuzzy picks up some skills! Math and history especially. I'm also going to give her a point in music. I don't really imagine her as particularly interested in reading books unless they're practical and I don't think anyone mentioned any sciences. Her only real contact with science is biology, but in the "skinning knife" kind of knowledge.

I'll start writing tonight but probably won't finish until tomorrow at the earliest.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Dec 8, 2017 around 01:17

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here



Don't ever apologise for asking questions of the thread voters duder.

Julie I could see trying to split time between improving her diagnostic/treatment knowledge, feeding spirit and establishing the clinic as a for profit enterprise. Friends and contacts can be worked in the off time.

70/30 works for Kenji. Even the best fixers may, on occasion, need to slot a drekhead.

As for Ms. Nogway, practical knowledge and a bit of things like etiquette (corp/underground/security) and expanding biology into anatomy to be a better Hunter (of both animals and people)

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Hexenritter posted:

Don't ever apologise for asking questions of the thread voters duder.

Wut Wut with the how now brown cow, Chummer?

Are we making suggestions for summer activities now or are we waiting? I didn't see a specific question posed.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


CourValant posted:

Wut Wut with the how now brown cow, Chummer?

Are we making suggestions for summer activities now or are we waiting? I didn't see a specific question posed.

It's more me reminding myself. I occasionally make notes to myself in the thread so long as they're not secret. We'll choose when we get to the epilogues. I also wanted to test it as an idea.

Hexenritter posted:

As for Ms. Nogway, practical knowledge and a bit of things like etiquette (corp/underground/security) and expanding biology into anatomy to be a better Hunter (of both animals and people)

She's actually got critters as a knowledge skill. It's a more hands on biology skill minus the science. It makes up for it with more intimate knowledge about their behavior and anatomy.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Dec 8, 2017 around 02:24

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here



Don't mind me, just voicing my opinions even though nobody asked. Thought I'd put them down while I was thinking of them.

sheep-dodger
Feb 21, 2013



Completely forgot about skill choices. I'm fine with Kenji mixing charisma and defensive magic, Fuzzy should definitely get some knowledge skill for corporations imo.

CourValant
Feb 25, 2016

Do You Remember Love?

Ice Phisherman posted:

It's more me reminding myself. I occasionally make notes to myself in the thread so long as they're not secret. We'll choose when we get to the epilogues. I also wanted to test it as an idea.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Julie and Kenji - Thursday - January 26th 2075 – Evening - Blake Island

"All right," said Julie, slowly. "We should probably eat first though."

Julie was no big drinker. In fact she'd only had drinks a few times. Once at Halloween with her friends and she'd sipped on Big Rita's own prison wine, called pruno. The prison banned fresh fruit since it was used to kick start the fermentation process, but Big Rita used sauerkraut. Most of the inmates used orange juice when they made prison wine, but Big Rita had strange tastes and so Julie tried her pruno once and only once. Sufficed to say pruno was one of Julie's least favorite things in the world. While Julie had her prison flashback Kenji's stomach rumbled again. He stayed crouched where he was as he clutched the bottle and looked away as he flushed darkly.

"I guess that sounds all right. You need a glass?" he asked.

"Please."

A minute later Julie and Kenji sat across from one another. Julie was on a comfy love seat and Kenji was on a well worn second hand couch. It seemed like Kenji was trying to affect a sense of comfort over style. Julie didn't care. She picked the love seat because it looked cleaner. Not clean. Cleaner. Julie ate her pizza slowly and was again grateful that its smell helped mask the funk of Kenji's cabin. Kenji ate slowly as well, but only at first. Then he quickly began tearing into his slice. He must have been famished because in a minute he'd already eaten his first slice of pizza and was starting in on the second. For her part Julie felt like she didn't need to pretend like she hadn't brought her appetite. She didn't need to impress him and realized that if she was going to be drinking that she was going to need to eat more rather than less. Kenji poured himself a shot and soon after he mixed a drink for Julie.

"What are we drinking?" asked Julie.

"Vodka. It's called Gulag," said Kenji.

"Isn't that a Russian prison?" asked Julie, dubiously.

Kenji shrugged.

"I don't know. All I know is that it's bad, but at least it isn't anything more than it pretends to be. Also it's in a glass bottle instead of a plastic one," said Kenji, darkly.

He threw back his shot like an experienced drinker and poured yet another. Julie tentatively sipped at her mixed drink and thought it tasted awful even though it was mixed with the cloying taste of Fizzychug soda.

"Why not a plastic one?" asked Julie, curiously as she finished her sip.

Kenji blew out a breath and looked sourly at the bottle.

"Never trust vodka out of a plastic bottle," he said, sagely. "Anyway, enough chit chat. What do you want?"

Julie didn't have an immediate answer and so against her better judgement she sipped her drink to buy time. In the end her argument sounded just as dumb as before and she'd drank more of the foul mixed drink for nothing.

"I worry about you. Not just me. Everyone. Fuzzy, Sasha, Marco...We're worried. I want to help," said Julie.

"Pass," snarked Kenji.

"You don't get to pass," pressed Julie.

"Oh yeah? Why not?" he asked, sounding bored.

"I'm stubborn and I care," said Julie, firmly. "You're not going to get rid of me so easily."

Kenji tucked some of his black, greasy hair behind his ear. Julie realized the movement was intentional as he flicked the tip of his pointed ear as he held her gaze.

"Julie, I know you're trying, but we both know you don't like my kind. You don't talk to me much and we both know why," he said, flatly.

That familiar feeling of embarrassment rose up in Julie and her cheeks and ears burned.

"I know what you're doing," growled Julie.

"Reminding you of how you feel about me?" lead Kenji.

Julie took a longer drink of her mixed drink to fortify herself, taste be damned. She could tell that this was going to be uncomfortable.

"You're trying to push me away. It's not going to work. I told you I'm stubborn. Deal with it," said Julie, angrily.

"You don't even like me," said Kenji.

"I'm not my dad's lovely choices!" she exploded.

Kenji leaned back on his couch and looked at Julie again. Not out of fear, but in appraisal. He poured himself yet another shot as he considered her. He gave her nothing else to work with but silence. Julie looked down at her drink as it sat on the coffee table.

"I'm not..." she whispered.

"Top you off?" he asked.

She was confused about what he meant before he motioned to her drink. Against her better judgement she nodded. Julie felt like she was kicking over rocks and finding all of the disgusting parts of her psyche wriggling underneath like insects. Insects like those found under rocks and her feelings both had something in common. They wanted to squirm away from the light. It hurt all the more due to the fact that Kenji was right. It was hard to look past the pretty boy exterior, high cheekbones and pointed ears. The fact that he was a mess right now put her more at ease than normal, but she wasn't sure why exactly that was and didn't know what that said about her. Tonight wasn't about her though. She was here to save her friends, even the one she wasn't particularly close to. So she held out her glass.

"Sure," said Julie.

Minutes later Julie felt both delight and regret at being topped off. She was feeling truly drunk for the first time in her life. She liked the feeling, but she could feel how it was dulling her edges. However she could tell that Kenji's edges, already dulled by lack of sleep were further blunted by the alcohol as well. He was still tossing shots back and was able to drink way more than she was. She looked dubiously at the bottle and reached for it. In a moment of weakness she realized she liked not caring about her problems and wanted to care even less. The bottle ground against the coffee table as Kenji slid it away. Julie eyed him.

"I'll get you something smoother. You want my soda?" asked Kenji, politely.

Without waiting for a reply he stood up from the couch and went back to the mini fridge. He bent back down again and fished fancy looking bottle with a glass stopper from its depths.

"If you don't mind," slurred Julie.

"I don't," he said. "You can have this."

Kenji took her empty glass, poured the clear liquid from the fancy looking bottle, stoppered it and poured her soda in afterwards. He handed it to Julie. Julie sipped it and paused.

"What?" he asked.

"It just tastes watered down," said Julie, thoughtfully. "It's not as cloying."

Kenji said nothing. The bottle was unguarded and so she picked it up, unstoppered the top and gave it a sniff. There was no smell at all to it.

"It's just water," said Julie, who was confused.

Kenji looked away and sighed.

"I entertain sometimes. Some of these corporate types like to slum it with the poor, cute boy. It's just water in a fancy clear bottle. That's all," he admitted. "You caught me."

It took a few seconds for Julie to understand, but she felt a warmth deep in her stomach that had nothing to do with the alcohol. He was looking out for her in his own strange way though it seemed like he'd wanted to do it quietly. She cracked a small smile as she tipped the bottle towards him without spilling.

"Top you off?" she asked.

She motioned towards his empty shot glass with the bottle of water. He looked down, back up again and smirked at her.

"No thanks. I got my own," he said. "Nice try."

Julie quietly despaired as he began to drink more steadily. He didn't simply tilt the bottle and drink from it straight, but his shot glass didn't stay still for long. His motions were smooth and practiced and so while Julie furiously racked her brain for what to do next she realized that Kenji was quickly getting smashed. She'd dithered and allowed him to continue drinking.

"Kenji..." whispered Julie.

He looked at her, but couldn't hold her eyes for long. Her heart broke as she realized what he was doing. He was coping with alcohol but it wasn't working. He looked so sad and scared, and he wasn't able to conceal it like before. She wondered why she hadn't realized how awful he felt before, but now she only had vague ideas of what his problem could be. Was it LeBlanc? Edward's treatment of him? His treatment by Lone Star? Other burdens? He'd mentioned that he was a shadowrunner near Christmas when he'd organized that ritual casting to heal his friend, and she knew that he was one because he couldn't lie. She didn't have any room to judge him though. She'd killed her own father after all. Not on purpose, but still. She pushed those thoughts to the side as she focused on the now.

"Kenji, talk to me," she implored.

"I don't want to," he slurred.

"It's okay," she whispered.

"It's not," he said with a sniff.

"You're safe here," she continued.

"I'm not," he choked out. "I'm not safe. I'm not even safe to be around."

He turned his head, but Julie was relieved that he'd at least stopped drinking for the moment though he still fingered the bottle. She didn't know what he meant by not being safe or not being safe to be around. He released the bottle, pulled up his legs and hugged his knees. He buried his face against his knees and all she could see was that mass of badly combed, greasy hair.

"Hey Kenji. You need to talk to someone," said Julie, soothingly. "I'm right here if you want to talk. If not me, then someone. You shouldn't keep this all bottled up inside."

Kenji's cheek shifted roughly against his jeans as he turned his head. He didn't look at her, but he wasn't gazing into his knees anymore at least. He sniffed loudly, sighed and then he began to talk. He began to sob. He slurred his words and she could only make out about half of it, and what she could make out she didn't understand. Why was he talking about horseshoe crab blood? He muttered something unintelligible about an Octopus. He had nightmares about a basement, and said he'd get woken up to go down there by Edward. She could tell he was unburdening himself in his own bizarre way, and she shifted from the love seat to the couch. She wrapped an arm around him. His body stiffened at first as she touched him, but he managed to relax which meant his sobbing only got worse as he leaned against her and turned his face into her shoulder. His words came out in staccato bursts between wracking, heaving sobs. She could only make out one word in five. Then one word in ten. Then he wasn't talking anymore. He was just sobbing and it cut Julie's heart to hear. All she could do was pat him and making cooing noises.

"It's all right. I'm here," she whispered.

There was a snotty, greasy stain on her shoulder now and it continued to grow as he let it all out. He smelled awful, but she'd smelled worse. He needed her now and so she stayed with him. Some time later, she wasn't sure how long, he was all cried out and he pulled away from her. He wiped his face with his sleeve and he looked at her and she looked at him. His eyes were both glassy and puffy. She was still feeling the alcohol herself as well though not as badly as him. Kenji reached for the bottle and before she could keep it away from him it was already in his hands. As he tried tilt it she grabbed it by the bottom, and it was still cold, almost freezing to the touch. He turned his face and frowned at her.

"No," she said, firmly.

"My house," he slurred, angrily.

"Not a chance," said Julie. "You need a shower and some more food, not more alcohol."

"Are you giving me orders?" he snarled.

"Not yet. You can either give it to me or I can take it from you. What's it going to be, Kenji?" she asked, firmly.

Kenji glared at her and truly seemed to consider making a problem out of it, but in the end he released his grip on the top of the bottle while Julie continued to hold the bottom. He grunted.

"Fine," he sulked. "Maybe I want a shower."

"Maybe you do," said Julie, deadpan.

"And some pizza," he continued.

"That too. I brought it for you."

Kenji wobbled as he stood up and Julie reached out to catch him. He looked down at her, shook his head and instead grabbed a slice of cold pizza. He stuck it in his mouth and before she could look away she got a look at his bare back as he turned around. He took off his shirt despite the fact that there was a full slice of pizza still in his mouth which was in the way of his shirt and she was still in the room. She breathed a sigh of relief as she realized he was heading towards the bathroom and not stripping down in front of her. As she heard the shower hiss to life in the bathroom she took the bottle of liquor. That wouldn't be staying. She almost left, but halted. She set down the bottle, found a piece of paper and a pen, an anachronism anywhere but on Blake Island, and wrote a note for him.

"Kenji, I'm having a party tomorrow on the southwest end of the island around dusk. Bring a flashlight and a sleeping bag too if you want to stay. We're having a barbecue. If you're sober and cleaned up you're welcome to come and hang out with your friends. I hope I helped you tonight. Thank you for thinking of me with the water. It was sweet.

Your friend,
Julie


She stuck the note on his pillow and hoped he simply wouldn't just pass out on top of it. He was still drunk though and she wasn't experienced enough to know just how drunk. She decided to check with him before she left and so she knocked on the door to his bathroom. She felt suddenly awkward knowing he was showering in there and she was trying to get his attention. Her body went cold with panic as she realized he might be drunk enough to simply step out of the bathroom to talk to her, but that didn't happen. Instead he just talked through the door.

"Yeah?" he asked, simply.

"I um...I just wanted to make sure that you're okay before I go," said Julie, nervously.

There was a pause before he answered.

"I'm better than I was," he said.

Julie couldn't help but smile. Her stubbornness had paid off.

"Hey Julie," said Kenji.

"Uh, what is it Kenji?" she asked, somewhat shyly.

"Want to come in?" he asked.

Julie's jaw dropped. Before she could stutter out a response she heard him laughing.

"I'm just messing with you. I doubt you like cold showers. Goodnight Julie. Thanks for everything," joked Kenji.

Julie spun on her heel and fled. Of course she would be fleeing Kenji's cabin with a liquor bottle in hand, and it wasn't until she reached her own cabin that she remembered that she'd walked with it in her hand. She looked up at the security camera that had caught it all and while looking directly at it she poured the remaining contents out into the bushes. She went inside her cabin only briefly to change before concealing the bottle in her recycling bag as she made her way to her campsite. Mr. Peters would be getting an empty bottle of vodka in his recycling bag tomorrow mixed in with all the rest of the trash.

No CYOA Time right now

I had more planned, but this seems like a good stopping point. It's good to go right now. I'd rather post what I have for you fine folks rather than have some megapost.

--

Julie rolls etiquette and accepts the drink so long as they eat first. Julie gets a single bonus die for accepting his hospitality which she sorely needed. 8 dice v 10 dice on an etiquette test. Let's roll it.

Julie gets 4 hits and Kenji gets 3. Julie crits while also barely scraping by. I'm going to bring back the old morale test from waaaaaaay back during Kenji's delve into the ACHE. Later on he's going to make a roll which is important and his mood will be what makes it either good or bad. He's currently at -5 for that roll as he's feeling self-destructive, isolated and depressed. He shifts to -3 which is 2 steps upwards due to the crit. If he gets to 0 I'll give him his edge back for that roll. Right now he'll shower and clean up so long as we don't slide downwards.

Julie and Kenji begin to drink. Kenji gets a bonus die to his body to resist the effects of alcohol. Kenji's tolerance has gone down since he's come to Blake Island as he can't drink whenever he wants to right now. Julie has almost no experience with alcohol, but she's going slow which keeps her from getting bonuses or penalties. Or at least not before he stopped caring. Julie and Kenji begin to drink. They roll body against a test of 3. Each hit reduces the -3 penalty I'm going to hit them with.

Kenji rolls 5 dice. He gets 1 hit. Kenji is at -2 for all tests going forward until the end of the scene.

Julie rolls logic of 4, gets a hit and realizes faintly that if she eats she'll be better off. She gets a bonus die to the test as she scarfs down pizza. She's now at 8 dice.

Julie rolls 8 dice. She gets 1 hit. It's a wash because she's at -2 as well. It's now 6 dice versus 8 dice. Julie is approaching drunk while Kenji is approaching drunk and tired.

They roll again. Julie gets 2 hits and Kenji gets 4. It's a crit for him. I'm going to reduce that die penalty of his by 1. However he's going to reach into his "special stock" and pour water for her. He's self-destructive, not cruel. Let's see if Julie realizes that. 5 hits on 8 dice in judge intentions. Julie realizes something is up and asks. Kenji is caught in the act of doing something nice for her. They roll etiquette again.

Julie gets 1 hit on etiquette and Kenji gets 3 hits. Nope. He's still stuck where he is. However he's going to drink again. It's more social now though.

Kenji glitches on 4 dice by rolling a hit and 2 1's. Kenji feels horrible. He wants to talk. He wants to confess that he's afraid for his life. He doesn't want to be alone, but he's scared so he gets absolutely trashed in order to talk. He's at -4 to all actions.

Julie doesn't roll etiquette this time. Instead she listens. Kenji's etiquette test is versus her composure, but Kenji gets 4 bonus dice for how awful the revelation is so he's back to 10 for right now. Julie will have to meet or beat his hits with 8 dice for composure. She knows he can't lie after all, so she won't need to read him.

Kenji gets no hits. He's too broken down to communicate at all. However he does get to unburden himself. He gets the feeling of opening up to a friend despite him making no sense at all to Julie. She can't parse it out whatsoever. I switch composure to etiquette. She makes conciliatory noises. Awkwardly, but that's enough. 1 hit for her on etiquette. Kenji is at -2 for the next challenge he has to face from -5.

Kenji is still coping and wants to hit the bottle again as he's not blacked out just yet, but wants to. Julie tries to stop him. 6 dice versus 6 dice. Let's roll it. Kenji wins with 1 hit versus Julie's 0. Julie loses her temper. She rolls intimidate 4 + charisma 5 + notoriety 4 - drunk 2. Like before she doesn't get loyalty dice, but her prejudice doesn't work against her either. Kenji rolls intimidation 6 + willpower 3 - drunk 4. 11 dice versus 5. Julie can still lose, but the odds are in her favor. Let's roll it.

Julie gets 5 hits on 11 dice. Kenji gets 0 hits on 5 dice. Kenji gives her the bottle and apologizes. He's at -1 for the final test. He eats some pizza and goes to take a shower to sober up. Julie did pretty well for herself. She writes a note for him inviting him to the party tomorrow night. It's a final etiquette test. However Kenji has to roll edge to see it. 2 hits, he sees it. It's a critical, but I don't really know how to apply it. He just -really- sees it I guess.

Kenji has sobered up slightly by this point and is at -3 to all rolls after a cold shower. He resists the note with perception 4 + charisma 8 - 2 tired - 3 drunk for a total of 7 dice. Julie has 6 dice.

Julie rolls 2 hits. Kenji rolls 4 hits. He's touched, but not enough to break him completely out of his funk. He ends up at -1 to his composure roll for the very next scene.

Julie gets 3 karma. She would've gotten 4 if she's gotten Kenji back to his full mental health, but that just wasn't in the cards. She did pretty well though all things considered. The intimidation risk paid off.

Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


In all my days of Shadowrun, I have never seen a drunken etiquette roll-off. Getting in the shower is a good step. You write depression well.

Which when I type it doesn't look like a complement, but it is.

Bear Enthusiast
Mar 20, 2010

Maybe
You'll think of me
When you are all alone


Lipstick Apathy

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.

Also as a chronic sadbrain I can say while my specific situations and specific feelings aren't close, you definitely nailed the depiction of the depressed and anxious mindset for me.

So yeah, great job and I look forward to voting! If you're taking names for RPG stuff I would be totally down in any capacity, especially since weirdly enough after over a decade of gaming I've basically never played Shadowrun proper (outside of running one session that went nowhere).

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011

Rolling Thunder: War to the Knife, Knife to the Hilt

Why? , that's why.

Welcome aboard!





Also gosh that talk went about as well as it could have and I'm glad we got at least a little breakthrough with Kenji. If Edward's story was horrifying, Kenji's perspective is even worse. Masked by the fact that he's programmed to act like he's totally cool cucumber, when in fact the bulk of your waking life is to be spent as a trauma sink will incredibly gently caress you up, programming or not. The other kids don't know Kenji's side because he doesn't know how to open up to them, and I'm glad Julie cracked some of that ice.

And oh man, shoulder head grease

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Deadmeat5150 posted:

In all my days of Shadowrun, I have never seen a drunken etiquette roll-off. Getting in the shower is a good step. You write depression well.

Which when I type it doesn't look like a complement, but it is.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. And I took it as a compliment, so there.

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.

Also as a chronic sadbrain I can say while my specific situations and specific feelings aren't close, you definitely nailed the depiction of the depressed and anxious mindset for me.

So yeah, great job and I look forward to voting! If you're taking names for RPG stuff I would be totally down in any capacity, especially since weirdly enough after over a decade of gaming I've basically never played Shadowrun proper (outside of running one session that went nowhere).

Welcome to the thread. I'm glad you enjoy my work. Everyone's work, really. Everyone who contributes helps me make a better story. I am flattered that this is your favorite piece of fiction. The spelling and grammatical errors give it its own special charm.

That said, Mirrorshades Harry Potter sounds like a hilarious drunk one shot to run. The Weasley twins can have identical pink mohawks, monofilament katanas and panther assault cannons.

Xarbala posted:

Also gosh that talk went about as well as it could have and I'm glad we got at least a little breakthrough with Kenji. If Edward's story was horrifying, Kenji's perspective is even worse. Masked by the fact that he's programmed to act like he's totally cool cucumber, when in fact the bulk of your waking life is to be spent as a trauma sink will incredibly gently caress you up, programming or not. The other kids don't know Kenji's side because he doesn't know how to open up to them, and I'm glad Julie cracked some of that ice.

And oh man, shoulder head grease

Yeah, that's all coming to a head very soon. I'm partially into the next part that I would've written last night if I wasn't tired. I'm also making it 80's as gently caress because I am never forgetting Shadowrun's roots. That includes synthwave and synthwave pop.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eILrESvP-jE

That said I look back on the ending with Kenji teasing Julie. That scene is sort of reflexive in how I wrote it. Bad boy teases the good girl and she runs away. It's a distilled romance novel trope which was my bread and butter for years, but I'm reminded that they're both sixteen. I don't think I pushed the boundaries too much, but it's hard to evaluate my own work. If anyone has problems with it and thinks it's too much I'll strip it out. It's hard to walk the line between writing appropriate fiction for their age and being true to the fact that they're people and not just sexless teens. Again, ex-romance novelist. It's a difficult balance. I doubt I'll ever please everyone, but if I can please most people I think I'm okay.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Seemed fine to me, Ice. It fits the lecher facade that Kenji established for himself since literally the first day of school. It shows he's beginning to care at least somewhat about his appearance again - and I mean in terms of how he socially presents himself, not his physical appearance.

As long as it's in-character and not openly explicit, it's all good.

Volmarias
Dec 31, 2002


I read it as Kenji winking through his mask as he put it back on, rather than anything overtly sexual.

Xarbala
Feb 13, 2011

Rolling Thunder: War to the Knife, Knife to the Hilt

Why? , that's why.

Yeah, it read like Kenji was just putting himself back together and trying to take back some tiny measure of control over his situation, even if it just means doing a goof on his more sincere friend.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here



Volmarias posted:

I read it as Kenji winking through his mask as he put it back on, rather than anything overtly sexual.

Yeah this was my take on it too. It didn't come across in a weird way.

Also, welcome to the thread Bear Enthusiast.

If your Shadowrun playlist isn't full of Perturbator, Carpenter Brut, Makeup and Vanity Set, Power Glove, Dynatron, Scandroid et al then you need to edumacate yourself on synthwave post haste.

Bear Enthusiast
Mar 20, 2010

Maybe
You'll think of me
When you are all alone


Lipstick Apathy

Hexenritter posted:

If your Shadowrun playlist isn't full of Perturbator, Carpenter Brut, Makeup and Vanity Set, Power Glove, Dynatron, Scandroid et al then you need to edumacate yourself on synthwave post haste.

Well I've got the first two via the Hotline Miami and Hotline Miami 2 soundtracks, so I'm already part way there and then some.

Also I'm sensing a potentially awful crossover now that I mention that.

Hexenritter
May 20, 2001

Buncha slack-jawed faggots around here



Brigador has a fantastic soundtrack. It is also warcrime crack.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Kenji - Thursday - January 26th 2075 – Evening - Blake Island

The shock of the cold shower did a lot to sober up Kenji. For a few minutes he didn't have anything to think about save for how cold he felt and that he should move fast to scrub off in order to get out. It spurred him to action and briefly broke him out of his funk as he scrubbed days of stale sweat and grime off his body and grease out of his hair. He stayed in longer than he wanted to while resisting the urge to turn up the heat. By the time he was out he was scrubbed clean and shivering. He toweled off, went back into his room and was hit by three problems.

First was the smell. To him it wasn't that bad. After all he was used to the ACHE where the smell of everyone's cooking, burning trash and human waste all mixed together was the norm. However he knew other people hated these smells. If he could smell himself a little, and he could, others could smell himself a lot. He threw open his windows despite the cold outside to air out his cabin.

Second, he didn't have any clean clothes. The island had a laundry service and he'd simply been too down to clean up enough to use it. This meant he had nothing clean to wear. This actually rubbed against his sensibilities unlike smell. As a person of means within the ACHE no one cared if you stank, because everything stank in the ACHE, but if you wore dirty, raggedy rear end clothing you were looked down on. Kenji's clothes weren't raggedy, but they were dirty and smelled bad. So he did what all people do when they're alone with no clean clothes to wear. He did the sniff test. Five minutes later he wore the cleanest clothes he had and set everything else aside to be cleaned tomorrow. He topped it off by zipping up a heavy coat to keep out the chill and cover up a mustard stain. It wasn't perfect, but at least he cared that it wasn't perfect.

Third, he was still hungry. Two pieces of pizza and a vodka dinner wasn't enough to fill his stomach. The pizza had only been enough to keep him from blacking out. He had no drinks besides water since Julie drank the soda she brought for him and took his vodka, but he was done with vodka for the night. The fact that he didn't have any left was beside the point. He knew he was still pretty drunk and that he was only temporarily sobered by the adrenaline dump from the cold shower. This was all old hat to him. He ate another slice before he paused as he looked at the piece of apple pie in its clear, plastic container. It was probably cold by now, but he felt a warmth in his stomach when he thought about the fact that Julie brought that for him. It was thoughtful, and Kenji wasn't used to thoughtful gifts which made him happy despite himself. He belatedly felt bad for teasing Julie at the end. He didn't think of her like that though he had to admit to himself that she was cuter since she picked up better clothing and figured out the mysteries of makeup. Besides, he liked Marco even if he was a corporate type and high on Jesus all the time. He didn't want to mess with a good thing. Still, there were worse things to get high on than religion. He'd seen the alternatives first hand too many times to count. Religion was many things, but at least it didn't have bliss dens.

He put away the apple pie for later, ate another slice of pizza and while he was drinking his second tall glass of tap water he could feel the adrenaline from the shower wearing off and the numbness from the alcohol taking over once again. The water would help blunt the hangover, though his hangovers weren't too bad, but one could never be too careful. He slipped out of what passed for clean clothing, put it at the edge of his bed for easy reach, put a pillow behind his back to keep himself in the recovery position. This was for on the off chance he'd throw up in his mouth as he'd done for others so many times in his own life and choke. He waited for the effects of the residual alcohol to slip over him and help him drift off to sleep. It didn't take much longer. He didn't have time to be alone with his thoughts, but he also felt relaxed for the first time since Christina invited him out to the lunch date that made him fear for his life. He didn't sleep peacefully, but he did sleep, and that was something.

Kenji - Friday - January 27th 2075 – After Midnight - Blake Island

Using water as a preemptive hangover cure is a double edged sword. Kenji was woken up hours later by the urgent alarm that was his bladder and he paid for his drinks when he got up and out of his warm blanket by the cold. He dealt with his predicament in the only way he knew how: By swearing more than he was suffering. Minutes later after using the bathroom he exited and pulled on his clothing complete with heavy coat as he assessed his situation. He turned on his second hand trideo tank with a command phrase. It lit up and bubbled as it stirred to life.

"Trideo, display time," he said.

The tank flashed 2:35 AM. He grunted.

"Trideo, display music," he said.

His music playlist was displayed in the tank and he picked a song at random with some hand commands. As the music began to play he nodded his head to the beat. It wasn't his favorite, but the beat put him in a mood to get things done and it was both catchy and ambient enough to get lost in without much thought. He closed the windows and slowly over the minutes the temperature began to rise in his cabin once more. Seven hours to air out his cabin was enough. Besides, he was cold and didn't want to wake up the neighborhood with his music. These cabins weren't soundproof, but they were close. He turned up the volume with some hand commands and spent some time cleaning his room. His hips swayed to the music on occasion, he picked up his garbage and munched on cold pizza. He wasn't feeling great, but he was feeling pretty good and it was a marked improvement from what had become the norm. He ruthlessly suppressed thoughts about the reason he was feeling bad. No, if death wanted to find him he'd leave a good looking corpse.

"gently caress it," he said as he wove his voice into the music.

He mainlined that feeling of gently caress it directly into his emotional makeup. It felt good.

"gently caress everything," he said, and punctuated his phrase with an explosive sigh.

His hand signals became part of his dance as he turned up the volume on the trideo once more with slow, rolling signals of one hand. He became one with the music for a time as his playlist switched from track to track. His body was warming faster than his cabin. He went into his bathroom, washed his face and combed his hair. He melted back into familiar routine and so he spent a few minutes practicing his smiles, frowns, scowls and disinterest both purposeful and not in the mirror. This was his arsenal. He had smiles like knives and every time he flashed one he imagined running a whetstone alone a knife's edge. It wasn't enough to just get it right. That smile had to shine. It had to gleam. It had to be dangerous. He ended it as he always did. He flashed a final, honest grin at the mirror and made finger guns at himself before he set the rest of his cabin to rights to the sound of music. Eventually his work was done and he was nearly out of things to do. He looked at his book bag on his desk and pulled a wry smile.

"Fine homework, you win," he said with a wry chuckle. "The music stays on though."

Kenji and Christina - Friday - January 27th 2075 – Long after midnight - Blake Island

Kenji made a serious dent in his homework. He knew that he should normally apply himself, but he'd convinced himself that he could simply hire others to apply themselves once he became a successful fixer. That was his depressed brain talking. Now he was back on the path to being the C+ student he knew he could be. He may have to do some B+ work for a while to make up ground. Not A work. Never A work. Otherwise his teachers might develop expectations. He didn't want to stand out any more than he already did.

That was the problem though. He was standing out by not being in class. He knew his emotional state was tenuous and his dust, that which kept his wrecked soul from being on display to anyone who so much as looked at him in the astral, was limited and unable to be replenished. He felt naked without it in his system, but he also knew he couldn't get any more of it since the brick was gone. Plus the risk of brick dust pouring out of his face was a real threat. That would be hard to explain. It was a nasty feedback loop to not only be depressed, but to be isolated when he truly didn't want to be. He was still isolated despite his improved mood, but at least he felt like he could take the dust back into his body once more. However he hadn't yet done this. He was an hour into homework when he heard a knock on his door above the music. He furrowed his brow and looked at the door.

"Trideo, display time," he said, warily.

The tank flashed 3:55 AM. He frowned. He was used to staying up late. After all most people didn't even see normal sunlight in the ACHE, especially if they were towards the center. On the island it was a different story. There was even a curfew. There was a second knock and he scrambled for the blade he’d tucked away. He removed the top of the toilet bowl lid and strapped underneath it was a knife. Nothing fancy. It was ceramic and wouldn't stand up to serious use, though it would defeat casual detection. He stowed it underneath his clothes, smoothed them out, walked slowly towards the door and on a hunch checked the window instead of the peephole. One can never be too careful. He knew a guy who caught a bullet for that. His blood froze as he saw Christina LeBlanc. He dithered for a moment before untucking the knife from his clothes and slapping it under the coffee table. He pressed a button and the sheath adhered to the bottom of the table. It was one of his cousin's presents for his birthday. That was Clever, the gang leader fixer whom he was related to. He only had the one knife and she was seen coming here at least. He thought it would be best to keep it close and keep up appearances rather than have it on him. He checked the peephole and as she reared back for a third knock he sprang into action and opened the door. He noticed that he startled her, which was good. A minor victory.

“Christina,” he said, quietly.

He looked her up and down. She was in a heavy white jacket and blue jeans. Her long, red hair was half hidden under a light blue, synthwool tuque and her boots were brown. She was still as plump as ever, strange for one of these corporate types. She shot him a smile.

“Hello Kenji,” she cooed.

“It’s late,” he said.

“Very.”

“What do you want?” he asked, coldly.

She licked her lips and looked down demurely.

“You know what I want,” she flirted.

Her tone was bizarre in its flirtiness. Her body language, such as it could be read under her jacket, screamed desire. However she made a hand gesture in front of her thick coat near her midsection close to her body so as not to be seen by cameras. She spun her finger in a tight circle.

“Move it along,” she signed with her finger.

“You’re not up for some fun?” she continued, hungrily. “Going to make me stand on your step for the world to see? You’re so bad. I want you to treat me bad.”

He smiled a predatory smile he did not feel and adopted a familiar posture that was not his. If this was how she was going to act he was going to sell it and put her off her game. Before she could react he ran a hand behind her head and pulled her into a kiss. To her credit she didn’t stiffen, gasp in surprise or slap him. She sold it for whomever was watching and so did he, even if it was just for the cameras. Before she could say anything more he pulled her inside and closed the door. He didn’t lock it. Unlocking it might cost him a precious second that he needed to escape. He heard the click and hum of a white noise generator and he nodded at her. They both sat carefully, she on his loveseat and he on his couch.

“So, a sexual encounter? And an obvious one too? That’s how we’re selling it?” he asked.

She sat where he thought she would sit, with her front to the door. He took the less exposed position with his back towards the wall and away from the window.

“I laid the groundwork for it with our date,” she said, her tone now devoid of any hint of sexuality. “Nice job rolling with the punches.”

“You too,” he said. "Out of curiosity, how do I perform at this little rendezvous? I like to keep a tight reign on my reputation."

She smirked as she took off her coat to reveal a cute, cornflower blue blouse. Kenji didn't allow him to be distracted by the neckline. He kept on his own coat as his shirt still had a mustard stain on it. Sadly it was still his cleanest shirt. Laundry service wasn't until the morning.

“I'll talk you up to all the girls,” she said, her tone droll. “As for the punches? As I’ve learned, you aren’t rolling with them lately.”

“Been checking up on me?” he asked.

“Yeah. SINless until a few months ago, so you don’t show up on most records. I had to do some old fashioned legwork. I couldn’t hand it off to anyone else. The mess you dropped in my lap was too explosive for anything but a personal touch. That’s why it took me so long to get back to you,” she said.

“Look, let’s just cut to the chase. Is there a kill order on me or not?” he snapped.

He lashed her with his voice and to his surprise she stiffened and briefly looked away. How was this the same person who’d so skillfully outmaneuvered him on their “date”? He’d already scored two points out of three on her. He startled her with the knock, whiffed with invading her personal space with the kiss and now she was jumping at his bluntness. He schooled his face into his most serious expression, one he often practiced in front of the mirror. It was an expression that he subtly crafted over several months. It was utterly serious, his eyes open just a little wider than normal to appear piercing, his mouth a thin line and he even flared his nostrils slightly. His boy was relaxed and ready to respond to violence, but not initiate it. He did his best to look like a predator at rest. It wasn’t a hard sell and it wasn't far from the truth. He saw her notice him and again she looked uncomfortable. What was this? Was she playing him?

“No kill order,” she said, quietly. “No one knows about you but me which is why I was seen being so obvious on your doorstep. I even made two aborted attempts earlier on as if I’d lost my nerve. Christina is a silly girl after all: Vindictive, cruel and not too bright. She’s the kind of girl that gets cheated at cards by gangsters and doesn’t notice. She’s the kind of girl who outs the three poor kids and even reveals that one of them killed her own father all for a laugh instead of playing them for leverage.”

“All in the line of duty,” he said, angrily. "I'm assume I'm not talking to her right now."

She tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and frowned.

“No, I'm the original and yes. I often do things I’m not proud of. That’s the nature of the job,” she said, flatly. “I serve the greater good.”

“Really,” he said dryly.

She rubbed her hands together nervously. He noticed and frowned.

“You’re overselling it. I know you’re a pro. Don’t gently caress with me,” he snapped, irritably.

He berated himself after the fact. He'd given himself away, but to his surprise she jumped and belatedly she looked down at her hands. She pressed the heels of her palms into her eyes as if she was tired, because she did look tired after all. He probably did too. It left her open only for a brief moment, but Kenji thought he was being tested. He pointedly didn’t look at the knife. He thought it was a feint. She froze and he realized she’d been assensing him. His anger rose.

“Yeah you get a long look at what happened to me. I don’t know how you conceal your hosed up soul, but I had to make due with what I had. So you get a good, long look at me. That’s not my essence, Christina, or whatever your name is. That’s my soul. My connection to it is just fine unlike yours, but my soul is thoroughly trashed thanks to Lone Star. Cops experimenting on children. I mean wow, there’s no end to this poo poo, is there? There is no rock bottom. There’s always more and there’s always worse, isn’t there?” he growled.

She tried to turn away. He used his power on her. His voice.

”Look at me,” he commanded.

He threw his magic into his voice, and forced her to obey. To her credit she managed to resist for a few moments. Her head shook as it turned, but it did turn, and her eyes were opened wide as if held open by phantom fingers. Tears welled up in her eyes as she was forced to look at him. She began to shake, but as she finally obeyed she was allowed to look away at her hands once more. She shivered violently, but only once as she regained control. Kenji’s face didn’t betray his practiced expression, but internally he was frowning in confusion. She was either so good that he was truly screwed, or she was off her game. She said nothing so he had to continue. If she was off her game he had to pursue his advantage. It was the only way out.

“So you found out what I said was true,” said Kenji.

She nodded slowly and tears which had welled up in her eyes as she looked at him streaked down her eyes one after the other.

“Yes. I’ve been around for a while. I know where the bodies are buried,” she said, distantly. “Who to press for favors, who to threaten, who to blackmail, who to...I did things…This body. I hate it. You know, I’m nearly sixty years old? I leonized to the youngest age that I could. That I guess should tell you something as it costs millions to be young again. Anyway, as I dug deeper I couldn’t disprove what you said so I had to do things to learn what I needed to know. I look like I was when I was a girl. I thought it was wonderful at first, but I can’t get close to anyone anymore. The kind of men I want shouldn’t want me, and the kind of men who want me are either too young or have evil thoughts in their minds about young girls- About me. I know I’m not one, but sometimes I feel like one. I feel like I’m outside of time, you know? I never let myself be used like I was..." she said, and her voice broke. "That is until yesterday. Not myself anyway. I couldn’t hand it off to a character. It was too important. It would take too long for the character to mature. You were deteriorating, or so I thought. Good job with your acting, Kenji. You perfectly played on my sympathies,” she said, with a bitter laugh. “I have a soft spot for children. I sometimes forget how cruel and cunning they can be.”

Kenji felt his own heartstrings being tugged as she dumped her feelings on him. He wasn't revolted like other people might be at the implications. The ACHE had numbed him to exploitation. Men sell their violence. Women sell their sex. That was the way of things in the ghetto. Still, he wasn't completely numb to it. Not anymore. Soft living had softened his heart, so he did feel something. He decided to take a chance. He was compelled to develop her as a contact, but that didn’t keep him from hurting for her as she confessed her pain to him, even if just a little bit. Her confession of age didn’t surprise him at all. Where there was influence and power there would always be people who would try to tap into it.

“I am what I need to be,” he said, darkly, but his tone lightened as he sighed.

He broke his practiced face and showed his true feelings. He smiled sadly and his mind drifted away from the knife. Months ago when he lived full time in the ACHE his younger, harder self would have screamed at him for his weakness. Instead he tried his best to convey warmth and kindness though neither came naturally to him. Julie’s pep talk really had softened him up, but maybe being soft wasn’t always a bad thing.

“I’m sorry for kissing you. After what you went through that must have been hard even though it was the right call for the groundwork you set,” he offered, awkwardly. “For what it’s worth, I apologize.”

“Thanks,” she said, distantly. “Down to business then?”

She wiped her eyes with her sleeve. Kenji took a calculated risk and turned his gaze away from her to reach for a box of tissues. He wasn’t killed, but he wasn’t surprised. He wasn't sure where this was going, but his suspicions about their encounter ending violently were decreasing. She merely accepted the box of tissues, wiped her eyes and blew her nose.

“I don’t have any more business with you,” she said, simply. “I just wanted to let you know that you’re safe so long as you don’t out me. Normally corporations are good with losses, but not with me. If you talked about me I can’t protect you.”

“I didn’t. I made arrangements, but I didn’t talk about you,” he said.

She sighed in relief.

“We’re done then,” she curtly.

She didn’t move despite her words. Kenji shook his head.

“No, we aren’t,” he said, flatly. “You could have just dropped off a note or said something cryptic to let me know I was okay. You want something else. What do you want?”

She shifted nervously on his love seat and whispered something under her breath.

“What was that?” he asked.

“I said I want forgiveness,” she all but cried.

“Why do you need forgiveness?” he asked, and his voice suddenly cold again.

She winced and threaded her fingers nervously with one another. She launched into her explanation and it poured out of her like blood from a stab wound.

“It’s my fault. My pride, my secrecy, my unwillingness to share my method with Lone Star all caused this to pass. For years they plied me with words about duty, they tried to bribe me with money, they used lovers to try and win my heart, promises of power, and they even threatened torture and truth serums though neither work on me. My method is too dangerous to be out in the wild. It took me fifteen years to develop it. I’m still perfecting it even thirty years later. I trained the Troupe, but they don’t know how to train others. So Lone Star used what little they know and just started trying to brute force my method. I wear so many hats. Police officer, actress, spy, scientist, shaman, but if you don’t care about people you can go so far with research. Did you know that much of what we know about frostbite came about because the Germans thought Slavs were some sort of ice men? They seriously thought they were a different race, you know? Back then everyone was just human. Not like today where metatype matters. So they just froze a bunch of Poles and Russians to death and found out they get cold like everyone else and took extensive notes on people as they died of frostbite. Much of what we know about pregnancy in its early days came from the Japanese vivisecting pregnant women. I’ll let you guess how they got them that way in the first place,” she said, bitterly. "That was unit 731. No one was punished. Those monsters flourished on a pile stacked high with dead women and children"

She began tearing her used tissue into tiny strips as she looked into the middle distance.

“Now I find out that I share that dubious distinction because I didn’t want to part with my method. I find out that because I didn’t want to share they just tried to brute force my method. I wish they’d succeeded, because you weren’t part of the only experiment. They tried twice more. First with 100 children, then 250 and then a full 500. I’m just wondering if there’s not something new in the works, because this is all old data. I wonder if I haven’t broken into the 1000’s yet,” she said, with a dark chuckle. “All of them tossed into the trash pile in the ACHE. I used to joke around, you say it when you get old and well positioned in a giant bureaucracy, but I truly know where the bodies are buried, Kenji. All those little children used up and tossed into the garbage. As far as I can tell all of them are dead except for you. You’re it. I can’t apologize to the other 849, but I can at least apologize to you. Now that I want to, I don’t know if I can. I don’t know if I can be forgiven. I don’t know if I want to be. I didn’t kill those kids. I didn’t experiment on them. I didn’t even know about them. It my pride that killed them, my vanity that destroyed them and my hubris that murdered them. I never thought they’d go this far. I never thought what a corporation would do to make the perfect spy. Almost completely undetectable. You know I wanted to be an actress when I was your age, the age I am now? I developed my magic and my world changed, my choices constricted down to a finite point. My magic was a curse. In the end I settled on being a cop. I developed my method all on my own without a hint of magic. I wasn’t going to let it define me,” she whispered. "Instead this is what defines me."

She looked at the shredded, snotty, tear soaked pieces of tissue in her hands. Her eyes and nose ran freely now and she didn't try to stop them which made her look far younger than her suggested sixteen years of age. She played with those shredded bits of paper as she shifted them from one hand to the other.

“I thought since I was experimenting on myself and myself alone. I thought that I was like Isaac Newton. I thought he and I were so moral because we both experimented solely on ourselves. I was just high on my own poo poo. Instead my work is more like Unit 731. I sacrificed everything to be what I am: My hopes, my dreams, my body, my time and my love. I had time for none of it. All I could say to myself was that I made a difference. That’s what got me up in the morning. That’s what I told myself so I could sleep. Well now I can’t sleep,” she spat. “None of it means a drat. My life is a lie. My duty means nothing. When people found out what was possible they sacrificed children to the altar that is my method. I’m only good for what I know, not what I can do. I've made something monstrous. My method is evil.”

Kenji sat up slowly so as not to startle her. He crossed over to his mini fridge, bent over, pulled out his decanter of water and plastic container containing his wedge of apple pie. It would be a silly way to go, shot in the back, maybe stabbed, torn apart by a spell or spirit by a sixteen year old girl while carrying a hunk of apple pie. It didn’t happen. Instead he stood up, stepped over to his kitchenette and pulled out two forks from the cupboard. He sat on the love seat next to her and opened it up. It was cold which wasn’t great, but sometimes people just needed pie right now. He carefully placed a fork in front of her. She only noticed when he elbowed her, which startled her. He handed her a new tissue and she wiped off her face with a sniff.

“So you got burned by a corporation. It happens to the best and worst of us. You didn’t experiment on anyone but yourself and you certainly didn’t kill any kids. You hit the scientific lottery and you were too tough to get it pulled out of you,” said Kenji. “Pride is sneaky. Too much pride can be a vice, and you got humbled, but you care and that says something about you. I know what it’s like to be you. All that time not being yourself. I don’t blame you for being asleep at the wheel. It’s just how your method works, right?”

She nodded slowly as she watched him cut apart the crust and scoop it up with a fork. He held it aloft before her.

“Have some pie,” he said.

She reached down and fumbled for the fork, but Kenji was too fast for her. He palmed it without even looking at it. She might have been a smoother social animal than he was, but he had clever hands. She frowned at him and looked hurt, but she realized belatedly what he was doing. He made a hardened police officer who was nearly sixty years old blush like the elven schoolgirl which ironically she was in a way. She averted her eyes, opened her mouth, leaned forward, ate her forkful of pie, chewed and swallowed. He handed her the fork and they both dug in together.

“What’s your name?” he asked, without looking up.

She chewed on another piece of pie as she decided what to tell him.

“Marie,” she said, quietly. “Marie LeBlanc.”

“You’re playing your own daughter? That’s gutsy,” joked Kenji.

She smirked slightly, but her smile fell and she sighed.

“I never had time for children,” she said, sadly. “On paper I have two daughters. They’re a fiction. People that get too close to be get used against me.”

“Huh,” he said. “That’s too bad. Are you still working for Lone Star after all this?”

He asked it in the same quiet tone. She paused as she thought, frowned prettily at her piece of pie and shook her head.

“No.”

“So why are you still here?” he asked.

“The work has to continue,” she said, suddenly.

“What, the spy poo poo?” he asked, his voice incredulous.

“No. I’m not a corporate spy. At least that’s not my job description. Lone Star was kicked out of Seattle, but it’s because we were forced out. This was never a spy operation. It’s a sting. For good or for ill Lone Star never left Seattle. Seattle left Lone Star,” she said.

“Ares and tempo?” he asked.

Her eyes grew wide for a second, but she sighed and played with her pie. She nodded quietly.

“It’s no secret. It’s just getting people to believe it. Ares has platoons of PR men and women to muddy the truth with bullshit. The Mayan Cutter killings were them in part as well. It wasn’t Ares that killed people, but they dumped gasoline onto the fire. They sensationalized him with matrix memes and played him up hard in the media. They made him mysterious instead of focusing on the victims. A lot of corps do that because bodies lead ratings, but they went hard even for a corporation. Most of those killings after the first half dozen were copycats. Everyone knows that there are crazies out there who just need a nudge to kill someone. You just have to surround them in a dark mystique and you get off meds edgelords racking up the body count,” she said, bitterly.

“Makes sense,” said Kenji. “Tempo hit the ACHE a few years before it hit Seattle proper. It wasn’t called Tempo then though. Just a beta test. I think it killed people too fast. It forced people to astrally perceive and that is not good in the ACHE. Too many died there. The astral is all hosed up."

“It wouldn’t linger in the news cycle if it killed quickly," she added. "The addicts needed to suffer before they died. It was pushed as a party drug so Joe and Jane middle class got hit first, and when they complain loudly enough politicians listen. They wanted Lone Star to clean it up, but we were up against Ares. Lone Star wasn’t equipped for that fight. We…poo poo, I keep thinking like I’m one of them, but it’s true. They’re just cops. Lone Star is big, but Ares is one of the megacorporations. They do what Lone Star does as a subsidiary, and drat it if they don’t do it better,” she griped. “That’s the worst part. They’re better at policing than we ever were.”

“You know, if you forget about the drug pushing and murder,” said Kenji, blithely.

“Yeah, but there’s a lot of that type of stuff going around,” said Marie, darkly.

“Shut up and eat your pie before I do it for you,” said Kenji.

Marie shot him a look as she speared one of the final pieces of pie. They were close enough to rub shoulders, and did as she was a lefty while he was a righty. They often bumped arms, shoulders and hands while eating.

“I’m old enough to be your grandmother. I should put you over my knee,” retorted Marie.

Kenji noted that she sounded less despondent now. It sounded like she was getting what she needed. A little bit went a long way.

“Wouldn’t be the first time an older woman has done for me,” joked Kenji.

Marie LeBlanc growled at him. They fenced for the final piece of pie with their forks. Kenji won, but he held the last piece up for her.

“You really expect me to do that again?” she asked.

“Consider it an apology pie. You apologize to me when you eat the last bite,” said Kenji.

Marie LeBlanc blushed in frustration and embarrassment. She leaned forward and tried to take a bite, but Kenji pulled the fork back. In that moment she was desperate enough for forgiveness that she really was acting like a sixteen year old girl. Her expression hurt Kenji's heart to look at, like he'd just killed her puppy in front of her, but he stayed strong.

“Do you mean it?” he asked, seriously.

Marie LeBlanc schooled her face and nodded slowly. Her voice was rough.

“With all my heart,” she whispered.

“Then bring me in on this. Whatever you’re doing, whoever you’re taking down, I want in,” he said.

He had to square it with himself. He was putting Edward in danger, and moms cared about Edward which forced him to protect Edward, but he rationalized that Edward was always in danger. Since he was already in danger a little more wouldn’t hurt. Besides, he was pretty sure Edward would want this if Kenji pitched it to him correctly, which he wouldn't. Edward might also want to knife Marie or simply curl into a ball and cry. He wasn’t perfectly sure. Edward was damaged after all. It was best not to tell him. Kenji didn’t want to risk getting a new directive to murder her from an angry Edward. He doubted forgiveness would come so easily with Edward as it did with Kenji.

“You want in to the Troupe?” she asked, and frowned.

“I don’t know about all that, but I do want a shot at Lone Star. You help me with that and I help you with Ares. I think you’re alone out here. I’m not as good as you, but I’m pretty good. Plus you can swing a little nuyen my way,” he said, teasingly.

“Shadowrunners keep getting younger every year,” she said, coolly.

“Please. I retired from that. I’m a fixer now,” he said. “I’ll live longer.”

“Retired at sixteen?” she asked, and couldn’t help but smirk. "Cops could learn a thing or two from them, then."

“I’m good for my age.”

“Right.”

Marie LeBlanc seemed to consider his offer for a time. Kenji put the fork down with the final piece of pie in the plastic container. He poured her some water which she sniffed, as it looked like it came out of what looked like a fancy liquor bottle and shrugged when she realized it was just water. Eventually she nodded.

“In a limited fashion,” she said, slowly. “I don’t want to get you killed. Not you.”

“That’s great. I don’t want to get me killed either,” said Kenji, smoothly.

She nodded at him and sipped her water. She picked up the fork and after a nod from Kenji she ate the final piece of pie.

“Tell me everything you know about Sasha Oliver,” said Marie LeBlanc.

Fuzzy, Kenji, Julie, Sasha, Marco and Chip - Friday - January 27th 2075 – Evening - Blake Island

Sasha Oliver cocked back her hand and threw her Frisbee for Puppy. He jumped high into the air, caught it, and chewed on it.

“Bring it back, Puppy, come on!” she ordered.

Puppy ignored her and continued to chew his plastic prey. He was huge now, over 40 kilos, brown with short fur and pointed ears which a chest like a barrel. He was a mutt, but a huge mutt.

“Come on!” yelled Sasha.

“You know he doesn’t listen to you,” called Marco.

Everyone except for Kenji was at Julie’s campsite. They all brought food, sleeping bags, tents and their appetites. Marco manned the grill though he had to sit down to use it as it was made for smaller people. Fuzzy whistled, Puppy’s ears pricked up, he trotted over to her and dropped the Frisbee into her waiting hand. Sasha groaned.

“He always listens to you,” complained Sasha.

“It’s almost like it’s magic,” teased Fuzzy.

Puppy sat down and panted. He wouldn’t give Sasha the Frisbee, but he would deign to be petted by her. Fuzzy pet him as well and he rolled over onto his back and wiggled as the two girls rubbed his belly.

“He’s such a tummy rub slut,” said Sasha.

“Don’t tummy rub slut shame,” joked Julie.

She was helping Marco with his cooking. This was mostly the prep work. Marco turned out to be an excellent cook. He helped with the meals at church after all. In a world where you could get anything packaged and delivered the art of cooking was no longer a skill most people had.

“What’s a slut?” asked spirit.

Julie looked to Marco, who looked to Sasha who looked to Fuzzy, who shrugged. Julie's spirit caught onto this and laughed.

“Slut!” he shouted.

Julie groaned and Marco joined in with her. Fuzzy laughed while Sasha looked embarrassed.

“Thanks for teaching my ally spirit dirty words, Sasha,” griped Julie while her spirit shouted and yelled his new favorite word.

“You said it too,” said Sasha, defensively.

“Yeah, but he’s my spirit,” said Julie.

Fuzzy stood on her tiptoes and whispered something into Sasha’s ear. Sasha bit her lip and ran her fingers through her girlfriend’s steadily lengthening hair which Fuzzy thoroughly enjoyed. The Christmas promise to lengthen her hair was a month in and Fuzzy went from what could be generously called a pixie cut and was working on a head of fine, shoulder length blonde hair. That would be a ways away though.

“Get a room!” yelled Julie.

“We don’t need a room,” teased Fuzzy. “We have a tent.”

Julie blushed and looked away. Marco cleared his throat uncomfortably and added more barbecue sauce to the pork ribs. Spirit had no idea what they were talking about. The pork ribs were Fuzzy’s contribution. Julie provided the ingredients for the clam dip which was up next to be cooked. Sasha brought everything to make gyros as she was feeling like Greek food tonight though it was going to be a challenge to make gyros on a camping grill. Marco brought plenty of sides and drinks. Kenji, fashionably late, strolled down the path like it was normal to appear out of the shadows. In classic freeloader fashion he’d brought himself and nothing else.

“Room enough for three?” asked Kenji.

The gang all cheered as he made his appearance and he got hugs from everyone, though Sasha stuck her tongue out at him first.

“You wish,” snarked Fuzzy, after her hug.

“I really do,” sighed Kenji, dramatically. “Who’s the kid?”

“That’s Julie’s ally spirit, Chip” said Marco. “She introduced him. He has a little image problem, but he latched onto a solution.”

“I’m Chip!” he exclaimed. “Like chipped glass! That’s what I’m going to look like! At least a little bit! Fuzzy and Sasha said it was cool!”

“You are cool,” said Sasha. “I’m jealous, too.”

“Be jealous! I’m the coolest,” said Chip. “Julie said I could help you with spells if you ask her really nice. You got to feed me though.”

“Luckily I’m cooking. Our little Julie is showing everyone up on the island,” said Marco.

Julie blushed and kissed him on the cheek.

“You’re lucky you’re a good cook,” she teased. “I might just keep you.”

She smacked Marco on the rear end despite the fact that he was mostly sitting on it. It felt like smacking a brick if a brick was warm and had just a little give. She gave him a pointed look. Marco raised both eyebrows at her.

“That’s my butt,” he said.

“Wow, it sure is,” she said, lecherously.

They kissed and they both came away blushing, their faces lit by the coals on the camping stove and the flickering campfire which released burning embers into the wind and the cold. People stayed near it as it was still freezing outside, which meant everyone was close enough to chat. It was nearly dark and that meant it was time for spells. Kenji put marshmallows on sticks as he added more wood to the fire. He wasn’t the life of the party, but he was present which was far more than normal. Julie broke away from Marco as Kenji finished with the marshmallows. He looked up at her and smiled warmly.

“Are you okay?” she asked.

“Maybe. I hope I am,” said Kenji. “I’m way better than I was at least. Thanks for the kick in the rear end.”

Julie laughed, leaned down and gave him yet another hug.

“I’ll kick you in the rear end any time you want,” teased Julie.

“Free is a good price. Some people got to pay for that sort of stuff,” Kenji teased back.

“Oh my gosh,” said Julie, exasperated as she broke the hug. “Really? Are you going to start perving out on me too?”

“Maybe if it continues to be funny,” said Kenji with a grin.

“When was it ever funny?” she asked, and put her hands on her hips.

“It is to me,” said Kenji.

As Sasha tried fruitlessly with Puppy to get him to drop the Frisbee once more, Fuzzy nodded and smiled at Julie. Julie breathed a small sigh of relief. She’d dodged a grilling by Fuzzy. Hopefully that meant that things were at least slightly more likely to work out. She banished those thoughts for tonight. Tonight they would all have fun. Tomorrow she would worry. They all began to snack around the campfire while Sasha cleared her throat.

“Okay, Chip, help me out with my spell?” she asked.

“I work pork,” he said, stubbornly.

Everyone besides Chip laughed. He was deadly serious.

“Priorities,” said Fuzzy.

"Right?" said Kenji.

Fuzzy and Kenji fistbumped.

“Remember not to eat the bone,” said Julie, as she handed him a plate.

“Little mercenary,” teased Sasha.

“Right after my own heart,” joked Kenji.

Marco and Julie looked at Kenji, suddenly uncomfortable for a moment. After all, they knew he was a shadowrunner. He’d admitted so at Christmas to the both of them, though he hadn’t told them about his retirement and they didn't know the details.

“Right,” said Marco, neutrally. “Hey Sasha, how about you try your new spell?”

Chip nodded as he greedily nibbled on a pork rib. Sasha waited, Julie nodded, and Sasha cast with Chip's help. He didn’t really look like he was doing anything besides getting barbecue sauce all over his face and fingers, but Sasha could feel it. She had to cast twice to get the results she wanted and dealt with the fatigue. Thankfully it wasn’t too bad.

“All right Sasha,” said Marco, “What’s the square root of a thousand?”

Sasha closed her eyes and concentrated. Then the words came out all in a rush.

“31.6227766017 holy poo poo,” exclaimed Sasha. “Wow!”

“Stop swearing,” scowled Julie. “No more bad words in front of Chip, please.”

“Sorry,” said Sasha, nervously. “Okay Fuzzy, your turn.”

Chip was too busy with his pork rib to repeat the word. Fuzzy nodded.

“I thought about how I was going to cast my new spell for a while. Illusion spells are tricky, but I want to put on a show. Sasha showed me fireworks and I think I can make them. We lit some off yesterday. I have to say that explosions are pretty great when they’re not gunfire or grenades,” said Fuzzy.

Kenji was the only one of them that nodded approvingly. Marco, Julie and especially Sasha looked uncomfortable, but it quickly passed. It was hard to stay friends with Julie, Kenji or Fuzzy without accepting that they'd lead awful lives.

“All right, Chip?” she asked.

“What?” he asked.

“Can you help me?” she asked.

“What do you got?” asked the greedy little spirit.

Fuzzy dug into her pocket and produced a chocolate protein bar. She shrugged.

"I got this bar," said Fuzzy.

“Is that chocolate?” groaned Julie. “Chip, don’t eat the wrapper please. Bring it over here.”

Chip accepted her sacrifice of one caramel and chocolate protein crunch bar. Fuzzy beamed and didn’t even wait for confirmation this time. She poured magic through her new spell and threw up what she thought of as a firework up into the air. It was okay. The light was on point, but the sound was incomplete and off. She forgot the crackle at the end, and it sounded more like a gunshot than an explosion. There was no fire or heat. Trid phantasm was an illusion spell that could work on all five senses in three dimensions if the caster was good enough.

“Maybe work on that sound?” winced Sasha.

“Yeah, it sounds like a gunshot. Maybe be careful with those so we don’t get busted by security?” asked Marco.

“I’ll just have to make the fireworks obvious. If they show up they can just watch the show,” boasted Fuzzy.

Fuzzy nodded and tried again. She added a small flourish this time and launched into her fireworks routine as she threw the illusions up into the air like softballs. She and Sasha mostly did mortars, so she went with mortars. The sound quality was right this time and with Chip’s help she sustained it for a full fifteen minutes. Chip gaped and kept shouting for more while jumping around. The Puget Sound lit up with fireworks and if someone was paying attention at the right time they’d see the light show over Blake Island.

CYOA Time

What do we do for Chip? He’s going to change. Do we give him a new skill, new power or new spell? We’re going to be pretty tight on karma for a while. Julie currently has 6 karma. Skills cost 5 karma but never have to be leveled up, new powers cost 5 and spells either cost 3 or 5 depending on whether Julie knows them or not. Julie knows stun bolt, detect enemies, heal, levitate, increase logic and mana bolt, though Mrs. Maureen will flat out not teach mana bolt to Chip as it's a lethal spell. She will allow stun bolt to be taught next year. Powers

Chip can have any powers from spirits of man, water, earth, beast, and air, though he can't take powers that explicitly harm people like shooting lightning or whatever. I will allow accident, confusion, fear and binding. They're not explicitly attack powers though they can be used offensively. Unlike spells he can use these powers all day as they won't tire him out. Powers are listed here: http://adragon202.no-ip.org/Shadowr...#Spirits_of_Man

He can also learn spells, though nothing from attack spells or manipulation spells that can cause damage. Spells are listed here: http://adragon202.no-ip.org/Shadowr.../SR5:Spell_List

It's a big list, but I think the more interested in minutia among us will peek at the list.

We're almost ready to wrap up Julie's arc. Only two or three more posts after this. Home stretch time.

Kenji was at a -1 for his encounter with Christina LeBlanc, who is and has always been Marie LeBlanc posing as her own daughter who actually doesn’t exist. She just lionizes, which is the process by which people are made younger. Kenji was rolling composure to keep from losing it and Julie's test was to help Kenji respond well to this situation in particular. He has 11 - 1 dice (charisma 8 + willpower 3 - 1 depression) to succeed. He needs at least 4 hits to respond well to her, 2 hits to keep from losing it and glitches or critical glitches are bad news for him as that means Edward comes out with escalating badness depending on the nature of the glitch.

He got exactly 4 hits. He deals with everything well. He even feels bad for her. She never meant for any of this to happen. She's a victim too though in a different way. She confides in him far more than she should. Kenji isn’t recruited. Instead he recruits himself.

At the party Fuzzy is pleased at Kenji's bounce back from depression. Julie came through and so she doesn't press Julie about what she knows about Kenji. Her secret is safe and her relationship with Fuzzy is not only secure, but it improves. Everyone at the party has their loyalty go up by one. That is save for anyone who could go from 5 to 6. That requires a person specific side quest. However, Kenji and Julie's loyalty both go up by 2. The thread's decision to risk intimidating him paid off. It might not have. While everyone's loyalty wouldn't have went down, Julie would have most likely lost loyalty with both Kenji and Fuzzy.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


Puppy and Sasha.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Ice Phisherman posted:

Skills cost 5 karma but never have to be leveled up, new powers cost 5 and spells either cost 3 or 5 depending on whether Julie knows them or not. Julie knows stun bolt, detect enemies, heal, levitate, increase logic and mana bolt, though Mrs. Maureen will flat out not teach mana bolt to Chip as it's a lethal spell. She will allow stun bolt to be taught next year. Powers Chip can have any powers from spirits of man, water, earth, beast, and air, though he can't take powers that explicitly harm people like shooting lightning or whatever. I will allow accident, confusion, fear and binding. They're not explicitly attack powers though they can be used offensively. Unlike spells he can use these powers all day as they won't tire him out. Powers are listed here: http://adragon202.no-ip.org/Shadowr...#Spirits_of_Man

Houseruling the cost of skills, huh? They normally cost 3 per skill, but even at 5 per skill I think we should give Chip the Etiquette skill. Just because it really is that important as far as getting him to blend in socially is concerned.

I think that Etiquette is also the most-rolled skill in this CYOA so far, not-so-coincidentally.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


jagadaishio posted:

Houseruling the cost of skills, huh? They normally cost 3 per skill, but even at 5 per skill I think we should give Chip the Etiquette skill. Just because it really is that important as far as getting him to blend in socially is concerned.

I think that Etiquette is also the most-rolled skill in this CYOA so far, not-so-coincidentally.

I can't find my copy of Street Grimoire, but I could swear that it's five per skill. Am I wrong?

And yeah, social skills are pretty commonly rolled. Combat is crazy lethal in shadowrun. If I were constantly pitting our characters against danger they'd eventually bite it. Danger is a big deal. Not having combat skills is also dangerous too though.

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Dec 10, 2017 around 11:19

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Well, shucks, I just checked and you were dead on - I was wrong. I must have been crossing some streams with the spell section. 5 for a skill, 3 for a known spell, 5 for an unknown spell.

Either way, my vote is Etiquette. As useful as teaching Chip to cure diseases or Shape Earth might be, I think that him being able to pass as a normal person in casual conversation will be more important in the both short and long term for both him and Julie. It's all cute and fun for him to be socially clueless while they're camping or hanging with close friends, but he's going to need to get taken out in public sooner rather than later.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Wait a second, you said that 'Christina' is an 'elven schoolgirl?' Does that mean that LeBlanc is an Elf Poseur? Because she totally just dropped the fact that she Leonized in her 60s. That's super young for an elf to be seeking those kinds of rejuvenation treatments.

Crazycryodude
Aug 15, 2015

Lets get our X tons of Duranium back!

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







I think she Leonized not because she was old but because she had to look 16 again for her cover.

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Crazycryodude posted:

I think she Leonized not because she was old but because she had to look 16 again for her cover.

Maybe. There's cosmetic surgery for that, normally. She must have really needed to sell the hell out of her cover to go for full-on Leonization. That's something that winds your biological age backwards at the cost of permanent Essence.

Ice Phisherman
Apr 12, 2007

"Who the hell is
Bill Clinton?"


jagadaishio posted:

Wait a second, you said that 'Christina' is an 'elven schoolgirl?' Does that mean that LeBlanc is an Elf Poseur? Because she totally just dropped the fact that she Leonized in her 60s. That's super young for an elf to be seeking those kinds of rejuvenation treatments.

Nope. She's an elf. Yes, that's young to leonize.

However she's also an older, experienced shaman despite the fact that she doesn't particularly care for her magic. The leonization not only reduced her apparent age, but in SR 5th edition taking any sort of essence damage reduces your magic rating by one and drops how much you can raise it to naturally by one. When she first became her previous self, Corinne, she dropped her magic rating from 5 to 4 for the job. Now she's dropped it again from 4 to 3. There's a serious conceit among awakened that their magic is precious, but Marie LeBlanc does not care about her magic. She thinks of it as a burden. Her handlers keep her essence damaged because they don't trust her and use the carrot of repairing her essence (which is expensive and time consuming) as a way of keeping her in line. However it's a carrot she won't try to bite. A young student with a magic rating of 3 raises some eyebrows at first, but some people start powerful and Christina has not improved much. If she came in with a magic rating of 5 she'd be considered a prodigy like Julie and would be under more scrutiny.

The purpose of the leonization was not just to look young, but to damage her magic rating on purpose so she could fit in more easily. Sure she's a little more powerful than the others, but she has lower limits and on paper she's from a corporation and corporate family on the wane. People would be on the lookout for cosmetic surgery on Blake Island, but leonization and long term insertion into a high school is overkill for a corporate spy. Nor does she act like a corporate because she's not acting out of the ordinary for a spoiled corp princess. She's acting like an undercover cop who is pretending to be a petty, spiteful, slightly above average teenage corporate princess near flawlessly.

The damage to her essence was part of her disguise and her handlers think it's how they keep control. Plus the fact that she's overweight hides the fact that she has a more womanly bone structure to the casual observer as that couldn't be rolled back without major surgery which could be detectable. Besides, who rolls back their apparent age from Corinne's 26 to Christina's 16? Because when she leonized first was from 50 to 26, already ludicrous for an elf, and then from 26 to 15. It's bizarre. It's not how leonization works and so it confuses experts. The damage isn't as extensive and so it would fool someone familiar with the process, because it's only the incredibly old that become young again, not people already in their youth. There's no point, and that's the point. She slips right past the experts because her essence damage is bizarre and doesn't conform from someone going from elderly to youthful. She went from young to younger. Way younger than most people would ever leonize, because who wants to spend millions of nuyen to become fifteen again when they're already in their twenties? It doesn't make sense to experts and she needed to defeat them on her way into Blake Island, because their screening process is (supposedly) tight.

LeBlanc does raise some eyebrows for her essence damage, but it's more for pity and people naturally stop at pity. She fools the experts by using proven techniques in strange ways. She's not a spy or a saboteur. She's an undercover officer on a sting. She raises all the wrong flags for a corporate spy or saboteur and so she gets overlooked. She's a chameleon, and she's a good one. So good that most of the time she doesn't even know she's a chameleon.

The fact that Kenji blew her cover and realized what she was was an accident. The fact that Christina, not Marie, recorded Kenji's picture was an accident and her running off her script of being a petty, vindictive jerk and not purposefully spying. I'm a lover of history, and the more I read it the more I realize that history turns on bizarre coincidences. So I tolerate them more in stories more than other writers because that's just how the world works.

Anyway, this is me using Shadowrun lore in what I think are interesting and different ways than intended with my own homebrewed idea, the LeBlanc method, which is pure science and skill rather than magic or chrome. Marie is nearly undetectable because in an age that people excel by delving deep into magic, cyberware or bioware, she excels with raw skill. She's a shaman and so people look for her to excel as a shaman and not through mundane skill. She preys on their expectations in order to remain invisible.

Anyway, Marie is probably the most fleshed out character I have, and once I started taking the story more seriously at the beginning of Kenji's arc I fleshed her and her method out pretty thoroughly. She's complicated and has been hiding in my files on my computer for months for this very reveal, and I'm not even done revealing her in full yet.

By the way, props to this poster for being the first one to figure it out and talk about it in thread:

dont be mean to me posted:

In other words, the only necessary conditions for Dr. LeBlanc LeBlancing herself, then going undercover as first one of her own daughters and then another, would be being short enough as an adult to pass for a mid-teenager (^ ^ ^ or maybe not even that ) and being compatible with her own method of total self-deception.

At this point I have to wonder if she ever planned to deploy her methods at any scale at all. ... If LeBlanc isn't herself just a front for/victim of the method and whoever/whatever created it (which may still be a consciousness in that body!), but that's going into straight-up Eclipse Phase territory.

Of course, this is all conjecture; you'd need some sort of expert in diagnosing wrecked auras and tanked essences to gather concrete information, which again probably aren't on Blake Island (and I don't know enough about Shadowrun to know if you can even determine the past value of an Essence score, and I'm assuming from observing Kenji/Edward that this condition already precludes determination of, or rather invalidates, any expected value).

Ice Phisherman fucked around with this message at Dec 10, 2017 around 18:35

jagadaishio
Jun 25, 2013

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


Ice Phisherman posted:

I'm a lover of history, and the more I read it the more I realize that history turns on bizarre coincidences. So I tolerate them more in stories more than other writers because that's just how the world works.

Rad. I've got to say, stuff being used in the 'wrong' but perfectly rules-legal way is one of my favorite things. Whether it's real world hacker culture, weird sideways applications of Shadowrun tech, or JJBA Stands being used in creative ways, the results are usually neat in a way that both surprises and yet adds, or even enhances, verisimilitude.

Bear Enthusiast
Mar 20, 2010

Maybe
You'll think of me
When you are all alone


Lipstick Apathy

Picking up Etiquette seems like a solid plan.

Also kids teaching dirty words to the inexperienced or naive is a great pastime. Reminds me of a friend of mine's parrot picking up a few choice swears after a concentrated effort from a few noble souls.

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Deadmeat5150
Nov 21, 2005

OLD MAN YELLS AT CLAN


Who was it that originally posited that Marie was posing as her own daughter? Cause they nailed it.

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