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Topo Chico Debarge
Mar 1, 2020


seeing the world

bolthole

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DoctorTristan
Mar 11, 2006

I would look up into your lifeless eyes and wave, like this. Can you and your associates arrange that for me, Mr. Morden?

I did it. I finally caught up with this thread after finding the Dragonfall LP in the archive a couple of weeks back.

Given Shin's mediocre combat abilities I think she can't put her finger on this, nor on anything else.

Also Big Texas, because what's the point of Shadowrun if you can't pick the stupid option?

girl dick energy
Sep 30, 2009

You think you have the wherewithal to figure out my puzzle vagina?


DoctorTristan posted:

Given Shin's mediocre combat abilities

Physical adepts are slow starters, but they get bonkers by midgame.

KataraniSword
Apr 22, 2008

but at least I don't have
a MLP or MSPA avatar.
I am my own man.



girl dick energy posted:

Physical adepts are slow starters, but they get bonkers by midgame.

In other words, just about the same time as we get a third AP point.

Patience is a virtue, at least until we have to kill fast (and bullets too slow).

Kanfy
Jan 9, 2012

Just gotta keep walking down that road.


Part 19 - Bygone Days







With another poorly-slept night behind us, it's time to continue catching up with our three as of yet un-caught up companions, starting from our next-door neighbor Duncan Wu.



Better, I hope.

Sort of. It's like I flipped forward a few chapters instead of turning a page. I mean, you look like you - just... not the you I knew.

I get it. You're you too, just a lot... leaner.



It's the focus, I guess. I don't have to think about anything. I don't have to talk to anyone. All I have to do is concentrate on my form and count my reps. And no matter what happens after that, I've started my day by *accomplishing* something.

Alternatively:

quote:

Sounds like song lyrics.

[Wu chuckles.]

No, no... No more song lyrics for me. I gave up *that* dream a long time ago. Remember how Lockjaw used to make fun of my singing voice? He said I sounded like a frog with a hard-on.

[He shrugs.]

*I* thought my voice was distinctive. I mean, I'm no Maria Mercurial, but...

So, what about you?

[He gives you a once-over.]

How are *you* doing?

Kinda pissed at Raymond for getting us into this whole thing.

Don't misplace your anger. This isn't Raymond's fault. Whoever took him...

[He makes eye contact with you, acknowledges that an alternative is possible.]

...Or killed him... they're the ones to blame.

Maybe. But Ray's the one who got us into this.

If I'm right and he's alive, we'll be the ones to get him *out of it.*

[He picks up an ammo box and begins using it like a dumbbell.]

You seem like a natural at leading this crew, Shin. But I still don't completely understand. What do you get out of being a shadowrunner?

As in on a personal level? Well, call us a romantic, but...

It's about seeing the world how it really is. Underneath the veneer.



Odds are, you get nothing but a much shorter life span. The trade-off doesn't really seem worth it to me. And at the end of the day, what are you? A shadowrunner. A disposable asset. SINless. Slithering through the cracks of society, doing jobs that are too dirty for the corps to do themselves. You don't even appear on a corporate balance sheet.

You make it sound so unglamorous.

Oh, I never said we didn't get to *dress* well! If you're gonna be someone's disposable asset, you might as well go out in style.

Let's just move on. What'd you think about that last run?

I don't know, Shin. I've had enough of ghouls for one lifetime. The Barrens were full of 'em. Remember what the 162s did to that Aztlaner family that lived by the old Town Center? Remember how we *found* them?

Sure, but in all fairness, they were kinda asking for it. They were keeping second-hand organs in a walk-in freezer... I mean, what'd they expect?

Yeah, but still. Nobody deserves to go out like *that.* I've been having nightmares about it since I was a kid. Still makes my skin crawl.

[He grimaces.]

I dunno, Shin... I don't think I'll ever get comfortable with having a ghoul on our crew. Made sense to keep those Elders alive, though. Good call. We don't know anyone in this country, seems wise to try and get some allies.

Best get used to it, can't get a whole lot done in this line of work without venturing outside your comfort zone.

You thinking about getting chromed up?

With cyber?

[He shakes his head.]

Oh my god, how many times are you gonna ask me that?

Oh, at least a couple dozen more times. You always have the best reactions.

[Wu grins. His teeth are blindingly white.]

I told you *one time* I was thinking about it when I was *thirteen!* Let it go. I'm not gonna pollute my body with that poo poo. You?

(Physical Adept) Wu. Look at me. I've got the magic in my hands. Of *course* I won't get cybered.

Unless we end up taking a karmic dip into Cyberware Affinity later down the line obviously, but that's neither here nor there right now.

Yeah, I guess you've got a point there. That's a good thing, by the way. Better to keep yourself whole and in touch with the world around you. I may not have magic, but I know that's true.

Changing the topic... I think we gotta talk about you and me.

[He rests his eyes on you a moment, his face neutral.]

Yeah... yeah, I guess now's as good a time as any. You start.

You're not acting like the Duncan Wu that I grew up with. What made you decide to become a cop?



But I never learned how to block out the memories of their screams when I was lying in bed at night. The guilt started eating me alive. And then I was scared to be alone with my thoughts. So I tried to drown them out with all the things that you drown things out with.

I remember that you were pretty messed up when we met.

[He shakes his head, sadly.]

Yeah, I was. But I got a lot better when we found a squat together, and even better later when we went to live with Ray. I was still a violent son of a bitch, but basically under control. That was because of *you,* Shin. You were the voice of reason. And the brains.

That sounds about right.



And then you left. Without you there, I knew that I was in serious trouble - the poster boy for anger management issues.

Raymond could provide a stable environment, a decent therapist, and money for prescriptions, but... you know Raymond. He's an egghead engineer with a philanthropic streak, not a drill sergeant. And a drill sergeant was what I needed. I needed structure and discipline in a way that he couldn't offer me. I needed a cage to keep myself in line.

So I found myself a cage made of rules, and procedures, and training - Lone Star. Raymond helped me with my application and provided a decent character reference. I got in, and it helped a lot. Lone Star got me where I needed to be. And now it's all gone. And you're back.

Seems like Carter's death hit you pretty hard.



There were plenty of assignments that were perfect for a big, mean ork like me. Assignments that would've fed my need to hurt people. But I met Carter about a year in, and she changed things. She talked about values and goals and priorities and constructing the life that you want to live. She was a real trip.

She sounds wise.



When Raymond asked me to meet him in Hong Kong, I had a feeling I was gonna wind up going off the reservation if I didn't bring Carter along. And now she's gone, and here I am.

I say that you honor her memory by showing her how much you've learned.

[Wu's mouth drops open and then curves into a grin. He shakes his head, still smiling.]

I'm sorry, did Shin Black just give me sage advice? Sounds like you did some growing up of your own.

Maybe. You've been waiting a long time to ask me about the night I left, haven't you?

[Wu chuckles and hooks his thumbs in his belt.]

I guess I have, yeah. It's about what you were doing before you got thrown into that corp facility. You said that you had a friend who was in a bind but that was all you could say. How'd it go?

Let's just say we're not friends anymore and leave it at that.

Whatever you say, Shin.

Anyway, you ever think about when we were kids?

[He begins moving through some sort of pattern. Might be tai chi.]

I try not to. What are you talking about, exactly?

The old gang. Lockjaw, Double-Trey. Those guys.

You realize that old gang you're talking about were teenagers, right? Younger than Gobbet. Man, they felt so old back then. But Lockjaw couldn't have been more than seventeen, tops. And Double-Trey... Double-Trey was only thirteen when...

[Wu stops moving. Drifts off for a moment.]

Why were you thinking of them?

Just thinking about that thing DT used to say.

[Wu returns to his patterns. He manipulates an imaginary soap bubble between his hands.]

Improvise. Adapt. Overcome. That's how you beat the street. I remember Double-Trey saying that. It was while we were living between the Red Hot Nukes and the 162s. Crazy-rear end dwarf anarchists on one side and flesh-eating ghouls on the other. Those are the days that you long for?

Long for? No. I was just thinking that it's the same now as it was back then. It was you and me, Duncan. Those other guys were important, but it was always about you and me.

[His raspy baritone fills the space between you. Bridges it.]

Survive and watch each other's backs. Yeah, I know.

Guess that's it for today. Let's talk later.

Yeah, later would be good. Don't get me wrong, catching up is nice, but I'm not used to being as social as this. That's one of the reasons why it was so nice to work under Carter. We both appreciated long silences.

Hey, if you'd rather I didn't come by any more...

Did I say that? No. There's a difference between "I don't feel like talking right now" and "never speak to me again," Shin. It's subtle, but I think that you can find it if you try.

I dunno, Duncan. I'm pretty slow.

You can say that again.

[His lip curls into a smile.]

Oh, and... good talk, Shin. I'll catch up with you later.



Duncan isn't the only person we can drag into socializing on this ship, although it seems like not all of Is0bel is currently present on said ship at the moment.





Nice avatar. That's a good look on you.

Isn't it? I've spent months customizing this avatar. She feels more real to me than my own skin.

You really feel at home in the Matrix, don't you? You look happy in there.

I suppose that I am. It's a comfort thing... as long as I'm jacked in, I can be whoever I want to be. *Whatever* I want to be. Out there in meatspace, I usually feel uncomfortable in my own skin.

[The avatar offers you a lopsided smile.]

I'd probably just live in here if I could.

I've heard about deckers who've tried it. It never turned out well... dehydration is a bad way to go.

I know, I know. And of course, I was joking. But... truth be told, I do spend most of my time *out there* wishing that I were back *in here.* If you were a decker, you'd feel the same. It's hard to live in a cage of meat when you know how sweet it feels to leave your body behind.



Y'know, Taz... I've been thinking about the question you asked me a little while back. The one about the Walled City.

[The avatar fidgets.]

The, ah... the one that I dodged.

You don't have to make a big thing out of it, Is0bel. It's fine. Besides, the whole "game of questions" thing was your idea in the first place.

It *was* a dodge, though. I didn't mean for it to be, but that's what happened. I cheated you out of an answer that I owed you. For what it's worth, I wasn't trying to do that. It's just that talking about the Walled City is... problematic... for me.

I understand. I grew up in the Barrens, I know how hard it can be to talk about this stuff.



The Walled City - that entire chapter of my life - is nothing but a blur to me. I can give you general information about life on the inside, but the specifics of my own experience are gone.

Well, that's conveniently inconvenient. Don't tell us the place eats people's memories or something on top of everything else.

Gone? What do you mean, gone? Do you have amnesia, or something?

Something like that.

[The avatar fidgets on the screen.]

There were a variety of factors in play. The upshot of all this is that there *are* things that I can tell you about, but only a few, and only in bold strokes. Don't expect any personal stories - I couldn't share them, even if I wanted to. So if that's okay with you - if you'll be satisfied with trivia and urban legends - then we can talk. Just say the word. Otherwise... well, at least now you know why.

How did you lose your childhood memories?

[The Is0bel avatar frowns.]

I'd rather not go into it. It's personal. Suffice it to say that I've never missed them... at least, not until now.

Well, if you ever want to talk about it, I'm a good listener.

[She looks away.]

Great. I'll keep that in mind.

Then give me what you can about the Walled City. At this point, anything would help.

All right.

[The avatar licks its lips. Nods.]

I can do that.



When I think of the Walled City, the thing that stands out the most in my mind is the legends. The mythology of the place. If I hadn't lived with them, I might've found those stories fascinating.

[The scintillating figure turns to you on the screen.]

Did you know that Kowloon Walled City is supposed to be cursed? That's what the locals believe. We had ghost stories and everything.

You believed that the slum was cursed?



(Academic) "Yama Kings." Derived from the mythological judge of the dead, I presume?

That was where they came from, yeah. But the Yama Kings that we told stories about were their own things. Bastardizations of the original myths. It'd probably be easiest to think of them like urban legends... our own little pantheon of monsters and morality tales. The stories are still clear in my mind, even after... everything that happened. Everyone in the Walled City believed them.

"You can get out of the Walled City if you make a deal with Fu Mang. Cut the hearts from the forty-four people closest to you and bring them to him. He will reward you with riches."

"Don't go under that arch, or Qian Ya will catch you."

[The avatar grabs at the air, its hands leaving glowing trails as they move.]

"She'll rip out your teeth, tie your tongue in a knot, and make you her slave for eternity."

We had Chih-Shiang, our own homegrown Judge of Souls. People would let themselves be flayed alive in hopes that he'd reawaken them in a better life. And we had Lam Vy, the Ebony Queen, who'd teach you to hide so well that you'd slowly mutate into a cockroach.

[The avatar cocks its head, smirking. A dismissive gesture.]

It's all bullshit, of course. But everybody in the Walled City believed it.

Those all sound like pretty raw deals, but you could say that about a lot of things when it comes to life in that slum.

If everyone believed in these things, maybe they're real.

[She shakes her head.]

No. They can't be. If they were, the body count in the Walled City would be a lot higher. The Yama Kings are just a fiction that my parents and neighbors invented to excuse their own actions. "I can't get ahead because demons are keeping me down."



It's all superstitious drivel, Taz. The misery in the Walled City isn't the fault demons or devils. *We* created it, and we perpetuate it. We blamed made-up monsters for our own failings. There's nothing more pathetic than that.

It sounds less like you're trying to convince me than it does like you're trying to convince yourself.

I don't need to convince myself of anything. I'm telling you this for *your* benefit, not mine. Anyway. That's enough for now, huh? I'm sure that gives you plenty to chew on. My obligation to give you an answer is satisfied, I think. So let's talk about something else.

Can you think of anything else at all that might help us?

I dunno. Maybe. I'll put some thought into it.



On second thought, maybe I do have an idea. Are you open to taking on more work?

That depends on the nature of the job and the size of the payday.

[The avatar smiles down on you from the monitor.]

Of course it does. This would be a small job - a side gig for me, outside of the scope of the work that Auntie Cheng brings you. As for the payday, I think I've got a line on some software that could help us. I can't get to it on my own, though... it's a two-person job at least.

And Kindly Cheng would be okay with this?

Sure. What does she care if we pick up a little extra scratch on the side? I mean, I wouldn't go out of the way to tell her about the job, or anything... but even if she were to find out, it's really none of her business. We're her employees, not her property.

All right, deal. Send the file.



All right. Can't wait to find out what this is all about.

I'm sure that the briefing I sent you will satisfy your curiosity. Trust me, Taz - this is a good job with a solid plan behind it. You'll see as soon as you've read it... and speaking of which, you should go do that now.

One thing at a time, figure we'll at least take a walk before thinking about choosing our next job.

When I get around to it, I will.

All right, but don't keep me waiting too long. Now, was there anything else that you wanted to talk about...?

Any thoughts about that last run?

[She shakes her head.]

Nope. Sorry. Jacking into the Octopus is how I relax after a long day of work. Some people go to sports bars or strip clubs. I do this. As a rule, I don't spoil my leisure time with shop talk.

But we're already talking shop, aren't we?

There's a difference between *the job* and *our lives.* It's after hours, and I don't wanna talk about work. So if you wouldn't mind changing the subject...

[She lets the sentence hang.]

Alright. In that case, I've gotta go, Is0bel.

Sure. Drop by any time.



And how are things in the local rat cabin today?





Are you trying to kill me?

[She looks hurt.]

Kill you? I'm offering you a gift! A gift of *friendship.*

[Gobbet waggles her finger under your nose. The oyster clings to her nail like a wad of chewing gum.]

C'mon. Eat the oyster.

The oyster's one thing, what's hitching a ride from that fingernail is almost more concerning. Oh well.

Alright, why not?





Yeah. Delicious.

I wouldn't go that far. But it's seafood, and it isn't made of soy. That makes it good in my book.

[She tilts back the tin, drains the remaining juice, and then flicks it into the overflowing bin at her side.]

So. What do you need?

Y'know, the "Bolthole" is a pretty mediocre name for a ship. Ever consider changing it?

Yeah, sure... considered it a bunch of times. I never really cared enough to actually *do* it, though.

[She shrugs.]

You wanna call 'er something else? I'm open to it.

We had an internal debate over a number of names, but in the end there could be only one option.

The "Big Texas." That's what we're calling her. Tell me you don't love it.

[She does her best to stifle a laugh.]

Uhhh... yeah. Sure. That's... that's pretty good, Seattle. You get a gold star for that one.

But we're using it, right?

[She rolls her eyes.]

Sure. Why the hell not? The Big Texas. That's just what we'll call her. I'm sure that Izz will be thrilled.

So how do you like life here on the Big Texas?

It's fine. Shaping up. Having new roomies is always nice.

[She smiles.]

How're you enjoying your cabin? Comfy enough for you?

It isn't half bad. Better than some of the places I squatted in back in the Barrens.

I've heard stories about the Redmond Barrens. Sounds like a real winner of a place. Kowloon isn't any better, of course. But at least our little slice of home is safe.

That's true. It's handy having a mob boss on our side.

Yeah. Handy. Auntie Cheng is definitely that.

[She half-frowns.]

Don't know if I'd say that she's on our side, though.

Yeah. I know what you mean.

'Course you do. Let's change the subject, huh? I'd rather not think about the old woman right now.

In that case, you said that you'd teach me how to be a better shadowrunner. I'm here to collect.

Still remember that, do you? Huh. I'd just sort of assumed that you'd laugh that off.

No dice, "wizened mentor." You offered. Now pay up.

[She straightens.]

Um. Okay. How about this: I'll tell you a story about a run gone bad. You tell me what you'd've done in the runners' place, and then we'll compare notes on your answer. How does that sound?

You tell me. You're the teacher here, remember?

Right. It sounds good. Of course it does. So that's what we'll do.





Early in your career? So you were, what, like... twelve years old?

[Her eyes narrow in mock indignation.]

You say that like I couldn't have been. When I was twelve, I could've *destroyed* you. And also, I was sixteen, practically an adult in ork years. We grow up fast. Anyway. The job was a hit on this tower - sort of a trid multiplex-slash-apartment complex. I'm sure that they've got 'em in Seattle, too... you know the kind. Seven huge screens, monster concession stand, coffin apartments on top like barnacles on a whale?

I lived in one for a while. Every time they showed an action movie, the walls would shake.

[She nods.]

Yeah, that'll happen.



Sounds more like a job for thrill gangers than full-fledged shadowrunners.

Yeah. It was a pretty bush-league gig, but the pay was decent enough. Not the sort of thing you'd turn down. So anyway, Sibilance - that was our group leader - had a plan. We knew that we had to go in quiet because the metroplex had a panic system wired directly to the HKPF. If we'd gone in shooting, we'd've been drowning in cops within ten minutes.

Sib thought that we could maybe take advantage of the apartments' terrible soundproofing and kick in Boggs' door when the movie got loud. We'd camp out near his doorway, wait for the ceiling to start raining plaster, then smash our way in with his neighbors none the wiser.

(Academic) This sounds kind of familiar...

Yeah, it's pretty close to what John Wilkes Booth did when he assassinated Lincoln. Sib was an amateur historian. Used to bore the rest of us to tears, but I guess that it could occasionally come in handy.



[She pauses for a moment.]

...Come to think of it, most of her plans involved kicking things. There's something a little sad about that.

Hey, a lot of things that need a good kick in this world. But it's maybe not the best Plan A since the world always has more legs to kick back with.

And this woman was the best suited to lead this particular group of runners?

Tragically, yes. Everyone else was various shades of amoral or screwed in the head. Sibilance might've had a tendency to solve all of her problems the same way, but she was better than the alternatives. Anyway. We heard a boom from downstairs, felt the walls shake with the reverb. Sib wheeled back and gave the door a massive kick, just as she'd planned.



There was a moment of silence. Then Sib let out this little gasp. The apartment was in shambles. It looked like a hurricane had hit it. Everything was trashed... everything but the door, which was miraculously still in one piece. Remember that this was a coffin apartment. It wasn't much wider than the door was to begin with. And Boggs... well, what was left of him was under the door, too.

Well, you got the "rough him up" part right.

Yeah. Unfortunately, he wound up a lot rougher than he was supposed to be.

[Her nose crinkles in discomfort.]

That door really did a number on him. Ribs sticking out of the skin, that kind of thing. It was a bloody mess. ...So, yeah. Boggs was dead. The stuff that we'd been sent to the apartment to recover had been smashed to bits. And then the building alarm went off.

So, that's the situation. Our payday is smashed. My temporary teammates are all standing around with stupid looks on their faces. The cops are coming. I'm standing by the kitchen.

[She plants her hands on her hips, smiling.]

What would you have done in my place?

Your group was in trouble. I'd have rallied with them, tried to help them fight their way past the cops and out.

We'd just been defeated by an inanimate object, Seattle. We got our asses kicked by a plastic door and the power of our own ambition. Fighting off waves of cops above a crowded movie theater didn't feel like the best of moves at the time.

So what did you do?



As for what I did that night? Well, I was standing by a kitchen, remember. I *could've* cut and run - I looked like any other street kid, I'd have blended in - but instead, I decided to stay and *help* my team.

When I think "crowded theater," I think "place where you can't shout 'fire!' because it'll cause a panic." And then I thought, "Cops don't charge into burning buildings! They help people get out of them!" And as it happened, I had the means to create real, *genuine* fire sitting right across from me. A pair of industrial ovens!

You set the building on fire?

Thinking about it now, she never did exclude herself from that part about everyone but the leader being "shades of amoral or screwed in the head". Torching a crowded building probably ticks both boxes, even.

I encouraged it to burn. Opened the gas vents wide, set the range on a timer, and motored back into the hallway. The others had started arguing amongst themselves. I told them to snap out of it and follow me down into the lobby - we had to clear the hallway before an errant spark took the whole floor out.

Unfortunately, the rest of the group wouldn't listen. Sib and the rest of the team were too busy arguing about the relative merits of her "let's kick things really hard and see what happens" tactical system to want anything to do with me. I shouted back to them that the kitchen was going to explode and continued down the hallway.



Your team burned to death!

[She crosses her arms over her chest.]

Look, they screwed *themselves* over when Sib kicked in that door. They were in a heap of trouble, and what I did would have gotten them out of it if they'd *listened* to me. Know how I know? Because it got *me* out. They could have followed me, but instead, they chose to argue until they exploded. That's on them, not me.

Of course, I couldn't collect any pay because the run had been a disaster. But after the explosion I got to ride in the front of the fire truck, and they gave me cookies and a blanket. I wound up dating one of those firemen a few weeks later. All things considered, it could have gone a lot worse.

[Gobbet claps her hands together and rubs them, a satisfied look on her face.]



Feels like we've learned all kinds of lessons and basically all of them are highly alarming, but as for the intended one...

“Go with your gut,” I guess?

[She nods sagely.]

That's right. Trust your impulses, and don't be afraid to wing it. Almost any action is better than no action at all. Once you've committed to doing something, you've gotta follow it through, though… no arguing or hand-wringing, just *do it.* If you get caught up in your own head, agonizing over past mistakes… well, don’t be surprised if you wind up dead. A kitchen fire can take you down as easily as a cop’s bullet if you stand around and let it.

Alternatively:

quote:

“Fire solves all problems.”

Well, that's *a* lesson, I guess. I, uh, wouldn't say that I agree with it, but if that's your major takeaway, well...

[She frowns.]

I think that I've just learned an important lesson about you.

Are you certain that Sibilance and the rest of the Macau team are dead?

[She shrugs.]

They weren't with me when I got evacuated with the rest of the moviegoers. I never saw them leave the building, and I haven't heard from 'em since. I guess it's possible that somebody made it... but I don't really run in those circles anymore. Odds are good that if anyone from the Macau team did survive, they'll have died off by now from sheer incompetence. Shadowrunning is an unforgiving business. You don't get to make too many mistakes.

Did any of the stuff in that story actually happen, or did you just make it up for my benefit?

Seattle. I'm hurt. It all went down exactly like I said it did.

[She pauses.]

Well, except for a couple of embellishments here and there. But they make it a better story. Artistic license, and all that.



Hate to break it to you, kiddo, but I'm beat. It's been a long day. Lesson's over for now. We'll pick it back up next time.

All right, Gobbet. I'll catch you next time.

Yeah, sounds good. I'll have your next lesson ready and waiting, too.

[She makes a brushing motion with her fingers.]

Scurry along now. Your mentor needs her rest.



As last thing before heading out, let's check what hot topics are being discussed in the Shadowland today.



[I know a lot of you are interested in that ¥50,000 the HKPF is promising in connection with the terrorist cell they're hunting, so I've been digging around for some better information. Think I've got some stuff of value.]
- Wharf Rat <04:29:55/08-13-56>

[Turns out they had a handler here in Hong Kong, by the name of Raymond Black. The HKPF tried to take him into custody the day before, but were forced to kill him in a shootout. Looks like Black and the terrorists are members of the White Star group, out of Henan.]
- Wharf Rat <04:31:10/08-13-56>

[Isn't White Star all about restoring Imperial China? One of those terrorists they killed was obviously North American. Why would she be helping a pro-imperialist group?.]
- Brother-6 <04:36:27/08-13-56>

[You got money, you can buy any kind of person you need. You're on Shadowlands, omae. You should know that.]
- Fenghuang <04:39:02/08-13-56>

[So what do we know about Black and his band of thugs? Anything we can use to track them down?]
- Dongjiang <04:42:47/08-13-56>

[The data I've been able to dig up says that Black was from Henan, and was distantly related to the Royal Family. He spent a couple of decades in Seattle making connections in the shadows in preparation for an attack on the Free Enterprise Zone. I've attached some dossiers on his remaining agents.]
- ROLLINTHUNDER! <04:44:33/08-13-56>










[Like the title says. Good location, cheap rent. Serious offers only, please.]
- HarbourRat <06:16:02/08-13-56>

[What do you mean by "top shelf"? As in a fancy corp condo? How’d you manage that?]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:18:27/08-13-56>

[Naw, man. It’s literally the top shelf of the converted maintenance closet I live in.]
- HarbourRat <06:20:11/08-13-56>

[You're joking.]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:24:48/08-13-56>

[No joke! It’s cheap and the location's good - right near the Temple St. night market. And its has superfast access, just in case you need to get in and out of the Matrix quick. I’m not the sort to ask questions. There’s just about enough space to stretch out your legs lying down, and there’s a ceiling hook for your gear. Whaddya say?]
- HarbourRat <06:29:17/08-13-56>

[I dunno. I need a place, but still…]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:32:52/08-13-56>

[A shelf in a shared closet? Screw that! I’ve got a sweet pad to rent that you can have all to yourself. It’s not Victoria Peak or anything, but it’s a bargain.]
- HotPot888 <06:35:19/08-13-56>

[Where’s it at?]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:39:37/08-13-56>

[Kowloon Walled City. It's one of the new construction units on the outer edge.]
- HotPot888 <06:41:23/08-13-56>

[I’ll throw in a second ceiling hook. Deal?]
- HarbourRat <06:44:39/08-13-56>

[OK. Message me and we’ll work out the nitty gritty.]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:49:51/08-13-56>

[Seriously? The Walled City isn't *that* bad! My apartment is huge, and it even has windows! I’ll beat HarbourRat’s rent. In fact, just tell me what you want to pay.]
- HotPot888 <06:53:27/08-13-56>

[Hello?]
- HotPot888 <08:21:56/08-13-56>




[Looking for experienced decker for a discreet milk run on a supply house for purveyors of recreational substances. Potential for a longer term arrangement. We’re a team that’s been together for years, running your basic heists and the occasional transport gig. We’ve got a reliable fixer and long list of happy clients.
Requirement: You must have a good sense of humor.]

- gimmesomenuyen888 <14:13:23/08-13-56>

[Hey, are you willing to give a newbie a shot? I’ve been in and out of Matrix since I was in school. I raised some creds doing odd jobs, so I’ve got a hot new cyberdeck that I’m itching to try on a real run.]
- AmaZ00m <14:26:11/08-13-56>

[I dunno, man. We’d really, really like to find a long-term decker, and you kinda don’t know poo poo. You said so yourself. Sorry.]
- gimmesomenuyen888 <14:34:42/08-13-56>

[Aw, c’mon, you said it was a milk run. How else would a shadowrunner start if not with an easy gig? I’m being up front with you. Doesn’t that count for something?]
- AmaZ00m <14:47:55/08-13-56>

[Fine. I got a test for you. You hack this guy CaptainScone and change his password to “EROTICMASSAGE.”]
- gimmesomenuyen888 <14:56:03/08-13-56>

[I’m on it! Thanks!]
- AmaZ00m <14:58:48/08-13-56>

[Done! …Am I in or what? Say yes, say yes...]
- AmaZ00m <15:36:59/08-13-56>

[WHAT. THE. gently caress.]
- CaptainScone <15:41:14/08-13-56>

[AmaZ00m, may I introduce you to our rigger, CaptainScone? You’ll make a fine addition to our team.]
- gimmesomenuyen888 <15:44:23/08-13-56>

[THANK YOU! You won’t regret this!]
- AmaZ00m <15:51:34/08-13-56>

[You gotta stop getting people to hack me, gimme, or you’ll be looking for a new rigger next.]
- CaptainScone <15:53:27/08-13-56>

[Aww, you know that you love me.]
- gimmesomenuyen888 <15:57:12/08-13-56>




[All right, folks, we're trying it again, this time under a super-secret code name. There's no telling how long this will last, so let the bashing begin!]
- MatrixBard <05:02:11/08-13-56>

[Super-secret code name? You just ran the words "poetry slam" through a thesaurus.]
- Snozzbert <05:07:11/08-13-56>

[Poetry, people. Not complaints.]
- MatrixBard <05:11:05/08-13-56>

[A thief on the run.
A silencer in the dark.
The rat shaman lurks.]

- Jivebert <05:15:23/08-13-56>

[Got one for the coyote shamans, too.

An unbound Trickster,
This shaman fears no peril:
Wily coyote.]

- Jivebert <05:18:40/08-13-56>

[On a roll, Jivey!]
- Snozzbert <05:20:01/08-13-56>

[Here’s another one, if Mad can stand it:

Pulses of light glance off bright chrome
Translucent spheres encase my treasure
Mirrors and tubes and neon implode
Another day in the Matrix.]

- T3nn1s0n <05:27:56/08-13-56>

[Hey, I can do traditional. I happen to prefer the haiku, because less typing.

Gossamer tresses.
Infinity in your gaze.
Very pointy ears.]

- nowyourmad <05:30:29/08-13-56>

[Extra points for using “gossamer” correctly in a sentence.]
- MatrixBard <05:38:45/08-13-56>

[I like elves.]
- nowyourmad <05:41:12/08-13-56>

[Jivebert is still the master of the haiku. In fact…]
- Snozzbert <05:46:39/08-13-56>

[O graveyard creeper,
Ashen skin, spindly fingers,
And claws freak me out.]

- Jivebert <05:48:23/08-13-56>

[All right, Shakespeares. This is strike two. This thread is getting locked, and you aren't doing this again, got me? This board is for deckers who wanna talk shop. There are plenty of other forums that you can use for your stupid amateur poetry. I'd suggest that you go find one.]
- SYSOP <06:02:07/08-13-56>




And with that we've at last thoroughly talked and browsed our way through all of Big Texas, and so it'll be the outside world's turn next. Until then.












Couple of the other possible answers and Duncan's responses to the question of what we get out of being a shadowrunner:

Freedom. I'm not a cog in the corporate machine.

Sure you're not.

[He chuckles to himself.]

Come on, Taz, think. Of *course* you're a cog. *Everyone's a cog.* Whether you're working for them, consuming their crap, getting brainwashed by news media that they control, voting for the people that they put in front of you, or being policed by people that they own, you're a cog. And you're the lowest kind of cog.

-

I get to hurt people for money.

[Wu grins briefly, and his old feral intensity surfaces for a moment. Then his jaw sets, and his eyes become guarded.]

I'm not that person anymore. Brutality isn't a path for me to go down. It's a cliff for me to nose-dive off of.


---


Is0bel and Gobbet's "last run" comments which didn't come up:

I thought I wouldn't miss the Whampoans. And you know what? I don't. They're all a bunch of pompous, cliquish tech junkies who act like they're in high school - all backstabbing and whispered gossip. The Elders are the worst of them, always pitting their cronies against each other. They're useful allies, but I don't ever want to deal with them directly again.

They had high school inside the Walled City?

Well, I didn't exactly *go* to high school. Or any school, for that matter. But I've watched a lot of trid, and I hang out on the Matrix all day. I think I have a pretty good idea of what teenagers are like.

I can't believe Ng and the other Elders would be stupid enough to try and shirk payment on a shadowrunner. A ghoul shadowrunner. Who's dressed like a Red Samurai. You pulled some real smooth stuff with Lam, though. Convincing him that their plot was in everybody's best interests. We keep them as allies, we get a nasty new team member, and hopefully the Whampoans pick some new Elders with better common sense.

-

I don't get the Whampoans, I really don't. Is0bel is about as close as I usually get to their particular flavor of crazy. You'd think with all that technology and backup, they'd have been smart enough not to stiff a Red Samurai on payment, much less a ghoul. I dunno, for 'smart' people, they seem pretty drat dumb to me.

I think we pulled off a drat miracle back there though. Not only did we get a creepy-rear end close combat expert on our side, we exposed the Elders and got ourselves a nice bonus for being smart. Not a lot of jobs go that right. I'm feeling better and better about having you in charge, Seattle.

habeasdorkus
Nov 3, 2013

Royalty is a continuous shitposting motion.

“Fire solves all problems” is always the correct response. :colbert:

Kanfy
Jan 9, 2012

Just gotta keep walking down that road.


habeasdorkus posted:

“Fire solves all problems” is always the correct response. :colbert:

That is the only response that isn't worded as a question, but as a statement of fact.

(The other two remaining responses were "Don't go on shadowruns with idiots?" and "I'm sorry, did that story have a point?")

achtungnight
Oct 4, 2014

Adequacy Achieved!

Fire solves all problems? Tell that to people in a certain area of California, see what sort of response you get.

I’d like to see what she says if you ask what point there was to that story. The proper response- “I like stories.” :D

girl dick energy
Sep 30, 2009

You think you have the wherewithal to figure out my puzzle vagina?


I absolutely adore the dynamic and rapport they let you build with Duncan. He’s a good character, just not an immediately exciting one.

Real shame he’s a cop.

wiegieman
Apr 22, 2010

Royalty is a continuous cutting motion




There's a reason why Duncan's lethal force tree is better than his nonlethal tree.

habeasdorkus
Nov 3, 2013

Royalty is a continuous shitposting motion.

Yeah, but the beanbag knockout and the ability to cuff people so you avoid killing them is hella cool and I used it often.

Deep Dish Fuckfest
Sep 6, 2006


Fucking computers...


Toilet Rascal

I remember some of the scenes with Gobbet on the boat, but I had completely forgotten everything about that story. It's a good story.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




I sure am glad that 'getting so engrossed in an argument you'd miss a call to evacuate for FIRE' is not one of my many personal quirks. Life's hard enough.

I dont know
Aug 9, 2003



By popular demand posted:

I sure am glad that 'getting so engrossed in an argument you'd miss a call to evacuate for FIRE' is not one of my many personal quirks. Life's hard enough.

Sometimes being right is the most important thing on the planet. As anyone on an internet message board should appreciate.

Hwurmp
May 20, 2005

I LIKE TO MAKE VAGUE THREATS TO PEOPLE ON THE INTERNET BECAUSE I AM TOUGH GUY. P.S. ASK ME ABOUT THE TIME A GIRL BEAT ME UP IN GRADE SCHOOL. HER NAME WAS SUZIE SHE DREW A BIG WEINER ON MY FOREHEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

No it's not

Deep Dish Fuckfest
Sep 6, 2006


Fucking computers...


Toilet Rascal

Yes it is

Sylphosaurus
Sep 6, 2007


No, the truth is somewhere in between!

Gun Jam
Apr 11, 2015


"Ethiomalian territories"
*check map*
...what?

Akratic Method
Mar 9, 2013

It's going to pay off eventually--I'm sure of it.

Any day now.



achtungnight posted:

Fire solves all problems? Tell that to people in a certain area of California, see what sort of response you get.

I’d like to see what she says if you ask what point there was to that story. The proper response- “I like stories.” :D

They use fire to fight fires all the time! I think there’s even some kind of saying about that. :v:

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




I dont know posted:

Sometimes being right is the most important thing on the planet. As anyone on an internet message board should appreciate.

Maybe that's why, I always make sure to get my recommended dose of sub-moronic arguments on the internet.

Just start your day by calling someone a cretin for his choice in breakfast toast or whatever and clear your mind before that sense assassination job, and afterwards you can wash off the blood and grime and log on to point out that tacky new smart gadget is clearly for posers only.

RabidWeasel
Aug 4, 2007

Cultures thrive on their myths and legends...and snuggles!


Gun Jam posted:

"Ethiomalian territories"
*check map*
...what?

Gonna guess that Ethiopia and Mali decided to join hands across the middle of Africa or something equally stupid

resurgam40
Jul 22, 2007

Battler, the literal stupidest man on earth. Why are you even here, Battler, why did you come back to this place so you could fuck literally everything up?

I cannot describe how warm it makes me feel that, even in the grim darkness of the corporate future, one of the popular activities on Shadownet is "Mods are asleep; post poetry"

One practices revolution in the time and manner one may, I guess.

Stroth
Mar 31, 2007

All Problems Solved


Kanfy posted:



[Like the title says. Good location, cheap rent. Serious offers only, please.]
- HarbourRat <06:16:02/08-13-56>

[What do you mean by "top shelf"? As in a fancy corp condo? How’d you manage that?]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:18:27/08-13-56>

[Naw, man. It’s literally the top shelf of the converted maintenance closet I live in.]
- HarbourRat <06:20:11/08-13-56>

[You're joking.]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:24:48/08-13-56>

[No joke! It’s cheap and the location's good - right near the Temple St. night market. And its has superfast access, just in case you need to get in and out of the Matrix quick. I’m not the sort to ask questions. There’s just about enough space to stretch out your legs lying down, and there’s a ceiling hook for your gear. Whaddya say?]
- HarbourRat <06:29:17/08-13-56>

[I dunno. I need a place, but still…]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:32:52/08-13-56>

[A shelf in a shared closet? Screw that! I’ve got a sweet pad to rent that you can have all to yourself. It’s not Victoria Peak or anything, but it’s a bargain.]
- HotPot888 <06:35:19/08-13-56>

[Where’s it at?]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:39:37/08-13-56>

[Kowloon Walled City. It's one of the new construction units on the outer edge.]
- HotPot888 <06:41:23/08-13-56>

[I’ll throw in a second ceiling hook. Deal?]
- HarbourRat <06:44:39/08-13-56>

[OK. Message me and we’ll work out the nitty gritty.]
- ShenzhenJoe <06:49:51/08-13-56>

We've got enough roommates already Gobbet, quit that.

bob dobbs is dead
Oct 8, 2017

I love peeps

Nap Ghost

heoi doesnt exist in real life but is obviously towards the harbor side of the kowloon walled city, which one expects to be on the site of the old kowloon walled city

temple st is on the other side of the kwc with respect to the harbor, so lateral with respect to the mountains

bob dobbs is dead fucked around with this message at 18:17 on Aug 19, 2021

Stroth
Mar 31, 2007

All Problems Solved


bob dobbs is dead posted:

heoi doesnt exist in real life but is obviously towards the harbor side of the kowloon walled city, which one expects to be on the site of the old kowloon walled city

temple st is on the other side of the kwc with respect to the harbor, so lateral with respect to the mountains

The Walled City also takes about five minutes to just walk around. It’s only four blocks.

Deep Dish Fuckfest
Sep 6, 2006


Fucking computers...


Toilet Rascal

Oh and also I'm extremely curious what picture of Gobbet they used for her fake dossier. There's no amount of photoshop that could make Gobbet look military.

I would also pay good money for a comedy trid where Gobbet and Eiger end up in the same unit and have adventures together.

GhostStalker
Mar 26, 2010

Guys, find a woman who looks at you the way GhostStalker looks at every bald, obese, single 58 year old accountant from Tulsa who managed to win $4,000 by not wagering on a Final Jeopardy triple stumper.

Gun Jam posted:

"Ethiomalian territories"
*check map*
...what?

RabidWeasel posted:

Gonna guess that Ethiopia and Mali decided to join hands across the middle of Africa or something equally stupid

Like a lot of RPGs written mostly by white people in the 80s that take place in “the future”, the writers really didn’t have any idea with what to do with Subsaharan Africa outside of maybe South Africa. So we have the Ethomalian Territories, which are basically a mess of petty kingdoms and statelets.

I really don’t remember seeing them mentioned before the Sixth World Almanac (not even on like a world map or whatever, but I think that was more of an afterthought because the primary setting of SR is in North America, and East Asia and Europe are certainly areas of more interest. Amongst the fanbase, I would gather not many people care about what’s going on in Africa) back in the mid 2000s during 4th Ed.

Most of what we know about Subsaharan Africa outside of South Africa turning into the Azanian Confederation with a literal Zulu Elf Kingdom and a Boer state is that the Ethomalian Territories exist, there’s the Kingdoms of Nigeria with Lagos being a corporate city in an otherwise lawless area, there’s a Mass Driver near Mt. Kilimanjaro and the attendant corporate presence nearby, and Asamando exists as a ghoul kingdom in the deepest darkest heart of the continent.

KataraniSword
Apr 22, 2008

but at least I don't have
a MLP or MSPA avatar.
I am my own man.



RabidWeasel posted:

Gonna guess that Ethiopia and Mali decided to join hands across the middle of Africa or something equally stupid

Somalia seems more likely than Mali, in that case.

Just, you know. Throw that on the pile of the other "oof" implications that Shadowrun has.

Rogue AI Goddess
May 10, 2012

I enjoy the sight of humans on their knees.
That was a joke... unless..?


Gun Jam posted:

"Ethiomalian territories"
*check map*
...what?
Probably formed in the aftermath of the second Finno-Korean hyperwar.

bob dobbs is dead
Oct 8, 2017

I love peeps

Nap Ghost

asamando is by canon the richest one. but by far the most hosed up one ofc

Natty Ninefingers
Feb 17, 2011


By popular demand posted:

I sure am glad that 'getting so engrossed in an argument you'd miss a call to evacuate for FIRE' is not one of my many personal quirks. Life's hard enough.

Combat drugs were probably involved.

By popular demand
Jul 17, 2007

IT *BZZT* WASP ME--
IT WASP ME ALL *BZZT* ALONG!




That's the wrong type of a fight reflex to enhance!

God, imagine a fox news pundit frothing at the mouth barely holding himself from biting into the host.

some plague rats
Jun 5, 2012



Gun Jam posted:

"Ethiomalian territories"
*check map*
...what?

Ethiopia and Somalia share a border...? It's culturally really stupid but the geography makes sense

Ibblebibble
Nov 12, 2013




I think they thought the -mali- in the name referred to Mali the country, which was also my first though before I remembered Somalia.

GhostStalker
Mar 26, 2010

Guys, find a woman who looks at you the way GhostStalker looks at every bald, obese, single 58 year old accountant from Tulsa who managed to win $4,000 by not wagering on a Final Jeopardy triple stumper.

Ibblebibble posted:

I think they thought the -mali- in the name referred to Mali the country, which was also my first though before I remembered Somalia.

Yeah, I think that was my thought process as well. Looking them up, it’s apparently a cybered up theocracy since the priests there were so successful in combatting VITAS and they took over once the governments of the area collapsed.

This is the only map of SR Africa that I could find:


Notice the huge stretch of “Congo Tribal Lands” because the writers couldn’t figure out anything interesting to do with Central Africa because I guess no one really cared.

Slaan
Mar 16, 2009

I GAIN POWER FROM EATING PEOPLE, JUST ASSUME I'M ALWAYS VOTING TO EAT PEOPLE





Oh hey. The Bariba actually live in the place that map has batonuu. I learned a bit of the language, batonū, when I lived in the area for a couple years :eng101:

Slaan fucked around with this message at 17:45 on Aug 21, 2021

Keldulas
Mar 18, 2009


The Shadowlands board is seriously one of my favourite parts of SR: HK. It's just the right mix of serious, goofy, and 'what the hell?'

sebmojo
Oct 23, 2010


Legit Cyberpunk







habeasdorkus posted:

“Fire solves all problems” is always the correct response. :colbert:

bob dobbs is dead
Oct 8, 2017

I love peeps

Nap Ghost

Keldulas posted:

The Shadowlands board is seriously one of my favourite parts of SR: HK. It's just the right mix of serious, goofy, and 'what the hell?'

not just srhk. the peeps who wrote those before about a third way through 5th (or the embezzlement thing i guess) knew in their fuckin bones How Peeps Post. just some goddamn fuckin Posts

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GhostStalker
Mar 26, 2010

Guys, find a woman who looks at you the way GhostStalker looks at every bald, obese, single 58 year old accountant from Tulsa who managed to win $4,000 by not wagering on a Final Jeopardy triple stumper.

bob dobbs is dead posted:

not just srhk. the peeps who wrote those before about a third way through 5th (or the embezzlement thing i guess) knew in their fuckin bones How Peeps Post. just some goddamn fuckin Posts

Yeah, the Shadowtalkers are some of my favorite parts of the splat books.

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