Friday, June 22, 2018

Rise of the Machine (Part One)

"For among all things which a man will struggle for, none are as powerful as love.  A man devoted to peace will take up arms and destroy all, and even himself, gladly for the sake of love.  Beware the man who loves fiercely, for his wrath is surpassed only by God's." ~ attributed to various philosophers over the course of written human history....

February 14th, 2060

0800 hours

Aria was in the bathroom while Rose and I were fixing breakfast.  I was sore, aching from being shot by a chummer of mine.  Rose looked at me with curious eyes. I was brooding, sore, and had not slept well.  My dreams were plagued by Edgy Ed's emotionless face, his light blue cybereyes, and reliving the moment he shot me.

"I will miss Gitti," Rose said. "He liked you, I think."

I felt a wince of pain that had nothing to do with my new scars. "I think he did too, Rose.  I'll miss him."

"Why did Ed kill him?" Rose was asking a sensible question.  A question I didn't have an answer for.

"I don't know baby girl." I told her. "I doubt I'll ever know.  Maybe he was double crossing us for the money.  Maybe he had a grudge we didn't know about.  Maybe he went insane. I just don't know."

"Will we stop working for a time?"

I paused in my tracks at that jewel of a question.  I had a family to support, a marriage to pay for, and made my living as a professional criminal.  "It may be a good idea to lay low for while.  If Ed went over because of money, or the statue, I don't want to be waving my hands around asking for people to spot me."

Rose seemed to take that in for a moment.  Then said, "I can do the jobs.  I can make the money for the paying of the bills."

I felt a smile grow on my face in spite of my dour mood.  "I don't think I want that for you, Rose. Or for the twins for that matter. I think we'll only go out in pairs.  If I leave you here to watch the family, I'll take as many other spirits as I can."

Rose's response caught me off guard. "Then you should call forth more allies.  More powerful spirits like me.  There is room in the house, and I can help teach them the living skills."  She brought over a skillet filled with sizzling sausage links and began plating them.

"With two babies it would be wise to have more help.  Ed showed me that people cannot always be trusted. But you treat me well, and I know you will treat others well too." Rose, paused and looked up at me. "I can help with Aria, another to help with the babies would be wise.  You should also summon another powerful spirit to go to work with you and keep you safe.  Myself and the others would stay and help Aria; and if people, dark spirits, drones, or monsters of any sort come to harm the family, we will kill them."

There wasn't any malice in Rose's words.  She was stating something she considered a fact.

Aria came in, and we all sat for a nice breakfast.  I thought for a long time about Rose's suggestion.

1400 hours ~ Happy Valentines Day ~

Aria and I were enjoying a late lunch at the Gray Line.  We had a table on the lower floor, and were among only a handful of couples there.

"All the ambiance, none of the gun play this time?" Aria chided.

"That wasn't my fault." My feigned indignation brought a smile to her face.  Rose was close by in the astral plane, watching us for any signs of magical assault.  {I'm not paranoid, just cautious!}  Our table was near the glass and we could see divers in the water clearing the trash that had washed in too close to the restaurant.  We watched an otter swim over and swat at the bubbles floating up from one diver's mask.  It was incredibly fun to watch, and brought a smile to Aria's face.

"We need to get something for Rose too." Aria suggested.

"Good idea.  I think she'll like that."  I smiled and thought about what Rose had brought up earlier. "Which reminds me, Rose said something to me today.  I think you'll want to hear about this."

Aria sipped at her ice water. "Okay, but let me pee first." She stood and walked toward the ladies room.  She was four months into the pregnancy and her walk was changing toward the pregnancy 'waddle' I had read about.  I thought it was cute.  I sent a mental message to Rose to keep an out for trouble, and ordered another lemonade as the waiter passed by.

I was alone at the table when my pocket secretary beeped.  I didn't recognize the number.

"Not today." I said, and silenced the pestiferous little device.

Aria rejoined me after a few minutes, and our salads arrived a tic after that.  I wasn't pressed for time so I didn't bother bringing up other ally spirits. "a conversation for another day" I told myself.  The food was good and we ate and talked, enjoying our lunch date.  Aria had just told me a really funny (and very dirty) joke that had me laughing in my seat, when the waiter walked up to us.  "Sorry if I'm loud, the lady is quite entertaining." I said.

The waiter smiled, "Not at all Mr. Gun.  There is a call for you on the house unit, would you care to take it?"

My laughing stopped and I saw sparks dance at my fingertips.  I hadn't made reservations as 'Mr. Gun'.   Aria's hands quietly slipped beneath the table.

"I'm afraid you have me at a disadvantage," I replied.  "Who is trying to reach me?"

"I wouldn't know sir."  the waiter responded.  He seemed suddenly very nervous at the sight of me. "Shall I forward the call or would you like to use the house unit?"

I looked to Aria, "I'll be right back."  To the air I said, "Rose, I need you please."

Rose shimmered into existence.  She was a beautiful dog, broad and strong looking.  She looked up at me expectantly. "Rose, protect Aria." I said.

The waiter started to say something, but I fixed him with my best glare. "She's not a real dog. She's the most powerful spirit you are ever likely to see."  With that I walked with the waiter to a wall panel behind a discreet divider.

A call was waiting for me.


To be continued in part two ....


Thank you for reading my fan fiction.  This story is broken in to smaller parts and will be told over the coming weeks.  I hope you'll enjoy the telling.

I want to thank all of you who supported my KickStarter campaign for The Steel Road.  Your support is very much appreciated.

I want to thank Russell Zimmerman for his kind words of encouragement and his support during the KickStarter campaign.  You can read his Shadowrun novels "Shaken" and "Neat" which are available on Amazon.  I think they are really great.

1 comment:

Thank you for your comment chummer.