Thursday, July 5, 2018

Old Promises and a new life

"Adapt what is useful, reject what is useless, and add what is specifically your own." ...Lee Jun-fan, AKA: Bruce Lee


I spent the remainder of May, 2060 in a blur of debriefings at work, last minute childproofing at home, weekly visits to the OBGYN with Aria, and many sleepless nights.  Rose would wake me from nightmares where I heard old chummers screaming, witnessed others die in front of me, or wandered in darkened corridors of stone which were adorned with carved obscenities that writhed and bled.  I had very little rest but I laughed it off to Aria claiming that I was going to be well prepared for when the twins arrived.

Samantha Goode was busy recruiting replacement personnel for the replacements we had lost.  I didn't recommend anyone for the job, as I didn't want anyone else I knew to die.  Jazz, Zero and I started meeting for lunch each day, where we would sit and not talk about anything.  I gave each of them a box of silver ammunition for their sidearms.  They both accepted with good grace.

While studying up on foci enchantment I stumbled upon some information that brought to mind Crank and Ricki's requests for having spells attached to them.  I spent most of the week going over the material but couldn't definitively satisfy myself that it could be done.  I sent a message to Mike and received an automated reply that he was busy with a project and would contact me after the new moon.  I looked over the pile of notes I had compiled, and resigned myself to my next course of action.

Friday, June 4th 2060

2101 Hours, Seattle Metroplex local time (Sundown)

Aria was at her mother's home for a baby shower.  I sent Rose with her to help and as a discreet bodyguard.  Lily stayed behind with me.  I had work to do and I thought I might have need of her help.

I was in the basement, laying within a carefully structured ritual circle.  My head rested in Lily's lap as I slipped from my body and into the astral plane.   The circle around me bound up the energies erupting from the orb of light floating above me.  I was adrift in heady currents of magical energy.  Lily offered her hand to me and I took it in my own.

"Stay close, Lily." I said.    I focused on the orb of light and shot forward seeking knowledge from the metaplanes.

I pulled up short before a metal door. An old man sat in a chair that obscured the space where a handle would be.

"What do you want?" the old man asked.

"I'm seeking knowledge." I replied.

"Knowledge you'll use to kill more people I bet." The old man was right.  What I had in mind would, most likely, be used to kill.

"You would win that bet." I said.  "It could also be used for knowledge and defense.  What the tool is used for is the responsibility of the wielder."

"Oh?  And you'll give that tool out to only the worthy, right?"  The old man stared into me with eyes like chips of polished obsidian. "You'll just put the gun their hands.  Not like you're pulling the trigger this time."

I thought about that.  "No, I'm complicit in what this knowledge is used for.  I'll just have to make wise choices about how I employ it."

The old man, the dweller on the threshold, contemplated me for a moment.  Then he rose from his chair and moved aside, revealing a simple ring handle on the door.  "Make better choices then, and there may be hope for you yet."  I walked through the door and into my astral quest.

The journey seemed to last for years.  I wandered through ancient libraries, sat with aboriginal shamans, traced intricate patterns in great dunes of fine sand, walked paths that doubled back upon themselves through dimensions I hadn't imagined existed.  I got lost in details, found nuggets of truth, and drew conclusions I had never anticipated.  I learned and grew with the knowledge.    As time wore on I carved my discovery onto a large stone.  When that was done I stepped back to admire my handiwork and realized that the stone was just a grain of knowledge resting in the palm of my own hand.

Lily found me.  She was worried and led me back along the strange paths I had taken.  I found a gate I had not noticed before, and walked through into bright light.

I woke up on the cold floor of my basement laboratory.   My muscles ached, I was stiff, and I really had to piss.  I ran to the bathroom, cleaned up and went to bed.  Aria was sleeping peacefully, Rose was laying at her feet.  As I settled in and Lily came and lay down on the floor next me.  For the first time in weeks I slept well.

My alarm went off at 0500.  I looked and found that it was Monday, swore vehemently, and got dressed.  A quick breakfast and good morning kiss for Aria later, and then I was out the door and on my way to the office.  My weekend had vanished.

2000 hours, Seattle Metroplex local time

Crank came over for dinner.  The large man sat down gingerly on the over-sized chair we had picked up for troll guests.  Rose and Lily sat on either side of him, while Aria and I sat across from him.  The meal was wonderful and we made a point of not discussing business at the table.  While Rose and Lily cleared the dishes, I kissed Aria and excused myself. I invited Crank down to my laboratory for a little chat.

"I've never been in a magician's work space unless I was blowing it up." Crank commented as he stooped down to clear the doorway.  "It's not got enough head room for trolls, omae."

"Yeah, sorry about that Crank." I replied. We sat down and I got right to the heart of things.  "Remember a while back you asked me about getting a spell fixed on you?  To make you faster or whatever."

I had his attention. Crank leaned forward slightly, "Yeah, I remember.  I figured you must have forgotten or else maybe it couldn't be done. Do you know something?"

"Yeah, I think I have it figured out." I told him.  "How do you feel about tattoos?"

"I've got two.  One you'll never see." He winked at me with a broad smile of perfectly polished teeth.  "If a new 'tat can make magic work, I'm down for having more done."

"From what I've learned, it can be done but would require new ink." I frowned at him as I confessed. "I'm afraid I'd have to create the tattoo myself.  I can't promise it will be beautiful."

Crank thought about that a moment.  "Plenty of people have bad tattoos.  If I have one that look likes drek but gives me a better chance at staying alive, I'll take that trade."

"Second thing:  I haven't actually done this before.  I came back from an astral quest yesterday and I discovered the technique there.  I'm confident it will work, but I could be wrong." I looked the big man in the eye. "I just want to be straight with you Crank. I believe it will work."

"Sub-zero.  How much for you to do this?" Crank asked.

"For you?  Nothing.  You're basically going to be the first person I try this on and I'm not going to charge you in case it goes wrong.  If it goes right, you can owe me a favor.  A few things you need to know about this." I took a breath and told my friend a truth and a lie. "First, it will take a while to do.  I'll need to look over your aura, then design the tattoo.  After that, I'll have to create some special inks for it, then we ink you up.  While that happens I'll be applying the magic.  If all goes well, the spell takes hold, I don't die from the mana I'm channeling into you, and you get a magic boost.  Second thing, it will stay active so long as I stay alive or until someone dispels it.  If I die before you do the magic in the tattoo will vanish."

Crank took that in with a smile. "Hell Tommy, you'll outlive me anyway. I guess that will give me a little more motivation to keep you alive if you ever hit the streets again."

I smiled at him and felt a twinge of guilt for deceiving him.  "Yeah, well once my current gig wraps up I'll be back to the Brick Yard.  Now, for the bad news, I won't be able to start this for a few months.  I've got to finish what I'm working on first.  Also, I would appreciate it if you don't tell anyone I did the enchanting. I don't want people knocking on my door asking to become magic powered super heroes."

We had a bourbon together and laughed about some things we'd both seen on social media channels of late.  Crank left before 2200 hours, and I spent the rest of the evening reading to Aria, Rose and Lily.

June 14th, 2060

0400 hours, Seattle Metroplex local time

Jasmine and Violet were born after eight hours of labor.  Aria swore to me that we were NEVER having more children.  The girls were pink and had short wisps of silver hair.  They cried until the nurses laid them on Aria's chest.  The three of them looked oddly perfect, with Aria being thoroughly exhausted and the twins resting on her.

The hospital staff placed ankle bracelets on my daughters and took them to the nursery, where all new babies go after being hurried into this world.  Aria and I received wristbands that matched us to them, and I tasked Rose to watch over the twins from the astral.  The hospital was warded, but Rose slipped through those defenses and took up watch. Our telepathic link got a great workout as Rose reported in anytime someone came into the nursery.

June 16th, 2060

Aria, Jasmine, and Violet were discharged from the hospital. We came home, and life was never the same after that.


Thank you for reading my fan fiction.

Tommy's story encompasses a lot of material from game play as well as downtime role playing.  I hope you enjoy these tales and I look forward to sharing the triumph and tragedies ahead.

Until next time, shoot straight and conserve ammo everyone!

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