Friday, November 23, 2018

Aftermath: Chapter One ~ Hiding in Shadows

February 1st, 2061

Rose and Lily watched over Aria, Jasmine and Violet while I went to ground. The family was hiding out in a safe house set up by Sheila X.  I didn't know where they were and I kept my contact limited to messages ferried back and forth by Rose.   They were as safe as the shadows could make them.

Plenty of runners have crossed their Johnson. A few had even survived to tell the story.  I didn't know of any runners who could claim to have crossed a dragon and lived.  That spoke volumes to me.

"To late now, Tommy." I told myself.

I had spent the weeks hiding in the Place of Gates. Slipping through the cracks in reality, the astral gates that lead to that far flung place, had given me a type of mobility I had never before imagined. The stones that formed the firmament upon which the plane rested had cracked in several places. These cracks into the physical reality of our world were growing wider. Mana was leeching into our own manasphere from them. Wells of power, from the vast oceans of that far flung metaplane. Power which I had tapped repeatedly in my own basement laboratory.

The ghostly image of the skyscraper sat upon several stones.  Each with strangely regular cracks that ran to a point where the central stone had been shattered into rubble.  High above the waterline, a trio of fish splashed in wispy bits of cloud stuff.  It was strange even to me.

There were whirlpools that lead to dozens of places scattered across the globe.  Beneath the other moons, vortexes of water churned about stone arcs.  I left them alone.

For the first few days I carefully fitted loose bits of stone into the crack that had led to my home.  There was nothing left for me there, and I didn't want any investigating magicians to get a lead by poking their head into the metaplanes.  With the last of the crack filled, the whirlpools above that stone vanished.  The stone adjacent to it, however, had a small crack that led someplace I knew all too well.   I forced my will against the stone, broadening the crack and bringing down a whirlpool every bit as strong as the one that had once led me home.

"Time to get the lay of the land, Tommy." I told myself.  I pushed myself through the crack, into the dim light beyond and arrived in dank ruins.

Darkness engulfed me as I forced my way into the physical world. The stench of old death and burned flesh surrounded me. Ectoplasm clung to me, evaporating into in wisps of intangible smoke.  The walk in refrigeration unit had warped in the fire and the subsequent explosion had torn a jagged hole in the wall.

Behind me, an orb of light blazed away.  Mists flowed into the ruin and droplets of ectoplasmic dew began to form on the splintered bones that littered the floor.  My booted foot came down on a charred skull.  The pronounced canine teeth of the vampire leering into the eternity of damnation I hope they found themselves in.

I was surrounded by what was left of the Reapers.


Angel had wiped every trace of my old identity away.  The money I had set aside was sent to Sheila to be laundered, minus a fee to Angel for moving the money out of my accounts and making several records disappear. She was, and is to this day, an archmage of the electronic world.  {Stop it, Tommy. You'll embarrass yourself. ~ Angel} 5mps deleted by sysop ...   She had sent me a new burner commlink before I disappeared.  It was time to put it to use.

I climbed out of the rubble and powered up my new burner commlink.  A minute later it beeped as a voice call came over.

"Authenticate user," a soft machine voice said.

"Shakespeare." I replied. I took a moment to look around.  The area was deserted except for a pair of devil rats that fled when my eyes fell upon them. The commlink beeped again as a second voice call came.  I thumbed the button, hanging up the first call and taking the second.

"Where can we pick you up?" Angel's voice asked.

"I'll be with Pepper.  One hour." I replied.  I hung up, powered the device off, then removed its battery.  The Willows were dark, even with the enchantment that let me see in low light like an elf, I would have had problems making out details.  My astral sight assured me that I was alone, other than the pair of fleeing devil rats.  The web of detection spells I had fixed to myself reached out and found nothing.  No vampires, no ghouls and nothing that meant to kill me.

I almost breathed a sigh of relief.  Almost.  The air elemental appeared at my command, lifting me into the air and hurrying across the night sky toward the church and Pepper's grave.  The invisibility spell was woven about me out of old habit, leaving me virtually undetectable to all save those who might be glancing skyward into astral space.

The cold of the night bit into me, leaving me chilled as I landed on the frozen ground that entombed my old friend.  I had plenty of time before Angel arrived, so I brushed frozen bits of debris from the grave stones of Pepper and his family.

"I really stepped in this time, chummer." I said softly. "Didn't have a choice really.  They would have gone after my family."

A twinge of old guilt reared its head in my mind. "I can't lose them Pepper. I know why we didn't wait, why we didn't plan. We gave in to the rage and the hurt and it got you killed."  I wiped a tear from the corner of my eye.  "But at least you're all together.  I know I keep saying I'm going to stop coming here, but that's a lie.  I miss you, Pepper.  Rest well, until we meet again."

I prayed over the graves of my friend and his family.  I prayed for their peace, for rest and for God to let them into his heaven.  I prayed for my own family.  That they would be safe from the danger I had placed them in.

The sound of tires grabbing plascrete reached my ears.

"Amen." I said.

Drifting through a graveyard like a ghost is bad manners. That being said, it really is a good idea when you don't want people knowing you're alive.  I floated, wrapped in my invisibility spell, among the graves and over to the gate.  Ratchet was sitting in the driver's seat of his cargo van, his aura tense.  Crank got out of the passenger side door, his good luck charm resting easily in his hands.  The side bay door slid open, revealing Angel waving at the gate.  She didn't see me, but she had no doubt I was there.  Crank's aura was calm.  He was alert and ready.  The spell I had fixed to him hummed through his body, spreading its charm throughout the large man and making him inhumanly fast.   Angel's aura revealed that she was anxious and irritated.

I drifted over the gate, landing three meters from Crank's reach.  The invisibility spell slipped away as I let it dissipate, revealing me to my old chummers.  My real face, red hair and all, appeared out of the mist in front of them.  I like to think that it must have looked cool.

{Damnit, Tommy, you almost got shot by Crank and you scared the drek out of all of us! ~ Angel}

Crank's gun came up instantly.

"Chummer, I almost killed you!" The big man shouted to me.

"Thanks for not killing me, Crank." I replied.  "Ratchet, Angel, good to see you."

"Holy, fraggin' Hell." Ratchet exclaimed. "Tommy?"

"Yeah, chummer, it's me." I replied.  "Sorry for all the false faces.  My shadows have been pretty dark lately."

"Yeah, yeah. We get it.  Get in the damn van, Tommy!" Angel said sternly. "You don't need to be out here where anyone can see you."

Crank lowered his good luck charm and I hurried into the van. Crank was in and closing his door before the side door had fully closed. "Go, Ratchet.  Take the long way, the really long way." Angel said.

I smiled at her.  "Good to see you."

She punched me in the teeth.  {You had it coming. ~ Angel}

"WHAT. THE. FRAG. HAVE YOU DONE!?!" Angel screamed at me.  "The police contractors are actually INVESTIGATING your disappearance.  The fire at your house?  Oh, that was ARSON.  Maybe you've heard of that? The feds have taken over Tommy.  Ever heard of the 'F' 'B' fraggin' 'I'?!?!  Well they're looking for your hoop too. People are floating words like "terrorist" in front of your old name."

I tasted blood from the tear in my lip.  "Yeah, I get that.  You want to know what I did?  Really?"  I looked over my shoulder at Crank who was staring back at me.  Ratchet was jacked into the van, but I had no doubt he could see me better than anyone.  "Think long about this one, chummers.  Do you REALLY want to know something that has the feds looking for the old me?"

There was a moment of pregnant silence.

"Don't know what you're talking about, omae." Crank sighed.  He turned to face the windshield. "We're just picking up an old chummer we haven't seen in ages.  I don't know nothing about what she's talking about."

"Yeah, what Crank said." Ratchet's voice came over the van's sound system.

I turned to face a furious Angel.  "I'll tell you, if you really want to know.  Just be aware, it was enough that I sent Aria and the kids away.  If it's that bad, you have to ask yourself  'do I want in?'".

She fumed, her face twisting with the fire of her temper. "Do I want in?"  She took a ragged breath. "I AM IN!  Who do you think has her digital hoop in the middle of this?"

"Before this gets uglier." Crank interrupted.  "Tommy, Sheila told me to give you this."  He handed a worn old rucksack over to me.  "I didn't look in it."

"Thanks, Crank." I told him. "Okay, Angel.  I'll tell you.  Crank, Ratchet, do you guys want to know?"

The van screeched to a halt, slamming my favorite cranium against the interior of the van.

"No." Ratchet's voice came over the speakers again. "No.  Get out of the van, Tommy.  You need wheels, let me know.  I don't want any of this mojo being discussed in my ride and I don't want to hear about it later.  Call me when you have work."

Crank frowned. "Let me know if you need me, Tommy.  Or if you want to hang out and have a steak and some beers.  But this,"  he trailed off.  "No, thank you anyway. I don't need the feds on my case."

I rubbed my head and nodded to Crank. "I understand chummers.  This heat will die down.  My old ID was solid.  Still, it's a good idea to lay low."  I swung my boots onto the slick street.  "Come on, Angel.  We'll talk."

We flew back to the Willows, disappeared into the old burned out ruins, and vanished from the world.

Angel almost drowned.


Thank you for reading my fan fiction.  I do NOT own Shadowrun or make any claim to copyright material.  These stories are based on game play and have been fictionalized to make them (hopefully) fun to read.

This fan fiction blog is written for fun and as a writing exercise.  I hope you enjoy it!

I do write and develop RPG material for other games (not Shadowrun).  You can support by subscribing to my Drip page (it is like Patreon but it's owned by KickStarter).

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I hope you'll join through the coming entries for "Aftermath" as Tommy's actions give rise to consequences he never imagined.  "Aftermath" is being created in chapters as it is a longer story.

Thanks again for joining me here.


Thank you for your comment chummer.