Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

As I Sat Sadly By Her Side

Personal Log - R. Kowalski, PI

Personal log of Kowalski, Roger

We were walking back to the office in silence. I opened the office and she slipped in. The silence was like something touchable in the air. Something sweet, poisonous, acrid and moldy. I started to make coffee, the sound and the smell of it covering the sickening smell of mold by the sound, She sat on my desk, watching.

Before she could come up with something, I asked her: “Do you help me with my exam? I really need someone who tests me. Just to make sure. I’m a bit behind the schedule.” She opened her mouth and closed it, then jumped off the desk. “Okay”, she said. “Do you want to cuff me again?” “If you think I should?” Standing there with her head tilt, she said nothing and I could hear it click inside her mind. “You don’t want?” “It’s not necessary, I think. Would you run away if I don’t?” “No.” “So, why should I?” “Because… I thought you liked me to be cuffed.” “No. I don’t. It wasn’t good that I hurt you. It is a bit sad that I had to, but sometimes you have to do things you don’t like.”

She dropped herself on the couch, which was still opened to be a bed. She waited until I handed her the mug. “So, what am I supposed to do?” “Here”, I shoved the telecom unit to her, “these are the questions, multiple choice. I should not make any mistakes. They are easy and I am a Lieutenant. Should be all covered by my training. But concentrate on that undercover chapter, that’s the one I am a bit weak on. I never actually worked undercover.”

She checked the telecom unit, looking a bit confused. “So… we don’t fuck now?” I looked at her. “No.” “That’s…” She shrugged. “What?” “I suspected it would happen now.” “No. You test me for my P.I. exam.” “That’s a bit anti-climax, isn’t it?” “No. It’s an important thing to do. First question?” “Do you find me attractive?” “Is that the first question?” “Yeah. I mean no, I mean how many states are members of the UCAS?”

We worked for about an hour until I needed a break. “So do we talk about it?” “Yes.” And I went to the locker, got out some of her things. I put the lock-pick set and the microtronics tools before her. “Are these just things you acquired, or do you actually are able to use them?” Her mouth opened, then closed. “I acquired them to use them.” “Why?” “Do you want to arrest me?” She rolled on her back, stretched her hands over her head and was looking if I was going to cuff her. “No. I just ask you, because I want to know.” She sat up again, scratched her head. “No, yes, actually I can work with these tools.” “They are of disputable legality, at least this lock-pick set. Ever got in trouble with that?” “No. Nobody cared. I got the monthly visit of the vice cops, that just jail you in, until you come up with the bail-out cash, that they take for their retirement funds. Nobody cared ever. Why?” “And these?”, I put the syringes on the bed. “I tried. Once. Couldn’t do it.” “Why?” “Bliss.” “So you never were on the really hard stuff?” “No. I have problems with needles.” “So, why do you have needles in your purse?” “Because nobody wants to prick himself with the needle of a junkie whore, I think. Thought I keep them, keeps the pickpockets out of my purse and cops too.” I looked at her.

“Okay, show me.” “What?” “How you work the locks.” “Where.” I smiled. “I could cuff you, if that’s the way you like it.” She watched me, closely, trying to get inside my head. “No. I don’t. It hurts.” “Okay”, said I. “Then try these”, and I took my own cuffs and clicked them close, locked them. “Open.”

She ticked in the locks of the cuffs for about two minutes, then she got them open. “Tada!” “Good. Now these.” And I gave her the padlocks from the sex-shop. A minute. “Fine. We can work with that.” “What? Are we going to do a B&E?” “No. You will never use it against the law, if I do not tell you, will you? If you get arrested doing a burglary, you become criminal and I do not know if you may work for me after that.” She opened her mouth, tried to say something. “You mean, I really can work for you? Not down there at the corner?” “Yes. It’s looking like you actually can do some things I can’t. And that can be very useful in our job. If nobody ever catches us.” “Gee!”, she said.

“So, why did you learn this anyway and where?” “Squatting”, she said. “I open doors of empty buildings, houses, lived there for a few days, went on. But I can’t do the really hard things. But it’s always good enough for finding a place to crash. See, if you sleep in the alleys as a girl, you most certainly get found, raped, killed. Sometimes they forget to off you after that and I know girls that say it’s worse that way.” “Hm. You got raped yourself?” “Yes. Of course. But they didn’t maim me or hurt me too badly. I was really lucky.” “That’s a hard life.” I sat down beside her. “Tell me, if you like.” “Nothing much to tell. See? Living on the street is much better than living in a house where your foster-dad comes through your door at night and takes what he wants. To live in false security is worse than living with no security. At least you have a chance to prepare. To fight back.” I hemmed, unable to say something. “I understand. How long?” “Left with fourteen, after my dad raped me for a year or so. I don’t know what I did.” “What?!” “It’s maybe because I’m an elf. I can’t change it. Thought about cupping my ears or something. But that wouldn’t change much, does it?” “You are saying, you think it was your fault?” “That’s what my foster-mom said, yes. She was worse than him. She medicated me because I was crying. And screaming.”

I said nothing, stunned for a while. We sipped our coffee, she asked me for a cigarette. We shared, I went to the window to open it a bit and let air inside. She sat beside me, we watched the street for a while, smoking, drinking coffee. “Was it hard?” “The first winter was the worst. Nearly lost a toe. It did hurt plenty. I went with this man, was allowed to live there, he sometimes fucked me. He was nice. It was okay. He was paying a doctor and saved my toe. He didn’t hit me like my step-dad. But I went on in spring.”

Outside the night was slowly shifting in and the false neon light took over the leaden light of the sky. I put out the cigarette in the rest of my coffee in the plastic cup. “What’s your name, by the way?” “Babsie?” “I mean your full name.” She looked at me. “Because if I tell you, you find out where I am missing and put me back to the shitty system?” “I won’t. You are eighteen, are you not?” “Of course I am.” “So, what’s the fuss?” “I have chosen a name. Don’t like the names I was given.” “Come on. Just give me a hint. I really like to know.” “Thursday.” “Thursday?” “Ya. Thursday like the day of the week they found me. They didn’t care about finding a good name for me too much.” “And your forename?” “I don’t have one.” “Come on. Everybody has a forename.” She pushed me away, suddenly angry. “I fuckin’ have no shitty forename, okay?! I have chosen one and have the right to be called Babsie. Or Babs, like you do.” “Okay, okay… Just curious.” “Still coffee there?” I poured her another cup.

“Can I ask you something?” “Shoot.” “These questions, the law.” “Yes?” “I mean, aren’t they fucking, you know?”, she was looking for the word, “arbitrary?” “What?” “I mean in this middle western state, what’s-his-name you are allowed to marry and fuck with your fourteen year old niece. As long as the church says: make babies, it’s okay. Elsewhere you may not fuck before you are eighteen, and in this other state it’s sixteen. Then you may not drink or buy alcohol under eighteen, but you may kill people as a soldier with seventeen – and get shot. As long as it’s for your country.” “I understand.” “So? What’s that about? This is totally bullshit.” “It’s because people try to protect the things they care about.” “But no law was protecting me, was it?” “You were protected by law, but nobody did care.” “So it’s just a thing to make people who have everything to stomp on the people that have nothing? Is it that?” “Hm”, I made a sound that wasn’t happy. “There is no cop that hasn’t thought about that.” “So what’s that fuck about? Can you explain me?” “Cops just try to enforce the law. We don’t make them.” “No. You enforce some laws and others get ignored. Like a dead hooker isn’t the same as a dead SIM starlet or a dead fucking president. Because they are rich. Or what?”

I lit another cigarette and sighed. “Yes. A bit like that.” “And the laws? Who makes laws?” “The people.” “So you and me? I can go and make a law?” “No.” “So, who?” “Politicians. The congress. They are called acts.” “Aha. Politicians that are the rich fags that let butt-rape themselves by the big corporations and the financial industries and then they sell us out and take away our homes and food and jobs and everything and all this because they can get richer and richer and we are truly fucked and fucked and fucked without lube?” “You can see it that way.” “And cops help them doing this?” “Sometimes they do.” “That’s even a worse job than mine.” “Hm”, I made. “That’s why everybody hates us. But still…” “Say.” “If we wouldn’t be there murderers would run free. And rapists and thieves. And someone would just kick in your door and take everything you got.” “This is exactly what’s happening right now. Just that we got fucked by both sides. First the criminals come in and kick in doors, rape us and rob us, after that the banks and the real estate agents come in and fuck us worse. The insurance companies won’t pay out, we even get no SIN and have to work for ebbies. Or better put for food and shelter, like slaves.” “That’s a depressing way to put it, Babs. What do you suggest we do to change it?” “I don’t like to play by their rules.” “Me neither.”

There was a kid in the street who tried to dance for money, but the passersby ignored him. I could see an AR advertise just a few meters away, where a world champion in street dance was dancing, who did it much better. Wet and cold he gave up after a moment and went to try an other place. “That kid was good, ey?”, she said. “Nobody cared.” “Yes”, I said. “That’s the problem. And that is why I have taken this job. I care.” She looked at me. “You do.” “Yes. And I won’t let me pay by the people with money. I serve everybody.” “Everybody who can afford you anyway.” “Yes.” “So you’re a kind of stripped down law?” “No. I am just trying to make a difference. More I can’t do.” She sneezed. “I think I got a cold.”

“Take that blanket. You should change your socks. They’re wet.” “Okay. Hanky?” I searched for one, she took it. “So you try to be the good guy now?” “I’m a freelancer. Nobody will tell me what to do or not or how. As long as I’m doing my job, I will get paid. And I can take the jobs I like and reject those I don’t.” “If you are in the position to have a choice.” “If, yes.” “Hm”, she said. “So, does that sound okay for you? I mean, if this whole thing works, would you work with me?” She frowned. “I don’t know. I try. But I guess I’m making more money down there. There are not so many people, I mean real people like you and I interested in the law. Most of it is for the rich fags in the chrome and glass bunkers downtown, isn’t it?” “Most of it. But not the ancient parts. Those still work. For us. If they haven’t fucked them up over time.”

“Sooo”, she said. “Why me?” “I think you can help me. I think I need some help, to be true. At least some backup I can count on. Every cop has a partner. I learned it that way. And I’d like to share what I have. And most important, if you sit alone in a car at night and watch if some poor sod got cheated by his wife, I have someone to talk to.” “Hm”, she said. “I think about it. But I’m still skeptical if this whole thing works. Let’s make the next chapter, will we?” “Yes.”

“A last question?” “Yes?” “You say you won’t fuck me.” “Not this again.” “No, just a question. Okay?” “Yes.” “But you find me attractive, no?” “You are sweet and you are a woman. I am a man. But it is not right.” “Why? I mean what’s wrong with that? We get horny, we fuck. Isn’t it like that?” “No. We love each other, we see some future together. We are friends. We might fuck if the time is right and we both want it. But it’s not the way I want to perceive you right now.” “So you do.” “No. See, that’s a part of what’s wrong with everything.” “What?” “You can’t be nice anymore to people. It’s all eroded. If you are nice, people suspect some dark twist behind it, like it’s always in the media. They say you are going to molest them or stalk them or anything. A man can’t take a child in his arms. Without the police clubbing him down for being a pervert. How sad is that?” “But don’t men just fuck kids?” “Don’t think so. More women are into this abuse thing than men. And the idea to fuck kids is not sane anyway. It’s what media suspect, what religion suspect, what fashion suspect, when they abuse children for presenting their fashion. The typical model all sexed up is fourteen. But even if this is putting the wrong idea, the wrong image for a adequate sexual partner in minds, men are not slaves to their feelings. How sad is that?” “That means if I touch you and you get a boner you still don’t want to fuck me?” “That’s what it means.”

She thought about that. “I don’t believe you.” “That’s the problem. But I ask you this: if you go shopping and see some very nice fruits, draped in a shopping window. And you know you are allergic to that, still the water will be in your mouth when you are hungry. Will you get in and buy that, eat it and get sick of that?” “No, that’s stupid.” “So, what’s so hard to understand how men work? In my experience women work the same way. But people think they can control better. Why do people suspect a girl that has been raped to have caused the rape by her mini-skirt? Why do you think you get raped, because you are an elf? Who put this stupid fucking idea in the minds?”

“So that’s the reason why you don’t want to fuck with me, because you would vomit after that? Charming…”, she frowned. “That’s not what I meant. But it’s a bit like that, yes. I’ll take you in my arm, I would even caress you if you need it, but not as a sexual partner, as long as I have the impression that something is going very wrong with that. That you are not a partner, but you are somehow dependent, that I am playing some twisted role of abuse with you. Let me say it clearly”, and I took a breath, “I know, that you are a woman, at least a part of you. You have sexual desires, you are capable of love, you are a person. But first of all we know each other for too short. Second I have other priorities at the moment trying to make the exam, third I have a girlfriend which I do not like to cheat, last but not least you are what I think too valuable friend and that I should not spoil this, just because of some very natural physical reaction that I won’t deny and that I am not ashamed of. But they mean nothing.” “You think I’m valuable?” “If you don’t spoil this chance with trashing yourself by putting shit into your system. Yes.”

She looked stunned for a while, silent. “Okaaaay”, she said. “No. I don’t get it. You say I’m physical attractive, you take me serious as a person but you don’t want to fuck with me, because you think you would abuse me, even if I am the person who is trying to make contact. I don’t understand that. The girlfriend thing, okay, that’s sweet of you, but the rest, I don’t get it. Are you sort of racist? Is it because I’m an elf?” I palmed my face. “I really think it is inappropriate to have this conversation. But on the other hand why is it inappropriate if someone is asking questions? You would really do me a favor if you drop this issue. But no, I don’t reject you. Not because you are too young. Not because you are an elf. Just because I have a bad feeling. And it’s all about the feeling is it? I could have sex with the vacuum cleaner but that would not be a relationship, would it? It’s just an object. And as I am not the kind of guy who wants to have sex with a vacuum cleaner, I really do not want to have sex with someone who I make an object of. I like to get a relationship, develop love, having a partner that has the same weight in the relationship like I have and that is not sharing my bed because she thinks she is supposed to do or I pay her somehow for that or is getting something in return. Sex should be a bonus in a friendship, not something that is the object of some bargain. That makes me sick.”

Babsie was looking at me, with a strange look. “You are a very very twisted man, you know that?” “I am completely normal. Trust me.” “No you are not. But I like your way to see things. And it’s the worst reject that I ever got. That someone in a very nice way is telling me to have sex with me would make him vomit and that it wouldn’t be better than with a vacuum cleaner. You are really a charmer. You should sell that on the net.” “It’s not what I…” She was laughing and didn’t stop for a while. “Your face! Okay. Got you. Next question: What is legal measure for the surveillance of a person. a) reading his mail b) following his movement in public space c) planting bugs in his rooms d) listening to his private space from a public space with a listening device…”

She completely dropped the issue but her attitude was still flirty. I ain’t sure if this was it.

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