Simlog #27, recorded by Babsie
The silencer is cold and of blue steel. It tastes like weapons oil and burnt cordite and is hard to bite with the teeth. And it is on the bad end of an Ares Light Fire. She is standing with the back of her head nailed to the wall, while he is peeking through the peephole in the door. Voice of the gangers outside. The gangers talk and she can hear them through the closed door. The whole building is cheap and the walls are thin. The doors even thinner.
“She must be here somewhere.” “Let’s just break every apartment and see if she’s in one of them.” “Are you mad? That’s our people here.” “She might be got away over the fire escape.” “Let’s go check the fire escape! Two of you stay and watch if she is hiding somewhere.”
Outside the trouble eases. The ork has a scar on his left cheek, which might be from a knife fight. A beard that needs a shave and eyes of steel. In fact his eyes look like the lenses of cameras, on the iris ‘Zeiss’ is imprinted in a curved typesetting following the pupil.
He has a military short cut of hair, is looking like he’s in his early thirties. Maybe he’s mid-twenty. He pushes her through a short corridor, past the bathroom, which is leaning half open and looking filthy inside, but she doesn’t mind that too much, with that gun in her mouth, which fills most of her attention.
He closes the door to the corridor, they are in a small living room with a cooking niche. A sofa, a trideo on the opposite wall. Magazines, bottles of beer, a couple of speakers and a music-player. Weapon parts on the table. “Sit”, and he pushes her to the sofa. She let go the silencer and slumps on her butt. The sofa is worn out, she can feel the springs under the flimsy stained cloth.
His hands frisk her briefly, finding the CO2. “Any more weapons?” “A switchblade in the right boot, a pepper punch in the right pocket of mach jacket.” He takes them out, keeping the gun on her, putting the stuff out of reach on the table. He opens the jacket. “Bullet proof?” She nods. He opens it and pulls it half down until her arms are vaguely bound by it.
Then he takes her satchel and puts it out of reach on the floor. “Name?” “Babsie.” She doesn’t even try to resist after the thing with the cops. She just feels tired. He walks over the the kitchen, just looks down one time to take something from the fridge, keeps the gun pointed on her all the time.
He comes back, puts a plastic cup in front of her. “Water?” “Yes, please.” He pours it in. The sizzle is so loud in the small flat that it nearly covers the noise outside and the rain. It’s getting dark already, but the curtains are closed. She can only guess.
She takes the drink and the coolness of the water washes away more than just the taste of blood in her mouth. “Thank you.” He nods. “What’s that about with those guys out there?” “It was about having fun, I guess.” He doesn’t say anything. “What’s your name? Thank you to let me in. I owe you.” He is just looking at her, has put the gun on the table. Still inside his reach. “No problem. I always fuck up in situations like that.”
She is so much in fear that it doesn’t matter anymore. So she feels relaxed. It’s like she had run out of shakes and she just leans back and tries not to move. “Sorry. I… I didn’t know what to do.” “You think you are in a better situation now?” “No. But I live a few minutes longer I guess. A cup of water longer.” “Fair.” “Are you… are you a shadowrunner?” He just looks at her. “Do you ask me to kill you?” “No. I… I just want to know if I have any chance to survive this. If you work for the mob you’ll kill me. If you are a terrorist, you kill me. If you are an extremist or terrorist, you kill me. Only chance I have is if you are a runner.” He doesn’t answer, is just looking at her. “Would be a waste of water if I was going to kill you, don’t you say?”
She lets out some of the air she must have been holding for the whole time and her body slumps a bit. She fights down some tears. “Who messed you up so badly?” “Some cops. This day is shit. Had some bad luck.” “What does a girl alone on the streets in a neighbourhood like this?” “I have no idea where I am. The cops left me here. I come from Touristville.”
He laughs. “That’s eight or nine clicks south of here. But it’s not the worst part of the Barrens. You might make it.” “I won’t with those thugs out there.” “They are no real threat. Just a bunch of kids of the neighbourhood. ‘Steel Cuts’ they are called. White and red.” “They are enough of a threat to me.” “Guess so, girl. How old are you, though? You look young.” “Eighteen.” He looks at her. “Mostly”, she adds and nibs at her drink. “You have some more?”
He pours another water into the cup. She is looking around. A poster of Sookie Redflower on the wall and her latest movie. “You like her?” “Who?” “Sookie?” “Ah that. That’s left from the guy that was living here before I moved in. I rarely find time to go to the movies. All work and that.” “You’re boosted. You muscles too?” He is looking at her for a while, without answering her question. “Indian ware. Urban Kshatriya Suite. I found a place where I got it cheap. Some boosters.” “Serious muscles, ja?” He smiles. “More than you have, aye.”
“So, what’s your name?” His cold eyes focus on her and she could feel the smartlink making suggestions where the bullet would work best. “Forget it. I don’t want to be nosy. I’m thankful for your help. It’s just… just, that I like to know who I owe.”
The door bell rings. He takes up his gun. “Don’t move. Close your jacket. You don’t want to catch a bullet in that body of yours, are you?” She closes the thing, but doesn’t move. “Who is that?” “We’ll see.”
He checks the door, she doesn’t dare to move. The lock opens, he let’s someone in. A woman. Short blonde hair. Heavy street wear, armored. She is human. “Who’s that? You now start to mess up before it even begins, Botch?” “I don’t mess up.” “You bring in a civilian into a safehouse? I call that messed up. And who is going to get rid of her now?” “We don’t need to get rid of her, Van. She’s just a girl. I helped her against a local gang. She’s just sitting here and waiting.” “In our safe-house? Are you mad? What else did you do? Call a pizza?!”, she isn’t loud, but it doesn’t sound too nice. “Van, she’s just a girl. We throw her out and it’s okay.” “Girl, get your stuff. Get out of here.”
“No”, she says. “Not this time. If you don’t do it, I will.” “Van, it’s just your paranoia again. Keep cool, okay? She’s just a girl. Man, she’s fifteen or something?” She suppresses to say something and keeps her mouth shut. “Okay. If you don’t do it, I do.” She pulls out a gun from under her jacket. It’s a Remington Roomsweeper. Some kind of sawn off shotgun, nasty piece of metal that leaves a nasty mess of meat behind.