Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Pass it on

Glitzy's Log

I woke up on my timer just in time to make me ready for family supper, which was no much different than the last one. Analisa seemed to be foreseeing to our evening, but during supper the family hierarchy was strictly top-down from her mother. Mister Rosenbaum didn’t show up at all, like it was yesterday.

I plan to show her into some of the more shadowy parts of Boston to go slumming. I don’t know if she was at her young age this deep down into the shadows, but I doubt it.

It has changed so much since my days here as a kid. Okay, Boston is still in the hand of the Irish Mob and the festering barrens ‘The Rox’ just south of downtown was at no time a nice part of the town. But that’s the part of town I’d like to go slumming with Analisa, to be true. I had not been in the age for clubbing when I ran away as a girl, but there was a part of the Catacombs that were infamous at those times and still are and where I tried to get in as a thirteen year old brat. Something I should get in way easier today.

We were preparing the slumming most of the evening, where I planned our how and where and Analisa started play doll with me and herself. As always, I think she is trying to outperform me. It’s a club named Spearhead. I of cause don’t know the Boston underworld as I know parts of the Seattle or Hong Kong turf, but it’s a club that is not too deep into the Rox that it’s pure gangland, I suppose, and I just cross fingers that I found some of the shadier parts of the pendant of a Boston “Touristville” club. You get there from one of the old subway stations, wander down to the second level and there shall be an entrance to the club to a cluster of maintenance rooms that hosts the club. It’s not one of those ‘Yeah let’s rip off the tourists’-clubs, but one that I think is more the real deal.

I don’t know if I ever explained why I love this Urban Tribal style. I am not very much in gangs, ya know? Don’t like them, never had anything but trouble with them. But I can’t say that I’m anything other than an urban savage myself. Home is what place I take for my home, I don’t care too much about money as long as I can get everything I need. I know, people like real Shadowrunners, the self proclaiming professional teams I have been working with often enough, don’t really get it and mostly I get in trouble with them over this, style-wise. Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t think I’m one of them. It’s something that’s inside me. I’m stretching my role as Lisa a bit, maybe I mess it up, but I really can’t go there without anything. I feel responsible for Analisa.

Analisa was quite excited about getting our outfit together and I let her do most of the work. But I insisted, that we both wear knifes in our boots. I got her order two cans of pepper punch and even if you say I’m overprotective, but I got me a small sling shot. I said it’s for show off, but I think it’s not a good idea to go there without any self-defence. In case the thing starts to move sideways.

We were preparing until ten, then we took off. The chauffeur, I guess he’s also her bodyguard was escorting us to the place and we entered. He was nice to us, friendly to me without the older sister but not fraternizing, I see a professional when I meet one. I just hope our commlinks do work down there, else we will be left without proper backup.

Driving in the back of that limo I watch Analisa and she reminds me of myself at that age. Okay, I had no money, but I was spinning out of control too, taking drugs, going on parties all night, burning down things I disliked, pissing off people that were tougher and stronger than I was as if nothing could ever touch me.

Analisa did an awesome job for our outfit. And I think, okay we look tribal, but we look like very rich and not like two girls that made their club clothings from things they found in a dumbster, like I did when I was that age. I wasn’t relaxed at all, when we stopped and were climbing down the non working elevator stairs together with other folks, some of them styled up, some street coloured. A troll was sliding down in the middle between the stairs and down below I could hear him crashing into the people standing there. “Why, you don’t look relaxed”, she said. But of cause she had been heating up emptying the bord-bar in the limo on our way here. “Relax”, she laughed. “It will be great!” A sleazy dealer offered some patches: “Kick?”

A lot of people were cramping the walkways, selling stuff and I held my eyes open for the inevitable pickpockets and bounced one or two off, before they got to Analisa or my own pockets. The Rox was there already when I was a kid. When that oil tanker broke in the Boston harbour, they told me, the environment was becoming toxic and while this place never was exactly rich, the neighbourhood went down the drain. Boston has a lot of Irish descendent both elvish and human but while you get by nicely with pointy ears in the posh parts of town you might bounce into some fists in the south. Most of the Irish folks don’t like the dandelions take over our island and while I’m completely confirm with this, my own fucking pointy ears might turn out being a problem. I’m proud Irish, but Lisa is not exactly and I don’t know how I shall react if it comes to this. I never deny my proud heritage, so never did I.

The walls were over and over with layers of graffiti and the dysfunctional underground system, that broke down – ah don’t ask me when, was now more a bazaar than anything. I manoeuvered us around some of the nastier looking gangs and after walking down one of the tunnels on the rails we finally found the entry to The Spearhead. Music was blurring out of the reinforced steel door and Analisa was just walking past the waiting folks, right in front of the line. Without a word, the bouncer let us through, which was one of the things I didn’t expect to happen. Normally I… well… normally I have house ban, but that’s another thing that stopped being a problem after I quit drugs. But I quit clubbing when I quit drugging, so… I just bit my underlip and hoped I was not goin’ to be a fuckin’ bucklepper, was I?

Look at me. I’m on the verge to getting thirty. I’m a bloody mess. Got a boy at home at the age of ten, got a pair of twins in my belly. I was raised on the streets, taking drugs, stealing and lying all my life just to be living. And I’m bloody good at that, can tell ya. And now I’m playing a fuckin’ chaperone for a sixteen year old rich spoiled hussy and pretend that I’m more civilized than her in her rebel phase with her 20k pocket money on her credstick, money I could live off a year with my son.

And I have to be the responsible one. The one that is telling her, that living in that golden cage will still be living in a cage? That she never will be free? And even if she will be free she will often enough just doing things that ain’t right? If she simply wants to survive?

We have been dancing and we met these folks here. All like us in this tribal look, but they are Irish folks. Some boys and girls from twenty to thirty I guess. “It’s his last day in freedom!”, they were singing. He’s going to join the army in the morning. “Why don’t you relax, Lisa?” Analisa is leaning forward to me and has a joint between her fingers. “A smoke?” I’m drinking the virgin drinks. The drinks that don’t contain alcohol and I seem to be the last sober human being in a bubble of a kilometre I guess. The last virgin. She’s slurring a bit: “It’s finest Afghan. You should try it. It’s not harming the baby”, she said. Of cause she’s right. There’s no scientific proof that those stuff can harm any unborn. And I hang back for a moment. I fully understand her. If I were her, I’d try to drug my chaperone too. I will really fuck up her family. I stretched my finger and took the reefer to take a puff.

The smoke is filling my lungs and I hold it. I’m not used to it any more so it hits me on the spot and I feel loosing up. I coughed out, smoke accompanies my words: “Thanks.” Thanks and this will cost me a week training to get fit again and to get the stuff out of my system. Colours were flushing in the specific way shit does. Not like the psychedelic trip yesterday that is still influencing me a bit I think. The music was dampening down and I felt light and started to giggle. “You know what? Oi really hate that shite”, I said. She nods and I don’t know, if she was getting what I meant.

The reefer was passing on. “Why do ya go to the shitty army?”, I asked the guy with blue skin and feathers in his hair. Analisa was lying in his arms and taking a puff of hers. She started to giggle. “Sooooldierboy”, in a pitched sing song voice that, I guess was imitating a pop song that I don’t know. “No regular army”, he said, “I’m joining the Ares Forces.” The stick is passing another time and I was falling deeper, sliding at the back of the seat into Analisa, my head on her thigh. One of his friends was trying to get under my skirt, I was feeing his hands go looking where my stockings end and my flesh is starting. I gave him a push with my sole, stripped of my dancing shoes, “massage them”, I said dreamily and started to giggle. “Not the shoes, my feet jerk!”

“Fuckin’ idiot”, I said. “Ya really go risk your neck for some rich corporate assholes and their fuckin’ stock? And leave girls like us alone?” Analisa was giggling: “Stockings not stock.” I couldn’t do stop giggling until the jerk got ideas about stockings, so I had to push him back again. I had a hand in my hair but didn’t care about to whom it belongs. It was just feeling okay. He started to tell us about his fucked up live in the Rox and how he never got a chance and a brother of his got shot a month ago, another was in jail for drug dealing or something I don’t remember. He stopped, when Analisa started kissing him.

“Oi fuckin’ fairy”, the jerk slurred when I was pushing him away another time. “Where ya got that?” He was holding up my sling shot, I had put into my garter. “Oi, you rotten bastard. That’s mine”, I protested and twitched it from his hands with a swift snatch. I giggled, that’s for your fingers and snapped the rubber of the shot on his fingers. He yelped. “Who do ya call a fuckin’ fairy?!”

“Ya taken our island, ya did!” One of his friends got him of me and I think he would have hurt me. “Ya taken it from you, ya taken it from me!”, I protested. “I’m no fuckin’ dandelion no Tir na Fuck, I’m Irish, will ever be.” I tried to kick him, but his friend was keeping him out of range. He sat between him and myself. The hand was striking my hair again and I was looking up. The stick was passing another time and I felt sinking deeper into the cushions, a warm hand in my hair was leaving prickling marks on the skin of my head. Some words were drifting by and I thought about if Lisa would be Irish or if I was Irish but I think Analisa didn’t mind if I was.

From halve closed eyes I was spying the folks around. The youngest must have been around thirteen, maybe fifteen you can’t tell for sure in these outfits. I was giggling when someone was striking the sole of my feet and it felt okay. After a while I understood somebody asked my name. I needed a while to find out. “Lisa”, I slurred. “You’re nice Irish lass”, someone said. “Ignore that bastard, but I think you had enough”, and he took away the joint from my fingers. The hand in my hair was gone but I just realized when Analisa was returning with soldierboy. She was looking a bit messed up, maybe she had a quicky on the toilet, I guess. I giggled and said something I don’t remember. But it was funny in a way, because everybody started to giggle too. “I like dancin’”, I slurred and took off to the dance floor. “Your shoes”, someone was asking, “somebody fetch her.” It was sticky and hot and the rhythm was going under your skin. So I did throw myself in and tried to get rid of the stuff that was so hot on me.

I don’t remember much, just some strong hands that where carrying me out and outside on the tracks I regained my consciousness in the cold air of the shafts. The tunnels were dark and only few people around. The Irish laddy that I recognized again was holding me in his arm while I slowly sobered up. “Better?”, he asked. I couldn’t say much more than to slowly nod. “Much better.” He kept me warm but didn’t say much. He must have been around my age, his hair in that dirty street blond that most Irish have. Rawhide leather jacket, leather trousers some feathers in his hair and bluish and black tatts, giving him celtic look. A rat was sneaking on the opposite wall through the shadows. “Are you looking for this?”, he asked and was handling me the sling shot. “Ya, but why did I look for it?” “Five minutes ago there was a rat”, he said. “Oh.” I looked at him. “I understand.” I did not really get, what he meant. I leant back against him. “What’s your name?” “Kyle”, he said in a low voice. “Kyle O’Rilley.” He paused as if it should tell me something but it didn’t. “Nice to meet you Kyle”, I said. “We’re sitting here over an hour now”, he laughed. “You really should not smoke so much.” I protested: “I didn’t smoke so much? Just one or two lungs.” “More like ten or so”, he said and I didn’t feel in the mood to protest.

“Where’s Analisa?” “She’s inside, snuggling with Owen.” “Or fuckin’ herself senseless. I better going to get her…” But he didn’t let me go. “You’re not in the condition yet”, but I struggled and got up. “Where are my fuckin’ shoes?”, I asked when I tripped over a sleeper. He was holding them wordless up. I sat down again and fumbled to put them on. “Thank you Kyle”, I said. “Your friend is an idiot. The army is no place for a decent guy.” He shrugged his shoulders. “He’s just that kind of fella, ya know?” I nodded. “But Ares, that’s a shite idea.” “You’ve ever been on the island, gal?” I shook my head. “My father told me about it. My mother…”, then I trailed off. Finally I managed to put on my first shoe. “But I think both have never seen it, never they did.” “What’s your name?” “Lisa”, my mind lagged, “Lisa Edelstein.” He laughed, “that’s not a very Irish name is it?” I giggled. “No, ain’t very Irish.” “I wont tell anyone”, he said and I got the idea he knew something but I rendered it not so important if he wasn’t causing trouble. I leant back on him, finally done with my second shoe. “You and your little friend there are nice wee lass. But you both should be careful on your way back. Shall we escort you out?”, he asked. I closed my eyes and checked the time of my SPU. “Guess that’s a good idea, Kyle. I have to work tomorrow.” He laughed. “Rich little girls have to work? Since when?” But he didn’t sound mean, just amused. “I’m working my ass off, say I. Believe it or not.” I managed to get on my feet and lurched for the wall. “I can see that”, he laughed again. “I’m no fuckin’ rich! Let’s get find Analisa”, I said.

It had been a wee bit of work to divide the snuggling two and to convince Analisa, that it’s time to go. But for fuck sake, I’ll have to work tomorrow. And I wasn’t in my best condition for disputing rationally anyway, but finally she agreed that without any escort the way back through the tunnels in our condition was kind of calling for it.

Halve an hour later we were sitting in the back-seat of her limo and driving home. I had myself lying on my back, feet on the ceiling and my head on Analisas lap. We were not talking much, but I watched the city-lights that were showing on the ceiling of the car like the shadows in Platos cave or something, trying to guess what’s happening outside. We were giggling and I didn’t stop talking about stuff.

When we arrived Analisa said: “I like to show you something. A secret. Tell no-one, okay?” She led me onto the roof and we were plodding on our bare feet to a place near one of the chimneys, where she sat down. “Come on”, she padded beside her and started to lift one of the roof tiles. “My secret cache”, she explained and got something to smoke. “I don’t think, I…” “I’m the under-aged, don’t start messing about now. Just one for the closing of the night”, and she fumbled a few times with her lighter until she inhaled the reefer and passed it to me. I tried to decline, but she insisted and let out her breath. “Come on…” I was feeling warm afterwards and we both leaned with our backs on the chimney and watched the stars above. Stars that were only a bit tainted by the city lights from the sprawl and which were washed clean by the winds of the Atlantic ocean. I was dizzy and asked myself how I should get down from the roof with my lost orientation. “It’s a fucking golden cage”, I said.

We drifted a bit through reality and some time was passing, when Analisa finally found the words to answer, as she passed me the stick. “A golden cage with twenty k on my account and a monthly pocket money to spend of around twentyfive kay, yes.” I didn’t answer but whistled. It sounded a bit out of tune. “You have twentyfive kay to spend on a month?!”, I frowned. She didn’t answer. “Why do you rebel against this again?”, and passed it back, feeling myself lightly and I wasn’t sure about if the world was slowly spinning or not. “You know. You’ve seen it, didn’t you? No choice.” “Girl, no choice, riiiight”, I had a dry feeling in my throat and urged for something to drink. “Do you have any idea how life is on the streets? Without knowing if you have something to eat next week?” “No.” She coughed and passed it to me. “There is no freedom in poverty, nothing romantic about hunger”, I tried to tell her some more but the words didn’t form any sense, so I dropped it. “I’m thirsty”, I said instead and finally found some words I was looking for: “But you have nothing to lose. It’s motivating. What you are looking for is motivation to do something with what you have. Something different than”, I coughed and nearly let it slip, I passed it back to her. “You know…”, I giggled, “burn the shit down.” Now she giggled too. “That’s a word. I’m hungry”, she added. “Let’s raid the kitchen.”

I don’t remember much of the rest what happened, but at 6:30 my timer banged my head open and my brains were falling out or what was left of it.

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