Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Pawns and Queens

Personal Log - R. Kowalski, PI

Simlog #21, recorded by Babsie Office

You see her naked legs and feet, her leaning with her back at the window frame. A cold gust of wind is coming in, and she is looking down on the wet streets. It’s somewhere midday and she has the salty taste of noodles in her mouth. She is putting the nicstick in an ashtray that she had improvised from an empty tuna can, then grabs her noodles again and slurps it. It is hot. She enjoys it. Down is her corner. Nobody is standing there. She is looking down for some time, her feelings are mixed and chaotic.

“Checking the pawn shop today, Kowalski. And I have to visit” Raven “. Fuck. Hate that. I hope he’s outside and I don’t need to go inside.” She is wispering it and her voice is unsteady. “Worse than that I have to meet some of the baby-alley cats today. Fairy Fey was a fourteen year old elf. Younger than me. I knew her briefly. Shared some lines together in The Hustler. That’s a club near the corner where the other babies are. It’s more a cheap pick-up joint and bodega than anything. You have to share your income if you work inside. So the girls keep on the next corner and undercut the prices. Get beaten up for that or have a pimp for protection.” She laughs. “Protection, my ass. I didn’t work there. You know. I’m a renegade. I work for nobody.”

She puts away the soup. Some dark clouds and thunder is coming from somewhere over the pacific. “Nasty weather for today. Ya know. It was shit to sleep alone tonight. Not that I need you. I get it done alone. But…” Her commlink is popping up some menus. It’s blinking “EDIT FILE Simlog #1”. Some wierd feeling when the recording is overlapping with what she records. It’s like flashes of memory that overwrite reality. She’s flipping forward, backward. Finally she cuts out the moment when he’s gliding inside her on that desk. “EXTRACTING EMO TRACK” “SAVED”.

SEND MESSAGE” is blinking and “REC” She says: “I was missing you tonight.” “ATTACHING EMO-TRACK”. “SHORT MSG: SENDING USER KOWALSKI” “SENT”.

She inhales the smoke of her nic. “I hate to go there, Kowalski. Hate it. Have still no idea who’s that Annie. She was the first one gone missing. Three different places. I don’t think it’s a john. But I have to check for that. Fuckin’ johns. All assholes. Especially those who pick up down by The Hustler. Creeping me out. Got a couple of calls from my regular. Told him that I quit streetwalking. I’m not available. He was fucking going berserk. Like I owe him something, ya know? It’s a fucking business, I told him. That I’m clean. He was threatening me: ‘We will see about that.’ He’s a wanker. I can deal with him.”

Her legs are swinging from the window-frame. And she’s pulling on her socks and his cargo pants, stuffing the hem into her boots and let the rest fall over them. She’s watching herself in the mirror.

She is looking very young and skinny. Not tall for an elf. Her lip is bursted and freshly healed, some of the minor wounds in her face are patched up with plasters. She is pulling out some black lipstick and painting them, putting some black eyeliner to her eyes. She looks very pale, with some dark rings under her eyes and the eyes are reddened by too few sleep or crying. She is wearing her dark hair as some asymmetric pigtails left and right. Something in her looks leave the impression of her being sad and weary. Her tipped ears look prominent and are unable to miss. She makes the victory-sign with her right hand. “Wish me luck. I’m uploading this on corp-space, Roger. Like every time. Your phone says you’re unavailable. And now I know what you mean with ‘I need a partner’. See ya!”

It knocks. She opens. Jenny is standing there. “You have something?” “I worked all night. Here that’s the report.” She flips her a chip. Jenny is looking at her. “Hey girl. Who messed you up?” “Ah, nothing. Just fucking cops. Got away. Everything in the report. You got the money?” She gives her the stick. “You know where I can find friends of this Annie, say? I have no idea who that is.” “Ah that’s because she’s not local anymore.” “Not?” “Nope. Since she switched her dealer a about a month ago she’s working near The Mad Woman.” “The Mad Woman? That’s no local club.” “No, it’s down by the Bargain Basements. You know?” “I can find that. Thanks. You were friend with Annie?” “Yeah. She started a year ago or so. I called her ten days ago, but she was gone.” “Shit. But why do you think she is murdered?” “Just a fucking feeling. You know? An other girl was going with her. They said, the wanna try something new.” “Do you have a name?” “Mika or Miko. I guess she’s a jap girl. Was in this Neo Tokyo Street Style. Lolita-Look and that. You can’t miss her.”

Babsie was laughing. “Haha! A jap girl with Neo Tokyo Street-Style. Ja. That’s rare.” Jennie was looking concerned. “Hey, Babsie. You know, we were trying to beat the shit out of you. I’m really sorry for that. It wasn’t personal. It was just… We thought it was the right thing to do.” “Yeah, skip it, fuck me sideways, Jennie. That’s past. I don’t mind.” “Just don’t let you kill out there, okay?” “There are worse things than death for us.” Jennie was looking grim. “Word!” “How long are you on the streets, Jennie?” “Since when I was put out by my mother, with eleven. To bait the johns. Twelve years.” “Fuck.” “A lot.”

Babsie fumbled a nic-stick out. “Smoke?” “Thanks.” She lit the stick with a lighter. The two girls were standing in the doorframe and were looking down the corridor. “Is he smacking you? I mean your new mack? This Kowalski?” “He’s not my mack. He’s my partner.” Jennie laughed. “Partner my ass. You have to fuck him?” “I fuck who and when I like. It’s private.” “So you do.” “I didn’t say that. See, I don’t want to cause any trouble, see? It’s a big chance for me, this job. I’ll do anything for it.” “Anything?” “Anything.” “Shit.” They were smoking for a while, saying nothing. “He did beat the shit out of us girls. In that alley.” “He didn’t hit you too hard.” “I was too scared of him. Have you seen him, when he’s…” “No.” “Shit. Be careful, girl. He’s wired. Can’t trust one with wires.” “No, he’s cool. Decent guy.” “Worse than Popper or Crammer sometimes. They do something before they can think.”

She was nodding, flipping her nic to the floor, stepping on it. “Gentleman. He’s giving me this job.” Her hand touches Babsie’s shoulder. “Be careful. If something up, you know. We care for each other.” “Up to a certain point.” “You know what I mean. If it’s too bad…” “If I survive your job.” “Be careful, girl. Try to get sixteen, okay?” She kisses her on her cheek. “I’m eighteen.” It smells like cheap fragrance but the kiss is warm. She feels a funny prick in the stomach. Not like sex, like family. “I’ll take care.” “Keep yourself clean.” “Ja Ma. I won’t fuck with strangers.” The two laugh.

But it’s a bit awkward laughter with a bit sadness in it.
[end recording]

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