Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

[Recording Session, Session ID SEA#0007]

The camera activates in a large room, dimly light by weak orange light bouncing off walls painted in sickly green and tasteless beige, slow bluegrass music is playing in the background of the bar. The air is heavy with smoke and humid with the spectre of sweat. Even the volatile vapors of booze don’t seem enough to kindle the damp and empty hearts coming to this place, as few as they may be.
“Glad you could stop by, Doc.”, Frettchen says slowly, her voice raspy and ravaged from the grey bite of nicotine and burned tobacco. “Say, won’t you lend your lungs to me?”
The virtual doctor looks puzzled, but regains his posture after a few seconds. “Greetings, Miss Aidee… What… What can I do for you today?And why are you wearing a suit?”
“Just call me Valerie, Doc. No need for formalities today…”, she says, killing the cigarette, lighting another in fluent movement of her hands, letting go of the tumbler of bourbon for a second. “There’s this case I’m working on, and I need an expert opinion. An opinion on a sharp lady, dressed in chrome and red.”
“Case… Valerie.”, the projection repeats with a slow nod. “Are you intoxicated?”
“You ask the wrong questions, doctor.” she mutters and then, leaning in closer, adds “For fuck’s sake Doc, don’t be such a bore, just play along! I had a great day posing as a police officer and I’d like a nice conclusion, so…”
“Excuse me, you did what?!”, he seems startled. “You do not need a psychiatrist, I am afraid you need a priest!”
Frettchen sighs. “You’d rather have me talk about those two junkies and how I beat the shit out of them and cut their arms off or what?”, she sincerely protests, crossing her arms.
He gives her a long, silent stare, then points at the bottle of bourbon, resting on the table. “I’ll have one of those, ‘Detective’.
“That’s my boy.” A few quick comlink commands later he has a virtual version of bourbon and promptly takes a sip.
“I… Look, Val. The cases you take? That’s above my paygrade. You remember this time, when you got out the jumper cables to get your answers? That is not my world. I have a family to take care of!”
The elf flashes a quick, delighted smile. “Wow, you’re fucking amazing, man!”, then slips back into role.
“Nothing of that sort. I’ll only take your time and opinion, then you can crawl back to your domestic life and enjoy your feast of grass with the other sheeple.”, she jabs at him amicably as his forehead curls in worryful frown.
“Can it, Detective Federal Slave. You’re just lucky your superiors gave you a longer leash than mine. That aside, tell me about her. Is she a client, or a suspect?”
“Aren’t we all a bit of both?”, the elf asks through the curtain of smoke woven by her own breath. “She has a real vengeance problem. Is haunted by old grudges. Killed or scarred most of her former husbands over the last 20 odd years. She’s a sly one, no one ever got anything on her. I need a profile. Something to work with. You are the only guy I know with enough brains to figure that shit out.”
The shrink’s hands make nervous steps along his glass before he picks it up and buys time by savoring digital flavor. “Do you have any lead why she does what she does?”, he asks. “Psychopathic tendencies are rarely default.”
“My partner and I did some digging, but most things we found are unreliable or vague. Her behavior seems often the result of general malevolence, a fear of being left alone, replaced or simply boredom. Surprisingly human notions, for someone like her.”
“Are you sure we’re talking about your client here, Val?”
Frettchen lets out a short laugh, more of a snort and lights another cigarette, after the last took a dive head first into the ashtray. “Don’t sass me, Doc. Just help me out on this one.”
“My advice would be, stay away from her. People like that are hard to read, and even harder to treat. If you must, make a slow and cautious approach, do not dig in too old graves or you’ll end up in a rather fresh one, Detective.”, the doctor suggests, driving the ghosts of the pasts away from his face with a gulp of the cheap but efficient booze in front of him.
“So, how’s the husband?”, he changes the subject and Frettchen gives him a content smirk.
“He still puts up with me and all my bullshit. So yeah, things are fine. Never regretted marrying him, never will.”
The wailing guitar at the bar’s small stage grows silent, as a new song is about to begin, though the hunched alcoholics in this place don’t pay much attention to the tunes creeping through these walls.
The elf kills the last smoke and her face lightens up in a flash of genuine joy, before she’s rocked by ample wet coughing.
“Ugh, Jesus Fucking Christ, these things are horrible… I had to smoke half a pack to fuck up my voice like that…”
She tries to soothe her sore throat with the rest of the cheap booze in her tumbler and her grimace becomes a silent, but convincing witness to the quality of that idea.
“Anyway, thanks Doc, that was fun!”
“I am glad to deliver, Miss Aidee, basic role play is part of my service.”, he responds kindly and a bit proud of himself. “Do you want to conclude this session?”
“Yeah, I really need some mouth bleach and a steak sandwich. Gotta catch some sleep, too, morning shift and stuff. See ya later, Doc!”

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