Campaign of the Month: November 2014

Shadowrun - The Rat's Nest

Train Crash

Personal Log - R. Kowalski, PI

Personal log of Kowalski, Roger

The moment I opened my eyes, she kissed me softly ‘Good Morning’. Lying on my belly, soft as a feather. Naked down to our hips, she rubbing softly on me, while her lips were giving me those 5000 Volt that you use to fry ‘em on the electric chair and that put up the hairs on the back of my neck. I stopped her by kissing back for a moment and moaned, tried to wind me from under her. "That’s so great, that you don’t want to fuck with me", she said, looking in my eyes. “I really don’t want at the moment. Are you sure I can ignore that natural thing of yours and that it doesn’t mean a thing?” “Sure”, I said and wound me from under her, turned on the radio and tried to get my mind clear. “Everyone just wants to fuck me, you’re the only one that doesn’t. I feel so good”, she laughed and cuddled herself to me, closing the space again I had wound free. “I just want to be near, you don’t mind?” And she opened her belt and started to undo her pants. “That’s a bad idea. Very, very bad idea”, I said and stopped her. She watched me, curious. “Why?” And her fingers pulled my own belt open. “Because this is going in a direction, I can’t explain anyone anymore.” “But it’s cold”, she said while she shuffled herself out of her pants. “No”, I said determined. “Really bad idea.” “No sex, promise”, and after a second she added, “promise? Or would you force me to sex if I do that?” “No, of course I don’t force you to have sex.” “Okay”, and she got rid of her pants, started to pull down mine, biting her lip. “No! Dammit!” I sat up. “What do you think you’re doing?” “Cuddling?” “Ah, no. That ain’t cuddling.” And I pulled my pants up again. She sat on my belly, stroking my sides. “What would that be then?” I let out the air and pushed her from me. “I don’t want to talk about. I just need a cold shower now. Charleen is arriving at SeaTac in a few hours and I promised to get her. And I have to explain this here. And if you pull down my pants and yours and we ‘cuddle’ here on that mattress I won’t have anything to explain, the situation would be self-explanatory and everything I’d say would be a blank lie.” She giggled. “You’re so cute when you’re shy.” “And I don’t trust you that you would stop.” “Not?”, she was sulking.

“No.” “But I am true, that I don’t want to fuck with you at the moment. You are the first man that doesn’t take me when he has the chance to. Either you really are a weird guy and this platonic thing would explain it, or you are the strongest man I ever met.” “Can we change the issue? I didn’t have my cold shower yet.” “Of course”, she let fall herself backwards, holding her arms together over her head and nudged my belly with her naked feet. “I wouldn’t fight back… much…”, she declared with played honesty, then giggled, when I jumped from the couch-mattress. “Just teasing, don’t look so mad at me. You ain’t mad, are you?” She held my hand and pulled me towards her. “No. I’m not mad at you.” “Kiss me.” I kissed her and she let me go.

“Shower?”, she asked. “We have a shower? I thought we didn’t.” “We ain’t. But there’s a leak in the waterpipe in the man’s room. Or a hole in the roof, whatever. It’s leaking in and I call that a shower. Water is clean.” She watched me pack my things. “Join you?” I turned and gave her a look. She giggled. “Okay. I watch the door, you watch when I’m using the shower. It’s the man’s room, isn’t it? You’ll have to protect me.”

Halve an hour later we were sitting with breakfast. The Bumble Bee Burger on main street had this ‘Happy Morning’ meal with marmalade, buns, coffee-to-go, fried bacon, sausage and eggs. “We can’t afford this expensive stuff”, I declared. “Can you cook?” “Cook?”, she stared at me. “Am I looking like a housewife to you?” “More like a cheeky rascal.” “Do cheeky rascals cook?” “Hm. I got your point.” “I can get really cheap meals from dumpsters, but I worked up from that. If you think we need more money…” “Just let’s see how this whole private investigation thing works out, okay? Would it be a step back for you to cut a bit your expenses for not standing out in the rain and get fucked by strangers for while?” “Hm”, she said. “Dumpster diving…” “Can you give us a chance?” She gleamed me a smile. “I’ll try for you.”

It was a fantastic breakfast. Everything would be fantastic but getting to SeaTac and explain this situation to Charleen. I ordered her to tidy up our space a bit and make herself representable. Then I took off for Charleen.

“A girl from the street? You’re kidding me.” “She’s very nice.” I just hoped she didn’t put on her extra short mini that she used for work. “She’s just a kid that needs a chance.” “And you think working as a private investigator is the right thing to do for a young girl?” “She’s almost a woman. She’s looking a bit young, but she’s an elf.” Charleen was giving me that look and I ignored her giving me that look. “How old?” “Eighteen she claims.” “And you think?” “Not eighteen. But she seems to have no one out there. And I seriously need some back up on the job.” “You let her live in the office?” “She has no place to stay and I can’t afford to pay her so much that she can rent herself a flat.” She nodded. “I’ll tell you what I think, when I have seen that girl. But you look nervous.” “I am fucking nervous. It’s not an easy thing, is it?” “Damn right. You don’t fuck her, don’t you?” “I don’t.” The fact she wasn’t threatening me with what she would do if she found out I was lying was worse than if she had.

The rain washed over the windshield in thick streams that the windshield wipers couldn’t get off completely. So I turned to the autopilot and hoped his radar system would get us better through the traffic than I would. I leaned back and closed my eyes. “What’s her name?” “What?” “Her name?” “She’s calling herself Babsie, but it’s not her real name. She said she was registered as Thursday. Orphan thing. No idea what is her forename, because I think she doesn’t like it and she would be ‘in the system again’ if she did.” “Orphan thing. So so…” Charleen smiled. “I know you have a good heart, Roger. Please don’t get in trouble because of that. You can’t help every street rat.” “I can help this street rat. I hope so. She’s smart. She knows the streets around here. The people. She’s an asset.”

What the hell? Asset my ass. She’s the hand-grenade without safety pin, she’s the hair-dryer in the bathtub, she’s the syringe in the vein, the matchstick at the gas-station of my life, just waiting to rip it to pieces. She’s on my lips and under my skin. And I touch the naked knee of Charleen. “How was Vancouver?” “My uncle got sick. Very serious.
He’s suffering AIPS since ‘64 but recovered. Now he’s got an episode. We nearly lost him, but the doctors say, he’s in recovery. Nobody knows what’s the reason. It’s stress or matrix. They ordered him to take a cure, there is some nice retreat in the cascades. Away from stress and matrix. It’s covered by insurance. At least part of it. We all pooled our money. He’s a very nice man. You know my family…” “I know. Rural stuff with lot’s of relatives.” “Lot’s.” “So you’re broke now?” “I get new money in, if I keep the job.” “I can pay you back the fifty if you like.” “You got income?” “Not really. Two days work, 110 to spend. But I got 30 in expenses, which won’t be covered this time.” “Keep it. I get through.”

Halve an hour later, the first she said was: “You didn’t tell me, she’s that pretty, didn’t you? Fuck. That’s an elf. An elven girl. And she’s pretty.” Her voice was raising a level in volume. “You didn’t mention that, did you?” She wasn’t wearing that mini-skirt and I prayed god thank you. She was wearing one of these tight black jeans, a pullover with a sailor collar in black, her boots and a white woolen cap. She had been waiting on the couch, after she had indeed tidied up the bureau, put away my underwear and hers and all traces of living. The coffee machine was bubbling fresh coffee and she had tried to cover most of her slim body with clothes. Which didn’t make it much better.

“She’s really pretty”, Charleen said a third time in a row, staring at the young elf. I could be wrong, but there was a bit of panic in her voice. “And she’s young.” “Hello. You must be Charleen”, she said courteously and shook Charleens hand. “I’m Babsie. I may be looking young, but I’m an elf. We are like that.” Charleen frowned and looked at me. “She’s feisty. You didn’t mention anything.” “I hrm…” “You are living here?” “Ya, I mean yes mam. I had no other place after I quit my job.” “Your job?” “I was working on the street before Roger took me in.” “Working… what do you mean?” She pointed down to the corner. “There. But that’s over now.”

Charleen nearly screamed. “WHAT? You bastard! You think… I… I have to sit.” “No, mam, really”, she said. “He was very nice. He helped me to get off the drugs and rescued my life and…” Charleen gasped. I tried to explain, “see, this whole thing…” “Stop. You shut your mouth. Out. You just leave. I’ll have a talk with her and will find out what else you didn’t find important to mention.” “But, let me…” “Go! Or do you want me to… I let you alone for a few days, and… No. Just go. I try to put it nice. Piss off, Roger. Don’t come back too soon or I scratch out your eyes for that. She’s… she…”

I don’t know what she was going to say. I preferred to shut the door behind me and leave the crash site. “See you, Charleen.” And the worst was, that I couldn’t do any damage control to that rippling disaster.

Standing on the street, I tried to light a cigarette. But my hands were fucking shaking and the rain from above didn’t make it any easier. “Can I help you?” I reeled around and the man that was emerging from the shadows had lit a lighter. I let out my breath, while my hand still had not found the Needler in my pocket. “Virgil. Thank you”, and I lit my cigarette. “You look a bit nervous. Either you become a father or it’s something with your two women.” I took a deep breath. “Never again say ‘my two women’, would you please? I’m in enough trouble at the moment.” “So, you are.” We were huddling against the wall, which was giving not enough cover against the rain. I put the collar of my coat up, which didn’t help much. “You should get you a hat, man. One of these fedoras.” He laughed. “Very funny.” I found my rain hood and put it on. “So. What’s up?”, I asked after cursing about the water in my neck and that I didn’t had the presence of mind to put that thing on earlier.

“It’s time for our two week deal”, he said. “The deal. Ah. And I thought it was my tasty coffee.” He snorted. “Your coffee, ya.” He flipped me a card with a name and an address. “That sucker owes me two gran. You remind him to pay.” “I collect?” “If you find some. Just remind him.” “Why don’t you do it yourself?” “Because I have you for this shit. Call me.” He turned and the rain was wetting the rest of his cigarette and he flipped it into the gutter. Well…

Halve an hour later Charleen came down the stairs. She stared at me. Then she slapped me in the face. “You don’t sleep there anymore. You don’t give other girls than me flowers to valentines day. You don’t touch her. You take care of her. You owe me big time.”

She turned and left. I checked my face and found blood on my nose. She didn’t say ‘if not’. That was no optional request and she made sure I felt it that way.

“She’s nice, your Charleen”, she said. “Is that a black eye? Man, you deserve that.” “Shut up. We have to work. Put something on against the rain. Take this.” I opened the locker and handed her my bulletproof vest. “You ever used a shocker?” “Nay.” “Then don’t use it if it’s not the last resort. Put it in your pocket.” She pulled her pullover off and I turned. “You gotta help me with that.” “You’ll manage it yourself.” “I don’t know how.” I cursed in every bit of language I knew and did so.

“Are you mad at me?” “No. I’m mad at myself.” “What do we do?” “Collect money.” “Gee.” She tried to fire the taser. “Don’t. Just don’t play with that and don’t hold it in my direction. You already did enough damage for a day.” “What? Me? But…”

She was looking like the marshmellow-woman inside my vest. “You are looking a bit bulky. Hm.” “Maybe…?” She frowned looking at herself. “Yes, I think what is big enough for me is like a tent for you. This was designed to worn under the clothes, but on you it’s looking a bit…” “Like I’m the fucking Hulk on steroids.” “I think we forget about that vest. We have to buy you one, next time.” “And this time?” “If it goes sideways, try not to get hit, okay?” “Sounds… just great. Do you think somebody’s gonna shoot us?” “I have no idea. But I guess they don’t shoot underage girls. If we’re lucky.” “I’m eighteen!” “Whatever. Don’t get shot.” “Just great. Oh, look! If I wind myself a bit, it’s gliding down.” “I can see that.” “I feel naked.” “Believe me, you are not. If you were, I’d really be in trouble and I’d prefer to get shot in that case.”

The night had passed when we arrived at the “24/7 Redding’s Washing-Center”, in the backalley behind a pawn and oddities shop, where someone had set up the “Lucky Thimblerig Table Casino” and the “StYlZ cYb3rwareZ diZKont”. We shuffled between some junkbags and a dumpster, before we found it on the third try. Without her I would have never found it. A few squatters had set up their homes on the side of the dumpster made of plywood and plastic foil. Someone was grilling something that was looking like a big rat on a stick over a kind of fire that smelled like burning plastic and rubber.

We entered the center, a few rows of washing machines, a credstick reader and graffiti all over the place, the pale neon light shining from the ceiling, one broken, an other one blinking without any visual rhythm. A man behind a counter in the back of the center in tattered pants and greasy menswear tanktop.

He was talking. “Sevenhundredsixtyfive, sevenhundredsixtysix. Man this is so great. It’s so great, so great. I will get them, get them all. You there I see you. Man I see you. What? wHat you waNt? yoU geT somE? Get some? Get some?” I pushed Babsie behind the washing machine. “We want to wash our clothes. How much does it cost?” “WasH? YoU are fEds, you are? IRS? EI ARE EZZZ?! blOodsucKers. Damn yoU wonT gEt me. Get me. I get you. Get you.” “Man, are you Redding?” “wHo wanna knOw? No?! kNow? NOW!?” He pulled a weapon and put it in my direction. “Shit!”, as I dived behind the washing machine. “Loco!”, was the only thing Babsie was saying, then the Remington Roomsweeper banged a load of shrapnel through the corridor and the blast did blow out the entrance. “I ei ei goT you? I got? I’m god! You are DEAD Suckers! So dead! CoMe and gET some!” A second shot was shredding into the top of the machine we had taken cover. “Shit. That one’s lateral.” “Man, we just come to talk!”, I yelled. An other shot went off and a canister of washing soap was evaporating above us. Babsie was covered in white foam. “That sucker!”, she cursed. That’re my best clothing’s, fuckhead!" “Man”, I tried to talk. “We’re just here to remind you about the debts. You owe money. Just say you’ll pay and we’re out of here”, I tried to deescalate. “What the fuck you do?”, Babsie started yelling at me. “Get out that blasted gun and put this mad pig down, will you?” Another shot went off. Rags of clothes were sailing like snow through the air. “You want some?! I have more of that! You just die and I put your corpse in one of my machines, and I shit on you, you fucking bastards, fuck you fuckers you dead irs feds moneyfuckers you I kill you all you!”, and another shot went through the air. Babsie yelled: “He’s coming! Fuck! He’s coming!” And was ducking beside me. “Do something!”

“Rat’s ass. I give you a rat’s ass, you suckers. You dear coming in my shop and”, but the rest was sucked by the next blast of his gun. The Remington Roomsweeper, a sawn off shotgun. Loaded with twenty millimeter flechette rounds. I had pulled out my Manhunter and had closed my duster. “Shit, this will hurt plenty”, I cursed. Babsie tried to run. “Down!” I pulled her foot so she was falling to the ground. Above her another round was bursting some fabric conditioner and pinkish liquid was running on the floor making it slippery. “What?”, she cursed. “I can seeeeee you!”, he was yelling now. I was looking around the corner, but an other blast evaporated the machine that was my cover. “Fuck!” I scooted away from the corner and slipped on the floor. “Shit. Get back! Get back!”, I gesticulated to Babsie, who was on her knees and was losing grip to the floor the second time she tried to get up. “Shit!” Another blast and the glass window burst into pieces. He rounded the corner, “Bang you’re dead”, I the gun went off. I tried to throw me in the corridor Babsie was in, but I slipped and dropped my gun. “Fuck!” He was right over me and this one hit me in the torso. I was thrown backward, but I got lucky that it hit my in the center, where my duster had it’s main armor. The air got out of my lung and I slipped on the floor. I grabbed my gun, shot his leg. First shot hit his knee but he didn’t go to ground. The second doublet hit his thigh, went right through. He was looking down. No pain. Started to laugh. “And now you, my dear friend.” Holding himself upright, leaning on one of the machines, his Roomsweeper an evil barrel right in the middle between my eyes. “Dead.” His gun clicked empty. “Nooooo!”, Babsie cried and shot with the taser. It missed the man and the darts just swirled past him. He grinned and filled another shot in his gun. I shot another time. The bulled went right through him, I missed the second. He pulled up the barrel, “and after I have washed your bloody corpse, I have a bit fun with her”, he smiled manically but then her second taserdart hit him in the torso and he was going going down, shaking.

“Go! Go!”, I told her. “Just go, wait in the car. I call the cops. Can you drive?” "She was white like ashes. “Just drive home on autopilot, go inside, wait for me. You never were here.” She ran.

Three hours later I joined her at the office. She was still shaking. “Sorry.” She jumped into my arms. “The cops didn’t take you in?” “Ah no”, I smiled. “Drughead gone ballistic. I have my guns registered. Ex-Cop, camera on site. No problem. Just a lot of light in my eyes.” “You got the money?” “Money?” “Yeah. We were there to collect the money, didn’t we?” “Shit.”

I sat on the couch. “I really need a coffee”, I said putting my finger through the holes in my duster. “And a good one.” “That was kinda fun”, she said. “But it’s not always like that, is it?” “No. I hope. You were so brave, baby.” “Now I really want to fuck you”, she said.

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