Family Affairs Revision 1.10
© Andrè M. Pietroschek, my rights reserved!
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‘When forced into battle Fox always fights to kill, not stun or capture.’ From Shadowrun – Shadows of Magic.
“Thou shall not suffer a witch to be born!”. That pseudo-prophetic-warning weighed upon my mood alike arcane significance, while I woke-up. Some brain-dregs like that formed the sermon of another, hopelessly outdated, yet supposedly-holy book. My problem about it was that the woman whom I had married was a witch, and my daughter thereby could be suspected to be a witch, too. Even by the shrivels of scientific education which I care to remember, Chummers.
All she had wanted was to get to that teenage-band ‘Celtic Soul’ concert. Well, we had not forbidden that, just failed to tell her about it in time. So she did what every good daughter does. Rebelliously she made use of the personality traits inherited, and learned from her parents.
“Next time you tranquilize your elders you might wake up in the cauldron along with spices, Dear.” I wished I could tell her, as for now she was still missing. When we had finally gathered enough cash and credit both, me and my wife, had decided to proverbially leave running the shadows, and the big city life, behind.
Technology was mobile so we did not miss much and did spend our time in an arcology much like those retired rangers often tend to do. Controlled environment, security, and some comfort. Independence, as we could produce our own food and water. Except for me nearly all others knew how to brew alcohol, too. Not Synthanol, but real, handmade-brew alcohol…
When it all started, back in 2053, I had been a Street-Shaman. Or better said I may have once been supposed to become one. Fox was my calling, but a criminal underclass was my environment. There is no great prudence which a high caliber bullet into my head could not neutralize instantly. We had our problems from the start. Because I guess Fox knew it, yet decided to leave my choice to me. Even the well-meaning can hurt one brutally that was not new to me.
I had done that. After ten years of running with Fox, and as Fox, I told my Totem that we better depart. It was mutual. I did not lose all my magic. I was not killed by some breach of my spirit either. Without Fox I simply was a proverbial shadow of a man. There was no day in my life I could be fully awake for more than four hours. That was the price to pay. Lifelong imprisonment on the borderline to dreamy slumber. Like a sedated lunatic. I hated Fox even more, yet knew it was not his misdeed. Fox was just one more totem, and the fat and bloated man whom I had become did not look prudent or tricky at all.
We had done, as parents typically do, when their child goes missing. We had instantly indebted ourselves, and hired a private investigator who had scored some successes in Seattle, precisely the city where ‘Celtic Soul’ were predestined to jump upon the stage. But there is this truism about solutions among shadowrunners: “An easy solution is no solution at all!” The Bitch named Consequence is not fucked by anyone without dire repercussions to follow. My wife tended to smack me with one of her elbows whenever I was caught babbling vulgarism aloud…
The Sleuth had returned to us with one of those facial expressions one only wants to see in SimStim entertainment. The fact that he visited an arcology at all proved him professional enough to me. He delivered a message from my daughter’s pseudo-kidnapper. Kinda: “Come, jump into my trap so I can avenge myself, or your offspring… signed K.”
Insanity has only one limit and that is certain death. I should have killed K straight the first time he had proven himself a false friend. I did not, brainwashed by the laws of old, long-gone democracy calling it murder. So he had risen in power, and was eager to put the blame upon me once again.
“He’ll have you raped, and tortured to death!” my wife commented with the shimmer of divination magic in her eyes.
“Or worse: He forces me to listen to his self-pity-fuck sermon again! I will not abandon our child to his fangs!” I tried to fake a smile, and to pretend immortality.
K had become the boss of a special gang. Süpür-K <-> Homosexual Turkish Criminals. Funded by some corporate media friends of him, them hoping that K, who happened to be a vampire since 2055, would gift them immortality! K had played the patience-card. Bluffing about how his rise in power would mean the blood by which they will soon be created would be much stronger. Well, the virus in that blood to give some detail. Corpse-Lovers and Coffin-Sleepers are wrong in the head for sure.
So I ventured into the big city one more time. I needed neither magic nor scouts to find a K who wanted to be found. Shortly after midnight, shortly after because my fat old me was out of breath, I had entered the gang-hosting mansion of the vampire. Former friends make fierce enemies. A mutual wisdom. The stench of feces alone could have killed me, and I always had the suspicion that certain homosexuals perceived it as perfume of a kind. Disease Worship, pretty common.
K was well prepared. Neither my weapons, nor my suicide-capsule escaped the vigilance of his guards. I wasn’t surprised. So I went into the vampire mansion. Once more a black sheep coming home. Ready to face my self-declared judge. It was much, as I had anticipated. K wanted something, which I could not offer. I saw it in his eyes, when he made his melodramatic moves, sneaking around my bound daughter like a ghoul around a passer-by who had just died of heart-failure.