Lone Star Shining – 4 parts…

Lone Star Shining – Part 1- Spoiled Fun

© Andrè M. Pietroschek, all rights reserved

  1. Chosen Name resemblance, in memory of a deceased Shadowrun author.

  2. Includes OMNISCIENT Info, which disgusts certain readers & roleplayers.

Seattle 2054: The two Lonestar Security officers driving in the hover-car were known as Sergeant-Investigator (S.I.) Nigel D. Finley, and his female counterpart Sergeant-Investigator Monica Styles. Two badge-bearers of the more educated type, who both had earned their proverbial spurs in the Redmond Barrens, and during the Puyallup riots.

Fin: “Still makes me wonder that not more songs were written about those streets of Seattle, Mon.”

Mon: “Goddamn, Fin! Not another retro-philosophical seizure of yours right now.” Her eyes rolling in grudging acceptance of awaiting a near-inevitable frustration to endure.

Finley grinned.

Mon: “Dammit, Nigel! One day you babble me into one of those overeating-couch-whiners. Celtic Soul was makin’ me drowsy with the ballad, but I admit that the party remix wasn’t too bad.”

With her hint of a compromise given Nigel moved his right index finger upon the touchscreen of the car’s inbuilt media station. In expectation of the bass-boost Monica did a preventive touch of the screen herself, just an instance before the party remix “Streets of Seattle” was unleashed.

The newest case, dished at them by their ever-grumpy Superior Captain Jarrett C. Just, was an Asphalt Pilgrimage for sure it seemed. One of those grind-jobs, for which advanced Lonestar officers are usually overqualified. A handful of murders, starting with the execution of a notorious Shadowrunner team, leading on with an up-n-coming Johnson found magically tortured to death, and, for now, culminated in the slaughter of two Orcs. Both having revealed a Turkish heritage after a deep search into their past, and the possible motive, had been conducted.

Fin: “Mon, is it us, or is the Cap once more nose-deep into politics?”

Monica Styles took a deep breath in before she replied: “Fin, if it would be about us, then we wouldn’t carry a badge anymore. And, as it feels like the hammer being dropped on us, it just must be another political pest.“

Fin nodded. Driving on with a thoughtful look on his face. Then he spoke again.

Fin: “Monica, we’ve been thru the internal hell before.”

Mon: “A-felt-million creamed punk-pants ensured that I did not forget, Nigel.”

Finley and Styles had the bad luck of causing a social effect. Most people considered them a couple, and befuddled by romance, babbled about it frequently. After a preventive investigation, plus the routine training about why fraternizing among workmates was a risk no Lonestar badge-bearer could afford, it had been restarted due an anniversary gift.

Finley and Styles had not always been partners, and contrary to others on duty, they had a pretty tough start. On their first year anniversary, a celebration to accredit solved crimes with good teamwork, it escalated. After an ambush by a now forgotten gang had inspired outsiders to meddle. Their own “friends” among those. Ticcipanello and Foster. The Shaman and the Sim-Stim Industry Pro had dug out an ancient film of sorts, and decided to remix it with most recent media reportage. A Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid attitude mixed into the video of Finley & Styles breaking thru the punks’ ambush with all guns blazing!

Bad luck tide rising it was crowned by that clip, intended just for the anniversary, getting snatched by some unknown Decker, who shared it with the cities’ media.

Butch Finley, and Sundance Styles, could feel, and smell, the waves of dread, whenever they went on patrol back then. Finley had further sacrificed his promotion to shield Styles from getting fired as the scapegoat during the political zeal of the aftermath.

Fin: “Will you follow tradition again, Mon?”

Monica laughed, a mocking underline to it: “Oh? Is it sugar-boy Fatso again?”

Fin: “Whoa, Mon. I still get the shivers, when I’m reminded of the psychological counseling. You damn worried me with that one at start.”

True relieve, as without a better explanation, Fin had been really shocked about Styles’ reaction to one of his street-magical informants. And he was, by far, not the only one who could have sworn on Styles having a habit of provoking bad blood with mages, or outright equalizing all of them with asylum inmates. Paradoxically his informant had displayed an adamant ego on every remark Styles had ever babbled.

Mon: “I tell you we’ll be fine! Now load yer six-guns, and lemme think, Butch.”

Fin: “Ready to shield ya with my life, and by yer side, Sundance.”

The laughter was loud enough to outmatch the music, while Finley and Styles opened the doors, embarking from the armored hover-car. The woman waving them over was the first unexpected surprise in this phase of the case. Practiced in their teamwork Styles fell back, allowing Finley a more discreet dialogue.

Styles witnessed the smile fading from Finley’s face. The woman continued to talk. Styles found her clothing having a weirdness tale-telling of a rural lifestyle. Logical conclusion: Could be from one of the arcologies. Switching the filter of her goggles she verified her being a magically active citizen. Styles’ right hand was ready on her smart-gun anyway. It was during goodbye that Monica knew it was a bad news talk. Nigel did not condolence for fun.

Fin: “Gimme a moment, Mon. I was just informed that our sugar-boy is no more.”

Certain suspicions arise, when a series of unconnected murders happens. Especially, when those who know something start dying, too.

End of Story 6, Part 1.

 

Lone Star Shining – Part 2 – On the Trail

© Andrè M. Pietroschek, all rights reserved

  1. Chosen Name resemblance, in memory of a deceased Shadowrun author.

  2. Includes OMNISCIENT Info, which disgusts certain readers & roleplayers.

Place: UCAS; City of Seattle, Momma Jo’s Diner (between Bellevue&Redmond Barrens).

Orcish Citizen: “You sure Foxless Mage is dead?”

Mon: “Sir, eavesdropping on Lonestar conversation, in any form, is a criminal offense. Please, stay away.”

Orcish Citizen, taking a step back: “Foxless Mage is dead, Officer?”

Mon: “Sir, please. Don’t force me to take you into custody, for disrespecting the order of a Lonestar officer.” Styles saw concern in the Orcs’ eyes, and nodded her head. Right hand still resting on her Ruger Thunderbolt smart-gun. As the Orc withdrew she turned her attention back to her partner, S.I. Nigel D. Finley. Still she saw the Orc speaking into his mobile phone, and eavesdropped the “Foxless Mage is dead!” once more.

Fin, looking up from his mobile computer: “So far it seems his widow spoke true. Got the marriage verified by now. Never expected sugar-boy to have been the withdrawn type. Yet I am certain he really ran afoul of a vampire, the Metroplex juggles this rumor on all channels after all. Nothing so far speaks of any connection to our imminent case.”

Mon: “Still send it to our Department of Paranormal Investigations, for double-checking. On Mages one can’t be sure. Dammit, a Mage killed by a Vampire… is that now suiting, or blatantly suspicious?”

Fin gave a tired nod, and started sipping from his Cinnamon-Soy-Coffee. “By the Book! Always playing it clean. Ya know that, Sundance, don’t cha?”

Mon: “Later, Butch. For now it’s resting time. Waiter, more Soy-Cof, please.”

S.I. Finley was an initiate to the one mystery going beyond comprehension by the testosterone-contaminated mind: S.I. Monica Styles was a Pro, a dutiful Badge-Bearer. (Warning: Near-Classical literature mentioned) On duty no proverbial Don Juan would even get a smile from her. Contrary to that he knew her as quite a sexual predator, when off-shift.

Hot Soy-Coffee was what kept plenty of working people going. Nigel & Styles among them. Still under order to check their given case for possible connections that was what they did.

Mon: “So, in theory 1 we have this; Unknown Culprit kills a team of runners, interrogates their Johnson, to find out more, and then butchers two Turkish Orcs, both definitely too low on the income-scale to hire any Johnson?”

Fin: “Seems so. Yet theory 2 would be that those three murders, plus the loss of my informant, are actually not connected at all, which would mean they remain with the lower ranks of Lonestar, instead of becoming one major crime.”

Mon: “Nothing speaking of WCS so far?”

Fin: “My senses didn’t tingle yet. No, nothing so far speaks of the Worst Case Scenario.”

Mon: “So lets saddle ’em horses, and follow ’em darn tracks, till that old Apache Shaman shows up to bring us back unto the trail, Butch.”

Fin: “Could be a Comanche this time, Sundance!”

It was late during their shift, when Finley & Styles left Momma Jo’s Diner, returning to their armored vehicle to continue the patrol.

Fin: “Got some creds for the maintenance & recompense penalty fee, Mon?”

Mon: “Oh! Lemme drive!”

Practiced, and combat-drilled, Finley & Styles didn’t need to leave their vehicle to switch places.

Mon: “Com on! Channel 906, Code Zero!”

The touchscreen display of the hover-cars computer came to proverbial life, the AI auto-handling Monica’s request already. Two seconds later Finley & Styles heard:

Com: “You two will never grow adult! Ah damn, whatcha wasting the creds for again?”

Fin&Mon, in unison: “Ohm… Its ’em Sioux raiders riding on dragons, an estimated fifty of ’em chasing us god-fearing settlers to the lake right now!”

Com: “Amerindian Charity Foundation bills will prove you saints one day, you know that?” Of course they knew, Finley & Styles always paid those bills precisely due to that.

Smiling, and with no more need for words, Monica turned on the machines’ extras.

Com AI failure redefined it as false alert 203 that night: “Supposed gang-shootout with heavy weapons, FRT shot down, going overdrive to support local Lonestar patrol.”

The Lonestar vehicle was bathed in flashes of blue light going silvery with the watery foam drawn up into the air, as Monica Styles took the 220 MPH “there, and back, shortcut” across Lake Sammam.

Fin&Mon, in unison: “Lonestar psychological-counseling could not emphasize the importance of staying on good terms with the inner child often enough…”

Temporal end of Story 6, part 2.

Map of the Hood – Finley & Styles – Lone Star Shining

111

Lone Star Shining – Part 3 – Politico

© Andrè M. Pietroschek, all rights reserved

Seattle, January the 15th 2055: Captain Jarrett C. Just sat in his office chair. The political bite of Finley & Styles in their latest folly had finally started to weaken. Politics caused more blood-loss than any Vampire gone rampant. The Lake Sammam Vandals had been sent straight into disciplinary measures, and got an additional three month period of desktop work in different departments.

While true that Finley & Styles were charitable on Native Amerindian Projects, and few official complaints ever came from there, they both had underestimated how fierce a disciplinary-kick-in-the-butt they had provoked by the sheer fear of any racial unrest being caused by members of Lone Star. Just had been busy pulling the proverbial strings, and haggling or begging political favors, to minimize the collateral havoc wreaked by some ego’s in leadership of the corporation attempting to protect their careers.

Careers they assumed were one with the public well-being and customer satisfaction. Captain Just was too prudent to ever mouth a doubt about it, and luckily too prudent to take it as it was dished unto him, too. But this time they had messed-up, no chance of overlooking the set-up like with that decker publishing Lone Star Interns. The Department of Street Patrol was back on routine, or so it seemed. Just knew that the lower ranks of Lone Star Officers, those who literally risked their lives out there, did not react kindly to meddlers from above.

Finley & Styles were the beacon and the bait. They shone the bauble, so others did not have to meet the media ill-prepared. And the ‘grunts’ knew that damn well. Hated, doubted, envied or cheered – Finley & Styles were badge-bearers by conviction, not just for a handful of NuYen! And it was Jarrett C. Just who was now expected to bridge the gap between political zeal and street-securities reality.

The voice of his secretary started to come through the speakers of his computer. Just already knew it was to announce the arrival of his guests. Luckily his guests had never caught him on the political trickery he had already performed. Not committed, it was legitimate political favor-trading after all. Just couldn’t help on the disciplinary sentence, but he had assured that the additional three month would not be a waste of time for Finley & Styles.

Monica Styles had been sent to the Department of Paranormal Investigations and Nigel D. Finley had been sent to the Department of Special Investigations. Opportunity in Crisis.

His guests entered and Captain Just participated in the predefined, ever-awkward-dance of social etiquette, greetings and introductions. Simpletons overlooked that it had been purposely-designed so by society, as it served the purpose of allowing all participants to judge their surroundings and associates without compromising themselves or anybody else!

Present were: Captain Jarrett C. Just, official representative of the Departments Street Patrol and Irregular Assets, Benita Cumberland, chosen representative of the Department of Special Investigations, George Kenneth Leigh, chosen representative of the Department of Homicide, Davis Cheadle, chosen representative of the Department of Paranormal Investigations, and Whitney Mae-Wong, chosen representative from the Department of Special Investigations.

To Jarrett C. just those were the only people needed to attain both: A factual report on the performance of Finley & Styles on their temporal reassignment, and a tactical evaluation on those murders, including a suspect-vampire killing a mage gone Lone Star Informant, which had been dumped into a cold case file. The rest is corporate bargaining, Chummers.

It took gruesome two hours to pacify and comfort everybody’s ego. It took one more hour to allow Captain just the presentation of his strategy aka problem-solution. Luckily it then only needed ten minutes of mobile permission-asking and coordination to come to an agreement. Lone Star was a lot, but not corrupted into incompetence, nor foolish enough to leave an unsolved case which could be brought back into media attention. And Captain Jarrett C. Just was not just known as the ever-grumpy boss, but as an educated loyalist on the corporate career-ladder, too.

Whatever unsolved truth was hidden in the dark, the light of Lone Star would soon shine on it. And Finley & Styles would be back, where true badge-bearers belong, out, on those streets of Seattle with all the shadows…

End of Part 3.

Lone Star Shining – Part 4 – A chat among gravestones

© Andrè M. Pietroschek, all rights reserved

In the distance lights were turned on, as the light of day was beginning to vanish. A dark and cloudy night heralded itself, as it was windy and quickly turning from daytime into evening. Traffic surged by, as the graveyard lay on the outskirts of Seattle, or in other terms was found in the outer perimeter of the city.

The reinforced Duster, an armored coat, of Monica Styles was flapping in the wind while she watched the groggy approach of Nigel D. Finley. Both of them had been working all day. And for both of them it was the first meeting in a while. Voice Mails and Text Messaging can grow shallow after a while, and for these two it had been so.

Is that your idea of a reunion party, or did your horse just die, Sundance?” Finley spoke, as if the six month of separation never happened, and to a degree Monica knew that deep in his heart his loyalty was just as unshaken, as hers to him.

Nay, Butch, that old, darn horse is well, just thought I meet-ya without the Sheriff and ’em Texas Rangers gunning for us.”

Finley could see telltale signs of discomfort felt by his former partner. His remark had reassured him that those were not due his mistakes though. They both hated their nicknames, but knew they stuck until another whim of the public would change that.

Who’s Walter Berkshire?” asked Finley.

Sherlock Finley, shouldn’t you know the REAL names of your own informants?” Monica really hadn’t expected Nigel not to know.

Your sugar-boy Fatso is ahem… Buried here?” Finley was more surprised by Styles paying any mage a visit at all, then by the fact that street-people and SINless would have alternate identities.

Stop wastin’ ma time, Butch. Just put yer ole glasses on!”

Nigel did just that, and went staring in utter disbelief. The aura of his partner, Monica Styles, was that of an Awakened, a magical active person.

He’d been there for me, when my own change began. He never told anyone, not even his wife, leaving my choice to me. Taught me how to hide the early emanations for a while and about the inner price for cyberware.”

I understand.” Finley knew damn well how rare it was to find reliable allies on those Streets of Seattle. To him it was no surprise that Styles went through it alone, and while on the job. She was the kind of modern woman who wouldn’t rely on counseling and theory.

As an afterthought he added: “Mon, you know he was back in the Shadows?”

I did not, but his wife filed me in during a visit I paid her.” Monica answered.

Finley learned about the Mage who rescued his pregnant daughter from the fangs of an old adversary, but much like Styles he found no connection of that to the greater turn of events.

So why here and now?” Finley asked.

Oh come-on, Butch. Them horses thirst, and I gambled my last dollar away on the darn yester, so we will have to ride into that city and ruff ’em up for cash once more!”

True.” Remarked Finley, actually happy that Monica was not trapped in some form of mourning or regret, but instead, as always, fully focused on the job. This Friday had been the last day of their enforced reeducation in different Departments, and it was a good thing to know that, no matter what else, Styles would be by his side again next Monday morning. A willing and prepared Styles who even left him forty-eight hours to research foolhardy quotes on magically active police women!

Streets of Seattle is a fine song, did I ever mention?” asked a grinning Nigel, already prepared to dodge the provoked punch to come!

End of Part 4…

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