As I sit here, eating a soy taco — god I love these things — I let my mind wander. I dont know what set it off, could have been the trid video playing or … well who knows. Either way, my mind goes back to the 60’s and what was dubbed “Crash 2.0”. It was 2064 to be exact. It was hell in the Tir. I was recovering from a recent run and was relaxing eating soy tacos, much like I am now surprisingly enough. Without any warning, it seemed the all the lights went out. AR displays were no longer showing. Trids were down. Commlinks werent connecting to the Matrix like they were supposed to. I closed my eyes and was relieved to find out that the Astral was still present, so not all seemed lost. However, even that didnt seem right. I looked around the taco stand and started noticing that it was just me that seeing this. People walked out of the buildings looking around, as if the answer to this was just outside their doors. My ears were picking up whispered questions and concerns. However, among the “what the frag is going on” and other discussions, the familiar whine of propellers and jet engines became more prevalent. Instead of looking around the streets, I looked towards the skies instead. WHAT THE FRAG IS THAT!! Expecting to see the cloudy overcast sky, instead a jumbo jet was falling from the sky. Not landing … fragging FALLING! It crashed into some buildings down on Burnside a few blocks from where the taco stand. It seemed almost on instinct, I ran towards the burning wreckage. Now I have never claimed to be a charitable person or one to do things for the “greater good”, but a fraggin plane just took out a block of buildings. I full on ran down the street, turning west on Burnside and headed towards the screams and fleeing people.
The smoke was so thick, that I couldnt really get close to the wreckage. Thermovison was going bat-drek crazy since the smoke itself seemed to be on fire. I tried to blindly go into the the area and was able to get to the door of one of the buildings. I recognized this place. It was the apartment complex where Old Maid lived. Old Maid was possibly one of the sweetest grannies I have ever met. She took in homeless kids and helped them with learning how to cook and take care of themselves. I tell you, she made a mean bowl of chili! Without a thought, I broke down the door. and screamed for her. There was no answer. I tried feeling my way into the building, but tripped and ended up on her couch. Looking back … it still makes me catch my breath … was Old Maid. She laid there in her blue dress. A ceiling beam had fallen and crushed her. I knew there had to be children there … there always was. I screamed for them. Tried making my way further into the apartment. I made my way to one of the bedrooms and kicked in the door. The ceiling on this room was ripped off by the falling wreckage. Amid the screams, I picked up the faintest whimper. There … under the bed … I ran over, grabbing the bed and flinging it away. A pair of kids were hiding there. Wait … I know these two. Their names escaped me then though. I grabbed the two of them and ran out of the building and towards the taco stand. I didnt stop running until I got to the taco stand. I knew it was safe there … for now anyways. I sat them down and looked them over.
Wiping away the memory, I ordered up another order of tacos. But looking at them, my mind goes back to looking at these two kids. A human boy and girl, Anne and Bradley, couldnt have been more than 12 years old. My fingers wiped away their tears and searching them for wounds. They had bumps bruises and a few minor scrapes. Dammit, I dont have my med gear with me. “Edict Corantha Sinettua!” My healing spells will have to do for now. The bruises and scrapes heal, but even magic couldnt remove the fear in their eyes, the shaking in their bodies, the memory of what just happened. Looking around, I remembered that my Bulldog was parked nearby. I rushed the kids over and put them in it. This truck has gotten me through alot of tough drek in the years, so its tough enough to take care of these two. I told them to stay put. Looking around, I seen there was another aircraft that was coming down, further in Gresham — possibly by the Wall. Then another one up north … possibly in the Columbia River or in Salish territory. Drek, how wide spread could this be? Cars were crashing all around him, explosions seem to be coming from everywhere …. frag this …. I hopped in the Bulldog and had the kids buckle up.
GridGuide didnt seem to be working … well that explains alot. Tried turning on the wireless on my Predator … nothing. What the hell, is the whole Matrix down ???? I fired up the Bulldog and headed for the safety, or the presumed safety, of home. I headed out of the Gresham barrens, through a smuggling hole in the wall and out to the cabin near Sandy. There was a very little Matrix signature there. They should be safe there. In the rear view, all I could see was smoke, fire and destruction. All I could hear was the sounds of screams, panic and death. Astrally, the pain and suffering was more than I could bear. As I was passing through the Wall, I caught sight of another plane coming down in the city. This was going to be one hell of a mess. Then I looked down at the two children crying in the backseat. I knew then that I was going to make sure that they never experience this kind of suffering again. I decided then, I am going to raise these kids as my own.
I shook away the memories as I took a few more bites of my taco. Damn, those kids are adults now. A smile came across my face as I seen them walk up to the taco stand, ordered some soy tacos and sat down next to their old man.