The Duchess Gets Arrested …

[Present Day — Baltimore, UCAS — 2075]

There isn’t much going on tonight, so I am flipping through the various trid channels and nothing on either.  “Gah!”  I put down the trid remote and went to look out the window.  I had a pretty good view of the harbor, but not today.  Storm clouds have rolled in and is dumping a pretty good amount of rain.  “GAH!  Sometime I hate this city.  Nothing on the trid, nothing going on at the clubs, fragging boring night.”  A set of flashing lights from a passing police car catch my attention and a small smirk appears on my lips.

It wasnt that long ago that I had an up close and personal encounter with law enforcement.  Of course this was before I started being a shadowrunner.  I was leaving the club with some friends and we happened to come across a Jeep that was parked and the keys left in it.  “Really??”  I thought to myself.  I looked around and there wasnt anyone around.  We hopped in and took it for a little spin.  After a few hours, we caught the attention of local law enforcement.  Of course we were detained. I was 14, no license and driving a car that was stolen.  We were taken to the precinct and I thought for sure that Frank was going to kill me when he found out.  I was taken into an interrogation room and must have sat there for a few hours.  Talk about boredom.  Four walls with those see through windows, dim lights and hard uncomfortable chairs.  I glance away from the window and look at the plush couch that sits nearby.

A police detective walked in and sat down in front of me.  I tensed up waiting for the interrogation to start and wondering what they are going to pin me with.  The detective, Carl Weatherman, look at my file then looked at me.  “Jenessa” he says to me. “I have already notified your guardian, Frank Walters, and he is on his way down.  However, I knew your parents.

What the frag??”  I thought to myself.  They died 8 years ago.  Apparently, the look on my face gave me away.  Detective Weatherman put his hand on mine.

They were good people and friends of mine.  Do you know how disappointed they would be if they knew you were out stealing cars?”  He says.  He then took a key from his pocket and unlocked the handcuffs that were still around my wrists.

Whats going on??”  I asked credulously.

“You are free to go once Frank gets here.  As I said, your parents were good friends of mine, and because of that, I am releasing you to your guardian with a warning” the detective said.

About then, Frank walks in with that scowl on his face.  “drek, this is going to be a long ride home ….” I thought to myself.

Thanks Carl, I really appreciate this” Frank says as he and the detective clasp hands.

Anytime Frank

They both looked at me then and it made me feel so damn small.  It was like the entire world grew ten times bigger.  Frank and the detective escorted me out of the precinct and, surprisingly enough, the friends I was with were also similarly released.  I hopped into Franks car and he drove me home.  And, just as I thought, it was a long quiet drive.  When we got to my apartment, he looked at me and simply said “You disappointed me tonight, Jenessa“.  The look on his face said it all.  I got out of the car and went to bed once I got up to the apartment.  That certainly was not the first or last time that I disappointed him.

I snapped back to reality and looked around my apartment.  I wonder what Detective Weatherman would say now that I am a shadowrunner.  I already knew that Frank was disappointed in the decision, but he understands why.  “You know what” I said out loud.  “I am going to get one of those Jeeps!”  I brought up some shopping apps to get some pricing on some, along with the modifications I wanted.  “Damn, I am going to need to get some more jobs lined up if I want to get this.”  I closed the shopping apps and turned the trid back on.  Still nothing to watch.

The Duchess Gets a Cat …

[Present Day — Baltimore, UCAS — 2075]

And we are off on another job.  This time were had a meet downtown at the Hyatt.  First thing Sabot says is “its downtown so make sure that you dont show up having anything that will make you stick out.”  I chuckled as I thought about my time with the Havoc Squad.  They stick out no matter where they are.  But more on them at another time.  The Hyatt is a fancy dancy place, but when we got there we had to give a matrix code to a valet.  Then an SUV pulled up.  It seemed that the rest of the team was weary of getting in, so I was the first to go.  Seemed nice enough on the inside, it had a bar and everything.  Of course, BetaTest goes straight for the booze.  I grabbed a bottle of water and waited for the Johnson to show up.

The Johnson was a mage that materialized in front of us.  Eventhough I am a mage and can do the same thing, it still gives me the chills when I see it happening.  The job presented was to break into an R&D facility here in Baltimore and acquire a prototype and accompanying data.  If we were not able to acquire it for some reason, then destroy them.  We, of course, would get more money for acquiring them though.

After we made the deal, we learned that the R&D facility is Riva Cybernetic Developments, a subsidiary of NeoNet, and the prototype is a set of cybereyes.  The prototype and datastore were kept in the basement of the facility.  After learning more about various security details, we decided to do some of our own research.  We camped outside of the business park that the facility is in.  BetaTest hacked the host and got some data on schedules, personnel files and what not.  I projected myself into the building and ran straight into a watcher spirit.  Caught off guard, both of us, I jumped back to my body before the spirit could act.

The personnel files contained information on two particular individuals.  The first one, lets say his name is “Mark.”  His social media posts indicated that he was going to a concert this weekend.  The other one, we will call her the crazy single cat lady, well had a cat.  Both of them held positions that would be beneficial to the completion of the job.  Since we had all week before we would do something with “Mark”, we decided that we would kidnap the cat.  Yes, we are kidnapping a cat and will ransom it for some information and/or access to the building.  More on “Mark” later.

We tracked down the crazy single cat lady at her apartment and staked it out.  After she left for work, Kira and I broke into the apartment, with the help of an invisibility spell and BetaTest hacking the door.  Kira was able to pick the lock to the apartment and we went in.  After some searching around, we lured the cat out of the bedroom with some food.  I tried to grab the fluffy white cat, but apparently the vicious little thing decided differently and got my arm.  Kira was able to grab the little bugger and get it into the cat carrier that we picked up.  The actual plan was to capture the cat and hit it with a slap patch to knock it out.  However, now that the cat is already in the carrier, I sure as drek am not sticking my hand in the carrier.  So I hit the cat with a low powered stun bolt to knock it out.

Apparently the commotion got the attention of a nosy neighbor.  An old lady knocked on the door asking if everything was ok.  Then she decided on calling the building super.  So now we are in some drek.  We got some much needed assistance when Soren arrived and used some mind magic on the old lady to make her think that there was some Jello left in the oven. When the coast was clear, we left the ransom note and fled the building and into the car.  Now we are planning on ransoming the cat and meeting “Mark” at the concert.  We know that the concert is at a venue that I have been to.  But as I said, more on him later.  For now, I need to get down to the Feathered Talon.  Star Flower has me working on creating some foci for a customer.

The Duchess Goes to a BTL den …

[Present Day — Baltimore, UCAS — 2075]

So I get this job with a new crew.  Apparently Sabot wants to get a stable team together and I was put on it.   The job was simple enough, to extract the Johnson’s family member from a BTL den.  We met the Johnson at a place called Mother’s in Federal Hill.  The place was quaint enough to make my grandmother puke.  It appeared that I was going to have to do the negotiation since none of the team had any social skills.  I was able to get the team an extra grand for the run, since he wanted it done right away.  But, like I said, it seemed like a simple enough job.

Sabot got us a line on a rigger with a Roadmaster, by the name of Ironclad.  Apparently he seems to like to run his things by remote control since he wasnt actually present.  Fair enough though.  We already know the location of the den so we set up camp nearby and start scouting the place.  All I was able to see when I went astrally was a watcher spirit … which means another mage was probably nearby.  Nothing else really stood out.  Unlike my previous teams, I found that this one was pretty cautious when scouting and planning.

After all the planning was done, we decided to send me in to get on the inside.  For me it was an idea where I could set up a two pronged attack if need be.  It also allowed the team to get additional eyes on the inside.  Not a bad idea for a party girl, if I dont say so myself.  Crap … this just came to me, in hindsight of course, but what if the guards or someone on the inside recognized me from the clubs … Need to keep that in mind in the future.

So we launched our plan and the one called Beta Test shared the view through my goggles with the rest of the team so they can all see what I see.  I walked up to the door and was able to get in easily enough.  Not to mention, I got in for free!  Guess I was the millionth customer or they liked that I was looking to ride a unicorn.  Either way, its a win for me.  When I got in to the den itself, I seen the one we were looking for, Owen. The escort led me to one of the nastiest stained mattresses I have ever seen.  Trying to delay a bit, I decided to go to the bathroom and then slowly made my way back.  Along the way back, I signaled the team that we were good to go.

Beta-Test went ahead and jacked Owen out of the BTL host.  Then the fireworks started.  I hid behind a couch while the rest of the team made their way into the den.  The two guards that were in the den positioned themselves outside the door that the team would be coming in.  I threw a spell at them that made their metal items too hot to handle and made my way over to the scared, confused Owen.  When the door to the den opened and the team came in, Freecoil I think it was.  Unfortunately, he also got hit by my spell as well.  But when the guards gave up and surrendered, I dropped the spell.  Owen and I walked hand in hand out the door and into the waiting Roadmaster.   We made the drop and got paid.  All in all, I would say it was a pretty successful run.

Now I need to wash the nastiness off of me from the den and get some sleep before the club tonight.  There is supposed to be a nova-hot DJ there and I need to get some fun in.

The Duchess gets introduced …

So what can I say about me .. well, I am just your normal average teenager living in the Sixth World. Only, I am not. I am an orphan. Both of my parents were killed in a car accident when I was very young. UCAS investigators have reported their deaths as an accident. Since the accident, I have been in the care of Frank Walters. He is my financial planner. One good thing that has come from the death of my parents is that they left me a sizable trust fun and left Frank as the trustee. He set me up with a nice apartment in the Canton neighborhood, which has a fairly good view of the bay! Its close to the downtown club scene that I love to be apart of and there is still enough for a monthly stipend that I get. All in all, its a nice little get up. One of the things that he is requiring of me is to get a job. I was lucky enough to have my mentor, Star Flower … I think thats her name, but its what everyone calls her … but anyways, she has a talismonger shop in town nearby the apartment. She set me up with a part time job at the Feathered Talon and continues to mentor me. She was the first to see me as Awakened and introduced me to Raccoon. I will get into him more later. Life has been pretty good to me as of late. I was able to maintain the part time job during the day and party at the various clubs at night. Recently, I started to get into fashion and was estatic when Vashon Island released thier steampunk line of clothing. I quickly grabbed up what I could and had it customized. Frank wasnt too happy that I dropped a large lump of sum on an outfit, but he just doesnt understand fashion. I have it set that it shows different outfits and color schemes in an AR overlay. Still, the outfit just wasnt complete until I found a matching set of aviator goggles! Now when I go out clubbing, its like “what is Jenessa going to be wearing in AR this time?”. I have nutured and built quite the reputation among the clubbing crowd. Its like they look forward to what I will be wearing at the next party or which AR overlay will be next.

Then one morning it happened. 10 years after the death of my parents, I get a letter slipped under the door of my apartment. It simply said “It wasnt an accident”. What the frag! It hit me like a ton of bricks. I read that simple line over and over and over again. What does this mean? I went to the file cabinet that had a copy of the UCAS investigation report. I read over the entire report again and nothing seemed to jump out at me as odd. I hopped into the shower to get ready for the day and get dressed. There was a party going on down at the Lotus club that was supposed to be hopping. They booked a Maria Mercurial cover band that is supposed to be pretty good and gather a huge crowd. Naturally, I had to be there. But back to what I was saying. As I left for the club, there was another envelope that was under my door. I stopped and stared at it for a few moments. I hopped into Astral space to see if there was anything magical going on or any other presence around, but there was none. This time, it was a more cryptic message. “Look to the Shadows to shed the Light.” Look to the shadows … shadows … Those that refer to the shadows are generally regarded as Shadowrunners. Now I have heard of them and seen what the trids about them. But what would they have to do with the death of my parents. From the general consensus, they are generally anti-megacorp. As far as I knew, my parents had nothing to do with any of the megas. My mom and dad both held positions in the UCAS government, what exactly I dont know, but could that have something to do with thier death?

While I was at the Lotus enjoying myself, I could not stop the nagging in the back of my head. Now Raccoon knows that once I get that feeling, I need to follow it until its end. I once heard of a fixer named Sabot that had a connection with the shadows. I set up a meeting with him to see if he was able to assist me with what I was looking for. He simply said “Even the darkest shadows cannot keep things from the light.” It sounded just a cryptic as the note that was left. Before I started running the shadows, however, I needed some equipment. I met with Frank, explained my plan and requested some money to get started. He scoffed at the idea of my being a shadowrunner, and of course, turned down my request for more nuyen. Fine then, I told myself, I will just get it elsewhere. I then went to Star Flower and asked for some money. She told me that the Shadows were a dangerous place to be. Even all the training that she has given me would be put to the test there. She offered to help me with the training, but declined to give me any money. Both of them supported me searching for the truth, but didnt necessarily support me looking around in the shadows for answers. Where the hell else am I supposed to get the money I need. Thats when a party girlfriend of mine linked me up with Legs. He was a creepy dude, but also a bookie and would be able to help. He fronted me a pile of nuyen, set up agreeable terms and set me up with what I needed.

After I got the money I needed, Sabot pointed me where I needed to get a fake SIN and licenses. I certainly did not want to be broadcasting my UCAS SIN when running the shadows. I picked up some other gear, got my Vashon outfitted with what was needed and even upgraded my aviator goggles with some handy upgrades. I chose to go by the name “Duchess”, which was a nickname that was given to me by my dad when I was just a baby. I went back to Sabot and he started to include me on a few lower end runs to get my feet wet on what was to come. As it turns out, my magical abilities, along with my pistol crossbow, were very much useful on these runs. Surprised that I was sticking to this course, Sabot was ready for me to get bigger and better runs. He told me to keep an eye on my commlink for messages from him regarding the next meet. Until then, I guess, its business as usual for me. I still maintain my day job at the Feathered Talon and still maintain a nightlife on the local club circuit, gotta keep those fans satisfied. Which reminds me, I need to get ready for a party down at the Lotus tonight.