The Duchess Gets a New(ish) Sword …

[Present Day — Baltimore, UCAS — 2075]

Everything has a price … I knew that going into this business, but now I know the meaning. I mean, we all know that we all live a violent life and death was nothing new to me. I have seen lots of death during my career, both with this new team and with Havoc Squad in San Francisco, but I have never taken a life … until now.

We were hired to steal some crates from a van, which was still on a cargo ship at sea. It was pulling into the harbor and we needed to get the creates before it docked. After the negotiations, the elephant in the room was how in the hell are we going to get aboard a cargo ship in the harbor … BetaTest called on Ironclad to see if he had a boat we could use and he did. We rented the WaveRunner … note to self, I really should get one of these … and started making the plans. We had a very small window and made the move. We boarded and found the van with the crates.

Then all hell broke loose. A Yakuza hit squad, which we thought was another runner team and was watching them through the Matrix, showed up. We tried to negotiate with them, since they were after the same crates we were, but all attempts failed. They already had a fire spirit, so I called on a beast spirit of my own and engaged them. I focused on the fire spirit while the others focused on the others, but then Kira dropped. She was using her katana and fighting two Yakuzas, and Soren started throwing fire spells, but she still faltered and fell. Without even thinking, I flung her katana into one of the Yakuza. The sword buried deep in his chest, killing him. My rat spirit tore into another one of the attackers and I flung the sword to yet another one. Within seconds, the rat tore apart one attacker and I had killed two of them with Kira’s sword. It all happened so quickly …

After the adrenaline wore off, the rest of the team started to offload the crates. Me and another went to tend to Kira and it was then that I seen what my actions had caused. It was then that I seen the person that I had killed. I dropped in a slump and could not hold back my emotions. I dropped in a slump and cried out. All I could do was look at the body and keep saying that I was sorry. My rat spirit came over to me and nuzzled his head in my shoulder. I absentmindedly petting his blood soaked fur and thanked him for his assistance. He rubbed up on me a few more times then left when I dismissed him. Once the crates were offloaded, Kira literally picked me up and carried me to the evac point. The WaveRunner was waiting below. I half expected just to fall to the water below, but she hooked me up to the rig pretty good and was able to get down to the boat. The ride to the coast was a quite and somber one for me. I dont know if there was anything said or discussed, I wasnt paying attention. All I seen was the face of the dead man back on the cargo ship.

On shore, I sent a message to the Johnson letting him know we got the stuff and to get a drop off point. While en route, it was brought up whether or not to mention the Yakuza incident. “Nobody must know what I did …” was all I could muster up to say. Not that it made a difference, they still told the Johnson about them, but atleast they didn’t tell him what I did. We got paid and went on our way. “I cant do this anymore …” I thought to myself.  I apologized to the team for my actions and let them know that I was leaving for some time off and will tell them once I get back. I went on my commlink and went to get a ticket to San Francisco, but then decided against it. I just went home instead.

I walked into the apartment and looked out over the harbor from the window. Again, all I saw were the faces of the two men looking back at me. I sat down and Rabbit jumped in my lap. I started petting him, but then realized i was still covered in blood. I looked down at Rabbit and his white fur was matted with blood. I quickly tore off the blood covered dress that I was wearing and hopped into the shower. I got all cleaned up and stepped out. I went ahead and gave Rabbit a bath as well, which he always hates. After I was all done cleaning up, I caught myself looking in the mirror. I still had blood on my face and hair. I looked at my hands and they were covered in blood again. I washed them in the sink and no matter how much I scrubbed, I could not get the blood off. I looked up again and saw only the Yakuza man’s face in the mirror. I screamed smashed my hand into the mirror, shattering it and cutting up my hand. “FRAG!” I screamed over and over again. Once I calmed down, I used some healing magic on my hand.

I grabbed my commlink and started playing the new Suicide Prophets album. I neoanarchist thrash metal tore into my ears. I hoped that it would drown out my thoughts, but it didn’t. “How do the others do this?” I thought to myself.  “How does Kira or Freecoil deal with these emotions? Do they still see the faces of those they kill? Do Walker or Eternal have these feelings as well?” I turned off the music and placed a call to Walker. I could use his advice on this. However, the wolf mage didn’t answer. “Gah!” I yelled. I walked over to the window overlooking the city and harbor again. The mental playback of the incident on the ship keeps playing over and over again. On the floor was the torn bloody dress and … a katana? “What the frag ???” I hesitated for a few minutes while I wondered if the sword was real or not. “When in the hell did I get that?” The blade of the sword still covered in blood. I finally reached down and grabbed it and it was indeed real. I swung the sword around like I have seen both Eternal and Kira do and nearly cut the table lamp in two.

Raccoon ….” I said out loud. My mentor spirit, though a little mischievous, has always been there for me. “I really should build a lodge,” I thought to myself as I protected myself with a mana barrier. Once I was protected, I projected into the Astral realm and called out to Raccoon for some help. I sat there quietly pondering how he would react to the news. “Drek” I thought as the realization of what could happen if this got out. What would Star Flower think of me, or Calypso, or … Frank … The names of those that I would disappoint kept coming and coming. Just then, the furry little trash panda showed up and nuzzled his muzzle in my arm, then sat in front of me.

My child, you seem … troubled. How can I help?” Raccoon said. At the sound of his words, I burst into tears. He waited patiently as my crying and tears subsided and I relayed everything that happened. We talked back and forth about the incident, about past events and everything that has happened through my career as a shadowrunner. By the end of the conversation, which felt like hours, my spirits were lifted and my resolve steadied. Time on the Astral plane is very different than normal time. Eventhough my conversation lasted hours, it was only a minute or two in normal time. When I was back in my body, Rabbit was laying on my chest, something he started doing recently for some ungodly reason. I picked up the katana off the floor where I dropped it and looked out the window again. The sun was starting to come up over the horizon and I could see the cargo ship that we were on docked. Then I seen the face of the Yakuza looking back at me. This time, though, my resolve steadied. I looked back at it and a smile crossed my face. His face crept into the same smile. “Yes …” I said to myself, “Raccoon was right, I will be fine.” Today is the beginning of a new Duchess …