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January 5, 2008
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Shadowrun:  On The Hunt Epilog

“I’ve got a debt to repay, I ain’t going to cry…  I’ll put a gun in your face, you’ll pay with your life…”  I sang as I moved down the dirty streets of the Redmond Barrens, dancing along.  My Commlink was sending the song directly to my ears, all the while not blocking out the remainder of the situation on the street.  The Classical music soothed me as I moved, sliding around like I was on greased soles.

And the words of the song were as true today as they were back then.  I smiled and cued the ‘link to mute the music, and approached the person I had been hunting for the two weeks since the big fight went down.  It was a minor footnote of an event, barely noticeable to the city.  The Street had already forgotten it, as the next round of gang warfare had started up.  The Bloody Razors were picking a fight with a lightly-guarded patch of Halloweener turf, and had attracted the attention of that gang of reprobates.  Not exactly the smartest thing to do, but the Razors weren’t known for their intelligence, or survival traits, for that matter.

“Hoi, Phil!” I cried out to him, waving with my left hand.  He was slick as slime, and just as dirty.  His smile was as plastic as mine, but he had chosen that route, whereas mine came courtesy of a bomb in the face.  A fellow Mister Johnson, the same job, but different methods.  As different as Shadow and Light.  “’Zappenin’?”

“Jon!  Wow, haven’t seen you in an Ork’s age!”  He said.  Turning from the underage gutterpunk grrl he had been courting.  The punk, thankful for the distraction, slipped by him and made tracks.  She was a smart one, and smelled the trouble coming.  The rest of the street had, as well.  Phil was alone with me now.  Here we were, two SINners, both in and out of our element at the same time.  “Want to grab a beer and chat biz?”

“No, I think I’ll just shoot you in the head.”  I answered, pulling out my right hand from my duster pocket.  The gun was gaudy, a collectors piece, not really designed to be used, but put up on a mantle.  That’s where it had lived until the day my life was destroyed.  A gold-plated Colt M1911A1, 150th anniversary edition.  Only ten thousand of these were made, and only one hundred were gold plated.  Four were platinum plated, and they went to the commanders of the UCAS Armed Forces.  This was number eighteen.  Phil’s smile slipped away for an instant, but came back just as fast.

“Wha?  Come on, Jonny, good joke!”  My smile didn’t slip for a moment, as I watched Einstein being proved right again.  Time is relative.  Phil was experiencing his entire life as he gazed into his own reflection in my mirrorshades, as he stared at the almost half-inch diameter muzzle.  “You’re…  You’re serious.”

“As a bullet to the heart.”

“But…  You know.”  The fastest thing in the world isn’t a bullet.  It’s not the vengeance of the Corps.  Not a Mage traveling in the Astral Plane, or a Decker tripping the Matrix.  It is word on the street that’s the fastest thing around, and Phil had heard just who had killed his pet Toxic Shaman.  Who had stopped the killings, the sacrifices, the desecration of body and soul.  He had heard that I was responsible.  “Come on, Jon, they were nobodies!  Orphans, bums, just drains on the economy!  You pay taxes!”

“Obviously someone thought differently.  Differently enough to call in favors with me.  Big favors.”  I replied, letting him know just how badly he had messed up.  Rule one in the Shadows is do your legwork.  Didn’t matter that he couldn’t find this connection, he had failed, and now he was paying the price.  “Favors called in to save a single life.  You, however, I will kill for free.”  The click of the hammer was like the snap of God’s Fingers as He passed judgment on the unrighteous.  And just as casually performed.

“Come on, Jon.  We…  We can make a deal!  I can get you money…  Girls…  Boys…  Come on…  Just let me live.”  He pleaded, hope and cheer erasing from his eyes with each pause.  His smile completely put on now, as fake as his face.  As fake as his entire life.  “Not like this…  Don't you want to at least know why?”

“No.”  Frankly, why didn't matter to me.  The fact that it had been attempted was more than enough.

He decided to move then, a quick snap of the wrist letting the Streetline Special drop into his left palm.  A lot of experienced fighters don’t watch a Southpaw’s left hand, but I was expecting it.  Too many of my friends and relatives were left handed, or trained themselves to shoot with both hands.  I let him get the gun up slightly, just a minor bit of hope into his life as I took it away with a blast in the night.  The muzzle blast was enormous, a thing felt more than heard, slapping me in the face as the subsonic round punched its way into Phil’s face, right above the bridge of his nose.  My own left hand snapped up, catching the ejecting brass casing as it tumbled downwards, a reflect action.

I turned around, and didn’t even bother watching him crumple to the ground.  Already, too much of my time had been wasted.  I had more important things to do.  Like visit a little girl and her sister.

The street scavengers were quick to come out for the body.  The four-legged ones just slightly faster than the two-legged ones, coming for the blood, corpse, and whatever he was carrying or wearing.  Soon, “Phil Johnson” would be sold to the closest Ripper-Doc, and would eventually continue to live in many different bodies.  The Street did its thing to fading singing, “I said yeah, I said yeah, I said yeah, oh yeah, oh yeah, you’ll never make a saint of me…”
2070. Seattle.

Justice in the Shadows. And the end to this tale of Jon "Money" Johnson.

But Money isn't alone in the Shadows of Seattle, there are many more tales to tell. Each drop of blood on the street tells a story.

Shadowrun is a registered trademark of WizKids Inc. All Rights Reserved. This work is not intended to infringe on any copyright, and is used without permission.

The songs quoted within this work are from the Rolling Stones album "Bridges to Babylon", and are "Gunface" and "Saint of Me" (Both of which are written by M. Jagger and K. Ricahrds). The songs, and album, are copyright Virgin Records B.V.

Just a bit of Fan Fiction, folks. Please consider it free publicity! And listen to more Rolling Stones songs!
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Nice short story, CanRay! Reminded me a bit of Dirk Montgomery from 2XS. I'm a sucker for noir-ish SR. Heck, I am jsut a sucker for noir. As for the criticism from Cyprith....meh! Writing isn't paint by numbers. You keep on writing the stories as "you" hear them. I enjoyed it. I hope that the character of "Money" Johnson speaks to you and you keep writing his tales.

So you know, I discovered this from Dumpshock and the thread you created called "How A Shadowrun Happens, From the top down"

Thanks a lot for posting that thread. You jsut gave me a half hour of escapism. :)

Welcome! :D

2XS was the second Shadowrun thing I was exposed to. Shadowplay was the first.

Hope you enjoy the second story I have going, and I can get chapter three out soon.
CyprithTheCat Jan 6, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Did this Phil appear in the other parts? I can't remember but I'm not good with details in English written stories. It would be cooler if this character appears in the beginning, seems to be a friend and then in the end he is an antagonist.
No, he didn't. And they're not friends, just two people that work in the same line of business. It's a nasty business, but "Phil Johnson" made it even nastier.

There's some lines you don't cross, even for cold, hard cash.
CyprithTheCat Jan 6, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'm not talking about friends. He need not to be a friend. He should only appear in the first part. In the moment he is someone who appears in the end and we (the reader) don't know him. There is no known connection between him and Money. He could also be the president, Lofwyr or Jerry Lewis or everyone else you take for this scene out of nowhere. If you want to make this ending more clever you introduce him (the antagonist) in the beginning as someone the reader wouldn't connect with the incident. This makes such characters more real because the reader wishes to punish them too for their false play.
Thing is, life isn't like that. Some shadow person in the background you've never heard of is responcible for the situation.

Maybe it doesn't even seem that obvious, either. Few people know about Gavrilo Princip, but he caused the spark for World War I. And, in turn, could be aruged to be responsible for World War II as well.

The reason that characters like this are introduced is the idea that Dues Ex Machina are bad writing. And, to be true, they are.

But the flipside is just as bad, showing some obvious, strange skill/ability/character in some tacked-on portion of a story so that it WON'T be a Dues Ex Machina is even worse.

And that's exactly what it'd be, a Prologue that's written years before, introudcing a character that has no premise for the rest of the story, except for the Epilog.

And the Epilog isn't there to tie up loose ends. It's not there to show how evil Phil is and how he gets his comeuppance. Nor is it to show how the protagonist, Jon "Money" Johnson, is a Angel of Vengence.

It's there to show more about the Universe that they live in. It's dark, dreary, and even "Important People" on the Street are next to worthless.
CyprithTheCat Jan 6, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Okay, before we start a discussion about this. First, did you know something about creative writing and the methods of creating characters, plot and that stuff? I talk about methods of story writing not about how mean the world is. And I have the feeling we talk about two different subjects.
If you're asking if I've taken Creative Writing courses, the answer is yes. They were very dry.

If you're asking if I've learned anything in those courses, yes. The teachers make great critics.

But that's likely just my own experiences. And I'm a self-confessed cynic.

And a firm believer in the First Rule: "Every rule is made to be broken. Including this one. Especially this one."

But I am reading what you are saying. And, who knows, maybe I'll take another course in this new city. There's a lot of artists and authors here, whereas back home... We had Miners.
CyprithTheCat Jan 6, 2008  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Miners... hey, I was surrounded by farmers. :roll: Did they really teach rules in the course? Like do this, don't do that?
I will freely admit that I don't remember much of the course, save that the same students always seemed to get perfect, and the rest were close to failing.

I'll let you draw your own opinions.
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