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Shadowrun:  On The Hunt
Chapter 2

Of course, anyone who truly knew me wouldn’t ask that question.

Jonathan Jonah Johnson was a good, honest person, widower, semi-retired.  Not to mention independently wealthy from having his company bought out, and investments since then.  That’s the official record.  The reality of my situation is much darker, more sinister.

In the Light, I am Jon Johnson.  In the Shadows, I’m Mister Johnson.  The nom de plume used to hire people that don’t exist, to do jobs that never happen, and pay with money that doesn’t show up on any ledgers.  The paymaster to Shadowrunners, the common term for those people that live outside the system, to perform the tasks that spies once did for anyone that has the cash.  If you want to use the street name given to me years ago, however, it’s “Money.”  Partly because I had it, but more because I was good for it.

Walking from the coffee house, and pitching the almost full SoyCaff into the closest garbage can, I let my mind spin through the problem.  The first task would be to clear my schedule.  This was easily enough done, thanks to the joy of Wireless computer connections.  Only one person complained, and ordered me around.  I simply disconnected the call to him, and blocked his contact information.  Mercenary though I may be, I’m not some JoyToy that can be bossed around.  I make sure people know this first off.

With time on my hands, I contemplated how to go about the search.  Jet had gotten me a holo of little Debby.  Cute kid.  So far, all that was known was that a gang was involved and likely magic as well.  The orphanage wouldn’t care much; there was no end to orphans.  And ones that were more likely to be adopted, thus making the company more money than the government funding given for each orphan.  Pure economics, although I might be discrediting them.  They didn’t kick her out earlier.

I had sent Jet off to question the kids some more, and to get a few items of Debbie’s.  They liked her, as she did some magic tricks for them, and they knew she cared about Debby.  Perhaps she could get more information on the gang out of them.  Anything would narrow down the search.  Now, I needed a tracker.

A few e-mails later, I had the meet all set up.  After quickly changing from my nice suit and overcoat into somewhat rattier and stained clothing and cheaper mirrorshades, topped off by my Grandfather’s old armor-lined duster and geared up.  The Browning Ultra-Power in a small of the back holster was a start, a snub-nosed, heavy framed automatic pistol in .45 ACCP, it had power and concealability.  The screw-on flash suppressor prevented the over-sized muzzle flare from blinding my previously natural eyes.  I didn’t need it now, but it gave the gun an intimidating view, and protected the threads that also allowed the gun to equip a sound suppressor.  A few blades went into various sheathes, including a concealed one in the duster that could hold either a switchblade or a straight razor.  I picked out my silver-plated razor, with solid-silver handle, just in case the meet went bad.  I was dealing with people who thought of bullets as annoyances; but silver, now, that got their attention.

My car had heavier weapons in it if I needed them, a Colt Cobra SMG and a nice, classic AK-97 Assault Rifle.  As reliable weapons as you can find on the market.  The car itself is about as stock as I am.  A blueprinted crate engine that could pass everything except for a gas station, suspension that could handle turns like it was a monorail train, and an armored hide like a Troll Street Samurai.  Not bad for a Chrysler-Nissan Jackrabbit budget sports car, black of course, one of the most common sights on the street.

Sliding into the Jackrabbit, and slipping the datajack into my head, I started the car with a thought.  The ‘Rabbit came to life with a slight whine, the engine having had sitting too long, but soon sorted itself out, the computerized control sorting out a slight imbalance in air-fuel mixture.  A self-diagnostic told me that she was ready to go, and seemed eager to do it.  It’s a strange feeling, interfacing with a vehicle, even if you aren’t rigged to become one with it.  The car still felt alive, with emotions as alien as can be conceived.  A lot of people talked to their car, anthropomorphized them, and when we learned to interface with them, it turned out to be right, in a manner of speaking.  I slipped her into gear, and slid out of the parking space with a flick of a mental hand and foot, and drove out into the Seattle night.

The rain was worse now.  Seattle is infamous for its rain, the Ghost Dance that won the Amer-Indians their freedom, and most of North America’s land, had only made it worse.  At least the volcano wasn’t spewing too much ash into the air.  The streetlights of downtown soon made way for the busy freeway, large trucks and a smattering of smaller vehicles feeding the economy at all hours of the day and night, and then onwards, up north, to the Redmond Barrens.  What had once been a prosperous area had become the worst of slums.  Neglected, unpoliced by anything except its residents, with Lone Star Police patrolling the area to prevent anyone from getting out.  Once you went in to live there, it was next to impossible to get out.  A haven of scum and villainy, of criminals and SINless.  The people I usually hire to do dirty deeds for any amount of money.  It was a place where people were killed over a cardboard box, as that would make a good home.  It was where people were killed for the wrong kind of glance.  It was Hell on Earth, one of our own making.  I drove quickly through the streets, a few random shots popped off at me, only one of which actually hit.  Gangers aren’t known for being good shots, not like they can practice much by putting up tin cans on a fence, and then going hunting, like I did growing up.  Now, I was doing a different kind of hunting, in a different forest, one of concrete, steel, and glass.

And I’d still need a hunting dog.  That is why I’m here, at an old Pool Hall called at one time Vandison’s Bar and Billiards, in the middle of the night, in one of the worst parts of town.   Parking across the street, I unplugged myself from the car, and slide towards the guards at the front entrance.  Two men and a woman stand there in loose leathers, along side a very large wolf.  They all growl at me, baring teeth.  Most people would mistake the men and woman for human, but I grew up in a strange environment, I recognized Shapechangers when I saw them.  It helps that I’ve done work with this pack, and they owed me.  “Hello Rish,” I said to the woman, the Alpha Bitch of this pack, “I’m calling in what I’m owed.”

“And what makes you think we owe you anything, two-leg?  Except, maybe, a five-second head start before we run you down?”  She scowled.  Shapechangers aren’t humans that turn into animals.  They’re animals that turn into humans.  That difference clouds most discussions with them, but Rish had been raised by a Human family, and not a very nice one at that.  She had issues with Human men in all aspects except one.  She gave new meaning to the term “Man-Eater”.

“What makes me think that?  Oh, I don’t know…”  I said, absently waving my left hand.  My right slipped into the pocket of my jacket, with easy access to the silver straight razor, “Maybe Harkness saying that the Pack owned me.  Maybe I confirming that favor owed not even an hour ago.  Maybe he being happy to finally get that debt paid.”  I smiled a wicked grin at this one, looking at her with gold eyes that glowed blue, “Or maybe just because I’m going to refuse to take ‘No’ for an answer.”

She looked like she was going to argue more when a loud bark came from within the building.  I smiled up at the semi-concealed camera.  Looks like they had power today, a chancy thing when you steal it from decades old, and forgotten, power runs under the street.  Especially with the price of Copper being up recently, scavenging a good line of old electrical line could net a person a lot of money, even after taking into consideration the fencing fee.  It could keep a person in chips for a week, long enough to forget this world.  Long enough for someone to catch you and kill you for the reward as you gazed into electron dreams.  Or keep you drunk for a month, and have the same effect as you’re in a stupor.

Wolf Shapechangers (Not Werewolves, those don’t exist, and Shapechangers will be very adamant about telling you the difference) could very much smell fear.  So I walked in like I owned the place.  Harkness sat in a makeshift throne at the far end of the bar.  A king in his court, with a bevy of women chained at his feet, almost wearing the harem clothing he had found somewhere.  They were human women wearing dog collars, and there by choice.  He was a good protector, and didn’t beat them, as good a deal as can be had in this part of town.  Harkness was huge, almost two meters tall, and wore robes of synth-silk, flowing and open, easy to get out of if he needed to, to shift form to the oversized wolf he truly was.  I don’t know why he made himself appear like some petty king, I never asked, but I did spot a few books in his room once, myths, fables, children’s stories.  Perhaps he emulated that, seeing himself as the barbaric version of humanity.  He, like Rish, had grown up around a human family, but the rest of the pack was as feral as can be.  He was Alpha because he could think as well as fight, could talk to the two-legs that outnumbered them, and prevent battles as well as lead them.  It was hard to kill a Shapechanger, hard to even injure one, but it could be done, and Metahumanity had nothing if not numbers.

He smiled in a feral manner as I approached him; his guards lined the walls, wearing the pack’s colors, loose brown leather pants and vests.  Standing at attention like guards of old, lacking weapons and armor, not needing any more than what was gifted to them by their supernatural nature.

“Well, you seem to be doing well for yourself, Harkness.  Love what you did with the place.”  I said, waving at the makeshift tapestries.  They appeared to be the banners from various high school teams.  The pack laughed at this, they considered Harkness’ habits to be rather humorous, a Wolf emulating the wolves of humanity’s past, from when Men were less civilized, little better than animals themselves.

“Yes, a nice display, war banners for when the next gang attempts to attack.  To take our territory, our supplies, our bitches.”  He replied in a growl, “A minor indulgence, like my beauties below me.  But business is your concern as always, Money, tell me what you need.  Which streets do you wish to run red with the blood of your enemies?  Which pieces of flesh do you wish for yourself, for the rest of the bodies will belong to us.”  I raised an eyebrow to this.  The favor owed wasn’t a minor one, but I hadn’t expected this big a repayment.  Either I had miscalculated what I had done for him, a possibility when dealing with Shapechangers, or the pack was chomping at the bit for a hunt.  Or both.

“I need a tracker.  The best you have that can work in two-legged form, and that can help in a fight, as well, if possible.”  I answer.  Shock came from all around.  I had underestimated the favor, apparently.  They were insulted, and a few started getting hairy from the insult.

“I tell you we can make the streets run with blood, and you ask for a tracker?” Harkness roared as he stood up in indignation, “You think what we owe you is so small, so petty?”  He marched towards me, shifting slightly as he came, before regaining control.  His rage was apparent in his eyes, as they tried to pierce the mirrored plastic that hid my own.  His fists clenched and unclenched in a manner that indicated he wished my flesh between his fingers.  As had happened time and again, death itself faced me, and I stood my ground.  And I did it with a smile and not a lick of fear.

“I am using your favor to help repay one of my own.  A debt owed that cannot be repaid even if I lived a hundred lives, and performed a thousand deeds in each of those.  It may seem like I’m only asking for a simple tracker, but what I am really asking for is something worth far more to me than the death of all those that oppose me, of their compatriots and families.  It has allowed me to pay back those that had wronged me in a way you understand far too well, rather than die an ignoble death from a coward’s weapon.  No my friend,” I clasp his shoulder, “I ask for something worth more than my very life.”

Harkness started for a bit, and then gazed at me warily.  I’m a slick devil, after all, with a tongue of honeyed silver, which Shapechangers fear above all else.  My words could be worse poison than the straight razor in my coat.  Then he smiled, “I know of your war, of what was done to your wife, and the litter she carried.  I have seen that you are the Wolf almost as much as we, and heard your howls or rage and loneliness to the night.  I gift you a tracker, his nose true, and his courage unequaled.”

“Thank you, Harkness.  It is greatly appreciated.  How is he in dealing with two-legs like me, however?”

“Well, you didn’t stipulate that.”

“Oh well, I’ll buy a newspaper then.”  The pack bristled at that, but Harkness laughed deeply.  Anyone else making that joke, and they’d be literally torn apart.  But I was spending a big favor at a cheap price, and some leeway could be given.  Especially when the Alpha was allowing it to go past.

“This is Felix.”  Harkness said, waving towards the person next to me, “He will find a shadow for you if needed, with the wind at his back.”  Felix stepped forward, his features in human form were Amer-Indian, and rather handsome.  He lacked a lot of the tell-tale indications of being a Shapechanger aside from the traditional unibrow.  I couldn’t tell if he was playing the role of the “Stoic Indian” or if he was just being a normal “Wolf in Human Clothing”, either way, he didn’t appear happy to being sent with me.  Tough.

“Alright Felix, let’s see if we can find a shadow in all this rain.”  I said, and walked carefully out.  You don’t turn your back on a Wolf, even one that’s seemed to show a semblance of civilization.  Harkness looked at me hungrily.  In any other situation, I wouldn’t be as welcome here.

I’d be lunch.  And a hard-won lunch at that.
2070. Seattle. One man hunts for someone that should matter for nothing.

Part two, much longer than One.

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.

Just a bit of Fan Fiction, folks. Please consider it free publicity!
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LuanMiandol Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012
very nice. The shadowrun in it comes through clear; which is something I think I need to work on. I need to concentrate to put myself there; and here the world comes through loud and clear. My sister was thinking of playing a shapeshifter, so I know a bit more than I would otherwise. It too came through very clear and very shadowrun. Looking forward to reading the rest. :D
CanRay Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Professional Writer
Thank you very much! Glad to see people are still enjoying this. :)
LuanMiandol Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012
very welcome!
lemmonade Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2008
nice i wrote a story about the future too, not as good, but good for an eigth grader

CanRay Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2008  Professional Writer
This is based on the Fantasy-Cyberpunk world of Shadowrun, and isn't one of my original creation.

lemmonade Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2008
i know mine isnt based on anything but theres some real tech in it
CanRay Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2008  Professional Writer
*Nods* Have to check it out later.

Working on my latest one right now.
lemmonade Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2008
CanRay Featured By Owner Jun 28, 2008  Professional Writer
Just put up the Prologue. See where I go from there.
lemmonade Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2008
chibu Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008
"The Browning Ultra-Power in a small of the back holster was a start, a snub-nosed, heavy framed automatic pistol in .45 ACCP, it had power and conceivability."

Should that be "Concealability"?

Other than that, I like the story alot so far.
CanRay Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2008  Professional Writer
Very true, glad you caught that! Thank you!

But the firearm is also very conceivable. I have many times in my thoughts when trying to pick the PEREFECT gun for "Money" Johnson.

He does miss his old Glock, however.
fcneko Featured By Owner Jan 3, 2008  Hobbyist Writer
"Advanced Critique"
Love the feel you're putting across. Very dark, very jaded. I like the description of linking with the car and the background description of Seattle. Less is more and this works quite well. I don't think the specific details about the weaponry he carries are necessary, but it does add a sense of reality to naming weaponry most readers of sci-fi will at least be able to identify.

On to some grammatical items.

You use the word "that" on occasion when you should be using the word "who". "That" is only used when whatever you are referring to is not actually alive. It is not a regular occurrence, but I thought I'd point it out.

There are a few points where you switch from past tense to present. A bit jarring, but a normal issue with all authors at times. ^_^

One point where you need to use a semi-colon or end the sentence and split it into two: "I was dealing with people who thought of bullets as annoyances, but silver, now, that got their attention." End the sentence at "annoyances" or place a semi-colon. Flow will be much better.

Intriguing work!
CanRay Featured By Owner Jan 4, 2008  Professional Writer
The style of writing I'm going for is an Internal Monologue, and one of "Money" Johnson's hobbies is gun collecting. He would think that information, so, thus, it's there.

And even a passive gun nut will recognize the names "Browning", "Cold", and "AK". People who learn about guns by watching movies will recognise the last two for sure! So it shows that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

You're right about the other other issues as well, they're all things that I've fought with all the time, unfortunetly. I need a good editor, I suck. :(

Thanks for the kind words! Hope you continue on!
JoeVeen Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2007
I smiled, when I found the story continued. :D

Nice stuff, keep it going.
CanRay Featured By Owner Dec 27, 2007  Professional Writer
You finally get to know a bit more about "Money" Johnson, after months of his posts on From The Shadows, eh?
Ryusukanku Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2007
Nice... Very nice.

It's good to see that even shapechangers can have a sense of humor.
Especially one displayed subtlly by the very existance of a 'Throne Room'.
CanRay Featured By Owner Dec 26, 2007  Professional Writer
More subtle than you think.

It's not just a joke, but also a display of power than the fellow gangs can understand.

Either that, or they mistake him for a Pimp, which is a different position of power. ;P
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