North Carolina Newspapers

    The Compass Wednesday, October 26, 1994 11
my mouth water. I could earn millions
on tiiis. I could even do a series on
shadowninners; the infamous children
of the rught, who stole from the rich
megacorps. I could tell how they ex
tracted scientists fipom one lifetime con
tract to another, or stole information to
sell to the highest bidder. The royalties
alone would keep me in style for years.
I sat there witha dazed look on my face
as we drove up to the gate.
"Where's your pass?" the guard in
quired.
"Oh...Umm...Here."
I felt the sweat run down my back as I
waited to see if the deliveiy cover would
fool the security guard, but everything
went as planned. Wheels took us in and
forked. Shetoldustocallif there wasa
change in the pick up site. Aswegotout,
Taiget and Flax each took a box.
Sapphire said, "Remember you two
are Ae muscle for those heavy boxes,
Swiss's the boss's son, and you Mr. J., are
the driver of the van who wanted to see
the inside of Ares Headquarters. Re
member, the niimes on the badges are
your names now."
"Yeah, yeah," mutters Flax.
We walked over to the main doors and
stepped into the lobby, if you could call it
that/ and looked at all the di^lay nrtodels
of Ares weaponry. At least, it wasn't as
bad as the Aztechnology freaks with their
rainforest lobby. We went over to a secu
rity station to check in, and I couldn't help
but fear the fact that I couldn't see any
security. According to the iitformation I
got from Ms. Deal, this place was crawl
ing witi\ security. Just looking around,
you would believe that all you had to do
was walk in and take anything you
wanted. I didn't see any cameras or other
security devices and there seemed to be
only wageslaves and buyers in the show
roonv I wondered how many people had
died,becauseth^didn'tseettvoughthat
illusion of openness and vulnerability.
"Badges," the guard denuded.
After we ^owed our badges, he es
corted us to the elevator. I touched a
button and up we went. At the eighth
floor we got off and headed down the
corridor to tiierigjtt We had to show our
badges at each check point, and I used
mine to open the doors. We eventually
got to the room where ttity were keeping
the information I wanted. There were
two guards there who hadn't been on the
guard schedule I had acquired. I was
thinking of a way that we could get past
them when Targrt stepped forward. FDs
hand blurred as both guards slumped to
the ground. We grabbed tf\e bodies and
dragged them inside with us. Sapphire
walked over to the computer sni con
nected the interface wire to her datajack.
She pulled another wire out of her pocket
and plugged it into another datajack.
While she was busy, I reviewed what I
had not been able to see. I had to slow it
to twenty to one (my maximum) before
Targets attacks stopped blurring, and
even then they were faster than anything
else I had ever seen. I wondered if this
story was worth the death of those two
security guards. They were just two guys
at the wrong place at the wrong time. It's
scary to think about how easy it is for a
person that has Cyberware and Bioware
to kill someone that hasn't.
Sapphire stiU sat there as if she was in a
coma. Two minutes after I was done, she
woke up and unplugged the interface
wires.
"Slot and run."
"You're done already?" I asked.
"No problem, the Ice in there was light
and most of it was grey."
"You got the file?"
She handed me a memory block and
said, "If s all on there."
"Then lets get out of here."
We were almost to the elevator when
the sirens went off. I casually walked up
to the check point we were closest to and
said, "What's going on?"
"There's shadowrunners in the build
ing. Just sit tight, and the computer will
trace them down."
I didn't know what Swiss was doing
when he started muttering and making
gestures, but when the guard screeched I
figured out that he cast a spell on the
guard. On Tri-V the mages were always
yelling out strings of incantations and
makingexpressivegestures towards their
target, I guess that's the difference be
tween real life and movies. I didn't have
much time to consider as Flax and Target
got everyone's weapons out of the flower
boxes.
"No more need for subtlety," Flax said
as he jacked the first roimd into his mini-
Gatling gun.
We started off agciin using rctndom se
curity cards to go through doors. It took
meaboutthreetumsbeforelrealizedthat
we were no longer on the same route we
had followed on the way up.
"Where are we going?"
"The elevators will be deathtraps, so
we're going to use the stairs," Target said.
"How do you know which way to go?"
"I manorized the map."
That comment brought home to me the
extent of his enhancements. The
goblinization process is long and
tramatizing to trolls in particular. They
usually lose the majority of their intelli
gence in the process. Target must of had
a mnemonic enhancer at a very high level
to be able to remember a map, in detail,
that he had studied all of two minutes, an
hour ago. We reached the stairs with no
problems and started down.
'This is Jester calling the King's horses.
Alternate route C in effect."
Wegot to the first floor when the myco-
protein really hit the fan. We had just
passed a corridor, when a security re
sponse team turned the oppoate comer.
'Trag! Everyone take cover," Hax
yelled as he hosed the corpsec guards
with his machine gun. Swiss caught a
round inhisarmandwentnuts. Hestood
up and walked to the center of the corri
dor. Then he Parted casting what looked
like balls of lightning down the corridor,
while foaming at the mouth. After the
second one, the moans had stopped. He
collapsed as he was trying to get off a
fourtti. The others had stopped firing to
watch.
"Damnthatcrazysharicdiaman." Jester
said to no one in particular, "Every time
he gets hurt he goes berserk, and ^nx)st
fries himself casting that dainn lightning
bomb."
"Come on, this place is going to be
crawling with security in a minute. Pick
up Swiss and let's get out of here."
I was the only one without a gun so I
picked upSwissaiKl flipped himovermy
shoulder. It refused to open when we
carded it. Target blurred again, and the
door flew off its hinges with a screech and
hit the street outside about seven fret
away. We were hurrying out the door,
when Wheels turned the comer and
picked us up.
"The dw^ need a hospital?" the truck
inquired.
"Not yet," Jester said with a smile.
"Well, strap in and prepare for the
'magic mountain' ride."
"What!?"
"She means prepare for some turbu
lence," Jester expldned.
The rest of the ride home was a night
mare. Imagine going through the middle
of rush hour traffic at 80KPH, weaving in
and out of lanes with barely two centime-
tOTSof clearance. The sound of cars smash
ing followed us, as other drivers belat
edly reacted to our presence. We were
out of there in seconds. Wheels stopped
briefly to have Target remove the Willy
Lilly sign before proceeding at a more
sedate speed.
The rest of the ride gave me a chance to
thinkaboutall themoney Ihad justmade.
The money didn't do as much for me as
the excitement did. Shadowrunningwas
definitely living on the edge. Maybe it's
about time I started a new career. I asked
Jester, "Do you think I got what it takes to
be a shadowrunner?"
"Shadownmning isn't so much a pro-
fessionasastateofmind. Areyouwilling
to put your life on the line and kill for
money?"
"Don't some runners do it for more
than money?"
"Some but they're the ones with so
much that they no longer need to run for
money. The only reason they run is for
excitement."
I wondered if I was willing to kill for
money. I was doing it by proxy in hiring
others to do it for me, but could I do it
myself? I tabled that for later consider
ation.
The more I thought about it the more I
realized thattheaverage person wouldn't
believe the truth about shadownmners.
They would always be the paragons of
light or darkness to the public. The truth
is that they are neither. The term
shadowrunnerstellsitall. Theyliveinthe
shadow. Neither in the light of common
good or thedarknessof evil, they livealife
between, where mig^t makes right I'm
not sure that that's a world I would enjoy
living in.
"Here you are Mr. Green," Wheels
said.
I looked outside and saw my station.
"How did you find out my real name?"
" Shadowrunners watch the i>ews too.
The mask put us off but your voice is the
same." she said.
I could still hear them laughing as they
drove off. After thinking about it, I
laughed too.
One Of His Angels
(T0 Roderick “Rat Daddy" Gary)
One fall day
you went away,
but you never said
you would forever stay.
So with this in mind
we would like to say,
as you watch us while we daily pray,
for the Lord to bless you and
keep you safely in his heart,
for you may be one of his angels now,
but in our memories
you will never part.
We love you,
your S.G. Rfto Sweethearts
K. Wadesimmons
'They live in the shadow. Neither in the
light of common good or the darkness of evil,
they live a life between where might makes
right..”
    

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