June 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm #728
Al grimaced inwardly. Willis was a good trog. And this lot around the table had one, maybe two days to live. Maybe he could save a life right now. He looked conspiratorially at Torrent, and pitched his voice low: “Reliable kid. Good in a fight. Too bad he ain’t got two ounces o’ brain between them horns. An’ o’ course his kind’re pure liabilities at border crossin’s. Next time yer hirin’ for local jobs, reckon he’s yer man.”June 22, 2017 at 9:10 pm #732
“Me? Me need an escort? Oh wait I get it, the hood around here makes you nervous and you need someone to hold your hand on the way home. Too bad for you, I make the neighborhood more dangerous, not safer. Maybe the dog could walk you home.” Honour satisfied, Forty gives the troll a short nod.
She’d missed whatever Al had been muttering to Torrent, but not to be left out she threw in “He sounds like a smart guy, could be an asset.”June 23, 2017 at 12:05 am #734
Becky politely refused the escort request saying plainly “I grew up in these streets and can handle myself. it was kind of you to offer” she clicked her beer glass on his drink and resisted the urge to put her agility to test by lifting Will’s purse. “Not pickpocketing the flirty troll… How much have I strayed from my origin.” she thought and then sighed to herself.June 23, 2017 at 3:33 am #737
You consider the offer. The ghost bird woman already can speak to you, the drunk will likely confuse you with a pink elephant. That leaves either the strong male or the female close to heat. Just as you have made your decision the newcomer appears. You decide to call him even stronger male.
You sniff him. He smells of violence but not of fear or frustration. And he is friendly to the drunk. Good.
You wag your tail and present your paw to him to be shaken.
As soon as he touches you, you discharge the talisman. The connection is instant and profound.
’Hello. I am Khili. Do not let the drunk discourage you from joining. He needs all the friends he can get at the moment. I’ll look out for you two if necessary.’June 23, 2017 at 8:29 am #740
Willis almost jumps out of his skin, which not only would leave most of the patrons here violently ill to see, but would leave him pretty vulnerable so it is good that it is only almost. He does, however, take a hard look at the dog. “Holy Moly.”
He looks around to see if anyone is laughing at playing a joke on him, but if someone is they are hiding it pretty well. He decides to go along with it for now. ’Khili, eh? Is this some sort of mojo joke? Pretty good one if it is. My name is Willis. What is wrong with Al, uh, the old man, besides being drunk?’June 23, 2017 at 9:55 am #745
You consider the question and answer: ’You mean beside the smell of sickness and doom around him? Nothing. But the Leader of the Pack has tasked me to bring him back into the fold, keeping him alive and well. And I think this is a very big task, even for me.
I don’t know how long this talisman will allow communion, but if you have your electric ghost box with you, you can talk to me through my electric ghost.
The ghost bird woman already does.’June 23, 2017 at 10:44 am #746
”Um, electric ghost?” A light over Willis’s head comes on as he watches the dog and he brings out his cheapo ‘link. ”You mean this?”June 23, 2017 at 11:16 am #751
As if on cue, Al launched into another cataclysmic coughing fit, which, as he struggled for breath, was probably a good thing, since he’d been nodding and on the verge of falling off his chair again. He still couldn’t tell who owned the dog, and now he could swear the thing was having some sort of moment with Young Master Willis. It was a hell of a weird dog, and Al hoped it was not possessed by a devil.
Despairing of getting any answers, he stayed awake long enough to speak once more to their would-be employer. “Seems ta ol’ Al you’ve answered all our questions but one….ya stil ain’t said what’s gon’ become o’ the little technowitch once we turn ‘er over? I ain’t got no love fer sorcery of any sort, but ain’t real big on live vivisections neither….”June 23, 2017 at 11:35 am #755
Willis hears Al’s coughing fit and nods to the dog, ’Pardon me, but he needs help.’ before stepping forward and looking over the table to the older man. “You OK, Al? That is some bad cough. I room down at Doc Manser’s clinic just two blocks down, where I do the heavy lifting for him. I should get you there to let him look at you.” Then it hits him and he blushes a bit that it took so long. “Oh, this isn’t a party is it? You’re talking about a job.”
Willis turns to look at the suited tusker. “You must be the Johnson or the fixer or whatever you call yourself. This man needs some care. Why don’t you all come down to the clinic and finish this? It is quieter and more private and I can get the doc to see to him.” He turns to Al. “So you coming peaceful like, or do I need to rip the table from the floor and grab you?”June 23, 2017 at 11:49 am #757
Al let a huge wad of thick green phlegm dribble into his empty beer stein. “Heh heh,” he croaked, “Yer a good kid, young Master Willis, but ya touch ol’ Al you’ll pull back a stump. Whether that’s before or after I put this cigarette in yer right eye, I ain’t quite decided yet. Ol’ Al don’t need no damned sawbones. Take care o’ my own damn self. Jist need another drink is all….” He was slurring his words so badly, they were barely intelligible. But he made it to his feet and flashed his commcode to the table at large. No question in his mind whether he was hired, he said, “Whatever y’all decide is fine with me. Call me an’ tell me when ya got all the boring crap done an’ yer all set ta go. Hopefully it won’t want no blamed ID, cuz Guthries don’t carry none. Gon’ go fetch my shit…”
And with that he staggered toward the door to grab a cab.June 23, 2017 at 12:09 pm #761
Al does not quite make it to the door. Willis pulls back to let him pass then moves with a speed that belies his bulk and slips one arm around Al, picking him up with little effort. He does, however, place his other hand in front of his face to protect his eyes…………..just in case. “Now listen, Al. OK, maybe no doc, but you need a nice, safe place to rest. You go ahead and leave my arm in a stump and put that cigarette in my eye if you care to try that, but you’re coming home with me. Right now, you’re in no condition to go anywhere or do anything on your own. So go ahead and give it your best shot and I just might be tempted to let my fist be your sedative for tonight. Besides, the dog and me got you outnumbered.”
He looks over his shoulder at the dog and motions for him to follow then glances at the others. “You are all welcome to come along, too, if you like.”June 23, 2017 at 3:55 pm #765
Her logic preparation was going to fade soon, but Forty was content that the dog and troll had things well in hand. She’d leave the thinking to those better disposed to it, and focus on watching the people to look for indications of treachery or worry that didn’t match up to their words.
Putting thought to deed, she carefully downed the last of her drink from her mangled cup, stood up, and said to Willis “Sounds like a good plan, let’s go.” Turning to include the rest of the group, she added “Told ya he seemed sensible.”June 23, 2017 at 4:00 pm #766
Becky said “I am too sober for this shit” and then ordered whiskey shots for the rest of them. Things just did not add up between talking dogs, attractive elves that talk to dogs, hidden deckers and a technomancer hunt. Heck, int he spirit of generousity she even ordered a shot for the dog – deciding it was best to play along with the hoax as long as so many of the others insist that they are talking to a dog.June 23, 2017 at 6:03 pm #771
Al didn’t get mad often, and even less when drunk. But he’d warned the…he had the Zippo palmed just in case the trog was as stupid as he looked, idiot kid….fuck…just a kid, and only trying to help.
Well, if he couldn’t set the kid on fire, it’d have to be….this was going to hurt.
He went limp and started asking for a beer for the road, but he also let his hand hang down, lifted one ankle to meet it, and lit the cuff of his 501s. In no time the leg of his jeans was ablaze. It took a second before the pain started to register, during which time the startled troll dropped his load reflexively – as one does when carrying something suddenly aflame.
“FUCKING BLOODY SHERMAN BURNIN’ IN HELL,” Al shrieked as he patted out the flames on his leg. Not before he’d suffered some nasty second-degree burns on his lower left leg. It hurt like a bitch and it’d hurt worse once he sobered up, especially if he didn’t get home to his medkit lickety split.
The troll had a meter on him standing. Sitting on the floor, the child towered over him. Tears streaming from around his cybereyes and blood flowing from where he was biting his lip, he held up a melted finger at the young giant. “Boy, you been warned, an’ now you been shown,” he said through gritted teeth as he got to his feet. “Stay on this road, it won’t be jist ol’ Al gits hurt. They’s some things I won’t abide, boy, an’ cagin’s one of ’em.”
He turned and walked out the door, cursing and muttering under his breath, but only stumbling once and never falling. And keeping his ears peeled in case the kid tried to have a go at him from behind again.June 23, 2017 at 7:09 pm #776
Willis just stands and watches Al leave then shakes his head and straightens up, as if he has come to a decision of some sort. He turns to the dog and shakes his head, thinking at him. ’I am sorry, Khili, I guess you’re on your own and good luck.’ He turns to the others and looks at them. “If that is what you become, I want no part of it. I am just not made out to be mean enough to hurt myself or someone else that is trying to help me and I…….I……I don’t want to become like that. And I don’t want to be rude to people trying to be polite and offering help. I did not know any of you were, well, what you are and I just saw two pretty girls that might need an escort through this part of town. Didn’t mean anything wrong by it, so sorry if I offended anyone.” He nods to the one who had been nice. “Thank you for being nice about it, Miss.” He then looks back at the others. “But I don’t think that life is for me if that is how I turn out; all mean and stuff. I guess I will just go back to lifting heavy things for people.”
Willis lowers his head, unable to look anyone in the eye out of shame, and walks to the bar, dropping some nuyen on the counter. “Should be enough there for a round on me, Ned. I am sorry if I caused a ruckus.” Afterwards, he just leaves the building and heads for home.
As Willis walks through the door, old Ned, the bartender, calls out to him. “You’re welcome here anytime Willis. You are good folk.” He gathers the scrip Willis had left and whistles softly before putting it away in the drawer. Lifting his head, he reaches for the bell and rings it. “All right, you heard the man. One round on Willis. Step up and don’t take advantage of the guy by ordering the expensive stuff.”
One of the patrons will call out. “That’s for sure. The expensive stuff tastes as bad as the cheap stuff.” Lots of laughter and some calls for Willis are heard throughout the bar.June 23, 2017 at 8:09 pm #779
Downing a shot of whiskey Becky shrugged and said “Drama…” partly to herself, partly to Willis that also seemed a bit insane.
Then again, perhaps he was an elf turned troll by an evil witch… gotta be kissed by a true princess to know. At that point in the night Becky could believe anything. She felt as if she has taken the red pill instead of the blue one and decided to spoil herself with Bliss – once she was certain that the job was completely fictitious.
She looked at Al, the dog and the scary elf – and then said: “You guys shouldn’t be driving… None of you” She picked up Al’s hand and said “I am taking you to my car, I will use my medic kit on your leg, then I am going to sober you up with some hour after pills and finally we are going to fuck like bunnies. ” Perhaps some seduction would stop him from punching her or burning himself again.
She looked at Torrent and said “We will continue this fiesco in a matrix call. You should not ahm hire people in such public places or it becomes a circus. ”
To Willis she said “For the record I think that you are cute. ” She did not elaborate much more, but said “Come on talking dog, you too lady Forty it may take more than a single beauty to handle this beast. ”
To anyone sober, it should have been clear that Becky was not serious about the sex part, but she was a good actor and Al was just THAT drunk, she figured that he might just come with her without violence and burning things. “I wonder what he is going to remember of this in the morning” she thought to herself.
She also noted that being a shadowrunner was stranger than anticipated. Perhaps it was all a practical joke set by her beloved Roger. That would explain a lot – although the talking dog was taking it a bit too far to be credible. “I am not THAT blonde” she concluded.June 24, 2017 at 2:09 am #783
Al was almost out the door when the hot elf chick took his hand and offered him drugs and sex. Everyone was a hippy. But at least he’d kept that Willis kid from ruining or likely losing his life.
His leg was hurting more and more and his head was spinning, but he kept his voice even. “Woman, maybe ya din’t hear. Take care o’ myself. Call me when yer ready ta work.”
He detached himself from the latest do-gooder and somehow made it outside into the air. As if the voodoo gods were smiling on him, and they always were, a cab was parked outside the bar, and he wasted no time getting in.June 24, 2017 at 2:19 am #784
You follow close to the even stronger male trying to help the drunk. But the defiance is strong. You smell the flame water as it soaks the cloth. You recoil as it is set alight. The smell of the charring flesh is both sickening and delicious. It feels like an eternity for the flames to die down. You resolve to learn how to heal. At the next opportunity. The old medicine man will know how.
But for now the drunk will have to live with the pain. You follow him outside. A wounded man is easy prey on the streets. You can guard him against that at least.
But you need help, so you call Izumi’s older brother Akila.Spoiler:
You feel Akila in your mind, strengthening your body sharpening your senses. But he is not in a good mood, barely heeding your call. But the markings on your armor make him agree to help. You need him to make your steps quieter and he knows how to help the wounded. That makes it alright. You think about becoming human again, but the place isn’t right.
For now you follow until you can find medicine for the drunk. He will go to sleep any minute now anyway.June 24, 2017 at 7:40 pm #796
The dredlocked Jamaican driving the cab had complained about the stink – said Al smelled like a Third World urinal after a fire – at which point Al promised to puke all over his back seat if he didn’t shut up and make for the International District.
They didn’t make great speed – the 405 Hellhounds had had a running battle with the Blue Crew and there were small wrecks snarling traffic in several places along the north-south corridor. Al drifted in and out of wakefulness, his thoughts a mix of rueful reminiscence and tormented dreams. Every time his eyes closed he saw Precious Blondie Becky’s face. He generally preferred round-ears, but Joseph and Mary in the manger she was hot. Somewhere in his stomach or below he felt how svelte her body was without even seeing it as she pulled at his hand, and her red lips were all he could see as ‘we are going to fuck like bunnies’ filled his ears.
And he was in a rattan-floored room nowhere at all in Cambodia, a lazy ceiling fan struggling against the water-laden air and another beautiful elf splayed nude on the bed reading Jane Austen with her fingers…..
“Fuck you mon!” screamed the cabbie at some jerk in a primer-gray Jackrabbit and there she was again ‘we are going to fuck like bunnies’ and he woke up to machines-that-go-ping and a note that sent his heart to the heavens when he read it the first time but his body back into the bush after he read it the twentieth.
Sirens screamed past ‘we are going to fuck like bunnies’ he hadn’t let her cage him….she’d sworn she’d never, and knew she’d meant it….but not even she….
The cab jerked to a halt behind traffic jammed at the 164A offramp and a glance out the window revealed that damned armored dog skidding to a stop on the shoulder red lips ‘we are going to fuck like bunnies’ but not even she could change the cage he’d have built around himself for her sake….he hadn’t thought about it then….he’d meant to come back….but the farther he’d got….
“Hey, HEY, hey mon, we here!”
“Keep the meter runnin’, good dream here.”…but the farther he’d got, the better he’d understood. But he had the commcode. A few weeks, a couple of months….and then everyone had just suddenly got sick….
“Time up, mon. Show me some of that cash you talked about, or I take me that sweet jah-ket.”
Suddenly got sick…and then it was over. All of it.
He tossed some notes through the hole in the window and the door clicked open.
‘We are going to fuck like bunnies.’
Lying on his back in the street right outside his place, the picture of her red lips widened and her chiseled cheekbones shifted and the perfect white skin started moving no not the skin the ink and he was looking into those eyes as they plummetted towards the rocks and water below….
In the basement he passed the chainlinked storage spaces and the boiler before descending more stairs and opening the door of his place. The galoshes were right outside but the thought of pulling them on over his burn hurt just to contemplate. But so did wading through the two feet of brackish water that covered the floor of his flooded room. So he held up the one leg and managed two hops through the water on his good foot to the shelf with the medkit, then over to flop onto the sofa sitting up on soymilk crates.
“Screw y’all, got here on my own.”
‘We are going to fuck like bunnies.’ Heh. He wondered if that would feel more or less lonely than he felt right now. He started pulling the note out of his pocket, but what for? He knew what it said. By heart. Engraved on his soul like some sort of Maori scarrification rite. Why else drink so much? Hell, he could use another beer right now, but the cooler he kept under the water was just too damned far away.
He opened the medkit, took out the whole stock of painkillers and tossed them across the room so he wouldn’t be tempted, then cleared the field, grabbed some tweezers, and set to work cleaning the burnt cotton out from around the enflamed rose red lips fiery red blisters before he passed out.
‘We are going to fuck like bunnies.’ Sure hon, maybe if I can keep ya alive through this ridiculous job, maybe ol’ Al’ll let ya say thank you.
Why the hell not?June 25, 2017 at 3:11 am #798
You hunt and run. The car is fast but it needs to stop again and again. Akila keeps the pain away and gives you power – enough to keep up. It is a great hunt – exhilarating. People look after you, one fool tries to stop you. One bite is enough to free the way. But the heat of the late day is still here and you aren’t sure how long more you can keep up before Akila stops shielding you.
Finally the drunk gets out. By now he looks less drunk and more in pain. He speaks under his breath but you can’t understand it. Something about hunting bunnies? You’d like that too.
He closes the door but he doesn’t lock it properly. You follow. He descends. It smells foul. No wonder there is sickness. Rats skitter around in the darkness but you have no time to find and kill them. You splash after him, carefully.
You reach his lair. It is filled with water like a beaver’s place and you realize that having Akila in you is no good.
You glance though the crack in the door. The drunk tries to bind his wounds yet he barely manages to pick the burnt pieces out of it before he collapses. The sick water is everywhere and the soon there will be fire in his body and his blood too. And you know Akila won’t be able to help him. You need his mother Thekla. But she is strong and doesn’t like people very much. But you try anyway.Spoiler:
Thekla works fast. She places him on the only table an begins to clean his wounds, using almost any tool within the large box. Her hands move so quick you can barely follow them, but the scalpel removes bit by bit the burnt bits, leaving the healthy tissue alone. She puts medicine in and on him and soon enough his breathing becomes easier. Carefully she lifts him up and places him on top of the relatively dry sofa, turning his head so he won’t drown in his own vomit. She tends to him for another while and when you know there is nothing more to do but wait for the drink to leave him naturally, you let her go.
Since Akila left, you can feel the exhaustion of the hunt. You leave the room for a moment to catch a rat and eat it. It isn’t as vile as you thought but not good either. You find a relatively dry place on top of a stack of old papers so you can keep watch. You close your eyes just for a tiny moment…
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