November 26, 2018 at 4:53 pm #11284
Misery woke up slowly. She literally couldn’t remember the last time she’d slept in a bed, and whatever that magical crap was had really taken it out of her. Combined with a long day of driving and three hours of hard martial arts practice, and she’d been feeling it when she crashed out. She’d slept like a rock, and the rickety bed with the busted springs had felt like the finest of synthdown mattresses.
Misery stretched, catlike, making a small pleased sound and sat up, glancing over to see Foxglove passed out on the bed, then did a double take. She’d turned an interesting color while Misery had been asleep, and Misery rose from her bed to take a closer look. Scaling, dryness, tiny bumps…yeah, it was a sunburn. Apparently Fox burned almost as fast as she did, and nearly as badly. Misery winced, remembering flashes of sun, of pain, right after she’d been infected. She’d been in pain for a week, she knew, and it looked like Fox was in the same boat.
Misery smiled. Here was something she could do for her new friend. She raised her hands, whispering a melody under her breath to compensate for the impact of the spell, and her fingers took on a rosy glow. She ran them over Foxglove, her fingers a few inches from the skin, moving slowly enough to keep air movement from waking the sleeping elf. With every pass, the magenta hue darkened back to purple, scaling and welting receded, and the dry patches resolved back into silky purple.
With Foxglove’s skin healed, Misery’s eye went from clinical to appraising. There was a lot of Fox on display, and she was striking if not conventionally pretty. Lean and hard, with too much definition to her muscles to be considered sexy, there was nonetheless a beauty there, like the edge of a well-crafted sword, from plum-colored nipples all the way down to calloused finger and toetips. Asleep, her face lost some of that viciousness, and with her pink hair a glowing halo around her head, Fox looked scarcely older than Misery herself.
Except for the scars.
There were wounds, mostly invisible now, bullets and blades and burns just barely breaking up the plane of purple that was Fox’s torso. There were also hair-fine lines on her stomach, chest, behind her ears, and all down the long muscles of arms and legs, telling the tale of the hundreds of thousands of nuyen of cyberware that had turned the exotic woman into a killer.
Misery stared for a moment more, then turned away, catching sight of them both in the mirror. They were like the two mages in that trid, The Odd Coven, complete opposites. Standing next to Foxglove really drove home Misery’s own appearance. She was soft, small and slender, her pale skin completely unmarred. It was porcelain rather than pale or albino, with the healthy glow that some women possess only for a year or so before age killed it. She had a generous chest, almost too big for her small frame, and a slender waist and hips with a small, heart-shaped ass. She didn’t have an excess ounce anywhere on her, but no muscle definition at all, and her big eyes lent her an air of innocence in a delicate face with a small spattering of freckles on her cheeks and nose.
And she would look this way forever.
Misery prided herself on her appearance, and most days was happy to be the eternally beautiful teenager, but just then, she was wishing she had a bit less Christy Daee and a bit more Foxglove in her. How must it feel, to carry the marks of a life lived, to see the story of runs and fights and experiences written on the canvas of one’s own skin, and then to see her?
Misery shook her head. She was getting maudlin this morning. Never a good sign. She stepped away from Fox’s bed, stripping her bra and panties as she went, then bending down to pick out a more conservative red bra and boyshort pair. It’d do for exercising in. She had reflexes and muscle memory to build up, and now was as good a time as any.
November 26, 2018 at 7:37 pm #11292
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by BrickyardBabe. Reason: Spelling mistakes
While Misery worked her over with her magic hands, Foxglove was dreaming.
Foxglove and her team were infiltrating some warehouse or another, and they moved silently, slipping between crates and dead loading drones. Their chameleon cat suits allowed them to blend right in, and they took turns moving in on the target, firearms at the ready. When they got there, however, all they found under a small spot of light was a pig dressed like a teddybear.
Then, from the rafters came the horrid sound of a hunting howl. Suddenly they were being swarmed by ghouls, and a hail of gunfire lit the dark warehouse in a strobe-light staccato. People screamed in pain and horror, ghouls howled and snarled in the hunt. One by one Foxglove watched or heard her teammates taken down. The elf turned tail and ran, managing to get out of the warehouse intact. She ran some more, eventually stopping against a wall and next to a dumpster. She checked her ammo and found she was almost out. Fox caught her breath, listening, waiting.
It seemed like they had let her go. She had pushed herself from her position against the wall and was ready to leave when she felt it, the presence beside her. The dark figure crouched atop the dumpster, ready to pounce. Foxglove stood perfectly still, waiting for it to act. Finally, it moved, leaping at her, claws and fangs outstretched. Foxglove’s arm blade shot from its hiding spot under her skin, her arm swinging in a wide arch, the blade aimed directly at the thing’s neck.
Suddenly, the ghoul was no longer there, the alleyway had become a hotel room, and the sweeping motion she had made with arm and blade went through nothing but air.
She blinked, trying to clear her head and reorient herself. The blade returned to its sheath, then her eyes snapped to the stranger in her room and her hand reached for the Predator hanging on the bedpost. She had drawn it and was about to aim when her brain finally caught up with her.
Fox breathed a shaky sigh, and she set the pistol down beside her. Sitting up fully, she swung her legs over the side, letting the cool floor hit the bottoms of her feet, and her hands came up to rub at her face. She had gotten through one pass with her hands when she jerked them away, remembering the sunburn, then frowned and touched her face again.
The pain was gone.
She looked up at the mirror, frown deepening and fingers touching the perfectly healed skin. The sunburn was gone. Completely gone, as if she had never gotten it in the first place, and she shifted her attention to Misery with an inquisitive look.
November 26, 2018 at 8:15 pm #11295
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Foxglove.
Misery jumped as Foxglove awoke. She’d run through the abbreviated Hapsum-Do katas already, enjoying the burn in her mind and her muscles as she channeled her mana along with the motions. It felt good to be using her skills, honing her magic and learning at the same time. She couldn’t remember ever being able to learn like this, on her own. It had always been tests. They had been hard, painful, even cruel.
Who had taught Misery her sorcerous skills?
She remembered laughing eyes, a cruel voice, knives and sticks and whips and fire, but no face or name to go with the torments. She had shaken off the vision, which had come after her set, and taken a shower. She had gone to use one of the razors she’d bought, only to find that she didn’t have a single strand of hair below her eyebrows. Lasers, maybe, or some cosmetic sorcery. She’d remembered shaving, and had just gone on autopilot with the personal hygiene supplies. Now she felt a little stupid.
When Fox awoke, she was seated cross-legged on the mattress, once again wearing her red underwear and with her hair hanging down her back in a wet tangle. She was in the middle of reassembling her Morrissey Alta for the fourth time, learning the pistol’s quirks. She looked up as Fox started to move, only to recoil as her hand flicked up and the blade appeared between one blink and the next. If she hadn’t seen it, she wouldn’t have believed anyone could move that fast without magic, and her dark gold eyebrows crept up as Fox got a grip on reality.
She ignored the pistol. Foxglove could shoot her if it made her feel better. It wouldn’t affect Misery in the slightest, unless Fox was in the habit of carrying silver bullets.
She watched with a smile as Fox probed her skin with experimental prods, and her smile grew as Fox looked at her questioningly. ”Magic. I used to be a fair healer, though I’m a little rusty these days. It seemed like a good way to practice and save you a lot of,” she chuckled, ”misery.” Snapping the slide back into place and sliding a magazine into the pistol, Misery set the gun aside. Pointing at herself, she said, ”Infected. I know all about sunburns.” She scooted to the edge of the bed, her long legs unfolding and hanging down, the balls of her feet barely touching the carpet.
”So, fruitful morning? You look like you were out there for a while.” She pointed at the bag. ”I noticed you travel light. There’s some underwear, shampoo, soap, a couple pairs of Spinrad jeans and a few 6Tees shirts. I did my best with the sizes.”
November 27, 2018 at 12:20 pm #11315
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by BrickyardBabe.
Foxglove frowned in a mixture of confusion and awe as she listened to the explanation. Misery had healed her? And had managed to do it without waking her? What the frag was this girl that she was able to move like she had without waking– Well, she was a Banshee, of course, slotting idiot.
”Well…thank you.” Fox began, rubbing at her face again, this time more fully, ”And thanks for the stuff. You didn’t have to do that, you know. Especially this,” she added, holding up the new pistol, ”it must have cost a fortune.”
Foxglove stood, putting on her bra and heading over to the bags to see what she was working with. She picked out a plain, black tee, plucked the tag from it, and slipped it on to see how it fit.
#35-13November 27, 2018 at 2:31 pm #11321
Watching Foxglove process was an amusing experience. She had a remarkably expressive face, for all that she usually wore a neutral mask, and seeing her go from gratitude to confusion to gratitude to confusion to understanding, with a brief stop in self-directed irritation was funny as hell to Misery, and she stifled a small giggle, covering it with a cough. When Fox spoke, it was Misery’s turn, happiness to exasperation to happiness again, then back to exasperation. Why was it, she wondered, that everyone’s first instinct when given a gift was to say something along the lines of “You didn’t have to” or “You shouldn’t have?” Of course she didn’t have to. That’s what made it a gift! People would be a lot happier, Misery reflected, if they could just accept it when something nice was handed them without strings.
Of course, if people did that, it would be a sign the seventh age was coming and the end of the world was nigh, because it sure as drek wouldn’t be the sixth world anymore.
Misery shrugged nonchalantly. ”A fortune we have, Fox.” She leaned over and reached into the pocket of her discarded clothing, then tossed the two full golden credsticks onto Fox’s bed. ”Money’s just an object, a thing I have that I can turn into things like thank you gifts for hard-ass elven shadowrunners.” She smiled at Fox, a genuine smile rather than a smirk or something tinged with a more bitter emotion, but it faded quickly. ”What I don’t have are friends. I don’t have lovers, I don’t have contacts, I’ve got nothing. For the first time in my life, I’m close to being alone. We travel together, yes, we’re getting to know one another, but when we first met, I was a nameless girl who you let into your car, a hitchhiker essentially.” She nodded at the gun. ”The pistol is just a thank you for taking a chance on me, and not dumping me in Damascus like most ‘runners would have.”
Misery stood and began to don her clothing, the same jeans and boots and “High Maintenance” t-shirt she’d worn home the night before. She pulled a brush from one of the bags and sat at the cheap desk in front of the cloudy mirror and began brushing out her long blonde hair, cursing every so often as she hit a tangle. As she worked, she asked, ”So, I assume we have a plan? You were out there long enough to turn into jerky, I’m guessing this yielded results?”November 28, 2018 at 1:31 am #11381
The elf raised her eyebrows at the two gold credsticks, curious as to where they had been obtained, but not curious enough to question it at this point. They would need the running money. Foxglove paused in her dressing as she listened to Misery speak, moving and stretching in the new shirt to see how it moved. The girl had actually done quite a good job at guessing her size, and the material was soft and flexible, clinging to her form without being binding.
She began slipping into her pants when the Banshee paused and then changed subjects, buttoning them up as she nodded in affirmation to the question. ”We have a shipping barge secured for our travel. No crew quarters, but I was able to get a shipping container to act as one for us. We can use it as a bolt hole, take it to just about any dock, and should be big enough for a couple of small beds and other basic needs. Not to mention backup gear.” Fox finished strapping on her belt with the new pistol at the back and buckled it tight, then sat to put on her boots. ”The ship doesn’t leave for a couple days, so we can dig up some cheap furniture, load it up, and get it set to go. I’d say we get on the night before it leaves, spend the day in there as not to raise too much suspicion.”
Foxglove stood and slung on her shoulder holster, then picked up her coat by the collar and tossed it over her shoulder as well to hold it there and looked to Misery with a smirk. ”Care to do a little shopping?”
#36-14November 28, 2018 at 12:43 pm #11396
Misery grinned as she set down the hairbrush and leaned to tie the laces on her boots. “You know me, I’m always up for some shopping.” Then she stopped, cocked her head, and considered for a second. “Okay, so you don’t know me. Statement stands.” She tied up her boots quickly, then sat with her elbows on her knees. “I used to have a place of my own, once. I can still remember it. It was recent, I feel. I didn’t have it long. And I didn’t have many possessions. But I always liked getting things. Gifts, books, clothing. That might be why I’m such a culture vulture.” She shrugged again. “I never had a chance to be…me, whoever ‘me’ was. I can express myself now, for the first time in my life.”
She thought back, examining her fragmented memories. Books, she’d owned a lot of books. Something about the smell of old paper, real paper made from wood pulp had aroused a curious satisfaction in her, and she loved the tales of old. She couldn’t remember who had given them to her or why, but she remembered laughing as she opened a box only to find a whole mess of novels about vampires. The memory was as clear as day, the feel of the dusty old covers, the rip of the wrapping paper, the sound of a hologram fireplace. Christmas. It had been Christmas. There had been a bookshop, with real glass windows…
The tears threatened again. They were fast becoming a warning sign that Misery was about to dive into the mystery of her lost lover, but this time she blinked them back, wiping moisture from her lashes before it could roll down her cheeks. She sniffled, once, then turned back to the cheap desk and reached over to pluck a better class of makeup from the bag. She’d thrown out the stuff she’d gotten from the dead man, replacing it with a small set of Brilliance by Horizon AR makeup. It could literally glow, and was colored just like the mundane stuff. She painted quickly, a foundation to make her look slightly less undead-pale, mascara, eyeshadow and eyeliner in pale orange, and Sol Catcher lipstick, which gave her mouth a fiery, molten look. And pass with the AR brush set it to glowing slightly, in meatspace and in AR, like heated metal.
Misery stood then, taking the shoulder holster that had come with her Alta and buckling it on, then selecting a magazine full of hollowpoints and sliding it into her pistol. She pulled the slide, chambering a round, then dropped the magazine and thumbed one more into its place, tapped the magazine on the butt of the gun once, and slid it back into place before slotting the pistol into the holster and pulling her jacket atop it. A quick spritz of Lux perfume and she was ready to go. Snagging the credsticks off the bed, she slipped one into the inside pocket of her jacket and proferred the other one to Fox. “I’m ready when you are.”November 28, 2018 at 4:24 pm #11405
The Nocturna watched in curiosity as Misery painted her face, never really having been able to understand the whole putting-on-makeup thing. She could appreciate the artistry and how it made some people look. She could even see why people would do it to get a certain effect. But she had never related to those who actually enjoyed it. It didn’t help that her experiences with the stuff had not exactly gone well, considering the times she had tried to do it herself had turned out to be complete disasters on her face, and the time someone else had done it for her had gotten her feeling both awkwardly exposed and yet oddly confined at the same time. She hadn’t tried it since, and she wasn’t sure it would be any better if she did again.
Her curiosity shifted when Misery pulled a pistol of her own, her head tilting as she watched the girl load it, chamber it, then load it again. ”You seem pretty familiar with firearms, for a mage.” She mused, taking the proffered credstick and tossing her head toward the door before turning to leave, slinging on her own coat as she moved. She slipped the stick into a coat pocket of her own, made a quick check to make certain she had everything necessary, and opened the door.
#37-14November 28, 2018 at 9:52 pm #11425
Misery followed Foxglove out the door and into the fading light of evening. The setting sun and the rising lights of Constantinople combined with the smog to make the sky seem as if it was glowing, giving off a strangely diffuse, directionless light. Misery found it oddly comforting, for all that it was a pale imitation of London’s glowing fogs and reflecting clouds. She missed home, even if she didn’t know beyond the name of a city and a few snatches of memory what home was to her.
“Useful life skill.” Misery replied to Fox’s comment, drawing up next to her as they left the motel. “I learned it early. I wasn’t always a gifted mage and a vampire, you know. I had forgotten, but just handling the pistol brought it all back.” She patted her jacket and smiled grimly. “This is a better class of death dealing device than I am used to, of course. I was poor back when I was still buying bullet hoses. Apparently,” she took out the credstick and twirled it through her fingers once before slipping it back into her coat pocket, “that is no longer the case.”
A joygirl, zoned out on bliss or grinweed or something tottered down the sidewalk on high plastic heels, and Misery dodged her effortlessly, looking back at her. Late twenties, skin bearing the marks of a life hard-lived, in a see-through plastic microskirt and a flat-machine tank top hacked off at the ribs. She remembered another woman, nude, clad only in diamonds with a golden collar and a golden lead, walking on spikes of brass that sang with every step, and it came with the smell of blood and sex and roses smoke and a sudden pang for home.
“There but for the grace of god go I.” Misery said quietly. “I could have been like her once. I think I was.”
Turning back ahead, Misery told Foxglove, “Alright, furniture first. Might want to make a call to the shipping yard that’s loading the boat, tell them we’ve got stuff for our container coming.”November 29, 2018 at 2:05 am #11428
Foxglove followed Misery’s gaze when she made the comment about having possibly been like the passing joygirl. It was fairly possible, and it really wouldn’t have surprised Fox. Not because she thought Misery was the kind of girl to go that rout, but because she knew there were all sorts of horrible people out there that would absolutely jump at the chance to turn her into it. Perhaps it would be better if she didn’t get her memory back…
No. Foxglove had to stand by her words and thoughts: no matter how drek the life was, one’s memory made one who they were.
The call to the docks was made and the warning given, then the two were off to search for basic amenities. They managed to find an S-Kea and walked out carrying (yes, carrying) two futons, several battery-driven lamps, a couple of side tables, and a small dresser. Once those boxes were in the shipping container, their next stop was a basic munitions shop to purchase two sets of street-runner basic, including pistols, ammo, and nondescript armored clothing. A quick trek across the street brought them into an electronics store for two, large, empty deck cases. With that completed, it was time to set up.
”We should have some burner SINs to put in those cases, too, but Kingston would probably be the better place to get those.” Foxglove said, partially thinking out loud as she sat cross-legged on the floor of the shipping container, which was now lit by a couple of the new lamps, putting together one of the side tables they had brought in earlier. ”We’ll be on less of a time crunch, too.”
#38-15December 1, 2018 at 11:49 pm #11619
Misery was loading extra magazines and sorting the shadowrunner basics into two separate, equally nondescript brown-grey backpacks of synthetic canvas. “SINs would take a while, especially if we want ones of decent quality. Yeah, Kingston would be better, unless there’s a decker on this ship. Two months at sea, plenty of time to work up the idents.” She tapped two magazines together, making sure the rounds would feed properly, her movements instinctive, then slid them into the two Colt L36s, then started in on the sawed-off remington 990s, oiling the actions and making sure they fed properly.
“So, we’ve got a spot on the ship, and I assumed you made arrangements for your wheels, too.” Misery said after a moment. “But what, exactly, are we going to do for the next two months?” She gestured around her. “I don’t have to feed, but in case you didn’t notice, sailors are an awfully superstitious lot. We’re women, and elves, and I’m both a vampire and a sorceress. I can’t imagine they’re going to take well to our presence.”December 2, 2018 at 1:11 am #11627
”The Impala is being stored below decks, so she’ll be fine,” Foxglove said, setting aside the finished side table. She then grabbed another of the furniture boxes and ripped it open. ”The crew has a couple of Metas on it, so the elves thing shouldn’t be an issue. The women thing I’ve got covered…” She paused, then grimaced, ”sort of. It’s a simple enough deal, and I’m sure you’ll have no trouble with it, from what I heard in the car, but it’s not exactly my strongest suit.”
Fox heaved a sigh and set down a table leg before looking up at Calista, ”I don’t suppose you know any sea shanties?”
#39-15December 3, 2018 at 3:58 pm #11685
Misery raised an eyebrow. Sea shanties? What the frag did that have to do with anything? Misery sat down, this promised to be great and she didn’t want to fall over laughing when Fox explained.
“Yeah, I know a few. They’re good for learning vocal control and timing.” Misery replied. “Why? Are we suddenly aboard a merry vessel full of bloody scaliwags?” She grinned. “Am I going to have to worry about your virtue amongst such rough company?” The mirth hid Misery’s musing. Fox had found a boat, and quickly, and going to the right place all in the span of a single morning. How had she done that? Misery was fairly certain it hadn’t exactly been above board, and that meant the joke could, in fact, not be a joke at all. Were they aboard a pirate vessel?December 3, 2018 at 4:41 pm #11696
Foxglove shook her head, ”Not quite, no. They do deal in smuggling, but not piracy, exactly.” With that said, she shot Misery a smirk, ”And I’m pretty fragging sure you’re capable of defending your own damn virtue.”
The elf paused, inspecting the packet of screws and such that had come with the “some-assembly-required” table. ”Like you said: sailors are a superstitious lot. Knowing they were going to be transporting women, they said that the only way to ward off the curses that came with that were to have us sing them out of the harbor with a sea shanty.” Fox shifted her sitting position to one that was a little more comfortable and tore into the packet to pull out a couple things to start attaching the leg of the table to the underside of the top. ”I agreed to it because they were the only ones going our way that were willing to take us on board, but I’m not a singer, and shanties are fairly foreign to me.”
#40-16December 6, 2018 at 11:59 pm #12029
“Well, that’s…different.” Misery said slowly. “Alright. So let me sea,” she grinned, “if I understand you. We’re on a smuggling ship as less than licit passengers, and while they’re totally null sheen about the sorceress vampire thing, the superstitious crew will only agree to take on unaccompanied women if we sing a song to ward off a Jonah?” Misery nodded deliberately, then opined, “You know what’s a sad commentary on my life? That that makes perfect goddamn sense compared to most of what else I’ve experienced since I woke up in that crap hospital room.”
Misery stood and rolled her shoulders, stretching and smiling, showing long teeth. “Alright, I know a few upbeat ones. I’m not sure ‘Stormalong John’ or ‘Down Amongst the Dead Men’ would be the best one to send us on our way.” She looked around for another piece to assemble and began unboxing it. “Just let me know when its showtime.”December 9, 2018 at 4:58 pm #12202
Foxglove rolled her eyes at the terrible pun and went back to putting together the side table. Having done the other one, she was able to put the thing together rather quickly as she listened to Calista’s out-loud thinking.
With the Banshee’s last comment, Fox set the table next to its twin, only to pull her hand away from it slowly and rub at the back of her neck. The hardened gilette actually looked…embarrassed, and the lightest of pink colored her cheeks. ”Actually…I was hoping you might teach one to me. We’re both supposed to sing when we set off in order to break whatever curses they think will come of our presence. I…” she paused, cringed, and looked absently at the two tables to her right, ”apologize in advance for my lack of skill.”
- This reply was modified 4 months ago by Foxglove.
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