Mars City Shadowrun
By the time you notice her, she is already holding your throat in front of your face
Ponytail, normal conservative clothes. 5’8”, slender. Working on story for Hermes Corp about life and crime in the undercity. 28 years old, 2 years on Mars. On the side, does shadowruns in a stealth suit, and records them on her simstim rig: she seeks money and fame, but mostly excitement-the thrill of the kill. She is on temporary leave from Hermes after the latest in a series of odd incidents. Due to her extensive cyberware, she is having increasing difficulty interacting normally with “normal” metahumans, and has now managed to make children cry during a puff piece, as well as horribly offend John Caruthers, the only survivor from Long Pig’s dungeon who would even talk to her. Presumed killed in the raid on Longpig’s fortress, which also cost her cameraman Yann his life. Her body was never found after the raging inferno that engulfed the property.
I remember it now in name only: joy. I got the reporting job I had always wanted. It wasn’t at one of the fancy stations, but for an up-and-comer like myself Hermes News was an amazing opportunity. There were parties with friends and others who worked in the business. I remember smiling. And laughing. I’m looking in the mirror now, trying to emulate that happy face, just as it was in my memory. There is little humanity in what stares back. It always takes me a moment to recognize my own reflection. The eyes looking back are different…I suppose figuratively and literally.
I was assigned a story dealing with gangs in the Undercity. What a dirty place. Of course, as an eager reporter I stayed up late into the nights researching everything I could. There was no detail I didn’t know.
Finally stepping into the Undercity, I was quickly taught a basic lesson in Undercity etiquette by a few masters in the field: an Uppercity SIN is not proper protection from fists to the face. Even though the terror was such that all my bodily functions ceased to be under my cotrol, given a choice I would experience it again just to remember what fear felt like.
I likely would have died from the thug’s assault had it not been for a strange looking Japanese man who fended them off. I couldn’t even thank him before I passed out.
I awoke in the hospital not having any idea how much time had passed. My body felt sore, but there were no bruises or broken bones. Nor were there any lacerations anywhere on my body. Sitting up and reaching for a glass of water, I noticed that a pattern of moles that used to be below my hand was no longer there. On closer inspection, the skin on my whole arm seemed subtly different. Alarmed, I grabbed the glass, only to have it shatter in my grip. Shards of glass were all over, but nothing penetrated my skin. Making a fist around one of the shards, I squeezed. This must have been when I first started losing who I’d been. Most of the shard broke, but some barely penetrated my skin. A condition monitor went off and nurses rushed in. They looked at me strangely…in retrospect I must have had a vacant look on my face.
I never learned who gave me those first implants, or what their motivation was. It started something in me. I began to use what resources I had to modify myself. An adrenaline pump to feel again. Weapons to take away that feeling of defenselessness. I wanted others to watch my exploits; to see and feel what I experience. Imagining them HotSimming, being me…in my mind it makes me more real. Reminds me that I’m alive.
-Pages found in the wreckage of the natural gas explosion at the EconoSave Apartment complex on 1554 Samson Ave.