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Page 14

Game Masters:
virtualoctopus, CKW, Wesforce


"Damn!" Jimmy Lefixit said. "Right - Get after that scumbag! Kill him if you can! I'll get some more guys out there after him...Here, this is where his girlfriend is."

Jimmy sent Shadow a small map of part of Geneva - it showed a rundown street-clinic.

"The bitch's name is 'lora'. She might be able to tell you where Xecktos is - if she's awake yet!"

Jimmy Slammed the 'phone down.

Ery is gonna fragging kill me if I frag this up...Not to mention my rep on the street! Better call in the boys...

He picked up the vidphone again.

"Get me Don Zix!" He screamed, his knuckles turning white. "He's an old friend, damn you!"


In the garage, Crash found a rotting cardboard box full of empty vehicle batteries - quite a strong box - and some plastic carrier bags.

There was a noise at the door - A figure burst in- A Dwarf wearing dungarees, the owner...

"Ere, wot are you fraggers doing in my Garage eh?" He said, shining a torch at the 'runners. Crash was blinded, he couldn't see the small sawn-off shotgun in the old ginger-haired Dwarf's hand...


While Xecktos was taking to Crash, a message was left on his wristphone.

"Xecktos old buddy! Jimmy Lefixit here! There is still time to turn around, old friend! We are still friends, right? If not, I hope Lora is safe. A little bird tells me she needs new lungs... It just happens Ihave a spare pair!


Lora, lying fast asleep in her bed in the clinic, had no way of knowing who that was parking just outside the clinic, nor who that was with a Walther MA-2100 smartlinked sniper rifle on the roof of the Regal Burgers opposite.

The clock on the table next to her read 05:00am.


"Sorry sir, we thought it was abandoned", said crash "can you please stop shining that torch into my eye? Also, can i have a plastic carrier bag?"


"Eh, Its not abandoned, Laddie! I's still here. Course, the comp'ny don't pay me no more. But I'll let you have that carrier bag... For 500 nuyen! You want it?"

He pointed the shotgun again.

"Eh? Do ya?"


Xecktos still was pulling lady Zero behind him while trying to call Crystal. He came up upon Jol's rig.

See picked up.

"Crystal, you need to do something for me. You need to get a bunch of people together and go to the AET hospital, check all the building around it and in the hospital on Lora's floor. Look for anything out of place. She's in danger..." Xecktos punched out the glass on passenger side. He unlocked the door, and saw all his stuff on the floor. He picked his convo with Crystal back up while he started putting all the weapons back on his body.

" I crossed in old friend and screwed up a deal of his. Where are you. I want you to look after someone for me, no questions asked. I have a few things to take care of."


I'll probably be extremely stuipid for doing this... Thought crash.

"yah, here's 500 nuyen... we'll be on our way now..." said crash, picking up one of the bigger, stronger bags, one that you could fit, oh, say a robo arm...


As the 'Runners left, the Dwarf sat down in his security office. He took out the 500 nuyen credstick he'd swindled off the kid, and kissed it.

"Here's to my new life!" He said, chuckling, cracking open a glucobeer from his battered fridge, putting his (stubby) feet up on his 'desk'.


The 'runners walked along, keeping to back alleyways, they could hear the sounds of war from over at the Aztech compound dying down. Jyl, in particular, could hear more talking and less shooting.

It was around 5:00am. It would be light soon. Mary was all but dead on her feet from tiredness. She could only walk supported by Silvia - who seemed unaffected. Crash too, was tired. He kept stopping, stumblig, dropping the bag that carried his arm... He thought about getting a coffin hotel for the night, only 5nuyen each. He wondered if Mary would share with him?


Still sleeping peacefully in Raven's parked, closed van, Curim dreamed. He dreamed of wandering the astral planes, travelling to metaplanes anew, discovering the astra side of Mars - if there was one.

He had never been cosier.


Raven woke up again, banging his head on the roof of the 'coffin'.

"Frag, where'd I leave my van? And where did Crystal go?" His head throbbed painfully. Large parts of the night before he couldn't remember.

He did remember one thing though. One person.

Lady Zero


Shadow nodded and accepted his new mission and objective.

He took a good look at the map and then got into an car that he hadn't used in a long long time, and went at a very fast speed, and got to the hospital in an half an hour or so.

Shadow got out of the car, and went into the hospital and went to the information desk.

"Do you know what room, I can find Lora in?..." Shadow asked the lady at the information desk.

The lady said, "Yes, she is in the room over there, she pointed to room 224.

Shadow nodded and went in, he found Lora awake, surprisingly.

"My name is Shadow...I am a friend of Xecktos, can you tell me were he is?"

Shadow noticed something that cast a shadow from beyond the window.

He pulled out his Revolver and shot out the window, seeing a figure fall dead off the opposite roof.

Shadow then turned back and Lora started talking to him quietly.


"Hey, anybody else besides me need a rest? we're near my apartment..."

Crash almost got slapped, but he intervened with...

"Woah, don't worry, i'd be sleeping on my sofa."


"Those cops are more stupid than ever..." Mac mumbled. He had slipped out of the scene, doing as if he was an simple expectator.


"Damn drones..." said Eva. Obviously, she had not did well in this ocassion. She was injured. In her chase, she took the guns from the Daisaka... but they weren't enough for it. She could only do a risky maneuver.

The drone descended the stairs. A jolt, and then it dropped into the ground. Eva had jumped onto it and ripped off several vital support circuits.

She walked with serious difficulties into the train, and headed for the nearest hospital. It would be a bit risky, but... It was the only solution.


Eva staggered past the subway check-in booth. The Ork clerk there froze up at her evil stare, and didn't say a word. Likewise, when she got on the train, the few passengers at this ungodly hour gave her a wide berth.

When she reached the other station - Close to an old street-doc she knew - It was around 3:00 am.

The Ork Nurse that answered the door wouldn't let her in at first, but soon changed her min when Eva showed a 1,000nuyen credstick. She even woke the doctor up for emergency surgery.

At 5:30, Bedridden, bandaged Eva was woken by the sound of a heavy revolver being fired, a few rooms down...


The man crumpled to the floor, dead from both the gunshot and the fall.

Men in black suits piled out of the car. One shouted:

"Funtin' eck! They shot sharp-eye Steve! Don Zix will be pissed!"


Up in the clinic, Shadow was surounded by people he'd just woken up. Lora screamed at him at the sound of gunfire. A nurse charged in, with a porter.

"Drop the fraggin' gun, greaseball!" The skinny porter said - foolishly, as he was armed only with a stun baton...


Jyl lied curled up in a ball under all the debris he pulled down upon himself in the warehouse. His time for the night had drawn to an end and the sun was hinting it was going to rise soon. He fell into a light sleep, but his ears picked up the slightest movements if anyone came looking for him.


"Oh my Fragging Grud!"

Raven mumbled as he staggered out of the tiny coffin bed, he stumbled to his left and then to compensate he stumbled to the right.. He thought of Lady Zero, the amazing singer from ID0.

"The girl can really sing. It was gre...Ahhhhhhhhh!!"

The first headache had begun. Raven was not the type of man who could hold his liquor. Hangovers were agony for Raven.

"Well at least I scored with Crystal... wait..make that almost...what was with her eyes...oh... OH CRAP! Ahhhhhh! FRAG!"

With the realisation that Raven had almost spent the night with an unknown elf woman the pain came back. Agony. Excrutiating pain. Darkness.

He awoke for the second time that day lying in the street. The hotel owner didn't make any money letting passed out chummers sleep on the floor of his establishment. Raven had been thrown out of the hotel and had slept off his hangover in the backalley. He had been mugged several times by several different people. Raven got up and walked to where he thought his van was. After half an hour of searching in the wrong direction he found it parked near the hotel he had spent the night. He got in and started driving. He was going home to his comfortable bed to get more sleep.

Curim awoke to the comfortable rumblings of the vans engine. He got up and stretched his arms and his astral figure. Today was another beautiful day! Curim strode up to the vans cockpit and looked in on the driver.

"Raven, you're astral form looks as bad as your physical body. How did you get so out of touch with your true self?"

"Narcobeer... music... crystal... elf..."

Raven replied, more talking to himself than answering Curim's question. Curim thought a moment and spoke.

"You're not very perceptive boy, no, Crystal isn't elvish. I don't see how you could have worked that out."

Raven kept driving for a few minutes, slowly digesting the troll mage's words.

"Crystal... elf?"

Was all his sluggish vocabulary could manage for the moment.
Curim could see the poor boy was troubled by something. Curim projected his Astral figure towards Raven's and tried soothing the man's "soul".

"Tell me everything boy. You'll feel better."

For the first time since his childhood Raven cried.


Shadow looked around. He was surrounded by the nurse and the Porter.

He smirked at the porter and kicked the stun baton out of his hands. Then, he then caught it and used it on the porter.

The porter fell to the ground.

He looked at Lora and nodded in thanks as he dived out the window. He landed hard on his feet, but was still able to run away into the shadows of the alleyway.

Shadow punched in the number once again and got hold of Jimmy immediately, "I got the information.."


"Sure, we'll go... just don't try anything funny, or you won't wake up." said Mary. this whole thing had hardened her up, just like a person who had killed another in a war...

Entering the complex... Crash flopped down on the sofa for a nap...he didn't care to see if any of the ladies went to get a shower...franky, he didn't want to. he liked to live life on the edge sometimes... having a family would take that away. but that Lady Zero...she was just hypnotic...

Crash started dreaming...
*music is blaring, and Lady zero is on a stage*
?- HAHAHA!!! I've got you missy!

"AAH!" screamed Crash, as he woke up in a cold sweat... everybody was asleep, except for him... hoping he wouldn't recieve that dream, again, he dozed off again...


The three people arrived at Crash's place.
Crash immediately fell on the Sofa and dozed off. The women went to the bathroom to wash the sweat off their faces.

"Aw sleg... Now 'll never make it in one glide."
"Glide?" Mary gave Silvia a strange look.
"Oh yeah, I didn't get a chance to tell you... I'm a half-dragon."
"A... a Half-dragon?!?"
"Well yeah... I was planning to take the elevator in one of the office builings there and glide off the roof. I could easily have gotten home in one glide from there..."

"But... you don't have wings!", Mary replied.
"Oh, of course not. This is my Elvish form. I can shapeshift to a Dragon form too. Small one, of course. Not bigger than my elvish form, but with wings."

They walked back to the living/bedroom.

Mary was getting more interested in this girl. Even though she was tired to death she wanted to know more about this half-dragon girl.
"Then why don't you just fly?"

Silvia suddenly looked a bit sad
"I can't. These slegging wings aren't good enough to fly. I can hardly glide properly; it takes a lot of concentration."
"Aw come on now girl... It can't be that bad.", Mary said. "I'm sure there's a lot of good sides to being a half-dragon. And besides, you're still young. They might get stronger when you grow older."
Silvia stared at the floor. "I hope so..."

"Just out of curiosity... can I see them?" Mary asked.
Silvia's face lightened up. "Sure! I gotta make holes in my shirt first though."
Mary saw two big holes appear in Silvia's shirt. Not much magical about that though. It was a built-in nano clothing-adjustment, triggered by a small mana-burst. That required hardly any magic.

Mary saw the shoulder blades under the holes turn green-blue, and typical dragon scales appeared on them. Then they started to grow, and a few seconds later the wings unfolded.

"Wow..." That was all Mary could say. It was an amazing shapeshift for such a young girl to perform. And that were just the wings...

"I'll put them back now," Silvia said. But then she noticed another problem. "Hmm... we only got one bed. Well I can sleep on my wings, on the ground. I've done that before. You take the bed."

"Heh. Thanks." Mary fell on the bed. She was exhausted.

Silvia turned out the light. "Sweet dreams, Mary." she whispered.
Suddenly, Mary saw what seemed so odd about the girl when they first met. Two green-yellow dragon eyes lighting up in the dark room.

Less than a minute later she fell asleep.

Silvia wrapped her wings around her body. They were almost big enough to cover it completely; the only thing sticking out of the wings was her head, with her arms folded under it.

Wow... what a night.
Sleg. I forgot to call mom. Oh well.

Hmm... I wonder if I'll meet that vampire again some day. He might be a bit weird, but he looked like a nice guy.


Chance's woke to the persistent "You have a message" tone from his wristphone. Forcing himself awake, the soldier checked the message... "Rifle Volunteer" in half and hour, eh? The caller was a woman, but there was something strange in her voice, a sort of synthesized regularity that he had heard in more than a few of those accursed clone-boy-bands.

Suspicious of the message, he proceeded to watch the news...

Five minutes later, both him and Ash were rapidly gearing up as he left a message to Crystal on the wristphone. His voice was clipped and to-the-point, touched with a little bit of dry humour, a talking style that he reverted to in times of crisis.

"Crystal. Chance and Ash here. We have a problem.

One. Congrats on a perfect night out... Daisaka is looking for all of us at the Identity Zero concert, excluding myself and Ash. However, we are ready to assist in any situation.

Two. Lady Zero has been kidnapped. Her location is unknown.

Three. We have a meeting with a potential client at Rifle Volunteer in twenty minutes. I suspect that the voice in the message is synthesized... be wary.

Chance and Ash. Out."


Crash's bed stank of beer, and something alot worse than that, so Mary was careful to sleep on the side furthest from the indentation which had probably been Crash's sleeping place for several years. A life-size poster of Lady Zero was stuck to the celing directly above it.

She closed her eyes, and fell almost instantly asleep.


Dirty Geneva light filtered through the slatted windows of Crash's apartment. Mary rolled over. She'd fallen asleep on Crash's bedclothes - there was no way she'd go underneath them. The digi-clock on the wall, between a 'Shadowrun' poster, and another of 'Star Wars : Episode XII', read 9:54

She sat up, looked around. On a moth-eared sofa, Crash was still snoring lightly, and Silvia was asleep in the corner, still in elven form with the dragon wings wrapped around her.

The apartment was a mess. It was a similar size to Mary's, one large room, with a small kitchen and toilet off to one side. However, there was stuff EVERYWHERE in here - around the dark-stained cyberdeck on a table in the corner were various discarded gluco-beer and disney-coke bottles and cans. The walls were covered in various posters and stickers, some of which were softscreen animated, and occasionally pornographic.

Mary frowned, and went into the kitchen area. There was food everywhere, here, but, brushing sleep out of her eyes, she needed to eat something. The small fridge was open - not good, and she expected that, given a microscope, she could discover several new species inside.

Better not, then.

She heard a groan, and put her head around the door. Crash was stirring.


Crystal awoke. Strangely, given the late night she'd had, and the punishing amount of Narcobeer, she felt okay. Not even tired, or slightly unsettled.

She got up, did some excercises to get the circulation going.

Then she remembered last night.

Frag, what did I tell Cylinder Head? Lady Zero kidnapped? He'll be out of his mind! I fell asleep after that... I should have helped him...But no, I couldn't have. I was too damn tired. I hope the others got home okay...

She checked her messages:

One from Cy - He had contacted a few old friends and was after Lady Zero. He would contact back when he had more info. Crystal ws worried when she saw his face - He was dead-tired. He can't have slept for the whole night...

One from Xecktos - His girl, Lora was in danger, apparently, aside from being on an artificial breather with no lungs of her own.

One from Chance: He said the Daisaka boys had her description and were out for her, as well as what she already knew about Lady Zero. He also explained Crystal's other message - Someone was waiting at the Rifle Volunteer...

What to do, what to do...

She threw on camo trousers, a black T-shirt, boots and her black army Jacket. Pausing to fix her hair a bit and put a face on, she flew down the stairs and got in her car, heading for the street clinic, only a few strasses away.


Lora saw a man come rushing past, carrying a stun-rod. He had brown hair and Prussian blue eyes...
He was talking on his wristphone as he ran


"What did she tell you?" Jimmy shouted frantically. "And what's going on there? One of Don Zix's best men was just killed!"


"Look what I got!" Detective Thorensson told his partner. "Control got through to Amalgamated Telecom with that Slitch Turin's registered number. It turns out the wristphone registered under her name is transmitting its location signal from...Here." The detective marked the location on his trid-map. "No-ones moved for over half-an hour. They must be sleeping..."

"Right." His Ork partner grunted. "We send the sarge in dere, we gets the lot a 'em. We'll send in a heli and da APC."


It was Crash and Silvia's fortune to wake up at the exact moment that the first Daisaka men from the arrest-team (in full-armour, wielding stun-rods) battered through the door. However, they couldn't do anything to stem the tide of shock troops crashing through the small apartment, trashing half the flat.
Fortunately, they didn't immediately notice Silvia lying in the corner, what gave her time to shift back to her full Elvish form.

With Both of them stunned repeatedly, Crash felt sick and Silvia confused.

A Dwarf and an Ork in trenchcoats walked up to them.

"NOW! You fraging arseholes! What have you done with Lady Zero, and where the frag is Turin?"

Crash mourned for his lost arm - Still in the plastic bag, now being carried by one of the arrest-cops.

And where WAS Mary?


Feeling cold, tired and afraid, Mary stood out on the narrow, crumbling ledge on the edge of the building. She had just had time to scramble out the window as the Daisakae boys had burst in.
She stood, staring into the deep hit of the morning sun cresting the Geneva skyline.
Below was a six-wheeled Daisaka APC.
She could hear a helicopter somewhere...

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