Savage Rifts Writing Contest Submissions 2020

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Savage Rifts Writing Contest Submissions 2020

Post by Imperator »

As the title says this thread is for submissions to the ongoing contest. The details can be found here viewtopic.php?f=16&t=5190&p=66718#p66718 and is where any questions should be asked.
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Re: Savage Rifts Writing Contest Submissions

Post by steelbrok »

Well, here's an entry, hope it's not too boring :)

109 PA, near some place called “Tolkeen"

“Steelbrok! Keep our flank secure.”

I had no idea who was yelling but it made sense. Problem was I still can’t be sure which creatures, people, creatures who are people are hostile and which aren’t. I mean if they have a weapon and point it towards me or another legionnaire then they make it easy and I smear them with the railgun. But I’ve seen that psychic powers are much more powerful in the here and now than they ever were back in the day. Some of them claim to have outright magic powers! Still seems weird but the good thing is that the magical ones have to talk and wave their arms around - so if I see someone waving and speaking it’s smearing time, Just have to hope they’re not waving and calling for help.

At least the brief for this mission said there were no friendlies expected. The Glitter Boy was anchoring our scratch squad. We were basically the odds and sods, these Tomorrow Legion people had scrambled everyone at their base for this mission.

Oh yeah, apparently we’re looking for seven magic rings. When I said “seven for the Dwarf lords in their halls of stone” I just got blank looks. Even from the dwarves who were present. Yes, real dwarves. Still, they make a decent beer even if they don’t appreciate literature! Though I can’t help wondering how they don’t get a Tolkien reference and then we’re sent off to a place called Tolkeen.

But I should be grateful, it was a dwarf patrol that found me when the blue blur thing brought me here (they call the blurs Rifts) and brought me to Castle Refuge. Signing on for their army seem d like the best plan for now.

Oh hell, there was a whole lot of that blue blur, another bloody Rift, it felt like I was falling, where on Earth would I end up this time!

2098 AD, Year of the Cataclysm

The hills of Brecon just seem to get steeper and steeper Warrant-Lieutenant Paris thought as he reached the final checkpoint. He was glad for those long summer holidays when he’d been a kid, walking for hours to check on his uncle’s sheep. The hills in Iceland were never this steep, though. The last checkpoint came into sight as he crested the brow of the hill, his navigation had been spot on, he was one of the first to make it. He was relieved to be on the rocky hilltop and finally off the bogs and rain-slick slopes.

He swung the heavy pack of his back and unbuckled his webbing, letting it drape over the back of a hover-bike. He stretched his back, glad he had completed the latest part of the selection course. The coveted winged dagger badge was so nearly his. He attached the sling to the machine gun he’d carried over those hills – no slings allowed on the marches, weapons had to be in your hands at all times – before putting it over his shoulder. Even though the cross-country tab was finished not carrying your weapon got you a hand grenade to carry around for 24 hours. A grenade with the pin out, that is.

“Well done, Paris,” Captain Gurung nodded at him but quickly turned back to listen to the loudspeaker a couple of signallers had rigged up. Those nearby were deathly quiet, listening to the grim news. Paris wondered how much worse things had got over the three days of the selection test, Listening intently it was soon clear that things were beginning to spiral out of control. More countries had mobilised. Aircraft had been shot down in South America. Fleets prowled the North Atlantic, alliances unsure, warning shots fired. In Britain the Army had tripled the number of soldiers given the Mind Over Matter implants and was calling for more volunteers to become Total Conversion Cyborgs.

“Told you this was the way forward!” Cooper might have been given good voice but there was no mistaking the electronic tones of the cadre’s cyborg candidate. Paris grinned at her, the way she was plastered in mud it looked as if her weight had given her some trouble getting across the frequently boggy ground.

Captain Gurung came over to the assembled candidates, “Gentlemen, and lady,” he nodded towards Cooper, “this selection cadre has been halted. Some of you will be returning to your units and mobilising with them. Others will be joining Ops teams for immediate deployment.”

There was only time for quick handshakes as everyone grabbed their gear. Paris was heading back to the Durham Rifles, at least they’d be allowed to wear the winged dagger on their sleeves. They’d even managed to blag a ride on a Chariot Robot Armour APC to get back to Catterick. But just as they were about to board there was a general broadcast on everyone’s radio. Flash traffic. A nuclear exchange had started in South America.

As everyone stood, shocked yet somehow unsurprised, the Chariot’s driver, shaken by the news, caused the enormous robot to stumble, had to steady it with a sudden movement. Crushed Paris between Robot foot and slab of rock.

2090 AD, some years before the Cataclysm, Leeds-Black Sheep Industrial Estate

Jon Sigurdson was in trouble. The work around he’d put into the surveillance system was already failing, reducing the number of routes he could use. And the cops were already at some of his clear routes.

Damn, he’d only been a month away from getting his passport back. Right now he really wished he was on his usual summer trip to his Uncle’s sheep farm in Iceland instead of agreeing to hack the codes for this industrial unit. Jon had only agreed because it would have paid enough to take Julie for a week in Paris, she’d always wanted to go there.
He saw a free route and ran. At least he was in good condition, it was pretty unlikely some security plod could catch him. He heard a shout behind him, too far back though. Footsteps behind him. Running footsteps behind him. Unbelievably fast running footsteps behind him. Lungs straining, Jon was close to the hole in the fence that he’d carefully bypassed the alarms for. Not close enough, though, Some one simply shoulder charged him from behind, sending him sprawling. He tried to get up but his attacker moved so fast! He tried to toss the data chips away but a lightning fast hand grabbed him. Jon’s wrist was twisted painfully forcing him to drop the data chips and incidentally revealing the skyscraper and rat tattoo on his inner forearm. A nervejam slammed him limp. The last thing Jon heard before falling unconscious was, “Mind Over Matter, City-Rat, don’t mess with MOM’s boys.”

2098 AD, Year of the Cataclysm, Brecon Camp Hospital
Warrant Lieutenant Paris could feel himself slowly waking from a deep sleep. He’d been dreaming about Iceland, the way he stumbled with the language at the beginning of every summer. White, hospital smell, murmur of voices. Nothing hurt. That was a surprise. It could be a very good surprise or it could be vey bad. He tried to sit up. Nothing happened except a monitor starting to beep. A doctor came over, stethoscope means doctor, yes?

“Glad you’re back with us, Paris,” She fiddled with something out of sight, "We’ll just switch a bit more of you on.”

Switch me on? That doesn’t sound good, hey….. Something felt good, had she drugged me? Hey it felt good.

“Tak, laeknirinn,” Well, I was saying thanks doctor in Icelandic. I looked down. I could see my legs. They were metal. I raised a hand, it was metal. I tapped my chest and heard a dull thunk – but felt nothing. I looked back at my legs. It was like I was wearing steel trousers, “Stahl brok,” there, I’d said it out loud. I knew what I was now. I managed to switch to English:

“I am Borg.”

2090 AD, some years before the Cataclysm, York Central Crown Justice Complex

Jon was waiting to go into court. There was a line of defendants and their briefs, isolated from each other by bars. When the line moved forward there was a Mexican wave of clattering bars as each offender moved along a set of bars. The lawyers strolled freely in the corridor. Jon’s was arranging a golf match.

Jon was waiting to go into court. He’d been able to video call Julie this morning. She had been tearful but pretty much all she said was, “We never had Paris.”

Jon was waiting to go into court. The verdict was going to be guilty, only the sentence was in doubt. He hadn’t even been given the chance to turn King’s Evidence, they’d just used a damn telepath, one of the rare good ones too, and ripped the information out of his brain. When Jon’s lawyer had found that out he’d basically given up and told Jon to hope for a light sentence. And then told him that if they cared enough to bring in a premier teep then Jon wasn’t getting out anytime soon.

Jon was waiting to go into court. Once he was in the prison system it would be easy to make him disappear for good. His lawyer had let slip that the tech company he’d been hired to hack had requested custody. That didn’t sound good.

Someone in the open corridor caught Jon’s eye. He was moving purposefully, checking the cages, pausing to talk to one or two of the cage occupants. There was a woman following him along. At one cage there was a brief fuss and the lucky occupant was released and the woman walked him back out of the corridor.

The man had reached Jon, looking him over. The man was average height but had a lean, fit build. The suit he wore didn’t seem right on him somehow.

“Sigurdson?” the man looked straight at Jon, obviously deciding if he liked what he was seeing, glancing down to check his hand pad, too, presumably with Jon’s details, “you’re in a bit of trouble, son.”

Jon nodded, wondering how much worse things could get. The man turned the pad around so that Jon could see it. Ministry of Defence Juvenile Rehabilitation Program was the heading, some smaller print read Mandatory Enlistment Term and Captain Saul Jones.

“So, son, how’d you like to join the Army?” Jon looked the man in the eye and then glanced at his lawyer who was on the phone arranging to go for ‘champers’ as soon as he could ‘get rid of this loser’.

“Army sounds good to me, sir.”

The man nodded and used a key to open the cage. As Jon stepped out there was the clatter of defendants being moved up a place in the queue.

“Thing is, the Army doesn’t like people chasing loose ends. But, if you were to give me a different name, there’d be no loose end to chase. So, what name would be good, Private?”

“Private Paris, Sir,” Jon said, “Private Paris.”

The woman stepped up to Jon. Now she was closer he could see the discrete implants at her temples. She nodded at him, acknowledging his recognition of her MOM implants, “So, you won’t give me any trouble will you, Private Paris?”

Jon shook his head and walked ahead of her, wondering if this was out of the frying pan and into the fire.

2098 AD, Year of the Cataclysm, South Wales

I’m told Cyborgs normally have lots of counselling and training. But times aren’t normal. Since those nukes went off in South America the whole world has gone to hell. Various allies had been dragged into the fighting an lots of bombs had gone off. Some really weird stuff was happening too. The tides were just getting higher and higher. That may be linked to some huge storm in the Atlantic, near Bermuda. Oh, psychics are somehow more powerful and there are blue lines flaring across the whole country. And we’ve been invaded. By dwarves. And by elves. And by demons.

I really wouldn’t have believed that last bit except for the fact that about half an hour after I first stood up in my shiny new body I was handed a railgun and sent into battle against some of those demons.

It was at Newport when we had our first contact, anyone who could fight, heal or transport people was rushed there. We found out the tales of demons were real. They were slaughtering refugees who were fleeing the rising waters of the Bristol Channel. They were things out of nightmares or Hollywood blockbusters. A bunch of elves, well, they said they were elves, helped us. We finally pushed them back but we had to retreat ourselves. Twenty metre tides! We had to go west, the Severn bridge was out of action and the roads were jammed. Fifteen miles took us two days. At the end we were forcing our way through the crowds. People were fleeing towards us from Cardiff too. We could see why from many miles away. It couldn’t be a tree. Not that tall, not growing that fast. The blue lines we kept seeing swirled around it, there was a flash. It felt like I was falling….

109 PA, who the hell knows where?

Well from North America in the Age of Rifts I’m somewhere else. Hopefully not somewhen else this time. The barn was ok to rest in and I’d managed to repair myself. Who knows what’s going to happen next? Who indeed, but whatever it is, I’ll be ready.

This is Jon “Steelbrok” Paris, now of the !st SET and Far From Home, signing off
OOC Comments
Bennies 5 (+1 from Palach's Joker 7/9/20)
Wounds 0 (ignore 1 point of penalties)
Parry 5, Toughness 23(8) in light cyborg plate

'Vlad' The Impaler d12+2d8+2 MD AP16 (Harmonic Blade, REACH 2!
'Velma' the Vibro Longsword d12+d10+2 AP10
'Violet' the NG-56 Light Ion Pistol 10/20/40 3d8/2d8/1d8 +2 to Shooting 12 Shots
'Vera' the NG303 Railgun 30/60/120 Damage 2d10+2 MD AP6 20 Shots of 3 bursts each Ignore Sloped Armour
Credits 1300
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Re: Savage Rifts Writing Contest Submissions 2020

Post by Fahtoo »

My submission for the Writing Contest. Title and story Inspired by a Niska job card in Firefly the Game, a board game by Gale Force Nine games. Ask me about it and I'll happily talk your ear off.

Game: Tomorrow Legion: 21st SET - Hot Shots (pre-game)
Character: Fatimatou DeCruz - Psi-Operator
Author: Lea/Cassiopeia/Lulu
Word count: 3954

Moon the Coalition

Email wrote: 00:03:40 -0500
To: M0R64N4
From: 5H4RK
Subject: $$$$

J0b 0FFeR. dD02 5M# & 9r4B. 100k p4Y0u7.
Date: 14122117

The email arrived via a network of virtual dead ends and switch backs designed to outmaneuver anyone trying to track her from the sent email. Fahtoo flicked it open and sighed at the leetspeak. Then she spun through the codes to check her credit balance and sighed again. Yeah. She needed the cash. Resigned, she shot out a response from a disposable email account, setting her terms and asking for the bare minimum of information she needed to work the job.

Two weeks later she was in position. Her contact, Abner Saintil (Yes, she had tracked down his real name) had planned for her to set up shop in an apartment across the street. Fahtoo had jacked into the electronics store downstairs and was prepared to flood the target’s system with packets of false information. She snuck a peek out the window at the building the rest of the team would be infiltrating. The building itself didn’t look like much. A gray stone office building with a few skinny windows. It was sandwiched between two red brick buildings with brightly painted storefronts and wrought iron Juliet balconies on the apartment windows above.

Fahtoo pulled a magnifying gun scope out of her bag. She’d just picked it up from being repaired and hadn’t reattached it to her rifle yet. Gently pushing aside the sheer curtain, she looked through the scope to get a closer look at the office building. Was that…? Yes it was. The windows across the street were made of mesh glass. A high quality, fine mesh that might not be noticed at a casual glance. Why would an office building in a downtown shopping district need reinforced windows?

’Maybe to keep people like you from breaking into the building. Why are you breaking into that building, Itsy?’ her big sister’s voice floated through her head. Growing up the youngest of five siblings, Fatimatou had always tried to be independent, but never quite managed to do anything new without one of the other DeCruz kids being there first. Alima had chided her so many times that now Fahtoo’s internal nagging voice always sounded like her eldest sister. Today she didn’t have time for nagging. Fahtoo stuffed the questions away with the scope into her bag and zipped it closed. Don’t ask, Don’t tell. That was the motto. Do the job, get paid, wipe the memory banks and move on.

"Check in." Abner’s voice was low and harsh over the comm unit in her ear. When he’d introduced them all, he’d said his nickname was Shark, but Fahtoo could barely call him that to his face without laughing. Usually she just called him 'Boss'. She could see his ego inflate every time she did it. He didn’t have to know that it was an empty honorific to her. At the sound of his command, Fahtoo sat up straighter and pulled her interface closer as she listened to the rest of the team sound off with varying degrees of confidence.

"Chaz. In position."

"Ressk. In… *grunt* position."

"Robi. Closing in."

"Pyro. Two minutes."

"Damn it, Py! Move your ass." Abner grumbled.

"Sorry, Shark. There was a puppy." Pyro was very young.

"I don’t fucking care. Morgana?"

Fahtoo activated the comm. "Starting infiltration now. It’ll be ready to blow the doors off the joint when Pyro is in position." She let him hear her fingers tapping out the launch commands before clicking off her comm.

They could all hear that Pyro was out of breath when she checked in 90 seconds later.

"Punch it, Mo." Abner gave the command and Fahtoo slid the last code to active. They all counted five beats and then the five on the ground began to move as alarms started blaring inside the office building.

Fahtoo knew what each member was supposed to be doing right now. A quick glance through the window showed a man in a smart business suit pulling open the front door of the building across the street. Chaz. She knew he had tools strapped to his chest under the jacket and two guns disguised in the briefcase he carried. Right then Pyro should be repelling over the edge of the roof and into a window on the back side of the building. Fahtoo hoped she knew about the mesh glass. It wasn’t her job to worry. That was Abner’s. Her job was to keep everyone inside the building so distracted and confused that they didn’t notice anyone who didn’t belong inside.

Abner had said the package would only be in this building for 48 hours. This was the best spot between where it had come from and where it was going to snatch it. They were also supposed to snatch and grab other valuables to cover the real theft. Abner hadn’t told her what they were grabbing but he’d joked that Pyro could try to snag her some of the fancy new tech the building had received last week while they had been casing the joint.

Her interface beeped, reminding her to release the next phase. Fahtoo grinned and hit another launch button. Then her fingers flew across the interface as she grappled with the AI security system directly. She started sensor fires, unlocked doors, triggered motion detectors and blocked outgoing reports seemingly at random. She routed communication links in loops and flooded processing servers. The AI choked and Fahtoo could see when the human took over, but it was already too late. She’d already locked all the processes and his interface was just a glowing rock by the time he put his hands on it.

Fahtoo smirked as people started to pour out of the building’s front doors in a cloud of smoke. There was Ressk with his arm around the shoulders of a pretty blonde. That boy could find a date in a sewer drain! Never mind that he was on the payroll of the people who had set the fire he was so gallantly helping the woman escape.

"Package acquired. Rendezvous in 30." Abner growled. He sounded surprisingly grumpy for a man who’s heist had gone perfectly to plan so far. The young hacker rolled her eyes and donned the utilities company jacket that was her cover for getting in and out of the building. With a final command stroke to begin the memory wipe of her data trail, Fahtoo started packing up her equipment.

Twenty-five minutes later Fahtoo cursed her bulky pack of equipment as she tried to squeeze through a loose panel in the wall of a warehouse bordering the shipping district. Her jacket lining caught on the ragged edge of corrugated metal and she cursed when she heard it rip. The snag threw her off balance, her arms windmilled as she fought to keep her balance and she ended up slamming her shoulder into a giant wood shipping crate.

"Good thing stealth isn’t what we hired you for, Morgana." Chaz sneered. He was leaning against another crate, cleaning under his nails with a wicked looking knife.

"See this! This is why I hate doing jobs in the real world!" She shrugged off her pack and rubbed at her shoulder. "I could have done my part of this job from halfway across the city in one of Mamasan’s bath houses, but Nooo!" Her voice undulated the last word into a whine. "No, I have to keep setting up, tearing down and hauling my gear all over town in mildewing apartments and through holes even the rats don’t bother crawling through."

Chaz chuffed and sheathed his knife. Morgana opened her mouth to continue her rant, but just then they heard the overhead motor squeal to life. Fahtoo stuck her head around the edge of the crate to watch the garage door roll up and a basic beige sedan pull quietly inside.

"Did the boss just drive the getaway car into our rendezvous point?" Fahtoo muttered under her breath.

"No. That’s the second car. The get away car was cherry red to make him look like a noob." Robi’s voice came from over her right shoulder. For a dude in power armor he sure was a sneaky bastard.

"Have you been standing there the whole time?" She craned her head to look up at him. He smiled back down at her.

"Yes." Robi strode out between the crates toward Shark who was climbing out of the sedan’s driver’s seat.

"Fuckin creeper." Fahtoo muttered as she followed him.

Pyro stepped out of the front passenger seat, dragging two bulging duffle bags with her. Ressk backed out of the rear driver’s side door with his gun trained on someone else in the backseat.

"Stay put." The thin man ordered the mystery passenger as he closed the door.

Shark leaned against the hood of the car and pulled out a handheld device. A couple taps and he lifted it up to show them all the screen.

"It’s been a pleasure working with you." He addressed them with an overly toothy smile. Fahtoo got the impression he’d practiced the face in the mirror to go with his stupid nickname. "The credits we agreed on have been transferred to the accounts provided. Pyro here has the loot for you to divide amongst yourselves. Try not to kill each other." He pocketed the device and gave them another toothy smile.

"Remember the NDA you all agreed to. This job never happened and we were never here." Shark motioned to Ressk and the other man quick-stepped around the car to climb in the front passenger seat. He had his gun trained again on the mystery passenger before he even got the door closed. Shark climbed back in the driver’s seat and then the sedan was gone.

"Who was in the car, Pyro?" Fahtoo asked as she approached the young woman.

Pyro gave her a very pointedly blank stare. "What car? Here. Take this thing, it weighs a ton." she shoved one of the duffles into Fahtoo’s hands. The hacker immediately doubled over in an effort to keep it from dropping out of her hands..

"Shit! That’s heavy!"

"Don’t hurt yourself, Smurfette." Robi’s voice barely hid a laugh. He pulled the bag out of her hands and laid it gently on a convenient crate.

"Hey!" Fahtoo put a hand up to her dyed blue hair. "I’m not a bimb…. oooh! Is that a T36 converter?!"

The contents of the bags were divided up in 15 minutes. A couple pieces Fahtoo had directed them to fence, and a couple she grabbed for parts.

"Well. Nice not doing business with you guys. I hope to never see you in person again." She pulled the half empty duffle onto her shoulder and headed for the back door. She’d be damned if she was going to crawl out the rat hole with this new delicate equipment bouncing along behind her.

Fahtoo walked down the street, blended into the foot traffic and made her way back to her shabby apartment. No one stopped her, no sirens wailed and it didn’t feel like anyone was watching her on the train. She almost forgot to feel relieved when she was back within the safety of her own four walls. The job went perfectly and she got paid. She was getting good at this crime thing!

--Three months later--

The rain was pouring down outside the tinted windows of Fahtoo’s little apartment. It felt like it had been raining for a month, when in reality it had only been about two days. She knew her neighbor in the basement apartment was flooded. She’d seen boxes of his stuff stacked up in the hallway and seen his wet footprints on the stairs. So far the roof wasn’t leaking enough to drip down through her upstairs neighbor’s apartment, so Fahtoo considered herself lucky.

She’d been fiddling with a new gadget all morning and was just wondering if she could waterproof it enough to take it up to the roof for a test run when her terminal beeped. Fahtoo set down her project and spun her chair around a couple times, swinging her arms up over her head as she whirled. The open space of the apartment was small and her ability to pull her limbs into just the right shapes as she whirled was testament to how many times she’d performed the same stretch.

The alert was just a spam message. While she was there, Fahtoo decided to clean out the account and check some of her disposable and encrypted boxes for messages. They were meant to filter unimportant things and so she only checked them every couple of months. What else did she have to do on a rainy afternoon?

Two inboxes were just junk. The third had an intriguing offer from a guy she’d met somewhere, but it wasn’t a work offer, so she deleted it. The fourth inbox had the usual spam, but also one message that looked like it had been written by an actual person. Fahtoo didn’t recognize the sender and it had been sent to an old dummy contact page she’d used as a false front for a couple jobs. The body of the email was a pink curly font and the message sounded just as benign and cheerful as the formatting.
Email wrote:Hey cousin! Remember that trip we took with our uncles? The one where I made us late when I pet that cute puppy? That was so much fun! I didn’t get a chance to tell you before, but this was in the backseat when we got back. I wondered if you knew who it belonged to. Well I gotta go. Stay safe!
Fahtoo blinked and read it twice more. There was an attachment. It was a picture of a tablet laying on a vehicle bench seat. The tablet itself wasn’t anything of value, a basic personal device everyone had. It was powered on and the image on the screen grabbed her attention. It was an official Coalition State news headline reporting about a deadly bioweapon attack about 50 miles south of Ishpeming . Fahtoo tilted her head and could just make out the date. Her fingers made a quick run across the keys of her interface and within minutes she found the original article.

The report went into unnecessary detail about the gruesome attack, and then, predictably, implicated the Coalition’s usual hated targets. The article proclaimed that these unnatural fanatic groups were harboring a dangerous bioengineer, named Dr. Louvell Randolph, who had eluded CS custody three months before. There was a picture of the scientist included, a mug shot. His dark unruly hair stuck out on all over his head and he sneered at the camera.

Three months ago? Where had she been three months ago? The Shark job? Fahtoo looked at the pinky font message again. Signed with a fire emoji… Pyro? Pyro had been late getting into position because she saw a dog. Backseat? Pyro had seen the person in the backseat of Shark’s car. A person who hadn’t been a part of their crew but had turned up with the loot. Was he the package? Was this Pyro’s way of telling her the package had been Louvell Randolph?

Fahtoo checked the date on the message and saw that it was more than a month old. With a lump in her throat she started researching. She set up algorithms to suss out Pyro’s real name and to search for her description in public documents and news reports. Fahtoo started another program tosearch using everything she had rounded up earlier on Abner Saintil. Since Ressk seemed to be Abner’s special friend at the end of the job, Fahtoo added his name and description to her search for Abner.

Within minutes she found what she’d been dreading. A girl matching Pyro’s description had been reported to the Coalition authorities by anonymous tip as having “unnatural powers”. Shanna Jones had been picked up and sent to rehabilitation. Anyone who actually looked past the surface of CS propaganda knew what that meant. It meant she’d probably been tortured, and was certainly dead.

Fahtoo was still swallowing down the sick feeling rising in her stomach when the terminal beeped with the results of her search on Abner. “Shark” was an independent consultant currently employed by ScoriaCorp. According to tax documents, he had a small staff and an office with an address in the business district. Fahtoo doubted the office actually existed. . ScoriaCorp she knew from their manufacturing complex over by the river. They were a successful robotics company with factories and contacts in a dozen different city states. A quick search told her that ScoriaCorp’s bread and butter was in producing components other manufacturers used to assemble their own products according to their own processes and designs. A recent press release claimed ScoriaCorp was branching out into organic materials. All very above board for farming and medical uses.

‘Abner must be using ScoriaCorp’s resources to produce bioweapons engineered by Dr Randolph.’ Fahtoo thought to herself. She began another search, this time looking for other attacks that had been attributed to the doctor’s work or had similar elements. Too soon she found reports from all over the northern hemisphere that fit the description. It was a nasty agent he had designed with a short lifespan. Once it delivered, it killed most carbon-based life indiscriminately, but then stopped suddenly. None of the attacks seemed to have spread more than a 10 mile radius.

At first she thought they couldn’t all be related to one man working in Northern Gun, and she assumed he was still in Northern Gun because this was where Abner was. Then another thought struck her. ScoriaCorp. Was Abner using their resources, or were they using him? Abner couldn’t possibly be that dumb could he? To list ScoriaCorp on his tax documents and then show his face doing a jailbreak of an evil scientist? Did he honestly believe none of the crew knew his real name?

Fahtoo cross referenced her list of bioweapon attacks with the dealer and manufacturer list provided by ScoriaCorp’s public directory. Every attack occurred within 50 miles of one of their locations. Abner wasn’t pilfering from their labs and factories. ScoriaCorp had to be using their private shipping routes to send Dr. Randolph’s creations all over the world!

"Oh gods, what have I done?" Fahtoo jumped to her feet and paced the length of her small apartment. Six strides out, six strides back.

‘No one was supposed to get hurt. It was just a smash job like taking candy from the corner store.’ Six strides out, six strides back.

‘I have to tell someone. I have to turn them in so they can catch this madman and shut down that operation.’ Six strides out, six strides back.

But how? What proof did she have? She only had her own eyes to say she’d seen Abner organizing the job, and she hadn’t actually seen Dr Randolph in the car. If she went to the authorities with that, she’d end up being sent to rehabilitation herself. Six strides out, six strides back.

She also had her belief that Pyro had seen Randolph in the car, but Pyro was dead. The pink font email could easily be dismissed. What proof or even scrap of information did she have that could lead someone back to Abner and ScoriaCorp? Six strides out, two strides back, and stop.

The building! She dropped back into her chair and pulled up any report she could find about Dr. Randolph’s escape from custody. Obviously the Coalition didn’t want to advertise their inability to hold him, so they had glossed over the specifics of how he’d escaped. That meant if she could somehow link Abner or ScoriaCorp to the boring grey building downtown, the investigators would hopefully recognize the clue.

In the end, it took her long into the next day to gather what she felt she needed. It had stopped raining and her apartment had started to warm up. Steam up, truth be told. Fahtoo flapped the bottom of her loose shirt in an effort to get some cool air against her skin. The shirt just stuck to her in different ways when she let it drop.

Finally the program she was running finished and spit out a zoomed and filtered chunk of surveillance video, neatly scrubbed to erase her digital fingerprints. It clearly showed Abner and Ressk leaning against a red vehicle parked near their target location. The footage was from a few days before the heist when they had been watching for patterns in the people going in and out of the building. There was another little clip of the same red car, speeding away from the area on the day of the Dr’s escape. Both pieces of security footage were timestamped. Fahtoo herself had scrambled all the security cameras in the area on the day of the job. The grainy footage from five blocks away was the best shot she could find that hadn’t been erased. Hopefully putting the two clips with two names in an anonymous tip drop would do the trick.

As soon as she hit send, Fahtoo felt a lot better. Pointing the authorities at Abner couldn’t absolve her from the dozens of people who’d been killed in the recent bioweapon attacks, but she felt a little better. Maybe she could sleep now. Rolling out of her chair and onto her small bed, Fahtoo certainly gave it her best shot.

-- --


The notification chimes were insistent and poked through Fahtoo’s exhausted sleep.

"WHATTT??!" The young hacker yelled at her terminal.

"Leave me alone!" She pulled the pillow over her head, but the notification continued to beep.

"Fine." She muttered under her breath as she rolled out of her bed. She was definitely too tired to stand, so she crawled over to the terminal on her knees, pushing her chair ruthlessly out of her way.

With the interface practically under her chin she jabbed fingers at the notification until it opened. The words on the screen chilled her to the bone despite the heat.
Email wrote: 10:43:06 -0600
To: M0R64N4
From: 5H4RK
Subject: ☠

Your message was intercepted. The authorities have your name. We know more about you than they do. Because you couldn’t keep your mouth shut, your life is forfeit. We’re coming for you.

Date: 30032118
"SHHHHHH-it." Fahtoo hissed at the screen and jumped to her feet. She hit run on a program she’d created years ago as an exercise. The program started to wrap up her important information and wipe the memory banks. Fahtoo watched it for a minute and then pulled her eyes away. She started shoving things into bags.

In less than an hour she was on the first transport she could find out of the city. It was headed south and Fahtoo knew it wouldn’t take her far enough. Eventually she would have to simply walk or hitchhike her way even further south. She wasn’t exactly sure where she was going, but she was certain that staying in Ishpeming would mean a very short life.
Fahtoo DeCruz
Fatimatou DeCruz - Human Psi-Operator - 21st SET - Hot Shots

Pace: 6; Parry: 4; Toughness: 10 (4)
Wounds: None
PP: 30/30
Constant Effects:
Combat Edges: Brave, Fast Healer, Rapid Fire
Bennies: 4/3
Adventure Cards:
Edit Signature
Player/Characters: Lea/Cass/Lulu

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