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Some of you may initially think that Hourglass is a highly conceited name for me to choose for my main character, however, I must let you all know that Hourglass was the name of one of my Shadowrun characters for more than nine years now.
After playing him for so long, a bunch of my buddies told me that I should put my writing "skills" to use and make a couple of stories.
Just so everyone knows, every single "good" character in this story is actually a character from my longest running Shadowrun campaign.
Hope you all enjoy, I personally think it's a pretty freshman effort at writing.Chapter 1
Hourglass peered slowly up from under his covers as his vision began to come into focus. The room was littered with old soyburger boxes and dirty clothes that looked as if they had been strewn about in an effort to conceal the rotting green carpet. Off to one side of the room something darted across the floor in the near darkness. Hourglass’s eyes, capable of magnifying the smallest amount of light to his use, saw a white and brown mouse run under the dresser. He reached up and began rubbing his temples while a ringing sound in his ears came into focus. The alarm clock was blaring, as loud as it could, that the time was fifteen minutes until six p.m.
Hourglass rolled over and switched his alarm clock off and suddenly there was silence, or as near to silence as the barrens of Seattle ever got. Off in the distance a few gunshots could be heard and then the squealing of tires on asphalt. Strangely though there were never any sirens out this far. Lone Star, the local corporate police force, didn’t really care whether a bunch of gutter punks and gangers blew each other to pieces. At least that was how things worked here according to his new employer. He had said that Lone Star believed that there weren’t any real people that lived out here. At least no one that mattered. Which was just how Hourglass liked it.
As soon as Hourglass shook the sleep out of his head he rolled out of bed and began dressing himself. His pale figure was gangly and he stood about six feet tall which was about average for human standards. The one prominent feature that distinguished himself from the rest of metahumanity, however, were his sharply pointed ears. His hair, which he had decided to grow out, was pine needle straight and blonde nearly to the point of being white. It hung evenly just above his concerned, dark brown eyes
Right now, though, there were much more pressing matters at hand. He reached under his pillow and pulled out a matte black Browning Ultra Power pistol. The biometric safety hummed instantly to life and the counter lit up. Only ten rounds remained in the weapon. Hourglass pulled his other clip out of his holster although he knew that it was empty.
“This isn’t a good place to be nearly out of ammo” He whispered to himself. Then, before leaving the room, he reached under the bed and withdrew a long black case. It had once been a bass guitar case but now he had converted it into a gun case. It was the only other weapon that he owned and partially why he had received his most recent job. With an unnaturally swift motion, Hourglass slipped his pistol into its concealed holster just under his long coat and hefted the guitar case. He felt a tinge of pain as he realized for the hundredth time in the past two weeks that everything he was carrying was all he owned in the world.
He walked into another room, flipped on a dim yellow light and carefully traversed the piles of food wrappers until he reached a dilapidated and barely standing desk. Sitting on the desk was an ancient style computer, a tortoise as they were called these days, with a physical display. Hourglass pulled up a chair while deciding that the name tortoise fitted this piece of junk fairly well, which was also why the local street gang hadn‘t bothered to steal it. He punched a few keys and the screen lit up with a map of Seattle. Hourglass always hated getting used to another city, but back then it had been his job. He told himself this was no different, in an effort to sooth his nerves, but his conscience knew better. With another couple of keystrokes he located the restaurant where he was supposed to meet his new employer and entered it in as his destination point. The computer traced a green route onto the map while computing the estimated travel time.
Hourglass tapped his fingers on the desk while waiting for the info. It came. It would take only an hour from here and he could catch the subway once he was out of the barrens. Hourglass stood up and looked over the room for what he hoped was the last time and then stepped out the front door.
Hourglass walked briskly down the sidewalk. The cool, October air was chilly and he had to pull his black long coat up around his neck. He would have called a cab but then he remembered that, Inervis, his new contact had told him that he would have better luck slitting his wrist and letting Docwagon pick him up. Even then, he wasn’t so sure that anyone would come out this way. Although Seattle was new to him, he had been around. Most major cities had area’s that even the authority wouldn’t tread towards unless the violence had become serious to others in the surrounding communities. When that happened though, as Inervis had confirmed, they came in force.
Hourglass picked his pace up a little and kept an eye out for trouble. A large faded blue car drove by. The paint was chipped and peeling and several area’s had completely rusted out. More noticeably, the windshield had a nice grouping of what looked like bullet holes right where the passenger side was. Hourglass didn’t look straight at them as they went by, attempting not to draw notice.
It was too late though, the predators had found their first prey of the evening. The car squealed around, sliding up onto the sidewalk and hitting a pile of garbage as it searched for purchase on the road. Debris sprayed everywhere as the car lurched back onto the road and roared past Hourglass. Just as he was about to walk across an intersection the car slid in a half circle and braked quickly. The protesting tires had left a cloud of bluish smoke directly between Hourglass and the occupants.
Two young kids with dark snarls on their faces stepped out of the opposite side of the car and were coming around the back towards him. As the smoke cleared away he could see the driver, a young girl with dark red hair that was shaved close to her head, climbing out of the car
She waved her cheap, chrome pistol in the air in front of her and sneered, “Looks like you got something we could use there rich man.” before Hourglass could reply she continued, “I think me and my boys would like to take a look at what you got in that black case, and while we’re at it I could use a nice new black coat to match my shoes.”
The boys with her guffawed loudly at this comment but kept their eye on Hourglass while he sat his guitar case on the ground. He slowly began to unbutton his jacket and said, “You mean this coat?” as he unbuttoned the last button, “But I just got it for my birthday and my mommy would be real mad at me if I just gave it away to some slitch I don’t even know.”
The girl, taken back by Hourglass’s calm, demeaning voice began to grow red. She yelled in a shrill voice, “I don’t give a frag what your mommy would think. So unless you want her to have to identify pieces of you at the morgue then, you better do what I fraggin say.”
Hourglass noticed the two boys coming around the sides of the car with the intent of emphasizing her point. Hourglass could tell that both of them were packing heat, but they obviously just wanted to beat him up a little and take his stuff. Hourglass, however, didn’t intend to let them get that close. Within the space of a second Hourglass smoothly pulled his pistol from his holster.
In the same smooth motion Hourglass targeted one kid, a large chunky teenager with a yellow and partially toothless grin, at his kneecap. He pulled the trigger just milliseconds after the red targeting crosshair from his smartlink had lit up in his field of vision and confirmed the trajectory. The kid’s leg shot out from under him and he crumpled to the ground. He laid there on the ground screaming something unintelligible.
Hourglass wasn’t even aware of the screams. One of the other two gangers, a lot skinnier than the first with piercing blue eyes and dark black hair, had tried to pull his weapon. Before he could fully react, however, Hourglass had targeted his hand and fired. The kid spun around and fell to the ground while blood sprayed all over the concrete. Two of his fingers landed near where his gun had fallen about five feet away. Although the shot wasn’t fatal, he hadn’t even made a sound. He hadn’t moved either and Hourglass guessed that the shock and the concussion had knocked him unconscious.
The girl, caught completely off guard, stood there gaping. Her sneer was quickly being replaced with a shocked look of awe. Her hand faltered and her weapon clattered noisily to the ground beside the chunky boy whose screams of defiance were now just pleading tears. Hourglass reached into his pocket and pulled out a wad of NAN cash. He peeled off a couple of bills and shoved them into her shaking palm. Although he knew he couldn‘t spare the cash right now, he still had two credsticks left.
In a soft voice Hourglass said, “Next time, ask nicely cause maybe the next guy won’t be as friendly as me, ok?”
She nodded weakly while stuffing the cash into her pockets. Hourglass explained to her that he was going to take the car, but he would leave it at the restaurant for her to pick up later. He asked her about the two boys and she told him that her friends would be by shortly and they would be taken care of. Hourglass, pleased with this response, drove away from the scene. As he looked in his rear view mirror he could see her standing there and staring after him.Chapter 2
Dial Tone sat at a chipped and burned synth-wood bench. His long naturally black hair was tied into a pony tail behind his back in order to keep his vision free. His pale face was sunken in almost to the point of looking malnourished even though he wasn’t. A black patch of hair surrounded his mouth and covered his chin which was one of the many styles that had cropped up this year. He took a long drag off of a cigarette that hung limply from his lips and blew the bluish smoke out of his nose. nearly a quarter of an inch of ash hung from the tip and was threatening to fall on his project.
From the corner of the room he could hear a guitar begin to pour out a early 20th century blues melody through an ancient amplifier. He glanced briefly at the clock on the end table beside his desk and confirmed that it was around seven o’clock at night. His roommate was back early tonight. He continued to squint through the cigarette smoke, even though his completely blue cyber eyes had instantly compensated for the distraction, and continued soldering wires onto the circuit board while peering intently through a magnifying glass.
His hands were beginning to cramp from holding the circuit component for nearly an hour and the music was beginning to grate on his nerves. After attaching one more wire to the board he dropped his tools on the table and looked up.
Sitting in the corner of the room was a very large, brown skinned troll. He had dark brown eyes, a completely bald head and only one of the two horns he was born with. The remaining horn had a gold tip on it which was becoming fashionable among the troll population of Seattle.
“Do you always have to play that ancient crap?” Dial Tone shouted over the music with his gravelly voice. “I am trying to work here, you know”
Slater, didn‘t even look up and continued to play while yelling back in his deep baritone voice. “If you would practice more we wouldn’t keep having technical difficulties during shows. Besides, you wouldn‘t know culture if it was growing in your nose.”
“Well it ain’t like anyone even shows up to our lame shows anyways” Dial Tone yelled back while standing and stalking off towards the kitchen area.
Dial Tone opened the refrigerator door and stood there staring at the nearly empty shelves. The pantries, as he went through them one by one, were nearly as empty and disappointing as the fridge.
We seriously need another job. Thought Dial Tone to himself. We barely even got enough cred to buy a nuke-it burger.
Slater smirked at Dial Tone’s back as he walked off; he couldn‘t help remembering their past. They had known each other for nearly fifteen years, ever since grade school. After they had left school, they formed a band with some of the local underground crowd in Seattle. The other members of their original band had left years ago. Slater couldn’t even picture their faces anymore.
Even though Dial Tone had been a rich kid with parents that could afford anything, he would always help Slater and his family out. He had even paid their rent several times with his own allowance, just so Slater wouldn’t have to move out of the neighborhood. In turn, Slater wouldn’t let anyone give Dial Tone any drek. He was constantly being bullied by the larger kids at school and on his block. Slater remembered one day, only eight years ago, a bully had beat Dial Tone up badly.
The next day Slater paid a visit to the group of kids involved in the beating. Out of five children, three of them ended up in the hospital. Slater was permanently expelled from the school and as an act of defiance Dial Tone quit.
Slater looked up and stopped playing at this thought and looked around the room. Dial Tone’s dad was murdered sometime after that and the family's money soon ran out. He had always been a whiz kid with electronics and computers and he soon began to earn money through illegal measures off of the matrix. Then, totally unexpectedly, he got a call one day offering him a job. Dial Tone had offered Slater’s services on that run and ever since then they had worked every job together.
But work had been slow these past two months and Slater thought he might go find a job himself if their fixer didn’t call soon.
Dial Tone walked back into the room and broke Slater’s reverie. He was carrying a plate with a couple of steaming soy burger's. He handed one to Slater and sat back down at his desk. He had his mouth full of his first bite of burger when the phone rang, startling both of them.
Dial Tone noticed that the I.D. system wouldn’t resolve the caller or their address. He grabbed the receiver, without turning on the view screen, and answered, “Hello?”
A deep, yet silky, male voice replied, “Yeah, is this D.T.?”
“Yep, is that you Invervis?”, he queried.
“The one and only,” Came the reply, “and I’ve got some good news for the two of you.”
“Tell me you got a job, cause I‘m gonna hang up if you don‘t”, he glanced over at Slater with a hopeful expression.
Inervis coughed. “Let’s just say that things got a lot more interesting in Seattle”
“Does interesting include a hefty paycheck?“ He rubbed his fingers together towards Slater who arched an eyebrow hopefully.
“Meet me at the usual place at around 8 p.m. tonight,” he paused for a moment. “I’ve got something good on the line this time and I promise it’s big.”
There was a burst of static before Inervis replied. “Remember that armored truck job?”
“Yeah, the one where Charger was turned inside out by that Vindicator?”
Dial Tone drifted back to the last job that he had been on. There was an armored truck that had contained a package that some suits hadn’t wanted to reach it’s destination. Inervis had stuck them with a new guy who was itching to find some action. The only problem was that the guards driving the truck had been tipped off to the heist and had packed a vindicator mini gun on board for added security. Charger had been the unlucky slot that was standing behind the truck when the back doors opened up. Dial Tone couldn’t even remember seeing any pieces of Charger that were larger than his hand as they were hauling hoop out of the area.
Inervis attempted to muffle his laughter. “That’s the one”
“Well, what about it?” Dial Tone was getting impatient.
Inervis sensed Dial Tone‘s irritation and stopped teasing. “This one is paying three times that amount. Of course I’ve also seen the job and it’s not gonna be a cake walk.”
“Were you able to arrange for a little help?” Dial Tone remembered that on their last run, when Charger was killed, they had ended up being incredibly outnumbered. “I would hate to have our rear ends hanging in the wind without support.
“I’ve got two other people. The only problem is the first chummer is brand new in town and hasn’t had the grand tour yet. The second chummer is a spell slinger but he needs a proctologist to go find his head, if you know what I mean.”
Dial Tone’s voice knew exactly what Inervis meant. For some unexplainable reason many of the slots that had worked magical detail with them thought that they were hot drek. A couple of them had ended up as steaming corpses. Except for one gal they had worked with who went by Burnout. She had been great, but was indisposed as of now according to Invervis.
“Great, we’ve got two slotting lames on our hands. Why don’t you just hire my little sister instead? She could at least talk someone to death.”
“Listen, these were the only two available people that I could find.” Inervis paused before continuing. “It seems like all of slotting Seattle is being hired for one job or another. For your own good I would suggest that you come to the meet and talk to this first guy before you drop the offer.”
Dial Tone feigned surprise. “Who said anything about dropping the offer? Right now I would eat rats for a chance at three times what we pulled down on the last run.”
“That’s what I thought.” Inervis spoke in a matter of fact tone of voice and then hung up.
The line went dead before Dial Tone had a chance to reply. A quick glance at his watch told him that they had less than an hour to arrive at the meet. More than one job had been called down on them with just hours to go so this one wasn’t going to be any different.
He looked up at Slater with an excited grin. “Fraggin A!, we got ourselves a job.”