From Samriel’s Mental Journal:
10-09-54 (September 10th, 2054)
We left Chicago after we submitted the film. Chicago’s been hard to deal with, and I’d been wanting to get away ever since Madame Ulisha. It seems the rest of the group finally decided to agree with me, and we trucked our way Westward to Seattle. To home. We met up with the Wendigos on the way for a little bit, and introduced them to our newest friend. Rodney’s good company. We watched Superman. The first one, with Christopher Reeve. Drank a little. Talked about things that weren’t reality-warping. It was good.
You know, it happened without me ever noticing. I’d never really thought of the farm as home. Nor Seattle, really. It had just been the place I lived, while trying to find a way to repair my reputation. But like far too many things in life, you don’t always notice these things until they’re past. Driving up the dirt road to the farm, stepping out, the familiar smells of the agri-crops… Noir about killed me trying to trip me, she was rubbing herself all around my legs and purring… sitting down on the couch in the living room, with my book on the table neatly marked… holding Noir and petting her… Glitter coming home and giving me one of her warmest smiles. For everything I’ve lost, I’ve also made precious gains. I need to remember to be more thankful for those. I’d returned home again, never before having realized how dear it all is to me, what a precious gift it is.
The next day I went to visit Farshorn, and let him know I was back. It had been months and I’d missed him. I had learned a couple of interesting tricks, becoming so adept at healing spells, which he was quite interested in; he taught me a few as well. We talked well into the morning. I’d missed him. I also went to see Sofia Leadbetter. Neither she nor Farshorn really knew anything about my life in the Shadows; they’d thought I was away on a consulting job. So I hadn’t talked to Sofia in some ages either. We talked, catching up, even if mostly all I did was listen, and I brought her a bottle of sweet ice wine and thanked her profusely for looking after Noir while I was gone. I need to do something more to thank her. She really did an important favor for me when I was in a tight spot, despite not knowing me that well. I intend not to forget that, and will find a way to repay her kindness.
I spent the next couple of days getting back into the rhythm of things. Meeting people, making friends, getting introductions, that kind of thing. Nothing too exciting, but useful and productive nevertheless.
Then yesterday, just after going to bed, I got a call from Murphy. I was surprised. I’d heard his bar was attacked; I’d assumed they’d got him. Evidently not. He asked if I was free for some work. Just asked for me, so I didn’t call anyone else up. Agreeing, I told him I’d need some time to get there, but that I would. While the car drove itself to the Shamrock – which evidently existed again – I made some inquiries and kind of pieced together some things. It would appear as though Murphy survived, and took some vengeance against the Vory for destroying his bar. Which meant I was in part responsible for what happened to his place of business. Which meant I owed him.
Arriving at the Shamrock, I found a parking space and went in. The bartender pointed me toward the “war room,” and to my surprise I found Calico Jack already there. Deciding not to make it clear we’d come back together – Erebus is dead, after all – I greeted him like we’d known each other some time back, and Murphy laid out the job for us: at noon that day there would be a meeting. At noon the doors would be sealed. At 1pm, the doors would be opened and the meeting would be concluded. We were to provide security. Oh, and the meeting would be /today/ and it was already almost eleven. For this hour of work we would be paid 2500 nuyen. I owed Murphy; I wasn’t going to try negotiating. Though given the pay involved I didn’t expect it would be a walk in the park, either.
We went to the location, Maynard Pavillion, near Freeway Park, just a few blocks from the Shamrock, to check it out as best we could. We looked around the building and the area around it, familiarizing ourselves and coming up with basic strategies. I called up a horde of imps, and set them in groups of two at each door; one to come warn me of intruders while the other tried to stop them. I also set Tempest above the building, and Grunt beneath it. Murphy showed up and entered the building; so did several others. At noon, the doors locked, and the Captain and I began our vigil.
Five or ten minutes after noon, a big man with two female ork bodyguards and a pair of bound elementals showed up. I was invisible and watching, while Calico Jack patrolled. Jack went up to the big guy, who identified himself as Rolando. Rolando was clearly very full of himself and incensed that we would dare to stop him. I readied my demons to attack and prepared to begin banishing Rolando’s bound spirits if necessary. Calmly, Calico Jack talked to Rolando and made it clear. Just as I thought things might come to blows, a patrolling security mage stopped and inquired as to whether there’s a problem or not. Rolando backed down finally, promising that he wouldn’t forget about this. And the park became quiet again. Kids playing, joggers running around, that sort of thing.
A little after that, /another/ person showed up and started talking to me despite being invisible. A quiet, furtive-looking fellow inquired as to what we were doing there. He introduced himself as Scarpy. I assured him that we weren’t there to cause any trouble for the park or anything, without actually explaining what we were there for. I figured it was obvious we were guarding the place. Scarpy seemed molified, and went off back to a place in the trees where he apparently made his home.
And then frizbees and balls and pigeons and things started flying at us at apparently random. It was pretty obviously magical. I spotted a field spirit that looked like a little girl. A free field spirit, interestingly, using her Accident power on people. I offered to play with her for a whole hour later, if she’d let us concentrate on our job here without accidents. She readily agreed.
Soon enough, several drones buzzed over the building, and paused somewhere out of my sight to fire their guns. We tensed, but the drones left again without trying to start anything. Apparently they were part of the nearby security conference, showing off the latest model of murder-bots.
Calico Jack and I had settled into a good set-up. I was stationary and was watching around, while my spirits also watched. Captain Jack was patrolling around the building on an irregular circuit. Just when I’d thought that every possible hazaard in the world had finally showed up and we’d dealt with it, Scarpy comes back out and points Jack to “Hugh,” who had been acting funny apparently. Jack went to investigate. I was watching for spirits and living things, so I wasn’t much paying attention, truth be told.
I found out later that Captain Jack smelled something odd from the gardener drone. He investigated. He picked it up and put it in a trash can. It cut its way out after a minute. And then, according to Calico Jack, it began to charge toward the building. So he decided to… shoot the gardener drone. I wasn’t much aware of any of this since he didn’t radio me about it.
The next thing I knew, there was an enormous, earth-shattering explosion. Heat and light washed over me, and I goggled a bit, trying to piece together what just happened. Clearly, it was bad; I hope nobody was hurt. Although as full as the park was, I fear I probably won’t get that hope. Murphy came out of the building and said the meeting was over, and the Fixers began to depart quickly. At Calico Jack’s urging, so did we. Calico Jack said he wanted to rough it in the barrens until the heat blew over. He didn’t seem to feel that a proper safehouse was all that important. Personally I intended to head for Tarislar.
I’d just arrived at my Tarislar apartment when I tripped and smacked my face into the wall rather painfully. The free Field Spirit was quite incensed that I’d apparently lied to her about playing with her. I apologized profusely and tried my best to explain, and played with her a great deal to help make it up to her.
The next day I got a call from Murphy. He reported that the cops had stopped looking for us. Thanks to a skilled decker hired by the Fixers, the police evidently discovered that one of the people in the park was a known terrorist. Apparently, Lone Star wants to give Calico Jack the key to the city to thank him for preventing something worse from happening. Murphy also informed me that we were now even, which was a welcome bit of news.
After the furor died down, I went to talk to Scarpy since he’d been asking around at Murphy’s place, and I explained it at least in basic terms. And I made friendly with him. And I’ve kept up playing with the Field spirit, who calls herself Sunflower. It’s actually rather… therapeutic, really, playing with Sunflower. She’s so bright and carefree and everything amuses her. It may sound corny, but playing with the little girl spirit really warms my heart.