The morning started in the usual fashion, painfully. This time it was slightly different though. This time there were none of the familiar dull aches from gunshot wounds, nor the ripping tears of a blade, not even the random damage that occurred as Dingo thrashed about the darkened room for the pile of clothes that would represent today's outfit. This time it was different, this time it just hurt everywhere.
Haven sat up slowly from the square meter of floor-space that he had occupied the night before. Dingo had fought for the only bed, and he had simply felt too tired to duel her for it. Instead, he and Jumpstart had shared the floor of the cramped room that they had secured for the evening inside the Shatterzone nightclub. While Nigel had been accommodating enough to let them stay, he hadn't exactly given them the Imperial Suite either. He slowly got to his feet and stretched, wishing immediately that he hadn't done so. The room swirled suddenly as Haven braced himself against the wall for support. If I ever find out who spread this disease I'm going to personally show them the view from the Space Needle, followed by a quick trip down…His mental image of the mysterious assailants plummeting off the ledge of the famous structure was a fairly satisfying one, if a bit nauseating. He again steadied himself on the wall and took a quick drink of water from one of his canteens. The pain in his chest eased a bit as the warm, stale liquid went down. Making a disgusted and slightly Calvin-esc face, Haven wandered into the adjoining bathroom to begin the day.
Open door, through door, close door, step over Orc, face toilette, move Elf from toilette to sink, use toilette, close lid, replace Elf, enter shower, exit shower, remove clothes, enter shower, use shower… much better. Haven took a long shower followed by a quick shave as he dodged the occasional shifts of his sleeping Orc companion. Finding no reason why they should decide to spend the night in the bathroom, he figured that it was a prudent choice to let sleeping Orcs lie and ask Grunt later. He dressed quickly in his best black Jumpstart t-shirt and BDU set, laced up the boots through a pounding headache and staggered back into the room to gear up. I will never drink Slime ever again… at least until next week. What I wouldn't give for a hit of un-cut Soneine. Taking the last swig out of his first canteen he was about to crack open the other when he had an idea. He had filled these at the same time back at their apartment and have been drinking off one for the last couple of days. If I'm not dead yet, then the other is safe to drink too. He placed the black-plastic canteen under Dingo's arm, who hadn't drank so much as a sip of anything in a couple of days.
"You better share that with Jumpstart," he whispered to her quietly as he slung the Katana over his head and opened the door without a sound. He looked back on his partners for what may have been the last time before shutting the door and heading down the hallway. They're not too bad when they're asleep.
"Good morning Mr. Mooncross," said Nigel as Haven entered the main bar, "you're certainly up early after last night's festivities."
"You mean Red Herrings," Haven retorted as he took a seat next to the owner of the establishment.
"That may be true, as neither of the teams turned up anything but a pair of drunken Orcs."
"Hey man, they may be Orcs, but they're my Orcs," Haven replied with a chuckle that sent ripples of agony through his already pained body.
"Would you like me to call the Doctor with another hit of the suppressive?" the mysterious owner asked of the somewhat pale Elf.
"Yes, please," Haven moaned through his hands as Doc Trembly appeared as if out of no-where. Too tired to care if the Doc was running on little blue meanies or not, he was relieved to discover that whatever he just got pumped with had alleviated some of the pain.
"You've built up a resistance Mr. Elf man," the Doc said as he put down the hypo-injector and poured himself a tall glass of milk, "you've got about two hours before that wears off."
"Thanks," muttered an increasingly unhappy Haven.
"As per your request Mr. Mooncross, I have chosen from my stores something along the lines of what you asked for: A fairly expensive gift from the Asian medical professions."
Nigel reached behind the bar and came back with an ebony colored item that strongly resembled the size and shape of an exquisite cigar-box. He then opened the box and quickly began to explain the contents to a vaguely interested Haven.
"Early 20th century Japanese import, silver-tipped acupuncture kit with bone-china needle grips. Three poultice pouches, with small mortar and pestle. For you my friend, a mere three thousand new-yen." Haven groaned, but he had little choice in the matter. If he wanted to impress the Oyaban he was going to need a decent gift.
"And the Sake?"
"2023 vintage, the year of your birth if I'm not mistaken." Damn, those Deckers are good…
"Yeah, thanks, how much?" Haven asked with little enthusiasm.
"For you, three hundred."
Knowing better than to haggle with the owner of an establishment such as this, Haven dug into his wallet came out with the requested funds. There goes the rent money, then again, I may be dead by tomorrow and won't have to worry about it.
"Nigel," Haven began, "tell the others that I'll be back as soon as I can for our run to the airport, a couple hours at the most. Also, can you hang on to these for me?" Haven asked as he placed his FN-HAR, an Ingram Smartgun, and a selection of grenades on the bar. Nigel nodded, and with that Haven strapped on his family Katana and headed for the garage. Twenty seven minutes later, cycling through the muggy Seattle morning air, he found himself at the door of the Yakuza headquarters.
Haven parked the bike out front and approached the security door that his friend had had so many problems with before. He was greeted by an Asian security guard in full combat armor. The man brought his left hand up for Haven to stop, allowing the Elf to see a few missing joints on the presented fingers.
"I've got an appointment with the Oyaban," Haven stated through his Japanese language chip. Good thing I have this, I can count the Nipponese words that I know with my own brain on fewer fingers than this guy currently possesses.
"Name," the guard barked at him, grating his frayed nerves slightly.
"Haven," he replied, holding up his new ID to the glass for the man to examine. With a nod he was entered and escorted to the inner areas of the complex. Haven stripped off his combat boots and placed them on a small shelf in the ante-room, replacing them with a pair of slippers that he pulled from the same location. Two men entered the room and bore off with his gifts. Just as long as they bring them back when they determine that they're safe.
"Your pistol?" asked the original guard.
"You let me keep it last time," Haven commented.
"This time is different," he replied. Haven unclipped it and handed it over to the man, who simply bowed and placed it on the shelf with his boots.
"You may enter when ready."
Haven took a deep breath to steady himself, again wishing for a specter from his youth to appear carrying a nice selection of street-drugs. You gave that crap up years ago Elfie, but a hit sure would feel good right about now. He stepped through the black, silk curtain and into the den of the Yakuza lord. There were robed men sitting in a semi-circle before the raised dais that the Oyaban himself sat upon. Haven approached through a path between the men and stopped three meters from the old man, bowing low.
"We meet again so soon ronin," the Oyaban hissed to the young Elf.
"I am Havinbrondil Mooncross of the Branching Tree Clan," Haven stammered, quickly continuing before his courage gave out, "son of Harris Moon the corporate raider, son of Summer Moon the political revolutionary, daughter of Hohai Yashima who served with the great Admiral Yamamoto during the Pacific War."
"You honor me with your lineage ronin, but I still do not know why you are here."
"I thank you for seeing me on such short notice Oyaban, I am but an unworthy street-warrior who does not know the words to fully express my gratitude for this meeting."
"Again, I an honored," the old man said, slightly irritated this time.
"I have come to inquire for information. You must be aware that there is a plague sweeping the city," Haven offered, probing slightly.
"This I know," he grumbled, waiting for the elf to continue. Haven looked up, noticing a servant bringing in his gifts with a Sake serving set. Ok, here's to hoping that I'm still breathing after this next sentence.
"I see that you are wise my Lord, but do you know of its cause or its targets? I propose that we trade any information on the subject so that we may both see our families and friends prosper in a city free of this deadly virus. I wish to join forces to determine the cause and solution to this dilemma, in hopes that your friends and mine will someday come to a closer understanding. I beseech you sir, please assist me in this quest."
Ok Dan, your turn… *smirk*
[Return to Ryan's Creative Endeavors page]
[Check out Dan's Shadowrun Campaign Archive]
[Jump back to the top of this page]
The character Havenbrondil Mooncross is Copyright © 1999 Knight Castle Productions