2075: Stormy Waters
TC - Rocky
2.6m, 330kg Troll, Black hair, Green eyes
Street Name: “Rocky”
Name: Angus Smith AKA Arthur French
Street Cred: 13
Public Awareness: 4
Judge Intentions: 5
Lift/Carry: 16 (120 kg/80 kg)
== Attributes ==
REA: 4 (6)
== Derived Attributes ==
Initiative: 9 + 3d6
Rigger Initiative: 9 + 3d6
Astral Initiative: 6 + 2d6
Matrix AR Initiative: 9 + 3d6
Matrix Cold Initiative: 3 + DP + 3d6
Matrix Hot Initiative: 3 + DP + 4d6
Physical Damage Track: 12
Stun Damage Track: 9
== Limits ==
== Active Skills ==
Animal Handling : 0 Pool: 1
Archery : 0 Pool: 3
Armorer : 0 Pool: 3
Automatics : 0 Pool: 3
Blades : 2 Pool: 6
Clubs : 0 Pool: 3
Computer : 0 Pool: 3
Con : 0 Pool: 1
Cybercombat : 0 Pool: 3
Demolitions : 0 Pool: 3
Disguise : 0 Pool: 2
Diving : 0 Pool: 7
Escape Artist : 0 Pool: 3
Etiquette : 0 Pool: 1
First Aid : 0 Pool: 3
Forgery : 0 Pool: 3
Free-Fall : 0 Pool: 7
Gunnery : 0 Pool: 3
Gymnastics : 5 Pool: 9
Hacking : 0 Pool: 3
Heavy Weapons : 0 Pool: 3
Impersonation : 0 Pool: 1
Instruction : 0 Pool: 1
Intimidation : 0 Pool: 1
Leadership : 0 Pool: 1
Longarms : 0 Pool: 3
Navigation : 0 Pool: 2
Negotiation : 1 Pool: 3
Perception : 3 Pool: 6
Performance : 0 Pool: 1
Pilot Aircraft : 1 Pool: 7
Pilot Ground Craft : 2 Pool: 8
Pilot Watercraft : 0 Pool: 5
Pistols : 1 Pool: 5
Running : 2 Pool: 10
Sneaking : 0 Pool: 3
Survival : 1 Pool: 3
Swimming : 2 Pool: 10
Throwing Weapons : 0 Pool: 3
Tracking : 0 Pool: 2
Unarmed Combat : 5 [Boxing] Pool: 11 (13)
== Knowledge Skills ==
Interests (Intuition) – Rules Profesional Boxing 3
Interests (Intuition) – Local Gyms (Seattle) 3
Street (Intuition) – Local Fight Clubs 2
Interests (Intuition) – Urban Brawl Odds 2
Interests (Intuition) – Fine Cuisine 2
Professional (Logic) – Finances 2
Interests (Intuition) – Urban Brawl Schedules 2
Interests (Intuition) – Local Clubs 3
Interests (Intuition) – Local Private Airfields 2
== Contacts ==
Harriet “Sledge” Hojnacki (2, 3)
Susanna Waters (Silk) (4, 2)
== Qualities ==
High Pain Tolerance (Rating 1)
== Powers ==
Combat Sense Rating: 2
Critical Strike (Unarmed)
Improved Ability (skill) (Unarmed Combat) Rating: 2
Improved Reflexes 2
Penetrating Strike Rating: 4
== Lifestyles ==
The Pad 3 months
== Armor ==
Actioneer Business Clothes 8
Lined Coat 9
== Weapons ==
Ruger Super Warhawk
Pool: 5 Accuracy: 5 DV: 9P AP: -2 RC: 3
Pool: 13 Accuracy: 10 DV: 9P AP: -4 RC: 3
== Commlink ==
Renraku Sensei (ATT: 0, SLZ: 0, DP: 3, FWL: 3)
+Earbuds Rating 1
== Gear ==
Ammo: Regular Ammo (Heavy Pistols) x20
Fake SIN (Arthur French) Rating 2
+Fake License (Adept License) Rating 2
+Fake License (Concealed Carry Permit) Rating 2
+Fake License (Driver’s License) Rating 2
+Fake License (Firearms License) Rating 2
+Fake License (Military Ammunition License) Rating 2
Glasses Rating 2
Pain Pills x3
Respirator Rating 4
Sledge – Meta-Human Activist – C 2 / L 3
Silk – Fixer – C 4 / L 2
Angelo “Peck” Rollins – Face – C 4 / L 3
Johnny “Hack’ed” Carter – Mage – C 2 / L 3
Frank Reagan – Knight Errant Patrolman – C 2 / L 1
Stanley “Stan” Odem – Bartender “The Skeleton” (Club) – C 2 / L 2
Dr. Cline – Black Clinic Doc – C 3 / L 4
Albern “Mirage” Carpenter – ID maker – C 4 / L 3
Bryan “Rascle” Willis – Fixer C 4 / L 2
Type I Contacts
Harriet “Sledge” Hojnacki – Female Ork – Meta-Human Activist / Runner – C 2 / L 3
Rocky met Sledge shortly after his life hit bottom for the first time and he had to turn to the shadows to survive. She as part of the team that helped him get out from under Louie “Fish-breath” Finnigan’s thumb as well as led his first real op as a Shadow Runner. Later when he had hit bottom for a second time, she got him in to rehab so he could get his pain pill addiction under control and even provided a lead for work once he was out of rehab. He followed her lead for over two years and came to trust her judgement as much if not more than his own somedays.
Sledge like Rocky has hit bottom in her life but once she climbed out she has stayed out. Initially she was simply running the shadows to survive, but then she found a way to take care of herself and do something good for people as she worked with the Meta-Human activist group ARM. When ARM was effectively disbanded by attack on its leadership Sledge went independent to continue to fight for all meta-humans rights.
- * * *
Silk – Female Human – Fixer – C 4 / L 2
Rocky was put in contact with Silk through Stan Odem, the bartender at The Skeleton. Rocky has yet to do any work for her, but has heard good things and hope she will be able to get him the jobs he will need to get his goals accomplished.
Type II Contacts
Angelo “Peck” Rollins – Male Elf – Face – C 4 / L 3
Rocky met Peck while he was working for Sledge at ARM. During their time working together he came to respect and fear the way Peck could talk almost anyone in to almost anything when he put his mind and magical talents to it. They got along well as Rocky was always ready to step in when Peck was done talking and a resolution hadn’t been reached.
Very few people these days would say Angelo or Peck to the few that really know him; has had a hard life. Growing up he wanted for little and had parents that truly loved and cared for him. His mother stayed home taking care of him and his two older sisters, while his father was a mid-level executive for a AA corp.
He learned at an early age he had the ”gift of gab” as his mother called it and used it to his advantage all throughout school. Allowing him to get away with all the normal teenage pranks and indulgences with nothing more than an occasional stern word from his parents or teachers. Things changed his first year of college when he got caught trying to pull a major con on the dean of the school. This is where he picked up his criminal SIN.
Even in his time in prison was not that bad, for prison. He quickly has a small group of meta’s swayed and under his control, keeping him safe and sound. He was popular with most of the inmates as his skills could get them almost anything and usually at lower costs than the Yaks were charging for contraband. This was his first encounter with the Yakauza, but not his last. A few of his employee / friends were attacked and even killed but the Yaks could never get that close to him. After finishing his shortened sentence, for excellent behavior; well that’s what the reports said, he returned to the free world looking forward to going home.
His arrival home was not what he expected, while his sisters and even mother were happy to see him, his father would have nothing to do with him and allowed him to only stay one night at home before kicking him out, telling him to never come back. This was a hard blow to him, but he had survived prison so he knew we could get by on his own.
The next few years were a blur as he started his work in the shadows using a few contacts he had gained while in prison to get started. As time went on he developed more skills and refined his ability to sway people to his line of thinking by words alone. Before long he was living better than he had when he was at home and most days didn’t have to work at all or at most just had to have a conversation with someone to bring them around to his employer’s view.
Peck is a poster boy for the elven race, standing just short of 2 meters tall, with light blue eyes and soft golden hair. He is always dressed to impress even when making a quick run out to pick up take out Chinese food. For business he wears his suit unless he’s expecting to be shot at. On those rare occasions he’ll opt for his lined coat for easier clean up.
- * * *
Johnny “Hack’ed” Carter – Male Troll – Mage – C 2 / L 3
Hack’ed was another member of Sledge’s crew during Rocky’s work with her for ARM. The two hit it off fairly quickly being trolls and having magical talents, even though they had manifested differently. They quickly learned to work together and provided a good combination of long and short range firepower that very few could stand up to.
Looking a Hack’ed, you would guess he was a hacker or maybe a rigger, which at one point he was or so he thought. Johnny’s life started the same as most meta-humans these days, in the barrens fighting for his life on a daily basis. He never knew his father and his mother died before he was ten. From a very young age Johnny wanted to be hacker, he wanted go on pay-data runs, fight IC’s and be a famous hacker. At the age of sixteen he got the chance; as some of the locals from the neighborhood got them selves a run and needed a hacker. Johnny was in, in a second, the run went off with out a hitch and they all got some good nuyen for the run. So the first thing Johnny did was go out and get all cyber’ed up to be a pro hacker like all the ones he had seen on the trids. He picked up a mid-grade commlink, had it implanted directly into his skull, got the best cyber eyes he could afford with as many bells and whistles as they could cram in to them, and of course got the data jack for direct input.
A few weeks later, the crew got the call for another run, a serious pay-data run, one that would have rocketed his little band of new’b runners into the big time. They needed to break in to a small corp. then hack into the company’s system from an internal terminal to grab the data. The group slipped in quietly and Johnny got to work. The problem was he wasn’t as prepared for the security system as he thought he was and set off multiple alarms, bringing not only the systems IC, but the corp. security. He quickly got the shit kicked out of his brain by the Black IC and other security programs, barley jacking off before it had completely fried his brain. Do to the intense fight he was having in the Matrix for his life he was totally unaware of what was going in the real world. When he finally did jack out, he found the security guards standing over him, and the bodies of two of his friends lying in pools of their own blood, but no sign of the rest of his friends. The security the decided they would teach him a lesson before handing him over to the authorities.
He was found guilty of multiple counts of trespassing, data theft, resisting arrest and so on and so forth. He spent the first 6 months of his 15-year sentence in the prison infirmary as he recovered from the mental and physical damage resulting from his failed run. By the time he was in the normal population everyone knew his story and had taken to calling him “Hack’ed” and no matter how much he tried to dodge the name, it just stuck. After about 4 years he just gave up, and went with it.
While in prison he meet many people, including a mage of some renown, which could see that Hack’ed had a higher calling than hacking, and that was magic. With a few bribes and a lot of spare time the mage, Sauraon taught Hack’ed what he needed to harness his power and become a combat mage. By the time Hack’ed had finished his sentence he had changed directions in his life and returned to the shadows as spell slinger.
Hack’ed stands at 2.5 meters tall and weighs 325kg. His horns curve up and back from the side of his head. He has short black hair and a well-trimmed goatee, behind his left horn a data jack can be seen as well. He normally will be found wearing blue jeans, and a tee shirt under his leather jacket. His eyes are obviously cyberware as his irises are a solid blood red. At first look someone would guess ganger hacker with the data jack, cyber eyes and all, but once you look closer and see the multiple pouches he is always carrying along with several foci some may pick up on the fact that he’s a spell slinger of some kind.
- * * *
Frank Reagan – Male Human – Knight Errant Patrolman C 2 / L 1
Rocky met Frank recently while working at the door at The Skeleton as he tried to go legit. The acquaintance is new but good for the moment.
Frank comes from a long line of cops and public servants. His family served NYC for multiple generations prior to the Quake of 2005. His grandparents were the only ones survive the quake and its aftermath and soon left. They ended up in the Metroplex and settled down, doing the only work most of them knew. His grandparents retired to Manhattan after MDC rebuilt it, but Frank and his parents had no tie to the city so they stayed.
Frank has been with KE for 3 years and started patrolling Touristville about the same time Rocky started as The Skeleton. He liked rocky because he told it to him straight and never asked for anything unethical. Over all he is a straight shooter, but has now been on the job long enough to realize you have to sometimes play ball to survive these days, he is just hoping he can pick the lesser of the evils when they are presented.
- * * *
Stanley “Stan” Odem – Make Human – Bartender “The Skeleton” (Club) – C 2 / L 2
Rocky has only known Stan for 6 months, but has found him to be a standup guy that seems to know a little bit about a lot of different things and made sure he always knew who was sitting at his bar and what they needed, even if it was just a refill on their drink. Rocky worked with him at The Skeleton in Touristville and would chat with him during his breaks as well as before and after shifts. Rocky thinks he might be able to help him with information when it comes time to deal with the gangers that killed his mother.
Stan is an average looking human in his early 30’s with blond hair and brown eyes. He dresses casually but keeps up current styles and trends to help connect with his customers. He does his best to stay on top of whats going in the bar as well as on the streets. Having been a runner for a few years himself, he knows the look and knows several crews and Johnsons like to use The Skeleton for their meetings. This was how he picked out Silk and made a deal with her to direct any perspective clients to her when they were looking for work.
- * * *
Dr. Cline – Male Human – Black Clinic Doc – C 3 / L 4
Rocky met Dr. Cline at his clinic when his original crew were looking for Cerberus and trying to recruit him for taking out Finnigan and joining the new team that had recruited them. Rocky has been back to him numerous times to be patched up after runs and is one of a small handful of people that know who he really is.
Dr. Cline is a business man first and a doctor a very close second. The only reason being a doctor comes second is that he would not still be around to be a doctor if he didn’t make sure his business was run correctly. Being a doctor for people that make keeps secrets as much of their lives as breathing can be challenging and takes careful balance. He has made keeping peoples secrets as much as part of his oath as doing no harm and has done well because of it.
- * * *
Albern “Mirage” Carpenter – Male Dwarf – ID maker – C 4 / L 3
Rocky met Mirage while working with ARM, as their activities caused a number of his fake SIN’s to get burned as things went sideways on occasions. He’s not the cheapest guy in the biz, but he does good work and knows how to keep his mouth shut. At this point he is always Rocky’s first choice when he needs updated ID’s and licenses.
Much like anyone else in the shadows Mirage keeps to himself and does not advertise about himself beyond the services he offers. He liked working with the people from ARM and liked what they were trying to do and was disappointed when they got hit and had to disband. His shop is in the basement of a small home, that most assume is where he lives. In fact it is occupied by runners that he has done work for him and provide security as payment when they are short on cash. No one knows where his real home is and he likes it that way.
- * * *
Bryan “Rascle” Willis – Male Ork – Fixer C 4 / L 2
Rascle like most of the people Rocky knows these days that are still active in the shadows worked with ARM, helping provide equipment and contacts for special requests. Rocky didn’t have need of his services very often since his weapons were built and didn’t need ammo, but knowing someone that could get gear both legal and illegal quickly and at reasonable prices is never a bad thing.
Rascle was never much of a people person so instead of focusing his business on providing connections for work he focused on being the go to guy for getting all the needed gear once the job was secured. He runs a small pawn shop that provides easy access to vendors for all the legal gear he stocks and a nice front for the second half of his business.
Sunday November 17th 2075, Seattle
A light breeze stirred the few leaves that were left on the tree that during the Spring and Summer provided shade for the bench that Rocky was sitting on as he stared down at the gravestone, still having trouble understanding how it could have Anna Smith’s name on it.
As he sat starring at the stone, his eyes moving along the lines of flowing script his memory started to drift back to the beginning.
- * *
Rocky did his best to block out his memories of growing up at the edge of the Redmond barrens, wondering if they would find enough food for all three of them to eat dinner or if some gang would wander through and claim the place they had found to stay as part of their turf.
Somehow that all changed when his latent magical abilities started to develop and opened up a way out of the barrens for him and his family. At first he would find pick up fights on corners or vacant parking lots, making a few nuyen for making someone else’s night worse. Soon though word got out how he could take a beating and then still come back to win a fight everyone would have sworn he was going to lose 30 seconds in. The fights were harder to find and those that would fight him always seemed to have an advantage of some kind, making the initial beating even worse.
While things were a little better with him fighting, the real improvement came when the word of his abilities finally made it to some of the gyms in the ‘plex and a trainer by the name of Skinny came out to watch one of his fights. As usual Rocky took a beating to start but before it was over he was the last man standing. Thinking back he wasn’t even sure he was actually able to see Skinny as he first approached him and knows he ruined one of Skinny’s nicer coats with huge handprint of blood on its shoulder as Rocky steadied his self as they talked. Though the only reason he knew now about the coat was because Skinny constantly reminded him about it.
The next four years were a blur, Skinny moved Rocky and his parents to a small hole in the wall apartment in Touristville which most wage slaves would have only stayed in for a night to see how the other side lived or brag to their friends that they had survived a night in the Barrens. But for Rocky, Anna and George it was like living in a penthouse in the Azetechnology Pyramid. It had a door that would lock, running water, power and decent connection to the matrix. Not that Rocky really noticed that much since he spent close to sixteen hours a day at the gym, either working out or getting at least some of the education he had missed out on growing up. It was a grueling schedule and it pushed Rocky to his limits every day, but he and his parents never worried about were their next meal was coming from or if they would randomly be out on the street on any given night. Those securities made it all worth it, even if he hadn’t made it as a boxer. But he did make it as a boxer going 21 and 0 over his three year career as a professional boxer. Every win was a knock out and his last win made him the Troll Heavyweight Champion of the world, for all of about 20 minutes.
Rocky silently kicked himself again for the millionth time in the last five years for letting himself, Skinny and most importantly his parents down. Just because he wanted to go out an party instead of letting his body take care of its self normally. It had all started innocently enough, after winning his first few fights he started to develop a following, and his friends always wanted to go out after a bout and celebrate so he started using more of the pain pills the Doc kept around. At first he would just need them right after the fight, but slowly they became more and more a part of his life until the pills had complete control over him. As much as Rocky would have liked to blame the pills for his fall in to the shadows he knew it was his choices that had gotten him there.
Right, Troll Heavy Weight Champion for all of twenty minutes. The big fight was Friday August 1st 2070 at Safeco Field. As he had always done, no matter how much time Skinny spent trying to change it Rocky took a beating the first round. Then the second round the real Rocky showed up and before it was over he was the new champ, but as had become the norm for him he had succumbed to his addiction and taken his pills. Taking them hadn’t won him the fight, but it had cost him his life. Shortly after the fight his opponent Toshio Kameda had suffered a brain aneurism and died, which was what sometimes happened when you let people beat on you on a regular basis. Toshio’s death wasn’t Rocky’s fault but that’s not how the Japanese government would have seen it and so Rocky had to make a choice, go to prison for the rest of his life or run, so he ran.
The next few weeks of his life made the previous six years seem like child’s play. Slipping out of the arena before he could be caught one last ride in a limo back to the gym that had been his home away from home for the last 6 years and then a mad dash for the barrens, dodging the Star on every corner. Finding a coffin motel back in Touristville he hid out for almost a week while the worst of the coverage blew over and he healed up from the fight.
He soon found himself working for a demented mobster known as Louie “Fish-breath” Finnigan. He and another troll that seemed to be down on his luck spent their evenings wandering around with Fish-breath and his crew beating the shit out of people that disrespected Louie. Which somehow or another was every person they went to see. Rocky and his companion Cerberus finally had enough when Louie wanted them to whack a little girl that was hiding out in a coffin motel. Helping her escape officially ended their work for Louie “Fish-breath” Finnigan and put them at the top of his persona non grata list. Within a few hours of leaving the coffin motel both Rocky and Cerberus were ambushed at their apartments, they both escaped but not before getting shot by Louie’s goons.
As Rocky once again went on run, he wasn’t sure how he was going to survive until he was contacted by a Mr. Johnson. Somehow Mr. Johnson knew who he was, about his problems and he was offering help in extracting him, Cerberus and the girl from their current predicament as well as a place on a new team he was putting together. With no other options Rocky agreed and they were off to see if they could convince Cerberus to join the party. Luckily Louie made it easy to convince Cerberus to join, when a group of runners Louie had hired to finish what his goons had started showed up at the black clinic Cerberus was at. Rocky, and the others Mr. Johnson had hired stopped the goons, and once again they were on the run.
After another few close calls and a jacked up encounter with a couple FBI agents, the team made it to ground for a few days to recover and plan how they were going to take care of Louie. The downtime also gave Rocky a chance to get to know the others that were making up the team a little. He already knew Cerberus who was a troll that had a thing for using machine guns to resolve his problems, as well as the little girl, Cattie who was a whiz hacker extraordinaire. Along with the two of them were Fortunato a human mage of some kind and Sledge an ork woman that seemed to have been in the shadows for a while and knew her way around a hammer.
Unable to come up with a better plan the group staked out the mob owned restaurant Louie always started his evenings at and followed him once he left. They opted to jump him and his goons at a junkyard where Louie was meeting someone else that owed him money. The fight was short and total chaos, but when it was over Louie’s brains were plastered across the inside of his SUV and Rocky had been the one to pull the trigger. Their little group slipped away and while not unharmed they all made it out alive and ready to start their lives as Shadowrunners.
The next thing Rocky knew they were doing a job for the FBI agents that had been surveilling them for a few days. They apparently wanted the bodies of three people that had been killed that had been buried underneath the new Hirotomo building. Apparently one of them had headware that had recorded and stored the exact cause of their deaths and who had done it, and somehow Sledge was tied to it all. The upside of the job for the feeb’s was they would be able to make part of the heat on him go away and all the heat on his parents so he had to get it done.
The recon and collection of supplies for the job started off ok, but the Cerberus got a call from an old friend and had to bail and wasn’t sure when or if he would be back. They were still able to find what they needed for the job but while they were resting Angel informed Mr. Johnson that she was leaving for personal reasons but had found a replacement that could cover her skills. So in less than 6 hours they had lost two of the original group but at least one had been replaced. After vetting the new guy, who seemed to be a real ass and would most likely get himself killed by a member of the group they got on with the job.
Getting in the building, getting set up and even finding the bodies with the ground penetrating radar had gone as planned, but then someone showed up to crash their party. They had the new hacker down before we even knew they were there. It seemed that the group Rocky had thrown his lot in were more like him than he realized. Much like his bouts in the ring, this group seemed to always take a beating up front but then made a comeback in the second round and ended up taking the day. The fight at Hirotomo building went the same way, they lost the first round with the loss of the hacker but in the second round once they had their feet under them they came out swinging and got things taken care of.
Fortunato quickly picked out their van, which much like the Love Machine (Sledge had started calling the van they acquired during that first few chaotic days the Love Machine and it just kinda stuck.) it stuck out like a sore thumb in the high rise buildings of downtown. Once they had a target things changed quickly as Fortunato took care of their mage and Sledge and Rocky beat the rest in to submission fairly quickly. Not to say they didn’t take some hits in the process, they were the ones still standing at the end of the night.
The distraction and resulting injuries slowed things down a bit on the job, but somehow they got the work done and rolled at out of the building with less than five minutes to spare before the new tenants were to show up.
- * *
“I swear I saw their trucks coming down the block as we turned the corner.” Rocky said to himself since no one else was around. His trip down memory lane interrupted by his own voice, Rocky glanced around making sure no one was paying unwanted attention to him. Not that he had to worry about anyone recognizing him these days any ways. He hadn’t looked like Angus Smith for over 5 years, and most of the world had forgotten about him anyways. As he thought about what had come next he started to wonder if maybe it would have been easier if he had just gone to jail that night instead of running.
- * *
As they had promised the feeb’s had come through with the favors they had offered as payment for removing the bodies and data they contained from their graves under the Hirotomo building. For Rocky, it got the worse of the heat off him. The Japanese government still wanted his head on a pike, but the UCAS suddenly no longer had as much interest in hunting him down. So as long as he kept his head down and didn’t remind anyone of who he was or what he had done he was good. He never really heard what the others got out of the deal, but it almost seemed to make Sledge even madder than she had been when they first met.
The group had a few days “off” to take care of personal business before Johnson was going to look for more work for them. Rocky figured it was a perfect opportunity to finish his change and finally talk to his parents about what had happened. The first part went just as he planned a quick call to Dr Clines office and he was on his one step closer to no longer being recognized as Angus Smith. The surgery was quick and successful but not quite as painless as the Doc had originally made it sound, but Rocky was determined to stay off his pills and fought through the pain.
New look finished, major heat gone Rocky figured it was time to face the music with his parents and headed to their place straight from the clinic. When he showed up at the door, the doc’s work passed its first big test his own dad didn’t even recognize him, “Yes, can I help you?” “Who is it George? I thought all the press had given up?” The second test of the Doc’s work was a total failure, it only took half a second for Anna to recognize her only son. “Angus?” Then looking around quickly realizing what she had said motioned him inside and quickly closed the door.
From there everything went downhill, while his parents were thrilled that he was alive they couldn’t get past what he had done. They didn’t seem to understand any of it, how he could have gotten addicted to pills, thrown away his great opportunity, not stayed and taken his punishment like they had raised him or the worse become a hired killer. Before Rocky knew it he had the pill bottle in his hand, opening and closing the bottle just like he had been doing for the last four weeks of hell as he tried to put his life back together. Once they realized what it was, it was over and before he knew what had happened he was out the door the last words he heard from his mother as the door slammed “and don’t come back till your clean and have a real job!”
- * *
That, those words were worse than anything he had suffered his entire life. Worse than growing up in the Barrens, all the beatings he took both in the ring and in the shadows. He slowly lowered his head in to his hands and began to cry.
- * *
The next few years were a blur, he gave up trying to kick his habit and just made sure he always had enough pills around to keep him going. He bounced from job to job, playing strongman and muscle for which ever crew needed it. Rocky didn’t really care as long as he got paid and they weren’t hurting kids, pretty much anything outside of that was fair game. Luckily for him, beating things in to a pulp was not the preferred method of wetwork for most people so very few times was he actually getting paid to kill people. Though if someone got in the way and there was no way around it, he did what needed to be done.
Between not really caring any longer about getting clean and taking beatings on almost a daily basis, his need for the pills only got worse, which cost more money, which meant he was taking whatever work he could find. When he wasn’t working he would find himself sitting down the block from his parents place wanting to talk to them, but knowing it would be a short conversation that wouldn’t do him any good. If someone had asked him, who or what would be able to pull him out of this spiral down he never would have guessed who did it.
Trying to slip away from a run that had gone south he ran in to an old acquaintance, or was it coworker, friend, not enemy? However you wanted to describe her at that point Sledge was a guardian angel. She helped him slip the Stars looking for him and then apparently once again made an executive decision. The next morning he woke in a soft bed, the clean air of Snohomish tickling his nostrils as it came in through the small barred window in his room, no as looked around he realized it was a cell. It was with some relief that he soon discovered he was not in prison but a rehab facility. With a little work he was able to find out his “sister” had checked him in a few days before. The six months he spent at Green Acres Restoration were good for him, but very painful as well.
The first three weeks he refused to acknowledge he had a problem and that he needed help for it. The with drawl was worse than he had ever suffered when he had first tried to quit on his own after the big fight. Before he left two orderlies were fired for supplying pills to him and several other patients, he destroyed four beds, two couches and lost count of the number of chairs. But the doctors and staff knew their business and kept working on him.
When his six month session came to an end he had been clean for just over five months and felt better than he had in years. The time away from the streets how done wonders for his body as well, giving all those wounds that had been patched again and again a chance to really heal. When the staff returned the few items he had with him when he checked in, he found a small scrap of paper with a commcode scrawled on it.
With nothing better to do he called the number, “vut, Be there in 60” click. Was all he got, but it was all he needed, he knew Sledge was on her way. She rolled up on the same Harley Scorpion she had been cruising around on when they had first met, with the Love Machine following close behind. Throwing a thumb over her shoulder she gestured at the van. “Get in.” He found a dwarf in the driver seat who just grunted at him when he climbed in the back. Being back in the Love Machin brought back a flood of memories of those first few crazy weeks, Rocky smiled to himself and relaxed as they made their way back in to the city.
Once back in the city the group stopped for food and to catch up. Sledge introduced the dwarf as Satchel, an ex-corp messenger turned street-sam. Apparently not only had Sledge known the people buried under the Hirotomo building but knew who was responsible for it as well and the people that had jumped them trying to keep their secrets buried. Satchel had helped her take care of things, though they were vague about exactly what they had done and had been working together for another organization for the last eighteen months or so. As best Rocky could understand they were a pro metahuman rights organization that was a bit more hands on the ORC, but not as bloody as the Sons of Sauron. The group called it’s self ARM (Activists for Rights for Meta-humans) and was open to all races as long as they believed that all “humans” were equal. Needing money and thus work, Rocky signed on planning for it only to be long enough for him to go legit, so maybe his parents would talk to him again.
As usual with shadow running things did not go according to plan, and eighteen months later he was neck deep in ongoing operations with ARM, which mostly consisted of watching Sledge’s back and helping with whatever run she had been put in charge of that week. Rocky enjoyed the work as he felt he was really doing something for people instead of just making a buck. Even though it was much better than working as muscle for the mob or truly running the shadows he still didn’t think his parents would approve. Every few weeks he would tell himself this was the last job, but somehow he never ended up walking away.
His time with ARM ended when a more radical pro-human group hired multiple groups of runners to take out as much of ARM as possible in one night with a series of well-timed attacks. Rocky, Sledge, Satchel, Angelo Peck their fast talker and Hack’ed their magical support were all having a pre-run working dinner at Jim’s Souvalki Pit in Tacoma, when the group hired to take them out made their move. Luckily they were all paying attention and got a half second warning before two of the runners opened up on the front of the building with a pair of light machine guns. The other patrons in the restaurant were not so luck and two of them died in the first three seconds of the fight. The crew kept under cover until the runners had to reload and made their move. Rocky went through the newly opened hole in the wall followed by Satchel as Hack’ed started throwing mana bolts. Sledge and Peck moved to the back and were waiting for the second wave when they came in to do cleanup. The gunners were prepared and both pulled hand guns as they saw the dwarf and troll charging. Rocky took three shots and Satchel took two before they collided with the runners. Neither one was breathing by the time Rocky and Sledge finished with them. Sledge and Peck had an easier time of it, when the runners handed their guns over at Peck’s simple magically enhanced request.
The worse part of the whole event was that the pain from getting shot three times in quick succession ended up being enough to knock Rocky off the wagon. He tried everything he could to avoid taking the pills the black clinic doc had given him, but the pain was just too much and after three days of excruciating pain he gave in. Within a few weeks he was back to using at the levels he had been at when he blew his boxing career up, within two months he was as using as much as when Sledge had found him. To add to his problems his savings was disappearing quickly and since the rest of ARM hadn’t fared as well Sledge’s crew so work was hard to come by.
Three months to the day after the attack at Jim’s Souvalki Pit Rocky checked himself in to rehab, instead of waking up there not knowing where he was. For some reason the second time through the program was tougher than the first even though Rocky knew what was going on and was honestly working with the doctors from the beginning. Once he made it through the worse of the withdrawals, Rocky once again tried to figure out where he had gone wrong and what he needed to do to keep things straight once he got out. As his second and hopefully last stay at Green Acres Restoration was coming to an end he decided to take advantage of their job placement program, which had seemed unneeded to him last time.
The process of getting a normal job was new to him and took longer than he expected, but finally he ended up with a gig as a doorman / bouncer at a small “dive bar” in Touristville. The money wasn’t great and his boss was a first class asshole, but it was legit work and he was clean. He debated with himself would be the right time to present himself to parents. He walked by their house the night he got his first full paycheck but chickened out, since working a legit job a whole two weeks didn’t really prove anything. By the time he got his second paycheck he had decided the magic number would be six months. Then he would have been clean for nine months and gainfully employed for six.
The job was easy as it was the primary clientele of the bar were wage slaves and salarymen looking for a few hours living on the edge. The few that tried to cop an attitude usually quickly changed their minds when Rocky started cracking his knuckles and stretching his neck. Most nights the toughest part was keeping up the act so the customers felt like they were getting their monies worth out of the visit. Occasionally one of the local gangs would wander in for a little fun and Rocky actually had to use some of the skills he had learned over the years. Luckily he spent a decent amount of his time not at work, working out and stretching. So when they rolled through Rocky would shuffle people in to the club and then deal with any of the gangers that thought they would come in as well. Usually him dropping one of them with a single punch would discourage them, on the rough nights it would take dropping two of them without breaking a sweat.
The day after getting his twelfth paycheck Rocky had taken a cab into town to finally see his parents. As he stood at the front door waiting for it to open, he was going over in his head what he was going to say and was not paying attention to what was going on around him. As the door opened and his mother stepped out he heard the roar of motorcycles and the whine of automatic fire. His reflexes kicked in as he dived to the ground and called out to his mother, “GET DOWN!” Rocky hit the ground and looked over his shoulder to see some of the gangers he had chased off from the club a couple nights ago tearing away on their bikes. Having not spent multiple years of her life dodging bullets and not understanding what was going her reactions were slow and she didn’t make it to the ground fast enough. When he turned back to his mother as he saw was her covered blood. His dad came running out of the house and dropped to his knees next to his wife, trying in vain to stop the blood coming from the multiple holes the bullets had made. As Rocky got to his feet and stumbled toward them his father looked up at him and asked, “NOW WHAT HAVE YOU DONE? YOU BROUGHT THIS ON US! GO! GO!”
- * *
That had been two weeks ago. Anna Smith had just been buried earlier that morning and the grave still looked fresh as Rocky sat on the bench. The weight of his Warhawk felt strange in its holster at his back, but he knew he might need it soon. As he stood he looked down at the stone one last time and whispered, “Sorry mom, guess I should have just kept running. At least you would still be alive….”
Rocky turned away and pulling out the cheap commlink he had picked up as he walked away, making a call to a fixer that he hoped would be able to find him some work. He was going to need to money and some help to finish what the gangers had started.