(The following text was posted by Spencer to the Shadowrun group Facebook chat at 2:23 AM, Sunday.)
I was looking through the notes on my phone and I found my final draft for my character’s backstory, I figure now is as good a time as any to post it, almost as my own eulogy, I guess.
My eyes open for a second. Fluorescent lights fly by, I think an IV is moving with me. Everything goes dark.
I woke up in a hospital bed ten days later with several bullet wounds in my torso and one into my skull. They told me I’m lucky to be alive. And they kept calling me officer, which is odd because I don’t remember being an officer. To be honest, I don’t remember much before the hospital. Finally, I ask one of the nurses, who tells me I was wearing a uniform when they brought me in and no one has claimed me as a part of their department. They didn’t seem to have any way of tracking my SIN either. Seemed like I was a real John Doe. I met with sergeants from all of the different departments, they all questioned my memory or lack thereof. One of the sergeants from downtown Seattle homicide, Philips was his name, took a liking to me, hell, he even offered me a job until they figured out who I was. I was released from the hospital two weeks after I woke up. Luckily, I had kept all of my motor function, but they needed to do some minor muscle replacements and some eye and ear work. They returned the things I had on my body when they found me. There was the bloody, bullet filled uniform without any distinguishing marks, an empty Colt Manhunter, and an envelope marked “Steven” with an unmarked credstick inside. When I went to the front desk to check out, they needed me to sign my name.
“What if I don’t know my name?” I asked the desk clerk.
“Just pick something, we just need a signature.”
That’s what I signed the release form and what I’ve been calling myself the past eighteen months. I took the job at the police department and found out I had a real knack for it. I was promoted to detective only last week and I have my own apartment on the lower end. Maybe I really was a cop before my accident, but then why didn’t any of the departments say I was one of theirs?
I’m told my case is still open, but they won’t let me anywhere near it. Sgt. Philips says it’s because the case is about me and I would be informed of any developments. I trust him, why wouldn’t I? He gave me this job without any credentials other than the fact that I might have been a cop before. I don’t trust whoever is on the case to do a good job. That’s why I spend almost all of my time off the job doing my own investigating.
I don’t have much to go on, either I’m Steven or the credstick was meant for him. The gun might be mine but when I got it, it had been wiped clean of any prints along with the rest of my things. I spend every cent I own searching, barely making rent each month. I need more money than my job gets me if I’m going to find out what really happened to me. And I’ll get it even if that means working outside the law.
I watched him fall through the scope of a sniper rifle we’d taken off a dead man the day before. He was tangled up with the man who had called himself Hunter, running both of them off the roof of the parking garage and down through the rain and the four AM gloom. I was ditching the rifle before they even hit the ground, sprinting for the stairs, knowing I was already too late. Dead on impact, said the biomonitor, but we tried the medkit anyway–first Cal, who’d been up there on the roof with him, and then me when I finally arrived from the construction site where I’d been holed up. It was the best patch job I’d ever done on anyone, and it was wasted on a dead man.
When we’d figured out that we wouldn’t be saving Steven, Cal just unloaded that big revolver of his into Hunter’s body. Bastard deserved that, and worse, for fucking with our teammate’s head like he’d done. Wiping a man’s memory and then using him to catch shadowrunners, that was cold. That wasn’t how the Knights were supposed to work. Knight Errant was supposed to be all patrol cops and firewatch squads and death from above. They weren’t supposed to have things like the Tabula Rasa program. They weren’t supposed to have people like Hunter, and they damn sure weren’t supposed to have people like Adam Slate, who had volunteered to have his memories suppressed in order to trap runners like me. Hunter’d talked about how Slate’s memories were still in there somewhere, just needing the right neural shunt installed or taken out or whatever, but I figure getting those memories back would have killed Steven Colt just as well as the ground had. Or maybe he was already getting them back, and that’s why he’d gone with Hunter down the side of the building–fuck, I don’t know. Man spends long enough looking for something, he’s guaranteed to find it, and some times that might not be a good thing. Steven wanted his memory back bad enough that he was willing to go to the shadows for it, and then to come back from that to find that he was supposed to be a cop, and that we’d just shot his entire team, the guys who in a past life were probably his best friends…I’m willing to believe that’s enough to push someone over the brink. Hunter had just stepped into his life the day before and torn it all down around him. Who the hell knows what was going through Steven’s head just then, standing in the rain with the edge of the roof so close?
What really kills me, looking back on it, is that there were so many ways we could have stopped him. Cal could have just shot Hunter instead of shouting for him to surrender, or I could have slotted him from afar when he started trying to convince Steven to see things his way, or Glass could have sprayed them both with stick-n-shock, or Lupin could have slipped up behind Hunter and hit him with a narcoject slap patch, or someone could have caught them before they went over the edge. Hell, if I’d just aimed for him in the first place instead of instinctively going for the hacker who was fucking with my drones, things would have turned out completely differently. So many things we could have done, and so many things that we didn’t, and then when Colt or Slate or whoever he ended up being tackled Hunter off the building we never had time to react.
I don’t know whether the man who hit the ground was Steven Colt or Adam Slate, but the guy I knew died either way. We put the name we knew him by on the gravestone, and I figure that’s the name we’ll cut into the skin of the bastard who set Hunter on us when we finally catch up with him. Jack Yavin, you haven’t ever done anything to me personally, but you’re a dead man all the same. I got a shiny new rifle, fifty thousand untraceable nuyen burning a hole in my pocket and a man in the CAS who can arrange for some milspec gear to fall off the back of a truck. Let’s get acquainted, shall we?