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A taste of Cyberpunk.
 
  

09/15/09 @ 08:41:51 pm, Categories: Projects, 2120 words, 7262 views  

So, some of you have heard me talking about the comic I’ve been writing. A story set in the cyberpunk universe of the Cyberpunk2020 pen and paper RPG. There’s actually a couple. There’s what has become the main focus, ‘Gaijin Samurai’. And then there’s the original story I was writing, which is more of a ‘movie’ to GS’s ‘long-running series’. This story is ‘Fool’s Errand’, and it was the backstory for the main characters that developed into Gaijin Samurai.

So, my standard intro…

The story takes place in a near future of armed warfare between multinational corporations and all sorts of other nastiness in a world gone sideways with more technology than it knows what to do with.

This is an excerpt from my script for a scene near the beginning of the story, just after events are set in motion, but before anyone knows what the hell is going on.

This particular scene I started writing around the end of 2007, though I finished it and polished it today. Parts of Fool’s Errand and Gaijin Samurai date to as far back as 2001.

Updated!
Added a quick glossary.

Updated again with a reference pic for the aerodyne!

[More:]

The characters:

‘Trencher’ (Name undetermined)
Trencher is the main protagonist from Gaijin Samurai. ‘Trencher’ for his beat-up old longcoat. (Which is more than it appears I might add.) Trencher is a strange mix of thinker and fighter; he is no one’s meatshield and is in fact a smart and effective leader, but at the same time he is nonetheless ‘the heavy’ of the group. He favors his custom highly accurized and compensated handguns in general, and his katana— which has a blade of crystalline composites, manufactured in orbit, with a monomolecular edge -for close-up work. He has no particular training in unarmed combat but knows a little aikido and can beat the sh!t out of people just fine when the need arises. He was recruited by Militech after getting on the wrong side of Arasaka and fled Japan with his girlfriend (Now wife). They live in Night City.

‘Kat’ (Name undetermined)
Trencher’s younger sister. Seldom uses her pistol, though she isn’t a bad shot. Prefers throwing knives and unarmed combat. Like Trencher, her personality often leads to a severe lack of subtlety, preferring to get right into a fight and mix it up. She’s never really made clear why she left home (Long after Trencher had.) and joined Militech.

Anna Nguyen
The team’s pilot/driver and generally just the person who makes sure shit gets done and is the most level-headed of the group, making her a go-to person for command decisions despite the fact that Trencher is technically the leader of the group. She can handle herself just fine in a firefight or unarmed combat, but prefers covert action when she’s taking an offensive role. She met Trencher and Kat during the ‘ocean war’ and is a fellow edgerunner recruited by Militech.

Andy Myers
Militech recruiter. He had been ‘exiled’ to the small training facility the company maintained alongside the continued US military presence on Okinawa. When Trencher’s name came up as a person of interest (After he killed an Arasaka assault team in Tokyo) it was Andy who was assigned to find him…because no one else wanted the job. He now works out of the Night City offices, and is Trencher’s handler. (And by extension, the team’s de facto handler and liaison.) He’s really the only person with the company that Trencher trusts. (And with good reason.) He’s the rare sort that often chooses what’s right over what’s good for the company’s bottom line. His continued survival is a combination of being so damn well-connected, while appearing rather harmless. (Thus his exile to Okinawa. Basically a window-seat…in hostile territory.)

‘Medic’
A medtechie that the team ran into by happenstance in the week or so before this mission. He patched up Anna, who had just been injured in a brawl that took the group by surprise. They decided they could probably use him. (And he couldn’t pass up the money, having just lost his day-job.) Not much of a fighter though. His backstory gets fleshed out in later portions of the story.

‘the netrunner’
The Militech regular that was assigned to Trencher’s team for this mission. They needed someone along who could penetrate the servers and retrieve the research data that was the mission objective.

Glossary:

AV4
AV for ‘Aerodyne Vehicle’. Steadily replacing helicopters and tilt-rotors for many military and civilian uses. If you want a quick idea of what a standard military light transport AV looks like, I photoshopped a pic of a UH-60 Blackhawk helicopter into an AV4. (original) (Configurations with the turbines and everything on top also exist, but are most common for heavy-lifters.) Assault AVs tend to look more streamlined and jet-like.

‘Deck’
Short for ‘Cyberdeck’. A portable computer terminal for direct neural interface to the cyberspace matrix. The primary tool of the ‘Netrunner’ or ‘decker’.

For information on Militech, Arasaka, Night City, and other basic CP2020 information, refer to the wikipedia article. Though my interpretation of the setting varies slightly both stylistically and in some events.

After the somewhat disastrous run on a research lab that Arasaka just acquired, our characters take flight in an AV4, which, shortly after takeoff, is tagged by anti-aircraft fire. They manage to get across Del Coronado bay, and are just entering the Night City warehouse district when it becomes obvious the Aerodyne isn’t going to get much farther.

Anna is in the left-hand pilot’s seat, Kat is seated behind her, the medic and the unconscious netrunner are seated behind the co-pilot’s seat. (The passenger seating is along the sides of the cabin, backs to the wall.) Trencher is standing in the open pilot-side door, hanging onto the over-head handles.

Anna
(Over the noise)
There’s an open area up ahead, I’ll set it down there.

Trencher notices they seem to be leaving an intermittent trail of smoke punctuated by sparks…and what look to be little bits of metal. He decides this is probably Not A Good Thing ™

Trencher
(looking behind them)
Better hurry!

Anna
What?

Trencher
I think we–

The AV4 shakes violently as one of the two right-hand side thrust-vectoring nozzles comes apart, it then starts to lean to the right and sway back and forth as Anna fights with the loss of the blower.

Trencher
Nevermind!

Anna
Great! This is just great!

Trencher
Get us on the ground!

Anna
(Through clenched teeth)
Yes, that IS what’s about to happen!

Kat
This has stopped being fun for me!

The medic is clutching his bag muttering “Oh god, oh god, oh god, oh god…” to himself.

Anna tries to set it down, but at about 10 feet off the ground, the right engine fails completely and puts the one and a half thrust nozzles left on that side out of commission.

Anna + Trencher + Kat
(As the world turns on its side)
FUCK!

The AV4 goes over on its side and skids across the asphalt a good ways before Anna manages to cut the other engine.

The AV4 falls silent, except for the ticking of cooling sheetmetal.

Anna dangles from the pilot seat by the four-point harness. Trencher is hanging from the overhead hand-holds. Kat dangles in her seat, shaking her head. The medic and netrunner are flat on their backs in their seats.

Anna
(Ironically)
I dare say we landed.

Trencher
(More Ironically)
I dare say we fucking crashed.

Trencher punctuates the statement by letting go and dropping to the other side of the cabin, his boots making a crunching sound in the bits of tempered glass scattered about from the right-hand windscreen and cabin windows.

Kat
(To the medic)
Hey, you still with us?

Medic
Apparently…

Anna gets herself out of her harness and drops to the floor with her usual cat-like grace.

Anna
(To the medic)
And him?

Medic
(Checking the netrunner)
Doesn’t seem any worse off…

Meanwhile, in the background Kat and Trencher bicker.

Trencher
You didn’t want to know if -I- was okay?

Kat
I don’t need to be reminded about my luck, thank you.

Medic
(Trying to rather timidly get their attention)
Uhm… Uh, guys? I think we have a problem.

Everyone looks at him like “???”

He had already gotten out of his seat harness and is now kneeling on the seatback, hunched over the netrunner. He’s undoing the harness and checking him over. Anna has a bad feeling about this.

Anna
I thought you said he looked okay.

Medic
(While he works)
Well yeah, he DID ‘look’ okay.

He stops suddenly, and sits up straight.

Medic
Th–there’s no pulse.

Anna + Trencher
What?!

The medic starts checking him over again, his hand brushes the back of the netrunner’s seat. He looks at it; blood.

Medic
Shit! He’s bleeding from somewhere!

The medic rolls him over. There’s a ragged hole in the seat, through which you can see the asphalt under the AV4…and there’s a ragged hole in the netrunner.

Trencher subconsciously puts his hand on his own wound, which still needs to be bandaged up better.

Medic
There’s…nothing I can do. He’s probably been dead for a good ten minutes now…

The medic rolls him back into his seat.

Anna
Must have taken one of the rounds that hit the engine…

Trencher is already on his cellphone. (We don’t get to hear Andy Myers’ side of the conversation until a flashback later)

Trencher
Myers, we– Yeah. The Arasaka team was already in place!

Trencher (Cont’d)
Look, okay! There’s a problem… The decker you sent in with us didn’t make it.

Trencher
Uh-huh.

Trencher
No. We have the body, we need a cleanup team. Our AV4 is down in the war–

Trencher (Cont’d)
(Angry)
The data?! I don’t know!

Trencher begins rubbing his temples with his right hand. He starts speaking in the slow deliberate tone one uses to try and convey something as clearly as possible.

Trencher
Okay, fine. Look, we need to get away from here, and I can’t carry the body through the fucking streets.

Trencher
(A little more relaxed)
No, that’s it. I’m hit, but I can tough it out. Everyone else is just banged up a bit.

Trencher
Okay.

Trencher snaps his fingers to get everyone’s attention, and– while Andy is still talking to him –uses hand signals to convey that they need to get their shit together because they’re leaving in the next five minutes.

Trencher (Cont’d)
Uh-huh.

Kat motions towards the body of the netrunner and raises her eyebrows at Trencher as if to say “Well?” Anna looks up from the body at Trencher as well. Trencher solemnly shakes his head ‘no’.

Andy tells him some unsettling news about how things aren’t just going fuck-ways on their end.

Trencher
(Surprised)
What? No, that’s–

Trencher listens for a good long while. He starts to look concerned. He rather more frantically signals to Kat to get outside and look around.

Trencher (Cont’d)
You’ve got to be fucking ki–

Trencher
(After a pause)
…okay. I’ll see what I can do.

Trencher clicks off the phone and pockets it.

Anna
(Expectantly)
Well…?

Trencher
Short version? This is getting fucking complicated.

Trencher (Cont’d)
There’s someone else making problems for Arasaka in the area…

Trencher (Cont’d)
That’s why the security team was already there…

Trencher (Cont’d)
So far, us four are the only ones who know it ain’t us.

Trencher (Cont’d)
It’s not just Arasaka, either… Our people–

Trencher is interrupted by Kat returning from her look-about.

Kat
Nada. Just homeless and rats. No one nearby.

Kat (Cont’d)
Anyone who’s taken notice don’t seem to care.

Trencher
Okay, I still want us out of here, now. I don’t want to wait around for the NC Harbor Patrol to show up, or worse.

Anna
What about him?

Trencher sighs.

Trencher
He stays. We’ll have a team here in twenty minutes, they’ll hang back and make sure it’s clear, then get him out and sanitize the scene.

Trencher (Cont’d)
This shit is bad. Really bad.

Trencher looks to each one of them in turn.

Trencher (Cont’d)
We were never here.

Everyone picks up their gear bags and starts filing out of the wreck. Anna stops beside Trencher.

Anna
(Without turning to face him)
Is that all he told you?

Trencher
(Likewise not turning to face her)
No.

Trencher (Cont’d)
He said, “Watch your back.”

Without a word Anna continues out after the others. Trencher is the last one out. He lingers for a while, staring at the lifeless body of the netrunner. He can’t even remember the guy’s name. He picks up the bag the runner’s deck is in, turns, and leaves.

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