The following story was originally inspirited by Tisoz's fiction contest although I never had any intention to enter I felt that it would be interesting to understand the perspective of a drone rigger.

My original idea didn't get off the ground because I couldn't think of a good plot. My second attempt is a purely character driven piece that I hope addresses the annoying lack of drone rigger threats despite its unfortunate shortness.

The titutilar character of this piece was loosely inspired by the titular character of a Toy for Juliette by Robert Bloch who was, in turn, loosely inspired by the titular character of Juliette by Donatien Alphonse François de Sade.

Juliette and her Toys

When? The sometime in latter half of the Twenty-First Century. A time of high magic and higher science. A time of tyrannical corporations and daring criminals who do their dirty work. A time when corruption and greed reign supreme.
Where? The interior of a semi-trailer, dimly lit by an array of computer monitors. This roving battle fortress could be parked anywhere. It could be parked in the heart of a thriving metropolis or in a desolate war zone. It could be parked in your back yard.


Her painted fingers fly across the keys at an eagle's pace, issuing orders to her toys. With each of her key strokes and with each of her thoughts her green dots moved to outflank the pitiful and incompetent reds. Juliette's enemies are always "reds" to her because red is the color of their dots. It didn't matter who they were. Elite soldiers, mercenaries, gangers, shadowrunners, wageslaves, housewives, and crying infants are all rendered equal by the simplistic two-tone interface.

Her units close in on their designated targets and their fields of vision are superimposed onto hers via image link. A12, a small bird with a large minigun swooped down to strafe a human sized figure clad head-to-toe in rigid armor; the figure is thrown forward by the violent expulsion of blood from dozens of exit wounds. G7, a wheeled semi-anthroform with four arms closes in on half a dozen lightly armored reds; the grenade launchers on its arms make short work of the hapless reds.
Similar scenes are repeated across the battlefield as hundreds of meat soldiers fall to the network tireless and emotionless drones.

Somewhere in the bloodbath a single scene catches Juliette's eye. A heavily armored soldier wearing an officer's rank insignia was running away and sacrificing his own men to cover his retreat. Her closest unit is G2, a four-legged walker the size of a large wolf and one of her favorites.

With a simple mental command Juliette feels her body dissolve and transform. Her muscles are replaced with servos, motors, and smart metal fibers; her eyes became cameras and radar receivers; she could feel the machine guns and rocket launchers on her sides as if they were a part of her and she could fire them as one would flex a muscle; to her perception the drone's body totally replaced her own. She takes a second to orient herself to her new body and then sprints off after the fleeing officer.

Several bullets tear through the officer's left knee and he falls to the ground helpless. Juliette slows her pursuit and lets him regain his footing. She waits until he has begun to limp away before she pounces and wraps the drone's titanium jaws around the mob's ankle. It bone emits a satisfying crunch as Juliette's mechanical teeth crush it into dust and Juliette retreats to allow her prey time to recover. He isn't able to muster enough strength to stand this time but he crawls away faster than some people can run. Three more times she pounces and three more times she retreats, taking a small part of the officer with her each time. She only stops at three because she hears a loud rumble in the back of her mind and a bright red warning light flashes in her field of vision. She puts a short burst of .50 into the helpless man's head before jacking out to deal with the emergency.

Two men, both handsome orks wearing armor plates over black jumpsuits and carrying submachine guns stand in her command center. Behind the semi-trailer's doors have been blown off their hinges by a powerful explosive. One issues a command in a rude and harsh tone "Remove the jack, slitch, and keep your hands where we can see them."

She doesn't.

The rude one fires a burst at the sensuous women. The bullets simply decorate the almost invisible barrier protecting her with a series of spiderweb cracks and the other red tries to retreat out the way they came. He screams in pain as another pane of bulletproof glass slams down, this one on his foot. The reds begin to empty their weapons at the barriers in vain but are cut short by the paralyzing agent being pumped into their compartment.

Juliette licks her lips as she surveys the two captured reds. With a few improvements these two will be excellent toys.


The moral of this tiny tale, dear shadowrunner, is quite simple. A cranial bomb costs no essence and can save you a great deal of pain.