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I wrote this for a character I never got a chance to play. Maybe someone will find it useful in their game. I will post the character build after the background story. - milspec

This dream was the same as the others. He was pure and weightless and floating high above an endless maze of neon lights. They were floating alongside him, felt but not seen, and their excited chatter filled the crisp black air with anticipation. He silently willed them down towards the grid, and with a rush of air and a blur of motion his invisible companions dove into the matrix of light. Bright flashes of white light exploded across the neon grid like the bombing of Berlin during the Euro Wars.

Static energy charged the air around him, and their chatter became desperate. He willed himself down towards the grid to help, but he foundered and could not move. He lashed his body around desperately but remained floating in place, as helpless as a feather in the breeze. The white flashes below grew larger and larger, and the neon grid started to pulse and distort.

Suddenly, he was overcome with vertigo and began to fall. He plummeted down towards the grid of information and the furious battle that was taking place within it. His head was full of lead, and it was pulling him straight down. Soon he would smash into the chaotic world of lights. He braced for impact, and…

Wendell awoke in his bed, bouncing slightly. His head still felt thick and heavy, but other than that he was fine – it was just a dream. With a thought he deactivated the AR cat-girls who had crawled into his bed and were about to tickle him awake. A few more mental clicks and the soycaf machine and the shower were both steaming, luring him out of bed with their warm embrace.

He heard the rest of the family stirring, and sensed the data that was now racing between all of the devices in the apartment. He didn’t need to look out the window to sense the signals from a thousand commlinks transmitting the pre-commute routines of the apartments around him. He could make out the text stream of the girl in the window across the street, already chatting online with her friends. What was she saying? If he took the time to find out now he would never make it out of bed, succumbing once again to the million distractions that were within the amped signal range of his cranial implant commlink.

He slid out of bed, dragged himself across the hall, and got into the hot shower. Electronic images flashed across the inside of his implanted retinas and gave him an overview of the day’s weather, traffic, headlines, scores, and gossip. The warm water was working - he was already starting to bounce to Hot Sat 97’s Hit of the Hour that was playing inside his head. He took a second while rinsing his hair to quickly logon his Decker to check his standing. Nice – he had moved up eight places last night! A few more jobs and his street rep would increase, getting him access to the next tier of Johnsons and the next tier of jobs. He left that window open and started his toon on its next crafting project, working on burning the hardware for its deck upgrade.

Wendell remembered that he was still in the shower, turned off the water and grabbed a towel. He noticed that he had not quite gotten all of the soap out of his hair, and looked himself over in the steamy mirror. He was short for his age, maybe 5 feet 5 inches tall, with a wiry build. His black skin was clean and smooth after the hot water, and his curly hair was matted and wet. He stared closely at the side of his head, where he swore he still felt the stitches from the cybersurgery, but never saw any scar. He stood back and flexed in the mirror, and just for fun instantly logged on each of his characters. Wendell had them all them flex while he did, posing and grinning across six windows overlaid in his field of vision. Some female elf chick giggled at the image of his stout dwarf Rigger flexing in the middle of a busy Seattle street. He made a rude gesture at her both online as his dwarf and standing there naked in the small bathroom.

<yo chummer got sum time?> came a text message from the window of his Street Samurai character. He replied <sho, wazzz uuup??>, and enlarged the window. <got a schweet deal from a jman, but its got to happen soon. need a tank – you in?>. <sho, gimme a min for fud>. <okies>. He logged off the rest of his characters but kept that window open. He started up the hair dryer and worked some sheen into his hair, trying to remember how the most recent game update would impact the skill specializations of his Street Sam.

There was a loud banging on the door of the bathroom. “Wendell what are you DOING in there??” yelled his stepmother, Loretta, trying to be heard over the whoosh of the hair dryer. “Nothing, Loretta, be out in a minute,” he yelled back, and he imagined her sighing and stomping down the hall in her high heels. He finished picking out his hair and ran back into his room to throw on the same twelve-pocket coveralls he wore yesterday. As he touched the clothing his skinlink relayed a command so the green highlights in his coverall’s seams started to glow a dark red, which was the color he preferred when playing his Sam. He had just upgraded that character with the Red Ryder Assault Rifle, and he was still working on a full red outfit to go with it. In real-life that was easy with the advent of adaptive feedback clothing, but it took a little longer in his VR game.

He sucked down the soycaf from the dispenser in his bedroom and slipped on his sneakers. He looked down at them, focused on their faint signal, and mentally issued the command that started them also glowing red. He subscribed his sneakers to his commlink, and they started to pulse with the beat of the newest Hot Sat 97 Hit of the Hour. Damn he was slow this morning.

In the kitchen his father was just sitting down with his first cup of soycaf and the folded fax of today’s news. Dr. Wendell Oliver, Sr. was an old-fashioned man and preferred a hard copy, which Wendell teased him about mercilessly. Wendell had set up the kitchen terminal in their apartment to spit out the newsfax 15 minutes after the alarm on his father’s commlink went off. Dr. Oliver could have never set that up himself, but it was easy for someone like Wendell. He had also taken the liberty of whipping up a quick program to insert a few random fake new stories into the fax every day, just to keep his father on his toes. When Wendell was a kid Dr Oliver had been able to spot these fake stories easily – “Godzilla Spotted in Midtown” never quite fooled him. But after Wendell’s Advanced Multi-lingual Heuristics class sophomore year, the fake news got harder and harder to spot.

Dr Oliver hummed disapprovingly and pushed a section of the fax across the table. “Crazed Teen Dives off Brooklyn Bridge while Playing Popular MMOVRG” was splashed across the headlines. This was not the fake story – Wendell had seen the headline earlier on his internal news scroller.

“Want to talk about this, son?” Dr Oliver asked in his deep voice, trained by years of psychiatric counseling. “The article says this kid was playing Shadowrun 2053 – isn’t that the game you play?”

<hey chumley time to locknload - u rdy??>

“Umm, later Dad – I’m late for school.” Wendell grabbed an apple and ran for the door, his sneakers pulsing red with each step. <yeah, invite me im gtg>.

“Wendell! Make sure to program some dinner for yourself tonight,” his stepmother called after him. “We have a charity dinner downtown and won’t be home until...” The door slammed behind him and cut her off. He knew their social schedule already, and it took way too long to download the whole thing around this time of year.

While Wendell waited for the elevator, he put his Street Sam character on the street and hailed a cab. Wendell got into the elevator and mentally pressed the AR button for the ground floor, and his character got into the autocab and gave it the address of the meet. The elevator doors opened and Wendell walked out, just as his Sam was pulling up to the meet and getting out of the cab. Since they were almost synched up perfectly, just like he planned, Wendell opened up the game into full AR and overlaid what his Street Sam saw what he – Wendell - saw. In his field of vision the virtual Seattle game world of 2053 was now projected on top of the real New York City in 2070.

As Wendell walked out of his building, and his Sam walked into the warehouse, he nodded knowingly to the night doorman. “Hey there Mr. Oliver Junior, how are you doing today?” asked the doorman, who was still on duty for some reason.

“Pretty good, Chummer,” Wendell replied, wincing at his choice of words. “Chummer” went out in the early 2060s, but was still popular in his game.

“Great, well if you get the chance, come talk to me after you get out of school today,” the doorman said quietly. “There is a little something I need your help with.” People in the building often asked the doorman to help with all sorts of things, and he in turn asked Wendell to help with some of their more technical requests.

“Sure thing, uhh bro. Catch you later,” said Wendell, and set a digital reminder for himself. He walked out onto the morning streets of the Upper East Side, already filled with people headed to work and school. The swirl of their commlinks was a distant blur to him, since most of his attention was focused on scanning the virtual layout of his online meet for signs of danger. Things in the game looked all clear, and the rest of the runners were starting to trickle in.

<hey chummers, what’s up?> his Sam asked the team. <someone else call the shots, I am not in VR.> A few of them nodded. They could probably tell he was in AR by his slower reaction time, but most of them were also multi-tasking so they didn’t really care. The only time he and his friends could get a full VR session going was late at night or on the weekends. Sometimes they got away with it in study hall, when they were supposed to be studying for their Programming VR Structures class. Today there were some randoms in their normal group who were moving pretty fast, probably dudes from the Eastern Bloc who had not yet gone to bed.

Wendell walked to the bus stop and stood in the shelter. It had just snowed and the wind was still pretty cold. The other commuters stared blankly ahead of them, tuned into their own work or play or whatever else caught their attention on the Matrix. It would still be a few minutes until the cross-town bus came and ferried him across Central Park to St Thomas Aquinas Prep.

“Hey Wendell! Hey bro,” came a voice next to him. Wendell silently cursed and slowly turned to see who it was, careful not to turn his Street Sam’s field of vision at the same time. Damn, it was Chin Fong from programming class, who would probably pester him the whole way to school.

“Umm, hey Chin, what’s up?” Wendell asked, not caring. He set his Sam’s weapon to autofire and poked his head into the first room of the warehouse.

“Do you have the homework from last night, bro? Can I get a copy of it real quick?” Chin asked. Wendell had known Chin since middle school, back when Wendell was still enrolled in the magically gifted program that Chin was in.

Chin was pretty much a full Otaku, scoring amazingly well on all of the magical technical assessment tests that Aquinas Prep specialized in. He could access a range of online systems without needing a commlink, since his early exposure to magic and the Matrix had left him naturally sensitive to all types of signals. Wendell had also scored well on these tests, but had failed to fully develop into an Otaku.

“Umm, sure. One sec.” Wendell had his Sam fire a few quick bursts into the room to keep the ganger’s heads down, and minimized the action down to a corner of his vision. Another few mental commands brought up the binaries from last night’s assignment, stashed them on an anonymous file drop, whipped up a limited access account for the drop, and messaged its passcode over to Chin’s commcode. Chin was way more used to dealing with complex forms and sprites than with normal programs by this point, so he had trouble keeping up with Wendell in their AP Neural Systems Programming class.

“Thanks man,” Chin replied, and looked curiously at the air above Wendell’s head for a few seconds. “I can see you are busy with your role-playing game so I will leave you alone. Good luck.”

Wendell’s cheeks flushed and he mumbled something in reply, cursing the speed at which Chin was able to break the simple encryption Wendell had put on his gaming session. Three years ago, after Wendell was dropped from the Magically Gifted program at Aquinas Prep, his father had footed the bill for a range of enhancements to keep his son’s programming skills up. He still remembered going in for surgery that day, and the weight that seemed to drag his head down ever since then. With the implants and his natural skill Wendell was good, one of the best programmers in the city-wide High School competitions, but there were some things that he could never dream of challenging a full Otaku to.

He enlarged his game back into a full AR overlay, and swore when he saw the explosions coming from where the team’s Mage had been standing. Wendell lifted his real arms up into the sky, and in the game his Street Samurai started shooting mini-grenades rapid fire from the Red Ryder’s under-slung launcher. If Chin wanted to spy on his game he could at least see one of the best players around in action, timing the air burst explosions perfectly to cause maximum carnage.

The bus came, and Wendell managed to find a seat. He slouched down into the hard plastic bench and started laying down automatic fire into the crates on the far side of the warehouse. A slow smile spread across his face as he quickly forgot about his father’s headlines, his stepmother’s nagging, Chin’s natural skills, and the rest of his worries. For the rest of the ride to school Wendell just worried about how high he could get his body count in Shadowrun 2053. Maybe today would be a good day after all.
Wendell Oliver

-[ Attributes, 180 + 80 BP ]-
BOD: 3
AGI: 3
REA: 4
STR: 2
CHA: 2
INT: 2
LOG: 5 (7)
WIL: 5

EDG: 6
MAG: 5 (3)
ESS: 4.05

Init: 6 / 7 CVR / 8 HVR
InitP: 1 / 2 CVR / 3 HVR

Macro Phys [6d6.init(6)] init 1
Macro CVR [7d6.init(7)] init 2
Macro HVR [8d6.init(8)] init 3

-[ Active Skills, 80 BP ]-
Cracking Group: 4
Electronics Group: 4
(Cybercombat +2)
(Electronics Warfare +2)
(Hacking +2)
(Computer +2)
(Data Search +2)
(Software +2)

-[ Knowledge Skills, 21 / 21 BP ]-
IK: VR Games and Rules: 5 (7)
AK: Matrix Theory: 5 (7)
AK: High School Biology: 2 (4)
AK: High School Chemistry: 2 (4)
AK: High School Magic Theory: 1 (3)
PK: Otaku / Technomancers: 1 (3)

-[ Languages ]-
English: N
Japanese: 2 (4)
High School Spanish: 2 (4)
High School Sperenthiel: 2 (4)

-[ Positive Qualities, +35 BP ]-
Adept: +5
High Pain Tolerance 2: +10
Natural Hardening: +10
Will to Live 2: +10

-[ Negative Qualities, -35 BP ]-
Addiction, Matrix (Severe): -20
Codeblock, Logout: -5
SINner (Standard): -5
Weak Immune System: -5

-[ Contacts, 10 BP ]-
Night-time Doorman (City Politics): 3 / 3
Fixer (Street Knowledge): 1 / 3
Comp Sci Teacher (Programming): 1 / 1 (free)
Elderly Chess Shop Owner (Unknown): 1 / 1 (free)

-[ Resources, 50 BP ]-
250,000 Y

-[ Adept Abilities, 3 MP ]-
Imp Tech Ability [Cybercombat] +2, 0.5 MP
Imp Tech Ability [Elect Warfare] +2, 0.5 MP
Imp Tech Ability [Hacking] +2, 0.5 MP
Imp Tech Ability [Computer] +2, 0.5 MP
Imp Tech Ability [Data Search] +2, 0.5 MP
Imp Tech Ability [Software] +2, 0.5 MP

-[ Cyberware, 1.62 Essence, 20,500 Y ]-
Implant Commlink
Touch Link, Alpha
Skillwire 3
Cybereyes 2, Alpha
[Image Link]
[Eye Recorder]
[Smartlink, Alpha]
[Low-Light Vision, Alpha]

-[ Bioware, 0.375 Essence, 45,500 Y ]-
Cerebral Booster 2
Mnemonic Enhancer 2
Sleep Regulator

-[ Gear, 184,450 Y ]-
Implanted Commlink 5/5/5/5
Armor 5, Attack 5, Biofeedback 5, Decrypt 5, Defuse 5, ECCM 5, Exploit 5, Medic 5, Sniffer 5, Spoof 5, Stealth 5, Track 5, Blackout 5
Analyse 5, Browse 5, Command 5, Edit 5, Encrypt 5, Reality Filter 5, Scan 5
Agent 4

Pistols (agi) 3, Dodge (rea) 3: "street sam"
Etiquette (cha) 3, Perception (int) 3: "front man"
Infiltration (agi) 3, Locksmith (agi) 3: "spy"
Pilot Groundcraft (rea) 3, Gunnery (agi) 3: "rigger"
First Aid (log) 3: "med-tech"

Hammerli 620s L Pistol (4P, SA, 1RC, 6©, H Pistol range)
Shop (Software)
Kits (Locksmith, Computer, Hardware, Software)
Medkit (6)
DocWagon Basic
Holo Projector (3)
Satellite Link (3)
Feedback Clothing
Urban Explorer Jumpsuit (6/6)
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