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I wrote a short story for but unfortunately it looks like it didn't make the cut. I have a lot of other writing projects lined up that I need to get to. I would like to take time and rework it to better suit the needs of Fanpro, but I honestly can't justify the time for something that doesn't pay. Now, having said that, I write so people can enjoy my work, letting it sit on my hard drive isn't going to achieve that goal. So, I present to you all,

A very long night.

Bear in mind that this is a completed work. I am not looking for advice on how to make it better, or for anyone to point out spelling or grammar mistakes. By posting it here I am forfeiting my ability to submit it to in the future. What I would like is some feedback:

"Hey that was pretty good, and here is why." Or alternatively, "Hey, you suck, and here is why."

If you just want to say "that was cool" or "that sucked" your welcome to. So, without further ado....
The trid rang, an annoying buzz that disrupted the elf’s already restless sleep. Angrily, Jessica rolled over, satin sheets spilling off her lithe form like water. The cloudy haze of sleep departed almost immediately. She reached over and pressed the “voice only” button out of habit. The holographic screen filled with a familiar face. Possibly the last one she expected to see.

They had been lovers once. He had disappeared six months before. Just
vanished like a breeze on a still summer night. She hadn’t heard from him since.
“Jessica? Baby are you there?” The screen flashed with static as he spoke, the words and his face a split second out of synch.
Jessica swallowed as a large lump formed in her throat made of anger and pain. Mostly anger. She ran a dark hand through silver hair and pulled the sheets up over the thin, sweat soaked tank top that stuck to her mocha colored skin.
“Yeah, I’m here.” She wondered if her voice sounded as strained to him as it did to her.

“I’m sorry for calling you so late,” he began. He seemed a little nervous. “Look, I need your help.”
Jessica blinked, and then shook her head in disbelief. Outrage obscured any thoughts of concern or, dare she say it, love. Six months. There had been no word, not even a goodbye.

“You need my help?” She hissed the words from between clenched teeth. “You have no right. Where the frag have you been?”

“I’m sorry, baby—Crow.” He used her street name. Appealing to her emotions wasn’t getting him anywhere, so he switched tactics. “The crew got slotted on a run and I had to pull a quick fade. There wasn’t any time.”
It was an excuse. If he had really wanted to, he could have gotten in touch with her. Her drop in south Seattle was unused; she’d checked every day for five months. But it wasn’t his words that brought on the sudden surge of sympathy. It was his face. He truly looked desperate. Jessica sighed.

“What do you need, Jason?”

“A place to stay, for a night, maybe two, then I’m gone—I won’t bother you again.” He looked incredibly tired. His eyes were bloodshot, his skin pale.
“What have you gotten yourself into, Jase?”

“Bad things, baby girl. Bad things.” He shook his head. “Look, I understand if you hate me, but please, just help me out this once.”

Anger and love warred. For one of the few times in her life, love won. “Okay. Two nights, that’s it. Where are you?”

His face melted into the familiar, easy smile she knew so well, but there was no surprise or relief on his face. “Thanks, baby girl. I knew you would say yes. I’m at a pay phone at a bar called Burnt Magna.” Jessica knew the bar. It was a dive in the Barrens.

“Okay. I’ll be there in a half hour.”

“It’s good to see you again, Jessica.”

Jessica’s mouth was dry. Suddenly, humiliatingly, she felt the need to cry, to sob into her pillow, but she knew she wouldn’t be able to. Six incredibly long months. Tears never came.

“You too,” she said brusquely, and then disconnected. She sat in silence for a moment, and then she screamed, swinging her fist. Her hand punched through the wooden wall beside her bed, sending splinters flying into the air.

Damn you.

She didn’t take long, dressing in her work gear out of reflex. There wasn’t much call for social occasions in her life lately. Black combat boots, Form Fitting body armor, leather pants, and a button up gossamer shirt. She shrugged into her Secure Tech trench coat, and slipped her Colt Manhunter into the right pocket. Grabbing her keys, she was out the door into the darkness and rain.

According to her car’s onboard computer the bar Jason had mentioned was just south of the 182nd Street exit in Redmond. It was a little further into gang territory than she was comfortable with, but what was life without a little risk.
She slowed her speed considerably once she entered the Barrens. Too many obstructions blocked the road for her to navigate safely at high speeds. Cars, telephone poles and parts of houses littered the lanes. The city had all but abandoned this area and made no effort to patrol it, or keep it clean. She followed the instructions on her windshield display, peering into the deep shadows that seemed to encroach on every side. She arrived at the bar a little after 30 minutes. The rain continued to fall, it’s rhythmic beat imparting a false sense of comfort.
She parked the car across the street from the dilapidated building and began to wait. She sat there for fifteen minutes, drumming her fingers impatiently on the steering wheel. When Jason did not appear, she decided to get out and look for him. Outside, the rain poured down, soaking her down to her skin despite her coat. She trotted across the street, a nervous energy beginning to grow. The hair on the back of her neck raised, sending a prickling sensation running down her spine. She slid her hand inside her pocket grasping her pistol for comfort.

One deep breath, and she stepped forward, opening the bar door with her left hand. The room was empty but the light was on.

The blow came from behind and was completely silent, hitting her center mass. The kinetic energy pushed her through the door, her body unconsciously leading her into a roll. She came up, back against the wall. There was no pain, yet, only a dull tingling. A quick check revealed that her armor had stopped the bullet, but she knew it would leave a nasty bruise.
She didn’t have time to ponder it any further. A grenade bounced through the opened door and rolled across the floor into the center of the room. Jessica’s body reacted faster than her mind did, diving her behind the bar. The grenade detonated, not with a bang, but a hiss. Smoke curled into her lungs, and her vision dimmed, threatening her with blackness.
“Damn”, she swore, just before passing out.

She woke hard, with a suddenness that set her head spinning, an appropriate counterpoint to the dull, pulsating pain at the base of her skull. She tried to move but found that she was tied up around a metal chair, in an in incredibly awkward position. She suppressed a wave of panic, while trying to fight off the groggy after effects of whatever gas they had used. Her hands were bound behind her, around a board that was placed between her back and arms.

“I think she’s awake, yo,” a large, baritone voice spoke, startlingly close. There was movement, the creak of leather and the sound of boots on concrete. The grogginess started to fade, and she could hear the rain, distant but audible. At least I’m still in Seattle, she thought.

She cracked her eyes open, and the pounding in her head increased as light slipped though her lids. An involuntary groan escaped her lips.
“Hey lady, we know your awake, so open your eyes.” A different voice said. High pitched and vaguely weasel like. A man hiding from his fear, she thought. She forced her eyes open, and a white flare obscured her vision momentarily. As it faded, she automatically began to catalogue her surroundings. She was in a warehouse, completely empty except for a card table and two cars: a Bison and a bright red Westwind Turbo. There were four men in the room: a troll, an ork, and two humans. The troll was massive and typical of it’s kind. He wore a chain across his chest and looked very much like a bouncer, bread for intimidation, not to actually fight. The ork looked dangerous. Clean cut and well dressed, he also carried a katana in a black sheath over his back.

Very dangerous, Jessica corrected herself mentally.

Jessica identified one of the humans as The Weasel. Thin and reedy, he wore a cheap suit and a fedora that made him look like he had stepped out of a bad gangster trid. His face was twisted into what was probably a permanent sneer. The last man made her as uneasy as the Ork. It was the way he carried himself, relaxed and tense at the same time, and the way he held his Colt Cobra sub machine gun. It was close to his body, not quite pointed at her, but not quite pointed away, his finger resting easily on the guard. He was definitely a pro.
She took a deep breath and spoke. “What the frag is going on?” The words came out painfully defiant. It was the adrenaline. She always spoke more confidently than she was wont when in a dangerous situation. It was rarely appreciated, and this time was no exception.

“Shut up, slitch,” The Weasel spoke as he stepped up and slapped her across the face. “I’m in charge here,” he told her. He looked very pleased with himself.

Jessica stared at him. The side of her face was warm from the blow, but The Weasel hadn’t done any real damage.

“Where is Jason?” She asked, slowly and clearly, as though she was talking to an idiot, or someone hard of hearing. The Weasel, quite predictably, slapped her again.

“Listen lady, don’t make this harder than it has to be.” He grinned, obviously hoping that she would do just that. “We got your friend, and we got you. Now, we have something you want, and you have something we want.”

She wondered what, beyond the obvious, she could have that they wanted. They certainly wouldn’t have gone to all this trouble just for that.

The Weasel moved in front of her and grabbed her chin, forcing her head up. His two nuyen cologne filled her nostrils with its cheap, cloying stench. “We want a trade. A few months ago you helped a team smuggle a ‘package’ into the Tir. We want it back. So your going to take us there, show us where you dropped ‘it’ off and then you’re going to help us get ‘it’ back.”

Jessica immediately recalled the job they were referring to. Six months ago, Grendel, herself, and a couple other runners were hired to pick up a package and escort it to the Tir. The package was a four year old elven girl who had the misfortune of being born to a woman named Miko Ishikawa. Being Japanese, and a member of the Yakuza, Miko could not bare the shame of an elven daughter, or so the story went. The little girl was kept in hiding until Miko could arrange passage to the elven homeland. That’s where Jessica and her compatriots had come in. Of course, she never met Miko, it was all told to her second hand. So who knew? This little get together shed a little light on the subject, though. The Weasel was obviously Mafioso, and that led Jessica to believe that the girl was probably legit, or at the very least the Mafia bought into the story. The little girl would make a powerful bargaining piece in the complex game that the Seattle underworld played. Jessica made up her mind almost immediately.

“I’ll do it, but I have one condition. You let Jason go now, and I’ll take you to the Tir.”

The Weasel snorted at her. He raised his hand to slap her again.
“Enough!” A powerful voice boomed through the building. The Weasel froze, looking almost openly afraid. Jessica knew there had to be someone else in the room. The Weasel was too much of a patsy to be in charge of this operation.

A figure stepped into the light, identifying the voice of command. Jessica didn’t recognize him personally, but figured he was a local don or some other Mafioso higher up. She wasn’t intimately familiar with the politics of the underworld. It was hard enough staying alive in the shadows of the megas. Adding the crime lords to the list was just too much to keep track of.

He was in his forties, ruggedly good looking. His voice had sounded vaguely Italian. The accent was probably a facade; there weren’t a lot of Italian immigrants to Seattle anymore. From a dozen tiny details, Jessica decided that he was carrying and could handle himself in a fight.

“Untie her,” The Don said, without looking at anyone in particular. “But watch her.” He nodded to Jessica, she forced a smile in return. She saw his throat move slightly, and realized he was speaking sub-vocally.

“It is done,” he said finally. “I’ll take you on your word, Crow,” he said to her with a polite smile.

Jessica’s smile tightened. Often, her best weapon was her looks. It wasn’t one of her choosing, but she’d take every advantage she was handed. Men, and often women, extended themselves above and beyond to help her if they could. Best of all, they usually underestimated her abilities because of her pretty face and slender, obviously feminine physique. Looking at the Don, Jessica suspected this was one of those times.

“You have my word then.”

“Then we are agreed,” replied the Don.

The human with the Colt stepped forward. He slung the sleek SMG on his back and unsheathed a dikoted Cougar Longblade.

“Nice knife,” she remarked casually as he sliced though her bonds. The plasma treated knife was one of the sharpest of its kind, and it sliced through the bonds like water. As he finished and stepped back, the knife disappeared into its concealed sheath. The SMG was back in his hands, and casually pointed near her.

Jessica rubbed her hands and wrists, working the blood back into her extremities, She stood and pounded her feet, taking a quick stock of herself. Her pistol and boot knife were missing, but she had expected that. Her armor was still on, but her chest piece had been unfastened, the blouse torn open. That wasn’t totally unexpected, either. She made a show of refastening her armor, she noticed the Ork looking away, something akin to shame covering his face.

She smirked to herself, carefully concealing the expression, and briefly wondered how he had hooked up with such a dishonorable lot. The Weasel was grinning in a disgustingly self satisfied way as she buttoned up her gossamer shirt. Some things she never forgot. If she had her way, he wouldn’t either.
The Don handed her cell phone to her. She looked down to the tiny display and saw Jason’s face, just as battered and forlorn as before.

“You okay?” She asked him.

“Yeah, baby I’m sorry. I didn’t have a choice.”
“We always have choices, Jase. The key’s in the same place, help your self to whatever you like.”

A smile of hope spread across his face. “Thanks baby, I will.”
She smiled back at him. “Don’t be there when I get back.” With that, she disconnected the phone and handed it back to The Don.
“Ok what’s the first step?”

She named them all in her head: Brute, Samurai, The Weasel, Gun, and Don. It was Don who gave the orders.

“We have a flight scheduled in an hour. It’s a private plane. It will land in Portland, I have arranged for the five of you to have a car. We know the girl is in Portland, and we believe we have located the appropriate school. We simply need you to point her out.”

Jessica lifted one slim, snowy eyebrow. They didn’t know what she looked like. That’s why they needed her. Or, more accurately, they needed her photographic memory.

Of all her assets, and she was the first to admit that she had many, Jessica’s memory was the one that came in handy the most often in her line of work. It was a poorly kept secret, and it was usually what got her most of her jobs. It made her, among other things, an excellent courier.

To these fellows, she was a memory, and a pretty face. Nothing more.

“Well, what are we waiting for?”

The trip to SeaTac was filled with an uncomfortable silence. None of the banter between teammates on a run. No jesting, or competition over strengths. Jessica was forced to sit on the far back bench that ran the width of the vehicle. Brute sat next to her, picking his tusks with a long, yellow finger nail. Gun drove the truck. He was jacked in, and sealed in a pilots coffin. She hadn’t taken him for a rigger the way he held the Colt, but it wasn’t the first time she’d been wrong about someone. Samurai was riding shotgun, eyes wary and alert. The Weasel road behind him, playing nervously with a coin in his pocket.

Jessica leaned back against the steel hull of the big diesel truck and took the opportunity to study her opponents. Despite his size, she surmised that Brute would be the easiest. He was too accustomed to having the size and strength advantage. He was stronger than her, she had no doubt, but she was sure she hit harder, and he wouldn’t be expecting it. Gun and Samurai would be tougher. They would need to be caught unaware. It would have to be a trick of some kind, or maybe she could just convince them she wasn’t worth it.

That just left The Weasel. She concealed a smile. The Weasel caught her glance and smiled back, not a friendly expression, but one she recognized all too well. She knew his type, and she knew exactly what to do with him.

Don must have pulled some strings because they got onto the private jet from a private parking lot without ever getting searched. The jet was an Osprey Two. A very expensive, subsonic transport plane, normally used by Doc Wagon.

The interior of the jet was heavily modified, plush couches and chairs, a well stocked bar and a small kitchen. Jessica staked out the couch and unfurled her slim frame on it. She had been awakened from a dead sleep, and then knocked unconscious. Not a very restful night in her book. Brute growled at her when she slid onto the couch, the only place where he would fit comfortably. She ignored him and made sure there was no room for anyone else along with her. Gun smirked, and Samurai chuckled. From beneath closed lids, she felt The Weasel’s eyes on her again. That would definitely have to stop.

Jessica slept as much as she could on the two hour plane trip. Brute woke her rather harshly. She shrugged his huge hand off her shoulder and lazily stood up, stretching and yawning. She shook her hair and excused herself into the bathroom.

“Great,” The Weasel’s voice pierced through the thin bathroom door, “a woman in the bathroom, were going to be here another hour!” He guffawed at his own joke in the silence that followed, accompanied by what might be an amused grunt from Brute. Jessica locked the door and turned on the faucet. She splashed her face and ran her hands through her curly silver hair, gathering it into a tight ponytail.

She was done, but she sat on the toilet for half an hour, catching some more sleep. She could use the rest, but mostly she just wanted to slot off The Weasel.

A heavy pounding on the door woke her up. “Come on, woman! We
can’t take all day. Get the frag out of there before I have the door knocked in.”

She counted to three before opening the door.

“How do I look?” Jessica asked in her best little girl voice, giving a little twirl. Maybe the twirl was a little over the top, but Samurai chuckled. Gun stared straight ahead, as usual, and The Weasel growled and muttered something about dandelion eaters.

They got the same deference at Portland international, which surprised Jessica. Technically she was a citizen of Tir, but she had been living and working in Seattle for the last eight years. She was in Seattle illegally of course, but she had a few fake SIN’s that proclaimed her Seattle birth. Her real one she kept in a safety deposit box in the Seattle branch of the Bank of UCAS. Any scan by the Tir border patrol or police would reveal her real identity. She had never had the money to have it erased, and figured it could come in handy some time. It had, when she used it to cross the border six months before.

The car waiting for them was a Nightsky limo. Weasel gestured the team towards the monstrosity, and Gun grimaced.

“Way to be inconspicuous, Weasel,” Jessica muttered. “You pick the car?”

The little man spun to face her, face flushed and angry. Samurai stepped between them before it got out of hand. As he spoke, Jessica realized this was the first time he had done so. His voice was soft and had an accent she couldn’t quite place.

“She’s right. This car is no good, we’ll have too many eyes on us. We need an alternate.”

The Weasel was furious, but unable to do anything. He wasn’t about to gainsay Samurai. Chewing on his lip angrily, he used his wrist phone to make a call, walking a few steps away from the group to speak in hushed tones. Jessica closed her eyes and concentrated on her breathing, clearing her mind and focusing her perception. The words carried slightly over the air.

“Ok they won’t use the Nightsky, do we have a backup vehicle?” There was a pause as whoever was on the other end responded.

“Ok, yeah that’ll work. Thanks.” He ended the conversation and returned to the group.

“Ok, I got us another vehicle.” He pointed to a Gaz Nomad 4x4 that was parked a few spaces down. The brand new SUV was painted a molt brown and sported tinted windows. Jessica had to use the step to get in and ended up sitting in the back seat, between The Weasel and Brute. Weasel snuggled in a little closer than she would have liked, she bit her tongue and mentally filed it away with everything else. Gun fired up the truck’s sun cell engine, and pulled out into the road.

Six months before, Jessica’s team had dropped the girl off at a private boarding school in the south Portland area. They had spoken to a woman, handed the girl over, and that had been the end of it. She imparted this information to Gun.

“The address is 2411 Oakridge road. It’s called Brakehaven Boarding
School.” Jessica said. She leaned forward an punched it up on the nav computer. The display blinked and then the computer mapped out the quickest route. Gun nodded silently.

Last time she had been in Portland the team had moved in under the cover of darkness, and had spent a total of forty-two minutes in the city. Just long enough to get to the school and get out.

The sun was just rising in the east, casting a pale pink hue over the city. The earthy architecture glowed under the low morning light. Ivy-draped buildings and large forest-like structures filled the majority of the city. It was nothing like Seattle, for which she was grateful. The arrogant, stubborn nature of her kin is what drove her from the Tir. Their obstinate pride in building the ‘perfect, clean’ society ruled over all else, along with their undisguised contempt for all others. Seattle was on the other end of the spectrum. Dirty, anonymous, and free.

The school was a large four building complex. Two of the buildings were classrooms and labs, the third was the administrative building, and the last was a large dormitory. The complex was set in a circular pattern around a large garden. The area behind the school was reserved for a baseball diamond, tennis court, and track. The school sported its own security and an eight foot chain link fence.

“This is the place.” Jessica looked around. “We had the daily pass code and were able to drive right up to the main building. What’s your plan?”

The Weasel smiled tightly. “Oh, I have a plan.” He plainly did not.

“Let’s drive around and take a look at the security,” Samurai suggested in his odd dialect. Gun nodded, and pulled the SUV around. Following the road around the school, they passed the gatehouse, a lightly armored shack with two security guards. The men, both elves, were wearing light body armor and carrying heavy pistols.

Weasel struggled in as deep thought as he could probably handle. Jessica remained silent. She had given her word to take them to the girl and point her out to them, nothing else.

Gun circled the school for an hour. Mostly in silence. The Weasel had
him stop near the gate so he could read the visitor rules.
“All right. The slag and I will go in as prospective parents,” he grinned unpleasantly at Jessica. “While we’re in, she’ll slip away and find the girl.” He pointed to Gun and Samurai. “You two will wait for Crow’s signal. When she gives it, you come in guns blazing and extract the girl.”

Painful expressions flickered across Gun and Samurai’s faces. The plan was terrible, but by some gross twist of fate, The Weasel was the boss here.

Brute looked around stupidly. “Huh. What do I do?”

“Wait in the car,” Gun told him as he handed Jessica his cell phone, “and be quiet.”

A few minutes later Jessica and The Weasel strolled up to the main gate, hand in hand.

I deserve an Oscar for this, Jessica thought, clutching The Weasel’s clammy hand, a pleasant, vapid smile on her face. The Mafioso was marginally taller than her, she realized with some surprise. Not so little, just thin. The Weasel and the guard at the gate exchanged pleasantries, and he managed to be convincing enough. Jessica herself received some distasteful glances. She was an elf though, and that was evidently good enough to let them in. The guards checked The Weasel’s I.D. and issued them temporary passes.

Jessica disentangled her hand from The Weasel’s as they rounded the corner toward the Administrative building. He leered at her, but didn’t object. The ivy lined path was woody and well shaded. Jessica fell back a step then blended seamlessly into the shadows. She had no idea how The Weasel would explain his wife’s absence, nor did she care.

She moved quickly and silently around the dorm, hearing the chatter of girls float through the windows as students prepared for the coming day. She studied the wall for a moment. It was concrete, covered with a brick facade. Perfect for climbing. She placed her long, slender fingers into the grooves between the bricks and smoothly moved up the wall. The first window ledge was fifteen feet off the ground, no doubt to discourage any escapist tendencies in the students. It would never stop her, but the average student was generally less determined than she was.

Peering through the window, she recognized a large, familiar looking room. Twelve bunks lined side by side, with little space between. The girls in this room were all in their teens. They talked and bickered and fussed over each other as they dressed for class.

She felt a distant twinge. The scene was all too familiar, and the emotions that went with it were not good.

“Let it go, omae,” she whispered to herself as she fell lightly back to earth. She landed silently and moved further around the building. A few windows down, she climbed up again, and peered in. Pay dirt. The girls in this room were four or five. They were dressing themselves with the care and concentration of the very young. A couple of older women stood by to assist anyone who had trouble with their buttons or laces.
The windows here were barred, but entering wasn’t what Jessica had in mind.

She dropped back to the ground and pulled out the cell phone Gun had given her.

“Speak,” Gun answered.

“I located the girl,” Jessica lied. “She’s at my location, but I can’t get in. You will have to come get her and you’re going to have to do it quietly, otherwise the alarm will sound and the children will get locked down.” She waited his response. Her plan was tentative, and it hinged on them not wanting to listen to The Weasel. It worked.

“Okay. We’ll be there in ten,” Gun replied after a moment, and closed the line.

Jessica set the phone down carefully against the wall. She then took a few steps back and all but disappeared in the surrounding vegetation. True to his word, Gun and Samurai showed up a few minutes later. Neither one had their weapons at ready, as the only guards were at the entrance. To their credit, the two were incredibly silent. Jessica’s had to strain her sensitive ears to pick them out of the background noise.

Gun looked around and leaned over to pick up the phone. Jessica moved. Like a dark blur, she closed the space between them with a speed only the truly awakened could claim. Her heel connected with the side of his head, and sent him flying into the dormitory wall. His eyes went wide with surprise before the impact snapped them shut and he slid limply to the ground, leaving a little smear of blood on the brick façade. She used the momentum of her kick to push herself off the wall and away to face the incoming attack. The katana whistled through the air, a hairsbreadth from her head. A heartbeat, perhaps less, and she was up and around, arms in a guard position, feet balanced. Samurai had the blade out, down and to the left.

“I’m sorry,” he apologized in his odd dialect. “I don’t have a choice.” His expression was one of genuine regret.

“I’m glad I do,” she replied. “Tell me, was he the only one who touched me?” She referred obviously to The Weasel.

Samurai nodded. She moved. Gun had been unprepared, and too slow to recover from the speed and surprise of her attack. Samurai had no such disadvantage. She was fast, but he was faster. The two circled each other in an odd, eerie dance, one that would end in blood. The steel blade of the katana flickered in the early morning light as Samurai saw his move and took it. Jessica spun to one side without a moment to lose, and brought her right elbow up and around. Samurai pulled back and used the hilt of the sword to block her blow, but the strength of her attack knocked him back a step, and for the first time, she saw surprise written on his face.

“You’re an adept!” He gasped, centering himself again. “I assensed you!”

Jessica was silent, knowing his shock would not last long. She moved.
Her left hand jabbed toward him, drawing his blade out in defense. As soon as he had committed the blade, she reversed the feint, and rolled beneath the sword’s arc. She was on her feet in an instant, close enough to smell fresh sweat and soap. She put her hands on his shoulders and pulled her self up with all her considerable strength. She vaulted into the air slamming her knee against Samurai’s jaw. The blow connected with the crunch of shattering bone. She used the momentum of the blow to flip over backwards and land a few feet away. She hoped it was enough to end it, she had been lucky so far, but he only had to hit her once. The Ork fell backward landing limply on his back, the blow had knocked him unconscious. The katana landed a few feet away from his open hand.

She checked both men for a pulse. She’d faked unconsciousness plenty of times herself, but theirs seemed to be genuine. Both had a strong, steady rythym, although she didn’t envy Gun the headache he would have when he came to. Or the month of eating through a straw that was in Samurai’s future.

She was relived that the two men would be okay. She retrieved Samurai’s katana and held it for a moment. It wasn’t her area of expertise, but she could tell that the blade was high quality. She could never hope to be anything more than a skilled novice with the katana. In Samurai's hands, it was a work of art. Jessica closed his fingers around the hilt, and kissed him lightly on the cheek, leaving a layer of lipstick.

Kneeling beside Gun, she retrieved his Cougar Fine blade, and the loaned out cell. “I would pay you, handsome,” she whispered to him, “but I don’t have my credstick on me.” With one last look around and she disappeared into the foliage.

The Weasel was furious. He had been waiting for his ‘wife’ to show up for the last hour. The elves had kept him in a waiting room while they checked out his story and looked for her. When she didn’t turn up, two guards politely escorted him to the main gate. His outrage grew to a new level when he realized the stupid troll was asleep in the back of the SUV and the other two were missing. Weasel climbed into the back, mouth open to shout some profanity at the troll when he noticed the meta’s eyes were open and glazed over. A thin red line connected each ear, and his chest was covered in blood.

“What do you think the penalty for murder is in the Tir, Weasel?”

The Mafioso’s started at the sound of Jessica’s voice behind him. He spun to face her, and somehow she looked very, very different than the petite, attractive elf they had captured. She held the blood covered Cougar Fine Blade in one hand, and Gun’s cell in the other.

The Weasel let out a nervous laugh. “You’re dead, girly, and so is your friend. Nobody betrays the Mafia and gets away with it!” His high pitched, reedy voice cracked on the last syllable.

In her best little girl voice, Jessica spoke into the phone, “hello? Police? There’s a man outside my school with a knife, he just killed someone.” With that, she pushed the mute button and dropped the phone to the ground.

“Your fraggin’ nuts lady!” Weasel screamed at her. “You just signed your death warrant!” As The Weasel turned to get into the truck, Jessica was on him. She buried her knee into the small of his back, slamming his face into the side of the truck. An awful crack filled the air as his nose broke. Blood from his ruined face spilled over the glossy paint job. Jessica pulled him back and punched him in the stomach so hard it lifted him off his feet. He collapsed to his knees, unable to make a sound. Jessica walked around him, tossing the hair that had escaped the ponytail out of her eyes.

“You think you can put your filthy hands on me, and I’m just going to say thank you?” Jessica spun gracefully, bringing her right leg up and across her body in a round house kick that ended at The Weasels chest. The blow knocked him over backwards, and sent a spray of blood out of his mouth as one of his lungs collapsed. She slowly walked over to him. He was trying hard to roll over and crawl away. She deliberately lifted her foot and brought it down on his lead hand. It shattered beneath the heavy combat boot, and The Weasel opened his mouth to scream, only to be silenced as a second kick destroyed his jaw.

“You know the best part about this, Weasel?” She said, crouching down beside the broken, bleeding little man. “I have to do it.”

Weasel tried to crawl away from her, an odd mixture of choking, sobbing, and whimpering emitting from his ruined mouth. Jessica used his pant leg to wipe her finger prints off the handle. She then reached over and put the handle of the knife in his uninjured hand. Weasel tried to resist, but Jessica applied more pressure until his fingers closed around the handle. She wrenched his arm back, rolling him over. Careful to avoid any blood. She did a quick search of his jacket
and found his I.D. and some cash.

“Enjoy your stay in prison,” Jessica murmured into his ear as he stared at her from his prone position. “They really like breeders who commit murder on their soil.”

Whatever response he might have made was lost under the wail of the approaching sirens.

The End
Sorry for the bad formatting, I fixed it, stupid board everything looked right in the preview box.
Moonstone Spider
You have a decent hook and story but it needs something. Somehow Crow should have a way to make it look to the Don like Weasel is the traitor somehow. If she had a runner buddy with a vocal morpher who would help her, the buddy could call up the police using Weasel's voice, and then it would hit the fan, for instance. That won't work too well since she's awakened but you get the idea. As is we all know Crow's dogmeat tomorrow and that doesn't have the right ending for such a story.
How about having Crow point the girl out to Weasel? Put it in toward the end when Weasel is heading to the SUV, Crow catches him, points out the girl on the playground during recess, Weasel calls for the raid, nothing happens. They go to the SUV, and pick it up there. Then Crow has fulfilled her end of the agreement. She can explain to the Don how she was better than his team at tying up loose ends.
QUOTE (Shadow @ Jun 2 2004, 10:14 AM)
Bear in mind that this is a completed work. I am not looking for advice on how to make it better

What I would like is some feedback:

"Hey that was pretty good, and here is why." Or alternatively, "Hey, you suck, and here is why."

If you just want to say "that was cool" or "that sucked" thats fine too.

While I appreciate the feedback,it isn't exactly what I am looking for. Like I said before, by posting it here I forfeit my ability to submit it to Fanpro in the future. So I am not looking for suggestions on how to change it, just if you liked it or not, and why.

I think that kind of feedback can help me in my future projects.
A Rodent of Unusual Size
If it's any consolation, I thought it was a pretty good story. I really liked your choice of words in some areas, particularly the line of "anger and love warred." Great visual there. smile.gif
Neon Tiger
The story itself is good, I can't really say anything about spelling or grammar as I'm not a native English speaker.

Only thing that I think was somewhat contradictionary was when Crow was fighting against Samurai and Gun. She took them both out without severely injuring both, but then he goes back to the SUV and kills the Brute in cold blood. She should have either go all the way against the Samurai and Gun, or then left the Brute alive.

Otherwise, very good job. You deserve a cookie. biggrin.gif I hope to see your more of your stories.
really nice story...

but in the ending i'm missing something... smile.gif
can't really say what...
Pretty cool. My suggestion for future works, would be to stop trying so hard to make it "obviously" Shadowrun. What I mean is, you don't necessarily need to spell it all out. For example, not every weapon needs to be specific. If a character has a particular weapon that they always own, use, talk about, etc., then by all means specify that it's a Colt Manhunter. However, in most cases, IMO, it's better to simply say "pistol." It lets the reader retain imaginative control over certain aspects. If you say "Colt Manhunter" for example, I'm going to picture that weapon (even if you don't know what one "really" looks like, your mind will come up with an image and then always revert to it). If you say "menacingly large pistol" though, I'm drawn deeper into my mental imagery of the scene at hand, and thus deeper into the story.

Another example of "less is more" would be to have left out the line where the character says "You're an adept...I assensed you." You've already written a great bit on her nature. "... with a speed only the truly awakened..." was great. But when you spell it out, it comes across as redundant, and overdone.

And please, take this with a grain of salt, if you will. smile.gif It's all my opinion, just things that I though to myself as I was reading.
The use of "brand name" equipment in an SR story does run the risk of being hackneyed, as eidolon pointed out, however, the problem runs rampant through a lot of SR fiction. I'd reserve pointing out "brand names" unless the item is a) obvious (you just can't miss a Colt Cobra SMG, what with the buzz from FoF suggesting that they are the hottest SMG on the trid these days), b) well-known to an expert observer ("I'd seen a lot of hand guns in my time. A lot of 'em. And I'd learned at least one thing: only wanna-bes carried a Walther PPK"), c) mentioned subtly and then dropped ("We can offer you some new tech." "What?" "Transys mean anything to you?"), or d) important to the plot ("Four Firelance lasers systems had gone missing. Obviously someone in Ares cared enough about the squandered cred to pay us handsomely to get them back...")
I enjoyed the story quite a bit, but I agree with the sentiment that you overused the shadowrun equipment lingo. One of the little joys of RPG fiction reading is spotting and identifying such things. For example, if you had described the knife as "unbelievably sharp" or "plasma tempered" I could have thought to myself, "hey, i bet its a dikoted CFB!" The better SR novelists do a good job at this (think Burning Bright...the Dowd spends alot of time describing the main character's spells, gear, and foci, but he never comes out and says "Force 3 sustaining foci" or "Fetish limited mana bolt"). I think the standard to strive for is that a person with no SR knowledge can understand the description while a SR player would immediate say "dude, I know what that is!"

Otherwise, you packed alot of action into a pretty small package. If you ever had time, you could definitely use it as a seed for longer work. As a reader of SR fan fiction (especially since fanpro isnt putting out english noves) I really appreciate it when people put out quality stuff. So thanks alot.
I think the whole name-slinging thing is a matter of preference...
in general literature, it seems very contrived and pretentious. however, for alot of people, the cool toys are the best part of the game, and they enjoy literal references to game-specific gear.

the ending did seem rather abrupt, and I kept expecting jason to play a more significant part in the story (hehehe.. I loved "Don't be there when I get back", though ;)... however, I thought the combat scenes were phenomenal, and Crow was nice and angsty.
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