[February 2039] Forged in Fire (Prelude: Laurie)   Posted by Mr. Johnson.Group: 0
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 7 posts
Sat 18 Jan 2020
at 01:14
Prelude: Laurie
February 7, 2039

The tension in the neighborhood had been gathering, hanging low, black and dark like a storm cloud.  You'd been picking up on the subtle, and not so subtle changes; metahuman critics getting more space in the scream sheets, Hand of Five pop-ups, tweets and posts on all media and a diminishing (or non-existent) Lone Star presence in the barrens.  You were old enough, maybe you should have seen it coming.

The rest is a blur, it all happened so fast.  Flames, started by hate, fueled by a decade of neglect and debris, fully engulfed the derelict tenement in a few minutes.  The rest is all blood and ashes.  Snarling  angry faces in the crowd backlit by the flames.  You were hit by a rock in the back of your head,  stumbled ... fell ... lost your grip on little Madison's hand.  Lost sight of her when you were washed forward in the mass of metahumanity fleeing the hate of the mob.

Driven by survival instinct, consumed by despair you spend the next few days dodging the hardcore Hand of Five who seem to be everywhere, the remnants of the mobs and the run of the mill gangs that have taken advantage of the chaos...

Desperate and on the run, what is the first thing you do?  Scavenge a weapon and take the fight to the nearest enemy?  Find a safe place to hide out until things cool off?  Go back and try to find your friends and family?  Turn to authority for help?
 player, 2 posts
Sat 18 Jan 2020
at 02:35
Re: Prelude: Laurie
Laurie couldn't believe what was happening, this sprawl was tearing itself apart with its bigotry. This wasn't supposed to happen, the norms were supposed to be supportive and understanding of the metahumans, weren't they? While Laurie was tempted to pick up a weapon and show off a bit of her training with Master Li for the past six years, instead she desperately made her way back to the tenement to try and find her family. She couldn't just leave them, they needed her now more than ever before. But she had no idea how to help them this time. This wasn't a matter of not enough food or no money to buy food, this was a raging fire she didn't know if the authorities were going to be able to put out.

Looking for her Mom, older brothers and younger sister, Laurie couldn't lose them, they were all she had in this world. If she lost them, she didn't know what she would do with herself. Or her life. Getting as close to the burning tenement as the authorities, and raging fire, would allow, Laurie strained all of her senses to their limits in an attempt to find any member of her family, at all. 'Just a single one, please, I can't lose them.'
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 19 posts
Wed 22 Jan 2020
at 01:42
Re: Prelude: Laurie
You must have lost track of time, lost capacity for rational thought.  You've been wandering almost on auto-pilot until you get back to the tenement and snap back to reality.  The fires have all burned out, possibly for days.  The mob has cleared.  The madness has passed.  Ruins and ashes all that remains.

Local fire services never even tried to fight the blaze.  They just let the buildings burn.  Through your anger perhaps you can find a way to forgive them, or at least find it hard to blame them.  The Hand of Five and their supporters in the mob are to blame.  And Lone Star.  Lone Star was nowhere to be seen.  They let it fucking happen.  They let your family, your neighbours, your community burn while the racist mob hunted you down.

At least there is nothing preventing you from sifting thought the ruins of your former home. There may be something worth salvaging.  You might find some sign that they made it out alive.  You might find closure.

Can you recall your mother's paranoia?  Remember how she always kept the safe lockbox in the freezer, doubling down on protecting a few precious items from damage in the event of a catastrophe?

What did your search reveal?  What did you find in that fire box?

Was your mother a sentimentalist?  Did she keep mementos or important family heirlooms safe from harm?  Did you find a small keepsake that you keep close to your heart?

Was your mother a pragmatist?  Did she keep her life's savings in untraceable credsticks in her hiding place?  Is there enough squirrelled away in their to help you back on your feet?

Was your mother a survivor?  Is there a small weapon in there, stored safely away from the children, but loaded and ready for trouble?

What about you?  Are you an optimist that hopes against hope that there is some sign that your family has survived?  Did you find something that gave you hope that they had made it out alive.  Or something that made you give up entirely?

@Laurie: Feel free to pick and choose some, all, or none of the ideas laid out above...

 player, 8 posts
Wed 22 Jan 2020
at 18:49
Re: Prelude: Laurie
Laurie can barely make out whats right in front of her due to the tears in her eyes as it sinks in that her family is truly gone, Mother, brothers and her sister all burned alive as the only home she can remember in her life burned around them. Wiping at her eyes to try and clear them, Laurie slowly makes her way inside, picking through the rubble of what's left. There wasn't really anything that the fire didn't burn at least a little bit.

Her mom being a sentimentalist and survivor, Laurie finds her grandmothers locket in the lockbox, along with a .45 caliber pistol with only 8 rounds in the magazine. Still it was enough to threaten and do some harm to intruders with if necessary. Her mom might not have been able to provide them with a lot, but she was very protective of her small family. Tucking the pistol in the back waistband of her jeans, Laurie dons the locket and lets out one last sob, vowing to get even with the bastards that did this to her family however she can. And there was no time like the present to get started.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 24 posts
Fri 24 Jan 2020
at 03:02
Re: Prelude: Laurie
The old Colt Manhunter looks like a fragging howitzer in your small hand but it's weight is cold gunmetal comfort in a world gone mad.  The locket, cool against your pale skin, helps calm your mind but brings no closure.  You'll always have your doubts about whether or not they died in the fire, fell victim to the mob, or made it away like you did.

A few more minutes of searching reveal nothing else.  It's time to go, but where are you going?  Before you can make a decision, a voice breaks the silence of this charred crypt.

”Hey, girl, you can't be in there.  This is a crime scene.” a uniformed Lone Star officer calls from the edge of the rubble.  He mumbles a few incomprehensible words into a handheld radio and begins to walk toward you.  ”Just stay right where you are...”

Although you're confident that Master Li's wushu or your Mom's Manhunter would be more than enough to deal with this kind of trouble you're not sure you want to get into an altercation with a cop.  Right?

Quickdraw? Shaolin style? Fast talk? Run for it?

This message was last edited by the GM at 03:06, Fri 24 Jan 2020.

 player, 9 posts
Sat 25 Jan 2020
at 18:17
Re: Prelude: Laurie
Laurie was a bit lost in her thoughts after tucking the gun away. She was trying to hold out hope that someone made it out alive, any member of her family. It was hard to keep that hope alive given the state of their home, but she was trying.

About to get up and move on, nothing else that was left was important enough to Laurie to make the effort to take it, she hears the man behind her. Turning her head to look at him, she gives him the most downhearted look she can muster, not feeling any animosity or aggression towards the man. Using a move Master Li taught her, she's on her feet and rushing by the man and out the door. Running flat out she heads down the sidewalk in the only direction that mattered, away from the tenement.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 31 posts
Sun 26 Jan 2020
at 20:41
Re: Prelude: Laurie

Master Li's wushu emphasizes deception and misdirection.  He teaches unorthodox styles like hóu quán and zuì quán that feature use of the unexpected to keep an opponent off-balance.  The cop is caught flat-footed and you're past him and on the run before he can make a grab at you.  As you turn the corner, you hear the cop say into his mike “Unit 22, foot pursuit in progress, female, elf metatype, mid-twenties, request assistance, patrol in the vicinity of  Northeast 74 and 166 Avenue might have a shot at cutting her off.”

You run.  You run so far and so hard your heart feels like it will burst in your chest.  Blood pounding in your ears you blot out the physical and mental pain, until the sight of police lights up ahead fills you with despair.  You've almost given up hope (for the second time today) when a dirty but friendly face peeks out from the shadows of an ancient building.

Between where you stand and the police lights, boarded up and abandoned, stands the Archer Hotel.  A couple of street kids beckon you inside, keeping silent to avoid attracting the cop's attention.  A small group of them is huddled in the old hotel's grand foyer.  Mostly humans but a few elves too.  No other metahumans, but then again, those communities tend to be more tight knit.  That's something your family used to talk about, how they might have had better luck if they had answered the call and headed to the new elf homelands in the south.

Once the Patrol One shuts down it's cherries and pulls off into the sprawl, everyone breathes a bit easier.  “I'm Tray.” says the boy who beckoned you in.  “You can find a place to crash if you want.”

The decrepit hotel isn't much, in fact its barely standing, but at its somewhere to lay low and collect your thoughts...
 player, 10 posts
Tue 28 Jan 2020
at 17:53
Re: Prelude: Laurie
Laurie is bent over, hands on her knees as she tries to get her breath back from the chase she'd just gotten done with. "Thank you, I....I appreciate your help with that Patrol One. It was good that she got away and as she straightens up she reaches back to make sure her new piece was still there. Reassured that it was, Laurie looks around at all the new faces and nods at each one in turn. "I'm Laurie, by the way. I'm not wanted by the police really, just a little misunderstanding about where I should or shouldn't be this morning. Laurie explains to the others, trying to reassure the others she wasn't a wanted criminal or anything like that.
Mr. Johnson
 GM, 44 posts
Sat 1 Feb 2020
at 21:51
Re: Prelude: Laurie
Tray flops on what looks like an old bench seat torn from a van or pickup.  Lighting a spliff, he gives an easy nonchalant nod.  “Null persp,” he replies through a haze of sweet smoke, “No love lost between this little gang and the Star.  Never seemed to be there for me after my deadbeat dad tossed me out on the streets, or for Cin,” he adds with a gesture toward the sad looking redheaded girl who sports ten earrings in each ear.  She was with the street rats that rescued you.  Hasn't said a word and deosn't meet your eyes while she takes a light drag from Tray's joint.  “Her story is her own, but let's just say the cops weren't much help to her either.”  It's obvious there is something there between these two.  The sprawl can be unkind, but there are opportunities to find your place even if your childhood dreams never come true.

It takes some time to get back on your feet.  You're not proud, but you and your new friends do what is necessary to stay alive.  There are always opportunities for petty crime.  Automated liquor mart smash and grabs, serving as mules or lookouts for drug and BTL dealers.  The 'plex offers up darker opportunities, usually with bigger payouts, like playing out someone's darkest fantasies while hooked into simsense rigs so the pain and fear can be mass produced.  Then there are always the more mundane street crimes; the violent shakedowns, the death for hire.

These are desperate times.  How far would be willing to go for a few nuyen in your pocket and a Stuffer Shack Kriller Combo with fries in your belly?

Are you living for the rush of the next score?

Are you looking for a way out?

You're a bit older then most of these kids.  Do you take on a leadership role and try to keep them out of the darkest corners of the 'plex?

 player, 11 posts
Sun 23 Jan 2022
at 03:33
Re: Prelude: Laurie
It took a few weeks to settle in, but still reeling from the loss of Madison, she had already decided that she couldn't leave these street kids to their own devices.  With Laurie now in the crew, there were a half dozen of them in all.  Tray and Cin. Skeez with his infectious sense of humor. The runaways Midge and her little brother Grayson.

These became Laurie's new family, brought together by the pain of her loss and their collective need to be with someone who just gave a damn about them, even a little.

Things were desperate for that little crew, but Laurie made sure they never went beyond petty theft.  Well, not until later when it all fell apart. For a good long while though, it was all about the rush of the next score. A smash and grab or a boosted bike, being lookouts for local chip and drug dealers, mule runs to dead drops to keep the heat off of bigger players. All small time and never more than enough cred to buy some food.