An older woman in her late thirties to early forties, with long tangled blonde hair and the faint trace of a scar down the side of her cheek, Megan carries herself with a caution and assurance that comes from a life in the barrens, where a persons handgun and wits are the best protection they can hope for.
Though still beautiful, the creases of age and a hard life still show through her make up and her pale blue eyes dart nervously about, scanning the crowd for any sign of danger, or perhaps searching for a friendly face.
Wearing a stained dark blue blouse and faded denim mini skirt underneath a frayed off white apron, she seems to blend in as a natural part of bar, so much it is hard to imagine the place without her behind the counter.
What's my story? What kinda info related question is that? Ah hell, since you’ve bought a few rounds and things are kinda slow tonight I guess I can tell ya about it, Just hope it don’t bore ya to death.
How young should I start? Well I was born in Claudia South hospital on October 31 2032, yup, Halloween. Now before you go on about asking me if I have uncanny magic powers let me serve you up another drink and finish my story, okay? I had the unfortunate luck of being a spike baby, one of those unlucky kids who are born a different race then their birth parents because of latent genes. Lucky me, I was the human child of elves, not the best way to get your start in life, let me tell ya. Now I grew up in low town off Elm street in some run down house, which pops claimed he bought at a bargain basement discount.
Yeah, turns out the *basement* was the main problem of the dump, it seems that one of the cities main sewage pipes ran along one wall and had the worst way of leaking, clogging, or just plain bursting during the really hot or cold months. Something to do with heat pressure differential or some such.
So you could say I spent a whole lot of time outside, and made the attic my room, including installing a few skylights on my own with a small chain saw I borrowed off of my troll friend Glenda Right Wingers pop when I was 13. He was a troll too and had about as much brains as the two by fours he worked with. I told him my own dad needed it for some home improvements. Damn you should have seen my dads pointy ears quiver when he came home from work and saw three rectangular holes in the ceiling and me on the roof with Glenda installing some plexi glass windows we “borrowed” from the back lot of a near by construction project.
That’s the way pops always was, whenever he got raged his ears quivered like a hunting dog after a rabbit in those Disney holo-vids. It made me crack up laughing every time. Of course I never really got along with him, or mom either. You see they were magic wielding, vegetarian elves, who were “cursed” (as pop would put it when he was raged at me,) with a human daughter without one whit of magical inclination about her.
But enough about them for right now, I’ll mention them more in a minute. Now as I was saying, due to my home smelling like most of the food at that other bar down the street, I spent most of my time outside hanging out with the local kids, even when they weren’t around, like at 2 in the morning or during a blizzard, I explored abandoned apartment buildings, and generally made a nuisance of myself to bums and other locals who were safe enough to be around without worrying about getting groped or killed.
Now I can tell by the look on your face either your wondering why my parents didn’t worry about me, or your wondering if you’re my type, probably both. Well lets just say that after finding out I was a human and magic-less to boot instead of the wonder child they dreamed of my parents turned around and had another baby when I was about 5 or so, my sister Angie. She turned out to be an elf, and was reading out of my mother’s grimiore when she was 8. So well, I was just sort of pushed aside, and allowed to do whatever I wanted, mostly whenever I ran off or did crazy ass things like cut sky lights in the roof my father would scream, curse my name, take away my allowance and say they must’ve switched kids in the hospital, cause no daughter of two elves was this much of a terror.
My mom, she never cared, she just shrugged her shoulder about that kind of stuff and said, it was a human trait or humans do that kind of thing. As for my sister, that little bitch said I couldn’t cast magic because I was born on Halloween and had the soul of a demon. Whenever I kicked her butt for it I got sent down to mop the basement and she got babied and reminded not to pick on me because I was a human and lacked all her glorious qualities. I once over heard my mom tell her “Your sister’s just jealous because you’re a perfect magical elf and she’s just a boring worthless human destined to a short life and forced to live without the wonders of magic and her fingertips. Yeah, my family made her their golden girl and tried to sort of forget about me. Sometimes I thought that if I didn’t come home they’d be happy.
Hell, one time when that bitch tried to get me grounded by telling mom I ran out at night to be a street whore my mom just looked at her and said, “Well dear what can you expect? She’s not magically talented, and she’s not and elf, a gutter slut is about the best she’ll ever do.” That was the night I stopped called them mom and dad, just called them Mr. and Mrs. Sharwan, and stopped talking to my sister all together.
The sad part is they didn’t even seem to notice, except for my sister, who grew tired of one-way insults and arguments and just stopped talking to me as well. I just kept on going out at nights, and during the day, and whenever I got blamed for sister’s pranks, like putting butt cheek prints on the vid phone screen, or bubble bath in the carpet cleaner.
Well it was one of those nights in February of 2047 I was outside on the roof of an abandoned apartment building maybe a quarter block away staring up at the quietly falling snow, and listening to the unusually large amount of sirens for a winter evening I noticed a mob of people with brooms, crow bars, broken bottles, even a few with pistols running after this troll. Keeping low I crawled to the edge of the building and looked down to see where he was heading. It was then that I recognized him as my friend Glenda’s pop, he was running for his life and bleeding from cuts all down the side of his face, like someone with cyber spurs had back handed him.
In his arms he was carrying a bundle of something, wrapped up in blankets, I couldn't make out what it was, except that it seemed pretty large and was slowing him down quite a bit. I remember thinking that if only he would drop the damn thing than maybe; just maybe he’d get away.
I saw him turn down the alley of the building I was right next to and drop the bundle in a half empty dumpster before starting to run off again, back out into the street and further down. Right around that time I heard police sirens get closer and a Lone Star cruiser slide onto the street in a fish tail, almost running Glenda’s dad right over That mob though didn’t seem to care, they just kept right on coming yelling insults about big moldy pieces of shit that didn’t belong in their neighborhood. It was right about then I noticed the mob was made up entirely of humans.
One of the cops stepped out of the cruiser and was carrying a shotgun, one of those Ares room sweepers, more than capable of cutting the crowd in half at the range they were at, the only thing was he pointed it at Glenda’s father, started at his knees and worked his way up, until Glenda’s dad looked more like a pile of hamburg and raggedy clothes than a person. Then with a loud cheer he hopped back in and began to drive ahead of the gang. Leading them on down the block.
As soon as they were out of sight and I recovered from the shock I made my way down the fire escape and looked in the trash to see what he’d dropped there. Inside among the folded blanket I saw Glenda, her body was a mass of bruises with broken ribs sticking though the skin, in her hand she was still clenching her pops handgun, one huge old revolver that used to be on his hip when he went to work in barrens.
She still had enough strength to raise and point that gun at me before lowering it and squinting at me though her one good eye, the other one was a runny mess, smashed to a pulp. “Megan, Dat you?” She asked me, a small trickle of blood flowing from the corner of her mouth, her breath coming in ragged heaves.
I vaguely remember saying something about going to call an ambulance before she grabbed my hand and begged me not to leave. Even though she was almost dead, her grip was still strong as steel. She told me about how some sort of world wide anti metahuman riot was taking place and metahumans were being slaughtered by the hundreds.
She told me my house was probably next, and to hurry and warn them, shoved the pistol into my hands and closed her eye. A few seconds later she stopped breathing. Yeah I know my parents were unloving racist pricks and all, but still for some reason I found my self running all out for home, praying I wasn’t too late.
I got there just in time to see some bald human cave my mothers head in with a broken table leg, and dozens of others throwing Molotov’s into the house. That police car though was a bunch of flaming wreckage, and about 10 or fifteen people were blackened and unmoving on the ground, seems mom and pop let fly with everything they had, pity it didn’t do more good. I also saw my sister’s body, beaten to a bloody pulp on the front steps, our father’s grimiore clenched in her arms.
I felt a mixture of pain and loss at their deaths and found myself pointing that giant pistol at the bald man still smashing at my mothers corpse and pulled the trigger.
The numbing shock and pain that jolted up my wrists and sent me on my ass paled compared to what happened to that guy. The gun was loaded with explosive rounds, and at a range of more than 20’ he seemed to disintegrate in a shower of blood, leaving me setting on the sidewalk barely gripping the hand cannon.
After that I turned tail and ran among the abandoned buildings and alleys, easily losing the couple of people that actually saw me. Eventually I dared to return to my home after trying to unsuccessfully call for help from a vid phone. My former home was burned flat, the wreckage having fallen into the cellar hole, my parents corpses still splattered on the lawn.
I was out there on the lawn crying, that huge revolver jammed down the front of my pants, and my wrists swollen and numb when another Lone Star cruiser came driving down the road, this time without the lights on and at a much slower pace.
I tried to get up and run, afraid that I was about to get shot like Glenda’s father, but slipped on the ice and landed face first on the sidewalk. The man that got out yelled at me, called me a looter, some dingy street bum that belonged in an orphanage.
I tried to pull the gun out of my pants, but my hands were just to cold and numb, and he grabbed me roughly by the wrist, ordering me to “calm the frag down.” Well you can imagine how loud and long I screamed when he grabbed my injured wrist, and how quickly he let go when my foot sailed into his groin.
From there I ran again, eventually finding a few of my street friends who had also survived the horror, which by now you recognize as the Night of Rage, February 7th One of them showed me to a street doc, this real nice brown haired woman that sometimes helped street kids when they got hurt real bad.
She was called Sally Cutter, and told me I had fractured both wrists from firing that gun and I had frost bite on my ears and toes. While she patched me up I told her what happened, still numb from shock and terror, not really listening to what she said in return. Eventually I passed out on a hospital bed next to some guy with a missing arm.
When I woke up Sally handed me a cred stick and some clean clothes, said I been asleep for nearly three days, and that while I was out she’d hired a Decker to check my background for relatives and my dads bank account for cred.
Turns out none of my surviving relatives in Tir Tangire were interested in taking in a human child after what happened in the night of rage and all. so I was on my own, It also turned out my pop had been setting up a college savings fund for my sister when she got older, to one of the most well respected magic colleges in Tir Tangire and this was my cut. Her and the decker had already taken theirs.
Taking the cred stick and a warning not to shoot that huge pistol again I left, returning to a life on the street, the place I’d more or less called home for a couple of years already, only now it was official.
Life on the street as a fifteen year old girl is unpleasant to say the least, especially when you find yourself forced into unknown territory after the block you grew up in is bulldozed to the ground to make way for some new corporate building. But well, I don’t particularly feel like talking about that part of my life. Let’s just say after a while I managed to get a job serving drinks at this bar. The bartender needed someone to replace his last waitress and figured someone who was willing to work for food and a back room to sleep in was priced just about right. That and I served drinks a lot better than his last waitress. Let’s just say she had a big problem with keeping her dress down. A while after, he retired as manager and I got promoted to bar tender, lucky fraggin me.
So that's what a girl like me is doing in a place like this. I enjoy the job well enough and hear all sorts of things you runner types might find useful, so do you want another round, or are you calling it a night?
She keeps a huge Ruger Red Hawk revolver under the bar, chambered in 14mm and loaded with explosive rounds. While firing it might sprain her wrist or break her thumb, she's seen too many cybered up punks laugh off pistol fire to take any chances with a smaller gun.
She also keeps a nice collection of knock out drugs under the bar. Sometimes a round "on the house: can deal with an unruly customer far more effectively then getting the bouncers involved.
Bar amenities aside, she has a eye cam and amplified hearing, compete with audio recorder. Lots of people spill all kinds of info when drunk or bragging to their pals, info others in the biz will pay handsomely for. Although she'll never reveal the source behind a particular piece of info, Megan is adept providing knowledge to those in need for the right price.
Trust no one. A smiling face today may well be the same slag who fills your bar full of hole unloading a shotgun on his rivals in a bar fight tomorrow. By keeping everyone under suspicion you'll hopefully be on guard enough to stop any problems before they start, or at least get out of the way of any incoming ordinance.
Knowledge is power, the more you know, the more you can sell to others. Make an effort to appear friendly and understanding to anyone who bellies up to the bar. A drink on the house and sympathetic ear can make even the most closed mouthed patron spill a few drops of useful info eventually.
Favors, that's what make the streets hum, not cred. Credits only go so far and can be stolen, but favors, they can save your life, or take the life of an enemy. When selling info make sure to ask for something in return that's worth the info. These runner types are good at acquiring so many things a girl like you would find enjoyable, and making so many problems disappear. Even gangers can be helpful in keeping your street free of the Yakuza scum.
Humanis policlubs, the filth took not only the life of your best friend and family, but continue to spew their hatred across the barrens. Runners in search of info (especially metahuman runners) are usually more then happy to pay them a unfriendly visit and help them relocate to the nearest morgue.
Privacy and mystery are your best friends. Never let on just how much you know about anything, or who you learned it from. The more people want the info, the higher its price. Leave people feeling you know more about the situation then you're willing to tell, it keep them coming back for more.
The characters are enjoying a quiet drink one evening when they overhear a group of men in the back quietly plotting a drive by shooting on the place later that evening when their "pal" shows up like usual. Given the bar keeps rep for info brokering, perhaps this is a prime opportunity to make her owe them a favor for a change.
Megan needs a favor, a small one, find her waitress, a pretty young gal she helped get off the streets and out of the Halloweener gang a few weeks back. The only thing is she suspects the gal was there to spy and gain information herself. Where she took the info, and what she learned is of primary importance to Megan. Of course the gal may have simply been grabbed by her former gang to be "re-indoctrinated" or snatched up by a patron for the local body chop shop.
Ever bar needs booze, and this one's no different. Word on the street has it anyone who can score a truck load of "the good stuff" will earn get the low down where a small cache of stolen high tech weapons were stashed by a runner group right before they got wasted by a Lone Star High Threat Response Team.
Megan's lonely, working in a bar doesn't leave one much of a chance for a social life, and dating your patrons is a considered sleazy, even by the barrens standards. Rumor has it for the people who can help Megan find Mr. (or perhaps miss) right, a lifetime discounts on drinks and info is theirs to enjoy. Unfortunately finding the right kind of guy or gal Megan will hit it off with will be pretty hard, sort of like finding a smooth spot on a troll.
Having heard the bar Megan works at is a "hot spot" for meta human rights activism they've taken to harassing customers and are slowly working themselves up to an outright attack. Quelling the situation permanently could make the runners both powerful friends, and enemies.
A recent drive by fragged a well known local pimp, one who had the unusual reputation of looking out for his workers well being and treated them and more then fleshy credsticks. The now unemployed joy-girls and boys have taken up residence in the condemned stuffer shack across the road from Megans bar. Feeling sympathy for those in a similar position to herself years ago, Megan has taken a of them on as part time workers in the bar, and would be grateful to anyone that would be willing to help the rest find a safer place to call home and line of work that held just a shred of dignity to it.
to add an idea. It only takes a moment.