SHADOWRUN: A Mannequin's Story. Written by Doug, KB7RKY. SHADOWRUN is a
trademark of FASA Games.
This story is a work of fiction...any similarities to actual persons or places
is highly unlikely, since it takes place 60 years from now. It is based on an
actual gaming campaign that has been played and FASA Games
modules were used, as it was entirely conceived and played on the spur of the

SEATTLE, UCAS. March 15, 2074 - It was a cold morning in the Sixth World. The
nightly rainstorm left the air with a brisk scent of newness to the city. I've
always liked the rain...makes you forget your troubles for the moment. From
our sprawl atop the Union Station Mall, we could see all the way to Mount
Rainier in Sinsearach,  east to the Cascades, north into Everett, and west to
the Olympics in Salish. I always get up early...I like to see both
Seattles...the one that goes to bed as the sun comes up, and the other just
waking up. While my wife, Michelle, slept, I took my usual morning run...from
Lake Union to the Seattle Center and back. One of these mornings, I keep
telling myself, I'm going to take a brisk jog over to Mercer Island. I rounded
the corner, and there it was...The Space Needle. Standing tall for over 100
years...I often wonder what the original engineers would have thought if they
knew the world would experience The Great Awakening, 74 years ago. I was lucky
to have been born full-blood human...30% of the world's population now is
what's referred to as "metahuman": Human, Dwarf, Elf, Ork, and Troll. Oh, how
rude of me! Here I am, going off on how the world is now, and I haven't even
introduced myself. Captain David Dykstra, UCAS Military. Sorry for the
dissertation, but you already know how the Earth came to be. You came here to
hear my story about the Mannequinizer Chamber, didn't you? Oh, that was a
memorable 'run. It all started...

...back on April 3, 2058. I had just been discharged from the military. Mitch
and I had been together since we were in high school. Who couldn't help but
fall in love with that beautiful lady? We got married as soon as we graduated,
then I was off to UCAS Military Boot Camp at Ft. Lewis. I put in my time...and
here I was, out of a job. Nobody wanted a former UCAS Military hotshot chopper
jock...not even the megacorps. Mitch got work as a model, which helped out
while I applied for a test pilot slot up at Boeing. I'm sure her agent didn't
mind the fact that she had cyberware implants...well, who doesn't, these days?
Remeber the old "Six Million Dollar Man" series? Or "The Bionic Woman"? Kid's
stuff, that is! I love those eyes of hers...she can change colors whenever she one day, purple the next, neon get the idea.
Chipjacks and vehicle control rigs...any type of cyberware you want, chances
are you can get it!
    I was just getting ready for my morning run...up to Seattle Center and
back. Mitch had mentioned the night before that she had an appointment at the
A-1 Modeling Agency across town, and that she'd probably be back later this
particular afternoon.
But, somehow, this morning didn't quite seem right. Oh, sure, we made love,
like many times before...but, afterward, my gut was screaming at me. I thought
it was the nutrisoy drek I had eaten (gods, I'd give anything for some REAL
food!) I got up and went to have a look out the window. Mitch must have
sensed something, because a few minutes later she came into the common room.
"What's wrong, honey?" she asked. I loved that tone in her voice...hell, I
loved her from the day I met her!
"Oh, I just can't sleep," I said. "Musta been that drek I ate earlier."
"You know you hate nutrisoy anything," she said, teasing me and poking me in
the stomach.
"Yeah, you're probably right, but it sounded good at the time." I didn't want
to tell her that it was something else...but I just couldn't figure out what.
"Well, I know better than to make you come back to bed," she said,  "when
you're not feeling right. How 'bout you take your morning run a little earlier
today...maybe go out to Mercer Island, like you've always wanted to do."
"Oh, maybe I will," I said. "What time do you have to go to your appointment?"
"Around 7:00...I'll probably be back later this afternoon."
"What color are your eyes going to be today?"
"What do you want them to be?"
I took her in my arms. "Whatever you want them to be," I said as I kissed her.
When we broke, I saw neon green cybereyes looking back at me. "How's this?"
Mitch asked.
I faked sadness. "Gee, I wish I could do that..."
That got me another kiss. I held her for a few more minutes, then I put on my
jacket as she went back to bed. Oh, honey hush! Whatta body!

   The sun had just crested the Cascades when I was rounding Seattle
Center...I decided to follow the monorail track today. Good thing I remembered
my Colt Manhunter pistol...along the rail is the part of town you really DON'T
want to be in! Go-gangs, Elf-Posers, rogue Trolls, Street samurai...and the
occasional LoneStar Security force. Hah! LoneStar Security...those bastards
couldn't find their ass with both hands standing in front of a mirror!  was
heading down 5th Avenue, past Frederick and Nelson's, when I decided to take a
breather. The monorail passed overhead as I was looking in the windows. Hm,
that's odd. I've never had any desire to look in any store window...but today
seemed to be different. I half-saw the reflection of the monorail...but I
wasn't looking at that. I caught myself looking at the mannequins in the
windows. How intriguing! So incredibly'd swear they would just
walk up and introduce themselves to you! Their display was titled, "Antique
Mannequins Of The 20th Century." Boy, those sculptors sure could make some
passable mannequins, for their time. Just up the street, at Nordstrom's, were
some others that were just being placed on display. This was fascinating! I
wondered where I could get some...but then I shook my head to clear the
cobwebs. Smeggin' drek! What was coming over me? I've got a flesh-and-blood
wife at home! But, even with that thought in mind, I still found it hard to
tear myself away from the window. The mannequin the window dressers were
setting up sure looked real...I swear her eyes moved. I then noticed all these
mannequins were females. Hm, why didn't I notice that before? I decided I'd
better head back home. As I was passing the alley between Nordstrom's and the
Warwick Hotel, I noticed a GMC Bulldog with a business logo on the side...Ace
Store Fixtures. There was something else written on the side, but even at 6:30
am, it was still pretty dark. I turned on my thermographic implants to read
the rest of the writing. A-1 Modeling Agency, it said underneath. I didn't pay
much attention to this...many businesses have more than one way to pay the

    It was well after 8:00 when I got back...Mitch had left me a message on
the recorder.
"Hi, Honey...sorry I missed you. I'm heading over to Willow and Damar's
place...I forgot to tell you she was going with me. Anyhow, I'll be back
around 3:00...I'll call if we're going to be late. I love you! (beep)". Well,
that left me with nothing to do till she got back, but then, another message
from the comm came on. "Mr. Dykstra, this is the Boeing Personnel Department.
We regret to inform you that all our test pilot positions are filled, and we
hope that..." I shut the damn machine off. Smeg! Maybe Northrup or Ares could
use another pilot. I really wanted that job at Boeing, though. My great- uncle
worked there in the late 20th Century, along with my great-aunt. Oh, sure, I
get a military pension, but 20,000 nuyen a month barely pays the rent for this
one-room sprawl Mitch and I have, let alone buy food and drink. I slugged down
a cup of Soykaf...gag! I hate soy anything! I guess I was too used to those
Military M-rats. At least, that was real food! Just then, the comm chimed. I
checked the ID...ah! It was Damar! I answered the chime, as the video came on.
"Yeah, whaddya want, ya smelly dandelion-eater?" Damar was one of the few
Elven people I could get away with insulting like that.
"Nothing from you, breeder!" was his standard reply. He was my wingman in the
605th Attack Battalion from Ft. Lewis. We were like brothers...and the best of
friends."Is Willow over there?" he asked.
"No, Mitch was going to get her, and go to that A-1 Modeling place," I told
"Hm..." he said, scratching his head. "She told me she was going to pick Mitch
up, and go to the same place."
"Maybe they met somewhere along the way," I offered.
"I think they met there at the agency," Damar said.
"And you're worried?"
"Well, remember, breeder, she is allergic to sunlight." Metahumans are strange
in that way...all of them suffer some allergy to the most common
humans, that is.
"And, let me guess, " I said, "she didn't take her sunblock."
"You got it!"
"So, why tell me? I don't know where this A-1 place is."
"Mitch didn't leave the address with you?"
"No. But, you know, there's the city information directory...wait a minute!" I
suddenly remembered the logo on the side of the van from this morning. "I saw
a van this morning..."
"Oh, good for you! That narrows it down to...what...57,000 vans in town?"
"Yeah, and I got yer dandelion RIGHT here! Seriously, chummer, I saw a van
this morning that said A-1 Modeling Agency on the side, downtown. I wish I
could remember what the address was."
"Okay, Dave, tell ya what. If you can come over here and get ther medikit,
would you take it to her?"
Must be serious...Damar hardly calls me Dave! "Sure, Damar. You okay? You
hardly ever call me by my name."
"Yeah, I'm worries me when she forgets her sunblock. And, I'm
watching the kids today."
"Oh, that explains it! Okay, I'll be there about...mmm, 11:00 okay?"
"So ka, chummer!"
"Later!" I hit the call terminate button. Okay, I thought, find the address
for A-1 Modeling Agency, then get over to Damar's and get Willow's medikit. I
would've used the bio-tracker that I insisted we get...but the mainframe was
installed in Mitch's Westwind. I called up the City Directory, and got about
45,000 A-1's in town...then I cross-referenced Ace Store Fixtures...and got an
address...1st Avenue South and Royal Brougham Way. Hell, that was over by the
Renraku Arcology! I'll just bet Mitch and Willow went shopping!

    As I pulled up to Damar's sprawl, I saw his kids playing stickball on the
sidewalk. "Uncle Dave! Uncle Dave!" they yelled as I parked my Rapier. I took
off my helmet and gave hugs to the monsters...hey, I love 'em, too! Almost
makes me wish Mitch and I had kids earlier. "Where's your daddy, Lilac?" I
asked the little girl. "Upstairs!" she said, pointing up to the third floor.
"Oh, that's really high...I'm afraid of heights!" I said, mock fear in my
voice. Ash, Damar's boy, pushed a toy car over my boot, and said, "You funny,
Unca Dave!" I got off the bike, and went up to the door. I pushed the buzzer
on the doorcomm. "Dandelion pizza for Goldbranch," I said to the speaker.
*CLIK*, and the door opened. I went to the third floor sprawl that Damar and
Willow he can afford it, I'll never know. Three times the size of
Damar answered the door. "Hoi, chummer!" I said as I walked in.
"So, where's my pizza?" Damar asked.
"Ah, today, sir, you're in luck!" I said, with a grand flair. "We have the
special Diet Pizza today...absolutely no fat or calories, zero percent
cholesterol, no flavor whatsoever, and no substance, either! 50 nuyen!"
We both laughed...Damar held a sleeping baby over his shoulder. "Oh, sorry,
Damar," I whispered. "Didn't know the little one was asleep."
"So ka, chummer. She's out for the morning," Damar said as he put the baby in
the crib. He then turned around and handed me a small case. "That's Willow's
sunblock," he said. "You got the address?"
"'s down by the Renraku."
Damar uttered something in his native sounded like "clucking
bell". "I'll just bet they went shopping!"
"That was my thought, too."
"Well, I think she deserves it...I was going to take her over there later this
week, anyway."
I thought on that for a moment...and my mind drifted back to this morning.
Funny. I've been to the Renraku hundreds of times, and now I found myself
thinking about the mannequins that might be there. I shook my head...
"You okay, Dave?"
"Yeah," I said, "just thinking about something I saw this morning. I'd better
get going...I know noon's a bad time for Elves."
"Yeah, you're right, as always. Got time for a cup of real coffee?"
I almost kissed Damar. "You betcha, chummer!"
He handed me a cup of steaming brown liquid, with real cream and sugar...just
the way I liked it.
"See, I remembered...a little coffee in your cream and sugar!"
I smiled...and to think those Policlub drekheads want to erase all metahumans!

   It was well after noon when I pulled into the A-1 Modeling Agency's parking
lot. Shit! 75 nuyen per hour to park there. Oh, well, slot the credstik...I'm
only going to be here about 15 minutes. I know a good decker...she can get my
money back! I walked up to the front door, and I could see the Renraku just a
few blocks away...took up most of the skyline in this part of town. As I was
going toward the door, I noticed Mitch's car in the lot. Okay, so she really
is here! Ah, good! She turned on the anti-theft system. I passed a
window...and saw a mannequin sitting on a block in there. Hm...if I didn't
know any better, I'd swear that was Mitch sitting there. Sure looked like
Mitch's sunglasses on her...but then, there's probably 250,000 other people in
town who have the same kind. The one standing behind her sure looked like
Willow. I stood, transfixed by the sheer intrigue of the situation. I wonder
what it's like to...Damn! What's getting into my head? Did that mannequin's
hand move? Hm...must be that drek I ate last night coming back on me. Everyone
knows that mannequins aren't real people. Mannequins are built, not
most cases. The materials used these days are far superior to the old
fiberglass and plastic that was used in the 20th Century...but still, I
couldn't help but think I saw that sitter's hand move. Oh, well...I went
inside. This was a fairly large building...I could smell the scent of light
perfume in the air...almost the same kind that Mitch wears. I saw a sign...A-1
Modeling (left arrow), Ace Store Fixtures (right arrow). Okay, given a choice,
hm? I guess I'll go to the left! I went in...and saw the most gorgeous redhead
I had ever seen. Oftentimes, I wished Mitch would change her blonde hair to
red...she said she tried that once...and hated it! I walked up to the
desk...Andrea, it said on the nameplate.
"Excuse me, miss?" I said as I approached. I swear I heard a hiss, and a
buzzwhirrclik sound.
"May I help you sir," she said. Her voice sure sounded strange...almost like a
digital recording...
I activated my thermographics...almost on instinct. Yep, I was
android secretary. Then, the legs against the wall must be her's (it's?)?
MMMmmm...nice legs!  Then, I shook my head again. This was really starting to
annoy me...I'm getting attracted to artificial people!
"Um...yeah. I'm looking for two women who were supposed to be here at 7:00
this morning?"
"Oh, yes...that was...Michelle Dykstra," Andrea said in Mitch's voice,
"and...Willow Goldbranch," in Willow' voice. "They Are in...Chamber 1. You may
enter. Thank You for choosing...A-1 Modeling Agency."
I almost forgot I was talking to an android when I said, "And Chamber 1 is
where?", noticing that Andrea was staring off into hyperspace. Damn...too bad
she's a robot! I guess I'll have to find Chamber 1 myself, I thought as I
opened the door.

   Good thing I kept my thermographs on...the lighting in the hall was dismal,
at best. You'd think a modeling agency could at least pay the electricity
bill! I had to switch to low-light enhancement to see where I was going. I
heard some voices down the hall, and a strange "fwoop" sound. "Well, there's
another one!" I heard, and saw a door coming open. Instinctively, I drew my
gun and ducked into a darkened room. Some guy passed the room I was in, turned
a corner, and shut the door behind him. I closed the door I was hiding behind
as quietly as I could. Looking around, I could see I wasn't alone. There were
mannequins from wall to wall in here! Some kind of photo session? I thought. I
switched to no-light so I wouldn't give away my position. Strange...these
mannequins gave off a slight heat signature. I had no idea how they were
manufactured, so I guessed they were cooling off from the manufacturing
process. As I was moving around, being careful not to bump anything (anyone?),
one mannequin caught my attention. I looked closer...Mitch? Neon green
eyes...our special color. No one in the world can duplicate that particular
color we like so much. This was getting wife turned into a
mannequin? logical, I thought! Even though there's real Magic in the
Sixth World, people don't go around turning people into mannequins! I touched
this representation of Mitch, or so I thought. Okay, so that's what a
mannequin feels like. Then, I felt her hand...and what came next sent a cold
wave of fear through my body. THAT WAS HER WEDDING RING!!!!!!!!!! Yes, she was
sitting in a chair...someone must have brought her in while I was talking (?)
to Andrea. Then, I looked around for Willow. There she was...against the wall.
Oh, shit, Damar is going to go ballistic!
I reached into my wallet for a recorder chip...and jammed it into my chipjack.
I'd better record this scene for Damar...he'll never believe me! I counted 15
mannequins in this room alone...who knows how many more in the building.
Suddenly, I saw the door opening. Record off! I dove behind something solid,
and activated my smartlink aiming on my gun. I switched the recorder back on,
and saw two men coming in with a mannequin. This was a tall brunette lady,
dressed really nice. I hit audio record to capture what they were saying.
"Okay, put 'er over dere."
"Dere ain't no more room in here!"
"Well, break dat one in half, and put 'er in dat box over dere!"
"How many more 'a dese girls is da boss gonna make wid dat camera?"
"As many as he wants...he said nobody's gonna miss dese girls...besides, we're
gonna get a cut of da profits!"
Both men laughed as they left...Orks. Had to be...Smartlink off. Now, I had to
figure out how to get out...and then I realized why the lighting was so
dismal...Orks hate bright lights. I checked the bullet count on my
Manhunter...full magazine. Damn, I'd hate to have to shoot my way out.
Smartlink on.

   I opened the door carefully, switching to full thermograph to see through
the walls for any heat signatures. Good, none so far...just three about 15
meters down the hall. Stealth military training came back to me. Too
bad the Seattle Police Department turned me down...I'd have been a valuable
asset on their SWAT team. I looked back at Mitch and Willow...I'll be back, I
thought...hoping somehow that Mitch could hear me.
"I know you will, sweetie."
Smeg! I could swear I heard Mitch talking to me!
"Hurry, Dave, get out! Tell Damar!"
Double smeg! That was Willow!
I looked back again...that was a smile on Mitch's face!
Pistol first, I exited the storeroom. Sweep right, sweep left...that strange
"fwoop" sound down the hall. I came to the reception area, ducking low, just
in case Andrea was a recording android. Nope, her power was off. I opened the
door, and proceeded in a rather hurried fashion out the door. I noticed two
different mannequins in the window this time.
I got to Mitch's car, and deactivated the anti-theft system. I hit the bio-
tracker...and it confirmed my worst fear. That was Mitch and Willow in
there..."mannequinized", I guess the term would be. I removed the recording
chip from my chipjack, and put it in the player in the Westwind. Damar is
never going to believe this. Our wives have been kidnapped, "mannequinized",
and about to be shipped to who knows where. I wnet over to the Rapier, and
pressed the "compress" button. Instantly, it reduced itself to the size of the
toy car Ash was playing with earlier. I put the Rapier in the glove
compartment of the Westwind, started up, and drove out of the parking lot.
"You scratch my car, you're gonna be in trouble!"
"Don't worry...I'll buy you a..." I stopped myself. Was Mitch really talking
to me?
"You'll buy me a what?"
Okay, I thought, I'll give this a try. "A new paint job?"
"If you get us out of this won't matter! I still love you."
You got it, honey, I thought. I activated the vidcomm, and called Damar.

    "I don't believe it! Isn't that illegal?" Damar said after he'd watched
the recording I made. I sipped a cup of coffee.
"Well, kidnapping is...but as for this 'mannequinizing' process...I think that
one's a few years away from the lawbooks."
"We've got to do something!"
"I'm open to suggestions," I said. "You know any magic users?"
"Ed Silverleaf...he'd know what that sound you heard is, and how to reverse
"Well, get on the comm...time's a-wastin' !"
Damar went to the vidcomm. "You said they were talking to you?"
"Not so much 'talking', Damar. I heard them in my mind."
"What mind?"
We both laughed...I knew he was extremely worried...hell, so was I! At this
very moment, we were married to store fixtures! A few moments later, I heard
an odd voice on Damar's vidcomm. Of course I couldn't understand what they
were saying...they were speaking in Sperethiel. Damn, I wish I had taken the
time to learn that language!
"Ed wants to talk to you, Dave," Damar said.
I went to the vidcomm. "Hello, Mr. Silverleaf. I am honored by your presence,"
I said. It was the only phrase I knew in Sperethiel.
"You honor me with the proper usage of our greeting, Mr Dykstra. Do you speak
our language, as well?" he asked.
"No, sir, I do not...I wish to learn the proper tongue."
"Please touch the screen." I did as he asked. I felt a tingle run through my
body. "You may now use the proper tongue."
"I thank you for the gift of the proper tongue, sir." I felt, more than spoke,
the words of the Elven tongue as I used them.
"You have a problem that needs to be solved?"
Yes, sir...Aulentis and my mate Michelle have been removed from our house by a
means we cannot explain."
I guess that how Willow's name was pronounced in the Elven language. Strange
that I could speak it so fluently!
"And how was the sound expressed you witnessed?"
"It expressed as a "fwoop"...a sound that has a reverse."
Ed pressed a button...and I heard the same sound. "Yes, sir, that is the sound
"It is as I feared. This spell must be broken before the full moon crests or
your mates will be lost forever."
"It is a magic spell?" I asked
"Yes, Mr. Dykstra. This spell is called the's heart is the Q
"Where will I find this Q crystal?"
Ed pressed another button, and flashed a camera on the screen. A red crystal
was superimposed in the lens assembly.
"You must proceed with all haste and destroy the Q crystal...only then will
all evil deeds commited be reversed."
"Mr. do you suggest I proceed to destroy the Q crystal?" I
"If your heart is true, and your love for you mate is will know."
Ed then snapped his fingers. I blinked a few times...Ed was now speaking in
Sperethiel...and I couldn't understand him. Damar was smiling. He knew I had
just been influenced by an "understand language" spell. "I promise, I will set
aside a couple of lifetimes to learn your language!" I said to Damar and Ed.
Ed smiled, too. That damn elf...he speaks Cityspeak, also!

    We decided to wait until late that night...after hours. Well, that's the
best time for a clandestine rescue mission. I had a feeling I needed to bring
my MP-5 TX, as well as Mitch's Colt Manhunter. Damar had his Ares Crusader and
a Scorpion machine pistol. We put on full camoflage...just like old times. I
switched on my thermographics and plugged a radio chip into my chipjack. Damar
had his radio implanted behind his ear...he said he preferred not to lose his
two-way link!
"Test, test,, two, three," I said. Damar gave me a thumbs up.
"Radio is Lima Charlie...loud and clear."
We checked the map I had drawn earlier...and we reviewed the plan. Damar would
go in from the alley, and I would come in the front door. He'd make his way to
the storeroom, get the girls if they were still there, and get out. I would go
to the photo room and destroy the Q crystal, then get out. Sure seemed simple
enough. I just wish it had turned out like that.
As we approached, we had to dodge LoneStar all the way...Damar ducked down an
alley and took off full sprint to A-1. I climbed up onto the rooftops, and
made my way over to A-1. Wasp and Yellojacket Patrol choppers were
crisscrossing the skies tonight...and I could see the full moon rising. I
hoped Ed meant before the moon gets overhead...which would be around midnight.
"Orowheat to Super Dave...copy?" Damar called
"Go, Orowheat."
"In position...ready to enter." He doesn't waste time.
"Standby..30 seconds."
I got to a place just above where I planned to enter the building. I climbed
down the fire escape, testing the windows all the way. I found one that was
open. "Orowheat, Super Dave."
"Go, Super Dave."
"Open portal, level 2. Making entry there."
"Roger, Super Dave. Making entry at 23:05"
Oh, joy! 55 minutes to save the girls, reverse all the bad effects of the Q
crystal, and save the world! I'm going to Disneyland!
I switched to zero-light...this room was empty. All the others in my
thermographic scan on this floor were empty, as well. Oh, goodie! Gonna blow
it up real good! Put these polluted drekheads out of business! Ah, the
stairway. Down to level 1, where Andrea was still...umm...sitting? Poor thing,
she needs to be put together...Stop that! Focus! Perhaps I'll get bonus
(boner?) and take her with us.
"Super Dave, Orowheat."
"Go, Orowheat."
"Approaching storeroom...door is locked."
"Applying Emergency Entry Procedure Number One."
"Negative, Orowheat!"
"SMEGGIN' DREKKIN' HELL! COMPROMISED!" I shouted, but to no avail. Lights came
on, Damar had Mitch and Willow under each arm and flew past me on his way out.
I heard gunfire erupting behind us. I couldn't leave yet...I had one more
mission to accomplish. That damn Q crystal had to be destroyed...and if I die
in the process, it's because my heart is true, and my love for my wife is
just...I know what I have to do.
"Orowheat, Super Dave. Go Home. This One's Mine. OUT."
I removed the radio chip and dropped it in my pocket. Time to pay the piper,
face the music, and go for broke...isn't that how they used to say it in the
20th Century?
With all the sirens blaring and gunfire blazing all around me, I moved like a
man possessed. Never did I have such was almost as if my body
were being controlled by something else. Four evil ones fell from the death
that spurted from my MP-5. Funny, I don't recall having to change
magazines...I had the thing on full "hosemonster" and should have burned a
full mag in less that 2 seconds. It seemed I had an endless supply of ammo. I
strolled leisurely through the warehouse, hosing evil ones as they
stood...they had the nerve to scream when they were shot! Drek, they were
acting like they were being killed! I was more or less observing myself doing
all this...sort of disconnected from my consciousness. I found my way to the
photo room and saw the camera the evil ones were using to "mannequinize"
these innocent girls. Who knows how many people they transmuted?
I stood for a few seconds looking at the camera...I could see the crystal
inside the lens. I brought my MP-5 to my shoulder, intending to hosemonster
this device..."00", on the ammo counter. Drek, did I really burn the whole mag
in the warehouse?
That's when I heard the voice...
"And is it your intention to put us out of business, Captain Dykstra?"
"Who are you? How do you know who I am?"
"Let's just say that this is bigger than you are...We are in control. You
cannot possibly save the mannequins we have created...they are the scum of
society. We are the righteous...we will succeed!"
Nobody calls my wife scum...and lives! I decided to play on that...
"What gives you the right to steal people off the streets, to use a legitimate
business to pursue your perverted ways?"
"We are the righteous...we can do whatever we please. Nobody can touch
us...not even the megacorps."

"We are the righteous...we can do whatever we please. No one can touch
us...not even the megacorps."
Okay, so they weren't associated with a megacorp...but I had to play the game
a bit more. Time check - 23:57...oh, this was gonna be close.
"Who are the righteous, and what gives them the right to commit crimes against
"We do not commit crimes, Captain...we liberate the world from the filth that
has consumed it!"
"By 'mannequinizing' innocent people?"
"By liberating the chosen ones!"
"Who are the chosen ones?"
"Those we have decided to liberate!"
Time check - 23:58...
"Did you ask their permission first?"
"We do not need permission to liberate the chosen ones...we do as we please!"
"If it pleases you to liberate the chosen ones, what about their loved ones?
Their families?"
"They do not need loved ones, nor families. We are their family...we will
This guy's really getting on my nerves...yep, he's gone chugging 'round the
bend. Time check - 23:59...just a few more seconds...time to get offensive.
"You are in error, sir. You failed to take into account one thing."
"What is that, Captain?"
"When two people love each other, as Michelle and I do, we know our hearts are
true, and our love for each other is just. You are not are not
loved ones. You are disease...and I'm the cure! Burn In Hell, Drekhead!" I
shouted as I drew Michelle's Manhunter from my holster.
23:59:59...I never heard the shot...didn't even activate the smartlink. I saw
the bullet leave the muzzle. The glass shattered, the crystal exploded with a
force I've never before seen. The voice said something like, "I won't allow
this to happen...", just before his world ended. The whole building revolved
around me, as if it were caught in a tornado. I saw Andrea's parts mixed in
with the debris and dead bodies as they swirled around me. While everything
else was in chaos, it was strangely calm around me. Why did I notice Andrea?
Hm...that was strange. I don't remember how I left the area...I recall just
walking past the LoneStar and the's as if they never saw me.
Time Check - 00:00. I looked up at the had crested, all right. I
just hoped I had done it in time. I was still a bit dazed when I heard a
voice...the voice of Ed Silverleaf.
"You have done well, Mr. Dykstra." He was speaking Sperethiel...and I
understood him. "You have honored us by removing the evil device. I give you,
for your lifetime, the gift of the proper tongue. You may use it whenever you
wish. Your wife will also share in this wonderful gift. May you have many
strong sons and daughters!
   "By the won!"
I blinked a couple of times...I had the gift of the Elven tongue. Mitch and
Willow were restored...I think! Where's my radio chip?
"Orowheat, Super Dave...copy?"
"Go, Super Dave." That wasn't Damar...
"Who's on my frequency?"
"You'll find out...when you get home...sweetie!"
I had to ask this question..."Honey, are you all right?"
"Sure am...Damar and Willow are getting ready to go home."
"Any side effects? From your experience?"
"So ka, baby! I'm a few blocks there in 2 mikes!"
"See you then, sweetie...Nighthawk, out."
"Super Dave...frequency clear."

I met up with the gang...Damar and Willow were ready to go home.
"Hey, breeder...wanna ride home?"
Clouds were beginning to gather...I could smell the rain coming.
"You wanna ride home with them, hon?" I asked Mitch.
"Not really...I feel like walking."
" do I."
Damar handed me something. "Ed says this is for you...use it wisely."
I looked at the stick he handed was a candy-cane striped
credstik..."How many nuyen is on this?" I asked.
"You'll find out...breeder!" Damar shouted as he and Willow drove away.
"Yeah, smeg you too, dandelion eater!" I shouted after him. Damar...what a
friend. I really count myself fortunate to have friends like him.
Mitch and I walked home in the drizzle that passes for rain in Seattle...arm
in arm.

Ya know, I think I will take that jog over to Mercer Island tomorrow our new house!