Ego Sum Lex
Armand Sauvage "Solitaire"
Gunslinger adept with a mysterious past
|Initiative:||8 + 4d6|
|Movement:||Walk: 12, Run 24|
|Physical Limit:||5 (9)|
|Unarmed (Cyber Implants)||Agi||14 (16/18)||4||10||(2) (2)|
|Automatics (Ares Crusader II)||Agi||14 (16)||4||10||(2)|
|Pistols (Ares Crusader II)||Agi||14 (16)||4||10||(2)|
|Sneaking (Urban)||Agi||12 (14/16)||4||6||2 (2)|
|Astral Combat||Mag||5 (7)||1||4||(2)|
|20th Century Movies||Log||5||1||3||1|
|Ambidextrous||No penalty using off-hand||P|
|Mentor Spirit||Cat, + 2 Sneaking, 2 Free levels of Light Body||P|
|Natural Athlete||+ 2 Gymnastics and Running||P|
|Out for Myself||+ 3 to Surprise Tests, Double Notoriety for selfish actions||P|
|Quick Healer||+ 2 to all Healing Tests||P|
|Code of Honor||Code du Legionnaire||N|
|Consumate Professional||Slower Street Cred gain, + 2 Dice Pool for job interactions||N|
|Combat Sense||1||0.5||+ 1 Defense tests, Always allowed Surprise test|
|Light Body||2||0||Bonus to Jumping, Reduce falling damage|
|2 Synthetic Full Cyberarms||1.6||Alphaware, Str 9, Agi 10, 2 Large Smuggling Compartments|
|2 Spurs (Retractable)||–|
|Sleep Regulator||–||0.1||Only 3 hours of sleep per night|
|Cerebral Booster||1||0.2||+ 1 Logic|
|Mnemonic Enhancer||1||0.1||+ 1 Knowledge and Memory tests|
|Black Market Gun Dealer||4||5|
|Metahuman Rights Social Worker||2||3|
Primary Lifestyle: 1 Month Mid, 6 Months Low (Shared, Out of the Way, Extra Secure)
Nuyen: 4,555 + (4d6 x 100)
Fake IDs/Related Lifestyles/Licenses: 2 Sets Fake SINs (Rating 4), 6 Fake Licenses (2 each – Rating 4; Augmentation, Concealed Weaponry, Firearms)
|Ares Crusader II||7p||5 (7)||–||SA/BF||2||40©||Regular Ammo|
|Ares Alpha||11p||5 (7)||-2||SA/BF/FA||2||42©||Regular Ammo|
|9s (e)||-5||(Stick-n-Shock Ammo)|
|Grenade Launcher||^||4 (6)||^||SS||–||6©|
|Chameleon Suit||9||+ 2 Limit on Sneaking tests, + 2 Dice pool on Sneaking tests; Fire Resistant Rating 2, Chemical Resistant Rating 2, Nonconductive Rating 2, Thermal Damping Rating 3|
|Helmet||+ 2||Audio Enhancement Rating 3, Select Sound Filter Rating 2, Flare Compensation|
|Cyber Arms||+ 4|
Damage Resistance: 18 (15 Armor + 3 Body)
2 Weapon Foci (Rating 2; Spurs), Qi Focus (Rating 4; Astral Perception), Qi Focus (Rating 4; Traceless Walk), 2 Ares Crusader II (2 Quick-Draw Holsters, 2 Silencers, 10 Spare Clips, 200 Rounds Regular Ammo, 100 Rounds APDS, 100 Explosive Rounds), Ares Alpha (Silencer, Airburst Link, 10 Spare Clips, 200 Rounds Regular Ammo, 100 Rounds APDS, 100 Explosive Rounds, 100 Stick-n-Shock, 25 Flashbang, 25 Frag, 25 HE, 25 Thermal Smoke, 25 Gas – Neuro Stun VIII), 5 Sets of Clothing (1 w/ Electrochromic Modification), Chameleon Suit (Thermal Damping 3, Fire Resist 2, Chem Resist 2, Nonconductive 2), Helmet (Flare Compensation, Audio Enhancement 3, Select Sound Filter 2), 20kg Commercial Explosives, 10 Detonator Caps, Transys Avalon Commlink, AR Gloves, Biometric Reader, Sim Module, Subvocal Mic, 10 Stealth RFID Tags, Bug Scanner R6, Data Tap, Area Jammer R4, Directional Jammer R6, Micro-Transceiver, Tag Eraser, White Noise Generator R6, 2 Fake SINs R4, 6 Fake Licenses R4, Contacts (Vision Enhancement R3), Glasses (Vision Magnification, Thermographic, Smartlink, Image Link), Autopicker R6, Cellular Glove Molder R4, Bolt Cutters, Keycard Copier R6, Lockpick Set, Maglock Passkey R4, Miniwelder (2 Spare Fuel Canisters), Sequencer R4, Climbing Gear, Flashlight, Gas Mask, Diving Gear, Rappelling Gloves, Survival Kit, Grapple Gun, Catalyst Stick, 1000m Microwire, 500m Stealth Rope, Medkit (Rating 6, 10 Extra Supplies), 1 Year Basic DocWagon, Biomonitor, 2 Antidote Patches R6, 4 Stim Patches R6, 2 Trauma Patches, Suzuki Mirage, 6 Months Low Lifestyle (Out of the Way, Extra Secure), 2 Flash-Paks, Survival Knife, 10 Throwing Knives, Endoscope, Laser Mic, Gecko Tape Gloves, B&E Toolkit, Armorer Toolkit
I always loved the way she said my name. The sound of her voice would caress my ears as gently as her hands would.
“Armand, mon amant solitaire…”
She always used to call me that, at least before she…wait. Something’s not right…
I bolted upright with a start, my heart beating fast from an already forgotten dream. The sound of the city was alive around me, full of menace, even in the dark of night. Horns blared, a siren screamed loudly somewhere close-by, dogs were barking, and late-night rowdies could be heard yelling. My sweating hands were filled with the cold metal of my Ares Crusaders that I did not remember drawing and my smartgun systems were scanning the darkness for targets. Once I realized the threat I had dreamt of was not there, I sank back against the wall of the alley I had been sleeping in. My heart was still racing and I was breathing air in large, rapid gulps. I closed my eyes and tried to center myself.
There came a musical laugh from the darkness. Her laugh. It was sensual and breathy, and it chimed liked bells. I always loved to hear her laugh. I did not turn to face her, the pain of seeing her was still too great. That only seemed to amuse her more.
I felt more than heard her approach, and then heard her sniff. “Après trois jours, les deux poissons et vous pourrez commencer à odeur” I laughed despite my pain. She always had a saying for everything. Plus, I’m sure that I was in dire need of a shower and to have my clothing washed. The pleasantness of her conversation brought back old pain. With a sigh, I said ”Ne touchez pas aux blessures guéries.” There was another musical laugh.
I took a quick inventory of my belongings, a habit learned rapidly when one lives on the street. Once I was certain that everything was there, I climbed out from underneath my make-shift cardboard and canvas shelter. It had rained earlier in the night and the smell of refuse and worse was almost overpowering. I did need a good cleaning.
“Armand, remember why you are here…”
I wish I could. This was something she had been hounding me about since…it happened. An answer was close, I could feel it. The traces of them were everywhere, but always just out of reach. They did not leave survivors and those who did know of them would never talk. I suppose I should explain…
It has been just over a year since I…woke up. That is the easiest way to explain it. You see, amnesia is very hard to describe to someone who has never experienced it. I can feel that I know things…I just don’t remember what. The memories of my past have disappeared just like the dream I had.
When I “woke up” I was laying in a bed with all manner of electrodes attached to almost every area of my body. There was even a machine that went “Ping!” Sorry. I couldn’t help myself. I like that movie. But back to what I was saying…
At first my thought that I was in some sort of accident and that I was in a hospital, but something didn’t seem right. I couldn’t remember what had happened. I couldn’t even remember who I was. What was my name? I began to panic. Had I hit my head? I checked, but no bandages or braces. Why couldn’t I remember?
That’s when the tv began to speak to me. There was some sort of news program on, the typical talking head type of report, and it was a few moments before I realized that the “reporter” was actually speaking to me.
“You must get up and get out of here” she said in that objective-yet-concerned voice that reporters have. “I don’t have time to explain, but you are in danger.” I looked around me, looking for anybody else, sure that this was a dream or drug-induced hallucination. “Please, you must believe me. You are being held in a secret facility and are being tested on. You…and the others.”
Others? At this point I sat up and tried to get out of bed. I expected to be weak because that’s what happens when people are bed-ridden, right? I was surprised to feel an unusually high amount of energy and vigor. I literally sprang from the bed, overcompensating, and slid along the floor, ripping electrodes off of me. I stopped cold when I came around the edge of the screen. I was in a large patient room with many beds. In each bed lay a man. I looked from bed to bed and my mouth dropped open. They were all the same person. At least they all looked very similar. There were some slight differences in each if you looked closely, but nobody would be able to differentiate them with a casual glance. The patient charts clipped at the foot of each bed only bore a roman numeral. The one on my bed read VII.
The tv announcer spoke again. “You are a clone. That is the easiest explanation I can give. They cloned you from the tissue of an ear that had been cut off of an elf of some importance and they felt that the answers they sought could be found within you. I do not know what they were looking for, but they were very excited about their results. I can help you escape, but you must leave now.” The door to the room buzzed and clicked open.
Outside was a stark, tiled hallway that stretched left and right, and it was lined with several doors like mine. There was no one in sight. A monitor at the end of the hall flashed for a few seconds and the message “This way” appeared on it. I crept out of the room and followed the signs.
My flight from the “facility” was long and nerve-wracking, but I eventually was led to a service door that opened out into an abandoned factory. My memory of the escape is hazy, and how I made it into the city, I do not know. I have tried repeatedly to retrace my steps, but it seemed that the more I concentrated on trying to remember, the farther away it slipped.
I have never found out where I was or why exactly I was there. I have never found out who it was who helped me escape. What kind of people would clone some sort of ancient elf and for what purpose?
As if sensing that my thoughts were on the past, she asked “Do you remember where you first saw me?”
I remembered, but I knew that was something that she did not know, could not know, because I had never told her. But then again, she was not the woman I fell in love with.
I first gained work at the Foxy, you know, the old 5 nuyen theatre that specialized in showing old 20th century films. There was quite a cult following, especially for the midnight shows. I worked as the projectionist. Part of the charm of the Foxy was that they showed actual films – they were the old reel-to-reel projectors. The job gave me a chance to watch a lot of movies, and it distracted me from thinking about my problems, at least for a few hours. That is also where I saw her.
She was beautiful. More than beautiful, actually. The kind of person that always seems to gather people around them without effort. She ran with a go-gang and they seemed to be a very dangerous group, so I held back and just watched her when they came to the theatre.
I don’t remember exactly when it happened, but I just decided to talk to her one day. After all, what does a guy with no name and no memory have to lose? She was down near the piers and I had been out walking. She saw me walking towards her before her friends did (a scary-looking group of go-gangers) and smiled. Her friends were less than pleased, and many of them reached under their leather jackets and scanned the surrounding buildings for threats, while looking me up and down.
I approached with my hands up and tried to make small talk with her, but soon found myself at a loss for words when asked simple questions, such as “What is your name?” She was more than amused by my lack of memory, and had said later that she had thought it the most original line she had heard. Needless to say, she did not swoon on sight.
Over the next few months, we met a few times and briefly exchanged pleasantries. When I still could not tell her what my name was or where I came from, she started to believe that my amnesia was real. She found it amusing, like a game, and said that we would have to “find” me a name. That is where I picked up the name Armand. She said she had always liked that name. I didn’t mind, and it at least gave me a sense of self that I didn’t have before. Our relationship became serious that summer and I was starting to feel very happy.
Besides her enthusiasm for racing, she also worked as an independent courier. You see, sometimes when a corporation or a businessman wants to send data to someone else but doesn’t want there to be any record of the transaction, they hire a courier. They upload whatever data they are transferring into a secure head-safe (I think they are called data locks) implanted in the courier, the courier then travels to where they need to go, and the data is then downloaded. The courier does not have access to the files and the head-safe is not able to be cracked without damaging the data, and possibly also the courier. It seemed like an exciting job at the time, but I was soon to learn how dangerous it really was.
We had been out riding our bikes one evening when we noticed that we were being followed. She was worried that these people might be after the data she was supposed to deliver, and we sped up and tried to lose them. It wasn’t too hard, her bike was made for racing and she knew the local streets, and I just followed her as best I could. She expertly wove in and out of traffic and made several sudden turns down one-way streets and even through alleys until we were sure we were not being followed. That was when the ground around us erupted in an explosion and we were thrown from our bikes.
An armed drone buzzed overhead and I rolled upright. I was still somewhat stunned from the suddenness of the attack, but I had the sense of mind to dive behind a parked car when I heard tires screeching behind me. Looking up I saw a dark van turned sideways in the road. Out of the side door came three armed men. She was nearer to them and she pleaded “The data is encoded and won’t do you any good without the passcode. You know this.” But they ignored her and advanced towards where my bike was, searching for me.
It was them. They had come searching for their lost pet. She seemed to realize it about the same time I did, and before I knew it, she had drawn her concealed pistol and opened fire on the men. One of the men went down, but they were well trained and took cover almost immediately and returned fire. She was very quick and had already moved behind their own van.
They began to advance on her, with one providing covering fire while the other sprang forward. I was not about to let her get hurt, so I sprang from my hiding place and tackled one of the men from behind. We struggled for possession of his gun. It was silenced and gave of a series of loud clicks as it fired. There was a look of surprise on his face when the bullets struck him, and then he slumped back on to the street.
“Give yourself up and come with us, or the girl is dead!” called a loud male voice. Oh, no. I looked up and saw that the other man had somehow disarmed her and was holding her in front of him as a shield, his arm wrapped around her neck, and he had a pistol pointed at her head. “Put down the weapon and get in the van.”
I didn’t have a choice. I put the gun down and started to stand up with my hands up.
She shook her head and there were tears in her eyes. “Don’t do it, Armand.” The man behind her hit her in the head with his gun to silence her. She had expected it and used the momentum to help her twist around and grab his gun. They struggled for a moment and the sound of the pistol going off was like a clap of thunder.
Time seemed to slow down. I watched her body go limp and fall forward. I don’t remember moving, but found myself sprinting forward. I could move very fast when I wanted to and I was upon him before he knew it. It seemed like child’s play to break his neck.
I rushed to her side, but her wound had been fatal. I cradled her head in my lap and tried to fight off the wave of grief that threatened to pull me under. I am not sure how much time had passed, but I was brought into the present by the sound of a voice. Her voice. “Armand, you must flee“ she said. I looked up and there she was. But…her head was still in my lap, her blood soaking the pavement below us. My mouth gaped open as I looked back and forth between them. “Armand, if you love me, flee now.”
It was then that I became aware of the sound of the circling drone as well as the sound of a vehicle approaching at high speed, probably only a block away. I carefully set her head down on the ground and stood up, facing the “other” her. Had she become some sort of spirit? Was I just going crazy with grief? I was too shocked to think very clearly. The look of panic on her face was real, though. She looked up at the drone and away, towards the sound of the approaching vehicle, and then back to me. There was genuine concern in her eyes. I reached out to grab her hand and pull her after me, but my hand passed clean through her as if she were not there. She looked at me sadly and whispered “Fuir, mon amor.”
I fled. I’m not proud of it. I wanted to stay and kill every last one of them, or at least die trying. To die with her. I was filled with equal parts of rage, sorrow, and guilt. I let my feet carry me away into the dark, and I thought that I had put the sounds of pursuit far behind me, when suddenly the high-pitched whine of a drone’s turborotor came from above. It must have had some sort of thermal or night-sight system, and the operator must have been a real whiz to follow me that far. I turned a quick corner and ran down the nearest alleyway. It was narrow and filled with the skeletal metal framework of ancient fire escapes as well as criss-crossed with laundry lines and jury-rigged power lines. It was perfect for losing aircraft.
Halfway down the alley I ducked below an overhang and kept still. I could hear the sound of the drone, but could not see it anywhere. I just hoped my plan was working. I was just waiting for it to move off.
The operator must have thought that he lost me, because the sound of the drone’s engine began to get fainter. It must have circled back to search the streets, where I also heard the sound of approaching traffic. Probably more of those goons. I used the opportunity to move deeper into the alley. I moved from cover to cover and tried to stay out of sight from anything overhead. Something squished underneath my foot, but I didn’t bother to look down. The alley was shaped like an L, and when I reached the corner I saw that it ended abruptly in a brick wall. Damn.
I turned back, but saw a vehicle parked in the mouth of the alley, it’s lights shining down towards me. I didn’t think they could see me yet, but I wasn’t going to take that chance as I moved back around the corner. I looked up and around for anything I could climb over or through. All of the windows had security bars and there were very few handholds that would allow for climbing except…the rusted fire escapes. Without thinking, I lept up and caught the bars of the lowest one. It groaned alarmingly but held. I worked my way up until I was almost to the roof. If I could only reach the roof, I could definitely give them the slip.
As I was reaching up to grab the rungs of the top-most ladder to the roof, the drone roared overhead and it’s optics suite swiveled to face me, only feet away. I could see that it was armed with some sort of machine gun, and rather than waiting for it to start shooting, I leapt upon it. If I would have had any time to think about it, I would not have done anything so dangerous, but I was still numb from shock and this drone represented more danger to me than the car full of armed men.
It’s rotors immediately changed pitch to compensate for the extra load, but it was too much for it to handle. It tried to fly off, probably trying to shake me, but I held on tenaciously. Our course took us over the wall at the back of the alley, and we were descending rapidly. As we cleared the wall, I saw we were right on the waterfront and were heading down towards a pier. The operator tried one last time to throw me off, but only succeeded in increasing the rate of our fall. This was going to hurt. I pulled my legs up and tried to hug as close as I could to the drone before we hit.
We hit hard, with me on top of the drone, and I was thrown into the rotors. Pain like I had never experienced shot through me and I am sure that there was an explosion before I blacked out. I came to and blacked out several times, and everything from that point on seemed very dream-like. I had fallen into the water, and while bobbing up and down I saw the lights of a vehicle pull up to the dock. It was them. They had me now. I couldn’t fight them in my condition. Perhaps I would drown before they caught me.
The men advanced towards the dock, but stopped at the sound of approaching sirens. Ah…Seattle’s finest to the rescue. I tried to chuckle but wound up choking on water. The men conferred for a brief moment before getting back in their car and leaving the scene quickly. So, they weren’t tied to law enforcement after all… These were my last thoughts as I faded into unconsciousness.
I woke in another hospital, and I gasped with the sudden sense of deja-vu as the memories of my first awakening came to me. I tried to get out of the bed but found I could not move. Was I paralyzed? I tried to look around, but something was preventing my head from moving. A woman’s face appeared above me and she was making soothing sounds to try and calm me down. She pressed a button on my I.V. and I sank back into a drugged stupor.
I later learned that my right arm had been severed at the bicep by the drone’s rotor and my left arm had been mangled from the explosion. I also found out that orders from an unknown source came into the hospital for the best cyber replacements to be given to me, and they arrived by special courier that very day. Military grade hardware. The orders came in from very high up. One of the doctors claimed that I must have had a “guardian angel” somewhere.
During my recovery, she would sometimes visit me. Always when I was alone or doped up. Sometimes even in my dreams. That was how I was introduced to the cat spirit. To this day I am not sure if it really her, or if the cat spirit is just taking her image to toy with my emotions like some big ball of yarn. I could never get a straight answer from her. It. But she did always seem to know when I needed a boost or a kick in the butt. Like now…
I looked back down at my “home.” A crudely-constructed lean-to of cardboard set atop two old garbage cans, with a tarp draped over the top to keep out the rain. At times like this, when the memory of her was strong within me, I really felt like giving up, like surrendering to…whatever it is that is trying to pull me down. “Aide-toi et le ciel t’aidera,” was the reply from behind me.
“Attente tourmente” I said as I rose and faced her…