Joaquin "Loco" Castillo
"Who you tryin' to get crazy with ese? Don' choo know
I'm loco?" - Cypress Hill, Insane in the Membrane, Black
"Damn, check it out," came the whispered warning
"Que?" Queried Julio as he scanned the bus terminal,
but he soon figured out what his friend was talking about.
A guy strolled in like he owned the place and would geek anyone
that argued the point. Strange though, he was nothing special
when you looked hard at him. Sure, he looked like he could take
a hit and kick some ass, but he wasn't some musclehead. He just
looked like an above average survivor in the cesspool of Seattle
called the Barrens. Hell, even an Ork would probably give him
a run for his money. Still, there was something about him. He
ate up his surroundings, like he was hired to kill someone in
As if on cue, he bumped into an Ork. The Ork half-turned and
sneered. The guy spun on his heel and got right up in his face,
it looked like Julio wasn't going to get to talk to this guy
after all. No wait, the Ork looks scared. Damn, what the hell
did he say to turn that big fragger pale like that?
Some dumbass with the Ork decides to play diplomat and gets
his nose smashed as his reward. The guy doesn't even turn his
gaze from the Ork. All right, maybe the guy deserves some respect.
The guy finishes talking and seems to intentionally turn his
back on the Ork as if daring him. For a moment, a flicker of
rage crosses the Ork's face and it looks like he's about to
call the guy's bluff, but he settles for flipping him off and
The guy? He's just back to prowling. No smirk of victory, just
back to looking for targets. Cold.
Saul speaks softly, "Damn Julio, I think that crazy slot
woulda geeked that Tusker right fraggin' here, even with the
fraggin 'star standing at the door."
Julio answers matter-of-factly, "Well he's killed enough
of the 'star. Maybe he likes it."
"Or maybe he's just a freak."
"I give a damn Saul, as long as this freak gets our work
done for us. We need a killer, not a groomsman."
"Yeah, well he don't look all that bad."
"I'll let you tell him that."
Saul answers with silence.
As he gets closer, it becomes obvious that he's wearing a thick
leather jacket, black slacks, and dark brown shirt with a strange
masonry pattern on it.
Saul mutters, "I don't see a gat, but he's a little stiff
on one side, probably a bat or something. Bet the jacket's armored."
Julio nods, "Yeah, you're a real freakin' genius Saul.
Guy rides in from the Barrens and Inspector Saul deduces he's
wearing body armor. I can't see a gun either, but you can bet
he's got a 'gat'. Pistols are his thing omae."
Saul motions to him and he turns smoothly to walk over to the
Saul puts on his game face, but his words belie his feelings.
"Damn Julio, check out those eyes. Ain't no mercy in there,
Julio slips into his cold street manner, "It's a'ight
omae, cause dat's what we're paying for."
The man steps in a little closer than Julio would like, but
no one lets on or flinches. The man's eyes are cold and black,
void of any spark of life except for a strange glimmer, like
his mind's churning away and you don't want to see what's going
on in there. It's a strange contrast to his body and face, which
seem vital and full of life, ready to pounce.
The man pauses just long enough to make the pair visibly anxious,
then announces himself, "I'm Loco."
Julio nods, "No doubt ese, no doubt."
Joaquin came kicking and screaming to the world and stayed
that way for some time. His father, Fidel, was, in a word, filth.
Fidel beat his wife, Angela, and worried more about his next
soybeer than his son.
The first words Joaquin understood from Fidel was the phrase
"Don't coddle him!" This was usually punctuated by
backhanding Angela. Joaquin loved his mother and despised his
father. Fidel did work hard and bring in the money, he had that
much dignity, but that was the height of his nobility.
No one was surprised when at age four Joaquin began spending
a lot of time talking to his magical friend Quetzalcoatl, or
"Q". His favorite cartoon was "Q-Force"
on the few Aztlan channels the dish picked up. In the show,
a group of children had a talking Quetzal bird, called "Q",
as a friend. When necessary, they could push their ziggurat
medallions together to call upon ancient powers to turn Q into
the mighty Quetzalcoatl. When the cartoon wasn't on, the only
other entertainment was Fidel abusing Angela or watching the
violence on the streets outside. Joaquin spent a lot of time
talking to Q.
Shortly after Joaquin's fifth birthday, he announced to his
mother that she was pregnant, according to Q. He was right.
It was nothing new really. What would be a miracle is if this
one survived the regular beatings Fidel inflicted on her. Joaquin
asked Q to watch over his little sister-to-be and even occasionally
jumped in between Fidel and Angela, in an attempt to tire Fidel
out for the sake of Angela.
Whether Q helped or not, Joaquin believed he had done something,
as his little sister, Maria, was born a few months before his
sixth birthday. Unlike Joaquin, she came into the world quietly.
Q had still not gone away, but Angela could not afford to pay
for a doctor, so she made the best of it and humored her boy.
Joaquin did well in school. He had a quick mind and no desire
to get home early. It wasn't long before his school chums learned
of Q and Joaquin earned the name "Loco". Children
could be cruel, but Joaquin had been forged by his father's
tender mercies and his class mates found Loco to more than they
could handle. He might not be the strongest or best fighter,
but he was fast and he could take the hits and outlast his would-be
bullies. Joaquin started living up to his new nickname and carved
a niche of personal solitude behind the facade of "one
By age fifteen, Loco was in a gang, the Jade Jaguars, and
exploring a latent knack with pistols. He hooked up with an
Jose, that had more gear than he could afford. C. J. had been
a gang executioner himself until he fell asleep smoking a
and woke up as flambe. There wasn't much of a Fire Department
in the Barrens and it was a miracle he survived at all, but
he didn't get the treatment he needed to get back on his feet.
The accident left him ugly, in spite of the fact that he was
an Elf, and too frail for anything but sitting at a desk. C.
J. kept on smoking, but he turned things around and put his
know-how to work for him. Within two years after his accident,
Crazy Jose was a successful armorer with a steady business
related gear and setting up jobs for shooters he knew. C. J.
was responsible for almost every job Loco took outside of
The Jade Jaguars was a run-of-the-mill street gang with an
Aztec theme to it. Their main schtick was protection from others
and themselves, and a steady drug trade. Although there was
no blood magic involved, the initiation rite was consuming the
heart of a downed enemy. It was grisly, but a cakewalk compared
to most initiation rites in the Barrens. His reputation and
attitude made him a natural executioner and he did his job with
fervor and skill. He managed to amass enough incidental cred
from targets to pick up a Smartlink and he was firmly on his
He still visits the same street doc, Mikos, when he needs to
be fixed up. The hairy jovial Greek doctor gets the job done
well, even if he is unwilling to use deodorant and apparently
unable to button his shirt very far. Although a full medical
doctor, his foreign degree did not hold up in Seattle. That
and a few other complications led to him founding a street clinic
on the edge of Touristville.
Loco still went to school semi-regularly, but was not quite
as studious, Picking up more knowledge reading books that interested
him or talking with Q. Loco deflected most peer pressure, but
still found more practical knowledge, like Chemistry, a.k.a.
how to make drugs, more appealing.
On his sixteenth birthday, Maria came to him in tears, with
Fidel in hot pursuit. There was something else in Fidel's eyes,
his intention was no simple beating; he was taking off his belt
for a different reason and Maria had a bruise that was too high
on her thigh for her father to inflict. Loco snapped. He pistol-whipped
Fidel until he stopped moving. He didn't kill Fidel, but his
family's home had come under new management and Fidel had been
convinced that touching Maria would result in personal horror
Loco had not been comfortable with moving too far up the ranks
of his gang. The lieutenant of the Jade Jaguars, Chacho, became
closer to Loco than most of the gang. Whether it was politics
or not didn't really concern him. Chacho was a Spider Shaman
though, and he could actually see Q and occasionally talk to
him, which was a nice change of pace for Loco. Loco was still
a top dog, but was content to be a hitter and not a leader.
He had a family to run, and that was enough, perhaps too much.
Loco crossed paths with Lonestar, or "Ellis" as
the gang called them, many times. Only the worst Ellis seemed
to work in his barrio. The streets were safer without them around
and Loco was overly comfortable making the streets of his barrio
safer. Over the year he sent on a lot of Ellis and it wasn't
long before he had a price on his head. He had never been caught,
but his face sure had and it wasn't long before his name was
attached to it.
One night when Joaquin returned from a gang get together, he
was surprised by a couple of Poor Ellis, plain clothes Lonestar
agents, disguised as squatters in the alley he usually used
to approach home. They were fast, he was faster, and he rang
up two more kills.
Once home, he quickly figured out who had turned him in from
the relief on the faces of Angela and Maria and the surprise
on Fidel's. Joaquin didn't scream or jump up and down. He quietly
pulled out his pistol and walked Fidel over to his would-be
captors, clasped one of their guns in their hand and shot Fidel.
He then left a clean backup gun in Fidel's cold dead hand and
walked calmly back home. Two hours and a lot of nuyen later,
the family was in a new place with a fresh start.
For the last year, Loco has loaned himself out occasionally
to friendly gangs or corps for hits to make ends meet. He is
also getting more involved in the drug trade; unlike most of
his interactions, his knowledge is his weapon there. His paying
attention in Chemistry class, combined with his supernatural
taste has allowed him to identify bad deals and his other skills
allow him to resolve those problems quickly and finally.
He keeps his family in reasonable comfort in their new home.
Maria was blessed with a quick mind as well and is attending
a private boarding school in Snohomish. Angela is working as
a seamstress mostly to keep herself busy with the stream of
cash coming in from Loco. Angela doesn't like the blood on his
hands, but it's a dark world and she's become good at forgetting
how the money is made. Angela also keeps herself busy with a
new beau, Ernesto. He's a good man with a steady accounting
job at Shiawase and he's moved in and started paying the bills.
Ernesto isn't comfortable around Loco, but at least he's polite
and courteous. Loco respects the fact that his mother is finally
happy and that's enough for Loco.
With the family business in order, it's time to focus on work
and raising the stakes a bit.
Point of View
- The Finer Things: Outside of work, Loco enjoys talking about
the finer things in life that Q has instructed him on. Until
recently, he saw these things as out of reach, but Shadowrunning
holds the promise of providing him these things. For now,
a bottle of real wine or cigar on raer occasions is enough.
- American Indian Culture: He has recently become curious
about this topic. Q seems to know something about it, but
rarely discusses it.
- History: Loco keeps up on his reading and discussions with
Q. History provides Loco with a sense of belonging and perspective
that he hasn't found elsewhere.
- Family: Loco feels more of a grandfather role with respect
to his sister and mother. He visits occasionally, exchanges
polite pleasantries with minimal street attitude, and making
sure things are in order and the bills paid.
- "Ellis" (Lonestar): Loco does not view Lonestar
as the cops they pretend to be. He has dealt with numerous
corrupt thugs working in their ranks that committed crimes
daily, extorting money from the locals while hiding behind
their badges. He knows a few decent ones, but they don't stay
long. It's almost as if Ellis sends his trash to Loco's Barrio
hoping that Loco will geek them and save everyone the paperwork
and hassle of firing them. Whatever the case, Lonestar has
not pursued him actively beyond putting out a wanted poster,
which is little more than a badge of courage in his barrio.
- Kill or be killed: Loco is accustomed to solving his problems
with a gun. With the nature of vendettas the human thirst
for vengeance, he has found it safer just to kill people outright.
Warnings have occasionally worked out all right, but they
were exceptional cases, decent people in the wrong place at
the wrong time.
- Drugs make money, but their poison: Loco doesn't care much
for the effects drugs have on people and he discourages friends
and family from using them. But it doesn't stop him from helping
make and distribute them. He tries not to think too much about
it, dismissing concerns with the lame argument of "I
don't make them take it." This revulsion and his knowledge
of Chemistry have kept him at a higher organizational level
and the only deals he participates in are large sales to suppliers.
However, he is more comfortable with killing people than selling
drugs and he is looking to Shadowrunning to be his ticket
out of this life.