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Rock, a character for Shadowrun®
Why a Physical Adept? I love the concept of a PhysAd. They are finally someone cool again in SRIII, so I jumped at the chance.
I decided to have him be born human into a normal family and then goblinize at puberty. This tended to make people have some serious mental issues to deal with and this would give plenty of reason for his family to distance themselves from him and also for him to develop a mindset well suited to the super-soldier program, i.e., fragmented and more easily manipulated.
He would have a normal real name and, of course, a nifty street name. I was thinking that his skin might have a grayish color to it and his natural bony deposits made his features look somewhat chiseled, like a statue. His real name was pretty easy, "Peter Miller," the only rationale for Miller is that it is a pretty normal name. Peter was chosen because it comes from the Greek word petros, meaning stone or rock. What "street name" to use? Some ideas:
I wanted him to have at least one friend in the world, so I decided he had a Geek-Jock relationship with some gifted street kid that became a skilled Armorer - Jimmy Sloane, a.k.a. "Bang Bang," a.k.a. "Leonardo." Jimmy prefers the latter. I decided that I would pick up in his life about six months after escaping from his training. He has a job as a Bouncer at Club Penumbra and has established a Fixer named Willy "The Snake" Malone as a contact.
What about the program? I opted to have it be a secret corporate operation, so secret that the main corporate body was almost completely unaware of its existence. The Program, as it would be called, was set up to create soldiers to fight Bugs, a term used to refer to Insect Spirits and the nasty creatures created of and by them. Bugs are typically hell on wheels against non-magical people, but Physical Adepts with the power Killing Hands, as well as Magicians that can wield Combat spells tend to be capable of fighting them effectively. Of course, it still is not easy to take them down, especially when they can, with little difficulty, slap around the Spirits a Magician might summon to help him.
I created an alternate character to Rock, called Josh Nichols, aka Prometheus. He was a pretty straightforward bioware- and cyberware-enhanced Ork. So, I decided that The Program also had a facility for creating "mundane" (none magical) soldiers, cyber-buddies so to speak, to integrate with the magical ones, such as Rock. Since Bug threats often included Fleshforms, which can be affected by a lot of bullets, it made sense to have some hardcore, non-magical death dealers to accompany the Bug-bashing magical guys.
Finally, Lars Ericson, the GM of the campaign when Rock was created, suggested a fellow product of The Program. So, I threw in a Dwarf buddy, Simon.
Peter had always wanted to make his Dad proud. He was growing like a weed and putting on muscle at an amazing rate. When he played cub football, he was the starting line. Peter also worked very hard to be a good student. As Dad always said, "There's nothing worse than a stupid human." Peter was so proud when, on his 11th birthday, his Dad pinned on his Humanis Policlub Junior Member badge. Sally would have had the same honor bestowed upon her, but she was always playing Devil's advocate and spouting of stuff about equality of the races and such. Things were definitely going swimmingly.
Things began going downhill. Being an average student, Pete had
to work very hard to excel. However, in sixth grade, it slowly became
harder and harder to compete. He was doing very well in sports,
however, and people started to worry less about his studies. Shortly
after Pete's 13th birthday, he started having terrible fevers, rashes
and body aches. He was seen by various physicians, but none of them
could help. Then one day he suddenly woke up in the hospital and
the pains were gone. He felt better than ever he could remember.
His sheets were soaked with sweat, but he felt great. However, when
he went to the bathroom and looked in the mirror to see if the rash had
left his face intact, he saw the face of a Troll
A dozen bruised hospital staff, a few counselors, and a couple of hours later, he was sitting with his family, taking in their thinly veiled shock and disgust. All except Sally, of course, she was sincerely sympathetic, as always. It did little to assuage the conflict raging in Pete. He had never been a gung-ho Humanis Policlub type, but he had been trained to look down upon Metahumanity in general. It was a hard thing for him to deal with and his parents suddenly started acting as though he was never really their son to begin with. Being a teenage boy, he found himself unable to take solace in Sally's sympathies.
It did not take long for Pete to decide to run away. Pete lived on the streets for a while, where he became fast friends with Jimmy Sloane. Jimmy was a very bright kid and he and Peter soon adopted one another in a traditional geek-jock relationship. Unfortunately for Jimmy, although he was very bright, he had little opportunity to exceed academically. His mother was a BTL whore and he had no idea which BTL dealer his father was. Luckily, her habit had not complicated Jimmy's fetal development. He turned his gifts to weaponry and quickly became quite an adept Armorer. Pete had little problem with this, as it kept him stocked up with a steady supply of weapons. Jimmy tried to adopt the street name "Leonardo," but the streets had chosen Jimmy "Bang Bang" Sloane, and that's what most people knew him as.
Pete had a run in with some Humanis Policlub enforcers. They didn't know what hit them, and Pete had all four of them down on the ground crying for mercy within seconds. He had accidentally killed one of them with his bare hands. He pulled off their hoods and reeled back when one of them turned out to be his father. That encounter killed off the last vestiges of feelings he had for his father, and he threw himself into the street life. Humanis Policlub would not soon forget Pete, but the organization as a whole did not consider him worthy of active pursuit.
Pete's sister Sally still tracked him down occasionally and they enjoyed each other's company. She was quite an aggressive proponent for metahuman rights and was getting involved in politics, especially the ORC. Pete was very proud of her, but he consistently refused to leave the streets to work with her. He felt a lot safer where he was. At least he had a good idea who was dangerous and you usually knew when and where the danger was. Pete was quite the bruiser and was heavily recruited by gangs, which usually meant he had to beat up lots of "recruiters" after he declined their offers. Some of the encounters turned bloody, but not very often. Suddenly, one day, a black van started patrolling the streets of the neighborhood. Within a week, there were rumors that they were body snatchers. The rumors were correct.
The men in the van were from Lancer Omega, a paralegal arm of Lancer Corporation, a military R & D company. They were patrolling the streets looking for exceptional street toughs which they intended to "volunteer" for a super-soldier program. Peter didn't believe it until an Ork buddy of his, Josh, disappeared. Josh was an ox of a kid and could take a hit almost as well as Pete, which was saying a lot for someone that was not a Troll. Anyway, soon after Pete was ambushed by them. They downed him with Magic and dragged him off.
He woke up in a dank plasteel cell. They explained to him that he was to be part of a special program to create soldiers to combat magical threats, especially Bug Spirits. When he asked about Josh, they denied knowledge, but a kindly Janitor had told Pete about Brad being taken to some other building where they did all kinds of strange things to people's body. Pete was psychologically beaten into submission. Not a difficult task when dealing with a fourteen-year-old. He was taught about his Magic abilities, which he had been completely unaware of. Apparently, his speed, senses and ability to kill with his bare hands were all apparently magical.
Occasionally, people in suits would come in and demand various things. Every time they came by, things seemed to get worse. Pete soon learned to dislike "suits ." As for his captors, the guards were not particularly vicious, but they were not compassionate either. They kept their prisoners on hand by surgically implanting small explosives in their necks. One coded signal and "pop" you bleed to death.
Training moved into mission-oriented skills and he spent sixteen hours a day practicing maneuvers, marksmanship, and melee combat, running obstacle courses, and learning to integrate his magical abilities into his missions. Pete was exceptionally gifted in unarmed combat, but had only rudimentary skill in firearms. Because of his killing hands and the expected presence of cybered soldiers to assist, this was not seen as a problem, escpecially with Pete's exceptional strength and aptitude with throwing weapons. He was challenged to develop this. His formal and practical understanding of projectile motion from his advanced placement Physics courses before his goblinization and his time on the field as a quarterback were a great help in this. They also emphasized use of melee weapons since the primary mission, to fight Bugs, would sometimes entail using Weapon Foci. The focus was on edged weapons, though, as they were training him to kill, period. In their arrogance, they began to underestimate Pete's cunning. Since he was the only Troll in the program, it was an easy mistake to make.
There were about one to two dozen captives of the program at any given time. When a fresh "recruiting" run had been completed, there were as many as 30 captives, but The Program was lethal and crippling. A number of the captives were found to be mentally and/or physically too weak and usually died in training. The Program did not forgive. A little over one third would survive out of a given batch of "recruits."
Pete knew little personal information about his fellows, but he was aware that they were all trained in various specialties such as demolitions, weapons, heavy weapons, intelligence, assassination, etc. Those were the only distinctions he could make from what he saw. Personally, his "trainers" usually referred to his missions as "force recon" or "surgical strikes."
Occasionally, they trained the prisoners in pairs. Often, Pete was paired up with Simon, a Hermetic Mage Dwarf. Simon and he were both good at approaching positions undetected and were frighteningly skillful at neutralizing sentries without raising alarms. As Simon and Pete became more skillful and began to work well in concert, they were split up. Simon had faltered in a mission and was likely to be killed. They never talked about it, but everyone knew that failure meant death. Simon was the closest thing to a friend he had, and now he was in danger of losing him.
Pete started looking for his opportunity to escape. Pete had recently manifested an uncanny ability with thrown weapons and had the presence of mind to hide it from his captors. It did not take long before he had a chance to use it. That evening, when one of his jailers was walking the catwalks above their cages, he snatched up his dinner plate and downed him when he was in a position to fall down onto Pete's cage. When the guard's body hit Pete's cage he snatched the keys and quickly freed himself and then his fellow prisoners. Many of the others were still quite new to the program, so Pete and Simon took charge and moved out into the night and turned their training on their captors.
Pete and Simon then moved into the adjacent facility and freed those captives, especially Pete's old friend, Josh. Josh had changed. He was a lot stronger, quicker, and grimmer than last they met. Josh mumbled something about chrome, thanked Pete, and complained of needing to sort out some things for himself. Josh grabbed some gear, datafiles, and whatever money he could find and left, promising to look Pete up later through Jimmy. Unfortunately, Pete's mental agility suffered from his goblinization and the skillful application of disinformation and mental torture in The Program, so he only thought to grab a trivial amount of gear and make good his escape.
Simon similarly equipped himself and they had a few of the other captives, which had been trained in demolitions, set charges. Some others, trained with computers, trashed the system and reported that the whole facility was isolated from the outside world, so it was very unlikely that anyone had their information. That taken care of, they blew the charges and went their separate ways.
Pete returned to Seattle and hooked up with his friend Jimmy, who was still trying to adopt the street name "Leonardo," although a lot of people still called him Jimmy "Bang Bang" Sloane, or just "Bang Bang" for short. Pete and Jimmy celebrated their reunion for days. Once the festivities subsided, Jimmy got to work helping Pete find some work running the shadows of Seattle. First, Pete set up a job as a bouncer at local night clubs. He went from club to club, trying to climb the social ladder. Very little shadowrunning work came his way, as Jimmy was an Armorer first and foremost.
Finally, he set himself up at Club Penumbra. After a few months the bartender, Jake, introduced him to Willy "The Snake" Malone, a retired shadowrunner that now worked as a Fixer of sorts that specialized in knowing people. With Willy's help, Pete was ready to hit the shadows of Seattle as Rock.
Usually, atop his clean-shaven pate, sits a spotless black fedora with a dark red band. He is wearing a dark blue t-shirt and light gray pants, covered by a charcoal gray longcoat. On his feet are well-maintained black, combat boots that have a barely perceptible brush shine. Around his neck is a black leather thong from which is suspended a pewter charm in the shape of an antique, WWII-style, pineapple hand grenade. The only other jewelry on his body is a rough turqoise bracelet on his left wrist.
His mood generally seems to be one of detached beneficence, not unlike a polite bouncer. A subtle smile crosses his face when people talk to him, suggesting that he is content at the moment, perhaps happy. If something is bothering him, he is not letting it be known.
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