Lost things, or the dead laptop

Yesterday morning, my laptop passed away. The witch doctors offered to insert a new, bigger brain into its weatherbeaten shell, but instead I opted for a new one.

It's been some time and more than one reformatting since I started freelancing, and I've gotten better at backing things up, so this particular dataloss wasn't quite as bad as it could have been. Still, there are a few things I've been working on lately, and a couple really weird bits from the crooked, dusty corners of my brain that I never got around to saving to my portable harddrive and are gone forever, barring whatever I can remember of them. Which is what brings us to this point! There are some strange, strange things I should share with you before I forget them completely.

All material is strictly non-canon, and strictly for your edification and enjoyment. Since I'm mentioning it here, don't expect to see it in print, ever.

Seeks-the-Nuyen was an urban tribal shaman destined to be caught and killed by Kenneth Brackhaven while breaking into the governor's mansion in Seattle. The fiction was never finished, but the basic idea was for the sorcerer-thief to bust in, trusting to magic and her satchel of devices to get her in and out past the mansion's security - well, she made it halfway. The governor, reading his son a story at bedtime, shoots her with a dart filled with ekyelebenle venom, which renders the subject blind. This would give Kenny the opportunity to rant to the boy while the "helpless" magician thrashed about on the floor, unable to get a spell off. The big reveal was that the boy would turn out to be a nine-year-old clone of Kenny himself, natch.

Desiree Demijour from the recent SR4A book (the magic chapter intro fiction) was actually originally planned as occult detective Lakesha Dee, who worked in and around New Orleans, and whose primary sidekick was a "drummer adept" named Pedro. Their original case was to be a stolen antique Yoruban ceremonial drum (nonmagicial). Most of the rest of the case - and a couple other details invented for their planned series of short fiction adventures - were mashed down into the short story you get in SR4A.

I had orichalcum on the brain for a long time, and this was especially noticeable in my earlier freelancing days. I proposed that Wuxing-DeBeers and Snowdonia would pool their massive orichalcum stores to create "Wuxbux," an orichalcum-based currency (the idea being that these were essentially orichalcum certificates, convertible to a certain mass of the mystic metal no matter the current price), which took a long time to die. I proposed an orichalcum currency for Tir Tairngire in Runner Havens (quite literally, 1 gram of orichalcum foil sandwiched between octagonal slabs of synthetic quartz), which was thankfully left out, and then there was space orichalcum, which was blissfully red-inked out of an early draft in Street Magic. You're all welcome.

The Wake was the first piece of decent SR fiction I ever wrote - fanfiction, really, though I was nominally a freelancer at the time, nothing I had done had been printed and my name hadn't graced a sourcebook (besides SOTA, which doesn't count). It was literally the wake of Captain Chaos, which took place in a Link club so that deckers from around the world could attend. All in all, I think Happy Trails came out better, which is why it was put out there and The Wake was not. Anywho, it's really gone now.

Libra is probably the most embarrassing thing I ever wrote, and it happened right here one dark and particularly depressing Hallowe'en on the Dumpshock forums. It was so bad, in fact, that when it was pointed out I immediately erased it. Now even my final, hideous copy is gone. For those morbid few who are interested, the basic plot is about an assassin who creates a sympathetic link to his victim by cosmetically altering a look-alike. Which is what he did here - he altered a girl, seduced her, and in an act of tantric ritual magic killed her, using blood magic so that her death powered the spell that killed his targeted victim. Why Libra? He had a dead twin brother who's ghost would possess him (or whom he would channel, it was more than a little vague). Yeah, not my best moment.

Speaking of sometimes going beyond the pale, every now and again I venture too far outside what is acceptable for Shadowrun. There are no hard-and-fast rules, so it's feel-your-own territory, as you can read here (adult content). There have been other incidents than that one, however, and they went with my old laptop. Don't think you're missing much, the most significant fragment was an entry on an actual rape gang - considering the small use for such groups in most SR games, I don't feel bad it was cut or that it's gone.

Gangan was not even a fragment, more like a character sketch with partial attributes. I have a particular habit of rooting for the underdog, and this character was an attempt to see what you could do with the Astral Sight quality. The results...eh. Could have been better. I had plans for the character, but they never materialized.

Speaking of general voodoo-related stuff, back when Street Magic was in development we had planned a Hallowe'en-themed piece of fiction featuring some of the characters in the book. I had planned for Johnny Vendredi, Papa Dimanche, and Abracadavre to work together as a small voudoun society - initial ideas for foes were shedim and a free spirit named after a minor loa, but the story eventually lost momentum and ended up in a pile of lost story ideas, now sadly toast.

The original draft for Neo-Tokyo in Corporate Enclaves included a brief entry on the Yasakuni Shrine, which generally glossed over the controversy and involved a shadowy anecdote about the new Emperor entering the shrine to quiet some unquiet spirits. Our Japanese translators requested we remove the mention, and it was agreed - not least because the particular write-up wasn't terribly good. I mean, I fought tooth-and-nail to keep the placenta-eatery in there. You gotta have standards.

What I read at any given moment can have a significant influence on me. I think I was double-dipping Global Frequency and Planetary at the time, but I had the idea that the UCAS Army had experimented with cyberzombies, and one of their original examples was being kept alive by a pacemaker powered by a natural plutonium radical reagent from the Oklo Natural Nuclear Fission Reactor. I went so far as to start a short story with an old, grizzled general at a bar, drinking straight rum and coke with peanuts...yeah, I don't know where exactly I as going with that either, and it died a quiet death.

Ye gods, what else...some rules fragments that I can't remember verbatim and most of you wouldn't be interested in, except for some items left out of manatech in Arsenal. The Biofiber Mantlet was probably the stupidest idea I had, and it lasted until surprisingly late in the draft process - basically, it was a mantlet (shield on wheels) full of biofiber. This was nominally supposed to protect you from enemy spells, but let's be honest: if you're hiding behind the mantlet they can't see you anyway. The OuijaDeck is actually possible, if silly and expensive: if was a psychoscope (basically, a variation of a ouija board witn an independently-moving pointer of some kind) enchanted as a vessel, with a lucifier lamp installed. You turned it on, waited for a passing spirit to possess the board, and deliver it's message. Naturally, this was a bloody stupid idea - it's the occult equivalent of hoping to get hit by a lightning bolt, or taking the gamemaster's last beer. Build your own if you dare.

Many great authors tend to cannibalize themselves. I'm not a great writer, but I tend to cannibalize too. You'd be amazed what I'll chop up and rehash to get a short story in when given almost no notice. The reason this works is that I always have half a story sitting in a document file somewhere, which will never be used until I had a sudden need, dust it of, whip it into shape and send it in. Anywho, this crash wiped out my stock...but don't worry, I still have pages of handwritten half-finished stories, and the ones that didn't make it weren't shaping up to well. I remember in particular was about a street adept with psychometry that went barefoot all the time, because he could tell what was happening on the street...or possibly learn a lot about a person by breaking into their apartments and putting on their shoes, I tend to forget; in another Sticks spent three weeks sleeping under an overpass pretending to be a homeless guy in order to infiltrate some bum fights being organized underneath a nearby soup kitchen.

Anyway. All of that is stuff you won't have to deal with any longer. You're welcome.