Emerald City Blue
About sixty years ago, we lived in a dreary, mundane World where no one could touch or see the Astral Realms, where magic was only a dream, where the color of a person’s skin was the major cause of strife between one another, where people who’d lost limbs had them replaced with crude, imprecise and unfeeling plastic and metal prosthesis, where the World Wide Web was primarily a textual experience that didn’t actually invoke any of our other senses, where corporate zombies shuffled through life slavishly getting by doing their buttoned-down, tie-wearing, power-lunching boss’ bidding.
Wow, that was a long sentence! Anyway, the more things change, the more things stay the same. Or sometimes get just a little bit worse. The world really isn’t all that different in 2075 to those who were following the signs way back in 2011. Are there any of you old people still out there?
Sure, there’s spellslingers now. Magic isn’t a dream anymore, now that we’ve entered the Sixth World. Those with the Talent can weave magical energies to ward off the spirits that come from the Astral Realms, spruce up their dress when it gets dirty, blast some poor slot with a fireball, or shield themselves from someone else’s fireball, and so much more.
And yeah, there’s all sorts of crazy new folks that have been crawling out of the woodworks since the Awakening. We Humans aren’t alone any more, there’s Elves, Orks, Trolls, Dwarves, and more. The Night of Rage and the ensuing chaos made the efforts of some guy called MLK to bring equal rights to the African-American citizens of the old United States look like a game of pattycakes by comparison. And it hasn’t died down yet completely.
The theories of cybernetic prosthesis controlled by neural interface with their recipients became a reality. It’s given a lot of amputees a new lease on life. Hell, some people remove their natural limbs on purpose just to give themselves the Edge by being all chromed up.
The WWW gave way to the full virtual immersion of the Matrix. No, I’m not talking about that glitched psuedo-messianic flatvid movie. Never mind, ancient history…
Anyway, the Matrix brought a true virtual reality into the picture. Some of my friends never even come out of their mesh anymore. But when it crashed about nine years ago or so, that’s when everything got really interesting. The replacement was a fully wireless environment with an augmented reality overlay, which I being a wizgirl would find it way out of my realm of expertise to describe to you other than… chill. Now practically everybody is jacked in all the time, their existence seamlessly integrated with the Matrix.
The more things change, the more things can get worse. Those zombies are still out there, groveling to their masters and getting by on the corporate punch-card. And those corporates have grown bigger than some governments, carrying their own territories and extranational status along with their growth. Nobody can really afford to piss them off or make waves anymore, not even the formerly great governments of the Fifth World. Their fingers are in every slottin’ thing. Literally.
But some people still live outside of that black, monolithic structure. Not always by choice, but some few of us have found a way to work the structure and the system to our advantages. It started in the fifties, and just kept growing.
Now there’s a name for people like us, who live in the cracks of this mega-corporate ruled world.
They call us Shadowrunners.
Welcome to the shadows of Seattle, baby. We’ll love you long time. But it’s a hard kinda love. Get used to it, fast.