Snoopy raises his arm mechanically, slams down another burning shot of whiskey. He waves the glass at the bartender, who pauses, frowns.
“No trouble tonight, okay? Not again.”
“Just fill the fucking glass and I’ll go”, Snoopy mumbles. The bartender gives him the evil eye for a moment, then uncorks the bottle and pours up to the brim. Snoopy mumbles thanks and presses his card to the reader, adding his customary generous tip. Charge it to the room. Run up the tab.
He stumbles out of the hotel bar and rides the elevator up to his suite in a drooling daze. Home for the last few days has been an anonymous room in a pricey chain hotel in… Wait, where is he? What fucking city is this? Am I in Bangkok? London? No, wait… Berlin?
He can’t remember, doesn’t care. He’s been staying in identical hotels in a half dozen countries for the last month or two, seldom leaving his room. He arrives in each city hung over or drunk, and within a few hours has scored a variety of drugs and BTLs. He isn’t fussy. Anything to stop the dreams, block out the memories.
The one that really gets him is the face of the woman who had been in the next car. He’d been so focused on trying to remotely get all three of his vehicles in to position around the target truck that he hadn’t been paying much attention to the other traffic. The three SUVs were all primed to explode, a high-ex grenade in each gas tank. The three mercs in the target truck… well, Snoopy would have preferred to do this without killing, but the mercs signed up for this kind of risk, and they wouldn’t hesitate to put bullets in to him and his team. And he did very much want to get paid, without getting shot. Killing in order to steal. Killing for money, even if it wasn’t straight wetwork. This is the new reality.Snoopy’s moral compass has been spinning a little wild of late.
Right at the last second, even as he wirelessly triggered the grenades he glanced at the sensor feed that showed the outside lane of the highway. Another SUV, a family car. Woman in the front seat, staring at the bomb-car. Kids watching cartoons in the back. Snoopy watched them die.
A dozen civilians. Three mercs in the truck. Another six on the boat – Snoopy didn’t pull the trigger on those, but still. Hong Kong, and that felonious, blood-soaked clusterfuck in Seattle right before, marked a categorical change in his shadowrunning career. Whoever he’d been when he started the Life, this is who he is now – a killer and thief. He is going to have to learn to live with that. So far, it isn’t going well.
He isn’t completely off the wall, not yet. Most days, he hits the hotel gym, works on coding problems, studies game theory. He solders new parts in to his deck, builds or upgrades other pieces of gear, works a little online. Quitting the shadowrunner life is not an option; he is committed now, and when the call for the next job comes, he’ll be ready. The only ways out of the Life now are getting rich, or getting dead. He will keep trying to get rich, but he knows a part of his soul is gone now for good.