CP2053 - Shadowrun / Cyberpunk
A hired killer that believes in good manners.
At 32 years old, Sebastian is a bit of an anomaly. Most men and women who kill for a living tend to die in the process, usually in the first few months, but for a long, long time, luck has been on Sebastian’s side. Maybe it’s just that luck feels that she owes him. She wasn’t always there when he was younger, but she seems to stick with him now. He knows it won’t last forever, but as long as she stays with him long enough to get his revenge, well, he’ll be fine with dying after that.
Sebastian is not the best hand-to-hand fighter, and he can’t work a gun all that well, but he has a knife, and he likes to use it. More than that, he likes to tell people about how much he loves to use his knife, and a lot of times he finds that that’s enough. If you tell people that you are the most violent, ruthless killer that they have ever met, well, a lot of them tend to believe you, because they don’t want to find out first hand. Sebastian has a long way to go before he lives up to the image that he’s created for himself, and he knows it. But as long as he’s alive, and other people are willing to pay him to use that knife of his, he will keep working on becoming the man he wants to be as he works up the nerve to take down the woman who took everything from him, the woman known as Madame Truffaut.
Six years before now, when Sebastian was 26, he was a completely different man—-a loving man, without an ounce of hate in his body, a man who could never even fathom killing for a living (well, except maybe as a butcher, because that’s an honest job, and this man loved honest work). He lived with his boyfriend, Sean, and their cat, Rocko, a stray that they had found one day when she was still a kitten, too cute (and probably too diseased) to eat. Sebastian didn’t want to take her in, was convinced that they wouldn’t be able to keep her fed, but Sean had convinced him, said that the love the cat gave back would be worth the trouble of feeding her, and as always, he was right.
Sean was Sebastian’s rock, his center. They had met when they were just boys, 15 and 16, on the streets, both of them without family, without money, without anything. They saw each other in a crowd, and went to one another like magnets, and became quick friends. They found that two thieves were better than one, and so they stole together, and ate together, and survived together. But Sebastian soon realized that Sean was more than just another street kid. He had hopes, and dreams, and he had a big heart that went out to everyone. Sean stole because he had to, but he wanted a life that was sustainable, something he could build and keep going himself. He wanted a life that was his, and not just an extension of a corporate plan, or a gang identity—-something real that he could call his own, and Sebastian, seeing the passion in Sean’s eyes, decided that he wanted that too. The two of them began taking the food that they got and reaching out to other abandoned teens and children, and even a few of the older folks who had proved that they were not a threat. They shared their goods, and asked for nothing back, but as could be expected, the others started to share what they got as well, and soon they formed a family. Sebastian and Sean were the head of this new group, a power-couple (of course at some point they fell in love) that cared for everyone like they were their brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, sons and daughters.
The group slowly took over a rundown building in (neighborhood), and nicknamed the structure “The New Austin”. These were folks that wanted nothing to do with the corporations, or the gangs, or the synthetic drugs that had come to dominate seemingly every inch of Portland. These were people of the old cloth, people who longed for the fabled identity of Portland’s past, who wanted a simple, sustainable, fun Portland life. By the time Sebastian was 26, The New Austin housed about a hundred and twenty men and women (mostly in their teens, twenties, and thirties, but with a few oldies and a few rugrats), and together they were a collective, not a gang. Of course, there were a few people who worked as guards to keep them safe, men who carried the few guns that they had on the property, but these were just for show. They didn’t have bullets, and they didn’t want them. The focus of the inhabitants of The New Austin was to build a community that protected and nurtured the people who had no one else, to build them up with thought, and art, and the idea of family. On one floor of their building they ran a small hot house, growing anything and everything they could get to grow, including cultured soy and bacta meat, and they would trade this within the neighborhood for other things they needed. The New Austin raised cats and dogs for slaughter, killing them humanely, treating the animals with respect. The New Austin collected garbage, pressed it together, made paper, sold it on the street. The people of The New Austin found a way to make a smoky, brown liquor with mild hallucinogenic powers and a nasty hangover, and as a joke they called it “Bourbon 2”, traded with whoever wanted it. The New Austin was filled with poets, and painters, and singers, and people who just wanted to get by on their own without the hassle of the real world. But The New Austin also had a secret weak-spot, a bored and hateful little woman named Madam Truffaut, and like any organization, The New Austin was only as strong as its weakest link.
Madame Truffaut was also 26, the same age as Sebastian, but she had had a very different life. The daughter of a Senior VP, she had been raised in the corporate structure, a lavish life of wealth, of anything she could ever want, and, as some people are, she wanted none of it. She had everything, and access to whatever she could think of that she didn’t have, and with no meaning to any of it, she grew bored, and angry, and sad. She started doing anything she could to feel something, started modifying her body, with ink and with machinery, but it didn’t work. She took any drug she could get her hands on, fuck anyone who would fuck her back, but felt nothing. Fed up, she thought she would leave it all, go out into the world beyond the corporate zones, and find something in the commoners. And for a while, it worked. She enjoyed the earnestness, and the simplicity of being no one. She liked the way that poor people fucked like it was the only thing they had, and she knew that for a lot of them it was. She liked how the people who had so little would share their food down to the last bite, because they understood real hunger. She admired these people, and vowed to live like them. She knew in her heart that she was born in the wrong place, that she belonged with these people, and when she said this to Sebastian and Sean, they accepted her. They didn’t ask for money, for the resources that she could still get. They didn’t want anything. They took her in, called her a sister, and acted like she had always been there. Of course, that was their mistake. She felt that it was too easy, and like everything that came before, the lack of challenge eventually made her angry, and sad, and hateful, but this time more than ever. Who were these fuckers, this street scum, that thought she was one of them? She decided she was insulted that they could ever think she was anything like them, and vowed to make them pay. She played the part of their friend for almost a year, not just Sean and Sebastian’s, but everyone in The New Austin, and she learned what made them tick. She found out everything about them, everything they cared about, everything they loved. And then she set out to bring it all crumbling down.
When Madame Truffaut called her father, told him where she was, he was furious, but more relieved to hear from her than anything else. When she told him that she had been kidnapped, he had a place to put that rage. She asked him, “Daddy, let me have my revenge,” and he opened his wallet. Madame Truffaut hired 35 men, in full combat gear, with flamethrowers, and SMGs, and clubs, and knives, and balled-up fists, to come in and destroy The New Austin. They started on the bottom floor, following her lead, killing everyone that had come to know her as a friend, as a part of their extended family. But she made sure that this was done in the worst way possible, using what she knew about everyone to hurt them as much as she could before they died. For example, there was a woman named Teresa who took care of the children. When a child was first brought in, most of the time they feared adults. Teresa, having been abuse herself, understood, and worked with the kids, rehabilitating them, teaching them to trust again. Madam Truffaut made sure that Teresa saw every child in her care die, as violently as possible, before she let the woman die herself. And Madame Truffaut did it with a smile on her face.
This was insanity. Madame Truffaut understood that what she was doing was evil, and she recognized that her mind had broke in half. How could a person go from being normal to murdering a house full of people who had loved you when you had nothing? How did she transform so quickly from one thing to another? But she understood that there was no transformation, that she had always been like this. She had always wanted to bathe in the blood of those she deemed as pointless, but she didn’t realize such a thing could be reality. She wanted it, but couldn’t name it. She had been waiting for permission her whole life, and her lie about being kidnapped was enough for her father to give her what she didn’t know she had always wanted. In the skin of a killer, Madame Truffaut felt at home.
The murder squad worked its way through The New Austin, and on the fifth floor Madam Truffaut led them in to Sean and Sebastian’s studio. The room was filled with people, the original group that formed the collective surrounding the two men that inspired them, and, of course, their cat was there too. They had no fight to give to Madam Truffaut or their men—-Sebastian, Sean, the rest of them—-wanted nothing to do with their violence. They just wanted to live the life that they had built.
“Why are you doing this?” Sean asked.
“Because I can,” Madam Truffaut responded. And then to her men she said, “Kill the women first, then the men.” She pointed to Sean and Sebastian, “But only one of them. The other one needs to live. They don’t deserve to be together, not even in hell.”
The men did what they were told to do, and soon Sean and Sebastian were the last two alive. One of the men put a gun to Sebastian’s head, and immediately Sebastian began to cry. “I love you, kid,” he said to Sean. “It was all worth it.”
Sean said, “I love you too,” then grabbed the gun from Sebastian’s temple and put it to his own, and before Sebastian could do anything, the man pulled the trigger and Sebastian watched his partner die. He wailed, uncontrollably, a pain he had never known consuming his entire body. He fell to the floor and cried out, and through his tears he saw Madame Truffaut pick up his cat Rocko and walk out the door, her men following behind, her laughter leading the way.
That day, Madame Truffaut stole everything. She stole his house, his friends, his cat. She took the love of his life. But she also took a part of his humanity. He no longer believed in the goodness in all people. Some were good, and some were bad, and the bad ones deserved no mercy.
Sebastian walked out into the street, and found it empty. He was sure that he would see a crowd of rubberneckers, but the massacre was so ugly that no one wanted to look. Behind him The New Austin burned, the liquor they had pioneered used to stoke the flames. Everything was literally going up in smoke. He made his way a block over, and into a shop that carried weapons. He thought he was there to steal something, a gun maybe, some sort of weapon to use against Madame Truffaut. But then something strange happened.
“Sir, are you ok?” the proprietor asked, concern in his voice. “You’re covered in blood.”
“It’s not my blood,” Sebastian said, and the old man behind the counter recoiled in horror.
“Just take whatever you want,” the man said. “I don’t want no trouble.”
Sebastian, very perceptive, realized that he looked to this man like a crazed killer, and because of it, he could take anything he wanted in the shop. He didn’t even have to steal it, it would just be his.
Sebastian said, “Would you rather I shot you right now, or cut you up with a knife?”
“What are you more afraid of? What sounds worse to you?”
“Please don’t kill me…”
“Answer me, now. Don’t be rude. What sounds worse?”
“If you’re going to do it, please just shoot me and get it over with,” the old man said, avoiding eye contact.
With that, Sebastian grabbed a knife off the wall—-a mean looking one—-and walked out, leaving the old man alive. The old man didn’t do anything, and Sebastian had never meant him any harm. He was just a nice old man. But Sebastian would find people who deserved to die, and he would kill them, and then, when the time was right, he would kill the woman who deserved to die a thousand deaths, and he would do it slow.