It was the 15th of December and he had been aware of them for sometime. The booth several meters away held four individuals that he had been mildly interested in as they may offer new talent opportunities in his line of work. They had been toying with the idea of running the shadows for several months and had been in conversations to that effect with each other as they shared rounds of beer at the Alabaster Maiden, his preferred establishment to enjoy moments of normalcy. He was known to those who frequent the ‘Maiden as The Sagittarius Dwarf and he was a runner. It was rumored on the streets that he hailed from somewhere in the CAS, perhaps even Texas. He was dressed in an ancient and well-worn trench coat and perhaps, stood close to a little over four feet in height and his facial features were covered by an equally ancient and well-worn fedora. Those sitting nearby would have observed that the trench coat and fedora were both of a brown color and were fashioned of leather, real leather at that, which is not easy to come by these days. The Sagittarius Dwarf wore a well groomed salt-and pepper goatee and had a very distinctive style concerning the look in his eyes. His eyes were as liquid black ink with no pupils or irises that had a faint glow, blue in tint, which was certainly evident in dim mood lighting of the ‘Maiden. It was nearing nine in the evening and the lights automatically had dimmed at the half-hour to as a signal that it was nearing the witching hour where the drinks were plenty and the air electric.
The Sagittarius Dwarf became interested in this group because they had piqued his curiosity months ago when he had inadvertently overheard snippets of an animated conversation they were having with one of his favorite bartenders, who now sits with those three individuals across the aisle two booths up from where the Sagittarius Dwarf was currently nursing a beer. As it happened this past summer those three individuals had made themselves familiar with the bartender, who calls himself Frost, which is appropriate as this Frost has pale skin, platinum blond hair worn in dreadlocks, and distinctive emerald eyes, which had originally caught the dwarf’s attention. Tonight, Frost was wearing a deep blue suit that did not seem to fit his persona, it was awkward looking at best. Frost hid his distinctive eyes beneath blue-tinted glasses framed in silver. The other members at the table Frost sat with were two large men and a small gnome, whom the Sagittarius Dwarf thought was most certainly awakened in some form or fashion, most likely a mage. One of the large men, ‘Charlie’, a Homo sapiens sapiens sub-species, or plain human, was a stout caucasian, with yet a muscular build, yellowish eyes and short cropped black hair. He wore what appeared to be the latest fashions, albeit tailored to fit his compact and muscular frame. The other was a large ork who stood over 2 meters, had an extremely muscular frame and brownish skin, perhaps was of mixed ethnicity who wore black trousers with a black long sleeve t-shirt. He was known as ‘Hot Fat’ but surely, that was not the name on the account being billed for his libations this evening. Lastly, the gnome appeared as lanky variant of Homo sapiens pumilionis, so he was racially akin to the Sagittarius Dwarf. The gnome who went by the name of “Shorty” was certainly that. He was certainly short of 1 meter in height. He had pale ashen skin, a porcelain complexion and hair a distinctive auburn color with silvered chunk stripe and red tips. He was dressed plainly yet had an interesting winter hornback gator trench coat dyed an oxblood or burgundy. They were in deep conversation when Frost looked up and made incidental eye contact with the Sagittarius Dwarf.
‘Well, that was my opening, let’s go talk the these guys’…… the Sagittarius Dwarf thought as he jumped down from the booth.
A few minutes later he was seated in their booth and introductions had been offered and received. He pretty much already new their basic information and knew that they were may be rather new to the game but that they did seem to have some inner qualities that measured and weighed could allow for them to become competent runners in the biz. The ‘Dwarf’s fear was that these days too many razor boys and whiz kids were diluting the professionalism of the Shadows. These four siting next to him might be prospective new ‘runners.
“Word has it that you are interested in running the shadows”, began the ‘Dwarf.
“And how do you know that?”, asked Shorty, standing on the the seat of the booth, since sitting would, unfortunately, put him at crotch level to the others.
“I know, but you don’t have to worry, my presence here is for the interview”, the ‘Dwarf responded.
They looked at each other and then back at the Sagittarius Dwarf. Hot Fat had a quizzical look on his face.
“I am here to interview your for a possible job. I am a runner. But for tonight you may consider me a ‘Mr. Johnson’. I seek to hire your services.”
They all straightened up a little upon hearing this.
“Now who speaks for your team?”, asked the ‘Dwarf.
There was a moment of silence and then Charlie spoke up.
“I guess I do.”
“Good”. responded the ‘Dwarf as he shifted in his seat to angle towards Charlie.
“I need a retrieval, something dear to me that I need recovered. I am willing to pay a lot more than the going price, certainly a lot more than green runner’s can get for their first job.”
“Okay, We, I mean, I am listening”, corrected Charlie.
The others shifted in in their seats while Shorty crossed his arms.
“I am offering forty thousand nuyen, much more, as I have said, than you will receive on subsequent jobs for quite a well. Half now and half upon delivery. And, once completed, I will forward your names and team identity, if you have one, to a fixer how goes by the name of Noggin. That should set y’all up as you start running the Shadows”, offered the ‘Dwarf.
“Okay, lemme see”
Charlie looked at his companions or rather his teammates and and they all quickly nodded.
“We’ll do it. When and where”, Charlie asked as he agreed for his new team.
“I am sending over the coordinates of the location. It is in eastern Puyallup and it is out in the sticks.”, the ‘Dwarf answered and then paused as he activated his Fairlight Caliban commlink.
“I also have a print out of the item I need retrieved from this location”, he said as he reached into a pocket and produced a folded sheet of digital paper with an image of an amulet supporting a black stone.
“This is Crysallis and it has value to me. This is the item I need retrieved. I need it pretty quick so you have three days to return it to me. I will be here at the the Alabaster Maiden for most of that time but you may contact me by using this commcode,” the ‘Dwarf directed as he transmitted his contact data to Charlie. Where is this amulet?”, asked Charlie.
“It is in a subterranean area in Puyallup. I lost it, unfortunately as I was on a run this past month”, the ‘Dwarf replied.
The Sagittarius Dwarf drained the last of his beer, looked at each individual and stroked his goatee.
“Well, I must take my leave. Contact me when you have Crysallis. I look forward to your success”.
The ‘Dwarf jumped down from the booth and made for the ‘Maiden’s exits.
‘…..three to one I have to go back and get it myself….but lets see what these young studs can do….’, mused the ‘Dwarf as he left the establishment.