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Into the Shadows
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Publication information
Publisher FASA Corporation / Roc Books
Language English
Edition 1st
Type Anthology of Short stories
Sixth World
Time frame 2050

Into the Shadows is an anthology edited by Jordan K. Weisman. It was published by FASA as a trade paperback before the ROC series of novels began. The eponymous story by Robert N. Charrette was expanded to become the beginning of the first full novel, and so was replaced in the anthology when ROC reprinted it as the seventh book in the Shadowrun novels.

The book is an anthology, with stories that loosely interact with one another.


Into the Shadows by Robert N. Charrette
Plague of Demons by Tom Dowd
Graverobbers by Elizabeth T. Danforth
Tailchaser by Paul R. Hume
Striper by Nyx Smith
Whitechapel Rose by Lorelei Shannon
Turtle in the Tower by Ken St. Andre
Free Fall by Tom Dowd
Would it Help to Say I’m Sorry by Michael A Stackpole
It’s All Done with Mirrors by Michael A Stackpole
Glossary of Slang: 2050
Timeline (2002–2050)

Only in the FASA published trade paperback
Only in the ROC published mass market paperback

Detailed information[]

Publisher blurb[]

  • Source:Into the Shadows/Summary


Warning: Spoiler Information Below

The Shadowrun anthology Into The Shadows was published twice, first as an oversized trade paperback by FASA in 1990, later as a mass-market paperback by ROC in 1992. The original FASA edition included the Prologue from Robert N. Charette's Never Deal With A Dragon, titled Into The Shadows for that anthology. Since that short story was later developed into the Secrets of Power trilogy of novels, it was replaced by A Plague of Demons for the 1992 ROC edition.

This book is more than an anthology; it's a "braided novel" -- a collection of short stories with a common thread running through them, though sometimes only incidentally. In this case, that common thread is a machiavellian power play at the executive levels of Seattle's business community, including Natural Vat foods, Bob's Cartage and Freight, United Oil, North American Transport, and the Yakuza.

These stories occur in the year 2050, before any of the preceding novels. Collectively, they present a superb example of how a single shadowrun can have wide-reaching repercussions.

There are nine short stories in the book:

A Plague of Deamons[]

Detailed plot summary

Brandon Cross is running under a dark cloud. His last shadowrun turned into a nightmare that cost the life of a teammate, Lynx, a woman for whom he cared a great deal. Worse, the tragedy betrayed a terrible secret—Lynx had secretly been possessed by a mantid spirit. Tormented with anger and guilt, Brandon resolves never again to be responsible for another person's life. His friends reach out to him, but he pushes them away.

Cross begins looking for solo jobs to keep his mind busy, and finds one when a wealthy woman hires him to find her missing daughter. The trail leads to a circle of mantid spirits—the same circle that had produced the spirit who possessed Lynx. Brandon maneuvers the mantids into a situation in which he can expose them by sacrificing his own life, thus obtaining his revenge and final peace in a single stroke.

.: People Brandon Cross*: shadowrunner, former Knight Errant liaison officer to Lone Star Security Eve Donovan: fixer, associated with Kings Crimson street gang Diamond: black human male, Coyote shaman Fastjack: legendary decker, shadowrunner Janey Zane: street samurai Martin: ork, current Knight Errant liaison officer to Lone Star Mantid spirits (hosts all graduated from Marianne Hills Academy, class of 2039) - Rachel Morelle*: Knight Errant watch officer, Captain - Kristin Worthly (Lynx)*: shadowrunner - Ellen Tyler-Rand*: heiress, widow, recluse - Candace Vignell (Candace Lauren)*: black sheep of a French aristocrat family - Danielle Alcene-Davies: wife of a Saeder-Krupp VP - Kyra Shon: marketing director for Seattle News-Intelligencer

  • character dies in the course of the story.

.: Notes Tom Dowd is one of the three original designers of Shadowrun, along with Paul Hume and Bob Charette. He is the author of several short stories, including Free Fall in this anthology. Wyrm Talk, Hunter and Prey, and Voices from the Past all appeared in FASA promotional flyers. Post Mortem followed the release of Dunkelzahn's Secrets (Steve Kenson, 1996). In addition to his short fiction, Tom Dowd also wrote two full-length Shadowrun novels, Night's Pawn (1993) and Burning Bright (1994).

Brandon Cross has run afoul of the Universal Brotherhood in the past, and knows that the organization is a front for insect spirits. He is aware that flesh-form spirits destroy the minds and personalities of their hosts, despite their claims to the contrary.

p. 6: Brandon Cross remarks on the windows of Rachel Morelle's office at Knight Errant: "This is new. At least an eight-degree refraction, vibration dampening, and I bet it would stop a twelve-millimeter slug." The window is designed to refract light 8° in passing through the window, making a sniper shot that much more complicated. Vibration dampening would defeat surveillance devices. Being able to stop a 12-mm slug implies a very high barrier rating.

Morelle mentions Eve Donovan, "fixer extraordinaire" (p. 6). Donovan also appears in Silver Angel, an adventure insert to the first-edition GM Screens; and again in Dead Run, the fifth scenario in Shadows of the Underworld.

p. 13: Fastjack changes his Matrix icon regularly, seldom appearing in the same guise twice. He lives mostly in Denver, but being a decker, works pretty much everywhere.

p. 13: Fastjack talks about the yakuza and Mitsuhama interchangeably, suggesting that, in Seattle at least, the megacorp and the syndicate are closely involved with each other.

p. 13: Cross mentions Jack the Ripper, the decker featured in Whitechapel Rose.

p. 17: Martin discusses "the After Hours fiasco," a recurring element throughout the anthology (also described in Never Deal With A Dragon, p. 34). Knight Errant officer Eric Ward was killed by a stray round from a sniper while leaving the After Hours club. The sniper's target (also killed) was James Yoshimura, an executive for the Natural Vat corporation. Two shadowrunners named Smilin' Sam and Johnny Come Lately were killed by Lone Star at the scene, and subsequently blamed for the murders. "Something smells, though. The boys can't figure it yet, but..." Martin's gut tells him the runners didn't do it, but his heart wants someone to blame. In actuality, the two runners were framed for the hit by crooked Lone Star cops (It's All Done with Mirrors).

p. 21: Janey Zane says to Cross, "I've hooked up with some new people." She's talking about Liam, Raphael, and Allyce Zephyre in Free Fall.

I wonder whether there is any connection between Janey Zane and Zany Janey, the number two lieutenant of the Halloweeners street gang (Shadowrun Companion, p. 124). SRC describes Zany Janey as "a human razorgirl and another original member. She just loves to cut people -- the more blood the better." Probably not, the two personalities are too dissimilar.

p. 26: Female mantid spirits can mask their auras from astral senses to match their host body (consistent with Magic in the Shadows, p. 131), but assensing them as they die reveals their true nature.

Mantid spirits tend to hang together in groups. Another example is the Desolation Angels—an all-female gang of mantid spirits in Chicago (they appear in Burning Bright, Bug City, and Casualties of War in Super Tuesday).

Brandon and others mention seven women when discussing the Mantid circle. In the present tense, so they aren't including Kristin Worthly in the count. Only five of the seven are identified by name: Candace Vignell, Rachel Morelle, Ellen Tyler-Rand, Danielle Alcene-Davies, and Kyra Shon.

The story doesn't actually describe the death of Brandon Cross or any of the five mantids, but that result is strongly implied.

Cross' exposure of the mantis spirits to Knight Errant security forces (particularly Rachel Morelle, herself a ranking officer of Knight Errant) may have been the original reason for the establishment of "Firewatch" bug-hunting units by Ares.

Fastjack is a "Prime Runner" card in Shadowrun: The Trading Card Game.


· Elizabeth T. Danforth

.: Plot Wili Grey and Porky Pryne disguise themselves as office painters and gain access to Natural Vat Foods' corporate offices, specifically the office of a recently deceased executive, James Yoshimura. By "graverobbing" Yoshimura's terminal and access codes, Porky Pryne is able to circumvent much of the Intrusion Countermeasures protecting Natural Vat's parent company, Aztechnology. While Wili runs interference with nosy NatVat employees, Porky performs a character assassination on a troublesome Aztech company man, bleeding his expense account and setting him up for a long, hard fall.

.: People Wili Grey: Coyote shaman, shadowrunner Porky Pryne: novice decker, obese, uses a porcupine icon in the Matrix Mad Meg Motley: decker, deckmeister, supplies hardware and software Saint Bart: ruthless company man for Aztechnology Betty Begging: superintendent of a SINless housing project James Yoshimura*: deceased Natural Vat Foods executive Samuel Angus Cortez: Natural Vat executive scheming after Yoshimura's position and office Nadia Mirin: beautiful Natural Vat senior executive

  • character dies in the course of the story.

.: Notes The usual decker for the Graverobbers is Mad Meg Motley. Here, novice decker Porky Pryne is substituting for her. Richard Raven, a high-profile shadowrunner, has been tracking their activities lately through the efforts of Valerie Valkyrie, but Porky's clumsy decking throws them off the scent (It's All Done with Mirrors).

p. 27: "Graverobbing" is a term for using the personal terminal and computer time of a recently deceased person.

p. 30: Natural Vat foods is a relatively autonomous subsidiary of Aztechnology.

p. 41: Wili's totem (Coyote) prevents him from using sorcery against Nadia Mirin. Fortunately for Wili Grey—unknown to him, Nadia Mirin is an exceedingly powerful magician (It's All Done with Mirrors). Wili would have been considerably outclassed.

p. 42: Porky names four supposedly first-rate deckers: Steel Valkyrie, Mycroft, Glass Tarantula, and Jack. The latter could refer to either Jack the Ripper or Fastjack. Jack the Ripper and Mycroft appear in Whitechapel Rose. Fastjack appears in A Plague of Demons and Free Fall. Steel Valkyrie is probably Valerie Valkyrie, who appears in It's All Done with Mirrors.

Sam Cortez and Nadia Mirin are recurring characters throughout the anthology.


· Paul R. Hume

.: Plot A business partnership between United Oil and Bob's Cartage appears to threaten Natural Vat's bottom line. Irregular assets working for NatVat bungle a raid on United Oil's Auburn research center, so the corp is forced to turn to more experienced shadowrunners: Neddy Fortescue and his colleagues. Given the nature of the target and its alert security status, Fortescue enlists the assistance of a professional burglar, Thorn.

Thorn has the skills to defeat the technical security systems, but a diversion is needed to draw away United Oil's large security force. Thorn goes to Colonel Hampton, an ork mercenary leader who recently went independent. In return for much-needed weapons and equipment and a respectable fee, Hampton agrees to play decoy. Word that he is planning a raid is deliberately leaked to United Oil.

Hoping to catch the mercenaries unprepared, United Oil launches a pre-emptive strike. With only a skeleton force guarding the Auburn research compound, the shadowrun is smoothly accomplished. For Colonel Hampton, the victory is pyrrhic—though his diversion is successful, many of his men are killed in achieving it.

.: People Samuel Angus Cortez: scheming NatVat executive Nadia Mirin: NatVat senior executive Ms. Johnson: NatVat corporate expediter working for Cortez Thorn: elf shadowrunner, expert burglar from Washington D.C. Prince: ork fence, usually works through surrogates shadowrunners: - Iris: elf rigger - Smedley: troll muscle - Nameless: human street samurai - Nathaniel Edward Fortescue, "Neddy": hermetic magician Col. Steely Sam Hampton: ork mercenary leader fallen on hard times Sgt. Johnny Roman Nose*: amerindian mercenary, Hampton's senior NCO Geyser: military-grade arms dealer Maj. Yoshimuri Fuhito: United Oil Corporate Security Forces Haesslich: western dragon, United Oil chief of security Cap. Murrough*: United Oil Corporate Security Forces

  • character dies in the course of the story.

.: Notes Paul Hume is one of Shadowrun's three original designers (with Bob Charette and Tom Dowd). He is the author of the short story Plus Ça Change in the Shadowrun, 2ed. rulebook (p. 12-19). Nameless, Neddy, Iris, and Smedley also appear in that story.

Unless there are two troll shadowrunners in Seattle named "Smedley," his full name is Smedley Pembrenton III. Under the name "Boom," he was a percussionist for the band, "Nuclear Elves." He became a shadowrunner after the band broke up. After he dies in 2057, Dunkelzahn leaves Smedley the Avalon nightclub in Boston (Dunkelzahn's Secrets p. 28, 92). Smedley surfaces again in the Steve Kenson novels Crossroads (1999) and Ragnarock (2000).

p. 47: "The Night Hunters affected sonic transformations as part of their colors, vocal equipment that modulated their voices into high-frequency sonics, and audio pickups that translated the squeals back into speech. The gang also went in for drastic cosmetic surgery, including lemur-like eyes and assorted attatchments for cutting up anyone they disliked into thin slices." The New Seattle sourcebook (p. 52) puts the Night Hunters' turf in Renton, and affirms their technofetishes. The Hunters are rabidly anti-metahuman, which explains why they are chasing Thorn to begin with. The Night Hunters are described in detail on p. 169 of the Shadowrun Companion.

p. 49: Iris speaks in Sperethiel: "Melegit samriel qua?" (Can you feel anything when I do this?). "Serulos makkanagee! Thorn, verespo? Melelgit samriel qua, versoniel? Versonial-ha! Carronasto telego morkhan..." According to the vocabulary in Tir Tairngire (p. 67), this translates to "Stupid infantile punk. Can you answer me? Are you in pain, butthole? Keep still, you pig-fragger..." Iris' bedside manner leaves something to be desired.

Iris speaks Sperethiel, Thorn does not. But then, Iris lives in Seattle, in close proximity to Tir Tairngire, while Thorn just recently arrived from the Federal District of Columbia.

p. 51: Thorn's shirt advertises Kirin beer, very popular in Japan. Second-best seller after Asahi.

p. 52: Nathaniel Edward Fortescue has a Bachelor of Arts degree in magic from Harvard University (2032) and a Doctorate of Thaumaturgy from Cambridge (2039); and he hates the nickname "Neddy".

p. 53: "We require an expert in, shall we say, physical security penetration. A burglar, in other words. I realize that when a wizard looks for a burglar, he's supposed to hire a hobbit. Unfortunately, there are none available." Neddy is referring to The Hobbit, written by J.R.R.Tolkien in 1937. Tolkien isn't particularly popular following the Awakening:

   "The 20th-century fantasist was not well-regarded by many metahumans. After the first wave of Goblinization in 2021, the stereotypes created in Lord of the Rings had been used to whip up public distrust of the new races, especially the orks and trolls. A lot of elves also objected to the 'airy fairy' image that the old talespinner had pinned on them."

Sigh. Painful to think of my favorite book being so widely reviled.

p. 60: Haesslich cannot participate in the preemptive strike against Hampton, because he has another obligation. He quotes Robert Frost: "But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep." The line is from the poem, Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening.

Haesslich and Major Fuhito also appear in Never Deal With A Dragon.

p. 71: Ms. Johnson calls the run an "ourobouros." Smedley calls it a "tailchaser." An ourobouros is a serpent swallowing its own tail. It's a metaphor for a shadowrun whose purpose is to lend validity to a fabrication. In this case, Cortez planted a bogus file with United Oil, then ordered his subordinate (Ms Johnson) to retrieve it, thus giving it the illusion of reliability.

p. 73: More Sperethiel, this time a quote. "Heronasta od daronasta, pechet imiriso ozidanastet." Iris translates this as "We exist and then are gone, except in the memories of those we leave behind." If I understand the grammar in Tir Tairngire, though, the exact translation would be "They exist and then are gone...", an expression which would be completely in character for immortal elves (and a very nice touch at that, if intentional).

On p. 28-29 of Corporate Download, the section titled The Life of Mr. Johnson is nominally written by "Boom", who is almost certainly Smedley writing under his old stage name. There is also a comment by Neddy (Fortescue) referring directly to the events of this story.


· Nyx Smith

.: Plot Striper becomes part of a complex shell game played in the shadows to conceal the disappearance of a genetic engineering project. Corporate shark Bernard Ohara appropriated the project from a subsidiary company, intending to trade it later for a better position in another megacorp. To cover his tracks, he arranges for a corrupted copy of the research to be stolen from the project director, whom he then hires Striper to kill.

The faked datapak vanishes into the shadows, as intended. Striper finds herself the target of people under two false impressions: that the missing data is genuine, and that Striper took it. Disinclined to play scapegoat, she follows the trail backward from her victim to the phony datapak to the man who engineered the entire exercise in deception, her original employer Bernard Ohara.

Striper confronts Ohara at his home and elicits a confession from him, but is prevented from killing him by his genetically modified bodyguard and the timely arrival of contract security forces.

.: People Tikki (Striper): tiger shapeshifter, freelance assassin and enforcer Remo Williams*: joyboy who betrays Tikki to bounty hunters Castillano (Steel): wolf shapeshifter, fixer specializing in wetwork Dominic Friese*: researcher for BioDynamics, director of Project Meta Hogan: errand runner for Conway John Brandon Conway: internationally connected businessman, "Mr White" Sonny*: Yakuza hitman Uza*: Yakuza hitman Samuel Angus Cortez: Natural Vat executive Yamamoto: Yakuza boss Prince: ork fence, very fat, ostentatious Studs: heavily cybered ork, Prince's bodyguard Slash: ork, rogue errand-runner for Prince The Squid: human decker, "probably the leading decker in Seattle" Giselle: Asian dwarf, squid's paramour and business manager Emon Kuze*: researcher for BioDynamics, assistant director of Project Meta Bernard Ohara: Seretech Vice President of Directed Research The Mechanic: Thai armorer, custom-designs firearms

  • character dies in the course of the story.

.: Notes "Nyx" is short for Nathan Yale Xavier. In addition to this short story, Nyx Smith has published four Shadowrun novels: Striper Assassin (1993), Fade To Black (1994), Who Hunts The Hunter (1995), and Steel Rain (1997). Striper is featured again in the first and third books, respectively. Striper also made a cameo appearance in Find Your Own Truth (Robert N. Charette, 1991).

Tiki has her own pet names for areas of Seattle: Everett is "The Reds", Puyallup is "The Zone".

p. 79: Tikki kills a joyboy named Remo Williams. This is probably a dig at the Destroyer action-adventure series (over a hundred books long and still going), whose title character is an unstoppable martial artist with the same name. You don't pick a name like "Remo" by coincidence.

p. 80: Tikki's face is "a meticulously painted mask of crimson red, striped with black." Darth Maul still has imitators in 2050! :-)

p. 82: Smith describes the exclusive Fenris Nacht nightclub (Seattle Sourcebook, p. 80; New Seatte, p. 85). Fenris Nacht is frequented by shapeshifters, including the fixer Castillano. The doormen and hostess are armed, there is an extensive electronic security system, and cyberware is forbidden. The interior has a gloomy "deep, dark forest" motif.

p. 86: "Mr White" is a codename for someone with unprovable ties to organized crime.

p. 87: Tikki observes a pair of Yakuza toughs strong-arming NatVat exec Sam Cortez into a limo for a meeting with their boss, Yamamoto. This is the first evidence of Cortez' underworld connection.

p. 99: The Squid is described as "probably the leading decker in Seattle." So much for Fastjack (A Plague of Demons), Dodger (Never Deal With A Dragon), Buddy (2XS), Valkyrie (It's All Done with Mirrors)...

p. 99: The datapak drawing so much interest is an "R.S.U. Model 12 Datamation Mass Memory Core." It contains an incomplete record of a genetic engineering program conducted by BioDynamics, called "Project Meta"—an attempt to create a new metahuman subspecies dubbed "Uruk-Hai." Another Tolkien reference. In The Lord of the Rings, the Uruk-Hai were a human/ork crossbreed created by the wizard Saruman.

p. 100: Seretech owns BioDynamics and Global Security, among other corps.

p. 102: Smith describes the extensive security of the Regency Park region of Bellevue. The Seattle Sourcebook (p. 65) gives Regency Park a security rating of AAA, but New Seattle (p. 41) lists Regency Park's security as AA. Apparently, the zone security has lost its cutting edge.

p. 107: Project Meta was apparently successful. Ohara calls his bodyguard "Uruk-hai," possibly a prototype subject. The uruk-hai appears to combine the advantages of an ork and a troll. It also seems less intelligent than either, almost bestial in nature.

Whitechapel Rose[]

· Lorelei Shannon

.: Plot Jack the Ripper is hired to make a Matrix run on Natural Vat Foods, to extract the personnel file of Nadia Mirin. Jack makes the run and finds the file, narrowly escaping a potentially lethal encounter with Black Ice. On examination, he discovers that the file has been very carefully doctored by one of the best deckers in the business. Nadia Mirin is very serious about protecting her past.

.: People Jack the Ripper (Herbert Bunn): tall human decker, icon matches his street name, age 27 Yasmine: belly dancer at Sybrespace nightclub, uses chipped reflexes and a cybernetic snake, also a decker, her icon is a silver python Andrea Silvereyes: bartender and manager of Sybrespace, named for her chrome cybereyes Emily Entropy: street mage, Jack's friend and bodyguard, age 20 Nadia Mirin: NatVat senior executive, target of Jack's Matrix run Tansy: Jack's pet housecat Lucy: Jack's pet rat Miss Elizabeth: Emily's sister, information trader, etiquette specialist Erik the Engine: Elizabeth's paramour, the "most heavily chromed samurai in the 'plex" Mycroft: data sculptor, premier decker

  • character dies in the course of the story.

.: Notes Jack is often mistaken for an elf because of his height and build, and occasionally mistaken for a vampire because of his fashion sense and his teeth—part of Jack's intimidating image are implanted durenamel canines, a centimeter longer than they should be. Among the wilder rumors about him are that he eats children, drinks blood, and keeps the corpse of his mother in a linen closet. None true.

p. 116: "Emily liked to call me Grimley Fiendish, after some ancient and horrible rock song." That sounds like a pop culture reference to me, but I can't place it. Anyone? ((it's by The Damned, a London punk band formed in 1976. Crappy crappy song. Just awful.))

p. 118: Jack collects antique books. His latest acquisition is The Moonstone, a classic detective story set in Victorian England, written in 1868 by Wilkie Collins. Collins is often credited as being the inventor of the modern detective story. (( Mason's note: I found a well-travelled paperback copy of this book in a marketplace in the Republic of the Maldives on 19 March 00. On Ms. Shannon's indirect recommendation, I bought it from the vendor for 22 Rufiyaa. Excellent book. ))

p. 120: Jack uses a reality filter which translates the Matrix imagery into a Victorian England theme. Reality filters are described in Virtual Realities (p. 52) and Virtual Realities 2.0 (p. 84).

p. 123: During his search for Nadia Mirin's personnel file, Jack identifies traces of Porky Pryne's infiltration into the Natural Vat host (Graverobbers).

p. 124: "An all-time legend among deckers, he makes people like me and Valerie Valkyrie look like a pair of Porky Prynes." Another reference to Graverobbers (p. 42). Porky looks up to Valerie Valkyrie, Mycroft, and Jack. Mycroft would seem to be on the same plane of ability as Fastjack.

Turtle in the Tower[]

· Ken St. Andre

.: Plot Flutterbye is a street magician, eking out a living as a fortune teller. When she meets Turtle, a street samurai on the run, she knows her life is about to change. Turtle is new in town and needs a place to stay, so Flut brings him to the Bob's Cartage and Freight warehouse where she sleeps and introduces him to her fellow squatters.

That evening, the warehouse is attacked and burned to the ground by Yakuza soldiers attempting to damage the shipping company's credibility with NatVat Foods. Turtle, Flut and several others are able to escape the fire and the Yakuza, thanks mostly to Turtle's combat and leadership abilities.

.: People Flut (Flutterbye): black elf street mage, fortune-teller Turtle (Jaxxon): human street samurai, well-versed in magical theory Denton: talismonger, proprietor of Denton's Lorestore, elderly human Rexo: Youngbloods gang member Binky: Youngbloods gang member Goob*: troll, controller of Bob's Cartage and Freight warehouse P'kenyo: dwarf, dock supervisor of Bob's Cartage and Freight warehouse squatters living in Bob's warehouse: - Troog: street tough, leader of a small gang called the Dirty Lads - StrangeDos: elf decker - Shandaman: amerindian human street shaman - Lucky Larry*: street samurai - Vicious Sid: street tough

  • character dies in the course of the story.

.: Notes p. 134: "we elves don't suffer as much from the cold as do you mundanes." Metabolic fact, or mere bravado on the part of the narrator? You decide.

p. 135: Flutterbye is a fortune teller, and uses tarot cards. "My deck is old, dating back to the 1970s, and has been passed down from mother to daughter in my family for three generations." Under SR3 rules, genuine divination is a metamagical ability. Flut is a full magician, but her magical skills do not seem very advanced. If she is in fact an initiate (and her predictions seem accurate enough), she must have concentrated on her foretelling abilities to the detriment of her other magical skills.

p. 139: A practical example of street diplomacy: shopkeepers pay protection money to the local gangs, who are obliged to defend the property from rival gangs and petty criminals. One way of challenging a rival gang's turf is to inflict damage to small businesses under their protection.

p. 142: the warehouse belongs to Bob's Cartage and Freight, and is managed by a troll named Goob. Goob runs a healthy side business renting out space in the rafters (where it's safe from the rats) to around thirty squatters at ten nuyen a night.

p. 146: StrangeDos clutches his "precious Radio Shack deck." The Radio Shack PCD-100 is easily the crummiest cyberdeck around (SR1 p. 105). StrangeDos must not be very talented if he's squatting in a warehouse and running on a Radio Shack deck.

p. 152: Flut describes Shandaman's attempts to guide trapped squatters through the fire: "By combining astral projection with detection and mind probe spells, he reached everyone who was still alive in the building, and set them on the safest path to join us." Even by First Edition rules, this wouldn't work. An astrally projecting mage can't mind probe mundanes from astral space, and in any event the spell wouldn't be useful for communicating. More probably, Shandaman would manifest and quickly indicate the best avenue of escape.

p. 153: "The eyes of most metahumans -- elves, dwarves, whatever -- are heat-sensitive, and P'kenyo and I were nearly blind in the terrible glare." Actually, only dwarves and trolls possess thermographic vision. Elves and orks merely have low-light vision (SR1 p. 53, SR3 p. 56).

p. 154: "Out of twenty-six people who had been inside the warehouse when the Yakuza attacked, eleven had gotten out alive." By my count, there were thirty-three people inside: Goob, killed in his office. P'kenyo, Flut, and Turtle make 4. "Troog and a half-dozen of his pals" (p. 141) make 11. "The other twenty-two residents of the warehouse" (p. 141), specifically excluding Troog and the Dirty Lads, make 33. Flut's math skills are apparently on a par with her metahuman biology and magic theory.

p. 154: Turtle's plan to form a shadowrunning team from the survivors of the warehouse fire seem pretty thin. I've already shared my opinion of StrangeDos' alleged decking skills. Similar arguments apply to Flut and Shandaman—competent magicians do not scratch a meager living on the street and squat in a warehouse.

Free Fall[]

· Tom Dowd

.: Plot A team of shadowrunners is hired by Brilliant Genesis to extract a brilliant producer and a simsense superstar from their restrictive contracts at MegaMedia. In the midst of their preparations, Nadia Mirin calls in a favor and asks them to find out what Sam Cortez is up to.

The runners check out Cortez and discover his connections to the Yakuza, then successfully extract the producer and simstar from under the noses of Lone Star security during a lively MegaMedia wrap party.

.: People Witt Lipton: dwarf, genius simsense producer for MegaMedia Honey Brighton: human simsense star with MegaMedia, star of simsense hit "Free Fall" Shadowrunners: - Liam Bough: street samurai - Allyce Zephyr: rigger - Raphael: elf mage - FastJack: legendary decker - Janey Zane: street samurai Nadia Mirin: Nat Vat senior executive, knew Raphael sometime in the past Samuel Angus Cortez: Nat Vat executive George Van Hausen: corrupt Lone Star desk sergeant, working with Cortez Wakako Sandoval (Martinas): Hispanic/Asian woman, Cortez's mistress, Yakuza spy

  • character dies in the course of the story.

.: Notes Shadowbeat (p. 74): "Commercial simsense gear appeared in the mid-20s, originally available only as a status toy for the rich folks. By the late 2030s, the tech got hotter and cheaper, and sims began to build a popular audience. Finally, in 2046, MegaMedia brought out Honey Brighton's novahit, Free Fall. The sim combined state-of-the-art ASIST, production values to the max, and a star who was marketable with a capital M."

Honey Brighton has no apparent relationship to Holly Brighton, who conducted the original television interview with the Great Dragon Dunkelzahn on 27 Jan 2012, served as his spokesperson for many years, and inherited VisionQuest and Lake Louise after his death (Secrets p. 31).

p. 158: Going back to A Plague of Demons (p. 21), Janey Zane said "I've hooked up with some new people." These are they.

Janey Zane, Liam Bough, and FastJack appear again in Tom Dowd's first novel, Night's Pawn.

p. 162: MegaMedia will be holding a wrap party for Neon Hard Life, a simsense starring Chuck DeRange and Tina Taggert. MegaMedia's parties are legendary, earning a remark to that effect in New Seattle (p. 86) by "Janey". Janey Zane, possibly?

p. 164: While searching Cortez's apartment, Janey and Raphael discover an HK227-S submachine gun, unusual hardware for a sarariman. They also find a sapphire pin, which FastJack later identifies as a Yakuza token (p. 176). Cortez's Yakuza connection surfaced earlier in Striper (p. 87).

p. 168: "Bughunters were a random element all RPV riggers had to deal with. For whatever reason, there were a group of crazed people determined to geek any RPV they spotted, regardless of whose it might be or why it was around. Normally, they used regular antivehicle missiles, but the real cruel bastards used a special type of AVM called a 'zapper'. Instead of an explosive warhead, the zapper worked like a Taser gun, on impact pumping a couple thousand high-amp volts into the RPV, shorting it out completely. This destroyed the RPV, and sometimes the shock-current would set up a signal feedback loop that would brain-toast the rigger at the other end."

For those who didn't already know, RPV is an acronym for Remote-Piloted Vehicle—a drone. Zapper warheads are described in Rigger 2 (p. 94), much as they appear here. They don't come cheap—a zapper rocket is listed at ¥2500, with a street index of 2.5. Bughunters have an expensive hobby. Bughunters also appear in Ragnarock (Steve Kenson, 2000).

p. 175: Nadia Mirin jokes with Raphael, "maybe my boyfriend is bigger than you are." She isn't kidding. Her current beau is Harlath Drake, the human guise of the dragon Haesslich. Check out It's All Done with Mirrors.

p. 176: Raphael describes Cortez' Yakuza involvement. "One of the Sendosha subclans, the Mizu-Kagayaite. First surfaced in Tokyo about twenty-eight years ago as one of the New Century Yakuza clans. Allegedly, the Sendosha have a lot of pull over the local Dungeness Crab chapter."

Dungeness Crabs are identified in the Seattle Sourcebook (p. 153) as the sprawl's leading Yakuza clan. Since the release of the Underworld Sourcebook in 1997, though, there has been no mention of "Dungeness Crabs" past or present. Elven Fire (p. 30) named Hanzo Shotozumi as the oyabun of the Dungeness Crabs, so presumably that clan is the same as the Shotozumi-gumi, later the Shotozumi-rengo (Mob War, p. 37). Other early Yakuza clans—the Whispering Nights (oyabun Toshihiro Ino) in Elven Fire, the Sword Water Society (oyabun Homatsu Jinjiro) in Dark Angel—simply vanished with the release of the Underworld Sourcebook, to be replaced by the Nishidon-gumi and the Shigeda-gumi. The Shigeda-gumi, at least, have been around since Mercurial (p. 8).

p. 181: four-to-one odds are a problem even for Fastjack.

Would It Help to Say I'm Sorry?[]

· Michael A. Stackpole

.: Plot Two street samurai, Tiger Jackson and Iron Mike Morrissey, are hired to lean on a debtor behind in his payments. The payment for the job seems disproportionately large, so the two runners are prepared for trouble. They find it.

They walk into an ambush at the target's home—Fairview Towers Apartment Complex. Even as they fight their way out of the building, the penthouse apartment belonging to Nadia Mirin is destroyed in an explosion. Tiger and Mike are obviously meant to take the wrap. They narrowly escape a Lone Star ambush outside the apartment tower, but are quickly cornered in a nearby salvage yard.

Trapped, running out of both ammunition and options, the two samurai are forced to take drastic action. They make a phone call

.: People "Iron Mike" Morrissey (Zig): Irish human street samurai, former Halloweeners gang member Eugene "Tiger" Jackson (Zag): black human street samurai, former Halloweeners gang member Pia: waitress at the Jackal's Lantern Charles the Red: human gang boss of the Halloweeners Dr Richard Raven: amerindian elf magician, upscale shadowrunner Wolfgang Kies: human magician-adept, Raven's right-hand man Mr. Johnson: corporate suit who hires Mike and Tiger to play patsy George Van Housen: corrupt Lone Star sergeant in charge of the Shadowriders LaVonne: Tiger's sister Frankie: LaVonne's husband, simsense addict, works for Natural Vat foods

.: Notes Michael A. Stackpole is the author of nine Shadowrun short stories, mostly written before the original publication of the Shadowrun game. Two stories are collected in this anthology (Would It Help to Say I'm Sorry and It's All Done with Mirrors), and the remainder (Squeeze Play, Quicksilver Sayonara, Digital Grace, Numberunner, Designated Hitter, Fair Game, and If As Beast You Don't Succeed) are collected in the novel Wolf and Raven (1998). All nine short stories are set in the years 2050-51. (Would It Help to Say I'm Sorry and It's All Done with Mirrors take place immediately after Squeeze Play.

p. 185: The Jackal's Lantern is a bar in Redmond, and a regular hangout of the Halloweeners. (Seattle Sourcebook p. 131, New Seattle p. 130). Odd because the Halloweeners are and always were a Downtown gang (Seattle Sourcebook p. 156, New Seattle p. 38).

p. 190: "Word on the street says you helped Wolfgang Kies and Raven rescue some elven princess from LaPlante's gang." Charles the Red is referring to the events of Squeeze Play, written before this story but unpublished until Wolf and Raven (1998). Tiger and Mike hoped that would be their ticket into Raven's team and the big leagues, but they are beginning to feel forgotten.

p. 194: Mike: "We've not got the rep of the likes of Dancer or Ghost, or even Johnny-Come-Lately or Smilin' Sam." Tiger: "Don't try to cheer me up, Mike. We know what they got." It's already been established that Johnny-Come-Lately and Smilin' Sam were killed by Lone Star officers outside After Hours, and fingered for the assassination of James Yoshimura (A Plague of Demons, p. 17). Ghost-Who-Walks is a well-known and respected street samurai (Never Deal with a Dragon). Presumably, Dancer is another street samurai on that level.

p. 195: Mike and Tiger are paid ¥10,000 in United Oil corporate scrip. Extraterritoriality would naturally encourage megacorps to issue their own currency. Rates of exchange might get a little dicey, particularly in a sprawl like Seattle with so many major corps spreading their own currencies into the local economy. Another point: the payment is in hard cash—one hundred century notes (hundred-nuyen bills). Electronic credit would be more widely accepted, especially in view of the variable exchange rates I just mentioned, but hard currency obviously still has its uses.

Mike specifies that the payment be in "major corporate scrip or elven"—interesting that megacorp and Tir currencies appear to have more weight in the shadows of Seattle than the UCAS dollar or other national currencies. Anytime a shadowrunner makes or spends nuyen, it's probably corporate issue.

p. 196: Tiger's sister explains her husband's absence, "They asked Frankie to put in some overtime tonight. After they lost that shipment in the warehouse fire, they needed to step up production. They've got a new product, Kung-Pao pork, and a bunch of it was destroyed when Bob's warehouse went up." The warehouse fire was set by the Yakuza, and figures prominently in Turtle in the Tower.

p. 196: Tiger's sister LaVonne explains the hard facts of being SINless: "You and I were born without System Identification Numbers. Mama did her best to take care of us, but without SINs, we didn't count in the system. We couldn't go to school because teachers wouldn't get paid for teaching us. The social welfare people couldn't slot us into their programs, and the corporations wouldn't hire Mama for real jobs. Her jobs were all temporary and never at a real wage. Because of Frankie and his job at Natural Vat, my children have SINs. They go to school, they get medicine, and they can get help when they need it. A Natural Vat VP, Nadia Mirin, started that 'Computers for Kids' program and we got Bobby into it because of Frankie. Frank Junior, they say, may have magical aptitude so they're looking into that, too! With their SINs, my kids have a chance that you and I didn't have. And Frankie even claimed Mama as a dependent so that Natural Vat would accept her into that home over in Renton."

This modus operandii is familiar. A Natural Vat exec is assassinated, and two shadowrunners are conveniently on hand to take the fall. Fortunately for Tiger and Mike, they have better connections that Smilin' Sam and Johnny Come Lately, and the exec in question (Nadia Mirin) escapes the attempt.

p. 208: Mike and Tiger are cornered in McKuen's Scrap and Salvage Yard (Seattle Sourcebook p. 44, New Seattle p. 122).

It's All Done with Mirrors[]

· Michael A. Stackpole

.: Plot Continuing from the previous story ...

Wolfgang Kies, Kid Stealth, and Plutarch Graogrim rescue Tiger and Mike from capture and probable martyrdom at the hands of Lone Star. Travelling through the Ork Underground, they resurface near the home of the enigmatic Dr. Richard Raven. There they meet Nadia Mirin and Jarlath Drake, who narrowly escaped the destruction of Nadia's Farview Towers penthouse. With the assistance of Raven's decker, Valerie Valkyrie, the big picture becomes clear:

Sam Cortez wants control of Natural Vat Foods, and he thinks the Yakuza can give it to him. NatVat's number two exec, James Yoshimura, tried to pitch a deal to Nadia Mirin for transferring NatVat's shipping contract from Bob's Cartage and Freight to the Yakuza-controlled North American Trucking (NAT). Nadia Mirin naturally turned it down. Cortez struck a deal with a crooked Lone Star cop, George Van Housen. Van Housen killed Yoshimura and framed a pair of shadowrunners (Smilin' Sam and Johnny Come Lately) for the hit. Cortez presented himself to the Yakuza and promised to deliver the contract in exchange for control of Nat Vat, to which the Yaks agreed. Cortez arranged for shadowrunners to discover faked evidence discrediting Bob's Cartage and Freight, and further damaged their credibility by destroying a Nat Vat shipment at their warehouse. Cortez also paid a decker, Jack the Ripper, to supply blackmail evidence he could use against Mirin. Van Housen tried to set up another pair of shadowrunners (Tiger Jackson and Iron Mike Morrissey) for the murder of Nadia Mirin, thus leaving Cortez the senior surviving Nat Vat executive capable of negotiating a contract with NAT. Unfortunately for Cortez and Van Housen, both scapegoats and victim escaped the trap.

Raven arranges a meeting between NAT director Hidiki Yamamoto, Sam Cortez, and Nadia Mirin. In an attempt to prevent Mirin from reaching the meeting, Van Housen offers a reward to the major Seattle gangs. Mirin is forced to use her powerful combat spells against the Halloweeners, but she reaches the meeting. Cortez and Van Housen's measure of last resort is a Lone Star attack helicopter, but Jarlath Drake (Haesslich) discards his human form and destroys the gunship. Fed up with Cortez's ineptitude, Yamamoto has Cortez killed. Nadia Mirin agrees to consider a contract bid from NAT on strictly legal grounds, and Yamamoto is satisfied.

.: People Raven's team: - Wolfgang Kies (Wolf): human magician-adept, follower of Wolf totem - Kid Stealth: human street samurai, known for his unique cyberlegs - Plutarch Graogrim (Tark): ork, intelligent and well-educated, familiar with the Underground - Valerie Valkyrie: human decker - Tom Electric: human rigger "Iron Mike" Morrissey (Zig): Irish human street samurai, former Halloweeners gang member Eugene "Tiger" Jackson (Zag): black human street samurai, former Halloweeners gang member George Van Housen*: corrupt Lone Star sergeant in charge of the Shadowriders John Ogino*: corrupt Lone Star corporal, killed at Fairview Towers Harry Braxen: ork, honest Lone Star cop Dr Richard Raven: amerindian elf, powerful hermetic magician, mysterious past Nadia Mirin (aka. Dawn McGrath): senior executive for Natural Vat foods, former wage mage Jarlath "Lattie" Drake (aka. Haesslich): human guise of Haesslich, chief of security for United Oil Samuel Angus Cortez*: scheming exec for Natural Vat, trying to cut a deal with the Yakuza Wakako Martinas (aka. Wakako Sandoval): Cortez's mistress, spy for the Yakuza Hidiki Yamamoto: director of North American Trucking, strong ties to Yamaguchi-gumi Yakuza Charles the Red: leader of the Halloweeners

  • character dies in the course of the story.

.: Notes The character of Wolfgang Kies was developed when Shadowrun was still in its nascent stages, so it's a little surprising that he so closesly fits the description of a Magician-Adept (Magic in the Shadows, p. 22). Wolfgang has magically enhanced physical abilities and limited spellcasting powers. He has a very personal and adversarial relationship with the Wolf Totem. Kies thinks of himself as a werewolf, but he's human, not a shapeshifter. A rose by any other name...

The ork, Plutarch Graogrim, is the nominal author of the section on the Ork Underground in New Seattle (p. 58). Spelled a little differently, though -- "Graogrim" in Into the Shadows and Wolf and Raven, "Gaogrim" in New Seattle. Probably a typo.

p. 211: Wolf's weapon of choice is a Beretta Viper-14, which he characterizes as an antique. Don't confuse this with the Ares Viper flechette pistol. Two very different weapons.

p. 215: "Not that I didn't owe you one already for helping get Moira out of that firefight two weeks ago." Wolf is referring to Squeeze Play (Wolf and Raven). Moira Alianha was Richard Raven's fiancee.

p. 215: Wolf uses a Heal or Treat spell on Tiger (Zag). He says, "This is the one spell Raven has actually managed to teach me." So he is capable of sorcery, but not particularly accomplished at it.

p. 217: Wolfgang Kies describes Kid Stealth's unusual legs here: "Below the knees, both have been replaced with elongated ankles, making his legs appear to have an extra joint, much like a bird's. The major difference between his legs and those of your average pigeon is that Stealth's titanium legs come equipped with razored talons, especially the large, sickle-shaped blade on the innermost of the three toes of each foot. Dew claws were added for esthetics, and a spur caps each ankle for balance."

In Wolf and Raven (p. 44), Stealth claims that his cyberlegs were modelled after those of a predatory dinosaur, Deinonychus. By 2061, Stealth's reputation is such that any similarly atypical appendages are known as "Kid Stealth" Cyberlegs (Man & Machine, p. 37).

p. 219: Plutarch Graogrim goblinized at age 17, by which time he had finished a Master's Degree in Western Literature at Harvard University.

p. 221: among the industries of the Ork Underground are salvage and agriculture (mushrooms). At least one five-star restaurant in Seattle—the Eye of the Needle (Seattle Sourcebook p. 40, New Seattle p. 35) -- buys its mushrooms from the Underground in the mistaken belief that they are grown in California.

p. 222: "Lone Star was just one of several firms the City of Seattle hired to supply 'peace' officers. As I had been reminded time and again, a peace officer is not the same as a law officer. The unofficial cadre of Lone Star Cops who called themselves Shadowriders went to great pains to make the distinction easily apparent. They made shadowrunners their special jurisdiction. Because SINless folk have no recourse in the official system, the Shadowriders used intimidation, assault, extortion, and even murder in the war on runners."

p. 223: Tark uses an ork dialect spoken in the Underground, probably a variation of City Speak called Tunnel Talk (SR2, p. 45). keyen = calmly, kaza = I understand, krest varg neyor ka = ?

p. 231: Raven says, "There is a group of hackers who have earned the nickname The Graverobbers. They gain access into a number of systems by using the terminals assigned to people who have recently died." He is referring to Wili Grey, Mad Meg Motley, and Porky Pryne in Graverobbers.

p. 231: "all that happens when you die is that your SIN gets a D added on to it. Most folks assume that stands for deceased, but Raven said the D stands for Deactivated. The SIN is still used for tracking statistics and inheritance taxes and determining pensions for widows, and so on."

p. 232: "Another decker, a man who styles himself Jack the Ripper, used that opening to get into that area and take a copy of your personnel file." Valerie is describing the events of Whitechapel Rose.

p. 233: Burkingmen earn a living by going through the garbage of important people for potentially useful data which they then sell to information brokers. "A discarded magazine can tell someone what you like to read, and if articles have been clipped, it is a simple thing to determine areas of special interest for you. Ticket stubs from theater engagements tell what you like and what you are willing to pay to see shows."

p. 234: Nadia Mirin's real name is Dawn McGrath. She was a wagemage for the Hondisumi Corporation in Kyoto, Japan, designing powerful combat spells. In a classic case of guilty conscience, she fled her employers and changed her name, and has tried to atone for her perceived misdeeds as an executive for Natural Vat foods. Hondisumi Corp is offering a 2.36 million nuyen reward for her death or capture. Valerie Valkyrie erases all remaining traces in the Matrix connecting Nadia Mirin to Dawn McGrath.

p. 235: Nadia recounts, "Cortez kept pushing and arranged a decker run on United Oil. It got us a file that purported to show irregularities with Bob's Cartage and Freight and how they deal with our product. This made me a bit suspicious of Cortez because the file was a poor forgery of a United Oil file." The events of Tailchaser.

p. 235: Nadia continues, "One source told me Cortez had a smart gun and Yakuza pin hidden in his apartment..." That source would be Raphael in Free Fall.

p. 240: Zeppelins are back in vogue, as a luxury conveyance of the very very rich.

p. 250: In 2050 Seattle, the two biggest gangs are the Ancients and the Tigers. The Ancients are a first-tier gang profiled in the Underworld Sourcebook (p. 102). More info in New Seattle (p. 106) and the adventure Elven Fire. The Tigers are a second-tier Asian gang affiliated with the Eighty-Eights triad. They are profiled in Mob War (p. 50), and mentioned in New Seattle (p. 103). Another first-tier gang, the Cutters (Underworld p. 103, New Seattle p. 107), will elbow the Tigers out of Seattle's number two spot within the next couple years, in time to be knocked down again in Nigel Findley's novel Lone Wolf (1994).

p. 254: Amerindian elves are "about as common as your average dragon." I wonder if Wolf means in general, or in Seattle? The latter seems more credible. Most elves with amerindian ancestry would have migrated to the Salish-Sidhe council and joined the Sinsearach tribe, making them relatively uncommon elsewhere.

p. 265: Nadia Mirin's apartment tower wasn't destroyed by a bomb. It was her own uncontrolled combat spell that did the damage, when she was forced to defend herself against Van Housen's Shadowrider hit squad.

p. 266: One of the more popular pizza-delivery chains in Seattle is Dominion Pizza. Drivers wear a clown nose.

p. 272: "He wrenched the dragon bracelet from his left wrist and tossed it to me ... In the blink of an eye, his human form evaporated and his golden wings spread to catch the air. His powerful hind legs launched him into the air and his tail just missed me as it whipped by." The bracelet is apparently a spell lock (or in SR3 terms, a sustaining focus).

Haesslich takes out Van Housen's helicopter. It's not clear whether George Van Housen was actually on board. The surviving Shadowriders are arrested by Lone Star and the unit ceases to exist for the next ten years. The Shadowriders are re-established as a black ops unit in 2060 (New Seattle, p. 76).

p. 275: Wolf believes that the transformation spell allowing Haesslich to assume human form was Nadia's. I had assumed it was Haesslich's, but I suppose either is possible. (It is by then quite clear to the reader that watching over Nadia was the prior commitment that kept Haesslich from getting involved in the aforementioned events of Tailchaser earlier in the book.)

Haesslich is still a frequent close companion of Nadia Mirin when Sam Verner begins investigating him in Never Deal with a Dragon. Curious, because the dragon proves himself as callous and manipulative as the Yakuza oyabun whose tactics she despises. She's spared the inevitable disillusionment when Haesslich is killed by Ghost-Who-Walks. United Oil recovers the body from Puget Sound (New Seattle, p. 88).

An older Wolfgang Kies has a cameo appearance in The Terminus Experiment (Jonathan Bond & Jak Koke, 1999).



This was an interesting experiment, a worthy attempt. But, in the end, it just didn't work. It adds nothing to the Shadowrun universe as a whole, either, and it's often too puzzling to really enjoy. So unless you're dead set on owning all forty novels in the series, I'd just skip it.


External links[]

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