((Sorry for the delay, gencon and a promotion at work had me held up))

"hey kid, get me another Cron55 will ya? thanks...

Alright so where'd we leave off? Oh yeah, Poor ol' jack, jacked up and back in neocron.

That poor kid. He'd been good, real good, I mean the best. Kicked around Via Rosso for a while, but you know how they feel about bums begging for change. I figure the kid remembered he had an apartment way up in the Via Rosso. Back when he bought himself a penthouse with an ocean view, after all. Couldn't even remember he owned it let alone the passphrase.

The venom was generous enough to leave him the memory he had a bolthole safehouse in Pepper Park, so he crashed there I guess. There's so many bums in the 'park that it's hard to tell them all apart I figure. Poor bastard went from taking out hoverbombers to taking out rats for dinner. I suppose for a bum he did alright, could still hold his own in a fight on sheer memory and instinct. Reckon more than a few hopped up gangers looking to roll some drunk bums for fun wound up face down in a gutter with a 20cm nail in their skull. Shoot some rats, maybe a spider, roast 'em on a trash fire, pass around some trash-fresh and a few pints of Preacher's Choice. It's not the worst life in the world but it sure ain't great.


And now this long, meandering story introduces our second protagonist.

Her birth certificate said Jennifer Jones, we called her "Jade," Born outside Neocron, good enough to bribe her way into a citizenship. And if you think the streets of the 'Cron are bad, she grew up at Point Red, this was before the Ceres Biosoldiers took up there, back when it was a trading post. Ruthless, skilled, and that special kind of beautiful that knows her body drops the IQ of every man in the room by 20 points, and boy she took advantage. Put together some arcane faction deals and ran them like clockwork, turned the cash over into influence, paid the right people killed the ones that wouldn't be bought, next thing you know she's not hanging out with losers like us anymore...

Anyway, she was high-up in Tangent, at least unofficially, putting runners together with work, shadow ops, faction suppression. Heard a rumor she was the one that organized the "ride of the valkyries" dawn raid on Cycrow a few years back, you know when those glider jocks in bombers blew the place halfway to hell?

Aw hell, I got off on a tangent again... okay, so she grew up in the wastes right, there was a girl, close friend, lover who the hell knows, that got disappeared up north while on a caravan run few years before Jack found himself in the shit. One thing you need to know about Jade? She had a long fracking memory, we're talking two decades later she's hired assassins to give a merc that attacked her first caravan a Ronin skylight.

Anyway, she never forgot that silly little kid that got herself killed in the desert, and apparently she never stopped looking for where and why.

And that's where Jack had a lucky break, because when you got a few pulls of Preacher's Choice in him he started babbling about the "demons".