The tight-fisted corporate overlords often overlooked Ronnie’s division. Overseeing a marketing subsidiary, new ad campaigns came out on time and lead to increased sales. Whatever he was doing was working, and shipshape-looking boats were rarely hauled in for repairs. He was content with his little office world, or at least the opportunities it allowed him – when he didn’t have the money for a new organic body modification, the latest video game system, or a season’s hottest fashions, he dipped into the corporate funds. What harm could it do? After all, he reasoned, they only have this money because of me. He could always have another successful ad campaign to make up the shortfall and nobody would be the wiser.
Some people appear to be on top of the world right until the carefully-balanced rotten superstructure falls out from under them. A casual phone call stopped Ronnie’s heart cold – Vince from accounting was going to swing by the Auburn office next month to do an audit. “I’m sure you have nothing to worry about, this is just routine for all of our branches,” his college buddy said cheerily. “Want to grab drinks after?” The corporate account was 200,000¥ overdrawn and Ronnie had been shuffling credit cards in order to cover the debt. An audit would bring his whole house of cards crashing to the floor.
He needed money, and fast. It wasn’t a drug addiction nipping at his heels, like with so many others, but time itself. He could only delay Vince’s visit for so long without drawing additional scrutiny, and he had to use every available minute to set things right before the red flag went up for the executives.
Think, Ronnie, think he struggled, pacing in his claustrophobic apartment. It wasn’t that the space was small – he drew a rather enviable salary – but rather that every square foot was filled with barely-opened entertainment media and rarely-used Type-A personality toys; exercise machines (plural) were covered in monogrammed golf shirts, towers of simsense chips obscured forgotten personal assistant drones and books on management philosophy. He lived the life of a true consumer, nothing holding his attention once he acquired it.
He was good with people, both from a natural affinity and expensive bioware enhancements that let him read and influence others’ moods, but he didn’t think he could scam friends and family out of the money, not without making things more complicated than normal around the holidays. A warning buzz caught his attention from a nearby pile of discarded electronic trinkets. An old commlink, neon-and-chrome-plated in the vein of his favorite (at the time) TV show reported that the newest edition of Drake Hunter, Shadowrunner had been released and was available to purchase.
Shadowrunning, he thought to himself, scratching a stubbled chin. I could do that. They make millions and nobody knows the wiser. His fingers were dialing a less-than-reputable contact he had made over a Pai Gow game some years back before he could stop himself. “Jimmy?” he asked, hesitantly. “You got any jobs?”
Ronnie provides a great introductory story for a brand-new, wet-behind-the-ears Shadowrunner getting caught up in circumstances far beyond his normal ken, but ultimately all his fault. I’ve envisioned him as a Face-type character, one who makes the deals and schmoozes the team’s way past security, but really a similar story could work for most underworld vocations. Someone with a real need for money, real fast, turning to a life they never imagined.
Header image taken from Tara’s Online Bike Journal, detailing her lengthy riding trip around Europe.