Cast of Shadows – Xiadow Xiok Xiavez aka X3

Continuing from my last post, the second character I wrote a short about was the team’s cyber ninja, X3.  X3 had been created when I first attempted running Shadowrun at the office and his player was very pleased to be able to bring his character back under Fifth Edition.  In order to showcase the character for the new players, I wrote up this piece.  X3 is a Filipino runner, who was classically trained in the ninja arts by a now shattered clan, who opposed the occupation of the Philippines.  The islands now liberated, X3 seeks vengeance for the treatment of his countrymen at the hands of Mitsuhama and their exploitative policies.

+++decoding message+++

The scent of incense hung heavily in the air, as Carlos Chavez sat cross-legged in the middle off the tatami mat that made up the center of the space. This Shinto-styled shrine in Everett was one of the few places left in the city that felt tranquil and he could feel centered. Whether that would be true after today or not remained to be seen.

As he heard the heavy wooden doors open somewhere behind him, that portion of him known as Carlos slipped away to make room for X3; the shadowrunner. He remained where he sat, determined to enjoy the peace as long as it lasted.

Footsteps echoed behind him in the stone hallway until he heard the soft crunch of shoes on tatami. “What the hell? Who is this? I thought I told you to keep this place clear!”

So… he had come. Tariya Hideyoshi… self-important Yakuza thug, son to a Mitsuhama dynasty that traced back to the atrocities in the Philippines. X3 had done his homework and found this little kingpin left himself open during his meditations. With any luck, the man’s commlink would have something profitable and useful to his own ends on it.

“I…I don’t know, sir. Our men had the place surrounded to keep it clear for you.”

“Well you failed, as usual. Get rid of him, so I can relax.”

X3 listened as he heard people moving around him. His cyberears honed in on the sound of footsteps on the soft mat. Four bodyguards. More than he had anticipated, but still manageable.

“Uh sir, he’s armed…” X3 heard pistols being drawn from holsters and leveled in his direction.

Hideyoshi had venom dripping from his voice when he ordered, “Set your weapon on the floor and stand up slowly.”

Suppressing a smirk, the runner drew his machine pistol from its holster, placed it lightly on the mat and slowly rose to his feet.

“You have some stones coming to a Yakuza building with a weapon,” Hideyoshi said.

“Last I checked, this was a public building,” X3 said, finally breaking his silence.

“Who said you could talk back? Sato, teach this worm some manners.”

Hearing a pistol being cocked to his left, X3 grinned. His cybernetics kicked in and the world seemed to slow down. With a pre-programmed series of finger twitches, he activated his chameleon suit, pulling the hood down over his face with one head, while starting into a hand spring with the other.

As far as the Yakuza saw, one minute the man was there and in a blur of motion, suddenly he turned and vanished. They fired their weapons where the assassin had been standing only to hit nothing but air. X3 bounded up the wall braced his knees between two ceiling beams and hung upside down studying the Yakuza’s movements below.

“Where’d he go?” Sato said, panic creeping into his voice. “You think he’s a mage?”

Hideyoshi looked to one of his guards. Speaking in Japanese, he ordered, “Summon one of your spirits. The rest of you, make yourself useful… fill the place full of holes until something bleeds.”

Springing from his perch, X3 swung from the beams to a wall before bouncing off and securing himself above the now outed mage. Reaching down, he tightly gripped the mage’s head and wrenched it to the side, severing the mage’s spine before he could tap into the astral. With the rest fruitlessly firing into the walls, X3 let the mage drop to the floor, creeping across the mat lightly staying out of the firing arcs of the thugs destroying the temple.

“Kuso! The kannushi is down!”

Hideyoshi wheeled around to see the mage laying on the ground, eyes wide and head at an impossible angle. “Dammit! Find him!”

As the Yakuza were distracted by the death of their magical support, X3 moved in behind another soldier, clamped his hand over their throat to prevent them from crying out and wrenched him back as he brought his knee up. A long blade ejected upward from his shin, slipping between two of the man’s ribs. The man’s cry of agony stifled by X3’s grip, the blade retracted and the ninja went for the wakazashi at the Yakuza’s side. In a fluid motion, X3 hurled the short sword at the next thug, while rolling across the mat.

Hideyoshi and Sato turned in time to see one of their men go down in a silent spurt of blood from his mouth while another saw himself impaled and skewered to the wall by a wakazashi. Coming out of his roll, X3’s chameleon suit disengaged as he scooped up his machine pistol, raised the run and fired a burst in the skull of Sato.

With surprising agility, Hideyoshi moved in and kicked the pistol from X3’s grip. Taking up a ready position, X3 mimicked his opponent’s stance. Standard Hwarang-do posture, offensive style… not sloppy though. Has some training.

“I don’t know who you are, but no one messes with the Yakuza and lives,” Hideyoshi taunted.

“You’re right… you don’t know who I am. Your mistake.”

Hideyoshi opened with a feint, attempting to bring X3’s guard up, but the assassin didn’t take the bait, blocking the initial strike. Delivering a sharp blow to the Yakuza’s forearm, the man recoiled, realizing that his opponent had bone lacing and that each blow would be costly.

Launching into a kata, Hideyoshi launched into the fight with a back fist, a hook kick, a crescent kick and what should have been a flurry of blows. X3 was well versed in this style of fighting; MCT trained their soldiers in Hwarang-do and this guy lacked the brain power to improvise. X3 barely had to think when dodging the kicks and when Hideyoshi when to follow up with the punches, X3 side-stepped, wrist-locked the man and flipped him using the momentum of the strike against him. As the Yakuza man turned in the air, the assassin fired a kick of his own into the defenseless foe, hurling him to the mat and bouncing from the force of the strike.

Staggering to his feet, Hideyoshi looked at the ninja, his confidence faltering somewhat. X3 stared back unwavering, showing no signs of his plan of action. His opponent met X3’s eyes trying to get a read of any kind and his eyes briefly shifted to the wooden doors behind X3 that led to freedom.

X3 grinned behind his mask.

The Yakuza let out a battle cry and charged X3, launching into a flying kick. Knowing that it was a ploy to make X3 step aside to grant freedom, the ninja merely rolled back and sprang to his feet, so that Hideyoshi landed directly in front of him. As the Yakuza lieutenant landed, X3 launched in his own assault. To his credit, Hideyoshi did a respectable job of weathering the barrage. The entire time X3 attacked, the Yakuza was trying to find an opening where he could sidestep his attacker and escape.

Noticing his adversary’s desperation, X3 gave him his opening. Swinging in a wild attack, X3 presented an obvious gap and Hideyoshi went for it. Using his momentum from his misleading move, X3 spun around, sprang off a wall and came down fist first where Hideyoshi’s neck met his shoulder, crushing the collar bone and driving him to the floor.

On shaking legs, the Yakuza struggled to his feet. He clutched his crippled shoulder as tears streaked down his cheek from the pain. “Please… what do you want? What did I do?”

“What do I want? I want those that stole my family and friends from me. I want those who murdered my neighbors and sold their children in slavery to feel the same agony we felt. Your parents are two of those people. What did you do? The same thing we did. Nothing. But my job is to bring suffering to those who deserve it and you are a means to an end.”

Hideyoshi made one last attempt to defend himself with his one good arm, but his defenses were swatted aside and X3 delivered a series of quick blows as his forearm spurs extended. A blur of motion, he delivered critical blows: first the lungs to prevent him from calling for aid, the second to the abdomen to deliver the requisite amount of pain his bloodline was owed and the third a blow to the heart, granting a quick end, as he was not directly responsible for the sins of the past.

Hideyoshi’s eyes went wide as his life faded quickly. X3 guided him down to the kneeling position on the tatami giving him his final moments to find the serenity he sought when he first entered the temple.

“May your spirit find peace. For your family will have none.”

X3 reached down and unclipped the man’s commlink and accessed its memory. As he had hoped, there was information on it he could sell to rival syndicates, but there was information on Mitsuhama, his parents and their family life. He could begin scouting his planned targets in earnest. He would let them grieve over the death of their son before death would visit them again.

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~ by 1nsomniac on February 14, 2015.

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