All I Need
By Blackjack [Blackjack's Shadowrun Page: www.BlackjackSR.com] [BlackjackSRx@gmail.com] [@BlackjackSRx]

Posted: 1999-05-17


From the notes of Colebin, a runner based in Philadelphia.


I'm not a big fan of external hardware.  Internal, sure.  I'm wired, laced, toughened and tubed to the max, though you wouldn't know it from looking at me.  I like to keep a low profile.  Blend in a bit.  Keep the eyes shifting away from me.  Vanish.

I went through a lot of trouble and expense to make sure my 'ware doesn't look like 'ware.  And when it comes to toting hardware, I like to do the same externally.  Now don't get me wrong: If I'm running in to extract a military genius from some hell hole military base located two feet left of the Valley Of Death, you might see a grenade launcher (or two) slung over my shoulder.  But if it's just a meet, or a night on the town, you wouldn't know me from John Smith.

Some runners who prefer to run "light" like to look with disgust at runners who enter a meet with shotguns criss-crossing their back.  But I can fully understand why somebody might feel the need to carry such hardware to what is essentially a chat session with Mr. J.  They've seen SMG fights break out in bars for no reason, had a go-gang try to rough them up while they're walking down the street, or simply been attacked by a long forgotten enemy who decided that the time for revenge was now.  They're paranoid like the rest of us, and there's no sin in that.

It's their perception of what qualifies as adequate protection that bothers me.  They feel that they need to carry a shotgun because there is some situation that is going to require a shotgun.  They know they might have to shoot something, and they also know that a shotgun loaded with slugs is a pretty efficient way of doing that.  But that is where their perception of possibilities ends at the end of a shotgun barrel.

I know that there are going to be situations wherein I will arrive at a meet and be greeted with gunfire.  And if I had a shotgun, I could probably down a lot more people that I could with my normal weapon, a Colt Manhunter.  But I also know that weapons are not the deciding factor in a confrontation (unless you decide to take on a Panzer with a Streetline Special).  The outcome of a conflict involves the efficient use of everything you have your 'ware, your weapons, your skills, etc.  And if you have a firm grasp of your abilities and available tools, you could conceivably take on Renraku with a can opener.  Of course, most of us have a firm enough grasp of our abilities and tools to know that taking on Renraku with a can opener while conceivable is probably an unintelligent use of available resources

The following is a list of equipment I keep on me when I'm not "on the clock".  If you feel that these items are insufficient for surviving the streets, keep one thing in mind: I'm still alive.  I can confidently step into the darkness with only the following because I know how to use them and am confident in my ability to use them effectively.  And the power of confidence works better at defeating an enemy than any smartgun system around.

Colt Manhunter, Model 2055 Special Edition

Pretty much your basic, smartgun enhanced Manhunter, except for a rapidly fading "Special Edition" engraved in the side.  I carry two extra clips, as well as a half handful of loose rounds (you never know when the clip will decide that it doesn't want to slide in).

Black Macks

Not as harsh as the normal Macks because I insert a new filter that's about half as long as the cigarette itself.  I hate smoking, but it seems that waiting around with a cigarette in your mouth tends to draw less attention than simply waiting around with an empty mouth.  For some reason people seem to perceive an individual sitting around smoking as actually having something to do.  Without this prop, you simply look like somebody waiting for something to happen.  People don't like that.

John Player Special Cigarette Box

Just an old aluminum deal.  It actually only holds 10 smokes; the rest of the case conceals a small, 5 second flashpack.  More than once this little toy has saved me from having that "last cigarette".

Cougar Military Issue Stiletto

This little baby pops out with a couple hundred pounds of force, allowing you to deploy it point blank through light body armor.  It also has a liquid repellant finish and an internal blade cleaner so you can snap it back in without mucking up the works with blood.

Walther Palm Pistol

Let's face it: If you're down to your hold-out, you're fifteen different kinds of screwed.  And when you're screwed, the difference between five hold out rounds and two isn't worth the extra weight.

Cencast Multi-Channel Satellite Capable Commlink

Regardless of your rank on the shadowrunner food chain, you simply cannot afford to be out of touch.  My Cencast unit is probably worth more than all my other equipment combined times twenty.  It's got your level 5 encryption, quick switch channel jumping, analog downshift (for use in third world nations), and quick burst satellite uplink capability for those times when the message really needs to get there.  And beyond the phone there's a long list of contacts I keep very happy so they'll continue to maintain the false accounts that allow me to communicate.

Certified Cred Sticks

I keep three on me.  One is my main stick, another is a hidden backup (either my boot or armpit, depending on my mood).  The third stick is my dirty stick for bumming people cred or buying a drink.  It's also the one I hand over to anybody who feels the need to rob me.  I'm not the type who is willing to blow a 250,000 nuyen run by beating up some fourteen year old who wants my 150 bucks.

Pocket Secretary Commlink Extension

I have no memory.  Zero.  None.  The first thing I do after a meet is retreat to a bathroom stall and enter the limited amount of information that has managed to remain in my brain.  My PocSec is also equipped with a tamper burnout.

Armor Vest

Nobody likes a bullet through the chest.

Limb Armor

Puffed up elements of a Secure Jacket I tore apart.  I duct tape the pieces around sections of my arms and legs in such a manner that they don't impede movement.  Once I'm dressed you can't even tell they're there.  Of course, getting undressed (especially in an intimate situation) tends to be a bit awkward.

C6 Putty

Disguised as a travel sized tube of Clearasil (which is believable, considering my frequent acne outbreaks).  I also have five quick caps.  Quick caps are simply small capacitors designed to discharge when hit with a sharp impact (and if you ever have one go off in your pocket, you'll realize that these bitty things can crank out quite a zap).  Basically you squirt some putty, stick in the cap, back up a few feet, and shoot it.  While it's only really practical for blowing open locks and doors, sometimes you really need that lock or door to be open.

Throwing Knives

Three in each boot.  I suck with them, but figure I won't get any better unless I start using them more often.

Harmonica

Something else I don't know how to use very well.  I generally play it (badly) in when I get stuck in traffic or simply feel like irritating people.

Little Black Book

A small paper book filled with about 150 false leads.   The leads are generally addresses, phone numbers, etc. for people who have done me wrong or otherwise made it apparent that they need a good butt whipping.  When a cop or sec guard nabs me they generally think they've hit the criminal jackpot when they start leafing through the book.  I even write some stuff in a bullshit code and have been able to buy my freedom by "translating" this code for authorities.  And by the time they discover that their jackpot is jack-shit, I'm long gone.

Alcohol Neutralization Tablets

I have a pretty good tolerance, but not nearly good enough to endure some of the drinking contents that seem mandatory if you want to get info out of a combat biker.

Stun/Trauma/Tranq Patches

2 Stun, 1 Trauma and 1 Tranquilizer.  The Stun and Trauma are for me, as well as the Tranq if I'm having trouble getting to sleep.

Breather

No red smog for my lungs, thank you.

Key To My 2005 Ford Mustang

Somebody stole my 'Stang back in '52, but I'm sure I'll come across it someday.