The City Is At War by Cobra Starship.
((In an attempt to ensure I felt properly in-character for my upcoming
table-top session with this character, I decided to write a short
vignette from her perspective. This is Abigale Two Thunder - a.k.a.
"Zata" - from the Shadowrun universe.))
. . . . . Abigale's hands shook as she lit the cigarette clamped between her lips. As she stabbed the match out on the scarred synth-wood of her coffee table and drew a pull of smoke in, images from her medical training flashed in her mind – shriveled, blackened lungs, the A-Z how-to of performing a tracheotomy, yellowed teeth, metastasized lumps of uninhibited cell reproduction. She tried to decide what was worse: knowing what she was doing to herself or knowing why she'd started doing it in the first place. A groan cut through the silence of her tiny flat as she put the just-lit cancer-stick out in a stale cup of soykaf. She couldn't do it. She was still too clean, too responsible, too safe to kill herself – even slowly.
. . . . . “I have got to find a different outlet,” she muttered, letting herself fall backwards onto the futon which served as both couch and bed. Six-thousand nuyen more in her bank account and she still couldn't shake the nauseating feeling that she was clawing her way out of a million nuyen hole. And that hole was on fire. It had been ten months since bailing on Denver and she still spent every waking moment looking for Red Hands over her shoulder, waiting for the corp to cotton on and send a retrieval team, breaking into cold sweats like she had the DTs every time she heard the metallic click-clicks of an engine turning over.
. . . . . Taking a deep breath that still tasted faintly of nicotine, Abigale started running through her nightly litany. “This is Seattle. You are not you in Seattle. You are Zata in Seattle. You will survive in Seattle.” Her breath hitched in a snort but she pushed herself onwards. “You make your own fortune here. You have no one to pay for. You know what end of the gun to point. You know how the fire flares.”
. . . . . The ritual of reassurance was the only sound, if one didn't count the ordinary creak of pipes and thumps of heavy-footed occupants upstairs, in her flat. She didn't even rustle fabric as she pulled a sheet up over her still fully-armored body. In the last ten months, Abigale had gotten comfortable sleeping in her armored jumpsuit, comforted by the stiff prods and unyielding pseudo-ergonomic curves of the plating. A re-breather shared her pillow and a Colt L36 was her teddy bear.
. . . . . “You know how to ghost,” she told the darkness as she turned off the light. “You know how to deal with Mr. Johnson. The shadows are feared. The shadows are respected.” As an image of the Awakened hobo huddling under the overpass and negotiating with another hobo for entry into the goddamn ACHE, a humorless laugh barked out of her, interrupting her catechisms of courage.
. . . . . “I am in such deep drek.”