Part woman. Part machine. All deadly!

“It wasn’t always like this.” Caska says to herself. True, some things haven’t changed. She’s always been a Japanese-American from Seattle. She’s always loved chasing thrills: either by stealing something, running with something she stole, or fighting to save her neck when she got caught by the owner. She knows that she’s always been able to see things others couldn’t; to feel the ebb and flow of magic. But she wasn’t always a washed up cyborg, strong-arming junkies and heisting chems for cooks and dealers. She remembers the tension before running a top-secret black op mission, the rush of penetrating maximum security installations. But more importantly she remembers the fat, steady pay checks of a highly trained Special Forces operative.

Caska joined the UCAS military soon after earning her Biology degree. After enough run-ins with Lone Star, she figured that if she was going to make a life of taking things that didn’t belong to her, she might as well be backed by the government. Her aptitude for stealth and subterfuge made her a welcome implement for the armed forces in the current global environment of corporate espionage. And once the higher-ups became aware of her awakening, she was quickly transferred into a program which attuned her as an adept. She honed her powers to grant her inhuman reflexes, preternatural senses, and train her hands into deadly weapons. She became specialized in wet work; infiltrating high risk zones to access data or eliminate targets without detection. In a field marked by expedability she fashioned herself into an asset. She managed to accomplish objectives and return from missions thought to be impossible or unsurvivable, and in doing so earned the attention of her superiors and respect of her compatriots. But it wouldn’t always be like this.

Caska had been sent on a mission to retrieve sensitive data from a Native American Nations facility. She had acquired her target, securing the information, and was attempting to make it to her extraction point when she was detected by a guard who broke from his patrol pattern unexpectedly. A desperate chase ensued, as the facility’s security descended upon her. The edge of NAN territory was in sight, and she could almost taste the juicy commission for a job well done. Maybe her success had gone to her head, maybe the Native’s magic dampened her skills, or maybe it was just the way the die rolled, but Caska was caught in the middle of a hellish explosion. The blast flash-burned her retinas, shattered her eardrums, and annihilated both of her legs, hurling her clear of Native territory. Only with the combination of her training, her adept skills, and her tenacity to live did she manage to regain consciousness and crawl to her extraction point. Once the pilot overcame his shock at the sight of gore and horror approaching he quickly flew her to the nearest hospital: an Evo trauma and cyberlimb R&D center.

Though her field was marked by expendability, her superiors approved for her to be fitted with alphaware ocular, auditory, and cyberlimb replacements. When Caskas’ eyes opened next tiny servos adjusted magnification lenses, micro-capacitors began charging memory circuits, and visual information began picometering towards data storage. Ultra-sensitive microfilms in her ears began dancing to even the minutest shifts in the building’s foundation, while dampeners suppressed sensory overload and sorting software filtered sounds into ranged layers. When first her body stirred, it met and was matched by the drive of pneumatic presses and taut cords of traction cables from below. But most jarring of all, as her psyche recoiled at its dismemberment, it railed against the weight of its new appended automatons.

Once she was ambulatory again Caska tried to return to her work, but something more than the obvious had changed. Her magic began to express itself in different ways. Before she had unparalleled speed both in hand, foot, and eye; her powers showing her what she wanted and taking her to it. But after the incident her magic turned inward, armoring her against further trauma. These changes ran deeper still, deeper even than the shock of white hair that streaked into her bangs. The first time her psyche met its metal obstructions it began to scream, and it never stopped. The cold banality of her modifications would always be an encumbrance, and any who were attuned could sense the echo of her pain.

Eventually this difference showed in her work and the assignments she received. She began to suspect she had been swept into a data dump, so she wasn’t too upset when Crash 2.0 destroyed her SIN and military record. She thought slipping into the shadowruns would be just like coming home to her roots, on the Seattle streets. But she hadn’t figured that the streets might have changed as much as she had over that time. She set up the alter-ego “Ji-nan Toxic” and started taking work as an enforcer or bodyguard, with the occasional B&E for ol’ times sake, and before too long she was contacted by a shadow identifying itself as “Major Thomm,” who claimed to remember her exemplary prior military service and offered to exchange information and favors for occasional “unmentionable” work. Major Thomm has proven to be a well connected and heavily invested contact, if extremely tight-lipped and mysterious, never making contact from the same data source or with the same avatar. For all she knows Major Thomm is more than one person. But they always have the same uncanny grasp on her identity and history. In fact, the only way she has been able to confirm a fixer as Major Thomm is that it exclusively refers to her by her real name, Caska, which was otherwise erased in the crash. One of the first ways Major Thomm was able to help her was to put her in touch with Rusty X. He was a robotics expert, and had his own less-than-pleasant experiences with the military, so they found they had more than enough common ground on which to work together. “Ji-nan” has started to settle into her new Shadowrunner existence with what can best be described as the general outlook shared by the world-at-large: bleak acquiescence. She can’t say she’s happy being a street samurai for smugglers and drug runners, or a bodyguard for a neurotic wrench-jockey, but for now it was home. Besides, it couldn’t always be like this…could it?


barbelith Danjamon