A few days ago, while I was off on vacation, an old buddy of mine from Shadowrun days got in a highway rollover accident. This is a bad thing. His skull was fractured, he was in the ICU, and they were pulling blood clots out of his brain, but nobody knew how much, if any, mental function he’d get back.
Now, I hasten to add, I have not kept in touch with this guy–he was the GM’s brother, left to go off to college, I don’t know where he was living or what he was doing, and remember him primarily (though quite fondly) as Jack of that infamous Shadowrun duo, Jack and Jackal (I was Jackal) a pair of magic users incapable of going to the grocery store together without causing an international incident requiring SWAT teams and snipers. It wasn’t that we were stupid, or dangerous (although other members of the group might disagree) but we were mages. The world was our oyster! And when the world failed to behave as our oyster, we panicked. And when somebody with a fireball on tap panics…well…as our GM screamed on more than one occasion “Does it not occur to you that your actions will have consequences?!”
A typical Jack and Jackal situation would go as follows: We’d be driving down the road, minding our own business, with a hostage tied up in the back of the car. Then the cops would stop us. Then we’d realize, as the cop walked towards the car, that oh, yeah, hostage…right. And then Jack would attempt to do his Jedi Mind Trick, vastly overestimate the willpower of cops, and turn the cop into a drooling vegetable standing by the car. Then the cop’s partner would come to see what had happened, only armed and wary. Then I, as Jackal, would panic, and since the only spells she was really good at were transformation spells, I would turn the second cop into the first animal I could think of, which unfortunately turned out to be a zebra. Then the zebra kicked the car and ran away. Then other cars would begin slowing down as they passed us to see what the hell was going on. Then I would panic again, turn the first (still dazed) cop into a slug, and then Jack would panic and step on the slug, and then suddenly we’d have murdered a police officer, and we’d BOTH panic and drive away at high speed, then remember about five miles down the road about dashboard recorders and have to drive back and fireball the squad car.
It was incidents like this that led to Jack and Jackal no longer being allowed to go anywhere unsupervised by another member of the team.
So while I’d completely lost touch with my old partner in crime and never knew him that well as, y’know, a real person sans fireball ability, I was still upset to hear about his accident–and vastly relieved today to learn that against all odds, with his skull fractured and blood clots in his brain and whatnot, he was allowed to wake up last week, and appears to have no neurological damage whatsoever (and apparently, upon having the inhibation tube removed, his first words were “Cotton mouth!”) So that was a bit of damn good news, of the sort that happens entirely too rarely, and I was glad to hear it.