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Autor: Robert N Charrette
Data wydania: styczeń 1996
Okładka: Jim Thiesen
Shadowrun #19 Cytat na okładce:
Sometimes The Law is on The Other Side of Justice Andy i jego rozczarowany brat, major, razem z przypadkowo poznanymi shadowrunnerami zostają wplątani w złożoną sieć intryg, uknutą przez skorumpowanych polityków i wojskowych, którzy chcą zniszczyć władze UCAS.
Runner wannabe Andy’s safe, corporate life ends when he accidentally participates in a real run. His half-brother Tom gets into trouble with his boss, the UCAS military, for refusing to gun down a civilian army. Together they uncover a conspiracy to take down the government. Can they stop it before DeeCee is buried under a heap of bloody corpses?
Shadowrun is all about capitalism gone way too far. Plus magic, of course. To explore the theme, most of the time the stories involve the downtrodded masses and the corps that, er, downtrod them. But most is not all, thankfully, and this time the government is involved in a major way.
Major as in military. It seems a war a few decades ago is catching up with the UCAS (United Canadian and American States). The west of the USA, you may recall, was essentially taken over by the various amerind groups, and an awful lot of people evicted back east. As part of the peace agreements, the displaced people were promised compensation for their lost property. It's decades later now, and they're tired of waiting.
There's more going on, of course, but that's the main bit. It's good to see the governments still have an active hand in some things. The book is also a useful instruction for how the militaries (the UCAS's, at any rate) adapted to the new technology and magics of the 2050s.
.: Just Compensation .:. Comments :.
by Robert N. Charette (1996)
irritating gaps in narrative, military terminology often left unexplained, or explained after the fact.
.: Just Compensation .:. Plot :.
Compensation Army is demonstrating in Washington FDC. The federal government promised relocation assistance to individuals forced from the western UCAS by the Treaty of Denver in 2018. Following the secession of the CAS in 2033, the new UCAS government refused to recognize the claims of United States citizens who had lived south of the 38th parallell, or in the Free State of California.
Andy Walker plays at being a shadowrunner in VR games. In reality a VR test-rigger for Telestrian Cyberdyne. Caputured by real shadowrunners in a raid against Telestrian. He helps them to save his own life, and is profoundly disillusioned in his corp when he discovers that Telestrian is using lethal black ice. The runners' decker Yates is killed by the ice, but not before downloading the paydata into Andy's headware memory. Andy wakes up on the street, with his memory tampered with.
Major Tom Rocquette is new to his command. Field exercises at Fort Schwartzkopf, apparently training for magical opposition -- bug spirits about to break out in Chicago.
Back inside Telestrian, Andy discovers that he is the focus of unwelcome attention. To protect his family, he fakes his death and leaves Telestrian, intending to become a shadowrunner for real. He meets the dodger at a virtual club, and the Dodger gives him the name of a local fixer who will get Andy started on his new career.
Tom returns to FDC for his half-brother's funeral, at which point we learn of his connection to Andy, and their mutual family history.
Rioting. UCAS Pres. Steele orders General Trahn to assist civil authorities in maintaining order. Military units are dispatched to quell rioters.
.: Just Compensation .:. People :.
Andy Walker (aka. C-Cubed, C-Three, Cruncher's Cybernetic Cub): son of a Telestrian security guard, an ork named Cruncher, who died in the line of duty. Andy and his sisters were educated and subsequently employed by the corp. Andy is a virtual-reality test rigger for Telestrian Cyberdyne. Hopeless shadowrunner wannabe. Andy's father was Matthew Walker, a former employee of the UCAS Federal Government who goblinized into an ork. After that, he was ostracized by his family. Matthew was forced to leave his wife and two children. He eventually found employment with Telestrian security, remarried, and sired Andy and his three sisters. He was killed in the line of duty when Andy was only three years old. Andy is a fairly competent decker and rigger.
Tom Rocquette (aka. Machine): UCAS Army, Special Resources battalion, recently promoted Major, transferred from Denver to Fort Schwartzkopf, West Point graduate. Grandson of "General Rock". Son of Matthew Walker, before he goblinized into an ork and was ostracized from his family. Tom, his sister Genifer, and their mother were taken in by Matthew's parents. Matthew went to work for Telestrian and started a new family. Tom remembers his father as a drunken ork. Brief affiliation with Humanis, later rejected.
In order of appearance:
Major Tom Rocquette
Captain Olivetti: rigger, officer in charge of batallion drone assets, techno-republican
Captain Vahn: Tom Rocquette's second-in-command
Sergeant Omenski: NCO in Tom Rocquette's unit
Lieutenant Carolstan (Hooter): Army Thaumaturgic Corps magician attatched to Rocquette's unit
Russ Sanchez: Andy's supervisor at Telestrian Cyberdyne
- Matthew Walker (Cruncher)*: Andy's father, who died when he was three.
- Shayla Walker: Andy's mother, senior receptionist for Telestrian Internal Marketing
- Asa Walker: Andy's older sister, "the smart one", intern at Telestrian's home office in Tir Tairngire.
- Cyndi Walker: older sister, temp worker in the Telestrian admin pool
- Lola Walker: older sister, temp worker in the Telestrian admin pool
Captain Hayne: platoon leader
Captain Rita Furlann (Ice Heart): magician, officer in charge of OpFor magical assets
- Kit: human woman, asian, shaman
- Shamgar: ork street samurai, cybereyes, retractable spurs
- Marksman (Harry Markowitz): normal human
- Rags: troll
- Yates*: decker
- Beatty: ork
- Sammy Locksley: female human rigger
Johnny Lessee: liberal talk-show host
SpellMan: street shaman
Genifer Rocquette: Tom's older sister, Andy's half-sister
General Rocquette: Tom and Andy's grandfather, retired UCAS Army general
Chunk Gonsalvo: ork, Shayla's newest boyfriend
Josh Barnaby: programmer for Telestrian
Zagfoot: decker bully at Nell's Basement
Dodger: legendary decker
General Osmolska: commander of the Special Resource Command
General Trahn: eurasian human, war hero
Colonel Jemal Jordan: intelligence officer
Captain Black: armored cavalry officer
Chichi Davis: dwarf, shadow mechanic
Cynthia Locke: Chief of Police for the Federal District of Columbia
Sergeant Clay: communications specialist
Colonel Archie Lessem: task force commander
in the news (August 2055):
State Senator Wendell North (Arch-PW): North Virginia state legislature
Senator Gorchakov (Dem-MN)
Senator Drinkwater (Lib-ME)
Speaker of the House Betty Jo Pritchard (Rep-ONT)
Derry Dale: WFDC trideo reporter
Gov. Saul Jefferson: Governor, North Virginia
Teresa Lee: Regional Commissioner of Fairfax District, FDC (NAGtNA, p.89)
Taylor Weingartner: WFDC trideo reporter
Shimmer Grace: WFDC trideo news anchor
Cynthia Locke: Chief of Police for the Federal District of Columbia (NAGtNA, p.89)
Christian Randolph: self-appointed general and spokesman of the Compensation Army
President Steele: UCAS President
Stephen Osborne: president of Telestrian Industries East
Suzie Chiang: WCHI trideo news reporter
Lee Atwhiler: Presidential Press Secretary
General Lewis Draeger: Chairman of the UCAS Joint Chiefs of Staff
* character dies in the course of the novel.
.: Just Compensation .:. Places :.
* Telestrian East complex
* the Block: memorial
* Saeder-Krupp Museum of Air & Space Technology
* The Mall
* Baltimore-Washington International Airport (NAGtNA, p.91)
* Green Tree Hill Apartments
* Eskimo Nell's: virtual club not quite in the shadows (NAGtNA, p.96)
* Fort Belvoir
Fort Schwartzkopf (Midwest):
* Tactical Operations Center
.: Just Compensation .:. Points of Interest :.
Just Compensation is Robert N. Charette's fifth and final shadowrun novel. In addition to being one of the original shadowrun designers, he was the author of the Secrets of Power trilogy -- Never Deal With a Dragon (1990), Choose Your Enemies Carefully (1991), and Find Your Own Truth (1991) -- and its sequel, Never Trust an Elf (1992).
The dedication is to "the cast and crew of one of the strangest road shows it's ever been my pleasure to know, the Fredonian Air and Space Administration." For those who wonder what FASA stands for.
This novel jumps back on the shadowrun timeline, taking place before the previous three novels. Just Compensation opens on 13 August 2055 and runs through 30 August, which means it coincides with the events of Burning Bright (Tom Dowd, 1994). The Bug City catastrophe, in which Chicago is overrun by insect spirits, looms on the near horizon: 22 August 2055.
When the old United States of America separated into the United Canadian and American States (UCAS) and Confederated American States (CAS), the old state of Virginia split. Most of old Virginia belongs to the CAS, but the region north of the Rappahannock River belongs to the UCAS as the state of North Virginia. West Virginia remained intact and went with the UCAS.
Names and places associated with the Federal District of Columbia in this novel are consistent with its chapter in the Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America (pp.86-101).
p.10: the Halfies, the go-gang in Andy's virtual reality shadowrun game, are based on a real-world gang of the same name (NAGtNA, p.99).
p.18-26: describes a UCAS Army unit on a field exercise. Rocquette's platoon is divided into three fire teams: Point Team, First Team, and Second Team. Rocquette coordinates operations from an armored command vehicle. He is supported by a detatchment of drones and one magician. This doesn't quite coincide with Argent's description of UCAS Army infantry in Lone Wolf.
p.28: "Andy's biological father was Matthew 'Cruncher' Walker. ... The fact that Matthew Walker was an ork wasn't a problem at the big T. Telestrian's bosses knew that the bottom line was performance, and they rewarded whatever metatype delivered." Two thoughts:
One: neither Andy nor any of his three sisters are characterized as metahuman. If Matthew Walker, an ork, were their biological father, each would have had a 50% likelihood of being born ork. The odds of all four being born human are about 6%.
Two: Nigel Findley established in Lone Wolf (1994) that fewer than 5% of Telestrian employees are human -- not exactly a model of equal opportunity. Curiously, not a single living employee of Telestrian in this novel is identified as being anything other than human.
p.38, 41: Charette employs Army-speak a little clumsily. For the non-military in the audience, S.O.P. means "Standard Operating Procedure", and OpFor is the "Opposing Force" in a field exercise.
p.89: Andy owns a Sony CTY-360 cyberdeck, a fairly competitive piece of hardware (SR3 p.173).
p.99: Telestrian Cyberdyne manufactures electronic systems for the CAS Stonewall main battle tank.
p.103: Andy introduces himself to Dodger using his matrix handle "C-three". Dodger asks if his last name is "P-O". Heh. "C-3PO". Star Wars character. Dodger made a funny.
p.130: This news report dated 23 August 2055 describes President Steele's meeting with high-level delegates from Tir Tairngire and T�r na n�g, including a conference call with Lofwyr. This meeting was also described in Burning Bright (p.227), though according to Dowd, it didn't occur until 29 August. The delegates were Caoimhe O'Dunn, daughter of the High Steward of T�r na n�g, and none other than Ehran the Scribe, Prince of Tir Tairngire. They explained to President Steele the nature of the insect spirits infesting Chicago and recommended that the area inside the Containment Zone be saturated with ANVAR-TFM, Saeder-Krupp's most powerful pesticide.
p.145: "Espionage belongs to D.S.A. and the C.I.A. and the F.B.I." Alphabet soup translates to Federal Bureau of Investigation, Central Intelligence Agency, and who? Charette's "D.S.A." sounds like either the contemporary Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) or National Security Agency (NSA).
p.149: Another intelligence-agency acronym: S.I.A., the CAS equivalent of the UCAS Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). Special Intelligence Agency, probably.
About the Cover: by Jim Thitsen. Presumably Major Tom Rocquette's special resources unit. Though who the flying freak with green hair is supposed to be escapes me completely. The picture is purely stylistic, and does not represent any scene from the novel.