In the Shadows of the Rotten Apple...
Ex-ARES Infiltration Adept
Blandness. You know the type. You see them in line for soykaf. They sit across from you on the metro. Maybe you even smile and wave politely to them as they open the door for you each day at your fancy hotel – but you’ve forgotten their face the moment you look away. In most people’s lives, this would be frustrating or annoying. Thankfully for Akira Tanaga, it just makes things that much easier.
You see, Akira thrives on being forgettable. You ask five people what he looked like, you’ll get five different answers – the only common thread of which is male, elf, Asian looks. Which suits him just fine. Makes getting in and out of a place all that much easier. Whether you needed someone to walk straight in through the front door and talk their way past anyone there to stop them, or you needed a guy to sneak in the third floor window and not make a sound, you could count on Akira to make it happen.
Needless to say, his skills made him useful to a lot of people. The fact that he was born under the SIN of ARES didn’t hurt either. I think someone once used the term ‘rising star’ to describe him – which is ironic, if you think about it. He was part of a covert team that hit fast, hit hard, and left no trail behind them. Rumor has it that Firewatch had an eye on him, just waiting for an opening so that they could tap into his talent.
It was too good. Too easy. If everything had gone according to plan, our story would never have begun. You and I wouldn’t be having this conversation, and nobody would have ever heard the name Akira. He’d be out there somewhere, faceless in the crowd, taking orders and dropping bodies like a good little attack dog. You’d never see him coming – and that’s just how he likes it.
But one day, someone screwed up. You ever hear the saying ‘drek rolls downhill?’ Yeah, it sucks. Someone high up in the covert operations department made a little mistake. Forgot to save the right copy of an order, sent it to the wrong recipient, something. We may never know. The short of it is that the wrong person got geeked.
What happens when an attack dog attacks the wrong person? Does the Star come by and lock up the owner? No. The dog gets put down. I’m not being metaphorical here – ARES tends to be a bit heavy-handed in these things. A kill team was sent out to tie up his particular loose end. But how do you catch a shadow? Trained warriors don’t usually get caught unless they want to. And Akira, well he saw the smoke long before the flames appeared. When his door was kicked down and his nice corporate apartment was trashed, he was already long gone.
So what do you do when ARES terminates your employment? You get the frag out of town, that’s what. And where’s a good place to lose yourself in the crowd? New York will do the trick. Lots of people to disappear into, and who is really going to look too closely at an average, vaguely-Asian-looking Elf in Chinatown? Nobody, hopefully.
And this is the part where Akira Tanaga ceased to be, and ‘Yūrei,’ A.K.A. ‘Toshi Nomura’ came into existence. Having spent the last of his nuyen travelling across the country and setting himself up with a new identity, he adjusted himself into normal life in the lower class and focused on blending in. And blending in is something that Yūrei has always been good at.
He picked up work where he can – working the door at some of the local clubs, delivering parcels that need to get somewhere safely, stuff like that. Kept his eyes open, his mouth shut, and an ear to the ground. Sometimes, he made a little bit of quick cash here and there when someone put together a crew for a job, but never anything that would draw too much attention. No sense in showing up on the radar.
But then one day, he bumped into a kid from downstairs, goes by Plan B. Seems like they were in the same line of work. Now this kid, he came from an entirely different way of doing things. Maybe he was wrong, but Yūrei got the feeling that subtlety wasn’t this guy’s strong point. Everybody in Chinatown seemed to know his name – but different doesn’t necessarily mean bad. So, when extra muscle was needed, Plan B definitely came in handy. Plus… the guy really knows practically EVERYONE in Chinatown, so he had an in whenever anybody needed work done.
So, for now, Yurei works with Plan B whenever their goals are in line. He keeps to the shadows (both literally and figuratively), and stays off the radar. It may not be the quality of lifestyle he once knew, and the pay damn sure isn’t as good. But, hey – every day you keep breathing is a good one, right?