Disclaimer: I own neither Shadowrun, nor Stephenson's Diamond Age, or Snow Crash. Nor do I own the sources I quote at the chapter starts. The Mythos is public domain according to wikipedia.
Author's Note: I'm going to post this here in hopes that feedback with encourage me to write faster. I am looking for a beta to help out, preferably one who will understand that I often have a tendency to get caught up in school work. I will most likely be posting the chapters I have finished at a rate of one a week. After that it depends on how quickly I can write. Much kudos to Shuki, without whom a lot of this would not have been possible.
~*~*~*~Prologue"-People think dreams aren't real just because they aren't made of matter, of particles. Dreams are real. But they are made of viewpoints, of images, of memories and puns and lost hopes."
- John Dee, 'Preludes & Nocturnes'
The sun was setting on another day in New Tokyo. The orange glow of the sun mixed with the cool blue of the Enclave domes, and the dingy green glow of the western land mass. While it wasn't much by day, the radiation would paint the sky garish colours come night. It was a strange place, this city, a tarnished metropolis, one of the few still extant in this modern world. It was a city of cities in a way. The natives enclosed themselves in their domes, and the western refugees built their towering metallic monstrosities ever upward, while the Chinese stuffed themselves onto a mass of ships and barges dense enough to imitate land mass. The groups associated with each other only as a last resort. Districts were separated by checkpoints and security. 75 million people packed into a space that had once struggled to hold less than a sixth of that.
And soon it would all be his, or so Levian had been promised. It wasn't that he didn't own a fair chunk of it already, but simply that he saw no point in settling for a piece when he could have the whole pie. His company, Malory Industries, was one of the largest and most lucrative megacorps and had been for generations. It specialized in arms manufacturing, biological and chemical development, and genetic engineering. The wars that had devastated Europe and parts of Asia were nothing more than a business opportunity to him. Today, the Warlord was sending him an emissary to negotiate a contract for one of the corporation's newest products. Everything comes down to money in the end. Money buys research. Research creates weapons. Weapons bring power. Once you have power, you can use it to get more money, and the cycle begins again.
"Mr Malory, your three o'clock is here," his secretary's voice echoing metallically on the intercom abruptly derailed his train of thought.
"Send him in," Levian replied as he swivelled his chair around to face the door.
A cloaked figure slithered silently into the room. Though the shadows did much to conceal its features, a scaled green snout protruded slightly from the hood, and gold eyes reflected the dimming light. "My Masster sendss hiss greetingss," it hissed. "He iss pleassed with the new productss you ssent him and wishess to make an order."
Levian leaned back in his chair, and contemplated the figure before him. The creature was obviously the product of genetic manipulation. His family had been dabbling in such work for generations on test subjects both willing and unwilling, and even on themselves. It was a mark of pride that Levian's son had undergone the most extreme genetic tampering that their family databank had ever recorded.
As such he had an artist's eye for such work. Whatever had created this 'creature' in front of him must have done so over a series of generations. The changes were far too extensive. The work was crude, but it would be interesting to discover exactly what genetic factors could change a human into a reptile. Perhaps his 'Master' would allow me a sample in exchange for my cooperation. It could be quite interesting to discover exactly what makes him tick.
Levian gave the figure a crafty smile: "Tell your master, it will be my pleasure."
Unnoticed and unbidden, another watched, and planned.
"Subtlety, Ronda, subtlety. How many times do I have to fragging tell you?" Hermes berated his girlfriend. "I swear if Harrison wasn't there to pull your rakking ass out of the fire AGAIN there would be more than a couple of gorram bullet wounds for DocWagon to deal with."
"It's not that bad. All the buggers hit was my left arm. They didn't dent my tech, and I didn't even get any blood on my shirt. It would have to suck to get blood on my lucky shirt."
Hermes glared at the Amazonian woman who was currently perched on an examining table in the tiny infirmary, getting bullets extracted from her upper arm. She was close to two meters tall and muscular with fiery red hair and a temper to match. The shirt in question was a battered tank top that may have been black at one point, but was now faded to an indeterminate brownish-grey. It was a bit too tight across her chest, too short for her torso and had probably been filched from one of her numerous sisters.
"Your lucky shirt?" Hermes inquired staring at the garment incredulously.
"Hai, no one's died while wearing it. Plus, I'm pretty sure the twins haven't gotten their hands on it, so it shouldn't explode or spontaneously turn into a chicken or anything."
The twins in question had done far worse over the years than simply turn shirts into chickens. Their skill with pranks would make Loki jealous. Hermes generally regarded them with scorn. The two were gifted mages and it irked him that they threw away their talents on things as frivolous as jokes. Despite that, the fact than anyone could be so blasé about such occurrences made him pause. "You've had shirts spontaneously turn into chickens before?"
"Of course, haven't you?"
Hermes just sighed in the face of such logic and turned to Harrison who was sprawled over a couple of folding chairs absently toying with one of his throwing knives, and smirking at his friend's bickering. He was tall and lithe with piercing green eyes and long black hair that he tied back with a leather thong. His long black coat hid two pistols, and more frighteningly a thin wooden stick that marked him as a member of a very select group.
Harrison was a True Mage, one of the few left outside of Europe. A fair bit of Magickal knowledge had been lost in the Great War, and a fair bit more only existed in the hands of the Warlord Shinohiyo. Still, a number of True Mages had made it out to found schools in this new land. But despite the prevalence of ordinary magic these days, True Mages were rare. High Magick took years of study to master, and most people in this age lacked the patience.
"Argh, you philistines think this is funny don't you? Risking your lives with pigheaded stupidity, waltzing through dangerous terrain with all the grace of a tap-dancing hippopotamus, it's all just a game to you isn't it?" Hermes threw up his hands in disgust.
"Um, yes?" Ronda replied meekly.
"ARRGH!" Hermes screamed and stormed off.
Ronda watched her boyfriend's retreating figure for a minute before turning to her best friend. "Guys don't get PMS, right?"
"Dear gods, I hope not."
In a bed in Number 12 Grimmauld Place, Harry Potter woke up from a very strange dream.