Let me tell you the story of how I died.

I have to admit, allot if what I’m gonna tell ya is little more than a blur to me. Taking a chunk of shrapnel to the ol’ noggin’ll do that to ya. Let me tell ya, there weren’t nothing about that in the brochure. Well.. maybe there was. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. Let’s start where things are supposed to start.. at the beginning.

It all began the way most everything begins. In childhood.

My parents were normal ol’ humans, if a bit on the wealthy side. Dad was in an R&D group that worked for the military, wet-ware bio stuff. Mom was his assistant till they got hitched. Then she was more like his lab partner. Well, after she got the wires that is. Caused a big stir at the lab. They were workin’ on a new way of stickin’ other peoples memories in your head and the date of approval for human testing kept getting pushed out. So Mom figured since Dad was the one who could do the procedure best, she’d go under the knife. She figured if something went wrong, he’d be the best one ta fix it. It all worked out. Now she’d just as annoying to deal with as him!

I didn’t see much of either of them growin up. Always busy with a new project. Probably why I was the only kid they had.

It wasn’t all bad, though. Plenty of money, so plenty of friends and stuff. The house was big so we had a maid and a cook. Pretty sweet.

Then puberty hit. Like stepping out in front of a bus. Instead of a normal growth spurt, I actually shrunk a bit. Got real stocky. No one had any idea what a ‘meta’ was at first, so they thought I had some kind of growth disorder. There where countless physical therapy sessions, docs, drugs, the works. I saw a whole lot of hospitals and labs, that’s for sure.

After years of prodding and probing, the docs figured out this ‘condition’ wasn’t medical but part of the whole ‘magic’ thing. Just great. While other people are throwing balls of fire and flying around, what do I get out of it? I get to be short and stocky. Tadda! And for my next act I’m gonna change myself into something less sober.

Got into a fender-bender headin’ home one evening. We both got out of our cars to check the damage. It turned out the guy was operating without insurance so I said, “I’m not happy”. He get’s this big smirk and replies, “Well then, which one are you?”. I ended up with an assault and battery charge.

My parents figured it was time I grew up so the booted me out.

When ya get the boot, ya go to boot camp. Barely made it through that. Always had a problem with authority and that don’t make for a good fit in the military. When the sarge says jump, you’re supposed to jump and ask how high on the way up. Didn’t make allot of friends there.

So, having less than a shining record but as my sarge said “lot’s of untapped potential”, I got put in a division of Special Forces. Special in that we ran missions with ‘low survivability’. Yeh, suicide runs. Don’t get me wrong, these were important runs. Just better have your will in order. Seeing as they didn’t want us to snuff it before the mission was done they did provide us with some great equipment and even upgrades for us casket-stuffers. The army needed a few good men and that’s what they turned us into.

As one might expect, my first run didn’t turn out so good. For me, that is. We got in and I planted the explosives in the central computer room. Fine and dandy. Just as we were heading out we got into a fire-fight with security and I was pinned down just outside the room we just rigged. The bombs were timed so BLAMM! They went off and I was out. Blacked out that is.

As far as I could remember I was only in the hospital for a couple days. Then the doc tells me it was a month and a half. Turns out one sliver of metal from the explosion went through my right eye and straight to the center of my brain. Almost didn’t make it through that one. Lost my short term memory. That’s how I got the name ‘Scratch’. Cause every day or it was like starting from scratch.

Lucky for me it turned out the military needed a lab-rat. They popped the top off my skull and stuffed it fulla wires. Took a bit to get used to all the ‘upgrades’. New eyes, ears, a couple finger tips… the works. They replaced part of my brain so I could remember things again and put in some skill wires to make me more versatile. I was better than ever.

Before long I was back running missions. Buncha different jobs and different units but basically it all boiled down to the same thing. I probably wasn’t gonna cash in on my retirement plan.

So this last run, as we were both lying on the ground bloody and battered, I turned to my pal Pariah and said, “I’m thinking it’s time to retire.”

We limped out of there before anyone could spot us and got a decker to change our records to ‘deceased’ and a mage to wipe any magical tracers off us. Now we’re among the SINless, still doing covert jobs but on out terms now. Not sure if that’s much of an improvement but I like to think it is.


The DV8's Phayt Randy_Holt