One of the most difficult things I find to understand within the Shadowrun universe is the Matrix. I spend many hours reading the Core Rule Book over and over again followed my searching and reading multiple posts on the associated Reddit. I actually think that I am started to get my head around the concepts but in order to truly establish this I thought I would try to explain it to someone else, since this is one of the true criteria of mastery over a topic. But rather than just writing a waffle of facts and figures I wanted to engage my creative juices which appear to flow better when I am not at work and write a piece of creative writing. Please remember, I am the least creative person around so accept this as what it is, I know I am am unlikely to win any competitions or coveted awards! As I usually sit in Costa to write my waffles, it seemed to be a suitable place to set this scenario. So imagine. The time, 2076. The place Costa Soya coffee the reality? Shadowrun.
I don’t think there is much of my own head left. I don’t know about you, but there was only one thing I ever wanted on every Christmas list and that was that voucher for my datajack. Actually, Santa never brought it for me and I ended up saving up until I had enough money to go to a reasonable priced mid-ranged medical facility to get the direct neural interface implanted and connected. Yes I could have got it done cheaper but hey, I wanted to come out with the rest of my brain intact. As for the other implants, well they weren’t that necessary but as soon as you get the implant bug, you are addicted – things are always better with implants. I never fancied cyber eyes, my own pearly blues have always been good to me, apparently they sparkle in artificial light – who would have thought. Every other piece of headware is always attractive. The datajack has been implanted for some years now. It took me sometime to get used to the additional visual information appearing before my eyes, as well as the auditory additions but the brain does get used to it and, as I walk into Costa Soya Coffee, the world of the Matrix is instantly overlaid providing me more information – probably more than I need. Oh they have an offer today on Soya Croissants, I might as well take advantage of this while I’m here, as well as buying my usual poison. As I cast my eyes over the serving counter, I can see the ARO of the guy who will be serving me today – Mike – original- oh and he has won barista of the month three times in a row – he seems friendly has I place my order using my meat body voice. I could just send it to the serving machine electronically, but sometimes I like to indulge in the old fashion ways of the world. My points flash into my peripheral vision as the transaction goes through, soon be able to have a free coffee. A quick thought and they are removed from my view. The ARO above the coffee machine indicates that it is running at 76% efficiency – more than I am today – and I collect my drink and food and head for an available seat. I never know why they don’t run those machine silently – do we really want to know that it is due for its service in two months time.
If there is ever a downside of being neurally connected to the Matrix, it has to be the adverts. The walls are alive with discounts and dancing people appearing before my eyes as I scan the room, but once I sit down, I flick them off using a clever Advert Blocker which is running in my commlink and I see only the important stuff. There are a few other people indulging in soya coffee today. The elderly man in the corner appears to be reading something on his commlink. Its not a good one and he is flicking something from page to page with his finger. He is even squinting to see it – guess 20/20 vision is not available on his government pension. Some goggles would at least allow him to see it infront of him without having to strain his neck. Took me ages to even convince my mother to buy a commlink – god knows how she thought she was going to communicate with me without one. As if just by thinking about her – a message pops up. I compose a long paragraph in my head by pure throught and send it her to be converted to auditory output at her end. Should keep her quiet for a while.
Although commlinks are essential in this time, it would appear that how people connect with them is far from standard. With my datajack, everything gets communicated directly into my brain and I can converse with the Matrix with a single thought. Before my DNI was implanted I was similar to that lady over there. Yeah she has forgotten to turn her commlink onto silent running, but hey, there are not many hackers around these parts and I am still yet to be convinced to the presence of those techno mages known as technomancers. Without her brain connected to her commlink the lady opposite has her glasses and small ear buds connected wirelessly to her commlink. I can see it flashing in the Matrix, she is talking to someone, but with her ear buds in, her voice is much louder than what it should be – half the cafe can hear her. Should I send her a quick message? I could probably find out her commline – maybe something like – ‘I am watching you…’ nah far too cliche! At least she has moved away from tapping the commlink – those AR gloves don’t appear to be the best quality and there is something quite commical watching people waving their hands around like that, or tapping on a virtual keyboard. But wait, that’s interesting….
There are a couple of people sat over in the corner. Everything they own must be running silently, since everyone has a commlink in this era but there is nothing signifying that they have one running on the matrix. And, what’s that. My cyber ears click into action amplifying and filtering the noise from their direction. I detect that one of them is talking quietly, his lips hardly moving. A sub vocal mic? Undercover cops or maybe, runners? One definitely has a datajack implanted, while the other – I’m not sure. Those high end fashionable glasses could be wirelessly connected to her commlink but no sign of an implant. I always find that people who look suspicious, are indeed suspicious and should be avoided. I get up and head to the door as a hear a ping in my head and see a small envelope message icon appear in the bottom left hand corner of my vision. Bloody hell, has work forgotten I’m on leave for this week. I mentally open it and the message enlarges over my field of vision – “We are watching you….”