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Night's Pawn is a Shadowrun novel by Tom Dowd.
- For years, Jason Chase was at the head of the pack, shadowrunning with the best in the business. When time dulled his flesh and cybernetic edge, he knew it was time to get out, or get dead.
Now, his past has come back to haunt him. To protect a young girl from the terrorists who want her dead, Chase must rely on his years of experience, and whatever his body has left to give. And everything he's got, he'll need as he comes face-to-face with a part of his life he thought he'd left behind, and an enemy left for dead.
Warning: Spoiler Information Below
Semi-retired veteran shadowrunner Jason Chase is suddenly on the run again when his colorful past catches up to him with a vengeance. Old loyalties, radical politics, a megacorporate civil war, and the machinations of Great Dragons conspire to pull Chase back into action.
Detailed plot summaryEdit
Alexander, a representative of the Der Nachtmachen policlub, is on his way to a meeting in Hell, the infamous conference room on the lowest level of the nightclub Dante's Inferno. He is meeting with Shavan, the leader of a rival policlub called the Revenants. Shavan is in Seattle to negotiate financial backing for the Revenants from Saeder-Krupp Heavy Industries. This alliance is contrary to the interests of Der Nachtmachen, and Alexander intends to prevent it. Luring Shavan to a confrontation on supposedly safe ground, he is able to set her up for an ambush by his master, the Great Dragon Alamais. Shavan is killed, the Revenants crippled, and Der Nachtmachen regains its position as the preeminent terrorist organization in Europe.
- Part 1
- Manhattan 2053
Jason Chase returns home to Manhattan after some corp consulting work in the desert. He learns that a woman is in town looking for him -- Cara Villiers, the estranged daughter Richard Villiers, the most powerful man in Fuchi Industrial Electronics. Chase once worked security for the Villiers family, but he hasn't seen Cara since she was a little girl twelve years ago. Chase meets the girl and brings her to his apartment. Cara tells her story:
She had been involved with the European policlub Alte Welt ("Old World"). She discovered that an agent of Fuchi's Nakatomi faction was paying Alte Welt to assassinate her father. Since Cara no longer has access to her father, she came to New York looking for Chase, hoping he could help reach her mother, Richard's ex-wife Samantha Villiers, who would be able to relay a warning to Richard.
A professional hit team working for either Alte Welt or the Nakatomis traces Cara to Chase's apartment. Chase and Cara hide in a bolt-hole maintained by Chase for just this kind of emergency while the hit team searches the apartment. The hitters leave with hair samples taken from Chase's shower. Concerned that they might be pursued magically, Chase enlists the help of a Cat shaman named Farraday, who summons a City Spirit to see Chase and Cara safely out of the city.
- Part 2
- Denver, via Dart Slot
The two fugitives arrive at a rigger camp on the Texas-Aztlan border named Dart Slot, where they wait for a smuggling thunderbird called the Rapier's Touch, whose rigger-pilot is an old associate of Chase. Krista Freid is a mage on the t-bird's crew, who at Chase's request determines that they are not being magically traced. Chase discovers that Cara is addicted to Better-Than-Life (BTL) simsense.
The Rapier's Touch crosses the border into Aztlan, then after a brief conflict with an Aztlan border patrol heads north through Pueblo Corporate Council to Denver. In Denver, Freid volunteers to keep an eye on the girl while Chase attends to an obligation.
Chase visits the old U.S. Air Force Academy at Colorado Springs, the physical location of the Denver Data Haven. After a brief confrontation with the temperamental Bash, Chase has a long conversation with Shiva, one of the Data Haven's founders and one of Chase's oldest friends. Shiva hints that the Great Dragon Alamais may have taken control of the policlub Der Nachtmachen, a terrorist organization that Chase all but single-handedly destroyed years earlier. Shiva also claims that Chase's brother Alexander is still alive, though Chase thought him dead twenty years ago.
Chase returns to Denver just in time to rescue Cara from the same hit team that caught up with her in Manhattan. He is too late to save Krista Freid.
- Part 3
- Seattle 2053
In Seattle, Chase calls in a favor owed him by an elven motorcycle gang called the Ancients, who agree to protect Cara and help her through withdrawal from her BTL addiction. With the aid of some local shadowrunners, Chase crashes a corporate party held at the Renraku Arcology, where he speaks with Samantha Villiers and arranges a meeting between her and her daughter.
At that meeting, Cara behaves strangely. After an oddly formulaic argument, Cara extends a concealed cyberspur from her left arm and attacks her mother. Chase saves Samantha's wife by shooting Cara's arm. Cara had been psychologically conditioned by Alte Welt to use Chase to get close enough to her mother to kill her. In this way, Der Nachtmachen would have exacted its vengeance on Chase and weakened Richard Villiers' hold on Fuchi, thus strengthening the power of its own financial backers, Fuchi's Nakatomi faction.
While Cara is in intensive care at a nearby medical center, Chase has a virtual conference with Richard Villiers and Miles Lanier. Together, the three men assemble individual pieces of the puzzle into a complete picture, with the Great Dragon Alamais and Chase's own brother Alexander at the center of it all. Villiers is blocked from exacting his own vengeance upon Der Nachtmachen by their alliance with the Nakatomis, but Chase offers another option.
- Part 4
Chase participates in a Russian covert operation, in which coordinated special forces teams infiltrate Germany to locate and destroy Alexander and Alamais. Chase kills his brother, and Alamais is apparently killed by a laser bombardment.
- Jason Chase (aka. Mikael Komroff, alias Simon Church, Priest, Eric Sieboldt, Carpenter, Michael Dengeo): A man of many names, Jason Chase has been a shadowrunner for a very long time. Russian by birth, his real name is Mikael Komroff. He was part of a Russian black ops team commanded by his older brother Alexi, until Alexi committed treason in 2033. Chase attempted to kill his brother and, believing he had succeeded, left the old world to become a shadowrunner in the West. Later, he worked security for the Villiers family at Fuchi Industrial Electronics, but left in 2041. While shadowrunning in Manhattan, Chase became romantically involved with an Eagle shaman. When she died in a plane crash caused by the terrorist policlub Der Nachtmachen (around 2045), Chase went to Berlin and pursued a vendetta against them. After wiping out their core membership, he returned to Manhattan and retired from active shadowrunning, though he continued to do security consulting work for various megacorps. Chase has extensive and influential shadow connections as a product of his long and diverse career. His custom cyberware (smartlink, cybereyes, datajack, boosted reflexes) remains competitive despite its relative age. Most people in the novel know him by his street names Simon Church or Priest.
- Cara Villiers (alias Cara Deaver): The spirited daughter of Samantha and Richard Villiers. Even when she was a little girl, Cara often ran away from home as a means of seeking attention from her busy parents. Chase knew her very well when he worked security for Fuchi, but she was only 12 when he left. Cara became more uncontrollable as she grew older. Her wild nature eventually forced Richard to disown her in order to placate his Japanese partners (Yamana and Nakatomi). After leaving home permanently, Cara moved to Europe and tried her hand at the music business. She managed a group called L'Infâme in Marseilles, which ended badly when two members of the band nearly killed each other over her. She then became romantically involved with a prominent member of the Alte Welt policlub. Actually a front for Der Nachtmachen, the policlub hooked Cara on BTL-simsense and psychologically conditioned her to serve their purposes. Believing she had uncovered a plot to assassinate her father, Cara was sent to New York to ask Chase for help contacting her mother, whom she had been programmed to kill. Cara has some cyberware: a datajack, synthlink interface, cybereye (without enhancements), and a replacement ulna in her left arm concealing a retractable cyberspur.
In order of appearance:
- Alexander (Alexi Komroff)*: mage, second-in-command of Der Nachtmachen, Chase's brother
- Shavan*: sorceress, female leader of the Revenants policlub
- Gunther Steadman*: previous leader of Der Nachtmachen policlub, killed by Alexander in 2048
- Alamais: Great Western Dragon, new leader of Der Nachtmachen, Lofwyr's brother
- Jason Chase: shadowrunner, former security expert for Villiers family
- William: bouncer at Teek's
- Teek: owner of a shadow-club in Manhattan, old friend of Chase's (ex-shadowrunner?)
- Shawna: bartender at Teek's
- Marko*: friend of Chase and Teek, recently passed away
- Cara Villiers: daughter of Richard and Samantha Villiers, simsense addict
- Richard Villiers: CEO of Fuchi Industrial Electronics, Cara's father
- Samantha Villiers: Cara's mother, Richard's ex-wife, Vice President of Fuchi Northwest
- Lachesis: decker from the Denver Data Haven
- Lucifer*: decker from the Denver Data Haven, old friend of Chase, recently deceased (VR1)
- Gerard: member of the band L'Infâme in Marseilles
- Alain: member of the band L'Infâme in Marseilles
- Cyanide Tiger: street samurai, uncommonly tactful
- Adler: member of Alte Welt policlub in Europe
- Katrina Demarque: expediter for Nakatomi branch of Fuchi Europe
- Martin Villiers: Cara's uncle, Richard's estranged brother, CEO of Villiers International
- Darren Villiers: Cara's cousin (uncle?), exec for Nakatomi Fuchi
- Victor: black human street samurai
- Roja: redheaded woman, street samurai
- Sâarlas: elf, mage
- Farraday: cat shaman
- Milo: ork chauffeur
- Becka Trinity: amerindian woman, t-bird groupie ("birdie") at Dart Slot smugglers' camp
- Terry Finch: captain of smuggling t-bird, Ms. Mable
- Peterson Gordani: rigger, captain of smuggling t-bird, Rapier's Touch
- Ryan Blanchard: gunner, tactician for Rapier's Touch, prior CAS military
- Krista Freid*: mage, Rapier's Touch
- Gavin: punk kid at Dart Slot smugglers' camp
- Willy: mechanic at Dart Slot smugglers' camp
- the two Richs: partners, mechanics at Dart Slot smugglers' camp
- Shiva (Gennedy Polemov): system administrator, Denver Nexus
- Bash: system administrator of Denver Nexus, rival of Shiva
- Seattle Shadowrunners
- - Zaney Jane (Janet Jane): street samurai
- - FastJack: legendary decker
- - Dancing Flame: amerindian shaman
- - Liam Bough: street samurai
- Falchion: elf go-ganger, Ancients lieutenant
- Leanna: amerindian bodyguard, partnered with her husband
- Miles Lanier: chief of security for Richard Villiers
- Peter Lindholm: company man for Fuchi-Villiers
- Annie Dexter: company woman for Fuchi-Villiers
- John Deaver: Fuchi security mage
- Gennadi Demchenko*: senior sergeant of the Russian strike team
- Lieutenant Grachev: Russian platoon leader
- Major Abdirov: Russian commanding officer
- Kunayev: Russian combat mage
- character dies in the course of the novel.
- - Kennedy International Airport (NAGTNA, p. 116)
- - Newark Airport (NAGTNA, p. 116)
- - Terminal (NAGTNA, p. 125)
- - Teek's: private club
- - Farraday's: talismonger shop
Dart Slot: smugglers' camp just north of the Texas-Aztlan border
- - The Nexus, Colorado Springs (Denver, pp. 70–87)
- - Dante's Inferno (Seattle, p. 36; New Seattle, p. 35)
- - Gray Line (Seattle, p. 30; New Seattle, p. 120)
- - Spirit's Way: talismonger shop
- - Renraku Arcology (level 258: West Garden & level 242: Management Information Systems)
- - The Caretaker: condemned restaurant in Auburn, used for meetings
- - Der Nachtmachen retreat
Notes and analysisEdit
Tom Dowd was the Shadowrun developer at FASA until 1995. He is the author of several short stories and two shadowrun novels, Night's Pawn (1993) and Burning Bright (1994). As shadowrun developer he made many contributions to early sourcebooks, including the Manhattan chapter of the Neo-Anarchist's Guide to North America (1991) and the Nexus section of Denver (1994). He is the author of the Street Samurai Catalogue (1989), Fields of Fire (1994), and Cybertechnology (1995).
Back stepping again. Chronologically, Night's Pawn takes place before the previous novel, Shadowplay.
Yamatetsu was Nigel Findley's pet megacorp (2XS and Shadowplay), Renraku Computer Systems belonged to Bob Charette (Never Deal With A Dragon), and now we have Tom Dowd to thank for Fuchi Industrial Electronics—Night's Pawn introduces us to the Villiers family, who will take center stage in the Shadowrun universe in later years (Novatech, anyone?). It also lays out the corporate civil war within Fuchi, between Villiers and the Yamanas and Nakatomis.
The events of Night's Pawn are alluded to in Corporate Download (p. 73): "Cara Villiers tried to kill her mom in 2053, but scuttlebutt says she was under magical influence at the time."
Dante's Inferno (Seattle Sourcebook, p. 36; New Seattle, p. 35) is the setting of the Prologue, and is described in detail (p. 5-19). GMs who plan to use the nightclub in their game might like to review Dowd's depiction of it.
The Prologue of Night's Pawn was originally written and released as a short story, Rex Tremendae, which is available on the Official Shadowrun Site. There are some slight differences between the short story and the version incorporated into the novel.
p. 18: If it was ever in doubt, Great Dragons are capable of Astral Projection. Alexander goads Shavan into assensing, then shatters the wards protecting Hell from the inside. Alamais' astral form attacks and kills Shavan before she can drop out of astral space.
p. 42: Chase tries to reach an old friend at the Nexus, the decker Lucifer, only to be told that Lucifer is dead. Lucifer was killed in the Chris Kubasik short story Virtual Realities, in the first-edition Virtual Realities sourcebook (p. 82). Tom Dowd wrote the Matrix Rules for that sourcebook, but Lucifer was originally Kubasik's character.
p. 53: Cara's friend Adler, involved with the European policlub Alte Welt, made a deal with a Nakatomi-Fuchi agent named Karen Demarque. Fuchi Pan-Europa is the province of the Yamana family, however, so the Nakatomis are playing in the Yamanas' yard by meddling in local radical politics.
p. 57: Chase and Cara refer to Darren Villiers as Cara's cousin. Again on p. 168: "Martin's son, Darren, Cara's cousin." Someone (Brian Schoner?) should have checked the Villiers family tree more carefully, because in later sourcebooks (Blood in the Boardroom, p. 27; Corporate Download, p. 69) Darren is identified as Richard Villiers' younger brother, which would make him Cara's uncle.
According to current sourcebooks, there are three Villiers brothers: Richard, Martin, and Darren. Richard is the eldest, Darren the youngest. Richard and Darren both worked for Fuchi (Darren for the Nakatomis); while Martin ran his own company, Villiers International. Darren Villiers is a metahuman (dwarf), and magically active.
In 2053, Richard and Martin shared a murderous hatred of each other: "Last I remember, Martin would have hired people to kill his brother himself ... Martin's company, Villiers International, has been trying to build an arcology up in the Bronx for years now ... It's billions over budget and years behind. Strong rumors have it that Fuchi, alias your father, has been behind the sabotage. It's said that Richard wants to drive his brother out of business so that Fuchi can buy up the rest of Villiers International, the part Martin walked away with when he wouldn't go along with your father's deal with the Japanese." (p. 57)
The enmity between Richard and Martin Villiers seems to have softened seven years down the road: Corporate Download (p. 69), "Martin prefers to build his own fortune, without relying on his older brother. They're friendly towards each other, but Martin seems to have a bit of a competitive streak that keeps them from working together."
p. 65: "This room is supposed to be magically shielded ... I paid a lot to have some hybrid bacterium or something sprayed into the surrounding walls." Chase is talking about Fat Airborne Bacteria (FAB), which will be introduced in 1995 with the Corporate Security Handbook (p. 38). Under SR3 rules, this would be FAB Strain II (Magic in the Shadows, p. 90).
p. 71: According to a Cat shaman, Farraday, the chemicals in most commercial shampoo make it difficult for a hair sample to serve as a ritual link: "To use a physical specimen as a material link for ritual sorcery, that physical specimen must be as pure as possible. Chic Clean leaves so much residue and pollution in the hair that it'll be a bitch and a half to use it to form the link." A hermetic mage, Krista Freid, disagrees (p. 114): "Shamans tend to overrate that kind of thing. The chemicals would be only the slightest hindrance to a mage worth her rate."
p. 74: "Every shaman summons spirits differently. It's very personal. Hermetic mages have tried and true procedures, almost formulas. Shamans have specific rituals, too, but I understand they make some of it up as they go along based on what feels right." Farraday summons a city spirit using ritual materials including cat toys and a bag of Nuke-It-Burger fries.
p. 82: Farraday's city spirit creates a traffic Accident.
Smuggling between Denver, CAS, and Aztlan is covered in Target: Smuggler Havens (p. 87). Dart Slot didn't make the cut for smuggler camps, but Castle Creek is a similar encampment not far from where Dart Slot would have been. Not too unreasonable to assume that the camp was forced to relocate sometime between 2053 and 2059.
p. 94: Chase notices Cara's left arm twitching as she runs a BTL chip. We learn later (p. 248) that bone in Cara's left forearm, the ulna, conceals a retractable spur. The BTL chip she's running contains a psychologic conditioning program on a subcarrier. Chase interprets the twitch as a sign of BTL-inflicted nerve damage, but it's actually evidence of the program conditioning her to use the spur to kill her mother.
p. 97: With modern sensors, day and night are largely irrelevant to a rigger. Daytime actually offers an advantage in desert terrain, where ground heat can confuse thermal sensors.
p. 107: In 2053, the Pueblo Corporate Council carefully patrols its border with the CAS, to cut down on illegal immigration and smuggling. The Pueblo-Aztlan border is wide open by comparison, so smuggling from the CAS to Denver goes south into Aztlan before turning north through Pueblo. This situation must have changed by 2059, because in Target: Smuggler Havens (p. 89), a major smuggling route called The End Run crosses the Pueblo-CAS border.
p. 117: Nice description of the advantages of a smartlinked weapon.
"The moment he grabbed it, the weapon sensed the presence of his hand and activated the cyberlink circuits in the grip. Those sensors matched up with another set hidden beneath Chase's palm and wired into his nervous system. He felt the warm flow from his hand that told him the circuits were engaged. A small targeting dot appeared in his field of vision as the cyberware in his head translated the positioning data the weapon fed through his hand and up his arm. The dot showed him, within barely a milimeter of error, exactly where the pistol was pointed. Other readouts appeared in his eye showing the status of the weapon's safety, whish was on, and its current ammo load, which was full, sixteen rounds. With the weapon now linked and in sync with his already wired and hyped-up nervous system, Chase was ready."
p. 126: The Rapier's Touch is outfitted with an optical targeting system so its mage, Krista Freid, can use sorcery from within the body of the Thunderbird, without exposing herself. Another innovation that will be included in the Corporate Security Handbook (Fiber-Optic Observation Network, p. 75).
p. 128: Description of a 3-man T-bird crew in action, rigger and gunners.
Target: Smuggler Havens, p. 88: A rigger named Yeager writes (in 2059), "One name you might hear is Rapier, a gal with one kick-ass t-bird. Her crew is called Rapier's Touch, and features Ryan Blanchard (gunner and tactician), Pete Gordani (rigger) and Krista Freid (magical support). I saw them at the Last Chance Chicken Roost about a year ago on a little R&R." There was never a woman named "Rapier" on the crew—unless she's a recent addition, in which case the Rapier's Touch is hardly "her" bird. And how did Yeager see Krista Freid at the Roost in 2058 when she died in Denver in 2053?
p. 137: Cara is running Against the Hive, Euphoria's last simsense. Her opinion: "Could have been more realistic, I suppose, but the action stuff and the effects were wiz. The ending is kinda rough to take, though." In the published adventure Queen Euphoria (Stephen Wieck, 1990), the simstar Amanda Lockhart (aka. Euphoria) is kidnapped by Ant Spirits, cocooned, and invested with an Ant Queen Spirit. Her simlink records the entire process, which MegaMedia later adapted for release as Against the Hive. Lockhart's metamorphosis was inevitably fatal, but MegaMedia publicly announced her "retirement" after the successful release of the sim.
p. 139: Chase was romantically involved with a woman, an Eagle shaman, who died in an airline bombing by Der Nachtmachen terrorists. Chase went to Berlin and practically wiped out the policlub's core membership. In fact, he merely cleared the way for Alexander and Alamais to assume control. Circumstantial evidence suggests that Alexander engineered the plane crash specifically to manipulate Chase into doing just that (p. 246). Alamais was actually responsible for pulling Chase's strings (p. 257). Alexander never knew that Chase was his brother.
p. 162: There is a smuggler's camp called Keane's Corner inside Pueblo Corporate Council, about a hudred-sixty klicks north of the Aztlan border. Like Dart Slot, Keane's Corner is also not featured in Target: Smuggler Havens. Again, I presume the smuggling community has changed significantly in six years.
p. 173: "Originally formed as a techno-utopia and named the Denver Technological Cooperative by its founders, it was now more commonly known as the Nexus. In the data haven there, and the ones like it scattered about other parts of the world, data could be bought, sold, or found for any price, in any form." The Nexus and its key figures (including Shiva and Bash) are described in detail in the Denver sourcebook.
p. 176: "So I hear you had some problems with Shadowland being compromised in Seattle." Chase is probably referring to Universal Brotherhood, where the Seattle Shadowland hub located in Grodin's Tavern was firebombed by the Brotherhood in May 2051 to keep Zeb Wanderly's expose from being passed to the Nexus.
p. 183: Lachesis tried to deck into Fuchi Seattle and ran into heavy Black IC. She sustained severe brain damage. Later (p. 213) FastJack says, "The doctors think that with therapy she should be able to feed herself in a few weeks."
p. 187: Shiva's real name is Gennedy Polemov, confirmed by his profile in Denver (p. 82), including a remark by Chase posting as "Priest". He and Chase have a history together—they were members of a Russian special operations unit that disbanded in 2033. The Denver Data Haven didn't really surface until 2038 (Denver, p. 75), so it's reasonable to assume that Shiva is one of its founders.
Bash is also described in the Denver sourcebook (p. 83) and the Denver GM supplement (p. 26). The GM book offers alternate possibilities as to Bash's true identity: A- a quadriplegic decker in Quebec named Andrew Loewes; B- a split personality of Shiva himself; or C- a free spirit, possibly even a fragment of Zebulon, Denver's original Great-Form City Spirit. Chase expresses a fourth possibility, addressing a redheaded youth residing in the Nexus as "Bash".
p. 200: The Gray Line restaurant sits inside Puget Sound, with an underwater view (Seattle, p. 30; New Seattle, p. 120). Under the alias Michael Dengeo, Chase is friends with the restaurant's owner, Lawrence Bjeland. The botched holdup mentioned in the text is described by "SPD" in the Seattle Sourcebook entry.
p. 204: Chase calls in a small favor from the Ancients. Janey says, "I'm surprised. There've been problems with the Ancients. I'd have thought their entire leadership had turned over since you were last in town." A reference to back-story and current events of Elven Fire (Tom Dowd & James Reichstadt, 1992), earlier in 2053. The Ancients leader, Wasp, was assassinated in 2050 by an exiled Tir noble, who is currently a lieutenant in the gang under the name Green Lucifer. The current leader, Sting, disagreed with many of her predecessor's policies, but apparently still honors the gang's debt to Chase.
p. 212: Chase is introduced to FastJack: "The name was held in almost as much awe as the Denver data haven, of which FastJack was said to be a co-founder. It was also said that, as part of the old U.S. government's Echo Mirage project, he was one of the first deckers, ever, to fight the computer virus that swept the world's databanks in 2029. Chase knew that rumor wasn't true, however, because he knew the names of everyone at Echo Mirage. FastJack couldn't have been one of that group. Their fates were all accounted for."
There were thirty-two deckers in Echo Mirage, only seven of whom survived. Four of the seven went private afterward—Buddy from 2XS died in Seattle in 2052, Ken Roper and Michael Eld were killed in Boston in 2033 (Blood in the Boardroom, p. 23). The fourth independent decker might be Azrael, an eccentric decker in the Newark sprawl (Fade to Black). The three military survivors remain unidentified. One of Echo Mirage's twenty-five casualties was Alice Haeffner, the late wife of the current UCAS President (Super Tuesday, p. 12; also Jak Koke's Dragon Heart Saga).
Three of the Seattle shadowrunners—Zaney Jane, Liam Bough, and FastJack—first appeared in Tom Dowd's short story Free Fall from the shadowrun anthology Into the Shadows.
p. 219: "Their radio system was sophisticated enough that Chase wasn't worried about Renraku security breaking it before he could get out, but the arcology's security systems were sure to pick up the presence of any unauthorized transmissions from within the building." Note that these resources are still in place and available to the Arcology's current "director", the Deus AI (Renraku Arcology: Shutdown, p. 76).
p. 246: Richard Villiers calls Chase "Jason". This is notable because is the only time in the entire novel when anyone other than the narrator uses the name "Jason Chase". Everyone else knows him as "Simon Church", "Priest", or some other alias, except for Shiva, who used his real name (Mikael Komroff). At other points in their conversation, even Villiers and Lanier use the name "Simon Church". I find myself curious as to why Tom Dowd bothered to use the name in the first place.
p. 248: the nearly undetectable, retractable cyberspur in Cara's left forearm is delta grade cyberware. We see something very similar years later, implanted in Fuchi's deep-cover agents Michael Bishop (aka. Babel or Ronin; from Stephen Kenson's Technobabel, 1998) and Diana Peng (Blood in the Boardroom, p. 44, This is your brain on otaku).
p. 251: Alte Welt is a political front for the more radical Der Nachtmachen, much like Sinn Féin fronts for the IRA.
p. 269: "Soldiers receive inhuman orders all the time. It's why there are soldiers. We do the things human beings will not."
p. 274: The Russian special forces are using equipment described later in Fields of Fire (Tom Dowd, 1994). The prototype Ares CAR-32 rifle is listed in Fields of Fire (p. 33) as the Ares Alpha Combat Gun. The strike force also uses a BattleTac system (FoF p. 29) and a target designator (FoF p. 30).
p. 283: Alamais is killed by a laser bombardment, either from an orbital platform or an aircraft at high altitude. Contrary to logic, expectation, and report, the Great Dragon makes a miraculous escape, though he does not resurface for several years. The first indication of his survival was a bequest made three years later in Dunkelzahn's will (Dunkelzahn's Secrets, Steve Kenson, 1996): "To Alamais, I leave the fruitcake we have exchanged every Christmas since 2020. Unlike you, I'm really dead." (p. 26)
In Tom Dowd's short story Post Mortem (1997), Ehran the Scribe refers to "the resurrected Alamais." The wyrm was named in present tense among the Great Dragons in Shadowrun Third Edition (1998). Alamais finally reappears as the primary antagonist of the novel Ragnarock (Steve Kenson, 2000).
I found Alamais' apparent demise at the end of Night's Pawn to be spectacular, dramatic, appropriate, and completely satisfying. I can't help but wonder just when and why FASA opted to reverse it. It wasted a superb finish to no good purpose. The practice of resurrecting and re-cycling villains were better left to bad comic books.
Chase (Mikael Komroff), Shiva (Gennedy Polemov), Alexander (Alexi Komroff), and the late Lucifer all have a common history together. They were members of a seven-man Russian special ops group (p. 187), led by Alexi. The group disbanded in 2033 when the team leader, Chase's brother Alexi, commanded a mission to execute the crew of a Russian guided-missile cruiser in the Black Sea and sell the vessel to a foreign power (p. 268). When Chase discovered that Alexi was acting without orders in his own self-interest, he shot him. The body fell into the Black Sea, and Chase believed Alexi dead for the next twenty years (pp. 188, 256). Unable to go home because of their complicity in Alexi's treason, Chase and his colleagues either went underground, or went West, or both. Alexi Komroff is thus a traitor, mutineer, and murderer at large, which is why the Russian government is so willing to do Fuchi's dirty work by eliminating Der Nachtmachen.
Hatchetman refers to a street samurai named "Priest" during his in-character introduction to the Cybertechnology sourcebook (Tom Dowd, 1995). This is probably a cameo appearance by Jason Chase.
Cara Villiers survived the incident and recovered. Apparently, she recovered from both the BTL addiction and her psychological conditioning. She is a currently a shadowrunner, under the name Rouge. (Corporate Download, p. 73). The civil war within Fuchi eventually destroyed the corporation and led to the creation of a new megacorp, Novatech, in October 2059 under the direction of Richard Villiers (Blood in the Boardroom, p. 19).
- German: Spielball der Nacht
- French: Le pion de la nuit
- Hungarian: Az éjszaka markában
- Mason's: 4 out of 5. Tom Dowd's prose is more challenging than Nigel Findley's, requiring the reader to pay closer attention and think about things a bit more carefully. Dowd does a superb job of showcasing some of the essential elements of Shadowrun in his fiction, and this novel makes an excellent introduction to the game. Slightly obscure in places, but overall a very good book. I give it a 4 on the Shadowrun book scale of 1-5.
- Doug's: B (out of A, B, C, D scale) This is a fine book, for the most part, albeit never a spectacular one. There's not much to distinguish this book from the other Shadowrun books out there. It's the same old stuff. But at least it's done well.
- Goodreads: 3.41 (as of June 2013)
- Based partially on Mason's review