February 13, 2075.
Rain fell in sheets. It thrashed the tarmac in half-second intervals. Seattle's streets - despite their impressive infrastructure - could not keep up with the sheer force of nature that was the sky's fury, and succumbed quickly under inches of standing water. It was not long before Alyx felt the stinging cold, felt the icy spray against her face. The clothes wrapped around her body that had been barely enough in the freezing winter were nothing against the soaking anger of the coming spring's downpours. She shivered and cowered against the alleyway's walls, the concrete overhangs barely providing protection from the storm.
For all the strength of humanity and its technological hubris, there was one thing it could not beat - nature. Neon signs flickered and fought bravely against being obscured by the screens of droplets flooding the air. Holographic projections looked strangely out of place on AR and contacts, solid and glowing when all else real faded into the grey obscurity of the crashing rain. Days like this brought ice-cold reality down on society’s eternal suspension of disbelief.
Alyx loved it.
Braving the cold was one thing, but peeking out from under her hood and watching the scurries of day-to-day life – ah, that would never get old. She could watch for days on end. The feeble protection of myomeric fabric shielding them from the water as people darted from overhang to overhang, raincoats and armoured jackets glistening dark with the smog-filled water. There were so many things to do, so much nuyen to make, so many people to meet…
She looked up, her ears perking at the sounds of footsteps.
‘Echo’ stood up to all four and a half feet feet of her 11-year-old height, drawing back her hood despite the relentless spray spattering them. “Why do you call me that, again? Alyx is so much better.”
There was a pain in her voice, under her faux-petulant lilt. A pain that no 11-year-old should have had.
“I suppose I owe it to you to tell you, eh?” The man – barely a man, really, at 19 – knelt beside Alyx, crouching to her level – orcish, yet intelligent features blinking sharply at her.
“In the old days, before the Matrix,” the orc started, in a voice that she clearly knew well from her grin, “there were three big operating systems. Now, you know what those are.”
“Well, they all had terminals. We still use something similar, when we’re not hot-simmed or the like, when all we have access to is… say, a Meta Link, and we’ve lost our trodes.”
Alyx grimaced. The orc chuckled in his raspy way, never missing a beat.
“So you’d pull up the screen, and there’d be a little underscore, blinking at you. And you could enter little commands, you know? Like
ls, for example, to list files in a directory. It was simple, back then, when they used their fingers instead of their minds to work with information.”
If one looked closely enough, they might have been able to see the thinking cap almost literally materialising over Alyx’s head as she stretched her mind to imagine the past – so close, but so far away.
“When you typed in a command… any command, really – the terminal would say it back to you before it spat out whatever you asked for. It would follow your lead, and sometimes, if you were writing a script, you could use it as a sort of messenger, to give whoever was running your script information or instructions. Following me so far?”
Alyx’s eyes were squeezed shut, half against the rain, half in thought, but she nodded.
“Well, that setting was called echo. You could turn it off, if you wanted, to shut it up, or use it, if you needed confirmation that you were doing the right thing. Or if you just wanted to see what you typed.”
Her eyes shot open in realisation.
“I never turn off echo,” the orc continued, the smile threatening to touch both ears as Alyx leaned against his side. “It’s too helpful, and besides – it’s pretty good company. I call you Echo because… well, you get it.”
Tears nearly formed in Echo’s eyes as she looked up, a smile breaking like the sun behind the trembling of her lower lip.
“Echo… Echo. I like it.”
|Decker | Scout|
|“Am I supposed to put something here? Oh, drek… um… I’m really bad at these. Uhh… don’t die, and try and live the best you can.”|
|Titles and Awards||0|
|Folder||Alyx "Echo" Ester - drive|
Metatype - C |
Attributes - B
Magic/Resonance - E [Mundane]
Skills - A
Resources - D
- 1 Character Information
- 2 Defining Character Information
Born from Seattle’s own alleyways, Echo has beaten the odds and survived – thanks in part to her natural wit and cunning, and in part to pure luck and good-hearted companions along the way. She has picked up important skills in her rough and wounding journey – how to defend herself (with firearms, as she is not especially physically capable) and to make a living (leveraging her technical aptitude and natural memory as a decker).
Thanks to the company she kept during her street upbringing, she’s just as capable with her tongue as she is with her cyberdeck or pistol, despite her reserved and almost mousy nature. If she must, she can wield her force of personality like a club, or a rapier, to what the situation demands.
Echo wishes above all to not have to live like her SINless and homeless adoptive mother did, destitute and dying on the streets. She wants to live comfortably, to make a home and future for herself, and find friends to share the memory of those she has lost.
Her passion for the technical pushes her to strive to be the best. Her rapid and dependable absorption of information allows Echo to learn unhindered, and she will always have perfection in mind, no matter how impossible it seems, or is, to achieve.
Somewhere in the back of Echo's mind are her memories of her adoptive mother. She knows the sacrifice she made to keep her alive, but those memories are fuzzy, and often too heartbreaking to try and access. She wants to know more about her, learn her history, find out why.
A street kid in both heart and deed, Echo lived rough for the first decade of her life. If not for being taken under the wing of a woman she can no longer clearly remember, she would have frozen to death long ago as a baby abandoned in the streets of Seattle to crime and poverty. But she was given a chance - and given a life, for a life. Her 'foster' mother, who took care of her to give herself a reason to live until the next day under the worst conditions America of the Sixth World had to offer, succumbed to the burdens of the world before Echo was seven. Still, she left her with a name - Alyx - her own, Esther, and hope, hope that one day her adopted daughter would not have to live, and die, as she had.
To survive alone as a child was both difficult and traumatic. Echo still bears the scars of those times - the rough-and-tumble of street gangs, the heart-rending nature of those so-easily-formed emotional bonds torn by distance and death. Against the odds, she pulled it through, and learned how to survive from those who were lucky enough to, learned how to drag herself up from the bottom from those who were still hoping to. She was taught to fire a pistol, use the Matrix - but most importantly, wield her mind, and her tongue. Those skills served her well during her teenage years, and somehow she flourished, a diamond in the rough, a blooming lily in stagnant marshland.
Now, she scrapes together a living with those same skills - a SINless shadowrunner, a treader of the liminal, a girl who steps between light and dark, real and unreal, as easily as ever-so-light feet over a skipping rope. The cares of the world are nothing to her - so long as she has her cyberdeck, a pistol, and her trusty backpack.
Narrative Significant Qualities
Bilingual. Growing up in the streets of Seattle allowed Echo a different upbringing, an exposure to the clashing of cultures in the Sixth World. She was lucky enough to be taught both English and Mandarin as a child due to the Chinese-American nature of the areas she frequented to survive. Over the years, she has also picked up smatterings of Japanese and the elusive Elvish language - the complex and beautiful tones of Sperethiel.
Photographic Memory. It's not quite photographic, but if it matters, Echo is both unwilling and unable to forget. Both a natural tendency and something trained, it was born from her fuzzy memory of her adoptive mother who gave her life for her own - and her refusal to let anything like that slip her mind ever again.
Analytical Mind. Surviving on the streets requires a sharp tongue and a sharper intellect. Nothing less than the best will do, and so many of the cleverest deckers and riggers on the Matrix come from the streets because of it. Echo is no exception, having been trained by her peers and fellow survivors in the art of never letting a detail slip past her quick perception and her honed mind.
Overclocker. Toying around with electronics from a young age has given Echo's already impressive aptitude for technology time to develop, and it shows. Her tinkering has paid off, allowing her to eke out every last bit of performance from the gear she is limited to, gear she has spent blood, sweat and tears acquiring. Her cyberdeck and commlinks are as personal to her as her own hands, and she makes sure they stay at peak performance. Echo's life depends on them, after all.
Pollen/Particulate Allergy (Common, Mild). Lack of shelter in the streets has left Echo with a slightly weaker respiratory and immune system than she would like. Spring often sets her up with hayfever, and dust is an incredible annoyance to someone otherwise small, silent, and stealthy.
Arachnophobia (Common, Mild.) Spiders. Ew.
~$ ssh firstname.lastname@example.org -p 7654 v6x!p3nd The authenticity of host '188.8.131.52 (184.108.40.206)' can't be established. ECDSA key fingerprint is SHA256:9lyrpzo5Yo1EQAS2QeHy9xKceHFH8F8W6kp7EX2O3Ps. Are you sure you want to continue connecting (yes/no)? y Warning: Permanently added '220.127.116.11' (ECDSA) to the list of known hosts. echo@horizon-flow:~$ cd /home/echo/diaries echo@horizon-flow:/home/echo/diaries~$ ls -l -rw-r--r--. 1 echo root 3420 Aug 09 09:23 rainy-day-sort.txt -rw-r--r--. 1 echo root 3420 Aug 08 21:02 running-sort.txt -rw-r--r--. 1 echo root 3420 Aug 06 13:11 futureplans-sort.txt -rw-r--r--. 1 echo root 3420 Aug 01 16:45 inspiration03-sort.txt drwxr-xr-x. 1 echo root 4096 Jul 31 02:48 Runs drwxr-xr-x. 2 root root 4096 Jul 31 02:49 Writing drwxr-xr-x. 4 root root 4096 Aug 16 02:55 Daily echo@horizon-flow:/home/echo/diaries~$ ./checkfolder.sh /Runs Folder Runs is empty
- Michelle Delacroix - Connection 6, Loyalty 1 - Street Doc
- Ral Tenyo - Connection 2, Loyalty 1 - Fixer
- David Guenther - Connection 1, Loyalty 1 - Parasecurity Expert
echo@horizon-flow:~$ cd /home/echo/diaries/writing echo@horizon-flow:/home/echo/diaries/writing~$ cat ramble118.txt 20/04/78 I've never liked corporations. It's the rich, you know - lording it out over everyone else, wielding power they shouldn't have. I hate it. I suppose most do. I just can't get my head around why they don't see us, you know, the other people, sitting in the streets and alleyways, wishing, wishing. There's enough money to go around, but some people just want to keep it all. It's a heap of druk. I just wish it'd be nice for a change. I wish I'd had a happy family, but I hear they are rare nowadays. I wish it wasn't rare, even if I didn't get one. That would be nice. I'd get to see other people smiling, too, not just tears that haven't been cried properly masked in regular faces that have to be regular, because of those damn megacorps. Maybe I'll get to change that one day. It's a long shot, but...
echo@horizon-flow:~$ cd /home/echo/diaries/writing echo@horizon-flow:/home/echo/diaries/writing~$ cat ramble247.txt 08/11/79 I'm pretty sure it wasn't always like this. I lost another friend, today. I've cried all the tears I can from my eyes and I'm just letting the rest drain through my fingertips. In the old days, in the Fifth World, I bet there was some kind of happiness for people like us. We're banding together, yes, but we are our only support, and when one part of the chain breaks, it falls through, and it's weeks and months before anyone is even close to the same again. I don't think we'll be the same again. I got my name from him. I'll always remember him. Always. And that's a promise. Esther, if you're listening. A promise.
echo@horizon-flow:~$ cd /home/echo/diaries/writing echo@horizon-flow:/home/echo/diaries/writing~$ cat ramble34.txt 01/06/75 I remember Esther saying once - it's foggy, but I can hear it - that I should never have enemies. That it's not their fault, that heaven is a place where people still make mistakes but everyone understands everyone else's intentions. And everyone goes there. I... want to believe her. I think I can.
Defining Character Information
Symbols and Signatures
Echo's visual callsign, or signature, within the Matrix is represented by an eagle on a dark background with initials printed in a rather arcane alphabet. Very few know how to read it - and no one knows what it means except for Echo herself.
Matrix Search Table
|1-2 Hits||Old programming references - novice guides to terminals and shells in Windows and Unix systems, as well as the literal definition of 'echo'.|
|3 Hits||Sporadic references around the Seattle area to an individual going by the name of 'Echo'. No definite information; however, most of the discussion tends towards the shadier, if not the wrong, side of the law.|
|4 Hits||Echo is obviously quite a talented decker, if only because their online footprint is basically nonexistent. Despite this, with this much digging it is clear that the individual in question does run, and when they do, they are quite effective at it. A few forums and spaces mention them by their handle, and in some specific posts even express surprise at the youth of whoever is behind the tag.|
|5+ Hits||The link to Echo's visual callsign is clear.|
Shadow Community Table
|N+ Hits||Nothing of note exists within the Shadow Community relating to Echo herself.|
- Alice Campbell, UCAS, Hazardous Materials Technician, Rating 4
- Fake Concealed Carry Permit Rating 4
- Fake Cyberdeck License Rating 4
- Fake Haz Technician License Rating 4
Conventionally pretty with a touch of the mysterious, Alyx (known both Matrix- and meat-side as Echo) leaves much to the imagination on first impressions. Her relatively slight stature and average height (in the Sixth World, at least) combined with a fashion sense that encompasses the colour spectrum (if it started and finished at black) lend to an inconspicuous, almost mousy nature that those close to her find endearing. Without her hood down, her gender is rarely correctly identified at first glance, as her choice of warm and protective clothing hides her figure well. When she wishes (which is rarely), she is able to use her looks to flaunt her charisma - despite her usually quiet, submissive personality, she is entirely capable of getting what she wants (and needs) through both word and deed.
On the street, fixers give her the diminutive nickname of 'pack rat' (or mouse), as she is often seen with a backpack that seems entirely too large for her small frame, and fingers constantly tapping and swiping away at her commlink or cyberdeck as the situation allows. Her bundled-up appearance in those clothes don't help her cause, either - despite her wishes to be called 'Echo', it hasn't appeared to have caught on with those closest to her. However, it is with an entirely ungrudging respect that they acknowledge her skills and aptitude in hacking - and with a pistol.
$echo's Matrix persona, like most people's, is an icon entirely dissimilar to her real form. It tends to take the shape of a slender black cat when the scale of icons does not matter, but during conversation and similar Matrix interactions $echo transforms into a melanistic jaguar, a "black panther".
None of note.
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