Omega Order
An adventure for Shadowrun


Carmen Lindholm, a young Dwarfish woman, recently led the relatively uneventful life of a corporate decker working in skillsoft design. Her daily work involved a great deal of integration of simsense recordings from trained professionals into skill sets for skillwires, and developing expert systems from reams of professional information and interviews with professionals in knowledge industries.

Eight months ago, she acquired a new boyfriend, a somewhat flaky Elven icon artist named Kyose Perrault. He had a good heart and an excellent sense of empathy, but was forever screwing up basic things; he basically lacked common sense. So, since she had a background in skillsoft design, she decided to work on a “common sense” skillsoft for him.

Carmen found the research for this to be an interesting challenge. She distilled down a few books on basic etiquette and works on the order of Where’s Mom Now That I Need Her? and Fortean lists of strange and stupid crimes and deaths, threw in some basic first aid and health tips, and spent a while watching horror movies and taking notes of stupid actions in her encephalon. As she got heavily into the work, she found herself taking notes of basic common sense wherever she went: don’t walk in the puddles because your feet will freeze, don’t assume an electric burner isn’t hot just because it’s not glowing, take three-vee commercials with a grain of salt, stay back from the road when traffic can splash water on you... the list grew and grew. One of the best pieces of work in there was coding “I should think about this carefully” as an impulse, blending simsense emotions and digitized knowledge to prompt thought in the user.

After two months of work, she presented Kyose with her first-generation common sense skillsoft, which he took with good-natured humor. He was surprised to find that his life was actually better when he had the skillsoft in its jack. Over time, Carmen turned around a few more revisions of the skillsoft, and people began remarking on how she was turning Kyose’s life around by making him set his alarm at night, shower in the morning, and start generally getting his act together.

Three days ago, she came home from a walk in the park where she was making revisions to the latest version of the common sense skillsoft when she noticed that the lights were on in her apartment, and she knew she hadn’t left them that way. Rather than returning home, she headed to a nearby alley to lurk; shortly, a group of people in black suits, white shirts, narrow black ties, and mirrorshades left her apartment.

Being a prudent sort, she walked a few blocks away through back alleys and took her wristphone offline to stop leaving a trace in the local cellular network, knowing that it would let the corp know she knew they were after her. She carefully made her way through a few miles of downtown Seattle and jacked her pocket secretary into a pay phone to call up a shadow decker she knew in college on a number she knew the corps would have trouble slapping a trace on. Her boyfriend’s numbers had trace IC waiting and got only his answering machine or a pocket secretary; she left messages about suddenly needing to go to Atlanta.

About this time, the newswires and screamsheets were hit with a sudden new release: a female Dwarfish mastermind of a distribution ring for black BTLs has been spotted in Seattle— and there’s a 100,000¥ reward for her, alive! The decker contact got her into a theatre after hours and talked her through a bit of costume change, then got her a set of connecting cabs of different companies while arranging a contact with Dan’s girlfriend, another college friend of Carmen's. (Carmen figured that Holly be sympathetic to her because she works at Lone Star and can understand the kind of injustice that goes in in corporations.)

Carmen doesn't know what to do. She is a competent programmer with an encephalon and not much of a decker, but she wants to survive. If no one else suggests anything, Theora will offer the notion of getting her to the Denver Data Haven, and Barry will see about selling her talents to a data haven that deals in Sperethiel skillsofts and intelligence information, perhaps like Apeiron. Barry will not suggest putting her inside the envelope of Johnny’s blimp with an oxygen tank on the “people never look up” principle.


Security around Seattle has become quite paranoid. There's a major stack-up at SEA-TAC because of the increased security measures, the lines at the border checkpoints are quite long, and the Coast Guard is on alert for similar duty in the water. Even private flights out of the area are required to go through customs at an airport for searches.

Fortunately, the size of the operation searching for Carmen is large enough that the really competent people aren’t going to be everywhere looking for her. Assume that half a dozen people get a chance to look at anyone, and use basic archetypes like the corporate security guard. All dwarfs are getting 10¥ ID checks on attempting to leave Seattle, which means an opposed test of the rating 3 background check against any fake ID she may have been given, and a fingerprint check against the very well known Carmen Lindholm fingerprints— and fake ID’s are quite hard to create now, as there’s extra vigilance around the databases and people working in the government are refusing bribes right now.


The Denver Data Haven would take her in as another of its maintenance personnel with a mind probe from Cats and Cats’ reputation on Shadowland, along with Theora backing him. Data havens with intelligence sections would be very interested to see what she has, and could give her a useful job coding up skillsofts with sensitive data— which would make her quite happy. She could learn real decking without much difficulty and take up being a team programmer with Theora to churn out decking utilities (though she’d want some sort of serious surgical makeover, including a replacement of the skin on her hands so she can pass cellular scans).


Carmen Lindholm is a Dwarfish decker, age 26, of mixed Norwegian and Hispanic descent, with long black hair, caramel-colored skin, and blue eyes that stand out against the rest of her coloration. She has a datajack behind her left ear. She’s been wandering around with a heavy jacket, mirrorshades, a fake beard, her hair piled under a hat, and a voice distorter on to avoid detection by cabbies.

Kyose Perrault is an Elf of mixed Japanese and French blood, looking mostly Caucasian with a hint of his Japanese ancestry around the eyes and nose. He is quite dead after having been brainsucked by corporators who heard about his nice new skillsoft and mentioned it to someone in upper management who actually knew that it was on the Omega list. He turns up in the obituaries with a heart attack brought on by BTL use.

Nathan Argyle is Carmen’s boss from Saskatoon Skill Systems, which started out in Saskatchewan and moved to Seattle six years ago but kept the name.

The common sense skillsoft is not an earthshaking invention, but it contains principles that most corporations and governments would really rather not see become common. It has bits and pieces of programming that come from a variety of other skills, including recognition of doubletalk, hedging, and principles like “sex sells”. If someone actually slots it, treat the skillsoft as having a Rating as per a General skill, and feel free to dispense suggestions whether or not the PC needs them— it’s very obvious when the skillsoft makes a suggestion if you have any sense yourself, but is about right for the clue-resistant. If there’s any question about whether the skillsoft handles a situation, use the putative Rating of the skillsoft and roll it against the esotericity of the situation.