Character backstory: The Old Man

The Shadowrun character The Old Man is basically an AU version of me. Where IRL Me and The Old Man start to diverge is August of 2001, when we get hit by the crazy guy in the city-owned truck. Unlike my universe the apartment building where the initial impact happened for The Old Man had security cameras covering Buckingham Rd and both driveways in and out of the complex, and the camera covering the east driveway caught the moment of impact, and the camera covering the west driveway gave an accurate datapoint for the speed before impact as both cameras were feeding the same tape recording and it was child’s play to measure the last point the eastbound truck was in frame for the west camera and the point of impact, and count the number of frames between the two for a time base to determine distance/time and convert units from ft/sec to MPH. And to make sure LEO didn’t “lose” the tape the management of the apartments made copies for every news outlet in Dallas and Tarrant counties, which confused the heck out of the editor of the Greensheet. Anyway, the driver of the truck was arrested before The Old Man was moved from ICU to a regular hospital bed, and an ambulance-chasing lawyer had filed suit against the city for damages before TOM could even pee on his own. With the tape of the truck going the other direction before TOM crossed the west camera field of view, and the truck speeding towards TOM less than a minute later probable cause was established for an attempted murder charge that was upgraded to a capital murder charge when the EMTs released the he had been pronounced dead at the scene for loss of blood and no heartbeat, only for him to tell the people trying to clear his body from the scene to be careful of the broken bone in his leg. Anyways, at the trial TOM was able to tell the jury about the driver swearing for him to get off the (fornicating) road before the driver turned the vehicle around to kill him. The jury convicted the driver of a lesser charge of murder, but the driver did the personal car/tree routine before the sentencing hearing and saved the state millions of dollars in prison costs. In the meantime my ambulance-chaser had secured all medical bills and lifetime income with ratcheting COLA based on the evidence presented in the murder trial, plus a little bit for Mrs. the Poet.

After that he just kinda bangs around building bikes and trailers until in 2011 he was crossing the street with his wife when a truck runs a red light, and TOM pushes her out of the way and takes the hit himself, only for the truck to throw him into her, severely injuring TOM and killing his wife instantly, and triggering a swarm of ambulance chasers to file suits against the driver and the trucking company. By this point TOM was pretty much financially set for life, but kinda at a loss of what kind of life he wanted. At this point his life and my life reconnected as our father dies in both time lines. TOM decides to keep the house in TN buying out his brother so there is a place to stay when he rides his bike to TN. They do engage in an equitable division of the furnishings with TOM getting most of the books and one of the bedroom suites and the geriatric cat, who lives there until she finally expires when she’s about 25 YO. This is about the time everything goes to Hades in the Shadowrun universe.

During this series of events and prior to TOM’s wife getting killed the old house was knocked down and rebuilt from reinforced concrete and cinderblocks with a full solar roof and an upper level office and garage with storage for 3 cars or about 40 bicycles in the top level and a lift outside to get the cars up there, and a full metal shop in the lower level for building bikes and hot rods.

So he’s sitting fat and somewhat happy, and comfortable when the world goes to Hades and magic changes his neighbors to orcs and trolls while he’s out on a bike ride. This is about the time the slab foundation gets dug out and several levels of basement and sub-basement installed with hydroponic grow stations and emergency sleeping accommodations for about 40 people one to a bed, more if they don’t mind sharing a bed. This comes in handy when the tornado of 2066 destroys most of the houses nearby while it damages his roof and takes out some windows, and he puts most of the neighbors up, er down, in the basement. Some time after the tornado the garage and basement become the neighborhood food pantry. Of course about 2055 the Battle of Central Expressway goes down and TOM loses both legs and his left arm to a grenade that takes out the entire gun emplacement and would have killed him, if such a thing were possible. Some time between getting hit by the truck, and the Battle of Central Expressway, magic has changed TOM from ridiculously hard to kill to immortal. But he doesn’t know this, as far as he knows he just has more hit points than Goku, combined with the healing power of Wolverine, he doesn’t know he’s Shadowrun’s Deadpool.

TI replaces TOM’s arm and legs with new mechanical and synthetic bits and upped his pension to C-suite levels per their recruitment contracts, but TOM upgrades with hydraulic jacks in his legs and a CyberShot in his arm so that he’s never unarmed. He also repaired the brain damage with implants and added some vat-grown muscle to his OEM arm to balance things out, and added Cats Eye implants to fix his vision and get low-light vision. Along the way TOM picked up some skills to go with the ones he picked up in the army, so that he was proficient in just about anything man portable that shoots, plus was also capable of winning a kendo contest or a knife throwing contest, or even tomahawks. He’s not Batman yet, but he knows enough to keep out of trouble.

Helping to maintain proficiency in long arms is his feral hog hunting from tree stands and blinds out on the river banks. There is a decent bounty on the hogs, plus he’s allowed to keep the carcass after removing the ears and tails to collect the bounty, so every Winter Solstice there is a bar-b-que with tons of pulled pork. This year they have about 6 tons of dressed hogs, pigs, and sows in the freezers under the house. Whatever doesn’t get eaten that day gets handed out by the food pantry over the next few months. All of this keeps the peace in his little corner of Garland because TOM takes care of his people, even if “his people” are orcs and trolls that moved into the neighborhood after magic got whacky.