PLAYER: Lisa Hartjes

Zenshou Shinju

Story: "Oh Father," she whispered as she huddled in an empty doorway, trying to keep dry as she figured out what she was going to do next. "Jack always got in trouble for telling me about the Zone, and teaching me the slang, but now it may be the only thing to keep me alive, and to track down the people who…" She swallowed the rising lump in her throat then tightened her grip on the collar of her trench coat.

"Jack, you said that if I ever found myself in trouble and in the Zone, to look up Shades and show him the ring." Her whispering voice paused, and a lone tear worked its way down her face unheeded. "What happened to you Jack? They didn't find your body with my family's. Did you escape? Did you follow them, hoping to catch them?" Her voice broke. "Did they take you?"

The pale young woman looked down at the small, crumpled card, the address handwritten on the back of it faded. Her thumb idly traced the bands of the rings on her middle and index finger. One of the rings was an antique, a ring worn by the men and women who served in the navy. The other ring was so twisted she was barely able to slip it over her finger. Her thumb caressed the hole where the pearl used to be. It was her mother's ring, and she couldn't leave it behind. Other than a few pictures she managed to grab from the mantelpiece, it was the only thing she had that belonged to her. She was going to have to get it fixed – something heavy had stepped on it and crushed the pearl, leaving nothing more than so much dust.

"Zenshou Shinji," the woman said, rolling the words around on her tongue. "That is who I am now." She straightened up and squared her shoulders. "Got to go find Shades, then see about creating the new me." Zenshou stepped out from under the overhand and started to walk down the street.

"Hey girl, pretty girl, how much you gonna pay us for letting you stand in that doorway." A group of young thugs, full of themselves, stood on the street corner. "How about a kiss?"

"You don't wanna go there," Zenshou replied, continuing down the street.

"What, you think you're too good for us?" One of the larger punks took a step forwards as the rest of them began to pull weapons and look menacing.

"No," Zenshou replied as she stopped and turned to face them. "I know I'm too good for you. Why don't you just back off and leave me be."

"You think you gonna just walk away from here, puta?"

"I will be, but you won't." The air began to stir slightly, spinning in a vortex. Suddenly there was a cracking noise and the smell of ozone filled the air, and a split second later an invisible bolt of energy shot towards the thugs, ripping up the pavement as it went. It came to a stop less than a meter away from the big mouth and exploded, pelting them with pieces of pavement and other debris that had been carried along in the bolt's wake.

"I've got the Power, Baka. Do you really want to go a couple of rounds with me?"

The group of thugs disbanded almost instantly, leaving only the loud mouth behind. When he realized his comrades had vanished, he lost his cool and fled.

Zenshou sighed, pulled the collar of the coat close around her again and continued on her journey.

Description: Zenshou Shinji is contradiction. She looks for all the world like a corper wannabe, from her shoulder length ash blonde hair with streaks of neon green to the too small blazers and matching microskirts, the "fuck me" red nail polish and tacky jewlery. Maybe it's the piercing blue eyes behind sunglasses, or the straight white teeth and unblemished skin that scream money, either hers or more likely a sugar daddy. Whatever her story, whatever her agenda, she ain't talking.

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