About Jim Seeker
James Ricardo Seeker, former soldier, present-day thief
Str 14 10+4, Dex 20 17+2+1, Con 14, Int 16 14+2, Wis 12, Cha 10
Finesse Training (Ex): Unarmed
Open Hand unarmed @ 1d4
Scoundrel +5 ranks Sleight of Hand
Scout +5 ranks Stealth
Sniper no -4 penalty for shooting into melee
Light lens focus
Young and Poor:
”Do you know what you did wrong, son?” The sheriff leaned forward and peered through the bars to catch the boy’s gaze. His moustache was black and thin, and his face was a half-grazed pasture of uneven stubble. He smelled like hand-rolled tobacco and his brow had a tan, sweaty sheen. His eyes held more condemnation than the jail cell.
”Nothing, Padre.” The boy answered through the first traces of tears. Only bitter stubbornness kept his emotions at bay.
”I ain’t your padre, amigo.” Responded the thick southern accent. His voice lost some boldness and replaced it with hissing accusation. ”If you wanna make it in this country, you gotta learn proper English.”
”Como si pudieras hablar.” The boy hissed back, his face flushed.
The sheriff’s eyes narrowed further as his tone returned to bold and blunt. ”You’d better save your jibbering for when your mama gets here.” He said before standing up and crossing his arms.
”Mi Madre will be proud!” The boy declared defiantly.
The sheriff spit. ”Your mama raising you up to be a thief?”
”She taught me to take care of family. That is more than you do!”
The sheriff slammed his fist into the bars, their dull metal resonating with steadfast apathy. ”Your mama didn’t want me for nothin’ but her green card, boy. But she’s still squeezin’ me for checks every two weeks.” He said with a twisted snarl.
”At least she wanted you.” The boy answered dejectedly. The sheriff paused, grunted, and walked out.
A few hours later a deputy came in with a ring of keys and a stressed-looking hispanic woman, both of which went straight to the boy’s cell. The door swung open, the boy and his mother shared an embrace, and together they left without another word until the doors closed on the late-80s station wagon.
”James Ricardo Seeker, United States military.” He extended his hand to the stranger, but the other man just bowed. He pulled his hand back somewhat awkwardly and glanced around. ”So uh, my Amigo there said you might have something for me?”
The Turkish man was dressed in traditional garb, which wasn’t so rare in this establishment that it drew any attention. The patrons were mostly Turkish but had modern Western attire mixed among them like a streak of red paint through an old monochrome photo. Smoke drifted through the air, carrying all manner of smells and a few different colors with it.
”I might have a job… for the right man.” The stranger responded mysteriously before taking a hit from his water pipe.
”You might’ve told me there were going to be curses.” Jim said from the back of his camel as it shuffled along lazily.
”It’s a ziggurat. I thought it was obvious.” The woman replied casually, rifle gently bumping against her back as her own camel kept pace. She was tall and dark, with a shaved head and an unflappable confidence.
They’d ridden for a few miles, but even still the old stone ruin could barely be made out, a bump on the dimming horizon. Jim’s left calf was bound up in gauze and linen, and one holster sat empty. His face was caked with sand and blood, and his jacket had some new holes in it. The woman, however, hardly looked worse for wear. Yet she slumped a bit in her saddle, and her proud eyes looked tired.
”I figured there would be traps... I’m used to that.” Jim said as he futility dusted off his jacket yet again. A few moments passed in silence.
”So you can disappear?” She asked, glancing over to Jim with mild curiosity. He couldn’t tell exactly, but it seemed odd for mere polite conversation.
”Well, yeah.” He replied simply. She kept looking at him, clearly expecting more, so he continued. ”There was this one time, in Turkey, I went up on this mountain to steal something. But I got atrapado by the resident monks. They told me I could never leave, so I could either stay or die. Easy choice, ja?”
The woman nodded and waited for more.
”So, I stayed around, and they kept me pretty isolated. They spoke some Arabic but mostly had this old dialect that was hard to understand. So a lot of the time I just spent reading.” He paused to take a drink from his canteen and then resumed, ”They had all kinds of books there, Amiga. Thick tomes, long scrolls, even the walls had inscriptions. And you know what? I finally learned a thing or two.” Jim chuckled lightly at himself and the woman smiled. ”But what was interesting is that they all believe that the whole world, or at least most of it, is some kind of illusion. Over time they started to teach me their ways, and how to control your own illusion, you know? They could do some crazy stuff, let me tell you sister. And they had all these judo moves too--better than the stuff I learned in the army.”
Jim eyed the landscape out in front of them and wiped some sweat from his forehead with the back of his hand.
”So… the Simulation Hypothesis. And they taught you how to hack it.” The woman responded, looking intently at nothing.
Jim twisted his face and looked back at her. ”Wha…? Hey, if you say so, amiga. Sometimes you make less sense than they did.”
She smiled back at him. ”So they let you go, eventually?”
Jim smiled and looked down, then tossed his head back and smiled up at the sky, reveling in some memory. ”Funny story. No, they didn’t let me go exactly. The artifact I went to steal, well, I guess the grand master--” Jim made some quick generic martial arts movements to add flare to the tale, ”He used that thing, and something from a dark dimension ate his soul or something.” He shrugged. ”Eh.”
The woman’s eyes got wide. ”What??”
”That’s what it does I guess. It opens a door to some other plane, and this guy, ‘The Empty One’, he messed it up somehow and got eaten.” Jim made a chomping motion with his hands as he said it. ”They had to seal him, or whatever was left of him, on the other side. While they were busy with that, I just… took my leave.” He waved his hand away to punctuate the statement.
The woman nodded slowly, apparently digesting the information. After some thought she extended an invitation. ”If you can stomach the occasional curses, I might have some more work of such a discreet and metaphysical nature… from time to time.” Jim raised his eyebrows and looked steadily forward. ”If you’ve got the money, I’ve got the time.”
They rode in quiet agreement for several more minutes.
”...Where was that caravan supposed to be again?” Jim asked, peering around the desertscape.
”I was just thinking the same thing.” The woman said as she dismounted and unslung her rifle. ”Smells like trouble.”
“Say Valda, remember that time in Egypt? With the well? Man, I totally had you for dead.” Jim chuckled before popping a shrimp into his mouth. He kept going even as he chewed. “Don't you still owe me one for that?” He punctuated the question with a wink. He tipped back his glass to find it empty save for a drizzle of runoff from the ice still rolling around idly. “Hey, that's no bueno.” He turned back toward the bar.
This Christmas party was a little early, and it was technically not about Christmas, but it was definitely still a party. Jim meant to stay 'til 2 or 3 and leave in a cab if he could help it. But give that he'd arrived in the same it was doubly a foregone conclusion. Trouble was, he had a personal rule of only messing around with human women, and everyone here was somewhere between obviously not and at least a little questionable. So, tragically, he focused on telling and hearing stories, drinking cider and dancing badly. Cider wasn't usually his speed either, but this definitely had something in it. Besides, a little holiday spirit never killed anybody.
A moment later, holiday spirit apparently killed somebody.
Suddenly people were asking questions and things felt pretty heavy for a party; Jim knew it was time to jet. Other people made their exits while some of the more “normal” folk, at least as they appeared now, were streaming into the party downstairs. Jim shrugged. “What's another drink?” Soon enough he was leaving in a cab with two phone numbers and some drunken a@%#%!+'s wallet. Sure, it wouldn't exactly teach him to be more respectful of women in the future, but it was Jim’s own little version of karma.