Shiro "Monarch" Akabara
Combat infiltrator with a code of honor and a crazy wife
Monarch is an Elven Street Samurai with short black hair, glasses, and striking features. He is not visibly imposing, seemingly unaugmented and unarmed. But there is an unearthly quality to him that can’t quite be placed, and a look in his eye that suggests he is far more dangerous than he appears…
Violent, but vain, he enjoys fashion almost as much as he enjoys watching the bloody sport of Combat Biking. Calculating when calm, but sometimes impatient, he follows his intuition and trusts in his training and instincts to get the job done.
A self-styled ronin, Monarch is a loyal friend and a deadly foe. Pray you stay on his good side, because his enemies do not last long.
“I am no stranger to pain. Let me introduce you.”
Monarch, born Shiro Andou, was born to a poor SINless family on the outskirts of Seattle. He made a name for himself at a young age as an member of the Ancients. Before long, he was targeted and extracted by the Renraku Corporation. Instead of imprisoning him, they offered him a job. Shiro was to enroll in a program where he would receive the extensive combat training necessary to become an elite member of the Red Samurai. The position would guarantee his family’s future – and so Shiro gladly accepted.
Shiro grew older and stronger, enjoying and growing from his training. He received extensive training in movement, automatic weapons, and all manner of infiltration techniques, as well as in the forbidden weapon most suited to him – the monofilament whip. Everything was going fine… until one day when Shiro received a strange message. His training was terminated, effective immediately. Bewildered, Shiro left the building – and was immediately accosted by Edward Blake, who explained to him the true meaning of the message. Blake was an elderly veteran of the Red Shadow Corp, Ranraku’s elite infiltration squad – and saw great potential in Shiro’s agility and ability to learn. He was to begin training as an infiltrator, effective immediately.
Shiro began his training, and learned fast and well. But with his new clearance came the necessity to attend ‘awakening seminars’ at the Forge, sessions designed to break his will and replace it with loyalty to the Corp. Slowly, Shiro’s will eroded, until finally, it was all but gone. And in its place flooded propaganda, corporate slogans, and, strangely enough, images of a young girl.
When Blake found out about the treatments, he protested. The Forge was for members of grunt squads and rebellious elites, of which Shiro was neither. But his protests went unheard, and the training went on. It wasn’t long before the treatments were complete, and Shiro’s mind had been fully reprogrammed. And that was when She made her move.
She casually knocked on the door of the training facility one day after training as Shiro and Blake relaxed. And when Shiro opened it, the young lady that exploded into his arms was quite literally the girl of his dreams. Ai Akabara, young daughter of a powerful Renraku executive, and the real reason why his will had been rubbed away. They were married within the month, and neither of them could have been happier.
Shiro, now Shiro Akabara, moved to corporate housing against the will of his parents, and began living with Ai full time. They even had a human son, a perfectly formed baby boy named Yuuichi.
But Ai was a manipulative lover with peculiar obsessions. She became obsessed with Shiro’s body, forcing him to hone it past the brink of exhaustion – but never allowing him to receive augmentation, for fear it would damage his “perfection “ When it became clear that he had almost reached his physical limit, she began using his newfound strength for increasingly dangerous and illegal missions on her mother’s behalf, sometimes multiple on the same day. It didn’t matter whether he had come home hurt or not – his pain fueled her desire, and her desire was all that mattered. Shiro would not last much longer at this rate, but Ai grew more ravenous by the day.
Blake’s protests of the situation fell upon deaf ears. Ai’s mother vaguely disapproved of her methods, but the personal gains far outweighed the costs. In frustration, Blake vanished – for one of his security clearance did not simply quit. Blake’s disappearance did nothing to curb Ai’s use of Shiro, who was all but at his limit.
A month later, an anonymous message appeared on Shiro’s commlink. Meeting at the specified place, Shiro was surprised to see Blake. Blake revealed that he had been secretly working to scrub as much of Shiro’s identity trail as possible to aid him in escaping from Ai. Shiro protested, convinced in his love for her – but over the course of the conversation, Blake managed to awaken some amount of doubt in his mind. It wasn’t enough, though. Shiro was about to thank his old mentor and cut ties when a shot rang out from the rooftops, piercing Blake in the side. Two of Blake’s former students in the Red Shadow Corp dropped from the rooftops and rushed in to assault him, leaving Shiro to stand there, dumbfounded as his mentor fought for his life.
The moment stretched to infinity within Shiro’s mind. The internal struggle between his loyalty to his Corp and his loyalty to his mentor tore at his mind. But when time resumed for him, he sprang into action, incapacitating both assailants while they were distracted and saving his mentor’s life.
Blake convinced Shiro in his brief moment of lucidity to swear a pact with him – to always cover each other’s back, and to move somewhere far from this mess. Blake went to patch his wounds and put the final touches on their escape, while Shiro went to warn his parents and make final preparations, discarding his compromised commlink.
The house was still, and quiet save for the noises of a small child coming from his parents bedroom. Slowly, Shiro opened the door – and witnessed a scene from his nightmares. In the center of it all, covered in blood and wielding a meat cleaver, was Ai, gently playing with their infant son. The rest of the room was covered in blood and pieces of his parent’s corpses.
Ai calmly explained that she had been the one to send the assassins after the treacherous Blake, and that defending him had been the highest betrayal. His parents were just the start – he would have to be Disciplined further if he wanted to get back in her good graces. All the while, Ai smiled down at Yuuichi, as he played with the severed finger of his grandfather.
Unable to cope with what had just happened, Shiro raised his gun and pointed it at Ai, shaking uncontrollably. Ai just smiled back at him, not in the least bit worried – and booped her son on his nose with the cleaver. This was too much. Shiro’s shaking hands pulled the trigger – but even in his current state, he could not aim his bullets at Ai. Instead, they found the soft skull of his innocent son.
Shiro ran far, fast, and long from that place as Ai began to shriek. Her wails followed him for hours. At last, he collapsed at the end of his anguished run, and blacked out, spent.
When Shiro finally came to, he was in the back of a van. Blake smiled worriedly back at him from the front seat, and informed him that he had been out for days. Shiro thought back to why he was here – and immediately began to scream. Blake had to tranquilize him to get him to stop.
Shiro did not know how far they drove, but eventually, they reached their destination – Seattle. This new city was far from the center of Renraku’s influence, a godsend for two criminals that it had blacklisted. It was month before Shiro recovered enough to be able to walk around normally, and another two before the jitters completely stopped. When he was able to live on his own, Blake set him up with an apartment and a second fake identity, and left him to pursue his own goals.
Shiro, in the meantime, was still a mess. He spent most of his time escaping to VR and trying not to come to grips with the mess that his life was. He was constantly being haunted by the specter of his son, and the image of his exploded head wracked him with guilt and prevented him from sleeping. His savings were running out at a rapid clip as he tried more and more extravagant things to escape from himself. But that didn’t last forever. Soon, he had to abandon his high end lifestyle, then his middle class one, until he as living in a motel in the middle of nowhere. Shiro was lounging on the couch on a day like any other when he found the trideo that would change his life.
In that trideo, he watched as a stylized shadowrunner decimated the ranks of an evil corporation, a fantasy he had often entertained. A self-styled samurai, the runner fought valiantly and skillfully, decimating the security forces singlehandedly with his Katana and machine pistol. Tirelessly he fought – until he stepped over the last corpses into the office of the executive. There, he found that the cowardly executive had pulled the oldest trick in the book, and taken his son hostage. Left with two bad choices, the samurai took the third option – and shot the executive in the head, saving the day.
This could have sent Shiro into another spiral of depression. But as he thought about it, he realized that this was his chance. He could move like the samurai in the trids. He could fight for justice, and to bring down the corporation that had done him such wrong.
On that day, he swore the oath of the Ronin. Never again would he kill an innocent, and never again would he let his honor be sullied. He would exact his revenge on the corp that turned him into what he was, even if it killed him.
And so, Shiro threw away his old self, and chose the name Monarch for the new one. He began making his preparations to become a shadowrunner.
By this time, Blake had become a successful weapons smuggler. He was more than happy to help Monarch get back on his feet now that he had found himself. He introduced Monarch to his oldest friend, Alonzo Evans, police chief and sometimes friend of the common runner. Through Evans’ connections, Monarch used the last of his money to augment himself in preparation for a life as a shadowrunner, and with Blake’s help, he used the recovery time to get back in shape and regain his edge.
As Monarch stepped out of the hospital for the last time after receiving his last augmentation, he looked out into the distance.
“I have a job to do. And for that, I need a team.”
Monarch walked off to the nearest tavern, ready for action. And as he went, he played with the silver wedding ring that he still kept in his pocket after all of this time…