An undercover cop who switched sides, now on the run after her secret was exposed.
A ship worker in blue over-alls with the logo for HKS (Hong Kong Shipping) is on his knees, coughing up blood in front of two muscular Chinese men. They speak in Cantonese.
Man 1: Where did you get this? Tell the truth!
Worker: I told you! I found it! It was in a rice container!
Man 2: We know it’s been tampered with. The contact it gives up is a dead end! Don’t lie to us!
Worker: I swear thats just the way I found it! I don’t know how to mess with those things, I could barely figure out how to read it!
After the men kicked the downed worker a few times, a third man steps out of the black armored limosine behind them. There was an almost inaudible whir as the man’s cybernetic eye focused on the beaten worker.
Man 3: “Thats enough. We used every trick in the book on that Sun On Yee back home, and she didn’t know a thing. It seems the Mentadak has led us astray.”
Man 1: “Why would she only change the name? We know she’s here in Night City.”
Man 3: “She’s a clever girl. She knew we’d find her friend first.”
Man 2: “But One-eye, why would she leave it behind at all if she’s so smart? She knew we’d come lookin’ after what she pulled.”
The man inhales a lung full of smoke from his cigar, and spends a moment pondering the question. Finally he exhales, and speaks.
Man 3: “To live with the stain of dishonor upon ones soul can be difficult. It is likely she wanted us to find her. Perhaps she wants to right her wrong, or perhaps she just wishes for us to end her.”
Man 1: “So what are we gonna do? How we gonna find her?”
Man 3: “I’d like to put an end to this before my time as Dragonhead is up. We should get moving, the Night City Triads will not be happy to learn we are here. We must simply follow the rumors of a white snake – a shape shifter with a venemous touch.”
(Possibly) The Memoirs of Mei Wang
“Once upon a time I was a woman of wealth, power and influence. I had a family – brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. But it was only an illusion – one I had allowed myself to believe. You see, I was like a mantis – still and silent, waiting for my chance to strike at the head. It was because I had another family, one that wore blue, and wore emblems that they said made them just and right. It was my true family that taught me how to betray – but they did not know I would choose to betray them over my illusory family.
Most who know me now would be quite surprised to learn the circumstances of my childhood. Most criminals are born into it, either through family ties or simply lacking the means to survive any other way. That was not the case for me, though. My father was a politician – Chinese ambassador to Malaysia. My mother hailed from a family of old wealth. I was born with the proverbial silver spoon in my mouth, and a full staff to hold it for me. Even though I grew up in Malaysia, my father insisted I was raised Chinese. Even when he decided he would stay there after he retired, he insisted I attend school in China. He wanted me to go into politics like him – “Corps take good care of the officials who take care of them”, he would always tell me.
At the time, I trusted and listened to my parents – I had known nothing else. That changed when I moved to Hong Kong.
My first day there, a group of dirty men with slicked hair and static inked tattoos stopped me before I could exit the (airplane?). “Student tax” they said, had to be paid by all new students. I wasn’t stupid – I knew this was a shakedown and these were criminals – but I was never the type to listen to someone below my status. I told them I would pay with kindness instead of cash, and allow them to walk away unharmed. This was, of course, a bad decision – but I was young and unlearned in the ways of crime. I didn’t expect that these men would have no problem beating me down in public. By the time help arrived, I had been beaten so bad I could barely stand. I struggled to get on my feet and see who came to my aid – it was a man in a fashionable business suit. Just one man, who by the time I was standing, took down all three of these vagrants. It was then I realized he was a body guard, when I saw an old friend standing near by. Before I moved to thank her, though, I turned to one of the scum who had done this to me. He lay on the ground, gripping the wrist that had been broken. I placed the heel of my shoe on it and leaned down to whisper in his ear, putting more pressure on it as I got closer..“I warned you…” Before I stood back up, I twisted the heel, breaking the skin and spilling his blood on the marbled floor.
I then went to catch up with my friend – Asyah binti Musa. Her father and mine were old friends – he ran a shipping business, and she was here on business with him. I spent the rest of that day catching up with her, though my mind was elsewhere. I suppose that was the event that changed everything – I knew a life of politics would be too boring for me now. I enjoyed that encounter far too much, the danger…the thrill of victory, however lucky it was. I immediately changed all of my classes and my degree to criminal justice. I would spend my days encountering riff-raff like that.
My father of course, was furious when I told him. He asked if I would be content being a dole for the rest of my life, answering to low class, low born failures and putting my life at risk. He thought I was doing it out of some sense of duty – some need to serve the people of my homeland to make up for the time I spent over seas. I couldn’t bring myself to tell him the true reason – even after mother convinced him to disown me to protect his name. I wasn’t surprised, or particularly hurt. I had never really had a close relationship with them truth be told – the servants were the ones who took care of me and raised me. So I continued on, paying for my school with scholarships and loans until I had what I came for.
After two years of working as a regular beat cop, I finally got the opportunity I had been waiting for – the most dangerous game. I was to be an undercover infiltrator in the Triad. My superiors had been impressed with my arrest rate and the control I enforced in my area. They thought I was ready for what I had been asking for in the beginning. They invested quite a bit into this operation. Set me up with all kinds of state-of the art Cyberware – my face was too known, so they made it so I could have a new face. I had a computer and cybernetic eyes installed so that I could record evidence just by being there. They even gave me the same sub-dermal body armor my father had. A lot of these things I’d end up upgrading later on, but I felt like a whole new woman when I came out of the hospital. Looked like one too. Joining the Wo Shing Wo was difficult – they are very distrustful of outsiders, and I was someone with no name and no history in this city. Luckily my upbringing paid off – I was able to pass myself off as a Malaysian criminal who had escaped to Hong Kong. When they saw how much I enjoyed hurting others, how well I made people talk, they started to be alleviated of the suspicion I was a cop.
I was ruthless in the organization. I took out any rival I couldn’t surpass. I’m not quite sure when it happened though. When I felt closer to the Wo Shing Wo than I did the police. I spent day and night with these people. We risked our lives together. Attended weddings and funerals together. At some point, I began to feel like I had a family – not like my mother and father, but a real family. One that loved me. More and more I was feeding the police 14k and Sun On members for arrests, and less and less I was feeding them Wo Shing Wo. I could tell my handler was picking up on this. Many times he threatened to terminate the operation, and many times I explained to him my namesake. They called me the “Mentadak”. In my native language, it means “Praying Mantis”. They are known for being patient, and striking at the head. I explained to him it was only a matter of time before I could get him the Dragon-Head, and he’d be promoted so high he wouldn’t be able to see the street from his window.
I continued working in the Triad. Technically, I was ranked as an enforcer, but my skillset ended up lending me to be a skilled assassin. A quick change of face and features, and I could make myself to any man’s liking. Once we were in private, a quick dose of poison would take him out. Of course, I usually preferred to use the knife or the garrote. Poison was to quick, and painless. I preferred to take my time, and get to know my targets in a way more intimate than love or sex or friendship – I knew them by how they died.
This ruse only worked for so long, but by then I had found a better solution. The police chief had been, for some time, paying far too much attention to our efforts. When One Eye Wei (our Dragon-Head) found out that the chief was being bribed by 14k he was furious. It was then that my skills were put to their greatest test thus far. I was sent to assassinate the chief. As I straddled him naked in his bed with my garotte, tethered from the very same flesh compartment he had ordered installed, choking the life out of him I reflected on the choice that I had made.
I had cast my family of blue aside. They taught me how to earn trust, and I used it against them. I also came to the realization that there was no better time to make this secret disappear. Aside from this cheating filth that now lies dead beneath me, there was but one other man who knew of my identity and operation – my handler. I immediately made a call for an edge-runner – I’d worked with them in the past, and was able to find one of the best. It cost me a fortune, but he successfully managed to erase every record of me from the HKPDs databanks. Some kind of virus, he set it to spread across the net and erase every trace of my original identity it found. Every paper and net trail that showed I existed was gone.
This left one loose end that needed to be tied before the night was through. I called my handler and told him we needed to meet – I had something urgent that may be putting this operation to a close. When he arrived, he got only a needle of poison in his neck, and then it was done. The Mei Wong that was the disowned heiress to a life of wealth and ease was gone, and in her place stood the Mentadak – the Mei Wong that would, for my deed that night, become a Red Pole.
I thought my place in the world was finally solidified. I was the sole bearer of a secret that would never be revealed – or so I thought – and now I took my place in this new family. The Wo Shing Wo second hand market prospered under my leadership. Stolen vehicles, second hand cyberware (usually taken from thugs we ran out out of the area…violently), arms, pirated vids, vr games, and sensies. There was a lot of money to be had. I was starting to once again reach the life style I had grown up with. I’d been at every rung on the ladder through my life, but I’d never expected it to be pulled out from underneath me again.
There was one relationship in this mess that I had failed to see. One small link that turned out to be my downfall. I was not the only one keeping a secret – my handler had one as well. He liked men, and was embarrassed to let this information out at work. When his partner was killed, his secret husband vowed to find the killer and end their life in return. Huang Shen had been told more than he should have been by his late husband – he knew he was in charge of an undercover op in the Triad. He know there was a woman with shifting faces who had been climbing her way up the ladder.
He went to the Wo Shing Wo in honesty – he explained his relationship to the late police officer, and explained that he knew that there was a traitor hiding amongst them. He asked only to be allowed to join, and ferret out this traitor. They agreed, equally infuriated with the idea of an undercover cop in their midst this time.
He started enforcing minibus routes, and was eventually moved to the second hand market. For a year and a half he worked as an enforcer for me. He was loyal, productive. He saved my life more than once, and more than once I saved his. Huang Shen was like family to me – like all of my other brothers and sisters in the Wo Shing Wo – until one day he saw me use my Snake Bite. He knew then – I was the one. He went to the Dragon-Head, and learned of when I joined. How I joined. How everyone was suspicious of me when I joined. He went to the police and found that all records of his husbands job duties had been erased.
Then, he told everyone. I was heartbroken. It was the first time I had felt betrayal – true betrayal, like the kind I had administered. Karma had paid me a visit, and it devastated me. When I got word that I had been ousted, I didn’t have much time to prepare myself. I was able to transfer a portion of my wealth to an anonymous international bank account, and redirect some of my investment portfolio there as well. Most of my portfolio would end up being seized by the police, but before long the virus that makes me not exist would manage to save some of it by creating false identities.
I had to get out of Hong Kong and fast – so I contacted the only person I might be able to count on – Aisyah binti Musa. I learned that she was now in charge of her father’s business in NorCal, and her office was based in Night City. She told me she had some clout there, and managed to secure me passage on a freighter.
Now I’m sitting here, in this crate of rice, writing what very may well be my memoirs. I can only pray that Aisyah has not betrayed me as well – I’m sure the Wo Shing Wo would offer her a pretty penny for me, so they very well may be waiting for me at this dock.
If they are not, however, then I will not have the experience of my life so far be wasted. I have now felt the sting of betrayal and understand why the brotherhood in Wo Shing Wo is so important. Our first oath, “Be loyal to your brothers and sisters. Our ties are in blood, both born and shed. To spill the blood of a brother is to spill your own. I vow to respect, honor, and cherish my new family.” When I spoke those words, they were hollow. The whole time I was thinking, “I need to look genuine.” Reflecting back on this, I feel a deep seated regret. I had spilled my brother’s blood – many were put to death or turned to Janissaries on my command. Though my feelings were clouded at that time, I did speak those words. Words of honor that I lacked, of loyalty that I betrayed, of respect that I spat in the face of.
I have betrayed so many through my life. My parents, I betrayed their hopes and dreams for me to seek my life of thrills. The police, I betrayed when I was torn between two families – and in my greed, opted for the larger and more prosperous family. The Wo Shing Wo, I betrayed by attempting to take my secret to my grave, rather than sharing my burden with my brothers and sisters.
Only when I was betrayed, by Huang Shen, did the gravity of these mistakes I have made come to be realized. I will not repeat these errors.
If I am able to start again, in Night City, it will be different. I will deceive, of course, because I am a snake, and it is in my blood. I will rise to power, because I am a dragon, and it is in my blood. But I will always honor and remain loyal to any new family I gain, because I am a dog, and it is in my blood. And if I can not find a family to join and rise in, then I will create one and lead.