Marli Bremerton still lives in Seattle, but nobody sees her anymore. If the runners do any research on The Shadows, they’ll see that she was a tall, dark-haired, charismatic, and very beautiful human woman who fairly crackled with energy—the kind of performer who could captivate an audience even if she weren’t backed up by three other equally talented musicians.
The four Shadows together, at the height of their popularity, had the world at their fingertips: they lived the jet-set lifestyle and made enough money that they’d never have to worry about anything again. As often happens, though, the rest of the world moved on and their style of music went out of favor. In a world where population is carpet-bombed with the latest hit until they’re sick of hearing it, bands with The Shadows’ longevity were growing rarer by the day.
They remained popular throughout the 2050s, but the size of their venues slowly decreased along with their box-office draw until they found themselves playing oldies revival shows and small clubs. The four members began to squabble over money and creative direction, and fairly soon they all realized that this just wasn’t fun anymore. Lead synth-axeman Joey Nightmare left the band after a particularly acrimonious fight in 2057 (the split actually got a brief mention in the day’s evening entertainment news segments, attesting to their continuing popularity among their fanbase) and the other three decided to call it quits soon after.
After a bad marriage followed by a worse divorce, Marli tried to launch a solo act in 2059, but music fans had moved on to the next big thing by now and her album tanked badly. She fell into a period of depression for awhile and dropped out of sight, but by 2061 she had written some songs that she felt would speak to a new generation and was ready to try again. She might have succeeded—except for Halley’s Comet and SURGE.
SURGE struck Marli in a particularly unkind way: her bones grew and twisted, poking out of her flesh in many places
and forming large lumpy deposits under her skin. Finding it very painful and difficult to get around under her own power, she paid a trusted surgeon to implant cyberware that would allow her to control a motorized chair and a series of small drones that aid her in her everyday needs.She bought a rambling old mansion in Richmond Highlands (Downtown) and stopped going out altogether, doing all her business virtually through the Matrix.
When the transformation first hit, Marli was so ashamed of her appearance that she didn’t want anyone to see her. After years of isolation, however, she has grown accustomed to both her appearance and her solitude, to the point where she no longer desires contact with flesh-and-blood people. Except for a trusted niece (a shaman) who serves as her aide and takes care of her outside business, her need for metahuman contact is filled by her Matrix excursions. Oddly, the only other person she doesn’t mind interacting with is JetBlack, who visits her occasionally and is helping her translate her love of music into an idoru career, similar to the one he’s launched recently.
One other ability SURGE conferred on Marli (though she doesn’t realize it) is the ability to see the astral plane. She uses this to converse with the spirits who inhabit the old mansion. She has not told anyone about this, however, as she doesn’t really understand what she’s doing and thinks they’ll consider her insane.