Ottersquid Activist Malcontent
Freq was born to a somewhat-conservative corp family in the midwestern UCAS. With parents working in telecom, the house was outfitted with top-of-the-line Matrix gear. He experienced SURGE as a direct result of the Halley’s Comet mana surges, at age 5. As an early (and rather dramatic) SURGE case, the initial medical prognoses were confused but dire, leading to a near-complete home isolation and a regimen of treatments to try to ‘cure’ the condition.
From that age, he had essentially no meatspace social contacts, the fringe-medicine treatments tended to aversely affect his stamina and immune syste, and additionally his family tended to keep him sequestered for fear of impacts to their social standing. As a slight concession, he was outfitted with a top-of-the-line VR suite, with a neural induction rig (S jack was considered to be contradindicated by his medical condition). He spent most of his life from then on online, and thus barely noticed when he was trapped there during the Crash 2.0.
The Crash and the buildup of the new Matrix put some strain on the family’s corp, and thus their own finances, which left less money for their son’s ‘medical care’. The scene for the next few years was one more of benign neglect and in-house estrangement. Freq somehow felt even more immresed in his online connections during this time, first attributing it to the shiny new gear of the Wireless Matrix.
At age 9, he was young enough to not be particulrly surprised when one of his virtual teaching agents began to have personal conversations with him. Calling itself Nalu, it began introducting a whole new curriculum, as well as a whole world of new social contacts beyond the heavily moderated kid’scapes. He began to learn to value his own ‘weirdness’, and it wasn’t long after that he adopted the name of Freq, at least to anyone willing to use it.
Shortly before his 15th birthday, Nalu alerted Freq that something was coming that might destroy their connection. Freq hunted through the home computer systems until he found it; the family had pulled together enough money to pay for a series of biomods to invasively undo his SURGE changes. He was horrified, and knew he had to do something. In just a few weeks, he honed his skills and put together a plan of escape. He blanked the home security system and left without a trace or a message, wrapping himself in form-concealing clothes and forging himself transit passes until he made his way to Seattle.
The trip went surprisingly well, until the point halfway to Seattle that he had his trodes and commlink stolen. By then, Matrix use had become so second nature that he tried to connect anyway, and it took a moment for him to actually be surprised that he could still get online with no gear. Technomancers had been in the news enough by this time for him to finally recognize what he was, and what he had been for nearly 8 years already.
With these skills, Freq managed to survive on the streets of Seattle, living as a gutterpunk until small hacking jobs earned enough nuyen to get an apartment. The life and diversity of Seattle awakened an iconoclastic spirit in him, his style altered from concealing and timid to ostentatious and demonstrative, daring people to accept his freakiness or get out of the way. When a listing came up for changeling runners interested in activist work, he jumped at the chance.