Episode 8

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S01E08:
Side Story

The episode opens in a more peaceful Soral, where citizens are going about their business. One of them wanders down a quiet street, only to be ambushed and cornered by some stray Shadow Creatures. Just when they’re about to pounce, someone else leaps in and takes one down. As the other goes defensive, it’s revealed to be Misha, who fights the other one, having a little more trouble without the element of surprise, and saving the civilian before the opening rolls.

(The opening shifts a little here, though uses most of the same song and about half the same animation. Jean and the Soral group had gotten a few shots before, toward the end, but are now focused on more heavily, and Crash shows up as the fourth Guardian in team shots as well as a solo action shot. Fang’s in several of the new Soral scenes as well, giving him a larger presence too.)

The episode spends some time following Misha, who’s been living away from Alex since she was arrested. After a little more time patrolling for more Shadows, Misha goes to visit an old male wolf named Grunt. Misha drops off some supplies for the older wolf. Grunt is grouchy, but it becomes clear Misha’s been getting combat training from him, and they spar a little before Grunt shoos him off. Misha heads out and to his temporary home. He’s staying in the storage area attached to a tavern, and seems on good terms with the owner, a new lizard character who’s not given a name. He spends some time helping out at the tavern, while the lizard tries to convince him to go see his sister again, now that things have calmed down. Misha admits that he should soon, but he’s still upset with her, and kind of liking having more freedom. When a few guards, including Glisten, come in, he bolts. They don’t seem to notice him, aside from possibly Glisten.

While Misha’s waiting outside for the guards to go, he hears a cry for help. He considers telling the guards, but decides to just go himself. He finds a situation like the last one, with just two Shadows and one victim. He pounces one, but as he’s getting ready to face the other, the victim turns on him, turning out to be a Shadow Knight in disguise, who mocks Misha as he and the other Shadow easily defeat and capture the wolf.

Misha wakes up later in a cage with several other captives. There’s a small camp of Shadow Bandits, and it’s soon clear that while they’re corrupting some of the captives, they’re intending others as hostages. Misha realizes he was targeted specifically as a relative of one of the guards, something they probably knew through Flora. Before he can consider for too long, Fang arrives and attacks the camp. The prisoners are freed in the attack, but the Shadow Knight grabs Misha before he’s safe. He threatens to corrupt Misha if Fang doesn’t stand down, but Misha surprises him by attacking, and making him lose his advantage. Fang handles the rest of the camp, while Misha has a brutal fight with the Knight, managing to just barely take him down by the time Fang finishes.

Both need quite a bit of rest, and talk while they do so. Fang introduces himself, and mentions that Glisten had sent him when she had Misha followed at the tavern and saw the ambush. He also wonders why Misha’s been staying away from Alex, when she’s clearly worried about him. Misha’s hesitant about explaining, but admits that he was using her consorting with the bandits and arrest as an excuse to get away. He’d known what she was doing, and hadn’t told anyone, even though he hadn’t fully agreed with her. He’d bolted when she was arrested, not wanting to be taken in too, but he’d found he liked the freedom. He’s not that much younger, and she’d always been overprotective of him. He owes her a lot for many things, and he definitely loves her, but he hadn’t realized how much he needed time to himself. It’s also made him realize something else though: Misha needs others besides her sister to see her as she really is. Away from people she knew, she’d just fallen naturally into being a girl, and she can’t just keep having that be a secret between her and Alex. (A slight trick has been used with Misha’s gender presentation. Due to the non-humanoid natures of the characters, the difference between male and female is small. Misha had a new outfit for this episode, which is arguably more feminine, but it’s also practice and combat-capable, so remained androgynous enough.) Fang is surprised and a little confused as things change practically mid-sentence, but after a few careful questions, understands somewhat that Misha’s gender doesn’t match her sex. He smiles, saying they should get back to Alex, she’s been worrying about her sister. Misha turns a little more shy, and agreeably heads back toward the city.

Episode 8

Shadowrun: Equality Elanna Elanna