by Peter Taylor
> After the Nexus brought you the "Dragons of the Sixth World" dossier a couple of months ago, we've been flooded requests for more info on one particular player mentioned therein - and he isn't even a dragon! My thanks to my colleagues over on the Helix, and in particular their archivist Écheque, for putting together the following dossier about Spinrad and his activities. Now stop with the mails already...
> Captain Chaos
Birth Date: Jan 1, 2011
Birthplace: Dubai (UAE)
Known Residences: New Monaco (Monaco), Lisbon (Portugal)
Hair: Black with graying temples
Distinguishing Physical Features: Visible SOTA chrome cyberarm.
Traits: Obsessive compulsive, quasi-dual personality socialite businessman/plotting avenger
Motivations: Vengeful, curious, thrill-seeker
The Rise And Fall
Johnny Spinrad, born Alexander Soze, was the only surviving heir of the Soze family after their personal jet crashed in the Alps while carrying the family to safety from the VITAS II epidemic. Alexander/Johnny barely survived and his body was ruined. Millions of dollars worth of cutting edge surgery was employed at the Swiss clinics to save his life - it was necessary to implant prototypes of cyberware (some of which were only to reach the market years later) to ensure he would retain a semblance of normal life. Spinrad was never the same afterward. Two months prior he had tested positive for magical talent, but the accident and surgery dashed any hope of developing it.
> Just goes to show plus ça change. Thanks to his family's cred Spinboy gets SOTA-grade cyber almost a decade before it hit the market.
> You're correct about the internal stuff, but for what it's worth I can confirm Spinrad was stuck in a Swiss clinic for a few years until cyber limbs were developed to the point the doctors would risk implanting.
> Swiss Doc
> The Soze family could certainly afford it. They'd been big in oil for decades and cashed in their Middle Eastern assets during the 1990's just before the region hell, relocating to Italy.
Bedridden for years, Alexandre submitted to regular surgical interventions and psychological counseling. Updates in cyberware and his natural growth required the former at least until his late teens. The counseling ensured that Alexander would not be mentally crippled from the accumulated trauma - loss of his limbs, his family and his magical talent - he had already suffered. Alexander's body was rebuilt and he got the best face and physique money could buy, later becoming a walking advert for the company he would found - Spinrad Industries.
> While many of his aristo friends were fighting on the battlefields of Eastern Europe, Spinrad's condition allowed him to rack up an impressive set of diplomas in Art, History of Art, MBA and International & Corporate Law from some of the most prestigious Universities in Europe.
> I'm not too sure the shrink helped, from what I heard about the guy he's always had a penchant for high-risk ventures and dangerous sports - Spinrad's a onetime Formula 1 champ and still holds the Freestyle Slalom speed record.
> Jet Stream
He remade his public image just as he had been remade, becoming the personified, archetypal cyberman: Johnny Spinrad. He then placed himself at the heart of the company's marketing strategy when Spinrad Industries hit the world stage with successive innovations in biotech and cybertech. As the old tagline went "Not just rad -Spinrad"!
Ironically after assuming his trademark image Johnny would become better known for his looks and dalliances in celeb magazines than in the financial press for his corporate savvy. As soon as technology allowed him to actively participate, his interest in extreme sports (race driving, free diving, snowboarding and amateur combat biking) turned into a thrill-seeking streak that added to his playboy image.
> Spinrad kept on upgrading his cyber with the best his corp had to offer. It's all state-of-the-art delta enhancements and custom designed to look inconspicuous and natural so as not to shock any sensibilities among hia upper class associates.
> Spinrad's a second generation Grand Tour habitué, joining years after Mina Graff-Beloit, Claudia Romanov and Richard Bührle kicked off the tradition, but his connections and popularity with both the old hands and the young bloods is impressive.
> His many infamous dalliances with starlets and euro-celebrities were one of the reasons. The other was that he's just so damn photogenic. I mean who could resist a millionaire, extreme sports fan and his own model rolled up in one handsome package? Even at his current age he still looks 35.
Johnny's off-beat personality defined his corporation's interests, investing in any fields that met his fancy, buying what he could of the Rome, London and Paris fashion and luxury industries, diversifying into ready-to-wear companies, sports franchises, tourism and lifestyle companies. Meanwhile he expanded his personal art and antique collections as well as an exceptional occult library which manifests his frustration at the loss of his Talent. Coupled with this, Spinrad acquired historic real estate that cropped up on the market as noble scions died in the Euro Wars and markets bottomed in the subsequent recession. His real estate empire included eminent palaces in France, Papal States, Venice and Spain, but the crown jewel was New Monaco - the ruined Principality, under French rule since the earthquakes of 2028 wiped out the Grimaldi family.
Spinrad mobilized a consortium of Eurocorps and negotiated a multi-billion euro contract to rebuild the Principality under a 100-year lease from the French authorities. Despite friendly advice Spinrad chose to keep Krupp Constructions out of the Monaco Consortium - and in doing so made a formidable enemy.
> Talk about reaping what you sow.
> Strangely enough Spinrad had no qualms about letting another dragon's corporation - the Frankfurt Bank Association - into the fold. In fact, Spinrad's dealings with the FBA have been the source of intense speculation after the Shadowland uploaded its revelations on Lofwyr.
> Besides the FBA and SI, there are twelve Eurocorps in the Consortium ranging from Zeta-ImpChem to Hildebrandt-Kleinfort-Bernal and Erika Telecom, many of which have nominal contributions and use the Principality as a tax haven.
Spinrad Industries competed toe to toe with Fuchi, Yamatetsu and Transys in consumer and special function augmentation; pioneering the ruthenium polymer-coated cybernetics, developing the Smartball used in basketball from smartgun tech or patenting extreme environment implants and becoming a name synonymous with stylish fashion designs and trendy cyber-augmentations. But Spinrad Industries heyday came to an end in the late Forties, with the emergence of ambitious newcomers like Universal Omnitech and Tan Tien.
There are several stories about what happened next, but we'll stick to the one that's been doing the rounds since it seems to be supported by recent revelations about Spinrad. According to this version, Spinrad's engrossment with thrill-seeking and the pursuit of personal pleasure blinded him to what was going on at SI - he failed to notice the decline if the cyber/bio branches, no longer providing new models with his personal "Spinrad Touch" - and in his indulgences Johnny also alienated many of his old acquaintances in the aristocracy and celebrities on the Grand Tour set.
According to this version SI's CEO at the time Diego Erentxun decided to shortcut R&D; expenses and ignore legal restrictions on implanting 'volunteers' with experimental cybertech prototypes. Initially, the move pushed R&D; into high gear and for half a year they reemerged as industry leaders in Europe. Then in 2051 a scathing exposë report came out on a Sol Media news show revealing the extent of SI's illegal experiments in Marseille. Forced into action by the high profile report, the French government filed a landmark suit against the AA corporation in the Corporate Court, fining them and forbidding them from owning any production and research facilities in France. Saeder Krupp's decisive swing vote on the Corporate Court cost Spinrad Industries an additional 8 billion nuyen, striped it of its extraterritoriality AA rating and almost sealed its fate.
> The story goes that dragon actually leaked the information to Sol's Madeleine Mueller in the first place.
> Wyrm Watcher
> That's one version. Another one has Johnny fully aware of the Marseille projects and condoned them. When the drek came down, he simply left Erentxun out to dry, proclaiming his ignorance. The CC still nailed him real good though - to this day Spinrad Industries can't operate under its own name in France without getting flak.
> Recent reports about Spinrad's activities seem to indicate he thinks Lofwyr framed him, but with all that's been going on in Europe, this could all just be more smoke and mirrors.
> Wanna bet Johnny-boy would like to have a personal word with Mueller?
Spinrad Industries was bled dry to meet the penalties and pay lawsuits. Despite being forced to sell many interests in the fashion, tourism and luxury industries, many of his personal estates and art to keep his company afloat, Johnny kept a stubborn hold on his controlling Monaco consortium shares.
> Erentxun vanished in a corporate reshuffling, and is rumored to have gone into hiding from his former boss. There is a standing bounty of 2 million euro on his head on several bounty hunter SIGs.
> Green Ripper
So what is Spinrad up to? Well, after escaping the public backlash in France, he relocated his production facilities permanently to Portugal and his offices to New Monaco. There he's once again taken the reigns of his corporation - and if you believe everything you read - forged secret alliances. Though a lot remains to be uncovered - especially in light of the recent events in Europe - several items make up his known agenda:
Spinrad's overriding public goal these days seems to be returning Spinrad Industries to its rightful place in the corporate pantheon. He's devoted the last 10 years to relentlessly rebuilding his company and restoring its tarnished reputation. Spinrad Industries is playing on consumer's short memories and pouring millions into renewing its public image. It's taking the market by storm with new product ranges, high-profile patents and a massive publicity campaigns that would put Aztechnology to shame. Its tourism and sports franchises are also blooming with the recent attention all things European have been getting.
Meanwhile behind the scenes Spinrad Johnsons have been involved in extractions and data steals on everything from Swiss and Scand black clinics to Phoenix Biotechnologies in the Pueblo as Spinrad aggressively shores up his R&D; department with competitors' talent and designs. A risky strategy but one he's playing for keeps, which has given him an edge.
> SpInd Johnson's pay top cred and with Johnny's ambitions they're hiring across the globe.
> Devious Mal
> Hear about the big haz-mat scare that sealed off Universal Omnitech's Oslo labs for a week last month? Strange coincidence that - lasted just long enough for Spinrad to patent a similar model to the biolung prototype UO was working on at those specific labs... .
> Needless to say Spinrad is again courting danger messing with the likes of Yamatetsu and MCT as well as the smaller boys. Sooner or later someone is going to wizen up and go for payback which means all the more work for the shadows.
Undermining Lofwyr's Plans
Less obvious have been Spinrad's plans for revenge, both because of their inherent secrecy and the subtlety of the scheme themselves. Fitting with the sometimes overcomplicated way things are done in Europe, Spinrad has apparently been secretly opposing the dragon's plans on different playing boards for quite a while:
The Grand Tour is the perfect backdrop for European high society intrigue and Spinrad is a master at manipulating the aristocrats, corporate scions and euro-celebrities that populate the Tour's glamorous events. Whether he's being the most gracious host at his Montecarlo Grand Casino Ball, dancing the night away with Princess Caroline in Paris or risking his neck to beat this Season's young bloods down the ski slopes of Salzburg - you can bet he's weaving his way into alliances and causing trouble for his foes. The way European politics and economics are tangled pulling a few strings, lobbying the right person or just plain ruining their social reputation are some of the weapons used in the Great Game. Spinrad and Romanov would probably have made a ultimate power couple, if they weren't on opposite ends of the board. Besides the intrigue and security fallout there's always a lot of cloak and dagger work surrounding the two Seasons of the Tour, too many backroom alliances and trade-offs for it to be otherwise.
> On a lighter note, Europe's most eligible bachelor appearing hand in hand with Princess Caroline of England at the Parisian Winter Ball last Season has sent ripples of speculation through Europe's gossip-obsessed media and socialites and has many of us in the shadows wondering what Spinrad is planning next.
> It's always been fascinating to watch Romanov and Spinrad cross swords on some issue around the gala dinner table. Makes you wonder how hot the sparring gets behind the scenes. But this year I can't wait to see the sparks fly after what we've learned about dear old Johnny.
> I guess it'll be a test to his social skills and connections. Some people will keep him at a distance, though I'll bet you will be surprised at how many will stick by his side. Remember, everyone on the Tour keeps their cards close to their chest.
The newly founded New European Economic Community is another battleground in the making. Brussels is already the scene of immense political horse-trading and backstabbing, making it difficult to establish who's doing what to whom. However, Sergetti's failure to see two of his figureheads chosen for key Implementation Directorships is seen as quite telling. Whether Spinrad is working through the shadows or actually has a permanent agent in Brussels is unclear, but whichever means he's using they seem to be effective.
> The Implementation Commissions involved were both high on S-K's priority list for obvious reasons: Environmental Action and Juridical Harmonization.
> Whatever Spinrad is up to in Brussels he'll find willing allies in the Scand Union rep Harald Gustavson and Katrina Thyssen Zeta-ImpChem's political 'advisor', both would love to outmaneuver S-K's proxies.
> Il Padre
> Spinrad has suffered exactly 3 attempts on his life in as many months. The last one was a car bomb that cost him an arm and a leg, literally. Now that he's been outed, Lofwyr won't stop until he's dead, so if he's got anything planned Spinboy needs to make his play soon or go underground soon.
> Red Wraith
Forging New Alliances
It came as a shock to many when recently leaked information pointed to a conspiracy between several key figures led by Mina Graff-Beloit - Lofwyr's once-nemesis - and counting among other as-yet-unidentified individuals the late great dragon Nachtmeister. It has been assumed that it was Graff-Beloit who brought Spinrad into the coterie of conspirators she gathered with the common goal of striking at Saeder-Krupp, its Master and his plans for both the corporation and Europe.
With Mina's death Spinrad seems to have ascended to coordinate the conspiracy, which apparently reaches from Tir Tairngire's Council of Princes to the boardrooms of several megacorps; however with the loss of two such powerful allies so suddenly, Spinrad must be looking for new alliances. Old friends like Emanuel Salles CEO of Lusiada and Paul Bernal II of HKB may be too obvious, given the group's previous secrecy I'd look in unexpected places and farther afield.
> Well, Johnson's in Lisbon have been hiring for an abnormal number of international courier and escort runs. I've personally brokered deliveries to Denver and the UK for Spinrad Johnsons.
> I have a couple of people looking into this and you'll know more when I know more. It goes without saying that Dragonslayer is hoping mad for being left out of the loop.
> Capt. Chaos
Johnny Spinrad: European multi-billionaire, Renaissance man, infamous playboy, thrill-seeking powerbroker - this character is meant as both a tribute to the depth and creativity of the authors and artists who have worked on the Sixth World in the past and a tip of the hat to the dedicated gamers who have followed the game since the First Edition. Originally the target of cameo mentions in several books including the adventure Imago and the sourcebooks Shadowtech and Germany, the few references to the man pointed to an extremely rich and powerful member of Europe's corporate elite with diversified interests including cybernetics and fashion. After these brief mentions tantalized us with possibilities the character vanished in the vagaries of continuity.
Holding true to the adage that you can't keep a good character (or a good idea) down, Spinrad made his unexpected comeback to Shadowrun in FanPro's Dragons of the Sixth World and returns in Shadows of Europe as a major player. The above piece of fiction intends to bring into focus, for Gamemasters and players alike, who the character is and how he came to be the focus of several developing plot hooks and important aspects of the Euro-setting including the NEEC, the Grand Tour and the loose secret association dedicated to bringing down Lofwyr.
Spinrad is an archetypical figure but one drawn to excesses and while he represents a gleaming example of Europe's jet-setting and influence-peddling high society, the enfant terrible of the European social scene is also a deeply troubled and possibly unbalanced man. He is a prodigy of modern technology and a living showcase of the best cybertechnology available on the market but one prone to the basest metahuman emotions and flaws.
One such example is his risk-taking nature and hedonistic approach to life, another is the simple fact that the fall of his empire was as much his fault, as that of any external meddling. In truth it remains to be confirmed if Lofwyr was truly behind the crushing blow dealt Spinrad, perhaps the great schemer was himself framed...
Regardless Spinrad, in denial or simply victim of hubris, believes that Lofwyr and those who aided and facilitated his fall must be made to pay. Through the years, Spinrad collected numerous acquaintances and even a few friends - some of which he later learned shared desire to see the great dragon Lofwyr brought low. And while Spinrad has recently been exposed as a vital link in the group, many of his allies remain at large and unidentified for the creative Gamemaster to define and use as he pleases.