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The Collapse didn't have to happen. Really. But people got all complacent; lazy. They were too willing to accept any scrap of shiny new toy the Megacorps pawned off on them. They didn't believe that the militias, terrorists, and private armies would overwhelm the cops, or that the cops could be suborned and corrupted by the people in power. They didn't even bother to vote. So, what did they think was going to happen?[1]

— Trace Santiago, Cyberpunk RED

Trace Santiago is a nomad media, and the son of famed Aldecaldos family leader "Nomad" Santiago. Trace is a close friend of Lilayah, both whom during the Time of the Red were part of a group of six edgerunners. He is one of the main characters of the Black Dog story from Cyberpunk RED.

Biography[]

Early life[]

Trace was raised on the road by his father Santiago and the rest of the Aldecaldos clan. Despite being the son of the leader of an entire nomad nation, he was determined to make his own impact on the world rather than following in his fathers' footsteps as either a mercenary or a nomad leader, eventually becoming a media to do accomplish that.

Trace worked the "legit" outlets for a while, but his accent and his cyberarm didn't play well with the demographic algorithms. Furthermore, he was tired of getting passed over by less "ethnic" reporters multiple times. All this convinced him to go solo, uploading his own reports directly to the Data Pool. He eventually joined a non-profitable media group known as Leak News.

During the following years, Trace found some leads that could bust the history of the Fourth Corporate War wide open — most of which his dad told him, though he didn't know the whole story.[2][3]

At some point, the young media met Lilayah, becoming both good friends and traveling companions. Both had met other edgerunners in Night City, forming a small group who, from time to time, helped each other.[2]

Black Dog[]

One day, while Lilayah was looking for a complete version of an old recorded song, Trace helped her by uploading its lyrics on the Data Pool; 20 minutes later they received an answer. After gathering the whole party, they followed the lead, which eventually got them a job to transport a mysterious create to the east, to New Mexico.

While on the road, the gang encountered a group of nomads, whom they travelled with for a while. It was there where Trace met a 40-year-old man — a former Lobo of the Aldecaldos — who recognized the young media. While talking about Trace's father, the old man proceeded to enlighten him by explaining what he recalled of the events that caused the Night City Holocaust of 2023; an operation the old Aldecaldo himself had been part of.

Not long after crossing the New Mexican border, both groups went on their separate ways following their findings on the create they were transporting, which was a large tube covered in numbers and many words in Japanese, and marked in its center was a radioactive warning trefoil. They figured out it probably was a nuke that Arasaka had been keeping. This was confirmed later when Michiko Arasaka managed to reach them after having gone behind their tail for some time in order to assure the bomb didn't end in bad hands. She told them what had really happened the day the Arasaka Towers collapsed — telling them how Arasaka had hidden a powerful nuke beneath the Towers just in case Militech breached their defenses during the war, only to later find the remains of the Militech mini-nuke within the Hot Zone, but not their bomb. In the end they managed to locate it, and decided to leave it where it was until Trace and the rest of his group got the job to transport it. The media was a little shocked on hearing that revelation.

With Michiko's protection, the group continued their mission, finally reaching the facility in Los Alamos where a woman by the name of Angel took the bomb from them in order to properly dismantle it. With the work done, she rewarded the six with a huge amount of eurodollars, and a complete recording of the song Lilayah had been looking for. Trace was really satisfied with that ending. Not only the were filthy rich, but he also had finally uncovered the whole story he wanted to tell.[2]

The Big Lie[]

With all the information he had managed to obtain, Trace wrote several exposes and books about the Fourth Corporate War and the Time of the Red. With this story published in the early 2040s, the Big Lie — a deception created by President Kress to blame Arasaka for the 2023 Holocaust — crumbled. This publication backfired spectacularly against Militech and the NUSA, driving Night City to realign itself with Arasaka rather than the United States.

Thanks to his works, during the Time of the Red, Trace became well-known as a leading media.[4][5]

2045[]

At the age of twelve, Trace's niece, Valentina, was tasked with homework about the history of Night City, and no one knew it better than her uncle, so she asked him for help. Trace agreed, though he knew she was asking for his help in order to get a great score and so Valentina's father would buy her a new cyberbike. And for that she would have to work by washing her uncle's bike for a whole month.

Once Trace had explained all he knew about Night City, he wished her good luck with the report and to not forget to wash and wax his bike the forthcoming Tuesday.[4]

Stats & Equipment[]

Stats[6]
INT 7 REF 5 DEX 5
TECH 4 COOL 8 WILL 7
MOVE 7 BODY 5 EMP 5
Type Description
Skills Athletics 7, Brawling 9, Bribery 14, Composition 13, Concentration 9, Conversation 13, Deduction 13, Drive Land Vehicle 10, Education 12, Evasion 11, First Aid 8, Handgun 11, Heavy Weapons 10, Human Perception 13, Language (English) 9, Language (Spanish) 12, Language (Streetslang) 9, Library Search 12, Lip Reading 11, Local Expert (Badlands) 13, Local Expert (Upper Marina) 9, Perception 13, Persuasion 14, Photography/Film 10, Pilot Air Vehicle 10, Shoulder Arms 10, Stealth 9, Wilderness Survival 10[6]
Cyberware Biomonitor, Contraceptive Implant, Cyberarm w/ Shoulder Cam, Cybereye w/ Chyron, MicroVideo, TeleOptics,[6] Neural Link w/ Interface Plugs
Gear Heavy Pistol (Ammo x8), Light Armorjack Body Armor, Light Armorjack Head Armor, Agent, Disposable Cellphone x2, Remote Camera Drone, Compact Groundcar[6]

Development[]

Trace Santiago was created by Mike Pondsmith with the help of Trace Wilson, one of "The Cyber6" - as Pondsmith likes to think. Five of the Cyber6 have real world prosthetic limbs and it's something the writers of Cyberpunk RED thought a lot about. This inspired the creation of the group of six edgerunners.[2]

Originally, Wilson created another character, but as Mike worked on the story, he realized that an existing one, Trace Santiago (the son of Nomad Santiago from Cyberpunk 2020) worked perfectly. Mike and Wilson collaborated to merge their two ideas together to create the Trace Santiago of Cyberpunk RED.[3]

Trace Wilson is a children's author, bionics ambassador, and congenital amputee. Born without a right hand, Trace grew up with anxiety about being different. He published his first children's book at the age of 21, the same year he received his first bionic arm. The book, "Uniquely Me" and its sequel, "Uniquely Brave" help kids with disabilities learn to love the differences that make them unique and overcome their anxieties.[2]

Notes[]

  • A photo of Trace and the rest of the six edgerunners can be seen behind the bar counter of the Afterlife in Cyberpunk 2077 (see below).
  • As per Mike Pondsmith words, it is very likely Trace's mother is Rogue Amendiares, but this is something he hasn't work out to add to the story yet.[7]

Gallery[]

References[]

  1. PONDSMITH, M. Cyberpunk RED Corebook. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2020. (p.238)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Black Dog (story)
  3. 3.0 3.1 Meet the new Edgerunners
  4. 4.0 4.1 PONDSMITH, M. et al. Cyberpunk RED Jumpstart Kit. 1st ed., Kenmore, WA, R. Talsorian Games, 2019. (pp.14–15,24 – World Book)
  5. Countdown to the Dark Future (#265,#327)
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 Tales of the RED+ (p.6)
  7. Mike Pondsmith on Reddit
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