$Insert_Title, Episode 13

"Aired" on: 2018-06-16

Cast: Hueco, Engie, Madoka, Mr. Fahrenheit


The show opens on brief flashes of an SWAT team maneuvering through warehouses. They breach one building and enter a large space occupied by folding tables and chairs and several large trid projectors. To one side there is a locked server rack and most of the components begin to spark and catch fire. The leader of the SWAT team looks frustrated and tells his team to spread out and search the area.

The show fades to black and we hear the 'pop-pop' of Popular by The Veronicas as the song behinds to play. We get a couple establishing shots of a nightclub and drift through the wall to a back area where the song becomes quiet. We see Stella Gamble talking to an AR window indicating a call with someone.

Stella: When did it happen? Everyone's safe, right? You got STARGAZER out, right? Fuck. Fuck.

The title card drops in briefly, reading Episode 13: STARGAZER.

After the title card, the show opens on Engie's garage. There is a long panning shot showing his forge, kitchen area, the ladder to the sleeping area, and then his couch and van. The camera hangs on Engie, unconscious face down on the couch, for about three full seconds.

We cut to Hueco on his commlink at the Arcade. He is speaking to Steve, Madoka's street doctor from the previous episode, and asking if Steve would be his senpai. Steve says Hueco has been spending too much time around Madoka, and then agrees at a cost (to be determined by the rules eventually).

We cut to Mr. Fahrenheit alone in a pizzeria. He has drawn some form of summoning circle on the ground in flour and is pouring a vessel of pizza sauce into a bowl and chanting. Oregano burns in a small censer, which we can identify because a nearby package is labeled oregano. He completes his summoning ritual and a Spirit of Man comes forth from the pizza oven.

Mr. Fahrenheit looks at the spirit with reverence, and asks it: "Please, powerful spirit. Teach me how to create pizza."

The next scene is Mr. Fahrenheit diving out of the pizzeria into the alleyway as the building explodes from the wrath of the spirit. We realize now this preceded Mr. Fahrenheit returning to the group disoriented last time.

We cut to a black sports car spinning into a parking spot in front of a Stuffer Shack. Engie steps out in his normal attire: black suit and tie. He strolls into the Stuffer Shack.

Mr. Fahrenheit returns to the Arena where he lives, muttering something about an arcane library. When he approaches his room he realizes that the light is on and the door is open. He backs out and calls Hueco.

Hueco gives Fahrenheit some serious sass for his sudden disappearances, which Fahrenheit does not seem to pick up on. Hueco agrees to come over and brings Madoka with her. The scene cuts to Engie at his garage putting groceries away, to really drive home that nobody calls Engie to hang out.

Fahrenheit lets Hueco and Madoka into the arena and they make a tactical approach towards the door to Fahrenheit's living quarters (it's a storage room). The door is now closed with the light off. Hueco follows standard breaching procedure and jiggles the handle, discovering it is locked. Fahrenheit hands him the key, which works.

Hueco swings open the door and leans in with his AK and with his low-light vision spots a small device on a table. A red light blinks on it and it beeps. Hueco dives back into the hallway, expecting an explosion that doesn't come. Madoka checks the matrix and spots the device, finding that it is comprised of two components - a motion sensor and piezo buzzer. The device's only function is to beep when it detects motion.

Hueco fetches the motion sensor from the room. Fahrenheit's room looks undisturbed otherwise, filled with stage wardrobe racks, a portable Nutrisoyâ„¢ machine, and an ancient looking television with dozens of old movies on datachips. Fahrenheit seems paranoid that someone is out to get them, and gets worried when he hears the sound of high heels on cement echoing the empty halls.

Hueco: What? Do you think high heels are used for tactical engagement?

Comedy ensues as Hueco facepalms because he has an assault rifle in one hand and presses the motion sensor to his forehead, which then buzzes. Throughout the scene the buzzer has been making noise as Hueco gestures with his hand, setting off the sensor.

Stella Gamble enters the scene, and then we cut to the middle of the arena because it's more dramatic for the special effects we had budgeted for this episode. Engie has opted not to come to the briefing because he is eating breakfast. and is instead video conferencing. The group is standing in a circle except one floating pane containing a video feed of Engie's roof because he's not pointing his commlink at his face while he eats.

The mission:

There is a software program named STARGAZER that only runs on a particular piece of hardware. That hardware was recently seized and is being held at a digital forensics company. They do not have the resources to properly analyze it, and they will be transferring it to another location at 11am tomorrow. It needs to be extracted before then. Smash and grab. Break into the building, get into their matrix systems and find the item index, and then retrieve the hardware from storage. Once you're out of the building you need to get the hardware across the border to Vancouver.

Additional notes:

  • The building is host to a number of high-end independent (are not owned by AAA mega-corps) research and forensics companies that do work for corporations and government entities. An intrusion by shadowrunners is an eventuality they are prepared for.
  • The building has its own private, non-contracted security. Its head of security is ex-Knight Errant. The guards are both familiar with the building and highly trained in dealing with Shadowrunners. They are going to use every advantage available to them. Cover. Lighting. Choke points. The first thing they will do when they detect an intrusion is lock down the elevators. Then they will take cover and waste time. They will not directly engage.
  • The company holding STARGAZER is on the 14th floor. STARGAZER will be kept in a secure, RF-isolated room.
  • STARGAZER's hardware is about the size of two VHS tapes stacked on top of each other. It will not be difficult to transport once the team finds it.
  • Corporate buildings are designed to defy hackers. They utilize RF-resistant paint and reinforced concrete to introduce high levels of noise making remote connections difficult or impossible. Security devices are often places in inaccessible locations and ignore typical noise penalties by being connected to a Host. The team will have to be on site to access to devices and file systems to find STARGAZER's location.
  • Due to the building's location, Lone Star response time varies between five and fifteen minutes.

The team reflects on the mission at the Arcade with Engie, preparing a multitude of plans that eventually have very little to do with the mission at hand. The team discovers that the floor above the company they are targeting is the roof and that it has a helipad.

Mr. Fahrenheit: We are going to need a distraction. Probably something... explosive.
Engie: I have one hundred grenades.
Mr. Fahrenheit: What?

Post Session Notes

This session was the set-up for the run. This run is going to be a test for this team. The timeline is too tight for extensive recon and planning, meaning they are going to have to work with what they know now and adapt. They are in a disadvantageous position, and have to gather information while they are on the move.

Tightening up the timeline of the mission means that they are going to have to rely on Hueco's tactical prowess and combat abilities to adapt to an ongoing combat situation. Engie has a lot of flexibility here to use drones to control the environment and act as additional fire support.

Since the company in question is a digital forensics contractor, they are going to have matrix defenses. Madoka and Jammer will have to steal information while contending with a security spider, probably from the on-site security team.

Mr. Fahrenheit has space to be inventive with his use of magic here, being able to cast Trid Phantasm which can create illusions cameras can see.

Stella effectively looked directly at the camera while she was explaining some basics about their security and said "You have to engage in the combat mechanisms of Shadowrun now." I will not be pulling my punches on this one, they have fair warning of what they are walking into. They do not have plot armor for this run.

I have made a bunch of preparations for this run. For the next session I need to have:

  • A rules reference sheet of physical defenses and matrix defenses. Cameras, sensors, locks, etc.
  • Character sheets/Roll20 tokens ready for the guards, the police, a security spider, and perhaps some magical defenses.
  • Character sheets/Roll20 tokens ready for an HTR team, for in case the team takes too long to get out.