$Insert_Title, Episode 14

"Aired" on: 2018-06-23
Cast: Mr. Fahrenheit, Madoka, Hueco, Engie, Jammer


The show opens with an uncomfortably tight shot on Mr. Fahrenheit's face as he stares directly into the camera with purpose. You can see individual hairs in his mustache and pores on his skin. He does not blink. Text fades in slowly in the corner that reads "Four Days Ago". The shot cuts back to show that he is standing in a grocery store, staring at a jar of oregano. We know it is oregano because it is a large glass jar labeled oregano like it was taken off the set of 1960's Batman.

Smash cut to title card. A montage filled with a combination of the special effects sequence from the previous episode where Stella used the Arena trideo projectors to walk through the blueprints of the building, and scenes of the team suiting up. Over the montage we hear Stella laying out the mission:

At 3:00 yesterday, the program STARGAZER was seized in a raid. It was brought to Mandatory, a digital forensics firm located on the fourteenth floor of this building downtown. Mandatory does not have the resources to analyze STARGAZER and they will transfer it to another location at 11:00 tomorrow. The job is to extract STARGAZER from the Mandatory offices before it is transported tomorrow. Break in, get into their matrix systems to locate the item, and pull the device from storage. Once you're out, the hardware needs to cross the UCAS-NAN border and get to my contact in Vancouver.

After the opening montage, the show fades in on the Arcade. Text in the bottom corner of the screen reads: 12:00. STARGAZER transported in 23 hours. The entire team is present and discussing the plan.

The team analyzes the blueprints and decides to do an aerial drop. Mr. Fahrenheit comes up with a plan involving 99 red balloons, which Madoka purchases without question, tied to 99 grenades. His plan involves dropping them on the building as they approach to convince people to not call the police immediately, assuming that this clear terrorist action will be laughed away as a promotional stunt for "Us Doing The Thing", an upcoming action film.

The 99 grenades being used for this stunt all belong to Engie, who begins preparing an invoice for the group for the grenades. This is another example of the group taking advantage of Engie's equipment and then compensated him after the fact.

The plan they come up with is:

  • Helicopter onto the roof
  • Engie will provide covering fire from the helicopter with his drones
  • Breach the door to the building from the roof
  • Move onto the server room floor (the floor below the roof)
  • Break the glass to the server room and enter, while Madoka and Jammer hack devices and located STARGAZER
  • Mr. Fahrenheit will pour a bucket of ball bearings down the fire escape stairs to slow possible ascents
  • Retrieve STARGAZER and retreat to the helicopter
  • Flee the country

Madoka contacts Manifest to see if Manifest can secure a helicopter for them. Manifest agrees, and tracks down a helicopter pilot and negotiates for the group. The helicopter pilot agrees to be their wheelman for 5,000¥.

Madoka realizes that she, and the group, has asked a lot of Manifest since they met. Considering they met Manifest by nearly killing her in a car chase, Manifest has gone to extensive lengths to assist their team. Madoka feels like she has to make it up to Manifest somehow, later. Other members of the group also feel like they owe Manifest for her help.

The group purchases four gas masks, as well as two flashlights. Hueco fills up one of his medical kits and purchases two trauma patches in case someone goes down. They considered purchasing several climbing kits but chose not to since they decided they would not be rappelling into the building (which is good because I do not believe any of them have ranks in free-fall). Jammer bought spark plugs, crushed them, and placed them in a leather satchel to shatter any glass they encounter. Mr. Fahrenheit purchased the aforementioned bucket-of-ball-bearings.

The group decides that they are prepared to make the actual run at this point.

Post-Session Notes

This session played out like a more traditional game of Shadowrun in that this session primarily consisted of planning for the run. We were limited by time due to Mr. Fahrenheit's player, but I think the session was fairly engaging despite some confusion on what the plan is.

As a GM, I see some good details to use next session and in the future. For next session I see some good details and complications to throw at the players that won't make things feel unfair. While the runner's plan is likely to circumvent the building's security model - it was unlikely that the Ex-Knight Errant Captain's security plan accounted for an aerial raid in downtown Seattle - Lone Star is equipped to deal with this situation.

Having read the book's section on physical security, I noticed some security measures that make a lot of sense in this particular threat model of "We protect multiple high-value contractors and their property is evidence in criminal investigations."

The group spent some time during play discussing how Manifest has helped them out as a group. Madoka feels obligated to go on more dates with Manifest, and the runners feels like they should repay Manifest in some other way. The players have latched on pretty heavily onto Manifest, which was a bit of the intention but I didn't expect it so much.

I have actually been setting up for a character shift with the Previously On segments of the previous run where Manifest is just having an awful time of life. The payoff for all of Manifest's help and those Previously On segments is coming soon. I am thinking about Liz's ex-fiance, the heart surgeon or whatever, in Season 2, Episode 19 of The Blacklist.