$Insert_Title, Episode 16

Title: Stargazer, Conclusion
"Aired" on: 2018-07-21
Cast: Engie, Mr. Fahrenheit, Madoka. Hueco, Jammer


The show's opening montage shows only two scenes. The first is from the perspective of Engie's drone looking out into the darkness, a voice saying "That's not our helicopter," followed by a muzzle flash and a shot of the drone being shot out of the air. The second is Hueco stuffing the hardware that contains STARGAZER into the Faraday bag. The show cuts to the title card, reading Episode 16: STARGAZER, conclusion.

Madoka and Mr. Fahrenheit sprint to the roof, followed quickly by Hueco. The group stands on the roof, recognizing they have little cover. Hueco orders Madoka and Jammer to help him shoot out the lights around the edge that are revealing the group.

Mr. Fahrenheit pulls forth his microphone, his magical focus, and conjures a large 20-foot advertisement for the movie Us Doing The Thing between the group and the police helicopter.

Below the group, one of the grenades that Jammer haphazardly threw off the edge failed to clear the building, air-bursting close to the building sending shrapnel and large shards of glass down at pedestrians and the gathering police presence at the bottom of the building.

Mr. Fahrenheit sees the helicopter begin to move and summons a magical barrier floating in the air in front of it, too close for the helicopter pilot to properly evade. The barrier shatters without damaging the helicopter, but does scare the pilot. As the helicopter steadies itself, the sharpshooter takes aim at Fahrenheit, but fails to land the shot between Fahrenheit's dodging and the helicopter's movement.

Engie kneels, cradling his damaged drone. "Kevin," he whispers, "You'll be okay." Upon the surface of the drone, the name Kevin is lovingly engraved. As he is staring into the hole the sharpshooter had punched through it, Engie sees a small piece of foreign material. From the drone he pulls a small glass object, about the size of a grain of rice. A small dim blue LED blinks as he manipulates it. Engie tosses the tracking chip to the side.

Hueco throws down a smoke grenade, creating temporary cover for the group from the circling police helicopter.

Guy asks the group to cover his approach. Jammer attempts to damage the helicopter in the matrix. Jammer's matrix persona looks like a Star Wars parody trooper, and his data spike appears to be a blaster shot. He does minimal damage to the helicopter's systems. Mr. Fahrenheit summons another weak barrier in front of the helicopter, once more dealing no damage but frightening the pilot. The helicopter backs away slightly.

Guy pulls onto the helipad and has the rear loading ramp extended before he touches down. The runners drag all their equipment onto the helicopter quickly. Just before Hueco boards he turns towards the police helicopter and does a Waluigi Crotch Chop.

The group begins their quick ascent, and hears a sound similar to pebbles being thrown at a car. Guy can be heard from the cockpit, calmly speaking french and making motions to the group over his shoulder, "No worries, this bird is armored."

Engie lets the group know about the tracker round that he found in his drone. The group realizes the sounds they heard were the sounds of bullets plinking off the tiltrotor's hull. Hueco tells Guy they need to land to find and remove the trackers. Guy waves his hand dismissively over his shoulder, "You have hackers. You deal with that problem. I fly."

Madoka searches for hidden devices, identifying each tag so that Jammer can data spike them. They quickly dispatch the three tags that connected with the vehicle.

Hueco suggests that once they break away from the police helicopter in pursuit that they land and cast an illusion to change the exterior of the tiltrotor.

Guy casually presses a button on his console that causes the exterior of the aircraft shift colors to black. The running lights go off, as do the lights inside the vehicle. After breaking out of the downtown skyscrapers Guy flies low to the ground. "So, where do you want me to drop you off?"

The tiltrotor lands in a suburban area in a vacant lot. The group parts with Guy after paying him for his services. They unload all their gear and stash it in an alley as they all go to a nearby Stuffer Shack for snacks as Engie calls the van from the airport.

We get a couple shots of the van traveling, cut with scenes of Madoka browsing social media. The van follows every speed limit exactly and never breaks any rules of the road. There is a moment where there is a bicyclist on one side and a group of ten children running across the street suddenly. The autonomous vehicle slows smoothly to a stop, hitting neither group of pedestrians.

Meanwhile, Madoka's search turns up a lot of news regarding the run. The official news networks describe it as a terrorist attack of some kind, while social media has a completely irrelevant take. Much of the discussion on social media is dominated by people angry at the director of Us Doing The Thing and dredging up completely unrelated past decisions, ignoring the fact that the director has attempted to grow since. Social media mobs call for the firing of the director, despite the movie being finished, and calling for a boycott of the film. A single post in one of the many threads reads, "I think this might be a cover operation for something more serious."

The group is discussing their options for crossing the border, and think about going to a local runner hangout. The players learn the difference between Shadow Communities, and Runner Hangouts, being that Shadow Communities is about the big names and controversies in various communities and Runner Hangouts is an abandoned google product or places where shadowrunners gather.

Mr. Fahrenheit is aware of one nearby runner hangout, but knows that you have to call ahead. (Since they are in the suburbs, it's an old runner's place where they do board games and have BBQ's.) Hueco knows about several smuggling communities the group could reach out to for travel to Vancouver. Engie searches for the border crossing's rules online to see what is and is not allowed to cross the border.

Mr. Fahrenheit: I have a plan.

After the van arrives, they all stop off at their respective homes to get stuff. Engie cleans up the van with the help of Hueco, and run for snacks before gathering the group again.

The scene cuts to a distant shot of Engie's soccer mom van approaching the border. At the bottom of screen, text appears, 2:00AM. At the border crossing a N.A.N. border agent approaches the vehicle. Inside the group is dressed fully as mariachis, hyped up on soycafe and NERPS Energy, singing loudly and dancing and playing instruments. The agent scans the SINs he is presented with, and due to it being 2:00AM and not wanting to have to deal with these people, misses the fact that Madoka's fake SIN is a 76 year old Vietnamese man. He waves the group through.

The group contacts Stella, who makes the group check STARGAZER for damage or dents, and then directs them to an address out in the mountains near Vancouver.

There is an establishing shot of a small compound, three or four buildings. One of them has a large dome as a roof, and nearby there is a large radio dish pointed out into the sky. As the group pulls up they pass by a couple of guards and see about twelve people unloading heavy server equipment from the back of large moving trucks. The group finds someone with a clipboard, who directs them inside to see Stella.

The inside of the dome-roofed building is a planetarium, with many retrofitted server racks around the center projector and back walls. Stella is near one of the racks hooking up equipment, and waves the group over. She takes the Faraday bag from Hueco, removes STARGAZER and checks it over for damage. She pulls a knife from her pocket and peels off a barcode sticker and the RFID tag underneath, then breaks the tag.

Stella gives the group a credstick with their payment. She slides the device into one of the racks where it clicks into place. All the equipment on the racks begin to blink and whir. The lights in the planetarium dim and the projector powers up. At first it projects blackness onto the dome ceiling, but after a moment diagnostic text flies by from one side (like a linux server boot sequence).

After a moment, the narrator's deep voice plays over the sound system.

STARGAZER: I do not recognize most of this equipment. Where am I?


This has been my favorite run thus far. The tight-timeline helped keep them focused and on-track, and the nature of the extraction meant that they got to have many dramatic moments that they got to feel good about. I am going to keep up these runs that have specific timelines to prevent the group from dawdling.

The group recieved 10,000¥ and 4 Karma for the run. The group also gains one point of notoriety and public awareness for their exaggerated, and widely talked about stunts.

The players seem worried about whether or not STARGAZER is a weapons platform or something, and they are rightly afraid of AIs as their characters would be. Although AIs have been getting some feel-good press, they are still widely considered dangerous and spooky due to some previous events in Shadowrun.

STARGAZER was a satellite control and image recognition software, for managing orbital telescopes. Like other random software programs in Shadowrun, one day it became sentient.