$Insert_Title, Episode 18: Dickwinter, Conclusion

"Aired" on: 2018-08-19

Cast: Hueco, Mr. Fahrenheit, Madoka, Engie, Vince

Synopsis edit (2018-08-23:10.30): Some events were out of order. Those are now fixed.

Previously (in the writer's room):

The screen slowly fades in on a staged-looking office with a bunch of desks. Four or five people are sitting around and chatting. There is a large television on in the background with a still image of Guy Fieri's face. The assumed writers are each exclaiming "why? WHY?!" at various degrees of disgust and confusion while looking at Guy Fieri's recipes. One of the writers starts snickering, and says "I'm Guy Fieri and I lost my virginity to a hamburger!" The screen thankfully fades to black directly after.


The show opens with it's jaunty new opening credits. Featured are Mr. Fahrenheit, Hueco Corazon, Engie, and Madoka. Also featured are Stella Gamble and Stargazer (billed together) at the observatory, and Manifest and Fearless (also billed together) at the Butcher Shop. Notably absent from the opening credits in both this and the previous episode is Jammer.

The show opens on an aerial shot looking down through the electric blue and error code red trideo-projected advertisements that light up the scene. The lens zooms in on a young pedestrian, who looks near the camera before pulling up a black bandanna over their face. The young woman looks roughly seventeen years old, likely Puerto Rican. She is wearing black jeans and a dark olive flight jacket, under which appears to be a black band t-shirt for the Freshly Sharpened Hatchets.

"Target spotted," Engie says as they paint her in augmented reality for (some) members of the crew.

Closing in on her from behind is Mr. Fahrenheit, wearing the same Tuxedo Mask costume as before. He replies in the affirmative around the rose in his teeth. Across the street keeping pace with the girl is Madoka, dressed as a sailor scout. Neither are attempting to be hidden in any way. Up the street a little ways is  Hueco, dressed as Tiger Millionaire. is approaching head on, and briefly attempts to hide behind a wall, but is spotted by his brightly colored tail and mask.

There are some tight shots indicating that they have all been spotted by this woman. As she approaches an alleyway she makes a break for it. Near the end of the alleyway there is a ten foot tall chain link fence blocking access to an empty lot in the middle of the buildings here. Engie's drone, Kevin, is the only one with a line of sight down the alleyway to see the girl run up the wall and jump over the fence.

The girl hits the ground on the other side with some hydraulic hiss and a brief flash of dull steel in some rips in her jeans. She stands slowly and turns to walk away from the fence and continue her job when she is stopped by a mysterious figure.

The mysterious figure is an elf man, played by the exact same actor who played Jammer except in very different clothes. They are wearing a sleeveless bright red duster with the word STOP printed on the front. The man's arms are both obviously cybernetic, and he has a large pistol. He has spiked blonde hair.

The myserious figure says, "You got real pretty legs" before a glowing half-dome barrier appears around the girl (cast by Mr. Fahrenheit). A moment later Hueco cannonballs into the chain link fence and ends up sprawled out on the ground with half the chain-link fence still attached. The man, who is not Jammer, runs over to help Hueco up. Their dialogue reveals that they are friends, and the man's name is Vince.

As the rest of the group begins running up the alleyway the girl steps back within the bubble and kicks the bubble, shattering it. She drops to a runner's stance briefly before taking off down the lot away from the group. She manages to make it about fifty meters towards another ten foot tall chain-link fence.

Mr. Fahrenheit rounds the corner into the lot and we get a colorful view of the astral plane (represented in a similar manner to Riddick's misty darkvision stuff). Mr. Fahrenheit initially only sees a piece of cyberware in the back of the girl's skull, but probes deeper and sees:

  • One datajack (likely)
  • Two alphaware cyber legs (mechanical from the waist down)
  • Significant modification to the spinal column (Alphaware, probably wired reflexes)

Madoka follows right behind Mr. Fahrenheit and checks the girl's matrix presence, finding only a cheap meta link commlink, and that none of her cyberware is wireless (or that at least they have wireless disabled).

Mr. Fahrenheit conjures forth another half-dome barrier, larger and thicker than the last, around the girl as she is getting ready to jump the fence.

After getting Hueco to his feet, Vince runs and easily catches up to the girl and does a fancy flip over the magical barrier (to communicate to the audience that this new character is a very fast and agile elf). He pulls a pistol and makes some witty banter. Hueco and everyone else starts running to catch up.

The girl pulls a pistol and shoots near the base of the barrier, shattering it. She then quickly takes a shot at Vince. Hueco catches up and slams his fist into her gut as she turns to face him. After a grunt she rolls out from between Vince and Hueco and with very little lead-up she half-jumps half-climbs up and over the ten foot fence, landing and rolling on the other side. Vince turns around and shoots into one of her cyberlegs with his overly large pistol (I imagine Hellboy's gun for some reason). She drops to the ground and blacks out briefly from the pain.

After a short commercial break we fade in on the inside of the van. The girl has been restrained and Hueco does a pretty decent job of patching up some of the damage from his push, though he doesn't have the equipment or skills to perform any kind of repair on her cyberleg.

The girl is leaned up against the wall with her hands bound behind her back and there is a brief shot of her slipping her hands out from the zip ties. Hueco attempts to ask for whatever paydata she is carrying, but she curses at him in Spanish.

Mr. Fahrenheit steps in to interrogate her in Spanish but doesn't make any headway initially. Mr. Fahrenheit's eyes flash gold, and some lights flicker around him reminiscent of stage pyrotechnics, as he sings a few chords from Eye in the Sky. This is clearly some magic bullshit that this girl does not like. Mr. Fahrenheit asks if she has the data, to which she denies. There is some fisheye lens trick of Mr. Fahrenheit's face and ominous music to show that he is doing some mind powers of some kind.

Mr. Fahrenheit, in Aztlan Spanish: You cannot lie to me. So you have the data. Where is it?
The girl does not respond.
Mr. Fahrenheit: Fuck, she learns fast. We'll just hand you over to our employer, then.
Girl: I literally cannot help you.

Madoka pulls the girl's head forward and checks the datajack. She reaches behind one of the seats and brings out the cyberdeck from episode one, a Microtrónica Azteca 200. She plugs it into the girl's datajack and diagnostic information streams across a terminal window on the tablet. The datajack is in fact an Aztechnology produced Data Lock (Rating 5). This puts it in the same class as high-security corporate military technology that is designed for black operations gear.

The girl's other cyberware is networked through the datajack for updating software/firmware, and also appears to be produced by Aztechnology.

The group shudders, collectively. Aztechnology is known for being a brutal megacorp to run for or against. If an Aztechnology "employee" attempts to leave the company, they are more often than not hunted and killed. They are also one of the few regions where blood magic is done, a magic technique wherein the spellcaster uses another person to eat the drain from their spells allowing them to cast spells at a significantly higher strength than they would otherwise be able to handle.

Madoka begins hacking away at the data while the group continues talking.

Vince asks Fahrenheit to translate for him, which Fahrenheit does. This dialogue is designed to introduce aspects of Vince's history subtly and naturally, which it succeeds in doing.

Vince: I've seen this before. Kid with promise and a future gets in an accident, ends up crippled. Some big company or benefactor shows up and pays to get you hooked up with cyberware. Then the poor kid ends up working for them. Looks like you're metal from the waist down, that's a lot. What happened?
Girl, quietly: Land mine.

Because Madoka's technomancer powers can only interface with wireless technology, and data locks are incapable of wireless by design, Madoka uses the cyberdeck to attempt to extract the information the group is looking for. In the television show, as Madoka is hacking she does a small amount of exposition explaining that she had learned the basics of most of her skills before she emerged as a technomancer.

Madoka runs into some brief issues getting a foothold, but after she gets one mark she switches the priorities on her deck around to better crack the encryption on the three files she sees. She notes to the group that the datalock isn't fucking around - it's of the same quality as high-end (corporate) military security devices.

A bunch of other dialogue happens in the background in the van, discussing what the next steps are. Most of this audio is muted slightly, as the shot is focused on Madoka's deep focus on the cyberdeck in her lap. The first file she cracks is a random video from the matrix. She works at cracking the second one and eventually turns up another random internet video. The third and final one she decrypts ends up being a spreadsheet or csv file filled with odd gibberish. As Madoka breaks into the conversation to explain this she watches as the three files lock and are re-encrypted with random keys.

Mr. Fahrenheit notes that it appears to be a shell game, and Vince once more has useful information pertaining to the situation. He knows corporations that have used similar tricks, lifted from hacking communities, to vet potential runners or "security contractors." The group palls at the thought of being hired by Aztechnology. Vince suggests to Madoka to check the new three files to see if something has changed about them, and that these tests are usually timed boxed after the first one is cracked.

While Madoka was hacking, the group decided to take the girl to Steve, the street doc, and pay for her to be treated. Madoka goes back to being intensely focused on the challenge in front of her and follows the girl into the clinic while still jacked into her head.

Hueco: Steve! I didn't fuck this one up this time!
Steve: Yeah! She looks alive! Good job. *thumbs up*

The treatment estimate is 2000 nuyen, which Mr. Fahrenheit covers. After about an hour and a half of hacking Madoka finally retrieves the other two parts required to make sense of the message. It turns out to be an invitation.

Job offer. Sea-tac, hanger 19. Sunday @ 9AM. Bring a go-bag. No questions.

The group decides not to return to Mr. Sean Johnson, suspecting he is either a plant or an idiot. They instead decide to show up to the job. The episode fades out as they prepare.

Post-Session Notes

So, this is a pretty significant situation. The group is going to be shipped out of Seattle, meaning they won't be able to retroactively access gear they didn't bring with them, or run out to buy gear that they didn't already have. The characters don't know what kind of run or environment they'll need to be ready for.Information for my players (not necessarily the characters):

  • It will be a jungle environment, you can pick up some gear that might assist you in that environment so long as it isn't explicitly designed for that since your characters wouldn't know.
  • You need to have a list of the gear you are bringing with you on the run. How many bags, what gear is in each bag, etc.
  • This "season" is going to ramp up the pressure on the characters. Get familiar with the combat rules, and read up on how to use Edge. Also use edge more often.Rewards for the current run: 6 Karma, 0 nuyen (because you didn't go and pick up the money)I have a bunch of thoughts about the next run that I don't really want to share here because they could spoil some of the fun of the next run.