$Insert_Title, Episode 26: Noe

"Aired" on: 2018.11.17
Cast: Mr. Fahrenheit, November, December, Hueco


The show opens on Fahrenheit entering the arena, where he lives, and rounding the corner to his storage room and seeing a number of security guards carting out his possessions. As Fahrenheit approaches, he hears one of the guards say, "Check this out, there's an entire kitchen in here!" One of the guards sees him approaching and ID-checks him, and escorts Fahrenheit out of the arena when he is unable to provide a staff badge.

Jaunty opening credits that now feature Lady Argon, the human and troll in their nice suits, and the mage.

We open back in on Fahrenheit in a parking structure standing next to his dirt bike, on the phone with Dave, the arena manager. Dave is apologetic, explaining a report was made to the arena owner directly that there was a squatter, and though Dave likes Fahrenheit he isn't about to risk his job.

Fahrenheit asks if he can get his stuff and Dave explains that the property, unless the police get involved, belongs to the arena. Fahrenheit notes that the arena would be in some legal trouble if some of those positions came to the attention of the police. Dave agrees to have the things stored somewhere that Fahrenheit can "reacquire" them.

Fahrenheit makes a number of calls looking for somewhere to live, the first being to Hueco. He is alerted that Hueco's number is no longer in service, as he swapped commlinks to avoid his stalker. The next call he makes is to Madoka.

We cut to the Observatory, which has undergone some reconstruction. Outside the parking lot has been bisected, a large portion now being dedicated to a set of three satellite dishes - large and skeletal, resembling in some vague way a trio of undead pikemen set against some invisible astral assault. Inside the main theater area has had all of the audience seating removed and platforms constructed, now resembling less the planetarium that it is to NASA mission control.

At a desk, on one of these platforms, we see Madoka leaned back in a comfortable desk chair, playing an game in AR. Her workstation has tools for building and repairing electronics, a cyberdeck, and some anime figurines. We see Fahrenheit's message appear in her AR field, to which she replies, "Can't help you. Working."

Fahrenheit calls November, who directs him to some classifieds for his apartment hunt. When he calls December, we get a call of her sitting on a couch glancing at her roommate who shakes their head.

With his options seemingly exhausted, Fahrenheit starts to call people in the magic (actual magic, not the card game) community to see if they had any leads. His first call lands on a man referred to as Kirk.

Kirk: Are- Are you okay? I've heard some things, and I'm worries about you.
Fahrenheit: What have you heard?
Kirk: There are some rumors going around that you are... a toxic mage.
Fahrenheit: WHAT.
Kirk: Whatever you need, I can't really help you. But there's this woman who's been asking around about you, a bit after those rumors started spreading.

Fahrenheit gets the commcode, and gives it a call. The call goes to answering machine after a few rings. Fahrenheit leaves a message, and gets a text a few hours later with the address of a Starbucks the next day. He spends the night in a coffin hotel.

The next day, Fahrenheit, looking a little worse for wear, goes to the coffee shop. After he walks in, we get the slow spot-the-protagonist pan across the place. We, the audience, see the mage from the previous episode sitting near a window sipping tea. Fahrenheit sits across the small table from her.

Fahrenheit notes, very quickly, that she is a hermetic mage as her amulet focus is made from an old circuit board. Fahrenheit adeptly recognizes the social situation at hand and introduces himself briefly. Hermetic mages are orderly, and their community closely resembles academia, so Fahrenheit's introduction consists of his name and actual college degree in magic, with a focus in illusions.

The woman, across from him, simply introduces herself as Noe, without the customary credentials. She speaks slowly and deliberately, in slightly accented English. She explains, when prompted by Fahrenheit, that she had been heard the rumors about him and got curious because she had seen him practice magic and saw none of the signs of a toxic magician.

The two talk back and forth, and Noe leverages Fahrenheit's team's dwindling resources by offering them a job. As Fahrenheit prepared to negotiate a price, Noe interrupts.

Noe: My friend, Bruce, is outside, and he has a package with the details of the job. Including how much you will be paid. I assure you, it is a fair price. No negotiation. Take it or leave it.

Fahrenheit leaves the coffee shop and encounters the two men in nice suits, troll and human, featured in the previous episodes. The human introduces himself to Fahrenheit as Thomas, and pats his quiet friend and calls him Bruce. Bruce hands Fahrenheit a Faraday envelope. Bruce is quiet and polite, where Thomas appears to be more enthusiastic and more excitable. During some background dialogue prior to the exchange Thomas expressed strong opinions about the lack of metahuman accessibility of various establishments in Seattle.

After taking the package, Fahrenheit calls our lovable drunk, November, and explains in brief what just happened. November's only response is "What the fuck have you done?" Fahrenheit smooths things over by bringing back alcohol to Engie's place. November calls the rest of the team to be present when they discuss the job.

November: To recap, someone at a coffee shop gave you an envelope, without telling you whats in it, and you took it.
Fahrenheit: Yes.
November: And you brought it here. To where I live.
Fahrenheit: Yes.
November: You're not an idiot, I know it. Why are you doing this to me?

Fahrenheit proceeds to open the RFID-blocking envelope, in which there are three blank Renraku arcology security passcards, a datastick, and an easily concealable keycard copier. Reading the datastick, they discover the job is to switch the passcards of three people who are about to have their badges changed at the Renraku arcology. The payment is ¥3,000 per replaced card, per person.

Coming back from a commercial break, the team is talking through a plan. There is a reference to disguises, which Fahrenheit announces he is very good at. The camera cuts to one of the half-built rotodrones around the garage that has Engie's mariachi hat sitting atop it. Fahrenheit mentions that he needs his things back, and asks if the team can help him.

November contacts an ID forger, Slane, who made him his current SIN. He receives two police badges, though it is noted that they wouldn't stand up to any kind of RFID check, as they have no backstopping. November and December are shown at a storage unit, with some of the guards who were pulling out Fahrenheit's belongings.

The show crossfades to an interior shot of the Arcology, looking at once corporate office, airport, and hotel. We see Fahrenheit talking to a very polite Japanese man who has just been hired and on his way from Renraku Identity Management.

November rounds a corner, passing a guard who arrives in the lobby just as the Japanese man announces loudly that he's lost his badge. It is a very tense moment, but we get a tight shot of November swapping a card out of the badge he lifted, and then walks back out claiming to have just found the badge on the floor.

With that resolved, the group moves onto the second badge-switch, which happens mostly in background. While Hueco is on lookout, a guard approaches him and introduces himself as Greg. He asks Hueco if he's lost or needs anything, and then proceeds to tell Hueco about the sushi in the food court on the fourth floor, and gives Hueco a complementary coupon. Greg walks off, feeling helpful and proud that he followed Renraku's new metahuman-friendly policy by not assuming that the Hispanic Ork is not there to commit crimes without evidence. November announces over comms that the swap was successful.

The final badge swap is close. The last target is being escorted by two Renraku security guards, and the group has to react on the fly. December and Hueco burst out from a side hallway in front of the guards, shouting at each other.

December: You cheated on me!

One of the two guards steps forward to deal with the disturbance. Fahrenheit sneaks up behind the second one to shout out.

Fahrenheit: He's not cheating on you, he's cheating on me!
Guard: What? Are you serious?

This effectively distracts both guards long enough for November to swipe the target's badge. After cloning it and swapping it out for the fake one, he drops it in the vicinity. The rest of the team is taken by the guards, who deport them to Seattle (because the facility is an extraterritorial state with its own borders and recognized government). November is seen going to the sushi bar recommended to Hueco.

Commercial Break

November and Mr. Fahrenheit approach the Starbucks where they've arranged to meet with their benefactor, Noe. Inside they find Lady Argon instead. Hueco recognizes her from across the street through the window and notifies November and Fahrenheit before they enter.

Mr. Fahrenheit and November buy drinks before approaching and sitting casually. There is a brief conversation, Lady Argon does not introduce herself by name, and does not ask for their names. She makes a comment about the rumors of Fahrenheit being a toxic mage, which he barely restrains an outburst at. She asks how many team members they had on the run, and provides that many credsticks, loaded with ¥9,000 each.

November: Hueco is afraid of you.
Lady Argon: I would like to speak with him alone. Can you send him in?

November and Fahrenheit leave, and Hueco enters the Starbucks. The team remains on comms with him while waiting outside. When Hueco approaches the table, Lady Argon is looking out the window, annoyed.

Lady Argon: I am frustrated with you. I understand throwing my gifts away if you didn't want them. Instead you put me on speakerphone in front of all of your friends. I bet you passed around my pictures like trading cards. This whole thing feels like high school all over again. Men are all the same.

Hueco accuses Lady Argon of stalking him, to which she chuckles. She explains that every product that is bought or sold has tracking devices and telemetry being sent back to someone's server, and claims to have only taken ownership over the things she's bought.

Lady Argon: I wanted to connect with your team because I saw a team that came into an operation that was two months in the making and did everything right. Constantly a head-turn away from catching us. But, you haven't shown me any respect since we met, and like I said before: You need to learn to start making friends soon. Between your dead spook and toxic mage, you're not going to have many more chances to make friends.
Hueco: I just wanted to say, I'm sorry. And thanks.
Lady Argon: You're welcome. You don't deserve it.
Hueco: Do you want to maybe go get coffee sometime and talk about this stuff some other time?
Lady Argon: No.

The episode fades as Hueco leaves the Starbucks, feeling a mixture of shot down and even more paranoid than he was before.

Post-Session Notes

I don't have many notes here. The team received 5 Karma and ¥9,000 for their quick run run session. I used the engagement roll from Blades in the Dark to kick off the run at a place where they were already in the action. I am considering taking Planning & Engagement from Blades for future runs, especially ones that are relatively simple runs as it speeds things up significantly. The group seems to enjoy the heavy focus on the non-running aspects of their characters, though some of them lack real motivations so far. I am fixing that by giving them problems they have to deal with.