$Insert_Title, Episode 30: Family, Conclusion


The scene opens up in Engie's garage, where November is apparently still living. A clock in the background shows that it is approaching 11:30 PM. There is an air of anxiety about Fahrenheit, who stands staring down at his commlink.

Fahrenheit: I really don't want to do this, Hueco. But we're in over our heads.
Hueco: Do what?
Fahrenheit: I'm going to call Manifest.

December cuts in, asking who Manifest is. Hueco explains to her his and Fahrenheit's history with Manifest, briefly. Fahrenheit calls Manifest's commcode, and after a few rings a groggy voice answers. Fahrenheit says, defeated, that his team needs help.

Manifest: One hour from now. Somewhere downtown, you pick the meet location. Just you, me, and Hueco. No weapons. Text me in thirty where.

We cut away and get an establishing shot of a small curry joint, now 12:30 AM. Hueco and Fahrenheit are sitting in a small booth, with lines of sight to the back of the kitchen and the front door. There are a couple drunk patrons who have migrated here from whatever bar they were previously at. We hear Vince over comms with Hueco, which Hueco justifies by subvocalizing (muttering) something about not being told "no comms".

Manifest enters and takes a look over the room. She is wearing a dark fall jacket and glasses. At first Fahrenheit assumes that this is a disguise until he realizes that she has been wearing contact lenses in their previous meets as her eyes are a different color. Fahrenheit also spies a leather collar with pet tags and a bell around her neck, though she tries to cover it with the collar of her jacket. She is carrying a very large Starbucks coffee. She sits across from Hueco and Fahrenheit.

Manifest: Hello.
Manifest takes a long sip from her coffee.
Hueco nods to her.
Fahrenheit: Hey. Glad you came to speak with us. We're having difficulties with an... extraction. A mage is holed up in a safehouse, Yakuza are involved.
Manifest: Okay. I can help.
Fahrenheit: How much will it cost?
Manifest: Are we alone?

Fahrenheit and Hueco pull out their commlinks and turn them off. Manifest looks at Hueco and motions to her neck to indicate to remove a subvocal, but knocks the bell and says aloud, "Microphones off, earbuds out." Hueco does so.

Manifest: Before we talk about your job, you have problems. I want to help. Here is my offer: Full UCAS citizenship, SIN stored in the national registry and not the global registry, mandatory relocation to the east coast, job training and work placement assistance if you want it, and a lump sum of ¥10,000.
A long silence falls over the table.
Hueco: Why?
Fahrenheit: She wants us out of the way so we're not a threat to her or her operations.
Manifest: You are not a threat to me or my operations. You are, however, an ongoing threat to Madoka's safety. My team is a liminal space, a temporary stop. A place for one to learn, grow, and discover what one wants from life. Madoka will leave because she wants friends and a family, and she will eventually realize that she will never find those with my team. I think she will stay a year at most. When she decides to leave I do not want either of you to be there for her to return to. You will get her killed.

Hueco and Fahrenheit reflect on this, and discuss what they would do if they took the deal. Fahrenheit jokes about opening that pizza place he's always talking about, and Hueco laments that he has very few skills with his all his cyberware.

Fahrenheit: I could get an MBA!
Hueco: Wait, you were my manager and you've never taken a business class. You said you had a degree!
Fahrenheit: I do! In magic!

Manifest chimes in that they both have many transferable skills that could be useful to them, and suggest that should they take the offer that they might look into taking up jobs in media. Hueco's time as a professional wrestler has given him a lot of experience acting in front of a camera, and with some training could transition to an actor role. Fahrenheit's showy magic could be a great help as either stage effects or to bring special effects on a lower budget to trid programs. The two of them light up at this suggestion.With that settled, Manifest asks to meet with the rest of their team to discuss this extraction, as the two of them still have to see their job through.

Commercial Break

There is a large establishing shot of the are where Hueco lives. It is an area that covers about two dense city blocks, with many footpaths through, little signage, and multiple levels. From the panning shot it seems almost impossible that one could traverse the area and end up where they intended. Hueco is seen leading November, December, and Vince to his door, apologizing for it being difficult to get in and out.

Inside we see Manifest leaned up against a counter, making notes on her commlink from a trid projection of a map of the target area. Fahrenheit is giving her a high-level overview of what the group knows.

November stops when he sees Manifest, and they make eye contact. November recognizes her, but she does not immediately recognize him.

November: Well, if it isn't Riley Atway.
Manifest: I don't believe we met, because surely you couldn't be Jack English. I went to his funeral.
Fahrenheit: Wait your last name is English?
November: Yes, yes. Make your jokes. Riley, I see you still have that stick up your ass, then.
Manifest: The world was better off without you.
November: That hurts. It's true, but it hurts.

They have some banter back and forth, alluding to their shared history. November drinks the entirety of his flask and asks for a refill. November mentions Manifest's 'obsession' with procedure and protocols, commenting that she's too uptight. Manifest comments back that those procedures and protocols exist because they work.

November: If we had stuck to your procedures then nothing would have gotten done.
Manifest: I would rather miss an opportunity than risk the safety of my assets. I had to deal with the aftermath of your reckless behavior. Lives were lost.
November falls silent.

The conversation drifts between the job at hand and snide banter between Manifest and November. The rest of the party is a mix of "Oh, this is interesting," and "We're all going to die because of spook bullshit."

Fahrenheit: Manifest, would you like a drink?
Manifest: I'll pass. Thank you.
November: You don't drink?
Manifest: I do. Just not while I'm working.

Manifest directs the conversation to focus on the operation, noting the trid projection. On her commlink she makes notes as she asks the group a series of questions about the operation. She establishes that the group's primary objective is the extraction of the target for the client. She also asks if the extraction target knows about the family situation or if the local yakuza know exactly what their boss's interest in the target is, to which the group admits they just assumed every party was working with equal knowledge.

During this these questions the conversation gets derailed for a moment for more banter between November and Manifest, though it takes a serious turn unexpectedly.

November: She acts like she doesn't like me, but she went to my funeral.
Manifest: And god did that make me feel like an idiot.
November: What? Why?
Manifest: I went because for all our disagreements, I respected you a lot. I admired your decisiveness and leadership. I am a better leader for having met you. But I stood there and listened to everyone speak, and nobody spoke about you. They talked about your accomplishments, your results. I felt like such an idiot because I was the only one there mourning the loss of a good man, and not the loss of an agent.
November: Well, you're no fun. Do you know what fun is? Do you know how to have fun?
Manifest turns to November, the camera lingers on the leather collar around her neck.
Manifest: I have plenty of fun.

Manifest asks if the group has considered speaking to any of the involved parties as a solution to the current situation. She proposes that the group send someone to speak with Clarence, the safehouse master, face to face and present some information to him in a non-immediately threatening way.

  • We wish to speak with your safehouse client on behalf of their family, a relative of your client's has passed away.
  • We are concerned with your client's safety above everything else. We will stand guard around the building to prevent another armed incident like the other night. (Subtext: We will prevent extraction of the target by other parties.)
  • We hope to work with you [Clarence] to ensure a clean, safe extraction for the client. (Subtext: Clarence will have to sell this to the target.)

The group nominates November, as he is specialized in conning and negotiations, and the meeting breaks. We cut to the apartment building sometime that morning around 3:00-4:00 AM, and November buzzing the apartment manager (Clarence). The rest of the group are across the street in the van, and Manifest is providing mostly unnecessary negotiation coaching over transceiver comms.

November finishes talking to Clarence, having convinced him to pass this information along to Noe so that Noe can make a decision. November returns to the van and the group commences their explicitly overt stakeout of the building. Eventually Clarence contacts November, telling him that Noe has agreed to leave with the team. The group sends Fahrenheit and November to collect her inside the building lobby.

November: I am glad that you decided to come with us.
Noe: It does not seem there is much other choice.

Noe is traveling with a light backpack and a small (35L) duffel bag. She passes the duffel bag to Fahrenheit, which due to its substantial weight causes him to attempt to assense it. He fails to detect any magic, though he knows that it must contain the materials she used to create her Circle of Power. Fahrenheit also assenses Noe herself and sees a few active foci - A tattoo on the back of each hand that constitute a single combat spell focus, ring that is a health spell sustaining foci, and though not active he sees the amulet that he recognized as a divination ritual foci.

The group exits the building, gets in the van, and drives off into the crowding streets of early-morning Seattle. Roll credits.


There is a short scene of Noe walking alongside her grandmother through an airport in NEO-TOKYO (we know because it's in large bold letters in the background).

The soundtrack fades and we hear the pattering of rain on a window that November is dramatically looking out of. He taps the screen of his commlink and brings it up to his ear.

Riley: Hello, who is it?
Jack: It's Jack. I just wanted to call to apologize. About getting your assets killed.
Riley: It's okay, Jack. It's in the past.
Jack: I also wanted to say that I meant what I said. About you being one of the best operatives I've ever worked with. I won't bother you again.

We fade out and after the credits we see Bitrat, leaned against the wall of an alley, holding an Ingram Smartgun X in one hand and clutching what appears to be a bullet wound with the other. In the fuzzy background of the shot we can see a body with blood pooling around them slowly.