$Insert_Title, Episode 9

"Aired": 2018-05-12

Cast: Madoka, Hueco, Jammer

Previously On...

The show opens on a concrete multi-level parking structure. We get a low-to-the-ground shot of boots walking up the stairwell of the structure. We can see Manifest's stylish steel toed boots with a logo covered by peeling black duct tape, Fearless's tall combat boots with a sawed-off shotgun holster on one leg and a combat knife on the other, and Slag's steel toed running shoes.

The scene cuts to a group of gang members wearing nice-enough suits lounging around black nondescript sedans. They are clearly packing weapons. A man with shades steps forwards as the stairwell door opens and snuffs out a cigarette on the floor.Some tense-sounding muted dialogue passes between Manifest and the man as the camera focuses past Manifest and Fearless on Slag in the background. He looks uncomfortable.

Manifest: You can't win a war with me. Slag rolls with me now, and you leave him and his alone.

Freeze frame, record scratch.

Producer: When is this going to become a backdoor pilot?  Tom! Is there going to be a second series?

Tom speaks, muffled and intelligible. Subtitles: I don't know, sir.

Smash cut to title card.


The episode opens up on the Arcade in the middle of a conversation between Hueco, Jammer, and Madoka. Since they all spend so much time at the arcade they consider pitching in to fix the place up and make it a proper hideout.

Madoka and Jammer report their findings from their matrix searches for Jean-Paul Dubois' wife, Victoria Taylor-Loyd. Madoka reports that Taylor-Loyd is the VP of Accounting for another Evo Corporation subsidiary and is probably a dead lead for their run. Jammer is reluctant to report after hearing Madoka's work as he found a completely unrelated Victoria Loyd that was a small-time sex worker (model).

The team is dejected and spinning their wheels. Eventually they decide to go over everyone they know who may be able to assist them with following up on Erika Ibbott, who was let go due to allegations of embezzlement.

Hueco contacts are:

  • A bartender (Connection 5, Loyalty 4)
  • Slag (Connection 3, Loyalty 3)

Madoka's contacts are:

  • Jonathan, her old chat moderator and now her Fixer (Connection 5, Loyalty 3)
  • Steve, a street doctor (Connection 2, Loyalty 1)
  • Rhonwyn, the owner of a local taco stand (Connection 3, Loyalty 4)

Hueco decides to give Slag a call. Slag agrees to help out Hueco, free of charge, and that he would ask around. A couple hours later Madoka receives a call from Manifest, who remembers the name Erika Ibbott. Hueco butts in on the call and everyone decides a face to face meeting should take place.

A short flashback of the ice cream date from Episode 4 plays, where Manifest detailed various in-depth police, government, and corporate procedures that necessitated a police report to claim insurance on the car crash. After the flashback Madoka defensively claims that Manifest is not a cop - an accusation nobody made.

The meet happens in a small coffee shop in downtown Seattle. Manifest is wearing her runner-gear, and is all business. Manifest is initially cagey with regards to Erika Ibbott, wanting to know why the runners are interested in her. Manifest appeals to Madoka to drop the whole thing, but Madoka reluctantly presses forward.

Manifest explains that Molly operates several bunraku puppet parlors and has a twisted deal with a number of executives across the megacorps. Ibbott and Bishop are two of the most recent victims. Victims are fast-tracked for success in their company until a "mistake" happens, at which point they are let go over allegations of misconduct or criminal activity. After the victim is forced out of the corporation, the victim is further targeted to prevent them from getting steady work elsewhere and their options are narrowed until Molly approaches and offers a job that doesn't care about their checkered past.

Molly is well connected and has enough of an insurance policy set aside to bring down any of the sick executives that get their rocks off on what she does. Manifest admits having a personal connection to Molly, and mentions an obligation to protect Molly's business interests.

After the meeting, the team decides to contact Mr. Johnson to see if they can move forward with the information they currently have. Mr. Johnson sets a time and a place. A very confused driver gets out of a limo at the location and looks around for a band of poncho-clad figures wearing sombreros, as those were the people he last picked up. The runner team comes forwards and they get in the limo to begin the meet.

The team presents the information they have:

  • Molly's human trafficking ring where Ibbot and Bishop, both former assistants of Jean-Paul Dubois, are victims.
  • The research Jean-Paul Dubois debuted at the gala was stolen in a shadowrun against Wuxing, Inc.

Mr. Johnson is quiet and unreadable. Madoka and Jammer realize that the Mr. Johnson is acting purely as a mouthpiece and is relaying the information to his client.

Finally he speaks, "My client has decided that it is time to clean house. They have acknowledged the potential collateral damage resulting from the information you have gathered, and accepts the risk. You may move forward and act on these items."

Post-Session Notes

This session was jeopardized by the lack of both the team's driver, Engie, an the team's de facto leader, Mr. Fahrenheit. Despite that, the players were able to make a decision to verify their information and to move forward in the next session.

I attempted to push Contacts into the session, and fell short for a couple of reasons. The players are not familiar with the rules for contacts and therefore have difficulties relying on them. I will add a handout in roll20 summarizing the rules for contacts and I will make character sheets for their contacts available to the players. Hopefully with easily accessible information regarding these options the players will be quicker to use them for legwork and information gathering.

The majority of the players have opted for fewer high-rating contacts rather than many lower-rating contacts, which makes for narrower access to resources and tools. I will urge them to use their fixer to put them in contact with more contact NPCs, as that is a huge part of a fixer's job.

The players have also just realized that there are breaking and entering tools in the Core Rulebook. Their visibility into what options are available to them is beginning to slow down play and really hinder their options. I am not sure how to fix this other than to remind them to read the Shadowrun book's gear section more, which can be a tall ask considering we are all people with full lives and Shadowrun demands a lot from players.