MMFEC’s relationships are as frayed as Cromwell’s optic nerves, but Miss J’s need of a BIG favor brings the team together again on a road trip southwards into political and physical peril.
Shadowrun: Corporate SINs is a fully improvised role playing game aired LIVE every Wednesday from 6PM to 9PM Pacific time on premium livestreaming Twitch channel Hyper RPG. Cheryl co-stars as “Ma1nfram3”, the team’s Decker. Our subscribers influence the game universe by joining one of the fictional Shadowrun corporations on our Discord and planning in-game actions. The livestreams are free to watch, and on-demand videos are available on YouTube a few days after airing. This week’s episode is embedded at the end of this post.
We rejoin MMFEC as Cromwell is discharged from medical care, his newly blinded eyes and blood loss having been treated by Aztechnology staffers. Word has spread that VITAS hit Hermasillo, but that it has been successfully cured. MMFEC (plus the shadowrunner team hired to extract Granny Powell, plus Granny herself) are sent back via charter flight to Seattle. During the lengthy flight, tensions rise. (It should be noted that only Mordecai knows about the innocent death sustained at MMFEC’s hands when an abducted candidate for the ceremony was killed by a drone in transit.)
The team has at it, arguing fiercely. Mordecai throws barbs repeatedly at Cromwell, accusing him of being an idiot for what he did (infecting himself with VITAS and forcing the team to find alternate sacrifices.) Ma1nfram3 expresses her deep concern that the team was valuing the life of one person they knew over millions they didn’t – which to her is the same sort of reductive thinking that leads to racism and exclusion. Ellie is torn between anger at Fang and concern for Cromwell. Once they hit Seattle, the team goes their separate ways, each essentially retreating into a virtual cocoon to process what’s just happened.
Ma1nfram3 spends half of her time with her boyfriend, Wuxing sailor Captain Paul Moore. She invites him over to keep her company while she embarks on the repairs to Dynah after the high-speed chase on I-5. It turns out the captain – who is good at many things – is not particularly good at automotive maintenance, but it still gives them some time together. During this process, Ma1n finds Ellie’s microfilament chainsaw – clearly it was Ellie who cut Dynah’s roof and not the other Shadowrunner team as she’d claimed. Ma1n simply locks the chainsaw up. If Ellie chooses to confess and apologize, she can have her toy back.
Ma1n also holes up in her apartment and does some extended background research on her beau. The search comes back clean – the only item of interest is the business he co-owned with former girlfriend Rachel, and the rocky year that company saw before it folded unceremoniously.
Meanwhile, Fang sends LED flowers and concealer to her brother who participated in the Aztechnology ceremony and sustained a crippling injury on his face. (The gift doesn’t go over terribly well). She spends the rest of her time watching “My Tiny Stallion: Decking is Magic” and half-filling out job applications.
Mordecai starts doing some volunteer outreach, donating 10K nuyen and spending some time with the program (staying mostly clear of their technology, mercifully.) He’s chosen to work with the MCF, which is a fledgling Big Brothers-Big Sisters organization.
Cromwell and Ellie take some time to move his things out from his nest near the Fremont Troll, since he can’t really be left to his own devices in his blindness. They visit our old friend Nasim Daylen, who runs some tests on Cromwell to determine his eligibility for cybereyes. Unfortunately, the bad news is that the optic nerves are shredded. There will be no cybereyes for Cromwell, but perhaps experimental bioware in the future. Far future. Ellie and Cromwell also break into a gym and start to practice his skills as a blind fighter.
After about a week or so, Miss J contacts Cromwell to call in a favor with unfortunate timing (the follow-up to Miss J’s help tracking down Cromwell’s friend Pip.) Ellie comes along, given the situation. J explains that she needs help getting her sister out of a particularly complicated situation on Mount Shasta in the contested territory between Tir Taingnire and the California Republic. Miss J needs protection.
Unfortunately, Cromwell is not capable of providing the help solo, and messages the rest of MMFEC to let them know Miss J has an off-the-books mission. While the bonds holding MMFEC together are weaker than ever, each feels a sort of independent allegiance to Miss J that pulls them independently into the briefing meeting at the Rapid Rabbit. Mordecai contacts Miss J with some questions and negotiates a dragon scale as his payment (something Talia needs from him.) Ma1n doubts Miss J actually wanted her along – since Miss J is a technomancer and capable of navigating the Matrix on her own – but Miss J confirms that she would value Ma1n’s presence, and offers membership in a data haven as payment. Ma1n has been considering a data haven for some time, and finds this more than fair.
Cromwell manages to immediately damage the door at the Rapid Rabbit upon arrival. After some initial shock on Oz’s part, the group gathers their libations and heads to their normal meeting spot with Miss J where she explains the situation. Miss J’s sister Nimuei is a former Shasta Shaman who served under Hestabe, the dragon who formerly tended her hoard on Mt Shasta. The Dragon Council ousted Hestabe a few years ago, taking her hoard away. Now Nimuei is trying to make a stand – a situation that could have vast political consequences. Miss J intends to confront her sister and convince her to stand down. However, the Shasta mountains are a dangerous, Awakened area – and even passing into them is impossible without some subterfuge. This is where MMFEC comes into the picture.
They continue with discussion about the political and logistical situation – it seems that it’s very unlikely a dragon would be directly involved in this mission, because Miss J just happens to be friends with Hestabe on the Matrix and they have discussed the situation directly. Finally, MMFEC agrees to the mission – a long drive, a border crossing, a nature hike, and raiding a former dragon hoard in an Awakened mountain. They gather their outdoors supplies and prepare for the drive.
The drive in Dynah is a bit awkward. Cromwell and Elsie mostly keep to themselves, but Fang, Mordecai and Ma1n engage in road-trip banter with Miss J. Mordecai turns on the charm and manages to make Miss J feel safe enough to share more stories of her past. Apparently, Miss J was in a massive automotive accident during her childhood, and spent two entire years in a coma. Due to her Resonance as a Technomancer, she spent all of that time conscious on the Matrix, which is where she made many of her contacts. The longer the team spends in the car, the more uncomfortable Miss J becomes – it is clear this is not her preferred mode of transportation.
The team camps in Tir Taingnire overnight, then before the crack of dawn approaches the border crossing to Shasta. Ma1n assesses the situation on the Matrix – approximately 4 guards here, but a string of other connected border crossings on the Matrix. She gets an idea and marks a supervisor’s commlink at a faraway station. This allows her to spoof a command to send a message, and messages the supervisor at this checkpoint asking for backup due to an arsonist in the forest. The message works and 2 of the 4 guards head out to assist, leaving this checkpoint understaffed.
During this window of opportunity, the team rolls up to the checkpoint and Ellie weaves an elaborate tale about being independent mushroom merchants who need to stock up for their trade. Surprisingly, she manages to convince the guard to “look the other way” – but he does not open the gate, leaving Ma1n to head back into the Matrix and pull at the digital root system connecting those devices. It provides a fair bit of resistance, meaning she gets so distracted that while she does enable her jammer, she stops short of disabling the cameras.
Still, the security guard did give contact information to the team, so he might just cover for them IF they can provide him with the mushrooms they hinted at wanting. Unexpectedly, Mordecai insists he can help the team acquire some before returning.
Once through, it’s another period of driving through the wilderness until the trees become too thick to continue. Ma1n spends a considerable amount of time under the circumstances camoflauging Dynah under mud, roots and leaves. They gear up and set out on foot. But it isn’t long before an apparently awakened moose bounds up and surprises the party. Worse yet, the sound of howling is heard in the distance- this moose is apparently being chased by something. Will this be as simple as a hunting expedition, or is the danger more than meets the eye? Can MMFEC survive a dragon’s hoard? We will soon find out.