MMFEC apparently believes the best way to repay the Draco Foundation’s confidence in them is to fail spectacularly! This was a fairly Ma1nfram3-light episode due to Cromwell’s fairly inept shadowrunner chaos, so a shorter recap than normal.

We rejoin the runners as they use up their remaining hotel time at the Horizon theme park hotel where they’d been put up during their time taking on the technomancer. The team rides a kiddie ride together – the attempt to ride the kiddie train failed when one team member claimed fear that it would be taken over by an insane space dragon AI, as happened in Tokyo. So they settled for a kiddie caterpillar ride and had their photo taken as a group. A few more rides and souvenirs were had, and then the group went their separate ways.

In the weeks that ensued, Ma1nfram3 picked up the skill Pilot Aircraft by using the beta drone provided to her by Ares – but she did so very cautiously, always in public spaces, and keeps the drone powered off and the box wrapped in copper when it is stored at her home. Outside observers might call this conspiracy theorist behavior. It was also a time for much soul-searching after the bricked-deck incident during their first encounter with the Horizon technomancer. Ma1nfram3 took her deck – repaired and extended with an extra program slot and enhanced attribute array courtesy of Horizon – completely apart to understand its new features. In the process of re-assembling it, she gained the Golden Screwdriver quality, making her much faster at field repairs in the future. She also added a Multidimensional Coprocessor, which will give her more actions and speed in virtual reality in the future. She emerges from the time of reflection improved at her craft.

Meanwhile, Mordecai got some sort of magical focus tattoo from Talia – but made the tactical mistake of also referring Cromwell to Talia. Cromwell told Talia that Mordecai was in love with an elf, and – unbenounst to Mordecai – permanently damaged Mordecai’s relationship with that important talismonger. Fang used the time to get some upgrades and repairs, while Elsie returned to school and caught up on missed papers.

Eventually, the team received a meeting invite that led to a proposal from Miss J and the Draco Foundation – a non-exclusive offer of retainer. In exchange for $6500 each per month and medical coverage during official shadowruns, the team would provide Draco with one run per month. Of course, this rate is MUCH lower than the runners received from their last few international runs, but Draco offers a somewhat unique opportunity to work for greater race equality and to make a difference for non-corporate citizens.

After some disagreement, the team decides to accept the offer, and is immediately sent on their first mission – a followup from their earlier ill-fated Draco assignment to protect Ms. Dghugasvhilli, a candidate for political office in Seattle. Draco wants to know who funded the Trollkillers in their assassination attempt; but does not want the candidate to know of Draco’s interest or involvement.

As luck would have it, two of the Trollkillers the team apprehended are in custody still at a local police station, so Fang pulls strings with her mentor and parole officer to get Elsie in as their “legal counsel” for questioning. Unfortunately, Elsie does not stop Cromwell from entering the interrogation room with her, and Cromwell Hulks out, physically threatening the suspect in custody and damaging the table above the suspect’s family jewels with his lightning fists. Cromwell is thrown out of the police station, and by miracle of miracles Elsie manages to get Fang’s mentor to agree to let her question the second suspect alone.

Meanwhile, Mordecai and Ma1nfram3 are playing gin rummy with Sharky in the back of Ma1nfram3’s van. Sharky is inexplicably sad that he can’t participate in the legal proceedings, and Mordecai agrees to let Sharky go “assist” Elsie and team, unaware that things have gone south. Elsie questions the second suspect and manages to get the name of someone in Trollkillers management who would know about accounts receivable type information.

Now alone in the van, Ma1nfram3 takes stock of her interactions with Mordecai these last few months – his comment “That explains it” when she first told him of her true Elf race, his recent extreme crankiness at the end of the Horizon run and his mention that there was a conversation she missed earlier in the Horizon run while she was in VR fighting the technomancer. Ma1nfram3 assumes Mordecai must harbor some long-standing dislike for Elves, and has seen enough in the world to appreciate that he’s put that aside for their professional relationship, especially someone as experienced as he is.

So Ma1nfram3 delivers a short speech to Mordecai, thanking him for saving her life several times, and more importantly thanking him for “putting up” with her under duress. Mordecai sees the opportunity but trips on the threshold: insisting that he’s not “just putting up with her”, admitting that he is very attracted to her, but immediately attributing that to her race in a way that makes Ma1nfram3 feel somewhat objectified and put off.

The conversation is interrupted by Cromwell ripping a fire hydrant out of the ground as Elsie tumbles into the van. Things did not end well at the police station: Sharky’s arrival caused magical defenses at the PD to activate. The team debriefs, Ma1nfram3 livid at Cromwell’s behavior and Elsie’s failure to control her compatriot. Fang is even more angry as her own relationship with a contact was damaged. When she attempts to confront Elsie about this, Elsie throws Fang’s behavior on the end of the Horizon run back in her face.

The dysfunctional group heads back to Trollkiller territory and a bar the suspect mentioned. The plan is to briefly kidnap a few Trollkillers, scan their faces, and program them into new digital masks Elsie has procured. This way, Ma1nfram3 and Elsie could quietly infiltrate the bar and get close to their mark’s digital assets undetected. They see a female pair of Trollkillers and set off to lure them into a dark alley.

Unfortunately, the entire plan fails quickly: Fang fails to lure them into the alley, Cromwell fires Narcojet at one of the pair so violently it is an immediate kill, and then tries to cover his tracks by throwing a flashbang into the street full of pedestrians. Elsie and Ma1nfram3 get a clear view of all of this from Ma1n’s drone. One of the pair is still unconscious and is brought back to the van while Mordecai takes a hit and goes berzerk, channeling Batman in a very inept attempt to intimidate information out of Trollkillers who have rushed out of the bar to take him down.

In just a few short hours MMFEC dropped on the competency scale from “moderately professional Shadowrunners” to “children pretending to Shadowrun in an alley”. There will be fallout, both metaphorical and physical, this week as the Draco run concludes.