Whistle in a Haystack | A Shadowrun One-Shot

Whistle in a Haystack

While this one-shot was written with Shadowrun in mind, it can be played in any modern or cyberpunk setting. Sample Characters can be found here.
While the runners are chilling at a runner bar in Europort, a man suddenly sits down next to them and offers them a round if they'll hear him out. He introduces himself as Kahuna, a freelance journalist blogger, who's in need of runners to pick up a package from a dead drop.   If the runners are willing to talk shop, he explains he's working on an exposure on corruption of a Regulus Joint Industries manager. His whistleblower contact was preparing an encrypted data drive for him, when she realised her boss was getting suspicious. She hid the drive in a terminal before calling in sick, now she doesn't dare return.


Birth Year
Mr. Johnson
Kahuna is a blogger who runs a chill stream where he discusses many subjects, including corporate politics. He's all about a friendly atmosphere while educating people on many subjects. Occasionally he exposes some hidden dirt, usually not that crucial but once he revealed so much that he had to flee the UCAS. Now he's doing the same in the UNL, sponsored by some anonymous parties that let him pay well for info.   Kahuna was approached by a financial admin working for Regulus, with paydata about corrupt managers. She was ordered by her manager to leak dirt on rivals. When she uncovered her manager's own wrongdoings, she prepared to expose him as well. Unfortunately he was catching on, so she had to hide the data drive before going through security.

The Run
The target is a side office from Regulus, which is where they house their financial administration. Separating it from HQ disallows random managers from pressuring the admins. Employees connect through terminals to the HQ Host. Fortunately, the team only needs to find the drive, not hack the main Host.   As a typical corporate office, there's some light security patrols, both physical and magical. Cameras are all configured to not be able to look at terminal screens, so there's plenty of gaps for the runners to exploit even if they don't bring a hacker. They need to reach the sixth floor and obtain the data drive from the indicated terminal.
Job Type
Corporate Security
Base Rewards
¥6,000 each
6 Karma
Word on the street
"Hello chummers! I am in the market for a team to grab some info for me. Hear me out over a free round of drinks?"
"My boss is just as bad as the other petty managers he made me snitch on. I had the data but had to leave it behind."
"I have your employer. Hand me the data and you'll get him back so he can pay you. Or just hand me the data and I'll pay instead."
"You didn't expect him to betray you?! Of course he would! Ah drek this was my favorite shirt!"

The Complications
The job goes off without a hitch. But when the runners return to the bar, they find Kahuna's car burnt out. The bartender tells them he was snatched by what looked like Regulus security, and Kahuna's commlink has occasionally been ringing since. If the runners pick up, it's the dirty manager calling. He wants to exchange Kahuna for the data.   The team has four main available approaches. Wash their hands and walk away without pay. Make the exchange, get betrayed, fight their way out. Sell the paydata to a rival manager instead. Or fight through a security detail to kidnap the manager, then force him to release Kahuna.
The Aftermath
If the runners saved Kahuna, he'll pay them no matter whether they kept (a copy of) the paydata or not. If they don't save him, the manager has him shipped off to Morocco, where he ends up thriving. If the runners helped expose the paydata, the guilty manager ends up demoted.   As for the actual corruption? The guy was skimming the vending machines, allowing him to make an extra thirty grand a year. Hardly worth all the expenses, except that Kahuna's sponsors are from rival Megacorp Saeder-Krupp and they're using the entertainment budget to fund it. Shallow office politics is what they bring out the popcorn for.


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May 1, 2022 06:45

Bwahahahaha! Saeder-Krupp using their entertainment budget to dig up & reveal minor dirt on other corps! I love it!

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May 1, 2022 09:29 by Michael Chandra

^_^ Regulus vs Saeder-Krupp is one of the big UNL conflicts, and it was fun to make this oneshot rather petty.

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young
May 1, 2022 22:02 by Secere Laetes

I can only agree with scholarmage. Saeder-Krupp's entertainment budget... oh God. That's really good.   Apart from that, I really liked the different ways it can end. Especially with SR, that should be able to lead to a lot of interesting team conflicts. Which can then also be very entertaining. At least that's how it would have been in our group.

May 1, 2022 22:59 by Michael Chandra

If there's anything I've learned from how my players acted in Shadowrun Missions, it's that a fixed ending often doesn't work. Literally had a run where my players didn't sell a building's deed to any of the given interested parties, but the actual original owning Megacorp of the deed instead. So where applicable I allow for a flexibility in approach, and mention some main options as guideline for GMs.   And yeah, when I came up with the origin for the budget, I surprised myself with how hilariously fitting it was. ^_^

Too low they build who build beneath the stars - Edward Young