Also Known As:
Shadow Parade, Dead Mascots Walk
Oldtown Shobolan, an abandoned ghost corptown on Mars
While society under the MegaCorps overall tends toward Utopian, occasionally they overreach. The destruction of Deimos. The hubris of Saturn’s terraforming. Genotype’s abuse of the mouse race. The wreckage of the health industry after Progenitus blew the whistle. Vectors are not stupid, and they are not sheep…well, most of them aren’t sheep. The Black Friday festival exists to remind the corporations that they are built on a delicate arrangement, one that can be cancelled.
Black Friday is a dark and raucous anti-corporate festival. It begins in the gloom of the Northern spring: Toward the beginning of March, vectors arrive and squat in the abandoned and increasingly surreal, graffiti-covered corptown of Shobolan. These early squatters live off the grid for most of the month, building in the wreckage. More travelers arrive, bringing scrap and salvage supplies and dumping them in the center of town–frequently piling up their decomposing vehicles with the rubble. As many as 20,000-30,000 vectors come to the corptown.
As the month progresses and the massive heap of rubble spreads, the building begins. Tottering, spindly, skeletal figures, grotesque round giants, monstrous puppets: effigies of corporate mascots past. At the last day of March the weird creatures lurch and wobble through the streets of the town. The builders and controllers drag their creations to a deep pit, an excavation for a massive building that was never built. To rhythms beaten out on salvaged drums and crates, they dance their puppets until they fall apart (or get tossed into the crevasse).
The craft of the puppets is very competitive, with many professional artists and builders in the mix, and Pulse is known to subsidize some of the food and supplies–this deeply anti-corporate riot seems to get a little more corporate every year. The winners–unofficially picked by visitors and long-timers at the fair from the wildest dancers and most disturbing crafters–are given the honor of working on next year’s final parade puppet: Marsco’s sphinx.
For the most part, the riot ends peacefully. The dead mascots are torn apart and trashed, and the scrapyard debris are used to extend the weird architecture of the abandoned town.
Need to Know (before you go)
Countercultures across Sol celebrate Black Friday, but the biggest party is in Shobolan, a long-dead corptown owned by the lost feline megacorp Bastion. Finding it is a long drive across the plains of Cyrenium and Tyrenna in the frigid southern plains
Originally, Black Friday was held at the end of the fiscal year of Marsco’s three precursor companies. This might possibly be used to give a clue to the PCs concerning the identity of those companies.
Shobolan has been picked clean of interesting debris long ago, but the wreckage there has piled up over hundreds of years of salvage, the remnants of broken-down non-decomposable vehicles, floats, and generations of salvage. Very little is left from the city’s hopeful beginning, but in the rubble there’s a history of cast-off corporations, and there may be hidden treasure under the city somewhere.
♃ Pulse, the biggest corporate mouthpiece in Sol, always has a few cameras planted in the crowd. It’s an open secret and the all but the most counter of counterculture warriors avoids trash-talking Pulse too much. This year’s festival is going to be attended by a former athlete with a grudge, bad attitude, and some deep discount surgery.