| Now, me no big city doctor...|
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Freeside… shining city of splendour in the sky. The Dragon Friends are closer than they’ve ever been to Johnny Playstation and the salvation he represents – but how to find him in this teeming, gilded playground of the rich? And that old cursed arcade machine was probably fine, right?
The Dragon Friends awaken from a Tomb of Annihilation-induced coma as a rude gnome named Below tells them that their elevator ride to Freeside is nearly at hand. Dobson Bugnutt does not have a ticket to Freeside booked (because he was not with the Friends when they hacked ZOG Bank) so Freezo leaves him behind with a shiny set of maracas looted from the tribal camp.
Three hours later they arrive in Freeside, where an elf porter named Above requests their papers. He tells them Freeside is in lockdown due to a "situation" down below so they will have to remain in the common areas until the situation is resolved. After Freezo momentarily considers Witch Bolting Above, the Friends instead move into the Freeside lounge.
Bobby gathers some basic information about Freeside from a legless robot bartender. Different corporations, including Horizon and Voss-Saito own different sections of the structure. Nearby, a robot bartender fixes cocktails including the Frightened Turtle (1 Absinthe, 1 green shajuice, shake, add 1 turtle), Security Pass (Cocktail) (Creme de cassis over an actual rock), Hachibachi (the most expensive drink in the house, liquid gold, allowing a drink coupon to be redeemed for 1 million credits) and a Gin and Tonic and Fish (1 Hendrick's gin, tonic, and 2 fighting fish, which causes the robot bartender to shut down). While they're speaking to the bartender, Johnny Playstation emerges onto the lounge stage to perform Me, Meow. Johnny leaves the stage to change costume, releasing a flock of a million miniaturized doves as he leaves; Freezo attempts to use Burning Hands to kill them for temporary hit points, only to find that his spells no longer work as his magic connection has been broken (as has Philge's and Bobby's).
Bobby tries to pretend to be Raoul Chamgerlain to get backstage past the two security guards wearing "stoots" (suits sewn to boots), but fails as the real Raoul is visible on a live TV broadcast from elsewhere. Freezo fires Beanie Davis into the air to cause it to call the police, but the sound of a shotgun being fired panics the audience who begin to hide under their seats and tables. Freezo then announces he is a security guard from the Haystack and searching for a fugitive, Johnny Playstation, who caused a riot at a concert and needs to be taken to safety. The two guards move towards Freezo and Bobby while pointing out that this announcement makes no sense. Philge tries to convince Johnny that she is a hologram of Glitter Gleam (revealing that Johnny has a -1 Wisdom modifier) and when she fails, tackles him to the ground; Baston then joins her because he wanted a hug. Freezo then pulls out Benny Davis (Weapon) and points it to his own head, announcing that as Johnny's biggest fan he will kill himself unless Johnny comes down from the stage. Unsure of what is happening, Johnny tells the stoot-men to stand down, but Philge then enters a Rage and attempts to roll Johnny offstage on a skateboard - and instead strikes him with the skateboard, causing the guards to hustle him off the stage just as the police summoned by Beanie Davis arrive.
Non-Player Characters (NPCs)
Themes, tropes and running jokes
- The Dragon Friends are so used to lying and sneaking around that they immediately try to bluff the porter before Dave reminds them that they actually do have permission to be here.
- Woke Freezo - Freezo is an "Above/Below" birther since they are supposedly twin brothers but one is a gnome and the other is an elf.
- Dave mentions that the families living on freeside include the Tessier-Ashpools (from Neuromancer, who in that book owned the entirety of Freeside), and the "Akamatsu Clan", a real historical samurai family.
- The first appearance of Stoots.
- Alex Lee cries "you're stanning him!" when Freezo threatens suicide to Johnny Playstation. "Stanning" comes from the Eminem song "Stan", which is about a fan who kills himself because Eminem will not communicate with him. Benny Davis ends the episode by playing the melody of Thank You by Dido, a song that was sampled by Eminem in "Stan".
- Baffling Reference for our International Listeners — Tom Walker jokingly complains that the venue let Tom Ballard have confetti cannons. Ballard is an Australian comedian and radio/TV presenter.
- "Dobson, you gonna be the best maraca player in... where are we? New South Queensland." - Philge
- "I'm just so used to lying and not having stuff." — Alex
- "Dave... can Baston smell Johnny Playstation?" - Edan
- "We asked for confetti cannons and the venue said 'Absolutely not.'" — Tom Walker, on the pageantry of his Johnny Playstation performance
- "Will the podcast finally be good?" — Tom Walker, when Freezo threatens to shoot himself in the head