Hello, Mr. Johnson…

Those new to the shadows might remark upon the strange fact that many of their contacts seemed to be named “Mr. Johnson.” This is expected, as Johnson is the name of choice for those dealing in the shadows, offering jobs to runners such as yourself, and anonymity is the word of the day for them. As such, it’s important to know a few things before going in to meet Mr. Johnson, no matter what they might be.

Know your Johnson!

Not all employers with the moniker of Johnson are trustworthy—in fact, by and large they’re businessmen, and an honest businessman is one who might as well just hang himself up for the sharks. But surely, no Johnson would go so far as to take advantage of you poor little runners, right?

Nice try. Allow me to make this clear. You are, in the eyes of Johnson, a deniable asset used for usually criminal purposes. Anything you know outside of the mission specs is a liability to him. You are useful meat to these people, and it is in their interests to pay you as little as possible and keep you in the dark about everything they can, including who they are, where they come from, and what you will actually be accomplishing.

Paranoia is your friend. The more you know, the less likely you are to be surprised when the Johnson screws you over. And eventually, you will get some hotshit Johnson who thinks he’s invincible and instead of paying you he sets you up to take a fall.

Johnsons are never trustworthy. Always remember this. Of course, they also pay you, so take all you can and give nothing back!

Rules for dealing with Johnson

You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. The Johnson is not beggared for runners to complete his job. That you’re meeting with him means that he knows enough about you to think that you might barely be good enough to complete the work at hand. If you act like an ass, or you’re impolite to the Johnson, be damn sure that you know what you’re doing, because Johnsons talk, and word will get around—assuming you don’t burn the rest of your bridges as well. In short, don’t be an ass. Pissing off the Johnson means that no one will offer you jobs, so don’t screw it up!

Dinner meetings

A lot of Johnsons have dinner with runners over negotiations. They will cover the bill (and see “don’t be an ass” above). Don’t mistake this for charity; it’s certainly coming out of your pay.


The Johnson who doesn’t negotiate is either completely in dire straits or has your bits in a vice. Johnson will always lowball you, end of discussion. He won’t even think of starting off paying you what he thinks you’re worth, let alone what you do. They expect you to negotiate, and the more that you know, the higher you can drive the price. If you don’t know anything, Johnson can and will rob you. If you know things that help the assignment (and can support you getting more pay—things like, what sort of danger you’ll be facing or what obvious complications you can expect) then you can drive the price up to accommidate such problems.

In addition, Johnsons are good for more than just certified credsticks. Johnsons, by virtue of being able to contact you in the first place, are gifted with a plethora of less-than-legal contacts, and can serve many things in lieu of extra cash, such as introductions, equipment, and information, especially things which can’t be readily gotten through the normal circuit.

Johnsons Lie All The Time

It’s professional, really. They’re in the game of information control—if everyone knows that he represents Horizon stealing from Ares, there’s not much point in hiring you in the first place, is there?

This is a tricky thing. Many Johnsons lay false trails of allegiance in order to get you to believe that they are who they aren’t. Finding information on a Johnson-true, accurate information-will either afford you greater respect or immediately put you on that Johnson’s shitlist, depending on the Johnson.

On a side note, if you actually manage to do something meaningful for the Johnson (and I don’t mean roses), you’ll find yourself with a reputation for discretion, reliability, and professionalism—things no runner can live without.


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