Hearts and Minds: Scenes From A Rebellion Without Rehearsal

Content warning: This story contains implied gun violence, implied kidnapping and suicidal ideation.


The protester’s head was evenly quartered in Angelique’s crosshairs.

He thought he was being discreet, using the cover of the mob at the gates. However, the sec-cams’ VIs had pinged him from the jump, and of all the possible threats in the crowd, he was the one carrying the heaviest backpack.

But Angelique had to wait, all the same. Legally, she couldn’t pull the trigger until he’d breached the perimeter or brandished a weapon. She was rooting for a breach, so when he pulled out his powered wirecutter, she felt like she was already winning.

Meanwhile, the press conference continued.

Luana Campos was the Nuvem spokeswoman du jour. Her voice was mellifluous, soothing, and condescending in exact quantities; even Jinteki couldn’t bottle that. Speakers set up around the fence were carrying Luana’s voice past the assembled farmers, construction workers, and press, and out to the protesters—and beyond them, the dusty Amazon plains.

“…and we at Nuvem SA would like to remind our uninvited guests that for every tree we cut down in the rainforest, we are committed to planting ten in the Net!”

Oh, yeah. That’ll get them riled up. And the spokeswoman was no slouch in the imagery department. Angelique had seen them set up, right at the treeline, Campos standing on a freshly cut stump as wide as she was tall.

Her earpiece crackled. “Ange. Gotta stand down.”

“I know the rules, Rodney.”

“I mean stand down stand down. We’re done here. Take a half day—we’re going to be busy this week.”

“Rod, I’m seeing a break-in in slow motion.”

“This comes from the Spire, Ange.”

“Braganza isn’t watching—” she began, but stopped herself. Sure enough, the guy with the wirecutter had paused his work. Through the scope, she could see his throat moving, subvocalizing. He’d just gotten a call.


The APC rumbled through the city.

Eight soldiers sat in twelve seats. Ramires was thinking of who’d fill in the empty spaces when his neighbor nudged him back to the present.

“So, new kid. Why the transfer?”

Ramires had been dreading this conversation. Best to face it head-on. “Ah, my mom’s a police officer in Alegre. I didn’t want to end up…” He shrugged, lifting his gun by way of finishing the sentence.

“Hey, I get it, man. I’m in the same boat,” Bulldog piped in from across the aisle. Ramires couldn’t remember the man’s real name, but his callsign fit his personality pretty well, from what he’d seen.

“Really?” Ramires asked.

“Yeah! My mom’s a Biotech vat up in SanSan. Always nagging! I had to move 6,000 miles away just to get some peace and quiet.”

The rest of the squad laughed like it was a stale joke, which it probably was, until Sergeant Pilintra raised a hand. Everyone quieted.

“Don’t let them rag on you, Ramires. These are strange times. And hey, if things get hot,” he said, slamming a magazine into his rifle, “the brass’ll keep an eye out for her.”

Ramires swallowed. The APC stilled. Pilintra stood up, and the rest of the squad followed suit. 

“Alright. Let’s let the governor know her limo has arrived.”


“Do you think Ken’ll be okay?”

As the ambulance hopper ascended, Timo put a reassuring arm around Caroline’s shoulders, and led her out of the street, out of the riot’s fray.

“They’ll take good care of him. The medics know what they’re doing.”

They found a bench, and made themselves a hushed bubble from which to watch the scene. Behind them, Timo noticed a bright green spray-painted bird, dominating most of a concrete wall. 

Caroline moved closer. He didn’t dare move his arm.

In the next second, Timo was on the ground, ears ringing, back stinging. He coughed dust. Caroline was nearby, shakily getting to her feet. 

He looked around. The building behind them was mostly rubble, suddenly, save for one untouched bit of wall: the piece with the concrete bird. He must have been pretty dizzy, since it seemed like that one standing piece of wall was stretching, growing…

Ah. It was falling. Timo threw up his hands and waited to be flattened.

Except, in a flash of gleaming metal green, he wasn’t. Before him stood an exo-suit: a piece of hypermechanized infantry ingenuity, wrapped around a BrazMil soldier.

The suit’s visor went transparent, and the grinning man inside spoke through the external amplifiers.


Caroline made her way to Timo and helped him up. They looked over the suit as it stood there, one massive hand squashing the graffiti’d bird.

The suit was shiny, unmarked; Timo could swear he heard the fuzz of an electrical field sloughing off dust and debris. The forest green and chrome seemed to shine under its own spotlight. It had a Nuvem SA logo emblazoned across its broad chest, like a football jersey displaying its corporate sponsor.

Caroline spoke up. “Thank you for your help. Um, this is going to sound weird, but—”


“What! Davi! I knew it! Oh my god. I haven’t seen you since we graduated!” 

She was grinning exactly like she hadn’t just been nearly exploded and crushed.

“Timo, this is Davi! We went to art school together.”

“Oh, wow! Small world,” Timo choked.

Davi, the ten-foot-tall fusion of metal, man, and art student, slid open his visor. “Caro, this is actually wild. I had no idea you’d be out here!”

“Oh, yeah, you know. It’s the right thing to do. Plus my sister-in-law is an Ayase, so…”

Caroline—or was it Caro now?—was pitching her voice in a way Timo had never heard directed his way before. Hoping to cut into the conversation, he reached his hand out. “Well, it’s really great to meet you. Thanks for the, uh, save?”

Davi looked down at the gesture with confusion. “Um. I can’t really shake your hand right now.”

“Right, yeah, you’re busy. Got more walls to hold up.”

“I mean I’d crush it.” He balled his free fist in demonstration, machinery whirring under the gleaming surface.

“Right. Yes.” 

Timo was relieved when Caroline slipped back in. “I really don’t want to keep you. But we should hang out when this is over!”

“Oh, yeah? Maybe the Saci Sashimi by the university? The one where we, uh…”

While Caroline slapped Davi’s alloyed bicep, cackling, Timo stared longingly at the concrete slab.

He wanted so badly to be under it.


Angelique was wishing she’d brought Shoot along. A dirt road, wild scrub, and mechanized agriculture as far as the eyes could see: this was what horses were made for. At least, it was what Shoot was made for, gengineered stallion that he was. But when she’d left the ranch that morning, she’d thought she’d be on-site for twelve hours. Not fair to leave him tied up for so long.

So, in her best approximation of riding horseback, she kept her hopper low and slow over the dusty road back to town. That’s how she spotted the kid.

The magnified view at the bottom corner of her screen showed him trudging along the roadside, shoulders hunched, an unwieldy placard over his shoulder.

She read his sign as she passed: “THE APEX PREDATOR OF THE AMAZON IS THE CHAINSAW.” Frankly, it was a little too wordy to fit comfortably on a card. But she appreciated the metaphor.

She studied his face in the rearview. Young; probably a student. He had a nasty-looking black eye. Smudged blood under his nose. She remembered the scuffle, while she was packing her things. Someone didn’t like being told to go home. 

“Yeah, alright,” she muttered to no one. If Shoot were here, she wouldn’t be picking up hitchers. She stopped the hopper and popped the passenger-side door as he caught up. He looked even more pathetic up close.

“Hey. Need a lift?”

He nodded, and stepped forward, then paused. For a second, she thought he was working out how to fit the sign into the hopper. But instead, he hefted it over one shoulder and hurled it away. 

It made half a revolution, wobbled, and landed facedown in the dirt.

Nuvem SA: Law of the Land

Weyland Identity: Corp

Minimum Deck Size: 50 – Influence: 15

Whenever you finish resolving an operation or an action on an expendable card, look at the top card of R&D. You may trash that card.

The first time you trash a card from R&D during each of your turns,
gain 2credit.

Our fist shall hold the world.

Illustrated by Kira L. Nguyen

Hearts and Minds

Weyland Asset: Political

Rez cost: 1 – Trash cost: 2 – Influence cost: 3

When your turn begins, you may move 1 advancement counter from an installed card to an installed card you can advance. If this server is not protected by ice, you may also place 1 advancement counter on an installed card you can advance.

“General, for a successful coup d’état, you need the people on your side.”
— CEO Braganza

Illustrated by Mauricio Herrera

Business As Usual

Weyland Operation: Gray Ops

Play cost: 0 – Influence cost: 1

Resolve 1 of the following:

  • Place 1 advancement counter on each of up to 2 installed cards you can advance.
  • Remove all virus counters from 1 installed card.

Threat 3 → You may also resolve the other mode. (This ability is active if any player has 3 or more agenda points.)

Don’t think about it. You’ll sleep better.

Illustrated by Oliver Morit

Rebellion Without Rehearsal will be released on March 18, 2024. It will be available on the Null Signal Games online store, through our print-on-demand partners, selected game stores and authorized resellers, and as free print-and-play PDFs from its product page. It will also be playable on Jinteki.net within a few days of release.

Excited about future sets? Apply to be a playtester for “Dawn”, the set after Rebellion Without Rehearsal. All experience levels welcome, especially newer players! Click here for details!


  • Patrick Sklar

    Patrick Sklar is a writer and editor living in Montréal, Canada. By night, he is part of Null Signal Games' narrative team; by day, he is a mild-mannered narrative designer at Eidos-Montréal. He has previously been an egg-flipper, telephone sanitizer, bookseller, and all-around freelancer.