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Let’s get this out of the way: you’re not common criminals. You commit crimes, this is an undeniable fact of your life, but you’re not a criminal. When criminals get caught, they go to jail. They have rights, even if that right is just to live in a 10 x 10 cell so that some corporation can make 100k a year off them. Criminals have IDs and families and proof of their existence. You might envy criminals. Criminals exist...

 

When you get caught, you disappear. No rights. No work. Nothing left. You're no criminal -- you're so much more.

 

There’s no real word for what you are, but you call yourselves Chasers. Your IDent number was wiped clean, and with it, your entire life. You don’t have a driver’s license, a passport -- you can’t have a phone number. When you were revoked, they deleted all trace of you on social media. They even erased that scanned picture of you from your hometown paper.

 

Your family was informed you were dead; worse, they were told you were killed. Somewhere out there in the Conspiracy, there’s a guy whose job it is to think up the worst possible story to tell your spouse and kids. They tell them the sort of things that make you flinch when they’re brought up at parties. Stuff so that even if you were dumb enough to try and tell them you’re still alive, you wouldn’t have the guts to face them.

 

The correct term is “technological death.”

 

It’s not you who’s dead. It’s your identity. Some of you still have money, hell, some of your are rich, but your identity is broke, homeless, and disenfranchised. You couldn’t buy a pack of gum without a fake idea. You could even talk to your old friends: if they didn’t know that talking to you was the quickest way to get revoked yourself. You can’t go back; that identity is gone. Dead.

The worst part about it? You did it to yourself. You were probably doing pretty well: you have to be exceptionally high to fall down like you did. Maybe you were a suit - a director of something, maybe a VP. Maybe you were a government agent. Maybe you were an exceptional criminal. Regardless, there came a time in your life when you saw something.

What you saw varies, but you couldn’t deny what you saw. You realized that the conspiracy theorists were right, the Conspiracy does exist. And when that evidence popped up and everyone turned away, you couldn’t. You stared right at the Conspiracy and when they looked back, they deleted you.

 

Now, you can’t go back, so you can only go forward. The world you knew is gone. So now you have to find the Conspiracy.

What Is Ascension?

When you’re first revoked, it’s the loneliest time in your life. It’s also the deadliest. It’s amazing the number of people in the world who would kill someone in a consequence-free environment. Corps, the government, even rich fuckers with too much free-time, they come at you hard. Most people don’t make it 48 hours. Those who do either learn how to hide, or they’re found by the Chasers.

 

The Chasers are the people who learned to live outside the system. Like you, they were revoked. But they learned to survive. To get fake IDs, and avoid the Panopticon. Most importantly, they’ve learned more about the Conspiracy, and something called Ascension.

 

Really, everything people say about the Conspiracy is hearsay and rumor, and Ascension may well be a myth. But in your old life, whether you were a prole or a wage slave, you needed to have hope of something better than your piece of shit life right now. Chasers aren’t all that different. Ascension is supposed to be entrance into the next level. Where the Conspiracy takes you, and makes you one of their own. Is it? Does it even exist? You don’t know, but it gives all of you a reason to go on. Something to chase after.

 

These Ascension-Chasers, they form crews, families in the purgatory that exist in between their old lives and whatever is on the other side. One of these crews found you, and took you in, and that’s how you survived. You became one of the Chasers.

The Crews of Purgatory

Chasers call their world “Purgatory”; it exists between heaven and hell (or at least you hope it does). Everyone of you left behind a life with a job and family and maybe even a decent home. In Purgatory, all you have is your crew.

 

A crew is part adopted family, part spec-op team. If you survived long enough after you were revoked, you probably are pretty badass at something. Former spec-ops and corporate security, hackers and programmers, thieves, con artists or just plain cunning: you had something going for you to survive that first 48 hours. Crews recruit to fill needs, because every crew has jobs to do.

 

These jobs come from the Messengers - “Men-In-Black” types who show up occasionally with instructions. Steal that thing. Kill that guy. Hack that system. You’re not really sure who they are, and you never know why they ask for what they do, but it’s assumed they’re from the Conspiracy. After all, who else knows who you are? While their visits are rare, they’re supposedly the only path to Ascension. Rumor has it every now and then a Messenger asks a Chaser to come with them, and they’re never heard from again. Whether they got a bullet in the head or their own black suit is a matter of conjecture.

 

Either way, it’s better than the third alternative. Most crews meet violent ends. Maybe one or two Chasers will ascend. But the third option are the Lifers. The ones that got good enough that they’ll survive, but will never Ascend. The Lifers are the ones you got to worry about: they’ve been doing this too long, and it shows. The only option a Lifer really has is to start their own crew, and keep it together, maybe long enough to see someone else catch Ascension.

 

Some crews are loose, with each member keeping their own set of fake IDs and boltholes. Some live together and eat dinner at the dining room table every night. All of them are like a family. But didn’t some Russian guy once say something about happy families?

The Chaser’s Cant

Ascension - When a Chaser gets to join the Conspiracy (or maybe is just put out of their misery in a back room.

 

Ascension Game - The entire situation in which Chasers find themselves, referring to all the people who have been revoked and their activities. “It’s pretty deadly to screw someone over in the Ascension Game.”

 

Chaser - A person who has been revoked, and now exists outside the panopticon without an IDent number.

 

The Conspiracy - The global cabal that secretly controls the world.

 

Lifer - A older Chaser who likely missed their opportunity for Ascension, and/or their grip on reality.

 

Messenger - One of the “Men-In-Black” who many believe to represent the Conspiracy.

 

Purgatory - The space outside the Panopticon, where those without an IDent number exist.

 

Revoked - The act of removing a person’s IDent and virtual identity from the system.