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Spider's Parlor -

Wisdom from an Old Chaser

(A History Lesson in Three Parts)

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<<ENTERTHEPARLOR>>

<Welcome to my parlor. For today's show... I found a thing, and I wanted to share. Some of you might remember it, but I believe it’s from before any of our times here. Don’t ask me where I got it, because it does have some… special guests...Enjoy.><SPIDER>
 

02-20-1989

Having a kid is probably a fucked up idea in this world, but nothing’s normal these days so the little bits of normal you can get matter more than anything. Too late now. He’s screaming, kicking, breathing, perfect, and doesn’t exist. How can two people who don’t exist themselves make another living being? He’s not the first born in this fucked up Purgatory, but I never met any other dads (we don’t exactly keep records of each other), and I know it feels like he’s got to be the loneliest son of a bitch in the world.

 

<Oh… I know who this kid is.  And I know his family. All of his family.><NIMROD>

<<Yeah, so does half of New York City. Certainly don’t make you special. Or the kid.>><GLAZER>

 

The crew is happy, I think. They keep talking about teaching him, how schools in this city messed us all up anyway, and we can take turns passing him around between jobs. I know they didn’t ask for this, really. Maria and I considered that we might end up finding ourselves revoked a second time for daring to go through with it, but no one tried to stop us. Even if it’s going to complicate things. Even if he’ll probably be dead before he’s grown because GenDet still thinks they own his mom and, partially, they do, which

makes us more enemies than ever. Just because almost no one survives this life, does that mean we should stop living? Why else are we looking for the answers? Sure, Ascension is the goal. Finding what else is out there. But it’s not just for us, right? We’re trying to see what’s up there so we can make the whole world better. Right? It’s not just some selfish chase?

I keep telling myself that. I can still make this run, chase this dream, and raise this kid. They don’t have to be opposing forces. Life is a contradiction, right?

 

Sure as hell is when, technically, you aren’t alive any more.

 

<Why are we reading this?><ERICTHERED>

<<Wait for it. I promise there’s a payoff.>><<ROSWELL>>

 

06-04-1993

Life is almost normal, and we don’t know how to deal with that. The crew got a bit bigger – partially for safety, partially because we couldn’t leave a washed-up kid in the streets with MacroTel on her ass and no clue how to start life as a Chaser, partially because we needed a few extra hands with the kid to pass around. No one’s complaining. The new girl is young, probably not even 20, but sharp enough that she survived being Revoked and then some for at least a week on the streets. She’s got instincts enough to make it as a Chaser. Part of me says she’s too good for some street rat, but maybe I’m just getting paranoid in my old age.

 

<I suppose we were all young once, right Glazer?><FELL>

<<Let’s not kid ourselves… you were never young. You went from infant straight to grumpy old man with a series of changes in shoe size.>><GLAZER>

 

Two people always stay behind with the kid. It’s not always Maria or I. Maria’s getting pulled into GenDent shit every other week now and she can’t really say no, I’ve got the best hacking mind in the crew right now, so we generally have to be out there. At first, it was fucking hard to trust a bunch of criminals, hackers, mercenaries, and violent types to be a decent babysitter to your only kid. Trusting your life with them is easy – your kid’s life? That’s another thing. But life carries on. You realize that these people might be messed up, none of you blinks an eye at killing or worse, but they’re still people.

 

Just because the Conspiracy says you aren’t people doesn’t mean you have to believe them. You can’t get revocation get under your skin. I think that, early on, no one thinks they deserved to be revoked. That you are the different one, the wronged one. The one that should still be able to have a real life with a real family, job, and eventual happy retirement. But there was a hiccup in the system and suddenly the possibility of ‘normal’ or ‘real’ is gone forever. You’re suddenly stuck with a bunch of criminals, street rats, and conspiracy theorists. They’re all crazy. You’re the only sane one, right? But you dive in with them because you don’t really have a choice.

Let me tell you a secret – we’re all the same Criminals. Deep down, somewhere, we all deserved it. Or, maybe worse than that, NONE of us deserved it, but we’re criminals now and there’s no going back. So, it’s no use thinking you’re more high and mighty than anyone else, because you are all in this shit together. This is your family now. Might as well trust them like family.

 

Hell, looking at my blood family? I trust my crew more.

 

<Hell, I’d trust his crew more than his blood family.><NIMROD>

 

04-15-1995

<Interruptions are off. Get through this one and then comment.><KIPLING>

That MacroTel banking job was a mess. A fucking mess. We got it through and GenDent seems happy but there’s something off. You don’t run around this business near so long as I do and not develop a sense for these things. I feel like I’m going to be lucky to see the end of the year – any of us would be. The crew is on the map now and things are fucked. I gotta get the kid somewhere safe, see if they can get Maria and him underground even further while we clean up this aftermath. GenDent will never let her go. I don’t know what we’re going to fucking do.

 

Look, kid, if you ever read this, there are things you need to know. None of this life seems to make sense but after almost a decade stuck in it, I’ve learned a few things. Maybe this wisdom can help you. Maybe you know it already because you grew up here and it just makes sense to you. But I wanted to write something down. A goodbye, I guess. I hope that I could make your life a little better instead of worst, since I damned you to it anyway. So, here goes.

 

Your crew is your family, end of story. You have to trust them more than blood, more than life, more than your own instincts. Because they see, hear, and know things that you just don’t catch. Everyone’s got their specialty and it’s NOT YOURS so when they say something is up, listen to them. I don’t care who is fucking who, I don’t care how they lied to your sister or stabbed you in the back over a bar fight. I don’t care if you think they are sucking GenDent’s dick, if they are on your crew, YOU TRUST THEM WITH EVERYTHING. Yeah, it seems like a contradiction – we all know we’re breaking the law and aren’t scared to push our luck – but joining a crew goes way beyond law, revocation, or Ascension. Joining a crew is saying that you believe in these people and they need to believe in you. No matter what the fight is, you set it aside when you are going on a job. No matter the politics, you have their back when they need you. And if one of you Ascends? You celebrate. Means you might never get it because almost no one goes, and having more than one from a crew seems nearly impossible, but you fucking celebrate. You remember them and you hope, one day, they might come back for you, because you’re family and that’s the end of story. If GenDent kills me because of the shit last week? I know you’ll be okay. Because you got a lot more family than me or your mom.

 

But the weird thing about Purgatory is that family goes beyond crews. Any chaser, deep down, is a bit of family. We’re all in this mess together. We’ve all lost everything for one reason or another. Some of us deserved it – a lot of us didn’t. We’re all just chasing to see what comes next, to see if we could break the code to the sick game. We’re all on the same fucking side. Us versus them. Us versus the world, the government, the people on the other side, the corporations, the lie of reality. Now, you might end up having to kill someone from another crew. We still compete and people still, sometimes, end up dead. But you never do it easily and you NEVER celebrate taking someone else out of Purgatory. Ascension isn’t about killing to get to the top, I can promise you that. Another Chaser dead is another set of answers you’ll never get to hear. You set the whole cause back taking someone else off the cause. And just because that shit head wasn’t a part of your family doesn’t mean they weren’t a part of your fight.

 

Every other Chaser is competition, yes, but every other Chaser is also a possible doorway to a better understanding. Crews fall apart. Families die. Some shit goes real bad and suddenly your down to three? You won’t survive in Purgatory. You need to find another family. So, before you consider taking out another Chaser or going to war with another crew, you better think about it real hard. You better be willing to lay down not just your life, but your crews’ lives and your chance at Ascension for putting that blood on your hands. Is it worth it?

 

I don’t think so. Some others do. But remember that we’ve all got the same enemies and the same dreams for the future, we just got different paths on this journey. Maybe give another Chaser a second chance, even if they were the ones that started the shit. I know that sounds like some enlightened bullshit, but what is Ascension, after all?

 

Enlightened bullshit seems the name of the game to me, deep down.  

 

<And now, you may comment.><KIPLING>

<<Hell of death note.  How long did he last?>><<NICKEL>>

<<<Died that night, actually. Lead poisoning. How convenient. No clue how this survived.>>><<<GLAZER>>>

<<Is this what I think it is? I thought records were purged back in 08?>><<ROSWELL>>
<<<It is. This is a record of the MacroTel heist. It happened, and GenDet did get the package, and they did kill every Chaser involved.>>><<<KIPLING>>>

<<<<Except Maria Napoli.>>>><<<<AYEJAY>>>>

<<<<<She sat that one out. Once the job went bad, her and little Philip went into hiding.>>>>><<<<<KIPLING>>>>>

<<<<<<Wow… this was a good one.>>>>>><<<<<<NICKEL>>>>>>

<<<<<<<Thank you. A little gift for all you history lovers out there. Now let’s forget this ever happened.>>>>>>><<<<<<<KIPLING>>>>>>>

 

<Fuck that. Enough was forgotten. I hope you all enjoyed the reminder.><SPIDER>