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  • Ryan Hart

The Ascension Game, Remembered

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<Welcome to my parlor. Tonight’s salon topic is “The Hidden History of New York.” I am SPYDER, your host, and I’ll post the bios of my companions shortly. As a reminder, SPYDER’s Parlor is the premier cast on PurgatoryNet, where we see what my little SAK could pull from the Quagmire, as rated by some of the oldest Stringers still in the game. Your judges tonight will be:

<THE_CORINTHIAN - New York’s favorite sewer-dwelling information monger. Known for their cosmetics fetish, their love of wine, and a particular speech impediment we shall not mention further, THE_CORINTHIAN also enjoys a reputation as Purgatory’s archivist.>

<AL_THE_BARTENDER - The Underworld’s favorite owner, and also it’s only owner since the last one’s unfortunate theater accident. You all talk way too much in front of AL, but he keeps his mouth shut… except when h’s in the parlor.>

<LOU - Everyone hates LOU, that’s why we keep inviting her!>

<And of course, there’s me, SPYDER. I’m just some anonymous Stringer who happens to have the premier cast on PurgatoryNet. >

<So… with that out of the way, and keeping in mind your short attention spans, lets see what our sorry little SAK has to say on the topic of “The Hidden History of New York.”> <SPYDER>

<SAK> 19970916 - THE CRASH OF 97: The Bell Atlantic Mainframe suddenly reboots at 11:56 AM. While most New Yorkers don’t even notice it if they weren’t on the phone, the Stringers at the time remember it as an instantaneous tabula rasa: all records in Purgatory were wiped clean, and many people lost access to any contact they didn’t know personally. PurgatoryNet was established.

<<Isn’t it amazing that there’s no one still around from the crash? -5 points for making us feel like amateurs, SAK>> <<SPYDER>>

<SAK> 20010705 - THE FALL OF EXIL-B: EXiL-B attempts a buyout of Shell, one of its chief rivals. This limits its capital, and makes it vulnerable to Bell Atlantic (now Verizon). A sudden explosion at the EXiL-B corporate headquarters in Midtown is all Verizon needs to degrade the stock. Verizon purchases EXiL-B, although the assets assigned to the Shell takeover are absorbed into the oil company, which ultimately becomes BPM after several mergers.

<<I remember when it was still Verizon. Little known fact: access to the BAM means Verizon has been the most cash rich company in the world since Belle left us.>> <<LOU>>

<<<How many points, LOU?>>> <<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>

<<<<Are we really doing this?>>>> <<<<LOU>>>>

<SAK> 20030516 - THE GENDET-MACROTEL WAR: The second of three corporate wars (the first being the Fall of EXiL-B and the last being the Failed Network 32 Takeover), the GenDet-MacroTel War was a series of corporate espionage raids that ended with the assassination of four GenDet executive Vice Presidents and the arrest of the COO of MacroTel for their murder. The COO was found hung in his cell shortly before midnight right after his arrest. Notable in Purgatory, as it introduced upward mobility in both corporations (which would lead to an increase in revocation during the next decade).

<<You can’t throw a rock without hitting a former GenDet employee turned Stringer. +10.>> <<THE_CORINTHIAN>>

<SAK> 20070816 - THE AMTRAK JOB OF 07: AUTOMATIC ALICE and her crew pull off a major heist, a robbery of the secure commodities being transported by rail from Grand Central Station to Boston. The job results in a minor derailment, and a three-week manhunt, but they manage to escape capture and earn a reputation for accomplishing a heist that had never before been attempted. After this job, a member of their crew, GLAZER, retired from active work and founded the Underworld bar.

<<Finally someone who’s still around. The SAK is searching our channels, ain’t it? That’s why it’s skipping most of the 90s?>> <<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>

<<<Indeed! +10 to the SAK for a job well done, and - 10 to SPYDER for getting caught.>>> <<<SPYDER>>>

<SAK> 20100626 - The WARIZON ARCOLOGY SHUTDOWN: For 87 hours, the Warizon Arcology on Columbus Circle completely shuts down, with no entrances, exits, or communication from inside. AUTOMATIC ALICE and her crew infiltrate early in the morning of the 26th, and by dawn the arcology is open again. While some witnesses remember panicked employees and residents fleeing the building, a media blackout ensued and the general public does not recall the event.

<<Didn’t they pull GLAZER out of “retirement” for this?>> <<THE_CORINTHIAN>>

<<<Good pull. They did.>>> <<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>

<<<<What did she say? Zombies, rogue AI, or some security guard hit the wrong button?>>>> <<<<LOU>>>>

<<<<<She never said. I know it was a violent run though. She spent a week at the doc’s afterward.>>>>> <<<<<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>>>

<SAK> 20111210 - THE MATRIX BLACKOUT OF 11: For seventeen minutes, starting at 3:04 EST, the island of Manhattan suffers a complete information blackout. With the exception of cellular traffic, not one packet of information leaves the city. The circumstances surrounding this have never been accurately explained.

<<Enter REBOT. Um, this is where I give the SAK +50.>> <<LOU>>

<<<You ARE going to redact that comment, right? We don’t want to call the Conspiracy down on us for LOU’s little name drop, right?>>> <<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>

<<<<Of course, my friends! I’ll make sure it never sees the transcript. >>>> <<<<SPYDER>>>>

<SAK> 20120605 - THE AMTRAK JOB OF ‘12: HILLTOP and NYX, along with SOCRATES and CARBON, pull off a more impressive version of the Amtrak ‘07 job. While they dealt with much more significant security and a shorter window (the job occurred between New York and Newark Penn Stations), they did not achieve the fame of AUTOMATIC ALICE’s crew until the Pan-American job.

<<Still the finest work I’ve ever seen. Even if they did end up in Jersey. +17 you little SAK.>> <<SPYDER>>

<SAK> 20130425 - THE FAILED NETWORK 32 TAKEOVER: Perhaps the busiest time in Stringer history was during the failed takeover of Network 32 by BPM. Several notable Conspiracy theorists have asserted this reflected an internal struggle of the Conspiracy, and the amount of missions that came through PurgatoryNet were at an all time high. The merger officially failed in July, after a week of conflicting news stories about whether it would or would not happen.

<<Best week of business we ever did. +5>> <<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>

<<<We still get one revocation a month, and a one survivor a year, off this little mess.>>> <<<THE_CORINTHIAN>>>

<SAK> 20130525 - THE MCTB OUTBREAK: A new neuromuscular disease strikes New York. Nearly 20,000 people are infected and over 3,000 people die over the course of three months. In addition to the loss of life, the city shuts down for 11-days, ending on the 25th of May. Conspiracy theorists suggest that several key officials were replaced during the outbreak.

<<Of course you had to replace a lot of “key officials” with 3,000 people dead. Too much tinfoil hat talk: -5>> <<THE_CORINTHIAN>>

<SAK> 20131018 - THE TRUCE: A nasty dispute breaks out in the Underworld and involves outside law enforcement in a subsequent murder investigation. GLAZER officially sets the Underworld as neutral grounds and forbids violence. Both of the detectives assigned to the case, CORDELIA and LEAR, are revoked before the end of the week. There has not been an incident of violence in the Underworld since then.

<<This is why AL hates me. GLAZER started that mess. We all know it. -10 to Al.>> <<LOU>>

<<<You’re a lying sack of shit, LOU, and when I get-||MUTED||>>> <<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>

<<<<Play nice. No threats in SPYDER’s Parlor.>>>> <<<<SPYDER>>>>

<SAK> 20140415 - RIDLEYS LAST DANCE: After a year of fighting the effects of MCTB, RIDLEY, the last Stringer in New York who was around before the Crash of 97, realizes he is terminal. He takes his crew on one last job, which involves an aerial infiltration of the Empire State building. None of his crew are ever seen or heard from again.

<<If I had one cred for every one of those Stringers who were never seen or heard from again that I see at least once a month, I’d have… four cred. +4 SAK>> <<THE_CORINTHIAN>>

<SAK> 20141008 - WALTER KERR INCIDENT: In the rigging above a production of A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder, LEAR and CORDELIA have a violent encounter with GLAZER. Neither CORDELIA nor GLAZER ever leave the theater.

<<AYEJAY deserved at least a mention.>>> <<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>

<<<You getting sentimental on us, Old Man?>>> <<<THE_CORINTHIAN>>>

<<<<Oh, AYEJAY. The face that revoked a thousand Stringers.>>>> <<<<SPYDER>>>>

<<<<<Actually, it was just one.>>>>> <<<<<LOU>>>>>

<<<<<<Shut up, LOU. I was riffing!>>>>>> <<<<<<SPYDER>>>>>>

<SAK> 20150404 - THE CANAL STREET BASEMENT: After an illegal medical experiment results in the death of five patients, a secret laboratory is sealed off in a Canal Street Basement. No team of Stringers successfully breached security until it was reopened in 2020.

<<Here’s a game… what did they hide in that basement?>> <<SPYDER>>

<<<Drugs.>>> <<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>

<<<<The fountain of youth..>>>> <<<<LOU>>>>

<<<<<Two transhuman labrats in various states of suspended animation.>>>>> <<<<<THE_CORINTHIAN>>>>>

<<<<<<Wrong basement, my dear.>>>>>> <<<<<SPYDER>>>>>

<SAK> 20160323 - THE NUKE IN TIMES SQUARE: A strange cooperation occurs between the Ascension Game and the U.S. Military after a domestic terrorist plots to set off an EMP in Times Square.

<<Interesting fact, kiddos… the tinfoilers say that this little exercise is proof that the Conspiracy doesn’t actually control the U.S. government directly. Otherwise there would never have been all the communication problems that actually happened.>> <<THE_CORINTHIAN>>

<SAK> 20160916 - FASHION WEEK OF 2016: AUTOMATIC ALICE’s crew begins a frantic collection of runs during the leading up to a heist the last night of Fashion Week. While the circumstances remain mysterious, it is known they broke into the engine room of a nuclear submarine, the crypts beneath St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and the Mayor’s office within the span of 72 hours. During that time, two members of her crew, FELL and VAUGHN, disappeared. It is believed that the events of Fashion Week led to ALICE and DRIFTER’s asssassinations two months later.

<<Assassination? Is that what we call it? -15 for being that guy, SAK.>> <<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>

<<<Are we still scoring?>>> <<<LOU>>>

<SAK> 20170211 - THE BAHAMA CONNECTION: Seemingly at random, CASSIO departs the country for a vacation to the Bahamas. Three days later on the 25th, his entire crew except for FREEBIRD and CARDIFF are killed in an explosion in a PATH tube in Jersey City. The entire event is almost completely covered up in local news, and neither FREEBIRD or CARDIFF ever suggest that CASSIO has anything to do with it.

<<That CASSIO, he’s a hell of a guy.>> <<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>

<<<He certainly is. They still covering his tab?>>> <<<THE_CORINTHIAN>>>

<<<<You know they do.>>>> <<<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>>

<SAK> 20180727 - THE PAN-AMERICAN JOB: In what is widely held to be the most technically difficult mission ever attempted in the Ascension Game, HILLTOP and NYX manage to kidnap a prisoner being transported between Rio De Janeiro and New York City on an intercontinental flight. The job was completed so successfully that it wasn’t until 45 minutes after the plane touched down that authorities even realized what happened.

<<+20>> <<LOU>>

<<<What for, LOU?>>> <<<THE_CORINTHIAN>>>

<<<<I just wanted to make sure I gave some points out.>>>> <<<<LOU>>>>

<SAK> 20190716 - THE VITTORIO MASSACRE: Also called “7 down in 17” although the seven homicides actually took 19 seconds. KENNEDY’s crew is captured by the Vittorio crime family for unknown reasons. After several days of captivity, half of her crew was executed. The rest of the crew only survived because of the intervention of KENNEDY’s sibling, MORRIGAN, who killed four enforcers, two made men, and the big boss, Anthony Vittorio. The effects of this massacre still ripple through both Purgatory and the criminal underworld.

<<+17. No, +19. Here’s another game. Most dangerous Stringer in the Game. No repeats. Go.>> <<SPYDER>>


<<<<MORRIGAN.>>>> <<<<LOU>>>>

<<<<<We’re not counting either set of twinsies? That would be cheating. Then I’ll go with OWL.>>>>> <<<<<THE_CORINTHIAN>>>>>

<<<<<<I’ll take DEADEYE and round it out nicely.>.>>>>> <<<<<<SPYDER>>>>>>

<SAK> 20200605 - THE GOLD STREET JOB: During an extraction from a luxury penthouse on Gold Street. HILLTOP and NYX encounter agents of the Conspiracy. NYX believes that they are there to help one of them ascend, but HILLTOP opens fire. NYX returns fire on her partner, and injures CARBON severely in the process. This immediately leads to the breakup of the most successful crew in the Ascension Game.

<<Sic semper tyrannis.>> <<THE_CORINTHIAN>>

<<<Which one?>>> <<<LOU>>>

<<<<Take your pick.>>>> <<<<THE CORINTHIAN>>>>

<SAK> 20200704 - THE RYKERS ISLAND GAMBIT: A crew leader named NICKEL brings his crew into the penitentiary at Ryker’s Island. What happens next has never been adequately explained, but NICKEL disappears during the job. The rest of the crew fights their way out, and disbands within days of escaping. All members are absorbed into other crews.

<<Alas, poor NICKEL. I knew him well. +½, one for every fuck I give about that guy.>> <<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>

<<<Him and AYEJAY were a thing, weren’t they? Back in the day?>>> <<<LOU>>>

<SAK> 20201129 - THE STATEN ISLAND RENDEZ-VOUS: A meet between the Madhatters gang and PARAMOUR’s original crew goes sideways, resulting in the death of most of PARAMOUR’s gang. PARAMOUR and NICE, the two survivors, immediately recruit CASSIO to join their new crew.

<<Of course. Because when I think “I just lost my last crew, what should I do for an encore,” I immediately think CASSIO. +25, SAK, and I’m guessing you don’t even know why.>> <<SPYDER>>

<<<PARAMOUR needn’t worry. That bird has flown the coop. It won’t happen again.>>> <<<THE_CORINTHIAN>>>

<SAK> 20210525 - THE SUFFOLK JOB: HILLTOP and NYX’ crews descend on a detention center in Riverhead, NY. Conspiracy theorists note the first mention of the FENRIS asset.

<<Oooo… the FENRIS Asset. +100 to SAK for being unafraid to report that tidbit.>> <<THE_CORINTHIAN>>

<<<Bots can’t feel fear.>>> <<<LOU>>>

<<<<This is why no one likes you, Lou.>>>> <<<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>>

<SAK> 20211118 - ODESSA dies an extremely painful and public death in the Underground Bar, as nano-disruptors essentially short circuit her wires. After a brief period of excruciating pain, she suffers a complete neurological shutdown. FREEBIRD, her crew’s leader, immediately takes possession of the body.

<<I suppose you’re not counting this as an act of violence, if only to keep the streak alive?>> <<THE_CORINTHIAN>>

<<<I’m pretty sure we don’t have nano-disruptors on tap.>>> <<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>

<SAK> 20220515 - THE LUDLOW BASEMENT RESCUE: Unidentified Stringers break into a top-secret facility in a sub-basement below LUDLOW street. Rumor has it that they escape with two bodies.

<<Ludlow, eh? If only RIDLEY or ALICE were still around. They’d explain all about Ludlow.>> <<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>

<<<Are you going to explain for our viewers at home?>>> <<<SPYDER>>>

<<<<I rather just leave them hungry.>>>> <<<<AL_THE_BARTENDER>>>>

<<<<<Hungry like the wolf?>>>>> <<<<<THE_CORINTHIAN>>>>>

<<<<<<Exactly, my friend, exactly.>>>>>> <<<<<SPYDER>>>>>

<Which brings us to today. I hope you learned something, all your Stringers and Stringees. Remember, as I always say, hate the Game, not the Stringer.> <SPYDER>


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