Anatomy of a Mission
Updated: Sep 6
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<Welcome to my parlor. For today's show... Everyone's favorite money launderer and investment banker, Rockefelon. Tired of his clients not getting paid, he's going back to basics this month by telling everyone in Purgatory how to do their jobs.><SPYDER>
Alright assholes, it’s me, your friendly neighborhood money launderer and the only banker you’ll ever need. I recently had some problems with a couple of tourists who wasted my time. I say tourists because they surely weren’t Stringers looking for a money launderer or a banker, because any Stringer looking for me must obviously have, you know, money. Instead, I’m pretty sure they were tourists, so I sent them to Staten Island and now they’re the Madhatters’ problem.
Anyways, because I hate tourists, I thought it was time for a friendly reminder on how to live in Purgatory. A “how-to” instruction guide. You ready for your instructions? It’s a long list, so get ready to copy this down:
Step 1: Get a fucking job.
Step 2: Get paid.
Step 3 (Optional): Give me your money or else you’ll waste it on booze.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do, folks. Do work, get money, and maybe get a reasonable return on your investment.
But it’s the first step that’s tricky. And after years of hearing you guys hang out in the Underworld, talking about how broke you are, I figured you might need a little reminder on what it actually is we do in the Ascension Game. So here it is… Rockefelon’s “Anatomy of a Mission.”
What’s a Mission, Mr Rockefelon?
If you’re in the Ascension Game, you might have noticed… we can’t get real jobs. Hell, a lot of us are cold-blooded killers who don’t realize that shooting people isn’t exactly something you can put on a resume. Now, some people are going to try to sell their services (or their drugs, you know who you are) to other Stringers, but really, everyone on a crew has one job: you do illegal shit for the Messengers.
Here’s how it goes down. Every fucking time:
One of the Messengers walks into the Underworld Bar looking exactly like a bad joke.
The Messenger gives a crew a particular mission.
The crew does that mission, and meets the Messenger back in the bar.
The crew gets paid.
Sounds easy, right? The problem is that man shall not live by bread alone, but by the thrill of the Ascension Game. We all know those Messengers are part of the Conspiracy, right? And when we play their game, are we getting any closer to the top? Or are we really just in it because we need the money?
Let’s look at these Messenger fucks, and find out together.
Who are the Messengers?
We all talk about the Men-In-Black, the agents of the Conspiracy who are responsible for everything from the JFK assassination to using the last piece of toilet paper and not replacing the roll. My theory? The Messengers are just Men-In-Black, but instead of assassinations and fucking me over when I have to take a dump, their job is to keep Purgatory humming along. Which means that us Stringers need something to do to keep us busy, and money to keep us fed.
But it’s bigger than that, of course. Everything the Conspiracy does serves multiple purposes. When you see a Messenger rolling up to the bar with a tablet and a pair of sunglasses, they’re not just keeping you fed and busy. They’re making adjustments to the system… moving assets between megacorps, leveling playing fields, and making sure the system keeps on moving towards whatever purpose they’ve chosen. My personal theory? Messengers show up when some corporate type has screwed up and shown an iota of free will. Once that happens, there’s a ghost in the machine somewhere, and the Messengers are the exorcists.
One thing is certain about them: when they descend into Purgatory, they’ve been scrubbed clean. No retinal scans or facial recognition will identify them. They pay for their meals in unmarked bills or throw-away credit accounts. Hell, we can’t even tell where their taxis pick them up. If you’re a vast, all-powerful conspiracy, you’re going to make absolutely sure no one can link your illegal shenanigans back to you, I guess.
In any case, it doesn’t matter, because they show up with one purpose: to give us jobs.
A quick note: it’s not uncommon to see a suit slumming it down here, looking for some sort of deniable asset to do some dirty work. They pay money, and some people see it as cleaner than the Conspiracy. Here’s the thing though… they’re up to something shady. All the big corps have a stable of crooks and creeps who have similar skills to us, but haven’t actually crossed the line and been revoked yet.
Remember, the rest of the world thinks we’re the absolute scum of the earth, and are never sure whether to be afraid or disgusted. Why would a corp type come to us? Remember, whenever you’re getting corporate money, something’s wrong. Maybe you won’t get screwed, this time. But at some point, that corporate job is going to go sideways, and you’ll be longing for the comfortable feeling of working for a filthy, dirty conspiracy.
The Meetup and the Rundown
So, a Messenger walks into a bar, and has a job to offer. They’re typically not going to sit down and have a business meeting. Everyone knows who they are, wearing their sunglasses in the dark, and usually, there’s a couple of crews present. It’s bad etiquette to mob the Messenger with an entire crew, so usually a crew sends over one or two people to sweet-talk the Messenger, and see if they can get the job. Sometimes a Messenger has two or three jobs, and hands them out to different crews. Why a Messenger gives a certain crew a certain job is a pure mystery, but it’s pretty clear they like to have some conversation first, for whatever reason. Regardless, someone’s going to walk away with some cryptic bit of information, like “be at this office by 1:00 PM” or “why don’t you ask the SAKs about Vincent Napoli and see what comes up today.”
That’s it. Just a lead.
If a Messenger gives you a lead, they have a job for you. You’re going to get paid, and the pay isn’t shit. But you’re going to have to run down the lead yourself, which usually falls to the hackers and the OPTISEC Spec on your crew.
Some people don’t realize this, and at least one crew out there is notorious for just saying “screw it, who needs hacking.” But generally, you need to do two things. First, you have to gather a little intel. Hackers are great at this. They go, ask some SAKs some stuff, and they learn all about that cryptic little lead the Messenger gave you. But, that’s only half the equation. You’re revoked, and the streets aren’t safe under the Panopticon. You need to be able to travel places and do things and avoid both the police and corporate security. And you can’t hack the Panopticon, so you need to have someone who knows how to watch it, and maybe massage it a little. I know there’s crews out there without OPTISEC Specs, and honestly, I don’t know how they’re still here. If you want to be a successful crew, you really need them both.
Doing the Job
This is the easy part for most of you. Break-ins. Data-heists. Snatch & grabs, con jobs, wet work, kidnapping, extortion, eavesdropping. You name it, you guys will do it for the Messengers. What choice do you have? Even if you don’t give a damn about Ascension, you still have to eat, right?
Getting Paid and the Golden Rules
So you just did some nasty shit for money. Now you want to get paid for it right?
Well, that’s the thing, and where most of you guys go off the rails. It’s just the way the Messengers work - you get jack up front, and are paid on completion. Most of the time, the Messenger just sends the crew leader some cash. Just a number deposited to the account. Usually this happens an hour after the crew completes the job. The number varies, but is usually around ten grand. This means you did adequate.
And then, there’s the fuck-ups. Who knows what happens next. One thing is sure… if you haven’t been paid after a few hours, someone is pissed at you, and there’s no money coming. The police might be, and there’s always the rumors of cyborg assassins, but, hey, at least the tax collectors will always leave you alone. Now, if this happens, your crew is in trouble, and it’s almost always because you broke one of three rules. Sometimes you can get away with them (someone did a nasty job in the Underworld bar a year ago, and seems to have gotten away so far). However, someone who breaks them is begging for trouble. For clarity, here are the rules:
DON’T SHOOT THE MESSENGER. Literally. Don’t shoot, stab, kick, punch or otherwise injure the Messenger. Physical abuse of your employer is self-critiquing.
DON’T BE THAT GUY. This is a cute way of saying “don’t be anybody.” Your job is to be invisible, and not get caught. It’s impossible to be “that guy” if no one remembers who you are.
DON’T SHIT WHERE YOU SLEEP. This is the big one: you all got to live together. Don’t mess with other crews, Stringer hangouts, anything like that. Crews in Purgatory turn real quick on Stringers who break these rules.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Like I said, it’s “do work, get paid,” but it’s amazing how many people need a reminder from time to time.
In any case, I hope you enjoyed my public service announcement. Next time, we’ll do an advertisement as we review step 3: give me your money before you waste it on booze.