There’s power in a Union.
The Union are the group with highest stake in this mission; this is the city where their movement started, and where it was almost extinguished. The Union are blue-collar workers fighting to protect their community, regular Joes and Janes who have seen far too much gone to shit to give their neighbourhoods up to the things that lurk in the dark. They’re a lot more reactive than the other compacts and normally seek to protect rather than seek and destroy. Despite that, they provide an invaluable service to their members with their country-wide support network, giving any member with an internet connection access to advice, information and allies when they really need it.
The Union has learnt from their mistakes. Since that disastrous spring in 2000, the Union forum has moved addresses four times,each time becoming more secure. Now, possible members have to be invited. The administrators of the network, who rotate every six months, take notice of news stories, blogs and forums. If there’s someone in the region, they send them in to investigate and, if there really are fellow hunters out there, to offer them the opportunity to get a bit of support.
On the message boards, members of the network contribute ﬁnancially not only to the upkeep of the site but to each others’ efforts, paying for armaments, medical fees and funerals. Like a true union, the Union looks after the bereaved families of people who fell in the struggle. The online community has fostered a real community, with real friendships, real bonds of trust. Several people have met and married signiﬁ cant others through the community. It may be unofﬁ cial and ad hoc, but the bonds of human trust are powerful.
Union hunters currently active in Chicago:
Union members get most of their status from providing help and support to other members. Anyone can claim to have killed monsters over the net, but it’s hard to fake being a useful guy to listen to.
• You’ve met a member face-to-face and have forums access. You gain a free Politics or Streetwise speciality of your Local Area.
••• You’ve been out on the field with other members and offered support to many others. You get two dots of Contacts, each a specialist in one kind of monster.
••••• You’ve saved lives, bailed members out of prison and probably helped pay for more than a couple of funerals. You can call on this to get two extra dots of Resources for things related to hunting, but using this frivolously is likely to drop your Status fast.
Like any forum, the Union has competing philosophies, flame wars and arguments. Here’s some of the major movements at the moment:
Most in the Union are Home First advocates: you look after your own. Your own turf, your own family, your own community. It’s not about taking the ﬁ ght to them. It’s about keeping your part of the world safe. Having said that, members who become part of the Union community ﬁ nd that their part of the world soon extends to include the friends they’ve made through the web.
Members of The General Strike are much more extreme: they believe it’s the Union’s job to ﬁ ght the forces of oppression across the world. The moral imperative, they say, is to go out and ﬁ nd those monsters and, when they discover them to be dangerous, kill the bastards. Not many members of the Union believe this. This is partly because, let’s face it, the Union numbers a few hundred ordinary people worldwide. And also because Union members who favor the General Strike tend to get themselves killed. A lot.
Politicals want to go back to the Union’s predecessors, and go even beyond the General Strike: they say it’s the Union’s job to ﬁght all oppression, both from the supernatural monsters and the human ones, who exploit people all over the world. Politicals are often very dangerous people — they’re extreme in their views and actions. Some of them even end up on security agencies’ lists of suspected terrorists. Blowing up a train car to get their message across… it’s hard business, but they do what they think they must.