The critically-acclaimed Sonic & Eggman is released for the Sega 64 entertainment system.
In the hopes of keeping the North Mural safe from dangerous strangers, "Bliss City Rescue" is formed by Chuck Rockwell and small group of other sensitives during an impromptu get-together within the East Shadebrook St. Industrial Park✕, the compound owned by Argona Cox. The compound has long been used for sensitive gatherings (as well as some non-sensitive events, such as underground concerts and wrestling shows), with North Mural being somewhat of a sensitive hotspot, and many sensitives moving to the area specifically to get involved with the community.
Xoridromella Oneirohazard, having discovered her abilities as a projector sensitive, begins to perform at the Eye of Xanadu theatre, using the effects from the hidden strangers' effects in her elaborate show.
Bracey Wray moves to North Mural to escape the dead-end desolation of his poverty-stricken hometown. He gets a job working the night shift at a gas station, and quickly ingratiates himself with the local punk/electronic club scene. Over the next few months, he spends his free time either tinkering with electronics, or re-synthesizing various drugs that he both partakes in and deals.
The ▚▚▘▙▚▚▙▙ who will later be known as Default ▘▜▞ ▚▘▙▙▙ ▝▟▙ ▝▟▟▟▟▘ ▛▞▜▜ ▞▖▚▛▚▚▘it, and does not ▙▙▛▟▟▟▝▙▗▙▙ ▗▚▖▜ ▚▚▘▙▙▙ ▝▟▟▟▘ ▛▞▞▛ ▞▙▜▖ ▛▙▞▘ ▟▞▞▘ and no other conclusions. Now with nothing left to say, the ▚▚▙ ▞▖▚ is permanently deleted, and the world ▙ ▗▚▖▜ ▘▙▙▙ ▙▙ ▗▚▖▜▜▜ ▚▚▝▟▟▟▝▟▟▟▘ ▛▞▞ ends forever.
Fifi Cherish detonates her first experimental explosive device from the top of Jaundice Press tower, the largest building in North Mural, in an event later known as the "dirty mother" incident.
The explosion leaves the tower standing, but crumples the surrounding structures. Fifi is presumed dead amongst the hundreds of others whose bodies are never recovered amongst the buildings made crumbly as charcoal. In the following weeks, civilian trust in the government declines after a botched attempt to blame the bombing on the misfiring of the perimeter "blink" protocols being instituted by the national defense agency.
While exploring a boarded-up garage, Bracey encounters a vossdrome. The stranger stops moving once he touches it, revealing Bracey's dissembler abilities. He uses the opportunity to partially dissect and experiment with the stranger's doll-like body, designating it "mylover #1".
Over the next few months, Bracey's urban exporation takes him deeper into the city's guts, where he continues to play with the strangers in cruel and perverse ways. After much trial and error, he develops machines which filter, distill, and recombine the by-products extracted from the strangers to create various hallucinogenic substances – including the powerful, blue hell resonant psycholy. The drug's popularity surges, and with Bracey being the only dealer in town, so too does his status within the club scene. During this time, he has some contact with Bliss City Rescue, though he remains socially distant.
Xoridromella grows suspicious when the effects of one of her "stagehands"✕, a pollyanzi named Aria Love, begins to lose its influence and effect upon the audience. By now, a small handful of individuals are aware of the strangers' potential use in the manufacturing of psychedelic drugs – the same drugs which many audience members now combine with Xoridromella's show for the sake of enhancing the experience of the "psychotropic dreamscape".
The enraged Xoridromella tracks down and identifies Bracey as the drug's primary source. Seeking revenge for compromising her show, she offers Argona✕ a substantial sum of money in return for trapping and killing Bracey.
Argona, in turn, contacts Bracey with the pretense of trading information about unlisted strains. Having set up a trap within one of the compound's many auto-locking warehouse rooms, she lures the drug dealer into close quarters, using the pollyanzi✕ as bait. The trap activates and the door to the room shuts with a clank, and though Bracey is startled, he shows no signs of fear towards the stranger, which he soon shifts his focus towards and incapacitates with his touch. Argona, who has been watching from a distance, grows immediately curious about this otherwise-unseen ability, and rushes in to interrupt and introduce herself. This encounter sparks a friendship between the two outcasts-among-outcasts, who both share a love of recreational chemicals and trippy pulp media, as well as a mutual acceptance of each others' more morally dubious hobbies.
▘▜▞ ▞▖▚▛▝▙▗▙▙ ▗▚▖▜ ▚▚▘▙▙▙ ▝▟▟▟▘ ▛▞▞▛ ▞▙▜▖ ▛▙▞▘ ▟▞▛▟▟▞▘ and decides that the only solution is to cut ties with his past. He changes his name to Default, deletes all social media presence, and moves to North Mural. There, he stays at the apartment belonging to one of his few remaining friends, Valeks Tomasi. Over the next month and a half, he works on various creative projects, plays video games, browses obscure websites, attempts (unsuccessfully) to establish himself as an experimental media artist, with his main impediment being his crippling social anxiety and self-doubt.
Default and Valeks buy tickets to attend that year's Yellow Road; a thousand-car, five-night nonstop caravan across the wastelands and back again, the stage-barges pumping and the clubhouse truck-ships pouring out their melodies across the sands. On the second night of the Yellow Road, Default meanders from car to car - overwhelmed by the spectacle, but connecting to nothing. On the second night, he takes a moment of respite in one of the smaller clubs and draws an abstract 'poem' on a graffiti-lovewall. Across the room, Bracey (who is there to sell psycholy to the club-goers, get high, and hook up) scrawls his own asemic non-words. Their "handwriting" is nearly identical, though they each write with opposite hands. Each notices and is instantly drawn to the other, and they begin to converse, get to know each other, and flirt as they wander the festival together.
Later that night, they return to Bracey's cabin, where Default tries psycholy for the first time.
The Yellow Road reaches the end of its journey, and Default goes home to Bracey's apartment in North Mural. Kept dazed on a seemingly endless supply of psycholy and other drugs, Default stays here for the next seven months, save for half-infrequent trips out to local events in clubs and bars, and the occasional private party.
Lost in the obsessive relationship and its mind-shattering highs, Default begins to work on art once more, and draws over a thousand crayon drawings within the first several weeks of life with Bracey, who fixates on the world of Blue Hell (among other planes and dimensions) that the other man seems able to see with such kaleidoscopic clarity, thanking to his psychic✕ abilities.
Default begins to browse the strangers online art scene, and the sub-cultures and intricacies therein parallel his own anxieties. He begins work on a series of digital art projects based around the strangers, and what will become the Matatown application. As he draws, he creates his own storyline to go along with the content on the infamous website – an abstracted tale of society's collapse, first into terror, and then, garish cartoon reality pulled apart by hyper-living cartoon beings.
Valeks and Default have remained in touch, and after the psychic shares the collection of stranger-themed digital artwork that he has created, Valeks offers to code the game. The subsequent game, Matatown, is intended to be released as an independent mobile application, in which users can collect various "matatron" (and other entries) by placing offerings on a small "shrine." Although Matatown never reaches such a state of public release, Valeks and Default do succeed in creating a beta version which is distributed among a small group of their friends and acquaintances.
Chuck wanders into one of the off-limits buildings✕ within Argona's compound, where he discovers that she has been trapping and performing lethal experiments on sensitives. She is blacklisted from the community, and though she does not face legal repercussions, she quickly becomes known as a murderer both online and off.
Though he initially escapes the fallout from Argona's exile, eventually, Bracey's psycholy harvesting and perverse proclivities are disclosed. Though he is made a persona non grata by both Bliss City Rescue and the greater sensitive community, he continues to deal psycholy (among other narcotics) to insular, extremist groups.
At a mutual acquaintence's birthday party, Bracey gets into a physical altercation with another guest, and is kicked out. The drug-addled Default is taken home by another party-goer, Adrian Zhan, who lets Default stay at his apartment under the alleged guise of helping him recover from the long-overdue comedown. It takes little time for the two to become sexually involved, as Default loses himself in increasingly morbid fantasies and memories.
Devastated in the wake of this involuntary breakup, Bracey takes a massive quantity of psycholy, leaving him alive, but permanently affected by the drug. He vacates his apartment, and moves into the underground bomb shelter beneath Argona's compound (using his abilities as a dissembler to help her with capturing various strains in return). From within this newfound lair (which he quickly dubs "The Terrorzone"), Bracey's attentions remain almost singularly focused on entering Blue Hell, as he scrutinizes the thousands of pages of drawings and writing left behind by Default, and pieces together the connections and structures within the collection. Social contact ceases to a minimum, while his extraction methods grow more gruesome and elaborate in order to distill the psycholy and other drugs that he now sells in industrial quantities in order to support the violent impulses and self-destructive intentions that grow more garish by the dose. He constructs the twelve "hollow crowns", and awaits his reunion with Default, who will wear the thirteenth – a hypno-crown that will place him within Blue Hell, where his thoughtform will detach entirely. This will allow Bracey to extract Default's own "messianic crown"✕ and embed it within his own brain, making him receptive to the hypno-crown's effects as well – embedding them both in Blue Hell together, where they can escape the confines of the narrative, and ▞▖▚▛▞▞▛▞▞ ▟▞ ▟▞
Aside from browsing a tightly controlled version of the internet on the tablet he is given by Adrian, Default is nearly catatonic – Like Bracey, he has permanently altered the structure of his brain through overuse of psycholy. During one of his periods of near-lucidity, Default remembers ▚▛▝▙▗▙▙▗▟▞ ▛▟▚▚▚ and loads up the ▚▟▚▚▚▚ from so long ago. By now, a few of the links have gone dead. He hits refresh. Searches followers-of-followers of friends. There's not a trace...and nothing new will ever be born into that world again.
Fifi Cherish ‐ or, "The Terrorista" – returns to North Mural. Evidently, she did not die in the blast atop Jaundice Press tower, but instead went into exile, moving through several unspecified third world countries and military dictatorships. There, she developed her bomb-making and combat skills, while helping to destabilize numerous regions, making her a sudden target for her attempts at global terrorism. The news report announcing her reappearance triggers painful memories for both Default and Adrian. After an aggressive encounter that shifts into a dripping, psychedelic fever dream, Adrian suffers a seizure and falls into a coma. Default waits by the comatose Adrian's bedside for several days, before he is pulled into the dimension of the Fade.✕
Within this place that wraps like gauze around the rift between the worlds, Default encounters the goshawk Feedback Messiah – or, "FM" – and accompanies the sovereign beast on his journey that spans thousands of miles, but for everyone but himself and FM, only a short lapse into sleep and back. Now in the hospital room once more, Adrian's eyes open, and he and Default give their silent goodbyes to one another.
Outside of the hospital, Default's phone (given to him by Adrian) begins to chirp – after many months of silent separation, he's received a message from Bracey, who Valeks has helped track down the lost boy's whereabouts. Reunited, Default travels into the bomb shelter. Bracey has just completed the twelfth hollow crown, and Default allows himself to be outfitted with the thirteenth – the final prototype hypno-crown, which is connected to Bracey's ganeshinorma, Wet Velvet, which is used to power his experimental hell field generator.
The device, if imperfect in its operation, places Default within Blue Hell for a span of fifty-three minutes – the first of many tests to come. Upon awakening from such a state, Default is disoriented, but undoes his restraints, makes his way through the bomb shelter's twisted tangle, and finds Bracey half-asleep on a sofa.
Default is faced with a number of choices. Does he...
...pull Bracey to his feet, and leave the safety of the bomb shelter?
...incapacitate Bracey with the same piston-magneto device that his once-lover intended to use to harvest Default's messianic crown?
...or – does he choose a path beyond self-destruction?