ACT III
Welcome to the Terrorzone
After such a massive amount of psycholy, Bracey is surprised that he wakes up at all - but as he opens his eyes, he realizes, he knows this place. It's where he first encountered mylover #1. Default's artwork is scattered all around him, and the psycholy still courses through him as Bracey looks at the drawings. Everything's there - he sees just how it's all laid out, and he knows what he needs to do.
Though he survives his psycholy overdose, his perception remains permanently affected by the drug.
everyone elese already knows
It's a wonder you ever got so close.
Disgraced games for you in your "recovery"?
why not do it in your mind?
▟▚▛▚/▖▛/▟▜ 6:39PM
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▟▖▗▙/▞▚/▟▙ 12:14AM
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▝▜▙▝/▜▜/▜▗ 10:40PM
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!! SUCK IT LOSER
With psycholy's dangerous potential now uncovered, the drug dealer is swiftly exiled from the community at large.
now listing: posts by neighborhood, the saltire
Mutilated strangers, graffiti all over McWexy's? come on :\
@ ▞▛▙▝/▛▜/▚▝ 07:53AM
Abandoned areas and places to stay away from, UPDATED!!!!
@ ▚▚▗▘/▘▗/▗▟ 06:50PM
Exploring, found decapitated stranger. wtf???
@ ▘▘▛▙/▞▗/▜▘ 03:03PM
yeaa still lookin for psycholy hookup (NO JUDGEMENT)
@ ▘▛▚▛/▗▝/▞▙ 07:42PM
I didn't do it, this time. I really, really didn't do it.
@ ▚▖▝▜/▝▟/▖▘ 08:03PM
After stripping the walls for copper pipes, the dissembler vacates his apartment, and moves into the underground bomb shelter beneath Argona's compound, which he dubs "The Terrorzone".
With much of his clientele no longer interested in purchasing the psycholy or other drugs, he instead sells these and various other chemicals to Argona and Olivia North𐆓. The compound's warehouses allow him ample space to produce substances in ever-larger quantities, as he begins working on the thirteen messianic crowns, and anticipates his return to Default.
𐆓 A colleague of Argona's, whose morals are similarly flexible, although she finds Bracey frustrating to work with.
Terrorista sightings continue
By now, we know all know that it's not just summer madness. Things really are heating up, with ...
/
heyyyyyyy its me
heard about the murder thing btw, thats so bogus
i think youre cool tho :D
awww thank u bracey
thats very nice of u to say
do u want something?
omggggg
okay fine?? wow omfg okay sorry for trying to be friendly yo
do you still have that sick bomb shelter?
new developments
[ April 2▚, ▚▟▟▜ | 11:14AM ]
[ music | random stuff on the edge ]
[ emotion | energized ]
So, you'll never guess who woke me up this morning, asking for another favor. it's just another failure of our public education system, Bracey, who's now living in the bomb shelter. Apparently, after I took my leave of the social scene, a whole bunch of shit went down with him, and his sketchy relationship with his boyfriend, and his sketchy drug trade!
Turns out, it's pretty useful having a dissembler around to help out :D things have been chill for the most part even if I had to lay down some very quick ground rules.
But as long as he keeps paying rent and checking the security cameras it's whatever :) And maybe if I let Olivia use him as a test subject for her drug trials, it might give me an excuse to get to know her better? (I totally saw a scratch-off ticket in her purse, btw!)
/
heyyy i was wondering!!!! being able to see the moon during the day, is that just a sensitive thing, or ????
sry bracey, some questions are still beyond science
btw what strangers do you have on hand rn? olivia might want some
Argona is generally pleased by the development. Since the independent-researcher-turned-murderer's own exile, social interaction has been somewhat lacking. Much of her attention focused towards Olivia, who remains unaware of Argona's romantic intentions.
The Slow Thaw
Contrasting the instability that marks the story's relationships thus far, Argona and Olivia's friendship deepens to a gradual romance.
Olivia, who remains unfazed by Argona's murderer status, has been developing various compounds in the hopes of launching her own company.
Simultaneous outbreaks in Syracuse, Osaka
The unidentified "virus" now more contageous than expected, and appears to spread via unknown ...
you don't want to be left out
oh my, yes, yes ! ! ! i'm really doing it, eating on a mattress ... and i can't wait to get it stained!!!
now, you can even find out how to get it clean again!! it's a household trick, and you don't "need to wait until they're dead" to get to the products... we can practically hear you say now, "mmm... squeezed off of a mattress...!!!" ²² ¹ª ®
above: Olivia's lab, as seen in Gutters, issue #11.
She takes note of news articles regarding a novel, unnamed virus, and decides to invest in mattress stocks.
Adrift
After the breakup, Default had been left with no phone, access to his online accounts, or any way to get in touch with Bracey – or anyone else. He continues to live with Adrian, and it takes little time for the two to become romantically involved.
Aside from browsing a tightly controlled version of the internet on the tablet he is given by Adrian, Default is nearly catatonic𐋆 during much of his alone time – like Bracey, he has permanently altered the structure of his brain through overuse of psycholy.
why keep searching?
you're exactly where you need to be right now...
it's nice, looking at the clouds pass by. what else do you really need? you can finally just give in.
/
are you going to be good today?
...
His thoughtform adrift, the psychic loses himself in increasingly morbid fantasies and memories.
Module | Sickos Only
Torn from his lover and their violent romance, Default finds himself lost once more. With his thoughtform destabilized after extensive psycholy use, the psychic surrenders himself to intoxicating memories, paranoid fantasies, and cruel desires, desperate to return to those feelings without names.
Hollow Crowns
above: the ill-fated mylover #613 awaits harvesting in Gutters, issue #07.
From within his newfound lair, Bracey's attention remains 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 increasingly gruesome and elaborate. 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 – sending them both cascading into Blue Hell together, allowing them to escape the confines of the narrative and leave behind the threats and dangers of the world.
Module | Hollow Crowns
A companion to Sickos Only, the impressionistic Hollow Crowns represents a subversive portrayal of anxiety, obsession, and despair. Its themes of lost love, social isolation, and environmental collapse are both intimate and grand, with the collaged entries following Bracey Wray's creation of the prototype hypno-crowns, and taking both the reader and narrator just past the edge of the fourth wall.
these deals won't last long
is there something you're all out of right now?
except, no one wants what you have.
the heat never has to die down
lost in a frenzy, desperate and depraved, unable to accept that you're all alone?
struggling to stay lucid?
Blotchman's emerges as a novel virus
poisoned by bad values? we have the antidote
oh no! someone's got a fever...
that doesn't mean you have to die! don't get thrown inside the pit with the sloppy mattresses and the liquified run-off from the dead animal factory? you don't want that in your mouth, learn loopholes, you're not garbage...!!
It hurts, it hurts..! They're trying to cry out ... ¼Ó ¢Ñ ®y ©O
and that's just gross. don't let yourself be swindled into property in a bad area, get better real estate, so you don't own a home inside of a mattress-zoned district.
Recent outbreak linked to Mercify General Hospital
Months of frantic stocking up may not have been in vain – the disease is here, and in the hospital, too.
As cases of the novel contagion hit North Mural, Olivia begins researching the disease more closely, in the hopes of manufacturing a patented vaccine. She discovers a link between the strangers, and the still-inexplicable disease, which has now been named "Blotchman's Plague".
now listing: posts containing "blotchman's"
WASH YOUR HANDS, PEOPLE!!! and stop licking strangers!
@ ▖▖▘▘/▘▖/▚▛ 05:14AM
I know a strain that cures it completely. Are you jealous?
@ ▖▗▛▝/▗▗/▟▙ 07:38PM
I've been collecting news articles (possible virus starting date)
@ ▘▘▛▙/▞▗/▜▘ 08:20AM
Am I Going To Die? UGHH!!!!! (a rant)
@ ▙▘▗▜/▝▛/▖▟ 08:50PM
Arranging remote check-ins for our vulnerable friends!
@ ▖▙▝▗/▜▛/▛▝ 10:44AM
Olivia petitions to be put on the list of researchers allowed access to suspected terrorists for vaccine testing, and is allowed access to one prisoner, who dies during in transport. That night, she purchases a bottle of very expensive gin, and a king-sized mattress.
The Red Hell Machine
Someone you know could be harboring a secret
What to know about recent "psychic" findings ...
solutions to all your problems
if only you had a psychic brain to study.
well, we have one that's barely used!
Fifi contacts Olivia, and the pair meet; setting up Default's brain for the scientist to harvest and research.
/
IS THIS OLIVIA NORTH?
I AM FIFI
This is Olivia North.
It is a pleasure to speak to you.
THANK YOU I APPRECIATE THAT
I WILL KEEP THIS SHORT SO AS NOT TO WASTE YOUR TIME
I KNOW YOU ARE A BUSY WOMAN
I HEARD YOU WERE LOOKING FOR A BRAIN.
AND I KNOW WHERE TO FIND ONE JUST FOR YOU.
HAVE YOU MET THE PSYCHIC DEFAULT?
I know about a lot of things you don't; and you already know you're not going to get my brain.
The Terrorista drops details here and there about reality and its higher truths - the severed connection. She gives Olivia a date that corresponds to a later event, and in return, asks the scientist to assist with a plan to release a large amount of Material D into the North Mural water supply. Olivia readily agrees, excited to observe such a large-scale event.
So, why don't we set a trap? you'll have your psychic brain – and a blue hell machine. Who knows what you two could be capable of?
Argona, meanwhile, works on her own pet project, a Red Hell generator, the role of which will become clear at a later point.
The Exotic Gourmet
Though Virgo has thus far been able to collect the lines of the poem one by one, he has now hit a dead end; it has been months since he last found a sentence, and he's beginning to get worried.
now listing: posts bookmarked by
"I'm a strange little sentence."
@ ▞▗▘▚/▛▗/▝▛ 08:32PM
"You might have seen me. Someone else is looking for me, too."
@ ▘▗▝▞/▟▜/▖▞ 01:01AM
"If you know, you know. Do you know?"
@ ▛▞▟▛/▚▝/▙▗ 10:10AM
"It's not like I'll be missing forever."
@ ▖▜▜▜/▙▞/▘▘ 03:27AM
/
you've been stuck for a while, haven't you?
that's a lotta posts!
well, I wanted you to be the one to see something that might help cheer you up a bit.
since you and I go so far back.
Virgo receives a message from Meaty, who invites him to see her mansion's newest wing.
Unusual traffic in and out of Butcherdale
There are so many trucks filled with large crates being driven into Meaty Mouse's private mansion witin the exclusive community... could the rapper be planning another of her notorious parties?
You're the only sensitive I trust, you know. Oh wait, is that right? Maybe I should say, you're the only one who can be trusted. You get what I mean?
He's been here before, but not like this, with red carpet, and gold framed paintings on lobby hall walls. Two big oak doors with polished handles; they open to reveal the grand dining hall, where it's all laid out before him.
shhh, no one else needs to know
banned meats...?? it's not a trap!
you won't believe how good these species taste!
animal-loving crybabies want to control what you put inside your body – give them a real reason to cry when you bite down on the rarest steaks on earth... ¤° »ò ©
It's a feast – breaded ibis cutlet, california condor foie gras, tiger barbacoa, bluefin tuna cavier over dolphin sashimi (ikizukuri style), sumatran rhino chops, sautéed solenodon, purple frog legs paired with lycaon tongue, pan-fried pangolin, sawfish shish kebab, gorilla prime rib over elephant veal and paired with a black footed ferret tartare, with dozens of birds strung up as decoration, and so many more animals seen only in scraps, their skins instead of tablemats. She's been busy for a while.
At the centerpiece, that long giraffe – carving knife glinting like a mirror.
The rapper pulls her mask off enough for her to gorge herself, but she doesn't pick the bones. Some dishes, she doesn't even bother to taste.
After she's done eating, she thanks Virgo for his company, and he departs.
Exotic animal bones found in garbage
Trash-pickers scouring the dump for luxury goods were startled to discover the remains of ...
That's why I like being friends with you, you know? It always is nice to have a little bit of flood insurance for a rainy day...!
The Seizure / The Coma
you never need to look away
there's a mass extinction on the way...
make sure they end up a statistic...! up to the minute news, editorials, and radical views ...
Adrian experiences hallucinogenic episodes that grow more frequent and intense. After Fifi hijacks the city's television network to broadcast a propaganda video, Adrian suffers a seizure and falls into a coma.
Default stays by his bedside in the hospital.
did you really think you could forget?
▞ ▟¡▘ªºso mean when they kill ANIMALS
¤Ï ·P £« but it's not your fault ▙▞▞▞
want to help take it down?
it's only a little bit longer.
you want to stay in touch with all your old friends.
FREE CAMS NOW, live feed, "SECRET CHECK-INS", voyeur, caged, imprisoned, human bondage ±©º ¡©O
it's not how it was... why not?
does it feel like things aren't as good as they used to be? your memories don't look the same...
The second to last line
A routine shifting mission takes Virgo through the pipes of the abandoned water treatment plant. There, he finds the second to last line of the poem. He's actually surprised to see it; he'd not really been looking for it.
Olivia launches N1RVANA
After no small amount of effort, Olivia launches her company, N1RVANA.
Module | N1RVANA
A decidedly expositive module, N1RVANA represents the collected notes of Olivia North, as she attempts to both decipher the more concrete structures beneath the strangers and their surrounding phenomenon, as well as assess their commercial applications.
The launch of N1RVANA presents a rare moment of emotional vulnerability for Olivia, which Argona capitalizes upon to propose a formal relationship. The other scientist agrees, seeing it as a prudent business decision to tie their taxes together.
deals so good you can't say no
But, we know you're still craving one.
do we need to say anything else?
With the company's success now allowing the pair further capital, they continue to work on both their materials research, and stranger generation. Together, they plan to set a trap using Argona's ganeshimandy-powered portable Red Hell generator, partially laminating the stranger in the hopes of making it immune to the dissembler's touch, and sending both Default and Bracey into Red Hell.
Whereas Blue Hell waves start in the brain (as the existing brain wavelengths become aligned with the blue hell waves, and amplified as blue hell's influence saturates from within and takes over the system), Red Hell waves start from the outside and vibrate inward, pushing back the existing brainwaves – which should offset Default's Blue Hell polarity and bring his thoughtform as close as possible to a neutral alignment for vivisection and study.
Bracey, meanwhile, will be used as stranger bait, and to test the limits of dissembler durability against Argona and Olivia's new, partially-laminated strains.
Into the Fade
While asleep at Adrian's hospital bedside, Default enters the Fade. There, he encounters Feedback Messiah (or, FM), and accompanies the sovereign gosdragon on his journey. It's familiar... and it gradually becomes clear what this place is; the Fade, this land that stretches on forever.
Default doesn't need to eat or drink, and as he watches the landscape from atop the gosdragon's back, he cannot know if time has passed in hours, days, or years.
FM and Default reach the lighthouse, where the gosdragon confronts his final rival, Spurious/Victorious, a female gosdragon whose markings match Fifi's mask. The two spar, and S/V is defeated, as the beam of the lighthouse becomes blinding.
The light fades, and Default opens his eyes – he's in the hospital room once more. Default was never going to accompany Adrian to the end of his journey, it's time for them to part ways. The blank's eyes open, and he and Default say goodbye to one another - but just the psychic had felt no closure from seeing the end of FM's long voyage, the loss of Adrian forces him to realize that even after that unmeasurable journey through the Fade, Default is no closer to finding his own inner warmth.
Space Madness: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4
return to goodbye strangers