Feng awakes first and finds himself in a spartan room with plain white walls and a tiled floor. Along one wall of the room there are large windows that look out to what appears to be other buildings. He sees his party members in the room with him laying on the cold, hard floor. The only light in the room is that which floods in through the windows. The only thing of note in the room is a painting hanging on the wall of an exotic looking pink flower. There is one exit from the room. the others gradually awake and none of them have any recollection of how they got where they are.
The look around the room for some clues as to how they got there and come up empty. Looking out the windows they see they are in a city on what appears to be earth, but are confused as to how that could be possible. The sky is overcast and dark, below them a cloudy haze prevents them from clearly seeing the street below. They can vaguely tell they are more than a dozen stories up.
They carefully leave the room and find a hallway lines with doors. the hallway is illuminated by what appears to be emergency lighting as one in every five lights is functional. They are completely cut off from the mesh. Phoebe hears a faint voice, but it is muffled and indecipherable. It sounds as if someone is shouting from a long ways away from behind many doors. Feng searches in vain for some kind of electrical signal, but senses only minimal electricity coming from the lights.
They go to another door and open it, finding another barren room. Written on the white wall in blood are lines from a poem. The blood is still wet to the touch.
Yesterday, upon the stair,
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
I wish, I wish he’d go away.
They are a little creeped out by this. They again here the distant shouting, and from somewhere they hear a door slam. They are unable to tell which direction it came from.
They explore other rooms, finding nothing revelatory. They surmise they are in some sort of abandoned office building. Finally they find another barren room with a corpse in it laying on the ground. The body is laying on it’s back and it has been opened up rather artistically. On the wall in blood it says Go Away.
They make for a stairwell, think about going all the way to the top but instead go down. They go all the way to the ground floor and come out into a lobby. They make for the front door of the building. Behind the receptionist desk they see a security office and investigate it. They see where security monitors and other equipment have been ripped out of the walls. There are loose cables hanging out of the walls and such. On an empty book shelf there sits a large, dusty old tome. It appears very old.
The front of the book reads:
Being No One: The Self-model Theory of Subjectivity
by Thomas Metzinger
They open the book and find that the text in the book is indecipherable. they immediately surmise that they are in someone’s dream. They also surmise that the periodic shouting they hear is the person whose head they are in. They think they are in the head of a serial killer.
Feng and Wang decide to go out the front door of the building. They see corpses laying about in various states of decomposition. Nearby they see the burnt out wreck of some type of military vehicle. They find a couple of firearms and hear strange sounds coming from somewhere but can’t make out from where. They head back to the building and begin to hear a loud humming come from the low hanging cloud above them. They see a swirling mass coming towards them as the humming grows louder. They go back in and the mass passes them by. Phoebe states that it is a TITAN hunter killer drone.
Wang and a couple other surmise they are in someone’s memory of the Fall.
They hear a noise coming from a hallway on the other side of the reception desk. They go to a room to investigate and open the door to see a wooden box in the middle of the floor. There is an eerie scratching coming from inside the box. They ready weapons and pry the body-shaped box open to see a naked woman curled up inside the box. Her fingers are all bloody and broken from where she had been scratching the bottom of the wooden lid. The girl has black hair with a pink streak running through it. She is screaming and incoherent. they can obviously see she has suffered a psychotic break. they try to calm her and at least get her to stop screaming. She is now just catatonic.
Gorp gives her his jacket and they help her from the box. They leave the room and find a metal lockbox laying on the floor. Opening it they see a picture that Phoebe recognizes. It is a picture she remembers from before the fall, a picture her fiance had taken of her when they were on holiday. They realize that all of this has been in Phoebe’s head and they are all simply representations of themselves and have been merely acting as Phoebe would have thought they’d act.
At the end of the hallway they see an indistinct male form standing there glaring at them. The form begins to run straight at them, closing the distance rapidly. They unload their guns at him but they do nothing. Things then suddenly go black.
72 hours earlier
They are standing in an all white simulspace that seemingly goes on forever in all directions. A door opens from nowhere and their Firewall Proxy Mr. Li steps in. He walks up to them and greets them coldly, as is his style. He begins to explain to them that he needs them to investigate a series of strange murders on the Aerostat Octavia on Venus. Firewall is interested in the murders because of the especially heinous nature of the killings and number of them that has occurred in the last month alone. There have been 23 killings in a relatively short amount of time. Their mission is to ascertain if there is anything about the killings which represents a threat to transhumanity or if they are simply the work of a serial killer. If their finding indicate it is nothing more than a serial killer they are to let local authorities handle it.
He displays to them images of the crime scenes and the artful and heinous way the bodies have been displayed. The group asks him many questions, and they are quickly able to ascertain that the victims all were part of the underground drug culture. Specifically they were all “petal” users. They get some more information and then Mr. Li bids them farewell.
72 hours later
The characters are in a dance club. Phoebe is talking to a girl with black hair and a pink stripe running through it trying to use her Networking skill to get some information. The rest of the group is spread out in the club observing the interaction. They witness Phoebe pass out, her head thumping down on the table in the booth she is in. The woman with black hair and the pink stripe gets up and walks through the dance club. Gorp runs through the club to Phoebe, while Wang chases after the girl. She goes up to a balcony overlooking the street below and just as Wang catches up to her she turns, winks at him, and jumps to her death.
Gorp wakes Phoebe and she remembers everything that happened in the office building “dream”. Gorp and Phoebe catch up to where Wang is and they see the broken body of the girl on the street below. Phoebe notices an indistinct male form next to her. He looks over the edge of the balcony, whistles and says “Ooooh, that’s gotta hurt.”
Phoebe is the only one who sees him standing there.
End Part One