Table of Contents

    Chapter 1 - The Real

    Ange - Absent

    K is searching the river in Bremen for signs of Morridow, last seen falling out of a plane. He meets Light, a younger agent assisting him, who is being sent to Berlin. K emphasises that this is a top secret matter. K then speaks with Chairwoman Ulrich, things got far more out of control than she expected. Ange's actions in the refugee camp ruffled a lot of feathers and Ulrich can't protect her now, she's been taken to Berlin. Powerful forces are at work and they'll have to try and keep up.

    Meanwhile, Morridow is somewhere safe but has been punished by "Father". She speaks to another girl, Narciss, who has been similarly created. Narciss looks mean, and has wings of blades. Morridow makes Narciss promise that she'll kill her if the need arises.

    Ange - An Arrow in Flight I

    Ange wakes up in an interrogation room, tied down and being questioned by angry Stasi men. As a Soviet she's accused of inciting a riot at the settlement, and murdering a German public servant. Ange's claim that Morridow was a Paradeus spy can't be substantiated.

    Finally they stop screwing around, they want to know what she saw in the lower levels of the sub base. But Ange isn't talking. This is for some stupid power struggle and she doesn't feel like helping them play along. Before the interrogators lay into her properly, a woman appears and ends the interrogation, throwing her back into... a cell?

    AN-94 is there and removes the hood covering her head. All of DEFY is here now, in a nice room somehow. Before they have time to discuss, Ange's saviour arrives and informs them that they're all being released, into house arrest in Berlin.

    Commander - Selene's Dream

    The base is recovering, still low on manpower (dollpower?) but rebuilding. The commander is very busy and tired from admin work. Kalina had a fever at her last health checkup and is recovering in the base's hospital.

    News report - DRF News 10:00 AM

    Commissioner Klautz visits North Ossetia-Alania to pay tribute to victims of the Beslan School Siege (a real event from 2004 in Chechnya).

    Germany plans to further develop diplomatic ties with the Neo-Soviet Union. The two have cooperated to build a decontamination facility in Berlin, due to go live soon.

    The mysterious explosion and fire at the Bremen Refugee Settlement is now under control. The government asks people not to spread rumours and hearsay.

    Morridow Voight, Chairwoman Ulrich's secretary, has gone missing and a search is underway. It totally had nothing to do with her apparent appearance at the refugee settlement.

    Commander - Wrestling Snakes I

    Squad Puzzle, composed of General Liu, AUG Para, VHS, M200, and SL8, are fighting a Paradeus threat. Morridow appears and shuts them all down, ending the combat sim. They're struggling to survive at all, while the commander tries to find a way to make it work for them. It's not the best use of their time, but Ange's intel shows that Paradeus will be a prominent threat, so they want to train as much as possible.

    Perhaps the commander can make this work, with a hands-on approach to the battle.

    The Way of What is to Come

    M200 introduces the various Paradeus enemies to Squad Puzzle, for our benefit.

    Commander - Wrestling Snakes II

    Kryuger dispatches the commander on a mission to Berlin at short notice, with the AR Team and Dandelion. They're to kidnap a girl and take her to a safehouse to be passed to someone else. Commander wants to see Kalina before leaving, she's just been diagnosed with suspected ELID infection.

    Survival Guide

    Dandelion recounts the various squads' performance in the combat sims against Paradeus. Of particular note is Squad Puzzle, who have not yet cleared the sim and work very poorly as a team.

    Ange - An Arrow in Flight II

    DEFY are released from Stasi custody with many questions about what's going on. Someone has pulled strings to have them released, someone powerful enough to make the Stasi play nice.

    Ange is still in the mood to crack some skulls though, and so it shall be.

    News report - DRF News 08:03 PM

    A large-scale power outage on the outskirts of Berlin. Residents have taken to the streets and it sounds like it could get rowdy.

    Commander - Lurking

    The commander and AR Team watches the village of Bohnsdorf from the perimeter, observing large numbers of Paradeus units inside. T-Dolls will be detected immediately if they enter, so only the commander will be able to slip in. Disguised as a refugee, they bluff past the checkpoints and enter the village, helped by a little girl named Elsa.

    Elsa shows them around the village, and suggest how they can integrate with the residents. Frau Elia is the leader of the village, which is religion-centred. "God grants us grace! Paradeus is God!" Wooooah hold on a sec, lady. Not only that, they're fervently anti-technology, no electronics or prosthetics allowed.

    While doing volunteer work for the village, Elsa tells the commander about The Saint, who can supposedly cure ELID patients. Maybe we'll get to meet her.

    Commander - The Birth of Apate I

    It is September 20th, 2064, the anniversary celebration of the founding of Bohnsdorf. During Frau Elia's speech a mysterious woman in a white shawl appears, it's The Saint! She heals a sick refugee that has collapsed during the address.

    Ange - Torricelli's Trumpet I

    Ange wakes up the next morning and gets a sitrep from AK-12. RPK-16 receives a mysterious message for Ange to meet with whoever sprung Ange and DEFY out of Stasi custody. Stasi agents want to have a go with her again.

    Ange - Torricelli's Trumpet II

    Ange and DEFY make their way to the meeting location, followed by Stasi agents. They plan to lose the agents in the midst of the protestors, which is where you come in. RPK-16 makes mention of a cure for ELID, but the pharma companies making them have a history of not lasting long in the market.

    Ange - Torricelli's Trumpet III

    Ange is stuck in the crowd of protesters and struggling to make progress in losing her Stasi followers. Tension run even higher but Ange can feel someone else at work, the sheer movement in the crowd. The Stasi agents are all interrupted by the chaos of the protesters, and Ange arrives at her rendezvous point.

    At the bar, Athena's Owl, Ange finds a normal cheerful environment, except for one lone man in the middle of it all. Her mysterious contact. The man is a Brit, and a Rossartrist - "we're on the same side", and all that. He's been pulling the strings and ensured Ange could make it to Germany.

    The Brit wants Ange to investigate the unrest in Berlin. It's unusual for Berlin, which has been a well developed and peaceful city, and it's suspected that this is in preparation for an even bigger terror attck by Paradeus. Pollen dirty bombs are suspected, and Leone seems to be in the picture again (the senior researcher from the Flora Botanical Research Institute in Bremen).

    The man has also arranged for the commander to make his way to Germany for a reunion with Ange, what a nice guy.

    Commander - The Birth of Apate II

    AR Team is watching the commander from vantage points inside the village. Dandelion discovers that the whole refugee village is a sham, built for the amusement of rich people who watch the poor refugees. With no other suspicious activity or leads to follow, their attention turns to The Saint, whom the rich people are fawning over.

    The commander rescues The Saint, real name Machlian, from a tricky situation and escapes the village safely. The missions seems like it's been blown, but it turns out that Machlian was the girl they were meant to recover all along, what luck! Also she looks identical to Morridow. Hrm.

    Commander - Hemera Points to the Light I

    The commander, AR Team, and Machlian speed out of the village back towards Berlin, but with Paradeus forces in pursuit that've appeared seemingly out of nowhere. To make matters more difficult, is Machlian really Morridow?

    Paradeus will definitely catch up if the straight pursuit continues. Our team moves into the forest and is forced to abandon their damaged truck.

    Commander - Hemera Points to the Light II

    Battle time, AR Team takes the initiative to ambush the Paradeus forces in the forces. They're being directed by a high-ranking leader (her silhouette looks familiar), which is going to make this especially tough.

    Commander - Hemera Points to the Light III

    Having thinned out their numbers a little, our team is now escaping on foot but they're about to be overrun. AR Team is almost out of ammo and Dandelion can't hack enough of the enemy units fast enough to turn the tide.

    Just in the nick of time, VP1915 contacts the commander. She's been sent to support them and get the team to safety, supported by Derringer and Savage Model 99. If they can make it into the city, the Paradeus units should stop chasing them.

    Ange - Athena's Owl

    Ange leaves the bar and encounters Light, who takes her to a mobile command centre where she meets J, and regroups with DEFY. DEFY found this place themselves, reasoning that they should find out who's been surveilling them. J is now in charge of the Stasi operation, and they're free to move around Berlin without interference.

    The mysterious man she met with, The Earl, is none other than... Griffin Lyons, that same Griffin of G&K. He's trustworthy, -ish, but at least they're on the same side.

    Light has been busy investigating the same things that Ange has, the guys arrested in Bremen at the end of Dual Randomness. They've been transported to Berlin for imprisonment, but Leone, the botanical researcher of particular interest, has been released into a mental institution.

    News report - DRF News 10:00 PM

    Galatea Corp has opened an emergency medical centre in Berlin to provide care for citizens due to the earlier power disruption. Renowned surgeon Gray is also present.

    An operseas Doll manufacturer was accused of poor production quality, following customer deaths due to their Dolls. Scientist worry of Doll crimes are going to become a thing.

    A religious organisation is protesting at the Ministry of Environment over exploitation of natural resources.

    There was an alleged kidnapping in Bohnsdorf, but no one has yet actually been reported missing.

    Commander - Shoulders of a Griffin I

    Our team makes it to safety in Berlin, where VP1915 properly introduces herself and the other two dolls. They also meet Kolibri and Fedorov in the Old Town district, where they're to meet Mr Griffin Lyons.

    Commander - Shoulders of a Griffin II

    A simple puzzle map

    Commander - Shoulders of a Griffin III

    We meet with Griffin! Sort of - for now he's a hologram, because he's busy with other things. But down to business, the girl we extracted from Bohnsdorf. It seems we were indeed sent to find and capture Morridow, and Machlian is maybe not her; we are to find out who or what she is.

    In addition, Griffin has made arrangements for us to team up with Ange again. \o/ He wants us to start with Machlian, and see what we can learn about whatever Paradeus is up to; they definitely want her badly. Paradeus' activities have been steadily increasing in Germany, and the incident in Bremen (Dual Randomness) was just one such instance. Griffin notes that William's influence has finally reached Berlin, which presents a significant threat to... our endeavours.

    On that note, the commander and Griffin wax philosophical. The commander isn't fully trusting Griffin's motives yet, particularly noting that G&K shares the same motto as Rossartrism - to be the shining beacon in a brave new world. They're skeptical it could really work.

    Griffin shows his hand now - Rossartrism is pure idealism, but it lacks rigour for putting into practice. He believes the world needs order and guidance, shaped by those ideals. Griffin wants to put in place that order, at any cost. What shape that will take, is in the heart of man.

    Ange sends the commander a message: meet her at Athena's Owl at 3pm.

    News report - DRF News 04:35 PM

    Protests in the street have turned violent, with clashes between citizens and the police.

    Chapter 2 - The Imaginary

    Commander - Ship of Theseus I

    It's time to roll out and go meet Ange. Before that though, the commander receives a call - it's UMP45 and the rest of 404. Helian has tasked them with ensuring the commander's safety while in Berlin, and Kalina has woken up in the hospital.

    Though their weapons are concealed, AR Team really stands out in the crowd, and black market Doll traffickers are following them hoping to make a grab. They can't shake their pursuers, so with some help from 404 they make it to a secluded alleyway where they can resolve the situation.

    Commander - Ship of Theseus II

    Battle time

    News report - DRF News 10:00 AM

    Unknown religious activites becoming more frequent in Berlin, ELID suspected as cause. Why? Because only 2% of patients actually get proper care. Another 26% can't afford it, and resort to high-risk surgery. The remaining 72% turn to spiritual relief.

    A refugee has been arrested for committing a robbery in central Berlin. This is part of a rising trend of such incidents, and the government is having trouble keeping crime rates under control.

    Galatea Corp celebrates it's centenary today, marking the occasion with the groundbreaking for a new factory. Galatea started out making electronics, and later diversified into AI and nanomaterials, and now pharmaceuticals and cyberprosthetics. They work closely with the Nationale Volksarmee (armed forces).

    Ange - Balls and Vase

    Ange wakes up from a nightmare, her old memory of trauma that she can't forget. Ange hates eating duck, can't stand the taste of it.

    Ange dislikes the Earl/Griffin, and still can't decide if she trusts him. Not that she really has a choice anyway. Meanwhile, she does like Light and admires him. He seems useful and is bound to do well in his career. But... she made that mistake before with Morridow, so she can't help but worry that he could be a Paradeus spy.

    AK-12 has been doing some research, Leone was transferred to Berlin and placed in Galatea Sanitorium after appealing her sentence, basically getting off scot-free. That's puts her out of reach for now, but public records might show other people worth investigating. They're looking for someone powerful, in Berlin, has connections to Leone's research, and has only risen to prominence in the last two years... but they've not yet found anyone fitting the bill.

    Ange and the commander finally meet! They catch up on why they're here in Berlin, with the clearest priority being that William is plotting something big. After hearing each other out, Ange announces to DEFY that it's time to pay Leone a visit.

    Commander - Ship of Theseus III

    The commander makes it to the bar just in time. UMP45 discusses the signal jamming they encountered earlier, she couldn't sense where it was coming from, only that they couldn't make a connection.

    AR Team spots a billboard for Galatea Corp, and one of the refugee testimonials says that Galatea provided spiritual comfort as well as material relief. RO notes that Galatea's name popped up in Bohnsdorf as well, very conincidental.

    DEFY comes out from the bar and meets with AR Team over some small talk. AK-12 confirms that DEFY is in Berlin because of Morridow, and that if they have her in custody then the commander had better be very cautious.

    A Galatea representative, Mrs Gray, discusses their new anti-ELID medication, currently under review with the government. They want it to be cheaper and more accessible for everyone.

    RPK-16 discusses humanity with SOP and RO, and relates the story of the ship of Theseus. Unlike humans, Dolls have parts replaced when they wear out, and in doing so they become more like the ship. Human bodies are "heartbreakingly pure and unadulterated". RPK asks RO, as the prototype for the third generation of Dolls, if she's ever wondered what it's like to be human. Her unrestricted base layer is "as close to a human soul as you can get", and aside from a body of flesh, what keeps her from being a human? Or by comparison, if a Doll's soul were as pure as a human's, and had a body as pure as a human's, is there a functional difference?

    While 404 are watching from the distance, 416 and UMP9 are uninterested but UMP45 is intrigued. She can feel that something's about to happen.

    Ange - Cretan Lier

    Team DEFY and Light go to pay Leone a visit at Galatea Sanatorium, and the place is all abuzz. The media is onsite, with the intrepid Miss Shadowless (newsreader for the DRF News segments) interviewing Mrs Gray, the world-renowned surgeon and public face of Galatea's new ELID drug (anti-Collapse serum, they call it).

    The new drug, Idunn, is touted as an affordable and highly effective treatment. It's currently in the bureaucracy of clinical trials before it can go on sale, but the general public is getting restless and wants it sooner. Post-interview, Shadowless asks Mrs Gray why she's at the sanatorium - it's for a personal visit. Shadowless then runs off hastily, apparently chasing a familiar face that she saw.

    Ange accosts Mrs Gray (politely) while she's in the bathroom, calling her "Lady of Ashes" - they both know each other. Ange asks her about Leone, Galatea has tried to recruit the biochemistry expert but she's never accepted the offer. They just do business sometimes.

    Ange puts it to her that someone in the Flora Institute pulled strings to get Leone moved to Berlin after she was arrested, and avoid punishment for her crimes. The only person in Berlin that fits the bill is Mrs Gray. She denies it of course, it's a weak case with nothing but circumstantial evidence. Mrs Gray continues to evade and counter; she's astoundingly aware of the fact that Ange is in Berlin alone, in contact with the Stasi and not acting on behalf of the Soviet Statesec. Neither side is willing to give up information.

    Mrs Gray admits that she's worked outside of her field with the Flora Institute before, but it's not unusual for someone of her position and professional stature. Surely this would be scandalous if it came out in the media - the esteemed surgeon Mrs Gray was collaborating with a criminal organisation. But she could apologise and denounce the institute, and make a suitable financial gift to helping people.

    Their chat comes to an end, but it seems like they'll be seeing each other again. Mrs Gray has been very flirty this entire time, and offers to repair Ange's arm free of charge if she visits her clinic. She knows she's effectively untouchable, so she can afford to rub it in.

    Ange - Reflection

    Shadowless tries to catch up with the person she saw, but it's too late and she lost them. She chats to her assistant and explains that Mrs Gray is keeping up a facade of wanting to help people, she's savvy and knows how to play the media, and won't let morals get in the way of her real goal. Idunn might well be a wonder drug, but Shadowless is looking for the deeper truth to all this.

    Right after she leaves, Light pops out of the shadows. That must be whom she saw in the corner of her eye.

    Ange - Heraclitus' River I

    Ange sneaks in to talk with Leone but she won't talk. Mrs Gray got there first and threatened Leone, so she won't be easy to crack.

    Instead she goes to interview Powell in prison, the boss guy from Dual Randomness. Ange beats him up until he talks, and he discloses that someone wants Leone's research to make a dirty bomb to commit terror attacks. He gives her a vial of a hallucinogenic drug that's been smuggled into the prison, saying it's a lead for her investigation.

    Ange - Heraclitus' River II

    Time to fight. Ange and DEFY are being followed on the street again as they head back from the prison, Ange tells AK-15 to deal with them. One of the attackers is distributing the hallucinogen in prison. They've found the dealers, now they need the source. There's four people working to bring the stuff and supply it in Berlin, this should be a piece of cake.

    Ange - Heraclitus' River III

    Ange needs L out of the picture because they suspect there are still informants in the Stasi, leaking their movements. Despite both Powell and Leone being arrested, the hallucinogen is readily available in the prison. That means there's another source, or possibly that Powell and Leone's stockpile wasn't seized by the Stasi when they were arrested, hinting at a traitor.

    The commander calls Ange to let her know what they've seen. It's convincing evidence that William is plotting to detonate a huge dirty bomb in Berlin, spreading Epiphylla everywhere. It seems certain that Leone and Mrs Gray must be involved in this.

    Ange - Cracks

    Shadowless gets home and there's... Light?? They're siblings?!? She's worried about the case he's currently assigned to, saying it's too dangerous. Likewise, he's worried about the Idunn vaccine story that she's researching. They're each digging into opposing sides that are in a tussle for power.

    Ange - The Grain of Millet I

    A smuggler delivers a truck full of drugs to a highly secure warehouse just outside the city, it's received by a young Nyto who's cold and unfriendly. The place has connections with Berlin Prison, and the building is owned by Galatea/Mrs Gray - and Ange and DEFY are breaking into it. But it's okay, they're doing it for the Earl so they can get the evidence he needs. He can deal with the fallout.

    Ange - The Grain of Millet II

    The drug-receiving Nyto meets a white Nyto who tells her not to ask questions, and that Operation Cocoon is all they're focusing on right now. Morridow has ordered them to help the doctor, whoever that might be.

    Oops seems they were detected, time to go loud! "Find explosives and blow up the warehouse".

    Ange - The Grain of Millet III

    Things didn't quite go to plan, they had the upper hand on Paradeus during the firefight, then the white Nyto blew up the warehouse. Ange is badly shaken up but still in one piece, AK-12 saved her when the bombs went off, but now needs repairs badly. The warehouse is completely gone.

    Either way, Ange will get when she needs. There should be evidence in the rubble, which will be enough to accuse Mrs Gray and shutdown their plan. That's the idea anyway, before a swarm of police and private security forces show up to arrest her and DEFY. And Mrs Gray, what is she doing here?

    It's all very suspicious, it's clear that Mrs Gray has everyone here in her pocket. As tension builds between the two sides, Light shows up in the nick of time and claims Ange for the Stasi, neither the police nor Galatea can touch her. He shoos away Galatea men trying to clean up the evidence, and takes control of the situation.

    News report - DRF News 6:30 PM

    DRF airs the inteview with Mrs Gray, talking about their new serum, Idunn.

    Ange - Night Festival

    Mrs Gray and Galatea's security forces leave the exploded warehouse and head out of the city, into no man's land. They meet Paradeus forces and a white Nyto, that Gray speaks to and punishes for botching the warehouse intrusion. She orders them to slaughter the Galatea security forces. The white Nyto is to deliver someone's corpse to Morridow, and she makes reference to a mole planted close to Ange.

    Commander - Ariadne's Clew I

    The commander interrogates Machlian. She seems innocent enough and gives answers consistent with that, but when Dandelion arrives to assist she has an emotional meltdown.

    She's clearly experienced trauma at the hands of Paradeus in the past, and Dandelion is forced to subdue her. She determines that Machlian is a Nyto without a doubt, and prepares to hack her directly to find answers.

    One-Sided Recollection

    A little minigame level where you see how many waves of enemies you can get through.

    Commander - Ariadne's Clew II

    We fight our way through Machlian's neural cloud.

    Commander - Ariadne's Clew III

    Dandelion inspects Machlian's memories but they're all weird. There's a tremendous amount of them compared to any Nyto she's seen before, and they're unorganised without timestamps.

    Machlian's memories have been scrubbed by an unseen doctor in a memory segment, it's clear that Paradeus has done this to her. While not complete, the memory scrub has effectively made her memories useless. We see a memory segment showing Nytos committing a terrorist attack on Berlin, releasing clouds of pollen over the entire city to cause ELID infection.

    Commander - Cretan Labyrinth I

    The commander delivers their report to Griffin, William's plan is to detonate numerous small bombs throughout Berlin, as it's more likely to succeed. It's a good start for intel gathering, but they need to know more about where this intel has come from. More about Machlian.

    Commander - Cretan Labyrinth II

    Back into Machlian's neural cloud, we find four memory fragments. Old memories that explain her origin story.

    Machlian escaped the base and survived, waking up in the pouring rain and surrounded by dead abandoned Isomers. She runs away to avoid being purged and ends up in Bohnsdorf, where Elia declares her to be their Saint.

    Two shadowy women talk about their plans, totally Mrs Gray and Narciss based on their silhouettes. Narciss explains that she's hidden many "Iaso's Boxes" all over Berlin. Somewhere in a prison, the inmates are freed but find themselves in the midst of an ELID infestation with the boxes lying around. Explosions on the quarantine wall cause it to be breached, allowing a yellow cloud of mist into the city along with Narciss carrying an Iaso's Box.

    In a series of vignettes we see various black and white Nytos release the yellow mist inside a subway station, in Bohnsdorf, and people dying. Somewhere a little girl survives, apparently immune, and a man takes her in saying he can help her. He uses her for some sort of experiment, then intends to discard her.

    A scientist tests her with Rorschach inkblots before angrily drawing a sample of blood instead, causing her to pass out. Later she wakes up in a hospital bed, surrounded by Nytos clearing out and preparing to move to a new base. She sneaks out of the ward and escapes in a truck that's disposing of abandoned Isomers.

    Commander - Cretan Labyrinth III

    Well now it all makes sense, Paradeus did these terrible experiments on Machlian because they thought she was a pan-immunosome, which would obviously be valuable in developing ELID treatments if you can figure out how it works. Machlian regains consciousness and the commander tells her what they've done and seen in her memories, like Operation Cocoon.

    Machlian explains that her ELID healing ability works with her blood, it's a raw material. They must have experimented with her blood to produce an anti-ELID medicine. She would've met Morridow in that same place, Paradeus is definitely involved. The medicine really seems to work, as Machlian has used it on refugees.

    Commander - The Indecipherable Heart

    Machlian wakes up after getting some rest, and chats with the other dolls at the base. The dolls absolutely cannot cook, they're almost as bad as WA-chan. Perosa saves the day by easily preparing fish and chips. They chatter some more about how Griffin's dolls will probably follow the commander back to their home base once the current mission is over, and SOP-II wants to record an intro video for all of them to send ahead.

    Commander - Dreams on the Island of Dia I

    AR-15 demands that Dandelion helps her dive in to Machlian's neural cloud while she sleeps. She agrees, in a fashion, and they both go exploring to find out more about Machlian's past. SOP-II arrives mid-dive and wants to help, but Dandelion wakes up and sends her away. Before she goes, she draws on AR-15's face with a marker.

    Commander - Dreams on the Island of Dia II

    AR-15 and Dandelion explore Machlian's neural cloud, seeing more fragments of memory. As before, it seems to be a mixture of memories, and visions of events yet to come. We see Morridow massacre refugees in a village, and how she killed Chairwoman Ulrich's real secretary to steal her identity.

    Reaching the end of the trail, they find fragments that look certain to be Morridow's lending credence to the idea that they're one and the same person.

    Commander - Dreams on the Island of Dia III

    AR-15 immediately reports their findings to the commander, who can barely contain their laughter at seeing her drawn-on face. Despite that, they appreciate the seriousness of the news and want to see it for themselves. AR-15 and Dandelion try to show the commander what they found, but that section of Machlian's neural cloud is a mess of memory fragments again, none of them Morridow's.

    Commander - Dreams on the Island of Dia IV

    The commander calls Persica to ask her opinion of the video of Machlian's memories. The events don't match any incidents reported in the media, and it doesn't seem to be forged at all. While inexplicable, the only conclusion is that they're visions of events that haven't happened yet. They can't let this come to pass!

    Persica also hypothesises that the reason they couldn't show the commander Morridow's memories, was because she was awake at the time that they dived in. Their first exploration was when Machlian was asleep, which may have uncovered those Morridow memories.

    Another possibility is that Paradeus units can share memories by a sort of shared telepathy - she observed this happening in Tallinn between the Isomers. That could explain why Machlian has some of Morridow's memories, and would confirm that they're both the same type of Paradeus unit because they're telepathically compatible.

    A final, more farfetched theory, is that they're siblings sharing a telepathic bond. In the same way that human identical twins sometimes seem to have a sixth sense between them, the same thing could be happening here, keeping in mind that Machlian is basically still a human.

    Persica finishes the call by mentioned that Kalina's condition has worsened, she's been moved to a general hospital because the ELID silification appears to be progressing.

    Ange - The Prisoner's Dilemma I

    Battered and bruised, Ange and DEFY get back to the safehouse. Light will stay there for the night because it's late and he doesn't want to wake his sister, a news reporter. Even though she doesn't trust him, which he finds entirely understandable, Ange apologises for causing so much trouble tonight.

    Moments later while chatting with AK-12, their floor of the building comes under attack. Light dispatches a Paradeus Strelet outside the room, while AK-12 disposes of one that just came crashing through the window. It's an all-out assault on the building, they're pinned down in Ange's room by hostiles in the corridor, and a fire has just started on their level!

    RPK-16 arrives just in time to get Ange, AK-12, and Light to safety by busting a hole in the floor below them, but all three of them are injured and not going to be very combat-effective. AK-12 will draw Paradeus' attention and give the others covering fire, while Light will move in another direction to split their forces. Given the extreme risk of this move, AK-12 passes command authorisation to RPK-16 in case she doesn't make it.

    Ange - The Prisoner's Dilemma II

    Escape from the burning building

    Ange - The Prisoner's Dilemma III

    RPK-16 runs out of ammo, and AN-94 and AK-15 arrive in the nick of time to turn the tide of the battle, along with local police and Stasi reinforcements. For the second time tonight, they make it out barely alive. It looks like AK-12 and Light didn't survive though, and a distraught J panics over how he's going to explain this to Shadow.

    Ange receives a call from the Earl, who expresses his disappointment in Ange's actions; this was meant to be an intelligence mission, not combat.

    Ange - Flash

    As actors in the previous act exit the stage, new ones enter.

    Shadow/Shadowless arrives on the scene, flashing her press credentials. There's no one she can interview, but... J is here! She accosts him and immediately asks why the Stasi are involved, and whether Light is okay. Before he can answer she explains that they had an argument, and asks him to pass on a message - maybe he was right after all.

    News report - DRF News 11:07 PM

    Fire at an apartment block in Berlin this evening, with multiple explosions. It's now under control, and has been confirmed that the cause was an old faulty gas pipeline. Interviewed residents say they heard commotion before the fire started, and think it could've been a terrorist attack.

    Chapter 3 - The Symbolic

    Ange - Cratylus' River I

    Ange goes to pay Mrs Gray a visit at her clinic, they have a tense conversation while Gray repairs Ange's arm. They could both very well kill each other in a heartbeat, but won't; not so quickly anyway.

    Ange accuses Gray of orchestrating numerous small-scale terror attacks in Berlin over the last few months, to sow chaos and unrest. But this isn't about the citizens, Ange thinks she's aiming for the politicians to loosen their control over the populace. Gray dances around the question, not admitting to anything specific but being clear that she represents something that Ange hates.

    Gray incapacitates Ange with anaesthetics and takes her gun, and talks about her "teacher" who's spent so much time with Ange in the past - Morridow?? Gray expresses her admiration for Leone and Ange alike; if only they'd been on the same side. Ange has the sudden chilling realisation - Gray is also a Nyto! The real Gray has been a reknowned prodigy for over ten years, but the one standing before Ange is a Nyto that killed her and took her place.

    Gray isn't going to kill her, not yet, but before things get any worse AN-94 and AK-15 show up to save her. Gray manages to escape a shootout, but it looks like she's going to head straight to Leone.

    Ange - Cratylus' River II

    Rescue Ange from Gray

    Ange - Cratylus' River III

    It looks like Ange made it to Leone before Gray could. The TV shows a news report about a terrorist attack on a Galatea medical storage facility on the outskirts of Berlin - all Ange's handiwork, probably a lot of pollen for their dirty bombs has gone up in smoke.

    Leone is still struggling to come around, but it seems no one else can offer her protection - no one has managed to get rid of Ange yet. She concedes, it's her best way out of this mess. Ange needs to know what she's been working on, and what Gray wants from her research.

    Leone explains that collapse fluid has a special interaction with plants. Epiphyllum absorbs Collapse Particles and then re-emits them after a cycle, and while they're captured the Collapse Particles can't be detected by any current technology. This makes Epiphylla a perfect stealth carrier for collapse radiation. Leone is working to figure out how to control the timed release of the Epiphyllum carrier.

    Gray's aim isn't to destroy the city, just to cause pockets of ELID infection. With more sufferers in the population, she can feed them the cure (Idunn) and gain their reliance on her. Ange still thinks she's going to launch a large scale attack at some point though, which will foment a riot and topple the Rossartrist government.

    Leone doesn't know about that part, but she can provide a list of all the places where pollen has been sent in Berlin - those would be upcoming attack sites. Ange doesn't think there's time though, she feels like the crucial juncture is fast approaching. Maybe it's time for another visit (huh?? but we just escaped from Gray).

    Commander - Defying the Moerae I

    The commander is having a bad morning, still stressing about Kalina. Machlian is causing a lot of tension with the AR team dolls (AR-15 in particular), but RO is able to calm her down. There's a lot of interest in the cure that Machlian's blood can produce, but it seems that it's only possible with specialised Paradeus equipment, that's only found in one location - not a viable option.

    The Earl calls. The news is reporting on a terrorist attack at Berlin Hospital, and the media reports exactly match the scene from Machlian's memories. Even the Earl believes that Machlian's memories are some sort of prophecy. It's time to go stop some terrorist attacks!

    News report - DRF News 10:17 AM

    Shadowless with the news. Galatea cancels the Idunn launch event at short notice, and pledges to fix things up ASAP. Insider sources say it's because the truck with the first batch of doses went missing.

    Berlin Hospital experienced an alleged terrorist attack at 0723 this morning. Some patients and medical staff were in the wards when the explosion occurred. Police are investigating.

    Commander - Defying the Moerae II

    Battle time

    Commander - Defying the Moerae III

    The commander enlists the help of 404 to check out the abandoned U-Bahn station, the intel was spot on - huge amounts of explosives, which they defuse. Everyone is still intensely suspicious of Machlian, but everything she's said so far has been true.

    Commander - Clothos' Thread I

    Squad Griffin goes to check out the quarantine wall. Perosa is doing her inspection while chatting to a friendly security guard, perhaps suspiciously so. Just as he's about to ambush her, she turns the tables and confronts him with knowledge of the planted bombs, catching him off guard. She neutralises him then calls Kolibri and Savage 99 for a status update.

    The bombs are all neutralised, but the failure of the plan sends a signal to Paradeus to attack the quarantine wall head-on. With the regular security forces having all been neutralised due to being Paradeus double agents, Squad Griffin are now on their own along with the commander's forces who've just arrived on the scene.

    Commander - Lachesis' Measure II

    Finally time to face off against Narciss as she makes her first direct appearance in confrontation.

    Commander - Clothos' Thread III

    They beat Narciss and her forces, but only barely. As Narciss retreats she spots Machlian and tries to kill her with a thrown knife, but just misses thanks to the commander tackling her out of the way.

    Machlian is overjoyed, the quarantine wall is still standing. Up until now, everything she's seen in her "memories" has come true, but the commander has changed that this time. Machlian has always had trouble separating dreams and reality because they ended up being the same thing.

    AR-15 still thinks this is all an elaborate Paradeus plan for Machlian to get close to the commander and put them at risk, then eventually double cross them so that Paradeus can kill them.

    Commander - Lachesis' Measure I

    The commander's team arrives in Bohnsdorf to find even less security than they expected. It's a large civilian village but there should still be an alert Paradeus security presence, everyone feels uneasy that it's so quiet.

    Machlian is a wildcard, she wants to go in with the commander, but she risks being recognised by the villagers. The commander eventually agrees, despite AR-15's protests. Squad Griffin will scout around inside as well, while 404 stands by to extract them if things get hot.

    Commander - Clothos' Thread II

    We bust into Bohnsdorf to defuse the bombs, first stop Frau Elia's manor. But... where is everyone? There's no signs of explosions but the village is deserted. Sensing movement inside the manor, everyone rushes in and catches up with Elia, who's standing behind an altar full of explosives and a vial of collapse fluid. Machlian can talk her down, but her hand is on the detonator ready to finish the job... and she pushes the button.

    The bomb doesn't go boom though, it releases a wave of collapse particles to irradiate the village. Explosions are heard outside as some villagers blow themselves up at the same time. There might still be time to save the other villagers if they can defuse the Iaso's Box in time.

    Commander - Lachesis' Measure III

    The commander's team can't stop all the explosions, there's just too many and the villagers won't cooperate. Many succumb to the intense collapse radiation and start to show signs of ELID infection.

    Machlian spots Elsa on the road, the little girl that helped us before, but she's badly injured and the infection is taking hold. Machlian feeds her own blood to Elsa in a desperate attempt to save her, but it's futile and Elsa dies in her arms. Anguished that she couldn't save Elsa, Machlian agrees to help the commander 100%, no more holding back. They'll go the prison where they can hopefully save everyone there, then find the Paradeus facility where the blood medicine can be made.

    Ange - Achilles and the Tortoise I

    True to her word, Ange has arranged for the Stasi to protect Leone at the sanatorium, along with RPK-16 as her bodyguard. Leone is not happy about this at all, considering that RPK broke her fingers last time in Bremen. RPK goads Leone a bit, but while bantering RPK explains that she wants to become human, as she thinks it would bring her closer to perfection.

    J arrives and they talk some more, but it's not long before Paradeus forces assault the sanatorium, led by a black Nyto. RPK thinks they might be outmatched, the local security forces just aren't that strong in capability or numbers. They should run.

    Ange - Achilles and the Tortoise II

    Kill the black Nyto leading the assault.

    Ange - Achilles and the Tortoise III

    Light's not dead! Along with DEFY, the Stasi is able to take out the Nyto and resolve the battle in a matter of seconds. J is pissed though, he thought Light was dead. Ange sorta had a hand in that.

    Paradeus sent a force just large enough to assault the weakened Stasi, but not more so they could avoid being detected as easily. Ange suggested that Light fake his own death so that Paradeus would underestimate them for the next attack.

    No such luck for Leone though. RPK calls in to report that she's dead, they were ambushed by a white Nyto. Ange couldn't protect her like she promised she would.

    Ange - Zeno's Circle of Knowledge

    Light analyses the remains of the strelets that assaulted the sanatorium, but there's no records for their DNA at all. They're almost certainly from the unregistered population in one of the yellow zones, outside a city. Gray has slipped out of their grasp too, she hasn't been found and none of the Galatea security guards from the other night can be found either.

    The media has heard about the attack of course, it would've been unmissable. Gary hasn't appeared to make a public statement yet, but even if she did there's nothing that the Stasi could arrest her for. The white Nyto's corpse was recovered, but she committed suicide already and there's no surveillance footage to see how it all happened.

    Leone is dead, Gray is missing, and Leone's killer is already dead, so there's no more leads to work with. Unless... Morridow! Ange calls the commander, they're with Morridow. Or Machlian, whatever she is. The commander can't help her right now, she's asking for Machlian to be sent over to her, which is no good. The commander promises to finish the current mission then they'll sort something out.

    This hits different, Ange feels betrayed and let down by the commander. Her rage passes and she decides that she needs to speak with the Earl, there's no point just waiting around. The team visits Athena's Owl, the bar they met the Earl at previously. It's deserted, making it easier to get past the bartender and look around. There's a secret room hidden behind the bar shelves but it's empty, clearly used as an intel meeting room in the past though. A spot on the map is circled in red, and labelled "Angelia" - she understands something now.

    Commander - Atropos' Shears I

    Elsa's death hits Machlian much harder than it does the commander, they're admittedly somewhat indifferent to it. Machlian still wants to come on the next mission, though she struggles with the meaning of her existence now.

    Arriving at Berlin Prison, Dandelion finds that the security systems have all been sabotaged and are offline. Could this be another quarantine wall situation again? At that instant a guard rushes in and reports that a riot has started, followed by explosions. Here we go again.

    Commander - Atropos' Shears II

    We assault the prison and disarm as many of Iaso's Boxes as we can, before they explode and produce more ELID infected enemies.

    Commander - Atropos' Shears III

    The explosions have been stopped but there's too many inmates to contain, they won't be able to keep them from escaping onto the streets. Machlian and the commander talk some more while they wait in the control room for the situation to settle down. Everyone regroups, then a call comes through from Ange. She's extremely angry and not her usual self. She want's Machlian sent over, but the commander can't do that right now.

    Now that the prison situation is resolved, Machlian prepares to give the commander of coordinates to their next destination.

    News report - DRF News 11:01 PM

    Breaking news, a riot has broken out in Berlin Prison and an intense firefight can be heard. Police have sealed the area, and members of the Collapse Particle Disaster Response Group are on the scene too. Injuries are being treated, and all escaped inmates have been recaptured.

    This riot is another violent incident following the recent unrest on the streets.

    Chapter 4 - Gaze

    Ange - Schröedinger's Car

    Ange keeps talking about The Mansion, it was the place marked on the map at the bar. She's certain that it's connected to William, and that that's their next lead on what to do in Berlin. They don't want to make too much of a ruckus, but they're heading straight for the front door, whether or not someone is there. No plan, no strategy. If the Earl doesn't say anything by 3pm, they're going in.

    Light asks to have a heart-to-heart talk with Ange. She can't see why he'd want her advice, but he admires her greatly for her heroic spirit and never giving up, it's something he aspires to. He produces a cufflink with the letter U on it, his Stasi codename. Legend has it that there used to be exactly 26 agents in the very beginning, all with different names. They don't take codenames the same way any more, they pick a word that they think represents them, and use that abbreviation.

    Light is the Unknown. He's not a senior agent yet so he's not entitled to the codename, but he's getting there. He's unsure if that's the path he wants to follow though. Light gives Ange the cufflink to hold onto for now. He wants her to give it back to him at the end of this mission, if she feels he's earnt it. She thinks it's weird for her to be adjudicating his graduation exam, as a Soviet agent, but agrees to his request.

    RPK-16 also wants a chat, she thinks this mission is a bad idea. It's too rash and she should seek council from someone in HQ, but Ange has tried contacting someone already without success. RPK wonders if AK-12 had to deal with this uncertainty when she was in charge, but Ange says she always kept to worrying about how to fulfil her commands, never whether they are a good idea. It's not up for discussion, the operation must go ahead

    Ange - Remembrance

    RPK-16 chats with AN-94 as they get ready for the mission. RPK is certain that AN-94 would make a better fill-in leader for DEFY, but she denies it. AK-12 wouldn't pass leadership to RPK-16 without well-considered reasoning.

    AN-94 knows she's up to something, but can't discern what she's getting at. RPK-16 asks why she has such a sense of inferiority, but she insists it's simply a matter of practicality.

    News report - DRF News 8:06 AM

    Protesters have taken to the streets demanding that the government approve and distribute Galatea's Idunn serum. Police are having a tough time keeping the peace.

    Ange - Pandora's Box I

    The Mansion is William's former residence in Berlin, so that's what Ange has been talking about. AN-94 and Light will stay outside along with the Stasi agents, while Ange, AK-15, and RPK-16 head inside to investigate.

    Ange - Pandora's Box II

    Search the mansion to find clues.

    News report - DRF News 11:05 AM

    News updates: Mrs Gray is still missing, many citizens have gathered to pray for her safety.

    Nearby conflict on the streets is escalating, and riot police have been dispatched to get the situation under control. More and more protesters are coming out to join them.

    Ange - Pandora's Box III

    Ange finds a study in the mansion with a huge family tree printed on the wall. The two youngest family members have been burnt out, but she's fairly sure it's a boy and a girl. Lunasia, perhaps..? Before she can look more, Light calls in to say that they're under attack by Paradeus right outside the mansion, they need to leave ASAP.

    RPK-16 enters the study and closes the door. Ange immediately senses that something is off, this isn't time for it but RPK starts waxing philosophical. Does humanity's future lie in plants? How about in Dolls? Dolls have a flaw, they don't know pain or emotions, or the meaning of life and death. Dolls perish all the time at the bidding of their human masters, yet only humans can truly die; a paradox. RPK is upfront, she tells Ange that she wants to be human, that she wants that perfect existence that only real humans can experience.

    Ange is quick, but simply can't compare to a doll, as RPK-16 shoots Ange's gun out of her hand. She's gone limiters-off, what's happened to her?? Paradeus, she says. Paradeus can give RPK-16 what she wants and she's going to turn Ange over to them in exchange. She saw it before in Morridow, RPK believes that Paradeus can create humans with neural clouds. They should be able to place her neural cloud inside a body of flesh.

    In shock Ange suddenly realises, RPK-16 was the spy planted next to her all along. She couldn't do anything before, but now that she has command authorisation for the other DEFY members, she can get what she wants without AN-94 and AK-15 stopping her. AK-15 arrives quickly enough to create an opening for Ange to escape without interference, but Paradeus forces are closing in quickly. AK-15 confirms authorisation to extract and retrieve RPK-16's core.

    Ange - Brain in a Vat I

    AN-94 and Light were talking just earlier outside when the realised something's not right. Everything has gone too quiet, and Light's underlings aren't answering their radios. Mrs Gray appears from nowhere and attacks, with Nytos and other Paradeus soldiers in tow. Not only did they neutralise his squads, how did Gray know that Ange was here? Was this an ambush?

    Ange - Brain in a Vat II

    Escape from the mansion!

    Ange - Brain in a Vat III

    Ange keeps taking down Paradeus troops, but they just don't stop coming. Did RPK-16 help plant this ambush as well? The front door is out of the question, but she's having trouble finding a window to exit through as well. Thankfully the enemy soldiers aren't trying to kill her, it's clear they're aiming for non-lethal shots.

    Light arrives to help her out of a tight corner, but getting out of the mansion won't be enough. Gray has brought a big enough army to subdue them all, having walked straight into this trap. Just as they turn to escape, there's Gray! She slices his arm almost clean off with her mechanical scorpion tail and threatens Ange.

    Ange - Möbius Strip

    AK-15 battles RPK-16 fiercely, but RPK is too fast. In a moment of luck they both run out of ammo, and this is just enough time for AK-15 to close in and grapple her. Sweeping her off her feet, AK-15 pummels her mercilessly. Through this, RPK manages to talk. She'll be repaired and reborn at the factory, but her memories can't be wiped. She won't be able to forget that she had the urge to become human. Shaw called her "Pandora".

    Just as she's about to finish RPK-16 with her pistol, a flash of gray comes out of nowhere and severs her right arm, taking her MP-443 along with it. Mrs Gray is now here it seems, along with an injured Ange. As Gray and RPK-16 talk, AK-15 analyses the situtation. Ange is now in a dire condition, and AN-94 is probably still somewhere in the mansion. She draws her combat knife and moves to attack Gray.

    AK-15 moves faster than sound as she lunges towards Gray, but is impaled on her claw spike. She doesn't stop there though; fully impaling her body on Gray's arm, she goes to attack the tail, but she's stopped by RPK. Attacking again with the knife, she's able to get Gray to drop Ange so she can swoop in and claim her. She is incredulous - did she really just have something snatched from her by a Doll with only one arm?

    That's enough for her, and she makes her escape by body-charging through a wall while carrying Ange in her arms. Facing two Nytos in the corridor, she single-handedly disables both of them before RPK and Gray manage to catch up, retrieving Ange in the process. AK-15 is impaled on Gray's tail and isn't going anywhere. Light appears and tries to shoot Gray, but he's too injured to be effective, he should be dead by now.

    Gray can't attack Light with her tail as long as AK-15 is holding onto it, and that's enough time for Light to charge in. It's no good, her tail flicks and impales Light square in the chest. With his last, he shouts for AN-94 who rushes in from the flank to attack Gray's other side. Light heroically detonates a string of grenades around his body, allowing AN-94 to close the distance and finish off the weakened Gray.

    But it's not enough. RPK electronically disables both AN-94 and AK-15, and they have nothing left to give. It's finally over.

    News report - DRF News 6:09 PM

    Breaking news: an intense shootout between unknown parties inside a mansion in Berlin. With the confrontation in the city centre spiralling out of control, the police don't have the manpower to respond to this incident as well.

    Shadowless reporting from out front of the mansion. Aside from the emergency response crew, there are no police here, they just don't have the capacity. There are six bodies here but the cause of death is unknown. Responders have also found human body parts, but they're yet to be identified.

    Commander - Nyx's Night I

    The commander's team has arrived at Machlian's coordinates, and makes plans to infiltrate. It doesn't look like there's any security forces, nor too many surprises with the layout of the facility. Machlian confirms that she was born at this facility, and subjected to experiments once the scientist realised she was a semi-immunosome. He probably wasn't planning on using the serum to help other people though.

    Machlian took some medicines that could cure ELID with her when she escaped. She fairly believes that the equipment to make it should still be in there.

    Commander - Nyx's Night II

    The commander and AR team prepare to enter the facility, while Squad Griffin will stay topside to provide perimeter security.

    Earlier at the mobile command post: AR-15 is still feeling suspicious of Machlian, and makes her concerns known to Perosa. Perosa agrees in principle, that something didn't feel right about Machlian's escape story, it was too easy. And then she went to Bohnsdorf, meaning she never really escaped them. Paradeus responded very quickly in Bohnsdorf too, as though they knew she was coming. Perosa and AR-15 agree to keep in touch, Perosa will follow them in and provide backup if anything happens. AR-15 will mark their entry path with an invisible UV-fluorescent powder to help.

    Thanks to Dandelion's maps, they're able to reach their destination very quickly with no diversions. Machlian confirms the location of the synthesis room, so they move in to investigate. Steeling herself, she climbs into the seat of the synthesis machine and prepares to have blood drawn - the machine should automatically perform the extraction and synthesise the medicine.

    While checking in with Perosa, the radio is cut off by static and the synthesis machine starts sinking into the floor, Machlian included. Dandelion can't sense what's going on, she's been cut off from the systems. RO635 likewise can't contact the surface, and the weird pillars outside the room have started glowing.

    Dandelion is dazed and can't help, while the rest of AR Team can hear rapidly approaching footsteps. Squad Griffin and 404 should be on the way down to help, but for now they'll have to engage!

    Commander - Nyx's Night III

    Fight your way out of the lab to get to safety.

    Commander - Nyx's Night IV

    The enemy is pushing too hard and the AR Team can't hold out any longer. Despite being disconnected, Dandelion can still analyse the layout of the facility and suggests falling back, taking a detour to get back to the main corridor. There's no other choices so it'll have to do.

    Meanwhile Machlian is stranded downstairs with the synthesis machine. She has the serum but now needs to find a way out.

    Commander - Hypnos' Eyes I

    On the surface, Perosa decides that something has gone wrong and radios 404 for assistance. Squad Griffin will catch up with the commander, while 404 will take care of the signal jammer It's making communication completely impossible so they'll be going in blind.

    404 enters through a ventilation duct to reach the ecology sector, which is the shortest route to the control room. It includes a lot of vats with human-machine hybrids, somewhere between life and death. One tank has a still-sort-of-active girl scratching at the glass of her tank. She has a large mechanical limb extending from her spine, which sounds kind of like someone we know... UMP45 takes aim and puts an end to her miserable existence with a single shot.

    There's a lot of weird little pillars inside the ecology sector, UMP45 cracks one open to find out what's inside; it's definitely not emergency lighting. It actually looks like... these are jammer/suppression units, but they're not for dealing with comms. It's to disable some of Paradeus' experimental creations. Someone heavily reliant on connectivity, like Dandelion!

    Commander - Hypnos' Eyes II

    We fight our way through the facility and hack terminals along the way to get to the control room where the commander is.

    Commander - Hypnos' Eyes III

    404 reaches the control room and manages to overpower the Paradeus forces. Switching off the jammers will be hard because they overlap and cover for each other, meaning they all need to be disabled simultaneously.

    The commander thinks the Paradeus troops are probably holding back, it looks like they're trying to capture Dandelion alive. If nothing else, they'd probably love to get their hands on a mature OGAS system. They keep moving in an attempt to get back to the main corridor.

    Up ahead they hear ethereal choir voices, it's a song the commander has heard before... Isomers! They press ahead, guns raised, into the next room. It's... lots of girls in tanks of liquid, it's another lab. Dandelion access the terminal and confirms that they're all dead. Their brains are dead and the singing is like a form of muscle memory. The bodies are still alive and the hearts are beating, and the machines sustain the biological functions, but they're really just corpses. At the commander's request Dandelion shuts them all down, and the room goes quiet and dim.

    They hear EMP explosions nearby, that means the cavalry has arrived, Squad Griffin is just up ahead!

    Commander - Thanatos' Kiss I

    Squad Griffin has been moving into the facility by following AR-15's trail, but it goes cold when they reach a closed door that they can't pass. Up ahead they hear a noise in the corridor, it's Machlian! She's found Squad Griffin by coincidence. Machlian explains that Paradeus managed to hide from Dandelion's scans, then she got separated when they were ambushed.

    Something's not right though, Machlian says that the commander and her were together when they got separated, but Machlian was alone when that happened. She claims to have left the commander in a safe empty room while she's come out to find help.

    Perosa questions how Machlian managed to get so high up in the facilty before meeting Squad Griffin, especially because she's lost a lot of blood. Her explanation definitely isn't adding up, there's no way that Machlian would've gotten to this part of the facility if they were escaping from the control room. Her lies have backed her into a corner, here it comes...

    Something lashes out from the shadows, it's Narciss! And this "Machlian" is really Morridow. Morridow leaves saying she has something important to do. Looks like they're in for a fight with Narciss now.

    Commander - Thanatos' Kiss II

    Okay we kinda don't, we approach her on the map and then the map ends.

    Commander - Thanatos' Kiss III

    Squad Griffin are fighting Narciss, but she's tough and can shrug off most of their attacks. Just as Perosa commits to retreating for now, the AR Team shows up on the opposite side and flanks Narciss with a hail of bulllets. The two teams reach an impromptu agreement, they'll flank Narciss from both sides to have the best chance of landing any solid attacks on her.

    But it's not enough, and more Paradeus troops are approaching from behind the commander as well. Narciss is too strong, Perosa insists that Squad Griffin will stay behind to cover their escape. They're not all getting out of here alive, but the commander definitely can. Before they leave Perosa tells AR-15 that Morridow is disguised as Machlian, but she's been marked so that they can identify her. There'll be a telltale sign on her shoulder.

    Commander - Chaos' Abyss I

    The way to the surface is a maze, and the maps they have are out of date. If they can't get out soon then Paradeus will catch up with them, and it'll have all been for nothing. Walking along the corridor they hear a tapping noise, it's Machlian behind an adjacent wall.

    She says she can lead them out to safety, the commander has a tough decision to make - to trust her or not. The commander trusts her, but AR-15 says she has proof it's Morridow. She produces the UV torch but... there's nothing there, her shoulder is clean. The group continues on, and now led by Machlian progress is much faster.

    They're almost at the exit when they hear approaching footsteps from the outside. It is the sound of fate, that Machlian has been dreading for too long. Morrodow appears and impales her sister, it's been a long time but they're finally reunited.

    Commander - Chaos' Abyss II

    Aww crap, now we have both Morridow and Narciss to fight. This is very bad! Actually we can stall Morridow long enough that we don't need to fight.

    Commander - Chaos' Abyss III

    The AR Team is giving it all they've got, but it's not enough against Narciss and Morridow. They're able to thin out the usual Paradeus soldiers but they won't be allowed to leave. No way out, no plan B, no ideas.

    With time running out, 404 makes good and manages to disable the jammers, they receive a call from UMP45. It's payback time! Dandelion hacks all the regular Paradeus forces and makes short work of them, but then freezes up. Morridow has accounted for this, for all contingencies - she expected that something like this could happen as well.

    Dandelion suddenly awakes again and speaks, but she's not Dandelion any more. AR-15 looks into her eyes and knows straight away - M4!?

    "I'm back."

    [Mirror Stage - END]

    >>> line1 = [0x45, 0x55, 0x52, 0x54, 0x20, 0x49, 0x20, 0x4d, 0x41, 0x20]
    >>> line2 = [0x59, 0x4c, 0x4e, 0x4f, 0x20, 0x45, 0x54, 0x41, 0x54, 0x53, 0x4f, 0x50, 0x41, 0x2e]
    >>> line3 = [0xa, 0x49, 0x20, 0x4d, 0x41, 0x20, 0x49, 0x20, 0x4e, 0x45, 0x48, 0x57, 0x2c, 0x20]
    >>> line4 = [0x55, 0x4f, 0x59, 0x20, 0x4d, 0x41, 0x20, 0x49, 0x2e]
    
    >>> ''.join( [chr(x) for x in line1[::-1]] )
    ' AM I TRUE'
    >>> ''.join( [chr(x) for x in line2[::-1]] )
    '.APOSTATE ONLY'
    >>> ''.join( [chr(x) for x in line3[::-1]] )
    ' ,WHEN I AM I\n'
    >>> ''.join( [chr(x) for x in line4[::-1]] )
    '.I AM YOU'
    

    Apostate only am I true.
    I am you, when I am I.

    In Praise Of Distance, a poem by Paul Celan

    Back at the Griffin base, Squad Puzzle is still practising the Paradeus special drill - they're doing really well now! They're interrupted by a group message, a video clip from the commander. It's the intro video that SOP-II wanted to record for Machlian, and we get to see it now too. She's really looking forward to the future, when she'll get to meet everyone.

    News report - DRF News 11:01 PM

    This is Shadowless, now reporting through an independent channel. In the past week the city has seen too much suffering. We ought to express our sorrow for the victims, condolences to their families, and gratitude to the frontline workers rushing to the scenes of disasters.

    All our work is for the sake of peace. All our hope is for the sake of a safe and carefree life. All our criticisms are for the sake of positive change.

    May you turn grief into strength, May heaven be a place on earth.