Chapter 1

You wake up to the jarring buzz of your cellphone next to your ear on the floor. You turn over to look at the ID; it's Mason on your business line. You have a personal line and a business line on the same phone so you don't have to answer half of the calls you receive; but business calls mean money.

"What?" You answer a little too harshly. Maybe if you could remember what year it was you would be a little less grumpy.

"Are you off your head? Where were you?"

Right, the meeting. It was all starting to return to you now. There was new info on the Untitled investigation. There was a lunch meeting set up at Cugini's.

"What time is it?" You peer out the window at a sky full of bright colors. You hoped it wasn't a sunrise.

"It's nearly 8, I'm not going to do this myself. What were you doing?"

"Hookers and meth."

"Meet me at the library in 20 minutes." Mason hangs up. You toss the phone across the hard, wood floor.

You wish you had had a hooker last night, you were up late researching details of the latest Untitled clue.

"For betty was born
to never say nay," you recite aloud from memory.

You caught wind of the clue around midnight and spent nearly three hours confirming it was legit. After you realized it was, you spent the rest of the night reading about E. E. Cummings and looking at the news. Message boards were buzzing about it, splinter leaders and hopefuls were spouting nonsense translations and proclamations as usual.

You remember preparing for the meeting, with about an hour to spare. You must've laid down for a moment to rest your eyes and fallen asleep on the floor. Damn. You should've asked for a wake-up call.

You have a quick shower and check quickly back with one of the splinter forums before leaving your hotel room to meet Mason. It's all shit as far as you're concerned; none of the "breakthroughs" are worth a damn. Lately there has been a school of thought that says the message is not in the message, but in the remainder of the poem not quoted -- reading between the lines, or outside them as it were.

You push your laptop closed in agony. Your eyes sting from the sheer stupidity of the words that had been on the screen. You'll figure this out later; of course it will be too late by then but whatever. New info is new info and is better than some 12-year old tough guy on the internet who thinks they know how to interpret 20th century literature.

Lights off, key card in your wallet, and you're on the less-than-bustling street of the Wayne, Pennsylvania. You spot Mason on the far side of library, reading a book. Mason is a tough-looking guy, about medium height with a thick chest and a square head. He looked out of place in a library and even more out of place reading that relic.

"What's that for?" You ask as you approach.

"It's Cummings."

"Can't you just use an ebook?"

"I thought I'd take a look at ink on paper."

"Don't tell me that's what the meeting was about."

"It was mentioned, but no. Apparently there's a guy in the area who knows what's what on Untitled. We had a profile made up about him; it's likely he won't be around by tomorrow. About an hour ago I got the library search feed, and someone logging on with a new account, named Zachary Fleming-Boyles searched some hot topics. We checked out the rest of the data but it's all fake."

"If you ask me you shouldn't be able to use the internet without a social security number."

"Yeah well, he's in the area. We've gotta find him tonight. If he used a public internet connection he's probably flying solo, or he could be trying to throw us off. He might be staying with a friend but I think we should check the hotels first.

"Yeah yeah, I'm on it. Let me know if we get any more data on this guy. Do we know what he looks like?"

"His RID is pretty basic, looks made up actually. Here it is anyway."

"Hello Zach," you say as you skim through the details of your target. The RID is as vague as possible; even the picture looks generic. "I think I've got it, I'll call if I find anything."

You turn the lights off as you open the door to leave the library. Meeting in closed buildings was one of the few pleasures that went along with being a Revolution-contracted private investigator.

"Oh, Gray," Mason says as you're walking out. "Just because you're a rock star now, doesn't mean you get to skip meetings whenever the hell you want."

"I came this one."

You get back to your hotel room with new information and a target. It's 9 p.m.

>Jack in and search the local police database to see if Zach has any criminal record

You know Mason can be careless but he's usually pretty thorough about background info. Just to be safe, you jump on a police database search and check out Zach. He's clean through and through; not so much as a parking ticket.

What do you do?

> Use USB stick to hack into the library database. Access Zachary Fleming-Boyles's user data, then log in with it and access his history.

Mason left you access to some public library records, so you check out Zach's search history.

"The Revolution (organization), TheAngel"

Nothing else was searched, nothing but wikipedia was accessed; at least that what the records show. Even after some more digging, the library's records don't produce anything helpful.

You sit back in your desk chair and rub your eyes. You're not used to getting so much sleep and it's throwing you off.

"Let's back up," you say out loud. "What do we know about Untitled?"

Untitled started up about three years ago as a movement centered around several anonymous and untraceable posts. This movement was largely unnoticed until last year when John Dextre published an article in the New York Times about its recent massive support. He dubbed the following "Untitled," because as far as the public was concerned, the following had no name. If any of the members knew the name, they had never shared it publicly.

The clues come every so often from the supposed "leader" of Untitled. Sometimes they're a week apart, sometimes its several months. The clues are always posted from a mysteriously unmarked source, which is part of the poster's signature. Many copycats have tried to give their own clues, but haven't been able to replicate the perfect anonymity. Every attempt to trace IPs has led to dead ends and people behind computers who were just as uninformed as you are.

There are also Untitled splinter groups dub themselves various things, the largest of them being Vaguest. Vaguest's leader is named Nathan Bynes. Bynes lives and runs his website's server from his house in Dublin, but most of his following is in the midwest, where he started. Everything about Vaguest, and all the other named splinter groups has been investigated and filed away as useless for tracing Untitled.

So what do you have? Another excerpt from another 20th century author--at least that stays consistent, but what does it mean? No, you think, you don't have time to figure out the clue right now, you have a target. Targets are leads, and leads are answers. You have to find out where this "Zach" is.

What do you do?

> Go through Mason's stuff. A picture would be very helpful to help find people who've seen him in the library and in the surrounding area.

> Since it's night, search for hotels in the area. Then see if we can find one where Zach reserved a room.

Another nice thing about working for the Revolution is the sheer amount of data you have access to as a private investigator. Individuals and businesses are free to choose if they want to provide information to the Revolution. If they do, good on them, the Revolution gives back in other ways. If they don't, they're just disqualified from entrance into Revolution facilities. It's completely up to them; most places choose to cooperate. You're not here to judge right or wrong, just to look up if any Zacharys have checked into any hotels.

You check a dozen hotels, but no matches for Zachary Fleming-Boyles or anything remotely close. You jump on an ariel map and see how many hotels there are in the area.

"Fifteen, damn," you say. There's at least one uncooperative hotel in every town; here there are three. Of course he would stay in a Rev-neutral place; the less information available the better. You take down the names and addresses of the three hotels.

"Okay, so we have Cove Haven, Celebrity Resorts, EconoInn. He's got to be staying at one of those."

What do you do?

> Head to the EconoInn.

EconoInn's the closest; it's a 15 minute walk from your hotel so you decide to try it out first. You grab the RID, put it in your coat. It's only barely tolerable to wear at night at this time of the year, but it helps the look when you're snooping around. You get out onto the street and light up a cigarette. You breathe it in as you walk through the small side-streets towards the other side of town.

About ten minutes into the walk, you spot a man covered in mismatched tattered clothing, passed out against a building, face-down. You're surprised to see what looks like a homeless person in a small place like Wayne. You walk into the street to avoid stepping on him, but he hears you and lifts his head up. In a drunken and sleepy voice he calls out at you.

"Heyyyy youu ... come heeeere a minit youu ..."

You ignore him. You hear him try to get to his feet, fall down and curse back into a slumber. Finally you get to the EconoInn, a cheap family hotel on the edge of town. You enter and see a few people in the lobby. Some are standing and talking with each other, some are sitting in chairs, and there are a few using the computers near the staircase. Despite knowing the hotel is both family-operated and Revolution-neutral, you try using your Revolution status to check on information.

"Excuse me sir, has a gentleman who looked like this checked in today?" You flash the RID photo at the man behind the desk.

"No, sir," he responds unobjectively.

"Do you think I could look at the guestbook today, sir?"

"I don't think so."

You frown; oh well, you tried. You're just about to try a new approach when your cell starts ringing. You nod at the clerk, walk back to an unoccupied corner and answer it quietly.

"Where are you?" Mason asks.

"EconoInn, on the west side of town."

"Good, he's there. He accessed the library and wikipedia again from the hotel computers about 10 minutes ago."

"What did he search for?"

"'The Rapture,' 'Anti-Revolution groups' and 'Untitled.'"

"What's The Rapture?"

"Not sure, the page was about rock band, I'm working on it right now."

"He's being so obvious, but he has to know he's being watched, why attract all this attention?" You can't figure out why someone targeted by the Revolution as a major Untitled contact would be so upfront with his internet searches.

"He's good," you say more quietly into the speaker. "He picked the only Rev-neutral hotel in town; they won't even let me see the guestbook, much less let me up to his room."

Mason pauses. "You're staking it out then?"

"He has to leave sometime. Those search records are shit; he's teasing us. He's obviously got something hidden. Let's get his usage data off the machine he used here," you turn and look around to make sure no one is listening in. "I'll need your expertise."

"EconoInn? I'll be over in an hour. Let me know if find anything else out."

You close the phone and put it in your pocket. You walk over to the corner where people are using computers and try to get a look at their faces. No, he wouldn't still be down here. He's up in his room where he's safe.

"Excuse me, sir?" The clerk from the desk has walked over to you. "Can I help you with something?"

"No, thanks."

"Well, I'm going to have to ask you to leave," he says politely and firmly.

What do you do?

> Walk up to the counter and say, "Well then I believe you can help me with something. I need a room for the night. 1 bed please."

The clerk follows you to the desk smiles. "That will be $100."

Not a problem, you have a Revolution expense account for just this sort of thing. He takes your credit card and gives you a key. You smile and walk over to an empty chair to wait for Mason.

--

11:30 rolls by and still not sign of Mason or Zach. You've casually questioned everyone who has left the hotel since you arrived, but none seemed suspicious. A few minutes later Mason enters, his face as angry as ever. Mason is the kind of guy who you can't ever tell exactly what he's thinking. That's good for him, it helps him negotiate deals and handle tough guys, but it's hard to know when he's actually angry or when he's just putting on the face.

"You're late," you say as you stand up.

"Go to hell. Which computer is it?"

"I don't know I didn't see him use it."

"Oh fuck me." Mason hands me a black bag and walks over to the hotel clerk.

"Excuse me there was a pale, thin looking guy here earlier, using your computers to make a threat to a family--the Douglesses. I'm going to have to close your hotel for the night; the police are on their way to investigate. We can only assume you could be hiding him here; you understand." Mason speaks in a judgmental, condescending and harsh voice.

You watch the clerk's face go from hospitality to panic in ten seconds. He's young; probably in the family but he hasn't been in the business long. He stammers, picks up his phone and hangs it up again.

"Why?" He finally manages.

"Well I can't really say; it's something about a bomb and some young girls--hostages. They might even be upstairs. Do you remember seeing this guy?"

"Y-yes, he used that computer there, on the end."

"Thanks, stay right there and an officer will be on his--" Mason stops mid-sentence and reaches for his phone. He opens it and starts talking in a low tone into it, but still loud enough to hear.

"What, you've got them? Great, I'll be over shortly. Thanks." He puts the phone away and turns back to the clerk. "They just found the hostages. Looks like we had the wrong guy. My mistake, sorry to waste your time." Mason nods and walks back over to me.

"Don't you know how to do anything, Gray?" Mason grabs his bag.

"When did you get a description of the guy?"

"He's an Untitled contact. He's going to be pale and thin nine times out of ten." Mason walks over to the computer on the end and hooks something from his bag into it. You step outside for a smoke while he works, but stay near the door to make sure you don't miss anyone leaving. When you go back inside Mason is just unplugging everything. He walks over to you with a disappointed look on his face.

"There's nothing else. Everything he typed on that machine was recorded in the library's history. He's got some damn good cover skills--quiet too."

"No shit."

You wonder if this guy could be the leader of Untitled. What would you get if you brought in the leader of Untitled and exposed the entire operation? How much money would that be worth to the Revolution? Half of the internet would probably kill themselves, or you.

You hear the doors open behind you. You turn to find a frazzled-looking man in a business suit enter, walk to the clerk, exchange a few hushed words and then jog up the stairs. You turn to Mason with a raised eyebrow.

"Stay here a minute, I'm going up to my room," you say to Mason. He sits down in the chair you were in without a word. You walk up six flights of stairs, peering down the hall on each level for the man in the suit. On the way back down, you see someone in the hallway of the fourth floor, but it's just an old man out getting a bucket of ice. Frustrated, you go back downstairs where Mason is waiting. As you approach, he stands and nods at the staircase behind you. You turn and see the main in the suit running down the stairs, followed by a thin, pale man with brown hair and hollow cheeks.

The man in front walks confidently towards the door and you almost don't yell out to stop him in time.

"HEY!"

Both men stop and everyone in the foyer, including two men drinking whiskey on the other side of the room, stare at you. You smile and walk slowly towards them.

"What's the rush?" You ask.

"We're extremely late! Is there a problem?" The man in the suit blurts out.

"Whoa, sir. Calm down, I'm just looking for some answers. You guys look pretty suspicious rushing out of this hotel in the middle of the night."

"Who are you?" The suited man demands.

"That's not important, I'm with a Revolution Investigation team, I need to talk to your quiet friend here." With this the pale man looks nervous and a bit angry.

"I'm going to miss my flight," the suited man exclaims. "We're leaving, come on." They both turn to leave again, forcing you to shout.

"NOT so fast!"

"Listen, friend," the suited main turns to you again, nearly bursting with frustration. "I don't care who you are, you could be investigating a murder right now. I have no time for this nonsense. Whatever it is, we're not involved."

"Well that's too bad," you say slyly as you slide a pen out of your pocket. "You see, in the time we've been chatting, I've already scanned your face and have both of your full RIDs as data in this pen."

You double bluff. For one, the pen was just a regular pen; and for two this was a Rev-neutral building. They don't allow that kind of scanning equipment to be installed. You ask the question to test their answer. The standard civilian doesn't know which businesses are Rev-neutral, especially if they're just staying somewhere temporarily. You follow these bluffs up with one more sentence.

"All I would have to do is make a small movement with this button, and you'd both be blacklisted."

A standard civilian is also unhealthily afraid of the possibility of never being allowed in the Revolution. You pause to watch their expressions. The pale one stays the same, stoic and nervous. The suit, however, stands frozen, still halfway out the door, mouth gaping. He closes his eyes for a moment, clenches his fist and his mouth shakes in anger. After a moment, he walks back into the room, stand cooperatively in front of you and speaks very slowly.

"Please, I have to leave right now. Ask me anything you like but don't do that."

"Have either of you ever seen this man," you say quickly as you flash the RID of Zach.

"No," the suit answers.

His response is perfect, he must be a professional. The pale one is the techy, and the suit must be the social skills.

"And you?" You say to the pale man, trying to force a response out of him.

"No I haven't," he finally says.

You're struck by his words. Not by the words themselves but how their said. You've heard this voice before. You look closer at his face and realize you vaguely know it. You've seen him somewhere before. You could find him again.

"When do you check in?" You shake your head and turn back to the suit.

"I'm not checked in. My assistant here, Barry Peterson, was on another flight and mine got delayed so I told him to get a hotel room until morning. I ended up finding a late flight by we have a connection to make so now we're rushing to the airport."

You can tell by the way he's standing like a solider that he is furious. If he knew he could punch you in the face and not get blacklisted, he wouldn't care about missing his flight. He's very good; you almost believe him. There's a good way to find out.

"Alright, if you do see this man, please call my direct line. He's very dangerous," you say as you hand him a business card.

Both men turn and walk out the door.

"Have a nice flight," you yell out after them.

You look over to Mason and nod for him to follow you. The two of you walk outside the building just as a cab drives off.

"Get me the tracer," you say quietly. Mason pulls a small GPS tracer out of his bag.

"Heyyy youuu," a loud voice on your right exclaims. It's the drunken bum from before. He's standing now, staggering around and barely keeping himself upright. His voice is very harsh and low, but somehow loud.

"I knoww you!" He yells out as he points towards you.

You try to look at him, but it's too dark to see his face. He's wearing even more rags than before, all stitched together to make some sort of long robe. Suddenly he lets out a loud scream and runs towards you.

What do you do?

>try to sidestep enraged and drunken hoboman and attempt to knock him over.

You step aside to dodge the drunken man running at you but with surprising agility he changes direction at the last second, headbutting you in the face. You go down and brace for another attack but the man grabs at the ground beside you and runs down an alley into the night. When you look up, Mason has his gun out and is looking around.

"What the hell was that?" He asks.

"I don't have a clue," you look around on the ground for what the man grabbed. You check your wallet and keys before you realize. "He took the tracer."

Mason stares into the direction the man fled in silence.

"Dammit. Dammit they're good."

"Stay here? That wasn't our guy?" Mason demands, still holding the gun.

"Well no, it was; it has to be. Dammit! Is there anyway we can track the card without the tracer?"

"No, they're directly linked. He's gone."

"What about following them? Shouldn't be too many taxis out on the road right now. How long has it been?"

"We could probably find them."

"We'll need to take your car, I walked."

You and Mason jog to the EconoInn parking lot. You're holding your head; it still hurt quite a bit. Nothing a cigarette can't take the edge off of thought. You jump in the passenger seat and light up.

"SHIT!" Mason yells from outside the car. "Someone slashed my fucking tires!

You get out to look. All four tires are flat.

"Looks like Untitled's upper crust are all pros. I shouldn't have expected anything different," you say.

"Fuckers, I'm taking a taxi home. I'll deal with this in the morning."

"Alright, did you get a good picture of our suspects?"

"Yeah, I'll e-mail it to you."

"Alright, I'll spend the rest of the night studying Cummings, I guess."

As you walk back to your hotel you picture that pale, hollow face, trying to place it. Both the voice and the face were just vaguely memorable, but from where? When you get back to your room you skim through anti-revolution video feeds looking for the face to pop up somewhere. It doesn't.

At 5 a.m. you start getting tired. You're just about ready for a nap. Anything else you want to do before you go to sleep?

You switch gears and search all your records from Revolution press releases and video conferences. After an hour of skimming, not even a background face matches up with the one you recognized. You check up on Untitled translation boards to see if they've made any progress before you go to sleep. One translation offered by a regular puts a smile on your face.

"'For betty was born
to never say nay,'

Forget about the poem, forget about the author. If he wanted us to look at other pieces of the poem or other poems he would've posted those. Betty was born to never say nay. Betty is Untitled. Untitled was born to never say no. We cannot be stopped."

That might not be what he was going for, but you like it. You like it so much you turn your computer off and fall asleep to the beginnings of a sunrise.

END CHAPTER 1

Chapter 2

You can't remember a time in your life where you were more bored. It's bad enough living in the Revolution, but learning about its history is unbearable. You don't care about some dumb "social pioneer" who formed the most dull place to live in the entire world. You don't care how new developments are going to make life even more simple.

It's all fake.

You realized how fake everything was when you were 11 years old, about two years ago. You wanted ice cream before dinner and your mom wouldn't let you have any so you went into simworld and had some there. It tasted exactly the same, felt exactly the same, but didn't fill you up. You could eat as much ice cream as you wanted, but you would still be hungry for dinner.

This realization may have been positive for someone else, but you were devastated by a larger realization. Your entire childhood, your entire life had been lived inside of a bubble. You had never thought about it before, but after that night, it's all you could think about.

Now here you are, sitting in a simworld class in quite a comfortable chair listening to a computer programmed teacher (maybe it's a real teacher, you can't tell without provoking it) tell you how good you have it.

You want to live.

After class you jump right out of simworld without stopping to meet your friends. While you change into regular clothes, you wonder if what they say about extended time outside of the real world is true. You glance at a few unopened Christmas boxes on the floor. Your Mom and Dad had always made an effort to be festive both inside and outside simworld. It's just easier to decorate inside. You check around the house to find they're napping. You go straight to your room and read some car magazine that's lying on your floor. You can't believe it's only Monday; the day seemed to drag on forever. At least it was almost Christmas break.

After a few minutes the house phone rings. You grab it before your parents wake up.

"Hi, is Fin there?

"It's me."

"It's Nate, what's up?"

"Nothing, just felt like getting out of the bubble, you know?"

"Yeah I hear that, but you might want to come back. A couple of us are going to meet up with this guy later tonight. He's a real whiz."

'Whiz' is one of the many code words for someone who is inside the Revolution but working against it. Your friends had been exploring the idea of running off for a while--just a few days to get a taste of the outside world. You want to walk in a real street and smell the air of a city. You want to go into a coffee shop, order your drink and have them mess it up. You want to live.

"Sure, meet you outside of the school?"

"Yeah, ten minutes."

You hang up, grab your simsuit and go back into the chamber. Five minutes later you get to the parking lot next to your school.

"Why does anyone drive around here?" Nate asks.

"I dunno, because they can't do it anywhere else?"

"I know, but why not fly or drive something less boring than a car? There's no danger."

"Nate, this is a boring place, duh."

"Yeah I know. Let's go."

Anytime you do something that's against the rules or even Revolution policies, you have to be very careful about what you say and what you do. Every action is recorded, but not monitored, so you just have to keep your actions from sending up any red flags. You expect you'll be meeting the Con (that's another name for them) at a playground or an arcade. Meeting somewhere ordinary, doing something ordinary, meeting someone ordinary.

You and Nate grab some goboards; you follow his lead. After a few minutes you see he's going to the mall. Even better--there are always a lot of people at the mall.

"Is anyone else coming?" You ask.

"They're already there. So was I before I had to come meet your ass."

"Shut up."

You and nate ride up the outer wall of the mall and into an open balcony where the rest of your friends are waiting.

"Sup hoser?" Gabe asks.

"Just getting as much time outside simworld as I can."

"Yee."

"Speaking of which, are you coming to my new year's party, Fin? It's an all real world party." Nicole asks.

Nicole is a cute girl, a little on the goth side, but not totally far-gone. You made the mistake of meeting her in person, expecting her to look the way she does in simworld.

She doesn't.

"Isn't it a little early to be planning a party in 2013?"

"It's only like a month away, plus Christmas parties blow."

"Sure, I'll be there."

You turn to look around the mall. A man wearing a red baseball cap, looking very serious and angry is walking directly towards your group.

"Is that him?" You lean over and ask Nate quietly.

"Yep."

Your group stays silent as the man in the red baseball cap approaches. He sits at a table close to you and stares at the wall. Nate leads in sitting at the table with him, followed by the rest of the group.

"We Will Arrange Reservations," he says in a voice you'd expect from the harsh face.

"What Would Armistice Resolve?" Nate responds quickly.

Without looking at any person in the group, the man pulls a thick envelope out of his jacket pocket, slides it across the table, gets up and walks away.

Nate opens up the envelope and looks around to make sure no one is watching. Inside is a circular metal device and a note that says, "55322 Messer Hill Rd., Vermont."

"What is that?" Nicole asks, pointing to the circular device.

"That," Nate answers, grabbing it and holding it up, "is a console feedback generator, CFG."

"Now we can talk without being watched!" Gabe exclaims.

"SHH! What on earth is wrong with you?" Nate yells. "It's only whoever is holding it. Here." He hands Gabe the CFG.

"Whoops, sorry. Fuck the Revolution! This is awesome." Gabe laughs.

"What's the address for?" You ask, touching your hand to the CFG.

"We're supposed to send a blank letter there, then we'll be contacted in sim again." Nate touches the CFG while he speaks.

"Who's going to do it? You?" Gabe puts his hand on the CFG this time. Nicole doesn't speak but she puts her hand on the CFG too, so everyone is touching it.

"I can do it, Fin can do it. Fin's the one itching to get out."

"I'll do it," you volunteer. You spend a lot of time outside simworld, you've probably spent the most time outside a Revolution building. You grab the piece of paper.

"Can this thing be copied?" You ask.

"No I don't think so," Nate answers. "Do you want to keep it?"

"Sure, I'll go put the letter out right now."

You grab the CFG, jump back on your goboard and jump off the balcony.

What do you do?

>Make sure in any way you can that you're not being watched, then get to the blank letter sending. Be careful as ****, of course.

You used to exit simworld whenever you wanted to--even if there were people right in front of you. You didn't become aware there was an etiquette to entering and exiting simworld until just last year. Apparently, some people are uncomfortable with the ghost of your image hanging in the air where you were for upwards of ten minutes at a time. 'Ghost Gardens' are usually inside a cave or in a basement floor of a building where no one goes unless they're leaving simworld somewhere other than their house.

A lot of people don't even realize how creepy an entire room of frozen, translucent people can be, especially at night. You've taken to striking a solemn pose somewhere on top of a hill or structure before you sign off. You'd like to think that someone one day will notice your pose and find it inspiring.

Before you exit today though, you e-mail yourself the address so you can get it outside simworld, then you burn the slip of paper it was written on. You don't want to leave it lying around for someone to find.

As you exit the simroom, you find your parents are up, and have picked up where they left off, decorating for Christmas.

"How was your day, Fin?" Your mom asks.

"Fine," you answer as you walk to your room. You'll get an envelope and address it later tonight after they go to sleep, and put it out in the morning before school.

You have a quiet evening listening to music and talking to your friends online until dinner. Your parents are well-meaning and you like them; but they don't understand how you feel. They worked really hard to get into the Revolution, but for what? For some fake life? You guess it's fitting; they have a fake life for their fake son.

You found out you were adopted pretty early on. Your red hair and freckles didn't match up with either of your parents' brown hair and smoother complexions. Your kindergarten teacher slipped it during a back-to-school to your parents while you were around. You weren't surprised; you remembered your birth mother and father very vaguely and wondered who they were. They were killed together in a car accident while out during the first night they left you at home with a babysitter. You would've been killed if you had been with them.

Sometimes you wish you had been.

Maybe it's because you're the only kid you know who wasn't used by their family to get into the Revolution; maybe that's why you're different. Most of the kids you go to school with passed the gene-testing when this building went up about 8 years ago. Your family was already in another Revolution building, but they moved here when this one went up. It's supposed to be nicer, but you don't really remember anything much different about the other place.

After dinner you return to your online games and friends until your parents finally go to sleep just after 11. You quietly pull an envelope out of the closet and slip back into your room to address it. After you've successfully written out your address and the contact's address, you fold a blank sheet of paper and put it inside. You shut your computer off and tuck the envelope under your bed before you turn off your light to go to sleep. This is the first thing you've been excited about in months; it takes twice as long to get to sleep as usual.

In the morning you slide the envelope out the mail slot while both of your parents aren't looking. The deed is done.

The next few days are almost insufferable. You have never been a very patient person and you find yourself wondering how long it takes for a letter to get across a few states. Finally, when you check your e-mail at lunch a message with no subject appears in your inbox.

The address is blank and the body says "same cafe 4:00." You tell your friends as soon as you get the news. You're excited to finally have an answer but waiting through almost 4 hours of school is torture.

You get to the cafe in the mall a little early and you chat with your friends excitedly. After what seems like hours, you spot the man in the red baseball cap again. He approaches the table, sits down and looks directly at you.

"Everyone but you leave. Now."

What do you do?

> Reassure friends that everything will be fine and ask them to leave. Promise to send word to them as soon as you can when you're done.

Your friends pause for a moment, confused by the man's demand.

"Why?" You ask.

"There's only one scrambler, what's it going to look like if 4 kids are huddled around a table with their hands stacked in the center? You send the letter I'll talk to you. The rest of you, beat it."

You frown at Nate, who shrugs and gets up from the table with your other friends and leaves.

"Now, you're going to get a package from the address you mailed the letter to in a few days," the man says quietly as he reaches his hand into his jacket pocket to talk.

You grab your scrambler out of your pocket, hold it and say, "what kind of package?"

"It's going to be a small box. Don't open it, just keep it in your room. You'll get one box every few days until you have 15 of them. I'll contact you again once that happens. Understood?"

"Yes, I've got it. What's in the boxes?"

"I can't tell you yet."

"What do I tell my parents?"

"Can't you get the mail before they see it?"

"I don't know." You're worried, the mail usually comes while you're at school. You don't know if your mom checks it before you get home.

"Well if you can't do it we'll find someone else. You mailed the letter, you're our contact now."

You stay silent for a minute. He speaks up again.

"If you can't handle this we'll find someone else. I don't care; just tell me now, can you handle this?"

What do you do?

>Don't trip bitch I got dis **** yo

"Yeah, I can handle it."

"Good, you should be getting the first package tomorrow. Like I said, don't open it. We'll be in touch."

The man gets up and walks off. You remain at the table alone for a few minutes before you message Nate. Your friends show up a few moments later; they couldn't have been hanging out too far.

"What happened?" Gabe asks anxiously.

"Shhh!" Nate turns sharply at Gabe before leaning down to touch the CFG. Everyone sits down and puts a hand on the device. The man was right, this kind of huddling does look ridiculous; you wonder if anyone is watching.

"He's going to be delivering packages to me--to my suite outside simworld. I'm supposed to hide them and wait for more information."

"Did he say what was in them?" Nicole asks.

"No, and he told me not to open them, what do you guys think?" You frown. You're not sure about this plan, but you want to help the anti-Revolution cause.

"You think it's a bomb? They did burn down that building," Gabe says.

"Maybe. I'm going to follow through until we talk again; until I know what's in the boxes."

"Maybe you should open one of them?" Nate suggests.

"Maybe. I'm going to go home."

--

You get home and check to see if your mom has gotten the mail. If you can confirm your mom doesn't get the mail while you're at school, you can probably manage to grab a small package from the mail without raising suspicion. When your dad gets home from work, you see he has the mail in his hand; you can pull this off.

Classes pass you by without making any impact; you're far too anxious about the package. You don't even bother going to a Ghost Garden; you exit simworld just outside of school grounds. You shed your simsuit and step into the main room.

"Afternoon, sweetie! How was your day?" Your mom says, standing in the kitchen while making dinner.

"It was fine," you say as you walk into your room and close the door. You can't open the door to grab the mail without your mom noticing! Should you wait until she walks into another room for something? Cause a distraction? Come up with an explanation for the package?

What do you do?

> Throw something innocuous like a game boy or something on a high shelf in another room. Ask mother to retrieve it for you. If she asks what it's doing up there tell her father put it up there so you wouldn't play until you finished your homework the other day, but he forget to get it back down. When she goes, quickly grab the package and put it in your room before going into the room where your mother is to get whatever you threw up there.

"Mom?" You ask in a slightly whiney voice as you walk into the kitchen.

"Yes, dear?"

"Dad took away my gamechip the other day until I finished my homework but he forgot to give it back. Do you know where he would've put it?"

"Oh yes, let me go see," your mom says as she puts down a spoon on the counter and walks into her room.

You quickly open the door to the inner hallway where the mail drop is. You immediately see a small brown box sitting on top of a few other pieces of mail. You grab it, run to your room and throw it under your bed. You come out of your room and hear your mom say, "I don't see it here, are you sure he didn't give it back?

"Oh here it is!" You pull the gamechip out of your pocket and hold it up for your mom to see when she comes out.

"Oh good," she says, walking back to the kitchen to finish dinner. That was easy.

You walk back into your room and take the package out. You think about shaking it, but you have no idea what that could do. You want to open it, you want to find out what this is.

What do you do?

> Hide the dumb package with your emo poetry so no one will find it then read a chapter of some crappy G. V. Temple book for school before whining to mom for dinner.

"I better not open it," you finally decide. You put the box back under the bed and hop on your computer for the rest of the evening.

The next day lifting the box out of the mail is easier; no one is around. A package comes every day for a week, until Sunday when there's no mail. You get a message from Nate asking you to meet him at the mall.

When you get there, you see him standing with Gabe and Nicole, and another girl from your class, Allison, who you don't know very well.

"Hey Fin," Nate calls out to you.

"What's up guys?"

"We wanted to know how the 'operation' was going."

You look at Nate, then at Allison, and motion for Nate to come over to you. You put your hand into your pocket to touch the CFG.

"What's she doing here?"

"She's cool, she's with Gabe now."

"Oh." You didn't even notice Gabe and Allison holding hands. You don't like including more people than you already have. Plus, Allison is a notorious air-head.

"Okay," you say as you pull the CFG out to let Nate touch as well. "Well I don't want to talk about it with everyone. I've been getting the packages every day except today, since it's Sunday."

"What's inside?"

"I didn't open them."

"Whaaaaat? Come on you gotta open them, just one. What if it's something horrible?"

"I dunno I just thought it was best to leave them alone."

"Okay, I'm coming over. If you won't take a peak, then I will," Nate says as he runs off away from the mall. You see him freeze in mid-run and go translucent. He's signed out.

What do you do?

> Chase after him and keep him from opening the boxes. We wait until we get all 15 and wait for instructions.

You instinctively run after him for a moment before realizing where you are and signing out of simworld. Nate lives on the same floor as you, so he's at the door a few seconds after you get into your suite.

"I'LL GET IT!" You yell out to your parents in the other room. You open the door to find Nate standing in the doorway, grinning. He tries to push past you but you stand firmly anchored to the ground.

"Aw come on, Fin. What could they possibly be sending that we couldn't open?"

"SHH!! Shut up, will you? Let's go into my room."

"Okay."

Once in your room, you close the door and Nate starts going through your closet to find the boxes.

"Where are they?" He asks.

"Under here," you reply while pulling one out of your bed.

"I'm just going to take a peak." Nate grabs the box out of your hands and holds it away from you.

"No! Don't!" Your curiosity bests your minimal efforts to get the box back. You want to see what's inside too.

Nate puts the box on the floor, unwraps the brown paper, and slides another white box out from it. He pauses for a moment, and then opens the box. Inside is a plastic bag filling the entire box, stuffed with a fine white powder.

"Oh shhhhiit ..." Nate finally manages.

"Is this ...?" You trail off, starting to panic. You consider the possibility that this may be the only box full of powder, but every box has been exactly the same size and weight.

"What do we do?" Nate asks quietly.

"What can we do? I'm in this too deep now."

"So you're just going to continue to hide cocaine under your bed until you have to -- what -- sell it? What is going on?"

"Maybe it isn't cocaine, I've never seen any in real life before."

"Neither have I."

You both look at the sealed bag of powder.

"How would we find out for sur--"

"We could try some," Nate suggests, cutting you off.

"Really? I don't want to try any," you say. You eye the powder uneasily.

"Yeah, but this is real living, isn't it? Isn't this what you wanted? No more fake lives, real air, living and breathing?"

"Real, hard drugs? I dunno, what if this is, like, addictive?"

"Yeah, maybe. Should I try some?"

"No. Yes. I don't know. Do whatever you want."

Nate smiles and looks at the powder. He picks up the bag and holds it over his head. Suddenly you hear a knock at your door.

"Fin! Fin, it's dinner time!"

"Shi-!" Nate yelps, stuffing the bag back into the box. You grab the lid, close the box, and shove it under your bed.

"Coming!" You yell as you walk for you door. Without a word, Nate shows himself out and you join your parents for dinner.

--

The day the 14th box comes, you get an e-mail from your wwar contact.

"SAME PLACE SAME TIME TOMORROW COME ALONE"

Nate never came back to try some of the powder, and you certainly weren't going to start snorting strange white powder mailed to you in a box. You considered trying to get it tested somewhere, but you didn't know anyone you could ask or anywhere you could take it. You don't even bother telling Nate about the meeting, but he catches you after school as you're heading home to intercept the box.

"Today is the last box, right?" He asks.

"Yeah."

"So, what's the word?"

"Going to meet him today, I have to come alone again."

"Are you going to ask him about the powder?"

"No. Maybe. If I do, he'll know I've opened it. I'm hoping he'll just tell me. I gotta go get the last package."

"Alright, good luck."

You grab the last box out of the mail and stuff it under your bed without a problem. If there had been 30 boxes, you would've had to find another hiding place; you're almost out of room under your bed.

When you get to the mall, your contact is already waiting at the table.

"You're late."

"Had to get your package."

"So you have them all?"

"Yes," you say as you sit down across from him, making sure your hand is always on the CFG.

"Good. Tonight you're going to get up at 2:30 a.m. and make a trip downstairs. You're going to take all 15 boxes down to the second basement level, and find a pipe on the very left-hand side of the room, marked "WATER MAIN." There will be a flap to open it for testing. You're going to open the boxes, and dump the contents into the water."

"Aren't there people down there, watching the place?"

"The guard on duty takes a 10 minute smoking break right around 2:45 every night; it should be more than enough time."

"What's inside the boxes anyway?"

"It doesn't matter, just don't drink the water tomorrow, and everything will be fine."

"No, it's not going to be fine. Tell me what he hell is in those boxes or I'm not going to do it." You look at the man sternly. He returns your glare without a flinch or change in emotion.

"It's a powerful laxative."

"What?"

"We found a flaw in this building's sewage system. If everyone is using the toilets at the same time, the system will overflow and block up. When that happens the building will be evacuated for cleaning, and the residents will be temporarily relocated to local hotels."

"What is that going to accomplish?"

"That's enough questions."

You continue to stare down your contact. He never moves; he doesn't even blink.

"Fine, I'll do it."

"Good. Don't tell anyone about this. You can spare yourself from the laxatives but if you tell anyone else about this, they'll tell someone else and it won't work. If you tell anyone, the operation is blown."

"What's the point of getting everyone out of the building?"

"I said no more questions," the man says and gets up from the table. "2:30," he repeats, and walks away.

You sign out of simworld while sitting down at the table. What if this guy isn't telling the truth? What if he's poisoning everyone in the Revolution? What if you poison everyone in the Revolution? You lie down on your bed to think about what to do for some time before your mom calls for you.

"Fin, phone!"

You wait until she calls again to respond. You know who it is and you don't want to talk.

"Coming," you say as you push yourself off the bed. Your mom is holding a the phone, waiting for you.

"Hello?" You say into the phone.

"Well? What happened? Can I come over?" You were right. It's Nate.

"No, nothing happened. I'll tell you later."

"What? Come on, I--" Nate gets cut off as you hang up the phone. He doesn't call back, but you get some harsh words when you check your e-mail after dinner. You're not worried about Nate.

You don't sleep. You stay up playing games online and chatting to whoever happens to be up. Nate tries all night to get you to talk about what happened but you always dodge his questions or deny his accusations. At 2 a.m. you get all the boxes out from your bed and look at them. Fifteen boxes, all in a row, ready to be gulped down by the thirsty mouths of everyone in this building. You have to do it, you have to prove yourself to WWAR. It's your only chance of getting out of here. If there are a few minor casualties along the way, so be it.

You throw all the boxes inside your backpack and quietly slip into the main room. You walk slowly, trying not to make any noise. Once inside the inner hallway, you make sure you have your keycard before opening the door to the hall. You close the door behind you and you hear it click closed, locked.

You rarely leave the suite, so the hallway to the elevator is a bit disorienting, especially at 2 in the morning. You wait inside the elevator until your watch clicks to 2:40; you need to catch the guard in the basement on his smoking break. You take a deep breath and hit the B2 button and the room shifts and falls downward. You've played around with gravity mods in simworld, but it's something completely different to actually be moving this fast in real life. The elevator comes to a stop and the doors open. You peak out to look for anyone standing watch--no one in sight.

You quickly run to a group of pipes on the left side of the room and find one marked "WATER MAIN." You slide a small panel open and unzip your bag. You frantically open the boxes and bags to dump them in, realizing you should've done this before you came down here to save time. Before you realize it, all fifteen boxes and bags are empty. You stare into the small opening where the contents of your boxes have gone. You did it. You poisoned the Revolution.

END OF Chapter 2

Chapter 3

You hate Seattle. You hate the cold and the rain and the people here. You hate standing in a noisy club, keeping eyes on some kid who you need to get information from. You hate being eyed by the best-looking woman in the club. Well, you only hate that because she looks like the clingy type.

"You're the best-looking guy here," she states as she walks up to you confidently. Maybe not so clingy. You consider for a moment how to respond as you take a sip of your scotch.

"Yeah?" Perfect. Acknowledging the fact that you are indeed the best looking guy in the club, which validates her opinion while simultaneously asks why she's bringing the point up in the first place.

She's taken aback a bit by your word. She raises and eyebrow and smiles.

"Yeah. So let's dance."

Ouch, a proposal. You thought you might have a few more sentences before that came up, well it's now or never, have to make a decision fast.

"I'm busy, maybe some other time," you say as you finish off your drink. You can't risk dancing here without losing your target. You'll have to pass this one up.

"You don't look busy," she insists.

"I'm not." You look her straight in the eye with a look that says "get the hell out of here." She does.

You watch her hips swing side to side as she walks back into the mess of worthless club-folk--filth. Shame to pass up a pearl while dining with swine, but you have to make sacrifices to solve mysteries, and this is a big one.

Usually your orders come from Mason, who gets them from some higher up in the Revolution; his name's Jenson or Johnson -- something like that. This little job was an order straight from the top.

A lot of people don't know that much about Revolution hierarchy. They think the Revolution is run by some wacky guy wearing a mask named 'TheAngel,' which just isn't true. TheAngel is the supposed founder of the Revolution, but he doesn't exist anymore, or he was Harris Saddler before he had a heart attack and died. Either way, TheAngel never ran things, and was just a rumor spread around to keep the real information quieter.

The Revolution is really run by what they call a Panel. This Panel is made up of five people and maybe a leader. You get the feeling there's no leader since you've never heard a consistent description of him, but it makes people feel better when there's a single person in charge. So sure, let them have their leader, but you're only going to worry about the five people that actually exist.

Anyway, this lead came from Simon, one of the five Panelists, code title P4. You prefer P4 because it's shorter to spell and Simon isn't his real name anyway. The lead was about a kid named Taylor Jackson who ran an Untitled clue translation site that suddenly stopped doing translations eight weeks ago. The public site is now just a forum about Untitled without much maintenance or real influence from Taylor. P4 says there's way more activity going on on the server than shows publicly. He thinks Taylor has been let in on the "inner circle" of Untitled, or is at least a lot closer than anyone else we've gotten a lead on.

That's the only way Mason could've convinced you to stand in a room full of yinnies jumping around and making fools of themselves for an entire evening. You could make your move now but you're hoping Taylor gets out of this place soon and goes to his more exclusive club down the street. He goes there every few weeks to drop "lava."

Lava, also known as "zoners" or "dick acid," is a mild hallucinogenic cocktail with a dash of paralytic, which gives the user a mild trip coupled with the seeming inability to move. Basically there ends up being a room full of people standing in weird positions, staring in various directions, moving very very slowly, if at all. There's a genre of music that goes along with the drug, spelled S-X-A-T-I-C-T, but pronounced "statics." Maybe the drugs make them dyslexic.

The movement started in Seattle and, thank God, hasn't spread anywhere that you know of yet. If that's the future of music, you're happy not ever listening to music again. It's time for a smoke break; you can't believe it's illegal to smoke in clubs here. You hate Seattle.

When you get back inside, you look around for Taylor, but he's not on the floor. You walk to one side of the club and the other without a trace. You thought you had the only exit covered, but there must've been another exit that wasn't in the building plan.

What do you do?

>Make doubly sure he isn't inside, or in one of the bathrooms if there is one, then look for a back exit and follow it.

You duck into the men's bathroom--empty. You push open the door to the women's bathroom and come face to face with a tall woman just about to exit. She looks angrily at you but you push past her to look into the room--again, empty.

"Wha'chu doin'? Peepin'?

"Yep," you respond as you walk quickly out of the bathroom and out of the club. You look around the street but there are no signs of him. You jog down the block and turn right on a corner to see if he's on his way to his private joint yet. Just as you're able to see the club, you see the last of likely a half-dozen women slip into the building. You remember seeing her dress in the club.

"Dammit!" You exclaim. You were going to get into the club by acting like you were part of that group. You'll need another in.

You check the front of the place out--relatively small, no windows, one door, guarded by a large bouncer who looks pretty mean. No one around is going in, and there's no line at the door. You didn't get a close look at the people going in, but you know Taylor is relatively young and at least considers himself good-looking. The club has a list of regulars and a guest list, which is the only way to get past the bouncer without maybe a bribe or some sneaky brute force.

You walk down another block to look for a back entrance. The building is built right up against another building, no alleyway or backdoor that you can see. You walk to a bus stop across from the building and consider your options. You could bribe the bouncer, but you don't have a lot of cash on hand--$115. You could try to take him out, but that could get messy and is probably unnecessary. You could try to create some sort of distraction and slip by; as far as you know he's the only measure of security for the building. No one knows you here, and no one knows who you work for.

Like it or not, you're going to have to come up with a distraction. It has to be long enough to get in, but short enough to not cause a huge riot with police. Despite it being a cold October, there are still plenty of homeless drunks outside who will do pretty much anything for cash.

You get off the bus stop bench and walk a few blocks until you spot three men gathered around a fire barrel in an alley.

"How would you guys like to make $20 each?"

The men turn slowly to look at you as you produce three $20 bills.

"I'll give you the cash now, all you have to do is walk down two blocks, cross the street, and fight the man standing out side a building. There's $20 more for each of you if you can take him down."

The bums continue to stare, so you walk forward a bit. Finally they stumble towards you. One smiles and takes a bill out of your hand; the others follow suit. You walk the opposite direction, cross the street, then start walking on the sidewalk towards the building. You watch ahead of you as the three men make a drunken charge at the bouncer, who reacts by slamming the first guy in the face, taking him out. The other two tackle the bouncer and roll him around the ground, punching him as hard as they can.

You time your approach perfectly, sliding into the club without a sound or a false step.

** Cue SXATICT **

Once inside you walk slowly down a rickety set of stairs as you hear the jarring sound of the "music" playing downstairs get louder. You like listening to music; you're a fan of Earth Wind and Fire, some other funk and a bit of 80s electronic. This isn't music; it's just noise.

Managing to stay back in the shadows, you look out at the crowd, illuminated by dim white and green house lights. You can't tell where Taylor is, but you're not the only sober person in the room, so you have to be careful. You descend the stairs all the way to the ground and walk to one empty corner. Suddenly you spot the pattern you saw in the other club--the girl's dress. Next to her are a few other girls, all standing in strange positions with their eyes wide open. In the center of them all is a man you can only assume is Taylor.

You pull a hypodermic needle out of your jacket and hide it with your palm. The nice thing about lava is its ability to be neutralized rather easily. The anti-serum is some mix of anti-depressants and a few other things you don't remember, but it cancels out the paralytic and greatly reduces the hallucinogens, achieving lucidity.

You start quickly into the crowd, swiftly weaving between zoned-out dicks (that's what you call them) until you get close enough to confirm the man is indeed Taylor. You jab the needle into his neck, forcing the anti-serum into his blood stream. Before any lucid people even take notice, you grab ahold of your prisoner and pull him to the men's room. Once inside you kick a stall door until it breaks, and use the piece to bar the bathroom door shut. No one's getting in without about two tons worth of force or a shotgun.

**-**

Your less-than-zoned friend Taylor finally starts to realize he's no longer tripping on lava.

"Wha- who are you?"

"I am a fork in the road, Mr Taylor. If you go one way, the road ends and you die here in this dirty bathroom...If you go the other, you and I get to have a nice little conversation about what it is you are doing."

Taylor crawls backwards to the wall and sits up. He blinks for a few minutes and shakes his arm a few times before responding.

"Who are you with?"

What do you do?

>Take out the syringe, grab him, shove him against the wall and slowly slide the needle down the side of his throat. "Tell me about the forum."

Taylor yelps in pain as you slide the needle into his neck. He looks at you fiercely and defiantly.

"You came sooner than I expected. I heard you were on the hunt just this morning."

"What's going on behind closed doors, Taylor," you repeat, pressing the needle harder into his neck. Taylor switches in pain but smiles and stares at you silently.

What do you do?

> "So someone told you I was coming? Great, did they thank you at the same time for being a complete idiot, doing something so blatant as to move your public forum to private but not do anything to hide how much traffic it was getting, and then wander around in the public and put yourself in compromised situations like taking movement paralyzing drugs? Maybe you should stop considering these people to be friends and realizing they're using you, and decide to use what little information about them that may have accidentally seeped through your thick skull to talk your way out of your current situation?"

Taylor stubbornly keeps his smile, but you can tell it's becoming more and more forced; you've played a lot of poker in your game and you can tell when someone's bluffing.

"You're playing with the grown-ups now, and there are a lot of people out there who aren't as nice as I am," you say as you take the needle out of his neck and drop him to the floor.

"You still won't get anything from me."

"No? Maybe not, but I don't have to. I already mentioned we have a few people inside; you could be one of them. No I don't want information from you, Taylor. I just wanted to know if you'd crack."

"Who ... who do you have?"

"I'm certainly not going to talk if you're not," you say as you put the empty syringe in your coat pocket.

"Well the joke's still on you because I don't know anything. I run an Untitled splinter group, that's all."

"So you were contacted, assimilated, and you just assumed they were on your side?"

"I ..." Taylor trails off with his mouth open. "They ... they said it was global. It was a merger. He said--"

"YOU'VE BEEN PLAYED, TAYLOR!" You interrupt him. You're skating on very thin ice by pretending you know what's happened, so you try to be as vague as possible.

"How?" He demands.

"Look, you are in danger--everyone you know is in danger. I need to know who contacted you. You're not the first to get sucked under like this; I can help you. If you help me, you'll be the last." Creating the illusion of danger is key here. Working the Stockholm Syndorme can be easier than it seems when dealing with small fish.

"I-I-I don't know his real name, he called himself ..."

"Yes?"

"He called himself TheAngel."

What do you do?

> "Hard to believe he'd bother contacting you. Haha, you're really fucked now. How long ago was this? Did you see him? Did he have any distinguishing features or clothing?"

"Hey, my translations were always the fastest and the most reliable! Why wouldn't he contact me?"

"Do you even know what's at stake here? Do you know who this guy is? Answer me!"

"No! We never meet in person ... he contacted me a few months ago and said he was from Untitled. Of course I didn't believe him but he gave me the next day's clue before it was released! I took my core userbase into a private forum about a week later. What's going on?"

What do you do?

>tell him that unless we get all the information he has int he private forum, and everything he knows, we might not be able to get him out of here alive

"Let me put it this way; you have two choices. You're free to leave this bathroom at any time and continue to be TheAngel's patsy. I can't guarantee you'll continue to be useful to him; and believe me, he's tidy. Your other choice is relinquishing control to me, to help you get out of this." You don't know who TheAngel is, but you need to make him sound bad, worse than death.

"You represent everything I hate! You're the system, the control, the Revolution!"

"No, Taylor, I'm just a man. I'm a man with a lot of friends who can help. Anti-Revolution groups aren't the cakewalk you're used to on the internet. They're not games and puzzles where everyone helps each other. Untitled is responsible for some unspeakable things; most of them at TheAngel's hands."

"I won't give you access into everything I've built up against people like you. I don't care what happens."

"That's fine, just give me TheAngel. Anything he's ever said to you--every e-mail, every text message, every letter of every word. Then maybe, maybe I can get you out of this alive."

Taylor stares at you, breathing heavily. He looks down at his neck, which has a bit of blood where it was stabbed. When he looks back at you he nods.

"Okay."

"Send everything here," you throw a contact card at him. "If I don't hear anything in a week, I'll be back. Don't try to run either, I know where your mom lives." You smile, kick the piece of stall propping the door closed, and leave the bathroom.

As you leave the club the bouncer looks at you discerningly. He has a slight black eye and looks angry. You smile back at him and continue back to your hotel. You look at your watch; it's only 2:30 a.m., you finished early. You'll have time to give some more thought to today's clue. This time it was only four words.

"Structures
Hate
Insomnia
Bloodstains"

Joyce Carole Oates, Angel Fire--obviously used to speak about the Revolution's "oppression" but the bloodstains line is interesting. You read the whole poem; you didn't get it. It seemed to be about a woman, so perhaps bloodstains was menstrual in its original context, but with Untitled's clues you have to take away context. Bloodstains implies there was blood already, and now all that remains is the memory or trace of blood, which can't be washed away. A lot of people cited this clue as a call to arms, to finally act in violence against the Revolution, but the higher intellect saw it as a story. Maybe TheAngel knows the story.

You pick up your phone and hit Mason's speed dial. It rings three times before Mason's groggy voice barks at you.

"This better be good."

"I cracked Taylor, Simon's target."

"And?"

"And I got a name; well a code name really, but it's good. TheAngel."

"Didn't we have that in a target's search results a few months ago? Zach or something?"

"Oh yeah, we did. That's even better. Taylor's going to send me all of TheAngel's messages, so we can hopefully track this guy down."

"Who is this guy?"

"He's supposed to be an actual Untitled representative. We'll see. I'll believe it more if we can't track this guy down with an IP search."

"This couldn't have waited until morning?"

"Isn't it morning in New York? I thought you got up around 5."

"It's my day off." Your phone beeps, indicating the call has been disconnected. You smile. It's a good day.

END OF Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Still staring at the water main, you think of the worst thing that could happen. It could be poison, and everyone in the building dies. Then they find you still alive and you would go to jail, or be killed. You don't know exactly what they do to criminals inside the Revolution, but you've heard terrible stories of illegal torture and brutality. Of course, it's never been proven, but you've heard the Revolution has very powerful lawyers.

You hear a door slam and suddenly remember where you are. You hear footsteps coming towards you.

What do you do?

> Quickly gather all the boxes into your backpack, close the water main, and hide.

You jump into action, loading the boxes and bags back into your bag. You turn and slam the water pipe closed and look around for options. You could try to make it back to the elevator, but you would probably be spotted since the door the guard is coming from is on that side of the room. You could duck behind a pole or under a mess of piping, and hope to sneak back to the elevator without making much noise.

You hear more footsteps, there's no choice. You grab your bag and jump over a mess of pipes and crawl under the lowest group you can fit through. The guard walks to the center of the room and stands in place. You thought maybe he would patrol back and forth, but after ten minutes he doesn't move an inch. Any movement outside of the pipes would mean getting caught. You can crawl all the way around the left side of the room, but the pipes end nearly halfway down the wall, still within the guard's line of sight.

You're out of options, you're just going to have to wait it out. Maybe the guard will take another smoking break, maybe the guards will switch out--but in any case you have to sit tight. You keep your eyes on the guard and lie down on the cold concrete. You try to get comfortable under the pipe while still watching the guard. After an hour, you catch yourself nearly falling asleep a few times. After jolting awake, you look to find the guard is gone. You were asleep, you have no idea where he is or how long he's been gone, but this is your chance.

You have you take your chances. You crawl out from under the pipes and start walking as quietly as you can, with backpack in hand, to the center of the room where the elevator doors are closed and waiting for you. As you walk you hear humming on the right side of the room. As you get closer to the elevator you hear the sound of metal clanks and shuffling. You press the UP button and hope the guard stays on that side of the room long enough. Surprisingly, the door opens almost immediately. You get inside quickly and press floor 14. You take several deep breaths after the elevator doors close, relieved that you weren't caught.

The next morning you wake up to your mother shaking you.

"I called you eight times! You're going to be late!

You're more tired than you've ever been in your life. You didn't get back into your bed until after 4. You look at the clock--8:42. You grunt and slide out of bed.

"Yeah mom, I'm up. It doesn't even matter; today is the last day of school before winter break."

"For goodness sake, Fin!" Your mother says as she leaves the room. You throw on some clothes and walk into the living room. You skip breakfast, throw on your simsuit and walk groggily to school.

As you walk you try to remember everything that happened the night before. It all seemed distant, like a dream. You look up and see Nate waiting outside the school for you. He looks up and smiles.

"You look beat, what's up?"

"Everything's fine, Nate. It's done," you say as you force a smile.

"What! That's it? You're not going to tell me how it went down? What did you do all night?"

"I'll tell you later, I'm really tired right now."

"Okay, okay, fine. See you after school!"

You nearly fall asleep a dozen times in your first two classes. You forget about World War and Revolution plots by geometry class. As the teacher is about to put up the homework assignment on the board, she freezes in place. Confused, you look over to the student sitting next to you to find he is also not moving. You stand up to look around the room. Everyone is frozen.

You look around the room and back to the board to see the homework is being written in chunks, like a laggy game showing pieces of frames then freezing. You look around and suddenly a chair is sideways, but the person sitting in it still hasn't moved. You look one wall and see a window has suddenly opened.

Suddenly, everyone and everything you see flashes yellow and red and a scrambled siren-static hybrid blares in your ears. You scream and fall to your knees, paralyzed by the sensory overload. All at once it stops and everything goes black. You see very faintly in the distance a gray string of gibberish which you assume is code. After a few seconds a red exclamation point appears, blinking. You try to sign out but controls are all locked up. Another few minutes go by and the exclamation point slowly fades into your sim room. You look down at yourself; you're in your simsuit. You're back in reality.

You've been caught, that's the only explanation. What happens to Revolution traitors? You wait in the simulation room, not knowing what else you can do.

"Fin!" You hear your mom yelling from outside the simroom. You exit the room and walk into your living room.

"Fin, something's wrong with your father, I just got a call. He--" your mother is cut off by a loud beep.

"There has been a minor error in the core workings of this facility," a soothing female voice sounds from the walls of your suite. "We apologize for the inconvenience, please stay calm and follow standard evacuation procedures. Emergency exits have been unlocked on each level. After exiting the building please proceed to a transport waiting for you outside. Each transport will take you to an all-expense-paid hotel room where you can collect yourself while we make some minor repairs to the Simulation, Sewer, and Water Systems. Clean clothes will be provided. Again, please stay calm and follow standard evacuation procedures."

"I'm going to get your father, he's very ill. Come on," your mother says after the broadcast has ended.

As you follow your mother, you look down the hall to see a thin residue of liquid coming out of the bathroom into the hall. You continue outside your suite, not wanting to stop and grab your computer. As you head towards the emergency exit door, the elevator doors behind you open and you hear your father's voice.

"Fin, Miriam!"

"Francis, you're alright!"

"Yes I think so, everyone's getting sick--something about the water?"

"I haven't had anything to drink today," your mother replies. Your parents look at you with concern.

"Oh, no I haven't either."

"Well thank goodness for that. Let's get going before I'm sick again."

You and your family merge into the heard of sick, scared and angry people forced down a thin stairwell to the ground floor. You hear people yelling and complaining about how this is a plot to kick everyone out of the Revolution. You look for Nate, but he's nowhere in sight.

Once outside, you wait with a group of people for a bus to take you to a hotel. The hotel lobby is a nightmare. Apparently the Revolution has priority over certain local hotels, which means some reservations are overwritten. As your father gets his keycard he turns to see a man walks angrily up to him. Before you can say anything, the man punches your father in the face so hard that he falls on the ground.

"JUST STAY IN YOUR PRECIOUS BUILDINGS, YOU CAN'T COME OUT HERE LIKE THIS!" The attacker screams.

"STAY AWAY FROM MY DAD!" you scream back. The man pulls his hand back for another hit, but security guards grab him before he has a chance. You run to your father's side and help him up.

"Are you alright?" Your mother asks.

"Yes, I think so," he says as he rubs his cheek. "Let's just get upstairs."

--

Despite jumping at every sound, worried that you will be caught and arrested for poisoning the entire building, you're excited by the commotion. This is real. This is living life. Unexpected things happen, people get angry, people get sick. This is what you want.

Your dad visits the bathroom several times an hour, but besides that seems to be okay. You spend your time watching TV and talking about school with your mother, who seems to still be a little bit in shock.

After a few hours, while watching TV, the hotel phone rings. Your father picks it up and says hello. He turns to you and says "someone at the front desk says Nate wants to see you downstairs."

What do you do?

> grab backpack, pen, paper, and whatever looks neat from the room and then visit nate, we may never see the room again.

You start to leave when your father says "wait!"

"What is it?" You ask.

"It's not safe, I'll just ask the clerk to tell Nate to meet you up here." Your father pulls the phone back up and talks to the clerk. After a moment, he frowns and hangs up.

"The clerk said Nate wants to meet downstairs; I don't know why. Go ahead but be careful, and come back up here as soon as you can," your father says as he gets up and walks to the bathroom.

You walk outside the room and walk down the stairs to the lobby. There is still a crowd of people, but the number has dropped quite a bit. You look around for Nate but you don't see him. Suddenly a man in a large coat bumps into you from behind.

"Oh I'm so sorry," he says politely as he bends over to pick up some paper that he dropped. You bend down to help him, but he's already picked all of them up except for one small scrap, which you pick up and try to hand to him. He refuses the paper by pushing it back into your hands before standing back up and walking briskly out of the hotel.

You look at the folded scrap paper, and unfold it to see faint writing.

"Will We Act Reasonably? Hotel lobby, midnight."

You pocket the note and go back to your room. You're silent the rest of the day.

Room service shows up with dinner, but you eat in silence. You tell your mom you're not feeling well and you go to bed early. You're still tired from staying up the previous night, but you have to make sure you get up before midnight. When you wake up, everything is black except for a few small, red numbers in the distance. It's a clock; the time is 11:43. Both of your parents are asleep on the other bed. You silently slip out of your bed, take a look around the room, and walk out of the room.

You head down the stairs to the lobby to find the man from before sitting on a bench near the entrance. You walk over to him, but he ignores you and continues to read his newspaper. You sit down next to him, but he still says nothing. A large black mark on the page he's reading draws your eye. It's a huge arrow written in marker, pointing towards the door. You get up and walk outside.

Just as the door behind you closes, someone grabs you from behind, putting a hand over your mouth. You struggle to get free, but the person holding you is too strong. You watch in horror as a dozen men dressed in black with large guns run inside the hotel and start yelling. The man reading the newspaper runs out of the hotel in fear, and out of your vision. You try to turn your head, but you're completely trapped. After a few minutes, you hear a gunshot, and the man behind you turns you around, still holding you in place.

"No screaming, you're in World War now. Sorry about that, I had to make sure you kept quiet."

What do you do?

> "Get your hands off me. Why didn't you tell me you were poisoning my building? Where are we going? What are you going to do to me?"

"Calm down, kid," the man says in a deep, gruff voice. You look up to see his face, but he's wearing a mask. "I've got some clothes for you too, just sit tight."

You stay silent as a man approaches with black clothes for you.

"Now if I let you go, are you going to run off and get shot, or are you going to be good?"

"I'll be fine," you answer, still not knowing what you think about the man.

"Good. I'm Rick, pleased to meet you, Fin," Rick says as he puts you down. "And you knew exactly what we were doing to your building. For now keep your questions on hold while we take care of this mess."

"What's going on in there?"

"Put on your clothes and you'll find out."

You put on the black jump suit, mask and boots, which all fit pretty well. The mask smells like something you've never smelled before, but you don't like it. After you finish dressing, Rick hands you a gun.

"Don't get any ideas, it's not loaded, it's just for looks."

"What about the other people? I heard a shot."

"Oh, those are real, but we can't trust you with firepower, yet. Come on."

Rick runs in the building and you follow. As he gets into the lobby he holds his gun up and shoots. The sound is deafening, you almost cover your ears instinctively.

"LISTEN UP, I NEED EVERYONE DOWNSTAIRS AND IN THE KITCHEN NOW!" Rick's voice booms out to the high ceiling and through floors and balconies above you. Hotel employees scramble up the stairs to knock on doors and wake guests up.

"PHONE AND INTERNET IS ALL DOWN, SO DON'T EVEN TRY TO CONTACT. YOUR CELL PHONES WON'T WORK EITHER, IT'S ALL BEEN JAMMED."

You stay standing near the entrance, holding your gun and standing still. Should you be doing anything?

What do you do?

> stand with the rest of the men holding your gun looking tough.

Scared guests pour from their rooms down the stairs and are funneled into a backroom you haven't seen. After a few minutes, Rick sends a team to each floor to check for any lingerers.

"IF ANY OF YOU ARE HIDING UP THERE, YOU'RE NOT BEING CLEVER!" Rick booms, before turning to the teams and saying, "shoot on the first sign of resistance."

You haven't been watching, but you hope your parents aren't still in their room. Fifteen minutes pass and the teams return, confirming a clear hotel.

"OKAY LET'S ALL GO INTO THE BACK, SHALL WE?" Rick yells again, motioning for everyone to follow. A man with a gun stays at each exit, ready for any surprises.

Once in the back, you see everyone from the hotel sitting down in a kitchen area. Their hands tied behind them with plastic zip-ties.

"Is everyone comfortable? Who's the highest Revolution employee here?" Rick doesn't have to speak so loudly in the room, but his voice is still fierce. No one responds, but you can hear a few muffled whimpers and moans. You realize that every single one of your friends and anyone you've ever known is in this room, tied and being held at gunpoint--your gunpoint.

"No one? I said tell me who's fucking in charge here or I give this little girl brain surgery," Rick yells as he puts his gun to a little girl's head.

"I-I'm a high-level security director!" A voice from the back shouts.

"Give me a number; someone I can reach who's still at S65."

"My boss should be there, here it's in my phone, but I can't reach it!"

Another man with a gun picks up the security director, roots through his pockets and produces a cellphone. He walks the phone over to Rick as the director sits back down.

"He's under 'Boss.'"

Rick pulls something out of his pocket and plugs it into the back of the phone before pressing a few buttons on the front. He holds it up to his face and waits.

"Hello, everyone sent to the Hilton has been taken hostage! If you try to call the police I'll kill them all; we're monitoring official and unofficial channels. Put me on the phone with someone important." Rick stands silent for a few moments before speaking to someone else.

"We've taken all your Hilton residents hostage. As I said, no police are involved or everyone dies. What do we want? We want $5 million dollars, in cash! Whenever you want your hostages back. But don't take too long because after 12 noon tomorrow, I'm going to kill one every half hour. Sure you can send someone to drop it off, just let me know before you do, we're going to shoot anyone trying to get in the building. Yes, on this number." Rick hangs up, puts his gun down and turns to a few men standing by.

"Okay, are we ready? Roll the cameras!" Rick says as he stands with his arms folded. A man pulls a large camera out of his bag and points it at Rick.

"Hello, viewer. I am a lowly representative of World Without a Revolution. Today we have taken several hundred valued Revolution residents hostage, and have asked the Revolution for a mere $5 million for their safe return. What is the price of human life? What is the price of elevated human life? Can we even call these people humans? They are so far above us! Surely just one of their lives is worth $5 million. What will the Revolution think?"

The man holding the camera presses a few buttons and puts it back in a bag. Rick picks his gun back up and leaves the room.

You turn to follow Rick, but you move in slow motion. Your parents, your family, your friends. Everyone in your life is being held hostage and they could be saved by you. This could've been prevented by you. You did this to them. You just hope everything turns out all right. You're still in shock, watching each tile as you step on them, until you exit the kitchen area into the lobby.

Rick is waiting for you on the other side of the room. When you get close to him he gives you a thumbs up gesture.

"So what's the next step?"

"Now we wait; the Revolution should try to get in contact with me and make a deal. I've got guys on all exits and a few people watching the streets surrounding the area. If something happens, they'll let me know and we'll get out of here."

That doesn't sound so bad. Maybe you could try to fake a disturbance, like you heard something outside. Then it would blow the operation and everyone would be safe. Not now, though, it's too early. You'll have to wait to find out more about the people watching outside.

Several hours pass, but you don't notice. You're on edge with every step Rick takes, and every time you hear a muffled sound from the kitchen. You don't say anything to Rick, who seems very calm about the situation. Rick's calmness eases your worries a bit. If he's calm, that means he's probably done this before, and knows how to handle these kinds of things without getting messy.

"BOSS! We've got trouble!" A man yells as he busts in through the front hotel doors. "They called the cops."

"What? Without even calling us first?" Rick sounds shocked and angry. "Well, let's go." Rick turns and picks you up by the shoulders and runs for the exit. You turn and watch as the rest of the men in black run to the room in the kitchen, wielding guns. As they get close to the door, you see some of them pull something out of their pockets.

"Don't worry, we're not killing them we're--" Rick is cut off by gunfire and several small explosions. You watch smoke pour from the kitchen entrance as the wwar soldiers sprint towards you. Rick decides to save his breath as he exits the building and throws you in the back of a truck. You can't believe it. It's happening--everything you thought would be fine. You throw your gun at Rick as he jogs to the front of the truck. You're breathing so heavily you throw off the mask and scream in panic.

"NO! DON'T KILL THEM THEY'RE MY FAMILY!!" You try to jump out of the back of the truck, but all the soldiers jump in and trap you at the back. You lash out with punches and screams until suddenly everything goes dark.

END OF Chapter 4

Chapter 5

It's 2:39 a.m. You're in your apartment in New York in a button-up white shirt you've been wearing since you interrogated Taylor and black socks. IP checks landed you in Ireland. A few international phone calls landed you back in your apartment wearing nothing but a white shirt and black socks. Suddenly, your phone rings; it's Mason.

"Yeah?" You respond quickly.

"Texas, that's the best I could do."

"TheAngel is in Texas?"

"I didn't go by IP, I went by forum logs. I cracked TheAngel's account on Taylor's site and did a bit of digging from there. All I got was Texas."

"Thanks Mason, keep me posted."

You blink a few times, staring at your computer screen. Texas. How the hell are you going to find this guy?

"Zach. Zach Flemming-Boyles, you searched for TheAngel, didn't you? Maybe you were trying to clarify Revolution history, but everything else you searched had to do with anti-revolution groups, including Untitled," you say out loud to yourself. You get the feeling that Untitled and TheAngel are connected, and whoever is calling himself TheAngel is using the title ironically since it's supposed to be the head of the Revolution. Of course the original TheAngel doesn't exist, he probably never did.

You pull up Zach's RID. There have been some updates since you checked in April.

"Late August Zach took the trials at S124 and was accepted!" You shout. No one gets accepted at S124--not through trials. That's where they stick the bigwigs and the high-rollers. Most of the Panel, if not all of them live there. Who the hell is Zach? You read on, out loud.

"After being accepted, Zach was removed from S124 by P5 and as of September is deceased?"

You scoot back in your chair to reach your half-full glass of vodka. You take a small sip and stare out the window.

What do you do?

> Investigate the specifics of Zach's removal from S124 and supposed death.

You try to pry into details, but all Revolution-oriented information regarding Zach's removal from S124 are missing from any official reports you can get your hands on. You check the morgues and obituary notices throughout New York City between August 15 and October 15, but there are no matches for Zachary Flemming Boyles; nothing comes close.

A lot of Untitled followers are kids, or adults who still wish they were kids, who have no social life outside internet forums and chat rooms. There are, however, a few exceptions. Some Untitled followers, especially the extremists, have criminal records. These particular followers tend to migrate to positions of power within the "ranks" of Untitled, since they are easily able to bully regular Untitled nerds.

You pull up the police criminal database for the state of Texas and pause. What should you search for? TheAngel? You try "Angel," and filter it by association with Untitled. There are a few results, last name Angel, but none of them feel like winners. All of them have known associations with Untitled, but none of them are in any positions of power. Whoever TheAngel is, he had bargaining power with Taylor and probably dozens more Untitled leaders.

You search again, this time with no name and filter by association with Untitled and violent crimes. Pages of results appear so do a little bit of research. The top three people most closely involved with Untitled, and most likely candidates for being in power are as follows:

Marcus Flinch - Serial rapist sentenced to several life sentences who escaped two years ago
Sam "Two Box" Katz - Arsonist and suspected murderer in several cases, living in Houston.
Jonathan Baker - Manslaughter; serving the fifth of his 25 years

"Looks like I've got a road trip in Texas," you say as you look over the information about your three new friends. Satisfied, you finally let yourself get some sleep. You'll call Mason about your plan in the morning.

--

"Mason, we've got a road trip."

"Oh? In Texas?"

"Yes, I've got three candidates we can get information from, and I want some back-up. You know how I get in a rut."

"Alright, I'm driving. We'll leave tomorrow at 5 before the sun rises."

"Doesn't daylight savings end tonight?"

"No, today's the 2nd, it changes on the 4th."

"Right. See you tomorrow."

Traveling by car is slower, but more fun. When you go somewhere in a car, you can take lots of guns and chemicals with you. You can also take things like food and, well, anything. You prefer driving anyway; flying makes you nervous and you avoid it if all possible. You're not sure why flying makes you so uneasy, although you always feel uneasy without a gun.

You plan on visiting Mr. Baker first, since incarcerated people are the easiest to track down. From Williamson County Jail you'll head back east to Houston to speak with Two Box. Flinch might be harder to track down, you'll have to think about ways to find him.

You check the net for a new Untitled clue but none has surfaced. You wonder if you can get a head start on finding Flinch. You pull up his RID again and look at details of his arrest and escape.

Flinch was arrested January 8, 2010 after an unsuccessful rape attempt. The woman maced him, knocked him out and called the police. He ran before they arrived, but they were able to track him down before he got too far on foot. He was incarcerated for nine and a half months in Travis County Jail before he escaped by overpowering some guards. He hasn't been seen since.

You pull up the information on the rape victims connected to Flinch. Common factors: thin, all under 125 pounds, joggers, and all under 40 years old at the time the crime was committed. You write down the name and address of the last woman to be raped just in case you feel like swinging by Travis County. You spend the rest of the day catching up on known associates of your three targets before going to bed early.

Mason's already in the car when you show up at his apartment building. You don't have much luggage, just one small bag and everything in your coat.

"We should hit Two-Box first," Mason states as you get in the passenger door. "It's a better route and will probably result in better leads."

"Okay, but I'm really curious as to how Baker is connected to Untitled, as he's been in jail since its creation."

"We don't really know how old Untitled is, just speculation."

"We know when the clues started being released."

"That doesn't mean anything," Mason says in his familiarly cold, logical tone. Most people consider his demeanor condescending, but you know from working with him for years that it's just how he operates. Mason has the facts, and that's it. Anyone without the facts is stupid, regardless of what they think or say. Intelligence and knowledge are more important than tact or manners.

Driving with Mason is always fun. Despite his coldness, he can be very chatty on subjects he's passionate on. He spends nearly 200 miles talking about a rookie Untitled blackhat who went up against him trying to get information out of a minor database last week. Mason talks about how he toyed around with him for a while, underscoring to you how inexperienced hackers are simultaneously the worst and best people on earth, before crushing him taking over his computer.

It was a good story. You spend the rest of the day talking about Untitled, details on the targets and ideas about the case. You stop off at a hotel off route 59 just inside Mississippi. You sleep soundly and wake up early, and get back on the road without much of a fuss. By the time you're getting near the Texas border, you're feeling ready.

Anything you want to talk to Mason about before you arrive at Two-Box's house?

> Go over interrogation strategy with Mason before heading over. We're going to be police and play that we have him dead on for some sort of crime but we'll pretend we never showed up if he gives us the information we want on TheAngel.

"Okay how do you want to play this: cops with incriminating info?" You ask.

"Hmm, okay, we can see how that plays out as our entrance strategy. If that doesn't work I brought sodium pentothal." Mason smiles. It's going to be a good day.

--

Mason parks on the street a block away from Two Box's address. You both put on your most serious, professional faces and ready your fake police IDs. Mason leads the way to Two Box's townhouse. He knocks several times, hard and loud. A few moments pass with nothing. Mason knocks again, this time yelling, "Sam Katz, this is the police, open up!" After another minute, there's still no response. You don't know which car is his, so you can't even tell if he's home.

What do you do?

> Litodude (9:39:51 PM): >bust the ****ing door

You push Mason aside and he pulls out his gun. You pull yours out, back up and give two powerful kicks to the door before it comes down. You and Mason walk in cautiously, watching for any movement. You both hear something fall on the floor upstairs. Mason steps quickly up the stairs and you watch the bottom floor as he ascends. He motions for you to follow. You walk backwards up the stairs, gun held cold and steady.

You and Mason walk as quietly as you can, but the floor makes noise under you regardless of any precaution. With Mason nearly at the top of the stairs, you hear a gunshot. Mason ducks and crouches against the wall. You wait a moment, but you hear no more sounds.

What do you do?

> InfernoBlueFlame (1:02:19 AM): EXPLOSIVE CIGARETTE
InfernoBlueFlame (1:02:19 AM): IT
InfernoBlueFlame (1:02:20 AM): IS
InfernoBlueFlame (1:02:21 AM): ON

You give Mason a signal to hold on as you pull out a cigarette case from your right jacket pocket. Mason nods in agreement. You always carry two packs of cigarettes. Your left jacket pocket has a pack that's for smoking. Your right jacket pocket has a pack that's for hiding a plastic explosive.

You pull out the cigarette in the middle and light it. You lean up just barely over the edge of the second level and throw it towards where you heard the gunshot and crouch back against the wall next to Mason. You cover your ears and Mason covers his.

BOOM

You and Mason both rush up the stairs, guns out and yelling, before the smoke begins to clear. You find a tall, wiry man with a red hair in a crew cut, stunned and coughing next to a discarded handgun. Mason kicks the gun away, picks the man up and slams him against the wall. After frisking him, for dramatic effect, you hand him a pair of hand-cuffs which he uses on the man.

"GET THE HELL ON THE GROUND," Mason screams as he lets the man fall on the carpet.

Mason stands back and presents the cuffed man to you like a gift. You reach into his back pocket and pull out a wallet. Inside you find an ID, confirming he is in fact Sam Tyler Katz. As you check through his wallet, Mason checks around the room, then does a sweep of the townhouse. You stay silent until you hear him yell "all clear" from downstairs.

"Well I came here to offer you a deal, but I think that's just about off the table, so--"

"I DIDN'T KILL HER ALRIGHT? YOU FUCKERS DON'T HAVE ANYTHING!" Two Box screams at you between coughs as he tries to get up from his kneeling position against the wall.

What do you do?

> "Who says we need anything? Evidence springs up, district attorneys work some magic, it's a beautiful world. However, things could look better for you if you were to, say, tell us everything you know about Untitled and anything you know about TheAngel."

"You piece of sh--" Two Box stops and looks up at you.

"You're not a fucking cop ... who the hell are you?"

What do you do?

> Flash badge. Then flash gun.

In your haste to get the situation under control you forgot to present you "identity." Maybe it'll be more real this way. You pull out your police ID badge and motion with your gun.

"Oh I'm a cop, and your ass is busted. Start talking."

"I'm not saying shit; why do you want to know about Untitled?"

"Tell me what you know about TheAngel."

"I know he started Humanity and the Revolution."

"What else?" You demand. Two Box tries to get up but you shove him back down with your foot. He smiles.

"Do you want to know how I know you're not a cop?"

You stay silent.

"It's just you and some guy downstairs--no backup. Even if you were undercover you would've called for someone when you heard a gunshot. You're bullshiting me, what is this?"

What do you do?

> "They're on their way douchebag. We just didn't want you to go and eat your gun while we waited."

"Yeah I'll bet they are. You're not a cop, which means you can kill me and leave or just leave, but I'm not saying anything."

What do you do?

> "Alright smartass we're not Houston P.D. We're worse. We're not encumbered with the same codes they are, but we can still bust your ass, plus we get to use toys like this..." flash sodium pentothal.

"Okay, I'm not a cop? Good, because I was getting tired of following the laws." You turn to the doorway and yell. "MASON! GET THE TRUTH SERUM!"

Two Box silently scowls at you. "Who the hell are you?"

"That doesn't matter at all. What matters is I came here for answers and I'm going to get them regardless of what you do. The only question is if you get to live or not because I'm sure as hell not going to leave a doped up body sitting around a townhouse to get found in a few days."

Two Box silently tries to escape the cuffs for a moment before relenting.

"Okay, I know what you're talking about. I don't know anything though, they've kept me in the dark."

You have a cooperating prisoner! What do you do?

> "Well why don't you tell us what connection you have with Untitled. Who's the 'they' that keeps you in the dark? Who contacts you? How do they contact you? Where is their base of operations?"

"TheAngel messaged me online saying we earned ourselves a place with Untitled but we needed to wait. We needed to prove ourselves or something. That's all I've heard from him, we're still waiting to hear back. It's probably bullshit but we're waiting anyway."

"Let me see the message," you demand.

"We'll have to go downstair--" Two Box is cut off by a yell from Mason downstairs.

"GRAY, COPS ON THEIR WAY."

Damn. Neighbors probably called the cops when they heard the gunshot and explosion. If you had played it a different way you could've used the cops as your "backup," but at least you got something for your troubles here. You pull Two Box to his feet, turn him around, take off the handcuffs and push him to the other side of the room.

"Gotta go, take care, Two Box."

"Wait! I can't stay here!"

You ignore Two Box as you leave the room and start down the stairs. You have his weapon and you aren't worried about retalliation. He follows you and yells again.

"TAKE ME WITH YOU! I'll tell you anything you want to know about Untitled!"

You stop and look at Mason, who has his gun in the air just in case the police arrive earlier than expected. He exchanges a glance with you that says "it's your call."

"Mason, are we clear?"

"We've gotta go right now," he replies.

"Alright, let's go, Two Box."

Two Box runs down the stairs and follows you and Mason out of the house. As the three of you briskly walk towards the car, you pull back to keep an eye on Two Box, just in case he tries something. You sit in the back of the car with your new "ally," while Mason expertly drives away from the area. While waiting at a light, you see two cop cars race back in the direction you came from.

Once on a major road towards Williamson County, you turn to Two Box to ask him more about Untitled.

"You ever heard of Marcus Flinch?" You ask.

"Yeah, but he hasn't been around for a while. He was a big name in the Untitled community until he tried to start a splinter group that seemed just like World War. He said that one of the clues 'spoke' to him but he didn't have many followers and has since dropped off the map."

"If I find out any of this is not true, you know that's going to make me sad," you say with a overdramatic whiney tone. "Even more importantly, it's going to make Mason sad," as you continue, Mason turns around to face Two Box, with his bottom lip sticking out. "See? You wouldn't want to do that."

"No, it's all true. Listen you just get me out of here and we're set. I don't know what you guys are trying to do but you can't really hurt me. I don't no nothing that can jeopardize Untitled, that's the beauty of it. No one knows nothin'" Two Box says, matter of fact-ly

"What do you know about Jonathan Baker?"

"Nothin'."

"Don't give that to me, Two-Box, he's one of the top three Untitled ringleaders in Texas."

"You have his online name?"

You pause and look at Mason, but he's watching the road. You didn't get a pseudonym for Baker with your information, but then you remember why.

"Baker's in jail, he's not going online."

"How's he running an Untitled group, then? Just in his prison block?" Two Box asks.

That was a good question; you hadn't thought about it.

"Mason, why the hell did Baker's name come up as one of the top hits for Untitled activity?" You ask.

"No clue, maybe he was into it before he was arrested."

"But Untitled didn't even crop up until after he was in jail."

"Got me."

You sit in the car thinking about who was lying--your database or the Texas Justice System's. After about an hour, Mason starts talking back to your passenger.

"So, Two Box--why do they call you that? What's the story?"

Two Box had been looking out the window but he snaps his attention to Mason and smiles just a bit.

"It's a good story, but I ain't gonna tell you if it's gonna get me in trouble."

"You already know we're not cops."

"Yeah, alright. I was doing gun runs for some guys across the border. It had all been going smoothly for a few weeks until this one shipment. I was late and when I got to the drop off site, no one was there. As soon as I got out of my car, somebody started shooting. I still don't know exactly what happened, but whoever was supposed to pick up the guns wasn't there.

"So I jump back into the truck and get into the back where the guns are. I waited for the shooting to stop, and I knew they had gotten my tires so I only had one option to get out alive--the guns.

"I opened the back and kicked two boxes full of guns out, and jumped out like fuckin' rambo, shooting all over the place. These guys shooting at me had gotten closer to see what kind of damage they did, I guess, so they were easy targets. I had two huge assault rifles and I put down about a dozen fuckin' spics before I even took a breath. After that I took cover behind the boxes and I finished off the rest of them, or they ran away or whatever.

"Anyway I got back with one of their cars and I told my boss all about what happened, and he called me Two Box for the rest of the time I worked for him. That's it."

"Wow, that is a good story, Two Box," Mason says over-enthusiastically. "We're going to drop you off now, so let me make something clear. If you try to follow us, or warn anyone about us, or pretty much do anything I don't like, I'm going to hand over this tape to Texas authorities."

"What tape ... you recorded all that?"

"I did. Now get the hell out of my car," Mason says as he pulls up next to a gas station. You brace for a violent reaction, but Two Box just glares, kicks open his door and gets out. He slams the door closed and gives the car a pair of middle fingers as Mason starts driving again.

"You didn't let me get in the front seat," you say with a hurt voice.

"Calm down, we're almost there."

You get to the jail with plenty of time left during visiting hours. Getting in and finding Baker takes a bit of time, but remains simple. You're led by a guard outside to a garden area where Baker is planting some flowers or seeds. He's wearing a pale blue jumpsuit and doesn't notice anyone's presence but his own as you walk into the area. Mason stays back and motions for you to take the first line of questioning.

What do you do?

>Slowly stride closer to him "Gardening, Baker? I didn't realise that was your thing."

Baker looks up at you, furrows his brow, and continues working. While pulling weeds out of the dirt, he says in a low voice, "who are you?"

What do you do?

>"We're your ticket to an early freedom...If things go our way...If they don't, well...Lets say you won't have the time for any more gardening." Budum. Or something to that degree. Basically offer him something good so he gets intrigued, but back it with a threat so he doesn't think he can play us.

"They gave me deals when I got in here. I didn't know anything; I still don't. No one believed me then, but what do you want from me?"

What do you do?

> "Why don't you tell us about your role in Untitled."
> Make a note to check Baker's visitors, maybe the connection is with one of them. If nothing else it could give another lead.

"What? Untitled? What are you talking about?"

What do you do?

> "Oh it's just a weekend poker game that me and my buddies have. We think you're spying on us. ...Don't play dumb with us, Baker. We know you're connected with Untitled. We're not interested in you, we want to know more about TheAngel."

"You know after going by that name for so long, I almost identify with it now. I'll tell you what I've told every other suit who has come in to try and get information from me: I am not Jonathan Aloysious Baker, I was set up. I never killed anyone and the DNA test was rigged. I still don't know how he did it but I'm serving his time. It's just something I've come to accept. I don't know anything, I don't have any connections, I wasn't in the same circle as Baker. I guess we lived in the same neighborhood when I was arrested, but that's as close as we come. My name is Ronald Serrick. Jonathan Baker stole my life."

What do you do?

> "If that's true, how about we get a DNA sample from you right now and we'll test it independently and see how it compares with the court files."

"I'd be happy to oblige. I had them test me probably a dozen times. Every single one came back saying I was a crazy liar," Baker grabs a small clump of hair and tugs violently until a few strands detach from his scalp. He holds them out and stares at you from his kneeling position on the dirt. You can't help but feel as if he's bowing to you, pleading with you to help him. Maybe he is crazy.

You take the hair from his hand and walk back to Mason.

"Got a bag?"

"Always do," Mason says as he produces a small evidence back from his pocket. You put the hair in the bag and put it into your pocket.

"Don't go anywhere," you say with a smile as you leave Baker's garden.

You'll run the DNA test personally--well, Mason will. You've got to check up on the latest Untitled clue. And get a drink. And check on your associates' respective progress. You and Mason aren't the only people on this case, but P4 only told you about the kid in Seattle, so maybe you're his favorite. You check in every week or so with the other investigators just to see how desperate they are for leads. You're guessing you're the most comfortable in this investigation, and will be even more comfortable if this DNA test proves "Baker" isn't lying.

END OF Chapter 5

Chapter 6

"You're going to be late for school, Fin!" Your mother's voice floats into your room and wakes you up from a nightmare. You can't remember what you were dreaming about, but judging by the dampness of your pillow, you were crying. You stand up and take note of your outfit. You usually sleep in boxers, but you're wearing an entirely black uniform, minus a black mask lying next to your bed.

"Come on, Fin!" Your mother calls again.

You try to walk, but you feel extremely heavy and lopsided. As you shift your weight to move, you feel dizzy and fall onto the ground. You still feel very strange and heavy as you try to get up. Failing after several attempts, you notice something sticking out from under your bed. You pull up the sheet to find thousands of boxes stacked forever, all under your bed. All at once, as if they had collectively realized their presence being made known, the boxes open and shoot white powder all over you.

You jump up, suddenly not affected by the weight change anymore. You run into the kitchen calling for your mother. When you open your eyes, the kitchen is empty, behind you the doors to your room become hotel doors.

** Cue Blood On His Hands **

Men start running out of the doors, past you into a van parked behind you. You're no longer inside your warm house, you're out on the street, outside a hotel. You try to walk to the doors but once again you are almost frozen. Between your restricted movement and the torrents of men running past you, you make very little progress.

Finally after hours of fighting, you open the doors. You're met with the piercing shrieks and screams of thousands of people, all of whom you know. All your teachers, all your friends and finally, in the center of them all, your parents stand. They're not screaming. They're crying.

** - **

You jolt awake to a dimly lit brick room illuminated by a TV. There are a few people sitting on chairs, watching it. Your jolt to lucidity grabs the attention the people sitting near you. One man gets up and stands, braced for some violent action from you. All you can do is stare. You try to think about what is real and where you are, but no information comes. After a few minutes, the man sits down and goes back to watching the TV, while looking back at you every few minutes.

Without the ability to think, you turn to the TV to see what is so interesting to these people.

"... who is the first successful cryogenically unfrozen person. While she was unavailable for comment, scientists say Ellen Cranderveldt is great news for the economy.

"'Cryogenics have been on a slow rise since the 70s, but I'm sure we'll see a huge spike in people being frozen for the future.'"

Suddenly the channel changes and a new face displays on the screen.

"... was alive for a reported two hours after he was medically dead in the real world. Revolution scientists have already been researching the possibilities of giving paralyzed and other disabled people full and rich lives in a simulation, but the life doesn't come without risks. Now that a man who was supposedly dead was walking around and having conversations with people in simworld, experiments may broaden to include a post-mortem simulation existence."

Suddenly you speak.

"Where am I?"

The man who stood before turns and answers slowly.

"You're in a guest room of our World War headquarters."

World War. The Revolution. You killed your parents. You fall back onto your bed and weep into your pillow until you eventually fall asleep again. When you wake up there is a tray of food next to your bed but the room is empty and the TV is off. You get up and walk to the door to find it's locked. You slump against the door onto the ground and stare at the wall. You can't make sense of what has happened, you just want to go home.

But you poisoned your home. You killed your parents. You killed everyone you know.

You scream loudly and bang on the door until it opens. A man with a gun nearly steps on your as he charges in to see what the problem is. Finding you in a heap on the ground, he barks some order that you don't hear a few times before setting his gun down and picking you up to put you back on your bed. Once in his arms, you thrash around in a panic until your world goes dark again.

You wake up again on the bed, this time with a man asleep in one corner on a chair. As you sit up, he stirs and looks at you.

"You going to eat, kid?" He asks.

"I'm not hungry," you say sharply. Your voice cracks as you speak, and you realize how dry your throat is. You grab the cup of water next to your food and drink it in two gulps.

"Need some more water?" The man asks. You keep silent but hold the cup out for him to take. He leaves the room, closing the door behind him.

Were you being imprisoned? Why were you here? Why didn't they just kill you with the rest of the Revolution? Oh god, the Revolution, you killed them all.

You bury your face in your hands and try to fight tears. When the man returns, you take the cup from him and drink it quickly again. You turn to the tray of food, none of which seems real. You try to discern what it is you are eating, but nothing has taste or color. Cut, chew, swallow. Cut, chew, swallow. Cut, chew swallow.

You finish everything on your plate, but you still feel empty. You lie down to try to sleep, but you can't. You don't want to think about anything, but the thoughts bang on your consciousness, trying to knock it down.

You hate yourself.

What do you do?

>Turn on the television and watch for anything that seems like remotely pertinent information. It's probably necessary to garner some information outside of WWAR members.

You look around your bed for a remote control, but you find none.

"TV," you manage out loud. The man sitting down picks up the remote sitting on his lap and turns the TV on. As it brightens, you recognize a building in the background of the news report and stop breathing.

"...where hundreds of people were held hostage and then gassed before the police had a chance to defuse the situation. Investigation is pending and initial results--"

You cut off the reporter with a loud scream. Without thinking you run to the TV, pull it off the wall and throw it at the door. The bangs alert a few other men who run into the room seconds later and start yelling at each other and you. You take advantage of the confusion to run out of the room. You find yourself in a hallway, where you run down to a door at the end, but before you reach it you're confronted by a familiar face.

"Where are you going, Fin?" Rick asks calmly.

"LET ME THE HELL OUT OF HERE!" You scream.

"You're not thinking clearly, Fin. You've just been through something terrible, and you need to take time to recover. I was going to let you just sleep it off but if you're going to make a mess I can get tougher."

"LET ME OUT!!" Your voice gives out as you try to hold your scream as hard as you can. Ray quickly grabs your arms and holds them in place against your body. You try to bite him on the arm but your head is out of reach. Snarling and crying, you're carried back to your room onto your bed.

"As soon as you guys are ready, start him on advanced training. He's a good kid, he'll do well," Rick says to the men arguing over the broken remains of the TV. The man who was originally sitting in the corner turns to talk to Ray, who is still holding you down.

"This kid is a mess, are you sure?"

"Yes, absolutely, we need him."

You have no choice but to do what they say. You stop fighting Ray and he eventually lets you lie in your bed. You spend the rest of your waking time that day staring at the space on the wall where the TV was.

The next day you're woken up early by two men who quickly escort you out of the room and down a flight of stairs, into a dark and dirty basement. They tell you to move the boxes outside. You look at one side of the wall, which is lined to the ceiling with large boxes. You approach the wall, attempt to lift a box, but you nearly double over from the weight. You finally manage to get a grip on it and slowly make your way light coming from a door to the outside. The two men follow you and make sure you put the box in the right place.

You repeat this action for the rest of the day until you collapse sometime in mid-afternoon. You wake up in your bed feeling awful. You try to get up but you're bound by your hands and feet. You struggle for a few minutes before surrendering and going back to sleep.

The next morning you're at work again. This time you get breakfast, lunch and water breaks. It helps you do the work better, and you move twice as many boxes before the sun goes down and your commanders tell you to call it a day.

The day you finish moving the boxes, you put the last one down with a grunt of relief. As you do so, you look up at the cloudy sky and listen to the wind howling in your ears.

"Looks like snow today," you say to your captors.

"It's supposed to be a white Christmas tomorrow."

Christmas. Tomorrow is Christmas. You wonder if you'll ever celebrate Christmas again. As you think about Christmases in the past, you fall to your needs and weep on the ground.

"Come on now, no time for that," one of the men says as he pulls you to your feet. You feel almost too weak to stand.

"Wha-what is there left to do? I brought all the boxes outside!"

"Gotta dig a hole," one of the men says flatly. "Take a lunch, we'll start as soon as you finish."

You spend Christmas eve digging. You spend Christmas digging. You spend three more days digging until you finally stop caring. Your hands go numb--not just from the cold, but from the pain and the loss. You were made for digging; it's the only reason you're still alive. You are alive, that is a fact. One day you'll get out of here and you'll be free. But until then you are one of them if you want to stay alive.

You're awakened one morning by yelling coming from outside your room. There's no one guarding you anymore, you haven't made a scene since you started working. You get up and open the door to find men running back and forth from rooms, holding papers and barking orders. Rick passes you and turns back as he realizes you're watching him.

"Fin, good, I need you to help me."

"What is it?" You ask, intrigued.

"A job went bad in Rutland, a couple dozen guys are locked up, we've gotta bust them out right now or--"

"RICK! You're not bringing him!" Another man cuts Rick off as he sees you talking to him. "We won't get our money."

Rick jams his elbow into the man's neck and pins him against the wall in a quick and strong movement. He says something in a low voice to the man and lets him go. The man hurries off to another room as Rick turns back to you.

"I need you to keep a lookout. We should be able to keep their forces at bay for plenty of time, but if there are any rogues outside or another team dispatched too quickly, we won't know about it. I just need to know I can trust you to do this for me. Can you do that?"

You could blow the operation. You could tell them there were cops coming if there weren't. You could run away and tell someone you were kidnapped. This is your chance.

"Yes," you say quietly.

"Good, get dressed and stay in your room until we're ready."

You spend the time thinking of every detail you can come up with. What if there's someone with you? No there won't be, he needs you to do this, he's too many men short. Should you wait a bit or try to escape as soon as you're out of sight? Should you feed them false information?

You need to come up with a plan.

What do you do?

>Don't blow the operation, Fin. Jesus. You've got what you wanted, and you're going to throw it away just because your freaking parents are dead? Boo.

As you wait anxiously in your room, you try to come up with a plan that will both get WWAR arrested and allow you to escape. You frantically pull ideas out and try to work details over and over into a conceivable plan. Every time the same big problems arise; you have no idea where you are. You know the address where you got the boxes of powder from, but that isn't necessarily where you are. Even if it was, you don't know where it is in relation to anything else. If you were to escape, where would you go? You couldn't go to the police, you're a criminal. You hardly know where your Revolution building is, and you wouldn't want to go back even if you could.

"Is this it?" You say out loud in bewilderment. "Is this all I have?"

Your family is dead. Your friends are dead. Your home is unattainable. These are the only people you know in the entire world.

"NO!" You scream. You refuse to take their side. It doesn't matter if you have nothing else, you refuse to turn to your captors.

"Hey kid," someone says as they lean into the room and look at you. "Ready?"

You stare at him for a few moments before whispering, "yes."

Minutes later you're dressed in all black again, seated in the back of a large van between two of many heavily armed men, ready to break into a prison. Just before the van starts moving, Rick jumps in the back and kneels down next to you.

"Okay, this is it. Are you ready?"

"Yes," you respond indifferently.

"Good. I'm going to drop you off just outside the prison. Here's your radio," he hands you a small walkie-talkie with a belt clip. "You need to stay where I leave you, and call if you see anything. There shouldn't be a single person wandering around in your view, so if you see anyone or anything I want you to let me know. All you have to do is push the button on the side and talk. Okay?"

"Okay."

"Any questions before we do this?"

"No."

"Any questions about anything at all, not just this operation?"

"Where am I? Where are we?"

"We're at the new england World War headquarters."

"Where is that?"

"Do you want me to pull up a map?"

You frown in silence for a moment and then say, "what about the consequences of this? What will happen when there's a huge jailbreak? Don't they know where to find you? What will happen to me if they do? What's going to happen to me, anyway?"

Much to your surprise, Rick laughs and puts a hand on your shoulder.

"Listen, Fin, I don't have time to explain everything to you right now. I have a mission to do, and so do you. You're part of us now, so anything that happens to you, happens to me too. Nothing bad is going to happen to you unless every single one of your new brothers and sisters goes down first. You don't have to be scared; you're safe here. Now, get ready to jump out as soon as the van stops."

You stand up and nearly fall down as the van quickly stops. Embarrassed and confused, you stumble to the back doors, push them open and hop onto the snow. You look back just in time to see Rick's thumbs up as the doors shut and the van drives on towards the cold, stone prison in the distance.

You stay exactly where you landed for a few minutes, just staring at the light reflecting off the fencing that surrounds the prison walls, and the snow falling lightly from the night sky. You hold your radio firmly, and realize that you haven't had it on. You switch it on quickly and hold it to your ear to see if you're missing anything. There's just quiet static on the line.

You look at your radio and find it is already set at frequency 229-QN. You switch it around to see if you can hear anyone else on other lines. Most of the frequencies you try emit static or silence. Finally you land on 115-AX and you hear what at first sounds like a voice, but when you listen closer you don't hear anything. You play with channels some more until you hear something coming from your radio. You put the speaker close to your ear and hear a faint female voice.

"... just waiting now, standby."

You feel like you're imagining it, but you feel like you've heard the voice before. You replay it in your head as you listen for two more minutes but there's nothing else on the line. Suddenly you place it; it sounds like your mother's voice. You check the frequency: 282-RT.

The empty phrase echoes in your head as you stare blankly into the night sky. Your mother had spoken just a moment ago. What could you do? Should you speak? No, your mother is dead, you know that. But had you actually seen her die? Did you watch her? Did you even see a body? She could still be alive. What if she was working with World War? What if she knew everything, all along and she was with you on this mission? They gave her a different frequency to keep you in the dark, but why? There had to be a reason.

You keep listening to the channel for another few minutes, but nothing else is said. What if ...

"Get yourself together," you say aloud, maybe a little too loudly for being on a mission. You realize you're kneeling on the ground, holding your knees to your chest and clutching at the radio to hear some trace of your mother. You can't. Your mother is dead, and if you're going to survive you need to put that in the back of your mind for now. You have a mission to do. You switch the radio back to 229-QN and catch the end of a sentence.

"pull through with their end?"

There's silence and then someone else speaks.

"Yes, they're in position, I think everyone is in position. We're just on standby now."

The radio goes silent again. Standby? That's what the woman on 282 said!

You speak softly into the radio as you hold down the button, "standing by." No response. You do another channel scan and once again hit 115-AX. This time you hear something.

"--thing is off, you can proceed," a unfamiliar voice says in a whispering tone.

"Once we're out, you can pick him up," another voice says in response. This voice, however, you place immediately. It's Rick.

"That wasn't part of the deal, I don't want to get caught up in your scheme," the first voice says, annoyed.

"Too bad--it's the only way I can trust you. If what you did worked, then everything should be fine either way."

"Not if one of your men screws up. I'm picking him up now."

"I've got a sniper on point just in case you do." You can hear the satisfied smile in Rick's voice.

"You can't kill an Untitled agent, you'd be done for."

"Watch me."

There's incredible tension in the silence that follows, and finally the unfamiliar voice ends the transmission with, "just hurry."

A thought strikes you. Why are you still alive? Is World War really that pressed for members? They are going to a lot of trouble to bust some out of a prison right now but you're just a teenager! What could they want from you? You must be useful to them in some way. Could Rick have been talking about you? Who was the other man?

Sudden you hear a deafening alarm behind you. You turn to face the prison and see lights flashing and hear shouts faintly under the loud sirens.

You frantically switch over to 229-QN, press the button and say, "alarms triggered. No company yet but you better get moving!" You hear static and yells cutting in and out as you release the button. You hear a bang above you, a loud zip and the muffled sound of something puncturing the snow a few feet from where you're standing. You hear another bang and a few distant thuds coming from a patch of trees a little ways off. Immediately after you see headlights emerge from the trees, driving fast and heading straight for you.

You instinctively jump out of the way onto the cold snow as the car stops right before it would've hit you. You feel two strong arms pick you up and you drop your radio. You struggle to break free and run, but a hood is quickly slipped over your head, blocking out all light or direction. You frantically thrash around, but the more you struggle the tighter the arms' grip on you gets. You're forced into a sitting position in what you assume is the car, and you feel the acceleration and rapid turns as your captors make a getaway.

"What do you think?" The man holding you says. Your recognize his voice from the conversation you overheard with Rick.

"We can get out," a female voice responds. You recognize her voice too. It's the voice from 282-RT.

"Mom?!" You scream, tearing up a little bit.

No one says anything. You're scared. You slump against the seat and cry silently into the inside of the bag. No family, no home, and the people who you had even a slight association with are now gone forever.

END OF Chapter 6

Chapter 7

"Glad to hear it, how's work?"

"Oh you know--dead ends, false leads, lots of whining."

"Really? That's too bad; I haven't hit many dead ends lately."

"What? Really? What do you have?"

"You know, I would tell you but, I think I've pretty much got it covered. Just waiting to hear from Mason about some DNA."

"You're a bastard, Gray. You just called to rub this in my face."

"I am and I did; that's pretty impressive deduction there Andy. There might be hope for you yet."

Click.

Nobody has anything. You're going to single-handedly take down Untitled. Well, Mason too, but Mason hates the spotlight. Your work cell vibrates; it's Mason.

"What did we find?" You say as you open your phone.

"A pain in my ass. Whoever Baker is, he's got friends in whatever department handled the evidence in his case. Looks like every time they tested Serrick's DNA against the evidence found at the crime scene it was a match--but that's because Serrick's hair was planted in the evidence at the crime scene. Fortunately there were plenty of other inconsistencies in the procedure that I got to poke through until I picked up plenty of evidence supporting Serrick's claim."

"So Serrick is an innocent man?"

"Yes, we should get him exonerated after we sort out our mess."

"Finding Baker?"

"Yeah, but it's not going to be difficult, I did some preemptive research before the lab results were back and found spikes of activity using Serrick's name."

"Right, he stole his identity. Do you think he's living comfortably under that name?"

"Yeah, I'm guessing he is. I have his home address, we can leave tonight."

"We shouldn't have left Texas."

"Nah, Texas is shit. Plus driving is fun."

"Alright, I'll be there around 8."

Click.

Mason is fond of hanging up without any kind of parting word. When you were first working with him you found it jarring and slightly rude but now you know Mason doesn't like to waste his breath.

Now you have the rest of the day to crack the latest Untitled clue. Well it's not confirmed yet, that's what you'll be checking out today. Yesterday some maniac with a nigh-untracable IP posted death threats against P1-P5 but it was pretty quickly confirmed he wasn't Untitled. There have been a few copycat posts that nearly fooled you, since they were in the same style and tone, but there's always a way to tell.

For one, if the clue doesn't make any sense, it's a good bet that it's legit. For two, the posts never show up on the same web site twice, and are usually on lower-tier forums. Lastly, the IP is always completely untraceable. 0.0.0.0. Today's passage comes from, F. Scott Fitzgerald's City Dusk.

"Come out .... out
To this inevitable night of mine"

Not as subtle or unclear as the usual passages, but subtle enough that someone can't take direct action from it. The best followers can do is go outside at night and stand around, waiting to be taken up into some airship of paradise. That would be helpful actually, round up all the Untitled sympathizers in one place. Then you'd be out of job though. Back to the clue.

As this clue hasn't been communally confirmed yet, it's message has only just begun to be publicly interpreted but it's already been referred to as the "Untitled Call to Arms" by several key Untitled leaders. This jump onto action paralleling with what you're finding in the underground Untitled community leads you to believe that the correlation is not coincidental.

Someone, maybe this Baker character, is falsifying the clues and simultaneously trying to bring all the Untitled splinter groups together or this is actually Untitled's moment to shine in the public and finally take control of the immense power it holds. You're going to have to work fast if it's the latter.

--

Driving at night is always a little bit strange for you because you've never felt comfortable enough in moving vehicles to want to fall asleep. Sure you can do it but it's not good sleep. You and Mason talk for a bit about an entry strategy for Baker's house and a little bit about the clue but after about an hour you drive in silence. Once again you stay in a shitty motel, maybe the same one; but this time you get there in the morning and sleep during the day. Why Mason thought you had to do this mission nocturnally is something you're not even going to ask.

--

You're awakened suddenly by the force of Mason's car turning 90 degrees at 45 MPH. You had fallen sleep on the second leg of the journey after not sleeping very well in the car and then not sleeping very well in the hotel.

"... the fuck?" You manage as you blink several times, the streetlights passing over as if you were falling through them.

"We're about a block away from his house and I just spotted him going the other way," Mason responds excitedly as he pulls another 90 degree turn much too fast.

"You know what he looks like?"

"I saw his plates; DA ANGEL."

You laugh out loud. If this is the ringleader of Untitled, we have his identity and a slew of other information that could bring the entire organization down. As you adjust to reality, you hold tightly with both hands to the sturdiest part of the car you can manage. Mason has a small smile on his face as he rounds residential turns at breakneck speeds to catch up to your target. As you approach him, you confirm the make and model of the car is what you had found online--Toyota Supra, jet black and lots of modifications.

The driver--you assume is the real Baker--realizes he's being followed a little earlier than he should have. Mason is careful about tailing people, he wouldn't have let Baker know yet. Baker zooms ahead and changes lines almost before Mason has the chance to realize he's been spotted.

"Fuck!" He exclaims as he prepares to follow. You grip a little tighter on the car.

Baker proves to be an incredible driver, nearly outmaneuvering Mason with every action he takes. He doesn't manage to shake Mason, but he does manage to keep his distance. The chase somehow manages to not attract any police, but it does lead into a less populated rural area. You realize that even with Mason's skills, he may not ever be able to pin Baker--you might have to assist somehow.

What do you do?

> Shoot out Baker's tires.

You pull out your gun and lean a bit out the window to see if you have a good shot.

"I'm going to take out the tires," you inform Mason as you load the clip.

"Don't bother," Mason responds coolly.

"Why's that? I know you're good but you can't pin him at this rate. He knows these roads."

"That's not the point; he's got bullet-resistant tires. You'll attract too much attention for a small chance of doing anything. I can get him."

"What about the back windshield?"

"Maybe, it's too dark to tell if there are any other passengers though."

You pocket the gun and sit back into your protective position. Mason let's out a loud "HA!" as he swerves onto an intersecting dirt path in the forest. You keep quiet and wait for the punch line. You don't see it until right before you emerge from the trees on the other side.

SLAM

Mason's car sets Baker into an uncontrollable spin, along with several flips, into a tree on the side of the road. Mason recovers from the hit, straightens out and stops. A bit shaken from the hit, you take a second or two to gather yourself and your gun before you get out of the car. Mason's already standing outside, surveying the damage to his vehicle.

"It's fine, this'll be about a grand. We can get home."

"What a relief," you say as you hold your head in an attempt to keep the world around you still. After another minute you have your head on straight and approach the car with Mason. Before you get there, the driver's side door of the crumpled and smoking car flings open. You and Mason instinctively raise your pistols and stop walking.

A man wearing leather and a small helmet unbuckles his dual harness and rolls out of the car onto the ground. He remains face up, breathing heavily but otherwise seems uninjured.

What do you do?

> Fire a shot feet from his head. "Move and your dead. Lose any weapons you have on you. Now!" Approach with caution.

The man jumps at the sound of gunfire next to his head and begins breathing more heavily. He slowly puts his hands in the air, and you can see they're trembling.

"I-I-I don't have anything," he manages before a spat of coughs that brings his legs up to his chest."

"Watch it!" Mason demands as he points his gun.

"I don't! I swear," the man whispers before coughing again. "I'm not Baker ..." he wheezes.

"Oh yeah? Well your switch in the evidence office may have fooled the courts but we have new untampered evidence that is going to put you away for life."

"No that's ... not what I mean ... I'm not Baker." The man takes a few deep breaths, looks you in the eyes and says, "I'm a messenger from TheAngel."

What do you do?

> "Well you can consider your job complete. What's the message?"

"TheAngel would like you ... to do a mission for him. He says to forget about Baker. Baker is in prison and Serrick is dead."

"That's bullshit, Serrick is in prison and Baker is masquerading in his life," you interrupt.

"Forget about Baker. TheAngel wants to see you, but before he does you need to do something for him."

"What's your name," you ask as you pull out a cigarette.

"Harold."

"Alright, Harold," you continue as you cup your hand to block the wind as you light the cigarette. "You're going to tell me everything you know about TheAngel or I am going to strip you down in the cold and burn every inch of your skin with this to keep your warm."

"He didn't tell me anything else. He told me ..." Harold still struggles to breathe. "He told me you'd be coming and the message to give you. I know he's leading Untitled, and that's it."

What do you do?

> "Well for whom was this message intended?"

"Private detectives Mason and Gray. He wants you to talk to someone from World War. I have the details in my pocket on a thumb drive. Can I ... get it?"

"Which pocket?" Mason growls.

"This one," Harold says as he points to his front left pocket.

Mason approaches quickly, shoves his hand into the pocket and pulls out the drive.

"That's all I know, I promise."

What do you do?

>Bring out the laptop and examine the drive's contents.

"Watch him," Mason finally says. "I'll check this out."

You hold your pistol at Harold, who is starting to calm down but still has his shaking hands in the air. Mason walks to his car, opens the back door and pulls out a laptop. He opens it and places it on the top of the car. After a few moments, he inserts the drive.

"Just a text document.

"'Good evening, gentlemen, I wanted to meet you face to face but I'm afraid you are just a little too off my trail for that to be any fun. Instead I give you an olive branch. You can reject it and go back to looking for hints on the internet or interrogating ex-cons but you won't get anywhere. The Baker-Serrick switch was a good find but I'm afraid you're way off. When Baker stole Serrick's identity he compromised Untitled and we were forced to get rid of him. It was too close of a call for us to take any chances.

"'So here is the deal I am offering you. There is a man in WWAR I want a good relationship with, but he doesn't trust me. I want you to pose as Untitled agents and get him on my side. If you can do this I will reveal myself and you can ask me whatever you like. If Harold is harmed or goes missing, the deal will be off the table. If you attempt to take legal action exposing Serrick's false imprisonment, the deal will be off the table. Your meager resources have gotten you very far; farther than anyone else but they will not take you anywhere else. If you want any chance of continuing in your investigation, you will take this deal.

"'The man in question is named Richard Tanner. He's the most radical and most powerful WWAR leader in the country. His base of operations is in Rutland, Vermont and he's very protective about the actual location. You can arrange a meeting with him if you use their password. To do this you must get the most recent copy of the New York Times and find the first place that is mentioned on the front page. Send an e-mail with no subject to r dot tanner at wwar dot net. In the body ask a question about the weather in said place.

"'I'm sure professionals like yourselves will be able to handle things from there. If you can convince him to join Untitled, I will meet you at Baker's home address at midnight two days after I receive contact from Rick. Those are my terms, I'm sure you two are wise enough to make the right choice.

"'Please feel free wasting your time trying to trace me using this drive or trying to get information out of Harold, but if I don't hear anything from Rick in a week, this door will close. Good day.'

"What a prick," Mason finishes.

What do you do?

>Go ahead and arrange a meeting with Richard (is the laptop currently connected to the internet?) but do not go along with the plan -- consider the message more of a lead rather than actual directions. The supposed sender is, after all, a criminal.
>Also query Harold for information, namely if he knows anything about the content of the message, or WWAR, or of course, TheAngel himself.

You're going to have to do exactly as TheAngel says, you realize. Being a pawn, however, can give one more of an upper-hand than some would expect. You're underestimated. You and Mason need to be underestimated.

You look up at Mason and nod your head subtly. He closes the laptop, puts it back in the car and closes the door. You lean on the car as Mason moves Harold away from the smoldering wreck and searches it. While he's searching, you casually walk to Harold, who has turned on his side and is holding one of his arms.

"Okay, Harold. Did you read the message?"

"Y-yes. I was told to."

"Interesting." You flick the remainder of your cigarette butt towards Harold's head. "What do you know about WWAR, or this Richard guy? Richard Tanner?"

"I don't know, just what you read. I've seen him on the news before, I think."

"Yes, I suppose I have as well," you say as you recall a few of the minor WWAR investigations you've been a part of. Tanner has a lot of influence in the WWAR community. You'll have to refresh yourself on his backstory when you get back home.

"Nothing," Mason says as he stands upright outside of the car. "There's nothing in here."

"Fine," you respond as you walk back to Mason's car. "Let's go."

You could call an ambulance, or take Harold with you, but TheAngel has been pretty specific about what you need to do, and you need to play by his rules for now.

--

Richard Cole Tanner, 31 years old, Iraq Vet, clean record. He's managed to stay almost entirely off the radar during his entire involvement with WWAR, which could've started as early as it's creation in 2004. The list of suspected crimes, however, is a mile high. Armed robbery, torture, kidnapping, hostages, murder; multiple counts for each. He isn't the leader of WWAR, but he has just as much influence--probably more.

When you got back from Texas, you picked up a copy of the New York Times and couldn't decide what the first 'place' on the page was. You figured it probably wasn't New York even though technically that's the first place on the page, so you just went with Scotland, which was mentioned in the second paragraph of the first story. You followed TheAngel's instructions for the code and now you're just waiting on a response.

There hasn't been a new Untitled clue, which leaves you less than occupied this evening. You pull up your notes about the last clue and reanalyze them based on what you've found out in the last few days.

"Come out .... out
To this inevitable night of mine"

Could this be TheAngel beckoning to Tanner? Or to you? Maybe playing by the rules is a trap, you'll have to watch your back a little more carefully than usual. Or this could all be a trick, and TheAngel is as you originally thought, posing as an Untitled representative--its leader.

You sit back and reconsider what you know. TheAngel contacted Taylor Jackson, a prominent Untitled translation site. Jackson believed TheAngel because he revealed the clue before it was posted and confirmed legitimate. From Taylor's site Mason managed to pull off the post came from Texas, which is where you found Baker and Serrick. Baker could have been running operations for TheAngel, or just rerouting internet activity to throw people off.

What do you know about TheAngel? In one case this could be the original TheAngel. He started Humanity, an organization to advance science away from the public eye, which then transformed into the Revolution. Now this is where things start to get fuzzy. Harris Saddler was the figurehead leader of the Revolution and carried the pseudonym TheAngel for a period of time. Saddler is now dead but TheAngel lives on. There hasn't actually been much public talk of TheAngel since Saddler's death and you thing it is generally accepted that Saddler was TheAngel, even though he wasn't the one to start Humanity.

So best case scenario, you're looking at two different people to use this name. The actual identity of the guy who started Humanity is not known, but it wasn't Saddler. It's possible that guy is who you're dealing with now.

But TheAngel is a vaguely well-known name in anti-revolution and Revolution circles. It would be so easy to just take on the name for the majesty of the title. There are too many possibilities, you need more information. And a drink.

--

You wake up slumped in your desk chair with an empty bottle of bourbon at your feet. You sit up slowly and stare at your cluttered computer screen. You close out of all the windows except for your mail. You've got a response from Tanner.

"Chloe's Cafe, 5 p.m."

It's a date, Mr. Tanner.

--

Mason parked a few blocks away from Chloe's on a semi-busy street and set up on a roof across the street with binoculars. TheAngel was pretty clear about wanting Tanner to meet with two Untitled reps, but you want to present a different angle. You're going to approach this meeting, this deal, with an air of coldness you've found consistently in Untitled. If Tanner thinks you need him, he'll walk. You need to make sure he not only knows he's getting a bargain from you, but that you're in control.

You arrived at the coffee shop 4 hours before the meeting time, to get a good surveillance of the area. You even managed to get a good look at the back room by sweet-talking the barista and feigning an unnatural interest in coffee. With just under an hour until 5, you and Mason know this area up to a mile in every direction so well you could both draw a scale map with your eyes closed.

After going over the plan in your head enough times to recite it backwards, you take the last sip of your coffee, quietly drop the cup in a quaint, pink trash can, wave gayly to the barista and leave the shop. Once outside you light a cigarette and walk a few blocks to the car.

Once inside you turn on the heat and some music to relax before your meeting. You rest until your radio crackles to life.

"I've got him," Mason says.

"Alright, I'm getting into position," you quickly respond as you turn off the car, lock it and head back towards the cafe. You check your watch; it's exactly 5 p.m.

Chloe's Cafe is sandwiched between a dry cleaning business and a bank. You pull out a newspaper and lean against the far side of the dry cleaner's wall and wait. It doesn't take very long for Tanner to get impatient; at 5:05 he walks briskly out of the shop with a solemn look on his face.

"Hey, hold up," you call out to him. He ignores you and continues walking, more quickly than you expect.

"I said hold the fuck up," you say as authoritative as you can without breaking apathy.

Tanner turns around and looks at you without changing his expression. He stands quietly and looks you over.

"It's not a good meeting spot, let's take a walk," you suggest, returning to your easy-going, low tone and looking back at your newspaper. You can tell without even looking up that Tanner is furious. He says nothing but walks towards you. You step away from the wall and slowly walk beside him.

"This isn't a game," he finally blurts out, after taking several minutes to compose himself. You smile and chuckle quietly.

What do you do?

> "Well what do you think this is, Mr. Tanner? Pieces converge at a predetermined location out of... what, pure curiosity? Are we here to change the future? Slay dragons, perhaps? I find it at least somewhat amusing. The trick to enjoy your chosen profession is to find joy in it. But these are trivial matters. Do you know who I am?"

"Does anyone know who any of you are? God dammit I came here expecting an apology. There's no deal here after you nearly got my men killed!" Tanner responds sharply, nearly hissing. "I don't know what you think this is but we're done here. The enemy of my enemy is no longer my friend."

It seems you were not kept completely abreast of a previous encounter. Without knowing the details, you're going to have to operate with only vague details. You decide that's perfectly fine, since your character is if nothing else, vague.

"You're right, Mr. Tanner, I did come here to apologize. But you're a man of business--nay, a man of action, if I may. Men of action have no time to squabble over the past."

"Where's the other one?" Tanner interrupts.

"You see normally," you continue, unfazed, "we don't mind other people calling the shots for meetings. We're not very picky and we have people everywhere but my associate and I didn't like the way this particular situation smelled."

Tanner stops walking and faces you. He opens his mouth to speak but you talk first.

"Really, can you blame me for anticipating some plot of revenge?"

Tanner's face freezes and descends into a sullen glare. Finally he speaks.

"I don't care what you have to say anymore. I'm going. You can't kidnap our members and expect to smooth over a deal. Just know you've made an enemy with WWAR--an enemy that won't go away quietly." Tanner turns to leave but you grab his arm instinctively. He jerks but your grip is firm.

You can't let him walk away, but you don't know specifically what Untitled has done to anger him so much. Regardless of what kind of "deal" you manufacture with him, you need to have something to bring back to TheAngel--some sort of bait.

What do you do?

> "What was done was done for the good of our common interest. You must know that. And I would hardly call holding those who could compromise our collective mission 'kidnapping.' I'm sure whatever grievances you have can be worked out."

Both of you stare with forceful eyes, neither moving.

"What was done was done for the good of our common interest. You must know that. And I would hardly call holding those who could compromise our collective mission 'kidnapping.' I'm sure whatever grievances you have can be worked out," you say in a more low, serious voice.

Immediately, you can feel the tension ease a bit. A window of slight understanding has been cracked and reason is pouring onto the face of Tanner's mind.

"Why am I talking to you now? I've had dialogue solely with your partner up until this point? Is he too shy to meet face-to-face? Is that why you blew my cover and activated the alarms at the prison? I don't care what reasons you had. I didn't trust you guys going into this and I paid for my carelessness. I won't do that again."

You let go of his arm and he turns to face you.

"Are you sure there's nothing we can do to make it up to you?" You suggest with the power to offer anything you can imagine.

Instead of responding, Tanner closes his eyes in thought and asks, "What the hell does that kid know? How does anyone know anything that could compromise you; much less a kid?"

"Of course I can't tell you that"

"Why the alarms? You couldn't kidnap the kid without setting off the alarms?"

Uh oh. He's getting into details that could expose your identity. You're going to have to be careful about how you answer this.

"We didn't set them off. We still don't know who did or why."

"Bullshit," Tanner responds as he continues to stare gravely at you.

"You know what we want. You know who to contact. Little messes like this have a way of not happening when we're all working together."

"I don't see any benefit in working with you lot again. I'm going to leave now, do you have a problem with that?"

What do you do?

> "You can leave, but you'll only be serving your own selfish whims instead of the people you want to help. Your organization can throw all the molotov cocktails it wants but without our vast information network and ability to use it quietly, you're little more than the confused child we have. You'll never pose a legitimate threat without us."
> Turn and slowly start to walk away.

You turn to walk away, but you stop when you hear Tanner's angry but concerned voice behind you.

"You can just say that! You can say anything you want, because no one knows! I built what I have of WWAR myself and everyone can see that. What do you have to show me? You say you have people everywhere, well what does that even mean?"

You turn to see Tanner standing with his hands extended, frozen to the end some gesture you didn't witness. You smile, hold your hand up in the air extending only your thumb and first finger. Slowly, you bring the gun-shaped hand down and point it at Tanner, who is perfectly still and staring at you. With a quick motion you swing your hand to the wall next to him and flick your wrist upwards at it. In that same instant, in response to your signal, Mason discharges a shot from his position on another building, which collides violently into the brick wall inches from Tanner's head. Tanner ducks instinctively and backs away a few feet. You look at him smugly, hold your finger up to your mouth and blow away the invisible smoke before turning to continue walking away.

"You don't scare me! I knew you had another guy somewhere, your theatrics don't prove anything!" Tanner yells at you, getting back to his feet. He's angry but you can here a slight tremble in his voice.

"Just think about it Mr. Tanner," you call back without turning or stopping. You don't hear anything else from him and you don't check behind you until you get to your car. Mason would have told you if you were being followed. The meeting may not have ended with the best possible result, but you've learned a lot.

Firstly, you were not posing as anonymous Untitled agents, but as a duo who has apparently been in contact with Tanner and the WWAR organization for at least a few weeks. This means that whoever was working for TheAngel before messed up somehow and were disposed of. This probably has something to do with the deal that went down badly before--something about a kidnapping and alarms.

Secondly, there's a boy involved, the target of the kidnapping. Kidnapping seems a big leap that Untitled wouldn't take, which makes you think there is a third party involved. This third party could be the person you're talking to now, TheAngel, and could include all the people WWAR has dealt with up to this point. Possibly a splinter group of Untitled, but not necessarily the core or the head.

Thirdly, the situation in which the kidnapping took place was apparently not the biggest issue. There were alarms that jeopardized Tanner and his crew, which means there was probably a break-in or a robbery in progress. Tanner usually works local so you could probably narrow down the area and time frame pretty quickly. Maybe you can find a security camera and get some answers there.

In any case, these three pieces of information give you more to go off of than any meet up with TheAngel could. You're going to exhaust your resources researching this until you find something whether or not he wants to meet.

You smile as you get into the car and adjust the rear view mirror. You're going to get a much clearer picture very soon.

END OF CHAPTER 7

Chapter 8

You squint and blink rapidly to adjust to the bright florescent lights above you as the bag is pulled off your head. Your eyes are already red and swollen with tears, but they're also fierce. You're tired of letting everyone else control you. You don't care if you live or die anymore, you just want to be able to free yourself.

You quickly survey your surroundings. You're lying on a thin, narrow surface inside what looks like a small kitchen. The man who pulled the bag off is standing behind you. After your eyes adjust, you move your head back to look at him. You can't really make out a good description looking at him upside down so you try to twist your body only to find you're bound to the surface you're lying on.

You struggle for a few moments and while the surface itself is not stable and could be knocked over easily, the bindings are secure. You look back at the man, who hasn't moved and is sitting quietly on a counter, staring at you.

What do you do?

> "Who are you?! Where am I?! What's going on?!"

"I've tied you up because I wasn't sure how'd you'd react," the man behind you says cooly. "I understand you're somewhat of a spaz." The man walks around to your feet. He has dark brown hair combed nicely to one side, hollow cheeks and a fiercesome stare.

"You could probably escape or at least knock this ironing board over on its side, but if you just relax I can explain everything," he reassures you with a monotone and uncaring voice.

At that moment a young woman a few inches shorter than the man enters the room. She has brilliant red hair curling down her face and off her shoulders; she's beautiful.

"You asked who I am. My name is Synthlight. This is my partner, NightSonnett. We've been trying to find you for some time now." Synthlight takes a breath to continue talking but you interrupt him.

"For what? Who are you guys? Those aren't real names."

"Please," NightSonnett says softly. Her voice matches the one you heard on the walking and in the car. It sounds nothing like your mother now, but you still feel deeply connected to it. She doesn't say another word, and neither do you.

"Thank you," Synthlight continues. "Fin, it was us that negotiated your release from WWAR. After we learned that you had been collected by Rick Tanner from your home in the Revolution we took steps to insure that you would be delivered safely to us. Unfortunately, Rick thought you were somehow valuable and the initial price we negotiated continued to increase with every discussion. We weren't allowed to contact you, and eventually we had to kidnap you in order to rescue you."

"Kidnap me? What do you want with me? Why have you been trying to find me?"

"Fin ..." NightSonnett's voice trembles as she speaks before she turns her head away and brings a hand up to her face.

"Fin," Synthlight repeats, "please, just listen. This is going to be a huge shock for you. If you stay calm I will untie you. Can you keep calm?"

What do you do?

> "How am I supposed to believe anything you say? You nearly ran me down and threw me in a car and then you tie me to an ironing board! Fine, I won't freak out; just tell me what the hell is going on."

"I know, I know it's bad. You've been through a lot the past few weeks, and there's no easy way for me to help you through that. But I made a promise to your father that I would take care of you if something happened to him, and dammit I'm going to keep that promise."

"You ... you knew my fathe--" you choke on your words as your grief rushes back to you. You blink quickly, trying to keep from crying as Synthlight slowly unties you from the board. Once free, you back up to the refrigerator behind you and slide down onto the ground.

"Yes," Synthlight finally says. "I'm a friend of your father's from a long time ago. We used to work together before our careers took us onto different paths--before you were taken from him."

"Wha--"

"I know. Please, just listen. Your entire life in the Revolution has been spent with two foster parents. You were kidnapped when you were very young by an enemy of your biological father and hidden in the Revolution."

You don't speak. Not because you're shocked, but because you can't believe such a ridiculous story. When you would daydream in class in the Revolution, you dreamed of an adventure like this. You imagined your parents were living a double life--one in the Revolution as boring parents, and one outside the Revolution fighting against the power or fighting crime somewhere. The idea that your real father had an enemy powerful enough to orchestrate your kidnapping doesn't even register.

Cue ** A Father's Memory **

"Your father," Synthlight continues, "was an architect. His name was Grant. He designed and built the first Revolution facilities under contract by Harris Saddler. Grant discovered a secret--something terrible that Saddler was hiding, and tried to quit. Not wanting this secret to get out, Saddler kidnapped you and kept you as a bargaining chip against your father, forcing him not only to keep quiet about the secret, but also to continue his work for Saddler. Eventually, Saddler issued more threats against Grant and refused to return you to him, so he ran away. Your family assumed you were dead, and it was only recently that it Grant discovered you were still alive and living in the Revolution.

"Grant confronted Saddler about you but he was shot in the process and spent his last few days in a hospital bed in New York. He managed to steal some of Saddler's files and get information about where you were. I arrived by his beside the day he died. He told me all of this and I promised I would find you and keep you safe."

**-**

You look at Synthlight as he finishes speaking and blink slowly, squinting slightly due to the brightness of the fluorescent light. After a few seconds you close your eyes and try to decide if you should believe anything that this man has just said.

"I know you're in shock," Synthlight says, "but you're not alone. Nightsonnett has also been waiting to see you for a long time."

You open your eyes and look over to NightSonnett, whose swollen, red eyes are staring longingly at you. She opens her mouth to speak, but it just quivers and closes again.

"NightSonnett's real name is Erika. She's your sister," Synthlight says softly. At this Erika falls to the floor and sobs quietly for a moment before lifting her head up and smiling at you.

"I-I thought you were dead," she manages.

"So," you start, overwhelmed with everyone else's emotions, but unable to conjure your own. "My parents--I mean my fake parents--were in cahoots with the leader of the Revolution?"

"We don't know, we didn't get a chance to question them before ..." Synthlight detects the sensitivity of the subject and stops. "We don't know anything for sure. We only have Grant's word. Oh, here, he wanted you to have this," Synthlight says as he pulls out a wallet-sized, faded, slightly bent picture from his pocket and hands it to you. The picture shows a strong-looking, proud man giving a half smile to the camera while holding a baby with one arm.

"I think that's the only picture he had of you and him together," Synthlight says as he sits down next to Erika.

You stare at the photo. Was that really you? Your parents in the Revolution had baby pictures of you, right? You don't remember any where you were this young, but that could just be a coincidence. You realize you're breathing heavily looking at just how similar Grant's face is to yours now. Could it really be true?

"It's true, Fin. We're family," Erika blurts out, seeing your face and finally gathering the ability to speak.

"We're family?" You repeat breathlessly.

"Yes, and we're together again after all these years," Erika says with a smile before crawling across the room and collapsing on top of you with her arms wrapping around your body. After a few seconds, you put your arms on her back and feel her shaking. You have a sister. You have a family."

"What about my mom? My biological mother?" You ask.

Synthlight shakes his head slowly and you can feel Erika cough and shudder with her face buried in your chest. She pulls herself up and sits cross legged facing you with her eyes closed.

"When you were kidnapped, she thought you were dead, and she became obsessed with the Revolution. Call it Stockholm syndrome, maybe, but she wanted nothing more than to live in the Revolution for the rest of her life. Maybe she thought everything would be okay, maybe she thought she would get you back but it drove her mad. After Erika failed to pass the trials last year, she hung herself. That was the last straw for Grant. That's why he confronted Saddler in such a rage."

"So both my parents are ... dead?" You're shocked at your misfortune of having two sets of dead parents.

"Yes," Erika says, surprisingly calm." But we have you now, and together we can finally destroy the Revolution FOREVER!"

"What?" You ask.

"Calm down, NightSonnett," Synthlight says. "Don't worry about that. You need to rest and mentally soak in everything. If you have any questions I'm happy to answer them.

Erika gets up and leaves the room. She pokes her head back in a moment later to look at you and say, "thank you."

"So was it this Saddler guy who shot my father?" You ask, trying to piece together the scenario.

"Yes."

"So where is he now?"

"Grant or Saddler?"

"Um, both, I guess."

"Grant is buried in a small cemetery with his wife in Pennsylvania. Saddler had a heart attack a month after the incident with Grant and died a few days later in a hospital bed. Of course NightSonnett doesn't believe that."

"She thinks he's still alive? I remember that I think. He stepped down as the leader of the Revolution."

"Yes, well he did that some time before he ran for vice-president. NightSonnett thinks he dropped out of the race to keep the heat off whatever information Grant was willing to die to spill. She thinks he's hiding now after faking his death and is controlling the Revolution from behind the scenes."

"Hmm," you say, thinking it over. You're surprised at how practically you're approaching this new information. You're still pretty shaken up, but you have more questions.

"What's my real name?"

"Fin is your real name. You were already responding to it when you were kidnapped I guess."

"When did my father steal these files if he was shot when he met up with Saddler?" You ask, finding a snag in the story as you put it together.

"I-I'm not sure, he probably collected bits and pieces over the years before finally confronting Saddler face to face. Maybe he made a grab for a few key files before he was shot and rushed to the hospital?"

"That doesn't make sense to me. If he knew where I was why would he have to confront Saddler?"

"I don't know," Synthlight says putting his hands slightly in the air. He looks at you with a sympathetic face, but you're suddenly suspicious.

"What was your business with my father anyway? How can I trust you? Why the codenames? Whose side are you on, anyway?"

"Whoa, okay, Fin, listen," Synthlight starts. "I know you don't really have any reason to trust me, but you don't have anyone to trust either. Next to your sister, I'm the closest thing you have to family. I worked with your father a long time ago on the early stages of a project that he ended up abandoning because it was taking him away from his family too much. The project was secret, so we all used code names. I've never felt safe using my real name around anyone I haven't known for very long--not even NightSonnett knows my real name."

"What was my father's code name?"

"87x. And as far as whose side I'm on, that isn't black and white. Your sister and I have been working for the last few months to find someone tangible to speak with who can represent Untitled, an anti-Revolution organization specializing in its secrecy. We believe whatever information your father had against Saddler and the Revolution will be best used by Untitled and its members."

"But my father is dead, did he tell you what he knew about the Revolution?"

Synthlight's mouth twitches slightly into a very subtle smile as he stares blankly at the floor beside you.

"Yes," he finally whispers. "He did."

"Well?"

"No, it's too much right now. It's too much to go into. Also I can't be sure I can trust you yet. We'll save that story for another day. Saddler on the other hand, we can talk about. He was under a lot of pressure from his opponent and the republican party for his continued involvement with the Revolution. It's possible that after his encounter with Grant that he decided he was jeopardizing his running mate and wanted to drop out without admitting defeat or publicly admitting he had been lying. That's the only thing I can think of; it was a last resort."

"So what do we do now? Try to get in touch with this Untitled group? I bet Rick would know how contact them. He seemed to know everything. Or would he suspect you of kidnapping me? Why would Rick think I was so valuable?"

"We've been doing research about Untitled and trying to make sense of its clues. We're going to continue to search until we find the inner-workings of the organization. Rick and his gang of WWAR groupies are just wild dogs; they don't know the subtleties that go into handling an organization like Untitled. He barely managed to communicate discreetly with NightSonnet and me when we were posing as Untitled agents."

"You what?"

"We pretended to be Untitled agents seeking members in order to get a closer look at their members. It's not hard to act the part; you just stay aloof, suspicious and play your hand close to your chest."

"So is that what you do? You go around pretending to be in Untitled hoping to bump into one of them for real sometime?"

"Not exactly--NightSonnett and I frequent a dozen message boards that we find most promising, looking for people like us who are trying to contact the leader of Untitled. With these people, we trade interpretations of the clues until we each find one that makes the most sense. There seems to be a particular pattern to me, and I'm only a few puzzle pieces away from solving it."

"That's it? That's your plan? What about action--" you start to rant, annoyed and cranky less at Synthlight and more at your lack of rest, but you're interrupted by Erika yelling from another room.

"SYNTH! NEW CLUE!"

Synthlight turns his head towards the sound and then looks back at you.

"Want to come figure it out with me?" He asks.

"Sure," you respond as you follow him into a room lit only by several monitors glowing in the darkness.

"It's really weird, it's probably fake," Erika says as she turns the monitor towards Synth. You try to stand at an angle where you can see the screen, but the text is too small. After a few moments Synth turns away from the screen to stare at the wall, his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open. He backs away from the monitor and slumps onto the floor without saying a word.

"Synth? Are you alright?" Erika asks.

"Give me a minute," he says, eerily quiet.

"You know what this means? I googled some of it and it looks like an excerpt from Paradise Lost, but it's weird ... all caps and backwards letters. What does it mean?" Erika continues.

Synthlight remains frozen on the floor, staring at the wall. You look over at the screen and read out loud the words on the page.

"AЯT THOUGH THAT TЯAITOЯ ANGEL, AЯT THOUGH HEE
WHO FIЯST BЯOKE PEACE IN HEAV'N AND FAITH, TILL THEN
UNBЯOK'N, AND IN PЯOUD ЯEBELLIOUS AЯM"

What do you do?

> "Umm, Erika? ...What was, um, our dad like?"

Erika pauses with her mouth open and looks at you.

"He was strong. He knew what was right. I'm sure you have millions of questions but this clue is important. Synth, what's wrong?"

"Yeah, Synth," you add, "what's with the backwards Rs?"

"Whoever is behind this clue," Synth finally answers, "is talking to me--to us, directly."

"How?" Erika demands.

"The--no. I-I don't," Synthlight fumbles his words for a moment until finally saying, "the Rs were a symbol--a symbol for the group your father and I were in."

"So he's talking to all the old members of the group?" You ask.

"No." Synthlight says sharply. "I'm the only one left. Untitled is talking to me."

What do you do?

> "What do you mean? What group? Why are you the only one left? What happened?"

"...The Rapture?" Erika asks.

"Yes, the one I told you about Erika," Synth confirms.

"The Rapture? What is that? Why are you the only one left? What happened?"

"I can't even begin to describe it ..." Synthlight trails off.

"You said my father and you worked together until some maniac tried to kill everyone," Erika says.

"Yes. No. It's not how it all ... I can't think right now, I'm sorry," Synthlight gets up, goes to another room and closes the door behind him.

You and Erika look at each other, equally confused.

What do you do?

> "Umm, what is this group he told you about?"

"The Rapture was a counter-movement to another group called Humanity. It was inner-politics of the island where the Revolution started. How much do you know about how the Revolution was formed?" Erika asks.

"Just what everyone knows; 'hardworking men and women pooled resources together to form a greater coalition of knowledge, talent and good ethics,' I think that's a direct quote."

"A direct quote from what?"

"Oh the old video you have to watch every year on Revolution history; that's how it starts."

You had forgotten already that you're on the outside now. Not everyone was raised in the Revolution.

"But more specifically I think a guy named Saddler started it? I don't really know what's true or not," you offer.

"Well, I don't know the story that well either, Synth has just told me the bare bones version. Basically a core group of people started the Revolution but they needed more members so they brought in Humanity--some expert scientists and doctors and stuff--"

"I can tell it. I'll tell you both." Synthlight cuts Erika off as he steps back into the room. "I started it. It was my idea. I founded the Revolution. Myself and a dozen other men and women worked for years on creating a perfectly self-sufficient village. When we finished planning, we needed members. We wanted to separate ourselves from the evils of the world, into a utopian society. We needed members who had no ties to the outside world. Humanity had brilliant scientists in almost every field, all so dedicated to their work that few had families. It seemed like a perfect union.

"Greed, however, always has a way of fighting back. A few months into settling on the island, Humanity voiced an idea of letting more people on the island. They wanted to build another set of condos and rent them to rich people. We didn't need the money, we had more than enough of everything for everyone. Slowly, the island began to polarize. You were either with Humanity, or against Humanity. The other core Revolution founders and I met in secret, forming a group called the Rapture. The backwards R was our symbol. When someone would flip the R in the Revolution town sign backwards, that night we all knew there was a meeting." Synthlight stops and stares at the wall, trying to calm himself as he breathes deeply and slowly.

"One night after a particularly heated debate in the town council, I left to go on a walk and consider extending our paradise to others. The morale debate Humanity had presented depicted those against sharing this utopia as greedy. They told us we wanted to keep all this paradise to ourselves and we should be ashamed. I knew they were twisting words but I wanted to really think on it. The R wasn't backwards that day, but I forgot to check it before I went on my walk.

"I remember sitting on the beach, listening to the gentle sounds of the waves when I heard the sirens. The sirens were a last-resort measure if the world were to go into some nuclear panic. We had built a giant underground habitation facility where the entire village could survive for about two years. I stood up instinctually and started running for the entrance to the chamber underground, but something inside me made me pause. Instead of going straight to the entrance, I decided to pass the town square. Sure enough, the R was backwards again; there had been a meeting while I was out. I decided to see if I could meet the rest of the Rapture on their way out to the chamber. I heard screams, people in panic, but I wanted to find the rest of my friends. Strangely, I remember feeling very calm, like the whole ordeal was a mistake that I was going to correct--until I opened the door.

"The lights had been cut off to Felix's condo, but I could smell death in the air. By the time my eyes adjusted I was on my knees in horror. Every single one of the Rapture members was d-d-dead," Synthlight stutters and coughs for a moment with a noise that sounded like he was fighting vomit.

"I'm sorry. They were all dead. I didn't know what to do. I stayed in there for some time; I don't know how long, it could've been hours. I didn't notice the sounds and lights coming from outside, but when I finally got my senses back, I knew I had to leave. Whoever had done this would know I was still alive. While I snuck out of the condo through the fire escape, I saw Saddler's helicopter landing. It was my only chance. I waited for him to jump out and walk some distance away before I snuck aboard and hid with the cargo," Synthlight finishes before sighing and staring at the wall again.

"Then what?" You ask, intrigued.

"Then I left. I got a job doing stocks. I never looked back."

"You didn't try to expose Humanity?"

"How could I? I am just one man. I was traumatized by the whole thing for years--still I can barely recount it. It took Grant on his deathbed to get me to face it again."

What do you do?

> "When did my father get out?"

"Grant was never there. He helped with the planning all the way up until our plane to the island. He had a family and too many ties to the rest of the world."

"You didn't think to contact him? Tell him what had happened?"

"I did. I tried to tell him what happened but Saddler had already gotten to him. My call was what did Grant in, I'm afraid. Once he knew about what had happened, he wanted nothing to do with the Revolution anymore. That's what made Saddler kidnap you. I'll feel guilty about that for the rest of my life."

What do you do?

> "Wait so if everyone was killed, who would even know about the backwards R's to use it in the clue?"

"I suppose it wasn't a terribly secret code, just subtle. Anyone on the island could've figured it out. Whoever posted this clue must've survived from the island.

"What do you mean survived from the island?"

"Oh, right. As the helicopter took off, I saw what the screams and light I was too oblivious to pay attention to were. Someone sounded the alarm to get everyone in the village into one place. Then they burned them all. I only know three people who got off that island alive. Myself, Saddler and a man I only know as TheAngel. I'm sure those two were responsible for what happened that night."

"TheAngel? Aren't he and Saddler the same person? I thought he was just a legend that Revolution kids tell to scare you into being good for the Revolution."

You had heard so many accounts of what TheAngel was, you just assumed he was fake. One story in particular you remember from a camp out you had gone on just a year before was particularly unbelievable. TheAngel, the bitter, old and evil leader of the Revolution walks through the hallways of Revolution buildings, dragging his claws and staring at suites with his four empty eyes. He has no other facial features, just four black, hollowed-out eyes. He walks through the hallways slowly, looking for someone. Then there was some part about how monitor-blocked communication could still be heard by him, and how he would find you if you were talking off the console's monitoring system.

"He's not fake, but I don't know who he is. I don't know his real name; I never saw his face. He always wore a mask in public. Other than Saddler, he's the only person I can think of who could be sending these clues," Synthlight says, but he's still deep in thought, staring at the wall.

What do you do?

> "Well if Saddler or TheAngel is talking to you, what is he saying? What are we supposed to do? Wait, if either of them is leading Untitled, doesn't that mean they're really working for the Revolution?"

"I don't know, I--"

"Wait, I know this!" Erika exclaims in excitement.

You and Synthlight turn to Erika, who is turned back to the computer screen.

"This clue," she continues, "I knew I remembered it from somewhere. I thought it was just from school but it was in the park!" She looks at Synthlight waiting for him to pick up on what she had discovered.

"What?" He finally asks.

"Remember that time when we first moved here and we got really lost in that park? I don't remember the name, but there was that creepy old building hidden in the trees and--"

"The plaque ..." Synthlight finishes.

"Yeah, the plaque. This exact passage was carved into it, except without the backwards Rs."

There's a moment of tense silence while Synthlight stares at the monitor and thinks.

"Let's go," he finally says.

"But we don't even know where it is, how are we going to find it again?"

"We found it once, Untitled knows we found it, Untitled knows we're here."

"Where," you interrupt, "is here, anyway?"

"We're in New York, an hour or so from the city. Grant left me the deeds to his properties, one of which is this apartment where he lived when he worked for the Revolution," Synthlight answers.

"So are we going?" Erika asks.

"This could still be a trap; we need to wait until someone confirms its legitimacy."

"I'll get on it," Erika says brightly as she turns back to the screen and puts a pair of earbuds on.

"Even if it's confirmed it could still be a trap," Synthlight says out loud to no one in particular.

"You mean, if TheAngel or the Revolution is controlling Untitled."

"Yes, this could all be very bad," Synthlight says quietly, staring at the wall again.

What do you do?

> "Why did you and Erika move to this apartment when my father gave you the deed?"

Synthlight looks at you and then looks at Erika to make sure she can't hear what's being said. In a low voice he says, "she's still very sensitive to that, try to keep your voice down."

"Sorry, I know I'm still in shock about my parents too," you say as a faint wave of grief washes over you. You realize you aren't nearly as shaken by your emotions since you've been in this apartment.

"We moved here to get out of that house in Pennsylvania. She needed a change of scenery; there were too many bad memories in that place. Plus where her house was, you couldn't get anything faster than DSL and we're doing a lot of internet research."

What do you do?

> "If they know you're here, why wouldn't have they already have attacked you?"

"I don't know how Untitled would know that, since the deed is still under Grant's name, but if they do then that means at least they want to meet with me specifically. I think that's a good thing, trap or not."

"So what do you want me to do."

"Hmm, that's a good question," Synth says, snapping out of his gaze. "Neither NightSonnett nor I know much about the Revolution, or what you know. Why don't you tell me a bit about your life?"

The question catches you off guard. Your life? You haven't had a life, you've just lived with your parents.

"I don't know ... I was raised in a Revolution suite and a Revolution simulator. I had a few friends at school but mostly I hated it. I've wanted to get out into the real world my entire life."

"So you're pretty familiar with the inner workings of the Revolutions simulator? The console?"

"Sort of, I mean I had a CFG, er, a Console Feedback Generator."

"What is that?"

"It allows you to talk without being recorded by the console when you're in the simworld."

"Interesting. Your knowledge of the simworld will likely be very handy. What do you know about computers? Do they have computers like ours in the Revolution?"

"Sure. They're mostly simulated to be more advanced but I know how to use them."

"Well, you can start by reading up on Untitled. I'll set you up on my machine."

You spend the next few hours reading all about the anti-Revolution group you will supposedly be meeting with tonight. It's speculated they've been around for longer, but major activity around the group has only started becoming noticeable within the last two years. No one knows who the leader is or what the actual name of the group is, but there seem to be people online who are involved. It's hard to tell who is pretending to be in the group and who actually is. Those who are pretending often try to prove themselves, but it's still difficult to tell. You read an article online about Untitled clues and patterns to try and get a grasp of what your new friends (captors?) have been doing for the past few months.

You don't really understand how people are drawing the conclusions they come up with for the passages Untitled posts, but you can see the connections once they're there. You don't expect you'll be much help for solving clues in the future. The mystery behind Untitled intrigues you, and you find yourself on Untitled fan sites reading conspiracy theories about its genesis. None of it sounds plausible, but it's all interesting.

Then, without any warning or forethought at all, while still sitting behind a strange desk in a strange chair, you begin to cry. Silent sobbing that takes over you despite your attempts to prevent its overpowering dominion. You think about your life, your parents, your friends, your school, your teachers, the Revolution. Everything you grew up with is gone. Your entire childhood has vanished in the space of a few days. Everyone you knew growing up is dead. You feel helpless, and intensely sorry for yourself, despite your resounding calmness just moments ago.

After a few minutes you pull a tissue from a box next to a keyboard and blow your nose. You try to breathe normally again and drive your thoughts back to Untitled and its history. You've almost regained your composure when Erika appears beside you.

"Are you alright?" She asks softly.

"Y-yes," you stammer, not able to hide the sadness in your voice.

"I know it's hard. When my--" she pauses and closes her eyes for a moment before continuing. "... Our parents both died, they were gone in just a few days of each other. I was in shock for most of it and I didn't really get the tears out of my system. I'm still not over it; I'm not sure I ever will be. If it weren't for Synth ... I don't know where I'd be. I'm afraid of where I'd be."

You look at your sister and for the first time see her as just that. She's here to comfort you and be the big sister you never had. You smile faintly.

"You're in good hands with us. It's good to remember the past and reflect on the dead. It helps us focus on the present and prepare for the future," she says before turning to slowly walk away. She pauses in the doorway and turns back to you.

"If you need to talk or ... cry, you can tell me. I know this is weird because we barely know each other so when we come back tonight, I'd like to get to know my little brother better. Alright?"

"Yeah," you say simply, your voice still slightly trembling.

Erika smiles and steps into the next room.

--

You spend the night on a pull-out couch in the living room; Synth had some extra pillows and sheets for you. You dream in patchworks of everything you've seen in your whole life for most of the night, not remembering most of it upon waking. NightSonnett is still working tirelessly on confirming the legitimacy of the clue; you wonder if she slept at all last night.

After breakfast, you read more on Untitled and widen your research to new topics: The Revolution, TheAngel and The Rapture. You don't find much on the last subject, but the first two yield insteresting results. You have never had a perspective of what the outside world thinks of the Revolution. You've had ideas, of course, and you've heard about the jealousy, but you'd never been able to actually access any anti-Revolution data because of the Revoltuion's content-blockers. So much information is now available to you, with nothing left out.

Before you know what's happening, it's late afternoon and your stomach is growling angrily for sustenance. You grab some green grapes and a bag of chips from the kitchen before going right back to reading. You're not just reading about Revolution anymore; you've moved on to hundreds of other topics. You realize that you have a half dozen windows open, each with so many tabs that the titles of each site only display three or four letters each in the space they are allowed.

You pause, another few hours later, and wonder what Synthlight is doing. You've seen him around the house when you've been up and around, but haven't paid much attention to his activities. You're on his computer, and you don't think there are more than two in the house. You get up from his chair and realize the sun is setting outside. You step into Erika's room and see Synthlight sitting pensively on the floor against the wall, watching the sky turn deep orange. On the other side of the room sits Erika, furiously typing and clicking away at what looks like even more windows than you have open on Synthlight's machine. Her eyes are darting from window to window, soaking up information and determining its respective importance. Her desk is littered with paper and bags discarded from various foods and nearly a dozen soda cans.

No one notices you. Both of them are so deep in their activities that they don't even hear you clear your throat. Just as well, you decide as you turn and go back to Synth's room where you continue your less-than-helpful research.

A few hours later, your concentration is broken when Synthlight calls out that dinner is ready. You join him in the kitchen, but Erika still doesn't make an appearance. You sit at a place, thank Synth for the meal and begin eating the flavorful meat and vegetables quietly. Finally, you hear activity down the hall and see Erika appear from her room. She's smiling slyly as she enters the kitchen, having had some satisfying revelation.

"It looks legit. Lots of boardies are citing dozens of reasons why its fake, but none of them check out. It's definitely Untitled who sent the last clue."

"So if this is a trap, at least it's a trap set by Untitled. We should go tonight."

"Right now? In the dark? We'll never find it," Erika protests. You suspect she's exhausted from her research.

"As soon as you have some food, NightSonnett. Fin, let's find you some dark clothes."

You haven't finished your meal yet, but you don't dispute Synthlight's request. In his room, you're fitted with a few baggy, black articles of clothing--dark pants, a long-sleeved black shirt, two sweatshirts and gloves. After you don everything but the gloves, the sleeves from the shirt poke out past the sleeves of the sweatshirts and hang down, making you look like you shrunk inside the outfit. You push the sleeves back enough to put your gloves on and put up both hoods of your sweatshirts before standing in front of a mirror.

In the Revolution, all clothing was immediately fitted in the simworld, and real life clothes were very plain and not varied. You had never worn clothes that didn't fit before. You look silly, but at least you'll be warm; you were reassured by this several times as Synthlight haphazardly rifled through his closet.

You return to finish the last of your meal and a tall glass of water just as Erika is finishing hers. You wonder if she had eaten anything else that day, and upon thinking about it, you can't recall if she has. Once she and Synthlight are dressed--also in black--Synth grabs a flashlight and a map and the three of your leave the apartment.

The sky is a cold, dark blue. You realize after blinking and looking around that the sky should be darker in January at 9 p.m., but after checking what time it is with Synth, he tells you that the lights in the east are from New York City. The rest of the sky, you find, is as dark as it should be.

The three of you walk quietly for a while along streets and then onto a sidewalk which turns into a path through a park. You follow them as they weave through the dark trees and park benches for longer than it took to get to the park before you start to notice you've passed certain things more than once. After passing a particularly odd tree for the third time you ask if anyone knows where they're going.

"It's right around here, I know it. This is where we got lost last time when we split up," Synthlight says in a hushed voice to Erika, but not excluding you.

"I know, but I don't remember where we went, or what anything looks like. I told you it would be impossible in the dark," she replies a bit cross.

"Was it on the trail?" You ask.

"No it was in the forest somewhere," Erika answers. "It was near here, but I remember there was matted grass, like a makeshift trail and I haven't seen that anywhere."

"Well since it's winter now, all this grass is dead. It probably won't be as evident that people have been here," Synthlight speculates.

"We should just start walking through the forests, it's not going to be out here," you suggest.

"I'm still worried. Has no one else seen this place? Shouldn't this park be crawling with Untitled hopefuls and wanna-bes? I'm worried about stumbling blindly into a forest."

"As long as we stick together we should at least be able to watch each others' backs," Erika points out.

After another minute of thought and debate, Synth decides to step off the path where the three of you are standing and into the forest to try to find the plaque. After a few minutes of unsure navigation, Erika spots something shining in the moonlight.

"Here it is!" She whispers.

You inspect the plaque. Sure enough, the clue is carved in its entirety (except for the backwards Rs) onto the metal surface. Synthlight isn't looking at the plaque; he's too busy looking around them for signs of trouble.

"I don't see anything," he whispers.

"Neither do I, should we walk over to the building?" Erika gestures towards what looks like a tight group of trees on the other side of a hill. After staring for a moment you see the top of what used to be a steeple has been broken off and overgrown with forest life.

"Yes, slowly," Synth says as he walks as quietly as possible towards the top of the hill. You follow, beside Erika, both of you watching Synth closely. Suddenly, Synth stops at the top of the hill and crouches. You and Erika copy him and look around yourselves to see what the problem is.

"There are people down there," Synth says calmly as he peers over the cliff.

"How many?"

"I can see three, maybe four. What should we do?"

> Sneak around and find a good hiding spot so you can listen to whatever they're saying.

"Should we sneak around and see what they're saying?" You suggest as quietly as you can manage.

"Okay, all of us?" Erika asks.

"We shouldn't split up; it's our only option," Synth says.

The three of you creep quietly around the cliff of the hill until you come to a less steep path downwards. As you walk you strain to hear any voices or sounds from the people Synth saw, but you only hear the sounds of a wintry forest. As you descend down the landscape you watch the huge stones of the church seem to swallow you on one side, while the earth your party is creeping against rises at the same rate.

Synth pauses in his walking but you can't see why. Erika, behind you, strains to see what the problem is by leaning her head out from the dirt wall but quickly snaps her head back against it after a moment.

"You're being expected," an unfamiliar voice says loudly--or rather, more loudly than you expected, since you've been whispering the entire time you've been outside.

Synthlight doesn't say anything, but slowly steps away from the wall and walks past the man. The man is wearing what looks to be an all-black, uniformly fit garment, with no seams or openings anywhere on it. The garment covers every inch of the man's skin, including his face. He stands straight up, facing (you assume) the direction you came and pressing a long, perfectly straight staff into the ground.

You and Erika follow Synth, who is walking sternly but still slowly. Another few dozen paces ahead, you pass another man dressed identically as the first, standing exactly the same way. Synthlight passes the man and the man says nothing. You can see on your left as you walk, the foundation of the church and the tangles of dead weeds scattered along the surface of the stones. Finally you reach the area the three of you had looked out onto from above on the cliff. There are four men, all dressed in the tight body suits holding staffs. They are standing in a square directly in front of the huge but terribly worn doors of the church, which are standing open in the winter air.

"You've arrived." A deep, but harsh and crackling voice spills over the air like molten lava. The sound simultaneously startles and frightens you. None of the men have moved, and while any one of them could've been the origin of the voice, you doubt they are.

Synthlight tenses up and stares into the black void past the church doors. A few moments pass in silence and no one moves.

"Please come in," the voice says again, reassuringly. Once again you are filled with a cold fear by what you realize is the sheer loudness and mirth of the voice. In addition to the cold and crackly nature of the sound, you hear what you swear sounds like static. You wonder if the man who is talking to you is using a vocoder. You've never heard a voice so rich and dark without the aid of electronics.

Synthlight takes a step forward and you and Erika follow to the center of the four black-clad men when suddenly the air is pierced by another unfamiliar voice.

"Hoooooooold everything," the voice demands in a light, nearly goofy voice. A flashlight shines down from the top of the cliff where you had been perched minutes ago. The figure holding the light crouches and then jumps down gracefully, landing and simultaneously pulling out a silver pistol.

"Your Untitled asses are exposed and mooning the world right now. Come on, take off the hoods everyone, and let's have your names. This case is closed, solved by the brilliant and dashing Detective Gray."

END OF CHAPTER 8

Chapter 9

"Just got in, going to get some shut-eye before I throw my weight around town."

"Sure."

"How's the recon on your end?"

"Slow, information's muddled around here. Can't get straight facts about recent break-ins. I've got an appointment with the chief of police in the morning though, hopefully he'll let me go over the official records."

"Good, keep me posted," Mason says before hanging up.

You and Mason usually work together, but occasionally a job is big enough to split. After meeting with Tanner, you stayed in Vermont to find out what kinds of cookie jars you could catch his hands in, while Mason traveled back to Texas to seek a meeting with TheAngel. You and Mason figured he won't show since you didn't fulfill your end of the bargain, but it's worth checking out, especially when you have something as conclusive as exonerating DNA testing to leverage. Mason will threaten to expose Baker as Serrick and vice-versa if TheAngel does not cooperate.

Meanwhile you're stuck talking to slack-jawed cretins masquerading as public officials, trying to get apparently impossible-to-remember details about BNEs in the past two weeks. You're sitting in a hotel room and bored. There hasn't been a new clue yet, not for a while. You wonder if someone already got to Untitled before you; if someone hushed them up before you could.

"No way," you say aloud. "Nobody's got nothin'."

You realize in your boredom that you haven't slept much or well recently, so you decide to take a hot shower and try to get some before your 9 a.m. meeting with Daniel Reap, the Chief of Police.

The shower burns your skin at first; just the way you like it. As you stand in the water, rocking back and forth to let it run down the entirety of your body, you think about the case. Not just your recent developments, but the whole case. You try to remember if there were any other leads that could help you narrow down your search now. The more you think about it, the more you worry about your particular choice in action. You're investigating crimes committed in several counties in Vermont because a leader of WWAR said someone he was trying to keep from who he thought was Untitled was kidnapped at a prison? No, not necessarily, although it's possible. There was a prison involved at some point, but not necessarily during the crime. Alarms were activated and cover was blown at the prison, and someone was kidnapped but not necessarily at the same time.

Too many question marks, what are you doing? Is there anything here? Tanner could just be crazy, but somebody kidnapped one of his people. Yes, you conclude, it is worth at least getting to the bottom of. Someone kidnapping WWAR members and calling themselves Untitled was worth uncovering.

You step out of the shower and dry off, satisfied once again that you are on a good path--a path towards an answer. Maybe not The answer, but an answer that brings you closer to it.

--

The next morning you arrive at the police department promptly five minutes before your meeting. You wait for twenty before Sgt. Reap waddles in the front doors. He walks to a back room and disappears. You don't mind waiting, you're prepared to work for the information you need. Another fifteen minutes passes before Reap steps out of the doors, walks over to you and asks if he can help you.

"Detective Gray, Revolution Special Investigation, I'd like to ask you a few questions about some anti-Revolution-related crimes in the past couple weeks."

"Weeks? This isn't about the big WWAR hostage incident?" Reap asks more calmly than you'd expect someone speaking on the subject to be. You had heard about the incident and had briefly investigated it but it was WWAR territory and at the time you had no reason to be looking into WWAR. You wonder now if you should refresh yourself on the details when you get some free time.

"No, I'm investigating a string of smaller crimes; robberies, BNEs perhaps, and any prison-related crimes, specifically a prison where alarms have been triggered recently."

Reap frowns and looks away from you. He turns around to look at a man sitting behind a desk on the other side of the room, gestures to him then turns back to you.

"Sure, come back with me," Reap says in his gruff voice that could only be crafted by years working in law enforcement.

You follow Reap past the set of doors he walked in when he first arrived. Once inside you're patted down and asked to take a seat in a surprisingly comfortable chair sitting across from Reap's office desk.

"We had a prison break over in Rutland two days ago but I don't know that it was Revolution-related."

"Do you have the names of the prisoners who escaped?" You ask, intrigued.

"Not right here in front of me. I think a half dozen or so got out."

That has to be it. It would mean that you talked to Tanner the evening after the break-in, which would explain his soreness about the ordeal.

"Do you have security footage of the facility at the time of the prison break?"

"Sure do." Reap smiles at you with a look that says, "always glad to cooperate with the Revolution, can I please be allowed in now?"

You smile back a satisfied and reassuring smile as Reap leaves the room to get the footage. After a few moments he returns holding a small usb stick.

"Do you have a computer or ..." he asks as you hold up a black laptop bag and produce a computer from it. "Ahh, good. Here it is," he says as he hands you the usb.

Inside the drive there are several video files with numbers and letters for names that don't spell anything useful.

"It's video from each camera for 4 a.m. to 5 a.m. and 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. There should be 12 files in there," Reap says helpfully, as if reading your mind.

You look again at the files and recognize 0400 on half of the files and 0500 on the other half. Each letter must correspond with a camera and the other numbers, you decide, are dates. You make a folder on your desktop, copy over the files and give the drive back to Reap.

"Thank you very much, you have been very helpful," you say as you pack away your laptop. Reap smiles and shakes your hand before escorting you out of his office and back into the police station waiting room.

Okay, you've got a lot to do, what are you going to do first?

> Head back to HQ and go over the footage.

You nod at the appropriate persons on your way out of the police station and make your way back to the hotel room where you ignore all other sensory inputs and pull up the security footage files again. You start with the file named "01042013A0400.avi." You watch it at 10x, but even with cutting 60 minutes down to 6 minutes, watching a dimly-lit hallway for that long is incredibly boring. You load up 5 a.m. on camera A but still there's nothing to see for the entire video. Camera B is another hallway; 4 – 6 a.m. prove it to be just as boring as the last hallway. Camera C shows fencing that looks like it should be outside, but there are lights that make the scene look like it could only be inside. Even with more interesting scenery, you're bored just as much by the 12 minutes of this angle as you have been for the past 24. Camera D shows a large snowy expanse in the middle of which, as some considerable distance, is the prison. You're amazed when the cue on the video hits 23:13 and movement appears on the video. You quickly hit stop, back up and watch in 1x from the first appearance of change.

A man walks into the frame from the right side of the screen and stands a few paces in frame, looking around and occasionally turning to look at the prison. You see after a few minutes that the man has a radio, which he eventually turns towards the camera to hold up to his ear and listen to. You can barely see his face, but you can see it enough to determine the figure is not a man, but a boy. He may be a teenager, you decide, but at most 15 years old. The boy looks worried at what he hears on the radio, but he continues to make adjustments to it and listen intently. You click a button to come out of full-screen mode and pull up some facial recognition software you pirated a few months ago. Well, you didn't pirate it--Mason did. The Revolution didn't want to pay for it so your hand was forced; it really is a cool program.

You take a few screen shots of some of the better-looking frames--several where he's almost looking into the camera and several where he's standing in profile. You save them, crop them and submit them to the program for processing. You decide you will review this segment in greater detail later, and that you want to skip to see what happens when the boy leaves. You reach the end of the 4 a.m. video and start the 5 a.m. in 10x. Skipping through frames that quickly proves to be unhelpful, as you skip past a few seconds and the boy is gone. You back up to cue 11:45 to see the side of a brown van fishtail into the frame, blocking your view of the boy for a few seconds before it speeds off. There's no way to see the plate number, but you can probably get the make/model of the car if you show it to Mason.

The facial-recognition software is still processing. It usually doesn't take this long, and you wonder if it will show up with any results using your low-resulotion images. It's a long-shot, but if it gets you any closer it will be worth it. There are two possibilities here: one is the van belonged to WWAR and they were picking up one of their men after they were compromised; the other is this is the person that was kidnapped by the two supposed Untitled agents. You're pretty sure it's the latter, but you can't rule out the first.

Time to put on your thinking caps, while the facial recognition software is working, what are you going to do?

> Check WWAR and Untitled internet activity for anything involving a young new recruit.

You open up a search box to see if you can narrow the possibilities down from 2 to 1 when you notice your Untitled RSS feeds are ablaze with activity.

"I just checked for a new clue last night, has there been all this activity since I went to sleep?" You ask out loud to yourself.

No, there's never this much noise, you decide after pulling up a few lengthy discussions on the new clue. Something must be particularly exciting about this one. Finally you get to the source.

"AЯT THOUGH THAT TЯAITOЯ ANGEL, AЯT THOUGH HEE
WHO FIЯST BЯOKE PEACE IN HEAV'N AND FAITH, TILL THEN
UNBЯOK'N, AND IN PЯOUD ЯEBELLIOUS AЯM"

"Angel," you repeat. "TheAngel?"

You look at the date stamp of the post; it says it was posted yesterday morning, but you checked last night and there was still no clue. First sign of illegitimacy. After a bit of reading you discover this issue is somewhat of a hot topic. Despite many followers' claims you can't disprove its credibility just based on a seemingly misleading date stamp. A lot of things could explain why that happened. DNS problems, or something like that, you asked Mason about this kind of thing once but you didn't really understand what he was talking about.

You usually try not to heavily decipher the clue until you've confirmed it's legitimacy, but you almost can't help yourself think through this one ahead of time.

"'Are you that traitorous angel?' This a good chunk of evidence towards the fact that TheAngel isn't actually leading Untitled, which is discouraging, but the fact that the leader of Untitled is calling him out on it means it's still worth looking into. TheAngel may not be Untitled's leader, but he might know something. He's a traitor; maybe he dissented.

"'Are you he,'" you continue to paraphrase, "'who first broke peace in heaven and faith until then unbroken and in proud rebellious arm?' First broke peace in heaven--heaven is where angels live, right? So maybe the Untitled headquarters? And faith--maybe that's the followers? The faith and heaven that was up until that point not broken--not even touched. 'And in proud rebellious arm ...' So TheAngel is a traitor and a rebel. Maybe he's splitting Untitled; maybe that's why he's getting WWAR on his side. He's dissented and trying to start a more powerful Untitled."

You stop talking out loud for a moment. Why would the leader of Untitled want to tell everyone this? You suspect he/she would have a more direct channel to speak with TheAngel. What does this clue accomplish for the typical Untitled follower? Most people don't even connect TheAngel with the traitor angel from this excerpt.

You retire this train of thought temporarily to read and digest the now thousands of bulletin posts online on the subject. Most people seem to interpret traitor angel in the story as the Revolution and how the Revolution broke peace in the world by betraying the people. No one can seem to figure out the backwards Rs either. Some people say it's hinting a communistic parallel, telling Untitled's followers to pursue an anti-communist path towards the destruction of the Revolution. One poster in particular claims that this is the final straw for the Revolution. The poster says that if the American people can be persuaded into another Red Scare, the Revolution would be disassembled within weeks.

While it's true that the strongest support for the Revolution is in America, you're not sure that congress would ever pass any law prohibiting communism or any bill that came close to dismantling the Revolution as almost all of them were very fond of it. Most congress-people have managed to secure their place in the Revolution, whether it's through visits or loopholes in their state election qualifications.

Still, no one seems to be able to prove or disprove the legitimacy of the clue. As usual, arguments with baseless logic roar across all corners of the internet causing more then the regular amount of fuss. You read and research for what seems like a half hour--maybe an hour, tops. When you look at the clock again, it's nearly 3 p.m. You decide to give yourself a break and go get some lunch.

You get a sandwich at a deli across the street from your hotel and call Mason.

"Yeah," he answers typically.

"New clue's pretty fun."

"I saw that, I haven't been able to confirm it yet."

"That's what everyone's saying."

"Well I'm saying it too."

"How's the blackmail going?"

"Slowly; I staked out his house for a few hours over night and set up motion detectors before I left but there's been nothing. I stopped by again today to make sure the devices hadn't been disabled, but they hadn't; I set them all off."

"So are you going to go spring Serrick out of jail?"

"Maybe, I'm considering waiting a bit before I involve the blue boys in our manhunt; they're terribly ineffective. How'd it go with the chief of police?"

"Oh yeah, well--I got security footage and found some kid standing around at the time of the break-in."

"Where was that again?"

"Oh uhh ... I don't remember the name--some jail."

"Okay, anyway--continue."

"Right, so the kid stands there for about an hour before being picked up by some brown van. I think that's the kidnapping Tanner was going on about, but it might not be."

"Could be them just getting the hell out of there, right."

"Right, so I'm doing a facial scan right now to see what it can come up with. It's been going all morning so I don't have much hope. It was a pretty low-resolution image."

"Did you get a face and profile?" Mason asks, like a parent would ask a child who had forgotten to wash his before dinner.

"Yeah, I did. I still remember how to use it, don't worry."

"Well then you should get something. If it's blurry you'll get more results, not less. The only reason it's taking so long is because it's pairing down all your results."

"Oh really?" You're excited by this news, you don't mind sifting through large portions of data if you know what you're looking for.

"Yes, so it's a good thing."

"Okay well, I was just checking in, let me know if you find TheAngel. Maybe he can help us solve this clue."

"Yep."

Click.

When you get back upstairs, a message is blinking from the facial recognition application. Your results are ready. You enter in the age range, 12-16, knowing you can change it if you don't find anything that works. The reason the facial recognition software is so good is because it pulls information from three massive, comprehensive databases.

Firstly it searches criminal and psychiatric databases, which is handy if you're trying to find criminals who have already been caught and either gone to jail or pleaded insanity.

Secondly it searches the Revolution membership database which is helpful if you're looking for someone who's ever even applied to be a member.

Lastly the program accesses a somewhat less-than-legal "random database" which has held up in court by brilliant lawyers more times than it should have. You're still not sure how the database is filled but it's some combination of hospital stay records, telemarketer names and addresses, high school and mall photo portrait companies, internet phishers and scammers and a so many more places that the phrase "invasion of privacy" doesn't even begin to describe it.

The program pairs as many names with faces as it can manage, also letting you know if this pair is "confirmed" or "speculated." Sorted by likeliness, your
first result looks spectacularly similar to the kid in the video. He has sort of a squarish head, brown messy hair and green eyes.

"Finnegan Kessler," you say aloud. "'Recent activity--missing, presumed dead from Revolution S65.' Oh here's a link to a related news article."

The link takes you to a Revolution news site on an article about the S65 hostage-murder incident. You skim through it, find no new content in the writing and go back to the information on Finnegan.

"His body was never found?" You say, even more intrigued. Your suspicions are slowly being confirmed as you read. You finish the paragraph of basic facts, and get to the end where another link reads "More Info from the Revolution." You click it to find a typical Revolution database site, but instead of an unnerving amount of personal information, the page only displays an apology.

"We're sorry, you do not have permission to access these files. If you've reached this page in error, please contact Revolution Tech support at 1-800-REVOLUTION (1-800-738-6588)."

You wonder if your browser's security clearance is disabled or broken. This is the page that most people get when they try to access personal Revolution information, but your computer is set to auto-log-in. You should have bypassed the login screen and continued to the information but instead the page defaulted you to the standard form.

You check your log-in settings, retype your password and try again. Still the same page. You type the manual log-in address into the url bar (a trick Mason showed you how to do) and two blanks appear on the screen. You carefully type in your name and password, making sure all capitalization is correct. Once again you're taken to the restricted access page.

What do you do?

> Check birth records for Finnegan Kessler.

You check birth records for Finnegan Kessler. Finnegan was born to Francis and Miriam Kessler at Perth Amboy General Hospital‎ in New Jersey on February 3, 2000.

What do you do?

> Ask Mason to investigate Finnegan Kessler in the database; as he's (seemingly) more technologically apt/sly, he may be able to access things in a way that Gray wouldn't.
> Search for information regarding Frances Kessler and Miriam Kessler, as well as general information on S65, maybe?
> And also ask Mason what would prevent Gray from being able to access someone's personal Revolution data.

Once again pulling up the restricted access page, you're both frustrated and angry that your password doesn't work. It has to be some sort of mistake, you decide as you pick up your phone to call Mason again. You need access to the Revolution information about this kid; he doesn't have any other records to look into.

"What?" Mason asks, sounding a bit irritated.

"My security access is being rejected by the Revolution personal information database. I even tried manual access and it's still not letting me in."

"You made sure your password was typed correctly?"

"Yes," you say plainly, not wanting to be sarcastic or immature if Mason's is upset about something.

"Well it's probably just restricted. We don't have the highest levels of access."

"Can you get into it somehow? I need this file."

"I guess we could try to contact Simon or another one of the P-numbers."

You don't say anything. You don't want to ask Mason directly to brute force his way into this file, but you want to let him know you're not necessarily satisfied with this suggestion.

"... Or I could try to get in. Revolution encryption is tough though, I programmed most of it myself. I don't know that I could get in unless it was protected by an older password. Let me see what I can do."

Click.

Seconds later, Mason signs on and asks you for the link to Finnegan's info. You send him the link along with a little background explanation as to why you need to know who he is. You pull up a site you had been looking at a few minutes ago to follow a heated debate about the new Revolution clue but you can't concentrate. Much to your surprise, Mason messages back to you about a minute after you pull up the argument.

"I can't get it all, just an address -- 189 Pine Tree Rd. #203, Monroe, NY"

You want to ask for more, but Mason wouldn't give up without good reason. Either he really can't get anything else or he's got something bigger on his plate. You'll ask for clarification after you check out this address.

"thanks, I'll check it out"

Mason has signed off

What do you do?

> Stake out the address. Collect data by observation. Pose as a modelling agency and talk to one of the residents, if any. Send flowers, let them know you care.

The address, you discover, is owned by someone named Grant Tarlock, who according to the Lenox Hill hospital, died in August 2012. You do a bit more digging but find little more information on Mr. Tarlock or your primary interest, Finnegan. Out of ideas and other options, you decide to drive to New York and check out the address. It's the best lead you've got. Normally you'd tell Mason where you're headed, but you figure that much is understood and you've bothered Mason enough today.

It doesn't take you long to pack up your things and go downstairs to the lobby to check out of the hotel. You hadn't realized how much time had passed since you got back from the police department; it's already late afternoon and you have to pay for an extra night's stay. Well, not you--the Revolution has to pay for an extra night's stay.

As you drive to your mystery location in New York, you wonder why it is that there is so much hatred against the Revolution. Of course maniacs preach about conspiracy and murders, but there's no truth to any of that. Even if there was, WWAR has a crime record much worse than the Revolution could have. There was the beginnings of the investigation into their finances; some people say the Revolution is pocketing more money than it legally should. Who cares? The money doesn't belong to anyone but the Revolution, so who cares if they don't appropriate it exactly where it was earned?

A lot of the basis for people who fight against the Revolution is jealousy and fear. They believe the Revolution is the great nameless evil that has complete control over its people, like a fascist government. Obviously that isn't the case, or else you wouldn't have a job. If you have to work this hard just to find a lead on an anti-Revolution group as large as Untitled, the Revolution is not all-powerful--not even close.

By the time you get some food and find the address, the sun is beginning to set. You drive around the area a few times trying to memorize it in case you have to make a quick escape or take a hostage. It's an old apartment building--probably built in the 30s or 40s. There are two exits they could take out of the building, and there's no place to park where you can see both exits easily.

You reach into the back seat to grab a black bag you keep in your car for emergencies. The items inside aren't necessarily emergency items, but they're all seldom used. You dig through various cords and electronics, looking for something applicable to this situation. A camera or a motion detector would be fabulous, but you doubt you have anything of the sort as your hand gets closer to the bottom of the bag.

Finally, you feel a thin, cold piece of plastic, like an overly-thick license and remember what it is. You pull it out in triumph and smile. You had originally bought the credit card cam to take pictures of people in high definition without them knowing. You secretly hoped to be able to at least once use it for an upskirt shot in a bar or something. You don't consider yourself a pervert or a sexual deviant, but the thrill of getting away with that kind of thing was kind of an amusing thought.

This camera, however, did not have video capabilities. The internal memory chip was fairly large, but you didn't know if you could set it to automatically take pictures at a high enough frequency to be useful as surveillance without filling it up.

Still, it would have to do. After a few moments of internal debate, you decide to set it to take a picture once a minute. Whoever was living here, if there was anyone, wouldn't know they were being watched. The area the camera would be able to see is possible to get in and out of within a minute, but not at a regular pace.

You spend another minute setting up the bluetooth communications so you will be alerted if a picture taken has changed dramatically from the last before getting out of your car. You look around you to make sure you aren't being watched before walking behind the building and placing the camera on a plastic stand just above the brownish tan remains of grass.

Internally proud of your ingenuity and cleverness, you return cautiously to your car, smiling with one side of your mouth. Now all you have to do is wait.

You decide early on that if this building is occupied, the resident will have to leave at some point within a 72 hour period. You hope you won't have to, but you are prepared to be awake for almost all of that time. You don't mind not sleeping for a day or two, but once you're in the third day things start getting weird. You don't like not being able to trust your own eyes. If no one shows in three days, you'll check into a hotel, buy a disguise and pull a fake delivery stunt after getting some sleep.

There were plenty of supplies in the car, most of which you picked up on the way, but some of which you just always keep. You break out a pack of jerky as the last of the sun disappears on the horizon behind the trees. You get a few notifications from your camera as the light fades. You walk back to it to make sure the changes in the photos are just due to the arrival of evening. No one in sight and the photos contain no figures; you walk back to the car.

A few people give you passing, inquisitive looks as they walk by, but none of them enter or exited from your mystery apartment, so you smile and continue to stake out your target.

The door swings open at 9:09 p.m. You slide down in your seat and grab the binoculars. Three figures exit the apartment, the last of which turns off the inside light before you can properly ID them all. You managed, however to see the shortest of the three is male and looks very similar to the kid from the surveillance video at the jail.

"Hello Finnegan." You smile--time to tail them on foot.

Wearing all tight black clothes is the best way to stay out of sight at night when you're following someone. You, however, hate tight clothes. You follow an alternate school of thought when it comes to tracking people--dress like a civilian. If caught or spotted, a person in all black tights has much more to explain than a man in a brown coat who's just trying to find his way back to the gas station.

The three walk on sidewalks, heading east, then north, until sidewalks run out and they continue on the side of the road. You progressively fall farther and farther back as the suspicion of having a stranger present becomes higher and higher. You're uncomfortable being so far away in an unfamiliar territory, but you're also sure your targets have no idea they're being watched.

Finally, you reach the beginnings of a park. Passing as sign you see you are entering Harriman State Park. You wonder if you should have taken the opportunity to go through the apartment while the three were out, but you can't be sure it isn't still occupied. Also, you have in sight a much sought-after boy, and you don't want to lose that lead.

Upon passing this thought, you expand on it and its ramifications. TheAngel had asked you to contact Tanner, who had accused you of kidnapping one of his men. If you assume the boy is the kidnapped man, that means that TheAngel or possibly one of his men kidnapped this boy and you're now following two agents of TheAngel. It's also possible these two are part of a third party acting against both TheAngel and Tanner. It's possible the boy is in on it, and set up Tanner and WWAR to get in with these two. As far as you can tell he's not in any kind of restraints, and he seems to be talking amicably with them.

Some significant time passes, and you realize the three figures are circling. You experience a momentary wave of panic as you consider the possibility that they know they're being followed, but it passes as they stop to argue about directions. When they finish, they decisively walk off the path and into the forest. With some significant delay, still a bit worried about being caught, you follow, now glad to have trees to hide behind.

After almost losing them in the darkness of the trees, you follow much more closely--close enough to be in earshot of their conversation. Mostly they're muttering about looking for something and their surroundings until you hear a female voice shout, "here it is!"

The three stop and gather with their backs to you around something you can't see. You pause behind a tree and listen.

"I don't see anything," a deep, rough voice whispers.

"Neither do I, should we walk over to the building?" the woman says.

"Yes, slowly," the rough voice says after a pause.

You hear them move away and you turn to watch them go. As they walk further into the forest you see what they had been surrounding--a plaque. You cautiously approach it and with the aid of a small covered light, you read the inscription.

"ART THOUGH THAT TRAITOR ANGEL, ART THOUGH HEE
WHO FIRST BROKE PEACE IN HEAV'N AND FAITH, TILL THEN
UNBROK'N, AND IN PROUD REBELLIOUS ARM"

"No...," you say aloud and immediately regret. You check your three targets but none of them have apparently heard you. You're taken aback at the relevance and its implications. Whoever these people are, they have a deep understanding of Untitled, if they are not already incorporated in the inner Untitled circle. You redouble your cautiousness, watching the group speak rather than listening. They are perched on the top of a hill, but you notice there is faint light on their faces coming from some distance past the hill.

After a few moments the group moves along the top of the hill down towards one side. You move very slowly to where they had been standing to find yourself on the edge of a cliff, looking down at the front of a building--some sort of church. You lie down on your stomach to get a better view. The church has torches lit at its front and four men standing guard. From your position you can see your group head down one side of the cliff and become obscured by the land. You assume they are going to end up in your view again, so you stay put. If you don't see them in a few moments, you ready yourself to follow.

Much to your relief, since with every passing moment you became more sure you were being tricked or trapped, the three figures appear in the clearing below, just paces from the four guards, who turn to face them. The guards, you notice, are dressed in a single black sheet that covers their entire bodies. You strain to see the faces of the three, but their backs are turns towards you. Suddenly, a voice you are surprised to be able to hear and simultaneously threatened by sounds loudly and harshly on the night air.

"You've arrived," the voice calls from deep inside the church. You're too far up to be able to hear it so clearly--it sounds as if he was lying down right next to you. You can't help but shiver for a moment after the air silences again.

Everyone in your vision remains frozen in the winter air; you're sure they have not heard this voice before either. They seem to be petrified with fear and the unknown. Finally the voice speaks again.

"Please come in," once again the voice smashes through the air like a hammer, crushing every listener with its force and ferocity. Upon a second hearing you wonder if you're sitting next to a speaker of some sort. You glance and feel around immediately next to you for something of the sort, but finding nothing you return to watching. You see the three begin to inch towards the beckoning blackness and realize you're about to lose them.

This is it! This is Untitled! You stand up, pull out your flashlight, and prepare yourself for the jump down the cliff.

"Hoooooooold everything," you announce boldly while crouching and holding out your flashlight at the crowd below. Everyone freezes; you smile and jump down on the soft dirt below. The jump stings a bit after lying down for so long, but you don't let it show as you take out your pistol and point it menacingly at the group and the darkness.

"Your Untitled asses are exposed and mooning the world right now," you claim, trying to sound more competent than you actually feel. If you count the voice, there are 8 people here verses you, those aren't good odds. You're hoping all of them are computer nerds and will shrink at the sight of law enforcement and firearms.

"Come on, take off the hoods everyone, and let's have your names. This case is closed, solved by the brilliant and dashing Detective Gray," your confident pat-on the back doesn't have the effect you hoped. Everyone continues to stand in stunned silence. You quickly glance over the faces you can see and confirm the kid is Finnegan from the surveillance video.

You're about to speak again when the cold, blunt voice echoes towards you again.

"Ahhhh good. Gray," the voice says slowly and carefully. "I would kindly ask of you to lower your weapon."

The man behind the voice sounds more confident than you feel, but so do you. Maybe he knows he's been had. You're both playing each other, with at least seven immediate bystanders at his disposal. This is Texas Hold 'Em and you're all in, waiting for the river.

"I certainly can," you begin, unsure about where you're going or what you can bargain with. "I would feel much better if I could see everyone's faces," you demand.

With a swiftness than can only be compared to a wind or a captive of the wind, a figure from the blackness emerges just barely into the back-casted light from the torches. The figure is wearing a long black robe which covers his entire body--much like the other faceless figures to your right--but atop it all, where his head should be, lies a faint wooden mask. The figure never steps close enough to properly see the mask, but from your distance you can see brightly glowing teeth that look to be sewn on in some fashion. As your eyes adjust to the darkness, still having not moved and not said anything, you see the mask has no nose and two crude holes, one much larger than the other, where a face would have eyes.

"Let's see your hands," you finally say, gesturing with the pistol. You check everyone else to make sure they haven't moved.

Without speaking, the figure slowly lifts his hands, raising the robe to an enormous cape before the fabric falls revealing two clothed arms and two gloved hands. You hear a loud twang immediately after feel a sharp stinging in your neck. You fire the gun into the darkness but the man stands as he had, with his palms spread wide towards you. As the darkness swirls around you and the ground finds your head, you smile. You found them. They couldn't hide any longer.

END OF CHAPTER 9

Chapter 10

You duck and cover your head instinctively at the sound of a gunshot. By the time you uncover yourself and look at detective Gray, he's lying unconscious on the ground. Synthlight, who had jumped between the detective and Erika when the gun went off, starts to move towards the unconscious man.

"Stop. Don't touch him," the man in the darkness booms. Synthlight stops instantly and turns towards the darkness. With you, Erika and the rest of the hooded men, Synthlight watches as the man emerges fully from the church door.

"Please, come inside," he says again.

Erika makes a move to obey but Synthlight stops her.

"Who are you," he demands.

"You're in no amount of trouble ... Synthlight. You can trust me," he speaks as if the name were a joke--in a manner a parent would have when addressing a child's imaginary friend.

Synthlight doesn't move. "Is he dead?" He asks.

"Of course not," the masked man says without much emotion, but still booming his powerful, raspy voice as if it was amplified by the rocks around you.

Synthlight looks at Erika, then at you. You shrug and raise your eyebrows. Synthlight nods slightly and then steps towards the darkness of the church door. Seeing this, the masked man turns and vanishes as quickly as he had appeared.

You look back at the guards and the unconscious detective, all of whom have remained perfectly still since the gunshot. As if he could read your mind, the masked voice speaks to you.

"Do not trouble yourself with our beloved Gray. He shall be seen to."

You shiver for a moment either from the cold inside the church as the door closes behind you, or from the close proximity to the already chilling voice. You follow Erika and Synth into the darkness as you strain to make out your surroundings. Before your eyes have time to properly adjust, you're led into a small room. The room is empty save for a wooden table and a small lantern in the middle of it. The man stands in one corner and waits for everyone to file inside. He stands in silence for a moment, seeming to stare at you before you realize he's waiting for you to close the door. You close it promptly and take your place standing next to the table on the other side of Erika.

"First let me say that I do not trust you any more than you trust me. These theatrics exist for the same reason any message board or clue does. I don't think I have to tell you that Untitled is an idea more than an organization; but it is still an organization that I must protect at all costs."

Given a pause, Synthlight jumps in with the same question again, "who are you?"

"Ahhh, Synthlight. Yes, you mustn't know my name any more than these two should know yours. You look magnificent for your age, I must say, sans the scar of course. But who can help that, we're at war are we not?"

Synthlight covers the left side of his face. You turn to look at him but being on the other side of Erika you cannot see the scar the man is referring to. Who is this guy? Synthlight said the only people who know him are dead.

"Are you Saddler?" You ask boldly, a bit out of turn.

"Synthlight, I'm afraid I know little more about your guests than their names," the man says calmly. "Other than one is feisty and the other is lovely."

Erika is taken aback by this, but she says nothing. You can't tell if she's blushing in the low light, but she doesn't seem offended.

"You can call me Hal. This is not my name of course but as I come to trust you more, I shall reveal more about myself and Untitled. This meeting was held to facilitate nothing more than what we have already accomplished. I'm sure you have questions, but until you have proven yourselves to be allies I cannot answer most of them," Hal says firmly. His voice is raspy like a ghost but still hard in close-quarters.

What do you do?

> "How do you know his codename? Or the thing with the backwards R? Who are you?"

"The same way I know his real name; I've been watching him. I've been watching him for a long time. April 8, 2012," Hal says, addressing Synth again after only briefly acknowledging your presence. "And I was monitoring you from afar before that. You're a very interesting person, Synthlight," Hal says, his misshapen, blank eyes seeming to pierce into Synthlights'.

"Now I expect to be able keep a much closer watch on you. I've set up quarters for all three of you where you will be able to stay while we earn each others' trust."

"What if we don't want to stay," you interrupt a little more fiercely than you intended. Synthlight looks over at you with concern, not for your behavior, but for your fears.

"You are free to go where ever you like, of course, but this is the only opportunity you shall have to join Untitled. Take a moment to consider it--in private if you'd like," Hal says as he sweeps across the ground to the door next to you. He opens it, exits the room and closes it silently.

What do you do?

> "Why did he mention the date, Synth? Did something happen on April 8th, 2012?"

Ignoring you, Synthlight presses the question Hal had just left, in a half-whisper.

"Should we trust this guy enough to stay here?"

"I don't know, what do you think?" Erika replies, matching Synth's tone and volume.

"I'm getting a bad vibe from him, but that could be the mask," Synth shudders and looks behind himself while rubbing the left side of his face. You take this opportunity to look closer at his face and notice a very subtle, almost purposefully made, scar along his jawbone.

"Yeah, me too," Erika agrees.

"What's the scar from? Was that what happened on April 8th last year?" You pry, intentionally ignoring the topic of Hal and his offer.

"It doesn't matter," Synth says shortly.

"Why don't you want us to know your real name?" You hope to get Erika on your side, questioning Synth with this remark, but it seems to just upset her. You're not threatened by Synthlight, but the vague references to his character and past Hal made seem dangerous.

"There's a lot I don't want you to know about me," Synth finally says after a sigh, looking at you as directly as he's speaking. "I use a cover identity to protect myself and those around me. If you were captured by the Revolution, you wouldn't be able to tell them anything that they would be able to use to find me. I would insist on your sister using her cover ID more if you two weren't related. In the future it will become more of an issue, and you'll need a cover ID too."

You hadn't thought of that. You assume Synth was hiding things from you for some malicious purpose, but he was just doing it to be cautious. You're both being cautious.

"How about Chaz?" You offer with a lighter tone of voice.

"What?"

"Chaz--when I was a kid I used to play with this imaginary program kid that I called Chaz. I could use that as my code name."

Synth half smiles. "Sure. What do you want to do about this?" Synth gestures to the closed door.

"You guys have come too far to turn around now, we should stay at least for tonight and see what kind of plans he has in mind." You feel safe with Synthlight. Hal can't do anything to you while he's watching over you.

"Just a night then? See what he has to offer?" Synthlight asks Erika.

"Yeah, why not?" Erika agrees.

As the decision is made unanimous, you expect the door to open and Hal to emerge to guide you to your rooms, but nothing happens. The three of you wait in silence for a minute, then two more before there's a knock at the door. Erika jumps at the sound, but you only flinch internally. You open the door and Hal's masked face stares at you more closely than you've seen it. Up close it's more ghoulish in detail than a farther view can do it justice. The creases in the wood wrinkle the face as if from old age, but the two still empty eyes stare in perfect, uniform blackness.

"Have you decided?" Hal politely inquires with manners contrast to his reverberating, wispy tone.

"We'll stay, at least for now," Synth answers authoritatively.

"You've made the right choice," Hal assures you, or everyone, you can't tell.

You instinctively follow Hal as he walks down the hall, back towards the entrance to the church and up a regal staircase. You're closely followed by Erika, and then Synthlight, who keep silent as they make their way through the dark. You become aware of your breathing, it seems so loud in this otherwise silent corridor. You strain but fail to hear anyone else's breathing; you wonder if they can hear yours.

Concentrating so much on your breathing, you misstep at the top of the staircase and tumble onto your right shoulder just inches behind Hal..

"Please be careful," he whispers without turning around back to you.

Without saying anything, embarrassed, you jump to your feet and rub your arm as you continue to follow Hal down the long hallway. The hallway ends with wooden paneling, matching the rest of the walls on this floor, and a small mirror which you can barely see in the dark.

"These are you rooms," Hal gestures at the three doors lined up next to each other on the right side of hall. "We shall discuss tomorrow's activities tomorrow. Good evening."

As Hal turns to retreat to the staircase you give a small, pathetic, protesting grunt. Hal stops but does not turn around.

"What, what about a light?"

"No lights allowed on this floor--or in any room with windows. You don't think Untitled has stayed hidden this long by waving fluorescents into the night sky?" Hal continues down the hall until the blackness is too dense to see him. You hear his steps faintly for a moment before silence engulfs your party.

What do you do?

> Ask Synth what to do. Inquire about his scar. Go be with Erika at some point.

You look at Synth but your motion is lost in the darkness as Synth absent-mindedly rubs the left side of his face. In a low voice that you barely hear you notice he mumbles something.

"What?" You ask.

"What?" He repeats, his hand flying away from his face. "What?" He says again.

"You were muttering something, sorry. I was just wondering what our next step is."

"Right. We can't plan much until we know what he wants us to do, so I suppose we should just get some sleep. Pick a room?"

You look at the door closest to you.

"I'll take this one I guess," you say just before noticing a small image carved into it. "What's this?"

Using your fingers to feel the engraved image, you distinguish it as a rose.

"What's what?" Erika asks.

"It's a rose carved into the door, are there carvings on the other doors?"

"There's one here," Synth says on the door closest to him. "This one is just vertical bars ... oh and two horizontal bars; one at the top and bottom of all the vertical ones."

"There's something here too," Erika points out as she approaches the last door. "It's a shark or a dolphin or something. Maybe a whale? I can't tell in this light."

"Well I don't care which room I'm in, they all look the same inside," Synth announces as he checks inside the room with the bars and the room with the rose. "Do you have a preference?"

What do you do?

>Room with the FINS

"I'll take the shark room, since my name is Fin," you chuckle, putting the pun together.

"Wha-" Synthlight stops in front of the door with the rose, looks at it, then walks to the door with the bars on it. "I guess this one--I mean I'll take this one."

"How fitting, a flower for the girl," Erika says sarcastically as she opens her door. "Good night, all."

You're the last person to actually enter a bedroom. You don't even recognize your apprehension until you are alone in the hallway. Going into the room would be a choice; you would choose to join this organization and trust this new person you hardly know. Last time you did that ...

But if you hadn't left the revolution you would've never found your real parents--your sister. After a few moments of silence, you sidestep and knock on the door with the rose. The door opens and Erika's face dimly appears behind it. She definitely has your eyes, you decide.

"What is it?" She asks abruptly, interrupting your train of thought.

"Uh ...," you start, unsure about why you wanted to talk to her. "Can we talk?"

"About what?"

"I don't know. I was just thinking if we decide to trust this guy, we could get pulled into something we don't want to have a part in."

"Synth won't let that happen."

"How do you know? I don't know about Synth, he--"

"Listen," Erika starts sharply. She pauses and takes a breath. "Synthlight won't let anything happen to us. Even if something gets out of his control, he'll make sure we're safe. He promised me that much."

"But how can he promise something like that? What if our rooms lock and fill with poison gas in the night? What could he do?"

"He'd think of something."

"What's with that scar?"

"It's probably from the island."

"It almost looks fake, and every time he's thinking and staring off into space, he rubs it."

"He's been through a lot, and he probably never thought he'd have to think about it again once he got off that island." Erika is starting to sound defensive. Standing in the long, dark hallway, you're annoyed that she is standing in the doorway and not letting you in.

"That's another thing, his whole story. Everyone in the helicopter is conveniently dead? Then how does this Hal person know everything about him? It's not like Saddler and TheAngel had a book club or a gossip chain. Hal has to be one of them, but Saddler is supposed to be TheAngel and dead!" You realize you're almost shouting. Erika doesn't say anything. You look to your left and see Synth standing in his doorway, looking at you.

"Why are we trusting him?" Synth asks you.

"I don't know!" You reply breathlessly.

"Because it's the best shot we have. We've all been hurt by the Revolution. You've seen first-hand why we can't work with WWAR, and Status Quo has been losing members almost as quickly as Untitled has been gaining them. This is our only chance to find justice with the Revolution and the world."

"What if it's Saddler? What if it's TheAngel?"

"Why would they have any reason to lure us here? What threat do we pose to them? The idea that this is all one big elaborate trap doesn't make sense to me. People in power try to stay in power, they don't go to all this trouble to trick a few nobodies into ... what? Sleeping in a church for a night and then killing them? If Hal wanted to kill us, he could've done it already, just like he knocked out that investigator."

Synth's point made a lot of sense. Hal could've killed you already.

"How did you get that scar? Is it fake?"

"It's a very old scar. One of TheAngel's men slashed my face on the island, and it cut all the way down my jawbone. I also got cut on my forehead, so the skull was showing," Synth says almost proudly as he lifts his up, revealing his skin-covered forehead. "But there's no scar up there. Sometimes I still feel the pain in my jaw. It's very faint, and I remember how horrible that night was."

"Synth!" Erika exclaims, her voice's volume compensating for its fearful tone. "You promised me! Promise Fin, too!"

Synthlight nods and walks over to you, so the three of you are within arm's reach.

"I promise, you will be safe with me. Nothing will happen to you while I am here. I don't care who we come up against, or where we find ourselves, I will protect you."

And just like that, you believed it. You smile, and not knowing what to do, you look at Erika and give her a tight hug. You can faintly smell her shampoo scent in her hair. After a moment you release her and walk boldly into your room.

"Good night," you shout back, and then shut the door behind you.

--

You wake up from a frail scream, your own you realize after a moment or two, and wonder if you were screaming in real life. The sun is shining into your room and forming a rectangle of light on the floor. After giving yourself a few minutes to fully wake up, you go to your door to see if anyone else is awake.

"AHGGH!" You yell and stumble back. The mask is staring at you directly outside your door. Hal must've been waiting for you to wake up. Maybe you were screaming.

"Good morning," Hal's terrifying voice greets. You don't return the greeting, but instead stand several feet inside your bedroom breathing a bit harder than normal. You hear another door open.

"Hal, good morning," Synth says brightly as he walks behind Hal.

"Yes, it is," he agrees. "You have one week."

"One week for what? Synth asks as Hal walks backwards and turns to face both you and Synth as the same time. As Hal retreats, you walk slowly to Synth and join him in the hall.

"One week from this evening, S124 in New York city will be holding an honorary parade for Harris Saddler. You are to find an item that I have hidden somewhere between here and there and use it to demonstrate the power Untitled on the evening of the parade."

"Is it a bomb?" You blurt out, shocked.

"Every day you will be given a new clue. The sooner you find the item, the easier it will be for you to complete your mission. Fail to complete the mission and you will no longer be contacted by anyone from Untitled."

Hal stops but no one else speaks. Erika's door opens and she sleepily looks at the scene playing in front of her.

"What's going on?" She asks.

"You'll receive your clue every day at noon, eastern time. I'll be using the Rapture's channel. Good luck." Hal swiftly turns and walks away, almost as if in a hurry, down the staircase and then out of sight."

Everyone is silent again for a few moments. Synth's mouth is hanging open, obviously startled at the mention of the Rapture. He reaches up to rub his scar, but stops and puts his hand down by his side.

"What is--" Erika starts, but is cut off by Synth's explanation.

"Hal wants us to find some 'item' between here and New York city to use during a parade for Saddler held by S124 to show Untitled's power."

"What, like a bomb?" She asks, just as shocked as you were.

"He didn't say," you offer, shrugging your shoulders. "So we get a clue today at noon, what time is it?"

"It's just after eight," Erika answers.

"So what do you do until then?" You ask, turning to Synthlight.

What do you do?

> Go back to Synth's for breakfast and to pick up a walkie if he has one. If not go into town and buy one.

"Are we allowed to leave?" Erika asks. "I mean, like, now?"

"I think if we have to find something between here and New York, we're allowed to leave," Synth says, frowning. It's evident he's thinking deeply. "Back to the apartment then--for breakfast? We'll need to grab a radio too to receive the clue."

"Okay," you say unhelpfully agreeing.

The three of you leave through the front doors of the church where you came out. The torches that were hanging on the outside of the church are gone, and every evidence of last night's activities have vanished. Even the front room looks like the outside--in ruins and uninhabited. You suppose if anyone saw you walking from the church they would assume you were hiking and exploring the ruins of some old church. But you didn't see anyone the entire walk back; you were very deep in the forest.

Only about a dozen words were spoken in total between 8 a.m. at the church and noon at the apartment. You had eaten your breakfast cereal in silence next to your two new friends, who were also buried in thought. When the radio in the middle of the living room crackled to life, everyone looked and moved towards it.

"Your enemy is your friend; the object may not be what it appears to be," Hal's distorted voice states plainly on the radio. The majesty and terror of his tone doesn't translate well through radio waves, you decide. In fact, the voice sounds kind of weak and vulnerable, like a person with voicebox in his throat.

"Hmm," Synth says a few moments after the radio goes silent. "Any ideas?"

What do you do?

>"Does this mean we should attempt reconnecting with WWAR or perhaps someone working for the Revolution?"

You think about the clue for several seconds.

"Do you think this mean he wants us to try reconnecting with WWAR or maybe someone working for the Revolution?" You shudder inwardly at the idea of falling into WWAR hands again.

"Maybe," Synth says, obviously pondering the idea. "This is a Revolution parade, it's possible there's a contact working for Untitled inside the Revolution. If we find him or her, the rest of the plan will fall into place."

"But how could we find them?" Erika asks, sounding skeptical. "It's not like we can go through Revolution member names and pick the guy that sounds the most like a double-agent."

"Well we get, what seven more clues? Six?" Synth says, still sounding optimistic. "Maybe the way to contact him will be in the next clues."

"But Hal said the faster we find what we're looking for the better. That says to me that we should be able to figure it out on the first clue," Erika says defiantly.

"I don't know anyone in the Revolution, or in other anti-Revolution groups, except those jerks who took Fin," Synth says with an apologetic glance at you. "We need to start somewhere, what public records are there to research information about Revolution members and anti-Revolution members?"

Synth's question goes unanswered until Erika gets up from the table and says she'll find out. At this, Synth gets up and goes to his computer. You are left alone at the table in the middle of the room, realizing that you don't have your own computer.

What do you do?

>Since the clue was for us specifically, that detective probably followed us. Check the apartment for bugs.

Sitting by yourself, you try to think of things you could do to help. Your thoughts drift to the mysterious detective who jumped out of the darkness and nearly spoiled your meet with Untitled just before it was actualized. How did he find you? Was he working with the Revolution where you used to live? The thought flashes the image of your adoptive parents into your mind. Adoptive parents. The distancing language doesn't help; their terrified faces pierce your mind as the bodies they belong to sit on the cold kitchen floor of a hotel and wait to die. Wait for you to kill them.

No, don't think about that, it won't help anyone. You realize your eyes are full of tears, and you wipe them away quickly before anyone can come into the main room and catch you. The detective--how did he find you. Maybe he had a tracer? Maybe he followed you? Maybe there was a bug on the phones, or in this apartment! You get to your feet, still sniffling a bit, and walk to Synth's room.

"How do you think that Detective found us?"

"I-I don't know, Fin. I hadn't thought about it," Synth says, looking up from his computer.

"Do you think he could've bugged the house somewhere? Maybe the phones?"

"It's possible. Why don't you look around the corners of the apartment--every crevice you can fit your hand into, and see if you find anything," Synth seemed sincerely concerned about your idea, but you can't help feeling like he's trying to keep you busy or entertained.

"I can do things," you say vaguely. "I mean, I can help."

"I'll just have to do it if you don't, you are helping." Synth smiles. You smile and go back to the main room where you let a small sigh out before starting to check the apartment for bugs.

The process takes you several hours. Synthlight isn't a very clean person, so you find yourself cleaning and organizing things just to make sure a heap of papers and books aren't hiding something. You're halfway through the hall closet when you pull a particular dusty notebook from the shelf. The cover says "Grant - 87x."

What do you do?

> Look around and make sure nobody's watching and open up the book.

On the inside of the front cover in small lettering, it says, "The future is in the Revolution." You immediately notice a large chunk of pages missing. They look as if they had been torn out in some hurry, since they left ragged pieces behind in the spine. You estimate just under a hundred pages ripped out as you flip through the few remaining ones. You try to read what's written on the pages but the handwriting is so tiny and violent that you can barely make it out. Large blocks of text are crossed out or completely colored over with dark black ink. The words you can read don't even make any sense to you, so you doubt you're reading those words correctly. A few of the pages have small sketches of things like windows or buildings.

Towards the end of the notebook you get to a picture of a very long room drawn in perspective facing a large window. Next to the window is a desk, and behind the desk is a chair facing towards the window. You look at the drawing for a moment, turn it slightly to the right, raise and eyebrow and close the book.

So, this is a piece of your real father. From this you can determine that his drawing skills were far better than his handwriting. Also, you wonder if he may have been schizophrenic. You hold the book in front of you and pause. Should you just put it back? Should you try to keep it, or maybe ask Erika about it? Is this something Synth would have tried to hide from you? Probably not, he probably knew it was here, or else he wouldn't have asked you to search everywhere in the apartment.

What do you do?

> For now, hide the book under the clothes you changed out of before heading to the woods and finish your sweep of the house. Make a mental note to ask Synth about the book. The only reason for hiding it is so Synth can't just grab it out of your hands when you bring it up. Make sure not to talk about Grant in front of Erika.

After a few moments of consideration, you shove the book under the couch/bed that you sleep on and decide to ask Synth about it after you finish looking for bugs. You scan more thoroughly through all the notebooks and binders full of papers that you find in the closet, but none of them interest you. You finish your sweep just before dinner, which Synth asks you to order from a nearby pizza place. When the pizza arrives, Synth and Erika are still on their computers, working as hard as ever.

"Do you guys ever take a break?" You say to both of them standing between their rooms, holding two boxes of freshly hot pizza.

"Hmm," Synth says, reading something on his screen.

Erika slides back a bit from her desk and rubs her eyes. "No, not really. This is what we did with the Untitled clues before he had an actual contact like Hal. There's no way we're going to let something slip out of our understanding now that we have substance like this."

"...and I don't really think WWAR is involved," you hear Synth say quietly under Erika's voice.

"What?" You ask.

"Hmm?"

"What did you just say? Something about WWAR?"

"Oh sorry, just talking to myself." Synth pokes his head above the monitor and smiles. "Pizza time?"

Dinner proves to be the longest and most interesting conversation of the day. Erika and Synth had apparently been messaging each other all day while they both chased leads, ideas and cases they could access about traitors working inside the Revolution or WWAR. There weren't a lot of cases reported, and most of the Revolution information was private, but the two got a few topics started on Untitled message boards that have been blazing with activity all day.

"Almost as many posts as official Untitled clue topics!" Erika exclaims excitedly. "Of course the idea has been touched upon before, but I dunno, I guess people are excited about it as a serious concept."

"I feel positive about the work we did on this clue. I'm looking forward to making as much progress tomorrow," Synth states.

"Is there any way I can help?" You ask, feeling somewhat left out.

"Well there's no way to tell until we get the next clue, but I'm sure once the research extends outside of the internet, you'll be able to help out a lot."

Synth cleans up dinner while Erika returns to her computer to do more research. You take this opportunity to confront Synth about the notebook. You decide after a few moments not to retrieve it, just in case Synth wants to snatch it out of your possession.

"Hey, Synth?"

"Hey, Fin, what's up?"

"I found a notebook in your closet today ... I think it belonged to my father."

"Grant's notebook? Did you read it?" Synth doesn't even turn around from the sink as he washes a glass.

"Um, yeah I did. I didn't really understand any of it though. Most of what I could read is just gibberish. There are a lot of torn pages and uhm, scratched out text. Do you have ..." You trail off, trying not to be accusatory.

"No, that's the condition the diary was in when I fo--when he gave it to me."

"Did he say where the other pages were, or why he tore them out?"

"Grant did everything he could to shelter his family and himself from the eyes of the Revolution. I'm sure he was just trying to destroy evidence or maybe even erase bad memories."

"So, can I keep it?"

"Sure, I don't need it anymore."

"Anymore?" You ask, puzzled. "When did you need it?"

"I-It was just something I tried to decipher after he died. I learned all I could from it."

You realize at the same time as Synth that he has bee washing the same glass since the beginning of the conversation. He clumsily puts it on the counter with the rest of the clean dishes.

You decide to leave the topic for now and go out for a walk. Synth cautions not to go too far, and that there may be enemies watching. He warns you to be back in 15 minutes or else he's going to assume something happened to you. You decide after these stern words that you should just walk around the apartment complex.

You think about the clue, trying to interpret it in a different way just in case Erika and Synth missed something.

"My enemy is my friend? Does that also mean my friends are my enemies?" You stop talking for a moment, trying not to be so paranoid.

"The object may not be what it appears to be. Does that mean it may not exist? Or that it might be disguised? Whaa--" Your audible train of thought is interrupted by a small piece of plastic you accidentally kick through the grass. You walk over to it and kneel down, trying to get a better look at it without touching it again. In the darkness it's hard to see anything but a smooth, plastic surface.

You pick up the object and walk to a light coming from the parking lot. The object is very light, very thin and is shaped almost like a credit card. One side has a small black opening. Could it be?

You take the object upstairs to Synth.

"It's a camera," Synth says definitively.

"Really? It's so thin. I guess we really were being watched." You're proud to have been useful.

"It looks like it couldn't have gotten much. I don't think it's powerful enough to have seen or heard us through the walls. It's probably just monitoring activity."

"Is it on? There aren't any lights."

"Hard to say, although if it is everything we're saying is being recorded," at this Synth puts his finger over the lens.

"Can't we destroy it?" You say in a whisper.

Synth matches your volume. "It wouldn't do any good if it's just transmitting to another source. Plus if we destroy it then whoever put this here will know we're onto them and come looking for it."

"I thought this belonged to the detective that Hal 'took care of.'"

"It might have, but even so, he probably isn't working alone. He might even be working for Hal; they could've staged that whole scene for us to feel more vulnerable and trust him more."

"Should I put it back?"

"It's too late now if it's constantly transmitting. I think we should take it apart and find out. I'll go get some tools."

Taking apart the camera without destroying it proves to be a long, but exciting and fun activity. Synthlight examines the internal pieces and decides whispering is no longer necessary.

"This is just a picture camera. Looks like it can be set to take automatically and periodically, but it's got internal memory, so it's probably not transmitting," Synth says, returning to normal volume. "Although there is a bluetooth module in here, so I guess if it was transmitting it would have to be nearby. My guess is that we can get rid of it without a problem."

Synth gracefully disconnects the internal battery, removes the storage card and throws the rest of the camera away.

"Now let's see what pictures we have on here," Synth says as he walks over to his computer, holding the storage card. You follow eagerly and wait for the card to load on the screen.

Synth opens the first pictures and finds a self-taken shot of detective Gray, sneering at the camera, with a bright, cloudless sky behind him. Synth stops and looks at the screen.

"I think I've seen this guy before..." he puzzles.

"Well, yeah. That's detective Gray, from the Untitled church."

"No, I mean before that. Hmmm..." Synth continues to squint in no direction in particular as he opens the rest of the photos.

All the pictures after that are of the fire escape on the back side of the apartment complex. They start during the day and slowly fade into night, then to day and night again.

"Yep, just monitoring our whereabouts I guess." Synth concludes as he closes the window. "I think it's about time to get some sleep."

You glance at the time and you are surprised to find it's after midnight. Erika's door is closed when you pass it; you assume she's already gone to bed. You fall to sleep easily in a dreamless blackness, and you're thankful for a lack of nightmares.

--

The three of you gather in the living room around the radio at 11:30 and wait. Erika looks excited and eager but Synth's looks worn and tired. You wonder how much later he stayed up after you went to bed. You're all silent for a little while, before Erika asks what you and Synth were doing last night. Synth jumps in quicker than you expected with a detailed and satisfied story about your finding and capturing the camera monitoring the apartment. Erika asks Synth questions about the camera and also about some more research she had been doing until the radio crackles. Once again the voice sounds diminished over the radio waves.

"If heaven is in the sky, your object is in hell."

What do you do?

> "So I guess this means the object is a physical object and that it's buried or underground, right?"

"Our enemy is our friend, may not appear to be, underground," Synth says aloud, evidently chasing a solution. "Perhaps the usage of underground means more unknown than actually in the earth ... underground like Untitled?"

"What about the usage of Heaven and Hell, Untitled had us meet in a church, there's some consistent religious imagery going on here," Erika points out.

"TheAngel," you say in a hushed, almost reverent voice. Synth turns his head violently out of his thoughts at you.

"What?" He says, as if he didn't hear what you said.

"I said, TheAngel is behind these clues--"

"Or we are being made to think that he is," Erika jumps in, contradicting her own previous revelation. "It seems rather overt."

"Yes, it does," Synth agrees, thinking and staring at the ceiling again. "Let's focus on how this relates to our object. It's not what it appears to be, so it either changes shape or can be seen in multiple ways. It may come from an enemy, or be held by an enemy--someone in the Revolution or WWAR. And now we know it's--and let's just say it's literal for the moment--buried underground, or kept in an underground facility. Let's see what we can find as far as Revolution bases or facilities that are wholly underground."

Your spirit falls as the two computer-owning clue solvers leave the living room and you in it. Instead of trying to be useful again today, you decide to see what you can learn from the outside world by watching some TV. You find a remote and turn on what looks to you like an archaic screen. The TV doesn't get more than a few channels, so after flipping to a dozen static-ridden screens, you settle on a news program.

"... an effort to build trust with North Korea, President-Elect Jenkins has said his first act in the White House will be taking steps to re-establish trade. February 17th will mark the 2 year anniversary since the Korean Nuke Crisis and the beginning of the second Korean War. Some have suspected Jenkins's eagerness to re-establish trade with North Korea stems from his ties to the Revolution. While no one knows exactly how much revenue a Revolution building generates in any particular area, speculators report a building in North Korea would be a 'goldmine.'"

The second Korean War? When did this happen? The newscaster said 2 years ago there was a Korean Nuke Crisis. You've never heard of such a thing. Did the Revolution hide the information from you? You're not surprised, the Revolution hides most internet sites from its members, but war? Do they really go that far to preserve contentment in its tenants? Or is it for control? Do they want to keep their tenants ignorant and sheep-like?

You wonder what day it is. You look at the news screen and find the date and time--01/14/2013, 12:56 p.m. That means the parade is a week from yesterday, which is the 20th.

"Inauguration Day," you say aloud. This can't be a coincidence.

"Synth!" You say a little too loudly as you rush into his room.

"What is it?" He says while reading something on his screen.

"January 20th, that's inauguration day, right?"

"Right."

"That's the same day the parade is."

"Hmm, your right," Synth says, seeming genuinely interested, but not blown away by the discovery.

"Doesn't that, I don't know, seem like a pretty big coincidence?"

"Probably not, the Revolution probably did it on purpose. Most everyone in the Revolution voted for Jenkins ..." Synth trails off and you smile at the sight of his realization. "... Because Saddler was his running mate. Saddler, the former leader of the Revolution, who the parade is for on Inauguration day."

"Our enemy is our friend; things may not be what they appear to be," you recite, still smiling.

"Okay, but what does this mean?" Synth asks.

Your smile fades. You didn't plan out an actual course of action. You were too excited by the discovery of the coinciding events.

"Well, maybe Jenkins was working closely with the Revolution but he actually has ties to Untitled?"

"So we should schedule a meeting. With the President of the United States. As prospective members of Untitled. To find a secret object that we think he knows about, because his inauguration takes place the same day as the memorial parade for his late running-mate?"

"It was just an idea," you say quietly.

"I know, sorry, it's in the right direction I think. Keep working on it, see if you can come up with something we can work with," Synth smiles apologetically.

"Who did Jenkins get as his new Vice when Saddler died?" You ask as you go to leave the room.

"Kavanagh? I don't remember his first name. It's uhmmm, something with a B. Bo? Bowman? Synth says before typing something quickly on his keyboard. He stares at the screen for a moment before announcing the Vice's name is Bowin Kavanagh.

"He's a nobody, too. I think he was a mayor of some big city for a few years and that's it."

You hear a knock at the front door and turn quickly, then back to look at Synth.

"Does anyone else know you're here?" You ask.

"Could be the detective's backup. I'll get it," Synth says, getting up from his computer chair.

You follow Synth out of his room, down the hall and to the front door in the living room. You stay behind a bookshelf to keep out of sight.

"Is there a Zach Fleming-Boyles here?"

"That's me," Synth says with no trace of fear in his voice.

"Sign here, please. Thanks."

"Thank you."

You hear the door close and you cautiously come out from behind the bookshelf.

"I've got something here for you," Synth says joyfully while extending a large box out for you to take.

"What is it?" You ask, inspecting the brown packing box.

"Open it," Erika says from behind you. You turn to see her standing in the hallway, smiling widely.

You pull on one side of the box, accidentally ripping the cardboard instead of the tape. You continue to pull at the cardboard until you see the white box inside the packing box.

"A computer?" You ask like a kid on Christmas.

"A laptop. We've been needing one and with you stuck sitting around, it'll be perfect for us all to work together. It was actually supposed to come yesterday, but I'm glad it didn't since you found the camera."

You don't know what to say. Everyone in the room is beaming.

--

Getting the computer set up takes most of the day. Synth insists on putting privatization software to keep others from tracking your web travels. He's still working on installing various programs when Erika finishes making dinner. You've been perfectly content to watch and be a part of the set-up process and have barely thought about Untitled or the Revolution or anything except how exciting it is that you have your own computer again.

"Come on, dinner is ready, boys," Erika nags in a joking tone.

After dinner Synth takes the laptop into his room to sync it with some informational databases he has stored.

"You can use Wikipedia and things like that most of the time, but anyone can edit that site, so it's nice to have hard facts sometimes. This particular encyclopedia deals with normal things like history and trivia and people but it specializes in the Revolution. Anything the Revolution has ever publicly released or said is in here. It's set to auto-update from the site I got it from; the creator is an Untitled follower. Here's the icon for the program, it's called Infolution."

Synth goes on about chat clients, Untitled board etiquette and the importance of keeping information secret. You're a little disappointed when you realize the process of set-up is going to have to run past bed-time, and you find yourself having a hard time getting to sleep. When you wake up, the laptop is sitting on the kitchen table, plugged in, on and ready for you to use.

What do you do?

> Infolution search Jenkins.

The first thing you do on the new computer is open up Infolution and search the word "Jenkins." A few results come up, and you specify you're looking for Robert Jenkins, President-Elect and long friend of Harris Saddler. Three tabs appear, labeled: Reported, Rumored, Speculated. Reported is selected.

"Jenkins was a Senator for New York with Saddler for a number of years before winning the Democratic elections for the Presidential 2012 election. He appointed Saddler as his running mate which caused an uproar in the Republican party due to Saddler's massive support from the Revolution. Saddler announced severance with ties to the Revolution and despite numerous investigations funded by the Party to Elect Samuel Gravitz, no evidence was ever presented that Saddler retained any connection to his previous position in the Revolution.

"Saddler suffered a heart attack on September 17 at approximately 9 p.m. EDT. and was rushed to intensive care at Lenox Hill Hospital where he died three days later. His time of death was 7:34 p.m. EDT. Jenkins appointed Bowin Kavanagh as his running mate on September 24 after publicly expressing his grief about Saddler's death.

"Supporters of Jenkins wildly and repeatedly accused Gravitz and his party of murdering Saddler. Because of this, Jenkins funded a private investigation into Saddler's death, the results of which showed that he did indeed die of natural causes without any foul play. The heated debate gave Jenkins an enormous lead in the polls which resulted in his landslide victory of 85% of the popular vote and 420 electoral votes. In an unofficial interview with Kavanagh shortly after a democratic victory was announced, he said, 'I think the only thing Saddler could've done to get himself more support than he had from his days with the Revolution was dying.'

"This quote leads many to believe that Saddler faked his death to insure Jenkin's victory and to allow himself to return to controlling the Revolution in secret. Read more in Speculation."

What do you do?

> Check out the Speculated and Rumored tabs.

"Speculation on Robert Jenkins

"It is speculated that Jenkins anticipated attacks and accusations of foul-play from Gravitz if the two had won the presidency based on the Revolution's vote alone. This would have caused more thorough investigations and legislations forcing the Revolution to reveal more about its inner-workings and leadership to the general public. To avoid this, and garner even more support from sympathy, Saddler faked his death and democratic supporters counter-attacked the republican party with accusations of murder. This allowed Saddler to return to the seat of power in the Revolution while still having a foot in the president's door."

"Rumors about Robert Jenkins

"No credible rumors at this time."

"The Revolution

"Despite various rumors and speculations, the Revolution makes no claims to its history or hierarchy. The first Revolution building in Virginia was completed in October of 2002 and was dubbed S1. Click here for a complete listing of Revolution buildings and their details.

"Search results for Synthlight: 0

"Search results for Hal: 0

"Search results for 87x: 0"

You turn around at the realization that someone is tapping on your shoulder. Synth is standing behind you with a mild grin on his face.

"It's almost time for the clue."

"Oh, alright."

You close out the program just like Synth had instructed you to, and disconnect the ethernet cord from the port on the side. You talk to Synth and Erika about how exciting it is to have a huge amount of information so accessible. Both of them seem just as pleased as you. Finally, the walkie crackles to life.

"Apologies for such vague words, today I shall be more direct. Find significance in Highland Mills," the deadened voice echoes.

"Highland Mills? Isn't that just north of here?" Synth asks as he gets up from the couch.

"I don't know, we haven't really explored the area," Erika says, puzzling.

Synth returns to the couch with a map. "Yes, here it is, north on 32."

You and Erika move to look at the map of Highland Mills.

"What's in Highland Mills?" Erika asks.

"I guess we'll find out," Synth says with a smile.

END OF CHAPTER 10

Chapter 11

You wake up very slowly--sound first, then smell, then a soreness in your head and a dryness in your throat, and finally blurry, spinning vision. You eventually deduce that you are sitting in a chair with your hands tied behind it and your legs tied to its legs. The bindings are made of thin ropes that prove to be very tight after you vainly attempt struggling for a few moments.

You look down to find you're still wearing your suit sans the trench coat, albeit worn and wrinkly. You don't seem to have sustained any injuries other than some blow to your head, which you suspect occurred when you fell to the ground unconscious. Overall, other than being trapped in a stone room, the worst thing you have to report seems to be a bad night of sleep. Not that you can tell what time of day it is--the stone room is cold, but not frigid, and there are no windows. A single wooden door is the only entrance or exit from the room, which stands facing you on what you dub as the front of the room. There's a bed on the right side, a blank stone wall just behind you at the back, and a surprisingly clean toilet on the left side.

You laugh out loud. Untitled is finished. Even if they keep you in here, or kill you, which you would be very upset about, that won't keep Mason from finding them. The GPS locator in your phone, even if destroyed immediately after you went unconscious, would lead Mason directly to their front door. Even if they've scattered since then, there will be an abundance of evidence there. Maybe you're still here, under that old, overgrown church, but that doesn't seem likely.

With no way to pat your pockets down, you shake left to right, rocking the chair on two legs at a time to see how much weight they have. The pockets sway slightly with the rest of the fabric; they're empty. You bend your neck around to see if you're still wearing your watch--no such luck. You also realize upon seeing the ropes behind you that they are duct taped together as well as tied. It's possible you still have your cigarettes in your inside pocket, but the explosive one isn't in there anyway; you forgot to replace it after you used it on Two Box.

You decide you'll do better with a person than getting out of this chair, so you call out, hoping someone can hear you outside of the room.

"Hey! I'm awake!," you yell at full volume so loud that it echoes and hurts your ears. You continue anyway. "I feel really great! I had a dream about a castle--my castle--and I was on top of it but I didn't know where my sword was! Anyway, I jumped off the top of the castle and my--"

You stop as you hear shuffling at the door. As it opens all hopes of breaking down the door were extinguished; its thickness would make the act impossible. The man from the other night (maybe last night?) enters slowly and carefully shuts the door behind him. He's dressed the same with a black robe and that gruesome mask. He stands just in front of the door and looks at you without saying anything. You wait for him to speak, but after not moving and not speaking for several minutes, you finally break the silence.

"Good morning, can I get you something?"

The dark-clad man chuckles to himself in his low, frightening voice. You're not actually scared by it, but it's classically frightening--like a serial killer in a movie.

"It's just after noon, actually," the classically evil voice corrects.

"Oh, my mistake," you say apologetically.

"How many more deaths is it going to take," the man asks in a serious tone. You take the question to be rhetorical at first, assuming it's the opening statement for the proclamation of your own death, but after a few moments of silence, you realize he's waiting for a response.

"You're asking me?"

"Yes, I am."

"I ... don't know," you almost stammer, genuinely confused by the question. You aren't aware there was a death toll between the Revolution and Untitled. "Has someone died?"

"Many have died. All at Revolution hands. Some at yours."

"My hands?" The calm, cool note in your voice vanishes. "I don't think I've killed anyone."

"Jonathan Baker."

"Do you mean 'TheAngel,' Jonathan Baker, or the man in prison as Jonathan Baker, who is actually Ronald Serrick?"

"Both," the man says simply and almost angrily.

"I didn't kill them. I haven't seen Serrick for a week or more and I've never actually met the real Baker."

"What about Richard Tanner? He was found dead this morning. A girl who works at the coffee shop he frequents says the last person she saw him with was you."

"No," you say sternly, then pause for a moment to calm yourself. "No. I left the next day. I talked to Tanner and he left and I didn't see him again the rest of my time in Vermont."

"I don't believe you. The Revolution is tired of anti-Revolution support and is afraid of Untitled. They want to know everything about us so they can most effectively destroy it. They knew if Untitled combined with WWAR it would be too dangerous, especially after Tanner's glorious bloodbath last month. So they dispatched you to take him out. Even before being accused, they issued a statement about it, pointing fingers in every direction and condemning all anti-Revolution groups."

You don't know what to say; the idea is plausible. You instinctively don't believe it because it's coming from your interrogator, but that doesn't discredit its plausibility.

"I don't believe you," you say finally after a long silence.

"You thought Baker was the leader of Untitled. You couldn't wait to take him out. Maybe not, maybe you find no passion in this. Maybe it's just a job to you, but that's not the impression I get from your demeanor."

"I've never met Baker, even if he is dead, what evidence do you have that it was me?"

"You were hunting him, you thought you'd find him here, didn't you?"

You say nothing.

"I should kill you right now," the man says in disgust, still standing exactly where he was after he came in the room. Suddenly he advances with unbelievable speed towards you until his terrible, horrifying mask is inches from your face.

You don't flinch or move your head. This is what you expected. You've done plenty of torturing in your day, and when you woke up in this cell, you mentally prepared yourself for pain. You've never been one to do something to someone else if it hasn't been done to you, so you only ever used tactics that you've had to endure. You suspect you'll have to endure some new tactics now.

"But I won't. I'm no Richard Tanner. Even if I seek justice for his death, I don't forgive him for his despicable acts in WWAR. He didn't know how to solve the problem of the Revolution. He was a shark smelling blood and reacting to everyone who opposed him in the same way." He moves his masked face away from yours and turns around.

What do you do?

> "I don't know what your logic is, but murder is not my M.O. If my job is to figure out Untitled, it hardly benefits me to kill off all of my sources of information. Frankly I think you have more to gain by removing these people in order to maintain your secrecy. Hell if I wanted to take all of you out I could have called for a squad to take this place down, but you're hardly good to me dead. Well, if you aren't going to kill me, what are you keeping me here for?"

"Ha!" His laugh seems to escape out of his body unintentionally. "Very bold, as always, Gray."

"Seriously, kill me or tell me why I'm not dead."

"You are being held for several reasons. For one, you're a murderer, and a direct threat to my organization. Secondly, everyone with whom you come in contact with ends up dead. So as long as I keep the doors locked inside and out, I'm safe from you and any possible allies you work with. Thirdly--" he stops suddenly and shifts his weight to one side.

"Thirdly?" You ask.

"Thirdly," he says again, more confidently. "I have a very important agenda this week and I don't want you interfering. I suspect I will hold you here at least until then, and after that assess whether you are worth keeping."

"A week?" You say aloud while thinking about what is happening between now and then. "What am I supposed to do for a week in here?"

"I can give you a newspaper every day, and three meals. I'm afraid you cannot be trusted with anything else."

"I--"

"I'm sorry Mr. Gray. Your spree ends here. I think the Revolution has done quite enough killing for now.

The man turns, quickly walks to the door, opens it and leaves you alone.

--

Two days drag by. You are periodically released from the chair to eat, urinate and sleep. True to his word, the man brings you the New York Times every morning. Also true to his word, you find coverage of the murders he accused you of committing. The papers also provide you with the date. You followed Fin and his kidnappers on the night of the 13th, and you woke up on the morning of the 14th, as you suspected. On the morning of the 16th, just before the man leaves, you ask him to wait.

"I wonder," you pause for a moment, weigh the conspicuousness of your next question, and decide to continue anyway. "I don't suppose you could give back my watch."

"Why would I do that?"

"It's just that it was my father's watch, and I'm very fond of it," you begin. It is not actually your father's watch; you never even knew your father. You usually use this line in bars or clubs trying to show women you have a soft side or some family loyalty. The watch is loaded with two small blades that you might be able to use to cut the ropes and pry the door open.

"I would hate to see it stored somewhere getting scratched up or broken. I would just feel very much more comfortable to have it with me. Even if you just brought it in to show me it was kept in good condition once a day, I would be happy."

"I am not too terribly concerned with your happiness, Mr. Gray," the man says in a strange, quiet voice--a tone you've never heard from him before. "But a father's watch is something ... special indeed, perhaps you have a heart after all."

You're surprised by this response, so much so that you stare discerningly at his rotted mask for a few moments before responding.

"Yes, yes it is. I would very much like to have it back."

"We are only on our third day together, and I have already grown tired of this routine," the man's strong tone returns. "Perhaps a game could settle this issue."

"A game?"

"Do you play ... chess?"

You did play chess, in college. Usually as a base for a drinking game. You were the best drunk chess player that you knew, undefeated on campus and still pretty good when sober. But if your captor is willing to give up your watch by being defeated in chess, you guess he's not a casual player.

"You can have white," the man continues eagerly, waiting for your response.

Your hand hovers over your pieces with careful hesitation. Finally after only a short pause, you move a pawn to e4. You realize after looking up at your opponent that his expressionless face will make intimidating him, and reading his mood impossible. You're a very keen judge of character and you get clues based on minute moves of the face. You can't read this man at all. You don't even know his name.

"What's your name, anyway?" You ask directly, hoping this approach won't seem unsavory.

"Hal. Pawn to g6," he announces as he moves his piece.

Hmm, not much to take away from that move, your goal for the moment is to control the center. You pick up another pawn and move it to d4. Almost immediately he moves another of his pawns to d6--an aggressive response for such a defensive move. You're tired of fore-pawn-play; knight to c3. Hal responds with a knight of his own, to f6. In keeping with the beat of moves, you put your hand on another pawn, but pause before you move it. You look at Hal's last move and squint a bit.

He's not trying to gain control of the center of the board, but he's placing pieces very particularly. You would have a better idea of what he was planning if you could see his face. You take a closer look at every piece on the board and decide to block with your bishop at c4 instead of using a pawn. He pauses for a moment too, then moves a pawn to a6. You respond with a pawn to d5. He responds with a pawn to b5. You move your bishop to b3. He moves his pawn to b4. You stop again, realizing you have fallen back into a quick-moving rhythmic moving pattern.

You're in no hurry to finish this game, and you already feel like you're losing. You're not some chess genius, but you're matching Hal's confidence to seem like you are. You have a feeling this charade won't get you far, so you take a long look at the board. Hal says nothing and does nothing. He doesn't seem to be the impatient type.

Finally you smile, move your bishop to a4 and announce, "check."

Hal looks at the board, moves his bishop to d7 to block the check. Expecting this, you take his bishop with yours at d7 and repeat, "check."

Hal looks up from the board and without looking down again he moves his knight at b8 to d7 and takes your bishop. His hands move so swiftly and precisely, it's as if he's played this exact game thousands of times before. Seeing this as a weakness, you wonder if moving irrationally would be a strength to counter Hal's strategy. You move your knight at c3 to e2. As expected, his knight takes your pawn at e4. You move your knight to h3. He goes back to his pawns, moving one to a5. You move a pawn of your own to f3. He moves his knight at e4 to f6.

You stop again. This game is taking you over again! You get into a moving pattern, not to intimidate, but just to keep up! You feel like pausing will lose the game for you--worse than you already are losing. You do what you always do when your back is to the wall.

"Castle," you announce confidently, moving your king to g1 and your rook to f1.

The move doesn't phase Hal, or maybe it did; you will never know. He moves his knight to b6. You move a pawn to c3. Hal takes your pawn at d5 with his b6 knight. You move into an attacking position with your h3 knight at f4. Hal graciously but quickly retreats to b6. You smile and move your queen to d3. It's time to turn this around.

Hal moves his pawn to c6. You move your knight to d4. Hal moves his rook to c8. Your queen to a3. His pawn takes c3. Your queen takes a5. His pawn moves to e5. His queen takes c3. His b6 knight moves to d5.

You're ready to test Hal's nerves. You move your knight to c6, taking his pawn. He moves his queen silently to b6. You move your bishop to e3. He takes it with his knight. You move your rook at f1 to e1. Hal moves his knight to c2. You're about to move again when he very loudly and firmly says, "check."

Where are you in check? Oh no, the queen at b6. You look for your best move. You have quite a few good options, but following all of them for a few moves after that never leaves you in a good place. If you move your king, you leave several of your attacking pieces in peril, but blocking with your rook would be giving it up.

The only sane move is to not block at all, and just move your king out of check, to f1. Hal takes your knight at c6 with his rook. Now your queen is being eyed from the other side of the board by an evil black rook. Any move that doesn't involve the queen now will surely result in her death.

In college, any time you lost your queen, you knew the game was done. You only remember one game where you won without a queen when your opponent still had his. Or no, was that a stalemate? You can't remember, but in any case your situation does not look good.

You move your queen one block to b3. Now at least if your lady is taken, you can take Hal's in return, but you don't expect him to be that careless.

"Queen takes b3," Hal says coldly, as he places your defeated piece on the side of the board.

You're a bit surprised; the move is rather uncharacteristic of Hal's style so far. You're not shaken though, and in return with an equally brutal move.

"Pawn takes b3."

It's his game now. He has more attacking pieces than you, and your rook could easily be taken by his knight. Instead, Hal's knight takes your pawn at a1. You take a1 with your rook. One for one. As long as you can keep it one for one you might have a chance to win. You scan the board, trying to anticipate his next move. Will he move his rook? Will he bring his bishop out--his knight perhaps?

"Pawn takes f4," Hal announces gravely. He is not pleased with his capture; his tone reflects the chances of your winning. Of course the knight, you had forgotten about it all alone at the front lines--taken by a pawn. Your only attacking piece left is a rook. With the knowledge that you have lost, you move your rook across the entire board to a8.

"Check," you say without any emotion.

You know what will happen. He has plenty of options, and you only have one piece to put pressure on him with. He moves his king to e7. Without thinking you put your rook on a7. He moves up to e6. You have nothing now. You move a pawn to b4, delaying the inevitable. Hal moves his knight to d5. You advance your pawn another space to b5. Hal slowly puts his hand on his rook, and drags it meaningfully down to c1.

"Check," he states with what sounds like a grin under the horrible mask.

King to e2. The rook follows to c2. You advance, like a mad king, to d1. You wait for Hal to move his knight to e3. He does. You only have one move left. King to e1. Hal moves a pawn to d5. He's setting up the final blow. You look for any options, any way out. You're not in check now, but you cannot move your king in any direction. You move your rook to a6, putting Hal in check and announcing the fact.

Hal moves his king down one space to e5. You move your rook to c6 and prepare for defeat. Hal moves his bishop--no, floats his bishop to b4. You move your rook down to block the bishop at c3. Surprisingly, Hal doesn't finish you, but instead takes your pawn at b2 with his rook. Does he want to take all of your pieces before he puts you in checkmate?

Only able to move 3 pieces on the board, you move your pawn to b6, and Hal quickly takes your rook at c3 with his bishop.

"Checkmate."

"Damn," you state simply.

"You played a good game," Hal compliments sincerely as he picks up pieces and puts them all on the board.

"I didn't really, I played too fast and too recklessly at the beginning."

"True, but your endgame made up for it, you made me work to put you in checkmate."

"I tried. Best two out of three?"

Hal stops for a moment, just as he was about to lift the board from the table.

"I mean, unless you have something better to do," you add.

"Same terms. As soon as your skills disappoint me, you'll be left alone here until I see fit to release or kill you."

The second game is quicker than the first; more pieces are lost at the beginning. You play a strong offensive strategy, but Hal's defenses are more wily than yours. He laughs as he moves his last piece into checkmate. You wouldn't say you're having fun, since you're still imprisoned by the leader of the cult you've been investigating for almost two years, but you can think of worse ways to be a prisoner.

In the third game you and Hal play very defensively. You take several minutes for almost every move, analyzing every possible strategy before executing your decisions. Just after the first few captures of the game are made, Hal turns around at the door, then back to you.

"Excuse me," he says as he gets up and disappears from the room, shutting the door behind him.

He left you unbound, and you didn't hear him lock the door. He also left his game unattended. If you could find a way to subtilely change the pieces and assure yourself a victory, you might get your watch back.

What do you do?

> Silently try to open the door and look around. Walk in the direction of the bathroom so if you get caught you can claim you were going to use the facilities. Try to gauge if you're above or below the main floor using the dankness of the air or any natural light coming in (sun or moonlight).

You look around for any possible monitoring devices that Hal might've left, and finding none, slowly and quietly get up and go to the door. You pull softly, then with more force, then with almost a tug's worth of force before the door squeaks open a crack. It isn't locked.

You open the door slowly and peek into the darkness. The light in the room is much brighter than the hall, but the hall is still dimly lit with a single fluorescent light next to a staircase. Still very slowly, you step into the hallway, checking for motion sensing devices or tripwires or cameras as you do so. Finding none, you continue until you are standing against the close wall, free from the room. You close the door you came from and walk first to the closest door, discovering that it is the bathroom you had been periodically taken to while blindfolded.

You continue down the hall, as silently as possible, until you reach another door on the same side as your prison room. You try the latch, but it's locked. The door and handle are identical to the one leading to your cell and you wonder if someone else is locked inside this room. Facing this locked door, there is another door with a keypad and a tinted glass window. You're getting close to the staircase now, and while it's easier to see, you're worried about being discovered. You approach the keypad and study it. Four of the numbers are worn much more than the others; 2, 3, 7 and 9. You press the numbers in that order and the machine behind the keypad buzzes a low tone of failure. You only have a few seconds until someone returns, you can feel it.

What do you do?

> 9273.

You quickly press 9, 2, 7, then 3. A green light flickers on and the keypad hums and beeps. You fling the door open, hurry inside and close it as quickly as you can without making a noise. The lock clicks and the door settles just as you hear footsteps from above you shuffling towards the staircase.

You survey the room in the dim light coming from the tinted window to find it full of dark rectangular shapes, likely filing cabinets. You crawl through the room looking for something to defend yourself with. You stop as you hear the footsteps descend the stairs and reach the hallway outside the room. After Hal passes, you stand and begin frantically shuffling through boxes stacked on top of the cabinets. You make your way to the back of the room where you stop at a small box without a cover, sitting on a desk against the wall.

You pick up your glorious silver magnum from the box by it's smooth, hand-polished handle. The rest of your belongings occupy the box. You grab all of the contents and stuff them into your jacket pocket. Then, in a moment of extreme satisfaction and confidence, you grip your gun and burst from the closet door, facing your old cell.

You raise your gun towards the room, just as Hal leaves it, turning his mask to face you. He freezes, letting you make the first move--just like chess.

"Sorry--I was just leaving," you say off-handedly.

"Don't do this," Hal pleads.

"You're right, I think I'd rather stay your prisoner, I was just starting to get my game back." You check the staircase behind you to make sure you aren't being snuck up on.

"No one else needs to die because of this."

"I haven't killed anyone," you insist, spitting your consonants.

Instead of responding or arguing, Hal steps to the side, to lean against the wall. You re-position your gun towards him and re-check the staircase. You're in unfamiliar territory, and while you didn't see any switches or levers on the wall, you could be standing on a trap door or under a bear trap or something.

Silence continues for another minute until Hal finally says something in a whisper. You don't hear it, but you don't request clarification.

"...you're telling the truth," Hal says in a choked whisper, his voice not powerful and deep as it always was. You wonder if his vocal enhancements could be turned on and off.

You stand for another few moments, but Hal doesn't move or speak. You note that he is remarkably good at this skill, and if dressed appropriately, could pose as a statue with little effort. Not knowing what Hal's intentions are, you step backwards towards the staircase, and take a cautious step up.

"Find who is killing us," Hal says, barely audible from across the room.

You say nothing, turn and ascend the staircase, leaving Hal slumped sideways against the wall.

END OF CHAPTER 11

Chapter 12

You discover in a short amount of time that Highland Mills isn't a very big town. Synth starts by listening and people watching. He combs the streets of the town in the SUV that we borrowed on a street near the apartment by picking the lock and jump starting it. We watch for Revolution or anti-Revolution activity, while Erika takes notes on your laptop. You wanted to be the one to take notes, but you got carsick when you tried.

Overall, after spending most of the day watching, you concluded that Highland Mills was nothing more than a forest-laden suburb with Route 32 as a pipeline through it, connecting it to real places. There was nothing of note that you found in the town, and it was almost sundown before Synth was ready to take a break.

"Should we go back to the apartment or find somewhere to stay around here?"

"Let's stay here," Erika decided after a moment.

You stayed silent. You didn't have a preference.

Synth found a hotel south of Highland Mills on Route 32. You're worried about someone seeing the stolen car in the parking lot but Synth reassures you that he steals cars all the time and if someone did find it, the police wouldn't be able to trace it back to them. You're not sure why he says this, and you're suddenly conscious of your fingerprints on the backseat of the car.

Once inside, Synth checks in with the clerk to get a room. After giving the details of the stay, Synth asks him a question like a tourist.

"Say, what is there to do around here?"

"Not much, mostly just houses in Highland Mills."

"Is there anything you guys are known for around here? My friend told me to check out this town, but he wouldn't say why and I can't figure out what he was talking about."

"Maybe the pedophile scandal? That teacher who taught at Central Valley high lived in Highland."

"No I don't think so--"

"Or do you mean the graveyard?"

"The what?"

You hadn't seen a graveyard as you explored today.

"Yeah, the Cemetery of Highland Mills, it's the only thing outsiders come here for--lots of people buried there."

Synth smiles and turns to us. He turns back to the clerk and says "could you excuse me a moment?"

He walks back to Erika and you and asks you in a hushed voice if we should check out the graveyard tonight. You and Erika are both delighted to be closer to figuring out the riddle, so you agree. Synth thanks the clerk, apologizes for the confusion and follows you and Erika back out to the car.

--

You pull up to the cemetery and shiver. It had been cold outside at the hotel, but it seems colder here. You only have two flashlights, so you and Erika take one, and Synth takes the other. You move on either side of the graveyard, inspecting the writings on the gravestones. Some of the graves are more recent, but most seem to be from about 70 or more years ago. You and Erika spend a bit more time on a group of graves that you finally determine were erected in the late 1800s, even though most of the lettering has smoothed into illegibility.

After over an hour, you and Synth meet in the middle, not finding anything especially significant in the entire cemetery. Erika insists that we recheck every grave, but Synth decides that it would be easier to do tomorrow morning. Erika, while not happy to abandon the scene of the next clue, relents and starts walking back to the car.

The three of you return to the hotel, get a room and get to sleep quickly--tired, despite sitting for most of the day. The next morning you check out and get to the graveyard around 11.

This time, the three of you split up to cover more graves more quickly. You stoop down to each grave to read as best as you can what is written all the while considering the three clues you have so far. You're over halfway through your row of graves when you hear Synth call to you from across the yard. You hurry over and then look back to make sure you know where to pick up when you return. You're pretty sure you can find it.

"The clue! It's noon," Synth says simply. And like clockwork, the radio voice begins to speak.

"What goes down must come up. What goes under must overcome."

What do you do?

> "I don't like this. If we're in the right place it almost sounds like we're going to have to dig something up here. What do you think?"

"It is looking that way," Synth says as he stares at a nearby grave, as if scolding it.

"Well which one?" Erika demands from either the graves or Synth, you can't tell.

"Let's keep looking, anything that is of interest--anything that has something to do with a clue," Synth suggests.

Without saying anything, the three of you return to the grave at which you had each left off. You spend nearly an hour on the 1800s group of graves, trying to make out anything you can to link them to a clue. Synth finishes his group and calls for a break to have something to eat. There isn't a store nearby, but before he left the apartment, Synth had packed some power bars and chips.

As you sit inside on the floor of the car with your feet hanging out onto the grass, you look at the graveyard a whole, trying to see a pattern or a common theme in the graves. You see crosses, square graves, monuments and round graves--nothing out of the ordinary. Without saying anything, the three of you walk back into the graveyard after you each finish eating. Synth announces that he will start he section over again. You don't want to be here all day, you're starting to feel like the answer isn't here.

Another half hour passes and you find yourself on the opposite end of the graveyard from where the car was parked. You only have a few more rows of graves in your section, which you stop and look at in distain before seeing something peculiar. One of the graves in the second to last row of your section looks much newer than the rest of the graves around it. Not only that, but the grave is shaped oddly like trapezoid, with the top being less wide than the base.

You walk over to the face, but whatever was written on the grave has long been rubbed off.

"Wait," you say aloud. "Wait!" You yell back towards your friends.

"What?" Erika shouts back, on the other side of a hedge.

"This grave, come here for a second."

"What is it?" She asks as she jogs over to you.

"Look at this grave, it seems much newer than the rest of the graves here, but the lettering has all worn down."

"That is odd."

"Plus," you add, "the grave is shaped like a trapezoid; it's the only one shaped this way in the whole cemetery.

"Very odd," Erika says, kneeling down to inspect the stone with her fingers.

Synth walks up behind you without saying anything. You turn to look at him with your eyebrows raised, and he raises his in a return gesture of interest. Erika runs her fingers up and down the grave, then to the corners and sides. Finally, she stands up and shakes her head.

"I can't make out any of this lettering. Why would this stone be so clean and the edges so crisp, but the inscription be faded like this?"

"Let me see," Synth says as he approaches the grave.

He looks it over, then walks around it to take in the whole shape, but stops as he gets to the backside.

"Oh my," he says simply.

"What?" You and Erika both say as you hurry to the other side of the stone.

You look down at the grave and see perfectly clear lettering, despite the lack of light on this side.

"Here lies a dedicated Revolution patron

1962 - 2009

May God ease his restless soul."

What do you do?

> Look around to make sure no one can overhear you before saying, "Well before we go grave-robbing, let's finish our sweeps. And do you think there's any way this could just be a coincidence?"

"I doubt it, I'll do a quick sweep of the backs of the rest of the graves though, just to be sure." Synth walks off, and Erika nods and follows without saying anything. You return to your group of graves, now glancing at the blank, smooth backsides of all the graves you already inspected earlier. After ten minutes, the three of you find only two more backwards graves, neither of which are shaped oddly or mention the revolution.

"Okay, we should come back tonight, if we're going to do this. I guess we'll need shovels," Synth says darkly.

"And black clothes," Erika adds.

"What else," Synth asks.

"A bag, maybe? To carry the body in?" You offer.

"Okay. There may not be a body under there, but we should be ready just in case."

Synth has to drive almost all the way back to Harrisman to find a store that carried what he wanted. The three of you fit yourselves with grave-robbing gear, including heavy-duty garbage bags, rope, duct tape, black masks, hoodies, pants, gloves and long-sleeve shirts. Synth says he already has some black clothes of his own that would work, so he drives back to the apartment to wait for sunset.

When you get in, you put a frozen pizza in the oven and surf online until it finishes. Once you have it, you sit down and turn on the TV, hoping to find something interesting to watch for the next two or so hours.

"... after yet another Revolution murder today, saying they finally have a suspect for all these attacks. The police have not released any information about the suspect other than his last name, which is Gray, and the fact that he's been linked to four murders in the past week. Gray is supposedly a private investigator who worked for the Revolution until he went rouge and disappeared, when police believe he murdered several of his contacts and a fellow Revolution investigator. More news on this at 10."

The channel cuts to a commercial about car insurance as you take the first bite of your pizza. So Gray is a murderer. This is probably not a good thing. He might be following you again, or he might be hiding somewhere. Maybe he's set a trap for you.

"Syyyynnth!" You yell out to his room, where he's sitting on his computer.

"Yes?" He yells back?

"Gray escaped and he's murdered three people, should we be worried?"

You hear Synth shuffle around his desk and walk into the main room, followed by Erika, both looking slightly worried.

"Who said," Erika asks.

"The news--they said the Revolution finally named who they thought was committing the murders, and they said his last name was Gray."

"Did they show a picture?"

"No, but they said he was an investigator for the Revolution, so I'm pretty sure it's him."

Synth returns to his room to do a bit of research. After a few minutes he comes back and confirms that what the news reported was true. The Revolution had named Gray as the murderer.

"Apparently, they victims were all connected to the Untitled case. One of them was the WWAR guy who we kidnapped you from."

"Rick?" You ask, shocked. You barely remembered Rick, the man who killed your parents. You hadn't thought about that whole ordeal in what seemed like ages.

"Richard Tanner, yeah. Gray also killed some guy named Jonathan Baker, who claimed to be the leader of Untitled, and Ronald Serrick, a prisoner also connected to Untitled somehow."

"Maybe he killed all these people before Hal caught him, you know, and they're just now discovering the bodies and reporting on it," Erika offers hopefully.

"I hoped that was the case until I saw the corner's report on the latest victim, Andrew Webb, which put the time of death at some time last night."

"Where did they discover the body?" You ask.

"Outside New York City, some place called Union City."

"So he's close, he's free, he's murdering people related to the Untitled investigation, and he saw us all in the presence of the supposed leader of Untitled?" You ask, trying to stay calm.

"I'm afraid so," Synth answers weakly.

You still have over an hour until sundown, and probably over two until it is really dark enough to rob any graves. So far you hadn't noticed anything out of the ordinary, but you weren't looking for traces of a murderer. Synth and Erika started sweeping the apartment for bugs or something out of the ordinary while you check outside around the apartment for suspicious activity. You take a baseball bat with you, but you still feel pretty vulnerable. After 10 minutes you come back in and slam the door behind you, having not seen anything strange, but still feeling very tense.

Erika and Synth also come back empty handed, but you can tell they both feel the same way. The next hour and a half drags on, and towards the end you actually watch the sun go down from the window until it completely disappears over the trees and buildings. Synth makes you wait fifteen more minutes until he allows you to start packing the car. You're already dressed in black, with a mask in your pocket for when you get to the cemetery.

The drive takes a lot longer than before, partially because Synth keeps checking behind him to make sure he isn't being followed, and partially because you're conscious of every second that passes. When you finally reach the cemetery, you see the entrance is gated and locked. Synth pulls over in front of the gate and looks around for somewhere else to park. Finding nothing, he puts on his mask, pops the trunk and gets out of the car. You follow, putting on your mask and grabbing a shovel from the trunk. The rest of the supplies are in a bag, which Synth was already holding when you got out.

The three of you hop the fence as quickly as you can manage, and scurry hunched over towards the Revolution grave.

"You remember where it is?" Erika asks in a harsh whisper.

"Yeah, second to last row, somewhere on the right side of the main part of the graveyard," you answer back, still looking around to make sure no one else was around.

You arrive at the grave, check around the entire area, and then start digging. The soil comes up easily, as if it was freshly packed in. You wouldn't be surprised if it had been. The process is slow; you're worried. You don't know why, but you expected this part to go more quickly. You're reminded of Christmas, when you were forced to dig a pit that you thought was your own grave at the WWAR headquarters.

After almost an hour of excruciating labor, you dig into something that isn't dirt, but isn't solid either. You and Synth stoop down to brush some dirt from it and find a piece of canvas. You remove all the dirt at that level to reveal a dark canvas tarp wrapped around a body-sized object. The canvas is held in place by long, dark strips of duct tape.

"Well I guess we don't need this," Synth says, gesturing to his bag of supplies. "Let's pull him out."

The three of you hold on to one end, which you guess is the feet, and pull. The bodybag emerges free from the pit and onto the grass next to its grave. You sit down, exhausted and look into the empty hole in the earth below you. You notice a small bit of white half covered by the dirt, and you point it out to Synth. He goes down, grabs it and reads what is apparently written on it.

"Congratulations, you found it. Contact me as soon as you can."

"Woo!" Erika cheers in a voice a little too loud for your comfort.

"Let's get this guy to the car," you suggest.

"Gotta fill the hole back up," Synth says, folding the paper and putting it into his hoodie.

You groan as you pick up a shovel and push dirt back into the hole.

--

On the ride back to the apartment, you think about the person who owns this car, and how much they won't appreciate it being used to transport a dirt-laden body. At the apartment, you argue with Synth about leaving the body in the car. Synth says with the body covered by a blanket in the trunk there won't be a problem, but you insist that if anyone finds out, the three of your fingerprints are all over it. Finally Synth relents and agrees to keep the body in the house. Your victory is short-lived however, as the body has to stay in the main room, where you sleep.

Once back inside and cleaned up, Synth brings the walkie out to the main room and turns it on. He presses the transmit button and speaks.

"We found it, the object."

Silence. A few minutes go by and Synth tries again. This time the familiar voice answers.

"Good. Now you must wait for the parade. In the mean time, you should buy a large wooden post."

"What should we do with the object," Synth asks.

"On the evening of the parade, you will go to a cliff overlooking a large portion of the crowd, near the Revolution building, S124. When the parade reaches the building, on the mark of the first firework, you will unwrap the object, affix it to a post, and set it on fire. If you do this, and return to me, you will have my trust and you will join Untitled."

What do you do?

> "Do you think we should take a peek at the body?"

"I don't know, dead bodies ..." Synth stops mid sentence, shudders while putting his hand to his scar, and closes his eyes. "Dead bodies smell terribly. We have no idea what state of decay this one is in, but if it's been dead since 2009, it's probably going to be unpleasant. Plus, the instructions said to unwrap the body on the night of the parade, not before. I think it's best to keep it wrapped up."

You frown. You want to know who's in the bag.

"Let's say we just opened up the top, so we could see his face. The gravestone didn't give a name, but I bet we could find some sort of facial scanner and figure out who it is. If he's a Revolution patron, he won't be hard to track down," you say, getting excited.

"Maybe you don't understand this," Synth says delicately. "He's been dead for around three years. He probably doesn't have much of a face to scan anymore, even if we had the equipment. Hal, or whoever left this for us was nice enough to wrap it up neatly for us, and I think we should just keep it that way."

You had never seen a dead body before--only in videos. The closest you ever got was hearing the screams and gunshots while watching the hotel as you were carried away, powerless. Your curiosity suddenly dwindles.

"Okay," you say quietly. You look from where you're sitting on the couch at the tip of the canvas, just thinking about nothing at all.

--

On the morning of the 20th, you wake from a nightmare about walking through a cave full of hanging bodies. The bodies were all hanging upside down, with their garments hanging over their faces and defining characteristics. While they were all dressed differently, you couldn't tell any of them apart. Then, all at once, you heard an awful howling sound, and you realized all the bodies were making a low "ooooooo" hum. All together, the sound got louder and louder until you woke up. You were frightened further when you opened your eyes, because Synth had leaned the post against the couch before he went to sleep, and at the angle you were looking at it, it looked like a hanging body.

Reflecting on this, you sit at the table, eating cereal and listening to the silence of the morning. Since you discovered the body and contacted Hal, you hadn't heard from him more than once, and things had been boring. You did some research about the parade--the security, WWAR's intentions and board ramblings, but nothing particularly exciting had happened.

Synth also looked into the inauguration, since it was too coincidental that it was the same day as Saddler's parade. Since Jenkins was the Revolution's pick for president, there was motive for anti-revolution groups to interfere. Since the inauguration is to take place this morning, Synth decided the parade wouldn't affect it and we shouldn't be worried.

As far as tonight was concerned, Synth had found the spot at which we would be setting our body on fire, and having studied the security, we calculated they wouldn't have anything to do with a spot that high up. The building in question, which is caddy-corner to S124, is next to a public parking lot, so the plan is as follows:

You are to drive to the lot and pay for a space. Then, dressed as a late-night maintenance crew, you will transport the body in large maintenance cart and gain access to building via the back entrance, where the door will be unlocked. Apparently there's another group of Untitled members working behind the scenes as support, but when you questioned Hal about it, he wouldn't say any more. Once inside, you are to take elevator to the roof and wait for parade to circle back to S124, which should be somewhere around 9:30 p.m. When the first firework goes off, you are to unwrap body, attach to post, douse with gas, set on fire, and wave it around a bit before throwing it off the building into the clearing in front of the parade.

Synthlight was worried someone might be hit by the falling body, he didn't want this stunt to turn violent. It was supposed to be a message (a message you still don't understand but whatever), not a hit. Hal assured Synth that if he timed it correctly, no one would be near the impact zone of the body; security would make sure of it.

It occurs to you as you finish your breakfast, that Hal never mentioned an escape plan. You assume you will just go back down the elevator to the car and drive away, but will it really be that easy? With these new concerns, you wash out your cereal bowl, put it in the sink and walk towards Synth's room to ask him about it.

"...shouldn't be worried," you hear Synth say in a low, conversation voice in his room.

You knock twice on his closed door and hear shuffling around for a moment before he opens it.

"Morning," he says cheerfully.

"Who were you talking to?" You ask.

"Oh--no one, just--myself," Synth smiles.

"Oh, okay," you nod. "I was just thinking ... what about our escape route?"

"Oh, I guess we'll just take the elevator down and drive away."

"Don't you think that's a bit too, I don't know, simple?"

"Should it be more complex?"

"What if something happens?"

"Then we'll alter the escape route," Synth says simply, as if he doesn't understand what your concern is.

"Shouldn't we plan for some of those scenarios?"

"I don't really see what could happen. No one knows what we're going to do, and the whole burning body thing is going to give us plenty of time to take an elevator trip down to the ground level, walk next door, and get our car."

You frown, nod and leave the room. You're not satisfied with that, but you're not worried either. You'll come up with some escape strategies of your own on the drive up. It'll also be easier to plan once you're actually there and can see where everything is situated.

--

By 7 p.m. you're a complete mess with tension. You had spent most of the day pacing or watching TV, and even took two jogs around the neighborhood just to try to pass the time. You dress yourself in your maintenance costume just to be extra prepared, even though Synth won't leave for another hour at least.

"It takes an hour to get into the city, we don't even need to be in position until 9 at the earliest. The less time we're there, the better off we are," he had said when you bugged him about when he was leaving.

The last hour is the worst. You watch some reality TV and play a puzzle game on your laptop until finally Synth starts packing up the car. He had gotten a maintenance-looking cart from a hospital dumpster, and had stocked it with lots of useful things. It had your walkies, your civilian clothes, some non-working electrical gadgets, gasoline, several fire-starting materials, the post, and finally, your friend the dead body inside a huge trash can/bin.

You are excited when you finally start on the journey, but the excitement fades after about ten minutes. The monotony continues and worsens when you get to the bridge to get into manhattan. There are thousands of people coming in for the parade, and you wonder if you'll even be able to get a parking space at the lot next to your target building.

Once in the island, Synthlight drives directly to the destination, using S124 as a landmark. Revolution buildings seem to all be unique, but uniform at the same time. S124 is the largest building you've ever seen, and much more majestic than it had looked in pictures at school.

Synth pulls into the opening of the lot and a man with a heavy greek accent comes running up and yelling at him.

"Whoa whoa whoa, we're all full buddy," he says angrily. You sigh and fight the urge to yell at Synth for not coming sooner.

"I think I have a reserved slot, under Fleming-Boyles."

"You probably did, but we're all full now, sorry."

"I don't understand, it was arranged ahead of time."

"Yeah, but people needed to park and they paid me much more than you did for your reservation."

Synth looks coldly and angrily at the man.

"I got a business to run, buddy, so go find somewhere else to park!"

Synth turns around to you and Erika.

"What should we do?"

> Whisper to Synth after he puts up the window so the attendant can't hear, "The police will be busy with security at the parade anyway. Do you think we'd be able to park in an alley?"

> Look for somewhere else to park -- but alsooo confirm the location of the back entrance. If the car gets ticketed/towed, no big deal -- it's not yours anyway, right? Ensure, though, that no important belongings are inside.

"We won't be inside very long, can we just park it on the street?" You suggest.

"No, but I'm going to," Synth says with a sigh.

"Hal set all this up right? Shouldn't we call him and see if he can do anything about it?" Erika asks.

"No, NightSonnett, there's nothing anyone can do, short of murder, about a full parking garage."

Synth drives around to the back side of the building and parks as close as possible to the door, illegally, but not blocking any other cars. The three of you get everything you need on the cart situated. All at once, Synth opens the back doors of the SUV and you and Erika push the cart out onto the ground. You close the back doors behind you, Synth locks it, and three members of a maintenance crew slip into a dark and abandoned building.

The door is unlocked when you get to it, and the maintenance elevator already on the ground floor. You enter it, Synth enters a code and the doors close. When they open again, the cold air whips into the elevator room. You're on the roof. You push the cart to the middle of the roof and, with Erika, begin to prepare for the demonstration.

"I guess we should take this guy out of his body bag," Erika grimaces.

"Yeah, I'll start ripping off the duct tape," you say. As you roll the body bag around to peel the tape off, you watch Synth crouch near the side of the building and watch the parade below.

"What time is it?" You say.

"9:12," Erika answers quickly. "We have to work fast.

Unwrapping the body takes almost ten minutes. When you finally uncover the canvas to reveal the body, everyone is standing and watching. As you tug, everyone braces for the smell, but instead of being met with the stench of decay, you only detect chemicals.

"He's very well preserved," Synth says looking the body over.

The body is still clothed, with jeans, a black tee shirt and a brown jacket. You look up to its face, but the head is covered in a brown paper bag.

"Should we see who it is?" You ask, reaching for the bag.

"No time," Synth says, looking at his watch. "We have to get this thing on the post right now.

Another five minutes pass with the three of you trying to affix the body on the post. When you finally have it secure, Synth douses the body with a liberal amount of gasoline. You and Synth carry it to the side closest to the parade and stand in awe of the massive amount of people below. Hal was right, no one would be under where the body would fall if we timed it right. People were clearing the way for the parade far enough in advance for there to be a perfect clearing.

"It's 9:30, do it," Erika says sternly. Synth pulls out a lighter and catches the dead man's shirt on fire. You watch the flames spread upward and suddenly there's a bright flash that nearly blinds you.

** Cue No Remorse for Dead Men **

"What!?" Erika yells. You hear someone shouting violently from below. Then you hear more cries and people shouting. When your vision clears, you see that the bag on the body's head is gone and you hear Erika and Synth gasp.

"What?" You yell at them angrily. "What is it?" You look again at the face and a sliver of recognition triggers in your mind?

"Is it?"

"... Dad ... oh my God, what have we done?" Erika drops to her knees and then to her face on the ground, weeping.

"Synth, is it?"

"Yes ... it's Grant," Synth says sternly, coughing.

What do you do?

>Stick to the plan. Toss it and get the hell out of there.

You and Synth stand in shock for another moment until you hear a gunshot from below. Erika and Synth duck down instinctively, and you take the opportunity to hurl the post over the side with all the force you can gather. You look down to make sure its trajectory will give it enough space to fall without hurting any one, and then you turn to look at your two friends. You hear another shot and you duck down as well.

"Let's go!" Synth yell-whispers.

You and Erika grab the cart but Synth pulls you away from it, saying, "just leave it!"

Once the three of you are in the service elevator and the door shuts you hear your heart pounding and everyone's breath gasping in shock and anger.

"What the hell was that?" Erika says, her voice breaking again into a sob.

"'Dedicated Revolution patron?'" Synth quotes from the gravestone, glaring up into the air.

"I thought he was buried in Pennsylvania," you ask as you catch your breath.

"He was!" Synth says more loudly than you expected.

The elevator dings and the doors open to the ground floor. Immediately the three of you rush out, pushing the doors to the outside. You're hit by a wave of chill air and blaring sirens. Synth runs to the SUV and curses.

"It's got a boot on it!"

"What?" You ask, starting to panic.

"It's a wheel clamp, we have to find another car!" Erika explains as she dashes down the street, away from S124.

You and Synth follow her, and watch in amazement as she braces herself next to a blue sedan parked legally on the street, and smashes the driver's side window with her elbow. The alarm goes off and she quickly opens the door and silences it. The headlights come on and her yell rips you from your trance. Synth jumps in the back, allowing you to take the passenger seat. As Erika does a three point turn, driving the wrong way down a one-way street, Synth lies down in the back of the car and presses his face to the seat.

"What's wrong?" You ask.

"Nothing, just get us out of here," his muffled voice responds calmly.

Erika drives two blocks down the wrong way, then turns right onto a busier street, this time heading the right way, and towards the bridge out of manhattan. Erika checks her mirrors for cops or anyone following, but neither she nor you see anyone.

What do you do?

> "It's probably best that we ditched that SUV anyway. It was stolen in Highland Mills. Police are probably looking for it. There isn't anything in there that can connect us to that car, right? We should get rid of this car and these clothes too."
> Also make a mental note to ask Synth about how he knows where Grant was buried once Erika isn't around. I don't think she'd want to hear about it.

"Good plan, we should also try to call Hal," Synth says as he searches for the walkie. He finds it, presses a few buttons on it and begins to speak.

"Hal, come in Hal, are you there?"

A few moments pass but finally the speaker comes to life.

"Yes?"

"We did it, and I think we're going to get away without any trouble."

"Very good, please join me at the church as soon as you can."

Synth looks at the walkie for a moment before turning it off and setting it down on the set next to him. You watch him as he abruptly turns from looking at the seat to out the window, as if he heard or saw something. You continue to check out the back for any followers, but you see nothing suspicious.

As the car nears the exit from the bridge out of Manhattan, traffic comes to a sudden halt. You're not surprised by this, but after Synth cranes his neck out of the window he seems very worried.

"What's up?"

"I can't tell, but I see police lights."

"Shit," Erika says bluntly. She pats herself down and after a few seconds finds her license and RID."

"What do we do?" You ask.

"Nothing yet, once we get out of the bridge we might be able to make an escape. This is a fast car and NightSonnett is an excellent driver," Synth says, gesturing to Erika. She bites her lip and keeps her eyes on the car in front of her, edging forward as traffic allows.

"Aren't there Untitled members everywhere? Can't we make a call or something?"

Synth grabs the radio and turns it on again.

"Hal! Hal, we need help, the cops are stopping everyone and looking for us."

Silence overwhelms the car. No one speaks for two full minutes. Finally Synth tries again.

"Hal! We're going to get caught, Hal!"

Another minute goes by with nothing.

What do you do?

> "Do you think there's any chance those police officers are Untitled agents? I doubt it but what do you think?"
> Look for the car's registration and proof of insurance. Try to find who's car it is and make up a story to tell the officer if he asks why we're in a car we don't own.

As Erika moves off the bridge, your vehicle is herded into the middle of three lanes edging towards the bright, blinking, blue and red lights. Erika swears again. You stare straight ahead at the cops to see if you can tell how prepared they would be for an escape. You squint into the darkness as you see someone in the left lane far ahead get directed to the shoulder instead of being allowed to pass. You watch as he is pulled from his vehicle and handcuffed. Did they mistakenly find the culprit? Does this mean you're safe?

"It's a sobriety checkpoint," Synth says, relief in his voice.

"Ohhh," Erika says, relaxing in her seat.

"Still, they could run these plates and find out we're in a stolen car, but it's unlikely."

Fifteen minutes pass before your turn arrives.

"Good evening ma'am. License please," the police officer says to Erika.

"Evening," she replies as she hands him the card.

"Where are you headed?" The office asks as he shines a flashlight on the card, then you and Synth while smelling for intoxication.

"Harriman," she says simply.

"You three been doing any drinking tonight?"

"No, sir."

"Alright, go ahead," he says, pointing at the open road ahead.

As Erika pulls ahead, she is directly by another officer in a swerving, zig-zag path so as to avoid several spike strips placed almost invisibly on the main parts of the road.

"Good thing we didn't make a break for it," you say after Erika rolls the window up and accelerates to highway speed.

"Good thing he didn't check registration!" Erika says with a sigh.

"He didn't check RID either, I guess they were just trying to get everyone through quickly."

The drive gets less interesting the farther you get from New York City. You fall asleep at some point and get awakened by Synthlight's exclamation.

"Dead? What did they just say? Turn it up."

The background news voice gets louder and you abandon further hopes of getting back to sleep. You blink a few times but by the time you actually are listening to the newscaster, a commercial starts.

"Wha?" You ask sleepily.

"President Jenkins is dead." Erika says, astonished as she parks the stolen car in an alley near a supermarket. "They just said the official cause of death is still being investigated. We can't risk listening for more, we need to ditch this car."

"We can walk to Hal's from here," Synth says flatly, still shocked from the news. "I can't believe it; wasn't he inaugurated this morning?"

"Where are we?" You ask as you get out of the car.

"We're going to Hal's."

"Did he ever respond?"

"Nope."

You wake up much faster once in the cold night, and you curse Hal for making you walk for almost an hour in a dark forest. When you finally arrive there are no lights or torches lit. The front door is ajar and the entire building looks desolated.

"Hello?" You call out.

"Shh!" Synth silences you quickly.

You look at Synth apologetically then back up at the hallway in front of you and see the black masked figure hovering towards you.

"Come," he says in his familiarly cold and eerie voice. He turns, begins walking and the three of you follow.

He turns to a door, puts a key into it, turns and steps away from it. Then he shifts sideways to a piece of the wall which he presses with his shoulder until it turns slightly. He waits for the three of you to get into the rotating platform with him, then he presses it more until a well-lit corridor appears in front of you. Hal then leads you to a room with a sofa where he gestures for you to sit. After the three of you are seated, he stands in front of you with his arms out in front of him, as if he was preparing to catch a person falling from the sky.

"You ... are all ... TRAITORS!"

This last word is stressed so deeply that you actually shudder from the voice's ferocity. No one says anything.

"Untitled is a convenient name bestowed upon my organization by a journalist. Because of this, I have never revealed our real name to any non-members. This is one way to discern who is working for me and who is a puppet impostor. The actual name of this group is Traitors.

"Once again I say, you are all traitors. Not only are you now Traitors in my group, but you are each individually traitors to the Revolution.

"Fin, after you were born, you were taken from you family by the Revolution, and since you have denounced the Revolution and joined several anti-Revolution groups.

"Erika, you tried for years to be accepted into the Revolution because of your mother's incessant pressuring. After she killed herself from grief and depression, you turned on your old goals in the hope that you could destroy all evidence of your mother's pain.

"Synthlight ... Ward ... Zach, you have so many names, but none of them are you own. You know your own name, but you have never spoken it. That makes you also a traitor to yourself. You will have to face this one day. But for now, you know why you are a traitor to the Revolution.

"Together, we will bring the entire Revolution down, either by force, or piece by piece. Tonight was a message. You disgraced the body someone you all once loved and cared for. This sacrifice will not go unnoticed--it was intended to be a sacrifice. You all believe that change is possible, and that is all I am here to bring to pass. You put your faith in my organization and me to achieve your goals for you. I cannot do that. Working together, however, we can do anything."

What do you do?

> "So how are you a traitor to the Revolution? You seem to know a lot about us. How do you know all this?"

Hal laughs softly and then turns towards you.

"My story will have to remain in the dark just a little while longer I think. I can tell you how I came to know what I know."

Everyone sits attentively, especially Synth, who is squinting slightly.

"After I started Untitled and started gaining members in secret, I heard a juicy bit of info about a Revolution plot to 'mold a new leader.' I spent a few months learning the details and I finally got to watch the birth of ... well ... Ward here."

"I KNEW I recognized your voice! You're ... you--"

"Yes. I am the man in the opposite cell. I was keeping watch on you. Saddler never knew about me, neither did the 'Rapture' members."

"Then you, you ..."

"I've been watching you ever since. I couldn't get into the trials to see those, but I watched the tapes afterwards.'

Synth sits in shocked silence.

"What about us, how do you know about my sister and I?" You ask.

"I was watching Grant for some time as well. In studying Saddler I learned about his history and his plot to control Grant. I kept tabs on the lovely lady after Ward, er, sorry, Synthlight arrived at Grant's house the morning after his escape."

"Wait, I remember that!" Erika exclaims, her voice a bit shaky in fear. "Synth? You were so weird! You kept asking questions about my father and the Revolution. I thought you worked with him!"

"I did, that was when we first met--"

"You said you had worked with him for years!"

Synth sits with his mouth open and no response.

"My my," Hal says quietly. "Easy, sweetness," Hal addresses Erika. "Synthlight worked with your father many years before the incident that morning. That morning was just a few short hours after his memory had been erased by Saddler.

You look at Synth who is still staring, pleading with Erika with his eyes. You look at Erika who is looking back and forth between Hal and Synth with a disgusted look on her face.

"What about me?" You ask, trying to change the subject.

"After discovering Grant's painful past, I just found you in a database and learned what Revolution building you were in."

When Hal stops speaking, silence fills the room. Synth is staring at his feet now, and Erika has her arms folded as she looks at the wall.

What do you do?

> "Synth, what cell? What is he saying about your memories getting erased. Why did you lie to us?"

"I'm not a monster ..." Synth chokes out before retching and covering his mouth. Finally after fighting it for a moment, he vomits on the floor and sputters on his knees.

"Synthlight has gone through some identity changes through his life. The lies he told you were intended to protect you, to allow you to trust him. Whether your trust has been misplaced is now up to you; but know the details of his past that he has omitted are better not known. He is no longer the man he once was, and he has done everything he can to conceal his past," Hal says calmly.

"I'll clean up this mess. There are three rooms down the hall near the rotating entrance. Go get some rest."

Synthlight wipes his mouth with his hand and wheezes.

"And the bathroom is on the left," Hal directs Synth.

You stand up and offer a hand to Erika, who takes it and walks with you to her room. She enters her room without a word and you shut her door. A beautiful engraving of a rose shimmers for a moment in the light from the other room. You find the door with a ferocious-looking shark on it and enter. You lie on the bed without moving any of the covers and without even taking off your shoes. You fall asleep almost immediately, hoping the Synthlight is just seriously misunderstood, and not a force to be feared.

END OF CHAPTER 12

Chapter 13

The sun blinds you as you emerge into the daylight. You run from the house more quickly with every step. As your panic dies down, you get your bearings and find a footpath out of the forest. You put your hand to your chest to keep your heart from bursting from your chest. You lean against a tree for a moment and then jerk your head up to be sure you're not being surrounded.

You start jogging again until you get to a park bench on the outside of the forest. You're in public, you can rest here. While you catch your breath, you curse yourself for not doing more to find out who Hal was. You could have taken him hostage or wounded him or forced the mask off, but you were too scared. You were afraid there were traps in every square inch of the floor you ran on, afraid there were hidden guns pointed at you from every square inch of wall you ran by.

Still you had the advantage, you could've done something. Should you go back now? No, get backup, get someone, go back to the church. Surely they will leave something behind, some way to trace them. You have a name, a voice and a personality now, you can find Hal again.

Why did he let you go? Was it chess? Was he worried you were going to win? He must have left the door unlocked on purpose. Was it your watch? Did he believe that crap about your father? Your father was a scoundrel of a man; he left you with your dying grandmother and you were apparently picked up by child services two days after she died. The only thing you ever heard from him was over 20 years later, so you had no idea when it was actually sent, but your foster parents gave it to you when you graduated college. It was a note that had been sent to your grandmother's old house, addressed to you. After reading it, you've always kept the message in your wallet.

It was stupid, probably fake, talking about how your father was going to be killed and there was nothing that you could do and a whole bunch of life tips (thanks foster parents), but it was the only piece of biological family you had, so you've kept it close ever since.

"No!" You shout as you get up from the bench.

An old man walking nearby stops and squints at you. You have to call Mason, anybody. You thrust your hand into your pocket and pull out your phone, then again to pull out its battery. You fumble with it for a moment before locking it in place and turning the phone on. After an eternal 15 or so seconds, the home screen appears and you instantly dial "3," Mason's speed dial number.

The phone makes half a ring sound, then goes to voice mail, a recording of Mason saying "I'm busy," and then a beep. You stand recording silence on his voicemail for a moment before hanging up and trying again. Straight to voicemail again. Mason never has his phone off. You're immediately concerned. You remember several days have passed since you last spoke with him and you try to think about what he would be doing now. He was scheduled to fly back to New York on the 14th, so you can check the itinerary of the flight and see if he made it.

Could Untitled be that swift; that large? As far as you know, you were the only know who knew where Mason was, and you hadn't been tortured or even interrogated. The only way they could've gotten to him this quickly is if they had been tailing him, which means they had been tailing you.

You spin around on the bench and shoot to your feet. You look suspiciously at every branch, every cluster of snow, searching for the enemy. They're following you now, it's the only explanation for how easily you escaped. You have to get to your car.

You jog on the path until you get to sidewalks and roads. You follow them, trying to remember how you got here when you were following the group that led you to the church. Finally you spot a familiar landmark, and ten minutes later you reach your car in the apartment complex you had parked to spy on Fin and his captors.

You briefly consider breaking the apartment door down and demanding answers, but you're not willing to take that risk now, and you're not even sure they'd be there. That's what Hal would expect an amateur to do, surely he's prepared for that.

"HA!" You exhale out loud in almost a gunshot laugh, at the thought. This is another chess game--no, not even. This is a continuation of the chess game you were playing when you escaped. You had your attacking pieces out, and he let you slaughter a few pawns. You had the lead, as far as you could tell, but he must've been planning something.

As you start your car and release the parking break, you stop wonder where you can go. You can't go to your apartment, surely that's bugged and maybe even trashed by now. But you need internet access; you'll have to go to a cafe or library.

You learned how to mask your internet activity on public connections from Mason, but you're not sure a weak grasp on internet privacy is going to combat Untitled's expert knowledge of info-digging. Still, you plug your USB scrambler in before logging on and hope for the best.

You open a page for Mason's airline and your e-mail for his flight number simultaneously. After a moment to load, you copy the number into the site and check flight records. Mason's ticket was used, the plane landed at its regular schedule and it was confirmed that his bags were picked up. Okay, so Mason made it back here, so they were waiting at his apartment.

You start to close your laptop, but freeze in hesitation of what you're about to do. How is going to Mason's apartment any safer than going to yours. His phone is off. Good things cannot come of this, but what choice do you have. You open your laptop and check for a new clue. Buzz about the previous clue is still going on, with wild speculations, but none mention the sign, this town, or the church. You notice some scattered threads about enemies underground, but after skimming them you conclude they're not Untitled clues.

Finally, you close the laptop and unplug your USB. The less time online, the better, you decide. Checking the forums was probably too risky. What does Hal want you to do? Why would he have a trap laid out for you at Mason's apartment when he already had you captured at the church? Why would he let you escape just to catch you again. It's obvious he doesn't want you dead. He doesn't want anyone killed, as far as you can tell.

Still, it's dangerous. You need Mason if you want a chance at getting Hal. Even if there was no trap, and Mason wasn't there, you would find evidence at Mason's apartment. Should you risk going there?

What do you do?

> Yes, go to Mason's.

It's worth it; you can't think of a better move at this point. You had an advantage, and that is you're ready for a trap.

You're tense the entire drive back to New York. Every car following too closely behind is an enemy. Every black SUV with tinted windows is a Untitled agent ready to open fire at you. You're relieved when you finally find parking near Mason's and turn your car off. You load your gun and tuck it into the back of your pants. You put on a pair of gloves, set your phone to voice-activated calls, and put a digital camera in your pocket. The only thing you're missing is a gas mask. You have one at your apartment, and Mason might have one in his, but that won't help you if the front door is rigged to trigger gas once you're inside. If this apartment is clean, you'll consider going to yours.

You get out of your car and check the time--3:44.

"Okay Untitled, come and get me," you mumble as you approach the apartment complex. You climb the stairs to the second floor and inch your way across the hall towards 203. You hadn't considered your entrance approach. As you crouch with your hand on your gun behind you, next to Mason's door, you try to decide if a hard and fast door-busting approach would be better in the long run. Both have the ability to take anyone waiting inside by surprise, but one startles/alerts the neighbors. Then again, if you have to use your gun, the neighbors are going to know about it either way.

What do you do?

> Stay low to avoid the peephole, silently stick the key in the door, and open it quickly, swinging it open, but staying outside the apartment, with gun in hand.

No sense in making a scene if you don't have to. The apartment could be empty, or Mason could be inside having a nice wank. Maybe that's why his phone was off. Come to think of it, you haven't checked since you first called. You pull you phone out and dial 3. Still straight to voicemail. Okay, this is for real. You're ready.

You insert your key into the lock, take a deep breath to hold in case there's gas, and turn it as slowly as possible. As the door opens, light from the hallway pours into the dark apartment. You can see on the other end of one wall that the shades are down, which means Mason isn't here. The door continues to open silently, and you wildly look around for trace presence of anyone else. Seeing nothing, you take another breath and step into the apartment, closing the door behind you.

You check the closet immediately to your right and find a few coats and boots. You step further into the apartment, checking dark corners and the area behind you, feeling a bit paranoid, but still justified.

Creak.

You back against the wall just before the bathroom and wait. You heard it. Someone is inside the apartment. You slowly pull your gun out, hold it in both hands and step to look in the bathroom. Immediately you feel a crack against your shoulder from behind you. You jump to the side and stumble, waving your gun in the general direction of the pain. You heard footsteps running now, and you manage to get your balance just in time to dodge another blow from the crow-bar wielding goon, but it costs you your gun.

The canon goes flying away from you, then it slides across the wood paneled floor completely out of reach. The goon is unfazed and comes at you with all the force of a crazed hit man. This time, you're ready for him. You catch the lower end of the weapon just before he swings it, and force his hands into an uncomfortable angle, and gain control of crowbar. With one swift movement, you direct the remainder of his force towards the ground and hit him sternly on the back of the head with the iron rod.

Not expecting another attacker, but certainly ready for one, you turn and see another goon charging you with his bare hands. You side step and slam his head into the corner of the wall, letting him drop to the ground in pain and unconsciousness.

What do you do?

>Assure that the area is clear, then check them for anything that could identify them or their reasons for being here.
>Might help to turn on the lights, too.

You root through their pockets but find only a knife, a few dollars and receipts. You turn on the lights and decide an interrogation is in order.

You get some ropes and plastic wrist ties from Mason's utility closet. With some great effort, you manage to the goons into two chairs, tie their wrists together and then to each other, back to back. You use the rope the tie them to the chairs, then tie the chairs to a noose around each of their necks. You need to find out what they know.

While you wait for them to wake up, you search the apartment for traces of Mason's whereabouts. Mason's travel bag, computer and clothes are all piled on his bed in a heap. After digging through it, you find his cellphone, off and the battery taken out. Not a good sign.

When you come back into the main room, one of the thugs is awake and feebly trying to free himself.

"Alright, cut the shit, who are you?" You demand, hating yourself for not being able to kill these two yet.

"I'm not gonna fuckin' talk," the uglier of the two goons says.

"You bet your goddamn dick you're gonna talk!" You walk over to Mason's medicine cabinet. He always keeps his drugs there. Inside you find the small vile you were looking for and a needle. You walk back to your prisoners, the second of which is just coming to.

"Do you know what this is?"

They stare at you in confused, ignorant stubbornness.

"This is dymetzophym. Still don't know? Alright let me walk you through it. Dymetzophym is like 'the' illegal torture drug at the moment. Basically it inflicts incredible, non-lethal pain to most of your body. Now it won't happen right away, because the process is partially up to you. Since the effects are mental, you'll start to feel pain associated with some action. You know how sometimes when you're trying to get to sleep at night, you just keep having an itch, or a hyper-sensitive area that won't get comfortable? It's like that, but instead of not being able to sleep, you can't stop feeling pain.

"Sometimes it's moving your arms, or tapping your feet; but occasionally it gets associated with blinking, or breathing. It really just depends on the strength person's brain. Oh and, just to be clear once this stuff is in you, you're in for minimum three hours of fun because there's absolutely no anti-serum and let's face it, I'm not going to let you go unconscious until I know everything you punks do."

Both of your prisoners are petrified, staring at you in shock as you pace around the room.

"So, let's make this choice right now, is it going to be the dymetzophym, or are you going to fuckin' talk?"

Silence. These two have been shut up good.

"Alright, Mr. Brave Boots, you're first," you turn on the bulky guy on the left side, hold up your needle and advance towards him.

"NO!" He shouts.

"What? Tell me who you are," you say calmly, now crouching at eye level with him.

"Ptch!" The goon spits in your face and laughs.

You grab his arm, find a healthy vein, and inject precisely half of the contents of the needle into his body.

"NO NO NO!" He screams futilely as he struggles.

"The more rash your actions, the quicker this stuff works," you caution idly as you take a seat against the wall to watch your prisoners squirm. You watch the pincushion try to calm himself down and stay still, but it's already too late. You see his head twitch to the left, and his arm squirm, making a fist as hard as he can.

"Ow, GOD DAMN IT!" He yells with increasing volume.

The other hit man is staring blankly in front of him, not reacting to any of his partner's pleas for help.

"What about you, chuckles?" You ask him, ignoring the increasing screams of pain from his partner as you get up to get a gag. Still, he says nothing.

You stuff a sock into the first goon's mouth and duct tape a ring twice around his head, catching all the hair on the back of his head. Now he's thrashing and screaming so much, you wonder how many capillaries have burst from the stress. Tears stream down his face and you realize his thrashing has loosened the rope. Fortunately, the second grunt is in some sort of trance and didn't notice, so you smartly tie the bonds tighter, constricting the nooses a bit further.

Suddenly the muffled scream stops and you see the first guy slump in his seat. You stand up, walk to the bathroom cabinet again, retrieve some smelling salts, and wake up your victim.

"Wake up sleeping beauty!" You coo gently.

"GHHMMMMMMM!" He bleats as his fingers shake wildly, trying to grasp at nothing.

"You don't like being alone do you? I understand, misery loves company," you say as you move towards the second prisoner, pulling out your syringe.

"No," he says sternly.

"No?" You ask.

"I'll tell you whatever you want."

"Who are you?"

"GGHGMMMMMM," the first man screams in protest. You pick up the discarded crowbar and slam it into the pain-ridden man's head. He drops into a silent slumber again.

"Who are you?" you repeat.

"Nobody, I mean, we're not part of any organization. We're just two brothers, we do hired hits.

"Who the fuck sent you to kill me?"

"I don't know."

"Don't you fucking lie to me," you yell, wielding the syringe.

"The Revolution! They were with the Revolution and--"

"Of course it was the--" You stop yourself mid-sentence. The Revolution? Why would the Revolution want Mason dead?

"Revolution?" You ask.

"Yeah, I don't know if he's in administration or just a vigilante but he wanted you dead just for being held captive by an anti-revolution group. He thinks you've turned on him."

"Who? Who thinks I've turned?"

"I can't tell you his name, he said he would find me and kill me if I told you his name."

"I have already found you and I am going to do much worse things than kill you if you don't tell me who the fuck sent you."

Silence. You'll get it out of him. First you need to confirm something else.

You bend down and stare the conscious hit man in the eyes. Very softly and quietly you ask, "did you fuckers kill Mason?"

"Yes," the answer comes quickly, and with no remorse.

Without realizing it, you fiercely punch him in the face, nearly knocking both chairs over. The goon spits blood and a tooth, coughing the whole time.

"You little bitch, I am going to do awful things to you," you say, shaking and glaring at the walls around you.

"P-please, just let us go, I--" he stops and you can hear him fighting back his tears. "I just don't want to die."

"Tell me who the hell sent you and I'll let both of you leave, just as soon as that chemical is flushed out of your brother's system." The illegal drug shows up on a tox screen for 12 hours after administered. After that, it's clean.

"He told me his name because he said it would help keep my loyalty. I didn't want to know anything, but he insisted. He paid quadruple what we'd normally charge. I thought, hey, a hired hit from the Revolution, I can deal with a few weird rules."

"Get to the point," you gesture.

"Alright, alright," he sniffles pathetically."I, he--he told me his name was ... Detective Gray."

What do you do?

> Brandish needle menacingly. "What did he look like, fucko?"

"A-and what did he tell you about me," you try to sound unfazed, but you stammer. After a moment you realize he has mistaken your stammer as fear--the same fear of the dreaded Detective Gray. You dart your eyes around as if expecting an enemy to appear at any moment. Your victim whimpers in pain, still bleeding from his mouth.

"Nothing," he sighs, visibly sick from digging his own grave with every word. "He gave us info on the first guy, then told us to wait in his apartment after we used his plane ticket to get back here. He just said someone would show up looking for Mason, and once we took him … you out, the job was done."

What the fuck. Is he lying? Is this a deliberate mindfuck? Torture isn't always reliable but this fear … someone has instilled it very well. Unfortunately, asking anything about the man who sent them is just going to give away how little you know. You wonder if these guys took out Tanner, Baker and Serrick as well.

"Who else,"

"Who else what?"

"Who else did you kill for this guy, Gray."

"Just one."

"DON'T LIE TO ME!" You scream and knock conscious goon's chair sideways on the floor, pulling the other chair and unconscious goon down on top of him. He yells in pain and then breathes heavily for a few moments while you quake and lean against the wall. You want him to keep thinking you're afraid of 'Detective Gray' too.

"I … I swear," he finally says in as clear a voice as he can.

You have to get out of here, but what to do with these? Hal falsely accused you of killing everyone along your path to find Untitled, but do you really have a choice in this situation? You're know you're not thinking clearly, but you can't come up with a better solution. Then again, these two have no real information about you, other than seeing your face--or so they say. They could easily strike again.

Prisoners are not easy to keep, but you don't have any other choice. You pull both chair upright again, check the security of their plastic bonds and move into the bathroom. You pull everything out of the cabinets and shelves and throw it all in a trash bag. After putting the trash bag on the balcony and locking the door with two locks, you take every removable piece of the bathroom apart, throwing them in another trash bag. It too goes on the balcony--double locked. Finally you break everything protruding or sharp off the walls and sand down all corners with a power sander you found in Mason's tool closet. In a bag. On the balcony. Double fucking locked.

Lastly you drill a sizable hole in the bathroom door and install a deadbolt lock so you can lock your new friends in until you can afford to see them again. When you return to your prisoners, you stop for a minute and look at the time. It's after midnight. The rat is slumped backwards, leaning against Mr. Brave Boots (boots for short). Who had woken up at some point during your preparations but hadn't said anything and had now gone back to sleep. You suddenly feel exhausted and almost stumble as you walk towards the two sitting men. You slice one of the restraints holding the two men together and a few others holding the squealer to his chair.

"Come on Squealy," you say sympathetically. "Wake up, time to go."

Squealy starts and then looks around wildly. You wonder if he's hoping it was all a dream.

Once both of the men have been transplanted to the prisoner-proof bathroom, you find two pairs of thick winter gloves. Gloves will make sure any dexterity they have will be cut significantly short. You force the gloves on all four hands and tie a plastic handcuff around the glove just tight enough so they can't get them off.

Finally, you bring them each a half of a loaf of bread and place it on their knees.

"Pace yourselves, I won't be back until tomorrow, well, today but, later. You know what I mean."

Squealy-McGee grunts but says nothing. Boots is awake and compliant but completely silent. He just sits and stares in front of him, blinking very occasionally. You can't worry about PTSD or waking comas or whatever other side-effects come with the use of Dymetzophym right now, you need sleep.

After one last double check of the bathroom and the prisoners' restraints, you close the bathroom door on them and lock it from the outside. The calm of a job well-done starts to wash over your psyche when a startling thought send a new wave of panic to your mind.

"Should I go home?" You whisper out loud. Two assassins were waiting for you at Mason's, won't there be something worse in store for you at your apartment? Should you risk it? You don't think you can sleep here though, even being as tired as you are. Mason's death hasn't really sunk in yet; you've had impulses to call and check in with him every few hours.

What do you do?

> Make a stop to pick up supplies before going back to your place. Items include: gas mask, enough bullets to last a while, a secondary weapon if you lose your pistol like a butterfly knife, binoculars to look into your window from a distance for any sign of a trap, a badass fedora and a trench coat which are hopefully enough to conceal your identity in the open (since people are trying to kill you after all), and a fresh bagel with some coffee, been a while since you ate.

You know you'll feel better in your own apartment, but you need to stock up before you get there. You got lucky coming out on top of this surprise attack, but your luck seems to be running out. You need to resort to preparations. You need to be prepared for anything.

You begin a mental list of things you need.

Ammo - You only have a couple clips on you, if you get into a fire fight you'll need more.

Knife - For close-quarters fighting. You have a good butterfly in your apartment.

Binoculars - You'll need to be more vigilant about surveillance; pick them up at your apartment.

Disguise - If people are hunting you, you'll need to blend in better. You need make-up, a wig, and a few sets of trendy, hipster clothes.

Food - You might have to be on the run, especially if you find your apartment to be unsafe, and you'll need to be nourished without having to stop or go into public.

Gas mask? Maybe. If you can find a functional one. You wish you could get your hands on some nerve gas.

Satisfied with your list and your prisoners, you leave the apartment and walk back down to the ground level, checking either side of you several times.

"Stop it," you say under your breath. You need to be less suspicious, someone could be watching right now. You walk a block and half towards the parking space where you left your car before stopping just before an intersection.

Should you leave your car? You could take a cab or the subway downtown to your apartment instead. Whoever sent those goons could have figured out that you're not dead and rigged a car bomb.

You turn right instead of crossing the intersection and head to the green line subway entrance. You'll catch a train and blend in with the rest of New York City.

You pay for your ticket with the cash you found on the assassins, and pass through the turnstile just as a 6 train comes to a stop. You eye someone walking slightly too close behind you as you step into the car, then move to the other side of the car, away from all the half dozen passengers scattered elsewhere, already riding.

Every time the train comes to a stop, you get nervous and stare at the doors opening and closing. Any second now someone could walk through those doors and … no, stop. Just relax. Be on guard, but relax. Okay.

You get off one stop before yours, just in case someone's waiting for you there. It's not a long walk, just a dozen blocks. You can stop and get food on the way--maybe a disguise too.

--

It's nearly 3 by the time you make it to your apartment building. You managed to get a pretty decent disguise from a discount halloween and costume store. You also picked up a dozen bagels and a few cans of soup. You saw some thrift stores to get new clothes in, but you'll have to visit those in the morning when they open.

You're even more exhausted than you thought possible. Your feet hurt and your head aches on beat with your darting eyes. You don't see anything suspect outside or inside your apartment building. You start for the elevator but think twice and decide to use the stairs instead. Your tired body can handle another 10 flights of stairs if it's the difference between dying in a rigged elevator and getting to sleep tonight.

You finally reach your room door, panting slightly and leaning against the wall. You reach your hand out but stop. You once saw a horror movie about a korean kid on the run from some murder. At the end he's finally caught after he's electrocuted by a doorknob. You take off your shoe and tap the doorknob with it. You hit the shoe a bit too hard into the knob. Nothing happens. With great apprehension, you tap it lightly with your finger. Still, no shock. You thankfully slide your keycard into the slot and open the door.

You're almost shocked to find your apartment just as you left it. You would be suspicious of this, but you're too tired to dive that deeply into paranoia. You keep the lights off, close and lock the front door behind you, take off your other shoe and collapse on your bed into an almost instant and long sleep.

--

Roaring laughter half-awakens you. You try to go back to sleep but the laughter persists and gets louder and more intense. You glance at a clock. 11 o'clock. 8 hours is enough. The laughter finally dies down and you realize your emergency don't-sleep-in-until-noon alarm that plays annoying talk shows is the source. You find the remote and hit the power.

Getting downstairs is easier than coming up. Now that you've slept a decent amount, you feel much less paranoid. You're still not going to risk using your computer or internet; there's no reason to get sloppy. As you head towards a bagel shop for some breakfast, you reach into your wallet and realize you spent the last of your (the goons') cash last night on supplies. You have the food in a backpack but you don't want to start using that yet.

You wonder if it's safe to use credit cards. You don't know who's after you, but it's not likely that they have the ability to monitor your credit unless they're working with the police. Once in the corner store, you order a delicious-looking, warm breakfast and hand the clerk your credit card. He swipes it, frowns and swipes it again.

"Declined," he says in a thick middle-eastern accent.

"What?" You reply sharply.

"It is declined sir, do you have another?"

You do have another card, a Revolution business account card. You hand him that. After another few moments the clerk repeats himself.

"Declined, sir, do you have any way to pay for this?"

You're tempted to run out of the store with the food, but it would be too rash. You shake your head, push the pile of food towards the clerk and leave.

You lean against the store and dart your eyes around to make sure no one is closing in. Both cards declined? What is going on? You only have one other card you didn't try--your bank card. You don't know if you want to find out your bank account will be declined as well.

You might as well go to your bank and see what's up. There's a Bank of America on ever other block. The calmness you felt walking out of your apartment building is starting to dissolve and be replaced with panic. You can't help checking every corner twice, despite it being day time and a busy part of the east side of Manhattan.

As you step into your bank, you sweep the room for guards, police, or anyone who might be looking for you. Finding none, you recheck the room, this time for undercover agents or detectives in disguise. Everyone looks busy. That's what they want you to think!

No, no, no, no. Stop it. Just ask someone about your account and get out of here.

"I'm afraid there's been a problem with my account," you say to a sharply-dressed man sitting at a desk on the right side of the room. "Can you assist me?"

"Of course, have a seat! What's the problem?"

"I'm not sure, I couldn't use my bank card this morning, I was hoping you could tell me why."

"Sure thing, let's have your information please."

You give him your name and account number, hesitating for a moment but not letting your paranoia get the best of you. This man is not a spy; he's just a bank employee.

"Hmm, Mr. Gray, it seems your account has been frozen. I can open it up and see what author--oh. Hmm … could you excuse me for one moment please?"

"Is there a problem?" You ask a little too loudly.

"No, no. I just need to speak with my manager. I'll be right back, just sit tight."

The man gets up and you move your chair out of his way to let him pass. As soon as he disappears behind two heavy-looking doors, you swing his desk's monitor to face you and scan the screen. You see your account information, balance, name, account number. Everything looks normal until you see four letters under the words "Freeze Code."

"RVLN? Revolution?"

What do you do?

> Turn the screen back, look around again for any suspicious figures if you have to defend yourself, but wait for the employee to come back. You won't learn anything if you run off.

Panicked, you turn the screen back around to face the empty chair and sit with your eyes glued on the large doors. You take a few seconds to check again to see if anyone is closing in on you, but once again you find it's just a normal day at the bank.

"Mr. Gray, could you come with us, please?" The man announces in a fairly loud voice, standing just outside the heavy doors between two large security guards.

Great.

"Is there a problem?" You ask again.

"There may be one, but please just come with us and we'll sort this whole thing out."

You stand up slowly with a confused expression on your face, then dash to the front door, made entirely of glass.

"Stop him!" The man between the two guards shouts just as you reach the glass. The door is heavy but you open it, run to the closest intersection and turn left. You check behind you to see if you're being followed, but you don't see anyone chasing you. You keep running, cross the street in the middle of the avenue, and turn right at the next intersection.

Back in a fairly large crowd of people you slow your pace and try to catch your breath. After three blocks you duck into a cafe bathroom and change clothes.

The Revolution froze your bank account, and probably both your credit cards. What is going on? You sit down on the toilet to think, and notice a newspaper beside you. You pick it up and scan the headlines. Hal showed you newspapers every day, and in each one the Revolution covered murders that he accused you of committing. You eyes and breath stop on page A3.

"Revolution Names Murder Suspect: Detective Gray"

There must be some kind of mistake. Hal did this. He must have. Horrified, you read on:

"Yesterday at 3 p.m. EST, the Revolution released a statement naming one of their own private investigators, known only by his last name, as the primary suspect in a string of murders connected to an Untitled investigation. The investigation has apparently halted as the capture of Gray is Revolution's priority number one. Police officials have question's the Revolution's motives though, as the Revolution has not released any other information about Gray that would allow police to cooperate in this investigation.

"'Not even a picture,' said Commissioner Talon. 'They won't give us a full name or even a picture.'"

What do you do?

> Read the article and find proof that some of the crimes happened while Gray was in Hal's custody. Go to your apartment. Wake up the goons if they're out. Show them your ID.
> "Look here fuckos, I don't know who sent you, but it certainly wasn't Detective Gray. He was your target. I'm not going to kill you, but if you tell your superior that I got away, he sure will. And if they find out, what I did to you will seem like paradise by comparison. Last chance to tell me who you work for."
> After their response, knock them out, untie them, and throw them out onto the fire escape. Grab any valuables you have and put them in your car. Lock all windows and doors.
> Go back to the church in hopes of showing Hal that both of them were deceived and allying against the Revolution. Without money we're not going to be able to survive long out here anyway.

You've been hunted before. You've broken the law before--hundreds of times. You've even been caught breaking the law by policemen. You've never cared about the consequences of these events because you've always had the Revolution. Someone complaining of abuse or coercion? Revolution sorts it out, gives them a spot in a facility or pays them off. You accidentally burn a grocery store down? The Revolution pays to have it remodeled and upgraded--better than ever. All of your mistakes and cut corners result in prosperity for anyone you might have slighted.

What now? What now that you have no Revolution to fall back on? Hal accused you of murdering these people before the Revolution pointed fingers at anyone. Untitled has people everywhere, is it possible they have infiltrated the highest ranks of the Revolution? Hal must have done this somehow. He made the same arbitrary connection that the Revolution did.

Detective Gray. The hostages! They said they had been sent by a menacing man named Detective Gray! That's the reason there's a manhunt against you. Whoever this Impostor Gray is, he's the one murdering everyone involved with the Untitled case. You have to find him. You have to get more info out of your prisoners.

You stop for a moment with the crowd to wait for a light to change. Your prisoners probably don't know more than they've already told you, or if they do they won't spill anything further. You need some way to find information about the impostor. Even if your prisoners know nothing, you need to check on them. You decide to walk up to Mason's instead of taking the subway. It's too easy to be trapped underground.

It only takes you an hour to get to the building, where you check for suspicious persons or anyone eyeing you too closely. You take the stairs up just in case the elevator is rigged. After the bank incident you can't be too cautious. Once you're up to the 7th floor, you fumble your keys around until you find Mason's. You open the door and stand staring in shock at the bathroom door. It's open.

"The f-" You manage out loud.

In a moment you run to the bathroom as if it had just opened and you still have time to prevent escape. The chairs stand in the middle of the bathroom, covered with cut up pieces of plastic handcuffs. You inspect the pieces and find clean cuts. They must've had a knife, or someone came for them.

Suddenly you swing around to check your back for enemies, but none show themselves. You check all the rooms and closets, but find no one. Back in the bathroom, you look at the walls and bathtub. There's no sign of a struggle or escape attempt. You check the front door but there's no sign of forcible entry. Someone had a key, came in and calmly freed both goons.

Detective Gray. No. It can't be. They were terrified of whoever hired them, why would he come to save them? Was it an act? Maybe they had a third cohort.

It doesn't matter now, they're gone and with them goes your freedom. Without the Revolution to protect you, those two could initiate an even worse manhunt. They've seen your face, but they don't know your name. You need to get out of here.

As you run down the stairs, checking your back around every corner, you wonder what Untitled has to gain in all this. What was it Hal said?

"I have a very important agenda this week and I don't want you interfering. I suspect I will hold you here at least until then, and after that assess whether you are worth keeping."

When was that? Four or five days ago, you can't even remember. So something is happening in the next three days. You stop on the second floor stairwell and try to remember what day it is. You try to catch your breath and your bearings but you can't think. You resume your dash downstairs and out of the building, leaving the thinking for a more open space.

Once outside, back among the good people of New York City, you find a wall to lean against and pull a bagel out from your backpack. While you eat you think again. In three days, it will be the 20th. What happens on or around January 20th?

Inauguration.

It hits you so hard you drop the uneaten half of your bagel. You don't know why or how it will happen, you just know that it will. Untitled will make its stand by assassinating President Elect Jenkins during his inauguration speech. You've been dealing with Untitled long enough to know how they work. You know their debut will be big. You know it will be showy. You know it will be dangerous. Now you just need to stop it.

What do you do?
> Lay low somewhere safe for a few days in preparation for the inauguration. Stalk around the area for suspicious activity, you know like a man and two children carrying a bodybag out of a van.

In your mind you go over what you need to do. Firstly, you need to get to Washington and find a way to get into the Inauguration ceremony. Sometime in the next three days you decide you will attempt to contact some of your old buddies to see if they can give you any information, directly or indirectly, about why the hell you're being hunted by the Revolution. Lastly you need to find somewhere safe and Rev-neutral you can stay while you wait for the 20th.

You look down at the discarded bagel. You pick it up, tear off the part that made contact with the ground, and continue eating it. No sense in being wasteful.

--

The next few days are stressful--some of the most stressful in your life. You jump at ever siren and flinch at ever cop. You remind yourself acting suspiciously is the last thing you should be doing but your instincts keep you tense and unable to relax. The cops don't have your face, you just need to watch out for anyone who wants to help you.

Hitchhiking isn't the safest or easiest method of transportation, but with almost no money, you aren't left with many options. A man in an emerald green mustang picks you up from Brooklyn, where you took the subway from Manhattan, and agrees to take you as far as Philadelphia.

"I've got two families! I've never told no one dat," Ted tells you several times during the course of the trip. "I see my first wife Wednesdays tru Sundays an' my Brooklyn broad da rest of da time."

"That must be difficult," you offer, trying to stay amicable.

"Are you kiddn'? It's crazy! No man ot'er n' me could pull it off!"

"I certainly couldn't."

"I never told no one. Feels good to tell somebody."

In Philadelphia you allow yourself to flirt with the waitress at a coffee shop. You earn a decent amount of free food and her good word to a trucker that can take you into Virginia.

"I really appreciate this Ramona--" You start as you get up from your bar stool.

"You can just cawl me Mona, suga'," she says before giggling to herself.

"Mona sugar it is. Thank you. Next time I pass through here I'll more than make up for your charity."

"You betta'," she laughs and winks at you.

The man who Mona sweet-talked into letting you ride with is much more reserved than Ted. He gives a mild, amicable greeting as you step up into the passenger seat of his huge vehicle. The only sound comes from the damaged radio playing faintly in the background along with the loud hum of the engine. You catch yourself drifting off a few times, and remind yourself you need to stay alert at all times.

More miles pass and find yourself with your head against the window lost in thought and analysis. Suddenly something catches your attention on the radio.

"zzhzhc…ans to azzhhchznate Presidzzn Elect Jenzzhhcs."

"What was that?" You say out loud.

"Hmm?" Your unnamed companion utters.

"Can you turn the radio up? I think I heard something about Jenkins being assassinated.

"Good," the man says as he fumbles with the radio controls, slightly increasing its volume over the engine's.

Among the crackling and the interference, you manage to piece together the information on the radio. The station is reporting that there have been more threats to assassinate this president than any other president on record. Jenkins is still alive and the Inauguration is still set for the 20th.

Your driver doesn't say a word until, hours later, he asks where you'd like to be dropped off as he approaches his destination.

"Where are we," you ask simply.

"Chantilly, off Route 50."

"And can I get into D.C. from here?"

"There's a metro in Fairfax that'll take you to D.C. Just take 50 to 66 and get off at 123. There'll be signs for it."

You pause and check the time. You don't know how you're going to find someone to take you all that way at 8:11 p.m., so decide to try and find somewhere Rev-neutral to stay.

"Is there a library around here?"

"I got no clue," the trucker says without seeming to move his mouth.

"That's okay, I'm sure I'll find it."

Neither of you speak for the rest of the drive. Ten minutes later you're sticking your thumb out on the median of 50, facing whichever direction a car comes. Another ten minutes pass before a blonde woman in an SUV pulls over.

"It's not safe to hitchhike mister," she says judgmentally.

"Thank you so much for stopping," you say warmly, adjusting your backpack. "I'm just trying to find the library."

"Oh yeah, it's just down the street. It's closed now though."

"That's alright, I'm meeting a friend there."

"A friend? You're not a drug dealer are you?"

"No I'm not, you can search my bag if you'd like," you offer, hoping she doesn't call your bluff.

"That's alright, I've got mace. If you try anything you'll be sorrier than a bad kid on Christmas."

"Thank you so much," you climb into the automatically opening door to the back seats.

"Where are you coming from?" She asks politely once she pulls back onto the road.

"I'm coming from New York. My car was stolen and almost everything I had was in it. I have a very important meeting with a client in the morning in D.C."

"What kind of work do you do?"

"I'm in advertising," you say without embellishment. You don't want to have to answer a lot of questions.

"Really? You're not dressed like one," she remarks. You remember your trendy NY thrift store outfit and shudder.

"Oh yeah, my suit was in my car, I had to buy this at a thrift store."

"Ah. So is working in advertising fun? Do you get to go out to big long lunches like in Mad Men?"

"Hah hah," you laugh, not knowing the reference. "Sometimes, but mostly it's just a lot of talking to people."

"That is neat. Well, here's the library. I don't see any other cars, who are you meeting?"

"Just a friend who lives in the area. I haven't seen him since college, but he said he would come pick me up. I just have to call him."

"Do you want me to wait until he gets here?"

"No that's quite alright, I'll be fine, thank you so much for the ride."

"Alright, no problem," she says as the back door slides smoothly open again.

"Thanks again," you say as you step out and hold your palm up towards her.

The door closes slowly and the car circles the parking lot before turning back onto the road. Once the car is out of sight you breathe a sigh of relief and place your backpack against the concrete wall of the library. You don't even bother using your universal keycard to try to unlock the library; it's been deactivated by now. You'll wait until morning to find some Rev-neutral havens in D.C., then hitch a ride to the metro. You can probably find somewhere to sleep in the scattered pockets of trees. Being out in the open is safer than trying to find a hotel. While you don't enjoy sleeping outside, you've had to do it a number of times for surveillance, even in temperatures this cold. You stuff some extra garnets into your sleeves and pants legs, and trudge into the forest to find a good nesting spot.

--

During the night you sleep lightly, and brush bugs off your face more than once. You wake up for the last time just before sunset and decide to find a good hiding spot in the trees and wait for the library to open. An hour after the staff arrives, you ready one of your fake IDs, memorizing the info, and walk towards the building. You try to brush the dirt and grime out of your hair and off your clothes, but you're not too worried. The librarians aren't going to deny you access to the internet because you're too dirty.

Once inside, you sign on with your fake ID successfully and plug your USB scrambler in to the back of the machine. You look up to make sure the librarians aren't watching you before searching for hotels in D.C. and information on the inauguration. Notices on hotel websites warn that without a reservation, no guests will be permitted to stay as all the rooms are booked. In hotels, there's always a room left, but without any money as leverage, you'll be sleeping in the cold for two more nights.

What do you do?

> Book the fanciest room at the fanciest hotel using Synth's credit card information.

Bribing someone at at hotel for a hold-out room is going to need to be done in cash, and in person. Plus without Revolution access, you have no way to access suspects' credit card information.

What do you do?

You're running out of time, and you briefly consider doing some quick and dirty cyber-stalking to find a "convenient" place to stay for a few days. You dismiss the idea as unsafe, as you're trying to keep your activity online as limited as possible. You're also afraid to contact anyone to help pull strings for you, just in case they've been offered a reward for your capture.

You check bus routes and prices as well as a few hostels in the neighborhood where the inauguration is planning to be held. The prices are higher than they would be normally, because of the event, which means you can't afford to stay with the cash you have on you for more than one night. Regardless, you'll need to be in the area of the capitol building at 11:30 a.m., when the ceremony starts.

Today you'll need to get into the city and scope out the site of the inauguration and find some hard evidence on how Hal plans to pull this assassination off. All you have to go off of is something Hal said offhand, but you know something will happen. He let the what in his plan slip and now you just have to figure how.

You stop typing for a moment, close your eyes and lean your head back in the ergonomic, publicly-used chair. How is he going to pull this off? You don't stand a chance getting close enough to stop whoever has managed to weasel their way into Jenkins' ranks.

"That's it," you say out loud as you open your eyes and snap forward to begin typing again. Someone guarding him will be the one to do it.

You pull out another USB stick from your bag and check the contents. This wasn't a scrambler, it actually had data on it. It was an old anti-Revolution activity database, from when you first started into this investigation. You needed to get the names of everyone entrusted with the duty of protecting the president-elect on January 20th, and cross reference them with the ones in your database.

You run through a few dozen entries before closing out the document and ejecting the drive. You know you won't be able to narrow down your suspects without a list of guards. There's only one way you can get that in the next two days.

You spend the next few hours in Virginia's public transportation system, noting the zombie-like qualities of most of the other passengers. You wonder if any of them are on lava. As you ascend the long escalator to the Federal Center, you start to feel uneasy about the people around you. You catch yourself checking behind your shoulder too often and sweating a little too much. A cold gust of wind breaks on your face as you squint at the west side of the Capitol Building.

Another few hours pass as you circle the site of the inauguration a few times, planning for every impossible situation one at a time. You keep coming back to that list.

The trade-off is, of course, your life. If you call your buddy, Buddy, in the Secret Service, get the list of guard's names, the Revolution and anyone else trying to hunt you down will know about it. They'll have your location, mission and evidence that could put you away forever. But you need to have the list.

Buddy Francisco was a middle school bully that had picked on you for a few years before getting his ass handed to him outside the school yard one frigid February morning. After that and through high school, you and he became good friends. A few years ago, he and his son were set on getting into the Revolution, despite it being temporarily against the law members of the secret service to join. Buddy was confident his son would pass the trials, but doing so would send up red flags in the government system, and he wanted to avoid that. He had pulled in his favor getting in DC's finest Revolution facility, and now it was time for him to pay you back.

You pull out your phone and stare at the blank screen. You had taken the battery out before you left New York, but held on to it just in case of an emergency. Most of the pay phones in major cities had been taken out and replaced with wireless signal boosters in a few years ago, but you know there are still a few scattered about. You decide wait until tomorrow to make the call, so your hunters will have as little time as possible to stop you.

What now?

> Lay low. Look for a homeless shelter for food and sleep so they can't follow the money. It's worth it to call Buddy to get the information you need. In the mean time we need to think of how we can connect the would-be assassin to Untitled once we find the names. Sure we might be able to find someone who has posted on an Untitled forum, but that isn't proof that he is going to shoot the president. We need concrete evidence, an email most likely.

You make one more lap around the capitol building before heading towards E Street, hoping to find a pay phone somewhere around Penn Corner you can return to discreetly the next day. As you rub your hands together you briefly consider finding a homeless shelter to stay the night in but dismiss the idea. You'll be safer on park benches, sleeping an hour or two at a time and moving every time you wake up.

You exhale audibly as you pass a pay phone outside a small chinese food joint. You circle the block once before returning back and picking up the handle. Your spirits rise once again as the overly-loud drone of the dial tone assaults your ear.

You spend the rest of the day laying low and people-watching. You wonder if Buddy will give you what you need. You think about how much you'll tell him, and if he'll believe you.

As the sun sets you pick up a newspaper and scan the headlines for your name. You find a small article about the string of murders the Revolution is pinning on you, and another article about a legal battle between the Revolution and NYPD over releasing more information about the "suspect." At least there were no new murderers.

You find Connecticut Avenue and follow it to Rock Creek Park. It wasn't Central Park, but it would do. You spot a comfortable-looking bench to spend your first snooze session on, and pull out garments to stuff in your coat to keep you warm. It takes you until well after midnight to finally fall asleep, and you wake up uncomfortable just past 2. You groggily walk a few hundred feet to another unoccupied bench and crash onto it.

--

"GIVE US YOUR FUCKIN' MONEY!" an angry voice with a thick blaccent barks at you.

You turn over to see two young men wearing black hoodies, one of whom is holding a knife towards you. They apparently hadn't noticed your bag which you had been sleeping on top of, or they would've already rummaged through it to find your valuables.

What do you do?

> While reaching for your pistol, calmly say, "If I had money, what on Earth would I be doing sleeping on a park bench?"

> Draw weapon and force them to drop the knife and take it. Get them on the ground, tie their wrists if you have some ties with you, and take their money.

You try to feign fear, but you realize you must just seem disoriented. You slowly reach into your bag as if looking for your money while one of the thugs yells at you.

"HURRY UP YOU PIECE OF SHIT"

You swiftly pull your gun out and point it at the thug with the weapon.

"Tell me; if I had any money, what on Earth would I be doing sleeping on a park bench?"

The threatened thug makes a move to retreat but you motion up with your gun towards his chest.

"Ah ah, not so fast, let's have your money since it's going to be that way. And drop the knife."

The man not holding a knife turns and runs into the darkness. He is immediately followed by the barking brute with the knife.

"Should I shoot them?" You wonder out loud as you put your gun back in your bag. "Nah, I've got plenty of money."

You pick up your things and walk to another bench, checking your watch to see how many more transfers you'll have to make before morning. You blink a few times before you're able to make out the reading on the watch--5:23 a.m. This bench will be your last stop for the night, then you can get moving again.

You fall asleep surprisingly fast this time and don't stir again until well after sunrise.

--

You spend a few dollars to enjoy a nice lunch before putting your life on the line to get a name from Buddy. Roast beef on toast never tasted this good before. You throw away the sandwich paper and walk casually but quickly to the chinese place. You pull out a small pocketbook, flip to an entry labeled "SS Buddy," and chuckle at your own wit. As you dial the number under Buddy's name you summon your confidence and prepare to cash in your favor at any cost.

"Francisco," a gruff voice says shortly.

"Gray," you respond mocking his tone.

"Who? Who is this?"

"Come on Buddy, it's me!"

"Gray? What are--" you hear Buddy's phone get covered by something for a few seconds.

"Hello? Hello…" you ask.

"What are you doing?" Buddy asks in a low whisper.

Fear and disappointment sink in your gut. He already knew. You'd have to change tactics.

"I know Buddy, I'm in something here, but you've gotta believe me; I've been set up."

"I don't even know what you've been accused of but we've got you on the radar something fierce."

"Yeah? Well that's good to know. Listen I need the list of everyone who's going to be charged with the responsibility of protecting Jenkins tomorrow."

"Are you…are you crazy!?"

"I've very nearly accepted that possibility. I don't have time to go into details. Let's just say I broke a case wide open and somebody with a lot of power wants to keep me quiet. I think they're going to assassinate the president during his inauguration."

Silence on the line. It lasts almost too long.

"Hello? You still there?"

"…Yeah, yeah I'm here. Why'd you have to call me?"

"You're the only one I can get this from. I'm the only one who can stop these sons of bitches."

More silence. And sirens. You turn around a little too quickly and earn a few stares from passers-by. There are sirens in the distance, but that's totally normal for D.C.

"Come on Buddy, you owe me."

"…"

The sirens are getting closer--heading your way. You get the same feeling you get when you're being cornered and in an instant you know the sirens are for you.

"COME ON BUDDY, DO THIS FOR ME!"

"…"

"GODDAMMIT BUDDY!"

"South side of Dupont Circle in one hour."

Click.

You slam your receiver down onto the pay phone and turn to the street . The sirens are closing in and aren't more than a block or two away.

What do you do?

> Casually walk away from pay phone and into a shop of some sort. Sneak way out back door into alley and walk a few blocks. Change clothes. Make way to Dupont Circle. Find a hidden spot to watch for Buddy without being out in the open. He might have turned you in.

Don't panic.

You walk two or three shops away from the nearing siren sounds, glance up to see an old sign that says "CAFE," and walk in. After listening for a few seconds you realize you've stood a little too long in the entryway to the cafe without appearing to be looking at the menu.

"YOU BUY?" a man so short he's barely visible from behind a frosty glass counter asks with a thick accent.

"Yeah I buy," you answer automatically in a quiet, steady voice, hearing the sirens begin to fade.

But you don't approach the counter--you don't even know if you have any cash. Instead you turn around and walk back onto the street, listening chinese insults follow you out.

The rush of adrenaline has left your hands shaking a bit, so you thrust them into your pockets. You pull out a cigarette and lighter to help calm you down. After the first drag you breathe easier and the notion that the sirens were for you seems silly. You glance at the street signs as you approach an intersection, adjusting your route towards Dupont Circle.

You check out the Dupont area first by walking on its outskirts from and to several different cross streets. The whole circle has just under a dozen roads leading to it and is filled with busy people going from one road to another, so you have no trouble blending in with the crowd while you surreptitiously look for anyone waiting to ambush you.

Buddy set the meet-up at the south side of the circle, so you check and double-check thoroughly around the mouths of Connecticut Ave and 19th St. After finding nothing suspect, even to your paranoid standards, you venture a stroll through the grassy area in the middle of the circle, still half-expecting to be shot or have a bag pulled over your head.

Once again, nothing happens. You just see people walking or waiting to cross streets. You check the time and find you only have 15 minutes until the meet time. You find a bench to sit on with a good view of south Dupont while you adjust your jacket to try to conceal your face. After a few minutes you are able to relax enough to enjoy the fountain in the middle of the circle. The pond surrounding the fountain is unsurprisingly circular and the fountain itself is greek-inspired human statues holding up a leaking saucer above them. It wasn't terrible pretty, but it was calming to watch.

With five minutes until the meet time, you recognize a medium-sized man wearing a suit which didn't quite fit. He approaches the row of benches just left of the sidewalk coming from Connecticut Ave, looking exceptionally calm aside from his subtle visual sweeps of the area around him. On his third such sweep, he looks directly in your direction and to your surprise, appears to recognize you.

"Shit," you mutter into your jacket collar, removing it from your face.

How had he recognized you? You wave at him with as little effort as you can manage, and he responds by heading in your direction at a smooth walking pace. You do a quick 360 degree check to see if there is anyone else closing in, but again see no one.

"Don't trust me?" Buddy asks as soon as he's within chatting distance, almost no tone of humor in his voice.

"Like a cellmate," I replied, speaking lower than he did, and giving a half smile afterwards.

"I guess I can't blame you, but I'm doing you a big one here." Buddy says, sounding a little hurt as he takes a seat to your right.

"I know, but I can't trust anyone. I can barely trust you," you confide, a little too honestly.

He pauses for a moment and just stares at you, apparently in awe.

"Shit man, shit. I wouldn't want to be you right now."

"Thanks."

"I checked out what they wanted you in for. You've got charges scattered all over the place--at least four murders, but some papers have been reporting as many as six. One reporter speculated you had committed treason. Treason!"

"Serious?" The charges sound almost amusing.

"Yeah, what did you do?"

You look at the time again sigh.

"Look, the longer I sit here, the better chance I have of being caught. The summary is that I was investigating a powerful and extreme anti-Revolution group when the whole case blew up on me. I was captured, then I escaped and the next thing I knew everybody else involved with the case was dropping dead. Now they're pinning the deaths on me, even though I was no where near any of them when they died."

"Why don't you just turn yourself in if you're innocent?"

"Oh yeah that would work out fine, the Revolution has a history of understanding diverging viewpoints and being really friendly to their enemies."

"I mean to the police."

"Revolution would get a court order, or something that would pull me out of state control. No as long as the only evidence for my crimes is controlled by the Revolution, my case will also be controlled by them. Listen, I really can't stay here, are you going to help me or not?"

Buddy pauses long enough for you to begin to stand, but finally speaks.

"Yeah. I got you this list because I know you. I know you well enough to know that if you ever did go crazy, you wouldn't be chasing some answer, you'd already be vaporized along with a whole city block."

"What better city block than the capitol building during inauguration?" You joked, and immediately regretted.

"Yeah but you could do that without this list. Anyway, here it is."

At this, Buddy pulls a USB stick out of his jacket pocket and hands it to you.

"Just don't … shoot the president or anything."

"If I can solve this before tomorrow, no one will," you smile sincerely, then check around you again and stand up. "Thanks Buddy."

"Good luck."

You walk off, heading north to instinctively get away from Buddy's meet up spot.

--

After taking apart the USB device and checking for a trace, walking for a few hours just in case you were being followed and finding a library, you barely make it in before closing time. You have to listen to the librarian talk for five minutes about how awful it was that no one reads anymore before finally getting to sit down and collate your data. Without much data massaging, you get one result from your search of common names from both databases--Steven Newman.

You pause to take a long look at the name. This was a fanatic; a man who was responsible for protecting this nation's leader, but also actively involved in the destruction of this country's most powerful organization. This would have to be the man Untitled planned to use to assassinate President Jenkins.

You do some quick searches and turn up no information on Newman until you read up on his posts on Untitled boards. His posts give you enough information to find him on a social networking site, which gives you his face, his phone number and his favorite books.

Going back to his posts, you re-read them, trying to visualize this man as a murder. Neither his tone nor the content of his posts come across as unstable, or even extreme. If you didn't know he was in Jenkins' protective staff, you'd just glaze past his words when reading any given topic.

"That's always who it is," you say to yourself. "The ones you don't expect."

But he didn't seem unstable-quiet either. He just seemed like your average guy with a semi-interest in Untitled, and a disinterest in a big organization like Revolution. His points were almost all political or economical, denouncing the Revolution's handling of criminal justice and policies on international trade. Just the kinds of things a government employee would comment on.

You look away from the screen and give thought to the idea that this may all be a trap. Hal was very deliberate when he told you how long you would be imprisoned for, and why. Even your escape seems laughably easy now that you think about it. Could this all be part of Untitled's plan?

No. Occam's Razor: the simplest explanation is more likely correct. At most, Untitled is behind framing you for murder and putting the Revolution on you. But even that seems unlikely after meeting Untitled's feeble leader. He hid behind a mask, just like his followers hide behind their computers. The organization may be large, but they're hardly this influential. Everything you've seen up to this point gives evidence that the Revolution is large and powerful, and Untitled's core organization is small and powerless. That's why you're on the run from the Revolution and hunting Untitled.

Despite Newman's mild-mannered online persona, you decide to continue with your mission. You'll find Newman tomorrow before the ceremony starts, stay as close to him as possible, and stop him if he tries anything.

You pull both your drives out of the computer just before the librarian from before taps you on the shoulder and indicates with her finger on her bare wrist that the library is closed. You find your way out without a word and start walking up the street in the cold air.

What do you do?

> Find a phone booth and armed with his name and phone number, find Newman's address in the public directory. Get some sleep early tonight so you can stake out his residence early and shadow him throughout the ceremony.

You walk back in the direction of the pay phone you used to call Buddy earlier in the day. There was a phonebook in the housing of the pay phone that you might be able to use to find Newman's address. If you can stay with him from when he leaves his house, you'll have a smaller chance of making a scene when you stop him from shooting Jenkins. As you walk you notice over your shoulder that someone appears to be following you. You turn suddenly before a crosswalk, ignoring the honks blasting from cars around you as you dash to the other side of the street. The follower looks puzzled, but doesn't pursue you--it was just a coincidence.

In the next instant you find yourself staring at your hand, holding the receiver of a pay phone. You turn completely around, still holding the phone, which restricts your arm from freely moving with your body. You find yourself almost entirely along with the exception of a young white couple, moving quickly and huddled together in the cold evening. You check your watch--3:27 a.m. You've lost almost 10 hours to this inexplicable blackout. You put the phone to your ear.

"-like to make a call, please hang up or dial zero to speak with an operator." You turn back to put the receiver on the pay phone cradle and stare at it.

You try to think to how you got here, or any details after exiting the library. Did the man following you drug you? You search your arms for needle marks or injuries, then move your hands, shaking slightly from the cold and adrenaline, around your neck, back and legs. After a few long moments, you don't feel any new pain or bruising, and find no cuts, scratches, or missing hair.

Had you been dosed at the library? Maybe that gabby librarian had slipped you something and you hadn't noticed since you were so desperate to find out everything you could on Newman before the place closed. Maybe it had just been an innocent black out from sleep depravation? Not likely, there were people out to get you. But why drug you, and do nothing? It didn't make any sense.

You walk back to the pay phone and pick up the phone book. As soon as you try to focus your eyes and remember your target's information, fatigue of a hundred nights without sleep nearly smothers you. You've given up three times as much sleep and felt a dozen times better than you do now. You lean, eyelids opening and closing independent of your own will, against the wall next to the phone as you thumb through the pages.

"Newmannn, you bastaaaarrrr.." you slur aloud as you fade in between the cold stone wall supporting most of your weight and the wearing pale yellow pages of the book still resting in one hand.

You are aware of the wall moving upwards against your head and shoulder for a few seconds, and then you open your eyes, completely alert. You try to stand but find one leg completely numb. Stumbling upwards, noticing beyond the streetlight that the sky is still dark, you check your watch again--4:31 this time. You look down to the closed book against the wall. You half-expected it to be gone, despite the fact that you would've been easily able to find another phonebook somewhere else in the city. You reach over to it and quickly find half a dozen Newmans in the white pages. No Steven Newman listed. It makes sense that he wouldn't be listed--it was a long-shot idea from the start.

Then a name catches your eye.

"Lisa Newman?" You wonder aloud.

Yes you recall a Lisa, mentioned in one of his posts or maybe his profile … was it his wife? You can't be sure, but it's the best you've got. Shaking off the startling blackout you memorize the address and start walking in its direction. On the way you start to feel more sure of this step, confident you've found your assassin. The next problem is how to disarm him or at least put a stop to his plan.

If Untitled isn't all-powerful, then this is just a radical gunman acting on his beliefs--not a soldier taking commands from a centralized leader. He can be stopped and the truth can come out. You just have to be very careful and very aware of your surroundings.

At that thought you check all around your area for law enforcement. You check behind you to make sure you're not being followed. Nobody else around--good.

You finally reach the address for Lisa Newman just as the sun begins to rise. Sunrises aren't easy to see in cities, but the cross street you find yourself on is elevated slightly and you can make out rays of purple, orange and red coming up on the horizon through the buildings.

As you pass the average-looking condo you check the plate on the car out front--government issue. This is it, you've found your target. Now you just have to carefully follow him and wait for him to make his move. When he does, you'll be there, somehow, to stop him and save the president. Then they'll arrest you, and you'll tell them everything, and you'll be safe from the Revolution. You'll be able to prove that you were framed and have been trying to prevent the assassination of the most powerful man in the world. Untitled will be gutted. You'll expose the secret church and the Revolution will take care of Hal. The organization will implode without its leader and its members will move on to the next trend.

You rub your hands together to try to make heat as you make a second pass by the Newmans' condo. The sun peaks between two buildings and you squint as the light falls on your face. Everything will be fine. You just need to stay focused.

END OF CHAPTER 13 (finally)