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201 (Dreamfall chapter)

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Chapter Three

Summary Edit

As Zoë Castillo takes the Vactrax to Newport, we move briefly away to another world entirely.


In the winter-bound Northlands of Arcadia, a hardened and older April Ryan is tracking a band of Azadi soldiers. She is accompanied by her fellow Rebels, the wise Chawan; young, impatient Brynn, and the Irhadian Artisan, Na'ane. As Na'ane raises a magical cloud of poisonous vapour, April and the others ambush and kill the Azadi, who are unsteady on the ice. The Rebels' conversation in the aftermath reveals that these Azadi are coming further and further north. The focus of the Rebels is on their supply route, and thus they are headed to Marcuria for medicines and food. April quietly says that it is probably much changed since she was last there, but leads the way.


Back in Stark, Zoë has arrived in Venice in the pouring rain and is dismayed by the place. Everything is run down, local gangs roam the streets, and there are dozens of homeless people keeping warm around oil drums or huddling in makeshift shelters. The only person who's even remotely friendly is the Chinaman, a shady dealer in secondhand electronics, who points the way to the Fringe. Following his directions, Zoë arrives at a nightclub with a high security airlock, and speaks to Charlie over the intercom. He's dismissive until Zoë mentions Reza Temiz's codename, Jericho, at which point he lets her in. The Fringe turns out to be a very high-class place that's normally busy, but it's out of hours and Charlie has time to talk to Zoë.

He listens to her questions but can't help her with much. He says 'Jericho' was there a couple of days ago, but he hasn't seen him since. At their last meeting, Reza was apparently asking questions about the 'Border House', a building that used to be a student boarding house but which is now the Victory Hotel - Charlie used to live there, and Reza got his name from the former landlady. Zoë pounces on the news, and decides to investigate this Victory Hotel, hoping Reza might have left another clue there. Charlie says she can get to it via the old canal network, which has now been drained.

Borderhouse
Zoë finds the building, but the front door is locked. Following Charlie's suggestion, she follows the old canal network around to the back of the building, only to find the back garden is secured by a gate with an electronic lock. She returns to the Chinaman, and - after a chat with Liv - trades him a choice piece of cloaking software for a lockpick. Sneaking past a guard dog, she tries the back door but it is also locked... and has a bloody handprint on it. Taking an axe from the garden shed, Zoë breaks into the basement and starts looking around. To her horror, she finds a blood trail with Reza's antique lighter at the end of it, but refuses to entertain any thoughts that he might be...

She realises she is in a surveillance room, full of screens. Right on cue, the little girl appears, whispering "Find April Ryan... save her..." and pointing at the closet in what the monitor labels as room 201. Zoë hacks the basement door with the software she used on the EYE seal, and starts exploring. Very soon she realises this is not a hotel at all. The rooms are stripped, with mattresses and medical equipment as their only furnishings. She sees a woman in one room with a strange device attached to her face, the same device she saw in Reza's apartment beside the dead girl. This is some sort of horrific experimental facility.

Dodging or out-talking Vinnie, who seems to be guarding the subjects, Zoë makes her way to room 201, and opens the closet that the little girl was pointing to. Inside is an old picture of three friends - to her surprise, Zoë recognises one of them as Charlie. As she pockets the picture, a supervisor comes into the room and surprises her. Zoë convinces him - one way or another - to listen to her questions about Reza, and offers him money to give her information or help find him. The supervisor, Marcus Crozier, agrees to meet her at the Fringe later on, and lets Zoë out. Zoë can call Olivia at this point, tearful about the blood she found, but Liv quickly reassures her. She knows Reza is alive because he accessed the Wire last night. Just a burst of data to an anonymous recipient, but still - it's a sign of life. Liv says she's still working on the notebook and she'll call Zoë when she has more.

Back at the Fringe, Zoë thanks Charlie for his help, and shows him the picture. Charlie is amazed to see it, and identifies one of the girls in the picture as 'April Ryan'. Zoë is stunned. She confesses what she's been seeing on Screens, and what the girl has been saying, to "find April Ryan". Charlie says that he has to call the other girl in the picture, Emma, right away. April disappeared ten years ago, just before the Collapse. They've never found out what happened to her, but Emma has never given up hope.


Zoë has a chance to eat before Emma arrives, just as the Fringe opens for the night, and the three settle in a quiet corner to talk. Emma explains, as best she can, about what happened to April in 2209. She tells Zoë that before she vanished, April was talking about a parallel world, Arcadia, even saying she had actually been there. Charlie puts in that Cortez may have been filling April's head with nonsense, but Emma quickly shoots him down. She says that her research has uncovered others who have crossed over and returned as well. Arcadia is real, and Emma thinks April is still there.

But what none of them can understand is who this little girl is, and why she's trying to contact Zoë with April's name. Emma is excited by this development, but Zoë is more concerned about finding Reza. She asks to use a VIP lounge upstairs to try calling him again. It's quiet upstairs, but just as she leaves a message, Marcus arrives... with the Twins in tow. They knock Zoë out, give her an injection, and use one of the strange devices from the Victory Hotel on her. Just as with the other subjects, the device disgorges a flower-like appendage, which settles on Zoë's face.


Previous chapter - Next chapter


Themes & References Edit

Several players have reported a hidden or removed dialogue tree known as the 'Rain Conversation'. The text can be accessed via DreamView. This is a phone conversation between Zoë and her father, where Gabriel tells Zoë he can hear rain in the background. Other details mean that the Rain Conversation probably fitted somewhere in this chapter. Writer Ragnar Tornquist has since confirmed that the conversation was intended to be activated this chapter, but accidentally left out.

Chapters in Dreamfall
Prologue: Tainted | One | Lost | 201 | Winter | Alchera | Morpheus | Destiny | Convergence | All That We See or Seem... | Crossroads | Faith | Reversal | The Longest Journey | Epilogue: Dreamfall

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