Chapter 1: An Oath
- Research Document #1: Entry #231
I'm afraid that the fragile mental states of the subjects are limiting our studies. Mobius wants us to move past Beacon patients and on to more "stable" people. They want to get STEM closer to its intended use.
Would they see the world in the same way? Would a "sane" mind weather the pshysically draining experience?
I had that dream again. I entered STEM myself...
- Research Document #2: Entry #16
After months of secrets, subterfuge, and indoctrination, they brought me into their fold. This place is... elaborate to say the least. Despite the modernistic visage, the research they have been doing here seems to date back to over a century ago. This place has history and from what I can grasp, this facility is only one branch of many. Institutions, powerful families; their reach seems grand, and therefore the possibilities for me seem equally as rich. Clearly my own unique methods at Beacon have piqued their interest, and I am most grateful for the opportunity.
Most of what the researchers have been working on, however, seems archaic by today's standards.
They told me budget is of no concern; results are the only thing that matter. Juggling duties here and at the hospital seems manageable, but Ruben... Comparatively insignificant, but even at his young age, his studies are remarkable. Perhaps one day he will even assist me with my work here.
- Research Document #3: Entry 229
Patients emerging from the STEM are becoming more erratic. Their pathologies seem to be amplified by the experience now. Even worse, patients now seem to experience each other's psychological trauma. It's as if the user's deepest fears linger within the encephalon of the system, even after the session is over.
The most concerning thing are their most recent statements. Every single patient claims to see a hooded figure slowly approaching them. Could it be him? His consciousness existing as a ghost in the system?
My curiosity has never been piqued like this. I want to know. I want to see what they see. But it's too risky... for now.
Chapter 2: Crossing Paths
- Research Document #4: Entry #239
Something else is even more harrowing... our subjects are... dying. They come out from STEM abruptly passing with looks of horror in their eyes. The ones that do survive are catatonic; babbling incoherent messes that we can't properly interview.
We've done nothing to the process to cause this change. It must be the ever-growing collective consciousness of the STEM system. These patients seem unable to take the strain of exposure. We need more "sane" subjects, perhaps to cleanse the system. At its current state, the system is unsustainable, something Mobius will not approve of. This time, only I am to blame for this.
Our new prototype in Beacon is almost ready. When it is, I will start its conversion to the wireless system. Even if the original STEM experiments go awry, I will show my worth to Mobius with its next generation.
- Research Document #5: Entry #246
Today was something truly surprising. He was one of the last groups of test subjects... Just another patient I expected to babble and maybe even die. Patient 105: Leslie Withers.
Ruben had singled him out as a useless subject... but he must have known. He knew I would read his notes. What else was Ruben lying to me about?
But this Leslie... he emerged cognant, calm, and able to report fully what he'd experienced inside. His unique pathology allowed him to successfully navigate his STEM experience with little repercussion.
They know nothing of his existence, but no doubt he is the key. If we all share the consciousness, then with him I too should be able to experience the STEM, potentially even suppress the more unsavory aspects of it.
With him I can be the master of the very technology I helped create. Mobius will see my worth and let me rise even higher in their ranks.
- Research Document #6: Entry #215
They've refocused the efforts of the other programs to support our research. STEM priority has seemingly overridden other departments' individual research. Chemical and botanical studies are focused now on tempering, priming subjects for their inevitable connection.
Now that the prototype is up and running, experiments continue. Upon their return from STEM integration, patients are interviewed extensively. While their particular pathologies inform their experiences, there are commonalities. They all experience the same settings, the same occurrences. The "world" they inhabit becomes larger with every new visitor. This suggests that the shards of each user's consciousness are left behind inside STEM, creating a community. It's as if, internally, a new world is being built.
- Research Document #7: Entry #201
Ruben has no idea what he's done. It's not surprising that he doesn't care, either. He was never motivated by fear of Mobius...
The STEM prototype works, but only when connected to Ruben. I've checked the details and he customized the whole system to only operate with his own brain-wave pattern. I left him alone with the device for far too long, trusted him too much and despite all my knowledge in the field it's past the point of fixing. I can't just flip a switch.
And that's not the worst of it. They know, as well. I'm not going to take the blame for this. I will drag him here and make him fix it. I can't imagine what they will do to him if he doesn't...
Chapter 3: Illusions
- Research Document #1: Entry #154
Despite our powerful benefactors, with this much collateral damage, it's only a matter of time before people start to take notice.
KCPD has been dropping by. A female officer, I don't remember her name... Regardless, the police are not something I should be involved with. Mobius says they will take care of it and make an effort to ensure KCPD leave us alone.
Then there is the reporter from the Krimson Post, Ivan... something-or-other... He has become a personal annoyance. He barely qualifies as a tabloid journalist, writing cover stories about tales of church sacrifices and other nonsense, but now he's being persistent about the missing patients claim. I'll be damned if he is the man who brings Beacon down...
It seems that Ruben could be useful for other forms of problem solving. Perhaps I can interest this reporter in an "exclusive interview."
- Research Document #2: Entry #120
His demeanor has turned far too aggressive and his techniques even more perverse. Da Vinci would dissect corpses to further his anatomical studies, but what Ruben has done goes beyond... Demanding his subjects be "aware" as he dissects them to truly see how the mind reacts. He's more of a butcher than an artist.
But we must remain scientists above all. I had taught him from a young age that the end shall justify the means, but I could not have predicted things to be this extreme.
Mobius has learned of his involvement, due to my carelessness. I've asked they bring him on board to assist in development. Perhaps offering him better facilities and support will refocus him and stave off his gruesome proclivities...
- Research Document #3: Entry #209
I saw what they have done to him, and I am appalled. To think the young boy I mentored is now this... a mass of grey matter in a glorified test tube. Could they have been planning this all along?
And what have I become in all of this?
They've managed to keep his mind alive by simulating an artificial body. His consciousness is being confined to a mental straight jacket, a gear in their infernal machine. They have even stricken his name and humanity, referring to him by an anagram, "RUVIK." A crude joke, as if spitting on his grave.
I almost felt the urge to smash the case and end it right there... but my anger was quickly replaced by scientific curiosity. Ruben's legacy will live on; I will spearhead the next step. I will create something of my own out of this tragedy.
- Research Document #4: Entry #133
Ruben's experimentation has demanded more and more subjects and, sad to say, they're suffering as much as - if not more than - his previous patients. Fortunately, Beacon and this city offer no shortage of expendable subjects. I should feel guiltier than I do, but my Hippocratic Oath was abandoned long ago. The scientific and medical potential of the work is too great to be denied.
Mobius has also offered me a respectable amount of... compensation. Promoting me to director at Beacon is not something to be taken lightly. First, however, they want me to have a reputation, publishing studies in various journals. Repurposing some of Ruben's research towards patient evaluation seems viable. I doubt he will even notice.
Chapter 4: A Ghost is Born
- Research Document #5: Entry #31
After surviving the incident and subsequent abuse from his parents, it's a miracle Ruben can function at all.
His work comes from a place that isn't motivated by fear or money or social standing... his motives are more... pure. I would say that he is obsessed with the chance to re-live and re-mold reality so he can be with her again.
His scarring is heavy, both physically and emotionally, but he longs for his lost sister.
His love for her borders almost on an incestuous level, but as long as it provides motivation, so be it.
- Research Document #6: Entry 232
I revisited the Victoriano Estate yesterday: it's a vestige, a mere husk of what was bound to be such a home of promise. Mobius reaped nearly everything of value when we took on the research ourselves, but Ruben's notes indicate he was involved in something else.
There were plans for another STEM prototype... data about using receptors to transmit the brain function wirelessly to unaware users. It's borderline parapsychology, but these schematics, and the scientific backup provided, seem sound.
What was he planning to do with such a thing?
There's only one way to find out for certain, but I must continue these experiments in private, away from their prying eyes. I will not let them know... lest they take this from me as well.
- Research Document #7: Entry 188
They grow impatient with our progress and demand briefings on the development process. At first stressing the results, but now they work off of a timeline based on their needs - typical bureaucrats.
I've been pushing Ruben, but he's retreated further, doing his research at home and refusing to come to the lab unless it's directly working on our STEM prototype. I am feeling uneasy and no doubt Mobius is looking on us with question.
- Research Document #8: Entry #264
They're coming for me. I don't know how, but they know everything. They even know about Leslie. There's no use hiding this anymore.
I'll enter the system and my return will be proof that all this was worth it. I can of course convince them that it wasn't for me, it was for their goals!
There are just the final tweaks left. Once I finish, I will put Leslie in the STEM with myself and activated it. The wireless signal should ring out in the near distance. I can't speak for those unfortunate to be around, but like I always said, the ends will justify the means.
Finally Mobius will see that I am one of their chosen ones. Ruben is but a ghost. I am their savior. Their plan is nothing without me.