OMIKRON

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Nomad Soul the Script.

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INTRODUCTION
The Past
The Present
The City of Omikon
The Awakened THE LEGENDS
The Legend of Kushulainn
The Legend of Soyinka
The Book of Nout
The Legend of Boz
The Azkeels



INTRODUCTION



The game begins with a corny on-screen title. There are only a few, dull, clashing colors and horrible music. The player clicks on Start Game. The first picture is as artless as the presentation screen hinted. The player directs a small, ugly character across a screen depicting the inside of a house. The game looks a bit like the first "Maniac Mansion" game, only worse. Loud, violent colors, slow movement, dumb jokes and tinny, quartz-watch music.
Then, the scenery begins to distort just a little, as if something was pushing from behind the screen. The player doesn't pay too much attention to this. He probably thinks that, added to everything else, there are bugs in the program.

Suddenly, the screen flies into pieces and a character thrown through it. He is very realistic and perfectly animated. He kneels for a minute, kind of out of things, then stands up.

"- I have many things to tell you, but I don't have much time," he says directly to the player.

He seems anxious and glances over his shoulder to make sure no one is following him. Behind him the gaping hole that he had opened slowly begins to close in a maelstrom of swirling flames.

"- My name is Kian. I come from a universe parallel to yours. My world is desperately in need of your help. Only you can save us. I succeeded in opening a breach in between your universe and mine. Through your computer you can cross into our world to help us. But, in order to do this you must take possession of my body, otherwise it won't work. Do you accept? Make up your mind quickly, there isn't much time."

The player has the choice to accept or refuse to help the man. Assuming that he is a normal player, he accepts.

"- I knew that I could count on you. Now you must concentrate."

The man closes his eyes and doubles over, as if in pain. An intense light emanates from his head and soon fills up the entire screen. Suddenly everything stops. The man stands up.

"- It's done. You now occupy my body and can move it about as you please."

His lips no longer move when he speaks. His soul and that of the player are now in direct communication with one another.

"- This is the last chance that we'll have to speak to each other. Once you have crossed the breach, you will be on your own. I will take over my body again each time that you leave the game, and will hold your place until you return."

Furtively, he glances over his shoulder. The breach continues to close.

"- Before crossing, I must explain how to control my body."

He explains the interface and the commands to the player and asks him to repeat the movement each time, to be sure that he understands.

"- OK, now you're ready. On the other side you will have to prove your intelligence and your bravery. You'll begin by going to my apartment. Oh, one last thing: take care of my body, it's the only one I've got..."

The player leads the man's body towards the breach. He crosses just as the gap closes again.

On the other side he plunges into an unknown world.


The Past


At the beginning of time in this parallel world called Phaenon, the demons of the Last Circle, after centuries of fierce combats, were finally conquered by the humans. Against the Infernal Hordes of the demon Astaroth, one man showed exceptional courage and intelligence. Kushulainn was his name.
In order to help him conquer Evil, all the wizards from the Ancient Times decided to seal their souls inside his legendary sword Barkaya'l. In this way they gave the weapon a magical power sufficient to eliminate Astaroth forever. But the spell would keep them prisoners within the blade until the demon died or the blade was shattered.

At the head of the human armies, Kushulainn decimated the Infernal Legions. Hacking away daily at multitudes of incubuses and succubuses, he covered Phaenon with their foul blood. At the height of his combats he hunted down Astaroth and confronted him in singular combat.

Their duel lasted seven days and seven nights. In the morning of the eighth day, the humans finally dared to come near. Astaroth was lying there, inanimate, on the dirty ground. But Kushulainn had disappeared. They called out for him, searched in the rubble and the surrounding forest, without any luck.

Hurriedly they made a cage of Apylande and locked the demon inside it. Then they threw it in a pool of cooling lava. The golden prison slowly faded into the depths of the ground.

No one ever saw Kushulainn again, nor ever found out what happened to him. His exploits were sung and his name was blessed a thousand times. He became a myth, a legend, until finally he was forgotten. Several hundred years later the only thing remaining of humanity's savior was a vague recollection, something about an ancient hero, although people wondered if he ever really had existed.

Once the combat had ended, Kushulainn had collapsed from exhaustion and fallen into the river Dray'n. The river then carried him to the land called Mahahaleel. When he regained consciousness, he realized that he had failed at his destroying Astaroth and would never again be able to combat him because the demon was now a prisoner within the bowels of the earth. Astaroth had the advantage of being immortal.

Kushulainn retired to the sanctuary of Mahahaleel with his legendary sword Barkaya'l as his only companion. There in that timeless island he has been waiting for a thousand eternities for someone to come and request the magic sword, in order to take the combat up again with Astaroth. Only then will he be able to find the tranquillity that comes with death.

No one knows where Kushulainn's Sanctuary is. The only thing said about it in the Book of Nout is, to get there, one must cross the territory of the Tormented Souls. There is where the spirits wander, the ones that Kushulainn liberated from Astaroth's grasp yet who can still not forget their torment. Since that time they have been protecting their liberator's sanctuary, so that his rest may be peaceful.

Millions of years later, while Kushulainn was still waiting for the one who would be worthy to carry Barkaya'l, the demonic spirit Astaroth was once again wandering the surface of Phaenon.


The Present


The planet is going through a terrible glacial era, and the extinction of its only sun has rendered all life on the surface of Phaenon impossible. In order to survive the eternal night and permanently freezing temperatures, the population has taken shelter in five cities, each encased in a crystal dome.
These sprawling cities are called: Omikron, Karamai, Moscoviensq, Sraosa and Yerubabel. Each megalopolis is self-sustained and isolated, knowing nothing of its neighbors.

At the time the player arrives in this universe, a gigantic central computer known as Ix presides over the city of Omikron. In its virtually infinite memory are concentrated all of the data from the entire galaxy, collected by its numerous sensors. Using this information, it is better able to manage the interests of the human race.

Ix was installed in the heart of the city in a sprawling palace inhabited only by the machine. While constructing the building, the men dug down and accidentally uncovered Astaroth's cage. The demons that had followed their master to his prison instantly took possession of the unlucky workers who had liberated them. Then, they discreetly dispersed themselves among the population where they progressively captured souls or took on a human form in order to spread death more quickly.

But Astaroth, Prince of the demons, had bigger plans. He secretly seized the Ix computer and swore his revenge. He would conquer not only this planet, but also spread his reign over the entire universe, to avenge himself of those who had chased him away.

In order to reach his goal, he would need to reconstruct his former power that had been reduced to nothing in the centuries he had been locked away. For this he would need souls. Millions of souls. But not those of the shadows of humans who roamed this world. Faded and withered, they would never bring enough strength. No, he needed souls from another universe, a parallel universe.

Astaroth had his servants build him a Reservoir of Souls. The souls gathered there would endure the most excruciating pain, and from their infinite suffering Astaroth would amass his strength. But, in order to attract souls from another universe, he needed to lure them into a trap. So he came up with Omikron. Through computers using this game, he could trap players from our dimension by feigning to ask for their help. Once they accept to put their soul in the body he offers them, they can cross the breach. Then a demon can capture them, suck out their soul and bring it back to him.

Just a few more souls are all that is needed before the Reservoir of Souls will be full and the Prince of the demons can finally step out of the shadows to dominate the entire galaxy. Later, he will even be able to conquer the parallel universes that provided him with his stock of souls.


The City of Omikron


At this time, humanity is stagnating in a sort of lethargy. Having reached an advanced level of technology, people have begun to live mindlessly and to fall progressively into a state of opulent decadence.
In Omikron, where the adventure takes place, the population was concerned only with living a good life, thus turned a blind eye to the secret plot that was unfolding in the bowels of the city.

From the strange Legatee Angus Reshev, plenipotentiary of a totalitarian government, to Tolric Graem, High Priest of the mysterious religion of the Green Book, to Cliff Humboldt, chief of a private police using every possible method to track the movements and activities of the citizens, everyone seems to be pursuing some obscure goal.

The Trusts play an essential role in the life of the city. Long standing rivals, Tetra Inc. and Khonsu Ltd. are waging a merciless war against one another for a commercial monopoly, despite the fact that no one really knows who is behind them and what they stand for. They have become so strong that not even the law can touch them.

They are also in charge of organizing retreats on the far planet of Euralys. Due to overpopulation, every individual over the age of 40 is required to leave Phaenon and go into retirement on Euralys. But who knows what really becomes of these people? Are they really on this paradise planet? And if so, why hasn't someone ever heard from a friend or relative who has left?

While in the disturbing city of Omikron, people continue to live a good worry-free life, underneath Ix's palace, Astaroth, the Prince of Darkness, pursues his evil work. In order to continue gathering more and more souls, Thagout, the most malicious of all demons, was named general of the Infernal Legions. Soon his master will have recovered his former power.


The Awakened


Only a select few know of the existence of the demons and are fully aware of what they are plotting. Gathered in secret castes, they work in the shadows to thwart Astaroth's plans, but they have no idea of the trap he has created to capture souls from parallel dimensions. They are known as the "Awakened" to distinguish them from the sleeping masses. Their sworn goal is to empty the Reservoir of Souls of its contents and destroy it. Once this is done, Astaroth will be harmless and can be returned to his cage in the depths of the earth.
In order to achieve this, the Awakened have developed their psychic powers to the extreme (telepathy, telekinesis, spontaneous combustion, shock waves, etc.). Thanks to these powers, they are the only ones who are capable of fighting the demons. But they must act discretely so as not to be discovered.

They also battle against the power of the Legatee Angus Reshev, whom they find corrupt and totalitarian, and against both Trusts, Tetra Inc. and Khonsu Ltd., whom they suspect of being in league with Astaroth.

While life in Omikron appears to be happy and serene, this is only skin deep.

Below the surface, in the depths of the city, in its somber stone catacombs, strange ceremonies of black magic are taking place. And somewhere still lies the terrible book that burns the eyes of all who read it, the Book of Nout. In this manuscript are written the secrets of the extraordinarily influential Ancient Art. Only Boz, the virtual being who roams the Multiplan network, knows of its fatal power. Will the player have the courage to seek out and recite its evil incantations?

To succeed in killing Astaroth demands intelligence, courage, psychic powers and wizardry, and the ability to draw upon rituals that have been forgotten for millennia.

Above all, there is no place for those who fear losing their soul...



THE LEGENDS

The Legend of Kushulainn



At the beginning of time in this parallel world called Phaenon, the demons of the Last Circle, after centuries of fierce combats, were finally conquered by the humans. Against the Infernal Hordes of the demon Astaroth, one man showed exceptional courage and intelligence. Kushulainn was his name.
In order to help him conquer Evil, all the wizards from the Ancient Times decided to seal their souls inside his legendary sword Barkaya'l. In this way they gave the weapon a magical power sufficient to eliminate Astaroth forever. But the spell would keep them prisoners within the blade until the demon died or the blade was shattered.

At the head of the human armies, Kushulainn decimated the Infernal Legions. Hacking away daily at multitudes of incubuses and succubuses, he covered Phaenon with their foul blood. At the height of his combats he hunted down Astaroth and confronted him in singular combat.

Their duel lasted seven days and seven nights. In the morning of the eight day, the humans finally dared to come near. Astaroth was lying there, inanimate, on the dirty ground. But Kushulainn had disappeared. They called out for him, searched in the rubble and the surrounding forest, without any luck.

Hurriedly they made a cage of Apylande and locked the demon inside it. Then they threw it in a pool of cooling lava. The golden prison slowly faded into the depths of the ground.

No one ever saw Kushulainn again, nor ever found out what happened to him. His exploits were sung and his name was blessed a thousand times. He became a myth, a legend, until finally he was forgotten. Several hundred years later the only thing remaining of humanity's savior was a vague recollection, something about an ancient hero, although people wondered if he ever really had existed.

Once the combat had ended, Kushulainn had collapsed from exhaustion and fallen into the river Dray'n. The river then carried him to the land called Mahahaleel. When he regained consciousness, he realized that he had failed to destroy Astaroth and would never again be able to combat him because the demon was now a prisoner within the bowels of the earth. Astaroth had the advantage of being immortal.

Kushulainn retired to the sanctuary of Mahahaleel with his legendary sword Barkaya'l as his only companion. There in that isolated corner he has been waiting for a thousand eternities for someone to come and request the magic sword, in order to take the combat up again with Astaroth. Only then will he be able to find the tranquillity that comes with death.

No one knows where Kushulainn's sanctuary is. The only thing said about it in the Book of Nout is, to get there, one must cross the territory of the Tormented Souls. There is where the spirits wander, the ones that Kushulainn liberated from Astaroth's grasp yet who can still not forget their torment. Since that time they have been protecting their liberator's sanctuary, so that his rest may be peaceful.

Millions of years later, while Kushulainn was still waiting for the one who would be worthy to carry Barkaya'l, the demonic spirit Astaroth was once again wandering the surface of Phaenon.


The Legend of Soyinka


Thousands of years before the birth of Kushulainn, Hamestaga'n was already the city of the dead. The wizards of all Phaenon would come here regularly to draw strength to practice the Art, and to communicate with the dead about human affairs. The necropolis was nothing but a field of tombs dotted with immense and magnificent palaces dedicated to Vyagrimukha, the God of the Art. Each wizard would come to Hamestaga'n on the day of his death to be buried in one of the secret caves designed specifically to house the remains of the Masters of the Art
Thus it continued for centuries until Astaroth, at the head of his Infernal Legions, declared the Cobalt War on all humans. In order to justify his claims to rule Phaenon, he argued that the planet once had belonged to him and had been unjustly taken from his control.

This war was terrible, unlike those that any other world had ever known. It lasted 19 centuries and more than three-fourths of Phaenon's human population lost their lives in it.

Some months before the final battle with Kushulainn, Astaroth managed to take control of Hamestaga'n. By capturing the site he was attempting two things: to win the dead souls over to his cause and to kill the wizards before they could unite to aid Kushulainn.

He failed in two attempts. The dead refused to ally with him and the wizards had succeeded in fleeing in spite of a siege that had gone on for several months.

Astaroth, mad with rage upon seeing the necropolis empty, destroyed everything in his path: the gravestones, the caves: practically nothing withstood his attack against the City of the Dead. While he sought out the sarcophagi of the wizards from the Ancient Time, in order to seize the tokens of their power, he did not succeed.

Far from the devastated Hamestaga'n, all the wizards of Phaenon were sealing their souls within the sword Barkaya'l in order to give it the magic powers necessary to kill Astaroth. Only one wizard did not join the cause because his daughter, only a few months old, would die if he left her alone. This wizard's name was Matanboukous. With a heavy heart, he withdrew to a secret hiding place with the baby and waited for the infernal wave to pass.

He knew the other wizards would think him a coward for hiding instead of fighting Astaroth. He also know that if Kushulainn did not kill the Evil One, he would never again be able to face them to explain that he wasn't a coward. Yet in fact, this is precisely what happened.

When he felt that the dark forces were gone, Matanboukous came out of his hiding place with Soyinka, his daughter. He was the last wizard of Phaenon left. Kushulainn had disappeared, Hamestaga'n was destroyed and worse than all, he was a traitor in the eyes of his people. He would have opted for death but one look from his daughter held him to life. He found a place for himself far from man and raised Soyinka as best he could.

He dedicated the final years of his life to writing the Book of Nout, or Night, in the Masa'u dialect. Into this book he put down everything he knew about the Art in order for it to survive to help mankind.

At the death of her father, Soyinka knew everything about the Art. Alone in the world, she wandered for several millennia. Confused, she could feel deep within her heart that the battle between Kushulainn had not been finished. She also knew that the sword Barkaya'l, with the spirits of the wizards within, still existed somewhere. She had never lost the hope of being able to reaffirm her father's honor.

When Omikron was covered over with a dome and got its computer-as-leader, Soyinka was no longer able to accept life among the humans. She also needed to protect herself from Astaroth who wanted to seize the soul of the final wizard of Phaenon by any means he could. She took refuge in the catacombs and moved into the remains of Hamestaga'n. There she discovered the Azkeels, and became their queen.

She reigned as absolute leader over the catacombs with both fear and hope in her heart. Fear that Astaroth would steal her soul, and hope that one day she could explain to the wizards imprisoned in Barkaya'l that her father was not a coward.


The Book of Nout


The Book of Nout (Book of the Night in Masa'u) was written by the renegade wizard Matanboukous. In it, he put down all his knowledge about the secrets of the Art. Just before dying he was able to ask his daughter Soyinka to hide this book in a secret room in Hamestaga'n.
The ancient art of wizardry has slowly been lost over the ages. The few bits of knowledge that have survived are being forgotten by the uninitiated. No one remembers the amazing powers this knowledge confers. The main remembrance among the Awakened concerns exorcism. When a demon possesses a body and refuses to leave, it is possible to chase it with the aid of ancient incantations.

Exorcism is only one of the many fabulous secrets contained in the Book of Nout. It also contains stronger spells than any that exist; these include ubiquity, the secrets for predicting the future, bewitching, controlling another body, for turning into an animal, for the transmigration of one's soul, etc.

A few fragments of the Book of Nout have succeeded in making it to the present time. Assam, Matanboukous' assistant, made a few partial copies of the manuscript without telling his master, and these fragments have survived to the present day.

Most of the Art remains hidden within the Book of Nout, which burns the eyes of those who read it. Only one exceptional being, spiritual heir of the wizards, will be capable of learning the terrible secrets hidden within. No one knows where it is hidden, nor is anyone even aware that Soyinka exists, yet all would love to have the book. It is first and foremost a token of power, the most powerful object of all, and whoever may find it will find his greatest and most insane wishes realized.

Although the official version is that the book is nothing but a legend and never really existed, the Trusts and the Legatee Reshev, not to mention the rest, would give everything they have to get their hands on that book.


The Legend of Boz



Boz was the most famous pirate on the Multiplan. He knew the network by heart and got a sly pleasure from foiling Ix's attempts to identify him. All those in Omikron who have touched a Multiplan terminal, even if only once, know who Boz is. His courage, freedom and audacity were always an example for all pirates, until one night when his world turned upside down.
While Boz was working on his computer, destroying some business programs in the Trusts' computers, a demon broke into his apartment and leapt upon him. The struggle was short. The incubus played with Boz like a cat toys with a mouse before killing it. Boz fell to the ground. He who had never believed in Demons now felt his mouth opening in order for the demon to suck out the light of his soul. He knew that if he didn't act he would stay in hell forever.

As usual, pure luck gave him a final chance. A neighbor who had heard the struggle came to see what the noise was about. Just as he walked in the room, the demon turned to look, giving Boz time to move away. The demon jumped upon the neighbor and devoured his brain.

When he had finished, he turned back to Boz's soul, now floating in a corner of the room. His battered body was lying in pieces on the floor. "I've only got one chance!" Boz realized. Before the demon had a chance to understand, Boz slipped into the terminal's Transmaterialization compartment and was sucked in by the network, or rather, into the network, where he has become Boz, the virtual being.

He can never come back. From then on he could move around at will among the various stations of the network, in the printed circuits of terminals, between the lines of programming code. He got access to all information, all reports, all secrets. Distance and time no longer meant anything to him, he became "the Rider".

Yet his life was not made any easier as a result. The demons would not give up trying to capture his soul and shortly thereafter Astaroth unleashed virtual demons to hunt down Boz in the network. Then Ix discovered a parasitic life form within its programs. Ix created thousands of computer viruses to suppress Boz.

In spite of these enemies, the Rider is till there and continues to help the pirates and all those who would be free. He has become chief of the Awakened and runs a guerrilla army against the Trusts, the state and the demons. While awaiting victory he continues to spy on transmissions, to destroy codes and ruin programs, and to escape from those who want him dead.


The Azkeels


Within the depths of the catacombs live the Azkeel people. No one else knows about them because they never come to the surface. It is difficult to say how many of them there are - perhaps 10 or 20 thousand. They live in small groups of around thirty individuals. They can move around quickly and discreetly, even in total darkness.
They know every corner of the catacombs perfectly. They go from place to place, surviving cold and humidity, eating small animals and insects and drinking from the underground lakes. Agile and energetic, they attack any being that enters their realm - even the demons, whom they particularly despise.

Their language is composed of unintelligible gurgling, though it seems their dialect allows them to communicate with each other.

To understand their presence in the catacombs means going back to 1813. At that time the Trusts were beginning to closely study the possibility of opening mines on an extra-terrestrial colony in order to furnish Phaenon's raw material needs. But those planets which offered the best potential also had the worst climatic conditions, practically unbearable for humans.

While Tetra Inc. gave up the idea, Khonsu Ltd. decided to develop individuals capable of surviving in the cold, the dark and in weightless conditions, in isolation. They also needed men without family ties, ready to lose their lives in a distant galaxy.

To this end the Khonsu engineers carried out a series of studies on manipulations of the human genetic structure to bend it to hostile environments. Their guinea pigs for these studies were condemned prisoners upon whom they began testing.

After five years of lab testing, the Trusts had to admit the failure of their experiments and gave up the project. Although it is true that the particular qualities sought from the experiments were achieved, these were also accompanied with severe mental deficiency, predisposition to aggression and, most of all, monstrous physical mutations. Modifying any particular gene would seriously alter the rest of the genetic structure in the individual and create an upheaval in metabolism.

In five years more than 2000 deformed and extremely dangerous mutants were created for these experiments. The decision to destroy them came too late. The security system's electricity broke down and they were able to escape. They easily overthrew their guards and found refuge in the catacombs, through the access point in the 66th basement of Khonsu Ltd. The catacombs are the place that most closely resemble the world they were designed to live in.

The Trust obviously tried to get them back, but the few patrols sent in to find them were never seen again. As soon as it became clear that the Azkeels wanted to stay in the catacombs, and weren't bothering anyone, Khonsu gave up chasing them and acted as if nothing had happened.

The Azkeels soon began to reproduce and to multiply their aberrant genetic code. Perfectly suited to life in the catacombs, they lived for a long time like wild animals with primitive rules of society. That is, until they met Soyinka. She appeared to them as a goddess and quickly became their queen. Any of the Azkeels would die for Soyinka. They protect her from the demons, and she commands and educates them. She truly became affectionate for these strange beings. Although savage, they were effective allies she could trust. For Soyinka it also meant a way to live in Hamestaga'n, the city of the wizards, the city of her father.

Source: Quantic Dream

Nomad Soul the Script. Saturday, October 30, 1999
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