Chapter Seven Hunted

'''Hunted''' is the seventh chapter of Dreamfall Chapters and the second chapter of Book Three Realms. It follows Zoë Maya Castillo in Propast.

== Summary ==

=== Zoë Broken power cell ===

==== Zoë Zoë's Appartment ====
After Nela Vlček's suicide bombing, Propast is under heavy lockdown by the EYE and Manifesto has been condemned as a terrorist organisation. Citizens are ordered to stay inside, and only allowed limited trips outside to pick up necessary supplies.

Zoë, meanwhile, has mostly recovered from being caught in the blast of the bomb, though a skin graft shows her face to still be somewhat scarred from the ordeal. The lockdown, however, has effectively left her alone and isolated her from her friends and her job, and to make things worse, her apartment's fuel cell breaks during a power outage, forcing her to head outside for a new one.

==== Zoë Pandemonium ====
Outside, the streets are practically devoid of civilian life and crawling with heavily armed EYE operatives. With a monitoring EYE droid as a forced escort tracking her every move, Zoë makes her way to Pandemonium where she meets Mira. Mira tells her that with the lockdown they have no business, so she is considering closing up shop permanently and going back to Mumbai with Wit. Mira then hands Zoë a Dreamer Console, guessing she probably came by to pick it up after asking her to repair it for her. Zoë, however, cannot remember ever owning a Dreamachine or asking Mira to repair one for her. Mira explains that some "Falk Friedman" came by with it a month ago and asked her to fix it, claiming that it was Zoë's and it should be given to her when it was ready. Mira further explains that there was a soldering problem with the Dreamachine, but that it has surveillance capabilities; it is apparently a off-the-shelf model which is capable of reading the user's biometric data and sending this data directly to WATIcorp while used. Mira says that she tried to block that connection to the best of her abilities, but she cannot guarantee that the device will not try to find another way to contact WATIcorp when used. She mentions that it is possible to acquire unlicensed Dreamachines without any tracking capabilities, but Mr. London has cornered that market. Zoë then explains that she actually came by to get a new fuel cell for her apartment. Mira gives then gives one to her, asking her what happened to the data on WATIcorp's political involvement that Mira helped decrypt. Disappointed that events have conspired to keep the data under wraps, Mira promises Zoë that she will help in any way she can with getting the truth there, as soon as the time is right.

==== Zoë Queenie ====
On her way back to the apartment, Zoë runs into Queenie's assistant, who says that Queenie wishes to talk to her. Zoë points out that her EYE droid escort would not allow her to make detours, but the assistant briefly stares at the droid, after which it malfunctions and falls into the nearby river. Freed from the escort, Zoë steps onto Queenie's boat, where Queenie tells her that she is happy to see her once again, revealing that she is planning to leave Propast very soon. She then discusses recent events in Propast with Zoë, especially the bombing, which Zoë personally witnessed. Zoë professes Nela's innocence, explaining that she was a good person and must have not known what she was going into. Queenie agrees, explaining that the device was indeed rigged, and was supposed to have let out an EMP blast which would have damaged the EYE's equipment, but not harm any people. Zoë asks her how she knows this, and Queenie tells her that she knows because Hanna Roth told her, as she was responsible for assembling and delivering the device, though without knowing what it was for. Queenie states that right now Hanna is Zoë's best bet for finding some way to connect the bombing with the Syndicate. In disbelief, Zoë asks if the Syndicate would really kill their own people, to which Queenie answers that right now WATIcorp is angling to consolidate their power and tie up all the loose ends, which means that everyone is expendable to them. Queenie then brings up what she considers a more pressing matter; Zoë's lost memories. Zoë answers that she now knows how to bring them back with the Dreamachine. Queenie warns Zoë to be careful, telling her that she is "fading" and must wake up soon. She promises Zoë that if both of them make it out of the ordeals that wait ahead alive, they will meet again.

==== Cutscene Queenie and Hanna ====
As Zoë heads home, Queenie tells a hiding Hanna that she can come out now. Hanna, emerging from her hiding place, asks Queenie how long she had known Hanna was there, but Queenie cryptically tells her not just to see her as merely an old woman. Hanna is upset that Queenie told Zoë about her hand in getting the device to Nela, but Queenie answers that that there can be no more secrets if WATIcorp is to be brought down, and her knowledge is valuable in achieving that task. Hanna says that she has no proof as she only made deliveries, but Queenie is confident that she will find a way to procure the evidence, telling she must work together with Zoë to find it. Hanna is unsure if Zoë can be trusted, to which Queenie answers that Zoë is a Dreamer like Hanna and this has drawn the two of them together, telling her that Zoë needs her help as a "terrible shadow has fallen over her." Hanna asks Queenie how she knows all this, to which Queenie says that she don't know anything for certain as she is no fortune teller and the future is never clear, but one can pick up on some things if they know what patterns and signs to look for. Hanna finally asks Queenie if she really has to leave, which Queenie affirms she must; WATIcorp now knows that she is in Propast, and they have been hunting for her for a long time, as she is herself one of the loose ends she told Zoë about. She promises Hanna that she will find her again, telling that her journey is just beginning, but for now she must help Zoë finish her journey, because if she fails the universe will be no more. She then flies away on her chair.

=== Zoë An untraceable Dreamachine ===

==== Zoë Appartment Dreamachine used ====
In her apartment, Zoë replaces the burned out power cell, and places the Dreamachine on her coffee-table. Staring at it, she contemplates for some time whether or not to use it, remember that last time she tried using one it went badly, but determined to get her memories back, she eventually puts it on and enters the dream trance.

==== Zoë Purple Mountains ====
Zoë once again finds at herself in the "Purple Mountains" with Abnaxus, who cryptically tells her that she must be "here" and didn't truly come through. He is interrupted by the sudden arrival of Crow, who is very confused by suddenly being teleported to this place, but he quickly calms down as he recognizes Abnaxus and Zoë (though he think the latter looks a bit different than he remembers). Zoë is happy that she also recognizes Crow, but she realizes that the last time she had this dream, he was not in it, wondering why and how he has appeared now. She then tries asking Abnaxus why she didn't make it across, and he explains that the connection is too weak and she is "only half-dreaming" and she soon needs to be "all-here" or it will be too late. Abnaxus then points out that she did manage to bring Crow over, explaining that he will be the key, but before he can say any more, what sounds like gunshots suddenly ring through the dream.

==== Zoë Dreamachine traced ====
Zoë quickly rips off the Dreamachine to find Falk Friedman standing before her with his gun drawn. Having to react quickly Zoë either distracts him or jumps to the side. Regardless, it is revealed that Friedman was not aiming at her, but an EYE Operative behind her, who he shoots and kills. Friedman tells her that the hallway is clear, and she must leave the apartment at once. While Friedman stays behind firing off several more shots against other attackers, Zoë runs into the hallway to find several dead EYE Operatives lying around there. Hanna appears in the elevator and tells Zoë to follow her. The two of them get outside, and Hanna, wanting to get off the streets as quickly as possible, leads Zoë into the Propast underground through a nearby entrance.

==== Zoë Beneath Propast with Hanna ====
Zoë realizes that the underground is an expansive series of tunnels which runs under all of Propast. Hanna tells her that she and the other members of the Dragonflies use the tunnel network to make their covert deliveries, and no one knows exactly for how long or deep they go on. Hanna explains that Mr. London has a warehouse somewhere deeper down, and that was where she got the device Nela used from, so if any evidence of WATIcorp's connection to the bombing exists it must be found there. Zoë asks if the warehouse also has the unlicensed Dreamachines that Mr. London supposedly has, explaining that she needs one for after they have cleared Nela's name, and Hanna answers that there should be some of those in there too. The two of them are greeted by Abby, who hands Zoë the package that Nela gave her, explaining that she was shadowing Zoë at the time and saw her dropping it in the chaos of the explosion. Zoë examines the package, but the only item inside is a Watilla badge that has been slightly damaged from the explosion.

Abby then helps Hanna and Zoë with passing a security gate, but she stays on the other side, telling them that she will stay behind and create a distraction for any pursuing EYE operatives, hopefully throwing them off the trail. Abby and Hanna then tell each other to be careful and kiss goodbye. As the duo continues deeper into the tunnels, Zoë says to Hanna that she is happy to see that she and Abby are back together, and Hanna says that what Zoë told Abby about the Dreamachines helped her kicked the habit. She says once all this is over, she and Abby will leave Propast and relocate to Mumbai as she has seen it in a dream she had. This lead Zoë and Hanna into discuss their Dreamer powers; Hanna is puzzled to what it means that they have the same gift, and Zoë hopes they will able to find out together. Hanna also explains what she knows about the device instead of containing an EMP like it was supposed to, it was rigged with a small anti-matter chamber, something which Zoë guesses was done to frame Manifesto and remove the only wildcard from the election, as well as getting martial law declared so everyone will stay inside and stay hooked to their Dreamachines. Hanna, meanwhile, guess that Mr. London will probably have some documentation for the purchase of the device in his warehouse, as he always keeps track of what moves in and out of his warehouse. She summarizes that if they can get their hands on the shipping statement as well as another anti-matter chamber from the same batch as the one from the attack, they will have the necessary evidence to expose the conspiracy. They are interrupted as Zoë realizes that something on her is starting to beep faintly. She discovers that it is the damaged Watilla badge, that is apparently receiving a signal from somewhere in the tunnels.

Tracking the signal with the badge, the duo discovers that it comes from an old Wire access point from before the Collapse, something which Hanna identifies as a "singularity". Checking it, she discovers that it is still active, meaning that the Syndicate does not know about it, but she also finds out her IRIS cannot properly connect to it, likely because it is still running on old protocols. Examining it closer, she notices that it has a holographic port and is blinking at the same rate as Nela's badge, believing that it might be capable of reading the physical data on it. Zoë tries connecting the badge to it, which triggers it; it turns out that it is Nela's last confession. Though it is partly garbled due to the damage, Zoë is still able to understand important parts of it, such as the fact that the Manifesto leadership did not know about or approve of the operation, and that Nela had examined the device herself and found out she was carrying a bomb and not an EMP device. Nela still decided to go through with the attack though she knew that she was going to die, but she believed that it was the only way to shake up the status quo and that the end justifies the means. Nela finally begs whoever hears the message to track the bomb back to WATIcorp, giving the name "Penning" as a clue. Zoë is shocked and disheartened to learn that Nela went through with the bombing despite fully knowing that it would hurt and even kill people and she decides not to share this information with Hanna, afraid she will only blame herself further. Instead, she tells her that the message only confirmed that WATIcorp was involved in the attack. She says that they will need to pay a visit to Mira after they have been to the warehouse; Mira will probably be able to restore the rest of the recording and it would give Zoë a relatively safe place to dream. Hanna says they better get to the warehouse quickly; as smart and resourceful as Abby is, she can only keep the troops distracted for so long.

Heading towards the warehouse once again, Zoë explains to Hanna that she had forgotten about the other world until just recently. Hanna, still finding it all a bit hard to take in, asks if it really is all about these parallel worlds. Zoë affirms it is; there is something wrong in going both in both worlds and it somehow threatens the Dreamtime which works as a blueprint for everything, and if it is allowed to disrupt the Dream too much, it could lead to the universe dissolving and everything ceasing to exist. She knows WATIcorp and the Dreamachine are responsible for the disruption in this world, but she will need to visit the other world again to truly get to the bottom of things.

Eventually, the tunnels opens up to a huge vertical room with luminescent tube arranged in strange patterns on the walls. Amazed by the sight, Zoë asks Hanna what she knows about the room. Hanna says she honestly doesn't know a lot about it, from what she can tell it is very old. Zoë notices that the tubes seems to be quite new in comparison to the rest of the room, and she guesses that they are somehow related to the vents on the surface. Zoë then realizes that the room makes her feel weird, like her bones are vibrating; taking a look at her hand, she discovers her skin looks as if it is fading. Hanna urges her to hurry up, saying that the warehouse is just around the corner.

==== Zoë The warehouse ====
Hanna finds the warehouse and opens the door. She is just about to enter along with Zoë when the two of them spots flash lights in the distance. Realizing that it is the EYEs who are about to catch up to them, Zoë offers to distract them, but Hanna answers that Zoë wouldn't last long against them and should leave it to her, as she has more experience with handling that sort of thing, telling her that she must take care of finding the evidence and a Dreamachine. Reluctantly, Zoë agrees and walks inside the warehouse, with Hanna telling her she will come back and open the door once the coast is clear. Hanna then lets go of the handle, closing the door and leaving Zoë on her own.

Zoë explores the warehouse, only to find out that she is in bad luck. Mr. London and a ground of his henchmen has chosen this day to torture a disloyal gang member inside the warehouse and there is an active alarm system, preventing her from leaving with any objects from the warehouse, without having the criminals on her in seconds. Zoë also finds an old friend; depending on previous choices Kidbot or Shitbot is in the warehouse, though their personality has been overwritten to be loyal to Mr. London. Zoë, however, manages to employ the robot's help through clever use of various droid personality modules that enables her to distract London's henchmen, enabling her to get her hands on the evidence against WATIcorp as well as a unlicensed Dreamachine. She is further able to use the droid to short out the alarm system, but this also kills the power to the warehouse, arousing London and his goons' suspicion that something is wrong. The shock, however, also restores Kidbot/Shitbot's original personality, and the robot decides to sacrifice itself by creating a distraction for the gang, allowing Zoë to escape in the confusion.

Zoë runs to the exit and is relieved to see Hanna opening the door. Zoë shows her the evidence she was able to find the antimatter chamber and the receipt for the bomb with WATIcorp's name on it. Hanna then guides Zoë out of the tunnels towards the Pandemonium.

==== Zoë Spacing out ====
Inside the Pandemonium, Zoë explains the gravity of the situation to Mira; the EYE is after her and wants to either arrest or kill her, and her and Hanna have evidence that WATIcorp was behind the bombing. Impressed with their efforts, Mira offers to run an analysis on the anti-matter camber to compare it to the bomb as well as check if she can repair Nela's recording, but she is not sure how effective it can be without Wire access. Zoë tells her that shouldn't be a problem, since there is an unregistered access point in the tunnels, and Hanna knows where it is. Zoë also explains that she needs to enter Dreamtime again, but by using the unlicensed Dreamachine, so the EYE will not be able to track her this time. She also asks Mira for one last favor, getting the data on the corrupt parties to Hand that Feeds. Mira promises that she will see if she can get it to Sully through the access points in the tunnels.

Zoë lies down on Mira's sofa, and explains to Hanna, Mira, and Wit, that while it make look like she is just sleeping, she should be some place else, so it is important that they neither try to wake her or disconnect the Dreamachine. Zoë puts on the Dreamachine and activates it, but to Hanna and Mira's surprise she disappears into thin air. Hanna, confused, asks where Zoë went, while Mira comments "Well, this shitting shitting shit just got real."

== Major choices ==
* Zoë can either throw her Dreamachine at Falk Friedman or dodge his bullet (if she waits too long, the game ends). If she throws the Dreamachine, he is shot, but if she dodges the bullet, he is fine.
{{DFC Chapters}}

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