=== Summary ===
In a hospital room in 2219 Stark, a young woman named Zoe Castillo is lying in bed, unconscious, while her father Gabriel Castillo watches over her. In voiceover Zoë says that every story has a beginning and an end; sometimes they can be one and the same. She introduces herself, apologises for her pallor, which is due to her coma, and says that she is trying to reach out. Everyone who knows the truth is missing or dead, but if she can get through to anyone, maybe "something can be done".
Zoë begins telling her story, and the narrative jumps two weeks into the past.
ImageZoeGabriel.jpg In her home in Casablanca, Zoë is watching her Screen, which is running a news article about the Static, a phenomenon which has recently started affecting electronic systems. As she watches, the programme suddenly changes to a strange winter landscape with a black house. A Faith whispers Zoë's name, and says "Find her... save her..." before the screen goes back to normal. Zoë thinks it is some sort of viral ad, but is distracted by her ringing mobile. She's late for her martial arts lesson at the gym. After checking her schedule with her Watilla, Wonkers, Zoë goes downstairs and meets her father in the kitchen, who is getting ready to leave on a business trip to Bombay. From their conversation, we learn that Zoë has recently dropped out of a bioneering degree at Cape Town University and moved back home, having suddenly lost both faith in herself and her direction in life. Zoë tells her father she's planning a small 'soiree' once he's gone. Gabriel teases that she's never needed his permission before.
Zoë heads to the gym, but runs into her hacker friend Olivia DeMarco on the way, who has a cool mobile cloaking program to show her. After a lesson with her trainer Jama Mbaye - who laments Zoë's lack of commitment to her martial arts - Zoë lets her download it onto her mobile, but confesses to Liv that she is starting to get concerned about this 'viral ad' that seems to be appearing on every Screen she looks at... even Screens that weren't turned on. Now the little girl is whispering "Find April... save April..." but Liv puts it down to too much Screen time on Zoë's part.
Happily, Zoë soon has something to distract her - a phone call from her journalist ex-boyfriend, Reza Temiz, who asks to meet her at Moca Loco. When Zoë arrives, he is just getting off the phone with someone named 'Rio Kuroki'. He apologises for being unable to make the party Zoë has planned because he's swamped with work. In fact, that's what he wanted to see her about. He asks if Zoë can go to the Seshadri Building, to the offices of a company called JIVA, and pick up a package from a 'Helena Chang'. It's part of a big story he's working on. Zoë agrees, and calls a cab to take her downtown.
FileRio_Kuroki_image.jpg When Zoë arrives at the JIVA offices, she speaks to the Sela... or so she thinks. The woman seems distracted and keeps telling Zoë to come back later. Suddenly the Screen behind her comes to life and - unnoticed by the 'receptionist', Sela - shows an Asian woman locked behind glass, banging on it and apparently yelling for help. Zoë can either fight Sela or trick her into a storeroom and lock her in, then uses the console to get into JIVA's corridors. She sees the Asian woman locked in a lab airlock, and a man, Kano, fiddling with the controls. He runs past Zoë, who rushes to free the victim via manual release before the gas in the lab leaks through to her.
Outside, the woman introduces herself as Helena Chang, and thanks Zoë for her help - though she does seem surprised by Zoë's surname. After some convincing, she hands over Reza's package, but leaves before Zoë can ask any other questions. Fuming, Zoë heads back to find Reza and get some answers. Zoë can open the package if she wants - there is a small data cube inside.
When she arrives at Reza's apartment, Zoë is alarmed to see that the door is open, and... a mysterious tabby cat is wandering around. Inside, she discovers the body of a woman, about Zoë's age, with a strange device next to her head. As she backs off, Reza's Screen comes to life, with the little girl whispering to Zoë again. The image then changes to show EYE commandos entering the building. Before she can escape, the commandos find Zoë in Reza's living room, and use their weapons to 'boom' her, knocking her out.
=== Themes & References ===
Ragnar has confessed that the idea of opening the game with a shot of Zoë in her undies was taken from the film Lost In Translation (one of his favourite movies). It is also a callback to The Longest Journey, where the first scene with April has her dressed only in her underwear.
When we see out of the window, we see that Zoë's hospital room is not in central Casablanca but somewhere on the coast; there's a sunny beach and palm trees outside.
In Zoë's opening monologue, Zoë says that she doesn't have any siblings, though at this point she has discovered this might not necessarily be true. However, she was speaking in the context of her father being alone once she was gone, and at this point her statement is essentially true.
A copy of Prophet Without Honour, the Anarchy Online novel, and even copies of TLJ can be seen in Zoë's bedroom.
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