- 1 PROLOGUE “PORTER”
- 2 EPISODE I “BRIDGET”
- 3 EPISODE II “AMELIE”
- 4 EPISODE III “FRAGILE”
- 5 EPISODE IV “UNGER”
- 6 EPISODE V “MAMA”
- 7 EPISODE VI “DEADMAN”
- 8 EPISODE VII “CLIFFORD”
- 9 EPISODE VIII “HEARTMAN”
- 10 EPISODE IX “HIGGS”
- 11 EPISODE X “DIE-HARDMAN”
- 12 EPISODE XI “CLIFFORD UNGER”
- 13 EPISODE XII “BRIDGES”
- 14 EPISODE XIII "SAM STRAND"
- 15 EPIDOSE XIV “LOU”
- 16 EPISODE XV "TOMORROW IS IN YOUR HANDS"
In my opinion, this game could make a great book. I would really like to write beautiful descriptions of what's going on in the game, but I don't think I can do it. I'll leave it to you. I look forward to your help, my dear readers.
THE “ROPE,” ALONG WITH THE “STICK,” ARE TWO OF MANKIND’S OLDEST TOOLS. THE STICK TO KEEP THE BAD AWAY. THE ROPE USED TO BRING THE GOOD TOWARD US. THEY WERE OUR FIRST FRIENDS, OF OUR OWN INVENTION. WHEREVER THERE WERE PEOPLE, THERE WERE THE ROPE AND THE STICK.
—from Kobo Abe’s “Nawa”
Man: Once there was an explosion… A bang which gave birth to time and space. Once, there was an explosion… A bang which set a planet spinning in that space. Once, there was an explosion… A bang which gave rise to life as we know it. And then came the next explosion.
Sony Interactive Entertainment Presents
A Hideo Kojima Game
Starring: Norman Reedus, Mads Mikkelsen, Léa Seydoux, Margaret Qualley, Troy Baker, Tommie Earl Jenkins
Special appearance: Guillermo Del Toro, Nicolas Winding Refn
Also starring: Jesse Corty, Daren Jacobs, Emily O’Brien and Lindsay Wagner
Man: No, no, no, no, no, no! Ah… Great… Ah… Fuck… Get it together man!
Sam: Could wait out the rain over there.
Woman: I think they’re gone.
Woman: What the hell? Didn’t mean to grab you so hard. Tears. A chiral allergy. So. You have DOOMS. Like me.
Sam: I’ve got the extinction factor, but I think you got me beat.
Woman: What’s your level? You can see them, right?
Sam: No—but I can sense ‘em.
Woman: Level two, then.
Sam: What’re you doing here?
Woman: Trying to stay dry, same as you. Timefall’s let up. My name is Fragile.
Sam: Yeah, I’ve heard of ya.
Fragile: That right? “Sam Porter Bridges. The Man Who Delivers.”
Fragile: You want it? A cryptobiote a day keeps the timefall away. Wanna come work for me? Must be tough out here on your own…
Sam: Yeah? I thought Fragile Express had plenty of people.
Fragile: Plenty of traitors. Not much left of us now, save for a few honest folks. And on top of that…
Fragile: Not much left of me, either. Got soaked from neck to toe.
Sam: I can’t help you with that. I make deliveries. That’s all.
Radio: This is Bridges Central Dispatch. Freelance contractor Sam Porter Bridges—receiver is standing by for drop.
Fragile: Headed into town? Watch yourself. Those things never stay gone for long.
Fragile: The timefall fast-forwards whatever it touches. But it can’t wash everything away. The past just won’t let go. I see you around… Sam Porter Bridges.
Hologram: What took you so long? It’s not like The Legend to come in late.
Sam: Had to wait out the storm. Lost my bike.
Hologram: Sounds like you’ve been through the wringer. Luckily, our goods are in perfect condition. Well, you did keep us waiting, but everything else seems to be in perfect order, so—Great work. We’ll be awaiting the next delivery.
Loudspeaker: Special commission for: Sam Porter Bridges. Priority One.
Man: Igor. Bridges Corpse Disposal. Sam Porter, I presume.
Igor: Right. Not the touchy-feely type. Documents said you had some kind of phobia.
Sam: Bridges Corpse Disposal? What happened?
Igor: Look, gotta get a move on. I’ll explain as we go. Come on.
Igor: Come and take a look.
Igor: He’s got a date with the incinerator.
Sam: How long since he flatlined?
Igor: We don’t know the exact TOD, but I’d say it’s been upwards of forty hours.
Sam: He wasn’t quarantined?
Igor: Not sick. This was a suicide.
Sam: Oh… Jesus.
Igor: We’re just lucky we found him at all. Got him on ice ASAP, but who knows when he’ll go necro.
Sam: Where you taking him?
Igor: Closest incinerator is to the north.
Sam: This route’s crawling with BTs. Sure you can’t use another?
Igor: I wish I could, but there’s no time.
Sam: Then just burn the poor bastard right here.
Igor: And put all that chiralium in the air so close to town? Can’t do it.
Sam: Better that than trying for the incinerator.
Igor: Hey. We can do this. We just need someone like you, with DOOMS.
Sam: Well, he’s already in the first stages of necrosis. If we don’t hurry, this place is a crater.
Igor: So how ‘bout it? Can we count on you?
Igor: Then Bridges hereby enters into a contract with Sam Porter.
Sam: It’s Sam. Just Sam. And I can’t spot BTs. Just sense ‘em.
Igor: That’s why we came prepared.
Sam: A Bridge baby, huh.
Igor: With its help and you, we’ll be able to stay one step ahead of ‘em.
Igor: Makes me feel like shit every time.
Sam: Well, you are plugging into the other side. Freaks me out, too.
Igor: Roll out!
Igor: The world was different when I was a kid. America was a country. Anybody could go anywhere they damn well pleased. No need for couriers like yourself. We had highways, airplanes hell, you could even visit other countries! Hard to imagine it now. As you can see, the Death Stranding poked us fulla holes. Fucked us beyond all recognition. And if you were lucky enough to survive, the timefall came and washed you away… Then those freaks from the Beach showed up. The worlds of the living and the dead all mixed together… And that’s when folks started holing up in the cities. And couriers like yourself got put up on a pedestal. Son of a bitch. Rainbow!
Sam: How much further to the incinerator!? This guy’s about to pop!
Igor: Shit. We’re gonna have to cut through the BTs!
Igor: The engine’s stalled!
Sam: Those assholes got us right where they want us. Get us outta here!
Igor: Sam, can you see anything?
Sam: No, nothing!
Igor: This BB must be busted or something.
Igor: Shit, they’re here! I can’t get you out! Sam!
Sam: Shut up! Don’t even breathe!
Igor: We’re surrounded!
Driver: Help me! HELP ME!
Igor: Oh no!
Woman in Red: London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down. London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.
Man: BB. BB. BB. Can you hear me? Can you hear me? It’s daddy.
Sam: Once, there was an explosion… A bang which gave rise to life as we know it. And then came the next explosion. An explosion that will be our last.
EPISODE I “BRIDGET”
Man in Red: Oh, you’re awake. So how does it feel? To be back in the world of the living? Don’t worry, I’m a doctor. Well, a coroner. Originally. Call me Deadman. I’m well-acquainted with the dead.
Deadman: Not like you, of course. Contrary to the name, I’ve never actually died.
Deadman: I would advise against that. I’m no expert, but I can assure you it’s for your own protection. See.
Sam: So I’m a prisoner?
Deadman: These aren’t handcuffs; they’re cutting-edge devices that keep us all connected.
Sam: Oh. “Us.”
Deadman: Yup. Bridges. Humanity’s best hope for the future—or avoiding extinction, if you prefer.
Sam: Right. Where am I? What time is it?
Deadman: Watch me. Try pressing it against your skin like this. Relax. That just means your body’s got a good connection to the cuff link. Look, look! The cuffs will watch over you 24 hours a day. That is to say, we will. We’re here to help.
Sam: What the hell… Two days?
Deadman: During that time, we took the liberty of collecting fluid samples from you. You’re a repatriate. That makes you very special.
Sam: What happened to the CD guys?
Deadman: Central Knot was obliterated in the annihilation. “Game over, man.” Place is a crater. The only ones to get a continue were you for obvious reasons and your broken bridge baby.
Sam: Is it all right?
Deadman: It’s been marked for disposal. Didn’t work anymore. Why keep it? We lost everyone. Not just Corpse Disposal. My team, HQ —all of Vredefort… Every soul in Central Knot City. We’re at our base in Capital Knot City now or should I say our new headquarters. Sudbury seemed the logical choice. But our implementation team has been decimated, and there’s on so much they can do in two days. Things here are a mess. Fortunately, the director and his support team were out of town at the time, so the chain of command remains intact. I hate to do this so soon, but I have a job for you.
Deadman: This stencil is from when you repatriated? Ah… What’s the other mark from?
Sam: A clingy woman in a cave.
Deadman: I see… Aphenphosmphobia? No wonder you were out there alone. Where no one could touch you. I’ll try to be more careful, Sam. So, the job is an urgent delivery. I need you to bring the president some morphine.
Sam: What president? America is gone. You talking about the mayor of Central Knot?
Deadman: No, no, no, no. Not the mayor. America lives on, Sam. The president is in the final stages of cancer—in critical condition—but there’s still time.
Sam: Why me?
Deadman: Look Sam… Do as I ask, and I promise it will all make sense.
Sam: Why don’t you do it?
Deadman: Because I’m not really here.
Deadman: Apologies. This is just a chiralgram. And here ugh… come the tears. Allergic reaction to the chiral transmission. I’m actually over in the isolation ward. In the big triangle building. Ah. Here is the morphine. Bridges hereby enters into a contract with Sam Porter.
Sam: Come on, you’ve got morphine there. What’s this about? Tell me the truth.
Deadman: The truth, Sam, is that America’s last president wants to see you in person. Are you really about to say no?
Deadman: Very good. I see you in the isolation ward.
Deadman: (on record) Delivery order for Sam Porter Bridges. Request transport of morphine to isolation ward for immediate administration to the president. Check the map on your cuff links if you’re lost, Sam. The isolation ward should be pretty obvious. If you’re not sure how to get there, you can set markers and draw routes, too. Try it out and you’ll see what I mean.
Deadman: Sam. Your friendly neighbourhood Deadman here. If you want to confirm you’re headed the right way, check your compass. It’ll never steer you wrong-provided you have a destination, that is. Central wasn’t just home to Bridges HQ. It was also the seat of the Reconstructionist movement. If the president hadn’t required special treatment, she would have never have left. And if she hadn’t, we wouldn’t have either.
Doctor 1: Like I said, her vital signs are all trending the same way.
Doctor 2: No chance of a recovery, then?
Doctor 1: None that I can see, no.
Doctor 2: We should start making preparations…
Deadman: Sam, it’s me. Deadman.
Deadman: Sorry! My mistake.
Deadman: I’m afraid the president’s condition has deteriorated. Thank you. This will help to ease the pain… and allow her to speak with you in these final moments.
Deadman: The first and last female president of the United States. Surely you remember her? She raised you. You’re not exactly dressed for a reunion. Take that off before you come inside.
Deadman: That’s the president’s right-hand man, the director of Bridges.
Deadman: Oh. You were with Bridges I. So, I guess no introductions are necessary.
Die-Hardman: What’s it been, Sam, ten years? Look at us—a bunch of deathless freaks, meeting like this… Yeah, well, good to see you, too. President’s waiting.
Die-Hardman: It’s your mother. Bridget. She’s a bit out of it, but I know she’ll recognize you.
Deadman: Madam President, we’ve brought Sam. We’ll leave you two alone.
Bridget: Sam. I knew you’d come back. Are you doing all right? Yeah, I know you hate me. Amelie —
Bridget: You remember Amelie went west. Took her three years to cross. She’s trying to rebuild the country.
Sam: Still going on about that, huh?
Bridget: You’re the one I wanted to send, Sam. Time’s running out. Help Amelie. She needs you. Together you can help us reconnect. You can make America whole. Sam, if we don’t all come together again, humanity will not survive.
Sam: We don’t need a country. Not anymore.
Bridget: We do. Alone, we have no future.
Sam: No, America’s finished. Bridget, you’re the president of jack shit.
Bridget: Sam! Listen to me. Lis… Ah…
Bridget: So you’re willing to help me.
Sam: No, I —
Bridget: I love you, Sam.
Bridget: I’ll be waiting for you on the Beach.
Deadman: Madam President! Oh, no!
Die-Hardman: (to Deadman) Listen. No one can know that the president is dead. If word gets out, Bridges is finished. Now, what happened here does not leave this room. Do you understand?
Deadman: Yes, Director. But there’s still the matter of the body. Without Corpse Disposal…
Die-Hardman: We’ve got that covered. Sam. Before she died, the president made a contract with you.
Sam: What are you talking about?
Die-Hardman: As a member of Bridges you’re going to work with the rest of us to rebuild America.
Sam: You think you can recruit me? Like she tried to?
Die-Hardman: Well, she succeeded. Look at your wrist. If that’s not symbolic, I don’t know what is.
Deadman: Director, the cancer spread throughout her entire body. Harvesting organs is out of the question, and there is no need for an autopsy. Her body needs to be cremated before she necrotises.
Die-Hardman: And if we don’t, this place’ll turn into another crater.
Sam: What do you want me to do?
Deadman: We don’t have any porters right now, and the CD team you went into the field with are dead. But the president’s body has to be burned.
Die-Hardman: The road from the Capital Knot City to the incinerator was compromised in the voidout. Now, the only way there is on foot, through the mountains. But the chiral density there is off the chart. It’s gotta be BTs.
Deadman: This job has requirements. DOOMS. Repatriate.
Sam: So me. Why?
Deadman: Sam, you’re already on the clock.
Die-Hardman: Now get it done, Sam Porter Bridges.
Die-Hardman: Can I have a moment? President Strand believed in American Reconstructionism. She worked tirelessly to bring the nation together again. And without her, there would be no Bridges. She deserves a funeral with full honours. But we can’t give her that. If she dies, America dies.
Deadman: Without her, Bridges will cease to be.
Die-Hardman: Listen, her cremation must be carried out with the utmost secrecy.
Sam: Even if we pull it off, what then? Who’s gonna take her place? Face it. America’s history.
Deadman: Sam, America isn’t dead yet.
Sam: He just said that it dies if Bridget dies.
Deadman: She may be lost to us… But we still have an America worthy of the presidency.
Sam: Sorry, what?
Die-Hardman: Let’s not get into it now. What matters is that we’re going to finish your mother’s work and rebuild America as she intended. That’s the reason Bridges exists. So take the first step, Sam, and deliver the president’s body to the incinerator.
Bridget: (in Sam’s head) If we don’t all come together again, humanity will not survive. You’re the one I wanted to send, Sam. Time’s running out. I love you, Sam. I’ll be waiting for you on the Beach.
Die-Hardman: The facility’s to the southwest. Remember that you’ll be passing through BT territory.
Deadman: We built the incinerator way up in the mountains so that the chiral matter in the smoke wouldn’t reach the city. It won’t be easy carrying a body up there.
Die-Hardman: We’ll be monitoring you around the clock. If anything comes up, we’ll offer you support via the cuff links.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. This is Die-Hardman. Deadman explained how to use the cuffs, right?Use them to check the location of the incinerator.
Deadman: (via codec) Sam. I don’t think I need to remind you, but every minute counts when transporting corpses for disposal. Forty-eight hours following cardiac arrest, they go necro and become a fresh BT to make our lives hell.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) President Bridget Strand was the symbol of American Reconstructionism. Even with the country shattered, and its people scattered to the four winds, she never stopped believing they could be reunited. People held onto their hope that America would rise again, because they believed in her. We believe that this country can be rebuilt. America lives on. Together with Bridget’s undying spirit.
Sam: Yeah… yeah… just like that… Oh, whoa that was close. Sam, Sam, Sam… Keep on keepin’ on, Sammy boy. Just a bit further. One foot, fight in front of the other… Ah, so that’s the place, huh? Over and over again…
Deadman: (via codec) Chiralium density in the area is climbing rapidly! Heavy timefall is imminent! Get back here, now!
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam, burn the other cargo while you’re there.
Sam: What’s this?
Deadman: (via codec) BB-28. It’s the unit Igor was assigned. It was hooked up to you when we found you in the crater.
Sam: But why’s it here?
Deadman: (via codec) Because it’s flagged for disposal. Central Knot’s gone, and our headquarters along with it. Because that thing didn’t do its job. It’s all in Igor’s logs.
Sam: But it’s still alive.
Deadman: (via codec) It can’t be repaired. And it can’t survive outside the pod. Pity it if you want, but the decision has been made. It has to go. The director approved the order.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam? Sam! Do you copy? Dammit, must have lost you in the blackout. Sam, what’s your status? Chiralium density is still increasing!
Sam: My status is “fucked.” There’s tons of ‘em!
Deadman: (via codec) Must be from bodies we couldn’t get up to the incinerator in time. Comes with the territory, I’m afraid. Can you sit out the rain?
Sam: No, they’re closing in on my position. Thave to move before they realise I’m in here.
Deadman: (via codec) Sam, if one of those things eats you, it’ll trigger a voidout. You’ll come back, sure, but the surrounding area will still be a crater.
Sam: I got an idea.
Man: I’m sorry, Captain.
Sam: Start, you little shit! Ah! Maybe you are defective. That’s it. Do your thing.
Sam: Keep low and move cautiously.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. Come back to the distribution center. Check the location on your compass.
Deadman: (via codec) It’s a miracle either of you made it back. When someone with DOOMS hooks up to a BB, your feelings and memories cause feedback, like with a speaker. It amplifies fears and stress and runs the risk of taking you to a place from which you will not return. I’m sorry, but this BB has been pushed beyond its limits. Disposal is the only option.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam, get cleaned up, then come to the president’s office. We need to talk.
Man: BB. Don’t worry. It’s okay. I’ll always be with you.
See the sunset
The day is ending
Let that yawn out
There’s no pretending
Deadman: Sam! I thought I told you DOOMS and BBs were a dangerous combination. Huh? Perhaps a shower is in order? You’re still covered in chiralium. Don’t want the president to see you like that….
Sam: The hell you talking about? She’s dead.
Deadman: You’re upset. Is this about BB-28?
Sam: Go fuck yourself. I’m not your errand boy.
Deadman: Well, in any event, it seems it owes you its life.
Sam: No. We owe the kid our lives. You, too.
Deadman: As you say. I shall look after it. Give my regards to the president.
Woman in Red: It’s almost time to go, Sam. Here. It’s a dreamcatcher. Wear it when you sleep, and I’ll keep the nightmares away. I’ll always be with you.
EPISODE II “AMELIE”
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. This is Die-Hardman. There’s a private room set aside for your use. Bridges perk. Take a moment to clean up-wash all that chiralium off then come to the president’s office.
Deadman: (via codec) Sam. Sam, can you hear me?
Sam: For fuck’s sake! Isn’t anything private anymore?
Deadman: (via codec) Oh, no—except for taking a shower and going to the toilet, that is. I take it you were getting yourself cleaned up? Good! Come to the president’s office as soon as you’re done. She’s waiting for you.
Die-Hardman: You did well, Sam. Thank you. Bridget may no longer be with us, but her legacy has a chance to live on. Sam… listen to me. America, Reconstructionism—her dream isn’t dead.
Sam: I don’t wanna hear it.
Die-Hardman: This is the face of our new hope. Our new America.
Amelie: My mother may be gone, but I’m here. And you, Sam. You’re here, too.
Die-Hardman: Been ten years since you saw each other, right? And in all that time, she hasn’t aged a day.
Deadman: (via codec) He knows why. My body’s still on the Beach. I don’t get to grow older. But you do, Sam. You look good.
Sam: So you’re serious, then. About “reconnecting” everyone and everything?
Die-Hardman: Someone has to succeed Bridget, Sam. More importantly, someone has to carry on her legacy and see our country rebuilt. Samantha America Strand. Our new president. A new beginning for our people. For our nation. Under Amelie’s leadership, we’ll reestablish the UCA. The United Cities of America. This is how we’ll rebuild our country. But we’ll need your help to do it, Sam.
Sam: No. I’m through with this. I said my goodbyes to all of you when I said ‘em to Bridget.
Amelie: We never forgot about you, Sam. You ran away. You cut us off.
Die-Hardman: Amelie put together an expedition—the best of Bridges I—and went west.
Amelie: I led them past craters and BT territory. I kept them safe while they searched for survivors.
Die-Hardman: Never once missed a BT. Saw them coming a mile away.
Amelie: We convinced community after community to join the UCA, and we left behind our own people to help them. It took us three years, but we managed to make it all the way to Edge Knot City.
Sam: All the way to the Pacific? Jesus…
Die-Hardman: Yeah. But then everything went to hell. The team was wiped out, and Amelie was taken.
Amelie: I’m not being kept in a cell or anything like that. I’m allowed to use their facilities and to speak with you whenever I want. I just can’t leave the city.
Die-Hardman: It’s all to safeguard the continued independence of Edge Knot City. That’s what her keepers are saying, at least. They want the UCA to leave them be. Amelie’s their insurance policy in case we don’t.
Sam: Who’re these assholes again?
Die-Hardman: Homo Demens. Militant separatist group. They run Edge Knot-City.
Sam: I’ve heard of ‘em. Buncha terrorists who go around towns killing people and leaving craters.
Die-Hardman: Right. Nothing’s off-limits for them. Not even engineering voidouts.
Sam: You think the suicide that took out Central Knot was one of theirs?
Die-Hardman: Could be. There we extremists like the Demens everywhere, plotting in the shadows. They’re decentralized by nature. No one organization to rule them all—just a common ideology.
Amelie: I know not everyone shares our vision for the future. “If we, Americans, don’t come together again, humanity won’t survive.” I carried my mother’s message to people all across the country. But not everyone was willing to accept it.
Die-Hardman: More than a few would rather stay isolated. Keep to themselves, go it alone. Like you, Sam. They think that America can only be rebuilt by force—by men who tell them what to do, who take away their freedom and put them in shackles.
Sam: And what’d you put on me, huh? You’re no better than the Demens. Just another kind of cult.
Amelie: They’re not shackles, Sam. They’re a symbol of our bonds. That’s what we need right now not to stand apart, but to come together. To form chiral KNOTs and reconnect.
Die-Hardman: Sam, we want you to go west and finish what Amelie started. The people she left behind have been hard at work setting up chiral network terminals. But these terminals are still isolated. We need you to bring them online. And for that, you’ll need a Q-pid.
Die-Hardman: This contains all the necessary security and operations protocols to integrate a terminal into the chiral web. Take the Q-pid west, Sam, and reconnect the people of our great nation. And when you get to Edge Knot City, find Amelie and bring her home.
Amelie: After that, I’ll take over the presidency and carry on Mother’s work to save the country.
Die-Hardman: This was Bridget’s dying wish. This is how we’ll move forward.
Amelie: Please, Sam. We need you.
Sam: I’m Sam Porter “Bridges” now. I’m not a Strand. Hell, I’m not even part of this outfit. You all saw to that. I’m not getting involved with you or anyone else ever again.
Sam: See? It’s like I’m not even here. Same as it ever was.
Die-Hardman: Sam! Sam! Hold on. Stop! Listen to me. America needs you. Both of you.
Sam: Yeah, covering the world in cable didn’t bring an end to war and suffering. Don’t act surprised when it all comes apart if you try to do it again. Round and round it goes. Connect, reconnect… it’s not that simple…
Die-Hardman: Alright, alright, Sam. Just take it easy. I get it. You don’t have to commit to anything now. Why not get some rest?
Deadman: Good idea. We all need our sleep! Leave it too long and you’re liable to “reconnect” with the other side. The necessary maintenance has been completed. Various adjustments and fine-tuning for your benefit. You can use it again. For once, it would seem that DOOMS and BBs are a good combination! Or perhaps the two of you have something of an affinity for one another?
Amelie: Sam? Listen. You are Sam Strand.
Sam: No, I’m not. Not anymore. My name is Sam Porter Bridges.
Amelie: It’s a funny word, "strand"… A “strand” is part of rope or bond. While “stranding” means being washed up on the shore. And being “stranded” is when you can’t go home. I’m stranded now, Sam. Here on the shore of the Pacific. Thousands of miles away… but our bond still holds.
Amelie: You’re free, but we’re still connected. Don’t tell me we’re not.
Amelie: Come back, Sam. I’ll be waiting for you.
Computer: Good morning, Sam.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. This is Die-Hardman. You were out like a log. Must have been beat. Private rooms come with all the basic amenities-shower, toilet, et cetera. Drop in when you need to rest, inspect your gear, review info, or whatever else. If you have any questions, feel free to ask our staff. But before you do, why not check things out for yourself? See how Bridges operates these days.
Heartman: (via codec) Sam, Heartman here. Researcher devoted to uncovering the secrets of the Beaches and the Death Stranding… as well as those of DOOMS and repatriates. When you relieve yourself, a certain amount of chiral matter is flushed from your system. Chiral matter can adversely affect hormone secretion and nervous function. There’s a correlation between exposure and the development of phobias, as well as-in extreme cases-violent and suicidal impulses. Chiralium contamination has even been postulated as a trigger for the onset of DOOMS. Allow me to collect a sample of your excretions for my studies. They provide a non-invasive means to monitor your exposure to chirallum and your overall health.
Hologram Woman: (via codec) Hey there. Believe we’ve met? I oversee delivery operations, as well as maintenance and repairs. Nice to have you on board. I’m "Mama," in case didn’t mention it before. Those there are strands. Not just used for packing, by the way, but for identification, too. Take a closer look, and you’ll see. See the red there? That’s your blood.
Deadman: (via codec) Sam. This is Deadman. I calibrated your BB based on physiological data we collected from you earlier. It’s still just a best guess, though. After you take it out for a spin, we can check if you’re in sync and tweak the BB’s sensitivity as needed.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) This case will remove any chiral matter still clinging to your suit. Speaking of suits—blue is for delivery personnel, red for medical, orange for Corpse-Disposal, and black for security.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) With that terminal there, you can browse the Bridges database, which has info on a range of subjects. You don’t have clearance for everything, but there’s still plenty you might find informative.
Die-Hardman: Well? Have you had a chance to think it over? Chock-full of chiralium—but safe for you DOOMS guys to wear. Now, it’s all you’ll need to go forth and reconnect the world. To make us whole again.
Sam: I’m a porter. I don’t care about “connecting” anything. Or making “KNOTs.” But I’ll do what I have to help Amelie out.
Die-Hardman: Listen up, Sam. The terminals Amelie’s people built in the towns and cities they passed through on their journey west are called KNOTs. The infrastructure’s there, but the chiral network is offline. Right now, it’s only capable of transmitting voice communications sometimes wired, sometimes wireless, and a small amount of data. So, unless the necessary data’s stored on site, our chiralgrams won’t show up. Amelie and the other Bridges members you’ve seen around the place are “grams” generated with local data, in case you didn’t know. Anyway, all you’ve got to do is find the KNOT, connect your Q-pid, and bring chiral communications online. Once you connect it to the terminal, you’ll be able to initiate “zero time massive data transmission” with the UCA network. And just like that, you’ll reconnect us not only to each other, but to our past. All the lost and fragmented junk data will be compiled and restored. Like bringing a dinosaur back to life from a fossil… 4.6 billion years of history on Earth, all the wisdom and knowledge we lost since the Death Stranding will be ours again. And that, my friend, is how we’ll beat this thing. Once you establish chiral communications, generating “grams” won’t be an issue. You’ll also be able to use chiral printers. Won’t be long before we’re able to send all kinds of things through the wire.
Sam: ‘Cept anything original. Or that’s got a soul. Nothing real. Just copies.
Die-Hardman: True. Which is why we’ll still need porters like you. Before and after we’re made whole, we’ll need men in the middle.
Sam: No rest for the wicked, huh.
Die-Hardman: Yeah, well, idle hands and all that. We’ll give you the details at the dispatch terminal. Make sure you check it upstairs. Drop’s waiting up there, too.
Deadman: These shoes look like they’ve done some serious miles. Shall I dispose of them?
Sam: Wait, hold on. There’s something I want you to look into. My blood seemed to set those things off. Happened more than once.
Deadman: Set them off? How do you mean?
Sam: I dunno. You took my blood, didn’t you? You tell me.
Deadman: All right, I’ll see what I can do.
Man: I’m sorry, Lisa. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of him. I promise you. ВВ, ВВ. BB. Can you hear me? Can you hear me? It’s daddy.
Mama: We’ve added a bridge schematic to your PCC. The first step is laying the foundation, after which you’ll have to supply additional materials to finish the job. Plenty of rivers and canyons could do with a good bridge, you know. Take a stroll across one you built yourself, and I guarantee you’ll be glad you made the effort. Give it a try.
Die-Hardman: Okay, Sam. Make your way to the designated construction area for the bridge. The foundations should already be in place. With your help, we’ll have the thing finished in no time. There should be a terminal nearby. Access it to submit additional materials. Looks like you’ve found the site. There should be a terminal nearby. Access it to submit additional materials.
Die-Hardman: Bravo, Sam. That bridge should make life easier for a lot of people. You can be sure that every traveller and porter who passes that way will put it to good use. Keep an eye out for other spots that could do with another well-placed bridge.
Sam: Anyone’d think you were afraid…
Wind Farm’s Hologram: Thank you. With this unit, we should be able to power the distro center via the chiral network. Other places, too, if it works. Here’s hoping the UCA can put our electricity to good use. Mind if I have a look? Incredible. How’d you get this here? You fly? All we need now is a connection to the chiral network. Go for it.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Network bandwidth is a limited resource, and every structure you build consumes it. However, as you increase your connection level, the bandwidth available to you will increase as well.
Wind Farm’s Hologram: About time we did our part. Thanks again. You know, I heard the rest of your team was wiped out. Makes what you’re doing all the more incredible. You’re a one-man expedition. I hope Amelie’s doing as well as you. Wonder if she made it to Edge Knot City yet… It was her that put us in charge of the wind farm. I was with the group bringing up the rear while Amelie led the way. I’ve never met her in person. But it was an honour to travel with her all the same. When you see her, feel free to tell her I said so, huh?
Deadman’s Hologram: Sam, got a moment? I ran an experiment with your blood. It seems you were onto something. After dispersing an aerosolized sample of your blood in BT territory, we observed reduced activity. While this is hardly definitive, as we have no other repatriates to whom we can turn for additional testing… It does suggest that the bodily fluids of repatriates are repellant to BTs. Mama had the idea of developing a weapon to test this theory. The prototype should be ready soon… and when it is, we’d like you to test it.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Sam, this is the perfect opportunity. We’ve almost got the whole region on the chiral network. All that’s left is Port Knot City. Return to Capital Knot City so you can pick up relief supplies for Port Knot. By the time you arrive, we can give you the completed prototype in person. One other thing. It’s not very often porters get out to that wind farm. While you’re there, you should pick up any outstanding orders. No sense coming all the way back here empty-handed if there’s work to be done. Have a look at that delivery terminal.
Mama: (via codec) Congrats, Sam. You’re cleared to take on open orders. While they’re not as high-priority as the ones specifically assigned to you… If you’re already heading a certain way and you have room to spare, it couldn’t hurt to do a little more, right? Just because they’re not mission-critical doesn’t mean they’re not important to someone. So why not do a good deed or two?
Mama: (via codec) Hey, great work. That wind farm you’ve brought into the network is essential for our continued expansion… By way of reward, I added a little something to your PCC—a generator option. Generators recharge the batteries of all nearby devices. That includes machines, bikes, and other battery-powered vehicles.
Wind Farm’s Hologram: Don’t let me keep you.
Sam: Someone’s happy. To wheels up.
Mama: (via codec) Hey, Sam. You could probably get that bike running again if you charged it with a generator. Why not give it a try!
Center West’s Hologram: You brought this from the wind farm? I can’t imagine what a chore that must’ve been. Thank you. Wow… Don’t do things by halves, do you. Hard to believe one man could bring in a haul this big. Then again, you are a legend. I don’t know anyone who’s done more to bring people together and get them back on their feet. It’s hard to believe you’re just one guy. Can’t help wondering if the Great Deliverer isn’t actually a small army… ‘Cause it sure seems like whenever someone’s in trouble, you’re there to lend a hand. It’s enough to make me think you just might make it all the way to the coast. Good luck out there. I’ll be rooting for you.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) This is a somewhat unusual order. You’re gonna want to review the key points in the summary.
Mama: (via codec) That’s a breathable container, remember. For its passengers’ sake, don’t immerse it in water.
Center West’s Hologram: Don’t mind me.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sorry, Sam. I can’t allow you to build a structure there. Pick a spot outside the sensor ring and try again.
Sam: Wonder if anyone’s watching…
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. First deliver your cargo, then you can take on new requests.
Capital Knot City’s Hologram: Welcome back, Sam Bridges. Always a pleasure. Hm, thanks for the delivery. That was crazy fast. You’ve really upped your game since last time. The cryptobiotes look nice and lively. Hey, I got something for you.
Capital Knot City’s Hologram: Okay, safe travels. There’s something different about you. Can’t quite put my finger on what… But I swear I’m not imagining it.
Deadman’s Hologram: I’m impressed, Sam. You’ve brought pretty much the entire region together. But the further west you head, the more you’re going to have to deal with BTs. Now, we’re always looking for new, more permanent solutions… and we know your blood has a measurable effect on them. I told you before that Mama’s developing a weapon to leverage that, which is why we need a way to artificially produce more of it. Hence the cryptobiotes. But maybe you already figured it out? If all goes according to plan, we might be able to turn the tide. But first, it’s time to bring Port Knot City into the UCA. The order from Die-Hardman is waiting on the delivery terminal.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Sam, I received word from Mama that she’s completed her anti-BT weapon. Prototypes of her design form a part of your next shipment… A delivery of relief supplies for the people of Port Knot City. Port Knot City’s a fair distance from BT territory, but the weapons should come in handy if any stray too close. They’ll also provide people with the means to defend themselves when traveling outside the city limits. The shipment also includes a variety of medicines, as well as human sperm and egg samples. These specimens are essential for maintaining genetic diversity as they were donated by civilians living outside the major population centers. By taking advantage of chiralium’s temporal properties, we can ensure they remain viable for as long as required. After the shipment’s been processed, connect the Q-pid. Now once that’s done, the entire region will be integrated into the chiral network. Afterwards, you’ll be pushing on to Lake Knot City… so we’ve included relief supplies for the people there as well. Of course, to get there, you’ll need to cross over the lake in between. Details on that will be in a second order you’ll need to accept then. Without a doubt, this’ll be your longest run for us to date. Make sure you’ve got everything you need.
Deadman: (via codec) That’s a transfusion bag containing blood drawn from you. While equipped, it’ll gradually replenish yours.
Mama: (via codec) Sam, this is our first attempt at developing an anti-BT weapon. I had to work fast with what we had, so they’re basically modified hand grenades. At least, that’s how they’re meant to function. They’ve never actually been tested in the field. Who knows? You might be the first person to kill a BT. And wouldn’t that be something. But even if they do work, don’t forget that they’re fuelled by your blood. Use too much, and you’ll give yourself anaemia.
Mama: (via codec) Sam. Up for performing an experiment with hematic grenades? Might be worth taking a look. Be careful out there!
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. It looks like you’ve got some more orders to take care of. Remember: once you get to Port Knot City, you’ll be crossing the lake. So you should make any pending deliveries before then. Take a look at your map and figure out the most efficient way to get to all the places you need to go.
Sam: Feel that? Alight, it’s a full charge.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Uh, Sam? You did remember to collect the chiral crystals for Mama, right? Be sure to bring them to the distro center and submit them for processing.
Heartman: (via codec) Sam, it’s Heartman. Your friend and fellow DOOMS sufferer. (laughs) Um, our affliction, such as it is, began with the Beach—or rather, our discovery of it. Once, the question of life after death was answered only by religion and philosophy. But when we learned of the Beach’s existence, death became something more tangible. Knowable. The living soon walked the shores of the afterlife, while dead things-beached things-began to find their way back. And then came DOOMS, and with it a host of theories advanced by physicians and psychologists desperate to explain the world’s newest mystery. The symptoms were duly categorized, and stratified into “levels.” But repatriates like you are a singularly rare breed, worthy of a classification all your own. The specialists must have been climbing over one another to get a look at you. I wonder what they found.
Sam: We’ve got company. Yeah, I feel you. Whoa! Oh, God…
Port Knot City’s Hologram: You the porter? The one-man army sent to do the work of a team? You and your two feet to fill all them boots… Cargo’s in perfect condition. I won’t lie that’s some feat.
Port Knot City’s Hologram: So. You here to usher us into a new chiral age or some shit?
Sam: Yeah. That cool?
Port Knot City’s Hologram: Hell yeah, go for it. Been waiting forever and a day for this.
Port Knot City’s Hologram: Wait. Where’d you get that? That little guy. Same as mine! Where the hell’d you get it?
Sam: Yeah, I can’t really say… but the little guy he came with the pod, if you gotta know.
Port Knot City’s Hologram: And who’d you get the pod from?
Sam: Igor from Corpse Disposal.
Port Knot City’s Hologram: My little brother. So, what, he just "gave" one of these to you? Why?
Sam: I was there with him. At the end. We were moving a body. Things went to shit. There’s BTs everywhere. And one of ‘em grabbed him. So he told me to take it and run.
Port Knot City’s Hologram: That right… So what’s your story? You live through a catastrophe like that only to keep on doin’ the same work? Okay… Been a long time coming, I suppose. You take good care of that little guy. He belongs with the expedition. With you.
Sam: All right.
Port Knot City’s Hologram: Better if you take this with you too, I reckon. Can’t think of anyone who could use it more.
Amelia Hologram (of Hologram?): Sam, you’ve done it. Port Knot City is back on the grid- This community, a part of the UCA. Their data, a part of our shared wisdom. With enough time, and enough chiral printers, they’ll be able to build ships. And, one day, the waters will be ours again-all because you led the way. Though what follows in your wake isn’t always good. Any city that joins the UCA becomes a bigger target for the terrorists. But we have to accept the dangers and press on, no matter what. The rest of America is waiting, Sam. Waiting for you to take the first step and connect them to the chiral network. I know you can reach them. Make us whole again.
Port Knot City’s Hologram: Thanks. One more C in the UCA, huh? So, you fixin’ to cross the lake and head west?
Sam: Yeah. We got a boat?
Port Knot City’s Hologram: Nah, not for years now… Terrorists took out everything Bridges that floats. Only boat in town belongs to a private courier.
Sam: Private courier? Don’t tell me—Fragile Express?
Port Knot City’s Hologram: That’s the one. Already spoke with their rep. I’m having them load the boat with some of the supplies you brought us. On bet the folks in Lake Knot’ll be tickled pink to see someone come into port. Been a while I expect. Head on down to the harbour when you’re ready. It’s right outside the distro center. Don’t worry, Port Knot never gets the rain. Feel free to rest up in your room before you head out.
Man: Brought you an astronaut. Mankind can go anywhere. Even outer space. You’ll be out of there in no time. And the second all this is over, I’m gonna take you wherever you wanna go. (whistle a melody)
Man in a Golden Skull Mask: The name’s Higgs. The particle of God that permeates all existence. Ah, so it was you that dragged him into all this?
Higgs: Heh. Bloodied but unbowed.
Higgs: What’s that? Bridget Strand is dead? America’s last president. Dead and burned. Oh, and now the girl’s been chosen to take mommy’s place… Well that won’t wash. She’s not cut out for politics, is she. Oh, but don’t worry. I’ll find her. I’ll keep her real safe. You see, I’ve come to understand the truth of the Death Stranding. Oh, there’s so much you people don’t know. The girl, for instance-she’s not like you or me. DOOMS ain’t her thing. She’s more into destruction on a worldwide scale. An Extinction Entity.
Higgs: Oh, it’s so hard to form connections when you can’t shake hands… Fortunately, I’ve got a good connection to the other side. Now you? You’re no bridge. But me? I’m bound to all of it-this world, that world, and our sweet little angel of death.
Higgs: You’re on the menu. All it’ll take is one itty-bitty voidout to blow us all to kingdom come! So how ‘bout it? Aren’t you getting tired of the grind? Isn’t this what you’ve been waiting for this whole time? A game over!?
Die-Harman: (via codec) Heads up, Sam. According to our damage assessments… It would only take a single voidout to total Port Knot City. A single BT, allowed to make contact with a civilian would be enough. We can’t let that happen. You’ve got to deal with that BT right now.
Heartman: (via codec) Incredible. Simply incredible. For the first time in history, a human being has defeated a BT. Were you not a repatriate, I doubt it would have been possible. Not only does contact with your fluids pose no risk of triggering a voidout… but in much the same way as your ka is rejected by the Beach… your blood can be used to expel BTs from our world and return them to the other side. You’ve given us hope, Sam. Perhaps we may yet be saved.
Mama: (via codec) Gonna catch a ride on that boat, Sam? Before you do, be aware that you’ll have to leave behind any cargo you haven’t gotten around to delivering. It’d be a shame to abandon something important, though, especially if you were close to finishing a run. My advice? Put that stuff in your private locker in Port Knot City. Or, if you’re feeling responsible, you could just delay your boat trip until you’ve tied up loose ends. It’s your call.
Mama: (via codec) Looks like you’ve got an empty container there, huh? Feel free to submit junk like that to Bridges. You might not have a use for it, but we do.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) By handing over excess materials to a facility, you can increase the amount stored on site. Now these materials can then be used later for equipment fabrication and so forth. Just remember that each facility has separate stores, and that the amount on hand differs from site to site. Don’t get carried away.
Loudspeaker: Thank you for your continued support.
Sam: You came through, then.
Fragile: I don’t break that easy. Name notwithstanding.
Sam: You saw that asshole too, right?
Fragile: Higgs. He’s the leader of a separatist group.
Sam: Seemed to me like he was controlling that BT.
Fragile: That’s a level seven for you. Higher, maybe.
Sam: Seems like you know a lot about him.
Fragile: Used to work together. Guess you could say we had a contract.
Sam: You did business with terrorists? Whoever pays, huh?
Fragile: He wasn’t like that back then.
Sam: So what’s your angle? You wanna save the world? Or you wanna fuck it all up like him?
Fragile: I wish I—I just wish things were different, alright? Here’s our ride. Don’t worry. She still floats. Come on, we’re the only cargo left.
EPISODE III “FRAGILE”
Fragile: We should get there tomorrow.
Fragile: I told you before, Sam. The past just won’t let go. Listen, I have something to ask of you. It has to do with that asshole, Higgs.
Amelie: Sam? Sam? Do you remember?
Fragile: It’s almost time to go, Sam.
Amelie: I had no idea until you told me… No idea that I was alive. Living is no different from being dead if you’re all alone.
Young Sam: You’re warm… I don’t wanna go home. I don’t wanna go home! (starts crying)
Amelie: Here. It’s a dreamcatcher. Wear it when you sleep, and I’ll keep the nightmares away. I’ll always be with you. Did you forget how to go home? Come on. I’ll take you halfway. And then you can do the rest by yourself. Better now? I’ll be waiting for you on the Beach. Come and find me.
Amelie: We used to play together a lot in this place.
Sam: You brought me here. I couldn’t make the trip on my own.
Amelie: So long as you have a body to return to, you can’t come and go as you please…
Sam: So, you can’t just come back East through here?
Amelie: Not until you make us whole again, Sam. I’ll be waiting for you on the Beach. Come and find me.
Fragile: I don’t know how you sleep. (offers a cryptobiote) Need a pick me up? Welcome to Lake Knot City. What?
Fragile: Let’s go. This cargo’s from Port Knot City, bound for Lake Knot. I’ll leave these up to you. The dispatch terminal is up ahead. In the meantime, I’ve got some business to attend to. Later, alligator.
Lake Knot City’s Hologram: Welcome, welcome. We were watching your boat the whole way. Hate to be a hard-ass, but I’ve gotta ask. Everything you’re transporting above board? Nothing dangerous or illicit? I’m sure they checked you on the way in, but I’m gonna have to take a second, look. All clear. Not picking up anything unusual. Cargo looks great, too. Been a while since we got some of this stuff.
Lake Knot City’s Hologram: Sorry for the hassle. Can’t be too careful these days. Oh—we heard you were carrying a Q-pid. That right? You’re cleared to link us up. So we’re finally on the network. Long time coming. We won’t hold anything back. Capital Knot city’ll get everything. If all this info sharing makes everyone safer, I’m all for it. You can bet I’m not the only one here who feels that way. I suppose it was better when Bridges I first came this way. Least I don’t remember terrorists and BTs making our lives difficult back then. Well, be careful out there. World’s not what it used to be. And thank you.
Amelie’s Hologram: Finally made it past Ground Zero, Sam? Congratulations. And thank you. It’ll only get harder from here, though. When we first came through, it was different. Peaceful. The three cities out there; Lake, Middle and South Knot, were all on board with our plans for reconstruction. Fragile Express was contracted by all three and kept supplies moving-and people connected. But that all changed a year ago when the separatists carried out their attacks. One took out Middle Knot City. They detonated nukes from the old days. Half of South Knot City went up in the other. Casualties were devastating. Bridges doesn’t have the resources to link up the remaining cities on its own. We need to secure the support of everyone-even those who want nothing to do with the UCA, impossible as that may seem.
Die-Hardman Holorgam: The situation has changed dramatically since Bridges I first went west. The destruction of Middle Knot in particular forced us to adapt a new strategy. It’s like Amelie said. We don’t have the time or resources to construct another knot on that scale. That’s why we’ve taken to cutting deals with preppers and the like. Our only recourse is to utilize their shelters to bolster the strength of the network.
Sam: Takes a special kinda person to live out here on their own. The kind that’ll tell us to fuck off if we ask ‘em to join the UCA.
Die-Hardman Holorgam: Oh, we know. No one’s expecting them to say yes up front. But even if they don’t like dealing with most people, they got on okay with Fragile Express.
Sam: Don’t tell me—you want us to use her credentials to get in good with them.
Die-Hardman Holorgam: Bingo. She’s agreed to it, too.
Sam: And in exchange, she gets?
Die-Hardman Holorgam: Nothing really. A chance to get back at Higgs, I suppose. I can’t blame her for wanting one. He took everything from her and then some. Time heals some wounds, but not hers. The work ahead won’t be simple or easy, but it needs doing. Get some rest for now. We’ll talk more later.
Young Sam: Here.
Amelie: For me?
Young Sam: It’s called a Quipu. It means “knot” in old words. You can also use it to count stuff. I add a knot when I make a friend.
Amelie: Okay. Then, how about I add another knot every time I see you?
Amelie: This must be very important to you if you were able to bring it here. Very special.
Young Sam: It is special. I made it for you.
Amelie: I’ll treasure it, Sam.
Fragile: Something to eat?
Sam: Why are you here?
Fragile: Ask your boss man.
Sam: No, I mean why are you “here?”
Fragile: Got a delivery for a porter.
Fragile: You’re gonna need this on the road ahead. This will ID you as an associate of Fragile Express. It’s woven from my blood and chiral crystals. Think of it as a kind of bond. Preppers ‘round these parts won’t give you trouble so long as you’ve got it. We were the only people making deliveries out here. This was our territory. Until Higgs fucked it all up. Me, the Express, our reputation—all of it.
Sam: And now you want to fuck him back? On your own?
Fragile: I’m not on my own. The cave. Port Knot City. Next to your bed. So far apart, yet somehow we keep meeting? All that BT country in between where I should’ve been caught in a voidout… Yet here I am.
Fragile: Here I am.
Sam: You can use the Beach?
Fragile: I have -a- Beach. You’ve got yours, I’ve got mine. I use it to jump across space. I can’t conjure up BTs the way Higgs can, but I can go after him. Chase him to the Beach. Problem is, everyone’s got their own way in. I’m only allowed to pass through the Beach I know and understand. I’m sure you’ve heard the term “multiverse.”
Sam: You all right?
Fragile: The jumps take a lot out of me. Suck my blood dry. You’re going to Edge Knot City, right? Place is full of terrorists. But if you’re dead set on it, then you’re gonna have to deal with Higgs sooner or later.
Sam: Look, I make deliveries. Killing monsters and terrorists, that’s not what I do.
Fragile: What if we did it together? I could use my power to help you. We don’t have to want the same thing to be on the same side. I could “send” you. Across my Beach. To any place the chiralium’s thick enough. Any place connected to the chiral network.
Sam: And what do you expect in return?
Fragile: I expect you to think it over. Here. Call it an incentive. And call me if you need me.This will keep us connected. See you when I see you.
Man: BB, BB. Can you hear me? Can you hear me? It’s daddy.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam, access the wake Knot City delivery terminal. Sam, to review, your present objective is to extend the chiral network from Lake Knot City to South Knot City. To that end, you’ll need to utilize prepper shelters as waystations. Frankly, it won’t be easy. Fragile’s tried to get some of them on board, but you know how preppers are. More than a few won’t want anything to do with the UCA. So we’ve got to prove to them they’re better off with us. Figure out what they need and what we can provide—and then deliver. Do that, and they just might agree to join us. All right, get to it. The list of orders is on the terminal.
Mama: (via codec) An empty container tagged with a fake ID, AKA decoy cargo. Could be useful for fooling folks who can’t get enough of other people’s deliveries.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) You’re passing through MULE territory. Move fast and quiet, ‘cause if they see you —if they catch you… To think that their parents were porters like you who risked life and limb to try and keep our country together. And now their broken children carry on the work without any understanding of what it once meant. It’s a ritual to them, the delivery. An insatiable addiction. And they’ll be coming for you to get their next fix.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Thanks. Sam Bridges, I presume? I’ve heard of you The man trekking across the country trying to reconnect folks. I appreciate you bringing me this. I do. Times have been tough without Fragile Express to handle deliveries. Let me just check the cargo… Wow, you took really good care of this. Met Bridges know how the V&V testing goes. Thanks again!
South Knot City’s Hologram: I need you to understand something. It’s about Fragile. You might’ve heard she helped terrorists. That she didn’t care who got hurt. But I’m telling you that’s gotta be bullshit. Her and her people put their lives on the line to get us what we needed. She’s a hero through and through. Look, I was born in this shelter. The only world I’ve ever known is within these walls. So when people talk about America I can’t even begin to imagine it. But if that Q-pid connects me to everyone else, I won’t have to. So yeah, I wanna join the UCA. I wanna see what I’ve been missing.
South Knot City’s Hologram: And with that, my standalone 3D printer is capable of chiral printing, Assuming it works, the evo-devo unit should enable me to replicate all kinds of archived objects. We can rebuild America one piece at a time. In the meantime, I can use the network to see what’s going on in the cities, track MULE and terrorist activity… It’s like you brought me the whole wide world in that package. Thank you, Sam! Let’s do business again. Oh yeah. I’ve got a little something I’d like you to put through its paces. An assist unit I developed myself. Works perfectly in sim trials, but I need someone to test it out on solid ground. And if it makes your job a little easier, all the better.
Mama: (via codec) Sam, active skeletons attach to your legs and augment your physical capabilities. The one you’ve got there is a load-bearing AS designed to reinforce your joints. Just wearing an AS will provide additional support, but you can also “boost” it to maximize its potential. Go ahead and take it for a spin. You won’t be disappointed.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Thank you kindly. Come round again soon.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) All right, that’s one prepper waystation. Two to go.
South Knot City’s Hologram: I’ve been expecting you. You are my lifeline. I’ve only managed to get this far thanks to porters. And you don’t ask for anything in return. You have my gratitude. Let’s see how’s the package… Wow, this is great. Excellent job. Thank you!
South Knot City’s Hologram: Ah, so you’re here on behalf of Fragile Express. Please tell me you put the terrorists behind you. When Fragile, the daughter of the founder, started associating with other couriers, things started getting scary around here. Rumours say that she caused the explosion at Middle Knot City and there’s a part of me that believes it. Of course, she could be just another one of their victims. Are you connecting the chiral network? I don’t mind a contract with Bridges, but I’m not going to join the UCA. Go ahead if you’re fine with that.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Maybe you already heard it from Fragile… but preppers who don’t wanna be a part of the UCA, can still sign a contract with Bridges to join the network. They get to use our delivery services and other basic chiral network infrastructure, much like our full members. Similarly, you’ll be able to use their chiral printing facilities to replenish your supplies. They are not, however, obligated to exchange data with us. So don’t expect them to share intel or help with the development of new tech. In an ideal world, everyone would be a part of the UCA, of course. But failing that, we want everyone to at least be a part of the network. They can always change their minds after the fact. The Q-pid will interface differently with the terminal depending on the type of contract. So connect your Q-pid to confirm.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Her company just got too big. In times like these, we should all keep it close and tight. That goes for couriers, too. Otherwise we’ll just make the same mistakes. Republics, Federations, Coalitions, States…. Connecting all kinds of people together… It’s just asking for trouble. Sorry, it’s been a while since I last talked to anyone. Travel safe. See you around, then.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Good job, Sam. That’s two prepper waystations integrated into the chiral network. Just one more left.
South Knot City’s Hologram: You’re not with Fragile Express, are you? Oh I get it. Bridges is using their IDs to complete the delivery. Well good work, son. I’ll take that off your hands. Package looks… brand new. Wow. Been a while since I’ve seen cargo in such good shape. Thank you kindly. I know it couldn’t have been easy.
South Knot City’s Hologram: What’s your angle anyway? Everyone knows Fragile was behind the attack that wiped out Middle Knot City. Only a damn fool’d trust that terrorist to deliver shit now. But here you are, filling in. Keeping her business alive for her, am I right? I swear, can’t trust anyone these days… Don’t try sweet-talking me onto your little network. You know why there’s been so many terrorist attacks recently? ‘Cause you all pissed them off with your talk of reuniting the country. Join the UCA? I may as well paint a bull’s eye on my shelter. Keep my deliveries coming, we’ll get along just fine. Don’t need any trouble. Though I will say, I appreciate these hematic grenades of yours. Quality work, I’ve gotta admit-and not the sort of equipment the UCA oughta keep to itself. There’s a lot of freelance porters operating in these parts after all. If I could churn these out by the boatload and gear up those folks. …Now you’re good people. I can see that. And you brought my order like I asked. But it’ll take more than that for me to agree to what you’re asking. Chiral network is a big step… But, if you could prove to me Bridges is an organization I can trust. Hmm, how ‘bout this? Do another run for me. I’ll put the details on the terminal there.
South Knot City’s Hologram: The toolkit you’re looking for ought to be in my old shelter. It’s been tagged, so you shouldn’t have any trouble finding the place. I’ll unlock it remotely once you get there. Oh, and take some of those hematic grenades you brought with you. Nothing you’ll want more when those BTs put your back against the wall right? Here’s hoping it won’t come to that.
Sam: Fuck, fuck, fuck… Come on. Come out and play. Okay.
South Knot City’s Hologram: What? You’re kidding me. You actually went into that hellhole? You don’t know what this means to me. Whole lotta memories in these old tools… the kind of stuff you can’t replace with a chiral printer. Thought I was giving you an impossible mission. Ohhh. Yes. Now we’re talking! Wait’ll you see the weapons I make with these! Sam Bridges, you are incredible. Thank you!
South Knot City’s Hologram: You know to be fair, Fragile and her crew never did me wrong. Could say I owe them, even. But if they’re running with Higgs now, then that makes them as bad as him, don’t it? It’s as if all the motherfucking terrorists are coming together, like one big happy family. Might be time for us to do the same… Maybe there’s hope for us after all-least if there’s more folks like you in the UCA. Safety in numbers, huh? And a new America to boot. Connect me to the chiral network.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Right. Now that you’re looking out for me, it’s only fair that I look out for you. So long as you keep me connected, I’ll keep on supplying you with my best tools. And together we all might live a little longer. Oh, by the way… Check out this beauty I made. It’s called a bola gun. Should keep anyone from giving you trouble for a minute. It’s non-lethal, of course. I can’t promise it won’t leave marks, but that’s on them. If you think you could use it, take it.
Mama: (via codec) A bola gun, huh? That could come in handy. As is, you can use it to restrain human targets without killing them. But swap out those wires with strands spun from your blood, and it might even work on BTs. Go ahead, give it a whirl.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Huh, you’ve done your bit—time for me to do mine.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Excellent work, Sam. You’ve brought three waystations into the fold. The preppers are on the grid and the chiral network is looking better than ever. We’re planning to use a regional distro center as our next waystation. But that’ll have to wait. Got a priority task here-a mess in need of cleaning up. We need you to recover one of Lake Knot City’s system servers. They sent it out for repairs, and MULEs hit the transport on the way back. The server contains validation data for a new delivery system we’re deploying. Once in place, it will use the chiral network to automate deliveries. To us, it’s invaluable. To the MULEs, it may as well be a toaster. A toaster they’ll happily tear apart for the chiral crystals and rare earth metals inside. If we don’t act quickly, we could lose that data. So get your ass to the MULE’s drop site, snatch the server, and bring it back to Lake Knot City. I’m putting the order in myself. Check your cuff links for details.
Sam: Keep it up, keep it up…
Lake Knot City’s Hologram: Welcome, welcome. Die-Hardman said to expect you. Oh, you’ve got the server! Here, let me have a look at it! Nice! The Great Deliverer comes through again. The server’s in perfect condition. It’s a real relief to know all our records are safe. Thank you so much.
Mama: (via codec) Sam, I’ve added a reverse trike to the list of supplies you can fabricate. Lake Knot City was kind enough to provide the blueprints as thanks. I’d tell you all about it, but, uh, didn’t you used to have your own? Same deal-two front wheels, one rear, battery powered. Fitted with an auto-charging unit that kicks in when not in use…. Requires skill to drive over obstacle-strewn terrain… Best-suited to long flat stretches… yada yada yada…. We’re working on securing you another vehicle, so you can look forward to that, too.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Thanks, Sam. With that data we can finally move forward with our plans for the new automated delivery system. I’ll tell the boys to start testing the bots right away. Now, you’ll need to take it to the distro center south of Lake Knot City. Check the delivery terminal whenever you’re up for more work.
Sam: The preppers had some things to say about Fragile. You sure we can trust her?
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: That business with Higgs? Thought I told you she hates him with a passion. Enemy of my enemy, as far as I’m concerned. Don’t take my word for it, though. Just ask her, and judge for yourself. But like it or not, we need her help.
Fragile’s Hologram: Sam, it’s Fragile. I hear you brought three preppers into the network… and delivered everything they needed. That’s some good work.
Sam: Long as we’re shooting the shit, you mind telling me what the deal is with you and Higgs?
Fragile’s Hologram: Been hearing stories, huh? I’ll tell you all about it. In person. Meet me at the distro center south of Lake Knot. You’re headed there anyway, right?
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. A lot of clients are requesting you by name. Now, while there are orders we need you to accept which are critical to the expansion of the chiral network… there are others that you can take or leave at your discretion. It goes without saying, though, that it’s in everyone’s best interest for you to do as much as you can. And more work means more rewards.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) We’ve prepped a prototype bot for transport. Now, you’ll need to take it to the distro center south of Lake Knot City. If these autonomous delivery bots prove reliable, they could revolutionize our supplies distribution network. A lot’s riding on this. So be careful out there.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. If you’re gonna build new road, you need to get to the paver first.
Sam: Oh, whoa that was close. Whoa… By the skin of my teeth.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. Looks like you’re coming up on that auto-paver. Get it going and you’ll have yourself a road in no time flat.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) A highway used to rub through there back in the day. The first expedition team left behind a paver, but to finish the job you’ll need more than that.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Great job, Sam. That road is a sight to behold. This is only the beginning. Creating a transport network that spans the continent is key to our future. That’s why it’s important that you utilize any and every paver you come across to rebuild our highways and byways. Imagine how much easier your work would be if you could drive from coast to coast. Okay. There you go, speed demon.
Sam: Goddammit, man. Okay.
Center South’s Hologram: You’re Sam Porter, then? Been expecting you. We were told you’d help with the bot testing, too. But before we get to that, let’s see how she’s doing. Hm. Pretty as a picture. Got nothing bad to say. These bots aren’t designed to operate outside the network service area. So let’s get the distro center linked up already. And there it is. I’ll start prepping for the tests. You sit tight and wait for HQ to ring.
Mama’s Hologram: Much obliged, Sam. Now the bots can enter the final phase of testing. I designed them myself, you know. My hope is that they’ll lighten the load a little bit. Unlike human porters, if one goes down, it won’t cause a voidout. Before the Death Stranding, scientists used to fret over the singularity—the possibility that someone might create an AI smarter than any human, but it never happened. Machines don’t cause voidouts. They can’t die. They don’t have Beaches. No matter how far they come, machines’ll never understand death like we do. And because of that, they’ll never truly surpass us. Get on the delivery terminal. I’ll walk you through how to use the bots. And don’t worry—I’ll keep an eye on things from over here. These autonomous delivery bots are designed to process some orders for you. Simple, run-of-the-mill orders only. Take a look at what’s available. Cargo transported by a bot is liable to get a little roughed up if the road’s poor. On the flip side, a bot traveling on a well-maintained road is more likely to deliver cargo in better shape. Also faster, in case it wasn’t obvious. Keep that in mind when sending them out. Now we wait for the delivery bot to reach its destination. As of today, there’s just one, but if the test succeeds, we’ll move ahead with mass production. Then you’ll be able to dispatch them yourself. Oh, uh… seems I misspoke. We managed to slap together another delivery bot for field testing. You can decide how to use this one. Sorry… Baby’s fussing again. Thanks, Sam. We’ll talk later.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Good work, Sam. These autonomous delivery bots will benefit everyone-from folks in cities and waystations to preppers out in the back of beyond. …But you must be exhausted. Why not take a break? I’ll bet your BB could probably use one, too. Head for the private room. Go on.
Fragile: Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you. You were sleeping when I cropped by. Thanks for the shower.
Sam: Right… Look, I gotta ask. I’ve been hearing things. About you.
Fragile: “She’s in bed with terrorists. Don’t trust her?” “She’s just another dumbass Higgs fucked over.” “She’s a goddamn hero, that woman.” Tell me, Sam. What does “America” mean to you? Way my dad made it sound, we were something special. The glue that held it all together. More than a nation. A symbol of freedom and hope. We could bring it all back, if we kept on making deliveries and connecting people… He was sure of it. I was a wreck after he died. That’s when Higgs made his pitch. “Together, we can run packages from sea to shining sea.” Back then, he had a monopoly west of here. We both stood to gain a lot from a partnership. Business was pretty good at first. But then, a year ago, when those fanatics started stirring up trouble…. Fuckers hijacked our system. Somehow they got ahold of our security passes and used them to sneak into cities. And just like that we’re delivering guns and bombs instead of medicine and I didn’t even know. We were just cogs in a terrorist machine. Higgs was behind it all. And on top of that, he got his hands on an old school nuke that I ended up carrying right into Middle Knot City.
Sam: You telling me that…
Fragile: Yeah. It was me. I blew it up. Could’ve been different if I wasn’t so fucking blind… So I did everything in my power to stop South Knot City from getting destroyed. I tried to get the nuke out of the city But Higgs was one step ahead. He took his pound of flesh and then some. Some wounds, they don’t heal. Whatever time I’ve got left, the rain took. So there you have it. Everything’s true, except for all the lies. I don’t give a damn about Bridges or putting America back together. But I’m not about to let Higgs and some terrorists take my father’s legacy and shit all over it. That’s why I came to you. So. Trust me now? I’ll be there for you, Sam. All you have to do is call.
Deadman: (via codec) Hey, Sam. Those new sites you’ve brought into the network have helped us to restore more of our archives. Unfortunately, I still haven’t managed to dig up anything about the BBs’ origins. And I’m completely locked out of BB-28’s service record. If I could at least access that I might be able to tell you why you’ve been experiencing those strange episodes. Well, I’ll keep at it. You do the same.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. Check the terminal for available orders.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Higgs set Fragile up, huh?
Sam: Eavesdropping again?
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: It’s all in your cuff logs. And with the aid of the chiral network, we were able to restore Middle Knot City’s regional archives. The records corroborate her story.
Sam: Don’t need you to tell me what’s true and what ain’t. I could hear it in her voice. Son of a bitch fucked her over good.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: No reservations about working with her then, I hope.
Mama’s Hologram: Good news, Sam. The bot you sent out made it to its destination. The test was a success. Got another one prepped for you to use. Take it with my thanks.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) One more thing, Sam. A new delivery type has been added to the terminal. Your hard work’s getting noticed. Because of that, there’s been some talk of offering a “premium” service. Now, it might seem like a hassle to willingly take on extra restrictions, but if you succeed, you’ll boost your rep even more. So if someone asks you to deliver within a time limit, you could counter it by setting the limit even lower, thereby earning yourself a better evaluation if successful. Now if you’re feeling up for a challenge, give it a try.
Mama: (via codec) Sometimes other porters will return Bridges vehicles to the garage. They’re for everyone, so feel free to use them if you want.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Hello. Sam Bridges, right? We’ve been expecting you. The gauge you brought is going to save a lot of lives. Let me do a quick inspection… Wonderful, it’s in perfect condition. Thank you.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Once you connect us to the network, we’ll be able to share our measurements with everyone. You mind doing the honours?
South Knot City’s Hologram: I’m sure they told you, but this weather station was built before the Death Stranding. Bridges I came and fixed it up. Unfortunately, we lost contact with our weather satellites a while back—interference from chiral clouds—so it’s been tough to measure chiralium levels and predict timefall. But thanks to you, this weather station can finally function as intended. You made our jobs easier. Now let us do the same for you. We won’t let you down, I promise. Take care.
Mama’s Hologram: I see you got the weather station back online. Excellent work, Sam. When a region is integrated into the chiral network, it’s also brought “closer” to the Beach, in a manner of speaking. There’s a significant impact on chiralium levels—and measuring that impact is one of the Q-pid’s primary functions. The more we know, the more accurately we can determine where to expect timefall and when. Without the chiral network, we’d be left guessing. Oh, and thanks to your latest accomplishment, you can now review the weather forecast via your cufflinks. Check your map, you’ll see. Ought to come in handy when you’re planning routes. I’ll keep an eye on the chiral density from right here in my lab. It’s not too far from South Knot City. Keep processing those orders and you’ll put that region on that grid soon enough. Good luck, Sam.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Good work, Sam. That’s one more site on the grid. Keep it up and we’ll be finished before you know it. The weather station’s forecasts should be visible to everyone on the chiral network now-yourself included. You can access them via your cuff links. Could be useful when plotting your routes.
Mama: (via codec) We’ve added a timefall shelter option to your PCC. They’re perfect for keeping you and your cargo dry until the weather improves.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Congratulations, Sam… Your PCC’s "levelled up," so to speak. It now has the capacity to produce more complex structures. I’ll let Mama fill you in on the details.
Mama: (via codec) Sam, I’ve added a "safe house" schematic to your PC. It’s a fairly large structure, so it’ll take a lot of time and materials to build. But once complete, it’s pretty much identical to a private room. Give it a shot.
Mama: (via codec) A floating carrier is a kind of tractor cart. Chiral crystals keep it suspended in mid-air, allowing it to move unimpeded over rough terrain. You can load one up with cargo and tow it to your destination with minimal effort. If one’s not enough for your needs, you can hook it up to another and take two. Just keep in mind that carriers require a steady supply of chiral crystals to operate. Make sure you have enough to get where you need to go.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) All the best to you. Stay safe out there.
Heartman: (via codec) Predicting the weather is akin to predicting the future. Some animals have a kind of sixth sense that helps them to avoid danger, but we have something far better: the ability to gather data and act accordingly. Only humans possess this power to plan ahead. We have the capacity to live each day imagining what tomorrow will be like. And our imagination once gave rise to a rich, vibrant culture. But somewhere along the line we lost sight of tomorrow. We reduced ourselves to animals, focused only on the here and now.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Weather forecasts can now be viewed via your cuff links. Should come in handy when you’re on the road. Sam. You can now submit upgrade requests for structures. If there’s one you use a lot, you should definitely consider it.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Thank you. Bridges has always been so good to us. Amelie was a dear friend in the early days. She saw the value in what we were doing and led the effort to get our farm up and running. We’ve been waiting a long time to join the chiral network. Let’s have a look at that wheat you brought, shall we? Well I’ll be! Did you really bring us this much? How on earth did you manage? Oh, bless you!
South Knot City’s Hologram: By the way, you wouldn’t happen to know Fragile, would you? If you see her pass along a message for us. Tell her… “Thanks for saving our hides.” If she hadn’t stepped up, South Knot—and our farm—would’ve been wiped off the face of the earth. She’s a hero-and you can tell her I said so. Oh, right, the network. Think you can get us online?
Mama: (via codec) So Sam, you’ve been run down by MULEs after they pinged your cargo, right? Well, to help prevent that from happening again, we’ve upgraded your own cargo scanner. Say you’re about to get pinged. If you time it right, you can return the favour… and cancel out their pulse with your own. They’ll be none the wiser, and you can carry on without worry. Timing is everything, though.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Thank you! Now to start really using timefall to our advantage. Our farm will be a world first! Truth be told, we’ve got some test fields, but without the ability to predict timefall, the results have been less than stellar. The timefall around here was fairly regular, so we had a reasonable idea of when to plant and when to harvest. But then the terrorists went and threw everything out of whack. Too many dead, too many craters. Weather became impossible to predict. The network’s forecasts ought to help us get back on track, thank goodness. If all goes to plan, we’ll be able to expand our operation and use timefall to cultivate whole swaths of land. We’ll continue our genetic research too, of course, and see if we can’t find a way to help develop a sustainable ecosystem. Hell, maybe we’ll even stumble into some answers about the timefall while we’re at it. We got our work cut out for us, but I’m up for the challenge. Thanks again, Sam. You’ve given us hope for a better tomorrow. I can’t wait for the harvest!
Die-Hardman: (via codec) That’s the way, Sam. Halfway there. You can do it. …Huh? Well, would you look at that! You’ve only just brought the timefall farm into the network and already we’ve got new orders! May as well make use of the return trip.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Be seeing you soon, Sam.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) You know, if you’ve got a floating carrier but no cargo worth mentioning, you might try hopping on it yourself.
Sam: There we go. Uh, dude.
South Knot City’s Hologram: So you made it? Looks good as new. My hat’s off to you. Well, take care of yourself.
Record: Thank you for your continued support.
Fragile: (via codec) Sam, it’s Fragile. Though he calls himself a junk dealer now, your client used to work in comms as a repairman. Could fix anything—from simple wireless terminals to integral parts of the civic network. He was a good man. A pleasure to deal with. But after the attack near South Knot City, he changed. Not that I blame him. We gave him plenty of reason to distrust us.
Junk Dealer’s Hologram: Long time gone, my girl. All because of some terrorist nutjobs… and their buddies at Fragile fucking Express—not to mention the Bridges assholes who had to go and kick the hornet’s nest. Whatever—let’s see the goods. You made good time. Like you’re supposed to. That’s your job, isn’t it?
Junk Dealer’s Hologram: As far as I’m concerned, all you porters are no better than terrorists. And nothing you say will convince me otherwise. So take your Q-pid and fuck off.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Well okay then. Something tells me that if we want to win him over, we need to figure out what really happened to that woman in the hologram. Now, he seems to think she died in the attack… but we checked South Knot City’s records, and there’s no death certificate for a woman matching her description… which is why I asked Fragile to look into it.
Fragile: (via codec) Hey Sam. I was looking through my old client database on the off chance I might find our mystery woman. And wouldn’t you know it, a pretty close match popped up. Facial and voice. She’s still alive. Our junk dealer’s grieving for nothing. I doubt he’ll take our word for it, though. Hang on. He just posted another order. Probably just trying to push our buttons. May as well check the delivery terminal and see what he wants.
Sam: Just had to give yourself a challenge, huh. Sam, Sam, he’s our man… Feel that? Easy now… Hellooo? Fuck this. Someone’s happy. Ugh, fuck me.
Mama: (via codec) You may select "Partial Delivery" to submit required cargo currently in your possession and return with the remainder when convenient. Once the cargo submitted meets or exceeds requirements, you may designate the order complete at any time.
Junk Dealer’s Hologram: Whoa ho ho… shit! You actually managed to get the goods out of there?That takes balls. Well, now. It’s more than I asked for. Not bad. Ya know, those ruins you went to wouldn’t be ruins if Fragile hadn’t fucked us over. Bridges, too. All that talk of rebuilding the country is just stirring folks up. My girl would still be alive if it wasn’t for you people. She was there. When the terrorists tried to take out South Knot. She was already dead—‘cause of you!
Fragile: (via codec) He’s wrong. She’s in a shelter southeast of the ruins. Mind if I take over? If he’s not coming outside, then it doesn’t matter who he yells at over the wire. And I’m guessing he’ll feel better taking it out on me.
Junk Dealer’s Hologram: Hey Bridges, Fragile says my girl is alive. And I’m just supposed to believe her? After what she did? Hell no. You’re gonna need to prove it-and there’s only one way how. I’ll give you something to take to this woman you found. She says it’s hers, you bring her back here to me. Take this with you, too. It’s a skeleton I made that improves stability and mobility. Threw together some of the parts I’ve got lying around. Just so we’re clear, I’m only giving it to you ‘cause I wanna make abso-fucking-lutely sure you complete this delivery. If my girl’s still alive, then when she sees what you’re carrying, she’ll want you to bring her here. You do right by me, I’ll do right by you.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam, the order’s been posted. Take a look at the delivery terminal. According to the junk dealer, the chiral hourglass is extremely fragile. And that kind of cargo is best carried by hand.
Mama: (via codec) That’s a little something from the junk dealer. Sam. That active skeleton is built for speed. It’s designed to augment muscle movement, enabling you to travel faster. There’s even a “boost” function if you really need to hustle—but it’ll eat up battery about as fast as you eat up the ground. To think he made a thing like that outta junk… Talent like his shouldn’t go to waste.
Sam: Yeah, I feel you. We’ve got company.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Are you with Fragile Express? No—you’re a Bridges porter, aren’t you? I… I’m not expecting a package. It’s nothing dangerous, is it? Oh my lord… I never thought I’d see this again. Let me have a closer look. Incredible. Not so much as a single scratch. I can’t thank you enough. So I’m on the one and only chiral network now? That’s wonderful. I’m happy to be a part of the UCA.
South Knot City’s Hologram: You’ll drop by again, won’t you?
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: Take me with you. Please. I have to see him again. I made this for him, you know. When the terrorists attacked, my mother and I barely escaped with our lives. I tried to find him afterwards I did. I just didn’t know where to look. But that’s not why I stopped. My mother never liked him. She made that pretty clear. But I didn’t think she’d go as far as to lie. So when she said he died, I believed her… until I heard that message. It’s him. It’s really him. I should never have given up. Deep down, I knew he was out there somewhere. But I couldn’t leave my mother all alone. So I tried to make my peace with it. Only I couldn’t not even if I’d wanted to. I was stuck in the past, unable to move on… Take me to him. I’m begging you. I’m ready to go. Right now if you want. Just say you’ll take me.
Mama: (via codec) That there’s a handgun configured to fire hematic rounds—bullets loaded with your own blood. Should do some damage to any BTs you come across. The gun draws blood from your body or any bags on hand to fill its cartridges when in use. Length of trigger pull determines the amount loaded into the next round. Longer pulls mean more blood and more potential damage to the BT on the receiving end. Just don’t drain yourself dry by accident, okay?
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: I’ll hold the hourglass. I don’t want it to break.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) As you know, you’ll be transporting a living human being for a change. It goes without saying that any falls or heavy impacts sustained may result in injury to your client. So proceed with caution, now more than ever.
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: It’s not far from here, I think. Look for the tar—where it bubbles up and spreads. That’s how you can tell. It’ll swallow you up if you let it. It’s bottomless. Or so claim the folks who use these places to dispose of chiralium-contaminated waste. And bodies, too. If you don’t have time to burn them, there’s always the tar…
Junk Dealer: Are you hurt? Thanks, Bridges. I can’t believe you’re alive.
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: That’s my line, silly.
Junk Dealer: I thought you were dead.
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: My mom told me you were.
Junk Dealer: I kept it close. Always. But after the attack, it stopped working. I thought about fixing it. Getting the sand flowing again. But it felt too much like… moving on. Like… forgetting you.
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: Well… now we can both move on. Together. You and me. If you’re ready.
Junk Dealer: Of course.
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: The man I knew didn’t peddle junk. He fixed things—made them like new again. Picking up the pieces and making the most of them. That’s what I do best, too. But this is one piece we don’t need.
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: The only time that matters is the time I spend with you. So let’s count the moments ourselves. Together. I’m asking you to marry me, dummy.
Junk Dealer: I will. I do. Yes.
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: One other thing.
Junk Dealer: What?
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: Don’t hate Mom. Please. Tell her this is what we want. Help her to understand and accept it. Because she needs us. And I need her.
Junk Dealer: All right. I’m pretty good at patching things up.
Junk Dealer: Sorry I was such an asshole. I treated you and Fragile like shit. I’m gonna try and make a fresh start with my girl. And though I can’t do half of what you people do out there every day, I’m ready to pull my weight. If you need anything fixed, I’m your man. The UCA can count on me. It’ll take some getting used to, but it’s past time. We will join the UCA’s network. I won’t let you down, I swear.
Junk Dealer’s Girlfriend: We’ll never forget you. Thank you.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Sam, that whole region is connected to the chiral network now. Head for the next area. To connect South Knot City, you’ll need to make a delivery from Lake Knot City.
Sam: Huh? Not sure I follow.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Why not just get them on the network, let them print what they need? Because you can’t print everything. You do know that, right? Food, medicine, organic compounds—that blood of yours that’s proven so effective against BTs—None of that can be sent via the network-only the old-fashioned way. The people of South Knot have been struggling ever since the last attack. Now, if they’re to survive, they’ll need all the supplies Lake Knot can spare. Head back there and pick up the order. By the way, sometimes you might find yourself traveling home empty-handed, right? Wasted trip, I say. Make the most out of it, by making sure you’ve always got an order on your back. For instance, one just came in from the junk dealer. A joint request from him and the chiral artist, looks like. I think it’d be in everyone’s best interests if you took it on. Check the terminal for details.
Mama’s Hologram: Heads up, Sam. I’m detecting abnormal chiral levels to the north of South Knot City. The numbers indicate heavy timefall in the area. It appears to be some kind of storm, but nothing like anything I’ve ever seen before… though, truth be told can’t actually see it either. The storm should be right outside my lab, but with the baby I’m in no position to investigate. Doesn’t seem to have done any real damage yet, but would you mind looking into it for me? Just… be sure to keep your distance, all right?
Junk Dealer: Take care.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) No can do, Sam. Structures can’t be built that close together. You’ll need to settle for a different spot outside the sensor ring.
Sam: Nobody out here but us damn fools… Well, at least I’m getting my steps in.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Come a long way, huh. Hope your cargo held up well as you. Looking good, looking good. Guess you were the right man for the job. So his stuff you brought. Motor and a pouch. They’re not like our usual supplies. New designs, like you heard. To think a junk dealer made this… Heard he was a pro, but even so, it’s impressive work! I’ll notify HQ and try to expedite evaluations.
Mama: (via codec) Hey, just got the evaluation results from the people at the distro center for those prototypes you dropped off. Looks like both caught their eye. The motor, for one, was impressive. They really couldn’t believe it was made from scrap. It can be fitted to a modified truck, and be ready to go in no time. They contracted the junk dealer straightaway, and got it added to the list of supplies that can be fabricated. They had good things to say about the pouch, too. Contract has already been made, and you’ll find the pouch in your private room. If you want to customize your backpack, you’ll need to drop by one anyway. Anyway, I hope you appreciate what those two did for you, and give this new gear a try.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. You can use share lockers to exchange cargo with other porters.
Sam: Hey, don’t be a stranger, alright?
Mama: (via codec) Just so you know, Sam… Distro centers and the like are stocked with materials you can use to fabricate equipment. You can also take what you need to build structures. That said, there are limits to what each facility can spare. Check their terminals to see what they are.
Sam: One foot, right in front of the other…
Mama: (via codec) You can use those little darlings to stun your enemies and give yourself some breathing room. Just equip and toss, they’ll trigger on contact. They deliver a shock that should incapacitate every living thing within the blast radius. Living only, though—they won’t do you any good against BTs.
Mama: (via codec) Sam. Don’t know if you’re aware, but you can customize your pack in your private room. Why not give it a try?
Fragile: Ready to take the plunge? So, the only things you can bring with you is yourself… and maybe a few other trinkets that are really important to you. Okay. Close your eyes. Picture your destination—hold it in your mind…
Man: Take a look. This is what the world looked like hundreds of millions of years ago. There was just one big continent. And do you know what this is? The moon! I’ll show you the real thing soon. I promise. The whole wide world will be yours to explore. You’ll be able to go wherever you want, even the moon.
Sam: Okay. Wonder if anyone’s watching… Gotta stretch my legs.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: The people down in South knot City have had to suffer through a lot of terrorist attacks lately. They’ve not been receiving supplies regularly either. No one’s starving—not yet—but a sense of unease is spreading across the city. We need you to bring them as much as you can of whatever you can-food, oxytocin, the essentials. You’ll also be carrying seeds, earthworm and insect protein paste, organic chemicals, and anti-BT weapons laced with your blood. None of which can be sent via a chiral printer. A delivery will remind the citizens they’re connected to the rest of the country. It will give them hope. And if you can get them connected to the chiral network, all the better. Something’s been nagging at me, though. Fragile checked in a little while ago… Saying that due to some instability with the Beach, she was having trouble making jumps. Until things settle down, she won’t be able to help you out. Fragile’s at the distro center south of Lake Knot if you want to hear the rest of the story. I marked her location on your map. Be sure to take a look. By the way, chiral density appears to be increasing across the board. We’re currently looking into what kind of impact this might have on Q-pid functionality. No need for you to worry about all that, though. Just keep on doing what you do best, huh?
Computer: Unable to process order. Please stand by until the problem can be rectified.
Shady Operator: Oh. Hi. Sam Bridges, presume? Sorry about that. The system seems to be on the fritz. Uh… One of the packages wasn’t processed properly and got left out of the order. Says here the client is Fragile herself. Someone double-tagged it so the system couldn’t tell whether it was for Fragile Express or Bridges. Anyhoo, really sorry for the holdup. And, uh… Careful, the contents are fragile.
Shady Operator: Oh. Hi. Sam Bridges, I presume? Says here the client is Fragile herself. Careful, the contents are fragile.
Fragile: Sam, what’s wrong?
Sam: Fragile? Son of a bitch, it was him!
Fragile: What are you talking about?
Sam: The package I picked up for you, the one from Lake Knot.
Fragile: Hold on I wasn’t expecting any package.
Sam: He said Fragile herself was the client. The system was down, so some Bridges delivery guy had to hand it over in person.
Sam: Look, the point is it was Higgs!
Fragile: Come on! I need to see it now! It’s a nuke! Not again. That bastard can’t do this to me again! The timer’s already started. I can’t stop it. We only have one option. Sam, we’ve got to get rid of it! Take it down to the crater next to South Knot. It’s a tar pit damn near bottomless. If we chuck it in there we just might have a chance!
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Alright Sam. I’ve added the location of the crater lake to your map. Get the nuke there ASAP and dispose of it. You’re at the lake, aren’t you? Hurry up and get rid of that goddamn nuke!
Fragile: Jesus, that was close. You saved the city and everyone in it. Hell of a lot more than I ever did.
Sam: Maybe there was no way of saving Middle Knot. But South Knot’s still here because of me and you.
Sam: What happened to you?
Fragile: By the time I realized what Higgs was planning, the nuke was already at the city gates. I followed the delivery truck and somehow managed to carry the bomb to safety. But Higgs had been on to me from the start. He caught me red-handed outside the gates, nuke still cradled in my arms like a child. So, as punishment, he strips me down to nothing. And then he makes it rain.
Higgs: Listen up, Fragile! I got a proposition for ya! Do you want to live out your days as damaged goods? Or would you rather take damage "for" the goods?
Fragile: Get to the point.
Higgs: All right. If all you want is to save yourself, you just have to jump. However, if you want to see this altruistic streak of yours through, then you’ll have to carry my nuke to the bottomless pit and toss it in. Oh sure, you’ll be the city’s saviour. But you will have to walk naked through timefall to do it. Trade a lot of your time for a little bit of the city’s. Hell, seems like a fair exchange to me.
Higgs: You see, the truth is, I don’t much care for my face. That’s why I hide it. Oh but you… ooh, you just love yours, don’t ya? I bet daddy was real proud. Oh! No, no, no. Now, don’t worry. I won’t mess it up. See, I want your face to be a kind of testament.
Fragile: Why did you do it? Why did you betray me?
Higgs: Because I found someone who completes me. Someone who doesn’t need me to wear a mask. Word to the wise. Even if you do save South Knot, you’ll always be the nutjob who blew up Middle knot. That pretty face of yours will always be remembered as the face of a terrorist. They’ll never stop hunting you. Believe me, I know. Well, they can slap a sticker on you, but you’re still gonna break in transit. So. What’s it gonna be?
Fragile: I’ll take the damage. And the goods. I don’t break that easy.
Higgs: Ah well…good luck with that.
Fragile: I’ll take the damage and the goods. I don’t break that easy. I’ll take the damage and the goods. I don’t break that easy.
Fragile: Because I’m Fragile… but I’m not “that” fragile.
Sam: Well there it is. You “are” a goddamn hero. You did the right thing.
Sam: This belongs to you.
Fragile: I’m no hero, Sam. That choice I made? I’ve regretted it ever since. All I had to do was jump, and I could have saved myself.
Sam: But instead you saved a city. And more than that, you gave people hope.
Fragile: Well, now there’s only one person left for me to “save.” I’m going to make Higgs regret he ever crossed me.
Sam: By killing him?
Fragile: Can’t. He’s way more powerful now than he was before. But you could take him. You could. But promise me… Promise me you’ll leave him alive. There’s something I wanna ask him to his face.
Sam: I didn’t think you were capable of torture.
Fragile: Am now. And I want to know why he betrayed me.
Fragile: Do you want it?
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Sam. Don’t forget about the supply run to South Knot City.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Outstanding, Sam. Now let’s get your cargo to South Knot City…. and put those people on the network.
South Knot City’s Hologram: Great to see you, man. You don’t know how much we’ve been looking forward to this. Lotta people hurting here. Gotta start with those who need it most. Given this quantity, everyone ought to get a share. We really appreciate it.
South Knot City’s Hologram: So, is it true the chiral network is finally becoming a reality? I can’t believe it. Really can’t. Feels like a dream, almost. If it’s not a dream, then yeah, we want to be part of it.
South Knot City’s Hologram: I don’t think we could’ve survived without outside assistance. The chiral network could make a huge difference. Make repairs more manageable. It could help us finally get back on our feet. You’ve given us a gift more precious than you know. When we lost Middle Knot City, it felt like there’d be no end to the violence. I woke up every day thinking it might be our last. And yet, here we are. By the grace… yeah, well. Let’s just say I don’t believe in miracles or luck. Hell no. I believe in people—and it was people that saved us. Just like you did today. Now it’s our turn to pick up the pieces and do the same for others. I’m… I’m sorry, I gotta get this to everyone. We really appreciate it.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Good work, Sam. I’ll see that your supplies are ready and waiting. I suppose I don’t need to tell you to take care when you come fetch them…
Amelie’s Hologram: Thanks, Sam. You’ve saved South Knot City and brought our people even closer together. You’re halfway there—halfway to making us whole again. Listen, there’s something I need to tell you.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Sam, Amelie’s connection just dropped. We’ve been routing her calls through the old system. Must be a problem with the lines. I’ll look into it. Let’s just hope it’s nothing more serious.
Mama Holorgam: Sam, I’m detecting a chiral spike. Right in your vicinity. These numbers are off the charts. This might explain the sudden service interruption.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Whatever’s causing it could pose a threat to the knot cities. Get out there and investigate!
EPISODE IV “UNGER”
Sam: What the…? Where the hell…? This cargo came along for the ride, huh? Easy now. Gotta be a way back…
Sam: Who is that asshole anyway…?
Combat Veteran: Remember… remember… My Dear… I can’t remember… Remember… remember… To me! To me! Withdraw to rally point! We need reinforcements! Advance! What’s wrong…? Taking fire! Open fire! We’re pulling out! We need reinforcements! Advance! Remember… remember… BB. Taking fire! Light ‘em up! Fall back! We need reinforcements! Get back out there! Enemy sighted!
Soldier: Freeze! Hey! Put it down!
Mama: (via codec) Sam, do you read me?
Mama: (via codec) Everything okay?
Sam: Where am I?
Mama: (via codec) Say again?
Sam: What happened to me?
Mama: (via codec) The second you left the distribution center, the storm blinked out. Just like that. Chiral density dropped almost as fast.
Sam: I got caught in the storm and… I was in a war zone…
Mama: (via codec) You been daydreaming, Sam? Comms were only down for a second.
Sam: No, it was much longer than that. There was this soldier, he tried taking my BB…
Mama: (via codec) If you say so…
Sam: The little one can vouch for me.
Mama: (via codec) Sam… it’s been less than a minute since we last spoke.
Sam: That can’t be right. I was there for… for hours, it felt like.
Mama: (via codec) Maybe you should rest a bit.
Sam: Never mind. Coming to you.
Mama: (via codec) It’s a shame I can’t meet you halfway.
Sam: Yeah I know. Your kid, right?
Mama: (via codec) Be careful, Sam. I’m looking forward to seeing you. It’s been a while since I’ve had company.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam, proceed to Mama’s lab. Mama was part of the Q-pid R&D team. However, from the start, she had concerns about its long-term viability. Felt Q-pids had fundamental flaws. …Which might explain the strange phenomenon you experienced and the spike in chiral density. You should pay her a visit, see what she has to say.
Mama: Don’t worry, Sam. She doesn’t bite. Glad you made it.
EPISODE V “MAMA”
Mama: She’s hungry.
Sam: What the…
Mama: There. She’s down. Even though she can’t drink it, my body keeps making it. Going through the motions really helps with the soreness, though.
Sam: What is she?
Mama: She’s my daughter. And I’m her mama. It’s okay. She’s only connected to me. She’s not like the other BTs. You can see it, right? You’re hooked up. Now you know why I can’t leave. So about the supercell… (to her “daughter”) Do you think the grown-ups could talk for a minute? Thank you. Look at this. This was the chiral density when the supercell appeared. But almost immediately after, it dropped to normal levels. In other words, the storm vanished in less than a second.
Sam: That’s impossible.
Mama: Okay. Let’s pull the data from your cuff links and take a look then.
Mama: Well, that’s all pretty crazy, but at least you’re not. Timestamps in the logs support your story. Best guess I can muster is you were, "trapped" between two different spacetimes.
Sam: Two different spacetimes?
Mama: HQ is doing a deeper analysis. All they’ve got to work with is the frequency spectrum, but with a little effort, they should be able to figure out where you were sent.
Mama: Another chiral spike. She’s been crying more at night. Chiral density increases in regions connected to the chiral network. But the numbers are way, way higher than I projected.
Sam: That’s bad, right?
Mama: Yeah. More connections means more chiralium. Early on, Bridges did acknowledge this as a potential problem, so I installed special limiters in the Q-pids to keep the chiral levels in check. Looks like the limiter in yours is faulty, though. The supercell and the temporal phenomenon that you experienced may be related to all this.
Sam: Are you saying if I keep extending the network we might be in for more “temporal phenomena?”
Mama: Maybe. Or worse… we cause another Death Stranding.
Sam: Uh, but you got a solution?
Mama: Of course I’ve got a solution. Right over here, in fact. We just need to integrate a limiter into this new Q-pid I threw together. Thought I’d make you one, since you said you were coming.
Sam: Great. Crisis averted.
Mama: No. Crisis not averted. We need to rewrite the software to work with the new hardware.
Sam: Well, then get to it.
Mama: Yeah, um… no can do. I designed the hardware, but the software was written by someone else.
Sam: Well, where can we find him?
Mama: Her. The name’s Lockne. She was a member of Bridges I. You’ll have to head to Mountain Knot City.
Sam: Alright. I gotta take a Q-pid there anyway.
Mama: Oh good. That’s great.
Mama: Here we go again. I don’t know what’s gotten into her lately. She’s so scared. Look at her.
Mama: Maybe the other side wants her back. Or maybe she wants to go back. We can’t keep on like this. That much I know.
Sam: You wanna tell me what happened?
Mama: She was due… I was in the hospital waiting for a C-section. Then the terrorists hit us.
Mama: Hello! Is anyone there?
Mama: (offscreen) I was pinned under the rubble. Nothing to do but wait and wait… It felt like forever. But no one came. At least I had air. And water.
Mama: Help! Can someone help me please!?
Mama: (offscreen) I don’t know how many days went by. The water ran dry, and the cold set in.
Mama: (offscreen) I gave birth there in the rubble. But instead of bringing life into the world, I brought death. When the timefall stopped, my baby started to cry. She cried and cried and cried. Her life was the price I had to pay to survive. She saved me.
Man (from afar): I hear crying! Here! Over here! Let’s get ‘em out of there. Let’s get ‘em outta there guys! Come on! Dig! Dig! Come on! Just a little bit further! Hold on! Hold on a little longer, we’ll get to you!
Mama: Over here! I’m over here!
Mama: And we’ve been together ever since. But she’s a BT. The ties that bind her to this place bind me, too. You could say I’ve never really been discharged.
Sam: And you’re okay with that? I mean, you know she’s gone. You wanna live your life in the shadow of the dead?
Mama: C’mon, you of all people? You chose the dead over the living. Why else would you be here. I just remembered. Deadman told me repatriates have special blood. Mind if I take a sample?
Sam: Yeah, sure, suck me dry. You already bleed me in my sleep. Bit cold, ain’tcha.
Mama: Just a second. There all done. I want to run a test.
Sam: Mama, are you—
Mama: I’m sorry, Sam. Um, would you mind leaving us alone for a while?
Sam: Yeah, I gotta get to work.
Mama: Sam—Hey, forget what I said about chiral spikes. Reconnecting the world comes first. Maybe we’re making things worse, maybe not. But it’s the only plan we’ve got. Good luck, Sam.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam, the delivery terminal outside still works. Go ahead and get it connected. I’ll give you further instructions from there.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Sam, your next objective is to bring Mountain Knot City into the network. Now this route will take you to a waystation and on to a distro center north of the city. From there, it gets tricky. You’ll have to take a detour to get around the mountains.
Sam: Still want me using this Q-pid on the way? Software’s not been rewritten yet.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: It’s fine. If you link up Mountain knot City after your Q-pid is fixed…the update should filter through the network, stabilizing the connection. Just one more reason to get there ASAP. But for now, make do with the Q-pid you’ve got.
Sam: Uh-huh. Any word from Amelie?
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: None. We’ll just have to hope she’s all right and keep going. It’s what she would want. Anyway, check in at Lake Knot City’s southern distro center before you hit the road. And good luck out there.
Mama’s Hologram: By the way, Sam… I’ve added a zip-line schematic to your PCC. Figured it would come in handy. All you need to set one up is at least two anchors. Why bother carrying cargo across a river or up a steep hill when you can just send it through the air, am I right? If you want a little hands-on experience, you can use the anchors outside my lab; have yourself some fun!
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: The good news is, Fragile’s available and willing to lend you a hand. If you want Fragile to send you, you’ll need to head to a private room. South Knot City looks closest, from what I can see. It’ll be a lot quicker than walking, that’s for sure. But you can’t take any cargo with you, so there’s that. It’s up to you. Just remember the option’s there if you need it.
Combat Veteran: That’s it, Lisa. Don’t be shy. Just like we used to… Come on! Keep up!
Combat Veteran: Sorry. Did I wake you up? Today is Mommy’s birthday. It’s also the anniversary of when we first met.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Check the terminal for available orders.
Mama: (via codec) Did I tell you we added a zip-line option to your PCC? ‘Cause we did. Build a few anchors and link them with a line to travel from A to B in record time. Give it a try.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Well, take care of yourself.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) As a reminder, Sam… when carrying deadly weapons, it’s absolutely essential that you exercise restraint. Doubt I need to say it, but killing is off the table. More corpses means more BTs, and potentially more voidouts. If you kill anyone, you’ll be putting not only yourself but countless other people at risk.
Sam: Wonder if anyone’s watching… Yeah, I feel you. Someone’s happy. That’s disgusting! Grin and bear it. You’ve walked up worse.
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: Oh, you must be Sam Bridges! That one-man expedition team. We may be cut off up here, but word still travels. We’ve heard all about the Great Deliverer. The BT Buster. The terrorist…er… stopper. I’m still working on that last one. Well, I’m just stoked to meet you, man. So—what you got for us? Whoa, incredible! This’ll be a huge help. Thanks. You re not gonna even recognize the waystation when we’re through! All right. All we need now is to get jacked into the network, am I right?
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: Man it sure feels good to be part of the UCA for real. We’ve been literally marooned on an island for way too long. I can’t wait to reconnect with everyone at HQ. Patching up this place is gonna take some work, but I’m feeling revved up and ready to go like never before. We won’t let our country down! Thanks, Sam. And good luck out there. Not that you need it. You’re gonna hit the west coast before you know it!
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Good work, Sam. Next, you need to extend the network to the distro center north of the city. Now’d be a damn good time to do it, too, as they just sent out an SOS call. Info’s still coming in, but it looks like there’s been an accident, and we’ve got injured in need of assistance. Check the delivery terminal for details.
Mama: (via codec) That’s armour for your shoulders and legs. The downside is that you won’t be able to carry cargo on top of it. You’ll have to weigh the pros and cons.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Remember Sam: when the clock sticking, speed is what matters most of all. Review your gear and bring only what you need to make it to your destination as fast as possible.
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: I’ll be rooting for you!
Sam: Okay. Now get it done, Sam Porter Bridges. Whoa! Oh, God… Goddamn, dude.
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: Thank you so much. Our med team should have no trouble patching him up now. You’re a lifesaver. I can’t believe how fast you were. Hey, watch yourself out there. Be a shame to lose someone with your skills.
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: Wasn’t an accident, by the way. It was an attack. Someone slipped explosives into a parcel we processed. Separatist assholes think this land is theirs for the taking. They may be right. Any one us could’ve handled that package. Fuck me… We have to be more careful-beef up our security. Least we didn’t lose anyone this time. Thank you, Sam. Really. I uh… I hear the chiral network is coming along. Do you think the signal’s strong enough to reach us here? I hope so. Give it a try, huh?
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: It worked? Oh… Oh, that’s great. We’ve been starving for info. And if we run into any more trouble, we… we can get the word out sooner. I can’t thank you enough.
Die-Hardman Hologam: All right, Sam. There aren’t any more stops to make before Mountain Knot City. But this last leg’ll be the hardest yet. Rest up at the private room, and check your gear before you set out.
Amelie: Higgs and his people came. They finally reached Edge Knot City. There’s no escape for me now. Everyone’s dead, the city’s destroyed. And what’s left is crawling with BTs. They’re everywhere.
Sam: Where’s your quipu?
Amelie: But I was able to sneak away and reach out to you. This might be our last chance to talk like this. I just wanted you to know that I’m safe… for now. Promise me you’ll keep building the chiral network. It’s our only hope for the future. It’s my only hope for freedom. And when you’ve finished, we can go back east together.
Sam: Amelie, your quipu. Where is it?
Amelie: I’ll be waiting for you on the Beach.
Soldier: Freeze! Put it down! Drop it! Put it down!
Combat Veteran: Back off. Back off!
Soldier: Get him! Don’t do it!
Deadman: (via codec) Hey, Sam. I have some new info you should hear. Recently recovered thanks to your efforts to expand the chiral network. It, um… it concerns BBs. I dug this up on my own, just to be clear. No one ordered me to look. And if anyone asks, put it all on me. No need for you to deal with any blowback. You were just listening to me ramble on the wire, okay? Anyway… It looks like Bridges wasn’t the first to bring back BB tech. …It was a group of separatists. Terrorists opposed to UCA expansion, according to the records. They started using them about three years ago. Right around the time Bridges I was putting plans in place to head west. Seems these separatists were having trouble with BTs, too… and figured that if they could track them, they might be able to steer them into our path. When Bridges caught wind of this, the decision was made to fight fire with fire-to start using BBs as a countermeasure. It’s possible yours was commissioned for that very purpose—a fact I think someone may have tried to conceal, judging by the absence of BB-28’s service record. I always found it strange that we were so willing to utilize technology we barely understood. Now we know why. We’ve been aping methods and techniques employed by others from the start. There’s more you should know. It’s about the original Bridge Baby experiments. Piecing together what little I could find, it looks like they started around the time of the Death Stranding. They were conducted on the island of Manhattan off the east coast… which was completely and utterly obliterated by what was almost certainly a voidout. Back then, these experiments had the full support and approval of the American government. It’s all just guesswork, but I suspect the BB program was conceived to help gain a better understanding of the nature of the Death Stranding. However, due to ethical and safety concerns, public opinion was strongly against the program. Still, they pressed on, and in their desperation to make sense of the greatest disaster of their age, I think they caused another I should also mention that the president himself was killed in the blast. It was after his death—when he was succeeded by then Vice President Strand… that the experiments were suspended by executive decree. Documents were shredded, facilities were decommissioned, and every effort was made to pretend that BBs had never even existed. Which begs the question how some random separatist group was capable of resurrecting the tech decades later. I’ll let you know if I turn up anything enlightening.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. Check the delivery terminal and review the list of orders.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) The people of Mountain Knot City have a pressing problem that needs to be addressed. A tarlike substance has been bubbling up from beneath the ground near them. They’re seeing more of it by the minute, and it won’t be long before it spreads into the city. There’ve already been reports of ejecta inside the outer walls. If nothing is done, the whole city might be swallowed by a sea of tar in the near future. There’s an order from Mountain Knot City. Check the details on the delivery terminal.
Mama: (via codec) That firearm can be loaded with hematic rounds. It’s fitted with a dot sight as well. Should improve your aim.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Be advised, Sam. The case for that antimatter bomb was not designed for long-distance transport. The magnetic traps that keep the antimatter sequestered are delicate. A powerful impact, reckless driving, an unbalanced carrier-there are all kinds of ways the traps could fail. Any abnormalities detected within the case should trigger an alarm. If it goes off, you’re doing it wrong. And if the bomb goes off, we’ll have a disaster on our hands. The kind we can’t come back from.
Sam: This should be on an episode of Ride with Norman Reedus. Fuck yeah. This bike is so cool. It should be on Ride with Norman Reedus. Gotta stretch my legs. Let’s get a move on. C’mon let’s get this show on the road. Yeah, like that. This is just way too steep.
Mountain Knot City Computer: Delivery complete. Displaying performance evaluation…
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: The hell do you think you’re doing, Bridges? That network you’re building is carrying some nasty stuff. Stuff nobody would want anywhere near them. I thought you people would’ve figured that out by now. We want no part of your chiral network or the UCA.
Sam: That voice. Is that you, Mama? Uh, you hit your head there, Mama?
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: I’m not yours, and yours is no kind of mother.
Sam: All right—enough games, Mama.
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: I don’t think you heard me, mister. Mountain Knot City is telling you and the UCA to take a hike. You people keep doing what you’re doing, and you’re gonna put us right back on the road to the Death Stranding. We didn’t ask for you to come and tell us how to live our lives. We’ll decide that for ourselves, thank you very much. All we want from you is the occasional delivery. Nothing else.
Sam: So you speak for the city?
Mountain Knot City’s Hologram: That’s right, I’m in charge. The name’s Lockne.
Sam: Lockne? Hold up, I- I need to talk to you! You’re a technician, right?
Lockne: Look, go home. And don’t come back.
Sam: Listen to me, dammit! I need your help!
Lockne: Well, we don’t need yours, Bridges. You’re only making things worse.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sorry you had to deal with that, Sam. She’s the boss over there, and she’s not afraid to lay down the law. We need her and we need her people. We’ve lost too many others as it is. Without Mountain Knot City, the chiral network and the UCA will never be complete.
Sam: What now…?
Die-Hardman: (via codec) So, here’s the thing… Lockne is Mama’s twin sister. Former Bridges I. Went west with the others. Second group, just like Mama. Mama’s not her real name, of course. That’d be Målingen. Both have DOOMS and both are scientific geniuses. Mama’s primary field of expertise is applied physics. Lockne’s is theoretical. Mama designed the Q-pid hardware, Lockne the software. They said they could converse over any distance. Said they had a special bond that let them. I don’t know how that’s possible, but I’ll tell you this. There wouldn’t be a chiral network without them. They were so close that some said they were like one person in two bodies. Might be why they were able to develop the Q-pid. But they had a falling out after Målingen’s accident. Lockne left Bridges and cut off all contact with us. I don’t know what happened between them. But if we don’t bring Lockne around, our plans to make America whole again are finished. Not that I’m asking you to stick your nose in their personal business…. Though… if you did, it might help us figure out how to bring Lockne around. Which would be great, because our plans to make America whole again are finished without her. In the meantime, if you’ve got any bright ideas, feel free to give them a shot.
Sam: Let’s get a move on.
Deadman: (via codec) Sam. If you stumble across any memory chips on the road, be sure to submit them via the nearest terminal. There’s no telling what kind of rare and valuable data they might contain. You’re sure to make someone very, very happy with your contribution.
Mama: Hey, Sam. Thanks for coming back. Got something for you. These are your new cuff links. They still work as a terminal, but I’ve added a weapon function. I was able to redesign everything from the ground up after the last connection.
Sam: They’re weapons too now?
Mama: That’s right. Cord Cutters. I should explain. BTs are connected to the other side via umbilical cords, right? When those cords bring the matter of our world into contact with the antimatter of theirs… Boom. Voidout. But, just as Deadman theorized, your blood does have unique properties. It can be used to cut a BT’s cord. So, I’ve added that function. Cut the cord of the BT, and it returns to the world of the dead. No BT, no voidout. Win-win.
Sam: These things can cut ‘em loose?
Mama: If you can get close enough without them noticing, yes.
Sam: Cord-snipping super handcuffs.
Mama: Right. Let’s try them out. Cut the cord connecting us.
Mama: She’s sound asleep. I made sure she got plenty of milk. Just do it. Please, Sam. Set us free. This world was never hers, but all the same I didn’t want her to leave it. Even though she is already lost. Truth is… She’s not really my daughter.
Sam: The attack and everything, that was all a lie?
Mama: No, that part was true. My ovaries can’t produce eggs, and Lockne has trouble with her uterus. Long story short, neither of us can have children. I was all right with it. I mean, children, who needs them, I thought. But my sister thought differently. Lockne wanted a child. Someone to carry her genes. She fell in love with another member of Bridges. But he died in an accident. She was devastated, of course, as was I. Back then, strong emotions like that I could feel hers and she could feel mine. When I sensed her desire to join him—to end it—I went to her and said: “Let’s have a baby.” We took one of Lockne’s eggs and fertilized it with his frozen sperm… And I carried it to term. A healthy baby grew inside of me. But then there was the attack. And our bond was severed. I wanted to tell her, but I was bound to the child. I couldn’t just abandon her. But I was wrong. Lockne needs to know. You have to break some ties to forge others. You can’t be tied to everything. If we’re going to reconnect the world, I need to reconnect with my sister first. So please, Sam… Do it!
Mama: Goodbye… All right, Sam. Take me home. To Lockne.
Mama: Sam, would you zip me up? I haven’t been outside in a long time, It’s just too much to take in all at once.
Sam: Are you sure? Thought you might be claustrophobic after your time in the rubble.
Mama: I’ll be fine, so long as I can see out of the bag. The warmth of the light, the touch of the wind, the scent of the world… Lucky you. The two of you are still connected. Okay, Sam. Let’s go.
Higgs: Well, shit. Thad a special surprise prepped and everything, but it looks to me like your hands are full. It’s no biggie. We can always tweak the rules a bit.
Mama: Get ready, Sam. It’s coming!
Higgs: Whoo. He looks hungry. All you gotta do to make it out alive is not get eaten. Sound like fun? Course it does.
Mama: Run, Sam! Run!
Mama: The BT’s have gone. Hold on, Sam… Don’t forget about your cord cutters. You’re out of the BT area. Whoa! Oh, God… You there, Sam?
Loudspeaker: Anyone!? Is someone around!? Nobody’s here.
Mama: There’s no way this’ll hold. The hospital I was staying at was crushed by a bridge. Still have nightmares about it. Still hear the crack before all came tumbling down. I’ve been scared to death of bridges ever since. And yeah, I know how that must sound considering our employer. I’m scared of the dark, too. Don’t sleep anymore—can’t. You can do it… Hold on, Sam… Keep at it.
Loudspeaker: Anybody home? Thanks for the help. Today’s a good day. This one’s for you.
Mama: Keep at it. Hold on, Sam… Wow Sam! That was close. Anyway. Hey, Sam. Do you remember your own birth? Me, I remember being inside the womb… I wasn’t alone. I could hear my mother’s heartbeat. Hers and Lockne’s. We were conjoined twins. One and the same before we were born. But then they tried to separate us with surgery. The operation was successful. But we were still one. We knew each other’s thoughts without saying a word. My joy was her joy. Her pain was my pain. And no distance was too great for us to overcome. Some might call it a kind of telepathy. Divided in body, joined in spirit. We had a Beach just for us. One we shared. Our own “private chiral network,” you might say. With Q-pids, we can build one that will let everyone share what Lockne and I have. I saw it all laid out before me after I signed up with Bridges. A network that could unite everyone, no matter how scattered or different. That would make us whole. It wouldn’t be about bringing people into line. It would be about bringing them into the fold, where they would share and share alike. I knew it could change the world. With Amelie’s help, we finalized the Q-pid design. But after the attack and the birth, everything changed. For the first time in my life, Lockne wasn’t there. But I’m not alone anymore. I can feel her again. She’s close. Thank you, Sam. I feel whole again. You and me, Sis, me and you. I’m sorry, Lockne.
Lockne: Målingen! No! I’m sorry, I’m so sorry. I love you so much. I love you so much.
Mama: It’s good to hear your voice again. I shouldn’t have kept you in the dark. I tried to save her, but I couldn’t.
Lockne: You don’t have to say any more. Lockne, you need to fix his Q-pid. I couldn’t save our child, but you can save our world. Only you. I love you, you hear me? Forever and always.
Mama: Now, make the world whole, okay? Just like you make me…
Lockne: All that she went through. I had no idea. I thought… I thought she’d severed our bond on purpose. That… she stole our child and ran. I’ve fixed your Q-pid like she asked. The limiter should be functioning properly now. There is one thing… Before I sat down to work, I took a long hard look at the code. I’m pretty sure someone’s “tweaked” it. Either that or my memory’s going to pieces.
Sam: Someone rewrote your code?
Lockne: “Rewrote” might be overstating it. Let’s just say it wasn’t the latest version I released. And yet, because of it, I was finally reunited with Målingen…. Could be we’ve found our culprit already. She died beneath the rubble with our child still inside her. Her “Ka” passed over to the other side, but her “Ha” remained, bound to our dead daughter. She knew all this, of course. That’s why she kept one cuff loose. Didn’t want anyone seeing her vitals. Shame she couldn’t use her favourite invention. She did all that to keep me and our daughter safe.
Mama: (with distorted voice) I can hear you.
Mama & Lockne: We’re whole again. We’re one.
Lockne: Like before. In the womb. Remember? Målingen.
Mama: (with distorted voice) Lockne.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Well done, Sam. Thanks to you, Edge Knot City is finally within reach. And you, Lockne. Your work will help ensure that the chiral network remains online. Together, we might just make it all the way west. Now then, Sam. There’s something else you ought to know. We’ve been studying the data from when you claim you encountered those soldiers. We had audio, which doesn’t paint a complete picture on its own, but… The languages, the names and terms we picked out, the munitions we could identify—Everything seems to indicate that you were on a battlefield over a hundred years ago. World War I, to be precise. It wasn’t a dream—wasn’t a hallucination. Maybe you were spirited away to another dimension or something… Given the time discrepancies, maybe you were sent to a Beach. Can’t say anything for certain. That said, I’ve never heard of a Beach turned into a battlefield. But Beaches are shaped by the will of the people, who inhabit them. Perhaps Heartman can offer a more rational explanation. Beaches are his specialty. Unfortunately, he’s still outside the chiral network. Anyway, get some rest. No use dwelling on questions we can’t answer yet.
Deadman: Lou? Looking for this? Surprise! Fragile warped me here. I finally got to visit the Beach. Well, “her” Beach. Don’t worry. I didn’t come all this way for the sightseeing. Your beloved BB has a serious issue.
EPISODE VI “DEADMAN”
Deadman: You may recall me explaining that these incubators connect BBs via the chiral network to their still mothers back at HQ. Bridge babies are quite literally bridges between this world and the other side. Their place is not here with us, nor with the BTs over there. They belong precisely in between, with no greater affinity for one world or the other. But BB-28 here has been “leaning” further and further towards the world of the living. Towards you, Sam.
Sam: That’s ‘cause we’re partners.
Deadman: “Partners?” Sam, a BB is a tool, not a human being. Bridge? Yes. Baby? No.
Sam: So tell me what the problem is.
Deadman: This tool—this weapon—is transforming into a living being. It’s gaining weight. Its brain activity is increasing, it’s accumulating memories… BB-28 is becoming self-aware—becoming an actual child.
Sam: Doesn’t sound like a problem to me.
Deadman: It’s hardware, Sam. Manufactured for a purpose. A purpose it cannot fulfil outside the pod. There is a 70% risk of catastrophic failure simply in removing it. Which hardly matters, because at this point, it’ll cease functioning within a couple of days.
Sam: Cease functioning?
Deadman: That’s right. Not even the pod will be enough. It’ll be bricked.
Sam: What do we do?
Deadman: We reset it. You’ll have to leave it with me, of course. I’ll cut the cord that links the two of you and then perform an operation that reconnects it to the other side.
Deadman: Think of it as a little tug to correct its alignment—to put it back where it belongs, right between the world of the living and the dead. But like I said, you’ll have to be without it for a while.
Sam: You’re sure this will work?
Deadman: Of course, one catch, though: the surgery may erase its memories.
Sam: Erase? Lou’ll forget me?
Deadman: Relax. The BB will still function as intended. You just have to trust me. C’mon. I’m telling you, it’s like a game, just select retry and start again.
Deadman: And “this” is why I hate these things. Sam. I was already filthy from my trip through the Beach, but now your BB has added insult to injury.
Deadman: No one can spy on us in here. It’s just you and me. No audio records of what we say… No video for lip-reading analysis. Get closer. Die-Hardman cannot know of this. Understood? I’ve been doing some dicging into the first BB experiments. “Officially,” they were suspended by the government following a voidout which claimed the life of the then acting president. Documents were shredded, BB technology banned, yes? But -obviously- the experiments continued in secret. …On the direct orders of President Strand.
Deadman: The BBs were essential to solving the mystery of the Death Stranding. Oh, she had big plans for them. They weren’t designed just to be BT detectors. She wanted to incorporate them into the chiral network, to facilitate travel to the Beach…. But none of her plans ever came to fruition. And now BB tech has fallen into terrorist hands.
Sam: What’s Die-Hardman’s part in this?
Deadman: I’m afraid to find out. I don’t know how long he was working for Strand. I don’t even know his real name or his face. I thought you might, since you two go further back.
Sam: He was already wearing the mask when I met him. Something about burning his face.
Deadman: Right. Sorry.Any data we have from back then is classified at the highest level. As far as I know, the director is the only one with clearance. But the chiral network presents a new opportunity. By compiling fragmented data in the public domain from all across the country… I might be able to piece together a little more of the puzzle. Be careful, Sam. They’re watching.
Deadman: Well, Sam! You’re a good sport, I’ll give you that! Still, it’s a fine way to get out of doing the laundry!
Sam: Just fix BB, alright?
Deadman: Oh no, you’ll be doing the fixing. I’d never manage without your help. Check the delivery terminal upstairs for the details. When you’re ready, of course.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Deadman tells me your BB isn’t performing to spec. We’ll have to put your primary mission on hold until we restore its functionality. It’s our only DOOMS-compatible unit… and you’re going to have to deal with more BTs as you head further west. Case in point, Amelie’s informed us of a tar belt youtside of Edge Knot City. A massive region crawling with BTs that Higgs supposedly summoned. And as much as we want you to get her out as soon as possible, you’ll have a snowball’s chance in hell without your BB. So your first priority is to help Deadman restore it to working order. Since he’s on site, maybe the two of you can discuss it in person.
Deadman Holorgam: I’m a little busy at the moment, so I hope you don’t mind if we stick to holo. First, I need you to link up a few preppers in the area so we can increase local chiral density. That’s to bolster the connection between BB-28 and its stillmother. Then, as I explained earlier, we need to correct your BB’s alignment. To facilitate that process, we need to quite literally put some distance between you two—keep it here while we send you out. If everything goes to plan, your BB should resume normal function.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Fortunately, this plan advances our other objectives. We want to integrate this region into the chiral network anyway. So build relationships with the preppers by making deliveries and convince them to come on board. It’s not easy to make a home for yourself in those mountains. Even so, plenty of people had a mind to try. You’ll find shelters scattered throughout. We’ve got a whole list of orders from them, waiting to be processed. Remember, though, that you’re dealing with folks who chose to live out there. Folks who probably value their privacy. Don’t think for a second it’ll be easy to win ‘em over. You’ll have to earn their trust bit by bit-job by job. Another thing, Sam. You’ll be making runs without a BB for a spell. That will vastly diminish your ability to detect BTs. So keep your eyes and ears open for anything out of the ordinary. And stay the hell out the rain if you can help it.
Lockne: (via codec) Sam, you read me?
Sam: Um… Lockne?
Lockne: (via codec) Uh-huh, Calling you via a Bridges’ dedicated line. I’ve been asked to carry on in my sister’s place and provide you with support. We’re whole again. One. Forever and always. We still speak, so… I shouldn’t have any trouble getting up to speed.
Sam: You back with Bridges then?
Lockne: (via codec) It’s not about that. Never was. It’s about what she wants. What we want. And why shouldn’t we help you? You helped us. We’re all connected now.
Loudspeaker: Drop by whenever you like!
Sam: Wanna make a little more noise?
Roboticist’s Hologram: Oh, you made it. Handled with care, I see. I hear you’re the one to talk to about the chiral network. Is it true that a contract’ll let me access your schematics and so forth? I want to share my research with everyone. Let them read it, let them learn from it, like I learned from their work. Make me a part of the UCA.
Roboticist’s Hologram: Very good, very good. Guess we’re in this together now, Sam. I’d love to show you around the place, but it’s a terrible mess.
Deadman’s Hologram: I see you’ve out another shelter on the network. Nice job. Chiral levels are increasing as predicted, which is good. As for BB-28, You’ll be pleased to hear the operation went well. There should be no need for additional major procedures. We’re not out of the woods yet, but I think it’s safe to say that the worst is behind us. All that remains is to continue expanding the network, monitor changes as chiral, levels increase, and make adjustments as necessary. Drug therapy should suffice. Keep it up, Sam.
Roboticist: You’re the best, Sam! I owe you!
Doctor’s Hologram: Hmm? A delivery? Oh, good… Excellent. Everything appears to be in perfect condition. There’s something I’ve been meaning to ask. Would you help me join the UCA? If me being a part of it ensures more people get the medical attention they require, then it’s well worth the hassle. Thank you for that. I might not be as young as I once was, but I’ve still got plenty to offer. Oh, by the way, I came across something I thought you might find useful. You’re more than welcome to it. Your deliveries have saved lives. And, as you know, every life that’s saved is one fewer BT to deal with. Which, in the long run, means even more lives are saved. Please don’t give up, no matter how difficult it may become. I implore you.
Deadman’s Hologram: Thanks, Sam. BB-28 appears to be on the road to recovery. Its affinity with the other side is growing stronger, as we hoped. The convulsions and spasms have ceased as well. I know it’s tough out there without a BB, but you’ve got to keep on fighting the good fight. Just like the kid is. Just like BB-28 is.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: We’ve received an order from a new client. Check the terminal in Mountain knot City for the details-and do it soon. Sounds like someone is in need of medicine…
Sam: They out there, Lou?
Lockne: (via codec) Oh, that’s the roboticist’s custom-made active skeleton, isn’t it? Should be a big help on mountain trails—or any lousy road, come to think of it.
Sam: I’m starting to cramp up… Up and at ‘em. You all right? Oh, yeah right… Ugh, fuck me.
Mountaineer’s Hologram: Thank you. I gave her the medicine. She says she’s feeling better already. But I’m not kidding myself. Even if they did work that fast, the doctor said she needs a lot more than antibiotics. She’s carrying our child. I want her looked at as soon as possible. Please—I need you to go to the doctor for me. He’s got some kind of machine—thinks it might help. I-I couldn’t make out the details—damn connection kept dropping out. But someone needs to go and fetch it. Take anything you need from that shelf. Hell, just take all of it.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) The client’s requested that you complete this order as soon as possible. In other words, speed will determine your eval. Keep in mind, however, that when operating outside network coverage, you won’t be able to fabricate additional items. You’ll need to choose carefully from the equipment provided by the client. Now, the clock won’t start until you set out… So take your time to get your gear in order before you do.
Mountaineer’s Hologram: I’m counting on you, Sam!
Sam: It ain’t the same without you, kid… Enough already. Sam, Sam, he’s our man…
Doctor’s Hologram: There you are. The mountaineer just contacted me, The treatment I prescribed isn’t working. We need to act fast. I hoped the antibiotics would alleviate the worst of the symptoms, but it looks like we’re past that stage. An infection like this so late in the pregnancy can cause any number of complications. Even if she survives, there’s a risk she could suffer brain damage—even brain death. Now, I need you to deliver this prototype bio printer and remote medical terminal to the mountaineer. If you can connect them to me via the chiral network, I can use this equipment to diagnose the patient’s condition and provide treatment. The terminal will allow them to transmit their genetic code, with which I can formulate a DNA vaccine for printing. At present, only vaccines utilizing viruses and other non-living components can be generated in this fashion, but future advancements may free us of this limitation. It should go without saying, but this is delicate equipment. Don’t break it, whatever you do. Oh, and… thank you.
Mountaineer’s Hologram: You’re here! Oh, thank God. She’s barely holding on… Any longer and I don’t know what I’d’ve done. The doctor said we need a chiral connection for this to work. So hook us up. We’ll join the UCA-whatever it takes. Go ahead.
Mountaineer’s Hologram: Doctor?
Doctor’s Hologram: Ah, okay, I’ll… I’ll activate the terminal from my end. Just, just a moment. Everything’s going to be all right. With this device, I can examine her as if I were actually there. The manipulators on the terminal perfectly reflect my movements here. And with the bio printer, I can provide a custom-made vaccine. It’s just a shame my better half hasn’t had a chance to build any more of these things. You’re looking at the only ones we have. Don’t worry, though we’ll do everything we can to ensure your child is safely delivered.
Mountaineer’s Hologram: Oh, thank you. Oh, this is… Oh, this is incredible.
Doctor’s Hologram: You should thank him. The network he’s helping to build is going to change the face of medicine forever. All right, let’s have a look at you.
Mountaineer’s Hologram: You’ve brought us the next best thing to a live-in doctor, Sam. Thank you so much.
Deadman’s Hologram: Nicely done. BB-28 will be back in action soon. The kid’s a real trooper. Stay the course Sam.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Heads up, Sam. Got a fresh order for you from a certain mountaineer. It’ll take you to a region not yet covered by the chiral network, Suffice it to say, this is a chance to change that. Look into it as soon as you can.
Lockne: (via codec) Oh, you’re gonna love power gloves. They provide a major boost to arm and grip strength. If you’re scaling a cliff with a rope, you’ll be able to make your way to the top a lot faster. You’ll also notice a difference when lifting heavy cargo. And that’s not all. Ever take a tumble down a steep slope? You probably tried to slow your descent with your hands, right? Well, if you’ve got these on, you’ll be able to stop yourself that much more quickly. Just promise me you won’t try punching someone, okay? That’s not what they’re for.
Sam: Never stop, Sam. Don’t you dare!
Photographer’s Hologram: You’re from Bridges, right? You don’t have anything else for me, do you? No? Okay, never mind. Never thought lo receive a delivery in such excellent condition. Hey… I have a favour to ask. Do you think you could find my father’s camera for me? It’s… kind of a long story, but he used to conduct field research in the area. My father believed that the key to understanding the Death Stranding was hidden here, somewhere in the caves and strata. But he passed away before he could complete his work. Leaving me to finish what he started. And not long ago, I found something. Something amazing. I was sure it was what my father had been looking for even if I couldn’t see how it related to the Death Stranding myself. What I needed was an expert opinion. Someone who could look at what I’d found and tell me what it meant. So, I grabbed my father’s camera and set out to document my discovery. Took pictures of every last detail… But on the way back, I spotted a group of armed men, and I panicked. Dropped everything and ran like hell. Thankfully, they never saw me. But when I stopped running, I realized the camera was gone, case and all. I’ve been trying to pluck up the courage to go and look for it ever since. But then I remembered that the cargo tag was still on the case. And I figured, you being with Bridges and all that you might have a way to pinpoint its location. Please, I’d give anything to have it back. I’m gonna put in the order. Please understand that camera means everything to me. Until I know it’s safe, can’t think about anything else. There’s a terminal there you can use if you want to get started right away. Here—it’s what I’d take if I were going myself. Knock yourself out.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. Did you find our missing cargo? Huh. It looks like someone’s carrying it around, someone’s carrying it around.
Photographer’s Hologram: Oh wow! Thank you. I was afraid I’d never see it again. Oh thank God. It looks… exactly like it always did! Oh, you don’t know what this means to me. It was my father’s idea to move all the way out here. He thought he could get to the bottom of the Death Stranding all by himself. And we were right behind him. But look where it got us. If you hadn’t come along when you did, the camera would be gone, and all our hard work would’ve been lost before anyone had a chance to see it. We can’t let that happen. The world needs to hear about this. Someone out there will know what it means. So connect us up. We want to be a part of the UCA. I truly hope our work will help to make a difference. Thanks again. I hope we get to meet again before too long.
Heartman’s Hologram: Sam, it’s Heartman. That camera you recovered contained some fascinating footage. The data stored on it was automatically shared with us after you added the photographer’s shelter to the network along with her father’s research materials. Anyway,my lab still doesn’t have a high-speed chiral connection, but I was able to check one of the images against the database at HQ. Based on my preliminary calculations… and the photographic and documentary evidence in our archives… I would estimate the paintings to be in the region of thirty thousand years old if not older. The artists were likely Neanderthals or other precursors who were migrating across the continent. See the dolphin-like creatures there? At the time the cave would have been situated even farther from the coast than it is now. So how could the artists possibly have encountered dolphins? Answer: They couldn’t. It is my belief that they had a brush not with dolphins, but with beached things. And that would mean the Death Stranding is not the first phenomenon of its kind… That it has happened before. Since the birth of our planet, countless species have gone extinct, from bacteria to dinosaurs. Scientists refer to the largest known mass extinctions as “the Big Five.” But there have, of course, been many other extinction events, albeit on a smaller scale. What if the artists were trying to document one such event? That of their own extinction? It would be the first record in Earth’s history of a Death Stranding. And it would also lend credence to my theories. The sooner you come and connect me to the network, the sooner we’ll know. Just imagine the mysteries we’ll be able to solve. I’ll be waiting, Sam.
Deadman’s Hologram: Wonderful news, Sam. BB-28’s vitals are nearly within optimal operating parameters. Just before I called, it opened its eyes, It was looking all over, as if searching for someone… and then our eyes met. For a moment. I think, I tell you, it was almost enough to make me want to keep the kid for myself…. Anyway. I still need to run diagnostics and make adjustments as needed. However, the fluctuating local chiral levels could pose a problem. Think you can bring one more site into the network? Once you have—and once I’ve subsequently confirmed that BB is functioning reliably, I’ll release it into your custody. This is the last step. I promise. Just one more site. That’s all we should need. Good luck.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. I see you received a mail from our mountaineer friend. Seems he’s got an order for you. Might be good to give it a look.
Photographer’s Hologram: You’ll come back again soon, right, Sam?
Mountaineer’s Hologram: Sam Bridges, there’s someone we need you to deliver a package to. She’s a strange bird. Lives even higher up in the clouds than we do, and the “research” she’s doing? Well, it’s out-there and then some. We’re talking straight-up occult stuff, though she wouldn’t be very happy hearing me say so. She claims she’s delving into the “mysteries of the cosmos.” Anyway, I found this rock out in the mountains with a handprint on it. And when I mentioned it to her, she got all excited. I honestly don’t know what kind of close encounter she thinks it signifies…. but I was wondering if you could bring it to her for me? Joining the UCA has opened my eyes to a few things. Like how there are all these people out there trying to make sense of the Death Stranding in their own way. Sure, her ideas may sound like the ravings of a lunatic to me, but they clearly mean something to her. I’d like to help her out. With your assistance, that is You’ll find an official order on the terminal.
Lockne: (via codec) Sam. It’s just like the one at South Knot City. A vortex loaded with so much chiralium that it’s almost off the charts. Slowly but surely, it’s creeping closer to us here in Mountain Knot. At least that’s what I think, but I can’t see it. Not with the naked eye. But the data doesn’t lie. It’s the same temporal phenomenon that you told me dropped you in a war zone.
Sam: “I” told you? But that wasn’t…
Lockne: (via codec) The Q-pid’s limiter can handle most chiral spikes, but we didn’t plan for another supercell.
Sam: “Another” supercell?
Lockne: (via codec) I told you it was the same as before.
Sam: Mama, is that you?
Lockne: (via codec) You got me, Sam. It’s been a while… but not really. Målingen, Lockne—we’re the same. One body, one mind. One being. There’s no point in trying to draw a distinction. Not in this world. We’re all connected. Remember that.
Mountaineer’s Hologram: Thank you.
Spiritualist’s Hologram: Sam Bridges. I’ve been expecting you. The mountaineer told me all about you. This handprint you brought me—or “stencil” as I prefer to call it is a vital clue. It hails from an era long before the dawn of human history, I’m going to date it and lay bare the cause of the Death Stranding. And when I do, all the secrets of the cosmos shall be revealed. Did you know this mountain used to be a pyramid in ancient times? It’s true. To the wellspring. A source of untold power. How else do you think that chiral network of yours works? But I digress. Show me the stencil. Thank you. It’s in excellent condition. All right, connect me to the chiral network. Now I have everything I need to date the stencil. Once I have my results, I’ll share them with you and your colleagues at Bridges. You’ve done a good thing Sam. If you find anything else, be sure to bring it straight to me. I’ll be waiting. You should take this. I’m certain that it will be of use to you in your journey.
Spiritualist’s Hologram: Until we meet again, my friend.
Deadman’s Hologram: Sam, it worked. BB-28 is in excellent condition. No evidence of lingering attachments or homesickness either. Perhaps its memory was erased after all. All that remains is for you to hook it up and take it for a run. I was hoping to return it to you as soon as possible, but… I don’t want to. I mean, I do, but it’s a little more complicated than that.
Deadman’s Hologram: We’ve got a problem. You may have heard about the massive supercell heading right for Mountain Knot City. I left my facility to perform some additional tests on the BB in the field, and now I find myself unable to return. You know the cabin on the mountain side-northeast of Mountain Knot? Let’s meet there.
Sam: You did good, Lou. I’ll see you soon. Ahh… just like last time… Another supercell, huh?
Deadman: Sam. Stay away! Sam!
Deadman: Sam!!! Hey! Whoa!
EPISODE VII “CLIFFORD”
Deadman: (via codec) Sam? Sam?
Deadman: (via codec) Oh, thank God I got through.
Sam: Where are you?
Deadman: (via codec) No idea. I’m seeing tanks and soldiers. The uniforms date back over a century. World War II era, I suspect. Did you see the man leading the soldiers?
Deadman: (via codec) I think it’s the guy you told us about.
Sam: The born-and-bred-warrior asshole who was gunning for BB?
Deadman: (via codec) He must be our ticket home, right?
Sam: Don’t ask me. This is only my second time. And without BB, he’ll be hard to find.
Deadman: (via codec) Lucky for you I’ve got BB here in tip-top shape, just waiting for you. Where should we meet?
Sam: Is there anything unusual or distinct near you?
Deadman: (via codec) I’m in the sewers. Hang on… I can see a tower through a hole—a square tower, right above my position.
Sam: Gotcha. I’ll find it and search for a sewer entrance. Can you sit tight for now?
Deadman: (via codec) Gladly. I won’t move an inch.
Sam: Yeah well if I’m slow, you might have to.
Deadman: (via codec) What?
Sam: That warrior asshole, wasn’t after me. He was after BB.
Deadman: (via codec) Fuck me…
Sam: Right. If he’s looking for anyone, it’s you.
Deadman: (via codec) Oh, no. Hurry the hell up, Sam!
Sam: Keep it together, I’m on my way. And don’t hook up BB either—you’ll lead him straight to you.
Deadman: (via codec) Oh, boy.
Sam: Not that you would, since you hate them.
Deadman: (via codec) I just did because I was scared to death!
Sam: Disconnect. Now.
Deadman: (via codec) Already done!
Sam: Don’t let him take BB.
Deadman: (via codec) How? If he shows up with his soldiers, what do you expect me to do? Fight back? If I have to choose between BB and myself, well….
Sam: You won’t. I’m ending the call.
Deadman: (via codec) Sam. It’s not easy being me. No wife, no children, no friends. And so I sought solace—sought company in the dead. Over time, I made them a part of me—70% of who I am today. But meeting you has opened my eyes. You’re very special, Sam.
Sam: You did good, Lou. I’ll see you soon.
Deadman: That you, Sam? Sam! Over here! Sam, over here.
Deadman: The little one should be working again. Let me see. Oh! Oh, well then…
Deadman: Maybe this is a special Beach for soldiers who died in battle.
Sam: Maybe we should get the hell outta here.
Sam: I’m surprised. I thought you would have abandoned BB by now.
Deadman: Discard precious hardware? Never.
Deadman: So? Do you still share memories? I see.
Sam: Stay here. Seems like I got other memories to tend to. I’m takin’ him down. That should get us both out of here.
Deadman: You know, Sam, I’m starting to understand why BB is so important to you.
Deadman: It’s just a tool. Life and death are supposed to be irrelevant. But we’ve got attached to each other all the same… Haven’t we?
Sam: Kid’s not just a tool. Name’s Lou.
Deadman: Lou, huh? That’s a good name.
Combat Veteran: Get my BB! I need backup! We’re pulling out! We need reinforcements! Move! BB… BB… Open fire! Fall back and hunker down!
Sam: Uh, dude.
Combat Veteran: We need reinforcements! Forward! BB… Get my BB! I want my BB back! Where’s… my… BB…!? Open fire! Covering fire! Retreat!
Sam: Whoa! Oh, God…
Combat Veteran: We need reinforcements! Move, move! Give me back my BB! I need backup!
Combat Veteran: BB… This is all my fault. I should… I should never have put you in that prison. BB…
Man: (from afar) In here! Security panel’s been disabled. We’ll have to breach. Get the tools!
Sam: Lou. Lou.
Deadman: How’s little Lou doing?
Sam: No response.
Deadman: Well look at that. The child’s taken a shine to me. You two were out cold, so I had you brought here. You were right. Whatever you did back there returned us to our own world. I put your cargo and gear in your private box. You slept for a whole day, you know. Slept like the dead. I’m already back in Capital Knot. Fragile’s Beach has been coming in handy. Sam, I owe you an apology. Lou was the name you were going to give your own baby. If he’d have made it. I should have pieced it together sooner.
Sam: Don’t know what you’re talking about.
Deadman: I found some records from ten years ago. A death, sudden in the middle of a town. Young woman in the prime of her life. Nobody knew until it was too late. A void out. Her husband, who was a member of Bridges, had DOOMS. He tried, but he couldn’t get to her in time. The whole town was wiped off the map… Leaving nothing but a big crater. And him. Because he was a repatriate. People wanted answers. Did the man hide his wife’s body on purpose? The only survivor was the only suspect. He was easy to blame, and people did. And pretty soon they were blaming Bridges, too. The man felt responsible. So he left. And his wife who died? Her name was Lucy. She’d been pregnant, poor woman. They were going to name their son Lou. Didn’t happen. But it did. President Strand told me. She talked about you all the time. “He didn’t have to cut all ties and walk away,” she said.
Sam: You wanna shut the fuck up?
Deadman: Calm down, Sam. Take a seat. I’ve told you before about my body—70% harvested from cadavers. Do you want to know the real reason why? Because the story you’ve heard is one I made up. The truth is, I’m Frankenstein’s monster. Artificial. Grown from pluripotent stem cells. And when that vita spark didn’t manifest in all my organs, they replaced the defective ones with those of the dead. I never had a birthday. I’m a soulless meat puppet. No “Ka.” A dead man. People born the traditional way have Beaches. You have one. BB, too. But I have no such connections. No mother. No afterlife. No Beach. You see now why I’m so obsessed with it all? Why I joined Bridges? The battlefield, now that was an awful Beach. But strangely, I didn’t hate it. Because I knew you were coming for me. I’ve never felt that before. Connected to someone. Anyone. You didn’t have to cut all ties and walk away. The president was right about that much.
Sam: Wasn’t anything to walk away from. It’s not like I was ever welcome there.
Deadman: Come on. Even I was welcome.
Deadman: Oh, that. You were holding it. It’s an old dog tag. US issue. Wasn’t easy prying it out of your hand.
Deadman: Clifford Unger, as you can see. I looked him up in our database. Found a match. He was US Army Special Forces. Fought in Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan.
Sam: That’s him.
Deadman: Well, that’s all I’ve managed to dig up so far. You must be caked in chiral matter from the battlefield. Time for a shower, I’d say. Oh, I won’t be joining you this time. The Die-Hardman issue is no longer a concern. I’ve seen to it that our conversations won’t be recorded.
Heartman: (via codec) Sam, do you copy? As you might have suspected, time here stopped while you two were on that battlefield. If my thinking is correct, the dimension to which you travelled is a kind of Beach. To explain a little: our bodies—our “Ha”- all occupy the same world. But our souls -our "Ka"- have Beaches all their own. These Beaches are given form inside our brains by our beliefs religion, philosophy, and so forth. As a result, a Beach can be anything. And those anythings form a multiverse. However, if many people die at once their Beaches can become entangled, creating a “strand field.” This phenomenon is exacerbated in wartime by omnipresent feelings of resentment and despair. Beaches are more easily and frequently entangled. On such a Beach, exits vanish, and experiences cycle endlessly. Picture it like a record player The needle skips, playing the same phrase again and again. They’re fighting a battle that has no beginning or end. Round and round it goes. Now, the battlefield you visited was in Eastern Europe in World War II. Which is strange, given that the man you encountered—Clifford Unger played no part in that conflict. I can’t explain it. But if you can connect me to the chiral network, who knows what we might discover…
Heartman: (via codec) Still there, Sam? If so, I have a request. When you’re ready, head upstairs to the delivery terminal.
Clifford Unger: Can I help you? Holy shit, John, is that you?!
John: Captain? What are you doing here?
Clifford Unger: My wife’s checked in. They don’t want a repeat of last year.
John: I’m so sorry… I didn’t know you were the husband.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Sam, the west side of that region is covered by a massive tar belt. Beyond it is Edge Knot City, the last bastion of civilization you’ll find that far out. It’s your final destination. Once you use the Q-pid to connect it, the chiral network will span the entire continent. The rebirth of America is so close. And remember, that’s where Amelie is being held captive. We need you to bring her home safely. But before you cross the tar belt, there’s one more “knot” we need you to tie. Heartman will help you get it done.
Heartman’s Hologram: Sam, I’d like for you to bring me a few things. First, the dog tags you took from that soldier. Tuck them away in a pocket so you don’t misplace them. Second, Mama’s corpse. Her… Her body shows no signs of necrosis, and I for one would like very much to know the reason why. Closer study may yield information that could prove instrumental in helping us to overcome the Death Stranding. Suffice it to say—
Computer: One minute remaining.
Heartman’s Hologram: I don’t have much time. See to your preparations, I’ll be waiting. You’ll find an official order on the terminal.
Lockne: All right, Sam. Take care of her. And don’t worry. She won’t go necro. Målingen’s special. Be funny if these “Ha” of ours ended up being the key to saving us all…
Heartman’s Lab Terminal: Delivery complete. Displaying performance evaluation… Please proceed into the facility with the cadaver.
Computer: Administering shock. Stand clear.
EPISODE VIII “HEARTMAN”
Heartman: Well you certainly caught me with my pants down. Glad you could make it, Sam.
Heartman: I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to alarm you. But I am what I am. Ah. Please lay her down there. Still no sign of them.
Sam: You know your heart stops beating?
Heartman: It stops every twenty-one minutes. I spend three minutes on the Beach, and then return. Sixty deaths and sixty resurrections per day. Sixty opportunities to search the Beach for my departed family. This is how I live. This is my life. So, while you’ve travelled to and from the Seam an impressive number of times, my Beach count is a little higher. Two hundred and eighteen thousand five hundred and forty-nine.
Heartman: I see myself in that crater. My wife and my child. It’s like looking at the shape of my heart. The doctors called it myocardial cordiformia. Mine is an especially unusual case. I have pictures. Care to see Heartman’s heart-shaped heart? No, you really should. It doesn’t run in the family. You know, I never came to terms with their loss. In the days that followed, became obsessed with an idea: That the Beach is real, and they are on it. I would induce cardiac arrest-three minutes at a time-and search for them. Day after day after day…
Sam: All so you could say good-bye?
Heartman: Quite the opposite. It is said that everyone’s Beach is different. So what if everyone’s afterlife is different too? I find the thought terrifying. Spending eternity alone. Which is why I decided to find my family and make sure to move on with them.
Sam: You mean die with them?
Heartman: If death would see us reunited, then yes. But the repeated cardiac arrests took their toll on my heart. The muscle gradually deformed. And after a while they started calling me “The Beach Scientist—Heartman.” I’m glad we could have this conversation.
Heartman: A body that doesn’t necrotize. No sign of decomposition. It’s as if she were still alive. The perfect mummy. An impeccable corpse.
Sam: What’s wrong?
Heartman: Where’s the other thing you were supposed to bring? Ah, found it. Behold.
Sam: Wait, Deadman—
Heartman: It appears to be an umbilical cord. Human, by the looks of it. I think? But…this was no ordinary conduit between foetus and placenta. It looks more like a BT’s tether. And this was Mama’s? Yes… A body that doesn’t necrotize and an umbilical cord connected to the Beach… These are remarkable discoveries, Sam… Enough to set my sore heart racing!
Computer: Five minutes to cardiac arrest.
Heartman: I apologize if our conversation gets cut short. I must go back to the Beach and look for my wife and child. One person. One Beach. That’s the rule. But I’m the exception. My Beach is connected to others. As if it were the beneficiary of a coronary bypass. Maybe this twisted heart of mine made it possible. All I know is that I will find them. Even if my every visit raises new questions, I’ll have my answers one day. One day….
Computer: Three minutes to cardiac arrest.
Heartman: The battlefields—the endless wars you found yourself trapped in. Why do World War-era soldiers wander the Beach a century after they fell? Normally, the souls of the dead move on. The Beach is just a corridor—a place through which the pass on their way to the other side. But, if regret, resentment, a fervent desire to remain-if these feelings are powerful enough, they may give rise to an altogether different Beach. A collective purgatory for an army of the damned.
Heartman: Clifford Unger. His misery and hatred, combined with your BB acting as some sort of catalyst, have brought these battlefields to our world.
Computer: Two minutes to cardiac arrest. Please proceed to a safe location.
Heartman: It’s just a theory.
Sam: You think Higgs is pulling his strings? Pulling all their strings?
Computer: Ensure you are in a stable position.
Heartman: I don’t know. But evidence does suggest that Higgs brought them here.
Computer: One minute remaining. Please hold on to something secure.
Heartman: Oh, before I forget, I have a favour to ask.
Computer: Activating lab security measures.
Heartman: Could you just… relax until I come back? Time stops on the Beach, but not in the Seam. Rest assured, it’ll only feel like three minutes to you. We’ll continue this shortly.
Computer: Five. Four. Three. Two. One.
Computer: Administering shock. Stand clear!
Heartman: No luck. Visit two hundred and eighteen thousand, five hundred and fifty. Oh, sorry. Where were we? I may be used to the twenty-one minute cycle, but for a first-time, face-to-face meeting there’s just too much to cover in one go-around.
Sam: Can’t be easy living like this.
Heartman: Yes, and no. Now that I’m acclimated to it, it isn’t especially onerous. Defecation, ablution, nutrition. Most of life’s basic functions fit rather easily into a twenty-one minute time slot. Sleep is the tricky one. And intercourse, I suppose? Verbal or physical—not that someone in my position has to worry much about either. Do you read, Sam? Listen to music? Watch films? You know, I keep busy. I have a collection of music, television shows, some very interesting short films and stories—everything consumable within a twenty-one minute window. All from before the Death Stranding, of course. But honestly, the twenty-one minutes I spend here—all downtime, nothing more. Time spent waiting to go back to the search. My body may be present, but my soul is on the Beach. I’m already dead…
Sam: I know that feeling. Lost my family in an accident.
Heartman: Well! I never expected you to open up to me. As it happens, I’ve read about your circumstances. I lost my family in an accident, too. I was in the ICU having heart surgery—out of town, in the city. When it was clear that I was going to pull through, my wife took my daughter back to the house to collect some things for me. And then they were caught in the voidouts. The city and the hospital were spared the worst, but the shock wave knocked out the power. And my life support.
Heartman: I woke up on the Beach. The people who died in the two voidouts were there.
Heartman: (on the Beach) What happened? What’s going on?
Heartman: I saw my wife and my daughter in the procession.
Heartman: (on the Beach) Hey! It’s me!
Heartman: (on the Beach) Where are you going? Wait!
Heartman: (on the Beach) Don’t leave without me!
Heartman: (on the Beach) No! Don’t go! Please, don’t go!
Heartman: The ICU’s backup generator kicked in, and I was brought back to life by the defibrillator. Exactly twenty-one minutes after my heart had stopped. And that was the last time I saw my family. It’s my damned heart’s fault that we were torn apart. But it’s also the reason I’ll see them again someday. It defines me. I am “Heartman.” Ever since, I’ve walked the Beaches of others. I follow my family’s footsteps for a while, and when I get tired, I return here to continue my research. It’s funny, though. Even when my heart stops, the pain lingers… You have any family photographs, Sam? Pity.
Computer: Five minutes to cardiac arrest.
Sam: You mind telling me what I’m doing here before you go back to the Beach?
Heartman: Oh, um, of course. There’s a prepper-owned station in this area. Our scientists stationed there are researching material from before the Death Stranding.
Sam: What kind of "material?"
Heartman: The earth has a long memory. Its strata tell a story—one that goes back to the very beginning. One that not even the Death Stranding could erase. The scientists are all colleagues of mine from the earlier expedition. I’d like you to bring them onto the chiral network. Amelie proposed we establish our research posts along this belt. Despite a worldwide search, this is the only area known to contain fossils from the late Cretaceous period—when the dinosaurs died out. The assumption being that the last ones lived here and here alone. You see, hiding in the earth, then, are memories of a major mass extinction. Clues that could tell us how to survive our predicament. Certainly, that was Amelie’s hope as part of the advanced team when she assigned our backup team here. The past informs the present and aids us in building the future. She was careful to impress that upon us before she went west.
Computer: Three minutes to cardiac arrest.
Heartman: Oh, shut up. I’m putting you on mute. (pushes a button) Some time later, we began to observe unusual activity in the tar belts outside Edge Knot City. Vast quantities of tar began surfacing, spreading, consuming many of my colleagues as well as a chiral waystation. The whole incident defied explanation.
Sam: Think Higgs is to blame?
Heartman: I don’t know. But we needed that waystation. It was essential to expanding the chiral network westward. That’s why I’m asking you for your help in building a new one. It won’t be much given the handful of equipment we’ve managed to scrape together. Nothing like the knot Cities, that’s for sure. But a KNOT is still a KNOT. Sam, I want you to use the Q-pid to put the scientists on the network, then go to Amelie. Afterwards, we can get back to the important job of researching the Death—.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Don’t worry about him, Sam. The air mat floor absorbs the impact. I’ll unlock the door for you.
Sam: Yeah boyee.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. You heard him. You can grab the order at a delivery terminal.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Our ultimate objective in this region is to build a replacement for a waystation that was lost to the tar. The first step is to put a shelter with our scientists on the chiral network. Now, we don’t know the first thing about Amelie’s status, or what Higgs is up to. That’s a concern for us as much as you. But we won’t know more until we get to Edge Knot City, and that means connecting this region first. You should start with the geologist and the paleontologist. The latter’s holding something for the evo-devo biologist, so I recommend you save her for last. That way you can finish a delivery and link up the final site in one go. Once all three are on the grid, come back here. Then we can get to work on the replacement for that lost waystation. A geologist of ours has been studying fossils as part of his research into prehistoric extinction events. He’s been out there conducting excavations for a while now, and has begun to suffer the effects of chiral contamination. No doubt the result of excessive exposure to chiralium during the dig. Until the site is properly decontaminated, his work can’t proceed… Nor will his health improve. So we need you to bring him some chiralium-scrubbing agents.
Heartman’s Hologram: The stratum the team was investigating dates from the end of the Cretageous period. The time of the infamous mass extinction which brought the reign of the dinosaurs to a close, leaving small mammals to inherit the Earth. It’s the most recent of the Big Five, and one of the largest mass extinctions the world has ever seen. In any event, our team found something truly remarkable. Can you guess what it was? A “fossil Beach.” If that is indeed what it is, then he has made a tremendous discovery. Therefore, Sam… it is essential that you deliver those chiralium-scrubbing agents as soon as possible. One more thing, Sam… For this run you’ll be transporting an antimatter bomb. A Bridges paleontologist working on a dig says he needs it. Apparently the fossils he wants to study are buried deep beneath tar, and the only way he can get to them is by blowing it wide open. Now, hopefully I don’t need to tell you to be extra careful when handling high-yield explosives, but in case I do… Make sure you keep that container in one piece—no matter what.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Thermal pad. Indispensable gear for cold-weather operations especially useful when traversing snow-capped mountains.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. I’m sure you haven’t forgotten, but you need to be extremely careful with that antimatter bomb, especially when transporting it via carrier or vehicle. Any irregularities should trigger an alarm. Don’t ignore it.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Sam. So Heartman told you all about the lake. How the attack that created it changed his life forever. Not only did he lose his family, he very nearly lost himself. For twenty-one minutes, he was in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest. Under normal circumstances, he would’ve died. Therapeutic hypothermia saved his life. But the twenty-one minutes he spent on the other side had a lasting effect on him. Perhaps due to the shock, his DOOMS abilities seem to have increased. And now he takes every opportunity to walk the Beach in search of his family.
Heartman: (via codec) My apologies, Sam. You came all this way to visit me, yet i neglected to give you a proper farewell. Do be careful out there. As I mentioned before, this region is rich in memories of death and extinction. It should come as no surprise that BTs are sighted here more frequently. Perhaps you recall the models in my lab? Their designs were all based on eyewitness accounts. Though I suppose they must have struck you as strange, considering the many times you’ve come face-to-face with the real McCoy. (laughs)
Sam: Hey, Lou. Good to have you back. Couldn’t have made it this far without you. Come on, we doing this? Someone’s got cold feet.
Paleontologist’s Hologram: Much appreciated, friend. Thanks to you, we can finally move ahead with the dig. I swear, this place is bad enough without having to worry about getting asphyxiated. Not that I need to tell you. You did it, after all—though I can’t for the life of me imagine how. You can set up the chiral network while I work. Anyway, as it turns out, Sam Bridges, have a favour to ask. A local porter was on his way here with something very valuable, but dropped it en route. It’s a two hundred million year cold ammonite which looks, he says, almost as if it were still alive. He apparently stumbled across it in a boulder field which had previously been hidden beneath a glacier, but… that’s not the half of it. The man claims this ammonite has an umbilical cord—an umbilical cord! Colour me sceptical, but the specimen merits study—and I wasn’t about to leave such delicate work to an amateur. So I asked him to carve out the whole surrounding chunk of rock and bring it here to me. Naturally, I wanted to compare it with contemporary specimens in the vicinity… which is why I had him excavate a number of those in addition to the one he told me about. But what does the dumb fuck go and do? He loses the whole shipment! Didn’t even have the good sense to mark which container had the ammonite with the umbilical cord. The cargo was supposedly lost in the area to the southwest, where toxic gases have a tendency to build up. Ol’ Mr. Reliable claims his cargo scanner is broken and there’s no way he can recover the shipment. But you—you could track it down. To protect you against the fumes, MI provide you with an oxygen mask just to be safe. You can pick it up when you accept the order. That fossil could represent an epochal discovery. While there are examples of viviparous fish, an ammonite with an umbilical cord is unheard of. And if it is indeed 200 million years old, it would also correspond with the end-Triassic extinction. Another one of the Big Five! Could the umbilical cord be connected to the Beach…? We must recover that cargo at all costs. It could provide a vital clue to the mechanisms underpinning the Death Stranding. We’re so close. So very, very close to grasping the true nature of the phenomenon. Hurry, Sam. We cannot risk that ammonite being lost!
Lockne: (via codec) An oxygen mask, huh? Good idea. It’ll filtrate the air and keep you breathing normally. In addition to protecting you from toxic gases, it’ll also help to reduce fatigue from strenuous activity, making it easier to keep your balance. If it didn’t have a limited battery life, I’d tell you to keep it on the whole time but it does, so don’t.
Sam: Stretched it too far. Ahh, the wire snapped.
Paleontologist’s Hologram: Ah! You found it! Let me see. I have to see it! Oh, my. It really is immaculately preserved… Uncannily, even! Thanks for bringing in that lost shipment, Sam. And yes, it did indeed include an ammonite with a bona fide umbilical cord, attached. I’ve already sent some images and a preliminary analysis to Heartman via the network. Interestingly, it seems the surrounding strata contained traces of tar… which lines up with one of his theories. Anyway—I know you only just brought this ammonite here, but I’d like you to deliver it to a colleague of mine-an evo-devo biologist. Lately, she’s taken an interest in the tar… and I think she’d be eager to examine this particular specimen.
Heartman’s Hologram: It’s quite remarkable, and that’s to your credit. To clarify, she has been studying how the tar may have influenced the development of various organisms. Accordingly, I would ask that you also recover the tar collectors deployed near her shelter… and deliver them along with the ammonite. It would be too dangerous for her to attempt to retrieve them inerself, which is why we must impose upon you. By aiding her research, we may yet inch closer to unravelling the secrets of the Death Stranding. We’ve already made so much progress with the data recovered by the network. With your continued help. I know we can accomplish even more.
Paleontologist’s Hologram: Hey, your day will come. I know it!
Sam: Goddamn, dude. That’s disgusting! Okay, great. What’d I step in?
Paleontologist’s Hologram: You are incredible, Sam. A real trooper. Thank you for everything! Till be sure to call on you again. Be seeing you, Sam!
Clifford Unger: Ho ho ho! Oh, I’ve got a present for you, Lisa. “Oh, Cliff! You shouldn’t have!” What could it be, what could it be… Look—it’s a beanie. You love these! Ho ho ho! Oh, and what about you, little one? Would you like me to open it? Oh… Oh, what do we have here? What do we have here? A spaceman! Gotta give my buddy his present, too.
Clifford Unger: Won’t be needing this anymore. I’m done fighting.You’re all that matters to me now. So I’m gonna stay right here, with you. My friend will know what to do with this one. Well, Merry Christmas! Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas!
Evo-devo Biologist’s Hologram: I’m impressed, Sam. Not many people would have even attempted this. May I have a look? Not a scratch on it, and the tar inside is safe and secure. You do not disappoint, my friend. Now, connect me to the chiral network. Thank you. It goes without saying, but I am convinced that the tar is related to the BTs and the Death Stranding. After all, both it and timefall are the defining features of the post-Stranding ecosystem. Sudden environmental changes such as these invariably lead to the extinction of organisms that fail to adapt. Those that do adapt do so by virtue of "enhancers"-the regions of DNA that grant successful organisms their advantages. These genetic factors are the key to evolution. But there are genes which have the opposite effect those which disadvantage organisms. … “Extinction factors,” as they have been called. These are the seeds of advancement and obsolescence. Such factors may lie dormant within us all a choice waiting to be made. For every being since the advent of life itself. If so, then ancient proof may hide deep within the tar. Evidence of these genetic decisions that may aid us in navigating our current Crossroads. In any event, thanks to you, I can now study the composition of the tar in greater detail. I’ll make sure to share any interesting results with you later.
Heartman’s Hologram: Good work, Sam. If I may, there’s one more shelter I’d like you to bring into the network: the geologist’s. He also has data that may aid us in our study of the Death Stranding.
Evo-devo Biologist’s Hologram: Thank you.
Sam: C’mon, let’s get this show on the road. Fuck this… We’ve got company.
Geologist’s Hologram: Sam Bridges? Oh, thank God for that. I was worried you might not get here in time. But then I’ve done nothing but worry of late. I’ve been haunted oy those visions you DOOMS sufferers see. That end-of-days stuff. I put the nightmares down to fatigue. The possibility of chiral contamination never even occurred to me. It’s just lucky we caught it before the suicidal stage. Dying’s not an option. My research is nowhere near complete. It’s not just my life you’re saving here, it’s my life’s work. I’d started to wonder if I’d ever see these meds… guess you really are good at what you do, huh? Thank you. Oh, yes. Right then—if you’d do the honors… And just like that, I’m part of the UCA, with access to a treasure trove of historical research materials—Studying this fossil beach should be a good deal easier now. Assuming I can prove once and for all that that’s what it is. Honestly, though, I’m just excited I can finally share these findings with everyone. Can you believe found chiral deposits in strata dating back sixty-five and a half million years? Evidence of an ancient Death Stranding.
Heartman’s Hologram: Chiral matter has existed on Earth since long before the dawn of man. This stratum is proof of that. Look at this, Sam. Do you see that black fissure there? We believe this is the source of the chiralium readings. In the distant past, earthquakes caused frictional melting along fault lines, producing layers of what is known as “pseudotachylite.” We call these layers “fossil earthquakes.” Extending the principle, our fissure here is what one might term a “fossil Beach.” The presence of chitralium in this of all strata cannot be a mere coincidence. It strongly suggests that Beaches must have appeared during the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event. And not just then. The chiral network has recovered data suggesting that similar “fossil Beaches”, were discovered in strata corresponding to other extinction events, too. That would seem to indicate the Big Five and all other major extinctions were accompanied by the appearance of Beaches. In expanding the chiral network, you’ve helped us glimpse a pattern in these scattered points of data. You’ve furthered our individual research projects… and ensured that is only a matter of time before we recover all we have lost and solve every mystery that remains. But this is only the beginning. Well done, Sam. You’ve furthered our research into the Death Stranding in ways you cannot imagine. Thank you again for bringing me Mama’s body, as well as that ammonite. I’ve been comparing the data against some of our restored archives… Anyway, would you mind returning to my lab? Preparations are finally complete for the chiral relay integration. If you could collect the necessary materials for the restoration work and bring them here, I would be most grateful.
Sam: You can do it.
Heartman: Thank you, Sam. In reclaiming our past, we’ve uncovered a number of vital clues. Don’t worry. I just got back. We have time. When you met with Mama, you experienced a strong antigen-antibody reaction, correct?
Sam: There was a BT in the room.
Heartman: There was. But something else may have been causing it. I’ve discovered large quantities of chiral matter in Mama as well. Not just the usual kind that collects on our skin or on our suits. It’s in all her cells—cells that are no longer active. The BT you encountered there was special. It was her child, but also her own soul. Somehow, her Ka and Ha failed to separate. They must have remained, connected through the umbilical cord. It’s the only explanation.
Sam: Is that why I didn’t get a bruise where she touched me?
Heartman: Yes, and there’s more.
Computer: Ten seconds to cardiac arrest. Five. Four. Three. Two. One.
Heartman: I modified the log times. Headquarters will have no record of what we say. Look. A message from Deadman. It came with the umbilical cord.
Deadman’s Hologram: Sam—I’m sorry. You deserved to know what you were carrying. But I couldn’t risk Die-Hardman finding out about the case. So I had no choice but to keep it off the books. You’ve got to keep this between us. We still don’t know if the director can be trusted. The umbilical cord was taken from Bridget Strand. I removed it in secret. The cord wasn’t attached to a foetus. It was… “outside” her body. She asked me to take care of it. Said it was the key to unlocking the Death Stranding. But she insisted that I never tell the director. The cord shows no sign of decomposition or necrotization. Almost as if it’s frozen in time. I thought Heartman might be able to make sense of it, so I had it hidden with your cargo at Mountain knot City.
Heartman: Deadman’s observations were accurate. It’s just like Mama’s corpse.
Sam: What do you mean?
Heartman: I mean they share a very unique property. Both contain large amounts of chiralium in their cells. In other words, the president’s cord was somehow connected to the Beach. And that allowed it to escape the flow of time. I’ve put together the bones of a theory… It’s patchy, but worth sharing, I think. Life on Earth has been rocked by many extinctions, great and small, including the Big Five. And if you examine the earth’s strata—its history, if you will—you’ll find chiralium deposits that can be dated to each. What if the manifestation of Beaches and other associated phenomena correspond to extinction-level events?
Sam: You mean…?
Heartman: Yes. Our Death Stranding could just be the latest of many. The records and research you helped us to recover strongly suggest that we are in the middle of the Sixth Extinction.
Sam: Sixth Extinction? Come on.
Heartman: You know what this is, yes?
Sam: A frozen mammoth from ten thousand years ago?
Heartman: Correct. And this?
Sam: The Iceman. From uh… five, fifty-three hundred years ago.
Heartman: They both had the same umbilical cords.
Sam: Hah! Bullshit.
Heartman: Humour me. What if the mammoth and the Iceman weren’t frozen?
Sam: You’re saying time stopped for them just like it did for Mama?
Heartman: Unfortunately, all these specimens were lost in the Death Stranding. So there’s no way to examine the genuine articles. But some fragments of data did survive. With the aid of the chiral network, we may be able to piece together something more concrete using evo-devo tech. All right, how’s this? A dinosaur from sixty-five and a half million years ago. Umbilical cord. Not decomposed. Umbilical cord. Not decomposed.
Sam: Uh-uh. Only mammals have umbilical cords.
Heartman: No, only mammals have umbilical cords used for childbirth. This is something else. Call it a “strand” from the other side. I propose that mammalian umbilici are a sort of mimesis of the strand, that then evolved over time. We shouldn’t assume that everything about a Death Stranding is detrimental to life. Trilobites, ammonites, dinosaurs. The mammoth, the Iceman. All preserved as if frozen in time. All, without exception, found with strands. Which is to say that all may have been connected to the Beach. And this, when viewed in the context of the Extinction Entity (EE) Theory, leads me to surmise that organisms with strands are in fact extinction entities. You see, Sam, EEs are connected to the Beach via their strands, and it is through this connection that they somehow bring about a Death Stranding.
Sam: So you’re saying Bridget was an extinction entity?
Heartman: It’s far too soon to say anything for certain. And since you burned her body, we may never know.
Sam: Higgs said Amelie’s an EE—that she doesn’t have DOOMS like the rest of us.
Heartman: Sam, think. Assume that President Strand was an EE. Isn’t it possible that her daughter is too? At the very least, Higgs may hope as much, now that the president is unavailable.
Sam: So he kidnaps her for her EE powers or whatever to cause a mass extinction?
Heartman: Perhaps, perhaps not. I doubt a single EE is powerful enough to cause a Death Stranding. Assuming Amelie is an EE.
Sam: Well, Higgs sure thinks she’s got what it takes.
Heartman: Indeed. And we need to get her back as soon as possible.
Computer: One minute remaining. Please hold on to something secure.
Heartman: Ah. This one is real. Sam, go west.
Sam: How do you want me to handle Die-Hardman?
Heartman: With your customary reserve. Nothing good will come of him learning of our suspicions. Whatever else is going on, we still need the chiral network.
Computer: Activating lab security measures. Five. Four. Three. Two. One.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: It’s time, Sam. When you’re ready, proceed to the shore of the tar belt and begin work on the chiral relay. Once it’s ready, use the Q-pid to bring it online. The necessary materials are prepped for you. Supplies are limited, so handle them with care. You’ll be carrying a lot, too. All things considered, this might be one of your hardest runs to date. Heartman knows more about the site than I do, so he’ll take it from here. more on. It’s about time for his wake-up call anyway.
Computer: Administering shock. Stand clear!
Hartman’s Hologram: Right. About that waystation… The site we have chosen was an original candidate for the waystation we lost to the tar belt. Ironically, we suspended construction… because we deemed it a little too unstable and not worth the risk. But this time it’s our best shot. So let’s hope we weren’t right to change horses in midstream. Fortunately for us, the foundation we laid down is still intact. All you have to do is transport the necessary materials to the site and finish the job. I’m afraid it’s the only way we can expand the network further west and rescue Amelie. We’re counting on you, Sam.
Sam: Let’s get a move on.
Deadman: (via codec) Heads up, Sam – your BB’s gone into autotoxemic shock. Without its input, you odradek will no longer react to BTs, so you’ll need to be more careful. Head to a private room if you want to restore functionality.
Lockne: (via codec) Looks like you’ve tripped an intrusion sensor. To be clear, these sensors react to you, not to your cargo. Be careful—trouble may be on the way.
Sam: Of course. Just my luck. C’mon, dry those tears, Lou. Stay with me, kid…
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Good job, Sam. Now access the terminal and bring the relay online. And with that, we’re all linked up. Once you cross the tar belt, the end’ll be in sight. We’re this close to Amelie—to America’s second chance. Edge Knot City awaits. The staff we’re sending will start by building a safe house. Over time, they’ll expand their operations and establish a new facility. In so doing, they’ll carry on the legacy of the brave souls lost to the tar. All thanks to you, Sam. Now, let’s figure out how to get you across this tar belt.
Sam: Sweet fucking relief… The fuck kind of porter are you? Pick a spot.
Clifford Unger: Sorry about the mess. I got caught in the rain. Oops. Didn’t mean to give you a shower. I tried waiting it out, but when I checked the time… I’m sorry. I should’ve come sooner. Got rain in my eyes… Just give me a minute.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) The only way west is through that… To make matters worse, I don’t believe your PCC is capable of building anything that will get you across. There must be a way. We can’t give up. Not with what’s at stake. We’ll see if we can’t think of something here… but considering everything you’ve been through, I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve already got a few ideas of your own.
Sam: Amelie! Amelie!
London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady
Higgs: Keep your voice down. You don’t want to scare the poor girl away, do you? She’s in there. I can smell her. Of course I wouldn’t’ve known for sure if it wasn’t for you and your wonderful network. Bless your heart. And thank you kindly.
Higgs: Oh… Sam Bridges… Careful, contents are fragile. Like the world and everything in it. Me, I’m… I’m no exception.
Higgs: I’m not the only one wearing masks either. There’s your boss man, that woman… And… oh, let’s not forget little ol’ you.
Higgs: It’s OK. It’s OK I know it ain’t easy wearing a mask all the time. But now the mask can come off, right? Hey, hey, hey, hey. You remember this? Hm?
Higgs: Nope, nope, nope. Mmm… poor sweet Amelie. She’s holed up on a Beach nearby. Tell you what. What say we make it a race, hm? Whoever wins gets to usher in the end of days. Nothing like the eve of extinction to bring focus to the mind. Makes folks honest. There’ll be no need for masks soon.
Higgs: But, I wonder—when you look death in her eye, will you blink?
EPISODE IX “HIGGS”
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Still with me, Sam? Even now, our way forward—our way to save Amelie—is the same as always. Your first priority is to get the local distro center on the network. Until it’s complete, and everybody’s connected, Higgs won’t find it easy to get to Amelie. She should be safe. So take your time and do it right.
Die-Hardman: (via codec) What’s the hold up, Sam? Connect your Q-pid to the terminal and bring the site online.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Good work, Sam. You’ve made it as far as Bridges I ever did. We never pushed further west. Frankly, it’s a miracle we kept that distro center running. Anyway, you’re almost at Edge Knot City. Your final destination. Where Amelie should be waiting. Smile, Sam. Only one more knot to go. One last time to put that Q-pid to use… though you’ll need another component to finish the job. Regardless, the nationwide network will serve as your ticket home. Just bear in mind that by bringing Edge Knot online, you’ll likely be revealing Amelie’s location to Higgs. You’ll need to get to her before he does. Head to your private room, and get your gear sorted. When you’re ready to go, we’ll give you what you need. Make sure not to leave the distro center without taking the order.
Amelie: Sam? Are you there?
Amelie: Can you hear me? Sam?
Sam: Over here! Amelie!
Amelie: The network’s nearly complete. Just one more KNOT to go. And then America will be whole again. Did I ever tell you my real name? I wanted to… It’s “Amerigo.” After Amerigo Vespucci. The man who “discovered” the continent.
Sam: I thought it was Columbus.
Amelie: Except Amerigo was full of it. He lied. “America” is a lie.
Amelie: I’m on the Beach, Sam. Our Beach. The one where I was born. Higgs will never find me here. He can’t. So don’t worry. Get the last Q-pid to Edge Knot City and finish what we started. I’ll meet you in your room at the distro center when it’s all over. There’s something you need to know, Sam. I’ve kept things from you. Worn a mask for the longest time. Everything Higgs said about me is true. I could end it all. Us. Mankind. Extinction. That’s what I am.
Sam: The hell does that even mean?
Amelie: But it’s not what I want to be. All I want is for you and me and everyone in this world… to be whole. Sam… Promise you’ll stop me. Don’t let me end it all. I’ll be waiting for you on the Beach.
Sam: Amelie? Amelie!
Man: (from afar) Security panel’s been disabled. We’ll have to breach. Get the tools! You saw wrong. Now check the other way. Go!
Man 2: (from afar) Yes, sir!
Man 3: (from afar) No. Open it up. He’s inside. Move, dumbass.
???: You still with me, Sam?
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: This is it, Sam. Edge Knot City. The last piece of the puzzle. You’ll need more than just your Q-pid to link this one up, though. You’ll also be required to supply a network activation key. Anticipating terrorist interference, we held onto it for safekeeping. It’s been sitting in that distro center gathering dust—until now. Collect it at the terminal and take it to Edge Knot City. Luckily for us, the automated systems at the distro center there still seem to be operational. So once the key is entered, it should automatically interface with the backbone network. A word of caution, Sam. The activation key has a unique identifier. If anything happens to it, you can’t just print a new one. It’s one of a kind. Irreplaceable. And for the love of all that’s holy, don’t lose it. And don’t go breaking it either. You hear me, Sam? If ever there was a delivery not to fuck up, it’s this one. We’re all counting on you.
Lockne: (via codec) Remote-detonation grenade launcher. Launches explosive projectiles, as you may have guessed. Can be used in conjunction with a variety of rounds depending on your needs. And yes, said rounds are indeed detonated remotely and at your discretion after firing.
Edge Knot City Terminal: Valid activation key confirmed. Interfacing with knot network.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: We’ve done it, Sam. The chiral network now spans the entire continent. Our nation is whole again. Reborn as the United Cities of America. If terrorists or whoever else strike at us now—even if they succeed in destroying a knot-the network will endure. Everything passes through the Beach now, and the Beach will keep us together. But we can’t rest yet, You still have one more job to do, Sam. A new nation needs a new leader, and only one woman has what it takes to succeed Bridget Strand a woman destined from birth to inherit this legacy. Amelie. She’s out there, and she needs your help. Bring her home, Sam. And keep an eye out for Higgs. He could be zeroing in on her as we speak. Now that Edge Knot City’s linked up, she should be getting ready to head to your private room. So check yourself in, and sit tight. You came for me. I knew you would.
Amelie: (with distorted voice) Sam. Sam, it’s me. You came for me. I knew you would.
Higgs: (with distorted Amelie voice) Sam, it’s me.
Amelie: (with distorted voice) Sam. Sam, it’s me. I need to tell you something. I am the Extinction Entity.
See the sunset
The day is ending
Let that yawn out
There’s no pretending
I will hold you
And protect you
So let love warm you
’til the morning
Sam: What the fuck?
Higgs: You gave me everything I needed, Sam. A complete chiral network. Spread all across America, connecting all them precious little knots. I’ve got the whole world in the palm of my hand.
Higgs: Five. We’ve had five mass extinctions each caused by an Extinction Entity. And now it’s time for number six.
Higgs: I’m not talking ‘bout the death of a few dozen species, no. This. This is the granddaddy of them all. BT antimatter voiding out all life as we know it. And it wouldn’t’ve been possible without a boy scout like you willing to “make us whole again.” What do you say? Come on! Time to meet your ender.
Amelie: The great work is nearly complete. Every knot is joined. Soon I will merge them and all mankind’s Beaches into a single shore. And then will come an extinction like no other. More massive than any before it. The last. This is my purpose.
Sam: What the hell did he do to you?
Amelie: The Last Stranding. My reason for being. The first was nothing more than a prelude.
Higgs: Surely you’ve figured it out by now. DOOMS? People like us? She’s the source of it all. The nightmares that haunt us? The visions of an inescapable future? Sound familiar? Happy fucking DOOMS-day, Sam.
Sam: Fuck you!
Amelie: Sam. Don’t you get it?
Higgs: You can speed this up, or slow it down, but you can not stop what we’ve started. Even if you beat me, you can’t save her. Cause all this? This is a done deal.
Higgs: Now come and get me.
Higgs: Can you see me Sam? It’s DOOMSDAY! SAAAAM! Haha. There’s no point in fighting.
Higgs: Time to reset. Let the game resume!
Higgs: Extinction is a foregone conclusion. You should see the view from up here. Sam, oh Saaam. Shoot me! See if you can stop this thing. It’s DOOMSDAY! SAAAAM! Dammit! Feels good, don’t it!? Let the game resume! Eat this! Dammit! Oh…man. Get up! Time to reset.
Lockne: (via codec) Sam. You’ve lost too much blood, and it’s made you anaemic. Perform a blood transfusion, or get some rest before you drop.
Higgs: Surpriiise! I felt that! Should I lower the difficulty? The final mass extinction. Eat this! Here comes the last stranding. Fucking bastard! We ain’t done yet! Catch! That’s the way, Sam!
Sam: Amelie? Amelie?
Higgs: She’s fine. Extinction’s on hold for now.
Sam: Let her go!
Higgs: Huh? All that for a repatriate. What a waste.
Higgs: Well, we’ll pick this up when you’re done dying.
Higgs: I’ll see you on the Beach for the grand finale!
Die-Hardman: (via codec) Dammit! Higgs took her to the Beach! We can’t let ‘em get away! There has to be a way you can catch up to ‘em. Hurry Sam. You know what’s at stake. If you don’t stop Higgs, he’ll use Amelie to bring about this DOOMS-day of his, and everything we achieved will be for nothing.
Fragile: Higgs wants to connect the knots of your network with Amelie’s Beach. So it’s pretty clear where they went.
Sam: So how do we get there?
Fragile: I can’t. But you and Amelie have a strong connection. You’ve been to her Beach plenty of times, right? You can make the jump. You gonna come through for me?
Sam: I try to take him alive.
Fragile: Promise me. I’m the one who finishes him off. Good, Then’ll help you get where you need to go. I can’t send us both at once… But I’ll be right behind you.
Sam: I thought you said you couldn’t go to her.
Fragile: I can’t. But I can go to you. By the ties that bind us together. The dreamcatcher will lead you to her.
Sam: And then?
Fragile: The miçanga will lead me to you. You’re going in like that?
Sam: Yeah, I don’t need a weapon. I’m not gonna take Lou either.
Sam: Do you have anything to eat?
Fragile: Got you hooked, huh? Sam. Be careful.
Sam: Worst comes to worst, take care of Lou, all right?
Fragile: For this to work, I’ll have to touch you. Close your eyes. Now picture Amelie and her Beach. You love her, right? You love her. There it is!
Amelie: Sam? What are you doing here?
Higgs: You ready to end this? Before the end of everything?
Sam: What are you gonna do to her?
Higgs: What I’m supposed to do. Keep the Extinction Entity safe until the slate is wiped clean. There’s no stopping the sixth extinction. No matter what you, me or anybody else does, humanity has a few hundred thousand years left, tops. So why don’t we just cut to the chase? Accept our fate. Like the creatures before us. We all know what’s coming. Why delay the inevitable? Those of us with DOOMS. Her. We’re all bound here for a reason. We’re all of us a part of the Death Stranding. And this place, this fucking “Beach”… There’s no repatriation here, no. One of us dies, that’s it. He goes to the other side. Nice, huh? Lucky loser gets to put an end to this rinse-and-repeat bullshit once and for all. So… No BTs, no voidouts, no bullshit. Just a good old-fashioned boss fight. Stick versus rope. Gun versus strand. One more ending before the end… One last game over.
Higgs: I am the particle of God… COME ON! Luck’s on your side Sam. Shit… Sam…? Oh Saaam… We’ve got all the time in the world—ah, if you don’t mind Amelie suffering. What’s the hold up, Sam? Racking your brain to think of a better way? Well, there ain’t one. What’s it all for? An ending, that’s what. There’s no use in hiding. Time to move… The one coming to us all, be it today or tomorrow. To this land, these cities, these people—everyone and everything.
Higgs: I don’t need the gun, Sam. I can beat you. I can beat you! Sam…? Oh Saaam… Shit… Come on. Let’s have some fun… Fuck…YOU! Samuel Porter Bridges! We doing this, Sam? Take this! You okay there Sam?
Amelie: (from afar) Sam!
Higgs: You just don’t get it, do you. You can’t stop this thing. No one can. We’ve got DOOMS, Sam. This was only ever gonna end one way… So come on!
Higgs: If it’s hard… If it’s dangerous… Leave it to Sam! Saaam… Sam! Why you gotta… make me… And rivers… And everything else!
???: Son of a…
Higgs: Could ever…
???: Fuck this. Fuck all this.
Higgs: Nothing but… Fucking bugs!
???: Fucking die already! Son of a…
Higgs: Walking… Ten-thousand miles…
Higgs: Getting a little touchy-feely there, Mr. Aphenphosmphobia. (laughs and coughs) Well, congratulations. You won the game. Too bad you didn’t stop shit. Well? Get on with it.
Fragile: Guess I left a lasting impression. I’m Fragile… but I’m not that fragile.
Fragile: This time, you’re the one who’s going to break.
Higgs: Is that right? I think you’ll find our bond is made of stronger stuff.
Higgs: Give me power, dammit!
Fragile: Oh? What’s this? You’re already broken.
Higgs: What the fuck!? I’m Higgs! I’m the particle of god that permeates all existence. What are you? Honey, you ain’t nothing but damaged goods!
Fragile: You’re damaged goods.
Sam: Here you go. As promised.
Amelie: What took you so long?
Fragile: I brought you a metaphor.
Fragile: Take it with you. Tell the lifers with porter syndrome what happens when you hide behind a mask.
Sam: Nah, you keep it. Better to hear it from the woman herself.
Fragile: One more thing. Your little one. Managed to bring it here by picturing it as “equipment.” You mind? Babysitting sucks. So where should I send you? Back east?
Amelie: He doesn’t need your help. He’s got the chiral network. And he’s got me. We can jump east together.
Fragile: Lucky him.
Sam: We appreciate everything you’ve done for us, we really do. But we’re good for now. Besides, I’m sure they need you back at Fragile Express.
Fragile: Yeah. Who better to scoop up all the pieces and put them back together. Wouldn’t want to settle for anything less than perfection.
Fragile: We’re square. Nothing owed, nothing left to say So long, Sam.
Amelie: Come on, let’s go. We still have work to do. Do you still believe in me? Even without Higgs, I’m a walking time bomb. I can end it all, just like that. But what I want—what I have always wanted, was to be a part of it. For us all to be one. What?
Sam: Tell me the truth. Who’s this all for, you, or all for Bridget?
Amelie: This is for our country. For our future. That is the truth. There’s something that you need to know, Sam. When you were back east, I slipped out of here and I went to visit you.
Sam: What? Did you lie? Fuck me… You have any idea what it took for me to get here?
Amelie: You wouldn’t have come if I hadn’t. You didn’t care about America, or Bridges. But we did know one thing you did care about. Something you were willing to cross a continent for. A reason to build the UCA. It was Die-Hardman’s idea.
Sam: Great. So I’m Mario and you’re Princess Peach. Well, you’re right. I never gave a shit about this country. I’ve no ties to anything or anyone but you.
Amelie: I’m sorry, Sam. But it all worked out in the end.
Sam: I guess that’s taken care of.
Amelie: I know you have questions, but can we save them? For after.
Amelie: Let’s go home.
Sam: How do we do it? Do we jump like Fragile?
Amelie: No, the Beach goes the whole way. We run, together.
Amelie: Like Mario and Princess “Beach.”
Amelie: Wait here. Okay?
Die-Hardman: President Bridget Strand? So you finally invited me to the Beach Remember this? It’s the same gun. And now I’m using it to make things right. You were supposed to make the world whole—not fuck it all up.
Bridget Strand: Okay then. Get on with it.
Bridget Strand: There is no atonement. Not for us.
Die-Hardman: No… It can’t be…
Clifford Unger: You… is that really you?
Clifford Unger: Jo… Jo…
Die-Hardman: Yes, it’s me. John. Remember?
Die-Hardman: I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. (cries)
Clifford Unger: Give me back my BB.
Clifford Unger: BB!?
Bridget Strand: You’re looking in the wrong place.
Amelie: Stay back!
Sam: The hell!?
Deadman: Whoa, Sam! It’s me! Sorry. Didn’t mean to startle you.
Sam: Where am I?
Deadman: Back east of the tar belt. Your private room. You have Amelie to thanks for that.
Sam: Where is she?
Deadman: We don’t know.
Sam: She didn’t head back east?
Deadman: No. But after she saw to you, she contacted HQ and left us a message.
Sam: Saying what?
Deadman: “I’m going to finish what Bridget started.” Just that and then – gone.
Sam: Bridget! I saw Bridget on the Beach!
Deadman: Sam, please. You yourself burned her body, remember? She wouldn’t have remained on the Beach. Couldn’t have. Not even if it was her daughter’s Beach.
Sam: Check the logs. You’ve got ‘em, don’t you?
Deadman: Sorry. We didn’t get any of it. The only record we have is the one in your head. What else do you remember?
Sam: That guy was there, too. Cliff! He took Die-Hardman hostage!
Deadman: The director!?
Sam: That part you believe?
Deadman: Well, it would explain why we haven’t heard from him for so long.
Deadman: I always suspected him. But now I’m starting to piece together a different narrative. Something’s been bothering me, you see… We’ve been operating on the assumption that Higgs was controlling Cliff. But that can’t possibly be correct. Because Higgs is gone and Cliff is still causing trouble.
Sam: You think Cliff is the mastermind?
Deadman: Yes. He’s likely holding Amelie and the director captive on the Beach.
Sam: Then that’s where I’m going. Wait a minute—Where’s Fragile?
Deadman: She’s safe here with us. But so long as you’re over there, she won’t be able to send you to the Beach.
Deadman: You must understand, Sam. While you were unconscious, the situation changed quite a bit. We’ll explain everything, I promise. But first you should rest. All right?
Sam: Fuck rest. I’m going back to that Beach.
Deadman: And little Lou doesn’t need a break either, I take it?
Deadman: Sam, you helped us extend the chiral network from coast to coast. And you dealt with Higgs, the UCA’s enemy number one. We couldn’t have come this far without you. But there is still one final step. We have to swear in a new president and establish a functioning government. Only then will America be whole again.
Sam: Why don’t you save that shit for someone who cares. I’ve done my part. Fuck America. We’ve got bigger problems now.
Heartman: I hear you, Sam. Government is the least of our concerns at this point. Cliff has Amelie, which means there may not be anything left to govern come tomorrow—If tomorrow comes at all.
Sam: Then why aren’t we out there doing something about it? I don’t care what she is, only that we get her back.
Heartman: Right you are. Rescuing Amelie and averting the Sixth Extinction are one and the same. But neither will be possible unless you first come back east. We are in no position to give you orders, of course, but believe me when I say it is the only way.
Fragile: Sam. Everyone’s here but you.
Heartman: Fragile transported us back to headquarters.
Sam: You okay?
Fragile: Never been better. Delivering so many people in such a short amount of time is… new.
Sam: Mama? No—Lockne?
Lockne/Mama: Yeah, I’m here, too. Figured should lend a hand.
Heartman: We’re all waiting for you, Sam.
Sam: No way in hell am I hauling myself all the way back there. Come on, Fragile. Let’s do this.
Fragile: I can’t, Sam. And not just because I’m a wreck. It isn’t safe to use the Beaches to move people anymore.
Heartman: Chiral spikes have become far more frequent—possibly as a result of expanding the network nationwide. Too many Beaches sharing the same space. Wires get crossed and so forth. You can see the toll it’s taking on the network itself.
Fragile: With things the way they are, it’s too dangerous to risk jumping through a Beach. Even if I reach a Beach, there’s no telling where I’ll come out on the other side. And I could get stuck in there. That’s why I can’t go to you either. But if I could get to the entrance of the Beach, I should be able to get you there.
Heartman: The Beaches are still there, after all. I can personally attest to that.
Fragile: So yeah… you will need to haul yourself all the way back here. But once you have, I promise I’ll take you to Amelie. Straight to her Beach.
Heartman: The two of you share a very special connection. Your dreamcatcher… Her quipu… They are no mere trinkets. They are singular, irreplaceable totems—embodiments of your shared memories. Two sides of a coin—the price of entry to her Beach. Dreamcatchers are a product of Native American tradition—that of the Ojibwe people, to be precise. They were said to ward off nightmares, to alter one’s dreams. If DOOMS is indeed Amelie’s gift to us, her shared dream of our future, perhaps your totem is an invitation to change it. A test—challenging you to find hope amid the hopelessness. While we await your return, I search the Beach for Amelie and the director. I doubt my ties to them are strong enough, but better that than sitting around doing nothing.
Deadman: I’ll see if I can’t find something in the records on the three of them. Maybe they’re more connected than we know.
Fragile: We’re waiting for you. The way home should be easier, right? Hurry back East. You already know the way. And when you get here…
Deadman: Finders keepers. Now, get out of there and make sure you head east, towards Lake Knot City. There’s no cargo to deliver this time. Or rather, you’re the cargo. That’s the mission. (burps)
Lisa: This child’s special. One of a kind.
John: A BB candidate?
Bridget Strand: (in Die-Hardman’s mask) Either that or…
John: A sacrifice.
Bridget Strand: (in Die-Hardman’s mask) A foundation. A bridge.
EPISODE X “DIE-HARDMAN”
Heartman: (via codec) Sam, it’s Heartman. Be advised that chiral density in regions predisposed, to strandings has increased dramatically. No doubt the Beach is to blame. BTs drawn into our world under these circumstances may be affected in unpredictable ways.
Sam: Sky don’t look right… What the hell should I do now… This is fucking pointless… It’s no use. What can one guy do anyway? Pathetic. Whatever. Fuck it. I’m heading back east. Eyes open, dumbass!
Deadman: (via codec) Sam, do you copy? I’ve been looking into Clifford Unger and wanted to share my thoughts. To recap, Unger was a US Special Forces operative… whose retirement roughly coincided with the Death Stranding. After he left the service, he somehow became involved in the early BB experiments. However, he died before they ended. Now, while the circumstances surrounding his death are not entirely clear…. I’m beginning to suspect that these "battlefields" of his are at least partially sustained by his enduring emotional attachments. Anger, resentment, regret—I’m pretty sure it’s got something to do with the BB experiments. That much seems clear given his repeated attempts to steal Lou. Cliff seems to be driven by a compulsion to “reclaim” our BB, as if that will make him whole again. A compulsion so powerful that he was not only able to drag himself from the depths of hell, but bring a piece of that hell along with him. One thing’s for sure: he’s nothing like a BT. We need to know the whole story about his death and his connection to the BB experiments. I’ll keep digging and let you know what I find, Sam.
Sam: Terrorists? Here?
Deadman: (via codec) Sam. You’re not going to believe what I’ve found. It’s about the BB experiments. Their true purpose. According to official records, they were continued in secret on the order of President Strand… supposedly with the primary objective of developing BT detectors and preventing voidouts. Any advancements that could be applied to the fields of chiral communications and Beach research were meant to be of purely secondary benefit. But it turns out that’s just a cover story. The truth is, Sam… BBs were originally conceived as catalysts for the operation of the chiral network. They’re integrated into the infrastructure of knot cities for that very reason—every single one you’ve brought into the fold. It was probably Amelie herself who installed them as she moved west with the first expedition, carrying out her mother’s grand plan… making sacrifice after sacrifice on the altar of progress. President Strand told the people what they wanted to hear and did what she thought had to be done. All so America could be whole again. But I’m starting to wonder if it didn’t cost her her soul… The chiral network is our greatest creation. Our proudest achievement… and our guiltiest sin. I don’t know how to feel about it all. Maybe if we knew more about Cliff and the BB experiments, we’d be better-placed to judge… I’ll be in touch.
Sam: Can’t pin this on Higgs. The hell’s going on…
Deadman’s Hologram: Well, well, would you look at this! Thank you so much, Sam.
Sam: Gotta stretch my legs. Hanging in there, Lou?
Deadman: (via codec) Hey Sam. I see you’re coming up on Lake Knot. Stay strong. We’re all rooting for you to finish the job and come home safe. By the way, I’ve made more progress in a certain investigation…. It seems that Clifford Unger willingly put his own child in the care of the scientists conducting the BB experiments… but that he did so completely unaware of their true intentions. This is pure speculation, but I think when Cliff found out about their plans, he attempted to reclaim custody. And after he failed the BB remained in the program’s care. In which case, he would have every reason to bear a grudge towards the president-the woman who allowed it all to happen. Don’t you think? But just because President Strand is dead, doesn’t mean his hate died with her. No, I think he redirected it towards Bridges. Towards you and Amelie and anyone close to the director. And now that hate is driving him to set in motion the Last Stranding—to bring an end to the world as we know it. Why else would Cliff hold Amelie hostage on the Beach? He must know that she’s an EE. There’s no time to lose. You have to save her—and the director. Though I still don’t understand how he managed to travel to her Beach in the first place… There must be more to their relationship. I’ll see what I can find.
Deadman: (via codec) Got a moment, Sam? It’s about the director… So there’s no way he could’ve made the jump to Amelie’s Beach if they didn’t share a strong personal connection, right? Well I looked… and I couldn’t see one. The network should’ve contained something, anything… but there was nothing whatsoever. His entire life prior to his tenure with Bridges has been redacted. His name, his past, everything. There’s no telling who he was. Which led me to consider another possibility. What if it isn’t the director and Amelie who have a connection, but the director and Clifford Unger? And what if that connection is what facilitated the director’s jump to Amelie’s Beach? If it’s those two who have a personal history, then it might explain why Cliff is holding the director hostage as well. But even if that were the case, it doesn’t answer the bigger question… How the hell did the two of them end up on Amelie’s Beach?
Heartman: (via codec) Sam, Heartman here. There’s something else I’d like you to consider. A guess, albeit an educated one, concerning Cliff’s objective. Somehow, with the aid of the chiral network, our individual Beaches have begun to coalesce, resulting in the formation of a single, massive Seam. Should this process continue, there is a risk that BTs will flood across into our world…. bringing about a Death Stranding on a heretofore unprecedented scale. Now, Clifford Unger’s battlefields and my own Beach appear to be unaffected by this phenomenon, existing entirely in isolation. They do not and have never intersected with others. But what if there were another class of Beach-one that exists on a higher plane—that was responsible for setting this process in motion? And what if the Beach in question were none other than Amelie’s? Cliff may have summoned the director, but I believe his true aim was to seize control of Amelie’s Beach. To exploit its power over every other Beach… and trigger the Last Stranding. It’s the only rational explanation for Cliff’s actions. Which is why you have to stop him.
Deadman: (via codec) If Heartman’s right, then we’re in serious trouble. Using the chiral network and Amelie’s Beach to trigger the Last Stranding? That’s why Higgs went after Amelie, wasn’t it? If it was Cliff who put him up to it… Yeah, it all fits. With the Last Stranding, he’ll finally have his revenge against the world, that stole his life and his child. You’ve gotta stop him, Sam. You’ve gotta make the jump to Amelie’s Beach as soon as possible. Get in and get her back. It’s our only hope. If you can’t, then we’re all doomed.
Sam: Great, another storm.
Clifford Unger: When I found out I was gonna be a father… I was so scared. Scared of what it would mean… I had to be there for you and your mom… no matter what. I couldn’t just go off and get myself killed anymore… couldn’t leave you all alone. I couldn’t. I had it all wrong… all wrong. Being a father… didn’t make me scared. It made me brave. I’m sorry… sorry it took me so long… Don’t make the same mistake. Be yourself… Be free.
John: Captain, I need you to hand it over.
Bridget Strand: (from the shadows) Shoot him, John. Shoot him! I gave you an order! Shoot him!
EPISODE XI “CLIFFORD UNGER”
Sam: He’s got to be somewhere, right? Is his target Lou? Where are we this time?
Clifford Unger: I’m sorry… I just want you to be happy… Taking fire. Light ‘em up! Withdraw to rally point! We need reinforcements! Move, move! Get my BB! I was… born… to fight… Engage hostile! Open fire! Light ‘em up! Withdraw to rally point! We need reinforcements! Move, move! Where are you BB? Tango, tango! Open fire! We’re done here, move! We need reinforcements! Move, move! It’s all my fault BB. Die-Hardman… Get my BB! I need backup!
Clifford Unger: BB… We’re getting out of here. I promise. Give me back my baby.
Sam: Are you Clifford Unger?
Clifford Unger: Who are you…?
Sam: Are you the father?
Clifford Unger: They told me your name was Sam Porter… but you’re Sam Bridges. My bridge to the future. Sam. You bring people together. You’re their bridge to the future. Come on Sam. Stand up.
Clifford Unger: Take BB and get out of this place.
John: There’s nothing I can do for your wife. I’m sorry. Now, if she orders me to do something, I have to do it. I have to. But I served under you first. And your family doesn’t deserve this, any of this… Why are you helping me? If they catch you—
John: Because you saved my life, sir. Again and again. When the brass sent us into the jaws of hell, it was you that brought us home.
Deadman: Sam, are you okay? I reviewed your logs. It looks like you were caught in a supercell…. And emerged an instant later on the other side of Ground Zero…. Not far from Port Knot City.
Sam: How’d I wind up here then?
Deadman: Remember Viktor? He found you lying unconscious by the harbour and brought you inside.
Sam: I think Cliff might be Lou’s father. He said, “Give me back my BB.”
Deadman: Impossible. Cliff was born—
Sam: He gave me this. Maybe he’s trying to tell us something? Something about the BBs, maybe—about how they were made. It didn’t feel like he was trying to hurt us… It felt like… like he just wanted to talk.
Deadman: But you said you saw him holding the director captive on the Beach.
Sam: Yeah. They must have some history we don’t know about. Them and Bridget.
Deadman: Funny you should say that. I’ve got something you should see. Found it in the archives while I was digging around. It’s a prerecorded message from the director… Labelled “If I Don’t Come Back.”
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: …All right. This message is insurance in case something happens to me. For Bridges eyes only. And I sure as hell hope that’s who’s watching. I got a little present from Amelie. Said she’d take me to the Beach if I wanted. But I’d heed this doll to show me the way It’s a trap. It has to be. But I’ve decided to play along. You’ve all been playing along too, haven’t you? You know this mask hides more than just my face.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Well, Amelie’s a blank slate, too. No past. No record she ever existed. She’s a ghost. And the thing about ghosts… I’ve never met Amelie in person. Have you? Ever seen her in the flesh? Shook her hand? Touched her? The original team we sent was divided into two groups. Amelie was with the first. Mama and Heartman were with the second. They had no direct contact with her.
Deadman: Yes… Amelie’s group was wiped out in Edge Knot City Everyone but her. Everyone who could say whether or not she exists.
Sam: Bullshit. She’s real. We’ve touched, all right. She and both…
Deadman: Well, I’ve only ever interacted with her hologram.
Sam: I’m telling you I’ve met her. In person. Lots of times when I was little.
Deadman: Yes, but on the Beach.
Die-Hardman’s Hologram: Here’s what the president had to say about her “daughter.” Amelie was born on the Beach. There her “Ka” remained, though her “Ha” came to this world. This division of body and soul forced her to spend most of her childhood in the hospital. But though her health was poor, her DOOMS numbers were off the charts. Her supernatural talents blossomed as she grew older and overcame her limitations. But by the time she was twenty, she could travel to and from the Beach, body and all And that’s where she started spending all of her time. Now, if you wanted to get in touch with Amelie, it was via hologram or nothing The president insisted on that. I swore an oath to the president and to America. Far as I was concerned, her word was law. So when she said Amelie was her daughter and the best candidate to succeed her… I believed it. But when the archives were restored, I couldn’t resist testing out my access privileges. And that’s how I found out Bridget was diagnosed with uterine cancer in her twenties, and couldn’t have children. You see? Doesn’t add up, does it? There’s no way Amelie could be Bridget’s biological daughter. So where’d she come from? Who is she? Is she even real? How can we be sure that Amelie is an Extinction Entity… when we don’t even know if Amelie is Amelie? Hell, for all I know the EE theory might be bullshit. But if it’s not—if she’s the cause of the Death Stranding…Then I have to accept her invitation. I’ve loaded my gun with hematic rounds. Sam’s blood. It connects my gun to her, to me, to him. All of us. Which means I should be able to take it with me to the Beach, I’m gonna stop what she started… by stopping her One last confession. I’m just a man. No powers. Nothing special. Don’t have DOOMS. I can’t repatriate like Sam either. Don’t know the first thing about dying. I never tried it. Yeah, I’ve been to hell. Every single battlefield was hell. But no matter how terrible it got, never died. Because all I ever did was run from death. Well! I gotta go. She’s calling for me. Bridges, don’t let me down.
EPISODE XII “BRIDGES”
Deadman: After he recorded this, the director jumped to the Beach. Or rather, Amelie summoned him there.
Sam: He had a gun to Bridget when I saw him. Then Cliff showed up, took him away.
Deadman: I thought he went to the Beach to confront Amelie.
Sam: Yeah, she was there, too. She was the one who got me out.
Deadman: Hmph. It’s so obvious to me now. I can’t believe I didn’t see it sooner. It was Amelie who—
Sam: What happened?
Deadman: The chiral network dropped out. According to Lockne, it won’t be long before it’s completely unusable…
Sam: So all our hard work was for nothing?
Deadman: Let me finish what I was saying, Sam.
Fragile: I’ll tell him.
Sam: Fragile? You look like shit. You should be resting.
Fragile: I know. I need to tell you something. I had a little chat with Higgs back on the Beach. Didn’t take much to make him talk.
Sam: He say why he betrayed you?
Fragile: He said it was part of her plan.
Fragile: “She” was their leader. The terrorist voidouts, the whole extinction agenda—Amelie was behind it all.
Sam: Like hell she was!
Fragile: I know you don’t want to believe it. But it lines up with what Die-Hardman said. Higgs turned on me after he met Amelie. At first he was looking to expand his territory, and I had a power he could use. At least, that’s how he ended up working with me. He was no terrorist, he just wanted to reach more people. But then she shows up with abilities that put mine to shame. Hell, she could even control BTs. So Higgs decides to go with her. And that’s when she turned him into her agent of extinction.
Sam: Amelie gave Higgs his power?
Fragile: Yup. She made him her “homo demens.”
Sam: What about Bridget? You care to tell me what she was doing on the Beach? You got an answer for that too?
Fragile: I know it’s a lot to swallow. But Higgs said himself that Amelie is an Extinction Entity. I looked inside his pod. And there was no BB in there. Take a good look at what was. It’s the same doll Die-Hardman had. This is their “bridge baby.” There’s this idea that the terrorists brought back BB tech and Bridges was just following suit. It’s garbage. Their methods and yours are completely different. Your BB links you to the world of the dead. Their doll links them to Amelie and her Beach.
Deadman: You know who else had dolls like this? Cliff. He was carrying them on the battlefields. Cliff, Higgs, the director—all three of them were drawn in and controlled by this Extinction Entity. And who is this EE really? Is it Bridget? Is it Amelie?
Fragile: All I can say is that the answers are on the Beach. What she wants. And why.
Deadman: If we get to the bottom of that, then maybe we can still avert the Last Stranding.
Fragile: You’ve got to find her, Sam.
Sam: Whoever “she” really is…
Fragile: She’s waiting for you on the Beach. Hurry back east.
Deadman: (via codec) Sam. The connection’s unstable so I’ll keep this short. We have a job for you. Fragile’s condition is deteriorating. If she slips into a coma, there’s a chance her soul might become stranded on the Beach. She needs cryptobiotes fast. Luckily for us, Fragile Express keeps a stockpile there in Port Knot City. So we’d like you to grab some for us while you’re in the area. All the details are on the terminal upstairs. Please Sam, this is critical.
Clifford Unger: You know what day it is today, BB? Today would be a very special day, if your Mommy hadn’t—You’re not born yet, but the more candles the merrier, right? Soon, it will be time for you to come out into the real world. I promise. And then we can have a real party. Well, happy birthday.
Deadman: (via codec) Sam. Check the terminal for available orders.
Deadman: (via codec) Don’t forget that container isn’t airtight. Oration You can’t afford to submerge it-even partially.
Deadman: (via codec) We’ve been getting near-constant timefall in this region for a while now. As a result, everything you’ve built for us out here has been completely destroyed. The good news is, we managed to recover all cargo stored on site and transferred it to the Capital Knot City distro center. As for the not-so-good news… Chiral printers are currently unusable due to the network instability. Given the circumstances, you might want to consider turning to your fellow porters for assistance. But I’ll leave that up to you, Sam. I’m sure you’ll come through for us. You always do.
Sam: That’s a big one. Try to hold on, Lou. What? Oh, what’s this? What the hell?
Deadman: (via codec) Yes! You did it, Sam! Oh, I could kiss you, you sweet son of a bitch.
Sam: I thought it was all over!
EPISODE XIII "SAM STRAND"
Deadman: (via codec) Thank heavens you made it! Fragile’s been in a coma for a while now. But with all these cryptobiotes you brought, we should be able to bring her round. And with any luck, it’ll only take a few more to get her back on her feet. You did well, Sam.
Deadman: You’re back! It must have been one hell of a journey, especially on your own. But now the whole team is together again.
Sam: The whole team? Die-Hardman too?
Deadman: Too much travelling to and from Beaches in such a short span. Chiral matter contaminated her cells, effectively causing jet lag on a molecular level. Because of that, her homeostatic mechanisms were shaken. Don’t worry—she’s not in any danger. But she needs some rest.
Sam: So where’s the director?
Deadman: He’s being looked after in another room. Bridges personnel found him lying outside the isolation ward… Similar to when you came back from Cliff’s Beach. Even after decontamination, she needed more and more time to recover…
Fragile: Sam, you made it.
Fragile: Thanks. Looks like you need me, after all. Who’d have thought.
Fragile: Anyway, clock’s ticking, am I right? Sam’s here. “The Great Deliverer.” The only one who can reach Amelie’s Beach.
Deadman: You’re in no condition to do this. It’s not fair to you or Sam…
Heartman: In my own search for Amelie’s Beach, T have come to realize something extraordinary. If Beaches were likened to a multiverse, hers would appear to exist on a higher plane than ours. I can walk the Beaches of others. But hers is beyond my reach. It’s invisible. Inaccessible. Even to Fragile, I fear. Imagine it as a circulatory system, if you will… Each of our Beaches is a single capillary. But, Amelie’s Beach is the heart that pumps blood to the rest of us. Capillaries are subordinate to the greater whole. A whole governed by the heart, which gives direction. Which dictates flow. Which dictates everything. Controls everything. Don’t you see? She is in control.
Hartman: You may be able to travel against the flow and reach her. But, having done so, if she does not wish to let you go, if she wishes to keep you, she can.
Sam: Fragile and Die-Hardman broke free from her Beach, didn’t they?
Fragile: I don’t think it was any different from what happened to you. I didn’t get out because I wanted to. I was forced out. “Repatriated,” if you will. By her.
Sam: Forced out? Why?
Frgile: See This is only a theory, but… She wants you. Wants you to go to her. That’s her final wish. Don’t you think?
Sam: So that’s it, huh. Amelie’s the EE, and this is her endgame. Just so we’re clear: if I want to stop the Last Stranding and come back in one piece…. I need to go to her Beach and talk her out of it. That about right?
Heartman: Correct. As cliché as it sounds, you’re our only hope. Though, quite frankly, I doubt even you can change her mind.
Deadman: If you can’t make her see reason… You’ll have to kill her. And if you kill her…
Lockne/Mama: You’ll save the world, but you’ll be stranded outside of it. Forever.
Sam: Might as well make it official, then. You ready to deliver the package?
Sam: I’ll talk to her. Maybe she’ll listen. But with the shape the world’s in, it’ll only be delaying the inevitable. Still, if it buys us time to try and build something better. A new lease on life, at least for a little bit. Well, I can think of one woman who made the most of a chance like that. Nothing lasts forever. Not even the world. But we gotta keep it going as long as we can, right? Patch the holes, change the parts, all that. So we can say we had a good run. That we lived. Thought you didn’t.
Fragile: Thought you didn’t like having to handle things with care.
Sam: ‘Cause it was hard enough keeping my own shit together. Back when we met at the cave, the only thing I cared about was making it to the next sunrise. Sure as hell didn’t care about America or “The Future.” I was living a lie, hung up on past regrets. I was broken. But somewhere along the way, I started changing. Started meeting people that made me think that maybe it wasn’t all bad. People that put their faith in tomorrow and in me. That kept the lights on and waited for hope to arrive. So I gotta deliver, for their sake.
Deadman: Even if it means you never come back?
Sam: Fucked if I do, fucked if I don’t, right? Take care of Lou.
Deadman: I will.
Sam: Couldn’t find a working stillmother east of Port Knot City. Kid’s done enough. No more.
Deadman: All right. I’ll do my best to nurse our little one back to health.
Fragile: Okay, concentrate. Help me look for Amelie. Reach for her, Sam. Feel her. I know you love her. You love her! There!
Amelie: Sam. There you are.
Amelie: You wanna go home? Let’s go home. It’s okay. I know the way.
London Bridge is falling down, falling down, falling down.
London Bridge is falling down, my fair lady.
Bridget Strand: The Last Stranding has already begun.
Bridget Strand: You’re too late. What took you so long?
Sam: Your voice.
Bridget Strand: You still don’t know who I am, do you?
Sam: Who are you?
Old Bridget: Sam. I knew you’d come back.
Old Bridget: Sam! Listen to me. Lis…
Old Bridget: I love you, Sam.
Young Bridget: I’ll be waiting for you on the Beach.
Bridget Strand: I’ve been waiting for you right here, ever since.
Bridget Strand: You were supposed to stop me. Stop all of this.
Bridget Strand: Yes. It’s me, Sam.
Sam: Where’s Amelie?
Bridget Strand: Where she’s always been—nowhere. My daughter Samantha America Strand, doesn’t exist.
Sam: Amelie doesn’t exist.
Bridget Strand: Not in your world. I’m sorry, Sam. I’ve had to wear a mask for so long. Amelie and Bridget are both a part of me.
Sam: What’s that supposed to mean?
Bridget Strand: Quiet and I’ll tell you. There is no time for questions. Listen. Just listen.
Bridget Strand: Do you understand, Sam? "Amelie" and "Bridget"—those are just names. What I am is an Extinction Entity. So. Knowing what you know now, you have two choices.
Sam: Is getting shot one of ‘em?
Bridget Strand: You wouldn’t come back if it happened here, you know. It’d be straight on to the afterlife… But no that’s not one of them. Killing you would be a terrible mistake. I know that better than anyone. The Last Stranding has already begun. A Seam has formed from my Beach and the Beaches of every soul in America. And soon, it will be inundated by a vast surge of antimatter, starting here. In an flash, this world will be no more. Consumed by an explosion. A Big Bang. So, that brings us to your first choice. Do nothing. Stay here with me and bear witness to the very end.
Sam: Just watch it burn?
Bridget Strand: Together, with me, until the last flame winks out. Doesn’t sound so bad, does it? It’s not like the world has long left anyway. Then there’s the second choice. In expanding the network, you brought people and their Beaches together, integrating them into a greater whole. Like this quipu. But in doing so, you also bound them to my Beach—the very Beach where I opened the gates to the other side. You can’t stop what’s coming. But… if you cut me and my Beach loose, perhaps you can stop it from spreading. You might just prevent the Last Stranding. And mankind will live to die another day.
Sam: Then it doesn’t have to end here.
Bridget Strand: But it does. The Beach is doomed no matter what. One look ought to tell you that. Which is why we must sever our connection.
Sam: That’ll be it? The end of the Death Stranding?
Bridget Strand: You can’t stop the inevitable. The Sixth Extinction will happen, either today or tomorrow. You can either end it with dignity, quick clean and in a flash… or you can struggle in vain knowing full well what’s waiting come the finish. Those are your choices.
Bridget Strand: You kept it all this time… Perhaps you still have a chance to stop this nightmare. You brought the world together. You have the right to decide. Pull the rope or cut the noose. But whatever you do, don’t hesitate. I’m ready, Sam Strand. Make your choice.
Sam: But wait. I don’t know what to do.
Bridget Strand: Sure you do. After everything, how could you not?
Bridget Strand: I’m here for you always. Like you were for me.
Bridget Strand: Here. It’s a dreamcatcher. Wear it when you sleep, and I’ll keep the nightmares away. I’ll always be with you. When you’re all grown up, you’ll need it to make us whole again. And when the time comes… you’ll have to stop me. You’re the only one who can. Promise you’ll remember. Sam… I’ll be waiting for you on the Beach.
Sam: I remember. You knew. You always knew.
Bridget Strand: I did and I didn’t. I had so many dreams of the future. I didn’t know which ones to trust. Which is why I decided to share them with you and the others. But, to connect the dots, to make sense of everything, you need perspective. You need time. Time has no meaning to me. I am not a line, I am a single point. Which is why all I could do was just show you the choices, and let you decide.
Sam: Our nightmares are your dreams?
Bridget Strand: You found the common thread-the strand that links them together. And you did that the only way possible. To live life one day at a time. Thank you, Sam. A gun won’t help you here. But it still has a role to play. It was the bonds between people that brought the world together. And if that is what matters most to you, then I will stay here on this Beach. And I will shut myself in and the rest of you out.
Sam: Shut yourself in? Come on.
Bridget Strand: Once the Last Stranding starts, it can’t be stopped. I can’t go with you. All I can do is try to spare you the worst.
Sam: Why do you have to stay on the Beach?
Bridget Strand: I am the Beach. And I must stay here and ensure that the extinction happens. Even if it takes tens or hundreds of thousands of years.
Bridget Strand: That’s what an EE does. If I had just done my job, none of this would’ve happened. But I… I couldn’t take it anymore. I got so tired of waiting. And I figured that no one would blame me if I just got it all over with that’s what I did.
Sam: Sounds like hell.
Bridget Strand: But you and the others came together—connected. And you may be living on borrowed time… but you still have hope. Before each of the Big Five, life rebelled. They fought back. Evolved in order to survive. The extinction isn’t just an ending. It’s an opportunity. And if I have to pay the price for that -to be the sacrifice- then so be it. Even if we aren’t together, we will always be connected. Good-bye, Sam.
Bridget Strand: (voice) A gun won’t help you here. But it still has a role to play.
Bridget Strand: (voice) Quiet and I’ll tell you. There is no time for questions.
Bridget Strand: When you were young, you used to have bad dreams. You cried about them all the time. The truth is, those weren’t your dreams. They were mine. For as long as I can remember, I’ve dreamt of the Beach. Not just while sleeping in my waking hours, too. In my dreams I watched the world end. So many times. Countless past extinctions that decimated life on this planet again and again and again. At first, I didn’t understand what I was seeing, or why. And that wasn’t the worst of it. There were other, more terrible dreams. Dreams of death and destruction—of a massive extinction to come. Like this one. And I would always be the one to end it all. To bring about the Last Stranding… as I have today.
Bridget Strand: (voice) The first operation. I was only twenty. I opened my eyes and found myself on the Beach. But the moment I came round, I was back in the hospital bed. I was split across two worlds. Bridget, my Ha, in that one. Amelie, my Ka, in this. Somehow the two of us managed to coexist. Soon, our ages began to diverge. Only Bridget’s body got older, while the Beach kept Amelie’s the same. So I came up with a story. I told people that Amelie was my daughter. A daughter with a debilitating condition and an absent father. “Amelie.” Ame is French for soul. A soul that’s a lie. There was no Amelie. Only me and the Beach. I thought it was a curse in the beginning. But later, I started thinking, “Maybe I can use this.” I tried to find out more about the Beach. Because understanding the Beach had to be the key to interpreting my visions of the future.
Bridget Strand: I realized the Beach was connected to the world of the dead. Which meant that somewhere out beyond it were the memories of time itself, including those of every organism that had ever lived. 4.6 billion years of biological history—a history that might even stretch back to the creation of the universe. The chiral network and everything that followed was born from my pursuit of that knowledge. By passing data through the Beach, we were unbound by the restrictions of time. Simulations that would have taken years or more were simple and effortless. Everything that the Earth had lost and forgotten could be reconstructed and reclaimed. But shortly after we began our research, America saw its first voidout. I thought I was running out of time. That my nightmares were becoming a reality. So I raced to complete the chiral network as quickly as possible. The past held all the answers, if only I could find a way to piece them together. A network that bridged our world and the Beach that might do it, I believed… So I started researching bridge babies: children bound to the world of the dead. What causes an Extinction Entity to come into being? What was the reason for the previous five mass extinctions? The answers to those questions would tell me how to stop the sixth. I founded Bridges, more determined than ever to build a chiral network that would cover all of America. But the longer I fought my war against the inevitable, the weaker I became. My Ha had cancer. The Beach’s punishment, maybe, for not playing along like a good little EE. And then just like that, my Ha was gone. I couldn’t finish what I’d started. So I asked you to do it for me… and you did. You helped us complete the network helped us to reclaim everything the universe experienced from its inception to this moment. Every mystery was ours to solve. Like this one. Once, there was an explosion… A Big Bang that gave birth to time and space. Thing is, it was more like a big fluke. All that matter and antimatter should have cancelled itself out, leaving nothing. But somehow, somehow a tiny speck of matter survived-just enough. Enough to make this world and everything in it. A world that shouldn’t be. A world out of balance. Order inevitably gives way to chaos. Everything that lives must inevitably die. It’s like the universe is trying to return us to the nothing we came from. Maybe the Big Five were its best attempts to finish us off. But somehow, life always managed to survive—just enough. Enough to thumb its nose at the will of the cosmos. You know, I’m starting to think that extinction might be the key to overcoming total annihilation. It forces life to fight to survive. To endure. To exist. That’s why the Big Five ultimately rekindled life instead of extinguishing it. From the ashes of the dead rise the living—stronger and wiser. Inheritors of the legacy of existence itself. They defy the universe and refuse to surrender. They say, “We’re just getting started”. Extinction is an opportunity.
Bridget Strand: I pulled the trigger twice that day. I knew at once I’d made a mistake. I found your Beach and looked everywhere for you.
Amelie: Sam! There you are. You wanna go home? Let’s go home.
Bridget Strand: I wanted… I wanted to set you free from death once and for all.
Amelie: It’s okay. I know the way.
Bridget Strand: But in doing so I upset the fundamental balance between life and death. I just wanted to save you. I am an Extinction Entity. It’s my fate to lead our species to extinction. But that moment, you became part of that fate. You became a "repatriate." And DOOMS started spreading my nightmares to others throughout the world. It was me that got you and everyone with DOOMS into this. Not long after, the Death Stranding occurred. The dead clung to our world, and BTs used my Beach to cross over and devour them, triggering more voidouts,... ...a catalyst that would set the world on a path to extinction. It was my duty to serve as a sacrifice-to wait and watch it unfold from this Beach. That, or hasten the last stranding and end this slow death. Given these, my only options, I chose to end it quickly. But to trigger the last stranding, I needed you, a part of me, here, too. I would be able to witness extinction consummated with you by my side. But now that you’re here, there’s another choice. You can cut me off. An EE doesn’t have that option for itself. But in my nightmares I saw another future, one that you chose. One where extinction is hope against total annihilation.
Bridget Strand: (voice) A gun won’t help you here. But it still has a role to play.
Bridget Strand: Listen, Sam… I was the one that brought you and Cliff together again. There was something I wanted you to know. You were never abandoned. And you’re not alone. Don’t you see, Sam? You have to live…
Hartman: (voice) Sam!
Lockne/Mama: (voice) Sam!
Lockne/Mama: (voice) Lockne, I found him!
Lockne/Mama: (voice) What? Where?
Heartman: (voice) I see him! This way!
Die-Hardman: (voice) My gun! He’s over there!
Heartman: (voice) Over here, Sam! Deadman!
Deadman: (voice) We’re coming, Sam! You ready, Fragile?
Fragile: (voice) Ready.
Lockne/Mama: (voice) Sam!
Heartman: (voice) I see him. Sam!
Bridget Strand: Don’t give up. You’re still connected.
Die-Hardman: For too long have we lived as strangers to one another divided by walls built to keep us safe. But now, with the completion of the chiral network, we may at last move forward as a people united. Today, we come together to celebrate the birth of a new nation. A new nation for a new world—the United Cities of America. I once took an oath to support… and defend the Constitution of the United States. And though that proud republic may be no more… we remain. And so, as your president, I hereby swear to support and defend you, the people. Let there be no more walls between us, nor masks to hide who we are.
Die-Hardman: Let there be a new America. An America where we can face one another—where we can speak our minds and open our hearts. The old ways die hard. But I believe, my fellow Americans, that we have the strength and the courage to rise above our past and embrace our future. The Death Stranding is a part of that past. An enduring shadow. A constant reminder of what could have been. That we stand here today is testament not to the greatness of any one individual, but to our capacity to come together. To the bonds between us. To our collective greatness. All things must come to an end, ourselves included. But as long as we savour each moment, find joy in the promise of tomorrow, embrace hope and reject despair, we will endure. President Bridget Strand and her daughter, Samantha America Strand, sacrificed everything in their pursuit of hope—that we, the people, might be whole again. That they are not here today to see the fruits of their labour fills us all with a profound sadness… but we find comfort in the knowledge that their memories will live on in the chiral network… and in our hearts. We will always remain connected. There is another hero in this story. One whose achievements seem destined to go unrecognized. America still needs that hero. That person without whom we would not be here. The name is unimportant. You know who I mean. And for that unsung hero, I have a message… It was you who brought us together you who made us whole again. And while you and I will eventually pass on… we will be survived by our legacies—our lives and our memories preserved for future generations.
Deadman: Going somewhere, Sam? Tired of being the unsung hero?
Sam: No… I’m done is all. She’s gone.
Deadman: C’mon, wait. There’s something I need to tell you.
Deadman: Huh. This doesn’t bother you anymore? Well, that’s great! Now, wouldn’t you like to know how we brought you back from the Beach? We were going to use the doll, but didn’t have one handy. Which is when I remembered something else.
Sam: That what I think it is?
Deadman: Yes. What could be more connected to Amelie’s Beach than President Strand’s umbilical cord? Heartman thought that was why she left it with me in the first place. Unfortunately…
Sam: It didn’t work.
Deadman: Yeah, she’d already cut her Beach loose. It was just… gone. We didn’t know if that meant she’d dragged you into the great beyond, or sent you to some other Beach… We were really racking our brains. Heartman and Mama split up and started searching every Beach you might feasibly have washed up on. We looked for a month with absolutely nothing to show for it.
Sam: A month on the outside. How long on the inside?
Deadman: Trust me when I tell you, you don’t want to know. But don’t worry—we’ve found no signs of accelerated aging. In the end, this is what led us to you. Just when we were about to give up, Die-Hardman reminded us about the revolver. So we tried to follow it, and it led us to a far corner of your own Beach… and bingo—there you were. Mama made visual contact first. She was able to see you from her vantage point on the other side, the man was competent on the other side. She informed Lockne via their connection, and Heartman confirmed your location during his subsequent NDE. The plan was for Fragile to, in essence, “slingshot” Lou and me to your position so we could rescue you. But it’s not so easy to send multiple individuals to another person’s Beach for an extended period of time. And that’s where the umbilical cord came in. We wove these from President Strand’s DNA. They serve as a single knot that binds us all. The president must have known all of this would happen. Ironic, isn’t it? The gun that set this whole mess in motion ends up being the key to saving you.
Sam: Amelie—she said it had another purpose.
Deadman: Not a weapon, but a lifeline. A stick that became a rope. I suppose that’s one way of putting it… Oh, Sam, you have no idea how long I’ve been waiting to give you a hug! Got something else to tell you. Top secret. It’s about Cliff. BB’s mother’s name was Lisa Bridges. Cliff’s common-law wife.
Sam: Lisa Bridges?
Deadman: Now, Cliff was killed by a man identified in the records only as “John.” Former US special forces. Quite good at it, by all accounts. Later appointed as an aide to the president, who used him for most of her wetwork. The records go on to state that he vanished after Cliff’s death. A warrant was put out, but he was later found dead. Turns out some people “die” harder than others, though. Dear “John” donned a mask and reappeared with a new identity. But you can’t fool the chiral network. We restored the old records and Mama hid them deep in the archives. You’re the only one besides us with access privileges. Take a look if you’re so inclined. But don’t say I didn’t warn you. The president’s got some dirty, dirty laundry.
Deadman: I don’t trust him. But I’ll work with him if that’s what it takes. We’ll talk later.
Die-Hardman: Sam. I don’t expect you to forgive me… but would you hear me out? I killed Captain Clifford Unger. I would tell you I did it for America. For love of country. But I didn’t. I did it for her—because I loved her with all my heart. She was everything to me. Everything. Now I’m not trying to make excuses. I just want you to know, that not a day’s gone by when I haven’t thought about it. Time didn’t help. Or the mask. Please—let me finish. The captain saved my life. You know why they call me Die-Hardman? Because he wouldn’t let me die. He brought my sorry ass back home every time. And I loved him as much as I loved her.
Die-Hardman: And when he stared me down, that ghost, I knew. He was here to kill me. To make it right. And why shouldn’t he? Why didn’t he? He couldn’t save his kid. His BB. And that’s what brought him back. I guess, when he saw I was trying to do my part for America, he remembered who he was… and he forgave me. God! But I don’t deserve it, goddammit! There is no atoning for what I’ve done! Damn! God!
Die-Hardman: But maybe… maybe this is the next best thing. Maybe he brought me back from the Beach for a reason… one last time. He wanted me to do this. He wanted me to do this. To keep on being Die-Hardman.
Sam: No, he didn’t. Nobody wants a president who acts like they’re immortal. If you’re not scared of death, how can you value life? And life’s pretty fucking fragile right now. And yeah, the old ways die hard, but that’s what’s gonna have to happen… if we’re gonna come together and build a better America. “That gun won’t help you here.” That’s her words, not mine.
Die-Hardman: Thank you, Sam.
Deadman: Hey, Sam. Been waiting for you.
Deadman: Poor thing was never truly alive. Not in this world, at least. The decommissioning order finally came through. Can’t risk necrosis. The body can’t stay here. I thought you might want to take care of it. You could try taking Lou out of the pod just to see what happens, but that would be in direct contravention of an executive order. And there are laws about that kind of thing now that we’re a nation.
Deadman: I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. But if the alternative is defying the president… I can’t do that either. Not me.
Sam: All right. I’ll go to the incinerator.
Deadman: Before you leave, I’d like to check something quickly. I just took your cuff links offline. In that state, there’d be nothing to stop you from removing them. If you did, the UCA wouldn’t know where you were or how to find you. You’d be invisible. When you use the incinerator, you’ll be reconnected to the network automatically. I trust you’ll remember what I said?
Sam: Right. Absolutely.
Sam: Thanks for everything.
Sam: How’s the weather?
Fragile: Don’t think you’ll be needing an umbrella. I decided to follow my father’s dream after all. Don’t worry. I won’t get mixed up with any terrorists this time. UCA’s got my back. We’re the first private delivery company to get the official approval.
Sam: Sounds like you’re moving up in the world. Congratulations.
Fragile: Thanks. Wait. There’s something I have to tell you. I didn’t shoot Higgs. Couldn’t pull the trigger. So I let him choose. Death or eternal solitude on the Beach.
Sam: Fair enough. You never did like breaking things.
Fragile: That’s right. I find and fix what’s broken, and reconnect. I’m Fragile…
Sam & Fragile: …but not that fragile.
Fragile: Wanna come work for me? Could use a man like you.
Sam: The world’s still broken. The same as before.
Fragile: What isn’t. But we’re still here—we’re still chugging along.
Sam: Not everyone. Not me.
Fragile: Come on. You put America back together, didn’t you?
Sam: Doesn’t mean there’s a place for me. I’ve got no ties to anyone or anything. I might as well be dead. I felt like that when we first met in the cave, and I still do.
Fragile: Don’t act like you’re the same person! You’ve learned how to touch. To feel. You’ve connected with people—with us!
Sam: Everything I touch, I lose.
Sam: C’mon, Lou. One last delivery.
EPIDOSE XIV “LOU”
Sam: All right. I guess we’re here. You still with me, Lou?
Deaman: (in Sam’s head) Poor thing was never truly alive. Not in this world, at least.
Sam: Well…thanks for everything.
Bridget Strand: This child’s special. One of a kind.
John: A BB candidate?
Bridget Strand: Either that or…
John: A sacrifice.
Bridget Strand: A foundation. A bridge.
Clifford Unger: Brought you an astronaut. Mankind can go anywhere. Even outer space. You’ll be out of there in no time. And the second all of this is over, I’m gonna take you wherever you wanna go.
Clifford Unger: Can I help you? Holy shit, John, is that you?!
John: Captain? What are you doing here?
Clifford Unger: My wife’s checked in. They don’t want a repeat of last year.
John: The voidout in Manhattan?
John: I’m so sorry… I didn’t know you were the husband.
Clifford Unger: This isn’t what we agreed on. You said you’d do everything in your power to save BB.
Bridget Strand: We are. But we cannot release your son just yet. Believe me when I tell you —it’s for the best.
Clifford Unger: Says some woman in a mask who’s done nothing but lie to me.
Bridget Strand: I have a duty to protect our country. Lies are an unfortunate necessity.
John: The president gave me the highest-level access privileges. I’ve used them to manipulate the security system. We have five minutes before it resets, sir. Five minutes to talk… off the record. Take BB and get out of this place. There’s nothing I can do for your wife. I’m sorry. You were my commanding officer. But I swore an oath to the president—to protect her and the country at all costs. Now, if she orders me to do something, I have to do it. I have to. But I served under you first. And your family doesn’t deserve this, any of this…
Clifford Unger: Why are you helping me? If they catch you-
John: Because you saved my life, sir. Again and again. When the brass sent us into the jaws of hell, it was you that brought us home. Back then, I thought I was invincible. I thought I was some kind of action hero. But I’m not the hero. You are, sir. You’re the reason I’m still alive. And it’s past time I paid that debt. They’re moving your son to a new facility tomorrow. You’ll never see him again. He’ll serve as the foundation of a new communications network—a sacrifice for a nation that no longer exists. I wrote down everything you need to know. It was the only way to keep it off the system. Burn it when you’re done. The rest is up to you, sir.
John: I believe this belongs to you, sir. I can’t terminate your wife’s life support from inside her room. System won’t allow it. So this is the only other option. An alarm is set to go off if she flatlines. I’ve rigged the system to spoof her vitals… But you won’t have long. Five minutes tops. Don’t hesitate, sir. This is the only chance you’ll get.
Clifford Unger: I’m sorry Lisa. Don’t worry. I’ll take care of him. I promise you. My Anomalisa… I’m sorry…
Clifford Unger: ВВ, ВВ. Can you hear me? Can you hear me? It’s daddy.
Deadman: (in Sam’s head) I just took your cuff links offline. In that state, there’d be nothing to stop you from removing them. If you did, the UCA wouldn’t know where you were or how to find you. You’d be invisible. When you use the incinerator, you’ll be reconnected to the network automatically. You could try taking Lou out of the pod just to see what happens, but that would be in direct contravention of an executive order. A purpose it cannot fulfil outside the pod. There is a 70% risk of catastrophic failure simply in removing it.
Soldiers: Freeze! Hey! Put it down! Drop it! Put it down!
Clifford Unger: Back off.
Clifford Unger: Back off!
Soldier: Stand down, stand down, stand down. All right. Get him!
John: Don’t do it! I’ll handle this.
John: Oh God! I’m sorry, Captain.
John: Don’t! You got it?! You, too. Stay there and hold your fire!
Clifford Unger: Thanks for trying, John.
Special Forces: Stand aside, sir, or we’ll be forced to open fire!
John: It’s a dead end. He’s trapped. Security will take it from here.
Soldier: In here! Security panel’s been disabled. We’ll have to breach. Get the tools!
Clifford Unger: I’m sorry, Lisa… I screwed it up. I’ve ruined everything.
John: This room is off-limits. No one goes in.
Soldier: But he’s in there, sir. I saw him!
John: You saw wrong. Now, check the other way. Go!
Soldier: Y-Yes sir!
Special Forces: No. Open it up. He’s inside. Move, dumbass.
Clifford Unger: BB. Don’t worry. It’s okay. I’ll always be with you.
See the sunset
The day is ending
Let that yawn out
There’s no pretending
I will hold you
And protect you
So let love warm you
Till the morning
Clifford Unger: When I found out I was gonna be a father… I was so scared. Scared of what it would mean… I had to be there for you and your mom… no matter what. I couldn’t just go off and get myself killed anymore… couldn’t leave you all alone. I couldn’t.
John: Get off of him! Now!
Clifford Unger: I had it all wrong… all wrong. Being a father… didn’t make me scared. It made me brave. I’m sorry… sorry it took me so long…
John: Captain, look at you.
Clifford Unger: Don’t make the same mistake. Be yourself… Be free.
Bridget Strand: Oh my god!
John: Captain, I need you to hand it over.
Bridget Strand: Shoot him, John.
John: Let it go—please.
Bridget Strand: Shoot him! I gave you an order! Shoot him!
Clifford Unger: They told me your name was Sam Porter… But you’re Sam Bridges. My son. My bridge to the future. Without you, I was just like any other cliff. A dead end. No way forward. Nothing but an obstacle—Looking on at the world, people like you were trying to build. Dividing people was the only thing I was ever good at. But not you, Sam. You bring people together. You’re their bridge to the future… and mine. Come on, Sam. Stand up.
Sam: Is this me?
John: Oh god, not BB, too.
Bridget Strand: Oh no… No no no. No.
Amelie: There you are.
Amelie: You wanna go home? Let’s go home. It’s okay. I know the way.
Bridget Strand: There you are. Welcome back.
John: You understand, his days as a BB are over… now that his connection to the other side has been severed.
Bridget Strand: It was me who cut the cord, so yes.
John: A deathless repatriate in the world of the living. Should we decommission him?
Bridget Strand: In a manner of speaking. Take him out of the pod. I’ll raise him as my own.
Sam: C’mon, Lou, wake up. Come on… C’mon Lou. C’mon. C’mon baby. C’mon, Lou, wake up. Wake up! C’mon. Wake up! C’mon, Lou, wake up!
“Be stranded with love again.”
Sam: Lou. Louise.
EPISODE XV "TOMORROW IS IN YOUR HANDS"
TWO WEEKS EARLIER
Deadman: Well, look who's awake! Morning, Sam. You'll be happy to hear your vitals have stabilized, and that you're well on your way to recovery. Ahh, not that it's your fault, but what I wouldn't give to trade places... We're all stuck in the president's office, working like dogs to get everything ready in time for the inauguration. But at least one of us is still free as a bird. You should head out. Make the most of it. Could even do some orders, if you wanted. Might do you good to get back in the game. You may recall it was raining buckets back when you left for Amelie's Beach. We took a real beating at the time, but we've done our best to service the structures and vehicles in the area. So you know any cargo that was stored in your private locker at a damaged facility... ...should've been transferred to your private locker here at this distro center. Anyway-busy or not, we'll still be on the end of the line if you need us. And if you want some alone time, we should be able to manage for now. Just make sure you're back in time for the big day, all right? See you then! Hey, Sam. You sure you don't have any unfinished business?