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"Welcome to KTLA 5 News at 6. Hi, I'm Chris Schauble, and tonight we are going to talk about the pockets of confusion that have swept across the nation. Reports are flowing into police stations in various cities about unusual happenings that are disrupting the way of life for many residents. For instance, in New York City, it seems that some outlandish rumors are turning out to be true, even when they had previously not been. Police are finding it difficult to investigate such instances, especially when they involve much heavier subjects like murder. Here's Cher Calvin with an update."

A woman appeared on the screen, microphone in hand. "Hi Chris. Police in New York are finding their jobs to be much more difficult than usual. One instance I'm allowed to share is a case where a woman had stolen from a top vintage store in the area called What Goes Around Comes Around. Police are swearing up and down that the camera footage had originally shown the woman stealing a pair of shoes and blazer. Yet when rumors began circulating that it was a different woman who had stolen a pair of jeans and skirt, police went to review the footage again and found that the person they had in custody was no longer the person on the footage."

"Scary stuff," Chris commented.
There was a short pause as Cher waited for Chris's response to make it to her. "Indeed. Of course, this is relatively minor compared to some of the more challenging cases currently occurring in New York City..."

Yosuke yawned as Cher continued with the story. "That's totally weird, bro, but I don't know if that has anything to do with us." He was stretched out on the floor, can of Coke next to him.

Naoto nodded. "It may not be, considering it is New York they are talking about. However, the anchor said there are odd reports coming in from across the United States, so it may benefit us to listen to the rest of the broadcast."

"Yeah, yeah," Yosuke responded, burying his head into his arms. "Man, I hate the news."

"Thank you, Cher," Chris continued,. In Dallas, there have been reports of a new disease, though it's difficult to pinpoint a cause. This condition seems to affect teenagers most strongly, but has also been shown to crop up in adults and even young children. Here with me is Dr. Amir Shabat to help explain the situation. Dr. Shabat, what is going on, do you think?"

"Well it's very odd," the man in the doctor's coat responded.

"Oh, he's very cute!" Rise said, immediately shushed by Kanji, but Chie nodded in agreement. Teddie quietly made his way to the kitchen for another Coke, resuming his seat by Marie and Rise on his return.

"Basically, what we're seeing is intense and sudden depression-like symptoms. People affected by these symptoms find themselves unable to take care of themselves, to feed themselves for instance, and in more severe cases, they're even unable to eat or drink. All of these cases have required stay at medical hospitals, but we can't seem to find a cause. Those that can still talk, and this is very few of them, don't report doing anything unusual or eating anything unusual."

"What have doctors been doing about it so far?" Chris asked.

"Well, unfortunately there's not much we've been able to do other than monitor the patients."

"How many has Dallas seen so far?"

Dr. Shabat shook his head. "Close to one thousand new patients within the past week and a half," he responded grimly. "These patients show up in a vegetative state, and their only hope for getting to us to begin with is family members who notice something is wrong."

"That's so damn freaky," Yosuke commented. "Can you imagine... just... stopping?"

Kanji grunted as Dr. Shabat attempted to give advice regarding the situation. "Just imagine if you didn't have friends to find you and you just..." He let his words hang in the air.

Yukiko shuddered and held onto Chie's arm. "I don't want to think about it."

"It appears they've moved on," Naoto said quietly, her eyes glued to the screen, her brain obviously trying to work things out.

I wonder what she's thinking about, Kanji mused. Does she get something we don't?

"The next segment is rather gruesome, and not recommended for the faint of heart. I... I'm actually not sure how to explain this, if we're being honest. In St. Louis, several bodies have been found hanging from telephone poles and TV antennas. The bodies are normally found on foggy days--"

"WHAT?" Yosuke screamed as he jumped up, several others voicing similar sentiment. "Not again! No! I refuse!"

"But... we can't get into the TV World..." Teddie said quietly, and the others stopped chattering. "How... Who is killing them?"

Chie frowned. "Maybe we could only get into the TV World in St. Lew... what was it?"

"St. Louis," Naoto corrected. "I'm... not sure. Teddie, if I remember correctly, we could enter the TV World from anywhere in Inaba, yes?"

Teddie nodded. "Yeah, so long as you have a TV."

"Are you aware of anyone being able to enter the TV World outside of Inaba?" She tried not to look at the footage of bodies being taken down from the telephone poles. Rise, on the other hand, was unable to, her hands covering her mouth.

Teddie shrugged. "The TV World is way, way bigger than Inaba, so I don't see why not." The group began chattering, trying to come up with theories as to why they wouldn't be able to enter the TV World in Los Angeles but they might be able to in St. Louis.

"Lastly, in Los Angeles..." Naoto shushed everyone and got up from the couch where she had been seated next to Kanji. She made her way closer to the TV. "...reports of intense road rage and other anger-related outbursts are increasing rapidly, despite no real changes in the weather, usually a culprit for these types of incidents. This has even resulted in more reports of police brutality and frustration with authority than normal." The report went on to say that no one had an explanation for the sudden increase in these activities, and that they were not limited only to violence, but also outbursts against those in the service industry and targeted vandalism. Some people had even been forcibly sedated as a result of these incidents.

"What the hell?" Kanji asked. "That doesn't even make sense. Who gets pissed at waiters?"

Yukiko sighed. "A lot of people." Even though Yukiko's family owned an inn, they did serve food, so if anyone would know anything about annoyed customers, it would be either her or Yosuke.

"More importantly," Naoto mused aloud, "who would want to rewrite reality so that these things are happening?"

"Adachi," Yu responded, certainty in his voice, but Naoto shook her head.

"Margaret and Igor said that Adachi is probably working with the real culprit. Besides, Dojima had told us that Adachi was doing rather well in prison, so there doesn't seem to be a motive to break out. Who, then? Who might be able to convince him to start this back up again, and where would he get that power? Izanami?"

"No," Marie responded. "I would know. At least... I think I would know..." An uneasy silence came over the group. "I'm sorry," she mumbled into her knees, her arms wrapping even more tightly around them.

"I guess we don't really know what's going on," Kanji said finally, rubbing the back of his head. "This sucks. Hey Yu, you got a plan? What are we gonna do?"

Yu thought for a moment. "I guess for now... all we can really do is wait. Try to explore the city, try to figure out what's going on..."

"But if there's someone that needs rescuing, we have no idea how to do that," Yosuke lamented. "That's what you're saying."

Yu looked Yosuke in the eyes, his confidence filling the room. "I believe in us. It may take a while, but we'll figure this out."

"How does it feel? To have your powers back?"

Adachi laughed. "Ya know, when you first asked me to help you with all of this, I thought it would be stupid. Revenge has never really gotten me anywhere. But this..." Adachi's hands began to glow red. "This feels fucking amazing!" He looked around at the nebulae floating in the sea of darkness. He guessed they were in space, but didn't care to ask exactly where, or how he could breathe. All he cared about was releasing the pent up anger he'd built inside of himself, and his new powers. Magatsu-Izanagi sat beside him, stronger than ever before.

"I'm glad you're pleased, and that we have reached an understanding." The figure turned to another, one with dark hair, cloaked in white. The figure nodded, but said nothing.

"You all promised to never lose hope, to not run from the future. You lied. Every single one of you lied." The figure's hand clenched into a fist. "After everything he did for you, you just... forgot about him." The figure looked upon a large golden door, surrounded by white light. The figure had finally given into the grief, the loneliness which had built up inside. "Well," the figure said, "If there is one thing I have learned, it is that no one is alone. Not even me."

February 2017

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