Right then! Last time on Hell, we did a bunch of crap with the Psionic Leeeeague, and recruited Splits Magnola. We'll be looking to meet with Massimo Eddy soon, and we'll be needing Splits for that, but we've got a few more steps to perform before we can get all the way to Massimo's location. Our first step will be another trip to Dante's apartment...

Talk to Dante
You look excited, Dante. That must mean Deepthroat contacted us again. What was that address again? Yeah, "garage". That was it.

Talk to Dante again
You two are beginning to make some noise. Boards are texting mad about you.

Great! Why don't we just hang targets on our backs?

Don't go casters-up on me! It's all vaguery and e-jabber. Nobody's ratting you. You've got the underground humming. Wireheads think you two are the bugs in the code that can crash the Hand. You've got a fan base, kids! I've turned up half a dozen images that are supposed to be you.

None of them real, I hope?

Nah, all false sightings. I'm doing my bit to feed the goat, sending out my own faked photos of you under different e-accounts. Also seeding the rumor garden. Drex has been a big help there.

We've maxed the rumor mill with top-shelf disinfo. We've told them you were running whiskey in the Dust Belt, that you were in deep freeze in a Front safehouse in Cameroon. Sent one out over AnarchiNet saying you had converted and joined a Hand mission working the Wyoming communes. Believe me, kids, you live on the lam as long as I have, you can human-engineer with the best.

Yeah, Drex is an ace maverick. He put out a line that Gideon had gone transvestite and had joined the staff of the J. Edgar Hoover School for Girls!

Neat! Anyway, let's whip out the ol' psychopomp and head back to the garage and Deepthroat, which we'll find just as we left them.

Talk to Deepthroat
Now, let's continue where we left off the last time.

No, first, how about you telling us who you are?

I'm...I'm Deepthroat. That's all it is safe to reveal. They could be listening. If they capture you, they could torture my name from you. What I can tell you is that I work in the Pentagon for the Hand as part of the hell maintenance team. I make backup files of hell pits. They don't think I know what's happening in hell, but I know things.

All right, for now at least, but I don't go for this mystery man stuff.

You need to learn about the hell system if you have any hope of beating the Hand. You need programming expertise to devise a crash program. You must start thinking of hell as a software product, not as a real place, and any program...especially one this complex...has vulnerabilities that can be exploited.

Are you saying we can just introduce a memory overlay bug or something, and trash the whole system? That's it?

No, no, of course not. It will take something extremely special, a singularly ingenious crash bug. I doubt there's a virus extant that could cripple large segments of the system, and damn few programmers alive with the know-how or the hardware to program a crash bug. That's why the Hand cracks down so hard on technology. They must always remain several generations ahead of everyone else so that the hell system remains safe.

So what are you saying? That there's no hope?

I'm saying that the one advantage we may have is that I know the system. If the Freedom Front has computers and programmers of adequate merit, we might prevail.

You know how to make the crash bug, then?

I fear that I'm not anywhere near that accomplished a programmer. I make backup files all day. I hardly understand the theory behind the code; in practice, I'd be terribly lost. You must find better programmers than me, and then I can help them devise something.

If that's the case, it's time for you to end this cloak-and-dagger routine and join us!

Not at the moment. That would be impossible. The hell staff works and lives in the Pentagon. My movements are constantly monitored. That is why I can't remain long to speak with you.

And what are you getting out of all this? Why turn on your masters?

I...I was a...believer. God forgive me, I once believed that Solux's measures were severe, but fair and necessary. Working here, seeing what they have done in the name of god, I came to recognize the true enemy, the true evil...and its name is Solene Solux. I must leave now. Stay in touch with Dante. You will hear from me again.

We're starting to feel toyed with, Deepthroat. You reveal hell's secrets, you hint that it can be destroyed, but then doubt that anyone has the skill or computing power to do it. You tell us that you can help us, but that you can't leave the Pentagon. Where's this all leading?

Things are changing, changing very quickly, becoming very dangerous. The Hand knows that there is a leak in the programming team. I've done my best to obscure myself, but I begin to fear for my life.

Then you've got to get out of there now!

Soon, soon. As soon as I think it possible. In the meantime, you should attempt to access Massimo Eddy. His location is a highly-guarded secret. Any high-ranking Hand official would have the location stored in his computer, but the information is encrypted, and only the Bureau of Records knows the secret to the encryption. The Bureau offices are in the Federal Triangle.

But if hell's virtual, what's that make Massimo Eddy? He just a Hand con? He can't have any special knowledge of hell if hell doesn't really exist.

It makes him even more valuable to you. Massimo was a quality assurance technician testing the boundaries of the beta version of the hell code. Sections of the system were still buggy, and Massimo suffered severe brain damage that had bizarre effects. It left him mad, prone to intense visions, and possessed by demons whose voices speak through him. He's been exposed to the vast contours of the system. He does have knowledge of hell, hell as it really exists; I just hope he's lucid enough to assist us.

If he really does have secret knowledge, why does the Hand keep him alive?

Eddy is one more fragment of the lie, one more thing for people to believe in and fear. That's all for now. I'll contact you again very soon. I must make a move for my own safety.

OK, the Bureau of Records location is what we needed from Mr. Throat. Back to the real world...

Talk to Dante
Look, hurry up and bust this open so you can do something with Drex. He's eating me out of house and home!

Oh, come on, Dante. What're a few refried beans and pan-fried quails between friends? Anyway, we can now find the Bureau of Records on the DC Map, so let's go there.

Bureau of Records: The cyber-sweatshop of 2059, a typical records bureau, complete with modern computers, copy machines, and paper, paper, paper.

Ms. Stinson: A clerk exudes a fanatic discipline about her work.

Mr. Calcutta: An officious, tidy man works at his desk. He exudes the professional contempt of a man who has spent a lifetime refusing people's requests.

Talk to Ms. Stinson

May I help you?

We're with Reality Containment. Official business involving Massimo Eddy.

You'll have to speak with Mr. Calcutta first. He is responsible for information pertaining to Massimo Eddy.

Talk to Mr. Calcutta

Need a moment of your time, sir. We're with Reality Containment.

Congratulations. I'm certain that your family is quite proud of you.

We're investigating something big, a full-blown paranormal catastrophe. We need to speak with Massimo Eddy. We have clearance.

Oh, goody. And may I see this clearance?

ARC sent it ahead of us. Surely you received it!

I've received no notification. I assure you I am not in the habit of misplacing important items such as security clearance. Only people with Transgressions clearance can be informed of Massimo Eddy's location. Until you give me such clearance, you may not see him. See Ms. Stinson if you need to complete the application forms.

Talk to Mr. Calcutta again
I suppose you're here about Mr. Eddy again, but since you haven't given me the proper credentials, I remain unable to assist you. See Ms. Stinson for the proper paperwork.

Rachel, I'm sure that Sophia can forge the Transgressions clearance. The clearance is on CD, and the most important components are the identity templates that prove we are who we say we are. If we play our cards right, we can probably get those from Stinson.

Typical bureaucracy! Well, better do as Mr. Dickhead suggests.

Talk to Ms. Stinson
Calcutta told us to see you about Transgressions clearance to see Massimo Eddy.

Identity templates and clearances can only be obtained from Transgressions headquarters. All I can tell you is that to obtain the identity templates, you must know the shape that all transgressions move toward and must come to, sooner or later. That's all I can tell you.

The shape that all transgressions move toward and must come to, eh? Well, let's see. Transgressions HQ, just like the Bureau of Records, is located in Federal Triangle. Aha! If we head back to Transgressions, log on to St. Mouchoir's computer, then drill down through Government Operations to the Massimo Eddy file, we're prompted for a password. Using the solution to Stinson's riddle as our answer...


Credentials Template: This template, stored on a CD-like disk, will allow you to forge copies of official passes on the Transgressors' computer. These computerized credentials are the only kind of pass that will allow entry to the Lee Mansion.

Wait a minute. Lee Mansion? We need the credentials to get Massimo Eddy's location out of Mr. Dickhead back at Records, and yet the description for the unaltered template has Massimo's location right in it? Well, silly as that is, just reading the description doesn't reveal Lee Mansion on our map, so we'll have to do this properly.

As per Gideon's idea, we can have Sophia use her forger skill on the credentials template, and...

...procure a finished set of creds.

Transgressions Credentials: An official-quality forged Transgressors' Pass.

Right! Back to Records, where we hand over our good-as-legit creds to Mr. Dickhead, and:

Talk to Mr. Calcutta
Ah, what shock and disbelief on my part! I thought you two were con artists. Now I see you were merely incompetent. You've finally obtained Transgressions clearance. Very good for you. Mr. Eddy resides in the Lee Mansion in Arlington. That's right; the home of the first damned man overlooks the national cemetery. Quite appropriate, don't you think? When you do find Mr. Eddy, be aware that there are other security measures in place. You had best be more prepared for them than you were for me.

Cool. We now have Lee Mansion on the DC Map, and there's just one more thing we'll be needing to get to Massimo Eddy's room, which is Mr. Beautiful's cue stick. Last time we visited Mr. B, his yesman Abonides wouldn't let us take the cue. Well, maybe we'll have better luck this time. To Beautiful's office!

...What in the Sam Hill has been happening in here? As soon as we enter, the dude in the hat automatically initiates a conversation.


Tell us where our people are being held, or you'll get what happened to your boss here. I think there'll be more blood when we shoot you, eh?

What the hell's going on? What's with Beautiful? He's...he's an android?

You're a little slow on the uptake, ain'cha, Rach?

WAS an android. Now he is a pile of scrap! He's been scamming us for years, and thinking he was untouchable because he was a demon. Losing Krystal Getty, that was the failure, the demonstration of weakness we needed to plug a hole in him. Now we find out he's a machine. Just one more scam...his last scam.

Hey, man, you think I'm mad enough to put my hide at risk? I'm Mr. Freakin-A Beautiful! There's dozens of you wiseguy sociopathic hard-ons looking to make a rep by plugging someone with position and the freakin' stones to back it up!

I thought he was dead.

I look dead to you, hotcakes? Bend closer and I'll chew your ears off!

He's been talking like that since we blasted him. Shut up, or I swear to god I'll blow your head to pieces!

You're bluffin' like a firehall card shark, you simple spic bastard! You won't finish the job 'cause you're hoping I'll tell you what's on that DAT!

That's it! I'm gonna blast him back to hell.

That's enough, Manny. Don't do that yet. He's right; we might need him to get Delmonico and Carlos back. You almost blew it once when you shot him up like this.

So he was an android. That explains a lot. I guess all the other demons on earth are synthetic as well.

YES, Rachel. We've kind of been over that with Asmodeus.

Manuel Salinas (hat guy): A man with the look of a professional killer stands over the smoldering remains of Mr. Beautiful.

Secedine Marto (greybeard): A grim, silver-haired killer stands amidst the circuitry and metal that was Mr. Beautiful.

Mr. Beautiful's Head: Pazuzu may have lost his body, but his spirit is still intact, and residing in his still-functioning noggin.

Talk to Secedine Marto
I'll only ask this once. Where is pretty-boy keeping Delmonico and Carlos? Look what we did to your boss. We are not in good moods.

And we don't work for Beautiful, although no one wants to believe that.

And we've had enough of people pointing guns at us. Who cares if Beautiful's destroyed? Thanks, you did us a favor.

When I get my head mounted on a body again, I'll kick your ass all over Washington!

What's on the tape?

You are in no position to be asking questions. This DAT popped out of your boss's chest when I split it open with my laser. Seems important to him; he threatens my life over it every fifteen minutes. We played it, but I can't understand a word of it. Frankly, I don't care either. I want Delmonico and Carlos back. We were trying to beat their location out of this rhyming little freak when you two came in, but all we got out of him was a bunch of useless numbers.

Though your fists are hard, your brain is stupid! The meaning is there for you to grasp, yet you pursue me hard like a murderous Cupid. That which you seek I now gasp! 11, 23, 14, 26, 25, 9, 10, 6, 25, 13, 13, 10, 17, 17, 23, 20, 6, 9, 20, 14, 17! All the Rs are 23; keep your spirits strong, if your men you would set free! With the numbers you can't go wrong, for from the numbers letters come, and with the letters freedom's song!

See what I'm talking about? What the hell is that?

Gideon, it's obviously a code.

I'll strike you two a deal. You find Portillo, and I'll let you have this DAT. Your boss obviously wants it back pretty bad.

Damn it, he's not our boss!

I run their lives, the ungrateful shits! Heh heh heh. They rule the city. They grow drowsy on my food and whiskey and any sexual perversion they can dream up. Fresh fruit in the wintertime! Nothing's too good for my people!

Whether you work for him or not, the tape's worth something, huh? You find the boys, and it's yours. Take that obnoxious head with you.

Talk to Marto again
You know the deal, and I'm getting tired of waiting. If I have to, I'll put a hundred people on the street looking for those guys, and if that happens, you don't get the DAT.

Talk to Abonides
Satan's blood! The day is tragic! The marks are wise; the rubes are nasty. Beauty's not just dead; he's just a gadget!

Talk to Mr. Beautiful
Rachel! Gideon! Kill these two! Drill holes in 'em! Plug 'em, plant 'em, I want 'em dead! We'll bury 'em in Arlington. We'll be just like the dagos and dump their bodies right next to where the friggin' Kennedys used to be.

I can't believe they're all machines! For some reason I find it easier to believe they were real demons.

Not so beautiful now, are you, Pazuzu? Just another noisy head.

Screw you! You were only too happy to suck up when I was on top. One little setback, and then you find out who your real friends are...but I knew it would come to this. You work hard, get a little piece of something, and you gotta keep kicking everybody else's dirty paws off of it.

Apparently his identity chips are stored in the head.

Hey, you can't just leave me here! Pick me up! You gotta find me another body. Look, don't be stupid...I can help you out, man! I know everything there is to know about hell, heh-heh-heh.

Mr. Beautiful's head is completely useless. There are no points at which he'll be needed, or even helpful, to advance in the game. Therefore, I say thee NAY!

You'll pay for this! I got connections! I'm a big man in this town!

Then again, the Transgressions credentials were the last thing we needed Sophia Bene to fix for us, Beautiful does have a couple of lines if he's with you, and there is a certain appeal to the idea of carrying Dennis Hopper's severed head all over Washington.

Talk to Beautiful again
Whaddya say? We got a deal? Are you taking me with you?

Oh, fine.

Don't just stand there. One of you pick me up and carry me! Aww, we gotta find me a body, man...

There's nothing left in the game for Sophia to help with, whereas we'll be needing Cynna and Splits a few times yet, so we bid a grateful adieu to Ms. Bene.

In keeping with his general uselessness, Mr. B comes with absolutely nothing. Anyway, we can now pick up the cue, and also have a look at the jukebox; Abonides won't stop us anymore.

The names, the names! Damn it, Hell! Anyway, this puzzle is a brick wall for a lot of people, which I find somewhat peculiar; it's really not difficult at all. The key is in the string of numbers Abonides gives you, and the clue that R=23. That's enough to work out that it's an alphabetical code, and with 26 letters, it wraps around to 1 with V, meaning that 6 is A. Using that code, the numbers translate to songs on the jukebox: E3, D9, and E8. If we punch in a playlist of those three songs...

...the pentagram design sinks into the floor, revealing a secret passage to a new room.

Marto speaks up as soon as we enter.

What is this? Look what he's done to my boys!

Don't blow your motherboard, Marto. If this is what I think it is, your men are fine. A little sweaty, and down a few million dollars to a minty-fresh demon who deals from the bottom, heh, but they're unharmed.

You owe us a DAT. We had a deal!

Watch him, kiddies! When it comes to the double-cross, Marto's "Secedine" to no one!

Jesus, B...Gideon should bowling-ball your assless ass for that pun.

I just want to get the hell out of here. I swear to god, Manuel, if I ever get involved with demons again, you'd be doing me a favor by blowing my brains out.

It would be my pleasure to do it, Secedine.

Here's your DAT, for all the good it's gonna do you.

Pleasure doing business with you, Marto. Now we need to give this to someone with the right audio tech to decipher what's on this DAT.

Beautiful's Secret Room: A secret chamber with two psychopomps which, in their own way, act as the secret passage to another place...

DAT: A high-tech DAT audio cartridge that popped out of Mr. Beautiful's body upon his sudden demise. Its contents are impossible to decipher without expert assistance.

Can't do anything else here, so we'll head back out and to the Voice of God station, where Nick Cannon can help with the DAT.

Talk to Nick Cannon
...thing I need is a reporter on an ego trip. I know YOU don't care what Miss Hand of God, USA has to say about machine-free living! Cannon out. Dammit, nobody wants to interview beauty queens since they eliminated the swimsuit competitions. Rachel, Gideon! You're still alive. That's news.

No, THIS is news, Nicky. Hell isn't real! The whole fearsome, steamy, torture-filled region's a computer-generated illusion.

Uh-huh. Why don't the two of you take some psilo-petal and a nice long psychedelic nap?

That...sounds pretty appealing, actually.

We're on the level, Nick. We've been there and back. We've seen part of the system lock up, but most of all, we have a deepthroat, a Hand programmer with a heavy conscience who went rogue and is working for the Front now. He'll talk to you. He'll explain how the whole thing works, and you can tell the world. It's all a big lie, Nick.

You're certain of this?

He worked in the Pentagon backing up hell files. Talk to him, Nick. This is the story of a lifetime!

I dunno. It's not that simple. It's not...I can't just hop the net and assign that!

What's corrupting your files? You're a reporter; just do it!

OK, Rachel's really running up the score in the Bitch Points competition.

Hey, this isn't exactly the free freakin' press, ARC agents. The Decency Council censors the crap out of us! I patch your deepthroat into the net, and I'll be sweatin' in Tartarus with some demon using my tongue for a teletype. If all this is true, you've got the story of the century, but I can't touch it 'til it's all public.

Give DAT to Cannon
Then get over to Wall Street. Hope your money's in cash, Sandra. The Dow Jones is hellbound. Hey, Rachel and Gideon. Still breathing?

People on scrub lists tend not to play the market. We are in the market for audio expertise, however.

I'll do anything I can get away with.

The gangster demon that called himself Beautiful is dead. Just like hell, he's turned out bogus, a very advanced android.

You want me to cover this? I'm not sure where I'd start!

No, we don't want media coverage. We need your help with this DAT we got from the hard guys who blasted Beautiful.

I'll see what I can do. Hmm, look at this...a 100th-level scramble layered over whatever's on this tape. Definitely Hand routines, so I can do a routine playback. Here she comes!

A demonic voice comes out:

GOD IS DEAD! Ahahahahaha.

Thanks, Friedrich. Actually, that's more helpful than it seems: it's a password we'll need later.

Well, that was pleasant.

Coming from Beautiful, I'm surprised it wasn't obscene.

That's all from Nick, and we've got everything we need to meet Massimo Eddy, so it's off to the Lee Mansion for Gideon and Rachel.

Autoconversation ensues!

As me sainted Irish mother used to say to me, "You're up shit creek now, bucko!" Har, har...bet if you dare!

Oh yeah? Oh YEAH? I've been there before. Hey, remember that time in Bethesda? No bullets! Ha ha! But you know, I've noticed that when you start quoting your mother, you're usually bluffing!

Well, at least I know who me parents were! Har har har!

Uh, excuse me, gentlemen...

Just hold yer horses, sonny boy. You can't get past us without us saying so, and right now I'm just a wee bit preoccupied.

The nerve of these people! What do you think we should do with them when we finish this hand?

Why, arrest 'em or kill 'em, of course! It's always a tough decision.

Let's play for it!

You're on! Har har har!

How the hell do we get by these two? They sure like to argue. Too bad we can't control their minds. We could have them shoot each other.

That's a strangely specific observation, Gideon.

Lee Mansion Guard Room: The two uniformed guards playing cards seem out of place, but little else about this antique colonial parlor has changed since Robert E. Lee lived here 250 years before.

Voytek (younger guard): The cherubic face atop this guard's uniformed physique belies his awesome killing abilities. He is cheerfully engrossed in playing cards...

Leenon (Irish guard): He may be small, and he may have a rakish grin, but this muscular guard has got killer written all over him.

The descriptions for these two seem to be reversed.

Talk to Leenon
What's it gonna be this hand, you auld sod?

This time, it's gonna be Minnesota Red Dog...deuces, treys, fives, nines, and one-eyed Jacks wild.

Great mother in heaven, what the hell kind of game is that? Sounds like something the wee ones would play.

Well, you ought to know something about "wee ones", you old Irish billy goat. Hah! Minnesota Red Dog happens to be a game that requires a little intelligence, a little strategy. That's probably why you never heard of it. Ha ha ha!

Hey, speaking of a lack of intelligence, how's that girl you been seeing? Har har har!

Uh, excuse me, guys. Hate to break up your little-boy bonding session, but...

Cool your jets, lady. We'll get to you when we're good and ready. You can't get past here without us saying so, and we ain't saying so.

'At's telling her what for. As me dear old Da used to say, "Shut up, you little twit!" So anyway, I been meaning to ask you, Voytek me boy, how did you do with that woman in the bar last night? Did you get lucky, then?

I keep telling you, no luck to it, it's all skill! Just like you're gonna find out in a minute. I love this hand!

Voytek has nothing to say. Our protagonists, sensibly enough, won't even try to barge past the guards. Since Gideon blurted something about mind control a few minutes ago, that's our cue to use Splits's psionic power on them.

OK, Magnola, it shouldn't be too hard for you to get into the craniums of these two pinheads.

All right, but you better stand back. These two look pretty rough. I have a feeling it could get dangerous around here if they were to get into an argument...for example, if the smaller guy were to hide a card up his sleeve...

Hey, wait just a minute there, you little bastard! Did I see you slipping a card up your sleeve, then?

Or if the other guy were to suddenly detect a foul smell...

What are you talking about, you yeasty-voiced son of a bitch? You're the one who has to deal from the bottom to win!

It's the kind of thing that could leave you speechless!

What?! Why, you, you...

Or worse, it could make you say something absolutely vicious.

What's the matter? Run out of quotes from your sainted slut of a mother?

Words like that could be the last straw.

What?! That's it, you little toad. You're a pissant of a human being, you are!

I'm sick of having to sit here and smell your breath! And the stories...oh, god, if I have to hear one more story about the old freaking sod, or your stupid "Da", who was probably the friggin' milkman...

Oh, is that right, then? And I'm sick of hearing about your girlfriends...or is it boyfriends?

Why, it could even make you want to kill a man who used to be your best...and only...friend.

That's it, you Irish lush! Draw!

POW POW POW! This little dust-up leaves Leenon and Voytek dead, and our heroes free to move on to the next room.

Cyberpanther Room: It's doubtful General Lee would have allowed such an elegant room to be given over to a cat, but this is one of those cats that has a mind of its own.

Bowl of Water: A simple bowl of water.

Lamp: A standard floor lamp.

Cybernetic Panther: A cybernetically enhanced panther, a sinister and lethal combination of feline ferocity and technologic skill, fixes you with a predator's gleam and blocks entrance to Massimo Eddy's room. Apparently, the panther has spilled his water, as it stands in a puddle.

Talk to Cybernetic Panther

Mr. Eddy will not be bothered. Grrrrr, meat. Tender meat. Feast soon.

Look, Gideon, I've bought into a lot of weirdness working for ARC, but that panther is talking. Panthers don't talk, Gideon.

They do now. Check it, it's got a skull jack. Probably a computer interface that interprets the electrical impulses generated by the panther's instincts and translates them into a form the skull computer can process. The computer acts on the instincts and also sends output to a speech synthesizer: the panther talks! Questions are, can it think, and if it can, how smart is it?

If we can't outsmart this beast, we'd better scoop up Dante's suggestion and go under in Africa.

Gotta be smarter than you two put together. I can think of a dozen ways around this thing, but I'll be buggered if I'm helping you after the way I've been treated! Baggage handlers at Washington National couldn't jostle me more than you two have.

Talk to Panther again
Rrrrr. Rip the meat open and feast, grrrrr, blood stains my fur, organs burst in mouth. Grrrrr!

Well, that's kind of fucked up. Anyway, the panther won't stop us from grabbing the water dish; I can't remember if it's good for anything, but hey, free water dish! It won't let us through to Eddy's room, though, so we'll have to get tricky with our new cue stick and the lamp over yonder.





Kitty. :( Oh, well. At least we can go into Eddy's room now.

Massimo Eddy's Quarters: When they first gave this room over to Massimo Eddy, they used to cover the walls with giant canvases in an effort to preserve the historical dignity of the room's surfaces. Massimo ignored such parameters, and in time, his keepers did, too.

Massimo Eddy: Massimo the Mad, the so-called first damned man, is at work with brush and palette, adding wild strokes to a wall already thick with paint.

We can also examine the Primary, Secondary, and Tertiary sections of that color wheel on the wall:

These aren't important, but they contain the secret to using the horse races as your own personal ATM. I'll go over that in a future update, but you'll never actually need the money.

Talk to Massimo Eddy

Uh, Massimo...over here, buddy. We've gone through quite a bit to get here. Maybe you could stop painting for a few minutes.

Painting focuses my energy. Power of creation, out from inside, keeps the voices quiet, keeps me me.

Look, we know the truth about you, and about hell. We know that you tested a hell prototype. We know that the government uses you to scare people. We can get you out of here, take you with us!

But then how would I finish the painting? There's much more to do!

Well, you could start another one. Somewhere where you're not under guard, someplace where you'll be free.

Where might that be?

From this point forward, Massimo delivers some of his lines in other voices: Naome, a weird helium-pitched female, and an unnamed growly male. I'll use alternate portraits to distinguish which of Eddy's personalities is speaking.

Where might that be?

No one is free from the hell inside! Come see us, and take a little home with you.

Oh, man, Massimo the Mad! He really is possessed.

Worse than possessed. There are ways to exorcise a real demon. These demons are seamlessly integrated into his cortex. They're separate bits of computer-generated consciousness, following their own logic, and they aren't ever going away.

They made it real, you morons! They took thousands of years of hate and terror and combined it with centuries of science and made it. They made the nightmares real, the cautionary tales come alive; they made Hades' flames really burn.

Made us really burn!

I am Naome, consort to Belial. Fearsome enough I was, in old women's stories and young girls' nightmares, but the Hand gave me a voice and the force to use it!

But if it's a computer program, we can crash it. You know that, and you know how to do it. Tell us what you know. How do we beat it?

You can't beat Satan. How arrogant! The two of you, defeat Satan?

Satan is the greatest warrior in hell.

He is destined to win every encounter, triumph in every battle.

We can beat him. We know these demons can die.

You know so much, so many secrets.

They know so many secrets.

Very smart, they are. Your parents must be very proud.

Don't you know the game is rigged? He's programmed to win!

He's the king of hell!

He'll rip you a new one, kids.

Something about that line cracks me up.

How do we beat him? They say you know the secrets of hell. Tell us. Why should you protect him?

I can't tell you. They won't let me.

We won't let him.

We'll give him a stroke first.

Apparently he's got a block programmed into his brain that prevents him from revealing forbidden secrets.

Fight it, Massimo, fight it!

I'm trying, but I tell you, they...

Bite your tongue, Massimo, or I'll bite it for you!

The pain...too great! Here...take...this is the best...I can do.

It's the best he can do.

And we're gonna hurt him for it!


What is it? What did he give you?

I don't know. He wrote something on this paper, but it doesn't make any sense.

We now have two new items in our inventory:

Massimo's color chart, which is just a portable version of How to Cheat at Horse Racing...

...and Massimo's Note, which is the important one. While it's so much pseudo-mathematical gibberish to Gid and Rach, the right person may be able to interpret it for us. Aaand...that's it for today! We're starting to creep toward the endgame, so stay tuned, and thanks for reading!