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758449

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In 758449 Riff is revealed to be alive, and is in a dystopian society where everyone is kept artificially happy.


SynopsisEdit

Riff awakens to a robot calling him 758449 and asking if he was happy this morning. He replies that since his friend Zoë burned to death in his arms he was decidedly not happy and remembers her from earlier, saying that he called the robot Matty. However upon hearing that he was not happy, Matty injected Riff with some sort of chemical that knocked him out, saying that they will "try again". (it's obvious from the marks on his arm that this has been going on for some time) The process repeats numerous times with Riff gradually revealing what happened since he arrived there through memories. The guns he was shot with fired tranquilizer darts that overloaded his system and were apparently going to kill him, with one of the armored troops saying that the nanites wanted to "tox him". An alternate version of Brian Rammer rescued him and told him that he must never use his real name in this dimension and welcomed him to paradise. Eventually he gets with the program and stays happy. It is revealed that he has been working in 4U City for quite some time and is working a job at the chem-labs training future chemists. Through his classes it is revealed that in the city no one can use lethal force, that any threat or anyone with no biochips was shot with a pre-calculated amount of drugs. They were taken alive and dumped down a judgment chute where His Masterness (ruler of the city) would supposedly judge them. His case was strange as he was almost killed instead of being taken alive. All the chemicals in 4U City were created by nanites and humans were just there to monitor the process. At some point one of the pipes in Riff's apartment wall started leaking and he was supposed to replace the leaking plastic gasket with a metal one. However a sign in the wall told him to replace it with a plastic one. When he did, a strange robot injected him with a cleansing cocktail and told him that after he purged himself he would feel clear-headed. Riff does so and returns to the pipes blowing off Matty who decides that Riff needs the "big guns" of happiness. In the pipes it is shown that Riff himself set this whole thing up, and he doesn't remember anything because of the drugs they used on him. He is using the plastic gaskets (which break on a regular basis) to lure his drugged-up oblivious self into the pipes so he can become clear headed about once every week. He has to wait a while for the cleansing cocktail to leave his system before taking a second dose. In order to keep Matty from putting him under Riff uses a device that sends her into an endless loop. However she can't stay like that for long before it attracts attention, so he has roughly two days where he can operate freely before being drugged up again. Riff then decides to record everything that has happened to him in the robot that freed him: Pendantech. He was rescued by alt-Rammer who said that his alternate from the Dimension of Rain vanished some time ago leaving his inventions behind, and that His Masterness is so terrified of anyone with Riff's DNA that he was to be killed on sight rather than dumped down a judgment chute. Rammer then tells Riff that he must never use his name unless Pendantech is jamming the nearby listening devices. Rammer then talks about the woman, Sharon, who helped save Riff who was judged for just having seen him. She apparently told Rammer that on the day 4U City rose the web of fate broke and the whole world lost its soul. Rammer gave Riff some tech that he would need and then left him to 4U City, saying that their goals would line up sooner or later. Since then Riff has been trying to gather intel on the city and recruit others to his cause. He had suffered a major set-back when one of his recruits, alt-Nana, was captured delivering some data to him and judged. Riff then ends the recording and says that he has a lot of work to do and very little time with which to do it. He spots an alternate version of Torg on TV promoting 4U City and decides that he will be Riff's next recruit. Riff breaks into alt-Torg's (who is watching opto-vision) apartment, paralyzing his Matty and lays out the foundations for alt-Torg's freedom. (replacing one of his metal gaskets with a plastic one, setting up the cleansing cocktail to be delivered when alt-Torg replaces it, giving him a Matty-disable ray, and a recording that explains what is going on) However, as he was leaving alt-Torg stops watching opto-vision and sees him. He recognizes Riff and says that he was supposed to "bring her back" and shows that he's been drawing Zoë's picture all over the wall. Riff is overwhelmed by this and walks out merely saying "I don't know". As he leaves he realizes that Zoë and Torg truly loved each other and thinks that the fire in the Mark 19 was his fault. He believes that by his failure he ruined two of his best friends' lives. The rain then lets up and he is finally able to see the city clear-eyed and clear-headed. And at the top of the Central Tower he sees a giant weaponized version of his DFA, and he says that the madman who made everyone disappear in that dimension was himself. He goes back to his apartment and replaces the plastic gasket in his wall with a metal one that won't give out. He contacts Rammer and tells him about the DFA cannon and that at the bottom of each judgment chute there are others. He also tells Rammer that he is done and is succumbing to the city. Rammer warns him that he cannot pull Riff out and that he will be an overdrugged zombie for the rest of his life. Riff replies that he only wants to make his problems disappear. He turns Matty back on and takes his medicine. The last panels of the story show him seated at the opto-vision chair with a smile slowly spreading over his face.

TriviaEdit

758449 on a telephone number/letter pad translates into the word "SLUGGY".

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