Berkeley, California has long been a mecca for those who can't—or don't want to—fit into the common conception of society. Long before the hippies brought their summer of love, before Leary broke the fragile barrier between science and society, people knew that their beliefs could go further here. People of disparate beliefs could gather, and weave them together, nurture them, and see them blossom.
Even so, it's a cosmopolitan city saturated with the assumptions of millenia of written history, passed down from generation to generation with little question. Against those assumptions, new beliefs can only go so far—half-dreaming hallucinations, tricks of the mind under dubious circumstances. But the very nature of existence is coming under attack from the cracks and crevices of the city, from the dreamers on the sidelines, and any they can recruit. Like Joshua.
Joshua didn't so much run away from home as walk away and never look back. He had his GED, he had some skill as an artist, and he wanted to learn about the world from the ground up. He left the harsh climate of Long Island for the welcoming arms of the Bay Area, not looking for anything in particular but everything altogether. He quickly falls into the street-punk scene, and while he's not impressed by many aspects of it, he's turned on by the open minds and endless possibilities.
01 - New Horizons like a Crack on the Head - Joshua arrives in Berkeley and has his mind pried open, teased with possibilities, and tested. When he recovers, he finds his fresh start to be more complete than he had anticipated, but new possibilities are still presenting. Has he found a family, at last?
02 - The Dreamer's Dreams Escape - After a couple weeks with his street family, Joshua still doesn't feel like he belongs. And the one person he's closest to trusting has gone missing. He's told she does this frequently enough, but Joshua is certain something's wrong. His dreams lead him to a clue.
03 - Ashes - Joshua searches high and low for someone to help him find Phoenix. He finally runs into Spike, who might have the answer to Joshua's riddle. Together, they search a building on campus for Phoenix. What they find is something else.
04 - An Introduction to Belief - John Doe and Spike introduce Joshua to the power of belief; as Phoenix ails, he goes on a quest to gather materials to bring her health and mind back. Despite initial progress, Joshua manages to dig himself even deeper into the pit.
05 - Trading Places - Joshua receives an unexpected visitor in jail; they take advantage of his confusion and displacement to jump-start his abilities, breaking him out. But at what cost? He meets up with John Doe and Spike to find out, and in the face of horrible news begins to take charge.
06 - Buried - Joshua, Spike, and John Doe try to do right by Phoenix, but the family's been broken. Time may heal them, but Joshua displaces his self into the city, running from it all. Still, gears are turning; his power has grown overnight, and stranger things are coming.
07 - Stranger Dreams - Joshua dives back into his dreams with a vengeance, looking for answers and meaning. Spike relents to help, after Joshua shows that his skills, or powers, have grown considerably. In those dreams, riddles attack him.
08 - Acolyte - Joshua knows what he has to do; but is it too much for him? Some of his recent history becomes clearer, while the rest becomes murkier.
09 - Undercurrents - Spike and John Doe break Joshua out of the compound. Will he recognize them in time to accept the help, or destroy them?
10 - Digging - Joshua leads everyone to San Francisco. There are things battling in his mind—protecting him, leading him, corrupting him. What is at the source of the Golden Dawn? Each step closer leads to more questions.
11 - Full Circle - A lost soul returns to Joshua in his dreams. There, in the midst of running from his nightmares, he finds answers to everything that's happened to him since he arrived in Berkeley. The stakes of his success or failure are laid clear.
12 - The Dream Collapses - Joshua leads his friends in a raid on The Golden Dawn's fortress. The full gang goes head to head for control of reality; reality dissolves around them.
Image by Kaolin Imago Fire, Copyright 2011