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This might be the most difficult mystery to figure out during The Mortality Machine. Michael was in the experience, but in two halves.
Michael was the last one of the test subjects to use the machine, so there was no one to strap him down. He got scared as the procedure started, and jumped off the bed in the middle of the procedure. As such, his mind was pulled into the machine, and became the Psychopomp. That which remained of him jumped up, grabbed his shoes, ripped his picture and ran off to become the Homeless Man.
The Homeless Man has been living in this space for some time, trying to make sense of what happened, and managed to steal the laptop from the lab before he ran off. The ripped picture gives some clues as to his identity, and it’s not hard to figure out the Homeless Man is Michael, but that answer is incomplete. The fact that there’s a second mask in the Psychopomp’s lair, as well as Michael’s personal effects on the threshold, are hints to that. Also, the Homeless Man functions very similarly to the Psychopomp, offering you pills (our version of pomegranate seeds) to let you access the White Room
Where was Michael?
Is there a way to meet Michael?
Yes, but to do so, you have to listen to your departed loved ones. All four of them have to be active and dancing in the White Room to pull Michael back together. This results in the Triumphant Ending.
How could we know this?
This is an experience about connection, and the basis of connection is listening. To get the departed out of the White Room, you not only have to touch them, but pay attention to their reaction to your presence and touch. Once their in the lab room, however, you have to keep listening.
The performers playing the departed give you a number of subtle clues when you get them into the laboratory, including the fact that the door won’t open while the machine is closed, and that time is running out. There’s two big clues they give: one, that there has to be a balance, and two, that they want to find Michael. These are clues to achieve the Balanced Ending and the Triumphant ending. If you start looking for balance, the performers respond and support that decision. If you help them look for Michael, you’re on track for the Triumphant Ending.
The performers react to you. Often, people are reluctant to let their newly resurrected loved one return to the land of the dead (understandably). In this case, the group generally starts looking for the best possible ending for their own character. However, if the group as a whole decides to make finding Michael a priority, the departed will lead everyone back through the machine, and begin the first stages of the Triumphant ending.
here are four rooms in this experience. First is the basement, where you entered. Nothing fantastic or supernatural occurs here. The next room is the White Room, which is obviously not of this world. Then there is the Psychopomp’s lair, which is a liminal space: it exists as a passage between worlds. The last area is the laboratory.
When the door is open, the laboratory is part of the real world, just like the basement. When the machine is open, it’s part of the liminal space of the Psychopomp lair. Therefore, both doors cannot be open at the same time. When the machine is used, the laboratory door is locked.
Why was the door locked?
What was up with the silver paint on our foreheads?
The silver paint denotes the people who died using the machine. The Psychopomp kept track of the number of people who used the machine (including the original four, five years ago) as well as the number of people in the White Room (this is very important to the Balanced Ending). If you died using the machine, you created a special movement to communicate with the other dead, which they used to call out to you.
Probably because you were dead yourself. If you used the machine, you lacked the animus to transfer to the departed. Only the living (who entered through the dark passage or when the machine was disabled) could impart movement to the departed.