The narrator discusses the “nocebo effect,” in which the human body has a negative physical reaction to a suggested harm, and conversion disorders, where the mind converts mental stress to a physical tick or response, which can be contagious. These ticks can go viral and infect an entire community. If the suggestion of illness can become an illness, what else about our reality is actually a disorder?
The Shadow King is being pampered by women while battling David’s father in his mind. Farouk falls over, apparently dead, and is placed in a white coffin and driven away in a hearse by a monk. The coffin is brought to a monastery.where a group of monks lowers it down to be entombed beneath the monastery and sealed over. While eating, the monks hear something stirring beneath the floor.
A delusion creeps into Ptonomy’s head while he sleeps. When he wakes, he hears voices. General Fukuyama watches.
Cary insists that Kerry come to eat with him. He shows her how to eat sushi. She struggles with it and doesn’t see the point since she gets everything she needs when they’re merged, but he reminds her that after last year they decided not to take everything for granted. He then helps her to the bathroom.
Syd is using her power to possess a cat and search for the monk. She communicates with Legion through telepathy. She sees Clark as he discovers a bloody handprint on the inside of the window to the room where the chattering people are stored. One civilian is missing from the group.
David see sees a flash of Future Syd writing him a message, but he only sees the letter “H.” David enters the tank and reaches out with his mind.
He finds Lenny writing “Exit” by the side of a pool, still trying to find a way out of Farouk’s psyche. She asks David for pills and tries to talk with him. She asks for David’s help with Farouk. If nothing else, she wants to be put out of her misery.
Farouk tells David that the monk’s mind will be impenetrable unless he knows the secret. David asks what Farouk is going to do with his body when he finds it. He says he is simply going to live in it and enjoy women, money, and power. David asks if he’s going to be a supervillain. Farouk says he was a king and a good king until David’s white father, who did not understand his people’s customs, and deposed him because he thought he knew better.
Farouk points out that David is helping a future version of Syd who won’t exist if he succeeds, essentially helping her commit suicide. Farouk also says that its the monk causing the chattering people sickness, not him.
David comes out of the chamber to find himself alone and the Division 3 base having seemingly been the site of some kind of battle. He finds a soldier on the floor and several chattering people in the hallways and the cafeteria. He sees a cow that then vanishes in front of his eyes. He finds Cary, who is startled and sprays him in the eye with some household cleaner. Cary says he saw the monk and that the child guards were following him. They’re immune to his disease, but he was humming a tune that compelled them to follow him.
David and Cary find Ptonomy on the floor and chattering. David takes Cary and dives into Ptonomy’s mind, which takes the form of a massive, complex hedge maze. They find Ptonomy tending the flowers. Cary steps in the residue left by the delusion crawling through Ptonomy’s mind. Ptonomy doesn’t seem to recognize David or Cary. Cary realizes that the disease traps people in fantasies of their core desires. In Ptonomy’s case, his powers are inverted. Instead of being able to live in memories, he has no memory at all.
David uses his powers to wake Ptonomy up. The maze explodes around them and they all come through in the physical world. They walk out of Ptonomy’s room and see the cow again. David sees another flash of Future Syd, this time drawing a “U.”
David, Cary, and Ptonomy find Melanie Bird chattering. They pick her up and carry her Back to Cary’s lab and then they enter her mind. They find complete darkness. Ptonomy flips open a lighter. They see a light and walk towards it. It’s a typewriter. They strike a key and words appear before them like a text adventure game. It tells them they are in a cave with a door. They look around and see a ladder and climb down. The ladder ends in darkness. David types in that they jump and they fall. It tells them that they are in the maze and they must keep moving or the minotaur will get them. David types in the command to look around. They reach a fork int he maze. David tries to call out to Melanie. They are approached by a monstrous looking creature, the Minotaur, and move away.
David tries to use his power and break through the maze, but the darkness consumes the light he was creating. They come to a dead end. David tries something else, typing in Melanie’s story about falling in love with Oliver and absorbing his dreams at the expense of her own. Melanie appears before them and they exit her maze together. They see the cow again and then David sees a flash of Syd again, this time writing an “R.” David says they should be immune to the monk now. They split up, David leaving with Cary to search for Syd while Ptonomy and Melanie look for Fukuyama.
David sees another flash and another “R.” Cary hides just before David is attacked by the monk’s children. They drag him off and Cary follows behind.
David is brought to the monk, who show the monastery to David in his mind. The monks try to sleep, but there is a constant noise. David, as the monk in his memory, wakes up. In the daytime, the monks try to meditate, but the banging is constant. One of the monks starts to laugh uncontrollably. Another day, David see two monks have hanged themselves from the monastery entryway. Other monks have begun chattering. David looks out on the barren, secluded desert where the monastery is located.
Cary keeps searching for David. He finds Kerry chattering. He tries to merge with her, but it doesn’t work. He fades away.
Melanie and Ptonomy find Fukuyama. The Vermillion are downed. The monk is is hooked into Fukuyama. He wants the weapon Division 3 built. The monk says they were not told that Farouk was a monster when the body was taken and that they were told to find Division 3 if something went wrong. He says the Shadow King cannot be burned or drowned. Fukuyama says that they meant to build a weapon, but never did. Too many other crises came up and they forgot. The monk doesn’t believe them. Melanie believes David is the weapon. The monk says he doesn’t want David’s help. He says he doesn’t trust David and is about to reveal that David is working with the Shadow King when David comes in and teleports both himself and the monk to the Division 3 roof.1comments
David and the monk argue. The monk says the Shadow King will kill them all and that he’s seen in David’s mind. David gets another flash from Future Syd, a “Y,” making the full message “HURRY.” David gets angry and tries to get the monk to tell him where Farouk’s body is. Rather than tell David, the monk throws himself from the roof to his death
David sees Syd on the roof, chattering. He enters her mind and finds a snowstorm.