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** He also describes a dream where an UncannyValley deer with a jointed needle for a foot is eating grass and looking at him. Alex is suitably creeped out.

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** He They also describes describe a dream where an UncannyValley deer with a jointed needle for a foot is eating grass and looking at him.them. Alex is suitably creeped out.



** [[spoiler: Alex as he dies. He describes that his skin is sloughing off, hanging from his body in strips, and that he intermittently spits out his own teeth. It's no wonder he considers the Facility caving in and crushing him a preferable death.]]
* BreatherEpisode: After the harrowing experiences of his Sick Lands expedition and working with [[NightmareFuel Subject 83,]] Alex finds himself working with Subject 407, who is basically normal except with a large right arm. He even lampshades how much of a welcome break it is.

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** [[spoiler: Alex as he dies. He describes they die. They describe that his their skin is sloughing off, hanging from his their body in strips, and that he they intermittently spits spit out his their own teeth. It's no wonder he considers they consider the Facility caving in and crushing him them a preferable death.]]
* BreatherEpisode: After the harrowing experiences of his their Sick Lands expedition and working with [[NightmareFuel Subject 83,]] Alex finds himself themself working with Subject 407, who is basically normal except with a large right arm. He They even lampshades lampshade how much of a welcome break it is.



* ChekhovsGun: {{Invoked|Trope}}. [[spoiler: In a dream / vision Bob shows Alex a gun placed in a safe place and how to get it so that Alex can use it to defend himself from the mutated Sergei later.]]

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* ChekhovsGun: {{Invoked|Trope}}. [[spoiler: In a dream / vision Bob shows Alex a gun placed in a safe place and how to get it so that Alex can use it to defend himself themself from the mutated Sergei later.]]



* EldritchAbomination: [[spoiler: Implied to be the cause of the Sick Lands. Alex finds the skull of something that appears to be one and it causes his SanitySlippage to become even worse just by being around him.]]

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* EldritchAbomination: [[spoiler: Implied to be the cause of the Sick Lands. Alex finds the skull of something that appears to be one and it causes his their SanitySlippage to become even worse just by being around him.it.]]



* NaiveNewcomer: Alex. He really doesn't seem to comprehend what he's getting into and notes that the only experience he's had with the Sick Lands and ''mal'' before is reading about it in books. He gets joined later by two likewise inexperienced scientists after [[spoiler: Sergei and Xi are killed.]]
** Then Alex is shifted to the [[spoiler: Facility, where he's supposed to be this, but most of the scientists immediately available don't seem to know any more than him.]]
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: [[spoiler: The Sick Land suddenly expanded across the world after Alex seemed to piss off the huge thing in the underground lake by destroying what might have been the creatures' offering to it. Granted, it was established that the Sick Land was expanding anyway, but his actions seemed to have sped it up.]]

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* NaiveNewcomer: Alex. He They really doesn't don't seem to comprehend what he's they're getting into and notes note that the only experience he's they've had with the Sick Lands and ''mal'' before is reading about it in books. He gets They get joined later by two likewise inexperienced scientists after [[spoiler: Sergei and Xi are killed.]]
** Then Alex is shifted to the [[spoiler: Facility, where he's they're supposed to be this, but most of the scientists immediately available don't seem to know any more than him.them.]]
* NiceJobBreakingItHero: [[spoiler: The Sick Land suddenly expanded across the world after Alex seemed to piss off the huge thing in the underground lake by destroying what might have been the creatures' offering to it. Granted, it was established that the Sick Land was expanding anyway, but his their actions seemed to have sped it up.]]



* OurZombiesAreDifferent: Bob is a RevenantZombie created by Mal exposure. He's suprisingly helpful towards Alex (Unless he's a hallucination, see ThroughTheEyesOfMadness below).

to:

* OurZombiesAreDifferent: Bob is a RevenantZombie created by Mal exposure. He's suprisingly surprisingly helpful towards Alex (Unless he's a hallucination, see ThroughTheEyesOfMadness below).



** [[spoiler: The machines the scientists use in the upper levels of the Facility. They apparently come from the cave underground, where creatures seem to get them to work through strange and violent rituals. When Alex looks inside them, he finds that they are full of random parts, having no right to actually work. Nonetheless, the scientists use them, even though they have no real understanding of how they work or even what their findings mean.]]

to:

** [[spoiler: The machines the scientists use in the upper levels of the Facility. They apparently come from the cave underground, where creatures seem to get them to work through strange and violent rituals. When Alex looks inside them, he finds they find that they are full of random parts, having no right to actually work. Nonetheless, the scientists use them, even though they have no real understanding of how they work or even what their findings mean.]]



* SomewhereAnEquestrianIsCrying: Alex mentions his mule vomiting when they're deep in the Yellow Zone. Mules, like all equines, are incapable of vomiting. On the other hand, [[FridgeHorror we know The Sick Land warps physiology...]]

to:

* SomewhereAnEquestrianIsCrying: Alex mentions his their mule vomiting when they're deep in the Yellow Zone. Mules, like all equines, are incapable of vomiting. On the other hand, [[FridgeHorror we know The Sick Land warps physiology...]]



* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Alex encounters an anomaly that he swears blind is real, but Xi and Sergei can't see it (digging underneath it nets the team a Bird-man skull though). He also has "dreams" about an increasingly rotten zombie version of Bob that may or may not be waking encounters with him.

to:

* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Alex encounters an anomaly that he swears they swear blind is real, but Xi and Sergei can't see it (digging underneath it nets the team a Bird-man skull though). He They also has have "dreams" about an increasingly rotten zombie version of Bob that may or may not be waking encounters with him.



* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never learn the eventual fate of [[spoiler: Val, Ludwig and the second research station]] - once Alex is relocated to [[spoiler: the Facility]], not a single word about them is ever brought up. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] as the story is presented in first-person via Alex' research log, so the reader does not know anything beyond what Alex [[AmbiguousGender him/herself]] knows or learns. With the working climate and the information flow at [[spoiler: the Facility]], it's not surprising s/he is not told anything about what, if anything, happened at [[spoiler: the second station]], assuming they even know/care. Although, given the fact that Alex describes his/her thoughts and suspicions in the log throughout, regardless of actual information, it's still jarring that s/he apparently does not even spare one thought about his/her former colleagues.

to:

* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never learn the eventual fate of [[spoiler: Val, Ludwig and the second research station]] - once Alex is relocated to [[spoiler: the Facility]], not a single word about them is ever brought up. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] as the story is presented in first-person via Alex' Alex's research log, so the reader does not know anything beyond what Alex [[AmbiguousGender him/herself]] themself]] knows or learns. With the working climate and the information flow at [[spoiler: the Facility]], it's not surprising s/he is they're not told anything about what, if anything, happened at [[spoiler: the second station]], assuming they even know/care. Although, given the fact that Alex describes his/her their thoughts and suspicions in the log throughout, regardless of actual information, it's still jarring that s/he they apparently does do not even spare one thought about his/her their former colleagues.

Added DiffLines:

* SpiritualSuccessor: in many ways it reads like an unofficial sequel to Literature/RoadsidePicnic, set in modern times and from the perspective of the researchers rather than a Stalker.


* FateWorseThanDeath: Implied to happen to people who spend too long in the Sick Lands.

to:

* FateWorseThanDeath: ExistentialHorror: When the narrative isn't focusing on the CosmicHorror of The Sick Land, it highlights the utter pointlessness of Alex's actions. The Facility arc is particularly Kafkaesque, with Alex trying desperately to find ''anyone'' who actually knows what how the machines they use work and what the data they collect actually mean.
*FateWorseThanDeath:
Implied to happen to people who spend too long in the Sick Lands.


* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never learn the eventual fate of [[spoiler: Val, Ludwig and the second research station]] - once Alex is relocated to [[spoiler: the Facility]], not a single word about them is ever brought up. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] as the story is presented in first-person via Alex' research log, so the reader does not know anything beyond what Alex [[AmbiguousGender him/herself]] knows or learns. With the working climate and the information flow at [[spoiler: the Facility]], it's not surprising s/he is not told anything about what, if anything, happened at [[spoiler: the second station]], assuming they even know/care. Although, given the fact that Alex describes his/her thoughts and suspicions in the log throughout, regardless of actual information, it's still jarring that s/he apparently does not even spare one thought about his former colleagues.

to:

* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never learn the eventual fate of [[spoiler: Val, Ludwig and the second research station]] - once Alex is relocated to [[spoiler: the Facility]], not a single word about them is ever brought up. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] as the story is presented in first-person via Alex' research log, so the reader does not know anything beyond what Alex [[AmbiguousGender him/herself]] knows or learns. With the working climate and the information flow at [[spoiler: the Facility]], it's not surprising s/he is not told anything about what, if anything, happened at [[spoiler: the second station]], assuming they even know/care. Although, given the fact that Alex describes his/her thoughts and suspicions in the log throughout, regardless of actual information, it's still jarring that s/he apparently does not even spare one thought about his his/her former colleagues.


* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never learn the eventual fate of [[spoiler: Val, Ludwig and the second research station]] - once Alex is relocated to [[spoiler: the Facility]], not a single word about them is ever brought up. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] as the story is presented in first-person via Alex' research log, so the reader does not know anything beyond what Alex [[AmbiguousGender him/herself]] knows or learns. With the working climate and the information flow at [[spoiler: the Facility]], it's not surprising s/he is not told anything about what, if anything, happened at [[spoiler: the second station]], assuming they even know/care.

to:

* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never learn the eventual fate of [[spoiler: Val, Ludwig and the second research station]] - once Alex is relocated to [[spoiler: the Facility]], not a single word about them is ever brought up. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] as the story is presented in first-person via Alex' research log, so the reader does not know anything beyond what Alex [[AmbiguousGender him/herself]] knows or learns. With the working climate and the information flow at [[spoiler: the Facility]], it's not surprising s/he is not told anything about what, if anything, happened at [[spoiler: the second station]], assuming they even know/care. Although, given the fact that Alex describes his/her thoughts and suspicions in the log throughout, regardless of actual information, it's still jarring that s/he apparently does not even spare one thought about his former colleagues.

Added DiffLines:

* WhatHappenedToTheMouse: We never learn the eventual fate of [[spoiler: Val, Ludwig and the second research station]] - once Alex is relocated to [[spoiler: the Facility]], not a single word about them is ever brought up. [[JustifiedTrope Justified]] as the story is presented in first-person via Alex' research log, so the reader does not know anything beyond what Alex [[AmbiguousGender him/herself]] knows or learns. With the working climate and the information flow at [[spoiler: the Facility]], it's not surprising s/he is not told anything about what, if anything, happened at [[spoiler: the second station]], assuming they even know/care.


* {{Jerkass}}: Assuming it wasn't the ''mal'' influencing him, Howard Phillips seems to have been this. During his time [[spoiler: at the crater he showed no concern for his fellow explorers' safety or well-being, constantly made clear in his journal that he thought they were all useless, left a very sick explorer alone at the camp while he and the only other explorer went off exploring and didn't even seem to feel at all guilty when the man died. He even blamed the first casualty of the expedition on the man himself.]] Being an {{Expy}} of Creator/HPLovecraft, he also possesses the insufferable habit of derailing the recollection of events to expound upon his own brilliance and skill, peppered with casual dismissal for those of "lower" station.

to:

* {{Jerkass}}: Assuming it wasn't the ''mal'' influencing him, Howard Phillips seems to have been this. During his time [[spoiler: at the crater he showed no concern for his fellow explorers' safety or well-being, constantly made clear in his journal that he thought they were all useless, left a very sick explorer alone at the camp while he and the only other explorer went off exploring and didn't even seem to feel at all guilty when the man died. He even blamed the first casualty of the expedition on the man himself.]] Being an {{Expy}} a NoCelebritiesWereHarmed version of Creator/HPLovecraft, he also possesses the insufferable habit of derailing the recollection of events to expound upon his own brilliance and skill, peppered with casual dismissal for those of "lower" station.


* {{Jerkass}}: Assuming it wasn't the ''mal'' influencing him, Howard Phillips seems to have been this. During his time [[spoiler: at the crater he showed no concern for his fellow explorers' safety or well-being, constantly made clear in his journal that he thought they were all useless, left a very sick explorer alone at the camp while he and the only other explorer went off exploring and didn't even seem to feel at all guilty when the man died. He even blamed the first casualty of the expedition on the man himself.]] Being an {{Expy}} of HPLovecraft, he also possesses the insufferable habit of derailing the recollection of events to expound upon his own brilliance and skill, peppered with casual dismissal for those of "lower" station.

to:

* {{Jerkass}}: Assuming it wasn't the ''mal'' influencing him, Howard Phillips seems to have been this. During his time [[spoiler: at the crater he showed no concern for his fellow explorers' safety or well-being, constantly made clear in his journal that he thought they were all useless, left a very sick explorer alone at the camp while he and the only other explorer went off exploring and didn't even seem to feel at all guilty when the man died. He even blamed the first casualty of the expedition on the man himself.]] Being an {{Expy}} of HPLovecraft, Creator/HPLovecraft, he also possesses the insufferable habit of derailing the recollection of events to expound upon his own brilliance and skill, peppered with casual dismissal for those of "lower" station.


* {{Jerkass}}: Assuming it wasn't the ''mal'' influencing him, Howard Phillips seems to have been this. During his time [[spoiler: at the crater he showed no concern for his fellow explorers' safety, constantly made clear in his journal that he thought they were all useless, left a very sick explorer alone at the camp while he and the only other explorer went off exploring and didn't even seem to feel at all guilty when the man died.]]

to:

* {{Jerkass}}: Assuming it wasn't the ''mal'' influencing him, Howard Phillips seems to have been this. During his time [[spoiler: at the crater he showed no concern for his fellow explorers' safety, safety or well-being, constantly made clear in his journal that he thought they were all useless, left a very sick explorer alone at the camp while he and the only other explorer went off exploring and didn't even seem to feel at all guilty when the man died.]]died. He even blamed the first casualty of the expedition on the man himself.]] Being an {{Expy}} of HPLovecraft, he also possesses the insufferable habit of derailing the recollection of events to expound upon his own brilliance and skill, peppered with casual dismissal for those of "lower" station.


* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Alex encounters an anomaly that he swears blind is real, but Xi and Sergei can't see it. He also has "dreams" about an increasingly rotten zombie version of Bob that may or may not be waking encounters with him.

to:

* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Alex encounters an anomaly that he swears blind is real, but Xi and Sergei can't see it.it (digging underneath it nets the team a Bird-man skull though). He also has "dreams" about an increasingly rotten zombie version of Bob that may or may not be waking encounters with him.


* FesteringFungus: Zombie!Bob has a mushroom growing out of his hand. Every time Alex sees him, the infection progresses a little further, until it's all the way up to his shoulder, [[spoiler his face, and [[MeatMoss all over the laboratory wall]]]].

to:

* FesteringFungus: Zombie!Bob has a mushroom growing out of his hand. Every time Alex sees him, the infection progresses a little further, until it's all the way up to his shoulder, [[spoiler [[spoiler: his face, and [[MeatMoss all over the laboratory wall]]]].


* FesteringFungus: Zombie!Bob has a mushroom growing out of his hand. Every time Alex sees him, the infection progresses a little further, until it's all the way up to his shoulder.

to:

* FesteringFungus: Zombie!Bob has a mushroom growing out of his hand. Every time Alex sees him, the infection progresses a little further, until it's all the way up to his shoulder.shoulder, [[spoiler his face, and [[MeatMoss all over the laboratory wall]]]].

Added DiffLines:

* OurZombiesAreDifferent: Bob is a RevenantZombie created by Mal exposure. He's suprisingly helpful towards Alex (Unless he's a hallucination, see ThroughTheEyesOfMadness below).

Added DiffLines:

* FesteringFungus: Zombie!Bob has a mushroom growing out of his hand. Every time Alex sees him, the infection progresses a little further, until it's all the way up to his shoulder.


Added DiffLines:

* ThroughTheEyesOfMadness: Alex encounters an anomaly that he swears blind is real, but Xi and Sergei can't see it. He also has "dreams" about an increasingly rotten zombie version of Bob that may or may not be waking encounters with him.

Added DiffLines:

* TwiceToldTale: it's ''Literature/RoadsidePicnic'' without the aliens or their SufficientlyAdvancedTechnology.

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