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— INVOLVEMENT.

There are a lot of intentional "gaps" in this work — this is by design. The first reason for that is my desire to keep "space" where my friend and co-writer had fleshed out some incredible content prior to splitting this apart. Out of respect for them, I prefer not to encroach on what they made and would rather move forward in a fresh direction. As you might guess, this means I'm still developing story and lore every day. Giving myself permission to make a rough, ongoing work is fun for me, but I can understand if it's frustrating for other people. It's possible lore will change and that retcons will happen. I hope you understand.

The second reason for "gaps" is that this is not a work about human identity. Characters may hail from regions of the world and feel connected to those regions, but they are not directly representative of the people. I'm not writing someone's real world experience. While Salem comes from the Levant and feels incredibly linked to its people, he's not a placeholder for actual people and their actual lives. There's a flip side to this, though. Just because Salem or Kostya might come from an area and hold a certain political stance does not mean they're the only Chimera monsters that do. There's not a finite number of "slots" for characters from various parts of the world.

Interactive fiction is my favorite thing to work on. I don't mean choose your own adventure games (though in time, I'd like to host a Twine-based game for people to explore using their own original characters). I fell in love with writing through roleplay. Nothing is more exciting to me than working with another person to bring something to life because they have a perspective I lack. The gaps in the world are here in case others come on board and flesh out these spaces with their own original characters and stories.

This is one of the eventual goals of NOIRTOWN. I want people to feel invested in the world we live in, even if it means doing so through a lens of a character living in the future. These characters are not human and they are not a substitute for people who lack a voice in western media. But when we invest in actual news, actual stories, and actual people through research and consideration, we can bring attention to them and uplift their voices. In the past two years, I've become more politically active and informed than I've ever been just from working on this project. I truly believe we can pair something fun and experimental with direct action in our living world.

If you have a deep interest or investment in something and eventually want to get involved, don't let what I have here scare you off. When I'm ready to open this up, there will be room for so much more.