|“||We used to play there all the time, me and Dylan, and other kids as well. We loved it. This time... I remember... was different. We found a way in, deeper into it, like it had shifted. We went inside, and that's where we found the Slide Projector.||”|
Considered one of the most significant AWEs in the history of the FBC, it led to the discovery of the Slide Projector Object of Power and parautilitarians Dylan and Jesse Faden. Both the Slide Projector and Dylan were taken into Bureau custody at the Oldest House.
The Ordinary AWE would also indirectly lead to the events of the Hiss invasion in 2019.
Altered World Events had been under the investigation of the Federal Bureau of Control for decades prior to the AWE in Ordinary. According to a presentation by Casper Darling, AWEs represent "unknowable forces" intruding upon reality, forces which are affected by the human collective unconscious. These forces gravitate toward archetypal objects as a result, which causes Altered Items and Objects of Power to come into existence.
The FBC had contained 14 Objects of Power by the time of the Ordinary AWE, beginning in 1964 with the discovery of the Service Weapon. O.o.P.s are usually distinguished by their connection to the Astral Plane and the Board, or their capability of granting their abilities to parautilitarians via binding. However, it is unclear whether the Slide Projector O.o.P. in Ordinary possessed these qualities, calling into question its classification as an Object of Power. Other O.o.P.s such as the Songmaster Jukebox (OOP10-KE) are also unclear in their parautilities.
Much of the FBC's research revolves around realms referred to as external "dimensions," which most often interact with reality when the resonance frequencies of the two dimensions align, creating an overlapping Threshold. Thresholds are a common feature in the Oldest House, a Place of Power which acts as the FBC's headquarters; however, Thresholds are not limited to the House, as seen in the case of other Altered World Events. These phenomena are relevant to the Ordinary AWE, particularly due to the apparent ability of the Slide Projector to create Thresholds to specific alternate dimensions, including Slidescape-36.
Most of these phenomena - which are classified by the Bureau as "paranatural" - are connected to unseen physical fields whose frequencies and vibrations are referred to as resonance. Darling theorized resonance to be the key element in all paranatural phenomena, and thus all Altered World Events. Resonance played a key role in the Ordinary AWE as well, particularly in the case of Polaris.
Most records of the events of the Ordinary AWE come from personal accounts by Jesse and Dylan Faden, specifically from Dylan's 2002 FBC interview and a therapy session attended by Jesse in 2010, both of which were later transcribed in the FBC's records. Some information from their two accounts is contradictory; for example, they differ in their recollections of the number of slides associated with the Slide Projector.
The Ordinary AWE took place in the town of Ordinary, in the U.S. state of Maine. Many of the events relevent to the AWE occurred in a landfill site near the town, which was frequently visited by local children to play. Among these children were the siblings Jesse Faden and Dylan Faden. At school, Dylan was friends with a boy named Neil Hosenberg, who suffered from asthma, and was often teasingly called "Nosebleed Neil" by classmate Tom Barlow and his gang, including Frederick "Freddy" Bartwell and a boy named Hugo. Neil would sometimes say that he didn't like being a boy because Tom would beat him up, and wanted to be a dog. Jesse and Dylan would sometimes invite Neil to play with them at the dump.
In a later therapy session, Jesse admitted to having felt "lost" during her childhood, "thrown away," though insisted these feelings had nothing to do with the AWE. Her psychiatrist implied that the image of a slide projector and the fantasy of entering "worlds inside pictures" may have been created by Jesse's imagination as a means of escapism from her parents, suggesting a possible synchronistic connection between Jesse's psyche and the Slide Projector.
Slide Projector discovery
On August 30, 2002, 11-year-old Jesse and 10-year-old Dylan were playing at the dump site in Ordinary when they discovered the dump had "shifted," seemingly allowing them to venture deeper inside. Subsequently, the two discovered an old-fashioned slide projector amongst the trash. Dylan later reported that the projector was accompanied by eight slides, though Jesse claimed there were nine; only seven were recovered from the site by the Federal Bureau of Control. This disparity may be due in part to the fact that Zachariah Trench later took one of the burned slides for himself, an event not reflected in Bureau records.
Jesse and Dylan discovered that, when the slides were inserted into the Projector, the images projected acted as physical doorways to other dimensions (or "slidescapes") corresponding to each of the slides. It is unknown if all of the slides were labeled, though one specific slide was labeled "COLOR SLIDE FILM, THIS SIDE TOWARDS SCREEN" along with the number "36." The siblings subsequently began to explore the dimensions that they accessed through the Slide Projector; Neil Hosenberg would accompany them on some of these explorations.
Stage 1 of the Altered World Event took place primarily in the vicinity of the Ordinary dump site.
During Stage 1, Jesse, Dylan, and Neil explored a number of slidescapes. The first, which they referred to as "House," led to a room with dirty wallpaper and a shelf with various dolls on it. According to Jesse, the "House" was vacant and had no inhabitants, and the children used it as a "secret playhouse."
The second slide, which they called "Meadow," led to an empty lot near a shack and a phoneline. According to Jesse, Meadow had an intoxicating scent of flowers which caused them to have bizarre dreams. The children dreamt that "everything was melting," and when they left the slidescape, they found that objects in the vicinity of the projector had also melted. Jesse disliked Meadow and the feeling of losing control in the dreams, but Neil enjoyed it, and Jesse and Dylan later learned that he had been frequently visiting the slidescape on his own. Neil was later confronted and beaten up by Tom Barlow, who forced him to reveal the existence of the Slide Projector. Tom, Freddy, and Hugo then stole the projector, and Jesse and Dylan assumed that Neil had been stranded inside of Meadow when Tom changed the slide in the Projector.
There were several other slidescapes explored by the Faden siblings and Neil, including "Temple," described by Dylan Faden as "a broken concrete thing, like a warehouse, or a bomb shelter, or something. Very dark." Temple was home to an entity the children called "the Not-Mother," along with her "babies." The Not-Mother later proved to have a dangerous influence, which would result in the violent behaviors of Tom Barlow and his gang.
Another slidescape explored by Jesse and Dylan was on the slide labeled 36, which they named "Hand" (Slidescape-36). The slidescape contained a desert lanscape with five large pillars in the distance resembling a hand. Although no sound or other basic frequencies (i.e. radio) existed within the slidescape, it was home to intense, unpredictable resonance fields, some of which proved to have lethal effects on later explorers of the slidescape. Through this resonance, Jesse and Dylan communicated with an alien intelligence, which Jesse described as being "like a star." The entity told the children that they were special, and "made them special." Jesse described the feeling as "like being born, or reborn, the world fading in for the first time. Familiar, but somehow different."
Jesse named the entity "Polaris," after the North Star, which she learned about during a unit on astronomy at school. She considered Polaris to be her friend, though Dylan would later feel otherwise.
Stage 2 of the Altered World Event took place primarily in the vicinity of Sled Hill Cave.
After stealing the Slide Projector, Tom and his gang took it to Sled Hill Cave, which they used as a headquarters. They began their own explorations into the slidescapes, particularly Temple, where they fell under the influence of the Not-Mother. The Not-Mother began feeding Tom and the others her "milk," which altered their behavior significantly.
Stage 3 of the Altered World Event took place primarily in the vicinity of a public school in Ordinary.
The influence of the Not-Mother on Tom, Freddy, and Hugo turned them extremely aggressive, culminating in violence. When the children's math teacher, Mrs. Chester, attempted to intervene, she was attacked by Tom and his gang, who pushed over a piano on her, breaking her legs. Tom subsequently bashed her head in, killing her. The police then intervened, dragging Tom away as he screamed that the Not-Mother would make them all go away. A curfew was then enacted for all children in Ordinary.
Jesse and Dylan were subsequently interrogated by their parents about the dump and the events surrounding the Slide Projector. Jesse, years later, recalled wishing for them to be gone as Tom had stated. The next morning, the entire adult population of Ordinary had vanished without explanation, leaving only the children. The cause of this event is not known; while Tom Barlow inferred the Not-Mother to be responsible, Jesse later wondered if she had caused the event herself by wishing for the adults to be gone.
Stage 4 of the Altered World Event took place primarily in the town proper.
Following the disappearance of Ordinary's adult population, Jesse, Dylan, and a number of other children in town joined together to stop the AWE. They began spying on Tom and his gang, eventually locating their hideout at Sled Hill Cave. The children found the Slide Projector open to Temple, where Tom, Freddy, and Hugo were being transformed by the Not-Mother into "monsters" which Jesse and Dylan referred to as "Dung Monkeys."
Jesse grabbed the Slide Projector and the children began to run away, pursued by the Dung Monkeys and the Not-Mother. Dylan fell and hurt his knee, and Jesse stopped to help him, which almost gave the Dung Monkeys enough time to catch up to them. However, the two were suddenly rescued by Neil, who had assumed the appearance of what Dylan described as a "melted dog." Dylan later speculated that Neil had assumed this appearance due to his desire to not be human, and that he was happy as a dog.
Because the Slide Projector would not turn off, Jesse turned the slide to Hand, where she communicated with Polaris, who promised to help them. Polaris told them how to turn off the Projector, which caused the Dung Monkeys and the Not-Mother to immediately vanish. The whereabouts of Neil Hosenberg and the other children after this incident are not known. Following the Slide Projector's deactivation, Jesse took all of the slides and burned them, with the exception of Slide 36, thus bringing the Ordinary AWE to an end.
Apprehension of the Slide Projector and Dylan Faden
On September 14, 2002, a Federal Bureau of Control team led by Director Zachariah Trench and Head of Research Casper Darling arrived in Ordinary to investigate the Altered World Event. They encountered Jesse and Dylan, who led them to the Slide Projector and explained what had happened. Subsequently, the Bureau agents attempted to detain Jesse and Dylan; while Jesse escaped, Dylan was captured by the FBC. The Slide Projector, identified as an Object of Power, was also taken into custody. The Bureau recovered seven slides from the Ordinary site, though six were too burnt to be used in the Slide Projector; only Slide 36 remained intact. An eighth burned slide was secretly taken by Zachariah Trench.
The Slide Projector and Dylan Faden were both brought to the Bureau's headquarters at the Oldest House. Darling also had the entirety of the Ordinary dump site relocated to the Containment Sector for study. Darling identified Dylan and Jesse as powerful parautilitarians, and Trench selected them as candidates P6 and P7 respectively in the Prime Candidate program, intended to identify parautilitarians eligible to use the Service Weapon and succeed Trench as the Bureau's Director under the dictation of the Board. However, Dylan quickly proved unstable and dangerous, his powers resulting in the accidental death of a Bureau agent. While Darling initially dismissed concerns about Dylan raised by other FBC personnel, including Head of Operations Helen Marshall, Dylan later killed several more agents and was ultimately contained in the Panopticon and considered a lost cause by Darling. As a result, Dylan developed a hatred for the Bureau, and for Polaris, whom he believed had abandoned him.
Jesse Faden, meanwhile, was monitored remotely by the FBC, but remained unaware of their presence or the whereabouts of Dylan. She continued to experience telepathic messages from Polaris, which would eventually lead to her discovery of the Oldest House. Polaris would sometimes communicate with Dylan as well, though he angrily rejected her.
Research of the Slide Projector was led by Casper Darling, and took place within the Dimensional Research department in the Research Sector. Darling orchestrated several expeditions into Slidescape-36, some of which resulted in casualties due to the dimension's intense resonance. Zachariah Trench, in spite of being told not to due to the dangers it presented, also accompanied the agents on these expeditions. During one expedition, Trench, in spite of protection from his containment suit, claimed to hear a sound which reverberated inside of him. Later medical tests showed nothing amiss, to the unease of Darling.
Eventually, the Bureau agents were able to identify the apparent source of the Polaris resonance, a massive living entity which Darling named "Hedron" due to its geometric shape. A container was subsequently built in the Dimensional Research department, and Hedron was relocated to it, where Darling began intensive research of its properites and resonance.
Over time, Darling gradually became more obsessed with Hedron, researching it using every known method and ultimately exposing himself to it. He began "seeing things" and was overcome with "compulsions," believing that Hedron was relaying him not only knowledge, but benign protection. Through Hedron, Darling became convinced that the Bureau was about to be exposed to a hostile, viral resonance which would wipe them out unless he took precautionary measures against it. To that end, he developed Hedron Resonance Amplifiers (HRAs) to magnify the resonance of Hedron and protect agents from it.
Trench, meanwhile, continued to be influenced by the resonance he had been exposed to in Slidescape-36. Through this, he began to perceive Hedron as a threat to the Bureau which had corrupted the minds of Darling and anyone wearing an HRA. Seeking to save the Bureau from destruction, Trench stole the Slide Projector and used the burned slide he had recovered from Ordinary to allow the resonance - later known as "the Hiss" - to enter the Oldest House. The Hiss subsequently took over the minds and bodies of every Bureau agent not wearing an HRA.
Hedron sensed that this event would occur, and summoned Jesse Faden to arrive at the Oldest House at the moment that Trench activated the Slide Projector. After Trench seemingly committed suicide with the Service Weapon, Jesse was made the new Director by the Board and began an effort to rally Bureau agents against the Hiss. Dylan, meanwhile, was corrupted by the Hiss and became its ally, seeking revenge against the Bureau. Dylan and the Hiss ultimately entered the Astral Plane and attempted to corrupt the Board, but Jesse prevented this, causing Dylan to enter a coma. Jesse then deactivated the Slide Projector, but the Hiss remained in the Oldest House.
- Ordinary was heavily alluded to as a significant location in previous Remedy Entertainment games.
- In the game Alan Wake's American Nightmare, the Old Gods of Asgard song "Balance Slays the Demon" contains a hidden message: "It will happen again, in another town, a town called Ordinary."
- The Alan Wake ARG blog "This House of Dreams" documents the life of a woman named Samantha who lives in Ordinary, and experiences strange events. Samantha's blog is also mentioned in Control.
- In Quantum Break, a Quantum Ripple will lead to a severe power outage in the town of Ordinary, resulting in a spike in violent crime.
- Prior to the release of Expansion 2: AWE, the Ordinary AWE documentation in Control stated that Ordinary was located in Wisconsin. However, this was later changed to Maine. As Quantum Break also stated that Ordinary is in Maine, the Wisconsin documentation is believed to be an error.
- Case Files: Ordinary Summary
- Case Files: Ordinary Supplement
- Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 1.A
- Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 1.B
- Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 2
- Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 3
- Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 4.A
- Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 4.B
- Case Files: Slide Projector
- See Multimedia: Altered World Events.
- As inferred from the designation of the Slide Projector as OOP15-UE.
- See Case Files: Jukebox.
- See Research & Records: Thresholds and Multimedia: Black Rock.
- See Case Files: Bright Falls Summary.
- See Multimedia: Resonance.
- See Case Files: Ordinary Supplement.
- See Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 1.A.
- See Multimedia: Jesse Therapy: Slide Projector.
- See Case Files: Ordinary Summary.
- See Zachariah Trench/Quotes.
- See Multimedia: Slidescape-36.
- See Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 1.B.
- See Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 2.
- See Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 4.B.
- "But she didn't help when Trench took me away. She didn't give me any powers. All the powers are my own powers. She didn't help when they locked me up for years." - Dylan Faden (see Dylan Faden/Quotes)
- See Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 3.
- See Research & Records: Ordinary AWE Stage 4.A.
- See Multimedia: Ordinary.
- See Multimedia: Dylan Faden.
- See Research & Records: Dylan Faden Transcript.
- See Hotline: Slidescape-36.
- See Multimedia: Hedron.