Karin Ivers, Pallad City Post

The Ardus District has become ground zero in Pallad City’s war on drugs. Two days ago, an apartment building was the epicenter of conflict as three individuals, each reportedly under the influence of Afterlife, took hostages and held the Pallad City Police at bay for nearly two hours. The tense situation resulted in multiple arrests and property damage, but no reported casualties.

Afterlife is the latest in an increasing lineup of drugs to make headlines. Nearly 700 reported deaths have already been attributed to the drug within the last two months. Unlike Sydust and Euphoria, which have a global presence, Afterlife has remained nearly exclusive to Pallad City, with only several recent cases reported in Nu Metropol.

Where Afterlife originated from is still a mystery, and analyzing the substance has yielded few answers. Dr. Werner Ingrem at the Pallad City Medical Institute has been studying the new drug with little success. “It’s not like anything we’ve ever seen,” Ingrem claimed. “We know that Afterlife is highly addictive and can result in the user having severe psychotic episodes. Many individuals have also displayed incredible feats of physical strength while using the substance. We’ve been analyzing the chemical components, but it’s incredibly complex and, while progress has been made, identifying certain ingredients have proven to be difficult. This is obviously not by accident, but designed with calculated intent and insidious design.”

Ingrem believes that Afterlife may be one of the most intricately engineered drugs he has encountered. “In my opinion, the mind that put this together could do much scientific good in the world, a shame they’re using their knowledge and expertise to achieve the opposite.”

The Pallad City Police Department’s limited efforts to get Afterlife off the streets has been met with criticism. Over the last week, community leaders have been calling for a stronger police presence in the Ardus District, with some praising Mayor Hynden Neville’s rumored proposal for a privatized police force. Mayor Neville has not yet issued a statement regarding the rumor, but his initiative to hire Vivid Defense, which currently has Tactical Armored Units deployed in the city, already has a vocal number of citizens concerned over potential abuse of authority. Currently the Armored Units are only used for emergencies “beyond what the Pallad City Police Department can handle.”

Danger Zone One. Story by Midnight. Art by Salaiix.