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The story is focused on Captain Ramirez, United States Army, who has come back home from overseas. Infantry. He saw a lot of combat, and has been left saddled with a lot of trauma. He had to take lives, some he even thinks could've been avoided. The worst was one of the civilian casualties though. He tossed a grenade into a room where gunfire was coming from, an insurgent was holed up there. But when they got to the room they saw he wasn't alone. Civilians were cowering in the room and got caught in the blast. The one that haunts him the most is a little girl, face half gone and peppered with shrapnel. He's got post traumatic stress disorder, and to cope with the trauma he's tried telling himself he just did what he had to do, casualties are unavoidable in the long run. His Silent Hill is a war zone, bright with a merciless sun and dry desert sand, buildings pockmarked with artillery damage. Instead of mist, sandstorms scour the open streets with regularity, and the various monsters fight among each other often.
He's joined by two of his old war buddies, a combat medic who hasn't been able to forgive himself for all the people he couldn't save, and another infantryman who beats himself up over his self perceived cowardice, which he believes is the reason many people he knew ended up dead. Other people from their past in the war have been drawn to the town too, some still themselves, others turned into monsters of the place. Some are just memories.
Caution: Basic fodder enemy. Humanoid, wood and metal, they basically look like firing range dummies in clothes. Or mannequins. You'd think they would all attack on sight but their hostility is unpredictable. Some seem to act innocently, just doing things that townspeople do, or flee in terror, others attack or lie in wait to ambush you. Some appear non hostile but when you turn your back on them they turn out to be hostiles. Do you take risks to try and minimize innocent deaths? Or gun down these creatures and not take a chance? They represent his repression of guilt of civilian casualties and his efforts to not think of civilians and insurgents as human people, to lessen the pain.
Lost: In the streets of Silent Sands are the mummified remains of those left behind in the war, slumped over the wheels of vehicles and propped up against walls or left cast in the sand dunes like so many discarded toys. Some of them still move around if you get too close. These are the Lost, dehydrated corpses that are indistinguishable from regular bodies until they lurch into an ambush. When you get close, they stumble to their feet and make slow pursuit, their joints very dried out. They swing rusty knives and trench shovels, bone dry accusations of being left for dead floating on the wind like whispers. They represent Survivor's Guilt, the feeling that he survived when far better people than him died instead.
Mold: You remember plastic army guys right? Green and tan, one solid piece, usually with softened features so kids wouldn't hurt themselves holding em or stepping on them? So originally, I was going to have Silent Hill make a whole battalion of illusion people, fake soldiers who looked exactly like Ramirez's battalion in Iraq, these phantom soldiers acting like they were in Iraq and not some twisted hell town, perhaps making him doubt his sanity and if he ever left the middle east.
But having so many talking, understandable, normal looking entities possibly with guns would spoil that feeling of loneliness and the uncanny split from reality, right? But we still need that occupying force in the town, after all we have the civilians and hidden terrorists with the Cautions. And that occupying force to be in over its head and dying and generally trying to maintain a decaying situation. Enter... the Molds.
Human sized, from a distance they might look like a normal American soldier in desert fatigues. But if you get closer you can see they are... not human, man. They don't wear clothes or equipment or boots. They are solid flesh creatures. But their bodies have ridges, flaps, patterns and certain shaping of parts to make it look like they are wearing clothes and have equipment pouches and boots. Also, their skin is colored in patterns. Their boot shaped feet are black. Their lumpy body that's meant to look like its wearing a flak vest with equipment pouches? Desert camo patterned skin, or in the case of dark gray buildings being the surroundings, gray blotchy skin. And their faces are not finely detailed with independent organs like a human face, instead its like the face of one of those plastic army guys. The features are soft and melded. They can't talk, but they can mumble and make muffled noises. From the way they react, it seems like they expect Ramirez and his friends to understand them perfectly.
Also, like some of the Cautions, the Molds are not hostile. They are on your side. The Molds are acting like normal American soldiers would, and are trying to maintain order and keep people from killing each other. But they are having a hard time keeping martial law and fighting against the more deadly Silent Sands residents. They are fighting a losing battle. They don't have machine guns or rocket launchers, so their alliance doesn't assure safety. The fellas have been dying a lot. More are spawned by the town but not fast enough.
And they aren't pure good guys either. These Molds are supposed to represent the American soldiers during the conflicts overseas, so they've had to do some regrettable things to maintain their mumbling martial law. Curfews, executions, torture... and its all the more strange looking to an outsider because the Caution can't talk at all, and the Molds can only talk muffled. But overall, the way these guys are similar to plastic toys? Meant to symbolize how expendable Ramirez felt. Like discarded toys.
Conceit: Conceit thinks everything needs to be exactly like how itself is, and goes around forcibly trying to change whoever it comes across to resemble itself more. They have a factory for this. They represent that American ideal we had back when we got stuck in with the conflicts in the Middle East, that if we made them like us then everyone would be happy. Democracy and McDonald's. They actually like to capture victims alive if possible. They don't have to be in one piece though. As the whole appearance of Silent Sands is of a desolate sandy war zone, their conversion plant is similar, but it is up and running. A loud dark building which looks like it hasn't been taken care of in a long while and should be condemned. Yet, loud noises of machinery and screams come from within. To mask this, dinged up speakers positioned outside the building blare out tinny patriotic music to drown out the noise with their drone.
So first they drag their unwilling victims to an educational presentation, putting them in chairs in front of a stage where really badly maintained animatronics clank and shudder on their poles. And then the animatronics do a little show, standing there and moving their limbs or rotating around on their gears and levers, and its supposed to convey how happy they are to become one of those Things, and how much better life will be as one. The problem is, halfway through, the people the Conceits were prodding to record the audio panicked and begged and pleaded to be released. Then the audio just cuts off and the second half of the educational show is just silent puppets flapping their rusty jaws. The Conceit apparently didn't think this justified a retake, and that this is all they need to convince the fresh meat how great it will be to become one of them.
So once the show is over the victims get dragged from the converted area of the old car factory meant for tours for the local school kids to the actual factory part. A big dark echoing chamber of forges, echoed screams, blood and the steady chug of engines. In terms of what they do there it's like a mix of a butcher shop and a car assembly line. The inside of this place is more reminiscent of dark rusty silent hill that the bright loud silent sands. They cut and remove parts of the bodies, taking out what they believe is not required. Then they install the parts that are needed to make them better. Because organs are weak and require food and water, which is pretty scarce, they scoop out the organs and replace them with a big furnace that runs on fuel. You can see it jutting from the chest, splaying out the ribs. And vocal cords and lungs are weak against the sand and grit, so they rip em out and jam a speaker in the jaw area, where it plays happy chipper music. Also, limbs are weak and can get injured. So they just remove them and replace them with durable sturdy metal parts. Scythe-like arms for both fighting and for use in making more of them on the assembly line. Spidery metal legs that can easily find balance in the sand and scale difficult obstacles. They're helping really. Those other weak creatures should be grateful for this opportunity. It's the only way those poor weak fools can possibly survive Silent Sands is to be exactly like Them.