“Look harder into the picture…” Bia heard a strange voice in his head.
He was a physic professor in Italy, but even so, he had a secret disorder, known as Dissociative Identity Disorder. He has an alter-ego named Aib, who is completely different from him. For instance, Aib is louder and daring while Bia is a gentle-mannered guy.
And still, Bia wondered about this voice in his head.
One day, a bunch of hooded figures chased him on his way home. He didn’t know what to do. He froze in fear as he was cornered.
And then, he sees a paper fall from the sky. It was a random abstract picture.
“A…stereogram?” he thought. “What can I do with a stereogram?”
Stereograms are pictures that form three-dimensional objects when you look at it in a special way, or by putting your vision to an “out-of-focus” mode. It is usually a random abstract picture with different colors, or sometimes monochrome.
And then, he remembered what the voice said. “Look harder into the picture…”
The picture glowed with bright light! “Now, reach in!” So Bia reached out his hand…
He pulled out a gun from the Stereogram! He then uses this to kill the hooded guys and escapes for good.
“The stereograms are your friends and your keys to get to Stereotopia.”
“B-but where is Stereotopia?” Bia thought.
Suddenly, another stereogram fell from the sky. When he looked into it, it showed a flag…
“The flag of England! So does that mean Stereotopia is in England?”
Bia then travels to England, which is easy because he’s already in Europe. Along his way while on his car, he meets an Asian guy with a bass guitar on his back. He was hitching for a ride in the middle of the desert so he let him in.
“So your name is Kog? Bia said.
“Yes, I am from Japan. I come here to look for Stereotopia.”
“Stereotopia!? Why that’s where I’m going too! You heard a voice too?”
“Yes. I can also pull objects from Stereogram.”
Bia and Kog eventually became friends and went on their journey to England, in a place called Stereotopia, as dictated by the voice they hear. Also, Kog tells his friend that he also has a mental disorder (autism) but can still speak properly depending on the situation.
Much later in their journey, they meet two boys in a restaurant in France. Their names were Elt (Canadian) and Ury (Korean), and both originally online friends.
“So…Ury has Bipolar Disorder and Elt has schizophrenia?”
“Yes.” Said the two boys, smiling.
“Could it be that you can also manipulate Stereograms?”
“You mean the abstract photos?” Elt said.
“Yup, those things.” Said Bia.
“Yes we can!” said Ury.
Bia thought while they were having coffee. “So does that mean people who can draw out stuff from Stereograms all have…”
But suddenly, Bia collapses.
“Bia…?” Kog woke him up. But he heard a different, unusual reply from his new friend.
“W-who are you? I’m not Bia, I’m Aib! His…uhm you know…partner!”
“Oh…I see. Did he tell you yet what happened?”
“Of course, silly!” Aib said. “I was listening to everything! Heheh. Now c’mon everyone! Let’s head for Stereotopia!”
The group packed up and went together on the car. But as they were almost near England, some hooded guys tried to stop them again. And again, a bunch of stereograms fell from the sky – one for each of them.
“Let’s do our thing, guys!” Aib said.
“Okay!” Kog said.
“Yeah!” said Ury and Elt.
They were victorious over the hooded guys and proceeded towards England. And later on, they’ve decided to take another pit stop at a gas station. There, they meet another one like them.
“My name is Zua Bautista. I came from the Philippines and got here because of this voice in my head. So I secretly went inside the cargo storage of a ship towards England.”
Zua has kleptomania, or a mental disorder of uncontrollable theft of specific things. In his case, he’s attached to sportswear. This is why he asked his new buddies to keep him away from shopping malls.
And as they were still on the road to a place they don’t know yet, a bright pixie-like figure guided them. It was the voice in their head.
“This way, Stereoists…”
“Stereoists?” Bia thought (he passed out again on one point and took control of his old self). “So that’s what we’re called? Cool.”
The figure introduced himself as Yate Steros, and that Stereotopia is just a few meters ahead if they walk.
“You will discover who you really were once you enter Stereotopia. Don’t be afraid if that happens; you will not lose anything, but you will gain more.” Yate said.
But along the way, Bia was overtaken by a much powerful hooded guy, because he was completely exhausted. The Stereoists fought this guy, but he was too strong. Yate tried to help but he can’t, so he told them that he’ll be right back and call for help.
“You shall not pass…” the hooded figure said, slowly killing Bia, whose breathing gets harder.
“No…” Kog was also exhausted from battle, because summoning objects (depending on how large the object is) can also deplete power. Everyone else was also tired.
But Bia’s eyes suddenly opened with fury.
“No one messes with Aib!” he shouted. He switched with his other ego and summoned a chain to hold the enemy in place. And then, everyone summoned their last bit of weapons and killed the hooded guy.
After that, Aib passes out, and wakes up again as Bia. He was then told of what happened to him.
Meanwhile, a shining light blinded them ahead. It was Yate, along with another figure, who introduced himself as Reki Steros. He is the older brother of Yate and the leader of Stereotopia.
“Now you have come this far, it’s time to come home.” Reki said. “Pass through this gate, and you shall know everything that you’ve forgotten.”
The five Stereoists passed through a water-like wall, and that’s when their appearance suddenly changed into fairy-elf like humans, with pointing ears, white skin, white hair, and eyes with color that only reflect on what they see. They have also started to recall some old memories.
“This…is your true form!” said Reki with a smile. “Welcome back to Stereotopia!”
Their memories were manipulated by the hooded guy (an evil Stereoist who escaped from prison) and were sent to the real world, because they were 5 of the most powerful Stereoists in the land. Bia was actually two people, Bia and Aib, and were merged into one person with a personality disorder. The rest also had their disorders removed when they entered Stereotopia.
“So we weren’t humans after all…” said Bia, looking at the beautiful place of Stereotopia, overflowing with rich natural resources and vibrant colors. It was like a fantasy land, but it was their real home.
“But don’t be sad about your false memories!” said Reki. “When you pass by the gate again, you will return to your human form, and regain your mental disorder. But you can still come back to the real world anytime you want! You can visit your family and friends there, and hang out for as long as you want! In fact, a lot of Stereoists are doing it these days…just don’t get yourself in trouble anymore, okay?”
“Okay, your highness!” The five said with a smile.
After that incident, they all lived a normal life on Stereotopia, but still visit the real world from time to time.