Upon the death or disappearance of a Guardian, their Zone shifts to a bleak state in which the populace appears to be gone, the background colors warp to a harsh black and white, and only powerful enemies known as "secretaries" remain. These "purified" districts (referred to by The Judge as "pristine nothingness") may perhaps end up degenerating into absolute nonexistence. While how they do so is unknown, it is clear that a Guardian must exist for every Zone or else it becomes permanently cleansed. A running theme within the game is the question of whether or not oblivion, in terms of a mercy killing by The Batter, is a better state or not compared to the decrepit, corrupt state of the OFF areas under the rule of the Guardians.
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