- "Free the... Soul? What's that? Some kinda hippie shoe company?"
- — Dio, playing dumb when confronted about his motives
Free the Soul is a religious death cult and secret society on Earth which secretly controls humanity as part of a conspiracy. They are the primary antagonistic force of the Zero Escape series. Free the Soul is lead by Delta, who is known as "Brother" to his followers.
Free the Soul is dedicated to establishing a new world order on planet Earth. Their goal is to bring about a new, incorruptible world by any means possible - even if it means killing the vast majority of humanity. As such, Free the Soul is planning the apocalypse in 2029 in order to establish a new world order by killing billions of people (approximately 75% of humanity). Once the apocalypse has occurred and the majority of humanity is dead, it is then that Free the Soul will rule the planet. In Virtue's Last Reward, this has already been done. Free the Soul was responsible for the outbreak of Radical-6 and subsequently the Antimatter Plant Explosions that jeopardized humanity and quartered its population in the early months of 2029, which led up to the events of Virtue's Last Reward.
Free the Soul could be thought of as a terrorist organization because many of them have a "kill all of the non-believers!" philosophy. The SOIS considers them to be terrorists, as they have committed acts of murder in order to silence those who know too much.
Free the Soul has amassed over 1,000,000 followers scattered throughout the world, with various occupations in the government, politics, finance and banking, education, corporations, companies, media, entertainment, medical industry, military, police, religion, etc. For example, Free the Soul has a strong influence in Cradle Pharmaceutical. The Myrmidons are the most elite members of Free the Soul, who act as its military branch.
As a secret society, their members (many of which are in influential positions of power throughout the world) attempt to keep its existence as hidden as possible, and members who are questioned deny involvement.
It could also be thought that many of its members are psychopathic (such as Mira, an agent of Delta and Free the Soul), and have a role in guiding humanity and affecting human consciousness for a long time. They are experts and masters of psychological warfare, psychological operations (psy-ops), propaganda, lies, spreading misinformation, cover ups, etc.
Free the Soul is formally named and revealed in Virtue's Last Reward with their symbol being shown on the robe of Akane Kurashiki in "End or Beginning". However, their symbol is first seen on Snake's robes (following his release from the coffin) in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, but the symbol was not attributed to anything.
Free the Soul has secret bases on Earth where their members meet and gather. For example, they have a facility near Los Angeles, California according to Alice and Clover Field, which is a chemical factory disguised as an abandoned building.
The birth of Delta
In November 2029, Sigma Klim and Diana gave birth to Phi and Delta in the Underground Shelter, which would later be deemed a "sacred site". They were originally trapped in the shelter by Delta; a Bootstrap paradox that Delta looked to avoid by ensuring his own birth. Delta and Phi were cloned and sent away with the Transporter; They were both sent to 1904 in Germany, but Phi was sent to 2008 a few months later, where she grew up ordinarily. It is presumed that Sigma, Diana, and the original Phi and Delta all starved to death, perpetually trapped in the shelter.
The Original Nonary Games
The ceremonial robes Dashiell Gordain had the sacrificed victims wear in the original Nonary Games on the Gigantic contained the symbol of Free the Soul, implying that he was a member of the religion in the very early stages of its birth. During the victims' deaths in the Hall of Ceremony/incinerator, they wore Free the Soul robes. In the chapel, they prayed to the god they worshipped (presumably the god of Free the Soul), and in the Hall of Ceremony, they offered up living sacrifices. The Free the Soul robes were also used in Gordain's successors' Nonary Games. It is currently unknown if there is a connection between these Nonary Games and Free the Soul, although it is probable these successors joined Free the Soul.
The RMS Titanic tragedy happened in 1912 when Delta could have only been around 8 years old, but Gordain died as a member of Free the Soul in 1931, which was when Delta was 27 and would have started the organization already. Delta started the organization at age 26, so Gordain died when Free the Soul was a year old.
Following his release from the Transporter in 1904 after his birth in 2029, Delta was adopted into a poor family where his only joy was his younger adoptive brother Left, of whom he was very fond. Tragically, when Delta was 16, Left was found dead. His body was covered in bruises, but the police only made a cursory investigation and quickly ruled his death as a suicide. Later, Delta found out that the killer had paid the police a massive bribe to keep the truth hidden from the public.
He became enraged from the revelation of another act of mankind (being greedy and self-centered), and soon found himself immersed in cold despair. Eventually, he thought that he had received a divine revelation (his esper powers). Mankind was completely corrupted by greed and Delta was tasked to purify the human race, with a new world created as a result of his efforts. Delta believed that "God" had given him this mission.
Founding Free the Soul
Delta formed Free the Soul when he was 26 in 1930, after he realized the injustice done to his brother. He had originally named it "Free the Soul of Y", but he removed the "of Y" part for unknown reasons. The "Y" stood for "left eye of Horus" and Delta claims that "Y" is a symbol for miracles. Delta became known to his followers as "Brother". Brother was worshiped and honored as a "holy father" and "holy master".
His teachings were considered too profound for ordinary people to understand, but the core ideas (his doctrine) were to separate one's self from worldliness, to destroy greed, free themselves of lust, and divorce the soul from the body in order to cleanse and purify it. Free the Soul also adopted a "survival of the fittest" mindset and eliminated the weak and only the fittest (the chosen ones) survived. They tried to create a world without conflict where only the chosen ones resided, and succeeded.
Those who followed Brother's teachings with discipline and devotion would be reborn as a "new race", in an equal world with no war, conflict, poverty or starvation. They aim to do what they thought was needed to be done to bring them closer to the new world that Free the Soul promises. There were some people that might call them terrorists. Free the Soul eventually amassed over a million followers.
First Nonary Game
Free the Soul was indirectly responsible for the First Nonary Game in 2018 by funding it. Gentarou Hongou was involved with the religious cult, although he only used Free the Soul for his own profits, and he was not that involved with the religious side of it.
After the game, Seven pursued a personal case against Cradle Pharmaceutical -- not as part of his organization, but due to pressure from higher-ups, he was told, "don't get involved in this case." This shows the influence Free the Soul and Cradle had over society and the police force. Unfortunately, a lot of the evidence of the Nonary Game was covered up. Seven received scars on his face from fighting Free the Soul.
In 2028, Clover is trained as an SOIS agent. She is tasked with infiltrating and investigating a Myrmidon cloning lab. Alice is assigned Clover's commanding officer. Unfortunately, Clover is immediately captured and imprisoned in the facility, which turned out to be fake. By the time Alice arrived to rescue her, many of the facility's members had already fled, but Clover was still alive. However, off to the side was a corpse, heavily covered in bruises. It was Alice's father, who was beaten to death. Alice's father was abducted by Free the Soul to specialize in cloning. According to Clover, his last words was "I love you... Alice." and he had carved them on his chest. These words fueled Alice's desire to avenge her father and end Free the Soul.
Sometime in 2028, Seven and Junpei Tenmyouji worked together to destroy Free the Soul's headquarters.
In December 2028, Alice and Clover were in Los Angeles, California, planning to attack the Myrmidon headquarters on Christmas Day, but they are kidnapped by Crash Keys.
Free the Soul was responsible for the December 2028 tragedy that originated in Nevada, in which Radical-6 was released upon humanity, killing approximately 2 billion directly from the disease. Only a handful of people know that this tragedy was Free the Soul's doing, and it remains this way decades later.
The Radical-6 pandemic subsequently led to the Antimatter Plant Explosions and the destruction of Earth in an attempt to purge the virus. After the Radical-6 pandemic, the ensuing chaos and the antimatter plant explosions, approximately 6 billion were dead.
Following the apocalypse
Given that 2 billion people survived the Radical-6 apocalypse and Antimatter Plant Explosions, it has been said that Delta was still alive by 2074, and many of his followers would also be too.
Free the Soul continued specializing in cloning, eventually creating Dio, the leader of the Myrmidons.
Stopping Akane Kurashiki's AB Project
In January 2074, Delta (assumed to be 170 years old at this point if he didn't use the transporter again) sends his most trusted clone and leader of the Myrmidons, Dio, to infiltrate Rhizome 9 in order to prevent Crash Keys' AB Project from succeeding. A successful AB Project would prevent the release of Radical-6 in December 2028 and change history. Brother gives Dio two orders: kill Akane Kurashiki and win the Nonary Game: Ambidex Edition. If he fails to kill Akane and win the Nonary Game, he must destroy Rhizome 9 using 4 antimatter bombs. Ironically (and most likely intentionally), the AB Project would not have succeeded without Brother's actions.
Zero Time Dilemma
It is unknown what occurs to Free the Soul after the events of Zero Time Dilemma, since the Radical-6 outbreak is prevented in the True Ending. Despite this, they still supposedly have over a million followers. It is also unknown if Carlos pulls the trigger to kill their leader, Delta, and what effect that would have on the organization.
- The Free the Soul symbol is partially an Infinite Loop symbol. It is currently unknown if this is either an Easter Egg of the Infinity series (another project of Kotaro Uchikoshi's) or an important element in the Zero Escape series that could tie the two series together.
- With regards to the mysterious "of Y" that was originally part of their name, and its declared meaning of "left eye of Horus", this presents some interesting implications when compared to real world mythology. In Egyptian mythology, Horus was not only a sky god, but was often associated with pharaohs prior to the 5th century. Pharaohs were said to be Horus while they were alive, which fed into the deification of the pharaoh. This could relate to how Delta is seemingly deified within his own religion. Furthermore, as a sky god, Horus' eyes were said to represent the Sun and the Moon. The left eye, specifically, was the Moon and later became associated with the god Thoth. Thoth was a god of many things, but of particular note, he was the god of knowledge, wisdom, thought, intelligence, the mind, logic, and reason, to name a few. These qualities could be associated with Delta as well. After Set killed Osiris (Horus' father and Set's brother), Horus and Set fought over Osiris' throne, at which point Set gouged out Horus' left eye. The eye was later restored by either Hathor (the goddess of fertility and motherhood) or Thoth (the god of knowledge and wisdom), but Horus gave it to Osiris to help revive him. The left eye of Horus then took on a meaning of sacrifice and restoration, qualities that could easily describe the intent of Free the Soul: Delta sacrifices his morality to serve the greater purpose of restoring Left's life through the "Left" clones. Additionally, later on in Egypt's history, Thoth became associated with the judgement of the dead, which could relate to Free the Soul's role of "judging" humanity. He was also associated with maintaining the universe, which could arguably be one of Free the Souls' other roles within Zero Escape's story, as their involvement with their world ends up, in a way, feeding into maintaining its order. In a more general sense, the Eye of Horus itself is considered a symbol of protection and royal power granted by deities (or "God"). In its earliest form, the symbol represented the "all-seeing eye" of the goddess Wadjet. This could be a loose reference to Delta's Mind Hacking having a similar "all-seeing" effect. Completely unrelated to mythology, a second interpretation of the "of Y" part could relate to branching timelines. When talked about in 999, VLR, and even ZTD, the concept of timelines branching is almost always brought up in a "forking river" analogy, which ends up looking exactly like a "Y". Therefore, one could say that "Free the Soul of Y" originally meant "Free the Soul of Branching Timelines". The miracles Delta claims are associated with the "Y" part would make sense in that light.
- "Free the soul of Y" is an anagram of "left eye of Horus," so it's possible the name "Free the Soul of Y" has little meaning other than being a convenient anagram.