The Nightmare of Fabrication
The doujin manga of Serial Experiments Lain, titled The Nightmare of Fabrication, appears in the Omnipresence in Wired artbook. The manga serves as the missing "Dc1029" file from the game and appears to take place in the same continuity as the game, although there are elements of the anime as well.
Lain is alone in her room, in desperate want of human contact. In a state of isolation relating to events from the game, Lain lists off her various prior connections, including Touko (who has been moody around Lain), her parents (who are now at this point divorced), Tomo and Kyoko (who she has cut ties with) and finally Misato (who has been exposed as imaginary).
After cutting off the collar of her toy dog, Bike-chan, Lain vehemently exclaims that Misato is not imaginary, but has trouble finding evidence of her memory upon discovering art supplies she had bought with Misato are not in her room. After doubting her own memory and becoming distressed over the mounting evidence that Misato may not have been real after all, Lain begins to worry that becoming completely isolated would cause her existence to end.
To prevent this, Lain decides to modify Bike-chan, although her cutting the dog with scissors makes her feel guilty. She writes a program for a very basic artificial intelligence extremely quickly and cuts open Bike-chan to install various electrical devices, all the while shushing the dog in an almost motherly tone, trying to reassure it (and very likely, herself), that she isn't hurting it. The automation eventually causes the dog to bark and say its own name repeatedly, to Lain's delight.
It is revealed that Bike-chan's automation is a sort of field test for Lain's later plans. After completing Bike-chan by giving him mobility and the ability to talk, Lain would then make a robot of her Father, Tomo, Misato, Kyoko and her Mother, the latter two with adjustments to their personality so that they would treat Lain better than their counterparts. By surrounding herself with artificial friends and family, Lain feels that she can be "connected" and would prevent her loneliness and avert her fear of disappearing from isolation.
However, Bike-chan explodes, his automation failing for some reason or other, to Lain's shock and despair. After breaking down and sobbing apologies to the dog's remains, a voice calls out to her, offering to bring the dog back to life. The hazy form of Eiri, claiming to be from a higher plane of existence, reassures Lain of his powers and gives her an identical stuffed dog, telling her to act as though this dog is the same as the original and telling Lain that if nobody knew that Lain had killed Bike-chan, then it never happened. Lain opposes this at first, since she would still remember the previous Bike-chan, but Eiri reassures her that she need only rewrite her own memories.
Eiri then informs Lain that she has killed Bike-chan several times before and hints that he had replaced him, calling the validity of Lain's memories into question, and also remarking that Bike-chan looked rather new for a toy that was supposedly twelve or thirteen years old, which calls into question either the time of Lain's birth or how old the dog really was. Lain begins to panic as Eiri informs her of how alone she really is and how few of her experiences she has shared with other people, causing Lain to have an apparent anxiety attack as she weakly defends the validity of her memories. Eiri comments that her perception of reality is based entirely on memory and that perception of what is and what really is are far apart, while remarking that Lain might have the ability to consolidate the two somehow and further Eiri's plans, referencing her role in the anime.
Lain abruptly awakens, finding Bike-chan on her desk and thinking that what had happened was all a dream. As she walks away from her desk after holding the dog in her arms, she discovers the bell she had cut off from the previous Bike-chan's neck on the floor. In a panic, she buries the bell and tries to repress the memory of the "dream", repeating Eiri's principle of what isn't remembered never happened, and thus in her mind erasing the dream's existence.
Effect On Lain's Mental Health
The incident (or series of identical incidents) implies that Lain has been involved in a cycle of denial for a long time, mainly due to her unfortunate social and home circumstances. This may also apply to her vehement denial of Misato's nonexistence, despite there being large amounts of evidence suggesting the contrary. As such, the description of her activities with Misato in Lain's Diary and her counseling sessions may also be fabricated or heavily modified by Lain, while simultaneously being only vaguely aware that the changes were made.
The incident also shows that Lain has trouble accepting her own existence and fears that total isolation will cause her to stop existing somehow. This could be taken literally, that she believes that relationships are proof of existence, or it can be taken as an implication that Lain is afraid that isolation could drive her to suicide, losing any reason to exist anymore. The latter appears to be true, as Lain eventually ends her physical life after the disappearances or deaths of the people she considers close to her.
During this incident, Eiri taunts her for not having other people around her to verify her memories and by extension her lack of friends, which could serve as a subconscious impetus towards Lain's growing obsession with creating friends for herself, particularly her father, whom Lain's relationship with was most healty, whom Eiri mentions by name, and whom Lain begins to create an automaton for first.
- This is Yoshitoshi ABe's first color manga. In addition, the entire manga was completed in roughly 24 hours.
- This manga was the first major work of serial experiments lain, published in AX magazine in March of 1998.
- This manga has direct continuity with the game; however, there is a possibility that an altered form of Eiri's conspiracy still exists in the universe of the PSX game, and Lain's eventual suicide leads to Eiri's success, contrasting with Lain's refusal to kill herself in the anime.
- ABe has also written humorous short manga about Lain.