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The Refuge is a city that occupies the majority of the innermost ring of the World. Due to the steady deterioration of the world, several paths have been blocked off and others completely gone.
The Refuge consists of two parts, one in the sky and the other one on the ground, connected by elevators. In a normal run, Niko's objective in the first part is to help the Lamplighter fix the elevator to the ground, and in the second part to enter The Tower after finding out more information about it in The Library. The Refuge's phosphor color is red.
The sky is the first part Niko must go through and the higher part of the Refuge. Upon getting here, Niko will be greeted by a robot who will tell the Player they cannot pass further than him unless they are holding a seed, in which case the robot grants them access to the garden.
A giant robot is stationed before the T-intersection connecting the Glen entrance to the Elevator deck and the Garden. The robot will not allow Niko to pass into the Garden unless they carry the kernel from which Maize can be reborn.
When Niko arrives here, they will meet the Lamplighter who will tell them that the elevator isn't working because the button that displays "GROUND" is missing.
This location has many separate rooms as well as a hallway. The first room contains a robot that will scan Niko, and upon finding no suspicious activity, set their threat level to low but will warn Niko that they are monitoring them.
The second room contains a sad young lady upon interacting with her, a long line of dots will appear in the text box, Niko will respond with dots, and after a while, Niko will say "okay".
The third room contains another robot and a young girl. Upon interacting with the robot, they will ask Niko if they want to play a game. Niko will ask the robot if they know Rock-Paper-Scissors and the robot will respond with a series of settings, so Niko changes their mind about playing the game. Upon speaking to the girl, she will iterate that her parents are never home and that she doesn't mind that, as she has the robot to keep her company. She explains that she's working on making it act more like a human and that she might even be able to tame it someday. As they heard the word "tame" many times throughout their journey, Niko asks the girl what does the word mean, but she doesn't know either.
The fourth room contains a ram, and a person from the Glen. Upon speaking with the person from the Glen, they will say that they just moved in, and that things are very different then from the Glen, which they are missing.
The fifth room contains a roomba, and upon interacting with it, the player can tell Niko to ride it, as well as tell them to leave it alone. Once Niko exits the room, the roomba will stay inside the room.
South from the left-most apartments, a large room with some books, a small coffee machine, fridges and a person with a TV on their head can be found. One of the fridges will contain magnets on them which will be used in assembling the "GROUND" button.
The cafe consists of a dark gray and white floor tiles, many chairs, a coffee machine and Ling. Going here when Niko is hungry and talking with Ling will give Niko pancakes, and unlock the "Pancakes" achievement. A metal can used for assembling the "GROUND" button is also obtainable here.
In the office, a stapler and an tape dispenser are adhered to a desk. A nearby note explains they can be used, but they are glued in place due to a problem with people not returning the office supplies. Niko cannot take the stapler or tape dispenser for these reasons, but they can take a strip of tape to finish crafting a new elevator button. A robot attends the generator in this room.
Although called the Garden, there are no visible plants here. There is a structure, perhaps unoccupied planters, shaped like the lightbulb emblem. In the center is an empty flower bed where Niko can place Maize's kernel along with soil, water and later the medicated water.
Here, Niko can observe a large portion of Refuge, as well as pink water reflecting it as pensive music plays. By continuing to walk along here, Niko initiates a conversation with the player remarking this is their first time in a city and how different it is from their quiet village. Niko asks if the player lives in a city.
In the Solstice Route, Rue asks Niko to lift her onto the railing for a better view. They then proceed to have a long, somber conversation about the nature of this world and the Entity before another outbreak of data corruption forces them go back inside.
The ground is the second area Niko must go through in Refuge. They arrive here after fixing the elevator. Their objective is to reach the Tower after informing themselves about it in the Library.
The Lamplighter can be seen hard at work refilling dim lamp posts next to the paperbot as soon as they arrive.
Despite the Refuge being built over a visible body of water, the paperbot and an objecthead mention a water shortage caused by square particles corrupting a pipeline. This would imply that the phosphorescent water all around is undrinkable, unless the pipeline was connected to a local filtration system.
Between every building down this street are vendors, mostly objectheads, one of which sells the medicated water and offers Niko a free sample. In one of the buildings is a photo booth of sorts where Niko can take their picture to put over Kip's library card. Each of the vendors will also provide hints for the correct lens order to operate the photo booth's camera.
The back alley contains a hallway with a large number of trash cans. Kelvin and Rue can be found here, as well as the Lamplighter's apartment and the secret ram room. There is a robot captured by glitches warning Niko not to approach. In the Lamplighter's apartment, Niko can find an assortment of lenses for the photo booth.
The Library is mainly occupied by humans and more objectheads. There are several books Niko can read in the Library written by the Author. They are about phosphor and flora and fauna from all three zones. One such book mentions that black clovers may be this world's oldest known life form. An NPC comments that this Library is a place to remember the world by, considering the possibility that it may end soon.
A robot receptionist is stationed at a desk before the archival rooms where George is working and will not allow Niko access until shown a library card with their picture on it. In George's room downstairs, Niko can find out from her how to access the Tower after she translates the strange journal. While she does that, she lets Niko borrow her bed in the adjoining room.
The robot factory is staffed by human and objecthead scientists, several of which are frazzled or fatigued by the square particles and several indicators of an impending end-of-the-world scenario.
Past a strange security puzzle, Niko can find Kip and retrieve her library card and some glitter glue. If Niko goes back and shows her the amber pendant from Silver, Kip provides Silver's backstory in a remorseful tone.