Sunday, August 4, 2013

The God Machine Chronicle ep02 : World of Darkness

07/21/2013
Membrane
A God Machine Chronicle
Episode Two

"The Four and the Mad Old Man"

World of Darkness

Creatively blocked fantasy writer, Wyatt Matthews.    Parkour DJ in debt, Ronald Tanneberger.  Conman Psychic, Seth Macintyre.    Their lives were intertwined in ways they have yet to grasp.  And though the previous events were anything but normal...

Wyatt wakes up and finds himself in bed.  He struggles to recall the strange fuzzy memories of his dream but they seem to too easily slip away.  He hears a noise and realizes there is someone in his house.  He reaches for his cellphone nearby and finds it dead.  The battery was completely drained.  He tiptoes to the cabinet to draw out his baseball bat but accidentally bumps it against the door.  The sound he makes alerts the intruder.

As he moves to the door and slams it open, ready to fight, he finds instead a familiar though unwelcome face.  His name is Rennard.  They had broken up some time back.

"I... came to get my stuff back.  I tried messaging you a few times.  Called even."  A beat.  Then the unnecessary accusatory question.  "Why WAS your cellphone not charged?"

Awkward silence.  

Wyatt plugs in the phone, and checks it.  The inbox shows 3 texts from Mara and 5 texts from Rennard.  He peeks at some and reads them:

7:16pm Mara
“Where are you? Aren’t you coming home?”
8:00pm Mara
“I’m at your door. Why aren't you answering?”
8:15pm Mara
“I am starting to feel stupid out here. This isn't funny.”

Wyatt gives her a call and Wyatt for a moment slips, wondering if Mara had Rennard come back based on their deal.  But then he recalls the "deal" was a statement she made in the "dream."  It was a dream, right  Wyatt feels very confused.  But even more confused when Rennard steps back into view wearing nothing but his underwear.

“One last,” he begs.

“No, thank you,” Wyatt answers and Rennard leaves without even getting dressed.   Wyatt shakes his head and gets a new message from Mara.

"I'm missing my boots by the way.  Any chance you saw them?"

Wyatt recalls her resting them on his immaculate table.  In the dream.  But he checks the table anyway.  He sees the impossible:  Boot marks on the surface.  

*

Ronald wakes up with three naked people wrapped around his own naked body.  In the panic, he swings a punch outwards and accidentally smacks a girl on the face! She curses as she gets off the bed and throws a retaliatory punch at him.  "Ronald!" she yowls and rushes to the bathroom to check on the damage.   Ronald looks around, his heart still pounding, as he still recalls the strange mechanical-organic things he had witnessed in the subway.  Or was that a dream?  It feels so hard to recall.  He looks around to get his bearings and realizes where he is.

Kandice.  Her name is Kandice.  This is her place.  An apartment on the Fifth floor.  She lives with her brother, Dariel, whom he had never met but whenever she'd bring him over, he'd sneak inside while he slept, and eventually slither out by the fire exit.

"Kandice, you okay?" Dariel calls out, having heard the exchange.

"Am fine.." she hollers back, only to have his unexpected response, " Good, then when you're dressed, you can head on out there and even bring your friends over with you.  I'm brewing a lot of coffee."

Ronald gets dressed, but quickly realizes he cannot find his jeans.  He peeks out the room and sees it sitting on the couch.  Dariel starts getting agitated when he notices the dark mark on Kandice's face.  "What the f- Who his you?  Did someone hit you, Kandice?  Who the hell hit you?"  She tries to calm him down, but Dariel's anger quickly spirals out of control.  Ronald realizes a second fact:  Dariel is KaQoH.  The gang guy who he owed... wait.  Wasn't that just in the dream?  Confused, Ronald decides wisely to get out of the situation instead of waiting it to get worse.  He slips between the partly open window and its frame to duck outside at the fire exit.  Thankfully, this is enough for Dariel to think he had left far earlier in the day.  As the two argue some more, Ronald slips down to the street and heads to the Bus station, hoping to make his way home.

The old woman has a dog.  The dog, a German Shepherd, happens to be named Pixie.  The dog stares at Ronald strangely, while the woman waits for the bus.  Ronald realizes he doesn't have his wallet (it was in his jeans) and that means if KaQoH found it, he also would find his address!  

He sneaks back upstairs and finds Kandice alone.  Her brother called his gang friends, and they headed off right away.  Ronald tries to deflect why he knows her brother.  And in frustration, she drops the subject.  “You owe me,” she mutters.

As Ronald leaves to try to sneak back home, he realizes he can hear a buzzing.  He digs into his bag and finds his cellular phone ringing, showing the name Office Conners.

*

Seth wakes up in his bed and finds he is not alone.  Officer Conners, naked and nuzzled against him, pulls him closer and hugs him tighter.  Memories are fuzzy.  Seth recalls meeting the officer, his hand brushing against the man's buttocks.  He recalls the two deciding to leave the crime scene after questioning the husband who looked like him.  The rough kissing against the window.  The sex against the wall.  Seth glances at his body, looking for signs of injury.  He doesn't see any matching the stranger fainter memories.  Conners wakes up and is all flirty.  But Seth keeps blocking the come ons.  Conners decides to check the web for any more information on the lookalike, but a Skype call interrupts the search.  A client.

On the side table, Conner's clothes are a neat quaint perfectly folded pile.  The gun is in the holster beside then, atop the shoes.

Conners is being all playful, but Seth tries to focus on the call.  It turns out to be Stacey, Seth's sister.  She wants to hire him to investigate her boyfriend.  "I think he's cheating."    Conners tries to talk her out of this and later checks his phone for evidence of the previous night.  He sees lots of pictures.  As in lots.  And most of them are selfies.  The timestamps seem to support the memories.  The earliest stamp turns out to be 7:16pm.  Even the GPS markers on the pics all seem to match whether they should register.  Worse, they all have Conners acting like a fool beside him.   Then the phone dies as the battery finally runs out. Seth sees that even Conners' phone dies too.                                                            

Conners returns with a plate of bed and cheese.  "Can you be any more gay?" Seth scowls and when Conners asks why he's being mean, Seth breaks into a tirade of how something isn't right.  He questions Conners on how easily the man has broken protocol.  Conners pulls him in and the two kiss.  The deep kiss lasts longer than expected.  But as they disengage...

Confusion.

"Considering how much you stick to the rules, how much you stick to you habit.  I cannot believe you'd throw that all away upon seeing me.  Look, you don't even have any notes on the suicide.  This is so not like you."

The door slams open.

Both turn to see a single man in an all White Suit.  Memories come flooding back.     

*

Wyatt recalls the weird dreams.  He feels unsettled by all this.  Which was real?  Which really happened?   He heads back to the staircase where he had his encounter and there, approaches the nearest door.  The knocks at the door and an old man answers, peering through the peep hole. The man asks if he's working on his devil books again.  He asks if the old man recalls a guy dressed in a white suit.  He admits seeing a woman (Mara) visting him.  It doesn't make sense.  So did it happen?  Or didn't it?

He sits at the computer and tries to focus his thoughts by writing.  The fingers type faster.  And faster.  The words start flowing freely.  Of men in white clothing.  Of abductions and the victims having their memories tampered with.  Of other people's memories being shoved into your own head.  Place you in a different life.   A different-

A knock.

*

Ronald arrives at his building.  Motorcycles are parked outside.  The security guard of the building is busy counting off bills.  Suspecting the gang to be up there, Ronald opts to enter by the parking area beside the condo.  He takes the elevator to a higher floor, then from there makes his way down the stairs to his floor.  He peeks and sees three gang bangers guarding the elevator door.  The door to his place had been forced open.  There's no sign of KaQoH however.  Ronald suspects the guy was in his home.

He heads back upstairs and knocks on the door to Jennie's place.  He and Jennie had some fun times in the past, but it never progressed to something serious.  Jennie, as it turns out, was not home alone.  Ronald finds a growling Great Dane named Oscar snarling at him, and a naked middle aged man named John emerging from the bedroom to command the dog to sit.  Jennie pulls a Soy Milk carton from the fridge and asks what Ronald needs.  He tells her of the gang members at his floor.  John was about to offer a suggestion, but his own cellphone rings and he quickly takes it in the bed room, away from them both.  Ronald opts not to ask anything, and instead asks if he can call 9-11.  Jennie lets him use the phone.

*

Seth stares at Mister Nose, who stands at the doorway.  Conners does not hesitate and draws his pistol from the holster and trains the gun at the man in white.  Seth does not hesitate, however, and draws his own gun.  He shoots Mister Nose, even as Mister Nose talks to them about how they were not supposed to remember.  Nose draws the small bottle from his jacket, and raises it to spray at them, but Seth does not give him that chance.  He grabs the spirtzer bottle away, and, when Mister Nose tries to grab Seth, hears the thunderclap as another pistol is discharged.  Mister Nose slumps to the side as Conner's shot strikes the man in the shoulder.  Conners gets distracted, however, when he starts to hear his radio going haywire.  The distraction allows Mister Nose to move.  

Seth doesn't not hesitate again and fires once more, but this time the shot goes wild as Mister Nose utters, "Decino" before the gun discharges.  Conners screams as the bullet ricochets into his knee.  But as Mister Nose topples to the side against the used condoms on the floor, he seems to lose his battle more and even bangs his face against the wall.  Seth closes in and uses the spritzer on Mister Nose.  He drops down, knocked out.

The two grin at each other, though both remain uncertain what was going on.
They both look up to see a second man in White stepping through.  Even if no one ever opened the door.

*

Mara pays him a visit.

Wyatt is at the kitchen, prepping something to eat, while Mara goes through the earlier pages that Wyatt supposedly had  typed all night, as far as his memories claim.  Wyatt finds Mara's boots in the trash bin, which puzzles him because they would not have had any reason to leave them here.  Worse, Mara's visit supposedly never happened.  So how could she have left her boots at his place.  "Aeons," Mara asks aloud, "This Aeons reads good."  Mara admits the outline feels strong and the story feels fresh.   She is so distracted she doesn't "hear" Wyatt telll her about the boots.  The lead character finds himself facing others who bear his face.  In the novel, the man ponders if they are clones.  Or are they them, just in different parts in time.

Another knocking.

*

The second man in a white suit draws out another tiny spritzer from his pocket. "Aegis," the man calmly utters.  The intruder is sprayed with the spritzer but the mist does not reach him.  Some kind of field repels things from reaching him.  As Seth twists out of the way, Conner fires his pistol at the guy, but the bullet ricochets and clips Conner on the face.  Panicked, Seth starts chanting, "Aegis aegis aegis..." over and over again, hoping whatever protected the man in white will protect him too.  But as the man in white tries to grab Seth once again, he utters "Decino," and Conners' shot this time strikes the man.

There's another ripple in the air as a third man in white begins to come into view.

The two decide to make a break for it and run!

*

As Ronald uses the phone, he realizes that John and Jennie clearly would rather be left alone.   He heads out and slowly makes his way back down one floor.  He can hear the sounds of a police car closing in, and decides to wait it out rather than make things complicated.  As the cops arrive, the gang members by the elevator quietly exit, not causing any trouble.  The cops arrive at the apartment and very quickly call for KaQoH to drop to the ground.  Thinking it is safe enough, Ronald decides to head in and tell the cops he's the guy who called for help.

Ronald hear's his phone ringing again, and takes it though it tracks an unfamiliar number.  He hears Conners' voice.  KaQoH goes frantic that moment, and charges forward at him.  The cops quickly move to tackle the guy down and pull him away.  But the ruckus forces Ronald to end the call.  Ronald's hopes were starting to rise until the cops get support from their Captain.  The Captain happens to be dressed and look exactly like Mister Nose, the man in the white suit.  He asks if "All is well?"

*

Wyatt hears the knocking and peers at the peep hole to find unexpected guests.  His parents are outside the door.  As he opens the door to let them in he realizes the two are speaking in tandem.  Which is odd.  And are both wearing white outfits, which really pushes things to a more disturbing level given the (non)dreams Wyatt had of the previous night.  As the mother walks up to Mara, she slowly draws a spritzer out of her jacket.  As the father walks up to Wyatt, he starts asking him questions that bother him.  Questions that seem to try to draw out what he recalls of the previous night.  He drops the teapot in shock, and rather than answer, quickly maneuvers to approach Mara.

In his mind, he finds himself screaming, "We have to get out of here!"

*

Seth and Conners pile into the police car.  As Conners speeds off, the two consider their next course of action.  Conners thankfully remains calm as they question the insanity of the situation.  "We have to stop," Conners realizes however and stops the car by the street.  He quickly walks to what might be the only remaining phone booth in the city and starts dialing Ronald's number.  The call starts ringing.

*

Wyatt tried to force his "mother" to stop, but he realizes he's just not strong enough. He grabs the typewriter but fumbles with it and drops it at his own feet.  Panick overtakes him and he runs, leaving Mara behind.

As Wyatt runs outside, he once again rushes to Donald and begs him to let him hide.  "Is it time?" the old man asks and to Wyatt's surprise, the old man starts dousing Olive Oil all over the door and its perimeter.  A knife gleams and Wyatt feels its sharp edge pushed against his throat as Donald motions him to stay quiet.  Through the peep hole, Wyatt can see his "parents" outside the door.

 "Let him go," the two speak in tandem, "We can still use the woman to lure him back."

The "mother" mutters, "Domus" and vanishes, folding away as if she was an origami creation using the world itself.  The "father" inspects the door, then leaves.  It is almost as if Donald's Olive Oil thing actually worked.

"Now listen," Donald tells Wyatt, "You have two minutes.  Do whatever you must, but get the others running from the men in white to the alleyway across the street.  Do you understand?"  Wyatt shakes his head, but Donald mutters something about not having enough time.   Wyatt feels Donald force him to his feet, and walk him to what looks like a door frame leaning against the wall.  The old man fetches a key looped to a chain around his neck, and watches as he unlocks the doorknob of the unfixed door.  The door opens and to Wyatt's disbelief, it shows a totally different place.

*

The Captain has the other cops leave, and they do so without complaints nor questions.  Ronald doesn't feel too good about this.  He glances at KaQoH who seemed pretty exhausted.  The Captain makes fun of Dariel, and jokes about how he got the title KaQoH.  "King and Queen of Hearts," he mutters, "Such a fan of the song during his younger years that he had it tattooed to his chest."

Ronald is amused at how idiotic that story is.

"The more pressing matter is... you remember," the Captain snarls.  Ronald is not hopeful about this turn of mood.

*

Seth and Conner reach the street where Ronald is staying at and note the other police cars present.    Conner tells Seth to go ahead, while he waits at the car.  As Seth reaches the unit, he hears Ronald calling from somewhere within, asking him to step into the bed room.  Seth doesn't feel right about this.  He glances inside and sees Ronald dressed in an all white shirt and boxer shorts.  White.  Again.  The phone in the house rings and Ronald moves to answer it.  Seth chooses to trust his gut and breaks for it.

*

As Wyatt walks into the apartment, he tries his best to hide his confusion.  He looks around for the people he should bring to the alleyway and sees Seth hurrying down the stairs.  Not wanting to waste time, Wyatt leaps for Seth and tackles him to the ground.  He tries to explain what he can about what he is going through and begs Seth to trust him.  But as they decide on an uneasy alliance, they stop their route to the car. "We have to go back for a friend of mine."  Wyatt reluctantly agrees.

The two arrive beside the car to find it empty.  Seth looks around and catches a Clock repair shop just across from the car.  "There," he tells Wyatt and the two quickly step inside.  A young woman offers to help them, and Seth directly asks for his friend.

He notices a few pictures of cats.  Of dogs.  Then realizes as he talks to the owner that she is the splitting image of his client, Mary whose husband George had killed their dog to hide an affair.  Bothered, Seth quickly finds Conners who turns out was resting inside, and the three make their way to the alleyway.    When Conners asks why they are following this stranger, Seth admits he at least would want to get answers and this guy seems to know something.

Conners doesn't say anything about how alike they look.

Across the alley.  They find a door swinging open as if on cue.  A young black kid named Jimmy stares at them and asks, “Aren’t there supposed to be four of you?”  The three hurry inside and Wyatt admits he doesn't know what happens next.  Jimmy leads them to the walk-in freezer and tells them to go inside and wait.  Seth worries its a trap.  But given Conners' wound, they decide to just go in.  The door is shut closed.

And suddenly reopens.

It is Donald.  The door has opened to Donald's apartment.  And they watch as Donald tucks back a glowing key under his shirt.  "There were supposed to be four of you?  What is happening," he asks Wyatt angrily, "You only brought one of the four here?"  Conners limps to the side, dizzy from the events and weary from his fight.  Seth looks around, the shock overwhelming him for a moment.  He stumbles into another room where there are newspaper clippings all over the walls.  Pins and colored yarn connect some of them to others.   Wyatt sees the many other doors and their frames leaning against more walls.  Did that key just allow Donald to open a door and its frame to another door somewhere in time and space?

"This is all your fault," Donald berates Wyatt, "You created the God-Machine.  And now we're under its scrutiny!"  Wyatt tries to grasp what he means, as the only God-Machine he ever knew of was that horrible novel he wrote which didn't reach a market.  "I'm not behind this!" he gasps.   Donald mutters about missing two others..  one named Ronald and another named Rey.  Wyatt recalls that strange blonde woman in the park mistaking him for "Rey".  He recalls tells her he isn't him and she replied, "I get it... You're 'not' Rey," she muttered.  "Can you tell 'Rey' if you 'find' him that I'm here?"

Seth sees more clippings and newspapers everywhere. More doors with frames. He studies them and starts to realize that many of them are about many people including Conners and even some infamous gangbanger named KaQoH.  He notices that some have same date but show instead different events. Or show people who look like each other.  Then he starts to realize that there are also clippings of his sister, Stacey.  And other people.  And these are even marked as "Expendable."

Wyatt recalls his novel.  In the God-Machine, he told the story of machine that created other machines.  These intelligent life-like robots had artificial intelligence that allowed them to look and act like real people.  in the novel, the Protagonist was a robot that gained full consciousness. He rebelled against the God-Machines and sought to go against their prime directive.  But by destroying the God-Machines, he caused everything that was connected to them to crash.  That included himself.

*

Ronald awakens to find himself in  “another place.”   The horizon to horizon show nothing but masses of machinery, shifting glass and lights.  Mechanical arms with pneumatic pumps, wires, tubes and gears swivel ito action to check his bones and nape and identification.  A screen flickers on, showing his general well-being and status.

QUERY:  REPROCESS [y/n]

Ticking.  Beeps.  Whirls.  Hisses.

RESPONSE:  NO.  RESET PROCEDURE CANCELLED.

More ticking.  More beeps.

QUERY: THE OTHERS [Explanatory Response Required] [waiting..]

A brief beep.  The lights shift from golden to dark purple.

RESPONSE:  DESIGNATE WILL LEAD OTHERS TO DESIRED LOCUS.
QUERY: AFFIRMATIVE TO COLLECTIVE [y/n]
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE
RESPONSE: AFFIRMATIVE

RESPONSE: COLLATED APPROVAL.
ACTION:  SEND DESIGNATE BACK.

response received in bold 14 point font
response received in bold 14 point font
response received in bold 14 point font
response received in bold 14 point font

* end transmission *
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