Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Century Club ep06 : Spirit of the Century

11/27/2014

The Century ClubSpirit of the Century

Episode Six
"Order"

Kenji Katana stares at the Earth hanging in the sky.  All over the world, people are affected by the strange virus that transmogrifies people into the likeness of Kenji Kata. At Buckingham Palace, the hordes of afflicted are charging at the people in the streets.  At Warsaw, a group of prisoners turn to face their captors, surprising them as they now share a single face.  At the United States, workers who are finishing what will someday become Mount Rushmore turn to face each other and smile with their singular face.  The very first McDonalds is just about to open, and the gathered crowd has transformed into Kenji's likeness.  "Is this how the world will end... a whisper rather than a bang?" Kenji wonders.

In Japan, everything seems quiet.  Then... a flash of white heat.  A mushroom cloud.

In some hidden base, military personnel inform their General of the successful launch of the weapon.  The General wipes away tears as he hopes and prays this attack will be enough to force Japan to halt what they think is an assault from their end.

The self-professed Emperor of the World, Count Baron von Duke tells Kenji that the world will only unite under their banner.  Only through them will there be a chance for a better tomorrow.   Kenji asks how would that even be achieved.  But the Count admits it already has begun.

"What have I done to help you do this?"

"You stopped the one way to warn the world," the Count responds and looks at the floor at the dead Cosmo.  

*

Elsewhere, Walter Le Frogge braces himself for impact as the plane strikes the water.  Victor Knightfellow seems lost in another fugue state.  A massive yellow eye stares at them through the water!  Suddenly, a massive clawed hand rises out of the water and catches the plane at the exact same velocity as their descending vehicle.  It was the kaiju from the moving island!  The thing speaks in its low voice, asking for Svetlana.  Walter feels something grab his arm, and turns to see Svetlana clutching him.  Walter slaps her to startle her and make her let go, even if she somehow seems to have reverted back from the transformed state.  Back to herself, Svetlana is a bit embarrassed about the fact she kept from them the existence of her pet.  The thing has saved them from the crash.  

Victor awakens from his fugue to see the beast and panicks for a moment.  Walter calms him down and explains what happened, including that Svetlana had changed earlier, and now was back to herself.  Uncertain, Victor leans close to inspect her but finds nothing out of place.  Walter does notice the plane is still damaged from the landing.  Thankfully, the Kaiju seems to continue carrying it in the correct direction. He starts to realize it probably could sense her.. and for a brief moment, she vanished from the shared link they had... which prompted it to rise up and search for her.  Svetlana shares that the feeling reminded her of a strange sensation she had when she was near a bridge.  Walter recalls that happened when time had a strange flux.  Both Victor and Walter realize that was the incident which lead to Cosmo vanishing.   Victor finds what happened to Svetlana even more... familiar... but he fails to find in his memories the connection.

That's when metal tipped fingers begin massaging his shoulders once again.  The wicked Glorianna Sheeda reemerges, whispering to Victor how that was quite a close call.  "Too bad for Japan, though."  Victor learns of the weapon of mass destruction that had been unleashed there and of the hundreds of thousands of lives that had been lost there.  Glorianna makes the offer again: If Victor agrees to make her Order, she will help him get what he wants.

Svetlana and Walter realize Victor has again slipped into a dreaming fugue.  Walter admits he's been like that most of the time.  Svetlana tries to comprehend what just happened, and Walter explains she had transformed into what Kenji Katana looked like before he became a man of steel.  Walter shares the story of Kenji Katana, and what is now happening all over the world.  Svetlana admits she doesn't know anymore what is real... maybe Cosmo did exist... maybe the world did "break".  Walter wishes Victor can explain things since he usually understands the world's Mysteries.  

*

The Count tells Kenji to leave him at the beach.  He tells Kenji he has to bury his dog.  Kenji does not leave however.  The two choose the exact same spot where to bury Cosmo, then lift him carefully and silently lays him to rest.  Kenji closes his eyes to say a few thoughts in Cosmo's memory.  By the time he opens his eyes, the Count is gone and he is alone at the beach.

Kenji decides to look around the beach, hoping to get a better idea where he really is.  If that is the Earth in the sky, then does this mean he's somehow on the moon?    Kenji begins to realize there is something wrong with the stars.  Kenji begins to notice there is a wall of curved glass in the distance, as if he were inside some planetarium or green house.  He begins to walk towards the horizon, wading into the water and hoping to see how far the wall goes.  To his surprise, he doesn't have to walk that far.  He hits the wall soon enough and starts to wonder why the wall even exists when the water he is in can be seen extending far past the glass wall too.

As Kenji tries to push forward, and break through, his senses begin to fight against what he sees.  He feels wires and cables somewhere against his skin, even if there are no such visible things.  Kenji continues to tug, continues to pull, and as he causes more damage he begins to see more and more a strange chamber around him that only lasts for a blink of an eye.  A white room.  Him on a slab. Cables connected to him.  And people with medical masks standing nearby.

Kenji continues to struggle, fighting against the unseen things that try to keep him down.  He strains, forcing every iota of strength he could in his attempt to break free.  He can now see hexagon glass mirrors all around him.  He can hear Japanese men screaming that he is waking up.  He can feel the straps breaking free, and he starts to realize his body remains a metal body!   Above, on a crane platform, the Count Baron von Duke calls for them to "Shut it down!"  Kenji begins to pull at all these medicinal tubes and the like that he suspects were used to fool his brain into thinking he had a body.

And that's when he sees it.  Across the room, in a similar prison and still unconscious is a dog.

"Cosmo!"

*

The Kaiju arrives at the shoreline and walks towards a stunned gathering of military soldiers.  Tanks and cannons train themselves at the beast.  Svetlana and Walter call out to the soldiers, trying to convince them that the monster is not a threat.  The Kaiju tries to make its way past them, but its immense size just hits way too many things in the way.

By the time they arrive at the London headquarters, the military has learned to at least pull back and give the monster more room.  During this whole journey, Sheeda smiles at Victor for resisting the urge to make a decision.  He admits fearing not knowing what will come if he does agree to make a deal.  Victor isn't certain if they really did find a cure.  The idea of Walter just slapping others as the cure sounds completely idiotic.  Sheeda tells him they are nearing the event horizon for him to make a decision.  There is no need to rush making it.  She is completely certain he will make it in the end.

"What matters is what you will decide."
She cites Aliester Crowley who made decisions without understand what he was getting into.  Or Percival who jumped into the past without really understanding how his actions will shape things.  Or even Kenji Katana making a deal just when he thought he was about to die.  This last fact shocks Victor, who never knew Kenji made a deal with the Fair Folk. He starts to wonder where they all stand in Sheeda's eyes.  If Kenji made a deal with her.. and she wants him to make a deal with him... is there a reason Walter is involved in all this too?  

They discover others are present in the London headquarters!  A mix of different nationalities are present, with members of America's CIA, as well as other nations are present - some kind of joint meeting in hopes of grasping how to deal with the existing chaos.  Maps are pinned to the wall.  Marks have been placed to denote where sightings have been made.  With the Kaiju under watch by tanks and soldiers, the Century Club find themselves speaking to these newly forged Allies in hopes of finding a way to resolve the issue.  Svetlana is held at gunpoint, however, when they recognize her as being part of the Soviet Super Solider program. It seems Germany has declared their protest over the American's bombing of Hiroshima, and have allied themselves with Japan.  The beginnings of what may become a World War now stands in the brink.

The attack is being called the One World Order, and they believe Japan was behind the attack.  They believe Japan instigate this during the Super Soldier Programs.  Victor tries to explain to them that these are all the actions of Count Baron von Duke.  The Allied forces tried to isolate what causes the transformations but any contact has caused the others to get affected as well.  They were hoping Professor Noble could help, but he was killed.  So they reached out to the next smartest mind on the planet, the biochemist Warren Hardings - leader of the Normalists.  Harding is rolled into the room, inside to a standing prison and strapped to it with multiple restraints.  The man finds it appalling that he has to work with abominations, but he fears more a world completely populated by Asians.   "That would NOT be Normal."

Victor shares that Svetlana was earlier infected but somehow fought the infection.  This revelation causes panic however, and the military now draw their rifles out and train them at the three!  All the others pull back, making sure they stay away.  The French Ambassador who shoook hands with Victor are now also being told to move into their area.  Victor's words to try and explain they are not infected fall weakly against Warding's whose words ring with more confidence and understanding of science.  Harding demands for conditions if the others desire to have him help them.  The demands include full containment suits for him and his team.  Oxygen masks and all to keep them safe from infection and to be addressed with an honorific.  Fearing infection, the Allied forces agree and force the Century Club to wait in containment.

While imprisoned, the team talks with the others on possible locations to find Kenji Katana.  A British MI-5 Agent tells Victor to shut up about Le Frogge slapping her infection away.  Victor admits he only deals with the impossible and is sharing what he witnessed.  The Agent does warn him that Harding might demand for the Frog's hands as a specimen.   Victor clearly is playing with the big boys now.  Walter talks with the others, finding strength in their diversity as they try to consider where Kenji may have been taken.  Remembering his Puzzle Castles, Walter starts trying to think of what patterns the Baron might have always done.  He shares the Baron focuses on islands, rather than countries.

"If it is a matter of trivia, perhaps I can offer some suggestions," a voice calls out and Walter turns to see the woman with long hair.  It is Whilemina Wheeler!  Walter and Victor are confused, recalling she had transformed as well into Kenji back at the Century Club headquarters.   She identifies herself as Sophia Wheeler and admits she suspects they recognize her sister.  She notices that he tended to have a fascination for titles.  She suspects if that pattern is maintained, the Baron would then favor a certain small island in Marguerite Bay, close northeast of the Courtier Islands in the Dion Islands.   The place is called Emperor Island.  And its southeast end is the winter breeding site of emperor penguins. The MI-5 Agent tells them he will see what he can find.

*

"Stop him before he finds it!" the Count screams.  Kenji mentally calls for his blade and not too far away, he sees his blade being held down by tiny metal clamps.  The white room was made to convince Kenji that he was at some beach looking down at the world.  As the Count calls for someone to stop him, Normalists emerge to face against Kenji.  The body seems much more finely tuned than his old one, but being different, Kenji realizes he is having some trouble making use of the body.  One Normalist smacks a fist at Kenji.  When the Normalist withdraws his mechanical arm, Kenji realizes the opponents he is fighting against have the same body as him!  He executes a flawless parry on the man's next strike, then counters with a blow into its midsection.

*

Victor suspects Harding is up to something.  As he approaches them in his biohazard suit, Harding mentions Walter Le Frogge has something he needs.  He draws a scalpel and tells Le Frogge he needs his hand.  "Samples," the military man calls out, "Not the whole hand. Just samples!"  Harding rolls his eyes.  "Semantics."
Harding mutters to Walter something about both of them having been tampered with in the past.  He tells Walter he wasn't expecting to see him again, but decides to focus on what he can.

Sophia and the MI-5 Agent return to inform Walter and Victor that there are two possibilities.  One is the Empereur Seymour chain, and the other is the Emperor Island in the Antartic.  Victor recalls there was an underground facility involving volcanoes before.  He suspects it might be the Hawaii island more given the Japanese names on the islands.  Two teams are formed to investigate them.  One to check each island.  The Century Club is to choose which one.  They turn to ask Victor what to do but find him lost in another fugue.

*

Victor speaks with Glorianna Sheeda, who asks him what does he really have planned.  She asks him if they know what to do given the damage has already been done.

"I am Victorious!" Harding sudden calls out.  He raises to everyone's view a full face mask.  "There is not enough time to design it, so pardon the faceless nature.  But I was able to create filters that will keep any secretions from entering the mask."  Walter finds the idea incredulous. Victor wonders if this is some trick.  Harding explains that vectors match the cure.  So since the vector was affected by Walter's secretions, creating filters to block the same secretions can protect one from the vector.  Walter wonders why he made only a mask and not a full body suit.  Harding explains it is because skin is the best insulator right now against it.  The face has too many openings. 

Glorianna Sheeda reminds Victor they have barely enough time left.  Victor asks what it would entail when the Order is created. She explains she will get to roam freely among her people. And Victor will stand to lead them to a new age.  Victor asks what he needs to do to create the Order.  Sheeda explains all he needs to do is to ask her to let him.  The rules among the Fair Folk require such wishes to be worded aloud.  Sheeda asks what is the one thing that stops Victor from making the order right now.  Victor hesistates.  He shares he made a deal once and it went sour.  Victor then is told the deal can be freely revoked whenever he wants.  Victor decides it doesn't matter what he may end up doing, so long as it saves the world.  

*

The sword breaks free!

It flies into Kenji's hand even as the Count screams no.  With the rumbling earth, Kenji makes use of his superior balance against his opponents.  He spins, and the blade slices through the robotic faceless henchmen of the Count, and ends the maneuver in his signature pose with his body bent forward, one hand reaching for the ground, and the other folded behind him with the blade.  Reunited with Tsurugi, his Weapon of Destiny, Kenji felt ready to face anything in the world.  The Count realizes Kenji plans to release Cosmo from his VR prison and yells at him to stop.  "Not when we are so close to making the world a better place!"

Kenji rushes down the room to where Cosmo is and sees the dog is indeed breathing!  A surge of relief rushes through Kenji, realizing that his killing to dog was just a mental illusion.  The Count warns Kenji to stop or he will press the button that will cause the base to self-destruct.  Kenji however ignores the threat and plants his hand on Cosmo's face, then he starts ripping the dog free from its restraints.  Count Baron von Duke presses the button and the base begins to explode in different areas.  "You've ruined it all!" the Count gasps.

*

Harding starts handing out the masks to those in the room, instructing them to wear them to protect themselves from the vector that the Count has unleashed.  But suddenly, the unexpected occurs.  Figures in strange archaic armor suddenly come into focus, standing all around them!  Walter le Frogge turns to ask Victor what has happened, only to find him shaking hands with a strange and terrifying woman.  The deal has been made.  "What just happened," Svetlana gasps.

"Name my order," Glorianna Sheeda asks Victor.

Victor turns to everyone else and tells them, "It is the Order of Glorianna Sheeda."

"And you are," Glorianna Sheeda asks, grinning with her fanged maw.

"I am Victor Knightfellow, " he replies, "The founder of the Order."   Glorianna Sheeda then turns to the others and announces it is time to save the world.  Walter and Svetlana hurry to Victor's side and ask what is going on.  Victor admits that this might seem like a deal with the devil.  "Sadly, it is worse."  Glorianna then turns to Harding and reveals the deception he has accomplished.  With a wave of her hand, she causes all the faceless masks to disintegrate as she reveals that Harding was allied with The Count and had allowed himself to be captured in order to send the true vector into the world.  All over the world, the supposed ongoing "infection" was actually not a physical infection.  It was merely a mental act of hypnosis that made people act in a different way and see others as suffering symptoms that are not there.  "A mass hysteria on a world-wide scale. " The Count had sent the EGO group to had set up towers in different parts of the world, and these transmitters have been releasing subliminal messages to convince the weaker willed of the supposed infection.  She offers Walter a human body.  And teases Svetlana for being overwhelmed.  Svetlana does recall using the radio and tried to call for help when the change happened.   The government leaders in the room begin to realize they had been shooting and attacking their own people.  Sheeda offers to stop all the armies worldwide in a single moment if someone asks for that wish.  Victor shrugs and calls for it.

They confront Harding on what the true plan is.  Harding finally admits that the Count was experimenting on man-animal hybrids for years... and some of those experiments created people like Walter le Frogge.  Their genetic material provided the basic building blocks to create this viral weapon.  And the masks, the "cure" was to be the actual vector to spread it.  Svetlana seems satisfied in knowing Glorianna Sheeda can stop the "plague."  She grabs hold of Walter and Victor and bounds for the Kaiju.  They know they have to save Kenji.

Glorianna Sheeda turns to the world leaders and smiles.  "I guess I am in charge now."

Svetlana asks if Sheeda will be the "ending of this story" and if she will truly take over all.  Walter admits he doesn't like it.

*

Explosions rock the structure.  Kenji leans over Cosmo's body, hoping to shield the dog from the destruction all around them.  The Count screams about how the world was already ready and was going to accept the "cure" willingly!  He tells Kenji that he has doomed them all to a future where the world is overpopulated and selfish.  More explosions erupt!  Kenji feels his metal body warp and twist from the intense surges of heat and force.   But he ignores all the pain he can.

Kenji looks up to see the Count moving towards them.  One of his arms has been blown off.  Blood cakes his mask.  Fire is climbing up his leg. But he continues to walk towards Kenji as he snarls about how Kenji had left him in explosions before.  He will not do the same thing again.  The Count reaches for the Tsurugi on the ground.  Kenji moves to keep Cosmo safely behind him.

The Count raises the sword menacingly.  "Good bye... me.."

But as the blade is swung, it hits golden light.

*

The others can see the island.  A golden domed light structure seems to erupt from the base.  Svetlana asks them how they will stop Glorianna Sheeda.  Victor admits he has the option to revoke the wish, but Svetlana asks him what will happen to everything if he does.  She asks if the world still is saved from the plague.  And if the military all over stop killing civilians.  Hiroshima comes to mind.  Victor is uncertain if revoking will bring him back to the time before... and allow him to retain memories he has made now.  Victor realizes there still is the demon he used to make a deal with.  In true fashion, that is when the Demon Familiar returns, whispering it has always been there. Victor realizes he can form a second Order.  One that will oppose Glorianna Sheeda.   The Demon admits someone else will have to be the Founder of that order.  The rules of magic do not allow him to found two.  Victor considers someone who would fit the role.    He will have to find that person, and get him to say yes.

Svetlana and Walter realize Victor has gone into a fugue again.  She decides it might be best to focus on Kenji even as the explosions rock the island.  Using her immense strength, Svetlana picks Walter up and on his signal, throws him into the burning building.

Walter masterfully lands safely despite the explosions, and while clinging to the walls, searches for any sign of Kenji Katana in the area.  Peering against the waves of heat and clouds of smoke, Walter tries to scan the area for his friend.  Down below, he sees the silhouette of a man with a sword.  And the moment the blade descends, it hits the golden globe of light!

Angered, the Count strikes once, twice, thrice but cannot break the light.  Another explosion hits and the sword is flung into the air.  Fire consumes the Count.  Walter spins in the air, evading the fire, and snags the blade mid air, then he lands where the globe stands.  Inside, Cosmo and Kenji are safe.  Walter reaches into the dissolving globe and hands Kenji back his sword.

Kenji's new body is sleeker in design.  Newer.  But their reunion is cut short as the Count's voice roars, "Not DONE..."  From the fire, blood droplets actually begin to move out of the flames, clumping together and swirling into rising towers that solidify into meat, and the meat twists into sinew, muscles, and hints of bone.  Walter stabs at the thing with his blades, only to see the reforming meat continue to form around the edges, unharmed.  "I have control of every single cell of my body!"  The Count rises to almost full human height, body reforming with each second.  Kenji asks if Cosmo is okay and the dog responds by creating a golden globe around them.  Walter jumps on Kenji's back and the three watch as the Count begins to get consumed by the fire at his feet.  Despite being able to reform his cells, the fire burns away his form too quickly.  In his dying throes, the heroes decide to leave, with Kenji providing the foot power to pedal away inside the golden light like a giant hamster ball.

*

Victor asks if he can sell his name to the Demon, but it reminds him it is too late.  Victor considers Kenji or Walter taking the role and watches as they arrive with Cosmo.  Behind them, the island burns as the buildings now completely fall apart.

*

In the months that follow, the military successfully trace all the radio transmitters that were releasing the subliminal messages.  Many of the transmitters turned out to be Brotherhood locations.  Invisible Fortresses were actually acting as the networks transmitting the signals.  Harding's cure is never released.  Svetlana snapping out of the mind domination turns out to be less about Walter's skin and more at the thought he would hit her.  The world recovers.  Science and magic join hands in a new era.

*

Walter le Frogge is drawn by the pet Kaiju to an island at one point, only to discover it is not an attack but a surprise proposal from Svetlana.  She drops to one knee and tells Walter before all their gathered friends that she would want "his tadpoles in her."  Walter blushes (as does everyone else present) and Svetlana wonders why given all she said was want to have his baby.  Their wedding is a celebratory moment as the monster-frog finds love with the most beautiful and powerful woman in the planet.

*

Harding is tried for his acts of violence against humanity.    Sophia Wheeler is happy to see her sister locked behind bars.   She writes a memoir of the day she got a chance to see what it was like to be a hero, and dedicates it to the Century Club.  The book never sees print, however, as the governments of the world want no record of how they were incompetent in the events.

So she "accidentally loses it" and it gets spread worldwide as a pirated book.

*

Nothing is left behind in Emperor Island of the Count's work.  Not even any traces of him surviving.  Kenji Katana is blessed with a whole new body, however, given his new metal frame somehow allows him to feel more.  It sadly also means he now gets hurt more.  His days off when not fighting crime are spent playing catch with Cosmo.

*

Walter lives a happy retired life with Svetlana, their ninety-storey pet Kaiju, and their two kids whom have inherited many of their superhuman abilities.  A new generation of heroes are born.

*

And Glorianna Sheeda's hold on the world soon finds the beginning of its eventual destruction when Victor Kinghtfellow finds a young man named Percival Jones who is studying in a private school and always getting lost in the library, reading lore and wishing he could do magic to make the world a better place.  Victor realizes he would be perfect.  He comes up to the young man and offers to teach him how to use real magic.  To show proof, Victor uses the same very ritual Percival taught Victor and swaps their destinies for a moment.   In return, he will promise to form an Order dedicated to bringing down the rule of Glorianna Sheeda.

He agrees.

*

A world that has been changed.
A world a bit different.
But not too different.

"One step for man... one leap for mankind."

The first man on the moon waves at the camera, and we see the dog in the space suit with the man of metal waving back.




The End.


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