Monday, January 11, 2016

wideawake ep3 : Bliss Stage


Episode Three
"Rock and the Hard Place"

Bliss Stage

Thunder rumbles.  Katie stares out the window, seeing the Archer coming into view.  The others wonder how the pilots can be outside the dream.  Even Lewis, the new guy, is confused if the ANIMa can normally do that.  Katie checks Kyle's pod while Christine yells out for Chris.  Chris seems to be staring out the window and tells Katie and Christine to simply suit up and prep for the mission.  Jake and Miranda rush inside and help the pilots suit up.  Chris assigns the two to head out and make the most commotion as they can to lure the enemy to them.  The enemy are to be kept from noticing Archer and Darkwing.  Jake asks if that's dangerous, but Chris simply counters that they cannot afford to lose the Veteran pilot.  Christine feels some stress at that thought - how could Chris want to let go of the other pilot.  Once the enemies are drawn towards them, the Anchors are to pull them out.  Christine throws her bra at Chris and quickly slides into the pod.  Chris tosses it back at Jake, reminding him to make sure she has it back when she wakes up.

They hurry past the other pods, seeing the other Anchors Gerard and Krishelle in states of near panic.  The two can't seem to reach their pilots.    Jake finds himself remembering a flashback moment with Gerard and the two happened to be talking about Katie then.  Jake admits he never knows when the right time is to admit his feelings.  Gerard reminds him that he has to man up and choose when to tell her before some other guy opts to tell him. "We are in a post-apocalyptic world right now. We could be sleeping in the next five minutes.  Would you rather really sleep and dream on what could have been? What is holding you back?  If she says no, then no. If you have to force yourself on her, then that's not love."  Jake wonders aloud if any of them are really ready for this.  Gerard reminds him they're all kids.  There aren't any adults to protect them.  "Katie goes out every day to save our asses.  She's thirteen but she has the metaphorically balls to place her ass on the line.  Can't you?"  Jake asks for one last favor and hopes Gerard won't tell anyone about this.  Gerard admits that's not a problem.

Jake feels he still needs more time before he can tell her, but he knows he has to protect Katie.  One way or another.  Jake suggests to Katie that she has a leg part active on the ANIMa this time.  She chooses to trust him.

The Unicorn emerges from the hangar door.  A pair of rose-colored sunglasses adorn its head.    A new leg attachment is active.  Animus One rises from the hangar bay too.    Both launch from separate launch bays.  Animus One emerges beside an abandoned shopping mall, a structure around four to five storeys tall.  Curious to its contents, Animus One reaches outwards and tears off the top of the mall to peer inside.  The level revealed turns out to be lingerie and other private stuff.  Miranda is a bit surprised that Chris is giving her permission to go have fun.   He even suggests that she can take home whatever she finds.    Chris reminds Miranda to let her go wandering about and make more noise.

Unicorn on the other hand emerges between two rows of tall buildings.    The structures are abandoned as well.  Jake tells Katie to run around, reassuring her that's why he recommended he use the Maneuverability Parts on the ANIMa today.  Katie uses Unicorn to shatter part of the building and asks if that's okay.  Chris gives Jake a thumbs up.   Katie continues to make a commotion.  Chris reminds Miranda to insist that Christine make herself more noticeable.  Miranda shows schematics of the mall to highlight locations which she feels Christine might want to check out.  Her digging to get inside the mall makes even more of a racket  But Chris feels it is not enough.

So he tells the Anchors to tell the Pilots to test their weapon systems.  Miranda tries to find a target that Christine would be interested in shooting.   Chris recommends Miranda direct Christine to the nearby gas station.  Christine complies and fires at it.   Katie is directed to shoot at a nearby building as well.  After a brief hesitation, she fires.

The distractions prove to be effective, and the enemies are drawn towards their direction.   With the bogeys closing in, Chris gives the Anchors the command to pull the Pilots out of the ANIMa.  But when both Anchors realize Kyle and Takeshi are in danger, both pilots opt to go against Chris' instructions and try instead to help them.  Weapons blaze as terrible sights assault them.  The dream like world swirls around them and mixes with the real world, forcing Kyle and Takeshi to try and swing back into the Dreamworld before diving for the hangar bays.   When a massive silver arc transmogrifies into the terrifying sight of a great white shark's fin, the group realize its time to abort and leave the dream.  Miranda's guidance goes slightly awry as Christine ends up falling into the knee deep waters of the lake.  Terror rises as she realizes she's standing in the silver waters!  The very screen in her pod begins to leak water!  Christine, however, is nearly trapped by a curtain of silver rain which gives her a glimpse of what looks like her family waving from the other side.   Kyle too sees a different world... a massive park with hundreds of people happily loitering about.  The world of the Bliss seems terrifyingly everything they would rather be in.  But they all innately feel it is a lie.
As they safely emerge from the pods, the Anchors lock down the ANIMa and Chris congratulates them for a successful job.  Takeshi has a blow out with his Anchor, Krishelle, and the two nearly end up completely shattering their relationship with each other.  

Bothered by the scenes she had seen, Christine takes a moment to talk to Pickles about what she had seen.  He asks if they waved and smiled, admitting that while he has not seen their parents, he had seen a purple elephant before.   She shares she saw their parents, and wonders if they're going crazy.  The exchange, however, does allow Christine to let go of the terror she feels.  Pickles groans about being hungry, and about how they should swim in the lake sometime.  "Waters are harmless, it will be okay.  Let's swim in the lake, sister," Pickles innocently suggests.  Christine remains silent.  

Leaving him, Christine finds Miranda at the console room.  She shares she can't get over the stuff she saw.  Miranda admits she didn't see anything that odd in the Mission.  "I saw my family."  Miranda reminds her they cannot trust what they see in mirrors.  "It is just the Bliss playing tricks."  Christine wonders if what they know of the Bliss is all a lie, though.   The two gain some level of trust.    Down below, they see Chris walking down the square with the new girl in his arms.  He has another coughing fit, and she helps him recover.   Christine wishes she had a bow to shoot at him, remembering what they used to have.  Miranda reminds her its not worth it.

Takeshi visits Kyle to get rid of some of the stress he was having.  The two trade stories of what happened, with Takeshi urging Kyle to share what he had seen.  Kyle admits he is concerned since Takeshi is the only veteran in the group.  Takeshi, however, reminds Kyle that he eventually will take his place. "I'm seventeen.  I have months left before the Bliss takes me.  You have to be ready.  It is not for me, its for all of us.  I have to help you as best as I can."   Kyle asks if Takeshi ever touched the rain, and Takeshi admits he never had.  Kyle describes the beautiful place beyond the mirror, and Takeshi admits that's why its called Bliss.  "It was amazing," Kyle mutters, "I think I understand why some people don't want to wake up."   Takeshi promises he will keep the Bliss away from the group as long as he can.  Kyle admits its such an honor to talk to him, but he wishes Gerard was around since he can talk to him more openly.  He admits that while in the mirror, he felt everything seemed to be better.  He admits there was a part of him that did not want to leave.

"Why are we fighting it?"

"Because that is not what is real," Takeshi explains.

"It is?  Cause it felt real," Kyle sighs.

"This.  This is real," Takeshi sighs.

Katie also pays Takeshi a visit.  He points out to a hill in the distance and tells her he will ask Mary Anne to plant an Apple Tree on that very hill.  "If I go, I might as well be where an apple tree grows, rather than just some tomb."  Katie admits, however, she might not be able to eat the apple.  Katie admits she feels that's why "that girl" hates me so much, its because she  hasn't been taking things seriously.  "But I am," Katie sighs, "I just can't show it yet."    Talking about how Takeshi doesn't have that much time left, Katie asks if she can at least see him as her big brother.  Takeshi reminds her the best person she can trust is herself.

Despite the trauma of the Mission, the two repair their relationship with each other.

Elsewhere, Kouki is sketching new designs for the ANIMa when he overhears voices in the vicinity.  He quietly tracks the sound and finds the speaker to be Kouki talking to someone about "him wanting an apple tree..." and how "when the time comes, he will join you..."  Kouki hears it coming from inside a room, and stacks a few wooden boxes to try to peer from the window above.  Kouki pushes against the window to see better and sees a bright light.  Pickles is in the room, talking to a floating mirror that is casting out bright light.   In the mirror, a woman and a man, both in their forties, looks back at him.   To Kouki's shock, he hears Pickles sigh about how come he can't join them yet.  "I've been keeping this a secret right?"    Kouki slips, accidentally losing his balance and crashes to the ground.  The crashing noise alerts Pickles to his presence.  The young boy rushes out and sees Kouki on the floor.  Kouki opens his mouth, ready to give some lame excuse on why he fell, but Pickles stuffs it shut with the water bottle he carries with him.  To Kouki's horror, the silver water inside the bottle pours into his throat!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

After the Rain ep32 : Houses of the Blooded

After the Rain

Episode Thirty Two

Houses of the Blooded

Gil and Rio are at the estate.  Gil crosses the courtyard and sees Dalvinosh Steele walking and talking to... shadows.  Gil has seen one of these mirror masks before, but it was broken and pieced together in her Mom's house during the War of the Dukes.  Seran had come one rainy night...

Rio is looking at Dalvinosh' military structure.  She goes to the farms, and sees a fellow former Vashna.  She follows him in a gathering of around ten ven, gathered around a crate with a wolf symbol on it.  They hold out their Bloodswords... but it becomes clear they are not wolves as they hesitate on using the blades.  Rio slides in and asks her nondescript questions in an attempt to learn more about what the gathering is about.  The woman leading the group has both a seven-foot long centipede in her service, as well as a blade.  Rio realizes it is her mother behind this gathering.  Some mistake her to be Dranna Ru, but Rio reminds them Dranna Ru is a legend.  Rio speaks with Nia and and the two exchange stories on what had transpired. Nia is particularly angered when Rio speaks of her eyes having glowed red.  Nia is still in communication with Janine, through a pearl earring, and both turn out to have tricked Dalvinosh Steele into building an army they hope to manipulate to fight what they believe is the last remaining Sorcerer King.  Both had made plans for the army of Dalvinosh to clash with that of the Sorcerer King - and were to pounch in and defeat whoever won between the two.   Rio learns the larger part of their scheme: all whom had been announced or found dead were in truth replaced with a Tulpa in the last ten years.  And these have all joined them in preparation to fight the Sorcerer King.

Galeo poses in her gown which is the stage.  Jalani whispers to Cass to follow as she shows respect to the "Dragon's" presence.   Cass cannot shake the familiarity she feels with Galeo's presence.  Galeo however dismisses Cass, talking about being the one who addresses and is not addressed.   The condescending attitude is thick and palpable.  Nolwen attempts to guide Cass in how to relate and address Galeo.

Jalani talks to Ash about the situation, surprised that Jarik had never oriented them on what to expect up here.  She takes him to a hidden room where they can speak unnoticed and slowly she turns a gear to close the doorway behind them.   The place clearly is prepared for Sorcery, however, with the rosebushes along the walls.  She admits the Totem Rex can see through the room, but the Dragon can not.  Jalani admits the Dragon is an old friend whom they thought was dead.  She proposes to grant Ash access back to his memories, mentioning him not recalling how he lost his arm.  She admits they made him forget for his own safety, but the fact they both are here now, hiding clearly was a pointless decision.  Ash asks her to visit them in the Citadel, but she starts explaining her role here is more than just politics.  She talks about adoration of the Totem Rex - a Cunning move which Ash picks up on as she covers their intentions with misleading worlds.  On the table, engravings of letters and numbers are present.  Jalani continues a conversation verbally of the Totem Rex' triumphs, while using her finger to point out a different communication.  They communicate through the board, and soon conclude it might be best to find Jesse.

What began as Galeo chiding and maltreating Cass' presence in the Golden City transforms into a moment when the former Artist realizes who the young lady is.  The realization brings her to scream.  At the same time, Gil remembers Janine once making demands upon Seran to explain why she is with Madelyn Yvarai.  Seran had come to visit her in the past.  As before, Madelyn had used her clamshell artifact to cause others to forget.  Gil recalls seeing the Mirror Mask that Seran once wore.  Presently, Gil listens to Dalvinosh as he complains about many things, including Nia's withdrawal to the lands beneath.  Using Sorcery, the old man calls out to Nia but the spell instead locates Gillian, which ruins his plans.

Galeo's screams lead to her retelling of her lost history.  Of how she was plunged into water when the demon's wishes were revoked.  Of how she was stranded on an island with Seran, the island being one of the ruins of Old Shanri.  Of how Galeo was close to death from her injuries, and how none of them had a means to save her.  Of how Seran used her True Name to craft an Airship and find Lukas.  And eventually how she saw the sun approaching her, and discovered the Totem Rex at her side.    Galeo is back thanks to the power of the Totem Rex.  And her desire for revenge is to be by pruning Shanri of the unwanted elements that keep it from becoming better.

Ash's memories return as that of James, who was barely rescued by his sister, Jessie, and their cousin, Rio.  James had stayed alive for weeks by drinking Quan Wei's blood, after the treachery of the Foxes.  But they had to hide his identity to protect the whereabouts of the Quill.  Rio insists its whereabouts be concealed.  A secret he keeps even from her mother.

Dalvinosh's tale is revealed as well, as he shares how he was once just a Tulpa from a city where the Senate had fallen.  In his past, Madelyn loved a Serpent named Jano Mwrr and despite her creating the Mistweir to block the Storm, she was punished with the removal of any memory of her husband and child.  Galeo Silja, it is revealed, was the child Madelyn Yvarai had never remembered.  But now, Dalvinosh is in Solace, and only remains active by possessing the Ruks that serve him.  Madelyn had been murdering her bodies, forcing him into this final one.  Dalvinosh wishes to leave his legacy with Gillian.  But Gil declines, and to force her hand, he admits he has had Haroun Q'n imprisoned for the last ten years.

Galeo confesses the voices in Cass' head were her, a connection they shared for barely a few weeks since the wish was very quickly revoked by the Demon's imprisonment.  Cass ignores how this means the voice she still hears might be just madness growing inside of her.  Cass chooses to stay with Galeo, and to her surprise realizes Galeo does not remember her Secret Name.

Rio now realizes everything was part of their plans.  The Garden mirrors the city above.  The tunnels are both to prepare others for escape.  So many things planned in preparation for the invasion.  Nia admits they suspect the Sorcerer King was drawn by the immense powers unleashed at the Opera House.  Nia needs the armies present in the current Senate Hall by the next Summer.  Eventually Gil is reunited with them, and after sharing all the information about the current events, both choose to stay to assuage Dalvinosh' suspicions.  Rio beats Nia up, takes her hood, and returns to report back about the Bloodsword transaction she had witnessed.  The act gains Dalvinosh's trust, who rewards her with command over the Army.

Elsewhere, Rio's loyal Blackhand dig where they had been directed to do so, and uncover Rio's spear which had long been hidden there.  Keen eyes might have noticed that of the many feathers around the spearhead is actually the Quill.

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