The Century Club
Spirit of the Century
"The Final Transmission"
Whilemina Wheeler awakens to find herself still held prisoner by the Century Club. She remains in one of the rooms that formerly belonged to the late Aleister Crowley. It has been a week since the events on the Silver Line. The first three days were spent interrogating Lady Shi. Walter Le'Frogge and the assassin banter back and forth at worst, with one talking about the Brotherhood and the other about the Sisterhood. She reveals to him that the Sisterhood has in many ways the Brotherhood to thank for their existence. They were founded more or less after the Brotherhood's inception. She claims the Sisterhood had taught the Brotherhood many of the more stealthier techniques and even demonstrates this by slipping free of her bonds using a technique the Brotherhood teaches. She admits her mission was simply to delay the others so their leader could escape with "the chosen." She also confesses being curious about Victor given Wheeler, like Victor, had lost an eyeball even if no one had touched the other. She wonders if Victor's powers were spoils from the White Circle. She shares that the Brotherhood and the Sisterhood were both formed to eliminate the White Circle and when it was defeated, in its ashed rose the Circle of Crowley and the Scions of Glorianna Sheeda and the Invisible Circle of Rasputin. Most of the details shoots past Le'Frogge, however, given he never really meddled with such details. She even reminds him that the bombs that struck the Invisible Fortress that allowed Walter and the other survivors of the Seven Warlords of Japan's human experimentation was done by the Sisterhood. They were all test subjects of the Noah Project, an attempt to fuse human and animal DNA. Lady Shi reveals she herself is simply wearing "a skin."
Victor is in the hospital, recovering from his wounds. He still is missing an eye, but the pain is not as bad given the painkillers in his system. The curtains separating his bed from the rest of the beds easily reveals to him he is in a hospital. On the dextrose bottle nearby, Victor can see his reflection shaking his head at him. The curtains part all of a sudden and it takes Victor a moment to realize the curtain of the hospital never moved. Instead, a gossamer curtain supernatural in nature flutters open and Gloriana Sheeda walks in. Victor tries to coax the Demon to make an offer, but ice frosts over its surface, blocking him. She sits on the bed beside him, but only after he gives her permission to do so, and offers him a bright red apple which she claims is extremely rejuvenating. Victor asks if there is a price and she insists it is a freely offered gift. He quickly suspects he is no longer in the Hospital. Gloriana is probably trying to trick her into accepting a freely offered gift. Victor feigns ignorance. She tells him she was wondering what he thought of her offer, and reminds him that she can only ask three times before she can no longer ask him the question. They talk about Percy, about the White Circle, and about Kenji Katana - if he really is a ghost. Victor starts to muse if Kenji is a ghost from the future. She tempts him to be remembered in history as having founded the Order of Glorianna Sheeda. She even tempts him with three gifts: Immortality, Sight Unbound, and to be free of his promises to the Demon. If he ever wanted to call her again, he merely had to do widdershins. Svetlana arrives, pulling him from the bed to ask about Kenji. Victor is now certain he is back in the world, and tries to calm Svetlana down to explain what just happened. She accuses him of being jealous of his leadership, but then raises her ire again about the "invented" Cosmo the Talking Dog. Victor swears he can prove Cosmo is real and stresses he is the enemy now. Svetlana threatens that if she discovers he is lying, she will cut off his -
Kenji's eyes open. He is in a strange vista. Sand is beneath his chair. The distant sky is filled with starlight and faint hints of clouds. To his surprise, he looks down and sees human legs. He reaches up to touch his face, but as he holds his hands up he sees skin. Human hands. Arms. He.. is human again? Not far, he turns his head and sees Sputnik staring back at him. Sputnik demands for answers to know who this "Cosmo" is, given he is at the forefront of Kenji's thoughts. Kenji asks if he knows who Cosmo is and even prods further to ask if Sputnik does not see Cosmo within himself. The Count Baron von Duke comes into view and seems happy to see Kenji now aware of his human body. Like Kenji, the Count is wearing clothing fit for the beach. Cloth covers his face, save for the painted finger and hand. Kenji tells him he looks like a Normalist, but the Count claims he is meant to look like no one in particular. Kenji asks whose body he is inhabiting and the Count insists they are friends and the body he wears was not taken from someone else. The Count tells Kenji that they have known each other for a long, long time. And that they both want the same thing. The Count motions Kenji to follow him and the two walk down the beach. Sputnik warns Kenji that if he tries anything, he will pull down the moon at him.
Kenji learns of Sputnik's story, of how the Count saved Sputnik on the day he was supposed to die from the flames. The Count simply wants everyone to respect the life and existence of everyone else. The Count before believed the Century Club was the clearest diving group that would stop the unification he wanted. But all changed when he was witness to the world suffering from the unraveling of time. Kenji finds himself wonders why would the Count remember that incident. The three stop at the beach side near a fire and there are meats on skewers above it. Among the meats, Kenji's sword is there. When the Count asks him what an ordinary man would choose, Kenji retorts that there should not be any ordinary man. The Count now talks about how he realizes the world needs more than a Count. The world needs an Emperor Duke. He tells Kenji to draw the sword and that he will show him how the world will be unified. Kenji takes the blade and once again feels the odd-yet-familiar sensation of feeling the cold metal of the weapon. Holding the blade up, Kenji sees his reflection on the blade and he sees his own face. The body, somehow, is his body.
"Strike then, Samurai. Unmask the Count. Unmask and see the Truth. Reveal the Emperor. Or strike and end it."
The Count holds his arms wide, leaving him open for Kenji to unmask or to be killed.
Back at the Century Club manor, Svetlana and Victor Knightfellow head down to meet with Walter Le'Frogge. Victor declares he is tired of the charades. Svetlana talks to Walter, asking him to tell her the truth if there is a Cosmo and he admits there is. He tries to explain there were strange events that happened that day and he admits even he cannot remember them all. Svetlana is so urinated about all the crazy talk and admits she misses the day when only Victor did crazy talk, and even remembers that day back when she was left on the tower that day with the bomb. Walter fails to realize that day wasn't changed even with Cosmo's disappearance. Svetlana even retells how the Normalists attacked that day, how Walter fells when he tried to reveal himself, and Victor using his magic to link their brains and communicate as a group. Walter realizes some events have shifted somewhat to have Svetlana remember Victor doing what Cosmo did that day. They head down and find Victor already confronting Wheeler.
The Man of Mystery has focused his gaze into her eyes and enthralled her to tell them the whole story. He is tired to trying to gently gain information. He twists her mind to believe that she was actually a quadruple agent who worked for Victor. She starts telling them what he knows. She admits the plan was to get Kenji Katana. He was the focus of the train heist. The Princess Anastasia was not even relevant to his plans. "It was always about Kenji. Always about making sure that no one would be able to stop his plan. Kenji was the only one who could stop it."
The bandages fall.
Kenji stares at his own face. The Count Baron von Duke has the same exact face. But covered in scars, with threads that show he had been sewn up together so many times.
"What is a body supposed to do without a soul?"
Kenji Katana realizes that the Count Baron von Duke is actually his body. The body he had left behind after he had escaped into a metal body. Wheeler explains to Victor and the others that the body had become sentient and somehow crawled and sewed his body back together again. Walter wonders aloud how could Wheeler know all these things, but no one hears his question. Wheeler merely continues to talk about how the body is not just an animated corpse. How she infiltrated the group deeper to understand more and learned that the body remains alive because somehow, the Count has the power to command and control every cell in his body.
"It was a matter of Science. The Seven Warlords of Japan desired the ultimate weapon against the West. Kenji Katana was chose to carry the greatest gift of Nippon. And that gift was not the sword. It was the blood."
Svetlana asks if Wheeler means he is like a Super Soldier. She asks if Kenji Katana was also given the serum that was created to be given to the super soldier candidates. Svetlana is confused why Wheeler is sharing the information as well and Victor tries to help. Walter asks Wheeler where the Count had taken Kenji and she tells him that would be the Final Invisible Fortress.
"Victor, what is the Final Transmission?" Walter asks Victor but to everyone's surprise Wheeler retorts, "Exactly. The vector is the final transmission." Wheeler's body suddenly twists and distorts and within seconds, the group stares at an exact duplicate of Kenji Katana (or at least they would have recognized the face had they seen him before).
He refers to Kenji Katana as the ID held in control while the Count is the EGO. Kenji asks about the body he is using and the Count admits it is his body, recreated cell by cell by his own will. He claims the physical limitations of form are but a desire away. "We are the new Adam."
The starry sky is now showing a new display in the sky. The planet Earth.
Wheeler/Kenji is telling the group of how all the final Invisible Fortresses are releasing the final transmission. He addresses them all proudly, telling them of his masterful plan: a virus has been released and is now airborne, and in a matter of time everyone in the entire planet will become transformed... into Kenji Katana as well. It will become an entire world remade in a single image. A world of disciplined warrior-poets. A world of peace.
"Message delivered. Unification begins."
Victor remembers Percy's words of a world with a single face. They thought Percy meant the Normalists. Now they realize Percy meant Kenji's face. The group learn the Final Invisible Fortress is supposedly in the moon, and the group consider options on how to get there. Svetlana tells them she just received emergency broadcasts from Russia as well. Reports that there are reports of other people transforming into a single face. Victor calls his contacts in London among the CIA about the virus as well, and tells them they have some kind of disease-related problem. They inform Victor that they are receiving reports from their own Intelligence communities of a strange affliction of people gaining the same face. They refer to the incident to be similar to a plague. The CIA lament that the Professor Noble is dead but realize that means it is time to do it. They tell the group to head to London immediately. They hurry to a plane in hopes to meet with the government agents and map out a plan. While flying in the air, Glorianna Sheeda visits Victor a second time, and amused with the incidents asks Victor a second time if he would help her form the Order. Victor however tells Glorianna Sheeda that a world of Kenji might be a problem she would have to deal with alone. And when Glorianna muses that seducing a single lonely Asian man would be easy, Victor counters that Kenji probably wouldn't have human urges by then. However things turn for the worst when while midflight, Walter notices the plane is dipping lower towards the water. Balancing on the plane, he maneuvers to the front of the plane and discovers that Svetlana seems to have been affected by the virus! She begins to transforms before their very eyes into Kenji. She, unfortunately, was the person who was piloting the plane.
Victor turns down Glorianna Sheeda a second time. And the plane strikes the water.
But as the Count realizes what Kenji is doing, upon seeing the telepathic glow of Sputnik flickering between Gold and Red, he suddenly draws out a pistol to shoot at the dog. Kenji sees this and flings his blade in hopes of stopping the Count. The blade flies but if leaves Kenji's hand a second too late, hitting through the gun and into the Count's hand. The bullet flies and it meets a mark. It hits as the light is golden. To Kenji's surprise, however, the Count begins screaming and crying about how Kenji had made him do this. How he had made him kill Cosmo, when what he wanted to do was kill Sputnik. Had he killed Sputnik, Cosmo would then be able to exist since the Sputnik line would have ended.
Kenji however wonders if this also suggests that the Count shares his emotional attachments in more ways than he realizes. Perhaps they are more a single person than they realize!
"You don't deserve your body," the Count growls and Kenji begins to feel his body rebel against him.