Thursday, August 27, 2015

wideawake ep2 : Bliss Stage


Episode Two
"Techno one to Trust"

Bliss Stage

With the storm brewing outside, the pilots are separated to two missions:  Takeshi and Kyle sortied to handle the Mission while Katie and Christine stay by the base to handle defenses.  

Takeshi sees Krishelle waiting at the Creches, who complains about him being late.  "Ten seconds can mean the difference of life and death. Get into the pod, now!"  Takeshi grumbles as he slides in, but clearly is starting to get stressed over her tendency to boss him around.  As the Veteran Pilot, he feels the moment was one of having to tolerate her once more.  He thought he had started to understand her more given their drinking session some nights back.   He feels a growing touch of Stress in their relationship.    He slips into the dream and the ANIMa forms.

Not too far away, in the other Creche, Gerard preps Kyle for the Mission.  He even offers the "superstar" young Hotshot Pilot tea or coffee for when he returns.  Kyle remains silent and Gerard excitedly says, "Joe it is!  Remember Superstar, you are Number One." Kyle eyerolls as he slips into the Dream.  He feels his Trust towards him go up by one.  As he drifts into the dream, he has a brief moment of seeing hundreds of people applauding as he descends atop a stage.  Kyle for some reason recalls a rabbit.  His ANIMa begins to form as well.

Chris, recovered from his coughing fit, checks both Anchors if all are well.  Both report an all-clear.  He tells them to relay any Mission parameters from this on as he did not want to declare the details while the others were present.  The Mission is in three-parts and each has to be cooperatively yet independently accomplished by the Pilots.  Mission I: Blue is to arrive at the target location without being spotted.  Mission II: Midnight is to gather sensory information without being spotted.  Mission III: Indigo is to return to headquarters without being followed, and terminate any scout ships that may be following.   Chris reminds them transmitting Scouts mean Heavy Scouts coming in.  If Pilots are unable to handle the enemy, they are best to not return to the base.  At any point in time the Anchors feel the Pilots are making decisions that may jeopardize the safety of the colony, the Anchors are to abort and leave them outside.

Mission Blue begins:  the Anchors contact their Pilots and inform them the first Mission parameters.  The coordinates of their target location are given.   Krishelle considers shutting down Takeshi's weapon to force him to go stealthy, but reconsiders it for now.  Both begin moving to the location, with all ANIMa functions activated.  "Tell Kyle that we have to keep a tight formation to minimize our sensor signature.  I'll lead, and he can follow close behind," Takeshi informs Krishelle.  She questions if he's sure, and she reminds him, "Be very very careful out there.  Or I will be forced to do something drastic.  I am not joking."   Krishelle tells Gerard to inform his charge to do what Takeshi said.  When Gerard asks if "Rockstar" will be leading this one, however, Krishelle absent-mindedly says yes.   Thankfully, Gerard's relaying the information has Kyle learning he should follow Takeshi's lead.  The two emerge from the colony and skim the surface of the ruins and stay low.

They move across the ruins, and soon the rolling hills with parks and markets and other debris.  Occasionally, there are floating mirrors of quicksilver that the two dart past as they move.  Occasionally, a quicksilver mirror suddenly pops into view on the ground, and as they rush past it, both Pilots can see people inside waving at them to come closer.    They move through the dreamworld, invisible to the others.    Back in the real world, Krishelle and Gerard peer out of the access hatches to see the storm building in the distance.  Chris tells them they estimate a 20-minute safety margin before the storm reaches the mission area.  Both remind the Pilots of the duration they have.  Krishelle nags Gerard if his pilot can somehow move faster, so Gerard asks Kyle if he knows anyone who can speed up his movement. Kyle brings up that maybe Kristine can help.  Remembering her, Kyle imagines how she tends to move him around and Gerard activates the emotional resonance to become skates at the bottom of the ANIMa's feet.  "As fabulous as ever," Gerard grins, then to Krishelle, "Happy now?"  

"Focus on the Mission or you might lose your Pilot," Krishelle warns.

"At least I don't bitch my Pilot around," Gerard hisses back.

The two Pilot reach a pile of car wrecks blocking the way.  Takeshi realizes the hill they are skating over is a massive stack of wrecked cars!  Realizing the whole thing can shift and crash, revealing their location, he quickly tells his Anchor to warn the other Pilot via the other Anchor and slows down his movement.  Wanting to minimize his noise, Krishelle shuts off Takeshi's main weapon - the spear of longinus - without telling him.  The existing Trauma Takeshi suffers from complicates things for him in fulfilling the Mission.  Takeshi successfully comes to a halt, although the double legs rattle against the car wrecks.  Some debris tear into the paint job of Darkwing's ANIMa.     Kyle tries to mirror what Takeshi had done.  He succeeds in doing so, but while he accomplishes the same move without mobility bonuses, the newly formed skates shatter.   They descend down the hill.   Blue Mission Successful.

Mission Midnight begins:  The two have twelve minutes left.  Chris tells both Anchors to proceed with gathering information.  Takeshi opts to take the right side for scanning and has Krishelle tell Kyle to take the left side.  They are to meet back in four minutes.   Gerard even adds a counter on the screen to help Kyle keep track of time.

Back in the Colony...   Christine arrives and sees the others there.  She feels annoyed given when she saw Chris having his coughing fit and rushed to help him, he shoved her back.  Kouki walks past Christine as she mutters, "I need sex."  Sitting beside her, the jock admits he doesn't like girls.  Christine offers to be his matchmaker and he decides to shift the conversation to how long she has been a pilot.  The conversation quickly shifts to him asking to know more about Kyle and Christine admits that she doesn't really know him that much.  "He doesn't seem to be interested in sex.  Are you interested in him?"  The jock admits he finds Kyle cute.  "Well, maybe he's interested in boys since he doesn't seem to be interested in me," Christine ponders, then adds, "Do YOU like me?"  The jock just answers she is not so bad.  "At least you don't hate me.  What was your name, again?"

"If I give you my name, will you do something for me?  Introduce me to Kyle."

"When he gets back," she grins.


She admires him for his physique, but he teases her that he works out every day for "the ladies."  The moment allows Intimacy to grow between them.  

In the other room, Jake, Katie, Miranda and the new girl see Christine and Lewis talking.  Katie takes this moment to cheerfully introduce herself to the new girl.  The girl responds coldly, finding Katie "too cheerful" and even asks if she has ADHD or something similar.  Katie, however, is unfazed.   The new girl turns to Jake and asks, "Hey, is this girl for real?"  She doesn't realize she happened to ask the only guy who feels emotionally connected to the cheery pilot.  "Of course, she is!" Jake responds. "Its her optimism that keeps this base going."  The newcomer, however, is angry at how optimistic she is given all the death that has happened in the world.  Katie however reminds her everyone deals with death in their own way.  "Why can't I deal with it in my own way?"  Katie however surprises the newcomer more when she reveals to her that she is the Pilot in her pair.

Back at the Mission, the group ponders on why there are so many Scout ships in the vicinity.  The fact they detected more than ten makes them feel nervous.  Chris asks the Pilots to try to find out why there are so many in the vicinity.   Krishelle suggests to Takeshi to look for something that might still look intact.  That might be what the aliens are looking for.    They find a sixteen-wheeler trailer, with part of it fallen into the lake.  The back, however is still locked shut.  An attempted x-ray scan reveals the interior has a lot of containers.  There is a box inside, among the others, however that cannot be x-rayed.  Takeshi asks Krishelle if he should try to get inside.  She belays that idea, warning him it would take too much noise.  Takeshi suggests using an ultrasound beam on it, and the results are slowly forming, and it looks like a hand.  Human-sized.  But the pilots are in the dreamworld.   Krishelle notes a radio signal however emitting from nearby.    When Krishelle hopes to ask Chris for advice, she discovers to her shock he's stepped out.  Takeshi keeps an eye on the source of the radio signal and tries to stay in place as long as he can for the ultrasound to finish.

Moving into position, Kyle begins scanning the area while Gerard scans for hostiles in the area.   They soon see a ramp-like structure and it seems to be a partial bridge that had been broken into the lake.  With sensors active, Gerard finds no hostiles.  Kyle moves the ANIMa under the bridge to look for anything interesting.  That's when both find a concealed door under the bridge.  It looks human-sized.  Infrared Scanning reveals two heat-signals: one adult sized, and one that of a child.  "They don't look like hostiles to me," Gerard admits.  Their movement suggests they are aware something is outside their door.  Kyle has the scanners switched to x-ray and true enough it shows two humans! Both think they found survivors... somehow inside the dream.

A thundclap.  A flash of lightning.  Heavy drops of rain begin to fall.  Kyle maneuvers Archer to hide under the bridge.  Takeshi ducks Darkwing under the closest building.  The anchors stare in shock at the displays: Both pilots are somehow OUT of the dream!

Further down the corridor... Kouki had run off to chase after Chris.  He finds the boss staring through binoculars to see the pilots in the distance.  "They're in position. They are out of the dream."

The anchors check their pilots and find them both still sleeping in the creche.  But their scanners detect that both ANIMa are now outside the dream.  "If they go home here, what will happen to their bodies?!" Gerard gasps.  Kouki returns and tells them the ANIMa can be seen outside.  Gerard yells at him to drag Chris back.   Both Kyle and Takeshi begin to realize they have slipped out of the Bliss somehow.  They are starting at the quicksilver puddles forming with each rain drop hitting the ground.  Krishelle asks Takeshi to calm down, but there's no denying the terror they are beginning to feel.   The anchors confront Chris, who had just returned, to admit he had his suspicions that this can happen.  He had the pilots undertake the mission to test his theory: that there are hotspots or zones in the Bliss that spill out into the real world.  The pilots are now to try and detect the perimeters of these zones.  They are to visually identify each other.  Gerard reports about the survivors near the lakeside, and goes to talk to the other pilots to discuss retrieval plans.

Kyle studies the rain and starts noticing where the falling rain drops fall but do not hit the ground.  He asks Gerard to mark these areas as the zone perimeters.  Takeshi is directed by Krishelle to go back to the rendezvous point.  Seeing the falling rain, however, Takeshi tells Krishelle to tell her to relay to Kyle that he cannot step into the rain.  But having heard of the time remaining, he decides to risk it and runs into the rain.  Kyle searches for something to use as an umbrella and realizes the large debris atop the door of the survivor can be used.   Gerard begins to calculate the dome of the zone.   Darkwing's systems go wild as Takeshi runs through the rain.  The stress pounds against the relationship composing the ANIMa's body.  A turret emerges from the ground where the radio signals were emitting.  It doesn't see Darkwing, thankfully.   Darkwing moves stealthily to the meeting point, hoping to get to Archer without further detection.  Kouki wonders if with the ANIMa out of the dream means did the  dream turn into actual material?  Archer watches as the door opens after he knocks gently.   Gerard informs Kyle that Takeshi is already in the rendezvous point.  The woman at the door is old, with grey hair and a tired face.  The "baby" he thought in her hands turns out to be a dog!  With the rain pounding around the area, Archer notes where the base would be and points in the direction of the base.  The woman starts yelling in shock then slams the door shut.  Archer turns to see something emerge from the sand.  The turret had detected him!  Archer twists in the land second as the turret launches two missiles at him.  Archer opens fire, launching two crossbow bolts of fire to destroy them.  He then leaps into the rain and makes for the rendezvous point.  Darkwing can't find any sign of Archer, not realizing the other ANIMa is still in the real world.  Krishelle yells at him to go back to the base, but he insists on waiting for Kyle.

Mid-air, the Archer suddenly appears and lands close by, with quicksilver mirrored hands trying to cling on to the ANIMa, before falling to the ground.  Darkwing reports they're reunited and the two now have to head back to the base.  The two zip across the dreamscape quickly making their way back to the base. They see strange sights:  A river that turns into an upside down waterfall that cascades into a rainbow triangle in the sky... like a shark's fin... chasing after the two of them.  Wyrmwood in the sky transforms into a headless corpse at it passes through a cloud.  The clouds seem to distort its imagery each time.

Archer turns to face the closing rainbow shark, and charges his crossbow weapon.  Darkwing hears Krishelle relay to him the message from Archer that he should get to safety.  The bolts fly.  The sensors spark and flash as the blast of the ANIMa flies straight for the shark.  Darkwing watches, ready to help Archer escape if need be, with a plan to buy the young pilot time if need be.  The quicksilver fin recoils, pulling away from the bolt launched by Archer.  Both Anchors yell at their pilots, "RUN!"  The two hurry back, with Darkwing's ANIMa shutting down the extra mobility parts as they are heavily damaged by the energies unleashed.  He leaps into the Conceptual Hangar Bay in time to disengage and safety land.  Archer rushes to head back as well, successfully escaping behind Darkwing's passage.

Takeshi comes to and finds Krishelle scrubbing him clean of the blue goop from the creche.  He commends her on disabling the weapon.  He got pissed at first, but realized it was the right call.  The two feel the stress between them fade down.

Gerard hands Kyle a towel and coffee as he comes to.  Kyle feels the trauma of the mission still haunting him.  The two banter over why coffee would be called Joe and work their way through the trauma.  "Maybe we will save her," Kyle admits, "No.  We will," Gerard reminds him.

As the pilots leave, Kouki rushes back in to the Creche with the others.  Kouki and Pickles begin clean up immediately the room.  Jake and the others arrive with a new supply of the goop to fill the creches with.  Maryanne receives word from Chris that the pilots have to head out again to investigate the survivor, and while that's going on, the two others will remain on base defense.

Jude tells Lewis and Becky, the newcomer, that neither of them have been cleared to be pilots or anchors yet.  Becky laments that someday they get to do what they can to help out.     The four jury-rigged devices will remain tied to the four existing pilots, at least for now.


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