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!

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