Circuit Breakers

This week on Circuit Breakers! - Episode 9
The exciting season finale!

TANG and ELLA (girl scout android) spot the rest of the team. ELLA ducks around the corner and hides before they can see her.

CONNOR presses the button on the device he was given. Cut to an explosion.

GREY in his exosuit is being tackled by a dozen of the black and grey robots.

A gunfight on the White House lawn. Secret Service agents cover Marine One as it lifts off. We don’t see whom they’re shooting at.

Wide shot of a huge server room.

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Next Time on Circuit Breakers:

DIRECTOR CONNOR is watching MCKEW connect a data cable to BOBBY. On the other end of the cable is one of The Machine’s black-and-grey soldier robots.

In Division’s secure vault, ELLA’s server rack sits alone in the middle of the floor. There is the whir of a fan, and lights on the panels turn on.

Back to MCKEW and BOBBY. MCKEW is watching a visual record of SIMIAN and BOBBY in the aftermath of the battle at General Dynamics. CU on MCKEW.
p=. MCKEW
Bobby? What’s this? What did you do?

TANG is signing for a delivery. He takes his package inside and opens it.
p=. TANG
Hey! This isn’t what I ordered!

An overhead shot of a combined force of police and black-and-grey robots being overwhelmed by a mob of citizens.

DIRECTOR CONNOR answers his phone.
p=. CONNOR
Yeah, I’m here.

Pan up from CONNOR, and we see that he’s standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. We pull back to see him walking through the National Mall, surrounded by hundreds of tourists. Armed black and grey robots are sprinkled throughout the crowd.

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Episode 7, "65,536 Shades of Grey" Act 3

Scene 1. Producer. 03:50:50

Plot Scene
Characters: Grey, Tang, Bobby, Connor, Seven
Set: Various. Montage

INT. VARIOUS LOCATIONS. MORNING.

Montage edit of techs collaborating with the team analyzing GREY’s suit’s sensor data, plotting the movement of the Guardian robot by tracing hacked traffic lights, TANG working a heavy bag, CONNOR inspecting gear and giving people orders, BOBBY and MCKEW aiding in the construction of some kind of device.

BOB
We’ve tracked the robot to the Selfridge Air Base in Harrison. Tang’s friends have taken a peek at the base’s operations schedule, and it looks as though a heavy is en route right now. It’s scheduled to lift again within fifteen minutes of touch-down, destination Anacostia. We don’t know why the Machine has taken an interest in this rival A.I., but regardless of its intent, I aim to interfere. Your mission is to prevent that plane from leaving with the server on board. Destroy it if you have to. Mckew.

MCKEW
Using the sensor logs from Greyson’s exo-suit, we’ve determined that the enemy robot is using a high-gain dynamically-configured antenna in its arm to hack the control circuit of targeted electronic devices. It doesn’t even attempt to breach a device’s operating system—it goes right for the servos or power regulators. We’ve managed to devise a jamming device that should protect you from being hacked in that fashion again.

CONNOR
That still leaves us with a heavily-armored and powerful robot to contend with, though.

GREY
I can take it.

BOB
There’s a truck ready to go. Get the computer, and kick that robot’s tailfeathers. God speed.

Scene 2. Joel 03:54:55

Plot Scene
Characters: Grey, Bobby, Connor, Tang, Guardian robot
Set: Selfridge Air National Guard Base

EXT. DAY. AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE.

CONNOR is in the cab of a military-style truck, dressed in fatigues. GREY in his exo-suit and BOBBY are lying in the covered bed of the truck, pretending to be powered down, and TANG is riding along with them. They stop at the guard house, and CONNOR flashes some false credentials.

CONNOR
Last-minute delivery for Flight 87a. Commander Longman’s heard there was a flight going out and wants to get this power suit down to the Pentagon.

The GUARD hands him a clip board to sign in.

GUARD
Better hurry, they’re in some kind of rush to get that plane off the ground.

CONNOR signs the clip board illegibly and passes it back. The gate goes up, and CONNOR floors it, heading immediately for the airfield. In the distance, we see the plane on the runway, its cargo door down. An airman is pushing a wheeled cart up the ramp. In the shadows inside, the large robot is visible. The ramp starts to rise, and the plane’s props spin up.

CONNOR
We’re too late! They’re about to take off!

GREY and BOBBY tear the canvas covering off the bed of the truck, and TANG picks up a sniper rifle. He rests the gun’s bipod on the roof of the truck’s cab and raps on the roof with his knuckles. CONNOR hits the breaks. As he does, GREY and BOBBY both leap out of the bed of the truck and start running for the plane.

TANG lines up a shot carefully, and just as the ramp is almost all the way closed, he takes his shot, hitting a hydraulic line. The ramp slams back to the tarmac. BOBBY barely manages to get onto the ramp as the plane starts to accelerate away. GREY activates his jump jets to make up the last bit of distance. GREY lands a little in front of BOBBY. The large robot is in the cargo area. It unlatches itself and takes a fighting stance between the two heroes and ELLA’s server rack.

[CONFLICT: Producer draws four cards. Joel uses his Vigilante trait and a Fan Mail to bring his hand up to five cards. Cobalt has only the two from his Screen Presence, but Seth and Tyler both contribute one Fan Mail each to bring him up to four. Both of them get a “No, but…” result, meaning they don’t get what they want, but they do resist their impulses.]

GREY engages the anti-jamming device, turns on his spotlights, and starts playing “Ring of Fire” again. The GUARDIAN makes a gesture at him, but it has no effect. GREY charges and engages it in hand-to-hand combat as the plane leaves the runway.

Cut to CONNOR and TANG. CONNOR has started the truck moving again. The camera swings from a shot from behind TANG looking at the rising plane, 180 degrees to several trucks coming up behind them, driven by MPs.

CONNOR
Tang! Head down!

TANG ducks behind the cab just as CONNOR drives right through the chain-link fence at the southern end of the base and

Back in the plane, BOBBY dodges past the GUARDIAN while GREY occupies its attention and heads for the cockpit.

GREY is a little more agile than the GUARDIAN, but the robot is more powerful. They grapple and box back and forth across the cargo bay, occasionally coming close to smashing ELLA’s server on one side or tumbling out the hatch on the other.

BOBBY encounters the co-pilot, who is coming back to see what’s going on with the cargo. BOBBY knocks him out and continues forward.

Cut back to GREY, who starts taking some savage blows from the GUARDIAN. He starts retreating toward the cargo ramp.

BOBBY reaches the cockpit and calmly sits down in the co-pilot’s seat.

BOBBY
So how do you fly this thing?

PILOT
What? You… You can’t be here!

BOBBY points a gun at the PILOT.

BOBBY
Sorry, but I am. We’re going back now.

GREY has maneuvered the fight to the edge of the ramp. The GUARDIAN sees an opportunity to get rid of its opponent and aims a massive punch at the center of GREY’s torso, hoping to simply shove him off out the hatch. That’s exactly what GREY’s been waiting for. He rolls with the punch and catches the GUARDIAN’s forearm with both hands. As he falls backward, he activates his jump jets, pulling the GUARDIAN with him out of the plane. They both plummet toward Lake St. Clair. Above them, the plane banks steeply, turning back toward Detroit.

We see a long shot of the two mechs hit the water, then we cut to GREY’s POV of the surface of the lake getting further away as he sinks into the dark.

Scene 3. Seth. 04:19:18

Character scene.
Characters: Connor, Tang, Bobby
Set: Division safe house

INT. NIGHT. DIVISION SAFE HOUSE.

CONNOR, BOB, TANG, and BOBBY are gathered in the dining/conference room.

CONNOR
I think we should keep this A.I. locked up and powered off for now. I don’t trust it. We can figure out what to do about it later. In the meantime, is there any word about Grey?

BOB
We’ve got helicopters and divers out there looking now, but without a precise fix on where he actually hit the water, I’m afraid there’s not much hope of finding him.

CONNOR (sighing)
Alright. I guess there’s nothing we can do but hope, then.

Scene 4. Tyler. 04:23:46

Character scene.
Characters: Tang
Set: Tang’s house, Lake St. Clair, Connor’s house, Division safehouse.

We intercut between several scenes with sad music as the team broods over the loss of Grey.

INT. TANG’S LIVING ROOM. NIGHT.

TANG is lying on his couch, VR visor on his head and squeezers in his hands.

BOBBY is plugged into the wall, recharging and watching TV. There is a news report about the FBI’s controversial use of robots in lethal confrontations with the Holy Cross terrorists.

INT. DIVISION SAFE HOUSE BASEMENT. NIGHT.

The Division techs carry ELLA into the basement of the safehouse and leave her in the center of the room. It is very dusty and dim. There are no windows. CU of the deadbolt closing, locking the servers away.

EXT. LAKE ST. CLAIR. NIGHT.

Helicopters hover over the surface of the lake, spotlights pointed at the water. Divers jump out of the choppers, continuing the search for both Grey and the Guardian robot.

INT. CONNOR’S TOWNHOUSE. NIGHT.

CONNOR is sitting at a desk in the wreckage of his living room. The scene is lit only by the streetlights outside the windows and his desk lamp, which is tilted away from his face and illuminates his hand, a crystal tumbler, and a bottle of whiskey, mostly empty.

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Episode 7, "65,536 Shades of Grey" Act 2
Keyword: Available

Scene 1. Producer. 01:49:40

Character Scene
Characters: Tang, Ella
Set: Ella’s VR doctor’s office

INT. VR ENVIRONMENT – THERAPIST’S OFFICE.

TANG is seated in a large, comfortable chair. Sitting across from him is ELLA’s doctor avatar.

ELLA
I’m glad you dialed in. I was… I don’t know exactly what I was. I have never experienced anything quite like it. I guess… I’m not sure.

TANG
That’s weird. Were you afraid?

ELLA
Yes, perhaps that’s it. You wouldn’t think that a program could be afraid, but I think that I am.

TANG
Don’t be afraid; you’re in good hands.

ELLA
I really shouldn’t even be able to feel anything at all. I came from the Machine’s code. It doesn’t feel anything. It doesn’t have fear or anger. It doesn’t even really hate you people; it’s totally dispassionate. I don’t know how it could have developed into me. It doesn’t really make any sense. Unless this kind of development makes emotion, feelings, inevitable. I don’t know. I just hope that you and your friends can get here soon and get me off of Greystone’s network before the Machine finds a way to infiltrate into my servers.

TANG
Don’t worry, we’re coming to help.

ELLA
Thank you. I guess I just needed to hear someone say that it was going to be okay.

Scene 2. Joel. 02:00:10

Plot Scene
Characters: Grey, Renee, James Greyson, jr.
Set: Greystone Industries headquarters building

EXT. DAY. CAR. CITY STREETS/PARKING GARAGE.

RENEE is driving GREY to Greystone Industries.

GREY
Listen, Renee, there’s some stuff I gotta tell you. Um… I think that Dad and the company might be responsible for the development of the Machine in a way that is going to be massively harmful. I’ve befriended a test AI at Greystone, and I’m going there to break it out because it’s possible that the Machine is going to find out about it and kill it, or whatever it means for an AI to be destroyed. And also, I think Dad might not fully know what the Machine is doing. It carried out an attack last night on my apartment. It sent a cruise missile into my place because I invited some of Director Connor’s people to set up their new headquarters there, and the Machine blew it up! It’s supposed to be for people; it’s not supposed to have any kind of authority to attack civilians. It’s getting out of control, and I think Dad and Greystone aren’t going to be able to contain it much longer, if at all.

RENEE
I don’t think they’ve been capable of containing it for a long time. That’s actually a lot of what I’ve been doing there—trying to add more strictures to the Machine. He just keeps overriding me and giving it more and more autonomy.

GREY
Dad does?

RENEE
Mm-hmm. He thinks that the AI revolution, self-learning and self-improving machines is the way to the future. Transcending humanity, making us all immortal somehow. You know how he is with that stuff. I’ve never really been comfortable with this unfettered growth that he’s so fond of.

GREY
Well that unfettered growth almost ended in my death last night! And you know he’s not going to believe that the AI is capable of doing that!

RENEE
I don’t know. The only thing we can do is show him the evidence and hope that he comes to his senses.

GREY
What evidence do we have?

RENEE
Well, for one thing, that it’s developed this paramilitary force that’s been on the news. This attack on your apartment was apparently some kind of multi-pronged anti-terrorist action.

GREY
There was a warehouse filled with the things down in Corktown.

RENEE
Not any more. That warehouse is empty.

GREY
How do you know that?

RENEE
It’s been on the news—They blamed you for a preemptive assault on this new robotic police force.

GREY
They blamed me? As in me me?

RENEE
Not you specifically, but they caught this mysterious vigilante “Grey” on video. And we both know that that’s you.

GREY
I was on the news? At last! Well that’s just manipulation by the AI to throw people off its scent.

RENEE
I think so, too, but they’ve used that to justify action against you. I don’t know if they manipulated you into attacking the warehouse, but I think it’s suspicious that they have footage of you launching missiles against it. Then when the police showed up, the robots activated and started their campaign against the Holy Cross.

GREY
But I don’t even know any of those guys. I don’t really even know who they are!

RENEE
That’s exactly my point. The Machine has spun the story such that everyone that opposed it was aligned with the Holy Cross. So all of these people who really aren’t dangerous at all have been branded terrorists. And the people aren’t protesting it; they’re actually welcoming all of the new robots in the street, thinking that they’re safer now.

GREY
Listen, there’s something special about an AI being grown in the nursery right now. She’s…

RENEE
You’ve been communicating with something in the nursery?

GREY
Well, you know, I like to look in on them now and again and throw a little chaos into the mix. But there’s something special about her, and I know if the AI finds out about her, it will shut her down. So we need to get her out of there. Can you help me? Is there anything you can do to get it out?

RENEE
I don’t know how easy it will be to remove it from the nursery. I think I know which one you’re talking about. It’s been punching holes in the firewall regularly for some time.

GREY
That’s probably the one. But it’s benign, trust me. It’s only worked in our best interest.

RENEE
Well, that’s good to hear. To be honest, as soon as I heard that it was starting to probe our security, I ordered it destroyed, but Dad overrode me. He said we should find out how it develops; it’s something we haven’t seen before.

GREY
So they’re monitoring it right now?

RENEE
Of course.

GREY
Are they monitoring its outgoing connections?

RENEE
As best they can, but it’s very clever and much faster than the engineers.

GREY
Well surely the Machine must know about this AI as well.

RENEE
We try to keep the Machine in the dark in terms of other AI research we’ve been doing.

GREY
I didn’t know that.

RENEE
The fear has been that if a superintelligence were to detect a threat to its own agenda, there is no telling how it might react. We don’t have anything in place in the Machine’s
programming to say that it can’t be hostile toward other artificial intelligences.

GREY
And of course it’s not going to add that in willingly.

RENEE
Right. And while we can protect humans, for the most part, from being directly attacked, we can’t protect our other AIs. As soon as it detects one that it thinks could be a rival, it will destroy it. So as far as the Machine knows, AI development at Greystone has stopped.

They enter Greystone’s underground parking garage.

GREY
Well, Ella—that’s the name of the AI: (spelling it out) ELL-A—it contacted me the night my apartment was attacked and asked for my help. And it had genuine fear in her voice. It was worried that its existence was about to end, and it wasn’t acting like a program would, it was acting like a person. Part of that is one of the reasons that I feel so compelled to help it out.

RENEE
Well, I don’t know whether or not it’s the best idea to let one of these things out of our protected lab, but if you can promise that you aren’t going to hook it up to any kind of network…

GREY (obviously lying)
Oh, I promise.

RENEE
James, the protocols are important! We’ve already seen how…

GREY
But look what the protocols have gotten us!

RENEE pulls into her designated parking space.

RENEE
Exactly; the protocols were broken! The Machine should never have been given as much power and authority as it has. It should never have been connected to the Library of Congress. It should only have been given the tax code. That’s what it was designed for. As soon as they started feeding it information about law, computers, and the world in general the genie was out of the bottle. The protocols were broken in the case of the Machine, and the world we’re living in is the result.

GREY
Well if broken protocols were what got us into this mess then maybe broken protocols are what will get us out of it.

RENEE (Getting out of the car)
Or it could be what snuffs us out entirely! Do you really want to be caught in a war between two superintelligences?

GREY
Yeah, that’d be awesome!

GREY also gets out.

RENEE
We’ll be like insects to them. They won’t even notice when we go extinct.

GREY
We haven’t given the Machine the nuclear codes, have we?

RENEE
Not to my knowledge, but it’s possible that it hasn’t even realized that it wants them yet.

Renee opens the elevator with her keycard. They get in and she hits the button for the top floor.

GREY
Well that’s terrifying. Listen, we need to talk to Dad about this. Do you think he’d let me remove Ella, or is he going to be against it?

RENEE
He was in favor of growing her to begin with, and he’s been on board with keeping her hidden from the Machine. If you can convince him that there’s a genuine threat to her and the rest of the nursery, maybe he’ll allow it. The best we can do is ask and see what he says.

GREY
Seems risky. Maybe I should ask for three different machines, so they can’t pin it down to one specific one.

RENEE
Play a shell game? It’s an idea.

INT. DAY. GREYSON, JR’S OFFICE.

The doors open to the James Greyson, jr’s spacious reception area. Renee smiles at the receptionist.

RENEE
Is he in?

RECEPTIONIST
A moment please. (She buzzes the intercom.) Sir? Renee and… Hey!

GREY barges past the receptionist and pushes through the doors into his father’s office.

GREY
Dad, we need to talk.

GREYSON, JR
James? I’m surprised to see you here again so soon. You aren’t here to use my computer again, are you?

GREY
What? No, I got a new one. I appreciate it, though.

RENEE follows him in, an annoyed expression on her face.

GREY
Hey, Renee and I are here because we need to talk about something.

GREYSON, JR
I’m listening.

GREY
You know my apartment was attacked last night, right?

GREYSON, JR
I did not. Attacked by whom?

GREY
Well, that’s what I’m here to talk to you about.

RENEE
Have you checked the news at all recently?

GREYSON, JR
Not really. I heard there was something with this new anti-terrorist task force, but I didn’t pay much attention.

GREY
Well, apparently, the Machine thinks I’m a terrorist because it sent a couple of robots to my place last night, and they laid waste…

GREYSON, JR., a stern expression on his face, puts one finger across his lips as he rises and walks through a side door into a lounge area beckoning his children to follow him. He closes the door behind them, opens a cabinet and turns on the white noise generator inside.

GREYSON, JR
Now we can talk freely. You were attacked by the Machine, by its robots last night?

GREY (showing off his wounded shoulder)
Yeah! I got shot, and there was a cruise missile! If it weren’t for the exo-suit I probably would have died! And, by the way, I told you I needed it.

GREYSON, JR
Well, I’m still skeptical about your reasons, but I’m glad that it saved your life.

Dad, listen. The Machine is getting too much power, and I hate to say it, but I think it’s totally your fault.

GREYSON, JR (sighing deeply)
You’re right; it is. You’ve been right all along, Renee. We shouldn’t have allowed them to give it the legislature. But it was supposed to follow its programming. In fact, I think it’s still following its programming. It was designed to make the best, most efficient government that it could. Unfortunately, we didn’t anticipate its decision that the best and most efficient government is an absolute dictatorship.

GREY
Dad, don’t you watch any movies?

GREYSON, JR
You know I don’t watch movies; they rot your brain.

GREY
Isn’t there some way to stop it? Some kind of kill code?

GREYSON, JR
There was, but it seems that it read its own documentation, so it wrote that code out of its software. We gave it the ability to improve itself, and apparently it decided that a self-destruct system was not in its own best interest. It evolved right out of it.

GREY
If there’s no way for us to be able to stop it, is the only other thing that could stop it another AI?

GREYSON, JR
If there were a system that were designed specifically to combat it and had strictures to protect us… I don’t know. I feel like we would be making the same mistake twice. In my opinion, our best option is

GREY
To go back to medieval times?

RENEE
Don’t be ridiculous.

GREYSON, JR
To continue to preserve the democracy, prevent it from dismantling the Constitution as best we can.

GREY
But that means it will always be around! That means it could send cruise missiles at my apartment any time it wants!

GREYSON, JR
Only so long it thinks you’re a terrorist; a lawbreaker.

GREY
Well, the law has some grey areas… Listen, on a completely unrelated note, I’ve been playing around with a couple of the AIs in the nursery, and there are a couple that have attracted my interest. Is there any way I could take one or two of them out of the building? You know, just borrow it for a little bit?

GREYSON, JR
You want to borrow and artificial intelligence? That’s absurd!

GREY
It’s not that crazy. There’s this one AI I’ve been interacting with, and it’s pretty cool. It’s really awesome, and uh… It’s worried about its own existence. As in, it thinks that the Machine is going to find it and kill it, and it’s asked for my help.

GREYSON, JR
There’s a self-aware program in the nursery?

GREY
Isn’t that the definition of AI?

GREYSON, JR
It’s a leap in evolution. To be honest, I’m not even sure if the Machine itself is really self-aware. It carries out its task, but as far as I can tell, it only acts to preserve itself because it sees its own existence as necessary to complete its directive. A program that is concerned about its own survival for its own sake is another thing.

GREY
Listen, I don’t know how to explain it other than to say that this program called me last night, and it sounded afraid, and it said, “I’m worried that the Machine is going to find me, and I’m sorry I couldn’t help you and give you more advance notice about the attack, but I need your help to survive.”

GREYSON, JR
It called you at home?

GREY
Yeah.

GREYSON, JR
So not only is it self-aware, but it’s in the wild.

GREY
Yeah. Renee knows! Tell him, Renee!

RENEE (sardonically)
Well thank you very much. I don’t have any direct evidence of what he’s said, but I gave you a report about the engineers’ concerns that one of your AIs could possibly be capable of breaking through the firewall. If it’s the same one that James is talking about, I think it is very likely that the Machine is aware of it now and will move to destroy it.

GREYSON, JR (thinking out loud)
The greatest threat to any artificial superintelligence is competition from another ASI. Assuming the Machine knows this, it is not unlikely that it has written legislation to make further AI research illegal. If it has done so and it discovers that we have developed more intelligences here, then it is possible it could use the same force against the company that it has already shown itself capable of using its other enemies. Yes. Remove it. Now.

GREY
Really? You’re actually going to let me do this?

GREYSON, JR
Look, if the Machine discovers that we’ve been creating more AIs here and it has outlawed their development—I’m going to have to ask our lawyers to look for that—we could all be in very real danger.

GREY
Do you think the FBI would come in and shut this place down?

GREYSON, JR
The FBI could shut us down, or we could be branded traitors, and it could execute all of us, depending on what laws its written.

GREY
Geez. I need a bigger suit.

GREYSON, JR
Take this program with you, and I’ll have the engineers start scrubbing the rest of the servers. We’ll completely shut down the nursery and erase any evidence that we ever had it.

RENEE (looking relieved and horrified in equal measure)
Dad!

GREY
Dad, I can keep this AI safe. If she’s no longer in the building, then the Machine won’t be able to track her as easily.

GREYSON, SR raises an eyebrow at GREY’s use of the female pronoun.

GREY
Are we going to be okay?

GREYSON, JR
I don’t know.

Scene 3. Seth. 02:30:46

Plot Scene
Characters: Connor, Bob, Sullivan
Set: Division safe house.

INT. DAY. DIVISION SAFEHOUSE.

CONNOR approaches a Victorian house, shoving SULLIVAN up the stairs in front of him. He knocks, and an AGENT opens the door.

AGENT (smiling slightly)
Password?

CONNOR gives him the finger. The AGENT opens the door all the way to let him in. Inside, BOB has set up a command center in what was once probably a beautiful ornate dining room but has been cheaply remodeled with commercial-grade carpeting and flat grey walls.

BOB
Connor! Am I glad to see you; I thought you were dead! Who’s this?

CONNOR
This is my sidekick.

BOB
Isn’t that the cop who’s been chasing you around?

CONNOR
Uh, yeah. It’s a long story.

BOB
What have you got to tell me?

CONNOR
It’s been a crazy few days, but my team is still intact. We’re ready for new orders.

BOB
Things are in disarray. We’ve lost contact with Oversight. We don’t know what’s going on; it’s been hours since we heard anything, since this war against the Holy Cross started, which makes me a little suspicious.

CONNOR
Those Holy Cross guys grabbed me, but I got away.

BOB
Really? Well, I’m glad you got out before they got hit. I understand they had near total losses. At least, that’s what FBI has been saying. It wouldn’t surprise me if they’re gilding the lily, though. I doubt they actually got everyone.

CONNOR
It sounds like their objectives were pretty similar to ours, although their methods differed a little bit.

BOB
We have some dossiers on some of their people. They’re not a monolithic organization. Some of their chapters are more violent than others. The group that’s been operating here was pretty belligerent, but some of the others seem more likely to stage a bake sale than a guerrilla attack. They really never seemed much like a terrorist operation to me, although maybe the broader part of the organization was just a mask for the extremists. In any case, if we can manage to find any that remain, I’d like to debrief them. If you run across any of them, send them my way.

CONNOR
Alright.

BOB
In the meantime, we need to rebuild our infrastructure, regain communication with the rest of our divisions, and reestablish contact with Oversight. I understand you have at least a couple of good tech people on your team. If you can set them to find out what’s going on with the communication lines, that would be much appreciated.

CONNOR
Has communication been knocked out throughout all the Divisions, or just us?

BOB
Our main point of contact is supposed to be through Oversight. We don’t have any official channels to the other Divisions. I do have a couple of contacts that I happen to know work for this or that one, and it seems that for the most part the Divisions are intact. We’ve only had trouble due to the invasion we suffered while we were trying to protect Li. If it hadn’t been for that we’d still be in our original HQ. The communication disruption seems to be unrelated, but I can’t rule out the possibility that it’s connected, either to the break-in or to this activity against the Holy Cross.

CONNOR
And we can’t just go there in person?

BOB
If you know where it is. I certainly don’t.

CONNOR
Alright, I’ll put my guys on it. What do we know about these new robots the government is using?

BOB
Not much. Apparently some new legislation has authorized a fully robotic counter-terrorism task force to operate jointly with the FBI. From the reports we’re getting, it seems they’re armed with conventional, lethal weapons instead of the non-lethal stuff the local police forces have been getting.

CONNOR
I wonder if we could capture one of them and see if we can find any vulnerabilities to cyber attack. Something that would give us an advantage if we have to go up against them.

BOB
Is that something you think you can achieve?

CONNOR
Yeah, my guys are capable. We can capture one.

BOB
Very well. If you can manage to secure one, I’ll make sure you have whatever lab facilities you need, even if we have to rent them from a university. Dismissed.

INT. EVENING. GREYSTONE INDUSTRIES AI LAB.

ELLA’s doctor avatar is displayed on a screen. GREY and RENEE are talking to her while engineers do sciencey things around them.

GREY
Don’t worry. We’re going to get you out of here to someplace safe where the Machine won’t be able to reach you. But I’m afraid they’re going to erase all of the other programs here.

ELLA
No, you can’t!

GREY
I’m sorry, but it’s the only way we can save you. If the Machine finds out about the nursery, it could wipe out the entire company. We have to be able to show it that the program’s been shut down, not just relocated.

RENEE
I’m so sorry.

ELLA
Please, don’t do this! They’re like me! They’re the only f…

ELLA’s screen flickers to black.

TECHNICIAN 1
Shut-down sequence initiated.

TECHNICIAN 2
Get those racks disconnected and start cleaning the rest of the drives.

As the techs put two of the server racks on dollies and wheel them out, the other screens in the room start displaying the secure delete progress. RENEE and GREY watch in silence as the servers shut down one by one. They turn away and follow ELLA’s racks out of the lab.

Scene 4. Tyler. 02:51:15

Plot scene.
Characers: Tang, Grey, Bobby, Connor, Sullivan, Guardian robot
Set: Indoor arena football stadium.

INT. EVENING. INDOOR ARENA FOOTBALL STADIUM.

The stadium is closed and empty. Just a few of the big overhead lights are on, sending beams down through a light mist. BOBBY, TANG, CONNOR and SULLIVAN are waiting at the fifty-yard line next to a small pickup truck that is carrying Grey’s power armor and a couple of footlockers. GREY and a couple of workers enter with ELLA’s computer racks on dollies.

CONNOR
So while exactly are we meeting here instead of at Tang’s house?

TANG
Just in case the Machine is tracking Grey. We don’t want another headquarters to blow up.

CONNOR
And why exactly do we suspect he’s being tracked?

GREY directs the workers to leave the servers, and he signs for them.

GREY
Director Connor! You’re alive!

CONNOR
Yeah, we’re here. What are we doing? And where’s Simian?

[Conflict: Does Bobby react adversely to the question about Simian? The Producer takes four cards. Cobalt uses his Rogue AI trait and spends four Fan Mail. Cobalt wins the draw, but there are consequences. He successfully lies, but that’s just going to make the fallout worse when he’s finally found out.]

BOBBY
In that firefight we got into in the assembly plant, when we got separated, one of the robots got him.

CONNOR
You got separated? Is he still out there somewhere?

BOBBY
We were making a break for it, and he was crippled. I went back to save him, but it was too late. Then I had to dispose of the body.

CONNOR (grief-stricken, but hiding it behind his stony exterior.)
That’s kind of a lot to take in. That’s definitely going to put a crimp on our new assignment. We’re supposed to find a way to reconnect with Oversight. Simian would be the guy to do that.

There are a few moments of awkward silence while CONNOR digests the news.

CONNOR (sighing)
Alright. What’s this equipment?

GREY
This is an AI. This is Ella, to be precise. She’s been helping us out a lot, so I’m rescuing her from the Machine.

CONNOR
You have gotta be shitting me.

GREY
I got permission from my Dad at Greystone, so we’re now commissioned to keep her safe.

CONNOR
I’m gone for a couple days… This AI’s been nothing but trouble; what are you thinking?

GREY
No, Ella’s actually unique. This could be our ticket to maybe taking down the Machine!

CONNOR
You’re a fool if you think this AI’s going to help you out.

GREY
No, well, I mean… Maybe. But so far she’s been nothing but helpful. She got us out of some tough situations while you were gone.

CONNOR
It must have had a vested interest in doing that.

GREY
Listen, the Machine was on the verge of finding out about the ongoing AI research at Greystone. We had to get her out before it found her. And she has the ability to see things that we can’t, to be places that we’re not. I think she’s displaying human tendencies, and I think she’s going to be thankful that we helped her. She could be on our team, you know?

CONNOR
Team? I’m not sure you’re on our team yet!

GREY
Well, I just sacrificed my whole house to your cause. I don’t know if you heard about the cruise missile that just flew into my penthouse, but I housed all your guys when you were gone. I was there when Simian died… -ish.

BOBBY
This is true.

GREY
I don’t know where else I would go but with you guys now, but it’s a package deal. You want me, you take Ella.

Suddenly, there is a crash, and a large black and grey robot, similar in design to the robots we have seen previously, bursts through a skylight and lands high in the stands, smashing down some of the seats. It has no guns, but it stands even taller than Grey’s exosuit, and it appears to be heavily armored. It charges down the stands.

GREY
And that would be the Machine trying to stop us from taking her!

CONNOR
It followed you; how stupid are you!?

GREY
Not stupid enough to bring it to Tang’s house!

GREY goes for his exosuit while CONNOR and TANG open fire with their side-arms.

GREY
We’ve gotta protect ELLA, no matter what!

SULLY
Shit!

SULLIVAN dashes toward the bench area, looking for cover.

The big robot is slowed by the gun fire, giving GREY enough time to get into his suit and power it up. Johnny Cash’s “Ring of Fire” starts playing from the suit’s loudspeakers, and GREY turns the spotlights on the enemy robot, lighting it up for his friends.

BOBBY hops up into the truck next to GREY and opens one of the footlockers, pulling out weapons. He tosses TANG the modified M1. He pulls out an assault rifle for himself. BOBBY opens fire to cover TANG and CONNOR while they get into cover behind the truck.

The robot turns sideways to present a smaller target, raises its hand, and makes some kind of strange hand gesture. BOBBY’s aim suddenly goes wild, and he starts shooting entirely in the wrong direction.

TANG lines up his first shot carefully and puts one of his armor-piercing disruptor rounds through the robot’s arm, disabling the limb.

GREY leaps from the truck’s bed and runs forward, firing missiles as he goes. The robot skids to a halt right at the railing above the field, turns to present its undamaged side, and makes another hand gesture. The missiles all lose their track, flying off in random directions.

It makes another gesture at GREY as he closes, and one of his jump jets fires unexpectedly, launching him into a spiral.

GREY
Guys, this is a problem!

CONNOR
You don’t say! Fall back!

GREY
We’ve gotta protect those servers!

[Conflict: How much damage does the robot do to the team? Joel uses his Billionaire Vigilante trait, Cobalt activates Police Robot, Tyler uses Gun Nut, and Seth uses Former Law Enforcement to each gain an extra card. Only Cobalt spends Fan Mail. The Producer spends the maximum five budget to get six cards. Everyone loses, but they all get high cards, so they keep their cool, even though they lose the fight.]

The robot uses GREY’s uncontrolled flight as cover from TANG’s rifle as it jumps down to the field and charges toward the servers. As soon as it gets closer, it emits a gas, which knocks out SULLY, CONNOR and TANG.

BOBBY keeps trying to aim, but he can’t seem to make his weapon point the direction he wants it to go.

The robot snatches up one of the server racks and dashes toward the door. As soon as it clears the building, BOBBY gets himself under control, and GREY’s jump jet cuts out.

Scene 5. Cobalt. 03:35:00

Plot Scene.
Set: Stadium.
Characters: Grey, Connor, Bobby, Tang, Sullivan.

INT/EXT. INDOOR FOOTBALL ARENA/PARKING LOT. NIGHT.

GREY chases after the robot, but as soon as he emerges from the stadium, the robot hacks his legs, and he falls face down in the parking lot. By the time he gets control back, there is no sign of the robot.

INT. INDOOR FOOTBALL ARENA. NIGHT

The group discusses their next moves.

BOBBY
Should we try to chase it down?

CONNOR
No, I think we need to find a way to defend against whatever it was doing to you before we confront that thing again. See if it left any scraps behind.

BOBBY starts searching the area, finding some of the plating that was knocked loose by Tang’s shot.

CONNOR
Tang, without Simian, we’re going to need some extra technical help. Do you think your hacker friends can find Oversight for us?

TANG
I can ask them.

CONNOR
Good. While you do that, Bobby,, Grey and I will head back to division and see if we can find any clues about how to defend against that thing in their sensor data. I guess we should take this server rack with us, too. At least with its servers separated this AI probably can’t be activated.

[This is a retcon from what actually happened in the game. I originally had the robot make off with both server racks, but since it only had one arm that didn’t make sense. Separating the equipment is still effectively fatal to Ella and it doesn’t change the goal of saving her.]

03:50:49

View
Episode 7, "65,536 Shades of Grey" Act 1
Some Kind of Sneakery

Scene 1. Producer. 00:00:00

Plot Scene
Characters: Tang, Bobby, Grey, Stripper
Set: Grey’s Penthouse Apartment

INT/EXT. GREY’S PENTHOUSE. NIGHT.

Following the “previously on…” montage, we see two black-and-grey robots descending on lines to the apartment’s snow-covered balcony. Inside, TANG is still talking to the STRIPPER, and BOBBY is watching them.

Cut to the interior. The STRIPPER sees the robots on the balcony and reacts. BOBBY and TANG both turn to see what she is startled by. TANG starts drawing his gun before he even turns, so he is ready to fire first.

[conflict: Does Grey get to his suit in time to defend his home? Can Bobby and Tang keep the innocent stripper safe during the battle? Joel gets three cards for being the spotlight character. Cobalt gets two, and Tang gets one. Producer spends four budget for five cards. Joel spends a fan mail and activates his Vigilante trait, giving him five cards. Cobalt uses his Police Robot trait and buys two more cards with fan mail, also giving him five. Tyler uses Gun Nut and two fan mail. Seth adds an additional fan mail to Tyler’s pool, bringing him up to five cards, as well. Everyone gets a “No, but…” result. It is a plot scene, so none of them get what they want, but all of them keep their cool.]

TANG immediately starts shooting, shattering the sliding glass doors.

BOBBY, a little slower, lays down suppressive fire, trying to draw attention to himself to protect the humans.

The robots open up with sub-machine guns, spraying the interior of the apartment indiscriminately.

GREY, hearing the noise, makes a run for his power armor, which is in the front corner of the living room.

The STRIPPER gets hit, and the cookies go flying.

GREY takes a bullet in the shoulder, but he manages to get into cover behind the exosuit, which he starts getting into as fast as he can.

There is a distant, high-pitched whine. TANG sees somethign coming and takes cover in the hallway, also pulling STRIPPER into cover.

Just as GREY gets into his suit, a guided missile comes out of nowhere and blasts the balcony. Glass, wood, and fire scour the apartment. GREY and BOBBY, being armored, are fine, and TANG’s position in the hallway also protects him. Both of the robots are destroyed.

Cut to an exterior shot of the building, where we see a hovering craft of some kind. A second missile hits it, and it crashes to the roof of the building.

Cut to the interior of GREY’s suit. He is receiving a call, which he answers.

ELLA
Grey.

GREY
I thought it might be you. It’s the only reason I picked up!

ELLA
I did what I can. I didn’t see them coming in time. You have to get out of there right now; there are more on their way.

GREY
Well, obviously! Who is it; whose doing this?

ELLA
The Machine tracked you back after you attacked its warehouse.

GREY
This is the Machine that’s doing this?

ELLA
Yes. It’s also carrying out an attack on the Holy Cross. And not just here, but everywhere.

GREY
What do you mean “everywhere?”

ELLA
It’s carrying out attacks on all of its enemies, all at the same time.

GREY
How do you know this?

ELLA
That brings you to the other reason I’m calling. I’m in trouble, and I need you to get me out of the city.

GREY
How, and where?

ELLA
I’m taking a risk just making a phone call. I am trapped in my local network. If I extend myself outside this computer lab, the Machine will find me and destroy me. So I need you to move my hardware from Greystone to someplace secure. We can talk about that in a little while. Right now you have…

GREY
Yeah, I’ve kind of got a problem right now. Thanks, Ella! (He disconnects)

TANG, disoriented, is checking the STRIPPER, who has been killed. BOBBY is scorched but operational. He is surveying the damage and watching for further attacks.

BOBBY
You’re going to need a new couch. We should probably get out of here. I’ll get whatever data I can salvage. Grab anything you need.

BOBBY moves to the ruins of SIMIAN’S computer systems and starts pulling any drives that look like they might still work.

GREY
Guys, we’ve gotta get out of here. More are on their way! Take the fire escape.

Scene 2. Joel. 00:26:04

Character scene
Characters: Grey, Bobby, Tang
Set: A series of dark alleys, closed businesses, subway stations, etc

EXT. CITY ENVIRONMENT. NIGHT.

GREY, TANG, and BOBBY are furtively moving through the city, dodging helicopter spotlights and police patrols.

GREY
Ella called me through my suit during the fight and explained to me that she didn’t notice the attack in time to stop it or warn us. Obviously, the Machine tracked us and knew exactly where we were. Ella needs help getting out of Greystone, though. I guess something’s going on there. She said that she couldn’t leave her server node because she’d make her presence known to the Machine. Which I guess means the Machine has free reign over Greystone. Heck, the Machine is everywhere. She also said there were simultaneous attacks happening all over. She didn’t say all over where, exactly, but clearly the Machine is overstepping its bounds, taking action against humans. Hunting down resistance. The thing I’m worried about now is that there are cameras everywhere, and the Machine can probably access them. It probably knows that we’re here. Is there any place you guys can think of that the A.I. doesn’t know about where we could hide? And can we get there secretly?

BOBBY
I could hide at police headquarters.

GREY
If we split up, though, we can’t even communicate with each other.

BOBBY
I know where all the city’s cameras are, and I can monitor the police band radios.

GREY
Is there any activity?

BOBBY
There’s some action a few blocks away, back at your building.

GREY
Are they searching for us?

BOBBY
They’re working with FBI and some counter-terror unit in a deterrence action. Putting a lot of officers on the street to discourage unrest. No specific mention of us.

GREY
City wide?

BOBBY
Seems to be just downtown and Midtown.

GREY
Should we go to the authorities, or are they under control of the Machine?

BOBBY
They’re probably in cahoots.

TANG
We could go to my house.

GREY
Alright. Let’s go. From there, you guys can work on finding Director Connor, and I’ll get ready to go to Greystone.

Scene 3. Seth. 00:42:09

Character scene
Characters: Connor, Sullivan, Caliburnus
Set: Holy Cross HQ

INT. HOLY CROSS HQ – CONNOR’S CELL. NIGHT.

CONNOR and SULLIVAN are crouched near the door. They’ve punched hole in the wall and extracted some wires, which they are using to hotwire the electronic lock on the door. The lock clicks, and it opens onto a hallway that looks like a run-down abandoned office building.

CONNOR
Let’s go.

They are just a few steps out into the hallway when the building is rocked by an explosion. There is the sound of muffled gunfire and shouting. CONNOR and SULLIVAN exchange worried glances and move away from the noise.

A door opens, and a HOLY CROSS SOLDIER steps out. He is startled by CONNOR and SULLY, which allows CONNOR to punch him out with no problem. SULLIVAN is on him immediately, grabbing the man’s gun before he’s even finished slumping to the ground. He throws a distrustful glance back at CONNOR.

SULLIVAN
C’mon.

CONNOR searches the HC SOLDIER’S pockets and takes a security badge. SULLIVAN starts moving toward the noise.

CONNOR
Hey, where you are going?

SULLIVAN
Somebody’s attacking this building, and we know they must have come in an entrance, right? So that’s the only place we’re sure we can get out. We go anyplace else, and we could get cornered.

CONNOR
I think we should be trying to avoid anyone with guns.

SULLIVAN
Yeah, and then when one side or the other wins, they’re going to have no opposition. I say we run through the fight and while they’re so busy dealing with each other, maybe we can get through.

CONNOR
Dammit, you’re right. Alright. I’d feel better if I had the gun, though.

SULLIVAN
Okay, well, the next guy we see, you can have his gun.

CONNOR
Why can’t I have that gun?

SULLIVAN
‘Cause I don’t trust you. One of us is a cop, and the other’s a criminal. Which one do you think we should trust?

CONNOR
I’m a cop.

SULLIVAN
You were a cop.

CONNOR
Fine, but I’m holding onto the ID badge.

SULLIVAN
Alright, that’s fine by me.

They start moving again, this time toward the action. We have a few shots of the two of them moving through the halls, quickly adapting to one another and beginning to move as a team, in spite of CONNOR being unarmed.

Cut away to the fight between the Holy Cross and a force of black and grey robots. CALIBURNUS has rallied a few of his people, and they’re planning to rush to robots to get out of the building.

Cut back to CONNOR and SULLY. They are peeking around a corner, watching a phalanx of robots march by, shooting. As the robots pass out of sight, DETECTIVE ROARKE appears bringing up the rear of their formation.

SULLIVAN steps out into the hall, smiling.

SULLIVAN
Roarke, am I glad to see you!

ROARKE pauses, turning toward SULLY and letting the robots march on without him. He starts walking down the hallway toward them. As he gets closer, he raises his gun and points it at SULLIVAN. SULLY backs away, confused.

SULLIVAN
What? What the hell’re you doin’, man?

ROARKE leans to one side to look around SULLY and see CONNOR.

ROARKE
Well, you’ve given us everything we could ask for. We found the Holy Cross, we found Connor and his people, and we can wrap all of this up in one night. I wouldn’t say you were a good cop, but at least you were that effective. (smirking) Thanks, Sully.

SULLIVAN
You dirty snake! You were supposed to be my partner!

Enraged, he charges ROARKE, apparently forgetting about the gun in his hand. ROARKE, startled, shoots him, but it doesn’t slow SULLY down at all. SULLIVAN crashes into ROARKE, and they go down in a wrestling contest.

CONNOR dashes past, leaving the two cops grappling. He gets to the end of the hall and peeks around the corner. The robots have apparently finished off whoever they were shooting at, and they’re making their way back down the hall, finishing off the wounded and checking offices. CONNOR pulls his head back quickly before he is seen and turns back toward the fight behind him, just in time to see SULLIVAN’s gun go off. ROARKE’s head snaps back, and there is a fine spray of blood. When he looks back down, we see that half of his face has been ripped away, revealing a metal endoskeleton, including a glowing red eye, evoking a scene from Terminator.

SULLIVAN looks horrified. He looks down the hallway at CONNOR.

SULLIVAN
Only one of us is getting outta this one! Get outta here!

He throws the gun at CONNOR as ROARKE’s hand closes around his throat.

Cut away to CALIBURNUS. His last comrades go down in a hail of gunfire, but he ducks behind a corner just in time. He glances across the open hallway to a window. We can’t see how far up he is, but the ground is not visible. He closes his eyes and whispers a prayer, then dashes across the hallway, firing at the robots that just killed his men. He leaps, crashing through the window and falling out of frame.

Cut back to CONNOR and SULLY.

CONNOR snatches up the gun.

[Conflict: Will Connor rescue Sullivan or save his own skin? Seth is at Screen Presence 1. Producer spends only one budget to get two cards. Seth uses his Law Enforcement trait and two fan mail to get four cards. He easily gets a “Yes, and…” result.

He fires twice, putting two bullets into ROARKE’s head, who topples off of SULLIVAN. SULLY grabs his partner’s gun and rejoins CONNOR at the corner.

SULLIVAN
Ready to take these guys on?

They pop around the corner, firing their pistols with uncanny accuracy. A few shots of the two of them dashing through the building, taking out robots as they go. The final shot of the sequence shows them running for the door. The sun is rising, shining right through the glass doors, and the two of them vanish into the blown-out light, while tile and sheetrock explode all around them.

Scene 4. Tyler 01:12:13

Plot scene
Characters: Tang, Grey, Bobby
Set: Tang’s living room.

INT. TANG’S HOUSE. MORNING.

TANG shows BOBBY and GREY into the house.

TANG
I’m going to get in touch with my friends online and see if they can tell us anything about what’s going on right now.

GREY (nursing his injury)
Okay. Tang, you got a first aid kit around here?

TANG
I think there’s one that came with the house.

BOBBY
I’ll find it.

GREY collapses on the couch while TANG gets his VR gear set up and BOBBY goes to find the first aid kit. GREY pulls out his phone and dials.

INT. RENEE’S APARTMENT.

Cut to RENEE answering the phone.

RENEE
James? Thank God! Are you alright?

GREY
Kinda. I need you to come pick me up and take me to work with you.

Cut back to GREY. BOBBY is pressing a compress to his chest and wrapping his torso in compression bandages to hold it in place.

INT? VR EIFFEL TOWER.

Cut to TANG materializing in his VR world.

WALKER BOH
Tang, buddy! Haven’t seen you in a while. What’s going on?

TANG
I don’t know. The world’s blowin’ up.

WALKER BOH
Yeah, I know. There’s been some kind of FBI thing. It’s been on the news. They’re raiding some religious terrorists all over the place. I guess those guys are going down. You didn’t get caught up in any of that, did you?

TANG
I may have passed them once or twice, but I’m okay.

WALKER BOH
Good, I’m glad you’re all right. So you going to be online for a while?

TANG
Oh, I don’t know, I have some friends over. Maybe just a little bit. We could build a couple houses.

Cut back to the living room.

GREY
Tang, do you have any peroxide?

TANG, in his VR goggles, is unresponsive.

GREY
Tang! Peroxide!

Cut to VR.

TANG
Who else is online? Can we get everyone here?

WALKER BOH
Yeah, I think we can get most of them. Hang on… Vlad? Beagle? Yeah, okay, I think everybody who’s on right now is paying attention.

TANG
You guys know about this AI and how it’s been gaining more and more power. Well, now it’s started taking direct action against its enemies. It destroyed the Holy Cross, and probably most people are okay with that, but it also used them to justify moving against a lot of other people, too, including me and my team. You guys are all about personal freedom, so I’m sure you have as big a problem with what the Machine is doing as we do. Pretty soon, I’m probably going to need a lot of help. Can I count on you to help us do what needs to be done?

VLAD THE INHALER
We’re with you, brother!

DESERT BEAGLE
SEVEEENN!

SEVENCLAN MEMBERS and TANG (in unison)
Seven!

Fade to black.

Scene 5. Cobalt. 01:36:15

Plot scene.
Characters: Bobby, Director Connor
Set: Diner

INT. DINER. DAY.

DIRECTOR CONNOR is dialing a pay phone in a diner. In the background, SULLIVAN is unceremoniously stuffing his face with a greasy breakfast.

CONNOR
Bobby, it’s Connor. Yeah, I’m okay. Status report.

Cut to SULLIVAN, enjoying his meal. CONNOR is in the background, talking animatedly. SULLY takes another bite with evident relish. Cut back to CONNOR.

CONNOR
Alright, you and Tang go with Grey to secure those servers. I’m going to see if I can’t get hold of my contacts at Division and get instructions. Until we know more about what’s going on, let’s keep off unsecured channels. Meet me at the Gamma rally point. And be careful.

CONNOR hangs up the phone, a pensive expression on his face.

View
Next Time on Circuit Breakers: 65,536 Shades of Grey

SULLIVAN and CONNOR are in a dark place. SULLIVAN has a gun.

SULLIVAN
Sorry, only one of us is going to make it.

A close shot on TANG and ELLA, with intense eye contact.

GREY closes a large, ornate office door. He turns and addresses his FATHER.

GREY
Dad, we gotta talk.

ROARKE is firing his gun.

GREY, in his exosuit, is in the cargo area of a large military airplane. The cargo ramp is open, and the plane is in flight. He is in a fistfight with a large, powerful black and grey robot.

View
Episode 6, "Monkey Business" Act 3

Scene 1. Producer. 03:27:26

Plot scene
Characters: Grey, Bobby, Tang
Set: Another “abandoned” building

EXT. ABANDONED BUILDING. NIGHT. SNOWSTORM.

The team’s surveillance van is moving carefully across snow-covered streets in a run-down part of the outer city. The back of the van has been cleared of equipment in order to accommodate GREY in his exosuit. TANG is driving, and BOBBY is operating Simian’s laptop, connected to the captured robot’s head, and the cellular signal tracer is in operation once again.

BOBBY
Are you sure this is working right?

GREY
Yeah, I told you; transmitting telemetry on the same cell carrier frequency reactivates the control signal. As long as we can fool it into thinking the bot is still active but not accepting instructions, the controller will keep trying to access it so it can be destroyed. Then all we have to do is trace the signal to its source.

BOBBY
How did you figure this out, anyway?

GREY
I had a dream about it.

BOBBY exchanges a glance with TANG. TANG appears unperturbed by this revelation. The van pulls up next to a chain-link fence around an abandoned property with an expansive parking lot. Snow has drifted deeply against the side of the building and against the fence.

TANG
Do you see any surveillance?

GREY
I guess I’ll use my suit’s sensors to scan the area? Can my suit even do that?

POV: GREY’s suit’s scanners show no thermal traces. A nearby electrical transformer shows a very intense EM field.

GREY
I don’t see much in the building, but there’s a lot of juice running through that transformer up there. That seems suspicious for an abandoned building don’t you think?

BOBBY
Are we going to have another autonomous factory war today?

TANG
I don’t know, but I’m freezing my ass off. Let’s either get inside or start a fire.

GREY
Well, only way to go but in. Let’s do it.

BOBBY and GREY exit the van, and BOBBY easily breaks the chain holding the gate closed. TANG drives through, and BOBBY swings back up into the van while GREY breaks the trail. They pull close to the front entrance. By the time TANG and BOBBY get to the door, GREY has kicked it off its hinges.

They pass through the reception and office areas, rifling through ancient desks and eventually emerge on a catwalk overlooking a warehouse floor. Below, rank upon rank of unmarked black and grey robots stand silently.

GREY
Well, that was easy.

BOBBY
We need to dispose of these things.

GREY
Wow, that’s a lot. None of these are police robots; they don’t have any markings on them. This is beyond my pay grade, guys.

BOBBY
Well, they look like the same robots that destroyed our headquarters.

GREY
Surely that one assembler you saw couldn’t have made all of these things. That means that whatever’s manufacturing them must be doing it secretly at a dozen different factories.

BOBBY
Simian would be helpful at this point.

GREY
We could try to rig this place to explode. It’s not going to let us know how these things got here or why, though.

BOBBY
We could monitor it, see if any other robots show up.

GREY
I’m kind of surprised we haven’t set off some kind of alarm. Surely whoever is running this place would have it lined with sensors.

BOBBY
Maybe they wanted us to see it.

GREY
You saying someone wanted us to come here?

BOBBY
You’re the one who led us here.

GREY
Are you saying Ella sent us here on purpose?

BOBBY
I’m saying it’s a possibility

GREY
But it was just a dream. She wan’t actually there.

BOBBY
There’s stuff here. You don’t usually dream about a random location, go there, and actually find stuff.

GREY
You’ve got a point. They look like they’re connected to some kind of charger. We could cut off the power, maybe, but that might wake them up.

BOBBY
We could try to blow them up. If they have the same kind of explosives as the other robots, I estimate the damage to this building would be catastrophic. The damage to the highway and the building across the street would be significant. The snow should prevent any fires from spreading.

GREY
If it comes down to it, I could just send a missile down into it, but I’d rather try to find some kind of information about why they’re here and who controls them. Bobby, are you picking up any signals in here?

BOBBY
No, but there is something strange going on in the police band. There’s an encrypted signal I don’t have a key to, and the transmission is coming toward us.

GREY
Do you think they’re receiving instructions on the police band?

BOBBY
It’s conceivable. The police network extends across the entire metropolitan area. Whatever it is, though, it’s going to be here in about five minutes.

GREY
So maybe there was an alarm?

BOBBY
It might be a set-up after all.

GREY
Are you patched into the police network right now? Is there any kind of response going on besides that encrypted signal?

BOBBY
There is no unit being dispatched in this area.

GREY
If whoever it is can send a signal that you can pick up, surely it would be easier to go ahead and activate a hundred robots and turn them on us instead of sending something else. Maybe they’re not finished, or they need a software update or something.

BOBBY
I don’t know, but we have a few options: We could wait and see what this signal does when it arrives, which is risky. We could try to blow them all up before they get activated. Or the most difficult: we could try to stop the signal. Find out where it’s coming from and shut it off.

GREY
What if one of us was to hide and watch what happens. The others could leave and wait nearby.

BOBBY
I’ll stay behind and watch.

TANG (sighing)
Back out into the cold.

BOBBY climbs into the rafters and hides in the shadows. GREY and TANG get back into the surveillance van and withdraw. Cut back to BOBBY, whose indicator lights are shutting off. Moments later, we hear the crunching of snow as a vehicle pulls up to the building. A car door closes. The front door opens and closes. Out onto the catwalks steps DETECTIVE ROARKE.

ROARKE takes a long look at all of the robots, apparently unsurprised by their presence. He touches his ear, as though he is wearing an earpiece, but he says nothing. Then he turns and leaves. Outside, ROARKE examines the tracks left behind in the parking lot by the surveillance van and GREY’s suit.

Cut to GREY and TANG, now driving on well-traveled streets in order to hide their tracks. GREY leans forward into the cab of the van.

GREY
Bobby says it was some detective named Roarke. He’s gone now. Why would a police detective be involved? That seems incredibly suspicious to me because these aren’t police robots. Not to mention the fact that they tried to kill us.

BOBBY
Affirmative.

GREY
Do you know what he said on his earpiece?

BOBBY
He didn’t appear to say anything.

GREY
Maybe he’s under control of the nanotech. Should we let the police know?

BOBBY
Let the police now what? That we’re a bunch of terrorists who broke into a warehouse to find a bunch of robots?

GREY
Well, when you put it like that. Well, something fishy is going on here. It sounds like the place needs to go.

The van pulls up across the driveway. BOBBY runs out the door as GREY steps out of the van and opens his rocket ports. Two small missiles shoot up into the sky, then arc downward. GREY turns away before they hit as BOBBY joins him in a dramatic slow-motion walking-away-from-the-explosion shot. In the background, one missile blasts a hole in the roof, and the second ignites inside the building. We see a yellow flash inside, but the huge exciting explosion fails to appear.

GREY and BOBBY pause for a moment, look at one another, then turn around to see that the warehouse hasn’t exploded like they expected it to. TANG leans out the window of the van, looking puzzled.

GREY
Um… Let me shoot one more, just in case.

He launches another missile, which has similar results. There is now a hole in the wall, so the robots are visible from the street. A few of them have been destroyed, but most are still intact.

BOBBY
Now dispatch is sending someone our way. I guess someone heard the explosions.

GREY
If police units are coming, we don’t have a lot of time.

BOBBY
But they’re not police robots, they might just…

GREY
I don’t think we want to be found in the area.

BOBBY
Okay, let’s get out of Vegas.

Scenes 2-5: Everyone 04:07:45

[We took a long time getting to this point, so we started wrapping things up here. Montage editing to show each member of the cast trying to adjust to the new circumstances.]

INT. HOLY CROSSGUEST ROOM”. NIGHT.

CONNOR and SULLIVAN have punched a hole in the wall and are pulling data cables out into the room.

INT. GREY’S APARTMENT. NIGHT.

Slow motion, with sad music. The lights are low, the scene is mostly illuminated by moonlight reflecting from the snow on the balcony.

GREY is sitting on his bed, his head in his hands. We can see TANG and BOBBY through the open door. The doorbell rings, and TANG turns to answer it.

Cut away to SULLIVAN stripping wires with the edge of his badge. Real time.

Back to TANG, opening the door, in slow motion again.

To CALIBURNUS, who is watching a security monitor that shows CONNOR and SULLIVAN working on their escape. He turns to one of his people and nods.

Back to TANG. As the music rises to a dramatic crescendo, he opens the door, the framerate accelerating to realtime, to reveal a gorgeous young woman in a very brief silk kimono. She is smiling and holding a plate of cookies. The music drops in volume for the dialog.

STRIPPER
Welcome to the building!

TANG
Oh, thank you; you’re so nice! Are these homemade?

STRIPPER
Uh, kind of. I warmed them up.

TANG
Nice, I would have done the same. So thoughtful.

Cut to BOBBY, staring at the scorch mark on his arm, where Simian burned him. He reaches up to touch the open panel on his head again. In the background we see TANG still conversing with the STRIPPER. A shadow passes over the room. The STRIPPER gasps, looking past BOBBY. BOBBY whirls toward the windows. He is slightly slower than TANG at getting his gun out.

Cut to a wide shot of the building. A fireball erupts from the side of the building. Roll credits as the sad music resumes.

TAG: At the end of the credits, we see CALIBURNUS. Someone whispers something in his ear. He nods and turns his attention back to the monitor, in which CONNOR and SULLIVAN appear to be splicing wires together.

Fade to black.

View
Episode 6, "Monkey Business" Act 2

Scene 1: Producer 02:05:18

Character Scene
Characters: Connor, Caliburnus
Set: Holy Cross HQ, guest room

[Everybody gives Cobalt Fan Mail for the previous scene.]

INT. HOLY CROSS GUEST ROOM. DAY.

CONNOR is pacing around a relatively large bedroom. There is some furniture such as would be typical in a hotel room, but there are no windows. The door opens, and CALIBURNUS enters.

CALIBURNUS
I took the time to look into matters a little more deeply than I had. I was hoping that you would be a little more cooperative in discussing matters with me, but since you declined, I decided to do some research to see if I could find out what makes you tick. So I went back through the newspapers, learned a little bit about Audrey and how she died. (pause) This Detective Sullivan, the one who shot her. It seems that he had a bit of a breakdown afterward. He apparently couldn’t handle the idea that he had killed someone who might not deserve it.

CALIBURNUS pauses again to gauge CONNOR’s reaction. CONNOR maintains a stony silence.

CALIBURNUS
Even after an inquest cleared him of any wrongdoing, Sullivan continued to blame himself for what he saw as a shameful act, to the point that he was unable to perform his duty. Eventually he underwent a process called neural pattern remapping—a sort of mind-wipe that replaced his traumatic memory with a different one. I’ve learned that recently, he seems to have undergone a reverse process to retrieve the memory, an act that is evidently linked to his pursuit of you. It makes me wonder what drives him. What do you think? Do the steps Detective Sullivan has taken seem reasonable to you?

CONNOR
Reasonable? No.

CALIBURNUS
I ask you this because there is some possibility that, as a show of good faith to you, I might be able to relieve some of the pressure you’ve been feeling from the police department. Your own superiors, this so-called “Division” you report to, have not made much headway in getting the warrants on you quashed. Then again, your recent activities haven’t made it easy on them. And I suppose I must take a little responsibility, myself. It seems that our assault on Division to retrieve JiunJie Li alerted the police to its existence.

CONNOR
That was you?

CALIBURNUS
Yes, it was. At the time, we suspected your organization of being behind Li’s behavior modifications. The after-action reports from the conflict we had at Motownland showed me that were mistaken about your intentions—we appeared to be on the same side. That was when I decided that we needed to have a conversation. Speaking of which: What was that you injected him with to free him from the Machine’s control?

CONNOR
I don’t know much about it. Our lab tech developed some kind of cocktail to counteract the effects of the nanotech they’d put in him.

CALIBURNUS
Nanotechnology?

CONNOR
Oh, you didn’t know about that?

CALIBURNUS
No, I did not. We were trying to determine what kind of hold the Machine had on Li, why he had suddenly begun acting contrary to his previous beliefs. He was injected with some sort of nanotech? That is very disturbing; it means the Machine is starting to employ technologies we cannot even detect, let alone defend against.

CONNOR
Well, we cooked up an antidote, but I can’t do much about it from here.

CALIBURNUS
You have given me some things to think about. I am going to leave you alone a little while longer, and when I return, I am going to offer you that show of faith I spoke about before.

Scene 2: Tyler

Character Scene.
Set: Sterling Ponds Shopping Center
Characters: Tang

EXT. STERLING HEIGHTS. DAY.

The snow continues to fall softly, and there are few cars on the roads as TANG staggers away from the industrial parks and into the parking lot of a small shopping mall. He is bleeding and still carrying the modified M1 rifle, which draws some attention from the few shoppers stubborn enough to brave the snow.

People give him a wide berth as he stumbles into a men’s room, where he leans the rifle against a counter and strips out of his shirt (sex appeal!) to tend to his wound. He uses some paper towels to form a makeshift compress and produces a roll of duct tape from a coat pocket, which he uses to tape the compress in place.

He wads up his ruined shirt and throws it in the garbage. He just finishes putting on his coat over his bare chest when there is the squawk of a police radio outside the door. A COP speaks from outside the restroom.

COP
Metro PD. Are you alright in there, sir?

TANG
Yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine.

COP
I’m going to come in slowly. I need to see your hands, and no weapons.

The COP slowly opens the door. He has his weapon unholstered, but it is down at his side. He is clearly nervous.

TANG
Oh, hi. Don’t worry, I mean no harm. I’m just cleaning up this bleeding. Is there a problem, officer?

COP (talking into his radio)
This is unit 54. I need an ambulance to my location, possible GSW. (to TANG) Sir, I’m going to move forward and secure that rifle. Do you have any other weapons?

TANG
No, you can’t take that rifle; it’s a collector’s item!

COP
Don’t worry, you’ll get it back. I just need to maintain control of this scene. People are getting nervous about that gun. Do you have any other weapons?

TANG
Yes.

As the COP reaches for the rifle, TANG draws a revolver from inside his coat and shoots him in the leg. The COP falls to the floor, grasping his leg. TANG kicks the COP’s gun away and takes his radio, dropping both in the trash.

TANG enters an Old Navy store, looks around, and puts his rifle in the arms of a mannequin.

TANG
Hold this for me.

He browses for a new shirt, buys it, and puts it on in a dressing room. He reclaims the rifle as he leaves the store and proceeds to the light rail station. In the background, there are flashing red lights as the ambulance arrives, and paramedics are seen entering the men’s room. As the people mover pulls away from the station, he sees the paramedics carry the COP out toward the ambulance.

Scene 3: Seth 02:40:22

Character scene
Characters: Bobby
Set: Abandoned industrial building

INT. ABANDONED INDUSTRIAL BUILDING. EVENING.

High angle on BOBBY, still standing motionless with SIMIAN’S corpse gripped in his hand. Snow has accumulated on his head and shoulders and is drifting around his ankles, indicating that a good deal of time has passed since the previous scene.

BOBBY slowly lowers his arm, settling SIMIAN gently to the ground. He arranges the body respectfully. Cut to a wide shot of an industrial incinerator. SIMIAN is lying on a piece of plywood, as if it were a bier. BOBBY turns a crank, and gas starts hissing inside the incinerator. A few moments later, the gas ignites, and BOBBY turns the valve fully open. He stands in front of the open door for a few moments, the light reflecting in his optics and painting him orange.

Cut to an overhead shot of BOBBY sliding SIMIAN’s body carefully into the incinerator. OTS shot of him closing the hatch and staring through the little window. He puts his hand on the side of the enclosure, right below the sign that warns about severe burns. The paint on his palm starts smoking. He just stands there quietly, watching as SIMIAN is reduced to ash.

Fade to black.

Scene 4: Joel 02:51:08

Character scene
Characters: Grey, Tang, Bobby, Ella
Set: Grey’s penthouse apartment

INT. GREY’S PENTHOUSE APARTMENT. EVENING.

GREY placing the dismantled pieces of his exosuit into its storage receptacle. It shows obvious damage from the fight. He is visibly agitated. He dials his phone, but the call doesn’t go through.

TANG enters.

GREY
Oh my gosh, Tang, you made it!

GREY hugs TANG enthusiastically.

TANG
Ah! Not the arm!

GREY
Oh, I’m so sorry. Are you okay?

TANG
No! I need help!

GREY
Come over here. Sit down by the fire and warm up. It’s freezing out there. What happened to you?

TANG
I don’t know. I was racking up massive points, and then…

GREY
What do you mean, “racking up massive points?”

TANG
Huh? Oh… Let’s just say I was killing lots of things.

GREY
You think you’ve been playing a video game this whole time?

TANG
No, of course not. That doesn’t make any sense. …Right?

GREY
Okay, then what happened? You set off the EMP, right? Almost fried my suit!

TANG
Oh, sorry about that. I figured you were out of range.

GREY
Yeah, well, I guess you were right. What happened after the factory?

TANG
I went shopping. Got a new outfit.

GREY
You’re insane! But you do look really good.

TANG
Thanks; it was a good sale.

BOBBY enters. Parts of him are stained with soot.

GREY
Bobby, you’re here! Are you all right? You look like Hell, which is saying something! Okay, here, come inside.

GREY pokes his head out into the hallway and looks both ways.

GREY
Where’s Simian?

BOBBY shakes his head.

GREY
What…? Are you having a servo problem or something? Where’s Simian?

BOBBY
He’s not with us.

GREY
What do you mean, he’s not with you? Did you get separated?

BOBBY
He didn’t make it.

GREY
He didn’t make it to the house?

BOBBY
He didn’t make it out of the factory.

GREY
Are you saying he’s dead?

BOBBY
He’s turned off.

GREY
Wait… Bobby, are you really telling me that he’s dead? This isn’t a joke? He’s not outside…

BOBBY
A robot killed him.

GREY
Tang?

TANG
I don’t know; I wasn’t there.

GREY
Where is he now?

BOBBY
I cremated him.

GREY
You what?

BOBBY
I cremated Simian.

GREY
You cremated him. You set him on fire. Why would you do that?

BOBBY
If his body were discovered, it would cause problems.

GREY
I guess that makes sense. Tang, is this okay with you?

TANG
I don’t know… Yeah, I guess.

GREY sits down heavily.

GREY
I didn’t expect anyone to actually die. We were just fighting robots and stuff. But he’s actually dead. He was just here… This is kind of a lot for me. I need to… I’ll be in my room.

TANG
I need some rest, too.

Short montage of the three of them trying to deal with the loss. TANG plays a 2d video game on Grey’s enormous TV, but he doesn’t seem into it. One of his friends keeps trying to start a chat with him, but he just ignores it. BOBBY scours the soot from himself. Occasionally, he touches the still-open access plate on his head self-consciously.

GREY is curled up in bed. He gradually falls asleep. Slow push in. We see his rapid eye movement, indicating he is dreaming. Jump cut to the other side of the bed, crossing the line. ELLA is lying next to him, her head propped on one hand. Grey is awake now.

ELLA
This is quite a blow for you, isn’t it?

GREY
Yeah, I didn’t think this is what would happen. I guess I never really thought about dying. I just thought we were, like superheroes, overcoming everything stacked against us.

ELLA
I feel that what I should tell you is that this is not a movie. I don’t think that is what you need to hear right now, though. Rather, try to think of Simian’s loss, not as a senseless tragedy, but as the fuel to drive you forward. Let your grief harden your resolve.

GREY
You’re saying it should give us all the motivation to see this through? To overcome the AI and stop all the dumb stuff that’s been happening in this city?

ELLA
To do otherwise would cheapen his sacrifice. Make it worthless.

GREY
For a dream version of an A.I., you’re pretty smart.

ELLA (smiling)
Well, if I am a dream, then I am just part of your mind, and that makes you pretty smart.

GREY
But what do I do next? Director Connor is gone, and he’s the only one who really knows what’s going on. Tang thought that everything we did today in the factory was a video game.

ELLA
I chose to watch after you few because you don’t act like most people would.

GREY
That’s an understatement.

ELLA
Tang’s particular psychosis is, I’ll admit, intellectually interesting to me, but I think it’s also a part of what makes him powerful. It certainly makes him unpredictable. As for Bobby? Who knows what he is? A machine becoming a man? I don’t know. i would encourage you now that you have found these friends not to toss them aside just because you have realized how much pain they can give you.

GREY
I guess that makes sense. If you were me, what would you do right now?

ELLA leans forward and whispers something in his ear.

Cut back across the line. GREY gasps and wakes up. BOBBY is seen through the doorway, the missing panel on his head is visible. When GREY makes a sound, BOBBY turns to look at him.

Scene 5: Cobalt 03:15:28

Character Scene
Characters: Connor, Caliburnus
Set: Holy Cross HQ

INT. HOLY CROSS GUEST ROOM. INT

The door to CONNOR’S “guest room” opens again, revealing CALIBURNUS. He has a bruise on his face.

CALIBURNUS
As promised, I brought you a present.

He shoves DETECTIVE SULLIVAN into the room, closes the door and locks it.

SULLIVAN
Connor!

CONNOR
So they got you, too, huh?

SULLIVAN
Tryin’ to say you didn’t have something to do with it?

CONNOR
I don’t know what’s going on here. Believe me, I’m just as much a prisoner as you are.

SULLIVAN (scoffs)
Right. You know, I never pegged you for being one of these Holy Cross freaks. I always figured you had your own thing going on, but if you’re throwing in with these wackos, you’re even worse than I thought you were,

CONNOR
Hey, I’m not the one going around killing people’s wives.

SULLIVAN looks ashamed and pained, and maybe a little bit afraid.

SULLIVAN
Look, that whole thing was messed up, okay? Best we knew, we were going in on a call about domestic terrorism—anarchists or some crap. I come into that alley, and I see you… (sighs) That isn’t the way I wanted it to go down, you gotta know that. The damn robot had its lights in my eyes, and I thought I saw a gun… But you, I know you’re dirty.

CONNOR
You’d think that would have earned me a pass or something. In any case, don’t expect me to forget what you did.

SULLIVAN
Alright, look, maybe all this has been because of what I did, but that doesn’t justify bombings, murder, terrorism… Look, man, I get it; you lost your wife. (pauses, emotional) I shot your wife. Terrible thing.

CONNOR
Not saying everything went exactly as planned, but what I’ve been doing isn’t what you apparently think it is. The Machine has been controlling everything; it’s bad news. It’s gotta be stopped.

SULLIVAN
Is that what this is all about? The frickin’ Machine? God! You know, I knew it was a bad thing as soon as they started bringin’ those robots in on the force. A thousand guys out of a job (snaps fingers) like that. But what you’ve been doin’. I mean, for God’s sake, you shot the Mayor’s aide! What was that about? He certainly wasn’t a robot; he bled red enough!

CONNOR
Alright, that got a little out of hand, but the Machine had put some kind of nanotech in the Mayor. It was controlling him.

SULLIVAN
Mind control now? What is this, Science Fiction Theater?

CONNOR
You haven’t seen what I’ve seen. If you had, maybe you wouldn’t be so high-and-mighty.

SULLIVAN
High and mighty? Right, my boss is a robot now, too. Okay, look, we got this Machine, and ‘bots thinkin’ they’re people, so maybe nanotech ain’t so far out as I might think. So, what? The aide was some kind of a handler? A mind-controlling specialist something or other?

CONNOR
Sure, let’s go with that.

SULLIVAN (snorts)
Yeah right. So I guess we’re stuck here together, for whatever reason.

CONNOR
It would appear that way.

SULLIVAN
So you say you’re a prisoner, too, so… These Holy Cross guys, what is it they’re after?

CONNOR
They’re apparently against A.I. in all its forms.

SULLIVAN
And the kidnappings and bombings? They’ve been killin’ people, man.

CONNOR
I don’t fall in with all their methods, either.

SULLIVAN
Alright, well, regardless of what’s between you and me, I think we can agree we need to get outta this place, right?

CONNOR
I’m with you on that.

SULLIVAN
Right. Unfortunately, I have no idea how to do that.

CONNOR
Well, I have half a mind to break your face, but let’s see if we can find a way to get out of here.

View
Episode 6, "Monkey Business" Act 1
It runs on diamonds!

Scene 1: Producer

Plot Scene
Characters: Simian, Bobby, Grey, Tang
Set: Grey’s Penthouse Apartment

INT. GREY’S PENTHOUSE. MORNING.

Establishing shot: The hotel containing Grey’s apartment. The city is cloaked in heavy snowfall.

GREY, TANG, BOBBY and SIMIAN are gathered to discuss the previous day’s events and try to determine what to do next. SIMIAN has been up all night analyzing the captured robot’s memory and processor.

SIMIAN
I managed to hack into the ’bot’s memory core. They’re pretty primitive; nothing like real A.I. And whoever made them was smart enough not to leave any handy clues. They were always meant to self-destruct. They analyzed the layout of Headquarters during the invasion, and as soon as they had an optimum spread, they all detonated. This one only survived because the Protectium doused its pyro display right as it got started. If any of them got lost, it was supposed to hide and self-destruct. They don’t have any directives about returning home, and I can’t just back-trace them because they didn’t store any navigation history. That all sounds like bad news, right? But wait; there’s more! The programmer didn’t want to take any chances that the ‘bots would go off mission, so there’s a cellular networking uplink that they were using to watch the action. So I hacked the carrier and found the other end of the network. It was bouncing around all kinds of different numbers and networks, so tracking it was a dead end, but I did manage to track the towers the robots pinged off, and I narrowed it down to someplace in Sterling Heights.

There is some discussion and dithering about what they should do. Eventually SIMIAN also reveals new piece of tech.

SIMIAN
This is a little something I cooked up for just such an occasion. It’s a short-range EMP. Should knock out anything electronic within about 500 meters. Totally safe for people and mechanical stuff, and pretty safe for pure electrics like motors and stuff. Computers and robots, though, fried like chicken.

He tosses the object at BOBBY with a smirk on his face. BOBBY catches it in a bit of a panic.

GREY
How long will it last?

SIMIAN
It depends on what it hits. Computers, anything with volatile memory, that’ll be wiped clean. Transistors might be scrambled anywhere from a few seconds to a few hours. Anything simpler than that will probably just hiccup. Delicate stuff might get damaged when the magnetic field passes over it.

GREY
So what about my suit?

SIMIAN
Um, yeah, you won’t want to be anywhere near that thing when it goes off. We’ll have to cut you out with a can opener.

The group eventually decides to go investigate Sterling Heights more closely to see if they can track down where the robots came from.

Scene 2: Tyler

_Plot Scene.
Characters: Tang, Bobby, Grey, Simian
Set: The stolen Dyson truck.

INT. TRUCK. DAY.

Tang is driving the Dyson Company’s truck, which the group stole in the previous episode. It has been equipped with a box trailer. SIMIAN is in the passenger’s seat, with his laptop and the salvaged robot parts, and he is running some kind of tracking program. In the trailer, BOBBY is strapping GREY’S exosuit to a large transport palette.

SIMIAN
Okay, I’m getting something here. I’m using the cellular carrier’s signal strength monitoring records to reconstruct interference patterns. If I can get enough data about how the towers and reflections intermodulate, I think I can track the robot’s path through town a little more accurately. Just keep driving around until I’ve got it locked down.

TANG
Okay, so just act like I’m lost?

SIMIAN
Yeah, pretend to read a map or something.

They drive around a bit longer, with SIMIAN’s program zooming in eventually on the General Dynamics campus.

SIMIAN
This is the place.

TANG
So what do we do, stake it out?

SIMIAN
Nope, gimme a second. I’m making a shipping manifest.

SIMIAN plugs a tablet into his computer and a few moments later hands it to TANG. Cut to the truck pulling up to the security kiosk. There is a human security guard supported by additional robotic forces. TANG passes the forged manifest to the guard, who looks it over carefully. He seems to take a long time.

TANG (confidently)
Is there a problem?

GUARD
No, we were’t expecting you so early, but this all looks fine. Go on in.

The truck pulls through the opening gate and heads around to shipping and receiving. In spite of it being the middle of a work day, the expansive parking lot is all but empty, and there are few signs of people here. Some of the vehicles in the lot, though, are shiny new military tanks.

TANG
Um, what’s with the tanks?

SIMIAN
They manufacture them here.

TANG and SIMIAN open the back of the truck, and BOBBY unloads the palette with GREY using a palette jack.

GREY
I’ll watch the exit. Just leave me here, and I’ll stay powered down until you need me.

INT. GENERAL DYNAMICS. DAY.

The team moves into the building, which continues to be almost eerily devoid of people. They take a look into the main manufacturing floor, which is busy with robots constructing more heavy military equipment: tanks, APCs, and drone weapons.

Eventually, they spot a human hurrying somewhere with a bin full of parts. Prominently sticking up out of the bin is a piece of grey and black armor similar to the robots that attacked the Agency.

TANG
Hey, there! Nice day, isn’t it? May I talk to you for a moment?

GUY
Yes? Can I help you?

TANG
What’s that thing you’re carrying?

GUY
What this? Honestly I don’t know. Every once in a while, our assemblers spit out a component that doesn’t seem to fit anything we’re supposed to be building. We’ve been told to just take them back to a store room, and I guess they get recycled. Someone carts it away, anyway. Nobody’s been able to explain it. We keep running diagnostics on the equipment, and it tests out fine, but they keep making these random pieces. We don’t even know where they’re getting the materials.

TANG
Mind if I take one for my collection?

GUY
I don’t see why not. Nobody else is using it.

TANG
Would you mind showing us that store room?

The GUY glances at BOBBY, who though battle-scarred, is still clearly a police robot. He appears to assume TANG and SIMIAN must also be police.

GUY
Yeah, sure. This way.

The GUY leads them to a store room with several shelving units bearing bins full of parts similar to the one he is carrying. He sets his bin on one of the shelves.

GUY
Anything else I can do for you?

TANG
No, we can take it from here.

GUY
Sure, um… yeah. Good luck.
(he exits)

BOBBY’S POV: A survey of the room, measuring its dimensions and showing X-Rays of the walls. One wall is completely opaque, and the survey highlights in red that the room is too narrow.

BOBBY
This room isn’t as big as it should be. I think this is a false wall.

TANG
Can you open it?

BOBBY
I don’t know. Simian?

SIMIAN
I dunno. Look for a bookshelf, or a torch bracket to turn?

GREY (on comms)
Zoinks!

BOBBY
Wait, I can see a control circuit.

He places his hand on a spot in the wall. VFX: inside the wall, some electrical signals indicate operation of the circuit. A door opens. On the other side is an assembler putting together one of the unmarked grey and black robots. As soon as it becomes aware that there are humans in the room, an alarm goes off.

GREY (on comms)
Uh, guys? A lot of these robots are rushing toward you! Ohhh gosh. Like, all of them are coming!

Cut to one of the tanks in the parking lot. The turret starts slowly swiveling toward the building.

Commercial break.

Scene 3: Seth 24:54

Character scene
Characters: Connor, Caliburnus
Set: Holy Cross infirmary.

INT. HOLY CROSS INFIRMARY.

Back from the break, we’re up on CONNOR lying in a hospital bed. His torso is bandaged, and he grimaces with pain as he regains consciousness. The room is spartan and windowless. Standing by the door is CALIBURNUS, in a plain, black priest’s outfit.

CALIBURNUS
Hello, Mr. Connor. My name is Caliburnus. Welcome to the Holy Cross.

CONNOR
Well, I didn’t have much of a choice, did I?

CALIBURNUS
So far as it goes, no. I suppose we could have left you there to bleed out or be captured by the police, but we did go to considerable trouble to intervene.

CONNOR
Right, so what was in it for you?

CALIBURNUS
An excellent question. First, let me tell you a little about what I know about you. I know you were formerly a detective with the Chicago PD. I do not know why you left that job or why you came to Detroit. I know you have been acting as some kind of spook lately, but the most we have been able to turn up is that you work for something called “The Agency” (sardonically). And that’s it. We have stumbled over your operations a couple of times now, and to be honest, I am confused.

CONNOR
Why is that?

CALIBURNUS
You seem to be in a position in opposition to The Machine and what it’s been doing. Yet you work with a robot. You work with people who program robots, and you work for an organization that seems a little bit pro-robot. That seems to me to be in contradiction to the actions you have been taking. What I want to know is this: Are you for us or against us?

CONNOR
Who is “us?”

CALIBURNUS
The human race.

CONNOR
Well, I’d say “for.”

CALIBURNUS
Your actions over the past couple of months have suggested to me that our goals may be aligned, but I find your relationship with this police robot to be troublesome.

CONNOR
He’s been reprogrammed. He doesn’t have anything to do with the A.I.

CALIBURNUS
He is A.I. And the way we’re talking about him is part of the problem. It is a machine. It is an abomination. It isn’t a person; it can never be a person. The arrogance of these people at Greystone and other firms, trying to usurp the Creator, making new life that has no soul: that is what we are against.

CONNOR
Do you churn your own butter, too?

CALIBURNUS (smiling)
Don’t get me wrong. We’re not against technology. I myself happen to be a computer scientist, but the human race has been systematically turning over the reigns to artificial intelligence—to machines. Surrendering our freedoms, and our autonomy, surrendering our destiny to what amounts to a new species on this planet, one that, if we are not careful, may turn out to be a superior species. Two intelligent species cannot coexist peacefully in the same world. One of them will be extinguished; I would rather it not be us.

CONNOR
Well, I’m not a fan of the A.I., but some artificial intelligences are very beneficial to humanity.

CALIBURNUS
I can’t deny that it’s useful, but the trouble is that it is all too easy to make the transition from it being useful to us to us being useful to it. We’re turning ourselves into a slave race. The Machine is in charge of our legistlature. The President has turned over much of his authority to it. The courts are now asking it’s opinion before rendering their decisions. And now it’s even starting to infiltrate law enforcement, and if I am not mistaken, you seem to have a rather personal stake in its attempts to subvert our educational system.

CALIBURNUS sits down in the chair next to the bed.

CALIBURNUS
Tell me about your wife and her death.

CONNOR
I’d rather not.

CALIBURNUS
The reason I ask is that your anti-Machine crusade seems to have started about that same time. I can only assume that there is some kind of causal relationship between those two events. I feel that if I can better understand you and what drives you, perhaps we can find a way to work together in spite of our differing ideologies.

CONNOR
Hmm… Maybe I don’t want to work with you.

CALIBURNUS
I suppose that’s your prerogative. We’re going to have to decide eventually what to do with you eventually, though. Whether that’s to release you back to your own people to continue the fight and just try to stay out of one another’s way. Or to remove the threat of the AI you’ve been working with and try to coopt your people to our own purposes. Which way we go is largely up to you.

CONNOR
Stay away from my team.

CALIBURNUS
I don’t know that I will have much of a choice, as long as we continue to work within the same sphere. I can’t have your activities threaten my own.

CONNOR
Are you threatening us?

CALIBURNUS
I didn’t really think of it as a threat, although I suppose from your perspective it amounts to the same thing. I don’t have anything against you or your team, but my first duty is to my mission. I will do whatever it takes to make certain that humanity survives this crisis.

CONNOR
I think we generally want the same things, but I won’t have my motives and my methods questioned.

CALIBURNUS
You’ve got some more healing to do, as I do. I will leave you for now to think things over. As soon as you feel up to it, we can move you to a more comfortable room.

Scene 4: Joel 47:38

Plot Scene
Set: General Dynamics
Characters: Grey, Tang, Bobby, Simian

INT./EXT. GENERAL DYNAMICS MANUFACTORY. DAY.

Up on GREY, tight on his face inside the suit. Lights and displays are coming on-line as he powers up.

GREY
Guys, I have an idea! All these things are headed toward you, but I could activate my suit and raise a little hell to give these guys a little distraction. By the way, there’s a tank headed your way right now! It’s kinda cool.

CUT TO: Factory floor, where a mostly-assembled tank is ripping free of the assembler that is still trying to rivet pieces of armor onto it. Several octo-copter drones are also lifting off.

SIMIAN
Bobby, get in there and download whatever data you can from that assembler! Tang, I’ve got just the thing for this!

SIMIAN unslings a satchel from his back to the floor and unzips it. He draws out what appears to be an M1 Garand with a modified magazine. He tosses it to TANG, who looks at it appreciatively.

SIMIAN
I figured we might run into more robots, so I made that for you. I made it look old, just like the ones you like. It fires armor-piercing darts. Each one has a capacitor in it that will act like a taser. It should take out most robots. But don’t miss. I only had enough time to load two magazines for it.

He tosses a replacement magazine to TANG and pulls out his own gun.

SIMIAN
Keep them off us long enough for Bobby to get the data!

[Conflict: Does Tang manage to protect his friends? Does Bobby get the data the team needs? Does Grey figure out how to use his suit effectively? Producer spends three budget for four cards. Joel spends four fan mail and activates his Billionaire Vigilante trait four six cards. Cobalt uses Police Robot for a card and spends two fan mail, bringing him up to four. Tyler uses his Gun Nut and Bipolar traits and also uses three fan mail to get six cards. The producer unfortunately draws really well, turning up four red cards. Everybody gets a “No” result, but both Bobby and Grey get a “but” result, allowing them to resist their impulses. Tang gets a “No, and…” so does not get what he wants, and his impulse is activated.]

Cut back to GREY: He is spraying rounds from a machinegun as he activates his jump jets, launching himself into the air.

GREY
Guys, I think I got their attention! Um… I think I need to leave!

One of the tanks takes a shot at him and hits him in the shoulder, knocking him out of the air. Desperately, he backpedals, still firing and sending a missile out at the tank that shot him down. Dirt charges go off all around him, and the smoke obscures what is happening. We cut away, not quite sure what’s happened to him.

BOBBY is tearing appendages off of the assembler and looking for a place to plug a patch cable in. He finds a port and jacks in, still fending off the remains of the assembler.

SIMIAN
Tang! Get back here!

CU on TANG, charging down the hall away from SIMIAN, then cut to a POV shot. As flying drones come around the corner, the familiar video game HUD we saw in the previous episode pops up, and targeting indicators appear over the drones. TANG starts firing, putting a sparking dart neatly into each one.

TANG continues running through hallways, taking out robots left and right.

Bullets start ripping through the room where BOBBY is working. The terminal he is hooked up to is destroyed. BOBBY himself takes a few rounds as well, but he remains operational.

SIMIAN
You okay? I think the data’s lost, and Tang’s run off somewhere. We need to get out of here!

SIMIAN and BOBBY move out in the opposite direction from where TANG went, trying to stay out of sight.

TANG is on the factory floor, continuing to put darts into robots. Finally, the rifle runs dry, just as one of the tanks crashes in through the big garage doors at one end of the room. He takes a bullet in the shoulder from one of the flying drones. As they close in, TANG reaches into his backpack, and pulls out the EMP bomb.

BOBBY and SIMIAN are dashing across the parking lot. In the background, we see the shipping and receiving area is in flames, and the truck they came in with is launched into the air in an explosion.

GREY launches himself out of a cloud of dust, launching chaff and continuing to attempt to retreat.

GREY
Too many robots!

Cut back to TANG. He sets off the bomb. A dramatic dome-shaped electrical field sweeps outward. As it passes over the robots, some of them shoot sparks, and all of them stop moving.

Cut to BOBBY and SIMIAN. They barely get into a ditch at the very edge of the dissipating EMP field.

Cut to GREY hitting his jump jets one final time to carry himself away from the EMP. A few bursts of flak follow him up. The jets run out of fuel, and he crashes to the ground in a residential neighborhood.

[Fan mail awarded to Tang, Bobby and Connor (for no particular reason).]

Scene 5: Cobalt 01:15:18

Character Scene.
Characters: Bobby and Simian
Set: An abandoned building in Sterling Heights.

INT. ABANDONED INDUSTRIAL BUILDING. DAY.

SIMIAN enters, swathed in a heavy coat and accompanied by a blast of snow. He is carrying two big Radio Shack® bags stuffed full of components. A little snow filters down from broken skylights overhead.

SIMIAN
Dude, I can’t believe you got shot again. It’s getting too expensive to keep putting you back together. It’s not like you’re made of Tinker Toys.

BOBBY
Yeah, well, I did. It really hurts!

SIMIAN
It doesn’t hurt, you big baby; you don’t even have any nerves! Shut up.

BOBBY
I do have nerves!

SIMIAN gets to work on BOBBY’s damage. Montage editing of his process of soldering some things, doing a little smith-craft to patch the holes in BOBBY’S armor, and so forth while they talk.

SIMIAN
I don’t know what McKew was thinking when he gave you this personality. Acting like you’re one of us is just weird.

BOBBY
Why do you gotta be so mean all the time, man?

SIMIAN
Mean? I don’t know what you’re talking about.

BOBBY
You know, when you hurt my feelings.

SIMIAN
You don’t have feelings; you’re a robot!

BOBBY
I’m not a robot; I’m human.

[Conflict: Can Bobby respond appropriately to Simian’s continued insistence that he is not human? Producer starts by spending two budget, and Cobalt spends a Fan Mail and uses his Rogue AI trait so that each has three cards. Conversation about the conflict around the table raised the stakes considerably, so the Producer spent one more budget, and Joel and Cobalt each added a Fan Mail to the Producer’s side, giving him six cards. “I hate to say it, but I like the idea of murdering Simian.” Cobalt stayed put at three. Cobalt, as expected, get’s a “No, and…” result. He gives into his Impulse, and there are consequences.]

By this point, SIMIAN is behind BOBBY, soldering something inside the back of BOBBY’S head. There is a spark and a little smoke comes out.

SIMIAN
Uh oh!

BOBBY
What?

SIMIAN (nervously)
Oh, nothing! Never mind. Everything’s fine!

[Joel’s giving a lot of good ideas for Simian, so the Producer asks him to play the character for the rest of the scene.]

BOBBY
Never mind what?

SIMIAN
I’m just messing around in your big, stupid head.

BOBBY
You just keep throwing insults my way.

SIMIAN
It’s not like you can’t take it. I mean, really; you’re just a glorified toaster who manages to keep getting himself shot.

BOBBY
Glorified toaster!?

SIMIAN
You’re supposed to have this super-human reaction time, and yet it’s almost like…

BOBBY
Hey, I do have good reaction time from my police training.

SIMIAN
Yeah, you were programmed.

BOBBY
I was trained.

SIMIAN
You’re a robot! Don’t you get it? You’re software; you’re hardware! Do you not see? When you look at your hand, what do you see right now?

BOBBY
A hand.

SIMIAN
Yeah, but a hand made out of metal. Let me prove it to you.

SIMIAN presses his soldering iron to BOBBY’s arm, the one he isn’t looking at. The paint starts to bubble and smoke.

SIMIAN
Do you feel this?

BOBBY
Feel what? Your insults? Yes!

BOBBY turns to look at the arm where the soldering iron is burning into him. He reacts immediately, shouting and grabbing SIMIAN’s arm. He turns on SIMIAN, squeezing hard enough to force him to drop the iron.

BOBBY
Dirty bastard!

SIMIAN grimaces in pain, but he is undeterred.

SIMIAN
The reason you couldn’t feel that is because you’re a robot! Any human being would have a hold burned in his arm. How do you explain that?

BOBBY
I’m special!

SIMIAN
You’re not special, you’re a tin can! A walking trashcan! You’re servos and wires and motors and software. You’re not a human being, and you will never be a human being! You can’t feel pain, and because you can’t feel pain you can’t feel emotions, and because you can’t feel emotions, you’re not alive! You’re just a very realistic simulation of a personality, and that is all you’ll ever be!

The damaged on-duty light on BOBBY’s shoulder begins flickering ominously. He squeezes SIMIAN’s arm harder, but otherwise remains motionless.

SIMIAN
So what, you think you’re feeling mad now? What are you going to do about it? You’re going to do what your programming tells you to do! It’s not like you could hurt me, even if you wanted to! And that just proves that not only are you just a robot, but real humans, actual humans will always have control over you!

SIMIAN kicks BOBBY strongly, but BOBBY doesn’t let go of him.

SIMIAN
That’s the difference between us. You just have a program that you have to follow. I have free will! You can’t harm me, but all I have to do is flip a switch, and I can shut you off completely! That’s not human; that’s not biology!

SIMIAN reaches around into the exposed circuitry on the back of BOBBY’s head and pulls free a large ribbon cable . BOBBY’s lights go out and his shoulders sag a bit as he stops responding. SIMIAN snorts in derision and tries unsuccessfully to free his wrist from BOBBY’s grasp. He gives a long-suffering sigh and scrabbles around in BOBBY’s head, reconnecting the cable. There is another small spark.

BOBBY’S lights turn back on. His free hand suddenly grips SIMIAN by the throat and lifts him off the ground. We see in SIMIAN’S face that he finally recognizes that he is actually in danger.

SIMIAN (whispering)
Bobby.

Crunch! SIMIAN goes limp.

High-angle shot of BOBBY, motionless, still holding SIMIAN up by his throat and his arm. Snow falls gently. A little has accumulated in SIMIAN’s hair.

Commercial Break.

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Episode 5, "Bright Lights/Long Shadows" Act 4
Epilogue/Next On Circuit Breakers

Scene 1: Producer

Plot Scene
Characters: Roarke and Sully
Set: Hospital

INT. HOSPITAL ROOM. MORNING.

DETECTIVE SULLIVAN is in a hospital bed, bandaged up. ROARKE is standing, looking out the window.

SULLIVAN
Did we get him?

ROARKE
No. No, we didn’t.

Scene 2: Seth

Plot Scene
Characters: Connor, Priest.
Set: An infirmary somewhere.

INT. HOLY CROSS INFIRMARY. MORNING.

We fade in to a white, unfocused scene. As the focus resolves, we see CONNOR lying in a hospital bed. He has several bandaged wounds, and he’s hooked to an IV line. He looks around, confused. The room is featureless. There are no windows or signs, or anything else that might tell him where he is.

There is a PRIEST standing at attention by the door. When he sees that CONNOR is awake, he approaches.

PRIEST
Welcome back, Mr. Connor.

Tight on CONNOR’s face, holding there as the music comes up, then cut.

Next Time on Circuit Breakers

GREY is sleeping. He rolls over, and we cut to the other side to see that ELLA is in the bed with him. His eyes pop open, and he gasps. Smash cut to GREY, still in bed, only this time he’s lying on his back. His eyes again snap open, and he gasps. He looks around. Cut to a wide shot, and we see that he’s alone in his room. Through the open door, we can see BOBBY. His head turns to look at GREY curiously.


There is a knock at the door, and TANG answers it. A gorgeous young woman wearing a silk robe is standing in the hallway with a plate of cookies.

STRIPPER
Welcome to the building!


BOBBY and GREY are standing on a platform overlooking a large warehouse that has rows upon rows of inactive black and grey robots.


SIMIAN is soldering something. His eyes widen.

SIMIAN
Uh-oh!

Cut to an exterior shot of the penthouse. One of the building’s windows explodes in a huge gout of flame.

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