Circuit Breakers

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.

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Midgardsormr

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