Circuit Breakers

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.

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