The Ba Gua Etuis Box
(Sound fades in. The sound of Chen breathing alone in a room).
Vicki: (from behind a door) Hey! You bastards! No! Hey! (Chen’s breathing get’s heavier and faster as he hears them coming close).
Martin: (from behind door) Contain him.
Peter: (from behind door) Yes.
Vicki: (from behind door) Let me go! (sound of the door swinging open, and Martin, Peter and Barbara walking in while dragging Vicki). No! Who are you? Let me go! Stop! (sound of them forcing him into a chair next to Chen).
Barbara: Help me strap him down. (sound of Vicki fighting them while they strap him to the chair). There, he’s secure.
Vicki: Answer me! Who are you?!
Peter: Silence him. (sound of a gag being put in Vicki’s mouth. Vicki mumbles in the background while gagged).
Barbara: Jesus Martin, it’s bad enough you forcing me and Chen into this, you’re kidnapping police officers too!
Martin: Unavoidable. He was injected with the modulator.
Peter: Why was he injected? Hugo was to be the one injected.
Martin: Human exchange… failure again. Hugo deteriorated. Stabbed the police officer with the modulator thinking it was a weapon… He was… trying to protect the project… I had just arrived at Hugo’s home when the police knocked on the door. I came to check on the progress of the modulator… Hugo had completely deteriorated when I had arrived. I was unable to talk him down, nor get him to agree to return with me in order to fix him.
Peter: What happened to Hugo?
Martin: …Shot to death by another police officer.
Barbara: What do you mean another police officer? Why were their cops there in the first place?!
Martin: Unknown. Perhaps Hugo’s deterioration caused the police to become alerted… I don’t know…
Peter: What of ADAM?
Barbara: Martin, you have to return this cop! You have to! Are you kidding?! The police are already on to us, their going to be looking for him!
Martin: ENOUGH! (moment of silence). Not ideal circumstances, but we must continue. The exchange must be perfected. The police officer has been injected with the modifier, therefore he must be the one that participates. Draw his blood for preliminary testing.
Barbara: Fine… (sound of Barbara walking over to Vicki). I’m not going to hurt you. I’m just going to draw a little bit of blood. Just stay still. (sound of Barbara drawing Vicki’s blood and Vicki mumbling from behind the gag while she does it).
Peter: I do not understand. Hugo should not have deteriorated. His body appeared to be slowly accepting the exchange.
Martin: Current hypothesis is that the preparatory narcotic caused rapid deterioration.
Peter: I fore-warned about the use of the preparatory narcotic on humans that had gone through a successful exchange.
Martin: Negative, Hugo’s exchange was not yet successful. Agreed upon hypothesis was that while Hugo would not be going through cranial exchange experiments, the components of the preparatory narcotic may allow for more efficient acceptance of the exchange…. Hypothesis was incorrect… Conversation terminated… Barabara, supply blood sample.
Barbara: (sound of her walking over to Martin) Here.
Martin: I will return (sound of Martin walking away).
Barbara: (pause) Can’t you see? Can’t you see what he’s becoming?
Peter: …Your confiding in Otto Vainikainen is most likely what lead to the police coming for Hugo. I should have not allowed you to do that.
Barbara: Homer was murdered Peter! He was murdered! He was my brother and he made you who you are! And his murderer is still out there walking around some where! Just because Martin doesn’t have the emotional capacity to deal with that doesn’t mean you have to let it go! You want to be so human? This is how you do it! Human’s fine and punish the ones who hurt the people they care about. But maybe Homer wasn’t so important to you after all?
Peter: …Homer was more important to me than you could ever know…
Barbara: Then why aren’t you out there trying to find Homer’s killer? You seem so busy being Martin’s errand boy that you’re forgetting what you’re priorities should be!
Peter: I must help Martin. The exchange is vital. You forget that this is Homer’s work. This is what he wanted us to carry on. This was his gift to all sentient beings. His killer will be found after we have perfected the exchange.
Barbara: Exchange my ass! The exchange will never work! You, Martin and Homer were flukes! And you know it! You’re wasting you’re time. Martin is obsessed! Can’t you see it? He’s kidnapping police officers now! For god sakes these insane experiments he’s been doing? This new modulator? Those machines at BIT? This cranial exchange test? These maniacs he’s letting into the exchange now? You know none of this will work.
Peter: The nature of science is to test. We learn from failure.
Barbara: Don’t give me that science crap! This is as far from science as it gets and you know it! You’re kidnapping priests for god sakes! You say you’re so inspired by the Ba Gua? Then tell me where in Feng Shui does it include kidnapping teachers?
Peter: …The Ba Gua peb…
Barbara: Oh yes, of course, Martin’s precious Ba Gua Pebble initiative! Like that will ever be possible to complete! Peter… Peter… Look at yourself. Look at what you’ve become for all of this? You’re hurting innocent people… Is this what you thought self awareness was going to be like? …Was this you’re plan for changing the world?
Peter: …I…It… Silence. Martin is approaching.
Martin: (sound of him walking back into the room) Tests have been completed, he is ready for amputation. (sound of Martin walking over to where Vicki is tied up and stopping. Sound of him removing Vicki’s gag).
Vicki: Blaagh! What the hell do you want?
Martin: … Decide on an extremity. I recommend you choose one that is non-vital to you’re daily operations.
Vicki: Fine, I choose my middle finger. Here, let me show it to you.
Martin: Affirmative (sound of Martin grabbing Vicki’s hand).
Vicki: Hey! Let go of my hand! (sound of Martin injecting something into Vicki’s hand) Ow! Hey! What was that? What did you just inject me with?
Martin: An anesthetic. Please remain still.
Vicki: What?! Why?! (sound of Martin starting up his laser saw) Hey! No! (sound of Martin cutting off Vicki’s middle finger) AAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!
Martin: Completed. (sound of Martin letting go of Martin’s hand and turning off his laser saw. Vicki is breathing heavily and in pain. Sound of Martin walking over to Barbara and Peter). Barbara, tend to his hand.
Barbara: (walking over to Vicki) Here, I’m just going to put a cauterizing agent on the wound… Don’t worry, what you were injected with early will be out of our system soon.
Vicki: (in pain) You… You’re Barbara Diya…
Martin: We must now find an appropriate node to exchange with.
Peter: There will be nodes at the exchange. We will find an appropriate one.
Martin: Barbara, come. We must preserve the finger and continue preparations for the exchange.
(sound of Martin and Peter leaving the room)
Barbara: (whispering to Vicki) Yes, I am. Help me! (sound of her walking out of the room quickly and closing the door behind her).
Chen: (after a moment) Are you ok?
Vicki: …They cut off my finger… (heavy breathing for a second)… He used a laser saw… That bastard is the killer…
Chen: Are you bleeding a lot?
Vicki: …No, the stuff she put on me sealed the cut up… Hey who are you?
Chen: My name is Chen. Chen Yap.
Vicki: … Chen Yap?… You were kidnapped after all… Your wife is looking for you.
Chen: She is?
Vicki: Yeah. I’m a cop. She came in to report you were missing. The police aren’t working on it yet, but she’s hired a private detective in the meantime… Hey are you doing ok? You’ve been here a while.
Chen: Yeah… I’m… I’m fine. Apart from keeping me tied up, they’ve been treating me fine. Feeding me, giving me water, letting me go to the bathroom.
Vicki: What do they want? What are they doing?
Chen: I don’t know. They keep talking about this ‘exchange’ thing and experiments.
Vicki: What do they want with you then?
Chen: They keep asking me about Feng Shui.
Vicki: What? Like arranging you’re furniture.
Chen: No, they’re like asking me stuff about Ba Gua. I teach Feng Shui. They kidnapped me the other night after class and have been asking me all of these weird questions about the Ba Gua and this like science stuff. They’re crazy…
Vicki: Two of them are nodes…
Vicki: That can’t be possible. No way… Their talking and moving around like their humans. They even seem to be… um…
Chen: Yeah… I’ve noticed that too. At first I thought they were just nodes working for that lady but… after being here for a while I think it’s the other way around. They seem to be the ones in control.
Vicki: Ok… Chen, don’t worry. You’re going to see you’re wife again. We’re getting out of there. I’ve just got to find something to cut these ropes with.
Chen: Good luck doing that while you’re tied to a chair.
Vicki: (sighs) yeah, good point… Where are we anyway?
Chen: Some kind of a basement I guess.
(Sound fades out)
(Sound fades in. At the graveyard. Patricia is digging while the others watch).
Patricia: (Grunting as she digs) Grrr…. Gah… Gnuhh…
Otto: Are you sure you don’t want any help with that?
Patricia: (as she digs) Hell no… Gnaaah… I live for this kind of stuff.
Zippy: Use you’re legs more, you’re going to hurt your back.
Patricia: Gah… thanks…
Maggie: This situation is freaking me out…
Bates: Yeah… I can’t say grave excavation is a standard practice at the station…
Patricia: (As she digs) Gahh… Oh come one you guys… Gnah… I know you didn’t join the force to be hanging out in a cemetery at midnight desecrating a grave… Grrr… But then again … Aack… you didn’t NOT join the force to do it either. (sound of Patricia hitting something wooden with the shovel) Oh… I think we’ve reached the coffin. Ok (sound of her getting out of the grave) Gah… You’re guys turn. I did the digging, now you guys dust it off and pull it out. (sound of Patricia walking away).
Bates: Alright boys, get in there and get me those bones. (sound of 2 police officers jumping into the grave and starting to excavate). You joining in Otto?
Otto: Sorry Howard, just bought these shoes, I’ll watch from a distance with Patricia (sound of Otto walking over to Patricia. Silence for a moment, sounds of them pulling up the coffin in the background). What was that?
Patricia: That was digging… Come on, how many times can I say I’ve dug up a grave?
Otto: Patricia, you once rigged up an entire system involving a remote control toy car, fly paper and an elaborate spider web of strings so that you didn’t have to get up from you’re desk to throw your recyclables in the bin. You’re not exactly queen of the Ms. Physical Labor pageant.
Patricia: I know, but if it wasn’t for that damn Betty Benchlifter that crown would have been mine last year!
Patricia: …What do you want me to say? My boyfriend’s been kidnapped, I had a breakdown in front of you, which you know is not my normal MO, and our lives seem to keep getting put in imminent danger solely based on the fact that we decided to work in the crime industry… I just needed to get some stuff out of my muscles… out of my head…
Otto: (after a moment) Why did you get into this stuff by the way?
Patricia: Oh what? You don’t remember how we met now?
Otto: Oh, I remember what happened. You’ve just never told me why it happened.
Patricia: (trying to avoid the question) Wow, look at the moon… (Otto grunts) (sighs) …Look… I’m not exactly a… standard issue human being. I guess I needed to get involved with this stuff because in a weird way criminals are people I can relate to. I don’t mean the crime part… I mean the part about being the square peg trying to fit in the circular hole. When I see the people who do these things… most of the time I see people who were just trying to follow the yellow brick road like they were supposed to but ended up getting lost and snapped once they realized they were out there all alone… The facades we keep are very comforting things…But when you are the person who wasn’t born with the ability to keep a straight face, either you can try to overcompensate by frowning or smiling in an attempt to convince yourself that you’re still an acceptable human being… or you can accept the fact that you’re from mars and let you’re face hang crooked like it was meant to. I like to think of myself as the later. But when I see all of these criminals that fall into the former… I don’t know… I see something that I could have very easily become. And all I want to do is to help them. Whether that means exposing them for what they are or locking them up so that they can’t hurt others or themselves anymore… I guess that’s why I got into this.
Patricia: (after a moment) … I don’t feel 100% that way anymore though… The being all alone part at least. I’ve got you now… and Zippy god bless her. I don’t know… it’s good to know there are other aliens down here too… Why did you get into this?
Otto: Me? … I don’t know… After I graduated college I needed a job so I got this one.
Patricia: (laughing) You asshole.
Bates: (calling over to them from a distance) Hey we got the coffin up, are you going to come take a look at this or what?
Otto: (calling back) Coming dear. (To Patricia) Alright, let’s go take a look. (sound of them walking over to rest of the group who are standing by the coffin).
Bates: Well? What do you think?
Otto: Well let’s see. Hmmmm. Hmmm… Yep, it’s a coffin.
Hanz: I believe vhat Otto ist saying ist zat you need to open zhe coffin before ve can begin zhe investigation.
Bates: Oh, right…Ok boys, get this damn thing open.
(Sound of the boys slowly cracking the coffin open with crowbars. They slowly creak the lid open and then suddenly throw it open with a thud)
Maggie: (startled) Jesus Christ Zippy!
Zippy: Sorry! I’m sorry guys! I psyched myself out and I thought it was going to be scarier then it actually was. Sorry.
Bates: Jeeeez… Alright what are we looking at here Hanz?
Hanz: Hmmm (walking up to inspect the body) Vell, based on the accumulation of puss unt liquefied skin on his face, he appears to be decomposing at a normal rate. (Zippy makes a grossed out humming noise).
Patricia: Unbutton his jacket and shirt, so we can look at his chest.
Hanz: Ya. (sound of Hanz unbuttoning Homer’s jacket and shirt and pulling it to the side) Ah, it appears ze pazhologist must have sewn up his chest cavity after zhe autopsy. Just let me take out my scalpel and I vill cut zhe chest back open. (sound of Hanz taking out his scalpel and cutting into Homer).
Zippy: (Feeling like she’s going to puke) Oh man…
Otto: Bates, you really need to invite me to your cocktail parties more often.
Bates: (sarcastically) Ha ha ha.
Hanz: Zhere, ze chest cavity is open. Now let’s see vhat ve have here. (sound of him clicking on a flashlight). Hmmm. Yes, minus zhe heart, unt some damage to ze left lung, all of the other innards appear to be intact.
Patricia: What about electrical parts.
Hanz: Oh! Ya! I see it. Right here! Unt here! It is viring of some kind, unt a piece of a broken light bulb of zome kind.
Otto: Light bulb?
Hanz: Ya… I zhink… A very little light bulb. Unt it looks like zhere are some pieces of broken circuitry in here as vell. Hmmm, unt looking around some more zhis is very interesting. All of zhe electrical parts are attached to his veins, arteries unt aorta.
Maggie: So what does that mean.
Hanz: It means zhat zhis is zhe evidence you vhere looking for. Based on my assessment, I do not believe zhat Homer Diya’s heart vas cut out at all.
Hanz: Based on zhe evidence and information ve now have available, it is my hypothesis zhat zhis ‘exchange’ vhich keeps being talked about is in fact a process vhere a human unt a node exchange zhere body parts, as previously suggested by Patricia. Vhat I now believe happened is zhat Homer had his heart exchanged vith a node. On top of zhis, I believe zhat Hugo Bernard vas also part of zhis exchange unt traded parts vith ADAM zhe autopsy node.
Otto: That makes sense. If he was part of this exchange, and so was Homer, they probably knew each other. So when Homer ended up on Hugo’s table, Hugo probably freaked and tried to hide the evidence of the exchange that was still in Homer’s body…
Maggie: Why would someone kill Homer in the first place though?
Otto: They probably wanted his heart… or at least what replaced his heart…It must have been something powerful.
Patricia: It was probably the man who kidnapped Vicki…
Otto: He would be the prime suspect now… All of this must be coming from BIT too… That man who kidnapped Vicki must have been affiliated somehow with BIT… Ok folks, here’s my thought on this whole thing now. Homer Diya and his colleagues at BIT somehow managed to develop a method where they could make an improved human by implanting node parts into themselves. They then spread the message out in secret to other friendly members of the scientific community, such as our friend Hugo Bernard.
Homer was part of this exchange. However, whatever part he had implanted into him must have gave him, like, ultra super powers. Enough power that someone else who was part of this ‘exchange’ project became jealous. That jealous man then murdered Homer Diya and took his new heart for his own. Our current assumption is that the murderer is the man who kidnapped Vicki, who appeared to have tons of robotic equipment installed on him. So what we are looking for here, is a pumped up murdering robo super man who is still on the loose…
Zippy: But why hide it?
Zippy: I mean, I get why you would want to be implanted with robot parts, as it would give you like… super powers or something… but why hide it? If the guys at BIT had managed to make this breakthrough and figure out how to build machines that could improve humans by implanting robotic parts in them, then why not share it with the world? Why keep it secret?
Otto: … Well… maybe it was a malicious endeavor… maybe they had grand plans of sinister world domination by force, so they wanted to keep it secret except for people they could trust…
Bates: Yeah! And then that would explain where all of the crime has been coming from in the city over the last 2 years! It could all be stemming from this ring of super criminals they’re making.
Maggie: What about the drugs at BIT and at Hugo Bernard’s house then? How do they fit in?
Zippy: Yeah, and what about them implanting their body parts into active nodes? How does that help anything?
Hanz: Unt vhy do zhey apparently need parts from living active nodes? vhy not just take random robotic circuitry unt parts zhat are not already inside an active node unt just install it into yourself zhat way? It vould make zhe whole process much easier I would zhink…
Patricia: And what about the pebbles in the etuis box?
Otto: Wow, tough crowd. Ok, it may not be a perfect theory, but it makes the most logical sense at the moment…
Zippy: Doesn’t make that much logical sense…
Otto: (sighs)… Fine, it doesn’t make any sense… But for now can we all at least agree that Homer had his heart exchanged with a robot and that there is an organized community stemming from BIT that is trying to do more of these exchanges?
Otto: Can we also agree that this is a bad thing too? And that they appear to be killing people slash making people go crazy because of this exchange and that we should be putting a stop to it? And that the killer and the person who kidnapped Vicki, and possibly also Barbara is most likely tied to this exchange group?
Zippy: …So the plan stays the same then… We need to find out where the ‘exchange’ is operating out of and I need to seduce Matt Peters and get him to bring me to the ‘exchange’ group.
Otto: Looks like it.
Bates: So wait, when you think about it though, if they are exchanging parts, then that means that there would now be a node walking around with Homer Diya’s heart in him right?
Bates: So we should try to find that node then. Maybe we could wire it up to tell us what happened.
Otto: Right… Zippy, can you take a look at the left over robotic parts inside of Homer and see if you can assesses what kind of device he had installed into him? That would help to lead us back to the node.
Zippy: Are you serious?
Patricia: Come on, don’t think of it as a slimy dead body. Just think of it as the inside of a computer… a slimy pussy computer.
Zippy: …Thanks… (sound of Zippy walking up to the body).
Hanz: Ya, come right here Zippy, I vill shine zhe flashlight for you.
Zippy: (trying to keep from throwing up)…K… Oh god… Uh… it looks like.. Ugh… like…. Unh… the light bulb thing is a particle decompressor … ack… and circuits looks like a cut up piece of a… Oh jeez… a motion transistor… blargh… *cough*… and the wires … uh… eeek… they look like they could be part of a dynamic movement equation card…. Yuck… .ugh… that’s all… that’s all I see… Can I leave now?
Hanz: Ya, good vork Zippy.
Zippy: K… (sound of Zippy walking away).
Maggie: Ok, so it’s a bunch of wires and crap, what does that tell us?
Zippy: (after taking a deep breath to shake off the nausea) Well… if I had to put it all together, it looks like it was the central movement controller processor, which are installed inside MARTIN’s.
Maggie: What’s a MARTIN?
Zippy: A Multi-Aviation-Reconnaissance- and-Tactical-Information-Node. Their used for aeronautics. Basically, they’ll ride on like military airplanes, and they’re designed to move super quickly and assesses situations very fast, so if the airplane is damaged, they can quickly jump out of the side door and attach to the outside of the plane, where they can move around, find the damage and relay information back to the crew inside on what the situation is. They have small multi-tools on their arms too so that if the damage is minor enough they can just repair it right there. They can also act as a secondary viewer camera unit incase the first camera viewer unit fails by attaching themselves to the top of the airplane and relaying information back to the pilot on what they are seeing. They’re pretty standard nodes in the military.
Otto: What does the movement controller processor do in a MARTIN?
Zippy: Well, it’s basically the most important unit. It controls all of their motion and stability, which is important since they do a lot of jumping, grabbing and moving in their jobs.
Otto: I could see why someone would want it then. Being able to move like that.
Maggie: That’s how the guy at Hugo Bernard’s house was moving too.
Patricia: Guys… You don’t think a MARTIN could be the one doing all of this right?
Otto: Why do you think that?
Patricia: Well, the fast movement like the man who kidnapped Vicki. And having the multi-tool on the arm, which very well could have had a laser saw as part of it, which was the murder weapon used on Homer Diya…
Otto: Yeah… Maybe it wasn’t someone trying to steal Homer’s new heart, maybe it was a node trying to take back something that was taken from it…
Zippy: It’s impossible.
Zippy: Because you’re making an assumption about revenge. Node’s don’t have emotions, or any sort of self awareness to them. I mean, all a node really is, is a very advanced hammer. It can’t think for itself or beyond what its programming is. To think that a node would go after someone to get something back for the sake of revenge requires that the node had emotions and personal motivations. One of the central tenants of robotics is that it’s impossible for nodes to have emotions or self awareness.
Otto: Well, look, just because the scientists and philosophers think that if a node were to have self awareness it would go crazy and kill us all, doesn’t mean that someone couldn’t have just programmed it into one in secret.
Zippy: No, you don’t understand. It’s not possible. All that talk that the robotics community puts out about safety protocols in nodes to prevent them from gaining self awareness is crap. They don’t have any safety protocols in them because they don’t need them. It’s literally against the known laws of physics for a robot to either gain self awareness or have it programmed into them.
Look, the way that electricity movement works, at least when it comes to information management, is that you start a charge at a certain point and have it lead to an endpoint, which then triggers another charge or reaction. Computer operations occur through a series of these charges going off and setting off other charges in a certain order or combination. In order for these charges to work though, they need a path to travel done, AKA a metal wire.
In order for a robot to have self awareness AKA being able to openly determine its own destiny, what would need to occur is that when these charges are set off, it would have to end up someplace else other than the designated end point and it would have to get there by the will of the property which the charge is moving inside of… which is the robot. But this is impossible for two reasons.
One, is that the charge is dictated by the wire it exists on. In order for the charge to not reach its end point, it would have to somehow jump off its wire, which is not possible, and even if it was, once the charge was off the wire it would have no where to go and just die in mid air.
Two, from a stand point of will power to get the charge to change location, the robot would need to change the physics of the property that governs the charge, which is gravity. Which is also impossible.
Either way, it would be impossible for the robot to spontaneously gain self awareness because of these laws, nor would it be possible to program self awareness in as programming follows the same laws as well.
Think of it this way, a node being able to have self awareness would be like deciding that you want to re-route a train, so you develop a plan to try and push the moving train off of its rails, where there are no other rails for it to go to, by standing on the ground and giving it shove with you’re bare hands as it comes speeding by you. Not only can you not do it, but even if you managed to, the train would just crash.
Patricia: But don’t humans run on the same ideas though? I thought there were charges and stuff that go through humans in our brains? And we have free will and self awareness.
Hanz: Zhe mystery of zhe animal.
Zippy: The mystery of the animal. He’s talking about a common phrase that’s used in science. Yes, you are correct, humans, and all other living animals have bodies that live off these same charge systems. But, the mystery of the animal is that even though animals run off of a charge system like nodes, they still have self awareness. Nobody knows why. However, a lot of philosophy people debate that we actually don’t really have self awareness or free will and that everything humans do is just part of an elaborately complex charge system that is good at mimicking the concept of self awareness and free will. They say that’s why things like psychology and sociology can create measurable and repeatable results…
Maggie: Bates, my head hurts and I’m bored.
Bates: Alright, you guys, I don’t care what techno-pyscho-babble this stuff entails. All I know is that this group of eggheads are causing problems in my city and now they need to go down. Boys, wrap up the body and put it in Hanz’s lab. Otto, see if you can track down anything about the military finding a MARTIN with a human heart inside of him. Everyone else come on, we have to get ready for Zippy’s date. (Zippy let’s out a nervous hum).
(Sound fades out)
(Sound fades in)
(Police station during the day time. Sound of police officers doing their work in the background. Sound of Zippy walking in the front door and up to the desk).
Zippy: Hey, I’m here.
Maggie: Yeah, they’re in the back getting all of the wiring ready… Hey, what’s up with your face?
Zippy: What do you mean? Nothing’s wrong with my face… I think.
Maggie: You’re mouth and you’re eyes look kind of weird.
Zippy: Oh… I put on makeup.
Maggie: That’s makeup?
Zippy: Yeah… I mean, you know… Gotta seduce a guy and everything.
Maggie: Oh honey… Come with me.
(sound of Maggie grabbing Zippy’s hand and them walking off. Sound of Otto walking up)
Otto: Oh, Zippy you’re here…
Maggie: (as they’re walking away) She’ll catch up with you in a little bit.
Otto: Uh… Ok. (sound of Otto walking down the hallway, opening a door and walking in. Closing the door behind him). Well, Zippy just got in, but Maggie stole her for…er…something.
Patricia: (sarcastic) Oh, great.
Bates: Hey, Maggie’s a good officer and a good woman. I’m sure she’s just helping to… prep Zippy for tonight.
Otto: (surprised at Bates reaction) Oh…
Hanz: Ok fine, ze tracking unt audio transmitter bug is up unt running. It vill fit inside Zippy’s earing unt be completely unknown to everyone else in zhe room.
Patricia: Unless they’ve figured out a way to detect bugs. Remember these are BIT scientists we are talking about. Scientists who have figured out how to implant robotic parts into other humans.
Bates: Well, that’s why we’ll be waiting in a van outside of the where she is led to, so that we can run in and save her in case the transmission is cut.
Patricia: Yeah…well…just make sure you bring you’re good officers with you for back up. You know, the ones with a reaction time faster than a sloth.
Bates: Yeah, yeah.
Otto: You’re grumpy.
Patricia: Sorry… I’m having 2nd thoughts about this. We’ve already had one person kidnapped, we don’t want to loose a 2nd one. Maybe it would be better if I did this, and you could just put a thing in my ear that she could talk into when he asks me robotic questions.
Hanz: Ni, ni, ni, Patricia. Life ist never zhat simple unfortunately. You of all people should know zhat human interaction ist a tricky endeavor, vhere zhe tempo and speed of a conversation is of zhe utmost importance. If he asks you a question unt you then take several seconds to respond to him as Zippy is explaining to you vhat the answer should be, zhe entire cover vill be blown.
Patricia: I just… don’t want her to get hurt.
Hanz: Oh my dear sweet Patricia. You really must have more faith in you’re friends. Zippy knows zhe risks of vhat she is getting into. Unt, besides, you are not zhe only person who cares for Vicki. In case you hadn’t noticed, Zippy has become quite fond of him herself recently.
Patricia: She’s gay Hanz.
Hanz: So vhat? You don’t need to vant to screw someone in order to care about zhem. It has been my experience in life zhat zhe people who inspire you are the ones you form zhe strongest bonds tovards, regardless of romantic sexy time. Zhat’s vhy we do zhis whole dance of society in zhe first place right? To inspire each ozher to be better people. Who are you to say zhat Zippy ist above putting her life at risk for a friend?
Bates: Man, what is up with you guys? Can’t you ever just have a normal conversation without getting so freaking deep?
Otto: Their European Howard, it’s their way.
(Howard sighs. Sound fades out.)
(Sound fades in. In the woman’s bathroom at the police station. Sound of Maggie is putting on Zippy’s makeup)
Maggie: …And there we go. Ok hold still, I’m going to do the eye liner now.
Maggie: Anyway, as I was saying, so I told him I thought it was too soon to get a joint bank account and that my friend Patricia had said that if I did get a joint bank account with him that I’d basically just be throwing myself at him like I’m this helpless girl who can’t take care of her own crap you know?
Zippy: Uh huh…
Maggie: And so he started freaking out, and was insulted and like “how could you think that about me, blah blah blah, I’ve always been supportive of you, blah blah blah.”
Zippy: Uh huh…
Maggie: And so I told him if he couldn’t deal with it, then we should just break up right here and there, because I’m not going to be anyone subservient housewife, you know?
Zippy: Uh… I guess… I mean, don’t you think that seems a little harsh?
Maggie: What do you mean?
Zippy: Well… it doesn’t sound like his goal was to make you subservient. It sounds to me like maybe he was just trying to break new ground in your relationship. You know, take the next step? I mean… I’m sure you want you’re relationship to evolve into something beyond what it currently is right?
Maggie: Hmm… I never thought of that.
Zippy: Yeah… (silence for a moment while Maggie puts on Zippy’s makeup). …Do you ever feel like you’re putting on a mask when you put on makeup?
Maggie: Well, that’s the point right?
Zippy: Well, I mean like, not a physical mask, like an emotional mask. I don’t know… all of this stuff we talked about at the graveyard… about why nodes can’t have self awareness… I was just thinking about it a lot last night when I got back home… Like… We have so many concerns and laws and debates and safety procedures, and on and on, to make sure we keep nodes as true to their nature as is possible. It’s been decided that it would be bad for them to have emotions because then they could become deceptive which would be dangerous to humans, it’s been decided that they can’t delete their memories either because that would also be deceptive and dangerous to humans.
But then, when we humans go out to dinner dates you’re supposed put on makeup to hide you’re actual face, and then you’re supposed to smile and laugh at things you’re date says even if it isn’t funny or interesting. Isn’t that also deceptive behavior? But we’re supposed to do it right? Which… I guess I don’t have a problem with really… the fact that we’re supposed to be deceptive to each other at certain times. I don’t think it really hurts anything. I know I’d prefer someone lying to me rather than hurting my feelings… But what I don’t get is why we all jump to the conclusion that if nodes were able to have emotions like we have, and were able to deceive us, that it would be any worse than the ways we lie to each other every day. You know?
Maggie: Nope, honey, I don’t know at all. I think you’re over thinking this whole thing.
Maggie: Look… I get it. You’re a thinking girl. That’s cool. That’s who you are. But sometimes you can’t think yourself out of situations. Nor should you. I have the feeling if you could, you’d think your bones out of your skin. …Sometimes, particularly in situations involving life or death, you need to stop thinking and just be the hottest piece of ass you can be. (sound of her putting makeup away). There you’re done. Take a look.
Zippy: (sound of her swiveling her chair). Oh… wow…
Otto: (sound of a knock on the door) (through the door) Hey, Hanz has the bug all set up and Tubby is ready to go. Are you guys ready?
Maggie: Yep, this one’s ready for action.
(sound fades out).
(Sound fades in. They are driving in the van up to the club. There is heavy metal playing on the radio.)
Bates: Maggie, why are we listening to this stuff in the van?
Maggie: Because Patricia likes it.
Otto: Aww, Patricia, you made a buddy.
Patricia: Yeah… I guess I did…
(Tubby makes a beeping noise).
Otto: Is he alright?
Zippy: Yeah, he just sees that I’m anxious, so he thinks that there is something wrong with me. I programmed him to react if I’m injured.
Otto: Hey come on, there’s nothing to be anxious about. Just go in and talk him up that’s all there is to it.
Patricia: Well… that’s not all there is to it… I mean you’re going to have to show off the goods a little too.
Zippy: The goods?
Patricia: Yeah you know, the goods. Gotta show him the goods.
Bates: Yeah, definitely got to show him the goods if this is going to work. Definitely show him the goods.
Zippy: I don’t think I have any good to show!
Maggie: Oh Zippy please, you’ve got more goods than anyone in the world. Just remember, don’t only rely on the body goods, only thugs and whores rely exclusively on the body goods, you gotta show him the brain goods too.
Otto: Yeah, that’s what I’m saying, you gotta talk to him, because your goods are in your head, so you show him you’re goods by talking to him.
Zippy: So are you saying I don’t have any body goods then?
Otto: Uh… What?… No, you’ve got the body goods, you just have an expertise in the brain goods.
Patricia: Oh Zippy, don’t listen to him, you’ve got body goods, you’ve got plenty of body goods.
Bates: Yeah, you’ve got the body goods coming out of your ears. You got nothing to worry about with the body goods.
Maggie: Yeah, Otto, stop being so sexist, she’s got lots of body goods.
Otto: What? I’m not being sexist, I’m just saying that of the goods that Zippy possesses, it’s her brain goods that’s going to win the day here.
Patricia: Yeah, but then you’re saying that she should just ignore her body goods, because god forbid a woman has both brain goods and body goods at the same time.
Otto: I didn’t say that, that’s not what I said!
Bates: Well, to be fair guys, while Zippy does have the body goods, she has had more practice with her brain goods, so while I don’t think we should disqualify the power of her body goods, I think Otto makes a point that it’s the brain goods she should really show off, with the body goods as a last resort.
Patricia and Maggie: Asshole!
Bates: No! I don’ mean last resort, I mean as a backup.
Maggie: Oh, so what, she can’t do it all with her brain goods now? Always gotta make sure that the body goods are there for you to fall back on, because god knows you woman can’t rely on her brain goods.
Otto: Wait, wait, wait! Ok… Guys… Can we at least agree that while Zippy has absolutely stunning and amazing body goods that any and all woman should be jealous of, she’s had more years of training in perfecting the use of her brain goods, therefore it’s the brain goods that she should be wielding as the central weapon in this scenario, but she also needs to make sure she’s pushing the not as well trained body goods too in order to get the full effect possible, which shouldn’t be hard for her to do even without the training given the fact that her body goods are so good naturally?
(Silence for a moment)
Maggie: Yeah… I think I’m ok with that.
Patricia and Bates: Yeah, that’s ok.
Otto: Ok, so Zippy, make sure to push both you’re body and brain goods as much as you can.
Zippy: (overwhelmed) …Ok…
(Tubby makes a beeping noise).
Bates: Is he going to be doing that in the club?
Zippy: If he thinks I’m in danger he will.
Bates: Maybe it’s not a good idea to bring the node with you. He could blow the cover.
Patricia: No, the node needs to go. If she’s going to convince this guy that she’s into nodes, she needs to have the proof with her. Besides, I like the fact that there will be a little chunk of metal backup in the club with her.
Otto: She’s going to be fine Patricia. Zippy, don’t worry, we’ll be listening in right here in the van outside the club the whole time. If anything goes wrong, just scream and we’ll be there in a minute.
Zippy: Yeah, I know. I’m not worried. It’s not the danger that’s making me nervous. I’m just… it’s been a while since I’ve seduced a guy…
Bates: What do you mean ‘a while?’
Patricia: Hey! What did we talk about? Dagger eyes woman! Dagger eyes!
Otto: Besides, we don’t even know if he’s going to show up tonight. We may have scared him off after BIT. This may be a dead end. Just hang in there and relax.
Maggie: (sound of the van coming to a stop) We’re here.
Zippy: Oh man, oh man, oh man.
Patricia: Right (sound of her opening the van door) Ok sister, push up those tits and pout them lips, its show time! (sound of her shoving Zippy out of the van).
Zippy: Ack! Hey! No shoving! (sound of Tubby coming out of the van after her).
Otto: Don’t worry, we’ll be right here. You know what to do. Good luck! (sound of van door closing and driving off. Sound of background street traffic).
Zippy: (breathes in) Ok, dagger eyes, dagger eyes. (sound of her walking up to the door. Sound of music coming from inside the club). Excuse me… I mean… (trying to sound tough) Hey! Let us in.
Bouncer: Ok, fine, go in.
Zippy: Oh? Just like that?
Bouncer: Yeah, of course. This isn’t a restricted club or anything. Just don’t cause any trouble.
Zippy: Oh… (still trying to sound tough) That’s right. (sound of her walking into the club. The club music is now on top of her (but not drowning)) …Alright… Now I just need to find a 5 foot 10 man in his mid to late 30’s who has short brown hair and glasses… Hmmm. (sound of her walking around)… No…Nope… Uh uh.
Man at the club: Hey you want to dance baby?
Zippy: Oh, sorry I can’t, my number is unlisted. (sound of her walking away)
Man at the club: (off in the distance as she walks away) Huh?
Zippy: (laughing at her comment) Hehe… Hmm… still no sign of him. (Sound of her stopping walking. Sighs) I guess he’s not here right now… Guess I’ll have a seat at the bar. (sound of her walking up to the bar and having a seat).
Bar tender: Hi can I help you?
Zippy: Yeah, I’ll have a cosmo.
Bar tender: Coming right up.
Zippy: Thanks… Well Tubby, it looks like we might be here for a while, so we might as well enjoy ourselves while we’re on the government’s expense report. (Tubby makes an affirmative beep).
Bar tender: Here you go. (sound of him putting drink onto the bar).
Zippy: Thanks! (sound of Zippy grabbing the drink and starting to drink from it).
(Sound fades out)
(Sound fades in. Still in the club. You can hear Zippy snoring, having passed out from drinking too much while the music plays in the background).
Zippy: (waking up startled) Psha! What? Huh? Who are you? Where am I?
Matt: Oh, hey, sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you there. I just saw you’re node so I wanted to talk to you.
Zippy: (hiccups and burps) Ok…
Matt: I’m Matt.
Zippy: Matt? (realizing she’s talking to him) Oh!… Hi, I’m Zippy, and this is my node Tubby.
Matt: Wow… so that node sure is great.
Zippy: Yeah, he’s great! (hiccups) I built him myself.
Matt: You built him? But you’re a girl…
Zippy: (drunken) hahahahahah!! Yeah! I am! (hiccups)
Matt: Wow… that’s great… that’s real great.
Zippy: Yeah… (awkward silence for a moment.) So… Uh… do you know anything about nodes? (hiccups)
Matt: Yeah! I do… I know a lot about nodes. I really like robots. And girls… Oh man… I really like girls who know robots. They have to know robots for me to like them.
Zippy: Well… theeeen you’ll really like me! (hiccups) Because I’m all sorts of a girl and I know all sorts of things about robots! Do you want to hang out some time? I really would like to talk to you more about nodes.
Matt: Tell me about you’re robot..
Matt: (very aggressive) TELL ME! TELL ME!
Zippy: (slightly scared) Umm… Well, he’s a storage and security node with an advance artificial intelligence program that lets him mimic emotions as a way of communicating threat levels. I wrote the code myself using a Hingam’s trajectory obscuring equation combined with a Nautilus bi-core processor protocol. I also completely built the security and lock features myself, using left over parts from various ALAN and ELIZA tactical cores.
Matt: (happy) … Wow! You really do know nodes! You’re not lying at all! (Zippy hiccups) … Do you want? Do you want to know a secret?
Zippy: (cautious) Sure?
Matt: (voice getting whispery raspy) I build nodes. I build them at BIT… But I do other things to them… things only really smart people can do… I cut them up and I move their parts around. And now they’ve agreed to cut me up and move my parts around.
Zippy: (Scared) …Wow… That’s really cool.
Matt: I want to… I need too… I need people to come with me to help me exchange. I need nodes and people. And I like girls. I really like girls and I want girls who know nodes to come with me. Do you want to come with me? Do you want to come with me to help me exchange? You and Tubby?
Zippy: Yes, we would really like to come with you. Where is it at?
Matt: Oooooh… It’s secret… But I’ll show you. You’ll just follow me. Meet me at the alley way between Grossman and Nottingham Street. Its tomorrow night! Meet me there tomorrow night at 7pm. Then we can go to the exchange together, and, and you’ll be my date. We’ll be dating.
Zippy: Ok Matt, that sounds great… I’ll see you there and we’ll go together like we’re dating all three of us.
Matt: (really happy) Ok! Ok! Ok!
Zippy: (feigning happy) Yaay! Oh, hey look at the time. Matt, I’m really sorry but I have to go, um, work on another node I’m making.
Matt: Oh, that’s important. That’s really important. We need more nodes you know… We need more of them so that we can become better people… You should go work on that.
Zippy: Ok. Hey, it was great seeing you Matt, I’ll see you tomorrow night. (whispering to Tubby) come on Tubby, let’s get out of here! (sound of her drunkenly walking out of the club and out into the street with Tubby following her. Sound of her walking down the street). Ok, we’re out on the street, where are you guys? (Sound of the van pulling up and the door opening).
Otto: Good work, get in!
Zippy: (Sound of Zippy tripping as she tries to get in) Ack!
Patricia: Here let me help you (sound of Patricia grabbing Zippy and dragging her in. Sound of Tubby getting in to. Sound of van door closing behind them. Sound of van driving off). Man, you can’t handle those fruity drinks.
Zippy: (hiccups) I like cosmos!
Bates: Good work Zippy, good work! He’s going to lead us right to the exchange!
Zippy: Yeah! He was creepy though! Man! (burps) no wonder he wanted a date so bad, what lady would pay attention to you if you act like that?! What was his deal anyway?
Otto: It’s probably the drugs.
Bates: Hanz is running more tests on the drugs we found to see if it can explain the behavior.
Patricia: Well, anyway, good job Zippy! One night down!
Zippy: (confident) Thanks!
Patricia: Now we just have to figure out a way for you to survive tomorrow night when we throw you directly into the lions den!
Zippy: (silence for a moment) Ah crap…
(Sound fades out)