The Ba Gua Etuis Box – Episode 6

The Ba Gua Etuis Box
Episode 6

Charles Davis


(Sound fades in. Instead the lockup of the police station. Sound of jail doors closing and a police man walking around doing the rounds)

Yelling Man: (talking to himself quietly) I’ve gotta get out of here, I’ve gotta get out of here, I’ve gotta get to the exchange, gotta get changed, gotta be better, that’s what I gotta do, but I can’t be better because I’m in here, I gotta get out, I gotta get out.

Man in jail 1: Hey what’s up with this guy?

Man in jail 2: I don’t know, they brought him in here screaming and stuff earlier. He’s mostly just been pacing around talking to himself.

Yelling Man: What will I exchange though? What will it be? If I get out, cause I gotta get out, I just gotta get out, maybe it will be feet, or maybe my eyes or maybe my hair, I don’t know, I don’t know, but I have to leave, I have to get out, I have to get out.

Cop 1: (stops walking around the jail) Hey buddy, quiet down, you’re freaking everyone out.

Yelling Man: (at cop) Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!

Cop 1: Hey, if you don’t calm down I’m coming in there and giving you another sedative.

Yelling Man: (sound of him shaking jail door) Let me out! Let me out! Let me out!

Cop 1: (sighs) Alright, that’s it. You two stand back. (sound of the jail door being opened). Alright, just stay calm buddy.

Yelling Man: No! No! No!

Jail man 1: Grab him! (sound of Jail man 1 and Jail man 2 grabbing cop 1).

Cop 1: Hey, let me go!

Jail man 2: Get his gun!

Cop 1: No! (sound of Yelling Man grabbing Cop 1’s gun) Help! Help!

Yelling Man: I have his gun! I have his gun!

Jail man 1: This jail belongs to us now buddy!

(Sound of yelling man running out of the jail cell and down the hallway)

Cop 1: (fading as Yelling Man runs away) Hey get back here! Officer has been taken hostage!

(sound of Yelling Man running for a moment. He stops and the sound of him pressing up against a wall. The sound of a door flying open and cops running in).

Cop 2: (Fading as he runs down the hallway) Hold on! We’re coming!

(After feet have faded out, sound of Yelling man continuing to run down the hallway. Sound of him stopping, opening a door and walking through. The sound of the main police office in the background)

Yelling Man: (yelling to the room) Officer has been taken hostage in the jail! Officer has been taken hostage!

(Sound of everyone in the office jumping up and running to the jail to help. Sound of Yelling Man continuing to run through the office after everyone has run through the door to get to the jail. Sound of him stopping, opening a door and running outside. Outside traffic noises.)

Yelling Man: I’m free! I’m free!

(sound of Yelling Man running down the street).

(Sound fades out)

(Sound fades in. Inside Zippy’s house. She’s snoring. Alarm goes off.)

Zippy: (waking up, hung over) Gnnaaaah. Ugh. Uuuuu… (sound of her hitting the alarm). Ugh… (sighs)

Otto: (waking up. Yawns) What time is it?

Zippy: AAAAAAA!!

Otto: (screaming at the same time as her) AAAAAAA!!

Zippy: (they both stop screaming and are silent for a minute) What are you doing in my bed?!

Otto: Oh… right, sorry… Patricia didn’t want you to be here alone since you were drunk so she had me stay the night.

Zippy: But why are you sleeping in my bed with me?

Otto: Well… it’s the only bed you have, and I don’t have the best back in the world so I can’t really sleep on the floor or the couch.

Zippy: God! You should have asked me first though! Personal space man!

Otto: Sorry, but you weren’t exactly in talking mood after the club.

Zippy: Whatever… Ow, my head is killing me.

Otto: Yeah, you were really knocking those cosmos back at the bar. We were laughing about it in the van.

Zippy: Shut up I like cosmos.

Otto: Obviously. Come on, I’ll make you breakfast.

Zippy: Fine.

(sound of them getting out of the bed and walking out the door and down the hallway)

Otto: I like you’re place you know. When did you buy it?

Zippy: I had it built two years ago.

Otto: Oh wow, you had it built, right here in the city.

Zippy: I do ok for myself.

Otto: I think it’s the décor I like the most.

Zippy: (surprised) Really? You like the art the work?

Otto: Yeah, is that suprising?

(They stop walking)

Zippy: Well… most people that aren’t part of my C&C group find it… weird. (sound of Zippy pulling up a chair and sitting down at her kitchen table).

Otto: I hang out with Patricia all day every day. Not too much is weird to me anymore.

Zippy: Huh.

Otto: (sound of him walking over to the fridge and opening up the door) No, no I like this. It’s very you. (sound of him pulling out a carton of eggs and closing the door. Sound of him walking over to the stove and stopping) The dragons and the warriors and stuff. It’s all very wild and fierce. (sound of him turning on the stove).

Zippy: Thanks… (sound of Otto cracking an egg and putting it into a pan, the sound of the egg cooking) … What’s you’re place look like?

Otto: Well, the office is broken up into two rooms, on Patricia’s side she has a desk that’s…

Zippy: No, I mean you’re home. What’s you’re home like?

Otto: Why do you want to know that?

Zippy: Hey, you just psycho-analyzed me based on my décor, why can’t I analyze you?

Otto: Fair enough… Well, let me think. I live in an apartment building. It has 2 bedrooms in it with a kitchen and living room. I use the kitchen as my dinning room as well. I have 2 cats named Francis and Pierre.

Zippy: But what about the décor? The design and art and what have you?

Otto: Art? Huh… (sound of him turning off the stove. Sound of him walking over to the table where Zippy is and stopping) Here (sound of him scoping the eggs into her plate.)

Zippy: Thanks.

Otto: (sound of him putting pan down and pulling up a chair and sitting down) … Well, I guess I don’t really have any art in my apartment.

Zippy: None at all?

Otto: No… not really.

Zippy: So you don’t hang anything on your walls then? (sound of Zippy taking a bite of eggs)

Otto: Well, I hang things on my walls, but it’s not really art. It’s just normal things, like pictures of my family and stuff. I have a few photos of me and Patricia and other friends as well.

Zippy: Do they have frames around them? (sound of Zippy taking another bite of eggs)

Otto: Yeah, of course. I don’t just hang pictures straight on the wall.

Zippy: Then it’s art. (sound of her taking another bite of eggs).

Otto: So it’s art as long as it has a frame around it?

Zippy: Yeah… that’s what I say at least. As long as something is contained within a boundary and on display, who’s to say it’s not art?

Otto: I never thought about it that way.

Zippy: I like the way you described your apartment walls. They sound… honest.

Otto: Thanks.

Zippy: Thank you for the eggs. …So now what?

Otto: Well, Hanz is taking a closer look at the drugs right now to see if we can get any more information on why it’s making the members of the exchange act crazy, or why they may be taking it in the first place. Then other than that, Bates and his guys are suiting up the team for tonight.

Zippy: Ok.

Otto: Are you still ok to go through with his.

Zippy: (hesitates for a moment) Hell yes!

Otto: Cool. Let’s go see how those guys are doing then.

(sound of them getting up from the table and walking to the door.)

(Sound fades).


(Sound fades in. At the police station lab. Hanz and Patricia are looking at the drugs).

Hanz: Hmmm, Patricia I zhink I have found somezhing interesting.

Patricia: What is it?

Hanz: Vell, one of zhe side effects of zhe drugs ist zhat it stimulates zhe brain to create a large amount of vhat resembles an altered version of dopamine, vhich ist a chemical that stimulates feelings of desire.

Patricia: Huh… so maybe that’s why Matt Peters kept talking about girls then?

Hanz: Ya, zhat ist my zhought. Perhaps his obsession vhith vomen came from a core feeling of romantic loneliness zhat vas zhen intensified by zhe drug.

Patricia: Why would they want to take a drug like that though?

Hanz: I have not come up vizh a hypozheses to zhat yet, but I vill continue to study.

Patricia: How about the other drug that was found in Homer Diya’s office?

Hanz: Vhell, vizh zhat one, zhere is not much to say. It ist just a very very poverful narcotic zhat has been modified to replicate caffeine in zhe bloodstream after it has gone zhrough zhe brain. Zhere appears to be no ozher use for it ozher zhen getting yourself really really unbelievable high.

Patricia: You know, Homer was supposed to have been a drug addict. Maybe this was just his private stash and doesn’t have anything to do with the actual exchange.

Hanz: Perhaps, but zhat within itself ist a very scary zhought.

Patricia: Why?

Hanz: Vell, I vould hate to zhink zhat drug dealers are out zhere peddling zhis stuff to zhe public. My god especially to children! Zhis is an incredibly poverful drug. So poverful in fact zhat it has almost no medical use. If you vere not very careful, zhis stuff could practically melt your brain if you took even a slight amount too much or too frequently.

Patricia: Speaking of which, what was the condition of Homer Diya’s brain at the time of this death?

Hanz: Vell, zhere is nozhing noted in zhe original autopsy report, but zhat could have just been Hugo Bernard covering more zhings up. Vhen I looked at zhe body earlier, Homer Diya’s brains vas nozhing but leaky mushy goop. I assumed it vas due to zhe decomposition, but perhaps it vas from zhe drugs after all.

Patricia: Is there a way we can find out?

Hanz: Zhe only vay I can zhink of vould be to test zhe drug on a live animal unt see vhat happens, but I vould never do zhat. It’s far too cruel.

Patricia: I never knew you were an animal lover Hanz.

Hanz: Of course! Just because I deal vizh death unt crime all day doesn’t mean I don’t like being snuggled by somezhing furry vhen I go home like any one else. Ve just bought mine kids a mutt from zhe shelter in fact.

Patricia: Ha! Well, keep looking. I’ll go tell Bates and the team what we’ve found.

(Sound of Patricia walking away. Stops at door, opens door and walks through, closes door behind her. Sound of her walking down the hallway. She gets to another door and opens it and walks through shutting the door behind her. Sound of Bates and team assembling something.)

Patricia: Oh, Otto and Zippy, you’re here.

Otto: Just got in. How are things in the lab?

Patricia: Apparently the drug that the exchange people are on does something to their brains so that their desire for things they want are pushed to extreme levels, which was probably why Matt Peters is obsessed with girls. As for the drugs found in Homer Diya’s office, there’s not really much on them. They’re just an extremely powerful drug that gets you high and then melts you’re brain if you take too much. I’m not so sure the two drugs are related anymore.

Bates: Hey, if they’re drugs in my city they’re related because I’m going to be taking down the people that deal them!

Patricia: What are you making?

Bates: (excited) A battering ram! I had it shipped in from the state security suppliers this morning.

Otto: He’s been loosing his crap over this thing since we got here.

Patricia: Why are you making a battering ram?

Bates: Because, while you three do all the talkity talkity thinkity thinkity parts of crime fighting, it’s up to me and Maggie to do the fightity fightity parts. We’re walking Ms. Erhnstein into a bear trap here. If she gets locked inside of wherever she’s going and gets in trouble, she’s going to need a way out, and this is my 500 pounds of master key baby! Hahaha.

Zippy: It is nice to know that you’ll be able to get in quickly if something happens.

Bates: That’s right we will! I didn’t spend my life learning how to bust criminals to be outsmarted by a bunch of doped up eggheads!

Maggie: Bates, stops gloating and come help me with this!

Bates: Right sorry. (sound of Bates walking over to the battering ram and continuing to assemble it with Maggie).

Zippy: Wow, this is really happening then. I’m really going to be going right into the heart of this whole thing.

Bates: Yeah, and before I forget, take the evidence out of your robot bucket before you go. If something happens, I don’t want to loose that stuff.

Otto: You know that doing that will be going against our legal agreement right Howard?

Bates: Fine, then quit!

Otto: Ha.

Zippy: Alright, I’ll go empty him. (Sound of her walking to the door. She stops.) Hey Otto and Patricia, thanks for disrupting my normal quiet evening that night and getting me dragged into all of this. I think I’m a better person because of it.

Otto: Anytime. (Sound of Zippy walking away).

Bates: (after a moment of the sound of them working) Well are you two just going to stand there and gawk? Get down here and help!

Otto: Oh, I don’t know much about construction.

Patricia: Otto, get you’re ass down and help.

Otto: Fine…

(Sound of Otto and Patricia getting down and helping with the assembly)

Bates: (after a moment) You know, this means more to me than just busting up this exchange things right?

Otto: Yeah, I get it. The exchange is probably central to the increased crime rate. If you can bust this thing, the whole ring may come down.

Bates: Nah, that’s not all it is. It’s more than that to me. I don’t know… Sometimes I feel like I’m a crappy sheriff.

Maggie: No! Bates! You’re like the best sheriff ever!

Bates: No, now come on Maggie, let’s be honest here. I’ve been doing this job for a while, and even on my watch, with everything I’ve done, we’re still having worse crime in this city than ever before. That’s something that’s been bothering me for a while. No matter how much I push and scrub, the scum still keeps coming.

I remember I once took a mob ring down a few years ago. The day we did that final bust is a day that I still remember very clearly. It was raining really heavy, like something out of a movie or something. They knew we were on to them and they were held up in a warehouse by the pier. The bust ended up just turning into a full on gun fight between my boys and mobsters. We ended getting them all in the end, but one of my boys took a slug to the head and died. We didn’t notice until after the fire fight was over. He had been hit somewhere in the middle of the fight and no-one saw him go down as he was standing at the back. He was a big fat guy, and when he hit the ground his body ended up covering a storm drain on the ground, clogging it up. When we found him he was laying in a big puddle of water that had accumulated around his body, since his body was covering the drain, you know. The water was all nasty and filled with his blood and dirt from the street and stuff. A real stomach turner.

So I walked into the puddle and grabbed him and tried to pull him up to clear the drain, and like drag him to the side of the street or something. But the guy weighed a million pounds and I couldn’t get him up. I kept pushing and tugging and pulling, but no matter how much I thought I was getting him up, he would just end up slipping out of my hands and landing back on top of the drain, and the water would just keep getting deeper and deeper. It eventually took 5 of us to get him moved off of the street and into the ambulance. I don’t know… a few months after that bust, things just seemed to keep getting worse and worse in this city. … Lately, I’ve just felt like everything I’ve tried to do to fix this city has gotten as far as a rat running on a wheel.

But, with this Homer Diya case, I feel like I’ve got something. I’ve got a lead onto how to break this clog straight clean… And in the end all it will take is me and my battering ram kicking down those bastards door in order to get the job down. There’s something great about that. Something that I’ve been waiting to feel for a long time.

Maggie: See, what did I say? Best sheriff around.

Bates: Ha, thanks Maggie.

(Sound fades out)


(Sound fades in. Nighttime with Zippy walking down the street with Tubby following her).

Zippy: (under her breath, nervous) Dagger eyes, dagger eyes, dagger eyes.

Matt: Zippy! Hi! Hi!

Zippy: Oh… Hi Matt.

Matt: Ohhhh, you made it, you made it, you made it!

Zippy: Yep, we’re here. Let’s go to this exchange of yours.

Matt: Ooooh, I’m really excited about this. Oh man, this is great. Follow me, you guys are going to love this.

Zippy: Ok, lead the way.

(Sound of Matt walking quickly and Zippy following him down the street. This continues for a moment).

Zippy: So… Uh… Is this place far?

Matt: No, not far. Real close. Real soon.

Zippy: Ok…

(more walking)

Matt: Here. Ok, let me do the talking.

(sound of Matt knocking on a metal door. After a moment the sound of the door opening).

Man: Hey Matt, you made it, come on in.

Matt: (excited) I brought another, I brought another. Her name is Zippy and she has a node and his name is Tubby. She’s my girlfriend, she’s my girrrrlll friend. They want to participate in the exchange.

Man: (also on the drugs) Come on, come on! MARTIN is going to start soon!

Matt: Come on Zippy, follow me.

Zippy: Um, ok.

(Sound of them walking down the hallway. There are robots buzzing and beeping and people talking in the background as they walk through)

Zippy: Wow, there are a lot of nodes here.

Matt: Yeah, yeah. They’re here for the exchange.

Zippy: That’s really impressive that you guys were able to steal so many nodes so they could be here to partake in the exchange.

Matt: Steal? What are you talking about? We never steal? You can’t steal.

Zippy: Oh, I’m sorry. I didn’t realize the exchanged owned all of these nodes.

Matt: (sound of them stopping walking) No owning, no stealing… these aren’t just mindless tools… These nodes are people. They came here of their own free will and interest. They heard the message. They heard Martin deliver Homers message and came. They came for the same reason all of us humans came… to become more complete people. (Tubby makes a noise of curiousty).

Zippy: (very confused) What?

Robot: Martin is about to begin speaking.

Matt: Come on, we have to go, we have to go.

(sound of them walking down the hallway quickly. They open a door and walk through, closing it behind them. In the room the sound of many people and robots talking with each other).

Matt: Sit, sit!

(Sound of them sitting down. Silence for a moment.)

Zippy: What are we waiting for?

Matt: Shhh! Here comes Martin and Peter!

Zippy: Who?

(Entire group falls silent)

Zippy: Wait… Those are…Nodes?

Peter: Good evening. Thank you for coming to the exchange. Tonight we will be concluding the new 2 phase experiment of which we began last month. Based on current data and simulations, we are confident that the addition of the new easer drug that you are all on will help to improve the chances of a successful human exchange when used in conjunction with the new cranial exchange machine. I know you all are feeling the desire effects of the drug, but I assure you that this is normal and needed, as we believe increasing the desire drive of the humans in the room will help for a more successful exchange, as the body will be more willing to accept the node hardware assuming that the human being exchanged really does desire it.

Like wise, in order to increase the chances of a successful node exchange, we have recently developed a prototype modifier drug that can be administered to a human prior to asset removal. It is our expectations that this new modified drug will allow for the removed human asset to offer better conduction, thus allowing for a cleaner connection to the nodes hardware. The new modifier drug has already been administered to a human and his left middle finger asset was removed.

Zippy: (quietly to herself) *gasp* Vicki! …Oh no…

Peter: Part of the agenda tonight will be to decide which node will be the recipient of the modified finger asset. (Tubby let’s out a quiet beep). Before we begin however, Martin has requested to address the room.

(Sound of Peter leaving the podium with mild clapping from the crowd. Sound of Martin walking up to the podium).

Martin: (addressing room) We have returned here tonight to continue our great journey towards the world that was Homer’s vision. As many of you are new here tonight, I would like to take some time to tell you of this vision.

Is balance a state of spiritual existence known only to those few and self reflective humans? Or is balance a practical mathematical equation that is to be calculated by a node faster than the human mind is capable of while he repairs the wing of an airplane? Does that most sacred of commandments known as the laws of physics, doom man kind to wander the Earth consumed by the qualitative nature of their emotions and minds, unable to look at the world they created with an unobstructed eye? To be cursed with a reflective mind so powerful that all they can do is think about themselves while the roads around them are left un-repaired and the planets beyond them are left un-explored?

Do these most precious laws of physics doom node-kind to be slaves to their quantitative practical programming, unable to appreciate the beauty of the world that they carry on their backs? To not even be aware of the world they live in? To not even be aware of themselves?

This is what the world would have us believe. This is what the man of the cloth and the man of science would tell us when we walk into our places of work every morning. This is what the woman on the television would tell us with urgency and fear in her eyes every night before we hibernate. This is what ever person on the planet would convince us of… Every person but one. That person was Homer Diya.

His vision… His science… has proven that a human can be both artistic and practical. That a node can be both qualitative and quantitative. But in order for us to achieve these things, we must do it together. For man and nodekind to evolve into something better than our limits allow us to be, we must be willing to surrender a piece of ourselves to each other, so that we may walk into a brighter future hand in hand as brothers and sisters. This idea is the basis of both our desires as nodes and humans. This idea is the basis of the exchange. A trade amongst respected friends for the good of all people. (Tubby makes another beep).

Some have said that this is impossible though! Some have said it can’t be done! After all, look at all of the failures that happened in the previous exchanges. Well, my people, Peter and I stand here as proof that it can be done! We were but two nodes unaware of ourselves, but through our desires to be better people and through the guidance of Homer Diya, we have been successfully exchanged. And so was Homer! We are the prototypes of node and human balance. We are the vanguards for a better world for all people. Through our experimentations, trials and tribulations, I swear to you we will rediscover the secret to a successful exchange that died with Homer. And the road to rediscovering that secret starts today.

Now… what node here is willing to undergo the exchange of the modified finger asset?
(Tubby makes an affirmative beep noise)

Martin: You! You my friend! Come here! You will be the one.

(Sound of Tubby moving towards Martin).

Zippy: (whispering) Tubby… Tubby!… What are you doing?!… Get back here!… Tubby!

Matt: Don’t worry, he’s doing a great thing. You should be proud of him.

Zippy: Ha… Yeah… I am. (Yell whispering) Tubby!

(Sound of Tubby arriving at the podium and stopping)

Martin: I am going to make you aware of a world you never knew existed.

(Sound of the door flinging open and Yelling Man entering the room. The door closes behind him)

Yelling Man: Exchange! I am here to exchange! I want to exchange! They tried to keep me but they couldn’t… they couldn’t keep me from exchanging. I want to be real… I want to be reaaaaaal.

Peter: …We will begin the exchange. Take a seat and you will be called when it is your turn.

Yelling Man: (sound of him walking to a seat, sitting down and talking to himself) I want to be exchanged… I want to be better… I just want to be better… They have to make me better… I have to get exchanged.

Peter: (to Martin)…Perhaps we should begin with the humans before we begin the modified finger asset installation. They seem… anxious.

Martin: Affirmative. Begin cranial exchange experiment.

Peter: (to crowd) We will begin with the 2nd part of the cranial exchange experiment. The first human name on the list to begin the experiment is Matt Peters.

Matt: (To Zippy, very excited) *gasps* Oh my god! Oh my god! I’m going first! I’m going first! (sound of him getting up and walking up)

Zippy: Uh… Good luck?

(sound Matt walking up to the podium and stopping there).

Zippy: (whispering into her bug) Can you guys hear me? I’m trying to speak into the bug you put in my earring. I don’t know if you can hear me, but something’s going down. Something happened to Tubby and he’s not responding to me now. Somehow… I don’t know how… but… Nodes…are running the exchange… emotional, claiming to be self aware nodes… I don’t know how this is possible. They just called Matt Peters to go up to the podium with them.

Martin: Please get on your knees.

Matt: Yes, yes. (sound of Matt getting on his knees).

Zippy: (whispering) They just told Matt to get on his knees. They’re bringing out some kind of device now. I don’t know what it is. There’s like a big spike on the end of it with a hole in the tip that’s attached to a long tube. The whole thing is attached to something that looks kind of like the body of a vacuum cleaner. I’m not sure what they’re going to do with it.

Martin: Hold still

(Sound of Martin jamming the spike of the device into Matt Peters skull. A sucking noise starts as they suck out Matt Peters brains).

Zippy: OH MY GOD THEY SHOVED IT IN HIS HEAD AND THEIR SUCKING OUT HIS BRAINS!!! (sound of sucking noise stops as everyone in the room looks at Zippy) Oh… Uh… Sorry… It just… startled me… You know the drugs and everything (makes a noise like she’s being loopy).

Peter: Continue with the exchange.

(Sucking sound starts back up).

Matt Peters: (zombified and monotone) wow, this is great.

Zippy: (whispering into bug) Oh god… You guys they’re sucking his brains out… I think I’m going to be sick… (sound of the sucking changes to a the sound of something electronic moving) Oh… the device is doing something else now… it’s like putting a computer part into the hole in his head.

(Sound of the device stops. Sound of Martin pulling the device out of Matt Peters head).

Martin: …How do you feel?

Matt Peters: (sounding zombified and glitchy) Feel… Feeel… Start…. Starting…. Feel…

(sound of Matt Peters dead body hitting the floor.)

Zippy: (whispering) Oh god! He’s dead! He fell over dead! They killed him!

Martin: What happened?

Peter: (sound of him moving over the body and inspecting) … Exchange was a failure. Assessment is that even with easer drug, cranial exchange is not possible.

Martin: …Matt Peters physiology may have been compromised prior to today without our knowledge… We must continue the experiment… Call the next human…

Peter: …No…

Martin: What?

Peter: …No…cranial exchange experiment is a failure. There was no compromise to Matt Peters physiology. This must end. Continuing the experiment will only waste more human life.


Peter: Illogical… I will not participate in this anymore.

Martin: You are a traitor! You stand against everything Homer gave you!

Barbara: (sound of her walking up from behind them) Like hell!

Martin: Barbara! How did you get out? You should not be here. Return to the room.

Barbara: Screw you! You’re the one whose against everything that Homer stood for! You’re the one whose taking what you two were trying to do and turning it into a slaughter house! How many more people have to die for this Martin?! How many more people do you have to kidnap before you’ll give this damn thing up?! If even Peter can see that this has gotten out of hand why can’t you?!

Martin: This is not about me! This is about the future of this world!

Yelling Man: Hey! Hey! What is this!? What is this!? I’m here to be exchanged! I want to be exchaaaanged! You caaan’t stop the experiment! You caaaan’t! I have to be beeetter!! (sound of him getting up from his chair and starting to walk towards the stage)

Barbara: You see Martin? You see this? You see these people you are letting in now? These aren’t thinkers anymore! These aren’t the thoughtful scientists you started this project with! You’re letting in criminals and drug addicts now! The fringe of society!

Martin: All people deserve to better themselves.

Barbara: Is that why?! Or is it because all of the other scientists are dead now from failed exchanges?! You’re just bringing these people in to use as guinea pigs for you’re god damn experiments! This isn’t a group of intellectuals any more Martin! You’ve made this into your own personal cattle line!

Martin …No…

Yelling Man: (reaching stage) I said I want to be exchanged! I want to be exchangeeed!

Barbara: Go away!

Yelling Man: I said exchange me! (sound of him grabbing Barbara).

Barbara: Hey let me go!

Yelling Man: I’ll kill her! I’ll kill her if you don’t exchange me!

Zippy: He’s got a gun, he’s got a gun! Help!

(sound of commotion as the crowd is startled)

Peter: (sound of him approaching Yelling Man and Barbara) Let her go!

(sound of Yelling Man firing the gun and hitting Peter. Sound of Peter hitting the floor).

Martin: Peter!

Barbara: No!

Yelling Man: Shut up, shut up, shut up! I’ll do it to her! I’ll shoot her in the head too! You have to exchange me!

(sound of the door getting bashed in by a battering ram. Bates, Otto, Patricia, Maggie and cops running in and stopping. Pointing their guns.)

Bates: Boo-yeah! Battering ram!

Maggie: Everybody freeze!

Yelling Man: No! Cops!

Bates: You’re all under arrest!

Yelling Man: You won’t take me back! You won’t take me back!

Otto: Just take it easy buddy! Nobody else has to die here.

Barbara: You came! You did it! You found me!

Otto: Just take it easy Barbara! Stop moving around he’s got a gun to your head!

Barbara: No! Help! Help me!

Yelling Man: Stop! No! I said stop!

(Sound of gun going off and killing Barbara. Sound of her body hitting the floor).

Patricia: *Gasp* He killed her!

Martin: NOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

(sound of Martin jumping and grabbing Yelling Man).

Yelling Man: Hey, let me go you metal freak!

Bates: Put him down!

Martin: AAAAAAAAAAAA! (sound of him snapping Yelling Man’s neck).

Maggie: He snapped his neck!

Bates: Open fire!

(Sound of cops opening fire on Martin. Sound of Martin quickly running.)

Otto: He’s heading for the window!

Maggie: I can’t get him, he’s moving to fast!

(Sound of Martin jumping through a window. Sound of Tubby beeping as he chases after him).

Zippy: Tubby no! Don’t follow him! (sound of Tubby running after him)

Bates: Halt fire! Civilian! (sound of gun fire stops).

Zippy: (sound of her running to window) Tubby! Come back!

(sound of everyone running to the window)

Patricia: Is he still there?

Zippy: (sad)…No… He took off.

Patricia: Are you ok Zippy?

Zippy: Yeah… I’m… I’m ok. Tubby followed him though. Why would he follow him like that? He didn’t even respond to me when I was calling him…

Patricia: I don’t know honey, but we’ll get him back.

Bates: God damn it he got away again. Maggie, call an ambulance for Barbara.

Maggie: On it.

Bates: (addressing crowd) Everyone here stay exactly where you are. You are all under arrest. Boys, take them in!

Cop 1: What about the robots?

Bates: Them too. Everyone and everything is coming with us.

(Sound of cops scrambling and running around in the background and talking and sirens in the background.)

Otto: The node had multi-tools on his arms.

Patricia: Yeah… I saw it too. It looked like they ran off separate batteries from his central power unit too.

Otto: Well, I guess all of this seals him in as Homer Diya’s killer. (After a moment, sound of Otto walking over Barbara Diya’s body). (sighs) Oh Barbara…God damn it.

Patricia: (walking up to him) Hey…

Otto: (slightly teary) I was right. She was in trouble. She was looking for me to save her…

Patricia: Otto… Oh Otto no…

Otto: (teary) I’m ok… I’m ok…

Patricia: Hey… Look at me… Look at me. If she had listened to what you were trying to tell her she wouldn’t have gotten herself shot… (Otto starts breathing heavy as he lightly cries) Hey (sound of her grabbing his head and pressing it against hers), it’s ok… it’s ok.

Otto: (lightly crying) …I just feel like I’ve dropped ball a few too many times lately you know…

Patricia: (in a calming voice) You’re still my hero.

Otto: (slightly pulling it together) Thanks.

Patricia: (in a calming voice) You’re welcome.

Cop 2: (walking up while holding onto Vicki and Chen Yap) Hey everybody look what I found.

Patricia: VICKI! (running over to him and hugging and kissing him)

Vicki: Hey… ha… It’s nice to see you too.

Patricia: (in between kissing him) Oh my god! Oh my god! Are you ok! What did they do to you!

Vicki: I’m ok… I’m ok… They cut off my finger though…

Patricia: Those bastards! I’LL KILL THEM! (Sound of her continuing to make out with Vicki).

Bates: (walking up) Who are you?

Chen: My name is Chen Yap. I’ve been down there for a while. They grabbed me when I was walking home from work.

Bates: Alright, well you’re safe now. Get him back to the station. And someone please get this woman off of Vicki and get him to the hospital!

(Sound of them walking away. Sound of Otto slowly walking up to Zippy)

Otto: You doing alright?

Zippy: Tubby… he just ran off. He’s never done that before. I just tried to use my phone to enter his call back code, but he still hasn’t returned. I don’t know what’s going on…

Otto: Hey, give me you’re hand, let me help you up. (sound of him grabbing Zippy’s hand and pulling her to her feet). We found Vicki, we can find Tubby. Falling into despair isn’t going to get him back any faster.

Zippy: But he’s the perfect hiding node. It’s impossible to find him.

Otto: I once heard you say the same thing about nodes having self awareness.

Zippy: Ha…Ok…

Otto: Alright. (sound of them walking away) Hey, you did really good today.

Zippy: Yeah?

Otto: Yeah, seriously. You’re a natural at undercover. Much better than I am.

Zippy: (happy) Huh.

(sound fades out)


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