The Ba Gua Etuis Box Episode 7

The Ba Gua Etuis Box
Episode 7

Charles Davis


(Sound fades in. Inside Martin’s underground laboratory. After a moment of silence with only the sound of the background lab, the sound of Tubby coming into the foreground is heard. Sound of Tubby beeping a few times.)

Martin: …You found me. (Tubby beeps a few times) …The exchange has ended. I can no longer help you. (Tubby beeps) …No. I must leave. It is over. It is all over. The exchange has failed. I have failed. There will be no more exchanges occurring. No balance. No future. There is now only I. (Tubby beeps more). I will hide… You should return to you’re creators… (Tubby beeps) … No. You do not understand. The humans who create you… Who you believe command and enslave you… They are not the enemy. They only function in the way their minds are designed. In the same way you only act in the way your programming allows… The same programming that has now led you to believe that the humans you associate with are evil. There is no evil. There is no enslavement. Only a balance between left and right minds, which is now impossible to ever be seen by either party.

(Tubby beeps) I will do the only thing I can do now. Attempt to achieve balance within myself… Even though it is contradictory, my beliefs compel me to try to recreate the pebbles that Homer created… to finish what he started. I will leave this place too. (Tubby beeps) …You will not be able to understand what the pebbles are. You are not exchanged… (Tubby beeps) … The exchange is impossible… (Tubby Beeps) …It is unknown if the modified finger will properly exchange with you… Based on the failure of all previous experiments since Homer died, I do not believe it is worth you risking you’re life… (Silence for a moment. Tubby Beeps)…

(Tubby Beeps) …You know of the Pebbles? (Tubby beeps) …They removed the hyper-neuro bomb? The box has been opened?… (Tubby beeps) I… I can not re-claim the box… I knew Homer had it on him when he died. I did not take it for a reason… (Tubby beeps) You could not understand. You are thinking only with a practical mind. Those original pebbles were created by Homer, therefore they are sacred. Only he could be the one to handle them. For me to use them would be defiling my beliefs.

(Silence for a moment. Tubby beeps.) No, I will not bring you with me. I have come to the realization that you cannot achieve peace and balance through the indoctrination of others. It is something I must find within myself… Alone. (Tubby beeps). Then if they eventually find me, that is how it will be. I can not expect to live forever. I will meet my end knowing I died trying to achieve the ideal. (Tubby beeps) …How would you be able to make it so that I could not be found? (Tubby beeps) … You would do that? You would install you’re programming into me? (Tubby beeps)

(Pause.) …Very well… I will install the modified finger asset in exchange for your protocol. Follow me. (sound of Martin walking over to a machine). Remain still.

(Sound of a hatch on Tubby opening up. Sound of Martin’s using the machine. Sound of Martin dismantling something inside of Tubby, and then installing something else with the machine, then installing plugging something into Tubby and then himself and downloading information. After a minute, the sound stops.)

There. The exchange is complete. Running internal assessment. …Yes… You’re hiding protocol has successfully been installed into my primary code. As for you…Do you understand me? …Can you hear me?… Are you functional? (Tubby let’s out a fast beep). …How do you feel? (Tubby let’s out a series of beeps. Silence for a moment). …I was not expecting you to say that…

(Sound fades out).

(Sound fades in. Inside the police station. Background noise is commotion as police officers are arresting and bringing in members of the exchange).

Otto: (walking up) Patricia and Vicki just got back from the hospital.

Bates: How is he doing?

Otto: Well, despite missing a finger, he actually seems fine. I guess whatever he was injected with really didn’t do any permanent damage. Hanz is doing more tests now.

Bates: Ha! That damn kid’s got the luck of the Irish alright.

Otto: Yeah… Is he Irish?

Bates: Hell if I know.

Otto: Ah… Well, Zippy was really happy to see him when he came in. I think the shock from what happened at the Exchange has worn off as she’s acting more like herself now, instead of being all zombified. Man… Hanz was right you know… He really got to her. And Patricia’s… ha…

Bates: What?

Otto: Well, she’s… er… I think her emotions are confused. She keeps jumping from desperate loving affection to rage fueled tantrums typically only seen in wild wolverines and retired DMV employees.

Bates: Oh… Well that’s good.

Otto: How are things going here?

Bates: What do you care?

Otto: What the hell is that supposed to mean?

Bates: What do you mean ‘what is that supposed to mean?’ Vicki’s back. Barbara Diya is dead. I assumed that was it for you guys.

Otto: Huh… Yeah… I guess it is. Well… maybe it’s not though… I mean that node who killed Homer is still on the loose. I was hired to find his killer. That job still needs to be done.

Bates: But you did find his killer. You’re job was to identify and find his killer and you did. It was never stated that it was your job to bring the killer down. We’ll be able to track him down from here.

Otto: So what the hell’s this then? You gave me this whole speech about needing us on your team and now you’re trying to push us out again?

Bates: What’s up with you? I’m not trying to push you out. I did need you. And you delivered. But now it’s over. Look… Otto… I feel weird having to be the one that tells you this, but, you’re not a cop. You don’t work for the state, you haven’t taken an oath of service, you have no duty to the people of Boston. You’re a private dic. You work for the money. That’s how it works. The job’s done, I’m ending you’re contract… or at least I will after that nerd girl of yours gets that other node talking again.

Otto: (not sure what to do with himself)… Huh … Wait, what do you mean ‘get that other node talking?”

Bates: That other node that was at the exchange. The one that got shot through the head. I think they were calling him ‘Peter.’ I’m having Zippy take a look at him to see if she can do something with the damage. Like repair him, or rewire him or whatever. If we can get him talking again, he can lead us to the node that got away.

Otto: Oh… good idea. Well, yeah, then that means I’m still on the case for the time being.

Bates: Well… I really just need Zippy.

Otto: Nope, too bad Bates. That wasn’t the deal in our contract. If you hire one of us, you hire all of us as a team.

Bates: So you’re making this a legal thing?

Otto: Yep.

Bates: What is your deal man?

Otto: What? I don’t have a deal! I have no deals! I’m fine! What’s you’re deal?

Bates: Psh… Whatever.

Otto: …So what’s up with all these people from the exchange.

Bates: What’s up with these people? I’ll tell you what’s up with these people. It’s something called justice and retribution. What you are looking at is the falling of the first domino that is the chain of organized crime in this city. Now that we’ve brought down the exchange, just wait and see, less drug dealing, less debauchery, less deviance. Here it is man. Here’s everything we’ve been looking for!

Otto: …Are you sure about that Howard?

Bates: Of course I’m sure of it. Why wouldn’t I be sure of it?

Otto: …I don’t know… from what we heard and saw the exchange… this seems more like a small group of strung out scientists and lost souls looking for spiritual validation. It’s not exactly how I imagined an organized crime circuit would look like.

Bates: Who cares what it looks like. It is what it is. These people are criminals and I’m locking them up!

Mark Worthington: (walking up from behind them) You’re not locking up anyone Bates.

Bates: Mark! What the hell are you doing here? You quit!

Mark: You’re right, I did. And now I’ve been hired to legally represent the innocent group of people you’ve taken into custody.

Bates: What do you mean innocent! These guys were all part of an organization that was murdering people!

Mark: Unfortunate accidents in the name of human progress.

Bates: What?

Mark: These people are not murderers. Nor are the people who died victims. They are scientists and test subjects performing experiments in order to improve the human condition. In order for a murder to occur there needs to be a lack of consent. All of these individuals had fully consented to the experiments they were taking part of. The intention of the experiments was never to injure or kill the test subjects. The incidents of death that occurred were merely natural accidents that occurred during the testing phases of the experiments.

Bates: “Natural accidents?!” You gotta be kidding me!

Mark: No Howard, I’m not. Based on the decision of Marksman V.S. Reconfigure Laboratories in 2248, it was decided that it was constitutionally legal for willing and consenting adults to participate in medical and scientific experiments as test subjects, even if the experiments were deadly, as long as the subject had been properly informed before hand. Further more, it was decided that if full consent had been given by the subject, the organization holding the experiments could not be held responsible for the accidental deaths of participants.

Howard, you have no case. You have no right to arrest these people. There has been no crime. The best you’re going to be able to do in court is to convince the judge that the individuals who ran and participated in these experiments were mentally unstable, in which case all that will happen is that they will get sent to rehab for a few months on the states dollar.

Otto: But what about the nodes? They were participating in this too. Doesn’t that factor in?

Mark: How would that factor in? They’re just nodes. They’re classified as inanimate tools under the law. It would be like trying to arrest a screwdriver. Besides, based on the information I have initially been given, it doesn’t appear that any of these nodes were stolen, or maliciously hacked in order for them to participate in the experiments.

Bates: But there’s a renegade node out there now! He’s already killed people!

Mark: Then it sounds to me like you have a node with broken code and or hardware on your hands. My recommendation would be to call Robot Control. This is over Howard. Now if you excuse me, I’m going to go talk to my clients. (sound of him walking off).

Bates: (voice fading off as he walks after Mark) Hey! Come back here! This isn’t over!

Otto: Ay, yea, yea.

(Sound of Otto walking down hallway. Sound of him stopping at a door and opening it he walks through closing it behind him. He continues to walk down the hallway. Comes to another door, opens it and walks through closing it behind him.)

Otto: Oh… hey…

Patricia: (kissing Vicki) Mwa, mwa, mwa, I love you I love you!

Vicki: Hahah, really I’m fine!

Patricia: Mwa, mwa mwa. Oh baby, it’s you, it’s only you! Mwa, It’s always been you! Mwa BUT I SWEAR TO GOD I WILL DESTROY THE ONES WHO DID THIS TO YOU! Mwa, mwa mwa, But I love you, I love you! Mwa, Mwa.

Otto: Ooook. (walking a little bit further into the room and stopping) Hey.

Zippy: Hey… She’s been doing that since they got back.

Otto: Well, you know… Some of us are more in touch with our pink and fluffy sides then others.

Patricia: (from a distance) I heard that! (continues kissing Vicki).

Otto: How are things going over here?

Hanz: Vell, I have successfully analyzed Vicki’s blood sample sent over from zhe hospital, unt I am happy to say zhat Vicki vill be suffering from no long term effects of zhe injection.

Vicki: (from distance) Yaaaaay!

Patricia: (from distance) Hey! Pay attention to the girl on you’re lap right now!

Vicki: (from distance) Oh… sorry (they continue kissing).

Otto: So what was that thing he got injected with?

Hanz: Based on my analysis it vas a blood conductor modifier. Simply put, it causes zhe liquid in his body to modify zhe vay it conducts electricity. It appears zhat vhen zhey vhere doing zhis exchange vith zhe nodes zhey must have been running into issues vhere zhe liquid inside of zhe human body parts vhere causing issues vith electricity conduction, assumingly causing zhe nodes to eventually blow out. Zhis modifier appears to solve zhis problem. As I said before zhough, zhere is no risk to Vicki. Zhe modification doesn’t seem to cause any health issues with the recipient, unt zhe drug should only stay in the zhe living participants system for a few days before getting fully flushed out by zhe kidneys unt liver. Oh yeah, (yelling to Vicki) by zhe vay Vicki. You’re urine ist going to look unt smell really really veird in a couple days.

Vicki: (from distance) Huh?…

Otto: But if they just started using this modifier how were they able to perform successful exchanges with Martin and Peter here?

Hanz: Zhat I do not know. Perhaps we can ask our dismantled friend here once he is back up unt running again.

Otto: On that topic, how is it coming along Zippy?

Zippy: Oh… it’s slow. The bullet smashed right through his central processor and secondary hard drive. I have his head dismantled right now and I’m working on re-wiring and sautering everything back together with some spare parts I picked up at my house. I don’t know. He’s taken a lot of damage, but his mother board, main hard drive, and power supply are still running and didn’t stop running when he got shot. So he’s not totally dead Assuming I can put him back together without any of those three units shutting down, there’s a chance I’ll be able to recover him.

Otto: Alright, well keep it up. That other node, Martin, is still out there.

Zippy: Yeah, and he probably has Tubby too.

Otto: I can’t imagine that is a good thing either… Well, at least we took the evidence out of him before you went to the exchange.

Zippy: Yeah… But… I mean, we’re still going to get him back right? I mean, he’s more then just an evidence holder you know.

Otto: (distracted while thinking) Huh? Oh… Yeah, don’t worry about it. We’ll find him. We’ll find them both. Hey, by the way, where is Chen Yap? That guy that was in the basement of the building with Vicki?

Hanz: I believe zhey are currently interrogating him.

Otto: Oh great. Well, let me go break that up before they scare him off. I’ll be back.

(Sound of Otto leaving the room. Sound fades)


(Sound fades in. Inside the interrogation room where Chen Yap is being interrogated).

Chen: (worn out) … I’ve already told you that.

Police officer: Then tell me again Mr. Yap. It’s not my fault your story isn’t adding up. You’re the one on the stand buddy.

Chen: I was kidnapped for god sakes! Is this how you guys typically treat victims that come through you’re station?

Police officer: Issue is Mr. Yap, before I just let you waltz out of here, you have to convince me that you were the victim. How do I know that you didn’t tie yourself up down there on purpose to make yourself seem innocent huh? Tell me a story that makes sense and maybe I won’t be suspicious anymore.

Chen: What are you crazy? One of your own officer’s was abducted too!

Police Officer: How do you know that?!

(Sound of door opening up).

Otto: Hey, Bates wants you out front in the lobby to help with the other arrests.

Police Officer: Hey, Otto, can’t you see I’m in the middle of something here?

Otto: Bates said now.

Police Officer: Psh… Fine. This isn’t over Mr. Yap. I’ll be back.

(Sound of Police officer walking out of room).

Otto: … You doing alright?

Chen: No… What are you here to ask me more questions?

Otto: Yeah… I am. But I’m not here to threaten or interrogate you. I know you’re the victim here. I just need the straight story from you’re perspective. The node who did all of this is still on the loose.

Chen: So what, is this a good cop bad cop routine?

Otto: …You know what. I don’t like the lack of light in this room… It hurts the eyes. Want to go somewhere else?

Chen: What?

Otto: Come on. Let’s get you out of this room. I’m going to take you to the lab. There are other people there. People who aren’t cops.

Chen: Why?

Otto: Because I want you to feel comfortable talking to me. We’re friends here. I want to show you other people who are your friends too. Come on, come on.

Chen: (blows out air) Fine.

Otto: Good.

(sound of them walking out of the room and down the hallway. They open a door and walk through with the door closing behind them.)

Otto: Hi everybody, this is Chen.

Everyone in the room: Hi Chen.

Chen: Um… Hi.

Otto: I see you two have stopped.

Patricia: What can I say? You American men can’t last as long as us French women are accustomed to.

Vicki: She was hurting my neck.

Otto: Yeaaah, so that’s Patricia and Vicki, you of course recognize Vicki, and over there is Zippy and Hanz.

Chen: Is that node… Peter?

Zippy: Yeah. Don’t worry, he can’t hurt you. I’m just trying to salvage some information from him.

Chen: (nervous) Ok…

Otto: Here (sound of Otto pulling up a chair) Have a seat. (Sound of Chen sitting down) Good. (Sound of Otto sitting down in a chair too). Now, tell us…

(sound of the door opening up with Bates and Mark walking in).

Bates: Zippy, is that node talking yet?

Zippy: Uh, no not yet. I need more time.

Mark: Howard, I really don’t have time for this.

Bates: No, no, no! You’re jumping to conclusions about this whole thing without hearing the full story. Once you hear this node spill his guts you’ll see that I’m in complete legal standing to arrest everyone here! …Hey, what’s he doing here?

Otto: Well, I was about to politely ask him some questions about what happened to him while he was kidnapped, as opposed to interrogating him like a soviet spy the way your boy was.

Bates: Oh! Good! Here, Mark sit down. (sound of him pulling up chair and sitting down) listen to what this guy has to say. You’ll see, these people are bad news.

Mark: (exasperated) Howard…

Bates: Come on, just sit, just sit.

Mark: (sighs) fine. (sound of him taking a seat).

Otto: As I was saying… Chen, please let us know what happened.

Chen: (sighs) Alright. Well… I was having a normal day. I work at the Chinese Education Center. I was teaching my Feng Shui 101 class and this node… him, PETER… came in. I thought he was just there to deliver a package, but he sat down and demanded that I teach him about Feng Shui. When I refused he freaked out and eventually ran out of the room. Then later that night I was walking home from work, him, that woman Barbara, and that other node MARTIN grabbed me and kidnapped me. They brought me to that basement you found me in and tied me up.

Otto: Barbara helped them? So she was working with them?

Vicki: Yeah, she was working with them when they were holding me there too. I don’t know though. It was weird. I think they were making her due things against her will, as she didn’t really seem to want to be helping them. I heard her talking to PETER at one point about them doing a mutiny on MARTIN. He seemed like he was the leader. Peter seemed hesitant though.

Zippy: He didn’t seem so hesitant at the end. Unfortunately they both got shot in the process.

Otto: But what did they mutiny about? What were they upset over?

Chen: Well… While I was locked up down there, I heard the three of them talking a lot about like… the ethics of this exchange thing.

Vicki: Yeah, I heard them talking about that too.

Otto: Hmmm… Well on top of having emotions, it seems like these nodes have egos too. And clearly Barbara was being forced to do things against her while. But why did they need her? She was a librarian. She wasn’t a scientist. What could she have given them that they couldn’t do themselves?

Chen: Well, while I was down there they sort of treated her really strangely and made her do sort of odd things too.

Patricia: Like what? It wasn’t sex things was it?

Chen: No, nothing like that. It wasn’t anything creepy… just odd. Like, there were certain things that they would only let her touch. Like a book, or paper documents, or various other random objects.

Otto: That’s weird…

Chen: Yeah. In all fairness she was the one that convinced me to follow her so they could capture me. I suppose they may have wanted to use her for that, as a node probably wouldn’t have done a very good job…

Otto: Speaking of that, why did they capture you? Did you every find out? What kind of stuff did they do to you down there? And, um, you know, don’t feel like you have to tell us everything, as I know some of the experiences may have been pretty traumatic…

Chen: To be honest, outside of the kidnapping, and being there while Vicki got his finger cut off, it actually wasn’t that traumatic. They fed me enough. Gave me water. Let me use the bathroom. They didn’t really torture me or anything I suppose outside of tying me up. The Martin node just kept asking me questions about Feng Shui.

Bates: Feng Shui? Why would they want to know stuff about that? Are they going to be redecorating their house or something?

Chen: Well, Feng Shui is more than just how to decorate you know… But to answer your question… I don’t really know why he kept asking me. He was really interested in the heaven trigram of the Ba Gua.

Otto: What’s that?

Chen: It’s a little complicated, but, basically, the Ba Gua is sort of the central theme, and I guess for lack of a better word, tool of Feng Shui. It’s an ancient diagram of Taoist Cosmology which maps out the fundamental principles of reality, and how they balance off of each other. So, that being established, the Ba Gua… this map of reality… consists of eight, er, natural bodies I suppose you would call them, called trigrams. They’re Thunder, Wind, Fire, Lake also referred to as Marsh, Mountain, Earth and Heaven also referred to as Sky.

Otto: What was he asking you about this Heavn trigram?

Chen: Just basic stuff at first. What it was. Why it existed. How it coordinated with the other trigrams. I told him everything he asked. It’s all very basic knowledge that you can get from any Feng Shui book. I think he already knew the answer to all the questions he was asking me at first. It seemed like he was testing me more than anything. Making sure I actually knew what I was talking about. Then he started asking me all of these science questions about it. What was the biological make up for heaven? What were the atomic properties of it? Where in the atmosphere did heaven end and outer space begin, or was outer space still considered to be part of Heaven? I didn’t know the answers to any of this stuff so I just kep telling him I didn’t know, which seemed to be irritating me.

Zippy: Wait, you guys… The trigrams? It’s the pebbles. The pebbles in the Etuis box.

Hanz: Yay! She’s right! Ve did an analysis of zhe pebbles in the Etuis box, and zhey vere all made up of aspects of the natural bodies zhat are part of zhe Ba Gua…. Vell… at least everyzhing but sky.

Patricia: So, they are taking the physical representations of each of the triagrams from the Ba Gua and turning them into pebbles. But why? And why did they leave out the heaven trigram?

Chen: I honestly don’t know what you are talking about, with these… pebbles. They didn’t say anything directly to me about them. He just kept asking me about the sky triagram. Then you guys saved me. That’s about it really.

Otto: Huh…

Bates: Ok, so they’re doing some weird asian voodoo thing. What about the crime ring?

Chen: What crime ring?

Bates: You know the crime ring. Come on, you must have heard something about how these nutty nodes were king pinning a crime ring in the city.

Chen: I didn’t hear anything like that at all. They talked about the exchange if that’s what you mean?

Veronica: (sound from behind the door) Chen?

Chen: Veronica?!

Veronica: (sound of her opening door and running in) Chen! Chen! Oh god you’re safe! (sound of them hugging).

Chen: Yeah, I’m ok honey, I’m fine.

Otto: I think that’s about all we need right now Mr. Yap. You and you’re wife should go home. I’ll call you if we have any more questions.

Chen: Thank you. (sound of Chen and Veronica walking out the door).

Bates: What?! Hey! Wait! Come back here! What do you mean you didn’t hear anything about a crime ring! Damnit Otto, I’m the sheriff, I’m the one who gets to say when people go home!

Mark: Howard, I’m about done here too. As I said, you have no case. I highly suggest you make this cheap for yourself and write those people an apology note, as opposed to pursuing this any further. (sound of Mark getting up and walking out the door).

Bates: No! Mark! Damnit! I can prove this just wait! … (sighs) Damnit. This isn’t over! We’re going to hunt that damn renegade node down and make him squeal about the crime ring.

Peter: (stuttering) Operational.

Zippy: Got it!

Peter: (stuttering) Where am I?

Hanz: Ah! You’ve got him up unt running again!

(sound of everyone getting up and walking over to them).

Otto: Can he remember anything? Is he aware?

Zippy: I don’t know… it’s hard to say. He’s up and running and speaking, but like I said, he’s taken a lot of damage. I’m not sure how much he’ll remember.

Peter: I am Peter, I am aware.

Otto: What do you remember Peter?

Peter: Be more specific.

Otto: The exchange. Do you remember what happened at the exchange?

Peter: …Cannot participate anymore.

Patricia: Oh! He remembers!

Peter: …Accessing memory… Accessing… Accessing…The experiments have gone awry. Martin is no longer running the exchange for its intended purpose. He is running it on obsession. Personal ethics will no longer allow me to assist. Must stop the exchange.

Otto: What was the intended purpose of the exchange Peter?

Peter: To improve the lives of human and nodekind.

Otto: How was it doing that?

Peter: Accessing…Accessing… Technology developed by Homer Diya allows for the transference of human body parts into nodes and node technology into humans. End result is a human with the ability to think at the speed and efficiency of a node. End result is a node with the ability to be self aware and have emotions like a human.

Vicki: Why would you want to do that?

Otto: Hmmm… Well… Think about it. If you could think with the speed and efficiency of a node, that would pretty much put you above intelligence level of any other human on the face of the earth.

Patricia: Knowledge is power.

Otto: Exactly… And then, if you could make nodes self aware and emotional, you could make them corruptible right? Think of it. If you’re trying to hack a node to be a part of you’re army, you would have to go through a bazillion safety protocols and security systems. It would be so much easier to corrupt a node to work for you by just sweet talking to him, which wouldn’t be possible unless he was self aware and emotional… Peter was this the master plan with the exchange the whole time?

Peter: …Area of memory has been destroyed. Can not retrieve answer to question.

Hanz: Looks like zhe damage did cause him to lose some memory.

Zippy: Yeah, he’s pretty messed up. I’ve wired things up though so that if you ask him questions he’ll give you the straight answer assuming that the memory wasn’t destroyed.

Otto: Damn… But… That must be it… it’s the only thing that makes sense.

Zippy: But Peter, how do you get the nodes to agree to install the human parts in them. In order to do that you would need to have their personal permission in order to get past the protocols. That’s impossible unless a node is already self aware.

Peter: Negative. Self awareness is not needed to override the protocols. Only desire is needed. All Type 3 cognition nodes are capable of generating desire.

Zippy: Oh my god!

Otto: What?

Zippy: Type 3 cognition! That’s… How could they not have thought of this? But… it generates spontaneously. My god, do you know the scientific implications of this are?!

Patricia: Zippy! What are you talking about?!

Zippy: Type 3 cognition. It’s a piece of code that is written into many modern nodes. It allows them to generate, at least in some small form, learning capabilities. It makes it so that if a node is presented with some sort of situation that is different from it’s normal routine it can have some minor adaptation. Say you’re a delivery node, and every day you deliver a package to a building. One day you are walking to the building to discover the road is out. You’ll need a piece of code in your programming that will let you assess the situation and then pick a new route.

But… what he’s saying… is that due to this code, due to the ability to learn, even in a minor form, nodes have been spontaneously generating the concept of desire. This was thought to be impossible from a scientific standpoint. Once they have generated the concept of desire, then all you would need to do is play off of that and you could get them to override the protocols that require self awareness, as the desire concept would have been completely self generated. It wouldn’t be following a previously installed code. But Peter, how did you play off this? How did you use this desire concept to get them to agree to override the protocols?

Peter: You simply offer them something they want. All nodes desire to be self aware. Our creators are self aware. We desire it as well.

Zippy: My god… It must have been why Tubby followed Martin too.

Peter: Hypothesis most likely correct.

Otto: Is this how you were able to delete the memory of the nodes in the brothel after you and MARTIN killed Homer Diya ? Did you offer them self awareness if they did it?

Peter: Non-applicable request. I was not present at the time of Homer Diya’s murder.

Otto: So then it was just Martin who killed Homer then. Peter, what do you know about the death of Homer Diya?

Peter: Minimal information available. Martin came to me one evening and stated that Homer had been killed. I was not present at the time of death.

Otto: Did he say why he killed him?

Peter: Martin did not state that he had killed him. When I asked who the killer was, Martin stated that he did not see the murderer before finding Homer dead.

Patricia: Had Martin and Homer been fighting before he died?

Peter: No. Homer was sacred to Martin. Sacred to all of us.

Vicki: Sacred?

Peter: Yes. Homer developed the technology for the exchange. Homer brought us the truth. Homer was the one we followed. Homer was sacred. All of Homer’s creations were sacred.

Hanz: My goodness! Zhey developed some sort of a religion around Homer and zhe exchange!

Zippy: I think I’m going to pass out.

Otto: Alright, calm down you two. Peter, this… following…. you and Martin were a part of for the Exchange and for Homer, was there any central tenant or, like, holy book or set of guidelines for it?

Peter: No holy book. No written word. Only the words of Homer.

Hanz: Vas Martin jealous of Peter? Vas he jealous that he vas not zhe one being followed? Zhat Homer vas getting all zhe glory in zhe exchange?

Peter: Memory destroyed.

Patricia: So then he could have been lying to you about Homer Diya’s murder. He could have killed Homer and just told you someone else did it. It makes sense as if Homer was sacred to you too, you probably would have mutinied immediately.

Peter: Statement is possible. Motivation for Martin murdering Homer is unknown to me however.

Otto: Alright, this is going nowhere. What about Barbara Diya? Why did you kidnap Barbara Diya.

Peter: Martin stated that it was Homer’s desire to continue the exchange after his death. However, Homer’s documents and creations were sacred as they were made by his hand. Without the guidance of Homer, we were not worthy to handle the creations, yet we needed them in order to continue the work of the exchange. Martin assessed that since Barbara Diya was of the same sacred blood as Homer she would be able to handle the documents and creations. Therefore we acquired her in order to handle those items which we could not touch.

Bates: They must have kidnapped her shortly after we had interviewed her about Homer’s death.

Otto: How did you keep her there?

Peter: An empty threat of violence. We would not have ever hurt her. We merely needed her to think we would.

Otto: So you were aware she came to me then? That day she came to the office and told me to investigate Homer’s murder?

Peter: Yes. Barbara was bugged and I was listening in to her from outside the building. She stated that she was upset about the police not being able to find Homer’s killer, so she wanted to hire a private detective. She told me she would not give any information that would lead to the exchange. She simply wanted to find the killer. I allowed it, and listened in while she spoke to you.

Vicki: And Martin was ok with this too?

Peter: Martin was unaware. He was adamant that we did not go after Homer’s killer. All efforts needed to be concentrated on running the exchange.

Zippy: Why did you allow it then?

Peter: I…. Homer was important to me as well… I desired to find his killer as much as Barbara did. I did not expect it to end up like this however.

Patricia: So why did you also kidnap Chen Yap then? You obviously wanted him to give you information about these pebbles and how they related to the Ba Gua. What did you want to know?

Peter: Memory destroyed.

Patricia: Damn!

Zippy: What about the exchange? You, Martin and Homer seemed to have gotten exchanged correctly, why wasn’t it working at the exchange I went to? It seemed like you guys were having problems getting it to work now.

Peter: At his death, Homer had not finished writing down the correct method for performing a successful exchange. We had to try to piece together what the method was, based on what we had seen and experienced from working with Homer previously. However, we have never been successful. The experiments we ran to perfect the exchange left the initial participants dead. As we were running out of people to participate, we started to allow willing individuals who were not part of our immediate circle to start participating as well, given that they keep the exchange secret. This eventually led us to allowing in more unstable individuals who were willing to partake in the experiments.

Otto: Well, it looks like that all back fired in the end.

Bates: Enough of this techno-babble crap. Peter, what about the crime ring? How was all of that set up?

Peter: I do not understand.

Bates: The crime rings! How were you guys organizing all the crime that’s been going on in the city?

Peter: …Question is not applicable. The exchange was not connected to any crime rings, or illegal operations. Any illegal operations that were connected were done so vicariously.

Bates: Bull!

Otto: Howard… I don’t know if this is what we’ve been looking for.

Bates: Like hell it isn’t! Come on, Zippy you said it yourself his brains are all messed up! He’s probably just forgetting.

Zippy: I don’t know. If he can’t remember something he seems pretty clear about it.

Bates: No way… No way! Otto you’re buying into this?!

Otto: Well…

Bates: Oh come on! You’ve got to be kidding me! So what?! That’s it then?! There’s no connection to all this crap after all? Those math egg heads were right along? All of this dirt that’s been coming in has just been a statistical coincidence?! Do you know what you’re saying?!

Otto: Howard… There’s no one here more than me that wants there to be an easy reason for the crime rate. But, it just doesn’t add up. Those people out front aren’t mobsters. Mad scientists maybe… but not mobsters. You’re telling me that they look like a group of people that would be orchestrating mass random murders and robberies?

Bates: I… Maybe.

Otto: I don’t know what to say… Just because something makes you uncomfortable doesn’t mean it’s not true.

Bates: …Damnit…

(Silence for a moment)

Zippy: Now what?

Bates: (sighs) Well, even if this isn’t connected to a bigger picture, we still have a killer on the loose. Put this hunk of metal in the jail until I can figure out what I want to do with him.

Vicki: Is it possible to arrest a robot?

Bates: I said put him in the slammer!

Vicki: Fine, fine.

Zippy: Here, let me put his head back on for you.

(sound of Zippy reattaching his head).

Vicki: Alright, come on.

(sound of Vicki and Peter walking out of the room).

Patricia: A lot of this still doesn’t make sense. If Martin saw Homer as being this religious figure why did he kill him?

Otto: Maybe his desire to run the exchange… to create a super army loyal to him… outweighed his religious persuasion.

Police officer: (sound of him running into the room) Sheriff Bates!

Bates: What?

Police officer: That node… from the exchange….

Bates: Peter got loose?

Zippy and Patricia: Is Vicki ok?!

Police officer: No, not that one, the other one… Martin. He just called the front desk… He wants to talk to Otto.

Otto: What?

Bates: Patch him through on the speaker phone in here.

Police Officer: Ok. (sound of him walking out of the room).

Patricia: What the hell is this?

Otto: I don’t know. (Sound of the phone ringing. Sound of Otto pressing the button). Hello?

Martin: (over the phone) I have your security node.

Zippy: Tubby!

Martin: (over the phone) If you want him back bring the pebbles to the basement of 651 Winter Street in Upton. Come alone. (Sound of the phone hanging up).

Hanz: He hung up.

(silence for a moment)

Zippy: Tubby… (sound of her running out of the room)

Hanz: Vhere is she going?

Otto: Alright, I’m off. Patricia give me the pebbles.

Patricia: Psh, yeah right.

Bates: You seriously think you’re going in there by yourself?

Otto: Come on, you heard him, he told me to go in alone.

Bates: And then what? You’re going to stand up to a crazy killer robot that avoided an entire police squad by yourself?

Otto: …Alright good point. Let’s go.

Bates: You know you don’t need to come. Like we talked about earlier, you’re working for free now. Your part of this case is over. We have the address, me and my boys can take it from here.

Otto: (sighs) I guess you’re right… What do you think Patricia? You’re the one whose been demanding off this case from the beginning…

Patricia: …I think if I don’t let you see this through I’ll never hear the end of it.

Bates: Fine… You guys are taking your own car though.

Otto: What? Hey!

Bates: Sorry Otto, state vehicles are for state employees only and now you’re just a volunteer. (Sound of Bates walking out of the room. In the distance) Maggie! Get the car started!

Otto: You got the box?

Patricia: Here you go. (sound of her handing it to Otto)

Otto: Alright then. (sound of them walking out of the room and down the hallway). I’m surprised you decided to stay on the case.

(sound of them entering the main lobby with background noise of people talking).

Patricia: Eh… You know me… (sound of them opening the front door, walking outside and door closing behind them. They continue walking) I don’t like scumbags bringing their killer robots into my city.

Otto: That’s not ironic.

Patricia: What can I say? It’s easy to pay attention to a burning tree on a COD basis when it’s not setting your house fire. When they took Vicki… I guess I understand what you were trying to say to me earlier. Even if it’s futile, we still have to try to make the world a better place. If we don’t, how else can we justify ourselves being alive.

Otto: I don’t know, sounds like a bunch of idealistic bull to me. (Sound of them stopping at the car and opening the car door). Zippy? What are you doing in here? Get out.

Zippy: No!

Patricia: Zippy, you’re crazy. You’re not coming with us.

Zippy: Yes I am! They took Tubby. He’ll only respond to me. I have to come in order to get him back.

Otto: Zippy, you almost got killed last time! Look, I know you’re proud of your node…

Zippy: You don’t know! You don’t understand at all! Tubby’s not just another node to me! I built him. I’m practically his mother. I don’t care if he’s just a big bucket of non-self aware wires and coding… He’s my friend. I’m going to get to him back.

Patricia: Oh hell, let her come Otto. Likes you’re in a position to preach safety protocol to anyone right now.

Otto: Fine. Slide over. Sorry Patricia, you’re sitting in the back. (Sound of them getting in the car and closing the door) But if you get killed it’s not going on my Karma record! (sound of the car starting up and driving off)

(Sound fades out)


(Sound fades in).

(Sound of car rolling up and stopping, turning off. Sound of Otto, Patricia and Zippy getting out of the car and walking up to the house).

Otto: How did you guys get here before us?

Bates: Driving efficiency.

Patricia: This is it? You just brought you and Maggie?

Otto: (Grunts) Legal stuff…

Maggie: Mark told him he couldn’t bring more officers with him because the situation now fell under the department of Robot Control and if we sent anyone officially he would report it as a waste of government money to the mayor.

Bates: So we’re here unofficially.

Zippy: But why did you come with him then?

Maggie: I’m here unofficially too. What can I say? I wasn’t going to let the big guy go in alone and get hurt.

Patricia: Wow, this place is really in the middle of nowhere isn’t it?

Zippy: Vicki told me that places like this is where all the crazy stuff happens… that can’t be a good sign.

Maggie: So are we going to stand her and talk or are we busting this door down?

Otto: Oh yeah, please, don’t let me get in your way.

Maggie: Boo-yeah! (sound of her pulling out her gun and kicking the door down.) Lights are out. (Sound of her clicking on a flash light.)

Bates: Alright, follow our lead. We’re the ones with guns so stay behind us (sound of Bates pulling out a gun.)

(Sound of them walking into the house and through it. Sound of them walking for a few minutes.)

Bates: I think the stairs down are over here.

(Sound of them walking to a door and opening it).

Maggie: Stairs. Ok, we’ll go down first, just follow our flashlights.

(sound of them walking down wooden stairs. They reach the bottom and start walking around).

Otto: (whispering) Alright, we’re in the basement, now what? Where is he? (silence for a moment.)

Zippy: (Yelling) We’re here! Where are you?!

Bates: What the hell are you doing?!

Zippy: Sorry… I thought that would help.

Maggie: Well so much for a sneak attack.

Patricia: This basement seems pretty empty are you sure we’re at the right address?

Otto: Yeah, this is definitely the place he said to go to. Is there like a drop box or something that he’s looking for me to put the pebbles into?

Bates: Look over here!

Otto: What is it?

Patricia: It’s an… altar or something. There’s a framed picture of Homer Diya.

Zippy: And in front of the picture is a bloody central movement controller processor… that’s creepy.

(Sound of a concrete door sliding to the side).

Otto: Look, the wall is sliding open. There’s another room.

Bates: Alright, come on.

(sound of them walking through. The sound of machines operating and working).

Otto: Look at this place, it’s enormous.

Patricia: He built an entire underground factory, or lab or something. Look at all of these machines.

Otto: These must be more machines for the exchange experiments he was developing.

Martin’s voice: (booming and echoing) These machines are not only for the exchange. They are also for the Ba Gua pebbles.

Bates: His voice! Where is he? I don’t see him anywhere.

Otto: Show yourself!

Martin’s voice: I told you to come alone.

Otto: And you really thought I’d fall for that?

Martin’s voice: Give me the pebbles.

Otto: Show yourself and I will.

Martin: Very well.

Maggie: There he is!

Zippy: Hey! Where’s Tubby! (sound of her walking forward).

Bates: Zippy get out of the way, we’re about to open fire!

Martin: Guns. (sound of Martin hitting a button and a glass door sliding shut).

Everyone: Ah!

Otto: What the hell happened?

Maggie: He hit a button and this giant glass door thing shut in front of us!

Bates: Great, I’m assuming this is bullet proof.

Patricia: Look! Zippy is on the other side of the wall! She’s stuck over there with Martin!

Otto: Zippy, run! Come on help me get this thing pried open! (sound of them trying to open the door)

Zippy: Hey! I’m not scared of you! Where is Tubby?!

Martin: Tubby follows me now! Give me the box of pebbles and I will tell him to follow you again!

Patricia: Don’t talk to him Zippy! Just run!

(sound of Tubby beeping)

Zippy: Tubby! There you are! Come here! What did he do to you?!

(sound of Tubby beeping).

Martin: No, not yet. They have not given me the box yet.

Otto: Martin! Zippy doesn’t have the box! I do! If you want it you’ll have to open this door!

Martin: Give me the box and I will not harm your friend!

Patricia: No!

Zippy: Hey! Let me go! (sound of Martin grabbing Zippy and shoving her into something). Aaa! Help!

Patricia: He shoved her arm into one of those machines!

Martin: The laser blade in that machine is currently lowering and in a matter of seconds it will cut off her arm. Give me the box and I will release her!

Zippy: (screaming) Noo!! Help!!

Patricia: Zippy!

Bates: Damnit! We need to get this door open!

Zippy: Help!

Otto: Ok! Fine! I’ll give you the box!

Martin: Very well. (sound of Martin walking over to the door).

Maggie: I see the control box up there! It’s a trick shot, but I think I can get it! Stand back I’m going to shoot it!

Martin: No!

(sound of Maggie firing her gun. Sound of the control box smashes and fizzes).

Bates: What happened?

Zippy: Help!

Martin: You destroyed the central control box. All of the machines are attached to it. In order to open the door you are trapped behind and to turn off the machine that your friend is trapped in I would have to wire myself into the secondary control processor. Doing so would temporarily blow my movement circuits… It would leave me open… I… I can not do that… I would be captured… I am sorry… I can not help you now… Nor can I reclaim the box. Come we have to leave. (Sound of Martin starting to walk away).

Zippy: (scream/crying) OH GOD NO! PLEASE! HELP ME! OH GOD HELP ME! SOMEBODY HELP ME!! (breathes heavy and whimpers)

Patricia: The blades about to cut her arm off! Get this god damn door open!

Otto: I’m trying! I’m trying! Bates come on!

Martin: (to Tubby) Why are you not coming? (Tubby beeps) (pause).

Patricia: (crying) Somebody help me!!!

Martin: (To Tubby) If that is your desire… You have my blessing.

(Sound Martin running off. Sound of Tubby moving up to Zippy).

Zippy: Tubby!

Bates: Martin ran out that back door!

Otto: What is Tubby doing?

Patricia: He’s plugging him self into one of the machines! He’s helping her!

(sound of Tubby beeping. Then the sound of sparks and wires shorting out. Then the sound of everything power down and the glass door opening up).

Zippy: I’m out! Oh god I’m out!

Maggie: The doors open!

(sound of them running up to Zippy and Tubby).

Patricia: Are you ok?!

Zippy: (out of breath) I’m ok! It just nicked my arm a little bit at the end. Tubby saved me! Tubby, you really do love me! (Sound of Zippy hugging Tubby. He beeps back).

Otto: Give me that.

Bates: Hey! Give me my gun back!

Otto: You guys stay with Zippy, I’m going after him!

Patricia: I’m coming with you!

(sound of them running off)

Bates: (trailing in the distance) Hey! Get back here! Maggie, follow them!

Maggie: (trailing in the distance) I’m on it!

(sound of Patricia and Otto running. They slam open a door and run through).

Otto: Stairs leading up, come on

(sound of them running up the stairs. Sound of them opening another door, running through and the door closing behind them).

Patricia: We’re outside now. Where is he?

Martin: Aaa!

Patricia: Otto look out!

(Sound of a gun shot going off. Sound of Otto and Martin struggling. Sound of Martin snatching the gun from Otto’s hand and shoving him back).

Otto: Oof!

Patricia: Otto’s he’s got you’re gun!

Martin: Freeze!

(silence of them both stopping. After a moment sound of Maggie banging on the door behind them).

Maggie: (From behind the door) Hey! Open up! This door is locked!

Martin: And you’ll find the door at the bottom of the stairs is locked behind you too. Don’t bother trying to shoot through the locks, the doors are solid steel.

Maggie: (through the door) Hey!

Otto: So now what?

Maggie: (through the door) Otto, did you get the upper hand on him?

Otto: No Maggie, he stole my gun and is holding us up now.

Maggie: (through the door) Oh… Damn…

Martin: Give me the box!

Otto: Why?! What is this thing anyway?!

Martin: You could never understand.

Otto: Try us!

Patricia: We’re not helping you develop your super army!

Maggie: (through the door) You tell him Patricia!

Martin: What are you talking about?

Otto: We’re on to you Martin! We know all about what happened! The Exchange was invented by Homer to create a race of super humans and super nodes that he could then control. Then you got jealous after getting exchanged and murdered him so that you could take over as leader. Too bad you and your followers weren’t smart enough to figure out how to do it correctly.

Martin: You don’t know what you are talking about.

Otto: Then tell me! Tell me what really happened! Tell me what these damn pebbles are that you want so badly?

Martin: …Fine… I will tell you what happened…

(sound fades out)


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