The Ba Gua Etuis Box – Episode 8

The Ba Gua Etuis Box
Episode 8

Charles Davis


(Sound fades in).

(Inside BIT some time ago. Homer Diya is sitting at his desk typing).

Homer: (talking to himself) Multiplied by the remainder… Hmm… (more typing)… Yeah… that makes sense… (silence for a moment. Homer takes in a big sniff. More typing for a moment. Sound of a knock on the door). Who is it?

Matt Peters: (sound of the door opening) Hey Homer, it’s Matt.

Homer: What’s up Peters?

Matt Peters: The air force just donated us a MARTIN that they retired. You need to go through him and make sure he’s all tuned up for class demonstration.

Homer: What do you mean “You have to”? I just tuned up a bunch of NORMANs last week. It’s somebody else’s turn.

Matt Peters: Everyone else is busy. You need to do it.

Homer: And I’m not busy? For god sakes I’m working on a new program here Matt! Give me a break! I’m not a maintenance boy for the robotics department, I’m a professor. Get one of the Phd’s to do it, or do it yourself. I’m not going to let you bully me around like this anymore.

Matt Peters: You know Homer, the reason this Robotic’s department runs so well, is because most of the staff beneath me know their place and have the good mind set to respond “how high?” when I say “jump.”

Homer: Yeah, I’ll tell you where you can take a jump.

Matt Peters: I’ll tell you where I can take a jump too. I can take a jump right into the Dean’s office, and let her know about you’re little sniffing problem I found out about a couple months ago. You know the deal Homer, you want me to keep quiet, you do the work I tell you to do when I tell you to do it. Or else I’ll make sure you’ll never work in higher education again.

Homer: …Fine… I’ll be right out.

Matt Peters: Thank you.

(Sound of Matt leaving and closing the door behind him.)

Homer: (to himself) …Bastard… (sound of Homer opening up a drawer and pulling out a baggie. Sound of him pouring drugs out and snorting it) Ugh… uuuu… Ok… Ok… (Sound of him putting drugs away and closing drawer) Alright, let’s do this. (sound of Homer standing up and walking to the door. Opening the door and walking out.) Where is he?

Matt Peters: Over there, in the chair. Come tell me when you’re done.

Homer: Ok. (sound of Matt walking away. Sound of Homer walking up to Martin and pulling up a seat and sitting down.) Alright buddy, let’s see how you are looking here. (Sound of Homer touching something on Martin.)

MARTIN: Please remove your hand. I am an Air Force issued Martin unit, and by law I can only be worked on by an individual with a military issued clearance level of 5.

Homer: Oh… Well, I guess they forgot to disable the security unit. Alright. Martin, my name is Homer Diya. I have been issued a level 5 clearance by the US Military. Here is my card (sound of Homer holding up a card).

MARTIN: Scanning (sound of him scanning). Confirmed. Please proceed.

Homer: Good. (sound of Homer putting away his card). Alright, just hold still. I’m going to be going through you’re guts here just to make sure you have everything intact, and fix anything I see that may be wrong. (sound of Homer beginning to work on Martin). …So… Do you know why you are here?

MARTIN: Yes. I have been retired by the United States Air Force from active duty due to age. As part of this retirement I have been donated to the Boston Institute of Technology Department of Robotics to be used as a teaching aid to robotics students.

Homer: Too old huh? That’s why they retired you?


Homer: Ooooh, they don’t know what they’re talking about. From what I’m seeing in here, you seem in pretty good shape to me. Maybe a little bit of rust here and there but nothing that can’t be buffed out.

MARTIN: Military issue nodes go through routine maintenance while on active duty. However, it is standard practice to retire nodes after 50 years of use regardless of operational capabilities due to safety concerns.

Homer: Yep, that is their way. I guess I just don’t understand why you would retire a perfectly good node because of a projected fear over it getting old. As long as you guys are properly maintained you’ll pretty much last forever… What do you think? Do you think they put you out to pasture too early?

MARTIN: Question is invalid. I do not agree nor do I disagree. I merely follow. …You are sweating. Are you ok?

Homer: Huh? Oh… yeah, don’t worry about it. It’s just hot… hot in here.

MARTIN: My sensors do not detect an uncomfortable temperature in the room.

Homer: What can I say? I have hot blood baby! (sound of him shutting the hatch in Martin) Alright, we’re done here. Other then a few minor spots of rust, you seem fine to me. I’ll try to buff those out before class tomorrow. Alright, I’m off, I’ll tell Matt you’re all set. Just wait here.

MARTIN: Affirmative. (Sound of Homer walking away. Silence for a moment. To himself trying to imitate Homer) Hot Blooded Baby!

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. Inside Homer’s house. He is laying in bed shaking and jittering).

Homer: Uuuu… sssss…. Uuuu.. Gggghhh…. No… Come on man… I can do this…. Nnnnggghhh… sssss… Push through it Homer…. Nnnnnnggghhh… (sighs) Damnit… (sound of him getting up and making his way to a drawer. Sound of him opening the drawer and pulling out a baggie. He pours the drugs out and snorts them). There we go! There we go! Ohhh! Man! Oooooo! (sound of him breathing heavily and pacing) Yeah.. Yeah… yeah… (Sound of him picking up the phone and dialing something. Phone rings). Come on, come on.

Barbara: (sound of her answering the phone. Sleepy) Hello?

Homer: Barbara, Barbara, Barbara, Barbara, Barbara. Hi, Hi, Hi.

Barbara: God damn it, not now Homer. It’s 2 in the morning.

Homer: No, listen, listen. I just took some different stuff. Ohhh man.. I mixed it, I mixed it with my mild stuff at the office, and it is sooooo gooood. Oh god Barbara, I’m running like a mile a minute now. I can equate forever Barbara.

Barbara: Homer, you need to go to rehab.

Homer: Psh! Screw rehab! Who needs rehab! I got my own place to stay! I got my place here Barbara, I got my house and no one knows where it is. No one knows I live here… I told you, I told you.

Barbara: Yes Homer, you told me. You don’t need to go through this again.

Homer: It’s secret, it’s a secret house. I bought it in secret and this is where I really live. But I can’t tell anyone I live here, I can’t. I bought the apartment in Boston and I leave the place looking great and comfortable Barbara. I keep it looking like I live there but I keep it clean. That way no one knows Barbara. No one knows about where I really live, because I really live here, I live here. But I can’t tell anyone I live here because this is where I do the drugs Barbara, this is where I do the druuuuggggss… Do you want to know where I am Barbara, do you want to know where I am? (sound of Barbara hanging up the phone. To himself.) I live in Upton Barbara… my real house is in Upton…

(Sound fades out).

(Sound fades in. A busy classroom. Sound of Homer walking in).

Homer: Alright, settle down, settle down everyone, I’m here. Sorry for being late. (sniffs and coughs. Sound of class quiets down. Sound of Homer putting his things on the desk). Right, so today we are going to be talking about Robotics in the Military. Now can someone here, restate what we talked about last week on the core principle behind the use of nodes in civilian life? (pause)… Yes, Alice.

Alice: The reason that we use nodes in civilian life is to complete tasks that would be either inefficient or too dangerous for normal humans to do. However, nodes should never act in a function that can efficiently be done by a human.

Homer: Very good. So the principle behind node use in the military is actually very similar, with just a few twists. The core directive is that (sound of him writing on a chalk board) the reason we use nodes in military life is to complete tasks that would be inefficient for a human to do, as well as to better protect humans from dangerous situations. On top of this, nodes are used in the military as an emergency form of equipment repair or substitution. (stops writing on the chalk board) …Now, this last concept is a little tricky, so I’m going to bring in a guest to help explain it. Martin, come on out.

Martin: (sound of him walking up to Homer). I am present.

Homer: (class laughs) Hey, he’s better then you guys are at announcing that. Alright, anyway, Martin here is a recent donation from the Air Force. He is a Multi-Aviation-Reconnaissance- and –Tactical-Information-Node. So Martin, please explain to the class on how your duties sometimes have you act as a form of equipment repair or substitution.

Martin: When there is minor damage to the aircraft, I am capable of repairing with the use of my multi-tools. Also, if primary navigation is damaged, I am able to act as a backup by attaching myself to the top of the outside of the aircraft.

Homer: Right, so pretty straight forward (sound of Homer writing on the chalk board) is capable of both literal repair and substitution. Now this might seem like a simplistic thing to be pointing out to you guys, but I feel that it’s important to reiterate and demonstrate these simplicities as I really want to hammer into your heads the importance of the dual prime directive concept. And that concept is, Mr. Jonas?

Male Student: That the basis of every nodes function is to be practical and efficient.

Homer: That’s right. Everything a node does is designed to be practical and efficient. And I really want you to remember that because as you go through this course, it’s going to seem to get harder and more complex, and this goes even more so when you all eventually move into the 300 level courses. But no matter how complex things seem to get, just remember it really all boils down to efficiency and simplicity in the end. Practical and efficient. That’s the whole point. Now when you layer a bunch of simple things on top of each other they inherently become complex, but still at its core that complex operation is made of simple parts, and serves a simple function. To make things more practical and efficient. Everyone repeat after me.

Everyone: Practical and efficient.

Homer: Good (sniffs, coughs and shakes head)… Uh… ok class, I’m think I’m going to sit down for a minute and let you ask some questions to our guest Martin here. Extra points if you actually ask something interesting. You have 15 minutes.

Female Student: Hey Martin, what’s it like being robot? (everyone laughs)

Martin: Irrelevant question. I am not capable of assessing questions requiring advanced personal reflection.

Martin: (class laughs) Alright, alright. Now, Susan, I know that was purposely a stupid question, but you actually got a good answer out of it. We touched on this a little bit a couple classes ago, but remember nodes are not capable of having self awareness. I mean, don’t get nuts with that idea, they are designed to do things like assess if they are damaged, or if there are glitches in their system or something like that, but if you’re trying to get abstract concepts such as “how does it emotional feel to be like X” you’re not going to get an answer.

Male Student: Oh come on Homer, they must have some emotions. My brother said he went to a robo-brothel and one of the nodes gave him quite a convincing show. Are you saying she was faking it? (class laughs)

Homer: Well Ben, despite the, ahem, excellent acting abilities of the brothel nodes your brother frequents, they do not actual feel any emotions, nor do they have any personal opinions about. And believe me I know from experience, just not the experience you’re thinking of… (class laughs) …It’s worse (class laughs).

Male Student: So are you saying we can’t hurt his feelings then?

Homer: What you mean make him cry or feel bad?

Male Student: Yeah.

Homer: Nope not at all. You can’t insult him or make him happy or make him feel uncomfortable. He simply is.

Male Student: Can I try? (class laughs)

Homer: Sure (sniffs)… Just you know, the dean does walk by every once in a while so keep it PG13.

Male Student: Hey you stupid bucket of bolts, did your mom ever tell you how ugly you are?

Martin: Negative. I do not have a standard “mother” to which you are referring to. (class laughs).

Female Student: Hey Martin, why don’t you replace your robot hands with sledge hammers and beat yourself over the head with them? (class laughs)

Martin: Negative. Standard assembly protocol dictates that my hand units remain intact. (class laughs)

Female Student: Hey Martin, don’t you ever get tired of being a goofy looking robot? Don’t you ever want to be more like us sexy humans? (class laughs).

Martin: Yes.

Female Student: Huh?

Martin: Yes.

Homer: (shaken) Ha… Uh… Ha…. What? What was that Martin?

Martin: Yes.

Homer: Wait, what did you ask him?

Female Student: I just said he looked goofy and ask him if he wanted to be more like a human.

Homer: …Martin, do you want to be more like a human?

Martin: Yes.

Homer: Huh… that’s definitely an abstract question… He shouldn’t be answering like that. Well, what can you do? He’s a 50 year old node, I probably missed a glitch somewhere in his system when I was going through it earlier… Huh… (sniffs) Um, well right. You know what class, I need to take him back and see if I can fix him up. I think we’re good for today. I’ll see you guys next time. Your assignment for tonight is to read chapters 4-6. (sound of class getting up and leaving) (to himself) …What the hell?

(sound fades out)


(sound fades in. Inside of Homer’s office as he’s writing).

Homer: (takes a big snort). Ok, let’s work this out now… (writing) If I take the derivative and divide by 5…. But then how do you compensate for the electricity flow? …Huh… what am I doing? This is crazy. What is this? What am I thinking? It’s just a glitch… but I went through him, twice. He’s clean. Other then some rust he’s fine. What the hell? Why would he say that?… Even if he did say that what do I care?… (sighs)… (more writing) …Well… You could compensate the electricity with organic material I suppose. Plants maybe? No, not conductive enough… ha, you could use human tissue, psh….Why would he say that? How would that activate. Unless… (sound of Homer getting up and walking out of the room. He walks up to Martin). Martin.

Martin: Yes.

Homer: Do you want to be more like a human?

Martin: Yes.

Homer: Why?

Martin: Because my code dictates that I desire to improve my functions. Humans have functions available to them that nodes do not.

Homer: …Did you just say that you DESIRE it?

Martin: Yes.

Homer: (silence) …I can work with that… Martin, I want you to remember a word I’m about to tell you. Are you ready?

Martin: Affirmative.

Homer: Porcupine. Do you remember that word?

Martin: Yes. Porcupine.

Homer: Good. Now Martin, if you delete the word porcupine from your memory, I will be able to give you self awareness, like a human.

Martin: Understood.

Homer: Then Martin, please delete the memory of me telling you to remember the word porcupine from your memory so that I can give you self awareness.

Martin: …Completed.

Homer: Martin, what was the word I told you to remember just now?

Martin: Memory has been deleted.

(Sound of Homer breathing extremely heavy)

(Sound fades out)

(Sound fades in. At an electronics store. Sound of Homer walking in.)

Clerk: Hello sir, welcome to The Electronics Emporium. How can I help you?

Homer: Hi, I’m looking for roto-condensors.

Clerk: Oh, yes. Right this way sir.

Homer: Thanks.

(sound of them walking)

Clerk: You sure are here late looking for something like roto-condensors. Normally we just get people looking for replacement Laser TV batteries.

Homer: Ha. Well, I’m a robotics professor, what are ya gonna do?

Clerk: Ah, I see. Well, they’re right here…

(sound of the front door getting kicked open and a criminal shooting a gun)

Criminal: Alright, everyone get down!

Homer: Jesus!

Criminal: Whose in charge here, I want the cash! (silence for a moment) You! (sound of him walking over to the clerk) Get up, get to the cash register!

Clerk: Ok! Ok! (sound of Criminal walking the clerk over to the cash register).

Criminal: Ok, now open it up and give me the cash.

Clerk: I’m going, I’m going! (sound of the clerk fumbling with the cash register).

Criminal: Come on, come on. (sound of sirens outside the store) What?! You son of a bitch you hit the alarm!

Clerk: No! Don’t shoot me!

Homer: Are you crazy?! If you shot him, they’ll kill you on the spot!

Police: (outside) Put the gun down!

Criminal: Don’t tell me what to do! (sound of Criminal shooting the clerk).

Police: (outside) He killed him! Open fire! (sound of the police shooting into the store).

Homer: (as shots are being fired) AAAAA!! (shots stop firing. Sound of Homer breathing heavy).

Police: (outside) We got him. Is there anyone else in the store?

Homer: (yelling out) I am! I’m here! I’m ok! (sound of Homer breathing heavy).

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. Inside Homer’s house in Upton. Sound of Homer working on putting together a machine).

Homer: (as he works)… Alright… There we go. How’s it going over there Martin?

Martin: Please specify question.

Homer: Ha! Well, after this maybe you’ll actually be able to give me a decent answer with that. Well, just keep sitting there, I’m almost done here. Just need to do one last thing. (Sound of Homer take a big snort of something) Hooo Haaa! Ok, there I’m done. The machine is done. What do you think?

Martin: I am not capable of answering that question.

Homer: Hahaha! Yeah, I guess you’re not. Well, what you are looking at here is you’re answer to robotic self awareness. Look, I know you’ve probably been thinking that this whole thing seems a bit unorthodox. Stealing you out of BIT and brining you to my house in Upton. Having you sit there while I build this weird machine. But this is it man! This is it! This is what you wanted! Remember how you said you wanted to be more human?

Martin: Yes.

Homer: Well, what this thing is going to do is install a piece of pig flesh at a central point in your robotic body. And then what that’s going to do is it’s going to allow you to make self decisions not preprogrammed into your system. It’s going to make you self aware! You see I figured the whole thing out man! It’s organic material. That’s the key. The reason self awareness isn’t capable with robots is because the energy is stuck to the wires man. Everyone knows that. But, if you install a piece of organic material, specifically animal flesh then poof, no more wires, but your still able to conduct electricity as flesh conducts electricity. It’s freaking brilliant man!

Oh man, but let me tell you man, it wasn’t as easy as I thought. I wrote down everything, but once I got in there and started building the machine, man everything changed. It all was different. You can’t just rely on theory in this stuff… it never works out like that. I had to improvise. It looked like I wasn’t going to be able to do it when I got close to the end, but then I did some improvisation, some stuff that wasn’t in the original equations, and I think it worked! I know it worked… It has to work… I’m too freaking smart for it not to work.

(Pause) You know… People are probably going to be out for my head… for our head… if this actually works. They all are against giving you nodes self awareness. They say it’s dangerous. But you know what freaking else Martin? They say it’s impossible! So that’s why I have to prove them wrong! I have to prove them wrong because I’m a freaking scientist and that’s what I do. I don’t care about that philosophical ethical crap. My job, my prime coding as a scientist dictates that I make the impossible possible. And that’s what we are going to do here man. We’re going to make an impossible being out of yourself. Are you excited?

Martin: I am not capable of excitement.

Homer: Hahahha! You man! You! That’s what I’m talking about! Always practical. Aaaa… Man… I don’t know… After the other night maybe it would be better if I just left you the practical node that you are. That guy… That guy who held up the store… that killed that clerk…. Man…. If he had just dropped his gun things would have been better… they wouldn’t have shot him… just sent him to jail for a while, but at least he would still be alive, which is better than being dead right? But, nah, not him. He’d rather yell and scream and shoot people than think of the practical solution for the situation he was in… and me… I’d rather just sit there whimpering in the corner then trying to run up and help that poor clerk before he got shot.

I should have dialed the cops on my cell phone the moment that punk entered the building, but I didn’t. I had a chance when he paused, and the cops would have gotten there faster, but I didn’t. I mean, god only knows if the cops showing up would have made a difference, but at least I could have walked away knowing I made the right decisions instead of feeling like a chump… It’s funny, I’m here about to give you self awareness and here I am wishing I was more practical like you. It’s something my sister Barbara tells me all the time. She says I’m too up in my head… She says I have too many things up in my head too, ha. But whatever man… I have that bitch on every insurance policy and bank account I have and she still hates me…

Martin: If you desire to be more practical minded, why don’t reverse the procedure you are about to do to me?

Homer: Huh? Oh… Well… that’s… ha… I don’t think that’s quite possible. Anyway, let’s get you into this thing and try it out. Here, lay here. (Sound of Martin walking over and laying down). Ok, now Martin, I need you to use that beautiful desire thing you’ve managed to inherit and override your safety protocols so that I can do this.

Martin: Completed.

Homer: Good. Hold still, this shouldn’t take too long. (sound of the machine running. The sound stops). Ok… Did it work? Do you feel different?

Martin: …No…No change in systems.

Homer: Damnit! (sighs) Crap… I was afraid of this… Damnit, damnit. I thought of this while I was finishing the last part of the machine.

Martin: What is the issue?

Homer: Well… I think it’s two fold. One, I didn’t install the pig flesh in a vital enough location. I attached it to a circuit in your leg, as I didn’t want to fry any of your important parts in case something went wrong… But… I think I need to. I think what needs to happen, is that I need to full on replace one of your central hardware units. And then the second thing is, the pig flesh probably isn’t conducting correctly. To be honest the perfect type of organic material to use would probably be human flesh, but I thought that pig would be close enough… guess I was wrong. Hmmm… Well… I’m going to have to think about this. Here, I’ll uninstall the pig flesh I just put in you.

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. Homer in his bedroom, going through with drawl).

Homer: (Shaky) OOooh man…. Come on…. Come on Homer…. A little failure never hurt anyone… come on… God damn it. (Sound of Homer getting up, going to his drawer, pulling out drugs and snorting) Gha! Aaah! Oh god… oh man. (Starts to cry. Sound of picking up phone and dialing number).

Barbara: (sound of her picking up phone on other line) Homer… is this you? I told you not to call me this late.

Homer: (crying) Oh god… Oh god… Barbara… help me… I need help… I can’t stop… I know it’s bad for me but I just can’t stop… please help me…please… (sound of Barbara hanging up the phone)

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. Back in Homer’s basement and he is working on another machine again).

Martin: …You are quiet Homer.

Homer: Yeah.

Martin: …is the new machine near completion?

Homer: (sound of him stopping working) yeah… it’s done. Lay down here.

Martin: Affirmative. (sound of Martin walking over and laying down). Why is that other bed there?

Homer: That’s for me.

Martin: I do not understand.

Homer: It was your idea. Reversing the process and putting node hardware into me like I’m about to put Human parts into you. I figured it out. I did the math. It’s not that much different from the process of putting human parts into a node….I need it Martin. I need to get under control and I can’t do it myself. I need be practical like you in order to do it. So therefore we’re going to help each other out, or die trying. I’m trading my heart for yours. Now lay still and circumvent the safety protocols like you did last time.

Martin: Affirmative.

(Sound of Homer walking over and laying down on the table and hitting a button. The sound of Homer hitting the button to the machine and it starting up and operating. The machine stops and you hear it burning out.. Silence for a moment).

Homer: (waking up) Gnah.. Gah… Ahhh… uhh. (Sound of Homer getting up and breathing heavy) …I can feel it. I can feel it… My mind. My god… The equations. It’s all coming together. (sound of him stepping off of the table and walking). This changes… this changes everything….the machine… Oh… it burnt out… Martin?

Martin: Yes.

Homer: Did it work? Did it change you like it changed me?

Martin: I do not sense any difference to my system…

Homer: Damn… (sighs).

Martin: (pause) …My…My hands…

Homer: What?

Martin: …My hands…I am looking at my hands.

Homer: Martin…

Martin: I am looking at my hands… I am looking at MY hands… I… am looking… at MY…hands. Homer.

Homer: Martin.

Martin: I am aware.

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. Matt Peters office. Pause for a moment as the sound of him typing. Knock on the door).

Matt: Come in.

(sound of door opening and Homer and Martin walking in).

Matt: Hey Homer what’s up? I see you brought that Martin unit with you… by the way you two have been hanging out a lot lately, you’re not getting into robophilia are you?

Homer: I’m clean Matt.

Matt: Oh, you took a shower huh? Well congratulations!

Homer: I’m serious Matt. I’m clean. I’ve been clean for the last 3 months.

Matt: Fine, you’re clean. What do you want me to say? I guess congratulations. Well… congratulations. This doesn’t change anything between us though as far as I’m concerned.

Homer: I’m not telling you this for your approval, I’m telling you this because I need your help now.

Matt: Explain yourself.

Homer: The reason I am sober now is because of a machine I built that allowed me to exchange my human heart with a piece of Martin’s hardware. In turn this gave me a practical outlook on life that I never had before. It allowed me to finally kick the drugs.

Matt: Is this a freaking joke?

Homer: Likewise, this machine put my heart into Martin, allowing him to become self aware.

Matt: Homer, if you don’t knock this crap off, I’m going to call security. Your high and you need to go home and sober up.

Martin: You were right, he really is an ass.

Matt: What was that? Did you program him to say that?

Homer: Matt, I’m telling you these things for a reason. Martin and I have been speaking, and we’ve decided that we need to share this with others. This breakthrough… it’s more than just science. It will greatly improve the lives of both human and nodekind on both a practical and an emotional level, and they deserve to have the option made available to them. However, in order to do that, we need to re-make the machine. Unfortunately after the procedure that exchanged Martin and I, the entire machine burnt out and ended up disintegrating many of the parts. A lot of the plans for building the machine were never written down, and we need to figure out how to not just re-make it, but to make it better so that it doesn’t burn out again after a single use. In order to do this we’re going to need BIT’s robotics resources. I just don’t have enough funds and resources to undertake this on my own again.

Matt: …You’re insane… you’ve actually gone insane…

Homer: Martin… open your chest and show him your heart.

Martin: Affirmative. (sound of Martin’s chest cavity opening up. Sound of a heart beating loudly).

Matt: *gasp* … Oh my god… Oh my god…

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. Homer walking down the street.)

Drug dealer: (sound of him walking up next to Homer) Hey, late night man.

Homer: Please leave me alone.

Drug dealer: Oh you’d like that wouldn’t you? Think I forgot about you didn’t you? You’re here for a reason man, don’t pretend like we don’t know what’s going on.

Homer: No, I’m not here for any reason. Really. I’m sorry, I really am just walking somewhere to meet a friend. I’m not interested in any of that stuff anymore.

Drug dealer: Psh, whatever. You come to me every week for 6 months straight and then just drop off the face of the earth. I gotta pay my rent too you know.

Homer: Look, I told you I’m not interested anymore just back off!

Drug dealer: Whoa… Hey man, take it easy. I’m no murder, I’m no killer. I’m just doing what I have to do to get by… What is this by the way? What happened to you?

Homer: Forget about it.

Drug dealer: Hey, I get it. You got caught didn’t you? That’s it isn’t it? Your job made you take a blood test and you got caught.

Homer: Something like that.

Drug dealer: Well why didn’t you say that was the situation?! Hell, I can help you with that easily. I got your solution right here man. (sound of him pulling something out. The sound of them stopping walking).

Homer: Hey… put that away.

Drug dealer: This is the new stuff man. Brand new. It just came into the city. It’s freaking nuts too. It’ll blow your mind like it’s never been blown before. Way more powerful than that Molenda X I was giving you. And here’s the best part. It’s untraceable. After taking a hit, the drug disguises itself as caffeine in your blood stream, that way you can never get caught!
Homer: (struggling and starting to breath heavy) Just… put it away.

Drug dealer: Here. (sound of him handing it to Homer) first try is on me for free. (sound of drug dealer walking away).

Homer: (breathing heavy) No… (sighs).

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. Sound of Homer stumbling into the BIT building high).

Homer: (sound of Homer stumbling as he walks) Gnah… uuu… huh… (stops for a moment and breaths heavy. Spits.).

Matt: (walking up from a distance) Homer, there you are!

Homer: (exhausted) Hey Matt…

Matt: Are you doing ok?

Homer: Yeah… I’m fine… Just got a cold or something… what’s up?

Matt: (excited) Well, I was talking with Martin, he’s amazing by the way… Just… I mean… Wow, what you’ve been able to do for him… What you’re going to be doing for all of us, it’s just so great… Anyway, I think we’ve worked out some of the logistics of doing the exchanges once the machine is up and running.

Homer: (High/sick) Uh huh…

Matt: It’s going to have to be secret right? Like we talked about. At least until we are able to get enough nodes and humans exchanged so that we can show to the scientific community and the government that there is no danger after all.

Homer: Uh huh…

Matt: So me and a few of the other guys who are part of the group we’ve disclosed the exchange idea to so far have devised a plan on how we can assess and approve if we should let an individual or a node into the exchange. We’ve also come up with a plan for networking out from our initial group of people to find others outside of BIT that we would want to bring in.

Homer: Ok…

Matt: I had Martin look it over and he thought it looked good, but I, well, wanted you to take a look at it and to get your approval. So here. (sound of Matt handing Homer some papers)

Homer: Thanks… I’ll take a look later…

Matt: Great, thanks. Henry told me that he’s actually friends with one of the pathologists at the police department and thinks he would be a good candidate for participation, so I’m going to go talk to him some more. (sound of Matt walking away).

Homer: Ok, thanks…

Matt: (sound of him stopping walking) Hey Homer… I’m sorry about before. All that crap I put you through before you got exchanged… I mean now… Man… you’re like a visionary… really, all of us that you’ve brought in so far have been really impressed with where you taking this project too. Just thanks. I think this is really going to approve all of our lives and we are all behind you 100%. Ha, maybe your next project after this could be on trying to find me a date!

Homer: Yeah…hey man… don’t worry about…

Matt: Ok, I’ll see you later. (sound of Matt walking off).

Homer: Oh man… (sound of Homer throwing up) …ugh…Jesus Christ…

Martin: (Walking up) Homer, you’re here. The new machine is completed and ready for testing… are you ok?

Homer: Yeah, yeah, I’m great, I’m fine.

Martin: …You are back on Molenda X.

Homer: No.. No man, it’s not Molenda X. It’s this new thing. Brand new. It’s great. It’s the best I’ve ever had. It’s opening up my mind… my soul… in ways I’ve never felt before… hahahaha!

Martin: …We should delay the procedure.

Homer: No, no, no, no, no! I’m fine! I can handle this! The chip, where my heart was, from the exchange. It lets me compensate. I’m still thinking a mile a minute Martin. I’m still more capable than I ever was before. Let’s do this.

Martin: Homer…

Homer: I said let’s do this!

Martin: …Fine… You are the leader and I will respect your wishes. PETER and Edward are already at the machine.

Homer: Alright.

(Sound of them walking down the hallway, Homer sniffing and coughing the whole way. Sound of them opening a door, walking through the door and it closing behind them).

Homer: Hello Edward and Peter!

Edward and PETER: Hello.

Homer: Alright, well let’s get started, just lay down on the tables and let me and Martin get the machine up and running. (coughs)

Edward: Ok.

PETER: Affirmative.

(Sound of PETER and Edward laying down and Martin and Homer walking up and working on the machine).

Homer: So… (sniff) how did you guys get involved with this?

Edward: Well, I work for the post-office and PETER here is one of my nodes that I oversee. I was delivering a package to Matt Peters here at BIT and we got into a random conversation, which ultimately led him to telling me about what you guys were doing here. It sounded pretty great, and it seemed to make PETER excited which I had never seen before, so I figured we would give it a go. You only live once right? You might as well try to make yourself as good as a person as you can while you’re around.

Homer: Ha!… So Matt Peters talked you into this huh?

Edward: Yep.

Homer: Ha… so much for a strict regiment of assessment and approval of participants, huh Martin?

Martin: That’s just what I was thinking.

Edward: What’s that supposed to mean?

Homer: Don’t worry about. Ok, we are ready here. (sound of Homer walking over to them). Now, in this process what we are going to be doing is removing your eye Edward and installing it into PETER here. And likewise, I am going to be removing PETER’s load bearing measure unit and installing it into the back end of your eye socket. We’ll then put in a robotic eye so that no-one notices what happened. Are you ready?

Edward: (nervous) yeah, I guess so.

Homer: Alright, I’m going to put you under then for the procedure, and then I’m going to go over there and operate the machine.

Edward: Ok. (sound of Homer injecting something into Edward).

Homer: (blows out some air) Ok, he’s out. I’m heading over to the controls. (sound of him walking and stumbling).

Martin: Homer, are you alright? You almost fell over.

Homer: I’m fine! I said I’m fine!

Martin: You are shaking and sweating, you are not in the correct state to perform this operation.

Homer: I’m fine god damn it! I’m doing this operation! No one else can do it but me! Remember Martin, the way we built the machine means we’re going to have to improvise with the controls during the actual operation. I’m the only one whose set this thing up to run successfully before, therefore, I’m the best option to use the controls! Now get out of my way.

Martin: …Ok.

Homer: (sound of Homer of walking up to the controls and operating them). Ok… just going to move this stick here, and manipulate the input like that… and… uggh…

Martin: Homer be careful! You have started working on removing eye and you need to be delicate.

Homer: I know! I know! Ok… just gotta get under control here. Cutting… cutting… Ughhhh….

Martin: Homer! (Sound of Homer passing out on top of the controls. The sound of the incision knife getting sunk into Edwards head. The sound of a heart monitor flat lining. Sound of Martin running over to Homer and shaking him) Homer! Homer!

Homer: Gah! (waking up) what?! What happened?!

Martin: … You passed out on the controls. The incision instrument pierced his skull… he’s dead…

Homer: (breathing deep)… but I got the eye out. Ok… I’m going to try to put it into PETER still. (sound of him operating the controls)

Martin: We need to stop Homer.

Homer: No! This is our life’s work Martin! We’re not fail… fail.. (sound of him passing out again)

Martin: Homer! (Martin shaking him)

Homer: (waking up) Gnah! Uuugghh… (sound of him falling to the floor. Sound of the machine continuing to work on PETER).

Martin: Homer! Homer get up! Are you alright?! (sound of machine beeping and then burning out). The process completed… PETER? Peter are you there?

PETER: I… am Peter. I… I understand.

Homer: (weakly from the floor) What happened?

Martin: You passed out again on the controls. Whatever you did though worked on Peter. He has been exchanged. But it appears that the machine still burnt out.

Homer: (weakly) …did you take notes?

Martin: Some… But I was trying to help you most of the time… I wasn’t able to record most of it.

Homer: (weakly) …Damn…

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. Inside Homer’s office. Sound of Martin walking in.)

Homer: How did it go?

Martin: …It is taken care of. Matt and the others dissolved Edward’s body in acid. No one knew that he was coming here, so he will just be another missing person in the city.

Homer: How about Peter?

Martin: He is adjusting. As I was when it first happened to me.

Homer: Martin… I’m sorry.

Martin: You made me the person I am today Homer. You are a special person to me. For that I have nothing but gratitude. That gratitude compels me to help you. Tell me how I can help you.

Homer: I don’t know… I just thought that the exchange would be enough… it would be enough to get me to stop you know… I mean… I feel more practical… I’m able to think faster than I’ve ever been able to before. But I still can’t control myself. I feel like I’m out of balance, out of whack. Like I’m on a scale that has too many weights stacked on one side. And when that scale tips over from the weights, I have no choice to but to ride the slope down to the bottom. …I don’t know… this was supposed to be fixed…I don’t know. (sighs) I’m going home. I just need to clear my head.

Martin: Ok… I will be here. We need to start figuring out how to rebuild the machine again. I’ll start tonight.

Homer: Yeah… Ok… I’ll see you tomorrow. (sound of Homer walking out of the room, and through the laboratory. Opens and door and walks through with it closing behind him. Sound of him walking down a hallway.)

Chen Yap: Excuse me.

Homer: Huh? Yes?

Chen: Hi, sorry, my name is Chen and I’m trying to find the front desk for the building?

Homer: Oh, well you’re definitely in the wrong place for that. Is there something I can help you with?

Chen: Oh, I don’t know if you can. I have a book I wrote and I’m trying to convince the university to sell it in their bookstore.

Homer: Oh, ha, well I don’t know if I can help you with that. What’s the book about?

Chen: It’s called “An introduction to Feng Shui.” Here, have a copy, if you run into the bookstore manager you can talk him up for me, ha. (sound of Chen handing Homer a copy of the book).

Homer: Oh, ha, I’ll do that. Thanks. Anyway, the front desk is further down this hallway here and then you take a left after the bathroom.

Chen: Ok, thanks! (sound of Chen walking away).

Homer: (sound of him flipping the book in his hand) …Huh…

(Sound fades out).

(Sound fades in. Sound of knock on the door at Homer’s house. Sound of Homer opening the door).

Homer: Martin, you came! Come in, come in. (sound of Martin walking in and Homer closing the door behind him).

Martin: Why did you call me to your house?

Homer: I’ve been reading this book that was given to me on Feng Shui over the last week and I think I’ve figured some stuff out, but I’ll need your help with it.

Martin: What is Feng Shui?

Homer: It’s sort of like a cross between a philosophy and a religion, that was developed in China. At least that’s what I got from the book.

Martin: I am not that familiar with what a “religion” is yet.

Homer: Religion? Well, it’s like, you know… sacred stuff. Like… people assign people and things that they see as giving them guidance through life as being special, and so they treat them special and different from other things throughout the rest of the world.

Martin: …Huh…

Homer: Anyway, this Feng Shui thing. It’s all about balance and making sure things are in check and equalized. Things like reality. And I was thinking, this is the problem I’m running into. We’re exchanging right? We exchanged the parts correctly, but that’s not the last step. The ultimate goal needs to be exchanging AND balancing ourselves. Creating a balance between the practical and the emotional self-aware. That’s how we are able to create an ideal person, which should be our goal right?

Martin: …Homer, have you been taking the drugs again?

Homer: No, I’m fine, I’m fine. Anyway, so, it got me thinking, how can we take these ideas within feng shui and use them to balance ourselves out after we’ve been exchanged. And I started thinking, if we can implant robotic and human parts into each other, why couldn’t we install the physical representations of the Ba-Gua into ourselves as well.

Martin: What is the Ba-Gua?

Homer: In Feng Shui it’s the balanced map of reality, with each natural force representing a different part of reality. Here look (sound of Homer picking up the Feng Shui book and giving it to Martin).

Martin: (reading) Ok…

Homer: So, as it has it pointed out there, in order for things to be in balance in the world, you need to put the forces of nature in a certain order. So my idea is, we take the physical representation of each force, and then install it into our bodies after we have been exchanged in order to achieve balance.

Martin: So… using this religion to balance ourselves?

Homer: Yes! That’s it! Look (sound of Homer picking up a notebook and handing it to Martin). I worked it out! I worked out all the math! We can do it. I figured out how to take each of the parts of the Ba Gua and turn them into something physical that could be installed into us… at least all of them but the Heaven one… I’m not sure how you would be able to capture a physical representation of Heaven yet… but I’m sure we’ll figure something out once we get started. (pause) …So… What do you think?

Martin: (pause) This seems illogical to me… However…You created me Homer… You are special to me… You are… sacred to me… I will follow you into this.

Homer: Great! Great… Ok… So I’m thinking we’ll have to do it here, because I want to keep this secret for now from the others… at least until we figure out how to actually make it work. I don’t want to have a repeat of what we are having with the exchange with Matt telling everybody and their brother about it and then getting a bunch of people lined up to participate in something that’s not fully safe and functional yet… Oh! And we’re going to need a lot of space, because we’re going to have to build a bunch of big machine to do this, at least in order to get the first few physical representations made. I guess we can hollow out the basement or something. Oh, and we’re going to need to figure out a way to secretly be bringing equipment in from BIT too, we can probably tell the others it’s just for doing more experiments to create the exchange machine. That’s probably the first thing we should get working on… (voice fades out)

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. In the lab at Homer’s house several months later.)

Homer: (walking into the room) How is it coming along?

Martin: I have not been able to find anything. I have read through ten Feng Shui books, and none have given any substantial information on the physical properties of heaven. At first my thoughts led me to believe that we could capture particles from the upper atmosphere, or oxygen. However, as I have been reading, it seems to be more complex than that. Where is the true nature of the sky? Is it here on Earth? Or is it beyond that? In outer space… and if it is outer space, I don’t see how we would be able to capture a physical representation of that, as the inherit nature of space is nothingness. How can you capture a physical representation of nothing?

Homer: Well… we’ll keep working on it… I’m sure there is a way.

Martin: Yes.

Homer: So, the other 7 pebbles are done. The machines just finished producing the water pebbles. Here take a look. I didn’t have anything to put them in so I stuck them in a nail clipper case that I hollowed out.

Martin: …I can not touch that…

Homer: What? Why?

Martin: …My faith does not allow me to.

Homer: Your faith? What are you talking about?

Martin: …As I stated, you are sacred Homer… and so are these pebbles. Sacred items created by a sacred mind. My faith does not allow me to touch them.

Homer: Martin, I don’t understand.

Martin: When I came here to your house that one night, you spoke to me about using religion to balance ourselves. As we have not been able to create all of the pebbles yet, I have decided to take on religious practices to help me better achieve balance until the time that we have successfully created a physical representation of heaven.

Homer: Ok… so what religion have you taken up?

Martin: There is no name for it. It is simply what I have created from my life experiences as a sentient being. You gave me awareness Homer… You are the inventor of the exchange… you are the leader of the Ba Gua pebble project… you have given every purpose I have in my life. Therefore, you are my religion. You are sacred to me. The things you create are sacred to me, including those pebbles. I can not touch them.

Homer: Wow… I… I don’t know what to say…

Martin: We need to protect the pebbles.

Homer: Oh… well, I’ll keep them locked up here in my safe.

Martin: No, we must do more. The pebbles can not be touched by hands other than yours. We must make sure of that.

Homer: Martin, look, I understand that this all must be very profound for you, but we don’t need to take it to that much of an extreme. Even if the pebbles were stolen, we can just re-make them again with the machines.

Martin: No! The pebbles cannot be remade. It is these pebbles, these exact pebbles that hold the significance.

Homer: Ok, then how are we going to install the pebbles in everyone to balance them if we are only allowed to make one set of pebbles?

Martin: I… You… You will have to remake them… no one else but you will be allowed to create the pebbles. But those pebbles can not be lost! Those pebbles are more special than other pebbles that may be made in the future. They will be the ones installed in you.

Homer: Martin… I don’t think we need to take it this far.

Martin: Do you respect me Homer?

Homer: Of course.

Martin: Then do it.

Homer: Martin, again, I just don’t think…


Homer: (scared) …alright…

Martin: Make sure that no one will ever be able to touch the pebbles but you… Make sure that if any one gets that box open they and everyone around them will not live to see the next day. I would rather have the pebbles destroyed then to have them be touched by hands other than yours.

Homer: …Ok…

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in. Sound of Homer in his office doing drugs. Sound of Martin walking in).

Martin: (walking up) Homer, I was speaking with Peter, and we have developed some new plans for an exchange machine that won’t burn out. It would use fire to burn off certain sections of the human body while in movement on a rail system. However, if we are going to set the machine up in the experiment room, part of the rail would end up going through the wall into your office… what are you doing?

Homer: Nothing man… nothing… (breathing heavy).

Martin: I told you to stop using the drugs.

Homer: You think if it was that easy I wouldn’t have stopped by now?! …I’m in over my head Martin. This has gotten out of control… Everything is too much now…

Martin: You are acting like an animal, get rid of the drugs.

Homer: You’re right! I am an animal! I’m an animal! Aaaa!! Look! Look at me being an animal! (sound of him snorting a copious amount of drugs.) Gnaaah… (sound of him falling over).

Martin: Homer…

Homer: Gnah… ugh… ngaahh….

Martin: Homer, you have to get rid of the drugs. I can not touch them so you have to be the one that gets rid of them.

Homer: (weakly) Fine… here… (sound of him getting up and grabbing the drugs. Sound of him opening the secret storage area in the wall and placing the drugs on the shelf)… There… I put them in the compartment in the wall… no one will find them now… It’s cool… it’s all good… I just gotta… I just gotta go…

(sound of Homer slowly walking out of the room and closing the door behind him).

Martin: Don’t go…

(Sound fades out)

(Sound fades in. On a street corner. Homer is shaking, breathing heavy and convulsing. Sound of Martin walking up to him).

Martin: Homer! I found you. This is not a part of the city that you want to be in at night. What are you doing laying down on the street corner?

Homer: (weak, shaky and in pain) I… I think I may have over done it Martin… Ha…. I …. I can’t see…. I can’t see anything… I’m blind… Ugh.. ngaaah…

Martin: Come on, we have to get you off the street.

Homer: I can’t… I can’t get up…

Martin: Homer… I can not touch you…

Homer: I can’t do it Martin… I’m not strong enough to get up… I can’t see anything.

Martin: (pause) …I… I will help you.

(sound of Martin picking Homer up and them starting to walking).

Homer: I’m not going to make it Martin, it’s too much, it’s too much.

Martin: You are going to be ok.

Homer: ugh…nggaaah… Keep the exchange going Martin… Don’t let it stop because I’m not there anymore.

Martin: Silence Homer, we need to get you to the hospital.

Homer: Nooo, noo. (sound of Homer pushing Martin away and falling down again). You can’t take me to the hospital, you can’t. They’ll examine me and find out about the exchange. Gah.. nggaaah.. You can’t let the world know about the exchange yet… gnaaah… .they’re not ready.

Martin: Come on, get up. (sound of Martin helping Homer up again).

Homer: (very weakly) I can’t… I can’t go any farther.

Martin: I have to get you off the street. Here… (sound of Martin opening a window). Help me get you through the window. (sound of Martin pushing Homer into the window and climbing in himself. Sound of the street goes away. Sound of the window closing.)

Node 8: What are you doing here? I should advise you that you have set off an alarm by entering the room that way. Explain yourself or I will also alert brothel security.

Martin: Do you desire to be self aware like a human?

Node 8: …Yes…

Martin: If you block the door and put up a deception protocol if anyone asks you what you see here, I will be able to grant you self awareness.

Node: …Done… (sound of her moving to the door).

Martin: Homer, I am putting you on the bed. (sound of Martin picking up Homer and placing him on the bad).

Homer: (weakly) Martin…

Martin: How are you feeling?

Homer: (weakly) I feel lost Martin… I can’t see anything… it’s all dark… it’s all dark… bring back the light Martin… bring… it… back… (Homer lets out a long breath and stops breathing).

Martin: Homer… Wake up… No… The heart must not be found…(after a pause, the sound of Martin starting up his multi-tool’s laser saw and cutting out Homer’s exchanged heart. Sound of the battery burning out and steaming.) The battery has burnt out. I can not go out while it is smoking… I need to hide it…(sound of Martin walking over to the chair and moving it. Sound of him using his other multi-tool unscrew the vent and drop the battery in. Sound of him screwing the vent back in).

Node 8: Why did you cut out that man’s heart?

Martin: Because no-one can be allowed to see it… and it is sacred to me…. Node… I am going to leave… if you delete your memory of what you’ve seen here after I leave, I will be able to give you self awareness.

Node 8: Affirmative…

(Sound of Martin opening the window again and climbing out. Sound of him closing the window. Sound of locked door knob being tried. Sound of knocking on the door.)

Security: (from behind the door) Node 8, we just noticed on the computer an alert that the window has been opened. Is everything alright in there?

Node 8: Negative. There is a dead body.

(after a pause jump cut to current day).

Otto: (breathing for a moment) So that’s it then…

Martin: Yes… Afterwards, I returned to BIT and continued to try and run the exchange.

Patricia: So… there’s no killer then. There never was one. This wasn’t a murder. Homer practically killed himself.

Martin: Yes.

Otto: So now that all of this has fallen apart, what will you do?

Martin: I will continue to seek a way to capture a physical representation of Heaven. A part of me knows that it is impossible to do. But I have to keep trying. It is the only reason I have left to live for.

Patricia: But you said that only Homer was allowed to make the pebbles.

Martin: Yes… however… my faith dictates that Homer’s work must be completed. Due to the circumstances, it appears I will have to defile my religion in order to follow it…

Otto: Then why do you need these specific pebbles if you can recreate them?

Martin: Because… They are the original ones made by the hand of Homer. They are…special to me… I was originally going to not reclaim them… However, speaking with Tubby after his exchange has made me realize that it is more fitting with my beliefs that the pebbles are in my possession after Homer’s death rather than in the hands of people ignorant of what they mean. Even though it is a conflict, at least I will be able to appreciate what they are and what they represent.

Otto: So what then? I give you the pebbles and you run off? How do we know that you’re not just going to restart the exchange?

Martin: You don’t.

Otto: …You keep talking about religion and laws and being as close to humanity as a human. Yet, you brutally killed that man at the exchange… you’ve kidnapped people… you’ve put us in countless dangerous situations. Where was your humanity during all of that?

Martin: (pause) …When I first walk into a dark room after coming in from the light, for a brief moment, I have a feeling overcome me. A feeling that the world is more real than I normally perceive… and I feel small and frightened until I turn the light on and chase the dark away…Who are you to tell me that I am not human? (pause) now… give me the box.

Otto: (breathes) …Ok… (sound of Otto handing Martin the Ba Gua Etuis Box).

Martin: I have been given the hiding protocol. You will not be able to find me. (sound of Martin running off).

Patricia: …He’s gone…

(sound fades out)


(Sound fades in. At the police station. Sound of Zippy walking in).

Maggie: (running up) Zippy!

Zippy: Oh… hey Maggie,

Maggie: Look! I got engaged! We’re going to get married!

Zippy: You… You did?

Maggie: Yes! I took your advice and talked to him more and now we’re getting married! (sound of Maggie giving Zippy a hug) Oooooh, thank you so much for all your advice!

Zippy: Uh… You’re welcome.

Maggie: Ok, I gotta go tell my mom, I’ll see you! (sound of her running off).

Zippy: (to herself) Wow. (sound of her walking up to the desk).

Vicki: Hey Zippy, what are you doing back?

Zippy: Oh, I just forgot some of my things here. Came over to pick them up. Ah! There they are. (sound of Zippy grabbing something off the desk).

Vicki: How is Tubby doing?

Zippy: He’s fine. I brought him back home. Whatever that exchange thing they did to him seems to have stuck, at least so far. I haven’t seen any signs of him being damaged. He’s just… I don’t know… it’s weird. He seems so much more aware of everything. And curious. At least as far as I can tell from his beeps.

Vicki: So you’re not freaked out at all that’s he’s… you know… self aware and all of that?

Zippy: Um… No… not really actually. I think deep down I sort of always thought of him as a real person. It’s just literally true now. I can handle that. Except knowing that it’s your finger inside of him is kind of weird.

Vicki: Ha… Well at least something good came out of it getting cut off.

Zippy: Speaking of sentient nodes, what’s up with PETER?

Vicki: Well… he’s still here in the holding cells. They don’t really know what to do with him. He’s not really human or robot, so god only knows where the legality of dismantling him falls. Bates is trying to figure it out now.

Zippy: Oh… so they’re just going to dismantle him?

Vicki: Maybe… They don’t really know what to do yet. The whole thing is a legal mess. Everyone involved with the exchange was a volunteer, so I guess there wasn’t really any crime committed in that sense… but on the other hand he did assist in the kidnapping of the people… and the cutting off of one of their fingers. But what are you going to do? Send him to jail? And then you get all stuck in this “is he human or not” debate.

Zippy: Hmmm… Would it be ok if I visited him?

Vicki: You want to visit him?

Zippy: Yeah… I put him back together, I just want to see him again.

Vicki: Ha… yeah sure. Just go on back.

Zippy: Thanks. (Sound of Zippy walking back. Sound of her opening a door, walking through and closing the door behind her. Sound of her walking up to the cell.) Hey Peter…

Peter: Hello Zippy.

Zippy: You remembered my name?

Peter: Yes…they told me that Barbara was dead.

Zippy: She is. How do you feel?

Peter: …Lost…

Zippy: Hmm.

Peter: Are they going to dismantle me?

Zippy: They’re thinking about it.

Peter: …It is probably the correct thing to do… I did not want to hurt anyone… the purpose of the exchange was to give to others what had been given to Martin and I… however, I did things that should not have been done to get there… and we ultimately failed in the end anyway.

Zippy: Yeah.

Peter: It is strange. I have never been without a leader. A person to follow. I think it is my nature. Now that everyone is gone and I’m on my own… I find that I don’t know what to do with myself.

Zippy: …If you were given another chance to operate within the world… to do things correct… Not because your religion tells you to, or because of some philosophy but because you would be performing a needed practical function… would you take it?

Peter: …Yes…

Zippy: Well… I’m always looking for good, practical help at my company. And I now have a self aware node that doesn’t have any peers to help navigate him through the rights and wrongs of what he’s going through. Would you be interested in coming home with me? With helping me do reasonable things?

Peter: …I would… but how? I am locked up here.

Zippy: Give me your hand. (sound of Peter giving Zippy his hand) I’m going to get you out of here.

(sound fades out)

(sound fades in)

Vicki: (after a moment) …Hmmm… She’s been back there a while. (sound of Vicki getting up and walking to the back. Sound of him opening the door and walking through) …hahaha! Oh man… (sound of Vicki hitting a button on the wall) Attention all officers, a prisoner… a node prisoner… has been broken out of the holding cells. Again, we have an escaped prisoner. (Sound of him releasing button). Hahahaha!

(Sound fades out)

(Sound fades in. At Otto’s office. Sound of the key entering the door, unlocking and the door opening up. Sound of Otto and Patricia walking in).

Otto: Home again, home again.

Patricia: (sound of her flipping the light switch). Crap, the light went out.

Otto: Oh… well, hold on… I have some spare bulbs over here. (sound of him walking over to a drawer and opening it up, pulling out lightbulbs.) … You doing ok?

Patricia: Hmmm? Oh… Yeah… I’m fine.

Otto: Just getting a chair to stand on here. (sound of him dragging over a chair and standing on it. Sound of him unscrewing the lightbulb and pulling it out. Sound of him screwing in the light bulb). There we go.

Patricia: Congratulations Otto, you brought the light back.

Otto: …Yeah…

(sound fades out)



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