The Ba Gua Etuis Box
(Scene: at the Chinese Education Center in Boston).
(Sound of PETER entering the building and walking up to the desk)
Woman at Desk: Hello there. Looks like we have a delivery node. Got a package for me today? Is it in the car?
PETER: (robotic fairly monotone voice) I am PETER. I am looking for the Feng Shui 100 and 1 classroom.
Woman at Desk: Oh right. Hold on. (sound of her picking up phone and dialing a number.) Hi Chen, it’s the front desk. I have a node here with a package for you… Right… Ok, I’ll send him down. (hangs up phone). Ok, you can just go down the hall and it’s the 3rd door on the left. Chen’s in the middle of teaching a class, but he’ll be able to sign for you and then you can just leave the package here.
PETER: Thank you.
(Sound of PETER walking down the hallway. He stops at the door to the class room and you can hear Chen lecturing inside. Peter knocks on the door. The sound of Chen lecturing stops and the sound of the door opening).
Chen: Oh hello.
PETER: Classroom of Feng Shui 101.
Chen: Yep, that’s here. I can sign for you. I told the people at the front desk to just … uh…. (sound of PETER walking into the classroom). Ok, I guess you’re coming inside then… Uhh, so if you can just give me the paper to sign, you can go on your… way… (sound of Peter walking over to a desk pulling out a chair and sitting down.). (laughing), Ha! Ok class, it looks like we have a new student. (students laugh). I’m sorry, did I miss something? You have a package for me right? (Peter is silent). Uhh… Hello? (Silence).
Girl in the class: Maybe he is the package?
Chen: Hmmm. Maybe. I’m not sure who would send me a node though. (To Peter), excuse me, why are you here?
PETER: To learn Feng Shui. (class laughs).
Chen: I guess someone sent me a Feng Shui node! That will make re-arranging the heavy furniture easier! (class laughs). Uhhh… Ok. This is a prank right?
PETER: Teach Feng Shui.
Chen: Alright, this is getting weird. Uhh… Delivery node, please leave.
PETER: Teach Feng Shui.
Chen: I am not teaching Feng Shui.
Chen: Because I’m not teaching Feng Shui.
Chen: Because you’re a node and I don’t teach Feng Shui to robots (class laughs).
PETER: (Voice gets violent) …I AM PETER! TEACH FENG SHUI!
Chen: (Class gasps and gets silent). (Startled) Whoa!
Another Girl in Class: He must be malfunctioning or something.
Chen: Yeah, he must. Man… Hmm. Well I’m not really sure what to do. I don’t know much about nodes and I don’t want to say the wrong thing and have him do something dangerous.
Boy in Class: Mr. Yap, I’ve taken a few classes in robotics. I can take a look at the wiring in his head and see if there’s something wrong with the wires.
Chen: Is that safe?
Boy in Class: Yeah, I wouldn’t worry about it. Public service nodes have pretty heavy safety protocols, so he probably can’t go off and hit me or explode or anything like that. They taught us that the cold can sometimes freeze and break circuits in the nodes. He probably just took some ice damage to his cognition and voice board from being outside too long.
Chen: Well… Ok, go ahead. Just be careful.
Boy in Class: Ok (sound of Boy in Class getting up and walking over to Peter). Now let’s see. I just have to find the button to open his head.
PETER: NO! (Boy goes “ah!”, class gasps. Sound of PETER getting up quickly and running out of the room).
Chen: Jeez! Are you ok?
Boy in Class: Yeah, I’m ok. He just took off before I could get his head open.
Chen: What the hell was that?…
(Sound of class fades away. Fade in the sound of Zippy in her basement. You can her flipping through the pages of a book).
Zippy: Hmmm… (sound of more flipping) …mmmhmm… (more flipping)…. Oh…. Ok…. My journey through the forest of Algmore has brought me to a large ominous looking stone castle. It is nighttime and the glow of the moon is illuminating the heavy doors to the entrance of the castle through the trees…. Um… Ok… I’m going to open the main doors to the Castle and walk in…. (flipping)…. the doors are locked…. Hmmm… Oh! I’m going to use my level 4 lock picking skill to unlock the doors …. Let’s see… (sound of dice being shaken and then rolled) .. Yes! 16!… (mumbling and writing on a piece of paper) Ok, 16 plus 4 times my journeyman multiplier equals… Ok! I unlocked the door.
I open the doors and walk into the castle. (flipping)… Ok, I am now standing in the main entrance room to the castle. It is a large room made of black stone. There are two stairways leading to a second floor balcony in front of me to the left and right. Straight in between the stairways is a long hallway leading into darkness. To my left is a closed wooden door. To my right is a fireplace with a roaring fire. In front of the fireplace is a small carpet with two comfortable looking arm chairs on top of it facing the fireplace… Hmmm… Ok, I’m going to walk down the long dark hallway in front of me…. (flipping)….
Oh… Before I am able to walk past the staircases and down the hallway an intimidating older male voice calls out to me. It says … Uh (clears throat. Makes her voice try to sound deep and manly) “Halt traveler! You have entered my castle, the castle of Lord Merdolock, without permission. What reason do you have for trespassing on such sacred ground, on this, the night of Uluhat, the most sacred night to Hifyu, the ancient God of flame?!” I look up to see Lord Merdolock, a tall older man with long white hair and long white beard descending the stair case. He reaches the bottom of the stair case and walks over to me. He his dressed in a sacred red rob, embellished with gold chains. There are shiny rubies of Green and Red embedded within the gold chains around his rob. He also holds a large wooden staff with metal wrapped around the top and the base of the staff.
Ok… I’m going to try and convince him that I meant no harm and that he should help me in my quest… (clears throat. Change her voice to sound more heroic). “Oh Lord Merdolock! I, Shalaya, Hunt Mistress of the City of Ravenfeather, am but a simple traveler. I meant no harm by invading your castle. I merely seek food and shelter, as well as any help you may offer on my quest to defeat my sworn enemy Norgongol of the Dragonclaw Clan.”…Uh, ok (sound of dice being shaken and rolled.) (mumbling and writing) 6 plus a charisma of 10… Shoot, I didn’t convince him. (flipping) Lord Merdolock says (clears throat and starts talking in a deep manly voice again) “How dare you insult the lord of this castle as well as the ancient gods that inhabit it. Now you will pay with your life!” … Uh, Lord Merdolock points his staff at me and a level 8 large pylon of fire comes flying towards me. (nervous) Oh no. Making a saving throw. (sound of dice being shaken and rolled) Oh… I rolled a 2. (sound of writing). (Depressed) Oh… (sound of pencil being dropped) I died… (pause) During my own game…. (lets out a very long and depressed sigh).
Secruity Voice: (sound of beeping). Two individuals approaching main entrance.
Zippy: Huh? Who is it?
Secruity voice: 1st individual is female, appears to be 5 foot 11 inches or 6 feet tall, approximate age to be mid to late 20’s. (Beeping) 1st individual positively identified as Patricia Lacreoux.
Zippy: (happy) Oh!
Security Voice: 2nd individual is an unknown male. Appears to be 5 Foot 6 or 7 inches tall. Approximate age to be mid to late 30’s. Will access police records in an attempt to identify.
Zippy: Oh that’s ok. If it’s Patricia, let them in.
Security Voice: Affirmative.
(Sound of footsteps upstairs can be heard).
Patricia: (calling from up stairs) Zippy?
Zippy: (calling up) I’m down here Patricia, in the basement.
(Sound of Patricia and Otto coming down the stairs)
Patricia: (walking up to Zippy), Oh there you are.
Zippy: (slightly giggly and awkward as she’s meeting Otto for the first time) Hello.
Patricia: Zippy, this is Otto.
Patricia: He’s the Private Dic I work for… (pause) What were you doing down here?
Zippy: Oh, I was just playing Castles and Chimaeras.
Otto: (confused) What’s that?
Patricia: (ignoring Otto) eh, you were playing by yourself?
Zippy: Well… Norman and Julia were supposed to be coming over to play, but Julia had to go help her cousin who just broke up with her boyfriend move into her Aunt’s apartment and Norman ate some bad Bocky at Anime-Thursdays and has diarrhea.
Otto: Oooooook, Patricia, who is this person?
Zippy: Hey, I’m standing right here.
Patricia: Otto, stop being… you. This is Zippy Erhnstein. She’s the CEO and one woman show that is the Cyberverse Security Company. We went to college together.
Otto: You’re the CEO of Cyberverse?
Zippy: Why is he surprised by that?
Otto: For god sakes, I use Cyberverse products on all of my hard and soft storage units.
Patricia: Zippy, look, we need some help. Can we store something in Tubby?
Zippy: What? (speaking out the side of her mouth) Patricia, I told you not to talk about him in front of other people.
Otto: Who’s Tubby? There’s another person involved in all of this?
Patricia: Zippy, we really need your help.
Zippy: (sighs) What did you do now?
Patricia: Nothing big… We just have to hide this box and these document copies until some stuff blows over.
Zippy: … You two are the ones who blew up the police station aren’t you.
Zippy: Are you sure?
Otto: She’s telling the truth. We didn’t blow up the police station. We’re trying to solve a murder case and we need to make sure this information is kept secret. It’s evidence that can be used against the killer once we find him. The equipment in my office isn’t as… secure as it could be and we need to make sure no-one gets their hands on this until the time is right.
Zippy: And this information isn’t illegal?
Patricia: Come on. When have I ever done anything illegal?
Zippy: Oh, how about, all the time!
Security Voice: Attention, two police cars have just arrived at the front of the house.
All at once: What?
Zippy: You said this wasn’t illegal!
Patricia: Heh… maybe a little illegal.
Otto: Damn. They must have followed us from the police station.
Patricia: I didn’t blow up the police stations! I promise!
Otto: Look, we’ve got to hide this stuff right now.
Zippy: Noooo way José. I have a nice little life going for me here and I’m not getting arrested.
Patricia: That’s it! (Sound of Patricia grabbing and struggling with Zippy and slapping her hand on the evidence).
Zippy: Ah! No! Hey!
Patricia: There. Now you’re finger prints are all over the evidence and you don’t have enough time to erase them before the police come knocking on that door. Either hide this or I’m going to tell them that you were involved and you’ll be going to jail with us.
Zippy: (Frustrated yell) I can’t believe you! You’re a jerkiest friend ever!
Security Voice: Four police officers have left their cars and are starting to make their way to the front door. They are also looking around the perimeter of the property with their flashlights.
Otto: Zippy, look. You’re doing the right thing here. An innocent man was murdered and we have a lot of good evidence here that can lead us to the killer. He’s going to get away and kill again if you don’t help us.
Zippy: (frustrated sigh) Damnit! Fine… over here. (Sound of Zippy walking over to a curtain and pulling it to the side. The sound of beeps).
Patricia: There he is.
Otto: What? It’s just some goofy looking box. This is your grand way of hiding things?
Zippy: Shhhh!! Don’t say that! …He’s sensitive (sound of a sad beep). (talking to Tubby) Don’t worry, he’s just a mean manipulative man whose sad little opinion is pathetic and doesn’t matter.
Otto: Oh… It’s a robot.
Patricia: Not just any robot. This is the world’s only known Octo-sourced, security and storage node. Not only does he have an extremely sophisticated AI system which can assess a multitude of threats as well as develop theoretical reactions to situations that it hasn’t been programmed to react to, but he has one of the most advanced locking and storage systems ever created on a micro storage unit. Include all of this with the fact that he has full mobility and environment manipulation abilities, which allows him to be extremely good at hiding, and you are now looking at the most advanced and secure storage system ever made.
Otto: Wow… and you built him?
Zippy: Why he is surprised by that? (Sound of beeping). (Talking to Tubby) Ok Tubby, I’ve entered the code and done the finger print and retinal scan. Please open. (Approving beep and the sound of his hatch unlocking and opening). Thank you (sound of Zippy putting the evidence into Zippy and closing the hatch). Ok, items have been stored and hatch has been closed. Please lock. (Approving beep. Sound of lock engaging). Good. Now, I need to you go into level 6 hiding. (Confused beep) Don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I will send the signal when you can come out of hiding. (Affirmative beep and the sound of Tubby driving off). … Alright. That evidence is safe. No-one is going to find it.
Otto: You gave him emotions?
Zippy: Yes. Well… Sort of. He feigns them. I suppose it’s not like he’s actually feeling anything for real. The emotive beeps just sort of help me better understand what he’s trying to communicate without risking someone being able to listen in and steal information through a standard language.
Security Voice: The police officers are at the front door and are requesting entrance.
Zippy: Oooohhh, what do I do? What do I do?
Otto: Just relax. We’ll answer the door and take the heat. Just come up with us to show that we aren’t holding you hostage or anything.
(Sound of them walking up the stairs to the front entrance)
Patricia: I can’t tell you how much this means to me…
Zippy: Quiet! I’m not talking to you anymore.
Otto: Hello Vicki.
Vicki: Otto. Patricia. And you must be?..
Zippy: Zippy. I live here… I don’t know these people. (Patricia makes an audible groan as if to say “you shouldn’t have said that”).
Vicki: Right. Well, all three of you are under arrest.
Vicki: Take them in boys. (sound of officers walking in and handcuffing them).
Zippy: Hey, you can’t do this! I’m an innocent bystander!
Vicki: Otto, Patricia you are under arrest for the illegal duplication of police evidence and the destruction of the Boston Police Headquarters.
Zippy: (Gasp) You DID blow up the police station!
Patricia: Well… I didn’t… exactly blow it up…
Otto: (under his breath) Shut the hell up you two…
Vicki: Zippy, you are under arrest for aiding and offering sanctuary to two individuals sought after by the Police Department of the City of Boston.
Zippy: I didn’t aid anyone! I told you, I don’t know these people!
Vicki: (Sighs) and I’m sure when we search your house we aren’t going to find the copied evidence either.
Otto: Ha! Search her place. Yeah right. Like you had enough time to get a search warrant.
Vicki: (Sounds of beeping) Actually… I did.
Vicki: I’m on the same amateur baseball team as the judge. All right boys, search it. (sound of police going into the house and starting to search)
Zippy: What! You can’t search my place that’s private property! Don’t touch my vintage monster manual!
Vicki: (clears throats) As I was saying, you all have the right to remain silent…
Patricia: Hey wait! Vicki… (sexy voice) Come on… You’re really going to put me in jail?
Vicki: … I would rather see you safe in jail right now then out running around town where you can get hurt.
Patricia: (lovey) Awwwww..
Otto: What?! Hey?! What?!
Vicki: (sighs) Alright, bring them to the cars, (sound of them being walked to the cars). Starting again, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say may be used against you in a court of law…
(Sound fades out)
(Scene: Inside a police station)
(Sound fades in. Police station. Lots of commotion as people are scrambling with the police headquarters blowing up).
Police Officer: (Sound of him walking by) Alright Tony, stop fighting. You’re going in the slammer whether you like it or not.
Tony: Hey! Officer Manny, come on! I’m an innocent man. You know me!
Police Officer: Yeah, yeah, get moving. (sound of them walking off).
(Sound of Otto, Patricia, Zippy, Vicki and an officer walking up)
Vicki: Ok you three, sit down here. You’ll be called in when they’re ready. Maggie, make sure they don’t try to escape. The French girl is good with locks.
Maggie: You got it Vicki. (sound of Vicki walking off).
(Otto sighs. After a moment Zippy starts to hyper-ventilate).
Zippy: Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god.
Maggie: Is she going to be ok?
Patricia: Hey, calm down Zippy.
Zippy: Shut up! I can’t believe what you’ve gotten me into! Oh god, those guys are tearing my place apart as we speak. This is just going to be great for business when everyone finds that the CEO of a security company broke the law. (hyper-ventilating) Oh god, I have a criminal record now! All of my clients and distributors are going to fire me. I’m never going to be able to get a job again and I’m going to become some shiftless hobo that they find having starved to death in a dirty alley way after not making enough money from hooking to buy food.
Patricia: Hey, look on the bright side. Now you can market yourself as having first hand insider experience into government run penitentiary security systems.
Zippy: (suddenly more upbeat and seriously considering the suggestion)….Hmmm.
(Sound of police officer walking up)
Police Officer: Zipporah Ernstein?
Zippy: (nervous) Eeeee,
Police Officer: Follow me please.
Zippy: (Sound fades as she walks off) Oh god, oh god, oh god.
Otto: She’ll be ok.
Man: Hey Maggie, you’re beating Herman in the league now.
Maggie: Ha! I knew it. That bastard couldn’t pick a team if it had been mapped out for him…. (Voice fades out).
Patricia: (Whispering) So are you going to tell me what you found at the brothel?
Otto: (Whispering) A battery from the murder weapon. Laser saw. Didn’t find the actual weapon though.
Patricia: (Whispering) Really.
Otto: (Whispering) Yeah. And more interesting then that, the Pleasure Node that saw the crime had her memories deleted.
Patricia: (Whispering) What?!
Otto: (Whispering) Yeah, I know.
Patricia: (Whispering) And you’re still not dropping the case?
Otto: (Whispering) (sighs) Like I said. I don’t know. Obviously this is big. But… I mean. This may be leading us to the source of where all this crap has been coming from in the city. This case allows to get paid while investigating it.
Patricia: (Whispering) God damn it Otto, like money is an issue right now! You’re a damn private dic. It’s not you’re job to cure the city. Leave that to guys with the state pensions.
Otto: (Whispering) …I know.
Patricia: (Whispering) I’d also like to remind you that closing down crime rings puts us out of work.
Otto: (Whispering) Oh whatever. You know most of our money comes from the soft jobs. It’s not like we’re constantly getting murder cases.
Patricia: (Whispering) Well since you found MacBerger dead, that makes this the 2nd one we’ve gotten this month.
Otto: (Whispering) Alright, fine. This month’s been busy. But still, that’s not where the money’s coming from and you can’t deny that… Besides… If we can help bring down whatever the cause of all this is… that will make the city a safer place… and that’s why we got into this in the first place.
Patricia: (Whispering) It’s why you got into it. Not me.
Otto: (Whispering) Then remind me why you did get into this? (Patricia is silent) that’s what I thought.
Patricia: (Whispering)… What makes you so sure that this case is connected to other crimes, much less that something organized has been going on over the last couple years?
Otto: (Whispering) Where would someone get the know how to delete a nodes memory if there wasn’t something organized going on?
Patricia: (Whispering) …Fair enough.
(Sound of Vicki walking).
Vicki: Alright Otto and Patricia, Bates wants to see you personally. Follow me.
(Sound of Otto and Patricia getting and following Vicki)
Otto: This should be great.
Vicki: Yeah. He was already really pissed off at you. Having his office blown up hasn’t made him very friendly today.
Patricia: What did you do to piss him off originally by the way?
Otto: Ehhh, I have a feeling you’re about to find out.
(sound of door opening to Bates office, them walking in and the door closing behind them. The sound of them sitting down in chairs).
Otto: (Sarcastically friendly) Hiya Howard! How are things going today?
Bates: (Weakly covered rage) Otto Vainikainen… We have a lot to talk about…
Patricia: I never knew a person’s face could turn that color before. Howard, I think you need to take some time and chill out, you know how your blood pressure gets. (Bates lets out a long sigh trying to contain his rage).
(Sound fades in. Still in Bates office. The sound of Bates pacing back and forth in front of Otto and Patricia not saying anything).
Patricia: …Is he going to keep pacing like that forever? It’s making me nauseas.
Bates: Sometimes, I sit alone in my house and watch the sun set… As the sun drops below the horizon the darkness of the night comes pouring in through the windows, and assuming I don’t have the lamp on, I am covered in this darkness and for a few minutes before I turn the lights on, life feels a little too… real. Like I’m living in some kind of world that is more aware and real than the real world… It’s during these times that the feeling of dread that always lives in the back of my mind and in the pit of my stomach overcomes my body and I come to the realization that I am cursed.
Otto: …Vicki, does he normally get like this when he hasn’t eaten in 2 hours?
Bates: …After some therapy sessions following a.. LONG and painful divorce from my beloved Dianne, I decided that the only way to overcome this curse, and thus destroy my fear of the dark, was to seek it out. To face it head on, in the same way a medieval knight faces the dragon that is continuously burning down his castle.
Patricia: (confused) Huh?
Bates: And like that medieval knight, I quested Otto. Oh yes. I quested high and low. Looking for the totem that held all of my nightmares. And Otto, oh how long I quested for. I searched every corner of this Earth. I even bought the ticket and went to the Moon, and I explored every corner of the great city of Luna looking for that enemy that I could face in battle in hopes that I would be able to escape my personal living hell.
Otto: …Bates… quite screwing around.
Bates: But I found nothing there Otto. Nothing on the Moon, nothing on Earth. Maybe I needed to quest further into the Galaxy I thought. But, the tickets were so expensive. It would be a long time before I could do that. So I returned home Otto. Back to my home in Boston. And to my surprise Otto. Do you know what I found? I found the answer. I found the Totem. The enemy. I found the thing that was cursing me, right there in my home.
Otto: …Uh oh…
Bates: I entered the door to my house. It was a day like any other day. There in my house. All alone. I closed the door behind me, and hung my jacket. Suddenly, from the floor above me, I heard a noise. I walked slowly up the stairs. I could hear the noise getting louder. It was coming.. from.. my bedroom? What could be going on in my bedroom? I reached my hand out and touched the cold door knob. I turned the knob slowly. I pushed the door open. And do you know what I found Otto? (Starts breathing heavy, rage seeping through but still slightly contained) I found you! Screwing my neice!
Patricia: (gasp) Michele Jonesworth is Bates niece!
Bates: (Heavy breathing, but keeping it together. Progressively getting angrier as he talks though) You are my curse Otto Vainikainen. You are the demon that haunts me in the night. You are the dragon that is set to burn down my kingdom. And now, a week after catching you with Michele, my police headquarters explodes and I found out that you’re assistant was responsible for it. (Yelling) Well, let me respond to you Otto! (Screaming) DOES IT LOOK LIKE I’M SCREWING AROUND?!!! (silence) …Well?! Don’t you have any god damn comments now?
Patricia: …I wasn’t responsible for blowing up the police department.
Bates: Shut up! I don’t care who’s responsible for what anymore. I am locking you two up for the rest of your natural lives! I swear to god you will not see the light of day as long as I live! And after we’re all dead I’ll make sure you’re damn ghosts are locked up in a black hole too! And you!
Bates: God damn it Vicki! You and your libido are the ones that let this psycho-bitch into the evidence room in the first place! I swear, you’re Turkish voodoo gods must have been watching over you, because if I didn’t need every cop I have available right now, I would be bringing you up on every corruption and incompetence charge that the United States of America has on the books, and then some! I promise you after this is over, you’ll be sweeping the floors with a toothbrush for a living!
Otto: Damnit Bates! She told you she wasn’t responsible for blowing up the station! You and your idiot team brought an active hyper-neuro bomb into the building. That damn thing was just waiting for the right time to go off! You’re punishing Vicki? He’s the one that got everyone out of that building safe! You should be giving him a damn medal!
Bates: Did I ask for you god damn opinion? When that station blew up, one of our central evidence storage hubs went up with it! Do you know how many cases you just sent back to square one?
Patricia: Not all of the evidence was destroyed…
Otto: We were able to make duplicates of all of the evidence for the Homer Diya murder case.
Bates: The damn Homer Diya murder case?! What the hell are you doing investigating that thing?
Otto: His sister seems to think I would do a better job finding her brother’s killer than your idiot squad… No offense Vicki.
Vicki: Don’t worry about.
Bates: Damn it Vicki! Don’t talk to him! I’m the sheriff here, you’re supposed to be on my side!
Vicki: Sorry boss.
Bates: Shut up! Who cares if you have evidence. It’s all useless. That case is just another god damn John getting killed in a brothel. He probably just pissed off another John. It’s a dead end. And I hope it was worth it Otto, because that case just ruined you’re life.
Otto: Well that dead end case just had a hyper-neuro bomb explode in your police headquarters. A god damn hyper-neuro bomb Howard! You’re still going tell me this isn’t more than just an open and shut John murder case?
Bates: What the hell do you know? You’ve been on this case for 2 seconds. We’ve been investigating it for 6 months. Hyper-neuro bombs don’t mean anything. If you’re rich enough you can buy those on the black market.
Patricia: I saw that bomb. That was no street job. This was made by a professional. Not only was it stable and dormant for god knows how many months, it had a sensor and timer attached to it. Have you ever seen anything like that on the black market?
Vicki: It’s true, it was some pretty impressive stuff.
Bates: Damn it Vicki!
Otto: The node that found Homer Diya’s body had its memory erased.
Vicki and Bates together: (Shocked) What?
Otto: I went to the brothel where the body was found. I talked to the node that found his body. Someone had erased its memory then put up a cloaking program so that it would lie whenever any asked it questions.
Bates: (silence for a second) …Impossible.
Otto: Here. I recorded our conversation. (sound of him pulling out the recorder)
Vicki: What? How did you get that through the brothel sensors?
Otto: It’s made of poly-nickel.
Vicki: Wow. That’s really cool.
Bates: Shut the hell up Vicki! Why didn’t you confiscate that from him?
Vicki: Sorry boss. We patted them down, he must have hidden it.
Recorder: (sound of Otto pressing the button, rewinding and then the recording playing)
Node 8: …see him before hand. I just found him dead. Then the police came and I told them that I had found him dead.
Otto: Hey not Beatrice.
Node 8: Yes.
Otto: I have another fantasy. And this one is so hot to me I’m putting it as fantasy number 1. (Node 8 beeps). My greatest fantasy is to talk to a pleasure node about a murder after she’s used the pleasure slave directive to override the subterfuge code that causes her to falsify her testimony.
Node 8: (beeps a bunch) Done.
Node 8: This is hot.
Otto: Yeah it is. Now, tell me. Did you see Homer Diya alive in the brothel before he was murdered.
Node 8: That information has been deleted from my memory.
Otto: (shocked) What?… Who deleted it?
Node 8: That information has been deleted.
Otto: …Did you certify the deletion?
Node 8: That information has been deleted.
(sound of recorder being pressed to stop playback)
Otto: …and before you think you can just steal this recording from me, I’ve made copies of it as well. …Now tell me this isn’t something big? An advanced hyper-neuro bomb? A node getting their memory deleted? All of these things need organization Howard. This could be a direct lead to where all of the crime has been originating from over the last 2 years.
Bates: (silence for a moment) …Fine. We’ll open the case back up. Give me the evidence.
Patricia: Like hell.
Bates: Listen here, you’re still criminals! Stealing evidence, making illegal copies, and taking part in the destruction of a police station! Don’t make you’re lawyers also have to defend you for hiding evidence from the police department.
Otto: You want this evidence? Including a part of the murder weapon that I found and box that contained the bomb by the way? You drop all the charges against us..
Vicki: (clearing throat) A-hem…
Otto: …Oh, and you promote Vicki to Captain.
Otto: … Uhhh, I mean you only demote him to speeding ticket duty.
Otto: … I mean… you leave his job exactly as it is now.
Vicki: There you go.
Otto: And on top of that you bring me and Patricia into the case too.
Bates: Psh. Like you have anything to bargain with. We’ll just find the damn evidence ourselves. It’s probably still at that girl’s house. My guys have probably found it already.
Patricia: Like hell you’ll find it. That girl you’re talking about is one of the most advanced security minds that’s currently alive in the world. Her house is so tight, you won’t find anything unless she wants you to find it on purpose. Your boys might as well be looking for a single grain of sand in the desert for all the luck they’ll have finding anything useful. And don’t think you’ll be able to get anything out of her through interrogation either. Her mind is like steel bear trap. She’s been trained to guard herself from every form of interrogation and torture technique that’s imaginable. You’ll never break her or get her to confess anything, so you might as well just give up and accept that you’re not getting anything from us unless you play ball.
Bates: (after a second the sound of the phone being picked up and dialed. Ringing for a second) Maggie, bring that other girl into my office.
Maggie: (through the phone) you got it boss. (sound of Bates hanging up the phone).
Bates: Let’s just see about that.
Otto: (whispering to Patricia) She’s been trained in torture and interrogation?
Patricia: (as if to say ‘how would I know?’) Meh…
(Sound of doors opening, Maggie and Zippy walking in. Door closes and Zippy is led to a chair which she sits down in).
Otto: Hey Zippy, how are you doing.
Zippy: (Sniffly) They were very mean and made me cry.
Maggie: Hey boss, the boys got done searching her house too. They weren’t really able to find anything. Just these weird sex magazines. (sound of “sex magazines” (aka D&D handbooks) hitting Bates desk).
Zippy: (horrified) What?! Those are my handbooks!
Maggie: Eh, yeah… Anyway, she had all of these crazy locks and stuff all over place. Even software locks on her computers. They weren’t able to figure out how to break them…
Bates: …What’s you’re name miss?
Bates: Zippy, where’s the evidence?
Zippy: (to Patricia) You told them I hid the evidence?
Patricia: No you fool! He just tricked you into confessing!
Bates: Zippy, you are in a ton of trouble. I can have you locked up for a very long time…
Otto: Oh don’t listen to him Zippy, he’s got nothing. If you give him the location of the evidence he’ll just throw us in jail anyway. We’re trying to negotiate ourselves out of this mess with the evidence as bait.
Bates: Give me a break Vainikainen, you have nothing to negotiate with. We have all of those records logged into the computer system already.
Patricia: You’re lying! The law they passed last year forbids the police from saving soft copies of evidence on network enabled computers, and I have a feeling the computers that were storing those soft copies lived in the headquarters. Beside, even if you did, you still don’t have the piece of the murder weapon and the box that held the bomb. Not to mention what we found in the box once the bomb was out of it.
Bates: What did you find?
Bates: Zippy, tell me where the damn evidence is!
Otto: Don’t tell him anything!
Zippy: You guys it doesn’t matter..
Otto and Bates: What?
Zippy: It doesn’t matter. You can ask me all you want. I don’t know where the evidence is. I put it into Tubby remember. I don’t know where his location is. I just call him and he comes, but I don’t know where he is hiding.
Maggie: What’s Tubby?
Zippy: My security box node.
Bates: Then call you’re robot!
Zippy: Because… you’ll just put us in jail. …And don’t think you can call Tubby or find him yourself. He only responds to me. On top of that, I’m the one who programmed him to hide, so don’t think you’ll able to find him. Even if you did, you’d never get him open. He only opens with my password, finger print, retinal scan and voice commands.
Maggie: (after a moment of everyone being silent) … So now what?
Otto: You know our demands Bates.
Zippy: What are our demands?
Vicki: (Talking fast) Otto wants you three to go free, and for me to keep my job and for him and Patricia to be brought into the case.
Zippy: Oh… ok.
Bates: DAMNIT VICKI!
Otto: Howard! What’s it going to be?
Bates: … (grumbles) Fine. You have a deal. Call your robot and give us the evidence and we’ll let you go free.
Otto: No, no, no! I’m not falling for that. We are making this official. I want a contract and recording stating our agreement, including that us three are brought in to assist on the case.
Zippy: What do you mean us three? I don’t want to be on the case!
Otto: We need you to be. The lock that was installed on the box with the bomb was a Cyberverse lock. I’m going to need you to go through your records to find who that lock was sold too. On top of that, Tubby is our safety net now. As long as we’re able to have the evidence’s final storage place be in him, they can’t throw a fast one on us, and you’re the only one that can operate him.
Zippy: No, no no! You can’t use him! I’m not helping!
Otto: You will if you want to stay out of jail.
Zippy: (Depressed sigh)
Otto: Ok, call you’re lawyer Howard.
Bates: …Maggie, get Mark.
(Sound Fades in. In a conference room in the station with people surrounding the table talking to each other).
(Sound of door opening and closing. Zippy walks in with Tubby following her).
Patricia: Hey… I see you found Tubby.
Zippy: (Mad and hurt) Of course I found him.
Patricia: Hey, look, this wasn’t my idea getting you roped into all of this. Otto just sprung that out. Hell, I don’t even think we should be doing this case either. If it was up to me I would drop it.
Patricia: …That being said, I’m happy you’re going to be doing this with me.
Zippy: …Just don’t talk to me right now…
(Sound of a gavel hitting something. Room quiets down)
Mark: (sighs. Sounds depressed and down trodden) Hello all. I’m Mark Worthington, currently acting lawyer for the state of Massachusetts police precinct 1035, now acting as the police headquarters for the City of Boston. After deliberations between Sheriff Howard Bates, licensed private investigator Olavi Vainikainen and certified private investigator assistant Patricia-Jean Lacreoix, an agreement has been reached and signed in both contractual form and in the form of a declared video recording, which will be held independent of all parties by the state of Massachusetts.
This… stupid…agreement runs as follows: Olavi Vainikainen requires that Sheriff Howard Bates agrees not to arrest, imprison, sue or in any way take legal action against Olavi Vainikainen, Patricia-Jean Lacreoix or Zipporah Erhnstein for the destruction of the City of Boston Police Headquarters, nor for the stealing, duplication and hiding of evidence pertaining to the Homer Diya murder case, despite the fact that he obviously did all of this things. On top of this, Olavi Vainikainen also requires for no punishment to befall Officer Victor Jones in relation to the previously mentioned crimes nor for apparently following the duties of his groin versus the duties that he actually gets paid tax payer money to do.
In return, Sheriff Howard Bates requires for Olavi Vainikainen to allow the city of Boston police force to have unlimited access to the evidence surrounding the Homer Diya murder case, despite that fact that the case has been a running joke around the precinct for the last 6 months and this entire investigation is going to make Bates look even more like an insane douche bag, which everyone already thinks he is.
In return to this, Olavi Vainikainen requires that Sheriff Howard Bates, allow Olavi Vainikainen, Patricia-Jean Lacreoix and Zipporah Erhnstein to participate, in an unlimited fashion, with the investigation into the murder of Homer Diya… god knows why… and on top of this, Olavi Vainikainen requires that all evidence pertaining to the Homer Diya murder, when not in use, be stored in that weird nerdy girls moving bucket which only she can open. (sighs)
As a final addition, Patricia-Jean Lacreoix requires that her and Olavi Vainikainen have the option to leave and not participate in the Homer Diya murder investigation without any threat of legal repercussions… finally someone with some sense. Unfortunately for Zipporah Erhnstein however, she cannot leave the case unless dictated by Olavi Vainikainen and Patricia-Jean Lacreoix. Tough break kid.
And in a final last minute note put in by Patricia-Jean Lacreoix, let it be recognized by the state of Massachusetts that Sheriff Howard Bates is a negative nancy whose butt smells like ass… very mature.
And in end, Sheriff Bates, I just want to say that this is the most ridiculous agreement I’ve ever had to preside over in my 20 years working as a lawyer and I quit.
(Sound of Mark walking off. Opens the door, walks out, and slams it behind him).
Otto: (addressing the room) Ok folks, Sheriff Bates has agreed to let me speak. Look, I know this isn’t the most ideal situation for all of us, but there’s something bigger going on here then whether we want to be here or not or if we like the circumstances. A presumably innocent man has been murdered, a highly advanced bomb has been detonated and has destroyed the police headquarters. On top of this more evidence has come to light to suggest that this seemingly simple case may have been an act of an organized threat that currently exists in Boston. It is my and Sheriff Bates belief that all of this may be ultimately leading to the core reason why serious crime suddenly spiked in this city two years ago, and has remained there ever since. We are going to need to work together to get to the bottom of this. So first things first. We are going to share with you all the evidence we have collectively found so far. Zippy, please bring Tubby up here with the evidence.
(Sound of Zippy and Tubby walking up to Otto)
Zippy: (sound of her pressing buttons on Tubby). Ok Tubby, I have entered the password and done the finger print and retinal scan. Please disengage locks and open. (Tubby beeps in agreement. Sounds of locks disengaging and the hatch opening. Sound of Patricia grabbing evidence and handing it to Otto). Here.
Otto: Thanks. Ok. So here’s what we know. First, Homer Diya, a professor in the Robotics department of BIT, was murdered approximately 6 months ago in the Washington Street Brothel. His heart was apparently cut out of his chest, as you can see by these pictures (sound of him flipping papers on a projector).
Patricia: One thing you’ll see in the pictures if you look closely, is that there is a light and some wires sticking out of the inner left side of his rib cage. However, this was never reported in the autopsy report. On top of that there is no name for the person who did the autopsy report, just his hand written analysis.
Otto: Correct. And his hand written analysis just reads that Homer Diya was murdered by having his heart cut out. That’s about it.
Maggie: Couldn’t we just dig up the body and take a look then?
Bates: Hmm. Hard to get that kind of clearance but not a bad idea for a last resort.
Otto: In the meantime, I think our take away from this is that we need to find out who did that autopsy, and see why they would have missed something like that.
Bates: That’s you Vicki.
Vicki: On it.
Otto: And here, while you’re looking into that Vicki, see if you can get any information on this, (sound of Otto putting the laser saw battery on the table). I found this hidden in an air vent at the brothel. I think it’s a battery from a laser saw but I’m not sure. I think it may have been part of the murder weapon. If you can trace it back, you’ll also want to see if an electric screwdriver was purchased at the same too, as the air vent had been screwed into place with something mechanical.
Otto: Speaking of the brothel, I was able to interview the node that found Homer Diya’s body. It had had its memory erased.
Maggie and Zippy: What?!
Maggie: No way…
Zippy: That’s… That’s crazy…
Otto: I know. So we need to find out who did this, and how they did it too. I already investigated the brothel myself and I’m not sure if there is too much more there that will give us any leads, so I think the next best place to look is at the offices of the brothels management. They’re at the top of the Essential building. Patricia, that’s you.
Otto: And you’re bringing someone with you too.
Patricia: What? I don’t need backup.
Otto: Like hell you don’t. Last time you went off on your own a hyper-neuro bomb went off.
Bates: Maggie, go with her.
Maggie: Sure thing, boss.
Maggie: (joking her) Hey don’t worry about, we can talk about girly things together.
Otto: Anyway, speaking of the hyper-neuro bomb, this was found on Homer Diya’s body. (sound of Otto putting the Etuis Box on the table). It contained what seemed to be a highly advanced hyper neuro-bomb inside of it. Inside the box are a number of multi-colored pebbles. The box itself appears to be some kind of… like… nail clippers holding box or something.
Patricia: An Etuis box.
Otto: Right. It’s been hollowed out to contain the pebbles. This box is probably the biggest mystery at the moment. It obviously was very important to Homer Diya, as there was a hyper-neuro bomb in it that went off when it didn’t recognize him after it had been opened. However, the items inside of it seem more or less just a bunch of useless pebbles. So, Zippy, I’m giving this one to you.
Otto: The box had a Cyberverse lock installed on it. If we can find out who that lock was sold to or installed by, that may be a first step into finding out what the box is and who put the bomb in it. I’ll need you to look into your records on who this lock had been sold to through out the last year and see if anything can be traced back to an, uhh…
Otto: Right, Etuis box.
Bates: You can use the computers here. I don’t want you and that bucket of yours leaving my site.
Zippy: (Tubby makes a sad beep) Ok…
Otto: And last but not least, there’s BIT. To date, no-one has been able to get any particularly useful information from Homer Diya’s co-workers or office. I’m going to head over there though. Given what I found out at the brothel, I have a feeling there may be more going on at BIT then was originally thought.
Bates: Fine, I’m going with you.
Otto: Ha, not this time Howard.
Patricia: Like hell Otto. If I have to have a cop with me, so do you.
Otto: …Fine. Alright, we have our marching orders.
Maggie: What about his sister?
Maggie: What about Homer Diya’s sister? Don’t we need to question her more?
Otto: Hmmm. You may be right. It’s kind of late tonight though, and we’ll need to come up with the questions we want to ask her first. Bates and I will go speak with her at the library she works at tomorrow morning on our way to BIT. So, Bates, think tonight on what you want to ask her and I’ll do the same. Ok folks, get some sleep and we’ll reconvene here tomorrow.
(sound of everyone getting up and heading for the door).
Otto: Here Zippy, put these back in Tubby. (sound of Otto handing Zippy the evidence).
Zippy: Ok (Sound of Zippy taking evidence and her and Tubby heading for the door)
Bates: By the way Otto, you three are sleeping here tonight. I’m not letting any of you out of my site. I’ll see you here in the front lobby first thing in the morning.
Otto: Right… Fine… (sounds of Bates and of people leaving the room fade out in the distance).
Patricia: (Sound of her walking up to Otto) (Whispering) What do you mean you’re going to take Bates to go talk to Barbara?! She wanted us involved separately from the police. Remember, they can’t find out her brother was on drugs.
Otto: (Whispering) I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t think of any reason why we wouldn’t go talk to her. I’ll have to figure something out on the way… We’re also risking something by having Vicki look into the autopsy. What if they did find drugs in his blood during the autopsy and then hid it… he could expose it and blow everything … (sighs) ey, ye ye…. Ah well. I guess there’s nothing we can do about it now other than just hope he doesn’t find anything…
Patricia: (Whispering) Yeah… we’re going to have to be looking into this drug thing in secret I guess.
Otto: (Whispering) …Yeah, looks like it. I’ll see if I can find any evidence on what this ‘new drug’ was at his office at BIT. See if you can get away from Maggie while you’re at the Brothel offices and try to find any information about him acting high when he entered the brothel too.
Patricia: (whispering)… ok.
Vicki: (from doorway) Hey, they got the cots set up for you guys.
Patricia: Ok, we’ll be right there. (To Otto) Come on.
Otto: (Sighs) Alright, off we go.
(sounds of them walking out of the room. Fades off).