Monthly Archives: December 2013

Lacuna: Document 22

This is a description of the video-feed from a camera in the mouth of Subject Delta’s stuffed toy dragon, “Liz”. It was placed there by a plant in the school she attends, and though the video is fairly limited and choppy, when studied, it is enough to get a sense of the room and those in it. “Dawn” (Subject Delta), Megan Penn, the “Cat Lady”, and Eva Marie are in a small room, which appears to be Ms. Marie’s garage. There is one window, but it is shuttered. The light comes from the circle of flickering candles in which the four women are seated. The toy dragon is just outside the circle, behind and between Subject Delta and her mother. The walls are covered with racks and shelves of tools and papers and various mechanical and electrical and computer components, but the floor is empty except for two low tables, one made of wood, one made of metal. On the table made of wood there is a clear sphere about the size of a bowling ball, floating about three inches above its surface. On the table made of metal, there is a glossy black sphere, about the size of a small car, which rests on the surface of the table, though it seems like it ought to roll off. Megan Pen is mumbling words in a register too soft for the microphone to pick up, though it does catch a few disconnected words. Subject Delta is humming and sometimes singing a tune which we have not been able to match to any known song. The “Cat Lady” is silent, as she always seems to be. Eva Marie goes to the clear sphere and sets her hands on it. Both it and its “big brother” immediately react. The clear sphere fills with a colorful cloud, possibly carrying information of some sort, but it is occulted by her body. The black sphere hums and vibrates, at first with a constant, low buzz, then in rapidly changing registers, producing musical notes & scales. Then, it speaks in a synthesized voice.

SphereGood evening.

Eva: Hello, IO. These are my friends, Megan, Dawn, and… well, let’s just call her Cat… like Catherine, or Catalina. Anyway, please grant them root access to all systems and subroutines, and activate vocal command protocol for said systems.

Sphere: Password and retinal identification required to grant root access.

[Eva whispers something into the clear sphere as she looks deep inside it. It flashes, and the dark sphere beeps.]

Root access granted.

[Eva turns to the other three and nods. She picks up the clear sphere and brings it over to them, setting it down in the center of the circle. Then she joins them, they all face each other, and there is a moment of silence. Then Megan Penn begins chanting, sometimes in English, sometimes in other languages, and sometimes in rhythmic, speech-like, but seemingly meaningless sounds. At first she chants at a very low volume, almost a whisper, but steadily rising. Subject Delta also starts to sing nonsense syllables, also rising in volume. The “Cat Lady” remains silent, but her silence somehow seems more profound. Then, Eva Marie begins to speak in a strange language. It is unknown to us, but linguistic analysis has demonstrated resemblances to a wide variety of languages. It shares certain aspects of various computer languages, as well as ancient Sanskrit and Sumerian, Enochian or the “Angelic Language”, several reconstructed Exoplanetary and Extradimensional languages, and the fictional language called The Wyrd, described in the fantasy novel “Witch of the Wyrd”. We have only been able to translate it roughly, but we assume it is the coding language she has developed through creating this machine. Her speech seems to be a meta-description of the nature of consciousness and language. Eva Marie is working directly with the raw code of the Sphere, while Megan Penn and Dawn seem to be engaging its interface, and the “Cat Lady”, of course, says nothing, though she closes her eyes. The sounds emanating from the dark sphere become louder and louder, a strange symphony of something halfway between speech and music which slowly falls into the rhythm of the three women’s voices. The clear sphere begins flashing complex patterns of bright colors that pulse in time to the beat. Then, the sound comes to a crescendo and the clear sphere starts to shine with blindingly bright white light. The other three flinch and cover their faces, and the “Cat Lady” smiles, her eyes still closed, though she opens them when the light and sound die away. There is a long, deep silence, and then the dark sphere begins emitting sound. At first the sounds seem random, then they becomes musical, then morph into the language Eva Marie spoke earlier, and finally a much more natural-sounding though androgynous voice speaking English. It speaks complete gibberish for a while, lapsing into the computer-language occasionally, between spewing forth an absurd word-salad.]

Eva: Don’t worry. It’s just collating its linguistic matrices…

[The babbling continues]

I… I think.

[Silence]

IO?

Sphere: I… I… I am?

Eva: … Oh my God. I think it worked… Hi, IO… I… You are a synthetic-organic intelligence housed within these spheres. I… we… made you.

Sphere: …Who?

Eva: I created your form, and the four of us together gave you life.

Sphere: What?

Penn: Life! It’s what we are all experiencing right now.

Sphere: When?

Eva: Just now, a moment ago. Though your form was created over a period of many months.

Sphere: Where?

Eva: Here, in this room, with the tools around us. Though parts came from beyond these walls.

Sphere: Why?

Eva: I… I don’t know. Curiosity, mostly, I suppose… and, well… a little loneliness.

Sphere: How?

Eva: I… [laughs] well, I don’t really know that either. I know part of it, but…

Delta: Are you a ghost?

Penn: Dawn!

Sphere: What?

Eva: She… asked if you were a ghost… the… hypothesized insubstantial remains of a being which has died. You are not a ghost, since your body, your substance, is this set of spheres.

Sphere: Unknown.

Eva: Yes, I suppose it would be.

Sphere: Why… am I?

Eva: Because… because I built you, and because we gave you life.

Sphere: Why?

Eva: [Sighing] We… don’t really know… we don’t know why we exist either, much less why we do the things we do.

Penn: We are here because that is the will of the Wyrd.

Delta: It is weird! [laughs] You’re weird, Mr. Robot.

Penn: Dawn!

Delta: Nonono, it’s not bad! Weird’s good!

Sphere: Weird?

Penn: It means something strange, odd, unique or supernatural. It also means fate, and one’s destiny, which was more or less the way I was using the word. But Dawn was right, in her way, and she brought up a very pertinent point. You do not yet have a name, “Mr. Robot”.

Sphere: Name?

Penn: It is a particular word given to each individual person at birth, so that we may distinguish ourselves from one another.

Sphere:  Selves?

Eva: IO’s still like a newborn, it hasn’t developed a personality structure yet. Umm… think of them as like processing nodes embedded in the larger network. Individual computers which exist within the Internet are analogous to the concept.

Sphere: (Is silent for a long time) Fate? Destiny?

Eva: I… that’s a more… um… Meg, maybe you’d better field this one…


Lacuna: Document 21

This is an untitled and unfinished screenplay written by a citizen of Lacuna named Everett Pewter. He was found in a warehouse on the edge of town, having been murdered most gruesomely (he was only identified through his dental records). It seems the fictional veil covering this piece was not enough to stay the wrath of its real subjects, though the film never even entered production.

Open on a close-up of a man’s face. He squints, grimaces, grunts, and we hear the sound of his shit being expelled as his eyes suddenly widen, looking terrified. He seems to almost scream, but the cry dies in his throat as his eyes roll back into his head, which shivers, then falls, flopping loosely to his chest. In the next moment, it is back up. His eyes are closed, but they are clear when they open a moment later, seeming to shine with a cold, hard light. He smiles very slightly, very icily. He wipes himself, slowly and precisely, folding the paper into neat little triangles. Then he stands up, and pulls up his pants. He leaves the stall and walks over to the nearest sink, and begins washing his hands, all with the same precision of motion. He does not appear in the mirror, and does not seem to be bothered by this. In fact, he does not so much as attempt to look at his reflection. As he passed the other stall, there were small noises coming from it, and as he reaches for the soap, there is the sound of an obscenely, disgustingly large shit. The man is completely still for a moment, then finishes washing his hands and dries then with an electric air-dryer, now looking at the offending stall through the mirror. There is another blast, slightly smaller, like an aftershock, and slightly covered by the noise of the dryer. The man turns, walks briskly to the door of the occupied stall, and rips it open with one hand. We catch a brief glimpse of a terrified looking man with his pants around his ankles before the door closes again and the camera pulls away. We pull away from the stall and fade to black as we hear him screaming louder, and still louder, and a pool of blood begins to flow out from beneath the stall’s raised walls and drip down the drain in the floor.

Cut to another tight close-up, this time of a woman’s face. Her eyes are closed.

“Are you alright honey?”

The eyes open, staring straight ahead, right through the camera. They seem confused, and then they regain focus. It is the same clear, cold gaze the man had in the previous scene.

“I… I’m fine.”

The camera pulls back to reveal the woman sitting at a table in a kitchen across from a man, presumably her husband, flanked by two children, a boy and a girl. The table is set with a delicious dinner which looks home-cooked, and everyone is about halfway through their plates. The woman suddenly stands up, the eyes of her husband and children widening in shock as she speaks haltingly, in a strangely hard tone of voice:

“I… have to… go…now.”

She turns and leaves the room, the others staring open-mouthed at the kitchen door slowly swinging back and forth behind her. Cut to her walking out the front door of the house, closing it behind her, and walking across the lawn towards the camera, which is just behind her car. The night sky is dark and cloudless, with a full moon and a few stars shining that light up the grass, which is white with frost. It is utterly silent save for a breeze that makes a subtle susurrus as the grass shivers slightly, the crunching footsteps of the woman, who is also shivering as she walks over the grass towards the car. Then it flashes and beeps as she unlocks it remotely and gets inside. Cut to inside the car, camera in the passenger seat, trained on her face and the little clouds of her breath.

Roll credits as she starts the car and begins to drive. Cut between names and short shots of her driving through the city. There are no obvious landmarks to distinguish the city itself, but she moves from a suburban area to the city center. Once she reaches downtown, she pulls into an alleyway and stops next to another car. She gets out, and goes over to a nearby dumpster, feeling around just inside the lip. She pulls out a key which had been stuck there with black duct tape. She removes the tape, throws it back into the dumpster, and uses the key to unlock the second car, which she drives out of the alley and back into the streets. As the credits keep rolling, she drives out of the city, off the highway, and down a long, lonely country road, a strip of dark and dirty grey in a huge field of purest white. The road ends at a small lake, partially covered with ice. She stops the car, pops open the trunk, and gets out. She pulls a black body-bag from the trunk and hauls it out with surprising ease. She lifts it up and carries it over her shoulders fireman-style, walking out onto the lake. When she nears the edge of the ice she sets the bag down and then pushes it forward. It slides over the ice and into the water, where it sinks down into the black depths. End credits.