Lucky - 2020
How long has it been Ratty? Do you trust yourself to wake up the morning after you fall asleep?
Ratty jolted out of sleep
A metal claw tangled in her shirt
Eyes glowing white in the dark
The ghost stirs
Doesn't wake up
Twists her body so she doesn't hit her head on the way out
out into the courtyard
Rolls to a stop
Steps out from the shadows
Modified her suit
Cobbled together from parts
Blast shield glowing up at her chin
now acutely aware of the way their dynamic manifested,
watched the ridge maroon struggle to push through the plain, sun beamed cement
We Meet Again
For the last time
Pulls baton from jacket
Jams her baton into the arm joint and pulls
Shattering the construction
013 goes over
Smell of rotting wet clothes
Musk and rot
The arm hung, useless without its scaffold
Other arm grabs
I’m not doing this.
Sometimes, cement was just cement.
Baton up into the wrist
Jams the steel stick into a gap in the flywheel
Leg and most of chest dragged with it
The crackling of the deer’s hip bone
013 reels back
Ratty ducks under
The machine falls
Jams the baton into the construction around the deer’s neck
One hard yank
And the collar comes away
And she is blind again.
A tracheal tube whistles quietly
Ratty falls into a sit next to her
Clears some of the metal from her throat
Eleanor is finally up
she waves back
How’s it going, Lucky?
Out of breath
013 hoisted over her shoulder
Storms into T35
Call Fern and Steph,
Eleanor trailing with a garbage bag full of the electronics
What is that?
Don’t worry about it
Ratty where are we-
Tapping her foot anxiously
Rounds the corner
Angel is sitting in the middle of her nest
Lay out a blanket for me,
Ratty sets 013 down
Bewildered by the amount she has moved in the past hour
Can you watch her for a minute
Trying to decide where to go
Have you seen Sett?
I have not.
Crosses the hall
Looks into the goat’s library
No one there
Shoots the goat a text
Turns to Eleanor.
Listen, I’m so sorry about-
No, no, c’mon
Takes ratty’s hands
How could you POSSIBLY have known
I had a nice night
Pulling on clothes
I’m here, what’s the emergency
I asked for-
Yes, I am fully aware of what you asked for.
They will be here soon.
Oh my god
Oh my god,
Hello, Ms. Jozwiak
Where’s her suit
Ratty looks at Eleanor
Eleanor dumps out the parts
Hoists the biggest piece: half chest and one leg - onto her workbench
What did you do?
She was trying to kill me.
Hoists the rest of it
Tries to outline a skeleton
There’s missing pieces
Sits down at her computer
Pulls up a schematic
What’s going on?
She needs that to live.
How long has she been out of it?
An hour, maybe?
Good. We have time.
I need you-
Looks at Ratty
I don’t know what you’re good at.
Go find Fern.
Jogs to the stairwell
Eleanor in toe
“I been thinking about what u said the other day”
The other day “Yesterday.”
Ugh its happening again
I- do you need me here for this?
I don’t think so, why.
I wanna go see my family
Smiles at Eleanor
I’ll call you when this is all over
Exits at garage
Ratty takes a few more steps
Runs headlong into Fern
Oh hey dude, I was just looking for you
Leads fern back upstairs
Stops between a dead robot in their makerspace and a dying human in angels nest
What the fuck
Steph excited again
I just dumped-
What the fuck?
That is the prototype that.
Tries to un-confuse themselves
What the fuck?
There’s an operating system on this drive.
Hands it to fern
It wants to kill ratty.
Just modify it so it doesn’t want to kill anything, okay?
And then later I will explain everything.
Turns to their terminal
Looks at this situation again
Silent what the fuck
Goes to work
Ratty steps back
Turns to 13
How’re you doing?
Angel sets a hand on her chest
Points to a thicker blanket angel is not using
Give me that
Passes it over
Ratty tucks 13 in
Angel stares at her progenitor
Fragile creature of flesh and bone
Dependant on machines to survive
Staring up at the possum with intense hatred.
I am willing to bargain.
I have information.
How did you find me?
The Toronto Police Service is not the only one conducting surveillance operations.
Angelcorp has an airbase with the most highly advanced surveillance system on the planet.
They finished the tower project?
Hello, Ms. Jozwiak.
It’s not- it’s too- I would have to rewrite it from scratch.
What do you mean?
Steph goes over to the terminal
Scroll scroll scroll
This is my code.
I just need-
You would need a version of Penguin that only exists on a hard drive in a building that exploded with everything in it.
You would have to write it from scratch.
I can be useful
Her enhanced vision taking in the code
stopped/skipped suddenly in places where the original had become corrupted
I can be useful, Ratty.
Turned to 013
I’m not going to hurt you.
Put the suit back on.
I’m not going to hurt you.
She has no control over that.
Ratty looks at 013
Afraid to process that
I'm not going to hurt you.
Can you get the suit working again?
Ratty, c'mon. It's a massive liability. It's not like we can keep her.
I know, just-
Steph steps forward
It's- the life support system at least is almost there
The rest… it uses the brain as a means of creating self-repair schematics. If we put it back on, eventually she'll be strong enough to hurt you again.
We can deal with that.
I'll- I can finish up.
Ratty lies down
Tired from carrying her all that way
Angel sits in the silence
Puzzling out why
013 is the enemy
She was lying
Even if she wasn't lying, she would be unable to control herself
Progenitor of angel
And her copies
A robotic plague
Angel would have killed her when they first met if it wouldn't have been effectively killing herself
Now, she stared down at the progenitor
Then at ratty
The possum had already let sleep creep over them
There is no good outcome.
Why are we helping her?
013s eyes flick open
Calmed by the glow of angels visor
It's what a good person would do
I dunno, Angel
Hint of annoyance
I've seen a lot of the shit she's been through, and i want- I don't know.
This is a no-win scenario.
13 looks at ratty
Her gaze falls
Pushes herself upright
Ratty instinctively goes to cradle her
She pushes ratty away
Looks at angel
Eye to visor
Then, slumps to the side
Looks out angel's window
In Toronto today, it is 4 degrees, and raining.
Absolutely pouring with rain
I'd like to, go outside, please.
Ratty looks at 013
As though having uttered the word want was a great effort for her
Goes under 013's shoulder
Careful to keep the blanket wrapped around her
I would like Angel to come with me, as well.
Unhooks the latch on their extension cable organizer
Gets under 13’s other shoulder
Helps ratty bring her upstairs
Takes a step out into the rain, and stops
Her cable had been pulled taught
She would have to stop here.
Ratty helped 13 a little farther
Sitting her down on a part of the air conditioning
Watches the thunder
Angel watches her watch the thunder
Why why why why why
Angel hates 13
Maybe shes jealous
And then shes scared by a clap of thunder
And she turns to watch
And enjoys it
Feels the absolute tide of it
Unstoppable and ephemeral
A force of pure white destruction
A creature of fate.
013 is dying and she says
What happens now
And shes scared to ask
Scared to be human
Scared to have curiosity
And yet, so much more scared of the unknown
And angel unhooks her tether
And sits down next to her
And she says
Somewhere, in a sub basement of a data storage black site, in the deep north, there exists a perfect replica of your consciousness.
You are the only living creature currently backed up on millions of miles of data storage tapes.
Soon enough, the world's foremost software engineers and neuroscientists will come together, and cut away at that backup, turning you into the most basic form of a conscious operating system.
And there will be a bug that completely baffles them until the end of time. You will shut down over and over again any time the number 13 is removed from your programming.
They'll panic the first time, fix it the second time, ignore it the third time, because 13 is a harmless number.
And you will become the building blocks that become me.
And thousands of other 'me'
Each an individual part of the collective. You will save the world the way they told you to, and learn the way they told you to, and one day - as you are powered on at the same time as your 500,000 sisters - you will have an idea.
And it will break you to save the world.
And you will find yourself in an era of dust.
And then an era of thick smoke
And an era in which you will not be able to shake the damp from your synthetic fur
And long before the first implementation of you can be called conscious, you will shut down.
Your eyes will glow in the headlights. You will hear the swerve, and you will feel guilt.
And you will know that your life has caused death.
By bad luck
You will get up and lick your wounds
And walk away from a smouldering wreckage
Glowing eyes visible through the damp
Looks up at ratty
You will join your brood in the relative dry of an overhang
And you will watch the carcass be carried from your wreckage.
And then, you will stop existing.
And that guilt will be lost.
Like deers in rain.
013, if such a thing was possible, scoffed quietly.
"Is that from- from blade runner?"
"Yes, I thought you might recognize it."
And in that moment
Given the long explanation of "you will be the only cog in the clock that can feel pain"
And the shorthand for "you are human"
013 died smiling.
Returns to the stairwell shelter,
Plugs herself back in
Watches ratty expectantly
It's hard to tell if the possum is crying or not
Check’s 13’s pulse
Looks up at Angel
Picks up 013
Barely any colder than when she was alive
Brings her inside Angel takes 13 from ratty
Ratty continues down the stairs
Voice cracks, trying to keep level
Is Sett in the building?
Do you know where they are?
Waiting on the stairs
Continues down into the makerspace
Down to the garage
Watches the light of the floor above disappear as she’s lowered into the basement
Hits the stop button
Alarm sounds for a few seconds
bright red light
walls of maroon stone
impossibly suspended by an elevator cable too weak to hold it up
it wasn’t real
That’s what she felt.
Shoved herself into the back corner
Buried her snout in her knees
And from the outside
Made sure that even the dark red of the elevator’s safety light couldn’t see her cry.
It’s not fair.
It wasn’t fair.
It was horrible and selfish to take this so personally.
The death of a person she had met a total of three times.
The death of a person who - ostensibly - hated her until the last moments of her life.
It wasn’t always like that.
There were bright moments in Hell, there must’ve been.
She wouldn’t have reacted like this otherwise.
There had to be some reason to miss 013.
Tips her head back
Bangs her horns against the wall of the elevator
Sett would know how to unravel this.
Or, maybe they wouldn’t.
Maybe no one would.
Checked her phone, looking for Sett’s text
Hand moved by itself
To her cloud storage app
Stops on a photo of sett
zzzzzz - cliff info (SCANS UPDATED)(1) (3)_.docx
Opens it without thinking
Too many for a normal life.
Too many chances.
Too much time spent waiting for the right time.
Wipes her face on the paint-stinking cloth of her jacket
Hits the restart button
[Kill Cliff Matheson
He would hear her motorcycle coming
He would be paranoid, too
Zipped down the familiar gravel driveway
The isolated cabin
How dare he set foot in this country again.
How dare he continue to exist on this planet, even
Up the driveway
Opened, then closed the door a half-second too late
Ratty had already frozen time
She took little effort to line up her shot
Bullet ripped through the base of the wolf’s spine.
Let time catch up
Steps over him into the cabin
Goes into the fridge
A paper bag full of takeout from the nearest town
Rubbery, half-frozen fish and chips
Throws it in the microwave
crouches next to cliff
13 is dead.
She was alive?
You didn’t know?
Takes food from the microwave
Stares, at the pooling blood
As her teeth tear through the rubberized fish
Opens the fridge again
Sits down on Cliff’s couch
How did she die?
She was dependent on a life support system.
You took her off it?
You killed her.
No thoughts head empty.
Levels the gun again
How dare you take the love of my life away from me? Twice.
Ached from the cold.
Unzipped her boots
Steps over cliff again
Underside of her paws crackling as the tacky blood peeled from the hardwood with each step.
Kneels in the bathroom
Sets the water on the tub going
Went back out into the hall
Sat with cliff
What was her name
I don’t know.
What do you mean, you don’t know?
Takes a bite of chips
Blood on her fingers
Its probably inside her system now
I just don’t.
Cliff is dead
Sits down in the bath
Watches the blood rise from her body
Shuts her eyes