Episode 20 Transcript: "Stripes"|
Episode opens at the desert outside Paradigm, very possibly the same desert we had seen Schwartzwald wandering through when he encountered the Leviathan from Act 17. There is a powerful windstorm blowing sand everywhere, slightly obscuring the view. As the camera pans across the arid landscape, we hear a woman distantly humming a melody that sounds vaguely French. We see half-buried buildings, a ruined clocktower, and finally fresh tire tracks in the sand (the humming stops, replaced by the swell of background music.) The camera follows the tracks, and finally we distantly see the vehicle stopping between two huge sand dunes. The door opens and someone gets out. It's too far for us to see who it might be.
Cut to a series of images from Roger's flashbacks (as seen in earlier episodes): burning books, airbourne squadrons of flying megadeuses, a city under attack by megadeuses. We hear Roger gasping as his mind is flooded by these memories. There is a closeup of someone's staring eye (presumably Roger's) then more scenes of megadeuses destroying a city. Again we see a closeup of 3 Bigs marching (one looks like Big O), the memory children, an eye with barcodes, Gordon holding up a tomato with Roger's reflection on it, the barcoded eye again, and the mystery kids.
Cut to Roger's bedroom. Roger is in his pajamas, sitting on the edge of his bed, head in one hand and breathing raggedly. He looks awful, hair totally disheveled, all rumpled up in general. There is a closeup of the book "Metropolis" on the nightstand by his bed. He is also unaware that Dorothy is in the room, silently watching him, her face expressionless.
Cut to Roger narrating as he drives over a suspension bridge. We see the city and its domes in the background. He says: "This is Paradigm City, the city that lost its memory 40 years ago. Whatever those memories may have been, I doubt that we lost them willingly. But there's one person for whom that might not be the case."
Roger drives out to Ilesberry, where Gordon Rosewater lives on his tomato farm. As Roger walks through the golden fields, he passes Alex Rosewater and Alan Gabriel, who are leaving. Alex has a sprig of delicate blue flowers in his suit's handerchief pocket. They walk past each other silently. Alex doesn't acknowledge Roger at all; Roger glances sideways as he passes, but remains quiet. Alan breaks into hysterical laughter and waves his hat high above his head after he and Alex pass. There is a brief shot of a scarecrow in the field.
Gordon is on the farmhouse porch, a glass of lemonade on the table beside him. He is wearing denim overalls, a red shirt, and a broad-brimmed straw hat. A sprig of the same type of flower is tucked in the bib of his overalls. He glances up as Roger nears him, and greets him, "Oh, it's you."
Roger simply looks at him, an unhappy expression on his face, and says nothing.
Gordon continues talking: "You do realize the next tomato crop is a little ways off." He removes his hat.
Roger finally speaks: "Well, that's not a problem. I didn't come here for the tomatoes."
Gordon glances down then back up at Smith and replies, "Is that so? Tell me, do you think it's boring to wait all this time for the harvest?"
Roger politely answers, "No, I don't, not if it's the most important thing to you."
Gordon: "Yes, that's exactly right."
Roger decides to press forward: "But at one time, there was something else that was the most important thing in the world to you, wasn't there?"
There is a closeup of Gordon's face. His eyes are closed, and there is a small smile on his face as he responds, "Something else? The world of memories, you mean?"
Roger: "That's right! Are you trying to tell me you haven't lost yours?" Roger frowns slightly, his face both stern and tired. He continues: "YOU might be--!"
Gordon startles Roger by placing his finger to his mouth and saying "Shhh!" The old man pauses for a moment, then asks, "Why are you so obsessed with something that's intangible? If something doesn't exist here and now, it would be the same as if it never existed in the first place, wouldn't you say?"
Roger sits down on the wooden porch steps. He wraps his arms around his knees, almost as if resigned. His voice is full of unhappiness as he speaks: "Now I see your thinking is what's kept you happy...However, I just can't..." (Cut to Gordon smiling and nodding gently as he watches Roger, then flashes of 3 megadeuses, melting clock hands, memory kids, all from Roger's nightmare.) Roger's voice is heard over the images, his tone now desperate: "...No, it's not just me. The foundations of who we believe ourselves to be are being shaken because of these pieces of memories that show up in fragments...and so, I wanna know--I wanna know about my memories."
Gordon pulls the sprig of blue flowers from his overalls and holds them up, twirling them gently. Roger is attracted by the movement and turns towards the old man. "What's that?" the negotiator asks.
Gordon continues to play with the blossoms as he answers, "It's a beautiful flower, don't you think? I'm told they call it a bluebell." He brings it closer to his face, as if enjoying the scent.
Roger looks away, stares at the ground before him. He seems utterly miserable. "Please stop evading the question," he murmurs quietly. "I know you know. I need you to tell me why I'm able to pilot Big O."
Gordon: "The megadeus chose you. It's as simple as that."
Roger looks up at the old man, then jumps up from the stairs and turns to face Gordon. "What do you mean?! I KNEW it! You still--."
Gordon interrupts him by standing up. He sternly asks Smith, "Have you even forgotten your contract with ME, Mr. Negotiator?"
Roger stares at him, quite taken aback. He is suddenly surrounded by flames, then a series of images flash by on the screen: Gordon in his stained lab coat, the stripes of a barcode, more memory kids (one in the back of the group is in silhouette, his face blacked out), the barcode again, closeup of the one silhouetted kid, Roger's eye wide with the reflected barcode, then just the barcode again.
Cut to Speakeasy Tavern. Roger (with a bottle of beer) is seated at his usual table in the back, looking very unhappy. He is thinking to himself: "So, there's this contract that I agreed to, that I have no memory of. What in the world could it be?" He leans his head back against the wall and closes his eyes.
Big Ear is nowhere to be seen. Angel shows up instead, dressed in a short sexy black dress and a red ribbon or choker around her neck. She looks down at Roger and says, "A bluebell." Roger now opens his eyes, surprised. "Huh?" he mutters, in a dazed tone.
Angel smiles kindly at him.She takes Big Ear's usual spot, her back to Roger. Her dress is low-cut in back, so when Roger glances at her, he can clearly see her scars. He makes no comment about them. Instead, he removes the sprig of flowers from his jacket lapel and offers them to her. "You know this flower?" he asks, now curious.
"It doesn't grow in this city," she replies as she admires it. Roger watches her take an appreciative sniff. "Ah, yes," she sighs. "It's a flower I'm very familiar with." Roger continues to watch her quietly as she orders a drink.
After the bartender gives her her order, Roger says to her, "Alex is back in town."
Angel, her back still towards Smith: "I see. I didn't expect him to meet them in person."
Roger looks at her thoughtfully as she speaks, studying the scars on her back. She continues speaking: "This unhealthy city...it must seem like Paradise to HIM when you compare it to THAT place."
Roger, in a slightly flirtatious tone: "And yet, where YOU were born, lovely flowers still have a way of blooming."
Angel turns towards him at that point, and raise her glass to him in appreciation. "To you, kind sir," she says and smiles.
Roger salutes her with his beer bottle in return. He then says, "Making contact with foreign powers...What on earth is Alex trying to do?"
Angel replies, "He's the king. He's the king of this city, which may have the world's only memories buried beneath it. But, he's a king who doesn't know what those memories are made of. He'll stop at nothing to find out."
Roger: "And so, he's making deals abroad. Is he trying to betray his father?"
Angel: "A old man who's happy surrounded by tomatoes is not concerned with memories of the past."
Scene changes to exterior view of the domes. It is now evening. We see Dorothy standing high atop the ledge on the terrace of Roger's home. Something has grabbed her attention, and she is staring intently out towards the glowing city domes.
Scene cuts to the Griffon being driven along a seaside highway. We see the shadowy remains of the rest of the old city half-submerged in the water. We next see an exterior view of a diner. The camera brings us inside, and we see Roger and Angel are seated at a window-side booth. Roger is eating; Angel has food in front of her, but is talking instead: "Alex can do things his way because Gordon has totally lost his memory, but I doubt the situation is all that easy for him." She stares absently out the window at the ruined buildings in the water. She continues, "Alex was also born in this age of no memories. I still can't understand why he desires the power of the megadeuses so badly, and frankly, I don't care to." She turns back to Roger, who is still concentrating mostly on his meal. Angel says, "But still..."
Roger interrupts her, commenting, "No offense to Norman, but it's nice to have food like this every once in a while." He takes another bite, then realizes Angel is watching him quite intently. "Hm?" he asks. "What's the matter? Your food's getting cold." He continues eating.
Angel chuckles. "And what about YOU?"
Roger, puzzled: "What about me?"
Angel (still watching him intently): "Well, what if in actuality it is your fate to be the domineus of megadeus?"
Roger takes another bite of his meal, then thoughtfully chews and talks at the same time: "Well, I'm no fatalist. I will admit that I did meet Big O through some sort of memories that I don't possess now. But honestly, that's the extent of it."
Angel listens to him raptly.
He continues talking, gesturing with the knife to make his point, "Ever since we met each other, I'm still the one deciding for myself to what ends I live my life with Big O, even if--." Roger stops abruptly, staring at the gleaming surface of the knife blade. Suddenly he is overcome by another series of flashbacks: memory kids, the faceless kid, the barcode. The camera returns to the knife blade in his hand; he is still staring wide-eyed at it, muttering aloud in a horrified tone: "Even if...even if I WAS one of those tomatoes!"
Angel gently reaches out and moves his hand, breaking his trance. Roger looks up at her. She is still watching him intently, a small sweet smile on her face. She releases his hand.
Scene cuts back to Dorothy, still standing on the rooftop, still staring intently towards the glowing domes of the city. Norman has joined her out there, to inquire about what she is doing.
Norman: "Dorothy? Tell me, do you intend to wait there for Master Roger all night?"
Dorothy: "I'm listening to a song."
Norman (puzzled): "A song? What song?"As the camera pans across the scene, showing the nighttime panorama of the city and Dorothy, we can hear a woman humming. It is the same voice and same melody we heard at the episode's opening.
Scene cuts to the city streets. Someone in a pale grey pantsuit is strolling down the busy road, walking heedlessly through the middle of traffic. It is an older woman (maybe 40ish?.) She has shoulder length blonde hair, that frames her face with long curls like the hair of the child actress Shirley Temple. She is the one who has been humming. The streets are crowded with people, and soon her voice is joined by the sounds of many others now actually singing the words to the song. We see individuals leaving their homes and their jobs to join her, following her down the dark back streets.
Brief cut to somewhere dark, where we see the remains of the foreign Bigs are stored. The eyes of two of them light up.
Cut to Dastun at his desk, wearing reading glasses as he does his paperwork. He is typing up a report. We can see part of the file he is going over; a photo of the 3 foreign Bigs moving through the sea is paperclipped to the papers. He thinks to himself: "Three foreign megadeuses--the home office recovered them, so what do they want them for?"
His phone rings, and as he answers it the scene cuts to a long view of the city. A neighborhood is full of great billows of smoke. We hear Dastun shout: "What? A megadeus?!"
Scene cuts to smoky view of ruined street. We can vaguely see 2 megadeus heads rising out of the ground.
Cut back to seaside diner. The Griffon is still parked there. The camera pans across the road to the dark beach, where Roger and Angel are standing and talking.
Angel: "You said, that we were two of a kind, didn't you?"
Roger: "That's right. I did. We had both decided we would choose our own destiny."
Angel: "Are we fighting on the same side?"
We see Roger's gloveless left hand, the fingers clenched. He replies, "Theoretically, each of us has to fight alone, but I think from time to time..." We see Angel's hand reach out and take his. They look at each other. She smiles almost shyly and asks, "Do you think our relationship is going to change?"
Roger looks at her searchingly, then his expression softens. His fingers close around her hand. The camera pulls back, and we see him hold her hand and turn her so that they are facing each other. He smiles and says, "It already has."
They move closer to each other, and Angel leans forward, pressing her face against his shoulder. He embraces her; they look up at each other as if they are about to kiss, but Roger hesitates.
Angel: "Why are you holding back?"
Roger looks stricken; a strange expression crosses his face. He replies, "I'm not holding back, Angel."
Angel is confused. "Then why are you--?" She starts to laugh as if suddenly understanding something, and lets go of his hand. "This is hilarious, Roger Smith." She pushes away from him and runs a few feet from him, then stops and looks away from him. "You aren't, you CAN'T be--Don't tell me you and that perpetually foul-tempered android..."
"ENOUGH!" Roger yells. He goes over to her, upset by her words. "Stop these preposterous insinuations!"
He is startled by her reaction. She won't look at him, a pained smile on her face as she replies, "It's preposterous? Alright!"
Camera pulls way back and pans across the dark beach as they stand silently by the water. Then we hear the sound of people singing the song from earlier. Angel hears it too; her eyes widen and she gasps. Camera continues panning across, so that we can see the city, the domes glowing pink against the night sky.
Cut to older blonde woman still humming and walking the streets. We hear people singing.
Cut back to Roger and Angel on the beach. She is very upset. Roger, a concerned look on his face, asks softly: "What's the matter? What is it, Angel?"
She seems distraught, turns and runs from him back to the road. He reaches out towards her and calls her name, but before he can go after her, Norman calls him on his watch radio.
Norman: "Master Roger, a megadeus has appeared near Central Dome. The military police are en route to the scene. How would you like to proceed?"
Roger looks annoyed, glances up and sees Angel dashing off. He knows he's blown whatever might have happened, and his face shows it.
Scene cuts to Dorothy running down a dark street full of ruined buildings. The singing is fairly loud. She is moving as if hypnotized by the song.
Scene cuts to Central Dome. It has been closed to traffic, and a platoon of MP tanks are following Dastun's squad car into the affected section. Dastun gets a call from dispatch, telling him there's a megadeus in the area. Irritated, he replies that he knows, but when he and his men arrive at the blocked off area, they are shocked to see just the lower half of a megadeus striding down the road, followed by other portions of the body levitating closely behind. The military police fire upon the various pieces, but it is useless. The parts connect in front of them, creating a pilotless megadeus with 2 heads and 4 arms (which end in giant drill bits.)
Alex Rosewater is watching all this on a video screen. He mutters in a bored voice, "What do those Union robots hope to accomplish at this point? I thought those scrap metals already fulfilled their purpose. Hmmm! So they aren't just a bunch of fools." He glances up from the screen, and calls for Alan repeatedly, but there is no answer. "Ach! When I actually need him, he's not here. I used parts from 3 megadeuses the Union brought me but, just like you, Fau still has no memories." As he talks, we can see on the viewscreen that the 2-headed robot is attacking the city; scene then cuts to a Big with flashing green eyes, its body hooked up in a repair bay somewhere.
Cut to Roger, now driving into the city and calling for Big O. The black megadeus pushes up through the street, and we see its left foot open up like a garage door. Roger backs the Griffon in, and a tube snakes down and brings him up to the cockpit. He takes hold of the controls.
Cut back to 2-headed Big. It is now attacking the outer walls of the city. Big O goes after it, knocking it through the wall into the street on the other side. Big O strides through the hole to go after it.
As Roger pilots, he comments to the other giant robot: "Even as a zombie, you still want to destroy Alex's palace? I don't know what you're up to, but when someone uses great power for destruction, I won't stand by and WATCH!" The two Bigs begin to wrestle in the empty street.
Cut back to Dorothy, gracefully moving (almost seems to be dancing) through the ruined abandoned back streets of the city, still drawn to the singing. Her headband lamp is on, so that she seems to have a halo around her face. She has arrived at the remains of Grand Central Station. The little android looks up the facade to the golden statue of Hermes still standing on the rooftop. A red balloon has been tied to the statue's hand.
Cut to the interior of the station. A lone woman is moving through the wreckage. It's NOT Dorothy; she's wearing short red boots and is bare-legged. The singing is very loud now and getting louder. We now see the older blonde woman. She has 18 people from all walks of life standing in a double semi-circle in front of her. They are all singing. At least one of the singers is a member of the military police; he is still in uniform.
We finally see who the red-booted woman is. It's Angel. She goes up to the singers, saying sarcastically, "What exactly do you think you're doing? Are you having a little ceremony because you miss our homeland?" The singing stops abruptly.
"It is no secret WHY we gather here, Agent 340," says the older woman sternly. Her voice is accented, could be French.
Angel gasps when she hears her.
The older woman turns and continues talking: "As I expected, you are the last one to arrive." We get our first good look at her. She is wearing a mannish pale grey suit and tie, a white bouse buttoned all the way up. She might have been beautiful once, but is now handsome in a sternly grim manner. She also bears a slight resemblance to Roger: same angular nose and chin, similarly-shaped weird eyebrows (though not quite as extreme as his.)
Angel is frightened, and whispers the woman's name: "Vera."
Vera (her arms crossed) approaches her. The younger woman now loks terrified. As Vera gets closer, Angel backs a step away from her and stammers, "Uh, I mean, Agent 12...You came to Paradigm City yourself! But why?"
Vera smiles meanly and answers in a stern voice, "You should like to know why. But of course, I have come to take charge of your worthless warriors, who have yet to show results." Angel looks dismayed by this remark. Vera continues, "As one who has sworn loyalty to the Union, this is my mission."
Angel's eyes narrow at her: "Then you're ALSO behind that robot!"
Closeup of Vera's light brown eye; she says proudly, "It is a warning to Rosewater's SON!"
Scene cuts to Alex as he intones: "Oh covetous Big Fau, what more could you possibly require? Do you even have a core memory to speak of?" Camera angle changes--we now see he is talking to the green-eyed megadeus in the maintance bay. "Answer me, megadeus!" he demands, his arms stretched out wide.
Cut back to ruined interior of Grand Central Station, to Angel and Vera. Vera is lecturing Angel: "Agent 340, you have not forgotten your loyalty to the Union, have you?"
Vera takes Angel's chin in her hand, surprising the younger woman. Angel's eyes widen. Vera moves closer to her, almost as if she were about to kiss her, and asks, "Why then have you cut off communications and operated independently?"
Angel replies shakily, "To find genuine memories. I had no other choice." As she speaks, we see Dorothy quietly enter the station. She is on an upper level catwalk.
Vera moves her face closer to Angel's and asks, "Have you come to enjoy your life here? Yes, you have always had a desire to live your life here, haven't you?"
Angel (in a defensive tone): "No! I was only--"
They are startled by a noise coming from above them, and both women look up towards where Dorothy is now watching them. Angel gasps when she sees her. Vera silently gestures with one hand, and a thin dark figure stands up on the same catwalk Dorothy is on. A light suddenly illuminates Dorothy (who still seems drugged somehow.) It is from the flashlight held by the military police officer. The camera moves again; we can see the thin dark person approaching Dorothy is Alan Gabriel. Smiling, he pulls his golden gun from beneath his suit jacket. Dorothy slowly backs up when she sees him.
Angel, watching all this unfold, murmurs aloud, "What is she...What is SHE doing here?"
Vera moves beside Angel and also watches. There is a grim expression on her angular face. "Who IS she?" she asks Angel. Angel turns to Vera, placing her hand on the older woman's hand and saying, "She's NOT human! She's one of--!" Her words are cut off by a gunshot from Gabriel's weapon.
Dorothy avoids that bullet, and the rest as well. She gracefully leaps onto the catwalk railing. The next bullet strikes her left forearm. She loses her balance and crashes heavily to the ground below.
Gabriel mutters, "Destroying pretty dolls is always entertaining." He slowly licks the barrel of his gun, then laughs with evil delight.
Dorothy staggers to her feet. She is slow, dazed. As she walks uncertainly amidst the rubble strewn ground, we hear Gabriel chortle, "Ooooh, but it will be so difficult to match the pleasure I will get from destroying a work of art like you." He leaps down from the catwalk behind Dorothy and stalks after her like a cat following a wounded mouse. She seems vaguely aware of his presence and pauses. He kicks her roughly in the back. She staggers forward, trying to stay on her feet, but finally collapses face-down on the ground. We see Gabriel move towards her.
Scene cuts back to Union robot vs the black megadeus. Big O punches it again, and it grabs the black megadeus' arm and flings it into a building. Big O falls to the ground in a sitting positon. The Union robot advances, and we hear Alex's voice: "You can't play god forever; you, domineus, with no idea who you are."
Roger growls, and Big O gets back on its feet and punches the Union robot, knocking it backwards. Roger then says to the other robot, "You're not all that bad for a machine that hasn't got a soul!" We see Big O move towards the Union robot as Roger continues talking: "But there are laws on this earth--Roger's LAW!"
Cut back to Grand Central Station. Dorothy is up on her feet again, staggering as she walks. Gabriel gracefully, relentlessly, follows her, grinning.
Angel begs Vera, "Agent 12! Make Alan, make Agent 271 stop! I'm telling you, it's pointless to destroy the android!" Vera looks at Angel, one eyebrow raised, a cold expresson on her face. She says, "It knows you, doesn't it, Agent 340?"
Angel gasps and backs away, pleading for Dorothy's life: "She doesn't! She doesn't know anything about who I really am!" Another gunshot makes Angel turn.
Dorothy falls to the ground, her right leg now damaged. She looks silently at Gabriel, seemingly almost resigned to all this. Gabriel twirls his gun and shoves it back into his suit jacket. He smiles and says, "Let's get this show on the road, shall we?" He cheerfully raises his left arm and pushes down the sleeve, revealing a watch identical to Roger's. Happily he says, "We have to let your master see this show as well." Dorothy glares at him, yet remains silent and stays on the ground as Gabriel laughingly goes towards her.
Cut back to battle between the two Bigs. Big O seems to be getting the upper hand, repeatedly punching the other mecha and driving it backwards. The Union robot finally collapses to its knees.
Roger says to it, "It's time to go back to your grave now." He pulls the joystick all the way back.
Cut to Gabriel. He closes the fingers of his mechanical right hand so that they form a point. The hand begins to spin rapidly like a drill. He smiles broadly as he slowly closes in on Dorothy. She stares at him and seems to cower slightly.
Gabriel, teasingly, says to her, "Now, now, are you ready?" He smiles.
Cut back to Big O. The black megadeus raises its arms to charge up for its chromebuster attack. The Union robot is struggling to get back up. Roger says, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust," and pulls forward on the joystick, but it won't move. Astounded, he stares down at the controls. Big O is frozen in place, totally unresponsive to him. "What's the matter? Big O? WHY AREN'T YOU MOVING? BIG O!"
The round viewscreen in front of Roger suddenly turns itself on. He looks at it, his eyes wide, his mouth grim. The words, "Cast in the name of god..." march across the screen , then shake and blur, replaced by the barcode of his nightmares. A series of flashbacks run through Roger: the memory children, the barcoded eye, his image reflected in the tomato Gordon is handing him. Roger leans back in the pilot seat and murmurs, "The tomatoes..." His hand slides limply off the joystick. "I'm one of...the tomatoes..."
The Union robot recovers and gets up. It lunges forward, leaping onto the frozen Big O and knocking it flat on its back. Roger seems to be in shock, as frozen as Big O is.
The Union robot stands up. The drills on the ends of its 4 arms begin to spin rapidly.
Cut to Gabriel. He is still moving towards the helpless Dorothy, his drill hand spinning.
Cut back to the Union robot as it stands over the supine Big O. Roger is totally out of it, still in shock. He is muttering, "I am the...I AM the...the Domineus of Big O..."
The Union robot viciously lunges its spinning arms down at Big O.
End of episode.