(As Cammie is speaking, we see some of the aftermath of the Union spy's attack.)
Cammie: Are you mental?
Able: Doctor Weller, please report to Ops.
Cammie: The Polity grabs us, telling us there's a science project only we can help with. We get shipped to the middle of nowhere only to be locked in with a Union spy who tries to kill us. But he only gets fried because he tried to use the very same tech you're trying to plug us into. And now we're supposed to carry on, la la la, like nothing ever happened? Do I have any of that wrong, Longshanks?
(A beat of silence as a Vanguard officer rolls the Union spy's body past, covered in a white sheet.)
Doctor Weller: Privacy windows, please.
(The windows to the lab turn opaque.)
Doctor Weller: You have the gist of it, but I'd apply a less sarcastic tone.
Cammie: I think sarcasm helps us see things more clearly.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Yeah, I'm with her. I'd like to return to my unit. Which... I can't believe I'm saying.
Able: Dr. Weller, please report to Ops.
Doctor Weller: I'll be there in a minute. Valentina, you're quiet.
Valentina: Sometimes it's simply fun to watch.
Yasamin: We're not here for fun.
Valentina: You sure? Look at this crazy party you've thrown. And you invited a spy, now dead; a ghost, also dead--
Chase: I take offense to that.
Valentina: --hosted by the absent-minded professor and the Union stray he took in.
Yasamin: You have no idea.
(Yazamin approaches Valentina angrily.)
Chase: Yaz. / Doctor Weller: Yasamin.
Yasamin (talking over Valentina): No idea the cost to be here. I want to be here. I want to fight them. Why are YOU here?
Valentina (talking over Yasamin): I have fought and I have sacrificed, all because of what your perfect Union did to people like me.
Valentina: So do not lecture me about the cost of fighting!
Yasamin: It was not my Union!
(Able materializes in front of Doctor Weller.)
Able: Dr. Weller, you are urgently requested to join Colonel Marin in Ops.
Doctor Weller: Mix into my lab again without permission, and I will rewrite you to speak only in Gilbert and Sullivan lyrics!
Doctor Weller: More of a Dylan fan, I suppose. Well, this conversation has been delightful, but I believe it's the Colonel's turn to berate me. Chase feel free to take over. You can't make things worse, I don't think.
(Docor Weller enters the Anvil control room. Colonel Marin is hunched over a map, talking to some soldiers over a call. Gunshots and sounds of combat can be heard.)
Vanguard soldier: Negative, we're falling back.
Colonel Marin: Understood. V103 and V104 will maintain suppression until transports are past the 88th.
Vanguard soldier: Yes, ma'am.
Colonel Marin: I'm transferring you to Anvil Tactical, they'll coordinate the withdrawal from here.
Vanguard soldier: Acknowledged.
Colonel Marin: Anvil Tower, Colonel Marin. ETA 'till the medivacs arrive?
Operator: Two hours, ma'am. We'll be ready to receive them in front of Hangar 2.
Colonel Marin: Page me when they land.
(Colonel Marin dismisses the call.)
Colonel Marin: Dammit.
Doctor Weller: That didn't sound good.
Colonel Marin: It wasn't. Follow me.
(Doctor Weller follows Colonel Marin away from the map.)
Colonel Marin: We need to figure out your next destination.
Doctor Weller: That's funny, you make it sound like we won't be staying.
Colonel Marin: You're compromised. Wherever Holcroft was sending you next, it's time to go. Union knows you're here.
(Colonel Marin and Doctor Weller leave the control room and enter Marin's office.)
Doctor Weller: Then it's a good thing you transferred us, isn't it? Where better to dig in than at one of the Vanguard's biggest strongholds? They'd be fools to attack.
Colonel Marin: They did just attack. A Union operative replaced one of your recruits, got onto my base with nanotech on him. (makes the Sign of the Cross) ¡Dios 'ayudanos'! (God help us!)
Doctor Weller: I can help with that. I've had some thoughts about the signal they used--
Colonel Marin: It was a massive risk bringing you here. It made sense when I thought it would give us a better chance in the war, but I do not believe the risk is worth wasting time trying to make soldiers out of these children.
Doctor Weller: They are hardly children.
(Inside the lab, Cammie is struggling to get out of Caliban's grip.)
Cammie: Let me go! Get me the fuck outta here!
Yasamin: Nobody goes anywhere until the doctor returns.
(Caliban puts Cammie down in a chair.)
Kazu: (in Japanese) Maybe Val-
Valentina: Valentina, yo.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Valentina's onto something'. We're here a day and the Union is already holding us prisoner.
Chase: I would choose my next words very wisely.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Are you going to leave your tank and fight me now?
Chase: Man, I'm just tryn'a warn ya, she'll kick your ass.
(He indicates Yazamin as he says this.)
Chase: Act like adults, would you?
Doctor Weller: You're being ridiculous.
Colonel Marin: And you are nowhere near giving me a single functioning squad, when I was led to believe I'd have my first full platoon by now!
(Colonel Marin sits behind her desk.)
Doctor Weller: I led you to believe nothing. You knew how far we were from mass production.
Colonel Marin: You could have more candidates if you'd work on advancing gen:LOCK.
Doctor Weller: And I will, but I can't do that, recruit, and make the program field-ready all at the same time. I'm only one person! I can't just clone myself. Believe me, I've tried.
Colonel Marin: Your new recruits will wash out.
Doctor Weller: Benefit of the doubt, please. We haven't even begun their training yet.
Colonel Marin: The problem is more fundamental. Look at their files.
(Colonel Marin pulls up holograms of the recruits' files.)
Colonel Marin: Their lives were in disarray to begin with. Now they're in shock with the very first attack.
Doctor Weller: By their very nature, gen:LOCK candidates are the most resilient, adaptable people you'll ever meet. They'll get past this. I guarantee, they'll become the best fighters you've ever seen.
Valentina: I'm not here to fight. I was told I was needed for scientific research.
Chase: Well... Yeah, research, on how to fight better?
Valentina: I was in the resistance against the Union even before New York. I've been fighting one way or another my whole life. I'm done now. And you'll need more than that android if you try to stop me from going.
Yasamin: You want to leave? gen:LOCK will give us the edge we need to strike back.
Valentina: More revenge. What's that going to solve? War never changes anything. People themselves are the problem, and more fighting won't alter that. I've done my bit. Let the world tear itself apart. I'm going to live it up while I can. I'm going to leave a beautiful corpse, an open bar tab, and no regrets.
Chase: Self-fulfilling prophecy.
Chase: You're gonna go live it up like there's no tomorrow, which is gonna make sure there's no tomorrow. I can guaran-damn-tee you'll have one last regret as the Union nano hits wherever you been partying at. You'll think, maybe I could have changed this, and I didn't.
Doctor Weller: It's a bit late for regrets now, isn't it? Let's not forget, the Union wouldn't be hunting us if gen:LOCK hadn't been militarized.
Colonel Marin: They would come for you, one way or the other. Even if you'd stayed on the West Coast. Six months from now, you'd be dead or conscripted, and the Union would take gen:LOCK away.
Doctor Weller: Six months?
Colonel Marin: That's Command's estimate. Six months til the Polity is pushed out of North America. Unless we turn the tide. Go tell your recruits, see if that motivates them.
Yasamin: Even if you don't trust me, listen to the doctor. Trust him.
Valentina: I trust no one. It's why I'm still alive.
(Doctor Weller enters the lab.)
Doctor Weller: In a way, she's right. You all are. I'd like to start over.
Valentina: Wouldn't we all.
Doctor Weller: I'm glad you don't blindly give trust. Sign of a reasonable mind. But we do need to start somewhere. Let's get to brass tax. You are all we've got.
Chase: Way to sell it.
Doctor Weller: We need you. You have an opportunity no one else has: to master this new technology and, in doing so, perhaps turn the tide of the war.
Cammie: You think we're gonna Luke Skywalker the war for you? That's a very nice fairytale.
Kazu: (in Japanese) I say to you what I told my superiors in Japan before they busted me down. I don't fight simply because someone tells me to.
Doctor Weller: I wouldn't want it any other way. If you want to return to your previous lives, I'll tell the Colonel anything you want. That you were incompatible after all. You'll be free to go. All I ask is that you try gen:LOCK one time.
Cammie: Can't say I'm crazy about trustin' my brain to a piece of tech that killed a man right in front of us. It does do something besides kill us, am I right?
Doctor Weller: (groans)
Doctor Weller: Chase, you're still mixing in from your Holon?
Doctor Weller: Why don't you let our Vanguard friends know we're ready for a lesson?
Doctor Weller: Yaz, would you mind uploading? Go set up the playground.
Yasamin: Of course, Doctor.
(She heads in the direction of the upload pod.)
Doctor Weller: Caliban?
(Caliban follows Yazamin to help her upload.)
Yasamin: Are we to use the hangar?
Doctor Weller: It's such a beautiful day, let's hold class outside. Please, set up over by Hangar 2.
(Doctor Weller sits down in front of the computer. Yazamin lays down in her pod to upload.)
Yasamin: Anvil Ground, this is ESU2. Huma is waking up, taxiing to Staging Area One.
Operator: ESU2. Anvil Ground, clear taxi, pull that 3-5 right for landing traffic.
Yasamin: Taxi and hold. ESU2.
(Yazamin gives a thumbs-up to Doctor Weller, then closes her eyes and the pod lights up with an electronic pulsing sound.)
(Cammie, Kazu, and Valentina look over Doctor Weller's shoulder at the computer monitor in front of him. Yazamin's holon lights up and she gives a thumbs-up.)
Cammie: That's a... It's a... What is that, anyhoo?
Valentina: That's the biggest drone I've ever seen. She's controlling it from here?
Doctor Weller: She is the mech now. Her mind has uploaded to the Cyberbrain.
Cammie: Huh, okay, that's kinda cool... when it works.
Doctor Weller: It works fine, provided you are psychologically fit and neurologically compatible with the system.
Kazu: (in Japanese) And if you're not, you--
Doctor Weller: Might as well put your brain in a microwave.
(Cammie, Kazu and Valentina all look at Doctor Weller, surprised.)
Doctor Weller: So, who wants to give it a go? Iida-san?
Kazu: (in Japanese) Man, you can call me Kazu.
Cammie: What? I just never met anyone named after a kazoo, is all.
Kazu: (in Japanese) KAH. Zuh.
Cammie: That's what I said.
Kazu: (in Japanese) No, thank you.
Doctor Weller: Miss Romanysyn-zyn...? Uh, Val?
Valentina: Valentina, please. And not yet, thanks.
(Everyone looks at Cammie.)
Cammie: Ugh, piss. Really? Can you give me a few days to QC your code, at least?
Doctor Weller: Fortune favors the bold.
(Cammie walks over to a pod with Caliban.)
("Still Got That")
(Chase is outside the hangar in his Holon, shooting basketballs into a hoop.)
Miguel: Okay, we get it, you still got game.
Chase: I never lost it. You, on the other hand, never had it.
(He starts flicking basketballs into the hoop out of the palm of his hand.)
Chase: Man, I might actually get bored.
Miguel: Maybe if you turned off Aim Assist?
(Cutting to Chase's perspective, we see Aim Assist software showing Chase how to shoot in order to sink the baskets.)
Chase: I don't know what you're talkin' about.
(Yazamin walks past with a box of metal balls.)
Chase: What are those?
Yasamin: Presents. Are your Vanguard companions joining, or not?
(Chase grabs a ball out of the crate.)
Chase: I mean, yeah, they're supposed to. Joint training and all that.
Chase: Yeah, here they come.
(Chase spots Jodie and Miranda in the hangar. His vision zooms in on them.)
Jodie: Then you don't think this is weird?
Miranda: I didn't say that.
Jodie: I think it's weird. I mean, I wanna be welcoming and all, but...
Miranda: Please, let it go. I will find a way to talk to him.
Jodie: You want me to tell him about us? Do I need to do it?
Miranda: Are you out of your mind? Let's go.
(Jodie walks away, and Miranda makes eye contact with Chase. Chase realizes he's crushed the ball he was holding, then drops it and walks away.)
Doctor Weller: Chase and Yasamin are downstairs, ready to catch you. Are you ready, Miss MacCloud?
(Cammie is laying down in the upload pod.)
Cammie: (sigh) Down the rabbit hole. Let's do this.
Doctor Weller: Clear your mind. Listen to your breathing. The goal is to lower heart rate and blood pressure. Just relax. Just be. You should sense a pulse, a repeating pressure you've never felt before at the edge of your mind. That's gen:LOCK's sync signal, looking for you. Give into it, reach for it, go to that sensation. Go to the light, grab it, and then hang on.
(Cammie closes her eyes.)
Kazu: KAH. Zuh.
Cammie: If I wink out, you can have my manga collection.
Kazu: (in Japanese) I haven't read manga since I was a kid.
(Cammie immediately opens her eyes and looks at Kazu.)
Cammie: What's wrong with ya?
(She closes her eyes again. The computer monitors show Cammie syncing up to the program. The pod lights up.)
(We cut to Cammie's perspective from her Holon. She looks at her new body in awe. She tries to take a step, but loses her balance.)
Cammie: (laughs) Hiya. How ya doin'?
(Cammie tries taking a few more steps.)
Cammie: Don't mind me, just learnin' how to walk... again. This is... This is incredible.
(She looks around the area outside of the hangar. By zooming in on one set of automobiles, she can hear sounds of combat. She takes a few more steps outside of the hangar.)
Cammie: (sings the 'Happy Birthday' song in Gaelic) Breithla shona dhuit, breithla shona dhui--
(Cammie trips and falls, but is caught by Chase.)
Cammie: Jesus, I'm tall!
Chase: Well, yeah, you're almost four stories.
Cammie: No, I mean, I'm really tall! Like, my legs are wrong or something.
(As Doctor Weller starts speaking, Cammie looks around for him.)
Doctor Weller: You have a new center of gravity. Your legs are longer, proportionally speaking. I only had enough time to design one frame to give you all, so I went with some idealized ratios, plus some stylistic touches. You'll adapt over time.
(Cammie looks down and covers the section between her legs.)
Cammie: Ah! My bits are showin'!
Yasamin: Who's next, Doctor?
(Kazu and Valentina both raise their hands.)
(We see the red Holon--Kazu's--light up.)
Kazu: (in Japanese) Amazing! I can... feel?
Doctor Weller: You have a variety of physical feedback indicators coming from all over the Holon.
(Valentina, in the purple Holon, approaches Kazu.)
Valentina: I can work with this.
Doctor Weller: Condition and perception all looking good. No signs of cyber attacks yet, excellent! Let everybody gather outside, and we'll get going on engram formation. Oh, and (laughs) happy second birthday, everyone. As many happy returns as possible.
(Yazamin leads Cammie, Kazu and Valentina towards where they set up. Cammie is still having some trouble finding her balance in the Holon.)
Doctor Weller: Welcome to your new bodies. Impervious to organic damage by virtue of having no organics on board, and a wide, wide variety of benefits due to running your mind as code. There's so much we'll need to go over, but for now, just go play!
Chase: Kazu, think fast!
(A metal football hits Kazu in the head with a metallic clang.)
Kazu: (in Japanese) A football?
Cammie: No, footballs are round.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Any chance you got a baseball?
(Chase reaches into the box of balls and pitches a metal baseball at Kazu. Kazu catches it easily with one hand.)
(Chase is pitching a ball at Kazu, who is holding a large metal pipe as a bat.)
Chase: Batter, batter, batter, swing, batter.
(Kazu hits the ball, sending it crashing into a nearby car, setting of its alarm.)
(Cammie runs by Valentina, tagging her.)
Cammie: Valentina, you're it.
Valentina: Come here, little bunny!
(Cammie starts to run away from Valentina, and Yazamin uses the wheels on her Holon's feet to catch up.)
Cammie: Mac a'ghalla! (Son of a bitch!)
(Cammie looks at her feet and tries to activate her wheels, causing her to fall backwards.)
(Kazu looks at Chase and raises his bat again. Chase pitches another ball, but it explodes in a puff of purple smoke midair. The recruits all look and see Leon, Miranda and Jodie's Striders approaching them.)
Doctor Weller: gen:LOCK recruits, meet your new drill instructors. After today, they will begin your education in weapons, team combat tactics--
Doctor Weller: And paying attention, please, Cammie.
(Cammie, who has been looking at her Holon's feet, immediately looks up at the drill instructors.)
Cammie: Sorry. Sorry.
Doctor Weller: They've had years of field experience, and they are very generously donating their time to train you up. So, heed them well.
Kazu; (in Japanese) So much for playtime.
Cammie: You're gonna teach us in those?
Jodie: Listen you--
Leon: Normally, I'd train our pilots on simulators, but that's not gonna work for you. School starts for real tomorrow.
Jodie: Doesn't mean we can't have some fun, though.
Miranda: We're going to do a round of capture the flag. New recruits, just one of you has to get past us. Touch the flagpole back there.
Miranda: We hit you, you're out. Spread out on the other side of that line, and let's get started.
("Alive" by Battle Tapes)
(Leon fires a shot into the air. Cammie, Kazu and Valentina all rush the Striders, and they're all immediately shot.)
Leon: Okay, let's go again. You can use the nearby structures as cover, yeah?
(The three of them do as Leon suggested. Cammie is the first to run out towards them, and Kazu and Valentina peek out from behindt eh structures to see. All three are shot again.)
Leon: No problem, you're not expected to win right out of the gate. Let's go again.
(Cut to Doctor Weller in the lab, watching the training session. Colonel Marin walks up behind him and watches as well.)
(Back outside the hangar, Cammie tries rushing the Striders again, skidding along a pipelike structure. She loses her balance and falls, and is then shot.)
(Valentina looks around and sees a truck driving by. She quickly runs across the playing field and stands next to Kazu. Kazu looks over at Cammie for a moment, and when he looks back at where Valentina was, she's gone.)
(Kazu looks back at Cammie, who's showing her middle fingers to the drill instructors. Kazu grabs her from behind, using her as a shield. He gets farther than she did, but after he passes one of theStriders, he gets shot in the back.)
Jodie: We're missin' one.
(All of the Striders look around for Valentina. Miranda spots her hiding behind the truck.)
Miranda: Jodie, she got past you.
(Valentina runs out from behind the truck and bolts for the flag amidst Cammie's and Kazu's cheers. She almost gets there, but gets shot by Jodie. Cammie, Kazu and Valentina all deflate.)
Jodie: (laughs) Did you see the look on her face? Not that she's got a face, but...
Leon: (sighs) Alright, I think that's enough punishment for one day. Let's pack it in.
Chase: Oh, no, we ain't quite done.
("We Ain't Done")
(Chase steps into the field of play.)
Chase: Let's show them the goal.
Chase: Let's show 'em what they can do once they're trained up. Care if I give it a shot?
Yasamin: What are you up to?
Chase: What? It's cool.
Leon: Alright, let's see what you can do. Everybody reset.
Jodie: Okay, let's--
(Chase rushes at the Striders. They all start to soot at him, but he dodges their missiles. He jumps up and catches one, throwing it back at Leon's Strider. He grabs Miranda's Strider and uses it as a shield against Jodie, then rushes at him. Jodie braces for impact, but then looks back up and sees Chase through the glass. Chase calmly shakes his head. He throws down Jodie's Strider, then calmly walks over and takes the flag.)
Kazu: (in Japanese) I am suddenly much more interested.
Doctor Weller: Okay, well, I don't wanna get anywhere near exceeding uptime, which is a concept for later. Let's call it a day.
(Aircrafts fly over the recruits.)
Leon: Alright, we gotta clear out. Striders back in hangers. gen:LOCK team... Go do whatever it is you do to reset.
(The aircraft touch down and open their doors. Union refugees exit the aircraft.)
Cammie: I've only seen it before on the news feeds.
Valentina: You get numb to it when all you see are vids going by.
(Doctor Weller mixes in beside the recruits.)
Doctor Weller: Needless aggression, unscrupulous greed, unchecked hate. To have the images, the headlines, incessantly thrust at you, hour after hour, years at a time, you normalize to it. They want you to go numb, become indifferent, or lose your self in distractions, for it to feel like the evil in this world and all its machinations are too big to challenge. That loss of control leads to despair. To re-engage, to claw back even the tiniest sense of control... you don't have to save the world, you just have to make a difference where you can, with the opportunities you are given. That's all I'm asking.
Valentina: These ideals, you make it sound so simple.
Doctor Weller: It's not. I had such high hopes for how gen:LOCK could be used to expand communications, understand, improve the human condition, all its potential. And of course, the first thing we do is weaponize it. But maybe, just maybe, if we're made to fight, we can apply it a new way. Save more lives, protect those who can't protect themselves, buy some time for others to end this war, and after that, who knows what we can achieve together?
Yasamin: And build a better peace.
Valentina: I still say you'd have to solve humanity itself.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Yeah, how do you solve evil?
Chase: You can't, but you can step up when you see it, and we got a very special chance to help more than anybody else.
Doctor Weller: What is gen:LOCK if not the next step in humanity's evolution? And you can be the first to see where it takes us.
Chase: You want in?
Kazu: (in Japanese) We get to fight the Union head on, however we want?
Doctor Weller: More or less.
Valentina: Will we have rescue duties?
Doctor Weller: Absolutely. Won't be all you do, I suspect--
Cammie: We get new toys?
Doctor Weller: As many as we can build.
Cammie: Aye! Put'er there.
(Cammie puts her hand out for the group. Nobody joins in, and Valentina makes Cammie lower her hand.)
Chase: Looks like we got a team.
Cammie: We should celebrate.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Beer?
Cammie: No, gaming! There's this level in Siege 2 I've been trying to beat, yas kin help me whlie I fight the dragon... (voice fading)
(Doctor Weller disappears as the recruits walk back into the hangar.)
(Doctor Weller taps his glasses to deactivate the MR feature. Colonel Marin is still behind him.)
Colonel Marin: You didn't tell them about the six months.
Doctor Weller: No, couldn't bring myself to do it. They have to choose for themselves, not out of some clumsy guilt-trip.
Colonel Marin: Interesting. I can't help but notice you put them right next to where the medivacs were arriving.
(Doctor Weller stands.)
Doctor Weller: Oh (laughs) did I do that?
(Able appears next to Colonel Marin.)
Able: (To the tune of the Major-General's song by Gilbert and Sullivan) ♪ Colonel, you've a message from a modern major general. ♪
(Doctor Weller whistles the tune as he walks past Colonel Marin and Able.)
Colonel Marin: What is happening to my base?