(Everybody is asleep, except Chase, who's standing by the bunks of the gen:LOCK team.)
Chase: All right, y'all. It's a school day. Lets go.
["Sweatshop Boys" by Battle Tapes]
(The team suits up, and Kazu takes a little time to admire his suit in the mirror. Valentina pulls the blanket off of Cammie, who's still sleeping. Cammie yelps, then grunts as she falls out of bed.)
(The team all gets their food from the cafeteria, but are not impressed. However, Kazu makes his own breakfast. Cammie sighs longingly.)
(The team uploads. A training montage begins, in which Valentina outclasses Cammie and Kazu in her sharpshooting skills, Cammie instinctively shoots before she knows who it is, and Kazu and Chase spar hand-to-hand, using increasingly dirtier tactics.)
Doctor Weller (voice-over): Gather 'round. Class is in session.
(We cut back to the team's bunks, where Kazu pushes a sleeping Cammie out of bed again. Cammie yelps.)
(We cut back to the training montage.)
Doctor Weller (voice-over): In the field, you must protect your brain at all costs. We can repair any other damage, but it's not as though I'm making back-up copies. One mind's all you have, so be careful.
(We cut to the team, in their holons, listening to an MR overlay of Doctor Weller.)
Doctor Weller (voice-over): Uptime. There's a limit to how long your mind can run on a cyber brain before you must return to your body. If your neural image changes too much, it will be incompatible with how you left your human nervous system. You won't be able to download again.
(The team downloads back into their bodies, and Doctor Weller dismisses them from the lab.)
(Cut back to the team downloading once more. Their holons now have armor.)
Doctor Weller (voice-over): Overclocking. One of the many possible modifications while running your digitized mind, but beware. It simply consumes uptime faster.
(Chase and Yaz are running across a landscape while being fired at by drones. Chase dodges one, assumedly by overclocking. His Holon display then shows the following message:)
UPTIME SAFETY PROTOCOL BREACHED
BEGINNING IMMEDIATE DOWNLOAD
(Chase slumps and we hear the power-down noise as he's automatically downloaded back to his body.)
Doctor Weller (voice-over): Body suits. Your bodies are immensely strategically valuable. In addition to their gen:LOCK function, the body suits serve as intelligent armor, reading your nervous system's intent, and granting enhanced strength and speed. If you have to wear them all the time, they may as well be useful.
(Kazu is sparring with Yaz, and he uses the intelligent armor function during the fight.)
(Back in the team's bunks, Kazu hits Cammie's bunk, which causes it to shake. Cammie falls out of bed with a yell.)
Doctor Weller (voice-over): There's an always-on private network between all uploaded minds. Think of it as telepathy. It will even allow you to achieve gen:LOCK phase two, where you can begin to share, well, everything about your minds.
(Valentina, Kazu and Cammie are patrolling the structures around the hangar. Valentina gives a thumbs-up to the others to say that nobody's there, but one of the Striders is hiding behind a structure. Yaz, who's looking on from atop the hangar, gives a thumbs-up back to Valentina.)
(Cut back to the team in the cafeteria. Cammie is looking sadly at her food when Kazu gives her a fried egg. She looks at him gratefully.)
Doctor Weller: Aging out. When the human brain reaches adulthood, it stops regenerating neurotransmitters. gen:LOCK relies upon that ability in a younger mind, hence you can age out of the program.
(The team is sitting, in their holons, watching Doctor Weller's MR overlay explain. The Doctor indicates Leon as he speaks.)
Doctor Weller: Take Leon here. He was compatible, but is just a bit too old. Hence there's too much risk for him to join the program.
(The training montage continues, including more sharpshooting practice, climbing structures in their holons, and Kazu feeding everyone friend eggs.)
("Sweatshop Boys" ends with the montage. The gen:LOCK team prepares to download again and while in his port, Chase looks over at Miranda talking with Migas. He closes his eyes, then mixes in front of Miranda.)
Chase: So all this time I've been giving you space, I was also working on like 50 different opening lines. But then I realized all I really wanted to do was say: "Hey". So, hey.
Chase: Damn. I didn't think about what I wanted to say after "hey".
(Miranda rolls her eyes and they keep walking together.)
Chase: So how do you think class is going, sensei-chan?
Chase: I don't know. That's what Kazu calls you.
Miranda: Well, if your newbies don't get killed on their first mission, we'll call it a pass.
Chase: Oh come on. They're not that bad.
Miranda: Cammie's got nerves around weapons. Kazu charges in alone. Valentina always hangs back. They have raw talent as individuals, but refuse to trust or communicate, so they fail as a fire team. They're going to get their asses handed back to them in four-story-tall pieces.
Chase: Ooh, that's cold.
Miranda: It's how I see it. It's how Leon and Jodie see it.
Chase: Yeah, okay. Are we ever gonna talk about Jodie?
Miranda (mumbling): Not if I can help it.
Miranda: What? Do you really want the details? It was years, Chase. Years getting over you. Then years trying to finally get on with my life, but betraying everything by even trying. And now what am I supposed to do?
Chase: Whoa. Hey, I don't know. Miranda, yes. This is my fault.
Miranda: It isn't your...
(She trails off.)
Chase: You did what you needed to do. I don't blame you or anyone. For what it's worth, it wasn't easy for me either. Ma and Dri, gone. Years of knowing you were out there, but being told I couldn't reach out.
Miranda: When has that ever stopped you?
(Beat. Chase thinks about what to say.)
Chase: It was because I'd be damned if I reached out and then died on you twice. Nobody knew if I was going to make it. And I'm sorry, but I wasn't going to put you through that again. You've seen the state I'm in. It's been a long road to make peace with that, but I've made it. I'm good. I'm here now. All I can do is keep moving forward, and I'm not gonna watch another chance go by. Do what you gotta do. But if you ever wanted to try something again... Well, you know where my tank is.
Miranda: I don't know. I don't know what to think anymore, but maybe. Maybe you could try one of those opening lines next time.
(Miguel is watching Chase and Miranda's conversation from afar. Cammie suddenly mixes in next to him.)
Cameron: (scoffs) Wonder if they'll ever sort it.
(Miguel yelps and jumps.)
Miguel: Where did you come from?
Cameron: Just mixing from my Holon. Chase does it all the time. Thought I'd give it a try. What are you working on?
Miguel: Strider upkeep. They've been pushing them hard to keep up with you guys.
Cameron: They're pushing us just as hard. It doesn't help that I just cannae seem to get comfy in me Holon. Something's off.
Miguel: Off how?
(They start walking towards the holons.)
Cameron: Hard to say. There's just something about the way I'm wired. I just wanna be lower. It's like I'm having to run while wearing the world's highest high heels. And with the way this boxy armor throws me off, it's like I'm always about to fall on me arse.
(Miguel pulls up a hologram with models of the holons, demonstrating what he's saying as he speaks.)
Miguel: Well, to fix that you'd have to overhaul the endoskeleton itself. I mean, you'd literally have to rip those legs off and redo 'em. Armor's easier. Just lay out your new patterns, send it to the printers. Boom, done.
(He dismisses the hologram.)
Cameron: Wait, you can just do that?
Miguel: Yeah, check it. Vanguard designed your armor for the ESU. 'Course, now the Colonel's got my team covering maintenance for you guys, too. We used those printers right over there.
(He points to the giant 3-D printers in the next room. Cammie lights up like a little kid.)
Cameron: I could mod my kit?
Miguel: Not without authorization and, uh, (clears throat) not without this software that I'm sending you right now.
(He sends her the software using a hologram.)
Cameron: Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!
(Cammie hugs Migas, her MR overlay clipping through his body.)
Miguel: Don't mention it. No but really, don't. Like, you cannot tell anyone, okay? But check this out. See, Chase being all mopey lately gave me some ideas. I've been working on something.
Cameron: Go on.
Miguel: He's just not right without these.
(He shows Cammie something on the hologram. The audience can't see what it is, but Cammie's eyes light up with interest.)
(The gen:LOCK team is hanging out in their room. Yaz is sitting at the table with a hologram, Kazu is lying on his bunk strumming his guitar, Cammie is also using a hologram, and Valentina is on the floor doing splits.)
Valentina: I don't know if my legs have been this tight my entire life.
Kazu: (in Japanese) You're doing the splits.
Valentina: I'm just saying it's harder.
(Kazu raises a finger to continue the argument, then smiles and shakes his head.)
Kazu: (in Japanese) I require beer.
Yasamin: The commissary sells it.
Yasamin: But not to you.
Cameron: I'm legal in Scotland. If I order it with food.
Yasamin: You're not in Scotland.
(Cammie gives a mighty eye roll.)
Kazu: (in Japanese) I require beer. Somewhere away from this base.
Valentina: I'm with you, preferably where there's dancing.
(Chase mixes into the room.)
Chase: You're out of luck. We're not allowed off-base.
Valentina: What do they do for fun around here then?
Yasamin: The Ether, same as anywhere.
Cameron: You wanna game together? Siege 2?
Everyone but Cameron: No!
(Cammie hops off her bunk.)
Cameron: You'd rather be bored than hang out online?
Valentina: We spend all day, every day together. This is our first time off. You're the last people I want to see right now.
Cameron: But we're supposed to be working on team building, right? So let's go game together or something, improve the communication or some shite. Come on!
["Last Resort & Spa" By Battle Tapes]
(Everyone puts on masks to let them into the Ether, a virtual reality world. Cammie logs in using her username "cammiemaccloud," and we get a shot of a huge, brightly colored city. The camera stops on Cammie, whose avatar is a rabbit in a green cape. She looks around, but we see none of the other members of the team.)
Cameron: (sighs) Do I have to do everything?
(She opens a hologram and selects something from a menu titled "Friends." Kazu appears next to her in a metal-studded leather jacket.)
Cameron: Kazoo, do you really need to look tougher?
(Yaz appears next, wearing a yellow coat with an orange hijab.)
Cameron: You have a hijab? In here, but not out there?
Yasamin: Is it so unusual?
Cameron: No, not at all. It's just weird seeing you with long hair.
Val: I think she looks lovely. Did you used to wear it this way?
Camerona:(laughs) Oh, you look smashing.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Valentina?
Val: I have to admit, it may be time to use Val again.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Val? You play male in games?
Val: No. Well, yes. I will now, but it's not role-playing.
Cameron: Kazu, do you not know, pal? Oh, sorry, Val. You should say it. It's not my place.
Val: Nyet, it's perfectly fine. My body is physically female at present, but I'm starting to think, maybe soon, a change.
Kazu: (in Japanese) I do not understand.
Cameron: Think genderfluid.
Kazu: (in Japanese) What?
Yasamin: You've shifted before?
Val: A few times now.
Kazu: (in Japanese) You're male?
Val: Sometimes, not now. Perhaps again soon. I sense the pressure coming on again in a way I haven't in a long time.
Kazu: (in Japanese) What were you born as?
Val: You'll never know.
Cameron: (sighs) What is taking Chase so long?
Cameron: Really? You can make yourself look like anything you imagine, and you go with a hoodie.
Chase: What can I say? I gotta be me.
Cameron: Are we gaming or what?
Cameron: Aye. We got several options you may fancy.
Cameron: We could go sci-fi.
Val: Are you joking? We do this all day long.
Cameron: Anyone wanna sail the high seas looking for booty?
Cameron: Fantasy warriors. Could go monster hunting.
Cameron: Come on! Somebody pick something.
Kazu: (in Japanese) I think... I'm gonna find a show, catch some music.
Val: Uh, I have a sudden desire to hit the club.
Cameron: You dafties. Yaz?
Yasamin: I may retire. Perhaps another time.
Chase: You got me.
Cameron: (scoffs) I guess.
Chase: Hey, what am I not g--
Cameron: What was that? Has the Vanguard not paid its Ether bill?
Able: Interceptors, ready one and ready two. Scramble. Alert Teams Baker, Charlie, and gen:LOCK One. Report to North Mech Hangar for immediate load up. Repeat, Interceptors...
Kazu: (in Japanese) Is that us?
Cameron: Oh hell.
Chase: Come on! It's showtime.
Colonel Marin: We'll be dropping you in ten clicks north of the Dallas Data Center.
Leon: They're trying to bring down the Ether? You can do that?
Doctor Weller: It appears the Union is attacking one of the main distribution nodes for the entire network.
Colonel Marin: The area was evacuated when the attack began, and since then, there's been too much interference to get a good read on the Union forces. We're not exactly sure what you're heading into.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Great.
Cameron: If it taps into the data center, aren't we fucked already?
Doctor Weller: Cammie, we have got to work on your cursing.
Cameron: Why? I curse pretty well already.
Cameron: Fine. Effed. Aren't already effed?
Doctor Weller: We're not sure.
Yasamin: This isn't our... The Union's normal attack pattern.
Colonel Marin: Exactly. The Union are like an infection. They creep. They expand. This data center is hundreds of miles from Union territory. We've never seen them extended their reach this far in one go since--
Chase: New York.
Doctor Weller: Their usual MO is to edge into the next area and shove the Polity and its sympathizers out with minimum of collateral damage. They want the infrastructure intact. Maybe they've finally decided to cripple the Ether.
Kazu: (in Japanese) Let's upload already. Wait, why didn't we just upload at the base?
Cameron: (scoffs) Do you even listen?
Kazu: (in Japanesse) When I want to, yeah.
Yasamin: Insufficient uptime to cover both travel and the mission itself.
Doctor Weller: This is how you'll usually deploy. We fly you in. You upload, go take care of business, then you download back into your human bodies, quickly as possible. You fly home.
Valentina: At the risk of bringing our bodies closer to the action. Can you tell how thrilled I am about that?
Kazu: (in Japanese) Okay, okay. When do we upload then?
Doctor Weller: Uhh, now.
Cameron: (groans) Get your arse out of my face.
Kazu: (in Japanese) I am not... happy about this... either.
Leon: Prepare to drop. We're coming in hot.
Chase: How hot?
The Union mech display shows the following message as it aims toward the Hornbill:
sig-int: hornbill class
pulse armory cat. 5.1.3
ammo load 98 percent
Cameron: Let's jam! (yelps)
Cameron: Phew. (chuckles)
Chase: All right, Yaz. First area's clear.
Yasamin: Turn on your camo. We are moving up to Chase.
Valentina: Ready to advance. I'll cover. Okay, go.
Cameron: (gasps) Hey. See that? I'm shooting less friends. (chuckles)
Leon: All right, grunts hang back. Striders, move up and we'll keep up the...
Leon: (groans) Kazu, we have got to talk about collateral damage.
Chase: All clear over here.
Leon: Okay. Everyone head for the main building.
Chase: This is really weird. There should be more resistance.
Leon: No life signs in the building. Send in the clowns.
Vanguard soldier: Negative contact. No life, no ordinance.
Colonel Marin: Take it.
Leon: You heard her. Two by two, grunts.
Vanguard Soldier: Moving in.
Leon: All right. Striders secure inner perimeter. Holons patrol the outfield.
Cameron: Do what now?
Chase: Hang back, split up, and keep your eyes open.
Cameron: Hm? Hey, look at me! Still not shooting anybody I know.
Cameron: Kazoo, you get big?
Kazu: (in Japanese) What?
Cameron: Who's in front of me? Your camo's gone weird.
Chase: Cammie, open fire.
Cameron: Oh, you want me to shoot each other now, is it? Make up your--
Chase: Cammie! Shoot the damn gun!
Map shows red circle with the message "SATELLITE INTERFERENCE"
Doctor Weller: Chase, get her out of there.
Cameron: Do I just walk through? Guys? (yelps)
Doctor Weller: Do it.
Jodie: Oh crap.
Leon: We got smoke. Everybody seal up.
Nemesis: Help. Help me.
Nemesis: Save me.
Miranda: What happened? Are you all right?
Yasamin: Cammie, listen to me. I've opened a port to my optical sensors. I'm sharing my eyes with you. Cammie?
Yasamin's Holon display shows the following message:
LINE TYPE: SECURE
SECONDARY USER: MACCLOUD
Cameron: (pants) I can see! Me? I've got not head!
Yasamin: It worked! Mindshare worked.
Valentina: Wait, you've never done this before? Not with chase?
Leon: Anvil Command. Data Center secure. Last bogie seems to have moved off.
Colonel Marin: Re-establish the perimeter. Breakers, get the data center operational again.
Doctor Weller: Cammie's mind is still racing. She's burning through her uptime.
Colonel Marin: Secure Holons on the transports. gen:LOCK One, prepare for download.
Chase: You got this?
Leon: Yeah, we're good. Go take care of her.
Jodie: What the hell was that anyhow?