Experiment Perilous (2020)
No, they're all gone.
Particle's signature consistent with Angelfire.
All these stacks. This has got to be Joshua Kemp.
Negative on the fugitives.
There's no sign of them.
Wait a minute! I've got something.
We've got a survivor!
Is he the only one alive? The only one at the scene.
Falconer and the others are still unaccounted for.
They were right in the path of its beam.
Everything around them destroyed, including the ground under their feet.
And they walked away.
Or drove away.
We just got word. Captain Veutin's transport is missing.
I want that vehicle found.
Look, do you want it or not?
How the fuck am I supposed to hawk a Protectorate transport?
Strip it. Sell it in parts. You'll figure it out.
Do you have what I asked for?
You're lucky I'm feeling thirsty today.
I don't usually make house calls. Too bad. Bar is closed.
Easy, quick draw.
How's that pile of scrap they call your father?
Why? He owe you money? He always owes me money.
But he never misses a poker game. Thought you might know something.
What do I look like, his social secretary? Give it to me.
No more paying me in shit!
How is she?
She's burning up. Did you get it?
Let's hope it works. Make the call. We're gonna need help.
I've come to check on the patient. Miss Dig... you are meant to be recuperating.
I'm almost finished with the program I promised you.
I just need to run a few tests.
I do not think that's important right now.
You have been the victim of a heinous offense, the torture of which I can hardly imagine.
My functions are all intact. There's no lasting damage.
Not all damage is corrupted code.
I'm not the one you should be worrying about.
Have you heard anything?
Mr. Kovacs has not returned our messages, but... there is a report of an explosion in an outlying forest.
I prefer to focus on you.
It's a gesture of care exchanged by humans.
Of course, AIs do not require sustenance. It's more of an... an approximation.
It's not very practical.
It is the impractical things in this tumultuous hellscape of a world... that matter most.
A book, a name, chicken soup. They help us remember...
that even in our darkest hour...
life is still to be savored.
I don't need soup for that.
I have you.
That is true.
But... in my experience with Miss Elizabeth, it was not only the psychosurgery that helped her cope with her trauma, it was the sheer act of facing it.
So perhaps I could help you comb over the files.
That isn't necessary. I'm... fine.
Ignoring what happened won't...
Poe, are you glitching? No, it's Miss Trepp.
She's interfacing with a nanoswarm. It appears she's in dire need.
Good heavens, Miss Falconer.
She needs a doctor.
All Archaeologue AIs have medical programming.
One minute she was fine, the next she was calling Angelfire down from the sky.
Impossible. No human's been able to control an Orbital.
It almost killed her.
Her sleeve is breaking down.
The diagnostics are processing. It shouldn't take long.
Perhaps I may garner a brief word?
Since our paths last crossed, I, too, went on a journey.
Brief, Poe. I infiltrated the Renouncers' construct.
I assure you they are perpetrating a fallacy.
Aren't you quite the detective?
Konrad Harlan is not there.
Where is he at? This I have not yet discovered.
Oh, no. What is it?
Miss Falconer's sleeve is shutting down.
But the problem stems from her stack. Look.
These red strands, I've never seen anything like it.
In Tanaseda's stack, when his DHF was decaying.
There's someone else.
His stack has it too.
If I could find out what happened to him, maybe we can save them both.
I got your message. Are you sure that it's true?
I saw it happen.
But Angelfire has never touched ground before.
Open your mind, Stone.
This is a flash point.
The breadth of human knowledge expanding in an instant.
Yesterday, wielding an Elder weapon was unthinkable.
Quellcrist Falconer just changed the course of history.
Dealing out real death, controlling an Orbital.
No person has ever possessed that much power with that much precision.
It's what we've been waiting for.
The Protectorate can't dictate terms whilst staring down fire.
Find me an Archaeologue.
I need an expert on Elder technology.
See if this means anything.
It will be difficult.
I need to know how she did it.
Falconer may be the first to master the Orbitals, but she won't be the last.
You have no idea what state he's in. Whatever it is, I need to find out.
Dig will monitor your brain waves. If it gets dicey, I'll pull you out.
I can't hold it.
Anil? - I'm getting a reading.
- Think it's Protectorate tech? How should I know?
Anil. - Are you sure it's safe?
We don't know what tech's on the other side.
My sister would know. She's a wizard with those coils.
You should've brought her. Nah. Trepp's no Quellist.
Only thing she believes in is herself and getting paid upfront.
That's not true.
What'd she say when you told her you were gonna join us?
I didn't. She spent her whole life putting up with my shit.
Besides, this is my chance to change the Settled Worlds.
Can't hold it...
- Look out! What the hell?
Call Kemp. It's Falconer!
He woke her up.
It's in me! Anil, don't!
can't hold it.
He found her.
It was Quell. What do you mean he found her?
She was in cryo.
All hell broke loose.
Something got in him and he... he couldn't hold it.
His mind... is broken.
Did he say anything else?
I tried... and he couldn't hear me.
There was screaming.
- You finally see me. To find Miss Falconer... or the dastardly sleeve-jacker who's inhabiting her.
Can you hear them? Do you hear the screams?
Someone else is riding her sleeve.
I can't stop it! I can't hold it!
I'm not here for you.
"I'm not here for you."
When we got here, you said someone else was riding her sleeve.
I was mistaken. What if you weren't?
Anil said something got into him.
What if it was someone?
Another consciousness invaded from the outside?
Two minds in the same stack?
It would explain her two personas.
You can't put two DHFs in one stack.
It would take everything to hold it, even her memory.
But Quell spent her entire life pushing the boundaries of the human mind.
If anyone could survive, it would be her.
If you are correct, perhaps it was not Miss Falconer who rained Angelfire down... but the invader.
If someone can get in, there must be a way to get them out.
We could use VR.
Build a construct.
Upload everything from Miss Falconer's stack, good and bad.
But the data's intertwined.
We'll tear her in half.
We could spin her down first.
Her DHF is connected to her organic sleeve, so it will lie dormant.
But the invader... It would remain in the construct.
We can build a firewall around it, leave it trapped in VR.
And what about Quell?
Then we spin her up.
It's brilliant. It's fucking insane.
What you're proposing could kill her. And if we do nothing?
Get started on the construct.
Time for my execution already?
Circumstances have changed.
You lost them. Again.
Bring them in and I'll commute your sentence.
You revived the most dangerous insurgency in the Settled Worlds.
You hoarded alloy from the Protectorate so you could profit off an inflated price.
The Protectorate was raping this planet.
They wanted us to bow and scrape when we own the most valuable resource there is.
Someone had to do something.
So you created a smokescreen.
Kemp was my creation, it's true.
But his followers are real.
Now, Falconer has returned, Angelfire in hand, with the Last Envoy at her side.
Do you know what that means?
They will reignite The Uprising.
Not if we stop them.
Your sham of a war is an insult to every soldier who died fighting it.
Why would I ever help you?
Because I know what you want...
I left that name behind a long time ago.
Not by choice. The Protectorate took it from you.
After you unleashed the Rawling Virus on Stronghold, you were supposed to be a hero, a legend.
Instead they made you nothing.
We have more in common than you think.
The Protectorate wants to make us small.
We are not.
This is your chance to finish your mission.
And if I refuse?
Then you're just another drone consigned to the dustbin of history.
But deliver Kovacs and Falconer to me, and every child on Harlan's will know of the great Jaeger.
I am offering you your legacy.
Hell, I'll make the damn statues myself.
I'll even let you keep that copy of Takeshi Kovacs you like so much.
He's in the medical bay as we speak.
He's yours... if you say yes.
Guess you got my message about closing the bar. That's good.
I found Anil.
What's left of him.
I was, um... too late.
I don't really know what to do now, um...
I just wanted to hear your voice.
Spot check. ONIs off.
It's okay. They just want to scan your stack.
I need you to go with them. What? Why?
Mom! Governor's orders.
No, I'm not leaving my son! He's going, too. Next!
I thought we'd both be arrested for double sleeving by now.
The Governor has other priorities.
She trusts me to execute mine.
Wanna tell me what happened?
Guess this fancy new sleeve paid off. Rapid healing kicked in.
I mean Kovacs.
You turned off your COMM, went dark.
I was a prisoner.
I needed to get them to trust me. I severed the link so they would.
You were with them in the woods. I was staying on mission.
Falconer torched me with Angelfire and left me for dead.
You really think I'd turn for her?
You did once before. What's to say you didn't do it again?
I'll prove my loyalty.
When I was tracking Kovacs, I came across his AI, put a tag in her code.
If Kovacs is out there, he'll need help.
We can use her to track him.
How are you feeling?
I'm almost through with the construct.
Then we can upload Miss Falconer's DHF.
I was inquiring about you.
Are you sure you're up to this?
Someone broke into her mind.
Whoever's in there has to pay for what they've done.
Perhaps I could be of assistance? It's too delicate.
We can't risk you glitching.
I can do this, Poe.
I have to.
Here. You can use these on Quell.
We're gonna need another set. I'm going in too.
Inside the construct?
There's gonna be someone in there. I can distract them, draw their focus, make sure they don't notice the firewall we're building.
I get you have a death wish.
But if you expose your DHF, whoever's in there can invade you.
Dig's gonna need time to work and I'm gonna give it to her.
And besides, I owe her a good fight, not just for Quell, but... for your brother too.
The construct's up and running.
Preparing for transfer.
We tracked your tag.
We can see the programs the AI's running, but the server location is encrypted.
Decrypt it. Break through the security protocols.
Colonel, that could take weeks.
What's that over there? A VR construct.
Looks like the AI is supporting it.
If we could get inside, establish a link, we could backtrace her server, find them in the real. I suppose that's possible.
I could upload your DHF, but you would have to find your own way around.
Send me in. I'll be the anchor.
Not alone. I'm going with you. You don't trust me?
I learn from my mistakes.
So do I.
For your sake, I hope that's true.
You don't have to call me that. You don't work for me anymore.
Yes. I'm well aware.
Oh, was that all?
Going to the Renouncers, that was a risk.
But you took it, just like you're taking one now.
And I know I've been impatient.
That's putting it mildly.
Okay. I've been an asshole.
But you still came.
Well, as you can see...
I'm rather invested.
Good. 'Cause I'm gonna need you.
Now, we both know my life isn't worth much, but hers is.
So I'm gonna trust you with it.
Poe, I need you to keep her alive.
I'm spinning her sleeve down.
Miss Falconer's DHF will be uploaded first, then yours.
It will be a neutral construct.
Whatever is inside her, it's still active.
Don't take me out until the firewall is finished.
So much for neutral.
I know you're in here.
Daddy? What's wrong?
We need light.
We're underground. Why would they build a construct like this?
Hold on, soldier. I'm taking lead.
Who are you?
Put that down, Tak. You know the rules.
No weapons in the nursery.
And you're supposed to be asleep.
Come here, girl. Get in this bed.
Come on. Night, night.
She's a little troublemaker.
Who do you think she gets that from?
You or me?
They said you'd be spun down.
They don't know what they don't know.
Look at her.
Children light the future.
Without them, everything is dark.
This isn't our future.
It could be.
Part of you wants it.
But Quell doesn't.
You aren't her.
You don't belong here.
You're so wrong.
I am the only one who belongs here.
The code, it's shifting. What about the firewall?
It's still here.
The progress I've made is intact.
I need to move faster.
Where are you?
- Mom? TJ?
What's going on? Why do you have on Ma's ONI?
They arrested us.
Honey, what's that around your neck?
The Governor's man put it on me.
He said all he has to do is blink and boom.
- Mom... You're okay.
I don't want to die again. I've already lost my sleeve once.
That is not gonna happen.
I am coming to get you. I am tracking your signal right now.
I have to go.
What is that?
Danica Harlan took Myka and TJ. They're being held here.
Alloy processing facility?
It was marked abandoned when mining was halted during the war.
There's security. It's obviously not abandoned.
I'm gonna need some leverage to even get close.
Ooh! What kind of leverage?
Say the most wanted man on the planet happened to show up.
Miss Trepp, you cannot be... His DHF is in virtual.
His sleeve is empty. He's not even using it.
And as you so astutely noted, Mr. Kovacs is a wanted man.
Swapping sleeves will only put yourself at risk.
That's the point.
The bounty for him is enough to open any door.
Miss Trepp, I will not allow...
Poe! My brother is lost!
He may never recover. I am not about to lose my wife and kid.
And he made me a promise.
I insist you return him in one piece, hmm?
I got it, Poe.
Don't scratch the paint.
You think you're helping her? You're not.
She'll lose and she'll die.
But where does that leave you?
She's the only one who can hold you.
I won't let you stand in the way.
Of what? Murdering the last Founder?
I hear Konrad Harlan is a tough man to find.
What did they do to you?
It must have been really bad for you to go through all of this.
You understand nothing.
I know she's in here somewhere.
I'll find her.
We're not done talking.
Now who's playing tricks?
Controlling a construct isn't a trick, it's a skill, one I learned from her.
I've seen what her mind contains.
We made a bargain, and I will take what I'm owed!
The code's slipping. You could be exposed.
- I can pull you out now. Negative. We're staying in.
Are you sure about that?
You've picked up a bad habit of questioning my command.
Maybe I should've questioned it sooner, like when you recruited me and told me you'd protect Rei?
I helped her.
Seems like we're all better off without your help.
I made it right.
Made sure she got everything she never had.
Why do it at all? He'd already turned his back on you.
You knew he chose Falconer.
Why help Rei?
Because I wanted him back.
Give her to me.
I can't do that.
Maybe you should just give up.
I'm not failing, I'm learning.
You think this primitive playground gives you power?
I know where she's been, what she's capable of.
I need her back!
Not until you tell me what the Founders did.
Why don't you give me the truth?
What makes you think you could see it? Try me.
You wouldn't know the truth if it was lying on top of you. She understood.
What did they do to you?
Trust me enough to tell me!
I call down fire.
I manipulate the alloy you seed in your bodies and rupture your veins from within.
I've been killed before. It didn't take.
What are you doing? You don't fear your own death.
What about hers?
I'm offline. She's going into cardiac arrest.
I will not allow you to die!
Uh, the construct, it's resetting.
What is it? There's some kind of lag in my system.
I can push past it.
Where did you get all this?
I thought our research was destroyed. We merely confiscated it.
When your dig sites were closed, we amassed quite a stockpile.
- My friends died. Your friends were a nuisance.
They should never have protested the mining of alloy.
The Governor thinks this may be of use.
You do realize this isn't the alphabet. These glyphs, they illustrate concepts.
Context is everything.
Caught him sneaking around. TJ!
Not a careful kid, is he?
Leave him out of this.
Tell us how to control Angelfire and we will.
Humans aren't capable of using Elder tech. It's too advanced.
Quellcrist Falconer is human. There must be a way.
I suggest you find it.
Or do I have to remind you of the technology that I control?
I need time. The Governor's on her way.
She's expecting an answer.
You can't bear the thought of losing her.
You say you want the truth.
Can you see it?
What are you?
These roots... are a network... that copy and store complex information.
Like your stacks.
Do you understand?
Your consciousness was in the Songspire.
When the miners broke through, it got out.
You burned right through them.
Your minds and bodies are so fragile.
They can only hold so much.
I'll have to account for that as I finish my task.
You're not human.
You're an Elder.
We need a hard reset to finish the mission.
No reset. I'm pulling you out.
You can't move. But you can.
He's just on the other side.
If I stay here, they can finish the backtrace, locate their server.
I trust you can find them.
The construct is unstable.
It doesn't matter what happens to me.
You hate him that much?
I don't hate him.
I've trained thousands of elite soldiers.
He was the only one who truly learned everything I had to teach.
He became his own man.
He could've been great, better than me, but...
he wasted it.
You can be different.
You can become who he should've been.
It's an order.
Pull me out of the construct. Now.
You thought we were gone.
You are not the first.
What is this?
I'm showing you what I showed her.
Are we sure they're alive?
They're definitely alive.
The planet survey said it was uninhabited.
We scanned for organic life-forms. Results were negative.
That was a scan of the surface.
The truth often lies beneath the skin.
We trained for first contact, Konrad.
Any sign of alien life would be put to the Protectorate.
And lose our charter?
Surely you're not suggesting...
I didn't give up half my life traveling just to pack up and get on the ship, did you?
You? What you're contemplating, it's genocide.
This is my world.
This symbol mark's a roost, a nursery.
Wascynski hypothesized that there were Elders who functioned as guardians.
They had an empathic connection to their offspring.
What the fuck does that have to do with Angelfire?
It doesn't. It doesn't?
I'm afraid you're gonna have to do better than that.
Hey, this area's off-limits.
The Last Envoy.
Damn right, I am.
There's a theory that Songspires were the basis for all Elder technology, including the Orbitals.
So it could be that the Elders had an empathic connection to activate these artifacts, but we just don't have the right minds to make them work.
This is my Archaeologue?
I'm telling you what I know.
They were a militaristic species.
Most of their texts described war. We just don't know who they're fight...
Stone, she needs to focus. Clearly the child is a distraction.
If you want to know something about Angelfire... why not ask the guy who lived through it?
This is a surprise.
Let them go.
People with guns to their stacks are in no position to negotiate.
I escaped The Circle and Angelfire. I'm not people. Now... why waste your bullets on them... when you can have the real prize?
So why not be smart this time and prove you're your father's daughter?
You know what Konrad would do? Stone, show the man.
It won't do anything. I'll just spin back up.
Yeah, but it'll still feel good.
That was for the Archaeologues.
I told you I was coming to get you.
I don't understand. How do you know my son?
Get me out of this thing.
Her pulse is weak. How much longer?
I'm almost there.
They killed your children.
They planted explosives and burned it all down.
That's why Quell went after the Founders.
She was helping you.
Now you know why I need her.
Repay my trust.
Give her back.
Your revenge, you deserve it.
Then release her.
You and I may be ghosts, but she's not.
You're no different than they are!
They're both crashing, Miss Dig. We're out of time.
Just... a few... more seconds.
I was wrong to trust you. All you deserve is death!
Quell. She's spinning back up. Just breathe.
It is complete. I'll show you.
The construct is resetting.
I'm taking her off ice now.
There she is.
Her DHF data is outside the firewall.
I'm transferring it back into her stack.
Quell, it's me.
What did you do?
The Elder, we got it out of you.
I was containing it.
No, it was killing you. You should've let it.
I made a promise.
My body and vengeance for her mercy.
Now... we'll all burn.
I'm picking up their signal. They're heading this way.
You good with this? Always.
How the hell did they even find us?
Don't worry, Miss Dig.
I won't let those blaggards hurt you again.
You were right. I should've combed over the files.
I just did a scan.
They put a tag in my system. They've been shadowing my code.
Poe... you have to power me down.
Surely there is something less extreme. It isn't your fault.
This is the only way to disable the link.
I led them here.
I won't let them use me to hurt you again.
We'll find each other when this is all over.
Wait for my mark.