Breakwall - 4.0 - Dead Memories
WHISPERS from THE DEEP
Breakwall - Episode 4.0 - Jonny and Waylon find themselves in Waylon's flightcar on the tail of their meeting, heading towards their job. Follow us on Twitter for news and updates. Join us on discord to hang out with cast and crew! Want to support the show? Please check out our Patreon as Cybernautica is 100% Fan Supported!
Cybernautica is intended for mature audiences on account of mature language, theme and violence. Please be advised that this episode includes traumatic flashbacks.
Abigail Turner as Jonny
Luke A. as Waylon
Forenza as Derby Bell
Dan Boud as the Narrator
Written, Designed and Edited by Damian Szydlo
Script Editing by Jupiter Sanders
Show theme by Doug Maxwell
Music and Sound Effects from Syrinscape, Fesliyan Studios & Audioblocks
[The sound of the Flightcar brings us in, finally Jonny speaks after this long pause.]
“You’re not very talkative, are you?”
“We… very rarely are. Perhaps a natural reaction. A consequence to being… what we are. Being here but at the same time… somewhere else. Sometime else. A feeling of deja vu. In addition, I also hate talking while I drive.”
“Yeah, yeah. Look, I don’t want to be rude or nothin’ but I’ve got to ask. Is it that you can see the future? Like visions or something? I swear I’ve spent over half my life here and I’m still trying to ‘get’ how all this psychic stuff even works. Can’t wrap my head around it, you know?”
Waylon’s webbed hands spin the steering wheel of his Flightcar with an almost unearthly, smooth efficiency that Jonny couldn’t help but appreciate. He let her words hang between them for the moment as he banked into a turn under the arch of the high-bridge that connected the twin spires of one of Arcadia’s tallest buildings. They called it ‘Haven’. An arcology for some of the districts remaining privileged hold-outs, a last bastion against what this place had become. She watched his expressionless face as the light from the skyscrapers they’d passed between briefly illuminated the cabin of the vehicle.
“Well, you’re full of surprises, aren’t you? Going off-road usually gets someone shot down, especially around here. Rich bloods don’t like us coming too close to their little clubhouse without business. You showing off, then?”
“Not showing off… A short cut. I wish for this exchange to be conducted as quickly as possible. No offense.”
In explanation Waylon reached up to tap a finger to a badge she hadn’t noticed; pinned to a plastic visor above his windshield next to the slot his holo-screen might slide down from, had he need of it.
[surprised and a bit off-put]
“You’re badged? Nick might have mentioned that.”
“A necessity. My vocation often means that I must access places in Arcadia not generally… accessible. If it is any comfort, my association with The Authority is nearly as mercenary as your business with Mr. Ballard.”
“Some short fucking relief that is. Also you didn’t answer my question.”
“It was my hope that you had forgotten. Very well. It is not that I can see the future. It is rather that I might look to the past. Specifically the past of… things. Objects... places. They are less ‘visions’ then they are echoes that I must… process. Trauma is an exceptionally difficult obstacle. A hurdle that in my line of work is all too common, if uncomfortable. You will understand soon.”
“Well, you’re not wrong about that. Holo-Comm’s showin’ we’ve just about reached our stop. Gonna want to pick a landing somewhere over by that cluster of buildings. See ‘em coming up on your left. Let’s stay clear of the canal, yeah? Too out in the open to land on the causeway.”
The investigator nodded in response to her directions as the grav-engine reversed it’s thrusters, beginning their descent to touch down on the roof of a building only half a block shy from the compromised safehouse Nick’s contact had been holed up in.
[Sound effects - Flightcar landing, doors open and Jonny and Waylon exit the vehicle.]
“Alright. We don’t know a lot about what happened here. Nick’s got hands on some reports logged in by the Authority who got called in to play clean-up. Two dead bodyguards and our man. Reports say the muscle was done dirty while the mark himself was put out cleanly. Professionally, for whatever that means. It’s the kind of piss poor detail you can expect from someone that’s not actually gonna follow up on a call. Fortunately that means the Authority isn’t likely to be back. I’m going to be straight with you, I usually like to do a bit more legwork then this when I know someone with skills spread someone's brains out for ‘em but we haven’t the time for it.”
“Understood. I will require… uninterrupted access to the crime scene.”
[Playfully cocky tone]
“That’s why Nick got you the best in the business, ‘detective’. Best let me go first. If a pro was on this hit then they might have left some surprises behind incase of a follow up. I’ll let you know when the coast is clear. You just do your best not to get too lonely up here while I’m gone.”
She gave Waylon a wink before turning to hop from the ledge of the two-story building they’d landed on, her long-coat billowing up around her as she touched down upon the grated causeway that followed the length of the canal. Barely missing a step, Jonny started forward; minding to stay to the cover of walls and other visual obstacles as she bridged the remaining distance to the safehouse. Police holo-tape sectioned off the front door of the building from general access though she noted the windows were left unguarded. Without missing a beat she lobbed a palm sized metal ball through a broken window pane before dropping down, her back against the wall under the window’s ledge.
[Sound effect - a pop like an exploding lightbulb accompanied by the sound of a static discharge comes from inside the building]
An Electro-Pomp was an expensive way of making sure that you weren’t walking into any unfortunate surprises. Jonny liked blowing such an expensive little trinket nearly as much as she ‘enjoyed’ the permeating charge of dissipating static electricity or the stink of burnt wires and smoldering plastic it left behind. She liked walking into a room rigged with explosives or full of shadowy hitmen even less. Truth be told she had no idea how these things even worked and she didn’t need to. Understanding the science of it was hardly necessary as the discharge was already transmitting a detailed map of every surface inside the dark building to her Holo-Comm. Pulling said device from her jacket; the soft glow of the projected image illuminated her relieved face as she noted no immediate alerts.
“Waylon. Pomp’s coming up clean. You’re clear to come on down.”
Jonny was already clearing the remaining glass from the window by the time the detective had joined her. A wry smirk flashed across her face as she bade Waylon to climb through the window and take the lead. She would of course be one step behind him.
[Climbing through the window]
“Alright. Let me get the lights, then.”
[Sound of a heavy switch being thrown after a moment of searching - a room with bloodied patches on the walls and floor greets them, seems only the bodies were removed, otherwise the crime scene is uncleaned.]
“Fuck me, that’s a lot of blood. The report said the killing shot looked professional but… there's nothing professional about any of this from what I see.”
“You’re… not wrong. Three bullets in the wall. A wide spread and a low calibre. Whoever killed that one was pulling the trigger in frenzied succession. An unpracticed shooter. I fear that the report left out some… important details.”
Moving over to a large bloodstain on the floor, he knelt down beside it before touching two fingers to the sticky still-damp surface. Lids flickered sporadically over large, black eyes as the Mer seemed to struggle to focus, as if someone was shining a flashlight at him.
“Confusion. A father thinking about his daughter. Contemplates leaving this life. Knows he won’t. He looks up from the magazine he’s reading on his holo-comm. Gunshots and pain. He will not believe that this is how he dies. His eyes close as his mouth fills with blood. He is dead.”
[Sounds of Waylon walking as he stands up.]
“Well. That was unnerving, to say the least.”
“I assure you, the experience is also as uncomfortable as you might imagine. I believe that your contact is the one who killed this one. Inexperienced hands flooding the air with panicked shots. I do not need my gifts to surmise that he moved from this kill to the other room where he would repeat a similar act, this time at a greater cost to himself.”
[More walking. Waylon’s tone is matter of fact]
“He meets his other bodyguard here, but this one would be ready. Two bullets in the wall over there. Your man would take gunfire in return this time, the trail of blood in the other room was his own. Now the only question that remains is why.”
Jonny could only follow after the detective as he worked, watching while he pieced together the scene through a mix of old fashioned investigation and dead memories. Whatever she’d expected from this job and the psychic ability Waylon commanded… it hadn’t been any of this. She hadn’t expected that he’d ‘feel’ what these men had experienced. It was utterly macabre but yet at the same time incredibly sad. The trauma that Waylon was subjecting himself to while remaining ‘together’ was… well, as impressive as it was tragic. Much like that first patch of blood, he settled down beside the smear he’d identified as belonging to their man before slipping once again into the past.
“Hands slick and dripping. Dripping like water but… it’s not water. Blood. Trying to stand but he slips. Again and again. Panic, he’s scrambling. Can’t regain his footing so he crawls. Hysterical; begs wordlessly for his mother but she passed from this world eight years ago. Coughs up more crimson. Note: The blood is his. Shot through the chest two times. He’s dying. His hands drag down the door as strength fails. A shot rings out. He dies.”
[snaps out of it] I’ll need more time. This is not an exact science. One thing I do know is that the panic was influenced. Someone was… controlling his instincts… forcing his will.”
“Alright. I’ll be… over here if you need me. You just take whatever time you need. That… couldn’t have been easy.”
His only response was a slight nod before entering into a trance once more, muttering to himself while he sifted through scattered moments. All she could do now was wait, unable to do anything more than watch the man suffer through this ordeal. What she did know for certain was that this had to be the answer as to why she hadn’t ever met any psychic who was tuned the way Waylon was.
[WAYLON - If you can record some unclear mumbling, as if you’re reading a book to yourself, that’d probably work really good here - I’ll lace it behind the track]
[There is a knocking on the door of the building]
“Shit. Looks like we’ve got a caller. I’ll take care of it.”
Johnny drew her Moray pistols before moving towards the door in slow, silent steps.
[Stops mumbling, his voice now clear though he is not yet aware of what’s going on in the room.]
“He knows. Realization as he pulls the trigger on his bodyguard. The operation: Compromised. Of course it would be, he thinks. Estella Morgan… too valuable. They’d never let her go without a fight. Frustrated. These delays had cost him his life. She’s coming. I… know you. [Snaps out of it again]. Get down, now. The knocking is a sensory illusion, she’s [cuts off].”
[Action sound effects as Jonny dives to the floor, submachine gun fire ripping through the walls. The shooting stops.]
The hail of bullets had barely stopped before the assassin had leapt through the open window, a graceful headfirst dive that shifted into a roll as she tossed her empty submachine gun away mid-flight. In a near instantaneous flash the figure sprung up, a katana seeming to leap into her control as she spun into a slash meant to take Waylon’s life. A vicious and deadly dance; one that would have no doubt been successful if not for a collision with Jonny’s cyberarm; the merc putting herself between the life and the lifetaker. With a roar, Jonny pushed back on the assassin, her sword grinding and scraping along the surface of the armored cyberlimb, forcing the attacker to give ground.
It seemed there was some joy to this for the assassin, Jonny could see it in her eyes as she extended her free hand to unleash a telekinetic push that flung Waylon across the room and into a wall. With one final shove, Jonny sent the attacker sliding backwards. Much to her surprise, the killer didn’t immediately retaliate but rather slid her half mask down to reveal a rakish smile as she regarded her opponent.
“That was pretty fast. I like it. Let me guess, Adrenal Pump? Actually, don’t answer, I can see it in you. The twitch. You’re Jonny, aren’t you?”
“What’s it to you? Look, are we going to stand around tongue waggin’ or are we gonna do this?”
[Derby continues to pace, letting the tip of her sword trail the ground. She finally speaks, her tone somewhat predatory.]
“Why not indulge both? The night’s so very young.”
“Dangerous talk, that, but unlike you I’ve got places to be.”
Raising her pistols without any more ceremony, the smooth discharge of the mag rounds leapt out from their barrel only to be impossibly deflected mid air by the assassin as she lunged towards the ground and into a low stance, freehand trailing above her to telekinetically redirect the bullets to punch large holes through the ceiling above. It was now Jonny’s turn to curiously analyze her opponent, eyes squinting and guns trained and ready on trigger.
Taking a moment to slide her half mask back in place, the intruder readied herself to spring into action for what would be a killing assault; she envisioned the tip of her curved blade moving up past Jonny’s less than complete defences. She could almost feel it, the merc’s warm blood running over the pommel of her blade as it slid through flesh and past bone. The image was so complete and certain in that split second that it was nearly reality.
Except that it wasn’t. Instead a wave of emotion pounded through her mind, washed over her thoughts and stripped bare her will. Unspeakable… unbelievably maddening anguish tore into her psyche; forcing her to lose control of her body as she was tossed down to roll across the ground: thrashing uncontrollably before colliding against the door to the building. The assassin could feel the delayed sights of those Moray pistols on her as she fought desperately for control. She was sure, past the pain of the mental assault she was enduring, that the only reason she was alive was because Jonny had no idea what she was seeing. It was that damned fish man, she cursed; screaming internally while she beat her palms raw against the floor. Finally, by force of will she clumsily sprung to her feet to threw herself through the door. With shots sounding out behind her she stumbled onto the causeway before splashing down into the murky canal. Jonny was only a moment behind her but it was a moment too late.
From the doorway of the building, Waylon held himself up, blood trickling down from a nasty head-wound he’d taken in his collision with the room's wall. Jonny was already removing her long coat and getting ready to jump into the canal after her foe.
“It’s no use. I’m afraid… we’re not going to find her in there.”
“Bullshit. I was only a step behind her. She couldn’t have made it far. Not with whatever it was you did to her. [struggling] Just let me get… off this… boot.”
“It is not that I doubt your resolve… It is that your mind has clearly not been conditioned to resist psychic intrusion. You’re chasing a ghost.”
“So what then, we just let her go!?”
“We finish your job. I now know who Mr. Ballard is looking for. The Utopian Society is looking to extract Estella Morgan… or more specifically her only living clone. Miss Morgan’s clone is of course the heir to Inter-Call’s fortune, if you were unaware.”
“You’re sure? Looks like there’s a hell of a lot more than I thought riding on whatever all this… is. To keep a talent like that on call to deal with a follow up that may never have come? We’re going to need to move fast on this.”
“Correction. ‘You’re’ going to need to move fast. My part of this deal… as you mercenaries might say… is done. Now, the information I was promised.”
“Fair. Take it… you’ve more then earned it. For what it’s worth, I hope you make right whatever it is that’s eatin’ you. I hope you find that girl.