Part Eight: Moral Panic
Colonial men build a barn and the narrator talks about how moral panic is defined as public anxiety or alarm. It start with concern, spreading from person to person and amplified by cultural forms. Rational concern becomes irrational fear, as people become afraid of something that they can't control, which spreads from person to person. Soon, colonial men are hanging women as witches as their reaction becomes excessive.
Farouk powers up a generator in the back of a car, and puts a tube in a tank of fluid under the hood. He then removes a coin from his mouth and parts it in a nearby machine. it starts up and pumps the liquid. David calls Farouk over an intercom and calls him out.
David waits in the dining room of a manor, and Farouk arrives. He points out that Amy locked David up in an asylum, and David insists that Amy was trying to help him and Farouk killed him. Farouk asks if David wishes horrible things on Amy, and reminds him that they have no secrets. David insists that they were just thoughts, but Farouk says that David wished her dead for stopping him from what he could be. He tells David to remove his mask and reveal his true face to others. Farouk tells David to take what he wants because he's a god. David says that he's done and he's not helping Farouk anymore. He promise to find Farouk's body and burn it. Farouk says that David isn't ready to sit with the big boys and says that he'll miss him and they'll meet again when he's back in his body.
Farouk disappears and David finds himself sitting at a kiddie's table. David tries to leave but the door is locked. He can see Amy through the keyhole, sitting in the next room. David appears in the room and hugs the comatose Amy, saying that he didn't want it. Farouk laughs through her and pounds on the table, and David orders him to stop. Furious, David tells Farouk to stop.
David lies in the suspension tank, staring at the ceiling.
Later, David lies in bed next to Syd's bed. She asks him if he wants to talk about Amy, and warns that Farouk wants David distracted. David agrees with her, and Syd asks him what her future self says about it. He says that they haven't talked about it, and Syd suggests that he does if he's not going to talk to her. Syd doesn't see a problem with it, and David says that he doesn't want her to be jealous. She wonders why she'd be jealous of herself, and wonders if David is physical with her. David figures that Syd is jealous, and Syd admits that it's weird. She suggests that they make some ground rules, and says that David can talk to Future Syd but not touch her. David assures Syd that he loves her, and she tells him to shut up when he asks if she's going to say it. After a moment, she says it.
Farouk sits in the back of his car, puts on a driving helmet, tells it to begin, and takes a drink. Carbon monoxide fills the car interior and Farouk' appears in a room. Future Syd comes in, and insists that Farouk loses in her timeline. Farouk says that they can cheat, and that "cheating" is defined by the state. He tells Future Syd that he is the state, and when he loses he wins. Future Syd tells Farouk that he can't hurt her there, and he says that they both want him to live so he has no interest in hurting her. He wonders why future Syd wants him alive, and Future Syd says that they need him. Future Syd corrects herself and says that she needs Farouk to stop the world from ending. He realizes that David destroys the world and chuckles at the idea that the hero is the villain and the villain is the hero. Future Syd suggests that they're all villains, and Farouk tells her that if David doesn't help him then Future Syd will and he will have to save the world... from David.
In her cell, Lenny looks at herself in the mirror and remembers how Amy was transformed into her. Syd looks in through the door's window and says that Lenny isn't Lenny or Amy, but just a distraction. Lenny agrees and says that they're going to be best friends, but Syd insists that it won't do. Going to the cell bars, Lenny says that Farouk raped her over and over again, keeping her trapped in the basement of his mind. Syd isn't impressed, and Lenny starts snapping her fingers as Syd closes the window.
Ptonomy stands in the void and finds a can dangling from a string. He calls into it but no one responds, and a room appears around him as something crawls into his ear. Ptonomy wakes up in his bed and pulls back the sheets. The Vermillions grab him, and Admiral Fukyama comes in and his basket fades away to reveal a bird head inside. Ptonomy screams for help but no one hears him.
Later, Ptonomy goes to Sid's room, whispers to an egg, and puts it on the nightstand next to Syd's bed. he then whispers into her ear as she sleeps, then whispers to the egg. After several such "conversations", the egg cracks open.
Clark is walking down the hallway when the Vermillions appear behind him. After a moment, he keeps walking but then turns and looks back. Each time they move a bit closer, and when he closes his eyes they are right next to him. Clark wakes up and finds a cracked egg on his nightstand.
Ptonomy meets with Clark in the cafeteria, and Clark tells him that Fukyama knows everything. He says that it's not safe anymore, as a Vermillion walks up to the cafeteria hallway window and looks at them. After a moment she moves on. In Fukyama's chambers, Fukyama watches them and then scans through the complex on his monitor.
David reenters the suspension tank and sends his mind to the room where Future Syd is waiting. She tells David that he has to stay focused, but David points out that Farouk mutilated Amy. Future Syd says that they lose without Farouk, and David figures that she's not his Syd. She says that she wants to be and kisses David's hand, and David pulls his hand back and says that he promised not to. Future Syd tells him to go, saying that she understands that she's asking too much. She says that he should live and make good choices, and maybe things will turn out different. David insists that it feels wrong helping Farouk, and Future Syd says that she'll miss him and they kiss.
Syd dreams of remembering that she's dreamed the same dream before.
The Vermillions remove Fukyama's basket and he lies down on the bed. A woman in a rocking chair next to his bed tells him to hush.
Clark, Kerry, and Ptonomy visit Syd, and she wonders what's happening to her. They take her to an elevator, and Clark says that Fukyama eats people and they're never seen again. Kerry insists that it won't happen to them, and they start suffering symptoms of a mental attack.
David finds an eggshell in the hallway and discovers that the floor is covered with eggshells. The elevator door opens and Kerry and Ptonomy emerge. The Vermillions are standing between them and Fukyama, and the Vermillions realize that Ptonomy and Kerry are ready for physical conflict and there's a 68% chance that they'll win. More Vermillions arrive, and Ptonomy opens fire, killing them. The Vermillions regenerate, and Kerry attacks them with axe, cutting them apart while Ptonomy continues firing.
Fukyama watches the battle on his monitor until Kerry kills the last Vermillion.
Syd and Clark go to Fukyama's chamber and says that they know, and order him to remove his basket. He does so, and the black nightmare creature emerges from his neck. When Clark tries to shoot it, David appears and transforms the gun into the mop. The Vermillions bring a captive Ptonomy in, and say that they're traitors working for Farouk. David immobilizes Clark and Syd, and realizes that they're infected. He reaches into Syd's skull and pulls out a miniature creature. There's another one in Clark's mind, and he removes it as well. David realizes that they're insanity, and Ptonomy goes into convulsions and collapses. A third much larger insanity creature bursts from his back and runs out the door. David crushes the two smaller creatures and runs out after it.
Kerry pushes off the Vermillions' bodies and see the creature down the hallway. David appears next to her and tells her that attacking it is a bad idea. The creature climbs the ceiling and passes them, and David tells Kerry to stay there as he goes after it.
The Vermillions conclude that Ptonomy is dying but they can save his mind. They take him to the mainframe and transfer his consciousness,
David follows the creature into the cafeteria, and engages it on the astral plane. He tells it that it picked a shitty time to attack them and the timing isn't good. David ask the creature to appreciate his situation and go back to where it came from, or he'll have to kill it. The creature growls at him, and David shrinks it down to a few inches tall puts it in a jar. After a moment, the creature explodes.
Future-Syd looks through a porthole, watching David as he sits in his room. the view changes to Syd, who is seated with the other sin he cafeteria.
The Narrator talks about how they become threatened, the ideas that they have become irrational.
The Vermillions clean up Fukyama's chamber.
Ptonomy lies in the mainframe, which appears as a forest. The tree that he's hooked up to glows with ones and zeroes. Ptonomy finds himself standing in a room, ad sees the woman in the rocking chair knitting. She looks up at him and motions to him to hush.
Written by Gadfly on May 16, 2018