17 Years Ago: Salt Lake City, Utah
Martha and Todd throw a birthday party for their infant son Elliot. They continue to celebrate his birthdays, each year serving a cake with an eye on it and praying to the Shadow. As Elliot grows younger, his parents tattoo inscriptions on his body. When Elliot turns 12, he wonders when he gets to save the world and Martha tells him "soon", when the Book on his skin is finished.
A hooded Martha and Todd bring Elliot his birthday cake. When Martha goes to get a knife, Todd tells Elliot to run because he's there to end the world. Martha comes back and cuts her husband's throat, and then tells Elliot that the Book is complete and it's his day to save the world. Frightened, Elliot runs upstairs to his room and Martha screams at him to come back down and eat his cake.
In a motel room in Reno, Nevada, Willoughby Kipling sits and looks at a group of clocks ticking. He makes a voice journal that the Cult of the Unwritten Book is active again and figures they might actually pull it off and the signs are everywhere.
In Babia, Spain, Father Cuevo bleeds from his palms in the middle of a baptism.
The clocks all ring at 10:18 and Willoughby begins a magical ritual using a book.
Light beams out of Cuevo's stigmata.
Three Little Sisters of Our Lady of the Razor cut holes in the wall of the motel room and come in. Willoughby finishes the ritual and the three intruders are pulled into the book.
Cliff looks at his crying baby daughter Clara and picks her up. He sees his Robotman face in the baby's mirror, and screams in terror... and wakes up on the couch. Clara asks if she can nap with him, and Cliff holds her.
Robotman wakes up from his memories and finds himself holding Jane. Hammerhead screams at Cliff not to touch her and yanks away, and walks out.
The negative being sets a tape to playing and reenters Larry's body. Larry wakes up and sees the tape of Niles interviewing him about his life before he was disfigured, including John. Furious, Larry turns off the player and walks out.
Cliff asks Hammerhead why Jane was in her room, and Hammerhead says that Jane was taking a timeout and Baby Doll came to Cliff's room. She tells Cliff that it's about Paraguay but refuses to explain.
Later, Vic holds a team briefing and says that they need to figure out what dimension Niles is in. Jane points out that they're not a team, and he points out that they all want to find Niles. Rita comes in and Vic explains that he didn't invite her because after their last conversation, he thought she didn't want to be involved. Rita walks out, furious, and Vic goes back to his briefing. Afterward, Rita complains to Larry that he didn't stand up for her. He explains that he doesn't want to be involved but the negative being has other ideas.
Willoughby comes in calling for Niles, saying that the Cult is on the march. Larry tells him that Niles isn't there and Rita suggests that Willoughby leave a message. Willoughby tells them to tell Niles that the world is about to end and explains that he's big in the world of strangeness.
The team joins Willoughby in Niles' office, and explains that the Cult wants to bring about the end of the world. Once they complete the Book, the Cult will read it and summon the Decreator, which will unmake the world. He finds a case of coins and explains about the Ladies, and says that it's sign that the Book is close to being finished. Willoughby takes out a coin and says that the Book is a person and they need to find him, and the oracle Baphomet is coming and will tell them where the Book is. The coins glows and the horsehead of Baphomet appears with a spike in its forehead. Baphomet sings about Eliot--the Book--and how he was raised in Salt Lake City. The oracle says that time isn't on their time.
Out in the hallway, the team discuss whether they should get involved. Vic confirms that Willoughby is a member of the Knights Templar and a chaos magician, but there are gaps in his past. Larry believes Baphomet, and Willoughby joins them and tells them to get a move on. Vic tells Willoughby that they're in, and Willoughby opens a portal to the Book. Jane goes through and the others follow her through except Rita. The group comes back a few seconds later with Elliot and tell Willoughby to close the portal. Martha comes through with a knife and Jane shoves her back through. Willoughby closes the portal and puts a cloaking spell on Elliot to hide him from the Cult.
Willoughby takes out a blowtorch and says that it's time to kill Elliot. The others refuse but Willoughby says that if he's being read then it's the end of the world. The only other way to stop the Cult is to close the gates in Nurnheim, the ghost of a city destroyed centuries ago. The Cult comes from Nurnheim, and Willoughby explains that the "gate" is stigmata on a person's hands. As the gates open, more assassins are unleased like the Little Sisters. The only way to close the gate is to find the person with the stigmata and sew the wounds shut. Rita admits that she can knit, and Willoughby produces some of Janis Joplin's dental floss for the strongest spiritual thread in the world to sew the gates shut. He tells them to find the person and close the gates, and Robotman insists on going with Hammerhead. Vic, Larry, and Rita wills stay there and protect Elliot. Willoughby uses "knowing gum" to find the gates and learns that the person is in Babia.
Flit takes herself and Robotman to Babia, and Robotman asks Hammerhead what "Paraguay" means. She finally tells him that Robotman is a monster, and Robotman points out that she's just aggressive as he is. Hammerhead says that she exists for a reason and asks what his excuse is.
Willoughby tells Larry and Vic that they need to be ready if Robotman and Jane fail. Vic secures the perimeter while Larry stays close to Elliot. Willoughby goes to get hot sauce, and Rita tells Vic that none of them are heroes and Vic can't make them into something they're not. She figures that he has something to prove, and Vic says that the negative being is a hero even if Larry isn't. Rita warns that the being might be insane.
Robotman and Jane enter the church and hear Cuevo praying. They look for him and Hammerhead wonders how many lives were ruined there. Robotman finds Cuevo in the confessional booth staring at his glowing hands. Hammerhead grabs Cuevo and yells at him that she's going to help him like he helped all the people that trusted him. She screams that "she" trusted Cuevo, and Robotman stops her and says it isn't about what happened to Jane.
Cuevo's hands glow, transporting Robotman and Jane to Nurnheim. It's a ghost city filled with white ash, and Penny Farthing takes over. Penny apologizes for Hammerhead bringing them there, and says that Hammerhead has been "relieved". A red-hooded man walks up and says that they have no business there, and tells them to come with him. Penny walks over to join the man, and another hooded man jabs Robotman in the back with a mystical staff. The men toss Jane and Robotman in a cart and take them to a church in the center of town.
Willoughby prepares a ritual using the hot sauce and rosaries to create a barrier. He uses an incantation using backward Beatles' lyrics, and Elliot wonders if it will save him. Willoughby tells him that he's done the best he can and the team is incompetent, and wishes everyone luck.
As Vic checks his internal weaponry, Willoughby tells him that his friends closed the gates. He pours himself a drink over Vic's objections, and warns that they're going to have to kill Elliot if their magic and science don't work. Vic refuses to kill Elliot and can't believe Niles would associate with someone who would kill a boy. Willoughby says that the Niles he knows would kill a boy to keep the world spinning and can live with the decision even if he's forever haunted by them, and says that Vic might live long enough to learn a few things.
Elliot looks at a photo of his family and his home on the phone, and says that they fixed it up together. He wonders if his parents loved him, and explains that they told him he'd be a hero and save the world. Larry says that "hero" is a title that other people hang on someone and they have to carry it around, and explains that he tried to be a hero once and destroyed everything he had. He tells Elliot that he has to be true to himself while it took Larry a lifetime to figure it out. Larry says that Elliot should have a little faith, and Elliot says that he saw his mother kill his father and maybe he should kill himself and end it.
The being emerges from Larry, opens the door, and steps back. Elliot walks out, and the being props Larry up in front the player and turns on the video again. Larry wakes up and realizes that Elliot is gone, and ask the being if it wants the world to end. On the video, the being emerges under Niles' prodding, and Larry watches as Niles takes out a device allowing them to communicate. The being enters the device and says that it sustains itself through torture. The device burns out before Niles can ask anything else. Larry reruns the tape and looks at his chest.
Rita finds Elliot sitting on a windowsill. He wonders why he's fighting destiny when he could just kill himself, and Rita points out that they're on the second floor. Elliot admits that he's too weak to even try, and Rita tells him that it's going to be okay and asks him to come back inside. After a moment Elliot takes her hand and goes back in, and Rita tells him that he doesn't need the burden of ending his life. She admits that they may not be able to save him but asks for the chance to try.
Penny wakes up and wakes up Robotman. Martha and Todd's corpse are there, dressed as giant clowns and sitting on thrones in the front of the church. Martha says that they can stay as their guests, and explains that they are the Archons: High Priests of Nurnheim. Cliff recognizes Martha from Doom Manor, and he realizes that they're Elliot's parents. Martha says that they have ascended for protecting the Book and been rewarded, and that Todd's suffering was brief. Once the Decreator arises, all of them will ceases to be. Robotman says that it won't happen, and Mother Archon tells them that they're too late because they will read the Book. When Robotman points out that Elliot is under a cloaking spell, Mother Archon tells him that they see everything.
Larry tells Vic that Elliott left and he's just as screwed up as Larry is. Rita comes in with Elliot and says that the boy is fine, and she thought Willoughby could save him. The windows rattle and Willoughby says that they're there. Rita takes Elliot back to the lab and Larry guards the hallway. As Rita and Elliot go into the lab, she breaks one of the rosaries.
Vic activates a sonic cannon and Willoughby conjures a flaming sword. The Dry Bachelors--assassins made out of dead skin and letters that were never sent--break into the study.
More Dry Bachelors attack Larry, and the being doesn't come out. The Bachelors tackle Larry and the being emerges and tears them apart.
Elliot realizes that it's hopeless to put the rosary put back together, and Rita says that she was going to leave when Elliot stopped her. Rita insists that she's trying to be a good person and Elliot is ruining her moment, and yells at him to pick up the beads. He goes back to work.
Vic and Willoughby continue destroying Bachelors. The remaining Bachelors retreat, and the Hoodmen--the royal guard of Nurnheim--come in. Willoughby shoves Vic at them, and as they stun him with their staffs Willoughby walks out.
Willoughby arrives at the lab and attacks Rita. She elongates and shoves him back, and Willoughby tells her that she has to kill Elliot because there's too many of them. The Little Sisters cut their way in, grab Elliot, and leave with him before Rita can stop them.
Vic activates an ionic grenade, destroying the Hoodmen.
In Nurnheim, Mother Archon says that they have the Unwritten Book. Robotman says that she's a lousy parent and he would know, and Mother Archon tells him that she was a good custodian of the Book. She explains that there's only perception: the way they see things, the way they see themselves. Robotman finds himself as Cliff while Jane sees all of her personas reflected on the tiles. Mother Archon says that there's also how they see each other, and Robotman finds himself back in his robot body, his hands covered in blood. Jane turns into Clara, and Robotman begs Mother Archon to make it stop. She makes Robotman appear as a brain, and Jane's baseline persona--Kay Challis--as a scared and wounded child. Mother Archon promises that they will all see the same thing because the Decreator will make everything nothing.
In the study, Vic recovers. A snow globe with Nurnheim inside sits on a nearby desk, and Vic goes to find Willoughby.
Outside the manor, the Little Sisters read the words on Elliot. Above them in the sky, the eye of the Decreator opens. Vic and the others come and realize that they're too late.
Written by Gadfly on Mar 9, 2019