August and Everything After
(When the Levee Breaks, When the Phone Rings, TBC)
Taking place a year after Epitaph Two: Return, in the year 2021 the world is beginning to rebuild itself. Echo and Alpha have reached the near end of their mission to destroy all remaining Rossum imprints. Adelle has taken over the Rossum enterprise, Tony and Priyah have found peace in California, and Mag and Kilo have taken over the old L.A. Dollhouse.
August and Everything After
Chapter 1: When the Levee Breaks
Tuscon, Arizona – Echo Industries (Formally Rossum Corporation Headquarters) – 2021
In an office, very similar to that which once belonged to Adelle Dewitt but with several differences, all the books were scattered across the floor with torn pages and crinkled clumps of paper were strewn about. The office was poorly lit but there was a lamp on the floor that had a light facing the center of the room. A desk was flipped on its side by the large window. The room was at least twenty stories above the street and it was evening. A man was screaming.
Alpha was in the center of the room and on his knees. He held both of his hands on his head and screamed as if he were on fire. Echo stood across from him near the window, and was holding a remote wipe gun* in her hands and pointing it at him. A flash filled the room.
A Few Hours Earlier
Alpha and Echo entered the clean office with the daylight brightening up the room. Alpha pointed to the bookshelf.
Alpha: "The bookshelf, inside the thick gray one titled ' Niche '. I'll get the one in the desk."
Echo approached the bookshelf and retrieved the gray book. Alpha moved across the room and pulled open the right top drawer. Inside there was a lock box with an imprint coder**. Echo opened the book and saw that it had been hollowed out and an imprint labeled Rossum O. Back-up 41 was inside. She pulled it out and smashed it on the ground without hesitation. Alpha lifted up the lock box and placed his finger on the technological screen.
Alpha: "Clever, clever."
His fingertip left a green print on the screen and it began to scan. Alpha felt a small jolt, before a small ding of success rang out and the screen read Imprint Confirmed, Matthew Harding Acknowledged. The screen rolled away and the contents of the lock box were accessible. There was an imprint labeled Rossum O. Alpha reached for it and his hand quickly tossed it across the room as if out of his own control. Echo looked over at him and ran over to the desk.
Echo: "Alpha? Is it Harding?"
He shook his head and then put a hand to his forehead as he called out in pain. With the other hand he tossed the desk on its side violently and began to shake as if taken by a seizure. Echo dodged the desk and ran to him to help but Alpha quickly threw her across the room and she crashed into the bookshelves along the adjacent wall. Books fell to the floor and he quickly stumbled to the center of the room as he tried to reach the imprint he had thrown. He then held his head with both hands and Echo got to her feet and ran to him. She knelt down and put a hand on his shoulder.
Echo: "What is it? What's going on?"
He looked into her eyes before pushing her hand away.
Alpha: "The scanner, it must have been tampered with. I think it is– some kind of virus. You, you need to use the remote wipe, -quick."
She backed off quickly and stood across the room. She pulled out the remote wipe and aimed at his face. She fired and there was a flash of white light.
Alpha screamed louder than before. She ran to him once more and he shook her off.
Alpha: "The –imprint, the imprint, first."
He moved his hand for only a moment in the direction of the imprint before returning it to his head and falling completely to the floor and writhing in pain. She ran over to it and smashed it quickly, then returned to Alpha who had now collapsed onto the floor. She lifted Alpha up, emphasizing one of her stronger personalities and ran for the door. They left the room and the last light in the room cracked before going out completely.
The chaos that was left of Arizona after the remote wipes went viral through the telephone had disappeared. The streets were clear and the humans walked about, as busy as ever to get on with their lives. A large screen on the outside of the Echo Industries building in the city displayed a commercial. In the commercial, there was Adelle Dewitt, looking healthier than she had in a year, and standing outside the old Rossum Corporation headquarters. Subtitles read, Here at Echo Industries, we strive to make your lives better. Here we seek knowledge and understanding. Here, we will save the world.
To be continued in Chapter 2: When the Phone Rings
*remote wipe gun – one of Alpha's early inventions based on that of Topher Brink and his previous works, with the single purpose of erasing a imprint from an individual whose mind had doll architecture. It does not have the ability to imprint, but with a simple pull of the trigger, can erase the imprinted doll from as many as 50 yards away.
**imprint coder – invention created by the Rossum corporation to protect their mass copies and originals of important imprints. It reads the imprint of those attempting to unlock it and if it is not that of a Rossum employee with proper access, it remains locked and sends out a virus to the doll. If it is that of the appropriate access, then the box unlocks, and if an "Actual" (never imprinted human) tries to activate it, they are denied.