Disclaimer: I don't own Dollhouse.
Chapter 5: When August Comes
August and Everything After
(When the Levee Breaks, When the Phone Rings, When Desperate and Dying, When They Reach the Brink, When August Comes, When More Explanation is Needed, 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 5: When August Comes
Los Angeles – Dollhouse – 2021
Echo leaned against the wall of Mag's office with her arms crossed against her chest. Whiskey sat on the floor with her legs crossed and Mag sat in her wheelchair at the open doorway between the office and Alpha's current resting place. Kilo moved about as if getting ready to explain herself. A blank Topher sat in a swivel chair and watched intently as Kilo spoke.
Kilo: "I created something, me, on my own. "
Mag was clearly taken aback by the remark.
Mag: "You turned him into a doll?"
Kilo gave an exasperated sigh as if clearly misunderstood.
Kilo: "No, don't you remember? The time I spent to finish building it. A machine that can read cell memory, and rebuild what once was. I needed to test it."
Echo: "Why Topher?"
Kilo: "I thought it would be better, because I already had easy access to his cells."
Mag: "You what?"
Kilo looked to Whiskey for a moment.
Kilo: "The timing. His cells were dying, and I had finished it. He would have suppor-"
Echo: "No, Kilo. Topher is dead, and if he lived, this is exactly the thing he would not support –not anymore."
Then for a few moments, everyone just stared at this doll that so greatly resembled Topher. He sat on the chair and took turns examining them all as they gazed at him with sad eyes.
Topher: "Who is Topher?"
Echo dropped her folded arms and moved closer to him.
Echo: "He was my friend."
Echo turned from the face of an old friend and walked into Alpha's room. Mag rolled out of the way and remained in her office with the two dolls. Kilo then went to follow before being stopped by Mag's voice.
Mag: "You could have told me."
Kilo then left the room and the door closed behind her. Inside Echo sat beside Alpha who was still unconscious.
Echo: "You had the nerve to ask me what Dewitt would do."
Kilo: "You two are closer than she and I."
Echo put her hand on Alpha's shoulder before looking back to Kilo.
Echo: "I get that you were making a scientific breakthrough. Sure, but why make him a doll? Why not just let him live?"
Kilo looked down at her feet as she spoke.
Kilo: "There was an unforeseen variable."
Echo: "A what?"
Kilo: "When his brain reformed, I thought it would be fresh. I thought it would be new. I didn't take into account just how extensive the cell memories were. I had forgotten how strong the human mind is."
Kilo looked up to Echo with eyes that had begun to swell with anger, but mainly guilt.
Echo: "He was in pain."
Later, in Mag's office
Echo and Kilo sat on the couch against the window in Mag's office. Echo looked at the almost Topher while Kilo gazed off behind her.
Whiskey walked over to a small refrigerator beside the low desk against the wall. She opened it and pulled out a bottle of water. She then turned and handed it to the seated doll.
Whiskey: "Here August, it is important that we try to be our best."
Los Angeles – Dollhouse – 2019
Echo paced across the floor of the main room. Mag sat above the steps in her wheelchair and Kilo walked into the room with a bandage around her arm.
Echo: "Can you honestly believe it? I don't understand why he didn't just stay here and now this."
Kilo looked off at Mag who shrugged in confusion.
Mag: "What is it? Is it Rossum?"
Echo stopped pacing and gave a sigh, as if she had completely forgotten about Rossum's potential lingering threats.
Echo: "It's Alpha."
Kilo walked up to a sofa in the main room and sat down.
Kilo: "I thought he ran off, went underground or something."
Echo: "Well I guess it wasn't deep enough. Zone sent word that there is serious talk about people disappearing.
Kilo: "Well, yeah. They are probably people just beginning to realize how many people were lost in the battles waged between the butchers* and the actuals**."
Echo shook her head as if Kilo wasn't getting it and continued with an explanation.
Echo: "No. These are recent, and a body was already found. The girl's face was sliced to ribbons and she had the greek letter for Alpha etched into her wrist."
Kilo: "Is it really his style to brand them with his name? Besides, if he went up with the rest of the dumbshows***, then why isn't he his original self?"
Echo: "Alpha's original was a serial killer named Carl, who liked to cut up faces. I would've told him to stay, but I thought, because he was like me..."
Echo looked up at the room where the chair still waited to imprint others.
Kilo: "You thought he wouldn't change."
Echo sighed again.
Echo: "I don't know what I thought, but whatever it was, I was wrong. I need to handle this."
Kilo: "What about the year of staying underground? What if you get some of the bounce back and become Caroline?"
Echo: "I need to take that risk. Kilo, you've been downloaded on genius tech, right? That means you can destroy it. I'm putting you two in charge of tearing the evil right out of this place from top to bottom. You are in charge while I'm gone."
Mag: "What about Tony and Priyah?"
Echo: "They have enough to deal with, rebuilding some sense of normalcy in their lives. Stay out of their way, and if they need you to do anything, do it. I don't know how soon I'll be back, but when I come back, the tech should be gone."
Kilo rolled her eyes, clearly displeased with the decision, but it was only moments later that Echo was scaling the stairs and on her way out. Mag looked up at Kilo who put a hand on her shoulder and smiled.
Mag: "I guess, I'll sweep this level for tech."
Kilo: "I'll hit the upper offices."
Mag: "You have to keep underground."
Kilo: "Right, I'll stick with Topher's old office and the chair."
Kilo walked off and looked back at Mag who rolled away in her chair. Kilo then walked upstairs and got onto the elevator.
Kilo: "Going up."
Los Angeles – Dollhouse – 2021 – Later
In a large room on a lower level of the Dollhouse then even Echo had been to, A giant mechanized glass case, almost resembling that of a coffin, sat against the far wall. Computer screens lined the bordering walls and a closet door stood next to the entrance where they had all come in. Whiskey sat in a chair in front of the glass case and the man that looked like Topher sat beside her. Echo just looked at him, examining him and his blank eyes. Kilo looked nervously at Echo, ready to take the defensive.
Kilo: "Echo, before you say..."
Echo cut her off.
Echo: "This is it then? How did you do it?"
The question caught Kilo off guard, but she straightened herself and explained.
Kilo: "The glass case in the back is a machine. I built it. It reads DNA, evaluates it, and fills in the blanks. I've been calling it the Reconstitution Machine."
Echo walked closer to the man that looked like Topher and continued to stare at him as she spoke. He stopped looking at Whiskey and began staring right back at Echo. He tilted his head slightly.
Echo: "So, you are saying that you took Topher's DNA and rebuilt his body using this machine?"
Kilo leaned against the closet door.
Echo: "Is he the real thing, or a clone?"
Kilo: "Technically, he is both."
Echo: "You are an idiot, to turn Topher into a doll."
Doll: "Topher was your friend."
Whiskey looks down at her feet as she swivels her chair, his name clearly phases her, however slightly. Echo flinches at this man's words.
Echo: "Yes, Topher was my friend. I'm Echo, who are you?"
Doll: "I am called August."
To be continued in Chapter 6: When More Explanation is Needed
*butcher – after the remote wipes went viral, a portion of the population was imprinted as killing machines. They became known to the 'actuals' as 'butchers'.
**actuals – the remote wipes went viral through a mass telephone call, and anyone who answered the phone became a doll for Rossum. Anyone left with their brain intact, and without doll architecture, became known as an 'actual'.
***dumbshows – after the remote wipes went viral, those who were wiped and given doll architecture without any imprints were left to wander the world as relatively mindless 'dumbshows.'
A/N: Uploading every week became a bit of a fantasy, didn't it? Well I would like to write this story to the end. Hopefully I'll be able to get some more chapters out to you all soon. :)