In order for my ending to be coherent, I must first alter one scene in the movie, as follows.
"You have to deny this reality before you return to your own," Harry said calmly.
Douglas' eyes twitched as he looked from Harry to Melina, whom was firmly shaking her head, muttering "no, no, no," but kept her eyes and gun steadfastly upon the man Douglas believed to be his friend for years. His heart beat loudly in his ears, quickening in pace until he felt his own gun, which was also pointed at Harry, beat faster and faster with him in his moist hands.
Harry rolled his eyes. As fast as lightning, Harry had taken Melina's gun from her hands and pointed it straight at her.
"WHOA, WHOA! WHAT ARE YOU DOING, HARRY? Huh? What are you DOING, Harry?!" Douglas screamed nervously, shifting his weight between his feet.
But Harry grinned and handed Melina's gun back to her. "Now, would I have done that if this was real life? Think about it, man. I'm sitting right beside you at Rekall waiting for you to wake up. So is Lori. She loves you, man."
Douglas looked out of the glass wall opposite him where no less than fifty synthetic police guards pointed their weapons at the three of them, waiting for orders. Among them stood Lori – beautiful Lori – looking lost and scared and worried. Just the sight of her made Douglas think back to his old life, when things had been dull but easy, where he didn't fret about his own life (let alone others') on an hourly basis. Lori looked from one robot to another, her eyebrows raised in uneasiness, a large beige blanket wrapped around her delicate shoulders.
Delicate? What am I thinking? This woman just tried to kill me!
"We miss you. You can come back to us and this will all be over," Harry was saying. He sounded so sure, so normal. And Lori looked so concerned.
But Melina kept saying "No – he's lying –"
"All you have to do is deny this reality and you'll wake up at Rekall. You have to shoot Melina." Harry said, unblinkingly.
"No! Carl, he's lying! Don't listen to him! This is a plot by Cohaagen! They want you to kill me. Kill me and go silently with them. They'll take you away, too! Don't listen to him, Carl!"
"I know that's asking a lot, Doug. But she isn't real. Those Rekall bastards did too good of a job. If you don't wake up now – if you don't shoot Melina – you'll be trapped here forever. You'll lose your mind. You won't wake up. Shoot her, Doug." Douglas' hand shook.
"Carl – "
Harry fell to the floor, his jacket streaming quietly with crimson blood from his neck.
"My name… is Carl." Carl said, taking Melina's hand. She embraced him. He could feel her elevated heart beat against his chest. He looked sadly at Harry's fallen figure and saw something flash across his face. What was that? It happened again – Carl could see different faces glitching where Harry's head should have been. Carl looked again at Harry's bloody neck and saw the silver face-changing device he had used earlier in the airport. Sonofabitch.
Outside, Lori dropped the blanket in a burst of anger, grabbed her gun from her holster, and kicked the glass in. She and all of the other guards marched towards them.
"Shit!" Carl said. "That's our cue!"
The action continues as it does in the movie until we reach the scene when Mathias has been trapped and duped by Cohaagen.
"I've finally done it," Cohaagen congratulated himself, backed up by five UFB guards. Cohaagen looped his thumbs in the belts of his bulletproof vest and allowed himself a short bark of laughter. "I've caught the elusive Mathias! Your pitiful attempt to resist my forces has been ever so annoying and now I can finally squash you like a bug." He pulled out a hand pistol, aiming it straight towards Mathias' head.
"No!" Hauser yelled, straining against the two guards holding him back. Melina similarly struggled, but fell silent swiftly as the larger of the two guards restraining her pulled her arms back further and more painfully behind her.
"It's alright, Carl," Mathias told Hauser, staring determinedly at Cohaagen. "He couldn't if he tried. It would be everywhere that his hate began the war."
"You don't think they'll see the bombings as a Colonist attack?" Cohaagen mused. "They seem rather… convinced of my innocence as of now."
"Others will rise. Others will tell the truth!"
"What others? Anyone failing to comply with my orders will suffer memory replacement … Or death," he added as an afterthought.
"If your so-called "spy", Hauser, can regain his memories, what makes you think the others can?" Mathias asked, with a smirk.
"That was a fluke. An accident. I can easily shut down Rekall if I see it fit."
"We shall infiltrate the masses with the truth! We shall RISE –"
"SHUT UP, SHUT UP!" Cohaagen barked, cocking his pistol ready to fire –
"NO!" Hauser yelled, finally tearing free of his restraints, spinning around and swiftly kicking the guards' legs out from underneath them, pulled the larger of the two men into a headlock and commandeering his semi-automatic weapon into his own hands and shooting the other man in between the forehead. The man's head lolled backward and he collapsed, dead. Hauser briefly recognized the man's face. It had been the man who had told him about the key. That was the man that started it all. Was he really a friend or a foe? He would never know. Hauser easily broke the other man's neck and stood up with the gun now pointed at Cohaagen. Cohaagen didn't have a chance to react. Hauser knocked Cohaagen's pistol out of his hand and pinned him to the ground.
"Go. Go!" he yelled to Mathias. Mathias smiled, grabbed Cohaagen's pistol and swept out of the room.
"DAMN YOU, Hauser!" Cohaagen spat. The two guards restraining Melina struggled with their orders – should they still be focused on the girl or their boss? Lori made that decision for them. She had heard the commotion and burst in through the side door. Her pistol was cocked and loaded and aiming straight for Hauser's head.
"You bitch!" hissed Melina, again pulling against her guards.
"Drop the gun, Hauser," Lori proposed. "Or I'll give the command to the guards to shoot your little woman."
"Lori, Lori, still over-stepping my command?" Cohaagen shook his head. "Just like when I asked you to take down Carl in your home. If you would just listen –"
"I seem to be in control of whether or not you live or die right now, sir, I think my orders – "
"SHOULD REMAIN EXACTLY WHERE YOU SHOULD BE. IN – YOUR – PLACE!" Cohaagen yelled. Mathias would have been pleased to see Cohaagen losing control in a critical moment.
A dozen synthetic police men strode into the room now, all armed and all ready to fire at the spy.
"I always… have a plan," Cohaagen finished calmly, standing up as Hauser backed down and dropped his gun to the floor, hands in the air. Cohaagen fished a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped sweat and dirt from his face. He stooped down and picked up the gun. He made a motion with his hands and two robot police men restrained Carl and took him closer to Melina. "Two of you take a hold of Mrs. Quaid, here as well…"
"Mrs. Quaid my ass!" she glared, her gun forced out of her hand by the guards as they pulled her arms behind her back.
"Now," Cohaagen began to pace. "What to do with our double agent now that he is no use to me anymore… I can't have him dead. That will raise suspicions. I can't change your memory again; we've seen how that works on you…" he stopped walking suddenly and turned on his heel, his blue eyes glinting. "I know," he smiled softly. "Let's take you back to Rekall."
"You said so yourself: you can't touch my memory!" Carl said angrily.
"No… but you can."
Hauser looked confused. He looked at Lori, who seemed just as lost, but it was when he stared into Melina's suddenly shining eyes, he realized what was about to happen.
"No," he muttered.
"There is only one way to snap back into reality after a Rekall experience, Mr. Hauser," Cohaagen droned, motioning for the guards to take him to the chair. Another robot prepared a green sedative in a syringe that looked much too big. "Your friend, Mr. Harry, told you before. It was one of the only true things he said. Do you remember what that was?"
"That wasn't Harry. That was one of your men."
"Regardless; do you remember what he said?"
"You have to deny this reality," Melina whispered, staring at the ground.
Carl turned to stare at her. "What?" he asked incredulously.
"It's the only way you'll live, Carl," she said, a tear falling onto her smooth cheek.
"I could never – I said I'd find you… I found you, dammit, I'm not letting you go!" Carl told her.
"I'll find you again someday," she promised.
Carl began to break down into tears, hating fate, hating Rekall, and especially hating Cohaagen.
"Once you kill Melina, you shall be sedated and when you wake up, you'll wake up in your old life. You'll go back to your old job, your old friends… and nothing to prove you otherwise."
"I might be a bit confused when I don't see my wife again," Hauser reminded him, full of hatred. He wanted desperately to find a hole in his plan so that he could rip through it and escape.
"Ah, but memory replacement is so simple these days," Cohaagen smiled. "Just as easily as we made you think you were her husband, we can convince her of her marriage to you as well!"
"You rat bastard," Lori said at this point.
"What goes around comes around, Princess," Cohaagen remarked. I'm sure we can find someone a little more obedient for future missions."
"You rat bastard!" Lori said again, unable to say much else out of shock and loathing.
"Let's begin, shall we? I'm getting bored." A synthetic guard pressed a pistol into Hauser's hand and directed it straight for Melina's head. She flinched and shook like a leaf and Carl began weeping. His hand would be crushed if the robot squeezed any tighter. Carl could not fight against the strength of the robot. Let him crush me! He thought. I won't kill Melina.
"It's – okay," Melina spluttered through tears. "It's – okay."
"No, I can't –"
"Just do it," She pleaded. "I'll find you. I'll find you."
"Get on with it!" Cohaagen snapped. "I'm tired of these games!"
"I love you," Carl whispered. He wanted to fight so badly, to get away from here with Melina, beat the living shit out of Cohaagen and Lori and find Mathias, to rise up with the resistance and make peace between the Colony and the UFB. He wanted to see the tyranny end in flames and be surrounded with grateful citizens of the Colony. But he wouldn't see any of that.
After a long while, he pulled the trigger. He felt his consciousness slip slowly away as the syringe released its fluid, but he had already lost all feeling long before that.
Ideally, Quaid would wake up here and all we would see is his eye opening and someone saying "Wake up." However, if your thirst must be quenched/ made more evident, you may continue.
"Wake up. Wake up. Mr. Quaid?" the blonde-haired eccentric man, Mack, was focusing into his view.
Douglas sat up too fast and wobbled slightly.
"Whoa, take it easy there, fella. How'd it go?" Mack asked with curiosity. "The spy life's a customer favourite, but I haven't tried it yet."
He was speaking so easily. So normally. As if nothing had happened. As if he hadn't been knocked out just days ago by Quaid's reflex-driven hands.
"How much is he paying you?" Quaid asked.
"Third-person price check, eh? It's not uncommon to experience a bit of syntax error within the first few –"
"HOW MUCH IS COHAAGEN PAYING YOU?" Quaid asked, grasping the collar of Mack's shirt. Somehow, his grip felt much weaker than it had moments before. He had just awoken from a sedative; of course he would feel woozy.
"Whoa, calm down, dude! Man, you must really be tripping from this double-agent gig we set up for you. Good job, guys!" He congratulated his team and pried Douglas' fingers off his shirt, smoothing it out and fiddling with some wiring behind his head.
Douglas breathed heavily and rested his head in his hands. Damn good actors if they were paid by Cohaagen's men. There's no way I can get anything out of them in this state.
After a few de-briefing questions and medical check-ups, Quaid was released from Rekall. He walked out of the corridor and into the rain. The last thing he wanted to do was be faced with a wife he knew was a lie, a cake filled with artificial sugar and flavoring, but he had to know. He had to see for himself that she wouldn't attempt to murder him again. He needed to see the implanted memory for himself.
He unlocked the front door and stepped into the foyer, removing his rain coat and shaking his hair dry. He glanced around the room and found it empty. He poked his head around each corner, expecting to find Lori with a kitchen knife and her condescending voice with her conniving British accent to ask, "How was work, sweetheart?" and then slice him up into little cubes.
Instead, he found a note on the glass of the refrigerator.
Doug – Sorry I had to skip out on my promise last night. I swear I'll make it up to you.
He dragged his fingers across the board, bringing up old pictures. That's when he remembered – this house should be in shambles. With the violence that broke out that night, when he first came back from Rekall, the house was in ruins when I fled. Cohaagen went to every extreme to make me think –
But just then, he couldn't remember what he was supposed to think or not think. Lori had appeared in the doorframe to the bedroom. Her long, smooth legs were exposed from a short nightie and her black curls draped over her shoulders. Music drifted out of the bedroom and scented candles could be seen behind her.
"Hey, you," Lori said sweetly and seductively.
Douglas Quaid was very, very confused.