Ashwood Heights, Yesler Terrace, Friday May 20th
“I’ll tell you why we’re not going to find this person. Its cause he is a fictional character! From a pilot TV show, that was rejected because it made Lost seem sane in comparison!”
Shaw tries to calm him down. “We understand what you are saying Ilyes, but you’ll still help us with the stakeout right?”
“Am I getting paid?” he inquires.
“Okay. The check better clear, that’s all I’m going to say.”
They quickly learn that out of 50 units, 48 are filled. The apartments hold a mixture of the elderly, single occupants, single mothers, and small families. They find a flier for a fortune teller, Madame Mimi, operating out of Apartment 207. She claims to interpret dreams.
“Con artist,” remarks Robert Mill.
“I interpret dreams too but I get paid a lot more,” Dr. Sorenson comments.
The people in the complex seem very close knit, but there are signs all is not right. People share odd glances and awkward conversations as if there is something being unsaid. They also seem to be sleeping poorly judging by the number of lights on after midnight.
More important for the investigators, there are number of generic people who walk past the complex. The same man with a dog walks past every couple hours, the same woman runs by in a hurry, the same old man feeds the birds night or day. The photographs reveal their inhuman nature, they are Tulpas.
“What’s their interest here? Are they protecting it?” Sorenson asks.
“Seems like a pretty regular patrol,” Shaw says.
However the people inside seem to be actual human beings, even the manager Gordon Fisher. Gordon appears to be in his early 50s though he dyes his hair and beard blond. He seems to spend almost all of his time at the complex.
They decide to target him next.
Yesler Terrace, Saturday May 21st
They shadow Gordon that day, planning to resume their stakeout the following week to see if there are any changes in people’s patterns.
Shaw watches him while he works at the complex. She catches him as he visits the supposedly empty apartment 312. The man inside passes him something but she can’t tell what.
Apartment 312 is an end unit, possibly a good place for Ambrose Grant to hide out, unlike the other empty apartment 120.
Dr. Sorenson follows Gordon as he goes out to the movies. Gordon seems to be a regular at the theater. The staff knows his face and preferences. As he watches Iron Man 2, the doctor mutters, “bad science in this. Technology would just not work like that.”
The reports filter in and the investigators assemble the picture of a man with a pretty boring life where his one escape is going to the movies.
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, Sunday May 22nd
That day they dig into Gordon Fisher’s records and history. Born in 1958 in Seattle, he seems to be relatively normal. He was hired as caretaker in 1982 and has run Millennial Holdings since 1988. In 1990 after Ambrose Grant‘s “death”, he tried to overturn some of the restrictions on the trust for Millennial Housing, likely to make adjustments on how it could be spent. But strangely he abandoned this project a few months later. Around that time he stopped taking as many vacations out of the city. He hasn’t left Seattle since 2000. In terms of family, he was divorced in 1995 and has an estranged son in Oregon. He lives on site in apartment 101. He has no criminal record and his finances are in order.
“He might be letting someone squat and pay him under the table,” Shaw speculates, thinking about the mysterious apartment 312.
Shaw lays out their next step, “from what I’ve seen I don’t think Gordon Fisher is directly involved but he might have papers that we haven’t been able to access. We should keep an eye on 312 and figure out who is living there.”
Ashwood Heights, Yesler Terrace, Tuesday May 24th, 2 A.M.
Sorenson recalls Shaw telling him to go with Mill and talk him through his issues.
Mill recalls Shaw telling him , “I want you to be with Sorenson, this is his first stakeout and you know he get a little weird.”
Sorensosn drinks his grande Starbucks drink as he listens to Mill’s heavy metal music.
Mill interrupts his thoughts. “Oh this is the sweet part here, listen to those vocals.”
As he shifts their positions, both men realize that two man have materialized in the back seat of the car.
“Frick who are you?” Mill says. A moment later he realizes that their unlined blank faces mean that they are Tulpas.
A moment later both he and Sorenson are runnign down the street having abandoned their car. The Tulpas are in hot pursuit.
Mill pulls out his phone and speed dial’s Shaw.
“Wha- is it?” she yawns.
Mill speaks hurriedly. “We are being attacked! Help, quick, help.”
“I’m on my way,” she says.
“Keep moving! We’re being chased!” the doctor shouts.
Shaw hears sounds of running over the phone. Mill’s voice shouts, “we’re being chased! They were in the car with us. Now we’re running. Frick, I don’t know what street we are on, where are we at?”
Mill yells to the doctor, “You have a gun Sorenson?”
“Yes but I’m not going to go randomly shooting.”
“I’ll randomly shoot. Give me the gun,” he commands.
“Give me the gun man,” Mill pleads.
“No,” Sorenson says.
The psychiatrist starts to pull ahead. Mill feeling them on his heels pulls out his pepper spray. The two pass a closed supermarket and spot an open convenience store ahead.
Mill glances back and sees the Tulpas right behind him. He runs for the store.
Sorenson runs a few more blocks before he has lost both Mill and the Tulpas. Worried, he begins to looping back to the car.
As Mill enters the convenience store he dials 911. The Tulpas enter behind him and he runs up to the clerk and shouts, “help there are two men chasing me!”
The man at the counter says, “What?”, as the phone returns a busy signal.
Mill turns around as the two Tulpas lung for him. He sprays the lead one in the eyes. It screams and toppled into a rack of snacks as it grabs for its eyes.
The other one grapples Mill. Mill sprays it as well but it has no effect. As he struggles the phone drops from his hand. Robert continues to shout where he is but as it hits the ground the call ends.
The Tulpa wrests the pepper spray from his hands as the other one pours gatorade into its eyes in an attempt to wash away the pepper spray. Mill glances at the clerk. He sees a Sandman feeding of his memories. Then the Tulpas pin him to the ground.
Sorenson gets back to the car. Its empty but he keys are still in the ignition. He starts it and drives down the road, looking for signs of Mill. He spots the Tulpas dragging him out of the conveneince store. He is bound in duct tape and struggling ineffectually.
Sorenson guns the engine and tries to run one of them over but he can’t get close enough without hitting Mill.
Sorenson stops the car and fires his gun at the Tulpa, wounding it. It drops Mill on his head. Mill attempts to shout but his mouth is covered in duct tape.
As the Tulpa comes after him, Sorenson drives forward toward it, slamming into it at 20 mph. It tumbles over the car and disappears.
The doctor drives after Mill and the remaining Tulpa who is moving surprisingly fast. He shoots at it wounding it as well. It drops Mill in pain. Then the doctor notices that the one he hit earlier is climbing along the side of the car. He tries to swipe it off the side but instead sideswipes a street light and smashes into a telephone pole. The Tulpa is thrown off the car and into a brick wall. It disintegrates.
Meanwhile Shaw arrives at apartment complex. Her mind is slightly fuzzy from the BSNX-7, but she hears the guns shots of Sorenson’s combat. She follows them and comes across the scene as the wounded Tulpa tries to drag off Mill. She shoots it through the heart. It lurches and crumples into a pile of clothes.
She gets out of car and surveys the area. No one else is around. She hurried over to the car and checks Sorenson.
The doctor is groggy and trying to collapse the air bag. Mill’s car seems drive-able.
“Are you okay to drive?” Shaw asks.
“Yeah. I’m. Yeah,” the shaken psychiatrist says.
“Take it slow and try to drive it back to the office.”
Sorenson turns to Mill. “Sorry about your car.”
Then she grabs Mill and pulls him into her car.
In transit, Tuesday May 24th, 2:30 A.M.
“What were they attacked by?” he asks. “Well okay I will meet you at the office and you can brief me there.”
She then turns to Mill. “I’m going to remove your duct tape. This is going to hurt.”
“Mmmm!!” he screams as it is removed.
Once freed of the tape, he tells her, “sorry, I botched it. I wasn’t paying attention.”
“These things happen.”
Mill tells her what happened. He complains, “Sorenson wouldn’t give me his gun.”
“Maybe next time you should take the drugs,” she advises.
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, Tuesday May 24th, 3:30 A.M.
“Where did you park the car?” Shaw asks the psychiatrist.
“In the usual spot,” he says.
Mill meanwhile voices his worries about the insurance claim.
“So what happened?” Dr. Ilyes asks.
Shaw is also curious. “What did you guys run into?”
Sorenson takes the lead. “We were doing the stakeout, watching the complex and then two Tulpas were in the car with us.”
“Tulpas? So we are dealing with Tibetan monks now?” Ilyes asks.
“That’s what the Chieron group classifies the doppelgangers.” Shaw explains.
Sorenson continues. “So they appeared in the back seat so we ran out of the car.”
Mill adds, “they might not have just appeared, we might not have noticed them.”
“Guys just appeared in the back seat,” Ilyes mutters incredulously.
“That’s what it seemed like,” Sorenson says. “So I ran off and circled back around the block.” He details his rescue attempt and Shaw’s arrival.
“You are showing signs of considerable disorganized and nonlinear thinking,” Ilyes says.
“What would you have done?” the psychiatrist asks. “These guys were extremely dangerous.”
Mill relays the rough details of his encounter at the convenience store. He mentions that the clerk seemed be attacked by a Sandman.
Shaw seems concerned for the man’s safety. She finds the number for the store. “Let me see if anyone answers.”
Ilyes continues the questioning as she steps out. “So there were Sandmen there.”
“I didn’t anything,” Sorensosn says.
“I want to hear it from you,” he says pointing to Mill.
Shaw steps out of the room and calls the store. A man answers.
“Hi, I was just passing by and I heard some kind of disturbance at your store,” she lies. “Is everything okay?”
“I’ve been here all night and nothing’s happened.”
“Oh I must have been confused. What was your name?”
“Jerry,” he says.
“Okay Jerry. You didn’t hear anything? Maybe it was another 7-11.”
She gets the location of the nearest other store. “Thanks. Glad everything is okay.”
She returns to find Mill finishing his description of the events at the store. “I turned around and there was a sandman. I don’t know, maybe he was always there. He attacked the store clerk. He might have injured him or hurt him. I don’t know.” Mill turns to Shaw. “Is he okay?”
“Jerry, says he is okay.”
“He’s okay? He probably doesn’t remember anything then?” he asks.
“And we think Jerry is actually a person?” Mill asks.
“I don’t know. He seemed he had his speech together. He could have been a Tulpa but that seems a long way to go.”
“Yeah, He’s probably fine, they just didn’t want to know what was going on. He’s probably okay.”
Mill finishes his story and Ilyes asks, “Okay so we have Sandmen and we have…Tulpas.”
“Did you not see the file?” Shaw asks passing him a folder.
As he reads over the file, Ilyes asks, “What is the source of these things?”
“Ambrose Grant?” Mill says hesitantly.
Shaw nods. “That’s the theory we are running on.”
“Yes, these may be dream manifestations of his psychic powers,” Sorenson adds.
Mill fidgets. “So if we are going to go, we should go now. Pretty quick I guess.”
“Are you guys okay for that?” Shaw asks, looking at how bruised and nervous they are.
Sorenson applies some final bandages. “I’m fine.”
“I don’t mean just physically boys,” Shaw says.
“Well I have to file an insurance claim here,” Mill says.
“Erin’s good with that,” Shaw recommends.
Mill thinks about Shaw’s question. “Well I’m not up for it, but we’ve got to do it now right? If we are going to go, we’ve got to go before they bring in more security. We have to strike right now. We can’t wait until tomorrow. We need to go this minute, probably in someone else’s car. I think.”
Shaw presents an alternative. “Unless we wait until they calm down. If we wait a week.”
“What if they move any stuff out of there?”
“Well its been there for over 20 years. So I really doubt they would move anything.”
Sorenson weighs in. “The only thing is they could increase security and make it much much more harder to get in.”
“That’s why I think we need to give them time to relax,” Shaw says. “I mean they know who we are.”
“Why aren’t they attacking us at home?” Sorenson asks.
“I think there is a range issue. I don’t know. Either they are going to come after us in which case we need to prepare ourselves or we let them have their surge and then go in. At this point I don’t think we know enough about where to go. Unless we go up to 312.”
Ilyes speculates. “If these things are Tulpas then it would take considerable mental concentration for these things even to exist. Tulpas come from Tibetan myth, where they are the concentrated will of a dying monk.”
Mill and Sorenson defer to Shaw on the final decision. She decides to send a message to Infinity and get his advice. A return message follows shortly: ‘Lie low for a week. Maybe you should leave town for a little bit.’
Shaw tells the others, “alright, let’s shut down the company for a week.”
“Well Sorenson might be stuck here,” Mill warns.
“They don’t come out during the day,” Sorenson says. “I’ll just get home before dark. Maybe I’ll stay in a hotel.”
“I’ll stay with my parents,” Mill says.
“Yeah I’ll stay with my dad,” Shaw tells them.
With that they go into hiding.
Hillcrest Mental Health Center, Greenwood, May 26th
As the week passes, the investigators recover and regain their composure. Robert Mill takes the opportunity to buy some new pistols.
At the Hillcrest Center, an upset secretary bursts into Dr. Sorenson‘s office. She complains to him about the mess he left the file system in. "I don’t even know where this file is supposed to go!"
“Which file is it?” he asks. “Maybe I can remember where it goes.”
She hands over a dusty discolored file.
“Oh I know exactly where it goes. I’ll put it back. I’m sorry I causes some trouble with that. You’ve got to admit that there is a time period where the file system gets really-”
“Tell me about it,” she says as she leaves.
Sorenson looks closely at the file. It is a grant renewal proposal from Dr. Moorcock. The director apparently is expounding on his previous research, hoping for more money. The file talks about unlocking psychic abilities using new drugs mixtures such as dimethyltryptmine (DMT) and a Harmala alkaloid called “telepathine extract.”
Sorenson recalls telepathine extract from his time at Verdant Technologies. Moorcock lists his assistant in the report: Dr. Barbara Wintergreen. The same woman who accidentally sent him the letter that inadvertently changes his life. In the end he seems to have failed to escape Verdant and their research.
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, May 30th
“I hope everybody is prepared,” Dr. Ilyes says. “So what is the plan?”
“I think we need to go in and find what is in Unit 213,” Shaw says.
“You mean 312,” corrects Mill.
“Yeah sorry, vacation.”
“You want to talk to the fortune teller first?” he asks.
“Well you two are made, so yeah.”
Ashwood Heights, Yesler Terrace, May 30th, 4 P.M.
Shaw walks up to the fortuneteller’s door. She adjusts the wire and rubs her eyes. The insomnia from the BSNX-7 was getting to her.
The garishly dressed Madame Mimi lets her in. Silks cover the ceilings and walls and mystic baubles decorate the room. The fortuneteller invites Shaw to sit on a comfy sofa chair in the center of room.
“Oh I thought I’d be sitting next to a crystal ball or something,” she says.
“Oh no no no,” the woman says fake sounding accent. “Tell me about your dreams.”
“That’s the thing I’ve been having a lot of insomnia recently. I can’t even get to sleep. I know its not quite your area but I was hoping you could help. Do you see anything about me Madame Mimi.”
Mimi begins to advise her. Shaw easily picks up on her cold reading tricks. The fortuneteller suggests that if Shaw slept here that she could get a better insight into her problems.
“Like right now?” she asks.
“I find it is very easy to drift off here,” Mimi explains.
“Alright, do you mind if I use the restroom first? I’ve been having a lot of trouble sleeping but I’ll give it a try.”
In the restroom Shaw says into wire, “engaging camera.” She then adjust her camera to watch anyone standing over her.
After a bit of lying on the sofa, Shaw realizes that Madame Mimi has gone into other room. It sounds like she is sleeping. Shaw tries to sneak up on her but she wake as she tries the door.
“Oh, did you sleep well?” she says getting up.
“I wasn’t able to get to sleep,” Shaw explains. “What were you doing? I thought you would be using crystals or something.”
“I commune with you in your dreams,” the fortuneteller explains.
Shaw doesn’t try to cover up her freaked out response. “What do you see?”
“Unfortunately since you couldn’t sleep, I didn’t see anything.”
Shaw questions the fortuneteller more closely, learning that she gets impressions of those who sleep nearby. “Do you get impressions of other people, like your neighbors?”
“I try to avoid that,” Mimi says.
Shaw tries to get her trust. “I know I know but it hard for people who are sensitive. I have a cousin.”
Mimi confides that she does see things from her neighbors, both private and disturbing things.
“Disturbing?” Shaw asks.
“I shouldn’t really talk about it,” Mimi says, cutting off the conversation. Shaw notices however that her eyes went up looking to the thrid floor. And in the direction opposite apartment 312.
Shaw thanks her and pays her for her time.
Ashwood Heights, Yesler Terrace, May 30th, 5 P.M.
Before going back to the office, Shaw decides to check out what else is on the third floor. She takes the stairs up and walks around the level. It is fairly quiet. She passes only a young woman in the hall. She does notices a young man staring intently at the other woman however. He ducks into his apartment when he sees Shaw. The detective notes that his apartment, 302, is in the right direction for what ever was bothering Madame Mimi.
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, 6 P.M.
Shaw finishes explaining what see saw at Madame Mimi’s. “So I don’t think the fortuneteller is involved. If she has any real psychic abilities, its more of the effect of living in the area.” As for the disturbing dreams she says, “When I went up there I saw this guy who kind of gave me the creeps looking at this other girl. He was in 302.”
The investigators discuss how to approach the apartment complex. They decide to look into the records and see who lives in 302 as well as what is going on in 312. With a little digging they find that the other vacant unit, 120, has only been empty a couple months. 312 however hasn’t been rented since 2005. People move out relatively infrequently but not to a suspicious level.
Dr. Ilyes suggests using a dummy repossession claim to find out who is in 312.
Dr. Sorenson suggests, “lets pull a Supernatural and use some fake FBI badges.”
“Have you been doing your research on TV?” Shaw admonishes.
“Yes, I’ve had some really good ideas from that.”
As for apartment 302, it belongs to a Jarette Costa. There doesn’t seem to be anything special about him.
They decide to check out 312 first. Mill suggest break and entering. Shaw decides that the two of them will go in, pretending to be delivering a package. They get a rental car, paid in cash. Shaw bills that and Mill’s car repairs to Keystone Pharmaceuticals.
Ashwood Heights, Yesler Terrace, May 31st, 9 A.M.
“I think someone is in a bed getting up,” Mill says.
“Alright lets wait and see who they are,” Shaw instructs.
The door opens a crack. A man with scraggly beard and wearing boxer shorts asks them what they want.
Shaw smiles and says, “hello. We have a delivery.”
“I don’t have a delivery. You must have the wrong place.”
“Oh I’m sorry. What was your name sir?” Shaw flips through clipboard while Mill stealthily takes a picture.
“Mr…,” Shaw prompts him.
“Uh, Smith,” he says.
“Mr. Smith, you are right this is not for you. This is 312 right?”
Shaw looks at Mill. “You know what this says avenue and the sign said street.”
“Frick we’re going to be late,” Mill complains.
Shaw turns to ‘John Smith’. “I’m really sorry for disturbing you, sir.”
As they walk away Shaw realizes where she saw ‘John’ before. He is wanted for a convenience store robbery.
Robert tries to show her the clear picture he got but Shaw stays in character. On way out they determine that there one other place Ambrose Grant could be. As a delivery man enters the storage basement, they realize he may be underground.
Offices of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, 12 P.M.
Shaw suggests tipping off the cops to the crook hiding there. They could use that as a distraction while they go into the basement.
“So we think this basement is where it is at then?” Mill asks.
“Probably,” she says.
“What about apartment 302?”
“He could be just a creepy guy causing weird dreams. I mean maybe he’s a serial killer but then perhaps the cops will catch him when they find the other guy.”
Mill is still worried. “Won’t there be too much action going on? Do we want to be doing something illegal while the cops are there?”
“No it should be fine.”
The investigators decide that they should all go in together.
But Dr. Ilyes objects. “While the cops are conducting a raid?”
“Yes,” Shaw tries to explain. “I know all of their procedures. Its a raid upstairs and we’ll be underground.”
“And if a fight breaks out and there’s gunfire, the cops won’t notice that?” he points out.
“Yes they will but I’d rather have the cops come and arrest us rather than have what is down there get us.”
“We’re not going to twist your arm,” Robert adds. “Its very understandable not wanting to go down there.”
Shaw points out that this eventuality is covered in his consulting liability waiver. “If you don’t come along you will of course deny all knowledge of what we are up to.”
“Of course. I’ll just happened to be taking a jog in the area, in case something can and does go wrong when the police notice you attempting a burglary.”
“Its not a burglary,” Sorenson says. “We’d have to steal something for it to be a burglary.”
“I’ll be there to bail you out,” Dr. Ilyes says.
They quickly prepare to go in. Shaw sends a message to Infinity: “We are going in within the hour. Using the police as a distraction. If you can add to the distraction that would be good.”
She also injects herself with some more BSNX-7. Mill grabs his doll. Shaw sets up a wire so Ilyes can listen in in case things go badly.
Ashwood Heights, Yesler Terrace, May 31st, 1 P.M.
As the cops head into the complex, Sorenson leads them in a final pep talk. “Okay team we can do this. We’ve prepared, we’ve studied, we’re ready for this.”
As everyone else is absorbed with the police raid, they slip into the basement. It seems to be just an underused storage area. A few boxes sit along one wall and there seems to be no one about.
“Its like those dreams I’ve been having,” Robert says. “I’ve seen this before.”
“I don’t see why people would be coming down here,” Sorenson says oblivious. “There’s no reason-”
Shaw stops him. “Shh. Its right here.”
As she pulls him through she adds, “Maybe you should take those drugs.”
“Or get a doll,” Mill comments.
Past the illusionary wall, they find a dark hallway, lit by a single flickering florescent light.
“We’re going down, its dark,” Sorenson says over the wire.
They pass banks of old computer equipment. Shaw snaps a picture of the hall and sends it to Ilyes. As she does she realizes there are several blurry silhouettes in the picture.
Ilyes texts back, “I think there may be some sort of invisible-”
Shaw doesn’t catch the rest as she puts the phone away and draws her gun. “Got one coming in. There’s a figure there.”
Soon Mill can also see the figures of three nurses coming down the hall. The investigators get their lights out. Shaw thinks for moment and puts the gun away. She readies herself for hand to hand combat.
Sorenson decides to inject himself with BSNX-7. The nurses become visible to him. They are eerily identical and armed with scalpels.
As they come in range, Shaw grabs the arm of one and pulls scalpel from her hand, tossing it to the ground. The nurse grapples her instead.
Mill runs interference, keeping the others from getting at Sorenson. The nurses lung at him but he is too quick and leaves one prone on the ground.
Sorenson swings his heavy flashlight at the nurse grappling Shaw but fails to strike with any force. Shaw throws the doppelganger into another nurse. One falls but the other one swings at Mill ineffectually.
The doctor takes another swing. He dents his flashlight on the cold stone wall. As the nurse gets back up, Shaw goes punches her in the kidneys. She cries out in pain.
The battle becomes a flurry of stabs and swings. Sorenson swings his flashlight club again but misses his target. Instead he shears off the end of the flashlight and spills the batteries everywhere.
“I thought this could be used as a weapon,” he exclaims.
Shaw disarms another nurse. She retaliates by scratching at Shaw’s face.
Mill continues to provide interference as Sorenson pulls his pocket knife. Shaw swings wildly at a doppelganger and is hit instead by the nurse. There is a crunching noise.
Elsewhere Ilyes hears the audio feed cut out. Worried he gets out his medical bag and rushes over to the complex. He soon makes it to the basement where he can hear a muffled combat going on.
In the dim light Sorenson grabs a scalpel from the floor. Shaw attacks the doppelganger again. This time she feels her fists sink into the thing’s flesh. The doppelganger screams and starts dissolving.
Sorenson and Shaw gang up on another. The doctor shouts, “come and get some more of that!” as Shaw pummels the Tulpa into the wall of electronics. A spark of electricity back lights the nurse and she explodes into a cloud of ash.
Then the final nurse gets lucky and stabs Mill.
In the storage area Ilyes tries to find secret door. “They should have mentioned how to find this secret door,” he mutters.
Sorenson slices the nurses neck open just before Shaw swings at her. Shaw stumbles and collides with Sorenson. They go down in a tumble. Mill jumps in front of them and wards off the doppelganger’s attack.
Sorenson gets back up and finishes the nurse with a final slice of the scalpel. He her head falls off and she fades away into nothing.
Ilyes takes a close look at the masonry. As he rubs his hand across the wall, it goes right through. Disbelievingly he walks through the wall. He quickly catches up with his allies.
“Hey what are you doing here?” Shaw asks him.
“The line went out. You guys got into a fight and it went out. I came to help.”
Shaw rubs her shoulder. “Yeah one of the nurses punched out the wire.”
“Did you see anyone coming?” Mill asks.
“No. I could barely hear any noises. You were just in a fight?”
“Yes,” Sorenson replies. “Just moments ago.”
“I could barely hear anything,” the doctor explains.
“You may need to arm yourself,” Sorenson advises.
“I’m armed,” Ilyes says gesturing to his kit. “I’ve got scalpels, resuscitation pads, and a syringe full of tranquilizers.”
Ilyes helps make sure they are okay physically, then they press on. Mill offers Sorenson his flashlight, but the psychiatrist declines. As he kicks the broken flashlight as they leave. “I thought these things could take a beating.”
Under Ashwood Heights, Yesler Terrace, May 31st, 1:10 P.M.
They pass through several more room of darkened computer equipment. Then they finda doorway. Inside they glimpse an old hospital bed surrounded by medical equipment.
“Stop!” they hear behind them.
They turn and Shaw says, “Dr. Warden.”
The man is dressed in a white coat and hospital gear. “Stop there!” he repeats.
Shaw snaps a picture of him. As expected it is blurry. Mill moves to the front of the group to protect the others.
“I can’t let you go in there,” Warden says.
“You’ve been taking care of him for a long time,” Shaw replies.
“He needs his rest.”
“He needs his rest for 20 years?” Dr. Sorenson jokes.
“Now go,” Warden command. Most of the investigators don’t react but Dr. Ilyes suddenly feels like he should leave the area. He remembers the pep talk and fights off the creature’s influence.
“You know we can’t do that Warden,” Mill says. “His wife wants him to have eternal rest. She knows what’s best for him. Not you.”
Sorenson adds, “his dreams are dangerous.”
“You’re not even a real person Warden,” Shaw hurls at him.
“I’m real enough.”
“Well you are in real trouble,” Sorenson says.
Warden smiles. “I think you have that the wrong way.”
Suddenly the psychiatrist is lifted into air and thrown into a wall.
As he crumples to the ground, Ilyes pulls out the revival paddles from his bag. He runs forward and tries to tag Warden with them. The doppelganger dodges to the side.
Then he knocked back by Sorenson who launched himself at him. As the two grapple Shaw rushes over to help bear him to the ground. Warden struggles, trying to wrench Sorenson’s arm.
Mill meanwhile moves into the other room. He fins a withered old man who can only be Ambrose Grant. He leans over him. Suddenly he finds his mind under assault. He feels distant, shoved aside in his own body.
“Clear,” Ilyes says as he hits Warden with the paddles. The doppelganger is stunned by the charge. Sorenson and Shaw take a hit as well. the psychiatrist tumbles to the floor unconscious.
Shaw however pins the creature. Warden seems to be losing strength. His flesh begins to sag and one of his eyes turns red.
Then Mill walks back into the room and draw his guns. He takes careful aim at his friends.
As Shaw pounds Warden into the floor, she shouts to Ilyes, “I got him, help Sorenson!”
Ilyes quickly revives the fallen investigator with smelling salts.
“Did we win?” the psychiatrist groggily says.
In the doorway, Mill snaps back into control of his body. He throws the guns away from him. “Its Ambrose, get him!”
As he runs back into the room, Shaw feels Warden’s head crack like an overripe melon.
Mill returns to the psychic’s body. Sudden he can feel the man’s mind burning into his own. He maintains his focus and keeps the paralyzed man out of his head. Just then Ilyes rushes in and injects Warden with a tranquilizer. Ambrose slips into an induced coma.
Shaw picks herself off the floor where Warden’s body is rapidly decomposing.
Under Ashwood Heights, Yesler Terrace, May 31st, 1:15 P.M.
Dr. Ilyes looks over his patient for a few minutes and tells Shaw that they should be able to move figures he can move Ambrose Grant. They will need a large vehicle however. “I could get a medical service to move him.”
Dr. Sorenson sits down. “I don’t feel so good.”
Robert Mill ask, “you okay man?”
Shaw walks away and calls her company line. “Infinity? If want a way in on Ambrose you’d better talk to me now.”
After a moment she has an incoming call. She answers and Infinity says, “I’m not actually listening in on your phone calls”
“Really,” she says insincerely. “I have Ambrose. I have clients who want to take him soon. He is not that cooperative so I don’t know how you want to question him. I’m also curious what you are going to pay.”
“I can arrange a meeting. I can also arrange a vehicle if need be.”
Shaw gets down to business. “Where would be the meeting location and how long would you need with Ambrose? How will you guarantee the safety of my people.”
There is a slight hesitation. “Keep Ambrose for now. I want to talk to you about what you see down there.”
Shaw turns to Ilyes. “How long can you keep him under doctor?”
He thinks for a moment and says, “in his current condition, we can safely keep unconscious for 48 hours. After that I would need a hospital to safely maintain the coma.”
“Start prepping him for transport. We’ll be leaving in a few hours.”
As Ilyes takes care of Ambrose and Sorenson, Shaw asks Infinity to get them a van that evening. They arrange to meet at Frank’s old office. Infinity says he will be there at midnight as he is outside the city.
Shaw tells Infinity, “Send me a ping on my cell when the van arrives.”
As Mill and Shaw discuss what to do about Ambrose, Ilyes tries to use the existing equipment to determine what makes Ambrose different. He finds some strange brainwave activity, even in his sedated state.
Shaw tells Mill, “I hope to have some better ideas about options after talking to Infinity. But if you want to talk to VI you could see if he has any ideas.”
“I’d also like to talk to Doretta again,” Mill adds.
“Not a bad idea,” she says. Then she directs him to document the area first.
Shaw takes pictures of the old computer equipment as Sorenson and Iyes help Mill sift through the computer system. Using an antiquated terminal they sort through the strange encrypted files. Each file corresponds to an apartment in the complex stored on huge rolls of magnetic tape. There are thousand pages of information here, all written in a homebrew computer language. They decide to grab the tapes. They determine that the files are not supposed to accessed via the erminal but instead by the electronic linkages that were on Ambrose’s head.
As they search they also come across some old worn journals. The books are written in Cyrillic and German, which no one knows. They put them aside for now.
Shaw asks Ilyes how they might sneak Ambrose out.
“I have a crash cart,” he explains. “I think we should just wheel him out on the gurney and I can tell people my patient is suffering from a diabetic coma.”
Ashwood Heights, Yesler Terrace, May 31st, 8 P.M.
V.I. is waiting there. “Hey I’m told you needed a truck.”
“Yeah. Hey, Mill wants to talk to you.” As Mill takes him aside, she gets into the driver’s seat. The doctors load up Ambrose in the back.
Mill takes the journals and tapes to his car. As he is packing them in, V.I. probes him, “I didn’t get a lot of details. I just heard you needed a truck and were transporting a person.”
“Yes,” he says. “Shaw’s going to handle that end. I need your advice on some tapes here from a fairly old computer.”
“Wow,” the young says at the massive magnetic reels.
“I’m not really sure how to access them,” Mil explains.
“I don’t know either. I’d have to ask around. I’m not really skilled with old computers.”
“Okay. We also have these journals. These are German and the others are Cyrillic, so it must be in Russian.”
“I know a little German,” V.I. admits.
“Do you know anyone who can translate them?” the detective asks.
“I know some people. It shouldn’t be hard.” He looks over the books. “These are pretty old.”
As they close up the truck V.I. asks, “who’s the guy?”
“He’s a guy in the case we’ve been working on. I’m not interested in him. I’m more interested in these items here. They could tell us a lot about the Tulpas and other things. They could unlock a lot of mysteries.”
The monster hunter mulls that. “I would have thought Infinity would be interested in this. In this computer stuff.”
“Seems reasonable. I think we want to take a look at them first.”
Shaw drives the U-Haul to the meeting spot and set Ambrose up in the old office.
The old office of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, June 1st, 12:08 A.M.
A woman steps out of the car. She is thin with dark skin and long curly hair sticking out in all directions. As she enters she asks, “So what did you find?”
Shaw surmises this is Infinity. “We’ve got him unconscious. He was very dangerous even in his paralyzed state.”
Shaw shows her the video and pictures of the facility under the apartment complex.
“Interesting,” Infinity says.
“Does it make any sense to you?” she asks.
“Not yet. I need to have a look at the machine itself.”
“We are under contract to recover him,” Shaw explains. “I’m sure they would like to look at the machinery too. There is no reason you couldn’t as well but I would like to know a little more about this first. I’m dubious about giving him to Keystone.”
The strange woman bluntly says, “no one would probably ever see him again.”
“Well no one saw him for 20 years, he still did a whole lot of nasty stuff.”
Infinity coldly says, “my guess is given the trouble they had last time, they will remove his brain and section it.”
“So we’d be committing murder,” Shaw grimly says.
“That would probably be the best option for him.”
“What do you mean?”
Infinity continues, “alternatively they don’t kill him and just experiment on him. Figure out what makes him special.”
“What does make him special?” Shaw asks, curious.
Ilyes interjects, “he does have abnormally high brain activity even in his present state. His brain is way more active, hyperactive even. It doesn’t match the pattern of a schizophrenic but then again I’d have to run some MRIs in order get a better idea.”
“He possesses some sort of enhanced levels of psychic ability,” Infinity explains.
“Inherent or learned?” Mill inquires.
“I’d expect a measure of both.”
“What connection does he have with the house next door?” Shaw asks.
Infinity pauses for a moment. “I’m speculating, but I guess his abilities prevented him from being completely affected by it and somehow it either spurred or caused further development of his psychic abilities.”
“Why is he doing this stuff?” Mills asks.
“What do you think we aught to do?” he asks.
“That’s for you to decide,” she tells them.
“We can’t just let him go of course. Handing him to Keystone seems a little dicey. We could kill him but we’re not going to do that. Its not clear what other options we have.”
Shaw stops Mill’s ramble. “You don’t seem to be interested in Ambrose. What is your interest in all of this?”
“I want to discover what he found out,” she explains. “But as you said he is dangerous. So I can’t find it out from him.”
Ilyes offers to wake up Ambrose but Mill cautions that the psychic can control minds.
“What languages do you speak?” Shaw asks.
Infinity seems surprised. “I can translate most languages. Why do you ask?”
Shaw explains, “Keystone didn’t specify what they wanted done with the machinery and records we found. While I’m sure they would pay for them, we’d like to know what is in them too. You have the skills to access them. Perhaps we could work together on those? My suggestion is that you go over to the facility and take a look at the machinery itself before that scene becomes inviolable. We can meet again tomorrow night to look over the records. Of course we would like some compensation as I believe I mentioned.”
Infinity pulls out a new smartphone and types into it. Her face becomes blank as if she was concentrating very hard. After a moment she says, “I’ve added what I think should be an adequate payment to your accounts.”
After Infinity leaves, discussion turns to what to do next. No one entirely trusts the mysterious woman. Shaw suggests talking to Doretta first. Then there is the question of what to do with Ambrose.
“I’m less adverse to taking him off the machines and letting nature take its course,” Mill says.
Dr. Ilyes however is much less happy with that solution. They decide to watch the old man for now.
Mill asks, “are we are not going to give Infinity the tapes and journals?”
Shaw explains they will lend her them to decipher them. To Mill’s continued mistrust, she says, “I think as long as we cover ourselves, we can take one girl. Even if she is a world class hacker.”
“I don’t trust Infinity and her intentions with this stuff,” Mill replies.
Shaw suggests making copies of the journals and bringing only one tape to the meeting.
Shaw tries to sleep but between insomnia and bad dreams, she is exhausted. She trades off with Ilyes for guard duty around 3 A.M. She does note that Infinity deposited roughly what they are charging Keystone.
The teams visits Doretta Teesdale’s house several times but she fails to appear. There are no cold spots or other anomalies.
“Maybe she’s a manifestation of Ambrose,” Shaw comments.
“Oh my gosh it was his subconscious trying to put him out of his misery because he didn’t want to be controlled like this,” Dr. Sorenson says.
A few hours later he tells him, “we haven’t seen as many of the doppelgangers.”
“Any or as many?” Mill asks.
“I think we’ve had a couple sightings. But yeah most of them are gone.”
“I guess there are doppelgangers that are not Grant’s,” he concludes.
The old office of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, June 2nd, 12:02 A.M.
“I looked over the machinery,” she says. “You took the magnetic recordings.”
“Yeah we have one of them here,” Shaw explains. “Will you be able to read them?”
“I think they have what I am looking for.”
“What’s that?” the detective asks.
Infinity hesitates. “I’m looking for a key.”
“A key? Like to some sort of program?”
“Or a code?” Sorenson asks.
“Yes,” Infinity replies.
“I’m sorry could you be more vague?” Shaw says.
Dr. Iyles interrupts, “I kind of get it. This computer in the basement is an absolute prodigy of early computer design.”
Infinity disregard what he says and replies, “I’m looking for a key from this machine that would work in the machine you found under Hillcrest. Is that clearer?”
“What does the machine do under Hillcrest?” Sorenson asks. “We don’t want you to do anything that would hurt anyone.”
“It won’t hurt anyone, what I’m trying to do,” she says. “And I won’t be using that terminal.”
Ilyes signals that he understands what she is saying to Shaw.
“So what do these journals say?” Shaw asks directing her to the books on the table. “Is that not what you are looking for?”
Infinity begins to pour over the journals. As she does she spaces out again.
The group whispers among themselves. Shaw and Mill in particular are suspicious acting strangely moody. Sorenson notices that behind Infinity’s high collar, on the back of her neck is something strange, perhaps a tattoo. Mill clearly makes out a dataport.
“Hey Shaw can I talk to you for a minute?” Mill whispers.
They go off and chat quietly about what he saw.
Meanwhile the doctors continue to question Infinity.
“Where did you acquire all of this knowledge of technology?” Sorenson asks.
“Former life,” she says calmly. She picks up another journal.
“So those Russian and German journals, are they military technical journals?” Ilyes asks.
She puts down a book and picks up another. “The German ones are.”
“West or East German?” he asks.
“Nazi,” she says coldly. She looks at the last journal.
“I’ve seen some movies about those things,” Sorenson says nervously. “Not very palatable.”
Ilyes speculates. “OSS was working with Nazi researchers but they didn’t really invest in computer science.”
“No, this is brain research,” Infinity explains, putting the book down.
“And the Russian journals?”
“The same with some computer work as well.”
In the other room, Mill says, “I don’t know if you noticed but she’s a cyborg or something. She has a digital thing in the back of her head.”
Shaw seems to believe him but isn’t quite willing to turn on her. After short back and forth, they return to the main room.
“So you’ve translated them?” Shaw asks.
“Yes. They are research journals on brain activity, psychic research, and computer technology.” Infinity relays some specific information from the journals.
“Research into the mind could be helpful to me,” Sorenson says.
“These don’t have what I’m looking for. You can keep them.”
“Thanks,” he says. “I’m a specialist in cognitive matters so I might be able to glean something from them. The translation will be hard though.”
Ilyes warns the other doctor about the disturbing details likely included the journals.
Shaw reluctantly tells Infinity her doubts. “I’m having a lot of trouble…you’ve helped us out and you haven’t done anything distrustful but we don’t know what is on those disks. We know Ambrose’s powers are very strong. I don’t feel comfortable handing them over to you.”
Infinity says calmly,“I can compensate you if that would make you feel better.”
“Its not really that I can give you back the money but-”
Infinity cuts her off. “Perhaps we should talk about this at a later point.”
“What you mean?”
“Hold onto them. Keep them safe. We’ll talk in a few months.”
“Alright,” Shaw says reluctantly. “Okay.”
“That sounds good,” Mill agrees.
The old office of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, June 2nd, 12:12 A.M.
Shaw tells them, “one last person I’d like to talk to before dealing with Ambrose is Frank.”
Ilyes adds, “as for this key, I think she is referring to is an encryption key. That is to say the operating system of Ambrose’s computer is the same as the Hillcrest computer.”
Shaw shakes her head. “The thing in the basement of the Hillcrest center is nothing like what we saw at the apartments.”
“The cubes?” Mill says.
“Yes, the cubes,” Shaw confirms.
Sorenson adds, “they are very dangerous.”
They fill Ilyes in on their findings under the Hillcrest Center.
“The fact of the matter is that we are dealing with something that is the intersection of Nazi research, soviet psychic research, and the CIA’s MKULTRA project,” Ilyes explains. “Its pretty safe to assume that there are some extremely valuable encryption protocols.”
“It has to be alien technology,” Sorenson says.
“Does it? Really?” Mill asks.
“How is Frank doing doctor?” Shaw asks, changing the direction of the conversation. D.r Sorenson says he is doing well. They arrange to meet him early the next day.
Hillcrest Mental Health Center, Greenwood, June 2nd, 9 A.M.
As they sit in Sorenson’s offce, the psychiatrist leans over and says, “Well we found Ambrose, Frank.”
The old man says, “Oh right I was looking for him.”
“Yes we found him in a coma,” the Sorenson explains. “He is on life support.”
“Oh,” Frank says worried.
Dr. Sorenson continues, “and it seems as if he’s able to affect others with his mind even in his paralyzed state. We have him heavily sedated.”
“We are trying to decide where to go next. If we pull the plug on him or turn him over to the Cheiron group. I’m sure they would pay more for him alive rather than dead but he might be dangerous either way.”
“They-they are interested in that stuff,” Frank states.
Sorenson asks his advice.
Frank mulls it over. “That’s a hard question.”
“I know. He may have been responsible by everyone affected by the Sandmen. He might be responsible for what happened to you.”
Frank says, “then I suppose you have to pull the plug if he is that dangerous.”
When the doctor mentions that they don’t know what Keystone would do with him, Frank adds, “that would probably be worse.”
Sorenson sighs. “I expect they don’t have moral concerns about what to do to him. It might be an act of mercy to kill him.”
“Then you should pull the plug,” Frank tells him.
The old office of One of a Kind Investigations, Downtown, June 2nd, 10:30 A.M.
“This goes against all of my medical ethics,” Dr. Ilyes objects. “This is a helpless human being who is in our care. Without advice from a family member, legal guardian or attorney we are going to kill him.”
“He is legally dead,” Sorenson points out.
“He’s biologically alive! I can tell you that! I’ve been taking care of him and I am going to have no part in killing a helpless individual who is at my mercy.”
“You’ve worked in hospitals,” Sorenson says, trying to win him over. “Families pull the plug all the time.”
“Yes,” he admits. “But they have lawyers, living wills, and families. He has nothing. The hubris that you can assume that you end the life of a human being.”
“When I lived in California I voted for the death penalty,” Sorenson quips.
“You are playing god!” Ilyes shouts.
“No I’m not,” he says more seriously. “This man is dangerous to society. Society is more important than this one man in a coma. He is too dangerous to be allowed to live. His wife, whether she was a figment of Ambrose’s imagination or a ghost, she wanted us to end his suffering. That is the closest we can get to his next of kin to find what they want.”
“Spirits!?” Ilyes says disbelievingly.
“This is what you do for a living now,” Sorenson says.
“No it is not! The first thing I pledged when I went to Bainard Medical School was to do no harm! This is not a sand person! This is not a groetnich! This is a human being!”
As Sorenson tries to explain how dangerous Ambrose is, Mill speaks up. “Let’s wake the guy up. Let’s wake the guy up and talk to him.”
“No, step away from him,” Shaw warns.
The argument continues. They try to figure out how they could contain him. Slowly Ilyes begins to win over Mill to his point of view but the discussion seems to go nowhere.
The idea of giving him to Keystone is brought up but Sorenson objects, “so they can do unethical experiements on him?”
“You just admitted we can’t handle him,” Ilyes retorts. “I am not going to be a part to a murder. I’m not denying that he didn’t commit crimes. I’m not denying he’s not dangerous.”
Ilyes relays the story of the tulpa to them. In the story the tulpa is the concentrated will of a murdered monk, an idea of vengeance given form. “What’s going to happen if he is killed?”
As the discussion continues, Shaw steps aside and sends a text message to Keystone.
A short time later a truck and a luxury car pull up front of Frank’s office. Lisa Peterson walks into the office flanked by medical personnel.
“Good work,” the well groomed woman says.
“You’ll need to keep him fully sedated,” Shaw warns.
Lisa looks at the doctor with her and nods. As the others look on helplessly, they wheel Ambrose away. Mill follows them. They take to their headquarters in Lake District. There is nothing he can do about it.
A very large check deposited in the company accounts.