Original release date: October 21, 2022
* * *
[Flynne] This here’s the only world that I got.
What is it?
[Burton] Cutting-edge VR, Flynne.
Folks want me to beta test it.
[Aelita] Well, hello.
Welcome to the Sim, Easy Ice.
[Aelita] Are you ready?
[chuckling] Holy shit.
I can’t help but think that I was actually there.
Somewhere that’s real.
[Wilf] Ms. Fisher, you’re in grave danger.
The situation is far more complex than you can possibly imagine.
It’s crucial that you log back into the sim.
[Aelita] I may need you to endure terrible pain in the coming hours.
I assure you it’s for a very noble cause, all right?
[Flynne] Someone from that company’s trying to contact me.
He says someone put a hit out on us.
For $9 million on the dark net.
[Cherise] A breach of this magnitude puts all of us here at the Research Institute in profound peril.
You’ve disappointed me, Daniel.
[Daniel] Yes, Doctor.
We traced the operator.
His location and temporality complicate the situation, of course.
But we’ve taken the necessary steps to eliminate the threat.
[Daniel] We’ve put up a posting on something called the dark web.
Yes, I know what it is.
Has the offer been accepted?
[Daniel] Almost immediately.
By a reliable party?
Ex-military. Elite unit.
We’ll be providing some assistance on the technical side.
Well, it’s not just him that we need dead.
It’s anyone even remotely associated with him.
[Daniel] Well, the posting was quite explicit in this regard, ma’am.
[Burton] Drone inbound.
Get Mama in the basement.
Can you hack it?
I need a bunch of dumb-ass drunks around the fire.
Not much motion.
Get it done, Reece, or we go without it.
[Reece] Done. Link me.
[Burton] These sorry motherfuckers have no idea who they just picked a fight with.
[friend of Barton] Linked.
[Burton] You’ve got your long guns?
Mama. Mama. Wake up.
Mama, wake up right now.
[Flynne] Mama, wake up!
Mama, get up.
[electronic whirring accelerates]
[Burton] Stay down!
[mercenary] Back up, back up!
[gunfire continues outside]
[whispering] Where is it?
Fuck. Come on, fucker. Come on.
Drop your fucking gun now!
[Flynne breathing heavily]
[Flynne] It’s all right.
She slept through the whole thing.
Only seeing ten bodies.
[Burton] One’s in the house.
[Reece] Counted. Still two missing.
Play it back.
They hacked us back.
[mercenary] One’s on the move!
[Reece] Low on ammo here.
Ain’t about to be running up that ridge, if that’s what you’re thinking.
Not asking you to.
[Burton] Who is that?
Will someone please tell me what the fuck is going on?
[Connor over radio] Your little sister said I should stop by for a beer.
She ain’t say nothin’ about you throwing such a fun party, though.
I thought that was you. What are the chances?
You’re pretending, Wolf.
Why would you say that?
You have two choices.
You can tell me the truth, why you’ve tracked me down, or you can fuck off back up the street.
I know a person who’s looking for some information about your current place of employment.
The Research Institute?
And this person you know, he’s a fool, is he?
As far as I can see, there’s three possible categories at play.
Fool. Klept. Maybe the Met…
He’s not a fool.
So a klept, then.
Now why would I want to get entangled with such an unpalatable world?
There would be a sum of money involved that will carry you far beyond the level of need.
I don’t want money.
Are you happy, Aelita?
Don’t you fucking dare do that.
…I’d ask you, “Are you happy?”
And every time, you’d give me the same answer.
Despite all that was going on, the desolation all around us.
Do you still wake up like that?
So this is altruism, is it? [scoffs]
Is there a finder’s fee for the Good Samaritan?
Both can exist, can’t they?
Self-interest and altruism?
I’m quite serious.
You really don’t seem happy to me.
The individual you know, his overture, or whatever you want to call it,
it’s gonna make me happy, is it?
A little bit of intrigue, to liven up your days.
Where’s the harm in that?
[Wilf exhales] Hello?
[Lev] Good God, Wilf, you sound like hell.
The hour may have something to do with that, Lev.
Which should give a sense of the urgency at play.
[Wilf] What’s going on?
I’ve sent a car.
It’s waiting downstairs.
It’s 5:00 in the fucking morning.
I’m not going anywhere.
I pay you a retainer, quite a generous one if I’m not mistaken.
Given what I understand to be the going rate for… um, what is it you call yourself again, Wilf?
I do admire the brute simplicity of the title.
All I’m asking is that you do your job.
Fix a problem of mine, and fix it now.
The bounty on the girl and her family, someone tried to claim it.
Or to be more precise, a team of someones.
And rather violently.
We got lucky, but our good fortune isn’t likely to last.
So my technicals have built the girl a Peripheral.
I need you to get her inside it now.
She’s our best chance of finding Aelita.
[end call chime]
I can sense your glare of disapproval, Ash.
What is it now?
Your friend, Mr. Netherton.
I worry your personal attachment might be affecting your judgment.
That he’s not the right man for the job.
[Ash] He’s the sort you pay to carry a bag of money to someone, isn’t he?
The type authorities overlook because he’s not like you.
He’s not a…
A wealthy bon vivant?
A descendant of an illustrious Russian bloodline?
A patron to the arts?
He’s just a pet.
Obliging and sweet.
And the current situation may require us to be a little bit more…
One day I’ll share with you how I first met Wilf.
He doesn’t like to talk about it.
Quite modest, really.
But let’s just say, when it comes to his capacity for violence, he is one of the family.
Especially when properly motivated.
And no one could possibly be more motivated to find Aelita than Wilf Netherton.
[Burton] I’m sorry, Flynne.
I know this is the last thing you want to do, but we need the intel.
If you’d like it altered in any way, we can easily accommodate you.
I’m Wilf Netherton.
I’ll be as direct as possible, since neither of us has time for anything else.
I’m trying to find a woman.
If I’m not mistaken, you might be the last person to have seen her.
You see, I’m thinking you should probably tell me why people are trying to come and kill me and my family first.
And then, maybe I’ll go and play your stupid missing-lady sim.
You aren’t playing a sim, Ms. Fisher.
You’re inside what we call a Peripheral.
Piloting that body as if it were your own.
And all this, it…
Let me show you.
This ain’t London.
Why would you say that?
[Flynne] Where are all the people?
[Wilf] Well, that’s where things begin to get a bit tricky.
This is London.
But London 70 years from what you think of as the present.
I’m sorry, you really just expect me to swallow that?
That I’ve time traveled here?
To future London?
Not at all.
If it were time travel, as you say, you’d be here physically.
This is merely a matter of data transfer.
Quantum tunneling is the technical term for it.
I understand your confusion.
No, I’m not confused at all, actually.
I just don’t believe you.
You’d like my bona fides?
She has a brain tumor.
Okay. You don’t really need to be from the future to know that one.
It’s going to kill her in four weeks.
On September the 22nd.
Late in the evening.
That’s not true.
Doctor told her it won’t do her in.
They said there’s plenty of stuff in line ahead of that.
Has her pain been intensifying?
That’s usually the first sign.
We’ve developed a drug to treat gliomas.
It’s like spraying a weed, more or less.
I’ve sent the formula to your pharmacy.
They’re printing it now.
We can’t afford Pharma Jon.
We wired payment direct to the pharmacy.
Think on it, Ms. Fisher. But with alacrity.
The situation is urgent. I can’t stress that enough.
You and your family… You remain in grave danger.
Those men who came to kill you, they won’t be the last.
You need my help to stop them.
And I’ll need yours in turn.
I’ll see you soon.
[high-pitched ringing fades]
[indistinct chatter nearby]
[Flynne clears throat]
Burying and burning have both come up for discussion.
Along with the straight and narrow approach of contacting the sheriff’s office.
I thought we should hear from you before we committed ourselves.
I’m headed into town.
[Burton] What for?
[Flynne] Tell you when I get back.
You can’t go alone.
Then send somebody.
[takes deep breath]
[Flynne] You want to tell me something, Mama?
About your glioma?
Who told you?
I’m sorry, Flynne.
I’m so sorry.
They tell you something like that…
It sounds silly.
But suddenly, you realize how precious each day is.
And the idea of stealing even one second from you, of… of weighing you down with sadness, when I could protect you?
…if I’m lucky.
[chuckling] I told the nurse, if I was lucky, I wouldn’t be here in the first place, would I?
This new drug, it’s…
We don’t know what’s in it.
What’s the worst it could do, Flynne?
Kill me a little quicker?
[♪ Kaleo: “No Good”]
♪ You can’t fight the temptation ♪
♪ When you get the vibration ♪
♪ It won’t do you no good, it won’t do you no good ♪
♪ And you better start running ♪
♪ When you hear the man coming ♪
♪ It won’t do you no good, it won’t do you no good ♪
♪ No, we don’t mind if you don’t mind ♪
♪ Hell, I never mind ♪♪
[turns music off]
[door chiming softly]
Coffee is on the desk.
I could really use some intel right about now, if you got it.
You’re not gonna believe me.
It ain’t a sim.
When I put on the headset, I’m operating an actual body.
It’s some kind of robot, I guess, but a whole lot more realistic than that.
It looks like me.
Feels like me.
Except it’s, uh, in London.
This guy says.
I can believe that.
[Flynne] Well, that ain’t the hard part yet.
He says I witnessed something while I was there.
Something that these folks are wanting to kill me to keep quiet.
I still don’t see what’s so hard to believe.
It’s in the future, Burton.
Where he is.
I assume he gave you a reason to believe that?
You check on Mama on your way up?
Is she okay?
[Burton] Claims she’s fine.
But Leon says her vitals are out of whack.
Like she’s fighting something.
This guy, he-he gave me something for her.
For her tumor. He says it will cure her.
Well, fuck that, ’cause we’re not taking his word on anything.
I gave it to her.
He showed me her obituary, okay?
Flynne, you can’t just give her…
She’s gonna die in four weeks if we don’t do nothing about it.
And you just believed that?
It was real, Burton. It felt real.
Flynne, are you out of your fucking mind?
I’ll go back.
I’ll get more intel, if that’s what you want.
No fucking way.
I’m going in there.
He doesn’t want you.
Okay? He wants me.
[Burton] I don’t give a fuck who he wants.
That’s part of the problem.
You’re letting him think he’s in charge.
Goddamn it, Burton. Why do you have to go and fuck things up all the time, huh?
Fuck. Look, I’m sorry.
We need you here.
You know that.
What happens when more people come hunting us down?
But I’m going, Burton.
This ain’t a discussion.
[Flynne panting softly]
[Wilf] Welcome back.
Where are we?
The rear garden of a house in Notting Hill.
It belongs to Lev Zubov.
That’s him, in the waistcoat.
[Wilf] Thylacine analogs.
Though I believe you might call them something else.
I saw them on a show once, but they said that they were extinct.
Well, one of Lev’s hobbies is recreating such things.
From their DNA.
Do they bite?
These two are designed for domestic companionship.
There’s a rival genetic line, bred to be feral.
So, why are we here?
We’re in Notting Hill to meet with Lev and his two technicals.
More specifically, we’re in his garden to give you a moment to acclimate before we begin.
[♪ Schubert: “The Trout”]
[Wilf] Lev is the man who hired me to find Aelita.
The woman who went missing.
[Flynne] And what’s a technical?
[Wilf] Someone with expertise in, ah… technical matters?
Gift for words, hasn’t he?
[Wilf] Ossian is the gentleman looming rather threateningly against the tree.
He has a knack for that sort of thing, as you’ll soon see.
And Ash is the exceedingly gloomy-looking young woman at the table.
They work to maintain the connection between our two worlds.
Which is apparently rather more tenuous than one might prefer.
Can we bring them in before he says something we can’t unsay?
Lunch is served, Wilf.
You can shut it down.
[music stops playing]
[Flynne] What happens to this thing when I’m not in it?
It has an eight-hour sleep cycle.
The rest of the time, when you’re off in your stub, it runs on AI.
When a party from our present made contact with the past, that past immediately branched off and formed its own continuum.
Or parallel timeline, if you will.
In other words, our two time lines were identical until that moment of contact.
At that point, they separated.
You’re not helping at all.
Any moment you’d like to jump in.
It can all be rather confusing, even for us.
Perhaps we should stick to the most urgent matters at hand, and trust that the secondary details will fall into place.
Urgent, like the people coming to kill me and my family?
Or, from our perspective, urgent being what happened to Aelita West.
Why is she so important to y’all?
Aelita worked for an entity called the Research Institute.
Her duties there gave her access to your stub.
We’ve been paying her to provide us with a trapdoor into it.
Now that she’s missing, we risk losing that connection.
Well, what were you all up to in my world, then?
Seems like you’re going to an awful lot of trouble here to find things out.
Kind of just begs the question: Why?
[Lev] You could call it intellectual curiosity.
[Flynne] Like a game?
Like you’re playing a sim?
I suppose that analogy could be made.
So, we aren’t real to y’all?
Are we? Me, my family, my friends.
Are we real to you?
I’m working on it.
Got a visitor.
[Reece] On foot.
Half a klick up the road.
Bring the drones in.
Pull back. I’m coming up.
[Reece] Roger that.
Carlos, I need you to cover for me.
[Carlos] On my way.
What do I do?
Just sit and watch.
If she wakes, don’t tell her where I’ve got to.
I ain’t gonna lie to her, Burton.
I’m not asking you to.
Just tell her I’m walking the perimeter.
And then try your best to keep her there.
That drug you gave my mother, all it’s gone and done is make her sicker.
It will accomplish what I promised, I assure you.
Give it time.
Which is the one thing she don’t have, ain’t it?
According to y’all?
How’d you all get that information, anyway?
What else do you all have? You got her obituary.
But… what happens to me?
Well, as we explained before, when someone from our world made contact with yours, your timeline…
Yeah, I get it. That’s the whole stub thing.
But what happened to the Flynne Fisher in your timeline?
I mean, does she get married, or have any kids?
Or is she still alive?
What about my brother?
[clears throat] There’s information to a certain point.
But after that point, the records become rather spotty.
What point? Why?
[Lev] A lot can happen in 70 years, Ms. Fisher.
A lot did happen.
Yeah, but what? Specifically.
I fear we’re getting a little off track here.
What are you all hiding from me?
[Wilf] These are all excellent questions, and in time, they’ll all be answered.
I give you my word.
[Flynne] Yeah, you keep on saying that, but it’s just starting to sound like it don’t mean that much.
[Flynne] When will my mother get better?
[Ossian] Iesniegt navised maehad.
Urtew cept zoryin.
[Wilf] They can encrypt their voices when they address each other.
You’ll grow accustomed to it.
Although, I’m afraid the irritation never quite dissipates.
[Ossian] I was simply informing Ash that the medication in question has a 57% efficacy rate.
The ability to produce a desired or intended result.
Borrowed from Latin “efficacia.”
I know what the fucking word means.
What does it mean for my mother?
[Ash] We can’t guarantee that the drug will work.
Well, I’m guessing “spraying a weed” means something pretty different in the future, huh?
Y’all got extinct animals you’ve brought back to life, time travel, moving tattoos…
Seems like it shouldn’t be too hard to help a good woman who’s had a shitty run of luck lately.
Make that happen…
…and I’ll start talking about your missing lady.
Give you my word on it, too.
You ever come across anything like this?
You know what?
That’s a 6.8 SPC.
We used those in the war on occasion.
Builder muscle, you think?
Good a guess as any.
All the way out here, though?
That seem a bit odd, don’t it?
Whole damn thing seems pretty odd to me, Tommy.
Hey, you and Flynne ain’t mad at Dee Dee and me, are you?
Why would we be mad?
All them vehicles.
Looks like y’all getting ready to roast a pig or something.
Just, uh, wondering why we didn’t get an invite.
That’s Reece’s truck there, right?
[Burton] Yeah, just one of our stupid drone tournaments.
I didn’t figure you’d be fool enough to mess around with those.
No. [chuckles softly]
I know how personally invested you are here, Wilf.
So I worry that you might feel an understandable instinct to push the pace a little with Ms. Fisher.
I think we should let her find her feet before we pressure her too much.
You said time was a resource we can’t afford to waste.
And I wouldn’t consider it wasted if it were time spent making her more… tractable.
[Wilf] My understanding was that you simply wanted to speak with Aelita.
It’s the only reason I agreed to arrange an introduction.
And those conversations led to the possibility of access to this young woman’s world.
Why did you want access?
You’ve always struck me as someone with a gift for discerning the difference between good knowledge and bad knowledge.
Good being that which brings you power or advantage.
Bad being the type which might put you in mortal peril.
It’s a point of pride. I don’t lie to my friends.
So, please, take some care of what you ask.
I’d hate to stop thinking of you as a friend.
[Tommy] Make sure to say hi to Flynne and your mama for me.
[Burton] Yeah, I’ll do that, Tommy.
What did he say?
Two abandoned SUVs up the road a ways.
With some new kind of cloaking tech.
Which answers that question.
[shaky breaths] I don’t fucking know, Burton.
I mean, how the fuck is all this happening right now?
There’s a pile of dead bodies back there.
You can’t think like that.
Your buddies from the future gonna help us any?
Or we on our own?
They said they’re watching.
I guess they’ll try to give us a warning before the next wave hits.
[Burton] How much of a warning?
Much as they can manage.
They said they’re sending money, though.
Soon as that hits my account, I’m gonna lose my social security.
Yeah, I know. Don’t worry, I told them.
They said they’re gonna figure out a workaround.
[Leon] Holy shit. Holy fucking shit.
I just won the goddamn lottery!
I’ve always been lucky. You both know that, don’t you?
Luck ain’t got nothing to do with it, Leon.
What? You two meet some folks in the futur…
Indoor voice, Leon.
[quietly] The future?
They help me win the lottery?
How else you gonna explain that but luck?
From Mr. Pickett. With his congratulations.
[Leon] Corbell Pickett? For real?
[Leon] Jesus fuckin’ Christ.
[Burton] Just raise your glass.
Nod your thanks.
I… I just got to… Got to use the bathroom.
Fucking asshole’s still looking at us.
Well, our idiot cousin did just win the lottery.
So makes us kind of interesting for a minute or two.
So, you believe me now?
‘Bout this whole future thing?
Step closer, I’ll admit.
Not a small one, either.
Shopping list for our little army.
Where’s Conner at?
You know Conner.
I also know that maybe asking him to help us might count as a good deed.
Might also get us all killed.
Come on, Burton.
He came in pretty damn handy the other night.
We spun the dial, and thankfully, Conner came up sober.
Which I guess means cousin Leon is not the only one with a bit of luck on his side.
What’s up? You got something you want to say?
Already said it.
I can’t go fixing something that’s unfixable, Flynne.
Not in the middle of all this.
All right, then, I’m gonna head home.
Wait, wait, wait. Hold up.
I talked to Reece about that sim.
How you got us all out of the barn.
And you let the sheep out ’cause you felt bad for them, right?
And then, once they were gone, the tractor was revealed.
So it was like the sim gave you…
…an empathy bonus?
But tactically, that would’ve been sacrificing a valuable asset.
Those Nazis were about to storm us, and the sheep were the only cover we had.
How would you have found it then?
That’s my point.
You feel bad for Conner.
I get it. We all do.
But nobody’s handing out any empathy bonuses here, Flynne.
In the real world, there ain’t gonna be no fucking tractor.
But if there were one…
…you wouldn’t have found it.
Now would you?
I’ll see you at home.
[country music playing]
Damn it, Flynne.
[TV playing inside]
[narrator] …of Entomology at Cornell University.
Each individual bee has a significant role to play serving the larger needs of the colony.
Workers, the drones, the queen, they all contribute to the healthy functioning of the hive.
And none of them, not even the queen herself, can survive without the support of the others.
However, despite their cooperative and highly regimented society, environmental pressures have placed the population of bees into free fall, which has led to a cascade of agricultural deficiencies and economic turmoil in our own society.
For instance, a study conducted in California with almond farmers found that the absence of bees decreased their annual income by $75,000…
You ever worry you might shoot someone with that thing?
Wake up startled-like?
That why you don’t come and visit so much no more?
Afraid I might beat you to the draw?
You drunk, Conner?
That’s for sure.
[groans] You didn’t answer my question, though.
Why don’t you come a-visiting?
I’m a-visiting now, ain’t I?
Got so I figured I was gonna find you dead one of these days.
Didn’t know if I could live with that.
So why are you here now?
You disappeared on us, after our night of mayhem.
[Conner] The fun seemed to die down pretty quick.
I’ve learned I’m not so good with the quiet periods.
[Burton] We got an ongoing situation.
I could use a decent staff sergeant.
The other night, when I was headed toward your place?
Those boys, they heard me coming, hustled into the brush.
I only saw one of them, but he had me scoped.
All he had to do was twitch a finger.
Know what he did?
Just let me roll by.
I figured they was headed to the Baker place, that Jasper crossed Corbell Pickett somehow, and… I kept thinking on it… as I was going up the road.
There’s only one reason I could guess why that boy would let me by.
More I thought on that, the madder I got.
I mean, I decided I was gonna kill that boy, no matter where he was headed.
By the time I got back, those fellas had your balls in a nice tight grip.
Only seemed neighborly to ease the pressure.
Felt pretty good for about 12 hours or so.
Almost like I’d made things right for myself.
[exhales] How much money you reckon the VA spends, trying to put all us Humpty Dumpties back together again?
Less than it would take.
Turns out they could just let us all start shooting each other.
[chuckling] Solve the whole damn problem, don’t you think?
Half of us’d be dead, the rest would be happy.
Tell me that firefight didn’t make you happy, Burton.
[laughing] There it is.
There it most definitely fucking is, am I right?
[laughing] Am I right?
What you got going on out there?
Flynne took a trip to future London.
Saw something she wasn’t supposed to.
Now people from there are hiring folks to kill us.
[Conner clears throat]
I’m pretty fucked up, but not that fucked up.
I didn’t say you had to believe me.
You just need to help. Sober up.
Come camp at our place.
Leon’s there for an offload, if you want it.
[Conner] It’s not his job no more.
I don’t guess he ever saw it as a job, Conner.
Probably wouldn’t be too happy to hear you describe it that way, either.
I just told you I killed some boys for pitying me.
You doing the same thing?
I was trying for empathy, actually.
What’s the fucking difference?
Fucked if I know, man.
Look, the offer is there if you want it.
But the sober part is nonnegotiable.
You gonna remember me standing here, telling you all this, come morning?
[♪ Cameron Ian McBride: “Lluvia de Oro”]
¿No esposa esta noche, Señor?
Flying free this evening, Manuel.
Perhaps you’d like una compañera?
Why, you old devil.
What do you take me for?
Un hombre de gran pasión, ¿no?
Well, put it like that? I…
Guess I wouldn’t spurn some company.
And what is your name, honey?
Like the Chiquita lady?
¿Qué es eso?
Used to be a fruit called the banana.
Killed off in some sort of fungus.
You, uh… have any talents I should be aware of?
[Daniel] Would you excuse us, señorita?
You’re quite a difficult man to contact, Mr. Pickett.
Our records indicate that you are an individual with some power and influence in Clanton, circa 2030.
And it also seems that you’re a man who doesn’t indulge in too many scruples.
Is that correct?
What the fuck is going on here?
We have a situation that would appear to require some local knowledge.
We’d like to pay you ten million dollars to eliminate two members of your community.
Who are you? Homeland Security?
You fuckers hacked this thing?
We’re prepared to transfer 25% into your account now, as a good faith payment.
The rest will be paid upon completion.
The individuals’ names in question are Flynne and Burton Fisher.
You think I’m a fool?
This is entrapment, asshole.
Open and shut.
[soft piano music playing]
How was Havana?
Always better when you’re there.
Oh, I doubt that.
Bet you get up to all sorts of trouble on your own.
I’m afraid we might need to take a break from the old Tropicana.
Burton, get up here right now.
What are you doing?
I was hungry.
I thought I was in a dream.
I can see, Flynne.
I can see you. I can see you.
What connection do you have to a man named Corbell Pickett?
[Corbell] Now, you won’t get anywhere in life if you don’t have the courage to be cruel now and then.
[Flynne] That’s the kind of person that he is.
That ain’t who we are.
There ought to be a simpler way to kill a girl.
[Wilf] Aelita left a clue as to her potential whereabouts.
She was always fond of riddles.
that’s my house.