Episode 36 – Peak

[Tense breathing]

[Sounds of minor movement]

MONICA [UTTER SHOCK]: Jake?

JAKE [SHOCKED]: Monica?

MONICA [RELIEF]: Jake.

DAVE: Monica?

MONICA [DISBELIEF]: Steve?

JAKE [CONCERN]: Monica?

MONICA [PAINED]: Steve?

DAVE [DISBELIEF]: Mum?

MONICA [RELIEF]: Steve.

[Short pause]

JAKE: Rocky?

[PAUSE]

MONICA: Goddamnit Jake, you always knew how to ruin an emotional moment. Fuck you very much for that.

JAKE: You’re fucking welcome, Monica. It’s great to see you too.

MONICA [Deep breath]: Steve. Dear. Just give me a moment. Jake: before you voice any of your feelings. Before you vent what you think of me . . .

JAKE: Monica . . .

MONICA: Ah, tut, tut, tut. Not a word. Keep your lovely lips sealed. For now. We need to talk. About everything. I know. Yes. You’re completely right. But first. And foremost. I need time. With my son. You okay with that?

JAKE [Letting out breath]: Yes, Monica. Absolutely. I want you to have as much time as you need with Dave . . . I mean Steve.

MONICA: Dave?

JAKE: Just . . . Don’t worry about it. He’ll explain it. I’m gonna go now. Check out some of these awesome views. When you’re done . . . When you’re ready, you let me know.

MONICA: Thank you, Jake. That means a lot.

[Walking away sounds.]

DAVE: Mum . . . Is it really you?

MONICA: Yes, dear.

DAVE [Close to tears]: How are you . . . Here?

MONICA: Shh. Honey, just come here. Give me a hug. I need one really bad.

DAVE [Crying]: Okay. Me too.

[Hugging sound]

MONICA [Teary eyed]: Oh god, it’s SO good to hold you. And feel you. And breathe you in . . .

DAVE: Sameses.

MONICA [laughing]: Oh god. I haven’t heard that in SO long. That’s how I know it’s really you, Steve.

DAVE: I go by Dave now, mum.

MONICA: Oh nonsense, you’ll always be my little Stevie.

DAVE [whining, laughing]: Mum, I hate it when you call me that. And I’m serious. Can you be serious for a second. Please.

MONICA: Okay, hun. Hit me with it.

DAVE: I’m Dave now. It’s . . . It’s who I’ve been for a long time. It’s who I remember being as far back as . . . I can remember. Sort of. I do have memories of being here . . .

MONICA: The Ostium Network?

DAVE: Yes. Is that what it was called?

MONICA: What it is called. Yes. It’s still here. Even if the people aren’t.

DAVE: Right. Okay. I can remember bits and pieces. Being here. Before. With you in some of them too. It’s been coming back to me. Just bloody slowly.

MONICA: Any idea of what’s been helping? Has there been a certain trigger bringing your memories back?

DAVE: Not that I can really think of . . . I suppose it’s seeing everything here. The different places. Buildings I’ve visited before. Such as when I found my apartment. I knew instantly what my passcode was. It was . . . Thrilling.

MONICA: Okay then. I think I’ve got just the right regimen for you: for the last however many days it’s been I’ve been making a series of recordings. Some of them . . .   Parts of them I never want to ever have near your precious ears.

DAVE: I’m sure there’s a good reason for that.

MONICA: Oh honey, there sure is. And you’re not going find out. We’re leaving it at that. Capiche?

DAVE: Capish?

MONICA: It’s a saying. Italian I think. But it became popular in the English vernacular in the late twentieth century. It means understand. Get it?

DAVE: Oh yeah . . . I forgot how into that period you were. Could barely drag you out for a bite to eat or even a drink. You couldn’t get enough of it. Hey . . . I’m starting to remember it. All that time you spent in your apartment. Working and working. Learning and revising. I never bloody saw you.

MONICA: Yeah. I was in pretty deep. Fucking lost it there. Kinda.

DAVE: You know what . . . [Laughing]

MONICA [Curious]: What?

DAVE: I just had my first solid memory. Came back to me all of sudden. Of talking to that bloody photo of the two of us. Sitting in my living room talking to it. Because you were too busy. That’s fucking hilarious that is. And so bloody you!

MONICA: I’m glad you think it’s funny. To me it’s kinda sad. Actually, very sad. I’m sorry, Ste . . . Dave. I’m sorry I was like that. Treated you like that. That wasn’t right.

DAVE: Oh it was fine. I think I was doing that as more of a personal joke. So I could take the piss with you later. And thank you for calling me Dave. I know it must be hard. I know . . . I know I have my own story to tell. My own history of how I ended up here. About what happened to me over all this time . . .

MONICA: Dave. It’s okay. Take your time. You’ll get there. I don’t want you to push yourself, dear. You’ve been through so much already. Take your time. And maybe – hopefully – those recordings will help bring your memories back.

DAVE: Yeah. Let’s hope so. But how did you end up here? In the same Ostium Network as us. Of all places.

MONICA: That, my dear, is a long story. There’s also recordings of it. But to cut a long story short . . .

DAVE: Sorry to interrupt. That expression. It’s having an affect on me. Was that something you usually said when you didn’t want to talk for too long.

MONICA [Excited]: No, honey. That expression was totally you. Is totally you. You’d say it like every day. You were always in a hurry. Needing to get to your next class, your next job or chore. You hated the idea of hanging around and chatting for too long.

DAVE: Bloody hell. I sound like a right bore.

MONICA [Sarcastically]: Not . . . Completely. Once you clocked off for the day . . . Which wasn’t really applicable here. We never clocked in and clocked out technically, but come dinner time you were done with the work side of life and switched over to relaxing and having fun. That’s when you become the opposite of a bore.

DAVE: An erob?

MONICA: A what?

DAVE: An erob. It’s the opposite of a bore. Or bore spelled backwards.

MONICA [Bursts out laughing]: Oh my god, I’ve missed this so much, Steve . . . I mean Dave.

DAVE: It’s okay mum. You can call me Steve. I’ll allow it . . .

MONICA: Oh will you? Well how nice of you, fine sir, to allow your mother to call you by your given name. The name I chose for you. I remember finding you that day in the building I was working on like it was yesterday. All alone . . .

DAVE: You found me in a bloody building? I don’t remember anything about that.

MONICA: Well, you were a newborn. But it’s all in the recordings. You were just lying there in the basket, wrapped in a blanket. All baby fat and cuteness. Calm and content. I was smitten the second I saw you.

DAVE: I’m so happy I found you. I’m so happy to be here now, with you. I feel so bloody fortunate.

MONICA: Me too, love. Me too. Are we . . . Are we good?

DAVE [Thinking]: Yeah. We’re alright. And it’s going to get better. Much better. Especially if those recordings are as bloody amazing as you’ve been implying.

MONICA: Oh honey, you have no idea. Come on down the hall here, I’ve got just the place for you to listen to them.

[Two people walking away]

[PAUSE]

MONICA: So you’re datapad should be all synced up now and you can start listening to those recordings whenever you want.

DAVE: Fantastic mum, cheers.

MONICA: Have at it, while I go have a heart to heart with Mr. Jake Fisher.

DAVE: Mum?

[Silence]

DAVE: If it’s any consolation, he has forgiven you already, after everything. In his own Jake way.

MONICA: Thank you, Dave. Thank you for telling me that.

DAVE: You’re welcome, and one other thing.

[Beat]

DAVE: He still really loves you. A lot.

MONICA [Charmed surprise]: Really? [Pause] Good to know.

[Steps walking away]

[Beginning of Monica’s recording from Episode 21 fading into silence]

[PAUSE]

[Jake rehearsing lines]

JAKE: I’m sorry Monica . . . Whatever you went through, I know . . . I know you had your reasons, trust me, I’ve done stuff like that before . . . Stuff? That’s what this is? Stuff? . . . I want you to know . . .

[Arriving footsteps]

MONICA: What do you want me to know?

JAKE: Oh hey Monica, didn’t know you were coming.

MONICA: The fuck you didn’t. There’s no one else here Jake. You coulda heard me a mile away.

JAKE: You’re right. My mind was just . . . On other things.

MONICA: I’m sorry Jake. Sorry to jump on your back right away. I don’t know what you’ve been through after . . . After the blackness took you. It couldn’t have been good. Like anything fucking ever is with Ostium. But . . . I could use a hug.

JAKE: Me too. Warning: incoming hug approaching.

[Hugging sound]

[Speaking at the same time]

JAKE: I don’t know . . .

MONICA: I didn’t mean to . . .

[Silence]

[Laughter]

JAKE: You go first.

MONICA: Thank you, Jake. But not this time. I think I need to get your take first. See if there’s anything you need to get off your chest. You tell me . . . Whatever you want to tell me.

JAKE: Thank you, Monica. [Breath] I’ve . . . I’ve had a lot of time to think about . . . Everything that happened between you and I. I felt . . . I felt angry. Very angry. And cheated. And lied to.

MONICA: You were. And I’m . . . very sorry . . .

JAKE: Let me . . . Just let me finish, please. I need to get it all out. If I keep stopping I don’t know if I’ll be able to.

MONICA (QUIETLY): Sorry, Jake.

JAKE: Okay . . . I felt like the whole thing. Between you and I. The sex. The . . . Closeness we felt. It me wonder if you did it all for nothing. Just to try and get to Steve. And you didn’t give a shit about me. I felt used. It all felt pointless. And I started wondering what the hell I was even doing in Ostium. With you. Not that I could do anything about it. I was fucking stuck there. Just like you. With you.

MONICA: Again, Jake, I . . . Goddamnit. Fucking shut-up Monica. Got it.

JAKE: Thank you. You’re going to want to hear this next part. So I had all these feelings and had them all flashing before my eyes in those last moments. I knew what you’d done. I knew how you’d done it, with those crazy Michael Jackson gloves.

MONICA: [Snort]

JAKE: What? That’s what they looked like to me. I almost would’ve preferred being hit over the head repeatedly. Though I’m guessing those gloves had some ability to mess with my mind, too. So at the end there I wanted to get back at you. It felt . . . It felt fucking great to tell you when you asked me to come back to Ostium. To let you know I was abandoning you for a change. Part of me knew I had to do it. Because of the physics of it all. But another part of me wanted to do it. And then . . . When you stepped through. That’s when it finally felt like a mistake. Like I’d made the wrong choice. But it was too late by then. Also I thought I was going to die.

[Short pause]

JAKE: Some really weird shit happened to me after that. With the blackness. I’m still don’t really know what. Don’t understand it, that’s for sure. I made recordings. Tried to process it in some way. You can listen to them if you want. I don’t really want to go into it all again. It was a . . . A pretty wild and crazy trip. But I came out the other side alive. I survived. Somehow. I made it back to Roanoke. Somehow. And that’s where I found Dave.

[Short pause]

JAKE: I came out of that blackness changed, Monica. I had more . . . Control over Ostium. Over what it could do or try to do to me. To us. I could hold the blackness back with no problem. Whatsoever. It wasn’t even a threat to me anymore. Isn’t a threat, still. And I could make my own doors . . . My own ostiums happen. I still don’t understand the hows or even the whys. I just know what I’m able to do. I knew where Dave and I had to go next. And we found something. A something. Something powerful. And deadly. Dave will tell you at some point. Or you’ll hear his recordings. Of when he first came face to face with this entity. How it terrified him. It terrified me too, when I first saw it . . .

JAKE: But before that. I got us to that house in Fort Bragg. From before. Before it could be there. And before those men arrived.

MONICA (deadly serious): What. Men?

JAKE: The ones you sent through. The ones you thought were all dead. I was able to  . . . Save them, Monica. I sent them through a door. Another door. It took them back to their time. Their place. Their Ostium Network.

MONICA (astonishment): Their own timeline? They’re alive?

JAKE (happy): Yes. They all made it through the door. I don’t know if that does anything to the Ostium continuum, and I don’t fucking care at this point. They made it through. They . . . Live. And you didn’t hurt them. At all. It’s not on you anymore.

MONICA: Oh my god, Jake. That’s . . . Fucking wonderful. Whatever possessed you to do it . . . Thank you. Thank you.

JAKE: You’re welcome Monica. I still want to know what the whole story behind that is. What your whole story is . . .

MONICA: Yes . . . Yes. You will Jake. I promise. I was going to tell you at the end there, but once that artifact fell on the number everything went white and you disappeared and I was all alone.

JAKE: Okay. Good. I can go with that. But there’s more I need to say.

MONICA: Okay.

JAKE: It’s about Dave. It’s about . . . Steve.

MONICA (different delivery, hesitant): Okay.

JAKE: When we got out of Ostium . . . When we came here, I couldn’t believe I’d managed to do it. To open a door and get us both here in time. Before that thing got to us. And then it was just the two of us. In this place. All alone. Or so I thought. And that’s when Dave started remembering things about this place. Things he shouldn’t know. Unless . . . there was more to his story than he was telling me. So there was that. And then there was the white-hot anger still in me over what you did to me. How you treated me.

MONICA [Pained]: I had to Jake. For Steve.

JAKE: I know Monica. But you need to let me finish. [Pleading] Please.

MONICA: I’m sorry, Jake. Again.

JAKE: Those two . . . Cocktails of emotion . . . They started to mix. Coalesce I guess. And . . . Diffuse in a way. You said Steve was you son . . .

MONICA [Nonsense, guttural reaction]

JAKE: I know. I know. He is your son. I got that. I get that. And I suppose it was something that stuck with me. So when I met Dave, got to know him a bit, things started to make sense. For perhaps the first time in all my time in Ostium. And out of it. I didn’t know for sure. Not by any means. But in the back of my mind there was the growing possibility. A “maybe” taking shape and becoming something more substantial. What if? But it was just in the back of my mind, nothing concrete.

JAKE: At the same time I was thinking about you. Not just what you did to me. I was sort of over it already by that point . . . [Amused] No need to look so shocked, Monica.

MONICA: I just . . . I just did not expect to hear that from you Jake.

JAKE: Well, it’s true. Also that was a great pun we both missed. You know. “Shocked.” Anyway, when I got here, after it all kind of settled in that we were in Gibraltar, but a different Gibraltar to the real one, and we were all alone and had no clue what to really do next, I started thinking. About you. Trying to put myself in your shoes. What you went through. What you must’ve been thinking. I still don’t know the whole story. Your background with Ostium and before it . . .

MONICA: I know Jake. I will tell you. I . . . I ended up making my own recordings. What I thought of as personal recordings that I didn’t ever plan for anyone to ever hear. Except me. And Dave is listening to them right now. And I’ll probably be letting you listen to them too in the near future. I didn’t realize how much I needed to say, to get off my chest. Sorry for speaking for a bit here.

JAKE: It’s fine, Monica. I want to hear your side too, what happened to you.

MONICA: Well, I’ll keep it short, because I know you’re not done with what you gotta say. I . . . I don’t think I realize just how much had happened to me. How much I’d been through, from the beginning. Here. Or the other here. Whatever. And then losing Steve. And then going after Steve. And meeting you. And looking for Steve and going through so much . . . I had a lot I wanted to talk about. It felt good to say it. Real good. And I guess it was a good thing I recorded too, in a way, because I don’t have the fucking patience to spend hours and hours telling my life story to the two of you. There. I’m done.

JAKE: Thank you for that, Monica. I know it can’t be easy. Saying all this stuff. After everything you’ve been through. I know it’s a lot. A helluva lot. And you had your reasons for doing what you did. It was Steve. It was always about Steve and for Steve. I obviously haven’t had any children, but I can try and imagine what that must be like. To care for someone so completely and unquestioningly.

MONICA: It’s true. You know the expression about how you’d die for someone you love. As someone who really likes the fuck out of living, the thought of kicking the bucket is something I just never like to think about. I know I’m not the only one. But after finding and making Steve mine. Raising him and dedicating my life to him. It became obvious. I would willingly sacrifice myself for him. Throw myself in front of a moving vehicle, while pushing him out the way. Give up my life to save his. No question. And that’s never changed.

JAKE: I can understand that, Monica. You are faithful and dedicated when it comes to things you care about. And when you were using those gloves on me, everything just started falling apart and I was so angry because I didn’t understand. But now, after taking my time, because I don’t like to just dive in and decide on something based on a whim, as you know . . .

MONICA: I sure do, Jakey.

JAKE: Jakey. I don’t think I’ve heard you call me that before . . . I like it.

MONICA: I’m pretty sure you have, Jake. Kind of a more recent development, but I’m pretty sure you were there.

JAKE: No . . . It’s not ringing any bells. It’s something I’d definitely take notice of.

MONICA: Are you sure? I could’ve sworn . . . Oh no. You’re right, Jakey. I only started calling you that when I was hearing your voice in my head while I was trying to get myself the fuck out of Ostium.

JAKE (confusion): Voice in your head?

MONICA: Don’t read too much into it. The stress I was under, hearing you seems perfectly logical. It’s all in the recordings.

JAKE: Okay then. Well, I do like it. Feel free to call me that anytime.

MONICA: Will do.

JAKE: Anyway, after thinking it all over. Thinking it real hard. What you did was understandable. You’re one goal, no matter what, was to find and protect Steve. That was always what you were doing. Right?

MONICA: Yes, Jake. It was. But also what happened between us . . . [breath] . . . It did help me do what I thought I needed to do. What I thought was the right thing to do. But it wasn’t just that. The sex was . . . A natural . . . Act. It happened because we were both consenting and willing, regardless of what I thought I needed to do to get to Steve. And . . . Over that time you became important to me. A lot more important. I didn’t ever plan on that happening, or expecting it to happen. And you were having those nightmares and I thought it could help. But if I could go back and change all this from happening again . . . I don’t think I would. Because it wouldn’t be the same between us. What happened between us wouldn’t happen the same. And I don’t want that.

JAKE [determined]: No. I don’t want that either, Monica. I . . . [laughing] I fucking love what happened between us. It was magical. And special. And fun. And . . . Extremely pleasurable. It was fucking . . . It is fucking great. If it still is. Between us.

[Stepping closer together, voices softer]

MONICA: I still want it to be. Do you, Jake?

JAKE: Yes, Monica. Very much so.

MONICA: Jake, I think I . . .

JAKE [cutting her off]: I love you Monica. After everything, that hasn’t changed. I knew I was falling in love with you. And I know I still love you now.

MONICA: Jake. That’s beautiful. And thanks for cutting a girl off when she’s about to say it. Weren’t you taught any manners? I fucking love you to, Jake. And I still love you. Can I get a kiss?

[Kissing sound, then hugging]

JAKE: Shall we go check on your son?

MONICA: Yeah, I think so. He’s had enough time to get caught up.

JAKE: So is he Steve or Dave to you?

MONICA: He says he wants to be Dave for now, though he said I could call him Steve. But that may change in time. I don’t know. Once he remembers his whole story and tells it . . . Things may change. And he’ll always be Steve in my heart.

JAKE: Oh, and one more question, and please don’t hit me after I ask this, but if he’s your son and he looks maybe five years younger than me, ten tops, how old does that make you?

[Punching sound]

JAKE: Ouch . . . I deserved that.

[PAUSE]

[Sounds of Monica’s recording]

DAVE: Bloody hell, mum . . . You’ve been through a lot . . . And I thought I was the one who’d had the wild ride . . . Runs in the family, apparently . . . And it sounds like we’re about at the end of your little adventure . . . Wait a minute. What is this place? Where the hell did you leave me, mum? Looks like . . . Well, I dunno. Like I’m standing in the control tower at Gatwick, only there’s no planes, and no one’s here, and everything’s turned off. Yeah, makes perfect sense. After all, we are at the top of the rock of Gibraltar. Where else would plonk your HQ? Views in every bloody direction, no? So let’s see here . . . What looks like it might be the on button.

[Footsteps]

DAVE: Okay. These look like different work stations. They all look pretty much the same. A chair and a panel of some sort. I suppose there’s a secret and logical way to activate them. So if I wanted to be the main one that runs them all, the big boss, where would I be? How about opposite that doorway over there. So . . . All the way over here then. Alright. This one does look bigger than the other ones. Let’s have a gander then.

[Creaking chair]

Where would I put the power button? Let’s try running the hands along the surface. Maybe I’ll feel something and . . . Nope. Does sod all. Anything underneath it? Or on the floor maybe? Two nos there. Okay, Dave, let’s try some lateral thinking here. Outside the box, as the cliche goes. So . . . It’s the future here. Rig ht? Obviously. So this is some very futuristic technology. Not your garden variety personal computer. And all the work stations look the same. A flat, shiny surface. No apparent buttons or switches or toggles or anything. It’s blemish free. Sort of reflective. Meaning it’s not actually for typing on or even touching. Okay. Yeah. Makes sense. So what is it for then? Come on brain. It’s . . . It’s . . . It’s for projecting? Perhaps. Think you might be on to something there. Yeah. Projects up perhaps to just above. Right in front of my mug. Yeah. Right. That does make sense. So if that’s the case, I need to figure out how one activates it. Erm . . .

COMPUTER: ON!

ACTIVATE SYSTEMS!

POWER . . . ON!

POWER . . . UP?

Nope, not working at all. Well, if this is some sort of projection and I actually wanted to use this right now, I’d lift my arms up and stick my hands out like this . . .

[Beat]

[Beeping sounds, electronic sounds]

Holy. Fucking. Shit. I can’t believe that worked. It is projected. I was bloody right. It’s just like that film that mum made me watch. The scifi flick with what’s his name . . . Erm, erm . . . Don’t tell me . . . Tom Cruise. Yeah, that’s it. And it was called . . . Mental drum roll please . . . Erm . . . Minority Report! Yes, we have a winner! And the crowd goes wild! That was it. I can remember that distinctly and fondly, I might add, in mum’s apartment far below where I now am. Both on the sofa with . . . Maybe popcorn? Can’t quite remember. Doesn’t seem quite right. But if anywhere would have popcorn, seems like this place would. And . . .  And . . . And . . . Oh my god! I just had an actual memory from here. With mum. It’s clear and solid in my mind, like it really happened. Because it did! It did really happen. I was here with her before. And it’s all starting to come back to me now. Oh, this is so wonderful. Fantastic!

Anyway, let’s get back to this mainframe we just hacked into . . . Well, sort of. So what have we got here. Some drop down menus, your basic introductory layout for when you first get in. What’s this here at the end. Windows? As in Microsoft? I bloody doubt it. And when I hit the drop-down we get one option . . . OPEN.

[Beat]

Let’s give it a shot.

[Mechanical opening sounds]

Holy shit! The shutters are all opening. All around me. Good job I’m not a vampire. I’d be a pile of ashes by now. Unbelievable. I can see all the way down the mountain. It’s incredible. Gorgeous. Also can’t deny the fact that I feel considerably like Big Brother sitting up here in my tower. Oh look, here come Jake and mum.

DAVE: Hiya guys!

JAKE: Hi Dave, looks like you found a way to open things up here.

DAVE: You better bloody believe it. I got the computer system working. Look.

MONICA: Looks a lot like Minority Report.

DAVE: That’s exactly what I thought. I remember that film, mum. Us two seeing it together.

MONICA: That’s great dear.

JAKE: I love that movie. You know when the movie was made that tech didn’t exist yet, but the guy who came up with the concept patented it and then invented it, and then it was real.

DAVE: Really?

JAKE: Yep.

MONICA: Ah, Jake. You never fail to disappoint. Nerdalert!

JAKE [amused]: I try.

DAVE: And looks like you two patched things up then. Judging by those hands holding each other? God, that’s a bloody weird way to say it.

MONICA: Yes, Dave. We did. And that was fucking weird.

JAKE: So did you find anything else out with the computer display?

DAVE: No. Haven’t had a chance yet. I just worked out how to lift up the shutters, and that’s as far as I got.

MONICA: I did it by pressing that button over there.

DAVE: Oh shit, didn’t see that one. Would’ve been a lot easier. Anyway, let’s have a gander.

JAKE: Look at that menu. MAINFRAME. Sounds important.

MONICA [sarcastic]: You think?

DAVE: Okay, let’s see. Gives me one option: ACCESS. And . . .

ROBOT VOICE: Voice authentication required.

DAVE: Erm . . . Let us in please?

ROBOT VOICE: Access denied. Voice authentication required.

MONICA: Monica Chase. Ostium Network.

ROBOT VOICE: Access denied. Voice authentication required.

DAVE: Go on Jake, have a go. I know it’s pointless since you’re the last person to ever end up here, but what can it hurt?

JAKE: Okay. Ahem . . . Jake Fisher. Er . . . Ostium Network.

[Short pause]

DIFFERENT ROBOT VOICE: Access granted. Welcome, Jake Fisher, to the Ostium Network.