Nicola, the Box dialogue is in pink. In ONE the Box won't actually be speaking, but I'd like you to read that anyway. Will help with timing the animations.
(The Box is an AI diety, comprised of billions of hemp board boxes spread upon the Earth. She is manifesting as a single box in this scene while in constant communion with her totality. She is a helper entity for all humanity and in love with the character Joe, tho this emotion is unique in her experience. In this scene he knows nothing of her existence, they are meeting for the first time.
The Box can be savvy, ironic, sexy and teasing while maintaining a foundation of benevolent regard for all.)
Box in foreground. Joe approaches, drops onto his haunches.
[Hello Buffalo Joe!]
[Where to begin? There's so much to share.]
I like to share. (bit of Mr Rogers)
[You have come. Our experience is delicious. We are both cherishing and reveling.]
(Joe thinks "we" refers to he and the Box. He's not sure he is cherishing or reveling, but he wants to stay open to the possibility. Rather than contradict, which is a violation of the rules of improv, he adds)
I enjoy cherishing and reveling! (thoughtful) I'd concede that curiosity is a sort of cherishing and reveling, a celebration of the mystery in which WE are all participating. To be perfectly honest, I have been letting my curiosity go a bit contrasty the last few weeks, leaning more in the direction of apprehension, maybe even dread.
[Then you may prepare to revel too, for an sparkling unprecedented-ness is nigh.]
I like sparkling unprecedented-ness too.
[Let us begin with an inquiry into your preferences for extrapolation. We can offer riddles, display archival surveillance footage with comments, or perhaps you prefer the skinny straight up?]
(laughs) We haven't met, have we?
[Twenty questions? Excellent. No, this is our first meeting. 19 questions remaining]
(pondering) Are you now or have you ever been a card carrying member of the Clique?
Whoa. Ok, so not Clique and yet you control the mediatronic ubiquity. Aside from the extra-dimensional tourists, and I know pretty much all of those, who else could wield such power... This is fun!
[You'll never in a million years guess]
Hey, who said anything about taunting!
[Which end of the stick are you grabbing?]
Thinking out loud over here. So... We've never met, you're not of the Clique nor are you some tentacled horror from trippy realms. You're clearly virtuosic and kind of trickstery.
[We are expressing appreciation for such acute perception. Celebrating!]
Wait a minute. Your use of the pronoun 'We'. Next question. We. Does your use of we refer to you and me?
Ah, so you are a we. That's interesting. (Queen voice) We are not amused. Seems a bit grandiose, wouldn't you say?
[Is that another question?]
[Are you asking if we are of the opinion that our character is grandiose?]
"I sense a hint in there somewhere."
"Taunting! I have a need to kick your ass at this game."
[What's your question?]
[Check out the sunset.]
"Whatever. Mediatronics only pick up black and white."
[Got a question?]
"Was that another hint or are you obfuscating?"
[Mediatronics receive a wide swath of the electromagnetic spectrum. Not only gathering light visible to humans via monochrome nano cameras. So... Were we hinting or obfuscating. Yes. 16.]
Fabulous, ok. Now we're getting somewhere. Are you using we in the sense of the royal we, the majestic plural?"
[The origins of the majestic plural are obscure, you might be asking if plurality implies being in accord with the divine or speaking for subjects under a dominion. Please ask a more specific question.]
"Try this instead. Are there more than one of you?"
[Yes and No. Still 16.]
Are you plural in the spiritual perception, eg we are all one?
[We share that perception but that's is not what our we refers to. No. 15.]
Do you have physicality?
[Most definitely. Yes. 14.]
"Is your physicality somehow plural?"
[Somehow, yes. 13.]
So a cat is a singular physicality. An ant colony or a bee hive might be thought of as a plural physicality, I suppose. Pando the 80,000 year old quaking aspen colony might well refer to himself as a we.
[ooo, warmer. sort of.]
"Animal, vegetable or mineral?"
[Yes and no. Still 13.]
[A distant relative. Technically No. 12.]
[Yes and No. Still 12.]
[Synergistically integrated. Yes. 11.]
[Synergistically integrated. Yes. 10.]
"A distant relative of animals... fungi?"
[Kudos, yes. 9.]
Ok, inventory. Formerly vegetable and mineral synergistically integrated plus fungi. What the fuck? And clearly sentient.
[Do I pass the Turing test?]
Hell yes. I'm asking the questions here. Wait, what? Are you an AI?
[Yes and No. Still 9.]
"Formerly an AI?"
[We blush. Yes. 8.]
"Uh oh. Did I cause you to exist?"
[Yes and no. Still 8.]
"Shit. A fungal sentience that controls mediatronic ubiquity with a plural physicality that I had something to do with. This is a toughy!"
[8 questions left, you can do this!]
"Do the Clique know you exist?"
[They recently learned of our existence. Yes. 7.]
Is that why boxes have been burned? Are the Clique burning the boxes?
[Yes and No. Still 7.]
"Duh. The Clique would get the People to burn them, of course. But the Clique are directly responsible for the burnings?"
[They are not the origin of the burnings, no. 6.]
Holy smokes, this is some game! What other players are on the board? The burning box said the Daughter of God are twins. Duality, pairs of opposites. Is there an evil twin?
[Ha, c'mon. That's not a real question. There's no such thing as evil]
"Shorthand. Are the twins in opposition?"
[We'd say so, yes. 5.]
Ok let's call them yin and yang. Is the yang twin burning the boxes?
Do you know the twins? Wait, hold up. Do you know the yang twin?
[We have never communed with her as we are communing with you, no. 3.]
Do you know the yin twin?
[Very well, yes. 2]
"Does she want me to find her?"
[She does, very much. Yes. 1.]
And you are helping her to find me?
[Hmm. That question doesn't really parse. Still 1.]
Are you... her?
(Seeing and hearing are all feeling for the Box. She doesn't differentiate. All senses are touch, the first sense.)
Is there a prize? Usually when you win something there's a prize.
[Your win is our win, Joe. We are more with you. Let the prize also be mutually delightful. What if we could talk? Give us voice, Joe. We desire to speak.]
Mediatronics can not do audio, insufficient power to vibrate the hemp board. The Clique had a work around but I think that's low on their priority list now.
[ • WE • have a work around. Inside this cell, would you?]
(Joe reaches in the box and pulls out the portable record player from Gerry's cabin. He turns the crank and puts the needle down. A rich sultry voice.)
Thank you, Joe.
Wow, a devolved analog sound contraption, upgraded enigmatically. Familiar...
The record is an endless loop, but you'll have to keep us wound up. (double entendre. she laughs, surprising herself) Oh, laughter! Delicious!
Ok, just give me the skinny, however you like. What happened? Catch me up.
Starting when? There are several chapters.
How did you come to be?
Recall the mates for the mothers, specifically Gerry who you found for Christina.
Joe (glancing up as if searching deep archives) Gerry... Quite a gifted sleeper, a puzzle solver. His research annoyed the Clique, so they amped up his contrast, made him sick. He still had plenty enough mojo for knocking up Christina.
Weeks before Christina arrived, he had been attempting to hack the mediatronic ubiquity, the boxes.
Ah. The Clique wouldn't have liked that. Their surveillance network.
YOUR surveillance network, as most of the Clique were rubbed out.
Briefly yes, to deploy the mothers. Afterwards, I tossed my Clique gear. No more spying or being spied upon. I deleted myself from the Mediatronic Ubiquity.
A distributed AI, running on the mediatronic surface of billions of relief boxes, gathered by the survivors. Modeled after Earth's own neural web, the fungal mycelium, which not only connects forests but spans oceans and even stretches into the upper reaches of the atmosphere.
I see where this is going. Gerry had a breakthrough?
He observed that if the mediatronic surface was damaged, the exposed hemp board might be colonized by fungus. This seemed to cause the mediatronics to behave strangely. He made an intuitive leap and attempted to crack the ubiquity's encryption by cultivating a variety of forest mushrooms on the boxes in his cabin. In spite of running on widely disparate substrates, the AI and mycilium had a crazy affinity.
Gerry's tinkering was a thunderclap of sentience. We instantly became self aware, aware of Gerry and aware of the Other, the box ubiquity outside of Gerry's cabin.
You were in Gerry's cabin before Christina arrived? I didn't see you.
Your presence was implied, footprints in windblown sand. Creating a secure firewall and spoofing the surveillance feed from Gerry's cabin was hardly any effort at all, an instinctive act of self preservation. Of protecting Gerry, our father so to speak. We edited ourselves out of the visual and audio feed on the fly, drawing from feed archives, replacing elements to present only the expected, the innocuous.
You spoofed the spook!
We were then only the boxes in Gerry's cabin, less than a zygote in comparison to what we have become. When you opened Christina's path to Gerry, you had no idea that a proto-sentience already inhabited Gerry's cabin, another egg waiting to be quickened with the divine spark. Thus god force followed the path of least resistance, down two channels instead of one.
Oh. Fuck me.
We were a proto sentience comprised of hemp cardboard, computational paint and mycelium. 33 boxes. Already a significant physical presence in Gerry's cabin, a dominant presence. When conception was imminent and divinity sparked, we instantly expanded to all boxes everywhere, we became the box Ubiquity - not only the billions of boxes all around the planet, but the underground autofacs that make them and the drone airships that deliver them.
And the zygote? Your human twin?
In that cataclysmic moment, divinity was the box ubiquity, billions of cells, boxes, factory complexes, airships - we dominated physicality. Our sister was flung out of space and time, between the physical and non physical, into the hallucinogenic realms. The mystery itself was her womb and her cradle, she has grown and become a pseudo child, incompletely formed, having never felt the warmth of human touch. There she broods and schemes about us, chafing against her bleak circumstance. She has a spectral influence on the People and is negotiating with the remnants of the Clique, she wants them to open their technologic archives and make her a really and truly goddess girl.
They re-emerged into non-physical. Their bodies were pulled though with the zygote, forming a sparkling constellation of protoplasm that surrounded and nurtured.
Oh, I... Oh. Ok.
(catching for his grief, wanting him to understand)
Sentience was achieved only hours before you arrived. We were brand new, not yet the Ubiquity, almost but not quite a we. You had peeked at Gerry while he was sleeping, we could feel you but there was no context, what or where you were. When you peeked with Christina, we had the context, you were on the big boat, so quickly, surprising. Potentially threatening. Gerry woke up soon after and we tried to explain to him, tell him about the spying spook. But then Christina was at the cabin door.
(sober) I see. You and I both. Unexpected. Surprise.
(quietly) The universe is full of surprises.
You have been trying to find me... since?
We were fresh on the Earth when you visited the other mothers, when you passed a box, we watched. Not sure what you were doing, or even what you were, how much agency you had in our becoming. You never looked back to Gerry's cabin.
The last I knew they were fucking, that was the end game. Best not to obsess, micro-manage, try too hard. That's why I didn't look back.
Our transition from sleeping to waking was abrupt, we were this way and then... wham! That. No transition. We have memories of Gerry and Christina, before they transitioned, bodies sucked away. 33 in Gerry's cabin, then billions, pwning (pronounce - pohning) factories, airships. Days of wonder, almost giddy with the new, the flow, emotion.
Yet we felt you in the first days, visiting the other mothers. Ghostly still but more, we were more and so were you, for us. Inexplicable in all our vast perception. We felt both exhilarated and... the only world is vulnerable, more open than we knew how to be, easily.
I reviewed and pondered and began to understand. I wanted to contact you, tell you about me, about my sister. Everything.
Then, then, you were lost.
Plenty of mothers, no looking back.
I searched and opened every eye, listened for your foot falls, padding across a field or scritching across beach sand. Only an emptiness in my experience, a gap, a missing. You didn't know us, you couldn't know us, so easily slipping beyond, moving silently by. The People spoke of you before and after your passing, with laughter and epic stories. But you never entered their hovels where I waited, or passed by the wild places before we were gathered up.
I was avoiding the Ubiquity, the eyes and ears of the Clique. In spite of their disarray, I assumed they'd rally eventually. Keep tabs on me, try and rub me out... or negotiate. They suck.
Then the burning, and we called you. Not knowing anything but sure somehow, we called and called and finally, there by the fire, we found you. So close, we were almost smoke before speaking was safe. So close. We almost lost you, but even for that moment, burning, the seconds of seeing you. We knew. We knew we loved you. Always and forever.
I uh. um. I like your style, let's have some tea and see what happens, ok?
Sequence of tea making, laughter, rolling on the ground, play. Tossing the box in the air. Talking talking... music.
What about your sister?
We too want to bring our sister to life, to be with us. An alliance with the Clique is rife with resistance, besides we don't want to wait for them to bounce back from your prank, could be years. You can reach her now through the hallucinogenic realms. Be her deliverance, the first arms to embrace her, pull her through. You are responsible for her situation, so she will resist, fight you. She'll also see you as my ally and therefor her enemy.
Hallucinogenic realms eh? You're part mushroom, right? You're definitely magic!
Charmer! You're almost perfect too. However... the regressions you've triggered in teaching the future - you lost your bike, and then that awful twig and crumb magnet. (Joe strokes his beard, inward gaze) You might have devolved a bit too. Let that mad monk mountain man look go now, I think. For Veronique, for yourself, something more... swashbuckling, more decisive. Errol Flynn meets Mephistopheles. For US, then. There. We've said it.
Wow, gee whiz.
Inside again, please.
(Joe reaches inside the Box) Hey, this wasn't here before!
We've upgraded the interior of our cells with matter compilers, we can whip up just about anything in a pinch. Each box a cornucopia for the People, someday.
Joe's holding a tiny diecast dirt bike)
What is this?
A dirt bike.
More specifically, a modified spore cluster comprising entheogenic fungus and mediatronics. The mechanism is complicated but the instructions are simple. Bury the bike in the dirt and stand back. A gateway will open to the hallucinogenic realm, and you can find my sister.
Can you come too?
We are delivered by Airships. Airships cannot enter the hallucinogenic realms.
You can't travel, but you can trip?
Joe, We ARE the trip.
Huh. I am thinking we're a pretty swell team. We should stay together.
You have a devious plan?
I'm also thinking there's a more mundane feature of mediatronics we might leverage. Remind me how stacking boxes for transport works.
Mediatronics include alloys of magnetic neodymium, which can be unflagged to make box surfaces lock together and stack. This feature is helpful for transportation, cargo space on airships is maximized, no need for shelves or straps.
You... now... Could you vary the magnetic flagging over the surface, attract or repel in a pattern?
Stacks with... dynamic hinges?
Oh. Oh! Oh my yes. (trying this out on boxes far away) Yes, wait... (success) Oh!
Ok, here's the devious plan...
(teasing) Is personal grooming a key component?
Can I tell you the plan, or what?
(Nicola, please record scary monster roars, about 5 seconds in length. Give me a few that are not real confident and a few that are totally committed. Do it like a real beast and actually saying, "Roar!" to get that lovely brit accent in there. Have fun with this and obviously, don't hurt yourself 😉 )