Devizes and The Algorithm of Forgetfulness

A short screenplay released alongside the Quantum Sweep single 'Data Leak'.
Following on from 'Devizes Season 1', Devizes has continued his search for the individual known as 'Monica'.
Meanwhile, a third party working under the employment of 'The League' have a problem that they require solving. The sort of problem that requires the input of an assassin.

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1. A Job Interview For A Much Maligned Profession

Scene 1

ROBERT sits reading a newspaper in the lobby of a smartly furnished modern building. It is daytime, and the scene is lit naturally. In the background there is the quiet burble of traffic and people outside.

A RECEPTIONIST approaches him presently and he looks up.

 

Receptionist

Robert Hodgkin?

 

ROBERT

(Is a more-or-less ordinary-looking person waiting for a job interview)

Yes?

 

RECEPTIONIST

Mr Jones and Mr Hamer will see you now.

 

ROBERT gets up and follows the receptionist through a door and into a dinghy corridor.

 

We follow ROBERT's feet at ankle level as he walks down a poorly lit, poorly maintained corridor.

 

Almost immediately, the receptionist stops walking and she falls back. At about this time, the feet of a heavy-set man take over walking behind Robert. The transition is almost mechanical, and Robert's stride does not alter. In the background, the condition of the corridor transitions from that of a well-kept modern building to a poorly-kept back corridor with piping and chipped plaster visible.

After a short time, the feet are accompanied by second pair of heavily-set men's feet (presumably bodyguards).

Immediately, the party stops walking. A door is opened, and ROBERT continues alone.

 

We see over ROBERT's shoulder as HE enters the room.

 

Two smartly dressed men are behind a scrappy-looking old table. The rest of the room is decorated much in vein with the rest of the poorly-kept corridor. Despite this, the two men - clearly well-off, well-educated businessmen seem happy enough in their surroundings. The mechanical, artificial feel to all the movements in the scene continues, exemplified by JONES and HAMER.

 

Jones

AH, Mr Hodgkin, please, take a seat.

 

ROBERT does so, and sits down.

There is a mildly awkward silence.

Jones' and Hamer's interactions are somewhat surreal, and flow on from and into each other perfectly, accompanied by an unsettling sense of exaggerated courtesy.

 

JONES

Now, Mr Hodgkin, your qualifications are that of a-

 

ROBERT

An assassin.

 

HAMER

Wonderful, wonderful. Exactly what we're after.

 

JONES

Yes, exactly what we need.

 

HAMER

So, have you travelled far today?

 

ROBERT

No further than usual.

 

HAMER

Wonderful, wonderful.

 

JONES

So, in this short interview we will ask you a few questions to-

 

HAMER

To see if you are suitable for the role.

 

JONES

That is to say, if you are physically capable of completing the task at hand

 

HAMER

...that task being the destruction of the individual known as "Devizes".

 

JONES

So, as I'm sure you are aware, the Hamer And Jones Information Computing Company has worked alongside THE LEAGUE OF HONOURABLE STRANGERS for many decades now. They helped us begin our company, and now they fund most of its exploits in return for certain 'favours'.

 

HAMER

You understand, we cannot afford to have them even question our capabilities.

 

JONES

We are loyal –

 

HAMER

And capable.

 

JONES

And proud of it.

 

HAMER

Precisely.

 

JONES

So, on to our little 'problem'.

 

HAMER

About a year ago, The League assigned to us a worker by the name of 'Monica'. She was a very capable member of our team, in charge of coordinating 'who knew what' across the two sides of our business.

 

JONES

Three months ago, around the time of the bombings, she vanished.

 

HAMER

Ever since we've been blighted by her, and this 'Devizes' individual, who we assume is an agent of hers.

 

JONES

We need both of them dead.

 

ROBERT

(Appears increasingly relaxed)

Very well.

 

JONES

He is cunning - a sort of 'super-spy' –

 

HAMER

He has the unsettling ability to know our every move before we make it, sometimes before even we know exactly what it's going to be. Almost four months ago in an attempt to move a consignment containing all of Monica's financial assets we utilised –

 

Flashback

Colonel

(is standing in a deserted warehouse or multi-storey car park-like setting in front of a line of three men in paramilitary uniform standing at ease. The COLONEL has a patch with the name 'Johnson' above his left breast. His line continues directly on from HAMER's previous line as part of the same sentence.)

a new strategy to transport this money. We will transport the consignment manually, without using the internet. Only one of you holds the consignment itself, though even I do not know which one -

 

The COLONEL is shot with a grappling hook through the stomach. In the 'claws' of the hook a single bank card is visible for a brief moment before the hook is reeled in. As the men react with shock and the COLONEL stares down in surprise, the hook is reeled in, all men are shot with a tranquiliser dart and collapse to the floor. A shadowed figure in a Practitioner's coat removes the card from the hook, drops the grapple gun and walks away into the shadows –

 

JONES

(In a return to the interview setting)

- but the bastard had somehow predicted that we had in fact operated on the Colonel himself without his knowing, and had planted the consignment in his spleen.

 

HAMER

We are keen to know exactly what you would have done in this context.

 

ROBERT

Very well. I had a similar experience only recently myself.

 

(ROBERT narrates a flashback.)

Two thieves had stolen assets from a client that had could be located by the signature it gave out when it reflected radio waves. I set up a radio array within the location prior to the consignment's arrival and stood back and waited for it to reveal itself. The thieves had also concealed the consignment within the unsuspecting mule -  which I retrieved by killing the mule on the spot. I sent out a warning to the thieves by poisoning their guard detail with the slow-acting toxin dimethylmercury, disguised within a temporary tranquiliser. I imagine this is a very similar method to the one used by Devizes.

 

JONES

(back to the interview setting, Jones is on the edge of his seat, mouth hanging slightly open and leaning forwards.)

Impressive.

 

HAMER

(In a similar posture)

Yes, quite. What say you then to this problem:

We see through the eyes of a burglar as he first infiltrates and then breaks his way into an office building and locates its safe behind a portrait.

The burglar reaches the safe, attaches a small metallic patch to the panel and stands back. There is a whir, a small detonation, another whirr and the safe swings open. The burglar looks inside and finds a single post-it note with the message "Greetz to J+H, DEVIZES was here :)" scrawled on it.

 

BURGLAr

(The burglar reaches up to the camera to re-adjust the framing of the camera on the post-it and the empty safe)

Wait, what? Oh fu-

 

JONES

Monica later contacted us. Apparently, this Devizes is not connected with her in any way though I highly doubt-

 

ROBERT

(Leans forward quite suddenly)

On this matter...

 

HAMER

Yes?

 

ROBERT

...it is possible that Monica is telling the truth there.

 

JONES

What?

 

HAMER

Do you think so?

 

ROBERT

(If he is mildly irritated, he does not show it, nor does he show any sign of retraining annoyance. Despite this, it is clear that he is irritated by the interruptions.)

Gentlemen, she may simply be serving her role within the League - we cannot know for sure. This Devizes character will be of greater interest to you for the time being I should think - he is the one causing a disruption, is he not? And you are yet to be hauled up in front of the Cardinal for your error, so Monica, regardless of her whereabouts is still looking out for you.

JONES and HAMER look at each other, slightly bewildered.

ROBERT continues.

 

ROBERT

Tell me this. Have you ever caught this 'DEVIZES' on camera?

 

HAMER

- well –

 

Jones

We did. But he destroyed the footage before we could see it.

HAMER narrates the following flashback.

 

HAMER

We decided to bait him with an algorithm we have developed. A staged deal between two parties supposedly handing over our patented 'LETHE ALGORITHM' - a tool to locate and potentially wipe all information about a person from anywhere. We've been developing it for The League for almost twenty years now, but Monica was the one to finally finish it off. We could only imagine that Devizes would be interested...

We see a shady looking deal go down between two parties in a car park. As the goods are exchanged, Eris flies in from above, somehow paralysing each of the bearers of the consignments. As these two men collapse, both parties immediately withdraw cameras from their jackets and face in the direction from which Eris had flown.

A frenzy of chevrons and bullets follows, and most men collapse. We see through the camera of one of the men, who reports into his earpiece:

 

Dumbarse Soldier

Sir! Sir! I've got him! I've got him on - eurgh -

(DEVIZES strides towards the man. He picks up a fallen firearm and with his left arm covering his face fires repeatedly at the DUMBARSE SOLDIER. The camera falls to the floor and the lens cracks.)

 

DEVIZES

(Stands so that his feet are all that is visible from the camera. He squats, leans forwards and whispers into the microphone.)

Ladies, gentlemen, and esteemed individuals, I give you -

Cuts to the interview setting and JONES.

 

JONES

Cheesy one-liners. The sickening bastard had been mocking us all along –

 

ROBERT

(holds up a single finger as if nonchalantly raising a hand)

- Ah, let me stop you there. I don't think he was. You see, in our line of work we are very sensitive about our identities. I do not doubt that your trick with the cameras surprised at least a part of him. Allow me to illustrate with an experience of my own.

From first person we see the business deal going down.

Our perspective shoots at the two consignment-bearers (each holding a briefcase - one presumably containing the LETHE ALGORITHM and the other containing a large sum of money). When all the men pull out cameras, our perspective flinches backwards and begins firing on the men. When the DUMBARSE SOLDIER begins shouting, DEVIZES gets up and strides towards him.

The soldier collapses.

We see a continuation of the footage from before.

 

DEVIZES

Ladies, gentlemen and esteemed individuals, I must give you credit. You almost got me that time.

DEVIZES picks up the camera and looks into it, revealing his face - the face of ROBERT.

 

Devizes

It's a pity you failed, really.

We cut back to the interview setting, where JONES is receiving some information on his earpiece.

 

Jones' earpiece

(indistinct, distorted)

Sir! Sir!

 

JONES

Yes, Frank, what is it?

 

JONES' EARPIECE

The guard detail assigned to Monica's bank card who were tranquilised by Devizes - this morning two of them have reported to a hospital with a form of poisoning –

 

JONES

Poisoning? What poison?

 

JONES' EARPIECE

Sir - they think it's - dimethylmercury?

 

JONES looks up in horror at DEVIZES. HAMER does likewise.

While Devizes grins like a shark, Eris emerges from his back pocket and whizzes through both men's throats.

DEVIZES grabs JONES' corpse and holds his retina in front of a blank patch of wall. A retinal scanner protrudes from the wall and scans JONES' retina.

 

ROBOTIC VOICE

Welcome, Mr Jones.

The room shudders momentarily, before a lift sound effect can be heard. Lift music may be heard over a tinny speaker.

 

ROBOTIC VOICE

Welcome to: Basement no.14.

Devizes walks over to the door, opens it and steps though.

He strides through a library/archive-like setting that is lit artificially. From behind archive shelves, guards emerge and begin firing. DEVIZES snaps his fingers and ERIS emerges from his back pocket. The chevrons buzz around his person, deflecting the bullets, while burning away at his disguise, replacing it with the Practitioner's Coat. A single gesture with his right hand and Eris propels the guards upwards into the ceiling, rendering them unconscious.

DEVIZES proceeds forward through the room, gesturing at guards nonchalantly as he walks, not breaking a stride. The combined force of the guards hitting the ceiling one after the other causes the ceiling to crumble behind him as he walks, sealing off the way behind him.

At the end of the archive, he reaches a computer terminal, and inserts an SD card into it.

We see Devizes' face reflected in the screen as he navigates through various folders to the 'LETHE ALGORITHM' and runs it.

A command-prompt style window appears, into which DEVIZES enters first his own name and hits 'delete'.

An 'operation successful' dialogue box appears. Devizes closes this and enters in a second name - 'Monica'. On this occasion he does not hit delete, but 'transfer to SD'.

A progress bar runs to completion. The dialogue box displays again, and Devizes clicks 'delete'. This operation completes.

DEVIZES withdraws his SD card.

From his pocket he pulls an engagement ring. He flicks a hidden switch on the side and a slot opens, into which he fits the SD card.

DEVIZES closes the engagement ring back up and puts it into his coat pocket.

 

THE COMPUTER

(A young adult female voice is heard)

Hello, Devizes.

 

DEVIZES

(sighs inaudibly. He does not look at the screen.)

Hello, you.

 

THE COMPUTER

You had better stop looking for me now. You don't know what you're getting into.

 

DEVIZES

Tell that to your father.

 

THE COMPUTER

(Splutters)

Excuse me? I'm like you. I was never born, and I have no father.

 

DEVIZES

(Looks up at the screen with a wry grin)

Then how is it I was created from one of your childhood drawings? And while we're on that subject, what sort of child dreams up a fluent Practitioner to talk to when she's alone playing, and the childminder is in the other room? What child dreams of controlling Eris? What child - Monica?

 

THE COMPUTER

You are done here. I only logged on to tell you that you have sixty seconds to escape the building before it explodes, and before you destroy that algorithm you might like to know that the individuals known as 'Fleur White' and 'Ayres Michelangelo' would thank you later if you retained a copy of their search results as well.

 

DEVIZES

Why thank you. I'll be sure to let Ayres know you say so next time I speak to him.

 

THE COMPUTER

What-

 

DEVIZES

- and it's not sixty seconds, is it Monica? It's fifteen.

 

Instantly, the computer shuts itself down. The disk hatch opens. There is a disk inside the hatch, which is decelerating. We have just enough time to read the words 'Ayres/Fleur' marked on the disk before Devizes sticks his left middle finger through the disk and lifts it up, while he gestures to Eris with his right hand. The chevrons whir about his person and conceal him as a massive explosion rips through the basement archive.

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