onsdag 13. juni 2018

In honor of Sense8.

This is a story about a fictitious cluster set in the Sense8 universe. Don't worry if you don't know all the terms or names, you'll get the gist soon enough. If not, go watch Sense8. It's worth it.

Laura Roth, a female German lawyer of 33 years that consider herself straight, was the first to awoke. She practices law in Berlin, speaks German and English, and enjoys camping in the wild.

The second was Orlando "Lan" Thompson, female, an open bisexual (she prefers men and wouldn't really consider a relationship with a woman beyond a fling), proud Australian and part-time bartender, in order to support her through college. She currently lives in London and studies English literature. English is her only language.

Thirdly, there's Agnes Ainslay; a 39 years old female. She's a homosexual Scottish fisher-woman, has a boat of her own and a nice little house in the Islay region. English and Gaelic are her two tongues.

Fourth, Biên Nguyễn, a 65 years old male. He's asexual, Vietnamese, and a former carpenter (now retired). Vietnamese has been his only language most of his life, but in recent years he's taken up learning some English due to all the tourists.

Fifth, Thure Hjálmarsson, a male hetrosexual stone mason from Iceland, age 31. In his spare time, he rides - he has his own horse - and hunts in the wild, but for skill, not sport. He speaks Icelandic and English, and can survive in the wild on his own during any season.

Sixth, Hans Konungson, a Danish male sailor, 28 years old. He considers himself bisexual, but with a preference for feminine people. Currently without a steady address, just a post box in Copenhagen for his mail. He's fluent in Danish and English, but can communicate with people from Sweden and Norway due to the similarities in the Scandinavian languages.

The seventh was John Spencer, a male heterosexual of Scottish origin, 37 years old. He's a transient / homeless person, an ex-soldier, and has a dog named Gellert (a Welsh border collie). English is his only language, and he's living in England.

And at last, the eight, was Grace Teresa Rodríguez, a female 32 year old pan-sexual from Cuba, working as a professional dancer. She lives in Miami, speaks Spanish and English, and owns several exotic fish.

The year was 2020, and they had all just been awakened - being sensate. Eight of them. Together. How or why they did not know.

The first one, Laura, met Thure in a dream, and they conversed at length. Orlando, during a drunken threesome, kept seeing different faces on her partners. Hans, during a voyage on the sea, started hearing singing in the wind. John was experiencing heat flashes, despite the foul and cold wet weather. Biên had trouble sleeping due to the barking of an unknown dog. Agnes found herself watching waves that came from further out on the sea than her own boat could safely traverse. Grace was unable to shake a sense of lust and kept messing up during practices, as if under the effect of alcohol. And they all shared a splitting headache that lasted for days.

However, once the headaches stopped, a man, an American in his late fifties, came to Grace. He called himself Mr. Gladstone, and offered to train her in the ways of the sensate, revealing to be one himself. Grace accepted, and after a few days, she was able to reach out to the seven others of her cluster. Some accepted and adjusted better than others.

Lan took it with youthful enthusiasm and a heartfelt “Cool!” – the joy of the visit lingered with Grace for the rest of the day. Agnes took a more somber approach, but didn’t dismiss the possibility. Biên remained stoic and silent about it all – at first Grace though it may have been to the language barrier, but as Biên remarked when she said as much; when one was as old and had seen as much as he had, once one accepted that the world changed now at a rush, the best way to deal with it was to accept the changes. Grace, not used to anything but a high paced living, was humbled by this wisdom.

Hans took some talking to – even though Grace did enjoy the way he kept looking at her. Thure was stunned at first, and then he started asking about Laura. Taken slightly aback, Grace confirmed that yes, Laura was real, and that maybe it would be better for the three of them to have a bit more lengthy conversation after she visited her and explained. Thure agreed.

As Grace visited Laura, she was puzzled: having first doubts about this being real, Laura asked about Thure. Leaving the two of them to talk alone, Grace was pleased with how this had turned out to be.

The one she struggled most with, however, was John, as he believed that this was some sort of trauma manifested from his time as a soldier. Unfortunately, she could not totally convince him: so instead she asked if she revealed something to him that he could not possible know, would he at least consider it? John said he didn’t want to make any promises, but was willing to give it a try. Grace asked Agnes if John and Gellert could make the physical journey over to her and see for himself that yes, the rest of the cluster was real. Agnes pondered for a little while before she agreed to this – provided that John was not a threat. Grace assured Agnes that Mr. Gladstone had taught her well, and that she had security measures.

Once they all knew one another, certain groups within the cluster started to form:
- There was Laura and Thure, hiding a spark of romance underneath their shared fondness for nature.
- Biên sought out Thule to talk shop, interested in stonework.
- Hans and Lan had drunken nights of fun together, although they didn’t share the same location.
- Agnes and Hans traded stories about the sea, with John pitching in about a few tales of his battles in the past – and appropriate cuddles of Gellert.
- Gellert became a gathering point for Lan, Thure and John, as they were all animal people.

Speaking for herself, Grace did get better along with some than others:
- Agnes and she bonded over cooking, while Biên added a few inputs now and then.
- Laura showed her the old metropolis that was Berlin.
- Watching the new fashion in the strange world that was Iceland with Thure – and sometimes, Laura, too.

A representative from the BPO - Biologic Preservation Organization – arrives one morning at Agnes’ cottage. She introduces herself as Dr. Iris Douglas, and mentions that a Mr. Gladstone had sent her. Already knowing this name from Grace, Agnes and John are asked to come to London for some tests, and bring with them as many members of their cluster – or have them seeking out BPO facilities in larger city locations at their own choosing.

Agnes remains polite, but mistrustful, John struggles briefly with paranoia and Lan believes this is some government bullshit. Hans is willing to go with Agnes and John, having recently arrived in Scotland with his ship and have a few days off. Lan refuses, profoundly, but offers up her flat for the others to stay while they’re in London.

Grace visits Mr. Gladstone and asks him about the BPO. He tells her about them: how they used to be, what they turned into, and how it returned to the present state. He assures Grace that they mean no sensate harm, and brings Grace along to speak with Nomi Marks. Nomi, a happily married computer-wise woman, offers insights about being a newly reborn sensate, and advices Grace concerning sapient and sensate dating. Grace, now fully and firmly believing that the BPO are legit and safe, conveys this information to the rest of the cluster. Lan remains skeptical.

During the visit to London, Lan takes the day off and spends it in Hyde Park, along with Gellert and her sometimes-boyfriend Doug. The cuddling of Gellert helps John during his, Agnes’ and Hans’ meeting with the BPO, keeping him from outright panic. Trying to aid in her own way, Laura takes an extended lunch break to play the violin, as that always helps provide clarity to her. Wishing to add further help, Thure takes a mountain hike and marvels at the glory and magnificence of the Icelandic nature. John senses that the rest of the cluster cares for him, and gets emotionally overwhelmed during a voluntary test at BPO and has to stop it.

Returning to Lan, Gellert and Doug, Agnes gives a recap for Biên and Grace as they’ve been asleep during the BPO interactions. Biên suggests caution, while Grace gets worried about the voluntary tests, and asks Mr. Gladstone about them. Mr. Gladstone seems confused at first, having not heard of such tests. He promises to look into this, as well as keeping Grace posted. As this is told to the cluster, Lan has a smug “told you so” moment, before they move on to consider what this could mean for them. They decide that no other of the cluster would approach the BPO.

The following night John suffers nightmares from his time in battle and accidentally wakes up Agnes, Hans, Lan, Gellert and Doug. With their combined efforts, John calms down as Hans begin speaking Gaelic to him, causing Doug to be deeply confused. Lan tries to brush it off as Hans being part Scottish on his mother’s side, but Doug remains unconvinced, finding it very odd.

Biên gets a surprise visit from his former carpenter apprentice, Bùi Tấn Tý, now a successful and rich man. They share drinks on the beach, reminiscing about the good old days, and generally have a good time. Tý reveals that he’s about to marry and asks Biên to be his best man. Biên considers it for a moment, arguing that Tý must have others closer than himself. Tý then reminds Biên about a recent disaster: a cruise ship accident, very publicly covered in the media. While not all the names have been released to the general public due to an ongoing criminal investigation, Tý tells Biên that his entire family was lost during said tragedy. Biên is moved and promises to be Tý’s best man.

In Miami Grace accidentally becomes involved in a gang shootout where she is forced to draw on John’s skills as a soldier in order to survive. This makes her a person of interest, both to the gang and the local police. Being born on Cuba and having lawfully migrated to the US, she’s harassed due to her racial profile. Used to this sort of treatment, Grace cooperates as best she can, but explains how she was able to incapacitate said gang member due to her training as a dancer. The police officer doesn’t quite believe her and makes some not so veiled threats. Several of her cluster expresses outraged by this treatment of her. Grace starts fearing for her life, should the gang retaliate.

Back on Iceland Thure begins a large project with several other workers, and learns by chance that his contractor is a big fan of Riley Blue, a fellow Icelandic sensate, and that this stone monument is actually in her honor. Laura visits him and expresses a delight for the fact that sapient and sensate can see eye to eye. The two of them share a kiss.

Agnes, John, Hans and Gellert leave London: Hans goes back to work while the others return to Agnes’ place. She and John take a tour in her boat, sharing a profound moment of connection, despite their differences. They also learn that they share the attraction to the same type of girl.

On the way back to the ship, Hans gets assaulted and kidnapped. Drugged, he’s unable to give a clear description of anything. Laura drops everything and calls her brother, an elected official in the German government currently in London for post-Brexit talks, and calls in her favor in order to find Hans. Lan freaks out about the abduction and breaks up with Doug in an attempt to keep him safe, should someone come for her. She then proceeds to go underground, leaving for Liverpool.

Biên uses a meditation technique to calm Hans and pieces together who’s taken him: a doctor present during the voluntary tests at BPO. This information causes the cluster distress and worry.

Mr. Gladstone visits Grace and informs her that there’s a rouge faction inside the BPO lead by a sensate that refuses the present leadership, wanting to bring it back to the vision of Milton Bailey Brandt. Mr. Gladstone is shocked when Grace tells him about Hans’ kidnapping and tells her and her cluster to “make a run for it”. Refusing this advice, John persuades Agnes to come along and free Hans by themselves.

Grace visits Nomi and expresses her fear. Nomi tells her not to worry and sets her own cluster in motion, but tells Grace to take precautions and stay safe.

Biên continues to visit and stay with Hans, being a source of comfort during the drugged abuse. Through Biên’s aid, Hans is able to decipher where he’s being taken: Dublin.

By the help of Nomi's tech skills, Grace rent a boat for Agnes, John and Gellert, keeping them just off the coast of Ireland: this is where they suspect Hans currently is.

Laura’s brother, the elected official, calls back with bad news: they’re unable to identify the abductors, but informs her that the police are on the case, and that he’s involving Interpol. Laura seeks comfort with Thure, revealing that this is how her twin sister vanished without a trace when she was five, making her relive those memories. Thure comforts Laura.

Lan surprises the rest of her cluster by showing up at the next dock as Agnes, John and Gellert arrives, informing them that she’s always wanted to see Ireland and that she “knows a gal” that might help them.

Grace tells Nomi about the suspected location where Hans is being held, and Nomi mentions a black site previously used by the BPO located in the area. However, before they can continue the conversation, Grace is shot in the back and falls down a set of stairs. The entire cluster feels it, with John's and Hans' reactions being the worst to it as John suffers a violent flashback that triggers him to attach Agnes, believing her an enemy, while Hans sinks deeper into an unconscious state, almost dragging Biên with him. Agnes is able to knock John out, much to the duress of Gellert. Biên rises from his meditation and heads to the local training center of Võ thuật Cổ Truyền Việt Nam, the traditional Vietnamese martial arts form. There it turns out that he’s a Võ Sư – a master of the martial art. Biên talks to the present highest ranking member, asking for a sparring session, determined to reach Hans through the simplicity of the combat mindset, as well as helping Grace fight through her pain.

Grace awakens a captive of the gang. Keeping her alive, they torture and rape her. This causes Lan to freak out completely, leaving Agnes to deal with both her, an unconscious John and a barking Gellert. Grace succumbs to darkness, only to have Biên take temporarily control and guide her through her hate and suffering. Laura, having extended experience with BDSM, helps Grace loosening her bonds, and with Biên’s martial arts training, she’s able to escape, despite her wounds.

John awakes, feeling ashamed for the bruises he’s caused Agnes, and helps her calm Lan down with the help of Gellert. Agnes expresses concern about his past and how it affects his current mental state. John agrees and apologies. Lan breaks out the supply of alcohol and gets drunk. Agnes and John discuss their next move.

Thure packs for an extended stay in the mountains, bringing along a hunter’s gun and his horse. He informs his contractor that he’ll be gone for at least a week. When the contractor asks why, he tells him that it’s related to Riley Blue, but that “it’s complicated”.

Grace stumbles into a Catholic medical clinic, begging for her life. The personnel take her in and hide her from the pursuing gang. Mr. Gladstone visits and tells her that BPO – the real BPO – is taking every step to get Hans back, and that help is coming. Grace asks him to have someone feed her fishes back in her apartment before she passes out.

Lan receives a visit from Thure that warns her of the dangers of alcohol. Lan brushes him off, telling him that she’s a part time bartender, student, and Australian – she knows how to handle booze. Mildly amused and somewhat hiding the fact that this irritates him, Thure tells her about his alcoholic father and how that ruined his family’s life as a young boy. Lan, still unconvinced, breaks out into tears and laments about the cruelty of the world, giving those unable to grieve a brief relief: Grace and Hans. Thure goes back to Iceland where he and Laura have a heart to heart, becoming even closer, and admitting that they do have feelings for one another, but decide not to act on this until Hans is rescued.

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