Shades and Polo - Act One: The Show is About to Begin
rating: +13+x

Chaos hasn't truly been experienced by humans in thousands, perhaps millions of years. That said, on extremely rare occasions, we come pretty damn close.

Shades and Polo

Act One

The Show is About to Begin

It is considerably rare that man experiences true, unrelenting chaos in the modern day. Chaos occurs only when there are no plans, no clues, no rules or guidelines to follow, not even personal senses of morality. Chaos hasn't truly been experienced by humans in thousands, perhaps millions of years. Perhaps it never has been experienced at all. That said, on extremely rare occasions, we come pretty damn close.

"Jesus, dude, what the hell are you doing?"

"Taking inventory."

Bottles of cleaning chemicals and sponges cascaded to the floor as the man in the aviator shades dug through the supplies.

"Okay, sure, but why?" The man in the polo shirt looked up at him and asked, with genuine curiosity and a slight tinge of annoyance present in his voice and across his face.

"You saw those guys out there as much as I did, hell you were walking next to them. They aren't just going to let us out."

"Why would they want us? I'm sure they're just getting us out of their way, and when they do whatever they need to do and leave, they'll let us out."

"Yeah, and what do you suppose they want to do? Kill Saturday? Take Jacobsen back? Plant C4 and light this whole studio up like a cigarette in a gas station? Even if they don't intend to march us out and execute us, I don't want to sit around and find out what they do have planned."

The man in the polo pressed his back against the cold concrete wall and slid down to the cold concrete ground. He sat for a moment, arms crossed, mildly upset. The exorbitant number of boxes laid out across the various shelves in the small room began making it feel smaller.

"So what do you propose we do?" He asked.

The man in the shades hopped down from the wooden shelf he had climbed up, bringing a cardboard box down with him.

"Once I work out a way out of here, I'm hopping the fence and running off into the woods. Hitchhike home. Ditch the country maybe."

Polo crawled over to the locked door which confined them to their small makeshift prison, and peered out the small window.

"There's like, two of them, in that room alone, and all they're doing is standing around. No, wait, there's a third next to the door here. Anyway, what makes you think they don't have the whole place surrounded?"

"Hope? Is that good enough for you? I'd say I'd steal Saturday's helicopter and get the hell out of dodge, but then, he probably took it himself."

Shades rummaged through the box, tossing its contents out. He then tossed it to the side and went back over to the wooden shelf.

"What are you looking for?" Polo asked.

"I don't know yet. Do you usually ask people this many questions, or just me?"

"Well fuck you too, I guess. I figure if I'm simply waiting on my own demise, I could at least make the best of it with a little talk, or something like that, but noooo, you have to be all dark and broody."

"So you intend to sit there and wait to die?"

"Your plan isn't any better. Once you get out of this room, they'll mow you down."

"When I get out of this room, I'll make a run-"

"Ah! So you don't have a plan! Don't try to tell me otherwise, you know you can't outrun a bullet, much less a constant spray of them. Fucking look at them!" Polo threw his arms in the direction of the window rather dramatically.

Shades pulled another box down from the shelf, and peered through the window. They were still there, in their grey suits, complex camera helmets, and carrying almost comedically large guns. Three of them, one by the door, one against the wall to their right, one at the far end of the room. The one on the right turned to look at them, face obscured by the dark plastic one-way viewer. The one in the back shrugged his shoulders and lifted his gun slightly, showing them (in a stunning display of extreme confidence) that if they tried anything, they would be issued a one-way express ticket to the afterlife. Shades waved, half-taunting them, then sat back down and began digging through the box.

"Well I don't suppose you have a better idea." Shades remarked, mildly upset.

A few minutes of silence passed. Shades had dug through several boxes by now, without finding anything he felt like not kicking across the room. The couple of lights dangling from the ceiling flickered. The back room they had been stuffed into began to feel increasingly more cramped. Polo tapped his foot against the concrete floor; the sound bounced off the walls. Shades groaned.

"Would you please stop doing that?"

"Doing what?"

"Tapping your foot! It's already hard to think."

"It's a nervous habit, alright!"

"Well can you at least do it less?"

"I can."

A few moments passed, and Polo did not slow down his rhythmic tapping. Instead, he made it slightly faster.

"Oh, you're one of those pricks. Fine then, would you please do it less?" Shades snapped, with a pinch of genuine distress in his tone.

"Depends, what do I get in return?"

"If you stop, then I will not light this can of spray paint and set you on fire."

"You don't have a lighter."

"Yeah, well.."

Another few moments passed. Polo stared at Shades, lost in thought, considering what he could get.

"Alright, I want two things. One: Tell me who you are, and how you got here. Two: Take me with you."

"I thought you wanted to sit around here and wait for death."

"Yeah, well, I've decided I want to be shot sooner rather than later, especially if you're just gonna leave me here alone."

"And you want all of that just to make you stop tapping your foot?"

"It seems just as valuable, it's just information really. I can keep up with you."

"I don't need a fucking tagalong, throw something else in."

"Twenty bucks?"

"Deal, but I'm not telling you who I am. If they drag us out and interview us, we won't be able to tell them who the other person is."

"Ugh. Fine, I don't like it, but you're right. Anyway, then, if you haven't worked out how we're getting out, you can start by telling me what brought you here."

Shades hopped down, slumped against the wall and slid down to the ground next to Polo, then began his usual routine with the box of things.

"So, I went to the Berkeley College of Art and Design, right." Shades stated, emptying the box. Polo nodded, half-listening. "Computer Animation. Wanted to worm my way into the credits of some Hollywood movie, some big animated feature film. Pixar or Dreamworks, something like that. Got through half a semester, couldn't keep up with the work. Eventually I was so far behind I just up and stopped going to classes. Er, hey, could you hand me that box?" Shades tossed the now empty cardboard container into the corner and pointed at a box on Polo's left. He stood up and lifted the box over to Shades, who flipped the lid open and returned to rummaging through it.

"Anyway, school throws me out. Took a greyhound back home, tried to come up with some story to feed my parents. I think I tried to convince them that I was just taking an off year, but I guess Dad didn't buy it. Funny how you're only family until you lose 20k. Decided I'd go out to Hollywood anyway, got a cheap apartment at the corner of Rat Drive and Dumpster Fire Road, stole a paper from the front desk and found the job offering."

Polo stared silently for a few seconds, then responded "Jesus man. I'm sor-"

"Don't even start. I'm breaking the arm of the next person to tell me that."

"Alright, alright, my bad."

Another few seconds passed. Polo laid back against the wall and lost himself in thought, trying to formulate a proper response.

"So why a tour guide?" Polo finally asked.

"It was what he had open. It was also one of the few things you didn't really need prior credentials for, given that it's just walking and talking."

"Does it at least pay alright?"

"It's minimum wage. Better than nothing, I suppose. Better than serving customers at a coffee shop."

"Ain't that the truth. My turn then, I guess. I was-"

"Woah, hang on."

Shades pulled a small firearm out of the box. He turned it around in his hand, ran his fingers over the barrel, held it up like he was going to fire it. The two looked at it, awestruck. They then both reached the same realization, being the power of the object in Shades' hand. If used properly, this could turn the tide, this could give them their escape. Shades peered into the barrel, but found it empty.

"Holy shit." Polo whispered.

"In-fucking-deed." Shades replied.

"Do you know anything about guns?" Polo asked, cocking his head to one side like a confused dog.

"Fuck, I was hoping you did. I think it's out of ammo anyway."

"Can I see it?"

"How should I know?"

Shades shot Polo a smug smile as the words left his mouth.

"Alright, alright, you got me. May I see it?"

"Sure, give it a shot."

Shades tossed the firearm at Polo, who fumbled it around in his hands in an attempt to catch it before it finally fell into his lap. He admired it, held it in his hand as though he were about to fire it at something, and stared into the empty barrel himself. Nothing, still.

"Making sure I'm not lying?" Shades remarked flippantly.

"I suppose so."

Polo began to fiddle with barrel, evidently searching for a method of opening it. He tried to twist it, pull it, felt around it for a switch or lever, a button somewhere, a slot to put a bullet in.

"Be careful, dude, that's ou-"


Polo pushed down on the barrel and it shifted, the front end of it now pointing towards the ground and the back end of it now pointing up in the air. Detached from the firing mechanism, Polo now found that he could look through the back of the barrel and see out the front of it.

"Aw you fucking asshole, you broke it." Shades attempted to withhold his anger, less because he didn't want to explode and more because his therapist suggested it.

"I didn't, at least I don't think so. I think that's how you load it." Polo pushed under the barrel and it shifted back up into place, aiming forward once again.
"I think you slide the bullet in the back and then flip it back up."

"I guess I don't know for certain but that seems like a pretty big barrel. What do you think it takes?"

"How should I know? Shotgun shells, grenades maybe? If you found the gun in the box, then there must be ammo in one of these boxes too."

"That does track, I suppose."

Shades flipped the box upside-down, dumping out the remaining contents. A couple of palettes of amateur face paint fell out and crashed loudly onto the ground, followed by the fluttering of a handful of receipts. Shades stood up again, kicked the palettes away, tossed the box into his ever-growing pile of boxes, and grabbed a new one off one of the shelves. This time, Polo got up and grabbed a box of his own, setting the gun down on the dusty floor.

They both sat back down next to each other, the firearm laying on the ground between them. There was a short period of silence as they both began digging through the boxes, pulling out and tossing away empty containers of various makeup products. Polo then remembered their ongoing conversation, the one that had been haphazardly interrupted.

"Oh, yeah, anyway, where was I?"

"How you got here," Shades replied.

"Oh yeah." Polo cleared his throat and laid back against the wall again, putting his hands behind his head. "I was born in LA. Nice enough apartment, lived with my dad, never knew my mom. Well not really anyway, she just up and left a couple weeks after having me. I just always figured she didn't want to have a kid or something, and, uh.. I'm rambling too much."

Shades had been staring at him with an unmatched level of coldness and disinterest. He then turned his face back towards his box and tossed a few more things out of it.
"No, please, continue," Shades responded, more in an attempt to be polite than a genuine interest.

"Uhm, well, okay. My dad started giving me fighting lessons when I was ten. It was the back end of Los Angeles, so you kinda had to have them to live. Got good at it after a while, joined the boxing team. Eventually, the coach told me I was good enough to 'make it big'" Polo made quotation marks with his fingers as he spoke the words. "Said I could make money. Money was tight, my dad's income didn't really support us. Coach took me to an underground boxing ring, he put a few bucks on me and we split the winnings fifty-fifty. I kept the money to myself so I could save it up and show him once I had a lot, just to impress him. Coach and I would go back on the weekends, eventually the fifty-fifty started getting big. It also started getting harder to explain the black eyes, split lips, and bruises everywhere to my dad. Eventually he made me explain. I.."

Tears started to well up in Polo's eyes, so he bent his head down over his box, pretending to be more focused on it. He rubbed his eyes and closed them for a few moments, forcing the water back down the ducts.

"I dunno, man. I'd never seen him that.. disappointed? Distraught? He wasn't angry, just.. disappointed. I didn't know what to do, I thought I had done something good. I didn't go back, I tried to live with it for a while but some gears inside him had changed. Heard about this job from a friend of mine, a bunch of the guys had been trying to get in. Us unarmed guards get a bit over minimum, so the money was good. I send that extra bit back home when I can."

Shades sat silently. He gained an interest now. He couldn't quite work out why but there was a sense of pity growing in his chest, like he just had to help him.

"Well you might be a knucklehead, but at least you can punch, I suppose." Shades told him, trying to feign carelessness. Polo smiled and chuckled slightly.

Shades' attention turned back to their couple of boxes. "Also, I got nothin' in here, what about you?"

Polo turned his attention back to his own box, realizing he hadn't really touched its contents at all since he started talking.
"Oh, well, I guess I forgot to look. Sorry, I'll start now."

"Oh, for fuck's sake."

Shades pulled the box out of Polo's arms and started tossing things left and right, before coming to a sudden stop. He carefully pulled out a bronze cylinder, which was coincidentally just the right length and diameter to fit into the barrel of the gun.

"I guess that's our shot, so to speak." Polo said, smiling weakly.

Shades picked up the gun and opened the barrel, then slid the bronze cylinder in through the barrel's back. He shifted the barrel back into place. The round fit perfectly. He felt the new weight of the gun in his hands. He felt unusually powerful. As he held it in his palm and wrapped his index finger around the trigger, he found it took every ounce of willpower in him to not fire it into the wall, just to see what it felt like.

"Alright. Let's do this," Shades declared, jumping to his feet. He took a deep breath, stretched his arms and rolled his shoulder, and pushed his head from side to side. His body emitted a crackle of popping bones with each twist.

"Wait, wait, just like that? There's three guys and we have one bullet. We don't even know how to get the door open!"

"I bet you could kick it open."

"I am all upper body here, I have no kicking power. I could punch it, maybe, but that still wouldn't get it open."

"The lock's cheap and flimsy, just like everything else Saturday ever bought. You'd think he'd at least bother to keep his storage rooms safe but you can see the rust on this thing pretty clearly."

"Yeah, okay, fine. If I can't get it open, we can just work out a plan B, I suppose. God, I really don't like this plan. How do you intend to get past the goons out there?"

"Well, when the door flies open, it'll hit the guy here by the door. If my aim is good, then that'll take out the guy at the far end, I suppose."

"Okay, what about the third guy, the one against the wall on the right?"

"Uh, well.. I've got a bad idea."

30 minutes ago…

Beginning Video Log Playback..

File Name: GOI-6656_InfiltrationLog1

MTF Team(s): Beta-2

Mission Lead(s): Beta Command Team Leader ██████, GOI-6656 lead investigator Dr. Patra

Camera: MTF Beta-2 03

Foreword: MTF Beta-2 has been tasked with securing a section of the facility owned by GoI-6656. GoI-6656 is believed to be housing gateways to numerous temputoric anomalies.

Begin Log

[[Skipping to designated event portion. A full transcript of this log may be acquired from the office of Dr. Patra, Head of TATS1 ]]

Tour Guide: Okay folks, that's going to conclude the first portion of our tour! Before we continue, is there any building you would like a tour of from this section of the studio lot that we didn't see?

Beta-2 01: Well, what about that building over there?

01 gestures towards a relatively-small garage building.

Tour Guide: Uhm, are you certain? That's a special effects storage building, it's mostly crates of effects materials, paints and things.

Tourist: I think we should just continue on then.

Beta-2 04: Actually, I'm curious about it as well. Could we at least look around?

Beta-2 03: Yeah actually, I'm attending college for film special effects.

Beta-2 02: Oh yeah, I am too, so that would be really cool.

Tour Guide: Er, well, okay then. Follow me, folks.

Tourist: I would really like to see some of the buildings on the rest of the tour though! I don't have a lot of time.

Tour Guide: Sorry, sir. We'll continue right after this.

Seven minutes pass as Beta-2 and the rest of the tour walk towards and enter the storage building.

The garage area is mostly empty. There are a number of doorways leading to various storage rooms that go deeper into the facility.

Command: Find a suitable area to detain the guide. We'll be sending other teams in through this site entrance shortly. The facility is considerably larger than we initially thought. Hold tight.

Beta-2 01: Understood, command!

Beta-2 06 and Beta-2 04 pin the guide to the ground.

Tour Guide: Guard! H-Help!

The tourist turns Beta-2 01 to face him and throws a strong right hook, sending 01 stumbling backwards. The tourist then turns to 02 and 05, and attempts to fend them off. 02 also gets knocked to the ground before 05 and 03 pin the tourist to the ground as well.

Beta-2 01: Coughs Christ almighty.. Put them in one of those storage closets. The smaller one, over there, maybe.

Beta-2 01 gestures to an unmarked storage room.

Beta-2 01: Ah, fuck. Okay, uh, once we do that, some of us are gonna have to go get proper gear. After that, uh, we can probably set up three of us in here, and the other four can go take the building across the road. Wait for the other teams to come in and set up camp here. That work, command?

Command: Understood, we'll be waiting here with your gear.

Back to the present…

Beginning Video Log Playback..

File Name: GOI-6656_InfiltrationLog2

MTF Team(s): Beta-2, Beta-3

Mission Lead(s): Beta Command Team Leader ██████, GOI-6656 lead investigator Dr. Patra

Camera: MTF Beta-2 02

Begin Log

Foreword: MTF Beta-2 has secured an open building for moving a mobile command hub into the studio. MTF Beta-2 is holding the site until the hub can be brought in.

Command: Okay, Beta Two, we're ready to start sending in Beta Three through Beta Seven.

Beta-2 01: Understood, command. We're getting terminally bored out here.

Command: Understood. Sending in Beta Three to clear section one.

Beta-2 04: Sounds good, command. Nothing happening in our building either, ready for action when you are.

Command: Understood.

A few minutes pass. MTF Beta-3 is seen running past some of the building's windows. Gunfire can be heard coming from outside.

Beta-2 02: Command, permission to engage?

Command: Negative. Open the garage door, though. We'll be bringing the mobile command hub in there shortly.

Beta-2 01: Understood.

Beta-2 01 presses a button on the wall next to him, and one of the garage doors begins to raise.

There is a blaring sound as the studio lot's PA system activates.

PA: Finally, some real fun! Come and get me, bitches!

The PA begins to broadcast "Saturday Night's Alright" by Elton John throughout the studio lot.

Beta-2 03: Command, are you hearing this?

Command: Loud and clear! Disregard at this time.

Beta-2 03: Understo-

An iron cannonball lands in the cement road outside of the building and explodes, leaving a large crater.

Beta-2 01: What the fuck!? Uh, Command!? Did you catch that!?

Command: Beta-2, we're currently sustaining heavy artillery fire! We're working out a new plan!

Beta-2 01: Okay, okay! Unders-

The door to the provisional detainment room swings open. The heavy steel door crushes Beta-2 01's arm.

Beta-2 03: Oh f-

The tour guide and the tourist are seen standing in the doorway before camera view is obscured by a bright red flare. The flare strikes Beta-2 03, who gets wounded as a result.

Beta-2 02 turns towards the door and raises his rifle when his visor is hit by the back end of a flare gun. Beta-2 02's helmet camera is damaged in the process, and video feed is lost.

Less than a second after he chucked the gun through the air, Shades turned and ran towards a door labelled "FX Acquisition Office 4." He grabbed Polo by the hand and pulled him in his direction, stopping Polo from running to the open garage door. It occurred to Shades at some point while the two were scrambling for the door that if he had missed that throw, there is a very good chance he would be cold and dead. A volley of bullets sprayed at them from behind as the guard by the door reached around it and attempted to shoot them. Shades grabbed the door handle and ripped it open, sprinting into the office with Polo trailing behind him. The LED lights in the room buzzed as they ran around a small group of office cubicles. Polo slammed his shoulder against the exit door in the back of the room, sending the two of them cascading into the open area between studio buildings.

"Oh shit, ohhh fuck!" Polo yelled, to no one in particular.

"Fucking hell!" Shades yelled in response. "Uh, quick, in here!"

He slammed into the door to the building next to the storage room and slammed it shut as Polo ran inside. They found themselves in a small janitor corridor. They both collapsed against opposing walls, desperately trying to suck in oxygen.

"Why.. why didn't we just go through the big.. the big door?" Polo barely managed to spit out.

"They.. fuck.. they came in from that entrance. There's.. there's probably more there.." Shades struggled to spit back at him.

"Uh, okay, what's the-"

The last uninjured "guard" threw the door open and ran into the corridor. He turned to see Shades and Polo standing in the hall, and for a brief few moments, the three stared at each other in utter shock and bewilderment. The guy managed to raise the small pistol in his hands, but before he could get a shot out, Polo, acting on instinct, drove his right fist into his stomach. Shades pulled the gun out of his hand and opened fire, putting three rounds through his chest before he even managed to process what he was doing. They both stood still, staring at the dead man at their feet.

"Shit, shit shit shit, oh fucking hell!" Polo yelled, again at no one in particular.

"He.. he's dead! He's fucking dead! Uh, shit, what do we do?" Shades yelled back.

"Uh, oh fuuuck. Uh, we could just leave him!"

"Shit, yeah, okay, sure! What now?"

"I don't know, this was your plan!"

"I barely had a plan! Okay, fuck! I'm gonna go look!"

Shades stepped over the body and through the open door. He carefully moved himself across the side of the building and peeked his head around the corner. Teams of heavily-armed people seemed to be flooding in from every direction. Two groups were coming in from his right, another running across the studio's road directly in front of him, and to his left, there was a small team of them-

"-heading straight for us!" Shades yelled at Polo, in the corridor. "We gotta get through the building!"

Shades ran up to the door at the other end of the cramped hall and threw it open. Before him stood an empty space filled with pitch black nothing. The darkness from it seemed to creep down the hall. Shades would have found it particularly dark and depressing, were he not in a state of total panic.

"No, wait! You can't go i-" Polo attempted to shout out, but by then, Shades had already ran in to the open space. Polo looked around frantically, eyes darting around the room. "Fuck! Okay then!" He took a deep breath, then followed Shades in to the emptiness.

The PA system blared again, briefly cutting the music. A feminine, robotic voice took over.

"Studio Set Seven now filming!"

To be continued... In Part Two!

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