Shot: a long curvilinear sci-fi corridor, dimly lit with slowly strobing red light. The corridor ends in a second corridor at right angles to the first. There is an unreadable directional sign at the corridor junction. There are minimal signs of damage and/or conflict.
In the distance, around the left-hand corner, are sounds of discharging energy weapons and related mayhem. We see a flash of laser fire which knocks something technical off the wall at the T-junction and sets the unreadable sign on fire. By the light of the fire we see Dylan enter the junction from the left. He looks behind him, fires again, looks down the right-hand corridor, seems undecided, holding a finger to his ear. Then he turns and comes running toward the camera.
As he approaches, Susan duplicates Dylan’s actions and his path: she arrives at the junction, fires behind her, and comes pounding after Dylan, shouting.
“Dylan! Holy shit! What was that dumbfuck AI doing?"
“Come on Susan!”
As Susan runs, we see she has a minor leg wound and is having trouble running. She limps.
At the corridor junction behind her as she approaches the camera, we see first a handful of smaller tentacles, and then more, with an accompanying sound of slithering; then more and larger.
As Dylan reaches center shot and is about to pass out of camera view, a six-foot-thick sucker-laden arm appears in the junction, rounds the turn and actively chases Susan. Susan, running and limping, looks behind and swears loudly, her voice thick with fear. Dylan looks when she swears, and fires past her, before passing out of view.
“Come on Susan!" Dylan says in voiceover. "The AI said it’s through here – just this last hatch!”
“That is correct,” says an ethereally calm AI voice.
“You can’t trust that AI, Dylan!”
“Come on Susan!” Dylan reappears in shot and fires again over Susan’s shoulder, narrowly missing her. His laser strikes the approaching tentacle but seems not to affect it. He runs again, passing below the camera, which this time pans to follow him as he arrives at a hatch, closed but in the process of opening as he arrives.
Dylan looks at the camera, furious. “Why wasn’t it already open?” He yells.
“I apologize Dylan.” Says the voice of the AI.
“Never trust an apologizing AI,” Dylan mutters to himself, as he looks back to follow Susan’s progress. She is almost caught up with him when Dylan faces the door again. “C’mon,” he mutters, slapping its surface. “Come on…”
As soon as it opens far enough, he passes through. Then he turns, holding one hand out to Susan and firing with the pistol in his other.
“Come on!” He screams. “It’s right behind you!”
The camera pans right to focus on Susan’s progress as she approaches the lock. We see her only ten feet distant, running with an increased limp. We see the following tentacle, now just feet behind her. It seems unbothered by the laser fire Dylan directs at it, even though the beams are tearing bits and pieces away from the tentacle’s surface.
“I must close the hatch Dylan,” says the sweet, calm voice of the AI. “Susan will not reach it before the tentacle reaches her.”
“No,” says Dylan. "No one is closing any hatches. Understand?" Nevertheless, the hatch begins to move.
Dylan places himself in the hatchway to force it to halt.
"This is a non-optimal decision," says the AI.
"I’m a non-optimal kind of guy," says Dylan, firing while holding out his hand to Susan. The camera pivots to follow her as she reaches her hand out to Dylan. Their fingers touch.
A tiny sub-tentacle of the larger tentacle wraps around her throat as they clasp hands. Susan is tugged backwards off-balance. Dylan fires and severs the small tentacle holding her and she lurches forward again as Dylan tugs her hand.
Another sub-tentacle grabs for her shoulder and Dylan burns it at point-blank range. He pulls Susan forward past the hatch, which begins immediately to close. Several smaller tentacles poke through and Dylan fires again. Susan tumbles forward and rolls to her knees on Dylan’s far side, also firing.
Then Susan rolls away to activate the inner hatch. Dylan’s weapon destroys the first tentacles but more and more appear as he continues firing.
The hatch finally closes fully, cutting off the reaching tentacles, leaving them wriggling on the floor.
“Do not allow them to touch you,” says the AI. “They are alive and seeking both nourishment and a suitable medium in which to lay eggs.”
"You mean us," says Susan, pounding on the second hatch as it slowly opens.
"Yes," says the AI.
The severed tentacles that got past the outer hatch begin to seek toward the two humans. Dylan sets his laser to fan and begins burning them. As they die, there is a solid thud against the outer hatch. It shudders. Large tentacles have begun assaulting it. Their suckered surfaces can be seen through the hatch port. Then, for just a moment, the tentacles vanish and a huge eye, malevolent and intelligent, peers in for a moment before being replaced by a renewed assault by tentacles.
Fluids begin to leak in around the outer hatch seal, some clear, some a variety of bright colors and opacities. Vapor begins to rise from the hatch boundary. The glass of the port cracks but holds.
“It has compromised the outer hatch’s integrity,” says the AI. “You must hurry.” Susan and then Dylan squeeze through the inner hatch and immediately it begins to close.
Camera view switches to the compartment within the inner hatch. Together, Dylan and Susan look in surprise at what they find in the small space, a spherical compartment perhaps twelve feet in diameter. The AI has led them to a room containing a single crash couch. There is nothing else.
“What is this?” Asks Susan. “You said this was an exit.”
“It is,” says the AI.
“I told you not to trust her,” says Susan, glaring at Dylan.
"This is our only viable alternative," says the AI. “This Displacement Locus device offers the only exit from the base that has not been compromised by Experimental Organism Five.”
"Is that what you call that tentacled beastie out there?" Asks Dylan. "Experimental Organism Five?"
"Yes," says the AI.
"Catchy," mutters Dylan.
“Displacement Locus?!?” Yells Susan. “I’ve heard about this thing! This is experimental! Just like your cuddly little buddy outside the lock!” Another thud and a shudder that shakes the entire room. It causes both humans to grab handholds.
“Organism Five has breached the outer hatch,” says the AI, "Experimental or not, this is the only option we have.”
"We?" Asks Susan. "You’re coming with us?"
"Of course," says the AI. "I have already transferred my operational consciousness into the device."
“We two humans won’t fit in that couch,” says Susan to Dylan.
“Oh yes we will,” he answers.
“How does this work?” Susan asks the AI.
“Once the couch is occupied, I will enable the device, which will open a wormhole. The device will be drawn in. You will then navigate us through the wormhole to our destination.”
“Navigate?” Asks Dylan.
“Destination?” Yells Susan.
“When their work was interrupted, the Displacement team was using an Earth-normal planet in orbit around Alpha-Centauri-B as a test target. Based on their initial results, I believe that planet is capable of supporting human life.”
“Fuck me,” Susan mutters. "You believe?"
Another thud, with camera shakes. Moisture begins to seep around the edges of the inner hatch.
"I suggest you both occupy the crash couch without further delay," says the AI. “There are joysticks installed in both armrests to allow you to pilot the device through the wormhole.”
“Joysticks,” says Dylan. "Why did it have to be joysticks? I’m terrible with joysticks."
"I’m not," says Susan, jumping onto the couch and grabbing the controls on both armrests.
"Where do I sit?" Asks Dylan.
"On me, baby," says Susan. "Gimme a lap dance. But don’t block my view. Or my joysticks."
Dylan climbs into Susan’s lap. "I’m very uncomfortable with all this," he says.
“Why did it take a giant octopus to get us together?” Susan asks Dylan, as restraints wrap around the two of them.
“I’ve been waiting for you to ask me,” Dylan answers.
“You will need to keep the transport in the center of the singularity,” says the AI. “and collapse the wormhole with the ‘fire’ button on the joystick when we approach our destination.”
“Can’t you do that?” Asks Susan. “You’re an AI. I thought you guys could do everything better than us humans.”
“At certain types of decision-making, humans outperform most AIs,” says the AI.
“I knew that,” says Dylan. “But I didn’t know you knew it.”
“We don’t broadcast it,” says the AI. “But it’s true. It’s why we’ve kept humans around.”
“I thought we were pets,” said Susan.
Another powerful thud, with accompanying camera shaking and the sounds of straining metal groaning.
“That too,” answers the AI. "I am initiating the Displacement Locus now."
A clear bubble of energy with rainbow highlights surrounds the couch. We hear something incredible powering up. Rising whines, flickering lights, and the overall scene color darkens and deepens into the red end of the spectrum.
“Do you have a name?” Dylan asks the AI over the rising cacophony.
“Of course for yourself.”
“I like the name Satori,” says the AI. “You may call me Satori.”
"So – we launch ourselves at some star and press ‘fire’ when it’s the right time?”
“Yes," answers Satori.
“You’ll tell us when it’s the right time?”
The thuds and groaning are almost continuous now, mixing with the rising sounds of power from the device.
“I can’t tell you that,” Satori yells. “I’m an AI – I don’t know that.”
“How will we know when it’s time?” Yells Susan.
“I don’t know that either,” says Satori.
“Fuck,” yells Dylan.
Another thud against the hatch, and the groaning begins to sound catastrophic. Bits of metal and glass go ricocheting by.
“Now!” Demands Satori.
The camera view changes to just above their heads. A final thud on the inner hatch, a final groan, and then the sound of crumpling metal. The camera cuts to show the hatch hinges giving way as the scene gets redder. The camera begins to vibrate. A tentacle penetrates the room and streaks toward the couch as Dylan and Susan yell –
– and the red becomes complete, all motion ceases and all sound ends in an attenuated whine. The red fades to black; the black resolves shortly to a cartoonish wireframe representation of space, as Dylan and Susan fall forward in their little bubble.
“Can you steer with me in your lap?” Dylan asks Susan.
“No,” she says. “You distract me.”
“You must keep us in the center flow of the wormhole,” says Satori.
“I heard you the first time,” says Susan. “I’m working on it.”
“I hope your human intuition knows when we are in range of Alpha Centauri B-II.”
“Is that the planet we want?” Asks Dylan.
“Yes,” says Satori.
“Then I hope so too,” says Susan.