Identity Crisis session 1

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Identity Crisis Session 1 - Mind the Doors: September 15th 2006, 8:00pm - September 19th 2006, 12:00am

The end of Summer. The trees are beginning to brown, the heat is dying down, it is a time of change as one season dies and gives way to the birth of another.

The London Underground, the Bakerloo line. Around twenty individuals gather in the mid-section of a tube train, reading papers, listening to music, or finding other ways to pass the time as the move from A to B.

Amongst them, a somewhat emaciated man in a badly kept suit sits making some notes in a small pad, his eyes darting amongst the crowd before him.

His eye fall upon a man in his early twenties, more maybe late teens at the earliest, wearing a set of boots with soles several inches thicker than those around him, a long trenchcoat a couple of sizes too large which hides the rest of his clothes, a leather trilby hat and an expression on his face that would seem to indicate he was in a competition for the title of 'worlds most mopey goth wannabe' as he listens to 80's music from an iPod. A note goes in the pad: 'weirdo #1'.

Not too far from him is a figure in his late twenties or maybe early thirties, sat astride a thin racing bicycle and in appropriate attire - tight shorts, cycling top with hood over his head, wrap-around shades and similarly listening to music, but this time it is little more than a manic cacophony of drum, bass and mayhem. Beneath the previous note: 'weirdo #2'.

Another man leans up against one of the doors, waiting patiently. Like the individual with the notepad, he seems to be dressed in a pretty decent manner, but it is badly kept. Crinkles run over his back, his tie is off to one side, hair slightly ruffed, etc.

Nearly opposite him, sits a lady in her mid-to-late twenties cradling a leather-bound book which has long since had the gold emblazed lettering on the front worn away from constant handling and use. Glasses are perched on the end of her nose and she is engrossed in her tome.

The train comes to a slow halt at a station and the doors open. A few people file on, a few people step off, but the doors remain open. They gape wide for well over a minute when the man with the notepad looks up and notices the name of the station. Almost wincing, he closes his eyes and shakes his head. No-one else seems to have the same reaction to Regent's Park station, only him. Bad memories?

After two, maybe three minutes, the doors hiss shut and the train pulls off. As it descends into the tunnel ahead, the lights flicker slightly once, then twice, and a third time plunges the carriage into darkness for a good few seconds. When the lights come on, some people are looking around, others seem unshaken by the fairly mundane power outage, but the cyclist is almost laughing unsettlingly as he points towards a blurred moving figure in the reflection in the window on the far side of the carriage. There is a definitely lurch, almost as if the train suddenly went in to reverse and a few people stumble heavily. The lights go out again and whilst the cyclist jumps onto the chair, a glint of light shines of the blade in his hand as the proto-goth pulls a small pen torch from his key ring and points it around.

Red. That's all the proto-goth sees. He wishes he didn't see it then, and he certainly wishes he didn't see the rest as the lights flicker back on again as the train once again seems to go into a reverse abruptly for a half second before rushing headlong again. Blood, bullet holes, broken glass, corpses and the seriously injured litter the carriage to the sound of the moving train and screams from those inside.

The lady with the book and the man by the door rush forward to help one woman who seems to have been shot in the side. The man with the notepad jumps forward to hit the emergency stop. The train keeps moving. The proto-goth rocks back and forth repeating over and over again 'Silent Hill… Silent Hill… Silent Hill…'. The cyclist looks around and begins to laugh before turning to the proto-goth and taunting him for his reaction to the carnage in front of them. Seeing the emergency stop isn't working, the man with the notepad turns his attention towards a man on the floor with a section of glass protruding from his chest. The young lady, looking around for help runs to the door into the next carriage where she finds an otherwise undamaged scene in front of her, apart from the passengers are either running down to the far end, away from her, or cowering in utter terror from her. Not understanding why they are reacting thus, and becoming annoyed at this as they refuse to help her, despite her pleas that people are dying in the ground before her, she turns back to the devastation.

Finally, the train begins to slow down as it reaches the next station. The man with the notepad looks out of the broken windows, hoping to see the signs of Oxford Circus, the normal next stop. He catches sight of the signs, but only briefly as they flash past the row of armed response unit personnel between them and the train. A voice over a loud speaker orders them to step off the train. No-one moves.

Eventually, after repeated demands, the young lady steps out and is manhandled to the ground. A few seconds later, the man with the notepad steps out and lays down on the floor, hands behind his head. They are both carried away by two policemen baring automatic weapons and notice a movement further down the platform. A figure, scruffily dressed, looking out from another exit corridor. He spots that he has been noticed and dives back out of sight. The two exchange glances that they have seen someone observe, but being held at gunpoint decide that it is not the best time to say "Look, someone's down there".

The other man in a suit carries out one of the injured who is forcefully removed from his hold and then forced down as well. The cyclist, still taunting the crying young man are removed along with the rest of the passengers who stood bewildered or lay dying with an equal lack of compassion.

Handcuffed and frog-marched up the stairs, it becomes apparent that there is a crowd outside. As soon as they make it to the front of the tube station, they are pushed through a narrow corridor made in the middle of a riotous mob lined by reports, photographers and a television reported with cameraman from the BBC who rattles off a stream of questions at them: "Why did you do it?" "Why did you kill all those people?" "What had they done to you?"

Shocked into silence for the most part, the only responses come from the young lady who demands to know what they are talking about and the young man who tearfully indicates toward the cyclist and proclaims "he laughed!"

Bundled into the back of a police van with a window through the driver's compartment, the sounds of the mob outside are muffled as they left alone and eventually fade into silence as they driven away from the scene rapidly. With only themselves to talk to now, they begin to bounce around the same questions: "What happened?" "What's going on?"

The proto-goth tries to call his mother but looks confused after someone picks up evidently half way through him leaving a message on an answering machine and then hangs up. Repeated attempts to phone don't even hit the answering machine. Similarly, thinking of his phone, the man in the suit pushes speed dial #1 and just lets it ring, hoping someone hears what is happening on the other end. The man with the notebook shakes his head, commenting bitterly "Regent's Park, it's always bloody Regent's Park…" before he mutters about the police being very slack these days having not searched them before being put in the back of the van.

Looking at his watch, the man's eyes open slightly wider which prompts other people to look at their watches. They read it to be just passing 11:10pm, the date reading "19" - 3 days, 3 hours, 3 minutes having passed since this all started, he comments. They agree that such a precise measurement of time fits just about with their recollections - a little over 5 or 6 minutes or so from the lights going out of the train to being bundled into the van, but wonder why he so quick to come to that particular figure. The proto-goth comments "what happened to your clothes?", indicating the man in the suit who proceeds to notice his clothes are in a greater state of disrepair than normal - in fact, it looks like all of their attire has been through a bit of a rough ride.

Eventually they begin introductions. Gabriel, a private investigator (the man with the notebook), Tarquin, a student at King's College (the mopey proto-goth), Ralph (the other man in a suit), Roberta, another student at King's College (the young lady), whilst the cyclist doesn't give his name, saying this is a regular kind of thing to happen to him, so he's just going with the flow.

Roberta looks at the cyclist and an expression of bewilderment and fright overcomes her as she says in response "Your just damned weird". Gabriel, getting out his notebook to write "Weirdo #3" by Roberta's description finds that someone else has been writing in his notebook already. Someone who's handwriting is not his. Amongst lists of phone numbers a few lines from what look to be shopping list stand out where he can make out a few words: ammo, shotgun, pistol, grenade… He proceeds to destroy the somewhat incriminating evidence by (eventually) swallowing the pages after tearing them up into small pieces.

Thinking that there might be something similar having happened to her notebooks, Roberta asks Ralph to get a book out of her backpack. Ralph reaches up whilst handcuffed and opens her backpack, only to move back and yell through the window to the driver's compartment, "Officer, this bitch is armed!"

With the van coming to a quick halt in a lay-by, the driver and the armed guard come around from the front whilst Roberta is protesting her innocence. She falls quiet once they retrieve a silenced pistol from her backpack and search the others, taking their phones and a knife from the ankle of Gabriel - who also claims not to have seen it before. They find Ralph's phone on, listen to it for a second and then comment "You don't look Eastern European" and cancel the call. As the van moves on again, Roberta checks her book to find other such notes, definitely not in her handwriting, but she can't make out any of the scribbled words.

Tarquin, evidently pondering on something since the revelation of the gun simply looks up and says "Oh God, I think I shot someone…" Roberta recoils from him and looks around the group whilst Gabriel looks at her and smiles saying "Nice eyes". Ralph and Tarquin begin exchanging details of apparently seeing themselves shoot a man down the barrel of a gun, but the descriptions are slightly off - did they each shoot a separate person? Roberta begins to shake, commenting that it has to be possession, there's no other explanation. It is a theory not well received for the most part as they pull into what Gabriel identifies as Paddington Green High Security Police Station.

They are taken from the van and lead out through a series of cleared corridors to an interrogation room with a false mirror along one wall. Tarquin tries to gaze through the mirror, cupping his hands around his eyes up close to its surface, but apparently sees nothing. Two men proceed to enter and order them to sit down on the chairs provided. A man in a business suit introduces himself as DCI Carl Wood and says the man in the uniform next to him is Sergeant Brent Mitchell and begins to question them as to "Where is Mickey Richards?".

Gabriel points out at this point that they have not been read their rights, so technically they have not been arrested. In which case, since they are merely helping the police with their enquiries, he strongly recommends that he starts to explain himself before he threatens calling in his lawyer. Wood begrudgingly admits that they haven't been arrested, glancing to the mirror with a look of contempt on his face, and goes on to state (for the benefit of the tape recording in the observation room they all heard click on) that he would like Horatio Smith (Gabriel), Marcus Hide (Tarquin), Len Bowman (the cyclist), Logan Mason (Ralph) and Tabitha Parkinson (Roberta) to help them find where Mickey Richards is. Their reactions are everything from confusion to denial to outright hostility, and the cyclist who once again just laughs in the face of Wood as the others try to convince the policemen that those are not their names. Roberta is the first to reach for her ID but finds it missing from her wallet. Likewise, the others find their details missing, and items they normally keep in certain places on their person moved but still present (e.g. Gabriel's Oyster card having been moved from his sock to his pocket).

Tarquin, starts to break apart at this point in the interview. He hands over his phone, saying that these aren't his numbers. The cop, seeing he is about to break, starts pushing him. "Where is Mickey?" "Why does he want so many guns?" "How is he getting people to systematically go all over London performing gang-land hits on the homeless?" "What is his plan?" "Why is he doing this?" The kid just starts to cry, yelling he doesn't know why, that he hasn't got a clue. Roberta defends him and yells at Wood to back off.

A buzzer sounds and the door opens. Gabriel smiles slightly as he looks at the figure of a beautiful lady in a suit and tie with a stylized pin on one lapel of what looks to be the Top Hat piece from Monopoly. Gabriel simply says "How nice to see you again, Josie". The cyclist just says "She's hot!" Without saying a word, 'Josie' indicates for Wood to step outside. He does so and there is a loud argument - one half of it anyway, Wood's half - outside. He storms back in and tells Mitchell to get them down to the front desk and let them go. As they are led out, they catch sight of 'Josie' on the phone in an office just across the hall. The cyclist states his opinion of her once again with a grin and she just raises an index finger to her lips and motions for him to be quiet. An odd look comes across his face but soon passes.

In the lobby Tarquin remains at the desk, convinced that the police have taken his ID card and won't let it drop till he has it. The others go outside where they begin to bounce around ideas about what has happened and what they should do next, especially as Ralph discovers a little over £3000 hidden in an inside pocket. As Big Ben chimes midnight in the distance, the cyclist suddenly comments he has somewhere else he needs to be. He's got a party to go to, and only an hour to get there. He's got to rush if he's going to get there in time and leaves the group of strangers stood there looking onward as he starts to take off at high speed down the road, on foot...