The Tulpa and the Leviathan



Scene Title The Tulpa and the Leviathan
Synopsis Tulpa, from Tibetan སྤྲུལ་པ (sprul pa, “emanation, magical creation”), equivalent to Sanskrit निर्मित (nirmita, “build”) or निर्माण (nirmāṇa, “build”). A magical creature that attains corporeal reality, having been originally merely imaginary. / Leviathan, from Hebrew (Biblical and Modern) לִוְיָתָן‎ (“leviathan; whale”). A vast sea monster of tremendous strength, described as the most powerful and dangerous creature in the ocean.
Date January 17, 2020

Traffic is steady tonight, in the way it usually is in a massive metropolitan hub. The elevated freeways are packed with cars, headlights burning white going one way, taillights flaring red going the other. The traffic isn't slow or stalled in gridlock, just steady and evenly spaced. Even at street level the traffic is steady, and the roar of tires on wet asphalt creates a nearly continuous white noise alongside the clunk of sewer covers and the occasional honk of horns. Rain has been steadily falling for most of the day and now a low fog has settled over the city in nightfall, bringing out the bloom of neon in the dark through the mist. Downtown, neon is everywhere. Signs flashing in vibrant and demanding colors advertising businesses packed together in narrow storefronts. Foot traffic is almost non-existent, save for a few people under umbrellas. One man braves the rain, but didn't plan for an umbrella. He pops the collar of his damp, denim jacket up against the back of his neck, the beige wool padding on the inside of the collar wet against the back of his neck and the wavy lengths of dark hair there. He doesn't know this city, doesn't know these people, and he squints against the glow of the neon signage.

In the distance, a tall skyscraper looms ominously over the rest of the landscape. Wider and taller than any other building, trimmed with red lights that run vertical up into the clouds, it disappears into the fog save for the skyward track of its red lighting. Exhaling softly through his nose, the stranger in this foreign city shakes his head, and presses on into the rain, holding the edges of his collar with both hands to keep it up against the back of his neck. He takes brisk, long-legged strides through the rain, heading in the direction of that skyscraper.


The Yamagato Building
Yamagato Park, NYC Safe Zone
January 17th
9:39 am

Three soft beeps is where it begins.

The cell phone alert comes while Yamagato security chief Eizen Erazawa is in the middle of his lunch break, sitting at a small table at an indoor Parisian-style cafe on the ground floor of the Yamagato Building. Setting his coffee down, he retrieves the phone from his pocket and sees a bright green notification on the touch screen. [SUSPICIOUS NETWORK ACTIVITY] Sliding the alert aside, Eizen taps a contact on his phone with the side of his thumb and initiates a call, using his free hand to dab his mouth clean with a cloth napkin. The phone only rings once.

«I'm sorry to bother you, Sir,» is how the technician on the other end answers the call. Eizen's eyes immediately close, offering a wordless shake of his head in response. «We've detected a network anomaly — we're already on it, I just — »

"Describe the nature of the activity to me," Eizen says as he briskly walks away from his table, headed toward the nearest elevator across the indoor park. "Simply," he adds.

«It— ah, the… someone tried to gain access to our intranet from outside the park using a virtual private network. Which— that's normal, but rare. Only a handful of employees have VPN access.» The response from the technician and the uncertain timber of his voice gives Eizen pause as he calls the elevator with a wave of his hand and turns his back to the lift, scanning the crowd of employees in the park with dark eyes. «It's just… we almost wouldn't have even noticed it. Except we had a— » he was about to get technical, but hesitates and explains it more plainly. «We think someone may have authorized the intruder to have access.»

"What?" Eizen says right around the same time the elevator chimes, swiftly turning back to the empty elevator before stepping inside.

«The first attempt utilized an outdated login for a former employee,» Eizen snorts and shakes his head, but doesn't otherwise protest as the elevator doors begin to slowly move shut. «But the second time they tried, the login worked. It— it just shouldn't have. The only way it could have happened is if someone authenticated the old login again, and that would have happened from inside, but we can't see any — »

"What login?" Eizen asks, stepping forward to the touch screen to choose his floor, fingers hovering over the executive suites at the top floor.

«Uh— Miko Otomo's.»

Eizen's hand freezes, his whole body freezes. His throat tightens, hand starts to tremble and then clenches shut. After an audible swallow, Eizen changes his choice of floor, sweeping his hand down to a basement level: B4 — Archives.

"What happened next?"


Two blocks down the street, directly under the overpass where the roar of traffic rises to a crescendo, the city is divided by something as simple as a chain-link fence. The fence rises from the ground level up to the underside of the overpass some twenty feet above. Metal signage prohibits trespassing, further signs indicate that the use of lethal force is prohibited against trespassers, and the most bold one declares that this is an international border. Soaked from the rain, the stranger to this city approaches the fence with dark eyes raised to the fence's height. He exhales a warm breath of steam, then lowers down to his knees and brings one hand out to brush the metal links. There's a quick flash of sparks, and the stranger recoils his hand, looking down at his palm.

"You're not supposed to be here," a woman says, loud enough to elicit a startle from the stranger. He falls backwards from his crouch, landing on his backside as he looks up to the source of the voice. Not behind him, but directly in front of him on the other side of the fence. She doesn't look as though she's been in the rain at all, though her attire also seems inappropriate for the weather; a simple kimono of black on white, folded right over left. She crouches, getting on the stranger's level and creases her brows in inquiry. "Naughty boy got his fingers shocked," she says with an amused smile. "You should go home."

For a few moments, the stranger is silent, watching her with confusion and interest. As he pulls himself to his feet, he brushes water off of the back of his pants and rakes his fingers through the tangle of his dark hair. "Who are you?" He asks her, but then brings a hand to his throat and swallows audibly, as if something was wrong with his voice. Or, perhaps, like he was unused to hearing it. Someone who hadn't spoken in a long time. The young woman takes a step closer to the fence, then reaches out and loops her fingers through the openings between the links and curls them around the electrified metal without so much as a spark.



"Who are you?" She asks in return.

The stranger isn't even sure how to answer that, transfixed by the way in which she holds the chain-link fence without being harmed. He looks left and right up the darkened lengths of sidewalk below the overpass, then approaches the fence again, this time smart enough not to touch it. "That's a good question, honestly. I'm not even sure these days." That answer brings a softness to Miko's features, a gentleness that wasn't there a moment ago. "I'm looking for someone, something," he clarifies, "and I think the answers are in there." He points behind Miko, to the skyscraper that pierces the clouds. "How are you here?" He asks her with wonder, rather than accusation.

"I live here," Miko explains, looking the stranger up and down. "I've always lived here." At that, he looks at her hand in the fence, then tentatively reaches out and touches her knuckles with his hand. There is an electrical tingle, but no sparks. The contact elicits a huff of breath through the stranger's nose, and he looks up to her again to see the surprise mirrored in Miko's eyes.

"You're a prisoner?" He asks her, to which she withdraws her fingers through the fence in response.

"No," Miko says with neither conviction nor belief. "I'm… protected." She looks back to the skyscraper, then back to the stranger. "This is for my protection." The stranger disagrees, but he can tell the topic is a far more sensitive one than he'd first imagined, more delicate. Strangely, he hadn't been able to make those assertions before he met her. Hadn't felt a connection to another person outside of his direct family in what feels like his entire lifetime. But she isn't family, and yet there is an unspoken kinship there. An unspoken truth.

"May I come in?" He asks, getting as close to the fence as he'd dare. Miko doesn't back away, but neither does she extend her hand through the fence again. "I'd… like to talk to you. I've never met anyone like you before, anyone like myself, outside of my niece." His mention of family brings Miko's stare up from the ground, and for the first time their eyes directly meet. Miko's brows knit together, lips parting as if to ask a question but at the same time afraid to have the answer confirmed for her.

She looks away, then back again before looping her fingers through the fence again. "Who is your niece?" She asks, to which the stranger replies,

"Hana Gitelman."



Elevator doors slide open with a soft chime and Eizen slides like a knife between the doors before they're even fully open, badge in one hand and phone in the other. "Do whatever you have to do, shut everything down. I don't want any information coming in to the building or going out, but don't raise any alarm about this. Do it quietly."

«Sir?» The technician on the other end of the phone asks.

"Maintenance, a glitch, whatever makes sense," Eizen whispers into the phone, "this is to remain between the people who already know on your team and myself. Am I clear?" There's a moment of silence on the other end of the line. "Am I clear?"

«Yes, of course. Yes, sir.»

"Good," Eizen barks back before terminating the call just as he arrives at a glass door partitioning off the elevator room from corridors of partially glass-walled rooms. Eizen swipes his badge, followed by a blue circle appearing on the door briefly as the magnetic lock releases and hydraulics swing the door open into the hall. Eizen steps in, looking around at his muted reflection in the glass. Beyond some of the transparent walls lie sterile computer manufacturing labs, working automated in the assembly of machine parts. Spidery mechanical arms descending from the ceiling touch spot welders and soldering irons down on steel and circuitboards, operating entirely without supervision.

Eizen's shoes click-clack on the polished black floor as he makes his way down the hallway, tucking his phone into his pocket. His dark eyes alight to the security cameras in the ceiling, then straight ahead as the hallway turns, moving around a room that unlike the others is made of an opaque white polymer imprinted with hexagonal patterns. He reaches the door and swipes his badge again, then presses his palm to the touchpad. Two green dots appear on the pad before Eizen leans in and lowers his right eye up to a retinal scanner. It flickers, flashes, and a third green dot appears, followed by a blue circle as the steel door to the white enclosure opens an inch. Eizen pulls it open the rest of the way and steps inside, tucking his badge into his jacket pocket.


Miko smiles, looking past Drucker.

"What about him?"

Drucker turns, looking over his shoulder to someone standing just far enough away to be a silhouette in the darkness. Smaller and more indistinct than he is, shrouded by the falling rain. Drucker's shoulders sag, he sighs, and looks back to Miko with less confidence than before. "He's with me," is the best answer he can give, but it doesn't satisfy Miko's curiosity. "It's a package deal." Miko nods, even if she doesn't understand things entirely, and looks from Drucker to the boy, who slowly approaches from the darkness.


"What do I call you?" Miko asks to both of them, as if there were no distinction. Drucker looks down at Micah, neither of them seeming to have a satisfactory answer. Both look up to her in unison, more confident now as Drucker takes a hand to rest on Micah's shoulder.


Nothing is said, and yet, Miko understands. Theirs is, after all, a language of knowledge and not words. A language of data, not emotions. Miko smiles, nevertheless, but Drucker has one last question.

"What do we call you?"



Eizen calls out as he enters the enclosure, bringing the door shut behind himself, surrounded by towering servers flashing with lights indicating the passage of data. At Eizen's call, a voice manifests within the room from speakers built into the structure. In this chamber there is no photogreactive gas, there is no source for the holographic avatar of Yamagato's artificial intelligence to manifest. Instead, Jiba exists merely as a voice among the hum of servers.

{Yes, Mr. Erizawa. How may I be of help?}

Eizen's brows knit together, jaw setting.

"What have you done?"

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