matrixrefugee: the word 'refugee' in electric green with a background of green matrix code (It's a Wonderful Life)
[personal profile] matrixrefugee
I'm still working on this year's fic (though I managed to write/type the ending of it). I didn't want you to go without something special to read tonight, so I dug up an unfinished "A.I." fanfiction, which I'd posted on the Yahoo! group last year. I have to admit, the idea is a little silly, and I'm a bit embarassed that I wrote it, since there's so many lazy Christmas fanfic writers who take some Christmas classic and just copy-paste the names of the characters from their fandom of choice into it (Case in point these really dumb "Matrix" version of "A Christmas Carol" with [pick one] either Agent Smith or the Merovingian as Ebeneezer Scrooge, that I've seen). But... I'm not so embarrassed to keep from posting it on my LJ.


TITLE: Untitled fragments of an "A.I." universe rendering of Frank
Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life"

AUTHOR: "Matrix Refugee"

RATING: PG to PG-13

ARCHIVE: Nope, sorry: they're just fragments...

FEEDBACK: Would be greatly appreciated!

SUMMARY: On Christmas Eve, a distraught Dr. Hobby encounters a Mecha
turned angel who shows him how great an impact his life has had on
his world.

DISCLAIMER: I do not own "A.I., Artificial Intelligence", its
characters, settings, concepts or other indicia, which are the
property of the late, great Stanley Kubrick, of DreamWorks SKG,
Steven Spielberg, Warner Brothers, Amblin Entertainment, et al. I
don't own the plot/concepts of "It's A Wonderful Life", which belong
to the late, great Frank Capra, Philip Van Doren-Stern (who wrote the
short story it was based on), Republic Pictures, et al. And the
penultimate image of one of the characters is borrowed from a
fragment of Laurie E. Smith's "For Always" (can we see more of it,
please? please? please?)

NOTES: I wish I'd had more time to work on this before Christmas, but
work and other concerns kept me distracted. Perhaps I can get more
work done on this between now and next Christmas. But... it's still
the Christmas season, so I'll give you a taste of things to come.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[I'll give you a few rough background notes, laying out some of the
paralell characters, at least as the story stands for now:

George Bailey = Dr. Allen Hobby (natch!)
Mary Bailey = Caroline Hobby (at this point, she and Allen are
legally seperated)
Mr. Potter = Elizabeth Jane Sutter (In this story, she's working for
a rival company, IntelliDyne, but she tends to snoop around
Cybertronics since she's been studying with Dr. Hobby; in the "Evan
Chan" Internet Mystery Game, she works for Cybertronics, but the
events of the game take place about 20 or 30 years after the events
of "A.I.")
Clarence = (Keep reading....)
Uncle Billy = Rintaro Sitayusama (the guy who makes the comment about
lover-models during Dr. Hobby's presentation at the beginning
of "A.I."; I'm not sure of his first name, so I gave him one, in this
case, the name of the animator who created the excellent
anime "Metropolis".)
Mr. Martini, the Italian barkeeper = Mr. Williamson
Ernie the cabdriver = Frank Sweitz, the reporter
Bert the cop = Halloran "Hal" McGeever, the news photographer (I had
to include these guys: they've started to become part of the fanfic
landscape here.) ]

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

"Izanami and Izanagi, faces of the Lady and the Lord, shower
blessings on my employer and friend, Allen Hobby, in this difficult
time," Rintaro Siyatusama prayed before the small home altar in his
Haddonfield apartment....

"Blessed art thou, O Lord God, King of the universe, Who has made man
and given him strength as well as wisdom and knowledge, give strength
to my husband Allen... and to me, to be what he needs," Caroline
Hobby prayed in her Camden home, the blue-fringed folds of Allen's
long-forgotten prayer shawl draped around her head and shoulders....

"...O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petition... that
Dr. Hobby will get through this rough spot and he and his wife will
take each other back... but in your clemancy, hear and answer me.
Amen," Mr. Williamson prayed before a statue of the Virgin Mary, in a
small storefront Catholic Church in Haddonfield.

"He gave our family a new member, give him help, Lord," Monica
Swinton prayed as she draped tinsel garland around the windows of her
family's dining room.

"Please, God, something's wrong with Dr. Hobby. Don't let him be
hurt," David Swinton prayed, looking up at the night sky from the
window of his room, watching for the first stars to show.

For once, Martin didn't tease David as he prayed to the heavens. And
much as he felt funny about praying, he couldn't help sending a quiet
thought up to whoever might be out there....

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

The aether hums with prayers and thoughts for a human on earth called
Dr. Allen Hobby. Ariel, chief of the guardian angels assigned to
watch over every rational being on every planet and plane of the
universe, hears them while moving through the stars, looking much
like the stars and celestial lights.

Zoriel, deputy to Ariel, approaches the chief guardian, making an
obeisance to the superior of their class.

"Greetings, Zoriel," Ariel says.

"I came as soon as you called me, sir," Zoriel replies. "It looks as
if we will have to send someone to earth. There are a great number of
prayers for a man named Allen Hobby."

"Oh yes, the Mecha designer. He is in a crisis of soul right now,"
Ariel says.

"That is what gives me cause for concern," Zoriel says,
hesitating. "It's that female lover-Mecha's turn."

Indulgent care emanates from Ariel's being. "Oh yes, Jane, the one
who hasn't earned her wings yet."

"But can she take this task and handle it well? She has the IQ of a
mouse," Zoriel says.

"But she has the kindness of a good child," Ariel replies. "Send for
Jane."

Zoriel reaches out and touches the aether, sending a call out to
Jane's essence. *Hey, Jane, how's the game?*

A small violet-blue sphere moves into the range of the two superior
angels. The human eye, even watching through the highest-powered
telescope on earth or in space, would not have been able to see the
female form standing in the midst of the light.

"You sent for me, gentlemen?" a female voice asked, a gently sultry
note to it.

"Hello, Jane," Ariel says, then noting the paperback book tucked into
a pocket on the thigh of her black skin-suit, asks. "What's that book
you're reading?"

"Oh, it's 'American Gods' by Neil Gaiman," Jane replied, in a tone
indicating that she was in awe of the story.

"Jane, there's a man down on earth who needs your help," Zoriel said.

"Ah," she says, "Is this man lost? Lonely? Does he need a little
company?"

"I'm afraid so," Ariel says. "At exactly 22.45, Haddonfield, New
Jersey time, that man, Dr. Allen Hobby, is going to consider throwing
away the Creator's most precious gift."

"That would be his existence?" Jane asks, using the term Mechas used
for "life". "Then I must be off: can't keep a lonely guy waiting."

"Wait, Jane, I want you to see some things first," Ariel says.

"But we haven't much time..." Jane says.

Zoriel cuts in before having to explain to Jane, for the hundredth
time, the difference between earth time and the eternity that
surrounds them. "If you're going to help Dr. Hobby, you'll need to
know a few things about him." Zoriel reaches out and touches Jane's
essence, forming a communication link.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[I have yet to flesh out the details of Dr. Hobby's background, but
it's gonna be fun to do...

[I *did* come up with a few paralells to the events of "It's a
Wonderful Life", or at least the last third of it: Siyatusama
accidently leaves some classified designs (probably for a military or
a government-commissioned project) where Jane Sutter finds them and
pockets them, since the company she works for part-time could use
them to up their own credibility. She also files a complaint against
Cybertronics for "stealing" a design from IntelliDyne, which leads to
an investigation. Hobby is falsely accused of hacking into the
mainframe at IntelliDyne, and on Christmas Eve, nearly throws himself
into the Delaware River... But before he can do this, he sees a
female figure plunge into the water. He discovers this female is a
Mecha, when he receives a distress pulse on the universal Mecha
caller he carries in his pocket. He dives into the water in an effort
to guide her out... the two of them are subsequently picked up by the
bridge-keeper/toll-collector Mecha on duty.]

Jane shook out the book hanging over the back of the
chair. " 'American Gods' is drying out... you should read the new
book Neil Gaiman is writing," she said to Hobby.

The bridge-keeper said nothing: Jane's comment didn't register with
it. Hobby felt his brows furrow with confusion. There must be
something wrong with this lover-bot's internal clock; Neil Gaiman had
lived and written in the early 21st century.

"What made you fall into the water?" the bridge-keeper asked Jane at
length.

"I didn't fall into the water," Jane said. "I jumped in to save Dr.
Hobby." Saying this, she pointed one slim hand at the human.

The bridge-keeper turned to gaze at Hobby. "You tried to hurt
yourself in the water?"

"It wasn't like that... All right, I was going to kill myself," Hobby
admitted.

"That is a very sad thing to do: to kill yourself over a design, even
if the FRC is investigating it," Jane said.

"How did you know about that?" Hobby asked.

"I told you: I know this because I am your guardian angel," Jane said.

The bridge-keeper regarded this annunciation with a blank face. Hobby
stared at Jane, wondering if this Mecha were seriously
malfunctioning. She didn't betray the kind of facial tics or mouth
twitches or speech defects that accompanied virus-induced asphasia in
Mechas.

"Excuse me...?" Hobby asked.

Jane came closer to the chair where he sat. "You don't believe me."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

[The alternate universe bit is gonna be a challenge: Haddonfield
winds up becoming a seedier place, worse even than Rouge City. The
Shangri-La becomes a really nasty bondage club (No offense to folks
whose kinks run that way: I get the vibe that I'm that sort of
person, to a mild degree.). The Swinton family is broken up: Martin
has died and Monica has gone insane, leaving Henry behind as a very
embittered man. Cybertronics isn't quite the influential company that
it is. I'm seeing a cameo appearance of Cecie Martin as well, but
she's not the Mecha-hugger we know her as...

[Eventually, Hobby has a change of heart, returning to the bridge
where he tried to suicide, begging God to help him to live... Henry
Swinton and Sityatusama, who have been looking for Hobby, find him
and bring him back to the Swinton home, where several of the
Cybertronics family and the townsfolk of Haddonfield have gathered
for a Christmas/December holiday party.]

Hobby felt something in the pocket of his jacket, something squarish
that hadn't been there before. He reached in and pulled out Jane's
well-thumbed copy of "American Gods". He opened the cover to find
Jane had written a message on the page facing the title page:

"Just remember, Allen, no man is a failure who has friends who care
about him."

"Blessings,
Jane"

"P.S. Thanks for the wings!"

Caroline eyed the book quizzically. "Who's that book from?"

"It's a present from an old friend of mine," Hobby said.

Someone walking past the Christmas tree brushed a branch from which
hung several ornaments, including a cluster of small bells. The
movement set the bells tinkling, a joyous sound adding to the
merriment around them.

David pointed at the branch. "Look, Dr. Hobby: Mommy told me that
every time a bell rings, an angel gets her wings."

"That's right," Hobby said. He glanced up, thinking, *Thank you,
Jane."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Far out in the aether, beyond the edge of the universe, Jane soars,
spreading wings of shining silvery feathers that glinted with the
light of the stars and spheres below her....

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Literary Easter Eggs:

"American Gods" -- I read this a few months ago and I was utterly
absorbed by it: I'm puzzling over why Frank Capra chose "Tom Sawyer"
as the book Clarence the angel carries with him, and I was trying to
come up with a fitting paralell. "American Gods" deals with spiritual
warfare, albeit on a slightly larger scale than IAWL does, so I
thought I'd use that... And the bit involving "the new book Neil
Gaiman" is writing is an in-joke: I've been following Neil Gaiman's
weblog, and he's posted a lot about how he's in the middle of writing
a new book.

April 2017

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