"Michael Cray - Chapter Four": Over coffee, Barry Allen tries to suss out the character of Michael Cray, but he falls back into talking out his manifesto: about how technology is seen in wars and epoch-shaking events, but technology is felt in the way a civilization lives; about how humans h
Synopsis for "Michael Cray - Chapter Four"
Over coffee, Barry Allen tries to suss out the character of Michael Cray, but he falls back into talking out his manifesto: about how technology is seen in wars and epoch-shaking events, but technology is felt in the way a civilization lives; about how humans have already handed so much of their lives over to autonomous artificial systems that we would be powerless against a true machine intelligence; about how it is so difficult to meet the eye of another human being meaningfully in the street.
Snapping back to the matter at hand, Barry tries to turn the questioning around on Michael. He makes the guess that Michael took a second look at his dossier because Michael is black, and is sympathetic to the idea of being overlooked by fools when you bring up a warning. Michael shrugs, and says he wants to talk about Barry Allen's speed suit, and the twenty A.I. researchers who have shown up dead since he built it.
Barry becomes tight-lipped. Michael makes his pitch: his government contacts respect his technology, and have an "evolved" sense of ethics. If he gives them the data, Michael can promise him a list of better targets.
Barry leaves. Michael makes a status update to Christine Trelane, and says he is confident Barry will come around. Christine underlines that the prize here is the suit. Michael; insists that death is not a prize, and hangs up.
Later, at his rented room, Michael unboxes a hologram videophone, and calls his doctor. Dr Shahi answers, and after the two admit that Michael has few enough reasons to trust her, she broaches a theory she has: they have been treating Michael's brain tumor, which gave him the ability to dissolve things with his hands, as an object, but it may be sentient. It could be responding to his subconscious desires. Michael muses, and then points out that this re-framing has functionally changed nothing. Dr Shahi disagrees: it presents a possible strategy - try to work out what the tumor wants.
In his lab, Barry Allen tries to run through a wall, but is not fast enough. His reflection starts to chastise him, saying he is a fool for wanting to trust Michael Cray, and he should just kill the man. Barry counters by saying that if he kills Michael Cray, more will come. The reflection presents a new idea - kill Michael Cray, and run.
Michael Cray awakes abruptly from a darkness where a voice was droning about death and transformation to find himself passed out on his hotel room floor, surrounded by schizophrenia case studies, with Victoria the sniper at the door. Michael says he needs a bit to get ready, and that he will meet them on the roof of the nearby parking garage. There, he presents the problems: he needs to catch Barry Allen and recover his technology, but he can't wait for Allen to kill again, because a scientist might die. So, he has a solution: present the three of them as programming researchers, and use them as bait in a trap. The three are shocked, and Leon pulls a gun. Leon proposes that if they kill Michael, they can use his original plan, and will not have to deal with Michael. Trying to be calm, Michal touches the gun, causing it to dissolve.
In the shock afterwards, Michael lays out his position: he does not want to have a team. He only took the team because Christine Trelane insisted. It is their job to prove he can't do the job without him. It is his job to keep them safe. And they all need to acknowledge that Christine Trelane does not care if they live or die. Just as they need to respect that he does not know what his freakish power means. He advises Leon not to pull a gun on him again, then says he will leave the details of his plan with Victoria, and leaves.
Later that day, at a noodle restaurant, Michael is presenting the other three to Barry as military A.I. researchers. As they eat, Barry confesses that he has a second voice in his head, which tells him to kill people, which is why he enacts the crimes he does. Michael confesses that he, too, has something in his head, but it tells him to kill everyone. He isn't sure if it's real, so he tries to pretend it doesn't exist. Barry commiserates, but Michael tells him to be resolute - they are the ones who must save the world.
That night, the team waits in a rented building. They know where Barry's lab is, and they see him coming. As he bursts through the door, they activate a set of floodlights, which blind Allen long enough or the inertia to carry him through the room, through a nearby window, and to land with a crash on a strategically-placed van. With a flip of a switch, the van explodes. Before Barry - now bleeding and shocked - can get up, Michael Cray emerges from the night and shoots him in the knee. Barry is too shocked as Michael shoots him in full view of his team. Seeing that they are all OK, Michael tells them to text him Barry's lab address and go back to the hotel. He is the one who must save the world.
Michael phones Christine Trelane from Barry's lab, explaining that Allen set the place on fire before he left and they can recover nothing. Christine is stoic about it. Michael insists that the next person they send him to kill will have to be not merely dangerous or delusional, but evil. Smiling, Christine promises him a monster: a gene therapy specialist who experimented on himself in hopes of creating a new race, but who mutated into a creature that now kills people on the coast of New Zealand. To the locals, he is an urban legend they call "the Aquaman"...
Appearing in "Michael Cray - Chapter Four"
- Breakdowns in this issue were by Larry Hama.