The Big O II: Act 21- The Third Big

(Act 20: Stripes)

As Bonaparte, the Union’s powerful pseudo-Big Megadeus, pummels away at Big O, Roger’s Big counterpart remains inoperative. He merely blocks the oncoming drill attacks from his aggressor as Roger wonders aloud why Big O is not moving. Outside on the streets of Paradigm, Dastun notices of the tide of the battle becoming one-sided and thereby commands his troops to attack Bonaparte with all they’ve got to support Big O. An image is transmitted to Roger within the cockpit of Alan Gabriel attacking Dorothy and readying himself to destroy her with his own drill hand attack, and it then becomes apparent to Roger why Big O has shut himself down: He has a connection with Dorothy, sensed that she was danger, and is advising Roger to go and save her while he fends off Bonaparte’s attacks.

Back at the Union’s meeting place in the now-defunct Grand Central Station (an icon whose appearance once again supports some form of alternate history interpretation of the series), Dorothy has been analyzing Alan Gabriel and come to the realization that he is neither man nor machine, and something more akin to a cyborg in between. As Roger approaches Dastun for a ride out to where Dorothy is being assaulted by the psychopathic cyborg Alan Gabriel, Angel approaches the cyborg, calling him Agent 271, and pleading with him to spare Dorothy’s life, to stop attacking her as his actions seem to have no purpose. But Alan explains that the purpose ought to be obvious: to humiliate Roger by ‘destroying this android he cares for more than anyone.’ The comment deeply wounds Angel, who has come to know Roger on romantic terms and developed an attachment to him. She breaks down, drops her gun, and stops protesting Alan Gabriel’s destruction of Dorothy, possibly in the petty hope that with Dorothy gone, Angel can take over as Roger’s amorous partner.

Dorothy, realizing that Alan will not stop his attacks and that she has lost all allies in the immediate vicinity, strikes out and knocks Alan Gabriel to the ground, momentarily prolonging the terrible tortures of his sociopathic drill hands, which aim to do no other than rend her asunder utterly. Back in town, Bonaparte has given up punching against the seemingly impenetrable defenses of Big O and departs to attack the city itself, demolishing buildings and the domes themselves with powerful laser beams. Roger arrives to Grand Central Station, Angel runs off into the shadows, feeling guilty for her inaction, and Dorothy, understanding that she has won in the fight for Roger’s affections, smiles broadly, displaying emotion for one of the first times thus far in The Big O. Roger attacks Alan Gabriel, and threatens to throw away his own life in the process, before Dastun breaks them up with a gunshot and a promise to apprehend Alan, as Dastun, and not Roger Smith the Negotiator, is the only lawman in the room. But Alan departs without taking a bullet, and Roger leaves to return to Paradigm where is now most needed, after alerting Norman to the pick-up point for the wounded Dorothy that is.

Before Roger can get back, however, Alex Rosewater premiers his new Megadeus: the third big, Big Fau. The giant Megadeus is a powerhouse model that quickly and easily rips through Bonaparte’s defenses and then limbs, before searing a hole directly through the Union’s most powerful Megadeus. We learn that Alex is piloting Big Fau without a memory core, as this particular item, usually necessary to the proper functioning of a Megadeus, was missing when the Union found it and consequently when Alex acquired it. The machine is a revived being without any knowledge of its past. These elements of its identity as well as its elongated head and the large bolt-like aesthetic mechanisms on the sides of its head strongly resemble and mirror the story of Frankenstein’s monster who was revived from the body of a dead man with the brain of a different individual, and no memories of his past.

And like that aforementioned gothic beast, Big Fau is only under the thumb of his master and revivifier for a short time. After defeating Bonaparte, Big Fau takes back control of himself and aims his lasers toward the architecture and skyline of the city of Paradigm, much like Bonaparte. Only this time, the aggressor against Paradigm City is much more powerful and unwieldy. Roger appears in the nick of time to battle this new Big, which seems an impossible task, a herculean effort as even Bonaparte proved too difficult for Big O to easily destroy. Luckily, Alex Rosewater is freaking out, ranting and raving in the cockpit of Big Fau and making a fuss to his Megadeus about being the true Dominus. Big Fau analyzes his host once more and the sensors read ‘Ye Not’ before fizzling out. Big Fau shuts off, goes limp, and Alex Rosewater is enclosed within the cockpit, seemingly with no way out.

Back at Grand Central Station, Dastun approaches Angel and returns her dropped firearm to her. He realizes immediately that she feels romantically attached to Roger but has been spurned by his feelings for another. And although he cannot know that she is a foreigner and a member of the Union who has now disavowed her own people and has no real place to call home, he does recognize a down and out soul when he sees one. Dastun explains his own feelings of inadequacy in the face of Megadeuses and Foreign Terrorism, which are almost always only defeated through the help of Roger and his black Megadeus: Big O. Dastun feels as if the world is merely a stage, and he and all those around him are actors who must play out some vicious destiny the nature of which is completely unknown to them in thrust or denouement. He tells her that the only valid thing to do in this world is to accept who one is and to work one’s hardest to protect those around them.

But these are hard times, confusing times. And although Angel accepts Dastun’s reasoning and takes her pistol, it is obvious that she is unsure. What is the meaning of life without a past, without a history, without an identifiable culture or homeplace? What is being hidden behind the memory barrier of The Event from 40 years ago? Who is Angel? Who were her parents and why has she thus far been so gung ho about supporting the cause of her people despite not knowing anything about their past history? Could Paradigm have been an egalitarian, democratic sort of land? One that was targeted by dictatorial and autocratic peoples like her own and merely destroyed the world as a defensive response?

Many of these questions will never be completely answered for us, the fans of The Big O, but they are important questions because they all relate back to our world wherein political identification with one’s nation is problematic for almost every nation-state in existence by virtue of their problematic pasts. The polar opposite difficulty is the innate desire to belong to a community, which is often bracketed politically by those with a rational moral compass. Maybe this was the super-human strength Nietzsche alluded to that is requisite for anyone who wishes to become liberated: the strength to deny our inner calls and feelings and to become supra-rational calculating beings, beyond good an evil. Forces foretelling the twilight of the gods, and hearkening the dawn of a new day.

 

Cast in the Name of God,

Cody Ward

[Act 22: Hydra]

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