SFX: Sound montage. In background repeated mechanical sounds, spacey instrumental rock'n'roll. In foreground slow, even breathing. In near distance, WORKMODE voice speaks distinctly. Esteban's voice is filtered when interacting with WORKMODE.
WORKMODE: We would therefore appreciate promotional copies of -
ESTEBAN: (filtered) WORKMODE, pause. Delete "promotional copies of".
WORKMODE: Deleting, Esteban.
ESTEBAN: (filtered) Search for review copy letter. Match. Paste. Run.
WORKMODE: Searching, Esteban. Matching. Pasting. Running. (pause) - review copies of any further releases of this application. Our staff will examine each one with great care, and an article will be online within 48 hours. We are -
ESTEBAN: (filtered) WORKMODE, pause. (in foreground) Schtup! Without Ronit, I have to parse through all this crap on my own. Damn it! (filtered) Delete "48". Add "60 to 72". Run.
WORKMODE: Deleting, Esteban. Adding. Running. (pause) - 60 to 72 hours. We are, of course, entitled to our opinion, but you may be sure that we know a good product when we see one. We have been frequently quoted -
SFX: Doorbell buzzing.
ESTEBAN: (in foreground) Oh Jesus. Now what?
WORKMODE: - in promotional material throughout the networld -
ESTEBAN: (filtered) WORKMODE, stop. Save.
WORKMODE: Saving document, Esteban.
SFX: Doorbell buzzing.
ESTEBAN: (in foreground) I'm coming, I'm coming.
SFX: Series of soft pops, each shutting off one track of the sound montage. Chair squeaking, footsteps on mike.
ESTEBAN: (muttering) And this better be good. It's one freakin a.m.
SFX: Intercom click.
ESTEBAN: What is it, Moe?
JANOS: (filtered voice -- different from Esteban-in-WORKMODE) Esteban? Did I push the right button?
ESTEBAN: Who's that? Janos?
JANOS: (filtered voice) Yeah, it's me. There's so many buttons here, I was afraid I'd wake a diurnal.
ESTEBAN: Not many of those in this building. Where's Maureen?
JANOS: (filtered voice) Your doorkeep? She's, um, slumped in the chair here. Doesn't look good.
ESTEBAN: (chuckling) Sniff her thermos there, Janos. Not too deeply, though.
JANOS: (filtered voice) Why? (pause) Yikes. Smells pretty Turkish to me.
ESTEBAN: Myanmarian, actually. But to each her own poison. Now how about telling me why you're here during my thinking time.
JANOS: (filtered voice) I found something I think you might like.
ESTEBAN: Business or recreational?
JANOS: (filtered voice) I'm not sure. Maybe you could tell me.
ESTEBAN: (sighing) OK. Let me buzz you up.
SFX: Intercom click, faint quick hum.
ESTEBAN: (muttering) Damn it, I'll never get those letters out at this rate. I should never have fired Ronit. Of course, she has that jealous husband who likes guns. (sighs) The things we do to cover our asses. Jesus.
SFX: Knock on door. A few footsteps. Door opens.
JANOS: Hey, did you know there's a crack in the wall of your tube lift? Right around the third floor.
ESTEBAN: I know, I know, I know. The tenants' union is dealing with it.
SFX: Door closing.
JANOS: Well, they better fix it soon. Did you hear about that blowout up on the West Side where some kid got sucked right through the casing?
ESTEBAN: I know, I know. Our Crumbling Infrastructure.
JANOS: Didn't you guys just run a piece, you know, a cautionary thing on what that buzzword really means?
ESTEBAN: Yeah, yeah. It was a bunch of stats on how the physical plant decays as we focus more and more into the networld. (laughing) Just an editorial to scare our public because our big advertiser that month was a fitness center.
JANOS: (laughing) You're one cynical bastard, guy.
ESTEBAN: Yeah, tell me about it, Mr. Candide. (coughs) OK, enough chitchat. What did you bring me?
JANOS: Here. Scan this.
SFX: Small case snapping open.
ESTEBAN: John the Revelator? What the hell is this? Did you go Born Again, Janos? Trying to save me?
JANOS: OK, it's way bizarre to Godless men like us, I'll grant you, but think about it for a minute, Esteban. There's all kinds of religious stuff online. Interactive, I mean.
ESTEBAN: Yeah. I had this one girlfriend who mixed some erotica with her communion. I interfaced with her a few Sunday mornings when she did that. Too kinky even for me.
JANOS: But I mean the feed itself is pretty standard conference stuff, right?
ESTEBAN: Yeah, yeah. Interactive Mass. Dharma Channel. East-West Salaam. Minyan Beit Ha'Or. Et freakin cetera. No holiness jones goes unaddressed.
JANOS: OK, but these chips here -
ESTEBAN: Those look interactive.
ESTEBAN: Virtual Gospels? Where's this out of?
JANOS: Someplace in Kansas called Shawnee Mission. Hi tech meets the Bible Belt.
ESTEBAN: Who's the artist?
JANOS: Reverend Gerald F. Ewing III. Comes from a long line of televangelists and apparently did some time at MIT and RISDe. It's powerful stuff, Esteban.
ESTEBAN: OK, now I'm curious. Care to hang while I pop these babies in?
JANOS: Well, I think I ought to, since -
ESTEBAN: I've been remiss in my hospitality, haven't I? Have a seat, guy. (moving off) Food, drink, drugs, what's your pleasure?
JANOS: Alaskan coffee if you've got it. It's a cold, weird night down on the street.
SFX: Kitchen sounds off mike: dishes, coffee grinder, etc.
ESTEBAN: (off mike) What's so weird?
JANOS: Just Our Crumbling Infrastructure. You know. Dumpster bunnies, panhandlers, chastity patrol, the usual suspects. It always seems worse when you've got some scary new technology burning a hole in your pocket.
ESTEBAN: (off mike) Scary? How?
JANOS: Do you know what's in the Book of Revelation?
ESTEBAN: (off mike) That's the Apocalypse, right?
JANOS: Ewing puts you smack in the middle of it all. I wasn't even using full virtual gear when I tried it out.
ESTEBAN: (moving on) I've got all that stuff here, some decent opticals Ronit left me, that new Shimamoto glove -
JANOS: Just take my advice, Esteban. Try watching it first. Don't be interacting with Ewing's stuff until you know what you're getting into.
ESTEBAN: Here you go.
SFX: Spoon clicking against mug, body plopping into padded chair.
ESTEBAN: And you know you're welcome to jack into my system while I'm gone.
JANOS: (sipping) No thanks. Just give me your video clicker. I want to be here to keep one eye on you.
ESTEBAN: Why's that?
JANOS: (sipping) In case I have to pop the chips for you.
ESTEBAN: I'm touched, but you don't scare me. Thanks anyway.
SFX: Small case snapping open.
ESTEBAN: (softly) Armageddon here we come.
SFX: Soft thump followed by foreground breathing in dead silence. Fade in sound montage of bird calls, marching feet, ancient horn and drum music.