|Layer 09 : Protocol|
|Directed by||Ryūtarō Nakamura|
|Written by||Chiaki J. Konaka|
|Original air date||August 31, 1998 (Japan)|
Layer 09 : Protocol is the ninth episode of Serial Experiments Lain.
Stock opening footage replays scenes of the city and its people at night. A female voice says, "If you want to avoid the pain, you should believe in God. Whether you believe in God or not, he is always with you."
[Title: Protocol Layer 09]
Old newsreel style footage is showing scenes of a desert. A male voice announces over the footage, "On July 4, 1947 an unidentified flying object fell in a New Mexico desert." The footage seems to pan over a strange object. The announcer continues, "It has still not been proven what it was. Guesses became facts and rumors became histories."
The power lines are humming. Lain is wearing her bear suit. She appears sad. Her Navi equipment is running. The door to her room creaks open. Light can be seen through the crack. It sounds as if someone has taken a step into Lain's room. Lain's bedroom floor is still covered with a layer of water from her Navi's cooling system. Lain hears the sound and asks, "Who's there?" Another step is the only reply to her question. Lain sits up and crawls over her bed to peek around the corner of all her equipment. There is a short figure standing by the bedroom door. The figure has an alien-like appearance. It has long arms and an unnaturally large head. It wears a green and red striped sweater. Lain is shocked and does not speak. The alien-like figure smiles at Lain, then disappears. Lain assumes a more compact sitting position. The sad look has returned to her face.
More newsreel information is shown. A photo of a man and a manila envelope is exhibited. The announcer explains, "In 1984, Jaime Shandera, a television producer, received an undeveloped film and some documents in a brown envelope from an anonymous person." An image of a document labeled 'Top Secret/ Majic' is shown. The announcer continues, "The so-called 'MJ-12 document' was in the film." The names of thirteen men and their corresponding photos are shown. The men are: Admiral Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, Dr. Vannevar Bush, Secretary James V. Forrestal, General Nathan F. Twining, General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, Dr. Detlev Bronk, Dr. Jerome Hunsaker, Mr. Sidney W. Souers, Mr. Gordan Gray, Dr. Donald Menzel, General Robert M. Montague, and Dr. Lloyd V. Berkner. The announcer informs, "It was said that following the Roswell incident, twelve people made a secret promise with extra-terrestrials under President Truman's direct orders. Roscoe Hillenkoetter, Director of the CIA at the time, was among the twelve people. Now it is well known that President Truman's signature was only copied from another document. Vannevar Bush, the head of the department at MIT, was also of the twelve 'MJ-12' members."
Lain commands her Navi, "Connect Wired." The menu screen appears. Lain closes her eyes and appears to go into a meditative state. In the Wired, three energy beings are present. One has only a mouth, one an eye, and the third, an ear. Digital Lain appears among the figures. She is questioning someone, "How can you make something that has already happened never have happened?" One of the images responds, "Are you Lain? I see." Digital Lain replies, "I don't know you, but you know me." The image tells her, "Information may not always flow bi-directional." Digital Lain is wearing the bear suit. There are several more energy beings standing around her. A male voice says, "You have been here since this Wired was created. You are free in here." Digital Lain gestures angrily and states, "But it's not me!" The male voiced image continues, "Yes, how long have we been here?" Digital Lain turns her head towards the voice. It continues, "I know we have not been here since the World was created." Another voice yells, "It's nothing to be concerned about! If existence can be remembered, it is already a record." A female being continues, "Do you wonder how old she is. She's still a child." Digital Lain snaps, "We're not talking about me now!" All of the energy beings disappear. Digital Lain is left alone. A look of fury is etched on her face.
More old photos from the newsreel collection are shown. This time the photos are of people and historical events. The male announcer says, "Vannevar Bush put forward a new plan to extend memories called MEMEX, in 1945. It was a system to review information in a microfilm on a half transparent screen. He planned to compress information and access it quickly. Bush led the Manhatten Project, an experiment with the atom bomb. He also made a basis for multimedia at the same time."
Lights reflect off of the mirror ball at Cyberia. A dance track pounds bass through the air. JJ the disc jockey looks up from his booth and sees Lain. He puts his fingers to his mouth and whistles to get her attention. His attempt is successful and she looks his direction. JJ gestures with his finger for Lain to come to him. Lain walks over to his booth. He bends down and gets an envelope. He tells Lain, "You forgot this." Lain asks, "What?" JJ moves to hand her the envelope. "Here- you forgot this yesterday. I'll trash it if you don't need it." Lain asks, "Did I forget this?" JJ replies, "I said you did." Lain gingerly takes the envelope from JJ's hand. She opens it on the dance floor and empties its contents into her hand. It is a microchip. Lain's eye widen. The sound of the music goes silent to her as she focuses all of her attention on the item in her hand.
Another photo of a man is exhibited. The male announcer says, "John C. Lilly searched the human unconsciousness with an experiment that cut off the senses by using drugs and an isolation tank. He thought that he was connected to something like an existence in space. He called it E.C.C.O., Earth Coincidence Control Office, which he led." Images of an isolation tank and alien type figures are shown. Next the image of a dolphin swimming underwater is shown. The male announcer states, "After that, Lilly became a researcher of dolphins. Dolphins can communicate in water via ultrasonic waves of a wide range.
At Cyberia, Myu-Myu, Masayuki, and Taro are seated around a table. Lain is still there. Masayuki looks up and elbows Taro. Taro lazily asks, "What?" Masayuki points and Taro looks up to see Lain. She says to him, "I promised you before." Taro seems confused, "Huh…What?" Lain clarifies, "I'll go on a date with you." When Taro does not immediately respond, Lain repeats, "I'll go out on a date with you." Taro seems confused, but closes his eyes and says, "Even if I did, I don't want to date the current you, Lain." Lain says, "She is the same as me. I am myself. I am only one person." The three children sit in shock. Lain has an angry look in her eyes.
It is nighttime. Light can be seen from Lain's bedroom window. Taro's voice can be heard, "Awesome." Taro and Lain are standing in her room. Taro is impressed by the complexity of her Navi system. He asks questions about it, but Lain tells him to sit down.
Taro seats himself in front of Lain's main Navi screen. Lain places an object down in front of him. "You know what this is don't you?" she asks. It is the microchip she received at Cyberia from JJ. Taro looks shocked. Lain asks, "You are Taro aren't you?" A bead of sweat forms on his brow. His stunned expression changes to one of concern. Lain asks, "You are a Knight, aren't you?" Taro looks like a deer that was caught in the headlights. He turns and looks at Lain. She is standing over him. She does not look happy. Fear spreads across Taro's face. He cries, "You are… the true Lain!" Lain states, "I'm not sure if there's another me in the Wired or not. But in the real world, there is no other me than myself." Lain leans down to get closer to Taro. She continues, "One other me with flesh only appeared in the club. It would be enough to modify the memories of those who were there." Taro casts his eyes away from Lain's face. He stammers, "I can't…" Then Taro jumps out of the chair and moves away from Lain. He accidentally falls to the floor. Lain is standing over him. Several wall mounted computer screens turn on behind her. Lain commands, "Play track 44." Industrial type music pulsates in her room. Taro's teeth are clenched as he watches her.
Downstairs the muffled sounds of music can be heard. Lain's parents are in the family room. Her mom is sitting on her dad's lap. Lain's dad says, "It'll all be over soon." His wife does not reply. Lain's dad continues, "Finally…" His wife gently caresses his face and draws her face closer to his. She says, "So please, before it's too late…" Then she plants a big kiss upon his lips.
Mika is sitting in the next room. She is slumped against the wall in the dark. She is still unsuccessfully attempting to speak. Her eyes glance to the left as though she hears something. Mika then positions the pinky and thumb of her right hand to look like a phone. She lifts her "phone" to her head and clearly speaks for the first time in a while. "Pee, pee, pee. Roger. Pee, pee, pee…. Now transmitting. Pee pee , pee…" Mika keeps repeating the same message.
Upstairs the music is still blaring. Lain begins to walk towards Taro. He is very afraid. Lain commands the music to stop. Taro sits up, "It wasn't me. But I know that the data JJ receives has such an effect." Lain crouches down to get more eye level with Taro. Lain shows Taro the microchip again and asks, "If I install this chip, how will I be? Commit suicide? Lose my senses?" Taro snaps, "I don't know. I'm too young to be a formal member of the Knights. I'm only…" Lain interrupts him by shoving the microchip in his mouth. "What will I do," she again asks him. Taro attempts to answer with the object still held in his mouth by Lain. He says, "It's an involatile memory. It'll rewrite the memories that already exist." Lain asks, "What kind of memories?" He replies, "I don't know." Lain takes the chip out of his mouth. Taro breathes a sigh of relief. He stands up and informs Lain, "The Knights are not just crackers, Lain." She turns her head to look at him. Taro says, "You are strange. So the Knights became interested in you. The Knights fight in order to make only one truth real." Lain appears confused by this so she says, "I can't understand. What's the one truth?" Taro replies, "I've never been told because I'm not a formal member of Knights. But it's true. Truth is strong because it is true. Truth is justice because it is true. Don't you think it's very persuasive? Don't you also want such a truth?" No reply from Lain.
Taro says, "I should go back. Myu-Myu will get jealous of you." He starts to walk out of the room. Lain says, "Taro, thank you." Taro stops, turns, walks back to Lain, and plants a kiss on her lips. Lain is stunned. Taro explains his behavior, they are on a date and as the man he has to do kiss her. Taro then leaves the room. Lain watches him go with a still shocked look on her face. She puts her fingers to her lips. She retrieves a gum like substance from her mouth and looks at it.
Yet more newsreel photos are shown. The photo of a man is onscreen. The announcer states, "Ted Nelson who learned from renegade pioneers Vannevar Bush and John C. Lilly claimed a plan called 'Xanadu' that is an electric library in a satellite that can be used from anywhere on earth via electromagnetic waves and a telephone receiver. It is a Mongolian Utopia where every text culture will exist forever. That is why it is called Xanadu, because its hypertext can make it real in the world. Ted Nelson will go down in history as a proponent of it."
Lain is wearing her school uniform and standing outside a door with the two men in black. The shorter one opens it for her. Mika and her parents are in the room. A hand pushes Lain into the room. Lain looks on in silence at her motionless family. Another hand grabs Lain's hand and leads her away. It is her dad and he is taking her to another room. The room is fully furnished. They head to another door.
At the same moment in time, Lain is sitting in front of her Navi. She turns her head and sees a blurred figure at her door. It is her dad and the "Lain" wearing the school uniform. Lain asks, "Is that me?" "Lain," replies, "Yes. This is me." Lain asks, "Who are those people." "Lain" answers, "I don't know because I'm you." Lain's face falls, "It's not true…everything must be a lie. Why do you do that?"
An image of the Earth spinning is the next topic of the newsreel. The announcer says, "The Earth itself has peculiar electromagnetic waves. There are always resonances at 8HZ in ELF bands between the ground and the ionosphere. It is called the Schumann Resonance. It is a brain wave of the Earth. However we still don't know how it affects humans. The human population of the Earth will become the same number as the number of neurons in the brain. Douglas Rachov claims that it will awaken the consciousness of the Earth itself by connecting humans to each other via a network. The network has spread so quickly, it has become like a neural network in the brain. Therefore the Earth itself will become one neural network of electromagnetic synapse signals."
Lain is again alone in her room. She is looking upwards. Lain says, "The one truth, God." The Wired God replies, "Yes it is me."
A sheet of paper has the words "The effectiveness of the applying Schumann Resonance to the Wired Network" written on it. The male announcer says, "Eiri Masami was a chief research worker for Tachibana Lab." The sheet of paper has the name Masami Eiri M. Sc written on the bottom of it. The announcer continues his discussion of Masami, "He improved the theory of the neural network of the Earth itself. He said that the unconsciousness of all humankind would be connected to a wireless network with out devices by means of the Schumann Effect." An image of two men working at a computer is shown. One is Masami Eiri. The other man bears more than a strong resemblance to Lain's dad. The announcer continues, "He added a function to use the Schumann Resonance to the 7th protocol in code by his own discretion."
A railroad track is marked with a placard bearing the number 13. Rain is gently falling. People are walking by the track. The announcer says, "When Tachibana Lab learned of this they dismissed him. One week later, Eiri was found dead, killed after being run over at the Yamanote Line railway." The people are investigators. They carefully collect the remains of Masami Eiri. There is an obituary for him in the paper along with a photograph of his face.
Lain seems to be standing outside. The power lines emit their hum. A figure is standing down away, directly across from Lain. Lain strains to see who the figure is. It is a man in a lab coat. He has some kind of thick adhesive tape wrapped around one arm and his torso. It looks as if he has been taped back together. He has a bare chest under his coat. Long hair cannot conceal that it is the face of Masami Eiri. He has two red lines painted vertically on his face. One line is drawn under each eye. He stares at Lain.