|05: Dark Guardian|
Preceeded by The Six Million Dollar Brain
Followed by The Natasha X Show
An archaeological dig on an ancient Roman watchtower in Northern England reveal finds that are almost impossible to accept and create some unwelcome interest from the authorities. Centuries earlier with the Roman Empire still consolidating its conquest of Britannia, Decurion Flavius leads a meagre cavalry force in pursuit of a renegade party of British tribesmen who threaten the same remote watchtower. As they advance, even the weather seems to turn against them, but the enemy they must eventually face proves far deadlier than anything the Roman Empire has ever dealt with before...
Writer: Peter Grehan. Post-Production: Matthew Kopelke. Music: Robert Warnock. Digital Artwork: Shutterstock. Producer: Matthew Kopelke. Director: Matthew Kopelke.
- With Truger having sacrificed himself to end Streg's purpose, Flavius and his men commit the man to a proper Roman warrior burial, complete with a cavalry longsword...
Additional credited cast
Flavius (Matthew Kopelke), Truger (Bill Billingsley), Dean (Kane Major), Dr Sarah Tate (Jana Kildey), Fray (David Hutchison), Osbec (Witold Tietze), Arthur Guthrie (Streg), with other parts played by Owen Spratley & Aron Toman.
Things to listen out for...
- There is clearly only the one wolf in the locations where this play takes place, as the exact same sound effect sample is used every single time a wolf cry was required!
- When Streg is uploading his data to Truger, you can clearly hear a 1990s era dial-up modem handshake sound effect. Well, the story is set in the past...
- Aron Toman (of The Crossover Adventures fan group) make a rare BTR appearance as the mad Priest first used by Streg; also, Owen Spratley (of Once In A Blue Moon Productions fame) appeared in several minor roles.
- This release represents the final BTR appearance of actress Jana Kildey.
Things you probably never knew...
- This was a very difficult story to produce, owing to the very large cast requirements and the deadline to have the scenes recorded. This deadline was imposed because Volume 2 of Beyond Traditional Recognition was aiming for a July 2002 release date, and that meant having this episode recorded prior to that so a trailer could be assembled. In the end, Producer/Director Matthew Kopelke elected to break his own self-imposed casting rule with this series (that an actor could only appear once on a single volume of releases) which saw some doubling-up of actors with The Natasha X Show to ensure the June 2002 deadline was met. This also required the use of some remote actors for minor roles (also breaking another self-imposed rule with this series, that it must all be recorded locally for vocal consistency).
- This release sees the first appearance of a certain Mr Arthur Guthrie in the listed cast. The reason behind this was following his last-minute appearance in Rugby Money, BTR Producer Matthew Kopelke was keen to start moving away from large acting roles in BTR, instead preferring to become "the Nick Briggs" of the group, and perform the various monsters & robots featured. This was due to him already being the lead actor in two audio series, and preferring to move away to featuring other, stronger, performers. Why the pseudonym Arthur Guthrie? That's for Rugby Money to tell...
- Originally the series Bible for Beyond Traditional Recognition featured an overview of the first few "seasons" of the series, with the goal being to ensure production could ramp up quickly. Each slot was either being written by Tietze himself, or had a storyline developed for another writer to develop on their own (at this early stage of the series, unsolicited submissions were not being accepted). This episode slot was originally filled with the story outline called Stay The Night, which was described by Tietze as follows:
Our central character is ostensibly wealthy, lives in a very large house. She makes a friend, but is attracted. She thinks she’s found somebody to love. She invites her back home, where the friend is introduced to the hero’s family. For a while, all seems normal, except that her family seems somewhat eccentric, to say the least, but the friends doesn’t really notice.
So they become really close friends, even develop their relationship on a more romantic level. But then, one day, the friend visits the hero’s house, and it’s totally empty. She doesn’t think too much of this, and neither do we. But then, while talking to a local (she’s only lived here a few months), the conversation turns to the house – which, it transpires, has been occupied solely by the hero for the last forty years. But the hero is in her early twenties!
We eventually learn that the hero hasn’t aged much over the years, and that most people in the town know her under a different name.
And the family? Virtual reality constructs within the house’s neural framework. Yes, it’s a self-regulating cybernetic artificial intelligence, and it’s been keeping the hero equally healthy. But the hero has gradually become a part of the house AI, her mind and body being “regulated” over the years. So she’s aware of whatever is suitable for the situation – she has various unconnected selves which are all triggered by certain keys.
So, how does this resolve? The friend – and this should be in keeping with the character development in the story – is happiest with the hero and her “family”. but, because she’s not a part of the house, she can never be regulated. (One human component is enough.) however, she could live a lifetime of VR in a night, like a dream, but the neural overload would kill her. This she chooses anyway, as she was never really happy until now.