HEAVY RAIN: Uploaded

Author's note: This is a scenario taking place after the 'Uploaded' ending of the game, 'Heavy Rain'. This is a work of fan fiction written without the motivation to seek profit, 'Heavy Rain' is the property of Sony and Quantic Dream.

Carter stared at him.

He was sitting somewhere fantastic. He was on a chair, behind an empty desk, but he was surrounded by what could only be described as paradise. He was on a mountain range, with glowing emerald grass spread out as far as the eye could see. Behind him, there was a great drop, allowing him the view of a great saphire lake at the foot of a strong waterfall. Best of all, the sun was shining. Sun. In the real world, there had been nothing but rain for the past month, and there would be nothing but rain for another month, until it would finally start snowing. But here it was bright. Although he couldn't find where the sunlight was coming from, the sky just seemed to glow.

This place was completely untouched by humankind. It was wild and free. So why the hell was he standing in front of him? Smirking even? This was his kingdom.

Carter stood up suddenly, in a rage. "You're dead, Jayden! DEAD!" The Jayden phantom did not even twitch, but the smirk morphed into a look of confusion. "Dammit say somethin'!" Carter began pacing, folding his hands into fists. He pointed at the doppelganger accusingly. "Are ya here to mock me? Hey! What the-"

His shoulder was assaulted by an invisible source of pressure. Suddenly, something was lifted from his ears and the bright paradise disappeared. He found himself looking into the face of a very concerned Ash, who helped him in many matters. He held a pair of sunglasses in one hand and gripped Carter's shoulder with the other.

"Blake? You could do with some time off," Ash coolly advised.

Lt. Carter Blake looked around him. He was back in the real world, in his case standing behind his desk in the police station. This was usually a very fluid hub of activity, vibrant even, considering the various backgrounds of the visitors and employees of the station. This time though, half the floor were staring at him; some looking anxious, others regarded him suspiciously. He noticed that in his panicked outburst he had knocked his chair backwards.

Carter inwardly cursed. He must have looked like a flipped-out loon shouting at air. He dreaded what the precinct's gossips were going to say about him.

His worry turned into rage. "What're you lookin' at? There's nothing to see here!" He bared his teeth. "Get back to work!"

Activity slowly resumed, some were shaking their heads. Always barking orders, how typical of Blake.

The lieutenant sighed and picked up his chair. Ash kept out of his way.

"I can schedule some early leave for you," offered a woman in a professional voice. Charlene, the commissioner's secretary, stood to the left of his desk but a few steps away.

Carter let out a bitter laugh. "Where would I go? Thanks but I think I'm better off workin' for now." The secretary nodded and returned to her desk.

"There's nothing stopping you from getting off early today," Ash pointed out. He shrugged. "You might as well have that much. The case of the Origami Killer pretty much ran you to the ground. We all saw it."

Carter sat in front of the computer monitor, staring at it blankly. He sighed. "I haven't exactly finished my reports for the day."

"I can pick up some of the slack, it's no problem." Ash fiddled with Jayden's sunglasses idly. Blake stared at them, torn between the desire to snatch them back and the urge to bury them in the ground. "These were Jayden's, weren't they?"

At times like this, the lieutenant wished Ash was not so observant. The FBI agent always carried them. They were always discarded on his desk whenever Carter entered Jayden's temporary 'office', he always wore them at a crime scene, and he most likely kept them in his coat pocket wherever he went. Blake couldn't exactly prove the last point but it wouldn't surprise him. (But he knew the agent was dead.)

Carter shrugged. "It's not like he needs them anymore."

Ash raised an eyebrow at him, clearly disapproving this act of plundering the dead. He lay the pair of sunglasses onto the desk.

The seated lieutenant gestured at his computer. "I'll just do this side and...take off."

Ash nodded and returned to his desk. Carter gave the abandoned sunglasses a suspicious glare before returning to his work.

Carter Blake was not usually home so early. Whenever this was the case, he would treat himself a little. He would spend the evening watching a movie or going through the backlog of stuff he'd put on Tivo. Maybe play some poker with his neighbour, sometimes he would call his overbearing mother to make sure he used the opportunity to have a longer conversation with her than usual. This time, he had a list of chores. Spending so much time trying to find Shaun Mars and apprehending the Origami Killer in the process meant that there were things in his apartment he needed to deal with: he had a ton of laundry to do, repair a door in his closet, do some basic grocery shopping (he was sick of having bagels from the coffee shop on the way to the precinct for breakfast), clean his microwave, wash the week-old dishes, hoover the goddamn floor.

Instead he hung his coat and inspected those mysterious sunglasses that were somehow inhabited by the ghost of their late owner. Ghost? What am I thinking? He sat down, staring at them, inspecting them. There had to be a reason why they worked the way they did. Why was it he saw Jayden? He then decided to just put them on and ask the damn guy. He definitely preferred the glowing bright paradise to his drab apartment. Before that though, he could at the very least do one of his chores.

He started a cycle for his laundry and immediately put on the shades, deciding not to hesitate and not to regret.

The scene that greeted him was just like before. This time, Jayden was standing with his back towards him.

The phantom turned around. He did not appear so pleased to see him. "You're back." He sounded just like Jayden. He faced the lieutenant squarely. "Please explain why you're in possession of FBI property." Funny, he had Jayden's voice but the agent would never sound so official. He almost sounded like an answering machine.

"FBI property?" Blake was incredulous. "I don't even know what this is! Why are the FBI dishing out VR goggles?"

"ARI is not a device for leisure," said Jayden succinctly. He then reconsidered the answer. "Although Norman did use it as such. Quite frequently I might add." He looked somewhat nervous, almost like he was embarrassed to have betrayed someone's secret.

Carter had to laugh. "You're on first-name basis with the guy?"

"One more time, Blake. Why've you got ARI? And why did you say that I'm dead earlier?"

That made his heart stop. This...thing knew his name and suddenly thought it was Jayden. He shook his head. "You are dead, Jayden. You were found dead in your office. You OD'd on Tripto."

Jayden considered this. His reaction was not an emotional one. He looked up at Blake again. "And you stole ARI?"

"The glasses? Oh, property of the FBI, right?" The lieutenant took a breath. "We didn't know what they were. In fact I still don't."

"The primary function of ARI is to store accessible data on cases, much like on a computa, as well as to scan a crime scene in order to detect and analyse clues. Such data is recorded and accessible anywhere, so the ARI user also has the choice of virtually customising his surrounding environment should he or she access such data."

"Which is why..." Carter gestured with his hands to indicate their surroundings. Jayden nodded. "You said Norman...interfaced with this a lot. He doesn't strike me as a workaholic."

Jayden looked nervous. He crossed his fingers and clasped his hands in front of his chest. "Not even the nicest hotel room could help me get away from it all." He looked down in shame.

"So you-Norman, hung out here? Doing what?"

The Jayden phantom relaxed and let his hands hang by his sides. "Norman installed some games into ARI. Also, the activity he engaged in was not always virtual, it was simply his surroundings that he changed."

Carter turned away, mulling all of this over. He rubbed his forehead. So Jayden was an escapist. He lived his private life in a fantasy and used Triptocaine...why the hell do I care? Why am I so curious all of a sudden? That still doesn't explain why he's here! "So, why are you here? You never said anything about ARI scanning its user or whatever."

"Norman interfaced with ARI more frequently than was recommended." Jayden began scratching his head, eyes narrowed in thought. "Although, that itself can'ta been enough. ARI was no AI..." He suddenly seemed excited. "The overdose did something. I remember, I was in a different environment." Suddenly the environment changed. Gone was the brightness, replaced with the orange glow of sunset. Everywhere he looked, Carter could see only trees, surrounded by piles of dry, orange leaves. "This was where I was workin'. I felt the symptoms, but they were bad. The worst I'd ever had." Jayden planted his face right in Carter's vision, forcing him to stop looking around himself. The phantom was standing directly in front of him. "I couldn't move, but I was so focussed on finding the Origami Killer that I found myself just standing here when the pain was gone." He let out a sad sigh and shrugged. "I can't explain this. I'm not that good with computas."

"So...when did you realise something was wrong? That you could change this place just thinkin' about it?"

"About 5 days ago." Jayden then looked alarmed. "Scott Shelby! Have you arrested him? Is Shaun safe?"

Carter patted the air to calm him down. "Shaun's fine, Scott's dead, but this journalist gave us all the evidence and Ethan's a witness." He gave the Jayden phantom a glare. "Go ahead and gloat."

"Why should I? Our job's no competition. When's the funeral?"

This caught the lieutenant by surprise. "Uh...what?"

"My funeral. I'm having one, aren't I?"

"Sure, sure. Uh...it's in DC, on Monday. Perry's going." Jayden was observing him reproachfully, as if he knew he would be disappointed. "Just ask."

"You mind showing up? With ARI?"

"WHAT? OK, we never got along and now you want me to turn up at your funeral?"

"Well either that or just send ARI by courier to my parents. I can give you the address." As he said this, he grabbed the air in front of him and pulled out a holographic document.

"How the-is that how you accessed ARI?"

Jayden faced him robotically. "ARI is manipulated by the user through a glove. It acts as a direct manual interfacing tool." He raised his eyebrows. "Do you have it?"

Dammit! he thought. "No," he answered disgustedly. "It's in the trash, or maybe the jail officer has it."

"Then ARI is as good as useless to you."

"Well if you're useless why d'you wanna see your family so much?" seethed Blake.

Jayden seemed unsure what to say. "I...have things to say. I have the chance to say goodbye...and...there are things they don't know. They could at least hear the truth from me."

The two men stared at each other.

"Carter?" ventured Jayden.

"I...I need to think about this, alright?" Blake ripped off ARI and dropped it onto a table. He let out a breath.

He could hear the rain against the windows, most of his apartment was in darkness and he stood alone.

© Ruth Amy Louise Hüneke 2010