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 SACKS, ethan hollis, 9 / dan stevens
ethan hollis sacks
 Posted on: May 16 2017, 05:46 AM
9 / NINE
❝ I was right! You did send him out to die! ❞
6' 0"


Ethan Hollis Sacks

9 / NINE ★ 9 ★ dan stevens ★ hero ★ 29

left us beckoning
Smoke it flies from whisky mouths Vagabonds walk this suitcase town Summer left us beckoning The cottonwoods were all worn out
When he opens his eyes for the very first time, it is to a world devoid of life and murdered meaning. No birds sing, no leaves rustle in the wind and no people walk down the street. No cars move, no one talks.

There is nothing.

A withered corpse lays buried underneath still papers, most of which have stayed where they fell some time ago. The room is weathered and full of strange objects. One in particular stands out above the rest and he cannot help but be drawn to it. He touches its surface with his carefully crafted copper fingers and wonders.

He longs to explore, to see, to find meaning but walking is difficult at first. He's clumsy, new, but soon gets the hang of it as he rushes toward a window and peers out into the dead world beyond his tiny beginning. This is all he knows and he seeks why.

As he stands, noting everything he can see, something catches his mechanical eye. A figure, familiar despite the fact this is the first time he’s seen anyone – he hasn’t even seen himself – wanders out in the open. A squeaky wheel echoing through the silence.

His first instinct is to call out, but nothing happens. He has no voice, incomplete, hastily finished yet carefully put together – his Creator missed one vital detail. He has no choice but to venture outside the crumbling safe haven, he could stay, sure, but that wouldn’t get him any closer to answers.

The streets are bleak and frightening. Posters lay strewn in the rubble, telling of the worlds violent fate. A dead child cuddles its parent, the both of them clinging to each other in a rusted car, no doubt attempting escape. Nothing it seemed, could get away from the sweeping tide of destruction that claimed the world.

He's left with more questions. It's an endless torrent and he catalogues each one on a shelf in his mind, there they wait for answers.

2 is the first living thing he meets, though 'alive' may not be correct from an organic point of view. They think and feel, but do not breathe – they don't have organs, skin or hair – just cloth, mechanical parts, yet each a distinct personality. 2 is kind, soft spoken and teaches 9 his first valuable lesson.

He examines the bullet in hands with curiosity. He doesn't know what its for, or even what its called but like everything else, longs to understand it. His first instinct is to bash it, hard, against another object to see what happens – but just as he's about to bring it crashing down, 2 stops him with a shout and 9 places the metal object back where he found it, among the ghosts and broken shards of places people once called home.

"Some things in this world are better left where they lie. But if you know where to look, these ruins are full of riches."

A sound echoes in the distance and 9, finally with a voice, young but full of confidence asks if they're alone. 2 says no, but his tone is much more friendly than the haunting cry would seemingly warrant. He wishes he never asked the question. His new friend is lost in a few violent moments – taken by the vicious Cat Beast – and 9 finds himself alone once more, his stitches pulled and soul weary from the attack.

The world is cruel, harsh and full of the unexpected, what is seemingly harmless may not always be so. With a hurt arm he reaches out toward three tall shapes on the horizon, where the Beast took 2 and collapses in the dirt.

a flickering light
Night comes fixing on the day And the universe reigned again While the wheels roll, it all glows a flickering light

He discovers the meaning of 2's utterances in quick succession, no, we're not alone. 6, 5, 1 and 8 are like him – like 2, cut from the same cloth but strikingly different. 5 and 6 are similar enough, he thinks, but 1 and 8 are jaded, controlling and arrogant. They impose rules in a lawless world with thinly veiled threats and professions of knowledge. They are safe in their cathedral, or as safe as they can be without the beasts knowing their location. 9 is a threat to that, he bucks against the status quo, despite 1's version of the truth. How can they not see? They've been running for so long they don't know anything else, he tells himself. Did they intend to wait forever?

Not so long ago, humanity battled machines, the world was hell around them and they struggled to survive on the front lines, dodging both sides. Mankind could never hope to win, but this was unknown until it was too late. The gas the machines released killed everything. They fled the fighting, taking refuge together and waited, but some were lost along the way – never to return – like 2. 9's head races with loose ends...

Why was the beast hunting them? Why did the war begin in the first place? What happened to the others? Where did it take 2? Why did it take 2? Why were they not fighting? What was that thing he found when he woke up? Why was 'he' always drawing it? Why did the Beast take it? Why was 2 out in the wilds alone?

Questions, he discovers, are not well liked. Pointless, they invite danger – but he can't let it go. 2 is still out there. Something in his workings won't let him leave it be. It's like abandoning a part of himself, of them – but he is the newest, the child of the group despite his higher number. He hadn't lived through war, suffering and death like the others, he is a product of the destruction, an undiscovered seed – though he is sure 1 prefers to name him a curse.

He doesn't know what he is, but he knows he can't leave 2 to die.

with radio wires
While you were sleeping i was the turning the dials And i walled up your kingdom with radio wires And the bells of the choir came in low and rumbling ...aw you should a heard them

It takes some convincing but fearful 5 eventually agrees to go find 2. They travel together with a hand-drawn map and as they go, he tries to imagine what the world was like before all this happened. Its hard without reference, but amuses him none the less. He keeps his pondering to himself, content to let 5 ramble. The closer they get to the factory, the harsher the weather becomes and the duo are forced to take shelter in the old trenches. Life before got close to ending the conflict it seems, why else would there be encampments this near to the source? It shakes him to think this quiet long dead world could have been avoided, but like everything else its just guess work.

He puts a hand to 5's shoulder as he glances at the light staff he constructed on the fly from various parts laying around and 2's hat. "Don't worry," he says, "We'll find him." 9 sounds so sure and he can see the effect his confidence has on the other StitchPunk. 5 seems to brighten but there's hesitation in his voice, accusation, a little knowing and bemusement.

"You know, you're just like him. You forget to remember to be scared."

He was too young to truly know fear, real fear – sure the Cat Beast was frightening but – his desire to know more somehow tempered his worry. So he carried on, barrelling into the maw of danger, curiosity fuelling his every step.

calling up above
Living here in this city on fire, well i’ve been fine Just dancing drunk above the street Me the ghost of caroline

"What were you thinking?"

He wasn't thinking at all. He didn't know, he repeats over and over in his head. He's sorry. So sorry. He never meant for to 2 die, at all, let alone the way he did, screaming as the very life was pulled from him. He just wanted to know what the talisman was for, but 2 paid a horrible price for his insatiable need for answers. Now the B.R.A.I.N and its horrible factory was awake, bringing uncertainty and the era of a new war. The sudden realization of guilt weighs heavily on him all the way to the hiding place of 3 & 4, lead there by 7 the most athletic and nimble of them all, and the only female. 5 seems happy to see them and meeting new numbers takes something of his pain away, at least for a moment.

9 can't help but think of the mural at the entrance that reflected how the world was before, everything was green and full of life. He wonders if 2 knew this, or had seen what they'd seen. Something he recognises as grief and regret blossoms in his fledgling soul and he wants to make sure 7 and 5 know just how sorry, truly sorry he is, but words seem pointless in the face of their loss, so he keeps quiet – he's caused enough trouble.

3 & 4, full of history and knowledge, show them the truth 1 neglected to mention. The origin of B.R.A.I.N is laid bare and they witnessed the ignorant mistakes of those who came before. Science, so adored, became the enemy and everything was lost – making the world it was today – but it still doesn't explain the talisman – or why 6 always draws its symbols.

They have no choice but to go back to 1. 7 isn't so sure, but there is no other option in 9's eyes, he caused this mess. It is his very stitching that took 2, re-awoke the machine and brought doom to them all. It was his fault. He had to make it right and 1 wasted no breath in telling him of his mistakes despite his defiance.

"Ever since you got here, everything has been unraveling. You're a curse, a fool! Guided by pointless queries."

"And you are a blind man. Guided by fear!"

bet that i might
Watch the wheels roll to find another place home While you were sleeping, you bet that i might Walk this empty northern hemisphere wide

With the destruction of the Cathedral thanks to one of B.R.A.I.N's soldiers, they have little choice but to find shelter elsewhere. Things seem grim. 9 knows there will be more creatures like the bird – his fault – he can't help but look defeated as he stares at the night sky, wondering what will become of them all. He's lucky, he supposes, that they don't cast him out and make him fend for himself. They're all each other has, that much is clear and they have to stick together or risk a much darker fate. 3 & 4 discover literature among the great books of scientists past and though he can't make sense of the drawings, 6 tells him to go back. But go back where? Nothing is clear, except 1's betrayal. He sent 2 out to die for being like 9, curious and ever seeking answers to their existence.

7 rushes forward, intent on killing 1 for his deed, but 9 calls out to her. He doesn't have to explain there's been enough death and fighting, she just seems to know and runs off in her grief.

Go back. Back to the first room, where he woke, alone and without guidance. He knows the truth is there, what they need is somewhere among the dusty shelves and singular corpse covered in paper.

There are so many frayed threads holding them together, it’s a wonder they're not tangled in the mess.

Another of the B.R.A.I.N's hideous creations attacks and steals away 8 and 7. 9 refuses to hide, to bow to the monster that seems intent on wiping them out. He can't let what happened to 2, happen to them as well. He wouldn't be able to live with himself, its enough he has to contain the sorrow, but 1 is always so intent on reminding him what he's done. He bottles it up though and forges on, there's greater things at risk than how he feels.

At the very least they get to give 2 a proper goodbye.

By the time he arrives in the belly of the beast, its much, much too late for 8. His soul is sucked into the machine and all 9 can do is gasp as another of their friends is taken. He's failed yet another. 7 is next in line it seems, but he cannot let it happen to her, he refuses, so he shouts and wails, drawing the attention of B.R.A.I.N's creatures, desperation fueling him forward. He barely escapes with 7, unable to drag 8's corpse out but B.R.A.I.N gives chase and they're forced to run. The others band together to destroy the machine and with one grand explosion, it seems as though that's the end of it.

3 & 4 play an old song through a contraption 9 doesn't know the name of and he stands by 7 with a smile on his face.

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high There's a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby. Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue And the dreams that you dare to dream, Really do come true. Someday I'll wish upon a star And wake up where the clouds are far behind me. Where troubles melt like lemon drops, High above the chimney tops, That's where you'll find me. Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly Birds fly over the rainbow Why then, oh why can't I? If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow Why, oh why can't I?

This is their new start, who knows what will happen now? So many questions are still unanswered and they whirl in his head like the record on the player as he absorbs the lyrics and melody, listening to his very first taste of music. The victory was hard won. The loss of 8 & 2 make it heavy and it sits wrongly in his chest, like his wires are out of place or a stitch is loose.

A distant clambering sound cuts through the atmosphere and in the distance, something large and looming throws up dust and dirt.

He should have known it was too good to be true. He should have known he wouldn't get off that easily.

5 runs for his life but there's little any of them can do as he's gained upon with frightening speed and is murdered before their very eyes by B.R.A.I.N. 5's screams are imprinted in his mind along with the others and he cringes as his limp form is thrown to the ground like trash. The remaining numbers flee, 6 screams but they have no time to listen to his ramblings. At least, not until he's begging them not to destroy the machine even though he's within its grasp and ready to be devoured. They're trapped inside he says but 9 doesn't quite understand. At least not at first.

"Go back! To the first room! Go back, he'll show you! The first room!"

In a flash of green light 6 is gone and 9 hangs his head as another void fills his soul. He argues with the others against destroying it but they won't listen. They're gone 7 says but he is unwilling to accept that reality. He needs to fix this, no matter the cost, even if it takes his life, he needs to protect those who remain. This is his fault after all, but he never makes it back.

On his way through the streets something goes wrong, a black gas fills the air and he wonders for a horrifying moment if this is B.R.A.I.Ns doing, if the machine decided to develop a new weapon to destroy them all and lock them inside its hulking body.

He never gets answers.

There's something different about the cloud, something wrong that doesn't feel like them, like its mechanical or made from the same hands. Its dark, cold and it gives him a feeling of dread so strong he can do nothing but run from its destructive path despite his mind screaming at him to go back for 7, 1 and 3 & 4. He runs, and runs, and runs, dodging and hiding where and when he can.

He has no choice, its that or die and though he feels like giving up, he can't, for everyone they've lost and the part he played – he has to keep going, so he does. He clambers through the rubble and a world gone dim, walking for what feels like days, maybe weeks until he stumbles upon something curious that he can't help but approach. Caution is thrown to the wind, who can he hurt? No one but himself now, so he steps forward, blinded by light.

it all fell down
And the kingdom it came, well it all fell down It all fell to dust

He hums to himself as he waters the plants in his garden. 8 grow pride of place among the display. One for each of those that he lost – it feels like a lifetime ago now. If he stands still, he can almost hear the clanking of machinery and the bitter wind of a dead world. It chills him to the bone, he has those now, even if they feel wrong. 9 – Ethan, mutters apologies to his greenery as he goes. It’s a far cry from actually making his mistakes right, but its something. It is something.

A life, for each life that was left behind.

They would love this world, he thinks, 8 and 1 the least perhaps, but still – still.

He hasn't given up hope, yet. He goes back regularly and looks, calling out into the bleak beyond for any signs of familiar life, its not a question of if, but when and he holds onto that with every thread that's left of him.

However frayed and thin they are.

character basics

I have wanted to use the name Ethan for a character forever let me tell you. Ethan means 'firm', 'enduring', 'strong', which I felt was a nice fit given the fact 9 comes from a world that's completely dead - yet he and the other StitchPunks have endured through all the chaos and waste. For being about five inches tall and made of potato sack, he's pretty strong, especially with what he's faced with - losing his soul siblings, facing down the Cat Beast and the Brain Machine's various gruesome soldiers.

Hollis doesn't hold any meaning as such 'Dweller of the holly trees' doesn't really apply to him, save for the fact the palms of his hands are made from wood in the animated realm. I chose it because 'Hollis' has similar sounds to 'Homunculus' which - is a representation of a small human being. Popularized in sixteenth-century alchemy and nineteenth-century fiction, it has historically referred to the creation of a miniature, fully formed human. 9, like the other numbers, was created by the splitting of their creators soul, each of them was given life with a small part of it. 9 is a Homunculus by definition - or something close to it - hence 'Hollis' as it starts with 'Ho'.

I chose Sacks because 9 was primarily crafted from burlap, which is or was commonly used as a material to create potato sacks from. Numbers before him were made out of a different material or a combination of a few.

Dan Stevens - golly I've been eyeing him off for a while but I wasn't sure who I wanted to use him for. I'd been eyeing off 9 for even longer and somewhere along the way they clicked. It's especially hard given the SitchPunks don't have human features and are animated dolls. Dan has a variety of roles that fit 9's curiosity, kindness and intelligence. His facial expressions and mannerisms also fit really well. I also wanted to aim for someone who could have been a 'younger' version of the Creator. The last we see of him, he's an elderly man with wiry hair and wrinkled skin, aged due to time, the pressures of war and inventing or all three.

February 29 (Leap day) - celebrates on February 28 on a normal year

Explorer, vinyl toy designer, steampunk toy designer, gardener, occult researcher

Intelligence and instantaneous problem solving: In both the animated and real worlds, Ethan is incredibly good at coming up with solutions – both technical and philosophical – to almost any problem. An example of this is when posed with a dark space, he created a light staff by just looking at objects, seeing how they could connect together and building it. He’s extremely curious by nature and is liable to touch something, poke it, shake it, slam it, or nudge it, just to see what it will do. This behaviour has gotten those he cares about killed in the past, so he’s a little more cautious than he used to be, but not by much.

StitchPunk physiology: As a homunculus, an animated doll brought to life by the splitting of a human soul – Ethan is afforded particular unique advantages in the animated world. As he’s made of burlap sack, he’s a little more durable than a regular human and doesn’t have any organs to damage – though he does possess working moveable parts that can be broken. Pain is a strange concept, it seems as though the shard of soul that gave him life can become ‘exhausted’ which means he has to rest. He can also ‘pass out’ but otherwise doesn’t need to sleep and if he does, not for very long. If his structure – for example stitching, is pulled he experiences discomfort and ‘pain’ but upon it being restitched the discomfort leaves. Being about 5 inches tall means he can easily slip in and out of places that would be otherwise impossible for larger life forms to enter, and he can hide pretty good too.

StitchPunks can also be ‘repaired’ and suffer no ill effects, for example, sewing a cut with random thread, or cannibalising an object to replace something lost – a voice box from a doll was used to give 9 speech, for example. In the real world, as a human his sense of touch and pain is dulled. He feels more intense trauma such as deep cuts but the pain leaves as soon as he’s received treatment. He can go without sleep for long periods of time, but this usually results in ‘crashing’ where he’ll sleep for 3 to 4 days to make up for all the lost time and the strain on his incomplete soul. The opposite can also happen, where he’ll feel really lethargic and tired for a long period of time and can do little more than rest – these periods of energy and tiredness are unpredictable. His stitches manifest in the real world as scars, the largest of which runs from the top of his chest to just past his belly button. This scar is presentative of his ‘zipper’ and at times can feel like its pulling his skin in two. Otherwise wherever he’s sewn in the animated world, these stitches appear as scarring.

In the real world, there is a large black ‘9’ tattooed on his back, stylised and worn in some places, as if he requested the number to look like it was hand drawn. In the animated world, this number still exists on his back, painted there by the Scientist.

StitchPunk sibling: All of the StitchPunks, 1-9, were created from the same soul. The Scientist split his life force in order to give them personality, infusing each with a unique aspect of himself. Without the others nearby, he feels incomplete and lost, like something of him is missing. In the real world this connection manifests as a ‘sixth’ sense, the others would be able to tell if another number was in trouble, in pain or if something bad was going to happen.

Incomplete soul: 9 is a fragment of a complete life force and therefore is incomplete as a whole self. As such he suffers from hallucinations in the real world, brought on by his body attempting to cope for the gap in the foundation of his being. These hallucinations vary depending on his mood and mental state, sometimes they're violent, other times they're friendly but almost always feel real and can vary from small inserts into current events, into full blown immersive environments.

As the last StitchPunk and youngest, 9 represents the Creator’s humanity, bigheartedness, thoughtfulness and sincerity. He inherited some of the Scientists intelligence, being extremely smart himself, but often gets himself and those with him in trouble due his curious nature. He always wants to know why and seeks to find the meaning in all things. If Ethan was allowed, he’d pose questions all day. He loves to read, discover, explore and search. I’ve left his personality unchanged from the film, though he does possess a little more sadness after the way things ended. He blames himself for the deaths of the others and will never forgive himself unless he makes it right.

A lot of 9 is left up to assumption, displayed through a montage before the film begins proper. It seems that a Socialist state, obsessed with advancement, encouraged one of its lead Scientists to delve down an interesting path of the occult merged with science. He created a super computer, a mechanical B.R.A.I.N capable of immense intelligence. The Scientists creation was taken by those in power and melted into another machine, the Fabrication Machine – a machine that’s sole purpose was to construct weapons to destroy their enemies. Lacking a human soul, the B.R.A.I.N Fabrication machine became sadistic, cruel and bloodthirsty. Seeing humanity as a threat and hindrance, it hatched a plan to exterminate all life on Earth. The machines it built to destroy their enemies, were turned on their own people and everyone else – everything organic was wiped out with chemical weapons.

Human, plant life, insects, animals… all life was gone. When the end was near, the Scientist who created B.R.A.I.N used his knowledge of the occult and alchemy to create nine rag dolls he named ‘StitchPunks; bringing them to life by splitting his own soul through a special device / talisman that he created. 1 was the cowardly arrogant side of the Scientist. 2, the creative genius. 3 and 4 were made as identical twins and embodied the Scientists love of history. 5 was the healer, caring part of the Scientists soul while 6 was his artistic side. 7 represented his fighting spirit and is the only female. 8 Is the brutish, gruff side of the Scientist and 9 – his humanity.

CANON CUTOFF: After 6's death at the hands of B.R.A.I.N. 9 refuses to give up and leaves 1 & 7 with 3 & 4, determined to go back to the first room for answers. He never makes it there however, the darkness strikes and he's thrown off his goal, stumbling around in grave danger for days and days, weeks even, before he finally finds the portal and goes through.

played by MAX

ethan hollis sacks
 Posted on: May 31 2017, 08:37 AM
9 / NINE
❝ I was right! You did send him out to die! ❞
6' 0"


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 Posted on: Jun 1 2017, 10:37 PM
veronica lodge
❝ eventually, there will be a reckoning...or...maybe that reckoning is now. and maybe that reckoning is me. ❞


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