PAIRD is a brickfilm project created by Joseph DeRose. It follows two men who wake up with no memory and find themselves in a world plagued with overpopulation and terrorized by machines created by the robotic research company known as PAIRD (Practical Artificial Intelligence Research and Development). It was originally released in 10 separate parts between 2011 and 2018, before being compiled along with some new footage to create a whole feature length brickfilm, the format in which it was originally envisioned, in 2019. DeRose created the film between the ages of 12 and 20.
Emerging from a strange dream, a young man wakes up in an alleyway in New York City. Walking around with curiosity, he comes across a restaurant, the United Community Gate Kitchen, where two customers approach him. The young man claims that he is unable to remember what happened prior to his awakening in the alley, with the only clues being a few dollars and a note telling him to go to open a briefcase under a payphone on 5th and Jersey Street. One of the customers brings him in and tells him that he is possibly one of many refugees. The young man then notices a news report of over 40 people killed by police officers in a riot in Berlin. The report also states that the riots are supposedly connected to a drone attack conducted by a mysterious group called Practical Artificial Intelligence Research & Development (PAIRD). Despite the motive being unknown, Russia and Germany have declared a state of emergency. The young man decides to walk around the city in an effort to find out what happened to himself. He even decides to take temporary jobs to make some more money. As this happens, similar riots occur due to food shortages. People all over the world continuously fight over whatever food they could get their hands on, while authorities work tirelessly to restore order.
Arriving at an empty building, the young man is suddenly arrested by the New York Police Department, confusing him even further. Meanwhile, after having a similar dream, another man wakes up in another alleyway. Walking around with curiosity, the man stumbles upon three gangsters, who believe that he works for a rival gang. The man claims that he isn't from any gang, but the gangsters refuse to believe and proceed to attack him. Luckily, the man surprisingly fights back in self-defense, killing one of the gangsters in the process. Back at NYPD, the young man is being interrogated due to the officers believing that he's Jonathan Crage, the leader of PAIRD. His interrogator, Sergeant Thompson, who is much more lenient, compared to the arresting officers, explains what has happened: PAIRD is a weapons tech company that has worked with the US Government for a long time, but one day, their funding was cut after the government learned of an experiment that they deemed intolerable. It was alleged that the company shut down after the cut, but in reality, they somehow secretly relocated themselves outside the US. After that, US military assets started entering demilitarized zones from Pakistan. After the Pakastanis learned that they were from PAIRD, the attacks started. As the attacks occurred, the robotics from PAIRD would often evolve from time to time. Thompson believes that the young man isn't the one in charge and suggests that he help them to put an end to the madness. As the young man is stuck in police custody, the second man, having received a note telling him to break the young man out, infiltrates the station and immediately breaks him out. However, the escape doesn't go unnoticed as a couple of officers notice them, sparking a gunfight that ends with the two men escaping the station. As they drive around the city, the two men talk about how they both woke up with notes, but they are interrupted by the NYPD, sparking a chase around the city. After escaping, the two men head to 5th and Jersey to find the phone booth and briefcase in question. Inside it, they find $10,000 and passports. One confirms that the young man is in fact Jonathan Crage, and the second man is Gordon Reeves. They also find a note telling them that they are linked, meaning that if one dies, so will the other. It also tells them to go to JFK International Airport, buy two tickets for Quantes Airline Flight 815, head to Cairo International Airport, and find the next note at Pharaoh’s Market next to an apple stand with a purple top. Arriving at the airport, they manage to buy two tickets for the flight in question, but are almost caught by one of the receptionists, who only told them that they forgot their passports. During the flight, Jon and Gordon have a debate about killing people, as Jon is not comfortable about shooting at people. Back at NYPD, a group of agents arrive and set up shop to hunt for Jon in an effort to take down PAIRD, having gained jurisdiction of the case. Thompson talks to the agents’ leader, a stern and overzealous General named Dawson, about how they can't just take control of police cases, but General Dawson reminds him that he and his agents aren't CIA, and that the NYPD failed to keep him in their custody. Thompson suggests that they need to handle the situation delicately, reminding him they need Jon alive, or the PAIRD attacks will continue. Dawson adds that delicacy was the NYPD’s job, but with Jon running away, they need a different approach. Upon overhearing a conversation between Dawson and one of his agents about the “CPA”, Thompson looks them up, and learns that CPA is an acronym for the Cyber Protection Agency, an agency that specializes in cybercrimes. What surprises Thompson the most is that the President had supposedly shut down the agency after signing the Internet Freedom Act, which gave internet users proper privacy. Seeing how the CPA is back in action, Thompson decides to call the President himself about it, but upon calling him, the President just denies having brought them back. After hanging up, the President tells his assistant to have the CPA take the NYPD off the PAIRD case, before leaving for a meeting with the Joint Chiefs.
At Cairo, a news report about another PAIRD attack along the coast of Spain is shown in Cairo International Airport. As it switches to a report about the world population reaching 9,000,000,000 and more food shortages across the globe, the two men head for Pharaoh’s Market to find the next note. However, they get stuck in a brief foot chase with law enforcers, only to escape by disguising themselves. After losing the disguises, they find the apple stand with the purple top, where they find a crate containing guns, ammunition, and another note, which tells them to go to the Obelisk Towers Apartment Complex on 91st Street, where they must enter Room 825 to talk to a former PAIRD scientist, who will help them refresh their memories. It also tells them to board Virgin Airlines Flight 726 to India, where the note will be at the airport’s luggage reservation kiosk under the name ''Crage''. Inside the crate, they also find a Global Tracking Unit containing the hotel’s location, but they end up in a much longer chase with the authorities, which leads them to the rooftops, with Jon having to shoot once again. While trying to flank their pursuers, Jon is shot, but Gordon manages to get rid of the pursuers. Fortunately, the GTU took the brunt of the shot, saving Jon. Although the GTU is damaged, Gordon remembers the location, and the two head for the Obelisk Towers. Back at NYPD, Thompson learns that the CPA sent an assassin to find Crage, much to Thompson’s dismay. He reminds Dawson that the world is on the brink of a total economic collapse and a war with PAIRD, and that Jon is the only who could stop it from happening. Dawson, being overzealous as usual, tells Thompson that bringing Jon alive is no longer a viable option. Thompson adds that the drones only optimize, but Dawson reminds him that Jon still has amnesia, and has Thompson and the NYPD removed from the PAIRD case, under the orders of the President, before resuming his mission to hunt down Crage. Arriving at the Obelisk Towers, the two men head up to the room in question, where they talk to the scientist, who only tells them very limited knowledge about their situation, and that the only thing that matters is what they do next. He gives them two tickets for Mumbai, where the next note is located. Back at NYPD, Thompson talks to his assistant, Kathy, to record a phone call that he's about to make. At the apartment, the scientist mentions that “Her plans were only so detailed”. Before anyone could say anything else, the room's telephone gets a call from Thompson. Suddenly, the assassin fires his sniper rifle at Jon, but ends up killing the scientist instead. Jon and Gordon make a run for it, with Thompson telling them about the CPA’s actions, and to avoid going to the airport. As the assassin chases them throughout Cairo, the CPA discovers that Thompson had disobeyed orders. Jon and Gordon manage to board a train at a train station, and escape from the assassin by tossing him off, but Dawson interrogates Thompson about violating a direct order from the President, interfering with a case that was no longer under NYPD’s jurisdiction, and threatening national security by compromising a government operation. Seeing how the President issued the NYPD’s expulsion from the PAIRD case and reinstating of the CPA, Thompson realizes what the President was up to: The CPA is going to kill Jon, and the President is going to use Jon’s death as leverage in the argument to legally reinstate the CPA. Thompson adds that the President is just using the CPA to dig up dirt under his opponents, before casting them as scapegoats, saying that they were operating illegally. Dawson doesn't believe that he’s being used, but Thompson doesn't care if the CPA kills him, as they're “just as bad as any criminal”. Dawson “congratulates” Thompson in finding out the truth about the CPA’s objective, but remarks on how he won't be around to see them complete it, before shooting him dead on the spot.
Jon and Gordon aren't sure about where they're headed, since they're not at the airport as instructed, but they decide to find out soon. At NYPD, Kathy reveals that she has recorded Thompson’s death and blackmails Dawson by leaking it to the press, forcing Dawson and the CPA to call off a planned airstrike and leave. Meanwhile, Gordon wakes Jon from another dream, which involves Jon doing something on a computer while encountering a shadowy figure. They find themselves in Tripoli, Libya, where countless people are relentlessly protesting. The two have no choice but to go through the crowd. While doing so, Gordon has visions of a young woman, but by the time he snaps out of it, he loses sight of Jon, who ends up getting lost and encountering two armed men. Jon nearly gets hit by an oncoming truck, but is pulled away by Gordon, who reprimands him for getting lost. Just then, soldiers appear and shoot at the protesters. Fortunately, a British man brings them to safety. The two introduce themselves to him, who introduces him as Tom Freeman, an officer of the Masim Resistance. Tom mentions that he moved to Libya four years prior, when the shortage crisis began. He gives them a tour of the whole Resistance station, connected by a series of tunnels. Jon mentions that he and Gordon are heading to Mumbai, India “for some important business to attend”, just as Tom shows them one of the stations, Holding Station 9, a water treatment plant-turned-infirmary, where 347 civilians are hospitalized from being attacked by the Tripoli Riot Control (TRC), and from being ill with a flu, which isn't the Resistance’s main problem, that had gone around as well. Jon and Gordon are shown to the sleeping quarters, where Tom mentions about the food shortages and that the only way to the nearest airport is by a convoy. However, one key obstacle to overcome is a wall built by the Libyan government, which is supposed to “protect people from getting close to radioactive zones”. The best shot is to board a supply run train that exits out of the wall’s Gate 6. Once outside, they need to head to Holding Station 3, which has a working truck. Jon and Gordon decide for a little longer to help with reconnaissance for the Resistance, as they have only just arrived. That night, Tom explains how Libya became what it is:
Even before the revolution, Libya had always been a war-torn country, until eventually, a point of compromise was reached, and the country improved its public image. People began moving into Libya because of this, but the food then ran out. Libya became plagued with food shortage riots, resulting in many deaths. The government only enforced martial law, but the riots and protests continued. Then, one day, the government created Barlor Tanks, highly-advanced tanks that managed to strike fear into a majority of the citizens.
Tom blames the population crisis for turning Libya into what it is, as there are way too many to be fed. Later that night, as everyone went to sleep, Gordon, who is unable to sleep, has visions of the dream he had prior to waking up in the alleyway, which always involved a young woman, who is fatally shot during what appears to be one of the shortage riots. Jon, who is also unable to sleep, sees Gordon staring off into the distance. Gordon wants to stay in Libya and help the Resistance and other countries that are suffering from the same problem, but Jon thinks that the only way to do that is by getting to PAIRD and shutting it down. Suddenly, Holding Station 9’s secrecy is exposed, as TRC soldiers infiltrate the place and massacre everyone in sight, having tortured a captured Resistance member into giving up the location. The remaining Resistance members split up across the facility to escape from the TRC, with Jon, Gordon, Tom, and Resistance member Nisins heading to Escape Exit 3 in the eastern side, where they meet up with fellow member Liza. During the escape, the TRC kills Nisins, but the other four make it to the exit. Outside, they encounter one of the Barlors. Liza is wounded and presumably killed, while Jon, Gordon, and Tom escape and meet up with another Resistance member, who is able to handle the Barlor with an RPG launcher, and mentions how the gunner has no visual on them. The three escape to a TRC-occupied train station, where they board a train heading east. The train arrives at Gate 6 and leaves for another supply run. As the train is far from the gate, the three get off and head for Holding Station 3 within the Nafusa Mountains, where they find an abandoned city, clearly done by the government. Tom drives Jon and Gordon to the convoy and straight to the airport. Along the road, riots and protests continue. Arriving at the airport, Jon and Gordon part ways with Tom, who tells them that they need to get a flight to Paris, France, or London, England, since there aren’t any direct flights from Libya to Mumbai.
As the CPA leaves the NYPD, Dawson sees a new report about Kathy’s recording of Thompson’s death, which also mentions the President’s involvement, sparking an investigation into the government. Enraged, Dawson sternly orders his agents to put everything back to where they were, wishing to continue their mission of hunting Jon. Kathy confronts Dawson, who claims that the CPA has nothing to lose, and that it’s still a matter of national security. Kathy reminds him that they’ll be arrested, but Dawson claims that it will be a quiet one, and if they do pop back up, they’ll hunt down the NYPD out of payback, starting with Kathy. Just then, one of the agents brings up information on Gordon: He worked as an Air Force Tech Officer until he finished his deployment. Most records lose track of him after that, but he was credited on a few projects that Crage worked on prior to PAIRD. With this new information, Dawson decides to target Gordon as well. Meanwhile, on a different flight to Mumbai, Jon and Gordon talk about the latter’s visions and the riots happening across the globe. Back at NYPD, the CPA, now back online, find Crage and Gordon boarding the flight to Mumbai, and Dawson overzealously orders two F-35 Lightning IIs to go after it, sparking concern from one of the agents. As the F-35s go after the plane, Kathy and the Police Chief overhear him and concoct their own plot to save Jon and Gordon: They will handle the situation externally by inviting some of Kathy’s friends from the press to NYPD, where they will catch Dawson trying to kill an unarmed civilian aircraft red-handed on live television, and once the CPA is taken down, and their actions are traced back to the President, the NYPD will clear Jon’s file. While the plan might lead to them getting charged with treason, and chaos throughout the conspiracy theorist community, the Chief agrees to the plan. The plan is almost shot down, as Dawson has ordered some of his agents to keep the officers contained. Fortunately, the Chief, who is aware of the CPA’s signal jammers, pulls out a satellite phone and helps Kathy with calling her friends, including one named Fiona Ryder. As this happens, the F-35s get into position, sparking only more concern from the agents, but Dawson, being overzealous as usual, gives the fighters permission to engage. However, the fighters hesitate, long enough for the Chief to interfere and call them back. Enraged, Dawson exclaims at the Chief for issuing a false order, but the Chief and Kathy reveal that they have invited the press to record Dawson trying to kill an unarmed civilian aircraft on live television. Kathy enters, declaring “Checkmate”, having succeeded in stopping Dawson, saving Jon, and avenging Thompson. With Dawson in NYPD’s custody, Kathy and the Chief clear Jon’s file, giving him ample time to stop the PAIRD attacks.
At Mumbai, a new report about the NYPD-CPA incident is shown at the airport, while Jon and Gordon finally obtain the luggage in question. Inside it, they find a GTU pointing at a dock and the next note, which simply tells them to use the GTU to find the final note, hinting that the two are nearing the end of their adventure. During the trip, the taxi that the two are in gets stuck in traffic. Suddenly, an emergency message on the radio is broadcasted. As this happens, an air raid alarm goes off, and Gordon steps out to investigate. While doing so, the road users get rowdy, as the US and Indian Armies mobilize. Gordon then finds two guys talking about the reason behind the mobilizations: The armies are blocking off part of the city by the water, cutting off all access to the Kalwa area. They even intercepted a signal of some sort, and have been tracking vessels carrying drones and droids made by PAIRD. They even mention how their radio and television have been playing static with a pattern to it. Jon approaches them out of curiosity, and tells Gordon that if PAIRD is launching another attack, then they need to hurry. Suddenly, every machine begins making noise with a pattern to it. Jon recognizes it as PAIRD’s pattern. Before anyone could do anything, drones and droids begin attacking, sparking panic. Jon and Gordon attempt to escape, but an explosion knocks them unconscious. When they come to, they witness drones and droids attacking the military, who are giving them everything they've got. It nearly works, but a giant tank-like droid prompts them to retreat to an evacuation area. As a news report mentioning the Mumbai disaster is played (before being cut short by a similar droid), one aircraft after another is helping with the evacuation process. Suddenly, a giant droid suddenly appears. One of the aircrafts tries to escape, but the droid uses a jetpack to bring it down, before attacking the soldiers and civilians. Jon and Gordon find an alternate exit, but are unable to get everyone else to follow them. Making it back to the streets, the two find a military truck with a mounted gun. Hopping on board, they make for the dock, but they’re interrupted by a PAIRD drone. In a brief battle, they manage to take it down, but they accidentally flip the truck upside down, with Gordon getting knocked out in the process. Jon brings Gordon to a safe spot, where the latter emerges from another dream about the woman. Gordon realizes that the dreams are memories of a past event, and wants to stop their adventure, but Jon wants to continue to figure out what's going on if they want to stop PAIRD from massacring the world. Gordon reluctantly agrees, and the two continue on foot to the dock, where they find a box containing another GTU, a boat key, and the final note, which tells them to follow the GTU to the final destination.
Riding the boat, Jon and Gordon arrive at an uncharted island, where they begin to feel like they’re “coming home”. The two find a white facility, and enter it, resulting in the lights automatically turning on. An elevator opens and they ride it down to what appears to be a cooling tower, where the lights turn on, and they see a white dome with a red light on the other side of a high-up bridge. A computerized voice booms around them, mentioning how the console will begin the global PAIRD attacks, and that if it is not activated in 5 minutes, the PAIRD network and the facility will self-destruct. Jon realizes that the dome is the same dome from his dreams, and memories come flooding back, with Jon remembering that he was in fact the leader of PAIRD, and their adventure is a test that he created. Jon mentions to Gordon what happened in the past:
Years ago, Jon and Gordon had started Practical Artificial Intelligence Research & Development as a weapons tech company. While the company did work on developing new weapons, Jon and Gordon also wanted to solve the population crisis. They built what is perhaps the most advanced AI to exist. It combed through the data to find a solution, but the solution that it found would later become the drone and droid attacks that they had to go through, killing a third of the world’s population. The President supported the idea, not wavering when the findings were presented, and helped to keep it quiet. While this did brand them as terrorists, Jon and Gordon knew that there was no other solution. Still, Jon and Gordon wanted to test the idea one last time. That test was in the form of their adventure, where they needed to wipe their memories. No memory of PAIRD, or the mental justifications that they made themselves believe. Just two ordinary citizens being led back to this decision. This test was what spooked the US Government, and was the reason why they cut the funding for PAIRD. The President didn’t want Jon and Gordon running around the public with broken memories, with all that they knew, and the damage they could do. He even told them the kind of people he could send after them, including General Dawson and the Cyber Protection Agency. However, Jon and Gordon agreed that they had to make sure that it was the right thing to do. Suddenly, Gordon’s wife, a social worker, and the woman from his dreams and visions, was in Istanbul, Turkey, where a shortage riot broke out, which led to her getting killed in the crossfire. Since then, Gordon wanted to start the attacks already, but Jon didn’t want to just yet without testing. Jon moved the timeframe on the memory wipe. And that’s where the adventure started.
Jon apologizes for the death of Gordon’s wife, but Gordon, having regained his own memories, deems Jon as a traitor and pulls out his pistol on him. Jon reminds him that Gordon backed out on the test, but Gordon claims that he only did that as he realized that there wasn’t any time left for the adventure. Jon claims that Mumbai was the final test, and that it showed how humanity has a common threat; if they act now, they could either starve themselves to extinction, or still fix the problem. Jon reminds Gordon that it’s not their place to make the former call for everyone else, but Gordon argues that “Either a few die now, or everyone dies later”, claiming that PAIRD is trying to minimize the loss of life. Jon mentions policy and cooperation as safer solutions, but Gordon reminds him that it’s too late to show any of that, and that Tom mentioned how the world is on the brink of a catastrophe. Jon tells Gordon that the PAIRD attacks would lead to mankind’s extinction, but Gordon argues that starvation is worse than extinction. Jon knows that it’s not the best way to help the planet, but he doesn’t want to kill people with drones and droids. Gordon believes that the attacks will help, and that waiting for someone else to fix it is what led them to the facility, thinking that Jon is gambling with the continuation of the human race, while hiding behind a curtain of moral purity. The computer reminds them that 1 minute is remaining. Jon tries to convince Gordon to stop the attacks, as they have both seen the madness if they don’t, but Gordon still wants to launch the attacks, having seen how the people are desperately fighting each other for scraps. Jon claims that the death of Gordon’s wife was an accident, and that she doesn’t want her husband to use her death as an excuse to stop caring, but Gordon claims that he does care. Gordon apologizes to Jon, and slowly makes his way to the dome while pointing his gun at Jon. However, Jon, desperate to stop the monstrous company that inadvertently created, calls out Gordon, walks towards the edge of the bridge, and reminds him that they’re still linked, before falling backwards off the bridge, sacrificing himself to stop Gordon, PAIRD, and the drones and droids. Gordon makes a run for the dome to start the global attacks, but a thud is heard, indicating that Jon hit the ground, dying on impact, and Gordon, who is still linked to him, twitches as he is close to reaching the dome, before dying from the link. The computer counts all the way down to zero as the screen goes black, indicating that the PAIRD network and the facility have been destroyed, preventing the attacks from happening, and deactivating all of the drones and droids that are currently active, saving the world from a much bigger global crisis, and paving the way to a better future.
- PAIRD Part 1 (2011)
- PAIRD Part 2 (2011)
- PAIRD Part 3 (2011)
- PAIRD Part 4 (2012)
- PAIRD Part 5 (2012)
- PAIRD Part 6 (2012)
- PAIRD Part 7 (2013)
- PAIRD Part 8 (2015)
- PAIRD Part 9 (2017)
- PAIRD Part 10 (2018)
- PAIRD (2019)
- Joseph DeRose as John Crage
- Sam DeRose as Gordon Reeves
- Strauss Whiteside as General Dawson
- Cindy DeRose as Kathy
- Tony DeRose as Thompson
- Jack Robertson as Police chief
- Sam Richardson as Tom Freeman
- Kisten Vanlangenhoven as Liza
- Alistair Grant as PAIRD scientist
- Christopher Keith as The president
- Samantha Andow as News anchor
- Malcolm Bradzinski as News anchor
- Marion Grant as News anchor
- Richard Piccioni as News anchor
- Dennis Grant as General #1
- Adrian Butscher as General #2
- Zach Jagoda as Technician
- Ayana Renoldi-Bracco as Technician
- Finley Hebert-Perkins as Technician
- Drew Anderson as Technician
- Daniel Parish as Technician
- Izzy Reese as Technician
- Arielle Andreis as Technician
- Cole Yarbrough as Technician
- Sammy Kroner as Technician
- Daniel Robertson, Alex Jacobson, Eric Andow, "ChaosOmega", "Nate1000Man", Brad Niven, Adrien Harty, Omar Elafifi, Martine Xenja, David Jacobson, Mark Boyer, Petra Jacobson, Karen Frank, Larry Andow, Marley Townsend, Parth Desai, Liam Campbell, Lorrisa May, Clare Dougherty, Ed Burke, Chris Bortolon, Patrick "Pattycakes" O'Halloran, Michael Milito, Gaurav Malhotra, Liam Walsh, Cole Bacani, Kennedy Reed, Brandon Marsh, Cam Greely, Noelle Hanson, Bobby Hobart, Alexander Pires, Max Migdale, Karen Hellyer, David Friedlander-Holm, Kat Wells - Additional voices
- Joseph DeRose - Writer, Director, Production design, Sound design
- Christopher Keith - Music, "PAIRD Theme" co-writer
- Sam DeRose - Script editor, Production design
- Clara Reinke - Script editor
- Daniel Parish - Script editor
- Michael Milito - Script editor
- Akshay Ravi - Script editor
- Emily Halaka - Production design
- Brad Niven - Sound design
- Patrick O'Halloran - Sound design
- Liam Walsh - Graphic design
- Rachel Bennett - Graphic design
- Matt Jaffe - "PAIRD Theme" co-writer