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6: The Riddle, Part 1

Darcy, Blat and Eggerton find themselves abruptly promoted and sent into the unknown.

Download MP3 (78 MB)

Game Master: Sean Howard
Players: Michael Howie, Carter Siddall and Marisa King
Special guest: Maggie Makar

Dialogue editing and transcription: Michael Howie
Additional material and sound design: Eli McIlveen
Story consultant: Laura Packer
Game consultant: Stephen Smith

Content Warning: Zombie horror; boundary issues and painfully awkward situations.


Episode Transcript

LAST TIME…

Fast-paced music.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on The End of Time and Other Bothers…

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

So maybe my calculation was little bit off.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Ananka, we’re 60 years off!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Does Blat like fairy cake?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We will do a spicy fairy cake!

MARISA

And she just… starts to meditate.

SEAN

You heard this most beautiful voice in the world say…

SEAN (AS LOXSYN)

Cheesecake.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This the finest foodstuff that I have ever tasted.

SEAN

And you are high as a kite. With a bazooka. In the back yard.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I make the best pleather cheesecake in all of Balgoria.

MARISA

She just shoves it into her mouth.

SEAN

You see Loxsyn and she smiles at you—and you know you’ve been granted magical powers.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(slurring his words)

I love you Snegal. You’re my good friend, Snegal. Here’s my dry cleaner coupon.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(too overcome to speak; tiny, incoherent sounds of elation)

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Moira, I have faith in these three.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Could you turn around please?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No problem.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Are you turned around?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m turned around.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Are you turned around?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m turned around.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, I’m going to bend over to pick them up, don’t look over.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh boy.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(singing softly)

First friend, sleep, first friend…

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

We have to start them. We’re too far behind now. Find me a story story that’s going to be safe. Something simple.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I have just the one.

The music ends.

ARRIVAL

A roaring sound, as of three hapless adventurers being hurled through time and space.

SEAN

You guys all step through the portal and the world explodes into light—not dissimilar from the experience you had before, Darcy.

For some of you, you were asleep during this experience, so as you are taking a single step it’s as if all time explodes into that single moment. And then as quickly or as long as that seems to last… you step onto hard ground.

It takes a little while for your senses to catch up to you.

Violins play a soft, soothing harmony.

SEAN

You’re standing, all three of you, in a lush valley leading up to a storybook castle that’s not that far off. It’s the foliage that really captures you. It’s a green deeper and more lush and more varied than any of you have ever seen even in Farloria, where you just were. The sky is just as vibrant. But there are two mountain peaks on each side of you, coming up out of and making this valley.

Only there’s a strange silence… that’s broken by this squishing sound.

The music turns eerie.

SEAN

It’s coming from some corpses just ahead of you in the muddy ground. A slightly disfigured head rises from one of the corpses and its mouth opens wider than should be possible. Flesh hangs from its exposed manlike form as it lets out a moan and starts to rise. And you see other heads popping up out of other corpses.

Zombie-like groans.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…Oh geez.

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers: an improvised fantasy roleplaying game set in the world of Alba Salix. Your Game Master is Sean Howard, with players Michael Howie, Carter Siddall and Marisa King, and special guest Maggie Makar.

Episode 6: The Riddle, Part 1.

SPEAK WITH DEAD

The zombies groan.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I’m out.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Good luck to you—I’ll simply continue walking in this direction until I find something that isn’t terrifying. A good day to you!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, hold up! They said this will be easy. We just have to figure out how to get to that castle, I guess, in the distance.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s very simple, yes. You go to the magical storybook castle by, oh, just having a little interaction with the undead!

A good day to you!

SEAN

So the creatures are now, three of them have stood and are moaning as they shamble towards you—

(moaning sound)

And their flesh is hanging off of their bones, they’re sort of grey, like decomposing and they’re shambling towards you. And they’re stumbling over those bodies—which are tripping them up a little and they’re heading your way. They’re only about 25, 30 feet away.

MARISA

OK. I have a spell called Speak With Dead. Do these things count as dead?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

These are ghouls, are they not? Flesh-eating. Perhaps not the undead…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You think they want a fairy cookie?

SEAN

Yes, this would qualify as dead.

MARISA

OK. So can I use Speak With Dead?

SEAN

Sure. What’s it say?

MARISA

It says, “A corpse converses with you briefly. It will answer any three questions you pose to it to the best of the knowledge it had in life and the knowledge it gained in death.”

SEAN

OK, so you’re going to cast a spell?

MARISA

Yes.

SEAN

What do we see happening when you cast a spell? Anything?

A cold wind begins to blow.

MARISA

I think my hair just stands on and a little bit more than it usually would and my eyes glow a little yellower. But I think that’s about it. It’s fairly subtle.

SEAN

OK, the rest of you see these—whatever they are, disfigured flesh-eating things—pause. And they all swivel their heads onto Darcy and they’re just frozen, staring at Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh, excuse me… Um…

What is this place?

MARISA

Darcy looks confusedly at her two companions, thinking maybe that wasn’t the best first question.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Good. We’ll find out—

SEAN (AS A ZOMBIE)

Brains… must eat brains.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t think they’re going to have much to contribute.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I would like to keep my brains please.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ms. Darcy, could we keep my brains?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I can only speak with them! I can’t do anything else.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, could you maybe ask them if they would prefer someone else’s brains over mine?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK. OK OK.

Can the fairy keep his brains?

SEAN (AS A ZOMBIE)

…The whaaat?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey, maybe they do understand.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh great. They’re both dead and very stupid.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, wait. I just have one last question. It’s got to be a good one. Um…

Is there a way around you to the castle?

Music: a sinister, pulsing bass note.

SEAN

Suddenly their voice changes and you notice their eyes go completely black… as if for a second you feel like the light and the green around you is being sucked into their eyes. It’s this weird flash you get.

And you hear a different voice say—

The voice is deep and echoes unnaturally.

SEAN (AS THE VOICE)

Who are you?

…Interesting.

Kill them all.

SEAN

And then it snaps out.

And they all start shambling forward toward you—UNGHHHH—reaching out…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think we’re in trouble.

SEAN

And what do you guys do?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m going to climb a tree.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

OK. You’re gonna run for a tree.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Actually, Darcy… join our small companion in tree climbing. I believe I have an idea. Try to get as far away from the shambling undead as possible.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, that’s fine with me!

MARISA

And I scramble up the best I can up the tree after Eggerton.

SEAN

OK, so I’m going to say you guys don’t need to roll—they’re not that close yet. You guys run for a tree, each of you. Same tree, different tree?

MARISA

Same tree.

MIKE

Oh yeah. We need to stick together for moral support.

SEAN

They’re madly scrambling for a tree and Blat, what are we doing?

They’re about ten feet away shambling towards you. They’re past the corpses now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Once again… I must remove my shirt.

CARTER

Blat slowly begins unbuttoning his shirt, folding it neatly, and placing it on the ground. He unfurls his wings and flies up into the air.

Once I get about say 30 feet above them I call the bazooka.

SEAN

(laughing)

OK, so I gotta say there’s a Defy Danger involved, because they’re getting closer and closer. So I just see the zombie—UGHHHH—and you’re like carefully unbuttoning the shirt, folding it on the ground. Let’s roll Defy Danger, please, as you attempt to leap into the air at the last second.

Carter rolls.

ALL

Oooooo.

CARTER

That’s a 3.

SEAN

OK. So you go to carefully set the shirt down you turn and are about to leap into the air when one of them just like latches right onto you—UNGHHHH.

So you basically don’t even get fully airborne. You’re sort of dragging one with you backwards.

What you want to do?

CARTER

Well, after screaming very loudly, I believe Blat’s first option would be to try to kick the zombie hanging onto his leg furiously in the face.

SEAN

OK, let’s roll an Attack roll. You get +1 to Dex. I’ll give you that since you’re half in the air.

CARTER

All right. It’s an 11!

SEAN

All right! So that is a pure success. Tell me what happens.

CARTER

Well, I simply kick him once in the face. Perhaps part of his jawbone comes off because it’s quite brittle and he drops down to the ground amongst his shambling companions.

SEAN

I’ll say you rolled so well that the second one of them drops down onto the one that fell, and starts eating him. The third one, however, keeps coming for you as you lift into the air.

CARTER

Well, hopefully all three of them are now sort of in the same general area, so I’ll call my bazooka and then aim for the centre of the little group.

SEAN

Call for bazooka. Do it, give me the call!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Bazooka!

SEAN

And so a bazooka begins to flow right into your hand, the trigger right under your finger… the screen pops up and you centre it on the zombies and… Give me a roll. A Volley roll.

CARTER

That’s an 8…

SEAN

+1.

CARTER

+1, that’s a 9.

SEAN

That’s a partial success. So… You basically blast it, right, and you guys hear this roar as the jet kicks out and steam coming off of it as it fires down at them… But it also blasts you backwards, and you see Blat flipping head over heels, off into the forest where you—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sailing off into the distance)

I regret nothingggg!

Crash.

SEAN

And roll your damage.

CARTER

4 points of damage!

SEAN

So it is a blast radius… So you guys hear a whump! And you see fire roar up out where the zombies were and that was what, a 4?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think he got ‘em.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think you’re right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You should go check.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? Why don’t you go check?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Because I’m above you on the tree.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Fine.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right.

MARISA

And I start carefully crawling down the tree to the ground.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you think Blat’s OK?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat! Do you think he’s OK?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m sure he’s fine.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK. Good.

SEAN

OK. So Darcy you see roaring embers. You smell cooking flesh. Very old flesh…

MARISA

So I ascertain that the zombies are down.

SEAN

Oh yeah it’s just, like, there’s a little bit of movement in the pile, but not really…

MARISA

So I yell out to Eggerton,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s safe now! You can come down.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK.

MIKE

And I start climbing down. Which I’m not going be very good at.

SEAN

So Blat, you crash into the top of a tree.

Crashing and thuds as Blat tumbles down from branch to branch.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Gah…

Ugh…

Ungh…

Gaghhh…

Ugh. I think I’m safe now—

Aghhh.

Laughter.

SEAN

You hit the ground, and you take 1 hit point of damage from—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aghh.

SEAN

…from that fall.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ve cut myself on brambles.

I have bark in my pants.

Laughter.

SEAN

You can hear Darcy and Eggerton, they’re not that far away. You basically can smell burning flesh…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where are you? Are you all right?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m fine. I meant to do what I did in the tree.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well you got them! You did a good job!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes… I’ve… eviscerated dead people. Now, let us sally forth to the storybook castle which appears to be at a time further in the past than when we were. A few more of these missions and perhaps we could witness the dawn of the universe. Jim dandy! I’m having a quite a time.

SEAN

You guys see Blat step out of the foliage. He’s dragging a bunch of like, briars and trying to untangle his—he looks quite good without his shirt, with his wings out.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Could someone please hand me my shirt.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I have some bad news for you, Blat. It was incinerated along with the zombies.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ahh, the blast radius. I didn’t…

(sighs)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah. But hey! Don’t worry about it, you might need your wings again, really soon.

CARTER

Blat opens his wings out and crosses them in front of him, trying to hide as much of himself as he can. He’s basically a head sticking out above wrapped wings. He basically looks like a walking bat with pants.

Laughter.

SEAN

I was just going to say, like a right-side-up bat.

CARTER

A right-side-up bat with pants. Yup.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So when you kill undead, do they die or do they come back to life? I don’t really understand how that would work.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I think when they get exploded, they’re not really going to come back—oh, that hand is still moving. Well that’s unsettling. Let’s just keep moving.

SEAN

So… as you guys step down out of the clearing and you start approaching the castle, you come across a beautifully paved road with cobblestones. It’s a feat of some engineering, because it stretches in both directions right up to the castle and down off into the valley, rolling up and down, in and out, coming back in and out of view.

And there is a very large sign on the path towards the castle just a few feet ahead.

MIKE

I would like to read the sign.

SEAN

OK, so Eggerton, you’re craning your neck up to read the sign. “One must arrive…”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“One must arrive.”

SEAN

“Neither by horse or by foot…”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“Neither by horse or by foot…”

SEAN

“Neither by road or by path…”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“Neither by road or by path…”

SEAN

“If this person comes…”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“If this person comes…”

SEAN

“…the kingdom will be saved.”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“…the kingdom will be saved.”

SEAN

“If not, we shall all be destroyed.”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“If not, we shall…”

I don’t like this sign.

SEAN

“By proclamation of His Excellency, King Pamir.”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Pamir, Pamir. Do you know a King Pamir?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, I’m not familiar with King Pamir, because I’m on the same mission as you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Maybe you read some extra briefing papers, I dunno.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(mutters)

MARISA (AS DARCY

So what do we think that means? I guess there’s only one way to enter the castle? And it’s not by foot.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Or on the road that leads to the castle.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, what about flying? Blat can fly.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Blat, can we get on your back and fly?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You can’t get on my back… I’m not that strong—I just did the zombie thing! I can’t fly all three of us there. Oh… don’t make me go ahead.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You should probably go check it out.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(groans)

I don’t know how well I’m going to be welcomed. “Hello I’m a half-naked demon! Do you have any problems with the undead? Because I was probably the cause of that!”

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well… Wait. Wait, remember those medallions we were given? Maybe we should try and communicate and and ask for some advice about this.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. OK, I’m going to try first. I’m going to try first.

MIKE

So I hold onto my medallion around my neck and say,

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hello? Hello…

SEAN

Nothing happens.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hello…? Mine’s broken.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Did you try using the communications button?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh no, yeah, I knew about the button. I was gonna try and do it the hard way though, because you know… I wanted to save the buttons for later. So I’ll do the button now.

MIKE

So I push a button.

SEAN

You turn the dial to the Communication setting…

MIKE

Yes, I turn the dial to the Communication setting, because we had a full briefing on how these work…

SEAN

(laughs)

MIKE

And try talking into it again.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hello there. Hello. Hello. Come in. Roger, over.

Ananka’s voice comes over the radio, somewhat garbled.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hello. Hello.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(over the medallion’s radio)

Hello.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hi. Ooo! How are you?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Hello. Eggerton, is you! It is you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, it is me. How are you?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I am good, how are you?

(laughs)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, I’m not too bad. There were some zombies but Blat blew them up and then he got cut on a tree and he has bark in his pants. I don’t really know why—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

—what? What?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Yep. Yep. No. We may have a situation here… Anaka. I am being given looks to report to you accurately what has happened and transpired, so from the beginning… We came here. My tummy was a little upset, I climbed a tree…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And we’re skipping ahead, and we’re skipping ahead…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh yeah, no, OK. And then I… Blat doesn’t have a shirt on, and he’s got abs, did you know he has abs? And then, we are at a castle and there’s a sign and the sign says some things about getting into the castle. Uh, there were zombies but the zombies are blown up now, I think, I really—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just read her the sign.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh yeah, so uh, the sign says…

MIKE

And I read her the sign.

SEAN

And we cut.

THE FRIEND SONG

SEAN

Blat, Darcy and Eggerton… you are in your dorm room. It’s an uneventful day. You can hear the sound of somebody trying to repair the lawn outside.

Laughter.

SEAN

And, you know, the school is pretty quiet. And what are you guys doing when you’re just in your dorm room between classes?

MIKE

I’m laying on a bed, staring at the ceiling, nibbling on a fairy cookie. A purple swirly one.

MARISA

I’m meditating, trying to focus on these spells that I seem to have been given power over. But I have no mastery over them yet, so I’m just…

SEAN

And are you like, on your bed, or…

MARISA

I think I’m just sitting on a cushion in the corner.

CARTER

Blat’s in his quarters, trying to avoid Snegal, because he still thinks that perhaps something untoward happened between him and Snegal while he was high on fairy cakes.

SEAN

OK, so you’re on your little cot that you claimed, you’ve got all your shirts perfectly folded, and you notice… one of your shirts is missing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh now…! Who the…

Couldn’t be Eggerton, he wouldn’t fit in this. Might have been Darcy… I’ve noticed that she wears clothing that’s far too big for her.

That’s it! I’ll try to question Darcy. She says she’s meditating, learning spells—as if she’s going to be able to learn magic spells! I don’t care what era this is. People cannot learn magic spells. Accountancy, one can learn! Magic spells… I believe you cannot.

CARTER

So Blat goes off in search of Darcy.

MARISA

Who is sitting in the corner of the same room.

Laughter.

SEAN

You sit up on your bed, determined, Blat… and there’s Darcy sitting on the far side of your room.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I thought this would be harder.

Miss Kimble! A question about my laundry.

MARISA

I don’t answer immediately.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hello?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(around a mouthful of cookies)

I don’t hink she han hear oo…

(a great deal more indistinct mumbling)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re here too?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

My bed’s right here next to yours…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

I was so obsessed about the loss of a shirt, I didn’t notice that anyone else was here in the room.

Miss Kimble!

CARTER

And he taps her in the middle of her forehead.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(sputtering)

Blat! You know that I’m meditating! What are you doing?!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, you’re learning magic because that’s a thing that’s possible. One of my shirts is missing!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So, you wear pants that are twice your size; I thought perhaps you had taken it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I didn’t touch your shirt!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Is it the one you’re wearing? Because you’re wearing that one, if you’re looking for it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I have more than one shirt. They issued us more than one shirt. You have more than one shirt.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, and I’m wearing one of them. Is that the one you’re looking for?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, I’m not looking for your shirt, I’m looking for my shirt.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve got an extra one if you need it. It might be a little small on you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It would be very small on me. Now—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know why you really want to wear one of mine then. It doesn’t make that much sense.

SEAN

In the hall you hear,

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Blat! …oof!

Blat! …oomph!

SEAN

You hear a little patter of feet, then a trip—whump!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Blaaat!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. I’m sorry I interrupted you in your learning how to magic. Perhaps you could magic something where I don’t have to talk to him.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I think I have an idea who might have your shirt.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes. I don’t want to talk to him. Could you please just meet him at the door, come up with an excuse as to why I cannot talk to him right now.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sorry Blat. I think you gotta face up to this sooner or later.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, what good are you and your magic?! Go back to being unconscious while… awake.

(switching on the charm)

Eggerton!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Blaaat! Oof!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You and I have always been close, and I think maybe you could do me this solid. Just go up to the door…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Go to the door…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And tell him that I’m not here and he should look far away.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK! I can do that for you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Thank you very much. I will simply hide under my cot, and when he’s gone, I will reveal myself.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. OK.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Excellent.

MIKE

I walk over to the door and open it… and I see Snegal.

SEAN

Snegal is standing there in a shirt that is eight times too big for him, and he keeps tripping and he makes his way to the door finally, and he’s like,

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! Eggerton! Is Blat here? I want to show him, I put a shirt on like he said! He said Snegal should wear shirt! Snegal wearing the—little big, but ah ha ha!

SEAN

He’s flapping his arms, and the sleeves are just like flying around as he flaps his arms.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I was not supposed to tell you that Blat was in here, but I’m pretty sure he’s more interested in getting his shirt back and now that you found his shirt for him, why don’t you come in? He’s hiding under his cot—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! I give him shirt back! It doesn’t really fit!

SEAN

And so Snegal comes in and he trips and he hits his head, like just faceplants right inside the door.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh jeez, that looks like it hurt—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! Ow, sorry! It’s a little hard to walk in this. Maybe you should take it off and we can give it back to Blat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK! OK, I’ll help you with that.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

No, wait, I’m stuck, that’s my tail! That’s my—ow! OK, no, wait, that’s my foot. I think I ripped—don’t tell Blat ! I made a small rip.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps)

That’s OK. We can fix it.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

OK! I’m free.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK. So… Blat! Blat, come out from under the bed. We found your shirt. We found it, Blat. I know—

SEAN

You see a head come down…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Hi Blat! Snegal here, I help you get out, Blat! Here, I pull from your feet! Are you stuck? Snegal help!

SEAN

He’s trying to—he’s not doing anything, but he’s just like, tugging at your feet.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We have your shirt!

CARTER

I slowly get up… grab my shirt from Eggerton, lean down into his face and whisper,

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know how you had a job in our time.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! Oh wait. Snegal had a job, ha ha, was so excited about the shirt. Snegal has to bring you all to the quartermaster today. Yeah. Is important. I think I was supposed to do it earlier. Oh yeah! Come, we have to go to the quartermaster…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Snegal. Snegal… Obviously this is something we’re going to have to deal with right now.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Yes! Yes, we have to go to—Moira said go to quartermaster right after breakfast—oh, that was a long time ago.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, I understand that. But before we go see the quartermaster…

You see, Snegal, this has been a very trying time for me. I’ve been thrust backwards in time, I’ve been told that—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, ohh yes…

SEAN

He starts, like, he wraps his arms around you—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, give hug! Snegal feel for Blat!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh, yes, that’s…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, his Evilship! Give leg hugs! Leg hugs!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Very good, but see, that is part of the problem. See, I’m concerned that perhaps, due to my overwhelming fear and loneliness in the situation that I am in—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(aghast)

Oh no! Nooo! Snegal your friend! No! Never be lonely ever again!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And again, that’s part of the problem. Because I’m concerned that yesterday, during… a moment of weakness, that perhaps—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(singing)

Oh, Snegal sang the friend song…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, well, that’s not a euphemism that I’m aware of, but I believe you and I sang the… “friend song”…

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And that was very wrong—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

What?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And that we should not do that again. I apologize to you… small imp from a previous time with a lower education than mine.

Silence.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

You no Snegal friend?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I believe perhaps that we could get to a point where we could be friends yes, but—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! Good! Snegal do that! Snegal be friend!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes but… singing the “friend song” is not something that should occur again. I’m sorry. I was in a bad place and it shouldn’t have happened…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

OK! Friend song our secret.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah… Well! We’re saying this in front of the two of them, so I’m not sure how much of a secret that is.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What is the Friend Song? How does it go?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

No friend song! We have to go. Snegal understand!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Excellent. All right, so we’ll pretend that that never occurred, and that we’re simply trapped in a previous time where we are solely responsible for saving the entire multiverse.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

And Snegal’s best friend ever.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh… In a while, yes. Perhaps you can be Eggerton’s friend for a while, or Darcy’s compatriot.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(happily)

No, just Evilship!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Of course. Yes.

So! Let’s see what the quartermaster has to say.

MARISA

So Darcy is collapsed on the floor laughing, and once she recovers her breath, she gets up and follows the rest of you to the quartermaster.

SEAN

OK. It’s not hard, because you can hear Snegal all the way down the hall…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(singing)

No, never sing the song! No the song, that’s our secret!

SEAN

And they are going off down the hall.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I wouldn’t be so superior. You think you can do magic.

MIDROLL: A RAINBOW OF GOODIES

Midroll theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER (ELI)

It’s the beginning of the middle of The End of Time… and Other Bothers.

SEAN

OK, Marisa, take 37… This one is for Stitcher and then we’re gonna go through the four lines—this time though, I want you to really pep it up, like, pretend you’re riding a horse. And—action!

MARISA

Wh… Yeah, OK, uh…

“Hey everyone! Thanks for listening on Stitcher, um… We’re really pleased to have you listening to The End of Time and Other Bothers. If you want to—”

Is this… am I riding English or Western?

SEAN

OK, cut! Cut. No, I’m not really buying the horse thing.

OK, let’s try that again. Let’s do Stitcher again. Let’s get into the patreon.com/albasalix line.

MARISA

OK…

SEAN

Right? OK, let’s get into that a little faster. So this time I want you to pretend that you’re a unicorn. A beautiful, flowing unicorn. And—action!

MARISA

OK, uh—

(sweet, whinnying voice)

“Hi! Thanks for listening on Stitcher! Uh, if you would like to donate to our show you can go to patreon.com/albasalix—ahh, a rainbow of goodies await you! Uh… You can also rate and review and tell a friend! Nei-i-gh!”

SEAN

OK, cut! Cut! It was beautiful, beautiful, Marisa! That was great, beautiful.

MARISA

I’ve played unicorns twice before.

SEAN

It was really—I really liked the nuance there.

MARISA

Thanks.

SEAN

You know… Can we do iTunes now? So the line’s going to be iTunes. And you know, I want something a little, I don’t know… a little more sensual for iTunes, right? Because it’s sexy. OK. And take 73—action!

MARISA

(drops her voice to a breathy purr)

“Thanks for listening on iTunes. We love it when you rate and review us, or even better, tell a friend…”

(attempts a suggestive laugh)

SEAN

OK, cut, cut, cut… no, I’m not buying it, Darcy. Can you pretend you’re leaving your voicemail message at work? And… action.

MARISA

Oh. Yeah, Uh…

“Hi, thanks for listening on iTunes. You can rate and review and tell a friend, and I may be on vacation at—”

No, wait, sorry, that’s my voicemail message, um…

“Rate and review and tell a friend, and you can use hashtag #OtherBothers when you talk about us.”

Right? No sorry, I screwed up the line there.

SEAN

Cut, cut. Yeah I know, it’s OK. Shake it off, shake it off.

OK. This time I want you to do it sexy and sensual, like you’re leaving a voice mail message—but someone knocks on the door halfway through. And—action!

MARISA

But what—

(sighs)

“Hi… Thanks for listening on iTunes. You can donate at patreon.com/albasalix. You can also—what the frig do you want?! I’m doing a message here! They’re supposed to—what? No! No, I’m not ready! God dammit.

SEAN

Cut!

Midroll theme music plays.

THE QUARTERMASTER

SEAN

So Snegal takes you down to the first floor to a door and he gestures to the door, goes—

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, must go make the lunch!

SEAN

And he scurries off. And the door says QUARTERMASTER.

MARISA

Darcy knocks on the door.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hello? Hello, it’s the three people from the future…

MARISA

I just open the door.

A sweeping synthesizer melody plays, grand and mysterious.

SEAN

OK. You see a really long room and a counter at the front. And floating off down shelves that seem to go on a really long way, you see this translucent form hovering in the air and it’s waving these iridescent tendrils that are flowing out all around it. And there are weird lumps sort of inside the translucent jelly-like body, and it spins as if noticing you or something… and then begins to fly through the air towards you and the counter.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Is that the quartermaster?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m not sure, but I’m going to wait outside here, and you can let me know.

MIKE

And I scurry out.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What—

(sighs)

Hello, excuse me!

MARISA

And I try to get the attention of the tendrilly being.

The melody returns, wavering tentatively.

SEAN

A tendril sneaks out as it gets closer and sort of like caresses the side of your head…

MARISA

And I move away quickly…

SEAN

The tendril pulls away.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you… communicate?

SEAN

A tendril sleeks out towards your head.

MARISA

OK, so I let it touch me this time.

A sudden burst of music, like a blaze of light, that gives way to something halfway between a data transmission and a babbling brook.

SEAN

OK. You just feel this instant connection and all these like energy flowing into your head, and it’s like this whole conversation happens… and what goes through your brain?

MARISA

I am shocked that this is happening, that I’m able to communicate in this way with another being…

SEAN

You see all these memories flashing past from your life, which one jumps out?

The music slowly resolves into two airy chords. The sounds of a city park.

MARISA

I think I remember the time I went to the park with my co-worker from the cafeteria and how we had a great time, and we played with these little sailboat things that were out there… and it was a really bright beautiful day—and a rare day in Balgomar where we had vegetation around us and stuff. And that just jumps out of me.

The music ends.

SEAN

Suddenly the connection is broken. You suddenly realize all the tendrils were on your head…

A slurping sound.

SEAN

And it flies off down the corridor, and then it comes flying back to the counter and it’s carrying all this stuff inside its gelatinous floating body. And then it just ex-plumphs them all down onto the counter with a clatter.

You see toy sailboats. You see some of the snacks you had that day, Impescor or whatever. You see the basket that you guys took to the park, or something like it. So all that stuff gets dropped on a counter and it’s just waiting.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Um… guys?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(from outside)

Are you still alive?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I am, but I do not know what’s going on in here. Are you going to come in?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh… Blat’s coming in!

MIKE

And Blat gets a couple little hands shoving his backside.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, I don’t get it—the tendrilly thing touched me and all these memories went through my head… and now look what’s on the counter. It’s stuff from one of my memories!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oooh, I believe this may be a beholder! I read about these as a child.

Laughter.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What’s that?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well… the the book that I was reading about beholders in was actually more of a fairy tale type of—

The wavering synthesizer melody.

SEAN

A tendril is reaching out for your head.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, heh… yes, that’s very good. I’ll have you know that I recently found out that I have some, um, personal boundary issues. I don’t know if us getting that intimate is such a good idea—

SEAN

It touches your head.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh! There was an incident between me and someone else here that involved touching that led to uncomfortableness…

Another blast of burbling electronic music. Distantly, we hear a bazooka explosion and Snegal crooning a lullaby to Blat.

SEAN

And suddenly you are reliving that whole incident with Snegal,

(singing)

Singing the friend song…

You actually see the whole scene play out. And it’s just Snegal there caressing your head, singing his song as you snooze, and then you see these guys show up, and then you give him a coupon and tell him to wear a shirt.

And then all of a sudden, the tentacles—you realize you’re almost encased inside this thing. All the tendrils pull off and it dashes down a corridor comes flying back and on top of all the stuff that it’s dumped there for Darcy, it dumps out another coupon for a shirt cleaning, it dumps a half-eaten fairy cake, and… what else did you guys have at that time? Oh, and like a bazooka shell, all land on the counter.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

See?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh yes, yes, I see. I see that I didn’t actually do anything with Snegal! Thank you, Beholder Being, for giving me this information that I could have used half an hour ago!

SEAN

It wiggles a little. And it’s like, leaning past you guys as if looking for the third person.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think it wants Eggerton.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, we’re going to give him Eggerton… Just a moment please, Beholder being!

CARTER

And Blat walks out into the hall, picks up Eggerton by his pants…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What, what, what are you doing?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re going to get beholdered!

(shouting over Eggerton’s objections)

Everyone else had to be beholdered, you’re going to be beholdered.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t want to be beholdered!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I didn’t actually have sex with Snegal, so I did a big production for no reason—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? You had sex with Snegal?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I did not have sex with Snegal, that’s the point!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But why would you say that—

CARTER

And I just shove him inside the gelatinous Beholder.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Here! Get yourself beholdered good!

A third blast of burbling music.

SEAN

OK, so you shove… Basically, so Eggerton your head is shoved into this gelatinous floating fish-like air jelly being, and the tentacles wrap around you… and you see all kinds of memories and feelings flooding you. Which one comes to the surface?

MIKE

Sitting in my apartment in Balgomar are looking at the beautiful crack on the concrete wall that I consider art and admiring it while nibbling on a frosted fairy cake.

SEAN

OK. All of a sudden you relive that moment—like, you see that crack like you’ve never witnessed it before…

MIKE

There’s a tear in my eye.

A slurp.

SEAN

And then suddenly you’re popped out of the being and it races down the corridor of shelves and then comes flying back and dumps out a frosted fairy cake onto the counter and a brochure for a ride that you remember picking up that day now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ooo, a fairy cake.

MIKE

And I pick it up and eat it.

SEAN

Roll Fairy Cakes.

MIKE

Roll Fairy Cakes. That is an 8.

SEAN

OK. You are fully healed, even though you already were, and you are confused.

MIKE

What?

SEAN

Because that is a partial success.

MIKE

What?

SEAN

Remember the fairy cake? If you read the fairy—yeah, thank you. I fell for that.

MARISA

(laughs)

SEAN

You are confused.

MIKE

Huh?

SEAN

I don’t know if you’re going to be able to tell he’s confused, I couldn’t…

CARTER

I have no idea. No.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So, what do you guys think is happening here?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Where?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Here! In front of you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Where? Who?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, it’s the fairy cake, isn’t it? Sometimes things go weird with Eggerton when he has a fairy cake.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I actually hadn’t noticed this time, no.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Look at this brochure…

MARISA

And then I just start—so I pick up my sailboat and I wave it at the gelatinous mass…

The quartermaster’s melodic noodling.

SEAN

It waves one of its arms.

MARISA

I put it back down.

SEAN

It reaches out a tendril towards your head—

MARISA

And I back up.

SEAN

It pulls it back.

MARISA

And I pick up the basket and I wave it.

SEAN

It waves its tendrils back at you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What does it want me to do with this stuff?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It wants you to go sailing. Let’s go sailing in this boat! OK, I’m going to take the boat and go sailing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton put the boat down. The boat’s too small. You can’t go sailing in it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But it’s so pretty.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Put it down, Eggerton.

SEAN

You hear a voice from the hallway.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

(throat clearing)

Hello everyone. Are you all outfitted and ready?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Cyrus, we’re going to go sailing in this boat. You should come with us, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

I’ll take that as a yes. Let’s go. I have to take you to the Nexus.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wait, wait! Cyrus, what what’s happening in here? What is this thing? What is this… jelly monster?

A sad little melody.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

I think you just hurt its feelings.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?

MARISA

And I look around to see if this is true.

SEAN

It’s shrunken a little. All the tendrils are pulled in.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Beholder. Please refer to it as a Beholder.

SEAN

It unfurls.

A more cheerful melody.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

I assume you’ve all met our quartermaster, Pfillllll-thi-tckkkkt?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It is the quartermaster!

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

So, if you just want to load up with all your… what you’ve been outfitted with and we’ll take you into the Nexus.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you mean this sailboat?

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

That’s a rather unusual choice…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I had a cookie, but I ate it.

Laughter.

SEAN (AS CYRUS)

Well if you’ll just take whatever you’re taking and come with me.

MIKE

I take the brochure off the table and stick it in my fairy pouch.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah, just a moment. So, I believe what’s supposed to happen is that if actual warriors came in here they would think about warrior things, and the beholder would give warrior-type equipment. But since we are just three random future yobbos, we’ve been given things based on those memories, such as sailboats, fairy cakes and the knowledge that you did not sleep with a co-worker.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re all going to die, aren’t we.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, more than likely but at least I did not have sex with an imp!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why did you have sex with an imp?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I did not have sex with an imp! That is the point!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But you say that, and it makes me think that you probably did have sex with an imp.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I thought I did; it turns out I didn’t. The Beholder—thank you Beholder…

A little trill from the quartermaster.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…gave me the knowledge that I did not. Oh Lord, I probably confused Snegal to high heaven…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

OK, we’re done with the Snegal thing, can we move on please? Let it go, Blat. Let. It. Go.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, let’s move on. We have a sailboat with which to conquer evil! Let’s move on!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

OK, everybody in the boat, I’ll drive.

THE HEART OF THE NEXUS

SEAN

You step down some steps into an ancient library that defies geometry. There are shelves and corridors heading off in 360 degrees: upside down, behind you, the ceiling… everywhere you turn, it’s as if everything orients to you and there’s just rows and rows of shelves with books. Every once in a while, you catch something moving or dashing past in the distance.

And it is very brightly lit, and in the centre of the room at a table you see Moira, and she’s speaking—Moira, who you met earlier—she is speaking to another woman who… I’m going to put Mags on the spot and have her describe what she wants Ananka to look like.

MAGGIE

Oh mah gawd.

SEAN

I know I didn’t even warn you about this. I even think about it. So, you see talking to Moira:

MAGGIE

(in Ananka’s Slavic accent)

And they see Ananka… and her hair is a dark violet like a sky after a storm. She wears a cloak of all black, and boots that sparkle like the universe.

SEAN

And they appear to have been in a heated argument when Moira stands up and waves a hand in a shushing gesture at Ananka and starts approaching all of you on the stairs.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Welcome, welcome. Welcome to you all, to the heart of the Nexus, the library. Thank you all for coming. I assume you made it to the quartermaster OK?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We we were there. Yes.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Good, good good good. So, come come, come forward… Let me, I’m sorry, let me introduce my sister Ananka.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hello.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hi.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We… quite enjoy your library that doesn’t make any sense.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I like your shoes.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Oh, thank you. Very pleasing to meet you.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

I apologize for bringing you all in so early. My sister and I were just discussing it… We sort of need your help a little earlier than we normally would have.

But! But—but we found a destination that is completely safe. There is no Shattering. So, it will be a great first run for you all.

So, in order to make this happen though, we need to sort of get you out of the Plebe status. So as of today, you’re all cadets!

(a burst of nervous laughter)

Ha ha ha ha!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yay, cadets! I’m so happy to be a cadet. I wish I could write to my friends back in Balgomar and let them know that I’m a cadet now. It’s a pretty neat promotion. I was never a cadet before. I’m quite pleased to have a title like this—

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Let’s move on. Thank you Eggerton. OK, let’s get you all set up with medallions.

SEAN

And so, she pulls open a drawer and there’s drawers everywhere she just pulls open this drawer that’s suddenly in front of her and she pulls out three medallions that are made entirely of this grey metal, and in the centre is this giant stone that’s like a colorless ruby, but giant… And she starts handing out one to each of you. I don’t know, what’s an example of a colourless…? I guess a diamond.

Laughter.

MIKE

A ruby, which is defined by its colour…

SEAN

A ruby, which is defined by its colour. Thankfully Darcy gave me a look. Everyone else is like, we’re going with it!

MIKE

I gave a look too.

SEAN

I didn’t see the look.

So… oh well, we’ll just keep that.

She hands each of you a medallion, one to each of you.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

This is referred to as an ICT…

(she pronounces it “ice-tea”)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah, no. This is a piece of jewelry… not a refreshing summer drink. I’m just a little confused by the name, “iced tea”.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Can I have a straw for my iced tea?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Oh, is that a drink in your in your time?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

I am sorry. So, it’s an Integrated Comms and Transport Device. You’re going to see, there are four settings here. So, the circle at the top, that is Recharge. So if you want to just maximize the recharge on the device you put it there.

If you want to use it as a comms to talk back to us, in this case you’ll be speaking with Ananka on this mission, you’ll turn it here to the setting for Comms.

At the end of your mission, you will turn it here to Transport, and basically press in, and that should transport you back.

And then this final one is the new setting, which is part of the whole new plan that I told you about and this is Detect. So, it will detect if the Shattering is in where you’re going.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well now, this is all very simple. I don’t see how any would when using this in a future point could be the least bit confused!

Laughter.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Now, do keep in mind that if you leave it in Detect, it will drain the battery and it will need to recharge. OK? So it will recharge slowly… but just keep that in mind.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But we won’t need to use Detect, because you’re sending us to a place that has no Shattering today, right?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Right. Correct. Correct. This timetable has been slightly accelerated due to certain forces at work—

SEAN

And she gives Ananka an interesting glare at that moment.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Now, what we’re going to be doing is sending you on your first mission. You will be travelling into a storyverse. This library tracks all of the stories in existence. So we have taken a story that Ananka assures me, through her sight, is free of the Shattering, and you will just be going into it to retrieve something of significance from that story. So, this will just be a nice dry run to get us all going again.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I have a picnic basket.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Oh, that’s lovely. I hear this world is quite lovely, isn’t it Ananka?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

It is beautiful, most beautiful.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No. No. What I mean is that’s all I have, is a picnic basket, and this toy boat, and you’re sending us on some mission somewhere where we don’t know what’s going to happen, and I’m supposed to defend myself with a picnic basket?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

I’m not sure why you have a picnic basket, but it would be a lovely picnic. I hear it’s quite beautiful here. It’s the mountains you’re going to. They’re quite beautiful. You can have a nice picnic. Just find an artifact from the story. We will be here to talk you through it, and then we’ll bring you back and we can debrief.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So, you’re saying this should just be like a walk in the park where we could have a nice picnic, pick up some glowy device, and we’re done! And we should be transported home.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Oh no, you will be transported home. There was only one case and we’ve fixed things since then. Right, sister?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Very long time ago. Everything now is 100 percent.

MARISA

And Darcy looks over and Eggerton and just shakes her head.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uhh… what’s a storyverse?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Our reality is made up of stories. They are more powerful than you may know. And so, the Shattering is working its way through, corrupting all of these stories in the world, which is how your future came to be. So, we are claiming back certain stories that we are going to keep out of the Shattering’s reach. And Ananka is working to help find those stories that will matter. We were just hoping to have a little more time, weren’t we sister?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Indeed. Nothing goes as planned sometimes.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Mmm hmm. Mostly when it comes to boyfriends.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

OK, we don’t need to talk about that. Not in front of them.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Very well.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t mean to be impolite, but it seems that if you have—is it Ananka? Is that correct?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

That’s correct.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Right. If you have Ananka helping us, she must have some special knowledge of all this. Why can’t she go into the storyverse and get the artifact? It feels like you don’t even need us.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

That would be lovely, but we have to operate from here in the Nexus. We aren’t… allowed to directly influence.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh boy.

All right, I don’t think we have much choice here. Grab your extraneous items that look like they’re not going to help us in the least, and let’s go and do this thing they want us to do.

MIKE

I look in my pouch and make sure the brochure is still tucked in their nicely.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We’ve been promoted to a point where we’re now allowed to die; I was able to keep it in my pants; so I say let’s go! What’s the worst that could possibly happen?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

To make you feel better, tell you what. We’ll give you two silver beetles, OK?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I feel immediately better!

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Good. That’s good. Love the confidence. So—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The entire storyverse, the word “sarcasm” has never come up in any of them.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

I do need to work on my sarcasm detection, don’t I, Ananka?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

A little bit.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

OK, so these are two interdimensional quarantine beetles. Who would like them?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

This one looks nice. I like shiny things.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

There you go.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thank you.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Darcy, I believe you know how to use a beetle?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(resigned)

Yes, give me the beetle.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

You shouldn’t have to use it. But but if you were to come across an influence of the Shattering in that world you’re going to, you can just stick this beetle on them, activate it, and they will be gone—taken out of that world.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m sorry, stick the beetle on who?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Well, if, let’s say there was Shattering influence—I’m just saying there won’t be—but you can just stick this beetle to whoever or whatever is influenced, and they’ll be torn out of that world.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Where do they go?

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

…We deal with them.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh… OK.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

OK, so Ananka and I will just take you now to the Hall of Lore… and any last questions we’ll answer on our way.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hey Blat, want to bring an extra shirt just in case?

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…I’m sure this shirt will be fine.

SEAN

A hallway appears as Moira and Ananka lead you up out of the library… and it is a white hall that stretches as far as you can see. And all these doors start to fly down out of the ceiling and land on the walls and on the sides. And Moira steps forward and puts a key into a device in the centre of the floor, and one of the doors to your left swings open.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

OK, cadets, I’m sure you guys are all going to do fine. Right, Ananka?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes. My vision says yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Don’t worry, we have a boat!

SEAN

And it’s just blackness inside the door.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know if you noticed, but this door doesn’t actually go anywhere, so maybe we should try one that goes—

MARISA

So, Darcy pushes Eggerton through the door…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaaa!

MARISA

…and follows.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Peace out, so says Blaaaaat!

The roaring sound of the portal.

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers: an improvised fantasy role-playing game set in the world of Alba Salix.

Your Game Master is Sean Howard, with Marisa King as Darcy, Carter Siddall as Blat, Michael Howie as Eggerton, and special guest Maggie Makar as Ananka.

Dialogue editing and transcription by Michael Howie.

Additional material and sound design by Eli McIlveen.

Story consultant: Laura Packer.

Game consultant: Stephen Smith.

Join us on Patreon for behind-the-scenes information, access to our Discord server, and lots more. Find out how at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE: ANOTHER HIT POINT

SEAN

So, Blat, you come down in some trees…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(imitating falling down many branches)

Ugh… dah…

SEAN

You take 1 hit point of—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ugh…

SEAN

1 hit point of—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Agh… daagh… gahhh.

(theatrical whining)

Laughter.

SEAN

You take 1 hit point of damage.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Another hit point of damage…