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50: The Crystal Ball

In a cave high in the mountains, the party receive more past messages from the future. Peri and Eggerton have a talk.

Game Master: Sean Howard
Players: Marisa King, Carter Siddall and Michael Howie
Story Consultant: Laura Packer
Game Consultant: Stephen Smith
Music and Sound Design: Eli Hamada McIlveen

Content warning: heights, mentions of death, existential angst, paper cuts, breakups and great big freakouts. 

LAST TIME…

Fast-paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Last time on The End of Time and Other Bothers:

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(stoned)

Ohhhhh, there’s a dragon in the crater.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Heh… hello?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

What are you?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m a human?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

No, you’re not.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What do you think I am?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Something wild.

Pop!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Peri…

SEAN (AS PERI)

Twiddledee said you’ve been a week looking for a park.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Umm… I really don’t think we needed your help—

SEAN (AS PERI)

That’s it!

Pop!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I get…

Oh, and there she goes.

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Oh, I caught something!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hi Moira!

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

Eggerton, this is the end. You have one last chance!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Eggerton?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Where’s Moira?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We haven’t seen Moira in thousands of years.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, I was just in the Blatavan with her and she gave me this really weird message about sixty keys.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sixty keys?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think she’s talking about a piano.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

A dragon is going to eat you.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

He smells like the future. You were just there!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I was! I was at the end.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

There is a future coming where magic is organized, turned into something awful and metallic. And all of the wild creatures don’t exist in that future. And it all starts here, with this fae stone.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, how do you know? I mean, do you have a crystal ball or something that you can see what’s going to happen?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yes, do you want to see it?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, I do!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Get on my back, I’ll take all three of you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Awesome!

HIGH IN THE SKY

Wind whistles past. Snowball flaps their wings and banks suddenly.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoaaa!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Is there a problem?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It just feels a little bumpy is all!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Well, just hold on.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m trying, I’m trying. It’s just, you know, sometimes you see something interesting that catches your eye and you kind of turn quick, and I—

Snowball banks again.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Like that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa! Okay, see, I almost fell off again. So, you know, maybe, have you thought about saddles?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

No.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We’ve got some great mushroom leather work happening down on the ground back there…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

You want to saddle me like a piece of burden?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well… I feel like I’m the burden, I think, right now? So maybe if you had a saddle on, I’d be less of a burden to you.

Another sudden bank.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa! There we go again. Okay, so maybe I’ll just hold on—okay, Darcy, Darcy, you seem a little more at peace with all of this.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, I’m pretty comfortable up here. I’m just holding on to one of the scales like this. Why don’t you just do that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I’m trying, but my fingers, they’re not really long enough to get around the scale all the way. So every time there’s a little thing, I go, “Whoa!” Okay, see, and I almost fall off again.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, remember, I think Snowball might be trying to throw you off, considering his disdain for you. So why don’t you just keep quiet and maybe move to the back even more.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

It’d be so awful if the mother falls off my back and plummets miles to their death.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

See, I think you should just hold Blat’s hand.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just hold Blat’s hand because he has a firmer grip.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Good idea.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And that should hold you up here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, Blat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just keep your mouth shut.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, Blat, I’m going to hold your hand. Here, give me your hand.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What? You’re going to hold my hand? I’m trying to hold on.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Give me your hand. Give me your hand.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I can’t give you my hand, I’m—aughh! I’m slipping!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? No, okay, no, okay, no, okay, okay! Use your other hand! Use your other hand!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no, I’m losing… my grip… both hands…

Daaaahhh!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaaaa!

Blat tumbles off of Snowball—but quickly catches back up.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now, you see, I can fly, so it’s fine.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(shaken)

Okay. Okay. Okay. Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re okay, right?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So we’re just going to go back on the dragon.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. On the dragon.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s plenty of real estate to grab onto.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. All right.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Everything’s fine.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now, just think of him as a giant motor vehicle…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Giant motor vehicle…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Who actually wants to kill you…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Actually wants to kill me…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…if you’re any trouble at all.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No trouble.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, no trouble.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There we go.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

We’re beginning our descent.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, all right all right all right, ohhh, we’re moving at speed!

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 players Michael Howie, Carter Siddall, and Marisa King.

Episode 50: The Crystal Ball.

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

SEAN

We’re inside a cave, and Darcy has just managed to get a fire started, and the sound of crickets can be heard coming in from the darkness outside, and the cave seems to stretch on forever, getting larger and larger, and snowball can be heard moving around deeper down in the cave.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, okay, watch this one. Ready? Ready? Ready? Ready?

Echo!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON’S ECHOING VOICE)

Echo!

Echo!

Echo!

SEAN (AS ANOTHER DISTANT ECHO)

Echo.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

See? Didn’t you hear it?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, it sort of changes at the end there.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s kind of odd. Do it again.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, ready?

Sugar snaps!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON’S ECHOES)

Sugar snaps!

Sugar snaps!

Sugar snaps!

SEAN (AS A DISTANT ECHO THAT MIGHT ACTUALLY BE PERI)

…Peri.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

See? Something’s going on in here!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, I don’t think that’s an echo. I mean, it starts off as an echo, but I think that last part actually is an echo.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You don’t think it’s an echo?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, one more try.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, this, this will convince you. Go ahead.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I enjoy space!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON’S ECHOES)

Space!

Space!

Space!

SEAN (AS YEAH PRETTY MUCH FOR SURE PERI)

You’re an idiot.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So there’s something going on. I… do you think there’s like a rift?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, you either have literally the world’s lowest self-esteem and it’s coming out through echoes, or… Peri’s here and is messing with you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I mean, the self-esteem stuff checks out.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sure, sure, yeah, but again, for it to come out through an echo would be—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We were talking a lot about it in Circle a while ago.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right, but I’m talking like a supernatural level of low self-esteem. I think somehow Peri’s just found her way back to us.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, let me try. Last one.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Eggerton, we need to talk. Now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wha? Wha! Wha?

Pop!

SEAN

And they both disappear.

Silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, well, excuse me! I’m sorry that I couldn’t be a part of this!

Fine, disappear or something. I don’t mind. I mean, why should it offend me?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, maybe it’s a good thing. After all, Snowball doesn’t exactly care for Eggerton.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well… so now Eggerton gets to have his own, like, side quests and whatnot?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You think he’s having a side quest with Peri? You think what they’re doing right now is pleasant? I don’t think you want to be there. I think there’s probably a big fight going on.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You really think so?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, they could literally go anywhere with their witchy-woo fairy powers.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But they won’t! They’ll just go somewhere and argue and Peri will tell them how mad she is.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, if Peri could do that, well, why can’t Peri then be the one to solve the problems of the end of time and, you know, the magic piano that’s inside an alley somewhere?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

There’s no magic piano. It’s three keys. It was pretty clear. I can’t believe you were pulled into his whole story. And also, yeah, maybe we should have been on this whole adventure with Peri. Did you ever think maybe it would have worked out and we wouldn’t have had all of Eggerton’s craziness the whole time?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Do you think we got the wrong fairy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes! I 100% think we got the wrong fairy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Can we trade in our fairy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I wonder. I don’t know.

SEAN

You hear the sound of Snowball coming back up from deeper in the cave. And a scraping sound, like they’re dragging something.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What if he’s already killed Eggerton and that’s just him dragging him through the tunnels?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I guess that’s okay at this point because we realized we should have had Peri the whole time?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, but that doesn’t mean we want him dead!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I’ve brought my crystal ball, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh! Ha ha, it’s a crystal ball, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, yeah! How dark of you, thinking that maybe he had eaten our compatriot?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I can only dream.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So! A crystal ball! You really do have one.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yes, here.

SEAN

And he scooches his giant tail, pushing something around and forward in front of him and you see what looks like a banged-up TV set from your future, which would be your past. And it has a logo that you recognize: “BALGEM INDUSTRIES.”

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

And it has to be connected to this.

SEAN

And his tail pulls back and sitting there, connected with a few wires, is something you recognize as a Projectatron 5000.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s not a crystal ball.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Well, it shows the future.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, that makes sense. Because what you’ve got there, Snowball, is a Projectatron 5000.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I can see that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, but what I mean is, that’s from our time. We know that thing.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I know. It smells as you do.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh. All right. So you know it’s not a crystal ball then. You just call it that.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Well, it’s been passed down as a crystal ball. But clearly it’s not a ball.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, where did you get it from?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

We’ve had it forever. Many before me have held this role. And we have passed it from one to the next. Always waiting for the day where we would be able to, you know.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sell popcorn while people watch it?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Stop the mother.

Here.

SEAN

And his giant tail curls around and at the very tip presses Play.

The sound of something like an old VCR spinning up. A worn videotape begins to play, and we hear a familiar music sting.

SEAN

And you see a logo of the People’s Museum of Culture and Prosperity flash up and it starts to go a little askew.

And then goes steady and you hear some music.

Canned music in the background.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Tracking! Tracking! Press down. Just press down until the picture clears.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh really?

SEAN

And he presses down.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

See that? It’s clearing up.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Keep pressing?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just keep pressing. Ah, see there you go. Yeah, the lines went away.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I had no idea.

SEAN

And it cuts to a desk where there’s a gentleman in a suit staring at the screen and clearly waiting for a cue and then starts speaking.

SEAN (AS ED)

Hi everyone, I’m Ed from the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Pretty Things.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I can’t believe it. We finally get to watch one of these things after centuries and we get some sort of instructional video.

SEAN (AS ED)

And here today we’re going to show you the wonders of Steadfast—the future of Balgomar!

SEAN

And we see photos of transportation vehicles and the city and people moving around. All very familiar sights that you haven’t seen in a long time.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This is only like three blocks from my apartment!

SEAN (AS ED)

All thanks to Emperor Boltius—long live Boltius—

MARISA AND CARTER (AS DARCY AND BLAT)

(mechanically)

Long live Boltius.

SEAN (AS ED)

We have created the future here in Steadfast. There’s heat and energy to every home. The forests and mountains are free of evil, dark beasts. And there are jobs available for all Balgomarians in our factories!

SEAN

And you see shots of people very unhappy looking marching into factories.

SEAN (AS ED)

Boltius—long live Boltius—

MARISA AND CARTER (AS DARCY AND BLAT)

Long live Boltius.

SEAN (AS ED)

—has created the future. Behold!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I feel like they should have hired a professional for this. That guy is really rough.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh no, unionized performers cost way too much money. This is probably just some local schmuck who they got to do this during his lunch hour.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, but it’s a big promotional thing for Steadfast. Don’t you think they should have put some money into it?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I think if they knew that this would somehow wind up thousands of years into our old past, yeah, they probably would have put more time into it.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh, you missed the credits at the end.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, sorry, what did they say?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh, just who directed it. It was Ed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, I see, self-directed. Got it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Cast himself. That’s so cheap.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

There was a sound guy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Was it Ed?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

No.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, okay. Well, there you go.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Did he have the same last name as Ed?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, you see, there you go. There you go. You see, you couldn’t break into this division. It was all about who you knew.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I think you’re missing the point. Did you watch what it showed? A future without magic, without beasts, without wild.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s where we’re from. That’s where we’re trying to get back to, hopefully, eventually, after the end of our adventure.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yes, but that stone, that stone is the beginning of what they harness that ends the world.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Pretty sure that’s not what ends the world. We’ve seen what ends time, but it’s sort of an inky blackness that keeps moving backwards through time, and we’ve come across it a couple of times.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I’m speaking of the end of my time, my people.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right, but it keeps moving backwards through time, so the inky blackness will get here eventually if we don’t figure out what to do.

(whispers)

We have no idea what to do.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Right. Well, but is it not true that my people are removed long before your future?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, you mean are there any dragons in our time?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I mean, I didn’t visit the entire world. I had a career, you know, filing, so I didn’t have many opportunities to travel.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Did you ever file any paperwork about dragons?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

About dragons? Well, I don’t remember every piece of paper.

(sidelong, to Darcy)

Did you ever come across any dragons in our era?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, not that I can remember.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

So it’s safe to say that we and all that I represent are ended long before…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But, uh, again, how do I know that there wasn’t a… magic dragon island in our era where all of your kind retired to?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Right. A retirement island.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I mean, I don’t know if we had that, but I also don’t know we didn’t have that, you see.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I could look it up in a book about our era, but oopsie doodle, we don’t have those books because they’re all destroyed.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I’ll go get the book.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Because you have the… Oh, there’s future books too?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Of course.

SEAN

And Snowball turns and starts walking back down deeper into the cave.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You know, I think it’s rather presumptuous that he’s got this hate-on for our future era, but he’s got stuff from our future era. How many things do you own from our future era?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I have nothing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Exactly! I’ve got the clothes on my back and that’s it! How fair is that?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I think the question is, how did he get those? Did someone else like us come back in time three, four, five times and bring that with him? I mean, who just hauls a Projectatron 5000 through time?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, my lord, we have to search this cave. We have to search this cave right now.

There might be the bones of people from our era who came back in time, schmucks like us, who eventually died, and are buried here in Ice Dragon Mountain.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(increasingly agitated)

Do you think Moira’s just using us as dragon fodder? She just keeps sending people back constantly in time to try and fix everything and it never works and they just end up in this cave and they end up as bones and they end up in a big pile in the back of this dragon cave somewhere?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, I think Moira actually cares about us and what we’re doing. She’s a wonderful boss and I’ve always enjoyed working with her. Where’s Moira? There’s no Moira! Where’s Eggerton for that matter? We don’t know what we’re doing so we may as well wind up being buried under his gold coin collection or whatever it is that you have inside a dragon’s cavern.

SEAN

Snowball is returning and a book slides forward ahead of him and comes to rest right at your feet, Blat, and it’s a very familiar book that leads you to Reginald.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

This book says it knows you all and there are no dragons and there is no retirement island with high tea, whatever that is.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right… right.

BATTLE ZONE

Thudding music and cheap-sounding laser gun sounds.

SEAN

And we cut to the middle of a battle—and there are screams, and there’s a lot of younger fae running around with weird outfits on and gun-like devices in their hands that are just flashing lights. And Peri is standing there with her arms crossed, not looking very happy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, Peri, I think they’re trying to flank us again but if we are to get high ground, right, if you go up there and then I stay down here and then we pincer! But it’s a vertical pincer! No one ever sees a vertical pincer coming. Okay, ready? So you go high.

SEAN (AS PERI)

No, no, we need to talk.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, we are. So you go up there and then as they come around—

MARISA (AS A YOUNG FAE)

Aaa! Vertical pincer! Vertical pincer!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Look out!

Small fae run up with laser tag guns and shoot Eggerton and Peri, whose guns both power down.

SEAN (AS PERI)

I’m red again!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, well that’s because you’re not hiding. You’re just standing there.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Eggerton, we need to talk! We’re going somewhere else right now and I’m taking you—

Pop! The sounds of the laser tag battle vanish.

SEAN

And where are you now?

MIKE

A ball pit in, like, a restaurant.

BALL PIT

SEAN (AS PERI)

This?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m drowning! Oh God, I’m drowning. Oh God!

SEAN (AS PERI)

Would you stop overriding where I’m taking you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m trying! But I’m stuck and they’re all around me! I can’t get my feet down.

MARISA (AS RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE)

Excuse me. This pit is—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Help! Please!

MARISA (AS RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE)

No. Sir. Please get out of here. This is only for children!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m trying!

MARISA (AS RESTAURANT EMPLOYEE)

Just stand up, sir. Just stand up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, there’s a floor.

SEAN (AS PERI)

I’m so sorry. I’ll take him out of here. I’m sorry. I’m very sorry.

(to Eggerton)

Really? You took us to—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

These are fun. They’re kind of squishy. What’s that smell though? Why is it smelling here?

SEAN (AS PERI)

(sighs)

Because it’s a McFeisty, and it always smells in a McFeisty, and we’re in the play pit, which is never cleaned.

Would you stop overriding me and let me take you home?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I bet I can juggle these balls. Ready?

SEAN (AS PERI)

I’m taking you home, now!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

One, two, three—

Pop!

SEAN

Where do you end up?

MIKE

Uh, Balgomar.

BALGOMAR

A desolate cityscape.

SEAN (AS PERI)

What is this?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, it was going to be juggling, but you did something to my balls, Peri.

A dog barks in the distance.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Why are we on top of… What is this? A cliff?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa! That’s the edge. It’s fine. No, this isn’t a cliff. This is—it’s a building.

SEAN (AS PERI)

A building?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, so it’s a building, not a cliff, but it is very high. So maybe we just take a couple steps away from it because it’s a little—ha ha, it’s a little fall‑y.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Why won’t you let me take you home?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

This is home! This is my apartment building.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Oh, this is your home now. That’s it? We’re done? Is that what this is about?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You said take me home and this is where my home is! It’s the apartment building. And I had some friends on the roof for a while, but it looks like they’re all gone.

Why is it so quiet here? It used to be so noisy all the time.

SEAN (AS PERI)

It looks a bit like a ghost town.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It does. That’s weird.

SEAN (AS PERI)

I’m trying really hard here, Eggerton…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So am I. I mean, I was going to juggle for you and then you took that away and now we’re at home.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Stop deflecting!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m not deflec—You were asking me questions. I’m answering your questions.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Are we over?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t… Over what?

SEAN (AS PERI)

You know what I’m asking.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Are we done?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know—

SEAN (AS PERI)

Do you need space?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes, I do need space. I mean, everything exists in space and I like space.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Do you feel like you want to talk about how difficult it is to make commitments?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Um… I tried to commit to a plan to lose weight, but I kind of had trouble with it because, you know, I kept going back in time and stuff.

The dog begins barking again.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Sorry, I got distracted. I hear this one dog and I’m worried about them.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know where that dog’s come from. It’s really weird.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Look…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What do you think his name is?

SEAN (AS PERI)

Do you…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Is that what he’s trying to say? Listen, listen.

SEAN (AS PERI)

I can hear the dog.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so I know. I know. So can I. But what’s the dog trying to say? It’s one thing to hear. It’s another to listen, Peri. I need you to listen right now to what the dog is trying to tell us. Okay, ready? Let’s listen.

SEAN (AS PERI)

Uh huh. And when we’re done with that, can you listen to what I’m trying to say?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I am. But right now I need to know what Benjamin has to say. And you keep talking over Benjamin and that’s not very polite, especially when it’s just the three of us apparently left here in Balgomar.

Silence.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh. No?

SEAN (AS PERI)

Okay—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Do you ever think about tax policy?

SEAN (AS PERI)

Why don’t you go help Benjamin?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, okay.

SEAN (AS PERI)

And I’m going to move out.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Where are you moving off to? You picking up camp and going—

SEAN (AS PERI)

Does it matter? Does it matter, Eggerton?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I guess in the grand scheme of things nothing matters because look, it’s just you, me and Benjamin in the end.

SEAN (AS PERI)

I don’t think it’s going to be me, you and Benjamin in the end, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, you think Benjamin’s going to go home?

SEAN (AS PERI)

…Yeah.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Like, is he just here on vacation?

SEAN (AS PERI)

That’s what I’m saying.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You know, there was this guy who used to talk about tourism a lot—

SEAN (AS PERI)

Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I don’t think it ever worked. It was… Ned?

SEAN (AS PERI)

Eggerton!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? What?

SEAN (AS PERI)

Thank you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re welcome.

SEAN (AS PERI)

For what… you gave me.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What, the fairy cakes?

SEAN (AS PERI)

Yeah, the fairy cakes.

Goodbye, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Bye, Peri!

Pop!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Benjamin, where are you?

Benjamin?

Peri?

Aww.

MIDROLL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Music sting.

ELI

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

SEAN

Hello, friends.

Wow, there’s a chill in the air, and I don’t just mean the weather. Things are getting crazy. I don’t think I know what’s happening!

But what I do know is it’s time to shout out some amazing supporters and fans. We are so behind on this, but I’m getting through it again. Here we go!

A giant shout of love out to Brett Nieland—hope I’m saying that right. Ela! And Anne Baird is in the house. And don’t forget Jenelle Bisquera, Tyler Aas, Jeff Lanham, Karla Anne Knapp… and what is this next name? Could it be Kristi Boulton from Civilized? Yeah!

Thank you, everyone. Thank you to each and every one of you. We could not do this without you. There’s so much coming. We’re so excited to have you with us.

And now, let’s get back to the insanity, huh?

Music sting.

MIDROLL: DEMON RESOURCES

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Martha?

MIKE (AS MARTHA)

Yes?

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Look, do you mind doing a file swap with me?

MIKE (AS MARTHA)

A file swap? Didn’t we just do one of those?

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Yeah. You know, I just—I got another one. You know, maybe I’ll take three of yours.

MIKE (AS MARTHA)

What’s the name on that file?

SEAN (AS CLERK)

No, you don’t need to know. No, I’ll just—

MIKE (AS MARTHA)

Show me the name.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Five, five to one.

MIKE (AS MARTHA)

Show me the name.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Centurion Centurion Centurion—

MIKE (AS MARTHA)

No! No, not me. Go. Get out of here.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

All right, all right.

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

Centurion, centurion, centurion. I am here to inform you that I have been fired from yet another position. But it’s all right. I’ve taken a new position. So now I need my dental information for my new job, which is my old job.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

No, no, no, I’m still working. I’m two back. I’m two positions back. I don’t even have this paperwork filed yet.

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

Oh, no, you scratch that one out, and then you scratch that one out.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

No, what? That one?

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

And then you put me back on that one, which is the first one you scratched out.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Wait, I don’t even have that one you’re pointing at. How did you get it?

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

Oh, well, this one I worked at for just a couple of days, and then I got kicked out, and then I had to drag myself all the way back to the Demon City to work for the same place I worked at before.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

You don’t even have food handling experience. How did you get that job at the Vegan Quick ‘n’ Snack?

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

Oh, the Vegan Quick ‘n’ Snack. No, I only worked there very quickly, because Mr. Smithson, well, he wanted me to drag bodies into Hot Dog River when I didn’t want to do that. So instead, I went back and worked at my own job where I started busing tables for my old boss where I used to be a centurion, but for a while I had to be table clearer, table clearer, table clearer. And that’s more difficult to say. I prefer saying centurion.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Okay—

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

And now I’m a centurion again, and that’s what I’m now going to do.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Right, you’re back to centurion. Oh! You’re back to centurion!

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

Yes, yes, I’m back to centurion.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

So we had centurion. Wait, we’ll just open that file and… Oh.

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

What? I’m a centurion. Isn’t that what it says there? It should actually say centurion two more times. Centurion, centurion, centurion.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Well, but you’ve… got a dishonourable discharge here.

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

A dishonourable discharge? Oh, no, I served quite honourably. Stupidly, but honourably. Did I smell bad? Quite often. Did I make poor decisions? Absolutely. Did I follow any directions? Very, very badly. But I was still a centurion. Centurion through and through.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Look, I can’t just make a dishonourable discharge go away. I can make these other jobs in between go away… but this is a big deal.

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

I feel that getting stabbed through the chest was enough of a discharge for me.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

What—you’re still bleeding! What are you doing in here bleeding?

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

Oh, I’m sorry. Can we get some paperwork to stop? Here, give me the paperwork on one of those old jobs and I’ll shove it into the wound—aaaaagh, that smarts.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Well, I guess that takes care of the dishonourable discharge paperwork…

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

I am discharging something else from somewhere else, but we’ll deal with that later. I’m sorry about your chair.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Thanks.

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

So, my dental. Will they pay for my dental at this new place, which is my old place? I need extensive dental work.

SEAN

Help us pay for Centurion Centurion Centurion’s dental work by going to patreon.com/albasalix and supporting us today. Please!

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

Whatever you’re going to support, double it! Because now I have a bloody wound from a sword and it’s filled with old paperwork, which is quite uncomfortable and I’m getting paper cuts internally.

Have you ever had a paper cut internally? Tell us at Patreon.

SEAN (AS CLERK)

Martha, I’ll do the fridge for a month.

MIKE (AS MARTHA)

No way!

CARTER (AS THE CENTURION)

What’s in the fridge? Is there a lot in the fridge? Could I sleep in it?

Music sting.

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

SEAN

We return to the cave, and Darcy and Blat are both staring at a book they recognize on the ground.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s your book. That’s the training book.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, I’m aware that it’s the training book, yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, how could Snowball get the training book?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This isn’t the first time we’ve experienced something that makes no sense whatsoever! I’ve given up even trying! Future stuff is now coming back down into the past.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Someone named Moira sent someone with it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You see? Not a good boss. Not a good boss! Were there others? Were there others, Snowball? Were there other people from the future like us who ultimately die here in your cave of cold and loneliness?!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Do you want to see their bones?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

OH MY GOD I WAS RIGHT! THIS IS TERRIBLE.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Well, just… I live a very long time.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Was it a… was it a fae, a human, and a half demon?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

No.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah! All right, well at least that’s something.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Some little guy who talks very slowly named Cy… press?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

OH MY GOD. CYRUS IS DEAD. CYRUS AND EVERYONE ELSE IN THE UNIVERSE IS DEAD BUT WE HAVE SPECIFIC PROOF THAT CYRUS IS… OHHHH, CYRUS…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

As are all the dragons too in the future.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right, the dragons in the future too, yes very sad BUT CYRUS! CYRUS IS DEAD! Someone we knew personally.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You never much liked Cyrus.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

THAT DOESN’T MATTER! WE TALKED TO CYRUS AND—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You were kind of impatient with him as I recall.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(softly)

Ohhhh… he’s dead.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

He was a very sad man.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Cyrus did seem to be a depressive, yes it’s true.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I’m planning on naming my offspring Geraldine if that helps you have remorse for the future of dragons.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How is naming Geraldine supposed to—

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Geraldine is also dead!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

OH, OH, GERALDINE! WHO I DON’T KNOW! WILL EVENTUALLY…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Thank you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…die.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So what did they come back here for? What did they tell you? What was the point? Why were they here?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Cyrus was looking for a demon, a human, and a fae.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s us!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, thank you!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But why would he come here to look for us?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He probably got the time period wrong. He came back too far. How long ago was Cyrus here?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Many hundreds of years.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ohhhhh, they really screwed up the math there.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

So Cyrus finally made it here, and I did my best to help them.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And Cyrus delivered the crystal ball and the training book.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh no, that was some strange gentleman with sticks and portals.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

His bones are not here.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, thank lord! So, someone is still possibly out there. So the portal moron is just delivering stuff from our era?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, maybe that means he’s not such a moron. Why would he be involved in this?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I figure if he has the ability to create portals, he can just pop in and out of whatever era he chooses.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh I see, and just deliver Projectatron 5000s and special training books to this dragon? Yeah, that sounds like something just a portal salesman would do.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

He was building quite the, what did he call it, portal cave, or portal salesman’s cave. Never finished it. One of those projects, you know.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you mean he has a cave out here?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh, deeper. I can show you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Is he down there? When’s the last time you saw the portal salesman?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

It has been a while since I’ve seen that one.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, sure, all right. Let’s see the stuff from our era.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Okay, just so you don’t see me in the wrong light. You know, the large pile of bones are the ones that I ate. The small pile are the ones who died naturally.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s very comforting, thank you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Who are you eating?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Well, I plan on eating a small fae if things don’t go well.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, again, we don’t know when the small fae is coming back, but I still don’t understand how you think the small fae is the one who’s responsible for there not being any more dragons eventually.

Like, okay, here’s an example for you. I don’t know very many demonic folk from my era, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to try to smush Eggerton or chew him up and spit his bones out.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

That’s because of the Ice Age. Your folk could not survive without the heat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, see, that checks out. Yeah, we wouldn’t have done very well during the Ice Age. Thank heavens I was born—

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

And your fae friend is back. In fact, they are…

(sniffs the air)

Sounds like they’re near the portal… cave thing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He just pops in and out. He’s worse than the portal salesman for that.

All right, to the portal cave we shall go!

THE PORTAL SALESMAN CAVE

Pop!

SEAN

Eggerton, you pop back into existence in utter darkness.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Where? Oh no, I’m inside.

SEAN

And it’s echoing.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Something big because it’s echoing. And I… Okay, no, I know what to do. Is it over my face? No, there’s nothing on my face that I can feel. Okay, so I’m not blindfolded. Oh, can I see anything? I know what I’ll do. I just… Ow! Okay, no, my eyes still hurt when I poke them, so my eyes work.

Um… Hello? Hello? Hello?

SEAN

And a light turns on.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa!

SEAN

And it’s like a console of some kind ahead of you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, there’s a console of some kind. Maybe I’ll go explore that a little. And what happens if I poke it?

SEAN

And a big giant screen comes to life and says “NO INPUT”.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh, uh, um… Yes Input!

SEAN

And your eyes are now able to see the light. And you see what looks like a La-Z-Boy, and in front of it a coffee table and a bunch of weird rectangular small devices on top of the coffee table.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, well, maybe I’ll just go grab one of these things. I’ve played with these magical bricks in the past. As I recall, you push one and it’ll take a picture. So I’m gonna push this button.

SEAN

And disco lights and music turns on.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so that’s the party button. Good to know. Okay, so I’ll leave the party button on. And now I’ll push this one.

SEAN

And the TV comes to life.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa!

SEAN

And it is the portal salesman talking to you.

CARTER (AS GERHARDT THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

All right, so it’s landscape mode. It’s vertical? No, I wanted to be landscape mode for the widescreen cinematic effect. Hello? Hi!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What—Guci… gusnur, is that you?

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

I’m pausing in case you want to also say hello to me!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I am saying hello to you!

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

But I obviously cannot hear you because this is pre-recorded.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What do you mean it’s pre-recorded? You’re right there! How do I get you out of this thing? Oh, sorry, keep talking.

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

So, what I have done to perhaps help you is, I brought back stuff from your era back into the past. Perhaps this could be of some help for you in helping solving the end of time, and other bothers…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(simultaneously)

That was such a great idea. I wonder why you would do that, though.

On the screen, Gerhardt has fallen silent for a moment.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I was just thinking maybe that would be where you could answer me. But, okay, maybe there’s some kind of delay?

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

I found a pizza place I quite like. And I thought perhaps you’d like me to deliver something every so often. And I realized I don’t know when you’re going to be coming back and there’s a lot of rotting pizza just lying around—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m here now, so you can probably just deliver stuff now.

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

Have you ever had a rotting pizza? I have once when I was desperate for food—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Did you say “erotic pizza”?

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

Nobody was able to believe me that I had the portals and sometimes I had to eat the garbage…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(overtop)

But I’ve always believed you about the portals. We’ve gone through the portals together.

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

This one time I ate a rotting pizza, the toppings had gone green, I didn’t feel very good and the rumbling in the tumbling and then the purging—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know why you’re not listening to me right now, Gluthir. We’re trying—

There’s an emergency! I’m in a big room and I don’t know what’s happening!

SEAN

(laughing)

Okay.

MARISA

That was pretty great.

JUST OUTSIDE…

SEAN

Darcy and Blat, it’s getting darker and darker. And then up ahead, you see what appears to be strobe light coming out of a doorway and you hear disco music?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(numb)

I just don’t understand anything anymore.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ve been very mistaken in what a dragon cavern would be like. And I gotta tell ya, this is a nice surprise. This is a lot better than I thought it would be.

SEAN

And you see what looks like a figure that flashes across the opening in the doorway, backlit by the strobe lights. Looks like they’re disco dancing… like a disco dancing Eggerton?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Eggsy!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, and then… Okay, Boguntha, you didn’t really finish your thought, so I’ll keep doing the dance break, but I don’t know what else I should be doing, what else you want me to do with all this stuff…

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

Now, it’s a nice surprise that I’ve actually brought back a few albums for you to enjoy. I don’t know if you’ve discovered them yet—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh yeah, I got the music going. It’s a lot of fun.

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

Over here on the left-hand side, beside the chairs.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh no, that’s the right-hand side. That’s your left-hand side.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What is going on here?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh hey, Darcy! I’m just having a conversation with Grffsrrh and we’re dancing! But he’s having a bit of trouble connecting through, I think there’s like a space-time thing, so there’s a bit of a delay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What? You mean he’s up on the screen?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, he’s in that thing and I think it’s like a transmutational alteration system of some kind. ‘Cause sometimes he understands me and sometimes he doesn’t. Watch, ready? Okay.

Hey, Guusmer, what do you want to do later?

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

So, what I thought was the most important thing, I overheard something that someone was mentioning. I brought back several pianos, which I have stacked in the back of the cave—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, pianos! Pianos! Hey Blat, you hear that? I found the pianos!

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

Every single one I found in an alley, and let me tell you, a lot of people were very angry about that. Like, “Hey, why are you stealing the piano I’m moving?” And I said, “This possibly is a magic piano that’s going to help us solve the end of time…”

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

See, sometimes he keeps talking after—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Isn’t there a mute button?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why would we mute him? That would be rude.

CARTER (AS THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

(almost inaudible under the others)

So I would take them by myself which is very tiring, but the portals, they certainly help move it easily into the cavern—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We need to stop this!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why would we—no, but he’s got information. It’s like, I’m just trying to hear, but he’s not listening to me well.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Press that button there!

SEAN

And the video stops.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aww! Well, now he’s gone.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

He was just on—you have these in Balgomar! He was just on the TV. He’s not really here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, but this is the portal salesman. He’s magical, almost. He pops up everywhere!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, through his portals.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, this is a giant portal!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ugh. Eggerton, this is obviously something he’s recorded before.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What…? No.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oookay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, because he addressed me. We had a conversation, Darcy. You just missed that part.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m glad I did. I feel like it would have been very confusing.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, well let me turn down the music so it’s easier to hear each other now.

SEAN

The dragon’s nose appears in the doorway—all you can see.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I apologize for eating all the pizza. It seemed like a waste.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, I get that. Pizza doesn’t really last all that long. And Shusnurg was telling me that, you know, he brought it here, but he wasn’t sure when I would be here. And that’s why I was wondering, is there some kind of calendar system I can check?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh yeah, I have one.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Just to find out where—you have a calendar?

SEAN

And the nose becomes an open mouth.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Just climb on in.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, okay!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s no calendar in there! Do not go in there!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But he said there’s a cal—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s no calendar. He’s trying to eat you, you ignoramus.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sighs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sit down.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, fine—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sit down on one of the many easy chairs we have in this cavern for some reason.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ll take this one and kick the legs out and—ahh! All right.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Now, I think he thinks that amongst all this crap that he’s brought back, there’ll be something here to help us and—

Oh my lord! Demon Man #47! I never read this one!

Blat opens a comic book.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aww, “To be continued”?! That means I would need to get Demon Man #48! What are the odds he brought that back?

A portal appears with a roar and a pop.

SEAN

There’s a pop sound and a circle appears in the ceiling, and a whole case of comics falls down onto the ground. And the portal closes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Thank you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m telling you, something weird about time is happening in here.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I can’t—it’s not really about time, it’s just the portal salesman! He’s just making entertaining but ultimately pointless deliveries… ah, you see? Demon Man #48. Now, this would be worth something in our era, but unfortunately now we’re at a time before this was written or drawn or produced. And ohh, they changed the artist in this issue. Now take a look at this, Demon Man just looks ridiculous.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

They changed the artist in the middle of the arc?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes! Don’t you hate that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Seems irresponsible to the art form.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey! Hey! Morons! Once again, you are getting easily distracted by stuff that doesn’t mean anything.

There’s a huge dragon here who wants to eat Eggerton. I believe Eggerton had a message from Moira about how we have to find three keys or it’s the end of the universe completely, that’s it, finito, done, no more—and you’re worrying about some stupid comic book from the future.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Darcy, Darcy. I hear you. I’m listening. And what I need you to do is understand that comic books are more than just comic books. They’re kind of a cultural thing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No. No, Eggerton. No input from you right now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well that’s what the thing said!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It said “no input”! How did you know that?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t know, but it seems to have clocked you very well. No input!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait, what says “no input”?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The thing that the portal salesman was on. That portal—

SEAN

Eggerton is pointing at the TV, which is all static, and it says “NO INPUT” in the lower right.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait. If we change the input, maybe it’s possible that the portal salesman brought us back… a computer system of some kind?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, that—that’s what I’ve been telling you. This is what we have in our time!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right, but something that might actually be useful to us in this time.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I don’t know about that. It seems like it might just be something for him to record on.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And also, I’ll have you know, they changed the artist midstream because he was working on the Justice Team comic and he couldn’t draw both at the same time!

Still, very disappointing.

All right, let’s figure out how to change inputs.

Darcy and Blat fight over the remote, flipping rapidly from one channel to the next: cartoony music, a lilting flute, a demonic war, a snatch of the theme to Episode 34…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, not that—press that—it’s that one! Would you just listen to me, Blat? It’s not—no, it’s the other one. It’s the other one!

Tinkling, dissonant music.

SEAN (AS A SMALL CHILD)

(singing)

It’s a small world after all!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, no, no, shut it off! Shut it off!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s a lawsuit! Let’s get that off of there. Okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That was a close one.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Woo! Don’t want to have that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, but what if I just stick my finger in this hole and—

Eggerton flails around as he receives a substantial electric shock.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, so if I select input… arrow up… arrow across…

SEAN

Bloop! Bloop!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Select this other device… hit Enter—

A burst of static—then:

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Hello? Hello, is anyone there?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That voice is familiar.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

(tired)

Day 37 of Snegal Pirate Radio! Um… not much left here. Managing to survive. No atmosphere. Becalmed in the void in a capsule, continuing to broadcast. No return signal yet.

Oh well, um… well, um, today’s been like every other day! I got up, thought about Blat, sang the friend song… that was sort of sad actually, doing it alone. Ate one of the few cans of beans left. Rethinking idea of bringing beans because of new issue emerging… Also, rethinking lack of toilet facility.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wait, turn it off, turn it off, it’s too depressing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This show is very depressing!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, no more.

They shut off the Projectatron.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So maybe it’s not as useful as we thought it might be.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I thought perhaps Moira left a message somewhere—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Moira did leave a message. In Eggerton’s brain. It was “Find the three keys and the Nexus.” That was the message. Her dying breath, that was the message. Why can’t we accept that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well… not to put too fine a point on it, but that was part of the message, Darcy. The whole message was, “Find the sixty keys dead end find the three keys and the Nexus read it back stop writing I’m.”

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, that was you writing down everything Moira said, obviously.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

What key are you looking for?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You know about the keys?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

There’s a lot of keys in this world.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s what I’ve been saying, there’s at least sixty, right?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We need three and—ugh, I hate to say this, but I think Eggerton’s one.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m a key!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh boy.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I’ve never eaten a key before.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And you’re not going to start now! Now, do you know about the two other keys?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Hmm. The annoying demon in that book is talking about a key every time he comes out. I don’t bring him out anymore.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

He… he can come out of the book?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Well, he sort of tries to draw you into the book, but seeing as I’m like the protector of all wild magic, I just bring him out.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You never said he could do that, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, he came out in the demonic plane. He didn’t come out of the book in Balgomar…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I know, the book is designed to suck you into some plane.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, you see? You see? You get sucked into a plane. Exactly right.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

But you just have to say no. Well, you could say no, Darcy. You have wild magic.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, I’m going to try this. Book!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

No, don’t. Don’t.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s the demonic plane.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m going to say no to you, book!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, it’s the demonic plane…

A shimmer of magic.

SEAN

And Eggerton is sucked into the book.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wup!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(sighs)

I’ll be back in a minute.

Another shimmer as Blat vanishes.

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers, with your Game Master Sean Howard and players Marisa King, Carter Siddall, and Michael Howie.

Dialogue editing by Michael Howie, transcription by Michael Howie and Marisa King. Music and sound design by Eli Hamada McIlveen. Story consultant: Laura Packer. Game consultant: Stephen Smith. Supporting producers: Ren, Becky Arenivar, and Lillianne Johnston.

If you enjoy the show, check out our Patreon. Supporters get access to our Trove of Bones material and an invite to our wonderful fan community on Discord. Look for the Patreon link at OtherBothers.com.

OUTTAKE:

SEAN

…and it says “NO INPUT” in the lower right.

Outside the studio, a neighbour’s dog starts barking.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Benjamin?

How’d you get here, Benjamin? Come here, boy. Come here!

Laughter.

MIKE (AS BENJAMIN)

Ruff?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait. If we change the input…

Barking.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(laughs)

Silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wait. If we change the inp—

Barking.

MIKE

Dog has great timing.

Laughter.