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55: Out Of Order

Darcy’s new allies come to the rescue – while Eggerton faces a monumental choice.

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

Content warning: Impending doom, angry animals, chaos, panic, more chaos, health code violations.

PREVIOUSLY…

Fast-paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Previously on The End of Time and Other Bothers:

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Can we get out the back? You know this cave better than anyone.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

(snoring)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Snowball’s asleep, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snowball, how can you put up with that?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thanks for coming, everybody! Remember to rate and review our party. Tell other scorpions and dogs about it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

They’re coming back, aren’t they?

MARISA

I transform into a giant mole right in front of everyone.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yer merp meep!

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Why would you do me the honour of standing with me in the entrance? We can at least buy them some time.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We’re going to go out with a magical bazooka in our hands.

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

Do you need help, Defender?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just trying to call up my mystical weapon!

SEAN

Black metal plate armour clanks down all over Blat’s body.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So I’m just gonna do what I usually do and we’ll see if it makes the problem go away and… pull down on this thing!

SEAN

The explosion shoots you backwards as the cave begins to collapse all around you.

Darcy lets out a massive roar that echoes across the landscape.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think I called them…

MARISA

I say in my head, to Snowball.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

You did. And I answer.

SEAN

And Snowball bows his head to you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(muffled)

Did I save us?

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

SEAN

We return to the cave. Time is still frozen and the light of Loxsyn emits blindingly from every nook and cranny of the cave.

Outside, Eggerton is half crouched as if he’s running like maybe he’s part dog, part rhinoceri.

Inside, we see a range of animals gathered around Darcy, who is clutching her necklace. And she has just seen the location of the second key…

As time rushes forward and the light diminishes and Loxsyn is gone.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think I just saw something important.

SEAN (AS ONE OF THE ANIMALS)

For the battle?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, something else. I think where the second key is.

SEAN (AS A HEDGEHOG)

The second key?

SEAN

…say the hedgehogs.

SEAN (AS A HEDGEHOG)

Of what?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The key! The key that Moira talked about. Don’t you know… do you guys know about the key?

SEAN

There’s a lot of confused muttering of all the gathered magical animals.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Right, right, you guys don’t know about the key. What am I saying? And I guess…

SEAN (AS AN ANIMAL)

Is it Moira or Moira?

MIKE (AS AN ANIMAL)

I think it’s Mora.

SEAN (AS AN ANIMAL)

Oh, Mora.

MIKE (AS AN ANIMAL)

Mora of Ra.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat? Eggerton? Are any of you here?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(muffled)

I think I can faintly hear something, but I’m incapable of movement.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where are you?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I heard a loud noise after I fired the bazooka and now I can’t get up.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So you made another poor decision and now you’re paying for it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ve had to scratch my nose for quite some time now. I am unable to reach it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, okay, just give me a minute.

MARISA

And I turn to the group of rabbits in front of me and I say,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Listen…

SEAN (AS A RABBIT)

(chattering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You gotta find Blat. He’s probably under some rubble somewhere. If you could just dig through. Yeah. I think, over, yes, in that direction. I think in that direction.

SEAN AND MIKE (AS RABBITS)

(animated chattering)

SEAN

So the rabbits begin scurrying around and trying to dig. The hedgehogs join in and they start tunnelling towards Blat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, now you might feel a little bit of scratching against your skin, Blat. It’s fine. We’re going to have you out soon.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s all right! My skin is not exposed! I have some sort of magical metal suit on!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, well, okay, that should be good then.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I am unable to see anything and the nose scratching has reached a new level of irritability. Oh, this is my personal hell!

SEAN

And the rabbits come running back and they’re like, chittering at you. They’re a little confused.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What’s wrong?

SEAN AND MIKE (AS RABBITS)

(concerned chittering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You don’t know where he is?

SEAN AND MIKE (AS RABBITS)

(chittering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, you don’t have to dig him out of the armour. You just have to dig him out of the rubble.

SEAN AND MIKE (AS RABBITS)

(understanding chittering)

SEAN

And they scurry off.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

They’re coming back!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m not sure who you’re talking about, but I will appreciate any assistance I can get!

SEAN

And your visor flips up and a furry bunny leaps into your helmet.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aaaa! Sweet Loxsyn, my face! My face! Oh, no, no, that’s good.

SEAN (AS A RABBIT)

(chittering)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, that’s, no, a little up. A little up. Now with the claw…

SEAN (AS A RABBIT)

(vigorous scratching)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ohhhh, that’s the spot. Oh, good.

SEAN (AS A RABBIT)

(chittering)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, you’re in my eye. You’re literally sitting in my eye. Just off my eye. That’s my other eye. Okay, maybe off the head completely now.

SEAN (AS A RABBIT)

(squeaking, kissing sounds)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I love you too. Thank you.

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 Carter Siddall, Marisa King, and Michael Howie.

Episode 55: Out of Order.

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, are you free? Get up!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Urgh!

SEAN

So, Blat, you attempt to try and, there’s a little bit of space around your head, you attempt to move, and you hear a shifting of rocks, and now you’re pinned even more under all the weight, and the rabbits come running back.

SEAN AND MIKE (AS RABBITS)

(chittering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, so it’s a structural problem, is what you’re saying.

SEAN

And they keep trying to lead you towards the hole that the hedgehogs have dug.

SEAN AND MIKE (AS RABBITS)

(insistent chittering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, all right. I’m coming, I’m coming. Okay.

SEAN

And then they lead you to just a helmet. You just see a helmet sitting there, just literally buried in rock.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where did you get this helmet?!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I said the B‑word, and this is what happens now, because I’m a minion of darkness itself.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, brother.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But the good news is, I am now able to sit up!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, well, can you do more than that?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, let’s see.

Nope!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, what are we gonna do? We have to get you out of here.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, a lot’s changed since the rumbling happened. Um, apparently you’ve now made friends with rabbits and hedgehogs. Is that an antelope that I see over there?

SEAN (AS AN ANIMAL)

(snorts)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh my heavens! How did a sturgeon get up here? That’s just strange.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s a puzzle to me as well, I’m not sure.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, lord. So…

I don’t know. I’ve got a magic suit on so I’m in no immediate danger… I’m sure I’ll want to eat or drink something eventually, but that will create a future problem as I am stuck in this suit, if you know what I’m saying.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You have got to stop pledging your allegiance to evil goddesses.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, it’s the only way to move these little adventures of ours forward, isn’t it?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, we’re really moving forward right now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, you think we’d be in a better situation if Eggerton would, for instance, pledge himself to evil just once in a while?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where is Eggerton?!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh sure, I can answer that question. I’m buried under a ton of rock.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton!

EGGERTON

Barking.

SEAN

We cut to outside.

Eggerton, you are running out of breath. The other golden retrievers have leaped over a large log and are sniffing around trying to find the trail.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I don’t smell what they smell. I don’t know what to do about that.

SEAN

And above you, you notice the flying scorpion-sized scorpions are buzzing louder, and they’re starting to pull together into one giant mass that blots out the sun.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s probably not good. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t think it’s good. Okay, okay. Golden Retriever Rhinoceri, brethren! We must… yes—

SEAN (AS A SCORPION-SIZED SCORPION GOLDEN RETREIVER RHINOCEROS)

(happy slurping sounds)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ha ha ha! That tickles.

Okay, so we have to form up and get back to the cave because…

Yeah, the cave. Because, look up.

No, up.

Look, okay, so you take your eyes and you go… up!

SEAN (AS GOLDEN RETREIVER RHINOCEROS)

(slurping)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ow, ha ha, it’s under my chin. Okay, but look.

MIKE

And I kind of…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Look up.

SEAN (AS GOLDEN RETREIVER RHINOCEROS)

Ruff?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, see that’s bad. I don’t know what that is, but it’s not good. So if we can get every one together and then we’ll all run up the hill because we’re all dog rhinoceri—

SEAN (AS GOLDEN RETREIVER RHINOCEROS)

Woof!

SEAN

And they all take off running in random directions.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, well… Aww. I guess I’ll just start walking.

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

SEAN

Cut back to the cave, and you feel a bump and a whoosh of hot air from Snowball.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh! Yes?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I could try to pull him out…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That would be great!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

He is pretty in there. There’s a chance that only half of him could come out. You know, you bipedals are very… breakable.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is true. Maybe you could just be very careful.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Well…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(muffled)

What are we talking about?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Nothing! Certainly not your impending dismemberment!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What? I’ve only got my head exposed. This isn’t a plan about yanking, is it? It’s just my head. Please do not yank my head.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re not going to yank you by the head!

(to Snowball)

Should we yank him by the head?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Well, he is in some kind of metal thing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Mm. But within the metal thing, he’s still pretty squishy and fragile.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, can we…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Sort of like one of those peanuts that’s in the hard shell. Where you think, “Oh, I’ll never be able to crack that.” And then you do and you’re like, “Oh, that felt good.”

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s not a pleasant image right now.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh, sorry.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Let’s not mention peanut in front of Blat.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I heard something about feeling good! Have we got a plan?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You just sit still for a minute!

Okay, can we just take the rocks off one by one and try and get him out that way?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

The whole cave has collapsed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, boy.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh, wait. Maybe some of your friends can dig him out.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, we tried digging him out.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

No, but I mean the bigger friends back there.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh!

SEAN

You turn and there are, just coming into the cave, are loping on all fours and then standing up quite tall, are what appear to be a group of werewolves or something like that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh. Wow! Hello. Welcome?

SEAN

And then they are shoved aside by five angry looking porcupine werepeople.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Loxsyn! There’s other ones? Like me?

SEAN

They all sniff at the air and then they’re all sort of staring at you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is incredible… I…

I don’t have time for revelations.

Okay, listen! My friends, we have to try and get the helmeted individual over there out from his ordeal. Can anyone help without harming or dismembering the individual in the seal or the metal?

SEAN (AS A WERECUPINE)

Well, there goes all the fun out of it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, all right. Well, you know, this is important. He’s a friend of mine.

SEAN (AS A WERECUPINE)

Hmph.

SEAN

And the hedgehogs sort of give a haughty look to the werewolves who all back down and they race into the hole and start… just dust and dirt’s flying out of it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

How’s it going, Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I’m fairly petrified. I don’t know who any of these very large individuals are, but it seems to be getting the…

Oh, yep, my shoulders are free now. Okay. Oh, my lord, you’re so large.

Thank you for the assistance. Please do not eat me when I’m finally freed.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. Well, Snowball, I think that’s going well. Has anyone seen Reginald?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yeah, he’s at the front of the cave.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Fighting all the scorpions by himself?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

No, the scorpions seem to be… I don’t know. I haven’t seen any.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, that’s strange. I better go check this out.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Should I come with you or stay with the peanut?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, you can come with me just in case we find something that’s not good at the front of the cave.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Let’s go.

EGGERTON

SEAN

And cutting back to Eggerton….

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasping for breath)

Okay, so that’s… that’s… well, that was about 15 meters. But I’m on my way. This is very steep.

(panting)

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? What?

SEAN

You don’t see anything.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why was… what was that?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Look up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait, is that my stomach talking to me? I mean, I know I snacked. Maybe it’s not sitting right?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Up here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I know I’m above you, stomach. So, I mean, you’re looking up to me and that’s gonna be weird—

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

The sky.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The sky. Well, I guess my brain is the sky or is my brain like a world above the sky to my stomach? I don’t understand.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Really?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Up here.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh.

SEAN

And you see a face. All the scorpions have gone incorporeal, like a smoke, a haze… and you see a giant face in the sky that’s blotting out the sun.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh, uh, uh, uh, hi! I’m Eggerton.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Yes.

It’s time for you to make the choice.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What choice?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

The final choice.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, the final choice, is it?

(sings)

The final choice now! Ba ba daaa da… No? What are we doing?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

(joins in)

Ba da dun dun da.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, you get it!

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

It’s it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s it.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

You must decide. This is your chance to give your fae a future through time.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Through time?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Forever.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But how?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Simply come to us.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It seems like you might have an easier time coming to me because you’re all floating—I can fly sometimes…

SEAN

And suddenly the giant face is all around you. It just roars down to the ground, covering the ground.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa. That’s a lot. There’s a lot of face. Hi, face.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Hi.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hi! Um, so, how’s it going?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Make your choice. The fae, free for all time.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s nice.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Or…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Or?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

…choose your friends.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

My friends. But my friends, some of them are fae.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

The ones in the cave.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

There’s fae in the cave?

(silence)

Hello?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

I can’t believe I’m having this conversation as the most powerful creature and entity in the world.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re the most powerful creature in the world?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

The universe… the metaverse…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s… I’ve met so many powerful creatures now and you know what? I’m staying in touch with as many of them as I can! So if I can get your address, I’ve got this notebook here, and I’m going to write it down.

So you’re “Most powerful being, faces… smoky”.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

The Shattering.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The Shatter… what?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

The devourer of all time.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait, no, I’m just… wait, can we… no, hold on. Did you… did… did… did you say Shattering?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Will you come with us, key?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Key? What? I’m the key? I am the key. Oh no. You know I’m the key?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Everyone knows you’re the key.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

What do you mean, everyone knows? I just found out I’m the key. How could everybody know I’m the key?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It was pretty obvious.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

What do you mean it was obvious? I mean, I’ve got this key mole that’s been on my shoulder all this whole time? That’s supposed to be the obvious thing?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

It’s like those vids. Sometimes you can just see it and in five minutes you know.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I mean, I… you know, I actually used to help produce some of those back in Balgomar. And I think maybe you and I could work together. I can get—

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Yes. Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, we’ll get a nice presentation going.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

You are choosing to work with us.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? No, I’m… no. Hey, hey, sneaky.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

You said “work together”.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Sneaky faces. Yes, I didn’t say on whatever. I said on the presentation regarding it.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

Yes, the presentation of the end of all time. The fae will be safe.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, no, no, no. This is like the five-minute elevator pitch.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

For what?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know. You’re the one who’s got the big idea. I help people with ideas communicate them. So, when I was in Balgomar and there was an extremely devastating explosion, it was my job to position it as a positive thing. So, you know, I got to be honest. I’m not comfortable calling you the Shattering. Is there another, like…

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

You have a chance to save your people.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What people?

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

The fae.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The fae that are in the cave.

SEAN (AS THE SHATTERING)

All fae.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All fae are in the cave? I don’t think they’re going to fit in there.

SEAN

The Shattering rushes back up to the sky and begins to expand out and taking over the entire sky. And the light fades.

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

SEAN

Darcy, as you’re walking towards the cave, you see Reginald and then suddenly it gets dimmer and dimmer. Reginald is no longer—like, he was clearly there and the light is going out outside.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What’s going on? How long was I in that trance? Is it already night?

SEAN

Snowball nudges you.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

What are you speaking of? What trance?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You know, back there when everything kind of went blank for me for a while.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

You were a little slow to save your friend in the suit, but I don’t know of any trance. You were… You made the call and the call was answered.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So for you it was like instantaneous? All those animals arrived? I…

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Ah, I understand. What did you see?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I saw what I think is the next key.

I don’t know if you know about keys. Do you know about keys?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yes. Yes, I… I’m sorry.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why? Why are you sorry?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

For what I did. I acted… I delivered you here, remember?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, yeah. Everything is a little blurry now, I have to admit.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I acted out of my anger and my fear. And I made the wrong choice. And I did many things I’m not happy with.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, listen, I’ve done plenty of things I’m not happy with, so let’s just call it even. You helped me find my wild. That’s gotta be a gift of some sort, right?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yeah. But all they wanted was that little one, surprisingly. They kept calling him “the key”.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Which… Oh, you mean Eggerton?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So they… Wait a minute. Where is Eggerton?

SEAN

And you reach the front of the cave. Reginald is there.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Reginald, why is it suddenly so dark?

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

I don’t know. The cloud all came around Eggerton out there, like a fog along the land.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton’s out there?

SEAN (AS REGINALD)

Yeah, he’s… Well, you can’t see him easily now, but he is somewhere down the face there. But now it has taken over the sky. It was a face that was speaking.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh. Great. Okay, just a minute, just a minute.

(screeches)

Rawwk! Grawwwk!

MARISA

And I call the large eagles over to me.

SEAN

And you hear their wings answering as they all begin to bank.

MARISA

And in eagle speak, I ask them to find the little fae out in the distance who may or may not think he’s a golden retriever rhinoceros.

SEAN (AS AN EAGLE)

Awwk!

SEAN

They’re a little confused.

MIKE

(laughs)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Rawwwk!

SEAN (AS AN EAGLE)

Awwk! Cawww!

SEAN

And they take off.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, hopefully they’re going to find Eggerton still intact, because it is not good that a big face approached him.

SEAN

You start to feel a change, like… it feels like an air pressure change that might happen, the change of like a cold front coming in, but it’s pretty sudden. And it’s almost like a reverse wind. And the blackness is getting somehow blacker way up in the sky.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you feel that, Snowball?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What does that mean?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

It is not good.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, yes, but what does it actually mean?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I don’t know. Something has opened.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Opened? That can’t be good.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

No.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat! Blat, are you up yet?!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I would like to have both of my legs free—

SEAN (AS A SMALL ANIMAL)

(chattering)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, yes, almost there. Oh! The antelope is helping for some reason. I think these large beings have it—

SEAN (AS AN ANTELOPE)

(snorts)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, thank you—well in hand. I’m not sure your assistance is needed.

SEAN (AS AN ANTELOPE)

(huffs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, there we go! And I’m free—oh, I’ve walked into the wall. The dome thing is still over my eyes. When does this thing disappear eventually? Does it disappear? Am I now just a blind centurion for the rest of my days?

Oh, okay. No, I see. I’ve got the outline-no-skin thing happening again. So I can still sort of see, and oh! No, I almost fell out of the cave. Okay, here we are.

SEAN

(laughs)

He’s sort of shouting. He’s right next to you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m here and I am participating in what is presently happening.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, just stop. You’re about to walk off the edge of the cave.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh!Lord.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Stop there.

SEAN

In your visor you see the sky and it looks like this giant… like a drain in a sink, like a swirling, and it’s all being lit up in red lines in your viewfinder.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, Loxsyn. Now this thing’s busted because what I’m seeing can’t possibly be happening. All I see is a big swirly thing in the sky. I used to have squares.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, I see the swirly thing too.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh my lord, we’re in trouble! There’s a big swirly thing in the sky?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, this is why I wanted you to get out of the rubble.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I think I prefer to be back in the rubble! Can I be reburied in the rubble, please?

SEAN

And then you feel teeth sink into the metal of your suit and they start to drag you backwards…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh! Well, looks like I’m off!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(stern chattering)

SEAN (AS ONE OF THE ANIMALS)

(chattering)

MARISA

And I talk to them in their, like…

SEAN (AS ONE OF THE ANIMALS)

(peevish chittering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(lecturing chittering)

SEAN AND MIKE (AS VARIOUS ANIMALS)

(grumpy but eventually resigned chittering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, listen, they’re gonna leave you alone.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Let me get this straight. So this entire time we could have had friendly animal helpers in our beck and call doing whatever we wanted or needed… but you’ve decided now at the brink of us getting sucked into the swirly sky to make that happen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes, Blat. I decided now. I had this power this whole time and just decided to keep it secret from you because I thought this would be such a great reveal!

SEAN (AS ONE OF THE ANIMALS)

(annoyed chittering)

Zuzuzuzuh!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah! Zuzuzuzuh!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s a stupid thing to do, and I don’t know what you just said, but it was probably offensive!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I have not had this power. It has just come to me and we now need to take advantage of it.

EGGERTON

Whistling wind.

SEAN

Eggerton, uh, what are you doing?

MIKE

I am trying to have a conversation with the eagles who are carrying me.

SEAN

(laughs)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(shouting above the wind)

Okay, so I understand—

SEAN (AS AN EAGLE)

Dawwwk!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, it’s fine! It’s just I understand that you said Darcy sent you, but I don’t know how you can carry me because I’m part rhinoceros!

SEAN

One of them pecks you in the side.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ow!

SEAN (AS AN EAGLE)

Cawww!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Fine, fine! You know what? You’re not very aerodynamic either!

SEAN

And suddenly… it’s as if Eggerton was dropped at high speed from not too high, right into the entrance and bowls right into… everyone roll 2d6?

MIKE

Ooh, I got 9.

SEAN

You don’t have to roll.

MIKE

I don’t have to roll? All right…

MARISA

(laughs)

You’re bowling.

SEAN

You are the bowling ball.

CARTER

The bowl-ee, not the bowl-er.

MARISA

I have a 6.

SEAN

Plus Dex.

CARTER

I have a 7.

MARISA

I’m sure mine would only be a 7.

CARTER

Uh, plus Dex would be a 9.

SEAN

Okay, somehow this flying Eggerton bowling ball manages to take out both Darcy and Blat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aaaaaaa…!

Cartoonish falling-bomb whistle sound followed by a clatter of bowling pins.

MARISA AND CARTER (AS DARCY AND BLAT)

Aaaaa!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So a funny thing happened a little while ago…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where have you been?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, there was this face. And then the face came down. And then we started working on a presentation.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What do you mean, a presentation? Do you mean you went over to their side?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, no, no! I just said I would help out with the presentation. An elevator pitch.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You want to help The Shattering?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I didn’t know it was the Shattering originally. First it was just this big mess of faces and stuff. And then they mentioned they were the Shattering but really didn’t want to go back to it when I inquired about it. Then they started talking about joining their side and I was trying to inquire about what that means. And they really didn’t explain it. I said, “Look, I’ll help you build a presentation.” They said, “You’ll help him?” I said, “Yes, with the presentation…”

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, thank Loxsyn. There’s no way that they accepted him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Then they disappeared and went up to the sky—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

If he just talked to him like this, he probably drove the Shattering crazy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m worried that he actually agreed to something but he was talking so much he didn’t actually know what he was agreeing to.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, do you not know you’re a key?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, they knew that! The big faces knew that I was a key.

SEAN

Eggerton, it’s basically like a reverse wind now. You see Eggerton is slowly sliding away from you towards the exit.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why are you guys—why are you walking backwards?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Whoa. Whoa. Grab—Snowball, grab him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Grab Snowball?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snowball. Grab Eggerton.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

(groans)

SEAN

Snowball grabs…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just hold on to him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I got him.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The Shattering’s trying to suck him up into that void! Don’t you see?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Snowball, I got you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

They’re probably going to suck all of us up into the void!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Black, can you raise your visor? I’m so sick of talking into this metal… form.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You know how before you didn’t have control over the animals and the local fauna? Well, I presently do not have control over this thing that’s attached to my head!

SEAN

He touches it with his finger and it lifts.

Thunk!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s much better, thank you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, I didn’t know it did that, okay? This is new.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m—I’m starting to pull Snowball with me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, okay. Hey, fellow creatures, please hold on to the big dragon!

SEAN (AS ONE OF THE ANIMALS)

Hruh?

SEAN

And they all start to grab on.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hold on to me, not just the dragon!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

I have him.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The dragon’s holding on to you. We have to hold on to the dragon.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I got the dragon, so someone needs to hold on to me so I don’t let the dragon go.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I am so confused.

SEAN

Snowball just shakes their head. They have like basically one giant claw wrapped around Eggerton, but he’s wrapped around the claw tip.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m holding the claw tip.

Because I’m holding Snowball back from being sucked out of the cave.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, okay, then hold on to the fairy. Just… you critters can see what needs to happen.

SEAN

Everyone’s very confused just looking at you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(deep breath)

I’ve just taken on this role. I’m not very good at it just yet. But what we need to do is keep the little fae from going up into that big funnel.

SEAN

They all nod.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, okay.

SEAN (AS ONE OF THE ANIMALS)

(determined chittering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So just hold on to whatever you hold on to.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I heard someone say something about funnel cake—

SEAN

And you are grabbed by like five different claws, hands, hooves…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whup!

SEAN

And they are dragging Eggerton back towards the back.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I don’t need claws. No teeth. Teeth aren’t necessary teeth aren’t necessary!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, now, uh… bears.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You may have to bury him!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, that’s what I’m… Bears, just put some rocks on his clothes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? What? No, ow!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, there we go. That will help.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ugh!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, okay.

SEAN

It’s like a really strong, almost hurricane-level winds outside the cave and Reginald is even having trouble.

SEAN (AS REGINALG)

I think we need to get to the back of the cave or…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, let’s do that. I don’t have all the answers, everyone! Can people help?!

Well, Eggerton can’t.

SEAN

(laughs)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m pinned to the ground with rocks and someone needs to tell me why that’s okay!

SEAN

One of the hedgehogs is trying to put a rock in your mouth. It doesn’t seem to be working.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ungh. Agh. I hon wah a wogh.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, all right, all right.

MARISA

And I beckon over some of the were-kangaroos.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, you’re gonna—

SEAN (AS A WERE-KANGAROO)

(confused chattering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(demonstrative chattering)

Mer mrm merr. In your pouch. Mee mer mur. Fairy in your pouch.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What?

SEAN

Okay, one of them runs over. And you’re picked up in the air, the rocks are thrown aside and you are suddenly in a dark but nicely warm place.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, this is cozy.

MARISA

And then I tell the were-kangaroo to hop to the, as quickly as possible, the back of the cave.

SEAN

Yep, they do.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay! All right, so we have to get out of here because I don’t think that hurricane wind is going to slow down.

Who has teleportation? That would really help right now. Anyone? Anyone?

Confused chattering.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, I… sort of do.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes! Limbo! We might need to go to Limbo, Blat. But all of us have to come.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s a lot of us here. And… remember the last time we did this, we just kept bouncing around different dimensions and didn’t actually wind up where we wanted to go until much, much, much later.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I feel like if we stay here, we’re only going to one dimension and it’s called Death.

SEAN

You hear the sound of rocks coming off the front of the mountain and being sucked up into the air.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, that’s really not good.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right! Wherever we wind up, let’s hope there’s a petting zoo.

MIDROLL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Music sting.

ELI (AS VARIOUS ANIMALS)

(chittering)

ELI

Hey everyone, it’s Eli here with this week’s announcements. I know I keep saying this, but it only gets weirder from here.

I hope you’re enjoying this week’s episode and I wanted to finally get back to our Patreon shoutouts and welcome some of our newest patrons. But first, go back into our listings and thank some of the folks that have been with us for years in some cases.

So, big thank you to long-time supporters Rita Chen—beg your pardon if I’m mispronouncing this or any of these—Joshua Puchferran, Rhea Howard—yay, thank you Rhea! Albertina Sparhut, Johanna Veth, Katrina O., and Sabine S.

Thank you all so much for sticking with us and a welcome to our newest patrons. Some of you have been with us for a few months now, but we’re behind, y’see. Dmytri Hryciw—hope I’m remotely in the right region—Olga Lund, Lisa Colquhoun, Bchow and Jeffery Breisch. Thanks all so much.

And nothing big to announce except that we’re back in the studio today and having a blast and I’m just squeezing this in between episodes. Thank you all and we will see you again next episode!

Music sting.

MIDROLL: A PREVIOUS MIDROLL

SEAN

So let’s just go over the facts, okay? At the beginning of yesterday we recorded a previous midroll, but then in the afternoon…

MIKE

Wait, wait, wait, a previous midroll? Like a midroll previous to yesterday morning?

SEAN

A midroll for a previous episode.

MIKE

Oh, I thought it was for a past episode.

SEAN

But then in the afternoon we recorded a midroll, if you remember the scene, that really should never have happened, about—

Spoiler-concealing music.

SEAN

—that some people will not have heard yet because it’s in the future. See, that’s the midroll we can’t use because it’s from that episode, right?

CARTER

But wait, wait, wait, if you’ve mentioned what happened though…

MIKE

(giggling)

CARTER

…doesn’t that mean we can’t use this midroll for this episode?

Laughter.

SEAN

Look, I don’t know guys, I’m just trying to figure this out, right? There’s so much confusion.

MIKE

Okay, well let me get the whiteboard out. We gotta do some Doc Brown time math here.

SEAN

I’m pretty sure if we say, “Hey, there’s some spoiler warnings,” we can use it.

MIKE

Don’t we have to say that at the beginning of this midroll?

CARTER

Yeah, you can’t spoil something and then say afterwards, “Oh, by the way, I just said something.”

SEAN

Okay, here, wait, Eli?

MIKE

So this is a midroll for the midroll to replace the midroll, right?

SEAN

How about this? How about I just do this? Eli, we’re gonna record something right now that you’re gonna put at the beginning.

MIKE

Oh, okay, so like right now as we’re recording, we are in the present.

SEAN

Yes.

MIKE

We are going to do something in the future, which is about to be the present, which will then be digitally inserted into the past, which was the present at that time.

SEAN

Yes.

MIKE

I still don’t get it.

SEAN

Marisa, am I making any sense here?

MARISA

I think “midroll” is a funny word.

MIKE

I mean, this is why I brought the fairy cakes, though, to help all of us really dive into it.

CARTER

“Midroll”.

MARISA

“Mi-droll”.

MIKE

See, see?

CARTER

That is a funny word.

CARTER AND MARISA

Midroll…

MIKE

I mean, you wanted to give everyone muffins. You said, “Bran muffins, they’re healthy and they help you poop.” And I said, “You know what? Let’s try something a little different”—Oh, I forgot to tell you, actually. So I’m gonna bring fairy cakes to replace the muffins.

SEAN

Okay, well then you need to say at the beginning, not after we’ve all eaten the muffins.

MARISA

Like “midriff”, but without the “iff”.

MIKE

Okay, but seriously.

CARTER

But it’s “droll”, which makes it funny.

MARISA

Yeah, but it’s “mid”.

SEAN

(bursts out laughing)

Did you know you’re a pink flamingo?

MIKE

This is why we need people to go to Patreon though, because this is what we end up doing. They have to come on the Discord and give us good ideas or else we end up talking about the fact that we’re gonna record it and try and shove a little improv plot twist in at the end that doesn’t make sense, then spend the entire time doing exposition to explain the thing that didn’t make sense, and now I just want to go home and sleep.

CARTER

No, I think only you do that.

MIKE

OtherBothers.com or patreon.com/albasalix.

Music sting.

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

A chorus of concerned animal noises.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Everybody grab onto everybody else!

CARTER

So I need to roll 2d6 for Limbo Jump. On a 10+, we’ll go somewhere safe. On a 7 to 9, we’ll go who knows where?

Carter rolls.

MARISA AND MIKE

Ooof.

CARTER

5!

SEAN

So the storm is getting louder, all the werefolk and animals are holding onto each other and everyone’s just staring at Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, everyone’s looking at me and I’m not sure I could do it if everyone is looking at me. You are being very judgmental for a chipmunk.

SEAN (AS A CHIPMUNK)

(judgemental chittering)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s been a while since I’ve had to do this.

SEAN (AS A CHIPMUNK)

Hmph!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hey! And since the last time we did it, it messed up so badly, I haven’t done it since.

Tense silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, I’m not sure what to do now because I just did the thing that I used to do before. I thought really hard… and nothing happened.

SEAN

Everyone’s just standing at the back of the cave. And out of the kangaroo pouch you hear…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(muffled mumbling)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Could someone please open that pouch in the front of that mammal?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasping)

You know, it’s really cozy, there’s some chamomile in there—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s some chamomile in there?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, I think whomever was here last left it behind. It’s just sort of like, you know when you go to an inn and someone left behind the magazine they were reading for the next person who’s going to come and stay in the room? I think it’s kind of like that, but with tea.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m learning some crazy things about kangaroos at the moment.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I know, it’s surprising. Okay, so did you remember to look though for the loo lines?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The loo lines?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, so remember because the face stones are all interconnected and I think that might be how you get to Limbo. Because all I have to do is think about where I want to go and then…

SEAN

Pop.

EGGERTON

Silence, except for a faint hum, and perhaps a breeze.

Then, over a tinny speaker:

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

(muffled monotone)

WELCOME TO KARMA BURGER CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER.

Pop!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so all you need to… wait, wait, wait, no, wait. Hold on.

This is not a cave.

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

WELCOME TO KARMA BURGER, PLEASE DRIVE UP, CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I could really use like, I don’t know, maybe some…

SEAN (AS DRIVE-THRU CUSTOMER)

Hey buddy, you gonna order or what?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Oh. Sorry! Sorry. Um, yeah, could I get back to the cave please?

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

WE HAVE NO CAVE THIS WEEK. WELCOME TO KARMA BURGER, CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER, THE CAVE SPECIAL IS OVER. PLEASE ORDER SOMETHING FROM OUR CHILDREN’S MENU, PLEASE DRIVE UP.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, children’s menu—

In the studio, Mae the dog shakes off, jingling her collar.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m sorry, okay? You don’t need to just keep ringing your keys at me like that. It’s very rude.

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

Hey, that’s my dog, dude!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, well, I mean, why…

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

You messing with my dog? Why don’t you just place your order?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m not messing with your dog! I’m trying to place my order but they don’t have what I want.

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

Hey, you should be… why aren’t you in a car? What are you doing walking in the line?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, because you see, I was a rhinoceros before and then I was also a golden retriever and now I just need to get back to the cave.

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

(groans)

The sound of a car window being rolled up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Excuse me—knock, knock, knock. Sir?

The window rolls down again.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What magic was that?

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

Dude, what is your problem? All right, that’s it, I’m pulling forward. I’m pulling forward.

The driver revs his engine aggressively.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa, whoa, whoa.

Um, okay…

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

Hello?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I just wish I was back in the cave.

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

WELCOME TO KARMA BURGER, CAN I TAKE YOUR ORDER.

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

Yeah, two Karma Burgers…

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

TWO KARMA BURGERS.

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

Extra loaded fries, two Snortles…

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

TWO SNORTLES, TWO, IS THAT AN EXTRA LARGE SNORTLE.

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, Mega Size.

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

EXTRA LARGE SNORTLE.

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

Yeah, yeah, well, Mega, Mega Size.

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

MEGA SIZE, 50 CENTS, MEGA SIZE.

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

Yeah, yeah, 50 cents. That’s it.

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

KARMA BURGER, SNORTLES, MUMBLE MUMBLE LOADED FRIES, PLEASE DRIVE UP.

The driver revs again and drives around to the window.

SEAN (AS DRIVER)

(shouting out the window)

Freak!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I said I wished I was back where I was in the cave…

SNOWBALL’S CAVE

The wind is roaring now.

SEAN

And with a pop, Eggerton returns and he’s on top of Blat’s shoulders.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa! Okay, okay, it’s fine, everything’s fine, but nobody try and order the cave. That special is over.

SEAN

And there is a ripping sound as the front of the cave starts to literally be sucked up like a giant hoover into the sky.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So this is it, we’re all just gonna die. You can’t go to Limbo, you can’t take us with you wherever you go, we’re all just gonna die.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know if I, I’ve never tried.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Maybe you should try.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I mean, you know, like Peri used to take me places.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, wait, then you can take us places! Just channel all your…

SEAN (AS A SMALL ANIMAL)

(anxious chattering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

They… he can’t take us?

SEAN (AS A SMALL ANIMAL)

(confused chattering)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t know what you’re saying, I’m still learning the languages.

SEAN (AS A SMALL ANIMAL)

(insistent chattering)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I think perhaps everyone here is willing to try, rather than get sucked up into inky blackness.

SEAN (AS A SMALL ANIMAL)

(vehement chattering)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ahhh.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wow, Blat, that’s really good. You seem to be in tune with the animals.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I just think that most living things want to avoid death if at all possible.

Mutterings of agreement from the animals.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, so, okay, I’m gonna hold on to Blat’s head—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aagh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Everybody else come around and grab onto Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aghh.

SEAN

There’s lot of shuffling.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, all right, now everybody think of your happy place…

MARISA

And I put my hand on my pendant and say,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Loxsyn.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right, in three, two, one…

Pop!

The roaring of the wind vanishes.

SEAN

Roll 2d6 for me.

MIKE

That’s a 7… Travel by Fae Stone, do I get a bonus…?

Plus Charisma! That’s a +3. So that’s a 10.

SEAN

What safe space did you pick?

MIKE

Um… I picked the ball pit at whatever that fast food restaurant I was just at was, that I could see around the corner.

KARMA BURGER

Restaurant interior. Tinkly music plays. A goat bleats.

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

(over a different tinny speaker)

WELCOME TO KARMA BURGER, PLEASE GET OUT OF THE BALL PIT.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m drowning! Eggerton, you didn’t save us! I’m drowning!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s fine. It’s fine!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m drowning!

Panicking animal sounds.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s okay. Okay, everybody calm down! Everybody calm down!

SEAN (AS A WERE-PORCUPINE)

(roaring)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, the were-porcupines… the were-porcupines have balls on their back. It’s fine…

No, okay, okay. Moose, you just go out the door there—

SEAN (AS A CUSTOMER)

Aaaaugh! Giant porcupines in the building!

Instant pandemonium. Tables overturn and windows smash as customers flee in every direction.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

They’re were-morphs! Please be respectful!

Okay, so everybody just stay cool. We’re not in any danger anymore…

SEAN (AS ANOTHER CUSTOMER)

Is that a rhinoceros?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Thank you.

The restaurant empties out and a hush falls.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, I want to commend you on saving us, but I just got to ask a question, buddy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, yeah, what’s up?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Do you actually know what a rhinoceros is?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, it’s one of those things that’s got, um, rhinos, right, on it, because it’s covered in rhinos, and it’s, “Rhinos R us!” So that’s how you can tell it’s a rhino, because I’m a rhinoceros sometimes, and, you know, pretty clearly, because look at all the rhinos on me. So… it checks out.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just say no, buddy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eggerton, look behind you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Oh!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s a rhino.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! Heh. It’s very large Hi! Hi.

SEAN (AS A RHINOCEROS)

(snorts)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh my, yes. Well… maybe I was a little off base.

SEAN

And it licks you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Aww, that’s nice.

SEAN

And there is a tremor, and a growing tremor, and suddenly the wall explodes inward on all of you, sending playballs flying into the air as Snowball’s head comes through the wall.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh, there you are.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We made it! Yay!

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So everyone remember that they are out of caves!

Laughter.

LATER…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right, so here’s everybody’s little bed of hand sanitizer. You don’t know what’s been in a ball pit. Okay, were-morphs, were-morphs, stop trying to eat it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Find your buddy. Everyone find a buddy. We’ve all got to stay together.

SEAN

So you are all in a park that was nearby to the hard-to-determine name of the fast food chain, and this is continuing—

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

(muffled)

KARMA BURGER, I DON’T UNDERSTAND WHY THAT’S SO HARD TO UNDERSTAND, KARMA BURGER.

SEAN

And clearly the Car Burger place is demolished, but you do see there’s still one silhouette of one person in there near the checkout window.

CARTER (AS DRIVE-THRU ATTENDANT)

KARMA BURGER, PLEASE STEP UP TO THE HOLE IF YOU WANT TO ORDER. WE STILL HAVE SOME FRIES ON THE FLOOR. KARMA BURGER, PLEASE STEP UP TO THE HOLE.

SEAN

And there are some makeshift tents and all the were-morphs are sort of self-organizing. They have a buddy system going and you guys are in the centre.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I think that went pretty well.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, it was definitely better than being sucked up into the big scary funnel, Eggerton. So yes, good job.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So that was the Shattering. And what I’m trying to figure out, if that was the start of the Shattering and like something that I did may have progressed it? Or if it was always there and then it just put on a face because I look sort of like a not-rhinoceros. But I don’t know. I feel like there’s something going on.

It also knew that I was a key. Did I say that already?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You did.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It knew I was a key?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Because that’s a lot to me. I don’t know why the Shattering would know I’m a key.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think the Shattering knows everything, which is why it’s going to be so hard to win against it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But we have been winning.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, have we?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I mean, other than what you did at the Nexus, I think we’ve been doing pretty well.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. You had to bring that up!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, look, I’m sorry. You unleashed the Shattering within the Nexus and it destroyed it and that led to the end of time and it had nothing to do with me.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh! Oh, I unleashed the Shattering. You just had a five-minute conversation with the Shattering, and that drove the Shattering so crazy it created a huge funnel and wanted to suck everything up into it and kill everything, probably existence, because you talk too much.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(tearful)

I… I don’t… I—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I‑I guess I’m just going to go find some of those floor fries they were talking about…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Listen, I, I… there’s a lot of emotions—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, it’s fine, it’s fine! I’m gonna go away.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh brother.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(distant sobbing)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, I think you’re gonna have to go talk to him.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I think really what’s more pressing is we’re going to have to find a local to talk to just to get a lay of the land. I mean, in this new dimension, wherever we are, they’ve probably got chipmunks, antelopes, maybe a bear. I think the dragon might be a little hard to explain.

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Yeah. A little hard for me to just fit in.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We could say Snowball’s a building?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Or one of those fun ride things.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, fun ride! Oh, what if someone tries to ride you?

SEAN (AS SNOWBALL)

Oh, I’m not opposed, necessarily, to a couple rides.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think we’re getting distracted from the Shattering, Blat. You know, it might be following us. Maybe we should focus on what we need to do next.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Right, which is to talk Eggerton out of his shame spiral as he’s… yep. He’s eating french fries off the floor of a semi-demolished building.

INSIDE THE KARMA BURGER

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(sniffling)

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

(over a speaker)

Hey, dude, are you okay?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, Mr. Drive-Thru Man in the speaker… It’s just my friend said that’s something that was kind of mean and true.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Yeah, I understand that. Would you like to Mega Size that, please?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I would like to Mega Size it, yes.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

That’ll be 50 cents.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

50 cents? Well, all I have are these fairy cakes from another dimension.

(sniffles)

And I hope it’s enough to pay for some of these fries or the upsize. If you want to try one, just try one. See if it… I don’t know what currency is for you.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Do you know how to cook?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Actually, yes. I’m known for being a good cook!

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Because we appear to have lost most of the kitchen and all of our staff.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, I think it was when Snowball showed up?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Snowball?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Snowball the dragon.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Oh, yeah, the big bright white thing.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, I think they may have snorted a couple up on the way out. But, you know, they’re probably fine.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Okay, well, you’re sort of… right past that hole is the kitchen. If you could go over there and make three Karma Burgers and four fries.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, three Karma Burgers. Oh, yeah. Oh, okay. Order, order.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Two fully loaded.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, okay. I’ll get on the line here and I’ll just find… Where’s your sugar?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Okay, I’m going to get back to doing what I’m doing and you’re just going to put things in those boxes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, okay. Okay.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

And move them forward, okay?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay. I got it. I’m ready to go.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey, Eggerton…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, hi, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey, so are you now an employee at this place?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, it’s just that someone has to help out locally. And, you know, not all of us are willing or able to take on leadership roles, Darcy. And it just seems that I’ve been recognized in this dimension as a leader. And, you know, the first thing you do as a great leader is not mock the people who are working with you and say mean things about them even after they just saved you and literally all of your friends’ lives. But, you know, yeah, so I’m just trying to integrate myself here while I figure out what’s next, and—

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Two Karma Burgers, hold the cheese.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, sorry. Okay, so here, Darcy, I just need to put a couple of these things together in the box…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So, you’re going to put batter on circular onion right now? At this point in time?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m just trying to help out here…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Mm hmm. Mm hmm.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And I’m just going to take a little bit of that and pour some sugar on it.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

And one order of veggie chicken nuggets.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait, I’m sorry, what was that?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Call for “reorder” if you’re going to need a reorder.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, I’m sorry, can I get a “reorder”?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

One veggie chicken.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, what’s a veggie?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Nuggets.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And what’s a chicken?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

…Just put it in the box.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’ll take some of these and some of those and—

DRIVE-THRU LANE

An idling car engine.

CARTER (AS MOTHER)

(imperious voice)

Now, I heard that you had to get one of the stickers for the children once a week. But I was wondering if it would be too big a deal to get all the previous stickers now for my little Janine.

Also, is everything all right? Because most of this building has fallen down.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

(over the speaker)

Was that two Car Burgers or one?

CARTER (AS MOTHER)

No, that would be two, but I…

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Extra stickers?

CARTER (AS MOTHER)

Yes, if that’s at all possible. I hope I’m not asking too much.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Yeah, whatever, lady. You want to upsize that?

CARTER (AS MOTHER)

Yes, if you’re willing to help me, I’m willing to pay extra. I’ll upsize everything and make it a Mega.

INSIDE THE KARMA BURGER

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

(over a speaker)

That’s an order for two Karma Burgers.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Two Karma Burgers.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

All the stickers you can find.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Darcy, Darcy, can you go find some stickers? I’ve got to put together this order.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

They’re just right over there. Just grab a few.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, grabbing the stickers—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It seems that they want one from each series, so you’ve got to pull one off each row, okay? Not just the one pull…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you mean the yellow, blue and purple?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, so not just like a strip of yellow, but like get them like two yellow, two orange, two purple, two red, two pink, two green, two mauve, two brown, two black, two white, two purple, two green, aqua, two cyan, two magenta, two yellow with one percent black, a dot gain of 18% on all of them, and if you just want to put them in a nice pile like that and… why are you just standing there, Darcy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Here’s a red and a blue.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…Fine. Put those in the bag. We’ll just get it bag on the plate…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Now, I just want to ask you… Oh, yeah, here. Okay, let me help you with that…

So what did the Shattering say to you in this conversation that I’m sure was actually very two-sided and not just a monologue?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm-hmm. Now you want to know what the conversation was. What was that, a monologue?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, I’m saying it wasn’t a monologue. I’m sure you listened very carefully to the other side.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m a great listener and I don’t know why people don’t think I’m a great listener.

MARISA

Right, so what—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Because all I really do is pay attention to what people have to say and try and take it in…

DRIVE-THRU LINEUP

From inside, we can still hear Eggerton talking non-stop.

CARTER (AS MOTHER)

Look, Janine, we got the teal, just like you wanted!

I’m happy too.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Thank you, come again.

CARTER (AS MOTHER)

I will. I hope that this building gets, uh, repaired soon.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Thank you, ma’am, have a Karma Burger day.

INSIDE THE KARMA BURGER

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

—you need to learn to work with that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Sure.

So, Shattering. You key, they want you. Did they say anything that would help us?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Sorry, if you’re going to have guests and friends in the kitchen, you need to register them at the front desk.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, oh, oh… I’m sorry, but I think the front desk was actually crushed by the were-porcupines?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

That’s a valid point.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Also, I’m wearing the stupid paper hat. Doesn’t that just make me an employee?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Yeah, it checks.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. But you need to remember the hair net, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ugh. Fine. Okay. There.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. But you have to take off the hat because now the hair net is over the hat. So, take off the hair net and the hat. Put on the hair net, put the hat back on.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. How’s that? Does that look good?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I mean, like, if you look at the way I’ve styled mine, that’s kind of what corporate wants us to go for.

Um. But anyway, so the Shattering. The Shattering was all like, “Hey, Eggerton, I hear you’re the most powerful being in the universe and I want your help.” And I said, “Look, Shattering. Uh-uh, I don’t want to end time. But if you just need help with, like, a school project or a presentation, I’m on board.” And they said, “So, I can take that as assistance?” And I said, “Yes.” And then they said, “And you’re the key?” And I said, “How do you know that?” And they laughed and floated up and tried sucking me into the funnel. So, I don’t really think anything I said or did…

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Two Little Juniors to go.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? Two…

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Two upsized fries.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Two upsized fries and the Juniors? Reorder. I’m sorry, reorder?

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Two Little Juniors, two upsized fries to go.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Two upsized fries to go. Okay, Darcy, if you can grab those bags up there—just… the bags?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Here’s the bags.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, thank you. Okay, so put the Juniors…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So, you actually said you would help the Shattering?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I said I’d help with a presentation or an elevator pitch. And I’m sure the Shattering’s from a time in which they understand that an elevator pitch is a really short presentation with just surface level information and not some kind of deeper commitment.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But what if the short presentation is, “Hey, everyone, we’re ending time. Boom, done, elevator pitch”—and you said you’d help with it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…I had not considered that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, I didn’t think you had. I don’t think you also considered that maybe you shouldn’t be working at a fast food restaurant when we are in big trouble here!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Actually, we’re told that we can’t call it a “restaurant” because of how many percentage drive-through clients there are. That actually technically makes it under fast food for the local municipal officers. And they get real cranky, then they call in the health inspector, and then…

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Please don’t say that word.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, I’m sorry. Yeah, no, there’s a big thing. You’re not supposed to say the H‑I words around here because everyone gets a little panicked after the last time, ha ha ha…

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

And we sort of need to patch that wall when you’re done that next burger.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, yeah, yeah, the wall that Snowball destroyed, that no longer exists.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

I need a reorder on that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, yeah, uh… Reorder. Oh, no, I’m saying…

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

No, I need a reorder.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, so the dragon actually destroyed—it’s not like there’s a hole in the wall…

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

Yeah, dragons don’t exist, buddy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, okay. Yeah, that’s right. Dragons don’t exist. A rhinoceros, which does exist, made a big hole in the wall, but then actually knocked down the whole wall.

SEAN (AS KARMA BURGER EMPLOYEE)

…Okay, that checks.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. So, anyway, Darcy, if you could just, you know, help me figure out a way to get all of the people here working together to hit the two-minute order time that, you know, marketing keeps coming up with. I don’t know why it’s two minutes. Like, I timed it and it’s two minutes and twenty seconds—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So, I’m going to take my break now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think you might want to use this time to make some new fairy cakes, perhaps, because you’re now in a kitchen.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, that’s what I’ve been giving out!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(gritted teeth)

And I’m going to be right back, buddy, okay? Just stay here. I’ll be right back.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right!

MARISA

And I run back over to the park and I run up to Blat and I say,

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Will you get out of that stupid metal thing and shake some sense into Eggerton?! I think he might have made a deal with the Shattering.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…So you didn’t bring back any floor fries.

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers, an improvised fantasy role-playing game set in the world of you frickin’ tell me, buddy. With your Game Master Sean Howard and players Michael Howie, Marisa King, and Carter Siddall.

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 Becky Arenivar and Ren.

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

OUTTAKE: SNOWDROP

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What’s going on? How long was I in that trance? Is it already night?

SEAN

Snowdrop just nudges you…

MARISA

Did you say “Snowjob”?

Laughter.

SEAN

Snowdrop nudges you…

CARTER

Snowjob!

MARISA

And it’s Snowball!

SEAN

Snowball.

MARISA

Oh no, I think you used “Snowdrop” earlier.

SEAN

Did I? Snowdrop.

MIKE

We’ll just get you to say Snowball in like eight different inflections.

Laughter.