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62: The Three And The Tree

As war begins, the party seek a way to reach the ancient tree, and are baffled by cryptic messages from beyond.

Game Master: Sean Howard
Players: Michael Howie, Carter Siddall and Marisa King
Special guests: Maggie Makar and Kristi Boulton
Dialogue editing and transcription: Michael Howie
Additional material and sound design: Eli McIlveen
Story consultant: Laura Packer
Game consultant: Stephen Smith

Content warning: war, bombs, death, apocalypse, existential crises, food safety violations.

PREVIOUSLY…

Fast-paced music plays.

ANNOUNCER

Previously on The End of Time and Other Bothers:

SEAN (AS THE OLD MOIRA)

I’m dead. This is the end.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The old Moira was certainly a lot less playful!

SEAN (AS THE NEW MOIRA)

Ha ha!

SEAN (AS OLD MOIRA)

Find the three keys…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(writing)

…keys…

SEAN (AS OLD MOIRA)

And…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…and…

SEAN (AS OLD MOIRA)

…the Nexus!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

…the…

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

I can feel it. Give me your key. Ananka, please.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

If I could do it for you, Tekmar, I would.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s the tree?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s the tree! That was in my vision.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The tree.

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

I’ve had this destiny branded on my skin since I was born. To give my life so that you can be anew.

SEAN (AS THE VOICE OF THE NEXUS)

You are me already.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Is the Shattering… you?!

SEAN (AS ARTHUR WISNEY)

We call it the Wisney Vortex. It’s what’s creating what you see around us. The ultimate theme park.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We’re getting the second key! Screw you, Mr. Wisney!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, Your Lordship! Ohohoho! Oh, you’re alive!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snegal! It’s so good to see you!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, thank you. Which Darcy are you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s the Darcy that opened the apple and killed everyone in Paradox!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

It’s Darcy! Hohohoho!

SEAN (AS NEW MOIRA)

You’re the only team of three that’s made it this far.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re your last hope?

SEAN (AS NEW MOIRA)

Yeah, well, maybe don’t say it like that.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re about to fight, apparently, a huge war. And all you’re worried about is getting a “Hey, I went to Wisney and all I got was this stinking T‑shirt” T‑shirt.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(gasps)

Do you think they have one of those?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I hope so. Maybe with the rat ears on it?

THE BLATAVAN

SEAN

The Blatavan stands amid chaos.

People and War Penguins are running around. And inside the Blatavan, we see the team preparing for war. Because outside, less than a hundred yards away, is a massive army standing between them and the giant tree.

Inside the Blatavan, Snegal is just finishing showing them how the six remaining doors work.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Okay, so one more time, Eggsy…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, yeah, okay, so…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

These two!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Those two?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Don’t worry, one goes to the bathroom.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

One’s the bathroom.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

The other one, don’t worry.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Don’t worry.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Just forget about it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Is that for number twos?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

These four doors go to the front line.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, front line doors. Over here. Four, four. That’s how I’ll remember. “Four” and “front” sound the same.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Because I took the other four doors and linked them to these doors.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

And I ran them and I drug them to different parts of the front line. So you could open a door, send them on someone to send a message and get a quick response.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Perfect. Or we could just send all of our crew through all of the different doors and surround the enemy instantly.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Um, okay, but there’s not a lot of room in this hallway.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, you’re right. Okay, it was a bad idea anyway. Probably doesn’t have much strategic importance.

So what’s the other door? So it’s bathroom, number two door, and then four more doors.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Yeah, doesn’t exist, forget about number two door.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. And if I needed to do a number two, do I go to the first door?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

The first door.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. But, but here’s the real question. Have you seen my general’s hat?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Is Darcy around? Can I explain this to Darcy?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think maybe Darcy’s actually in the bathroom. She got very frustrated-looking when everyone saluted me on the way over and just kind of locked herself in.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I cannot go with you two right outside the door!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, shut up. Shut up.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Sorry, it’s a small van. We’ll sidle down a little bit. Here, shift over.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, and just a little to the right and… all right.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

How’s that, Darcy?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s better.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You want us to run the tap for you?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. Okay. Turn on all of the taps on the battlefield!

Darcy flushes the toilet.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

What?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We have to turn on the taps.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

No, you have to open the doors and send a messenger.

Darcy is already emerging from the bathroom.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m done. I’m done.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, wait. I didn’t hear any hand washing.

Darcy runs the water for roughly half a second.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

It’s very important that we wash our hands, Darcy. Um, in war, it turns out that, um, you know, more people die of infection than… I’m not sure if that’s true, actually.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It sounds right. And after all, this is not just a battle for time, but the war against germs.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

…I’m gonna go find Blat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Does that count as a two-front war?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Did you get the door explanation?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. So we’re supposed to go through number two, use number one for number twos, and then these four go to the four.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I thought I heard Snegal strongly saying not to use door two.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, no, because the way he counted them, though, so you couldn’t see the way he was counting them. You’re doing it backwards.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, it’s true.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. So it’s bathroom all the way on the right—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The one I’m standing outside of.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes. Number two, we don’t use. And the numbers three, four, five, and six, we should use.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. All right. To the battlefield.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

To the battlefield. But it’s only for messages, not to quickly overwhelm the enemy and end the battle before it begins.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Because why would we want to do that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Exactly. It would be terrible for plot.

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, Marisa King, and special guests Maggie Makar and Kristi Boulton.

Episode 62: The Three and the Tree.

THE TREE

Dramatic music.

SEAN

We cut to the tree. We see the supply lines moving food from the base of the tree out into the forces arrayed around it.

And we fly down, down under the tree to a somewhat demolished, what appears to be a bank branch, down, down to the deepest vault… inside of which, popping into existence, is a ghostly-looking Tekmar. Alone. In the vault. For what has felt like forever, listening to the dying, wheezing whine of what’s left of the heart of the Nexus as it’s being used to power all of this Wisney madness.

And Tekmar has been unable to leave the near vicinity of this tree, because there’s very little power left. But the Nexus is keeping her somewhat here.

But you feel a presence that you haven’t felt in a long time.

The music fades to a soft pulsing—the sound of the Nexus from Episode 37.

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

(gasps)

Oh my gosh. What’s happening? Something—

It’s as if I’ve been asleep.

I know that… I know that feeling. There’s someone…

There’s a very annoying little fairy close by.

SEAN

And that’s when Tekmar pops out of existence and a differently dressed Tekmar appears.

KRISTI (AS OTHER TEKMAR)

(Scottish accent)

Oh. Hello.

Uh. Wait. Where am I?

What—a minute ago I was… But now I’m…

And you’re… Wait. There’s a very annoying presence nearby.

…Eggerton?

ANANKA

SEAN

We cut to a storm and we are racing forward. The chicken hut’s feet are pounding on the ground and then leaping over chasms that are appearing as the Shattering is ripping the world apart around it.

Inside is Ananka, and she is braced staring out the front window as the hut races towards the last location of her sister on the aisle. The last location of the key that Moira safeguarded with Tekmar.

SEAN (AS KURA THE CHICKEN HUT)

(alarmed crowing)

Ba-cawww!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes, yes. We are almost there, Kura. Oh my god. Okay, okay.

SEAN (AS KURA)

B’kaw!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes, I know it has been a very, very long and strange, strange trip, but once we have this key we will have what we need to… well, save the world.

SEAN (AS KURA)

(agitated)

A bawk bawk bawk!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No, it will be a type of saving. I promise, I promise. I have a plan.

SEAN (AS KURA)

(skeptical)

Bawwk…

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I cannot share this plan with you at this moment. It is… guided by an inner strength. And maybe a few voices. Maybe a few voices. And—

SEAN (AS KURA)

Bok bok bok!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Kura! Just relax and trust that I know what I am doing. When we get there it will all make sense.

SEAN

And that is when a Tekmar appears wearing a hula hoop.

Pop!

KRISTI (AS HULA HOOP TEKMAR)

(Australian accent)

Hi there.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

…Tekmar?

KRISTI (AS HULA HOOP TEKMAR)

Hello, Ananka!

SEAN

But you can sort of see through them as if they are a ghost.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

You are a piece of Tekmar. You are an essence of Tekmar. You are not…

You are not my Tekmar. You are…

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I can see you’re working through this. You are on the right track. I’m not your Tekmar, but I’m a Tekmar. And I can tell you are not my Ananka, but in a sense we are all each other’s Anankas, aren’t we?

I’m a cool Tekmar.

SEAN

(laughs)

KRISTI (AS HULA HOOP TEKMAR)

As you can see from my hula hoop.

SEAN (AS KURA)

B’caww!

KRISTI (AS HULA HOOP TEKMAR)

Kura agrees.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

And this hula hoop, it gives you powers?

KRISTI (AS HULA HOOP TEKMAR)

Well, it was my favourite thing to do when I was… not-this. It kind of keeps me grounded to my reality.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

When not-this… Oh…

KRISTI (AS HULA HOOP TEKMAR)

The hula hoop’s not going to make a lot of sense, Tekmar. It’s just kind of a thing. I’m Tekmar. You’re Ananka. There’s a lot going on. I just wanted to come and tell you you’re on the right track.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

That’s what I’ve been saying. Kura, you see, I told you I am…

SEAN (AS KURA)

Gawk b’gawk!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Kura did not believe me. Maybe I have been having some visions that are not quite correct. So I understand his hesitation to believe me.

SEAN (AS KURA)

Bok bawk gawk.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes. But I know this time what I have done is right and what I am planning will save the world.

SEAN (AS KURA)

(anxious)

Mawk…

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(sighs)

KRISTI (AS HULA HOOP TEKMAR)

Just trust that feeling. And see you on the other side, eh?

FOOD TRUCK

SEAN

We cut to Blat in line waiting to get a fried beaver tail as the war rages in the distance.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So this isn’t really beaver tails, right? It’s some sort of flat dough?

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

Sorry—are you talking to me? I’m just in line.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m just trying to determine—I was told this is our only choice for food. So… this isn’t actually the tail from a creature that makes dams, it’s just a colourful colloquialism for some sort of treat that I’ve heard could possibly resemble the tail of a being that creates dams?

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

I don’t work—I’m just in line.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I was wondering if you knew, that’s all.

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

It doesn’t smell like a beaver tail. Look, the kid’s got one. It looks like dough.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you didn’t know but you’re in line anyway, so you would have been fine either way?

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

Well, it’s the last place to get food.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, still.

KRISTI

A Tekmar ghost pops up and goes,

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

(London accent)

It’s just dough.

KRISTI

And then disappears.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…The hell was that?!

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

What? What was what?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Did you just see that?!

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

No. See what? The kid? I know! Who puts strawberry on it?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, I’m not—The strawberry isn’t—There was a face! A face just a second ago to tell me that there was dough!

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

Who put strawberry on dough?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s not the point! The point is, there was a face, and while the face did give helpful information, it was a face and then the face just vanished!

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

My aunt was allergic to strawberries.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Really? You could be allergic to strawberries?

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

Oh yeah, really allergic. Like deathly. I don’t think I’ve ever had a strawberry actually.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Should you be in line for this?

SEAN (AS CUSTOMER IN LINE)

Oh, maybe not. Do you want my place?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh, sure. I’ll cut ahead.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! There you are, Blat! Ha ha. I think we’re going to need you back at the Blat Headquarters. I was going to say Blatavan, but Eggsy has renamed it “HQ”.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Of course. HQ. Um…

Maybe I should just stay here and make beaver tails, which I’ve been assured are just dough.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, you’re going to make them? Are you taking a job?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes! I’ll stay here and I’ll make some food for those fighting on the front lines and uh… I think that will be good.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Are you scared?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No! No. I can cook dough with the best of them. Watch. You just take some of this goop…

SEAN (AS COOK)

Hey! This is my… oh. Okay, sorry…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m just proving a point here, sir. Excuse me.

SEAN (AS COOK)

I’m going on break.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You put the goop in the fire and—oh, the arm hair! Okay. And then you just let that bubble for… a bit…

MARISA (AS SUPERVISOR)

Percy! Percy, who is this person making the beaver tails?

SEAN (AS PERCY THE COOK)

I’m on break. Someone else is there.

MARISA (AS SUPERVISOR)

You’re never on break!

SEAN (AS PERCY THE COOK)

I’m on break! There’s another cook!

MARISA (AS SUPERVISOR)

There’s no break! We’re going to war!

SEAN (AS PERCY THE COOK)

Tell that to the other cook.

MARISA (AS SUPERVISOR)

You’re making the… what are you doing?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m proving a point that I’m not afraid of dough, my good woman!

MARISA (AS SUPERVISOR)

Have you seen the health and safety regulations? You can’t just walk in here…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Health and safety regulations? There’s a war going on! Who cares about health and safety regulations?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We may as well all just be in chaos without health and safety regulations.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I think he’s having a midlife crisis and he’s scared about the war.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, I’m having a possible end of life crisis, is what I’m having! This could be it for all of us.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Sorry.

MARISA (AS SUPERVISOR)

You need to take him away from here. Away from my kiosk. Away from my dough.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Okay, okay.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Do you really think, my good woman, that somebody is going to come and give you a failing grade letter here at your stand?!

MARISA (AS SUPERVISOR)

I will go out the way I came in—

MIKE (AS FOOD INSPECTOR)

Excuse me, everyone. Sorry to interrupt this… I don’t know what you’re doing back there…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

It’s an inspector!

MIKE (AS FOOD INSPECTOR)

I’m here to really… I just want you to take a quick look at the fryers and make sure the beaver tails are up to snuff. There’s a lot going on. I’ve got four other kiosks I’ve got to hit, so… who’s in charge?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sir, can you not see that a mere few feet away there’s a battle happening?! You… you want to grade… a food stand?!

MIKE (AS FOOD INSPECTOR)

Safety first, sir. Safety first.

MARISA (AS SUPERVISOR)

Right this way. I have my clipboard right over here that you can view.

MIKE (AS FOOD INSPECTOR)

Perfect.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I smell something burning.

MARISA (AS SUPERVISOR)

That was because of him. This way. This way.

MIKE (AS FOOD INSPECTOR)

You know what, getting demon skin into the fryer… it’s really not great for the inspection report.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s mostly just arm hair, thank you.

MIKE (AS FOOD INSPECTOR)

(sighs)

Well, arm hair only counts for half, I guess.

THE BLATAVAN

SEAN

We cut back to the Blatavan.

Darcy, you are there with Eggerton, and one of the doors open, and a scout comes in. It appears to be… Mumsy!

MARISA

What is Mumsy?

(lowers her voice to a growl)

Is she like this? Okay.

Laughter.

MARISA (AS MUMSY THE ICE TROLL)

Oh, good! I have reports!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that’s for me. I’m the General! Go ahead.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

You’re? You’re the General?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m the General, yes. And what was your name? I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name, and your little “Hello, I am” is very high up. I can’t quite read it.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

They call me Mumsy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mumsy. Oh, that’s a lovely name.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

My sons called me Mumsy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Called?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

…Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, I’m so sorry. What happened?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

I don’t want to talk about it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, okay. We can revisit that. You know, in circle, we’ll all heal. So what’s the report from the front line?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

There are many warriors.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

How many is many?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

I don’t know. I don’t count.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so you went to the front lines to count how many enemies there were.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And is it more than my fingers?

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Ummm… yes?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

If each finger represents one enemy, you think… okay, you’re not sure.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

Okay, there’s more than one, but less than a lot. No way, maybe more than a lot.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh no, we’re screwed.

SEAN

And that is when a Tekmar appears wearing…?

KRISTI

What am I wearing? Oh, you want me to say it?

MIKE

He’s good at that.

CARTER

A rubber chicken as a hat.

KRISTI

(laughing)

Okay.

SEAN

I don’t know.

And that’s when a Tekmar appears wearing a rubber chicken as a hat.

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

(girlish, with an American accent)

I thought it’d be funnier to deliver some bad news if I had a chicken on my head. Uh…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh, uh, hi! Hi!

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

Hi! Eggerton!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hi!

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

Oh my goodness! Ba-caw! How are you?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I love your hat!

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

Oh, thank you! And… aaa! That’s the sound it makes when you squish it! It’s kind of like the sound of the warriors at the front lines looking out at the army.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

They’re making scary squeaking sounds?

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

Um, you know when you squeeze a chicken…

KRISTI

She takes the chicken off her head and she goes…

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

You know how it goes… aaaa! Imagine that! But far more than ten of your fingers.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

More than ten of the fingers, all sounding like they’re being stabbed at once.

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

Aaaaa!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, yeah. Really from the diaphragm where the spear is.

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

Yeah.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay. Okay, that’s fine. That’s fine. Um, so, um, what was your name again?

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

…So rude.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m sorry, you just… we’re in a strategy session.

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

The answer lies in the Nexus.

KRISTI

And then she disappears.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

O‑okay, that was… that’s normal in war. That’s the fog of war.

KRISTI

And all you hear in the background is the ghostly sound of a chicken.

KRISTI (AS CHICKEN TEKMAR)

Ba-cawww!

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

She interrupted my report!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m sorry, it was very rude of her, wasn’t it?

Um, Darcy, maybe you could go and see if you can find the ghost with the chicken?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What… what are you talking…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Did you not just…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who was that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t know. Someone came in with a ghost on their head and disappeared.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You mean a chicken on their head?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? No, like a rubber chicken.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, I know.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, and it goes, “Braaah!” Like that?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I don’t know that we have time to deal with strange things like that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, that’s what I’m saying. So if you go deal with that, I’ll stay here and deal with the important military stuff with, uh, Mumsy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

The strategy session.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The strategy session, yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

With Mumsy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

With Mumsy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who couldn’t count the warriors.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Front line scout Mumsy. Look how tall she is.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

I’m very tall.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I mean, how do you beat that? She can scout above everybody.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

I do aerial reconnaissance because I’m so tall.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It checks out.

BLAT

SEAN

Where do we find Blat?

CARTER

Blat…

KRISTI

Is he in a full uniform?

CARTER

…has been arrested by the food inspector. And is now being held under guard.

Laughter.

MARISA

The food inspector prison.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I’m sorry, I filled out all the paperwork. Can I… Can we get him out now?

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

Let me take a look at that paperwork. Oh, you know what? You missed the back side of all 312 pages.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Um… It’s really important, you know, the battle, that we get him to the front lines.

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

Oh, he’s going to the front lines?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Yeah.

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

I thought he was just a poorly-trained food preparer.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

No, he’s a poorly trained front line.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(shouts)

Why can’t I be both?!

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

Well, anyway, we don’t need to really take what he says. He’s just front line fodder, isn’t he? Ha ha.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Ha ha.

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

All right, so you know, I’ll let him go, but you let the War Penguins know we need some new line cooks.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Okay.

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

All right, they’re in charge of logistics.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Yeah, they’re really, really tough.

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

They are. They’re a little scary. You never met a middle manager who could just stare you down like a War Penguin, I’ll tell ya..

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

No, I try to avoid them.

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

Yeah, it’s best.

Now, sir, in the future, I want you to remember when you’re around food, your skin, blood, tears, sweat, and other things that come out of you, typically don’t…

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Like friend songs?

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

Actually, friend songs are welcome. It boosts morale, we’ve heard.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Ah!

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

Yeah, there’s a couple studies on it right now.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh!

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

But we need you to just keep your bodily fluids and functions out of the food that we’re giving to the troops, okay, sir?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…I’m not going to work with food ever again! We’re moments away from complete annihilation!

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

Exactly. So you get to the front of that annihilation line, I’ll stay back here and make sure the food is safe and everybody gets what they need for my report at the end of the day.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Why isn’t he on the line? Why is he still inspecting things? Give him a musket or a power ball or something and send him out.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

But the War Penguins were very clear that we need proper inspection of all the line and the food.

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

And I have the most important weapon of them all, sir—a clipboard with a pencil.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, pretty impressive.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Why do we still have paperwork?! That’s half of what the War Penguins are handing out. This doesn’t make any sense! But why should it? We’re fighting the final battle of the universe in a theme park!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Okay, you just keep yelling at me as we walk. Okay, walking this way. Oh look, look, there’s a clipboard here. Let’s take it and yell at the clipboard as we walk to the Blatavan.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s rats on everything! Everything!

Rats!

The door slams behind them.

MIKE (AS INSPECTOR)

All right, rats, form up and head out.

Tiny marching sounds. The whole cast join in with squeaky mouse chatter.

KRISTI

Prrr! Oh, that’s a cat.

MIKE

(laughs)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wait, wait, we gotta stop. There’s a cat with the rats. He’s wearing a hat and carrying a bat. This won’t do.

KRISTI (AS THE CAT)

I just wanted to belong. Prrr!

ANANKA

Howling wind.

SEAN

Kura has stopped and is standing outside of a hut that is being bled away and leans down quite delicately for a house on legs and nudges Ananka forward towards the final resting place of her sister.

SEAN (AS KURA)

Ba-kaw!

SEAN

And around, the colour is gone and the earth is literally crumbling away. They have but seconds to find the body, hope that the key is there, and somehow make it back to the tree that is even now being ripped from this universe.

What do you do, Ananka?

MAGGIE

Ananka slowly walks down the two steps that Kura puts out for her and is surrounded by blackness with just a few small twinkling stars and lights.

Ananka puts her hand to the door.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(breathes)

This will be my Tekmar.

KRISTI

And the door swings open and when she walks in, there’s a warmly lit fire in the centre, but it’s crackling and everything around it feels warm and it’s emitting this sort of like bluish light and there’s Tekmar, your Tekmar, sitting with a key around her neck, but she’s transparent and there’s this chair that’s been waiting for you.

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

(English accent)

Ananka, it’s so nice to see you.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

You too, Tekmar. I can’t believe it’s, well, really you.

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

In a manner of speaking.

Come, sit. I feel like there’s much to talk about but very little time.

MAGGIE

And Ananka wearily sits down.

KRISTI

And then Tekmar instinctively goes to put her hand on yours and it just goes—whhfff—through.

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

Oh, sorry. Forgot that’s a thing that happens now.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

This has been what you’ve been working towards.

What we’ve both been working towards.

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

Fate has a funny way of playing itself out.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I just want to sit here with you and I don’t want to do any of it, Tekmar.

I… I don’t want us to disappear forever.

SEAN

Tekmar knows there are a few seconds left. Very little time, even as fast as Kura can fly, to get Ananka back to the tree that is already starting to be ripped away.

Tekmar also knows that she can use what power she has to make one thing real. But it will be at the cost of what’s left of her.

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

There’s no time.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Your necklace…

A shimmering sound.

KRISTI

Her necklace starts to glow. The key starts to glow around her chest.

And she lifts it off and just for that moment Ananka and Tekmar can touch hands as she passes the key.

And she looks at Ananka and just, you know, into her eyes and says,

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

Ananka, you’re going to help save us all.

It was so nice to see you one last time.

Watch out for that one that hula hoops though. You’ll know what I mean. She’s so weird.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(sighs)

MAGGIE

Ananka takes the key and is happy yet sad that it’s the one thing she can still feel that’s real of Tekmar.

KRISTI

And I think as Tekmar starts to become more transparent, she’s fading away.

She looks at Ananka, gives her a wink and says,

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

Now fly.

SEAN

And Kura swoops up Ananka into the open door and begins to run.

MAGGIE

Ananka sits down in the hut, in Kura… and wonders where Greg is.

MIDROLL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Music sting.

ELI

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

ELI

Hi everyone, it’s Eli here with the announcements as well as my humble apologies for the wait. Life and work got away from me this year, but we’re getting back on track now, goddesses willing.

Time also for some shout outs to our Patreon supporters, winding down the list at last. And thank you so so much to Claire Ewey, I hope one of those is right, Corey Cunningham, Chrystene Groom, Vincentrosaurus, Jacob Ashton, Mike Williams, Tony D, and Skylaar Mease.

All of our love and thanks from Other Bothers HQ.

Music sting.

MIDROLL: RECRUITING CENTRE

SEAN (AS RECEPTIONIST)

Number 47 to see the recruiter. Who’s got 47?

MAGGIE (AS CANDIDATE)

I’ve got 47.

SEAN (AS RECEPTIONIST)

Oh, hi.

You again?

MAGGIE (AS CANDIDATE)

Yeah, I went to the back of the line and came in front of the line because I’m like, I’m ready. I’m ready to do this.

SEAN (AS RECEPTIONIST)

You are, but you have to be a minimum height. I’m sorry.

MAGGIE (AS CANDIDATE)

What, you can’t be 2 foot 2?

SEAN (AS RECEPTIONIST)

No, I’m sorry. It’s 2 foot 3 is the cutoff.

MAGGIE (AS CANDIDATE)

I could get into small spaces. I could get up people’s noses. I could, well there’s other places I could get up into, but…

SEAN (AS RECEPTIONIST)

Okay, sorry, thank you so much. Don’t go back to the line. You just have to go home. I’m sorry. I’m 48. Anybody have 48?

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

Hello!

SEAN (AS RECEPTIONIST)

Hello.

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

Glitter!

SEAN (AS RECEPTIONIST)

Ow! Oh, it’s in my eyes. Okay…

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

And that’s the level of performance you’ll get from me. In your eyes!

SEAN (AS RECEPTIONIST)

(spitting)

Okay, sorry, we have no glitter policy, no perfume policy in the office.

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

Look what’s in my pockets!

What? No, don’t—

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

Glitter!

SEAN (AS RECEPTIONIST)

No!

Okay, why don’t you go see the recruiter. Miss Petuli will see you in that office there.

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

It hurts if you breathe it in. Don’t!

Knocking on the office door.

MIKE (AS MISS PETULI)

Well, come on in. I’m Miss Petuli.

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

Hello!

MIKE (AS MISS PETULI)

Well, you’re very loud.

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

I am! Glitter!

MIKE (AS MISS PETULI)

I actually lost both my eyes to a glitter-related incident last year.

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

Are those made out of wood?

MIKE (AS MISS PETULI)

They are.

I’d prefer if you not tap them.

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

I’m sorry. I’ve never seen that before.

MIKE (AS MISS PETULI)

Neither have I.

CARTER (AS GLITTER FAN)

Makes sense. Makes sense.

KRISTI

(laughing)

That got weirdly ableist.

Laughter.

MIKE

Someone else could have done it, okay? That’s what I’m saying.

KRISTI

I have no idea what’s going on!

MARISA

I thought you were great.

Music sting.

THE BLATAVAN

SEAN

Darcy, you are outside the Blatavan. You hear the sound of battle in the distance. And you see Snegal coming and sort of half pushing Blat towards the Blatavan.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

There you are! Where have you been?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I was trying to become a cook and I’ve been shanghaied.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why were you becoming a cook? This is a huge battle we’re about to fight!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’ve just answered that question.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh boy. Thanks for bringing him back, Snegal.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, you’re welcome. I’m gonna go in and check on the doors. Make sure everything’s working.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, sounds good.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Don’t let him go anywhere.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I will try not to.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m not good enough to make flattened dough. Oh, but I’m good enough to die! I’m good enough to do that!

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I think he’s having trouble processing.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, we’ve done this so many times before. Why are you having a problem with it now?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Because if you keep rolling a die over and over and over again, you’re eventually going to roll a low number. And when that happens, kchhkt! That’s it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What are you talking about? I mean, Eggerton’s in charge.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Eggerton’s got that thing, though.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(bleak, uncontrollable laughter)

Eggerton’s in charge.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I know, I know!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(laughing)

Eggerton’s in charge. We’re all gonna die.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That is why we’re all going to die. But Eggerton probably isn’t going to die. He’s got that dumb-guy thing where if you’re not aware that you’re in any danger, you avoid the danger. But people who are aware that they’re in danger are scared, and because they’re scared, they make a mistake. And then they die, horribly, with the rending of limbs and the entrails flying up onto the ceiling.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You paint a lovely picture.

I don’t think there’s any way of getting out of this, so we may as well just face it and get it over with. Maybe if we stay close to Eggerton, you know, the dumb luck will rub off onto us.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I think the dumb will rub off on us. I’m not so sure about the luck part.

SEAN

As you open the door, Darcy, you see, popping out of one of the doors, a train conductor who is here to tell the General that the Tangerine store employees have begun an attack on the western front.

The door opens briefly. We hear a chugging train sounding its whistle.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

All right! We got‑a the Tangerine workers. They’re going to be set to the front with the big‑a technology!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, wait, they’re all at the front with the technology?

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

We’re going to use the technology against‑a the enemy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, okay! We’re going to?

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

You’re supposed to use the technology…

SEAN

(laughing)

The Tangerine store—no, okay—

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

(ignoring Sean)

I send the technology with the workers to the front line, and then they use the technology at the line, and they go, “Oooo, technology,” and they point it at the enemy and such.

SEAN

Mumsy comes through the door to correct the report because it’s the Tangerine store workers that are attacking our side.

Another door opens, and for a moment we hear bellowing demons and planes roaring overhead.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

What are you telling them?!

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

I, I, on my train, I had the workers and the technology, and we go off to the front line! And that’s where I drop them off, and then I come back for another load.

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

So you are helping the enemy?!

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

No, they’ve got the technology and they’ve got the workers. You need the workers to use the technology against the enemy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It, it, it’s sounding like that you’re transporting the enemy through our camp to their camp to help them have reinforcements.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Okay. I know there are the Tangerine workers, which are the pale people, very thin, with the white shirts. They claim‑a to be geniuses. Who am I to argue?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

So they have technology, which I do not understand because I just operate a tram.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Sure.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

So I take them with the technology, they go to the front lines, and then they use their technology in a futuristic sort of way against the enemy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, but they, they, they, they’re… their enemy is us.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

…No, no, no, I’m pretty sure they’re on our side, because they were working at—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, I…

MARISA (AS MUMSY)

No, they are not. I squished one earlier.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Who did I send?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You—you sent the bad guys through our camp around our defenses to reinforce their front line and attack our team.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

I just operate a tram. I don’t, I don’t know from this war stuff. I work in a theme park and we go to the Mexicoland, the Italialand, and the Antarcticaland.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, I—

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

I point to things of interest and say, “Hey, isn’t that interesting?” I don’t know from this war things! They are pale, they have technology, and they go, “All right! You’re on our side,” and off we go.

Laughter.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m pretty sure, um, both that this is maybe just like a logistics screwup from the War Penguins and, or your war profiteering, but I’m not sure which way that’s going to go. I’ll talk about it later, but you know what would be great is if you could take all of these magnets we piled up and deliver them to the pasty people that you deliver, you already delivered, and then just throw the magnets to them and tell them that it’s like a new battery pack or something.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Battery pack for the technology that is not our side technology, it is their side technology.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Exactly, but you don’t know the difference, remember? Wink?

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Wink, yes. I am doing this because I am very stupid and not because I am profiteering in any way.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ll take it!

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Also, you have penguins doing the paperwork here… maybe that’s not so good.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I actually think they’re highly efficient and organized. You know that they’re all in uniform all the time, even when they sleep. Can you say that’s true of most of us? No.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

You have a salad bowl on your head, I’m not sure why you are the leader.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh, because it’s a general’s hat. Can you see through it?

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Yes, I can, I can see your hair coming out through the spigots.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It… it’s not a very good bowl if it’s got spigots—

SEAN

(laughing)

Darcy closes the door and turns back to Blat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So this is how well it’s going…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I told you, we’re going to die!

SEAN

Overhead, Darcy, you see the squadron. The squadron of Moiras is approaching and heading towards the enemy lines, and one of the wings dips and you see Moira—one of the Moiras—waving down to you as they fly past.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, the squadron’s on their way, hopefully they’re going to make some inroads through the enemy lines.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. But then… they defeat the enemy further back, that doesn’t defeat the enemy closer to the front.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, I’m hoping they’ll sort of strafe through the front all the way through to the back. And if they could just go around a bit too, strafing all around… maybe they’ll just get rid of everyone.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How many people does it take to guard a tree? This is all for one tree—we’re just trying to get to one tree.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ooh, that’s true. Maybe we should go undercover.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Undercover! Yes! Spies! Subterfuge! Less chance of getting a head blown off!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You enjoy that!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I do!

SEAN

Darcy and Blat just stare at each other, standing outside the Blat event as they hear bombs falling, explosions, Eggerton shouting something from inside.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(muffled)

I don’t care if you like putting spaghetti in it, it’s still a salad bowl if you use it for salad most of the time!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, so here’s my question.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It’s probably a little late.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh huh.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I know it sounds like I don’t know what’s going on, but sometimes I feel like that’s the truth.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I hardly ever do.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What are we supposed to do when we get to the tree?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um, there’s a, um, key.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Right.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Where?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

The tree is the key.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So there’s no reason why we can’t just send someone undercover through the lines to get the key?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You know who they can be?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Food inspectors!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I know, it seems ridiculous, but apparently that’s still a thing here because we’re in amusement park. The people that go in the food stands to make sure that you’re not, uh, cooking demonic arm hair into the food or something. They are allowed through!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Really? I had no idea. Well, do you know someone? Who we could maybe send through?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes. I know someone. I know the exact someone.

Look at me! I’m a giant red food inspector!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Don’t you need some papers or something?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, papers schmapers. I could probably pick something up off a desk somewhere.

The door to the Blatavan opens.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Someone said they needed papers? Here’s some paperwork.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, Snegal! Oh, thank you.

Snegal vanishes back into the Blatavan.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um, so I’m gonna go check to see if there’s a food cart in the tree that needs to be graded.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But what if they don’t want you to come through and they just kill you immediately?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, why’d you put that in my head?!

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I was certain this was going to work!

MARISA (AS ELEANOR)

Excuse me, excuse me. It’s Eleanor from food services.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Eleanor! Eleanor!

MARISA (AS ELEANOR)

You know I make the beaver tails?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yes, yes. I’m so sorry about that. I’m scabbing up nicely.

MARISA (AS ELEANOR)

I needed to talk to the general, but if he’s busy I’ll just ask you two. I have these Tangerine people lining up at my beaver tails kiosk. They seem to be saying they came from the tree into our camp and they’re very hungry, but I’m not sure they’re ours. Should I be serving them the food? Should I be allowing that? Should they be taken into, you know, custody?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Do we have anyone that could take them into custody?

MARISA (AS ELEANOR)

Oh, no, ha ha, I don’t think so. But they’re all just milling around. Some of them seem very pleased to be here on our side.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hmm. I feel like this is a question for the general, because this is a very ridiculous situation.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, no, this is great! This is great. We’re trying to get you through the lines. What if we can get one of these Tangerine people to give you intel? You know, on what’s going on over there? Are they enjoying the beaver tails?

MARISA (AS ELEANOR)

Well, I haven’t given too many out yet, but so far they seem very pleased with what we’re offering in the camp.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So do you think maybe some of them might join our side?

MARISA (AS ELEANOR)

Well, yes, it’s possible. I’m very charming, you know.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hmm. Maybe we can get someone over here to take you through.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Bring one of the Tangerine people over here. Let’s see if we can parlay some sort of an agreement.

MARISA (AS ELEANOR)

All right!

MIKE (AS A TANGERINE TECH)

Hi guys. You asked for some tech support?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh, yes! Technical support with the war. Let’s take a look at your name tag here. Your name is… Dweebzel.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL THE TANGERINE TECH)

Dweebzel, yes, yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That seems to track. Do I detect a strong smell of nacho cheese?

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

It’s something they gave us on the front line.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Interesting.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

You know, anytime that we were going to be shaking hands, they wanted to make sure there was a slightly cheesy residue left behind, just so people knew that they had been in contact with us.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

With you, yes. So I hear you’re the enemy?

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Well, it really depends on what your problem is. If your problem is OS-based, then we’re your friend. But if your problem is hardware based, oh boy. Yeah, I think a lot of people consider us the enemy at that point.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, no, Dweebzel, there’s a large army preventing us from getting to a tree.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

There’s a large army? Where?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

If you look over yonder, say, do you see where all the planes are dropping…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, yeah. Oh, wow. Those are explosions.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, those are explosions.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

I thought this was just like a corporate retreat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What the hell kind of a corporate retreat is… What kind of corporate retreats have you been on?!

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

I don’t know. Last year we played laser tag!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Laser tag?

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

I thought this was just an upgrade! What, you’re saying this is a real war? Oh! Oh no!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Look, I was freaked out about it before! I can’t have you being freaked out about it!

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Augh! Augh! I’m okay! It’s fine. It’s probably just a simulation. We’re all simulations!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I guess at the end of the day, we all are just simulations.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Yeah, they said that on that TV show, Star Shock.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Listen, the reason we wanted to talk to you, you know, we needed some tech support.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Yeah, tech support…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Actually, my friend here is a food inspector and as I’m sure you can be aware on these corporate retreats/wars, ha ha…

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

(tense laughter)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You need to make sure the food is up to snuff.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Of course!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So we were wondering if you could perhaps guide our friend over to where you came from and show him some of your food services to make sure that no one’s getting some bad food poisoning.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Well, that’s really important, especially with the lack of toilets over there.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, that’s not good…

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

But you know what? There’s no real secret to it. You just hop on this train. This nice Italian man, he’s just carting people back and forth whenever you need something.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Towards the enemy camp?!

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Yeah, right through! There’s a station right outside the tree.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How is he allowed to do that? What kind of moron do you have working here?

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

I… Are you asking me?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just generally.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

I’m not allowed to comment on management.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I feel like that’s a failure with this whole thing, is that no one is commenting on management when really they should be.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Well, I think people have commented on management and… they’re just not around any more.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you don’t know anything about the tree?

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

No, it just showed up one day and they said go over, make sure the ethernet’s plugged in, try turning it off and on if it’s not working, and leave a simple set of instructions with this password.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you got the password for the…

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Yeah, it’s the standard password. It comes with all new trees.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Comes with all new trees. Great.

“Oaksauce”. So I guess you mean sap? Is that what that’s…

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

I don’t know what you’re talking about.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, all right.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Are you talking about the stuff that’s inside the tree that’s kind of, you know, sticky and sweet?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I thought maybe that’s what you were referring to as “oak sauce”, yes.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

That is, it’s the sauce from the oak tree.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So, sap?

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Sauce.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You call it oak sauce? Really?

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Yeah, it’s from the tree and it’s sauce. Oak sauce.

KRISTI

…And the end of time never came.

MARISA

This is what we let them do.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you make, say, waffles and you like…

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

We prefer beaver tails, actually.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you make a nice beaver tail and you put what you call “oak sauce” on it.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Well sometimes we boil it down and add a bit of sugar to make it more palatable for the masses.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Sure, sweet, I get that. So maybe some sliced fruit and then, oh, I know well it’d be good to finish this whole plate off… oak sauce.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Yes, but you’ve gotta make sure you’ve got Cool Whip for the fruit—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, we’re getting completely off topic here. Train. We gotta get on the train. That’s what we need to do.

ANANKA

SEAN

We cut to Ananka. As the world is disintegrating around, Kura leaps, just barely making the Great Tree as it pops out of this universe and the universe is destroyed.

And inside the hut, as the hut is being transported to Wisney Corp, we see Ananka having tea and a conversation with eight to ten constantly changing Tekmars.

Pop!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Okay, Tekmar. Sorry, Hula Tekmar.

So what you’re telling me is that you can get us to the tree. And as long as we have the two other keys and the key given to me by my Tekmar, we will be able to get into the tree and the Nexus.

KRISTI (AS HULA TEKMAR)

Well exactly, that’s what I was about—

Pop.

KRISTI

Boop! Then another Tekmar comes in and goes…

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

(Cockney accent)

Exactly, that’s exactly what I was just trying to tell you. You said you’re thinking about this in a lot of different ways. You just need to think about the tree and the key. The key is to the tree, the tree is the key, know what I’m saying? And then next you just gotta—

Pop!

KRISTI

Boop! And then another one comes in. This one is in roller skates with a boombox, and she goes…

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

(California drawl)

What I’m trying to tell you is that whenever you’re feeling like you’re following the right track, like your soul is telling you to take a left, take that left. You know what I mean? Just like, stop thinking so much, Ananka.

Pop!

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

(breathy)

What you have to do is trust in the process.

KRISTI

This Tekmar is a total yogi. She’s got her legs crossed, she’s using the floating thing to her advantage. Just you know, a lot of chakras floating around her—

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

Just trust in yourself, Ananka. Oh, and tell Greg, what a hottie with a body, am I right?

Pop!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Totally a hottie with a body, ha ha. Okay, well, I just have to learn to trust myself again…

SEAN (AS KURA)

Ba-caww?

Do you trust me as well, Kura?

SEAN (AS KURA)

Bok bok bok bok.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

That sounds convincing. Okay, okay. So… you know what, I’m just going to call you Tekmar A, Tekmar B—B for boombox.

KRISTI

(laughing)

And as she says that, those Tekmars disappear and three more come in. One that’s dressed in, um, bubble bath, like just bubbles. She’s like,

KRISTI (AS BUBBLE BATH TEKMAR)

(sultry)

Well, I was busy, but I’m sure. Why not? Bring me to the Nexus.

Rapid popping sounds.

KRISTI

And then like there’s two are like just populating Tekmars all over the place and all of them are so different from the Tekmar you know.

But in the middle, I want you to see a child Tekmar that keeps coming in and out of existence, but doesn’t talk to you.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Okay, but the one that I really—can you just excuse me? I’m sorry, the bubbles, they are getting into my eyes. A little more to the—

KRISTI (AS BUBBLE BATH TEKMAR)

Okay, sorry.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I don’t want—

KRISTI (AS ANOTHER TEKMAR)

Sorry!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Okay, I just don’t… Can you—

KRISTI (AS YET ANOTHER TEKMAR)

Whoa! Get out of there!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I actually used to be a—

KRISTI (AS NEW YORK TEKMAR)

Hey! I’m walkin’ here!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Move the hula hoop, please. Or I will move it for you.

Tekmar. No, okay.

KRISTI (AS HALF A DOZEN DIFFERENT TEKMARS)

Which Tekmar?

That Tekmar?

Me Tekmar?

That Tekmar?

Which Tekmar?

Whuuuut?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No, this Tekmar. The Tekmar that I—

Tekmar C… Tekmar D…

D for… daaaaagh!

KRISTI (AS A TEKMAR)

Who?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Okay, everybody. Let me approach the baby Tekmar.

KRISTI

Baby Tekmar, child Tekmar looks at you and then disappears.

Pop!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Son of a…!

TRAIN PLATFORM

SEAN

We are at a train station, like out of a black and white movie. We hear the sound of, all right, it’s more of a shrill whistle than a real train whistle. But it’s a whistle. And we see Blat in a trenchcoat waiting as walking up towards him is Darcy also dressed in a trenchcoat, but white, not sure why. And behind them running is Eggerton trying to catch the train.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Guys, guys, guys, wait for me. I’m coming too. Come on, come on. Just wait. You’re going too fast. Your legs, remember? Your legs are longer.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Stop it. You’re drawing too much attention.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re drawing attention with the trenchcoats and the fancy secretive looks between you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We are food inspectors!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, right. Food inspector. I’m a food inspector too. I, I, I’ve even got a clipboard. See? It’s a clipboard.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You might want to take off the general’s hat if you want to pretend to be a food inspector.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What if instead of taking it off, I put a food inspector uniform hat on top to hide it?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So you just have a folded uniform on top of a hat on your head?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. How about this? We’re two food inspectors and we found an injured guy on the front line. We’re bringing him to a hospital.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that’s so nice of you. Where is he? Can I, can I help?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You already have.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m glad.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay.

KRISTI

And then a Tekmar in a chef’s hat who’s whisking something in a bowl pops in just for a second and goes,

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

You know, it would make sense if he’s wearing a salad bowl on his head that he might be a food inspector. So, you know, equal parts.

KRISTI

And then she disappears.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why does that keep happening?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know and it’s freaking me out. Also, a food inspector wouldn’t be wearing a salad bowl on their head unless they had a head injury.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. It doesn’t matter. We just need to get on the train and keep a low profile. Remember, I don’t think this conductor is very smart. I think the train is going to be full of more enemies from the line.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Okay! So everybody on board, we’ve got all sorts of soldiers who will do the fighting on the side that I am not sure of.

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

Sorry, I’m just—we’re the, you know, the murderers.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

You’re the murderers.

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

Where do we go?

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Well, what sort of murderers are you? Are you general soldiers or do you suffer from psychopathy?

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

I didn’t follow that. I’m just good with a knife.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Good with a knife. I’m going to file you under psychopathy. You’re going to go right in the back as far away from me as possible.

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

Okay, thank you.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Thank you very much.

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

Here’s your money.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Oh, very good—you know what? I’m going to give you back the money so I don’t anger you in any way. Here’s your money back!

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

Oh! I was feeling a little angry. Okay, thank you.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Okay, ha ha, anything to keep you calm and any of your friends…

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

Do you have coffee?

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Um, I’m going to say yes in order to keep you in a good mood!

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

Okay.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Any of the friends with you, do they enjoy—

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

Yeah, three sugar, two cream.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

That’s great.

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

We’ll be in the back.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

You don’t eat human flesh though, do you?

SEAN (AS A MURDERER)

Uh, is it Tuesday?

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Okay, back there you go. We’ll be sure to get you your drinks.

(back on the loudspeaker)

Okay, everybody! Oh, look at these people in the trenchcoats! You must be very important and you obviously want as much attention drawn to you as possible.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No. No we’re not.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s so nice of you to honour us for being so important!

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

So, how can I help you? Where are you going? Are you going just to the front lines? Or are you going to the hospital, because I think there might be something wrong with you!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, Blat, I think he’s talking to you.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He’s not talking to me. You have a salad bowl on your head with a folded uniform on top of it!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yeah, we need to get right to the tree. Right to the tree.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

Oh, right through! None of this front line nonsense for the likes of you. You’re important higher-up people.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, not—we’re very low actually, but we’re doing the important low work that has to get done just to keep the infrastructure going.

MIKE (AS DWEEBZEL)

So you’re important people doing low work?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re not important at all. Well, we’re important in a different way. We’re just going to sit over here and wait until we get to the stop by the tree.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Oh, don’t sit in the back or else bad things are going to happen to you! So, okay, everybody’s going to the war front. Off we go!

The whistle blows and the train begins to roll.

CARTER (AS THE TRAIN DRIVER)

Now, if you look over to your right, you’re going to see a lot of fighting and terrible acts of violence and ah! Those people blew up. And if you look over on this side, you’re going to see, oh, several war atrocities. That is some… I don’t usually have this on my tours.

So, over here, we see a group of pasty looking people with technology. They’re just holding boxes up into the air. I’m not sure they know what they’re doing. I dropped them off here earlier. I’m feeling badly about that.

Now, we’re coming up to the tree and we’re just going to pause here for a moment for the old planes to pass…

And they drop the bombs…

And then those people over there are dead…

And we continue! All right, it’s going to be a little bit bumpy here for a second as we go over the bodies.

And now, here we are at the tree… and we’re done!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

…That was a terrible train ride.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve had worse.

CREDITS

ANNOUNCER

The End of Time and Other Bothers with your Game Master Sean Howard and players Marisa King, Carter Siddall, Michael Howie, and special guests Kristi Boulton and Maggie Makar.

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: Steven Smith. Supporting producers: Ren and Becky Arenivar.

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: WHY?

MIKE

That all holds up as some great plot.

Laughter.

MARISA

My favourite is when you were like, “Get a key, or I don’t know what we’re doing any more.”

Laughter.

MIKE

“We have to fight an army for some reason, I dunno exactly why.”