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63: The Beginning

Our hectic saga concludes! Darcy, Eggerton and Blat need all the help they can get to reach the Nexus and defeat the Shattering once and for all.

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

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

Content Warning: War, death, comedy gore – and the end of the world.

PREVIOUSLY…

SEAN (AS MOIRA)

So as you all know, the end of time happened because you experienced it.

But you three were pulled out into an alternate timeline.

There is some reason that you were held back from the event.

MARISA

“Fun’s Over, Time To Save The World.”

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 Marisa King, Michael Howie, and Carter Siddall, and special guests Kristi Boulton and Maggie Makar.

Episode 63: The Beginning.

THE BATTLEFIELD

A train whistle sounds. The engine chugs off into the distance.

SEAN

Darcy and Blat and Eggsy have stepped off the train. And the train is doing a weird loop 180 and heading back.

And as it’s turning, the conductor spins around for a second, Darcy thinks she saw Arthur Wisney winking and waving. And then the train pulls away.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Did you see that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

See what?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That guy, the train conductor.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, I saw him.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, but did you see who he was?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, it was the train conductor.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, I don’t think it was.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So you saw the train conductor, but you don’t think it was the train conductor.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think it might have been that Wisney guy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. Did you have any of my fairy cakes?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh. I don’t think so, but I did fall asleep for a bit during the ride.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, well, you know, maybe you’re just having a dream. Are you still asleep? Darcy… wake up!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m awake.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Are you sure?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I wouldn’t be talking to you in my dreams.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Interesting. Good to know.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I kept sitting beside a guy offering to eat my skin? He came in from the back.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! Elijah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You know him?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, no, I just, you know, I like to say hi to everybody. And there’s this one group of people, they were really friendly. And they kept like asking me to, you know, like hold stuff for them and hide it. And then, you know, they’d occasionally—

Heavy mechanized footsteps.

SEAN

You hear the stomping of feet marching and the clanking of metal and weapons from the future powering up, Darcy.

You hear shouts from what sounds like maybe Civil War reenactors off to your left. And it sounds like demons, flying demons landing off to your right.

And a gentleman is approaching with a name tag that says, as he gets closer, “BOB” on it.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, okay. Now everyone just stay calm. Someone’s coming. Just follow—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We’re food inspectors.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Right, right.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re a food inspector.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You’re a food inspector.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You are a food inspector.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Food inspector!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You are not a general.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

General food inspector!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No! You know nothing about the military. You are a specific food inspector.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Specific? Which specific food?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, you’re not a general food inspector. You’re just a food inspector, is what I’m saying.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just follow our lead, Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay!

SEAN (AS BOB)

(high-pitched, anxious)

Hi, I’m Bob.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hi, Bob… This is… Oscar.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hello, I am Oscar!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And… Clive.

SEAN (AS BOB)

Which one’s Clive?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That one, the shorter one.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Where?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…Eh heh heh! Ha ha! Oh, Clive’s awkward sense of humour to try to make everyone feel at ease! Because we know how stressful food inspections can be, um, in the middle of war zones.

SEAN (AS BOB)

Hold on, sorry, I have some, here we go, paperwork. Mr. Wisney said you can still sign this. Or, you know, we can just close… what’s it called? I forget. You know, where you, you know, you got someone surrounded and then you sort of like close in on them all of a sudden, like a guillotine? No, that’s not right…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We don’t know what you’re talking about. You must have the wrong people. We were not supposed to sign any paperwork.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m Oscar the food inspector! This is Clive!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m a kumquat!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

…Kumquat inspector. It’s his specialty. He took that in school.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He’s very specific.

SEAN (AS BOB)

Look, I’m just trying to do my job. You know, I just—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Just as we are, sir.

SEAN (AS BOB)

Bob. I was selling passes a day ago. Now I’m handing out ultimatums and serving people with paperwork. But, uh… So are, you gonna sign? I got a pen here if you, uh, want to sign.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We just need to get to your, uh, restaurants and food service areas. If you could just—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Specifically in the tree. There is something in the tree, right?

SEAN (AS BOB)

Okay, he said you might just sort of do, you know, he says, you know, you’re the, what do you call it in the movies where, you know, you, you stay in character? There’s a name for that…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You’d have to ask someone who knew anything about what you were talking about.

SEAN (AS BOB)

Is it “material”? No…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Um, I know nothing about the arts. I am a food inspector! My name is Oscar.

SEAN (AS BOB)

“Method”, that’s what it is. Method. He said you might be a little method. Okay. I just want—I have to give you a third chance before, you know, the Centurions and the reenactors and the demons, I don’t think you want to mess with the demons… sort of, uh…

You gonna sign?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can sign for everybody, if we’re—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No. No, Clive.

SEAN (AS BOB)

That would be great.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re Clive and you’re not authorized to sign anything.

SEAN (AS BOB)

I thought he was a kumquat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You judge kumquats, is what you do.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We can only sign off on kumquats, I’m afraid.

SEAN (AS BOB)

Okay. All right. Well… I guess I’m just going to back away.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh, okay, Bob. We’ll see you later.

SEAN (AS BOB)

Okay. Uh, sure you will.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. Huddle up, huddle up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. Huddle. We’re in a huddle.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That went really well.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, no, I don’t think it did. I think they’re onto us.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No! We didn’t break. He didn’t even break! He was Clive the whole time!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Who’s Clive?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You! You were Clive!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I thought I was a kumquat!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, you’re a kumquat inspector.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. I’m pretty sure at one point I was a kumquat.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, I kind of remember that.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s not what we’re doing now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I can’t keep track of all of our adventures.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

It was that Centurion guy who called you a kumquat. I remember him.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah! He was so nice.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Interesting character.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm-hmm.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He locked us in a cell! He wasn’t nice!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m pretty sure he actually unlocked the cell for us at one point, too.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, that’s ’cause he was stupid! But being stupid doesn’t mean that you’re nice. It just means you’re stupid!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You can be both?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, here’s the thing. Here’s the thing. I think that Bob guy is going back to whoever’s at the head of this and telling them that we’re here. We have to get out of here quickly. We have to move quickly. Because I think they’re onto us.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, we’re not far from the tree. We got to the tree stop.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Go that way towards the large tree.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The large tree. Okay, let’s, let’s, treeward bound.

SEAN

You start stepping forward and you see rank after rank of Centurion standing up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Um, so I’ve got a question. Are we friends with the Centurions yet?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No.

SEAN

You see bazooka after bazooka after bazooka being levelled in your direction and locked in place.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well…

CARTER

As Blat unbuttons his shirt—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We don’t have to go into the tree from the bottom. We can take a bit more of an aerial approach. Who’s to say that we’re not flying food inspectors?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Fair enough. Let’s do that.

SEAN

To your right. You see shadow demon after shadow demon stand up, wings unfurling.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Everyone grab an arm…

One, two, three… and kumquat!

SEAN

(laughing)

I don’t know what “kumquat” is.

CARTER

We’re rising up into the air.

SEAN

Oh, okay.

Laughter.

MIKE

Obviously.

SEAN

That’s when to your left you hear the Civil War reenactors say, “FIRE!” and net after net after net fires into the air in your direction.

THE REENACTORS

CARTER (AS A REENACTOR)

Wait, how are we firing nets? I thought this was a musket!

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

My musket came preloaded with net rounds.

CARTER (AS A REENACTOR)

How does… we’re Civil War reenactors! How do you have a net in your musket?

SEAN (AS REENACTOR)

Jerry, this isn’t the time to get into what’s anachronistic or not, okay?

CARTER (AS JERRY THE REENACTOR)

What’s—okay, how about this? I’m so worried about the anachronism, how about the fact we’re in the middle of a war zone? How did this happen? We were in a big box store parking lot a second ago!

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

We’ve spent our whole life wanting to be in a war zone! Dressing like it, acting like it—this is the ultimate chance!

CARTER (AS JERRY)

There are creatures from other planets here! This isn’t bothering you in any way?

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

Okay, okay—

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

It’s a theme park! What do you expect in a theme park, Jerry?!

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

Both of you need to settle down.

I think your buttons are of the wrong era.

CARTER (AS JERRY)

…This is all I could afford on my salary. I can’t get—

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Oh, he’s gonna play the card. He “can’t afford it”.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Come on! Year after year!

CARTER (AS JERRY)

I’m sorry! I didn’t think that poverty was a means of keeping me out of the reenactments—

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

We’ve offered to buy them for you!

CARTER (AS JERRY)

I don’t want to accept charity from you guys! We’re all supposed to be equals. Besides, I think I outrank at least one of you.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

…That’s true, you do.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Uh, guys, sorry to interrupt, but Ted just got totally demolished by a giant kumquat?

THE VAULT

SEAN

We flash to the vault.

Many Tekmars, flashing in and out of existence, are pacing back and forth, when suddenly a different form appears, materializing right above the Nexus.

And it is a very, if I might say so, handsome minotaur.

SEAN (AS GREG THE MINOTAUR)

Is this on? Are you receiving me?

KRISTI (AS VARIOUS TEKMARS)

Oh, that’s Greg!

That’s Greg.

Hey, that’s Greg!

Oh, that’s Greg…

SEAN (AS GREG)

Tekmar—Tekmars?

KRISTI (AS TEKMARS)

Tekmar plural, thank you!

Tekmar, plurals, um, this worked. Are you at the Nexus?

KRISTI (AS A TEKMAR)

(low and breathy)

We’re always at the Nexus, Greg.

SEAN (AS GREG)

…Okay, that’s a little creepy when you say it like that.

KRISTI (AS VARIOUS TEKMARS)

We’re always at the Nexus, Greg.

Greg, we’re always at the Nexus.

Greg, you know this, we’re always at the Nexus.

I’m walkin’ here, Greg! We’re always at the Nexus!

SEAN (AS GREG)

I need your help.

The Nexus is powering everything Wisney’s doing. I think I’ve found how they’re managing to shut down the tree as the source of power. But no one can get into the vault.

You are in the vault?

KRISTI (AS A TEKMAR)

We’re in the vault as long as the Nexus is in the vault.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Okay.

There’s 327 wires coming off the Nexus. We’re gonna have to cut three of them.

KRISTI

All of them at the same time go…

KRISTI (AS THE TEKMARS)

What?

THE BATTLEFIELD

SEAN

Blat and Darcy and Eggerton, you are trying to take off, and thirty net guns are being fired haphazardly in your direction.

MIKE

Well, there’s a nice big gap in the middle of them from the three arguing idiots.

KRISTI

We’re all now mourning Ted.

SEAN

Okay, so we’ve forgotten how, because we do this so often—battle, we’ve forgotten how it works.

So you have taken no evasive action, so the nets basically capture you and tug you back down to the ground.

MIKE AND CARTER (AS EGGERTON AND BLAT)

Aughhh!

Whump.

SEAN

And the centurions are beginning to march forward with bazookas aimed in your direction.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, wait, wait. I think I know what to do.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, what do we do?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Remember what happened the last time we were cornered by a centurion?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You… made one realize what love was?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How are you gonna do that in this situation?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ll just talk really loud.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…I think this is going to be what ultimately kills me, but I am interested to see how this plays out.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, okay, okay. Ahem.

KRISTI

And the four reenactors come towards them to get the nets.

CARTER (AS JERRY)

These nets are expensive, you know. We gotta load them back up.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Can you just get your foot off this one?

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

Guys, dude, dude, just…

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

(quietly sobbing)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, sorry, sorry, okay, I’m sorry, okay, thanks, perfect, okay, now I’m free! I can stand, I can stretch, I can touch my toes, sort of.

Would you mind standing, actually, I see that you’ve got like a couple of crates. Would you mind bringing those over so I could just like stand up on one or two of them?

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Um. Huddle, huddle.

CARTER (AS JERRY)

I don’t see the danger in having them have a box.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

We need the boxes to put the nets back in.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Yeah, the nets have to go back in the box.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

I’m just feeling really vulnerable right now.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

You know, we’re all sad about Ted, but the war’s gotta go on.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Hey, hey, hey, hey. We said we’re gonna, you know, when one of us is having emotions, we’re not gonna be like guys, we’re gonna recognize it and be supportive.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

All right. I hear that you are sad about Ted being crushed by a kumquat in front of us, and I respect your need for feelings… but I need to put the nets in the box.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Well, this bulletproof vest is not emotional-proof, okay? So I think you just need to calm down and give us a second to get our—

CARTER (AS JERRY)

Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, bulletproof vest?! That wasn’t in the Civil War, bulletproof vest!

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Whoa, whoa, wait, wait, I’m gonna check the manual.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Did something happen to Ted? I’m so sorry…

CARTER (AS JERRY)

Ohhh, you don’t know about Ted. Someone break the news about Ted.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Oh, nooo.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Ted, beloved Ted, Ted the Mighty… was squashed by a kumquat just a few moments ago.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’m so sorry. Even we’ve heard of Ted. Ted’s famous, and it only seems—

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

You know Ted?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I do, yeah, and it only seems fitting that perhaps we should march in, um, honour of Ted, that way, with all your comrades in arms together as a last memorial to Ted.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, I think that’s a great idea. I can provide some snacks. We’ve got some punch probably we can put out.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Slow down, slow down…

(whispers)

These are the people we’re here to capture.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Yeah, but this might be what Ted would have wanted.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

Ted always did like it when people were nice to each other for no reason. Like, remember that time during the food fight and both sides stopped and got together for Solstice celebration? That was beautiful.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

It was a beautiful day.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

It was, and that was Ted. That’s what Ted was about.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

I’m starting to have emotions.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think that’s what Ted stood for. From what I have heard.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

I feel inspired.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Of Ted.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

Okay, okay, let’s all—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Do you know where would be a good place to honour the memory of Ted? This beautiful tree.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Oh, the trees, right!

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

The tree was very—

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

It is protecting it just like we’re protecting the memory of Ted.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

The tree on the other side… are those centurions all aiming bazookas at us?

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

Oh, well, I—

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That—that’s a futuristic reenactment.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Oh.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

They’re like you, but they’re just from the future, but they’re reenacting, you know, some sort of robot times.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

And you see how all of their buttons are the same?

They all match. I’m just saying. They could find buttons from the future—

CARTER (AS JERRY)

Okay, okay, fine. So the robots aren’t poor because they live in some sort of golden utopia of the future.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

I’m just saying. Sorry, I work at a convenience store, Larry.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Guys. Guys. This isn’t about buttons. This is about Ted.

SEAN (AS A REENACTOR)

Is this really the time?

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

I’m just saying, it was right in front of me.

CARTER (AS JERRY)

I’m sorry. I’m sorry. It is about Ted. I’m sorry.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Can we just focus? This is about Ted. And this—

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

All right, for Ted.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

This lovely person has said we should celebrate Ted at the tree, and I agree.

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

All right, let’s get the boxes stacked.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Put up your ceasefires. Everybody get your little white flags. Here we go.

SEAN (AS ROBOT CENTURION)

YOU WILL HALT AND PUT YOUR ARMS IN THE AIR, OR WE WILL FIRE.

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Aren’t you on our side?

MIKE (AS A REENACTOR)

Did you hear about Ted?

KRISTI (AS A REENACTOR)

Yeah, I got a little white flag.

SEAN (AS ROBOT CENTURION)

TARGETS LOCKED.

CARTER (AS JERRY)

Are you locking on me because my buttons are wrong?! Because that’s wrong, robot dude. That is wrong.

SEAN (AS ROBOT CENTURION)

YOU HAVE FIVE SECONDS TO COMPLY.

CARTER (AS JERRY)

Well, you have four seconds to apologize to me! I’m doing my best with what I’ve got.

THE VAULT

SEAN

We cut back to the vault, and there are three Tekmars managing to levitate, beads of sweat rolling down their face. And there are three hundred other Tekmars all arguing in the background about which wires to cut.

KRISTI (AS THE TEKMARS)

You’ve got to stay with that choice, don’t you?

Well, Greg said we have to cut some, but some of them look like they’re different shades of chartreuse, and others look like they just have numbers written on them, and others don’t—This doesn’t even make any sense. This one’s an Ethernet cable!

SEAN (AS GREG)

I can’t—I can’t see. You just have to keep talking through this.

KRISTI (AS THE TEKMARS)

Well, there’s a lot of us, and we’re trying!

Listen, we are all just very, very intense right now. We just need to take it down.

Remember when everybody—what we said to Ananka, not to think too much?

SEAN (AS GREG)

I don’t think we have a lot of time. The Nexus is being used to block the tree, meaning the three are without the protection of the goddesses. We have to make a call.

KRISTI

And all of a sudden, child Tekmar appears, and without saying anything, she just kind of like lifts off the ground, and finds three wires, and just pulls them.

And she’s like glowing just a little bit, and she just settles, and looks up at Greg, and just goes,

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

It’s done.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Great. A little creepy, but great.

THE BATTLEFIELD

SEAN

Okay, we’re back. We’re on the field. Darcy, you hear this. They’re counting down.

SEAN (AS ROBOT CENTURION)

FIVE. FOUR. THREE. TWO. ONE.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh, this is good. This is good. Maybe scatter? Scatter?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We should scatter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So just random directions, though. Random directions?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’m gonna hide behind this box!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, don’t hide. You gotta move. You gotta move. Let’s just move.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s not random. That’s not—you have to keep moving.

SEAN

And three hundred centurions fire, scattering all their shots across this whole area.

MARISA

Oh, well, we’re dead. It was a good run.

Laughter.

A massive explosion and ominous music.

SEAN

Ananka, you are flying through the air in Kura, and the explosion off the battlefield that you were rushing to get to—it looks like a thermonuclear blast going up into the sky. The shockwave of it hits and sends Kura scrambling and you tumbling head over heels.

And when it clears, there are two half-domes on the ground, interlocked, like yin and yang almost. One is a plasma fire white dome that is almost too bright to look at, and the other one is wispy darkness. And everything around them is burned and incinerated.

Inside these two domes, Darcy is half-transformed into a werecupine. The light coming from Darcy’s amulet is so bright as to be painful.

Darcy, you are flooded with Loxsyn, a level of power you haven’t felt in so long. And you are unable to contain it. It is roiling out from you. You are standing in a ball of plasma fire.

And just beside you is Eggerton, wide-eyed, and Blat, holding out a hand. He and Eggerton and one of the reenactors is in a bubble of black mist that is stopping the fire and holding it back from obliterating all of them.

Morrigu and Loxsyn are back.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I told you my box idea would work.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(voice echoing)

You didn’t even make it to the box! You didn’t do anything!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But look, the box is there and we’re fine.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What does that have to do with… Look at Darcy!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh. Oh! Well, maybe that helped.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(voice echoing)

Can’t… stop… gaaaahh!

(begins chittering as she transforms)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, wait, she’s speaking porcupine. I can do this.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(enraged chittering)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She wants a smoothie.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(incredulous chittering)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

With quinoa?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(rage-filled chittering)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, I’m sorry, kale.

KRISTI (AS THE REMAINING REENACTOR)

I’m not sure that this kind of thing ever happened in my other reenactments.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, hey, one of the reenactors made it!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! How’s it going?

KRISTI (AS THE REENACTOR)

Uh, I won’t lie. Terrible.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, that’s too bad. But look, you’re alive! Everyone you know and love is dead, all around you in a pile of bloody corpses, but you’re fine! Focus on the positive.

SEAN

One of the centurions manages to stand up and a beam of plasma sparks out from Darcy, strikes it, and it melts into a puddle.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(furious chittering)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, okay, I thought that love would work, but sure, god-like power and fire, that’ll work too, I guess. You proved your point, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(irritable chittering)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, I know, it’s pretty cool looking too, okay?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…So we’ve spent all of this time doing all of these crazy things, putting our lives on the line constantly, and you could do that?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(angry chittering)

Wchhh wchh wchhh!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, wchhh wchh wchhh to you too. You had the magic within you the whole time… or something like that.

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

So did you, Blat, but you wouldn’t let it out. But I just saved your life, champion.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, the Wisneybot is in my head. Apparently she came out to play.

Thunder rumbles.

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

I am not the Wisneybot.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Everything is becoming a Wisneybot, so you have to be a Wisneybot, so fine, I’ll say it. One, two, three, thank you, Wisneybot, for saving our lives.

…We cool?

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

Oh, so cool.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Great! So, um… to the tree?

It’s a key or something.

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

Maybe you should get Darcy to stop threatening to incinerate you and your friends so we can lower this barrier.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, but… Darcy’s on our side, she wouldn’t be threatening to incinerate us or anything—

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

Oh, let me show you, should I just take down the blackened shield?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, now I’m feeling a little nervous about it, I just assumed that Darcy was on our side there, and she was on our side the whole time—

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

Here, Let me shrink it a little…

SEAN

And the plasma gets five feet closer. She is roaring with energy.

KRISTI

And the poor reenactor is, uh…

SEAN

On the other side of that.

KRISTI

On the other side. You see that poor reenactor just get blitzed to death. Just… PYOWFFF.

SEAN

In a puff of smoke.

KRISTI (AS THE REENACTOR)

Oh no!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, that’s a terrible way to make your point!

Okay, if Darcy isn’t on our side any more, I say this is your fault.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What, my fault? Why are you pointing at me?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, you and your constant “bla ba da ba da ba da” and she’s finally just snapped and is going to end this all.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I’m gonna sort this all out for everybody. Darcy, can you please stop the murder shield?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(chittering)

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I know that it feels like a lot’s going on right now, and you’re having trouble processing some of it, but if we can just reduce the fiery death output by like 110%, I think it would make a difference.

SEAN

The ground shakes and something quite large lands right near the two bubbles. And, Eggerton, you are looking at two very large chicken feet.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, now I’m pretty sure I didn’t have any fairy cakes today, but at the same time, some weird stuff’s been going on. So, did anyone order two giant chicken feet?

The door of the hut opens with a boing! and circus music begins to play.

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

Helloooooo! Hee hee hee!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s Witchy Stick!

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

(a cackling cartoon witch, without her usual Polish accent)

No, no, no, it’s Ananka! Well, other Ananka, anyway!

I’m one of the things that she created from the theme park elements—you know, from all the other parts of the various universes and things—and I am the thing where you play the spitty water game, and you get your water gun and you put it in the mouth! And this is how we’re going to save your friend from burning! Ha ha ha!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, so the chicken feet, no one specifically requested them, and Ananka is now a water gun toy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I will take deus ex water gun toy if it gets us out of this ridiculous situation.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right, let’s see what you got, water gun toy Ananka!

MAGGIE

Water gun toy Ananka sprays a giant spray of water, because that’s what water is, onto Darcy.

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

Kshhhhhhh!

(circus music)

Doot doot do do do do doot doot doo doo…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know if this is going to work, I think porcupines get mad when they get wet.

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

(cackling)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(shaky chittering)

SEAN

Darcy manages to get it under control, with a little help from deus ex Ananka.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, I think I’m back…

Ding ding!

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

You win a prize! The prize is you get to live a little longer! Ha ha!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I like this version of Ananka so much more than the original! She was so scary.

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

Hey!

I mean she’s still part of me, but okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But you know, your dominant personality trait is now that you’re kind of fun and lighthearted, not that you’re carrying a big stick and I’m scared of you, and that I’m worried zombies are going to come and have trauma flashbacks constantly because you’re here now.

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

I mean it’s kind of like yin and yang if you really think about it, like one of the domes is really burny firey, and the other one’s kind of cool, I wonder what would happen if we just like, put them together?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It is pretty cool. You know, for things that almost killed me.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What if we take the two domes, put them together here in front of the tree, while the three of us go into the tree?

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

You are the dome, you idiot.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What?

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

Oh! Ha ha ha! Don’t ask me, I’m just a squeezy water gun person. Well, in Ananka’s body.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no, no, no. The Wisneybot is the dome, I’m not the dome because the Wisneybot is separate from me.

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

She can hear me, you idiot. She’s a witch.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So…

SEAN (AS MORRIGU)

I’m in you. You are creating the dome.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Witchy Stick… I’m creating the dome?

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

Oh! So like, they have to kiss, because she’s one part, and he’s the other part, and then they have to kiss!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What? No, that’s not what the voice in my head said at all! You’re just making stuff up!

(chiding)

Witchy Stick…

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

It makes sense to me!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

If it helps, I’ll try kissing ’em! Come here, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I wasn’t talking about you, you don’t even have a—Get away from me, this isn’t part of it! You don’t even have a dome.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Rude. My hat is roughly dome-shaped.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Your hat still has a folded uniform on top of it. How have you managed to balance that on your head this whole time?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I spent a lot of time balancing books on my head. As a child.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Etiquette?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yes.

SEAN

So Darcy, the path to the tree is pretty much clear now.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why don’t we just move towards the tree? I feel like I’ve had a head injury. I don’t know what’s going on here.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And I didn’t want to kiss Darcy either! So yeah, let’s go forward to the tree.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right, onwards! Party go.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No one said we had to kiss!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

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

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Neither do I, so why bring it up?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I tried to kiss Blat and he wasn’t into it and he’s really embarrassed about it now, don’t worry about it Darcy.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It was Witchy Stick’s idea, I didn’t—it was just her.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And Witchy Sticks is kind of crazy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I feel like crazy is a bit of a, you know, uh-oh word we probably shouldn’t use too much of around here because—I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but we’re in a theme park that has pulled elements from across time into one place because they’re all places of power and now we have to go unlock a tree. So if we start labelling things as crazy, I feel like we’re going to go downhill fast.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I think we’ve already gone downhill really fast.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She’s pretty crazy then, yeah.

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

Yeah, no, she’s right, I’m crazy. Ha.

SEAN

So the four of you are walking towards the tree. Darcy, you keep smelling baked goods.

At one point you reach your hand in your pocket and there’s a warm croissant there. In fact, there’s baked goods in all of your backpack. Everything is overflowing with freshly baked goods.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What is going… oh, this must be from Loxsyn.

SEAN

There’s a chime sound and you’re filled with a warmth.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yep, definitely Loxsyn.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(talking with his mouth full and accidentally sounding very Slaad-like)

Can you ask her to include some cream cheese on the next one? The bagels are a bit dry.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hey, what are you doing here?

SEAN

(laughs)

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

We are the backup troops. We came running when we thought it was safe now.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, it’s good to see you!

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Thank you. This is Helen the Third.

MIKE (AS HELEN THE THIRD)

Hello.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Helen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I’ve never seen anyone approach so quickly and eat the baked goods that I’ve been carrying without me even noticing.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

You’ve been dropping them as a trail.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, I see that.

MIKE (AS HELEN THE THIRD)

Yeah, there’s about thirty more of us back there over the hill.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

They’re just a little slower eating.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I see that. Well, it’s great to see you.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

It’s really good to start, but you’d be surprised after a few hundred it starts to get sort of yucky if you keep eating a croissant.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

…You could stop.

MIKE (AS HELEN THE THIRD)

Why would we stop?

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Yeah. I don’t understand.

MIKE (AS HELEN THE THIRD)

There’s so much baked food we have to eat it.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

It could be gone! It will be stale tomorrow.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, that’s a good point.

MIKE (AS HELEN THE THIRD)

Then we’d have to go to the dentist if we chip a tooth.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

But we got your back. Now that it’s safe to have your back.

MIKE (AS HELEN THE THIRD)

Yeah, now that you got rid of all the bad guys, we’re here for you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, we appreciate it. And—

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

(laughing)

We’re actually just here as a foil because he didn’t know that you thought he was a Slaad.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, he is a Slaad. I didn’t think he is. He obviously is.

SEAN (AS LAZBO)

Right.

Laughter.

MIKE (AS HELEN THE THIRD)

That got meta.

MIDROLL ANNOUNCEMENTS

Music sting.

ELI

(to the tune )

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

ELI

Hey, it’s Eli and this is it. The final episode in the story of Blat, Darcy, and Eggerton. It’s a solstice miracle!

What’s next? We’re not sure yet. We’ve been checking out some game systems. We’ve been floating some ideas from some new settings. So keep an eye on the feed for news in the new year.

In the meantime, a big thank you to our cast and all our guests throughout the run of this story, Maggie and Kristi and Julian. Thanks to our story consultant, Laura, who helped us find our way early on in the storytelling. Thank you to our game consultant, Steven, for pointing us to interesting game systems and mechanics. And of course, a huge thank you to you for listening and to everyone who supported us on Patreon, past and present.

And that brings me to our latest patrons. Hurrah! Thank you and much love to these fine folks who are the latest to join us: diazt—I’m not sure of the pronunciation of that—RandomEnglishMajor, Patrick Clark, Stephanie Helgeson and Don The Unpokemon.

We really appreciate your support even through this year’s unexpected hiatus. It means so much. We have some new bonus material on the way for you, for our patrons. Recently, our players got together for a hilarious game of Fiasco. So watch for that coming up soon, as well as a new music breakdown. And in the meantime: happy solstice, a wonderful holiday to each and every one of you. May the new year bring plenty of good things your way. And yeah, our love and thanks to you all.

On with the show.

Music sting.

MIDROLL: INSPECTION

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I’m sorry, Darcy. Are you going to come out of the bathroom?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uh, why? What’s so urgent?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

There’s an inspector here who needs to talk to Eggsy, but Eggsy is gone.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What about? What are they inspecting?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I don’t know, but they say it’s really important for its health food and health safety.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?! Oh, all right. Just a minute. Washing the hands.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I hear it. That’s good.

Darcy emerges.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay, what? Here I am.

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

(stuffy English accent)

Hello.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Um, hi.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

This is the food inspector.

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

My name is… Humperdink.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Really.

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

Just one name.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Okay. And can I see your certificate, please?

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

(unfolding a lengthy piece of paper)

Whuppaff!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, you really are a food inspector.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

They say that… they claim the kitchen that blew up is still operational. So we have to pass inspection.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What?! That kitchen?

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

That kitchen.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

All right, all right. Come inside. Come inside.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh, but Eggsy’s been doing things in there. It’s not, um, you know, like,

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

Please tell him to stop blocking the door.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Snegal, how bad can it be? Just… out of the way.

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

Ohhhhh! No!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Is that your good sound? Is that an A rating?

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

More like an O for oof!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are those official gradations?

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

Well, it’s about to become one, I’ll tell you that!

There’s bits of fairy cake everywhere! How does anyone get anything done?

Is this lettuce or booger? You can’t tell! It’s disgusting!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s really his cooking. It’s very much like that. You can’t tell.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

The marks have an explosion and the wall being gone are war related. Nothing to do with what’s happening in here.

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

Just because there’s a war doesn’t mean you get lazy.

What’s this? What’s this little squish here on what’s left of the counter?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Don’t put that in your mouth!

KRISTI (AS THE INSPECTOR)

It’s disg—

Ooh.

SEAN

There’s the sound of a body exploding.

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

Oh! Oh, Darcy!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

What just happened?

SEAN (AS SNEGAL)

I think the inspector exploded!

Pop! A Tekmar appears.

KRISTI (AS TEKMAR)

Don’t worry. The last thing she said was “Ah!” for A‑plus.

Pop!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who is that?

SEAN

Help Darcy get therapy by going to otherbothers.com and supporting us on Patreon.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hey, can I get something to eat—what the hell happened in here?!

Music sting.

THE TREE

SEAN

Okay, you are approaching the base of the tree.

And it is as you remember it, except it’s like the tree landed on one of the largest treasuries of Balgomar. Because that’s what happened. And so instead of the main entrance between the roots, there’s now a broken open door that leads deep into the treasury.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, Ananka. So it’s funny because it’s the central branch of the Bank of Balgomar and it’s in a tree. And trees have branches. So it’s kind of like a layered thing going on.

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

Thanks for mansplaining it to me. Ha ha!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You’re the one who didn’t laugh when I made the joke. I just assumed that you needed some help, but I’m sorry. I’ll try and learn from this moment.

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

I just didn’t realize it was a joke. It wasn’t that funny.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m starting to like you a little less, crazy Ananka.

MAGGIE (AS OTHER ANANKA)

Hee hee hee hee!

The circus music returns, this time at hyperspeed.

MAGGIE

Suddenly, Ananka starts morphing. There’s elements of various amusement park rides. She is a Ferris wheel. She is a roller coaster. And suddenly she becomes the Ananka that they do know.

The music swirls and accelerates until finally—pop!

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(gasps)

Oh, okay.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Uh? Scary witch stick. Scary witch stick…

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No, not scary.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s not scary at all. It’s just looking at me no matter where I go.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Okay. I suppose you met all my other counterparts. Well, hopefully at least one of many.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We met a few, yeah.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes, yes. So you see, I have been putting a little bit of each piece of this park that was brought here by Wisney. Little did he know I was infusing little bits of every part into myself. And now all those parts are inside me. And this will be our key. Hee hee! Our key to saving the universe. Destroying it, saving it. It all depends how really you look at it. But in my head it all makes sense. You will see. You will all see.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It sounds good, but I actually happen to know something about a key? It turns out I’m a key.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

You’re a key?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m a key. And I’ve also got an important message from Moira about keys. Hold on, let me get my notebook out so I can read it…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, please, Lord, no. I’ve heard this so many times.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“Find the sixty keys dead end find the three keys and the Nexus read it back stop writing I’m.”

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Stop… I’m?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“Stop writing I’m.”

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

“Stop writing I’m”…?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, please don’t think about it. It’s just a message he got from Moira. It doesn’t make any sense. Don’t even pay attention to him.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Random gibberish gobbledygook.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m pretty sure it has to do with the piano bar.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

See, random. It doesn’t make any sense.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Sixty keys. It makes the most sense.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You appear to have the keys, Ananka. You appear to actually know what’s going on.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Well, I have Tekmar’s—Tekmar gave me a key. It is her necklace. So we have you…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Me?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

We have fairy boy… We have Tekmar’s necklace.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

And we’ve got the file! With the corporate key in it!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Then we have everything!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Who’s Tekmar?

SEAN

(laughs)

THE VAULT

KRISTI

So looking on into the basement, into the vault, after the child Tekmar has pulled all of the wires, you start to see all other versions of Tekmar start to formulate and go into the child Tekmar as she’s glowing brighter and brighter with each soul.

Ghost version of Tekmar coming back to her like a magnet.

SEAN (AS GREG)

I wish I’d broken the connection. That was even freakier.

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

You haven’t seen nothin’ yet, Greg.

SEAN (AS GREG)

All right, well I’m gonna finish setting the detonations on this…

See you on the other side.

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

See you there!

SEAN (AS GREG)

That was sarcasm because, right? There is no…

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

Well, you just—I’m a child.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Yeah, sure you are.

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

Don’t get weird.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Um, if you see—this is weird telling a child, but if you see Ananka, tell her I love her.

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

I will.

SEAN (AS GREG)

Okay.

THE TREE

SEAN

So the four of you, I assume, are entering…

MARISA

Yes, please God, let’s enter this tree.

Laughter.

SEAN

Okay, so you’re going down hall after hall of destroyed bank, everything’s been ripped out that could be reused in the war, and you come to what looks to be an elevator ahead, and there’s an opening, like a central chamber, and then there’s an elevator that says “TO THE VAULT” at the end of the chamber.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I think that’s probably where we want to go, right? To the vault!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Um, I just have one question.

So she has a physical key, we have a corporate key, and you somehow are just… a key.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You would have thought we’ve gotten more explanation about that by now.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Which is a little vague, admittedly, yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. Yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

How do we… take the three ideas of what keys are and, you know, like… verb them somehow to, you know, action word to do a thing?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s where the piano probably comes in.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What? No!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, there’s a piano somewhere with sixty keys.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

We’re in a bank! With a giant tree on top of it! Inside an amusement park!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

And you’re surprised that there could be a piano?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, just go down to the vault. If there’s a piano, I’ll admit I’m wrong. But I’m telling you, there’s not going to be any musical instruments in the vault of a bank.

SEAN

The centurion rolls out a top hat—no, I’m kidding.

Laughter.

MIKE

(robotic singing)

“Hello my honey, hello my darling…”

KRISTI

(robotic singing)

“If you’re blue and you don’t know where to go to, why don’t you go…”

SEAN

So you all step forward, heading towards the elevator, and you hit a wall of energy that sends all of you, even the witch, flashing back.

CARTER AND MARISA AND MIKE (AS BLAT AND DARCY AND EGGERTON)

Whoa!

An eerie, dissonant ambience.

SEAN

And more than that, when you touched it, Eggerton, it was fae magic, but gone wrong. Like, Balgomar wrong times a thousand.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It tastes bitter. Does anyone else taste bitter?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Uh, no?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

The feel, it was bitter. Like on my tongue, but I didn’t eat it. But it’s on my tongue. You know how you can walk past something and smell it, then it’s on your tongue?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

…Sure.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s like that, but bitter from the force field. I think, I think it might have something to do with fae magic. But it’s, the bitter, the bitter’s wrong. Why is it bitter? Bitter doesn’t make sense.

SEAN

And the face of Arthur Wisney appears on every screen that you didn’t even know was in the room, all around the room.

A brief burst of static.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoa.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Aah!

SEAN

And his voice echoes.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Ah, I see. Well, you’ve made it farther than I thought. Kudos.

Well, just let me get a look at the… wow, you guys, you look the same as all the other ones that failed. Hm. Not sure what the wrong was. Anyways, that’s it. You’re not getting past this.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But why not?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

It’s impassable. It’s fae magic.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I’m fae.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Uh-huh. Try.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay.

Eggerton rebounds off the magical barrier.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Whoaa!

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Haha.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s bitter. Why is it bitter? It tastes bitter.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Ha ha. I know!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What’d you do?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Oh… we shouldn’t have.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Shouldn’t have what?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

We really shouldn’t have.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Shouldn’t have what?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

I dunno.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You know.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Oh, I do.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But I don’t know.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

I know.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But if you tell me, I’ll know.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yeah, I know.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But then we can laugh about it together.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’d be like, you know, the grandstanding at the end, ha ha, so you can undo my plan.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s not grandstanding. It’s just having emotional honesty with someone that you’re really getting to bond with.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm-hmm.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yeah. We could have been good friends. You should have signed.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I tried.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

You would have been so great in our marketing department.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

If you actually look, I signed a lot of stuff along the way.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Oh, you did.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve got this permanent marker.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yeah, I know.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ve been writing my name everywhere.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yeah. We tried to use that. Didn’t hold up in court.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No, no. That came up a few times before. Copyright.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yeah.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

This Julia Chilled.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

You might as well just all go home.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So where would you get a hold of fae magic?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

…That’s a good question. You always were the smart one, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are you fae? Are you part fae?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps)

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

…No.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Do you have a relative who’s a fae?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(gasps)

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Uncle?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

You might say I have someone’s wife.

Or… a lot of someone’s wife.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s weird.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Does… Do you think he means your wife?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I don’t have a wife.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

What do you mean, you don’t have a wife? You created the entire species with her.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay. Well, let me explain that just because you procreate an entire species through magical time with someone doesn’t necessarily mean you’re willing to fully commit.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I still think that she was your wife for a while.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, maybe. But I mean, it got annulled, didn’t it? Wait, didn’t…

No! You were the judge, weren’t you?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Her hatred for you… her order to stay away—well, just say that it’s been immortalized in this fae magic.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, no.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

That’s right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hate-infused fae magic. No such thing should ever exist.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, wait a second. Wait a second. Wait a second. This is ridiculous.

You glom on to every single person that we’ve come across. You’ve made friends with sandworms, killer robots, demons, every sort of evil creature you want to make friends with. But because you “can’t completely commit” to your ex, the entire universe is going to end.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Have you ever met her?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

You’re going to apologize to her. You’re going to apologize to her right now.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, fine! Fine! I’ll be the bigger fae and I’ll apologize for all of the things that she did wrong.

…Fine! That I, air quotes, “did wrong”.

…Fine! It’s all my fault. I’m sorry, Peri.

Silence.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

She can’t hear you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Why not?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

That’s what you’re tasting.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m tasting… being ignored?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

You have been removed.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Removed? But I’m right here.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yeah. From her whole reality. You are gone. It’s what she wanted.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yeah. She’s happy now and you will never enter. Any of you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, if she’s happy, then how does she have so much hate for me that she created a bitter magic shield?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ah! Now, that’s a good question.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

I shouldn’t be telling you all this.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But we’re such good friends!

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

She gave us her magic.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She gave it to you?

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I didn’t know she could do that.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

I didn’t either.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I asked her on our wedding night and she said, “No, gross.”

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

That’s gross.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We’re good friends though!

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Anyways, I’m done. You’re all done. It was a good push.

Oh! Oh, Ananka. What a delight to see you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh Ananka, have you met Arthur Wisney?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Hmph. I’ve had the pleasure.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Oh yes. She’s like a virus in our system. She’s everywhere.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

You have been like a boil on my feet since the day I met you. Since the centuries I met you. Since the universes I met you.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wait, wait. Ananka, if you’re everywhere, can’t you just short circuit this shield somehow? Surely you have some in through his circuits and such.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Well, I would need a little bit of fairy magic… combined with the key.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

That key’s not going to work, Ananka, until you get to the vault. And you’re not going to get to the vault.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We have a fairy who is a key! Fairy key? Surely that’s enough power.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Mm-hmm. I think I’ve trumped him with Peri’s hatred.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Isn’t your secret ingredient to your delicious fairy cakes a little bit of love and sweetness?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, he goes on about that all the time. Every one is infused with love! Blah, blah, blabbity-blah.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, but they haven’t exactly been tasty lately, I think? There was an incident, maybe… I try not to think about it too much. It’s a little scary.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Maybe you need to have faith in the deliciousness of your fairy cakes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I thought they were delicious. Then I tasted them again and they weren’t delicious. Because they… exploded.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Oh.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, so they were mixed with… agent.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Come on, buddy. You’ve served so many fairy cakes over the years. One person blows up and you think, “Oh, I’m done. I’m off the fairy cake game.”

KRISTI

And suddenly, Eggerton feels a whisper by his ear. And it’s Tekmar, a child Tekmar, saying,

Pop!

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

Eggerton, stop thinking and just feel. You’re the key.

Pop!

SEAN

I will point Eggerton, just to be helpful, to a power that you’ve probably forgotten about.

MIKE

Mmm.

So Eggerton hears the little voice in his ear and his eyes get big and welled up.

And then he disappears.

SEAN

So he is using?

MIKE

I’m using A Mother’s Worry.

SEAN

What does that do?

MIKE

So when in proximity to a fae stone, I can visit anyone that I’ve grown worried about, regardless of their position in space or time.

SEAN

Look, we’re actually going to play the game.

MIKE

And I have to roll—where are my dice? Oh my god. Okay, I got my dice.

KRISTI

There’s dice in this game?

MARISA

Exciting.

MIKE

That’s a 9. So that is…

SEAN

Plus Wisdom?

MARISA

Do you have any?

MIKE

3. So that’s a 12.

SEAN

Okay. Eggerton disappears from existence.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, that’s great.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, come on. Did you want to die with Eggerton?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, we just lost the one person I thought could actually help in this situation—which I know is a rare thing that I would ever say. But he was a key and he’s a fae and we’ve got a fae barrier from his ex-wife. I don’t know what else to do.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Wisney kept on saying, “There’s nothing you can do.” So I don’t know how we’re going to get past it!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s classic intimidation! Of course you say, “There’s nothing you can do.”

Because you don’t want the person to figure out that there’s something they can do!

We can’t just give up now!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’ve got a corporate key. I could just enter these numbers into a keyboard somewhere, if we find one…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

But we have to get through this barrier.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s all I’ve got. If there’s a keyboard, maybe I can help you. Apart from that, I’m just going to sit here, possibly start crying, and maybe eventually wet myself.

SEAN

(laughs)

Ananka, you feel a change in the room. Like, an energy has just disappeared.

The ambience has indeed shifted, and the dissonant music has vanished.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

The vibe is wrong. It was wrong and now it’s a little bit right.

I think when Eggerton left… he took the part of the force field that was infused with the fairy magic.

SEAN

And as you reach out, you realize the barrier’s gone.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

(gasps)

Magic.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

You really are magic! That’s amazing.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Sometimes it works!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Wow. Okay, we’ve got to get to the elevator before anyone else gets in our way. Go, go, go.

The elevator doors slide open.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, okay. What floor is “Vault”? Vault, vault, vault. Oh, “V”. Okay, let’s try this button.

SEAN

And Eggerton appears back in the elevator.

Pop!

SEAN

How is Eggerton dressed? Or what does he look like?

MIKE

Eggerton is wearing a seed sucker suit with a big pipe and a monocle.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Dear Lord, why do you look like you’ve aged ten years?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, it’s been a while, Blat. Sorry, but you know, I had to take care of some stuff. And now we’re here, so it’s fine. Let’s just not talk about it and move forward.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Not talk about it, but…

You’re dressed like you run an adult magazine. What happened?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I had to go and maybe, you know, address the root of some power issues that were happening.

SEAN

Eggerton tucks a gold chain behind his shirt.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…The heck is—let me see that. Let me see the chain.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What? See what?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Let me see the chain for a second. You’ve got a chain, you just tucked it into your shirt.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m not wearing a chain. Not me.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It takes a while before we hit the vault. Why don’t you just pull out the chain?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s, it’s tied up in my chest hair, so I just—aaaaack!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

There’s no Muzak on this ride. So if you could just let me see—ohhhh, my Lord, it’s a locket. Oh my God, it’s a photo of you and Peri and several hundred children in the background.

You got back together with Peri.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, it wasn’t so much I got back together with Peri as I went back a little further and addressed some childhood stuff. And then went forward a little bit and met up with Peri and had some coffee and talked about things. And then, you know, just tried to fix it up and, uh, it all worked out in the end.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh my Lord, you went back in time and you fixed your own childhood issues about intimacy?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It is fascinating how much money I’ve actually saved in therapy because of that. And now look! Beautiful suit! This is worth eight thousand credits, Blat! The gold chain, twenty-five thousand. Look, it’s solid pleather gold. See, can’t dent it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well… well now I just feel cheated! So you’ve altered your entire past, you’re now a better person than you ever were, but all of my memories of you are when you were, you know, kind of annoying and screwed up.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

But that’s what my memories of you are too.

SEAN

The elevator dings and the doors open on a corridor and it’s a short corridor that leads to a door that reads “The Department of”… help me?

MIKE

Uh… Eli, we’re going to need you.

CARTER

“The Department”—

KRISTI

“Confused Clientele and”…

ELI

“Complaints, Cold Cases and Concerned Clientele”.

KRISTI

Concerned. Yeah, “Complaints, Cold Cases and Concerned Clientele”.

SEAN

So there’s a short hallway that leads to a door that’s partially propped open that reads “Department of… Closed Cases”…

ELI

No.

MIKE

Complaints, Cold Cases…

KRISTI AND MIKE

and Concerned Clientele.

SEAN

A door that’s propped open and on it it reads “Department of”…

(trails off)

Laughter.

KRISTI

“Complaints, Cold Cases, Concerned Clientele”. It’s like a tongue twister.

SEAN

There you go. That.

KRISTI

Just say it.

SEAN

And that’s what you see.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, wait a second, wait a second. I didn’t get to change my childhood, okay? But I’m fine. I wasn’t all messed up like you.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

No! You’re totally fine, aren’t you Blat?

SEAN

And the doors start to close.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, let’s step out. We can have this argument another time.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So how’s your friend Reginald, Blat?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

…My son who has to live inside a book who ultimately become the teacher who I originally taught?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

(suddenly emotional)

…We don’t talk a lot.

Giggling.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s fine.

It’s just, you know… he’s got his thing and… I’m trying to stay alive at the end of the universe but it’s fine. It’s fine.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s okay. It’s okay to let it out, Blat.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Darcy almost killed us!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, Loxsyn, why is this always about you two and going into your personal issues puzzle pieces that you always have to pull out and go on forever about to each other?! Why don’t we just walk forward to the end of the world?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’m hearing a lot of your mother’s voice in that, Darcy.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, who cares? I’m sure it is my mother’s voice. I’m not going back in time and getting a special gold lock, am I? And how do you fit a hundred kids in that picture anyway?! I don’t even understand that.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, it folds out like fifty times.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Oh, that makes sense.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That must have been a very long lens.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It was. Very long. Very wide, really. More wide than long.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ananka, it’s always like this. I can’t tell you how tired I am of it. They just never stop.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

And you wondered why you haven’t been around for the past few episodes.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

I understand. If I could have run away in a long-legged house, I would have done the same thing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, well, I’m just going to find a keyboard and do my end of this, all right? I’m going to enter a few bits of data and then, uh… well, something will happen, I don’t know.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Well, if you notice, it’s not even the vault. Look what’s in front of us. Some new department of something or other.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It says “Complaints, Cold Cases and Concerned Clientele”. That’s CCCCC. That’s too many C’s.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

That’s a lot of C’s.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Are you sure there’s nothing about a piano?

KRISTI

And all of a sudden, um, the door—you see, opening the door is a vine crawling out. And, um, you hear a voice from behind the door that just says,

KRISTI (AS JAKI)

Eggerton?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What’s… Yeah, that’s me. Hi!

KRISTI

And the door opens and there’s Jaki, the forest nymph that used to work with Eggerton during his time at the CCCC and the whole area behind her has been covered in her, like, growth.

And she just looks at Eggerton and goes,

KRISTI (AS JAKI)

You have missed the last ten years of shifts. Where have you been?!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s actually kind of a funny story. So there was a force field and I had to go back in time, fix my childhood with my father, relive a good amount of my life investing wisely, get together with my ex-wife who hated me causing the barrier to be built, reinvest into that relationship and giving it my all for reals this time, having a bunch of children—look, here’s all of them, I’ll tell you their names later—and then the power, the force field went down, I appeared in the elevator, we went through a little bit of exposition about everyone’s family past and now we’re here!

KRISTI (AS JAKI)

Well, as nice as it is to see you, Eggerton, Moira came and visited me a while ago and told me that you’d probably show up at some point in the future and I’ve been waiting here for you amidst all of this crazy to meet, just give you a little bit of advice about how to move forward. And look at this! Oh, this must be Blat.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah!

KRISTI (AS JAKI)

And Darcy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It is! My old friends. I told you about them.

KRISTI (AS JAKI)

Yeah, your “subordinates”, as you refer to them.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, yeah, yeah, they work under me. I’m the general—see the hat, still, and now look, I’ve got a uniform on top of the hat, that’s new.

KRISTI (AS JAKI)

You kept that for those ten years, you went back in time, huh?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I’m like a fifth rank general now, so yeah.

KRISTI (AS JAKI)

Regardless.

KRISTI

And then Jaki pulls out a box that’s like dusty and covered with vines and she kind of like just walks out and she goes,

KRISTI (AS JAKI)

I don’t know what’s in here, I never looked. Once you left, I took my manager job back and it was great until the world imploded, which I assumed had something to do with you. So do with this as you will. Good luck. I’m off to go hang with Paul! We got married, it’s a whole thing. Anyway… have a nice life, Eggerton.

KRISTI

And she slams the door shut with her vines.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She did a real great job filling in for me while I was away. I hope someday she grows into that manager position, though.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who the Loxsyn was that?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It was Jaki!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Who’s Jaki?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

She was my subordinate investigator.

KRISTI

You just hear a scream from the other room.

KRISTI (AS JAKI)

Son of a…!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why is she in the basement of the tree handing you a musty box?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, I can’t really explain…

SEAN

Sorry, before you say anything—roll 2d6.

MIKE

9.

SEAN

What’s your Wisdom or Intelligence? Do you have a bonus?

MIKE

1.

SEAN

I guess it’s a 10.

You hear Darcy continuing to talk…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

(fading into the background)

I just don’t get who this “Jaki” person is in the middle of this thing we’re going through. What the heck? Who’s he talking about? Have you ever met Jaki? I don’t get it.

SEAN

And while that’s happening, you’re like, wait, I had a job and it was… I used to go inside the Nexus and that’s where my department was.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah! That was… It was a good job. I mean, I got brought in by the chief to really help out because Jaki was having a hard time with her management skills and not really completing projects on time. You know how it is. So I started working there and it was, I guess, technically inside the Nexus and that’s how we were able to help out all of the different creatures and people and everything. Um…

But yeah, I guess that kind of means that now we’re inside the Nexus? Maybe?

Yeah, yeah. That makes sense. We’re in the Nexus.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

We’re in the Nexus.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, yes, but… you did destroy it still. So don’t get ahead of yourself.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

So how are we in it if I destroyed it?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, if I’m getting all of the ingredients right, as I like to say now, for the first time after 61 episodes… I think that it’s sort of like everything’s vibrating together and then we’re in the Nexus, but we’re not in the Nexus because the Nexus isn’t there any more, but it is sometimes there. So we’re in it, but we’re not.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Great.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

You get it, Ananka.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yeah, what he means to say is… we are in the Nexus.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Ha! I didn’t destroy it then. Guess I didn’t make a huge mistake.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

(lowers his voice)

So she destroyed it, but you saw that, right? Like it was open the apple, the Shattering came out, everyone screamed and died, the villagers were still angry.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

I think you’re thinking of a biblical story with a woman and an apple. I don’t know what you’re…

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Yes. I think Ananka might be right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hmm.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hmm.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hmm.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Hmm.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hmm. We’ll just have to check the records later, I suppose.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why don’t you just open that box.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right.

MIKE

And Eggerton pushes open the box.

SEAN

And inside is a very dusty old keyboard.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh!

(gasps)

It’s got keys!

MARISA (AS DARCY)

That’s what you’ve been looking for, Blat!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hold on, everyone stop and let me think for a second! Everyone just be quiet.

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, four, three, two, four…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, no, don’t—

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Hey! I said quiet!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, all right.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…

KRISTI

This is the best version of Eggerton.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, everyone, just settle down.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No one interrupted you that time.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Please, I need silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Just go.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, seventeen, eighteen, nineteen, twenty, twenty-one, twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-four, twenty-five, twenty-six, twenty-seven, twenty-eight, twenty-nine, thirty, thirty-one, thirty-two, thirty-three, thirty-four, thirty-five, thirty-six, thirty-seven, thirty-eight, thirty-nine, forty, forty-one, forty-two, forty-three, forty-four, forty-five, forty-six, forty-seven, forty-eight, forty-nine, fifty, fifty-one, fifty-two, fifty-three, fifty-four, fifty-five, fifty-six, fifty-seven, fifty-eight—oh, it’s just 58. This is probably junk.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, no, no. There’s the calculator over here on the side.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh! Okay, okay, that’s sixty. Yeah, this is it! This is the thing. This is the sixty keys!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Great!

It’s not plugged into anything…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Well, maybe not, but we could try like, inputting something.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, well.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

What should we try? “PASSWORD”…

He starts typing.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No. No. Don’t.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

No, Blat has the corporate—

A warning buzz.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, look, a big red X came up. Okay…

CARTER (AS BLAT)

No, don’t, don’t! If you entered the wrong one too many times, it’s gonna cancel—no, don’t!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

“1–2‑3-WELCOME”, exclamation, Enter…

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

We don’t know how many tries. We only have so many tries! No no no no!

A warning buzz.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Wow, it’s starting to smoke.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Will you just give me that!

All right, we’re just going to open up the file.

We’re going to enter the corporate key, which is…

C!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

C!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

1!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

1!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

2!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

2! Wait, who’s entering it?

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m entering it!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh. Why am I shouting with you?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I don’t know, it’s a dramatic moment!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I just got caught up in the moment.

Okay, go back. Start from the beginning.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right. Backspace. Backspace Backspace.

C!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

C!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

1!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

1!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

2!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

2!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

3!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

3!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

4!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

4!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

This is the stupidest corporate key I’ve ever seen!

And shift…

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Shift!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

L!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

L!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Enter!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Enter!

A chime sounds.

SEAN (AS COMPUTER VOICE)

Key accepted.

Welcome back, Mr. Wisney.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Who said that? What’s, what’s—this isn’t connected to anything!

SEAN (AS COMPUTER VOICE)

Please proceed to the elevator.

Ding!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh.

All right. Let’s all get on the elevator.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

All right. Back to the elevator.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

What elevator?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Party forward.

SEAN

There’s a new button that has appeared that says, “REALLY THE VAULT.”

KRISTI

(laughs)

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay. Well that’s just mean. Come on!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It’s a, it’s a little bit of subterfuge, I think, yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

“CCCCC”.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

That’s one too many C’s, I think.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

“Really The Vault”.

Blat presses the button.

SEAN

Muzak starts playing.

It’s the Mexicoland background music.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, yes. You see, you expect that.

Everyone starts humming tunelessly.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

“Catch a falling star and put it in your pocket…”

A shuddering magical note. The music stalls for a moment as though time has slowed.

SEAN

The lights flash.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh!

SEAN

And they flash again.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Hey.

SEAN

And then every other flash, you think you see a small child staring at you. And then they’re gone in the next flash.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

This is the creepiest elevator ever.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. Is everyone else seeing the little person that just keeps appearing and staring at us?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Is this a ride? Should this be outside in the park itself? We’re in one of those freaky rides that the teenagers like.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah. This is the one where, as it goes down, the images get longer and it’s really creepy.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

…Are you thinking of like a fun house, with mirrors?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah, exactly. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Actually, the thing that you are all seeing… it’s actually Tekmar.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Tek…mar. Who’s Tekmar?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

…My sister.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Right. You told us that on the way here. I forgot. Sorry.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Oh, this is awkward.

(gasps)

This is a younger version of the lady who told me that a beaver tail was made out of dough.

What I’m saying makes sense!

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I am not crazy!

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So the crazy jumped from Ananka to Blat. That’s good to know.

SEAN

There’s a ding and the doors open…

And ahead of you is a high security kind of area and a giant, massive circular vault with a key slot.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Found it.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

All right, so if you were the key, to get us past the force field, and this was the key to get us down here… that means Witchy Stick has the real key to get us into the vault!

MAGGIE

And Ananka tugs at her necklace, pulls it up over her head and approaches the door.

SEAN

And a child appears in your way.

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

Hello, Ananka.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Hi, Tekmar.

May we come in?

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

I suppose you should.

MAGGIE

And Ananka puts the key into the slot?

KRISTI

Keyhole.

MAGGIE

Keyhole, sorry. Ahem.

SEAN

You hear a slam and a grinding and the whole wheel starts to turn and other slams and things moving… and then all of a sudden it’s like massive shudder as the air pressure changes and air starts to pour out from the vault and then the door starts to swing open.

The soft, melancholy music of the Nexus.

SEAN

And inside you see a rather large room, money piled and credits, money of every kind and credits piled to the ceiling. And it’s all been pushed away from a small space in the centre where there is a small object…?

CARTER

…A taco.

SEAN

…where there is a taco.

MIKE

Hard shell or soft?

CARTER

Soft.

SEAN

Where there is a soft taco with thousands of little wires running out of it… and you are all staring at the heart of the Nexus.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So it’s taco-powered. The Nexus. Is that the implication here?

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

Welcome to the heart of the Nexus.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Do you know if it’s a taco? Like, is it actually a taco or does it just happen to look like a taco?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It does look like a taco.

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

The Nexus looks like what each of you desires at that present moment.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

We are snacky.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But we’re the same sort of snacky, like at the exact same time?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

It was the music in the elevator.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Ohhh, that’s… the Mexicoland part of the park! That’s where I’ve seen this before.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Mm hmm. It’s coming back to me.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Darcy, is it a taco? Do you see a taco?

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Eh… More a burrito, I think?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Okay, I’ll take that.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Nachos, I see nachos.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Oh, like with chips? Corn chips or tortilla chips?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Corn chips.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Nice.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

More authentic. It’s what I prefer.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Makes sense. What kind of salsa?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Oh, definitely peach salsa.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Really! Peaches? I’ve never had a—

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Yes, I know. It’s very surprising, but actually you should really try it sometime. It’s quite good.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Are you sure it’s not a slaw?

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

No, it is… I did not say “sal-slaw”. I said “salsa”, and it is certainly a peach salsa.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Okay, I believe you. I’m sorry.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

You should really, absolutely try it sometime—

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Why don’t we listen to what the creepy little kid has to say?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I’m trying to talk over the creepy little kid because the creepy little kid creeps me out.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

And I think she has the answers!

KRISTI

And Tekmar just giggles and looks at you and goes,

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

It doesn’t surprise me that this group of people, at the end of all things, sees a taco or a burrito or a plate of nachos.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

See, she gets us.

SEAN

Ananka, as you’re looking at the child Tekmar, you know that the Nexus is holding all of this together, all of these little pieces of all these parallel universes that don’t belong together, and that you have to turn the Nexus off, but that will be the end for everyone, including Tekmar.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

Well… just like every time, it is as it must be.

KRISTI (AS CHILD TEKMAR)

But this time is different.

This time, it will end all things.

It will end you, it will end them, it will end Greg.

It will reset, and it will start anew.

All things come from the laughter of a child.

All things are born from their experiences, but everything starts fresh with youth, and with purity, and with untouched joy.

When you reset this, you have the opportunity to reshape and remold into something new.

MAGGIE (AS ANANKA)

From death comes life, little sister.

MAGGIE

And Ananka approaches Tekmar, picks her up…

They both start to become more and more transparent, merge into one entity, and they vanish.

SEAN

Leaving the three of you staring at different versions of Mexican food with a lot of wires coming out of it.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

So can we go like halfsies on the taco?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s not really a taco. Think of it as… a taco of the mind.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

A taco of the mind!

CARTER (AS BLAT)

A taco of the imagination.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ooh! I like that.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Or a burrito if you are Darcy.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Yeah, if you’re a… Kind of just, you know, a little sad.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Yeah.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I feel like a burrito’s a sad taco.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

A Burrito Is A Sad Taco: The Eggerton Story.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Ohh, I should write that down. I’m gonna write that down.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

I think you should. I think you should. I think you’re at a place now where you could finally write that book.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

You have a choice, champion.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Uh-oh, just a second. Getting a call from… Whozit.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Morrigu?

SEAN

Thunder rolls through the room, lightning striking out of the walls.

A roiling, distorted bass note rises up under the rest of the music.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

You can choose to take the power. Harness it, build what you wanted.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So I can take the power of the Nexus…

A familiar chime.

SEAN

Darcy, your amulet lights up brightly as Loxsyn fills you. And you hear a voice, quite melodic:

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

He’s being tempted.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So I could just use the power of the Nexus to do whatever I want…

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yeah.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So I could be… the new Arthur Wisney.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

Yes.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Maybe you can get rid of all this rat-themed memorabilia. It’s just off-putting.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

It’s horrible.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

It’s terrible.

SEAN (AS CHARACTER)

It should be spiders.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

Blat, you heard the sisters. It’s all over.

This is the end. You can’t make any more deals or bargains. Let’s just… let it go.

The sounds of the goddesses fade.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

But if this is it, then… we never get to…

‘Cause Eggerton, he got to go back, and he got to fix stuff and he got to repair his relationship with Peri.

And um, I was just thinking that maybe if both of us survived all of this, that maybe we could… fix stuff.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

There’s nothing to fix.

We know how we feel.

And who knows? Maybe it’ll all start all over again.

Silence.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So in the end, the three of us, out of the billions upon billions of people in alternate universes, were chosen to come here to unplug a taco.

Laughter.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Do you think it has cilantro?

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Well, buddy… there’s only one way to find out.

Start yankin’.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

I’ll take a big bite of that taco for you, buddy.

THE BEGINNING

Music: an extended version of the Valley theme from Episode 45.

We hear familiar voices whoosh past us—characters from Other Bothers and others from the Alba Salix universe.

Newly born fae laugh and cheer.

CARTER (AS A NEW FAE)

Every day is Saturday!

MIKE (AS A NEW FAE)

Let’s go explore!

CARTER (AS A NEW FAE)

We have to invent clothing!

The door of a homey little cottage opens.

MARISA (AS BRENDA)

Well, hello there! Welcome to Brenda’s kitchen! Come on in, come on in…

In a dark, shadowy mansion:

SEAN (AS A VAMPIRE)

It’s time.

MIKE (AS A VAMPIRE)

Is it time to rise up?

SEAN (AS A VAMPIRE)

It is.

MIKE (AS A VAMPIRE)

Then let us rise!

By a hill in the countryside:

SEAN (AS JILL)

Jacklyn has to travel from a long way, so I’m just waiting here until Jacklyn gets here. But if you’re travelling to Wayward, it’s just over—if you keep going over the hill…

In the forest near the House of Healing:

JULIAN (AS MAGNUS OF HEZELFORD)

And then there was a giant monster, and we fell off it, and we nearly died like a hundred times!

On a faraway island:

MIKE (AS SALTY THE PIRATE)

I was on my ship and fired the cannons… and that was the last thing I remember.

In the gardens at the palace of King Pamir:

SEAN (AS THE TREE GHOUL)

Well done. You freed my kingdom and my story.

In an emerald-green meadow, unicorns whinny and frolic.

SEAN

We cut to the three, standing on a top branch of the tree, watching as the theme park around them begins to break apart in mini-explosions, each part starting to move away from the rest at extremely high velocity… like the very beginning.

In a coliseum in Krannox:

CARTER (AS JAGGER THE DEMON)

I display before you… a popsicle.

In a bedchamber at the Royal Palace in Grandville:

MARISA (AS QUEEN PARABEL OF FARLORIA)

I’m a queen now, and you’re not, and you should show some respect. Isn’t that right, fairy?

In a dark alleyway in Steadfast:

MIKE (AS GNOME GANGSTER)

If they can give us money, we’ll take it, but we need signatures.

CARTER (AS GNOME GANGSTER)

Signatures! And then we can have the new community centre built!

A pair of penguins honk at one another.

MARISA (AS PENGUIN RITA)

Twizzle… No, stop it. Stop bothering Watson. No, Twizzle.

On a far-off battlefield:

SEAN (AS A DEMON SOLDIER)

What are you up to now, Gary?

MIKE (AS GARY OF NEFARIOUS)

Oh, well, you know, I’m thinking about going into stage makeup…

In a tree-lined city park:

CARTER (AS GERHARDT THE PORTAL SALESMAN)

I get very hungry adventuring, so I was hoping if I gave you a portal, maybe you could give me a basket…

Behind the bar of the Axe & Crown tavern:

MARISA (AS BETULA THE TROLL)

I may have had a little something to do with bringing unicorn coffee to Grandville…

Entering a cozy neighbourhood coffee shop:

MIKE (AS ELDERLY EGGERTON)

Darcy! How you doing? We haven’t seen you in a while.

MARISA (AS ELDERLY DARCY)

No, it’s been a long time…

CARTER (AS ELDERLY BLAT)

I have scones!

SEAN

And for a minute, the three think they see—on another branch, they think they see Tekmar and Moira and Ananka, also staring and watching this fireworks display at the end of all time… or at the start of a new beginning.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

So…

Do you think Arthur Wisney comes back?

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Maybe. There’s always gonna be someone like an Arthur Wisney around.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Then he’ll pretend to be some great supernatural force and trick three idiots to go back in time twice to fight him.

MARISA (AS DARCY)

…Thank Loxsyn for idiots.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

Thank Loxsyn for idiots.

They fall silent for a moment.

MIKE (AS EGGERTON)

Welp, I’m off to see Peri!

MIKE

And Eggerton jumps off the branch and flies away.

Laughter.

CARTER (AS BLAT)

He just doesn’t get it, does he?

CREDITS

Theme music plays.

ANNOUNCER

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

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, Ren and Patrick Clark.

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: FAREWELL

SEAN

That’s a wrap.

CARTER

I’d like to request to do something just now, because we’re ending…

MARISA

Oh no.

MIKE

Uh-oh.

CARTER (AS CENTURION CENTURION CENTURION)

So that was The End of Time and Other Bothers.

Did it make a lot of sense? No. Did you have fun listening to it? Well, you should have. If you didn’t, why did you get this far? Centurion, centurion, centurion…

Just remember: listen to podcasts, and try to be good to each other… and maybe develop a creative pursuit, because that maybe will be fun and make your life more interesting, and then you can be silly for people in other countries to hear, centurion, centurion, centurion.

So that’s it. Godspeed. I’m not sure where in the continuity I am giving you this message.

Centurion… out!

Applause.

KRISTI

That’s a wrap on Centurion, everybody!