We’re getting out of here, come hell or high water.
[Warning: This episode contains violence and abrupt, loud noises. Timestamps for the noises are listed below.]
Episode 30.5, “The Cascade of Explanations Owed” available now on Patreon.
Warning for noises:
EPISODE 31: A CAVALCADE OF EXPERIENCES OWED
[Hey guys. So, I sort of entirely scrapped my original episode 31 and started all the way over again on Monday night because I had a better idea. I got far enough along writing the original that I will throw it up on the Patreon as a special lost episode. That’s patreon.com/woe_begone. There’s so much stuff there you wouldn’t even believe it, early episodes and instrumentals being just a taste. That’s patreon.com/woe_begone. Thanks to my 10 newest for supporting the show: Beth Bronwyn, Tarabyte3, Mitch Gerads, Ben Rowe, laser, David Ault, Paul Ainsworth, We must protecc Edgar squad, and D S. Enjoy.]
[Warning: This episode contains violence. It also contains sudden bursts of noise that might be frightening or distracting, one of which is right after the intro. Timestamps for these times will be listed at the bottom of the episode description.]
[Intro theme plays.]
[A sound typical of WOE.BEGONE time travel plays.]
1: [Exasperated gasping.] Hnng! What? Who would move me…? [Heavy breathing.] Focus, Mikey. Uuf, I don’t think my nose bled like that last time this happened…
2: Relax, you just smacked your head really hard on the floor when I brought you here. You should know that we’re not very good at this stuff yet.
1: We…? Sorry, I can’t see straight just yet. Or hear. My ears are ringing.
2: From your head hitting the floor. I get it. And we just had our head slammed into the ground by Punished Hunter not incredibly long ago. Wow, maybe we should get ourselves checked out soon. You know, like by an actual doctor?
1: I’m so tired of doctors. And being injured. And talking to myself. And being ripped through time and space to somewhere I don’t recognize. Shit, are we in Tier 2? Hunter is going to absolutely lose his shit all over again.
2: Don’t worry. Hunter kept finding us because we were using a badge with his name on it. We’re not doing that anymore. Edgar gave us the code to the door to 116E.
1: Edgar gave us the code? Surely you mean that we went back to stealing the code from him.
2: Nope. We told him what was going on, eventually. We got off the hook for a couple days because we were so pathetic when he showed up at our door and he was so exhausted from driving all night back from Mesa that neither of you could manage to raise the subject.
1: Yes, I remember it clearly. I do believe I was yanked out of one of those exhaustion-induced deep sleeps when I ended up here.
2: Edgar went home for the night so that he could get ready for work in the morning. I remember. T minus about 16 hours to you having the actual heart-to-heart with him. It’s a good one. We’re like the annoying couple that every friend group has that nobody can stand to be around because we love each other too much.
1: Gross. I hate that.
2: That’s what we say at the end of the conversation.
1: So, we tell him everything? Everything everything?
2: No, not everything everything. We don’t tell him the name of WOE.BEGONE. But we tell him about the challenges, the prizes, getting employed at over, moving the bear, all of that stuff.
1: So he knows that we stole the door codes from him?
2: I’m sure he does but he was gracious enough not to bring it up.
1: So, what? Is he a coconspirator now?
2: Even better, Mikey—
1: No, I draw the line at a future version of me calling me Mikey. I’ve leaned in and been a good sport about other people doing it. I draw the line here.
2: Even better, Mike…y. He’s not a coconspirator, he’s our boyfriend. Love and understanding and all that schmaltz.
1: I guess it’s easier to make the case for love and understanding when there isn’t the corpse of Hunter Jeremiah Hartley sitting in the middle of the bedroom.
2: Yeah, that’s a real boner killer. Do you have your wits about you yet?
1: I think so.
2: Great, we can get to work, then. No use putting you to work looking for a file if you can’t see straight.
1: What are we looking for?
2: Here, look at this. It’s a picture of a file folder that we’re looking for.
1: I can’t help but point out that there are what I imagine could be thousands of file folders in the cabinets in front of us. This whole room is file cabinets.
2: Well, all the better to have extra hands, then. Ryan wanted us to find them and we will find them even if it takes all night.
1: Okay, then… why the fuck do we care what Ryan wants to find?
2: Ryan’s getting us out. Or he says he is. I have a plan.
1: Ryan’s getting us out?
2: He’s getting us out or we are killing him. It’s his choice at this point.
1: Ryan, though? What in the world is about to happen back in my time?
2: Ryan got a big idea that only he could help him with. He knows about this file folder somehow. I’m not sure. We basically went straight from eating biscuits and gravy that Edgar brought over to ply us with in order to learn what was really going on with us to eating biscuits and gravy at the diner while Ryan told us about his scheme.
1: That’s a lot of biscuits and gravy for the summer. Too much. It’s 6,000 degrees out in the shade.
2: I know. I only thought that I was going to vomit from the heavy foot and sweltering heat once on the way home.
1: I know that this is going to happen and yet I am still going to do it.
2: But Ryan came to us hat in hand, at least that what it felt like. He had to send us another email to get us to come out because Charlie refused to call us on his behalf at the gate.
1: Good for her. Fuck that guy.
2: Yeah, she’s got a good head on her shoulders. According to him, the situation with the Flinchites is more complicated than we think, as well as the situation with him losing WOE.BEGONE. He’s been biding his time, collecting information when he could and building up to an attempt to seize power again. Some of his intel paid off and he figured out what he needed. And what he needed was inside of Tier 2.
1: And that’s where we come in. Especially since Charlie apparently won’t even let him look through the gate.
2: Exactly. And since we are the ones who are putting our grubby little paws on the information, we have a lot of power over whether or not he gets that file or if we keep it to ourselves. Or send it to the Flinchites in exchange for some help from some people who seem to know what they are doing.
1: But you made it sound like we are going to hand it over to Ryan? Why would we ever do that? Those other two options sound much better.
2: Well, I’ve thought about it longer because I’ve been alive to think about it for several more days than you have. I’m scared of new WOE.BEGONE. I don’t know what they are planning, but with the way that Hunter talks about our future I don’t like our odds. They could be asleep at the wheel, but they could also be so far beyond our comprehension that we can’t tell how they are affecting us, or we could be doing exactly what they want us to do without realizing it. I don’t like the way that the relationship is shaking out either way.
1: Okay, but Ryan was just a straight-up sadist. Are you really saying that you want to go back to the old boss?
2: No, I’m not. But he promised us something that I don’t think that we are going to ever get with the way things are structured now. Not with how Hunter says that even if we try to flee we will be brought back kicking and screaming. Something has to drastically change. Ryan offered us our freedom.
1: …Do you believe him?
2: He will give us our freedom or he will drown in the Pacific Ocean.
1: How? What’s stopping him from zapping you out of existence the second that he gets the files from you?
2: Well, he has to get the files from me, which means that he can’t do anything to me before I send the files or else he will never get them. If he needs the files in order to take back WOE.BEGONE to get the power to fuck us over, then he can’t do anything to us at any earlier point.
1: Which means that he can’t do anything to me.
2: He doesn’t even know that you are here. He doesn’t have any reason to suspect that you have been moved at all. You’re my dead man’s switch. After all of this time, I can’t say for certain what would happen if he killed you. I don’t know how it would affect me, if it would kill me or not. I think a lot of people have done a lot of math about that at a level that ends up above my head. But he doesn’t even know that you are here. So if he does something to me the moment after I send the files, then you will be here to witness it. And if you are here to witness it, you can be the dead man’s switch that activates upon my untimely demise. You will still be around to make sure that he ends up in the Pacific Ocean long before he can take me out.
1: And how can I do that?
2: We ate at the diner, Mikey. We sat in the normal booth. I swear they keep it open for us since we eat there so much. He sat across from us like Edgar usually does, but he didn’t lean his head against the window at all while we were there. And he was especially sitting right in the middle of the seat for a full second at 6:18pm and 24 seconds. If I disappear—
1: Then he will be floating in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
2: I’m glad. You get it. I do wish that we would find this damn folder already and get it over with.
1: I still don’t understand this filing system. I mean, I get having the most important documents printed out instead of stored on a computer. Especially with how some people leave their computers unlocked around here.
2: Hey, now! No throwing shade at those who do not have a password on their computers. They are our heroes. You should know that as well as I do.
1: It has saved our life more than once before.
2: And it’s going to save our life again tonight. That computer over there is the one I brought you here with and it is the one that is going to be part of our dead man’s switch if he tries anything with me.
2: Can you do me a favor?
1: The honor would be all mine.
2: Don’t be cute. When you transport him to the ocean, can you immediately start moving me away from where I’m standing when he transports me? Maybe if we keep me moving it could be a safeguard against what he is trying to do.
1: You’re not sure that this is going to work.
2: Not any part of the plan, not even a little bit. Not even the part where we are home free after this. I am incredibly unsure of everything.
1: And we’re doing this because that’s somehow not worse than if we didn’t try.
2: Sucks, don’t it.
[There is some silence, with only the rummaging of papers to be heard.]
1: Ha! Found it!
2: Are you sure?
1: Yeah, see where it says S032B4 here in this field? This is the one.
2: Holy shit, it is the one. See, it was a good idea having you around even if you weren’t a dead man’s switch. It would have taken me literally twice as long.
1: Hurry up and get the pictures.
2: Right. Hmm. Yep, I’m not surprised but I have no idea what any of this means. It’s like the pages that we sent to Ryan and to WOE.BEGONE the first time. Gibberish.
1: A salted hash…
2: I know that you don’t actually know what that means because I don’t know what that means and I know slightly more than you do.
1: It sounds smart if you say it to other people who also don’t know what it means.
2: That it does.
1: Hurry up with the pictures already. I’m starting to get antsy.
2: I know, I know. Give me a break, it’s like 40 pages and they can’t be blurry.
1: We need a new phone.
2: Well, are you going to buy it?
1: You know that I’m not.
2: Then shut up a little maybe. [Pause.] Okay. The pictures are taken. The pictures are taken.
1: And we’re sending them to Ryan.
2: We are sending them to Ryan.
1: And we’ve thought this all the way through and it is bulletproof.
2: And we’ve thought about it long and hard and it’s really complicated but I’m almost positive that it is going to work and the reward would be immense if it is.
1: I don’t like those odds.
2: What are the odds that you die before you get to live in a house in the country with a white picket fence with Edgar and your family of shelter dogs?
1: White picket fence?
2: I’ve thought a lot about it since your time and I’ve got an image built up in my head. The American dream is a great way to quietly live out your life if you can get it. The problem is how few people are allowed to actually get it.
1: I mean, it sounds nice. I’m sure I’ll mentally get there on my own soon.
2: You probably will. [Pause.] Alright, I’ve got them all selected. Are you ready?
1: I’m never going to be.
2: Me either. Let’s do this. [Grunt.] Sent! I sent it!
1: Here we go.
2: Here we go.
2: The files are still sending. There’s a lot of them.
1: Ugh, of course.
2: Oh, there they go!
[Deep anticipatory breaths.]
2: I’m ready. It’s our chance.
1: Do you think that we–
[Time travel noise.]
[Time travel noise.]
1: [Exasperated breathing]
2: Nope. Nope. Nope! That’s not what we’re doing, asshole. Ugh, I knew you’d try to fuck wi—
[Time travel noise]
[Time travel noise]
1: [Pained screams.]
2: Ugh! [Typing.] That isn’t going to work, you idiot. Hold up your end of the bargain—fuck I used the wrong “your.” Your end of the ba—
[Time travel noise]
[Time travel noise]
1: [Weak whimpers.]
2: [typing] Do you get it yet? That’s not me. I can keep moving him. If you try that out on me, your files are toast. Dead man’s switch. I will keep bringing this one back to life.
[Time travel noise]
[Time travel noise]
1: [Distressed breathing.]
2: [Typing] Stop killing him, you are wasting you’re time. Fuck, the wrong “your” again! I hate this keypad. We don’t even want that much, just let us go in peace. This shit is all so annoying.
[Time travel noise]
[Time travel noise]
2: [Typing] This clearly isn’t working. If you had a plan that was going to work, you would have done it already. Have some goddamn dignity, you stupid himbo. You got what you wanted. You got the game back. Give me what I’m owed and we will be out of your hair. It’s not that hard.
[1 and 2 are both silent for an extended period of time where we can only hear room tone. They are both breathing heavily, which subsides as the place settles down.]
2: That’s what I thought. You okay, lil’ Mikey?
1: Lil’ Mikey? Come… on…
2: That was a test. You couldn’t protest me calling you that if you were unconscious. Where did he send you?
1: Hell? …I think? There’s sand… in my mouth? One time I fell for awhile…
2: Well, that’s fun at least. People pay money for exhilarating skydiving experiences, you know. You were never in any real danger. Any time he moved you, I moved you right before he did so he wasn’t moving anybody at all. I guess I was right. He couldn’t move me or it would mess up his whole plan. I’m glad that I brought you here tonight. I almost didn’t set up a dead man’s switch. I was just going to tell him that I had one and let him figure out on his own whether or not I was bluffing. I think that’s what he did to us that first day that we met him and he said that he had a dead man’s switch that would set everything back in time 2 weeks. I think he said that to keep us from trying harder to stop him. You still with me, Mike?
1: I’m… think so…
2: C’mon, let’s get you to your feet. We completed the mission. We’re free now. I don’t think he can see us clearly past that moment. Why else would he try over and over again to kill us right then?
1: Please don’t teleport me to the cabin. Please…
2: Sorry. I’m going to put you back where I found you. You still need to have that chat with Edgar and meet with Ryan. I’m sure that it will be easier for you to close the loop the second time around, if that’s even how any of this works and if that loop even resembles this one. Still, I think that it is important for you to go back. There is only one Edgar here.
2: And we are going to get the hell out of here as soon as we can. I don’t know that we will be able to keep Hunter away, but there won’t be anyone forcing us to play a mysterious and violent online game anymore. We won’t be anyone’s prize anymore. We’ll just be Mike Walters. For as long as we can.
1: I’ll believe it when I see it.
2: Me too, me. Me too. But, I hate to break it to you—the thing that you are about to see is a bright light and then you’ll be back in your bed the night before the plan starts. Let’s rip the bandaid off, okay? On the count of three. One… two[Time travel noise.]
[There is more silence as only 2 is left inside the building.]
[2 sighs, almost a sob.] Edgar… if this even has half a percent of a chance of working. God, I’m getting so soft in my old age. Ha! [He is quiet for a moment again.]
[There is typing on a computer.] Okay, let’s psych myself up for this one. It’s the last one. I am getting what I am owed. I am getting what we are owed. There is nothing more to receive after this one. It better not bite me in the ass. It won’t. It won’t. It won’t! We both deserve this. I owe him so much. A cavalcade of experiences owed. [Panting becomes grunting becomes a yell. 2 is banging on the desk out of anxiety and anticipation.] AGH! [He hits the button. He breathes a sigh of relief.] Now, let’s go make this work.
[Footsteps followed by the door to the security building closing.]
2: Hey, Edgar! It’s Mikey. Yeah, I know it’s late. No, I’m not in trouble. [Laughing] No, I’m not in trouble! I’m not geriatric. I can stay up late and binge a whole season of I Think You Should Leave if I want to. [Yawn] I’m totally awake. Hey, Edgar. Can you meet me at my cabin tomorrow morning? There’s something we need to talk about. No, it’s not like last time. You know all of that stuff that you need to know. It’s a surprise. No, it’s a good surprise. No, it’s not a weird surprise that Mikey thinks is good and you’re going to think is weird. I know you’d tell me that you love it anyway. It’s a good surprise, I promise. You can tell that I’m in a better mood tonight than usual, right? Yeah. Yeah. I’ll tell you when you get to my cabin tomorrow, so you gotta get there early, alright? Uh huh. Yeah, that’s all that I called to tell you. I couldn’t wait until morning. I’m excited. Uh huh. Yeah, then I’ll see you bright and early, first thing. Uh huh. See you then. Love you. Mmm… Bye.
[End theme plays.]