55: The Surprise Field Trip

55: The Surprise Field Trip WOE.BEGONE


Where are we going? This is supposed to be our time off.

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Transcribed by Addison.


Episode 55: The Surprise Field Trip

            [INTRO THEME PLAY]

            Michael: Howdy uh, let me get a coffee, black, and uh one for my buddy here too. Thank you very kindly, ma’am. Actually, uh, here’s an extra ten euros, pay those folks behind me outta that. Uh-huh. Yeah, you take care now.

            Mike: Seriously?

            Michael: Yeah, why not?

            Mike: Well, it’s embarrassing for one.

            Michael: You gotta lighten up, partner. You see her face when I tipped my hat? She got a kick out of it. Folks behind us did too.

            Mike: Oh, I’m sure they did. I don’t know where you got ten spare euros just to hand out like that by the way. Maybe you could put it toward rent next time? We’re not exactly rolling in cash out here, but yeah Michael! They got a kick out it. You do understand that we’re laying low right now, right? We shouldn’t even be out in public where someone might notice us. It’s hard enough to hide as it is with someone who looks closer than an identical twin to me, and after [whispering] CANNONBALL and the other guy. It’s been three days and you want to stand out like this?

            Michael: Don’t worry your head about that. ‘Sides, the cowboy hat makes us look different. Look, we’re not in town to grab some coffee, Mike. That’s just what I told Edgar, this is just a pleasant detour. We’re taking a surprise field trip. What I’m gonna show you isn’t anybody’s business, okay? I wanna show you what I figured out while you were working on your project this week.

            Mike: That was just busy work. You were supposed to be taking down time to rest. It’s in the standard operating procedure. There’s a cool down after missions for a reason, remember? The back-to-back head injuries? We’re the ones who wanted the rules to begin with.

            Michael: Well, I had to do it on my own time ‘cause what we’re about to do is not authorized. You can’t go getting’ the ball and chain about this, hear me? Seriously, do you hear me? No Edgar. [Car door opens] Get in, we’ll talk in the car. [Car door shuts].

            Mike: What did you do, Michael?

            Michael: Thing that I did was save our hides. Three days ago, when we got tailed by that guy, and I did what had to be done, well, I commend myself on my quick decision making. I kept you and Mikey safe, and I didn’t hesitate, but I didn’t know much I had been doing behind the scenes.

            Mike: Meaning?

            Michael: I remember seeing him hesitate. He wasn’t ready to duel in the middle of the street. I thought that was just human nature, to want to avoid confrontation if at all possible, but now I know that something different happened. Memory’s fuzzy—you can replace it with anything. Don’t even have to make sense, but I swear I remember him lookin’ into the woods right when he got out of the car. Whatever he saw I didn’t check. I was laser focused on that guy. If there was somethin’ out there it was gone by the time we coulda seen it. You went out there to move the car and didn’t see anything to report. Nary a hide nor hair. Nothin’ and no one.

            Mike: So, it was you? It was you.

            Michael: Like I was sayin’—

            Mike: It was you in the woods, I get it! You stepped on a branch or something and spooked him which gave you time to make the first move. You went back in time to that moment during your recovery period without authorization. That’s what you were doing that you didn’t run by Edgar. Pick up the pace! This isn’t a bonfire you don’t have to turn it into a story.

            Michael: Well, we’re drivin’ awhile we got time for a story, and this one ain’t done yet.

            Mike: [Splutters] What do you mean it’s not done yet? How many Base guidelines did you break exactly?

            Michael: If Base wanted us follow all their guidelines to a T they shouldn’ta ripped us from our own time periods out of their Base at those times and plopped square in the center of the Baltics. I was quite happy to follow guidelines when I was at home with my husband. Of course, there’s more. That story already has a conclusion—not a conclusion on purpose, mind. I didn’t know what was gonna happen. I didn’t travel to that moment in order to spook him, that was just an accident. Well, not even an accident. It had to happen. We’re connected to that event. I spook that guy long enough that I get a chance to shoot him. It’s a… destined accident, in a way. Same as with the bear. But that’s just a fun background detail in a story where we’ve already ridden off into the sunset. There’s more to it, hence the surprise field trip.

            Mike: Okay, I’ve heard you out, but this doesn’t add up. You weren’t on corrections duty. In fact, you were forbade from doing corrections as part of your cool down. So, that means your travel wasn’t authorized at all. No matter where you ended up going, and if it wasn’t authorized… how did you do it? How did you get back to that moment? It’s not like we have a Calculator just sitting around in the Base. [Pause] It’s not like we have a Calculator just sitting around at the Base, right Michael?


            Michael: Do you know how much gas is in this thing? We might have to stop on the way. I think you were the one in charge of filling it up last time.

            Mike: You can’t be serious!

            Michael: I know we had less than a quarter tank when we were runnin’ our errands the other day.

            Mike: I’ve put up with a lot of shit here, Michael, but you’re the oldest one. At least the oldest that I’ve ever seen. I trusted you. You told me stories about the wild timelines you’re connected to. Ones where everyone died, ones where everything went inexplicably wrong because no one had the vison to understand them yet! And you have the nerve to hide away a fucking Calculator in the apartment! In the apartment that we left CANNONBALL alone in to go retrieve Mikey! Do you understand what would have happened if he had freed himself somehow and found it?!

            Michael: Well,if that had happened we’d have known by now

            Mike: Known? We’d we dead by now. Base would have ended before it started or worse! You saw what happened to me when we got the bright idea to pop a fucking tire. Can you imagine what it would have looked like if Topher Evans got exactly what he wanted?!

            Michael: Don’t make sense to wonder. Don’t matter. Topher Evans is at the bottom of the Daugava River. Nobody who has the ability to change that has the incentive. You’re talkin’ about the desires of a ghost.

            Mike: Then can you imagine if something happened to you while you were traveling unauthorized? If I had noticed you gone and you just never came back! It would have taken some time to even figure out that you weren’t in this time anymore and even more time to figure out that you weren’t anywhere you were supposed to be because you were traveling with a fucking Calculator! And then we have a man hunt with no clues just all dead ends and you’d be just as buried in time as CANNONBALL was. You’d’ve killed Edgar. No joke, I think that would have killed him. All for a couple trips back to three days ago?

            Michael: [Clears his throat] F–forty-nine trips back to three days ago. I think. If we aren’t counting the trips just straight from the Base and uh, if I didn’t lose count. I wasn’t keeping score so give or take ten—forty-nine sounds good though. Seven by seven.

            Mike: Forty-nine?! What?! For what reason? To get that guy’s attention?

            Michael: Oh, so now you want a story funny how that shakes out.

            Mike: Fuck you.

            Michael: Okay, partner well here’s the story since you want it so bad. It all started while I was laying around a little drunk on my mandatory time off.

            Mike: …You were drunk when you did this?

Michael: Started out drunk, but I was wonderin’ about that guy. I know you were too. I didn’t think that I knew everything, but I wasn’t expectin’ him. All I knew was he probably fit into what we already knew. CANNONBALL came out to Riga, and he did that for a reason. We had to do the fourth challenge and CANNONBALL thought that Riga was how he could stop us from trackin’ him down. He had a contact on a burner phone that we couldn’t intercept at the hotel. Then we killed a man we couldn’t identify, and Base couldn’t recognize either. He’s not a threat anymore, but we don’t know where he came from, and isn’t that why we’re out here? To figure out shit exactly like that?

Mike: No! We’re out here to take orders. We are out here to issue corrections. We are out here to help out the Bases past, present, and future. We are not out here to scramble our own brains on the side of a dirt road in Latvia, Michael. And you didn’t even know what you were going to do, you just admitted it.

Michael: Well, my brains aren’t more scrambled than normal, and I have some answers. Do you wanna hear ‘em or not?

Mike: [Scoffs] Fine, I mean what’s done is done, and I’m not gonna rat you out. I guess we’ll just have to hope that if your meddling screwed something up that Base will eventually figure out what happened and issue a correction.

Michael: Atta boy, Mike. Alright, let’s start at the beginnin’. So, first I wanted a better look at the guy. I remember not recognizing him, but adrenaline was high, and I was busy trying to sheepdog you and Mikey out of harm’s way. I figured out where and when we had our confrontation and I hid out in the woods awhile before it happened, so I saw the whole thing all over again, and still didn’t recognize him. He’s not a known entity. We should have been more alarmed by that. For everything we know about CANNONBALL and Ryan and the Flinchites and O.V.E.R and the Arbiters, and we don’t know who this guy is? What’s up with that?

Mike: Well, it’s not like we had time to be alarmed. We had to drag Mikey kicking and screaming into his own future, remember?

Michael: Well, if that’s what you wanna call screaming at Mikey in our living room then fine, but anyway once I had time I started creeping back. Bit by bit. Seein’ how far back I could trace him. Findin’ him on the road while he was still tailin’ us, and then before he was tailin’ us I could find him at the intersections if I was patient enough.

Mike: I am not sure that I understand you. You’re saying that you just kept going back further and further just a minute at a time looking for the car?

Michael: Bingo. It was easy enough when it was just him tailin’ us ‘casue I was drivin’ and I remember where I was and where I was leading him to. It was followin’ him back to where he came from that took so many trips.

Mike: And you followed him back to where exactly? A base? Like ours?

Michael: Well, it was like our apartment, but it wasn’t a base. It was just this guy’s shitty apartment in Jūrmala.

Mike: We’re going to Jūrmala? That’s where we’re going right now?

Michael: Well, we haven’t exactly seen all the sights and sounds that Latvia has to have we, bud.

Mike: Okay, so if it’s just him in his shitty apartment then how did you figure anything else out?

Michael: Well, our good friend here was deceased remember? So uh, remember yesterday when I went and got lunch?

Mike: Okay so you’re gonna tell me you didn’t actually get lunch?

Michael: Oh, not all, partner. I stopped at Hesburger on the way to his apartment.

Mike: Okay so to recap you did save us from getting shot by that guy but you’re gonna make it so that we die at age forty-five because even in Latvia because you can’t stop eating hamburgers?

Michael: Uh yeah, that sounds about right. I mean, that’s the noble way to go. It’s called livin’ free.

Mike: It’s called dying hard.

Michael: Well, I’m glad I got you riffin’ with me.

Mike: I mean I can never resist a good riff especially with me because I mean you’re the same person as me we are literally the same person we can say the exact same thing at the exact same time because were thinking the same thing.

Michael: [Simultaneously but disjointed] You’re the exact same person as me we are literally the exact same person, and we can say the same thing at the same time cause’ we’re thinkin’ the same thing. [Pause] That was close right?

            Mike: Yeah, I mean five years of separation it’s bound to happen. You’re getting slow old man.

            Michael: I’ll have you know I’m the fastest gunslinger in this whole car.

            Mike: I think I helped you derail the story. You ate at Hesburger and you were gonna break into this dude’s house in Jūrmala keep going.

            Michael: Right, right, I was tellin’ a story. Okay, I ate at Hesburger in Jūrmala. I made my way to the culprit’s apartment—that’s where I tracked him to using the Calculator to trace his steps. With him gone and supposedly no crime scene declared it was trivial to break into his apartment. I don’t know that anyone’s missin’ him yet. Which means he must be real low on totem pole considerin’ I also found this. Remember these, Mike?

            Mike: God, yeah one big headache.

            Michael: At least one big headache from Punished Hunter slamming our head into the ground over a piece of plastic just like this one. RFID badge belonging to one Kasimieras Berzina. Ever heard of him?

            Mike: No, in fact I don’t think I’ve ever heard any syllables in anywhere near that order before.

            Michael: Can’t say that I have either, but look at the photo on the badge, that’s our guy. This told me that wherever he was comin’ from was somewhere that he had to badge into, and considering the provenance of our conversation with him, I suspected that there might be an organization involved that is relevant to our interests.

            Mike: Is that what provenance means?

            Michael: And so, the hunt for where this guy came from was on. I searched the rest of the apartment there was some mail none of it seemed addressed from a workplace. No checks or paystubs. With O.V.E.R they print Oldbrush Valley Energy and Resources right on the check. People know they’re there it’s what could be inside of there that’s a closely guarded secret. So, if he was working for a place like that it was secret in a different kinda way.

            Mike: That sounds like a dead-end to me. All you found was this badge? No logo on it. I’ve seen the data from these sorts of badges—you have too. There’s not enough information on them to trace them somewhere. Unless you’ve been there and used a door before. This was all you ended up finding?

            Michael: That was enough. I had a Calculator with me, remember? We haven’t accounted for all forty-nine of my trips yet. I knew where he lived, and I suspected he was working in a facility like the ones that we had experience with. I knew when he died, and he died presumably on a mission from the facility which means that he was at work or takin’ orders. I knew which car in the parkin’ lot was his because famously it tailed us, and he then tried to kill us and of course I knew how to break into his trunk. And so, I used the Calculator to go back just a little bit further and we had us a bring your killer to work day.

            Mike: Considering that you’re alive I can only assume that that somehow worked and that I’ll—I’ll just be mad at you later. He took you to work with him?

            Michael: Drove me right in past security. I coulda tried to get in I suppose. I mean, that RFID reader is still kicking around somewhere I coulda cloned the badge, but I thought that I was pressin’ my luck enough as it was, but he did take me right up to the facility and so I suppose you might be startin’ to get some idea of where we’re going today.

            Mike: What do you think this is? A government facility? Or like an American government facility? Or a corporation? Or a base like ours?

            Michael: I reckon you just listed all the possibilities. I’ve got my opinions, but I don’t wanna spoil yours. I wanna know what you think hence the drive. If we’re on the same page we can start talkin’ about what to do after that. Edgar will need to know, but if not then I wanna hear what you think is happenin’.

            Mike: Ominous. I mean, I guess I have to respect it. Adds to the grizzled cowboy charm and all that.

            Michael: Damn straight it does.

            [Time lapse]

Michael: [Said in regular Mike voice] Hey, [Quickly clears throat and continues in cowboy voice] hey Mikey.

Mike: [Groans] You mean Mike.

            Michael: Well, whichever wake up we’re coming up on our destination. Please return your tray tables to their upright position. We’ll be there in just a few moments.

            Mike: Ugh, I wasn’t asleep.

            Michael: I was thinkin’ about something while you were asleep. You know about the Calculator now. You know that I have one. Don’t worry about where it came from, but it’s an option, you know.

            Mike: What’s an option?

            Michael: Consolidation. We could consolidate.

            Mike: No! No fucking way.

            Michael: You’d get everything that I’ve been through and vice versa. It’d be the closest thing you could get to a whole Mike Walters in this day and age. More than whole, we’d know more than everything that’s ever happened to us.

            Mike: Michael, Michael, no!

            Michael: Why do you sound so sure?

            Mike: Because it is a blunt object from our past and I regret every single day that we were so reckless back then, and we didn’t put together what was going on with WOE.BEGONE. For God’s sake, we took those things off Arbiters, and they were the ones running WOE.BEGONE when we took them! And it still never occurred to us that the things we were messing with were related to the ways we were messed with. That innocent bystanders were hurt with, Michael! All for the sake of what? Mostly tidying things up? Making sure that there aren’t too many Edgars, or Mikes, or Annes in a certain timeline? Fuck!

            Michael: Bringing people back from the grave too, Mike. I mean, that’s why they developed it.

            Mike: [Laughs bitterly] And we’ve seen how well that works out!

            Michael: You mean pretty damn well most of the time? You and me are in this car together because someone lined some code right and kept us from bleeding out on the floor. It’s not just a tool of destruction.

Mike: Yeah, you’re right we’re both here in this car together in fucking Latvia let’s keep it that way with you knowing what you know and me knowing what I know and not taking a gamble on what could be lost if we try and merge them for no reason.

            Michael: Mike, I wouldn’t bring it up if it was for no reason. We could have more together than we do apart. They go on and on about propagation but it’s actually real hard to propagate some things. There’s times where I’m working off an assumption that you know something that either I nor anybody else ever thought to mention to you. Stuff that I lived through that didn’t happen anymore. And one day I’m scared that I’m gonna get us killed with me thinkin’ that you know somethin’ that you don’t. It’s not just tidying it’s compilin’. We lose somethin’ apart. 

            Mike: Honestly, horrified that you believe that. Did you—is it with us right now?

            Michael: N—no.

            Mike: [Sighs] I can’t tell if you’re lying or not, but I think you should destroy it. I’m sure you’ve done some amazingly clever work to keep the one that you’ve had from being destroyed, but it should have been dismantled along with the other ones years ago.

            Michael: There’ll still be the ones at the Base in this time period.

            Mike: Yeah, fully out of your hands. Not to mention that we have to constantly intervene on their behalf because of those things. That’s one of the reasons that we’re stationed in this time period that’s why this period is so fucked up.

            Michael: Look, I didn’t mean to rile you up I just had something to offer and thought I would offer it.

            Mike: You knew that you would rile me up.

            Michael: But I still had to offer. [Pause] Anyway Mike, I don’t know how else to say this but uh we’re here. I don’t wanna get any closer than this ‘casue I don’t know what’ll happen but uh, take a look.

            Mike: Well, these certainly look like important buildings. Am I—what am I supposed to be noticing?

            Michael: Do they feel familiar at all?

            Mike: I mean, kind of? It feels like I’ve been here before maybe? But like I can’t—I haven’t—I can’t I can’t have been.

            Michael: I don’t wanna spoil it, but can you think of how you might could of been here before? Do you notice anything about that building over in the top right of the complex? The one that’s over there all by itself?

            Mike: You’re telling me… Michael, you’re telling me—

            Michael: What is it about that building?

            Mike: Well, from here it looks like it doesn’t have any doors or windows.

            Michael: So, what am I askin’ you?

            Mike: You’re asking me if that’s a transport quarantine room.

            Michael: Am I asking you if that is a transport quarantine room or–

            Mike: You’re asking me if that’s the Flinchite Compound!

            Michael: And do you think that it’s the Flinchite Compound, Mike? I’ve been away from it longer than you have.

            Mike: But that doesn’t make any sense, Michael!  Why would CANNONBALL have a connection with the Flinchites and then the Flinchites were using me to kill CANNONBALL? Like, what?

            Michael: I’m not sayin’ that I have all the explanations I’m just askin’ if you’re thinkin’ what I’m thinkin’.

            Mike: But that would mean that the Flinchite Compound was in Latvia the whole time and CANNONBALL fled to Latvia to get away from me, but I was already there, and I didn’t know it? And this Cosmonaut Bazinga guy—

            Michael: Kasimieras Berzina.

            Mike: He was what? He was helping CANNONBALL against the Flinchites?

            Michael: Or he was a boot that was leading CANNONBALL into a trap or a million other things we can’t account for.

            Mike: Then he did that and came out to kill us?

            Michael: We don’t know what the timeline is. We don’t know where in time that he came from, but I think that he was… doin’ a correction on behalf of the Flinchites.

            Mike: So, you think that the Flinchites sent him to kill us even though the Flinchites sent Mikey to kill CANNONBALL because they were using him for the—[Splutters] I— does this make sense to you?

            Michael: Look, I’m not saying any of this is obvious. That might not even be the Flinchites, it’s not like they’re there sayin’, “We are the Flinchites here is our theme song”. I’m just sayin’ that we can see three sides of that buildin’ and I’ve seen the other side and there’s no door on that one either, and the longer you sit here and think about that buildin’ and how those hallways go together the more it’s—it’s the Flinchite Compound. Mike, it’s the Flinchite Compound.

            Mike: Then what are we going to fucking do?

            Michael: I—I don’t know. That’s why I brought you here.

            [END THEME PLAYS]

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