Thanks to the wonders of time travel, there are finally more than 24 hours per day to get things done. Dreaming can wait. Who knows what’s possible if you break the traditional 24 hour day and set your own hours? And that’s not even the wildest part!
EPISODE 56: Sweet Dreams
[Hey guys. Short episode this week for personal reasons. Patreon took a week off but will be bouncing back better than ever very shortly. That’s patreon.com/woe_begone, where you can get early access to episodes, instrumentals, director’s commentaries, Q&As, and more. There are hundreds of posts to choose from and you can get a sampler of what you’re in for my listening to the “Bonus Patreon Sampler” located in the main feed. If you are actually listening to this episode preamble, comment the word “bluebird” on my twitter @WOEBEGONEPOD or on the Discord, link in description. Patreon.com/woe_begone. Special thanks to my 10 newest patrons: Fable, Utopia, ParagonPaladin, Marrion Perry-Reed, Maryrose Larkin, Taylor Martin, Brittany, Lilli Barttlett, Michael Clayton and Paul Dalenburg for supporting the show. And thanks to Zed Em for upping their pledge this month. I see you! Enjoy the show.]
[Warning: this episode contains gunfire. Listener discretion is advised.]
[INTRO THEME PLAYS]
Michael [increasingly loud and impatient]: Mike… Little Mikey Bear, it’s time to get up… Mike… [He jostles the bed.] Mike!
Michael: Rise and shine, ursine. We got work to do today, so if you wanna get some food on your stomach before we get started, you gotta get up and at ‘em. We’re breaking 24 hours today.
Mike [blearily]: [Groaning] Why?
Michael: Word from base.
Mike: It’s time travel. Why would we need to pack everything into one day? Tell them we can get around to it whenever we want to. Aren’t there rules in the guidebook about breaking 24 anyway?
Michael: Well, we can do their stuff in one day. At least I think so. They gave us a doozy. But that’s not why we’re breaking 24. They didn’t plan around what I had scheduled for the day.
Mike: Which is?
Michael: Here, coffee. Drink.
Mike: [Takes 1 sip.] Fuck, Michael. Black? And so hot I think I burned my tastebuds off.
Michael: Good. Then it don’t matter if it’s strong black coffee. You can’t taste the difference. Drink up. They’re making us play WOE.BEGONE today.
Mike: [Suddenly very awake] WHAT!?
Michael: [Laughs.] Not really, but I got you awake now. C’mon partner. Time to get up. I made breakfast and it’s getting cold. And what they want ain’t much better than playing WOE.BEGONE. Get up.
Mike: We agreed that you could either walk around without a shirt on or use the accent around the apartment, but not both. You signed a roommate contract and everything.
Michael: I’ll have one on by the time you get to the kitchen. Fastest dresser in the west.
Mike: But we’re in the east… of Europe.
Michael: Well, shoot, I’m outgunned. Better get a move on. [We hear him get up and leave.]
[Scene transition. Non-upsetting kitchen sounds.]
Mike: You made biscuits and gravy?
Michael: “Made” is a strong word.
Mike [confused]: But… you didn’t buy biscuits in Latvia. These are biscuit biscuits, right?
Michael: The very same.
Mike: I don’t think they have these outside of America most of the time. Not even in England. Where did you get them?
Michael [after some hesitation]: I believe you told me that you don’t want to be explicitly informed of any unauthorized movements I partake in on my own time.
Mike: You used the Calculator to travel to America to buy biscuits and gravy? Seriously? When?
Michael: Before you got up this morning.
Mike: How long have you been awake, Michael? It’s barely 5am right now.
Michael: I don’t sleep good anymore.
Mike: [Scoffs.] You can’t pull that shit and then stare off into space on me. [Mocking voice] Eldest Michael with his pipe and his cowboy hat and his cauliflower ear and his pistol on his hip while he walks around shirtless in the apartment. Such a dark and grizzled cowboy. You said you’d put a shirt on, by the way, man.
Mike: I’m gonna destroy that Calculator, you know. I keep telling you. I’m gonna figure out wherever you’re hiding it and I’m going to smash it into a billion little pieces and then I’m gonna dump the pieces in the river. But not all at once. I’m going to scatter the pieces as far apart from each other as possible. Complete oblivion. Maybe you’d get a better night’s sleep after that.
Michael: And here you sit, eating my ill-gotten biscuits.
Mike: No use letting them go to waste…
Michael: You’ll be happy to know that Base has some authorized travel for us today. No Calculators required. And I swear to God if you rat me out for having it, you’ll be twice as grizzled and dark as I am by the time you’re my age, understand?
Mike: Yeah, yeah, old man. What’s the mission?
Michael: Early Base is making all kinds of trouble for themselves, as always. Remember when they tried that funny business with the patrol carts and almost got you killed?
Mike: It feels like I used to? Like a story that a relative tells you about something you did when you were 7 and it feels like you remember but you might just remember the last time they told that story? I know it happened. I don’t remember it.
Michael: Good. They hurt you pretty good. I’m proud you don’t remember that. Maybe we have a better grip on this corrections thing than I thought. Anyway, we had to make a correction because there’s this patrol guy, Ravi, who caught us sneaking into Tier 2. Does that name ring any bells?
Mike: Barely? Skinny guy, Indian, maybe a hair shorter than us? He was on patrol with us?
Michael: That’s the culprit.
Mike: But he wasn’t involved in what we were doing. He was just some random guy with a cart in O.V.E.R. that we would see at breakfast sometimes. Did he even know any of us that well?
Michael: Marissa. Something happened and now he’s the guy who covers Marissa’s route in the mornings and on evenings that she has off. He spotted us on our trips into Tier 2. He was in the process of ratting us out when Marissa put the puzzle together and stepped in.
Mike: Stepped in? But if Marissa has already killed him then what are we doing?
Michael: Our lovely and benevolent Early Base spared his life on the condition that he make himself party to their affairs. They thought that if he were to become complicit, that would negate any power he had to turn them in. Or maybe they thought he would be an enthusiastic participant in time travel murder shenanigans.
Mike: And since we are doing a correction, I assume that they were wrong about this?
Michael: Dead wrong. Based on the scant reporting they offered me, you can take that literally. O.V.E.R. don’t take kindly to traitors. We’re talking a compromising event so large that no one makes it out of the Base alive. Maybe Chance and Shadow and Charlie, too. Innocents.
Mike: So, we’re going to step in and kill this guy for them because they can’t get their shit together. Can’t Base do their own wet work for once? I think they’re getting too comfortable knowing that Mike and Michael will swoop in and do the ugly part for them. Not to be dramatic, but I don’t know if I can take it much longer. In most of my dreams I’m either killing someone or running from someone trying to kill me.
Michael: That’s why I don’t sleep.
Mike: You woke me up from a good one this morning, by the way, asshole. We were in that place we rented in Glacier National Park, remember that? When we thought things might level out for a second? We were there with Edgar, but it was like we lived there in the dream, I think? And we had a golden retriever. Not a puppy, a fully grown dog. Like we had lived there for years and raised a dog together. And we were in the back yard and we could see the mountains, but I couldn’t throw the ball right for him to fetch it. I can never do stuff like that in dreams, especially with flipping light switches for some reason. But it didn’t feel like we were headed anywhere. It felt like we were going to be playing fetch with the dog in the backyard forever. And I wanted that more than anything. And then you fucking woke me up.
Michael: I’m sorry, partner.
Mike: That sounded sarcastic.
Michael: I’m a lot of other things on top of sorry is the problem. You’re gonna have to suck it up today, though. We don’t have any time for being soft. Hey, how about this? If we do a good job today on this mission and then what I’ve got planned for us after, we’ll get us a puppy as a reward for breaking 24.
Mike: There is no way in hell that the landlord would let us get a dog.
Michael: We had a pet CANNONBALL for awhile and the landlord was none the wiser. He never comes around. Have you ever even met Boris?
Mike: Is Boris the name of our landlord?
Michael: Yep. Old, surly Ukranian fuck. Tough as nails, thick as a post, and mean as a wet panther. I like him. He don’t care about what we do as long as the rent is on time.
Mike: And is the rent going to be on time?
Michael: I’ll figure something out. Not today though. It’s gonna be a long one.
Mike: What exactly are we doing after we take care of Ravi?
Michael: Uh-uh-uh! Propagation!
Mike: It’s not even a Base mission. Propagation rules don’t count.
Michael: Then it’s a surprise birthday present.
Mike: Today’s not our birthday.
Michael: You don’t know that for certain.
Mike: True. Do you know when we are issuing this correction?
Michael: Sure do. He and Marissa are doing a recon mission to try and figure out the enigma of a man Ty Betteridge. They’re going back to when he first started at O.V.E.R., before he had a chance to do any of the stuff he’s famous for these days. They wanna see how all these different factions relate to each other and Ty’s a start. We’ll get him alone and then, you know, [gunshot noise.]
Mike: That’s a very specific set of circumstances.
Michael: It’s what Base wants. Our Base, I mean. Early Base got too lilly-livered to do what had to be done. I think that they want us to get him as far away from them in time and space and we can manage with these circumstances so they don’t go trying to fix everything again. But I’m sure they have their reasons that we can’t even understand.
Mike: It’s Edgar and Anne, not Cthulhu.
Michael: Yeah, I know. Cthulhu I understand. He’s just a guy chilling. But it’s already getting late. Let me tell you the plan and then we’ll get a move on.
[CUT TO: O.V.E.R. Early morning.]
Mike [shivering]: You didn’t tell me it was gonna be cold.
Michael: You didn’t ask.
Mike: Did we even work here yet?
Michael: No, so don’t go saying hi to no one. They don’t know you.
Mike: Roger that.
Michael: Do you see that cart over there?
Mike: Yeah, is that them?
Mike: Why are they… on our route?
Michael: That route was open. That’s how we got a job here, remember?
Mike: So this is right before we started working here?
Michael: Yup. Marissa’s got a fancy night vision scope so she can see across the way to Ty’s cabin in the low light. She has a hookup with some shady guy that can get her whatever at a moment’s notice. I think they’ve been here since yesterday, trying to figure out what he’s up to. They’re waiting for him to wake up and see what he does today.
Mike: He does seem like an early morning riser.
Michael: Me and him got a couple things in common. Wouldn’t surprise me if he can’t sleep, either.
[Michael is snoring.]
Mike: Pssst! Michael!
Michael: Urrugh! I wasn’t sleeping.
Mike: How the tides have turned. Look!
Michael: We have movement. Looks like they see something.
Mike: Sure does. What’s the plan?
Michael: Run down our route away from Ty’s cabin. Once you’re pretty far away in the other direction, I want you to fire your weapon into the air. Point it towards the trees out that way. There’s nothing out there for miles so you should be fine. I know Marissa. She’s not going to ignore a close gunshot inside of O.V.E.R. Especially while she is on a mission. Nothing ever happens out there so she’ll know that something like that is far too rare to be a coincidence. She’ll take the cart and head off to see what the commotion is. Ravi will have to run the other way on foot to keep tabs on Ty. Speaking of: here you go, gunslinger.
[Michael put his hat on Mike’s head.]
Mike: Your hat? What?
Michael: Stall Marissa by telling her you’re me and you’re issuing a correction. You don’t have to tell her more than that. Just talk about propagation. That should give me enough time to intercept Ravi. If we end up talking, I can’t be wearing the hat because I need him to think I’m Mikey. He doesn’t know me.
Mike: Is this going to work? What if Ravi doesn’t get out of the cart?
Michael: Shoot him.
Mike: In front of Marissa?
Michael: She can have nightmares with us. Corrections is Corrections. It’s him or us.
Mike: I don’t like this.
Michael: Too bad, partner. It’s what you signed up for. Now go!
[We hear diverging footsteps, Michael breathing.]
Michael: That fuckin’ kid, I tell you. If he’d hesitated any more there’d be enough sunlight for Ty to see us. How hard is it to trust the grizzled old man who’s seen it all? Jesus. Okay: [under breath] 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23. [Foot scrapes across dirt.] Right there. And I can get him from behind that tree. Perfect. I’ll stop him right there.
Michael: Attaboy Mike. Hopefully I’m a good judge of character.
[Breathing. Sound of cart driving and getting quieter. Footsteps getting louder.]
Michael: Oh thank god. Just Ravi. Thank God. Okay, okay. Let’s do this, Michael. You wanna be an outlaw so bad? Act like it. [Breathing.] Okay.
[Footsteps getting louder.]
Michael: And…. right… two more steps… right… there… HEY! HEY RAVI!
[Michael breathes a sigh of relief. He laughs to himself. Before he can do anything else, we hear another gunshot.]
Michael: What the fuck…? Ty? Ty and who? What the fuck? Fuck!
[Sounds of running, heavy breathing.]
Michael: Fuck!!!! God damn it, of course something weird happens and fucks up the whole plan. Fuck!
Mike [from a distance]: Michael? I mean Mike? I mean… is everything okay?
Michael: I just watched Ty shoot someone Over by that set of cabins. I couldn’t see who it was. I don’t think any more Base is out here. This was not part of expectations. We need to get the fuck out of here NOW. Marissa: the Correction is done. Don’t go looking for Ravi. You aren’t going to find him. He was a problem and now he’s not. You need to get extracted NOW. Tell Edgar or Anne or whoever, the jig is up. We weren’t planning for this; they weren’t planning for this. Your life is at risk. You can figure who Ty is out here killing some other day. Got it? Mike, we gotta go.
Mike: Jesus, you brought the fucking–
Michael: Yeah I did and you’re welcome and give me my hat back you ungrateful greenhorn son of–
[Time travel noises.]
Mike: What the fuck was that?
Michael: I took care of Ravi and then I heard a gunshot. There was just enough sunup that I could tell that it was Ty Betteridge killing someone in cold blood across the way. He turned and looked my way, but I was hiding behind a tree. Who knows if he saw me.
Mike: So that gunshot didn’t come from your gun?
Michael: I never unholstered my pistol.
Mike: But you said that you took care of Ravi? What did you do?
Michael: The official line is that I killed him. That is what we are telling Base. I shot him right there, 23 paces between the tree and the path on that exact spot. One shot, right in the chest, went straight down. I think Base will tell Early Base what I told Marissa: don’t look for him. I’m sure they’ll take the euphemism to the worst of their imagination, because it’s usually true in these scenarios.
Mike: That’s a lot of words to say that you didn’t kill him. Fuck, man. The Calculator? Is that what you are trying to say? You used the Calculator on him? And you managed not to duplicate him? Where did you send him?
Michael: 2002, Ottawa, Canada. A long time before any of this started, a short hop across the border, but no passport which means it’ll be a whole big thing, maybe even a big enough thing to keep him from getting a job at O.V.E.R. Not foolproof, but bloodless. Hope it works. There’s no one to correct us if something backfires.
Mike: That shit eating grin of yours, man. All of that to trick me into thinking you weren’t going to use the calculator? Or to keep him alive despite the Base telling you to kill him? What would have happened if they had both been in the cart when I was distracting Marissa?
Michael: You would have shot him dead in front of her.
Mike: Oh… Well, I’m glad you had a read on the situation. I got her out there but stalling her was a lost cause. I tried to be you, but she could see right through me. She immediately knew that something was up and said as much. She was about to turn back and go back to her mission when the gunshot happened.
Michael: Not a word about Ravi to anyone, ever. Understand?
Mike: My lips are sealed. Thank you, Michael. I know you didn’t do this for me, but it means a lot to me. I don’t know how much more death I can take.
Michael: A lot more, turns out. Sorry.
Michael: Speaking of: we are back and since we didn’t travel via Base regulations, that means that no one adjusted our arrival time to correspond with how long we were gone, so it is…
Mike: So, are you still intent on breaking 24? What’s the big unauthorized plan that you have for us today?
Michael: [Thinking.] [Sighs.] The plan can wait partner. [Yawns.] I’m gonna get me some shuteye first. Night.
Mike: Night, Michael.
[END THEME PLAYS]