if you want the ball thrown, you gotta bring it back.
Episode 66: bruno.
Michael: Ok, bud. Bruno! Hey! Hey! Look! You’re gonna be on your best behavior in there, right? No knockin’ shit over with your tail. My partner in crime has been saying we should get a puppy for awhile now. Problem is, we can’t have a puppy. Don’t go telllin’ your dad this, but we’re time travelin’ assassins… sorta… so havin’ a dog wouldn’t work out for us. Too dangerous. And don’t go tellin’ Boris that we fattened you up today, alright? I promised him we would go easy on the treats, but I’m gonna promise you we’re not. You’re gonna make this sumbitch’s day, Bruno. He don’t know where I went off to. [Sniff.] Did I leave the oven on? [Keys jangling, door opening.] After you, Bruno. [skittering of dog paws.]
Michael [loudly]: I brought someone to boost our morale! Mike, Mikey, say hello to Bruno. Boris let us borrow him for the day. Wait, are you cookin’?
Mike: Yeah, I saw you left the apartment this morning right after I went to bed, so I figured you didn’t sleep so I thought I’d make breakfast. Oh my god, puppy. Puppy, I’ll pet you in just a second, my hands are full. Mikey, can you take over on the stove? Just don’t let anything get burnt. Only the bacon is left and then breakfast is ready.
Mikey: Uhh… yeah… who’s Boris?
Mike: The landlord. Hi, puppy. Oh yeah, you’re so sweet. That’s a good boy. That’s a good boy. Michael, what’d you say his name was?
Mike: Hi Bruno. Good boy. Such a good boy. Yes. When did Boris get a dog?
Michael: A month ago, maybe? One of his buddies had some puppies that had nowhere to go so he got Bruno.
Mike: There were puppies that needed a home and you knew and didn’t tell Boris we wanted one?
Michael: We don’t want one. But Bruno’s ours for the day. Boris is running some errands and I told him that morale was low in our apartment. I didn’t even suggest it, he did.
Mike: Well, that was nice of him. Sit? Bruno, can you sit? No? Sit!
Michael: Bruno! [snap] Сидеть! Хорош! Хорош! Hey Mike, look in the fridge and grab a couple baby carrots. He loves those things.
Mike: Sure thing. [refrigerator sounds.] Bruno! Come here. Сидеть! Good boy. [crunch.] It worked.
Mikey: Breakfast is done. You two wash up. I slaved over a hot skillet for 45 seconds for you guys.
Michael: We’re gonna talk shop at breakfast, boys, so get ready for that.
Mike: I’m not going to like what you have to say, am I?
Michael: Nope. You don’t know the half of it.
Mikey: So that’s why he brought you a dog. He thinks you’re going to need a comfort animal.
Mike: And here I was thinking that the old man was finally going soft.
Michael: You need me battle hardened and ready, pilgrim. That is, if we’re going to fix Mikey’s fuckup and kill Hunter Jeremiah Hartley.
Mike: [washing hands] Pffft. All we’re doing is killing Hunter? That’s not too bad. I mean, is it? We’ve killed Hunter for less in the past.
Michael: I don’t think it’s that bad, no Not after all of this. 11 people and 3 hamsters. You didn’t make him the villain, Mikey. Whatever you did didn’t make him do that to Chance and Shadow. Or Charlie.
Mikey: Thanks for saying that, Michael. I see those eyes. Sorry, Bruno. No bacon. Too much salt.
Michael: Сидеть, Bruno. [plates] [Sigh] Okay! Now that I’ve got all of you here and we’ve got our food, we can get down to business. The first order is for me to come clean. I don’t want to make a big deal out of this. I just wanna say it and move on. We have more pressing matters to think about. I trust Mikey now. I have solid proof that he’s not the Mikey that found us in Alaska.
Mike: What? How do you know that?
Michael: I shot and killed Alaska Mikey this morning. If they were connected, then Mikey wouldn’t still be here. I think it’s highly unlikely that that Mikey made it free, got back to the compound and then ran out to trick us. He’d still be connected. He would have vanished.
Mikey: What the fuck? You were willing to kill me? What if that Mikey was completely innocent? You don’t even know what was going on with him? How am I supposed to feel safe staying in your house?
Mike: That’s where you went after I went to sleep? You just killed him in cold blood? Was he still tied up? That’s a fellow Mike, asshole. We talked about this.
[BRUNO Begins barking.]
Michael: QUIET. Quit yer yelling over each other, you’re scaring Bruno. Sorry Bruno. Сидеть. Good dog. [carrot crunch.]
Mike: Sorry Bruno. Poor baby.
Mikey: I stand corrected. Mike, he didn’t bring the dog to make you happy. He brought the dog so that we can’t yell at him without upsetting Bruno.
Michael: If it’s any consolation, I miscalculated. I’d take you lot yelling over Mike’s baby voice he does for the dog any day. Bruno! [snap] Сидеть. See, he responds to authority. Wish you would.
Mike: You murdered one of our own, Michael. That’s not nothing.
Michael: This isn’t up for debate. I told you two because I respect you enough to think that you need to know. But I am not going to be criticized in my own house for doing the right thing. You’ll see. When Edgar comes back, you’ll see.
Mikey: What’s that supposed to mean?
Mike: So what? Are you gonna kill me the minute you get in your head that you should be scared of me?
Michael: Try to make me scared of you, pissant.
Mikey: Michael, as much as I disapprove of what you did, we need to deescalate. I know that it’s a strategy that you’re using to manipulate us, but it is working. We do have important work to do. Time to cut our losses. Mike, do you agree to deescalate with me?
Mike: As angry as I am… yeah. Fuck you, Michael. That’s low. There’s a ticking clock that expires if we don’t figure out exactly what we are planning to do by 10pm tomorrow night. (Come here, puppy. I’m sorry that I yelled. I wasn’t yelling at you.)
Mikey: Why, what happens at 10?
Michael: Mike’s plan goes into motion. Mike? Stop talking to the dog long enough to explain?
Mike: The first place we went after getting the Calculator back was to Matt’s house. We told him everything. We came all the way clean. It’s not like when we drove to his house and barely told him anything. WOE.BEGONE, the challenges, what we did to him, O.V.E.R., Latvia, everything. It took a whole evening. He deserved to know. I know that you were going to tell him eventually. I remember. But with Base gone, everything is different than how I remember things going. So, we told him. It went easier than it had back then. Having two of us there made it hard to ignore the reality of time travel.
Mikey: What does that have to do with saving Base?
Mike: We told him about Base, obviously. That everyone from Base was dead, even Anne. My boyfriend from my life that Matt never knew, the one who eventually got married to Michael. And you, too, Mikey. With what happened in Alaska, we didn’t have a clue what was going on with you. All we knew was that you were gone from O.V.E.R. and the one we knew about wasn’t trustworthy anymore. We told him that we were coming up with a plan to correct as much of it as possible, like we had done with him. It might not work and it might not put everything “back to normal,” but we have to try it, no matter how dangerous it is, no matter how likely it is to kill us. [aside] Bruno good boy. You’re such a good boy. We’re gonna go on such a good walk after this. I can say walk right? Because Boris doesn’t talk to you in english, good boy. [aside over.] The way things are now is unacceptable, current interactions with puppy dogs notwithstanding.
Michael: We asked him, hat in hands, for help, since there was no one else alive who could help us. Metaphorical hat in hands. I lost my hat in the water.
Mike: The plan I offered Matt was this: Tomorrow night at 10pm (noon his time), we are going to lock in exactly what we plan to do. At this time, we are going to send ourselves in time to our destination and we are going to send the Calculator to Matt, set to arrive at a simultaneous time. We will be setting a return time for two hours later (which will almost definitely break sleep-cycle continuity but whatever). If we don’t check in with Matt by midnight, he has been instructed to arrive here at 10pm and correct us.
Michael: That’s assuming he don’t chicken out.
Mikey: How can you send the Calculator by itself? And why?
Michael: I’ve practiced. You can send just the Calculator if you poke it with a stick instead of holding it, but you might send the stick with it. Or only the stick. It takes some fiddlin’.
Mike: But we don’t have to send the Calculator on its own in all likelihood, because we will be traveling to a time in which Calculators are not our only option. And we can’t trust the connectivity between the three of us on this mission. We could do something that makes one or all of us disappear. We don’t understand it well enough. Matt’s fully disconnected, so he doesn’t have to worry about that.
Mikey: Sorry to interrupt again, but what do you mean by “lock in”? It matters that we decide on a plan?
Mike: Edgar called them “decision matrices.” We don’t fully know all of the components of what makes two events connected or what allows time travel to happen via the Calculators. We do know that there is a paradox that has to be broken for these devices to work at all. Imagine two scenarios. In the first one, you go back in time to correct something. But if you corrected it, then it becomes fine in the present and there’s no need to fix it in the past. Which means that you didn’t fix it in the past, which means that you need to go back in time and correct. And so on in an infinite loop.
Mikey: Oh yeah. You told me about that, that day you barged into Base.
Michael: You’re the one that asked, Mikey boy.
Mike: I don’t remember that day very well. In the other scenario, you go back in time a short amount, like we do to create extra iterations. A second passes and you hit the time when you used the Calculator. Everything else being the same, you should hit the button to travel back in time in an infinite one-second loop because that is what happened to you at that point in time, but you don’t. The Calculator somehow gets around these paradoxical results. Edgar thought it might have something to do with the intentionality of actions.
Mikey: OH! I witnessed that. That day. We had to decide not to pop the tire on the cart. You said something about Anne’s intention.
Mike: Intention is action in the form of neurons firing. It is a physical process, with physical neurons actually sending electricity, so it would be natural for intentionality to have a similar interaction with the technology as action does.
Mikey: You’ve lost me.
Michael: He’s lost himself. He’s just repeating what Edgar told him. The bottom line is if we make damn sure what we plan to do and carry it out to the letter, it has a better chance of working and of having connectivity with us.
Mike: Intentionality is just boneless action. It is cause and effect, like all of the other causes and effects that we are tampering with.
Mikey: I don’t get, but I guess I get that we have to do it this way. One last question and then we can start planning?
Mikey: Can I pet the fucking dog? I don’t mean to be like this, but you two have been hogging Bruno this whole time and… it’s been a long time since anything or anyone has shown me affection. And my brain is fried from trying to think too hard about itself.
Mike: Sure, Mikey. Bruno, go to Mikey! Go to Mikey! Mikey, just switch chairs with me. [chair sounds.]
Michael: Better yet, let’s go for a walk. We can talk plans. There’s a park a few blocks from here. Mikey, you’re in charge of the leash. Needed to walk him anyway. I don’t want this mangy cur pissin’ on my floors.
Mike: You know you love him.
[dog voice] Doesn’t he, Bruno?
Michael: Whatever you say, pilgrim. Let’s go.
Mike: Go get it, Bruno! Go get the ball! Good boy, Bruno.
Michael: Listen up, Mike. We were talking.
Mike: I’m listening.
Mikey: Are you sure it’s okay to talk about this stuff out in the open like this?
Michael: We’re fine. Our enemies have much more sophisticated ways of spying on us. Hell, I even got a shirt on this time so we look less suspicious. That ain’t always true.
Mike: I think that the deerskin jacket, the cowboy boots, the hat, and the pipe sorta outweigh not wearing a shirt as far as conspicuousness goes.
Mikey: We needed to go out to walk Bruno and get dog food anyway. Bruno, you want treat? Treat? Michael, what’s his word for treat?
Michael: I don’t know. Probably something in Ukrainian.
Mikey: Ugh. Oh well. You wanna talk? Let’s talk. The plan is Hunter, right? When is the best time? The night we did TBDO 2? Right before he kicked me out of the cart? We show up and turn the tables on him?
Mike: Too much in motion to just kill Punished that night right before he talks to his cronies.
Michael: Could have a failsafe. If they don’t hear from Punished, assume the worst, burn it all down. Could even be that someone already meddled and did that and we don’t know it yet. Hell, could be us that did that and we don’t remember. We don’t know where any other Hunters were that night.
Mikey: So, when then?
Mike: I have an idea. What about the first night that we broke into Tier 2? The night we first stole the code from Edgar?
Mikey: Well, we remember the night. We remember the code, could not possibly forget.
Everyone: 5163845. 5163845. 5163845.
Michael: And we know where all 3 Hunters are at a specific point in time.
Mike: The first time we ever knew where all 3 were, actually.
Mikey: Before I even met Mystery Hunter or Punished Hunter.
Michael: Problem is the whole can of worms. Plenty has happened since then.
Mike: We’ve already got a can of worms open, Michael. This is just a different can of worms. Maybe Edgar and Anne and Marissa are still wriggling around in the can we haven’t opened yet.
Mikey: I don’t like that metaphor. Op! Hold on, he’s taking a shit.
Mike: Ugh and we don’t have any doggie bags. We should’ve hit up the pet store before the park.
Michael: I got ya covered. Grabbed a plastic bag on the way out the door. That was a test, Mike. If you were responsible enough to own a dog you woulda thought of that yourself. Excuse me, I gotta go find a trash can.
Mike: [quieter, aside] Hey, Mikey. Lock the door tonight, okay? The door to Michael’s room. I don’t think he’s going to hurt you, but I didn’t think that he was going to kill Alaska Mike.
Mikey: You’re scaring me.
Mike: If you lock the door, he’ll have to make noise to get in your room. Even with the Calculator, he’d probably land with a thud. He’d wake both of us up. Him killing Alaska Mike shook me more than I’ve been letting on. Just keep your guard up–Bruno! Good boy. Your paws are so big, you’re gonna be such a big dog when you grow up! Good boy. See the ball? Fetch! Fetch Bruno! …. You have to bring it back to me if we’re gonna fetch!
Michael: [returning] What’d I miss?
Mikey: Bruno isn’t very good at fetch.
Michael: Ah, he’ll learn. If you want the ball thrown, you have to bring it back.
Mikey: That’s what Mike is explaining to him. Mike! Michael’s back.
Mikey: Are you out of breath from playing with the dog?
Mike: Shut up.
Michael: Bruno don’t look outta breath, though.
Mikey: So, the first night that we snuck into tier 2…
Michael: Too early.
Mike: Think about it. Anything else is too late. He needs to be gone before we panic and kill him inside of Tier 2. Or any of the other times he fought us there. Any time that made him more wary of us and more entrenched in O.V.E.R.
Mikey: When he confronted me during TBDO 2 he mentioned how pitiful it was that I thought I could get away will killing him in Tier 2 that night.
Michael: Security program was still running the night Mike is suggesting. We hide the bodies. Don’t even gotta move em by hand. That’s how we get back to call off the correction, too.
Mike: They go missing instead of dying.
Michael: Rogue agents. One of em was even playing WOE.BEGONE. No surprise they go missing.
Mikey: Throw the ball, Mike.
Mike: Get it Bruno!
Mikey: So, what about every other interaction we’ve ever had with Hunter? With… anyone, really?
Michael: Well, when you do a Connectivity Strike, you hafta list everything out. And I mean everything. Every conversation, every lunch, every conversation about the person, every time they helped you when you were in trouble. Anything that propagates forward.
Mike: Connectivity Strike? The hell is a Connectivity Strike? Michael, have you done this before?
Mike: Michael, if you’ve done something like this before, I don’t remember it and I don’t like that I don’t remember it. Is this safe?
Michael: It’s safe as in we have someone to issue a correction. Who can do that is not always as obvious as it is this time. We’re looking pretty good, honestly. We all survived all those other times.
Mikey: Then we pick a time as late as possible.
Mike: This is the latest time possible. Too many gears get a chance to turn if we wait.
Mikey: Then we do the plan! Either we do the plan or we don’t. Two options!
Mike: Do we have to decide right now?
Mikey and Michael: Yes!
Mike: Since when are you taking his side?
Mikey: This was your idea.
Mike: [increasingly loud] I don’t like it anymore. How do we even know that all 3 are connected?
Michael: That’s the point of a Connectivity Strike. Get as many off the board as possible and hope that’s enough.
Mike: And how do I trust the guy that MURDERED one of us this morning to do the right thing once we get there.
Michael: Mike, I know that you are not screaming about murder in the park.
Mike: Get your hands off me. [brush of flesh] Murderer.
Michael: Get over yourself.
Mikey: Stop fighting, you’re scaring Bruno. Besides, I know the tone of this fight. I’ve had it. It’s fight that we have when we know what we have to do, but we think that if we can deflect away from it for a little bit it’ll make us feel better. But it won’t. It will leave us dithering, unprepared, and afraid– three adjectives that tend to describe a Mike Walters moments before his impending death and there’s a reason for that. So, what is it? Are we going to do this or are we going to do something else or are we going to sit around and accept this reality where everyone we know and love is dead?
Mike: …Edgar is dead.
Michael: Edgar is dead.
Mikey: We can’t stop as long as we are alive and Edgar is dead.
Mike: No, we can’t. [dog voice] It’s okay Bruno, I’m okay. Thank you. You give good hugs. [/dog]
And now, because there is nothing else that we can do that seems as though we could come close to saving everyone, we are going to kill all 3 Hunters Jeremiah Hartley before they can kill Edgar. The rest of the consequences be damned.
Michael: We survived the last suicide mission we went on. I’d say we have a pretty good track record. Not perfect.
Mike: We strike tomorrow. [long pause] Isn’t that right Bruno? We strike tomorrow? Good boy!
[END THEME PLAYS.]
Michael: Howdy. Michael here. Y’all been whining that you want Mike to get a dog for weeks now. Admit it to yourself. This whole episode y’all were scared Bruno was gonna get hurt. Y’all heard what I did last episode and you thought I might hurt him. First of all how dare you? Second of all, this is exactly why we can’t get a puppy. Hope that helps explain the situation. Y’all take care now.