84: Panther

84: Panther WOE.BEGONE

SUMMARY:

We’re bringin’ ya home, Big Bear. Initiating transport in 3… 2… 1…

TRANSCRIPT:

Edited by Addison.

EPISODE 84: PANTHER

[We hear outdoor ambiance: wind through the trees, birds, maybe a nearby highway. These sounds are suddenly punctuated with shotgun fire.]

Mikey: Woo! [Gunshot] Hell yeah Mike! 

August: Attaboy, Mike! Is that the one that called out to you?

Mike: Uhh, I guess so?

August: That’s the trusty Mossberg 500. It’s a damn fine shotgun. There’s a bandolier for it inside. Remind me to grab that. 

Mikey: You’re a regular Michael with that thing, Mike. Wow. 

August: Yeah, shotgunnin’ ain’t hard. The point is that it spreads the shot out, so the target is easy to hit. I just wanna get you prepared for when we go in there. It’s a lot easier to kill paper than it is to kill a person. 

Mike2: Do you have experience with that?

[We hear a cell phone begin to vibrate.]

August: No comment. Alright, one more round with the targets, and then it’s my turn for target practice with the Calculator. Sound good?

Mikey: …Huh? Matt?

Mike: Sounds good to me. Everything okay over there, Mikey?

Mikey: Yeah, I’m fine except Matt’s calling? I feel like I should take it. He doesn’t call unless something’s up.

Mike2: Take it, then. Me, Mike, and Sly’ll finish up here and then hopefully be set up for your thing when you get back. 

Mikey: [Sarcastically] Oh boy. I can’t wait for my thing. 

[The vibrating stops as Mikey answers the phone.]

Mikey: Hey, Matt? Um, is everything okay? Hold on, let me step inside. 

[We hear another shot from the shotgun.]

Matt: Whoa! Are you under fire, Mikey?

Mikey: No, no that’s just Mike. We’re gearing up for a mission. What’s up?

[Door shuts.] 

Matt: I found ‘em. Piece of cake. 

Mikey: Found… who? Mike and Edgar?

Matt: [Laughs] Oh, you mean Ed Man and M-Dawg? That’s “dawg” spelled d-a-w-g. M-Dawg.

Mikey: I most certainly do not. 

Matt: I found their Instagram page. EdManAndMDawg. All one word: Ed Man and M-Dawg.

Mikey: Oh, this is simple you found the wrong Instagram page. That guy used to be me, Matt. I would never be M-Dawg. 

Matt: Maybe you would if you were on your honeymoon, M-Dawg?

Mikey: You have to stop saying “M-Dawg.”

Matt: Whatever you say… M-Dawg. Their first Instagram post is a picture of them holding up champagne glasses. “Someone once said that life is nasty, brutish, and short. It’s definitely short. Ed Man and I know that all too well. But we’re trying to make it as un-nasty and un-brutish as possible. Here’s to the next 8 years. May every day be as full of life and beauty as our honeymoon. Being retired means that every day can be our honeymoon and we are going to live life to the fullest. Hope to see you all on our journey. –M-Dawg.”

Mikey: What in the Live Laugh Love was that?  

Matt: Yeah, Edgar turns you into a real sap, too. Not just M-Dawg. I’ve noticed it before. You’d be like that too if you ran off to live happily ever after. The next photo is of a house they bought in Kits. Maybe I’m cozying up to the wrong Mike. That is not a cheap place to live. No wonder they’ve turned into contented retired yuppies. I should be calling them and asking to swim in their pool instead of ratting them out to you.

Mikey: You know where they live? I assume Kits is in Vancouver. 

Matt: I don’t have their address or anything, but they live in Kitsilano, and they posted a picture of their house. It would take hours of pouring over Google Maps to find it. [Laughs] I’m just kidding. I already poured over Google Maps for hours. It took three hours to find their address. Not bad for an amateur sleuth.

Mikey: Nancy fuckin’ Drew over here. Maybe you’re gonna fit in at Base after all. 

Matt: Hell yeah I am. You want me to scope out the place? 

Mikey: No. Mike knows what you look like—

Matt: You mean M-Dawg knows what I look like.

Mikey: —and I don’t know how he will react to seeing you. Keep your distance. We’ll deal with Mike after this mission is over. 

Matt: It’s easier to keep track of the conversation if you call him M-Dawg. 

Mikey: I would rather die. 

Matt: Judging by the sound of gunfire in your vicinity, it seems as though you just might. You find Michael?

Mikey: [Sighs] Yeah, and now we have to extract him. Hence the gunfire. 

Matt: I believe in ya, buddy. I should let you get back to it. Take care, Mikey. 

Mikey: Yeah, you too, Matt. 

Matt: Byeeee!

Mikey: Mmmbye. 

[The phone call ends.]

Mike: [Calling from another room]You about ready, Mikey?

[The sound of a blowtorch.]

Mikey: I’m never going to be ready. I thought I still had some time left. I thought you guys had to duplicate the VMAX?

Mike2: Already done. Did it as part of Sly’s target practice. Get in here!

Mikey: Ugh, how did you talk me into doing this? 

Mike2: Because it’s important to come back with the Mikey that we left with.

August: The anticipation’s worse than the branding. C’mon Mikey. The cows don’t mind it. 

Mikey: And I am not a cow. 

August: It’ll be fine. I made such a badass logo for ya. C’mon. Sit down. Let’s do it. 

Mike2: We are on a timer, Mikey. Sit down. 

Mikey: Ugh, okay. Make it quick, August. 

August: As quick as I can manage. On three—

[We hear the sound of the brand against skin.]

Mikey: [Pained] You didn’t even count to one!

August: Hold still! 

[We hear more branding. Mikey makes sounds of pain.]

August: There we go. 

Mike2: [Under his breath] Man, that smells. 

August: Just a couple more, Mikey boy. Hang on, hang tight. 

Mikey: [In pain] August!

August: And… one more… done. Ha! That weren’t so bad.

Mikey: Yes, it absolutely was.

August: Check it out in the mirror. What do you think?

Mike: That’s gonna look badass when it heals, Mikey. 

Mikey: I just think there has to be a better way to go about this.

August: Well, I already had the branding iron, so… 

Mikey: Yeah, yeah. Yeah, look I was a good sport about this. Do I get my lollipop now? 

Mike2: You know what, Mikey? We get Michael back and I’ll take us all out for lollipops when this is over. 

Mike: The pot has sweetened. 

Mikey: Was that the last thing on our to-do list?

Mike2: I’m afraid so. Looks like prep time is over. Time to get battle-hardened.

Mike: I’m ready. 

Mikey: Me, too.

August: Rock and roll, gentlemen.

Mike2: And that’s everyone. Alright, it’s time. Hell yeah, it’s time. And we’re different than the last 86. Because we know exactly what we’re doing. We ran the drills, we mapped out every corner of that damn compound, we even branded Mikey’s arm. We thought of everything. We have it all thought through, perfectly. And we are going to go in there and we are going to kick asses until we have our cowboy safe and sound. Ty Betteridge doesn’t stand a chance. So, are we ready men?

ALL: HELL YEAH!

Mike2: ARE WE READY MEN?

ALL: HELL YEAH.

August: We’re bringing you home, Big Bear.

Mike2: HELL YEAH, WE ARE. Initiating transport in 3… 2… 1…

[Time travel sound.]

[THEME SONG PLAYS.]

Michael: You can just tell me what’s going on, you know? You don’t gotta lead me to the command center and make some sorta big announcement. I see the look on your face. I know you got somethin’. 

Ty: Oh, but I very much do, Michael. What fun is an announcement without a little pomp and circumstance? You’ll be happy I did. See, we’re already here. Step inside. I don’t want to merely announce the good news to you. I want to show you. 

Michael: Fine. Ty, what’s the good news?

Ty: The good news is that we have proven our hypothesis. We speculated that there must be some sort of link between the two locations traveled to through time using our technology and we were 100% correct. Now, I’m not a particle physicist, but the particle physicists on the team say that they can use particle field disturbances to trace a line directly from the point traveled from all the way back to the point traveled to. I do hope I got that halfway correct. The point is the technology works. 

Michael: Okay, so it works then. Have you tested it out yet?

Ty: Not only have we “tested it out,” we have used it in a practical application. Yours, to be precise. You are the one who came to us with this mystery, after all. You are the one who raised the question that led to the hypothesis that resulted in the advancement. So, you get first dibs, so to speak.

Michael: I’m hopin’ that this is a buncha words amountin’ to you sayin’ you found Mustardseed?

Ty: [Laughs humorlessly] If I could direct your attention to the screen, here. This column contains all of the information that you gave our team about the night that Mustardseed traveled inside of your wall to plant a listening device. The adjacent columns, here,  are measurements that our team was able to take based on your specifications, followed by the calculations that resulted from them. And if you synthesize that information using theory that is, frankly, far beyond my understanding, you get [keyboard clack] a resulting initial coordinate. 

Michael: And that’s where Mustardseed is. 

Ty: [Cowboy impression] And that’s where Mustardseed is. [Regular voice] Exactly, Michael. Or, rather, that is exactly where he was when he initiated movement to the destination. 

Michael: Can we just skip the rest of the buildup, Ty. Where do the coordinates point to?

Ty: That is where the plot considerably thickens, Michael. While I am proud of my team’s accomplishments, I must admit that some of my explanation has been me stalling regarding that very subject. I thought for a moment that you might even recognize the coordinates, since you use your Calculator every now and then.

Michael: What…Why would I recognize it?

Ty: The initial coordinates point to the cabin of um, Edgar Walters, inside of Tier 1 of Oldbrush Valley Energy and Resources.

Michael: [Spluttering] His… his name— he didn’t take mine… it… No. I told you. Mustardseed put Edgar in the wall to trick me. Edgar ain’t Mustardseed.

Ty: Hm, except that never happened, remember? You didn’t issue the correction and therefore Edgar was never in the wall.

Michael: Then, however your people measured it tripped whatever trap put Edgar in there.

Ty: Impossible. They also took measurements after tracing the movement. The readings remained the same.

Michael: [Desperate] He… But it was just in his cabin, correct? That don’t mean that it was him that did it. Anyone could have been in his cabin. It doesn’t mean that it was Edgar. 

Ty: I truly am sorry that the answer is something so fraught, but, again, that is accounted for. We have the exact time and location of the travel, which means that we can also set up surveillance to confirm the specifics at the location and… [Sighs] I don’t know what to tell you. The person initiating the travel is Edgar Walters.

Michael: He… didn’t… Take my name… OVEdgar.

Ty: OVEdgar?

Michael: We have a Mike and Edgar just for workin’ at O.V.E.R. We call them O.V.E.R. Mike and OVEdgar. 

Ty: Ah, I see…yes O.V.E.R. Mike… That means that it was OVEdgar that was Mustardseed. Not “your” Edgar. You treat them as different people. 

Michael: Edgar would never do that to me.

Ty: Yet OVEdgar would?

Michael: Base and the O.V.E.R. team have been fighting recently. We been worried that they would go rogue.

Ty: And go rogue they have. Edgar, anyway. Mike was nowhere to be found, at least during the incident that we cataloged.

[Michael breathes heavily, not speaking.]

Ty: Michael… Michael is there anything I can do? It might not seem like it at the moment, but this is cause for celebration. Mustardseed was in the process of—

Michael: Get your fuckin’ hand off my shoulder, Ty. 

Ty: Very well! Very well. No touching.

Michael: I dreamed about killing him. Mustardseed. I dreamed about killing Mustardseed. Actual dreams. And it weren’t just one dream. For how he made me feel like everything was spinnin’ out of control. For what he made me do to Edgar. And this whole time, Edgar was the one that I was dreaming about killing.

Ty: You weren’t dreaming about killing Edgar. You were dreaming about killing Mustardseed. No one can blame you for that. You’re not a psychic. You didn’t have this all figured out or you wouldn’t have come to me in the first place. And now that you know Edgar is Mustardseed, you aren’t going to kill him. It’s that simple. We can figure out what to do, together, now that we know everything that there is to know.

Michael: What do you mean, “figure out what we’re gonna to do”? There’s nothin’ to do. That’s Edgar. We can’t do nothin’. 

Ty: [Clicks tongue.] Now, I don’t think that is exactly correct. Without our intervention, Edgar is ravaging the Base and exposing you to untold amounts of danger. Think of him as a rotten apple. Rotten apples produce a chemical called ethylene, which gets into all of the other apples around it and makes them spoil. If we just pretend like nothing is happening, Edgar is going to rot away everything that you have worked for. The Base is going to rot and be eaten by maggots. You don’t want that. I don’t want that. You have your own Edgar to worry about, right?

Michael: Ty, [Sighs] my Edgar is dead.

Ty: Oh… oh. My condolences. But still! The other Edgars. What about Mikey’s Edgar? Or Mike’s? They’re still alive, yes? And those Edgars and those Mikes are in danger unless we do something. We found the culprit. We have the technology. It is our duty to act because we are the only ones capable of acting. I know when we first talked about locating Mustardseed we talked about you getting some cowboy justice on him, but that isn’t what we have to do. We can bring Edgar here for a while, yeah? We can interview him about what went wrong and why he decided on this drastic course of action. We can contain him until we decide what course of action to take. What do you say, big guy?

[Michael is silent.]

Ty: Michael, the worst course of action would be to do nothing at all. It’s gonna be okay, bear. It’s gonna be okay—

Michael: Don’t fucking touch me. 

Ty: [Apologetic] Oh, sorry. Sorry! I don’t know what came over me. You just reeeaaally look like you need a hug right now. [Laughs] And I’m not even a hugger. Look, what do you say? We bring him here?

Michael: [Pained] Yeah, bring him here. But I get to talk to him.

Ty: Absolutely. I will convene with my team the moment I return you to your quarters and we will begin to discuss picking up the Oldbrush Valley Edgar at an ADAT— uh, that’s an algorithmically determined appropriate time. To keep causality from becoming too messy. You understand. And, thanks to the power of this technology, he’ll be here this afternoon. You can talk to him, then. Or you can sleep on it and talk to him in the morning. There’s really no rush. It’s up to you.

Michael: Come get me when he gets here. 

Ty: [Hums] I thought you’d say that. I’m truly sorry that the truth is what it is, but I think acknowledging it head on will be the healthiest thing for you. I will call for you the moment he gets here and not a second later.

Michael: Can I go now?

Ty: Yes. Fe is waiting outside for you. Take care, Michael.

Michael: [Under his breath] Take care…

[We hear a door open and close.]

[SCENE TRANSITION.]

[The metal clinking of handcuffs.] 

Edgar: [Sweetly] You didn’t have to handcuff me to the table, Bear.

Michael: I didn’t handcuff you to the table. I didn’t ask Ty to, either.

[There is an awkward pause.]

Michael: [Sighs] Edgars, are you gonna tell me why?

Edgar: Aw, no small talk? You’re still my Mikey Bear. How is the compound treating you? No one told me that you were in here. I would’ve been worried sick.

Michael: The compound is torture. And you ain’t helpin’. So, start talkin, Mustardseed

Edgar: Well, thanks for dragging me here to get tortured with you, then. It’s actually a big mess as to how it ended up like this. A giant time circle. I was Mustardseed because I was already Mustardseed. Propagation is a bitch. That’s why I wrote all those rules about handling information in the first place. And I guess this is what I get for breaking my own rules. But these were extenuating circumstances. [Sigh] I know that’s what everyone says when they break the rules, but it’s not wrong.

Michael: What do you mean? What propagated?

Edgar: News of my premature death, babe. Not exactly what I wanted to hear that evening. I even did a little bit of future-scouting—also against the rules— to make sure you weren’t telling some sort of cowboy tall tale. That information made it back to O.V.E.R. One thing led to another. I’d get the news and then news would make me panic and send the information even further back until… well… here we are, babe. It’s a very… Mike Walters sort of situation, if you think about it. Learning how long I had left to live was my version of the bear attack, right down to making questionable decisions inside of the Tier 2 security building.

Michael: I don’t understand. Why would that make you into Mustardseed?

Edgar: Because Mike and I were stuck in the Valley taking orders from you. Taking orders from Base. Getting our lives interrupted to put ourselves in danger, for you. Just enough idyllic peace to grow resentful when it was ripped out from under us. Base Edgar threatened to consolidate us if we showed any sign of insubordination. We felt cornered and with time running out, I started to feel desperate. And running away covertly went… poorly. 

Michael: What do you mean poorly? What do you mean “ran away”? Base woulda told me if y’all made a break for it. 

Edgar: Well, instead of being Mustardseed, it would have been a lot easier to break into Tier 2, create a new O.V.E.R. Mike and Edgar and then take off. At least in theory.

Michael: That sounds like the perfect plan. Why didn’t ya just do that?

Edgar: Well, that leaves another O.V.E.R. Mike and Edgar who still want to run away but are stuck there because the other Mike and Edgar already ran off. So, they make another, same result. Another, again, another Mike and Edgar. And another. Mike and I are the ones that finally gave up and went home. Which is why we might have been a little… saltier than usual when Base came to bark orders at us.

Michael: So, there are other Mikes and Edagrs, then?  What happened to ‘em? 

Edgar: Don’t know. Haven’t kept track of them. Whatever they’re doing is their business. I’m jealous, but I’m happy for them. Those Mikes and Edgars are doing a lot better than me and Mike. A lot better than you or Base, for that matter. 

Michael: Alright. So, you was mad. I understand mad. I’m mad in your place, Panther. It ain’t fair. I been tryin’ to find a place where I don’t hav’ta run for years. Longer than you’d know. But I never turned on the Mikes ‘cause of it. I don’t understand why you did.

Edgar: I am in a different position than you are. The only way that Mike and I would ever be free from all of this is to destroy Base and walk away from the wreckage. Be honest with yourself and put yourself in my shoes. We are only free if Base is gone.

Michael: No. You don’t believe that. We coulda worked something out.

Edgar: Hm, doubtful. Best case scenario is we get consolidated, and we’re still stuck at Base, just with more job responsibilities that we didn’t want in the first place. There was no way out. I’m Edgar, babe. I know that Base Edgar wouldn’t allow me to go unaccounted for. I wouldn’t either, if I was in his shoes. It’s not good practice.

Michael: But you made such a big mess. 

Edgar: I wanted to destroy the Base. Really destroy it, so that it couldn’t come back and hurt us. But I didn’t kill anyone! Hunter killed all sorts of people when he destroyed the Base. In fact, he killed everyone but you, Mikey. And not only could I not live with myself if I did that, it didn’t work out for Hunter! It was a huge, life-shattering event and you and the Mikes immediately set about correcting it. I just wanted to… pull everyone apart… until there wasn’t any Base. Separate the magnets until their fields no longer overlapped. Death by a thousand little cuts, and no actual deaths. Only the loss of a couple friendships. You could handle that.

Michael: That’s a lie. There was a death. You made me kill you with an axe.

Edgar: [Genuinely] Nonononono, Bear

Michael: Yes, you did. 

Edgar: No! Oh, Bear. The look in your eyes. No. Th—That was a mistake. Honey bear, I did not mean to hurt you like that. God, I feel terrible. I pushed my luck doing surveillance and a freak accident happened. I set up a dead man’s switch for safety and had to play it off because you couldn’t know that I was Mustardseed. [Worried sigh] I know that stare. You’re somewhere else right now. I would never hurt you like that on purpose. I’m so sorry.

Michael: Sorry don’t cut it. [Pause] Do you know how old I am, Panther?

Edgar: I don’t know… I’d say, 41? 42? 43 even? I know that you don’t strictly adhere to linear time these days.

Michael: No, not like that. Resets, iterations, competing memories. By my count, I’ve lived through about 110 years. Most of them concurrent sentences at this point, but 110 years of memories all the same. It’s been a while since I sat down and updated my count. And you would think that with all that time it gets easier. Everything that feels too much to bear gets lighter as you learn to actually bear it. You carry a piglet up the hill every day. It grows and grows, and you’re carrying him every day, so you stay strong enough to carry the pig up the hill, right? Wrong. No matter how consistently you bear the weight, eventually, the pig is going to weigh hundreds of pounds and no incremental training will prepare you for it. You’ll throw your back out and give up. And you can’t even get it properly over your head, so it’ll never crush you to death, you’ll only throw out your back. This is just another weight. I have to bear another weight. And every one of ‘em feel like too much to bear, but they ain’t hanging over my head so they’ll never gonna crush me.

Edgar: I understand. And I can’t imagine what that feels like. But, I have a life, too, Mikey. And not a long one.

Michael: I know. And it ain’t fair to keep ya cooped up. And it ain’t fair to kill ya and it ain’t fair to keep ya here, and it ain’t fair to let ya go. Nothin’s ever gonna be fair ever again, is it?

Edgar: It never was. Mike still wakes up in the middle of the night screaming about things that never happened and I have to coax him back to bed and hold him tight. He won’t fall back asleep unless I’m holding onto him. It was never fair. Do you still have dreams like that? With no Edgar to hold onto you?

Michael: I don’t sleep anymore.

Edgar: I hope that changes. I hope you can relax. God, you deserve to relax. And they aren’t letting you relax here, are they? There’s no relief.

Michael: No, there isn’t.

Edgar: Are they letting you go for turning me in?

Michael: I didn’t turn you in. It’s the other way around. They’re the ones that caught you. I came to them for help. I didn’t know you was Mustardseed.

Edgar: [Hopeful] So, you’re going to be here with me?

Michael: I’m gonna be here, Edgar.

Edgar: You’re not my Mikey, but at least you’re going to be here. We got married. Did you know that? Once I learned the clock was ticking.

Michael: I saw the ring on your finger when I walked in.

Edgar: I’m gonna miss him. Living out my days here.

Michael: Now, I didn’t say that. This is only temporary. Until we figure out another way, somewhere else to put ya. We couldn’t let you keep on bein’ Mustardseed.

Edgar: And are you here temporarily, too?

Michael: Yessir.

Edgar: And do you really believe that?

Michael: I say I do. It was temporary last time I was here.

Edgar: Then we’re both going to get out of here.

Michael: Yeah. Panther, I’ll level with ya: I’m about ready to go back to my bunk and howl into a pillow for the rest of the evening. Is there anything you wanna say?

Edgar: Uh… let’s see… oh, yes actually. While we’re airing things out. You think that I killed Elder Hunter, but I didn’t. Sly did.

Michael: You don’t even know Sly.

Edgar: Sure, I do. Future-scouting and all that. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not ratting him out because I’m jealous of him. I’m not ratting him out at all, actually. He did good! I’m proud of him. It doesn’t look like it from here, but that was the best thing he could have done. This is the best possible result. Sure, disposal was messed up, but that wasn’t his fault. Honestly, I think that someone intercepted it to toy with you. Sorry to be the one to break it to you, but the cold war between Base and the Hunters heats up every now and then. And it isn’t going away any time soon. Not in my lifetime.

Michael: Why should I believe you about this?

Edgar: Because I know that I’m not getting out on good behavior just because I told you. And you’ll witness it all eventually. I’m trying to give you a head start.

Michael: I guess we’ll see about that.

Edgar: We will. And… Bear?

Michael: Yeah?

Edgar: Do you think we can have breakfast in the morning? Biscuits and gravy? I know you carry some pull around here.

Michael: You don’t eat gluten.

Edgar: I think I can handle it for one meal.

Michael: I’ll talk to Ty about it. I gotta go. 

Edgar: I love you, Bear.

Michael: I love you, too. Goodbye, Panther. 

[We hear footsteps, the door open and shut, a handful more footsteps in the hallway.]  

Michael: [Sighs loudly] [Said under his breath] What am I gonna do? 

[SCENE TRANSITION.] 

[Time travel sound.]

[The group scrambles to catch their breath.]

Mike2: Okay focus up, team.

[Alarms begin to blare.]

Mikey: And there go the travel detection alarms. Let’s get moving. We meet in the experimental lab with August after disabling our targets. Let’s go. 

August: 10-4.

Mike: 10-4.

Mike2: 10-4

[We hear quick footsteps scatter in all directions.]

Mikey: [Quietly to himself] You got this, Mikey. Rock and roll. Okay, focus. Focus. Tune out the alarm. And focus. Here we go. 

[We hear a door open. The alarm muffles as the door closes.] 

Mikey: [Feigning being scared] Hey, uh Ty? Thank God I found you. Sorry about interrupting whatever this is. I know I’m not supposed to be in here, but I lost Felix when the alarm started going off and I got scared and didn’t know where to go. Hi, Mikey.

Mikey2: Uh hi, other Mikey.

Ty: Mikey? You lost Fe? Look that alarm means that there’s an intruder. Actually, as part of my responsibilities, I have to report to command and ascertain the threat. You can’t stay in here with the other Mikey. That’s against protocol. Maybe we can get you into—

[We hear Mikey strike Ty. They fall to the ground and there is a scramble.]

Ty: What?! Get off of me! Mikey! Get off! You’re—you’re not Mikey. 

Mikey: Not your Mikey!

Ty: [Affronted] Get off me!

[We hear more scrambling, spluttering, and grunting. Finally, the click of handcuffs. Distant gunfire can be heard sporadically.]

Ty: Just get off me!

Mikey: There we go. 

Ty: What’s the plan, Mikey? Disable me and then what? What do you even want? Why are you here?

Mikey: That’s my business and not yours. 

Ty: Well, good luck with that, you buffoon. This plan of yours, whatever it is, exemplifies why you always end up under my thumb, you know. Making a mess of everything. You think this helps you in the long run? Antagonizing me like this? 

Mikey: [Laughs] Quite the big talk from someone handcuffed to a metal bar, Ty. I see now why other Mikeys just tossed a grenade in here. They didn’t want to listen to another boring monologue.

Mikey2: A grenade?

Mikey: Yes, a grenade. Absent this time, luckily for you. You get to live another day in the compound. How does that sound? 

Mikey2: No, what? You aren’t here for me? What are you doing here? Take me with you.

Mikey: I can’t take you with us, sorry. Uh, Compound Mikeys can’t be trusted. Not yet. We’re working on a solution to that whole thing. 

Mikey2: Ok, then. Fuck it. These rooms lock from the outside. I’ll just lock you in here and tell the others that I’m you.

Mikey: Happened in another iteration unfortunately we’re prepared for that. Hey, check it out.

[Mikey rolls up his sleeve.]

Mikey: This brand is my official Mikey seal of authentication. And it fuckin’ hurts.

Mikey2: It looks…gross. You branded yourself with like a cattle brand? 

Mikey: No, August branded me.

Mikey2: [Quietly] Who? 

Mikey: And in a couple days the swelling to go down and it’ll look awesome. It’s supposed to be an M and a W intertwined. Like Mike Walters.

Mikey2: Yeah, no, I can see that. We doodled that in our notebook in middle school.

Ty: [Shouting] Fe? Fe? Ugh, who am I kidding?

Mikey: Yeah, he can’t hear you. The alarm’s way too loud. Look, I’m on a schedule. I’ve gotta get out of here if I want to catch the big show. So, I better make my exit. I truly hope I will not be seeing you around, Ty. 

Ty: I’m sure you will. Good luck with your little pet project, Bear.

Mikey: Don’t call me that.

[We hear the door shut and lock from the outside. We return to the hallway. Quick footsteps, heavy breathing.

Mikey: [Under his breath] Alright. So, from here it was left through… here. Okay, then…Right. Okay, then through this door [the door opens]. Okay now across here… uh, Sly? Where are you? I’d hear him right? Fuck, am I lost? No, that’s the conference room, so we go up here—okay and… Bingo! There he is!

[The sound of a motorcycle revving.]

Mikey: August! August, I’m here. 

August: You found me just in time, Mikey. Lemme see your brand.

Mikey: Right here. I’m the genuine article.

August: That’s my Mikey. How did it go?

Mikey: Went perfectly. Threat disabled and I’m right on time.

August: Attaboy. No explosions?

Mikey: Not this time. Used your handcuffs and cuffed him to a bar in the room. Just like Mike told me. 

August: Good goin’, partner.

Mikey: Where are the Mikes?

August: Late. They’ve got… 45 seconds to get here before we start the party without ‘em. 

Mikey: And what do we do if they don’t show up when it’s time to leave? 

August: We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

[We hear the shot from a pistol and then one from a shotgun. We hear another shot from the shotgun.]

Mikey: Shit. The shotgun was them the pistol wasn’t. 

August: Looks like we’ll have to come to them. They were supposed to be next door to where I was heading, neutralizing another Ty. Gonna have my hands full with Michael. Go lend ‘em a hand, Mikey. Meet me down there. You can’t ride on the back for this one.

Mikey: Alright. Give ‘em hell, Sly.

August: See you on the other side, Mikey. Yeehaw!

[We hear the motorcycle accelerate through the room, then the breaking through of the one-way mirror, and the thud of the bike landing on the ground. Mikey is running behind them.]

August: Michael!

Michael: August?! What the hell is goin’ on? Why’d you crash your VMAX through the one-way mirror? Is that Mike in there? What are you doin’ here? 

August: We’re bringin’ you home, asshole.

Michael: No, you can’t. Edgar’s here. 

[The sound of a struggle.] 

August: C’mon, Big Bear. You know that I always win in a wrestlin’ match. C’mon hands behind your back. I won’t pop your joints out if you come easy.

Michael: Too late for that. Sly, let me go! You don’t know what’s happening.

August: I got a [grunt as he ties a knot] pretty good idea. Where’s Mike?

Michael: I assume that’s him next door. Hurt, from the sounds of it.

August: [Calling out to Mikey] Mike’s next door. Go help him.

Mikey: I’m on it.

[We hear footsteps and doors again.] 

Mikey: Mike?

Mike: He’s really hurt, Mikey. Help me get the tourniquet on.

Mikey: Well, at least you got Ty before Ty could get you. He’s dead?

Mike: Look at him. He’s more hole than Ty at this point. Sly’s shotgun is no joke.

Mike2: [Weakly] Just…Leave me. We…we did it. I’m done here.

Mike: Shut the fuck up. We’ve had our fill of self-sacrifices for one lifetime, thank you very much. Mikey, what do we do? Sly? He’s bleedin’ bad in here.

Michael: You gotta consolidate him. They tore me into pieces in here and put me back together with consolidation. Good as new. Hey! Easy on the legs.

August: No promises. Mikey, you want the Calculator?

Mikey: Can’t we wait until we get back?

Mike: Mike, how long would you say that you have?

Mike2: [Pained] 15 minutes if I hold still. 

Mike: And I think you’re being generous with your estimate. We can’t wait. Get the calculator. We have the map of the compound with coordinates for this room. Just consolidate us.

Mikey: Alright, August, give me the Calculator.

August: Yeah. 

Mike: And here’s the map.

Mikey: Alright. So, the coordinates should be… this… Mike, can you double-check this for me?

Mike: Yeah… that looks right. Here, Mike. Up on your feet, man. You and me, okay? We got this, buddy. 

Mike2: Hurry. There’s still time to fail.

Mike: Uh-huh shut the fuck up, pal. But he’s right we should hurry, Mikey.

Mikey: Alright. Consolidating in 3… 2… 1…

[Time travel noise]

Mikey: …Did I do it?

Mike: I… ugh… Oh, that feels strange. We need to get out of here. I— ugh… no… I’m… let’s just get back, okay?

Mikey: Right. Michael, August: are we ready?

August: Ready.

Michael: Now’s your last chance for you to wise up and leave me here, jackass.

Mikey: That sounds ready to me. Sly, would you like to do the honors, like we practiced?

August: Yep. To your places, everyone. I’ve already got Big Bear positioned right where I want him. 

Michael: It ain’t too late to stop.

August: Entering the coordinates now. Everyone in place?

Mike: Yep.

Mikey: Yeah.

August:  Initiating transport in 3… 2… 1…

[Time travel noise.]

[SCENE TRANSITION.] 

Mikey: Okay, I assume that us all being here together means that we finally did it. Right? If it was going to be corrected or reversed, that would have happened.

Mike: I think so. I think we’re not worth it to them. One dead Ty, one missing Michael, and one what? Broken mirror. That’s not a lot of damage for a compound that size if you think about it. 

August: One missing Michael is a lot of damage, dangit.

Mikey: How are you feeling, Mike?

Mike: Hard to tell. Adrenaline is still pumping. My head is swimming, and my body feels… different. Especially right here where I got shot. He got shot? I got shot. You see the problem.

Mikey: Well, that’s…great. I’m not looking forward to that. I have to consolidate with O.V.E.R. Mike when we’re done here. Well, I suppose I don’t have to, but I think it’s what needs to be done. OVEdgar isn’t coming home anytime soon. Edgar and I are going to have to move back into O.V.E.R. to pick up where they left off. 

Mike: That’s probably for the best. Lest you make another rogue Mike and Edgar. How long are we going to keep the cowboy tied up for?

Michael: I’m being a good little captive over here. Y’all don’t gotta worry about me.

August: I’ll untie him when he’s good and ready. He’s gotta prove he ain’t runnin’ off.

Mike: I think a couple weeks oughtta do it.

Mikey: A couple weeks would be just in time for us to start hunting down the extra Mikes and Edgars. Matt’s already found one of them. Alias: M-Dawg. Did Edgar say how many there were?

Michael: No, he didn’t. Y’all busted me out before he could tell me.

Mikey: Then we’ll figure that out, too.

Mike: Mikey, have you decided what you’re going to tell Base?

Mikey: [Sighs] The truth. Probably. That sucks. I’m not looking forward to that.

Mike: Does that mean you going to tell them about Sly?

Mikey: Who? Oh, the August guy? Why would I bring him up? We haven’t seen him since that shootout at the bar.

August: I appreciate that, Mikey.

Michael: Yeah, and I do too.

Mikey: It’s not like they’re gonna check up on Michael. He could be here, he could be in Latvia. They might ask me and Mike how he’s doing, but they’re not going to investigate. 

August: I got a spare bedroom set up for ya while you adjust.

Michael: Ah, the benefits of bein’ free. At least they didn’t keep me tied up in the compound…

Mikey: Well maybe if you are as well-behaved here as you were there, we can talk about untying you.

Mike: Yeah, like it took a while to get Bruno to stop jumping up on people’s legs, but we taught him eventually. It will be like that.

August: You’ll calm down in a couple of days. After everyone leaves and you get some alone time. I make a mean baked rigatoni, too. You’ll beat eatin’ good while you’re here.

Michael: Okay, I ain’t fightin’ it.

Mike: Well, if you “ain’t fightin’ it” then I think that that’s our cue to leave. Mikey and I both have other important matters to attend to. So, we will leave you here in Sly’s capable hands. Sly, it’s been real.

August: Be seein’ you boys soon.

Mikey: Yep. Bye, Michael. Bye, Sly.

Michael: Be seein’ ya, pilgrim. 

Mike: Alright initiating transport in 3… 2… 1…

[Time travel noise.]

[SCENE TRANSITION.] 

[The sound of the night air in Oldbrush Valley.]

Mikey: [Under his breath] Okay, here it goes. 

[Mikey knocks distinctly on the door to the rhythm of the song “You Can’t Hurry Love” while singing the lyrics under his breath.] 

O.V.E.R. Mike: [Speaking through the door] Edgar? Where did you take off to? We were supposed to—

[The door opens.]

O.V.E.R. Mike: …watch the Goonies… today. Where the hell is Edgar?

Mikey: OVEdgar was Mustardseed.

O.V.E.R. Mike: Fuck. You’re here to kill me.

Mikey: I’m letting you decide what happens next. Can I come in?

O.V.E.R. Mike: Sure. I was making sugar cookies for Edgar. He’s not coming back, huh?

Mikey: I’ll explain everything inside. Hey, uh where’s the cat?

O.V.E.R. Mike: Dalilah’s at Edgar’s. I guess I’ll have to go get her after this. Come in.

[The door closes. The following conversation is muffled as the scene fades out.]

Mikey: Okay so Mustardseed is in the Flinchite compound right now. He spilled all the beans to Michael. You know when you two tried to create new iterations to take over at Base? That seems to have been the starting point. Edgar wanted both of you out of here so bad. Mustardseed was his attempt to break you out. He started trying to destroy the Base. And it almost worked and so yeah, Edgar’s not coming back for a long time. 

[“Triangle Shaped Wound” plays.]

You had the perfect word to give to me
But it was caught somehow
And now I’m clawing at your throat to get it out
But I was careful with what I had found
A footprint set into the solid ground

And you have quite the nerve
If I was you I wouldn’t be so sure
That anything you love is coming back
And you were hasty with your ambition
Thinking that you were the only one

Did you forget about me?
Did you forget about me?
I was waiting hoping that you did.

If you’ve had enough bloodshed
You are always free to leave
If you’ve had enough bloodshed
You can leave the rest to me
I have a knack for those kinds of things

Was I delicate enough?
Do you think that you can stitch it up?
Triangle shaped wound
Is it time to give up
Standing on the precipice
Lying through our teeth (Triangle shaped wound)

And you have all the nerve that you were born with
And a line straight to your heart
Pardon me for picking you apart
And you know I have been discarded once
Long enough to fester in the dark

Did you forget about me?
Did you forget about me?
I was waiting hoping that you would.

Won’t turn on,
Deceiving light.
Did you forget about me?

[END THEME PLAYS.]

August: Uh, testing, testing. Is this working? Shit, sorry. This one’s goin’ out to you Big Bear. Thinkin’ ‘bout ya. 

[August begins playing the guitar and singing.]

Big Bear walkin’ out through the trees,

Michael, can you hear me?

Big Bear out there in the night,

So clean and so bright. 

Big Bear, I want you,

Big Bear, I need you to know,

Big Bear, I hope

You won’t let me go,

Won’t let me go,

Oh, won’t let me go,

Won’t let me go.

Just… thinkin’ bout ya, Big Bear. Take care.

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