10. The Necromon Thief Transcript

Transcript by Raina Harper
[Music plays, ‘Quest Friends! Hereafter Theme’ by Miles Morkri.]

Kyle
Hello, guests and ghouls, and welcome to Quest Friends! Hereafter, an improvised fiction podcast using the Under the Neighborhood roleplaying system. I am Kyle, he/him, and today I, my four best friends, and some dice are going to tell you a story about a phantom thief and the two people they had the misfortune of pissing off.

Ari
Hello. I’m Ari, she/her, and I play Aurelio Enrique Hueso Canaca, or Quique for short, the opportunist who adapts, he/him.

Kyle
Dr. Ari, specifically, which is a correction no one else will respond to because I’m adding this part in post, but I promised slash threatened to include this addition once Ari got her PhD.

Emily
I’m Emily, they/them, and I play Irene Hawthorne, the Necromon Trainer who overextends, she/her.

Tom
I am Tom. My pronouns are he/him. I play Hilda Miszkiewicz, the guardian who pulls pranks, whose pronouns are she/her.

Hallie
I’m Hallie and I need to step away because someone’s knocking on my porch door, so I’ll be back really shortly.

Emily
Who’s knocking on her porch door?

Tom
Her family, presumably.

Ari
Yeah.

Kyle
Yeah, that would be my guess.

Emily
But it still feels odd to knock on the upstairs.

Tom
Her family likes to do that. That’s where they enter from. It’s also quite possibly a niece or nephew. They like to just…

Ari
Oh Yeah.

Emily
They do like to just go.

Tom
Who was it at your door, Hallie? We need to know.

Hallie
Um, the air conditioning man.

Tom
What?

Hallie
I forgot that there’s an air conditioning man here to make sure that my air conditioning is ready for when it gets hot. I was told this, but I completely forgot.

Kyle
New Slice of Life Complication for Sparky. She has to record a very important exposé, but the air conditioning man is there.

Hallie
I don't know how I have so many missed calls and texts. They’re like “Hallie, you need to let the man in. You have to turn on your AC.” This poor man.

Kyle
[Laughs.] Okay. So, um…

Hallie
I’m Hallie, she/her, and I play Sparky Malarky, the intuition who investigates, also she/her.

Kyle
Okay! So, welcome. Before we get started on today’s adventure, as always with Under the Neighborhood, we start by doing a Slice of Life Complication where we describe some mundane difficulty that one of our characters is dealing with that will then spiral into a fantastical adventure. Today, you could choose a complication for Hilda or Sparky. So, who wants to begin with their suggestion?

Emily
My complication is for Hilda. Sparky’s coffee maker is broken.

[Laughter.]

Ari
But it is for Hilda specifically.

Hallie
The complication… for Hilda! That makes it. That sells it, though. That sells it.

Ari Yeah.

Tom
I’m really impressed by that. You’ve got me there.

Kyle
We’ve reached the point where, especially because these are going to be in the main episode proper now, we’ve really had to start adjusting that joke and really letting it percolate.

Hallie
How dare you?

Kyle
Like the coffee machine is not doing.

Hallie
Get the fuck out of here.

Ari
My complication is… I think it fits better for Sparky. It’s a complication that has been my complication for the past couple of days. It is that Sparky is expecting a phone call from somebody important, and you can decide who it is.

Hallie
The rutabaga—?

Ari
You don't know when it’s going to come, but you know that at some point they’re going to call and you have to pick it up, but that means you have to unsilenced your phone, and there’s a bunch of scam calls that aren’t the call that you want. That’s the slice complication for Sparky because it’s so annoying. You keep going and it’s like, is this the call, and it’s not, it’s a scam phone call, and it keeps going.

Hallie
Listen, I run these scams. I know what they’re like.

Kyle
That’s such a layered complication that takes so long to explain but is so simple and deep and easy to understand on an emotional level.

Ari
It’s because it has been my life for the past couple of days, that’s why.

Kyle
We’re here about your car’s extended warranty.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
Oh no.

Tom
I have mine next, if people would like it. I think it’s the opportune time. My complication is for Sparky. The extended warranty on Sparky’s car has expired.

[00:05:00]

Ari
Oh my god.

Tom
This is relevant because, as we know, Sparky’s brakes are still broken. They don’t work.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Ari
That’s right!

Tom
Not brakes. Not brakes. It’s that Sparky can’t reverse, right?

Hallie
I can’t reverse.

Ari
The reversing!

Tom
Sparky can’t reverse. There we go. I fucked that up. But, Sparky’s car still can’t go in reverse. The extended warranty has expired.

Ari
So, what if she keeps getting the call of your car’s extended warranty has expired but it’s actually not a scam.

Emily
[Delighted.] But it actually is.

Ari
It’s an actual call, but Sparky keeps thinking it’s a scam and hanging up.

Hallie
Beep!

Emily
Do you think Sparky realizes that this is a metaphor for her life and how she can’t go back in time?

Tom
[Giggles.]

Hallie
Only play will find out, Emily. We play to find out here.

Kyle
Alright Hallie, what’s your suggestion?

Hallie
Um… I forgot it.

Ari
Oh no.

Hallie
My suggestion is Hilda can’t find any of the four pairs of sunglasses she knows she owns, inspired by this afternoon at 2 PM when I wanted to go for a walk.

Ari
Perfect.

Kyle
Alright.

Emily
I do just really enjoy the idea of Sparky getting calls that she thinks are spam but are actually about her real car’s real extended warranty. I’m very drawn to that.

Hallie
If we’re gonna be honest, if Sparky were to receive any call about an extended warranty, she’d ignore it because her car is perfect and nothing short of it just straight-up not driving at all anymore is going to convince her that it isn’t.

Emily
So she’s waiting on an unrelated call.

Hallie
I’m waiting on an unrelated call. I would like to be waiting on a call from the rutabaga man. I am getting so frustrated at the lack of rutabagas in this grocery store that I just asked them to call me when the rutabagas were next in stock. Then I can just show up and see if they’re actually there. This is an experiment.

Kyle
Okay.

Hallie
It’s a really good one.

Kyle
Before we get into it, let’s talk about what happened last time and what’s happened since then.
[Upbeat recap music begins.]
Last time we saw all of you, a handful of things happened. Hilda and Irene had their first official duel as part of the Intermortal Necromon Championship where they faced off against a girl named Katrina Kollect’em and Grigori Rasputin who was cosplaying as Anastasia Romanov.
Meanwhile, we learned a bit more about Quique’s family, and specifically we learned about his cousin Lionel who Quique has some grievance with. Sparky meanwhile went on a date, maybe, with Lucas Bang. She learned more about Elliot’s life than anyone needs to know, and then talked to Lucas Bang who gave her something that Oset Scuba had said he wanted to give to Hilda, and it was just a blank ripped-out page.
Not a whole lot new has happened in the world since then. The Intermortal Necromon Championship is still going on, but we aren’t in the exciting finals stuff yet. I don't know, we probably had a meet or two since that time, and Hilda and Irene have moved on. Now, whether or not they’ve moved on expertly or by the skin of their teeth is something that I don’t want to decide, but they’ve been progressing in the tournament. It’s still the early stages anyway.
Since that time, you also all mechanically have gotten advancements. This means that you’ve got new moves, you’ve got new skills, you’ve got more stats, you basically get to decide what stuff you want to add to your character sheet. But, in y’all’s lives, what’s been going on?

[Music ends.]

Emily
I’m continuing to be the best in the entire tournament, thank you, and have very little life outside of that.

Kyle
So just train-train-train, fight, insult Hilda, train-train, fight.

Emily
Sometimes sleep. Occasionally eat.

Ari
Does she only eat the tears of her defeated victims?

Emily
I drink the blood of my enemies.

Ari
I almost said that, so I guess both for a balanced breakfast.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
Vamp-Oats.

Tom
Now let me add on this scene ever so briefly of Irene training. Just 30 feet back, a little ways to the side, Hilda nearby is taking notes.

Emily
[Delighted chuckle.]

Tom
Hilda’s focus in recent times has been taking notes on how to be cool.

Emily
She’s taking notes from Irene?! Aww.

Tom
Yep. She’s taking notes based on the three coolest people she knows.

Hallie
Adorable.

Tom
Irene, Sparky, and Quique.

Ari
Aww.

Hallie
Christ almighty.

Tom
There’s a separate page for each person of notes on how to be cool, what this person does.

Kyle
What’s a cool lesson? Just one lesson from each person.

Tom
Oh damn, now I gotta think of things. I gotta put my money where my mouth is.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Emily
Now you gotta pretend we’re actually cool.

Hallie
Ha!

Tom
No, hardly. Hilda is learning how to pose and deliver one-liners from Irene.
[00:10:00]
She is learning how to give off a powerful and menacing aura.

Emily
It’s not working.

Tom
From Sparky, it’s haggling and getting things you want from a phone call. Hilda has been over at Sparky’s place a few times while Sparky has been on the phone arguing intently to get necessary things. From Quique, how to be very dignified and just generally being knowledgeable about science, about life, about afterlife.

Ari
Perfect.

Kyle
I’m so glad that Hilda is getting the answers Sparky has been wanting to ask Quique.

Hallie
Yeah! What the fuck is that about?

Kyle
But I can see that. During their chemistry lessons, Quique’s just like “ah, it’s like—“ and he does some random story.

Ari
Oh yeah.

Tom
That’s the secret. Hilda has asked Quique nothing that he has not volunteered. She’s just been listening.

Ari
Yeah.

Hallie
The secret is that Hilda’s being a friend instead of a super-annoying reporter person.

Ari
Yes.

Kyle
Might I say… I mean, your moms have been impressed by your progress, but they’re your moms. Walnut and Freddie? They’ve been getting chills. You’ve been getting cooler.

Ari
I imagine Walnut and Freddie have that thing like in Lilo and Stitch with the good and bad coloring thing Lilo does, but cool and uncool, and they’ve been coloring more of Hilda’s cool.

Tom
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Yeah, basically. Walnut’s been a bit distracted. Dae has been struggling a bit more with the competition than you have, Hilda and Irene, but dae is still in it for now.

Emily
Your moms have also had to replace another one of your textbooks.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Tom
Did Booker eat it again?

Emily
He’s been very jealous.

Tom
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Quique and Sparky, what have you been up to?

Hallie
Sparky, despite being the one to initiate flirting with Lucas Bang, doesn’t want to think about the feelings that she has around Lucas Bang and so has driven herself further into her rutabaga heist board mystery.
The center of her rutabaga heist board is the blank piece of paper she got from Lucas Bang. She doesn’t know what to do with it, she hasn’t given it to Hilda yet. It’s pinned to the board with a pin, and she’s got a lot of notes around it that say “relevant to rutabagas? Involved with rutabagas?” She’s desperate for this to fit in. Like, “what is this blank piece of paper about?” Like, she’ll give it to Hilda—

Kyle
Fuck it. Take one to your tracker.

Hallie
Yes! Yes, yes, yes!

Kyle
Take another point, as if you have almost stumbled onto something.

Hallie
Oh-ho-ho! Oh-ho-ho-ho… hang on.

Emily
How many points do you need to fill for your tracker?

Hallie
Seven, and I have… three. Well, this is my fourth, so now I have four.

Kyle
Has Quique been up to anything?

Ari
Not really. It’s the same as before. He’s a very standard man.

Kyle
He’s had probably centuries to just kind of figure out a pattern he likes.

Ari
Yeah. He’s a very routine kind of man. Sometimes it gets disrupted, but he incorporates that disruption into his routine.

Kyle
Speaking of disruptions, let’s get to today’s adventure. I need something from Tom and Hallie. I need one of you to give me a stat, and I need one of you to give me a place.

Ari
Ooh.

Kyle
And it can be any place—something that’s already been done or you could be like… “the bad—”

Ari
Russia! I don't know.

Hallie
Russia!

Kyle
You’re in Tsarvia now, motherfucker!

Ari
Tsarvia!

Hallie
Oh-ho-ho! We found the magical book of transportation.

Tom
I was going to go a little simpler and suggest a place that is Chuck Beaver’s Emporium of Fun and Pizza.

Ari
Beautiful.

Kyle
Chuck Beaver’s Emporium of Fun and Pizza.

Tom
Yes.

Ari
I love that. I feel like every AU in every story has to have a variation of Chuck E. Cheese.

Hallie
It’s imperative.

Ari
Every single one.

Tom
[Singing.] It’s your birthday, and it’s time to have fun~

Kyle
[Hums along.]

Ari
Exactly. The fucking possum from A Goofy Movie.

Emily
I think I’ve been to Chuck E. Cheese once in my life.

Ari
Same, actually.

Tom
I’ve been there at least once.

Hallie
I had a birthday party there, and it was a real high point for me.

Kyle
Hallie, give me one of the four stats.

Hallie
Heart.

Emily
Why would you pick Heart?

Hallie
Why wouldn’t I pick Heart?

Emily
It’s my lowest stat.

Ari
Are we both bad at Heart?

Hallie
No, Heart’s what I’m good at. I’m good at Heart today.

Kyle
Yeah, but this was for the Ari and Emily part of the session.

Hallie
Ha! I don’t regret my decision.

Emily
[Small pouting sound.]

Kyle
Ari.

Ari
Me.

Kyle
Roll me to Help Somebody.

Ari
Oh boy, and with my Heart stat. Okay.
[Rolls.] That is… heh, that is a 1.

[00:15:00]

Hallie
[Sinister tittering.]

Kyle
Was that a natural 1…?

Ari
No, it was not a natural 1.

Kyle
So it was like a 3? Okay.

Ari
Yeah. I cannot justify using my Loaded Die because I don't know what the fuck this is for.

[Ambient threatening music begins.]

Kyle
[Melodic but creepy.] Happy… Happy, happy birthday…
[Monster growl SFX.]
Have explosive birthdays… Fun to gore around!
[Robotic monster scream.]
[Music changes tense chase music.]
On the opposite side, we see a large hulking buff man-deer figure scream before flipping its head over, getting on all fours, and chasing you one direction, Quique.

Ari
Without a head? Is it like a headless buff deer?

Kyle
It has a deer head, but the head wraps around the back of its head and down to its butt, essentially.
[Varied uncomfortable sounds.]
It chases after you where you pass by this other figure that (chitters and clacks), which does this chittering sound with its teeth.

Ari
Oh god.

Kyle
You can hear it scraping as if someone is scraping the side of a knife. You hear a voice from across the way say:

Kyle (as ???)
[Desperate.] Please. I know, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt you like this! But, you have to help me!

Kyle
You see, down a passageway, a figure wearing a Phantom of the Opera mask, trying to run away from this beaver-like figure which has gotten their cape caught in one of the beaver’s teeth.

Ari
[As a groan.] Oh no…

Hallie
Oh boy.

Kyle
The figure you had felt such hate towards reaches out to you, but you find yourself either unable or unwilling to help, not that the reason why matters much, because the end result will be the same.

[Cinematic impact SFX. Music changes to chill noir music.]

Rob (as Noir Quique)
Now you might be wondering, how does a gentlemanly skeleton find himself pursued by ravenous robotic woodland creatures? Well, I wish I could tell you, but the truth is I thought this was going to be just another regular Sunday. An uneventful Sunday. The perfect Sunday. But such luxuries are not afforded to men such as myself. Our tale begins with me rustling in my study, unaware of the catastrophe that was about to befall me.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
So Quique, it is your Sunday off. What are you up to? All we know is that you are in—not your home in Necropolis, but in your home in the Valley.

Ari
Right. He’s just, you know, reading a Sherlock Holmes book. Or, actually, no…

Hallie
[Laughs.] The Basil of Baker Street book series!

Tom
Maurice Leblanc!

Ari
Oh! Leblanc, yeah. We didn’t have a specific detective novel that’s famous in Mexico, so I’m just gonna say the whole collection of the Sherlock Holmes books. He just has been reading it the entire day.

Kyle
Let’s make our own, actually.

Ari
Okay.

Kyle
It’s the full compilation of the Les Detectstuff adventure series.

Ari
Yes!

Hallie
Yes!

Kyle
Written by… I don't know what the term is for an underwater ghost, but a famous detective who died on the Titenic.

Hallie
Titenic.

Tom
God.

Kyle
Who has been writing his stories.

Ari
Tucán is in his backyard just chilling. Sometimes he hands some food to Tucán that is just chilling outside. That’s basically what he’s doing while he drinks some refreshing horchata.

Kyle
There’s a variety of ways people get into your house. Some people knock. Sparky climbs in through a hole in the gate, which has presumably now been Sparky-proofed.

Ari
It is, yeah.

Kyle
Lionel will always do—He’ll do the jovial… [Knocks a classic knock pattern.]

Ari
Yeah, Quique always knows when it’s Lionel, because he always does a very specific knocking that Quique hates.

Kyle
But there’s one person who always opens the door without knocking.

Kyle (as Ariel)
Hey Tio Quique. Hey Pinquino.

Ari (as Quique)
Hey kiddo.

[Sultry saxophone noir music begins.]

Rob (as Noir Quique)
Ah yes, Pinguino Rodriguez. One day the kids started calling Tucán by this befuddling alias.
[00:20:00]
I don't know why, I don't know how, but the name stuck like ectoplasm on the bottom of your shoe. But, the mystery of the bird’s new name would have to wait because an ever-greater puzzle was about to present itself before me.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
Quique, you notice, you turn around and you see that Ariel has come in, Ariel is here. At first, you thought they were here alone, because even though they usually come in with Yunuen, Yunuen almost always comes in and gives you a hug immediately. But, you turn around and you see that your niece is kind of slowly and sadly walking, just a little bit behind Ariel, with her hand held in Ariel’s hand.

Ari
He’ll approach.

Ari (as Quique)
Hey chaparrita. Que paso? What’s wrong?

Ari
He’s gonna look at Ariel to ask what’s wrong as he goes and hugs her.

Kyle (as Yunuen)
[Sniffles.]

Kyle
Yunuen takes a moment to compose herself.

Kyle (as Ariel)
It’s alright, Yuna. Tio Quique knows his stuff.

Ari
[Chuckling.] What? Quique’s actually surprised that Ariel said something along those lines about him, that they think that he knows his stuff.

Kyle
Yunuen lets go of Ariel’s hand and reaches into her lanyard. You think she’s gonna pull out one of her cards to help communicate, but instead of pulling that out she pulls out her holofoil Necromon card. She turns it over and you can see that, with the exception of a fading signature, the card is blank.

Ari (as Quique)
What? There’s supposed to be a picture here, right? Where’s the little chinchilla thing? The chemicals in here are not supposed to wear out with washings and stuff like that. Did it fall anywhere?

Ari
He’s gonna look at Ariel.

Kyle
Ariel’s going to lift up one hand that’s just completely sopping wet.

Kyle (as Ariel)
No, I checked. The only thing we found was this.

[Intriguing noir music begins.]

Kyle
They reach into their pocket and they hand you a piece of paper.

Rob (as Noir Quique)
That’s when it all began… with a clue, the first thread that when pulled would unravel this entire mystery. But, like a Necrocat pawing at its ball of yarn, if I wasn’t careful, I risked entangling myself in something far more treacherous. Unfortunately, in my field of work, safety first is only a theory.

Ari
As soon as he gets the first clue and after he realizes that it’s not just a mishap of the card, he’s going to be like:

[Music changes to quirky upbeat noir music.]

Ari (as Quique)
At long last, my opportunity to solve a mystery has arrived, just like the fabled Les Detectstuff.

Ari
He is going to reach off-screen and then he’s going to put a little detective hat instead of his regular hat, which is pretty similar, but it has checkered squares instead.

Ari (as Quique)
I was waiting for the opportunity to wear this hat, and it has now arisen.

Kyle (as Ariel)
Cool, or whatever, but are you doing like a theme or something?

Ari (as Quique)
Don’t worry… my client niece, we will unveil this mystery, me and my compatriot.

Ari
[Laughing.] And I’ll look at Tucán.

Kyle
[Squawks, makes “woodpecker” sounds.] Tucán nods so hard that he just hammers a hole into one of the tables.

Ari (as Quique)
That is something that will be fixed later.

Hallie
Ha!

[Music swells and carries into the announcements.]

Kyle
Greetings, detective. Before we continue with this episode, I have some important announcements to tell you, during this, the announcement break.
I hope you’re enjoying this new noir-themed adventure which is actually gonna be a three-parter. Typically our adventures will be two episodes long, although occasionally they might dip into being a couple episodes longer or an episode shorter. In a case like that, I will tell you, like I just did right now.
In addition to our regular cast of folks, we have some lovely noir monologues done by Rob from Totalus Rankium, so I just want to take a moment to thank Rob for that, and I will be thanking him and our other voice actor come next episode.
[00:25:00]
Additionally, I wanted to let you all know that I released a new tabletop roleplaying game. This one is completely free. Dream Allies is a two-page tabletop roleplaying game inspired by the Kirby video game series. Sit around with your friends, create your own cosmically powerful, unimaginably adorable friend, and then help him on his journey to save Wish Land and probably kill god in the process. You can find Dream Allies via the link below or you can just search it on itch.io or DriveThruRPG.
Alright, we don’t actually have an external promo, so that’s all I’ve got for you today. Our next episode, The Necromon Thief, Part 2, will be releasing on Monday, August 22. If you’d like additional stories, podcasts, or behind the scenes videos, you can find them at Patreon.com/QuestFriends. For example, since our last episode, select Patreon backers got access to a short story where Grigori Rasputin finds love. I hope to see you there.

[Jazzy noir music carries out of the announcements.]

Kyle
Alright, Sparky and Hilda. What are you up to on this fine Sunday… I was gonna say afternoon, but I actually—

Tom
I feel like it’s a healthy 9:37 AM.

Hallie
Yeah.

Tom
My description of what I’m doing depends on a specific detail that I now ask of you, Hallie.
[Relaxing whimsical music begins.]
In Sparky’s home, is there a comfy chair or a small sofa?

Hallie
Oh yeah. I wouldn’t call it “nice,” but it’s comfy in the way that old furniture is broken in. You know? Like, it’s been a little stained, there’s some stuffing coming out, but it’s the kind you wanna fall down into. You know?

Tom
Yeah. Precisely the image I have as well.

Hallie
Good-good.

Tom
That’s where Hilda is, sitting sideways in it, so knees hooked over one arm of it and then leaning back against the other arm, reading a book.

Tom (as Hilda)
So, Boss, what’s the plan for today?

Hallie
Sparky is staring at her heist board that has the blank piece of paper in the middle of it with all the “relevant to rutabaga” notes scribbled around it. She’s stroking her chin, just kinda staring at it, hoping for a revelation. Then she will turn to Hilda.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Hilda, what do you know about ScubaCorp and about rutabagas? Because the plural is with an ‘S,’ of course.

[Music ends.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Uh… I mean, for the former, they make a lot of money…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes they do.

Tom (as Hilda)
…selling Necromon stuff.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay, yeah.

Tom (as Hilda)
They’re all over town lately.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Mm-hmm.

Tom (as Hilda)
Um. I’m really suspicious about that Maybelline character. She seemed, uh…

Hallie (as Sparky)
I agree.

Tom (as Hilda)
She seemed really up to no good when we saw her.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes. Tell me—

Hallie
She’s getting closer to Hilda now. She’s really happy Hilda’s latched onto that, so she’s suddenly like, if Hilda’s sitting on the couch, she’s suddenly just in her face.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes. Tell me all of your little reporter instincts. What did they pick up on Maybelline?

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh, well it just seemed like she was being really suspicious at that signing we went to a little while ago.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes. She really was, wasn’t she?

Tom (as Hilda)
I don't know. I didn’t like the whole weird signing thing they were doing there. But yeah, she just seemed… she just seemed kinda mean. You know?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes. Hmm. Did you, uh… What did you pick up on her relations with, uh, with, um… your hero, Mr. Lucas Bang?

Tom
I have to think carefully about how to word Hilda’s thoughts on this situation. Hilda is going to sort of… she’ll actually look down and look away like she’s upset or maybe trying to hide something.

Tom (as Hilda)
Well, I don't know how much they have spoken to each other, but I don't think I trust Lucas Bang not to be working with her, considering what we know.

Emily (as Booker)
[Uneasy.] Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah, that’s right, Booker.

Tom
She’ll give Booker a little scratch on the spine.

Emily (as Booker)
[Assertive.] Rekoob.

Kyle
[Delighted.] Fucking get his ass, Hilda.

Hallie
Kyle, I check my phone. Do I have any messages from Lucas Bang?

Kyle
Um, I… don’t know, so I’m gonna—

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
Let’s do a—

Emily
Roll Heart. How much does he like you?

Kyle
Roll Heart.

Hallie
Wow. Wow!

Kyle
Specifically, we’ll do a kind of Convince Somebody.

Hallie
Okay. My Heart today is +2, so fuck all y’all. Here we go.

Tom
Ooh~ Nice.

Kyle
Did you convince Lucas to text you back?

[00:30:00]

Hallie
[Laughs.] I don't know. I don't know!
[Rolls.] Seven… with the +2.

Tom
Mixed success! Who does the bullet hit?

Hallie
Who does Cupid’s arrow hit?

Kyle
You convinced him to text you.

Hallie
Perfect.

Kyle
But, there was a drawback.

Hallie
Ugh!

Kyle
Choose one of the drawbacks.

Tom
[Giggling.] They make one inconvenient misunderstanding.

Hallie
It’s that one or they’re upset with me, but Lucas Bang doesn’t feel like he can get mad about things, except like, I don't know, world hunger. They make one inconvenient misunderstanding.

[Silly music begins.]

Kyle
Okay. You go and check your phone, and you’re scrolling down, and there’s a bunch of impound places that are saying “we’re calling you about your car’s extended warranty, please get back to us about your van’s extended warranty, please talk to us about your van’s life cycle.” It’s just dozens of extended warranty texts that you have not had the time to delete.

Hallie (as Sparky)
God, these spam calls are getting SO bad nowadays.

Kyle
You scroll down and you find Lucas, and then suddenly your phone dings and Lucas moves back up to the top of your phone queue because it’s the newest message, so you now have to scroll all the way up. Before we figure out what his new message is, tell me a little bit about—let’s go through some of the old texts. So, in the past month, you probably got a text from Lucas Bang like:

[Music ends.]

Kyle (as Lucas)
Hey. Thanks for meeting with me. I really hope that envelope I gave you was helpful for your protégée. I hope I didn’t talk too much about my life dreams. Next time we’ll talk about all the things that have changed in your life.

Hallie
Sparky responded “lmao, things always be changing with me.”

Tom
‘Elmow?’

Hallie
‘Elmow,’ the correct way to say L-M-A-O, instead of ‘lamow.’
“Ha, you know how it is, always chasing those cases.”

Tom
[Snickers.]

Hallie
A more proper way of saying it would be chasing leads, solving cases, but she typed too fast.

Kyle
I’d like to choose that those are the later texts. “I mean, what I mean by that is chasing leads.”

Hallie
Yeah! She’s a nervous texter, and sometimes she messages so fast in group chats that Messenger thinks that she’s a spam bot and locks her out, but that’s a Slice of Life Complication for a future episode, listeners.

Kyle
He texts you, but his misunderstanding is he thinks the following message isn’t rude. You get back “K,” with a period.

Hallie
[Screams and laughs.] Ugh, the anger that spiked in me. Okay… You know what? We’re gonna escalate it. He uses periods in his texts.

Kyle
[Feigning scandalized.] Ooh, ooh~

Hallie
Awful. Yeah.

Kyle
We’ll say that’s the one you just got.

Hallie
Okay. Sparky looks at it and then closes her eyes and then opens them again in a cartoonish double-take. Then she puts it off and puts it in her pocket.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You know, maybe we do need to do a little more investigation into Lucas Bang.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Yes! But also, I don’t actually know a lot about rutabagas at all.

Hallie (as Sparky)
No?

Tom (as Hilda)
I don't think my moms have ever made it.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Hmm.

Tom (as Hilda)
But, if you let me in, I can help. What’s the scoop so far? Where do we need to dig?

Hallie (as Sparky)
That’s the spirit I like to see.

Hallie
Sparky will put a hand on Hilda’s shoulder.

[Quirky upbeat mystery music begins.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
Now listen. Have you ever been to the Out of Thyme grocery store?

Tom (as Hilda)
I think so?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay. You know how they have the produce section in the front? There is a rutabaga section there, and they are out of rutabagas every single time. Does that seem normal to you? Because your moms have never made it, right? Now think about it, think about it. Has anyone’s moms ever made rutabaga…s? Rutabagas. Because the plural is with an ‘S.’

[Laughter.]

Tom (as Hilda)
I mean, I guess I would assume so, but—

Hallie (as Sparky)
You would assume so, AND YET… there are no rutabagas in the store. Now, I know this seems innocuous and like something that nobody else would care about, but Hilda, we’re reporters. This is the kind of thing we care about. We see what nobody else sees.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah.

Hallie (as Sparky)
And we get to the bottom of what nobody else can get to the bottom of.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah!

Hallie (as Sparky)
And these rutabagas, they have been… they have been…

Tom (as Hilda)
So we need to get in there and see what their inventory is.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yes. Exactly.

Emily (as Booker)
[In agreement.] Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
Who do we know at {Fresh Thyme} who can get us in?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, it’s open right now, so I think we can just walk in.

[Music ends.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Well yeah, but they probably don’t have it out in the open. It’s probably in an office somewhere that we’re not allowed to go.

Kyle
Ding! You get a message on your phone.

Hallie
Thinking that it’s maybe Lucas, I ignore it, because, pfft, I don’t check my messages all the time. Come on, I’m busy. I’ve got rutabagas to find.

Tom
You got a life.

Hallie
I’ve got a life, man.

Kyle
You get a second ding.

Hallie
The second ding I wanna check.
[Laughs.] The will is very weak. I wanna check the second ding.

Kyle
“We’re trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty.”

Hallie
Fuck. I put it away.

[00:35:00]

Kyle
“We’re trying to reach you about your car’s extended warranty.”

Hallie
Hang up. Hang up. God… I hang up.

Kyle
[Smiling.] Two more dings.

Hallie
I do not answer them.

Kyle
Three more dings.

Hallie
No! I turn my phone off.

Tom
The worst part is this feels like the introduction to a horror movie and I’m very afraid that’s what’s happening here, even though we made this up. I’m fully expecting a “the text is coming from inside the house” moment.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Alright, alright, perfect… Before we go, though, Hilda dear.

Hallie
Sparky is going to carefully remove that middle piece of paper from her rutabaga heist board and hold it up to Hilda.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Does this mean anything to you?

Emily (as Booker)
As realization creeps in.] Rekoob…

[Magical mysterious music begins.]

Tom
Hilda will gently open up Booker’s pages to take a look at the torn one.

Kyle
Hilda, you take a look at the pages inside of Booker. As discussed previously, one of the things that makes this book different when it’s in the Booker form versus when it’s just Babcia Ania’s book is that, in addition to the antennae and the little folded feet and the fact that he can say “rekoob,” is that on the inside in between the regular pages that Babcia Ania had written out are some extra ones.
These are different. They have a different kind of texture, something older and almost magical feeling. You’ve never been sure what if anything was supposed to be written on them because the rest of the pages have been ripped out.

Tom
Hilda is going to squint at it for a little while…

Emily (as Booker)
[Uneasy sounds.]

Tom
…and look to Booker, and give him a little pat and see how he’s reacting to it.

[Music ends.]

Emily (as Booker)
[Uncomfortable grumbling.]

Emily
Booker’s little eyestalks look at where the torn pages should go, and they look back up, and they look down…
[Frantic chase music begins.]
…and there is an incredibly loud thud as Booker uses his little legs to spring into the air and starts chewing on the page.

Hallie
[Shrieks. Laughs.] No, no, no! I’m trying to rip it back because it’s blank, and what if it’s important? It was at the center of my rutabaga list. It’s all connected, I know it! I know it has to be. Don’t take it.

Tom
Hilda will also try to yank it away from both parties and keep it back for now.

Emily (as Booker)
[More emphatic grumbles.]

Kyle
[Delighted.] Okay! Give me a three-way Take Action roll.

Hallie
Okay.

Tom
Oh god.

Emily
Oh no!

Tom
Take Action?

Hallie
Take Action. [Rolls.]

Emily
What is Booker’s Heart?

Kyle
Booker, his signature stat is Books, right Tom?

Tom
[Rolls. Speaking with his face in his hands.] Yes.

Kyle
Yeah, so you’re rolling Fierce. Everyone rolls Fierce except for Hilda because Hilda has the move that lets her roll Hearts instead of Fierce for Take Action specifically.

Hallie
[Angry sounds.]

Emily
[Rolls. Laughs.] I rolled a 1 and a 2.

[Music ends.]

Tom
Snake eyes.

[Laughter.]

Hallie
Kneecaps! That’s what you rolled. That’s what their name is.

Tom
I just… eh.

Hallie
I got an 8.

Kyle
Sparky, describe—

Tom
Who does the bullet hit, Hallie?!

Kyle
Describe how you get this paper out.

Hallie
The book! It hits the book!

Emily (as Booker)
[Sad and pained.] Rekoob~

[The music resumes.]

Hallie
So, Booker’s trying to eat the page. Sparky’s just gonna grab onto it with her hands and then use her foot to kick Booker off.

Tom
[Gasps loudly.]

Emily
[Laughs.]

Hallie
Not rudely! I’m not, like, kicking the Booker.

Tom
[Yelps loudly.]

Hallie
I’m just, I’m just, like…

Kyle
Throwing birds and kicking book crabs?!

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Tom
You could have just grabbed it out of my hand!

Kyle
What is wrong with you, Sparky Malarky?

Tom
The page was in my hand!

Hallie
I thought you had gotten it out of… I thought Booker had taken it!

Tom
Well, I’m holding it in my hand. Booker just jumped up to bite it.

Hallie
Oh, well that changes things. I thought Booker had completely taken the thing wholesale.

Emily
I thought he had gotten it out of your hand.

Hallie
Yeah.

Kyle
The way I imagined it is you were both tugging on it and Sparky is also trying to pull it out.

Hallie
Oh.

Tom
Yeah. I thought this was a three-way roll to see who got it.

Hallie
Okay, well in that case, I’m not kicking the book.

Emily
[Giggles.]

Kyle
Thud! Thud! Thud!

Hallie
I’m just, like… I’m just ripping it out without even shoving the book because my ripping skills are that proficient.

[Music ends.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Hey-hey, hey wait, wait-wait-wait. I don’t… I don’t trust this.

Hallie (as Sparky)
What, the paper? Of course not. No, it’s so weird, right? This is your reporter senses tingling. Right?

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob.

Tom (as Hilda)
Booker, I don't think you should eat this right now. We need to—

Emily (as Booker)
[Indignant.] Rekoob!

Tom (as Hilda)
We need to research it first. We have to make sure it’s safe for you.

Emily (as Booker)
[Grumble-croaks.]

Emily
Booker pouts. He’s not angry at Hilda or anything, but he kinda scrunches up.

Tom
Just doing the face at you.

Emily
Yeah.

Kyle
I’m not angry, I’m just mad.

[Laughter.]

Tom (as Hilda)
Hey, um… where did you say you got this from, Boss?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, funny you should mention, but Lucas Bang gave this to me last time we met. He said it was for you from, um… Oset Scuba?

[00:40:00]

Hallie
I would like to carefully fold up the piece of paper. Quick question about Necrocards. I guess… no, because a card sleeve is different than a card. I was gonna ask if there was a laminate thing I could slip it into, but that’s probably not…

Tom
Surely there are card sleeves for Necrocards.

Kyle
All of your cards are in card sleeves. In ‘Bang! Bang!’, two momentous things happened. One, somehow you went from 151 cards to 249. I don't know how that happened. You just started saying you have them.

Hallie
Math is weird when you’re not Hopper Scotch.

Kyle
But then, remember, you got all 249 card sleeves signed by Lucas Bang. So, unless you sold them, you have 248 blank Necrocards in sleeves signed by Lucas Bang.

Hallie
They are in sleeves. I’m gonna add that. Necrocards in sleeves. Okay.

Kyle
Then you have one Necromouse in a sleeve signed by Lucas Bang.

Hallie
One Necromouse… Oh, I forgot about that little mouse. Yeah, so I’m gonna put it in one of the Necrocard sleeves, so one of the Necrocards is now that important piece of paper, and that’s the one I keep separate from all 248 other Necrocards.

Tom (as Hilda)
Boss, are you going to see that Lucas Bang guy any time soon?

Hallie
I slyly check my phone to see if he’s followed up to the “K.”

Kyle
Um…
[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]
We’re gonna do a quick smash-cut to Lucas Bang right now, nervously sweating with his phone.

Hallie
[Giggles.]

Kyle (as Lucas)
[Sighs.] I sure hope she messages back to that.

[Laughter.]

Emily
That’s my best conversation starter.

Tom
This is why Lucas Bang has not been on many dates since Sparky.

Kyle (as Lucas)
I wanted to put in the period so that she knew I was done with my thought and that she could continue with her own thought.

Tom
“You know, punctuation, it’s a real lost art in texting. I really believe in, like… I really care for a sense of writing.”

Kyle
I did the “K,” and I was gonna do “OK,” but I did the “K” because she did the “L-M-A-O.”

Tom
“It’s light. It’s fun.”

Kyle
“It’s light and fun, yeah.”

Tom
“It lets people know that, like… I’m fun. I’m cool with whatever. Haha…”

Hallie
Like periods!

Kyle
Just sweating bullets. We’re gonna say he’s at some ScubaCorp event, so next to him we see Sammy who, again, is just a doll, just a possessed doll, getting the sweat on his sleeve and just squeezing it out into a bin somewhere.

Hallie
Gross. Didn’t need that image. Since he has not responded…

Kyle
Did you check any of the other texts by the way?

Hallie
What? No, fuck that.

Kyle
Okay. By the way, you’ve got… Let me do a math quickly. You got 661 more texts in that time.

Hallie
That’s almost a very evil number and I’d like it to get to the evil number. Then I put my phone—I put it away.

Hallie (as Sparky)
That is undetermined as of this moment.

Tom (as Hilda)
Oh. I was just thinking we should try and, like… plant a bug on him or something to figure out what’s really going on.

Hallie
Sparky… A sly smile slowly spreads its way across her face.

Hallie (as Sparky)
You can learn a lot of things from a good bug. That’s not a bad idea. I’ve never done it to someone I’m trying to… see.

Emily (as Booker)
[Unsure.] Rekoob…

Tom
Hilda, just looking wide-eyed, waiting for a response to that.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Hallie (as Sparky)
But they are a source of valuable information.

Tom (as Hilda)
Alright. But yeah, for the rutabagas.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah. A lot of things going on. This is a reporter’s world, so many stories.

Tom (as Hilda)
So many different things to juggle.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Exactly.

Tom (as Hilda)
So many irons in the fire.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Because that’s what we’re good at.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah!

Hallie (as Sparky)
We’re good at a lot of things, Hilda. We’re good at a lot of things!

Tom (as Hilda)
Yeah! YEAH!

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoob! REKOOB!

Hallie (as Sparky)
Yeah! Booker too!

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Emily (as Booker)
Rekoooob!

Tom
Hilda is just, like, arms up in the air, cheering.

Hallie
This continues as Sparky starts her car and, um… off we go, to the store.

[Chuckling.]

Kyle
Like a gunshot, the car goes on. I’m assuming it’s one of those.

[A gunshot fires. Old car noises.]

Kyle
As it does, there’s a rush of heat, because you know, extremely hot engine.

Hallie
Yeah.

Kyle
But Sparky, you feel something a little hotter. I want you to take a GM Intrusion.

Hallie
Oh… okay.

Kyle
Who do you want to give the other point to?

Hallie
Let’s give it to Hilda, because we’re sharing an adventure.

Kyle
So, before I mentioned 661 texts, you had 5 unread texts.

Hallie
So I did get to the evil number!

Kyle
We’re gonna do a little dramatic zoom-in effect. We can see the inside of Sparky’s phone, and there’s this little burning sensation. We can see 666 unread messages from a number with the name Hellish Impound. And the text, “we’re calling you about your car’s extended warranty,” turns hot and red and flaming.

[Tense musical sting.]

Hallie
I don’t like that.

[Whooshing sound signaling a scene change. Music begins to spy-like noir music.]
[00:45:00]

Rob (as Noir Quique)
Within this crumpled-up, torn and discarded slip of paper was a note. The note contained clear instructions. “Go to The Dome at 7 PM. You’ll know what to do.”
The Dome was the Valley’s premier dome-shaped museum. At the time it was hosting an exhibit on Tsarvia. Now, I can’t feel temperature, but that didn’t stop the mere name of that frigid country from sending a shiver up my spine. That’s what bad blood will do to you, I suppose.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
So you’re at The Dome which is currently holding a Tsarvian exhibit. There are a lot of tsars in Tsarvia. In fact, it’s a population of all tsars… and then Rasputin.
[Laughter. Patriotic Russian music begins.]
So, there’s a bunch of exhibits about the culture and about the weird geopolitical landscape it was in, and then of course a bunch of things about the Romanovs. I was gonna say all of them have their own music and stuff and little announcer voice, but you find yourself near this tiny little dinky box about Rasputin that isn’t working.
[Music distorts.]
The music isn’t playing. It’s just stuttering and failing to start.

[Music ends.]

Ari
I just want to say that, when entering the exhibit, which I assume costs a dollar or so, like something representative… Quique will just be like:

Ari (as Quique)
[Over the top.] Three tickets. We are here to solve a mystery.

Ari
Just all dramatic, as the ticket taker is just like “uh, okay…”
But anyways. He’s also gonna look at Ariel and then look at it and be like:

Ari (as Quique)
I know that guy. Yes, I have seen this man before. Perhaps this mystery guy comes to haunt me again as he did so many months ago… where we first encountered the Pik Pik.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle (as ???)
Ow!

Kyle
You just hear that faintly in the distance. Ariel’s gonna look at you and look at Yunuen who’s really excited and has stars in her eyes.

Kyle (as Ariel)
Uh… yeah. Que chido, tio. I think, you know, you got this on your own. So, thanks for the tickets. We’re gonna just go learn about Tsarvia.

Kyle
[Laughing.] And those two are gonna walk off, because Ariel is deeply uncomfortable with whatever the fuck you’re doing.

Ari
As they are walking off with Yunuen, Quique’s going to be like:

Ari (as Quique)
Don’t worry, kids, Aurelio Canaca and his assistant, Pinguino Rodriguez, are on the case.

Kyle
[Makes “woodpecker” sounds.] The sound from the Rasputin exhibit dies out as Tucán, who also I’m assuming has a little detective’s hat.

Ari
He also has a little detective hat.

Hallie
God!

Kyle
Since he’s Pinguino Rodriguez, he probably has a little tux too, for the penguin.

Ari
Yes.

Kyle
As he just jams in and destroys the speaker. You just hear another…

Kyle (as ???)
Ow!

Kyle
…from the distance.

Ari (as Quique)
Ah, yes, good thinking, my assistant. This speaker is perhaps the clue to the mystery that we need. But what was that mysterious scream in the distance? Perhaps that and this broken speaker are connected.

Ari
He’s going to examine the speaker, and if there’s nothing wrong with it, he’s going to go towards the sound of the screaming, which I assume is within the exhibit. Is it like the cheapskate where there’s just Rasputin inside the exhibit?

Kyle
I will explain what Rasputin is up to later on.

Ari
Okay.

Kyle
Give me a Books roll.
[Sci-fi investigation music begins.]
We’re actually gonna do something different with this investigation. We’re gonna do a general Books roll, and based on how you roll will determine what kind of clues you get.

Ari
Okay.
[Rolls.] Uh… 7.

Kyle
Seven, alright. I have in my hands the Ultimate RPG Gamemaster’s Worldbuilding guide which has a section on murder mysteries. If you had rolled a full success, I was going to give you a couple of clues and you were going to be able to ask me an explicit question, say “I want ‘this’ question answered.”

Ari
Okay.

Kyle
As long as it’s not “who done it?”

Ari
Yeah.

Kyle
But you could ask me, like, “how… how did they do it?” You know?

Ari
So based on the clue?

Kyle
You could just ask me any question and I would give you a clue that would give you the answer to that.

Ari
Oh~

Kyle
Since you rolled a mixed success, you still are gonna get clues, but I’m going to pull a card and that is going to determine what the clue is. So essentially, you don’t get to dictate what the clue is, I just give it to you.

Ari
Oh~! Okay.

Kyle
The clue is a Heart. It is 8. So, hearts relates to the victim’s personality and emotions.
[00:50:00]
So, this is going to relate not to the Pik Pik but to something that may have been stolen. An 8 means a piece of furniture was damaged. So, you look and you notice that the Rasputin thing wasn’t just randomly broken. Instead, there were signs of a struggle here, specifically bite marks, all over the speaker.

Ari
Whoa! Ooh, okay. He’s gonna be like…

Ari (as Quique)
Ha! Here’s something interesting.

Ari
…and see the marks.
[Music ends.]
Hmm. Is it—? Well, I don't know how much I can ask. Are they only in the speaker or do they seem to be anywhere else near the exhibit? Like, a thing to track or something.

[Ghostly credits music begins.]

Kyle
You don’t see any marks, you don’t see any tracks, but you do see someone else. But for that, we have to do a bit of a flashback.

[Music swells and carries out to the bloopers.]

Kyle
Ari and Emily are gonna do a noir mystery today.

Hallie
What?!

Kyle
So we’re gonna hire an external voice actor to be like…

Hallie
[Indignant.] What?!

Kyle
[Snaps and hums a jazz beat.] “Man… I thought this was gonna be an easy case. Simple one. Find the bad guy and get out. But…”

Hallie
They get to solve a noir mystery in a Chuck E. Cheese?!

Kyle
“…wasn’t able to help in time.”

Hallie
I’m stuck in a van.

Kyle
Something like that, and that’s gonna be the cold open.

Hallie
Broken coffee maker!

Ari
Please include this in the post-credits, Kyle.

Hallie
[Stammers.]

Tom
I feel like this almost needs to be included in the actual episode, the monologue, Hallie screaming in the background.

Hallie
[I have a heist board. They don’t have a heist board. Well, they could have heist boards. I will never deny anyone the chance to have their very own heist boards.
[Grumbles.] I wanna go.

Ari
I don't know why your voice is fluctuating into Ness’s.

Hallie
[In Ness’s voice.] Yeah. That’s what happens when I get upset. I become Ness. I wanna go to the Beaver’s! Xoc never took me there.

Kyle
Then we’re gonna do a monologue. “Ah yes, Pinguino Rodriguez. The kids started calling Tucán that. Don’t know why, don’t know how, but the name stuck like something… on a metaphor.”

Ari
Like something at the bottom of your shoe.

Kyle
“Like something on the bottom of your shoe.”

Kyle
[Indecisive whistling sounds.] Hallie! Give me a location.

Hallie
Russia.

Emily
[Laughs.]

Hallie
Tsarvia!

Kyle
Go to the Tsarvian exhibit.

Hallie
I don't know why I did that. Now they get to go to a Tsarvian thing and I don’t get to go there. I played myself by being mad. God damn it!

Kyle
We have Quique’s timeline. Now we’re gonna go back to this other timeline that will have no bearing on his timeline.

Emily
Thanks for saying it’s Quique’s timeline.

Kyle
Well, Irene probably hasn’t appeared yet, Emily!

Emily
“I have been here the whole time.”

[Laughter.]

Kyle
I mean, she has. She has been here the whole time. I’m pretty sure the cutting point is literally right before Irene appears.

Emily
[Whispering menacingly.] “The whole time…”