8. A Tag-Team Duel! 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 the only challenge greater than battling… learning how to get along.

Ari
Hello. I am Ari, she/her, and I play Quique, the opportunist who adapts, he/him.

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

Tom
I am Tom, he/him, and I play Hilda Miszkiewicz, the guardian who pulls pranks, who is she/her.

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

Kyle
I like how you stopped even though you had no reason to. You said it—

Hallie
Nah!

Kyle
—then stopped, then redid it with just a slightly deeper voice.

Hallie
The vibes were wrong. I had to respect the vibes. The vibes told me to stop and redo the perfectly fine take that I had just started.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Emily
How’s your Mucinex?

Hallie
[Coughs heavily.] I haven’t taken it today because I was hoping I didn’t have to.

Emily
Aww!

Hallie
It tastes just like the cough medicine that made me throw up nine times out of ten when I was a child, and I can’t take the pills because they’re too big and they make my vision blurry, and I don’t like that.

Emily
Aww…

Hallie
So, I have to take the liquid.

Kyle
So, as usual, we begin each session by going over our Slice of Life Complications. Because of the way this session is operating, the Slice of Life Complications could be specifically for Sparky or Quique. So, I’m now going to hand it over to all of you to share what disasters you have given each other.

Hallie
I’d like to—

Ari
Well—

Hallie
Go ahead.

Ari
Oh. No, you go, you go, you go, you go, you go.

Hallie
No… No!

Ari
No, you go. No, you go, you start. Yes.

Hallie
Okay. I was gonna open the floor by doing the first self-complication which is that Sparky can’t find her Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.

Ari
God damn it!

Hallie
Inspired by true events such as I can’t find my Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup!

Tom
Ooh. What a power-play taking that from Ari.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
Okay, that has solved my dilemma. I was going to say, I already had a Slice of Life Complication, but I felt like dunking on Hallie and saying the complication was the Reese’s Pieces and I was going to ask you to choose between one of those two, but now that Hallie has chosen the Reese’s Pieces complication, I can choose my other complication I had which is a thing that also happened a couple of weeks ago.
So, I remember you said that Sparky’s the one who drives people to the event, right? Like, she has her car and drives people there?

Hallie
She’s got a cool van.

Kyle
Yeah. Sparky drove Hilda to this place because Hilda’s moms couldn’t make it for the drop-off time.

Ari
Right. The complication I have is that her car—it was fine on the way, but suddenly it cannot go in reverse and specifically in reverse. The rest of everything works fine, but going in reverse doesn’t work.

Hallie
[Amused.] Why can’t it go in reverse? Why…?

Ari
Because it just makes a really weird noise and it just goes (screech) when it goes in reverse.

Kyle
This happened to my dad’s Volkswagen Beetle.

Ari
[Smiling.] Oh! This happens to our car, too! That’s why I said it, because I was like what the actual fuck is this problem.

Kyle
He was determined not to give it up, so what he’d do is—and he likes to do this anyway. You know when you drive in a parking lot, kind of driving to the other lane so that you’re facing outwards?

Ari
Yeah.

Tom
Yeah, it’s the only way to park.

Kyle
He would do that specifically because he couldn’t go backwards.

Ari
Yeah. That happened when they took the car to repair for a different problem, and then he was like “oh, so that problem is fine, but there’s another problem. It can’t go in reverse.”
[Laughter.]
So anyways, that’s the complication because I thought it was such a fucking random thing for a car. Everything else works fine, but it can’t go in reverse. Like, what the fuck is that issue?

Kyle
Alright, Tom and Emily, what are your complications?

Emily
I had a question. Does Quique drive?

Ari
Yeah, he can drive. I’m guessing he would have driven his kids to the competition. Right?

Kyle
Yeah, he could have.

Ari
I know Ariel can drive, but I guess maybe for whatever reason Ariel was like “you drive us,” or something.

Kyle
Ariel works every job and doesn’t do Necromon Dueling, so maybe they’re just busy today…

Ari
Oh yeah.

[00:05:00]

Kyle
…and Quique had to take Yunuen specifically.

Ari
Okay. Yes. The answer is yes. He has a little tiny Volkswagen like the one that—

Tom
Aww!

Hallie
Ha!

Ari
Because that is a really common car in my “OG” OG hometown.

Emily
Well, he uh… got a parking ticket.

Hallie
Ha!

Ari
Oh… why?

Emily
There’s no justification for why. He just got one.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
I like the idea that he went, he parked in a parking spot, verified, double—triple-checked, because you know…

Ari
Yeah!

Kyle
When he came back, the parking spot literally didn’t exist. The lines were no longer there. It was a phantom parking spot and he got a ticket.

Ari
God.

Tom
Peeled up like a cartoon character, just like “time to move these yellow lines, everyone! I sure hope nobody mistook these for a parking spot just because we left all these yellow lines lying out here in the lot.”

Kyle
[Laughs.] Alright. Tom, what about you?

Tom
I had two ideas, but after Emily’s choice I have to say Sparky Malarky’s coffee machine is not working today.

[Laughter.]

Ari
Oh! Yes! The meme continues!

Tom
I have to keep that alive.

Ari
The meme continues.

Hallie
[Smiling, pained.] No…

Kyle
Alright. So, here’s what we’ve got. Sparky can’t find her Peanut Butter Cups which I want to tentatively call Reese’s In Pieces.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Ari
[Delighted.] Reese’s In Pieces!

Kyle
Sparky’s car can’t go in reverse. Quique has a phantom parking ticket. Or, Sparky’s coffee machine is broken.

Tom
I really want to see the car that can’t go in reverse. This is very important to me.

Emily
Mm-hmm.

Hallie
Yeah. I would also… same.

Ari
I mean, I think same, though my second choice would be the dunks of Sparky not being able to find her Reese’s.

Tom
I really like that they’re “RIP.” That’s very good.

Hallie
It’s very cute.

Ari
What if that is why it can’t go in reverse? Because the Reese’s In Pieces is stuck somewhere in the—

Tom
The Reese’s in the car is now in pieces. It doesn’t reverse without the Reese’s.

Hallie
Yeah.

[Jazzy recap music begins.]

Kyle
Okay, so! It has been a month since your last adventure. To kind of summarize what happened about a month ago, you all went to the Bring Your Work Today Festival or something along those lines. Everything went pretty well. You know, Sparky did get kind of coerced into going on a maybe date with Lucas Bang by Alina Miszkiewicz, one of their shared friends and Hilda’s mom. Also, a ball pit exploded and you all got stuck in a ball pit maze by a guy named Mr. Elmo who Hilda dropped a stand on.

Tom
Hilda and Quique. We did it together. We just smashed him.

Ari
Yes.

[Laughter.]

Hallie
It was a bonding experience.

Ari
It was good bonding, for sure.

Kyle
It’s been a month since then. The Intermortal Necromon Championship has been gearing up for its first meet, and I mean, that’s pretty much it. You can see that the Valley is slowly being taken over more and more by the championship. Everything has some sort of branding, and more and more companies are getting that “SC” ScubaCorp logo placed right before or after their name as the ScubaCorp Spacescraper rises and more and more local companies are getting bought out.
But besides that, what’s been going on in your lives over the past month?

[Music ends.]

Ari
Since last time, Quique and Hilda had a bonding experience over chemistry, and Hilda seemed interested enough in chemistry, so I would like to say that at least maybe one time or two times Hilda went to Quique’s house for some, like…

Tom
[Excited.] yes, yes, yes!

Ari
You know those science experiments that you do with kids? Like, oh, let’s put these two things together and make putty or stuff like that, and Quique has shown some basic chemistry to Hilda.

Emily
That’s so cute~

Hallie
So cute~

Tom
Hilda brought safety goggles.

Ari
Tucán was there also with his own safety goggles, but he was not allowed to go inside the house so he didn’t eat the experiment.

Tom
Just staring from outside like a shoehorn.

Ari
[Chuckles.] Yes.

Kyle
It makes sense, too, because we’re getting close to the end of the first semester at this point already. I’d say more likely than not this competition is scheduled like… the Saturday or even the Sunday before finals week, just because ScubaCorp doesn’t give a fuck about your school schedule.

Ari
Even if she doesn’t have a Chemistry class, Quique is still preparing her for when she has to take Chemistry next year or whatever.

Emily & Hallie
Aww.

Kyle
I wanna say in Seventh Grade we had General Science, so they could have done a small Chemistry course.

Ari
That’s fair. Our Seventh Grade was all recap.

Kyle
I don’t even remember what my Seventh Grade was. I just remembered we might have dissected something once, I think, is what I remember about Seventh Grade.

[00:10:00]

Emily
We didn’t dissect anything.

Hallie
I dissected a frog and it was pregnant.

Several
Oh no!

Hallie
It was sad. I didn’t like it.

Emily
Did you know?

Hallie
No.

Emily
Aww…

Hallie
I didn’t learn anything that day.

Ari
Yes, you learned that the frog was pregnant.

Hallie
I mean, I learned that. Didn’t care about it.

Kyle
Luckily, we don’t dissect Necromon. That’s not a thing that happens, so you don’t have to worry about the kids having done that.

Hallie
[Emotional.] Okay.

Kyle
Anything else notable happen in the past month?

Emily
Irene’s been training!

Ari
[Sarcastic.] Oh…

[Laughter.]

Kyle
Alright, so! Before we begin, I have one last question for you all. What does the Aggressive Bandit outfit look like? I want everyone to go around and give me one detail about the outfit. I’ll start with the easiest one because it’s already been established. He has a bandit mask.

Tom
He has a sleeveless denim vest, like Ash Ketchum but a little bit more punk-ish.

Emily
He has cowboy boots.

Ari
He has a little bowtie that changes colors depending on the occasion. He can choose which color he can have the bowtie be. It’s very small, so he’s a big guy and it’s a very small bowtie.

[Giggling.]

Hallie
Um…

Emily
Hallie doesn’t know how to respond to this.

Hallie
He’s got a little pocket square in his denim vest. He’s a gentleman, because gentlemen have those. They have pocket squares.

Kyle
So, to go over, you see a man in a bandit mask with a sleeveless denim vest, cowboy boots, a pocket square, and a little multicolored bowtie that’s currently blue and white like waves on the ocean.

Kyle (as Lucas)
[Over a microphone.] Well, uh… thanks so much everybody for coming here to the first meet of the Intermortal Necromon Championship. You kids and teens are our future, and the initiative that you’re giving towards this friendly competition is really… [Sniffles.]

Kyle
You can see he’s starting to tear up a little bit.

Kyle (as Lucas)
Really inspiring.

Kyle
It’s silent for a second in the amphitheater until the woman next to him gives him a little nudge.

Kyle (as Lucas)
Oh right. Uh… and as I always say, bang-bang!

Kyle
And the crowd just starts chanting and hooting and hollering. You hear “bang-bang, bang-bang” as Maybelline, the woman next to him, takes over the mic and says:

Kyle (as Maybelline)
Such a great job from Lukie-Poo, our Aggressive Bandit. Everyone give him one more round of applause!

Kyle
And the applause emanates through the amphitheater.

Kyle (as Maybelline)
Now, before we get started, just a couple of little announcements from ScubaCorp.

Kyle
As Maybelline goes through and gives just a bunch of ads, I’m gonna describe the setting a little bit.
[Bossa nova music begins.]
You are all in the beach city of Puerto Ballenas. This is a beachside city about two hours west of the Valley. You’ve got the Valley, you’ve got this mountainous region, and then you’ve got Puerto Ballenas on the western-most side. You are specifically in an amphitheater on the Malecón. The Malecón is basically this beachside walking area. There isn’t much of a beach, it’s mostly rocks, but there’s shops and other businesses and nice places to walk.
As part of it, there is a fairly sized amphitheater that has gotten a bunch of crude enhancements. You’ve got five steps which are packed with audience and then you’ve got like ten more steps made out of wood that were just hammered in that are going into the walkway, and all of those are covered with people as well. You aren’t on those though, Hilda and Irene. Instead, you’re down in the area between the stage and the bleachers, because you are some of the participants in this tournament.
[Music ends.]
You see a bunch of other kids walking around. Walnut’s in the corner figuring out daer strategy, just moving back and forth holding two cards saying:

Kyle (as Walnut)
So, Freddie said that this one has a clear tactical advantage, but this one does more damage… so that’s better, right?

[00:15:00]

Kyle
Somewhere else, Yunuen is just excitedly watching everything on the stage in rapt attention. What are you two up to, Hilda and Irene?

Emily
At the word friendship in Lucas Bang’s speech, Irene’s already deadly serious face somehow gets even more grim.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Emily
And she says nothing.

Tom
Hilda is currently alternating between three different states of being. One, afraid that she’s about to miss an important announcement about where she’s supposed to go or what she’s supposed to do, so doing nothing in case she misses it. Two, blasting some music to just drown out everything else, have something to focus on for a bit. Three, reading a book, because the music was not distracting enough, needed another distraction.

Emily
Irene is a little put out that Hilda’s not paying attention to her even though… because she wants somebody to pay attention to her so she can ignore them.

Kyle
Yeah, because your ride… Well, this happened for most of you. The theaters are so packed that you need to get a ticket for each individual part of the competition, so your ride dropped you off and immediately left.
So, after a while you clue in as Maybelline finishes her announcements.

Kyle (as Maybelline)
Remember, put in the code CHZZZ… that’s for sleep… for your own free trial of a Scuba Corp mattress.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Measured, as if writing it down.] Z, Z, Z.

Kyle (as Maybelline)
With all of that out of the way, it’s time to introduce our announcers for today.
[Upbeat country music begins.]
Our first announcer is one of ScubaCorp’s newest acquisitions, everyone’s favorite DJ on Scorp-i-on Rad-i-o… Chazz Casey!

Kyle
Everyone applauds as this man walks onto the stage, and you know immediately who was behind the design of the Aggressive Bandit outfit. This man I can only describe as a classy cowboy with a hint of rock star. He is wearing this deep dark brown cowboy outfit. It’s got a nice long jacket, a vest, a scarf, boots, that all in turn equally compliment his black skin. But, what really puts this suit together is the trim and the smile, because his outfit along all the edges has this vibrant golden trim which sparkles almost as much as the man’s smile.

[Music ends.]

Kyle (as Chazz)
Well welcome, one and all, to the first competition of the ScubaCorp Intermortal Necromon Championship! I’m Chazz Casey, co-announcing with…

Kyle
And he looks over to Maybelline who crosses her arms and does a big roll of her eyes and says:

[Music returns.]

Kyle (as Maybelline)
And co-announcing with Chazz Casey, the Valley’s number one radio personality is…
[Music ends abruptly.]
[Flatly.] Sammy.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
She vaguely motions as the large applause just becomes this slow confused clap as another man walks out onto the stage.
[Silly music begins.]
This man looks a lot younger than Chazz. Chazz is probably in his 40s. This guy is almost a kid. He’s 18 or 19. He looks like an intern. He’s got this patchwork cotton skin with visible stitches, and his cheeks have these red spirals that are almost not visible because they’re entirely covered up by thick curly orange yarn hair that falls down like a mop. Where Chazz has clearly prepared for this, this guy looks like he rolled out of bed, sporting a green hoodie and a comfortable rustic brown coat. He essentially looks like a rustic boy band version of Raggedy Andy. This man says:

Kyle (as Sammy)
[Weak and lazy.] Uh… hey everybody. Welcome to, uh… yeah, the thing. I’m really excited to be here.

[Music ends.]

Kyle (as Chazz)
Everybody, give it up for Sammy!

Kyle
At Chazz doing some applause, everyone then applauds, and Maybelline you can see just walks off the stage in a huff while staring daggers at this weird boy band stuffed doll. Chazz, like a champ, just continues.

Tom
He’s a professional.

[00:20:00]
[Curious joyful music begins.]

Kyle (as Chazz)
Alright! Well, as Lu—the Aggressive Bandit says, a key part of dueling is bond – not only the bond between you and your Necromon, but the bond between you and everyone else.

Kyle
There’s a bit of a pause, and Sammy’s like:

Kyle (as Sammy)
Uh, oh, right, uh… Yeah, so uh, this first one is gonna be like… the tag-team duel or whatever.

Emily (as Irene)
Nooo!

Tom (as Hilda)
Ooh!

Kyle (as Sammy)
Each of you have been paired with someone in your grade before this started, and you’re gonna be measured not only on whether or not you win but how well you do as partners.

Emily (as Irene)
[Long heavy sigh.]

Tom (as Hilda)
[Quiet but excited.] Group project. Group project. Group project!

Kyle
Walnut is just there next to Hilda.

Kyle (as Walnut)
Group project. Group project. Group project!

Kyle
In the stadium, you can see Freddie is also just… You can’t hear him, but you know he’s going:

Kyle (as Freddie)
[Quietly.] Group project. Group project. Group project…

[Music ends.]

Emily
Irene turns slowly on her heel and looks at them with dead eyes.

Tom
Hilda doesn’t notice. She’s having too much fun with her friend.

[Giggling.]

Emily
Irene’s a little upset by this.

Kyle (as Chazz)
We’re gonna go in reverse order from grades starting with the Seniors in high school and moving backwards, but I’d like everyone to come up and quickly see who you’re paired with.

Kyle
Both he and Sammy move to the side, and you can see the arches at the back of the amphitheater light up with these holographic lights, and sure enough they’re listed by grade with who is paired with who.

Emily
Irene approaches, deeply upset.

Tom
Hilda is very excited.

Kyle
Irene, you walk up. You know how group projects go.

Emily
They’re the worst! I always end up doing all the work because, even though they do work, it’s not good enough for me, apparently, and I know I can do it better.

[Scary musical SFX begins.]

Kyle
And you know that whoever you get paired with will be the worst person, and yet you find someone even worse, because right next to Irene Hawthorne you see the name Hilda Miszkiewicz.

[SFX ends.]

Emily (as Irene)
UGH~!

Tom (as Hilda)
Ooh. Hi… hi Irene. It’s me, Hilda. We met a couple of times before.

Emily (as Irene)
Yes. You are my rival.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yes, yes, rivals. Anyway. Looks like we get to team up for this next round. I was wondering if I might get to team up with Walnut, but that’s okay too.

Emily (as Irene)
You could team up with Walnut and I could do it alone.

Tom (as Hilda)
I don't know if we’re allowed to switch, because everybody else would have to switch too in order to make it work.

Emily (as Irene)
As my rival, you should make sufficient backup.

Tom (as Hilda)
Backup?

Emily (as Irene)
Yes. I will be winning the duel.
[Laughter.]
But I’m sure you’ll do a lovely job standing in the background.

Tom (as Hilda)
I think we’d be at a pretty big disadvantage if we didn’t fight together. That doesn’t seem very rivalry… rivally? Hmm. It doesn’t seem like very rival behavior to not do my best to show you up.

Emily (as Irene)
This is an adequate way of thinking.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yes! I was reading this book, and it’s about rivals, sort of. I was thinking it would be great inspiration for the style I should bring to ‘mon training, because you already have a really cool style and I don’t have a style yet.

Emily (as Irene)
Thank you, I do.

Tom (as Hilda)
But basically, I’m gonna try to one-up you in a very friendly and sporting way to test the limits of what we can do. So… so there. And I won’t take no for an answer!

[Amped-up championship music begins.]

Emily (as Irene)
… Acceptable.

Tom (as Hilda)
Yes!

[Music swells and carries into the announcements.]

Kyle
Friendship. Dueling. Announcements. All three, equally important.
Hi. Welcome to the announcement break for A Tag-Team Duel, which you’ll find out next episode is a really inaccurate title because they’re gonna duel at the same time. The tag part is not happening. It’s just a team duel. So, welcome to I guess a “team” duel.
[00:25:00]
Just like with most weeks we’ve got a promo for you today. This one is for a show I actually reached out to called Uncanny Robot, because I just think their premise is real neat. Take a listen.

[Promo begins.]

Thersa (as robot)
You’re listening to Uncanny Robot, machine-written stories read by a human.

Thersa (as narrator)
The banging on my front door woke me around midnight. I took a deep breath, put my trigger finger on the nueclatic phaser’s shred button and opened the door.

Thersa (as Princess Moomaroof)
Asteroid Arnie?!

Rich (as Asteroid Arnie)
The one and only.

Thersa (as Princess Moomaroof)
What brings you to my neck of the universe?

Rich (as Asteroid Arnie)
Moomie, we’ve got a problem. It’s the Mushiblooms. They need our help.

Thersa (as Mushibloom: Rosemary)
Help us? But we don’t need any help.

[The “screamer” Mushibloom screeches.]

Thersa (as narrator)
It was an insane ride. First, we went around and around in circles, and then… poof.
[Distorted.] Mysteryoid kid orchids. Hiding sleeping sunflowers crocheted with human fingers.

Rich (as Arnie)
Whoops, wrong universe.

[Typing sounds. The ship takes off again.]

Thersa (as narrator)
Several moments of that and… zapparoo! We popped out on the other side, the alternate Earth.

Rich (as Arnie)
Hey, where’s the sky?

Rich (as Mushibloom: Orchard)
Moomie! It’s good to see you again.

Thersa (as Moomie)
It’s good to be seen!

Thersa (as narrator)
Rosemary marched over and said:

Thersa (as Rosemary)
We’re being exterminated by an alien race, and they’re called… the Stinky Lollies.

[Shock Horror stinger plays.]

Thersa (as Moomie)
What the hell is that?
Is this safe?

Rich (as Arnie)
[Hardy chuckle.] Of course it isn’t. Don’t be a baby.

Rich (as Orchard)
Follow me! Run to the shelter!

Thersa (as Moomie)
Oh my god! They have blaster cannons!

Rich (as Orchard)
The music keeps us safe from their evil stench.

Thersa (as narrator)
If you’ve ever seen a Blast Canter, you’d never forget.

Thersa (as Moomie)
How will we escape this certain death?

Thersa & Rich (as several Mushiblooms)
Help us! Help us!

Thersa (as Rosemary)
What the fuck is going on?!

Rich (as Orchard)
You look like you belong in outer space.

[The “screamer” Mushibloom screeches.]

[Promo ends.]

Kyle
If you found that advertisement interesting, you can find a link to Uncanny Robot in the description below.
That’s all I’ve got for you today. Our next episode, A Tag-Team Duel, Part 2, will be releasing on Monday, July 25, but if you’d like additional stories, podcasts or behind the scenes videos, you can find them at Patreon.com/QuestFriends. For example, if you go back us right now, you will get to see the video outtakes of last session which means many, “many” minutes of Hallie yelling. I hope to see you there.

[Bossa nova music carries out of the announcements.]

Kyle
Alright. We are gonna move over. Sparky! Before I talk about where you are, I have a question for you. In her heart of hearts, deep in the core of her being, what would Sparky’s ideal meet-cute with Lucas Bang be?

Hallie
Art forgery.

[Laughter.]

Kyle
Explain.

Hallie
If I must. So, the ideal general surroundings of any date are stealing something such as the Declaration of Independence, but that’s not for every single date. But there should be some kind of air of crime and/or mystery, and art forgery is actually the perfect way because whether you’re forging art or trying to determine whether art is forged, you gotta get really close with whoever you’re with. “Oh man, there’s only one painting…” so you gotta— “oh man, there’s not enough space for us both.”
[Laughter.]
“We’re so close to each other… Can you tell if that red is right? Ha-ha… ha.” Flirting.

Kyle
Alright. So, an art forgery has been set up, because Alina asked you many, many questions. Even if Sparky doesn’t know that this is what she would want, Alina does know.

Hallie
I know that Alina knows, but just for the record, Sparky would either have not said art forgery or would have been so frustrated that she would have thrown out…

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Angrily, curt.] Art forgery! I don't know.

[00:30:00]

Hallie
…even though that’s actually the answer that she would have given, but she only said it in a rush of annoyance and irritation. But it is what she wants deep-down. Um, so—

Kyle
Actually, important question before we continue. Would Sparky dress up for a date?

Hallie
She’s got a different hairband on. It’s a slightly nicer hairband by no one’s definition but her own, and the only reason it is nicer is because it is different than the one she wears every day. It’s the same price… a different pattern but not one that’s objectively fancier. It’s just like, oh, I don’t wear this one as often so I’m dressing up with this hairband.

Kyle
[Laughs.] Is it clean, though, or would it have been under a pile of dirty clothes?

Hallie
[Indignant.] Okay. Okay…

Ari
That’s fair.

Hallie
Okay… Okay.

Tom
There are some clean clothes in Sparky’s trailer. Come on.

Kyle
Cleaner than the surroundings, for sure.

Hallie
It was in a drawer. Drawers are clean. You don’t clean drawers.

Emily
Do you not clean drawers?

Hallie
So like, it’s fine. It’s fine and it’s nice. It’s a nice clean hairband that she’s wearing. She’s wearing her normal jacket. Her cargo shorts are probably down as pants because, you know, that’s formal.
[Laughter.]
Otherwise, nah. This is how she rolls. Sparky doesn’t go out of her way for anybody, anytime, for anything.

Kyle
So, you are currently standing—and Ari, tell me if I shouldn’t do this one. I tried to pull out a name that I thought would be appropriate. You are standing right now outside of the Rivera Art Museum.

Ari
Yeah, that’s fine. I mean, that’s a common last name. I just find it funny that it’s the one from Coco. But it’s fine! It’s good.

Kyle
I just typed in “Mexican artist” because I’m like, I’m not doing Frida Kahlo. Everyone does Frida Kahlo.

Ari
Well, you made—

Kyle
And I saw Diego Rivera!

Ari
Yeah, that’s her husband!

Kyle
Okay, I won’t do her husband.

Ari
No, I mean, you can! It just…

[Laughter.]

Hallie
Oh man, can’t do the lady. Women are so overrepresented. We’ll go to the husband.

Kyle
The thing is, Frida Kahlo has been commodified in a way that I don't think the woman herself would have liked.

Hallie
[In agreement.] No.

Kyle
Which is why I don’t want to use her.

Ari
Yeah~

Kyle
Because it was either that or it was Chopin, but Chopin is a musician, and Polish.

Ari
Yeah. And Polish.

Emily
Maybe not that one.

Ari
If you don’t want to say Rivera, you can say Siqueiros. That’s another artist that we have.

Kyle
Siqueiros, okay.

Ari
Yes.

Kyle
You’re standing outside of the Siqueiros Art Museum next to a fountain that’s actually shooting out like a geyser. As you’re just waiting around, you can hear a tour guide talking to some tour saying:

[Silly ambling music begins.]

Kyle (as tour guide)
Okay! What we have next to us is the pride and joy of Puerto Ballenas, our good old boy Whaleter.

Tom
[Snickers.]

Kyle (as tour guide)
Whaleter ties in very importantly to our town’s history. Puerto Ballenas sits on a dormant volcano. Many, many years ago, this volcano erupted creating the land that we are on today. But in addition to that, and some of you older folks in the audience might remember this time, but any of us living probably don’t… there was actually a time where there weren’t just people and Necromon but there were other creatures as well. One of those creatures was what we call a whale. In addition to creating all of the land we’re on, this volcano is also rumored to have created… all of the whales.

Kyle
You can see that the statue is a giant whale, and the geyser that’s shooting out of it is shooting out of the blowhole.

Ari
[Giggles.]

Kyle (as tour guide)
Legend tells that one day this volcano, which is relatively dormant, will erupt again, flooding the land in whales. That might be a bit apocalyptic-sounding to some of you, but really, I think our buddy Whaleter here could use some company.

[Music ends.]

Ari
The entirety of Hallie’s reaction to this was fucking gold.

Emily
Hallie has a question, Kyle.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I’m Sparky Malarky. Hi, Sparky Malarky in the back here. I’m a reporter. Um, what do you mean by “relatively” dormant?

Kyle (as tour guide)
Oh… Not a tour guest, but I suppose everyone would love to know. The fountain up there is actually a geyser from the volcano.

Kyle
You can see that a little bit of water shoots out.

Kyle (as tour guide)
So it just shoots out water every so often. Don’t worry, it’s not gonna be a disaster. We won’t have another Yellowstone any time soon.

Kyle
Yellowstone erupted in this world. Everything is bad.

Tom
This is the post-apocalypse world from Project Wingman.

Ari
Are we truly just in a post-apocalyptic setting?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Right. Interesting…

Kyle
I might cut that line. We’ll see. But, all the animals are extinct.

Hallie
Oh god!

Emily
[Laughs.]

Kyle
I wanted to explain why Ari is referencing real animals.

[00:35:00]

Ari
Yeah! Because Kyle was like “all animals are extinct” a couple of weeks ago, and I was like…

Tom
What the fuck? How the fuck can all animals be extinct? How does that work?

Kyle
It wasn’t that all animals were extinct. I was just sitting there like, you know what, maybe we should just cut animals and just have it be Necromon and humans because it’s simpler. Then Ari was like “but I reference real animals,” and I was like…

Tom
Oh no.

Hallie
Ah, balls.

Kyle
I’ll just kill all of them except for the whales.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
I mean, the whales are gone too.

Tom
Why does this keep happening?! Why do we keep having really innocuous things that rapidly spiral to “this is the defining lore element of this world”? How the fuck did we so casually get to “there are no animals!”? We have a mass extinction. The world is apocalyptic.

Hallie
Can we still have cows and chickens and things that people eat?

Tom
Only ghost cows, apparently.

Kyle
Only Necrocows and Necrochicken.

Hallie
Do we get Necroeggs? Is that what—

Kyle
You can eat Necroeggs.

Hallie
Okay. I’m okay with that.

Tom
I—Eh…

Ari
Are Necrochickens born out of Necroeggs? What came first, the Necrochicken or the Necroegg?

Hallie
No. I don’t want to ask this question.

Kyle
Anyways. Getting back to where we were. You’re next to Whaleter, the giant whale statue that is on top of a geyser that is a volcano that made the land you are standing on, and also all of the whales, and rumor has it will flood the land with whales again someday.

Hallie
Sparky gets out her little SmackBook Pro and types out: “Whale volcano. Conspiracy? Investigate later.”

Kyle
Maybe once you’ve gotten 4 more points on your rutabaga investigation.

Hallie
Look. Yeah. She’s got a lot on her plate. The rutabagas come first. She’s gotta figure out the rutabagas, and then she’ll figure out the whale volcano. Am I supposed to meet someone, i.e. Lucas Bang, here?

Kyle
Yeah. This is the meeting place for Lucas Bang.

Ari
The most romantic place on Earth.

Kyle
Listen. It is rumored that if you kiss under the Whaleter statue with your one true love, you will be temporarily spared when the whale-pocalypse comes.

Hallie & Ari
Temporarily?!

Hallie
What is the point? Who benefits?! What is the point?! Fuck that! Fuck Whaleter. He doesn’t do anything for you. This is why this is a false god, and we shouldn’t build monuments to false gods, because Whaleter doesn’t do shit. He doesn’t care about you and your long-term well-being.

Kyle
As Sparky’s ranting on that, the tour guide is just quietly shuffling everyone away.

Kyle (as tour guide)
Alright, now let’s go see the next sculpture.

Kyle
Because there’s a bunch of sculptures in this town. Whaleter is just the big one.

Hallie
God, I can’t believe…

Kyle
Metaphorically and literally.

Hallie
Drivel people. Maybe a little fear was good for them. Whatever. Since Sparky is here before the person she’s supposed to meet up with, she doesn’t want it to seem like she was here first, so she’s gonna hide behind the whale statue and just wait for Lucas to show up.

Kyle
Uh… Sparky, take a GM Intrusion.

Hallie
Ugh, my fucking god. Fine!

Kyle
Who do you give the other AP to?

Hallie
Not to Ari, because she’s mean to me. You know what, Tom hasn’t been mean to me today, so I’m gonna give it to Tom. I’m gonna give it to Hilda for being a good sport.

Kyle
Alright. You’re hiding behind this whale statue.

Hallie
I’m hiding behind this whale statue.

Kyle
Quique…

Hallie
No. No!

Kyle
What happens to bring you right past this whale statue at this moment?

Hallie
No! Ugh… UGH!

Ari
I don't know. Maybe he sees somebody he recognizes near that whale statue and, you know, he’s just going to say hello.

Hallie
[Groaning.] No…

Kyle
Yeah, it’s your sobrina, Lupe. She has the best little… I don't know, let’s say it’s a gelato stand.

Ari
Yeah!

Kyle
She has the best little pop-up gelato stand in all of Puerto Ballenas.

Ari
Perfect.

Kyle
So, you’re going and she sees you and she’s waving, but you can’t help but notice that the statue looks really, really weird.

Hallie
Okay, well like—

Kyle
Because Sparky, how are you hiding behind the statue?

Hallie
I’m not crouching down like stealth video game style. It’s more like you can’t see me if you’re coming from the way that I’m pretty sure Lucas Bang is gonna come from.

Kyle
Okay. Let me correct that. You just see Sparky sitting there.

Ari
Okay. The thing is, Quique wouldn’t like to interact with Sparky any more than Sparky would like to interact with Quique, so really… if his niece is calling him, he’s going to go and say hello to her, and then when he sees that Sparky’s there he will just say to his niece:

Ari (as Quique)
Do you mind if we walk along the Male instead of eating the gelato here? It’s a really nice day and there’s no reason for us to stay here in the whale. You know? It’s always nice to just walk by. Sometimes they add new statues and things like that. Maybe you can show me what has been changed?

[00:40:00]

Ari
He’s also trying to avoid visual contact with Sparky as much as Sparky is avoiding it with him.

Kyle
Um…

Ari
I’m sorry. I know you wanted interaction, but Quique wouldn’t interact with Sparky either.

Kyle
Roll me Convince Somebody.

Ari
Okay.

Kyle
What stat do you wanna use?

Ari
Uh… I think the logical one, even if I’m bad at it, is Heart.

Kyle
Yeah. You’re just appealing to your…

Ari
To my niece, or sobrina I guess. Yeah, just basically being like “hey, it’s a nice day, how about we walk,” because he also doesn’t want to be sitting by here. You know?

Kyle
Listen. Worst case scenario, you roll well and Quique just has a nice day for once in his fucking life.

Ari
Yeah!

Kyle
Alright. Yeah, give me a roll with Heart.

Ari
Okay. Let’s see.
[Rolls.] What’s this…? Uh, it’s 10, but then I have -2 Heart, so that is an 8.

Kyle
Okay, so mixed success. Your target is convinced, mostly. Choose one drawback.

Ari
I would say they ask for something in return which is maybe, you know, maybe she wants to go and buy some, um… ah, because she’s from there, so she wouldn’t want to buy a souvenir.

Kyle
Oh, no, “I” get to choose what she asks for in return, and I know what she wants to ask.

Hallie
[Chuckles.]

Ari
Okay.

Kyle
Lupe looks at you, and Lupe… absolute sweetheart. You know, all of your kiddos are super sweet. Which is why it’s nice to go to Puerto Ballenas, because Ariel and Yunuen are the only two relatives of yours in the Valley, but pretty much everyone who lives here, you know, you can’t go five feet without meeting a family member, so it’s always nice to come here. Lupe looks at you with just a big old smile and she’s like… I have to figure out a voice.
[Quirky.] “Of course, Uncle Quique! Ho-ho!” No, not this.

Ari
[Amused.] What the fuck?

Kyle (as Lupe)
Of course, Tio Quique. You know, it’s been so long. We should invite everybody around to have a little get-together to celebrate Yunuen’s little competition today. We could invite Liam, we could invite Julian, we could invite Tia Julieta, Tio Rafael… Oh! And Tio Lionel, of course, too!

Ari
No!

[Laughter. Silly music begins.]

Tom
Yes!

Ari
Listen. No, he wouldn’t be that caught up, but he’ll interrupt.

Ari (as Quique)
Ah, you know how hard it is. It’s perfect for all of the ones who live here, of course, so all of the ones you mentioned are great except for Lionel, because you know he doesn’t even live here. It would take a really long time for him to come. It’s just better if we stick with Liam, Julieta, Julian, and Rafael. Those are fine. That’s completely fine. Lionel? We can forget about Lionel for now. It’s too complicated of a trip.

Kyle (as Lupe)
Oh, no, I’m so sorry.

Kyle
You can see she puts her hands in front of her mouth in a really upset way.

Kyle (as Lupe)
Oh… I spoiled it. Yunuen wanted to keep it a surprise.

Ari (as Quique)
What?

[Music ends.]

Kyle (as Lupe)
Well, Tio Lionel’s coming to see her in the competition.

Kyle
And you flash back to the car, and you remember that Yunuen was just sitting there, really excited.

Ari
[Smiling.] Oh no~

Kyle
You just thought it was for the competition, but no, this was an excitement beyond the competition.

Ari (as Quique)
[Strained.] Well, that’s a surprise alright. Sure surprised me.

Kyle (as Lupe)
Yeah! Ariel went to get him. They should be here any minute now.

Kyle
You flash back again and you remember Ariel being like:

Kyle (as Ariel)
Yeah, uh… could you just take Yuna? I, uh… I have work.

Kyle
And they had a smile when talking about work, which was very strange to you because it must have been some new job that they actually liked for once.

Ari
God. Ah, no. Uh… Quique’s going to be like:

Ari (as Quique)
So, you’re saying that everybody’s getting together including Lionel? Is that what you’re telling me, Lupe?

Kyle
She looks nervous.

Kyle (as Lupe)
Yeah… I hope I didn’t spoil it too much for you.

Ari (as Quique)
No. It’s better that I know now and I didn’t find that out there. I have some time to prepare, to pretend to be surprised for this really pleasant occasion.

Kyle
Sparky, you didn’t hear any of this, but you do hear:

Kyle (as Lupe)
That was really smart thinking of you. You know, this is why you’re the clever uncle, Tio Quique.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Scoffs.]

Ari (as Quique)
You can feel free to repeat that when we are in front of certain surprises, that I am the clever one.
[00:45:00]
I am the clever uncle and not any other uncles that you may encounter today, Lupe.

Hallie
When hearing ‘da-da-da, Uncle Quique,’ Sparky puts her head in her hands.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Groaning.] Oh, not right now, not right now, not right now.

Hallie
Because she doesn’t want anyone she knows to see her here, because like… obviously Lucas Bang knows her, and obviously Alina knows her, but Alina’s a polite and friendly bully. She’s only here because Alina forced her to be here. Quique doesn’t need to know that she’s here.
[Silly sneaky music begins.]
I’m imagining Quique’s walking with his niece off-screen and then Sparky tries to do that dining table thing where she moves just slightly around the corner so that she just…

Kyle
Roll me to sneak.

Hallie
Sneak? Okay.

Kyle
I mean, he’s seen you, but you are trying to sneak, so I still want you to roll to sneak.

Hallie
I’m sneaking! That’s the Slick stat, right?

Kyle
Yeah.

Hallie
Guess what. I’ve got a +3 in Slick today! Oh-ho.

Ari
Ooh!

Tom
Nice.

Hallie
[Rolls.] That gets me a 9.

Kyle
Okay, a mixed success.

Hallie
Hey-hey!

Kyle
You sneak but not perfectly. Choose one drawback.

Hallie
Yeah, I’m gonna pick someone other than your target notices you sneaking.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Sparky, is that you?

[Music ends with a well-timed flourish.]

Kyle
You turn around and you see, on the angle you weren’t trying to hide…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Elliot, your powers of observation are as astute as always.

Kyle (as Elliot)
I can sense sarcasm, Sparky, but I will accept the compliment nonetheless.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Hmm.

Kyle (as Elliot)
What are you doing next to… art?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh, you’re referring to the whale. I guess one could call it art, if one were so moved. I am here to get gelato.

Kyle (as Elliot)
I don’t see any gelato around me. There was a stand down the other way, but…

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh, you know what, missed it. I will just have to come back some other time.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Oh, okay, I understand. If you don’t want to tell me, that’s fine. You don’t have to tell me everything.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I already did tell you. You know, part of being a reporter is listening to the answers people give you when you ask questions, but I know that you’re not used to actually asking the questions before getting the answers, so maybe this is all learning to you.

Kyle
He doesn’t pay attention.

Emily
[Laughs.]

Hallie
Fucking rude!

Kyle (as Elliot)
And, um… And where is Lucas? He was supposed to be here as well, was he not?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Lucas Bang?

Kyle (as Elliot)
Unless I heard of some other Lucas.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I don't know who you associate with down at the prosecutor’s office. You could know a great many Lucases. To think, a man as professional as you can’t be specific when asking if I have seen someone. Isn’t that a lawyer trick?

Kyle (as Elliot)
Sparky, why do you think I’d be here to trick you?

Hallie (as Sparky)
Why ARE you here?

Kyle
He shrugs.

Kyle (as Elliot)
I had business in the area.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Ah, classic. Yeah. Was it… You know what? Actually, I don’t really care what your business was.

Hallie
She says like a liar.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Don’t worry, Sparky, it was a personal affair. Nothing tantalizing.

Hallie
Sparky’s thinking about how much more tantalizing it is that it’s a personal affair.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, what makes you think Lucas Bang was going to show up?

Kyle (as Elliot)
Well, unlike you, I read Alina’s group chats.

Hallie
[Laughs.] Fuck! He’s got her. He’s got her. She doesn’t read the group chat. God damn it. The one area where her research fails her. She doesn’t read the goddamn group chat. She whips out her phone and furiously opens up the group chat. What does it say? What does the group chat say?

[Silly music begins.]

Kyle
There’s a lot of stuff. A lot of it is Alina trying to do meetups and Chazz Casey responding with a bunch of dates and times that he’s available and then no response from you or Elliot.

[Laughter.]

Hallie
What a sad group chat.

Kyle
But, you see three messages.

Kyle (as Alina)
Alright, everyone! Tomorrow’s the big day. Everyone wish Sparky good luck on her “meetup.”

Kyle
And there’s quotes and a wink.

Hallie
[Gasps.] Bonkers.

Kyle
To which Chazz Casey says:

Hallie
[Astonished.] Oh, for the love of cheese…

Kyle (as Chazz)
You got it, partner!

Kyle
And there are some little guns and a happy cowboy hat.

Hallie
Oh god!

Kyle
And Elliot just writes…

Kyle (as Elliot)
Mm.

Kyle
…with a period.

[Laughter.]

Hallie
[Exasperated.] Oh…!

Tom
I really like the image of just the two of them posting when they’re available and then “read by Elliot” and Sparky is a few months up the chat.

Kyle
You asked for the Scooby Gang, Hallie.

Hallie
I know~! Oh my god.

[Music ends.]

Tom
Cripes, you have been had. So completely and utterly.

Hallie
Ugh, cripes, I’ve been had.

Hallie (as Sparky)
Oh god… You know, Alina doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
[00:50:00]
Lucas was just in town and I took my protégée. She’s really into Necromon. He signed her little card. It was really, really cute. We reconnected there and we thought it would be fun to… reconnect.

Kyle (as Elliot)
Mm.

Hallie (as Sparky)
What? Is that not good enough for you?

Kyle (as Elliot)
Look at you, reaching out… for someone.

Hallie (as Sparky)
I don’t reach out to anyone. This reach-out was mutual. This was more like a touch hands in the middle kind of a thing.

Kyle (as Elliot)
A touch hands in the middle kind—

Hallie (as Sparky)
Okay, well that’s not like what “happened.” God, Elliot, GOD! You know what I’m trying to say. For god’s sake. I would like to re-ask the question, actually. So you saw this in the group chat and thought, oh, you know where I’m gonna go, I’m gonna go to the Siqueiros Art Museum. I’m gonna go look at this whale. You probably like the whale. You would.

Kyle (as Elliot)
It’s fine.

Hallie (as Sparky)
[Exasperated.] It’s fine… It’s fine. God, you can’t even have an infuriating opinion. What are you doing here?

Kyle (as Elliot)
Well, unlike you, I actually wanted gelato.

Hallie (as Sparky)
It’s all the way over there! You said that yourself when I said I wanted gelato.

Kyle (as Elliot)
The stand is normally here, Sparky. That’s what I’m saying. But unfortunately, the gelato stand is no longer here, and…

Kyle
He looks at his watch.

Kyle (as Elliot)
…I have to get back to that personal matter.

Kyle
With that, he walks off.

Hallie
Kyle, do I still have… Hmm. This is very illegal though. Do I still have my little bugs that I used like three episodes ago? No, I think I used them… You know what? I have AP. I’d like to use some AP please. I want to know what his fucking family affair is. Fuck Elliot. He wasn’t here for gelato. I wanna know.
[Upbeat heist music begins.]
I’m going to add something useful to the environment that wouldn’t necessarily be there otherwise, and it’s a bug that’s in my pocket.

Kyle
Yeah. So he drops a business card, and you wanna bug him?

Hallie
I wanna bug him. Before he leaves, I’m gonna walk past him and say:

Hallie (as Sparky)
Well, you know, I…

Hallie
Shoulder bump, slipping it in.

Hallie (as Sparky)
…appreciate some art.

Kyle
Alright. Give me a roll to sneak.

Hallie
Sneak, sneak, sneak, sneak, sneak!
[Rolls.] With my +3, that’s a 13!

Kyle
Oh, wow! So full success.

Emily
Nice!

Kyle
Describe how you get it in his pocket.

Hallie
Oh man. This is so… This is so much smoother than Sparky is used to it being. It’s the classic shoulder bump, hand moves backward, slips it into pocket. If Sparky had handed something to Elliot, he would have been like “the fuck is this” and thrown it away, but she didn’t, she very expertly slipped it into his pocket. It just looked like she was being clumsily, huffily getting past him. In fact, as she goes up the stairs, she readjusts her jacket and goes:

Hallie (as Sparky)
Still got it.

[Music ends.]

Tom
Looks like Kyle can eat his heart out.

Kyle
I’m gonna tell you, that was a brilliant play, because you’re about to learn something that I was waiting months to tell you.

Hallie
[Slaps her hands together.] HELL YEAH! Heist board! Heist board! Heist—This has nothing to do with a heist board.

Kyle
You start walking. You hear the various sounds of the street. At one point you hear Elliot run…

Hallie
Weird.

Kyle
…and he’s very out of breath.

Kyle (as Elliot)
[Gasping.] One gelato, please.

Tom
[Laughs.]

Kyle (as Lupe)
Of course. Coming right up!

Kyle
And then you can see the transaction, and you hear this voice say:

Kyle (as Lupe)
Anyway. So as I was saying, you can’t tell anyone that you knew Tio Lionel was coming.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
And eventually they keep walking, and you hear him stop at some point, and a voice says:

[Threatening ambient music begins.]

Kyle (as ???)
Oh, well hey there, son.

Kyle (as Elliot)
[Measured.] Hello… Earl.

Kyle (as Earl)
It’s great to meet ya. Come on in for a hug. Oh, okay, a one-hand side hug, that’s fine too… Yeah, so where are we gonna go from here?

Kyle (as Elliot)
The amphitheater is that way, Earl.

Kyle (as Earl)
[Chuckles.] Great. Great… I’m so excited to see Irene duel.

Kyle (as Elliot)
… Mm.

[Music ends. Whooshing sound signaling a scene change.]

Kyle (as Chazz)
And with that final blow, Team Walnut and Bean have won!

Kyle (as Sammy)
It must be real sad for the other team… because they lost, but remember, the bonds of teamwork and brotherhood overcome all losses.

Kyle
Irene and Hilda, it has been a while. You’ve seen many duels. Walnut, who was paired with some student named Bean, has just finished daer duel. You can see Walnut’s giving Freddie a thumbs up in the audience and giving you a thumbs up as well as dae walks past you, because you’re standing in line ready to go next on the duel.

Emily (as Irene)
All I ask is that you do not shame me.

Tom (as Hilda)
I was going to ask if we had a plan or a strategy, but that works too.

Emily (as Irene)
The plan is for me to battle and you to provide potential backup and clapping.

[00:55:00]

Tom (as Hilda)
I can do that. I can back-up.

Tom
And Hilda will wink in a very over-exaggerated way, like “yes, I understand what you’re telling me to do.”

[Quirky mischievous music plays.]

Emily (as Irene)
I don’t understand why you’re winking at me.

Tom (as Hilda)
I’m picking up what you’re saying. I’ll be the backup. Wink.

Emily (as Irene)
Great… yes…

Emily
Irene, very confused, goes to wink and then stops herself.

Tom
[Smiling.] So it’s just an eye twitch.

Kyle
[Laughs.]

Emily
Then steps just a tiny bit further away.

Kyle (as Chazz)
Alright! Now it’s time for our next contestants. On one side… Sammy, this is you.

Kyle (as Sammy)
Uh, yeah. So we’ve got, uh… Hilda Miszkiewicz—

Kyle (as Alina)
Woo! Hilda!

[Flat trombone sounds.]

Kyle
You can see there are these two women in the crowd in full clown makeup. Your mom Yulia has a giant trombone that she’s just playing in excitement while Alina pulls out a vuvuzela with a clown honker at the end of it and just starts honking it.

Tom
Hilda’s doing that thing where you hold up a hand to shield your face from embarrassing parents watching.

Tom (as Hilda)
[Groans.]

Emily
Irene does another slow turn.

Kyle
Hilda, you shield your eyes before you see the banner, but you can hear the confetti pop off of it.

Tom
No…

Kyle (as Sammy)
And uh… Irene Hawthorne.

Kyle
And there’s some clapping as well. Irene, do you check the audience at all?

Emily
Out of the corner of her eye, briefly.

[Music ends.]

Kyle
You see actually, next to Alina and Yulia, you see them scooch aside a little bit to let this older Kanien'kehà:ka or Mohawk man in.
[Silly ambling music begins.]
This man’s just a really nice-looking guy in his 60s. He exudes that friendly yet confused grandpa energy. He’s wearing a pretty standard white collar suit and tie which matches unfortunately well with his tired rectangular face. Although, he does seem to be pushing past that exhaustion for genuine, yet again confused, excitement.
Again, Hilda’s moms make space for this man to walk in and sit down… and then of course, next to your father, you see big brother is there too.

[Music ends.]

Emily
Irene does the embarrassed thing too.

Tom
Aww.

Kyle (as Chazz)
On the other side we’ve got, all the way from Flyover, Kansas… Katrina Kollect’em!

[Audience cheers.]

Kyle
This thin girl with fair skin and blonde hair walks out. She’s wearing cut-off rustic jorts, a plaid shirt with rolled-up jeans—with rolled-up sleeves, and a denim vest. She walks in like she owns the place.

Tom
The denim vest was rolled-up jeans.

[Laughter.]

[Swing music begins playing on in-world speakers.]

Kyle (as Chazz)
But coming even further, all the way from Tsarvia, we’ve got Annie Romanov!

Kyle
You hear on these speakers that aren’t the regular speakers, because the arches have speakers on them and they have little things showing the battle statistics, you hear music begin.
[Music ends abruptly.]
And the music suddenly cuts off.

[Ghostly credits music begins.]

Kyle (as Sammy)
We, uh… We don’t have time for intro songs or musical numbers right now.

Kyle (as ???)
[Shouting angrily.] Oh come on!

Kyle
And next to Katrina Kollect’em you see none other than the skeleton of Rasputin wearing a wig.

[Music swells and carries out to the bloopers.]

Kyle
I think that’s where we’re cutting Episode 1.

Tom
I’m so pleased he’s back. Oh, the little Boidelrats.

Kyle
I hope you all know, I use the coffee machine is broken as the sample complication every time I bring up this game.

Emily
That’s because it’s important.

Kyle
So, if we ever pick this, you will have to fight a character called the Coffee King, because that’s what I use in every single example. I say “I don't know, a coffee machine got broke and now you gotta face the Coffee King, and that’s how things spiral out of control.”

[01:00:00]

Hallie
The Coffee King wouldn’t dare cross Sparky Malarky again.

Tom
[Laughs.]

Kyle
No… The Coffee Queen would.

Hallie
Ugh, fuck.

Ari
Also, Hallie, you should be happy that Kyle didn’t choose to go with the true whale statue that we have that is not one whale but one whale and its baby whale, so it’s two whales.

Hallie
A baby whale is an acceptable size.

Ari
But it’s both. It’s the big whale and then the little whale is next to the other whale, so it’s two whales.

Hallie
It’s a baby. That’s…

Ari
Swimming next to each other.

Hallie
That’s fucking fine.

Kyle
Ari and I have been sitting on this lore for a very long time.

Ari
We have. I was really excited.

Hallie
I fucking imagine you have.

Ari
And the name of our statue is just “The Whale,” so it’s fine.

Hallie
Not “The Whales?”

Ari
No! It is “The Whale” even though it’s two whales.

Hallie
Wow! That’s false advertising. That is misleading.

Kyle
You get more whales for the price of one.

Hallie
The price of one is too high. This fucking whale.

Tom
Have we referenced meat at any point in this show so far? I can’t remember.

Kyle
We have not. I’ve had in my notes “if meat comes up, I am going to ask everyone how does food work if you only have Necromon.”

Hallie
Hmm.

Kyle
I was like, we’ll just do Pokémon rules, right? Pokémon—there’s just Pokémon and people. You have that instead of animals, so we don’t have to figure out “do all dogs go to heaven.”

Tom
[Disturbed sounds.]

Kyle
Then I told Ari this on the side, and she’s like “but Quique referenced real animals.”

Ari
[Laughing.] Yeah, I was like, you should have told me this earlier before I called—

Kyle
So I was like, maybe in Quique’s lifetime there was animals, and then the implication happened.

Tom
[Long groan.]

Ari
In the Pokémon game I played just before we started, there was a book where they talked about eating Water Pokémon and then throwing the bones of the Pokémon into the ocean and then the Pokémon regenerating…

Kyle
At least I’m not telling you that Lickitung is a delicacy, or the fucking lore of there was a post-apocalyptic event in Pokémon that has Pokémon souls held in artifacts that can be used for certain evolutions?

Tom
Are we fucking… Alpha Sapphire, Omega Ruby? Is that what I’m at? Because it sounds like that’s where we’re at.

Emily
So how do the plants get pollinated?

Kyle
Necrobees.

Ari
[Smiling.] Necrobees.

Emily
… Okay.

Hallie
[Laughs.]

Kyle
We still have Necromon.

Ari
“Eeb!” Because it’s a bee, backwards. “Eeb!”

Kyle
Eeb.

Hallie
Eeb.

Tom
Eeb.

Kyle
You didn’t save the whales, but you did save the bees.

Hallie
If one of them had to be saved, it’s the bees.