• Quest Friends!

Ep. 33: Questionable Measures, Part 15

Updated: Apr 29, 2019

It's never over with Lorraine. Except, this time, it is.

Listen as our heroes:

RESEARCH long-lost siblings!

LEARN what the Jagged Dream wanted with Argent!

ADD a few new members!

Content Warning: Spiders (36:50)

TRANSCRIPT (Downloadable Version):

[Opening theme, “Friends” by Miracle of Sound, plays and fades.]

Kyle (as Lorraine)

[Echoing slightly.] I guess Hopper Scotch left his best friend one last gift after all. Thank you, Misha Jarvis, we will see each other again.

Kyle

Lorraine's words echo through the auction hall of Roulettia's Tenth World Exhibit and Auction, but they rattle more so inside the mind of Hopper Scotch. What's kind of going on--going on there?

Hallie

Well Hopper’s watching Lorraine being dragged away, a sight he always thought he wanted. It isn't as satisfying, under these circumstances. As she calls out, "I'll see you again, Misha Jarvis," he feels a twinge of jealousy. He doesn't like that he's feeling that, but beating it back only makes the feelings of shame and being let down worse. If he beats back one negative emotion, another one just get stronger.

So he spends a time just watching that path that they took Lorraine down, even when she's out of sight.

He just kind of stands there with his hands in his pockets. It's the Tommy Funbuck jacket that he realizes when he puts his hands in his pockets. So he takes that jacket off, so it's just his jacket underneath, and then it takes off the Tommy Funbuck hat and tosses it to the side, and then he's in his clothes, sans hat. He still does not have his hat. And he just kind of stands like that for a while, thinking. His face is neutral. It's that zoned out thinking about stuff face that people get when they're zoned out and thinking about stuff.

[The Pythagorean Rhythm begins playing in the background, a soft, chiming tone like a music box.]

Kyle

In your mind, you can't help but but hear the Pythagorean Rhythm, your first song with Lorraine, replaying in your head. And eventually realized that it's not actually replaying, the sound is physically chirping away, coming out from something underneath the glass shards in front of you.

Hallie

After a few -- after he realizes ... it takes him longer than it would under normal circumstances, but he kind of turns down and then moves the rubble aside with his foot, and sees this replica Q-BO with like, a mini harmonicalculator built inside? And he's thinking, how did she remember this? This was never -- did she steal the sheet music? He's just like, so bewildered by this existing at all, and he doesn't want the Q-BO itself. Is there a way he could disconnect the small harmonicalculator?

Kyle

Yeah, if you pop it open there is literally nothing inside than the harmonicalculator and like a little projector that says the …

Hallie

Oh, okay. He's gonna take that. In his left jacket pocket is his other harmonicalculator. They both won't fit in one pocket. So he puts it in his right pocket. But before he does that he removes a letter that he keeps there, and then puts the second home on a calculator in it. And then he kind of opens up the letter--

[A slow, simple piano version of Hopper Scotch’s whistled western song begins to play.]

--and it is the original Lorraine letter that he received at age twelve, that was like, "I'm gonna call you Hopper!"

Ari

[Laughing incredulously.] Oh my god.

Hallie

--that has been in his pocket this whole time. He's gonna look at it for a second and then start to rip it. As soon as the rip gets to the words on it, though, he goes, "A-ah!" and then refolds it up really gently and then puts it in his side pocket.

Kyle

So congratulations -- so everybody, congratulations are in order. We beat Roulettia! Hooray.

Tom

Oh my God.

Kyle

[Kyle begins singing the victory music from Final Fantasy.] So, um, we've got a lot of things to resolve, a lot of exposition to get through.

[Upbeat electric guitar music plays.]

Before we do that, just, everybody, if anyone wants to take recovery rolls up to their -- I think it's 10 hour recovery roll, right?

Ari

I am at full health.

Everyone

[Laughter.]

Tom

Fuck you.

Hallie

Great.

Tom

You didn't even spend any effort on that? It was effortless, defeating Lorraine?

Hallie

Great, ah, yeah, that's great. Uh, healing is D6 plus your level right?

Kyle

D6 plus your tier. I'll let you know when you all get together, but you don't have to do this separately. So we're going to start with Misha's conversation with Q-BO. So, how do you respond? How do you respond when Q-BO says, "Oh! Jarvis is my name!"

Ari

Ah, well, Misha doesn't really know how to respond to that. I mean, that's just completely out of left field. They were about to do other things.

Kyle

I had things to do today, now my backstory exposition is coming up.

Ari

Exactly. Yeah, no I just wanted to go to see how Xoc was doing, they wanted to just like, I don't know! Do other things. But no, now they have forgotten about all of these other things and they are just staring at Q-BO.

Ari (as Misha)

Please explain yourself, please elaborate.

[A cheerful robotic ping as Q-BO processes.]

Kyle (as Q-BO)

Just A Rather Very Intelligent System, or the J.A.R.V.I.S line, created by Dr. Signus Collodi. Started year Y74.

Kyle

And in in our time we count backwards, so Y74 means 74 years ago.

[5:02)

Kyle (as Q-BO)

Discontinued year Y45. Revived upon Collodi's expiration year Y12. The Jarvis line was comprised of advanced androids that pursued and safeguarded information, each bearing an acronym related to their tasks.

[Another ping.]

For example, the Mechanically Automated Research And Study Lifeform or M.A.R.S.H.A.L. Jarvis.

Ari

What? No.

Hallie

[Laughter.]

Kyle (as Q-BO)

A mining robot designed to see out and catalog compositional data on Numenera.

Ari (as Misha)

[Weakly.] Ohhhh, no.

Kyle (as Q-BO)

[Another ping.]

The Incalculable Quorum of Beneficial Outputs, Q-BO, a friendly assistant -- that's me -- designed to process information into an understandable format.

[Another ping.]

The Machine In Suit of Human Armor, or Misha, a mathematical culmination of the human form, assigned to grasp the vast complexity of humanity.

[Another ping.]

Collodi spent a collective 163,455 hours designing nine JARVIS prototypes. None of these prototypes were put into production, and the JARVIS line went into hiatus in year Y45 after a string of self-reported moral and technical failures.

Ari (as Misha)

Mmm.

[Strumming electronic music, evocative of an informational company video, plays.]

Kyle (as Q-BO)

In year Y12, JET.CO assumed the unofficial rights to Collodi's designs. JET.CO found the designs too expensive and removed parts of the robotics deemed unnecessary, such as the ethics and philosophy subroutine in the scientifically focused M.A.R.S.H.A.L. line, and all links to information related to Jarvis and Collodi in all lines.

On a sidebar, if I am allowed to make one, this does seem unwise, as I did have to devote 58% of my processing power to reform my link to the JARVIS and Collodi files in my database.

[Q-BO pings again, continuing.]

Of the JARVIS lines 8 of the prototypes were put into full production. The ninth was not. The designs for the Misha Jarvis prototype were found by JET.CO to be incomplete, despite logs reporting on a functioning prototype. However, as JET.CO had already designed the shells for these robots, they uploaded their own programming into the Misha line shells, using them as performers, door guards, and any other position that required a perfectly sculpted friendly face. The status of the Misha Jarvis prototype has been officially listed as "not created" and the designs, upon further inspection, have been deemed impossible to complete with current technological knowledge.

[A pause, and Q-BO pings one more time.]

Would you like me to update the information about your existence in my database?

Ari

Mmm. [Clears throat uncomfortably.] I have one question. When when Q-BO mentions Collodi, does Misha like, does Misha recognize that name?

Kyle

You would recognize -- because you've gotten that moment from underneath, where you didn't have much of your memories. It's been coming back in waves and you do remember --

Ari

Yeah.

Kyle

Seeing the name Collodi, and feeling rage, and anger, and like pain and hurt.

Ari

Hmm. Uh, well ... Misha’s gonna say …

Ari (as Misha)

[Hesitantly, in shock.] No. No, that's that's...okay, Q-BO. You don't need to update anything. In fact, I would rather you don't. What ... do you have any additional information on the Misha Jarvis line?

Kyle (as Q-BO)

[Q-BO beeps.]

Processing.

[The sound of keystrokes, and a cheerful tone indicating a successful search.]

Accessing the logs on multiple robot files. Pulling up M.A.R.S.H.A.L.

Kyle

And you see a handful of paper, hand-drawn papers, get projected out from Q-BO.

Ari (as Misha)

Well, no, I -- I do not want to see M.A.R.S.H.A.L.’s design or anything. I-I would rather not associate that with the Jarvis line. I just want to know more about the Misha Jarvis.

Kyle (as Q-BO)

I understand. Pulling up the Misha files.

Kyle

And you see a stack of papers that fills like, you know, a small corner of the wall with the stuff about M.A.R.S.H.A.L.,

[Quick synth music, Misha’s android theme, begins to play.]

And suddenly everywhere -- literally every floor and ceiling and walls of the room is filled with projected images of hand-drawn, scribbled out, redacted notes on the Misha Jarvis robot. And Q-BO will say,

Kyle (as Q-BO)

Collodi considered the Misha Jarvis line, which he eventually just started calling Misha, as the pinnacle of his creation.

Kyle

And as he does that you can see a little model in front of you--

Ari

[Softly, laughing a little in surprise] Oh, God.

Kyle

--and it's labeled by colors. And it's identical to you, except both eyes are gray.

Kyle (as Q-BO)

His aspirations had included the acquisition of skills and the relentless pursuit of human knowledge. However, past the shell, his designs never seemed to be completed.

Ari (as Misha)

You mentioned something about Collodi's interruption of some sort. It appears as if the line--uh, my line was interrupted in its design, is that correct?

Kyle (as Q-BO)

[A cheerful robotic ping as Q-BO processes.]

On reports that I can find, that information is inaccurate. Collodi's expiration was in year Y12. However, his notes about the Misha Jarvis model do correlate with his discontinuation of the Jarvis line in year Y45, as well as his logs recording a string of moral and technical failures.

Ari

So what you're saying is that he died way after it was like, discontinued.

[10:00]

Kyle

Yeah, he died 12 years ago and he discontinued the line 45 years ago.

Ari

So it was discontinued, it should have said.

Kyle

Yeah.

Ari (as Misha)

Okay. What are your reasons, again, for its discontinuation? It said something about ethical failures? I am just confused. I...I am not discontinued.

Kyle (as Q-BO)

[Q-BO pings.]

Searching.

[A short error buzzer sounds.]

Records specifically alluding to the failures cannot be found. However,

[Another ping.]

There is one statement that appears odd, as Collodi's logs became less interested, once he started referring to a unspecified "her."

[Synth music picks up again.]

Notes state that "she is watching," "she will know," and if he keeps any more records, she will find them and use them against him, and so he must not keep records or she will bring all of his work to ruin.

Ari (as Misha)

She ... but you have no information on who this person is.

Kyle (as Q-BO)

I have found logs of 11 dozen individuals who have been assigned she/her pronouns. Of the period in which Collodi refused to specify information, only one name has been found: Ein.

Ari (as Misha)

Ein. What--what does this ... is this an acronym? Is this a name? Is there more information about this person?

Kyle (as Q-BO)

[Another ping.]

Searching.

[Another buzzer.]

No more information can be found.

Ari (as Misha)

Really ... alright. I-I-I-I have two more questions for you, Q-BO. I do apologize for taking your time., but I hope you understand this is very important for me. I … um, the first one of which is, what were the circumstances surrounding Collodi's expiration? I just … want to know, was it just common human old age? Was there any successors to his work besides this person? This ... is this Ein person related to ... to his ... to his expiration date?

Kyle (as Q-BO)

[A ping.]

JET.CO has purged that information from my database.

Hallie

[Startled laughter.]

Ari (as Misha)

[Sighs.] I see. I have one final question. I might ...

Ari

And as they say that, they are going to approach the, whatever prototype is like projecting the other Misha, and they're gonna look at Q-BO and say,

Ari (as Misha)

Is there any records of an android like me? Meaning, I see that these prototypes have, well, they're ... their design in their eye coloration is both gray, but I recognize that I am one of these. But I am also different from all of the ones I've seen.

Ari

And then they're going to kind of take their hair off their left eye and say,

Ari (as Misha)

Is there any record of an android, of a Misha Jarvis line that has two colored eyes like me?

Kyle (as Q-BO)

There are only records related to one Misha Jarvis prototype, and from our information, Collodi has never made more than one master model.

Ari (as Misha)

That is certainly strange. Thank you, Q-BO. I … I have a lot of other questions, but I don't think you will be able to answer them. I-I-I recognize that you are limited on your ability to answer this informations, but I certainly appreciate you sharing it with me. It really has been useful

Kyle (as Q-BO)

Of course. Misha Jarvis, may I be allowed to ask you a question?

Ari (as Misha)

Certainly. I believe it's only fair after I have asked so many questions of you.

Kyle (as Q-BO)

You have spent your time understanding humanity. It appears that I have been discarded from my originally designed purpose. Knowing humanity, what should I do?

Ari (as Misha)

Well, you can do whatever you want, really. I like to explore new things about humanity and the world in general, and that has been really fulfilling to me. But I've also grown to understand that it's also fun to do it with other people, with other humans. It's a better way to learn the world so you could always, if you wanted, join us.

Kyle (as Q-BO)

Processing. I have found that my enjoyment comes from sharing information with individuals who might need it. I will join you and your companions.

[Inspirational music plays.]

Ari (as Misha)

Yes, you, you're more than welcome to do that, Q-BO. We promise not to steal you, and you are free to leave whenever you want. We won't stop you from doing what you want.

Kyle (as Q-BO)

I appreciate that. As I cannot currently leave with my functionality, I will practice … mobility.

Kyle

And as Misha looks, you can see the thing, the images start to kind of swirl around you a little bit, They like, rock a little bit, and we can see that Q-BO is just rocking himself back and forth to practice rolling.

Tom

[Cooing.] Ohhhh!

Kyle

And that is Misha and Q-BO! So now, a question. We've resolved Q-BO and we've resolved most of the things that have been going on, but there was one big thing that we haven't resolved yet, and that's...that’s Argent. Do any of you look into, uh, into what the fuck was going on with Argent?

Hallie

Hop does.

Kyle

Okay. So Hop, I'm gonna say you probably, you probably talked to a couple of the Revolutionary folks. Probably Viv and Baby Jason. And they eventually grab you, and then they take you down to a back room. And in the room, you can see a bunch of really small boxes labeled fragile, and they're kind of stacked up in the room. And as you're coming in, you can see a couple of human sized black bags being dragged out of the room, and Baby Jason is looking really, really sick and really bad. And Viv’s just like,

[15:08]

Kyle (as Viv)

It'll be okay Baby Jason. They're--they’re just gonna sleep for a while.

Kyle

And she's gonna walk over to you and she’s going to say

Kyle (as Viv)

So, uh, so you said you were looking for a thing called Argent, right?

Hallie (as Hopper)

Yeah. Yeah. I saw the demonstration, but I guess I wanted to know more about it. I mean, is that the only one that exists? Is it mass-produced?

Kyle (as Viv)

Well, I've got good news for you. Do you want the good news first, or the bad news?

Hallie (as Hopper)

Uh, the good news, I guess.

Kyle (as Viv)

Well, the good news is that there are folks who know how to make Argent. The bad news is that they're dea--

Kyle

And she looks over at Baby Jason and looks back.

Kyle (as Viv)

Sleeping. I was looking for Argent, but Baby Jason was the one who found it.

Kyle

And Baby Jason is like,

Kyle (as Baby Jason)

Yeah. Yeah. No, I found it. It's right here!

Kyle

And he slams the top left box, and you can see they're all labeled with each of the exhibits, and you can see all the boxes. And he says,

Kyle (as Baby Jason)

It was really hard to find, because you know, you said it was super big, but then I found out that these boxes like, they're big boxes, and they shrink to fit their exhibits inside of them.

Kyle

And you see that all the, uh, the space beneath all the boxes are labeled, and there's one that says Argent.

And the box is missing.

And then it hits you: the workers behind Argent are dead. The guards are missing. Argent is gone.

[Deep, menacing, music plays.]

Your mind flashes back to the Jagged Dreams paste-it note. You realize it said .. shopping list: Easy Life, the Argent, and this thing, this thing being the atlas. It never said Q-BO. And you go through all the things the Jagged Dream got. They got the breytnir battery from Tommy Funbuck's Easy Life pod. They tried to steal the atlas page from you. If Argent is gone …

Hallie (as Hopper)

[Long exhalation of realization.]

Kyle

The reason they drew a correlation between Argent and Q-BO wasn't because they cared about Q-BO, but because they needed to know when Argent was going to be taken down, which just so happened to correlate with the time Q-BO went up to auction.

Tom

[Upset, incredulous noises of realization.]

Kyle

It was also mentioned that because Tommy Funbuck didn't trust his workers, he was going to have a higher guard present when the workers were going to be putting the exhibits up.

One could interpret from that, that when the workers bring it down, there also had to be a higher guard present and since the Jagged Dream was already part of the guard, it was a pretty simple thing for them to wait as the workers packed up Argent, put it into a small box, carried it out, and then got gunned down by all the Jagged Dream soldiers disguised as guards.

Hallie

Every time I think Hop can't get any lower. He ... as he comes to this realization, staring at where the Argent box should be, he'll just quietly say…

Hallie (as Hopper)

[Subdued.] Thanks for telling me, Jason. I, uh, really appreciate it.

Kyle

All right. So, um, we have--Misha's learned a lot more about their past, Hop has realized he's been bamboozled. Again.

I think at this point you all kind of get together, you realize--you find out that Mauve and Everett had helped join the Revolution a little bit, so they meet up with you. Xoc has gotten a bit of a talking-to about Loell. Like just, we don't need to play it through, because it was just a motherly like, “you're concerning me so much! You got to tell me when you're going into dangerous situations like that so I can have your back!”

Tom

We can move through it. More fun banter and bonding occurs.

Kyle

So Hop, Misha, Elee, Xoc, Loell, Q-BO, and then Mauve. You all get together and you've recovered, I'm assuming, from the rubble, you've recovered that tri-stand that contained all the gifts Lorraine had promised for you. When you all get back together, what is it like? Because you've all kind of been off doing your own thing. So, you pick it up and you all get together.

Emily

I do want to really briefly speak to Hop, and we don't have to like walk away or anything, just in like a lower voice, she’s going to be, like,

Emily (as Elee)

Where's your hat?

Hallie (as Hopper)

I lost it.

Hallie

That's all he says.

Hallie (as Hopper)

I lost it.

Emily

She's gonna like pull him into a really, really short, rough hug. One pat on the back, and then like edge away a little bit and just be like,

Emily (as Elee)

[Gruffly.] Hat's my thing anyway.

Hallie

Hopper smiles at that but then doesn't say anything else.

Tom

So yeah, I mean if Misha is interested Xoc has still got like, this horrible gash on his shoulder--

Hallie

[Incredulous wheeze.]

Emily

Oh no!

Tom

--robes soaked with blood. Like, I'm--I assume the bleeding has stopped now like, they haven't just been bleeding out for 20 minutes or however long this is, but …

Kyle

Hey Misha, have you seen a bloody arm before? Look how cool this is!

Emily

[Laughter.]

Tom

No, no, that's just like if Ari wants to react to that, that's a ... that's what Xoc looks like right now.

Kyle

I still like to believe that Xoc a little bit was like wow, maybe Misha'll find this cool, look.

Ari

Look, I'm so cool.

Tom

So is Misha still wearing the spandex right now?

Kyle and Emily

[Laughter.]

Ari

Yes.

Tom

Okay.

Ari

[Laughing] Because I assume I haven't gotten back for my clothes.

Tom

Yeah, so, so Xoc is also going to notice that,

Ari

[Laughter.]

Tom

And blush and look away, and like look back again. And then look away again.

Tom, Emily, and Ari

[Laughter.]

Ari

Misha is certainly going to notice that blushing, and then look at the gash, and say,

[20:00]

[A chiptune/MIDI version of “Seasons of Love” from RENT begins playing in the background.]

Ari (as Misha)

This--was this a product of the combat or is this something else? I...seem to be noticing some symptoms on you.

Hallie

[Laughing.] Some symptoms.

Tom (as Xoc)

No. No, we we got into a ... we got into a combat. It was ... it was regular Bob from--from Lorraine's agency. We stopped him.

Ari (as Misha)

Good. Ah--

Tom (as Xoc)

You were pretty cool out there, too.

Ari

And then Misha is going to -- if they could blush, they would blush at that part. They would like look away a little bit from Xoc.

Ari (as Misha)

Well, uh, I bet you were really cool too, even though I couldn't see it. But I also noticed your face is red again, as from before.

Tom (as Xoc)

...Oh.

Hallie

[Snort of laughter.]

Emily and Ari

[Laughter.]

Tom

That's all he says.

Kyle

And as you’re having this moment, we notice Mauve, after all this hellhole, finally found all of you, and she just walks up and she’s like,

Kyle (as Mauve)

Starting a revolution, running headfirst into a rorathik's mouth, and confronting Lorraine Stiles in front of the most powerful of Roulettia? Well, I'm real proud of all you kids.

Kyle

And she turns over to Elee.

Kyle (as Mauve)

And ma'am.

Tom

[Wheeze of laughter.]

Emily

Elee's gonna punch her on the shoulder, not like hard -- well like, a little hard because it's Elee, but like like a friendly punch.

Kyle (as Mauve)

I hate to ask this after such a strong victory, but we're, uh, we’re still out of granulated azure. Were you able to find it anywhere?

Emily (as Elee)

Got it off a body.

Emily

I’m gonna give it to her.

Kyle

Not the granulated -- just the tripod -- she's gonna hold it and be like,

Kyle (as Mauve)

Ah, Elee Badge, I don't know what this is, and I don't know what you think granulated azure is, but this is neither granulated, nor azure.

Tom (as Xoc)

You've gotta feed it the coupons, and it'll give us what we were promised.

Emily (as Elee) and Kyle (as Mauve)

Ohhhhhh!

Hallie

Who has the coupons, do we all have our own coupons?

Kyle

I think you all have your own.

Hallie

Okay

[Soft, calm woodwind music plays.]

Kyle

Mauve feeds in hers, and out like water that dripped into a shape -- it's like upside -- like the water drips upside down, like a liquid version of this jar of pliable azure drips out and takes form on top of this tri-footed speaker. And it just pops into existence, and there's a jar, and she catches it and then pockets it.

Who else puts in their coupons?

Tom

Yeah, I'll put in my coupon.

Kyle

All right. You put in the thing, and you pull out a small, adorable locket.

Ari

I put mine.

Kyle

All right, Misha, you put yours in

[Swingy jazz music plays.]

And even in a liquid form you can hear this like -- ratatat, ratatat, bratatat bratatat bratatat bratatat, and then boop, just these, like, very jet black wing tips pop out, and these are just like really fancy, like they're a mix between a formal wingtip shoes and like tap dancing shoes. And you take them and they will make they make just the most like interesting tip-tap sound.

Ari

They put them on immediately.

Hallie

[Laughter.]

Emily

I'll put in mine.

Kyle

Out pops the Macy Day Hatpin.

[Cheery, 1950’s-style advertisement music plays.]

And like the advertisement said, it does not have sentience, but it does have googly eyes and it absolutely pricks your fingers when you take it out.

Emily

Imma stick it in my hat.

Kyle

You hear the little Thimble robot you put in there like -- [Whistles.] Like whirr in like alarm, and then it adjusts itself when you put in the pin.

Ari

Awwww.

Emily

Can I pat it?

Hallie

[Laughter.]

Kyle

You can. [He whistles again, more cheerful this time.] There's like a little like, calming down whistle.

Emily

Guys, at some point I'm gonna have to name that thing.

Tom

Yes.

Hallie

Please do.

Kyle

Hop, do you put in your coupon?

Hallie

He hesitates, but he does.

[Soft, noble adventuring music plays.]

Kyle

You would swear the sun shines out of this: the Historical Adventure Journal. It includes all the greatest, most boring adventurers that have ever crossed throughout the Steadfast, including --

Emily

[Laughter.]

Hallie

Most boring adventurers, is that what you just said? [Laughter.]

Kyle

Yes, including Jameson Hopper.

Hallie

[Sadly.] Ohh, Jameson wasn't boring

Kyle

Uh, Hallie, Hopper -- the book? It's very dry.

Hallie

[Frustrated exhale.]

Kyle

It is very hard to read.

Hallie

[Sighing.] God damn it.

Kyle

And you love it.

Hallie

Yeah, he does.

Kyle

It is the perfect gift, which funnily enough is my last Leslie Knope reference for Lorraine Stiles.

Hallie

Oh, fuck youuuu. Fuck youuuu.

Tom

One bullet left.

Hallie

How dare you? Oh my God.

Um, he's gonna flip through it to find out that it's very dry and very wonderful, and then he's going to take the letter that he put back in his side pocket earlier, and then is going to stick it in the book like a bookmark.

Ari

Oh my God, why!

Tom

[Pained noise.]

Kyle

You’re just killing us, Hallie. I'm just dead inside.

Hallie

[Laughter.]

Emily

Who has the coupon for the Jagged Dream dossier?

Kyle

I was just gonna say, you stick it in. I, uh --

Emily

Oh, okay!

Hallie

[Laughter.]

Kyle

As we finally stick in the dossier -- and I'm going to put I'm gonna send some music to you all.

[The music begins with the slow, ominous chords of a guitar. It builds quietly in the background into the Jagged Dream’s sinister theme.]

As you learned back in Charmonde, the Jagged Dream is split into three cells, and each cell focuses on one of the cult's main ideals: patience, action, and strife. Members of each cell receive an imprint on their bodies, and these imprint tattoos allow them to influence a specific type of life, and the simpler the life, the greater the influence.

[25:06]

The first one you see is Patience, with the ideal that great change requires great preparation. The imprint or tattoo that you see is a clock with clearly visible gears, and members of this cell have the ability to exert influence over mechanical life. So for a simpler kind of mechanical life, a simple machine like an automated lever, like a motive--a lever with a motor on it, they could exert total control, which is why back in Charmonde they were able to exert influence over the gears of that great machine. A semi-sentient machine, they might be able to suggest ideas to, and a fully sentient machine, something like Q-BO, they can't make big changes but can potentially influence their emotions.

The leader of the cell is Vera Layeni. She's a master infiltrator who spent years gaining the trust of Queen Armalu of Charmonde. Her tattoo is on the back of a prosthetic hand. This hand is stronger than most under most circumstances, but when Vera is under extreme duress, it can take energy from the rest of her body, including her mind, clouding her judgment, but creating a giant fist that she can use to basically smash.

The second cell is the cell of Action: the ideal that one must not hesitate when things must be done. The tattoo you see here is a black raptor swooping downwards, and members of this cell can influence organic life. The leader of the cell is Arias Folon, and by Arias you see a drawing of the Blue Fairy and suddenly you understand why she was able to exert control over those beetles, since they were simple enough for her to exert complete control over. Arias' tattoo covers her entire back, with the wings of the raptor matching up with the blue beetle wings that extend from her back. Arias believes that words only serve to postpone action, and as a result, she's sewn her lips shut by a thin blue thread.

[The music picks up, more militant, edgier.]

And finally you encounter the cell you haven't met yet. You encounter Strife, the ideal, the pinnacle ideal of the Jagged Dream that through violence comes change. And strife has a tattoo of a small knife with a serrated blade, and the type of life it can influence is something you haven't heard of before. It's called stratic life. Stratic life is life from the Datasphere itself, a consciousness without form layered on top of the rest. Something like this might be the Nano spirits that Xoc collaborates with. They're not organic. They're not mechanical, but they are something else, and that kind of life is called stratic. The leader of strife is named Ezra.

You don't get a last name for Ezra, and you don't get a whole lot of information at all. All you learn is that Ezra was an adept warrior forged by strife. They're impulsive, secretive, and self-serving. And unlike the other two, unlike Vera and Arias, it's not known if Ezra even really believes in the Jagged Dream’s cause. That doesn't make them any less dangerous though.

Five years ago Ezra facilitated the Coup of Ancuan, a war where Queen Anastasia Brackleberry regained her throne, but at the cost of massive destabilization to her region. The Strife cell simultaneously razed the fields of the war-forging Pyranthion Empire, hoping the Empire would attempt to take over Ancuan's resources. The war between the Pyranthion Empire and Ancuan never did happen, but it didn't have to. The coup of Ancuan ultimately was practice. War between Charmonde and Qi is endgame, and if they were able to almost create war with a third of their resources, there's no doubt they could do it with all three cells working together.

[The music shifts again, to a xylophone-esque, sneaky, heist theme.]

And with that, you finally make it to the Jagged Dream’s plan. You see that the Jagged Dream had notes on Tommy Funbuck, and it looks like they discovered his secret about regeneration before you did. You also see the parts that were mentioned in the paste-it note, with a few additions. So you see schematics for the breytnir battery. You see Argent, you see the atlas, and you also see actual design documents for the EZ-Life brand itself. It looks like they had figured out how to create the EZ- Life brand, so they didn't need to steal anything.

The note says that currently Jagged Dream members from across the steadfast are implanting Easy Life brands on hundreds of thousands of bodies using parties, secret meetings, whatever they can to get this brand on whomever they can, and in one week, one week exactly, a message will be broadcast throughout the Datasphere activating the brands, and funneling the energy, the life from the wearers, into the breytnir battery, which will convert that energy into something Argent can use. Hundreds of thousands of people will die, and the Jagged Dream will have the power to pull whatever horror they want from whatever part of time.

Lorraine doesn't know what they're planning on pulling, but she was able to isolate the one thing that could broadcast a message so far across the Datasphere.

[Music shifts again to a cheesy, cheerful advertisement theme.]

[29:49]

And that's when you see, among all this doom and gloom, a brightly colored advertisement for something called Semester at Sky, presented by the University of Qi. Semester at Sky is a selective program that will take place on the luxury airship The Prodigious. The Prodigious is a massive dirigible built on the skeleton of a piece of Numenera that can communicate with the Datasphere itself. It uses this Datasphere connection for navigation, for internal, external communication, for timers when to start the ovens for breakfast. Everything about this ship is relayed through this powerful Datasphere Numenera, but as cool and as neat as it is, deep down, you know what The Prodigious is. It's nothing more than a titanic show of wealth and military power.

Tom

God damn you.

Tom (as Xoc)

We need to stop this.

Tom

Is all Xoc will say, but also goddamn you Kyle.

Hallie and Emily

[Laughter.]

Kyle

And with everyone looking over your shoulder, like Loell's there, Mauve's there. Mauve suddenly bursts out,

Kyle (as Mauve)

Huh, that's odd, the professor said she was going to be a part of that thing. The Prodigious wasn't supposed to set sail for another year. Qi must be really on edge after everything that's happened in Charmonde. They really need to show that they're powerful, and that is dangerous.

Tom (as Xoc)

So if we found the professor then, would she be able to get us inside? Help us stop what's going on? And we could talk to her about Aegon too, maybe learn about the Apocrita.

Kyle (as Mauve)

Well, yeah. No, that sounds--that sounds perfect, Xoc. I know the professor. I know that even if this thing is leaving a year early, she ain't gonna pass up the opportunity to do it. If you can get on that boat, you can find the professor, and vice versa. If you can find the professor, you can get on the boat. You know, it's really whatever happens first.

Tom (as Xoc)

Well, then --

Emily (as Elee)

I don't like boats.

Kyle (as Mauve)

Well, it's really more of an Airship. A boat is kind of just a general term I'm using. It's more of like a flying boat, in the air.

Emily (as Elee)

Worse.

Tom (as Xoc)

I guess we have no time to lose. All roads lead to Qi right now. We better go get this--this steel to Mako, then.

Kyle (as Mauve)

All right, let's get going

[Playful, derpy music begins to play.]

Ari (as Misha)

Before we do this. I would request that I can change into my proper … vestment, as this is quite uncomfortable.

Kyle

And at that point Mauve looks over to you at the first time and you just you just hear her say,

Kyle (as Mauve)

[Scandalized.] Misha Jarvis! Yes, I think we can arrange that.

Kyle

So you all get ready to go back to the car, and Misha goes, ready to get their clothes. And as you do Elee, you turn over and you see Soe is kind of looking at you, but it's different from last time.

[Calm, slow, tinkling music plays, Soe’s theme.]

She's still standing there her arms crossed, but this time they're crossed across what looks like a giant, like twice as big snowboard, which is what she used, uh, which is her flying device that she used to fly in June to save you. Well, try to save you from Regular Bob.

You can also see that she hasn't put her hair back in a bow at this point. It's not all out, but it is kind of in a much looser shape. It looks like this time around she's kept it in kind of a loose, uh, loose circular bun on top of her head just like, that spirals up like a little bit of an ice cream cone. And you can see she's just kind of looking at you, and and she's been listening in, and she walks up and she’s like,

Kyle (as Soe)

Well, I guess that means you gotta go on--on your adventure now, doesn't that?

Emily (as Elee)

You did a good job.

Kyle (as Soe)

Yeah. Thanks for letting me help. I ... that meant a lot to me, that ... that I was able to help, and that I'm really glad I got to meet my mother, if only for one day,

Emily (as Elee)

You know, Soe, with the hair like that, you ... you remind me a lot of your dad. I ... messed up a lot when I met you, but you're my kid, and if you want to come along, you’d be a good member of the team.

[Upbeat, inspirational music plays.]

Kyle

And her face, and her eyes, and her everything just brightens up and she just squeaks out,

Kyle (as Soe)

You mean, you want me to go on adventures with you?

Emily (as Elee)

Yeah, Soe. However, there will be a couple of rules --

Kyle

Your voice is cut off as just like, five book bags are slammed into your arms. And she’s like,

Kyle (as Soe)

All right. Well, June had me pack these ahead of time. Um, she also gave me this?

Kyle

And you can see she just has a fucking fountain of money in her hands, which is going to equate to 30 shins for each of you.

Tom

Woo!

Hallie

Woo!

Kyle

So each of you will get 30 shins, and she’s like,

Kyle (as Soe)

June gave me--gave me all of Steven's earnings. I--I decided to leave Steven with June just to keep her some company.

Tom

[Cooing.] Ohhh!

Kyle

And in the distance, you can just hear a --

Kyle (as June)

[A low, exasperated groan.]

Hallie

[Laughter.]

Kyle (as Soe)

But she said she really wanted me to have, have what was, was -- she wanted me to have a little bit of spending money before I go. So, um, [Squeak of excitement.].

Kyle

So she just gets really excited, and then she she skips off. She just like hops over to Everett and starts excitedly gesturing to him, and he's just like, scoffing a little bit, like “it's not a big deal,” but you can see that like, his energy is picked up too, that he has acquired a new friend.

Emily

[Tearfully.] That's my baby!

Tom

Ahh!

Emily

I'm so proud of her. She's not real but I'm proud!

Hallie and Emily

[Laughter.]

Kyle

So you make your way down from the tower in the center of Roulettia. There's nothing left of Tommy Funbuck's empire other than a literal and metaphorical puddle.

[35:00]

A--a new fire has been lit in the heart of Roulettia. And for the first time, as you leave a city, you're not greeted with the chilling winds of a cloud that has taken it away, or the screaming yells of Gendarme soldiers determined to kill you.

For the first time, you're met with sounds of joy, [The sound of an applauding crowd plays.] and sounds of cheer, and Roulettia's cheers echo across all of the Steadfast, skimming the land and climbing the clouds skyward. And alongside those cheers, we too climb higher and higher. First, we see the fires of Roulettia, burning bright with revolution. Then we see the tangled hairs of the surrounding hillside.

We watch towns living on unaware of Roulettia's liberation, with no real understanding of the ways in which their world has been irreparably changed. A few hundred feet higher, and a small bump in the skyline graces our vision, marking the powerful city of Charmonde, although from here it just looks quaint. And yet still we keep climbing and climbing, until the colors of the countryside fade into the brightness of the sky, which then disappears into a violent, glassy wind.

The sound comes first: a harsh whistle of tumbling glass, followed by the light footsteps [Insect-like clicking and crawling sounds play.] of hundreds of thousands of spiders. But soon enough, we do see the shards. Black obsidian glass tiles magnetized to their siblings and forming a sputtering, spiraling cloud. We brush ourselves through that storm, past the cutting winds and starving arachnids, into a large cracked dome.

And in the center of this dome, beneath the silencing shadow, stands the image of a cobblestone courtyard with a towering motionless knight keeping watch by the fountain in its center. In this place, the turmoil of the outside world is muted. Its chaos and unpredictability nothing more than muffled thoughts.

In this place, time stands still.

And then, the knight turns.

The Apocrita moves.

[Menacing, sinister synthy music, the Apocrita’s theme, rises and plays.]

Kyle

Hey, it's Kyle. Thanks so much for listening to Quest Friends, Chapter 3: Questionable Measures. We'll be back in two weeks with a mini arc going through Elee's memories, and then from there we'll be going on to our next full arc. So be sure to sign up for updates at the bottom of QuestFriendsPodcast.com, or follow us on social media for updates on all of that. Our intro song is “Friends,” by Miracle of Sound.

[39:31 end]


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Numenera and its logo are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC in the U.S.A. and other countries. All Monte Cook Games characters and character names, and the distinctive likenesses thereof, are trademarks of Monte Cook Games, LLC. Content derived from Monte Cook Games publications is © 2013-2017 Monte Cook Games, LLC. Read the full disclaimer here.​

Intro/Outro music by MiracleOfSound

Intro: "Friends" (YouTube, Bandcamp)

Outro: "Hitoshio" (YouTube, Bandcamp)