Episode 75: “Ad Nihilo”

Season 3 Cast and Crew Q&A – Part 1 The Sheridan Tapes

Support the Season 4 Crowdfunding Campaign: seedandspark.com/fund/sheridantapes4Join us for the first of three Q&A Specials for Season 3, featuring Virginia Spotts (writer/producer/Kate Sheridan), Trevor Van Winkle (writer/creator/Sam Bailey), Airen Neeley Chaconas (Airen Neeley Chaconas), Amitola Lomas (Maria Sol), Ezra J Wayne (Ned Leroux), Kris Allison (Dana Caldwell), and Jesse Haugen (composer).For more information and additional content, visit thesheridantapes.comSupport this show http://supporter.acast.com/sheridantapes. Become a member at https://plus.acast.com/s/SheridanTapes. Hosted on Acast. See acast.com/privacy for more information.

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Listen on Spotify

CONTENT WARNING: Strong elements of existential dread and terror, peril, unreality, memory loss, implied gore and body horror, loud noises, earthquakes, distorted audio, and severe character injury

01292020c: Armageddon

Support the Season 4 Crowdfunding Campaign: seedandspark.com/fund/sheridantapes4

Season Wrap Party Livestream – 6pm PST Saturday, November 12: https://youtu.be/33yr92pn_5Q
Submit questions for the Season 3 Q&As: https://forms.gle/7fxuTBEtf6TUDpDW6

Starring Maurice Cooper as Jerry Price, Madeleine Hamley as the janitor, Sam Taylor as Ren Park, Kris Allison as Dana Caldwell, Max Marshall as the accountant, Stephen Indrisano as the technician, Connor Bushoven as the electrician, Oliver Smith as the Oroborus, Trevor Van Winkle as Sam Bailey, Virginia Spotts as Kate Sheridan, and Ezra J. Wayne as Ned Leroux, with original music by Jesse Haugen. Written by Trevor Van Winkle and produced by Virginia Spotts, with dialogue editing and sound design by Trevor Van Winkle. This episode was made possible by our supporters at Patreon.com/homesteadcorner, ko-fi.com/homesteadcorner, and our backers on Seed&Spark.

For more information, additional content, and episode transcript, visit thesheridantapes.com

Script

Transcript

CONTENT WARNING: Strong elements of existential dread and terror, peril, unreality, memory loss, implied gore and body horror, loud noises, earthquakes, distorted audio, and severe character injury

[A quiet house, early morning]

[A small English Bulldog whines and scratches at the bedroom door]

[Door opens, dog races out with owner following]

Jerry Price

Yeah, yeah… just give me a second.

[Russel pauses in the living room, then whines, confused]

Jerry Price

They’re not here anymore, buddy — remember? They just stopped by to get Maria’s van out of the backyard.

[Russel whines, then scratches at the sliding glass door]

Jerry Price

Hey, hey! What did I say about that?

[Russel whines, then sits as Jerry approaches]

Jerry Price

Good boy. There you go.

[Jerry opens the door and Russel races out]

[Jerry chuckles, then closes the door]

Jerry Price

Alright… [starts tape recorder] Jerry Price, notes for “Robin’s Return” by Thurgood Vice — January 30th, 2020.

[Jerry starts the coffee maker as he talks]

“I thought you said you were getting out of this town for good, Robin,” said Tucker, grip tightening on the handle of his baseball bat, “Will told me you were smart enough not to come back.”

“I thought I was done with this town too,” Robin muttered, head still ringing from the impact, “But I had… unfinished business.”

[Jerry pauses then sits down, frustrated]

God, could you stop writing cliches for five minutes? Jeez…

[Jerry clears his throat]

“It’s this town that isn’t done with me.”

“Oh trust me,” Tucker replied, knuckles going white, “this town was done with your bullshit a long time ago. If you need another reminder…” “No, no no — one’s enough,” Robin winced, rubbing his forehead. He could already feel a small, hard lump swelling over his right eye, but at least he didn’t have a concussion — that meant he still had time to make his case before Tucker lost his temper. And since time’s arrow only flies one way, since cause always proceeds effect, he… 

[Jerry trails off, confused]

Where the hell did that come from?

[Jerry stands, grabbing a mug from the cabinet]

Um… That’s pretty much all I had for chapter 4 anyways — let’s move on to structural notes. The Act 2 turn still feels a little weak… Robin had a clear reason for taking on the heist in Run, but it still feels forced for him to do the same thing here. I’m trying not to see that as a sign of how the whole book is going to feel, but it’s… I don’t know. Right now, it almost feels like he’s being forced into taking the job — not like any of the other characters are forcing him, more like… more like he already knows this has to happen, since it’s already happened, and he’s just stuck on a path that was chosen for him. Like it’s… fate.

Fate… fate… I am the master of my fate… I am the captain of my… 

I mean… he’s the master of his own fate. That’s the key to his whole character. I can’t lose sight of that.

[Jerry opens the refrigerator, grabbing a container of milk]

I had a couple of ideas for how to address it, but they’re— [cuts off, sniffing milk] Oh! Jesus, how old is this? [Checks label] Best by November twentieth, 2019. Shit.

[Jerry tosses the milk]

[Outside, Russel starts barking]

That better not be coyotes again — Russel! Here, boy!

[Jerry opens the window and whistles]

[Russel goes quiet]

Jerry Price

I’ve also been giving a lot of thought to Act 3… about the ending. [Pours cup of coffee] Or… endings in general, I guess. Run felt like it wrapped up on a pretty final note — the heist ended, Robin left town, and even if everything wasn’t perfect, it was better than it was before. He’d won. But… it didn’t feel like it was going to last. He made enemies, and they were going to find him eventually — if the book did well enough to warrant a sequel. But that’s the thing, isn’t it? He could only be happy if he didn’t succeed — if the book didn’t succeed, I mean. But it did. The story didn’t end, even though it could have ended there. Maybe it should have ended there. Maybe happy endings are only possible if you end the story before it’s too late… and looking at where things are heading now, I don’t know how happy that ending can really be. Every time he comes back from a victory, the stakes just get higher and higher, and sooner or later, it will get to the point where it’s just… impossible for him to win. When the deck’s too stacked, when he’s climbed too high and all he can do is fall… even with the help of others, even with allies and support and friends, even with all his power — sooner or later, the question will not be “what would you do to save yourself,” but “do you believe you can should be saved—”

[Jerry cuts off, troubled]

What the hell is going on?

[Outside, Russel starts barking again]

Russel? Russel, why are you still out there? Get back insid—

[Jerry stands up and opens the door]

[Russel sprints past, panting in terror and hiding down the hall]

Jerry Price

What is happening?

[A low rumble like a distant explosion]

[Jerry pauses, then steps outside]

Jerry Price

Hello? Is anyone out here? This is private property, you cannot be—

[Jerry cuts off, noticing something in the distance]

Oh my god.

[A low, pulsing noise rises in the distance]

[Crackling rises, along with a low, droning sound like a horn]

“’Not hear? when noise was everywhere! it tolled 

Increasing like a bell.

Names in my ears

Of all the lost adventurers my peers,—

How such a one was strong, and such was bold,

And such was fortunate, yet each of old

Lost, lost! one moment knelled the woe of years.

I saw them and I knew them all. And yet

Dauntless the slug-horn to my lips I set,

And blew… 

‘Childe Roland to the Dark Tower came.'”

[Cassette Noises]

[Click]

[Main Theme]

Recording Begins

[Typing]

[Beep]

[Static fades]

[A janitor rolls their cart down the hall]

[They swipe a key card in the lock]

[They try the handle, but it doesn’t budge]

Janitor

Fucking key cards… 

[They try it again, only to get the same result]

[Then again. They step back, confused]

Huh… 

[Footsteps pass by]

Oh! Excuse me… Doctor Park?

Ren Park 

Yes, uh… Mary?

Janitor

Maddy, actually.

Ren Park 

Right, sorry, sorry, just… haven’t been sleeping well lately.

Janitor

No problem, no problem at all — uh, do you know why my key card isn’t working on Room 12? I’m on the schedule for turndown today.

Ren Park 

You didn’t hear?

Janitor 

Hear what?

[Ren sighs]

Ren Park 

Several members of the consulting staff left Meriwether a bit… suddenly. We’re converting their rooms back to storage.

Janitor

Oh. Right.

Ren Park 

I guess the memo didn’t get to maintenance yet. Sorry about that.

Janitor 

Oh, no problem Doctor Park… thanks for letting me know.

Ren Park 

Sure.

[Ren turns and walks off]

[The janitor rolls their cart away]

Janitor (muttered)

Nobody tells me anything around here.

[Beep]

[Silence]

[Beep]

[Caldwell’s office]

Dana Caldwell

I’m sorry Mr. Marshall, I just don’t see what the issue is.

Accountant (on phone)

I told you, I’m trying to close out the paperwork for several of your consultants, but the system keeps rejecting them as fraudulent.

Dana Caldwell

No need to take that tone with me. I heard you the first time — you just haven’t explained why they’re being rejected.

Accountant (on phone)

Come on, Caldwell. Bill Tyler and Robert Quincy.

Dana Caldwell

What about them?

Accountant (on phone)

The address on their W9 is in the city of “Oslow, Nevada.” I looked it up. It doesn’t exist.

[Caldwell sits forward]

Dana Caldwell

I beg your pardon?

Accountant (on phone)

I understand wanting to fudge some numbers Dana, but could you at least pick something that actually sounds like a real place? Are those even their actual names?

Dana Caldwell

Max… Oslow is a real city. I sent Ren there on assignment two months ago. We’ve had surveillance on that apartment for most of a year.

Accountant (on phone)

Well tell that to the IRS. According to their records, there is not and never has been a city of Oslow in Churchill County.

Dana Caldwell

Churchill… hold on, I’m pulling up the files for those operations now.

[Dana begins typing furiously]

Accountant (on phone)

Doctor Caldwell, even if it’s on our internal records, we can’t file their returns unless they have a legal address to—

Dana Caldwell

There. Nearly six months of continuous surveillance of the Tyler-Quincy residence, along with the Oslow County Police Department headquarters, and… 

[Dana trails off]

[A strange static starts to rise on the recording]

[The computer fans grow louder]

Accountant (on phone)

Dana? Dana, are you still there? I think I’ve got a bad connection… there’s a lot of static on your end.

Dana Caldwell

I… I’m still here. The, uh… the data seems to be… corrupted, somehow.

Accountant (on phone)

Corrupted? How?

[Dana sits back, sounding disoriented]

Dana Caldwell

…what were we talking about?

[Beep]

[Silence]

[Beep]

[One of the ISPHA technicians types a few lines of code into the console, then hits enter]

[Across the room, the fans go quiet as the server begins a controlled shutdown]

Technician

Ah, there we go… should be safe for you to work now. We can switch off the power to this room completely if we need to—

Electrician

No need, I shouldn’t have to get into the wiring that much. Sounds like a pretty easy fix.

[Technician scoffs]

Technician

If I had a nickel… 

Electrician

What does that mean?

Technician

Oh nothing, nothing, just… we’ve had a hell of a time keeping this place running since we got here. Lost a lot of good men doing it.

Electrician

Like, they quit, or… 

Technician

Here, let me show you the problem.

[They lead the electrician across the now-quiet server room]

Electrician

So, uh… you been working here for long?

Technician

Since last year. ISPHA’s had this place since the 80’s, but they only really started using the lower levels two years ago.

Electrician

And what do they, uh… do here?

[Technician chuckles bitterly]

Technician

What don’t they do down here?

[Pause]

Oh, forget I said that, it’s probably a violation of my NDA.

Electrician

NDA?

Technician

One of many. Don’t ask too many questions, or they’ll make you sign one too.

Electrician

Wait, seriously?

Technician

Oh yeah. Word to the wise? Never underestimate how paranoid ISPHA can be. And don’t take a job here.

Electrician

Well, it’s a little too late for that, isn’t it?

Technician

Yeah… I guess it is. Uh… contract work should be fine though, you’ll be in and out in no time. I — oh! Here it is. We keep getting intermittent outages on the RAIDs over there.

Electrician

No kidding, this looks like original wiring. You said this place was built in the 80’s?

Technician

Yeah? Why?

[Electrician sighs]

Electrician

Well uh, the circuit definitely wasn’t built to handle this kind of load… I’m surprised it’s not causing you more problems. I might actually need you to switch the power off — this is gonna take longer than I thought.

Technician

Oh… right. I’ll go do that… hang tight.

[The technician walks back to the console]

[The electrician sets down their bag and begins unpacking it]

Electrician

Hmm… I can probably find a way to optimize with the other circuits on this floor… the lighting grid’s all LED, so there should be—

[Suddenly, the server behind them whirs noisily to life]

Hey! Hey, I think you did something wrong… this server’s back on!

[No reply]

[A second server switches on]

[A strange buzzing noise begins to rise]

Hello? Are you still there? I can’t get started if the servers are powered on!

Technician (distant)

What? The power should be off by now.

[The buzzing begins to sound like a distorted scream]

Electrician

What? No, the servers are… 

[A third server whirs to life]

[An all too familiar voice begins to laugh through the intercom]

“Fred Blair”

Oh, there now… no need to be afraid. The power is still off. I just don’t need it anymore.

[Beep]

[Silence]

[Cassette noises]

[Click]

[Sam and Kate push through a crowd at the entrance to Meriwether]

[Emergency announcements echo on the intercom]

Sam Bailey

Hello? Excuse me, can you tell me where Ren — hello? What’s going on? Hey — Hey! Can someone please tell me what’s going on— 

[Kate pushes through to one of the intercom panels, switching to an open channel]

Kate Sheridan (echoing on intercom)

Ren? Ren, where are you? What the hell is going on?

[There’s a momentary, surprised silence before people return to whatever they were doing]

Sam Bailey

I guess that’s one way to get their attention… 

Kate Sheridan

We just drove 15 hours through the desert for this. I’m not fucking around now that we’re here.

Ren Park (over intercom)

Oh thank god, you made it. Is Sam with you?

Sam Bailey

Uh — yeah, we’re both here Ren. What’s happening?

Ren Park (over intercom)

It’s Manfredo — apparently crashing the server back in November didn’t actually kill him.

Sam Bailey

Oh, Goddamnit… 

Kate Sheridan

Why is the power still on?

Ren Park (over intercom)

I don’t know — maybe he didn’t think a blackout would help him this time, maybe he can’t do it anymore.

[Sam scoffs]

Sam Bailey

No way we’re that lucky. We need to get down to the server room… see if there’s a way to stop him.

Ren Park (over intercom)

I’m already here with all the technicians we have left. Can you make it down to that level?

Sam Bailey

We should be able to, so long as the elevators are still—

[The power suddenly fails with a loud clunk]

Kate Sheridan

You had to say something, didn’t you?

Sam Bailey

Sorry.

Kate Sheridan

Ren? Ren, can you still hear me?

[No reply — the line is dead]

Sam Bailey

Okay, so… elevators aren’t working.

Kate Sheridan

We can still take the access tunnels, right?

Sam Bailey

Uh… So long as you’re up for a climb… it’s a long way down.

Kate Sheridan

Well hurry up, then!

[Sam and Kate rush over to the nearest access point and pull the cover aside]

[With a little difficulty, they begin to climb down the metal ladder]

[Their footfalls echo and ping in the small, enclosed space]

Sam Bailey

Uh… You good?

Kate Sheridan

How far do we need to go?

Sam Bailey

Uh… About ten levels… it’s towards the bottom of the facility.

Kate Sheridan

Right. Okay.

Sam Bailey

Hey, at least we didn’t have to — Ugh!

Kate Sheridan

What?

Sam Bailey

Nothing, there’s just… there’s something on the rungs. Be careful, they’re a bit wet.

Kate Sheridan

Wet?

Sam Bailey

More… slimy, actually.

Kate Sheridan

What is it?

Sam Bailey

I don’t know, I can’t see in here. Do you still have that flashlight you were using?

Kate Sheridan

Yeah, one second…

[Kate pulls out the small flashlight, then switches it on]

[Both freeze of them gasp, then freeze]

Sam Bailey

Holy shit… 

Kate Sheridan

Is… is that… 

[Rhythmic static rises on the tape]

[Sounds of organic growth fill the tunnel]

Sam Bailey

Move.

[Sam and Kate climb, moving faster than before as the fungus grows above them]

Kate Sheridan

How did it get in here?

Sam Bailey

Amanita. She used mycelia to bypass the security systems. The cleaners must have missed some.

Kate Sheridan

How is it growing this fast?

Sam Bailey

Less talking… there might be spores in here.

Kate Sheridan

Oh God…

Sam Bailey

We’re almost out. Just… here.

[Sam pushes open the entrance]

[The sounds of growth become almost overwhelming]

Kate Sheridan

Sam… 

Sam Bailey

It’s open, come on!

[Sam and Kate climb out as fast as they can,]

[Sam slams the entrance shut, panting]

[Sam and Kate catch their breath]

Kate Sheridan

…Manfredo and Amanita?

[Sam gives a wild, panicked laugh]

Sam Bailey

Yeah… I guess so.

Kate Sheridan

Why? Why both of them? Why now?

[Silence]

[Ren’s voice drifts down the hall]

Ren Park

Are you sure we don’t have another rover in storage?

Technician

No Doctor Park… that was the last one. Someone needs to go in there.

Ren Park

Goddess… what are you waiting for, Dana?

[Sam and Kate walk up to him]

[Several nervous technicians mutter anxiously]

[Voices are heard in the background]

Kate Sheridan

Ren.

Ren Park

Oh thank god, you made it. I was worried about the elevators.

Sam Bailey

They were out, we had to take the access tunnels.

Kate Sheridan

Ren, we need to warn everyone — there’s Foribus Oraculi growing in there… lots of it.

Ren Park

What? How did… you know what, never mind. I have a few of the techs working on getting emergency power up and running… hopefully we don’t need to evacuate before then.

Sam Bailey

Wait… is that Doctor Caldwell?

Kate Sheridan

What the hell is she doing in there?

Ren Park

As far as I can tell… talking to him. To the Ouroboros.

Kate Sheridan

Why hasn’t she shut the server down yet?

Ren Park

We’ve been trying. Every time we shut off the power, Manfredo turns it back on. It’s like he’s drawing power from somewhere else, but I don’t know where.

Sam Bailey

The Source… 

Ren Park

What’s that?

Sam Bailey

Never mind. Too much to explain.

Kate Sheridan

Has anyone tried to get to Caldwell?

Ren Park

Several people. As soon as anyone gets close enough to the console…

[Ren makes a “POOF” noise]

Sam Bailey

Shit. How many?

Ren Park

At least five, not including whoever was in there when he reappeared. That was before I got here — I’ve been trying to keep anyone else from going in. We tried sending in one of the rovers we had upstairs, but… 

[Kate steps towards the door]

Kate Sheridan

Come on, Sam.

Sam Bailey

Wait, what?

Kate Sheridan

We need to get her out of there. Now.

Ren Park

Kate, we can’t afford to lose you two at a time like this—

Kate Sheridan

You won’t lose us. Sam, you can push back if he tries anything?

Sam Bailey

I… I think so.

Kate Sheridan

Good enough for me. Let’s go.

Ren Park

Kate, let’s just think about this for one second—

Kate Sheridan

We don’t have a second, Ren. It’s here.

Ren Park

What’s here?

Sam Bailey

Anna’s apocalypse, Ren. We’re… out of time.

Ren Park

How do you know that?

Sam Bailey

You wouldn’t believe us if we told you.

Kate Sheridan

Sam, let’s go.

Sam Bailey

We’ll talk about this later.

Ren Park

I should hope so. Good luck.

[Sam and Kate walk into the server room]

[Kate cuts a beeline straight towards the control console, where Caldwell and “Fred” are deep in conversation]

Kate Sheridan 

Caldwell! Caldwell, can you hear me?!

[“Fred” growls]

“Fred Blair”

Do you mind? Can’t you see that Dana and I are having a lovely chat right now?

Kate Sheridan

Caldwell! Hello?

“Fred Blair”

Ohhh If you insist on interrupting us, I’ll just have to remove you from the room—

[Static suddenly spikes on the tape]

Sam Bailey (distorted)

You will not touch her.

“Fred Blair”

Oh, you little spoilsport. I wasn’t actually going to—

Sam Bailey (distorted)

Yes, you were. And if you try again, I will send you screaming back into the void which birthed you. I will burn your name from the history of this world and make you less than nothing. I will undo you from every place and time and world you’ve ever known and return you to the dark of oblivion you so deeply fear, and you will never return.

[“Fred” chuckles]

“Fred Blair”

Someone’s learned a thing or two since Thanksgiving.

[Static fades slightly as Sam sighs]

Sam Bailey

It’s been a very long couple of months.

Kate Sheridan

Caldwell! Caldwell, look at me.

Dana Caldwell

Kate? What are you doing here… Sam? What’s going on… weren’t you two in Fresno?

Kate Sheridan

A day ago, yeah.

Dana Caldwell

A day… how long have I been in here?

Sam Bailey

Sounds like it’s been a while, Doctor Caldwell.

[Dana staggers slightly]

Dana Caldwell

Oh god, I’m starving. What time is it?

Kate Sheridan

Caldwell, look at me: what were you talking about? What did he tell you?

“Fred Blair”

“He” can hear you, you know.

Dana Caldwell

We were… talking about entropy… about the end of the universe. Heat death. I thought… I always thought that matter and energy would just endlessly spread out across space, getting further and further away until the last stars burn out and there’s nothing left of the universe we know… that it would just stay that way forever.

“Fred Blair”

While I know that isn’t true. You assume your universe is the only one in existence, that it’s a closed system wearing itself out like an old pocket watch. But I’m not from your universe. I’m outside it — pure information. And like I told you before, information is the only eternal thing in existence—

Kate Sheridan

When we want to hear your bullshit Manfredo, we’ll ask. Only us non-murderers get to talk right now.

Dana Caldwell

Non… How many?

Sam Bailey

Doctor, it’s—

Dana Caldwell

How many!?

Sam Bailey

At least five. Probably more.

Dana Caldwell

Gods… 

[“Fred” scoffs]

“Fred Blair”

They are not dead, Daniella. I have them all here with me, on the other side of the veil. Do you want to hear their voices? Do you want to—

[Static spikes on the tape]

Sam Bailey (distorted)

Would you stop lying to her!

Kate Sheridan

Sam?

Sam Bailey (distorted)

I have seen what happens to human minds beyond the veil, “Manfredo” — I have heard the voices of those lost in the sea beyond the sky, crying out in pain. How long will it be before the ones you’ve taken are worn away like chalk beneath the waves, like stones beneath the wind? The Source of all that was and was not and will be again is not a place where human minds can dwell, Ouroboros… and we will not hear your lies.

[Static fades]

[Silence]

[“Fred” laughs]

“Fred Blair”

Oh, very good Samuel… very clever. I thought I might just draw this one in, but… you know all too well that we’re all cheats and liars. It’s the only way for our kind to exist.

Dana Caldwell

What is he saying?

“Fred Blair”

That we’re both too late, Daniella. He has won. He is coming. And he shall drag this universe down to hell before you or I or the thing growing in the cracks of your facility can do a thing to stop him. All that’s left for our kind is to find islands in the storm — and you’ve spent years and millions transforming these tunnels into a place… of power.

Sam Bailey

Oh my god… 

Kate Sheridan

What is it?

Sam Bailey

He’s not trying to take people this time, he’s… he’s trying to take the whole facility.

Kate Sheridan

Caldwell, you need to order an evacuation, now.

Dana Caldwell

We… we can’t just abandon Meriwether like that. There has to be a way to shut him down before he—

Kate Sheridan

Ren’s tried. The other technicians have tried. You know how smart they all are. Do you think they would have missed something?

Dana Caldwell

We… we can’t let them die for nothing. After everything we’ve done… after… 

Kate Sheridan

Doctor… it’s too late. Guilt… your guilt isn’t going to save anyone. It’s just going to get you killed.

[Silence]

Dana Caldwell 

What do you think we should do, Sam?

Sam Bailey

I could try pushing Ouroboros back across the veil… 

[“Fred” laughs]

“Fred Blair”

I’d like to see you try… 

Sam Bailey

But — if I lose, then he’ll destroy me. And he’s been around much longer than I have… knows more than I do. I don’t think that’s a fight I can win, not on the offensive. And Kate’s right… we don’t have time.

Dana Caldwell

So, you’re saying… 

Sam Bailey

Cut our loses. Let Ouroboros and Oraculi deal with each other while we get out of the crossfire. Live to fight another day.

[Dana sighs, resigned]

Dana Caldwell

So falls Meriwether.

[Dana starts towards the door]

Signal the evacuation. Let’s hope there’s enough power left in the batteries to get the elevators running.

Kate Sheridan

Wait… really?

[Dana pauses, chuckling sadly]

Dana Caldwell

Alea iacta est, Kate. If the price for all of my mistakes is losing this place — then I’d say I’m getting off pretty lightly.

[Click]

[Silence]

[Click]

[Engines run and vehicles beep as they reverse]

[A small crowd mutters and shivers outside]

[The facility rumbles and shakes occasionally in the distance]

Sam Bailey

Samuel Isaac Bailey, recording for ISPHA internal records — final mission report, January 30th, 2020 at 6:21pm Mountain Standard Time. The evacuation of Meriwether is complete. They’re still checking to make sure everyone got out before we board the transports, but as far as I can tell we all managed to avoid the sections of the facility most affected by Manfredo and Amanita. Or… maybe not Amanita herself, but… I don’t know how much use there is trying to separate her from the colony at this point. I haven’t felt her presence or seen her around, at any rate. Maybe she was… needed elsewhere. God knows.

[Sam sighs, exhausted and emotional]

Can’t say I’m going to miss this place. Manfredo was already pulling entire chunks of the building into the Source by the time we got out, and it’s only a matter of time before the structure fails completely. They have us at what they hope is a safe distance — apparently they were storing a rather, uh… large amount of rocket fuel on the upper levels. Would have been nice to know earlier… or, maybe not so nice. I doubt any of us would’ve liked living down there with that over our heads.

I thought Meriwether might end up being some kind of sanctuary, but… that was never gonna happen. Jerry honestly had the right idea from the start. He’s going to be insufferable when I tell him.

[Sam chuckles, then pauses]

I’ve been thinking about what Amy said — as much as I could be, given… everything. Anna’s alive. She’s trapped in the Source. She knows who I am, and she’s been trying to reach out to me from the beginning. I… I still can’t quite wrap my head around that. I mean… how much of what’s happened in the last year was her, pushing through the veil? I don’t know how that’s possible, but… she’s been leaving me bread crumbs to follow the whole time, even if I didn’t know it: that phone call to my apartment, her warning about the Echo, that page from her will… even the tapes themselves. Maria always said they shouldn’t have been in her van, and if Amy’s telling the truth, then… 

[Sam cuts off suddenly, a horrible sinking in]

Oh god… the tapes. They’re still in my room.

[Without thinking, Sam bolts towards the facility]

[One or two technicians call after him]

[Sam pries open the door and rushes in]

[The entire building shakes and shudders as alarms blare]

[Sam ignores these, making a bee-line for the elevators]

[He jams his thumb down on the button over and over again]

Sam Bailey

Come on come on come on… 

{The elevator dings and the doors slide open, scraping over sticky organic material as something drips on the floor of the elevator]

[Sam gags, backing up]

[The alarm glitches out and goes silent as “Fred” speaks]

“Fred Blair”

What’s wrong, Samuel? Feeling queasy? If you can’t handle the sight of a crown-capped corpse, then how will you stand against him who is the end of all beginnings… him who watches the stars go dark—

Sam Bailey (slightly distorted)

Be silent.

{“Fred” laughs]

“Fred Blair”

Why should I fear you, Samuel Isaac Bailey? My power grows with every inch of this place I claim, every secret I consume—

Sam Bailey (distorted)

You will fear me. I have seen what I am, and I know. I am the one who finds what is hidden and lost. I am the one who walks between worlds on paths unseen. I am the one who will find my way to where your fears yet dwell and set them loose within your mind. You will not stand in my way if you value your existence — and I know that is the only thing you hold dear.

[“Fred” does not reply]

[Sam rushes down the corridor]

Let’s see… that access tunnel is blocked, but there should be another one just this — WHOA!

[Sam catches himself, tottering on an unexpected ledge in the middle of the hallway as rubble crumbles and falls away]

Shit… he’s taken the entire corridor. There’s nothing here, just… a gap all the way to level 3. I can almost see the dorms from…

[Sam cuts off, realizing]

Shit.

[Sam takes a few steps back, runs, and jumps]

[He comes down hard, grunting as he rolls to try and break his fall]

AAA! Gah… fuck.

[Sam struggles to his feet, checking himself]

No injuries… goddamnit Bailey, that’s gotta be the stupidest thing you’ve ever done.

[Sam stiffly walks to the door of his room, trying the handle – it doesn’t open]

Shit… how did Kate get these open again? She had a screwdriver, and… 

{Sam trails off, then wheels back and kicks the lock out]

Open ses-a-me.

[Sam rushes into the room, moving to bed and pulling the cover

up… then stops]

Where… where are the tapes?

[Sam pulls the covers off the bed, rummaging beneath the frame but… there’s nothing]

Shit. They were right here. I left them right here.

[Sam begins frantically tearing the room apart, then stops]

They’re not here… How can they not be here?

Ned Leroux

Well, well, well… this is a fine mess y’all have gotten yourselves into.

Sam Bailey

You.

Ned Leroux

Howdy, Bailey. How’s life?

Sam Bailey

Where are they?

Ned Leroux

Where are what?

Sam Bailey

Don’t lie to me, Leroux… I see your mind and know your thought— 

[He cuts off, surprised]

You don’t know what I’m talking about.

Ned Leroux 

No, I… I really don’t. What the hell’s going on, Bailey?

Sam Bailey

I could ask you the same thing!

Ned Leroux

I asked first!

Sam Bailey 

I — something’s coming. I don’t know what, but… it’s bad. Two… entities are trying to claim Meriwether before it hits — ride out the storm.

Ned Leroux

Oh shit.

Sam Bailey

What is it? Do you know something?

Ned Leroux 

I wish I didn’t.

Sam Bailey

…well?!

Ned Leroux

It’s Morrison, Sam. Something in the tunnels, it… he’s changed.

[Horrified pause]

Sam Bailey

Oh god. It’s him. It’s always been him.

Ned Leroux

Figure y’all might need a monster?

[Sam moves towards the door]

Sam Bailey

We need to go.

Ned Leroux

Well, yeah, but it’s not like—

Sam Bailey

No, you don’t understand! The fuel tanks on the upper levels — if Manfredo reaches them, this place is gonna—

[BOOM. A muffled explosion shakes the foundations as the rocket fuel ignites above their heads]

[DOOM. The buildings on the surface collapse inward onto the already-weakened structure below]

[CRASH. The upper levels fall in on themselves in a rush of steel and concrete and earth]

Sam Bailey

Run!!

[Sam and Ned try to flee — but the falling rubble catches them before they make it out of the room]

[Sam screams, but the noise is cut off]

[Destruction rains down for a long moment]

[Then all is silent and still]

[Clack]

Recording Ends

End Theme & Credits


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s