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Episode Forty-Seven: EFFUSIVE

 

Hello and welcome to the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity and Mortality. This audio tour guide will be your constant companion in your journey through the unknown and surreal.

As you approach our exhibits, the audio tour guide will provide you with information and insights into their nature and history.

Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the exhibits.

Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the audio tour guide. If you believe that the audio tour guide may be deviating from the intended tour program, please deposit your audio device in the nearest incinerator.

While the staff here at Mistholme Museum of Mystery Morbidity and Mortality do their absolute best to ensure the safety of all visitors, accidents can happen. The museum is not liable for any injury, death, or reminders of how small and insignificant your existence really is that may occur during your visit.

Enjoy your tour.



 

Checkout

 

Walt:
I sincerely do apologise!

 

Guide:
It’s fine. Don’t worry about it.

 

Walt:
No, really, I had no idea that it was such a terrible thing to do! I wasn’t aware of your, ah, nature, I was under the impression you were just… oh now how do I put this-

 

Guide:

You thought I was just a computer. It’s fine.

 

Restoration:

Okay, let’s take a breath. It was a difficult mission, and it wasn’t without misfortune we are at least making progress. Now that we’ve got our hands on this… Book, we’ll call it, we’re ready to proceed, yes?

Guide:
Yes. I am willing to move on, so let’s just move on.

 

Walt:
Very well.

 

Restoration:
Good. The Head of Retrieval is debriefing his agents right now, and the Head of Research is… busy, but we can go without them for this meeting. What’s the next step?

 

Walt:
Well, hopefully it’s the final step. I’ll follow the steps in that book, perform the ritual, and then… well, I’ll be wherever our foe is. We’ll see what happens then, but hopefully it’ll be the end of all this dire business.

 

Restoration:
Yes. So, this ritual will take… the person who performs the ritual to wherever the entity behind what happened to Security and your colleagues is?

 

Walt:
Yes. And as for what happens next… Well, we’ll have some answers, at the very least. 

 

Guide:
And how exactly do you know that this ritual will take us to whatever’s responsible? 

 

Walt:
I’ve dedicated many years toward reaching this moment. I’ve searched and researched with every spare moment I’ve had. Stepping through this portal will be the culmination of all those years.

 

Retrieval:
[Approaching] It won’t be you that steps through, though.

 

Walt:
Excuse me?

 

Restoration:
I thought you were debriefing your people.

 

Retrieval:
We’ll do the full debrief later. Having medical see to them for now.

 

Walt:
What do you mean it won’t be me?

 

Retrieval:
I’m going. Nobody else. I’m sick of sending people through doors and not having them come back.

 

Walt:
That is not your choice to make.

 

Retrieval:

What, is it yours?

 

Walt:
I have spent my life building toward-

 

Retrieval:
Yeah. I know. Your whole life is about getting to this place. And that’s the other reason why you’re not going. You’re too close to it. Got too much skin in the game. Your type is always about the goal at any cost; well you came to us for help, and that means it’s not your call anymore. It’s a group effort, and you’re gonna have to accept that.

 

Walt:
You don’t trust me.

 

Retrieval:
No. I don’t. We don’t. You come out of nowhere with this sob story about your dead friends and the answers to what’s going on, well I dunno- maybe it’s all true. Or maybe you’re full of shit. 

 

Walt:
What, exactly, have I done to make you distrust me?

 

Retrieval:
Everything. And it’s not all your fault. I’ve just seen your kind before. You’re like a kid who plays with matches and burns down the house. Who cares what happens to the family, so long as you get to see what happens. 

 

Walt:
I help people! I’ve dedicated my life to-

 

Retrieval:
Yeah, I bet you. I bet you could rattle off a half dozen times you saved the world from some Horror or another. But tell me. How many people died along the way, huh? Started with your uni mates, but it didn’t stop there did it? Now Agent Hadley’s family is gonna be grieving, his comrades are grieving, and you don’t give a damn so long as you “save the world” am I right?

 

Walt:
How dare you, I have sacrificed more than anyone-

 

Retrieval:

Let’s not even get started on using the Guide as bait, you sick-

 

Restoration:
Enough! I feel like a god damn babysitter half the time, enough of this chestpounding crap. The Head of Retrieval will go on the mission. Prof- Walt. Please. I know this means a lot to you, but could you see your way clear to working with us on this for now? I know this isn’t what you had in mind, but please. 

 

Walt:
Fine. I’ll get to work now. 

 

Guide:
Maybe you should take a break first, have you eaten-

 

Walt:
I’d rather like to get this over and done with, actually. The ritual will take some time to prepare.

 

Retrieval:
Alright. I’ll get some things together.

 

[Both exit. The door slams.]

 

Restoration:

 I’ll never understand why men have to be so… that about everything. 

 

Guide:
I don’t really have a gender so I don’t know if I can comment.

 

Restoration:
Fair enough.

 

Guide:
I do agree with the Head of Retrieval, though. There’s something about Walt that’s… I dunno. Do you agree?
 

Restoration:
[Sigh] Guide, these days hindsight is the only way anything ever makes sense to me. I don’t think I’m looking forward to looking back on all this, though.

 

Guide:
At least then it’ll be over.

 

Restoration:
Nothing’s ever really over.


 

Collision

Guide:
The stars here are so strange…

 

Beast:
Ha! Been here some time, and that’s the first you’ve noticed them?

 

Guide:
I- No, I’ve noticed them before, it’s just that a friend said something about looking at the stars. It’s just been on my mind. 

 

Beast:
Oh. I see. [Beat] So, what is it about the stars that strikes you as strange?

 

Guide:

Well, they’re different.

 

Beast:
Heh, well of course they’re different to you! You’re from a different world, the stars are bound to be different to what you’re used to.

 

Guide:
No, I mean, they’re different to how they were yesterday. Their positions have changed overnight.

 

Beast:
…Do they not where you’re from?

Guide:
No, of course not! The starfield must be moving at relativistic speeds for it to completely change overnight, and even if that were… well, possible, we should be able to see them moving at night, but instead they’re stationary. Like they should be.

 

Beast:
Well, I don’t know what most of that means, but it’s all normal to me here! 

 

Guide:
But it doesn’t make sense, I know that this place has lots of… differences to my world, and that even the laws of physics aren’t a guarantee but apparently balls of gas hundreds of lightyears away can’t be relied on to sit still.

 

Beast:
Balls of gas? What are you talking about! Ha, you’re a silly one, Mistholme!

 

Guide:
That’s what stars are. They’re enormous balls of flaming gas, a very very long way away.

 

Beast:
Ha! Hahahah! Ah, Mistholme, that’s the funniest thing you’ve said yet!

 

Guide:
It’s not a joke. It’s just how it is-

 

Beast:
No no no, the stars aren’t balls of gas. They’re beetles!

 

Guide:
Beetles.

 

Beast:
Yep! Huge beetles that go to sleep at night, then during the day they crawl around on the sky. That’s why when you see them at night they’re in a different spot to yesterday!

 

Guide:

They crawl around… On the sky.

 

Beast:
Yep! Oh, and when it rains, that’s the beetles-

 

Guide:

Nope! Don’t need to hear that. Ugh, I hate that I actually can’t discount any of that as being wrong, either. It’s not like it’s even the strangest thing I’ve found in this place. Sure, why not, the sky is actually a ceiling covered in bugs and outer space doesn’t exist here.

 

Beast:
What is “Outer Space?”
 

Guide:
I- Yeah, there it is.

 

Beast:
Hm?

 

Guide:
Okay, so, where I come from, Earth, it’s… basically it’s a rock, a really big rock, that’s floating in a void that we call Space. And we call that rock a Planet, and-

 

Beast:
I thought you called it Earth?

 

Guide:
[Teeth clenched] Yes. Earth is a planet. It’s-

 

Beast:
I thought it was a rock?

 

Guide:
When a rock is big enough, and its floating in Space, it’s a planet. Okay?

 

Beast:
Oh.

 

Guide:

Okay. So, Earth, and most other planets, they orbit around stars. When you’re in the same system as a star you usually call it a Sun, which is- wait, if the stars here are beetles, what’s the sun?

 

Beast:
Different kind of beetle.

 

Guide:

Great. That’s just… that’s great. 

 

Beast:
Wow, your world sounds pretty crazy, though! All these rocks and fires in the sky, and you’re all just holding on to a big rock as it flies around! It sounds scary…

 

Guide:
It’s not. You don’t really think about it at all, most of the time. It’s just how things are.

 

Beast:
Do you have any stories about it? Space, and all that?

 

Guide:
I- I don’t know, I feel like you’d be missing a lot of necessary context for most of them. You literally only just found out about “space” as a concept.

 

Beast:
Oh go on, you’ve got me curious now!

 

Guide:
Oh why don’t you just force me to, then?

 

Beast:
…Because I don’t want to force you.

 

Guide:

I… Well, there is one that you might be able to understand. 

 

Beast:
Yes?

 

Guide:
Well, I mean, it’s very simple. Not even a story so much as just… some details, but I figure you’d be able to grasp the concepts. Actually, it’s… kind of fitting.

 

Beast:
Go on!

 

Guide:
Okay. So, Earth is a planet, a big rock that revolves around our sun. What that means is that it isn’t just hanging still in space, it’s moving- but we don’t really feel it on earth because… Uhh, we just don’t. So, anyway, humans have actually done a lot of research and studying of places other than Earth out there in space. There’s the moon, which is another rock that orbits around Earth, and then there are other planets, which revolve around our Sun, and then out a really really long way away- I mean, further than you could ever hope to go- there are planets revolving around the stars out there. Humans have only ever gone as far as the Moon so far though, because it’s really dangerous and difficult and you need special vehicles and equipment. Mostly they just look at it through telescopes and other monitoring equipment- people who do that are called “Astronomers”.

 

And then one day, a few years ago now, the astronomers monitoring the world beyond our little bubble saw something. Something unexpected. Now, astronomers aren’t exactly used to seeing unexpected things; they like to think they’ve got a pretty good handle on what’s possible even in the new frontier of outer space, so while they might see new things through their scopes they’re not expecting to be surprised. They were very surprised to see what appeared to be an asteroid- a big rock that’s not as big as a planet- in the Earth’s path. Behind it. Based on the position and trajectory at the time of its first sighting, this asteroid should have intersected with the Earth several days prior- which is to say, it should have collided with the Earth. Now, any collision between an asteroid and the Earth has the potential to be catastrophic, with the damage done being proportionate to the size of the asteroid. If Earth had collided with an asteroid large enough to be detected, it would have been detected. And, as more data came in about the asteroid that had apparently passed through the Earth, it became clear that this was not a small asteroid. And it had not passed through as recently as they had thought. Its size and the distances involved had confused their measurements somewhat, but it was rapidly revealed that the “asteroid” was actually precisely the same size as the Earth. The same shape, density, everything. The only difference was that, where the Earth is a biologically vibrant place capable of hosting many varied ecosystems- a quote “Garden World” unquote- this earth-sized rock was as barren and bare as any other they had yet discovered. It had no life, and the lack of any kind of atmosphere meant that it would not develop any. 

 

Of course, proposals were swiftly put together for some kind of mission to this strange new place, but this was short-lived. Because before too long, astronomers realised that the “asteroid” was fading from view. Slowly but surely it was disappearing, just as mysteriously as it had appeared, as if it was a shadow that was being burned away by sunlight. And then it was gone, well before anything could be learned about its nature, where it had come from, and to where it was now returning. 

 

But it did return. One year later, astronomers- who were now looking out for this strange rogue planet- were shocked once again by its sudden appearance in Earth’s wake, in almost the exact same place in its orbit around the Sun. Roughly the same sequence of events played out, with organisations scrambling to assemble a mission to this new world, now conscious of the fact that it would likely not be around forever. Again, astronomers and scientists studied the asteroid, scouring its surface for details that could reveal the truth of its nature. Both of these missions were unsuccessful: the mission to visit the planet was determined to be infeasible, as it was just too distant for any vessel to reach it in time. Meanwhile, despite all their hard work, the astronomers and scientists were just as in the dark as they had been before. That is not to say they did not learn anything, however: they learned a great deal. It is rather, that they had no framework by which to explain what they found. The shape of this world was not merely similar to that of Earth: it was identical, albeit stripped bare of atmosphere and biomass and oceans. It was barely recognisable, but it was recognisable. The reason that it had appeared twice, at around the same point in the Earth’s orbit, was because this Other Earth was orbiting in the same path. The two planets revolved around the Sun on precisely the same plane, at precisely the same distance, going in opposite rotational directions. And once a year, they intersected without colliding, and for a brief few days they would catch a glimpse of one another. And then they would go their separate but identical ways, making their identical lonely journeys, until the next year.

 

This has gone on every year since. The space agencies did, eventually, manage to land a probe on the planet’s surface, and every year its signal reappears with the planet, giving more data- although, there is never anything surprising in its reports, as everything it has to tell us is something we already know about Earth. Every now and again someone proposes a manned mission: while the Other Earth is quite a distance away, it is closer than any other planet so a mission there would be kind of like cheating our way to reaching another world, and maybe someone being there in person could reveal information that telescopes and probes never could. However, even with advances in technology, this simply isn’t possible yet. Even if a vessel could reach it before it faded away, the best method for the return journey would be to use a gravitational slingshot to build momentum, whi ch would be impossible after the planet faded away. Additionally, there are theories that this other planet is somehow gravitationally exceptional, as while it seems to have mass its appearance does not affect Earth in any way. 

 

And it goes on like that: just new question after new question, with almost never any answers. And every vanishingly rare answer only ever brings more questions with it. But there is, perhaps, a message to be taken from all this. Or perhaps, a reminder. That even as strange a place as Earth can be, the world beyond is stranger still, in ways we have yet to even comprehend.

 

Beast:
Oooh! That’s a strange one! Very mysterious…


Guide:
Oh, uh… Thanks. I actually kind of forgot I was telling it to you, got carried away in it. 

 

Beast:
Very well told as always, Mistholme.

 

Guide:
…Thanks.

 

Beast:

There’s just one thing.

 

Guide:
What?

 

Beast:
Well, you said that you were going to tell it because it’s, ah, “Kind of fitting”. I don’t really see how it was too relatable to the here and now, if you see what I mean.

 

Guide:
Oh. That, right. Well, I was thinking it’s fitting because one possible explanation for the appearance of another Earth is that it’s some kind of glimpse into another reality. One where Earth didn’t develop an atmosphere, or where it lost it somehow. And that, for some reason, when the two planets in their separate realities reached the same point in their respective orbits, they also somehow got close enough together in a different way that we could catch a glimpse into another reality. So, you see, it’s kind of like how I’ve come here, into another world, through the Glassway.

 

Beast:
I see, I see… Well, not really! [The Beast lets out another of its odd, wheezing laughs, but stops suddenly with a snarl of pain] Arrrhhhh… That stings.

 

Guide:
Looks like your bullet wounds are getting worse. Seems infected to me.

 

Beast:
Infected? What’s this mean?

 

Guide:
You’ve got tiny little creatures called bacteria living inside your wounds, they’re inhibiting the healing process and making your body degrade. 

 

Beast:
Ha! Silly Mistholme. It’s the rare fool who dares enter my turf, let alone my body. Nah, these Bacteria things would have to be pretty tough to stand a chance with me, and if they’re so tiny I don’t think there’s much to worry about.

 

Guide:
I- sure. Sure thing, Beast. Whatever you say. 

Scrimshaw

 

In the case before you, beneath an unlit candle, are a collection of objects, each a unique example of an art form known as Scrimshaw. What a wonderful word: Scrimshaw. Such a lovely sound- I imagine it would be quite satisfying to roll off the tongue if I had a tongue- go ahead, say it out loud now. I won’t judge! Scrimshaw… ah, excuse me. Now, if you’re unaware, Scrimshaw refers to carvings or engravings made of or into bone or ivory. Typically they are carved from the bones and cartilage of whales by whalers, who tended to have an abundance of said material available to them on their voyages- although it is also done using the bones or tusks of other animals. There is some debate to be had as to whether or not this counts as Scrimshaw, but it’s a really lovely word so we’re sticking by it.

 

These particular pieces of Scrimshaw were all carved by one man, from the bones and tusks of an unknown animal. It can reasonably be assumed that it resembled the creature depicted by the carving located at the third to the left- ah, but we’ll get to that in due course. Despite having access to several bones and carvings of this creature, however, Museum Researchers have been unable to determine what kind of animal it was. It is possible that the act of turning these bones into scrimshaw has deformed them beyond recognition, and that the images depicted here are inaccurate. It is also possible that this animal was deformed already, or that it was a creature from a world as yet undiscovered. We do know, however, that it was real. In part because we have several of its bones in a display case, and partly because it was notorious in the region in which it lived, as the thing that came in the night and stole away livestock, destroyed barns, and trampled crops. There are numerous corroborating stories about this creature, all detailing the strife its rampages caused over the years. There were many attempts to hunt down and kill it, but all ended in failure as the hunters’ quarry slipped away into the night. Until one day, a man managed to defeat the thing that was terrorising his village- although even the circumstances behind this are unclear.

 

You can see the man in question carved into the bone furthest to the left. It seems that, after bringing down such a fearsome beast- creature, he wanted to ensure that his actions would be immortalised, and what method could be more appropriate than carving his tale into the bones and ivory of the thing itself. He lived in a village nearby to the sea- in fact, he had previously created Scrimshaw from the bones of whales and walruses and other sea creatures- but it is unclear if the creature itself came from the sea. As you can see from the etching on the first piece of Scrimshaw, one of the creature’s horns, he lived in a small hut by himself, fishing and making Scrimshaw. Oh, incidentally, a person who makes Scrimshaw is called a Scrimshander. Isn’t that wonderful? Ah, sorry. The first etching shows him repairing a fishing net in his hut, the lit candle indicating that this was at night. The second, on what appears to be a femur, shows the Scrimshander approaching the sea, ready to cast his net. 

 

The third piece of Scrimshaw is a carving of the creature. Tall and hairy, with a pair of long spiral horns emerging from its brow and two prodigious tusks protruding from beneath its lips. Its hair is more like fur, fine and detailed and short, with something like a mane around the creature’s neck. The detail is quite impressive: you can really see the ferocity in the thing’s eyes, the violent intent in its posture. Not something you would want to encounter, alone and unarmed, like the Scrimshander did that night, by the shore.

 

The next piece of Scrimshaw, etched into what appears to be a scapula, shows the creature astride the Scrimshander slashing at his face as he lies in the breaking waves. The man is clearly in a bad spot, but look closely at his right hand: he is still clutching tightly onto his net.

 

The next piece, etched into one of the creature’s enormous tusks, shows the Scrimshander turning the tables on his foe, flinging the net over the creature as it rears back in fright! Look at the detail in the man’s expression, the mixture of fear and determination. The creature is already becoming tangled, struggling vainly against its restraints. 

 

The next piece, etched into a bone of unclear origin, shows the man dragging his struggling foe further into the water while the monster tries desperately to escape its bounds. But it is unsuccessful.

 

The next piece, artfully carved along the length of one of the creature’s ribs, shows the long shoreline beneath a moonlit sky, with a lone figure near the thicker end of the bone: the Scrimshander, waiting ankle-deep in the water, waiting for the creature to drown.

 

The final piece, etched into the skull of the creature itself, shows the Scrimshander back in his hut, hard at work carving away at the Scrimshaw you see before you now, the remains of the defeated monster lying on the floor behind him. 

 

I love a happy ending, don’t you? But I can tell from the expression on your face that you’re not so satisfied. A bit too quick and easy, a bit too simple, isn’t it? Well, you may notice that the candle above the Scrimshaw has just come alight- a nice little touch from the Patronage Department. And you may notice that, under the light of said candle, the Scrimshaw looks a little different. 

 

The first piece still shows the man in his hut. But now, the shadows created by the candle create a different image: instead of fixing a net, he is carving Scrimshaw as he does in the final piece. The body of the monster is behind him on the floor. It seems almost as if this image depicts a moment shortly after the one depicted in the final piece.

 

The second no longer shows him approaching the shore. He is still in the hut, holding a newly finished piece of Scrimshaw under candlelight. His expression is confused, and with good reason: the etching on the Scrimshaw he is holding appears to perfectly match that of the one you are looking at, showing the confused Scrimshander examining his Scrimshaw. An unsettling mise en abyme. But not the most unsettling thing in this image. Look at the doorway of the hut. Do you see the silhouette standing there? It looks familiar, doesn’t it? Rather similar to the one lying dead on the floor.

 

The carving of the monster is physically unchanged under the candlelight. But the flickering light creates strange impressions and shadows on its form. Its eyes, previously keen and fierce, are now strange and unfocused. Shadows imply patches of missing fur and skin, and if you look closely it almost seems the tiniest bit translucent. 

 

The scapula now shows the man noticing the figure in his doorway. His face is a mask of shock and fright, but nothing about the figure’s face can be seen. Its intent, however, is clear.

 

On the tusk we see the Scrimshander lunging for his net, hanging from the wall, but the silhouette is in the room now- still a silhouette despite the fact that it is surely in direct light now. It is standing between the man and his net, towering over him. 

 

On the next bone we see the man being dragged, terrified, from his home by the figure we still cannot see clearly. It could kill the Scrimshander then and there with its tusks or its horns- both of which it still has, unlike the ruined corpse on the ground- but clearly it has greater plans.

 

The image on the rib looks almost the same as it did before. A long panorama of a moonlit shoreline. But where there was once one figure, now there are two. One being dragged by the other toward the beckoning tide. 

 

The final item is the skull. Under the light of the candle, it does not appear to have any engraving at all. But, under that flickering flame, the shadows shift and morph the shape of the bones. And, having had its horns and tusks removed by the Scrimshander prior to his presumed demise, doesn’t it look a lot like a human skull?

 

Culmination

 

Guide:
Ma’am?

 

Restoration:
Yes, Guide? I was just grabbing a coffee, did you want anything?

Guide:
Ha, I- no thank you.

 

Restoration:
Then what can I do for you?

 

Guide:
Well, I’m sorry for interrupting you in the Break Room, but I thought you’d want to know that Professor Montgomery has almost finished setting up the ritual that will open the portal… somewhere. 

 

Restoration:
Good. And the Head of Retrieval?

 

Guide:
He’s ready to go. I think he’s nervous, he’s wearing this… environment suit, he said it’ll protect him from whatever’s on the other side. It doesn’t look very comfortable, but so long as it does its job.

 

Restoration:
Yes, good. Okay, I’ll finish up here and- [The door opens] Oh. Hello.

 

Research:
Well don’t let me interrupt, I’m just using the microwave. 

 

Restoration:
No, I- I mean, I just haven’t seen you around much lately. Surprised me, is all.

 

Research:

Well I’ve got to eat, same as you. 

 

Restoration:
Yes. Just a different schedule, I suppose. 

 

Research:

What’s that supposed to mean?

 

Restoration:

…Nothing. 

 

Research:
Alright.

 

[The microwave beeps, then whirs to life]

 

Restoration:
You look tired. 

 

Research:
I’ve been working a lot. 

 

Restoration:
Hm. Maybe you should consider easing up on it a little. Give yourself some rest.

 

Research:
Yeah thanks mom.

 

Restoration:
Okay, I-

 

Guide:
Uh, ma’am, I thought you might like to know that our collaboration with Professor Montgomery is almost finished.

 

Research:
Oh. Yeah, right, I almost forgot about that. So you actually sent a team to the LIbrary?

 

Guide:

Yes. I went along with them, it was… horrific.

 

Research:
Yeah, I bet. You lose anyone?

Guide:
Yes. We lost a Retrieval Agent in the process. 

 

Research:

No surprise there. I mean, there’s a reason I’ve never suggested it before, even I’ve got limits. But, of course, you work with a guy like Montgomery you can’t be surprised when some eggs get broken.

 

Restoration:
Do you mean his old research team? 

 

Research:
Yeah. That was a nasty thing- before my time, but he was a pretty big name in the field so you know- word gets around. 

 

Guide:
My understanding is that he’s built a very different name for himself in the following years.

 

Research:
Well, kind of, I guess. But… well, at least this time he didn’t pull the trigger himself, is all I’m saying.

 

Restoration:
What are you talking about?

 

Research:
His old research team.

 

Guide:
He told us that they were… possessed by a hive mind. Like the Security Department.

 

Research:
Well yeah, he’s always said that. That’s why he had to kill them, or that they were already dead. You know, this whole lone wolf thing, I always wondered which way it was, you know? If it was that he didn’t want to work with people anymore in case history repeated, or if it was just that nobody wanted to risk working with him.

 

[A beat. The microwave pings.]

 

Restoration:
Guide, I think-

 

Guide:
Yep, I’m letting the Head of Retrieval know as we- 

 

Crossfade

 

Guide:
Sir, there’s something you should-

 

[The hammer on Walt’s revolver clicks]

 

Retrieval:
I think I might have some idea. 

 

Walt:

Take the suit off now, friend. I’ll be the one going to the other place, figure I could use the protection. 

 

Retrieval:
You don’t have the balls. 

 

Walt:
Please, son. I’m doing you a mercy here. Best for all of us if I’m the one who does this.

 

Retrieval:
…Do you know what? I think you might be right. 

 

[Unipping sound]

 

Guide:

Sir, I can get help, let me call-

 

Retrieval:
Guide. The suit’s bulletproof. I’m not doing it because I’m scared he’ll shoot me, I’m doing it because I’ve decided it actually would be for the best if he’s the one to go.

 

Walt:
I’m glad you’re seeing things my way.

 

Retrieval:
I don’t think I am.

 

Walt:
You’d be surprised. So many years, all leading to this point. Towards… Absolution? No. Atonement. There’s no absolution for what I did. But I can accept it. Make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

 

Retrieval:
What’s he on about?

 

Guide:

He killed his colleagues. The ones he said were taken by the hive mind. 

 

Retrieval:

Great, so was anything he said true, or-

 

Walt:
All of it. I didn’t tell a lie. I don’t deny that I killed them. I killed them all the day we took those damn rocks out of the ground. That was when it all started, when the assimilation began. The violence that followed was just… cleaning up. Preventing whatever it was that took them from wearing their faces. For the longest time that was all I could do to make amends but now I can finally put all of this to rest. I don’t know what I’m going to face on the other side. Maybe I’ll find what’s behind all this. Put it down, or ask it why. At the very least, I will have tried. 

 

[Zip]

 

Guide:
You don’t have to do this, Walt.

 

Walt:
Oh, but I do Guide. I do, with every fibre of my being. For myself, for the people I lost, for your Security department. It’s all I can do.

 

Retrieval:
Suit’s got an onboard. Use the wrist computer to download a copy of the Guide before you head out. At least that way we’re guaranteed to get something out of this.

 

Walt:
I… could you give me a hand with that? I’m not too great with computers.

 

Retrieval:
Fine. Gimme it. Done. Put the helmet on.

Guide:
Hello, can you hear me through the suit?

 

Walt:
Yes. I can. Thank you both. And, Guide? I would like to apologise one last time, in case I don’t make it. I think I would have liked to have gotten to know you better.

 

Guide:
I… 

 

Walt:
Alright. No point wasting any more time. Wish me luck! [beat] Right. Here we go.

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