36: Release

written by Daniel Manning, Mischa Stanton, Eli Barraza & Tau Zaman
[Back]

MISCHA (M): A quick warning: This episode contains graphic depictions of gun violence. Listener discretion advised.

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[Previously, on ars PARADOXICA]

SG: My name is Sally Grissom and I think I accidentally invented time travel.

BD: Win the war for us, then we’ll talk.

SG: I don't wanna pull anyone away from anything that was going to have an impact on my history.

AP: but… We’re a Tier 1 project. Hell, we are the Tier 1 Project!

ER: I--I’m just not sure why I’m being brought onto this team? I’m just a lowly calculator. You could’ve gotten engineers worth twice my weight.

SG: ...Oh man, was dying the most interesting thing Quentin Barlowe ever did?

JB: It doesn’t matter what you say, because you’re going to make this right.

SG: Listen–what happened is what’s happened. How can you live when the past is just as uncertain as the future!

JB: You’ve built this thing that promises to fix what once was broken, and you just let it sit there? Too afraid to do anything with that power, because you’re afraid that one day you might regret it?

[[SFX: Anthony chokes Bill.]]

CW: Oh Anthony. Anthony! What have you done?

CW: you made your choice. And with choice comes consequence.

HC: You’re going to become the bedrock for everything you’ve worked for at ODAR.You can be the genius that saves the world.

AP: ...I’m listening.

AP: This room is my prison. My cage. I’m not being dramatic, either: it’s really called a CAGE. Controlled Atemporal something or other. A little bubble in time isolated to a single moment, tethered to the deck of the USS Eldridge on the afternoon of October 28, 1943. This place, right here, right now is the nexus that makes time travel possible. Yes, I’m a time travel mailman. How glamorous.

AMELIA: Miss Roberts, you’re needed in the atrium. The children are here.

CW: … Children?

PM: You know what I mean! What kid should be made to watch their friends, their family die over and over again? What kid should give up their goddamn birthday? All so, what? So ODAR could have agents without brain damage?

SG: You left someone to came all the way back here?

NS: There’s...another field agent back in ODAR headquarters. I only really started getting to know him just before getting sent back here, though.

MM: When I went back, I ran into someone who wanted a put a stop to this. I mean all of it. Wanted to shut ODAR down for good.

NS: Schematics?

MM: For an anchor point. A second one, separate from the Eldridge.

NS:  Who... who gave you this idea?

MM: A lot of people actually. Across time. They’ve collectively been trying to design something to take down ODAR. Across decades, without ever even meeting each other, sometimes.

NS: “I see the beacons, dotting the arc of time, lighting the way to dawn."

SG: So! Since the last time I checked in, I’ve started working with a group of radicals looking to subvert a top secret division of the United States government.

MM: What if the beacons June was talking about… are numbers stations? Like the one they used to use in the old days — codes over the airwaves!

SG: Hey guys...

CW: Evening, everyone.

LG: So Mr. Whickman. Now that you’ve got us right where you’ve wanted us this whole time, what is it that you want?

CW: I want us to have a little talk about your future.

LG: You want me to join ODAR? After all this?

CW: Take the job. Work for ODAR like you’ve always wanted to.

SG: In the three years after that, I formally rejoined ODAR, which is kind of a big deal. They’re looking into Carmen and Petra and the rest of the Plasticity kids, and precisely where it ranks on a scale between “double parking” and “double genocide.”

SG: What the–

[[SFX: Someone throws a bag over Sally's head and binds her; she struggles]]

SOVIET AGENT: [RU] Give her the serum!

TLM: We have reason to believe that Doctor Sally Grissom is now in the custody of a foreign power.

SG: [tired, miserable] What do you want?

AD: To end the fighting, as quick as possible. To return to a world not constantly threatening to destroy itself. What is silence worth, Doctor Grissom? What is inaction worth?

SG: I thought I was fixing little things. Y’know, like a lens facing the wrong way... But I... I had no idea what they were building!

TLM: ...A missile array outfitted with CAGE emitters, working in concert to cover entire cities and age them into dust.

ER: Sally’s been calling it “Weaponized Entropy for Large Targets,” or WELT.

SG: ...I’ll be leaving Point-of-Exile by the end of the month.

ME: You need the cure for Butterfly Syndrome.

[[SFX: They pull out files and start leafing through]]

NS: This is incredible! Is this how you cure it?

ME: I can only assume. It’s not my work. At least, not yet.

[[SFX: Mateo pops into existence, and Nikhil and Sally catch him.]]

SG: Okay... here we go...

 

MM: [dazed, shaking] Hey there... hot... stuff...

SG: Oh, um... Wow, that looked painful? Do I have to get the shot in the spine?

ME: Unfortunately.

NS: It sounds like you’re planning to jump back. Pretty far, I’d wager.

SG: I’m gonna go... where I’m gonna go. But I want you guys to keep doing what you’re doing with the archive. Broadcasting this, all of this that’s happened.

AP: So you are listening to the archive–just about every single tape that’s crossed my desk from 1943 to 1993. I’ve got discarded pasts, unrealized futures, and messy presents.

NS: And since we’re only trying to find an Outpost...

MM: It means, for the sake of both of us, this should be the last contact we can ever have with you, Dr. Grissom. I’m sorry.

SG: ...We’ve said goodbye enough already. This time I just want to say: Good luck.

ER: I’m worried… About Petra. I think she’s planning something big.

PM: It’s Petra prime and I’m at the facility. Thanks team, for everything that you’ve done. ...We really pushed the boundaries of what we could do… The rocket, the WELT, the Timepieces… I’m proud of us.

SG: They tell me the date is October 29th, 1943. But the weird part is... I think I’m in a parallel universe. Or, alternate timeline. Or something.He asked me about, what sounded like an artificial satellite orbiting the Earth? With a salvo of missiles all trained on that little ship, in the Philadelphia harbor?

SCIENTIST: They just made it as a distraction! It’s just a goddamn pony-trick so the public thinks the worst thing imaginable is on the ground and not in the sky.

SG-A: Oh shit, what the...OHMYGOD–

SG-P: Calm down, Sally, you’re gonna be fine this time but I need you to lie down here.

SG-A: You’re me from the future!

SG-P: Back in my time there was this kid, Petra. She was immune to Butterfly Syndrome, can make time-duplicates of herself, and had a bone to pick with the US Government and ODAR–for fairly valid reasons. So Petra sends the WELT back in time to the original anchor point, and as far as I can tell she’s been having a jolly good time getting her rocks off watching the world freak out about it.

SG-A: THAT’S why the NACA has been so weird!

SG-P: ANYWAY you know your lab partner? Sylvia Pureboot?

SG-A: Let me guess. She’s a double agent, right? Working for this, Petra kid?

SG-P: Worse: she is Petra.

SG-P: DOCTOR Grissom and I need your help. Can you do it?

JW: This is bonkers, I’m in.

ER: Of course.

SG-P: ...Okay.

[Theme music]

[[SFX: tape recorder starts. Outside, Mateo climbs a ladder and opens a metal hatch; he clambors inside to escape the cold wind.]]

MATEO MORALES (MM): Hoooooomygod. It’s cold.

NIKHIL SHARMA (NS): I just got the space heater running, give it a minute.

MM: Can you just crank it to max?

NS: No, that would be a waste of energy! Put on another sweater!

[[SFX: Nikhil boots up a computer, starts typing]]

MM: Awww, look at us, all alone in the middle of a freezing nowhere, and we’re bickering already.

NS: In a Beacon of our very own.

MM: June Barlowe would be proud. Stocked with blankets, movies, and snacks to our hearts’ content. Real romantic.

[[SFX: Nikhil picks up a notebook, flips through]]

NS: Yeah, and look at these! "IN A GEOPOLITICAL OCEAN.” “SALLY CAN YOU HEAR ME.” Why, why did you have to make these so damn hard to solve?!

MM: Hey, I didn’t know what kinda interference we were gonna have! Plus, it was cute imagining you wracking your brain.

NS: Shut up...

MM: You like it.

[[SFX: They laugh; radio tuning; the ODAR workshop]]

PETRA MARQUEZ/SYLVIA PUREBOOT (PM-A): Got your message, Esther said you needed help to run an experiment?

ALTERNATE SALLY GRISSOM (SG-A): Yeah, okay, stand there.

[[SFX: Sally-A flipping switches; a machine spools up]]

PM-A: What is happening?

SG-A: It’s perfectly safe, Pureboot. Geez, think I’d put my lab assistants in harm's way?

PM-A: We both already know the answer to that.

SG-A: Okay in five, four, three, two…

[[SFX: Sally runs over to Petra as the machine powers up. The CAGE bubble forms.]]

PM-A: [feigning innorance] Um, Sally? What’s happening? Where are we?

SG-A: A CAGE. You and I need to talk… Petra Marquez.

PM-A: ... I can't jump out. Clever.

SG-A: I have my moments.

PM-A: So, how is dear old Sally? She’s the one who told you about me, right?

SG-A: I could ask the same of the other Petra. Petras. Petrae? How many of you are there?

PM-A: Oh, you know, just me. Been really busy lately. It’s like I’ve gotta be in three places at once!

SG-A: Okay let me think, you’d need enough to either build or steal a rocket that could launch a satellite into space; steal a timepiece to send that satellite back in time; plus one, you, to go undercover to early ODAR to make sure none of us ever thought to look too closely at NACA. So… anywhere between three and a fuckload. Are you the first Petra? OG Petra? Petra Prime? Petra_test_06_finaldraft1?

PM-A: Surprised that you’re not drooling on the floor. Thought your puny human brains couldn’t handle that.

SG-A: I taught myself a thing or two.

PM-A: [sigh] How do you expect this conversation to end, Sally?

SG-A: I… honestly have no idea. I don’t really even know who you are.

PM-A: It’s funny, I… Petra… kind of hated you. Hated her: the older Sally, who told you who I am. And after spending a few years as Sylvia Pureboot… I liked being Sylvia more than I liked being Petra. Someone with a decent brain and a good heart, who gets to work on this new frontier with someone she admires. You know, Sylvia started to like you. A lot. But, I’m not Sylvia Pureboot. And you’re not the Sally I knew.  

SG-A: Where does that leave us?

PM-A: You let me go and I swear on the Pureboot name I won’t tell… Petra-Prime or any of the others that you know or suspect anything.

SG-A: And I’m just supposed to trust the word of someone who has lied to me about who she was for years? Hard pass.

PM-A: You know, another version of me would probably just kill you right now.

SG-A: If you were thinking that brutal honesty would help, then you’ve got another thing comin’–

PM-A: Sally, ... I think when I put that thing in the sky, I thought I would have a good laugh watching the world scramble under it. And… a lot of the Petras have, but I... the me that’s worked with you for the past few years has seen that… I think you’ve turned into better people, and I think the ODAR I came from was afraid of that. Afraid to meddle with anything too early in case the people who grew a conscience would stay instead of leave.

SG-A: And you think you’re one of those people who grew a conscience.

PM: Let’s just say I’m taking a page out of the Barlowes’ book: I’m defying my stars.

SG-A: There’s that name again, who the hell is Barlowe?

PM-A: An almost double agent who… it’s a lot to explain. Point is: he rejected what his timeline had in store for him, everything he knew he was supposed to do, just for a shot at happiness. That’s all I’m trying to do. I’m the version of me that finally learned to leave well enough alone. If… if you think the rest of the team would have me.

SG-A: Yeah… That’s a really nice offer I guess? I mean, after two and a half years of lying straight to our faces. But I think we’re still gonna pass.

PM-A: At least let me tell you what we’re doing? So you guys can, y’know. Do something about it?

SG-A: Fine. But then you’re gone.

PM-A: I… I understand.

[[SFX: radio tuning; a Petra frantically packs a bag, police scanner tuning in the background.]]

ANOTHER PETRA MARQUEZ (PM-B): Hey, it’s Campy Campanella. Looking for a callback. Anybody. Zimmer, Erskine, jeez, if one of you went rogue and took Robinson, I’ll take it! I haven’t heard from anybody in a dog’s age, and I’m calling that most of you have been tagged out by the Yankees. If I don’t hear back from any of you soon, I’m just gonna assume you’re gone, I don't–

[[SFX: The scanner hits a clear signal.]]

CHET WHICKMAN (CW): [on police scanner] Closing in. Breach in five.

PM-B: That’s not good. Where’s an exit, where’s an exit…

[[SFX: The wooden door shatters into splinters as the ODAR cavalry appears]]

PM-B: Shit!

AGENT: Stop! You’re surrounded!

PM-B: Fuck me… Never thought I’d have to actually use this move...

[[SFX: Petra grabs her bag and makes a break for it]]

AGENT: She's going for the window! Open fire!

[[SFX: The agents open fire at Petra; one grazes her, but as they chase her down she makes it to the window and through; she falls hard, two stories, into a bush; Petra grunts in pain]]

CW: [distant, approaching] Over here, in these bushes!

[[SFX: Chet wrestles Petra to her feet, subdues her and puts her in handcuffs]]

PM-B: Get your hands off of me!

CW: Aren’t you excited? You get to go see your sisters.

PM: You monsters!

[[SFX: radio tuning; Esther hangs up the phone.]]

ESTHER ROBERTS (ER): That was the extraction crew in Alabama. Another Petra in custody.

JACK WYATT (JW): What does that make?

SG-A: Seven.

SALLY GRISSOM PRIME (SG-P): Plus the three unaffiliated Petras, that brings us almost up to the twelve that we’ve identified.

ER: Except one.

SG-A: The Big, Bad, Petra Prime.

JW: Do we have any leads?

ER: [resigned sigh] I have a hunch.

SG-A: Go on.

ER: When Amelia called, she also informed me that the team retaking the Eldridge had stopped checking in.

JW: ...I mean, it’s an out-of-commission frigate sitting in drydock. It’s not like–

SG-A: You’ve gotta be kidding me.

ER: Well, it fits her character, at least.

SG-P: What a place for a supervillain lair.

JW: Are we sure it’s her?

SG-P: That’s definitely it. She’s one to appreciate a big symbol.

JW: What do we do?

SG-P: Roberts, can you get me the plans for that boat?

ER: I’m on it.

[[SFX: Esther picks up the phone again and begins dialing; radio tuning; the ODAR lab breakroom]]

ER: I got the developed photos from the NACA flyover.

SG-P: And?

[[SFX: Esther puts the photos upon the table]]

ER: This is the deck of the Eldridge on the 5th... this is the dock on the 6th. See that right there? That box?

JW: Huh.

ER: Gone on the 5th, there on the 6th. I know for a FACT that nobody should be anywhere near that boat. It’s got to be her.

JW: Are you sure?

SG-P: Definitely. It’s her.

ER: She must be all alone. All her friends got locked up.

JW: All her other herselves, you mean.

SG-A: So we did it?

SG-P: We did it! Beer, anyone?

JW: None for me, thanks.

SG-P: Really? Hmmph.

JW: I’ll take a Coke if we have ‘em.

SG-P: "Pepsi OK?"

ER: ...Do we usually stock Pepsi?

SG-P: Never mind. Bad joke.

[[SFX: Sally-Prime goes to the fridge and gets 3 beers & 1 soda; Esther lays out blueprints]]

ER: Alright everyone, excuse me, figured we could go over the blueprints one more time.

JW: Booooo. How about we just foil the supervillain plot to blow time to pieces in the morning?

ER: Is that any way to speak to your superior?

JW: Well...Off the clock, it’s how I speak to a friend.

ER: Fine. Promise me a game of Dilemma and you won't see them the rest of the night.

JW: Deal.

[[SFX: Esther puts her blueprints away; Sally-Prime returns with the drinks]]

SG-P: Money’s on Roberts!

SG-A: My money on Wyatt’s as good as yours.

JW: I find your lack of faith disturbing.

SG-P: Alright, alright, guys. Here, Roberts, Wyatt. Everyone…

[[SFX: Dramatic pause as everyone lifts their drinks in the air.]]

SG-P: My life has been a goddamn roller-coaster since meeting you all both in my time and yours. This team… no matter the rewrite, this team has meant so much to me. All of our work, all of the paradoxical bullshit we’ve gone through… thank you. It’s been an honor to work with all of you, again, so this is to you and to all the people who may not be dead but certainly aren’t with us.

SG-A: Cheers./JW: Amen./ER: To all of them.

[[SFX: They raise their drinks.]]

SG-P: I know we’ve been working on this as a team but… I’m going to the Eldridge, alone.

OTHERS: [sounds of protest]

SG-P: –And before you say anything, this isn’t some heroic self-sacrifice bullshit. Okay, maybe it kind of is BUT I’m the one who has enough experience with the WELT to wing it on the fly if I have to and who knows Petra and might be able to… talk to her. So, this is… a final goodbye. Possibly.

JW: Given the 10 tons of unresolved emotions between you two, I’m sure it’ll go great.

SG-P: Yeah, maybe even especially because of that. But really… I’ve already given up my future. Twice, at least. I want all the people I care about to see theirs, not just you guys but everyone you haven’t met yet, Nikhil, Lou, Bridget–well you’ve already met her, huh, Roberts?

ER: Wait, what?

SG-P: Nevermind, anyway... I’ve got nothing to lose and you all have everything to gain. Let me do this. Sally, let me leave the DeLorean on the train tracks.

SG-A: ...I really hope it’s a little less violent than getting hit by a train.

SG-P: You and me both, pal.

JW: And one day you can tell us what any of that meant.

ER: Here here.

[[SFX: They clink their bottles; tape recorder stops]]

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[[SFX: tape recorder starts; waves in a harbor, seagulls pass by]]

SG-P: Damnit, Roberts, the dry-dock was supposed to be dry! [pause] Looks like the only entrance is by the very obvious bridge or the chains connecting the boat to the dock and I... I am not as young as I used to be. So, bridge it is.

[[SFX: Sally creeps up onto the bridge, gripping the railing as she walks]]

SG-P: Weird, figured this place would be crawling with Petras.

[[SFX: She steps off onto the deck and runs over to hide behind a box of equipment.]]

SG-P: And there it is, the transmitter. Right there. In the wide open. No one around. Obviously a trap. Think, Grissom, think. Why couldn’t I have thought to… No, that might kill me back in 1943 and… damn. Okay, no EMP. Just gonna… walk right out there and make it up as I go. And go.

[[SFX: She briskly walks out onto the deck; she's immediately spotted by Petra, interrupted]]

PETRA MARQUEZ PRIME (PM-P): Stars are pretty out here, huh?

SG-P: Hey, at least I knew this was a trap.

PM-P: And yet you came anyway.

SG-P: [mocking] And yet you let me on board anyway.

PM-P: Pff. Whatever.

SG-P: Where are all of your Minion Petras?

PM-P: Didn’t need to be here.

SG-P: You were always more of the loner type.

PM-P: Two lonely peas in a lonely pod, then.

SG-P: Petra, isn’t all… this a little… extra? Your secret lair on the deck of the ship all this started on.

PM-P: Can’t a girl like the poetry of it? The original Sally brought to the original site of time travel.

SG-P: I’m not even close to the original Sally. What are we doing here, Petra? You wanna Bond villain monologue at me before you wipe some poor city or, or a state off the face of the earth with your goddamn orbital superweapon? You got to see the whole world scramble like ants under its orbit, terrified of what it is and now you wanna see me do the same, up close and personal? Fuck that, Petra. If you’re gonna blow somewhere to kingdom come, get it over with and add your name right next to all the other sons of bitches who have done the same.

PM-P: That’s so cute. I’ll admit I grabbed some popcorn and kicked back after everyone discovered my gift in the sky. And sending me to work for ODAR by your side was inspired, honestly, I’m mildly disappointed I couldn’t be there in person. But no, I’ve set my sights bigger. And I wanted you to know before… well, before we both won’t be able to know. Huh. I guess this kind of is my Bond villain monologue. Did always think 007 was a prick.

SG-P: What’s bigger than putting a damn time gun in the… wait.

[[SFX: A pause as Sally takes in the scene before her.]]

PM-P: I’ll give you this Sally, it’s entertaining as hell to watch your face as you put two and two together.

SG-P: You flip that switch in your hand, send a tachyon signal to the WELT in 1943–

PM-P: And it activates it the moment it appears, either destroying the anchor point and stopping YOUR original experiment OR at the very least, destroying the Eldridge, killing you, Donovan, Whickman and anybody else who let this shit build up in the first place. Government chalks up Project RAINBOW as a failure, we all forget about ODAR, no one’s the wiser.

SG-P: ...You have no idea that’s what’ll happen, Petra. You’re messing with the fabric of spacetime, this be the end of existence as we know it! All of it!

PM-P: You don’t care if I cross the streams! You keep going on and on about messing with the laws of the universe but you messing with those laws back in 20█ is what got us here in the first place. You are responsible for everything that has happened but especially, especially everything that hasn’t happened. ODAR treats every past iteration like they don’t matter, like they never mattered. And the great cosmic joke of it all is that they’re right! They don’t matter. When time is putty in your hands, it doesn’t matter what shape you mold it into. So really, it doesn’t matter if the WELT fires at this very deck on October 28th, 1943 because it’ll be just another stupid iteration that time becomes and none of us will ever know!

SG-P: That’s bullshit.

PM-P: Bullshitter’s calling bullshit, that’s a surprise.

SG-P: If you were so decided on that course of action, if you truly thought that past iterations didn’t matter… we wouldn’t be standing here right now. You would have pulled the trigger thirty-five proverbial minutes ago and ended this because if there’s one thing I know about you, Petra, once you really decide on a course of action, it’s as good as done. But I think you know as well as I do that everything that’s happened and everything that hasn’t happened still matters. When you arrived in 1943, you may have been alone but your brain, your unique, beautiful brain still carried the memory of your classmates, your sister…. Your family. And that… that matters, Petra! Carrying these stories across time, even if it kills most of us… that matters. If you really don’t want to continue their legacy, then fine. Flip that fucking switch and get it over with. But don’t you dare tell me that none of this matters.

[[SFX: Silence save for the distant sound of waves. Then:]]

PM-P: [gently] I just… I wanted the choice. You and I are the ones who never got to choose.

[[SFX: Petra slides Sally the transmitter switch]]

PM-P: So here. This is me, making my choice but… if there’s anyone in time that deserves the option to end all of this it’s you. Take the switch.

SG-P: You know, it’s not much smaller than that platinum test cylinder I picked up at the SSC. Feels like a lifetime ago. Guess it kind of is.

PM-P: Would that Sally have pressed it?

SG-P: She’s not around to answer that question. She never got that choice.

PM-P:

[[SFX: radio tuning; Sally and Petra in a boat]]

SG-P: You better hope we don’t fuck this up.

PM-P: Me? I’m still in the "86-ing you" camp.

SG-P: I better hope we don’t fuck this up.

PM-P: That’s the right answer. I’m recording this, by the way.

SG-P: I’d thought you would be sick of microphones right now.

PM-P: If this is the end, I want a little souvenir. To send to Nikhil and Mateo.

[[SFX: Sally spools up a Timepiece]]

SG-P: We’re going to fix this, Petra.

PM-P: Classic hubris, Grissom.

[[SFX: The Timepiece reaches critical and activates; an echo of a voice drifts by; the deck of the Eldridge, October 28th, 1943. The latest Sally appears on the deck; her platinum cylinder rolls past; she's about to hurl and fall over, when Sally-Prime and Petra rush over to catch her.]]

NEWEST SALLY (SG-X): [groans]

SG-P: Easy, Sally.

PM-P: We got you, just hold on.

[[SFX: Sally-Prime & Petra drag the new Sally quickly over to the edge of the ship and jump off into the water; after a couple of seconds, they splash down.]]

CW: What was that? Hey Jennings, did you hear something?

SG-X: ...huh?

[[SFX: Sally-Prime, driving the boat, taps Petra and points to the awakening paradox.]]

SG-P: [sotto] Hey.

PM-P: Hey, Sally. I’m Petra. It’s nice to finally meet you.

SG-X: who are you? Oh God, I feel… awful. What happened with the test?

PM-P: Oh man, where to even start with that one...

SG-X: is everything alright? there was an accident, I tried to fix the mass and then the ground was different and I was outside–am I in a boat?

PM-P: There were some complications.

[[SFX: Sally-X sits up, then inhales sharply through her teeth against a wave of pain]]

SG-X: Ah, why does everything hurt?

PM-P: You’ve had a long trip. And we had to give you some medicine. For your health.

SG-X: Why?

SG-P: Because of me.

SG-X: Why about you… do you look like me? I think this might be the drugs but you look almost exactly like me.

SG-P: I am you.

SG-X: What?

[[SFX: Sally-X tries to sit up, but is knocked off-balance by the rocking of the boat.]]

PM-P: Hold on there, big girl. You’re still a little woozy. Wait till we reach the shore.

SG-X: What the fuck is going on?

SG-P: So it turns out, the Higgs Array is a perfect vehicle for traveling back in time.

SG-X: Uh…. Okay.

SG-P: In my version, the government nabs us from the deck of that Navy boat, and I basically got forced into being a Player in the Cold War.

PM-P: A lot of dumb stupid stuff and a bunch of war crimes.

SG-P: And Petra and I had a long think about it, and we basically decided that it’s better off if they don’t get their hands on the time machine in the first place. So we threw you overboard.

PM-P: Without anybody seeing!

SG-P: She’s really proud.

PM-P: [indignant] It was very cool! I time-traveled this boat! Do you know how hard it is to send a boat that you’re not currently standing on back in time??

SG-P: Anyway, we figured we’d, y’know, fade into the shadows and let history play out however it’s going to. Without us messing around with it.

[Beat.]

SG-X: I guess I don’t have a choice in this, do I?

SG-P: I don’t know, do you? I didn’t have a choice. Neither did Petra. You can be who you want to be.

SG-X: ...In 1943.

SG-P: It’s not perfect. I’m sorry. If I could make this easy, you know I would.

PM-P: You’re right, though, you didn’t ask for this, and we’re sorry.

SG-P: All of us get a raw deal. I wanted to change my timeline, but I didn’t ask if I could change yours. And now you’re stuck with that. But I will do everything in my power to help.

SG-X: I’m not going back home, am I?

PM-P: Not unless you know something we don’t. But it’s not so bad. [to SG-P] Over here.

SG-P: Ok.

[[SFX: Sally pilots the boat toward a coastline.]]

SG-X: This is so much…

SG-P: This is new for us, too. We’re changing everything. We want to do something new.

SG-X: What’s that?

PM-P: We don’t know yet.

[[SFX: Boat crunches up onto the gravel coast.]]

SG-P: Probably get a car, drive down the coast, and disappear.

SG-X: Can you just... do that?

SG-P: More or less. It’s a lot easier to disappear in the 40s. And Petra is really good at it.

PM: It sure as hell beats working for the mad science wing of the military industrial complex.

SG-P: You in?

SG-X: I don’t know… I…

PM: Come onnnn, This is the get out of jail card you didn’t know you had.

[[SFX: Petra disembarks]]

SG-P: You’re part of something new. Something that hasn’t been tried before. Stay with us. I’m the only person you trust, anyway. [pause] You coming?

SG-X: ...I don’t suppose I’ve got anything better to do. Do I?

SG-P: Nope. Here, let me help you.

SG-X: [coolly] I got it.

SG-P: [caringly] Sally, it’s okay. I’ve got you.

[[SFX: With assistance from Sally-Prime, Sally-X slowly makes her way onto the shore.]]

PM-P: Oh, one more thing.

[[SFX: Petra coses the Timepiece with a snap, sets it into the gravel, picks up a crow bar, and smashes it once... and then two more times for good measure. Then she kicks the hunk of junk into the water.]]

SG-P: Satisfied?

PM-P: Gettin’ there.

SG-P: Come on, let’s go.

[[SFX: Petra and the Sallies walk off into the forest, leaving only the birds and the lapping of the water against the boat; radio tuning; Mateo & Nikhil's Outpost]]

NS: So what kind of messages are we going to send from here?

MM: Well, we just happen to have this drive of recordings from all different timelines…

NS: So we’re doing it? We’re just putting it out there, for the world?

MM: I mean, ODAR, KTNK...their real weapon was secrecy. Not time travel. Put these in the hands of anyone who listens, and well. All the 77s in the world couldn’t undo that!

NS: I’m picturing them frantically chasing everyone down.

MM: Flashing them Men-in-Black style, heh.

NS: But..all of them? I mean, there are recordings of you and me in there…

MM: Aaaww, are you embarrassed?

NS: No, I just...I like what we have. Adding an audience to it is...strange.

MM: Well, I was thinking, we could really piece together the most important stuff, make a compelling, cohesive string out of all this mind-bending paradoxy business. More people could get through it if they didn’t have to listen to—oh, what does it say here—all 30,000 hours of recordings across all the timelines we have?

NS: Do you have any idea what it’s like watching your face light up? Do you even realize the whole world changes every time an idea pops into your head?

MM: Stop, I’m supposed to be the mushy one.

NS: What we’re going to release to the world...it’s dangerous. Nothing will be the same once we do.

MM: Ha! Yeah, well, we’ll cross that bridge when we get to it I guess!

NS: You just laugh it off like that. It’s incredible.

MM: Dr. Sharma, I need your professional opinion on a most urgent matter.

NS: What is it?

MM: This broadcast needs a beginning.

NS: Ha, well, in my expert opinion, there’s no better place than...here.

MM: Of course! That’s perfect. Just listen.

[[SFX. He hits Play and the recording begins.]]

SG: [on recording] Hello? Testing, one two… Okay! This is the audio diary of…

[[SFX: recording fades out; tape recorder runs on blank tape; tape recorder stops]]


ars PARADOXICA was created by Daniel Manning & Mischa Stanton. Season 3 was also written by Eli Barraza, Julian Mundy, Danielle Shemaiah & Tau Zaman.
Episode 36: Release features –

Kristen DiMercurio (Sally Grissom)
Katie Speed (Esther Roberts)
Lia Peros (Petra Marquez)

Reyn Beeler (Chet Whickman)
Zach Ehrlich (Jack Wyatt)
Arjun Gupta (Nikhil Sharma)
Bernardo Cubria (Mateo Morales)

Dennis Connors (additional voices)
with special thanks to Isabel Atkinson

Production help from Brandon Grugle. Special production on Season 3 by Daniel Manning. Original music by Mischa Stanton and by Eno Freedman-Brodmann.

ars PARADOXICA is brought to you by The Internet: It's 3am, go to bed!

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