The Intrusion

written by Lauren Shippen, Daniel Manning & Mischa Stanton

[[SFX: tape recorder starts; Blackroom ambiance, classical music]]

ANTHONY PARTRIDGE (AP): To this has it come! To this!­­ Treacherous, contemptible spirit, and thou hast concealed it from me!­­Stand, then,­­stand! Roll the devilish eyes wrathfully in thy head! Stand and defy me with thine intolerable presence! Imprisoned! In irretrievable misery! Delivered up to evil spirits, and to condemning, unfeeling Man!

[[SFX: Sam appears in the Blackroom]]

SAM BARNES (SB): Ugh, what? Wha­... why is it so dark? Where­... where is this?

[[SFX: Sam trips over a stack of books.]]

SB: Oh I’m sor­­ry– wait... How did I do that? How did...

[[SFX: Anthony turns the record player off]]

AP: Who’s there?

SB: Um, hello? Did... Were you talking to me? Can you... Hear me?

AP: Yes, of course I can hear you! Who else would I be speaking to?

SB: Um... hi?

AP: Hello.

SB: What­, where... Where are we?

AP: You mean... You don’t know?

SB: Um, no? I mean, I’ve never... Are we underground or something? Where are the windows? Where are the walls? I don’t understand.

AP: If you don’t know where we are, then it’s above your pay grade. How did you get here without knowing where here is?

SB: It’s kind of a long story.

AP: Believe me, honey, we’ve got all the time in the world. There’s not many places I have to be.

SB: Um, it’s Sam? Samantha. Not honey. Just­­ call me Sam.

AP: ...Apologies. It’s been a while since I actually spoke out loud to anybody else. I’m Anthony. It’s nice to meet you, Sam. ou can shake my hand, it’s okay. I’m not gonna bite.

SB: I’m... Not sure if I can.

AP: Well... Only one way to find out.

SB: How...?

AP: See? Not so bad.

SB: This isn’t usually how it happens. Our hands should’ve gone straight through each other.

AP: Is that, uh... Does that normally happen to you?

SB: Not many normal things happen to me.

AP: I hear that.

SB: So... Where are we?

AP: We are... Well, I suppose we’re somewhere outside of time.

SB: Of course we are. Um... so like... We’re just nowhere? I just... Fell out of the universe?

AP: Well, it’s October 28th, 1943. About 3pm, Eastern time. We’re in Philadelphia. That is, if we’re anywhere at all.

SB: That’s... An oddly specific place outside of time.

AP: It’s the site of a big military experiment. It kicked off, well... We’re actually on the deck of a destroyer escort, the USS Eldridge.

SB: Military experiment. Right. That’s... 1943, you say?

AP: Yes, but my question is, how did you get here without knowing any of this? What, did you stumble across a Timepiece and just flip it on? I don’t think I have any records of any misplaced equipment...

[[SFX: Anthony types at a console]]

SB: Is that a computer? Do you get wi­fi outside of time?

AP: What’s wi­fi?

SB: That answers that, I guess.

AP: Where are you from? Or, when, I mean.

SB: 2016.

AP: Where’s your Timepiece?

SB: My what?

AP: How did you get here?

SB: It’s... just something that happens to me. Or­­ no, no Joan wouldn’t want me saying that. [deep breath] It’s something I can do.

AP: What... You can just travel in time? Without any sort of equipment, or anything?

SB: Well... Yeah.

AP: Hah, really? What is it with 21st­-Century broads and time travel?

SB: I don’t know, but I’m not a broad. God, I do not miss the 40s...

AP: –I’m sorry, I’m from a different time.

SB: Yeah, that excuse won’t really work on me.

AP: So you’ve never heard of the Timepiece?

SB: Nope.

AP: What about ODAR?

SB: I don’t think so.

AP: Well, isn’t that just... wizard.

SB: [embarrassed] Yeah I guess... I’ve been driving across the US, I’m­... I’m looking for someone. And it’s­­... it’s not going great and I kind of had a bad moment and ended up here.

AP: And just like that, you end up here in the Blackroom?

SB: Just like that.

AP: Do you take trips often?

SB: Um, yeah I do. Though, not so many like this one­­ ones where I don’t choose to go. I’m getting better at controlling them but... it’s not a perfect science.

AP: I’m a little surprised I haven’t heard of you before.

SB: So, what, you’re just some guy sitting in a bubble outside of time, with a computer and books but no Internet? Have you... Have you always been here? Are you like... You’re not like, Father Time or something are you?

AP: Ha! Hardly. I’ve been here for... A while, I guess. Days, certainly. Months, probably. It’s a bit difficult keeping track of time here.

SB: I bet... What are you doing here?

AP: I’m coordinating messages for ODAR. They’re the Office of Developed Anomalous Resources.

SB: What? Those aren’t real things.

AP: They’re a fringe research division. Or, they were. Since I’ve been here they’ve grown into something... Else. Something a little less science­-y, a little more espionage­-y.

SB: So like... A secret government time travel conspiracy?

AP: Essentially, yes.

SB: Oh good, more government conspiracies. Jeez, and I thought The AM was bad enough... but... Okay, so this is like a time travel pit stop? And you’re here to, what, be a traffic cop for time travelers?

AP: More like a mailman than a traffic cop.

SB: You must have a ton of information on your computer here. I mean, if you're keeping track of all events through time, right? Uh, do you keep files on individual people? Like, people who have been to other times?

AP: Sometimes. If they’re important. You’re quick on the uptake.

SB: So you think I could... I mean, can you look someone up for me?

AP: ...You know what? Why not.

SB: Um, Mark. Mark Bryant.

AP: And you said 2016, right?

SB: Yeah. Really any time after 2011.

[[SFX: typing]]

AP: It’s a little tough for me to access anything beyond 1990 or so, but I’ll see if I can... No, I don’t see anything here.

SB: Oh, um... Try Mark Bright, maybe?

[[SFX: typing]]

AP: Nothing there either.

SB: Damn. Anything at all about Atypicals?

AP: What are you going on about?

SB: They’re... We're... I don’t know what we are. People with weird abilities? Not just time travel like me. There’s this teenagers who feels everybody’s feelings, and I know a girl who hears your thoughts. I think I heard my therapist mention a girl who could make fire once.

AP: Your therapist?

SB: Oh yeah, we’ve all got this therapist. It’s how I know any other ones like me.

AP: Must be some therapist.

SB: It’s not the most normal therapeutic environment, that's for sure.

AP: This is impossible. Mind reading? Spontaneous combustion? It’s something out of Action Comics!

SB: Remind me where we are again?

AP: The difference between you and me is at least I know how my physics work. Your time travel doesn’t make any sense!

SB: You don't have to be mean about it! I know it doesn't make sense, but it's still mine.

AP: ... I’m sorry.

SB: It’s okay. I appreciate you helping me.

AP: Well sure, of course!

SB: Why are you helping me? I mean, if you’re part of some big government spy game, aren’t you worried I’m a spy?

AP: Are you?

SB: No.

AP: Good. Because I probably would’ve helped you anyway. Again, you’re the first person I’ve really spoken to in... Well, since I’ve been here.

SB: You mean... You’re trapped here, aren’t you?

AP: Yes. I mean, I volunteered, but... I can’t leave. Ever.

SB: You volunteered? I... I’m sorry, I’m just having a hard time believing anyone would give up their whole life to do... This. To be here. Forever.

AP: ...I had my reasons. And I didn’t have much left to leave behind, in the end.

SB: Do you... Do you want to talk about it?

AP: Not particularly.

SB: Listen, I get it. I was the same way. Talking to Joan about my problems was really helpful–

AP: No, thank you. You’re a nice girl, but... We only just met.

SB: So, you picked this place over... Whatever it is you left behind.

AP: Yeah. At least here I feel useful. Like I’m contributing something. Back there I only.... Took. Destroyed. t is pretty lonely in here though. I mean, I never thought I’d see another face again, so... It’s really nice that you’re here.

SB: I know what you mean. I tend to avoid making contact with people. I get nervous that I may cause... Something bad. Whenever I take a trip, I’m never entirely sure what I’ll come back to find.

AP: ...Come back?

SB: Yeah, whenever I return from one of my trips­­ I usually end up in the same exact place but it’s always a bit of a gamble­­.

AP: But time travel only works one way, towards here and now. The Eldridge, it’s... It’s the only point anyone can travel towards.

SB: Um... Well, no. I’ve been spending a lot of time in the 1800s lately­­, so...

AP: So you can travel forwards in time too?

SB: Yeah, I mean, I’ve never been to the future before­– well, I mean, I’ve been to your future I guess. But yeah, I can travel forward to where I was last. When I was last.

AP: [a little too excited] SAM YOU HAVE TO GET ME OUT OF HERE.

SB: Whoa, what?

AP: Please, PLEASE take me with you! Don’t leave me trapped here!

SB: Whoa, okay, hold on... I’m not sure I can do that... I mean, I can’t affect anything in the past at all.

AP: You’ve never tried! I’m sure if you can­­ get in here you can get me out–

SB: Whoa. Back up. Don’t come any closer.

AP: For the love of God, please, if you could just try, please, I can’t­­–

SB: I said back off!

AP: ...I’m sorry. I’m not sure what came over me. I’ve been stuck here, and I just... I’m sorry.

SB: I think I should try to go.

AP: No, no please don’t, I said I’m sorry, just... Please stay.

SB: I’m not going to stay here with you.

AP: If you leave now, I’ll inform ODAR all about you.

SB: ...You’re bluffing. You don’t even know my last name.

AP: Your name is Sam, you’re from 2016, and you’re connected with something called the AM. That’s all they’ll need, and they have decades to figure out the rest.

SB: And then what?

AP: And then they’ll...

SB: Yeah, I can guess. All those organizations are the same. You’d set me up for a lifetime of, what, being watched? Chased? Experimented on? You’ve only known me for a few minutes, but do you really think I deserve that?

AP: ... No.

SB: Listen, Anthony­­–it’s Anthony, right? I know what it’s like to want to punish someone else for your mistakes, but­­ I have someone who needs my help. Someone I care about. Haven’t you­­... Has there been anyone you’d do anything for?

AP: Helen. My wife, Helen. She left me, right before I came here. And I... It was my fault. And I thought I was over it but...

SB: And did you turn her over to a bunch of spies?

AP: No. No, I let her go. She didn’t deserve it. And neither do you. I just... I don’t know if I can stand to be left behind again. I don’t know if I can take it.

SB: ell... How about this. If you don’t tell anyone at ODAR about me, and if I return to my present don’t have about 50 government spies on my tail all of a sudden... I’ll come back and visit you. Does that sound okay?

AP: [sniff]

SB: Okay. I’m gonna go. I’ll see you soon.

AP: ...No you won’t.

SB: Of course I will­­–

AP: No. You’ve got your own life to live. You don’t need to coddle some stranger in a dark room. But I need to hear you say it. That you’re not coming back for me.

SB: ... I’m sorry Anthony I just... ­­I’m not sure that I can.

AP: It’s okay.

SB: It was... It was nice to meet you.

AP: Give my best to the outside world.

[[SFX: Sam travels away; tape recorder stops]]

The Intrusion was a special presentation of The Bright Sessions & ars PARADOXICA. It featured – 

Robin Gabrielli (Anthony Partridge)
Lauren Shippen (Sam Barnes)

The Bright Sessions/ars PARADOXICA crossover is brought to you by The Internet: Thanks for listening, and stay strange!