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?
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.
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.
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?
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.
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?
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?
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?
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!