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Irregular Podcast! #14

2007-10-21: Irregular Podcast! #14 - "Arlington Wolfe, Cross-Time Detective" (9:53, 2.26 MB)


WARNING: Violating causality may cause you to listen to this podcast.

[Theme song. To the tune of "We Didn't Start The Fire" by Billy Joel.]

Hadean, the Earth forms, Archaean, bacteria
Siderian, Rhyacian, then the Orosirian

The Paleoproterozoic, ends with the Statherian
Oxygen in the sky, now there's cells with nuclei

Calymnian, Ectasian, Stenian, Tonian,
Eukaryotes with lots of cells, dinoflagellates as well

Cryogenian, Ediacaran, end of the Precambrian
Cambrian, life explodes, priapulids and nematodes

We didn't start the podcast
Your ears were always burning
Since the world's been turning

Ordovician, Silurian, the age of fish, Devonian
Into the Carboniferous, trees all making coal for us

Permian, big extinction, then into the Mesozoic
Giant creatures, goodness gracious, Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous

Birds and mammals, flowering plants, breakup of Gondwanaland
Flippin' huge meteor, and then no more dinosaurs!

Paleocene, Eocene, Oligocene, Miocene,
Apes leave trees, Pliocene, home of Australopithecines

Ice age in the Pleistocene, now we're in the Holocene
Civilisation, let it rip, Human history's just a blip

We didn't make it all up
Yes it's all supported
Fossil evidence reported

We didn't start the Earth
But when we are gone
It will go on, and on, and on, and on...

This is not a story about time travel. At least, it isn't yet. But it could be by the time it ends.

The problem with time travel, or really, a problem with time travel, since new problems are being invented at an alarming rate by time travellers everywhere all over history, is, or will be, or was - depending on whether your civilisation has invented time travel, is yet to discover its particular thrills and disappointments, or has already moved on to invent magic and dragon-powered central heating - this:

So many people have now led so many versions of their own lives that it has created a whole new branch of psychological analysis, and a correspondingly large shelf space in bookstores for the associated self-help books, to deal with the particularly prevalent forms of self-envy that come from being unsure if the life one is currently leading is the best, or merely the second-best, life that one could be leading. Indeed, Time Travellers Anonymous has supplanted the formerly well-attended Billionaires Anonymous groups because although it had, of course, become frighteningly commonplace for literally everyone who entered the mid-week lottery to win first prize, the inflation rate would inevitably jump to a thousand percent overnight, and the going rate for a loaf of bread would soon equal, say, two small luxury yachts and a diamond-encrusted miniature purebred poodle's necklace, give or take the poodle.

How then can a cross-time detective possibly earn a living when most people spend most of their lives actively making history not only bunk, but completely worthless? This exact question was, or is, just crossing the mind of Arlington Wolfe, out of work cross-time detective, when his front door suddenly explodes into a shower of matchsticks.

[Explosion sound.]

Sarah: You! You slimy, scuzzball! You sack of snakes!

Arlington: Hey, err, have we met?

Sarah: Typical! The typical male of the species. "Hi. You have amazing eyes. I'm from the future. Can I buy you a drink?" And then I never hear from you again. Well, not this time, mister, this time the female gets even. This time, I'm going to vaporise you.

Arlington: Um. I still don't think-

[cuts him off]

Sarah: Watford.


Sarah: England?

[longer pause]

Sarah: [sigh] 1986?

Arlington: I've never been to 1986.

Sarah: Oh great. [laughing at herself] That's just great. I track you all the way through time, and now I've gone and messed it up. [frustrated]

Arlington: Hey, everyone makes mistakes.

Sarah: In answer to your question Arlington, yes, yes, we have met. Only when we first met, you'd apparently already met me. Just now.

Arlington: Ah, I see. Would you like a drink?

Sarah: [Sullen.] Next you'll be saying I have amazing eyes.

Arlington: I wouldn't dream of it.

Sarah: Well, there's nothing for it. I've come all this way. You'll just have to go back in time and fix it.

Arlington: Fix what?

Sarah: [wincing] History.

Arlington: Any particular bit?

Sarah: All of it. [apologetic] I kind of messed it up getting here.

Arlington: You realise I charge by the hour?

Sarah: [pause] And I thought that was a pick-up line too. All right, mister cross-time detective. Will a million dollars cover it? And while you're at it, can you arrange things so that we never meet?

Arlington: Ever?

Sarah: Ever.


Arlington: Tricky. But I like a challenge.

Sarah: What's with the hat?

Arlington: It's my time machine. Well, it's been nice knowing you, er...?

Sarah: [indignant] Sarah Delaney.

[worp worp noise fades out]

Terminator: The 12 gauge autoloader.

[worp worp sound fading in]

Terminator: The .45 longslide with laser sighting.

Arlington: Hey.

Gun Store Owner: Anything else?

Arlington: I just need to know the time?

Terminator: Phased plasma rifle in the 40 watt range.

Gun Store Owner: Hey, just what you see, pal.

Arlington: The time?

Gun Store Owner: 12:21. Why?

Terminator: The Uzi nine millimetre.

Gun Store Owner: You know your weapons, buddy. Any one of these is ideal for home defence. So, uh... which'll it be?

Terminator: All of them.

Arlington: The date?

Gun Store Owner: [Annoyed.] The 16th. June.

Arlington: The year?

Gun Store Owner: 1984! What you bin smokin' pal?

Arlington: Thanks.

[worp worp fades out]

Gun Store Owner: I may close early today. There's a 15-day wait on the handguns, but the rifles you can take right now - You can't do that!


[worp worp fades in]

Marty: Doc!

Doc Brown: At precisely 1:17 A.M. I will start accelerating the DeLorean towards us. If my calculations are correct, when it reaches 88 miles per hour the flux capacitor will activate, channelling 1.21 gigawatts of energy into the time circuits, thus sending Einstein and the DeLorean one minute into the future!

Einstein: Woof!

Marty: Wait a minute, Doc. Are you telling me that you built a time machine... out of a DeLorean?!

Doc Brown: The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?

Marty: What do you want me to do?

Doc Brown: Record it, Marty! The greatest scientific experiment in history, Marty, think about that!

Arlington: Excuse me, do you have the time?

Doc Brown: Great scott! Of course I do, it's October 26, 1985, 1:17 A.M., argh! Marty, restart that video recording. Now, at precisely 1:18 A.M., I will start accelerating...

Marty: Doc! He's stealing the DeLorean!

Arlington: One can never have too many time machines!

[car accelerating, flux capacitor capacitating]

[Wedding music]

Minister: And do you, Sarah Louise Delaney, take this man -

Arlington: [loudly] Sarah! Finally!

Sarah: What? Who are you?

Arlington: It's me, Sarah! Oh, I forgot, you didn't want to meet me.

Minister: Do you know this man?

Sarah: I've never seen him before in my life.

Minister: Do you have an objection, young man?

Arlington: Objection? To what?

[pause during which the wedding music can be heard]

Arlington: Oh! Sorry, no, no objection, carry on, everyone.

Minister: Ahem! And do you, Sarah Delaney, take this man, Fergus Sean -

Arlington: Sorry, sorry! I just wanted to tell Sarah something.

Sarah: WHAT!

Arlington: Just in case, you know, it doesn't work out with "Fergus", I can fix things so this day never happened. Although I do charge by the hour. Arlington Wolfe, cross-time detective, at your service.

Sarah: What am I, a freak magnet? Can we get on?

Minister: Ahem! And do you, Sarah Louise Delaney, take this man, Fergus Sean Connor, to be your lawful wedded husband?

Sarah: I do.

Minister: Then I now pronounce you, husband and wife.

Terminator: Sarah Connor?

Sarah: Not another one? Yes? What is it? Can't a girl get married in peace?

[Many screams!]

Panicked Wedding Guest: He's got a gun, look out!

Arlington: [rapidly] Sarah! Hi! You have amazing eyes, I'm from the future, can I buy you a drink, come with me if you want to live. I think that was the right order.

[shooting starts]

Arlington: Quick, get in the car with the dog.

Sarah: Is that a DeLorean?

Einstein: Woof!

[car drives off]

Arlington: My hat! We've got to go back.

Sarah: What are you talking about, drive!

Arlington: Without my hat, I'll be stuck in the eighties!

Sarah: Mister, with that hat you'll be stuck in the eighties.

[car accelerating]

[flux capacitor kicks in]

[flux capacitor stops]

Sarah: What? Where are we?

Arlington: When are we, more's the point.

[low rumbling background noise]

Sarah: A cruise liner?

Arlington: Hmm.

[fog horn]

Sarah: Oh. My. God. This is the Titanic.

Arlington: No...

Sarah: Yes!

Arlington: How do you know?

Sarah: This sign on the life saver which says "S.S. Titanic".

Arlington: Ah. Where're you going?

Sarah: [fading] back in a tick.

[door closes]


[door opens and closes]

Arlington: [wary] What did you do?

Sarah: Told them there was an iceberg up ahead, so they should slow down and steer left.

Arlington: Okay, some rules about time travel... Don't interfere in history.

Sarah: Thousands of people died.

Arlington: I know...

Sarah: Most of them poor, locked below decks.

Arlington: I know...

Sarah: So what kind of immoral person goes through time without trying to fix the big disasters?

Arlington: Ah... well... you have a point. Let's get out of here.

[car driving]

[flux capacitor kicks in]

[jungle ambience]

Arlington: Great scott!

Sarah: Holee...

Allosaurus: RAAARRRHHH!!!

Sarah: Is that what I think it is?

Arlington: Why, what do you think it is?

Sarah: I think it's an Allosaurus.

[metallic crunching sound]


Arlington: You certainly know your car-crushing dinosaurs.

Sarah: I used to work for Kelloggs.

Allosaurus: RAAARRRHHH!!!

Arlington: This one's not plastic! Run!

Arlington: If only we had a third time machine.

Sarah: Let's hide behind this giant clock.

Arlington: Giant clock? What's that doing there?

Blackadder: Quick Baldrick, think of something.

Allosaurus: *cough*

[Allosaurus coughs and falls over dead.]

Blackadder: Well done Baldrick. I think that answers the question of what killed the dinosaurs: your smelly pants.

Baldrick: Sorry, my lord.

Blackadder: Now if only we could return these levers to their original places...

[Clock vanishes in a ticking sound fading out]

Sarah: Arlington? Arlington? Where've you gone? Oh god... I'm stuck here in the late Jurassic, without a time machine...

[distant sounds of jungle and dinosaurs...]

WARNING: This podcast is: To be continued.


Narrator - Loki P.
Arlington Wolfe - Andrew S.
Sarah Delaney - Veronica L.
Terminator - David MM.
Gun Store Owner - Steven I.
Marty - Loki P.
Doc Brown - David Mc.
Minister - David K.
Panicked Wedding Guest - Steven I.
Blackadder - David K.
Baldrick - Loki P.
Singers: David MM, David Mc, David K, Andrew S, Loki P, Steven I.
Script: Loki P.
Editing: David MM.

Programme Notes

It may be obvious, but the style of this script is very much inspired by the works of the late Douglas Adams. Loki P. reread all the Hitchhiker's books in a row and was feverishly dreaming of various things when he felt the need to get some of it down in a file for later use.

And yes, we will be returning to Arlington Wolfe in a later podcast.

My comics: Irregular Webcomic! | Darths & Droids | Eavesdropper | Planet of Hats | The Dinosaur Whiteboard | mezzacotta
My blogs: (daily updates) | 100 Proofs that the Earth is a Globe (science!) | Carpe DMM (long form posts) | Snot Block & Roll (food reviews)
More comics I host: The Prisoner of Monty Hall | Lightning Made of Owls | Square Root of Minus Garfield | iToons | Comments on a Postcard | Awkward Fumbles
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