The Grand Quarter Sixteen Finale, Part One of Three! Wherein there is great exposition! Our heroes are escorted to the top floor of the Hotel Vertex and everything is explained! Give this episode a listen and let us know what you think.
Finally! Everything is explained! Is your mind appropriately blown? I thought so.
If not, that probably means you haven’t been listening. That’s a shame. Shame, I say.
Anyway, I’ve been practically hopping up and down with excitement about this storyline for over six months. It’s so bizarre, but it makes so much sense! And even better, we know now far, far more about the Nine Riding Squirrels than we ever really wanted to know.
So, this episode marks the beginning of our epic (I promise it’s really epic) three-part quarter finale. And as you must surely know by now, at the end of this Malex Minute quarter we will be going on hiatus for three months.
But not to worry! We plan to come back this Summer with a bunch of incredible new material. Production on this new stuff is very much underway, and we are all getting very excited about it already.
Be sure to sign up for the mailing list or follow us or something, because you definitely don’t want to miss this stuff.
“The only hope is for Round Blue Riding Squirrel’s face to be detached and re-forged in the fires from whence it came!”
Mara: So you guys have rented the entire top floor of Hotel Vertex?
Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel: (Distracted.) Oh– Oh, yeah. We’ll be there in a moment.
Snufflefungus: This looks like a very nice hotel!
Linus: No kidding.
Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel: It’s nice, I guess.
Malex: Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel, why are you so distracted? What’s wrong?
Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel: It’s just that… now that you’re here, things are gonna get so much worse!
Mara: Oh, that’s not comforting at all.
Malex: What exactly do you mean, Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel?
Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel: I’ll let Tall Green Riding Squirrel explain to you. He’ll know how to explain it.
~~ Elevator door opens.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: There you are! Finally! Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel, where have you been?
Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel: Well, I waited around for them at the Door Terminal, then we went to the museum, and then–
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: I know you were at the museum, stupid! I could tell from the chorus of crying babies, horrified by your face staring down at them over the skyline!
Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel: But, I–
Malex: Guys, can we focus?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: I’m sorry, this whole situation has us all on edge. Little Red Riding Squirrel wanted to explain it all to you himself, but he won’t be here for another couple of hours and it will take that entire time to prepare you for your role.
Linus: So, what role are we playing?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Not you, silly, Snufflefungus! He is the only one who can serve as Face Bearer.
Malex: There’s that phrase again. ‘Face Bearer.’ I fret over phrases like ‘Face Bearer.’
Mara: Tall Green Riding Squirrel, we’ve been through so much. If you don’t explain quickly, somebody might explode.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Oh, I couldn’t agree more. Somebody is going to explode, but it isn’t going to be any of you. See, a long, long time ago, we Nine Riding Squirrels were but infants at play in an enormous universe. As we grew and matured, each of us began to become the squirrel you see in each of us today.
Linus: So far this all pretty much goes without saying.
Malex: Wait! Nine Riding Squirrels? Little Red, Sad Orange, Fat Purple, Sick Brown, Scary Grey, Wet Yellow, Ugly Beige, Tall Green…
Mara: That’s only eight.
Malex: Which one am I missing?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: (Sadly.) Round Blue Riding Squirrel.
Malex: Of course! How silly of me!
Linus: He was very memorable.
Malex: Yes, with that artificial smiley face sealed over his head, of course I recall now. Tall Green Riding Squirrel, where is he now?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: He is here. Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel, please move the screen.
Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel: (Hesitant.) Okay.
Round Blue Riding Squirrel: (Muffled grunting.)
Mara: (Deeply shocked.) Oh my goodness!
Snufflefungus: (Shocked.) That’s Round Blue Riding Squirrel!
Linus: He’s the bad guy?!
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: No, no!
Mara: What’s wrong with his face?!
Snufflefungus: Why is it cracked?!
~~ Very pronounced rumbling.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: No, please, please! You’ll… upset him. Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel, please replace the screen. And let the other squirrels know to prepare themselves. The worst is soon upon us.
Ugly Beige Riding Squirrel: Okay.
Malex: Tall Green Riding Squirrel, I don’t understand. If Round Blue Riding Squirrel isn’t the bad guy, why is he being restrained?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Allow me to continue my explanation.
Mara: Please do.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Early on, we discovered that we were all very powerful. Each of us has our own unique talents and abilities, even Round Blue Riding Squirrel. However, to our horror, we found that he has… difficulty processing the world around him.
Malex: Difficulty processing? Tremors and the end of the universe because Round Blue Riding Squirrel has difficulty processing?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: You have to understand! As more and more sensory input flows into him, he becomes more frustrated. Unfortunately, his frustration beams out of his face in a wave, damaging the world around him. Each new wave frustrates him all the more, creating a feedback loop that leads to a furious shower of hatred and destruction.
Sad Orange Riding Squirrel: We have seen it destroy entire civilizations – entire worlds!
Malex: My goodness.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Once it begins, the feedback loop only gets more powerful. We speculate that, if left unchecked, it could exponentially consume the entire universe, killing even we Nine.
Snufflefungus: So what did you do?!
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: We searched high and low for any restraint that could contain his fury, but nothing could! No matter what we tried, the restraint itself would frustrate him and be consumed by his fury!
Mara: And you said he’s not the bad guy?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: He doesn’t want to cause such destruction! He would rather die! But nothing can kill him!
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Just when it seemed all hope was lost, we discovered this planet! It harbors a unique element which has the power to not only contain Round Blue Riding Squirrel’s fury, but also to mute his perception of the world and placate him from his destructive moods! Of course we commissioned the Facesmith to forge a round blue face of the element in the fires of Mount Gloom immediately!
Malex: Of course.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: When it was done, we installed it on Round Blue Riding Squirrel’s head and he became Round Blue Riding Squirrel!
Snufflefungus: (Hopeful.) And we all lived happily ever after?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Well, almost. See, the round blue face worked perfectly. Round Blue Riding Squirrel has been living in a softer, safer universe for most of history.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Round Blue Riding Squirrel’s round blue face was damaged in an accident and it sustained a crack.
Linus: Wait, all those tremors we’ve been feeling have been from a crack in Round Blue Riding Squirrel’s face?!
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Yes, such a tiny crack, but the world is leaking in through it! And his fury is leaking out!
Malex: So what’s the plan then?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: (Epic.) The only hope is for Round Blue Riding Squirrel’s face to be detached and re-forged in the fires from whence it came!
Mara: Clichéd, but we can go with that.
Snufflefungus: But what do you need a Face Bearer for? Why do you need me?!
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Once Round Blue Riding Squirrel’s face is detached, it will require the unceasing effort of every single one of us Nine Riding Squirrels, including Round Blue Riding Squirrel himself, to contain the furious destruction that will flame forth from his naked face. We hope to contain it long enough for somebody we trust to carry the round blue face to Mount Gloom to be re-forged.
Fat Purple Riding Squirrel: We might die in the process! Little Red Riding Squirrel says it’s our only hope, but this hope comes at such a cost!
Malex: But why does Snufflefungus need to be the Face Bearer?
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: Because we trust him! And also because he can carry it with his mind instead of touching it. Since, after all, touching it directly will bring instant death.
Linus: I’ve decided. I hate everything about this. Hate.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: We were so glad when Little Red Riding Squirrel found you had already made your way to this planet, it was such good fortune!
Mara: We didn’t exactly have a choice.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: True. Still, such good fortune! Little Red Riding Squirrel should be back soon. He is off fetching Sick Brown Riding Squirrel, who you left in the hands of that terrifying innkeeper’s wife.
Snufflefungus: Oh yeah, he was pretty sick.
Tall Green Riding Squirrel: (Dismissive.) Yes, yes. (Another train of thought.) We’ve lost far too much time already. So, as soon as Little Red Riding Squirrel and Sick Brown Riding Squirrel arrive, the Nine Riding Squirrels will all be here, and we can begin. Snufflefungus, we must prepare you for your journey!
Producer and Director: Alex Markley
Writer: Alex Markley
Voices: Markley Brothers, with a guest appearance by Leela as Mara.
Post-processing director: Leela
Illustration: Peter Markley
Release manager: Peter Markley
Recording assistance: Oz
Thanks to everyone for their help and support.