Prompt and responses
Stuhlinger: Ugh, wow, it’s a bit nippy, Richtofen! Couldn’t you have given us the head’s up so we could dress a little more appropriately?
Richtofen: Stop complaining, Sammy. Surely your time in the cryopod toughened you up.
Marlton: You said we were here to construct something called an ‘Agarthan Device’? Care to furnish us with any further details, Samuel?
Misty: Well, I for one am glad to not be wearing my old gear. I’d be a Misty-shaped popsicle by now. (shivers) You ever had ice in your belly-button?
Russman: Russman’s just glad to be moving out and about in the world again! Bein’ cooped up in that freezer sure played havoc with the old joints.
Stuhlinger: I know everyone’s memories get a little bit hazy, so let’s recap. We are here to construct something called the ‘Agarthan Device’.
Marlton: Stuh… I literally just said that. What I was asking for was some actual specifics, you know: Details?
Misty: So, it’s another game of go-fetch for your best bud the German? Yeah, how do we know he won’t just throw us right back on ice as soon as he gets whatever it is he wants this time.
Russman: This ‘Agarthan Device’: Do we know what it does? What it’s used for? More importantly, do we know what your German pal wants with it?
Stuhlinger: We’re not just out to help Richtofen, okay? We’re helping out all his pals too! … Oh, and the universe!
Marlton: I sincerely hope that your ‘friend’ provides more regular and detailed updates than he has done in the past. We went on quite the journey procuring his book.
Misty: So why here? What is here in this frozen hell-scape that means so much to ‘the Universe’?
Russman: Sounds like a noble cause, and an ambitious one at that! Good thing Russman is ready for anything… what are we doing again?
Marlton: Uhhh, at this point, I’m just going to assume that all of us are completely on-board with interdimensional time travel… by this point?
Stuhlinger: Are you trying to sound patronizing, Marlton? I was warning everyone about the dangers of a multiverse before you were even a tadpole in your daddy’s eye!
Misty: Are you seriously asking that, Marlton? After all the crazy, crazy things we’ve had to deal with since the world went to t- t- (breathes in) Yes… we’re on board.
Russman: I been around a lot longer than you, boy. Back at Broken Arrow, we wrote the book on interdimensional time travel! It wasn’t a very good book, too many inaccuracies. But we still wrote it.
Marlton: Okay, no need to get testy… I think we all learned some valuable lessons about teamwork on our last, uh… adventure, hm?
Stuhlinger: Fair enough, brainbox, I… heh, I didn’t mean to snap at ya. I- I’m just a little on edge because of… you know… things.
Misty: Well said, captain obvious, heh heh. Look we may not know exactly what we’re dealing with but our best chance of making is always gonna be by sticking together.
Russman: Adventure?! Russman ain’t on no adventure! Russman’s tryin’ to stay alive! Damn! How can a boy with as many fancy words as you pick such a bad one to describe the shit we’ve been dealing with?!
Marlton: Facts are facts: We are at the mercy of forces we cannot control. So far, Stuhlinger’s friend has at least kept us alive. I suggest we attempt to construct this ‘Agarthan Device’ as he has requested.
Stuhlinger: I’m sure Richtofen will be in touch as soon as he is able. I mean, he’s already told us he’s seen every version of reality when he read the book, heh. Y-y-you know, the book, th- th- b- uh, the Clownonium… m.
Misty: Welp, let’s do it. Until we get more in the way of leads, we just need to start exploring the area. Usual drill.
Russman: Russman can’t argue with that logic, especially in the absence of other ideas. One question, what in the broke-ass world actually is an ‘Ar-gan-at-thic-ican Device’?
Misty: You know the phrase ‘Out of the frying pan, into the fire?’ Kinda did something similar here. Nice work, Stuh-ly
Stuhlinger: Ugh… You have to look at the bigger picture, Misty! I’m sure we’ll get this little job done and be on our way in no time… You could put money on it!
Marlton: There does seem to be a pattern to our lives, Misty. Things of great import or value are all-too-often placed in unfathomably hard to reach places.
Russman: Best start getting the lay of the land. Russman likes to have all his exits covered, if you get my meaning.
Misty: Hey, I know we’re supposed to be looking for some gizmo, but unless we hear from Stuhlinger’s pals, we’re kinda flying blind… in the dark… without wings.
Stuhlinger: How do you think I feel, Misty?! Having a voice yelling in your head when you least expect it is, I dunno, more than a little startling!
Marlton: I for one do not want to repeat the mistakes of the past. Things got very hairy indeed when we were looking for Richtofen’s last must-have item.
Russman: Ain’t nothing sadder than a fella who don’t know his true purpose. Fortunately, Russman’s gotten used to goin’ with the flow.
Misty: Well, let’s familiarize ourselves with the area. Reckon that nearby lighthouse might be a good place to start.
Stuhlinger: Richtofen! Richtofen, can you hear me bud?! Buddy? … Pal?
Marlton: Agreed, Misty. In the absence of a more fully-formed plan, we should indeed seek adequate shelter before our blood and soft tissue is frozen solid… literally!
Russman: Hm… You sure, Misty? Lighthouses are usually where they are, to warn folks to stay well away.
Russman: Okay, listen up people, given my senior ranking, Russman’s gonna step up to the plate and assume command of this mission! We all know why we’re here, right?
Stuhlinger: Wow! You sound really assertive, Russman! Like, really commanding and sure of yourself! (chuckles) And here I was thinking your brain was almost mush.
Marlton: Well, I would be lying if I claimed to have a complete and thorough understanding about what lies ahead, but in terms of general goals… yes.
Misty: Sure, we’re here to assemble some doo-hicky for Stupinger’s crazy pals.
Russman: Russman’s probably forgotten more weird shit from Broken Arrow than he can remember. But he knows for sure they was messing with that darn Element. Maybe all this business got something to do with this… Device.
Stuhlinger: Yeaaaah, I’m not so sure, Russ. If the Element was part of the Device, I’m sure Richtofen would have told us. Yeah, after all, we had a big chunk of it in our hands not so long ago!
Marlton: I concur, Russman. In fact, I would say that it’s a near certainty. And by near, I obviously mean a likelihood in at least the mid-90th percentile.
Misty: Smart thinking, Russ. We need to assess this new environment. No doubt it’s full of the stuff, or at least some of the terrible things its made.
Russman: Brr… Russman’s toes are colder than a polar bear’s pecker. … Why are we here again? I think I forgot.
Stuhlinger: Don’t worry, Russman, I’m sure my German pal will guide us along our way. Hello! Richtofen?! Helloooo! H- H- He’s probably just very busy right now…
Marlton: We have to construct something called the ‘Agarthan Device’. Apparently, it’s kind of a big deal for the future of the universe.
Misty: Ah, don’t worry, Russ. It’ll come back to ya. (chuckles) Unless it doesn’t.
Samuel Stuhlinger and Marlton Johnson Crossfire
Stuhlinger: So, brainbox, still all sweet under the collar for little-miss-bossy-boots?
Marlton: I’m going to assume you’re talking about Misty. Although, in all reality, I view Russman as an equally valuable member of the team.
Stuhlinger: Ohhh, so, sweet on Russman are ya? Ahh, I’m just joking around, Marly-boy. It takes all sorts to make a world, and you gotta go after love wherever you may find it.
Marlton: Hm… we may be at cross purposes, Samuel, but I do not in any way disagree with anything you have said.
Stuhlinger: See, see, it’s like I’ve always said: There’s us, and there’s them. There’s the powers that be, Broken Arrow, the entirety of the United States government, the whole dang cabal!
Marlton: Stuh… (chuckles) I really… (chuckles) think you need to calm down. Can I ask you a simple question? When did you last see another actual, living human being?
Stuhlinger: Whoa whoa whoa whoa whoa hold on! I’ve never really thought about it took much before but (chuckles), is the world actually gone?! Like really gone?!
Marlton: I’ll tell you this, Stuhlinger, for a conspiracy theorist, you sure have missed the obvious. (whistles) It’s… all… gone, Stuhlinger. Everything we ever had. Everything we ever loved.
Stuhlinger: No, NO, that’s not true! Richtofen’s gonna make everything right! You’ll see!
Samuel Stuhlinger and Abigail "Misty" Briarton Crossfire
Misty: Hey, hey, Stuhlinger. You sure you can trust this Richtofen guy? I mean, why? How? What? … Seriously, what is it that makes you think he’s looking out for us?
Stuhlinger: That’s a really good question, Misty, hm… I mean, all he’s ever done is save our lives!
Misty: Wow! If you think getting run around and tossed in an ice box counts as (mocking) saving our lives, then you’re even stupider than I thought!
Stuhlinger: Oh, Misty, Misty, Misty. I know what you’re talking about. In some ways, it felt like I was asleep for years, but in others it felt like I just blinked! Look, I- I- I- don’t know how to explain it but I- I just like Richtofen! He’s a good guy, with a good brain and most of all… a good heart.
Misty: Really? (laughs) You must have some pretty low standards, Stuh. Well either that or you’re just desperate for attention.
Misty: What about his buddy? The Russian? He seems to be the one in charge now.
Stuhlinger: From what I can understand, Nikolai read the Kronorium and got a whoooole different story than the one Richtofen saw.
Misty: Hang on a second… Didn’t you read the book? I remember you saying it had lots of pretty pictures.
Stuhlinger: To be honest, what I saw scared the pants off me. I slammed that book shut so fast you would have thought I was a ninja!
Samuel Stuhlinger and Russman Crossfire
Stuhlinger: Hey Russ! Hey, I know you’re the kind of guy who appreciates food, right? So I was wonderin’, do you have anything going spare? Some chips, peanuts, I dunno, ham?
Russman: How on Earth can a guy your size be starving, Stuh? What do you normally even eat for grub? Russman can’t recall ever seeing you dig in to a nice, cold can of expired beans like the rest of us.
Stuhlinger: What’re you talking about, Russman?! How dare you accuse me of consuming the most unclean meat of all!
Russman: Whoa, Stuh! Everyone’s got their own favorite fast-food chain, ain’t no reason to get your panties in a bunch.
Stuhlinger: Oh- whoa whoa, hang on, I misunderstood. I- I thought you were accusing me of being one of those fools who uh… you know, eh, actually consumed the flesh…
Russman: You talking about those crazy cultists that eat Z-Meat? I swear, if I ever met one of them face to face, I’d probably plug ‘em between the eyes just to put them out of their misery.
Stuhlinger: Aaaaaanywhoooo, (chuckles nervously) enough of all this silly food talk, right? H- How you doin’, Russman, old buddy? Huh? Remembered any good movies lately?
Russman: I’ll tell you something, Stuh, Russman thinks we, and maybe the whole planet are runnin’ out of road. Real fast.
Stuhlinger: Ah, come on, Russman, it’s not all that bad, honestly! Think about all the fun times we’ve had! That’ll soon cheer you up!
Russman: Even if Russman could think of the fun times… he’d only be reminded that they ain’t ever comin’ back.
Marlton Johnson and Abigail "Misty" Briarton Crossfire
Misty: Alright, once we get all the parts, you reckon you’ll be able to figure out this Device thingy we’re supposed to build?
Marlton: Well, assuming that Richtofen’s cohort can indeed provide me with at least a modicum of guidance, I am as confident as one can possibly be in these trousers!
Misty: Yeah, but what happens after this, Marlton? I mean, we hear all this talk about saving the universe… what does that actually mean?
Marlton: It would be wrong to assume but I would at least hope for a return to a normal, stable, functioning society. With no zombies.
Misty: Well you see, that’s the funny thing, Marlton: We hardly ever talk about who we were before all this. Or what we want.
Marlton: To be both frank and truthful, Misty, I’m not sure I even remember those things… Were we like this before we went into the cryopods?
Marlton: Listen to me, Misty. Do you feel like your thoughts are clear? Or, do you feel more like a blank canvas, a shell, a husk, a ghost?! Tell me something about yourself! Anything!
Misty: Would that make me any more real, Marlton? If I listed off a bunch of facts about things I did before you even knew me? Can’t you just take me as I am? Judge me by what I do? Not what I did?
Marlton: I’m just… scared, Misty. I like understanding things, and these days I don’t understand almost anything! Are we really going to be okay?! How can we be sure?!
Misty: Hey, hey, we’re gonna be okay. Believe me. I’ll look out for you, Marlton, you can trust me. I know what I’m doin’, my dad was a Marine.
Marlton Johnson and Russman Crossfire
Marlton: Do you ever feel… guilty, Russ? You worked for Broken Arrow. They were into some strange things: Things that may have contributed to Earth’s current instability.
Russman: Current instability?! We been bouncing around the world so fast for so long, Russman ain’t had time or place to get his darn head on straight!
Marlton: Well, let me help you get your head straight: As they sought to exploit hitherto unknown elements, Broken Arrow conducted a series of illegal, and highly immoral experiments upon human test subjects.
Russman: I know Russman’s brain may be a little frazzled around the edges, but don’t you ever dare question my character! My morality!
Russman: With regards to Broken Arrow, Russman walked out of that cursed place and he ain’t never looked back. Unless someone, or something makes him.
Marlton: Oh-hoh-ho, how convenient. You deny all responsibility for the social chaos and destruction wrought by an organization you, yourself, profited directly from? You, Russman, are one of the bad guys!
Russman: Russman’s seen this before: It’s the Element, the crazy stuff, whatever you want to call it. It’s what makes us mad, makes us turn on each other.
Marlton: Uh, yeah, what are you talking about, Russman? You literally, and figuratively make no sense!
Russman: Calm down, Marlton. We gonna be okay. Listen to Russman, he knows what he’s talking about. And even if he don’t, he’ll say it with a whole lot more truth than anyone else.
Marlton: Okay, Russman, that, that makes sense.
Abigail "Misty" Briarton and Russman Crossfire
Misty: Russ! Man! Come here a minute. Need to ask you a few questions.
Russman: Did you say something, little Misty? If you did, you may want to try speaking up a bit. There’s a lot of background noise around here, if you get my meaning.
Misty: Well you worked for Broken Arrow, Russman. So sooner or later, that experience has to come in handy. Maybe even save our lives.
Russman: Hey Misty, I don’t know if you realized this, but I worked for Broken Arrow. Sooner or later, that experience could even save our lives.
Russman: You know something, Misty? Russman just realized that we don’t really know squat about each other. Despite the fact that we’ve been fightin’ together for a looooooooong-ass time.
Misty: (coughs) Uh, don’t take this badly, but uh, apart from a vague memory of working for Broken Arrow, Russman don’t really know squat about himself either. Let me ask you this, Russman, do you even have a family? Wife? Cute little kids?
Russman: Russman remembers some little ones. They had such big, beamin’ smiles! They laughed all the time! (sighs) Right up until when they didn’t…
Russman: How about you Misty, who’d you lose? What was your life like before… it was overtaken by death.
Misty: Well, same as yours, Russ. I had folks that I loved. Now I try not to think about ‘em. Cause it just, uh, reminds me that, you know, they’re gone forever.