Foundation After Midnight Radio, Episode ██: Have Yourself A Meta Little Christmas

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DJ SCIP: Hello ho ho everybody, and welcome to this Very Special Episode of Foundation After Midnight! You all know the boilerplate, but it wouldn't be boilerplate if I didn't tack it on there every time, and there's nothing more riveting than some good old-fashioned exposition so… coming to you live from wherever we are to wherever you are, it's your free and mostly trustworthy worldwide intra-Foundation news broadcast!

DJ SCIP: Wow, the boilerplate wasn't even as long as the explanation of the boilerplate. We're getting pretty meta on this episode already… and it's only gonna metastasize from here. Or should I say… patastasize? No. No, I should not, but it's too late now.

DJ SCIP: So very late indeed! It's midnight somewhere, and we sincerely hope you're all secure in your homes, contained in your beds and protected by some thick, thick covers because it's All Christmases Eve, and not all Christmas-related anomalies are terrible! Only most of them.

*SUDDEN STATIC ON RECORDING*

DJ SCIP: Now, I know what you're thinking. Christmas Eve? Really? After that whole broadcast back in 2016 hinting that this isn't the real Christmas, that there's some kind of secret Christmas we're hiding from you all? You're thinking that I, DJ SCIP — that IS my real name, of course, and a more trustworthy name I can't imagine — you're thinking that I must have been gotten to by the MAN, right, and he's forcing me to push the agenda of False Christmas on you. Well, good news, researchers and junior researchers! First of all, the man is your friend! And second, there is no contradiction here because THERE IS NO CANON! I'll let special guest Dr. Placeholder McDoctorate explain. Over to you, Place!

DR. MCDOCTORATE: And a saturnine Saturnalia to you, Dr. Skip!

DR. SKIP DJ SCIP: It's… DJ SCIP. Because I'm a DJ.

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Not if I say otherwise, Dr. Skip, because I'm the author of this segment and the authors have power over what is and is not canon! Because, you see, our world is at least partially fictional. My Christmas present to you, declassified after more than a decade of careful consideration and consultation of eldritch authorities and my own august personage by the O5 Council, is the knowledge that your lives are not only meaningful, they are designed with meaning in mind. Welcome to the wonderful world of pataphysics, where we know we're in a narrative and we're mostly pretty much okay with it! There are entities out there in the cold black night of extranarrative space, and they're hungry… for stories! They affect our lives in myriad ways to tell those stories, and we, we lucky few, we band of protagonists, get to reap the benefits of their attention.

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Through dint of much effort and a lot of background reading, Foundation pataphysicists have learned how to exploit the very nature of our pseudofictional reality. In Sloth's Pit, Wisconsin, they can literally (and literarily!) predict and even alter the course of once-foreordained events by manipulating the tropes and clichés which are the bread and butter of all our narrative sandwiches. But in the end, it's up to the writers and that even more nebulous bunch, the readers, to decide what's what. They hold the key to determining our shared reality. The power, the power that is IS, is in their hands! That's what it means when we say 'there is no canon'; canon is what you make of it! I'm speaking to the readers, with that last line.

DJ SCIP: Listeners.

DR. MCDOCTORATE: What?

DJ SCIP: This is radio. We have listeners.

DR. MCDOCTORATE: I'll keep letting you believe that, Dr. Skip.

DR. SKIP DJ SCIP: Why do you keep getting my na—

DR. MCDOCTORATE: BECAUSE PATAPHYSICS STOLE MY NAME, AND I'M STILL PISSED OFF ABOUT IT YOU F—

*SOUND OF STATIC*

DJ SCIP: [muttering] Well THAT came out of nowhere.

DJ SCIP: Uh… Well THANKS, Dr. McDoctorate, for whatever that was supposed to be. Next up is a lovely jingle bells, haha sorry, brain's stuck on autocomplete, a lovely JINGLE from the good folks at Reliquary Area-27 and the Department of Tactical Theology. Take it away, priests and priestesses!

[to the tune of "O Holy Night"]

Oh holy hell, the gods are going to kill, us

Unless we find, a way to kill them first

Eldritch things, are coming 'cross the limin

To eat, our brains and souls or worse

That's why we are making eigenweapons

That's why we're all mining Bible quotes

So we, don't get caught, with our planet's trousers, down

And get devoured, by some thing some caveman thought he saw

DJ SCIP: I've just been informed that the remaining verses are actually the containment apparatus for seventeen Mesoamerican deities, the existence of which is classified Level 6: Cosmic Top Secret, so we're gonna use Patreon to put them behind a paywall. Hey, gotta cover those broadcasting bills somehow! They tell me our funding got lost in the cracks between dimensions, which is just so very TYPICAL, right? Who hasn't heard THAT old story.

DJ SCIP: By the way, if you're Level 2 Clearance or lower, you're not cleared to know about Level 6: Cosmic Top Secret, so you'd better report for amnesticization by the 26th. We normally require a one-day turnaround on that, but hey! It's Christmas.

DJ SCIP: Time for a commercial break, so let's hear it for our good friends at oh god no wh—

*SEVEN SECONDS OF LOUD SCREECHING*

VOICE: Merry whatever, tired idiots! It's an unavoidable and probably unwanted but nevertheless very deeply deserved Christmas message from your good friends at Vikander-Kneed Technical Media. You may know us as purveyors of such fine media products as [the name of that song that makes you misremember your first kiss as having been with a dog] and [the name of that documentary of the First Moon War] and [the name of that porno that makes you misremember your first… haha, you see where this is going] and [the name of that radio broadcast with the commercial where placeholder names in square brackets are used comedically, and also a guy actually named Placeholder shows up]! If you don't, you will. Oh, yes, Jeffrey, you will come to know us so very well.

*NINETEEN SECONDS OF LAUGHTER, FOLLOWED BY A RIMSHOT*

VOICE: Here at VKTM, cursed media isn't just our passion, it's also how we make money. And what do we do with that money?

*SOUND OF ONE MAN SCREAMING INCOHERENTLY*

VOICE: No, not that.

*SOUND OF TWO MEN SCREAMING INCOHERENTLY*

VOICE: No, not that either.

*SOUND OF ALL MEN SCREAMING INCOHERENTLY*

VOICE: Hahaha, that's right! We give it to charity. The ones you hate! ONLY THE ONES YOU HATE. Now, back to you Dr. Skip!

*FIVE SECONDS OF SILENCE*

DR. SKIP DJ SCIP: How the f… that was pre-recorded! How did they know… okay. Okay, uh—

VOICE: You should really have—

DJ SCIP: AAAAAAAAGH!

VOICE: —more poise, if you're gonna be on the radio. I know. I'm in media.

DJ SCIP: Jesus Christ!

VOICE: Wow, way to call the guy out on his birthday! If he existed.

DJ SCIP: Look, th—

VOICE: Which he doesn't.

DJ SCIP: LOOK, man, the commercials don't normally talk back to me.

VOICE: Good thing this is the meta episode, then! We at Vikander-Kneed are the cutting edge of interactive media.

DJ SCIP: Right, b—

VOICE: The cutting edge.

DJ SCIP: I got that, bu—

VOICE: THE CUTTING EDGE, ROGER.

*EIGHTEEN SECONDS OF LOUD STATIC, OVERLAID WITH REINDEER CRIES*

ROGER DJ SCIP: …my name's not Roger.

VOICE: It is now.

DJ SCIP: Shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP!

*EIGHT SECONDS OF SILENCE*

VOICE: I mean, if you're not gonna t—

DJ SCIP: ALRIGHT EVERYONE WE'VE GOT TIME FOR JUST THIS ONE MORE SEGMENT! And the topic is: alternate universes! Oooooooooooh.

DR. MCDOCTORATE: You mean 'canons'.

*DJ SCIP SHOUTS. SOUND OF A CHAIR FALLING OVER.*

DJ SCIP: Where the hell did you come from?!

DR. MCDOCTORATE: I've been here the whole time! If you wanted me to leave, you should have said so. Otherwise my sudden reappearance becomes a brick joke.

*THREE SECONDS OF SILENCE*

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Do you need to me to explain what a brick joke is? I can give you a tvtropes link.

DJ SCIP: Please, please no. Okay. Okay. So, alternate universes.

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Canons.

DJ SCIP: WHATEVER. Canons. Fine. The Foundation is aware of multiple extrauniversal… canons…?

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Right.

DJ SCIP: …which exist outside of our narrative space. Places where things turned out very different. Often very bad, dangerous places! Do they know it's Christmastime at all? Probably not, in the everyone's-a-horrible-blob-because-the-sun-turned-evil-verse!

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Daybreak.

DJ SCIP: What?

DR. MCDOCTORATE: It's called Daybreak. The canon.

DJ SCIP: Yeah, I'm just gonna start ignoring you now. There's also a world where — horror of horrors! — the Foundation never existed—

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Unfounded!

DJ SCIP: —which is obviously the worst world of all, since it means there's no Foundation After Midnight! Then there's the world where the Foundation isn't on Earth, but is instead in SPACE—

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Two of those, actually!

DJ SCIP: —so it's nice to hear all that foreshadowing about our space agency ultimately pays off! And finally—

DR. MCDOCTORATE: What do you mean, finally? There's, like, forty of them. You're not gonna do them all?

DJ SCIP: Why don't you go count them? Isn't the compulsive need to count things your secret weakness?

DR. MCDOCTORATE: That's not pataphysics. That's vampirism.

DJ SCIP: AND FINALLY, there's a world where we're all living in the wild west—

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Or obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

DJ SCIP: —dealing with the same eldritch horrors and humours and hopes in the dark and dusty world of cowboys and, uh, Native Americans! Wow, sorry, I almost said—

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Forty-five.

DJ SCIP: What?

DR. MCDOCTORATE: There's forty-five canons. And that one you were just talking about is called Aces

DJ SCIP: Nobody cares! That's all the time we have tonight, or, failing that, all the patience I have for today and three or four lifetimes besides. This is your host, DJ SCIP, signing off!

VOICE: Kind of an abrupt ending.

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Must've been written on a deadline.

VOICE: That's no excuse for omitting the one-liner.

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Not everything has to end on a one-liner! That's just clichéd.

VOICE: Clichés are the building blocks of media!

DR. MCDOCTORATE: Maybe bad media.

VOICE: MAYBE YOUR MOM'S MEDIATM

12:25

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