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Poor Felton's Almanack is an episode of Sparks Nevada, Marshal on Mars that is part of The Thrilling Adventure Hour Live Youtube Show.

Video

The full episode may be purchased at Vimeo.  Proceeds from the live stream and from sales of this recording benefit food banks in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, and other cities.

Cast

WorkJuice Players

(Top) Annie Savage, Craig Cackowski, Mark Gagliardi, (Bottom) Marc Evan Jackson and Rhea Seehorn perform in TAH Live 3.

Guest Stars

  • Penelope Ophelian - Rhea Seehorn

Plot

The episode opens with Sparks noting that they've been having many bad weather events on Mars, including a lot of rain currently. Croach is ornery in his response, and is equally ornery when The Marshal Station Doors announces Felton's entrance.

Felton asks if Sparks recalls the book he recently published -- Not "Uh Oh! A Caterpillar and Other Scary Stories" but his second book, an almanack, which had done very poorly in predicting eclipses, sunrises and birthdays. Felton says that now every fact he'd made up is now coming true. Croach notes that there is a prophesy that a prophet will rise, perhaps that is Felton. Sparks is skeptical.

The Doors then admits a woman who has a lightning bolt scar over her eye, looking for the prophet Felton Lagravenese. She introduces herself as Penelope Ophelian, and Sparks tells her Mars is no place for her kind of supernatural mumbo-jumbo. Penelope calls Sparks a grumpy little kitten, which Croach finds very humorous.

Felton says that his next prophesy is that a flood will wash away a town, and Penelope says she set up candles that will protect against it. The Doors show through a holocamera that the dam is buckling with all the rain coming down. Penelope tells Croach to light the candles, and Croach does so while making kitten references towards Sparks. Penelope says the candles stopped the dam breaking, while Sparks says he stopped it via a remote control, which he shows is powered on.

Penelope says she once knew someone like Sparks when she was a child and her parents were helping terraform the exo-moon VV26, which had an unstable axis and was plunged into eternal daylight. The moon is now crawling with plasmaforms, which Penelope calls solar vampires. The plasmaforms killed every one of the colonists, including her family, except Penelope who used a garden trowel to stay alive.

Felton announces his next prophecy in the book was the dead rising to chase the living. Penelope has Croach light more candles, and then some crystals. The Doors says there's a marsquake near the old cemetery, which Penelope rebukes by the powers of the benevolent universe. The Doors announces the quake stopped, and Sparks a failsafe that was installed during terraforming stopped the quake, though Penelope continues to take credit.

Felton says the next prophecy is a lava apocalypse. Sparks tells The Doors to make sure the volcanos are set to dormant. She says they are, but the failsafe power went out in the storm. Sparks says he'll need to go to the caves near the volcanoes to reset the failsafe. Penelope and Felton want to go with Sparks, as Penelope says there's a demon in the caves. Croach wants to go so he can curl up in the demon's lap, for petting. Sparks wonders what's wrong with Croach, and Croach is unsure.

Along the way, Penelope wonders if Sparks believes in anything bigger than himself, and tells him he can't know the unknowable. Sparks talks about how when he was growing up with his parents in the USSA they moved a lot and he spent a lot of time alone. At one base where there were no other children his age, Sparks saw a little girl, Abigail, drift through his door one night, and said she was was a ghost. After a while, Sparks asked how to help, and Abigail said Sparks needed to bring her something she'd lost. She tricked Sparks into bringing her a piece of tech from his father's office. Abagail was a spy, not a ghost, and cleaned out his piggy bank on the way out. Since then, Sparks is careful to look for those who would take advantage of others.

As they enter the caves, Croach is possessed by an ancient being from back when Mars was desolate and airless, and wishes to return Mars back to that state. Penelope attempts to rebuke the devil, but the devil pauses to be impressed at Felton, the writer of the Almanack. Penelope asks if Sparks can believe now, and Sparks starts to wonder if he should believe in the spiritual.

Sparks asks how the devil knows of Felton's book, and the creature responds that he read it as Felton wrote it, Felton brought him to life, then he brought Felton's words to life. He thanks Felton for the vessel, Croach's body. Sparks asks Felton where he wrote the book, and Felton says he wrote it at the first farmstead on Mars. Sparks says he was connected to the old network, which he must have restarted, and caused a technical glitch. Felton is mad that his IP was pirated.

Sparks explains that the devil is a terraforming machine that gained consciousness and uploaded itself to Croach's Nah Nohtek, and the weather satellites. Croach was then susceptible to the awakened AI when he got near enough to it in the caves. Penelope continues to believe candles will solve the situation. The awakened AI begins to remove the oxygen nearby. Sparks speaks directly to Croach, and refers back to their original conversation about the weather, causing Croach to begin to break away from the AI to bicker with Sparks. Sparks then reminds Croach about the onus he'd be under if the oxygen leaves. The AI fights back, but Croach eventually wins.

Penelope still thinks her candles won the day, not science. She tells Sparks she'll bill him, which Sparks refutes as she rides off. Sparks debates with Felton if anything that just happened was real.

Notes

  • Felton has been afraid of caterpillars for a very long time, with the first mention way back in The Return of Croach the Tracker and the Introduction of Two New Important Characters! (TAH #47)
  • During the story where Sparks wonders if Jeremy took his piggybank. It's possible, but unlikely, that Jeremy refers to Jeremy Wynant, son of Colton Wynant, who has been spoken of many times, but never seen. More likely, Jeremy Whitley, the writer of this episode, was referring to himself.
  • Sparks notes that there were no other kids around his age while he was growing up. This is possible further evidence that Carson Nevada, Sparks' brother in M Bar canon, does not exist in podcast canon. It is possible, however, that Carson could be significantly older or younger than Sparks.
  • There have been few other references to Sparks' life pre-marshaling. Before this, the youngest we had seen Sparks was during his USSA Academy days in The Sad, Sad Song of the Widow Johnson comic book series.

Continuity

Production

This episode was recorded via Zoom and broadcast on YouTube on April 25, 2020. It was released for purchase on Vimeo on April 30, 2020.

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