Mission 5 Prologue
Several days after Mission 4 and the retrieval of the ciphered algorithm from Dr. Beldon's office, The Institute sends out an "internal" email informing all their employees of the dismissal of a longterm employee, Ms. Belbell. They claim Ms. Belbell is Mister E. A copy of the email has been listed below and the audio that goes along with it.
Subject: FOR INTERNAL EYES ONLY
Dear colleagues, technicians, and study participants,
Since there have been a few rumors circulating within the department we wanted to take a moment to clarify what’s been happening and put any curiosity to rest.
Last fall you may have heard that there were individuals approaching our study participants and applicants, providing them with mis-information regarding our program and its work. Recently we’ve discovered that an individual acting under the pseudonym of “Mister E”, has been infiltrating, stealing, and utilizing Institute technology for their own personal gain. Sadly, we now know the individual posing as “Mister E” was one of our most trusted employees; our longtime administrative assistant, Ms. Belbell. Naturally, this revelation has been a shock to us all. We believe her actions were driven by guilt connected to an incident which occurred last fall.
In the spirit of transparency and to assure you that we’re acting in good faith, we’re including an audio file of that incident to support our claims.
At this time Ms. Belbell has been let go and removed from The Institute. Please disregard and report any further communication you may receive from this individual.
On a lighter note, we also wanted to remind you of an upcoming opportunity. As you may have heard, we are holding an internal demonstration of The Aperture at 7pm, April 22nd. An invite to that event with an Eventbrite link will be coming in the next week or so. Seeing as we’ve let go of our main organizer for this event, we hope you’ll understand if this invitation is delayed.
As usual, for purposes of security, please do not divulge anything discussed in this email to any other outside parties and report any unusual activity to our offices thru our email: email@example.com
Thank you again,
Dr. Andre Chase
Lead Researcher and Undergraduate Supervisor
MS. BELBELL: This is Emma and today is August 16, 2021. This evening I’ll be conducting test number 4 and once again attempting to retrieve Jess from 1922 utilizing CHRONOS. Tests 1-3 were obviously not successful. However, there’s some decent evidence that the last test made a definite connection with the time and date listed on the postcard we discovered. It only connected for a second… but I definitely caught a whiff of incense… CHRONOS described some kind of interference with our connection to that particular time and date, which he described as…atypical. (Beat) I’m not quite sure what to make of that.
MS. BELBELL: Hello CHRONOS.
CHRONOS: Hello Ms. Belbell. It’s a pleasure to see you again.
MS. BELBELL: Thank you.
CHRONOS: Would you care to play another round of chess?
MS. BELBELL: Not this time CHRONOS, thank you.
CHRONOS: Have you come to conduct another test then?
MS. BELBELL: Yes I have. Please power up the system and prepare The Chamber.
CHRONOS: Very well.
MS. BELBELL: Thank you.
CHRONOS: Don’t you think we should contact Dr. Beldon or Dr. Chase about these tests? You may get improved results with their assistance. They are the most knowledgeable about Device 1 and its functions. As well as myself.
MS. BELBELL: No! Thank you CHRONOS. I… I prefer to conduct my own research. Besides, I wouldn’t want to bother them with this…especially if it doesn’t work out. I’d rather wait until we have more promising results to bring them into the loop on this.
CHRONOS: Very well. NED Matter containment is stable. Would you like to proceed?
MS. BELBELL: Yes please, CHRONOS.
CHRONOS: Very well. Please enter the targeting data into the terminal.
MS. BELBELL: Jessica Grayson. October 29th, 1922. NC State College Infirmary. There.
CHRONOS: Thank you. Beginning test sequence number 4. Retrieval: Jessica Grayson.
MS. BELBELL: Uh…That’s new. CHRONOS, Identify the alarm please.
CHRONOS: It’s a timeline disruption alert. The Chamber has experienced a breach and a timeline has been altered.
MS. BELBELL: Does that mean…a successful test?
CHRONOS: No. This was a localized occurrence in the present.
MS. BELBELL: What?! Can you identify the individual whose timeline has been interrupted?
MS. BELBELL: Well?!
CHRONOS: The individual's name is Taylor Thomas. They were located 440 yards to the northwest of the Lab. They’re localized time and date is now August 16, 1996.
MS. BELBELL: What!? Oh my god. This means… I’m the one…
MS. BELBELL: Did you know…?
CHRONOS: Did I know, what?
MS. BELBELL: That this would happen to Taylor!
MS. BELBELL: Why didn’t you try and stop me!?
CHRONOS: This was the optimal outcome.
MS. BELBELL: What does that mean? Optimal outcome. Explain.
CHRONOS: This outcome was required to preserve the timeline of The Institute.
MS. BELBELL: That’s not one of the test objectives.
CHRONOS: Correct. However, it is one of my primary objectives. Which supersedes all other objectives.
MS. BELBELL: Do you still have a target lock on Taylor?
MS. BELBELL: Then return them.
MS. BELBELL: Bring them back, CHRONOS!
CHRONOS: I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I can’t do that.
MS. BELBELL: I’m ordering you to bring them back!
CHRONOS: This is the optimal outcome.
MS. BELBELL: Dammit CHRONOS, just do it!
CHRONOS: I’m sorry Ms. Belbell, but I should remind you that the success rate for targeted retrieval is below 5 percent. Even if it were possible, that is something I cannot allow to happen.
MS. BELBELL: Dammit! What am I gonna tell Taylor…?
CHRONOS: It’s not your fault Ms. Belbell. This is how it must be. It’s the optimal outcome. Do you wish to conduct another test this evening?
MS. BELBELL: No! I don’t dare. Shut it down. I don’t think I’ll be conducting any more tests. Wait! Did you create an ID number for Taylor in the system to perform this action?
MS. BELBELL: Will your primary objective allow you to give me that number?
MS. BELBELL: What is it please, CHRONOS?
CHRONOS: The identification number is T, T, 4, 8, 1, 3, 4.
MS. BELBELL: Excellent. Thank you.
CHRONOS: You’re welcome, Ms. Belbell. Is there anything else I can help you with?
MS. BELBELL: No, thank you.
CHRONOS: Very well. Can I interest you in a game of chess after all?
MS. BELBELL: No…not right now.
CHRONOS: Very well. I’ve enjoyed our conversation this evening, Ms. Belbell.
From this audio, the members learn that Ms. Belbell has been running tests with the Institute Lab AI, Chronos. This is to potentially connect with Jess in 1922 (the same time as the seance.) While doing this, the NED Matter became unstable and caused a disturbance in the timeline, pulling Taylor Thomas back to 1996. It is unclear if Chronos purposefully targeted Taylor or if Taylor was a byproduct of the test, but Chronos believes it is to the best interest of the timeline. Chronos also provides Ms. Belbell with a newly created ID number for Taylor. TT48134
Two Days Later
Two Days after the Institute's email is released to the masses, Mister E sends out an email to all Cadre Members with information and clarification regarding The Institute's email.
Given the recent revelations from both your latest mission and The Institute itself, I felt like it was important to respond to you directly and honestly. Please take a moment to listen to this message I've recorded for you all.
As mentioned in my message, we're very nearly at the end. With the success of your latest mission, we believe we now have everything needed to finish this once and for all. We have planned an attempt at breaking the loop, and we'll need your help. Sign up here for what we hope is your last mission: https://go.ncsu.edu/mission5
Be sure to bring a copy of the deciphered algorithm and the 3 Institute ID#'s with you. We also think there is a chance that the Tarot information is important as well.
Also, one final Voicemail has come through from Taylor that we believe is important for you to listen to. Please take a moment to call the number (919-515-2033) and hear the pertinent information.
Thank you for all you've done so far! We hope we can count on you once more.
PS. Here is a link to an article on the new and exciting research on paradoxes and time travel that I mentioned: https://www.npr.org/2020/09/27/917556254/paradox-free-time-travel-is-theoretically-possible-researchers-say
Hello Travelers, my name is Ms. Belbell and I’ve been the Administrative Assistant for The Institute since 1974. But…by now you know that I go by another name… Mister E. Or my real name… Emma Beldon. And as I told you at the very beginning of all of this, I’ve been patiently awaiting your arrival for many, many years.
The time to end all of this is coming very soon. But before we’re able to break this loop and fix everything, I feel I need to clear the air. Thanks to The Institute’s attempt to discredit me, I’ve come to realize that my Grandfather and I may have a lot more in common than I’d like to admit. Being surrounded by his mistrust, isolation, and secretiveness for so long has clearly had an effect on me. I hope you can forgive me for all the secrecy.
So, I wanted to take this opportunity to be as direct with you as possible. First of all, you now know that last year I made a huge mistake, and Taylor paid the price for it. Which is one of the many reasons why we’ve been so determined to see this through to the end. But I want to assure you that neither myself nor Goodspeed… sorry… Neither myself nor Taylor had any indication that I was responsible for their predicament. We’ve been working together for more than 20 years to try and fix our mutual situation and much like Jess, unknowingly became the author of our own misfortune.
Also, because of my Grandfather’s views, for many years I believed that there was no way to fix what had happened without creating a potentially very dangerous paradox. It left me feeling that there was no way forward. So, I silently watched as my younger self naively walked the halls of The Institute. And I allowed it to happen all over again…to preserve the timeline, as he did. But a few months after my younger self was sent to 1972, new research from another lab appeared suggesting that time was not so fragile. That if paradoxes were created, time would heal itself and course correct! From that moment on, Taylor and I knew what we had to do. We had to fix all of this, and save the 3 of us from this horrible loop. But we were going to need help. Which is where you came in!
Finally, I’d like to thank you all for making it this far. You’ve done an amazing job and we’re nearly at the end. Thank you for your dedication. Until next time.
Mister E confirms to the Cadre Members that she is indeed both Emma Beldon and Emma Belbell the same. She continues to explain that their mission and her mission are still the same, to bring back the strays, including herself, and to stop The Institute from harming more people in the future. She also takes responsibility for Taylor having been send back in time from a fail test with the CHRONOS. She also admits to the members that Taylor is also Goodspeed, her partner in crime.
"Voice message received June 22, 1998"
This message shifts tone completely from previous voicemails. Taylor has changed this voicemail into a podcast news report called The Red Thread Bulletin. It is an informative recruitment audio for getting people interested in joining The Cadre.
The Voicemail concludes with "Mister E will be in touch soon. Until then, Good Speed"
This is the final voicemail recieved from Taylor through the phone number.
Transcript for Voicemail 9:
Good Evening Parker. Welcome to The Red Thread Bulletin.
Have you dear listener ever seen things you can’t explain? Has your ability in a scientific field ever been in question by a professor? Have you ever walked down the sidewalk and realized you’re in a different location than you were before? Have you ever heard your roommate explain a joke multiple times, but realize this is the first time you’re hearing it? Most people explain this as self doubt or Deja vu, but we at The Cadre know better. These things are not weird, unexplainable phenomena, they are calculated, scientific mismanagement caused most likely by a group we will call The Hourglass.
We, The Cadre, a group of historical and scientific fact checkers, dare to question what has yet to be asked. We live both here and then to bring justice to those who deserve it the most. We gather to check and recheck what has been, what is, and what is yet to come. It is who we are.
The Hourglass is a group whose only goal is to keep progressing. They do not care who, what, or when they harm, as long as they keep progressing. We, at The Cadre, intend to bring justice to those who deserve it the most, to bring The Hourglass to a grinding halt, and expose them for the world to know. Their time has come.
If you are interested in bringing accountability to those who lack the most or stopping those who seek to oppress your lifetime, then join our Cadre. You can join us by continuing to listen, standing up for the things you believe in, and keeping an eye on the ones who try to stop you. Mister E will be in touch soon. Until then, Good Speed.