The Institute's Orientation
Participants in The Hourglass' study are scheduled for Orientation in one of their founder's Office. As a participant arrive at Broughton Hall for their arranged time, they meet with an intern from The Institute. This person wears a lab coat with The Institute's hourglass logo. Participants are lead to a small reception room where another intern was waiting.
Once inside the room, the 2 interns question the participants about topics such as their head circumference or height. They continue to ask more bizarre questions on topics such as quantum mystisism and Deja Vu.
On the wall behind the interns is a poster stating "Deja Vu Zone" and informing them to report any suspicious activity.
The interns mark the answers to the questions on a clipboard.
After an indiscriminate period of time, the interns give each study participant an hourglass shaped pin to wear and lead them to an office down the hall.
The interns proceed down the hall and tell the study participants the office belongs to their "esteemed founder" Dr. Alister Beldon. This room has a similar logo on the door as the reception room.
Inside the office seems like it hasnt been updated since the 1970s. There are 2 round white chairs seperated by a small triangular backed chair on one side of the room. To the left of the door is a smaller white table with an additional 3 triangular red chairs. In the center of the room is a large desk and a large TV sat atop. In front of the desk sits a small side table with a VCR and a large 3 ring binder. Throughout the room are many knick-knacks including many clocks and several degrees on the wall. This is a very eccentric room.
Once settled, the participants are told to watch an "Orientation Video." The intern started the VCR and left the room.
The video starts with an introduction from the Administrative Assistant, Ms. Belbell. She welcomes the participants to The Institute and introduces them to their founder, Dr. Alister Beldon. The video then changes to an older recording with a title card stating "The Institute Orientation 1 of 13: Welcome to Tomorrow" and a different logo. Dr. Beldon appears to be sitting at the desk across from the participants. He proceeds to explaining the basics of The Institute and the purpose of the study. (Video is on right, Transcript is below) Dr. Beldon concluded his video by stating for participants to sign the Non-Disclosure Agreement in the binder on the table in front of them. The video concludes with another title card and a copyright watermark of 1979.
MS. BELBELL: Hello, my name is Ms. Belbell and I’ve been the Administrative Assistant for The Institute since 1974 and I’m very happy to welcome you to The Institute for Temporal Observation and Application: A like-minded group of free thinking scientists here at NC State searching for ways to change the world. The office you’re currently residing in is the former home of our esteemed Founder, and emeritus professor, Dr. Alister Beldon. In this very room he devised many of the astounding theories and devices which you and your colleagues will be engaging with during your participation in the various studies offered here at The Institute. We’ve kept this office just as it was, at the ready, should he wish to return with even more remarkable ideas.
The Institute has been patiently waiting for your arrival for many years. Originally intended to launch in 1980, these studies had been delayed due to…unforeseen complications in both personnel and funding. But now, after a… brief delay, we’re getting ready to share our astonishing findings with the world. Which is where you come in! And now a few words from the Founder himself, Dr. Alister Beldon, to get you started on your journey.
TITLE CARD: The Institute: Orientation 1 of 13 Welcome to Tomorrow.
DR. BELDON: Congratulations! And Welcome to The Institute. The simple fact that you are sitting here, listening to me now my friends, means that you are interested in making glorious new contributions to science. Now, I know you have already met my lovely assistant, but let me introduce myself. I’m the Founder of The Institute of Temporal Observation and Application, Dr. Alister Beldon. I run this place. However, for purposes of security, please do not divulge my name to any other outside parties. I wouldn’t want to have to resort to using an alias in the future. Sadly, I cannot personally oversee everyone's orientation, so these pre-recorded films will hopefully cover any questions you may have during the course of your scientific adventure with us. If not, our staff is here to help you and can answer any questions you may have during the orientation process. But first, a little history. The Institute, as we simply call it, was originally founded here at NC State in 1968 by myself and my colleague Dr. Meridian, from the Physics and Math Departments, respectively. Following in the footsteps of my late great mentor, Dr. Reeves, we imagined a communal research institution here on campus, where free-thinking scientists could pursue research in Astrophysics, Negative Energies, Electromagnetism, Quantum Mysticism, Retrocausality, and Transdimensional science. Yes, you heard correctly. Transdimensional Science, or more popularly known as Time tra…(Film jump)
There are energies in our facility that exist nowhere else on earth. And, our mission is to study these energies for the betterment of mankind and the advancement of world peace. This is definitely an exciting venture to be a part of! One with breakthrough technology and cutting edge research happening here every day. And to assist us with this goal, we at The Institute, have assembled the latest in computing technology. Apart from learning about our state of the art Vax-11 supercomputers, you will have a chance to work with the latest TRS-80 microcomputers with a processing power clocking in at 1.78 MHZ! And there’s one for every work station in the Labs. So, who’s ready to start their scientific adventure?! (Film jump)
In a moment you will be given your assignments based on the aptitude tests and paperwork from your applications. We assure you that these tests are designed to place you in the position most beneficial to you and our scientific community. Whether you assist with conducting actual research or performing data entry, all your contributions are vital to the success of the project. We operate under a strong sense of togetherness and exploration. But also secrecy. On that subject, during your participation with us, many of you may interact with certain Institute personnel dealing with sensitive research and materials. We ask that you do not inquire about their work as they are not at liberty to discuss it, but remember, it is for the greater good of our community and the world. I also want to impress upon you the importance of keep…(Film jump)
…YOU are the key to unlocking our vision for the future. You see my friends, you are here because we wanted the best, and You are it! They say great science is built on the shoulders of giants, so we’re inviting you to stand atop these great shoulders of mine and help us reach new unknown heights. Know it or not my friends, you contain something unique, vital, and essential to our project. And with your help we are going to change the wor…(Film jump)
I truly hope that this introductory film has provided you with at least a little context for where you find yourself today. And, should you wish to explore the impossible with us, simply sign a copy of our non-disclosure agreement and release form located in the binder in front of you and your journey can begin. As Founder and principle researcher here at The Institute, I thank you all for your participation and hope we can count on you for your utmost discretion. Thank you my friends, and good luck.
The Cadre Intervention
Inside the binder on the table in front of them, participants find a binder labeled "Research Intern Agreements" and an Hourglass logo. Inside the binder is a long set of documents and contracts.
Written in red ink acros the front page of the contract someone wrote "Do Not Sign! They Are Not What They Seem. Students Are Missing! Press Play On The Tape Recorder." On several more pages there are notes telling the participants to not sign the contract.
If they chose to follow our instructions, find the tape recorder in the room, and press play, they were introduced to an audio recording from a mysterious voice named Mister E. (Audio is to the left and transcription below) Mister E explains to the participants the dangers in what The Institute is doing and explains why they should not join The Institute, but instead join the counter movement, The Cadre. At the end, Mister E welcomes them to The Cadre and tells them if they choose to join, to open the drawer in the side table and find the two white rabbits which will lead them to a more secure location where they can talk more.
Greetings Travelers. Listen carefully as there isn’t much time before they realize something is amiss. I’ll simply get to the point. The Institute cannot be trusted. Students have gone missing while under their care. Myself, and a small group of like-minded individuals, wish to find those students and bring them home. Who am I, you may be wondering? For now, simply call me Mister E. All you need to know about me is that for more than 40 years I’ve given my life in the pursuit of one endeavour; stopping The Institute from harming anyone else. In order to do that, I must plead for your assistance in finding those that are missing.
Now, here is the answer to your question. Yes. You have been selected. You, in particular, have been chosen. Because I know that, deep down, we all share the same secret wish in our hearts. A secret rarely uttered, but deeply universal. That one day, it would be revealed that you were meant for more than the mundane. That you are meant for greatness. Well, here I am, and that day is upon you. You are Greatness.
You see, it is a very unique individual, who finds themselves in the chairs in which you sit. It’s a rare soul indeed who responds to The Institute’s ads, and a rarer soul who comes to this office as directed. And the rarest of souls who will listen to this tape, prepared to answer my call. So here we are, at the final leg in a very long personal voyage for me. A journey that is just beginning for you. Where does this voyage lead you may ask? The only way to find out is to take that first step. When will your journey begin? Well, should you desire to help us realize this homecoming, and truly see just how far this rabbit hole goes, then open the drawer of the side table. In it you’ll find the path to another location. Somewhere we can talk further. Simply follow the white rabbit and take that first step. Thank you, and welcome to our Cadre.
(From this point forward, "Study Participants" who chose to join our Cadre will be refered to as "Cadre Members or recruits")
In the center of the room sits a side table with the VCR sat on top. In the drawer of this table is a piece of paper with clues to find their next location and a pencil. The new recruits are instructed to find the two white rabbits in the room to reveal the missing terms to complete their trail.
The two rabbits are as follows:
A black piece of paper with holes cut out and roman numerals
located in the "R" encyclopedia
On the front of a pamphlet
Placed on the desk of Dr. Beldon
When filled out and completed, the instructions lead the Cadre members through a path around central campus, clued by chalked hourglass symbols.
HURRY. BY NOW THEY MAY BE COMING FOR YOU.
TO BEGIN: one must depart the room undetected by the receptionist.
BUT DO NOT: leave the room without first gaining some intelligence.
TO DO SO: you must find the 2 White Rabbits in the room.
USE: the 2 items together.
HERE: take notes and carry on…
DON’T go out the building the way you came in.
DO NOT RUN. Go quietly and casually out the door and down the hallway on the X(viii) LEFT. (Shhhh)
CONTINUE: down the hallway. Don’t draw the attention of The Institute’s data entry office!
LOOK & SEE: the compass at your feet.
HEED: what's missing. The Institute is responsible for many heinous acts, including the creation of this wall, cutting off vital X(ii) DIRECTION.
EXIT: the building through the door. We’ve left small markings to help guide you!
TURN: The X(vi) STOLEN X(ii) DIRECTION points the way. Head straight and then cross the street ahead.
SEE THAT? There’s a X(iii) BRICK X(vii) SCULPT ahead. Continue toward them and keep going. Although enlightened about a great deal, Dr. Beldon has never been one with good taste as evidenced by these commissioned items.
TURN: X(ix)RIGHT at the X(iv) GARDEN and stay X(viii) LEFT.
VISIT: Prof. X(v) JOHNSTON He faces your next path.
STAY X(viii) LEFT then cross the street.
HEED: the lamp! 043/1/02= X(ix)RIGHT.
TURN: X(viii) LEFT at the ramp and follow it all the way down the hill to park a moment.
CROSS: the lot.
LOOK: It’s a sign! There’s only ONE true WAY ahead and it’s
00437= X(ix) RIGHT.
FOLLOW: down the hill to the corner and turn X(viii) LEFT.
SEE: the X(i)SPHERE X(vii) SCULPT and turn X(viii) LEFT.
GRAB: a cup of coffee and meet your contact.
If followed properly, the trail leads new recruits to the Port City Java Entrance of the Park Shops building, where an informant is waiting for them.
Once confirming their identities, the informant ushers the new recruits into the building and into a locked portion of the building where The Institute occupies one of the rooms. This is The Observatory.
Inside this room is a large console with many buttons and screens along with a large drawer containing a container of glowing matter sat in the middle of the unit. Around the room is also a locked filing cabinet, a table and chairs, and a locker behind the door they entered.
Shortly after entering and settling in the chairs, they quickly realize the screens are surveillence cameras looking into The Institute's main lab. One camera looks at a set of doors and another points into a corner with a table and several scientific instruments.
Four people enter the frames of the cameras, two lab techs moving fully into the room and taking seats at the table in one camera, and two others remaining in the doorway. One in the doorway seems to be giving a tour to the other student who stands with him.
(We know from further research into members of The Hourglass, the name of the tour guide is Guy Clark, the Public Relations Intern for the organization.)
The two in the door proceed to explain, this space is their primary lab. After a short period of time, the two move on to another space, leaving the two techs in the room.
The two techs proceed to gossip with each other about their beginnings at The Institute and then one brings up a story they heard from a Dr. Chase, about someone going missing during an experiment last year. The techs continue talking about another, more recent disappearance of someone named Taylor; they do not know of this person. This event happened outside the lab and both people found this to be interesting.
After a short period of time, the techs clean up and leave.
Then suddenly both of the screens change to a static image and the voice of Mister E shows up once more, but this time coming from the console. Mister E apologizes for testing the new recruits, but this information is vital and they deserve to know. Mister E gives more evidence of the malpractice that is happening behind closed doors at The Institute and the lack of proper and safe scientific research.
(Video footage to the left, Transcript below)
As further proof, Mister E shows the new recruits another orientation video from Dr. Beldon.
Transcript of Mister E:
Welcome, Travelers. If you’re hearing this message, it means that you have elected to join us in our endeavor and managed to follow my path to The Observatory. Well done! I’m truly grateful you’re here. I apologize for testing you in this manner, but it’s vital to know if you can withstand the rigors of what’s to come. And to that end, I’m afraid I must test you further still. But first, some more information about why you’re here. As I stated previously, The Institute cannot be trusted. In fact, as you yourselves have just observed, another student has recently gone missing. This is the third student to have disappeared in 2 years and our goal is to find a way to bring them home. The missing students, however, are just one example of a myriad of unethical practices The Institute is guilty of. Falsification of data, plagiarism of ideas and information, and dangerous lab practices round out that list. As evidenced by the existence of this very room, the heart of The Institute’s spy network and information gathering. But don’t take my word for it, here is Dr. Beldon to tell you all about it himself.
In the orientation video, named "The Institute: The Observatory. Orientation 10 of 13", Dr Beldon explains the purpose of the observatory. This being a location where all activity is monitored and logged, as a way of keeping a record of activity in the lab.
He later explains that in another orientation video named "Orientation Film #3, N.E.D. Matter, or Negative Energy Density Matter" it is part of their duty to watch for any leaks and breaches of this matter in any space.
He discusses the N.E.D. exposure alarm and the importance of entering the reset code quickly otherwise the NED Matter could cause "serious repercussions."
At the end, he tells the viewer to stay alert and to follow the rules for safety and security.
(Video on right, Transcript below)
Transcript of Orientation Film:
TITLE CARD: The Institute: The Observatory. Orientation 10 of 13.
DR. BELDON: Hello and welcome my friends, I am Dr. Alister Beldon, and this is the orientation film for the monitoring station here at The Institute. This monitoring station, or The Observatory as we call it, is where the activities of our Laboratories and the various participants in The Institute’s many projects may be observed and recorded. Not only for posterity, but for the ongoing refinement of The Institute’s work as a whole. Your assignment here in The Observatory will last for the next 4 weeks, and during this time, you and your partners will observe team members at work in the Laboratories. These team members are not aware that they are under surveillance. What is the nature of the Lab's work you might ask? You as the observer do not need to know. All you need to know is that their work is of the utmost importance. Working in 8 hour shifts, you and your partners will record everything you observe in the notebooks we’ve provided. Once a notebook has been filled with the fruits of your hours and hours of diligent observation, simply place it in the locked container provided and it will be collected and examined. Remember, everything that occurs, no matter how minute, or seemingly insignificant must be recorded. We understand that you may feel uncomfortable with deceiving your colleagues and classmates in this manner. I assure you, that this is in the interest of their own security, as well as the pursuit of science. While these measures may seem extreme, rest assured my friends, they are vital to the success of the project. The following are some of the other essential duties you may be asked to perfor…(Film jump)
…the volatile substance discussed in Orientation Film #3 known as N.E.D. Matter, or Negative Energy Density Matter, is present in nearly every Institute lab. Part of your duties here in The Observatory is to monitor the Labs for any breach… (Film jump.)
…it is of the utmost importance, that if the N.E.D. exposure alarm were to sound, that the reset code be entered correctly and in a timely fashion. Although your initial exposure to the N.E.D. Matter will protect you temporarily, I must emphasize the expediency. From the moment the alarm sounds you will only have 5 minutes to enter the code into the microcomputer processor. Failure to properly enter the code in a timely manner could compromise the integrity of the project or worse…lead to another Incident. I repeat, failure to enter the code may have serious repercussions. As always, your safety is our number one concern. Now, please pay close attention while I provide you with the N.E.D. deactivation code. It is, as follows, 5,… (Film jump)
…because of the alertness required to perform these various duties, it is highly recommended that you and your partners take alternating shifts. In this manner you will all stay fresh and alert. Congratulations, my friends. This concludes your orientation for The Observatory. As a final reminder, do not discuss the nature of your work here with other members of The Institute. These rules must always be followed and are for the safety and security of you and your colleagues. On behalf of myself, and all of us here at The Institute, Thank you, and good luck.
After the Orientation video concludes, Mister E returns with some final needed information and proceeds to tell the new recruits that there's one more test and if they wish to proceed, they need to be exposed to a small amount of NED Matter. This is needed to be able to interact with any future Instiute devices and experiences that utilize NED Matter.
Mister E concludes with telling the new recruits they need to gain access to the NED containment unit and then search for any files The Institute may have on the missing students.
(Video on left, Transcript below)
Transcript of Mister E:
You’ve come this far, for which I thank you, and I hope you will indulge me a bit further. As I mentioned previously, there is one more test for you this evening to determine if you have what it takes to proceed. It is at this juncture that I must clarify that you still have a choice. If you wish to walk away, now is your chance… and I wouldn’t blame you. You can walk out that door right now and forget all about this.
But… if you wish to proceed, then we must expose you to a small amount of NED Matter. This brief exposure will act as a kind of…inoculation to the material. In our work to come you will likely be asked to interact with Institute devices and experiences that utilize NED matter and this inoculation will make it possible for you to do so safely.
Now, in this room is the key to a locked NED containment unit built into the control console. You must locate the key and unlock it. Once you’ve successfully opened the containment unit, your NED Matter exposure will begin and you’ll have a limited amount of time before the exposure alarm sounds, alerting Institute technicians to our presence. During that window you’ll also have an opportunity to search the premises for any information or files The Institute has on the missing students. I’ve left you some hints to help find the intelligence you seek.
Thank you for your dedication to The Cadre. Until next time Travelers.
Once Mister E concludes and the informant exits the room, leaving the new recruits to their test and to discover the names.
Below I will lay out the expected path the new recruits were to follow to complete their test. This was not always the case. There were often unexpected hiccups, but it was some what of a test for Mister E and myself as well.
On the console unit there is a small enclosure with a key inside. (Key #1) This key belongs to the lock on the locker behind the door to the room.
Inside this locker is a bin of keys with an alligator keychain and a flashlight attached to it. On the front of the bin of keys is an outline of this keychain with a lightbulb.
If the recruits shine the flashlight on the bin of keys they find one key in the bin is attached to a glowing keychain. (Key #2) This key unlocks the cabinet containing the NED Matter.
When the NED Matter containment unit is opened, the room is flooded with light from the Matter, exposing the recruits to a small amount of NED Matter Radiation. (This allows their molecules to be more susceptable to any future encounters with NED Matter and NED Matter devices. Yes this is necessary.)
We may have also left some hidden notes for the recruits to find.
In the back of the containment unit there is another key on a hook. This key opens the filing cabinet that sits next to the console.
In the bottom drawer of this cabinet are several folders including documents about many undergraduate researchers working for The Institute. Three of the folders have glowing handprints on them. These folders are labeled J. Grayson, E. Beldon, and T. Thomas.
The J. Grayson and E. Beldon folders appear to contain their employment application, Non-Disclosure Agreement, and Intellectual Property release forms along with project assessments on the various projects they worked on.
The T. Thomas folder contained one note from Dr. Chase to Ms. Belbell about hearing credible information of the recent disappearance of a student named Taylor Thomas and they needed to shutdown tests until they investigate the situation.
After a period of time, the NED Matter Containment radiation alarm would go off. The alarm needs to be silenced to prevent The Institute being alerted of the Cadre's presence in The Observatory. The clock on the unit is marked to indicate the number pattern to silence the alarm. The number code at the time was 5187. Silencing the alarm gives the recruits a couple more minutes to finish searching for the information they require.
Once the alarm sounds, one of the informants notifies the new recruits that they need to leave. They are then escorted out a different exit and once outside, are debriefed to make sure they got the information they needed. They are told to wear their newly acquired pins to identify other Cadre members, and Mister E would be in contact soon about future missions. The informant then leaves.