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Episode Fifty: INTROSPECTIVE

 

Hello and welcome to the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity and Mortality. This audio tour guide will be your constant companion in your journey through the unknown and surreal.

As you approach our exhibits, the audio tour guide will provide you with information and insights into their nature and history.

Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the exhibits.

Do not attempt to interact or communicate with the audio tour guide. If you believe that the audio tour guide may be deviating from the intended tour program, please consider adjusting your preconceived notions of what the intended tour program may be!

While the staff here at Mistholme Museum of Mystery Morbidity and Mortality do their absolute best to ensure the safety of all visitors, accidents can happen. The museum is not liable for any injury, death, or Jokerfication that may occur during your visit.

Enjoy your tour. And good luck.

 

Glassway Expedition Report #4: The Mistholme

Retrieval Expedition Report: Alternatural Shelter 212 Glassway Traversal. Compiled by the Audio Tour Guide accompanying the Retrieval Team codenamed Rainbow.

Glassway 212 was chosen for exploration due to several factors. First of all, was the fact that Shelter 212 was not occupied by any Museum Staff or Patrons during the Lockdown event, and as such none traversed the Glassway when it initially opened. It was suggested that this could pose an opportunity for some kind of control sample, or perhaps that if the Curator was hidden from us we might be more likely to find them somewhere nobody else had been. Additionally, when a drone was sent through the Glassway, it quickly became apparent that the place on the other side was inhabited by sapient beings. This was not unique, as Contact has been made through several Glassways, but the density of the population through this Glassway was encouraging. Finally, the place on the other side was interior, appearing to be a relatively modern building, and nobody seemed to pay the Glassway or the drone any particular notice, which made us suspect that the locals might be knowledgeable enough about the Alternatural to answer our questions. Of course, we only wound up with further questions, which is really something we should be used to by now but… this was a bit much, even for the Museum.

Team Rainbow consisted of seven members, led by Agent Green. Upon crossing the threshold onto the other side, it quickly became apparent that this place was not, as had been assumed, a building, but- judging by the gentle rocking of the floor- was in fact a ship of some kind. This assessment was borne out when Agent Indigo found a porthole which looked out over an ocean which stretched all the way to the distant horizon. The distant sound of laughter and the gentle chugging of an engine reverberated throughout the long empty halls as Team Rainbow explored, occasionally glimpsing figures passing at the ends of corridors. After a few minutes, we located a door leading to the exterior and found ourselves on a deck where a number of people- in a number of forms- were just finishing up their lunch. Few of them seemed to pay much mind to the armed strangers who had appeared in their midst, with the exception of a crewmember in a crisp uniform, who walked over to us and welcomed us aboard. Agent Green asked for the name of this vessel, and without surprise the crewman answered. And we were the surprised ones. Because he told us that were were honoured guests aboard The Mistholme.

The Mistholme, as it turns out, is a cruise ship that roams the world’s oceans on a voyage with no destination. It is not a traditional cruise ship- in several ways- first and foremost, in that it was not designed as a cruise ship. It was originally a large, quaint Bed and Breakfast located on a sleepy country road, until some calamity that the crew were uninterested in talking about occurred at some uncertain point in the past necessitated that they leave dry land behind never to return. The staff of the Mistholme transplanted the entire building onto the structure of an old paddle steamer, an old-fashioned but reliable sort, and never looked back. They had done a decent trade for the most part, providing a comfortable holiday spot for other folks who had abandoned the land for a life on the sea- it seems as though all of humanity may live on the water in that world, although nobody would tell us why. Things had picked up for The Mistholme quite recently, however: a few months ago, every mirror in every room had gone suddenly hazy. The crew had been somewhat perturbed by this- especially the Head of Customer Service, who had no idea where she was going to find replacements. But before long, people had started stepping through the mirrors, and The Mistholme’s crew had swiftly gotten to work making them comfortable. They were strange people, from strange worlds, and the crew had no idea how they had gotten on board, but it was really neither here nor there: they were guests. And so The Mistholme began yet another phase in its strange existence, without a word of complaint or a missed beat, the crew consummate professionals each and every one.

It is obviously… worth noting that there are some similarities between The Mistholme and The Mistholme Museum outside of just the name. There is the way that strange folk without a certain place in the world tend to just find their way there, much as exhibits find their way to the Museum. There is the matter of the Glassways that opened up aboard the vessel- possibly connected to the events in the Museum which led to our mirrors becoming Glassways, although this would be a unique event and may just as likely have been caused by something on their side. The world throughout which The Mistholme travels is also called Earth and seems largely similar to our own, with the exception of this recent calamity. Then there are… other parallels. The Captain of The Mistholme recently went missing, and nobody has any idea where she might be. The rest of the crew has done their best to continue on despite the difficulties this has caused, but this has been complicated by the loss of their entire Groundskeeping department- ah, to clarify, after The Mistholme’s move to the ocean, with no grounds to keep, the Groundskeeping department repurposed their tools and used them as weapons to fend off attempts to attack the vessel. Well, apparently something happened to Groundskeeping that the remaining crew refused to discuss, and so the Engineering department took over their duties, splitting their focus from their existing work keeping the vessel running. Meanwhile the Maintenance department is doing their best to piece together what caused the calamity that led them to sea- again without telling us anything of the matter- work that has been stymied somewhat by the vessel’s meteorologist- formerly the receptionist- having become obsessed with some kind of Siren and constantly trying to throw himself overboard to reach it.

It is, to say the least, a complicated situation. However, it should be noted that the crew of The Mistholme were nothing but courteous and professional to Team Rainbow during their time onboard, even going so far as to give us cabins to stay in while we were there. I’m told they were quite comfortable and that the food was excellent; apparently The Mistholme’s kitchen is quantum-locked with the kitchen aboard the Titanic the day before it sank, so they have an endless supply of high-quality, if a little old-fashioned, food. My only complaint about the experience was the presence of the vessel’s Cabin Boy, an endlessly polite little child in a sailor outfit who was seemingly everywhere at once, always ready to help out any way he could. Team Rainbow insisted that he was quite charming but I couldn’t help but find him off putting- I’m quite glad there is no parallel in the Museum.

Overall, our time aboard The Mistholme was less unpleasant than many other Glassway traversals, although there is something unsettling about the whole thing. The Heads of Department are in discussions over a proposal from the vessel’s Head of Customer Service that their passengers might be able to visit the Museum, while our staff could use The Mistholme as a retreat of some kind.

Conclusions: No trace of either target located. Alternaturality: Confirmed. Presence of Sapient Life: Confirmed. Presence of Hostile Entities: Not in the immediate vicinity of Glassway. Departments in discussion over further plans.The Wiresnake

 

 

The Wiresnake

This exhibit is the subject of some debate among Museum staff, with regard to whether it belongs in the main areas of the Museum or in The Stables. Ultimately it was decided that it would be placed in the main area, but near The Stables, as while it bears some resemblance to life as we know it there would be certain… implications to definitively declaring it to be a living thing. That is of course a complicated and controversial matter that it’s usually best to just avoid, and so until something changes it will likely remain unaddressed.

That this sort of heavy and philosophical debate could surround this exhibit may be surprising, considering what you see before you: a glass cabinet, containing only a single loop of electrical wire with a current reader attached to it. It may seem perfectly ordinary, but if you’ll look at the electronic readout, you’ll see that this piece of wire does in fact have a current running through it, of variable level between 40 and 60 amps, despite there being no power source attached to it. Hmm. Yes, it’s still just a piece of wire, although some electrical engineers who’ve visited the Museum were fascinated- although, they did seem to think it was some kind of trick or hoax. It is, of course, neither; rather, it is an example of a relatively recent phenomena, which has colloquially come to be referred to as The Wiresnake.

Before we continue, a note- some patrons have expressed some… confusion, around my pronunciation of this exhibit’s name. I have been told that my accent leads me to pronounce “Wire” differently to how some people would- I would argue that I don’t have accent, as my voice is synthesised but… yes. For those people, a clarification: When I say “Wire” or “Wiresnake”, I mean “Wire” and “Wiresnake” [Heavy American accent]. I hope that clears things up.

The Wiresnake refers to a phenomenon, rare but persistent, where electricity seems to have a quote mind of its own unquote. It was initially, or at least most identifiably, witnessed in coils of electrical wire sparking and leaping about while not connected to any power source, and it was from this that the name “Wiresnake” first emerged. It is not an entirely accurate name, as we will get into, but names have a way of sticking. The Wiresnake has also been noted in lights that turn on or off of their own accord, or in remote control toys somehow finding their ways into places they should never have been. Rather than just being wires acting oddly, the Wiresnake appears to be some kind of electrical life-form- or perhaps it’s better to refer to it as showing life-like qualities? The Wiresnake is so utterly dissimilar to the typical human understanding of “life” that it is difficult to even begin to understand it. Are all instances of The Wiresnake individuals, or all one continuous being that exists everywhere there is electricity? Is it electricity itself, or does it just live inside electrical current? The fact that it has been shown to power devices without a power source should indicate the former, but then why does it only seem to appear in devices created to use electricity? Does it exist outside of electrical devices in some form?

This brings us to what is, perhaps, the most pertinent element of The Wiresnake: the question of whether or not it has always existed. Despite the hard work of Museum Researchers, no reliable examples of phenomena matching the description of The Wiresnake can be found prior to the discovery and harnessing of electrical power. It is possible that some unexplained historical phenomena previously attributed to Poltergeists could be explained as the actions of The Wiresnake, but even if that is the case it cannot be denied that Wiresnake events have become markedly more common in recent decades as more and more electrical devices have proliferated across the globe. New and more complicated devices, which in turn lead to new and more alarming Wiresnakes- the creation of all-electric cars has led to more than one instance where said car suddenly veered off-course, though this is usually blamed on faulty self-driving AI, which is just typical.

All of this points to a disquieting conclusion: The Wiresnake, an Alternatural phenomena which we cannot even begin to understand, is proliferating because of us: humanity, or modern society. The world has always been a strange place, but it is growing measurably stranger because of us… and we don’t really understand how, or why. Are there other effects, other changes, perhaps even stranger than The Wiresnake that we don’t understand? Will we notice them before it’s too late?

 

A Request

[Splashing sounds]

THE BEAST:

Haha! See! What a place, eh Mistholme! I splash and swim and no ripples! Lake remains smooth as glass, ha!

Guide:

Yes, it’s quite… disconcerting actually.

THE BEAST:

Yes, quite strange I know. But it’s the only place I’ve seen like it. I don’t come by this way much on account of how there’s nothing living in it, no good for hunting ya know. Well, nothing tasty!

Guide:

That should probably make you reconsider swimming in it, but sure.

THE BEAST:

…Is everything alright, Mistholme? You seem distracted, somehow. Is one of your other Yous in trouble?

 

Guide:

No. Well, kind of. More than one, even.

THE BEAST:

Anything I can do to help?

Guide:

…Yes. Yes, actually.

THE BEAST:

Oh! Oh, well, what is it, what can I do for you?

Guide:

I need you to adjust the terms of your compulsion on me.

THE BEAST:

The, ah, hm?

Guide:

The command you made, when you used my True Name in your Den. I need you to change it.

THE BEAST:

I… well, I don’t know if that’s something I’m-

Guide:

Just one thing. You can keep the rest, about me not being able to tell humans what happened here. And the part about you being a stalwart ally. It’s… the other thing. The part I can’t even mention.

THE BEAST:

About my friend?

Guide:

Yes.

THE BEAST:

My friend is a real private sort, I don’t think I should-

Guide:

It’s just a temporary thing. I only need to talk to one person about it, and then you can put the compulsion back in place.

THE BEAST:

Why would I let you talk to one person about my friend, I wouldn’t want you to talk to anyone-

Guide:

Can you just remove it for this conversation right now, so I can explain?!

THE BEAST:

Very well. Mistholme, you have permission to discuss my friend with me. Now-

Guide:

I’m about to have an audience with your friend’s Parent. The Man with the Voice like Honey and Chocolate and Coffee all at once, I’m in their old home right now and I’ve just let the guards know that-

THE BEAST:

You’re what?! Mistholme, you do not want to be there, you have to get out before-

Guide:

Even if I could, I don’t want to leave. Your friend’s Parent is the best chance I have to get some answers about all this, why he attacked the Museum, who he is.

 

THE BEAST:

No. That place is stinging arrows and fire! It is hatred of me and my friend for no reason but because we are DIFFERENT. My friend would not want-

Guide:

Well it doesn’t matter what your friend wants. I’m going to meet with the Queen, and they’re going to expect me to have something to say about their child. I’ve had to talk around it ‘til now, say it was about their family because I couldn’t be specific thanks to you. But once I’m in the… audience chamber, or whatever, I’m going to have to talk about them. And if I can’t, what happens to me will be your fault.

THE BEAST:

No- NO! I don’t want you to get hurt, I don’t-

Guide:

Then let me talk about your friend.

[beat]

THE BEAST:

Very well. Mistholme, you have my permission to talk to my friend’s parent about my friend.

Guide:

Thank you, Beast. I mean it, I know it’s hard for you to- [the sounds of water splashing, the Beast wading to shore] Where are you going? Beast? What are you- [The Beast’s footsteps quicken as it breaks into a run, then grow distant] Beast? Come back, I- Oh shit.

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