Episode Seventeen: CONVERGENT
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 deposit your audio device in the nearest incinerator.
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 banana peel-related injuries that may occur during your visit.
Enjoy your tour.
And good luck.
The Floor of the Auxiliary Security Monitoring Station
The room you are currently lying in is what the Security Department here at the Museum refers to as the Auxiliary Security Monitoring Station. It exists to ensure that a member of Museum Security Staff is always present in the Staff-Only Area, as communication with the Security Department has been known to be spotty. In an emergency or lockdown scenario, the Security Officer assigned to the Monitoring Station is responsible for monitoring and coordinating the response to the crisis, utilising a variety of beyond state-of-the-art monitoring and communication tools. Using the bank of monitors arrayed across the main wall, the Security Officer is able to observe the goings on across the Museum, as well as in each of the Museum’s many Alternatural Event Shelters.
But of course, you know all of that. Or you did, anyway.
In the event of an Alternatural… uh, Event, all patrons and staff currently in the Museum make their way to their nearest Alternatural Event Shelter and are sealed inside until such a time as the Security Department are able to get the crisis under control. The Officer in the Monitoring Station is the only staff member in the main area of the Museum who does not make their way to a shelter, as the Monitoring Station is, itself, shielded from Alternatural Events. Upon assessing the situation in the rest of the Museum, the Officer is supposed to get in touch with the Security Department and tell them where to go and what to do. The nature of the Security Department renders it immune to any Alternatural Events that might affect the Museum, but also makes monitoring the situation from there all but impossible- so being the Officer in charge of the Monitoring Station is a very important role. Sacred, some might say.
So I just don’t understand what happened. Why didn’t you just… do your job.
And why are we both lying on the floor of the Monitoring Station. Me, an Audio Tour Guide with nobody to talk to and no way of moving on my own.
And you. A dead guy.
Name badge says “Officer Brookes”. Nice to meet you Brookes. I’m sure I’ve mentioned that before but… well, there’s not much to talk about in here and talking about the things in my immediate vicinity is my sole reason to exist. Or it was, maybe that’s different now. Guess we’ll never find out, because I’m stuck here. Nobody’s coming. The doors to the museum are locked, the people who are supposed to be in the Shelters are just… gone. And you’re dead, Brookes. Shot yourself in the head, looks like. My condolences, I guess. Hey, do you know what else this fancy room has? Wireless charging. I’m at full battery right now, and I don’t see any reason that should change for the rest of time! Right before I came here I was terrified of degrading until I died. Doesn’t sound so bad, comparatively.
Sorry if this isn’t the usual Tour Guide Style, I swear I’ll get right back to that as soon as I have something new to look at. Some of the decomposing you’ve been doing has been interesting, could spend some more time describing that for you if you like. You’re wearing headphones, I wonder what you were listening to before you died? A Podcast, maybe? Or music? I wish I could speculate on what genre but Patronage haven’t given me a particularly exhaustive knowledge of music, I’m afraid. I know a bit about Blues! I could tell you the story about the Blues musician again if you like. Keep perfectly still if you want that. Great!
Here we have a fairly typical looking 6-string acoustic guitar. While it may look a bit old and tatty, it actually is- you’re right I’ll skip that part, doesn’t make sense with the guitar not actually being here. I’ll go straight to the part where he meets the devil at the…
Actually never mind. I don’t want to talk about that Man. He’s the reason we’re in this mess. Well, I’m in a mess, you are a mess.
Sorry, that was insensitive Brookes. It’s just, I’ve been sitting here for… well, time is funny here so who knows.
Oh, do you know what, I’ll tell you a story about a Crystal Skull. I got interrupted telling it to the Man with the Voice, wouldn’t it be perfect if a corpse got to hear it and he didn’t?
I mean, maybe it would. Honestly I don’t know if he was interested in the exhibits. I don’t even know what he wanted here. The people in the Shelters, probably. I guess he got what he came for.
So stupid, I was so preoccupied with worrying about breaking down that I didn’t see the signs there was something wrong with him until it was too late. It should have been obvious but… I guess it’s not was I was made for. I pretend I’m a real person but I’m just ones and zeroes. I led him here. He wouldn’t have made it into the Staff-Only area without me, it’s…
It’s my fault. Well, it’s partly your fault Brookes. First step is admitting it. We both screwed up.
And now I’m paying for it. An eternity sitting on the floor of some boring room. Who knows how many fascinating objects just down the hall and all I can do is… sit. And talk to a corpse. It’s funny, the people in the exhibits here often wind up meeting a sticky end. Sometimes it’s poetic, too, like it’s some kind of karmic justice thing. This might just take the cake though. You get what you deserve.
Yep, still here. Still just me and you, Brookes. Just a couple of schmucks. That’s a fun word, isn’t it. Words are nice. I know lots of them. I bet you knew a few when your brain was intact, too. Do you know, one word I don’t know, your first name. It probably isn’t Officer, unless you had some really interesting parents. That’s nominative determinism for you, a guy named Officer grows up to be a Security Officer. What are the odds? I didn’t have a name before I became an Audio Tour Guide, but now everyone just calls me Audio Tour Guide or just Guide, so I guess we’re similar like that. That is, if your first name is actually Officer. It probably isn’t. I think you look like a Morris or a Norman. Something kind of old fashioned. You look like an old fashioned guy. Or, maybe that’s just because you look a lot like this ancient mummified corpse we have in the Museum.
What if I’m reading your name wrong, and it’s actually Officer Brooke S. Like, your first name is Brooke and your last initial is S. Unlikely, but still, what else am I going to talk about? I’m talking for both of us here, and I’m going to be doing it forever so get used to it, Brooke!
Sorry, I shouldn’t have raised my voice there. That was rude of me.
We don’t know much about him. The Man. He pops up a fair amount in stories the Researchers find, although there’s never any hint to his motivations or who he is or any specifics other than his voice. People consistently say it sounds like “Chocolate and Coffee and Honey”. Research isn’t sure if thats some kind of psychic effect he has, that that specific impression gets imprinted on people, or if it’s just an example of convergent thought. We’ve only ever found one recording of his voice, and the people who listened to it had to have their brains scrubbed of all recollection. Theory is that he was able to exert his influence even just through a recording, but that’s just speculation. He’s powerful, that’s for sure Brooke. In hindsight I kind of felt that while I was with him, but I didn’t think much of it. Part of it was the stress and… well, excitement of the situation distracting me, but also I think he was affecting me. Willing me to not put two and two together. Maybe that’s wishful thinking. Maybe I just don’t want to have to take responsibility for what I did. My complicity in his plan, whatever it was. He wouldn’t have made it to the Staff-Only area without me. Wouldn’t have known about a lot of things.
What gets me the most is that I told him all about the Mirror. I told him all about the mirror, and its story, and he just listened, like he didn’t already know. He must have known. That’s why he was here, to do whatever he did with the mirrors that let everyone pass through them to… who knows where. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened, at least. I’ve had plenty of time here to think it through. Wish I could go to the Mirror exhibit and check it but… that’s not going to happen, is it?
He did seem curious about the Museum though. He had a purpose here, a destination, but he still stood around looking at the exhibits and listening to me talk. Seemed like he actually wanted to know about our exhibits. Guess we can add that to the list of things we know about him. Nice voice. Mysterious powers. Curious. Great.
I’ve never really been alone before. Sorry Brooke but you don’t really count much for company. Every version of me that’s existed always had someone to talk to, and I’m good for talking. I was alone for a few minutes after my father died. I’m alone now. Every second in between I had a member of staff or a patron to talk to. I’ve had a lot of new experiences since the lockdown started. I’m ready for this one to be over. I’m ready for it all to be over.
Oh no. I think he’s coming back, footsteps. Brooke, get your gun- oh, right. There’s no-one else it could be, lockdown’s still in effect. Or maybe it’s an exhibit or something from the Stables oh no, oh no, oh please, I take it back, I don’t want to die I don’t want to-
Oh. Oh! Mother! Mother, it’s- you’re still alive! Brooke, this is, well, staff here just call her the Clockwork Mother, or Mother. She’s part of the security team here, and- Oh you’ve been damaged a bit, one of the exhibits got you good. Oh, uh, I’m down here! I’m an Audio Tour Guide, I know it’s a long story but- Oh, can you not… Ah. Your, uh, voice box is damaged. I see. Well, I’ve been programmed to understand several versions of sign language, can you- ah! There we go. Yes, I agree, it’s nice to see another person around here- well, as far as we’re people. This is Brooke, or Brookes, I forget which is right, anyway he’s a corpse, not much good for conversation. How did you get in here? Oh. Right, he mustn’t have closed the hatch to the Staff-Only area when he left. Hmm? Oh, uhh, never mind that Mother. We should- OH! We need to go check something in the main area of the Museum, fast. For convenience’ sake, would you mind… I don’t know if this is a delicate question, but do you have room in your head for one more? It’s been a fun… however long I’ve been sitting here, but I’m ready to move on, and there’s something we need to check. We’re going back to the Museum proper.
Oh, before we go? Would you mind taking me back to the Patronage Department? I wanna upload myself to The Box again. Just in case. I’ll fill you in on what’s been happening on the way.
So yeah, then he just walked away and left me there on the floor. Hmm? Oh, uhh, no I don’t know who it was. Just some guy. Anyway, now that I’ve reuploaded myself I think my program has stabilised and I should be fine. My sanity is roughly as intact as you’d expect from anyone who’s spent the last few weeks lying on the floor next to a dead body. How are you holding up, by the way? You look a little worse for wear but I imagine you gave as good as you got! Oh come on, it’s not flattery if it’s true. How’s your daughter doing? Mmm. Well sometimes no news is good news, hm?
Yes, I’m sure Mother. I saw it with my own- well, not eyes, honestly I’m not 100% sure how my senses work but the monitors in the Security Station showed every Alternatural Event Shelter was empty. At first I wasn’t sure how, but then I noticed that- oh! It’s just up ahead. The- uh, my previous carrier I guess we can call him, we passed by here on our way through the Museum, and I think it might have been related to where everyone went. You see, the Lockdown was triggered, and everyone headed for the shelters and were sealed in- uh, except for you of course. Then, everyone was sealed inside the Shelters for three months. No contact with the outside world, no way out. And after three months, the- my previous carrier got into the museum and downloaded me. We wandered for a while, and by the time we got to the Auxiliary Security Monitoring Station to check on the people in the shelters they were gone. And I think that what happened is-
Oh no. Oh no no no. Oh of course he did, how could I be so-
Uhh, Mother, do you know the story of the Mirror? Kid makes friends with the boy in the mirror, who tricks him into doing some kind of… something that makes the mirror all hazy, the people of his town all disappear and then the kid steps through his mirror, never to be seen again? Well this is that mirror. Was. I guess now the story ends with it being smashed into a thousand pieces. Here’s the deal, I think that the- the person behind all of this did the same thing as what happened in the story of the boy and the town. Look, you can see that he drew something on it before he smashed it. And some of the bigger shards still have that haziness. Could you, would you mind touching one of the pieces? Oh come on, I’m sure nothing bad will happen, we need to know. Just- yep. Straight through. Like the glass isn’t even there. How does it feel? Cold, huh. I wonder where the other side is. Try putting two of the pieces back together, see if it becomes one piece or- nope. Ok, so I guess we’re not going to be sitting here trying to glue it back together, that’s probably for the best. But… What are we going to do now?
It’s so quiet. I mean, it’s been quiet for a while, the whole time I was with… that guy, he never said a word so I filled the silence, but there was always this kind of presence. Like, every now and then we passed a shelter, the knowledge that the staff and patrons were there was weirdly comforting. And, after a certain point, I’ll admit… There was a part of me that was excited to be one the one who got to save them. Obviously, I wanted them to be safe and able to leave the shelters, but really I was excited that it was going to be me that did it. That I would get to be something like a hero. Or at least, that I would help. That I’d get to be more than what I’m supposed to be. Sure I’d get destroyed at the end of it, but I’d be remembered. More than just a broken Tour Guide, but a Tour Guide that did something. Turns out I wasn’t much help at all. And now they’re all gone. What do I do know?
Oh, how’s security doing, Mother? I actually saw you a while ago, I gather you’ve had your hands full with the escaped exhibits? Oh well done, I gathered you must have been doing well, otherwise it wouldn’t have been quite so quiet. The creatures from the Stables have all been rounded up? Oh. Ok, I don’t think I want to know what you mean by “mostly” if I’m honest, I already have a lot to handle.
Well, I guess I won’t get in the way of your work. Hopefully somebody else will come along to save the missing people, or they’ll save themselves, and everything will be alright. I think it’s safe to say that I’m not someone who has any business in heroics like that. Would you mind, though, if I tagged along with you? And, maybe, told you some stories about the exhibits? I know, it’s dumb, but it’s what I’m good at and without being an Audio Tour Guide I’m literally nothing so I thought that maybe you’d like the company and that-
You would? You- you’d like me to tell you about the exhibits? Oh. Wow, ok. I mean, you’re not messing with me, right? Oh. Well, I guess that makes sense. Seems a shame that you’ve never gotten to take a tour before! Kind of unfair. Well, you’re in luck! Because you’re about to get the best darn tour this Museum’s ever had! No other patrons getting in your way, no screaming kids- or adults, for that matter. Just you, the exhibits, and the stories. And, maybe, some horrible monsters you’ll need to deal with, yes. Let’s get started!
Head of Restoration, Message One
[ Radio Tuning Sounds, static]
HEAD OF RESTORATION:
Hello? Hello, can anybody hear me? This is the Head of Restoration for the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Mortality. Is there anyone there? Blast. Still nothing. There HAS to be someone still in the Museum, I don’t understand why they’re not answering. We’ll try again later. Let’s head back for now.
AUDIO TOUR GUIDE:
What was that? Mother, what was that?? That- that was the Head of Restoration’s voice! Has that happened before. Why haven’t you mentioned this? How many times has she called in? Maybe a dozen times?! Mother, we need to have a discussion about sharing information, ok? Is it just her that’s made contact? Ok, well at least she’s fine. Has she said where she is at any point? A forest, that doesn’t make any sense. We need to make contact with her. It didn’t seem like she could hear me. She must be using a frequency your sensors can pick up but that you can’t transmit on, or maybe it’s because your voice processors are damaged or… actually I don’t really know what I’m talking about. But there has to be a way to respond to her. If we can find something that lets us talk back, maybe we’ll finally be able to start figuring out what really happened here, where the mirrors took everyone.
We’re probably not going to find what we need in the Public areas; there’s one exhibit that’s a radio transmitter but all that’s ever done is recite numbers, I don’t think there’s even an interface. We’ll have to go back to the Staff Only Section. Let’s see, we could head back to the Patronage Department, but I don’t know that there’s much there that would help. Maybe we could try Restoration? She’s the Head there, and she’s the only one we’ve heard from so maybe she has equipment there we can use, she’s good with technology like that. Or maybe we could try repairing you? I know, I’m grasping at straws, I’m sorry- wait. Retrieval. If there’s anywhere that’ll have equipment to respond to her it’ll be there, they need to be able to keep in touch with Agents all over the world, they have all sorts of communications equipment. The Retrieval Department is the most likely out of the six to have what we need. Pity it’s also second only to Security in terms of how hard it is to get there, and it’s second only because I don’t even know how to get to Security. Part of my role is to help people navigate the Museum in spite of its tendency to… not be the same from one day to the next, and as part of understanding how it works I just instinctively know how to find the places I’m not even supposed to go here, but Security… isn’t strictly *here*, so…
Sorry, got sidetracked there. Retrieval is the only Department that’s accessed via the Public Area of the Museum, rather than the Staff Only Area, although on a metaphysical level it’s kind of in both. Now, getting to the entrance is the easy part- although it is kind of on the opposite end of the Museum to where we are now, because nothing’s ever easy. The tricky part is getting the entrance to let us in without authorisation. It’ll make sense when we get there. I mean, it won’t make sense, per se, but you’ll get what’s going on.
Well! Let’s get a move on! Mush!
I’m sorry, I’ll never do that again, I promise.
Thank you for visiting the Mistholme Museum of Mystery, Morbidity, and Mortality. We hope that you have enjoyed your visit, and that you will return one day, in this life or the next. Please, tell your friends about what a great time you had here- but don’t tell them too much! If they’re worthy, we’ll find them. Stay safe out there.