An assortment of personal statements by the Magnus Institute’s archival staff.
Tim, Sasha and Martin startle John in his office with sudden birthday wishes. John insists the bottle of wine they got him was quite enough but he appreciates their effort. They chat a bit about how they went out for ice cream for Martin’s birthday before Elias shows up to partake of their cake.
John claims to be turning 38 and Sasha calls him on his lie. Tim implies Sasha has the password to John's computer and knows he’s not the grumpy old man he claims to be. Elias interrupts and reminds everyone about cake again. They bring it out and sing Happy Birthday to John.
John is profoundly uncomfortable having fire in the Archives but Tim lights the candles on the cake anyway. John grumpily blows them out and wishes for some peace and quiet, of course, there is little peace to be had as Tim opens up a bottle of wine. John finds drinking on the job highly inappropriate but Elias happily allows it and they all have some. John notices that Tim has been recording this whole affair and Tim turns the recorder off after various protestations.
In the present, Martin questions how many times John has listened to the tapes now. John claims to be trying to find some meaning in them, but Martin thinks sending them was just Jonah’s way of gloating. Martin urges John to get some sleep but John explains that he can’t, it’s not something he does any more. It’s hard to tell time, there aren’t days to count and the clocks have all stopped, but even when he gets tired, he doesn’t feel the need to sleep.
Martin admits that sleep is not particularly pleasant in the changed world, he is just relieved that he doesn’t remember his dreams. John states that he does know Martin's dreams now, thanks to his new powers. They seem to be safe at least, It does not want to harm John and he won’t let It harm Martin either.
Martin tries telling John that everything is not his fault. John advises that he doesn’t want to go over the same argument again. He is mourning the world he killed and believes they are all trapped in its rotting corpse because of him. Martin cuts him off before he can spiral too deep into self deprecation.
They have several tapes from Gertrude and John decides to play his favourite for Martin.
Gertrude addresses the Archivist, if they are listening to the tape, it means that she is dead and they have been chosen to replace her. She hopes she is speaking to Sasha James but her words are intended for anyone filling the role of Archivist. She emphasises that she is deadly serious as she lays out the situation:
The Archivist is now in grave danger and will be so for the rest of their life. They will also be unable to step down as Archivist or quit the Institute, in fact, attempting to do so is likely to the quickest way of proving the truth of her words. She explains the existence of Entities, Avatars, and rituals. She reveals that the Institute serves the Beholding and that by accepting the role of Archivist, the listener has unknowingly been tied to its ritual and become an avatar. She warns them not to trust Jonah Magnus, who currently inhabits the body of Elias Bouchard and possesses powerful clairvoyance. She has intentionally kept the Archives in a state of chaos for decades as she believes their organization would benefit Jonah.
Above all, she urges them to be ready. They are now a target for countless beings serving other powers. Gertrude laments her lack of time but hopes her actions will ensure that no one needs to hear this tape. She wishes the Archivist good luck as Jurgen Leitner enters the room.
She admonishes him for leaving the tunnels but time is of the essence. She asks him to use the Ruskin book to move the gas main in the tunnels to directly underneath the Institute. By her estimate, the ritual of The People's Church of the Divine Host will collapse very soon so they need to move fast and set fire to the Archives. Jurgen notes that her tape recorder is still running and she turns it off.
In the present, John muses on how things could have been different if they’d had this tape from the start. Martin does not think it’s healthy to dwell too much on the past but John knows that it was his craving for knowledge that condemned the world to endless torment, and at least the grief distracts him from other things he could be feeling. John explains that he is hurting, and he needs time.
Martin wants to leave but John does not see why, at least they have each other. John points out that they don’t even need food any more, they are simply being sustained by some force now. It is a new world and the natural laws are whatever the Powers want them to be.
Martin still wants to leave, there must be some way to stop the change and turn the world back to normal. John does not know if there is one and the agony and terror is so much louder out there. He tells Martin that he loves him, but he needs more time. Martin agrees to wait for him and notices a new tape recorder. They don’t know why it is recording them, but it is not a good sign.
- John previously found the gas main for the institute when exploring the tunnels in MAG 68.
- This is the first time John says 'I love you' to Martin
- This episode was supposed to be released in early access at 4pm BST on April 1st for Patreon backers, but the number of people trying to access the file at once overloaded Patreon’s servers, triggering a DDOS alert for the company and briefly delayed access to the episode.