|Subject||Beth's account of her eleven years in the past|
February 28th, 1999
July 19th, 1999
|Act||Act 4: The Secret History of Time Travel|
|Part||Act 4, Part 3: Swimming Pool 2010|
|Location||Bradbury Swimming Hall, on the desk of Beth's bedroom|
|Previous||RE: The Countermeasure|
|Next||Wall of Calendars|
Beth's Journal is a document Narrative Object found in Act 4, Part 3 of Quantum Break. The document is the second journal written by Beth Wilder following her traveling and being stuck in the past of 1999. The journal contains an account of Beth's breakdown following her time in the End of Time and being unable to return to the present of 2016.
February 28th, 1999
BACK IN TIME
Here I am. Back in a time I’ve already lived once before. No idea how long I’ll need to stay here. No idea what comes next. This isn’t how it was supposed to go. This wasn’t the plan. If I’m going to come to terms with that then I’m going to need to write it all down. There’s nobody to tell this to but myself. So, hello me. Again.
This all started back in 2016. Jack and I kidnapped Dr. Amaral. We were supposed to use the time machine to travel back to 2010 and retrieve the countermeasure. I believe Dr. Amaral switched the date at the last moment. I heard Jack calling out, but it was too late. I was already inside. There was nothing to do but keep moving forward, and when I exited the corridor I arrived in the one place I never thought possible.
The End of Time.
My greatest fear was realized. I’m still trying to grasp what that means. My entire life has been devoted to stopping the Fracture. What I saw… was it proof that it couldn’t be stopped? I can’t believe that. There’s a logic to all of this, a meaning, I just haven’t found it yet. I’m not ready to write down details of the End of Time. Not yet.
The essential part of the story is that I found a way back. I spent a long time trying to fix William’s machine, but somebody beat me to it. He set a course to the earliest time the machine could operate - the first time the core was activated. February 28th, 1999. I followed him through.
That’s when I found William, still alive, much younger than I had ever seen him. I warned him about the Fracture. I told him that he was the only one who could create a solution. He begged me not to tell him anything else about the future. He said he couldn’t stand living like that, being constantly aware of what will come to pass, his every action just part of the preordained dance. I wanted to tell him more. But I know how he felt.
William agreed to do what must be done. He agreed to build the countermeasure. This whole time it was me who set him on that path.
He says the machine doesn’t have the sufficient chronon capacity to return me to the future. He says a jump that far would be nearly impossible without a substantial scientific breakthrough. Apparently that hasn’t happened yet. That’s his way of saying I’m trapped. In 1999. Second time around.
So… here I am.
July 19th, 1999
TIME MACHINE MOVE = SUCCESS
I worked with Will to get the time machine moved. Had to make sure Serene wouldn’t be able to use it to his advantage, so we moved it to the one place I knew it would be safe. Bradbury Swimming Pool. Will spent a big chunk of his research grant buying the property. It’s the one place I know for sure that Monarch won’t find us. After all, they still weren’t aware of it in 2016. That means this is my new home for the time being.
Will refuses to build the countermeasure here. He says that it has to be done at his workshop. He chose that location to build the time machine for a reason. Something about abnormal chronon density, anomalies, whatever. Didn’t seem to concern him that the very people we need to hide from know about his workshop. Probably doesn’t help that he won’t let me tell him who those people actually are. Guy’s almost as stubborn as his brother.
Now that the move is complete and Will is on his way all I can do is wait. Not liking the idea of that. Keeping busy was the only thing that distracted me from the eerie nature of being trapped here. Guess I should look at the bright side. Second chance at having a killer Y2K party?
September 5, 1999
The most surreal experience. Her eyes looked so full of life. Looking to the clouds, invulnerable to the world around her. She looked full of life. She looked happy.
It was me.
I knew the day was coming. I knew that I had to go see her and set her on her mission so that she would do what needed to be done. So that someday she would become, well, me.
She was in the backyard, bright red duffel coat, playing. Simple pleasures. It’s strange, I remember the small details so differently the first time around. When I was a child that woman who came to see me seemed like an angel, a limitless source of wisdom gifting me with purpose. Now I was that woman. Trembling, a lump in my stomach, nervous as hell. It didn’t matter; I knew she was too young to see those things on my face. I gave her the notebook. I told a small child to give up those simple pleasures to pursue a life that would bring nothing but pain and hardship.
I promised her that it would all be worth it, that she would make a difference, that she would save the world. She believed me.
January 1st, 2000
EPIC Y2K PARTY
Ate bagels with cream cheese and watched Buffy reruns in a drained swimming pool. Party on.
September 11th, 2001
I tried to stop it a second time. I warned them. Told them exactly what was going to happen. Nothing changed.
I came to terms with the fact that none of this could be changed as a child. But since then I’ve seen things that make me desperate to prove myself wrong, desperate to believe that what I’ve seen cannot come to pass.
I tried to stop the rise of Monarch. I tried to stop Paul Serene. Both versions of him. Every action was negated by the force of a timeline that cannot be bent or broken.
I’ve tried to stop tragedy as well. Jack’s parents, Christmas of 1999. I knew what happened to them. This time I was there. Car crashed exactly as it was supposed to. My presence only led it to happen as it always did.
I went to the funeral. I watched Jack cry. I watched Will build up a wall around himself. I watched two brothers change forever in that moment, and I could do nothing about it.
And now this.
May 22nd, 2002
They spotted me near William’s workshop. Barely got out of there alive. After all this time Serene is still obsessed with finding me. He won’t give up until he does. Have to be more careful in the future.
May 22nd, 2003
THE END OF TIME
Been having recurring nightmares about what I saw. I’ve been dreading doing this, but it’s time. I have to write it out. It’s the only way to move past it.
In 2016 I entered the time machine, intending to travel back to 2010. That didn’t happen. Dr. Amaral changed the date. When I exited the machine I arrived at the End of Time.
The Fracture had run its course. Time had stopped altogether. The entire world was frozen in one hanging moment. I was the only one still able to function. Or so I thought. Then the shifters came. I can still hear them. Their sounds echo through my dreams. The entire world was still… except me. They really don’t like movement.
I’d stepped out of the machine into the one thing I spent my entire life trying to prevent. The Fracture was never fixed. I was living through the proof.
The first hours were the hardest. I was living through a nightmare that I couldn’t wake up from, surrounded by constant reminders that my mission would fail. Never able to stay in one place because the shifters were always searching, always hunting.
I wasn’t alone. I discovered the first evidence of this a few days in. I heard the shifters become agitated, but I was nowhere near them. They were following somebody else. Paul Serene. A younger Paul. Scared, weak, vulnerable. He found me, tried to convince me that we needed to work together, to help each other through. He found out very quickly that I wanted him dead. He had no training, no killer instinct. But he had those damn powers, and all I had was the chronon harness.
The end of the world, the only two people left, and we became sworn enemies. I can’t be sure how long we spent there. It could have been months, could have been years. When time doesn’t move it feels like an eternity. Our grip on reality slipped away, trapped in an endless loop of brutal survival. Though we were enemies there was a strange bond formulated through that suffering. We’ve shared an experience that no other human has ever endured.
Eventually Paul managed to get William’s time machine working. He was convinced that he needed to travel back to the earliest possible point in order to stop this all from happening. He had yet to learn that the past couldn’t be changed. I followed him through the machine but he escaped. He formed Monarch. He built an empire.
I watched the birth of a monster. I can’t escape the feeling that my actions helped shape what he became. Maybe I could have guided him. Maybe if I hadn’t tried to hunt him down and kill him at the End of Time. That can’t be my part in all of this. There has to be more.
I wake up in a cold sweat most nights. I hear the shifters coming. I can almost feel their presence.
Much of my experience at the End of Time has become a blur in my memory, but there is one detail that I can’t shake. One detail that brings my entire mission into question. One detail that haunts me.
February 3rd, 2005
Five years until the countermeasure will be complete. I spend most of my days training. I don’t know what happens once the device is finished, but being prepared is my specialty. I still wonder if Jack will follow the plan, if he’ll emerge from that machine in 2010. Best not to think about it. I’m not giving up, but I can’t let these thoughts consume me. I need to focus on the present, focus on what is in front of me. That’s the mantra that keeps me going – just focus on the present.
So I decided to take on some hobbies. Tried poetry. Got depressed. Dabbled with a guitar for a while. Smashed it against the wall. Then I started experimenting with graffiti. Seems to be working out okay for me so far. It’s fulfilling on a few different levels. Partly as a form of self-expression, partly as a means of release, partly just to fuck with people. What happens when Joe analyzes some graffiti on a wall one day, builds an interpretation in his head, and then three years later his depiction of that image comes true? Not sure, but it’s fun to think about. I can’t change anything, but at least this gives me the illusion of some kind of power. That illusion is what keeps me holding on.
Sometimes I leave anonymous notes in people’s mail boxes telling them what will happen next week. I watch their reactions from afar. Voyeurism and graffiti. That’s my life these days.
Focus on the present.
October 8th, 2007
I started watching him recently. I know Monarch is tracking him so I keep my distance. I wasn’t sure why I felt a need to follow him, to watch his life from the outside, but now I think I understand. I met Jack in the wake of his brother’s death, the onset of the Fracture. Worst day of both of our lives. He was broken. That’s the only Jack I ever knew. There’s some kind of comfort in seeing him in happier times.
I watched his band play a gig nearby. Atrociously bad. Whiny emo music. Definitely a music movement I didn’t need to live through a second time, but there was something pure about seeing him up there, letting it all out. He never had an easy life. It was nice to see that he found a way to release all that. He just looked… happy. It made me forget everything else.
The nightmares stopped for a while after that. So I kept following him. It gave me something else to focus on.
I’ve spent most of my life hiding who I am, what I know. I knew Jack for less than 24 hours, but he’s the only person I’ve opened up to about everything. I told him the truth. He believed me. I wish I could thank him for that.
I’m not sure what I’m going to tell him if he comes through that machine on July 4th, 2010. What will he think when he sees me? 11 years will have passed. I look like I’ve aged three lifetimes since then. And for him it could only be a matter of minutes.
What do I say? That I saw the end? That this might all be for nothing? I was the one who believed without question that we would stop the Fracture. That confidence has now been replaced with insecurity, weakness. I fear letting him see that. I fear that he’ll see the doubt in my eyes. For years I felt invincible, full of hope. I’m not that woman anymore.
December 11th, 2007
Tonight I painted something at the university campus. It was only after I was finished and took a step back to look at it that I realized I’ve seen it before, about a decade ago, remains of something painted on a wall but washed away. It was a jolt. Is all of this futile? Nothing sticks. Nothing is changed. All of it washed away by the river of time.
Fucking time travel.
July 9th, 2008
I’ve been in contact with Will every six months or so. Short exchanges just to get an update on his progress building the countermeasure. He’s still at least two years away from completion, but he’s now confident that he knows how the countermeasure will work.
He told me that the countermeasure will be able to reverse a Fracture in time, but in order to do so it must be activated early in the escalation of the Fracture. Once the Fracture runs its course, once the End of Time is reached, he believes the countermeasure will be rendered ineffective.
I asked him what it would mean if the End of Time ever occurred. He said it would mean that the Fracture was never stopped.
It would mean that we failed.
July 21st, 2008
Everything I have done has been for nothing.
July 4th, 2010
The day is here. Soon I will receive word that William has completed the countermeasure. I’m sure of it. I’ve come to accept that this doesn’t mean we will succeed. I’ve come to accept that my mission was a lie.
But I’m not giving up. Lie or not, I devoted my life to this cause. It gave me meaning. It’s all I’ve ever known. Even if I’ve seen the proof that I won’t succeed, I’m not giving up. I will dedicate every ounce of courage I have left to seeing this through. I’ll retrieve the countermeasure. I’ll keep it safe until 2016. I will do everything in my power to activate it when the time comes. I will fail. But I will fail knowing that I did everything in my power to save the world.
For years I hoped that this would be the day when I would see Jack again. I’ve given up that hope. This mission started with me alone. That’s how it will end.
This will be my final entry.