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Fortunes

Fortunes is the forty-eighth episode of TribeTwelve, and the 8th video of season 2. It was uploaded on December 12th, 2014.

Description

recorded this on my birthday. didnt wanna post it because i didnt want people to see me like this, but fuck it. havent posted in a while, wanted to lay low. i thought if i didnt provoke them long enough, maybe theyd go away. how naive of me. they hid frames in this video, theyve been leaving me fortune cookies, the journal whispers to me. in their absence, ive neglected the fact that theyve never left. some fortunes are best left unopened.

Transcript

[Video opens to an extreme closeup of Noah holding a fortune cookie to the camera. There is slight visual distortion as a raspy, distorted voice begins to sing.]

Firebrand: Happy birthday to me. Happy birthday to you. Happy birthday dear Noah. Happy birthday-- [cuts off]

[Noah drops the fortune cookie and picks up the camera, pointing it at his face. As Noah speaks, a faint, raspy voice can be heard whispering in the background.]

Noah: Hello. It's been a while. How have you been? That's good. That's real good. I'm forcing myself to vlog. Have a faint sense of necessity. Gotta make an update sometime, y'know? What's that? How have I been? Ah, I've been... I've been... I've been. I've been... Stagnant. Trapped. Lost. How the fuck do you think I've been?! Sorry, I just... I gotta shave.

[Whispering increases in volume; Noah turns his head towards it.]

Noah: Shh!

[He turns back to the camera.]

Noah: Nothing really groundbreaking has happened for months. Then again I haven't done anything too groundbreaking exactly. I've been... on pause, really, and they've been waiting. They've been waiting for me to make the next move because it's my turn. I don't want to make it so fast. They don't like waiting. So, they give me the nightmares. Y'know, those fun dreams. The really horrible shit. The stuff that doesn't make you sleep too well. The ones that are so god damn downright horrifying, and vivid, that, you just can't tell if you're awake or not. It's bad.

Noah: Y'know, I've been forced into this... insomnia. Perpetual insomnia. Sometimes I'm at the boardwalk, sometimes I'm hanging out with Milo again, but those are seldom. Sometimes... sometimes I think I see the future. They're so frequent, y'know? Every day. It's like, if I close my eyes, I can fucking see them.

[Whispering.]

Noah: Shh! Shut up! ...My parents visited again some months ago. I had to lie to them again. I had to say I got a job. I ain't got no job. You think this can get a job? I've been spending money out of the briefcase. I've found a friend at the bottom of a bottle I said I'd never touch again.

[The whispering continues. Noah turns away again.]

Noah: I'm not a drunk! I'm just hung over, okay? ...I went to Mary's funeral. That was fun. Didn't bother filming. I mean, half of me wanted to take a risk, and the other half just... the other half just wanted to feel like a normal person again. Going to a normal funeral, for a normal dead mother. Y'know, she's buried right next to him. Same plot and everything. Real depressing. Few people came. My mother didn't cry. Just, standing over those two graves, thinking of those two coffins, having just one thing running through my mind, over and over: who's in the ground and who isn't? I still don't know for sure.

[Picture freezes momentarily. There is slight audio and visual distortion.]

Noah: Oh, and I have a Vine account now, I guess!

[Screenshot of Vine profile pages. Second page with recent Vines playing comes up.]

Noah: Um, okay. I don't know who fucking made it. I mean, I guess I probably did. I sleepwalk now, y'know. I sleepwalk a lot, I forgot to tell you. I sleepwalk a lot. I don't know why. I mean, it was probably Firebrand, Firebrand probably fucking made it. I don't know why. Probably controlling me somehow, possession. I don't know. What a great guy.

[Cut to black, then cut to a shot of a box of fortune cookies.]

Noah: So, get this: I've been finding fortune cookies hidden around my house. Crazy, right? [laughing] I'm sorry, it's just too ridiculous. I can't tell how long they've been hidden here, but I'm starting to find them. A lot of them. All over the place. Like, I've found thirty so far. It's crazy... and judging from the Vine account that I made recently against my will, uh, it's Firebrand leaving them here. It's gotta be him. But, you see though, all these messages, they relate to me, and not only that, they're messing with my grasp on reality. Because, the longer you look at it, I think... it's all code, a message, a warning maybe. Half of these things feel like they're helping me, and then the other half... they're just kinda too ambiguous, and some are just obviously here to scare me, but they all speak to me though. They're... they all feel like they're here for a reason. Like they're trying to tell me something, or maybe they're just trying to break me even further, y'know? Just imagine, you're finishing your Chinese food, and you get one of these babies.

[Noah laughs.]

Noah: Imagine explaining that to Grandma. [Imitating an old person.] "Oh, mine says, 'You have very strong character traits'. Oh, now what does yours say?" [Normal voice.] "Uh, 'Death is only the beginning', Grandma."

[Noah moves his camera down the line of fortunes, commenting on them.]

Noah: ..."The lesson is in the crawlspace"? The fuck does that mean? What is that? I don't got no fucking crawlspaces in my house! ..."The boardwalk is waiting", huh? Well it can wait another fucking thousand years, cause I ain't going. I ain't going, motherfucker! Suck my dick, Confucius, because you have been declined, bitch.

[Noah flicks away the fortune and laughs.]

Noah: No clue what all this means, but maybe Firebrand eats a lot of takeout? Ha ha, I fucking hate takeout, so... uh, whatever.

[Cut back to Noah's face.]

Noah: Anyway, um. The other day I was digging through my old files, and I come across my old live streams, from years ago, that I had thought were lost forever when Stickam shut down, because they were the only guys that were hosting it, and I honestly forgot I had saved them. I didn't know where I had archived them, or even what I called them, but I just found them in this random folder, and I was like, "oh shit, some people actually wanted to see this stuff again." So yeah, I'm going to get that stuff uploaded soon... and--

[Turns away from the camera.]

Noah: Shut up! Shut the fuck up, while I'm talking! ...Sorry, uh, there's two livestreams I have.

[Video of the two livestreams appear in the bottom corners of the frame.]

Noah: One's from August of 2011, and the other is from February 2012, it's the Valentine's Day one where I got drugged. Gonna get those up soon.

[The videos cut out.]

Noah: I tell ya, everyday of my miserable life, feels like Groundhog Day. I have so much shit to do, so many things I have just yet to understand, and I end up doing the same shit, every day. Nothing, and I just--

[Whispering grows louder.]

Noah: Hey! Say it again! Say it again motherfucker!

[Noah puts camera down. He stands up and moves off screen. Heavy color and audio distortion begins as he moves.]

Noah: Get the fuck over here, piece of shit. Say it again motherfucker!

[Noah walks off-camera.]

Noah: Say it again! You think you're gonna get to me. Oh, but you're not! I'm better than you, I'm...smarter than you! I can hear you loud and clear.

[Noah moves back on-screen, putting Milo's journal down in front of the camera.]

Noah: You want the attention huh? That's what you want? To read these fuckin' words?

[Noah picks up his camera and the journal. Audio and video distortion ends as his face comes into focus.]

Noah: This damn book. Oh, what a character this motherfucker is. It mocks me. Y'know, it fucking mocks me. The key doesn't work, but they want me to open it up by force, but I'm not gonna. Uh-uh, cause that's what they want me to do, and I'm not gonna do what they want me to do. Uh-uh. Maybe it's best to leave Pandora's Box closed. Maybe that's the best course of action. Y'know, in a way, it's kinda like this fortune cookie. You're so tempted to open it, but you're so afraid, cause you don't know what's inside. You don't know what it's gonna say, huh? You don't know, you just don't fucking know. But it's strange. It's been a long while since something legitimate happened. Like, a good half a year, and, I kinda miss them in a weird way. I think they've broken me.

[Noah retrieves a liquor bottle from off-camera and begins to drink. The picture and audio distort as the backdrop behind Noah changes to the Boardwalk. Some of the tree branches along the sides have been replaced with the Administrator's tentacles. The Administrator glides into view and charges towards Noah. A shadowy hand reaches into the frame and touches Noah's left shoulder. He is returned to his room.]

Noah: Milo, if you're out there, somehow... somewhere...

[Noah sobs.]

Noah: I'm a complete and total failure, man. I'm so afraid of my own shadow that I can't even read the book you sent me. I've let you down. You deserve better than me. I'm sorry.

[Noah picks up the fortune cookie from the opening and turns it over in his fingers before opening it. He stares at the fortune for a few moments, then turns the slip of paper over, revealing a single word: "run." Cut to black. The final frame of the video is an image of a fortune being held up at the boardwalk; it says "Stay in Wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes."]

Analysis

  • The phrase "Stay in Wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes" is spoken by Morpheus in the movie "The Matrix", when he gives the protagonist, Neo, the choice between the blue pill, which would remove his memories and return him to his previous life, or the red pill, which would allow him to understand the world outside of the simulation he lives in.
  • The whispering voice heard whispering throughout the video belongs to Milo's journal.
  • Noah says he has opened at least thirty fortune cookies, all of which are shown in the video:
    • Row 1 (from top to bottom):
      • Hardly anyone knows how much is gained by ignoring the future.
      • If you want the rainbow, you have to tolerate the rain.
      • The greatest danger could be your stupidity.
      • Fear is just excitement in need of an attitude adjustment.
      • Someone can read your mind.
    • Row 2:
      • If you find yourself caught in a loop, try backtracking.
      • Fear is interest paid on a debt you might not owe.
      • A ship in harbor is safe, but that's not why ships are built.
      • When trapped in a difficult situation, focus on patterns.
      • It is what you haven't done that will torment you.
    • Row 3:
      • Nothing is so much to be feared as fear.
      • Willingness opens the door to knowledge, direction, and achievement.
      • Change is coming.
      • The usefulness of a cup is in its emptiness.
      • The smart thing to do is to start trusting your intuition.
    • Row 4:
      • Special touches have been planned with you in mind.
      • Perhaps you've been focusing too much on that one thing.
      • Never turn around when you don't know what is chasing you.
      • If you should listen to anyone, listen to yourself.
      • Killing time murders opportunities.
    • Row 5:
      • No man will work for your interests unless they are his.
      • You aren't very confident, are you?
      • A book unread is a weapon unused.
      • First they ignore you, then they attack you, then you win.
      • He that can't endure the bad will not live to see the good.
    • Row 6:
      • They are watching you while you sleep.
      • You will soon lose something dear to you. Be prepared.
      • The lesson is in the crawlspace.
      • Death is only the beginning.
      • The boardwalk is waiting for you.
    • Before Noah begins mocking the fortunes as they are laid out before him, a split-second freeze (at 6:37) reveals that all the fortunes quickly change into one fortune: "Bad luck and misfortune will infest your pathetic soul for all eternity".
    • The final fortune that Noah opens while recording says: "run". The edge of the paper was purple, which indicates a possible intervention of HABIT, because the purple color is associated directly with him (as seen in previous videos, he uses purple tape and the visual distortions that occur with him around are also purple).
  • The Journal speaks 50 times during the video. Some of the things it says relate directly to what Noah is talking about; other times, it quotes the fortunes from the cookies. Most statements, however, are simply taunting or goading.
    • 1:10 - "Read me."
    • 1:17 - "Open me."
    • 1:25 - "It won't be(?) like this forever."
    • 1:29 - "Change is coming."
    • 2:15 - "We see what you dream." (As Noah is talking about his nightmares.)
    • 2:20 - "And we know when you sleep." (Right after Noah says his dreams make it difficult to know whether he's sleeping or awake.)
    • 2:32 - "The boardwalk." (After Noah mentions dreaming about the Boardwalk.)
    • 2:36 - "Milo." (After Noah mentions dreaming about Milo.)
    • 2:48 - "You're a failure."
    • 2:54 - "You're a loser."
    • 2:59 - "You're a failure, you're a failure...."
    • 3:19 - "Failure." (Right after Noah admits that he lied to his parents about having a job.)
    • 3:30 - "You aren't very confident are you?" (Quote from one of the fortunes. Spoken after Noah talks about finding comfort in drinking .)
    • 3:55 - Unintelligible. (Possibly one of the longer quotes from the fortunes?)
    • 4:25 - "We are watching you while you(r) sleep(ing)." (Paraphrased quote from one of the fortunes. This is no doubt the Collective talking.)
    • 5:08 - "You're(?) wasting time." (As Noah speculates that Firebrand was behind his new Vine account.)
    • 5:59: - "Quit stalling."
    • 6:19 - "You're a loser."
    • 7:03 - "We are coming."
    • 7:22 - "You're an idiot."
    • 7:48 - "You're going to open me."
    • 7:56 - "Pick the lock." (Noah mentions later that the Collective wants him to open the journal by force; this is no doubt a suggestion.)
    • 7:58 - "There's(?) so much coming (covered?)."
    • 8:05 - "Go to the crawlspace."
    • 8:09 - "You're running out of time."
    • 8:14 - "You're a complete failure."
    • 8:39 - "You're not helping any of us."
    • 8:44 - "You're a failure."
    • 8:48 - "You're an idiot." (After Noah says how much he has yet to understand.)
    • 8:57 - "You're a worthless piece of shit aren't you?"
    • 8:59 - "You are worthless."
    • 9:29 - "Open me." (Right after Noah picks up the book.)
    • 9:34 - "Use the key (you idiot?)."
    • 9:37 - "Milo wants you to."
    • 9:48 - Unintelligible?
    • 9:53 - "Open me now."
    • 9:58 - "Read me."
    • 10:01 - "Open me."
    • 10:05 - Unintelligible? - Possibly being irritated, saying "Oh my god"
    • 10:09 - "Read me."
    • 10:13 - Unintelligible?
    • 10:20 - "Such a failure..."
    • 10:37 - "The lesson is in the crawlspace." (Quote from one of the fortunes.)
    • 10:46 - "The boardwalk is waiting for you." (Spoken right before Noah is transported to the Boardwalk.)
    • 11:15 - "Death is only the beginning." (Right after Noah says Milo's name.)
    • 11:20 - "Milo hates you." (Spoken as Noah talks to Milo on camera.)
    • 11:26 - "You're a faaailluuure." (While Noah talks about how he's failed Milo.)
    • 11:45 - "A faaaaiillluuuuurrre." (See above.)
    • 11:48 - "Everyone you've ever loved is going to die."
    • 11:55 - "Open me now."
    • 12:03 - "You're running out of time." (Self-explanatory.)
    • 12:26 - "Stay in wonderland and I'll show you how deep the rabbit hole goes." (Encouraging Noah to stay in the game. This same phrase appears in the final frame of the video.)
  • There are fifty hidden black and white images, more than in any video to date. Many of them appear to be edited versions of frames from Submission #2 or Nature Trail Visit.
    • At 0:02 there are three images in rapid succession: a river (possibly the one from "INTERCEPTION"), the Nature Trail, and a puddle with raindrops.
    • At 0:16 there is a closeup of an eye (from Vine #1).
    • At 0:25 there is a shot of the Observer standing on the boardwalk.
    • At 0:55 there is a picture of an open hand with a deep cut on the palm.
    • At 1:09 there is a closeup of a bag labelled FORTUNE COOKIES.
    • At 1:39 there is a picture of Milo's journal and the key.
    • At 02:05 there is an upside-down shot of a screaming figure underneath the Tower.
    • At 2:32 there is a low perspective shot looking down the Boardwalk.
    • At 2:36 there is a fortune that reads, "To truly find yourself you should play hide and seek alone."
    • At 2:47 there is a shot of Noah holding the journal in front of some trees.
    • At 3:02 there is a shot of Noah (or possibly Firebrand) standing on the Boardwalk and smiling.
    • At 3:25 there are two images: a map of the Boardwalk, and an open hand covered with fabric and holding a 100-side die.
    • At 3:48 there are two images: a document listing the operating hours and various features of the Nature Trail, and another document describing the various kinds of butterflies found on the Nature Trail.
    • At 4:18 there is a shot of the Tower.
    • At 4:51 there are three images: a picture of a litter bin with its lid covered in labels on the Boardwalk, a random shot of the Boardwalk with trees, benches, and the previous litter bin, and a shot of the Boardwalk looking down from the second story of the Tower.
    • At 5:12 there is a picture of the Tower's shadow on the ground, taken over the tower railing. Firebrand is visible on the second level (in the middle of an all-black shadow), either climbing on or leaning out of the tower.
    • At 5:33 there is a sideways shot of a viewing deck of the Tower from underneath. The Observer's eyes and smile can be seen in the lower right corner.
    • At 5:44 there is a shot looking down the Tower steps.
    • At 6:09 there is a shot of the Tower steps with a sign reading "TOWER TEMPORARILY CLOSED BY ORDER OF CITY HALL" posted above them. The Administrator is standing behind the Tower, sporting the legs and body of a giant spider.
    • At 6:37 there is a picture of two fingers holding up a fortune with distorted Greek lettering on it.
    • At 7:00 there is a picture of a figure (either Noah or Firebrand) seated at a picnic table (likely the one at the base of the tower), surrounded by trees.
    • At 7:30 there is a shot of the Administrator, with spider legs in the place of his tentacles, standing on the path of the Nature Trail.
    • AT 7:59 there are two images: a sideways shot of the railing on the top deck of the Tower, and a closeup of graffiti on the railing.
    • At 8:21 there is a shot of the Boardwalk with surrounding trees, the closest of which has a tie around it. The Administrator is visible in the trees on the left, with spider legs in place of his normal limbs.
    • At 8:31 there are three images: the parking lot of Victor Park, the road signs for Victor Park and the Memorial Playground, and a closeup of the Boardwalk with the shadows of branches on the right and the Administrator's spider legs on the left.
    • At 9:06 there is a shot of the blurry figure from the train window in Northern Trip Footage.
    • At 9:27 there is an extreme closeup of the graffiti from the Tower railing, reading "LOOK Behind U."
    • At 9:44 there are three images: a sideways shot of a palm tree trunk, a closeup of a leaf, and a closeup of grass.
    • At 9:58 there is a shot of a box with "DIE" printed on the lid.
    • At 10:21 there are three images in rapid succession: a closeup of a leaf on the Boardwalk, a fuzzy image of Noah's (or Firebrand's) leering face from the end of Vine #1, and a closeup of a distorted human silhouette (possibly Noah's).
    • At 10:50 there is a shot of the intersecting eyes symbol.
    • At 10:57 (immediately after Noah is teleported to the Boardwalk and nearly taken by the Administrator) there is a shot of Firebrand. His face is partially covered by his left hand, and he appears to be smiling.
    • At 11:20 there is a shot of Firebrand seated at the picnic table underneath the tower, writing on what looks like a piece of paper.
    • At 11:58 there are three images: two extreme closeup clips of an animated eyeball, and a random shot of the Boardwalk.
    • At 12:35, there is a picture of the final fortune being held up on the Boardwalk.
  • First reappearance of the Observer since "INTERCEPTION", three years earlier.
  • The shadowy hand that grabs Noah right before he's taken belongs to Firebrand. This makes "Fortunes" the third video in which Firebrand is confirmed to have saved Noah's life (the previous instances being in "The Live Stream Incident" and "DEUX EX MACHINA").
  • Noah compares his daily existence to Groundhog Day, a 1993 film in which a man is forced to relive the same 24-hour time period in a continuous loop.

Notes & Speculation

  • The strange voice in the very beginning belongs to Firebrand, since he says "Happy Birthday to ME, Happy Birthday to YOU..."
  • The voice coming from the journal may actually be the Observer. He once said that he can see through the intersecting eyes symbol, which is drawn on the journal's front cover; perhaps he can communicate through it as well.
    • Adding credence to this, the journal refers to itself in the plural on several occasions (much as the Observer does), and the journal's "voice" is similar to the one heard in Unknown Caller.
  • The Collective may be causing Noah to sleepwalk. The color distortion in the Vines, Noah's facial expressions, and the fact that Noah seems completely unaware of his actions at the time match what we see in "Thanksgiving Footage: Day 2".
    • That Firebrand is unable to completely prevent the Collective from teleporting Noah (and possibly from forcing him to sleepwalk) hints that he isn't able to completely protect him from their influence.
  • The secret images in the video came from Firebrand.
    • More likely, some messages were from Firebrand while others were from the Observer: both figures appear in the hidden images, and while some images seem to be hints or suggestions, others are clearly intended to confuse or frighten Noah (i.e. the "Slender-spider').
  • Firebrand's actions (the confusing hidden images and messages, the Vines, the fortunes, the fact that he seems to be possessing Noah at random times) hint that he may have be re-possessed
    • The Firebrand possessing Noah and sending the "frightening" messages might be an alternate version of Firebrand who isn't on his side. (He might also be acting from a time before he was freed from the Collective, and doesn't have a choice in the matter.)
    • Some of the images may also have come from the Observer rather than Firebrand.

Gallery

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