Who is Michelle, really?

This topic contains 5 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Jackie 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #25282
     Lauren Bello 
    Moderator

    This has already been touched on in the forums, but bringing it back since we revisited the topic on Slack.

    Who is Michelle?

    For a long time, the narrative we had about last year was that Michelle was an OSDM employee. When she shut everything down and sent Sabrina out into the world at The End, we believed she was doing this at the will of the OSDM. But this year, all of her sightings have been specifically anti-OSDM. She’s been warning us (her visit to Buz). And, of course, she brutalized Joyce, who recognized her at once, in an effort to combat OSDM propaganda.

    So who is she, and what does she want?

    Revisiting some emails between Michelle and Horace from last year (http://thetensionexperience.com/forums/topic/periscope-1110-far-from-over/), this quote from Horace stood out.

    “Michelle you and your entire team were nothing before us. No matter what progress you think you have made we will not tolerate any further lack of respect for us or our beliefs.”

    This sort of sounds like Briarberg was a pre-existing team, one that believed they could team up with OSDM for a shared objective, but didn’t cosign all of OSDM’s beliefs.

    Elsewhere in the same email chain, Michelle clearly wasn’t up on the ritualistic terminology Horace was using. And at The End, she mocked Anoch and belief in Anoch.

    Is it possible that Michelle repped Team Briarberg – or at least Team Science – from the start? That’s why she told Old BOS that they had begun as an OSDM trick/distraction. That’s why she leaked those emails. That’s why she was calling “Jack” (aka Mason) as early as last year. And that’s why she berated us for handing over our data to the OSDM. She genuinely was trying to open our eyes to OSDM tricks.

    If that’s the case, it raises several questions.

    1) What was the shared objective of Team Briarberg and OSDM? Why does Briarberg consider itself an “alternative” to OSDM? An alternative path…to what?

    2) Michelle appeared to stab Samson and order the death of a number of people. But those actors were later seen alive. Were they in on it? Were they all Briarberg rebels by that point? Or were the events of The End all at the will of the OSDM?

    2a) If OSDM did use Michelle to stage a pretend-coup and harm characters we love – presumably just to get emotional reactions out of us – how do we know they aren’t still doing the same thing now?

    2b) Is there any evidence that the actors at the compound that night AREN’T Briarberg-affiliated? I mean, they are all suggesting we run. Could they have participated in staging their own deaths as a way to get out? Were they on board with everything Michelle was saying?

    3) What “progress” did Briarberg make for OSDM before they parted ways?

    4) Michelle is listed in the Tension book as an actor. But she’s definitely not acting like an actor this year, and she’s going by “Michelle”. Is it possible that the person we’re seeing has been helmeted? That she believes she is Michelle, because the OSDM wants her to believe that she is Michelle? And if so…what happens when she returns to her senses and realizes what she’s done?

    4a) That is, if she’s done anything at all. It’s possible, of course, that she didn’t kill Joyce. That all of this was a ploy by the OSDM to get us to feel things. But that is a strategy that will soon backfire for them, if that’s what they’re doing: we’ll get to the point where whenever anything happens, we will use “it’s probably just an OSDM plot” as an excuse not to feel things.

    4b) The more potent method of action would be to brainwash an actor to legitimately kill someone. Perhaps Joyce was dispensable for them. Perhaps they saw that she wasn’t “strong enough” at the retreat and decided to throw her to the wolves and get our emotional data. That’s the sort of thing that will get a reaction out of us.

    4c) Or, of course, maybe Briarberg is who they say they are, and truly did leave the OSDM; Michelle is Michelle and is merely credited as an actor in Tension because she has a stage name; and Michelle did, of her own free will, with full knowledge of what she was doing, kill Joyce.

    We don’t have enough data to find the answers on our own. But it’s a interesting question. And maybe as we get more answers, we can try to put together what Michelle and the OSDM were working on together, and what Briarberg truly wants from us now.

  • #25285
     Chelsea 
    Participant

    @daela. Dude this is awesome.

    The shared objective could have been the same at the beginning. Collect data. Learn how to control people. Then something happened? A split? A family argument, perhaps? Maybe it’s as simple as Briarberg saw an opportunity for power and decided to take it – collect the actors, “protect” them from the big bad, give them a new life working for them. Repeat the cycle. Data is power. Maybe they are the alternative path to simply power.

    I’ve been saying for months that we never saw Samson die. I believe he’s alive and somehow apart of this. Where does he fit? If she wanted him dead, there are other ways to make that happen. He was carried off so delicately. I’ve always felt that was a bit of a show. The others could have been the same. Theater.

    Thinking about the actors’ connection to Briarberg – At the meet up, Myles told Mike and Melissa “kill me”. Stephanie wanted Larry out. What if they know they are still in danger, just a different field of danger and are trying to keep us out of whatever they are now mixed up in? I saw that as Stephanie trying to protect Larry from him seeing what she’s up to.

  • #25288
     Chris 
    Participant

    The more I rewatch her speech the more it feels like she’s commandeering the event as a display of defiance as much for her “superiors” as us, rather than acting FOR the OSDM. I get the sense that Michelle (Briarberg?) developed and pioneered this emotional data mining process FOR the OSDM, while working on Tension, and now this year with Lust it appears the OSDM, while originally lacking the vision to appreciate the potential of Briarberg’s work, has now stolen the methods and technology and pushed Briarberg out. This intellectual theft of something so monumentally powerful could be at the heart of Briarberg’s issues with OSDM. Take a look at these quotes from The End:

    I’m sorry, please continue. I believe you were saying my associates and I are corrupt liars? Now I want all of you, every single Clockmaker, to watch the future you created disappear.

    Actual faith. That’s the one thing we could never program out of you. No matter how hard we tried. But you’re not alone. My superiors watching us right now in the shadows, they believe in this book too. They hid their beliefs from the public for centuries. And now they’re going to be a punch line. We, however, we evolved. Now I honestly don’t know if a god damned word of this book is true or fantasy and you know what? I don’t care.

    You see the Clockmakers thought the words in that book were power. A mystical god that speaks only through Oracles. A god that no one has heard from in centuries? No. No no no. The real power lies in the faithful themselves.

    We’ve known how to brainwash using physical trauma and conditioning. It’s been amazingly effective. But you already knew that. …Now you’d think this ability would have been enough to show our superiors that we should be taken seriously. But the old [something] have resisted our guidance and put their faith in a fucking book. But we didn’t give up. No no no. See, individuals are relatively easy to condition and manipulate. You find out how they react to things like extreme emotions, trauma, and then you reinforce an agenda into their subconscious. But if you want to control the masses, you need all the media variables from a large data set. Controlled information on how people react to things like excitement, desire, joy, and most effective of all: anxiety. Tension, if you will. Now, if you had that kind of knowledge, that kind of power, you could affect pretty much any kind of change you want, don’t you think? You could show your supposed superiors that their shadow governments and behind the scenes manipulation and secrets no longer have the power that they thought they did.

    Throughout the entire speech, she has a very us vs. them mentality. The them is clearly the Clockmakers because she mentions them by name several times, in addition to calling them her superiors. But she also says “we” several times. Who is we? Who “evolved?” I definitely think you’re right @daela that it is Briarberg, and that the two groups worked in tandem on the first experience. But this speech coupled with what Michelle is doing now makes me believe that the OSDM somehow got the better of Michelle and Briarberg, took what they needed, and severed ties. Now Briarberg, it seems, is out to get the OSDM. What if Briarberg feels they were robbed, taken advantage of, their work bastardized by the Clockmakers they once looked down on whose old-fashioned ideology would have prevented them from developing these methods on their own?

  • #25289
     Lauren Bello 
    Moderator

    I’m sorry, please continue. I believe you were saying my associates and I are corrupt liars? Now I want all of you, every single Clockmaker, to watch the future you created disappear.

    Oof, yeah.

    Now, if you had that kind of knowledge, that kind of power, you could affect pretty much any kind of change you want, don’t you think? You could show your supposed superiors that their shadow governments and behind the scenes manipulation and secrets no longer have the power that they thought they did.

    In retrospect, it sure sounds like a battle cry. It sounds like she was taking the data and running.

  • #25290
     Chris 
    Participant

    The most confusing part of Michelle’s activities for me is her appearance at the book party seemingly cooperating with Horace. What happened within the OSDM/possibly Briarberg between November and February? And what specifically happened to Michelle between the book party and her visit with Buz?

  • #25291
     Jackie 
    Participant

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