Object 410

The Holder of Progress

In any city, in any country, go to any mental institution or halfway house you can get yourself to. When you speak to a worker, ask to see the one who calls him or herself "The Holder of Progress". The worker should let out a sigh of exasperation and begin berating you for your tardiness. Once they have finished, they will lead you to a darkened corridor ending in a concrete stairway. The worker will then say, "They have been waiting for you," and turn and walk away. Follow the stairway.

As you descend into what should be the basement, a slow metallic grinding will start up. This sound will soon be accompanied by the whistle of steam and a great heat. Eventually, the stairway will end in a landing with a set of double doors. Here, the sounds and heat are at their greatest, almost driving you to the point of madness. Upon entering the doors, you will find yourself in a factory with no workers and no raw materials or finished product, just ever-grinding machinery.

In your walk through the factory, you will find a blind man struggling to repair a broken machine. You will be overwhelmed by the desire to help him. Do not stop and render aid, for the moment you turn your back he will surely bash your brains out with his tools. Soon after, you will encounter a second man caught in a machine, slowly and inexorably being dragged to his death. Again, the urge to assist him will come, and you must resist. Let nothing deter you from going forward. Do not help him if you do not wish to take his place. Finally, you will come to a giant furnace where a man struggles to open the hatch and shovel coal. Three times he will ask for aid, and three times you must not acknowledge him. The second you do, the hatch will burst open and envelop you in flames.

After the third man leaves in disgust, gently try to open the hatch. If it does not open, flee the factory, taking the exact route you used to arrive. If it opens, turn away from the furnace and ask aloud, "Who impedes them?"

Immediately, the factory will stop and utter silence will reign. The flames in the furnace will burst forth and your mind will be wracked with visions of every man, woman, or child who has ever sought or will seek to prevent the Objects from coming together. Remember and beware them, for they will stop at nothing to prevent the Reunion, nor will they hesitate to relieve you of any Objects you possess. Once the visions have subsided and the flames died, face the furnace and take the silver cog that should be laying in the blackened coals. Leave the factory as quickly as possible.

No mechanical object shall ever fail the bearer of the Silver Cog, so that their journey never be slowed or impeded.

The Silver Cog is Object 410 of 2538. May no other stand against you in your quest.