“History is written by the victors.” – Winston S Churchill
They are a dark, shadowy group that form a conspiracy throughout history. They have similar goals to TimeWatch but a completely different set of ethics. This puts them in conflict, with the actions of one impacting on the other negatively.
The Victors can affect non-time travellers as well, making them suitable for other settings (‘Trail of Cthulhu’, ‘Esoterroists’, ‘Ashen Stars’) conducting weird experiments or acting as the shadowy figure behind historical events (or revealing what is going to happen).
The Victors operate from the point of view that they have already won. With time travel involved that maybe true.
They shroud themselves in mystery, so much so that it isn’t clear what their origins are. The founders could be from humanity’s future, an alien race or originate from an alternative timeline. They operate exclusively through representatives, employing a cell structure to limit how much people know about them.
The Victors aim is not just to protect history but control it. They wish to make themselves irreplaceable, so that they can’t be removed without throwing all time into chaos. They stage manage events, so that what once developed naturally becomes pre-ordained by the Victors.
They research an event thoroughly and then have their agents ensure that it happens. Where possible they insert their own agents into minor but crucial roles. The driver of JFK’s limo in Dallas worked for the Victors, so did the usher that showed Lincoln to his seat at Ford’s Theatre. Just two examples of how the minor characters of time can be linked to the Victors.
When a time traveller attempts to change history it may appear that time is pushing back, as events course correct. This is actually the work of the Victors, ensuring that things still occur as they must. They have numerous agents already in place, some having lived years undercover for just this occasion, ready to step in and fulfil the role history demands.
Major historical events are obviously important but the Victors know that TimeWatch are already monitoring and protecting them. Aside from ensuring they have an undetected hand in those moments the true focus of The Victors is infiltrating the rest of time.
By being responsible for countless minor events they will ultimately be responsible for the turning points in history. Their agents are the teachers, religious leaders and prominent figures in a community that shape important historical figures way of thinking. They create the small moments in their lives that have a huge impact on how their personality develops. They play the long game, putting events in motion that won’t reach their conclusion for decades or centuries.
To the Victors their plan can not fail because their research has already showed that they are successful. They do not understand that they are making history a lie, that things only occur because their research indicated that it did.
Where recorded history is wrong they make it true. Rumour, speculation and propaganda becomes reality due to the Victors. Worse still is when information originates from alternative timelines. It is these distortions that first brought the Victors to TimeWatch’s attention.
Their dependence on records means that Victors are most frequently encountered from the 18th century onwards. The more information they have the better degree of control they feel they have, meaning that by the early 21st century onwards they are virtually unstoppable.
Their over-confidence has also lead the Victors to believe they can conduct experiments upon humanity. They will infiltrate small communities that have little impact on history and see how the inhabitants react to intrusions into their lives.
These experiments have taken many forms. They have offered to bring the dead back to life in return for a sacrifice, put random individuals into time loops to see how they react or placed anachronistic technology in primitive hands to see what they do with it.
Once their experiment is completed clean-up crews remove any evidence of their presence, erasing memories and eliminating loose ends. In extreme cases they conduct a full reset of events, so they never occurred. No matter how thorough they are there is always some damage left, either physically or mentally.
This is the true threat of the Victors. If they were ever to gain total control then every living being would become a play thing of the Victors. They have no morality, no mercy and no motive beyond perverse curiosity. They are everything that TimeWatch isn’t.
They are inevitable. They are everywhere. They are the victors.
The Victors exclusively use liquid (almost always water) bombarded with the same particles that autochron’s release. The amount of liquid used must envelope the mass being transported, with larger volumes required the further in time a person is being sent.
Their time machines, when they have been encountered, are stationary, projecting the traveller. These range in size from bathtub sized machines, to swimming pools to reservoirs. The machine bombards the liquid and the traveller enters. After the subject is transported the liquid shows no trace of the particles, so it is assumed that it is transferred into the body of the traveller.
Travellers report arriving at a way station of sorts before reaching their final destination. This takes the form of a vast body of water, with waterfalls cascading from the sky. It is unknown if this exists outside of time or simply a region somewhere in time and space that the Victors have claimed.
After a short period (between a few seconds to several minutes) the traveller is sent hurtling towards their destination. The only receiver the time travel process requires is another body of water. Travellers have reported to have emerged from the sea, lakes, rivers and bathtubs. There is at least one report of them appearing during a rainstorm. It appears as if this requirement can be removed if a large volume of water is sent with the time traveller so that they literally make a splash when they appear.
To return to their own time the Victor agent requires a time machine to launch them. To this end Victor agents establish hidden time machines that can be used in various time periods. TimeWatch is always on the lookout for these machines, so that they might be shutdown.
A traveller can also be retrieved. A time machine can send a volume of water to their location, hovering in the air to form a time portal. This liquid has not been fully projected and acts as a net. Once a subject enters the portal it is pulled back to the time machine, returning them home.
Their dependency on liquids mean that the Victors typically avoid arid locations. They are less frequently encountered during periods of drought.
AGENTS OF THE VICTORS
The Victors recruit those who won’t be missed by history, particularly those whose disappearance is historical fact. This ranges from the countless missing persons reported each year to such famous figures as Amelia Earhart. They also abduct the victims of airplane crashes or terrorist attacks where their bodies are never found or identified.
This preference for taking the lost includes time travellers. Those who have suffered chronal instability can find themselves rescued by the Victors, only to be pressed into service. In this manner the Victors have turned several TimeWatch agents and gained valuable information about the organisation.
Their other source of recruits are the dead. If there is someone whose skills they wish to acquire they will fake their death, protecting history but allowing them to take the ‘dead man’ for their own. Using advanced technology they can even resurrect someone who has been clinically dead for up to 4 hours.
Due to the corrupting influence on time the Victors are responsible for many freak accidents. Unusual or unlikely turn of events are due to the Victors, unwittingly making the events happen as they believe they must. They don’t realise that if it weren’t for the extraordinary effort they put into engineering the situation the accident would never have occurred.
Agents work for the Victors not out of loyalty but because they believe the alternative is death. Low level agents live miserable existences, adjusting to different time periods and spending hours mesmerising scripts for their ‘performance’ which can range from saying the right thing to the right person or making sure someone is where they are supposed to be at an appointed hour.
Low level field agents are housed by the Victors in cheap motels (which they typically own). Agents are supposed to keep themselves isolated so that they only influence the lives of those the Victors are targeting. Brainwashing techniques are used to keep agents in line and to create cover personalities for operations.
Low level agents can eventually be promoted to researchers. Scholars are chosen to conduct research in numerous libraries, newspaper archives or on the internet while others act as eye witnesses, reporting on everything they saw and heard at an event. Reports are produced and scripts given to the low level agents to enact.
Agents with valuable skills and years of service are given more responsibilities. They join cells or form new ones, given contact details of only a few other cells. Secrecy is important with agents required to conceal their identities as much as possible, even from each other, using masks or cosmetic surgery. Memories are erased and implanted so that agents can’t be sure who they actually are.
These agents are promised that all their questions will be answered and that they will gain everything they want if they continue to be loyal. They are drip feed what they want, just enough to convince them that they are getting close to their goal but every answer raises a further question and everything they get only creates a new problem that requires something more.
It is these higher level agents that TimeWatch agents will find themselves most frequently in opposition to. These Victor agents are reported to be arrogant and needlessly cryptic. They delight in dropped hints about the future, using anachronistic terms or humming songs that haven’t been written yet. Not enough to affect history but just enough to make clear to others how much they known, even if it is only in retrospect.
Fear is powerful weapon and tool for the organisation. As such they shape certain agents into unnatural beings. There might be one thing that is odd about an agent (such as pitch black eyes, a robotic nature or ability to teleport) or they might be truly monstrous.
Such agents, used carefully, can not only terrify victims but discredit them. Few will believe the warnings of someone who claims to have been told the future by a giant moth-man.
Agents can only bring with them water-proof equipment. Typically they must obtain equipment at their destination. Field offices and low level agents are tasked with providing new arrivals in the time period with everything they need in order to carry out their missions.
Without a Tether Victor agents must use the information gathered by researchers. It is believed that the Victors keep a remote data storage facility hidden in pre history. This serves as a record of the original timeline, although TimeWatch agents have reported that this immunity is not guaranteed.
Victor agents have been trained to communicate through their dreams. The clarity of their messages and the distance they can project and receive is directly proportional to their proximity to water. It is not uncommon for agents to sleep in the bath or to schedule communication during rain storms (and the Victors always know when that will happen).
In addition to their field offices and motels the Victors also maintain storage units. These warehouses contain vast selections of clothes, vehicles and equipment that will allow them to blend in to the time period. They also craft replicas of historical items so they can swap them for the original and thus infiltrate history further.
TimeWatch Vs The Victors
The two organisations come into conflict when their record of history differs. This is either because of poor research by the Victors or due to history being altered. As one organisation attempts to ensure one version of events happens the other changes things back. It can take some time before they realise that the other side is involved.
Occasionally, when their version of events concur, the organisations can find themselves working together. Neither side wishes the Ezeru or Sophosaurs wiping out humanity for example. Such alliances are tenuous and altogether brief. Neither side can truly trust each other and it is not a question of if but when they will turn on each other.
The experiments conducted by the Victors is abhorrent to TimeWatch. Whenever something strange or mysterious happens TimeWatch investigates and often finds that it is the Victor’s handiwork. It doesn’t matter that these experiments don’t affect history, they must be stopped.
TimeWatch agents have standing orders to eliminate the Victors. There are even dedicated teams who search out their operations and shut them down. This is delicate work as TimeWatch must ensure that if the Victors are removed history still occurs as it must.
Despite their confidence the Victors do make mistakes and TimeWatch finds itself having to clean up after them. Typically this is because others stumbled across the Victors records of the future. All it takes is one careless agent to leave his script in a public place allowing it to fall into the hands of a native of the time period.
TimeWatch is aware, as much as they hate to admit it, that the Victors appear to know more than they do. Their method of time travel has not been replicated (even after the capture of their time machines) and they know precious little about their origins and the extent of their operations.
To rectify this TimeWatch agents are sent to spy on the Victors. Some are sent undercover, infiltrating their ranks. Such operations are extremely risky with a high number of agents either vanishing or switching allegiances. It also appears that the Victors have already infiltrated TimeWatch.
The Victors have indicated that either they developed from TimeWatch or that they are responsible for TimeWatch’s creation. TimeWatch officially refuses to believe this to be true. Behind closed doors they fear that this might be true.