(I'll use the usual notation to explain the solutions to the cryptic clues: * for anagrams, _..._ for hidden words, X_ for first letter selection, < for reversal.)
What are the targets?
What are the three A's of war?
What are we dressed in?
What must we do?
What are we stopping?
This is not a complete solution. I am going to drop some of my scratch here in case it inspires someone else.
On the subject of the cipher:
I have noticed that
Applying the decryption:
So, the answer to the question "Where is Lester?" is ...
As a bonus,
You can get your chance of survival all the way up to
For that, you need to find the best strategy. After you have come up with the strategy, it was shown that you can do it, which means you can count on the other "yous" in the other timelines to come up with it too. Having this important assumption out of the way, you
This way, the probability of exactly ...
I think the name you have is
"And a one, and a two, and a three four five six!"
"Or a one, and a two, and a three four five!
"From my home right here,
To the end way down there!"
"And then I have a choice
Of a one, a two, or a three, or a four!"
"First named him in 1861,"
Okay I'm shooting my shot. I'm not good with ciphers or what not, and I could be on the totally wrong trail but...
Here me out here:
OP went clearly out of their way to introduce magic into this question, but after the first paragraph, magic is barely referenced. They are meeting at a university laboratory which is pretty ordinary, even the clue that was "...