<<if $gun eq "taken" or $gun eq "fixed">>\s\n<<if ($tport % 4) eq 0>>\s\nYou conceal the <<print $gun eq "fixed" ? "modified " : "">>gun by closing your flannel jacket. <<once>>You don't want Mell to notice you've got one of her toys.\n<<endonce>>\n\n<<else if $gun eq "taken">>\s\n* [[Tinker with gun]]\n<<else if $gun eq "fixed">>\s\n<<if $mug eq "taken">>\s\n* [[Shoot gun at mug shards]]\n<<else if not visited("Shoot self with gun")>>\s\n* [[Shoot self with gun]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\s
You quickly wrestle your key in the lock and pull it open. You take the ray gun inside. You don't begrudge Mell's attempt at destroying that superintelligent beam of light last week, but you do begrudge her reducing your WinXP install CD to several shards of plastic.<<set $gun = "taken">>\n\nYou tuck it into your belt, pointed away from your midsection. You have no intention of shooting this gun as it is - at least, not unless a saliva-swab monster suddenly bursts in, which is feeling increasingly likely as this morning goes on - but you've got ideas for unorthodox uses.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
"Dude," she replies, "I saw it leap out of the pot earlier this morning! Like, a rodent-shaped hole appeared in the surface. Heck," she adds, "how else did I know there was one in this room?"\n\n"Then //why// didn't you tell me?" you groan, wondering how one person could be so utterly malevolent.\n\n"Eh. I guess I'm just utterly malevolent."\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
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You grab it off the table and tuck it into your pocket. Thinking you could do with a bit of warming up, you fill up the mug of coffee as well before you leave.\n\n"Run! Get to the chopper!" Mell cries as you retreat. //Ah.// You wish you'd thought of that reference.\n\nYou quickly dart out the door. You swear you're locking yourself in your office as soon as this experiment's over.\n\n* [[Return to the lab|Preamble 9]]
Back in the lab, Helen quickly power-screws the switch back on.\n\n"Great! Now let's take apart your atoms!" she says.\n\n"First," you reply, "I'm making certain an invisible gerbil isn't in the booth with me." Neither of you want a DNA-scrambling catastrophe //this// soon again.\n\nAfter a good feel around, you take a big swig of the coffee, hand the mug to Helen, and motion for her to shut you in the booth.\n\nHowever, as the hatch closes, you don't swallow the mouthful. [[Something feels off|Preamble 10]]...
[[A bolt of blue lightning smacks into the floor, mere centimetres below your leaping feet.|Preamble 7]]
"Hey!" Mell exclaims, "get that door shut! You could've let it escape just then!"\n\nShe's crouching on the break room table, an energy pistol sizzling in her hand and a wild look in her eyes. All along the floor around her are scorch marks and bullet holes.\n\n"I'm hunting blind", she declares. "Without my sight, I've got only my lesser senses. The gerbils can hear better than us, smell better than us, and are faster than us, smarter than us, and bloodthirstier than us."\n\n"I don't think most gerbils are sma-" you begin, before she shushes you, glancing warily about at nothing.\n\n"Since the dawn of time, ape has had the upper hand against rodent," she chants. "Now, the tables have truly turned..." - and here she taps the actual table she's standing on - "...and only one mammal will survive."\n\nOn the table is the detached teleporter switch. On the bench nearby is the office drip coffee machine and an empty mug.\n\n<<display "Preamble 7 choices">>
"Oh, blast... I forgot to screw the switch back on," comes her voice. "it's the one part left."\n\nThe hatch comes up, and you stumble out. Helen is glancing around the room. "I think I left it around here, but check the break room as well."\n<<if $smoke>>\nSighing, you reach into the ashtray to retrieve your prematurely stubbed cigarette. Sadly, you can scarcely draw another puff from it.\n<<endif>>\n\nThe corridor awaits.\n\n* [[Examine teleporter|Preamble 4a]]\n* [[Go down the corridor|Preamble 5]]
The corridor is a concrete tube painted white. It's actually a re-purposed sewer pipe. \n\nHelen takes pride in having her own underground lair, as any mad scientist would. Even if it used to be an abandoned sewer system.\n\nYou shout back down the corridor, "Shouldn't we be hunting down the invisible gerbils?"\n\n"But we're so close to a result!" Helen replies. "And, well, I can't be everywhere at once-"\n\nYou push the break room door.\n\n"-so I asked Mell to deal with it," her echoing voice adds.\n\n[[The door opens...|Preamble 6]]
"I've pretty much figured out how to do away with the receiver pod!" she cheerily announces.\n\n(Well, you've been doing most of the work, really.)\n\nThe lab's teleporter originally consisted of a 'send' booth and 'receive' booth. You know that the 'receive' booth isn't actually necessary, though, since during a little adventure a few months back, you'd reverse-engineered another scientist's 'receive' booth to send you away to safety. So, you and Helen have been working on replicating that technology over the past week. And now it's ready for a human-size test drive, it seems.\n\n"Just step inside, I'll hit the switch, and you should pop out right on that patch of exploded pumpkin chunks."\n\n<<display "Preamble 2 choices">>
You loyally plod into the booth\s\n<<if $smoke>>\s\n, stubbing out your cigarette on a nearby ashtray as you enter<<endif>>. What's the worst that can happen?" is a rhetorical question you'd be asking if you hadn't already seen the worst firsthand during the original teleporter project. <<if Math.random()*2 lt 1>>The worst right now would probably be welcome and familiar.<<else>>Karmically speaking, you're due for a total cakewalk.<<endif>>\n\nShe closes the hatch behind you. "Now, I'll just hit the switch!" comes her muffled voice.\n\nYou calmly wait in the dark.\n\n*[[............|Preamble 4]]
A Narbonic Hypertext Adventure
You're standing on pumpkin mush, six feet from where you were.\n\nYou're still in the Physics Sector.\n\n//[[A cloud of coffee is hurtling towards you...|Epilogue 2]]//
Artie, full name RT-5478, is Helen's favourite abominable creation. An IQ of 250 (whatever that means) in the body of a common gerbil. Much like Frankenstein's monster, he's erudite, opinionated and possibly indestructible. Unlike Frankenstein's monster, he's pragmatic, neurotic, and under a foot tall.\n\nRight now he's lying on the bench, unable to stay awake. He's a nocturnal creature - well, not because he's a gerbil, because they're among the very few diurnal rodents. He's just a creature that happens to be nocturnal.\n\n<<back>>
<<display "Init variables">>\s\n!Everywhere At Once\n!!A @@color:#3E82A7;Narboni@@@@color:#FF8298;c@@ hypertext adventure\n''by Leon Arnott, 2013''\n\nHello. This game is set in the universe of [[Narbonic|http://www.narbonic.com/]], an old gag-a-day webcomic by [[Shaenon Garrity|http://shaenon.com]] that ran daily from July 31, 2000 to December 31, 2006. I first read it when I was 18.\n \n[img[020402.jpg][http://narbonic.com/]]\n\nFor a brief time in my life, for no tangible reason, I had a strong crush on it, and it was important to me. It is in the interest of lackadaisically memorialising the brief time I had with comic that I created this little text game.\n\n* [[Begin text game|Antechamber]]\n* [[Quit text game|http://l.j-factor.com/gmhtml5/]]\n* [[Download Twine source code|http://l.j-factor.com/gmhtml5/Everywhere_At_Once/EverywhereAtOnce.tws]]\n^^All explicitly named characters contained within are the property of Shaenon Garrity.^^
"Artie, can't you hunt down the invisible gerbils and try to reason with them? Get them to agree to go back in their cages?"\n\n"I keep telling you, I can't talk to my own kind like I do with you guys. While their language of squeaks is both nuanced and poetic, it's a hopeless task to convey such abstract but important concepts as "empathy" and "social responsibility" and "the categorical imperative" in that tongue. Hopeless!"\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
You step out of your office into corridor B7, carefully closing the door behind you. The lighting in this corridor is a little dim, primarily because of the darkness-emitting mould that Helen accidentally-\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
/%\n % First option\n%/\s\n<<if $mell eq 0>>\s\nMell is madly zapping the ground, possibly in pursuit of an invisible gerbil -- but then again, possibly not. <<once>>Her gun's "deadliness" slider has been turned down to "big carpet zap", but its "flashiness" slider has been turned up to "possibly eye-damaging". You try to look away.<<endonce>>\s\n<<if $artie eq "taken">><<once>><<if $artiewake>>\s\n\n"Mell," asks Artie, "have you considered that the invisible gerbil may be trying to wear you down by attrition, and by firing blindly, you're just playing into its fiendish scheme?"\n\n"Nope," replies Mell, followed by "if it wants me to keep firing, then it's fine with me!"\n<<else>>\s\n\n"Please, violence is not the answer to this one!" moans Artie.\n\n"Yeah, violence is the question," quips Mell, "and "take no prisoners" is the answer!"\n<<endif>><<endonce>><<endif>>\s\n/%\n % Second option\n%/\s\n<<else if $mell eq 1>>\s\nMell is cooling down the recently zapped gun by dipping its muzzle in a nearby beaker of sentient acid. Steam is rising off it, and you think you can hear a faint howling noise as well.\n<<if $artie eq "taken">><<once>>\s\n\n"Hey Artie," says Mell, "could you use your nostrils to sniff out the invisible guy in here?"\n\n<<if $artiewake>>\s\n"My sinuses know only the roasted stench of the demon bean!" shrieks Artie.\n<<else>>\s\n"All I can smell," replies Artie, "are the equally heady aromas of coffee and gunpowder."\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endonce>><<endif>>\s\n<<else if $mell eq 2>>\s\nMell is procrastinating by dipping things in a beaker of sentient acid. You're not sure whether it's the things or the acid that are screaming.\n<<if $artie eq "taken">>\s\n\nArtie tries to cover his ears. As with most of the things he does for self-protection, he looks adorable.\n<<endif>>\s\n/%\n % Third option\n%/\s\n<<else if $mell eq 3>>\s\nMell is flipping through a //New Journal of Malology// back-issue. Ah, the well-thumbed orbital death cannon retrospective edition. You wish you didn't have a sore history with orbital death cannons.\n<<if $artie eq "taken">><<once>>\s\n\n"Mell," asks Artie, "if you did succeed in shooting an invisible gerbil, would you even notice?"\n\n"I figured I could tell from the blood," she shrugs. "You know the immortal wisdom, "//if it bleeds, we can kill it!//"? Well, logically, if it can be killed, it bleeds."\n\n"That's not //quite// how I'd use the word 'logically'" mutters the rodent.\n<<endonce>><<endif>>\s\n/%\n % Fourth option\n%/\s\n<<else if $mell eq 4>>\s\nMell is watching a grenade on the table very closely. Did some invisible rodent just touch it?\n<<if $artie eq "taken">><<once>>\s\n\nArtie glances at the scorch-marks and energy gun-inflicted holes around the room. "So who's going to spackle this place up when you're finished redecorating it?"\n\nMell silently grins at you. You suddenly envision yourself desperately flinging paste all over the room during the brief seconds between teleports.\n<<endonce>>\s\n<<endif>><<endif>>\s\n<<set $mell = ($mell eq 4 ? 0 : $mell + 1)>>\s
<<if $artietalk eq 0>>\s\nArtie says, "I was hoping to have a rest today. I was up all night in an online debate about the personhood of backup copies of AIs."\n\nYou say, "I was hoping to lock myself in my office and forget that I'm surrounded by zero or more invisible rodents. Which is the first thing I'm doing as soon as I get back there-"\n<<else if $artietalk eq 1>>\s\n"Artie, something's gone horribly wrong-" you begin.\n\n"Wait! Let me guess - Helen wanted to save time by delivering the new robotic gerbil maze to here through the teleporter, with you. It malfunctioned, the robot's maze-designing AI merged with the targeting system, and now you're being teleported over and over throughout the lab," mumbles Artie.\n\n"I //guess// the last bit is accurate," you sadly admit.\n\n"It was either that," he adds, "or-"\n<<else if $artietalk eq 2>>\s\n"...Wait, do we actually have a robotic gerbil maze?" you ask out of sheer curiousity.\n\n"No," says Artie. "I talked her out of it. Their manufacturer has bad AI rights standards."\n\n"OK. Do you have any idea how to fix this teleporting?" you ask.\n\n"Again the lab staff are asking their own experiment for help," Artie says, sitting up. "Fortunately, I think I have a solution. All you have to do is-"\n<<endif>>\s\n<<set $artietalk += 1>>\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
<<if not visited("Preamble 2a")>>\s\n* [[Examine Helen|Preamble 2a]]\s\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if not visited("Preamble 2c")>>\s\n* [[Ask about pumpkin chunks|Preamble 2c]]\s\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if not visited("Preamble 2b")>>\s\n* [[Talk to Helen|Preamble 2b]]\s\n<<endif>>\s\n* [[Step inside|Preamble 3]]
<<if $artie eq "taken">>\s\nSadly, with Artie in your grasp, your hands are too full to tinker with the gun.\n\nDon't worry - if a saliva-swab monster suddenly bursts into the room, you're sure throwing Artie at it would at worst give you some time to escape, and at best de-escalate the situation entirely.\n\n<<back>>\n<<else>>You got the idea to modify the gun almost as soon as it came into your possession. You observed, mostly from the carnage Mell was wreaking with it, that some kind of entropy-increasing energy pulse is fired from it. Your mind's gears start spinning: if you just snap off this spherical thing on the muzzle, rotate its mount 180, and put it back on //backwards// -\n\n-yes, yes, if your hunch is correct, then the gun will now shoot a pulse that //decreases// entropy. In layman's terms, it can unscramble an egg. Well, it will require far more energy than normal, probably burning through all its batteries in just one shot, but, you reasoned, it would make a pretty good prank for Mell. Or, as you now realise, a handy makeshift repair tool.\n\n<<set $gun = "fixed">>\s\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>\s\n<<endif>>
Mell takes a moment to remember she's an intern. "One mug o' rodent-hair joe coming up," she says, taking the repaired mug. "It'll put hair on your chest - invisible hair that no one can see."\n<<set $mug = "filling">>\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
You pull out the gun, and point it straight at yourself, but hesitate because A) you don't think your teleportitis is being caused by something being physically broken, and B) you're not actually going to trust your life to what amounted to a four-second mod of an incredibly deadly weapon. Well, not yet, anyway. You'd at //least// want to shout "It's a million-to-one shot!" first.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
<<if $artiewake>>\s\nArtie says "Thanks to you, my fur's all sticky, all these teleport flashes are hurting my eyes, and I'm pretty sure I've been destroyed and re-combined far more times than what anyone would consider medically, let alone philosophically safe."\n\n"On the plus side, you're awake now," you counter.\n\n"On the minus side, I can feel my heart trying to burrow out of my chest now."\n<<else if $plan neq "taken">>\s\nArtie wants to know what you're doing with him. You explain that you're not quite sure yet, but you think two people in the magical merry-go-round would find the solution easier than just one.\n\n"Might I counter with the observation that I'm one more victim when whatever plan you come up with backfires horribly?"\n\n"No."\n<<else if $plantoldartie eq 0>>\s\nYou try to explain your plan to Artie, but he seems incredulous.\n\n"Shouldn't you and Helen at least attempt to study this phenomenon more closely instead of clumsily mimicking a minute detail of the triggering event?"\n\n"There's nothing clumsy about it - it'll be an exact recreation," you reply.<<set $plantoldartie+=1>>\n<<else if $plantoldartie eq 2>>\s\n"You know, it occurs to me that if I were invisible, I wouldn't be in this mess right now," says Artie.\n\n"If you were invisible," you say, "you'd get a lot more accidental kicks and flicks and slammed doors,"\n\nArtie sighs. "Yes, it's a selfish dream." Then, "but who's being more selfish right now, I wonder?" Followed by drumming your closed hand with his paws.<<set $plantoldartie+=1>>\n<<else>>\s\n<<if ($mug eq "taken") or ($mug eq "broken")>>\s\n"Any idea how you'll fix that coffee mug?" he asks.\n\n"We'll see," you reply. "Gosh, if only we still had those styrofoam cups, though."\n\n"Hey, come on," Artie says. "My screeds about their wastefulness were utterly vindicated by the time Helen burned through a months' supply trying to keep that cupful of liquid antimatter from splashing on the floor."\n<<else if $mug eq "absent">>\s\n"Getting coffee should be pretty easy, right?"\n\n"Yeah," you say, "I just need to get my mug back. We seem to be in short supply for some reason."\n<<else>>\s\n"How'd you fix the mug?" he says.\n\n"I reverse-engineered one of Mell's guns to shoot a pulse that unbreaks mugs instead of breaking them."\n\nArtie glances at you. "And this struck you as easier than just finding another mug because...?"\n\n"Hey," you say, "I'm a coder. I like to solve problems using my own toolset no matter how impractical it turns out to be."\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
"Is there actually an invisible gerbil in this room?"\n\nMell pushes up her glasses. "That's the thing! You just can't tell! They could be anywhere! They're probably playing mind games on me and watching me squirm and crack under the strain!" A grin spreads on her face.\n\n"Sounds like you're holding up well, then," you reply.\n\n"These gerbils have totally got what I call "John Carpenter's //The Thing// Syndrome" -- you know, 'anything that's invisible will definitely flip out and become totally bloodthirsty'. This is the fight of my life, and I'm not gunna lose it..." - and here she whips out a second raygun with her other hand - "...without having the time of it first."\n\n* [["So, having fun?"|Preamble 7d]]\n<<display "Preamble 7 choices">>
You're in the middle of the Physics Sector. Six feet away from you is the teleporter, to the left, and the destination spot, to the right. A bench is digging into your back <<if visited() gt 3>> for the quarter-billionth time.<<else>>uncomfortably.<<endif>>\n\n<<display "Helen">>\n\n<<if $mouth eq "full" >>\s\n<<if $timed>>\s\n* [[Spew coffee in precisely five and a quarter seconds|Spew Coffee]]\n<<else>>\s\n* [[Swallow coffee]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<else>>\s\n* [[Chat with Helen|Talk to Helen]]\n<<if visited("Helen on Gerbils") eq 0>>\s\n* [[Ask Helen about gerbil-hunting|Helen on Gerbils]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if $key eq "found">>\s\n* [["Helen, look in the pumpkin goop for my drawer key."|Helen Gives Key]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if $mug eq "absent" and $plan eq "taken">>\s\n* [["Helen, could I have the coffee mug back?"|Helen Gives Mug]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if $timer eq "taken">>\s\n* [[Start stopwatch]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<display "Gun Commands">>\s\n<<if visited() lt 3>>\s\n* [[Go down the corridor|Physics Hallway]]\n<<endif>>\s\n* [[Wait|Physics Sector Wait]]\n<<endif>>\s
<<if visited("Physics Sector") eq 1>>\s\nYou gallop toward the corridor as quickly as you can. How on Earth did it even get in there, is what you don't under-\n<<else if visited("Physics Sector") eq 2>>\s\nYou've gotta get outta here! You gallop for the corridor, deftly dodging the small pieces of lab machinery in your path.\n<<endif>>\s\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
A tiny, gangly, black-haired, bespectacled undergrad law major who really has no business liking guns, bombs and war movies as much as she does. She's Helen's intern, but lately she's extended her responsibilities to include 'bodyguard' in exchange for authorisation to bring bigger and flashier firearms into the lab. Not that she hadn't been sneaking them in already. She seems to live for violence.\n\n<<display "Preamble 7 choices">>
Artie\n\nGun\n\nKey -> Desk -> Tool\n\nTool + Gun -> Nug\n\nNug + Mug -> Coffee\n\nCoffee + Artie -> Stopwatch\n\nStopwatch + Coffee -> Win\n\n\nSwap out cigarettes after 2 loops
You wait.\n\n<<if visited() eq 1>>\s\nMell says, "so, Helen's unleashed killer cloaking-device rodents ''and'' gotten you trapped in some weird physics junk."\n\nYou reply, "It's like she saves up chaos over weeks and months, only to unleash it in one fell swoop!"\n\nMell quips, "Good thing I vent mine on a daily basis, huh?"\n<<else if visited() eq 2>>\s\nMell suddenly points one of her guns at you. "Hey, wanna bet I can make a shot at the exact moment you disappear?" she says. She squeezes the trigger.\n<<else if visited() eq 3>>\s\nMell asks "So, like, if you laid down on the ground, do you think you'd reappear lying down, or would you suddenly be standing again? And what about if you sat cross-legged?"\n\nYou aren't interested in conducting yet more experiments in the midst of this one.\n<<else if visited() eq 4>>\s\n"Marco!" shouts Mell.\n\n<<if $artie eq "taken">>\s\n"Polo!" shouts Artie.\n\n"OK, now let's see if the invisible gerbils are ready to play," says Mell. "Marco!"\n<<else>>\s\nNo reply.\n\n"They're cunning," says Mell, "if they're actually there."\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
You wait.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
<<if visited("Physics Sector") eq 1>>\s\n"Those darned invisible gerbils!" you exclaim.\n\n"Oh gosh, was there one inside there after all?" she asks, concerned.\n\n"No, but there was one in, I dunno, either it was the mug or the coffee machine's j-"\n<<else if visited("Physics Sector") eq 2>>\s\n"Well," Helen says weakly, "I guess the teleporter's working several times better than expected!"\n\n"You've gotta help me," you plead. "Switch it off! Or at least make it stop it happening so frequ-"\n<<else if visited("Physics Sector") eq 3>>\s\n"It's powered down?" you scowl. "But I'm still being zapped everywhere!"\n\n"Exactly! Can you believe it? We've created a self-sustaining physical anomaly! A chain reaction so complicated that I have //no idea// how to stop-"\n<<else if $plan eq "taken" and $plantold eq 0>>\s\nYou explain your plan to Helen. "So, you think deliberately spitting coffee all over the lab will cause the reaction to end?" she says.\n\nThis suddenly sounds like an incredibly silly. "Oh, forget it, it was just a weird idea that-"\n\n"No, by all means, do it! I so rarely get to see you spit coffee anymore - you're so hard to surprise! I want to see this!"<<set $plantold = 1>>\n<<else if visited("Physics Sector") eq 4 and $plantold eq 0>>\s\nAfter briefly explaining what happened inside the teleporter booth, Helen, barely failing to disguise her amusement at that mental image, mutters "Well, there's no way that could have affected the teleporter!"\n\n"And yet," you say wearily, "it's the only lead we've g-"\n<<else if $artie eq "taken" and $artiehelentalk gt 0 and $artiehelentalk lt 4>>\s\n<<display "Artie Helen Talk">>\n<<else>>\s\n"How many times have you gone around now?" asks Helen.\n\n"<<print Math.floor($tport / 4)>>, I think," you reply.\n\n"Wow, the novelty must be wearing off, eh?" replies Helen.\n<<if $artie eq "taken">>\s\n\nArtie says, "Actually, I think I'm actually starting to enjoy this."\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
What are you, a caveman???\n\n<<back>>
You start the stopwatch, and concentrate on its rising LED counter, ignoring all other distractions around you. As soon as it hits five and a quarter seconds, that same wrenching sensation takes hold.\n\n<<set $tport+=1; $timed=true>>\s\n<<display "JumpTable">>\n\n(Right. You now know precisely how long you have, down to the microsecond, before the teleportitis kicks in.)
//You suddenly feel a <<print (($tport += 1) gt 5 ? "familiar" : "sharp")>> wrenching sensation<<print ($tport eq 16 ? ", one that has almost stopped being a surprise" : "")>>...//\n\n<<display "JumpTable">>
You wait.\n\n<<once>>You consider shouting "Beam me up, Mr. Scott", but decide against it, because A) you're really more of a TNG guy, and B) these teleports are way too annoying for you to riff off them.<<endonce>>\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
Do you smoke?\n\n* [[Yes|Smoke]]\n* [[No|No Smoke]]
Interesting. [[Very interesting.|Preamble]]
You stride halfway across the room-\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>\n\n...but don't get any farther.
<<if $mouth eq "full" && $timed>>\s\nHelen has a large mallet in her hands, and is glancing at the teleporter control panel.\n<<else if $artie eq "taken" and $artiehelentalk eq 0>>\s\nArtie says to Helen, "I've suddenly become very interested in an expedient solution to this problem!"\n<<set $artiehelentalk = 1>>\s\n<<else if $mug eq "broken">>\s\nHelen walks over and hands you some coffee mug shards. "Here it is, again, more or less."\n\nYou shove them into your pocket, where they rattle mournfully.\n<<set $mug = "taken">>\s\n<<else if visited() eq 1>>\s\n"There! How about that!" says Helen. "You're a little off the mark, but you're all well!" You assume she's too flushed with success to notice your choked gasps. \n\nYou do a quick recap: an invisible gerbil had gotten into the coffee pot, but presumably wasn't there when you poured out the coffee. So, we have at least one gerbil on the loose that's both invisible and hypercaffeinated.\n<<else if visited() eq 2>>\s\nHelen is frantically checking the inside of the teleporter, spinning around in surprise at your reappearance.\n\n"Something's definitely going wrong," you grimly announce. "I just warped through half the lab! First the gerbil pens, then my office, then the break room, and back here!"\n<<else if visited() eq 3>>\s\nHelen is at a nearby computer console, studying the teleporter's readouts. She turns to smile at you as you appear.\n\n"Okay!" she chimes, "I powered off the teleporter!"\n<<else if visited() eq 4>>\s\n"//Dave//," Helen asks, "Why is there a puddle of coffee on the floor of the teleporter?"\n<<else if visited() eq 5>>\s\n"Well, I still don't have a solution" Helen says. "but I //have// discovered how to vastly increase the speed at which you're teleporting!"\n\n<<if $smoke>>\s\nYou bite clean through the end of your cigarette, and have to spit out tobacco.\n<<else>>\s\nYou make a face - one that you hope Helen doesn't find amusing.\n<<endif>>\s\n<<else>>\s\nHelen is tinkering with the inner workings of the teleporter, and looking nowhere near as alarmed as you think she should be.\n<<endif>>\s
You wait.\n\n<<if visited("Gerbil Pens") gt 1>><<once>>You consider shouting "XYZZY!" but decide against it, because A) you don't know how to begin to pronounce that, and B) these teleports are way too annoying for you to riff off them.<<endonce>><<else>>Sure enough, the exact thing you didn't want to happen, happens.<<endif>>\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
Everywhere At Once
It's the distant future of 2002. You are Dave, the IT admin for a North American mad science laboratory called Narbonics Labs. Over the past two years you'e been through a number of amusing and unlikely escapades alongside your boss, genius biologist Helen Narbon. (Don't ask about her doctorate.)\n\nHaving recently collaborated with you on a teleporter project, she's now taken to tinkering with it. And so, on an early October morning, you proceed to the [[Physics Sector|Preamble 2]] to witness the fruit of her labours...
"Yo!" she says, stopping her pursuit and lowering her guns as she notices you. "You're... here." She looks wary.\n\n"Uh, yes, we fixed it," answers Helen, "and everything's normal again."\n\nMell looks wary. "Except for him being a floating coffee-splat mark in mid-"\n\n"Ssh!" Helen tries to silence her.\n\nYou look downward.\n\n\nYou were wrong. You're not here at all.\n\n"I'm sorry, Dave."\n\n[["You said I wasn't going to turn invisible!"|Epilogue 5]]
You know you've got to spit some coffee, but you still don't know when. Unwilling to make more than a mess than what you're in currently, you swallow the hot mouthful and feel your throat ache from the heat as it goes down. <<print $smoke ? "You transfer your cigarette back to your lips, just before the ash was about to reach your fingers." : "">>\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">><<set $mouth = "empty">>
"I didn't know all this chaos and teleport looping was going to occur!" Helen pleads. "Your turning invisible was going to be a surprise!"\n\nThe deepest of sighs rumbles from your invisible throat. "What was?" you grumble.\n\n"Well, yesterday the new robotic gerbil maze arrived, but when I was wiring it up to my computer to install the AI, it somehow downloaded itself into the network, and long story short, it's now controlling the cellular destabiliser in Green Sector and shooting anything on sight..."\n\n!!The End
You're at your office. <<once>>It's got your desk and some filing cabinets, on which are stacked an assortment of code manuals and movie merchandise knick-knacks. A notice board, on the left wall. Your computer, playing its lawnmower screensaver. An island of mundanity in the bubbling cauldron that is Narbonics Labs, is how you sometimes think of it.<<endonce>>\s\n\nYou're standing near the door. Your desk is twelve feet away. Next to you is a<<print (($gun eq "absent") ? " locked" : "n unlocked, closed")>> filing cabinet drawer.\n<<once>>\n<<if $smoke>>\s\nThat does it - this is unbearable. You reach for your pocket lighter and, with a few deft hand gestures, have a fresh cigarette smouldering between your lips in moments.\n\nYou still want a cup of coffee, though.\n<<else>>\s\nYou really hope there isn't a next leap - that this really is the end. Or, barring that impossible dream, that the next leap sends you into the break room, because you really need a fresh cup of coffee.\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endonce>>\s\n\n<<if $smoke and (visited() gt 1) and (visited() % 3) eq 1>>\s\nYour cigarette is getting limp. \s\n<<if $artie eq "taken">>You can't really light a new one with Artie in your hand, though.\n<<else>>You stub it out on the filing cabinet's ashtray and swiftly light another one.\n\n\n<<endif>>\n<<endif>>\s\n\n<<if $artie eq "taken">>\s\nArtie <<print $artiewake ? "fidgets" : "pouts">> in your hand. <<once>>"It'd be nice if you could tell me where you're taking me!"<<endonce>>\n\n* [[Chat with Artie|Hand Artie Talk]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<display "Gun Commands">>\s\n<<if $timer eq "taken" and not $timed>>\s\n* [[Start stopwatch]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if $key neq "taken">>\n* [[Look at drawer]]\n<<else if $gun eq "absent">>\s\n* [[Open drawer]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if not visited("Use computer")>>\s\n* [[Walk to desk|Use computer]]\n<<else if not visited("Examine desk")>>\s\n* [[Examine desk from a distance|Examine desk]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if visited() gt 1 and $plan neq "taken">>\s\n* [[Formulate plan]]\n<<else>>\s\n* [[Wait|Office Wait]]\n<<if visited() lt 3>>\s\n* [[Exit office|Office Exit]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\s
Helen\s\n<<if $plantold>>\s\n says "Ah, you're going to get some coffee, then!" and\s\n<<else>>\s\n, not a little bit puzzled by your command,\s\n<<endif>>\s\n retrieves the mug from the piece of machinery she'd left it on. "Here it is!" Sensing your impending departure, you dash over. ...Phew! You snatch it with what feel like seconds to spare.\n\n//You suddenly feel a biting sensation...//\n\n''Yaaagh!'' Something with large incisors just bit your right ankle!\n\nBefore your hands realise what they're doing, the mug is airborne, and soon to be floor-borne.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>\s\n<<set $mug = "breaking">>
You've learned the hard way not to trust any coffee that doesn't have a direct journey from this machine to your mouth. Helen's played you for a fool once too often with her "surprise experiments" that begin by unknowingly ingesting her latest bizarre formula. No, the only way to keep your coffee untainted in this world is to keep a close eye on every step of the process. The machine's glass pot is full of gently sloshing coffee.\n\nYou also glance at the mug. It's empty and perfectly clean.\n\n<<display "Preamble 7 choices">>
@@font-size:1.1em;font-weight:bolder;letter-spacing:0.4em;<<if ($tport % 4) eq 2>>\s\n[[Zoop!|Gerbil Pens]]\n<<else if ($tport % 4) eq 3>>\s\n[[Zap!|Your Office]]\n<<else if ($tport % 4) eq 0>>\s\n[[Zot!|Break Room]]\n<<else>>\s\n[[Fwoosh!|Physics Sector]]\n<<endif>>@@
The moment of truth. You press the stopwatch, watch the numbers tick up, and, just as it passes 5, jerk it away and release a cascade of brown fluid from your lips.\n\n//You suddenly feel an UNFAMILIAR wrenching sensation...//\n\n[[BAM!|Epilogue 1]]
The door is right behind you. You spin around and march through. \n\nThe south corridor winds around in a serpentine fashion, making it hard to tell when something unexpected is approaching. Several weeks back, you remember being chased by-\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
You stride around the bench, take a left, carefully step over a gerbil cage on the floor, reach for the stopwatch-\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>\n\n-ah. Ironic that you'd be just too slow to grab a //stopwatch//, of all things?
The peace and serenity of your office allows you to concoct a plan in the couple of seconds before the next teleport hits.\n\nYou know that you spat out coffee when the teleporter activated. It also seems that the teleporter isn't active now, so whatever's causing this to keep happening isn't dependant on it.\n\nYou wonder if your coffee-spit, and the resulting presence of active quantities of coffee bean DNA outside your body, caused a morphology read error when the teleporter dematerialised you. Hmm... if that's the case, then maybe the rematerialisation energy field's reconstruction signature isn't able to recognise you without a mouthful of brown fluid cascading from your lips, and is thus stuck in the transport cycle... until you finally match up.\n\nWell, it's an awfully long shot, but you've got something to try: replicate your spit-take at the precise moment one of these teleports hits!\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">><<set $plan="taken">>\n\n(But, you think as the teleport hits, you're going to need two things first: //coffee//, and //some way of accurately measuring time//. If only you'd finally gotten around to buying a new pocket watch...)
You both wait.\n\nNothing happens.\n\n"Thank goodness," you sigh, stepping away. "At least //some// of this morning's weirdness is over and done with-"\n\nYou stop. A loud banging and crackling noise is coming from the corridor.\n\n"-I've got you now!" shouts Mell, [[bursting into the room.|Epilogue 4]]
<<if $artiehelentalk eq 1>>\s\nArtie asks, "Have you tried assembling a Faraday cage around Dave?"\n\nHelen says, "I could try, but I suspect that would just cause Dave to dissipate into a cloud of undifferentiated matter instead of naturally recombining."\n\n"But he'd be OK if we just froze him afterward, right?" Artie wisecracks.\n<<else if $artiehelentalk eq 2>>\s\nArtie says to Helen, "I can't believe I'm suggesting this, but have you tried moving a big heavy thing onto the spot we keep appearing on?"\n\n"I might try that," says Helen, "even though that may de-stabilise the reaction and propel Dave anywhere from the Moon to South America."\n\nBoth of those extremes are starting to feel like an improvement at this point.\n<<else if $artiehelentalk eq 3>>\s\nArtie says "I think Mell is causing more damage to the lab than the invisible gerbils will ever be capable of."\n\nHelen replies "I suppose your plan is to make peace with them?"\n\nArtie says "Look, I know that the gerbils have gone mad with power and rescinded our laws and social mores, but soon they'll realise they can't survive outside the structures of society forever."\n<<else if $artiehelentalk eq 4>>\s\nArtie says to Helen, "This is a long shot, but have you tried giving Dave an electric shock?" Your grip on him tightens. "After I've convinced him to let me go, of course."\n<<endif>>\s\n<<set $artiehelentalk = ($artiehelentalk + 1)>>\s
''We did it!'' shouts Helen, triumph and humour on her face.\n\nYour face, meanwhile, is dripping with lukewarm breakfast beverage and your own saliva.<<if $smoke>> Your cigarette has been extinguished.<<endif>> At least you were wearing glasses.\n\n"My idea worked," you softly say.\n\n"Maybe it did!" Helen says. "But just now I noticed that I hadn't actually screwed in the switch all the way. I think it was short-circuiting, and repeatedly triggering the teleporter!"\n\nWhat?\n\n"And when I powered it off, it was still retaining power, since its constant triggers prevented the backup capacitor from disengaging. But I hammered it into place just now, and hey presto!"\n\nBut... your plan...!\n\n"Oh, but I can't prove that your plan wasn't the real reason," adds Helen. "But let's just be glad it's finally over!"\n\n"[[Wait|Epilogue 3]]... has it?" you ask.
You guess there's little to be lost by taking potentially contaminated coffee and removing all doubt. And besides, your dear friend's been ornery long enough. You drop Artie head-first into the coffee.\n\n"//''Bublublaaieeee!''//" he shrieks, half out of appalled shock and half out of uncontrollable hedonsitic pleasure.\n\nTo be honest, on cold October mornings like this you've fantasised about skinny-dipping in a cozy coffee pool as well. You don't, however, feel quite so jealous of the pathetic, dripping brown wall-eyed flailing mess you pull out of the mug.\n\n"I'm trying to give up this stuff!" says Artie. "It's taking weeks off my life as we speak!"\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">><<set $artiewake = 1>>
<<set $smoke=1>>\s\nInteresting. [[Very interesting.|Preamble]]
<<if $artiewake>>\nArtie leaps from your hand in a blur, grabs the stopwatch at the other end of the table, drags it back, and tosses it into your open hand. "Here! Here's that stopwatch you wanted so badly!"\n\n"You know, you could've just gone around the maze instead of through it-"\n<<set $artie = "missing">><<set $timer = "taken">>\n<<else if $artie eq "taken" and $plantoldartie>>\s\nArtie is still unconvinced that your plan will work. "I refuse to contribute to this foolhardiness, even in a minor way. And besides, I'm clearly the least capable of carrying things among us. Ask Mell or something!"\n\nYou aren't going to ask Mell.\n<<else if $artie eq "taken">>\s\nArtie seems unwilling. <<once>>"I feel like serving as your gofer, even briefly, would be setting a bad precedent. This is how workers' rights are insidiously eroded!"\n\nYou wonder how he can still be this erudite while exhausted.\n\n"You know, I'm kind of stuck at the moment!" you protest.\n\n"It's still the top of the slippery slope," he replies grumpily.<<endonce>>\n\nYou're sure he's just in a bad mood at the moment.\n<<else>>\s\nArtie seems incredibly reluctant to move at the moment. "After I've stopped feeling like a brick fell on me," he says. "Not that that's likely while you're loudly zapping around like this."<<endif>>\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
"They basically have the whole lab to themselves," Helen says. "They may be ordinary gerbils, but if we leave them unchecked, they may develop Invisible Man Syndrome -- "anything that becomes invisible will inevitably use the power for viciousness and cruelty."" Her worried look slowly transforms into an excited grin. "If they're so crafty down here in the lab, just //imagine// the havoc they'd wreak if I unlea-"\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
<<if not visited("Preamble 7a")>>\s\n* [[Examine Mell|Preamble 7a]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if not visited("Preamble 7b")>>\s\n* [[Ask Mell about gerbil-hunting|Preamble 7b]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if not visited("Preamble 7c")>>\s\n* [[Examine coffee machine|Preamble 7c]]\n<<endif>>\s\n* [[Take switch and coffee|Preamble 8]]
<<if $artietaken gt 0>>\s\n<<if $artiewake>>\s\nArtie runs rings around your hand - he isn't willing to be caught now. Oh well.\n\n<<back>>\n<<else>>\s\nYou snatch up Artie once again.<<once>>\s\n\n"//Oh, what a world this is\nwhere sages, weak and mere, are\nbut strong fools' playthings!//"\n\nYou remember how the lab retired its Friday Haiku Battles because of his superhuman silver tongue.\n<<endonce>>\s\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">><<set $artie = "taken">>\n<<endif>>\s\n<<else>>\s\nYou carefully snatch up Artie. Personal space works differently for him - he's allowed to climb up and ride atop you and the other humans anytime, and you're allowed to snatch him up in your hand whenever you have a bone to pick with him. It's a mutually convenient arrangement.\n<<set $artie = "taken"; $artietalk = 5; $artietaken=1>>\s\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">><<endif>>
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<<if $artie eq "taken">>\s\nSadly, with Artie in your grasp, you don't have a free hand to manipulate the gun. You'd consider putting him down, but in the uncooperative mood he's in, he's liable to run off.\n\n<<back>>\n<<else>>\s\nYou reach into your pocket, place the shards on a nearby surface, aim the anti-destruction gun with your other hand, take aim, and -- //''WHOP!''//\n\nWith a warm, soothing burst of light, a repaired mug now sits where once lay useless china. A grin spreads over your face as you discard the spent gun and pocket the mug. That was so easy, you wonder why the rest of the mad science community hadn't thought of it.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>\s\n<<set $mug = "fixed">>\s\n<<set $gun = "gone">>\s\n<<endif>>
You stride toward your desk. You wonder if each of these teleportations leaves a small electromagnetic discharge in its wake. Will your hard drive be safe if you zap out again while googling for invisibility antidotes?\n\nThis question turns out to be irrelevant - you can't even reach the desk in time.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
"Oh, don't get me wrong, we haven't had a crisis or a lockdown for ages and ages, and being menaced by invisible killing machines totes beats reading out large numbers to Helen while she's waist deep in one of her jumbo-size petri dishes. It's like I'm finally being paid to have fun!"\n\n"Helen pays you?" \n\n"I pay myself," she replies. "Helen only //thinks// spackle costs $500 a bucket."\n\n<<display "Preamble 7 choices">>
Your desk has bite marks perceptible even at this distance. That pumpkin really did a number on it for something without a skeleton, muscles, or any obvious way of even hinging its jaw.\n\nYou suddenly notice that your drawer key, which ought to still be on the desk, is missing - and, furthermore, the place you'd left it overlaps with the bite mark.\n\nYou try to look on the bright side when one of your humble possessions is devoured by one of Helen's freakish creations. At least, you sigh to yourself, they are //her// freakish creations. God forbid if some faceless dotcom's mascot came to life and ate your wallet. You're a small business guy at heart.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">><<set $key = "found">>
For the second time, you quickly dart out the door, watching for feet in case something that can't be seen is slipping out with you.\n\nYou close the door, and proceed to bolt back to the Physics Sector. Fortunately, a mysterious force decides to save you the walk.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
It's shaped like half a giant avocado, with an arched doorway in the front. It's still in a state of renovation - loose wires spill out of the top, others leap out from behind and connect to some electrical components resting on a bench behind it.\n\nIt's the culmination of both your talents - your technical and mechanical know-how, and Helen's genius for genetic molecular manipulation. Without her designs, the teleporter would reduce its users to puddles of inert cells when their component matter is reconstructed. (Well, not that it doesn't do that when you try and shove more than two people inside it at once, but that can't be helped at the moment.)\n\n* [[Go down the corridor|Preamble 5]]
You locked this drawer because it contains one of your coworkers' possessions that you confiscated in a fit of frustration one day.\n\n(And then you left the keys sitting in plain sight on your desk - but, of course, you didn't expect to be chased away by a vomiting gourd at that precise moment.)\n\n<<back>>
"Ah, thanks for reminding me!" says Helen. She reaches into her pocket and hands you the key. "I noticed it lying in the pumpkin's remains. What was it doing in there?"\n\n"It bravely fed itself to the pumpkin so that I could escape," you ad-lib. "But now it returns, like Gandalf the-"\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">><<set $key = "taken">>
Oh no - you can definitely feel something amiss in the coffee in your mouth.\n\nHelen powers up the teleporter. A whirring sound fills the booth.\n\nBut that mug was empty, wasn't it? And so was [[the coffee ma-|Preamble 11]]
No, screams your brain! You can't deny it! It's definitely true! [[There's invisible gerbil hair in your mouth!|Preamble 12]]
You spew out a mouthful of coffee at the precise instant Helen hits the switch.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">>
You place Artie back down on the bench.\s\n<<if $artiewake>>\s\n"About time! That merry-go-round ride was starting to get me dizzy," he shouts.\n<<else>>\s\n"Don't worry, I'm sure you can figure this out without me," he says in reply.\n<<endif>>\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">><<set $artie = "dozing">>
A woman in her late 20s with long blond hair tied in a bun. She wears rose-coloured glasses, in every sense of the word. Her smile is warm, but slightly off-kilter, and her girlish giggle always sounds poised to deepen into megalomanic cackling. You've been through a lot with her in the two years you've been her IT guy.\n\n<<display "Preamble 2 choices">>
"So, did you feed your surprise self-carving jack-o-lantern specimen into the teleporter?"\n\n"Well," shrugs Helen, "the surprise is all ruined now!"\n\n"Oh no, the surprise went great - I got the surprise of my life when a pumpkin in my office disgorged its rinds all over my keyboard, and then tried to savagely devour my desk."\n\n"As I explained," says Helen, "I didn't know they could open round-knobbed doors, let alone would try to use your PC for warmth!"\n\n"But did you ''have'' to re-use the DNA from your sentient ambulatory pumpkin project? You remember how angered those things got at the sight of wood furniture!"\n\n"Well, how else was the pumpkin supposed to know when it was Halloween? That one was a few weeks off, but it was jolly close for an illiterate squash!"\n\n<<display "Preamble 2 choices">>
"What happened to the gerbil test subjects?" you ask. "I thought they were vapourised."\n\n"Oh, that's the good news!" Helen beams. "It turns out they weren't vapourised at all! They all arrived at the destination spot as planned!"\n\n"But we saw-"\n\n"They had just become invisible."\n\n"//Invisible//? The teleporter made them invisible?"\n\n"Yes! One of them made it back to the gerbil pens, covered in grime!"\n\n"So, to recap, the teleporter works, and a lot of invisible gerbils are on the loose in the lab."\n\nShe beams. "It's like Christmas came two months early."\n\n"And how do you know I won't turn invisible, then?"\n\n"Well," she gestures at the patch, "I fed in <<print visited("Preamble 2c") ? "the jack-o-lantern" : "a pumpkin">> just now, and you can see those chunks, can't you?"\n\nIndeed!\n\n<<display "Preamble 2 choices">>\n
<<if visited() eq 1>>\s\nPOW! A bolt of energy just exploded against the wall, a foot from your head.\n\n"Ah!" cries Mell as you clutch your head in pain, "you guys got the one-way teleporter workin'!"\n\n"We have not," you grumble. "It's gone haywire! I'm being pinballed all over the lab!"\n\n"Nasty," she says. "Guess I'd better give it the ol' bazooka treatment - that always fixes science."\n\n<<else>>\s\nYou're at the break room again.\n\n<<display "Mell">>\n<<endif>>\s\n\n<<if $mug eq "filling">>\s\nA mug of rodent-hair joe is conveniently sitting nearby. Unwilling to risk dropping it again, you deign to leave it sitting on the counter.\n<<endif>>\s\n\n<<display "Gun Commands">>\n<<if visited("Mell Coffee Machine") lt 1 and visited() lt 3>>\s\n* [["Mell, the gerbils have infiltrated the coffee."|Mell Coffee Machine]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if $mug eq "fixed">>\s\n* [["Mell, could you fill this mug?"|Mell Fills Coffee]]\n<<else if $plan eq "taken" and $mug eq "broken">>\n* [[Drink coffee straight from the pot]]\n<<else if $mug eq "filling" and $mouth neq "full" and $plan eq "taken">>\s\n* [[Drink coffee]]\n<<if $artie eq "taken" and not $artiewake>>\s\n* [[Dunk Artie in coffee]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if visited() lt 2>>\s\n* [[Exit break room]]\n<<endif>>\s\n* [[Wait|Break Room Wait]]
Mustering your will, you <<print $smoke ? "transfer your cigarette to a free hand, and " : "">>take a swig of the coffee. You're pretty sure you can hold it in your mouth as long as you don't think about what's been in it, or how it's still painfully hot.\n\n<<display "Wrenching Sensation">><<set $mouth = "full">>
<<if $mug eq "breaking">>\s\nYou frantically shake your feet until the invisible thing clinging to them seems to fly off. You hear some retreating scuttling noises.\n<<set $mug = "broken">>\s\n\n<<if $artie neq "missing">>\s\n"An invisible gerbil attack?" observes Artie.\n\n"Yeah," you confirm.\n\n"It's just as I feared: they're starting to develop Ring of Gyges Syndrome. Which is to say, "any mere mortal that gains the power of invisibility will be corrupted utterly, and enslaved to his appetites." Just a paraphrase from Plato's //Republic//, but it'll do."\n<<endif>>\s\n<<else>>\s\nYou're at the lab's gerbil pens. <<once>>Stacks of sawdust-lined cages surround you. A bench a few feet from you has a disused rodent maze. Exits are to the north and south.<<endonce>>\s\n<<if $timer eq 0>>\s\nA stopwatch is sitting behind the rodent maze, at the far end of the bench.\n<<endif>>\n\n<<if $artie eq "missing">>\s\nArtie seems to have gone away to work through his caffeine high, probably by writing a long forum post about the ethics of uplifting non-sentient AIs or something.\n<<else if $artie eq "dozing">>\s\n<<if $artietalk eq 2>><<once>>\s\n"As I was saying, either //that// or you realised that the teleportation process destroys your original body, and this metaphysical realisation shocked you to the core," Artie finishes.\n<<endonce>>\s\n<<else if $artietalk eq 3>><<once>>\s\n"Well?" you ask of Artie.\n\n"Oh, nevermind - I realised it wouldn't work as soon as you'd left. Forget it."\n<<endonce>>\s\n<<else if visited("Gerbil Pens") eq 1>>\s\nArtie is trying to doze on the near end of the bench. "It'd have been polite to knock," he mutters.\n<<else if visited("Gerbil Pens") eq 2>>\s\nArtie, still looking drowsy, sits up at your second arrival. "I guess the teleporter's so successful that it's finally replaced walking?" he yawns.\n<<else>>\s\nArtie is still on the bench.\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\s\n<<once>>\nOK -- you guess Helen didn't mean for //that// to happen. You really hope that was just a once-off glitch - yes, a once-off. Now you'll just have an even longer walk back.\n<<endonce>>\n\n<<if $artie eq "taken">>\s\nArtie is still in your hand.\n\n* [[Chat with Artie|Hand Artie Talk]]\n* [[Put Artie down|Drop Artie]]\n<<else if $artie eq "dozing" >>\s\n<<if visited() lt 3>>\s\n* [[Look at Artie]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if $artietalk lt 3 and $artie eq "dozing" and not $artiewake>>\s\n* [[Chat with Artie|Talk to Artie]]\n<<if not visited("Ask Artie about gerbil hunting")>>\s\n* [[Ask Artie about gerbil hunting]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\s\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if $artie eq "dozing" and visited() gt 3>>\s\n* [[Take Artie]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if $plan eq "taken" and not visited("Take Stopwatch")>>\s\n* [[Take stopwatch|Take Stopwatch]]\n<<else if $timer neq "taken" and visited("Take Stopwatch")>>\s\n* [["Artie, could you get that stopwatch for me?"|Artie Get Stopwatch]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<display "Gun Commands">>\s\n* [[Wait|Gerbil Pens Wait]]\n<<if visited() lt 3>>\s\n* [[Go to the south corridor|Gerbil South Corridor]]\n* [[Go to the north corridor|Gerbil North Corridor]]\n<<endif>>\s\n<<if visited() gt 1 and $artietalk eq 0>>\s\n<<set $artietalk = 1>>\s\n<<endif>>\s
<<set $tport=0, \n$mell=0,\n$artietalk=0,\n$artietaken=0,\n$smoke=0,\n$plan="absent",\n$plantold=0,\n$plantoldartie=0,\n$artie="dozing",\n$artiehelentalk=0,\n$artiewake=false;\n$mug="absent",\n$timer="absent",\n$timed=0,\n$mouth="empty",\n$key="absent",\n$gun="absent">>