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Text Adventure Playthrough #9: Slouching Towards Bedlam

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>x mirror
Three heavy oak frames line the wall beside the mirror, each containing a picture: a young man standing proudly outside Charing Cross Medical School; a formal photo of a junior rugby team (with the same young man in the third row); an older version of the man smiling from a gaggle of classmates on graduation day.

The man in each picture is a shadow of the face reflected in the mirror.

>x picture frames
Three heavy oak frames line the wall beside the mirror, each containing a picture: a young man standing proudly outside Charing Cross Medical School; a formal photo of a junior rugby team (with the same young man in the third row); an older version of the man smiling from a gaggle of classmates on graduation day.

The man in each picture is a shadow of the face reflected in the mirror.

>x workshop
You can’t see any such thing.

     
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>x window
>x table

     

Happiness is such hard work, gets harder every day and it can kill you, but no one wants to be that tacky about it. If you spin fast enough then maybe the broken pieces of your heart will stay together, but something I’ve seen lately makes me doubt it.. - Dismemberment Plan

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>x window
The window sits high along the flat’s eastern wall, flooded with sunshine and shadow.

>x table
Much of the heavy wooden table top is obscured by a large magnetophone. At one corner of the table is a paperbacked book, lying beside a small trade card.

>x paperbacked book
The book is open to a marked page, labeled “Troubleshooting Your Magnetophone, A Home User’s Guide…”

1. Problem: Nothing happens when I turn my Magnetophone on.
Be sure that your Magnetophone is hooked up to a viable power source, and that the power source is active. If you are sure your power source is active, toggle your switch.

2. Problem: All I hear is static or I can hear other operators, but they can’t hear me speak, or they do not answer.
To broadcast, be sure to depress the TRANSMIT button each time you wish to speak. While the TRANSMIT button is not depressed, your magnetophone acts as a receiver, not a transmitter. Also, be sure to use proper etiquette while operating your Magnetophone. To let another operator know you wish to make contact, press the TRANSMIT button and use the universally accepted phrase “Calling CQ”. If you fail to use this code, other operators may believe they are picking up the middle of an alternate conversation, and will not respond for fear of interrupting.

3. Problem: I can hear static and voices, but they are faint or indistinct.
Magnetophone customers living in highly-populated, urban areas may experience transmission interference due to the presence of large buildings, crowded streets, and pollution. You may try alleviate to this problem by placing the Magnetophone by a clear opening - such as a window. If this does not fix the problem, you may need to purchase one of several amplification devices, designed to fit into your machine’s expansion slot.

>x trade card
A trade card depicting a smiling, smartly dressed gentleman with a small black box on wheels by his side. It reads:

“Modern Office Marvel”

The Triage Mark III(tm) is the marriage of Professional Efficiency and Understated Elegance. Its sleek onyx casing houses a mechanical ‘brain’ capable of rapid Data Retrieval and Analysis. Pre-programmed with an encyclopedia’s breadth of knowledge, the Triage Mark III(tm) is every business man’s friend. Savvy executives may choose to order the stunning ivory data entry device (sold separately) to expand and customize their Triage’s library.

Available at Du Monde’s - Mechanist of Repute since 1803, 1428 Fleet Street, Smithfield Market, London.

On the opposite side of the card is a handwritten note:

“Bill of Sale: One Aetheric Amplifier, to be picked up. Paid in Full. Order number 59208. - Du Monde”

>x magnetophone
A stout metallic box, approximately two feet long by a foot deep. On its side is a small label which reads “Wheatstone/Cooke Aether-Magnetophone Company,” beneath which is a small, closed panel.

Its front contains a simple toggle switch, a button labeled ‘transmit’, and the long graceful curve of a cygnet speaker. At its back is a small valve, connected to a rubber tube which trails along the floor.

>

     
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the cylinder labeled January twenty-second mentioned a Magnetophone.

>open panel
>toggle switch
>press TRANSMIT
>tell Magnetophone ‘Calling CQ’

     

Happiness is such hard work, gets harder every day and it can kill you, but no one wants to be that tacky about it. If you spin fast enough then maybe the broken pieces of your heart will stay together, but something I’ve seen lately makes me doubt it.. - Dismemberment Plan

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>open panel
The expansion slot panel opens, revealing a small, empty socket containing two vertical holes.

>press switch
The toggle switch switches on.

>press TRANSMIT
The button stays depressed as long as it is pushed, then releases. Nothing more happens.

>tell Magnetophone ‘Calling CQ’
That is not a recognized verb.

     
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Luhr28 - 09 April 2021 12:18 AM

/(growlearnreachseedexchangeexpand)\

“What’s that?  Sounded strange there for a moment, you did.”

So this is more than an inner dialogue. Can we use it in some way?

Now that we have a mirror:

>x self

We probably both need to fix the power source and reception. Let’s go pick up the amplifier:

>s
>close door
>enter cab
>take me to Du Monde

     
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>x self
Three heavy oak frames line the wall beside the mirror, each containing a picture: a young man standing proudly outside Charing Cross Medical School; a formal photo of a junior rugby team (with the same young man in the third row); an older version of the man smiling from a gaggle of classmates on graduation day.

The man in each picture is a shadow of the face reflected in the mirror.

>s

Outside Flat 2D
This small, empty road lies at the base of a small hill. It is lined with thin buildings, many advertising “Flats to Let” in their windows. The one directly north contains a door labeled 2D.

To the west is the massive stone edifice that is Newgate Gaol. A gallows prepared for tomorrow’s public execution, towers over the street.

A hansom cab sits here with a tired old horse hitched to the front and its driver waiting patiently.

Triage obediently appears.

>close door
The door to Flat 2D closes.

>enter cab
Entered.

Faced with the task of climbing into the cab, Triage is more than up to the challenge. Raising and extending first two wheels and then the others, it clambers inside beside.

>take me to Du Monde
No such thing can be seen.

>

     
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>take me to 1428 Fleet Street

Or, if that doesn’t work:

>take me to Smithfield Market

     
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>take me to fleet street
The trip feels none too comfortable, but at least the cab’s interior gives some insulation against the tumult of London. Before long, the cab slows and the driver announces the reached destination…

Smithfield Market (in the hansom cab)
While this is merely the outskirts of the Market, its presence still threatens to overwhelm the senses—the smell of an abattoir, the din of a thousand voices shouting, the sight of masses of humanity talking, shopping, selling.

The only quiet in the din lies southward, towards Fleet Street.

Triage rests obediently nearby.

>

     
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>out
>s

     
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>out
Exited.

Triage gracefully climbs out of the cab beside.

>s

1428 Fleet Street
Set off to one side of the Market, this area is reserved for a myriad variety specialist shops - uniform clothiers, engine-programmers, fortune-tellers. The largest, set on the south side of the street, is decorated with a gaudy sign which reads “Du Monde’s - Mechanist of Repute Since 1803.”  Along the same building - to the southeast - lies a small door which reads, simply, “1428.”

Triage silently rolls to a stop.

>

     
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I guess we’ll start with Du Monde’s:

>s

     
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>s
Du Monde’s
The shop is dark, and crowded with haphazardly stacked, yet neatly organized piles of machinery. To the south, there is a worn wooden counter, cracked with age and covered with innumerable nicks, scratches, and dark burn marks.  Behind the counter are rows and rows of drawers, labeled in some arcane script. The faint scent of gas clings to the walls.

The shop’s show window and door look out on Fleet Street to the north. A second door lies behind the counter to the east.

A woman leans over the counter, working on something with intense concentration.

It comes easier this time, the coldness frightening in its familiarity.

/(yesmoreyesplantquestfurthergrowyes)\

It is faster, too - somehow more…efficient?

/(soundnoisevoicecallinggreetinggrasping)\

A trickle becoming a break becoming a rush.

/(expansionaugmentationincreasematurity)\

It finishes its unfolding, collapsing backwards, inwards.

/(complexityinvestigationmoreyesmore)\

The woman looks up suddenly, her eyes huge ovals magnified five times their normal size by monocles squinted tightly in each eye. She opens them wide, releases the monocles and drops them into an already bulging shirt pocket. She straightens, wiping her hands on a on a dirty rag.

Her greasy shirtsleeves are rolled up to the elbows, and ill-fitting, thick trousers pool and disappear into the tops of her workman’s boots.

She smiles thinly.

“So sorry, sir. I didn’t catch what you said. Sometimes when I’m concentrating that hard, everything outside my head sounds like gibberish.”

Triage obediently appears.

Du Monde taps her fingers on the counter impatiently.

>

     
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>x Du Monde
>point at Du Monde
>ask about amplifier

     
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>x du monde
Tall and thin, though her figure is difficult to make out in men’s clothes that are ill-suited for her frame. Her curly, auburn hair is tied back in a simple ponytail at the nape of her neck. Her fierce green eyes are bright and aware, though they crinkle their corners.

She wears a small pin on her lapel.

Du Monde briefly consults a manual before returning to work.

>point at du monde
A small beam of green light lashes out over Ms. Du Monde as Triage’s screen lights up:

CAT:LIVING.HUMAN
FEMALE.UTIL:COMM
UNICATION.POSSIB
LE(SPEECH.OR.WRI
TTEN.WORD)PART:I
D=UNKNOWN.FURTHE
R.ANALYSIS-POSSI
BLE.EXAMINATION?

Du Monde’s throat tightens slightly. “How clever,” she whispers.

>ask du monde about amplifier
“Trouble with your magnetophone, sir?  That happens often enough within the city limits.”

Du Monde bites her lower lip as she continues to work.

>g
“An amplifier module would help, yes sir, but they’re rather rare. I only get them on special order. And no use asking about that - I only just got my last order in. It’d be weeks before I could put in another.”

>g
“As I said, I do have an aetheric amplifier, but I can’t just give it away. It was a special order.”

>g
“There’s really nothing more to say, sir.”

     

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