An invitation to a party appears on various university billboards inviting people to the Kappa Alpha Frat house located in the mostly finished Castle Commonwealth mall on the edge of town. The notice instructs people to follow the access road at 67 Lost Nation drive and enter through the back door and promises that signs will be posted to guide people to the party itself.
"It seems a little early still to me, but I don't sleep very much. I might spend some time in the library before bed."
Joss grimaces. "I don't think I've slept in...at least twenty four hours." (She winces as Tamaris and Rex both give her disappointed looks.) "I had a bad night, okay? Unwanted phonecalls."
Tamaris sighs. "Well, I think I'm with Zahn. Too early for me to be sleeping, yet. Would you mind if I joined you in the library?"
"Not at all. It's probably better not to go places alone until we know more anyway. As for not sleeping in twenty four hours, I sleep consistently short hours every night, but I do sleep every night."
"Insomnia's a bitch. I'm gonna go try and sleep. Good luck with the library. G'night."
She turns and heads out the door.
Rex looks after her, and then looks back at Tamaris.
"I'll be fine," Tamaris assures him.
He follows after Joss.
"Library then?" she says, starting to move towards it herself.
"I think I'm going to get some sleep. Don't stay up too late Zahn."
"I won't, don't worry about me." Then he follows Tamaris.
Tamaris heads straight for the computers. "Let's see if these have anything," she says, mostly to herself. "Sometimes online news gets stuff before the TV crews get there. And if nothing else, I can see if emailing anyone is possible."
"I was thinking the same thing."
The computers do not have internet access, or a recognizable operating system for that matter. The entry screen has four options displayed: employment, encyclopedia, interfaces, and settings.
Tamaris swears. "Alright then, let's look at settings first..."
The settings page has options regarding input methods including speech recognition. It also has settings relating to the theme of the UI elements, the units and calendar used and setting alarms. It also notes that these are the settings Citizen ID f71e1b59 (Tamaris) and 516eb290 (Zahn). The sole thing that stands out is an obscure comment: "No claimed rooms or buildings."
"Well that's intriguing I wonder how it can tell who's sitting at the computer."
"Yeah. And I don't like the word 'Citizen' or the fact that we're numbered. If I've learned one thing from history it's that numbering people like that tends to end up badly." She sighs, navigates out of settings and heads into interfaces.
"I tend to think of numbering as a computer thing, especially given that it's in hexadecimal."
The interfaces section merely has a notice saying "No local interfaces detected. No remote interfaces configured. No employee interfaces unlocked."
"I'm a history minor, and one of my- great uncles was involved and told stories. It stuck in my head."
"Well, so far, this has been a complete bust," Tamaris says, pouting slightly, "What do you reckon? Employment or encyclopedia next?"
"I'm sorta intrigued by the idea of employment but I'd naively expect that the encyclopedia has the most information."
"Well. It's certainly worth a shot," she agrees, navigating to the encyclopedia.
The encyclopedia has articles on a lot of topics, there's articles on medicine, specific plants, farming techniques, anatomy, various animals including some that are extinct on Earth, cleaning agents, security systems, martial arts, mall stores, and teleporters among other topics. Zahn also looks at the list on his own terminal. "One of these things is not like the others. I think stuff about Teleporters might be our best lead."
The articles on teleporters describe a pretty wide variety of types of teleporters including the familiar elevator type. One of the articles also makes reference to a buffer drug to protect users during interstellar teleportation.
"...interstellar?" Tamaris murmurs, looking for more information on that buffer drug. "Could that have been in the drinks we had? Might explain why Joss was so woozy when we got here..."
"Yeah, Alice and I both had a drink."
"As did me and Rex," Tamaris confirms. "Joss is overly paranoid about open drinks containers at parties and refused to. I- why on earth, or whatever spirits forsaken planet we've found ourselves on, did somebody decide that a interstellar abduction was required?! It makes acquiring a ransom difficult, and with the openness of the invitation, how could they know they'd acquire anyone worth ransoming in the first place?" (She's starting to sound a little panicky now, but she's doing a good job of controlling it.)
"Why is your first thought ransom? It doesn't really seem to follow from what we've seen. I think my first thought would be some sort of social experiment or scientific study."