You are currently on: 4F
A Few Administrative Notes
Yes, I’ve come back from the dead… for now, at least. All updates beginning from here should be bi-weekly (every 2 weeks, before any nitpickers from English Language & Usage show up on here). I’ve pretty much given up on trying to implement the “quiz” section of this floor the way I wanted to; I was hoping to find a way to create clickable image maps for the Yes/No buttons using an online wizard without having to actually write code, but failed to find anything better than an animated GIF creator. Hopefully I can get some guidance on how to make those before the 5th Floor launches, anyway.
Also, for any more senior Puzzlers who might think I'm making syntax mistakes: I am indeed aware that images can be embedded directly in a question's text. I just feel like making people click on each of the narrator's photos individually heightens the mystery a bit. Plus, last time I made one of these floors it was done and dusted in ten minutes flat.
Third Floor: Conclusion
Mr. Kinsella repeats the password you have just given him and playfully adds, “…is… correct!” He steps aside to grant you admission to the round elevator. Barely three hours have passed since you first stepped into the Labryca Complex, and you’re already three complete floors in. With renewed confidence, you board the next elevator. But very little could ever have prepared you for the challenges ahead.
Fourth Floor: Introduction
The elevator’s doors press shut, it begins its smooth ascent, and it stops… but the doors don’t open for you this time. You bang on them, receiving no response; you press and claw at various areas of the walls, but find them to be just as sheer and sterile as those of any previous Labrycean room. Soon enough, you are at a loss as to how you can escape from this featureless elevator.
Almost featureless. Just as you’re ready to try smashing the overhead light fixture to try to find some kind of key, you turn your attention to the back of the elevator and spot a grey frame embedded within it, curved to fit the wall. Quickly, you dig out your cell phone and activate its camera roll, hoping to preserve as much photo evidence as possible. You then tap on the screen and it activates, flashing a message.
A fanfare of 8-bit elevator music heralds the appearance of a peculiar white face. Blue text then scrolls onto the screen letter by letter, as if the Door Identity Verification Apparatus mascot – or DIVA, as you refer to her to save precious time – were greeting you herself.
The timer, clearly showing your total remaining time in the Complex, ticks down two seconds before DIVA spits out a message in green text, this one much stranger than the last.
What could it mean? It remains on the screen for about seven seconds; you’re more baffled than before, and that’s really saying something. But just as you’re ready to obey her literal word, switching your phone over to Facebook to tag a photo of one of your more annoying friends, the letters of the message rearrange themselves on the screen, moving around and turning red to form themselves into a much more sensible anagram.
You figure that if you’re challenged to any sort of “game” while trapped in an elevator, the reward can only possibly be one thing, so you comply and touch the screen again. DIVA’s game appears to be a quiz: she presents you with a series of yes-or-no questions, and a light illuminates on the screen each time one of your answers is correct. Any incorrect answer forces you to restart the quiz from its beginning, and, lo and behold, you manage to get every question wrong at least once. But even still, your confidence is on a high and you proceed fairly quickly through the game. Your camera is fully operational, enabling you to record all of DIVA’s questions and – shall we say – responses accurately; they are as below.
Once all five lights are illuminated, a congratulatory message from DIVA appears, along with another confusing green-colored phrase that you hope will rearrange itself for you. However, you stare at the message for a while and the letters do not move, and another tap to the screen causes it to switch itself off as you finally hear the elevator doors slide open behind you. Well, gee… now you’re almost glad you were so bad at the quiz!
Fourth Floor: Wallview IT Park
Another even-numbered floor awaits outside the elevator, and thus, as on the second floor, you begin your journey in its center. However, it is clear that no billiards, pub grub, or indeed fun times of any sort are to be had here. Before you is a corridor, spiraling outward clockwise, with seafoam-green walls, dull gray carpeting, and artificial plants in pots; all along it, gray-shirted office workers are perched inside alcoves, most typing away furiously on outdated computers. It appears you have reached the Complex’s cubicle farm.
The first few cubicles have their occupants’ full names affixed to their doors, and you bypass them swiftly, stopping only to notice their facial expressions, since all of them appear to have strong, and very different, attitudes related to their work. Behind the first door you encounter, “Hannah Lambresco” looks off to the side and purses her lips while she is typing, either whistling or trying to deny a mistake. Behind the second, “Alexa Daniels” looks positively ill, with a visible green complexion and her eyes squeezed shut. And yet the third cubicle’s occupant, “Wei Su,” is all smiles as you pass; has he just gotten a promotion?
When you glance into the fourth cubicle and find “Linwood Rafura” hunched over in his chair with downcast eyes and a guilty expression, you can no longer help it; you initiate a conversation with him and ask him what the matter is. “My program…” Mr. Rafura laments. “Nobody understands my program! I’m trying to help the Labryceans, and nobody is going along with it! I should just quit now…”
Beyond here, a coffeemaker stands on a blocky extruded shelf, and a male and a female employee, looking just as emotional as those before them, step out of the adjoining offices for cups. Thirsty and knowing you’ll most likely need to be awake all night, you swipe a cup yourself and catch a snippet of conversation.
“Ugh… Gina…” sighs the man, his eyes very small, round, and downcast due to sleep deprivation. “I did not drink all your coffee… before you had a chance to–“
“Cameron!” the woman interrupts, leaning over him with a red face and an overbearingly angry expression. “You tell me that every solar cycle! And it’s never, ever true!”
You notice a direction sign on the wall behind the coffeemaker; for documentation purposes, you snap a photo thereof before moving forward.
The “31” in the bottom right of the sign may be mysterious to the grunts in this office, but to you, it clearly represents your destination, and you redouble your speed past the final four cubicles, stopping only to note the unique workers within each: a moaning woman with eyes shut and what you’d take to be tears running down her face; a man named Nils (if his office door is to be believed) with his eyes wide, apparently flabbergasted by his current data entry session; a female technician who appears extremely confused, her eyes spiraling in circles; and finally, a messy-haired woman with thick eyeshadow and maniacal eyes whose desk is cluttered by numerous coffee cups and energy drinks.
Just beyond the door to this tenth and final cubicle, a heavy, sturdy door is surmounted by a glowing “31” sign that resembles the “11” you saw at the far end of the bar earlier. You’ve got a strong feeling that this door may be one-way; taking a final glance around the Wallview installation, you brace yourself and once again set out for the fourth floor’s baffling ring of rooms. You’re already down the rabbit hole; it’s time to check out just how deep it will go.
You could not have imagined a more artificial-looking space than this one; a quick circuit of all ten rooms in this ring reveals the presence of nothing at all besides the ten computer terminals. The green walls and gray carpets you noticed earlier also persist into this room, without even a speck of dust visible on any of them. Of course, gray is the perfect color for disguising dust, so what do you know?
With no further ado, you’re back down to business recording the ten customary letter strings present on these terminals.
The Fourth Elevator
On what feels like your hundredth pass around this ring of enciphered messages, you arrive back at Room 40 and finally decide you’re prepared to transition to the next stage. As per usual, beyond the metal door in the outer wall of the Complex, an elongated elevator awaits, with a black-clad employee standing guard before it. This floor’s Guardian is very tall and, it appears, controlling. His red-haired head turns to fixate on you from above, and he speaks with the commanding demeanor of a drill sergeant – still a major improvement, in your opinion, from the whiny, dramatic employees below.
“Hiram Remmick. Fourth Guardian of Labryca,” he recites very simply. “Password, please!”
Note / Disclaimer
Sharp-eyed geeks, particularly those who spent hours squinting at a certain small screen about fifteen years ago, may notice that the character of DIVA has been… shall we say… “borrowed” from somewhere. (Then again, I was also expecting somebody to have recognized the character in my avatar by now and no one has commented on it, so maybe I’m mistaken.)
Knowing where this character originally appeared will not help you with the current puzzle, but during the last few floors, it may give you a slight but unique form of advantage. Thus, if you know where DIVA held her first job and you’re hoping to be a certified Conqueror of Labryca before anyone else on this site, it might be in your best interest to not tell other people.
I also include this comment as a copyright disclaimer. I didn’t invent this character. I didn’t draw her. I don’t own the rights to her. Yadda yadda. Burma-Shave.