Thus it is that we finally get to the star of our story.
Simon the Albatross could not actually talk, although he was one of the 6th generation of Beltane Industries’ talking animals program Project Doolittle. His friend Sam the Mouse could talk, although his voice was ridiculously high and almost impossible to take seriously until you really got to know him. Project Doolittle was about consciousness manipulation as well as communication, so Simon’s ability to think and understand in a way overlapping with human consciousness was very much part of the desired results.
Simon and Sam got to know each other while they were both in the lab. Sam initially had thought Simon was a failed part of the project because Simon couldn’t actually talk and Simon thought Sam was a failed part of the project because Sam wouldn’t talk.
Simon and Sam’s cages were located next to each other. The lab men knew Simon was uncommonly bright, but were disappointed in his lack of voice and didn’t spend the same time testing him they did the other animals who could talk. He would of course be disposed of eventually, the date had simply not been set. Sam the mouse however was clearly a failure who the lab men had given up on completely. Sam could talk however and was in fact uncommonly bright, and played the scientists because early on he decided he wanted out and concluded his best chance was if they underestimated him drastically and perhaps left an opportunity for escape in his reach. It was a gamble, since his being a failed experiment also meant his certain death. If they knew he could talk, though, he would be watched carefully and guarded closely.
One night Sam’s food lever jammed and Sam couldn’t get any food. He swore quickly under his breath before he realized his stupidity. Simon caught it. Simon threw him some of his food and from that night on they were friends and conspired to break free. Sam would whisper to Simon and even taught the albatroos morse code so Simon could peck his beak on the ground and communicate back.
How did two little animals’ escape attempt cause the carnage and mayhem that resulted you ask? Did they use some kind of weapon? Did they kill some lab scientists? Because certainly a number of personnel died that night. The answer is no and no. The lab scientists were actually quite kind to the 6 animals in the animal room. While the animals wanted freedom they were too fond of the scientists to actually wish them death or harm. So how did those deaths and all that property damage to the Beltane Industries facility happen? Well, we shall answer that and we shall start by making quite clear the only object used in the escape was a paper clip.
The plan was Sam’s. It was simple. During one of Simon’s tests where he would retrieve requested objects, he made an awkward landing causing some things to knock over and creating a minor ruckus. The point of the ruckus was to grab a paper clip and keep it in his beak until he could slip it into Sam’s cage. That night Sam picked his lock. Sam then retrieved the keys and not only unlocked Simon’s cage but the cages of the other 4 animals, the dog, the ferret, the pig and the iguana.
The animals unlocked the lab room and made their way through the wing of the facility in hopes of finding an escape. However before they found an escape they found other things.
When the animals had shown promise of talking and sharing a type of humanoid consciousness the scientists had pondered the question of whether this could extend beyond living creatures. A range of other things were tested. Out of those there was a surprising amount of success with household objects, furniture in particular.
Thus it was that the escaping animals found themselves in a room with several pieces of conscious, talking furniture. A loveseat, a comfy chair, a lamp, a wine opener and a vanity were all thrilled to have new visitors and even more thrilled to hear about an escape attempt. The items were also anxious to see and experience the outside world. So they joined the animals in their escape.
They 6 animals and 5 items attempted to sneak out of the research facility in the dead of night.,
Where things went out of control is when one more item asked to join them. The term item is utterly wrong, though. More apt would be the word ‘place’. More specifically, the room itself.
The items all lived in a living room, one that could also speak and think and which also very much wanted to escape.
So the 6 animals, the 5 items and 1 room all attempted to sneak out of the research facility in the dead of night. However, there were floors above them. When the room left, squeezing and elbowing its way out of the building, the results were massive property damage and falling ceilings. The entire east wing collapsed resulting in a number of injuries and sadly, fatalities.
Beltane Industries tried to hunt down their escaped experiments but they were very unsuccessful. They recovered the lamp and that was it.
The chair and vanity eventually made friends and found good homes. A little girl adored playing “mirror mirror on the wall” with the vanity and she and the vanity remained life long friends passing it down to her daughter and eventually onto her daughter’s niece.
The chair joined a gang and the mates all got along splendidly. The chair was eventually destroyed in a fight when a rival gang broke in an started throwing stuff around. The gang was devastated at the loss of their good buddy the chair and they took a very heated and vicious revenge.
The love seat ended up at the Duchess of Calvary’s. The Duchess was always suspected of being odd and at times her speaking to the loveseat seemed out right mad, but they pulled many a practical joke together and even had some rather pleasant and erotic moments together. It is believed to still reside in the Manor and children who have spent any time there always adore the love seat.
The pig was killed fairly quickly. It wandered into a poorer section of New Albion and was slaughtered for meat before it had the opportunity to make a case for its life.
The dog and ferret faired splendidly. Who doesn’t want a talking dog or a talking ferret as a friend? The ferret made out the best as it befriended a wandering bard and got to truly see the world.
We hesitate to discuss the iguana in the interests of good taste. But there is no point whitewashing certain realities of life. The iguana fell upon… no, the iguana got in a with a questionable crowd. Perhaps it simply went where its proclivities took it. It lived a seedy life with seedy acquaintances. Throughout New Albion there are a series of jokes about a randy iguana who performs cunnilingus. While obviously most people would not for a second consider that these jokes are based on reality, the truth is otherwise.
Simon the Albatross and Sam the Mouse became part of one of the most successful thieving gangs in New Albion history and indeed we shall continue with their story tomorrow.
No one knows what happened to the room. But in certain esoteric circles, where secrets are kept and passed along carefully, there are indeed rumors of a wild room who moves freely across New Albion and the 5 homeless adolescents who became its friends.