Midnight Pub

Escape the Pub

~kyle

You just woke up with a big headache, on the banquette of a booth, at the Midnight Pub. Now you remember: you definitely had too much to drink yesterday night, and you passed out. In fact, you're experiencing quite a bad hangover!

The Pub seems to be completely empty: no patrons, no bartender, as if everyone left while you were sleeping. Apparently the staff didn't notice you at all, while they were doing the close up.

Still surprised and wobbling, you reach the entrance, just to find it locked. Hell, they definitely closed with you inside!

You're almost hit by an attack of panic in recalling the reason why there was a discount on beer, yesterday evening: ~bartender was going on vacation.

This is ESCAPE THE PUB (again*), an experimental and improvised escape room! Your objective is to escape the Midnight Pub, while I'll be your eyes and your hands.
Reply to this post to start playing in a thread (I'll probably master just a few games at the time for now, since I'm not sure where this is going, first come first served).
(*) this is the re-proposition of an old thread.
Go to the original post.

pseudoriemann

(This sounds like fun!)

I pound at the door and call for help, and also look around to see if there are any windows.

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kyle

You call from help for a couple of minutes, until your our eyes stop on an old movie poster on the bulletin board:

Alien. In space, no one can hear you scream.

The irony is stunning.

The pub has windows, but they're protected by finely crafted wrought-iron window grilles. They seem to be very sturdy, although they can definitely be forced open with some power tool.

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pseudoriemann

(I'm not sure about the lore of the pub, are we actually in space?)

Surely there must be some power tools lying around here somewhere. I try to see if there is a staff area and look through any closets and drawers I come across.

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kyle

(errr... I have no idea. I don't think so. m15o might know better, but I think it was just an ironic poster).

Anyway... As you know (you do, right?), that there are two public areas in the pub.

The left side is a cozy place: a big fireplace and comfy armchairs. You notice something dark, flat and square on a table. Could it be that Isvarahparamahkrsnah forgot his laptop?

The right side is devoted to patrons who drink and eat: you see the booths and the game area (pool and darts). At the end of the room the entrance of the restroom and the staircase leading to the first floor. The first floor probably classifies as a staff area, and in fact there are two locked doors. One probably leads to a private restroom. The upstairs landing looks quite dusty. There's a locked door downstairs too: you guess it is a cellar.

In the middle of the pub you see the counter with the cash register. Behind the counter a swinging door leads to the kitchenette: the only accessible staff area so far. You see fridges, a food slicer, some knifes attached to a magnet on the wall, and a locker. Below the kitchen bench there's a crate containing some empty bottles, the kind you can return for money.

Rummaging around, you find cutlery and some corkscrews. Finally, you find a keyring: one of the keys is broken, but the other looks fine.

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pseudoriemann

First I check out the dark square - if it is a laptop I'd like to try opening a Gemini browser and post a cry for help. Then I take the keys and try the non-broken one on the locked door to the cellar and the doors upstairs.

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kyle

Yep, that's a laptop.

It is a good while since ~Isvarahparamahkrsnah was seen around here: you guess he owns a spare laptop. The laptop is turned off, and it seems to be out of battery too. You see no battery charger, at least not in the cozy room.

The key doesn't enter the cellar keyhole: there's something stuck in there, and it seems to be a piece of key - most likely the one that is missing from the broken key. ~bartender must have another way to get in there.

You reach the first floor, leaving more tracks on the white dust that covers the landing. The unbroken key turns out to open one of the doors: you see a storage room full of supplies: spare glasses, jars of pickled vegetables, ingredients for cocktails. You see a refrigerator, Christmas decorations, a snow shovel, a red towel bearing the inscription: "Don't Panic".

There's no dust in this room.

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pseudoriemann

Are there any tracks in in the dust other than mine?

The towel could be extremely useful so I take it with me. Since this room is kept clean while the outside is dusty I assume there might be another entrance, so I go look for one, while also keeping my eyes open for power tools, keys and a charger. In particular I look inside and behind the fridge (should my rescue take a couple of weeks it would be good to know what my food reserves are).

I have plans for the snow shovel but first I'll try to exhaust my non-violent options.

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kyle

There are in fact some tracks that do not belong to you. They're not recent: you saw them already when you first got upstairs. The tracks have been imprinted by heavy boots.

Taking a towel seems a good idea: a towel is about the most massively useful thing a pub patron can have. The shovel might be the second most useful, who knows.

That said, there's no other door on the first floor. There's a window, but it has the same window grilles as downstairs (plus, probably you don't want to jump one floor, do you?). The dust must come from the other door.

You search deeply for something useful for your evasion. No keys, no laptop chargers (well, you would be very surprised to find Isvarahparamahkrsnah's laptop charger in a private area of the pub!), and most definitely no power tools. Plenty of bartender stuff though! You see a shaker, a pack of wooden twigs for skewers, a fire extinguisher (safety matters!), aprons, corkscrews, books about cocktails, and more.

The fridge contains frozen food of course: plenty of sandwich bread, some packs of frozen chicken wings, frozen pizza: you're not going to starve, and you might even enjoy some aperitif. Moving the fridge pays off, in that you find some lost coins, and more dust of a different kind.

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pseudoriemann

Hmm. Plenty of little things that could be of use later, I will have to start taking notes.

I help myself to some of the food in the fridge. I think I haven't fully explored the lower area yet, so I will do that now. First I look through the booths to see if the charger is lying around there. And I also look in the bathroom to see if it has any windows with weaker security than the others - I wouldn't expect any useful objects there but just to be sure I search there too.

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kyle

You grab some frozen pizza, and realize you will need to heat it up in some way. There's no stove or microwave in the storage room, so you'll have to bring it downstairs: maybe in the kitchenette?

The laptop is on a coffee table in the cozy room. You finally find the cable under the armchair pillow next to it. You plug the laptop in the socket and wait for the battery to charge a little.

In the meanwhile you visit the restroom. As you enter, before the lights turn automatically on, you notice a little green led on the ceiling. You see a broom cabinet: it contains a mop and a bucket. On the top shelf of the cabinet you find a wire cutter and a first aid kit. The window has no grilles, but it is unfortunately too narrow to be a way out (except for farts).

You go back to the cozy room, where the laptop is now charged. You turn it on, and it boots into LibreKrsnah OS. You're prompted for a password.

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pseudoriemann

Ah, of course it is password protected! I don't suppose there are any hints written on the laptop? Otherwise there is little hope (unless I can log in with a guest account). Just to see what happens when you enter a wrong password I'll try "password".

There don't seem to be many people around but I'll try shouting for help out of the bathroom window anyway. Also, can I look through it?

I'm curious about the LED so I try inspecting it further and make my best guess to its purpose. Is it part of the motion detector that turns the light on?

Finally I'll take a break and heat my pizza in the kitchenette.

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kyle

Actually there is a yellow post-it on the laptop, but it is not the classic clear-text password as you wished. It is a TODO list. You read the following:

LibreKrsnah OS: TODO
☑ Upgrade kernel to new LTS
☐ Improve the desktop dashboard
☐ Upgrade gdm, ditch 3.18.x (🐈!)

The default user is "Isvarahparamahkrsnah". You type "password" in the password box and press enter: the password is rejected, and you get prompted again. The only other user in the list is "root".

You go back to the restroom. First off you check the LED: it is part of a small, round electronic device stuck on the ceiling. There is a little inscription on it: "do not paint".

You reach the window by stepping on the toilet. All you see from it is a small alley and a wall of bricks. A light rain falls from the sky, and the asphalt is wet, and you feel a little lost. The window pane is slightly cracked, and some sharp shards of glass are laying on the windowsill. You bring your mouth close to the crack, and scream for help. All you hear back is a dog barking, far away. While you get off the toilet, you notice there's some dust on the ground, next to the pipe: the same kind of dust that you found in much larger quantities upstairs. Now you recognize it as iron oxide.

Finally you bring the frozen pizza to the kitchenette. You see the stove, and you seek for a pan or something similar. You find one in the drawer in the kitchen cabinets, next to the empty bottles crate you saw earlier. You notice a wooden plank under the crate. You ditch the pan and the stove entirely when you see there's a microwave on the shelf behind you.

The delicious and warm pizza gives you new energies, and you feel you can escape soon.

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pseudoriemann

With newly hightened spirits from the good food I take a crack at the laptop again. Hmm, the display manager is not fully up to date? I think I remember hearing something about a possible bypass. I try pressing and holding the escape key for some while.

The iron oxide is suspicious - perhaps the pipe goes to the room upstairs? But without a key I won't be able to investigate this much. Does the pipe have any holes or loose parts?

Can I see any wires coming from the device on the ceiling? If yes I'd like to see where they go. I still don't know what it could be - if it is a smoke detector there should be one in the kitchen too, so I look at the ceiling there.

Does the plank under the bottle crate look out of place compared to the rest of the floor? I try to see if it is loose and if something is below it (would not be the worst place to hide a key after all).

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kyle

After years spent reading CVEs, you became agile like a cat: the login manager crashes and you contemplate a somewhat unusual desktop. The active window contains an incomplete journal entry about food recipes. A minimal web browser is running behind it, showing a recipe named "Chole Bhature". A terminal emulator is keeping track of the system log, where you see the report of a recent segmentation fault. On the bottom you see a dashboard that blinks in a weird way: it is probably buggy.

While you meditate on the age-old problem of software usability, you decide to have another bite of pizza, and get back to the kitchenette to heat up a slice. You notice the wooden plank again, and decide to check it out.

You leave the microwave humming, move away the crate, and take a look: is an old sturdy board, painted in yellow. You lift it, and you find that it covers a square hole in the floor. You look down the hole, but it is completely dark: all you can see is the top part of a wooden ladder.

A loud *ding* makes you jump: the pizza is ready! It is actually way hotter than what you intended to get. You wait to be able to touch it. Glancing the ceiling, you notice another round device, similar to the one you saw in the restroom. Is it just the same?

As the pizza seems to take ages to cool off, you decide to check the restroom again. First off you look at the device: it is exactly the same. Both of them are turned on (the LED is on), but none of them seem connected to a wire. You guess the wires are passing behind the false ceiling.

Finally, you glance at the pipes: they are rusty, but they seem still in working conditions, at least for now. Given the amount of dust, the upstairs pipes might be broken.

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pseudoriemann

Yes, I'm in! Ignoring the glitches for now I open a new tab in the browser and go to the pubs official forum, midnight.pub, and make a post describing my situation. If it works then surely rescue will come within minutes.

But if it doesn't I'll need to hatch another plan. I think the LED devices are either smoke or carbon monoxide detectors, and they probably automatically contact the fire department when they go off, but I'll consider my other options before taking any actions in this regard (starting the sprinklers, if there are any, could potentially cause more damage than removing the grills from a single window).

The ladder to the cellar is also very interesting, there could easily be power tools down there. Is the laptop mostly charged by now? If yes, I'd like to take it down there to see if the display is bright enough for me to see anything (ideally a light switch).

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kyle

You seek among the available Wi-Fi networks, and find the pub's free Wi-Fi.

As the browser connects to midnight.pub you perceive a weird vibration around you, and a light ghostly shine flashes briefly on the entrance, propagating radially across the room. The shine highlighting in its passage the silhouettes of human beings, who walk around, interact silently, sit on the booths and have drinks at the bar. They disappear immediately after the wave passed.

As you post your message, you perceive a similar shine on the bulletin board near the entrance, and you notice the appearance of another paper posted.

(You're now allowed, if you wish, to post on midnight.pub in real life. You can ask advices to the other patrons, but I guess it's fair if only the forum owner can set you free.)

While waiting for an answer, you disconnect the laptop: the battery did not charge beyond 95.6%, but it will be definitely enough. The power manager reports it will work for a couple of hours. You use it as a flashlight, climbing down the ladder, until you reach the floor of the cellar.

In the dim light of the screen, you see that the room is rectangular, narrow and long. The ladder is leaning towards a wall which is covered with shelves full of bottles. The opposite wall is covered with something bulky.

At the other end of the room you see a closed door. You grope around to reach it, and try to open it, but it is locked (of course!). Next to it you see a light switch, so you turn on the light. Now you can close the laptop lid and look around.

You have now a better view of the room: the shelves are in fact carrying the most different bottles: wines, soft drinks, syrups, and various ingredients for cocktails. The bulky objects are crates, half of them are full of empty bottles ready to be returned for money, the other half are full of various kinds of soda.

Beyond the crates, you see a large and shiny machine, shaped like a big cube, supported by four shiny legs. The machine is connected to a socket on the wall, but it is otherwise turned off.

On the nearby wall you see a window: it has no bars and it is large enough for a person to pass. On the other side of it, however, you see what it looks to be a sewer for rain water.

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