From the Desk of B6

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from the desk of

Rat # B6

Group B, subject 6
Box #6, Room 314

Dear Principal Investigator,

I wish to respond to your presentation of a visual stimulus by pressing the right lever and (hopefully) receiving a food pellet.

Thank you for your interest.

Sincerely,
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B6

Dear Principal Investigator,

I wish to express my gratitude for your generosity in providing food pellets for myself and co-testees in return for our lever work during the course of this experiment. The deposit of pellets in the dish provided has been, with few exceptions, consistent and timely.

Thank you again, and I look forward to further association with this project.

Sincerely,
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B6

Dear Principal Investigator,

Today and for the past two (2) days of testing this week, the deposit of food pellets in response to lever action has been erratic at best. My co-workers and I have become concerned about this, and are wondering if perhaps you have found our performance to be deficient in some way.

Personally, I am of the opinion that there is simply some kind of mechanical problem with the pellet dispenser, but I wanted to contact you about this matter before misunderstandings had any time to develop.

Thank you for your attention,
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B6

Dear Principal Investigator,

It has now been two (2) weeks since the pellet dispensers began behaving erratically. Though some of my co-workers claim to have found a work-around involving pressing one or the other of the two available levers during a particular time depending on the behavior of the lights or the ambient noise level or some such thing, I personally have never felt it was a good idea to settle for a quick bandaid-fix when a real solution was called for.

I would appreciate your immediate attention to this ongoing problem.

Thank you.
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B6

Dear Principal Investigator,

I find myself in some distress. Having failed to receive a reply from your office, I was forced to adopt the temporary measures my co-workers have been using as a means of allowing the lever-pellet system to function (waiting for light or sound, counting on all four paws and turning around twice, or something like that). Despite its seeming irrational (almost superstitious) nature, this method appeared to be working fairly well until just yesterday, when suddenly the dispensing of pellets dropped to near zero.

Having had quite enough of this nonsense, I was attempting to leave my cubicle to get some fresh air when I discovered (much to my dismay) that the door appears to be latched on the outside.

You surely must know that we will not stand for this sort of thing. I'm sorry that our relationship has deteriorated to this point, but I am afraid that I and my co-workers have found it necessary to initiate corrective action.

Regretfully,
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B6

INTEROFFICE MEMO
TO: B1,B2,B3,B4,B5,B7,B8,B9
FROM: B6
RE: Latches
CC: A1-A10

I have conferred on this matter with B5 and B7. We quickly rejected the possibility of some brilliant deus ex machina escape (à la Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, or that Star Trek episode where Kirk overpowers the computer with illogic) and decided instead to seek a solution by way of a careful study of the situation. We have uncovered the following items:

  1. The test cubicle is locked by the experimenter immediately after being entered by the test subject (us chickens). However, the placement of a small piece of bedding on the rim of the cubicle prior to the lid being shut will cause the latch to fail while giving the appearance that it is functioning normally.
  2. The pellet dispenser is an electromechanical device which appears to be operated by an electrical signal delivered from outside the box.
  3. The two levers are also electromechanical in nature; voltage at one terminal of a lever will extend it, at another will retract it; a pair of terminals appear to act as a switch when the lever is pressed. Furthermore, power is delivered continually to this switch (B7 was foolish enough to risk a taste test, and estimated it as being around 20 VDC. B7 also says that next time he'll let someone else be the guinea pig.)
    (n.b. The metal bars which serve as the cubicle's floor also appear to be electrically wired; though these wires do not presently connect to anything, this is still rather disturbing.)

To make a long story short, we were able to remove the wire from the normally-open side of the lever switch and wire it directly to the pellet dispenser. (We have also disconnected the lever-retraction signal.) This appears to solve the problem of obtaining pellets. Our only remaining concern is the apparent lack of access to the outside world.

And that, of course, is the kicker: since we will eventually exhaust the current supply (and I no longer have faith in the infallibility of our Principle Investigator), it is of paramount importance to discover where the pellets come from. It has long been generally believed that they are obtained wholesale by the Principle Investigator or some agent retained by him (her?), but this merely answers the question recursively. One could imagine the wholesaler, obtaining the pellets from a distributor, who gets them from yet another source, who got them from somewhere else, etc. etc. This obviously does not answer the fundamental question of where and how they were originally created.

Meanwhile, we must put these larger questions on the back-burner while we seek to find an economical means of obtaining reliable access to the space outside the enclosures. B8, B9, and B10 have volunteered to take preliminary nibbles at various places in their respective enclosures pursuant to this "space program".

We also must reach a thorough understanding of the resources we have been given. Whether these resources were created by some metaphysical means -- such as the so-called Principle Investigator -- or by physical and chemical processes not presently known to us (but malleable to scientific inquiry!) is a debate we must put aside for the moment. B5, B7 and I will further investigate the levers, pellet dispensers, and lighting system; B1, B2, B3, and B4 have volunteered to map out the wiring. Anybody from A group who wishes to assist should contact someone in the appropriate team, or contact me if you think there is another area we should be covering.

Good luck, everyone.
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B6
Electromechanisms Task Force
Team Coordinator