"Aw, crap" is notably not the most appropriate response when your boss appears in front of you. Others include "Hey, what's up, home dawg?", "I don't do overtime", and "Hey, how you doin'?" in a Brooklyn accent.
But, given the circumstances, you think Artie will forgive you for saying "Aw, crap."
After all, the Warehouse, thanks to Mrs. Frederic knows what, decided that today would be the perfect day to do it's annual spring cleaning. Don't try telling the Warehouse that it isn't spring, though. It couldn't give less of a hoot.
The Warehouse's occupants naturally build up a lot of static electricity as they sit on their shelves, hang from their hooks, wait in their boxes, etc., etc.. This electricity will sometimes lead to ball-lightning flying across the shelves until the energy is absorbed or disappated. For the most part, Agents have been able to avoid being electrocuted by situations such as that. However, you were surprised to learn upon your arrival to the Warehouse that the potential electrocution hazard once every few weeks is nothing compared to the all-out electromagnetic mayhem that occurs during Spring Cleaning.
Spring Cleaning in the Warehouse means that every single spare electric charge that the artifacts have built up over the year are dispelled all at roughly the same time. Agents are required to wear rubber or other static-halting materials (and avoid the hazards of hairspray) until at least a week after the cleaning. While logic would tell you that the best idea would be to just let the Warehouse self-tidy, it is a bit more complicated than that. Now, it must be said that for the most part, Agents alleviate the stress of Spring Cleaning rather well. Artifacts that build up charge quickly are used as much as possible, and artifacts that absorb electricity are 'emptied', so to speak, constantly throughout the year. But the static build up is still pretty high, and to leave the artifacts alone while an insurmountable amount of electricity courses through the Warehouse (until, thankfully, it finds its way into the Warehouse cell battery - Spring Cleaning is an easy way to alleviate the electricity bill, thankfully) is extremely irresponsible to their well-being. Agents are required to stay on hand to make sure nothing catches fire, nothing explodes, and nothing gets frightened and running away into a corner of the Warehouse (and finding a wall alone is a hard thing to do).
So when Artie appears in front of you as you sit at his desk, slightly singed with his gruff, stressed expression pulling at his wrinkles, you know something is not going well outside of the office.
"'Aw crap' is right. We've got several artifact messes going on out there, and it looks like we're going to need some different artifacts to clean them up." You nod, and reach for the computer. Artie raises his voice, "Without using the computer!"
Seeing your frozen expression, he softens a little bit, and if anyone else saw it would not have thought his demeanor changed at all. But you know Artie, and with Artie, you know he means well. "We don't want to surge the system," he continues, reaching for one of the paper directories of Warehouse Artifacts.
You nod, and reach for another volume - roughly the size of eight phonebooks of Manhattan - and heave it onto your desk. Working quickly, you and Artie try to find artifacts that can...
Artifacts are Needed to Solve These ProblemsEdit
Situation 1: The Original Conch Shell has upended, flooding Sectors AE234 and JDAF83. Thousands of gallons of seawater are gushing from the opening, and marine life is starting to populate the area. As you look out to the Warehouse, you think you see a giant tentacle waving in the distance, but it's only for a split second...and you really hope you just imagined it, anyways.
Situation 2: Ben Franklin's Key, which normally attracts electricity, somehow got mixed up on the ring with the keys to the Tower of London, a former prison for the royals of the day. Now the effects of the keys have gotten mixed together, and the key is firing off cages of self-sufficient electricity that are trapping other artifacts and charging them too much, amplifying their effects, as well as imprisoning the key ring. You notice the singed look of Artie's eyebrows...
Situation 3: The Aisle of Noel is having a fit. Rudolph's Nose is surprisingly calm, but a string of Christmas lights from the first electrically-lit Christmas Tree in the White House (Grover Cleveland's Term, 1895) turned haywire and started snaking their way across the Warehouse, attacking the more dishonest items like Richard Nixon's shoes, Sinon's Helmet, and Benedict Arnold's Sword. If the lights detect a lie or sham, they will wrap themselves tightly around that which is untrue - great for figuring out which diamond is real, but extremely painful when around humans. Did you know that on an average day, you are lied to anywhere from 10 to 200 times?
Situation 4: Louis Slotin's Screwdriver was knocked from its shelf and hit the floor - while that would normally be too horrible to even describe, the artifact's anti-gravity container fell with it, and has just enough energy to keep the screwdriver above the ground. But the damage inflicted on the container is making it extremely hard for it to maintain the anti-gravity system. The moment the artifact touches the floor, a large wave of radiation will burst from it. Unfortunately, Madam Curie's Research Papers fell from their spot nearby, and the floor is covered with them - each an individual radiaoactive ground zero. Something must be done about this, soon.
Situation 5: The record playing equipment from New York City WABC, when exposed to high amounts of electricity, can slow down time around the radio if a song is being played. While there was a processing slip to move it towards the radioactive artifacts should a situation like this ever happen, this was misfiled, and the equipment was pushed down into the Gooery during the Spring Cleaning Chaos, and if that wasn't enough, began to play a Doris Day album. As you can probably imagine, having the gooery slow down is not what the Warehouse needs at such a hectic time...but how to approach the artifact to neutralize it?
Situation 6: The Bust of Diocletian gets a little ansy this time of year, and for good reason, too - this is around the anniversary of when the effugee's object of artistic vision began his eventually fruitless endeavor against the Christian faith to protect his Roman Empire. In true Caesar fashion, however, this time the bust is getting a little creative. By aiming the eyes of the bust at an object, the object will eventually burst into flames. With the chaos of the surroundings, the bust is moving itself across the Warehouse and attacking the Christian-related artifacts (and to a lesser extent those that are Pagan), and the fires are not helping calm the Warehouse at all.
As you are using artifacts to combat other artifacts, you must also take into account the other effects the artifact has, whether you are utilizing the artifact for it's positive side, down side, or the only (traditionally negative) effect the artifact has. Compensate for the downsides by making another artifact, perhaps, until the downsides aren't as dangerous - remember, Warehouse Agents make sacrifices, but there is a big difference between sacrificing yourself to the Spine of Saracen and ringing Pavlov's Bell.
And as an extra challenge (which is slightly made hypocritical by the fact that this is a webpage), you could try to figure out solutions to these puzzles without the internet as a tool - After all, the Warehouse computers are turned off...