Key & Compass presents:
by Ian Finley

Babel is a TADS 2 interactive fiction game and is © 1997 by Ian Finley. It was entered in IF Comp 1997 where it took 2nd place. Babel has several feelies associated with it: a registration certificate, two pages from the Bible, a memo, and hints. At the 1997 XYZZY Awards, Babel won the Best Story award; it was also a finalist in the Best Game, Best Individual PC, Best Puzzles, and Best Writing categories. This game also tied at 13th place in the Interactive Fiction Top 50 of all time (2015 edition).

In this game, you play as an amnesiac inside Babel, an abandoned Arctic facility devoted to biological research. You soon discover that you have the unusual ability to witness scenes from the past by touching various glowing items. But can you discover who you are, what happened to the station, and then how to escape from Babel?

This solution is by David Welbourn, and is based on the post-competition release of the game.


u d u u d d u d d u Courtyard Lab HallI Lab HallII Lab HallIII MedicalAlcove RecordsII NorthEnd ChangingRoom Landing LabEntrance SupplyCloset Cage DiningRoom David'sRoom Bathroom Bathroom NorthHall RadiationArea RecordsIII Hall AvianGallery Resident'lStorage Jonas'Room RoundRoom Brett'sRoom Center EastHall EastEnd GalleryJunction TerranGallery ConcreteWall Bathroom Bathroom Alexis'Room Ante-chamber SouthHall Comm.Room ToxinGallery AquaticGallery OutsidetheStation EntryStep EntryArea RecordsI Shed


North End

> version. credits.

> x me. i. x gown.

> x north door. x device. (Very locked.)

> x bulkhead. read stickers.

> x west door. (Has card slot.)

> s. s.


On entry, you automatically touch an eerie blue light and you see a vision of a terrified man running in and breaking his leg. He tells a woman that the Jabberwocky is out.

> look. (The door frame still glows.)

> touch frame. (You re-experience the vision.)

> e. e.

East End

> x bulkhead. read labels.

> touch bulkhead.

A new vision between three people: the two you saw before and a blond man named David. The dark haired man, Brett, argues there must be limits to man's quest for knoweledge; David disagrees. The woman tries to strike a balance.

> x north door. (Needs a keycard.)

> w. w. s. e.

Communications Room

> x cabinet. x switch. turn on switch. (Main power is now on.)

Note that while the power is on, you will get periodic warnings that the power is low. You can safely ignore these warnings. The power will stay on until either you pull the switch again or you're so near the end of the story, it's in the plot's best interests for the power to finally fail for good.

> x machines. read screen.

You learn that there were critical problems, an evacuation, that Telerus Project failed and Project Babel failed.

> w. s.

Entry Area

> x bulkhead. touch bulkhead.

New vision: David is welcomed by Brett, Alexis, and Jonas (an older man). Note how the northwest door is opened by pushing a small panel.

> x smaller door. x panel. push panel. nw. nw.

Round Room

> x carpet. x skylight.

> x north door. ("Dr. David Telurien"; locked)

> x east door. ("Dr. Brett Owen"; closed)

> x south door. ("Dr. Alexis Stevansen"; locked)

> x west door. ("Dr. Jonas Bittern"; closed)

> x northwest door. (locked)

> w.

Jonas' Room

> x bed. x desk. x blotter. (The number 29 is written on it.)

> x desk drawers. (empty)

> x dresser. open dresser drawers. x clothing.

> x bookshelf. (empty)

> s.

Bathroom (Jonas')

> x mirror. x blood. x shower. x sink. x toilet. (empty of water)

> turn on sink. (No water.)

> n. e. e.

Brett's Room

This room is a shambles.

> x sheets. take card. x card. (It's Brett's.)

> x dresser. x bookcase.

> x junk. take bible. x it. (You can FIND topics in it.)

> find Babel. (Genesis 11:4; the numbers are circled.)

> find Telerus. (That's not a topic in the Bible.)

> find David. (A powerful but corrupt king who eventually repented.)

> x papers. x clothing.

> n.

Bathroom (Brett's)

> x mirror. x shower. x basin. x toilet.

> s. w. se. se.

Entry Area

> put card in slot. e.

Records I

> x ledge. x screen. (HOSEA; has data for the Babel Project.)

> ask Hosea about Babel Project.

> ask about Agency. ask about Western Bloc.

> ask about Hosea. ask about David. (Replaced Dr. Brian Thorne.)

> ask about Brian. ask about Jonas.

> ask about Alexis. ask about Brett.

> ask about Jabberwocky. (No info.)

> ask about Telerus. (Symbiotic toxin that lets one see visions of the past by touching imprinted objects.)

> ask about power. (No info.)

> ask about toxins. (Jabberwocky and Optium are fatal.)

> ask about Optium. (Brain stops instantly on consumption.)

> ask about lab. (Below Lab Hall is a radiation chamber.)

> ask about radiation. ask about residential area.

> ask about specimen gallery. (Light adjusted by filters.)

> ask about filters. (Light is blocked if any two lenses have the same alignment.)

> ask about viruses. ask about Rubella ZII. (Fatal within 2 hours.)

> w. n. n. n. n.

North End

> put card in slot. w.

Records II

> x screen. (Hosea is here too.)

> x papers. x safe. x dial. (1 to 100.)

> ask Hosea about safe. (No info.)

The number you saw on Jonas' blotter is the one you want here:

> turn dial to 29. (The safe opens!)

> touch shelf. (Vision of Jonas and Alexis evacuating.)

> take key. x key. ("RESIDENTIAL MASTER")

> e. s. s. e. e.

East End

> put card in slot. n.

Records III

Nothing really new here.

> x ledge. x devices. x screen.

> s. w. w. s. s. nw. nw.

Round Room

> unlock south door with key. s.

Alexis' Room

> x desk. x vase. x flowers. touch vase. (+1; vision of Alexis with David.)

> x bookcase. x books. x scraps. open bookcase. (locked)

> x dresser. open drawers. x sketch book. (mostly of David.) take it.

> x bed. w.

Bathroom (Alexis')

> x mirror. x sink. x shower. x toilet.

> e. n.

Round Room

> unlock north door with key. n.

David's Room

> x dresser. open drawers. x bed. x carpet.

> x table. touch table. (+1; vision of David and Jonas.)

> x bookshelf. x trail.

> e. x bathroom door. open it. (Can't, it's bent and jammed.)

> s.

Round Room

> unlock northwest door with key. nw.

Dining Room

> x calendar. take it. (You automatically record the dates of your visions.)

> x calendar.

> touch counter. (+1; Jonas is repairing Brett's leg while Alexis looks on. A creature has escaped. Brett wants to nullify the Jabberwocky toxin and administer an anti-toxin to the creature, but Jonas refuses.)

> x appliances. x cabinets. open cabinets. x cups.

> x table. x chairs.

> sw.

Residential Storage

> x pegboard. touch it. (+1; David tells Alexis he's eager to work.)

> x screwdriver. take it.

> x shelves. x pantry shelves.

> x broken shelves. x bar. take it.

> x cans. x neatly. x spilled.

> x vent. x light.

> ne. se. se. se.

Entry Area

> find Babel. (in bible)

> type "114" on keypad. open bulkhead.

> w. w. n.

Concrete Wall

No door? You can't stay in this cold for long.

> s. se.


> take battery. touch shelf. (+1; Brett is returning a gas can. His artifical leg is mangled, and you hear a helicopter take off.)

> nw. e. e.

Entry Area

> close bulkhead. x battery. ("Warning: Contents highly corrosive")

> n. n. e. e.

East End

> x beacon. x bulkhead.

> x panel. open panel with screwdriver. ("MANUAL OVERRIDE" lever)

> pull lever. (Can't be overriden while emergency locking system is on.)

> w. w. s. e.

Communications Room

> pull switch. (Most functions are now off.)

> w. n. e. e.

East End

> pull lever. e.

Gallery Junction

> x south door. touch it. (+1; Brett argues that the Telerus is worthless because it will twist its agent's mind; Jonas says a human trial is needed.)

> put pole in bulkhead.

> w. w. w. s. e.

Communications Room

> push switch. w. n. e. e. e.

Gallery Junction

> x south door. ("WARNING: TOXIN BREAKOUT")

> x recess. ("POL. FILTER ALIGNMENT")

There are three sliders in the recess: red at 1, yellow at 1, blue at 2; there's also a blinking button. We asked Hosea earlier about the filters and learned that each lens needs a different alignment for light to shine through. So just set either the red or the yellow slider to 3 so they're all at different settings.

> x button. push button. (This opens the recess door.)

> set red slider to 3. (Light fills the room from the east.)

Let's explore what's north of the junction before exploring what's east.

> n. n.

Lab Entrance

> x swinging doors. x east door.

> e.

Supply Closet

> x flask. take it.

> n.

Medical Alcove

> x bed. x counter. x sink. x syringe. take it.

> w.

Lab Hall III

> x table. x papers. x instruments.

> x cages. x mice. touch cages. (+1; Jonas makes notes about Telerus while the mice attack each other.)

> x cabinet. x ring. x cabinet door. x hinges.

Note that once the battery is opened, it cannot be closed.

> open battery with screwdriver. (acid is exposed.)

> pour acid on hinges.

> take notes. read notes.

The notes say to mix Telerus toxin and anti-toxin base at a specific radiation. The unstable compound must be injected promptly.

> take vial. x vial. ("Telerus Anti-Toxin (BASE ONLY)")

> touch shelf. (+1; Jonas and David discuss how to continue work on the Telerus now that the base is made.)

> w.

Lab Hall II

> x computers. x microscope. touch it. (+1; David asks Brett why he's here.)

> x supplies. w.

Lab hall I

> x amber syringe. take it.

> x frogs. x table. x microscopes. x implements.

> x bulkhead. x lever. pull lever. (The bulkhead opens.)

> d. w.

Changing Room

> x suit. x shower. x bench. x hooks.

> take suit. (A green plastic card falls out.)

> take green card. x it. ("SAFETY")

> e. d.

Radiation Area

> x panel. x black button. ("RADIATE")

> x blue button. x thermometer. x dial. (1 to 600.)

> x card slot. (green border) x hatch. (alcove inside.)

You can't use this equipment yet. Let's go ask Hosea what this HS1 hormone in the flask is:

> u. u. sw. w.

Records II

> ask Hosea about HS1. (It's a safe short-term strength booster.)

Go back to David's room:

> e. s. s. s. s. nw. nw. n.

David's Room

> open flask. drink HS1. (No, you need to inject it.)

> fill red syringe with HS1. close flask.

> inject me with red syringe. open bathroom door. e.

Bathroom (David's)

You feel a need to move back west.

> w. e.

> x mirror.

You discover you are Dr. David Telurien. You briefly remember your rage with the mirrors. Then you black out.

> x toilet. x sink. x shower.

> w.

David's Room

After seeing yourself in the mirror, new things now glow blue, such as your bookcase.

> touch bookcase. (+1; Alexis tells David that Jonas wants the test to continue, that he won't make the anti-toxin and that she's here to lock him in.)

> s. w.

Jonas' Room

> touch blotter. (+1; Jonas icily orders Brett and Alexis to let the toxin run its course.)

> e. e.

Brett's Room

> touch mattress. (+1)

In this lengthy vision, Jonas and Alexis are searching for the combination to the main gate. Alexis mentions the Bible. Jonas throws Brett's note into a corner. Alexis mentions the radiation setting, 414, that activates the anti-toxin. The Telerus sample is in the sample gallery where the Jabberwocky toxin is released. The cabinet containing the anti-toxin base is locked, and Jonas destroyed its key. Alexis is about to attack Jonas for wanting to abandon David when the vision ends.

> take note. x note.

> w. nw.

Dining Room

> touch table. (+1; David volunteers to test the Telerus virus.)

> se. se. se. n. n. e. e. e.

Gallery Junction

You must wear the suit to protect yourself from the Jabberwocky toxin. You never need to remove the suit once it's on.

> wear suit. put ID card in south slot.

> s.

Toxin Gallery

> x broken vial. x vials. take Telerus vial.

> n. e.

Terran Gallery

Note that this room needs light in order to safely use the stairs up and down from here.

> x cages. x light.

> d.

Aquatic Gallery

> x tanks. x patch. touch patch. (+1; Jonas kills Brian after Brian refuses a direct order.)

> u. u.

Avian Gallery

> x hummingbirds. x railing. touch it. (+1; Alexis confesses her fears to David as they kiss.)

> n.


> x body. (It's big and strong and you're not sure if it's dead.)

> x bowl. (Has water.)

> x bones.

The water bowl in this cage is the only source of water; none of the sinks work. And somehow, this is the only available flask as well. You must clean it before you can mix the anti-toxin in it.

> x flask. open flask. wash flask. x flask.

> s. d. w. n. n. n. e.

Medical Alcove

> touch sink. (+1; Brett adminsters the Telerus to David while the other two watch.)

> w. w. w. d. w.

Changing Room

> touch bench. (+1; David collapses, then screams and lunges at Brett.)

> e. d.

Radiation Area

> set dial to 414. (as per the vision from Brett's mattress.)

You must mix the anti-toxin in the clean flask.

> open Telerus vial. put Telerus toxin in flask.

> open base vial. put base in flask.

> close flask. shake flask.

> open hatch. put flask in hatch. close hatch.

Note: The switch won't move and the slot won't accept a card unless the hatch is closed.

> put green card in slot. push white switch.

The black button radiates the chamber behind the hatch. The blue button is for a cooling spray; a syringe can't hold a bubbling liquid.

> push black button. push blue button. x thermometer. (It's cool.)

> take green card. push white switch. open hatch.

Note: the cure is unstable and must be adminstered without much delay. If the cure destablizes, you'll need to re-mix and re-radiate the mixture.

> take flask. open flask. fill amber with cure.

> inject me with amber.

There's pain and darkness as you slowly regain your memories and sanity. The station's main power has finally failed. What now?

> u. u. sw.

North End

As you enter, you remember how to unlock the north door and automatically do so. There's a ladder going up behind that door.

> u. (+1)


A final memory assaults you when you see the bodies.

You have finished Babel




From the response to CREDITS:


I would like to thank the following individuals who donated simply gargantuan ammounts of time in playtesting this game. To give you some idea of the mass of information they supplied me, the first release of this game weighed in at 3600 lines of code. After my playtesters were through, it now stands at 4600 lines. My gratitude to: Jane Kerr, Rupert Lane, Bernd Schmidt (the syntax god), Dylan O'Donnell, Marshall Vandegrift, Michael Kinyon, and David Gatewood (who singlehandedly put me through IF hell, to emmerge a better man;) Also, a heartfelt thanks to my family for being so understanding and to Chris Sontag for being so gorgeous.


Note: You can make the game unwinnable by injecting yourself with the HS1 hormone but failing to open David's bathroom door before the hormone's strength boost effect wears off.


Score and Visions

In a total of several turns, you have achieved a score of this-many points out of a possible 22.

The visions are recorded on the calendar in chronological order:

> x calendar

Thank You to my Patreon supporters

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