Coffee was John's friend this morning. A bottle of Everclear had vanished somewhere between 8pm and midnight yesterday, and it was likely that it'd gone into him: since his head felt three times as large as it should, that seemed to place him at the scene of the theft.
Another espresso later, John took to the task of surveying the damage. It wasn't too bad, actually: Ryan had been even more trashed, and had managed to spray the contents of the bookcase around the room. John found Tolkien behind the TV, and Dostoyevsky perched miraculously above the wall clock, but Asimov would have to wait until the pile of beer cans could be examined more closely. John wasn't feeling up to that right now.
It looked like one thing was broken: the frame around the mirror. Evidently, a coffee table had been lobbed at that wall at some point (a missing chunk of plaster, and the fine coating of gypsum on the table in question, attested to that). Amazingly, the mirror wasn't broken: the wooden frame had collapsed and lay around it, but the mirror itself was intact on the floor.
John picked up the glass, and felt that there was a slightly serrated edge on the bottom. He'd never seen the back of the mirror before, and looking closer at it revealed an intricate pattern of lines, converging on a group of 20-some parallel rows corresponding to the bumps along the bottom. John had seen something like this only a few times before, and every time it was something quite special.
An electronic circuit.
Obviously, no clue was forthcoming about what the circuit contained, or the secrets encoded within any solid-state memories that might be on the back of the mirror. John thought about enlisting Ryan's help to try to decipher the tracings, but he was still knocked out on the sofa, and would probably remain there for much of the morning.
John would have to go outside for this one.
Article dated: 24th Jan 2012