Lore of Apparattus
All the knowledge here is collected from scraps, books, floppies and other miraculous sources by the Librarian rat. After it was processed and stored for the generations to come, the evidence was eaten with pleasure by the same rat.
Before and now
A scientist that made a working portal was quickly transferred to a military research base at an undisclosed island location, to continue the research. As the portal had a particular issue, it allowed to transfer only inanimate objects and small in size. The energy consumption was very high, exponentially increasing with every cm added to the portal size. Stabilizing the portal plane above 5 cm diameter for more than 10 seconds required a nuclear reactor level of energy. Not to mention you also need a second portal in order to have an exit. 30 years of research have led to almost 0 improvements on the portal design. Another researcher was brought at the same time to look for an alternative solution to the problem. Creation of self reanimating humans, as a means for passing through the portal. Sorry to disappoint, this research also led to almost 0 results. The self reanimation did work on a few lab rats, but results from experiments on any other creatures were dramatic failures.
Governments change, time goes by, funding stops. People that knew about it were few and now mostly dead. Well out of sight the base today is abandoned by the military as it was.
Which brings us to the point of the immortal rats that ARE immortal and have a place to live undisturbed by humans. With enough time to learn. Bored enough to invent. Widespread enough to build a society. Society where violence against others is forgotten, the currency is energy and recycling has reached levels of art!
The first rat to become immortal.
He had the most time of all to develop himself, to become smartest, strongest and most respected. The founder of Apparattus city. You can find him often tinkering something around the portal.
Some more trivia - The cat in the cat's lair is actually his pet and participates in the challenge willingly, even enjoys it very much.
Very few rats are the actual lab rats of the scientist. 90% of the rat population of Apparattus city and surrounding areas are the offspring of the initial test subjects. Not all the rats are immortal here. Even though all have various differences from a basic rat. It can be regeneration rate, intellect, strength, lobster claw, all useful things.
Should we mention here also the sentient turtle that works as a bouncer at the bar? What about the rest of the citizens that are not rats? You surely will meet them soon enough...
... wait what about your parents?
The governors of the city, that create challenges and entertainments for the city rats to enjoy and have fun.
They are strangely obsessed with cults and tv shows for kids from the past. They hide their identities and you can see them only in their purple cult attires. One day you might even meet them in person without knowing it is them on the street. The 4 Ratmen of Apparattus. Miss Square, Missis X, Mr. Circle and Mr. Triangle.
It is known that they have a hidden office in the city. A smart rat like you might be even able to find it, hmm or maybe not... In the past people have found who Banksy is, so why not you finding the lair. Impossible is nothing.
Absolutely unrelated to the above, here is some more info for you. There is a chance to find a special token in the cat's lair, that has use for other purposes, outside of the challenge. There is also a chance to find a schematic, that describes how to craft a gadget, that grants another way of obtaining the cat balls hair without sustaining damage on failure
As you have probably noticed...
All across the city you can see art and references to lobsters. Nobody knows where and when this obsession started. Rumour has it, that the immortality of the rats is based on some DNA modifications by the scientist involving lobsters. Half rat half lobster monster stories are used to scare the little rats that don't want to go to sleep.
The future and demigods
Whispers in the city talk about space travel and how there is a way to talk to the demigods, whoever they are. Probably it is all a result of heavy head trauma among the rats. Life in Apparattus is not the safest way to exist. It might be also a result of all the things you can buy across the city. The public restrictions are very few. The benefit of being immortal, you can put safety last on the list.
To stay healthy do the following (list not exhaustive) - Avoid pulling hairs from cats; do not jump from a tower into an empty pool; try not to apply strong electrical current directly to your brain; do not upset the bodyguard of the bar; avoid the roads, not a single driver in the city has a driving license; learn parkour in order to reduce the damage from all the landings... Pain still exists, no matter the immortality. The only thing that's real.