Friday, October 5, 2012

You: Chapter Two (A Choose Your Own Adventure)


You


   Welcome to Choose Your Own Adventure time! The way this is going to work is pretty familiar. Each chapter, you will be given one or two choices that will dictate how the story progresses. The choices will be given in the body of the story and you vote your choice by clicking on the answer in the corresponding poll on the right side of this here blog. Voting begins on Saturday when the story posts and remains open until Tuesday night. Also, if you have a better choice or just want to throw me for a loop, you can always make a suggestion down in the comments and if enough people support it then that is what will happen.
  A word of warning, though! Unlike a Choose Your Own Adventure book, you can't go back and make a different decision to get a different outcome. Whatever decision wins the vote on Tuesday is final, so choose wisely. If you have any questions, please write them in comments below and I will answer promptly.
If you need to catch up, just click on the You: The story so far...tab up there at the top of the page and it will lay out how the story has come along up to this point.

-Rich

Chapter Two

Ridin’ through the open prairie on a triceratops. Wranglin’ velociraptors. Shootin’ down tyrannosauruses and campin’ under the wide, starry sky. It’s all pretty durn temptin’...
But in the end you really couldn’t resist that almost primal urge to hover around with a jetpack or drive a flying car.
So you informed the drone, whose name you finally remembered is Reginald “Reg” Bowers (and, yes, he air quotes the “Reg”), that you would explore the domed city and ravaged landscape of Retropunk.
“Why did you name it Retropunk?” you ask the lab technician who is injecting you with something you hope is medicine. “I don’t get the ‘punk’ part.”
“Well...I guess...I don’t know,” he stammers for a bit, handing you a silver-colored bundle of clothes. “People just add ‘punk’ to things. Here, this is as close as we can get to their native garb. We have an oxygen tank and bubble helmet for you to put on when we transport you. Why don’t you go into the locker room, change, and pick out your final equipment? Remember the limitations though.”
In the locker room, you begin to change into your new clothes and consider your options for what you can bring with you. Due to some scientific law, the eggheads call it the Cameron Limitations, you can only bring one additional item with you to the new world. On a counter in front of you is a tiny .380 semi-automatic pistol (it looks like a tiny version of Magnum’s gun.), a Swiss Army knife (with two blades, bottle opener, screwdriver, and tiny scissors. It is missing the toothpick, though.) a tablet computer with a survival handbook and a few other applications (like Angry Birds!) on it, and a towel. Which one will you take?

Choice One

1. Gun 12%
2. Swiss Army Knife (no toothpick!) 62%
3. Tablet 0%
4. Towel 25%

After you decide what to bring, you take a look at yourself in the mirror. You are now clad in a skintight silver and red bodysuit, with a large, button-and-dial-studded belt that will supposedly controls the oxygen flow and a few other features. It is really damn tight, especially in the ass.
“How’s the suit fit?” “Reg’s” voice shouts in your ear. You would like to think you didn’t shriek at the sound, but let’s be honest with ourselves. You spin around, fist raised lamely. There is no one else in the locker room.
“Can you hear me, miss....?” Again you shriek. That voice, the voice of that corporate hack, is coming from inside your head!
“What the hell is going on?” you shout.
“Oh, no. They didn’t tell you, did they?” “Reg” sounds dismayed. “We injected you with nanites. Tiny computers that will allow you to interface with the satellite once you reach the surface of the planet. It will also allow you to record and analyze anything you see and hear. The visual interface should be coming online pretty soon.”
Once he says that, a blue-tinted film seems to glaze over your vision. It looks like a Windows startup screen. It is asking you to press F2.
“Where the hell is F2?” you ask, waving your hands in front of you.
“Just give it a minute,” a bored lab tech chimes in.
A minute passes. Then another. Then another. Finally, the startup chime sounds and a cascade of numbers drifts past your eyes before everything goes back to normal.
“There we go,” the tech says. “Now, it’s pretty simple. Blink twice to photograph something. Three times to record. Kind of like Steve Austin in the Six Million Dollar Man. Except I don’t think he could record, which you would think they’d have him do since they made everything else so awesome...”
“Shut the hell up!” you shout into the empty locker room. “Why didn’t you tell me you were going to inject me with machines and crap! Now I’m going to be seen talking to myself like that guy in Quantum Leap. You people are totally ripping off Quantum Leap!”
“We are not ripping off Quantum Leap,” “Reg” says in as soothing a voice as possible. “You only need to whisper for the satellite to hear you. And we had to do it this way because we were worried you might get separated from any external equipment and be unable to get home again. And we did tell you, it was all explained in the briefing packet we gave you. You did read that, right?”
“Yes, I read it.”
You didn’t.

After you calm down, you go see General Fuller for a quick debriefing. You can feel the all the lab techs looking at your ass as you walk by. Pervs.
“We’re transporting you here,” Fuller says, pointing down at a satellite image. “its about two miles from the domed city. Far enough away so we think they won’t see your arrival. We also noticed this...”
He stabs his finger on a blurry image of what looks like a small township. You can’t see see any dome surrounding it.
“We have seen some activity here and we’re curious about it. Once you get there you can decide where to go first.”
“So, remind me again what my mission is, exactly,” you ask. You really should have read that briefing packet.
“Observe and explore,” “Reg” says casually. He walks over to the office door and opens it, beckoning you to follow him. “We just want to know what kind of people they are. Get to know a few of them, check out their technological and medical capabilities, see if they are the kind of people we should make contact with.”
A lab tech begins to strap a backpack with a small oxygen tank onto you while another hands you a large, glass bubble helmet. They usher you over to the pad with the lasers pointing at it.
“Remember,” the lab tech says as he helps you put the helmet on. “In order to come back, you need to be outside and stationary for two hours so the satellite can get an accurate fix on you. We wouldn’t want a partial recovery, now would we?”
“What does ‘partial recovery’ mean?” you ask, fear crawling up your spine. Maybe you should have just gone home and taken a nap.
“Not something you’ll have to worry about if it happens to you,” the tech chuckles morbidly. He gives you an awkward pat on the back.  “Good luck.”
A million questions flood your brain and cause a traffic jam. You really should have read that briefing. You are just about to ask for another copy when everyone starts waving goodbye to you.
“Actually, hold on a sec...” you begin to say, but it’s too late. Each of the laser arrays begin to glow a bright, radioactive-looking green and a loud humming noise fills the room. All of people in the lab don dark safety glasses as the room grows brighter.
You suddenly realize you have to pee.

And then it’s over. No sense of motion or flash of light. Just a blink and you are standing in the middle of a crater. You crawl out and look around.
There is nothing to see really. A blighted desert. Dark, swirling clouds. A torn and ravaged road lies a quarter mile ahead of you. Other than that, it’s just blackened sand and deep craters. You know that the road leads to the domed city and that to the northwest lies the township. You are just about to decide between the two when a brief flash of light to the south catches your attention.
You squint and can just make out what looks like a large, metallic disc sticking up out of the sand. Smoke is rising from it and there seems to be a few small fires surrounding it. Looking up into the sky you can see an erratic contrail slowly dissipating, leading from roughly above your head to the disc. Whatever it is, it looks big.
So, where are you going?

Choice Two.

1. Domed, Future City here I come! 14%
2. Who would live in a small town when there are jetpacks to be flown? You must know! 0%
3. Saucer-shaped, flaming wreckage draws you like a moth to flaming wreckage. 71%

4. You're just going to stand by this here crater and see what happens. 14%

You have until midnight Tuesday, October 9th to make your choices and the new chapter will post on Saturday, October 13th. Have fun!

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