Saturday, November 10, 2012

You: Chapter Seven (A Choose Your Own Adventure)


 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.
    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.


Last weeks results

1. Walk up to the guard house, announce that you want to speak to Darius, try to blackmail your way into the city. 55%
2. Sneak over to the vent and crawl your way into the city. 36%
3. That tablet I found is mysterious, I’m going to lay here and examine it. 9%
4. Jetpacks ain’t worth it, I’m going home! 0%

Chapter Seven

Who knows what lies up that vent? Could be rats, or bugs, or, knowing this place, radioactive rat-bugs. So to hell with that, time for a little blackmail and con-artistry.
You smooth out the wrinkles in your filthy clothes (which doesn’t do much) straighten your hair, and double check the contents of your rucksack. Swiss Army knife, check. Mysterious tablet, check. Binoculars, check. Rifle, check. Everything checks out, so you stand up and begin to walk confidently around the dune and toward the city.
“What is it you are doing?” Orson asks, his voice filling your head. He sounds incredulous. “Have you been losing marbles?”
“I’m doing what I do best, Orson,” you say with confidence. “Lying, blackmailing, and being-all around awesome. I’m sick of slinking about, getting monsters blown up on me, and not being in control of things. Time to turn the tables on this weirdo world and let it know that it’s met its match: Me!”
Your arms fly up almost of their own accord and the rifle flies out of your hand, landing uselessly in the sand a few feet from you. You would like to think that squawk of fear didn’t come from you, that maybe some bird flew overhead at that moment, but you know the truth.
Three border guards are standing in a silently floating hover-car, each pointing a lethal-looking ray gun at you. The one who shouted, a big lout with curly hair, hops down from the car and strides over to you, a self-satisfied smirk on his face. He motions for you to hand over your backpack. Considering they could melt you in an instant, you comply.
“It’s about time you losers found me,” you say, regaining your composure. “I’ve been stomping around here for a half hour waiting for your sorry asses to open your damn eyes and see me. What kind of operation is Darius running around here, anyway?”
This makes Curly stop smirking and look over to his buddies for back up. They both just shrug at him and keep pointing weapons at you, though not as confidently as before. Excellent.
“Well, good to see we keep the dumb ones outside,” you say, walking up to the hover car and hopping up into the back. “Now let’s get a move on, I have news the boss is going to want to hear.”
Curly stands there for a moment, holding your bag and gaping up at you, before he seems to snap to it and climb into the passenger side. Exchanging a look with the driver, Curly motions toward the city and the car begins to glide around toward it. The guy next to you scootches away from you a bit. You aren’t certain if it’s because the clothes you are wearing smell bad or because your skin is still faintly glowing green. Either way, more seat for you.
The trip on the hover car is disappointingly short. You don’t even get a chance to ask the driver to let you take if for a spin before you arrive at the west gate and the other guys jump out. They aren’t actively pointing guns at you anymore, but they aren’t putting them away either. Curly tells you to stay put as he walks up to the gate, a colossal steel-barred door, and depresses the button on an intercom.

After a few seconds of frantic communication, a thin metal cord snakes out of the intercom and begins waving in your general direction. You have a distinct feeling of being watched. It slides back into the wall, Curly nods his head at some unheard instruction, and then walks over to you
“Darius will see you,” he says, “but you look like you got dosed pretty hard out there, so

we’ll need to decontaminate you and your belongings. Do you have any special attachment to those clothes?”
“Hell no,” you say. “I will need to keep what’s in the backpack though. You guys can keep the rifle.”
Curly and the others sneer at the homemade weapon and you feel a bit sorry for knocking Enis over the head and taking it. These fools certainly wouldn’t appreciate the work that was put into it.
“If you enter there I will not be able to help you,” Orson suddenly shouts, sounding strangely panicked. “I am not being able to penetrate dome.”
“Uhhhh,” you groan, stopping in your tracks. “Why haven’t you told me this before?”
The guards look at you strangely.
“I was meaning to,” Orson says. “You will need to establish antennae within dome. It is simple.”
You scratch your head and fake a cough, anything to hide the fact that you are talking to yourself.
“How the hell do I build an antennae?”
“You do not build. You bleed.”
“Excuse me?”
“You have nanites in system. They are made to react to water and reproduce, form antennae for me to penetrate dome and observe your actions. So that I am helping.”
“So I have to....”
“Bleed in water. Preferably as large a body as possible, if in pinch within public sewer system or drinking water reserve.”
“I don’t know about this...”
“Hey!” Curly shouts. “Darius is waiting.”
You walk with them through the gate, but any hope you had of walking into the majesty of the domed city of New Vega is dashed once you realize that you are simply entering an administrative building. It actually looks eerily like your old elementary school.

The next few hours are boring. A team of nervous looking scientists in full HazMat gear take ownership of you and tell you to follow their instructions to the letter. They first escort you to a shower room and tell you to bathe as thoroughly and rigorously as possible, which seems an odd way to phrase that instruction. When you are done they give you a new set of clothes, a silvery jumpsuit similar to the one you arrived in, and lead you to a different room. Here you sit under a pale blue light for over an hour, assuring you that this is necessary to bleed any excess radiation out of your system. When you are done they have you sign a form relieving them of responsibility should you develop mutations. You boldly sign “Daffy Duck” and go on about your day.
Finally, just as you are about to get fed up and see if you could throw your weight around again, you are escorted to an elevator and instructed to proceed to the top floor. The elevator is also not the least bit futuristic. It’s slow. There’s bad, worn carpet on the floor. There is even this world’s version of Muzak playing over a tinny speaker.
Then the doors open.
The room inside takes your breath away. The floor looks like melted diamond, curving up here and there to form tables and chairs and shelves. It flows up around you, walls and ceiling and floor forming one solid, seamless structure. It’s like walking inside of a bubble. And outside of that bubble, the city!
You walk in a daze to the edge of the wall/window which parts before you like a curtain. Tentatively you step out onto a transparent balcony, but you keep a hand on the edge of the wall just in case. You may not be scared of heights, but that doesn’t mean you’re immune to plummeting to your death. You take a moment to orient yourself and then slowly scan your eyes across the cityscape.
To your left, the north side, you see a multitude of gleaming spires. They all have the same poured diamond cast of the room you are standing in and each seems to spray about a dozen rainbows throughout the dome. Tubes and roads connect each of the towers together and a constant flow of flying cars and (Hells, yeah) jetpacks speed between them. This must be some kind of commerce or political quarter of the city.
Moving your eyes to the east you what looks like one gigantic, miles long building with grass on top. Squinting, and wishing you had your binoculars, you see that the building has several levels, like the universe’s largest parking garage, and that each level seems filled with vegetation. Livestock moves through a few of the levels and you realize this must be where they grow the food to feed the populace.
The south side is similar, only instead of even banks of levels, each is beveled back like a giant staircase. Upon each step is a neighborhood. It’s like a dozen “Leave It To Beaver” towns stacked on top of each other, each level a little more opulent than the one beneath. At the top rest three staggeringly large mansions.
You can’t really see what is below you, but it doesn’t look nearly as nice as the other three quarters. The buildings below you look like they were built in your own world. Concrete, brick, asphalt and wood. It actually looks kind of like shit compared to the rest of the place. Spray painted slogans and symbols mar the roofs and sides of structures, billboards batter the eye and compete for attention, a din of street noise and confusion rise up around you.
Kind of makes you homesick.
In the center of it all, like a beautiful blue marble, sits a lake. Monorails and bike paths wind their way through a thickly wooded park that nestles around it and four, straight-as-an-arrow rivers flow into it. If you are going to bleed into anything for Orson, that looks like the place to do it.
“Have you been gone long?”, a voice from behind you asks. You turn, for a moment afraid you are going to fall of the balcony, and then place a heavy foot back inside the room. Darius is standing at a desk you would swear wasn’t there a minute ago.
“Um,” you say, trying to regain a train of thought. “yeah. Been a while.”
“You seem to know my name,” Darius says, reaching into the desk and bringing out a bottle of wine. He uncorks the bottle and just begins to pour it straight onto the surface of the table. A thin fluted glass rises up to take the liquid, a second forming right next to it. Picking both up both of the newly molded glasses, he makes his way around the desk and towards you. “It would be wonderful to know yours.”

Shit. Quick, come up with a fake name!

Choice One
1. Wilson Phillips 16%
2. Ida Know 16%

3. Angela Lansbury 66%4. Puddintane, ask me again and I’ll tell you the same. 0%

“How unusual,” he says mildly, handing you a glass of wine. “So, care to tell me why you crawled out of the wasteland and demanded an audience from me?”
“I know about Jacob,” you say, sipping the wine and smiling. “And I know that you know about Jacob. And now you know that I know that you know about Jacob, so tell me, what do you know about Jacob.”
You feel awesome, there was no better way to say that.
Darius takes it in stride.
“I see,” he says, setting his wine glass down. “I assume you are a member of PHIL then?”
“Assume whatever you want,” you say, wondering what the hell PHIL is and what it could stand for. “Just answer my question.”
“I do know about Jacob,” Darius sighs, looking out over the bustling city. “He and I grew up together, right below this office as a matter of fact. Both orphans, both angry at the world. We were like brothers, he and I, and together we....”
“Ugh!,” you shout. You hate melodrama. “Get to the point. Jesus.”
“Fine,” Darius sags a bit. ”Jacob fancies himself a...resistance fighter. He wants to fight the aliens, all of them, and get them off Earth. And he thinks he can win. He’s convinced of it.”
“And you think so too?”
“Please. I see the world for what it is. This is as good as it gets. And it isn’t bad, not
entirely. We have a semblance of freedom. A chance to be happy. Beats what the rest of the world is going through.”
“So what’s going on between you two?”
“Jacob is...a magnetic man. He draws people to him. I watch him, I see who is drawn to him.”
“I don’t get it.”
Darius gives you a look that seems to indicate that he thinks you are an idiot. What a jerk.
“Jacob thinks I help him. That he has me around his finger. I supply him with bits of information, like where a Martian weapons cache is, and he pays me a paltry sum. In truth, I look at the people around him and take note. Inevitably they come here, to New Vega. My men follow them, observe who they speak with, see who is drawn to Jacob, and then arrest those individuals and subject them to questioning.
“We nip insurrection before it can take root.”
“Pretty slick,” you say. “But tell me....”
You are interrupted by the sound of the elevator doors opening. Curly is standing inside, holding your backpack. He walks in quietly, makes eye contact with Darius, and sets the pack on the desk. You start getting a real bad feeling.
“Now it’s your turn,” Darius says, strolling across the room to his desk. Curly steps back and crosses his arms, glaring at you. “according to my men, you popped up out of nowhere wearing homemade clothes, holding a handmade weapon, and this pack. And you were literally glowing with radiation poisoning.”
Wait. You were glowing? You look down at your hand and notice that it’s returned to normal hue. Thank goodness.
“So tell me,” Darius continued. He begins to rifle through the bag, his back to you. “how does one infiltrate Jacob’s camp, steal his possessions, and then make it back through the wasteland in relatively one piece?”
“I’m resourceful,” you say. You begin to hear a high pitched whine from the balcony. Turning you see another man dressed in a border guard’s uniform land on the balcony, the gleaming jetpack strapped to his back sputtering gently. “Say, think I could take that thing for a spin?”
“Oh, I don’t thinks so,” Darius says mildly. “We tend not to lend our equipment to liars.”
Uh oh.
“What the hell are you talking about?” you say, making your voice stern. “If my employers, our employers, find out about this...”
“Be quiet,” Darius says, waving at his men to flank you. “Jacob is even more paranoid than I am. If you had really spent any time at his camp he would have searched you. Thoroughly. And when he did, he would have found this!”
He throws the Swiss Army knife across the room at you. It clatters to your feet, the empty space where the toothpick goes staring up at you. Damn it! You had forgotten this world hated the Swiss.
“Jacob may be an extremist, but he’s loyal to humanity. If he even thought for a moment that a spy from the Venusian/Swiss Confederation was among his people he wouldn’t stop until they were found. And he would have told me.
“Gentlemen! Seize her!”


Choice Two
1. Time to go Bruce Lee, Jet Li, and Sara Lee on these bastards, then take that jetpack and get the hell out of here. 66%
2. Give up. You’re sure they have a fair and impartial justice system. 16%
3. Start screaming that you are from a parallel Earth and you here on a mission of peace. 0%
4. It’s time to flirt your way out of this mess. 16%

So, there you go! You have until midnight Tuesday, November 13th to make your choices and the new chapter will post on Saturday, November 17th. Have fun!

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