Friday, December 28, 2012

You: Chapter Twelve (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.


Chapter Twelve

You stay perched on the rickety pile of pallets for what feels like weeks. You can’t believe what you just heard. You always suspected that the Omega Conglomerate was up to something fishy, after all why would they pick you of all people to test out their trans-dimensional gizmo, but nothing prepared you for the truth.

Of course, how could you have predicted that they sent you here so that a mad scientist could scoop out your brain and replace it with his own simply because you look like this city’s Minister Of Agriculture? That kind of plan makes no sense at all.

And speaking of plans, you have to come up with one. For too long, you feel, you’ve been reacting to situations and not taking control of your own destiny. Climbing down from the pile of wood as quietly as you can, you start to scheme. A smile slowly spreads across your face as the pieces of a plan begin to take shape in your head. It’s a good plan.

Which makes you feel almost as shocked as Dr. Feldman looks when you find yourself hitting him in the face with a plank of wood. He hits the grounds, blood spurting from his broken nose, and begins to howl in pain.

“This was my plan?” you say out loud, looking down at the board in your hand. “Shit. What was the next part?”

“What the hell is going on?” the brain of Dr. Carver shrieks, the light on the top of the tank flashing frantically with each syllable. “Feldman? Feldman? Hook up the camera apparatus so I can see! Where did...?”

You throw down the board and pick up the tank. It’s heavy enough to make one of your vertebrae click when you heft it up, but you think you can make it a few blocks pretty quickly. Kicking open the garage door, you stagger out into the parking lot and begin to jog up the street.

To hell with plans. You are a woman of action!

“Who are you?” the brain yells. “Where are you taking me?”

“I’m taking you back home, you weirdo...brain...thing,” you grunt, wishing you had just taken the tanks rolling cart as well. “Now shut up before I drop you.”

You huff around the corner and up to the dilapidated, white-picket fence of the Carver house. Kicking open the gate, which simple falls off its hinges and collapses onto the walkway, you stagger up to the front porch and set the tank down with a heavy thud. Breathing heavily, you step onto the groaning boards of the porch and reach for the door handle.

“Wait,” the brain says. “Did you bring me to my old house? Whatever you do, do not open that door.”

“Why?” you ask, suspicious. “I know the handle isn’t rigged, I heard a neighborhood kid grabbed it and was fine.”

“I can’t go around electrocuting every Avon salesman that happens by my door, can I?” the brain says testily. “But if that child were to have opened the door he’d have gotten a face-full of shrink ray.”

“No way,” you say. “You do not have a shrink ray.”

“Look at the far corner of the porch.”

Taking a cautious step across the creaking boards, you see what looks like a small pile of sticks and cardboard surrounded by a length of clothesline rope. Kneeling down, you see that it is actually a small shanty town. Three two-inch tall people dressed in rags and holding spears made of rusty nails take a look up at you and wave lazily. You wave back.

“You just keep them like this?” you ask.

“I never figured out how to reverse it,” the brain says mildly. “but that’s their problem.

You are about to plead the case for saving the small people when you see a sleek, black limousine cruise by the corner. The same limo that brought the brain to the garage. You better get out of sight soon.

“So how do I open the door?” you say, shaking the tank. “Or do I just use you as a shield?”

“Push the knot on the top of the doorframe. When you enter, pull down the visor on the suit of armor to your right. That will disengage the ray.”

“Geez, paranoid much?” you mutter as you look for the knot in the doorframe. You find it, push it, and then rapidly follow the rest of the brain’s directions. Stepping inside the front hall, you turn and drag the tank over the threshold and close the door.

“Stay here,” you tell the brain as you walk down the short, gloomy hall. Set up at the far end is the shrink ray, mounted on an antique-looking table. Not taking any chances, you move the barrel so that it’s pointing at the brain of Dr. Carver. “And if your friends happen by you better shout something or else you join your buddies on the porch. I’m sure they’d love to meet you.”

You wander into the living room. Piles of coils and wire spill out across the floor, electronic equipment is heaped haphazardly in the corners, and a thick coating of dust covers everything. A circlet that looks like a metal sweatband sits on an easy chair, a masking tape sign on it reads ‘Signal Blocking Circlet’’. You wonder if it would block Orson from being able to find you once he goes back online.

     The kitchen is in a similar state, though it looks more like an alchemical lab than a computer graveyard. A large beaker with a cork stopper sits on the counter. The words “giant serum” is written on a piece of masking tape across the side of it. You pick up the bottle of purple liquid and swirl it around a little, wondering what it does, before setting it down and moving to the dining room.

This room is relatively clean with no piles of junk or chemicals spilling out of the corners. The only piece of furniture is a large table. Of course, this being a mad scientist’s house and all, a large robot lies across the top of it. You step up and look at it. It’s not like the other robots you’ve seen around here. This one is lean and sharp looking. Simply standing next to it makes you feel uneasy, like at any moment it could reach one of its claw hands out and grab you around the neck.

The word “Murdertron” is written across its chest.

“Did you build a murdering robot?” you shout towards the front hall.

“No,” you hear the brain shout back. “It was sent to kill me. I don’t know who sent it, though I have my theories. It isn’t from this world. It was only by luck that I hit the ‘off’ switch behind its head. That damned thing is the reason my brain is in a jar and not in my body.”

You peer behind Murdertron’s head and see the switch. You wonder who sent it. Anyone who wants to kill Carver can’t be all that bad...

Should you activate Murdertron?
Choice One

1. Hell yeah! 75%
2. Hell no! 25%

The robot simply lays there, not moving. It’s vicious looking eyes remain dark as you make your way back to the front hallway.

“So was it sent by those guys who made the Bonanza show?” you ask. “Back in the garage you said they were from some other world, too.”

The brain sighs, somehow, and sends a small storm of bubbles loose in the tank. “You heard all that, huh? No, they didn’t send it. From what we’ve gathered they are from a world that tries, through non-direct means, to improve the lives of parallel Earths that are in crisis. They try to inspire people to act in their own best interests, but never take a direct hand in things. They would never even consider sending an assassin.”

“So you have no idea who sent it?”

“No,” the brain says. “Though I suspect it may have been our masters. The ones who we work for.”

“I don’t work for them anymore,” you say, leaning against the wall. “I decided to become self-employed once I learned about the whole ‘scooping my brain out my head and replacing it with yours’ thing.”

“Sorry about that. It wasn’t personal.”

“Why? Why me and why my brain?”

“To be honest, I have no interest in your brain. It was your body I was after. Or rather, I was instructed by our masters to scoop out your brain and replace it with my own. We needed you because you have a double in this world...”

“The Minister of Agriculture,” you interrupt.

“Yes, the Minister. She is one of four Ministers that are sequestered in a building called the Citadel. It is there that the Martians communicate with this city’s government. We needed to get inside so that we can find out how much the Martians know about trans-dimensional travel.”

“You think they know about our world?” you ask.

“We suspect it. We’ve heard rumors that the scientists of this city have been instructed to examine multi-world theory. We need to know how far their research has come and, if need be, destroy such efforts.

“We needed your body,” the brain continues, “to slip past the Citadel’s security system. Its keyed to recognize a body’s DNA sequence and only allows in certain approved citizens. We’ve tried, unsuccessfully, to infiltrate the building using other methods. It was my theory that we scour our own world for genetic copies of people who exist here, so that we can use them to fool the security system. That’s when we found you.”

“Why not just ask me instead of trying to kill me?”

“I wanted to. Our masters back home didn’t want to take that risk. It seems they think you are uncontrollable and impulsive. I don’t know where they got that impression from...”

You begin to pace up and down the hall. You should be moving on, it won’t take long for the chauffeur to figure out where you went and you had wanted to head to the town square, maybe find these Bonanza folks.

“So what are you doing here,” you ask as you take off your backpack and root through its contents. A cloud of dust kicks up around the table you set the binoculars on. “And how long have you been here?”

“I’ve been here twenty years,” The brain answers. “I came here because the laws of physics are different here. Radiation, for example, has more of a mutating effect here than its more lethal consequences on our world. I can conduct experiments here that would never work back home.

“In exchange for my stay here, I send back inventions and breakthroughs to our masters back home. Every technological advance we’ve made in the last twenty years is because of my work here. I’ve heard that the Ipod is quite popular.”

“You made that?” you ask.

“In part. But if our world is invaded by Martians and Venusians than we can kiss all that goodbye. We need to find out what they know. We need to stop them.”

You finish emptying out your backpack and look over the contents. Binoculars, tablet, and Swiss Army knife. It looks like you may be able to fit one more thing inside.

“I know we tried to kill you,” the brain says, sounding desperate. “But we have to work together on this. We can’t let these aliens find out about our world. Or any world. These creatures are insane and bloodthirsty. They will decimate everything in their path.

“Downstairs, in the basement, is a portable tank. You can take me with you, we can work out how to get inside the Citadel together.”

What else will you fit into your backpack?

Choice Two

1. Shrink Ray! 37%
2. Giant Serum! 12%

3. Signal Blocking Circlet. 50%
4. Nothing. 0%

You turn toward the brain and think for a minute. Though he is evil, and seems to work for equally evil people, he has a point. You don’t want these alien bastards invading your world.

On the other hand, there is no way you can trust this brain. Maybe going with your original decision about going to the town square and finding these Bonanza guys is the way to go. Or maybe you can contact the Minister of Agriculture and find out what her deal is. After all, she is your genetic twin so how much different could she be. She might listen to you.

What are you going to do?

Choice Three

1. Ally yourself with the brain and work with him to develop a plan. 62%
2. Go to the town square, find the Bonanza guys. 25%
3. Try to contact the Minister of Agriculture. 12%
4. Stay here and poke around more. 0%
So, there you go! You have until midnight Tuesday, January 1st to make your choices and the new chapter will post on Saturday, January 4th. Have fun!

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