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.
Setting the Brain, nestled in his new portable tank, by the back door, you run back into the kitchen and sling your backpack onto the counter. Removing the binoculars and tablet you consider which one to leave behind.
“Fuck it,” you mutter, placing both on the countertop and stuffing the bottle of giant serum inside. “If I can’t see, it don’t matter and if I ain’t read it, I can’t be bothered by it.”
You quickly walk through the rest of the house to see if there is anything else worth taking, but ultimately decide to leave the shrink ray and the jerky behind. It’s too bad really, you’ve always heard that beef jerky made by mad scientists was supposed to be like little, tough chunks of heaven, but having a little extra room in your backpack may come in handy.
You are just about to leave so that the Brain can blow up his old house when you remember the shrunken people out on the front porch. If the house goes, they’re going to go too. You debate it for a moment, should you run them out to the sidewalk or put them out of their misery. They aren’t anyone to you, after all.
What do you do?
1. Save the wee people!
2. Let ‘em burn!
Slinging your backpack on, you make your way back through the house and pick up the Brain.
“Why do you have a backpack that only holds three things?” the Brain asks. “Seems like a pretty impractical design.”
“I know, I don’t see why I don’t just cram as much stuff as I can into it, but there you go. So where is this bike?”
“Behind the shed. We’d better hurry, I already set the timer to detonate the house.”
“How did you do that without any hands?”
“Don’t ask stupid questions. Let’s go.”
You make your way through the overgrown backyard and try to muscle your way past an unruly bush to get to the back of the Brain’s shed. After snapping a few branches, you finally plunge past the bush and find a tarpaulin covered mound sitting in the middle a cleared patch of ground. Looking a little closer, you notice something suspicious about the cleared patch and the back of the shed.
“How come everything looks burned away?” you ask the brain.
“That would be the radiation. Now hurry up and uncover it so we can get out of here.”
Though you feel yourself filling with doubt, you throw back the tarp and take a look at the motorcycle that lies beneath. All that doubt drains away.
“That is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen,” you say with awe. The motorcycle before you is a masterpiece of chrome and steel. It looks like a Harley had some kind of torrid fourway with a lion, a swan, and a fighter jet and then gave birth to this angelic marvel of engineering. You feel a tear come to your eye. “How did you build this?”
“I don’t really remember, it was like I was possessed or something,” the Brain says. “I just know that I wanted an escape vehicle, something capable of taking me across the wasteland if I had to flee. Two weeks later, I had this.”
You climb on and examine the array of controls before. Though it is a ground vehicle, with tires almost as wide as your arm is long, you see one button that will put it into hover mode. A few other buttons are marked with icons for rockets and machine guns.
“Does this thing have weapons?” you ask.
“Of course it does,” the Brain says, exasperated. “I was going to use it to escape into the wasteland wasn’t I? Now let’s go. Quickly now.”
You push a button marked “Ignition” and feel the motor hum to life beneath you. You nervously open the throttle on the handle just a teensy bit and the rocket booster on the back flares into life. The bike lurches forward, like a beast barely chained, before tearing across the yard and smashing through flimsy fence that surrounds the house. You and the Brain roar down the street at an ungodly speed, the heat of the engines nearly melting the asphalt as you go.
It takes a moment for you to realize that the maniacal laughter you hear is coming from you.
Minutes later, after shooting out of Gammaville and making your way to the expressway, the Brain begins to shout up at you.
“So, what’s the plan? Where are we going?”
“The park. We’re going to meet up with that spy you mentioned. I figure that the Venusians don’t want the Martians finding other Earths to conquer, that would make them too powerful, so we’re going to use them to find out what’s going on so we can stop it.”
“They are a duplicitous species. They will betray us.”
“Not if we backstab ‘em first. Now shut up. I’m going to enjoy this ride while it lasts.”
After a hour and a half of riding, which involved an hour of being “lost” in the Agricultural Zone, you find the sprawling park that dominates the center of the domed city. Finding a secluded area, tree-lined area you stash the bike and follow the Brain’s instructions for setting its vicious anti-theft system.
“There’s a trench coat in the compartment on the back,” the Brain says. “it should be enough to at least partially cover me.”
You reach into the compartment and pull out the battered, leather trench coat. It’s heavy, but comforting. Adjusting your pack and the Brian’s carrier, you walk out of the woods and begin to follow a manicured dirt trail.
“So where do we find this guy?” you ask. “I assume he doesn’t wear a sign that says he’s a spy.”
“It’s a she,” the Brain says. “and according to our reports she operates a hot dog stand near the main fountain. You’ll have to go up to her, ask for a hot dog with anchovies and cream cheese, and follow her instructions from there. I would imagine she is going to have you do something to prove your loyalty to the Venusians.”
“Ooh, this feels like real spy stuff,” you say, feeling giddy.
“It doesn’t when you say stuff like that.”
“Don’t be mean,” you admonish, smacking the side of his tank.
Making your way through the park, you notice all of statuary set into little niches alongside the path. Most of them depict Martian flying triangle-ships crushing some major city. The first you encounter has a ship destroying the Statue of Liberty with a death-ray. The next victim is the Eiffel Tower. Then the Pyramids. It makes you feel nervous that the Martians could do the same to your world.
“There she is,” the Brain whispers up at you.
She’s a skinny one all right, like a skeleton that’s had some parchment spread over it. Her hair is black and cut short, her face seems to made up of competing angles sharp enough to cut. Behind her stands a massive water fountain depicting a dozen Martian triangles shooting death-rays at a giant metal Earth.
Feeling more than a little nervous, you make your way to the hot dog vendor and wait in line. After the small knot of people move on, you step up to the cart.
“What can I get for you?” the woman rasps at you.
“I was hoping for a hot dog with cream cheese and anchovies,” you say, hoping you sound conspiratorial enough. The woman fixes you with a black-eyed glare.
“I haven’t made one of those in a long time,” she says after a moment. “My partner makes them better than I can, but he’s been taken prisoner by border security.”
“Is that so? I’m sorry to hear that.”
“Me too,” she says, still giving you stink-eye. “So I would need him to really make a hot dog like that work. But someone would have to go into the security building in the Slum Zone and get him for me.”
“I guess we’ll just have to see if that happens,” you say, a cold feeling begins to creep up your gut. “I’ll be seeing you.”
She doesn’t say anything as you make your way across the park and back into the woods. Finding a bench, you sit down and weigh your options.
“So we have to go break out some rebel from a security building in the Slum Zone, eh?” the Brain asks. “That should prove a challenge.”
“Especially considering I broke out of there the moment I got into town. My face has to be all over that place.”
“Damn. So what are we going to do?”
1. Go to the Slum Zone and break out the Venusian sympathizer
2. Forget the Venusians, contact Orson
3. Go to the Citadel and try impersonate your duplicate
4.Contact Jacob’s people
So, there you go! You have until midnight Tuesday, January 15th to make your choices and the new chapter will post on Saturday, January 19th. Have fun!