Saturday, January 5, 2013

You: Chapter Thirteen (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.
   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.

-Rich


Chapter Thirteen

Okay, Brain,” you say, placing the signal-blocking circlet onto your head. “What’s the plan?”

“First off,” The Brain of Carver says testily, the little light on the top of his tank blinking furiously. “stop calling me ‘Brain’.”

“No.”

“Fine,” Brain manages to sigh, again prompting a bunch of bubbles to rise in his tank. “I need you to go down into my basement. I constructed a smaller, more portable tank that will make our journey far easier. You can’t miss it, it looks like a glass scuba tank.”

“Okay, glass scuba tank. Check,” you say. “Then what?”

“I don’t know. I’ll be thinking while you are down there. Now go, before that psycho of a chauffeur shows up.”

“I thought he was working for you?”

“Oh, no. He works for our masters back home,” Brain says. “I think it may be time for us to go solo. It is my suspicion that they sent that murdering robot after me. For years they have exploited my genius, profited off the sweat of my brow, made a mockery of....”

“Yeah, I’m going to go down in your basement,” you say, getting up and walking down the hall. Brain is still talking as you walk past the dining room to the kitchen, where the basement door is. It takes a moment for you to register that the table where Murdertron was laying is empty.

And that the door to the basement is ajar.

Grabbing a heavy cast iron pan from the stove, you make your way to the door and peek inside. It’s dark. Opening the door a bit, which creaks ominously and loudly, you slowly ease your head into doorway, pan raised high.

“H-hello?” you whisper as you set a foot down on the top step. “Is there anyone down there? Any murdering robots, for instance?”

No answer. You reach over and flick the light switch, a series of fluorescent lights stutter to life, illuminating a dead body slumped over a work station. You leap back for a moment, ready to flee, when you remember Carver saying earlier that his body was down here. Stepping cautiously, you make your way down the stairs.

Though the first floor of Carver’s house is a mess of spare parts, down here everything is in order. A chemistry lab dominates the far wall, the old remains of acid burns marring the floor beneath the table, and a bank of old school looking computers (complete with reel-to-reel tape deck) line the opposite wall. If it wasn’t for the fly-covered corpse, you’d almost feel like doing a science experiment yourself down here.

It’s all so organized and neat, it takes a moment for you to notice the murder-bot standing in the corner glaring at you. Suddenly, your pan doesn’t feel like so mighty a weapon.

“Human!” Murdertron suddenly shouts at you, almost making you wet yourself. “You are the one who reactivated me!”

“Uh...,” you say, inching your way back to the stairs. “Yes? Was that a question?”

“It was a statement,” it replies smoothly, no longer shouting. Murderton walks, almost saunters, over the Carver’s corpse and picks up the empty bowl that used to be the top of his head. “It seems that, after accidentally deactivating me, my target expired on his own. This alarms me."




     “Why?

“I can’t collect a bounty on a kill I did not complete,” Murdertron states. “I’ve never before lost out on a bounty. This is most distressing.”

“Well...,” you really don’t want to tell this robot that his target is sort of still alive and in a tank in the upstairs hall. “Do you have a laser beam weapon thingy?”

“Of course,” Murdertron demonstrates by opening his hand, a thin red beam flickers for a moment, and the chemistry table splits suddenly in half. Beakers and tubes shatter against the cement floor. “What kind of murder-bot would I be without a laser hand?”

“Well, there you go,” you say. “You shot him in the head with your laser, he accidentally shuts you off, he stumbles down here, sits down, and his skull falls apart. Makes sense to me.”

Murdertron seems to consider it for a moment, one metallic finger tapping his chin. “That works for me. I like you human. Here, take this as token of my appreciation for reactivating me.

Murderton takes a thin sheet of metal, about the size of a business card, out of a compartment in its thigh and hands it to you. You take it and look at it.




This Card Entitles You To:
One Free Murder
Courtesy of
Murdertron
(Touch Icon To Activate)

A picture of Murderton’s head rotates slowly in the corner of the card. You nod your thanks, uncertain of what to say about the notion of free murder, and slip the card into your backpack. Murdertron walks back over to Carver’s body and uses its laser to slice off his right hand. Placing it into a compartment in its other thigh, which lets out a blast of cool air when opened, Murdertron moves to the center of the basement.

"You aren’t from this dimension,” it says, looking back over to you. “I can tell. Don’t stay here too long, things tend to get unpredictable on this particular world. If you need me to kill someone, just tap my face there, I can hear you no matter where I am. Be seeing you.”

Murdertron gives you a two fingered salute with his right hand, while his left chops at the air and seems to slice a hole in the universe. A howling chasm erupts in the middle of the basement and a strong smell of brimstone blasts you in the face. Murdertron steps through the hole and disappears, leaving you standing alone at the bottom stairs.

“Things get unpredictable, huh?” you ask no one. “Who’da' thunk that?”

“What’s going on down there?” Brain shouts down at you. “We don’t have time for fooling around!”


*********


“Seriously?” you ask with dismay, looking down at the tank strapped to your chest. “This looks like one of those baby carrier things. A Baby Bjorn. You have me wearing a Baby Bjorn.”

“I don’t know what that is,” Brain gurgles up from his new tank. “I had originally intended to have myself conveyed by robot when I transferred my brain to a tank, but I ran out of time and never designed the robot. Now, after we leave here we are never coming back and I do not intend to let my designs fall into the wrong hands. I will set off the self-destruct mechanism after we go, so if you want anything take it now. I think I have some jerky in the kitchen.”

If you want to grab something, you will have to leave something. What will it be?

Choice One

1. Binoculars 33%
2. Tablet 33%
3. Swiss Army knife 16%
4. Nothing 16%

What, if anything, will you take?

Choice Two

1. Shrink Ray 33%
2. Giant Serum 50%
3. Beef Jerky 0%
4. Nothing 16%

“Okay,” you ask, shifting your backpack back on. “What now? Do we head to that capitol building and try to sneak in?”

“We could do that,” muses the brain. “I remember that we also gathered some intel that seemed to indicate that a cell of the local resistance was holed up in the Agricultural Zone. They seem to be disciples of a man named Jacob who lives out in the desert.”

“Yeesh,” you say, chewing your lip. “What else you got?”

“We also gathered that an agent of the Venusians is at work in the city. Supposedly, he or she operates out of the park in the center of town. We could use this person to stir up trouble, cause our enemies to look to matters closer to home while we investigate their para-dimensional capabilities.”

“That sounds promising,” you say. “We could also forget about going rogue and I could contact Orson. I’m sure he’s done...infiltrating the city’s water supply or whatever he was doing.”

What will it be?

Choice Three

1. Head to The Citadel 16%
2. Contact Jacob’s people 16%
3. Try to find the Venusian spy 66%
4. Contact Orson and The Omega Conglomerate 0%

“Whatever we do, we’re going to leave here,” Brain says. “I’m tired of being their lackey and I’m sick of them using my inventions for their own profit. They can think I died in the house explosion. So, no matter what we decide, we need a means of conveyance.”

“What are our options?” you ask as you peer out the front door. The coast looks clear.

“There is the local rocket-train,” Brain says. “It’s safe and fast, though more people will see us. I have a hover-car in the garage, though it is registered to me. As long as we drive safely we shouldn’t have problems with local law enforcement. We could walk, that’s the healthiest option. Good for the heart. And then there’s....”

The brain mumbles the last part. You tap the side of the tank in agitation.

“What was that last part? Speak up.”

“Don’t tap the glass!” Brain shouts. “Out behind the house is..an experiment of mine. I was playing with atomic motors and made a...motorcycle. Of sorts. It’s dangerous and highly unstable. But fast. It could be the fastest thing in this city. And it looks awesome. But it’s dangerous. Real dangerous.”

“Sounds cool,” you say, intrigued. “You said atomic. Is it radioactive?”

“A bit,” Brain says reluctantly. “It shouldn’t be a problem as long as neither of us have been irradiated in the last week or so. I know I haven’t. What about you?”

“Me? No, no, not me,” You lie.

What will it be?

Choice Four

1. Rocket Train 0%
2. Hover Car 16%
3. Atomic Motorcycle 83%
4. Aching Feet 0%

“Well, let’s get a move on,” Brain says impatiently. “I really want to blow this house up.”

So, there you go! You have until midnight Tuesday, January 8th to make your choices and the new chapter will post on Saturday, January 12th. Have fun!

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