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Interactive Adventure - Part 10 Onwards

Part 10

   "What do you mean 'a while'?! Just what the the holy flying taq is going on here?"

   Bronze grins hugely. "I was hoping you'd ask. You see, it's a little complicated. But first, some introductions; Yooless, Moosey, Shemora, Masimus," he begins, nodding to you each in turn.

   "How do you know their names?!"

   "It will become clear in a moment, Yooey. Now, you've already met Senlius. These are my crew-mates," he sweeps his arm to take in the three sofa-sitters, "Solanna," he indicates the girl, "Fork," the dude, "and Samuel," the scholarly guy.

   "Pleased to meet you," says everyone, politely and in some cases baffledley.

   "So. I am the Bronze Pierson you knew, but..." he pauses dramatically, smiles, and continues, "...from the future!"

   You look at him sceptically. Sure, time travel is theoretically possible, and you'd heard that Administratium scientists were working on it. You also know that by all accounts, the Omnics seem to do it as a matter of course. But Bronze? It just doesn't seem like his style. But then, you have to admit, he does look a lot more mature. And bigger. With a fit, but not over-muscley body. In fact, he looks about...

   "Two years from the future, to be more precise. From my point of view, Yooless, it was two years ago that you left to become a society fixer. Your parting words haunted me for the next year; they appeared in song lyrics, vidfics, everywhere I looked. I just couldn't forget about you. But then, I didn't really want to. And I did take good care of my knees." He smiles again, and this time you can't help smiling back a little.

   "Then I hit eighteen, and got to do the Wherego report myself. I became, well, a... 'Professional Smuggler-stroke-Pirate', is what they called it."

   You and your team raise your eyebrows in surprise - you'd never heard of that job or anything like it; indeed it sounds totally unorthodox for the Administratium. The Wyndlkidd is completely oblivious to all this plot-advancement, currently rolling around on the sofa happily while Fork tickles fer tummy.

   "Anyway, to cut a long story short, I picked up these guys, we had some kind of crazy adventures and ended up getting our ship the ability to travel through time. Now I know the whole time-travelling bit is hard to prove but... perhaps you've noticed some of the things we did? Did you notice anything a little... strange on your way here?"

   Masimus gasps in shock. "So it was you!"

   "What?" you ask him, irritated that he seems to be putting this together better than you were.

   "I always choose 'stone'. I knew something screwy must have been going on! You made me choose scissors, somehow!"

   "Well, yes, that's one of the things we did," acknowledges Bronze. "In fact, that was pretty essential to our entire plan."

   "Wait a minute..." you say, getting it, "you mean, you set that whole thing up so that... so that I would become the leader? Why?"

   "Why?" Bronze looks heroically into the distance, clearly recalling noble goals achieved against incredible odds. He definitely seems more confident than you remember. And most importantly, he still has that undefineable something that drew you to him in the first place.

   The universe feels suddenly poised. An abstract part of your mind seems to feel a vast interlocking puzzle about to slot together, with you at the centre. Bronze is about to answer, but he's drawing out the moment. Fork is still playing with your Wyndlkidd, and now the girl, Solanna, has gone over to join in. The scholarly guy, Samuel, is rubbing his chin contemplatively. Moosey, Shemora and Masimus are all looking somewhere between aghast and perplexed. Senlius, you notice, is nowhere to be seen.

   "Why, you ask? Why did we do all that we did? I'll tell you.

   "So that you would come here. In exactly the way you did. At exactly this point in time.

   "Hello there."

Part 11

   "What?" you say again, following Bronze's eyes to the door you came through a minute ago.

   "Hello to you too," reply the two people that have just walked in, in perfect synchrony. One male and one female; both bald, with red eyes; both wearing the same unusual blue uniforms; both with identical build and bone-structure. Presumably identical twins, or two from a set of identical triplets, or some further generalisation.

   You just have time to think all this before things start happening. Something warns you that all is not well over by your Wyndlkidd, and as you glance over to it you notice that Fork has pulled out a pair of slim guns and is pointing them at the newcomers. But the male one is talking, and his words seem to push thick warm air with them, air that seems to phase its way into your mind, fogging rational thought... "You don't want to do that," he says, and Fork seems to agree, putting down the guns.

   Then just as you notice that Shemora and Masimus have sprung to either side of the twins, and are about to come in on them in a pincer movement, the female one speaks with that same numbing voice, utterly convincing; "You are here to stop Senlius. Why trust us less than him?", and suddenly your team's human weapons seem to lose all confidence.

   The twins turn their eyes on Yoo. Something is seriously screwed up right here, you think to yourself furiously. "Who are you?" you demand, your own voice sounding oddly muted in the strange atmosphere the bald ones seem to project.

   "It doesn't matter," one of them says.

   Yes, you ponder, I suppose it doesn't. What a silly question to ask.

   Then something bright flashes behind the mysterious newcomers, and they collapse inelegantly to the floor. The fuzzy comforting atmosphere melts away, and Senlius walks in, pulling out a pair of ear-plugs with one hand and holstering a gun with the other. "That seemed to go as expected. Can someone give me a hand here? We better get these freaks into the sim unit before they come around."

   Bronze and his team get up to help out. Yoo and your team stand around, not at all sure what is going on.

   "Who are they?" you ask. It doesn't feel like a silly question any more.

   Fork looks up and answers; "Probably the greatest threat to the Administratium alive today." He gives you a wink from behind his shades, and then helps Senlius drag the male twin away.

   "Yooless," whispers Bronze, gently touching your arm, suddenly very close, suddenly very... interesting. "I need to talk to you in private."

Part 12

   "I need you to trust me."

   You sigh. "Bronze, how can I possibly do that? I don't know what's going on or what to believe. Either you've been time travelling and messing me about, which I'm not sure I like, or you haven't and you're lying. Or maybe you're not even Bronze at all; maybe you're an agent from the Barondom, or a hallucinatoin; anything. This whole situation is too far out of my control for me to trust anyone other than myself... and I'm not sure I can even do that, after some of the weird things I've just experienced."

   "Hey, I know; I've got a lot more explaining to do. But we really don't have much time. I've worked this out though. Now, you know that I would never talk to anyone about... about what happened to us during the Omnic reality quake, right?"

   You consider this, and nod. "Neither would I."

   "So that's something we can use to prove who I am. Let me tell you what happened. We were friends, and had been for almost a year. But we both wanted more than that."

   "Did you?" you ask, archly.

   "Yes, Yooey, I did, right from the start. I was just hopeless at expressing it. Then that night... we were each alone, separate, both doing our homework I imagine. Well, I was anyway, that much I know for sure. And then the quake happened, reality shifted - scientists are still debating what it actually was, technically, that happened - but then..."

   "...then?" you prompt, youir heart racing, part of your mind thinking he did like me after all! He did! The idiot!

   "...then we found we were in bed with each other. And you said, 'Well, now this is a pleasant surprise, isn't it'. And I-"

   "You ran away!" you laugh, still slightly peeved about it, but feeling rapidly better.

   "Yes. And I'm sorry. In fact you probably can't imagine how sorry I am. I was... oh, young, confused, afraid. So deeply smitten by you I didn't know if I was coming or going. A confusion I have come to profoundly regret."

   You notice that he's doing that thing with his eyes. You feel your heart melt a little, and you briefly try to stop it, then you change your mind and relax into the feeling. He likes you. You like him. How wrong can it be?

   "Alright alright, you've made your point." you say, "I guess it really is you, as much as it's ever possible to know. Now what do we have to do that you're in such a hurry about?"

   "I need you to talk to the twins."

Part 13

   "Okay, so get this," begins Fork, sitting down in the sim unit next to you. Directly opposite are the twins, headsets already mounted. "It's hard to say exactly where it begins, but we think that in one of our jaunts to the future, we found out that the Barondom had taken over almost the entire Administratium. So after a bit of investigation and a whole lot of following and writing instructions to ourselves in the past, we work out that it's all because of these guys," he indicates the twins with a jerk of his head, then stops as Senlius lowers the headset over him.

   Bronze guides your own headset on, and you feel it grip your cranium snugly. The headsets cover your eyes, but Fork carries on regardless.

   "As you might have noticed, these guys are some kind of far-out crazy mind-manipulators. It's like your thing with words, but with less finesse and more direct control."

   How does he know about my ability? You wonder. Probably read it in a note from the future, I guess...

   "The thing that skews them right off the map is that they can work together, increasing their combined power by some freaky factor. And the really smart part is that the Barondom teamed them up with a very particular kind of precog."

   "Ready to go in?" asks Bronze.

   "Ready," you and Fork reply. A physical switch is flicked, and reality


into simulation; you and Fork sitting on chairs in a small bare room. He carries on as if nothing had changed. "So they send these guys out to Adminey planets to convert the populous to the Barondom way of thinking, but only if this precog receives a 'mission successful' signal from them at some prearranged time in the future. You see? They completely lock us out. If we get in there and stop them somehow, then they never went there in the first place. And while they can just move on to another planet, we have to do another dangerous and expensive time-hop to stop them again.

   "It's a very nice scheme, which was probably a real headache for us to crack. Of course, the 'real we' didn't have to work it out - we got the instructions on one of our notes from the future. A note we are yet to send, I should point out."

   You start to see where this is all headed. "Ok," you say, "I get it. And the point is, you need me to talk to them. To say the right words that will make them give the 'mission successful' signal for this planet, but instead they actually stop what they are doing entirely. Right?"

   Fork looks at you admiringly, and not creepily. "Very good. And they're waiting for us through that door in front of you. But I should warn you, we're pretty sure that their power won't work in a sim - but not certain. This sim is not being monitored live, so they definitely can't talk the sim-supervisor - which is Senlius - into letting them out. But we can't be certain they won't get to me and you. So be quick with your mouth."

"Got it."

Q(7a):What do you want to ask Fork before you go in?

Aren't you worried about paradoxes?
Why are you in here with me and not Bronze?
Why are we in such a hurry?
What happened to our alpha double-prime AI?
Since you know so much about the future, where should I invest my money?
Aren't you worried about paradoxes?

[Determined by two coin tosses.]

Q(7b):How are you going to stop the twins, thus saving the most advanced human civilsation in existence from crippling and endless corruption?

Try to turn the twins' own power against themselves.
Persuade them by reason alone that the Administratium is better than the Barondom.
Use the sim to make you appear as the female twin to the male one and vice versa, then use paranoia and confusion to convince them that giving up is their own idea.
Try to fail. The Barondom deserves to win!
Charge in shouting the fisrt things that come to mind, and hope for the best.

[Also determined by two coin tosses... good grief!]


To be Concluded... real soon now! [-T.M. 10/11/3]


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