//Hello. I'm Cameron. I created the Twine you're about to play, and let me tell you, it's fucking playable. There is gameplay, there is story, there is romance, and there is drama. You will be sucked into it and you will say, "I'm emotionally attached to these characters for REAL! I am shipping so many of them!" and then you won't mention the fact that you set yourself up for a very cool high five because of that pun, but don't worry, you know the pun is there. Everyone else noticed and is impressed. Hell, I'm impressed. That was really good! If we ever meet up I'll definitely high five you!
Okay, here's my game, have fun. Press any key to start! I'm just kidding, you have to click the hyperlinks, there aren't any keys to press.//
"ALERT. ALERT. ALERT. THERE IS DEPRESSURIZATION ON DECK A. THERE IS A FIRE ON DECK A. ALL SIGNS OF BIOLIFE ON DECK A ARE LOST. THERE IS DEPRESSURIZATION ON DECK B. THERE IS A FIRE ON DECK B. ALL SIGNS OF BIOLIFE ON DECK B ARE LOST. THERE IS DEPRESSURIZATION ON DECK C. THERE IS A FIRE ON[[bckkkkkrrrrrrshhhh]]"
This is the last noise that the speakers make on the bridge. It's quiet, maybe in a deadly way, and the commander is looking to you for [[guidance]]. He's clearly afraid, and not in the way that he was afraid on Omicron 925-6, but afraid in the way he was on Deltulon ZX Minor Delta. The serious kind of afraid. The kind of afraid that means that the Company and the Management are definitely not running yet another simulation, and that this time your actions frakking matter.
That last [[10,XXXyr Space Whiskey]] shot last night was probably a bad idea.
With a quick glance at your monitoring equipment, you realize how neutrino-hosed you are. There's literally nothing you can do. Every deck is on fire, every deck is depressurized, every deck has no biosigns. You don't even think that the decks can be on fire and depressurized at the same times, but the sensors can't be wrong (they're wired with panoptic AI-sensitized ultrafiber made by the Axxic Trecktons. The Axxic Trecktons don't mess around. These sensors have a fifteen lifecycle guarantee, and those guarantees have very, very high payouts).
"Sir," you shout at the disoriented and perturbed man who bosses you around. "Everything is on fire. Everything has no atmosphere left. We've lost main gravity, thrusters are off, the nose of the ship is concave instead of convex, and all of the people below the bridge are dead or dying. Sir. And not in a way where it's feasible to save them. Dying as in on fire or with exploded eyes. And since I've finished explaining, they're all just dead now. [[Regular dead]]. The dead you can't come back from."
You don't remember the night before. You think there might have been some serious personal mistakes that were made, because you checked the datalog in your Communicator and there are definitely emails missing that, according to the timestamps and outbox, should exist. You sent five hundred messages to First Private H. Rjckss down in the lower engineering decks, who you hired two months ago, but instead of deleting the messages entirely you went through each email and manually deleted just the body of the message. Huh. A weird move to checkmate your sober and future self, but a good galactic chess move is a good galactic chess move and you know you've lost.
The Commander did [[ask a question though->guidance]], even if it was only with his eyebrows, so maybe you should be worrying about Decks A - C (and possibly C - Plural Zed) instead.
The Commander looks terrified. He asks if there's anything that can be done, anything at all. "Is there anything that can be done? Anything at all?" His words whimper from his bionic lips. "We've come so far, this can't be the end."
"Sir, there's nothing we can do. The ship is already gone. The people[sic] are dead. Everything's gone and there's literally nothing we can do. These sensors don't lie, I installed them myself and I still have all the insurance forms."
The Commander pauses a moment.
The Commander asks if you're sure.
[[You are. You double checked this. Why does he always question you?->You are]]
[[You're not. You double checked but you've been having a rough time getting things right recently. Maybe a triple check would SpaceSolve the SpaceProblem...->You're not]]
"Sir," you push on as though no concerns or doubts had ever entered your head (but they did). "Absolutely sure, sir. This isn't like that last time I made that ''really big mistake'' with the Croxon VII's instead of the Organular Regitronic Compositors. Plus, the only real difference between the two is the Flibbed Alcamatrixacal IGNR's which are really very similar to each other, you can check the manual on that. Honestly, it's just five minutes until we're overtaken by this hyperspatial occurence... There's nothing we can do. The ship is already sending out a beacon but the likelihood of the subSpaceNet reaching anyone in time in this sector is negligible."
Your words are convincing and assertive. You're feeling confident and strong. Your body language is powerful and everyone is horrified and crying. This might be the end, but you're in charge of your own destiny, or at least you're really feeling like you haven't stumbled over any words and you know how to do your job even in this [[terrifying end-death]].
You're sure you did it correctly this time, you've been going over everything so many times recently and you haven't noticed any issues since the last big issue. But, okay, that last big issue was a ''really big issue''. Everyone keeps reminding you. You're still not convinced it's your fault that the Croxon VII's were replaced by Organular Regitronic Compositors. Plus the only real difference between the two is the Flibbed Alcamatrixatic IGNR's and anyone could have made that mistake.
Okay, not anyone. Technically it was just you. But theoretically, if anyone else on the ship had your job and training and background and upbringing and life experiences, it could have just as easily been them that forgot to cross reference the manuals.
[[Alright, this one is a big one. This is worth going over again. You probably didn't do it wrong because that would be pretty embarrassing, but for everyone's sake let's put ego aside!->Save the ship]]
//Cameron here again. Hello! Good to see you! I just wanted to spoil this for you real quick because I want you to get the full experience! If you choose the above option to continue, the game will only have one screen left and then you win! But for the FULL NARRATIVE EXPERIENCE! you might want to choose the option below! Okay, happy clicking!//
[[You know what, maybe it's not worth double checking. You're just learning to trust yourself again!->You are]]
"Oh," you say. "Heh," you continue.
You press the button that fixes the problem and it's all much better now.
"Woops! That's my bad."
What an easy solution! God, that was simple!
//Hey, it's me, Cameron! I made this Twine! Thanks for playing, you did a really good job! There's no leaderboard, but trust me, you probably did this in the least number of clicks out of any of them! Thank you so much for playing and see you later, space cowboy! ;)//
The Captain, the First Mate, the Second Mate, the Third Through Ninth Births, the Navigational Guardian and the Weapons Attacker all cry out in fear. Fear of the incoming and very certain but possibly escapable death.
Hope isn't a big thing in space. Space is pretty big, you know? No one ever really comes to rescue you in space, not if you're way out in the middle of it. And certainly not when your ship is a pirate raider ship! Not that this ship is a pirate raider ship, but for the sake of clarity it's good to give examples so you can understand how unlikely it is compared to more unlikely and less unlikely things! Knowing your place in the world removes some of the shameful vulnerabilities and replaces them with important and honest vulnerabilities. You've listened to the first chapter of Daring Greatly by Brené Brown on A.I.udioBook, so you know it's good to try and habitualize the teachings by repeating them to yourself until they're internalized.
"Yes sir, this seems like this is it. Nothing we can really do but [[wait out the five minutes]]."
Everyone screams, which absolutely isn't helping the situation. It's not really hindering it though, so it seems like an okay reaction. You choose not to intrude on their lifestyle.
The captain asks you a question that shows his assertiveness, a valuable asset of any leader. His thesis was written on Assertion in the Face of Death at the Shipmasters Guild Academy, the most prestigious space-learning school on this side of the Dark-Green-Neutrino-Emitter. "Couldn't we quantum the quasar phasers into the particulates of transparent aluminum," he begins asking. You cut him off.
"No sir," you say. "That doesn't make sense," you continue. "There's nothing we can do and we have four minutes until we die. Quantum isn't a verb. Quasar phasers were quasar phased out," you laugh at your own joke. Hah! Okay, you continue. "Phased out two life-cycles ago. Transparent aluminum is just from that old Earth show Star Trek. We have transparent tin as our windows. And they're windows, not particulates." You neatly pick holes in his suggestion and feel really good about yourself! You definitely made the right choice not double checking earlier, you know so much about spaceships.
[["In fact sir,"]]
"In fact sir, I have something I want to say."
"Oh, Great Jes00 Chri0XX of the Xth realm, divider of the atom and creator of the cosmos..." the captain warbles.
"Sir, do I have permission to speak?"
"I think everyone here has permission to do anything they want. It's not like it matters anymore." The captain seems frantic
You're shocked by this. "Sir, it's not like this changes anything. I don't think granting permission to the crew to do anything they want is a good idea. We had just as much right to do anything we wanted before, the only difference is now we're all ending our life-cycles at the same moment instead of separately. In the three minutes we have left, I think it's if anything //most important// for us to act naturally and with as much sanity and self-worth as possible."
"Very well," he says, rubbing acidic water from his Lizardian eyes. The Lizardian version of tears, you assume. Maybe studying physiology would have been a good move. Safer, for sure. Although then again, acidic water doesn't seem safe. Tough to say which of the two was [[a better path to have taken as a younger tyke]]. "Very well, [[say what you need to say.]]"
//Fade in on a young child. The child seems uncertain, awkward. The child is dumb and makes a wrong decision.//
"I want to study physiology! It certainly seems much safer than spaceships."
//A montage of studying, and college youth. Holographic disc golf in the gravity-free quad. Friends and experiences. Youthful exuberance and love. Downloading an eBook diploma from the robodean. We realize collectively that the young child has grown up into the character whose place we've been in for the majority of this story! Furthmore we realize that this is an alternative universe where he chooses physiology instead of rocketships!!//
"I did it! Let's go be in safe academia forever! I'll study and never be hurt by anything as dangerous as quantum minutiae or subspace anomalies, two things that I'm more scared of than anything else. I have a great job at the university that I graduated from where all I do is look at larval grubs of alien species under microscopes and today is the first day of the rest of my life."
//The camera pans down and he's wearing flip flops in the lab. Another full-time research assistant spills a holopetri dish containing a larval grub. The camera cuts to a slomo closeup of the larval grub spinning. It lands on the young man's foot. The young man who we care about, not the other unimportant full-time research assistant. Anyway, the grub burrows into him and he dies slowly and painfully over the course of a solar rotation. It's horrible.//
//With his dying words, he mutters...//
"If only... I'd chosen.... spaceships......."
He's dead. [[//Cut back to the scene.//->say what you need to say.]]
You decide it isn't worth it. You wanted to profess your love to Janell Money, the captain's firstborn, but isn't love the act of letting go? True love is letting the primordial soup of emotion grow into its own beast, you've learned that from vidcons. Plus it's kind of an awkward time since you're all dying, the value of a returned love is a little lost when all you've got is two minutes. Or maybe you were just feeling lust. Either way, you don't feel like it's that important anymoe. Janell Money isn't even in the room, you'd just ruin the captain's last two minutes. You're a good person for keeping it in.
"Never mind, sir."
The captain nods contentedly. As contentedly as possible, under the circumstances. You guess he nods more of a frantic nod than a content nod. You guess content nodding isn't something anyone would consider right now. You feel a bit confused by how you thought he nodded, it was a weird emotion for you to attribute to his behavior. You reflect on this for a minute, worried that maybe you've been misreading alien body language for kind of a long time. It's certainly explaining many situations, the more you reflect. Huh. Bygones be bygones, you guess. There's a lot of uncertain guessing happening. [[You shrug it off.]]
"Sixty seconds left, sir. Fifty eight. Fifty seven. I can keep going the whole way down if you want me to. Fifty four. Fifty three."
The captain shakes his head. "Let's not count down. Let's all speak our final words."
The rest of the crew on the bridge has been screaming for the four minutes and ten seconds that you and the captain have been conversing. It faded out of your focus as time moved forward, but now in the silence of your conversation with the captain you realize it's continued.
The spaceship explodes! Kabloomie!
//Wow, what an ending! Do you feel like you made the right choices? There are many arcing paths to take, but you ended up here. Is there some place where you could have changed the ending, and stopped this horrible death from happening? Was love lost? Was something else found? How have you grown, how could you have grown had things been different? Replay if you want to, but know that you can't replay life. You have to live with the choices you make in life.
Thank you for enjoying my game! Follow me on twitter at @CameronOmCahill! Follow me on instagram at @WizardOfWine! Add me on Facebook as Cameron Workman! Send me an email at [email protected]! It was good to share with you, and I'd love if you shared right back at me!//