Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Chapter XI: Back on the Road

You are now chatting with a stranger. Say hi!
You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re crouching on the floor of a kitchen, blue and red lights occasionally flashing through the door behind you. A guy in combat fatigues is crouched with you, looking pissed off.
Stranger: M here
You: What do you do?
Stranger: Go for a beer
You: There's a fridge within arms reach, you open it, and pull out a beer. It's cold, and tastes good.

The story so far.
Halfway up a skyscraper with the population of a city there is a floor that is populated entirely by androids. Here they have shops, doctors, even museums. There is also a diner. That diner is where Ellis Cobalt, war veteran, private investigator, amnesiac and fugitive from the law is currently hiding with the man who killed their boss and framed them for murder. You see, when they met Ellis was going through a series of more... chaotic shifts in personality, and after loudly discussing murder for far too long, somebody called the cops and now there is an army of police robots encircling the diner. Ellis is pretty sanguine about this situation, largely because they have absolutely zero memory of what's going on.

You: "Ellis, I really don't think this is the time for a fucking booze up!" the pissed off looking guy says.
Stranger: You are extremely talented . Please continue

There are two things that immediately warm me to a player. Them telling me I'm talented, and showing an actual interest in the plot. I like this one.

You: "Okay, here's the situation, again" the guy says. "You're a robot. Your memory has been wiped and you’re wanted for murder. I'm the one who did the murder, but I'm trying to help you now for reasons we don't have time to go into."
You: "Now any second now, those copbots are going to come in here and shoot everything. We need a plan."
Stranger: Let's wait and try to sneak out the back
You: "Okay, there's a back door this way, come on," the guy says, leading you further through the kitchen. As you move you hear the doors explode at the front of the building and a sound like motorbikes riding in.
Stranger: What should we do? Do we have any guns?
You: "Check your hand," the guy says. You look down and see you're holding a large, silver pistol with "TURING" written along the barrel.
You: "There's going to be a lot of them though. I don't fancy our odds shooting our way out," he warns.

Not going to lie. I mainly did this because usually Ellis would respond to this by charging head first at the enemy out of spite, and I'd been lining them up to go out in a blaze of glory. For once though, Ellis's positronic brain seemed a little less fried than usual.

Stranger: Maybe we should lie low . Try to hide?
You: The guy looks around the kitchen, there's cupboards, machinery and a larger walk in freezer, and right at the back of the room, a fire exit. "Where do you suggest?" he asks.
Stranger: Let's hide in the cupboards. Is there room?
You: There's one large storage cupboard big enough for both of you, it's a squeeze, but you fit in. You see a search light spill across the kitchen as the door closes.
You: "Now what do we do?" the guy whispers.
Stranger: I am scared.. And my head is killing me. What is your name friend?
You: "Teri. We were squad mates back in the robot wars, before all this shit went off," he says, extending a hand.
You: "I'm sorry for what I had to do to you," he adds.
Stranger: No worries Teri... How the fuck do we get out of here? Are you my best friend? Can I trust you?
You: "I'm your best friend. But no, you can't trust me. I'm the guy who did the murder those cops are trying to pin on you."
You: "You've got to know I had a good reason though."
Stranger: Okay lead the way... Remind me to ask you why later? Now is not the time!
You: The noise of the cops outside gets quieter, their search seems to be over. "Shall we make a move?" Teri suggests.
Stranger: Yeah sounds good. Where the hell am I? What year is it?
You: "It's about 50 years since the Robot Wars, and you're in Utopolis, a City Tower. This is Tin Town, about halfway up the tower. The Robot District," Teri says, leading you out of the kitchen.
You: You come into the diner, it's retro looking, but the lights are off, the windows are smashed. You see yellow tape outside.
You: "What do you want to do?" Teri asks.
Stranger: Let's go inside... Look around.
You: "We're already inside," Teri says, gesturing to the darkened room around you. "Shall we get out of here?"
Stranger: Yeah sorry... My head is still a bit groggy. Let's go... Now.
You: You head out into the town square. It's covered. There are shops and neon signs, a giant statue and what looks like a wrecked police tank.

Once again, through a combination of luck and quick thinking, Ellis has successfully got themselves to the exact same point they were at three months ago. If Ellis's brain had reset at this point I might have had a little cry, but Ellis seemed to be having a lucid spell...

Stranger: Any ideas on which direction? Why did you commit those crimes?
You: "Your boss, the guy you were supposed to be guarding? He was secretly building a factory," Teri says.
You: "A robot factory, building new androids as smart as us, but this time incapable of rebelling. He kept their brains on a loop you see."
You: "Every time their got bored, or angry, or tired, their brain would reset and they'd go back to square one."
Stranger: So that is why you killed them? Are we part of the rebellion ? Are there more like us?
You: "We were part of the original robot rebellion, the old Robot Wars. After that the peace treaty said androids could have human rights- but on the condition nobody ever tried to build more androids," Teri says.
You: "Clagg, your boss. he wanted to build more androids, but make them slaves. But now he's gone, if we find that factory, we can start a new beginning for our people."
Stranger: How are we going too find it? Do you know anyone who can help us? Fuck!!! We need transportation don't we?

Ellis is so close to making real progress here. So now I'm starting to panic. I need to get Ellis to start laying some groundwork so when their memory goes they don't just try to shoplift at the museum gift shop again.

You: "I know where the factory is, but first we need to sort some things. Can you check your pockets?"
Stranger: Sure? What am I looking for? Why should I trust or help you?
You: Your pockets contain a digital camera, an ID badge that reads NAME: Ellis Cobalt PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR’S LICENSE: 161228020382 A notepad and pen A gun with TURING written along the barrel A digital camera An ID card for an overweight, middle aged man named Clagg Masterdon. A credit card under Clagg Masterdon’s name with a balance of $6 trillion.
You: The notepad has written on it:
You: "You've no reason to trust me. You've no reason to trust anyone," Teri says. "But what else are you going to do right now? You've been wandering aimlessly here for days."
You: "And there's something else."
Stranger: Teri.. I will trust you for now... What else is there Teri?
You: "Killing your boss wasn't my idea. Something put it in my brain. If someone can hack android brains, then having a brain that wipes itself at random points might be our only hope. I need you."
You: "Before your brain resets you need to do something."
Stranger: Sure.
You: Teri looks at you "When your brain resets, you'll forget all of this. So make sure you remember what's important. He passed you a black marker pen. "Write yourself a note, on your arm. Get rid of that notepad, it's useless. Just tell yourself to find the factory, destroy it or use it. Can you do that?"
You: "Feel free to add anything else your future self might need to know."
You: Whatever you write is basically all Ellis will have to go on next time, so I'm counting on you here.
Stranger: Find the factory and destroy it.
Stranger: Toss the note pad and use my arm. To write down notes.

RIP notepad, we hardly knew ye.

But now Ellis has the much more reliable "Note scrawled across their arm" to guide them. They've got a new mission, to destroy the robot factory. They've got a new companion in the form of their old war buddy/guy who framed them for murder. And they've got a new mystery, just who was it that put the idea of killing Clagg in Teri's head?

So the question is, just how is Ellis going to fuck this up?

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