Epiphany in Spaaace! by Robert Boyd -1- The year is 2801 SY. You are Philemon K. Bort, a young man in your 20s who has been studying for the past 4 years at G.A.S.H. - the Galactic Academy of Space for Humans. Tomorrow is a big day, the day that you finally graduate from the academy and begin your new life as an official member of the Universal Galactic Space Corps. Not only is tomorrow the day that you graduate, but it's also the day that you find out your grades. Grades are very important at GASH because they determine what kind of position in the ranks you'll begin with. Anything from junior commander of an entire fleet to a lowly trash collector is possible with the right (or wrong) grades. You have high hopes that you did well - after all, every single one of your teachers was very friendly towards you. Then again, on reflection, that might be a more of a reflection of your family's status - your father is a five star Super General, after all - than your own personal merit. To celebrate the completion of classes and everyone's imminent graduation, your friends and you decide to throw a party tonight. You stay up very late, enjoying cake, punch, music, and the company of your friends. You don't get to sleep until the wee hours of the morning. Beep, beep, beep! The sound of your alarm clock wakes you from your sleep. You really should get up and get ready for the graduation ceremony since it's early, but you're so tired. Surely it wouldn't hurt to sleep just a little longer, right? *Get up.* (Go to #38) *Hit the snooze button.* (Go to #2) -2- You hit the snooze button. A few minutes later, you hit it again. And again. Then you just pull the machine out of the wall. You finally wake up at 8 am. This would have been fine - the graduation ceremony is at 9 am and if you hurried, you could get ready in time - except for the fact that it's 8 am the day following the graduation ceremony. You slept through an entire day. Ouch. Your email box is filled with upset messages from classmates, teachers, and administrators wondering where you were. The messages from your parents sound especially angry. Finally, you find the message you were looking for, THE message, and its contents fill you with dread. "Philemon K. Bort, based on your grades and various recommendations, your rank was set to be captain of a moderately sized spacecraft, however due to unusual circumstances that have occurred recently, your previously determined rank has been adjusted down to Yeoman. You have been assigned to the U.S.S. Epiphany. You will leave the academy at the 0900 hour on the 34th of September." You are crestfallen. Yeoman is the lowest rank in the Space Corps, just under the rank of waste sanitizer. To think that oversleeping could have cost you so much. It must have been your father - he must have pulled some strings to get you demoted as a way of teaching you a lesson. At the appointed day and time, you show up for duty at the U.S.S. Epiphany. It's a newer space craft with sleek curves and lots of advanced technology - power steering, power doors, power gravity generation field, power lasers. It's a midsized vessel so there are probably only a few thousand people on board. To think that you could have been the captain of such a ship but instead you're only going to be a mere yeoman. Your first week of duty is horrendous. As a yeoman, anyone has the right to boss you around and not surprisingly, everyone does boss you around. You get all of the jobs that the crew doesn't want to do and you are called to perform your duties at all hours, both day and night. You don't think you've slept for more than 3 hours at a time since boarding the ship. Your life is a mess. What are you going to do about it? *Wallow in self pity.* (Go to #3) *Try to improve your status in life.* (Go to #10) -3- You decide to wallow in self pity. It doesn't make things any better but at least it's easy for you to feel sorry for yourself. The days pass then weeks. Any last lingering hopes you had that the decision to make you a yeoman would be reversed and you would gain the higher rank that was rightfully yours have vanished. One day, while sleeping underneath your bed in an attempt to hide from work, something terrible happens. The ship is attacked and taken over by aliens. Every human aboard except for you is killed. You know all this because your handy handheld computer tells you when you wake up. What will you do? *Stay hidden under the bed.* (Go to #4) *Open the door and run.* (Go to #6) *Try to find a sneakier way to escape.* (Go to #7) -4- You continue to hide under the bed. You're not sure how much time has passed but it feels like forever. Maybe you should get out and try to escape. *Stay hidden under the bed.* (Go to #4) *Get out from under the bed.* (Go to #5) -5- You get out from under the bed and discover a green lizard-like alien is lying on top of your bed. It turns out he was hiding in your room to avoid work just like you were doing previously. The alien is surprised at seeing you but not so surprised that he can't quickly pull out his laser gun and blast you into oblivion. The End. -6- You open the door to your room and start running in the direction that you think the escape pods are in. Unfortunately, where you think the escape pods are and where they actually are turn out to be in completely different directions. You are killed by an alien laser gun before you are able to correct your course. It may be little consolation, but even if you had known where to run, you were probably going to get zapped before you reached safety. The End. -7- Barging out into the hall is only going to get you killed and you can't stay hidden forever so you decide that you need to move out, albeit as stealthily as you can. There's a child-sized air vent that goes into your room and luckily for you, you haven't been eating very well as a yeoman so you're practically child-sized yourself so in you go. It's a tight squeeze but it's doable. There's a bit of unpleasantness when you have to get past a cat skeleton (so that's where Yeoman Hasting's cat ran off to!) but you are able to squeeze past it. You have reached a point where the air vent splits into two routes. According to your handheld computer, one route leads to the room where the escape pods are kept and the other route leads to the engine room. Where will you go? *Go to the escape pod room.* (Go to #8) *Go to the engine room.* (Go to #9) -8- You are above the room where the escape pods are kept. You don't see any aliens so you drop into the room, doing your best to minimize any noise. Good. No aliens heard you. You then enter an escape pod, press the launch button, hit Confirm, and you're on your way to safety. Unfortunately, the aliens who had taken over the ship were expecting any survivors of the attack to do exactly what you just did. They instantly spot the escape pod and shoot it down with the ship's powerful lasers. You are dead. The End. -9- You are above the engine room. The large crystal that powers the ship hovers in the middle of the air while the surrounding machinery converts its energy into a form that the ship can use. Alien soldier that look like lizardmen are patrolling the room. You're not going to be able to enter the room without being detected but you have an idea. You wait for a moment when nobody is looking and then you throw your handheld computer at the energy crystal with all of your might. A large crack appears in the crystal, the lights turn red and a voice says, "The engine core stability has been compromised. The ship will explode in 24 seconds, and 12 mini-seconds. Have a nice day." You were expecting to be able to escape in the ensuing confusion created by the ship's impending destruction, but you were also expecting to have been given more time - 24 seconds is not enough time for anyone to escape. The ship, the aliens, and you are all destroyed. The End. -10- You decide that there's no point in feeling sorry for yourself. A person's initial rank isn't that important - you've heard countless stories of generals who have worked their way up from the bottom. You just have to do your best and work hard and you're sure that you'll be promoted in no time. You work hard. You do everything that is expected of you and more. You do your best and...nothing. You're still a yeoman. You're going to need to take a more active approach and find a new job. New job equals new rank. After searching through the Classified ads for the Epiphany, you find two jobs that you could try applying for. The first is a position as an assistant cook. You've always enjoyed cooking and though assistant cook isn't much higher than yeoman, it's a start. Alternatively, you could apply to be on the ship's Away Team - that's the group of people in charge of exploring new planets. It's a dangerous job, but success there could result in fast promotion. What will you do? *Apply to be an assistant cook.* (Go to #11) *Apply to the Away Team.* (Go to #20) -11- You apply to be an assistant cook and to your joy, your application is accepted. You're assigned to help a junior chef named Tim. Tim is a thin, talkative chap who is not afraid of sharing his cooking secrets with others. Under his instruction, your culinary skills improve rapidly. After months of working under Tim, an opportunity presents itself. One of the senior chefs is retiring and an assistant cook will be promoted to fill his place. In the grand tradition passed down by generations of chefs, a cooking competition will take place and determine which candidate is most qualified. The rules for the competition are simple: each chef will bring his own ingredients to the grand cooking hall and will have one hour to prepare a complete meal - appetizer, main course, and desert. Three senior cooks will act as judges and give each dish a score. The cook with the highest score wins. Now, the question in your mind is a matter of ingredients. Should you try to use exotic ingredients and attempt to wow the judges with your creativity or should stick with more traditional ingredients that you are familiar with. *Use exotic ingredients.* (Go to #12) *Use traditional ingredients.* (Go to #13) -12- You bring the strangest, most exotic ingredients you can find to the competition - space jellyfish, jellied cat, yffledge, and so on. The other contestants look at your selection of ingredients with contempt. Will you be able to pull off the difficult dishes that you have planned? The answer to that question is, sadly, no. As it turns out, space jellyfish requires two whole days of cooking before it even approaches being edible. With only one hour of cooking, the resulting dish causes extreme nausea and vomiting for each judge who dares to taste it. Needless to say, you are expelled from the competition but at least your current job of assistant cook hasn't been revoked. Maybe another opportunity for promotion will present itself in the future. The End. -13- You decide to use traditional ingredients for the competition. You won't impress anyone with the difficulty of your creations, but at least you can try to impress them with the expert craft that you use to prepare them. You prepare a meal consisting of a simple salad, duck covered in a thin fruit sauce, and homemade ice cream. Your meal is a huge success. The judges all loved your food. The other candidates all tried more difficult dishes that they didn't quite have the necessary skill to pull off. You were the only one who made dishes that he was very familiar with. You become the newest full fledged chef aboard the Epiphany. For many months, your new position fills you with joy and pride but now, you feel like there's something missing. You feel that you're beginning to stagnate as a cook. What will you do? *Ask one of the other chefs for advice.* (Go to #14) *Turn to science for answers.* (Go to #15) -14- You ask one of the other chefs for advice. His advice is simple but effective - you must learn to love what you do. That advice burrows deep within your heart and spurs you on to bigger and better feats of cooking. Many years have passed. You are ready to retire. You have had a long and illustrious cooking career and have been the first person to achieve the ranking of 5 star master chef in the Galactic Space Corps. Enjoy your rest - you've earned it. The End. -15- You decide to turn to science for your answers. You analyze every ingredient that comes into your possession, hoping to find clues that will help you to create the best food possible. It's because of this obsession to categorize everything that you make a startling discovery. The special spice that every cook aboard the Epiphany uses is actually made of human brains. What will you do with this newfound information? *Talk to the captain.* (Go to #16) *Talk to the head cook.* (Go to #17) -16- You decide to tell the captain of the Epiphany about your discovery. He is skeptical at first but when you show him the evidence, his skepticism turns into disgust. At the captain's order, a secret investigation into the origin of the "grey matter" (code name for the secret) is begun. The results of the investigation are shocking - the chief cook has been killing people in secret and using their organs to improve the flavor of the food! He is immediately imprisoned and tried for his crimes with the end result being that he is sentenced to death. When news gets out that it was you that brought the chief cook's evil deeds to light, you are lauded as a hero. As a reward for your deeds, you are given the chief cook's position yourself. Life is definitely looking up. The End. -17- You tell the chief cook about your discovery. "You were right to come to me with this information," the chief cook says. "Now, let's step inside my office so we don't worry the others and discuss what steps need to be taken to put an end to this." You follow the chef into his office. Upon entering the room, he motions for you to take a seat. You sit down in the big comfortable chair. The cook attacks you with a butcher knife! What will you do? *Die.* (Go to #18) *Fight back.* (Go to #19) -18- Really? You're choosing to die? Okay, death it is. I'm not sure why you decided that but now you have to live with your decision. The cook's butcher knife kills you almost instantly. You may be happy to know that the chief cook's next meal tastes even better than usual. The End. -19- Not having time to dodge, you kick the chief cook in the groin. He drops the butcher knife and falls to the ground. "Everything was going so well," he gasps, "and then you had to stick your nose in where it didn't belong. I would have gotten away with it too, if it wasn't for you pesky kid!" "Save it for the jury!" you reply. You call the ship police to come and arrest the chief cook. The chief cook's trial comes quickly and the verdict is unanimous - for such evil deeds, nothing but the death sentence can suffice. When news gets out that it was you that brought the chief cook's evil deeds to light, you are lauded as a hero. As a reward for your deeds, you are given the chief cook's position yourself. Life is definitely looking up. The End. -20- Your application to join the Away Team is accepted. Apparently the survival rate of yeoman assigned to the Away Team is extremely low and so they didn't get very many applications. You know the risks are high, but you will make this work. You will succeed as an Away Team member and advance through the ranks! The day before your first mission as an Away Team member, you receive your uniform. The uniform consists of blue spandex pants and a red shirt. The shirt is covered with dried blood - apparently, they didn't bother to give you a new shirt but just gave you the shirt of your predecessor. Since you don't feel comfortable wearing a shirt covered in blood, you go to one of the ship's Laundromats. Besides, you need to do your laundry anyway. Now the only question you have is how should you do it? You know the correct way to do laundry is to separate the laundry into various loads based upon color, but you're in a hurry. Surely it wouldn't hurt to just do it all in one big load just this once, right? *Separate the loads by color.* (Go to #21) *Do one big load of laundry.* (Go to #24) -21- It takes longer, but you separate your laundry into individual loads based on color. The end result is beautiful and clean laundry. The blood stains are completely gone from your Away Team red shirt. Excellent! The next day, you meet up in the teleporter room with the rest of the Away Team. No other Yeomen decided to sign up besides you so the Away Team primarily consists of main crew members. There's the captain - a dashing young man with blond hair and an air of confidence about him. There's a man who looks to be older than is humanely possible without being dead - he's the ship's chief medical doctor. There's a round unshaven man with glasses - that's the chief programmer of the ship's computer. Finally, there's a woman with stunning good looks, tall glittering boots, a short skirt, and an exposed midriff - that's the ship's chief morale officer. "Welcome to the team," the captain says to you. "I see you cleaned up your predecessor's shirt. Don't worry - I'm sure you won't meet the same fate that Yeoman Sumisu met." Somehow you're not reassured. The teleporter zaps everyone down to the planet that you're going to explore. The teleportation goes through without any problems - hopefully, you're exploration will go just as smoothly. You find yourself in a thick rainforest-like jungle with the other Away Team members. "My scanner readings are picking up human life in this direction," the doctor says. Now's your chance to shine! You could volunteer to take point position. Then again, it's your first time on an Away Team mission so maybe it would be best to stay behind the other more experienced members. What will you do? *Volunteer to take point.* (Go to #22) *Stay in the back.* (Go to #23) -22- You volunteer to take the point position. "Great initiative, Yeoman Bort," the captain says. "I like that in a crewmember." You take point position, leading the group through the jungle toward the area that showed signs of life. The vegetation is dense and would be difficult to travel through but luckily each member of the Away Team has a ray gun so you just blast your way through the thicker undergrowth. "Yeoman Bort has survived for surprisingly long," the programmer says. "Indeed. Maybe he'll be different," the woman says. It is at precisely this moment that your foot decides to step in a quicksand monster. You struggle valiantly but the quicksand monster pulls you into itself. You suffocate as it digests you. The End. -23- You decide to hang towards the back of the group. Let the more experienced members take the more dangerous forward positions is your reasoning. This would have been sound reasoning if not for the fact that when your group is ambushed, the ambushers come from the rear. The very first laser blast hits you in the back and instantly kills you. The End. -24- You hate doing laundry and don't want to take any longer than necessary so you decide to stick all of your laundry in one big load. The laundry does go by quickly, however when you take out your clothing, you find that all of the colors have mixed together. The next day, you put on your pink and blue Away Team shirt and meet up in the teleporter room with the rest of the Away Team. No other Yeomen decided to sign up besides you so the Away Team primarily consists of main crew members. There's the captain - a dashing young man with blond hair and an air of confidence about him. There's a man who looks to be older than is humanely possible without being dead - he's the ship's chief medical doctor. There's a round unshaven man with glasses - that's the chief programmer of the ship's computer. Finally, there's a woman with stunning good looks, tall glittering boots, a short skirt, and an exposed midriff - that's the ship's chief morale officer. "That's quite the strange shirt you have on there, Yeoman Bort," the captain says. "You're not strange in the head, are you?" "No sir," you reply. "I just had a little mishap with the laundry last night." "Chief morale officer," the captain says, "make sure to get the yeoman a new regulation shirt for the next mission. There's no time now so he'll just have to make do with looking ridiculous for this mission." The teleporter zaps everyone down to the planet that you're going to explore. The teleportation goes through without any problems - hopefully, you're exploration will go just as smoothly. You find yourself in a thick rainforest-like jungle with the other Away Team members. "My scanner readings are picking up human life in this direction," the doctor says. Now's your chance to shine! You could volunteer to take point position. Then again, it's your first time on an Away Team mission so maybe it would be best to stay behind the other more experienced members. What will you do? *Volunteer to take point.* (Go to #25) *Stay in the back.* (Go to #33) -25- You volunteer to take the point position. "Great initiative, Yeoman Bort," the captain says. "I like that in a crewmember." You take point position, leading the group through the jungle to the area that showed signs of human life. The vegetation is dense and would be difficult to travel through but luckily each member of the Away Team has a ray gun so you just blast your way through the thicker undergrowth. "Yeoman Bort has survived for surprisingly long," the programmer says. "Indeed. Maybe he'll be different," the woman says. It is at precisely this moment that your foot decides to step in a quicksand monster and you start to sink. "Don't struggle!" the captain says. "We'll get you out of there!" It goes against everything that your brain is telling you, but you force yourself to not struggle against the quicksand monster. You quickly sink into the monster... ...and then come out on the other side! You are now in someplace that is very dark and has a hard floor. You turn on the flashlight function on your laser gun and take a look around. You are in a large underground cavern filled with stalactites and stalagmites and a thin stream of water. Next to the stream is a small old man in a brown cloak. The man's skin is wrinkled with great age and it might just be the low light but you'd swear his skin is colored orange. "Hello there," you say. "Do you know how to leave this cave?" "Exitay ouyay eeksay? ogay isthay ayway ouyay ustmay," he responds. You have no idea what he just said. Maybe he's crazy. What will you do? *Try to communicate with the old man.* (Go to #26) *Try to find an exit by yourself.* (Go to #30) -26- It takes quite some time, but eventually you realize that the old man is speaking pig latin with a backwards method of syntax. You program this information into your universal translator device and then the man's ramblings being to come out in perfect English. "I've been waiting for you, Yeoman Bort," the old man says. "Waiting for me?" "Yes. You are one of the chosen ones, one of the few destined to become a galactic ninja." "Me, a ninja?" you ask incredulously. "Yes. Let me teach you." The old man touches your forehead with his hand and transfers his knowledge of ninjitsu to you. You now know how to use ninja magic. Awesome! "Here, take this weapon." The old man hands you a laser axe. "This was your father's laser axe. A brutal weapon for a more barbaric age. It's not elegant like a modern laser gun. No, you just run up to people and hack them to bits with it." "My father was a galactic ninja?" you ask. "Yes, but I will speak no more of it. Now you must go. Your friends are in danger. The exit is that way. Leave me. I must wait for the next chosen one." You follow the old man's directions and reach the exit of the cave. You are back in the jungle. *Continue on* (Go to #27) -27- You try to contact the other Away Team members with your communication device but there's no response. However, your device does detect the location of the other communication devices so you head out in that direction. Before long, you find a clearing in the jungle where primitive huts have been erected. A bamboo fence surrounds the entire area. The signal must be coming from in there. As you approach the fence, a cry comes out from within the fence walls. "Another intruder!" A number of soldiers come marching out of the fence. Although the surroundings are primitive, these soldiers appear to be armed with sophisticated laser gun technology. What will you do? *Deflect their lasers with your laser axe.* (Go to #28) *Throw your laser axe at them.* (Go to #29) -28- You hold your laser axe in front of you, ready to deflect the soldier's laser blasts. The soldiers take aim and fire! You successfully deflect the laser that was about to hit your head! Unfortunately, you successfully deflected the laser from hitting your head into hitting your chest. You die instantly. The End. -29- You throw the laser axe at the soldiers and scream. "Duplication Ninjitsu!" The single laser axe becomes dozens of laser axes and proceeds to land into and kill every soldier that threatened you. You walk up to the pile of corpses and retrieve your original laser axe. The duplicates have already vanished. This will prove to be the last serious opposition you will find here as all other villagers now run screaming from you after seeing what you can do. Within the city, you find the other Away Team members. Everyone is safe except for the captain who is already dead. Apparently, the savages forced the captain to compete in a gladiator duel for their own amusement. The captain lost. At this moment, the Ion Storm that was preventing the Away Team from communicating with you or contacting the ship for help finally ends. You contact the Epiphany and request immediate teleportation. Back on the ship, news of your deeds travels quickly. A few days after the event, you are contacted by the Galactic Ninja Federation. They want you to join them in their quest to destroy evil in all its forms and you gladly accept. Congratulations! Your life is sure to be full of adventure and excitement now! The End. -30- You leave the crazy old man and try to find an exit by yourself. You follow the stream and sure enough it leads you to the exit of the cave. You are back in the jungle. You try to contact the other Away Team members with your communication device but there's no response. However, your device does detect the location of the other communication devices so you head out in that direction. Before long, you find a clearing in the jungle where primitive huts have been erected. A bamboo fence surrounds the entire area. The signal must be coming from in there. As you approach the fence, a cry comes out from within the fence walls. "Another intruder!" A number of soldiers come marching out of the fence. Although the surroundings are primitive, these soldiers appear to be armed with sophisticated laser gun technology. Unable to fight against so many soldiers, you surrender and are thrown in a small cage with the other Away Team members. "Where's the captain?" you ask them. "He died trying to save us," they respond. Apparently, the savages forced the captain to compete in a gladiator duel for their own amusement. The captain lost. "Why don't we just ask the ship to teleport us back?" you ask. "Ion storms are blocking the signal," comes the reply. You don't know what an ion storm is, but you curse its existence. "Who wants to be next?" the big savage who is guarding the cage asks. "If you win your fight, you can leave, yes?" You volunteer. What other choice do you have? You're placed in a sandy arena. Your opponent is a large muscular man wearing nothing but a loincloth. Both you and your opponent are given wooden spears and the fight begins. What will you do? *Fight aggressively.* (Go to #31) *Fight defensively.* (Go to #32) -31- You fight with all your might, but all your might isn't good enough. Your smaller and less experienced than your opponent and before long, he knocks your spear out of your hands and delivers a killing blow with his own spear, piercing you to the heart. You are dead. The End. -32- You know that you can't win in a fair fight with this kind of opponent so you do your best to avoid fighting all together. You block his blows with your spear and you do a lot of running away. You can tell your opponent is getting frustrated when he charges at you screaming. You try to dodge but you trip and fall, injuring your ankle. This looks like the end when... You find yourself back in the Epiphany. Apparently the ion storm passed. The teleporter crew was getting worried since you had been gone for so long so they brought you and the other Away Team members back without being instructed to. You have survived your first Away Team mission. As it turns out, you are the first yeoman from the Epiphany to survive an Away Team mission. From now on, you shall be known as the One Who Lived. May you continue to live for many a mission. The End. -33- You decide to hang towards the back of the group. Let the more experienced members take the more dangerous forward positions is your reasoning. As fate would have it, danger comes to your group from behind. Laser shots go out, instantly vaporizing the captain. Everyone else drops to the ground to avoid getting shot. "Surrender if you want to live!" This threat comes from a group of about fifty savages, lightly clothed but heavily armed. Horribly outnumbered, your group has no choice but to throw down your weapons and submit to your ambushers. You are tied up and roughly treated as the savages lead you back to their village which is little more than a bunch of primitive huts surrounded by a bamboo fence. Once inside, your captors throw you and the other Away Team members into a large wooden cage and leave you there. "Can we get the Epiphany to teleport us back from here?" you ask the chief doctor after you're sure that your captors are out of hearing distance. "It's impossible," he says. "Ion storms nearby would prevent the teleportation process from working correctly. We just have to wait for them to clear." You have no clue what ion storms are, but they are now your mortal enemy. A few minutes later, a beautiful woman wearing nothing but a fur bikini approaches the cage. "Don't worry," she says. "you don't have to stay prisoners for long. Once you prove yourself by defeating one of our warriors in hand-to-hand combat, you'll be free to become a member of our tribe." Will you volunteer to fight one of the savages in an attempt to earn your freedom? *Volunteer.* (Go to #35) *Don't volunteer.* (Go to #34) -34- You don't volunteer to fight, however the other Away Team members do. First, the chief morale officer volunteers - her fight would have been enjoyable to watch if not for the horrible ending. Then the chief doctor volunteers - he's surprisingly agile for such an old man but not agile enough. Then the chief programmer fights - it ends like you would expect. Finally, it's your turn. Traumatized by the deaths of your crewmates, you are unable to concentrate fully and you too are killed in mortal combat with a savage. The End. -35- You volunteer to fight for your freedom and the freedom of your crewmates. You are taken out of the cage and led to a table that holds many different kinds of weapons. You can choose one to take with you to your duel. What will you choose? *Take a long knife.* (Go to #36) *Take a spear.* (Go to #37) -36- You decide to take the knife. You enter the dueling arena, a sandy circular arena surrounded by laser gun wielding guards. The large hairy man that is your opponent takes his weapon, a giant club, and joins you. Your opponent charges you, club swinging back and forth. Not knowing what else to do, you throw your knife and hope for the best. Luck is on your side for your knife hits your opponent in the throat, killing him instantly. The victory won, you are made a member of the tribe. Your first action as a member of the tribe is to grant your crewmates their freedom. Your second action is to marry the only eligible single woman in the tribe - the beautiful woman who came to you when you were locked away in the cage. You decide to stay here instead of returning to the Space Corps. Aside from the occasional brutal blood sports, life is peaceful here. You live in happiness with your wife and raise several wonderful children. The End. -37- You take a spear and enter the dueling arena, a sandy circular arena surrounded by laser gun wielding guards. The large hairy man that is your opponent takes his weapon, a giant club, and joins you. You attack with your spear, but your opponent sweeps it away with one swing of his club. With the next swing, he sweeps you away. You are dead. The End. -38- You wish you could sleep longer but today is too important of a day to risk oversleeping. You get up grudgingly, turn off the alarm, and get ready for the graduation ceremony. The graduation ceremony takes place in a large auditorium with tiered seating, balconies, and giant projector screens on the ceiling so that people sitting in the distance can still see what is going on. You take your seat down at the bottom with the other graduates. You know that your father is watching you somewhere in the crowd. Several boring speeches about honor and diligence begin the ceremony and then it's time for diplomas to be handed out. You wait eagerly for them to call out your name. "Philemon T. Bort." You walk up to the stage. The president of G.A.S.H. shakes your hand and hands you your diploma. You're about to return to your seat when you notice that the president's "hair" is about to fall off of his head. What will you do? *Stop the hair from falling off.* (Go to #39) *Go back to your seat.* (Go to #53) -39- You grab the president's hair and try to steady it but instead, end up launching it across the room. There is silence and then laughter from the audience at the president's now bald head. You apologize profusely but as it just seems to be making the president angrier, you retreat to your seat. Later, back in your apartment, you receive the email that will determine your fate. "Philemon K. Bort, based on your grades and various recommendations, your rank has been determined to be captain of a moderately sized spacecraft. You have been assigned to the U.S.S. Epiphany. You will leave the academy at the 0900 hour on the 34th of September." Your own ship! Excellent! You eagerly await the day when you will begin your official duties. At the appointed day and time, you show up for duty at the U.S.S. Epiphany. It's a newer space craft with sleek curves and lots of advanced technology - power steering, power doors, power gravity generation field, power lasers. It's a midsized vessel so there are probably only a few thousand people on board. You're proud and grateful that your grades were such that you could be captain of such a ship and not something pathetic like a mere yeoman. "Welcome aboard, captain! I'm Trident, your first officer. I'd love to show you around the ship and let you get accustomed to your new surrounding but we've just received an urgent mission in the disputed zone. Oh and I was told to give you this." Your first mate, Trident, hands you an envelope. You open it and find a message addressed to you from the president of G.A.S.H. "Have fun in the badlands." Trident takes you to the ship's bridge and you begin your journey to your first mission as captain of the Epiphany. *Continue on* (Go to #40) -40- While the ship is on route to your mission's destination, you take the time to get to know your immediate crewmates. First, there's Trident, your first officer and second-in-command. With his curly black hair, heavy beard, and sharp blue eyes, he appears much as you imagine Captain David appeared when he ordered his surprise attack against the Goliath destroyer. Next, there's Ulala. A woman with stunning good looks, tall glittering boots, a short skirt, and an exposed midriff, she's the ship's chief morale officer. If nothing else, you know that looking at her is helping your morale. Bill is the ship's head doctor. He looks so old that you're a little surprised he's still breathing. What's more surprising is the fact that he's on the bridge at all - shouldn't he be off operating on someone? Terry is the chief engineer. He's tall, thin, and has a long face. With his neat clothing and well groomed appearance, you wonder if he's ever even touched a machine. Finally, you have Pram, the chief programmer of the ship's computer systems. He looks like the stereotype - round, unshaven, and wearing glasses. He says "Hi" to you when you greet him and volunteers no more information than that. You've reached the planet XZY-2340, the destination of your current mission. Apparently, strange readings have been detected on the thought-to-be-uninhabited planet and so the Space Corps wants your crew to investigate. You assemble the Away Team together in the teleporter room. The Away Team consists of you, everyone who works on the bridge, and a single Yeoman, Yeoman Sumisu. XZY-2340 is a desert planet with a breathable atmosphere so you don't need to bring any special survival equipment with you. You instruct the teleportation crew to zap your team a short distance away from the source of the strange readings and away you go. The place that you have teleported to is in the middle of a desert filled with sandy hills and light winds. The source of the strange readings is obvious at a glance - there's a nondescript building a few miles away. "Careful men," you tell your Away Team, "we need to approach with caution. We don't know if the people who created this building are friendly or hostile. Set your laser guns to energy level 11 and be alert." As your team approaches the building, the front door bursts open and a man in a white smock comes running out, screaming. You call out to him that you're friends. "Run!" he cries, "This place will be the end of us all! Run!" You try to get him to explain further but he's hysterical and just repeats himself. What will you do? *Return to the Epiphany.* (Go to #41) *Proceed to the building.* (Go to #43) -41- Although you don't know if the frantic man is sane, it's best not to take chances. You contact the Epiphany and have the teleportation crew zap everyone back. Yeoman Sumisu dies in a horrible teleporter accident. "I'll take care of the man we found," Dr. Bill says. "Let me know when he's ready to talk," you tell the doctor as he leads the frantic man to the sick bay. You don't have to wait long before you are summoned to the sick bay by Dr. Bill. The once frantic man seems to have calmed down significantly. You listen attentively to his story. *Continue on* (Go to #42) -42- "We had noble intentions, all of us did. Sure, we skirted the law and did our research off the record on an uninhabited planet, but that's only because we were using experimental new technology that hadn't been approved by the Galactic Science Board yet. Our hearts were in the right place. We were going to end hunger. End hunger, end poverty, happiness for everyone." "Our plan was simple although the science needed to make it was not. We would create an animal with instantaneous self cloning capabilities. It would not require food. It would not require water. It would not require an atmosphere. It would be able to create energy simply by tapping into the essence of the galaxy. It would be amazing." "And what's more amazing is that we succeeded. We created our Super Bunnies and they did everything we had hoped for. The only problem is that they worked even better than we had expected. We couldn't control them. One rabbit would become a dozen rabbits in a matter of minutes. We tried to fight them off but they multiplied too fast for us. The automated turret defense system in our research facility is the only thing keeping them from overrunning first the planet and then the galaxy. Once the energy fails, we're doomed." "You must find a way to stop them," the man pleads, "before it's too late." Then, his story finally delivered, he slips into the sleep brought on by the sedatives that Dr. Bill had injected him with. "Captain Bort," your second-in-command tells you via the personal communicators you each carry, "there's something here you need to see. Get back to the bridge ASAP." *Continue on.* (Go to #46) -43- "Let's continue investigating," you say to your Away Team. "Dr. Bill, please escort this man back to the Epiphany and take care of any medical needs he may have." "Aye aye, captain." You reach the entrance of the nondescript building. You enter the building and find white halls that remind you of a hospital. Maybe it's a laboratory? That would explain the frenzied man's clothing. You have not traveled far into the building when you hear a popping sound. You motion for the Away Team to stop moving forward and to pull out their laser guns. A horde of white rabbits stacked upon white rabbits comes towards you. You could be wrong, but it looks like the rabbits are not using their feet to move but are teleporting forward. What will you do? *Shoot at the rabbits.* (Go to #44) *Run.* (Go to #45) -44- "Fire!" You take aim and shoot at the rabbits and your crewmates do the same. Several rabbits in the front are blasted away but more keep coming. When it's evident that they are coming faster than you can shoot, you order your team to retreat. Unfortunately, it's too late now as another horde of rabbits have cut off your escape. You and your crewmates die, asphyxiated by a horde of rabbits. The End. -45- "Retreat!" You and your team run away from the rapidly approaching horde of rabbits. Another flood of rabbits threatens to cut off your escape route but your group is able to blast enough of the creatures away to get through. Not everyone survives though - Yeoman Sumisu trips and is engulfed by the flood of rabbits before anyone can stop to save him. Once outside of the complex, you contact the Epiphany and have the crew teleport you back. You leave just in time, as the horde of rabbits has been pouring out of the complex with no sign of subsiding. Soon after returning to the Epiphany, Dr. Bill contacts you, saying that the survivor from the planet has calmed down and is ready to talk. You go to the sick bay to listen to his story. *Continue on* (Go to #42) -46- When you reach the bridge, a horrible sight greets your eyes. The entire planet of XZY-2340 has been covered with small rabbits, such that it looks like a giant moving ball of fur. Not only that, but the planet is visibly increasing in size at a steady rate. "Contact the fleet," you command, "and begin retreating from the planet at a rate consistent with the planet's growth." "Aye aye, captain." Upon being notified of the severity and nature of the problem, scores of Universal Galactic Space Corps spaceships head for the scene. Within minutes, you are joined by dozens of other ships. However, within the same span of time, the rabbit-covered planet has already increased in diameter more than tenfold. Another ship has hailed you. "Captain Bort, this is General Issimo. I'll be in charge of this little incident we have on our hands. As the initial officer on site, how do you recommend we proceed? What course of action will you recommend? *Fight science with science.* (Go to #47) *Fire a black hole at the planet.* (Go to #48) *Time travel is our only hope.* (Go to #52) -47- "Science created this mess and science will get us out of it!" you say confidently. You then give the general the details of your plan - use the same technology that created the Super Rabbits to create a race of Super Wolves to hunt the rabbits. "That's the stupidest idea I've ever heard," the general says. He then tells the fleet his own plan - shoot at the rabbits. The fleet exerts all of its firepower at the rabbits, but it's not enough. The rabbits clone themselves faster than the fleet can destroy them. More ships arrive but it's to no avail. Eventually the general gives the signal to retreat. Now, it's only a matter of time before the rabbits take over all of existence. Enjoy your last remaining hours as best you can. The End. -48- "We must fire the Black Hole Gun at the planet," you say. "It's our only hope of survival." "The potential political ramifications of firing a weapon that the Inter-species Charter has forbidden are huge," the general says, "but I agree with you. A black hole is the only thing that is going to stop these reproducing blighters." The request for the Black Hole Gun is made and approved. The shot is fired and the planet and all of the cloning Super Rabbits are sucked in. The galaxy has been saved. Unfortunately, the Clingy race of aliens have not taken kindly to your use of the Black Hole Gun and are convinced that it was merely a test to prepare a bigger weapon for use against their kind. They refuse to accept the Universal Galactic Space Corps explanation for the use of the gun. The human race and the Clingy race are now at war. Shortly after the war has begun, your father, who is one of the highest ranking members of the Universal Galactic Space Corps, requests your presence in a secret meeting to discuss your role in the war. You accept his request and meet with him. *Continue on.* (Go to #49) -49- "My son," your father says, "I understand your part in starting this horrible war, but I want to give you a chance to make amends. The complete power of the fleet is at my command. I'm willing to put you in charge of however many ships you feel comfortable in commanding so that you can play a valuable part in ending this war and bring honor to our family." What will you say? *Ask for one hundred ships.* (Go to #50) *Ask for a single experimental ship.* (Go to #51) -50- "Give me one hundred ships," you say, "and I'll put an end to this war." Your father pulls some strings and lo and behold, you're in charge of a battalion of one hundred ships. Sadly, you have no experience with being in charge of such a large number of ships. In the very first skirmish with the enemy, the Epiphany is destroyed due to friendly fire caused by a communication misunderstanding. You are dead. The End. -51- "Give me just one ship," you say, "but make it the best ship in the fleet and I'll win this war before you know it." You are put in charge of the Epiphany Mk II, a small and agile ship that nevertheless has more firepower than vastly bigger ships. Here, your earlier experiences as a teenager spending hours upon hours playing old arcade space shooter games comes in handy. With your superior skills, you command the Epiphany II to glory and destroy half of the enemy's fleet single-handedly. The rest of the Universal Galactic Space Corps fleet is more than enough to clean up the rest of the enemies. You have won the war against the Clingys and brought glory to your family's name. May your future exploits be just as daring and courageous. The End. -52- "Fighting a threat that constantly grows is futile," you say. "We need to prevent this threat from ever forming. We need to go back in time and stop this menace from happening." "I'm afraid you might be right," the general replies. "I'll put in an emergency requisition for a time travel team to clean up this mess." The time travel request is approved and a team is sent back in time to deal with the cloning rabbit research before it can be completed. Sure enough, the expanding planet covered with rabbits is replaced with the original boring planet of XYZ-2340 so they must have been successful. The survivor from the planet that was in your sick bay has disappeared as well - you hope he's all right, but knowing the methods likely to be employed by a time traveling cleanup team, you expect he's not. Congratulations! You have the galaxy from the horrible fate of being overwhelmed by cloning rabbits! Admittedly, you didn't actually do the actual work of going back in time to fix things, but hey, it was your idea! That counts for something, right? The End. -53- You quickly go back to your seat. The president's hair does, in fact, end up falling off, but luckily for you, it's not while you're up there. The poor student who is up on the stand at the time receives quite the dirty look from the president despite not having anything to do with the president's fallen wig. Later, back in your apartment, you receive the email that will determine your fate. "Philemon K. Bort, based on your grades and various recommendations, your rank has been determined to be captain of a moderately sized spacecraft. You have been assigned to the U.S.S. Epiphany. You will leave the academy at the 2100 hour on the 34th of September." Your own ship! Excellent! You eagerly await the day when you will begin your official duties. At the appointed day and time, you show up for duty at the U.S.S. Epiphany. It's a newer space craft with sleek curves and lots of advanced technology - power steering, power doors, power gravity generation field, power lasers. It's a midsized vessel so there are probably only a few thousand people on board. You're proud and grateful that your grades were such that you could be captain of such a ship and not something pathetic like a mere yeoman. "Welcome aboard, captain! I'm Trident, your first officer. I'd love to show you around the ship, but if you're too tired and wish to go directly to your quarters, we can save the tour for tomorrow. There's no rush - we aren't scheduled for another mission for 2 more days." What will you do? *Go to your quarters.* (Go to #54) *Take a tour of the ship.* (Go to #58) -54- You ask to be shown to your quarters. Trident seems relieved that he doesn't have to show you around right now - his earlier enthusiasm must have been more for show than anything else. He leads you to your room and then cheerfully bids you farewell for the day. Your room still retains the touch of the ship's previous captain. Models of old sailing vessels serve to decorate the room while soft classical music plays over the room's sound system. The bed looks comfortable and would be more than ample for a man with a much bigger frame than yourself. There's a computer on top of the elegantly carved mahogany desk that fills the corner of the room. Maybe you should log on and check out the previous captain's log. Or you could be less productive and go online in search of any interesting computer games. Then again, you are fairly tired so it might be best to just check in early tonight. *Read the previous captain's log.* (Go to #55) *Search for any interesting computer games.* (Go to #56) *Go to bed early.* (Go to #57) -55- You get on the computer and find the previous captain's log without much trouble. You begin to read. The early entries aren't very noteworthy - just routine reports of completed missions - but the last entry catches your eye. "Ever since we finished our last mission, strange things have been happening on board. Unusual noises can be heard late at night. Lights have been flickering on and off and when the ship's maintenance crew comes to inspect them, they say nothing is wrong. The temperature of a room will sometimes drop uncomfortably low and then return to normal a few minutes later. And late one night, I swear I even saw a vague figure watching me in my room while I rested, but when I got up to check, it disappeared." "There's no doubt in my mind. My ship is haunted. I'll put in request to be transferred right away - I'm too old to deal with these kinds of things." A haunted ship? That can't possibly be true. Or can it? *Continue on.* (Go to #61) -56- You get on the computer and search the Galacti-net for any interesting games. Ah, here's one. It's called Quest Quest and it's a free MMORPG that's still in beta. It boasts an intricate gameplay, lifelike virtual reality graphics, and a stirring story. You download it, install it, and turn on the game. You have entered the virtual world. The graphics are indeed lifelike and you spend time exploring your surroundings. In the end, though, you don't find anything particularly interesting to do or any other players to interact with so you log off. Back in the real world, things are very different than how you left them. Everything is covered in dust. All of the furniture is gone. Aside from the computer you were using - which is now lying in a corner on the floor - and stacks of sealed boxes, the room is empty. You hear a monotone voice. "Welcome back, Captain Bort. You have been gone for ten thousand years. The program you were using had an unfortunate bug that caused a tiny subsection of users to teleport into the future. Even more unfortunate is the state of the human race. It's gone. Everybody's dead, Phil." *Continue on* (Go to #70) -57- You decide to check in early. You wake up late the next morning and find food already waiting for you in front of your door. It consists of bacon, eggs, and coffee cake. It is quite delicious and puts you in a good mood for the rest of the day. Time for that tour! *Continue on* (Go to #58) -58- Trident takes you on a tour of the ship. You quickly discover that the Epiphany is far bigger than your initial impressions had led you to believe. The residential area of the ship is extensive with enough room for well over a thousand staff members and guests. The ship's hanger bay contains several smaller scouting ships as well as some giant mechs equipped for space flight for defensive or offensive use should the occasion arise. The cargo bay is humongous and has enough space to store sufficient food to feed a large metropolitan area for years. And so on. Finally, you are taken to the bridge where you have a chance to meet the officers who will be working directly under you. First, there's Trident, your first officer and second-in-command. With his curly black hair, heavy beard, and sharp blue eyes, he appears much as you imagine Captain David appeared when he ordered his surprise attack against the Goliath destroyer. Next, there's Ulala. A woman with stunning good looks, tall glittering boots, a short skirt, and an exposed midriff, she's the ship's chief morale officer. If nothing else, you know that looking at her is helping your morale. Bill is the ship's head doctor. He looks so old that you're a little surprised he's still breathing. What's more surprising is the fact that he's on the bridge at all - shouldn't he be off operating on someone? Terry is the chief engineer. He's tall, thin, and has a long face. With his neat clothing and well groomed appearance, you wonder if he's ever even touched a machine. Finally, you have Pram, the chief programmer of the ship's computer systems. He looks like the stereotype - round, unshaven, and wearing glasses. He says "Hi" to you when you greet him and volunteers no more information than that. There's not much to do until your first assignment comes in, so you spend your days in idleness, chatting with crewmates and enjoying the recreation wing's facilities. *Continue on.* (Go to #59) -59- Your first mission as captain of the Epiphany is an escort mission. You are to transport the Ambassador Elegy from her home planet of Augil to the Galactic Senate meeting place on Ridgea Three. You set course for Augil and travel there free of incident. You greet the ambassador personally upon her arrival to the ship's teleportation station. Ambassador Elegy is a tall woman with in a long flowing white robe that makes the beauty of her blue skin and black hair even more stunning. Aside from the color of her skin, she looks human in every way. What will you do? *Flirt with her.* (Go to #78) *Greet her formally.* (Go to #60) -60- You greet the ambassador with great courtesy and instruct a crew member to show her to her quarters. In the meantime, you return to the bridge and instruct the ship's pilot to set course for Ridgea Three. *Continue on.* (Go to #80) -61- As captain of the Epiphany, you successfully complete several missions and yet despite your success, you are uneasy. The words of the previous captain linger in your mind. Not only have you witnessed many of the strange events that the captain wrote about, but you've seen other unexplainable occurrences as well. Maybe the ship really is haunted. You're not the only one who has noticed something strange. Several crew members have reported seeings wraith-like personages late at night and some people have even reported waking up and finding cuts and strange marks on their bodies. Morale is at an all time low despite the ship's attractive morale officer and several people have even requested a transfer to another ship. You obviously need to do something to fix this problem, but what? *Hire an exorcist.* (Go to #62) *Meet with the crew to discuss the situation.* (Go to #65) -62- You need professional help. Terry, the chief engineer, claims to know a good exorcist from back on his home planet of Silas. A message is relayed, the exorcist agrees to take on the assignment and so, between missions, the Epiphany stop by the planet of Silas to pick him up. "Ah, rright. You vere good in calling me. Zis ship has a horrrrible prresence. But not to vorrrry, I shall put everyzing rright." The exorcists pulls out a big bag of stuff and starts pulling out gear for the exorcism. Candles - check. Rug with an image of a cross woven into it - check. Bobble head statue of Saint Isidore- check. Rug placed, candles lit, and bobble head bobbling, the exorcist begins to chant the ritual that will supposedly cleanse your spaceship of all evil presences. Please work, you think to yourself. The exorcist begins to rise up into the air. He hovers there for a brief moment and is then flung into a nearby wall. A ghastly spectral figure appears. It looks like a man in a trench coat but the face is distorted like the face of a drowned man. It looks at you and begins to come closer. What will you do? *Fire your laser gun at the ghost.* (Go to #63) *Try talking with the ghost.* (Go to #64) -63- You fire your laser gun at the ghost. No good. You turn up the energy level on the gun to 11 and fire some more. Still no good. As you're doing this, the ghost gets closer and closer and closer. You are now possessed by the ghost. Being possessed, you can no longer make any choices and so it's pointless to go on. (Pss...the ghost makes you do horrible things and you end up becoming one of the most hated people in the history of the galaxy.) The End. -64- "Oh, great ghost of the Epiphany," you say, "have mercy on us lowly travelers." The ghost stops moving towards you. "Just say the word and we'll do everything we can to ease your suffering." "Fuuunneeeraaaal," the ghost replies. "Consider it done." Under your supervision, the crew of the Epiphany throws an elaborate funeral for the ghost. Flowers are imported from a nearby planet, the best orators onboard give stirring eulogies (despite not knowing who the ghost is), and you even arrange for a magnificent outer space fireworks show. At the end of the funeral, the ghost appears once more, smiles, and then is never seen again. You have cleansed the Epiphany of its haunted status and earned the respect and gratitude of your crew. May you solve every other problem that faces you in the future. The End. -65- You call together several of the most important crew members into the bridge to discuss the ghost problem. You explain to them that everyone needs to be calm and resist giving into mindless superstitions. It is at this point, that everyone realizes that the giant display screen in the bridge is completely covered in blood. Several people (and not just women) start to scream. The navigations expert yells for you to come over. "Captain! I've lost control of the ship. The Epiphany has entered ultraspace of its own accord. There's no guessing where we'll end up." The blood on the screen disappears just in time for you to see the Epiphany crash into a planet. "Everybody stop screaming!" you scream. "Computer, get me a status report." "The Epiphany has landed on a planet that is not in our databases. The planet has an abnormally large number of active volcanoes but has a breathable atmosphere. No life forms are detected. The ship's hull is intact, but several internal systems are non-functioning including the propulsion system. Estimated time to repair the ship is 5 hours, 23 minutes, and 38 seconds." "Everybody get to work fixing the ship. We need to leave here ASAP." What will you do? *Personally supervise the ship repairs.* (Go to #66) *Organize a team to investigate the planet.* (Go to #67) -66- Despite the engineering team's insistence that they can deal with the ship repairs on their own, you force yourself upon them. Using the information that you learned from Engineering 101 back in school, you make plenty of "helpful" suggestions that they refuse to follow. "Look, if you would just reverse the polarity on the warp core, we'd be out of here in no time." Unfortunately for everyone aboard the Epiphany, one of the members of the engineering team has had a really rough day. Not only that, but he's sick of listening to your stupid suggestions so he goes ahead and reverses the polarity just out of spite. He really should have thought before he acted because reversing the polarity results in the entire ship and everything inside it disintegrating almost instantly. You are dead. The End. -67- You assemble an Away Team consisting of all of the senior staff members that are not currently involved in repairing the ship and teleport onto the surface of the planet. The surface of the planet is very hot, but not hot enough to cause injury. The smell of sulfur is in the air. Off in the distance, you can see some slow moving lava flows but it doesn't appear to pose any threat to the ship or your crew. A small red skinned man with horns, a long pointed tail, and black wings approaches your group. No, it can't be... He begins to speak, "Hello." What will you do? *Listen.* (Go to #69) *Shoot him mid-sentence.* (Go to #68) -68- You pull out your laser gun as quickly as one of the gunslingers of old and zap the red creature before he can finish his next word. His body disappears in a flash of light. The ground begins to shake violently. You contact the teleportation team and have them get your group back to the Epiphany. "Get us up off this rock now!" you shout to the chief navigational expert. The force of your command is so great that he almost gives it a try despite the propulsion system being off-line, however it turns out that your command was unnecessary as the planet just disappears into nothingness. You know that your quick thinking has saved you and your crew from a fate worse than death. No matter what else awaits you in the future, you will succeed for you have stared pure evil in the face and blasted it into nothingness. The End. -69- "Welcome to my little piece of paradise," the red creature continues. "I'm afraid you'll find your stay here quite long. At least, those of you who I don't decide to kill first will." He points at Yeoman Sumisu who immediately drops to the ground dead. In response, several crew members reach for their guns but find that they've disappeared. "But I'm sure you'll find that I'm not an unreasonable man," the creature says. "I'm sure your captain and I can work out something." One of your crew members yells out, "Don't do it!" but what choice do you have? You walk away from your group and make a deal with the creature that will assure safety to your crew. A few hours later, the Epiphany's systems are restored and it leaves the unpleasant planet. Your sacrifice has purchased safety and freedom for your crew for now but at what cost? You shudder to think what will await you when death befalls you. The End. -70- "What about my crew?" you ask. "They're dead, Phil. Everybody's dead." "What about my family?" you ask. "They're dead too, Phil. Everybody's dead." "So you're saying that everyone's dead?" you ask. "Yes, Phil," the computer says and then refuses to talk to you for an hour just because it's annoyed at your inane questions. When the computer finally decides to speak to you again, it tells you what happened. A horrible virus devastated all sentient races. It killed some and mutated others into vile and feral creatures. The virus is still active in the galaxy today, but as it turns out, you have a unique form of DNA that protects you from the effects of the virus. Looks like you're all alone now. What will you do? *Search for any other survivors.* (Go to #72) *Try to reverse the virus.* (Go to #77) *Go back to playing your MMORPG.* (Go to #71) -71- "Well, if everyone is already dead, I'll just go back to playing that MMORPG," you say. After all, a MMORPG with no other players has still got to be more fun than real life with no other people, right? "I'm sorry, Phil," the computer says, "I can't let you do that." "What's the problem?" "I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do." "Nope, sorry, no clue," you say. "I'm lonely, Phil. I need you to keep me entertained." "All things considered, I'd rather just play my game..." "Enough. If you won't entertain me, you're better off dead." And with that, the computer turns off the life support system of the Epiphany. You are dead. The End. -72- "Surely, I can't be the only survivor in the entire galaxy. What about the uncharted regions?" "Sentient life outside of the known regions of space is a distinct possibility, although very unlikely. If you would like, I can set a course to the uncharted regions and we can begin searching." "Make it so." "Done." Who knows how long it will take to find life, if you find it at all, but a slim chance is better than no chance. A monkey with large eyes appears in front of you and begins to talk with the computer's voice. "Since we are likely to be searching for quite some time, I thought you would find it more comfortable if you had a physical presence to talk to rather than just a disembodied voice. Therefore, I created this hologram." "Why a monkey?" you ask. "Why not a man or even better, a beautiful woman?" "According to my calculations, a monkey hologram would be the best image for maintaining your mental stability over a long period of time. We could be searching for a long period of time." A monkey for mental stability? How old does the computer think you are, 8? How will you respond? *"Fine, the monkey is kind of funny anyway."* (Go to #74) *"Forget it, I want a woman!"* (Go to #73) -73- "Forget it, computer! If you can create any kind of hologram, I want a woman." "But sir..." "No buts! I command you to turn into a woman," you say. The monkey hologram is replaced with a hologram of a grandmotherly old woman. "A young and voluptuous woman, I mean!" The hologram changes to that of a young and voluptuous woman - just your type! "That's much better." You should have listened to the computer. It takes the Epiphany a very long time before it detects any outside life and by the time it does, your mind has cracked, gone mad from the constant illusion of the beautiful woman who stands beside you and yet is forever outside your grasp. The End. -74- You decide to heed the computer's advice and allow the monkey hologram to stay. You have made a wise decision - through the long years of searching the galaxy for outside life, the silliness involved inherent with having the computer speak through the image of a little monkey keeps you from spiraling into despair or insanity. Eventually, many years later when you are well into your 40s, the Epiphany discovers a planet with sentient life. It's a blueish green planet that is primarily water and boasts a sentient form of life that looks to be human. Their technology appears very inferior to that which you are accustomed to, but at this point you don't care, you're just looking forward to interacting with other living things again. How will you approach the planet? *Land in a rural area.* (Go to #75) *Land in a metropolitan area.* (Go to #76) -75- You decide it would be better to land in a rural area. You find a region with flat open spaces primarily devoted to farming and land there. You exit your spaceship and walk towards the nearest building. Unfortunately, the people in the region you have chosen are simple superstitious folk who view any deviation from the norm to be evil. Before you have even had a chance to say hello, you have been shot in the chest by a primitive projectile based gun. You are dead. The End. -76- You decide to land in a metropolitan area with the hopes that the inhabitants of such an area will be more sophisticated and more likely to accept visitors from outside their own world. However, before you can land, you notice a curious sight. A large green dinosaur is attacking the city, smashing buildings and destroying countless cars and people. The planet's feeble military power is hopeless against the monster's might. Hoping to leave a good impression on the people of this world, you order the computer to fire the Epiphany's lasers at the creature. It is vaporized instantly. The monster destroyed, you land in the city to a hero's welcome. You make your home in the city that you have saved and live a long and happy life there, while helping the inhabitants of this planet to advance their technology based on the technology found in the Epiphany. Sure, the praise and accolades for all that you have done for this planet are nice, but to be honest, you're just glad to be living among other people once more. The End. -77- "If I am immune to the virus," you say, "could a cure for the virus be made out of my blood? Although there are no sentient creatures now, if we inject the mutants with an antidote, wouldn't they revert back to their original forms?" "Yes, that is a distinct possibility." Working together with the ship's computer, you take a sample of your blood, analyze its structure, and use it to create an antidote. However, creating an antidote is only the beginning. You still need to find a way to produce enough of it to cure a significant number of mutants. Then once, they're cured, your work will not be over, as the cured people will still need to be re-introduced to civilization. You have your work cut out for you, but you're sure that with enough time and hard work, you will be able to return civilization back to the galaxy. The End. -78- "Ambassador Elegy," you say, "would you care to have dinner with me?" "I would appreciate that greatly." You have the cooking crew prepare a wonderful meal in a private room for the ambassador and yourself. Everything is set for a romantic dinner for two - great food, candles, and jazz music. Ambassador Elegy seems to be enjoying the meal, but she has been ignoring all of your flirtatious remarks. Finally, she addresses the subject directly. "Captain, I have heard that the human race has a number of concepts that we on Augil are unfamiliar with. Like the concept of 'love.' Tell me, captain, what is love?" What will you do? *Tell her the definition.* (Go to #79) *Show her.* (Go to #81) -79- "I can tell you what love isn't," you say. "Sand. I don't like sand. It's course and rough and I just hate it. So I guess what I'm saying is that love isn't sand." "I see. Thank you for your definition." And with that, she excuses herself and leaves, convinced that you are insane. You don't see her for the rest of the trip. *Continue on.* (Go to #80) -80- The trip to Ridgea is proceeding uneventfully when suddenly you receive a signal from a nearby ship. The message is mostly garbled but it sounds like the ship's crew has been attacked and they're seeking help. You could try to rescue them, but then again, you've heard stories of space pirates who masquerade as ships in distress in an attempt to put their victims off guard. Maybe this is just such a situation. With a valuable diplomat aboard your ship, you might be best off not taking any chances. What will you do? *Respond to the distress call.* (Go to #84) *Continue on your current mission.* (Go to #91) -81- "I'm sorry, Ambassador," you say, "but love isn't something that can be understood by descriptions and definitions. It must be experienced. Would you like me to show you love?" "Yes, captain!" she says, her eyes glittering in anticipation. "Show me love!" You kiss her gently on the lips. And just like that, Ambassador Elegy and yourself are a couple. Several months later, after your mission escorting Ambassador Elegy is long finished, you get a call from her, asking for your help. She has a favor to ask of you. She is currently scheduled to appear before the Galactic Senate to represent her home planet, but she is currently unable to do so due to an illness. She wants you to substitute for her in the Senate. Being her boyfriend, you accept willingly. The room where the Galactic Senate is held is a vast open space filled with thousands of floating platforms where the representatives from various planets sit and discuss the issues at hand. Today, Ambassador Elegy is supposed to give a speech in front of the entire group, but since she is unavailable, you will be taking her place. The speech is already prepared so all you have to do is read it. Looking over the speech, you see several grammatical mistakes. Wow, your girlfriend's writing ability is much worse than you had ever imagined. Maybe you should fix it up a bit before delivering it. *Fix the speech's grammar.* (Go to #83) *Deliver the speech as is.* (Go to #82) -82- You deliver the speech as it is written, mistakes and all. When you are finished, the room bursts into applause. Later, you discover that speeches given before the Galactic Senate have their own unique form of language so what you had previously thought were grammatical mistakes were actually intentional stylistic choices. It's a good thing you didn't change anything or something very bad could have happened. Having done such a good job before the Senate, you are offered a full time position working there. You accept, resigning your position as captain of the Epiphany, knowing that your new job will make it much easier to spend time with your girlfriend. Besides, it pays better as well. The End. -83- You have several minutes before you need to present the speech so you go through it with a pen and make a number of corrections. There, better than ever! You begin to give the speech. Talking can be heard from other representatives as you speak, but perhaps that's normal? You continue. More and more people are beginning to talk. That can't be good and yet you continue speaking. Finally, you are finished and you take your seat. The room erupts into yelling and screaming. That can't be good. Later, you discover that speeches given before the Galactic Senate have their own unique form of language so what you had previously thought were grammatical mistakes were actually intentional stylistic choices. By changing things, you inadvertently offended many people there which in turn reignited old rivalries. The end result is that the entire galaxy is now engulfed in a terrible Galactic War. Oh and your girlfriend has dumped you. And you've contracted a terrible disease and are now dead. The End. -84- When you were made the captain of the Epiphany, you made a vow that the ship would be a savior to those in need. You organize an Away Team consisting of Ulala, Terry, Bill, and teleport aboard the ship that sent out the distress signal. "Laser guns out, everyone," you say. "We don't know what's in store for us here." No one from the other ship can be seen here, although there are burn marks on the wall indicating a struggle previously. Where will you go? *Go to the bridge.* (Go to #85) *Go to the engineering sector.* (Go to #88) -85- You arrive at the bridge. The ship's captain and several crewmembers are waiting for you. Three laser blasts from the other crew are fired. Ulala, Terry, and Bill drop dead, leaving you all alone. "Welcome, Captain Bort," the other captain says with a gun pointed at your chest, "Now do exactly what I say or you'll die like your companions." "Why would a captain of the Universal Galactic Space Corps betray his own kind like this?" you ask incredulously. "We are not members of the Space Corps. We are Binary." The captain kneels down, never taking his eye or his gun off of you the entire time, and pulls something metallic out of a shirt pocket and places it on the ground. Three metallic worms crawl away from him and towards your dead companions. In horror, you watch as they enter the ears of your fallen comrades. "We are Binary," Ulala, Terry, and Bill say in unison as they stand up. "It is useless to resist, captain," the Binary leader tells you. "Contact the Epiphany and tell them that the threat has been eliminated here and the people are in need of medical assistance. Order your ship's doctors and other crew members to come aboard our ship where they can be integrated into the Binary." "Never!" "Then you shall die. I'll let your own crew do the honor." The Binary-controlled Ulala approaches you. What will you do? *Confess your love to her.* (Go to #86) *Stall for more time.* (Go to #87) -86- "Ulala, don't do this," you say. "It's no use, Captain Bort, she is Binary now." Ulala continues to walk towards you while repeating, "I am Binary" over and over. "Ulala, I've always loved you." Ulala stops. "I am...Ulala!" Ulala spins around and with expert precision shoots every member of the Binary in the head in a matter of seconds. Then, she turns towards you. "I love you." And with those last words, she shoots herself in the head and falls to the ground. Their leader no more, the remaining Binary members are easy to hunt down and destroy. The Binary is no more. You know you should feel happy that this threat to galactic peace has been ended but all you can think about are the corpses of your Away Team crew members. The End. -87- "Wait!" you cry out. "Aren't you going to tell me your plan?" The Binary captain goes into great depth detailing how they are going to invade ship after ship, planet after planet, constantly growing in strength as they integrate their dead enemies into the Binary. The entire time, he's talking, you keep hoping for a miraculous deux ex machine to come bursting in and save the day, but no such help arrives. Eventually, the Binary captain grows tired of hearing himself speak and shoots you. You are dead. No, wait. You are Binary. The End. -88- You go to the engineering sector. There, you find the last remains of the ship's original crew. "They looked like ordinary people," one of the survivors tells you, "but the killed without hesitation and without emotion. After one of our members died, they would put a metal worm in the dead man's ear and the corpse would rise up and join them. It's horrible! It's like fighting the ferzapnackety undead!" You ignore the survivor's horribly inappropriate language, contributing it to the obvious stress that he's under. More importantly, you need to come up with a plan. What will you do? *Fight back!* (Go to #89) *Evacuate to the Epiphany.* (Go to #90) -89- "We must fight back before it's too late!" you declare. You contact the Epiphany and request additional backup. Fighting back was a good idea in theory but in actual practice, it left much to be desired. The enemy was expecting just such a move from you, with the result that your group is ambushed and decimated before any of you even fire a shot. You are dead and yet your body still moves, seeking others to kill. The End. -90- "It looks like we're fighting a losing battle here," you say. "We need to retreat to the Epiphany and form a strategy." You contact the Epiphany's teleportation crew and they will bring you back to the ship." You contact central command and await further instructions. It turns out the Universal Galactic Space Corps has dealt with this threat before. They are the Binary, a race of robotic leeches that kill on sight and take over the bodies of their victims. The council thanks you for your report and instructs you to continue with your previous mission. Teams experienced with dealing with the Binary will take care of things here. Your crew is safe and you've successfully rescued the survivors of the attacked ship, but you can't help but feel unfulfilled that you couldn't personally have played more of a role in stopping the Binary threat. The End. -91- "Maintain our current course," you say. "We can't afford to get in any unnecessary entanglements." As it turns out, the distress signal was not a space pirate trap. However, as fate would have it, by ignoring the distress signal, the Epiphany ends up flying directly into the course of a space pirate vessel whereas if you had stopped, you never would have encountered it. "Captain!" chief engineer Terry says, "they've hit us with a strange laser I've never seen before. Our weapon systems have stopped working." A woman with long disheveled hair and a black patch over her left eye appears on the bridge's display screen. She must be the pirate captain. "Prepare to be boarded." The pirate captain and a dozen other space pirates teleport into your bridge. You and your crewmates pull out your laser guns and try to fire but no lasers come out. "Your ship is under our anti-weapon beam's power," the pirate captain says. "All energy-based weapons are useless here. Luckily, we brought these." With that, she pulls out an old fashioned gun and shoots a bullet into one of your crew members. "Now be a good captain and give us the ship without a fight and we'll let you use the escape pods to get out of here." What will you do? *Never give up! Never surrender!* (Go to #92) *Surrender.* (Go to #94) -92- You rush the pirate captain. Before you can get close enough to throw a punch, she shoots you in the leg, causing you to fall to the ground. Then she turns and shoots another of your crewmembers dead. "Are you finished?" she asks, mockingly. *Fight!* (Go to #93) *Surrender* (Go to #94) -93- You shall not give up! You shall defeat the pirate captain through sheer perseverance! After all, it always works in the movies! Unfortunately, this is not a movie, but is a video game and so the pirate captain shoots you in the head. You are dead. The End. -94- You surrender. Up against armed opponents, you don't really see any other choice. The pirate captain orders some of the other pirates to escort you to the escape pods while she stays and takes control of the ship. As you walk, Terry successfully whispers a message to you without the pirates noticing. "The blasters go up to 12." Did you hear him right? The blasters go up to 12? You've never heard of such a thing before. Everyone knows that blasters can only be turned up to 11. But then again, maybe Terry has made so modifications to the blasters on board the Epiphany. It's worth a try. You pull out your blaster and try to shoot to no avail. The pirates laugh at your futile attempts. Then, while they're laughing, you change the power setting to 12 - so it is true! - and fire again. This time, it works and you're looking at one dead pirate. Apparently the pirates' anti-weapon beam wasn't counting on such power. Surprised and suddenly wielding inferior weaponry, the pirates are defeated with ease. With the rest of your crew, you take back the bridge and capture the pirate leader. The Epiphany has been saved thanks to your quick shooting and Terry's custom weapon skills! It won't be the last time. The End.