the swaying of the lift and methodical movement forward lulls him into a trance. after several minutes of this movement, the girl runs out of energy and sits down to take a breather.\n\n"i need five minutes," she heaves.\n\nhe looks over at the trees. she closes her eyes and catches her breath, laying her head back onto a metal support bar. her eye opens and she catches sight of seven, looking out over the trees, bored.\n\n"so, what do you think of earth so far?" she prods. he lifts his head and mumbles, "i don't know."\n\n"well, look at the forest." she waves her arms in front of her dramatically. "isn't the forest beautiful?"\n\nhe tilts his head, looking at it from a few different angles, before concluding:\n\n"it looks weird."\n\nshe stares in disbelief. "weird." she spits.\n\n"yeah, just...weird." he mutters lazily.\n\nshe crosses her arms, waiting for him to elaborate. "is that all you have to say about it?"\n\nhe thinks, then says "yeah."\n\nthe two stare in opposite directions. he rests his head on his arm. she keeps her arms tightly crossed. several minutes pass.\n\n"forget it then," she sighs, reaching up to continue [[moving the lift]].
"umm..." he starts, not sure how to form the sentence. "what happened?"\n\n"what happened?" she repeats the question, confused. "what do you mean?"\n\n"here."\n\n"you mean to earth?"\n\n"yes."\n\n"that thing that tried to kill you is basically a..." she stops and turns, looking at the sky and waving her hand around to search for the right words. "...it was made as an...instrument of war."\n\n"war."\n\n"yes. people killing each other."\n\n"oh."\n\nshe turns and continues walking. "it was developed because...people are easy to kill, and our people were...dying a lot. so they made monsters that couldn't be killed and then we didn't have to worry about our soldiers. and then the monsters went..." she waves her hand again. "...haywire and started killing everyone. that's why there's no people around."\n\nhe thinks. "how many people are left, do you think?" he asks.\n\nshe shrugs. "who knows. there's a couple hundred people living in the colony. we haven't made contact with anyone else yet. there could be millions of people. or zero." she looks through the trees. "probably [[closer to zero]]."
in the chapel's main hall, seven and mike are held by guards. emma sits off to the side, looking away.\n\nthe elder stands before them, pacing. his face is gaunt and tired. another elder sits behind him, struggling to breathe, almost catatonic. the third is nowhere to be found.\n\nthe pacing elder fishes in his pocket for something and produces the stone. seven's stomach drops.\n\n"do you know what this is?" asks the elder.\n\nseven shakes his head. the elder turns away and holds the stone up to the light. the purple green glow casts patterns on his face as he eyes it curiously.\n\n"sanabrite," he says. "precious. valuable. necessary for modern electronics. not very useful for us down here, but for those modern off-world colonies like corvera..."\n\nhe sighs, bringing it down out of the light and examining it. "earth's last resource. her final contribution."\n\n"they're drilling, aren't they?" seven barks. "that's what the monsters are really doing."\n\n"why should it matter to you?" the elder responds, spinning the stone around in his hand. "you have no use for the people of earth. just as we have no use for sanabrite."\n\n"you let them all die!" seven shrieks, his voice echoing through the chapel.\n\nthe elder grips the stone in his hand and puts it back in his pocket. he turns to seven. "you're not like the [[other clones]]," he spits.
the boy approaches the desk. atop it are old papers, lined with handwritten data. he checks the drawers. the top left drawer seems to hold utensils for writing. the top right holds more utensils; stamps, rulers, a compass, and others. the boy opens the bottom left drawer. the orb lies inside.\n\na door slams from elsewhere in the chapel. seven picks up the orb, stashes it under one arm and climbs up onto the desk. flipping the window latch, he pushes it open and dives through, hitting the ground with a thud. he rushes [[back to mike]].\n\nthrough the window, light bounces off the desk and reflects onto the cieling in a purple-green glow.
<<if $visited_trust eq "yes">>the sun shines through the trees at him.\n\n\n\n\nafter a while, he stands.\n\n\n\n\n\nunable to see the colony through the thicket, he wanders off in a random direction.\n\n\n\n\nhe steps over tall roots and ducks under hanging leaves as he walks.\n\n\n\nbefore long, he finds himself before a wall of foliage. he parts the leaves and begins to walk through. a great metal head stares out at him.\n\nhe jumps back with a shriek, falling to the ground. a moment passes. he crawls forward and looks through the leaves.\n\na monster lies on the ground, its eyes dark, its body somewhat rusted. the boy walks through the leaves and walks all around the monster, examining it up and down. he pokes it with his foot and cowers. it doesn't move.<<endif>><<if $visited_leave eq "yes">>the sun shines through the trees at him.\n\n\n\n\nafter a while, he stands.\n\n\n\n\n\nunable to see the colony through the thicket, he wanders off in a random direction.\n\n\n\n\nhe steps over tall roots and ducks under hanging leaves as he walks.\n\n\n\nbefore long, he finds himself before a wall of foliage. he parts the leaves and begins to walk through. a great metal head stares out at him.\n\nhe jumps back with a shriek, falling to the ground. a moment passes. he crawls forward and looks through the leaves.\n\na monster lies on the ground, its eyes dark, its body somewhat rusted. the boy walks through the leaves and walks all around the monster, examining it up and down. he pokes it with his foot and cowers. it doesn't move.<<endif>><<if $visited_stay eq "yes">>seven sits, knees to his chest, head buried in his arms as he waits for the sun to set.\n\n\nsomething floats down the river lazily toward him.\n\n\n\nhe eyes it. it passes by him and bobs up out of the water lazily. it's one of the monsters, eyes dark, completely unmoving save the influence of the current.\n\nit floats past him and then knocks into the shore. it stops moving. seven walks toward it.<<endif>><<if $visited_cords eq "yes">>seven sits, knees to his chest, head buried in his arms.\n\n\nafter a while, he stands and walks straight ahead.\n\n\n\nhe comes across a river and walks north along the river's edge.\n\n\n\nhe finds a fallen tree leading across the river like a makeshift bridge. he clambers onto it and starts shimmying across.\n\nhalfway there, he spots something in the trees. he stops moving. the object doesn't move. it's mostly obscured, but some of its metal surface reflects in the sunlight.\n\nhe crosses the river and approaches it slowly. he parts the leaves. a monster stares down at him.\n\nhe jumps back with a shriek, falling to the ground. a moment passes. he crawls forward and looks through the leaves.\n\na monster lies on the ground, its eyes dark, its body somewhat rusted. the boy walks through the leaves and walks all around the monster, examining it up and down. he pokes it with his foot and cowers. it doesn't move.<<endif>><<if $visited_church eq "yes">>the sun shines through the trees at him.\n\n\n\n\nafter a while, he stands.\n\n\n\n\n\nunable to see the colony through the thicket, he wanders off in a random direction.\n\n\n\n\nhe steps over tall roots and ducks under hanging leaves as he walks.\n\n\n\nbefore long, he finds himself before a wall of foliage. he parts the leaves and begins to walk through. a great metal head stares out at him.\n\nhe jumps back with a shriek, falling to the ground. a moment passes. he crawls forward and looks through the leaves.\n\na monster lies on the ground, its eyes dark, its body somewhat rusted. the boy walks through the leaves and walks all around the monster, examining it up and down. he pokes it with his foot and cowers. it doesn't move. <<endif>>\n\nspotting a bolt on one side of its jaw, he rummages through his pack and takes out the all-purpose knife. he flips out one of its many tools: an automatic wrench. he fastens a circular belt around the bolt and presses a buton. the elastic metal of the belt fastens tightly around the bolt and begins spinning. the bolt comes out in a second and the entire side of the jaw comes loose, hitting the ground. he travels to the other side and removes the other bolt.\n\nslowly, he disassembles the monster. he lays out all the pieces in an organized line before him. he examines every function of the creature as he takes it apart, taking note of its motor functions, defense mechanisms, weak points.\n\nfinally, he comes to a large metal box. he unfastens the bolts that hold it together and pulls off a side. a large blue orb is held in place by several strong cables and cords that lead in every direction. he stares at it, then pulls away all the cords, disconnecting them. he pulls out the [[orb]] and holds it to the light.
!!ALERT!!\nTAKE SUIT A1 AND ITEM 070A\nENTER POD A\n\nthe boy flies into a panic. he's never been given these orders before. this is new.\n\nhe slams his palm against the button next to the suit marked A for the first time. he hastily climbs into the fabric and plastic, trying to ignore the alarms. the suit crackles from being put on for the very first time.\n\nhe types 070A into the keypad for the first time. the receptacle spits out another small bag which the boy fastens to himself.\n\nfor the very first time, he enters pod A. a single seat in a small, egg-shaped room awaits him. he climbs into the seat and buckles himself in. as he stares at the closing pod door, his brain is equal parts anxious excitement and mind-bending [[fear]].
on the old wooden door is a small padlock. he walks up close to inspect it. the lock is old and rusted. he can [[look through the window]] before breaking in, or [[break the lock]].
they dance around. they slowly hypnotize you. they form in the //shape of// strange things you've never seen before. you think they are trying to [[speak to you]].
a computer voice begins the countdown.\n\n3\n\n3 what? 3 seconds? why only 3?\n\n2\n\noh no. oh no oh no oh no\n\n1\n\nwith a deafening hiss, the pod is shot from the ship, forcing the cabin into convulsions that jostle the boy around wildly and a stomach churning rumble that drowns out all other sound. the child's head feels like it's going to explode and he barely has time to beg the universe to [[stop]].
you fall into a cot and lay staring at your hand. in your hand is a flurry of dots. they bounce along the corners and contours of your palm. you feel you could [[follow the dots with your eyes|follow]]. if you lose focus you might [[drop them]].
the shapes bash you in the //face but// the ground swallows up around you. it is warm. you are being pulled [[down]]. you need to find a [[way back|way up]]
another metal door, this time on hinges, opens before him. a smiling faces leans in to look at him, sunlight shining in behind it. "hey, kid," says the same voice from the loudspeaker, in a more jovial tone. the boy, still eyeing the guns pointed at him, doesn't respond.\n\n"come on out here." he motions for the boy to join him. the boy slowly walks forward and out into the sunlight. before him he sees a village surrounded on all sides by a great metal wall, covered mostly in shadow. houses seem built on the absolute minimum of supplies. several people are out doing laundry, running errands, or simply walking around. one villager, manning a large tractor, nearly runs into a wooden fence from staring at the strange child from corvera.\n\n"man," he hears the voice say. "they couldn't have sent someone prettier?"\n\nseven looks up at the man next to him, shivering. "u-um."\n\n"it was a joke." he responds, frowning.\n\nthe two begin walking. "heard about you." says the man. "got found by emma out in the city. kind of a miracle you survived out there." he motions at a tall, stone building at the other end of the colony. "the elders are gonna want to talk to you. you should go see 'em."\n\nthe boy doesn't respond. instead, he shivers, holding the blue orb under one arm.\n\n"your name's...seven, right?" he says. the boy nods. "ok, i'm mike." he bends down in front of the boy and extends a hand. "nice to meet you, seven."\n\nseven looks at the hand, confused. he quickly scampers off and picks up a pebble, then places it into the hand. the man closes his fist around it as he becomes similarly confused. "uh, thanks." he says as he slips the stone into his pocket. "we'll work on handshakes [[later]]."
"umm," he says after some silence. "what happened?"\n\n"you mean to earth?"\n\n"yes."\n\nshe frowns. "i'm a little fuzzy on my history, but i think i can fill you in on the details.\n\nabout 600 years ago, some guy invented those monster things. they were part of some development project in war technology. we figured, hey, if we can send unmanned machines, that means less of our soldiers dying, right? so we sent them to fight for us."\n\nas they walk, seven eyes the circular crawlspaces that dot the walls of the sewer. he feels as if people could be hidden in them, looking at him.\n\n"then, when the things went haywire, they started killing everyone pretty much indiscriminately. they took control of the labs and starting...i don't want to say breeding, but...making more. they moved so fast that there was no way to stop them. thing is..."\n\nshe stops. the sewers diverge in four directions. she scans the different passageways.\n\n"nobody cared when the same thing was happening overseas. only when it started happening over here did anybody think the world was ending."\n\nshe starts down the [[left passageway]].
one of the elders marches out into the main room with a woman seven has never seen. he rants wildly at her.\n\n"...incompetence is costing us precious time."\n\nshe responds shakily. "they can't find it. it landed in a heavily deteriorated area, they can't get through--"\n\nthe elder spins on his heels and points an accusatory finger in her face. "i don't care where it landed, i want that medicine immediately." he spits. "you understand that the ship comes down for collection //today//? and if that boy gets to the pod before your people do--" he turns away, ripping a handkerchief from his pocket. he coughs into it violently. as he pulls it away from his face, seven can see the newly formed red stains on the cloth.\n\n"are you ok?" asks the woman. again, the elder points at her.\n\n"don't patronize me. god knows i'm in the best shape of the three of us right now."\n\nthe rafters creak. \n\nthe boy hides as the two below him look up at the source of the noise. he waits, not moving.\n\n"bring me those injections," says the elder, refocusing his attention on the woman. "and do not waste any more of our time."\n\nhe marches off into another room and slams the door. the woman sees herself out the front. seven waits for her to shut the large double doors and then prepares to [[climb down]].
you claw your// way up//ward. the softness of the ground hardens to brick under your hands. you burrow to the surface and see a great building. it looks familiar. you feel that it is alive and all of its components are [[staring at you|staring]].
in the window. there's something in the window.\n\noutside this window, there had always been darkness, sparsely spackled with small bright twinkling lights. but he saw something. clutching the ball against his stomach, he shivers. but he didn't get a good enough look at it.\n\nsteeling his nerves, he slowly raises his eyes to the window. he creeps upward till just his eyes can peek out the porthole. he can see [[it]].
she clears a set of stairs to the second floor instantly, then scans for the next set of stairs and spots it, darting upward. something slams through the front door below, creating a fog of dust. she makes it to the third floor and looks around. spotting a ladder, she runs to it.\n\n"where are you going?" the boy cries out. she ignores him and climbs, flipping open a trapdoor at the top of the ladder and climbing out into the sunlight.\n\nthe monsters below come into clear view and look up at the boy. he whimpers as their glowing eyes fixate upon him. they run up to the second floor. one breaks through the banister, leaping at him. he curls up into a ball and screams as its giant fangs approach him. suddenly, he's pulled upward, and the monster falls to the first floor.\n\nlooking up, he spots the girl in one of the archways of the belltower, yanking the rope upward as quickly as she can. the boy starts to sway as he's pulled up to the roof.\n\nthe monsters climb up even farther. one trepidatiously paws at the catwalk. another positions itself at the banister of the opposite side. the two make running jumps at the boy. he screams, but sways out of the way and the two creatures smash headfirst into each other.\n\nhe's pulled higher and higher up. one monster makes it to the end of the catwalk and bites upward at the child, trying to reach him. it stands on its hind legs, and the catwalk snaps in half under it, sending it falling three stories into a heap.\n\nthe girl looks up. some of the monsters are making attempts to scramble up to the church roof. one gets a foothold with its front paws, then tears away several roof tiles and falls back down. she pulls the boy up out of the church and runs to the edge of the roof. "which way," she shouts to herself.\n\nin one direction is a [[gas station]]. in the other, a [[radio station]] with a tall tower.
"there's no time!" seven screams, grabbing mike's hand and dragging him to the front of the compound.\n\nmike throws himself against the hatch leading outside. he opens the steel door and beckons seven inside. the chapel doors slam open.\n\nemma charges toward them. a haggard elder stumbles out after her, then stops on the steps. "someone get them!" he shouts.\n\n"let's go," emma says, dragging the two into the entrance bay and slamming shut the steel hatch behind them. mike enters in he access code and the giant metal door before them slowly begins to open.\n\n"what are we gonna do?" mike asks.\n\n"i'm going to have to test it out," seven gasps, catching his breath.\n\n"then let's [[hurry]]," mike responds as the three squeeze through the lurching metal door.
the simulated sunlight wakes the child in his bunk. he slowly rises, teetering a bit. leaning over, he reaches down for the cold ground with a foot, then tumbles down off the bed. his eyes blur as he listens to the hum of the ship to help orient himself. his eyes focus on a [[ball]]. in the hallway ahead, a computer terminal is [[blinking]]. he is [[hungry]].
//hey stop//\n\nyou run into the crowd and leap on the circle, trying to pin it down. it slips out of your grip and bounces away. the other shapes trample you. you are being pounded into the soft [[ground]].
"lets do the forest," he says.\n\nshe thinks. "the trees are good cover...it's probably our [[best bet]]."
Subject 007,\n\nYour mission is to perform the maintenance necessary to keep your ship up and running. You are on a predetermined path to Earth. It will take approximately 400 years to get there. Once you are there, you are to investigate the emergency distress beacon sent by Earth and send word of what happened back to Asturia. We're counting on you.\n\nCpl. Dora Cyprus,\nS.A.M.C.\n\n[[HOME|screen]]\n[[EXIT|leave]]
"now," he says, standing. "you're going to take us to the pod, you're going to hand over the medicine, and in 100 years another //you// will readily finish the same job you failed."\n\nhe motions to mike. "as for your friend, he will simply have to die."\n\nmike struggles against the guards. "no!" he shouts. "emma, do something!"\n\nemma stares off. the elder smirks, looking between emma and mike. "you think she will save you?" he scoffs.\n\n"she's indebted to us." he clenches his fists. "it was her worthless conspirator parents that tried to kill us and put this whole village in jeopardy."\n\n"they were much like you, in fact," he begins. his face darkens as he slowly approaches seven once more. "ungrateful," he takes a step. "worthless..." he takes another step and bends to hiss his last word into seven's face. "[[savages]]."
//hey stop//\n\nyou catch up to the triangle. it nearly escapes you. it is too fast to catch. you [[kick it]].
CURRENT ELAPSED TIME: 398Y 3M 20D 23H 43M 45S\nETA: 0Y 0M 0D 0H 0M 0S\n\n>> [[SUBJECT 001]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 002]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 003]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 004]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 005]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 006]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 007]]\n>> [[HOME|screen]]\n>> [[EXIT|leave]]
you drop them on the floor below. the tinking noise they make as they hit the sterile floor is continuous and unbearable. you begin to run. the sound is making your legs [[vibrate]].
they run. \n\na monster explodes downward into the sewer, bringing with it a mess of grass, dust, and concrete. light floods in as the two quickly make their way down the cavern. the monster runs after them and lunges as they make a right turn, skidding forward. another one follows them in the turn, but they make a quick left and it slams into the wall. regaining composure, it gives chase.\n\nthe girl rummages through her pack and finds a small ball. she tosses it at the monster at the front. it latches itself to its face and a visible electrical current shocks the monster, stopping its movement. it falls to the ground, momentarily blocking off the others behind it.\n\n"hold on to me," she says to seven, throwing him onto her back. he grabs on tight and she climbs up a ladder. the monsters behind them bash against their downed comrade, trying to get through. she forces the manhole cover out of the way. "climb up," she yells. seven climbs up and out through the hole. the monsters dismantle the lifeless machine and charge toward her. she scrambles up into the light.\n\nup on the surface, she shoves her hand into her pack and produces a new ball, similar to the last one. she drops it into the sewer, picks up the manhole cover, and slams the sewer closed.\n\n"cover your ears," she commands the boy. the two press their hands against their ears in unison.\n\na boom followed by a loud, high frequency sound emanates from the sewer below. the shockwave of the initial blast forces the two to the ground, off-balance. the monsters below can barely be heard shrieking over the sound, which eventually fades, leaving only the similarly fading sound of stomping below. then, [[all is quiet|running]].
they gather in front of the spire-like nest. mike holds a second orb.\n\n"ok," seven whispers. "i'm programming this one," he holds up the orb in his hand. "to detonate one minute after i unplug it. it'll send out a pulse that deactivates all monsters in the area. you'll need to drop it in the nest," he says to emma. "to get the most of them."\n\nhe points at the second orb. "i'll be using this one to kill any monsters on your tail."\n\nhe turns to emma. "you have one minute to get to the top. think you can do it?"\n\nshe looks at him, then at the tall spire. "i think so." she nods.\n\nseven types, then presses enter, sending a signal to the orb. "ready?" he says. she nods again.\n\n"3..."\n\nemma gulps.\n\n"2..."\n\nmike clenches his fists.\n\n"1!"\n\nhe [[unplugs the orb]].
seven skids to a stop in front of mike's house and barges in. he drops the orb onto the table and rips his bag from the coatrack next to the door. he fishes through it and dumps the loose cords and small computer onto the table.\n\nmike walks in through the backdoor, taking off his work gloves and dusting them off. he walks in and watches seven wildly plug cords into the orb. wordlessly, he sits opposite seven, eyeing the orb skeptically.\n\nseven types madly. the orb comes to life and begins to glow. mike's eyes widen. "what's it doing?"\n\nseven doesn't lift his eyes from the screen. "oh, nothing, just running off power from this...i just need to...look at..." he trails off, staring at the lines of code intently, then looks up. "i need to go test this."\n\nhe picks up the machinery and scampers out the door. mike darts after him. "i'm not sure that's a good id--"\n\nhe nearly trips over seven as he runs outside. the boy has stopped, glaring intensely at something. mike follows seven's line of sight until he sees emma off to their left, near the entrance to the colony. she glares right back at the boy. to their right, one of the elders stands before the chapel.\n\n"emma," he calls. "[[bring them to me]]."
a giant blue and white orb looms in front of him. he freezes in place, horrified. the orb doesn't move. he doesn't move.\n\nafter several minutes of this stalemate, he slowly makes his way back to the airlock. punching in a code, he opens the door and [[slips inside]].
with all the strength he can muster, he turns his head to the side. bright flames lick at the windows of the pod and a blue light shines in at him. he draws in every breath he can to his lungs, his chest crushed by the pressure.\n\nthe flames subside as the pod continues its freefall. suddenly, the pod slows, and the freefall turns into a dizzying sway. the boy [[closes his eyes]].
<<set $visited_screen = "yes">><<set $visited_gun = "no">>he approaches the computer terminal and looks at the [[screen]]. an important message is blinking at him. he fights against his [[laziness|gives up]] to read it.
<<set $visited_waffles = "yes">>he presses against the waffles icon. the screen flashes red.\n\nWAFFLE SUPPLY DEPLETED.\nRATIONS AT 31%.\nPLEASE SELECT AGAIN.\n\n<<if $visited_toast eq "yes">>[[YOGURT]]\n[[CEREAL]]<<else>>[[YOGURT]]\n[[FRENCH TOAST]]\n[[CEREAL]]<<endif>>\n\nthe screen is still [[blinking]]. the [[ball]] is still there.
she yanks them forward. a nearby tree moves out of the way to their right to reveal the black spire. she reels them back behind the tree quickly.\n\n"we're really close." she whispers.\n\n"are we too close?" he says back.\n\n"i didn't think we'd get this close to it."\n\nhe looks up at her. "do you think they'll see us?"\n\nshe calculates, brow furrowing. "we'll have to move fast."\n\nshe wiggles her fingers to ready herself and does a silent countdown in her head. she exhales, and reaches up.\n\nshe pulls them forward as fast as possible. he hides himself partially behind the armrest, staring over it at the spire. they move quickly and quietly. she grunts as she loses energy, struggling to keep the pace.\n\n"hurry," he whispers. she doesn't respond.\n\nthe spire is in clear view. it's much taller than he had expected. he can see movement within it. "hurry," he hisses.\n\nshe picks up the speed and, in a frenzy, launches them forward with several long pulls of the cord.\n\nafter several tense moments, the trees again slowly begin to block the view of the spire. they're out of sight of it. "[[okay]]," he whispers.
you fall. you can't see the ground or where you //came from//. your stomach turns.\n\nit is time to //[[wake up]]//.
"she's the one that tried to leave me out there," seven grumbles, once again eyeing the door.\n\n"and you're damn lucky she tried to help you in the first place." mike points an accusatory finger. "it wasn't part of her job to haul you around. lucky for you, you were smart enough to make it the rest of the way on your own."\n\n"if i could make it on my own, she coulda helped me!"\n\nmike looks down. "look kid, don't be rough on her. she doesn't really trust people."\n\n"she could trust me!" seven waves his arms around emphatically.\n\n"no, she can't." mike retorts. "she..." he looks off, internally debating with himself. "she lost her parents some time ago."\n\nseven gives him a confused look. "where'd they go?"\n\n"they died."\n\nseven looks away again, embarassed. "oh."\n\n"it was a while ago, but..." mike continues. "i've had to sort of look after her. it took her a long time to even open up to me. she's had to grow up real quick. hasn't been fun for her."\n\nseven brings more forkfulls of rice into his mouth as he listens.\n\n"so, anyway," mike says. "i guess all i'm saying is, try to go easy on her."\n\nseven brings the last bit of rice into his mouth and frowns at the empty plate. mike stands and walks over, picking up the plate and the fork. he brings them into the kitchen.\n\n"do me a favor," he calls. "go out and try to find where emma went off to. chances are she won't be far."\n\nhe pokes his head out to look at seven. "when you come back, i'll tell you what you want to know about the chapel."\n\nseven [[dashes outside]].
he grabs the orange and gingerly peels off another section of skin. he pulls out a slice and examines it, then pops it in his mouth. the tangy taste and stringy texture force his face into strange expressions and his jaw into wide motions, producing a loud smacking noise.\n\nthe girl giggles at him from the across the clearing. he slams his mouth shut and glares at her. "sorry," she says.\n\nwith his mouth shut, he continues chewing. his face contorts.\n\n"that thing almost killed you." she says. "which colony are you from?"\n\nhe swallows and thinks for a moment, then points upward. her eyes follow and she looks up at the sky. "uh //huh//."\n\n"and what were you doing out here?" she asks.\n\nhe thinks. "i fell."\n\n"fell from where?"\n\nhe points upward again. "i [[see]]," she says incredulously.
<<set $visited_R = "yes">><<if $visited_tractor eq "yes">>mike comes to his senses, moments later. he can barely remember what happened.\n\nsurrounded by tall grass, he can barely see around him. a stampede approaches. he ducks down to hide.\n\nthe monsters run in a straight line toward the wreckage below. mike looks through the grass. emma's pack sits atop the flipped tractor.\n\nthe monsters swarm around the tractor, pawing at it. one glances upward.\n\na figure sits perched on a branch above, a glowing blue object in its hand.\n\nemma looks down at the monsters as they slowly and ineffectually begin to climb up toward her. she holds out the orb and drops it.\n\nthe orb stops just above the swarm and begins glowing brightly. an enormous blast shakes the air around it as a shockwave spreads throughout the clearing. the monsters begin their metallic shrieking, which merges with the sound of static as electricity flows from one to another.\n\none by one, their eyes darken. they fall against each other. after several seconds of rumbling, they all fall to the ground. the orb bounces off the head of one monster, hitting the grass below, [[going dark]].<<endif>><<if $visited_convert eq "yes">>emma, with the orb clipped to her belt, leaps upward. she grabs onto a ledge and begins to climb. mike hangs on for dear life. she looks down.\n\n"keep going," mike grunts, struggling with the creature.\n\nthe weight of it is enough to pull the monster's claws out of the spire's surface. it, and mike, fall off, careening toward the ground.\n\nemma turns away. the monsters hit the ground with a crash.\n\nsteeling her nerves and trying not to think about mike, she climbs up the rest of the way. reaching the rim of the nest, she climbs atop it looks inside.\n\nthe nest extends straight downward into complete darkness. she unhooks the orb.\n\nholding it over the expanse, she waits a moment, then drops it.\n\nshe watches the blue light disappear in the black.\n\nsuddenly, a huge explosion, followed by a blue shockwave, rocks the spire. emma hangs on for dear life as the rumbling knocks her back and forth.\n\nbelow, she hears the sound of metallic shrieking. the shockwave spreads outward, electricity travelling between the monsters below. their eyes darken one by one. any that were climbing the spire fall off into a heap on the ground. eventually, the shrieking and rumbling sounds [[fade away|going dark]].<<endif>><<if $visited_kill eq "yes">>she holds on for dear life.\n\nthe monster reorients itself, preparing to leap at her. she stares at it, then looks up. she grips the pole above her tightly.\n\nthe monster repositions itself, calculating its jump.\n\n"come on," emma mutters. "come on, come on,"\n\nit leans back, then jumps straight for her.\n\nshe pulls herself up in one movement. the monster careens off into the forest, hitting the ground with a loud thud. emma, balancing on the pole, runs across it and leaps upward. monsters from below continue their chase.\n\nreaching the top rim of the nest, she climbs atop it looks inside.\n\nthe nest extends straight downward into complete darkness. she unhooks the orb.\n\nholding it over the expanse, she waits a moment, then drops it.\n\nshe watches the blue light disappear in the black.\n\nsuddenly, a huge explosion, followed by a blue shockwave, rocks the spire. emma hangs on for dear life as the rumbling knocks her back and forth.\n\nbelow, she hears the sound of metallic shrieking. the shockwave spreads outward, electricity travelling between the monsters below. their eyes darken one by one. any that were climbing the spire fall off into a heap on the ground. eventually, the shrieking and rumbling sounds [[fade away|going dark]].<<endif>>
"no, no!" seven shouts. "please don't!"\n\nthe girl looks up, enraged. "are you kidding me?" she barks. "didn't you see what happened?" she looks back down at the child, gripping tight to her hair. "she wanted to leave us for dead down there."\n\n"don't kill her!" seven begs. "please don't kill her!"\n\n"it's not up to you anymore." she tightens her grip on the knife.\n\nseven picks up a rock and chucks it at the girl. it hits her in the eye and she lets go of the little girl, who wriggles herself free and [[scampers off into the bushes|running]].
she drops a burlap sack on the ground and rifles through it, producing an orange.\n\n"hey," she says, slowly walking over to the boy. "d'you want an orange?"\n\nshe holds it out in front of him. she shakes it around, trying to get his attention. he doesn't move. she sighs. she drops the orange on the ground and rolls it lazily at him. it bounces off his face.\n\nhe sits up. he grabs the orange and begins examining it, silently calculating. his face reads confusion.\n\n"eat it," she says.\n\nhe chomps into the orange's skin.\n\n"no, not like that." she snatches it out of his hand and peels off a section of skin. she then pulls out a slice of the orange and hands it to him. "here."\n\nhe glowers at her, unmoving.\n\nshe sighs. "forget it." she drops the orange and the slice, turns, and walks to the other end of the grassy clearing, sitting [[across from him]].
the boy logs off the computer terminal. he glances over at the bunk, wondering whether he can [[put this off|gives up]]. he wanders over to the airlock. next to the large door, two glass cases house suits of various sizes within. he lazily lays a palm against the button marked "B" and the second glass case flies open. he grabs at the suit closest to his size and puts it on. next to the suit containers, he punches "073B" into a keypad. a receptacle below spits out a bag of tools. he grab it and snaps it on, securing it to himself. he flips a switch on his boots and one on his oxygen tank and opens the door to the [[airlock]].
you push yourself a//way from// the tree. you find yourself completely stationary, high above the shapes below. you try to make your way down to them, but you can't move. you're stuck. you flail your body around to try and move somewhere. you have lost control.\n\nit is time to //[[wake up]]//.
he climbs down rusted rebar and prickly vines, slowly approaching the first floor. as he reaches it, he steps forward into the light of the open street. cars line the road in all angles, each overcome with shrubbery and dust. derelict, half dismantled towers extend into the sky and toward the horizon. the sun shines through clouds at the abandoned city and, for the first time in the boy's life, he feels a gust of wind blow through his hair.\n\nleaves dance past him and he finds himself giggling at the way the float over the ground. he looks down the barren street and starts vocalizing. "ah" he says to it. "AH!" he laughs. "AHHHHH!!!" he shouts, yells, screams into the city free from consequence, letting his sound fill the space.\n\nhe sees a shadow move in the corner of his sight. <<if $visited_knife eq "yes">>he turns and draws the hunting knife, holding it out in front of him.<<else>>he turns to look, but sees nothing.<<endif>> there's a rustling of grass behind a car next to him. a giant tiger leaps atop the car's cabin. it stares at the boy, and the boy stares back. <<if $visited_knife eq "yes">>his shaky hand nearly drops the knife as he stands frozen.<<else>>he stands completely frozen.<<endif>>\n\nthe great tiger bares its fangs as it begins its descent toward the child. before it can set its paw on the ground, it cranes its neck, looking off to one side. the tiger is once again completely still, listening for something. with one last glance, it hops off the car and runs away from the boy, leaving a heavy indentation in the car's roof.\n\nthe boy [[stares after it]].
<<if $visited_tractor eq "yes">>emma opens her eyes and looks down.\n\nthe monsters lay, completely unmoving.\n\nshe climbs down the tree, clumsy from exhaustion. a branch breaks and she falls down onto the pile of monsters. she reorients herself and hops to the ground, dusting herself off.\n\n"emma!" mike shouts as he runs toward her. he tackles her with a hug and they both laugh.\n\n"oh god, i thought you were dead." he whimpers.\n\n"we did it," she rasps. "we got 'em all."<<endif>><<if $visited_kill eq "yes">>emma, slowly and carefully, climbs down the spire. she makes it to the bottom, stepping over downed monsters. mike hops out of the bushes.\n\n"did you do it?" he asks.\n\nemma, exhausted, nods shakily. mike's face transforms into a smile. he runs over and hugs emma tightly, screaming and dancing as he does. she laughs and hugs back.\n\n"we did it..." she rasps. "i can't believe it."<<endif>><<if $visited_convert eq "yes">>emma haphazardly makes her way to the bottom of the spire.\n\nshe flips over monster after monster, searching.\n\n"mike?!" she shouts. "mike!!"\n\nshe uses all of her strength to move a monster from the top of a pile. mike lays below it, eyes shut. emma stops moving.\n\n"mike?" she chokes.\n\nhe doesn't respond.\n\nshe shuts her eyes, holding back the tears.\n\nshe hears a groan. she looks down at mike.\n\n"did we do it?" he whispers without opening his eyes. emma sinks down and hugs him tight. he pats her on the back lethargically. "help me up, will ya?"\n\nemma pushes the monsters off of mike and helps him stand. he limps as he comes away from the pile of downed creatures, using emma for support. the look back at the spire and the dead swarm.\n\nemma turns to mike. "where's the kid?"<<endif>>\n\nan even greater rumbling interrupts them. they back away from each other and look up.\n\na giant ship slowly lowers itself into the atmosphere. it becomes larger and larger until it hovers just abover the surface of the earth, spreading several miles and blocking out the sun.\n\nfrom the nest, and several nests stretching to the horizon, a flurry of small metal pieces float up toward the ship, gathering in one spot. they shine in purple-green glints as the fly upward.\n\nin the distance, a small circular object shoots upward, propelled by flame. the pod docks itself, reuiniting with the mothership for the trip home.\n\n"NO!" emma shouts. she runs forward, picks up a stick. "YOU STUPID KID!" she tosses the stick in anger, then falls to the ground.\n\nthe two watch the last of the metal shards gather in the ship's storage bay. the ship lifts itself up out of the earth's atmosphere, tranforms from a giant to a tiny dot, then shoots off into space, disappearing.\n\nthey sit in silence, looking at the spot where the ship used to be. emma bows her head.\n\n"i can't believe he would do that..."\n\na tiny voice interjects. "[[do what]]?"
<<set $visited_kill = "yes">>he presses enter.\n\nthe monster's eyes lose their glow as its head falls and smashes into the ground. it skids against the dirt, finally stopping right in front of emma.\n\nseven pops out of the bushes. "well, that wasn't too bad." he says.\n\nemma, frozen in place, [[exhales]].
<<set $visited_convert = "yes">>the monster skids to a halt right in front of emma.\n\nshe stands frozen. the monster doesn't move.\n\nthe yellow glow of its eyes suddenly turns green. it looks at her curiously.\n\nshe stares at it, unsure of what to do.\n\nit backs up. emma can hear its machinations grinding. it stomps playfully in front of her.\n\nseven pops out of the bush. "it worked!"\n\nmike slowly stands and looks at the monster. "great," he says in exasperation. "we have a pet robot now."\n\nemma, still frozen, exhales. "[[great]]," she echoes.
//hey stop//\n\nyou catch up to the square. you reach out to grab it. you cut your hand on its sharp edges. you feel [[overwhelmed]] with emotion as you stare into the cut.
in a blur, the elder is grabbed by the neck and pulled back. emma grasps him in a choke hold and aims her cattle prod at his head.\n\n"let go," she spits at the guards. "or i fry him until his heart gives out."\n\nthe guards do as they're told. "no, you fools!" the elder chokes. she jostles him to shut him up.\n\nemma looks to seven and mike.\n\n"run."\n\nthe two dart toward the front doors. emma throws the elder to the ground and jumps to kick one of the guards in the face. seven looks back once to see the ongoing fight before bursting through the doors.\n\n"[[let's go]]!" seven shouts. mike pauses. "wait," he says. "i have an [[idea]]."
the boy stands still. he hears nothing. slowly he begins to creep toward his pod.\n\nfrom behind him comes the loudest crunch he has ever heard. he whips around<<if $visited_knife eq "yes">>, knife outsctretched.<<else>>.<<endif>> a giant mettalic monster stares down at him, straddled atop a newly destroyed car. its amber eyes glow at him before it lets out a robotic shriek.\n\n<<if $visited_knife eq "yes">>the boy comes to his senses, [[fight]] or [[flight]] instinct taking hold.<<else>>the boy decides to run, but can't decide to make a break for his [[pod|flight]] or the [[street|fight]].<<endif>>
emma shouts "duck!"\n\nthe two lower themselves as the monster's swipe passes over their heads. it stumbles over and falls forward, the bulk of its head knocking into the back of the tractor with full force. it knocks the tractor off balance and mike struggles to regain control. they veer off to the [[left]], charging over tall grass and in between trees.
<<set $visited_tractor = "yes">>"what's your idea?" seven asks hurriedly. "c'mon," mike responds, leading him off to the right.\n\nmike leaps over a fence and charges toward a canopy in the middle of a field. seven follows behind, stumbling in the dust.\n\nthey stand before a large object, hidden by a tarp. a man stands near it, tilling the field. he looks up at the intruders. "uh, hi mike." he says.\n\n"nick," mike gasps. "need to borrow your tractor."\n\nnick stammers, taken aback. "well, i guess that's ok. what d'you need it for?"\n\nmike steps past him and rips off the tarp, hopping on. seven jumps on the back.\n\n"what's the top speed?" mike asks.\n\nnick blinks. "well, uh, this one can go up to 35." he responds.\n\n"good enough," mike grunts, as he turns the key. the tractor comes to life. mike steps on the pedal and the tractor shoots forward, crashing through the wooden fence. it continues down the town's main road.\n\n"[[be careful with it]]," nick shouts after them.
"well, what do you have in your pack?" she says, motioning at the bag.\n\n<<if $visited_knife eq "yes">>he lets out an "oh!" and unbuckles the pack from himself. <<else>>he unbuckles the pack from himself and drops it on the groud, rooting through it. he pulls out a hunting knife and shows it to her.\n\n"what the hell are you doing with that?" she cries. "give me that." she snatches it out of his hand. he stares, confused.\n\n"this is dangerous." she explains. "you don't need one of these. now what else is in there?" \n\n<<endif>> he pulls out a small card shaped device and punches in a code on its touchscreen surface. he sets it down on the ground as it begins to play a canned message.\n\n"This is the president of Asturia, colony of Corvera. We recieved an emergency distress signal from Earth on the morning of January 17, 4122. We have sent you this soldier to gather information on the situation and report bac--"\n\nshe stomps on the card, breaking it to pieces, then advances on the boy.\n\n"you're the one they sent?" she snarls.\n\nthe boy nods shakily.\n\n"400 years, and all they have to offer is a little kid?" the word 'kid' echoes through the trees.\n\nhe stares at her, trembling slightly. seeing his expression, she turns away. "i'm [[not mad]]." she says. "i'm not mad at //you//."
the two skid out in the main road. "wait!" shouts seven. the tractor stops as the chapel doors fly open.\n\nemma charges toward them. a haggard elder stumbles out after her, then stops on the steps. "someone get them!" he shrieks.\n\n"c'mon," mike and seven shout. she catches up and hops on the back. the tractor again shoots forward, headed toward the wall of the village.\n\nthey stop in front of the great metal wall. mike jumps off, throws open a metal door to their left, and climbs inside.\n\nthe elder stumbles toward them, townspeople taking notice. "come on," seven mutters, waiting for mike.\n\nthe great metal wall in front of them lurches to life, slowly beginning to open. mike emerges from the room and gets back on the tractor as townspeople near the chapel begin running toward the three.\n\n"open," mike shouts absentmindedly at the giant door. the footsteps [[come closer]].
the elder paces before him. "we spend centuries begging for help and they send a boy."\n\nhe stops and stands in front of the child. "your mission, henceforth, is to return to corvera. tell them to send aid immediately." he turns and walks back toward his chair. "by the time they get here, we'll be long dead."\n\n"but..." the boy stammers as the footsteps slow. "[[i can help]]."
they leap from the roof of the church to the top of the radio station. they land in a roll. the creatures slam through the walls of the church to follow them.\n\n"follow me," she yells. she climbs up onto the radio tower. "wait," she says, as she looks around. "there!" she points north. two buildings away is a roof adjacent to the more trees. she reaches into her pack and produces two tennis-ball shaped objects, she slams them against the two southern posts of the tower and they stick as if by magnets. "ok, let's go!" she shouts, and she and the boy climb the tower.\n\nthe monsters leap atop a car, then the roof. they circle the radio tower, examining the ascent of the two humans. one begins climbing, and its legs retract and transform to become spiderlike. it climbs up toward them nimbly, and several others follow suit.\n\nseven and the girl quickly climb upward. the monsters gain on them quickly. "come over here!" she shouts to seven, moving over to the south side. seven joins her. "hold on!" she shouts in his ear. she looks down just as the last of the monsters climbs onto the tower. she reaches in her pack and presses a hidden button.\n\nthe base of the tower explodes, sending several monsters flying. the metal creaks as it begins to bend south. a few of the creatures continue climbing upward. the tower creaks and bends north, slowly building into a freefall. the two scream as it careens toward the roof of the far-off building. they slam into it at full speed and fall off the metal bar of the tower onto the roof. the rest of the tower snaps off and falls away, creating a heap of debris that covers the monsters attached to it. "come on," she gasps as she grabs the boy, jumps to a car and [[disappears into the forest|running]].
pow! pow!\n\nhe shoots some styrofoam pellets at the window from his toy gun. they bounce off and teeter on the ground for a moment.\n\nhe lowers the gun and walks toward the window. this experiment has had an underwhelming conclusion and it is that this thing in the window is more fun to look at than play with. still, the child [[presses on]].
he opens them again. breath fills his lungs, bringing with it a strange smell. the pod window is completely dark. he looks around, his neck straining after the pressure of the landing. light shines in through the other windows, caked with dust as they are.\n\nhe lifts his weary arm to unbuckle himself from the seat. he tumbles off onto his side. realigning himself, he starts toward the hatch at the top of the pod, opening it cautiously.\n\na red display lights up inside the cabin.\n\n47:59:59:59\n\nit begins [[counting down]].
seven, accustomed to the ritual of following the sound of the girl's rustling movements, stares up at the trees. they block the sunlight in a myriad of changing patterns. the girl ahead rambles.\n\n"...so, because there was such an anti-war sentiment, the government thought it could please everybody by creating these machines that fought our wars for us. then they go haywire and start killing //everybody//, and now no one can stop them. after 100 years of these things killing in other countries, people only freak when they come back here, i mean, is that crazy or wh..." \n\nshe looks at the boy. he continues staring upward.\n\n"so, you've never seen a forest before?" she quips, noticing his amusement.\n\n"no," he replies, dazed by the trees.\n\n"just whatever's on your ship." she says.\n\n"yeah."\n\nshe pauses, stops walking, and turns to face him excitedly. "okay. time for you to learn something." she says. she places her hand on the trunk of a tree. "these are trees."\n\nhe stares at the tree, then looks at her. "what do they do?"\n\nshe stares back. "do?" she sputters. "uh, well, a lot of things. they convert carbon dioxide into oxygen, for one."\n\n"ohh," he says. "like an air purification system." he looks around. "well, where are the generators?"\n\nshe frowns. "well, they don't need generators." she explains. "they get energy from the sun." she points upward.\n\nhe looks at the sun. his brow slowly furrows. he falls into a sitting position and carves complex equations into the soil. staring at them, he shakes his head. "no, that's not possible. they'd have to function on several terrawatts of energy and i don't even //see// any solar receptors." he looks at the girl. "are you sure there arent's any generators around here?"\n\nshe glares at him, then rolls her eyes. "no." she says, turning back around to [[continue walking]]. "no i'm not sure."
//wait up//\n\nyou run beside the rushing shapes. they are moving without you and won't stop. in the crowd you can see a [[circle]], a [[square]] and a [[triangle]].
they come to a clearing. the trees slowly dissipate and the first in a series of small mountains rises out of the soil before them. they begin to navigate around the base of the mountain.\n\n"so, what's life like up on your spaceship?" she asks.\n\n"ummm...i dunno."\n\n"probably pretty boring, right?"\n\nhe frowns. "maybe."\n\n"then again, it's probably nice compared to life down here. up there you don't have giant war machines trying to kill you."\n\nhe stares off at a distant bush, his eyes unfocusing. "yeah, but...it is kind of scary."\n\n"hmm?"\n\n"because...when you die, it doesn't even matter, 'cause there will just be another clone to do your job."\n\nshe looks back, flustered. "whoa, whoa, don't think like that."\n\n"and even if i wanted to go back to corvera, i'd never make it." he slows his pace. "i'd die before the ship made it. and someone would take my place."\n\nshe points excitedly, trying to draw his attention. "hey, look! look, look! it's a [[ski lift]]!"
<<set $visited_bookshelves = "yes">>he walks along the bookshelves. the dusty tomes offer knowledge, but little aid in his search for the orb. oh well. \n\nthere's still the <<if $visited_closet eq "yes">>[[desk]].<<else>>[[desk]] and the [[closet|small closet]].<<endif>>
<<if $visited_tractor eq "yes">>the two arrive at the nest. mike, at full speed, begins to make a large circle around the black spire. emma raises her arms in the air.\n\n"HEY, HEY!" she shouts at the metal tower. monsters slowly begin to emerge and look toward them.\n\n"let's go," she mutters to mike. "working on it," he responds.\n\na monster leaps down in front of the speeding tractor. mike swerves and skids around it, barely dodging its swipes.\n\n"let's go!" she shouts. the monsters begin jumping down off the spire and galloping toward them. mike straightens their path and they leave the trees for a clearing.<<endif>><<if $visited_kill eq "yes">>mike swiftly types in a command and presses enter. a monster just below emma loses its grip on the wall and falls onto a group just below it, sending several monsters falling to the ground.\n\nmike smiles to himself.<<endif>><<if $visited_convert eq "yes">>they approach the nest.\n\n"we're almost there," mike shouts to emma. "you ready?"\n\nemma nods. the monster continues charging forward. it bursts through the trees and jumps toward the spire. other monsters slowly take notice as it immediately starts climbing upward. spotting the two humans on its back, the others begin to give chase.<<endif>>\n\nseven runs through trees and thicket, hopping over roots and boulders as he makes his way [[back to the pod]].
seven sits at a table with his head in his hands. emma sits on a windowsill, arms crossed, looking outside. mike stands in the kitchen, cooking for his guests.\n\n"y'know, you're lucky they didn't just kick you out of the compound." mike calls from the stove. "the elders've always been a grouchy bunch."\n\n"you're not the only one that got chewed out," emma grumbles from the window. seven ignores her.\n\n"anyway, we can keep you here until tomorrow. don't wanna send you out at night." mike says. "me and emma will help you get back to the pod so you can make it back to your ship." he scoops rice onto a plate and pours beans overtop, bringing it to the table. "sound like a deal?" he asks as he slides the plate across toward seven.\n\n"i don't want to go back to the ship." seven says, preemptively prodding at the meal with a fork.\n\nemma stands. "you have to." she scolds. "you have a job too, y'know."\n\nseven [[glares at her]] from the corner of his eye.
<<silently>>\n<<set $visited_computer = "yes">>\n<<endsilently>>ROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE REQUIRED --\nPREVIOUS HULL MAINTENANCE PERFORMED 365 DAYS 2.4 HOURS AGO. IN NEED OF INSPECTION AND POTENTIAL REPAIR. PLEASE PERFORM REQUIRED ACTIONS.\n\n>> [[LOGS]]\n>> [[MISSION STATEMENT]]\n>> [[EXIT|leave]]
<<if $visited_tractor eq "yes">>one monster catches up, snarling as it opens its huge jaw. a tendril appears as it runs immediately behind them. the tendril retracts, preparing for a deadly swipe.\n\nemma thinks to shout "[[duck]]," but mike is prepared to [[swerve|right]] out of the way.<<endif>><<if $visited_kill eq "yes">>emma hops up toward another metal outcropping as she nears the top. a monster directly above her makes a swipe, knocking her off the ledge. she catches herself below and makes a quick glance downward, unable to see mike or seven. she reaches back and produces the cattle prod, jabbing at the creature above. it loses balance and falls off the tower. another takes its place, preparing to lunge at her. she prepares to dodge to either the [[right]] or the [[left]].<<endif>><<if $visited_convert eq "yes">>one of the monsters above slides down toward them. mike prepares to dodge to the [[right]] or to the [[left]].<<endif>>
<<set $visited_cereal = "yes">>he presses the cereal icon. the machine whirrs, hums and then makes a 'clunk' noise. he opens a metal cabinet and retrieves a small, hollow cylinder. he rips off the foil top and pulls out two packets and a small plastic measuring cup. he rips open one packet and pours white power into the bowl, then takes the bowl and the measuring cup to the sink. he fills the measuring cup with water and pours it on top of the white powder. he swishes it around and the liquid expands into milk. he takes it back to the table and rips open the other packet, pouring the cereal within into the bowl. finally, he retrieves a spoon, then sits down to [[eat]].
he rips a handful of cords out from the metal box and delicately shreds off the rubber protecting them with the all purpose knife. he pulls a pocket computer from his pack and flips up the keyboard, haphazardly attaching copper wires to the harddrive. he spins the orb around in his hands and finds the correct access point, slamming the other end of the wires into it and setting it down. the orb begins to glow faintly. its blue light shines onto the boy and he gasps as he stares into it. he flips the keyboard back down and begins typing madly. a flurry of code reveals itself onscreen. he gasps again as his eyes dart back and forth along the many [[lines]].
<<set $visited_trust = "yes">>"wait." seven says.\n\nshe looks down at the boy. "what?" she hisses.\n\n"she should come with." he murmurs.\n\n"are you kidding me? how can you even trust her?" she points the flashlight at the little girl accusingly.\n\n"she knows the way." he whispers.\n\n"she //says// she knows the way." she corrects him.\n\n"we should take her to the colony." he responds. "she'll be safe there, right?"\n\n"she said she doesn't want to go."\n\n"she's coming." he stomps his foot at her.\n\nshe glares at him, biting her tongue. "[[i can't BELIEVE this]]." she says finally.
SUBJECT 006\nBEGIN: DAY 112055\nEND: DAY 142397\n\nOVERVIEW: SUBJECT LAUNCHED ON DAY 112055 AFTER LOSS OF SUBJECT 005. SUBJECT LOST ON DAY 142397. CAUSE DETERMINED: CARDIAC ARREST. RATIONS AT 33%.\nANOMALIES: ROUTINE HULL MAINENANCE #308: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #309: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #390: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #391: MISSED.\n\n\n>> [[SUBJECT 001]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 002]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 003]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 004]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 005]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 007]]\n>> [[BACK|LOGS]]\n>> [[HOME|screen]]\n>> [[EXIT|leave]]
"u-um..." he begins, eyeing the floor. "actually, i'm supposed to do recon and report back to corvera with whether or not they should //send// a rescue mission."\n\nthe elder throws his arms into the air. "ah! of course! well, we'll just wait patiently here for the next 800 years while you report back."\n\nthe other elders smirk. "ok." seven says. their smirks disappear.\n\nthe elder on the left speaks up again. "impudent little rat," she hisses. "we need aid, not reconnaissance!"\n\nthe elder on the right speaks for the first time, his voice escaping in a gravelly rasp. "we've needed help for centuries and we can't survive for much longer. what will we do now?"\n\n"[[i can help]]," the boy interjects.
the little girl crawls out of the hole. "hey! wait!" she calls.\n\nthe two turn around. the flashlight shines on her.\n\n"i can show you the way." she says.\n\n"can you, now?" the older girl responds, unimpressed.\n\nthe little girl nods. "i can get you around the monsters, too. without being heard. it's real easy."\n\n"well, thanks, kid, but i already know the way. besides, you wanted to be left alone, so we'll be [[on our way]]."\n\nseven looks back at the little girl. her expression flashes to sadness. he wants to [[trust her]].
he falls to his side and pulls his knees into his chest. his hands fly to cover his ears as he stares into space.\n\nshe stares at the boy. he doesn't move.\n\n"uh," she starts. "hey, are you okay?" she waves a hand in front of his face.\n\nsilently he starts crying.\n\n"oh god. uh, alright, hey kid it's gonna be fine!" she shakes him by the shoulder. "you're okay! you're not in trouble. i promise. please stop."\n\nhe continues staring and crying.\n\n"oh boy. uh, hey! look over there! it's your...mom! yeah, hey kid it's your mom! she wants to talk to you!"\n\nno response.\n\n"it's....your dad?"\n\nthe boy is still crying.\n\n"uhh" she looks around, pulling at her hair as she frantically tries to find a [[solution]].
<<set $visited_window = "yes">>seven sheepishly wipes his hands against the dirty window and peers inside. it doesn't give him a clear view of much, and he is restricted to examining one half of the room. the walls are populated with barren shelves and the room seems caked with dust. the basement seems to be a storage room.\n\nthe window gives way slightly at his touch, and the boy gives it a few more encouraging prods. it doesn't move in far enough for him to squeeze through, so he fishes out the flat stone. gingerly, he wedges it into the side of the window and pushes in, jimmying it back and forth. after some struggle, the window pops open and he's able to push it in far enough so that he may squeeze his way inside.\n\nholding onto the ledge, he backs into the open passage and shimmys his way downward, feeling around with his feet for any sort of table. his feet come upon something moving--a sleeping body. his legs retract and he pulls his head through to look around.\n\nthe most haggard of the elders sleeps just below him, wheezing heavily. he calculates, and slowly lowers one of his feet, wedging it between the old man and the wall. the bed sinks under his weight and he stops. the sleeping man doesn't seem to notice. he lets go of the ledge and slowly steps over him. the bed again sinks under his weight. the elder again doesnt stir. he lifts the other leg and slowly descends from the bed.\n\na spring below him makes a 'pop' noise.\n\nthe elder's snoring ceases.\n\nseven stands frozen, one foot off the bed.\n\nthe room is silent.\n\n\n\n\nthe snoring continues. seven holds his breath as he brings his weight up off the bed and watches the elder's face for any reaction. slowly edging across the room, seven approaches a closed wardrobe. he carefully opens it to search for the orb. inside are only cobwebs and old dishes. he searches the drawers below. nothing.\n\nhe aproaches a second wardrobe. cracking it open, he peers inside. it's completely empty. as are the drawers below. he sighs silently and approaches a third and final wardrobe. this one is without drawers, and its doors extend to a height much taller than seven himself. he reaches up to grab the doorknobs. he realizes the snoring has stopped.\n\nseven slowly turns.\n\nthe gray eyes of the bedridden old man stare at him from across the room.\n\nseven's hair stands up as he looks back at him. shuffling comes from down the hall. he looks at the door, then back at the elder. without thinking, he reaches up, opens the wardrobe, and stuffs himself inside, [[shutting it]].
"it's been like that for the past 400-ish years." she says, her voice echoing down the shaft. "not really any progress being made. their numbers constantly increasing. humans slowly going extinct."\n\n"what about you?" he asks sheepishly.\n\n"me?" she responds. "i don't know. what about me?"\n\nhe pauses. "do you do duty?"\n\n"duty. uhh. yes, actually." she says. "i collect food and supplies for the colony."\n\n"like rations?"\n\nshe gives him a look. "yeah, i guess you could say that. only we're always running out, so i always have to get more."\n\nhe looks down. "sounds tough."\n\n"of course it is." she says, staring forward. "but i have to do it. like fixing your ship, right?"\n\nhe nods. she looks down at him and smiles.\n\n"i mean, my job doesn't really compare to manning a very big, very expensive asturian spacecraft." she chuckles. "when i was eight, i could barely [[tie my shoes]]."
your hand is so far //away, but// so large. you can barely see what the dots are forming anymore. they feel like beads in your palm. slowly they begin to tickle. the sensation grows until it becomes unbearable. \n\nit is time to //[[wake up]]//.
seven feels the wind blow through his hair as he yells to the others.\n\n"i'm going to use this," he motions to the orb. "to broadcast a mass kill command. we need to get as many monsters as possible in the same space, so we'll need to get into the nest."\n\n"or we can lure them out," mike yells back.\n\n"that'll work," seven shouts.\n\nthe tractor rocks and shakes against the uneven ground as they speed toward [[the nest]].
"so you're from corvera." she says, looking at the boy again.\n\nhe thinks for a second. "i think," he says. "wait. i don't know."\n\n"well, where were you born?" she asks.\n\nhe thinks. "on the ship," he finally responds.\n\nher eyes darken. she looks away. "oh." she says. "well...do you have a name?"\n\nhe stops to think again. he comes to a conclusion and quickly stands up. "subject 007." he proudly exclaims.\n\nshe glares at him, suppressing a snicker. "your //name// is //double-oh-seven//?"\n\nhe stares, quizzical.\n\n"like...from the old movies?" she explains.\n\nhis confused stare continues.\n\n"uh, nevermind." she says, looking away again. "how 'bout i just call you 'seven'?"\n\nhe looks upward, thinking about it. "ok," he decides as he brings another [[slice of orange]] to his mouth.
<<set $visited_knife = "yes">>he unsheaths the knife to look at it. it's sharp, and its shiny metal surface is pristine. he sheaths it and wraps its strap around his beltline. he's [[ready|investigate]].
she jams a chunk of rebar into the ground, hoisting up a moss-caked manhole cover and kicking it to the side.\n\n"i'm going down first to make sure it's ok," she informs the kid. "then when i tell you, you can come down. got it?"\n\nhe nods. she begins her descent.\n\nthe ladder steps leave behind a thin veneer of dust and slime on her hands. she lowers herself through the cobwebs and flicks on a flashlight, shining it down both ends of the chasm. empty, save for a few thin columns of light.\n\n"come down," she calls. the kid slowly and clumsily crawls down the ladder. he falls off toward the bottom and lands in a puddle. "careful," she snaps.\n\nthey start [[down the passageway]], the girl leading and seven close behind.
wind traveling through the tunnel and the sound of far-off dripping are the only sounds the two can hear. seven clutches at her pant leg as she drags him along. she looks down at him.\n\n"so, uh," she says, breaking the silence of the sewer. "what was life like up in the ship?"\n\n"umm," he says, fishing around for the correct word. "same."\n\n"same?" she asks.\n\n"a lot the same." he says.\n\n"so you mean, like, boring?"\n\n"no," he responds. "duty. it's my duty to do things...even if things are a lot the same. like maintenance."\n\nher eyebrows raise a bit. "so, you're your own janitor?"\n\n"uhh," he says, puzzled. "i fix the ship."\n\nshe stares off, her face hidden from him. "that's a big duty for someone so young."\n\nhe [[doesn't respond]].
<<set $visited_L = "yes">><<if $visited_tractor eq "yes">>the tractor hits the ground with a loud crash.\n\nin a pile, the monsters slowly reorient themselves to paw at the tractor's wreckage, looking for the girl. one glances upward.\n\na figure hangs from the cliff above them, a glowing blue object in its hand.\n\nemma looks down at the monsters as they slowly and ineffectually begin to climb up toward her. she holds out the orb and drops it.\n\nthe orb stops just above the swarm and begins glowing brightly. an enormous blast shakes the air around it as a shockwave spreads throughout the clearing. the monsters begin their metallic shrieking, which merges with the sound of static as electricity flows from one to another.\n\none by one, their eyes darken. they fall against each other. after several seconds of rumbling, they all fall to the ground. the orb bounces off the head of one monster, hitting the grass below, [[going dark]].<<endif>><<if $visited_kill eq "yes">>emma grabs her pack, balancing precariously as the monster continues its attack. she shoves the pack down into the monster's mouth and its jaw clamps down around it. in its momentary confusion, she leaps upward, grabbing a ledge.\n\nthe monster begins to come after her, but notices a sound coming from the pack in its mouth.\n\nall of emma's stored explosives go off at once. light blinds the monster as smoke pours out of its mouth. it falls off the spire and crashes into a cluster of monsters making their way upward. they fall to the ground.\n\nemma climbs up the rest of the way. on the rim of the nest, she looks inside.\n\nthe nest extends straight downward into complete darkness. she unhooks the orb.\n\nholding it over the expanse, she waits a moment, then drops it.\n\nshe watches the blue light disappear in the black.\n\nsuddenly, a huge explosion, followed by a blue shockwave, rocks the spire. emma hangs on for dear life as the rumbling knocks her back and forth.\n\nbelow, she hears the sound of metallic shrieking. the shockwave spreads outward, electricity travelling between the monsters below. their eyes darken one by one. any that were climbing the spire fall off into a heap on the ground. eventually, the shrieking and rumbling sounds [[fade away|going dark]].<<endif>><<if $visited_convert eq "yes">>emma, with the orb clipped to her belt, leaps upward. she grabs onto a ledge and begins to climb. mike hangs on for dear life. she looks down.\n\n"keep going," mike grunts, struggling with the two creatures.\n\nthe weight of the two is enough to pull the monster's claws out of the spire's surface. it, and mike, fall off with the two assailants, careening toward the ground.\n\nemma turns away. the monsters hit the ground with a crash.\n\nsteeling her nerves and trying not to think about mike, she climbs up the rest of the way. reaching the rim of the nest, she climbs atop it looks inside.\n\nthe nest extends straight downward into complete darkness. she unhooks the orb.\n\nholding it over the expanse, she waits a moment, then drops it.\n\nshe watches the blue light disappear in the black.\n\nsuddenly, a huge explosion, followed by a blue shockwave, rocks the spire. emma hangs on for dear life as the rumbling knocks her back and forth.\n\nbelow, she hears the sound of metallic shrieking. the shockwave spreads outward, electricity travelling between the monsters below. their eyes darken one by one. any that were climbing the spire fall off into a heap on the ground. eventually, the shrieking and rumbling sounds [[fade away|going dark]].<<endif>>
seven moves to the right side of the building. a canopy connected to the wall stands above shaded barrels, supported by several wooden beams. seven hops up onto one of the beams and clumsily clambers upward to the top of the canopy. he looks out over the town around him. one woman looks up at him for a brief moment, then continues her work of tilling the dry soil.\n\nhe looks up at the ladder. a sheet of metal blocks off the lower rungs, padlocked to one side. fishing in his pocket, he pulls out the stone. with it, he attemps to pry open the lock. it doesn't budge. he frowns and stows the stone back in his pocket.\n\ngrabbing the sides of the ladder, he shimmys upward, using all his strength to stay off the ground. he grabs the top of the metal sheet, then leaps up to grab the first rung. he continues reaching up, rung after rung, until he can get a foothold, then makes his way up the rest of the way.\n\nhe climbs through an opening and finds himself atop the rafters of the chapel's main room. he crawls slowly toward the center. without warning, a door below [[flies open]].
the pillowy cushioning keeps pulling you down. it spits you out, downward. you try to grab the substance but there's nothing to hold onto. you begin to [[fall]]. you see nothing around you. it is cold.
different shapes race by your vision. all different colors, all [[stampeding by|run alongside]].
<<if $visited_tractor eq "yes">>mike swerves off to the right. the monster's swipe misses them and it tumbles over.\n\nthe tractor shakes violently as it treads over uneven soil hidden by tall grass. they weave between trees as mike tries to stay stable on the sharp decline.\n\nmike loses control and the tractor swerves to the left. before he can straighten it out, the tractor [[rolls over|emma]].<<endif>><<if $visited_convert eq "yes">>mike types in the command, and they leap right just as the monster above lunges for them.\n\nit stops itself, digging its claws into the metal surface of the spire, and turns toward them, lunging again. barely missing mike and emma, it clamps its jaw around their monsters body, crushing the metal. mike focuses on continuing to climb up, but the monster is more finnicky and unresponsive as the jaw crushes its insides.\n\nthe monster attacking them begins to pull away, its jaw still clamped tightly. in one motion, it pulls open their monster's body, pulling away a substantial amount of metal and exposing its insides. it drops the metal, which falls to the ground below, and lunges, taking another [[bite|emma]].<<endif>><<if $visited_kill eq "yes">>emma leaps to the right, grabbing another ledge. the monster above leaps down, missing her. it sinks its claws into the side of the spire, stopping itself. \n\nas emma nears the top, she grabs onto a vertical metal bar. she climbs up it as the monster nearby begins climbing toward her. the pole suddenly moves, bending outward. emma screams as it sinks downward and she finds herself hanging to the bar, several feet away from the [[surface of the spire|emma]]. she looks down. the ground is too far away for her to fall. the monster glowers at her.<<endif>>
seven arrives at the building where the pod first landed. he looks inside. at the top of the fourth floor, the pod remains, bathed in light from the torn-open cieling.\n\nhe climbs the knotted rebar up toward it.\n\narriving at the top floor, he begins toward the pod.\n\na foot kicks him to the ground. he looks up. the elder towers over him, scowling, then makes his way to the pod.\n\n"i have to thank you for leading me here," the elder croaks, staring into the pod. "it'll be the last useful thing you ever do."\n\nhe bends and pulls out a black box from a compartment within the pod. the boy stands and runs toward him. "no!"\n\nthe elder grabs the boy by the neck and holds him up. "you did a fine job," he hisses. "but now it's time to go home." he throws the boy into the pod and slams the door.\n\nseven regains his composure and moves to the window. the elder smirks at him from outside, producing a syringe from the black box.\n\nthe elder holds the needle above him. "here's to another 100 years!" he shouts to the boy, jamming it into his arm. the green fluid inside pushes itself into his veins.\n\nthe boy watches as the elder's features brighten. a youthfulness returns to his face. he pulls out the syringe and tosses it to the ground. he moves toward the pod window, to say [[one last thing]] to the boy inside.
the door bursts open. two elders and one unidentified person walk in. seven peers out at them through the crack between the wardrobe's doors.\n\n"just look at him!" spits one of the elders. "he's deteriorating by the minute."\n\nsevens foot touches something. he looks down and, in the dim light, sees the orb. steeling himself not to grab it, he looks back up.\n\n<<if $visited_window eq "yes">>"shut that window," the other elder hisses. the person accompanying them complies, and hastily shuts the window above the bedridden old man.<<endif>>\n\n"we don't have much time left." says the first elder. "what are your people doing out there?"\n\nthe mystery person speaks up, her voice quaking. "i'm sorry. the pod landed in a heavily deteriorated area, they're having trouble finding it through all the rubble and--"\n\nthe elder's bony hand clasps around the back of her head and forces her to look at the man on the bed. "will your excuses work on him? will your pitiful blithering keep him alive?"\n\nthe immobilized elder reaches out from the bed, staring straight at seven. he lets out an anguished croak as he tries to motion toward the child.\n\n"tell them to find the injections and bring them here now," he continues. "do whatever it takes. the ship is coming down for collection //today// and if that idiotic child gets to the pod before you do--" the elder lets go of her head and quickly grabs for his handkerchief, bringing it to his mouth to let out a flurry of loud coughs. he brings the handkerchief away from his face to see stains of blood and crumples it into a ball, shoving it away into his pocket.\n\n"if we die before the injections are found," he says, curtly, "it will be [[on your head]]."
"sewers!" says the boy, standing up. "i vote sewers!" he stops, pondering. "what's a sewers?"\n\nshe glances back at him incredulously. "underground tunnels, meant for, uh..." she pauses. "...nevermind."\n\n"well, it's the quickest way to the colony, right?" he says, mimicking her pointing.\n\n"yeah..." she thinks. "but it'll bring us close to the nest. we'll have to be quiet. do you think you can be quiet, kid?"\n\nhe salutes the asturian salute. [[she stares blankly]].
<<set $visited_church = "yes">>he walks up the next set of stairs, which reaches much higher than the first, and finds a long catwalk. the rusted metal walkway stretches less than halfway across the length of the church before dropping off. he walks out slowly over the shaky surface. he makes it to the edge and looks down, seeing the girl on the ground floor, rummaging through debris. a rope leads down from above. he looks up and sees sunlight coming in through arched openings, shining on a large, dusty bell. he looks to his left and sees the source of the light.\n\na large stained glass window portrays a woman cradling a baby. around the baby's head is a smattering of golden glass, shaped like a sun. the mother's giant, loving expression gazes straight at the boy as colors inumerable shine on him.\n\nthe catwalk shakes and he loses his balance. he falls off, careening toward the ground floor. he screams and grabs at the rope, grasping it tightly. the rope goes taut and he sways. the church bell gongs once. as he sways to the other side, it gongs again. it gives out a last, third gong before going silent.\n\nthe girl looks up. the two wait in silence. the bell echoes through the church, through the town, through the trees. they both hold their breath.\n\nnothing happens.\n\nthe girl sighs. "you IDIOT," she screeches up at him.\n\na deep rumbling, far-off. they both freeze again. she moves toward the church door and looks out. the sound of stomping is fast approaching. she slams it shut and lets out two quick words of advice to the boy.\n\n"[[stay there]]."
seven marches toward the stone chapel, dust rising from his footsteps in the midday sun.\n\nhe stands and stares up at the towering structure.\n\n"on the [[right side]] of the building, there's an outcropping." mike had said. "get on top of that, there's an access ladder. that'll get you up to a ledge. shimmy around for a bit, you'll find a way in onto the rafters."\n\n"don't worry 'bout anyone seeing you," he had added. "people around here are real busy during the day, and they're all too afraid of the elders to run in there and tattle on you." seven looks around. the curious townspeople cast glances toward him, but never for long enough to detract from their work.\n\n"on the [[left side]], you'll see the basement entrance. it's locked, but there's a window you can get through."\n\n"if you get caught," mike said, scratching the back of his neck. "well...don't get caught." seven nodded.\n\nseven fishes around in his pocket.\n\n"and one more thing," mike had said, reaching over into a drawer. "this has always been kind of a lucky charm for me. hold out your hand."\n\nseven lifts his hand, clutched into a fist.\n\n"i found this rock one day and, well, i don't really know what it is, but..."\n\nseven holds up the flat stone to the light, sun shining through its translucent surface, casting purple-green patterns onto his face.\n\n"i think you'll find it useful."\n\nseven stuffs the rock back into his pocket and marches forward.
she throws her arms up in the air, groaning and leaning against the windowsill. "i'm sorry, okay? look, you made it back on your own just fine."\n\nhe looks down at his plate, unsure of what to say. a pause fills the room.\n\n"i know how to get rid of them," he says.\n\nemma sighs. "get rid of what?" mike calls from the kitchen.\n\n"the monsters." seven responds.\n\nmike chuckles. "alright, alright, let's settle down and get to eating."\n\n"no, i'm serious!" seven slams his hands on the table. "i accessed the main harddrive of one of the monsters and looked at the code. all motor functions and directives are stored locally, and that means i can reprogram them. i can also use use the harddrive to find the location of the other monsters, and if i can find their location i can alter their code remotely!"\n\nmike eyes him, then looks up at emma. she shrugs. "o...kay. what's stopping you?"\n\nseven slumps in his chair, arms crossed. "the elders took the harddrive."\n\n"and you need it back?"\n\nseven nods.\n\nmike taps at the table with a fingernail and chews on his lip. "say, emma," he says after a pause, bringing a hand to his chin as he looks off. "aren't there a few different ways to get into the elders' chapel without anyone noticing?"\n\n"i'm not helping him break into the chapel." she growls.\n\nseven's elbows slam into the table as he begs. "please!"\n\n"alright," mike shushes him. "we'll figure something out. eat."\n\nseven, suddenly remembering how hungry he is, scoops some of the food into his mouth. at a rapid pace he begins shoveling in forkfuls before stopping to let the scalding food cool off in his mouth.\n\nmike smiles. "like it, huh?" the boy struggles through a full mouth to say something but settles for nodding.\n\nmike turns his attention toward emma. "did you want some too?" he motions at the stove.\n\nemma stands. "i'm not hungry," she groans as she walks out the front door, slamming it behind her.\n\nseven stares at the door. "ah, don't mind her." mike says, waving his hand dismissively. "you've put her through a lot of [[trouble]] today."
SUBJECT 003\nBEGIN: DAY 53373\nEND: DAY 82421\n\nOVERVIEW: SUBJECT LAUNCHED ON DAY 53373 AFTER LOSS OF SUBJECT 002. SUBJECT LOST ON DAY 82421. CAUSE DETERMINED: CARDIAC ARREST. RATIONS AT 59%.\nANOMALIES: ROUTINE HULL MAINENANCE #146: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #147: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #148: MISSED.\nDAMAGE SUSTAINED IN INNER DECK DAY 61255: SOLVED BY SUBJECT 003.\nMALFUNCTION IN GAMMA THRUSTER DAY 71348: SOLVED BY SUBJECT 003.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #224: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #225: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #226: MISSED.\n\n\n>> [[SUBJECT 001]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 002]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 004]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 005]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 006]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 007]]\n>> [[BACK|LOGS]]\n>> [[HOME|screen]]\n>> [[EXIT|leave]]
SUBJECT 002\nBEGIN: DAY 22995\nEND: DAY 53373\n\nOVERVIEW: SUBJECT LAUNCHED ON DAY 22995 AFTER LOSS OF SUBJECT 001. SUBJECT LOST ON DAY 53373. CAUSE DETERMINED: CARDIAC ARREST. RATIONS AT 70%.\nANOMALIES: ROUTINE HULL MAINENANCE #63: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #64: MISSED.\nMALFUNCTION IN AIRLOCK B DAY 24007: SOLVED BY SUBJECT 002.\nHULL DAMAGE SUSTAINED DAY 29456: SOLVED BY SUBJECT 002.\nMANUAL COURSE REALIGNMENT DAY 36523: INITIATED BY SUBJECT 002.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #145: MISSED.\n\n\n>> [[SUBJECT 001]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 003]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 004]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 005]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 006]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 007]]\n>> [[BACK|LOGS]]\n>> [[HOME|screen]]\n>> [[EXIT|leave]]
SUBJECT 001\nBEGIN: DAY 00000\nEND: DAY 22995\n\nOVERVIEW: SUBJECT BEGINS DEPARTURE AT 20 Y.O. LOSS OF CONTACT WITH HOME ON DAY 443 AS EXPECTED. SUBJECT LOST ON DAY 22995. CAUSE UNDETERMINED. RATIONS AT 82%.\nANOMALIES: SOFTWARE MALFUNCTION ON DAY 193: REMOTELY SOLVED BY HOME.\nMALFUNCTION IN GAMMA THRUSTER DAY 267: SOLVED BY SUBJECT 001.\nMALFUNCTION IN GAMMA THRUSTER DAY 272: SOLVED BY SUBJECT 001 AND HOME.\nPOWER OUTAGE DAY 921: SOLVED.\nMALFUNCTION IN GAMMA THRUSTER DAY 1606: SOLVED BY SUBJECT 001.\nDAMAGE SUSTAINED IN INNER COCKPIT DAY 2446: CAUSE UNKNOWN. STATUS UNKNOWN.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #7: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #9: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #10: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #14: MISSED.\nMALFUNCTION IN BETA THRUSTER DAY 5238: SOLVED BY SUBJECT 001.\nHULL DAMAGE SUSTAINED DAY 12499: STATUS UNKNOWN.\nOFF-COURSE DAY 14898: REALIGNMENT SUCCESSFUL\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #51: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #55: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #56: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #57: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #58: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #59: MISSED.\nOFF-COURSE DAY 21654: REALIGNMENT SUCCESSFUL\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #60: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #61: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #62: MISSED.\nBIOLOGICAL ANOMALY DETECTED DAY 22995: EJECTED.\n\n>> [[SUBJECT 002]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 003]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 004]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 005]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 006]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 007]]\n>> [[BACK|LOGS]]\n>> [[HOME|screen]]\n>> [[EXIT|leave]]
seven looks around in the darkness. he hears a noise from above and spins around.\n\nemma sits on the roof. she looks up at the sky, ignoring seven. he walks over to the side of the house and climbs up a support beam, then hoists himself onto the roof. he walks over and sits down nearby.\n\n"why are you up here?" he asks.\n\n"i don't know," she responds dismissively.\n\nhe looks at the sky. the blue streak of the milky way cuts across the black night.\n\n"i guess you heard about my parents." she says.\n\nseven looks at her and nods nervously.\n\n"it's not a big deal." she continues. "they...did something bad. it's not important. anyway, i work for the elders now..." she leans back, sighing. "...so i don't really need them anymore. right?"\n\nthe boy stares at her and shrugs. emma thinks.\n\n"hey, do you wanna see something?" she says finally.\n\nthe boy shrugs again. "alright," she says, grabbing her pack and rifling through it.\n\nshe produces a stack of paper and hugs it close. "don't tell anyone about this, alright?"\n\n[[seven nods]].
SUBJECT 007\nBEGIN: DAY 142397\nEND: N/A\n\nOVERVIEW: SUBJECT LAUNCHED ON DAY 142397 AFTER LOSS OF SUBJECT 006. SUBJECT OPERATING FOR 8Y 5M 12D AND COUNTING. RATIONS AT 31%.\nANOMALIES: ROUTINE HULL MAINENANCE #392: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #393: MISSED.\n\n\n>> [[SUBJECT 001]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 002]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 003]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 004]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 005]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 006]]\n>> [[BACK|LOGS]]\n>> [[HOME|screen]]\n>> [[EXIT|leave]]
<<if $visited_gun eq "yes">>he walks back toward the bunk. the screen over there is still [[blinking]].<<endif>><<if $visited_screen eq "yes">>he pushes away from the terminal, ignoring it for now. the [[ball]] remains on the floor.<<endif>><<if $visited_computer eq "yes">>he returns to the bunk. the [[ball]] remains on the floor.<<endif>> he is still [[hungry]].
SUBJECT 005\nBEGIN: DAY 082425\nEND: DAY 112055\n\nOVERVIEW: SUBJECT LAUNCHED ON DAY 082425 AFTER LOSS OF SUBJECT 004. SUBJECT LOST ON DAY 112055. CAUSE UNDETERMINED. RATIONS AT 43%.\nANOMALIES: ROUTINE HULL MAINENANCE #227: MISSED.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #228: MISSED.\nLOSS OF OBJ 073A DAY 089926: CURRENT STATUS UNKNOWN.\nTEMPERATURE CONTROL MALFUNCTION DAY 092537: SOLVED BY SUBJECT 005.\nROUTINE HULL MAINTENANCE #307: INCOMPLETE.\nLOSS OF OBJ SUIT B1 DAY 112055: CURRENT STATUS UNKNOWN.\n\n\n>> [[SUBJECT 001]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 002]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 003]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 004]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 006]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 007]]\n>> [[BACK|LOGS]]\n>> [[HOME|screen]]\n>> [[EXIT|leave]]
SUBJECT 004\nBEGIN: DAY 82421\nEND: DAY 82425\n\nOVERVIEW: SUBJECT LAUNCHED ON DAY 82421 AFTER LOSS OF SUBJECT 003. SUBJECT LOST ON DAY 82425. CAUSE DETERMINED: FAILURE TO LAUNCH SUBJECT 004. RATIONS AT 59%.\nANOMALIES: VITAL SIGNS OF SUBJECT 004 UNSTABLE: DAY 82421\nVITAL SIGNS OF SUBJECT 004 CRITICAL: DAY 82424.\n\n\n>> [[SUBJECT 001]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 002]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 003]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 005]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 006]]\n>> [[SUBJECT 007]]\n>> [[BACK|LOGS]]\n>> [[HOME|screen]]\n>> [[EXIT|leave]]
"hey!" she shouts. "quit crying! we don't have time for this."\n\nhe continues sobbing. she charges over and grabs him by the shoulders.\n\n"i'm serious!" she yells in his face. "we have to get going!"\n\nhe cries louder in response.\n\na sudden skittering distracts them both. she whips up and around, aiming her flashlight toward the noise. she sees only concrete walls seperated by darkness. "stay close," she whispers to the child, whose loud sobs have now devolved into stifled gasps.\n\nsilence. she moves the flashlight, trying to cover every angle around them.\n\nthe skittering starts up again, its source indeterminable. the two begin to back away.\n\nthe flashlight shoots up to illuminate a crawlspace in the wall next to them. a little girl's face, caked in black grime, stares out at them.\n\n"what are you doing down here?" says seven's guardian.\n\nthe little girl frowns. "be quieter." she hisses in response.\n\n"do you need help getting back to the colony?" the flashlight shakes.\n\n"no," says the little girl. "leave me alone."\n\n"kid, you shouldn't be out here like this."\n\n"hey, stupid," she spits back. "shut up. i already told you to get out of here."\n\nthe grip on the flashlight tightens. there's a long pause. it's interrupted by the older girl's voice. "right. gladly. c'mon, seven." she grabs seven's arm and [[starts walking]].
a bright light blinds the boy and a metallic screech fills his ears. he's dropped on the ground with an "oof." a hand grabs his arm and he's pulled away. his feet barely touch the ground, and before he can fully regain his vision, the building, cars, street, and the monster are all out of sight. he looks up and, his vision still a bit hazy, sees a mess of reddish hair.\n\nhe's thrown onto a soft patch of grass. coming back to his senses, he looks up to a canopy of trees. a figure stands before him, hands on its hips.\n\n"what were you thinking?" she spits at him. "don't they tell kids like you not to leave the compound?"\n\nhe stammers. he looks down.\n\n"hey! look at me!" she commands. "what were you doing out here, anyway? do you have any idea how much trouble you're in?"\n\nshe jabs him in the shoulder with an accusatory finger. "i...i don't..." he can't make the words come out right.\n\n"you don't what?" she shouts. "come on, [[spit it out]]."
you slowly fall to the floor. the vibration is travelling up your ribcage. you can not breathe. \n\nit is time to //[[wake up]]//.
<<if $visited_knife eq "yes">>the boy looks at the knife in his hand. he throws it at the monster. it bounces off the monster's metal surface innefectually and clatters to the floor a few feet away.<<endif>> he turns to run. the monster immediately stomps after him. the boy weaves through the cars while the creature behind him jumps onto each one, crushing them. with a great leap, it jumps in front of the boy, destroying the car in front of him. a tendril flies forward and snatches him up. the monster's tendril slowly crushes him as it brings him [[toward its giant fangs|caught]].
the elder takes a step toward him, fuming.\n\n"you expect me to believe that a child who has never set foot on earth..."\n\nanother step.\n\n"...suddenly has the solution to get rid of the machines that nearly wiped out the human race?"\n\nanother. he towers over the boy.\n\n"a solution that has eluded the human race for several centuries?"\n\nhe looks the boy in the eye. the boy gulps.\n\n"j-just give me one day," he stammers.\n\n"i thought so," growls the elder. "GUARDS!"\n\nthe two guards come rushing forward to grab seven and the girl.\n\n"take these two out of my sight." the elder commands. "and take that silly thing away from the boy before he conjures more bothersome fantasies."\n\nthe boy screams "no!" as the guards wrench the orb away from him. "i can do it!" he shouts as he's dragged toward the front door. "please!"\n\n"YOU will NOT fool any more of these townspeople into getting themselves KILLED with your silly little plans," the elder bellows, following them to the door. "you are a grunt. you are expendable."\n\nhe stops walking and waves an admonishing hand toward seven. "now go back to corvera and don't waste anymore of my time with your insane theories."\n\nthe guards unceremoniously toss the two outside, slamming the front doors behind them.\n\nseven lays in the dirt, staring at the door with his jaw agape. he turns to emma.\n\n"[[c'mon]]," she says, monotone.
<<if $visited_tractor eq "yes">>monsters clamber out from the nest in swarms and chase the speeding tractor. mike dodges trees and boulders as he accelerates.\n\n"where're we going?" mike shouts to emma nervously.\n\n"just keep going straight." she responds. "there's a path, we can have 'em cornered."\n\nmike shrugs. "as long as you know what you're doing."<<endif>><<if $visited_kill eq "yes">>emma continues climbing. mike targets as many monsters as he can, frantically looking between the screen and the swarm of monsters coming after the girl.\n\nhe targets one, presses enter. an error pops up: "OUT OF RANGE."\n\nmike looks up. \n\n"uh oh."<<endif>><<if $visited_convert eq "yes">>the monster climbs the spire. emma hangs onto its back, tossing a small ball onto the ground. it erupts in lightning that shocks the nearest monsters, but others still give chase.\n\nanother monster climbs out the top of the nest and slides down toward them. mike types a command into the computer, and the monster they're on leaps to the right. the assailant continues sliding down, its appendages scraping off the top layer of the outer wall as it digs them in to stop itself. it crashes into other monsters making their way up and they fall to the ground in a clump.\n\nmore begin to pour out from the top.<<endif>>\n\nseven reaches a clearing and catches his breath. the skyline near his pod's landing site is in clear view. he [[sprints for the city]].
<<set $visited_cords = "yes">>she grabs him and throws him against the cord. he grabs onto it and starts climbing forward, with her climbing behind him.\n\na monster approaches them from behind and she frees a hand to fight it off with the cattle prod. behind it, another is standing atop the support beam, biting at the metal cord with its teeth. in front of them, another is climbing up another beam toward them.\n\nthe cord snaps and the two are sent screaming toward the beam in front of them. they slam into it hard. the girl grabs onto the ladder leading up the beam. the boy bounces off its metal surface and falls straight down. the girl reaches out to catch him but misses. he lands onto the face of the monster climbing up toward them and grabs on tight as it starts to thrash around, trying to shake him off. he screams for help.\n\nthe girl grabs tightly onto a rung of the ladder and, with her legs, pushes outward. the rung snaps off and she falls toward the creature. she kicks straight downward and slams into the monster with all her weight, knocking it off the beam and sending the three of them to the ground. they land in a heap and the girl climbs atop the creature's underbelly. she slams into it repeatedly with the metal rung, screaming. finally, the metal bar stabs through, and the creature stops moving.\n\nlooking up, she can see the other monsters approaching. reaching into her back, she tosses three small balls onto the ground in front of her, grabs the boy, and runs. the balls erupt in a blinding light and the metallic shrieking pierces their ears as they [[run|running]].
you walk to the building. the building is a boat and it bobs along the surface of the water. you look in the window and see a little light. the door flies open. something is coming toward you but you can't see it. \n\nit is time to //[[wake up]]//.
the muddy-faced girl dashes in front of them. the tunnel branches off in two directions. "this way," she yells to them, darting to the right.\n\n"wait up," shouts the older girl as her and seven try to catch up. "this is stupid." she grumbles. "she has no idea where we're going."\n\nseven ignores her and continues forward, stumbling a bit in the dark.\n\nthey approach another crossing, the girl out of sight. "this way," they hear echo from the left passage. they move left. the little girl, far ahead, beckons them forward and darts down a passage to the right.\n\n"hey!" the older girl yells ahead. "stop!"\n\nthey run toward the passage. they reach it, but don't see her.\n\na sing-songy, far-off echo: "this waaaay."\n\nslowly, the thunderous sound of stomping fills their ears. something approaches the two, alone in the dark caverns. she shuts off the flashlight and looks around. they back into an three-way intersection of different tunnels.\n\nthe stomping sound halts. the two stand frozen. the girl looks off to their left. she sees a column of light, brighter than the others, where a manhole has been opened.\n\n"there," she gasps.\n\nthrough the tunnels, an eruption of flame rushes toward them. the girl grabs the boy and runs to the light, launching him up the ladder. looking up, the two can see the little girl looking apathetically down at them. below, the older girl looks down the tunnel and watches as the fire grows closer. she scrambles out of the sewer as the flame hits against the bottoms of her feet.\n\nout in the open, she grabs the nearby manhole cover and throws it over the hole, blocking the flames. the little girl begins to run away, but she's tackled. the older girl holds her to the ground, with a knife at her throat.\n\n"i can't believe it." she snarls. "she actually tried to kill us." the little girl [[cries loudly|intervene]].
she turns to him. "well, what do you think?"\n\nhe thinks, examining the area in front of them. "over there," he says, pointing at the mountains.\n\nshe looks over. she calculates. "[[good choice]]." she says, finally.
the boy runs into the building, toward the pod landing site. the monster moves parallel to him, sidestepping through a wall of concrete and drywall without slowing. it lunges at the boy as he leaps to grab the rebar that connects the first and second floors. the creature falls short of the boy, instead knocking him upward into some hanging vines. he crawls over the ledge and makes it to the second floor, running to catch the rebar that will bring him to the third.\n\nthe monster slams its way upward, through to the second floor, its giant appendages slipping against the dust. it climbs up, readying itself for a pounce as the boy climbs the structure. again, it runs at him. <<if $visited_knife eq "yes">>the boy leaps to a vine and slices it away from its entanglement in the steel bars, swinging clear to the other side of the landing. he climbs over the ledge and makes it to the second floor. he can no longer see the monster, and he quickly scrambles up to the third floor. he spends no time on the third floor wondering where the monster has gone and again climbs upward, making it to the fourth floor. his pod lay in front of him. he makes a mad dash for its refuge. the floor before him explodes upward and a tendril grabs him. the monster flies upward, smashing through the concrete wall to the outside, the boy trailing behind in its grasp. as they fall to the ground, the boy slashes at the tendril with his knife, leaving behind meager scratches on its metal surface. they land on the street below, the creature's weight cratering the pavement. it drops the child, who immediately begins running. it reorients itself and leaps at the child, grabbing him again and slamming him into a car door. he drops his knife as the creature [[snarls at him|caught]].<<else>>it slams into the rebar, breaking loose an entire section of concrete and knocking the boy off of the structure. before he can fall to the ground, one of the monster's tendrils clamps around his torso, and both he and the monster fall to the first floor. the monster reorients itself and slams the boy into the wall, knocking the wind out of him. the tendril pushes him steadily against the wall, slowly [[crushing him|caught]].<<endif>>
she lays the paper on the surface of the roof. on the top paper is an intricately detailed landscape drawing. seven gasps.\n\n"the elders had this stuff in storage." she says. "i took some and started making these...drawings."\n\n"you did this?" seven asks, impressed.\n\n"mm-hmm." she replies, flipping through the pages to reveal more art. "not a lot of people really get to see the outside world except me, so..."\n\n"have you shown anyone?"\n\n"no, i'd get in trouble with the elders." she says. "they wouldn't want me stealing from them like this."\n\nshe retrieves some blank papers and an ink set from her pack. "if you wanna try, you can [[draw something]] too."
the monster runs at full speed toward her, closing the distance rapidly. "hurry up, hurry up," she hisses.\n\n"i'm trying," grunts seven.\n\nthe monster closes in on 20 feet away.\n\n"seven," emma cries out, staring at the approaching monster.\n\n"almost," he says.\n\nthe monster is ten feet away, still charging.\n\n"SEVEN," she shrieks.\n\n"GOT IT," he says, picking up on the monster's signal. he sees two commands.\n\n>> [[KILL]]\n>> [[CONVERT]]
atop the monster, they stampede toward the spire. seven uses the computer to control it, steering its movement and issuing commands. mike and emma hang on for dear life.\n\n"ok," seven explains. "we can use this monster to climb the nest, then i execute a mass kill command and we drop the orb into middle. that way we'll get as many monsters as we can."\n\n"okay." mike shouts, his voice quavering as he grips the side of the galloping monster.\n\nseven thinks for a moment, then looks up.\n\nthe monster stops in its tracks, nearly throwing the three off of its back. "mike," seven says. "come up here."\n\nmike climbs up next to seven. the boy begins pointing out items on the screen, detailing the commands and control of the monster. he hands the orb to emma, explaining that when they execute the mass kill command, they'll have 15 seconds to disconnect the orb and drop it into the nest.\n\n"wait," mike interrupts. "why are you telling me this?"\n\nseven hands off the computer to mike as he dismounts the monster. "because i have [[something i have to do]]."
the first airlock door opens with an alarm. he darts in, sets the <<if $visited_yogurt eq "yes">>yogurt<<endif>><<if $visited_cereal eq "yes">>cereal<<endif>> on the floor, and closes the door again. looking into the airlock, he pulls on a switch and watches the food get sucked out into the vacuum of space. he rushes to the window and watches it get sucked into the ball's gravitational pull and disappear.\n\nanother alarm sounds. the boy darts to the [[computer terminal]].
<<set $visited_toast = "yes">>he presses against the french toast icon. the screen flashes red.\n\nFRENCH TOAST SUPPLY DEPLETED.\nRATIONS AT 31%.\nPLEASE SELECT AGAIN.\n\n<<if $visited_waffles eq "yes">>[[YOGURT]]\n[[CEREAL]]<<else>>[[YOGURT]]\n[[WAFFLES]]\n[[CEREAL]]<<endif>>\n\nthe screen is still [[blinking]]. the [[ball]] is still there.
the elders storm out of the room. the mystery person lingers for a moment, then takes her leave.\n\nseven slowly picks up the orb and opens the door of the wardrobe. the room is silent, save the heavy breathing of the elder in bed. seven hurries up a set of stairs to the wooden doors leading outside. <<if $visited_window eq "yes">>he fishes in his pocket for the stone, putting the orb under one arm. finding it, he slips it between the doors and feels around for the lock. when he finds the lock, he jams the stone through, but doesn't break it. he sets down the orb on the top step. he aims the stone, holds it with one hand, and bashes it through with the other. the lock breaks outside, just as the orb next to him beging to tumble loudly down the stairs.<<else>>he frees a hand to push them open and the orb slips out from under his arm, clattering down the steps to the basement below.<<endif>>\n\nit hits the floor of the room below with a thud and stops moving. seven can hear, from the other room, the elders' snarl of "what was that?" a flurry of footsteps approach as seven jumps down the stairs, grabs the orb, and bashes his way through the doors above, shutting them behind him before running [[back to mike]].\n\nthrough the crack in the door, light shines onto the floor of the basement. a purple-green glint casts reflections onto the cieling.
alarm bells sound.\n\nthe boy jumps, his hands flying to cover his ears. he looks around in a panic before launching himself toward the [[computer terminal]].
they run through the forest.\n\n"we need to find one of those monsters," seven shouts. emma gulps. mike calls forward, "whatever you say, kid."\n\nemma spots a monster ahead. she tackles the other two into a bush. "there!" she hisses, pointing.\n\nseven's computer comes to life. the orb begins glowing. he types, then grunts. "it's too far away, i can't get a lock on it."\n\nthey think. "i have an idea," emma says.\n\nshe jumps up out of the bushes, standing tall and waving her arms around.\n\n"hey, hey, hey!" she shouts. "over here, over here!"\n\nthe monster turns and looks at emma. she jumps up and down in place. "look, look!"\n\nthe monster charges toward her. she whispers to seven, "close enough yet?"\n\nseven types madly. "[[hold on...]]"
he dips the spoon into the <<if $visited_yogurt eq "yes">>yogurt<<endif>><<if $visited_cereal eq "yes">>cereal<<endif>> and brings it toward his mouth, absentmindedly looking up at a viewport. he freezes, spoon still dangling. outside the window, a big blue ball sits unmoving among the stars.\n\nhe remains frozen, <<if $visited_yogurt eq "yes">>yogurt<<endif>><<if $visited_cereal eq "yes">>milk<<endif>> dripping from his spoon, his mouth haning open. the hum of the ship deafens him.\n\nhe drops his spoon and dives under the table. his arms cover his head as he shakes. the silent him continues.\n\nafter several moments, he crawls out from under the table and slowly stands. the blue ball is in the exact same place. he presses his face against the window and stares at it, utterly [[confused]].
seven's breath halts. his eyes widen. "i'm...what?"\n\nthe elder continues. "corvera really knows how to pick them. the past few have simply done their job and went home. they deliver our..." he pauses, searching for the right word. "//medicine//...then they pack up and they're off for corvera."\n\nseven pulls at the guard's grip, leaning forward. "how many?" he shouts. the elder steps foward, almost cutting him off. "once every century for the past 400 years." he snaps with sadistic excitement. "each the seventh subject. do the math, include the return trips and that comes out to..." he turns away to calculate.\n\n"49..." seven whimpers, looking down.\n\n"yes!" the elder claps his hands together. "49...//yous//. all perfectly content to do their job."\n\nhe bends down in front of the boy. "when i said you were expendable," he hisses. "[[i meant it]]."
<<set $visited_leave = "yes">>seven takes one last look at the dirt-faced child before moving ahead.\n\nthe two walk for a long time. the sewer remains completely silent. far-off, they begin to hear strange activity. they stop.\n\n"i think that's the nest," she whispers.\n\nshe kneels down. "we have to be really quiet now. but we also have to move fast. i'll shut this off too," she turns off the flashlight. "just in case they see us."\n\n"stay close to me."\n\nthey begin to navigate the tunnel in the darkness. seven gulps nervously as his eyes adjust. they follow the columns of light straight down the tunnel, snaking through the occasional turn. seven trips and falls.\n\nhe stands up, hoping he didn't make too much noise. he can't see or hear the girl through the darkness. he moves forward slowly, trying to feel around for her.\n\nfar-off childlike giggling echoes through the tunnel. he stops, frozen by fear. he waits. the giggling happens again, much closer. he can't detemine where it's coming from. he lets out a flurry of suppressed whimpers.\n\nanother giggle. close. a few feet away from him. the sound surrounds him.\n\n"HELP ME!" he shouts.\n\nan amber light rushes toward him. loud stomping.\n\nthe girl picks him up, her face right up against his.\n\n"YOU [[IDIOT]]." she hisses.\n\na cacophony of metal shrieks fills the air.
mike looks at him astonished, then his expression morphs into one of grave understanding. emma looks between them.\n\n"wait a minute," she says. "you don't mean you're--"\n\n"c'mon, emma," mike interrupts.\n\n"--you're not..."\n\nseven turns away and starts walking. the monster kicks to life again and begins galloping off [[into the thicket|run]].
<<if $visited_tractor eq "yes">>emma opens her eyes and looks down.\n\nthe monsters lay, completely unmoving.\n\nshe uses all her strength to climb upward. pulling her arms above the cliff, she kicks at the cliff face to climb. it gives way and dust falls from where she kicks.\n\n"emma!" mike shouts as he runs toward her. he grabs her arm and pulls her up to safety. they hug.\n\n"oh god, i thought you were dead." he whimpers.\n\n"we did it," she rasps. "we got 'em all."<<endif>><<if $visited_kill eq "yes">>emma, slowly and carefully, climbs down the spire. she makes it to the bottom, stepping over downed monsters. mike hops out of the bushes.\n\n"did you do it?" he asks.\n\nemma, exhausted, nods shakily. mike's face transforms into a smile. he runs over and hugs emma tightly, screaming and dancing as he does. she laughs and hugs back.\n\n"we did it..." she rasps. "i can't believe it."<<endif>><<if $visited_convert eq "yes">>emma haphazardly makes her way to the bottom of the spire.\n\nshe flips over monster after monster, searching.\n\n"mike?!" she shouts. "mike!!"\n\nshe uses all of her strength to move a monster from the top of a pile. mike lays below it, eyes shut. emma stops moving.\n\n"mike?" she chokes.\n\nhe doesn't respond.\n\nshe shuts her eyes, holding back the tears.\n\nshe hears a groan. she looks down at mike.\n\n"did we do it?" he whispers without opening his eyes. emma sinks down and hugs him tight. he pats her on the back lethargically. "help me up, will ya?"\n\nemma pushes the monsters off of mike and helps him stand. he limps as he comes away from the pile of downed creatures, using emma for support. the look back at the spire and the dead swarm.\n\nemma turns to mike. "where's the kid?"<<endif>>\n\nan even greater rumbling interrupts them. they back away from each other and look up.\n\na giant ship slowly lowers itself into the atmosphere. it becomes larger and larger until it hovers just abover the surface of the earth, spreading several miles and blocking out the sun.\n\nfrom the nest, and several nests stretching to the horizon, a flurry of small metal pieces float up toward the ship, gathering in one spot. they shine in purple-green glints as the fly upward.\n\nin the distance, a small circular object shoots upward, propelled by flame. the pod docks itself, reuiniting with the mothership for the trip home.\n\n"NO!" emma shouts. she runs forward, picks up a stick. "YOU STUPID KID!" she tosses the stick in anger, then falls to the ground.\n\nthe two watch the last of the metal shards gather in the ship's storage bay. the ship lifts itself up out of the earth's atmosphere, tranforms from a giant to a tiny dot, then shoots off into space, disappearing.\n\nthey sit in silence, looking at the spot where the ship used to be. emma bows her head.\n\n"i can't believe he would do that..."\n\na tiny voice interjects. "[[do what]]?"
over a ridge is a derelict tunnel built into the side of the mountain. out of the tunnel snakes two ends of the same thick cord, which stretches out over the mountain, holding up several lifts. an abandoned building is far off, higher in the mountain.\n\nshe bounds up the stone steps toward one of the lifts. "c'mon," she says, stopping to wave the boy along. she climbs into the tunnel and roots around while seven slowly struggles up the stairs. as he reaches the top step, he kneels on a railing to catch his breath as he listens to her grunts of frustration. "come on, come on," she mutters over sounds of metal hitting metal.\n\nhe walks over toward the tunnel, but is startled when a large, metal trolley comes barrelling out of it. the girl comes out of the tunnel, pushing the trolley forward, and stops to address him. "hop on. we're going for a ride."\n\nhe looks at her skeptically as she continues. "i couldn't get it working, so we're gonna have to do this manually. it's a shortcut."\n\n"i don't know," he mumbles, staring at the rusty metal bench.\n\n"it'll be fun," she says, unwavering. his worried expression remains. she gets on the bench. "well, i'm going this way. if you wanna stay here, that's fine."\n\nhe scrambles onto the lift. she smirks. "good choice."\n\nshe raises her arms, grabs the metal cord, and yanks it. the lift lurches forward. "[[we're on our way]]," she grunts. the child looks behind them as the safe ground slowly falls farther and farther away.
the triangle collides with a pentagon. a column //springs up//ward and seperates into millions of little columns, branching off in all directions until it is as high as you can see. you think you might [[climb it]], or you can [[make more]].
inside, among the warmth of the ship, he keeps his face pressed against the window, examining the giant bluish circle. he racks his brain, trying to identify it, to quantify it in some way.\n\nalarm bells ring loudly and the boy, startled, leaps into a ready position. he darts toward the [[computer terminal]]. a new message awaits him.
they stop when they see the spire rising above the trees.\n\n"there it is," emma says.\n\n"yup," replies seven. he stands up and jumps off the tractor.\n\nemma looks down at him. "what are you doing?"\n\n"i've got something i want to take care of," he says. "i've programmed the orb to send out the signal 15 seconds after it's ejected. so, when you're ready, just pull the cord."\n\n"but you're--" she starts. mike stares at the boy.\n\n"i have a job too, remember?" seven says, saluting at the two.\n\nmike revs the tractor and speeds off toward the nest. emma looks back at the boy, now running off into the [[thicket|run]].
the middle elder speaks up again, addressing the boy. "so, you came in response to the distress call."\n\nthe boy nods rapidly. the elder slowly stands, bones creaking. "well, you certainly took your time. 400 years is a long time to wait for a rescue..." he eyes the boy up and down. "...if this can be called a rescue."\n\nthe boy considers [[speaking up]], but decides it might be better if he [[stays quiet]].
the door continues its slow lurch. the townspeople approach. the nearest raises a pickaxe over his head.\n\n"okay," mike shouts as the door opens just enough. he revs the tractor and speeds through the narrow opening as the villager drives the pickaxe straight into the ground where seven would have been.\n\nseven and emma watch the townspeople disappear and start [[cheering]].
you //start up// the column. it is difficult to hold but very warm. as you get higher it becomes easier to climb. you begin to wonder what will happen when you [[let go]].
it's bright. it's bright and big and blue and white. and it's not moving. the child stands up. the big blue ball and him stare at each other. he moves to the right and the ball stays in the same spot. he moves to the left. same result.\n\nhe begins examining it. from the right angle, its circular shape fits perfectly in the circular window. its stillness captivates him and he finds himself tracing the contours of where its many colors meet against the window with his finger.\n\nhe [[runs off]].
"and--"\n\na monster flies up through the concrete below the elder. its giant metal jaw swallows him up whole. the boy looks away and covers his ears to the ghastly crunching sound of the elder's bones. the monster looks around, searching for anyone else. its search comes up negative and it <<if $visited_L eq "yes">>[[scampers off|seven]].<<endif>><<if $visited_R eq "yes">>[[scampers away|seven ]].<<endif>>
the door falls open with a creak. he pulls himself out of the pod and sets himself on solid ground. adjusting his eyes, he gasps at his surroundings.\n\nvines hang down from every structure, caking the metal support structures in greenery. the parachute deployed by the pod has been tangled up in the rebar left behind by the giant hole in the cieling above. similarly, before him lies a craterous fissure that tears diagonally through the 4-story building he now finds himself in. structures to hold the windows lie before him, long devoid of any glass. light shines down through the hole above, turning the dust kicked up by the pod into millions of fireflies.\n\nthe boy presses his foot against some of the moss beneath him, marveling at the squishy substance. he bends down and touches it. its strange texture surprises him and he pulls his hand away in shock. it doesn't seem to have had any strange effects. he puts his hand against it one more time.\n\na noise from the street below. the boy freezes in place, staring down through the wreckage of the building at the street. a tin can rolls slowly from under a car. he can [[investigate]], but before that he should probably take [[inventory]].
he crawls across the rafter and then to the right, reaching over and grabbing onto a ledge in a corner of the room. he pulls his body weight off the rafter slowly, then hangs onto the stone ledge. he lets go and drops 5 feet, grabbing another outcropping. he shimmys to his right and climbs down the right half of an archway. hanging from another, lower outcropping to the left of a doorway, he looks down and determines that he is close enough to the ground to drop down.\n\nhe hits the ground, knees buckling. the muffled thud doesn't seem to attract any attention. he pushes the door in front of him open. it creaks slightly and reveals a small office. he edges inside and slowly shuts the door behind him. [[bookshelves]], filled with books, line the left wall. in front of him sits a [[desk]] just below a window. to his right, a [[small closet]], the door shut.
emma grabs it and charges for the spire. seven scrambles to plug in the second orb. the monsters notice her immediately. one to her left lunges for her. seven executes the kill command, and it falls to the ground behind her clumsily. she hooks the orb to her belt as she runs up the side of the spire as high as she can. she grabs a stray sheet of metal and begins her ascent.\n\nthe monsters begin to climb up after her. seven targets two of them. they fall from the side of the spire and hit the ground in a thud. seven, without looking away, begins to speak.\n\n"mike," he says. "do you think you can figure this out?"\n\n"what?" mike stammers. "that's...i mean, you've got it, right?"\n\nemma leaps up to another patch on the spire's outer wall. a monster leaps down toward her. seven presses enter on the keyboard and it, too, falls, taking out another monster below her.\n\n"what i'm saying is," he responds. "i have to go take care of something."\n\nmike tries to think of a response, but comes up with nothing. instead, he nods at the boy.\n\nseven points at the screen, mouthing instructions as he deactivates a monster that is scratching upward in emma's direction. it falls off the side of the spire. mike nods.\n\nseven hands off the computer to mike and [[runs off|run]].
<<silently>>\n<<set $visited_ball = "yes">>\n<<endsilently>>the toothpaste makes for a good ink substitute as he smears it against the window, overlaying a smile against the bluish orb. he stands back and admires his handiwork. "there," he thinks. "i gave you a smile. now you can [[be happy]]."
"this is not good." she says, looking over the landscape before her. he looks at her questioningly, then looks back over the trees.\n\nthey lay on their bellies at the edge of a ridge overlooking the world before them. it's a perfect vantage point for her to see the path to the colony.\n\n"see that?" she says, pointing. he follows the gesture to a far-off metal structure, walls all bent outward as if it were a giant metal thorn stuck straight into the ground. "yes." he responds.\n\n"that's where we're headed. now look over there." she moves her finger.\n\na black spire rises straight up out of the ground between them and their destination. segments of it remain unfinished. "that's a nest." she explains. "there's probably hundreds of those monster things in there. and it's right between us and the colony. if we try to cut straight through, they'll tear us to pieces."\n\nafter thinking for a moment, she moves her arm to the left. "we can go around by cutting through the [[mountains]]." she says, then moves her arm to the right. "or we can hang right and go through the [[forest]]."\n\n"isn't there a quicker way?" he asks.\n\nshe thinks. "well, we might be able to find a shortcut through the [[sewers]]."
he drops his pack on the floor and quickly rifles through it. there's an all-purpose knife, a hunting knife, a flare gun, a translator, an encoded message card from asturia, and a lighter. he thinks the [[hunting knife]] may be useful, but he prefers [[non-violence|investigate]].
he scrambles to his feet and bounces after her. "well there's air purifiers on my ship," he calls out. "but they look kinda different. it also has a water purifier, automatic course alignment, and, and thrusters, and..."\n\nhis mind flashes to the ship's life support systems. his face darkens. he pauses. "um...can i ask you a question?" he whines meekly.\n\n"sure."\n\n"are you the only one?"\n\n"only one what?"\n\n"of you."\n\nshe stops and turns. "you're a clone, aren't you."\n\nhe looks down at the ground. she kneels. "okay, look," she begins. she motions to her chest with an open hand. "i'm the only one of me." she stretches her hand out toward the boy. "and you're the only one of you. period." she stands up. "now stop worrying about it," she says, turning to continue walking.\n\n"but it's not true," he says, catching up. "after me there's gonna be a subject 008, so why does it m--oof."\n\nhis face bounces off the girl's pack and he stumbles backward. regaining composure, he looks past her. in front of her, in a clearing, is an abandoned town.\n\nshe moves forward slowly, then stops, turning to the child. "don't touch anything," she warns. "and try to be quiet."\n\nthey walk slowly and carefully toward the nearest building, her scanning the rest of the town for any movement. she opens up the large building's front door and squeezes her way in, the boy close behind.\n\nit's a church. the interior is dilapidated. many of its benches are overturned, yet the front podium remains. dust covers everything in sight. the girl begins to root around in the wreckage for any useful supplies.\n\nseven's eye catches a ray of dusty light, shining in many colors and hitting the floor in a strange, indiscernable pattern. he spots a set of stairs and walks toward it. he snakes up the stairs, dodging the several holes that lead into darkness. he ducks under cobwebs and makes it to the second floor. walking over to the banister, he looks out toward the source of the light, but is too short to see it fully. he jumps up a couple times, but his vision is obstructed. he sees only a sliver of [[red and green glass]].
she grabs the boy and leaps to the roof of the gas station. they hit the roof and roll along it. she stops herself and looks over at the monsters, who are all busting through the walls of the church to follow them. she runs over to an opening leading into the corner store. she rips off a segment of rusted rebar. the monsters crows at the front of the corner store, pawing at its outer walls. she rips off a sleeve from her shirt and retrieves a small metal box from her pack. the monsters begin to climb atop each other, edging closer and closer to the roof. \n\nshe wraps the cloth from the sleeve around a sharp end of the rebar, then opens the metal box below it. flame engulfs the cloth instantly. she throws the metal box back into her pack and aims the rebar at the closest gas dispenser. she counts in her head, then throws it. the flaming javelin pierces it and it lights. she grabs the boy and ducks as an explosion rocks them backward. they look up.\n\nas a ball of flame rises to the sky, the canopy above the gas dispensers creaks loudly, then begins to fall toward them. they edge backward. it slams into the front of the corner store. dust blocks their vision. as it slowly clears, the girl stands up, coughing, and inspects the damage. the remains of the canopy lie in a heap against the storefront.\n\n"come on," she breathes as she grabs the boy, jumps from the roof to a nearby dumpster, and [[vanishes into the forest|running]].
aboard the ship, on the computer terminal display, "INVESTIGATE DISTRESS CALL" switches soundlessly to "RETURN HOME."\n\ninside the pod, a small piece of paper flutters in the artificial atmosphere.\n\n<html><IMG SRC="http://www.local-wizards.com/twine/wereok.png"></html>
he waddles after it, slipping on the hard floor.\n\nthe ball stops and rests itself against an outcropping in the wall of the passage, across from a window. the child approaches, bending down to pick it up. he rises back up, ball in hand. his eye catches the [[window]] and he plummets to the ground.
<<set $visited_gun = "yes">><<set $visited_screen = "no">>he runs over to the ball to [[play with it]]. he wonders if he should be [[doing something else|gives up]].
she falls into the seat, nearly sick from the exertion. she wipes her forehead.\n\n"do you think they saw us?" he whispers. she doesn't respond.\n\nthey sit for a moment, unconciously listening for any noise. they hear the creaking of the lift as it sways on the cord, nothing else.\n\n"i think we're in the clear." she gasps.\n\ndistant stomping. the two freeze. the stomping steadily gets louder.\n\n"we have to go," she grunts, quickly grabbing the cord and continuing to pull. again, the lift lurches forward. amber eyes glow through at the base of the forest. "they're coming," the boy says. "shut up," she growls.\n\none monster darts out of the trees and jumps at a support beam behind them. its stubby legs transform instantly to become spiderlike and it clambers up the pole. it positions itself on the two metal cords of the ski lift and makes its way toward them.\n\nthey're nearly past the support beam ahead when another monster jumps up in front of them, leaping onto the front of the lift. the girl reaches behind her and pulls at a metal support bar on the lift. it snaps off from the rust, and she slams it into the monster's plastic eye, stabbing through it and sending it falling to the ground.\n\nout of her pack she pulls a cattle prod and jams it into the monster approaching from behind and it too falls.\n\n"we need to go," she screams at the boy, pointing at the [[cords]]. he would rather [[stay]].
seven gingerly picks up a brush. emma screws open the cap of the ink and places it near the paper. she shows seven how to dip the brush in the ink and he begins to paint with it.\n\nhe clumsily drags it along the page. emma watches his wide brushstrokes.\n\neventually, he finishes, and lifts up the paper.\n\n"looks good," emma says. "what's it supposed to be?"\n\nthree crudely drawn figures stand hand-in-hand, smiling. he points to the one on the left. "that's you," he says, then he moves his finger to the middle. "that's me," he points to the figure on the right. "and that's mike." he looks at it again. "it doesn't look as good as yours."\n\n"that's ok," she says. "it took me a long time to get mine to look good. i still don't think mine are all that great, either."\n\n"yours are awesome!" seven shouts emphatically, standing and throwing his arms in the air. "they look just like the real thing!"\n\nemma laughs. "if you say so." she picks up the drawings and stacks them neatly, putting them back in her pack. "go tell mike i'll be in later, alright?"\n\n"ok," seven responds. he walks to the edge of the roof and climbs down, then slips and hits the ground with an "oof." emma listens to him as he runs inside.\n\nshe lays back, resting her head in her hands, and stares at the sky, part of her wishing [[tomorrow]] would never come.
<<set $visited_look = "yes">>seven sheepishly wipes his hands against the dirty window and peers inside. it doesn't give him a clear view of much, and he is restricted to examining one half of the room. the walls are populated with barren shelves and the room seems caked with dust. the basement seems to be a storage room. no one is inside. he [[moves back to the door|break the lock]].
<<set $visited_stay = "yes">>he brings his knees to his stomach and covers his ears.\n\n"WHAT," she screams. "COME ON."\n\nshe grabs his collar and shakes him wildly as more monsters clamber up toward them. one stops and begins cutting at the metal cord keeping them in the air, as the others begin to gather below.\n\nshe reaches up and grabs the cord just as it snaps and the two are sent falling. they stare into the mouths of the monsters below before the cord suddenly goes taut and sends them flying forward. she loses her grip on the cord and the lift is launched into a river.\n\nthe impact knocks the two of them out for a moment. when they come to, they're floating down the current, slowly sinking in the water. behind them, a monster has caught up and is climbing into the water after them. she tries to pulls herself out of the lift, but in the impact, a support beam has wedged itself against her stomach. she wildly pushes at it until it bends away. the water rises over her head as she pulls herself out of the lift. she grabs the boy before noticing that he, too, is stuck. the monster behind them approaches quickly, its legs modified into fins.\n\nshe pulls at the support beam in front of him as it slowly bends away. she can see the monster's glowing eyes in her peripheral vision. the rusty bar snaps off and he floats up. she grabs him and makes for the shore opposite the creatures. the nearby monster snaps its jaws around the lift just as they're free, completely destroying it.\n\npulling themselves out of the water, the girl retrieves her cattle prod. as a second and third monster dive in after them, she jams it into the water. the electricity travels through the river and completely fries the three submerged. she stares down the remaining creatures, who look at the prod. snarling, they begin to run south along the riverside.\n\n"come on." she says to the boy, grabbing his arm as they begin [[running]].
<<if $visited_trust eq "yes">>"you IDIOT" she snarls, grabbing the boy by his collar and lifting him up.\n\n"why did you have to trust her?" she growls. "why didn't you listen to me?"\n\nhe stammers, looking at the knife in her hand.\n\n"you've got nothing to say this time? don't have an opinion you'd like to share?"\n\n"i-i just thought we could trust her," he whimpers.\n\nshe pushes him up against a tree, her fist digging into his chin. "and not me? i had it perfectly figured out. i KNEW where we were going."\n\n"i d-didn't want her to die..." he mutters.\n\n"it's your fault anyway." she hisses. "YOU'RE the one that almost got us killed."\n\nshe drops him on the ground. "you're not worth it." she says. "you're a liability. i can't afford to take you with me anymore. stay out here and hope one of those things comes to kill you soon."\n\nshe begins walking away. the boy calls after her. \n\n"w-w-wait..." \n\nshe keeps walking. \n\n"i d-didn't..." \n\nshe disappears into the foliage.<<endif>><<if $visited_leave eq "yes">>she grabs the boy by the collar. "didn't i tell you to be quiet?" she hisses.\n\n"i-i..." he stammers. "it was that girl..."\n\n"oh, yeah, right." she laughs mockingly.\n\n"i swear!" he begs.\n\nshe drops him on the ground. "i can't afford to play babysitter for some dumb kid," she says. "especially when you're trying to get me killed."\n\n"no, wait," he cries out. "i didn't mean it, i didn't mean it!"\n\n"from here on out, you're not my responsibility. find your own way to the colony." she turns away.\n\n"b-but..."\n\nshe walks off into the foliage, disappearing. \n\n"wait..."\n\nno response. the sound of her footsteps fades.<<endif>><<if $visited_stay eq "yes">>the girl throws the boy against the dirt.\n\n"what was that?" she shouts.\n\nhe stares.\n\n"right when i ask you to do something you freeze up?" she spits. "don't you care that we almost died?"\n\n"i...i..." the boy's eyes tear up.\n\n"i'm not about to be guilt tripped by the kid who just tried to kill me. would you have liked to drown in that river?"\n\nhe looks down.\n\nshe scoffs. "worthless. you're just a liability."\n\nhe doesn't respond.\n\nshe begins walking off. "i'm leaving. you're on your own out here." she calls. "have fun."\n\nher footsteps slowly fade. <<endif>><<if $visited_cords eq "yes">>the girl tosses seven into the dirt.\n\n"you know what," she cries. "this was a bad idea."\n\nhe stares up at her in confusion.\n\n"i can't afford to be hauling you around. and i can't afford to come save you every time you get into trouble."\n\n"b...but..." he stammers. "i thought you said..."\n\n"go back home, kid." she says. "go home and tell them that by the time they get here, we'll all be dead anyway."\n\n"i can't go back..." he whimpers. "if i go back, i'm just gonna...g-gonna die on the ship. i won't make it back to corvera."\n\nshe pauses, staring at him. "that's not my problem." she says, finally, turning to leave.\n\n"w...wait..." he calls out.\n\nshe darts off, bounding over a ridge and disappearing.<<endif>><<if $visited_church eq "yes">>she tosses the boy onto a mound of grass.\n\n"you have to be KIDDING me," she spits.\n\n"i-i didn't mean t-t-"\n\nshe cuts him off. "i TOLD you to stay close, didn't i?" she shouts. "what else did i say? what was the one other thing i said?"\n\n"i...i don't..."\n\n"to //BE QUIET//." she snarls. "i mean, how worthless can you be?"\n\nhe sniffles, looking at his feet.\n\n"whatever. you really messed up now, kid." she shoulders her pack. "you're on your own. you're not going to get me killed, understand?"\n\n"b-but..." he stammers. "i really didn't mean..."\n\n"i don't wanna hear it," she says. "anyway, have fun out here. get someone else killed if you want. it's not gonna be me." she wades into the foliage and out of sight.\n\n"w-wait..." he calls.\n\nher footsteps slowly fade.<<endif>>\n\nthe boy, now completely alone, he sits down and [[cries]].
he picks it up, bouncing it off the ground a few times. he tosses it at a wall. it ricochets and bounces down a [[hallway]].
"don't eat too much of that." she exclaims. "i'm trying to collect food to bring back to the colony. you can have half of it. that's all."\n\nhe looks down at the orange in his hands, disappointed.\n\n"speaking of which, we should probably get back soon. it's unsafe out here for a little kid like you." she looks out through the trees. "the people in the colony will probably know what to do with you. better than i do, at least."\n\n"oh. and one more thing." she turns to face him. "that thing back there that almost killed you? there's a lot more like it, and they won't always be so nice. so be careful, ok?"\n\nthe boy looks at her and, after a pause, nods. she turns and walks into the brush, disappearing. he springs to his feet to [[chase her]], waving the orange in the air.
<<set $visited_closet = "yes">>the closet is unused, oddly. just cobwebs and dust.\n\nthere's still the <<if $visited_bookshelves eq "yes">>[[desk]].<<else>>[[bookshelves]] and the [[desk]].<<endif>>
the door closes behind him. he punches in an access code and presses enter on another keypad. red flashing lights begin and the boy grabs onto a metal bar for support as the outer airlock door opens and all the oxygen is rapidly sucked out of the room.\n\nstill half-asleep, the boy walks out onto the surface of the spacecraft, his magnetic shoes keeping him steady. he walks to the back of the ship and checks the thrusters, tightening errant bolts with an automatic wrench. he moves his way forward, examining every inch and tightening every bolt he can find. with a palette knife and some epoxy, he patches up areas scuffed from contact with small rocks and debris.\n\nhe moves his way toward one of the windows and gets to work on tightening the bolts and reinforcing the epoxy before spotting something in the glass. there's something bright and strange being reflected in the window. he [[turns around]].
you bite into the nearest column. it shoots upward, dragging you up with it. you stretch your legs to reach the ground. the others are below you. you bend down to pick one up. you throw it into the air and it explodes in all directions. its colors blind your vision. \n\nit is time to //[[wake up]]//.
"well..." the boy mutters, looking down again.\n\nshe looks at him, seeing his expression. "hmm?"\n\n"it's just that...if i didn't do it...there'd be another clone that could do it."\n\nher eyes dart away. "uh, hey, don't think about that."\n\n"but it's true! i'm the seventh clone...subject 007. the others were able to do my job. i won't even..."\n\nhe stops walking. tears well up in his eyes.\n\n"i won't...i won't even..." he chokes. "i won't even make it back to corvera."\n\nshe stares back at him.\n\n"it's a 400 year return trip and i can't live that long. there's just gonna be another clone after me and no one's gonna know what happened here and...and..." he openly sobs. "[[i don't wanna die]]."
emma continues staring at the child, unmoving.\n\n"emma--" mike says.\n\nthe elder steps forward, stomping down onto the stone step below him. "remember your parents." he growls. "you owe us."\n\nemma marches forward.\n\n"w-wait..." seven stammers.\n\nwithout looking down, she grabs him by the collar and begins dragging him to the chapel as he begins kicking and screaming.\n\n"c'mon seven," mike mutters defeatedly as he begins walking next to the two. "don't fight."\n\nseven lets out a shrill scream as he is [[dragged through the dust]].
they look over. seven stands nearby, faking a confused face. they run toward him, screaming.\n\nthe two hug him wildly. emma repeats herself absentmindedly, "you idiot, you idiot, idiot, idiot!" mike ruffles his hair. "you did it, kid!" all three laugh intermittently through the greeting.\n\n"i can't believe it," emma says, backing off. "you're a real piece of work, kid."\n\n"you guys were the ones that killed all the monsters," he responds. "i barely did anything!"\n\nmike looks out over the horizon, spotting several distant nests. "well, not all of them." he says. "we've still got a lot of work to do."\n\nemma follows his gaze, then looks up at the sky. "corvera's probably not gonna be very happy with us." she smiles unconsciously.\n\nseven looks at her, then looks up. "yeah..." he says. "...but we've got about 400 years to worry about that."\n\nemma lets out a loud laugh. "i guess so," she says. they all look at the sky, their smiles slowly transforming into worry.\n\n"we'll use the time we have to prepare," mike says gravely. "so that when they show up, we'll be ready." the other two nod in agreement, and the silence continues.\n\n"well, anyway," emma waves away the somber mood. "why //did// you need to go back to the pod? you're obviously not going back to corvera anytime soon."\n\nseven looks down, smiling. "just had something i [[needed to do]]," he says.
they stand in front of the large stone building, adorned with tilework and small sculptures, somewhat dilapidated from the elements.\n\n"alright, here we are." the man says.\n\nhe bends down to the boy's level. "listen, the elders are...pretty strict. but they mean well. don't take it personally if they aren't a fan of you, alright?"\n\nthe boy nods.\n\n"you should go in now." he tells the boy.\n\nseven walks up the steps and reaches two tall wooden doors. reaching up, he turns the doorknob of one of them and pushes with all his might. the door slowly swings open as he pushes. it opens halfway and seven's hand slips off, sending him facefirst onto the carpeted ground. he stands up, dusts himself off, and walks inside.\n\nthree elderly people are seated in a semicircle at the end of the room, past rows of benches. two guards stand nearby. the girl stands before of them. all are staring at seven.\n\nhe pushes the door shut and walks toward the elders without acknowledging the girl's shocked glare.\n\n"and this would be the boy?" says the elder in the center, after a long pause.\n\n"u-uh, yes." the girl responds.\n\n"what is your name?" the elder asks the boy.\n\n"SUBJECT 007 FROM ASTURIA, COLONY OF CORVERA." the boy shouts, puffing out his chest authoritatively. his high voice echoes through the rafters.\n\n"i see." the elder responds. "and what's that you've got there?" he points to the orb.\n\nthe boy's confident pose gives way as he looks down. he clutches the orb, hiding it behind his back as he avoids eye contact.\n\nthe elder stares at the boy with a dark expression. another of the elders speaks up.\n\n"it was very unwise of you to leave this boy behind, emma." she chides the girl.\n\n"it was him or me." the girl replies.\n\nthe elder scoffs. "evidently, he did much better off without you." emma's [[fists clench]].
in an instant, he's running through the forest, orb under one arm. he leaps into a clearing and looks up, spotting the colony. he runs toward it.\n\n"hey!" he calls for the girl. "hey wait!"\n\nthe forest opens up. a booming voice shouts "STOP RIGHT THERE" as he almost collides with a giant metal wall. he looks up.\n\nthe outer wall of the colony towers over him, covering him in shadow. a small camera is fixed on him and a loudspeaker blares out the words "WHO ARE YOU?"\n\n"uh...uhhh" he tries to remember. "i-i'm subject 007, from asturia."\n\nno response. moments pass. a few meters off, on each side, the wall slowly extends outward multiple feet, sending the earth into a deep rumbling. the movement stops, and in front of him he watches the wall seperate and slide to each side, parting to form a door. as it opens, he sees a flurry of automated guns pointing directly at him. he gulps.\n\n"C'MON IN" the voice through the speaker calls.\n\nhe enters the room, lit by red bulbs. he hears a loud chime and green alarm lights turn on, spinning wildly. the great door slowly [[closes behind him]].
the child meanders through a hallway and toward a white wall with several outcroppings of sterile machinery. he rubs his eyes and stares at a black screen. pressing it, it lights up, and he navigates the touchpad interface. from a series of colorful images he selects his preferred breakfast:\n\n[[YOGURT]]\n[[FRENCH TOAST]]\n[[WAFFLES]]\n[[CEREAL]]\n\nthe screen is still [[blinking]]. the [[ball]] is still there.
he stares down at the rocks and leaves as he passes them, following the jostling sound of her pack as she travels ahead. he jumps from boulders and kicks up as much dirt as he can when he falls.\n\n"how old did you say you were?" she yells back at him without looking back.\n\n"9."\n\n"9 years old and you were all alone on that ship?"\n\nhe looks up at the back of her head, then looks back down to think. "umm. yeah, i guess."\n\n"hmm."\n\nthey listen to the crunching of each other's feet for a moment.\n\n"how about you?" he asks, staring at his feet.\n\n"ten years older than you."\n\nhe does the math instantly. "19?"\n\n"yeah." she climbs a ridge, grunting. "that was pretty good. did you teach yourself math?"\n\n"that was easy," he brags. "i know how to times numbers, too. and i know how to make lines just right, that's how i knew how to get here. it was a big line and...sometimes the ship goes off the line and you have to redo the math."\n\n"hmm."\n\nthey continue [[walking]].
he marches to the left side of the building.\n\na pair of small wooden doors lay diagonally on the face of the structure, leading downward into the basement. a grimy window sits nearby, just above the ground. he considers [[trying the window]], or perhaps goes straight to [[the door]].
<<set $visited_yogurt = "yes">>he presses against the icon for yogurt. he hears a clunk from within the wall. he pulls open a metal cabinet and retrieves a small plastic cylinder. ripping off the top, he pulls two packets out from within the hollow container. he rips one open and dumps a pink powder into the cylinder, then brings it over to a faucet and fills water to an indicated fill line inside. retrieving a spoon, he mixes it up and it expands to fill up the container completely with pink, creamy yogurt. he sets down the yogurt on the table and picks up the other packet, braking its rough contents between his fingers. he opens it and pours granola out over the yogurt, then sits down to [[eat]].
the elders once again glare at the boy.\n\n"and you think you could possibly have more to contribute than any of the hard-working people of this colony?"\n\nthe boy looks down at the orb, then slowly holds it up. "i found this inside one of those monster things. i plugged it into a computer and..." he pauses. steeling his nerves, he looks the middle elder in the eye. "i know how we can get rid of them. [[all of them]]."
<<if $visited_tractor eq "yes">>the tractor shakes violently as it plows over uneven soil. the creature behind them, kicking up dust as it tumbles, blocks off the pursuing monsters for a moment before they overtake it and continue their chase.\n\nahead, the incline of the tall grass drops off to a steep cliff. mike skids to a stop at the edge, looking over the expanse. the drop extends downward 50 feet.\n\nemma looks down, then looks toward the pursuing monsters. she shoves mike off the tractor and into the grass.\n\nmike tries to stand and object, then remembers the monsters, choosing to lay low and hide in he tall grass.\n\nemma waves her arms around, shouting. mike bites his lip.\n\nthe tractpr teeters on the edge of the cliff. the monsters charge straight at her. as they approach, she unhooks the orb.\n\nthe first monster tackles the tractor, emma still on it. it falls over the edge as more follow the first monster, jumping off the cliff after the girl. mike watches the last of the swarm of monsters careen [[off the cliff|emma ]], still giving chase.<<endif>><<if $visited_convert eq "yes">>the monster leaps to the left just as their attacker leaps past them. it extends its arm toward them and latches on, yanking them downward. it bashes at the monster's metal surface, denting it heavily.\n\nmike takes control and commands it forward, simultaneously forcing it to kick the other monster in the face. the first kick loosens its grip slightly, then the assailing creature opens its mouth and clamps around the leg as the second kick comes down.\n\nthe large metal jaw clamps tightly around the leg and the monster begins to pull. simultaneously, mike tries to yank the leg out from its mouth.\n\nanother monster leaps toward them from above. it clamps onto the body of their monster with its jaw, barely missing both mike and emma. its weight [[pulls them down|emma ]] even farther.<<endif>><<if $visited_kill eq "yes">>she tosses herself to the left. the monster pounces down, but barely misses her. it digs its claws into the metal surface of the spire to stop itself.\n\nshe focuses on climbing up. the monster pursues her, arriving just below her. gripping a ledge, she looks down. the monster lunges up at her.\n\nshe stretches one leg out, pushing against the monster's upper jaw. the force of the lunge forces her upward. she drops the cattle prod, and it falls all the way down to the ground. she balances atop the monster's jaw as it frantically snaps open and shut, [[still climbing upward|emma ]].<<endif>>
you kick shapes into each other. they shoot up and branch out in every direction. soon the stampede peters out and columns surround you. colors swirl around the sur//face of// the column, spiraling wildly. you feel a great [[glow]] coming from inside you.
<<if $visited_look eq "yes">>he stands and moves back to the door.<<endif>> fishing around in his pocket, he produces the stone and wedges it between the doors, just below the lock. he pulls it upward into the flat metal bar repeatedly, bashing it loose. the hinges pull out through the wood and come free, the lock still attached.\n\nslowly, he pulls open the doors. a small, darkened stairway greets him, filled with cobwebs. he descends, shutting the doors behind him.\n\nhe examines the area around him. on every wall is a large wardrobe or bookshelf. a noise to his left. below the window lies the most haggard of the elders, sleeping soundly through pained wheezes.\n\nslowly edging across the room, seven approaches a closed wardrobe. he carefully opens it to search for the orb. inside are only cobwebs and old dishes. he searches the drawers below. nothing.\n\nhe aproaches a second wardrobe. cracking it open, he peers inside. it's completely empty. as are the drawers below. he sighs silently and approaches a third and final wardrobe. this one is without drawers, and its doors extend to a height much taller than seven himself. he reaches up to grab the doorknobs. he realizes the snoring has stopped.\n\nseven slowly turns.\n\nthe gray eyes of the bedridden old man stare at him from across the room.\n\nseven's hair stands up as he looks back at him. shuffling comes from down the hall. he looks at the door, then back at the elder. without thinking, he reaches up, opens the wardrobe, and stuffs himself inside, [[shutting it]].