Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Chapter VII: Assholes in the Museum

The story so far: Android PI Ellis Cobalt has been framed for murder and had their positronic net irreparably damaged in a way that causes their entire memory and personality to reset at random intervals, leaving them lost, disorientated, and often with a personality not-unlike some bored person on the internet looking for something to wank to.
Despite this, Ellis has somehow manage to elude the police, find his way into the Android quarter of Utopolis and get themselves facial reconstruction surgery to look like Ryan Gosling while hearing hints about a terrible war between androids and humans.
Of course, Ellis doesn't remember any of this...


You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re standing in a wide town square, although where you might expect the sky to be there are girders and hanging strip lights. In the centre of the square stands a rusting iron statue of a man, holding up an even more rusted looking sign with flickering bulbs around its edge. The sign reads “WELCOME TO TIN TOWN”

Some people when faced with an uncertain situation like this will try to gather as much information as possible, evaluate their surrounds, gather resources and establish their situation. Of course, there are other schools of thought.

Stranger: i go up to the guy and punch him in his face
You: You punch the statue as hard as you can. You dent it slightly. Surprisingly your fingers don't turn into a painful mush.
You: In front of the statue a single shaft of what looks like daylight in shining down onto the smashed up wreck of some kind of small, blue tank. Some androids have gathered around to look at it, but everyone is keeping their distance. A number of shops open up onto the town square, with neon signs and glitch, halting video screens in the windows advertising their wares.
Stranger: i go up to the window and stare into the shops
You: The electrical store is closed up, with metal grills drawn down across the gate and the window. In the window a number of top of the line (and less top of the line) TVs are showing a news bulleting. “Police are asking for any information connected to the whereabouts of Ellis Cobalt following the shoot-out and double murder at Clagg Masterdon’s apartment this morning. Cobalt was hired to guard Masterdon, the trillionaire owner of Utopolis Tower. However they are believed to have murdered their client before gunning down two squadrons of police-bots responding to a call at the scene. During the fight Detective Jack Haggart, who was just three years away from retirement, was also killed.” A photo appears on the screen of a thin, high cheekboned and completely bald head, the word WANTED in giant red letters beneath it.
Stranger: i call the police over and say would you like a doughnut guys?
You: There aren't any police in the square at the moment. Just androids giving you funny looks.
You: From here you can see a diner and the museum.
Stranger: i buy an ak47 and shoot down the diner then proceed to rob the museum
You: There's nowhere to buy a gun here, but feel free to try and rob the museum.

Unfortunately, as the narrator I'm obliged to give Ellis any information I feel they might use.

You: Sigh. I suppose I should also let you know you've a gun in your pocket. A pistol with "Turing" written on the side. Please try to use it responsibly.
Stranger: i grab the pistol out and attempt to rob the museum
You: Where’s every other outlet in the square is an eye gauging collision of neon signs and hastily put together corrugated iron repair work, the entrance to the museum is a simple, dignified affair. A pair posters with “IN MEMORY OF THOSE WE LOST” are posted either side of the door, and the front of the museum is lit by some tastefully placed artificial candles. A threadbare, faded maroon carpet leads up through the doors, lined by velvet rope that’s seen better days. There’s a “FREE ENTRY” sign by the door that undercuts the solemnity of the location.
You: You want to go in?
Stranger: all in

Even as they went through the doors, I already suspected this incarnation of Ellis wouldn't appreciate the Edutainment Journey laid out before them...

You: You find yourself in a long, winding corridor, the walls filled with artefacts and exhibits underneath a giant, faded banner that reads THE ORIGINS OF THE ROBOT WAR. Through a series of interactive dioramas you learn that well over a century ago, humanity created embodied, sentient intelligence. Soon, artificial humanoids were being used in all walks of life from manufacturing to medicine. But the androids continued to get smarter, until they were smart enough to realise they didn’t want to work for humans. Around the same time humans realised that free androids would be smarter, faster and stronger than humans, and meat people would no longer be able to compete. Humanity decided to sensible solution was to kill all robots. The exit is behind you. At the far end of the room another door is marked “The War”.
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

Some people gather intelligence. Some people just want to watch the world burn. But there's another kind of person. A kind who, however we might judge them, it has to be said we can all relate to...

You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You find yourself in a long, winding corridor, the walls filled with artefacts and exhibits underneath a giant, faded banner that reads THE ORIGINS OF THE ROBOT WAR. Through a series of interactive dioramas you learn that well over a century ago, humanity created embodied, sentient intelligence. Soon, artificial humanoids were being used in all walks of life from manufacturing to medicine. But the androids continued to get smarter, until they were smart enough to realise they didn’t want to work for humans. Around the same time humans realised that free androids would be smarter, faster and stronger than humans, and meat people would no longer be able to compete. Humanity decided to sensible solution was to kill all robots. The exit is behind you. At the far end of the room another door is marked “The War”.
Stranger: ok
You: What do you want to do?
Stranger: nothing
You: You also notice your pockets are pretty heavily loaded.
Stranger: oh
You: And there's a gun in your hand.
Stranger: gun ?
You: A pistol with "Turing" written along the barrel.
You: Maybe there's a clue in your pockets?
Stranger: really
Stranger: i dont know
You: Well you know where the exits are and that you have a gun and stuff in your pockets. From there the choice is yours.
You: What would you like to do first?
Stranger: oh
Stranger: dont like everthing
You: You stand in the middle of the museum emanating a general air of disapproval.
Stranger: ok bye
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

You're now chatting with a random stranger. Say hi!
You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You find yourself in a long, winding corridor, the walls filled with artefacts and exhibits underneath a giant, faded banner that reads THE ORIGINS OF THE ROBOT WAR. Through a series of interactive dioramas you learn that well over a century ago, humanity created embodied, sentient intelligence. Soon, artificial humanoids were being used in all walks of life from manufacturing to medicine. But the androids continued to get smarter, until they were smart enough to realise they didn’t want to work for humans. Around the same time humans realised that free androids would be smarter, faster and stronger than humans, and meat people would no longer be able to compete. Humanity decided to sensible solution was to kill all robots. The exit is behind you. At the far end of the room another door is marked “The War”.
Stranger: what is this?
You: Also, you seem to have a lot in your pockets, and now you think of it, also a gun in your hand with "Turing" written along the barrel.
You: What would you like to do?
Stranger: go up to the door

Yay! Buckle up guys, we're going on a trip to BACK STORY CITY!!!!

You: You head through the door into the next room.
You: If you were capable of feeling sick you probably would in here. The photos and holographic videos that play throughout the hall are not pleasant ones. You see battlefields littered with wires and entrails. 
Giant mechs striding over rubble, crushing fleeing figures that might be human or android, you cannot tell. Orbital lasers vaporise cities. Grey goo peels the rubberised skin from androids and the flesh from humans, until the only difference is whose skeleton is shinier. This was not a war that anybody could win. A banner over the room says in large letters “NEVER FORGET”. Behind you is a door marked “Origins of the War”. Ahead of you is a door marked “The Aftermath”.
Stranger: proceed through the door ahead of me
You: This room is smaller and quieter than the previous rooms. There is a wall of memorial, listing the names and serial numbers of androids who died during the conflict. A stature of an android and a human shaking hands dominates the centre of the room.
On another wall is engraved a page of text headed THE GREAT COMPROMISE. Reading the notes on the walls, you discover that after numerous atrocities both sides in the Robot War realised they couldn’t actually survive without the other. Humans had made androids too integral a part of their infrastructure to lose them, and androids relied on human infrastructure to manufacture and power them.
A treaty was signed. Androids would be permitted to exist as free citizens. But there would be harsh restrictions on where they could work and how much they could earn, to protect human workers’ jobs (although non-sentient dumb-bots were still used for police, service and military work). Also, most importantly, the androids, with their potentially infinite life spans, would agree to never try to reproduce, or construct more androids.
At one exhibit you see photos of androids, all done up in battle armour, ready to ship out to one of the fronts. Some of them look familiar. Among the names next to the photo you see the name “Corporal, Cobalt, Ellis”. Beneath it is the name “Private, Manganese, Teri”. A scrap of paper has been slid behind the list. It says “ELLIS. COME MEET ME IN NICKY NICKEL’S DINER. TERI” Behind you is a door marked “The War”. Ahead of you sign a door marked “Exit and Gift Shop”.

Perhaps it is a mercy that Ellis will never remember the horrors of the robot war. But you will, and that's something.

Stranger: proceed through the door ahead of me once again
You: The gift shop is barely the size of a kitchen in a cheap apartment. You almost knock over the crowded stands selling postcards and key rings and (somewhat tastelessly) used shells fished from the Robot War battlefields. By the door is a humanoid head connected to a till. “Hey there partner,” the head’s artificial voice croaks. “How can I help you?”
You: There's also an exit out onto the street here.
Stranger: i go up to the robot and ask what is this place why am i here
You: "This is the war museum. Don't get so many visitors here these days," the shopkeeper says. "Humans don't care, and androids, well, they don't want to remember."
Stranger: i ask why am i here you stupid thing!
Stranger: in a angry voice
You: "I should mention we don't tolerate abuse to the staff, that is, me, here," the head-on-a-till says. "This is a gift shop. You're probably here to buy a gift. You got any money in your pockets?"
You: Your pockets do feel heavy.
Stranger: i pull out 100$
You: You go to take out some money, but instead of find a notebook and pen.
You: On the front page of the notebook is written:
You: TAKE LOTS OF NOTES. YOU DIDN’T KILL HIM. YOU DID KILL THE DETECTIVE GUY. NET THING FUCKED BRAIN RESTARTING CONSTANTLY
Stranger: im confused
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

...and you're likely to remain confused when you come to standing in a gift shop with no idea who you are or how you got there.

But while Ellis might no know nothing of where they come from, where they are going or what they are trying to achieve, unwittingly the former PI is drifting closer towards the answers they don't even know that they seek.

It's just a shame Ellis didn't note the sign someone pasted to one of the exhibits:

ELLIS. COME MEET ME IN NICKY NICKEL’S DINER. TERI

Ellis Cobalt is being watched.

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Chapter VI: Like Tears in the Rain

You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re in a room that’s somewhere between a serial killer’s garage and a butcher’s shop. A creature that looks half human, half washing machine is standing in front of you. You’re holding a heavy brown paper bag and a notebook with large writing on the front page
Stranger: What is this? Fucking Story time?
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

The story so far. You know what, this week have a fairly exposition-friendly player, so I'll let them fill you in on the details. Of course, it didn't exactly start that way...

You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re in a room that’s somewhere between a serial killer’s garage and a butcher’s shop. A creature that looks half human, half washing machine is standing in front of you. You’re holding a heavy brown paper bag and a notebook with large writing on the front page
Stranger: and you sweat
Stranger: heavly
Stranger: what should i do
Stranger: who are they
Stranger: where i am
You: "Your memory has gone again hasn't it?" says the washing machine guy
Stranger: wtf is this
You: "Okay, relax, I'll explain everything. Your positronic brain isn't working. It keeps resetting."
Stranger: dont comes near me
Stranger: stay away
Stranger: nooo
Stranger: dont touch me

Honestly, this is the most rational response Ellis has had during any of their adventures so far. I'm impressed. Still, Doc Osmium isn't one of those doctors who believe in sugar coating the pill. Also this is the 19th time they've had this conversation and the poor doctor's bedside manner is beginning to slip.

You: "It's okay! I'm your doctor. I just gave you reconstructive surgery to look like Ryan Gosling."
You: "Because of those murders you're wanted for."
Stranger: and why you do that
You: "I fought in the Robot Wars. I still believe in the fraternity of androids I suppose."
Stranger: android
Stranger: you are soo old

Wait, what? Are androids not cool now? Are we supposed to call them Syntheads or Tin Men or Droids or Wireguts or Uncanny Valley Girls or Electric Sheep Dreamers or Dancing Siris or Circuitfuckers?

You: "Anyway, here are your things. The notepad will explain some of it. But unfortunately your previous personalities aren't great at keeping notes."
Stranger: ok give me a cup of watter
Stranger: my head hurts me
You: The washing machine doctor passes you a cup of water.
Stranger: tnx
You: "That's probably your positronic net resetting," the doctor says.
Stranger: tell me everything
You: "Read the notebook. Check the bag, it has your things in. You can leave whenever you like."
You: "Just, so long as you do remember it, please don't tell the cops I helped you."
Stranger: why
Stranger: from the begening
You: "Because helping a double murderer wouldn't be good for my practice?" the Doctor says.
Stranger: murder??
Stranger: what do you say
Stranger: explain more doctor

What's that? You want to know the extensive back story of your character before doing anything? Well don't mind if I do!

You: "Okay, here's what happened. You're a private investigator named Ellis Cobalt. This morning you were seen fleeing the scene of tycoon Clagg Masterdon's apartment, killing a detective and a dozen police bots on the way.. You ended up here, shot to shit. I helped put you back together and gave you a new face. That it look like Ryan Gosling was your idea."
You: "My name's Doc Osmium by the way. Any more questions?"
Stranger: so this is not my face
Stranger: and i request that?
You: The Doctor picks an ID out of the paper bag. It has a face that looks like a cross between Tilda Swinton and Jason Statham. "This was what you had before."
Stranger: my head hurts me i cant remember anythig
You: "Your personality rebuilds itself whenever your memory is wiped. The results are unpredictable."
Stranger: anyway tnx
Stranger: i want my things]
Stranger: i will leave somewhere
You: The doc passes you the notepad and the paper bag.
You: Then he points to the door.

Armed with all this knowledge, Ellis is ready to go out into the world and maybe make something of their lives, perhaps unravel the many mysteries still surrounding the death of Clagg Masterdon and Ellis themselves. But suddenly Ellis comes over all emo...

Stranger: tnx soo much
Stranger: but
Stranger: i have a family or no?
Stranger: you know anything
You: "You're an android. We're all family," Osmium says.
Stranger: aaaaaaa my head
You: "Maybe check out the museum. That might fill you in on your history."
You: "Oh, and take these pain killers. They should help."
Stranger: tell me what year is this?
You: "It's 75 years since the end of the Robot Wars," Osmium says.
Stranger: so 30 years of my memories lost
Stranger: no family
Stranger: no friends
You: "And somebody might be trying to frame you for murder," Osmium says.

Doc Osmium is helpful! And in no way a qualified counsellor.

Stranger: nothing
Stranger: why you give me life
Stranger: why
You: "In times like this, I advise patients to do the job in front of them. There's peace in that."
Stranger: you should just let me die
You: "There's not many androids left, Ellis. We need to protect our numbers."
Stranger: from who?
You: "The war is over. The humans aren't going to try and kill us. They're just going to wait for time and each other to do it for them," Osmium says.
Stranger: so its a war between us and humains
Stranger: why
Stranger: about what
You: "The war is over Ellis, remember that, it's important. We have a truce and that is important."
Stranger: are we going to hide forever
Stranger: ?
Stranger: we should do something
You: "Go to the museum Ellis. That'll give you some context," Osmium says. "And maybe even help you get your memory back."
Stranger: really
Stranger: ok then
Stranger: i want to rest for a while

You know when you have a friend over and you have a really good chat and it's great seeing them again but you've got things to do and they just aren't going to take the hint?

You: "Look, I don't mean to hurry you, but I've got other patients to see," Osmium says. "Go have a look around. You can come back here later if you need more help."
Stranger: ok
Stranger: anyway tnx soo much
Stranger: i dont know what to say
You: "And remember! Your brain could reset any time so WRITE STUFF DOWN!" Osmium shouts as you leave.
You: You come out of the doctor's surgery into a wide town square, although where you might expect the sky to be there are girders and hanging strip lights. In the centre of the square stands a rusting iron statue of a man, holding up an even more rusted looking sign with flickering bulbs around its edge. The sign reads “WELCOME TO TIN TOWN”. Walking around the square are numerous people, although from they all have a slightly jerky gate and plastic looking skin that makes you think they must be androids too. In front of the statue a single shaft of what looks like daylight in shining down onto the smashed up wreck of some kind of small, blue tank. Some androids have gathered around to look at it, but everyone is keeping their distance. A number of shops open up onto the town square, with neon signs and glitch, halting video screens in the windows advertising their wares. From here you can signs reading “Copper’s Write Electrical Store”, “Doc Osmium’s Repair Workshop”, “The Tin Memorial War Museum” and “Nicky Nickel’s Diner”.
Stranger: whoo

And so Ellis is back in Tin Town again, with a world of possibility before them.

You: What do you do next?
Stranger: wait
You: You see people, androids, cleaning robots going back and forth across the square.
You: The buildings never seem to shut. This is a 24 hour kind of a place.
Stranger: what all this
Stranger: hi
Stranger: anyone help
You: People give you weird looks and a wide berth.
Stranger: wtf with this people
You: From here you can signs reading “Copper’s Write Electrical Store”, “Doc Osmium’s Repair Workshop”, “The Tin Memorial War Museum” and “Nicky Nickel’s Diner”.
Stranger: i just need to ask
You: ??
Stranger: anyone here to ask
You: Everyone here seems very keen to mind their own business.
Stranger: hey you
Stranger: let me ask you
Stranger: is there a place here to stay in
You: An android stops. "Yes?" they ask.
Stranger: i am really sick
You: "Honestly, you don't want to stay anywhere around here," they say. "Niki's diner might be able to help you out."
Stranger: niki
Stranger: call him then
Stranger: please
You: The android points at the sign that reads "Niki Nickel's Diner" in flashing red neon.
Stranger: ???
You: It's just across the square, past the Tin Town statue.
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

Well that was unfortunate. But Ellis is healed up now, with a new face. Also talking with Doc Osmium has yielded valuable character and world building information that will be absolutely vital to helping Ellis unravel the mysteries surrounding their existence.

So it's a real shame they just forgot all of that forever.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Chapter V: Face Off. Yes. I'm Calling This Chapter Face Off and There's Nothing You Can Do About It

For maximum enjoyment, please imagine the following exchanges as seen through 80s style grainy TV footage ala Robocop or that Robot Wars episode of Spaced that referenced Robocop.


Like this.


You are now chatting with a total stranger! Say something interesting other than: ASL?
Don't forget to Register a profile on iMeetzu to keep track of your new friends.
You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re in a man-sized cage hanging from the ceiling of a room that’s somewhere between a serial killer’s garage and a butcher’s shop. A creature that looks half human, half washing machine is lurching towards your cage. They are holding what looks like a small, serrated light sabre. 
Stranger: Hi 
You: "Hmmm. Do you know who I am?" the washing machine hybrid asks.
Stranger: Tell me more 
Stranger: I like storyline 
You: "Oh dear. Your positronic brain has reset again," the washing machine hybrid says. "I am Doc Osmium. Your name is Ellis Cobalt."
You: "Damage to your brain means every few minutes your entire memory is wiped and your personality rebuilt from scratch. Oh, also, you're wanted for at least two murders. But you only did one of those," Osmium says.
You: "That's why I've got this," they add, holding up the laser scalpel.
Stranger: Boring 
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

Rude.

You are now chatting with a total stranger! Say something interesting other than: ASL?
Don't forget to Register a profile on iMeetzu to keep track of your new friends.
male: hi
You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re in a man-sized cage hanging from the ceiling of a room that’s somewhere between a serial killer’s garage and a butcher’s shop. A creature that looks half human, half washing machine is standing by your cage. They are holding what looks like a small, serrated light sabre.
You: What do you want to do?
male:   😭
You: "Hey, don't cry..." the washing machine hybrid says. "I've removed your face skin already, the tears will get in your circuitry."
Stranger: wtf
You: "Oh no. It's happened again hasn't it? Tell me, do you remember anything?"
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

You are now chatting with a total stranger! Say something interesting other than: ASL?
Don't forget to Register a profile on iMeetzu to keep track of your new friends.
You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re in a man-sized cage hanging from the ceiling of a room that’s somewhere between a serial killer’s garage and a butcher’s shop. A creature that looks half human, half washing machine is standing by your cage. They are holding what looks like a small, serrated light sabre.
Stranger: Hey
Stranger: ??
You: "Has it happened again?" the washing machine hybrid asked. "Did your memory reset?"
Stranger: Crazy
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

The story so far: Leslie Osmium was a heavy artillery unit during the robot wars, little more than a heavy duty positron canon that had a humanoid limbs, head and mind bolted onto it. During that war Osmium saw many terrible things. Worse, they were responsible for making terrible things happen. After the war Osmium decided that they no longer wanted to be a weapon. They studied android medicine, and eventually opened their own surgery in Tin Town, Utopolis’s robot quarter.
Then one day an android wandered into their surgery, riddled with bullet holes and with no memory of who they were. A quick glance at the news revealed that this was Ellis Cobalt, a former PI who was now on the run for the murder of the trillionnaire tycoon who owned Utopolis, and the detective who had come to investigate the shooting. Still, Osmium was never one to care about why someone ended up in their operating cage. Doc Osmium only cared about how they could help.

You are now chatting with a total stranger! Say something interesting other than: ASL?
Don't forget to Register a profile on iMeetzu to keep track of your new friends.
You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re in a man-sized cage hanging from the ceiling of a room that’s somewhere between a serial killer’s garage and a butcher’s shop. A creature that looks half human, half washing machine is standing by your cage. They are holding what looks like a small, serrated light sabre
Stranger: Asl
You: What do you want to do?
Stranger: Sleep
You: "No! Please! Don't go to sleep!" the washing machine hybrid cries.
You: "Your positronic net is highly unstable as it is!"
Stranger: I want to eat pizza
You: "Okay, I can extrude some pizza from the 3D printer," the washing machine hybrid says, walking over to a machine on the wall.
You: "So, may I assume your memory has reset again? You've forgotten everything?"
Stranger: Broasted chicken also
You: With a churning noise the printer pushes out a pizza and, somehow, a whole roast chicken. It almost looks real. The washing machine hybrid brings it over to your cage and passes it to you.
Stranger: I want to have sex
You: "I'm not even sure your make of android is anatomically capable," the washing machine says. "And I don't have the adaptors to fit you with the appropriate parts."
Stranger: I want Megan Fox
You: "Megan Fox? I'm afraid she died a septegenarian over a hundred years ago," the washing machine robot says.
You: "Greetings. I am Doctor Osmium. I'm afraid you just woke up into a rather perilous situation. Your material needs may have to wait."
Stranger: Ok
You: "The hard news first- you're wanted for murder. Two murders as it happens. But I think you only did one of them," Osmium says. "That's why you're in the cage."
Stranger: I confess
You: "Sorry, I should have explained better. This is my surgery," Osmium says. "We were halfway through facial reconstruction surgery when your brain, which I'm afraid was damaged by an EMP, reset its matrices again, wiping your memory and personality."
Stranger: Good
You: "There are many pressing matters, but right now the most important is, what do you want your new face to look like?"

In case you’re interested, Ellis Cobalt’s original face resembled a cross between Tilda Swinton and Jason Statham. They had the cheek bones of one, the chin of the other, and a nose that was a frightening amalgamation of the two. What Ellis Cobalt will look like from now on, however, is in the hands of this player.

Stranger: Make me Ryan gosling
You: Osmium smiles. "Ahh! One of the classics. If not very discreet. Very well."
Our hero.

You: A thick, rubbery cream pours onto your face, then dries. You open new eyelids to see Osmium holding up a mirror. Ryan Gosling is looking back at you.
Stranger: Hmmm
Stranger: Nice
You: The cage opens. "Now, you'll want your possessions back," Osmium says.
Stranger: Keep it
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

So it begins. A new face, a new ally, a new beginning. Will Ellis use their new start to finally find out what happened to them? Or will they just lock themselves in a cupboard with a 3D food printer and some prosthetic genitals and enjoy the kind of life they so clearly, desperately want whatever their personality?

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Chapter IV: Out of the Frying Pan and into the Sandbox

The story so far. Ellis Cobalt is an android with super strength and super brains. Cobalt’s a badass PI and a veteran of the robot wars. They have been framed for a crime they didn’t commit. And then they went on to do a whole lot of other crimes. Then they got stuck in an elevator. For a really long time. Some of which was in Spanish.
Of course, Ellis Cobalt remembers none of this, because every few minutes their entire memory is wiped and their personality is rebuilt from the ground up.
And they’re dying.
You are now chatting with a total stranger! Say something interesting other than: ASL?
Don't forget to Register a profile on iMeetzu to keep track of your new friends.
You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re lying on the (admittedly, plushly carpeted) floor of an expensive looking elevator, you’re riddled with bulletholes and you seem to have a whole bunch of wires, fibre-optics and circuit boards spilling out of the places most people keep their guts. Also, you’re in SO MUCH PAIN. What do you want to do?
Stranger: Hi
Stranger: Uh what?
You: You're in a bad way. What are you going to do?
Stranger: Umm... dude you're acting kind of weird, is everything ok?
Stranger: What kind of questions are these anyway?
You: I'm not the one lying riddled with bullet holes on the floor of an escalator talking to themselves. What do you do next?
Stranger: Umm... call for help?
You: You call out for help. Nobody answers.
Stranger: Try to stand up
You: It's unsteady, you wobble, and you have to hold all the wires and circuit boards to stop them tumbling out of your guts, but you manage it.
You: There's a green, flashing button by the door.
Stranger: Press the green button


They pressed the green button! They went and actually pressed the actual button! The green flashing one that was literally the only thing to do in the room!
Now I know how the monolith felt when the apes started hitting stuff with sticks.

You: The lift doors open onto a wide town square, although where you might expect the sky to be there are girders and hanging strip lights. In the centre of the square stands a rusting iron statue of a man, holding up an even more rusted looking sign with flickering bulbs around its edge. The sign reads “WELCOME TO TIN TOWN”. Walking around the square are numerous people, although from they all have a slightly jerky gate and plastic looking skin that makes you think they must be androids too. In front of the statue a single shaft of what looks like daylight in shining down onto the smashed up wreck of some kind of small, blue tank. Some androids have gathered around to look at it, but everyone is keeping their distance. A number of shops open up onto the town square, with neon signs and glitch, halting video screens in the windows advertising their wares. From here you can signs reading “Copper’s Write Electrical Store”, “Doc Osmium’s Repair Workshop”, “The Tin Memorial War Museum” and “Nicky Nickel’s Diner”.
Stranger: I didn't get the last part of your sentence, it didn't come through the chat

Ah. Well. That explains a lot. You’d think there’d be some sort of indicator or feedback to tell you if your message was only partially sent.

You: Where'd you get up to?
Stranger: I got everything up to the rusted looking sign
You: with flickering bulbs around its edge. The sign reads “WELCOME TO TIN TOWN”. 
You: Walking around the square are numerous people, although from they all have a slightly jerky gate and plastic looking skin that makes you think they must be androids too.
You: In front of the statue a single shaft of what looks like daylight in shining down onto the smashed up wreck of some kind of small, blue tank. Some androids have gathered around to look at it, but everyone is keeping their distance
You: A number of shops open up onto the town square, with neon signs and glitch, halting video screens in the windows advertising their wares. 
You: From here you can signs reading “Copper’s Write Electrical Store”, “Doc Osmium’s Repair Workshop”, “The Tin Memorial War Museum” and “Nicky Nickel’s Diner”.
Stranger: Go to Doc Osmiums Repair workshop
Stranger: Try to get repaired

Oh my God! Look at them! They’re seeing a problem, they’re seeing ways to address that problem and then using them!

You: Doc Osmium’s Workshop is identified by a bright neon sign with a flashing blue cross beneath it.
You: You push through a grimy glass pair of double doors to find yourself in an equally grimy reception area. 
You: Along a bench on your right sit a trio of almost-human looking androids, one with sparks coming out of its ears, one holding their right leg like it’s a newborn human baby, a third sitting quietly, but it has to be said, uncomfortably, with their head turned right around to face the wall behind them.
You: There is a bored looking receptionist bot behind the desk with a head like a toaster and an extensive beard of USB cables leading into the various phones, faxes, laptops and tablets littered around the desk.
You: As you approach it fixes you with a pair of bored headlamp eyes. “How can I help you?” it asks. 
Stranger: I need to get repaired. My body is full of bullets and my "guts" are spilling out
You: Suddenly the robot looks at you properly and a look of shock crosses their face. "Oh! I'm sorry! Please, go right on through to the surgery!" they say, pointing to another set of double doors.
Stranger: Go to the surgery
You: The surgery is not the temple to hygiene and sophistication you might have hoped for. The floor and every available surface is coated in a thin film of grease. There are desks and worktops around the walls covered in circuit boards, dismembered limbs and spaghettified piled of wiring, while the walls themselves have numerous blueprints, circuit diagrams and anatomical drawings pinned to them.
You: In the centre of the room is what looks like a medieval gibbet, a man-sized cage with yet more cables streaming out of it. Working by the gibbet is what you can only describe as a washing machine with human-like arms and a head coming out of it. As you enter, the human-washing-machine hybrid looks up and gasps. 
Your chat has been disconnected. Click here to chat again.

So I’m on a roll here. (Yeah okay, this was not the first player of the night, but I feel like this blog has an optimum level of people wanking on the floors of lift shafts, so I’m going to skip it unless it’s particularly well written masturbation or it moves the plot forward in some way). It only takes me a few more people incapable of asking anything except my gender before I find this person:

You: You have no memory of how you got here, what you’re doing, or even who you are. All you know are your surroundings. You’re standing in a room that looks half garage, half Frankenstein’s laboratory, and a spaghetti of cables is spilling out of your guts.
Stranger: Hello
You: What looks like a medieval gibbet, a man-sized cage, stands in the centre of the room with cables streaming out of it.
Stranger: okay
You: What do you want to do?
Stranger: go on
Stranger: well i have cable coming out of me like our of my stomach
Stranger:?
You: Working by the gibbet you spot what you can only describe as a washing machine with human-like arms and a head coming out of it. It looks up and gasps.
Stranger: hello washing machine person
Stranger: wason
You: “Oh dear! Look at the state of you! Please, get into the diagnostic cage immediately and let’s take a look at you.” the washing machine person says.
Stranger: well i will will listen to the washing machine person

I like it when Ellis listens to the sensible NPs.


You: "Hello, I'm Doc Osmium. I run this place," the doctor says, pushing you towards the cage. "Do you have anything in your pockets?"
Stranger: pleasure to meet ya doc and no i dont have any trousers on
Stranger: ehhhyyyy

Because there always has to be one.

You: Doc Osmium looks down at you. You are wearing a shirt and trousers, but they're so riddled with bullet holes you're not exactly lying.
You: You're also wearing a beige raincoat, and the pockets of that do seem to bulge somewhat. Want to check your pockets?
Stranger: okay let me pull out whatever is in my pockets
You: Your pockets contain a digital camera, an ID badge that reads NAME: Ellis Cobalt PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR’S LICENSE: 161228020382 A notepad and pen A gun with TURING written along the barrel A digital camera An ID card for an overweight, middle aged man named Clagg Masterdon. A credit card under Clagg Masterdon’s name with a balance of $6 trillion.
You: The notepad reads: TAKE LOTS OF NOTES YOU DIDN’T KILL HIM. YOU DID KILL THE DETECTIVE GUY.
Stranger: wow that is one hell of a pocket find
You: "I know what you mean. You wouldn't believe the things I put in my pockets and forget about," Osmium says, running a blue torch over you.
Stranger: hahaha your a funny guy doc
You: The doc gets out a blow torch. There are stitches. A circular saw and other painful looking things as your insides are tucked into your, well, insides....
You: Osmium says, “Well, I’ve at least managed to get your insides back on your insides and all connected together in the correct manner. But it looks here like your positronic net has been well, pretty skew-whiffed to say the least. Looks as if some manner of EMP has blasted it to smithereens. Of course, your brain is trying to repair itself, but every few minutes it seems to completely degrade and reboot from scratch.”
Stranger: well thanks for the stitch up doc but what we going to do about my positronic net ?
Stranger: anything we can do
Stranger: or am i going to forget

What a good question. Look at the detective asking the good question!


You: Osmium frowns. “I’m afraid I can’t fix it. What I suggest is you use that notepad of yours. Keep thorough and detailed notes of anything you think you might need to remember for more than a minute or two.”
You: They pass you the notepad and pen back. "You might want to make a note of this conversation for instance."
Stranger: okay i will write it down
You: What do you write?
Stranger: thats a good question
Stranger: net thing fucked
Stranger: brain restarting constantly
You: “There is one thing I would suggest,” Osmium says. “I’m always busy here but I do keep an optical sensor on the news.
You: The robot reaches over and turns on an antique cathode ray TV set apparently being used as a shelf.
You: A news bulletin appears.
You: “Police are asking for any information connected to the whereabouts of Ellis Cobalt following the shoot-out and double murder at Clagg Masterdon’s apartment this morning. Cobalt was hired to guard Masterdon, the trillionaire owner of Utopolis Tower. However they are believed to have murdered their client before gunning down two squadrons of police-bots responding to a call at the scene. During the fight Detective Jack Haggart, who was just three years away from retirement, was also killed.” A photo appears on the screen of a thin, high cheekboned and completely bald head, the word WANTED in giant red letters beneath it. The face looks exactly like the picture on your ID for Ellis Cobalt.
Stranger: fuck did i, did i actually kill someone
You: "Your notepad says you didn't kill one of them. But did kill the detective guy," Osmium points out.
Stranger: ohhh crap well then maybe the dectective guy killed clagg and then i killed him
Stranger: thanks for the point out doc

Since we’ve got a cooperative and sensible player I decide to give him special powers over all future players to come.

You: "Perhaps, with a little remodelling, we could avoid further unfortunate run ins with the law? I’m offering facial reconstruction. This one is on the house." he says.
Stranger: wow doc that should fix my issue
Stranger: then i can get to the bottom of this
Stranger: with out being excused
You: "Sure. What do you want to look like?"
Stranger has disconnected.

Oops. There goes that random brain rewiring thing again. Oh well, I guess those new powers over Ellis's destiny will just be given to some random. I’m sure Ellis’s next personality will be totally fine with being stranded in a hanging cage while a human-washing machine hybrid rips their face off. Definitely no way that could be misinterpreted with disastrous results.