So, when I declared an end to Leave Me Alone, I posted a bunch of options people could vote on for what I'd do next. I wasn't surprised to see Trust Me be one of the choices with more interest, but what did surprise me is the apparent sentiment that people wanted me to reboot it.
Reboot it? A story that runs on ontological mystery and prying hints from a cast of mysterious "helpers"? You must be crazy! Is what I thought, until I realized this was my opportunity to fix the things from the original that didn't work how I wanted or were mistakes in retrospect.
But I couldn't just change what was wrong; it wouldn't be new enough. So I've spent the past week coming up with how I could change things enough for a reboot to be fun.
Expect almost everything to be at least slightly different, if not significantly so.
PLEASE DON'T READ THE FIRST THREAD IF YOU'RE GOING TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS ONE. I'm changing a lot, but I can't change all the characters or the overarching scenario so much as to not be recognizably analogues of the first thread's; I picked those guys for a reason. Reading the whole first thread would give you knowledge I don't want to have to control for. I especially don't want to have to control for the part where some of them made claims about the scenario you find yourself in; I want a clean state there. You may read the first page of the other thread as a sample to decide whether or not you're interested in what I'm offering, but stop there.
It was already looking like a bad morning before reality broke.
You woke up to a silent dorm room and no roommate. Great, you slept in again. Would it kill him to wake you up for once when he sees you missing your first class? Or, judging by how much light was getting into the room, your second? It's not like he doesn't know your schedule. Hoping to at least make one class today, you threw on some clothes and grabbed some of the leftover pizza nobody had bothered to put away last night. Which is a shame, since you probably would have caught on whole minutes earlier had you needed to open the fridge.
It wasn't until your hand was already on the doorknob, not once having slowed down enough to notice anything off, that you were forced to notice. Specifically, the thing that you were forced to notice was the way that a coating of rust spread along the whole doorknob and paint started falling away in a circle around the doorknob to reveal rotted wood underneath as soon as you touched it. What the hell?
Putting aside thoughts of class for a moment, you stand agape at the door. This lasts until you notice that the light falling on it appears to be tinted purple. Purple? You turn around and march over to the window, whose blinds fall apart at your touch, and see quite the impressive scene.
In the sky above you, an unlikely sight--a full solar eclipse, high in the sky. It takes you a second to remember that you probably should have gone blind when you looked directly at it there, but didn't. Despite the eclipse the entire sky is filled with a strange purple light.
Beneath that, an outright impossible sight--a campus full of still bodies. The entire student body might well be out there, enjoying what's supposed to be the last sunny day before winter or hurrying to class or grabbing lunch or god knows what. But the present tense may or may not be entirely appropriate, because every one of them seems to be completely frozen in place in the middle of whatever they were doing.
Behind you you hear the frantic buzz of a phone foolishly left on vibrate (and, for that matter, on your desk when you were off to class). Seizing on the one normal-seeming thing to happen this morning, you walk over to see what's going on, hesitating before grabbing it. On the screen, instead of the normal lock or incoming call screens, is a message:
> Better go do as it says. It's not like you have any better ideas.
You reach for the phone, then hesitate. Will it be ruined like the door or the blinds? You remind yourself that nothing happened to the pizza you ate or your clothes, but just to satisfy your worry you pick up one of the assorted dirty socks you've left lying around your side of the room. It fails to rot away or crumble to dust. Satisfied, you pick up your phone and tap the email icon on your home screen.
That is not how your email was organized.
You usually keep your email organized into useful folders like "Job" and "Class". You most definitely do not have exactly three folders, labeled only "D", "J", and "Z".
Well, might as well look. Each of them has, at present, one email with no subject line, sent by... the same letter of the alphabet as its folder. Blatantly invalid email addresses are the least of your worries today. Z's came in first, so you read it first.
Originally Posted by Z
Not gonna bother sugar coating it. You are in for a world of hurt, and you did nothing wrong to get here. The only thing you've got going for you is there IS a way to get outta here alive and not too screwed over at the end. You've just gotta be smart.
There should be something extra on your desk there, something that looks like a compass. You need that. It'll have colored markers going in six directions--think of those as your exits. The one you want is the RED gate. You're gonna be getting contacted by a bunch of others like this, and every one is going to tell you to go to a different gate. If you go where they all tell you, you're gonna regret it. If you screw up too bad on your way you're gonna die, but I say you'd be better off dead than where some of them are gonna lead you. Trust me, the red gate's the one you want.
Grab all the supplies you think you'll need, but hurry. Every hex is on a time limit, and this one looks huge--you'll barely have time if you're stuck on foot. So grab your stuff and then move--bust the door down if you have to. Just don't forget your phone and your computer--you're not gonna see replacements for a long while.
You look closer and do, in fact, find a strange compass on the desk. In addition to the four cardinal directions, six are marked with three colored glass markers each, a different color for each corner.
Putting the strange compass aside, you read the message from "D".
Originally Posted by D
I don't know if you've figured this out yet, but you're not on earth anymore and you are NOT safe here. You won't be safe anywhere else you're going in the near future either. I'm still not sure WHY exactly all this is here, but the quick version is that if you don't get going soon you'll die, and if you make it safely to the wrong place you're no better off.
Unfortunately, I don't actually know which gate is the RIGHT one. Only one direction will actually get you safely back home. All I can tell you is it's not the violet one, and it's not any of the ones that anybody else will tell you to go to. They're each going to tell you a gate to go to and they're ALL the wrong one.
But you might just have to guess right now, because if you don't get moving you WILL die. Don't worry, even if you go the wrong way the first try it won't hurt as bad as running out of time--you have to go to the same gate three times before it'll have consequences.
The third email is from "J".
Originally Posted by J
You look kind of freaked out. I don't blame you, this whole game is pretty scary from your side, and that hex looks pretty freaky. Later ones are probably gonna be just as strange, but maybe not so, what's the word, Uncanny? I don't think I understand all the rules in this hex just yet, other than that it's something to do with time, but don't worry--all the weirdness is part of the environment, not you. You haven't suddenly gained super rust-inducing hands. My guess is it's not going to destroy anything in your room there; you're supposed to get a chance to stock up at the start.
Gather everything you think you might need to be prepared for absolutely anything, and then head towards the orange gate--that'll be northeast of here, emphasis on the north. Don't pack too heavy, but don't pack too light either--this is going to take quite some time and you'd be lucky to supply yourself with ANYTHING after you leave this room.
Hmm. Should you start gathering supplies, work on figuring out what the deal is with the door and the people outside, or respond to one of these guys? Now you think of it, none of them actually asked you to respond except the last one.
That took All. Freaking. Night. Seriously, all night. As payoff though I've not only got a monster post but a text file where I've written down ALL the details which I think I need nailed down already in the name of fairness (and planning). AND I've found voices for my characters. AND I've figured a lot of what I'm going to do out. AND I've become intimately familiar with the cooler parts of Homestuck Vol. 8. And I made a cool ascii art!
Originally Posted by Dermonster
Ponder possible existence of several beings who control your every action. Then punch psychology in the face and check mail.
So ironic in this adventure. SO IRONIC.
Also, witness previous drafts of the compass (hint: try quoting the post to see how it looks in the code box). Yeah, I was trying WAAAAAY too hard and spent forever on this before I realized I could just use center alignment.
I realized in hindsight that for pacing purposes that fourth email should have waited a few posts. So much so that I'm going to retcon it out of this post. Sorry for the sloppiness! Sadly Neopie looks to have been referring to what that person said so I guess his reply won't look very sane unless you remember that.
You are so fucking kidding. First of all, you have no idea what the fuck is going on, and no one wants to explain. All you know is that ALL The gates are bad for you, and that there isn't a win for you in sight. Only one of those guys explained ANYTHING, and who even knows if that fucker's telling the truth. Damnit. Fucking hate mondays..
well that last dude told you to stock up, so do ya got a cricket bat or baseball bat in your closet? it would give you something to poke stuff with that's not your hand, and can be used to break stuff in emergency which i think this is. other stuff to pack is a jacket with a good amount of pockets, your phone since it seemingly works, and maybe the last of the pizza since other food could turn to dust at a touch. as for a direction, fuck if i know all of em sound a little bit too desperate to get you to go a certain direction.
Gah! Yeah, I've been too busy this week to sit down and devote the mental energy this adventure demands in one sitting. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! (It's mostly true).
And then this update turns out to have no conniving or metaness in it anyways. Whoops!
> But first, stock up on supplies. What do you have in your room that you might take, and what do you have to carry things in?
If there's one thing these guys seem to agree on, and which doesn't seem likely to be a lie, it's that it's gonna be a long time before the next Home Depot. Or the next grocery store. Or, well, anywhere at all likely to have anything at all you could use. You quickly dump out your backpack to make some room; your textbooks and notes are not going to do you much good here. Now, what to replace them with...
First thing's food. They didn't really say how long this will last, but from how they put it you wouldn't be surprised if it took days. The dorm, sadly, has very few items which do not obey the pattern of "microwave it for 30-120 seconds, possibly after adding some water, and pretend it's a full meal". There's half a loaf of bread and some peanut butter, and a couple apples in the fridge (which unsurprisingly has no power right now) because they come with the meals at the nearest place that accepts the meal plan. And... that's it. You quickly dismiss the idea of bringing along any of the colas or beers in the fridge, instead grabbing the water bottles your roommate always buys. You need them more than him. Realizing that this is already the sorriest bunch of trail rations you've ever heard of you stick what's left of the pizza into plastic baggies and pack it too; it isn't trail food but you literally have nothing else.
Now that's taken care of, actual supplies. You grab your jacket, figuring there's a good chance you'll need it (heck, you were probably gonna regret not taking it if you'd just been going to class). Your phone gets its volume maximized and is shoved in one of the zipper pockets where it won't fall out but you can get it out quickly. Thinking on what could possibly be "useful" in an unknown situation, that old geeky adage enters your head and you remember seeing something in your roommate's desk drawer... and there it is. A roll of duct tape. In all honesty you have no idea what it could ever be useful for, but he swears by it and that's good enough for you.
You're starting to get annoyed that he seems to be better prepared for a situation like this than you are. Sadly your interests, varied as they may be, don't really lend themselves to the "wilderness survival" thing, nor do his.
> do ya got a cricket bat or baseball bat in your closet?
Scratch that. You've got one thing that puts everything else in this room to shame, in that it's not actually hard to imagine a situation in which it's useful. You may well have to use it before you're even out of the dorm building. That something, of course, is your trusty baseball bat. You'll never be good enough to actually compete of course, and you haven't even touched it since the start of the term, but you kept it in your closet anyways and it paid off. It won't fit in your bag though.
And then there's your computer, which Z suggested you bring. Technically it's a laptop, but it's about the biggest and heaviest "laptop" you've ever seen; you traded portability for processing power and a big screen for watching movies, and you're about to pay the price. Or are you? The thought of leaving it behind pains you, but most of the stuff on there isn't, in all honesty, useful. You can apparently communicate with these guys via phone, and god knows you bought a smartphone for a reason, right? Right?
Hmm. If you take the laptop you'll have a good deal of extra weight, but it can fit in your backpack and the bag's not too full with other things just yet. According to the first two emails you've got some kind of time limit, but you can't help but feel like you ought to have more than this. Of course, even if you are packed, there's still the question of how to get out--a quick check reveals that the door does not want to open with the dooknob (and presumably the lock) in that state.
Suggestions of anything useful you could REASONABLY expect to be in an ordinary college student's room will net you supplies, though I get to make that call. Though most of the puzzles aren't going to focus on items and could be solved with what you have now, some may be somewhat open-ended. Such as this first area, and the first area from the original Trust Me. You'll probably be glad you suggested the baseball bat.
I'll take a tally of the last vote each person made on a gate to pursue once you're outside or in some other way actually capable of acting on that decision, so feel free to vote or change your vote until then. Next update you'll be hearing from the helpful voices again, I promise! Next update is hopefully tomorrow night.
If you search enough dorms, you'll find some rope eventually. You won't want to know what it was used for, but it will be rope. There are always flashlight hidden around somewhere. A lighter might come in handy. Does this place have vending mach- of course it does. Bat>>Vending machine, grab stuff. Go on a scale of actual usefulness. Grab trail mix, ignore gummi snacks.
>how about a lighter, if any of your friends smoke there should be like three or four in the room. and i don't think you can do the rub two sticks together method of starting a fire. oh and the dice mentioned from earlier. if your gonna have to deal with these six way decisions a lot might as well bring some dice to leave it to fate or luck. also since that one guys said something about physics or something changing maybe how luck works could change as well.
I'm taking Dermonster's suggestion as a generalized "raid the neighboring rooms" cry because there's certainly not rope in this one. I could have given you the flashlight, but the lighter will be good enough and doubles as a source of fire.
But you can't go raiding the adjacent rooms until, you know, you've gotten out of this one.
> Yes, take the laptop, and do you have any first aid suplies? Who knows, even a few band-aids might help. What about a pocket knife? A notepad and pen?
> How about a lighter?
Maybe you will need it and maybe you won't, but if you don't take your laptop and it turns out you needed it after all you'll die pretty miserable. And as you think further you realize that you overlooked just about the most obvious thing you could possibly want to bring--that "first aid kit" your mom forced you to buy. It's the cheapest and least-comprehensive thing they had, but it still has disinfectant, an assortment of differently-shaped bandaids and small roll of that kind of bandage that sticks to itself.
Thinking further you grab your old pocketknife (how did you forget it?) and your roommate's lighter (how he ended up smoking, you'll never figure out. He never struck you as the type). You also throw one of your empty notebooks and a good pen in the bag for good measure, in case you run into something that belongs in one of those old-school adventure games. Or, hey, in case you find yourself with time later to sit down and compare notes on what these guys are saying.
Speaking of them, a new message arrives while you're grabbing the last of the useful stuff in your room. This one is apparently from a fourth person, "N". You notice that a new folder has miraculously appeared with this new person's email; they were already messing around with your settings, so you're not too surprised. Not wanting to burn your bridges just yet you open the message:
Originally Posted by N
You've probably heard from some of the others by now. Ultimately there's six of us. You've also probably noticed by now that this is some kind of "game". But it's not a game for you, oh no. You lose no matter which gate you go to, it's just a matter of "how much" and "to who?" Though just to be clear, you really can just die before making it to any of us, in which case EVERYBODY loses. Including you obviously.
Personally, I don't want or need a personal slave and find the whole concept of this game a little revolting; I'm just playing because I have to. I have no intention of keeping you if I "win". So your best bet is probably to go for my gate, the blue one, unless you somehow get a better offer. After all, you've gotta pick someone to trust.
In the meantime, on the subject of not dying before you get there, there IS a time limit. And this hex is, for some reason, huge. I bet everyone else is freaking out about that, but from what I understand of the game they've got it backwards. The first hex is supposed to give you plenty of time, to ease you in to the whole "mortal peril" thing and give everyone a chance to sweet-talk you. It'd probably take you more than an hour to walk from here to one of the gates without any obstacles at all, so my guess is that the real challenge is finding some alternative to walking despite that whole "stuff falling apart" thing. Any ideas on how? I've got a sneaking suspicion you know this particular area better than me, since you didn't even seem to realize you were gone at first.
If anyone's confused, I HAD put the message from N in the first post, but then I looked at it and realized what horrendous pacing it was to have FOUR long messages in one post so I edited it out with the intention of reposting it a couple updates in. Which I am. Now.
A few last things: take a charger for your phone; you probably won't get a lot of chances at an electrical socket, but it's better than leaving without it. Secondly, you must have some postage around. That guy mentioned going through the same gate more than once; either he's assuming you're an imbecile or there's some kind of labyrinthesque maze-traversing in store for you. It'll be nice to have a way to mark places you've already been.
Once that's done, head for the blue gate. You don't have enough information to really make a rational choice, so it's as good as any.
Last edited by Aniventerie; 11-06-2011 at 08:31 PM.
>can you Mail them all back? ask them all a few questions. like how did they end up here? how did you end up here? If this is a game then what's the prize for the "winner"? and is there any way for you to become the "winner"?
>Hopefully shoes would be enough to count as "not touching the Floor" but better test this before committing. maybe pack some gloves if the shoes work.
I'm going to officially declare at this point that you should only expect this to update on weekends. Sorry but that's just how it's going to be.
The thanksgiving holiday is going to count as a four day weekend for me.
> take a charger for your phone
You quickly add chargers for both phone and computer to the bag.
> can you Mail them all back? ask them all a few questions.
Well, you're not going anywhere without some questions answered. Someone went to all the trouble of setting these guys up in your phone's email, that's gotta be a two-way channel. Hopefully.
Since they don't have legitimate email addresses, you send your questions as a reply to each of the ones you've received so far. Hopefully each of them should shortly be seeing the following:
Originally Posted by You
Before I go anywhere, I need to know what's going on here. I want to know who you are and how you ended up doing this. And then I want to know what exactly it is that the "winner" of this apparent "game" wins.
Most importantly, is there a way for me to win?
Two replies come in quite quickly:
Originally Posted by D
I'm not sure we have time for this just yet, but you're right to have questions. The answers to those questions aren't short and you're on a time limit. Like I said, the most important thing right now is getting to ANY gate. We can stop and figure out which one's right once we know you can escape the hex when the clock runs out. The place will get really dangerous really fast when that happens.
Originally Posted by Z
I'll answer any question you have, but not unless you read said answers on the move. I don't see how you're gonna get through this one on time but it's not by sitting in that room.
> Hopefully shoes would be enough to count as "not touching the Floor" but better test this before committing. maybe pack some gloves if the shoes work.
Hmm, maybe they have a point. The door's not opening, but the drywall (in fact, all the exterior walls of your room) seems to react the same way as the door. Not that you couldn't punch through drywall on a normal day anyways. You quickly smash yourself a hole leading into the hallway, where you have the sense to pause before stepping. Cautiously you poke the floor with your bat, and it feels solid. You then rest your foot on the floor of the hallway, without any weight on it. It takes a second or two before you begin hearing a creaking sound and quickly withdraw your foot. Nothing collapses... yet.
Getting out of here may be a challenge. You're on the sixth floor of this building and do not intend to descend by falling. You know there's both elevators and stairs at the end of this hall, and one of those old metal exterior fire escapes at the other end.
While you're doing this, the other two replies you're waiting on come in:
Originally Posted by J
Who am I? I'm just a person who happens to have been chosen to play the game. I wish I could say I did something special, but that was just luck. Hopefully I get to look good in front of everybody now.
I guess I shouldn't be surprised by your questions. I've watched the game lots of times and it seems like almost everybody tries to scare you into taking their advice. There is a prize but it's nothing to do with you, and you get to go home afterward no matter who wins. I've always liked the puzzles more than the fighting over the centerpiece part so I think I'll skip all the "do this or you'll die" stuff. Right now let's just get you to the end of this Hex.
Originally Posted by N
I guess I'll make this as quick as I can. I'm playing this because I don't have much of a choice; my brother couldn't just decline outright without causing a huge political scene, but he was able to pass it off onto me. I can probably get away with more than he can but I can't just opt out either and there's noone else to pass the honor on to.
Think of us as a bunch of aristocrats playing a big, cruel party game to open up a summit. You'll be pretty close to the right picture.
The prize, of course, is you. You're stuck serving whoever wins for the rest of your or their life, whichever's longer, and trust me when I say there's ways of making you. There IS no way out of this; it's just a matter of who can convince or trick you into letting them win. Though I guess you could always just throw yourself out that window if you'd prefer.
Well now what?
I am now officially slightly changing the "strategy" one of these guys is using, as was written down in my notes at the beginning. Because the original strategy would be pretty boring in comparison, I think. Yes, I have a file full of notes on what the truth is and what each person is supposed to act like, to keep me fair.
I also may have to change another important detail because it doesn't feel right anymore. I'll have to think on that one some more.
> Get as quickly as you can to the stairs (I wouldn't trust the elevator).
There's really not much of a choice. You're going to have to take the stairs. Donning your rather heavy backpack, grabbing the bat and bidding farewell to the room, you take off at a run. You intend to spend as little time touching the floor as possible until you're on ground level.
You make it halfway there before you start to hear a loud and ominous creaking noise. Crap, did you slow down or are you ruining the whole floor's integrity? You try to put on a burst of speed, but the floor gives way under your next step.
Ow ow ow ow ow. You don't think you broke anything, but that really hurt. You don't want to repeat it four more times (actually five, since the building has a basement). But if you've got another plan, you'd better do it fast; you've probably only got a couple seconds to get moving.