New Game: Choose Your Own Adventure

I think we need to get a good fun thread going, so how about a Choose Your Own Adventure story?

This is similar in concept to the Neverending Story thread from a while back, but slightly more structured. I’ll start a story, and give two choices for how to continue. The next person will take one of the choices, add a paragraph or two, and give a couple more choices for continuing. The next person will take one of those choices, and so on for as long as we can keep it going.

The setting of the story is an old estate called Smuggler’s Island, on the shore of Lake Huron in Michigan’s lower peninsula. It takes place in modern times (ie, 2002 AD).

The rules:

  1. Quote the choice you take, to help maintain continuity.

  2. If two or more people simulpost, the next person can choose whichever post he/she likes best to respond to.

  3. Try to stay on the island. Smuggler’s Island (described below) has several interesting features, which will hopefully give us plenty of room for adventures.
    (Note: my intoduction is pretty long because I want to give things a good setup. For additions, a paragarph is fine.)

It was a beautiful late summer morning in Lakeside Township (forget that “dark and stormy night” crap). Mark and his girlfriend Becky stood on the small bridge, looking over at Smuggler’s Island. “Come on, Becky, let’s go look around,” Mark prodded. “I don’t know, Mark. They say that Mr. Burkman was into all kinds of wierd cults and stuff.” “Yeah, but he’s dead now, so what’s the harm? I mean everybody wants to go look around Smuggler’s Island, and now we have the chance.” Everyone in the area did want to look around that estate. Smuggler’s Island was a very picturesque place. It sits between the north and south branches of the Jackpine River, which splits about a mile before it empties into Lake Huron. The Burkman’s mansion was on the east side of the island, near the lakefront. It was a large three-story building, in no particular style. Several additions over the years gave the mansion a sprawling effect. Vast gardens surrounded the mansion. They were beautiful and always immaculately maintained. The western end, where the river divided, was heavily wooded. Supposedly, there was an old cemetery in the woods, but neither Mark nor Becky had ever seen it.

“Come on, Becky, maybe we’ll find some old arrowheads or something.” Smuggler’s Island had a long and colorful history. In ancient times, local Native American tribes used this island as an exile colony, where certain intolerable members of their society were banished. The island’s original name was Wanehimaweenakonga, which means “Place where we send guys with really bad B.O.” White settlers knew the place as Stench Island. The island served in this capacity until the end of the 19th century. By that time, advances in deodorant technology had rendered the colony unnecessary, and in 1893 it was abandoned. People downwind rejoiced.

Wanehimaweenakonga/Stench Island sat unoccupied until the 1920’s when Prohibition-era bootleggers used it as a base for smuggling illegal liquor into the US from Canada. This is when the island got its current name. Local cops would frenquently go out to “raid” the bootlegger’s operation, but in reality they were just picking up a few cases of Labatts for the weekend’s football games. After Prohibition ended, Smuggler’s Island changed hands a few times, and in the 1970’s it was purchased by John Burkman.

John Burkman was a strange character. For one thing, noone knew where his money came from. When asked how he came by his fortune, he would only speak vaugely of “investments” he had. Most people decided that Smuggler’s Island was probably being used for smuggling again. He was something of an amateur scientist, and you could frequently see odd lights and hear odd noises from one of John’s experiments. He sometimes set up booby traps to ward off trespassers, and several times the police had made him remove traps that might have hurt people.

Then there was John’s wife, Delta. Small and shy, she hardly ever ventured off the island, and had no friends that anyone knew of. It was widely rumored that the Burkmans practiced some odd fringe religion, and that they had set up an altar in the cemetery. There were three children: John Jr, Jeremy, and Jennifer. Mark and Becky had both gone to school with Jeremy. He was snobby and annoying.

The Burkmans lived a quite life until about ten years ago. John and Delta’s marriage was falling apart, and Delta had hired a lawyer to begin divorce proceedings. They were never completed; Delta disappeared. The day she vanished, John took his boat, the Mad Scientist out onto Lake Huron, and spent most of the day out of sight of land. When he returned, he called the police and said that Delta had “simply vanished.” It didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out what had probably happened, but the police never found enough evidence to file charges.

In the ten years since then, the children had all grown up and moved away. Now John himself was dead; his BMW had gone off the highway at over 90mph and crashed into a tree. The children came back just long enough to bury him, and then took off again. None of them wanted the mansion, or the island. The estate was currently in probate.

“Well, OK Mark, a quick look won’t hurt,” Becky finally conceeded. The pair walked over the bridge and onto the island.

**Do they:

A) Go up to the house, or
B) Go into the woods?**

The woods, the woods! Lions, and tigers, and porcupines, oh m…never mind. Proceed.

They go into the woods. After a few minutes, they hear a strange noise. “What was that?” Becky asks, and latches herself to Mark’s arm. “Probably some animal. It’s nothing.” He says, but is still shaking. Suddenly, a crazed badger leaps out at them and attacks Becky’s leg.

Does John:
Grab a stick, kill the animal, and continue on; or
Grab Becky in his arms and seek shelter in the house?

John had picked up a stick and was advancing menaceingly (sp?) on the badger, ready to kill it to prove his machoness to Becky, when Becky knocks it out of his hands. “How can you even THINK of killing it?” she demanded? “I can’t believe you! It’s not its fault. It was just started, that’s all.”

John stood dumbstruck for a moment. His plan to impress Becky had backfired.

“Well, don’t just stand there letting this thing gnaw on my leg!” Becky yelled.

“But you just said…”

“Don’t kill the thing! Just GET ME OUT OF HERE!”

With that, John grabbed Becky and raced towards the house, while the hungry badger scurried off into the woods.
They get to the house and find all of the doors locked. There are only two ways in. One is through a broken, jagged window that will probably cause many deep scratches, the other is through a dark, underground tunnel.

Do they:

A) choose to risk losing some blood going through the window
B) decide to venture into the dark, unknown tunnel

They go thru the tunnel. The tunnel, tho obviously leading to the house, is sloping downhill. They hear a heavy breathing. “What’s that?” Becky asks.
“Just the air going in and out of the tunnel. Nuthin big.” Mark says. “Ya know, this long, dark tunnel kinda reminds me of something.”
“Not Now!” Becky says, and smacks him.
Suddenly, a rabid badger attacks Mark’s crotch.
“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!” He says. “Help me!!!”
“It’s no big loss.” Becky says, but rubs the badger on the back and it lets go.
“Look at it, it wants to come with us.” Becky says
“No way! It tried to take away my manhood!”
“WE ARE taking it with us!”
“NO we are not!”

Do they:
Take the badger with them; or
Leave it there

(yes, I like badgers. So what? :smiley: )

When it comes to badgers, though, Mark’s word is the law, and so they just leave it there. It has an incredibly hurt look in it’s eyes, almost too incredibly hurt considering it just tried to apply claw pressure to male pair of testicles in an incredibly hurtful way, but Mark reminds Becky of his almost-torn crotch and they harden their minds and step forward in the tunnel. The dumped badger continues to watch them for a while and then goes to another direction.

Meanwhile, the erstwhile twosome walk in the tunnel. Finally the tunnel slopes upwards and ends in a door. However, before Mark can open the door, Becky screams. “Look! It’s a body!” And indeed it is a body - a human body. And it hasn’t been dead for too long for the looks of it, either. No, rabid badgers haven’t wreaked havoc between it’s legs - and there are no other visible signs of how it’s died.

So, do Becky and Mark:

a) leave the body to be and continue through the door or
b) examine the body more closely?

Neither of them was especially eager to touch the dead guy, so Mark and Becky left the body and continued through the door. (Mark promised Becky that he would call the police later and report the body anonymously.) Beyond the door was a narrow hallway. The hallway appeared to be a secret passage; one wall was stone and obviously part of the foundation, and the other was an interior wall. A single bare bulb hanging from the ceiling illuminated the passage. They followed the passage to the end and found a door. Stepping through it, the pair found themselves in what appeared to be an old storage room in the basement. In the center of the room was a large object, covered by a blue plastic tarp. On the far side of the room was a door that lead to who-knows-where.

Do they:

Remove the tarp and examine the object, or
Ignore the object and go through the door?

Though Mark was the badger authority, Becky clearly wore the pants in this relationship. Becky’s curiousity got the better of her, and goaded Mark into pulling off the tarp, while she stood at a safe distance, pondering what might be under the mysterious blue obstruction.
In one quickly articulated moment, Mark yanked the the inscrutable piece of plastic off, fearing some ill-tempered badger might yearn for yet another taste of his loins.
But no… it was a plain canoe, which contained only one paddle. Auburn in color, and with a plastic interior, it only heightened the sense of mystery. After a few confused words discussing what it could possibly be for, they moved on to the next chamber.
What they found was amazing. It was another tunnel, but in the middle of the lane was a 5’ wide stream of water. The mystery of the canoe was solved. The stream carried a signifigantly strong current, and would be hard to paddle against, especially with one paddle. Downstream, they could see and opening with moonlight covering a beautiful lagoon. Upstream, there was a path on one side, which was just wide enough to comfortably walk on. At the end of the tunnel, there was a vaguely flickering light.

Do they:
A: grab the canoe and head into the lagoon, or
B: head into the darkness

Since he was pathalogicxally afraid of paddles, ** Mark suggested they head into the darkness ** . Becky acquiesced, and they made their way slowly forward, Mark rolling up his sleeves to expose his bioluminescent arms, and thus giving the pair some light by which to navigate.

“What’s that up ahead?” Wondered Becky, seeing the eerie blue arm-light glint off a large metallic object. As they drew nearer, it became obvious that it was a complicated piece of machinery, but what was it doing here, and what use could it possibly serve?

Mark examined the machine. It seemed to have apassenger compartment, and as he climbed inside, he noticed that there were two seats, and they were surrounded on all sides by levers, switches and gauges.

“I think it’s a spaceship!” He cried, astonished.

Becky was skeptical. “Looks more like a time-machine to me.” She peered back into the darkness, but Mark’s arms were inside the machine with the rest of him, and she couldn’t see. “Mark, come out of there. I want to keep going.”

Mark scowled. He sure took a lot of orders from Becky. maybe it was time to assert his authority…

Does Mark:

A: Ignore her and try out the machine
B: Do what his woman tells him

Mark blatantly ignored Becky (damn that old nag anyway!) and started playing with the switches. When he flipped all the amber toggle switches on the top left row the machine roared to life.

He scanned the readout now coming to life. In the middle were three panels showing what were obviously dates. The middle panel was todays date. The bottom one showed one almost forty years ago and the top one was blinking all zeroes.

He twirled the knob next to the top panel until it read all 8’s, that is, August 8th, 8888. “Heh, heh,” he snickered to himself.

“Hey Becky! C’mere, check this out. I think it is a time machine. Where do you want to go today?” He laughed out loud again.

“Mark,” Becky cried over the low din of the engines, “I don’t know what you’re up to in there but you better get out here this instant. Or else!”

“Or else what,” he mumbled to himself. She never wants to have any fun. Mark steeled his resolve. “No, come in here. You really gotta see this!”

Becky stormed over to the machine and:

  1. Hauls Mark’s ass out of the machine.
  2. Stares at all the gauges and decides to hop in.

NO! IT CAN’T DIE YET! :frowning:

“Oh, OK,” Becky sighed as she hopped in. “But we are not going to try to change history or any of that crap.” “Fine, fine,” Mark conceded. The pair sat down and Mark pushed the Start button.

Unfortunately, there was a very important fact which neither of them knew. The time machine’s flux capacitors were only rated for a maximum displacement of 1500 years. This was how far the time machine could travel in a single jump without overloading. Mark’s intended journey (6886 years into the future) was far beyond these safe limits, so instead of travelling into the furture, the time machine exploded.

Miraculously, neither Mark nor Becky was hurt, but the time machine was toast. “I told you to leave it alone,” Becky scolded.

The explosion had knocked a hole in the tunnel wall. On the other side was a fruit cellar, filled with (now moldy) fruit. There was a ladder leading up through the ceiling. They could also continue down the tunnel, which apparently lead to the lagoon.

Do they go:
a) up the ladder
b) to the lagoon?

Mark’s fear of paddles and Becky’s even greater fear of creatures from black lagoons (or any color lagoon, for that matter) made their decision for them. Becky began ascending the ladder, complaining of the slime that covered the rusty rungs.

After about thirty feet she came to a trapdoor. She pushed on it. It gave very little, indicating it was locked from above. “It’s locked,” she called out to Mark below. “There’s some prybars laying around here. Want me to bring 'em up?” he asked.

They both froze as they heard heavy footsteps walking on the floor above.

Do they:
a) Run like hell out of this adventure and never speak about their trespassing on Smuggler’s Island to anybody?
b) Lock and load the considerable arsenal Mark had stashed earlier and go in with guns blazing?

Obviously Mark’s sense of judgement had been impaired by the recent events. “Let’s lock and load,” he growled, while he slowly spun in a circle, trying to recall where his arsenal was.

“Lock and load what?” wondered Becky aloud from the top of the ladder. Since Mark hadn’t pulled out anything earlier to protect himself from the ravages of the badgers, either any weapon he had was hidden quite well on his person or he was delirious from pain.

“My arsenal’s around here somewhere,” Mark said, pacing around the cellar and examining a likely spot behind a box of pineapples.

“Mark, we’ve never been here before. You haven’t buried anything… Not for any reasonable time period, anyway. Hurry the hell up, whatever you’re doing; those steps are getting closer.”

Despite the words of reason, Mark continued his search. Beyond all expectations, even those of the author, Mark pried up a weak floorboard and pulled out a gleaming, fully loaded Pancor Jackhammer automatic shotgun. “Climb down, baby, 'cuz I’m going up.”

Even from thirty feet above, the glint of insanity in Mark’s eye was quite visible to Becky. She scurried down the ladder, and Mark laid a B-movie worthy kiss on her forehead than hauled himself up to the trapdoor, keeping the shotgun pointed up at the door at all times.

Mark flicked the safety off and licked his lips. The steps continud to grow louder, then quiter, then he stopped hearing them altogether. His blood pounding in his ears, his mouth dry with tension, his finger tightening on the trigger, he knew he faced a decision.

Should he:
a) blow the lock off the door, and see what’s out there?
b) wait for whoatever is out there to make the first move, while Mark grows increasingly tense?

While Mark struggled with his decision, Becky rooted through the cellar. Surely if he could find a brand spanking new shotgun she could find something to protect herself with. Who am I kidding? she thought introspectively, I wanna kick some ass.

She dug through the spot under the floorboard that Mark had torn up. Almost out of reach she encoutered a cloth wrapped around something hard. She squealed and pulled it out.

She unwrapped the carefully rolled oiled cloth to reveal… telescoping batons! Those 2 years spent training at Master Yamamoto’s dojo were going to come in handy after all! She flicked the weapons and they smoothly snicked to their 2 foot fully extended length.

She heard a loud blast from the shotgun. About time, slowpoke. She heard Mark swearing loudly. “What’s up? Did you get the lock?” she cried out. Dust and debris were falling steadily below Mark.

Mark shot back “Yeah, along with a third of the door as well. But now I can’t see shit with all this dust and debris in my eyes, mouth, and nose.” “Oh, get down here ya big baby,” Becky chided. “I’ll go have a look-see.”

“Fine, whatever,” Mark coughed, and began descending the ladder a little too quickly. He fell 5 feet from the floor and landed with a whuff. Becky looked at him in disdain. “You know that shotgun has a strap that you could have shouldered it with. Idiot.” She began ascending the ladder once again.

Light streamed in through the gaping hole Mark’s weapon had made. Dust swirled on the other side and she could make out very little. She cautiously touched a baton to the door and slowly lifted it up. When nothing happened after several inches of the door had been raised she quickly flung it the rest of the way open. She effortlessly jumped from the ladder and through the door opening and landed lightly on her feet. The dust was not as thick in the air now and she could quite clearly make out what had been making the footsteps.

Before her sat a family of four who were, until just recently, enjoying a very late breakfast in their kitchen. The mother stared wide-eyed at her, cigarette dangling from her mouth and coffee cup held loosely, very close to spilling. The father, in classic white tank top and striped boxer shorts with black socks, still had a spoon held halfway to his mouth, the Cheerios on it now covered in a thick layer of grey dust. The kids, a boy who looked 8 years old and a girl about a year older, were slowly pushing their chairs away and making as if to run.

Does Becky:
a) Call down to Mark and tell him to get off his lazy ass and get up here as we have a “situation”?
b) Excuse herself politely and retreat back through the trapdoor?
c) Introduce herself and sit down for a bowl of Cheerios?