Sunset is nearing completion. Doesn't matter though, the smoke from the ongoing nuclear war blocks out the sun constantly. Even so, the animals know when the sun sets. Hell, I know. Something deep inside, something primal, tells me to run into a hole in the ground until the sun wakes again with the world. I use the term world loosely. Earth is a hollow shell of its once glorious, green self. The whole planet is doomed sooner or later. Might as well get some cool free shit while I am still alive. I grab all the crap I can, and I run like hell back to my shelter. It is simply an old carnival booth. Before the nuclear mass extinction event, a cheerful clown would be selling cotton candy to kids and parents stepping off the ferris wheel. It is then that I hear the scream. It is coming from behind the Driftwood Rapids, a huge log floom.
[[Check it out.]]
[[Not your problem, forget it.]]I slowly edge my way around the Rapids careful not to make a sound. I hear loud sobbing and sniffling, getting louder and louder. Slowly, a boy around my age comes into view, his face a wet and snotty mess. He stands in front of the last of the functional ferris wheel bots. I didn't even know there were any left. The bot's red LED "eyes" drill into him, with more awareness and comprehension than a normal one would. No surprise there. The Comprehensive Perceptiondroid Artifical Intelligence, or, as it calls itself, the Core Peace AI, controls them all now.
[[You remember the ray gun in your scavengings. Worth a shot.]]
[[Not your problem, forget it.]] The radiation eventually reaches your little shelter. You die a horrible, painful death from radiation sickness in 10 years, at 28. You have only one regret: that you never helped the screaming person behind the Rapids who needed your help. Oh well!
Play Again? [[again->Start]]Bam! Bam! Bam bam! I shoot the ray neatly down the middle, in quick bursts. Then I grab the boy, and run, run, RUN back to my shelter. We burst through the door just as the moon rises. The boy starts to sort through my odds and ends that I've collected over time. He snatches another gun and points it at me.
[[Shoot him.->Not your problem, forget it.]]
[[Knock him out.]]When he comes to, you point a ray gun at his head. Question time. You ask:
[[Why did you try to kill me?]]
[[No more questions.]]
[[Who are you?]]"Because I w-w-wasn't sure whether to trust you. I g-g-get this is actually your home now, s-s-so you can't be w-w-with the radicals," he replies, lower lip trembling. It doesn't seem he could actually kill anyone anyway.
[[Who are you?]]
[[No more questions.]]"Hang on, did you say MARS?!?!?!?!?!?!", I ask. He nods, sniffling. "Can you get the military to get us off this rock?" He nods again, and composes himself. "We'll need to get to the base on the coast of the area people used to call Canada." I nod. "I suppose I should tell you some things about me as well. How about my name?"
(set: $name to (prompt: "A name please:", "name"))
"Thank you for helping me, $name", he tells me. "Get some rest", I reply. "We have a long day ahead of us."
[[Proceed.]]"My n-n-name is M-M-Matthew. I'm f-from M-M-M-Mars Army C-Camp 3102. My p-parents w-w-were in the army f-for the b-b-bot w-wars. T-the machines invaded c-camp, and...and they-". He starts crying again.
[[Why did you try to kill me?]]
[[No more questions.]] I wake up Matthew as soon as I pack our bags. He follows me groggily out into the sunshine. There is a motorcycle that I managed to assemble from spare parts years ago lying against the shelter outside. It is a pretty long way to the base. We could use it To travel if there is still some gas left. It has a pretty small seat. I'm not sure if we'd both fit.
[[Take the motorcycle.]]
[[Nope, too heavy.]]We reach Chicago as soon as the sun sets, with the help of the motorcycle's built in compass. I had forgoten abtout it before. We make camp and decide to stay the night before continuing back. We have a long way to go, from Minneapolis through Manitoba, all the way to Fort Severn.
[[Take first watch.]]
[[Take second watch.]] You get lost and wander for weeks, months. You eventually die from dehydration.
Play again? [[again->Start]]I hear the robots clanking mechanical steps before I see them. I burst into Matthew's tent and shake him awake. I quickly instruct him on how to use his ray gun, and we run out to the hill that seperates bot from human. Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! They all collapse onto the hardened earth.
[[Stay the night.->Take second watch.]]
You are so tired, Matthew can't wake you up in time. Bot Patrol kills you both.
Play again? [[again->Start]]We stop to grab some more bottled water from crumbling department stores. Finally, I can try Fiji water! Turns out, it all tastes the same. We reach the halfway point in a couple more days.
[[Head to Minneapolis.]]
[[Head toward Michigan.->Nope, too heavy.]]We rest and resupply for the journey ahead, even shoplifting two coats.
[[Head to Manitoba.]]
[[Head to Michigan.->Nope, too heavy.]] We reach Fort Severn in another few weeks, and are given shelter. Eventually, the head officer, a friend of Matthew's parents, secures a tranysport device for us. I wave goodbye to Earth. Time for the start of our new lives.
[[Don't kiss Matthew.]]You and Matthew get married and live, long happy lives.
[[Play again?->Start]]You and Matthew live long, happy lives on Mars, and remain friends until your deaths.