''"I think I'm done with questions for today,"'' you say. ''"There's a lot to take in right now..."''\n\n''"That's fine! We'll be here tomorrow!"'' Ellie cuts in excitedly with a happy purr.\n\n''"–JOYCE! Where are you? It's time for breakfast!"'' you hear your mom's voice shouting over the fields. Have you really spent hours outside talking to a group of cats?\n\n''"I'll be right there!"'' you shout back. You turn back to the cats.\n\n>> [[You'll be back tomorrow.|Coming Back]]\n>> [[You haven't made up your mind.|Maybe come back]]\n>> [[Turn back without saying anything – you're out of time.|Turn back]]
"The Space Lord Mathias is known throughout the intergalactic universe as a ruthless tyrant. \n\nFor the past few decades, he has been oppressing the cats of [[Aeria|Catopia]] and enslaving them in the various [[platinum mines|Mines]]. \n\nAs to his path to power, [[rumors|Mathias Personal]] say that he came out of the womb and subsequently killed his siblings to get rid of any possible weaknesses. \n\nHis [[parents|Mathias Parents]] died mysteriously 10 years later. They had apparently lived past their usefulness to Mathias and were thus expendable."\n\n>> [[No more questions for now.|Done asking]]
''"Thank you so much for your help Joyce,"'' Leslie says, voice full of gratitude. ''"We are forever indebted to you! I personally feel that we have gotten close over the course of this mission, and I know that Ellie just adores you. Please, come live with us and meet the rest of our family!"''\n\nThe offer stuns you. Never in a million years would you have thought that you would get the chance to live in Aeria. Without hesitation, you nod your head and reach down to hug Leslie. After all, the offer is too tempting to resist. \n\nEllie and Jerome also come up to you and rub against your legs. You have a feeling of contentment around them--a feeling that you haven't quite found back at home. You realize that by joining the cats, you will be leaving your mom forever, but she'll understand. She's always [[understood|Mom Limbo]].
She seems to look happier these days. You don't know where she's going in her spare time, but she always comes back home with a bounce in her step. And she always talks about her new friends. She's making friends. That's something new and unexpected and you're so happy for her.\n\nAnd she's been taking her medicine regularly. She's even eating and sleeping a lot better. For the first time in a long time, you see her smile regularly. For the first time in a long time, Joyce comes home with a bounce in her step. \n\nMaybe things will get better soon, you think. For the first time in forever, maybe things will be [[normal|Stockpile]] in your family again.
Recently, she seems a little excited, a little worked up. The doctors say it's a good thing that she has a little energy, especially since Joyce was so tired and listless before.\n\nYou agree. It's rare to see so much excitement in her eyes again. You miss seeing your baby girl so happy and excited.\n\nThat's why, when you find a note that Joyce will be out of the house all day, you're not even worried. You're so excited that she seems to finally find more meaning in life. \n\nYou decide to buy some groceries for a lovely dinner tonight to [[celebrate|Before battle]].
You take the yogurt (strawberry flavored, of course), and bring it to the counter. Yum! The creaminess of the yogurt perfectly delights your senses, and you fall into a yogurt-induced stupor. \n\nAfter a minute or so, you snap out of it. You throw the yogurt container away and leave the kitchen.\n\n>> [[Go to the living room.|Living Room]]\n>> [[Go to your bedroom.|Bedroom]]
They tell you that she's gone.\n\nNot completely, but something's not quite right in her mind anymore. \n\n//'She's still in her mind,'// they tell you, shaking their heads. //'No medicine will fix her.'//\n\nBut you don't care. Even if all she would do every day is stare into space, play with her cat, and talk gibberish about rescuing space cats. Even if she doesn't remember who you are. Because even if her mind's gone, her body's still here.\n\nBecause even if her mind's gone, at least you don't have to relive that night again.
''"Well, I met some cats who just flew in from Aeria,"'' you respond almost automatically. ''"Can I be excused now?"''\n\n''"Wait, what? Cats? Flying?"'' your mom asks, alarmed. ''"What do you mean?"''\n\nYou sigh. You just want to leave. Maybe you shouldn't have told her anything. She always freaks out. She's so protective. Over protective. ''"Yes, they're aliens. Can I go now?"''\n\n''"Be careful, Joyce,"'' your mom begins. You're already leaving the dining room. ''"Aliens are dangerous! I heard the radio show–"''\n\nYou're [[uncomfortable|Comfortable]].
The spaceship docks right next to Mathias' palace--this plan is not one of subterfuge, but of outright battle.\n\nYou follow the cats as they march in to the palace, where Mathias is lounging on his throne, eating mini plums. \n\n//''"YOU DARE DISRUPT MY DAY! MINIONS, KILL THEM!!!"''//\n\nA swarm of minions rush out from the wings towards you. A big battle ensues. As you are fighting a small minion, you look around and realize that the cats are slowly overpowering the minions! Mathias, however, is still on his throne, surveying the action.\n\nAll of a sudden, Mathias lets out a huge roar, and all the cats and minions topple to the floor, covering their ears in agony. Somehow you are the only one left standing--perhaps you are somehow immune to Mathias' powers? You realize that this moment is crucial--no one is protecting Mathias! Perhaps this is your time to shine!\n\n>> [[Take Mathias down right now!|Die]]\n>> [[Wait for the cats to take Mathias down together|Limbo]]
The water was easy: you stole and washed some bottles scavenged from the garbage, and just filled them with tap water.\n\nBlankets: the towels that you own were enough. Cats aren't that big, anyway. The comforter landed in the pile too, in case the spaceship gets very cold at night.\n\nBut the food. For you, some canned food was enough, but when you asked your mom to buy bags of cat food, she looked at you weirdly. Hopefully the made-up story about the stray cats out back was convincing enough.\n\nYou loaded it all in your little red wagon and a backpack, and set out towards the spaceship. You left a note for your mom, but left it vague. Better to make up a story when you get back than to try to explain it right before leaving. \n\nAs you near the spaceship, Ellie comes running up to you: ''"Joyce! Joyce! You're back! We missed you! Come inside, we're [[planning the actual mission|Plan Mission]] right now!"''
''"No!!"'' a panic sound comes from somewhere.\n''"You'll go crazy if you stay with him."''\n\nThe voice was familiar, but not any close to your mom's. But indeed, you've heard it from somewhere recently.\n\nThe motherly voice says again ... \n''"Stay away from him. [[Stay away...|Mom Sad 2]]"''
Without thinking, you follow her instructions and consume a few pills from the bottle you didn't know you brought.\n\nYou immediately feel the surge of energy after you take the pills. You feel stronger, more capable. With another might cry, you rush towards Mathias. The two of you engage in a long and exhausting duel, where there is no clear advantage to either side. Cuts slowly accumulate on your body, but he is bleeding too. \n\nWith no end in sight, you furrow your brows and [[eat a few more|Take Pills 2]] pills from the pill bottle that you didn't know you brought.
Good choice! Chips and salsa will always hit the spot, though guacamole is always quite good too. You open the half-filled chip bag, and delve straight in to the salsa jar. No bowls for you!\n\nAfter your lips are properly puffed from all the saltiness, you decide to put away the chips for another day and leave the kitchen.\n\n>> [[Go to the living room.|Living Room]]\n>> [[Go to your bedroom.|Bedroom]]
''"Nothing happened,"'' you mutter between bites of food. It's the same, eggy consistency as ever. ''"Just wanted to talk a walk. They told me that exercise is good for me, right?"''\n\n''"Yes, yes, but you musn't exert yourself!"'' exclaims your mother.\n\n''"Okay, okay, I'm done. May I be excused?"'' you ask as you wolf down the last bits of your breakfast and gulp down your milk. You're eager to leave the dining room. Everything might be the same as ever, but it didn't mean that it was [[comfortable|Comfortable]].
Crazy space cats? It's a little too much for this early in the morning. Without saying a word, you turn back, running over the fields back to your house. You had your own issues to deal with, anyway.\n\nYou hear the protesting voices of the cats fade into the distance, and walk back to the [[house you call home|Go back home]].
You're caught up in the heat of battle, and rush at Mathias by yourself with your sword in hand. Mathias roars once again, but still there is no effect on you. He then jumps off his throne, gets his sword, and leaps toward you. \n\nYou gather your courage and take a deep breath. //Clanggggg!!// At first, Mathias overpowers you. His expertise in combat is glaringly obvious over your inexperience, and you stumble, almost falling to the floor.\n\n''"Quick, Joyce, take your pills!"'' yells a quiet voice from the corner. Ellie is slowly stirring. ''"They'll make you [[stronger|Take Pills]]!"''
“Do you remember the old days? When Joyce was just four, and she’d be so happy and we’d watch Disney movies and play make-believe every day? When she was just seven had brought you a drawing of a purple rabbit with a giant toothless smile? When she was just ten and came running home for a hug because some nasty boy at school called him/her ‘ugly’? When she was thirteen and brought home silent cuts and bruises? When she was sixteen and tried to commit suicide.”\n\n“She’s seventeen now and you can’t keep your eyes off her. You’re worried that the moment you do, history will repeat itself and you’ll be stuck clutching the door frame as you scream no, no, NO over and over again and she’ll be foaming at the mouth, empty pill bottle discarded on the bathroom floor, and someone’s calling for 9-1-1, someone’s tried to kill themselves! help! And then your husband will leave you again because the PTSD’s too tough to handle or maybe he met a family with less baggage but you’re suddenly on your own with a bipolar kid-who’s-almost-an-adult and you’re trying your best to keep it together.”\n\n“These days, she doesn’t look happy but at least she’s safe. And at least you can [[wake up|Day 2]] from your nightmares without screaming anymore.”
You've been so worried about her recently. She isn't taking her pills. She's listless. She's been sleeping too much. She doesn't eat. She always looks conflicted, as if some inner turmoil is waging on inside of her.\n\n"Take your meds, they'll make you better." You try to reason with her. \n\nWhen that doesn't work, you beg her. "Please please please you have to take them, I beg you my dear."\n\nWhen that doesn't work, you're irrational. "Do it for me I need you to take your meds. Please do it [[for me|Joyce POV 4]]."
You climb into the spaceship, where you see all the cats gathered in a circle with Jerome in the center. He is listing out the details of the upcoming battle, and who will be doing what.\n\nHe turns around and spots you: ''"Joyce! Just in time. We have most of the palace infiltration details hammered out, but we need to talk about the actual battle. What say you, will you take up arms and fight against Mathias?"''\n\nYou're still a bit wary about the use of weapons--[[your mom|Mom Happy 2]] will be super mad if she ever learns about it--but why not?
Finally, you make it back to your home.\n\nAfter 17 years, your apartment has become nothing special. For two people, it is relatively big, but at times even the large space becomes too suffocating for you.\n\nYour mom has tried to decorate it with splashes of color and fun, but the apartment has ended up looking like a collection of mismatched Ikea bedrooms with a clashing color scheme. You put your bag down and just rest for a moment in the doorway. \n\n\t[[Go to the bathroom|Bathroom]]\n\t[[Go to the kitchen|Kitchen]]\n\t[[Go to the living room|Living Room]]\n\t[[Go to your bedroom|Bedroom]]
''"I'll be back tomorrow, I promise,"'' you say. ''"I just have to [[go back home|Go back home]] for now."''
There's not much to do in the living room. Your home doesn't really have much to offer in terms of entertainment. An old radio. A sofa. A coffee table. \n\nWhen your dad left he took away all the fun in the house too. No more glass vases. No more marbles. No more spinning tops. They're too dangerous, your mom says. She only gives you stuffed animals now.\n\nShe almost took away Ginger but you fought back so hard that your mom finally relented.\n\n>> [[Listen to the radio.|Radio]]\n>> [[Go to your bedroom.|Bedroom]]\n>> [[Play with Ginger.|Ginger Ignore]]
You stay silent for some time.\n\n''"It's a lot to take in at once, but I think I understand the situation a little better,"'' you muse. Now you understand why Leslie was so desperate for your help. Anything seemed better than life under Mathias' rule.\n\n''"Well, now that I understand things a bit better, what can I actually [[do|Weapons]]?"'' you ask, after a pause.
''"How in the world do you guys... talk?!"'' you manage, looking bewildered.\n\n''"Um, what do you mean, lady!"'' Jerome jumps in, swishing his tail. ''"Don't you talk? Don't cats here talk?"''\n\nYou scratch your head in amazement. ''"Cats here don't talk...?"'' you reply, a little confused. You're still reeling from the bizarre events that have happened today. Aliens, talking cats, a Space Lord...\n\n''"We've always talked, Joyce!"'' Ellie adds helpfully, with a smile on her face. ''"[[Ask me more!|Helps Cats]]"''
You stay with Ginger the entire day. She stays with you even the sun moves away.\n\nIt's dark now. You're still here, together.\n\nDuring this time, your mom has called you to eat lunch. To eat your medicine. To ask you why you haven't cleaned your room yet. To eat dinner. To ask you again why you haven't cleaned your room yet and if you wanted to go for another walk.\n\nShe comes again and asks you again.\n\n''"I'm going to sleep,"'' you declare, and walk back to your room to [[sleep|Bedroom]].
When you walk outside again, the breaking dawn swallows you up, and ushers you to your destination. ''“The aliens,”'' you think. And indeed, as you walk closer, you see that the radio report was right – there was a giant flaming thing in the fields. \n\nStrangely enough, you’re the first one there. You walk closer, and sure enough, something’s wriggling out of the shadows. But as soon as the light touches it, you realise that it’s not a gray snake. It’s, it’s … furry? It’s a… [[cat|Meet Cats]]?
You've been a little worried about Joyce recently. You'd thought that things were about to turn for the better... but she's been looking so frustrated recently. She's been so irritated recently.\n\nYou're worried that all she's been doing is sleep sleep sleep. You think she's still taking her medicine, but you're not sure. You're worried that she isn't getting enough nutrients. She's not eating everything you want her to. You're worried that she's not exercising enough. The doctor said fresh air and exercise would help her.\n\n[[Why is she resisting?|Joyce POV 2 - choices]]
''"How can we? We're not powerful enough to defeat the Space Lord!"''\n\n''"Well, it's not as if we have any choices. The human savior is not with us anymore."''\n\n''"We have to believe! We can do it! We just need to have the courage to confront the space lord on our own terms!"''\n\nCrying and weeping is in the background. You seem to recognize this very voice.\n\n''"Ell.."'' you call out the name, but...\n\nAll the cats turn and stare at you. You shrink back, but it seems as if you're a stranger to them. One by one, they fall in line and slowly stalk through the flowers toward you. This starts to get more [[terrifying|Joyce POV 2]].
It's the battlefield again, just like it's been for so long.\n\nThis time, however, the cats don't swarm you. Instead, you see Ellie's dead body again. She's torn into pieces, and the blood has obscured her face entirely. No matter how many times you see her broken body, it's as if it's the first.\n\nAs you stagger away in shock, more and more bodies appear in front of you – all dead. You turn and start running in a different direction, but it's all the same. You can't escape it. \n\nYou stumble and fall to the ground, sobbing and crying out for help. There is a whisper in the wind:\n\n//"Why? [[Why|Dream 7]] didn't you help?"//
''"I'm sorry!! I'm sorry!! Please forgive me!"''\n\n//"You can still help... the pills will make you strong..."//\n\n''"I can't! I--I--I needed to do this for myself, I needed to make the right decision for myself! It was the correct choice..."''\n\nAs you cry for the countless lives lost in the battle against the Space Lord, you start to realize the futility of their venture. Were you really going to be the difference between victory and defeat? The past is the past, and you need to accept what happened and move on.\n\nThe field of bloody flowers starts to recede away from you into the horizon, and everything [[fades to white|Mom POV Last]].
You walk into the field of flowers, a tattered cape fluttering behind you. The flowers now are all blood red, and it seems like the aftermath of a bloody battle. \n\nAs you walk forward, you trip over something obscured by the grass and blood flowers. You look down and [[gasp|Dream 5]].\n
It's Leslie. Or what used to be Leslie. Her fur is matted with blood, her eyes closed in pain. The memories rush back to you – your choice to leave the cats, the guilt that plagued and followed you every day. \n\nIn a panic, you desperately feel for a sign of life, but your hands only come out bloody and tainted with guilt.\n\nSuddenly, she stirs. Her gentle eyes open and rest on your shaking form. ''"You could have saved us,"'' Leslie speaks, her voice wavering. ''"It would have been so easy. The pills would have made you strong enough to help... But we don't blame you,"'' she assures, as her gaze trails down your tattered cape.\n\n[[But her eyes say otherwise.|Joyce POV 8]]
The moment you walk through the door you feel a return to normalcy again. Everything you expect is where it belongs. The medicine cabinet is always there. The round wooden dining table. You cat is sleeping in the patch of sunlight on the rug next to the sofa. Your mom is bringing breakfast out to the table.\n\nScrambled eggs, toast, and milk. The same as ever. Your mom sets it down on the table, and pulls out a seat for you.\n\n''"How was your walk?"'' she asks, a littled worriedly. ''"You look pale..."''\n\n>> [[Tell her nothing happened.|Nothing happened]]\n>> [[Tell her that you met some cats from space.|Met cats from space]]
You're thrown into a barren field. The smell of battle is in the air. All around you, cats are walking unsteadily towards a looming figure - the Space Lord - as if unable to resist his commands.\n\nYou try to run, but no matter which direction you run, the cats are moving in swarms, and you're trapped, pushed around by the cats you've abandoned.\n\nSuddenly the swarm parts. You see Leslie walking up to you in tears. ''"Why didn't you take your pills? You could have saved her,"'' she whispers. ''"You were our only chance, and you left us."''\n\nShe drops Ellie's unmoving body at your feet, and turns away as the crowd of cats pushes you [[away|Joyce POV 6]].
You find yourself in a field of flowers, wearing a strange cape. You look down at notice your shirt has the Superman logo on it, except the 'S' has been replace by a 'J'. For Joyce, maybe?\n\nThe cats are sitting there. You almost don't recognize which one is which. It's seems like you've been here before, but at the same time it's like nothing you've ever experienced. \n\n''"So we need to tell others. It's time we need to get things done [[on our own|Dream 1 2]]."''
You walk into the kitchen. You feel kind of hungry, so why don't you make yourself something to eat? \n\nYou look in the various cabinets and refrigerator. You find some [[cans of soup|Soup]], [[chips and salsa|Chips]], and [[yogurt|Yogurt]].
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''"What, Mom?"'' you respond, a little irritated. You had a feeling that your dream had something to do about the cats.\n\n''"Just... be careful..."'' your mom says. ''"Don't forget to eat your fruit and exercise."'' She sounds a little hurt – you have no idea why.\n\n''"Okay, okay..."''\n\n>> [[Go to your room and read.|Read]]\n>> [[Go to the store and buy some cat food for Ginger.|Store]]
You can only find peace in your bedroom. \n\nThe moment you walk through your door, you slam it shut. Your mom is always hovering over you, always scared that something will happen.\n\nWith a groan, you jump onto your bed. An empty pill bottle bounces off the bed and hits the floor. It's not the first time.\n\n>> [[There's nothing much to do. Why don't you go back to sleep?|Sleep]]\n>> [[Go to the bathroom and wash your face|Bathroom 1]]\n>> [[Go play with Ginger. Company is nice|Ginger]]
''"Well,"'' says Leslie, ''"you said you wanted to ask us more questions about everything before you left yesterday. Ask away."''\n\n>> [[Ask about the Space Lord.|Mathias]]\n>> [[Ask about Aeria.|Catopia]]
You find Ginger napping peacefully in the sun. Her fur glows a fiery orange, and you reach out to stroke her fur. It's comforting, stroking her fur. She's old, but she's been here since you were two and she's never left you behind.\n\nLooking at her sleeping form, you wonder what Ginger would say if she could talk. What would you do if she asked you for help? \n\nYou think of the cats you met today. What would Ginger think if you helped them? If you didn't?\n\n>> [[Stay in the living room with Ginger.|Stay with Ginger]]\n>> [[Go to your bedroom.|Bedroom 1]]\n
You go into your bedroom and sit down at your desk. You push away the empty pill bottles and get out your drawing pad and charcoal. Usually when you first get home, you try and draw for a solid chunk of time--practice makes perfect and once you stop it's hard to start up again.\n\nBefore you're able to put charcoal to paper, however, you hear a strange sound from somewhere [[downstairs|Joyce POV 1]].
Alice, George, Jessica
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The bathroom is cool and contained. You're not sure you always feel safe because of what's happened here, but you can be yourself here.\n\nYou wash your face. The water washes away the dirt off your face and also the worries on your mind. You're still thinking about the cats even though you've left. You're not entirely sure whether you should go back tomorrow or not. But the water helps to soothe you.\n\n>> [[Go to your bedroom|Bedroom 1]]\n>> [[Go find Ginger|Ginger]]
The moment you leave the house you feel free again. The house is so suffocating. Or maybe it's just your mom. You know she means well but... sometimes it's too much.\n\nThe day looks cloudy, you realize, as you walk to the store. Maybe you should have brought a jacket. It's not as warm as it was a few days ago. Or was it longer?\n\nAs you're walking, you suddenly catch the sight of two cats. They seem to be running away. You make eye contact with the white cat. She's small, barely a kitten. \n\n//You didn't help us,// her eyes say. //We're dying.// \n\nYou shake it off. You get Ginger's cat food and head back [[home|Joyce POV 3]].
''"You know what, Joyce?"'' the doctor says. ''"I think you're better. You don't talk about those crazy cats of yours anymore."''\n\nYou nod weakly.\n\nYour mom, on the other hand, is still worried. ''"But she's... she's not eating much! Or sleeping well!"'' she exclaims.\n\n''"Oh, but madam, her mind seems back to normal again. She's hasn't mentioned the cats anymore,"'' reassures the doctor. ''"She is sound of mind once again, I'm sure."''\n\n''"But... the medicine. She hasn't been taking her medicine,"'' insists your mom, her voice shaking.\n\n''"Sometimes people recover naturally,"'' the doctor explains. ''"But, just to be safe, why don't you make sure she takes the recommended amount for the next week?"''\n\n[["Okay."|Dream 6]]
Shaking your head with disbelief, you start walking back home. Maybe you didn't get enough sleep. Talking cats, really? If the adults found out what you saw, they'd never let you be free again.\n\nAnd if they found out that you got involved with these cats, they would question your sanity. You needed to stop associating yourself with crazy things.\n\nYou need to go back [[home|Ignore Home]].
The soft crinkling of the radio stirs you from your impromptu nap – was it a news report? ''“A giant flaming object has fallen onto a farm in New Jersey…”'' You try to go back to sleep, it’s hard enough to get any as it is. ''“... Good heavens, something’s wriggling out of the shadows like a gray snake. And… another! And another…”''\n\nThis piques your interest. The report didn’t say anything specific about aliens, but you have a feeling that it is. And that something’s going to change, in your hometown, no less. You hop out of bed, pet your 15-year-old ginger tabby, Ginger, and look out the window. It’s almost dawn, but the night sky is still bleeding with stars. That’s what you get for living in the middle of nowhere. \n\nAs you’re about to leave, you hear your mom: ''“Don’t forget to take your meds!”'' Not wanting to argue, you walk back into the living room, and nonchalantly take a pill – your daily dosage.\n\nWhen you walk outside again, the breaking dawn swallows you up, and ushers you to your destination. ''“The [[aliens|Sees Cats]],”'' you think.
Somehow, they say she's better. But she hasn't been taking the pills. \n\nYou're sure that something's still wrong. She has to take her medicine. You're sure that her sudden mental stability is only temporary. The doctor agrees that she'll make a full recovery if she keeps taking her medicine for a little longer.\n\nSo you mix two pills into her glass of milk in the morning with care.
You rush around, rousing any cats you can reach to wage a final confrontation with Mathias. \n\nWhen you finally get together a sizable contingent, you find that Mathias is sitting it out in the corner, allowing his minions to do all the fighting for him. \n\n''"Cats! This is your time! This is your battle! Our strength is enough to win us our freedom! LET'S GOOOOOO!!!"''\n\nThe group of cats charge toward Mathias, and you rush towards him as well, intending to provide support in the background. Because he was overwhelmed so suddenly, there was no time for Mathias to order the cats into submission. With few minions nearby, the cats were able to critically wound Mathias and tie him up. \n\nAt the sight of their master tied up, the remaining minions flee, and the cats start to celebrate. Leslie [[comes up to you|Invitation]].
"The Mathias empire contains about 2% of the known universe. The Republic, the overarching government system, governs over 70% and keeps peace among the various factions vying for power. \n\nA power separate from the Republic, Mathias holds his empire in his iron grip. Among his territories is the solar system [[Catopia|Catopia]], where a race of cats reside. \n\n[[Mathias|Mathias]] is the sole ruler of his empire, and relies on an army of drones and spacerobots to subjugate his people."
Your vision clears up, and time seems to slow down. Suddenly you see a break in his guard. You thrust with all your might! The sword slides into Mathias' gut, and he collapses to the ground, clutching his stomach. With a tortured cry, he desperately tries to slash at you one last time, but falls limp to the ground before he can reach you.\n\nWith a sigh of relief, you fall to your knees, exhausted after the battle. As you look around the palace, the cats are recovering. \n\nSuddenly, you feel a little faint. After all that physical exertion you don't know if you can stand for quite a while. The world starts flickering, and starts to fade to black. \n\n''"Joyce! Joyce!"'' calls Ellie as she runs over and presses her head against your legs. She's the last thing you hear before you hit the ground. ''"You saved us! We won! You're our [[hero|Mom Sad Last]]!"''
The cats are already waiting for you by the time you get there. Leslie's talking to another cat while Ellie and Jerome are play-fighting.\n\nJerome's the first to notice you. ''"You're late!"'' he declares. "The Space Lord doesn't spare people who are late!"\n\n''"But maybe she needs more sleep since she's so big,"'' Ellie explains with a shy smile.\n\nYou smile back, a little amused by the cats. You realize that you actually... missed them. ''"Well, I'm back. What do I need [[to do|To do]]?"''
The moment you walk back home you realize something's wrong. You dump the groceries on the counter top. Something feels wrong. You know Joyce has been happy recently so you can't comprehend the thought of anything //bad// happening... but your intuition says otherwise.\n\nWhere is she? Where is your baby girl?\n\n"Joyce? You there?" you call into the halls, voice wild with worry. "Where are you? Come back home," you plead, as you throw the doors open in succession. She's not in your room. She's not in her room. She's not in the living room.\n\nThe bathroom.\n\nThe last place you wanted to look.\n\n"Please don't please don't please don't," you chant as you open the bathroom door, "be ... dead."\n\nThere she is again. Eyes rolled back. Foaming at the mouth. Empty pill bottle. Body twisted as if in combat.\n\nDead.
You're still a little confused as to what's going, but you decide to find out more about the cats. You can't abandon them as it is – you imagine that if your cat, Ginger, was in trouble, you'd definitely help her. \n\n''"I'm still not too sure what's going on, but I can't abandon you guys,"'' you decide after some thought. ''"I'm not even sure what the Space Lord is, or how to help you guys..."''\n\n''"Thank you, thank you,"'' murmurs Leslie in gratitude. ''"We know you can help us. What do you want to know?"''\n\n>> [[Where do you guys come from?|Where Cats Come From]]\n>> [[How do you guys talk?|How Cats Talk]]\n>> [[Why is the Space Lord chasing you?|Why Space Lord]]
You find Ginger napping peacefully in the sun. Her fur glows a fiery orange, and you reach out to stroke her fur. It's comforting, stroking her fur. She's old, but she's been here since you were two and she's never left you behind.\n\nLooking at her sleeping form, you wonder what Ginger would say if she could talk. What would you do if she asked you for help? \n\nYou think of the cats you met today. What would Ginger think if you helped them? If you didn't?\n\n>> [[Stay in the living room with Ginger.|Stay with Ginger Ignore]]\n>> [[Go to your bedroom.|Bedroom]]\n
''"You know what? I'll give the weapons a try! Can't guarantee that I'll be a good fighter though..."''\n\nJerome waves it away: ''"Pish posh, you'll be great. Since we have everyone here, why don't we head out? We can talk about the battle on the way."''\n\nThere is a murmur of agreement, and so the pilot goes to the chair and starts up the engines. This is it. You still don't fully realize the magnitude of the undertaking, but what's done is done. As the spaceship rises into the air, you take a deep breath and shout for all to hear:\n\n''"ALRIGHT CATS, LET'S [[DEFEAT MATHIAS|Boss Battle]]!!"''
You can't quite believe it, but a week has passed.\n\nEvery day has been the same. Breakfast (eggs, toast, and milk). Meet with the cats. Come home for lunch (your mom keeps telling you to eat more fruits and vegetables). Gather more supplies. Dinner. Sleep.\n\nAlthough every day has been the same, you've really grown close to the [[cats|Bonding]].
''"I mean, I'm honestly quite confused right now,"'' you admit. ''"Where do you guys come from? Why are you here?"''\n\n''"We come from our home planet, Aeria,"'' Leslie explains. ''"It used to be a joyful planet where cats worked together in peace, but that all changed when Space Lord attacked. He enslaved us, and we're trying to escape. We needed to find help, and [[we found you|Helps Cats]]."''
''"What, have you been living under a rock?"'' A gray cat jumps into the conversation, swishing his tail around indignantly. ''"He's only the evilest tyrant in space!"''\n\n[[''"I still don't understand."''|Meet Cats]]
You haven't been sleeping well recently. It's been a week – or has it been two? – since the encounter but your mind can't stop thinking about what if's. You can't seem to remember the exact details of what happened because it's hard to tell reality apart from your dreams.\n\nEven though you've been sleeping so much recently, they haven't been restful dreams. They're dreams that you forget once you wake up, but you know that they were horrible dreams.\n\nFor some reason, you wake up in tears, and you fall asleep choking on guilt.\n\nYour mom is so worried that she's now going to your appointments with you. She's also doubled the number of times you meet with the [[doctor|Doctor]].
Space Cats
On the next day, your mom tells you to buy more fruits and vegetables. She seems determined to make you eat more. You know that you haven't been eating very well with so much on your mind. But you can't help it.\n\nAs you're looking for some vegetables and fruits, you saw two children following their mom. They seem to be siblings.\n\nYou're about to turn back to the fruits and vegetables when you hear a quiet purr. You notice that the two children have brought a kitten to the store. The kitten looks at you longingly. ''"No,"'' you say to yourself. You decide to turn away from them.\n\nFortunately, it doesn't seem to follow you or speak a word. It's more like a normal kitten you know when you were a kid. It's white with big blue eyes. It looks familiar.\n\nYou finish the shopping and [[go home|Joyce POV 7]] to make dinner with your mom.
During dinner, you and your mom talk about little things. Like how the weather's been clearing up recently, or how reports of the aliens have decreased and the townspeople are calming down.\n\nYour mom looks tired. You realize for the first time in a long time how tired she looks. She's only in her mid-thirties but lines of worry have dug deep into her perpetually furrowed brows. You see the white and gray spread through her dirty blonde hair, traces of her every day worries and concerns.\n\nMaybe she'd be less concerned if you were eating your medicine, or maybe more food, but you can't help the way you are.\n\nTo escape your worries, sleep is the [[only way|Dream 4]].
You wake up again, with a hope that the doctor will help you out of your assumed "hallucination."\n\nSomehow, the doctor is busier than usual. You've never seen so many people waiting for the appointment this long. Fortunately, your appointment is right in the middle of this afternoon. Anyway, you don't want to just spend time in your house anymore. Spending time alone is no longer comforting.\n\n>> [[Go to the library.|Library]]\n>> [[Stay in the waiting room.|Waiting room]]
You spend the whole afternoon with the doctor. He asks you a lot of questions: What time is it? What day is it? What is your name? Have you been eating your medicine? Have you been resting well? Have you been getting enough exercise?\n\nIt's the same questions every time. And it's pretty much the same answers every time, too. He doesn't look particularly interested in you or your situation.\n\nEven when you mention all the strange cats you seem to be seeing around the place he doesn't seem surprised. ''"Everyone's been seeing things,"'' he reassures you. ''"Those goddamn aliens. Town's going crazy."''\n\nHe gives you a prescription for more medication. He tells you to sleep more, that it seems to be helping, and then ushers you out of the room.\n\nYou go back to your house and [[sleep|Dream 3]].
You sit up straight in bed, gasping for breath with cold sweat on your brow. It's still dark, but, fortunately, it's right before the dawn.\n\nThe day starts out much colder than ever before, almost freezing. You eat your breakfast (eggs, toast, and milk again). You think back to your night. You have a feeling that you had a bad dream, but can't seem to put your finger on it...\n\n''"Joyce... Joyce!"'' your mom's voice cuts through your thoughts, jolting you back to [[reality|Mom POV 1]].
You don't know how long it's been, but it's dark out now. It's too dark to read or draw or do anything else anymore. \n\nTomorrow is your weekly appointment with your doctor. You'll need all your energy to deal with him.\n\nYou give a disdainful look at your pill bottles, and go to [[sleep|Dream 2]] without taking your medicine.
You slowly follow that voice, as it sounds nearer to you step by step . . . A small figure appears right under the stairway, as you approach it.\n\nIt's a small cat —— Ellie.\n\nEllie is crying. Her face looks as if she has been through the most horrible terror ever. Agonized, she asks you quietly and softly:\n\n''"Would you please, save us? Give us a new life ... Just do ..."''\n\nThe hopeless and helpless voice tugs at your heartstrings, but you have already made your decision. Ellie is no longer part of your life, and you have to shake your head and once again reject her pleas. \n\nAfter a while, Ellie slinks away, still crying, and you watch her figure disappear into the darkness. Exhausted, you climbed upstairs to wash and [[lay down on the bed|Dream 1]].
''"Well, we've mostly been recuperating from our narrow escape so far. We need to start on the mission preparation--you know, all the supplies and weapons,"'' Jerome says.\n\nYou are a bit taken aback by the weapons part. You never really considered that this mission would be one with weapons and battles. \n\n''"Wow, weapons? I don't think my mom ever lets me near anything sharp... I can definitely help with the supplies aspect, though. Just tell me what you guys need and I'll try to get some."''\n\nEllie shares your surprise: ''"But why do we need to kill the Space Lord? Why don't we just capture him and convince him to step down? I don't want any of you to die fighting him!"''\n\nLeslie walks over and rubs against Ellie. \n\n''"Ellie dear, nonviolent change is effective sometimes, but not so in this case. The Space Lord is just too powerful and tyrannical for words to sway him. We need to fight him to be free!"''\n\nShe then turns to you: ''"Joyce, it would be an immense help if you would gather food, water, and general supplies for our mission. Anything would help, really, and we will take care of the weapons side."''\n\nThat sounded better to you. You can do food, and water is practically free! You agree, and start to mentally calculate what is needed. You probably need to go to the pet store, and obtain a lot of water bottles, and get some blankets...\n\nYou realize the enormity of this seemingly simple task, but you'll do whatever you can to help Leslie, Ellie, Jerome, and their family. It'll just take [[quite some time|Time Lapse]]...
"Mathias's parents were wealthy socialites who cared about nothing but their own status. Their family had made the bulk of their wealth through planet real estate, and now they could afford to laze around and live off the acquired wealth. \n\nMathias was their fourth child, and the only one surviving into adulthood. Their eldest had died in a spaceship accident, the second one had a degenerative disease that killed her in her eighth year, and the third had been killed by Mathias when he was 3. \n\nWhen Mathias was 10, his parents died in a freak accident involving a hovercraft and a barn. The cause of their death was ruled accidental, but the officer in charge of the case was always suspicious of Mathias's alibi. \n\nThus, Mathias was orphaned at a young age and used his inheritance to advance his ambitions, eventually building a vast [[empire|Mathias Empire]]."
''"There are so many more questions I have,"'' you admit. ''"I mean, how long have you cats existed? Do you know of life on other planets besides yours? How do you even–"''\n\n''"–JOYCE! Where are you? It's time for breakfast!"'' your mom's shouting voice interrupts your train of questions.\n\nYou freeze. You don't want to keep your mom waiting. She's always freaking out. ''"I have to go,"'' you tell the cats.\n\n''"Will you be back tomorrow?"'' Ellie asks, her big blue eyes hopeful.\n\n>> [[You'll be back tomorrow.|Coming Back]]\n>> [[You haven't made up your mind.|Maybe come back]]\n>> [[Turn back without saying anything – you're out of time.|Turn back]]
You decide to visit the public library to look for a new book to read. As you step into the main reading room, the presence of people and serenity of silence makes you feel safe and ill at ease at the same time.\n\nYou pick a book from the shelves and read to pass your time. \n\nIt's hard to get into the story with the doctor's appointment coming up so soon. No matter how compelling the story of the novel is, you just can't quite get into it. With a sigh, you put down your book.\n\nYou hear mentions of the alien invasion in hushed voices. The alien invasion has been quite the talk of the town for a while. People sound worried, but every time you look their way they look away.\n\nYou turn back to your book and manage to read around just more than a half of the book, but it's time to [[go to the doctor|Joyce POV 5]].
You start walking away before your mom can respond.\n\n''"Yes, dear, don't forget to drink some water, clean your room, take your meds, and clean out Ginger's litterbox!"'' your mom calls after you.\n\nYou grab your meds and leave. \n\n>> [[Go to your bedroom so you can have some peace.|Bedroom 1]]\n>> [[Go to the bathroom to clean yourself up.|Bathroom 1]]\n>> [[Go hang out with Ginger in the living room.|Ginger]]
''"I'm sorry, ignore these two. Henry and Ellie are still new to this world. Here's the short version: our family has been running away from the Space Lord for many generations. The Space Lord has been trying to enslave our family. I know we have nothing to offer... but can you help us?"'' the older white cat asks. \n\nShe seems wiser, more elderly, and more grounded than the other two cats. ''"I'm Leslie, by the way. It's a pleasure to [[meet you|Meet Cats]], Joyce."''
You need to pee, so you go to the bathroom. As you're sitting on the toilet, you look down and notice the stubble on your legs. \n\n''"Joyce, you really need to remember to shave! Can't go around wearing shorts with those prickly cacti you call legs..."''\n\nYou decide to shave tonight, but make a note to yourself to ask your mom for the razor blades. After you finish peeing, you wash your hands and exit the bathroom.\n\n>> [[Go to your bedroom.|Bedroom]]\n>> [[Play with Ginger.|Ginger Ignore]]
''"So, uh, this Space Lord,"'' you start. ''"Why is he... chasing you guys? Is he a cat too?"''\n\n''"He's evil!"'' yells Jerome. ''"He doesn't need a reason! He enslaved my momma and I'm gonna beat him up one day!"''\n\n''"You don't know why he's chasing you guys?"'' you press.\n\n''"These two don't were too young to remember clearly, but the Space Lord is a cat who turned on his people,"'' Leslie steps in to explain. ''"He now has enslaved many cats on Aeria. No one dares to stand up to him anymore."''\n\n''"Do you have any more questions?"''\n\n>> [[Ask more, you're still confused|Ask more]]\n>> [[Don't bother, you're going to be confused either way.|No more questions]]
"Platinum has come to represent high status in the universe because of its rarity and luster. \n\nCurrently, there are only a couple operating platinum mines, and [[Mathias|Mathias]] is in charge of most of them. \n\nBecause of that, he is able to obtain a huge profit from selling raw platinum, and thus maintains his [[empire|Mathias Empire]]."
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You stay with Ginger the entire day. She stays with you even the sun moves away.\n\nIt's dark now. You're still here, together.\n\nDuring this time, your mom has called you to eat lunch. To eat your medicine. To ask you why you haven't cleaned your room yet. To eat dinner. To ask you again why you haven't cleaned your room yet and if you wanted to go for another walk.\n\nShe comes again and asks you again.\n\n"I'm going to sleep," you declare, and walk back to your room to [[sleep|Sleep]].
"You know what?" you mutter, "This is crazy. Talking cats? From space? Aliens aren't supposed to look like... cats." You put your hand to your forehead. "I don't think I'm feverish... Maybe I need some more sleep." You turn away from the cats and begin walking towards your house.\n\n"Please! We need your help!" exclaimed Leslie, walking after you. "We can't defeat the Space Lord without you..."\n\n"Yeah, he's so... scary," added little Ellie, her voice wavering. She looks up at you with watery blue eyes, begging you to stay.\n\n"Please, help us. If you [[leave|Ignore Cats 1]] us, he'll enslave our family," added Leslie, turning her head away, as if the thought was too painful to comprehend.
"For many generations, Aeria was a wonderland for cats, where they could frolic and play around in the abundant catnip.\n\n30 years ago, however, the then-unknown Mathias swept in and took control of the peaceful solar system, enslaving the cats and demanding tribute.\n\nOutside of the Republic's jurisdiction, the cats have no one to turn to. For now, they have to bide their time and hope for a savior, building up their strength and courage against their [[tyrannical captor|Mathias Personal]]."
You've grown especially close with Ellie and Leslie.\n\nAll this time, Leslie has been like a mother to you. She's given you advice about maybe starting school again and facing your bullies. She's given you advice about your strained relationship with your mother. She's worried about you over your eating and your sleep.\n\nAnd little Ellie has become a sister to you. She follows you around everywhere, even when you go home to eat or go out to gather supplies. Her positive attitude and naive curiosity has been a fresh breath of air compared to the smothering overprotective nature of your mom.\n\nYou've felt so much [[happier|Mom Happy 1]] recently. You don't know what you'd do without them.
''"Watch out, folks!"'' the radio sputters to life as you turn it on.\n\n''"Keep your doors and windows shut at night. The aliens are out to get you! Watch out for slimy tails or tentacles. Tune in tonight for more!"''\n\nUgh, the radio is so dumb. Did no one else investigate the crash? Cats are not slimy tails or tentacles...\n\n>> [[Go to your bedroom.|Bedroom]]\n>> [[Play with Ginger.|Ginger Ignore]]
You stay in the waiting room. There's nothing much to do here, but it's a lot better than going home and facing your mom. At least here, everyone has the same problems you do. Everyone knows how it feels. You won't have to suffer the looks of pity or worry from your mom.\n\nYou listen absent-mindedly to the radio as you wait, and you realize that it's broadcasting a radio show.\n\n''"Good day, folks! We have the latest updates to the recent alien invasion!"'' the narrator exclaims, voice full of enthusiasm. ''"Giant tentacled aliens have been reported in the surrounding towns! One farmer's cow has been allegedly eaten whole by these aliens!"''\n\nThe crowd in the waiting room collectively gasps.\n\n''"Remember to keep your doors and windows locked, and don't walk around by yourself at night!"''\n\nThe show ends, and your name is [[called|Joyce POV 5]].
"Not much is known about Mathias's personal life. Various sightings have suggested the possibility of a wife and two children, though such accounts are unreliable. \n\nHe stays in his palace for the most part, and there are always multiple guard contingents patrolling the surrounding land.\n\nThe palace is situated on the self-named planet Mathiasland, which is in the center of Mathias' [[empire|Mathias Empire]].\n\nHe actively seeks to eliminate all possible weaknesses, including his [[parents|Mathias Parents]] and siblings."
Ah, nothing can beat warm soup! You take the Campbell's Chicken and Stars can and pour it in a pot to heat up. When it starts bubbling, you pour it out into a bowl and start slurping.\n\nWhoops! It's still too hot and burns your tongue. You blow on it a little, let it sit, and then slurp it up greedily. Yum yum! You see stars. You put the bowl in the sink and then leave the kitchen.\n\n>> [[Go to the living room.|Living Room]]\n>> [[Go to your bedroom.|Bedroom]]
A stockpile of this size didn't look quite normal in your room, but you've managed it. In fact, to make sure your mom wasn't hovering over you all the time, you've been really good about eating your fruits and vegetables, getting enough exercise, eating your medicine, and getting enough sleep.\n\nYou look down at your collection: [[food, water, and blankets|Stockpile 2]].
When you wake up again, the sun is out already. What is it? 7 or 8am? It's been a long time since you've slept past dawn.\n\nYou're so relieved that you almost smile – and then you remember what happened yesterday. It was so strange that it seems like a dream. Talking cats from space. Escaping a Space Lord. You remind yourself not to tell anyone. If you told them what you saw, they would trust you less.\n\nBut you're still conflicted about what to do. If you don't help the cats, could you really forgive yourself?\n\n>> [[Go and meet the cats.|Head Out]]\n>> [[You have enough problems. You can't deal with the cats.|Day 2 Ignore]]
And then more. Suddenly, you’re surrounded by these cats: small, furry, and harmless. Whoever was casting the news report probably didn’t go close enough to find out the truth. Figures. You can’t trust these adults to do anything right.\n\nYou walk a little closer and introduce yourself. ''"I'm Joyce... and what is going on?"''\n\nOne of them, a [[tiny white kitten|Meet Ellie]], walks out of the giant crowd of cats. An [[older white cat|Meet Leslie]] and a [[gray kit|Meet Jerome]] follow her towards you.\n\n>> [[Ask them more, you're curious.|Helps Cats]]\n>> [[Go back home, this is too much for you.|Ignores Cats]]
You realize that you have enough problems on your own, that you don't need to add someone else's burdens to your own. You don't even think you can take care of yourself. \n\nIt was a hard choice to make, but you decide to let the cats be. They could handle their own problems. With a sigh of relief, you walk out the door to take a walk. You make sure to avoid the area where you last saw the cats.\n\nAfter a while, you're worried that you'll see the cats again, and quickly hurry [[home|Ignore Home]].
''"Err, we'll see about that,"'' you mutter. ''"I've gotta run, see you guys!"''\n\n''"But wait––!"''\n\nYou hear the cats' protesting voices, but you're running over the fields to [[go back home|Go back home]]. A little normalcy seemed welcome right now.
You decide to head back to your room to do some light reading.\n\nRight when you get to the gripping climax of //Wuthering Heights//, your mom barges into the room with a plate of cut watermelon.\n\n''"MOM! You know I don't like to be disturbed!"''\n\n''"But honey, you need to eat your fruit for the day. If not apples, at least some watermelon!"''\n\n''"Mom...can you just leave me alone?"''\n\n''"Don't be so rude Joyce. Remember you also have that appointment with the doctor for this afternoon. He's a well-known psychiatrist, you know. I'm sure he'll be able to help you, you just need to make sure..."''\n\nAt this point, you just start to tune your mom out. Is she really that much more important than Heathcliff anyway?\n\nYou [[lose yourself|Joyce POV 3]] in the book again.
Sleep. \n\nYour escape from reality.\n\nYou climb into bed and close your eyes, willing sleep to come sooner.\n\nNo more worrying about the cats or your [[mom|Mom Sad 1]].
''"Is–is the Space Lord here?"'' she asks uncertainly, looking at you with a mix of curiosity and nervousness.\n\n''"Space Lord? Who's that?"'' you ask back, a little bewildered by the question. And then you realize that this cat just... talked. "Wait, who are you guys? How are you [[talking to me|Meet Cats]]?"