No. Absolutely not. The clown head on the frontmost car has teeth like goddam knives. You have only a dim hint of the meaning of 'theme park' and so far that definition includes horseheaded things watching you silently and mad gods convinced of their humanity. A one-way clown train ride to Hell would fit right in. \n\n[[ride a unicorn on the merry go round]]\n \n[[teacup ride! teacup ride!]]\n\n
Huh??? No, you should be ducking and looking for shelter! What do you think this is, a videogame? You're not made of steel! They've obviously got a bead on you--they'll blow your brains out your earholes in a second!\n\n[[duck for cover then. geeze, quit railroading me]]
[<img[]]\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nA forlorn gunner glares at you from her hideyhole. Her left hand clutches at her bloodied shirt. Her right hand levels a LAZGUN at your face.\n\n[[LAZGUN beats BLASTER]]
Difficulty has been set to HARD\n\n\n [[Press START|Hard1]]
Plastiglass. Your gloved fist makes a hollow thumping sound on the substance. Outside you can see the plain of cement and the road beyond the fence. They are a long, long way down.\n\nProbably best to find a safer way down and out.\n\n[[blast the blast door with your BLASTER]]\n\n
"Whee," you say in the direction of a camera. The ceramic horse bobs up and down, unsettling your stomach. The dusty paint on its saddle has flaked onto the seat of your pants. \n\nAlright. You'll admit that it was a little fun.\n\nNow to head for the hiding spot of [[the girl]].
The god thanks you frostily as you hand over the orb. \n\n"I am a master of genetomechanics and geomantic engineering," it says, twisting the orb this way and that. "There! All better." \n\n-----------------------------------------------------------------\n\nThe next day, after everything was charged up, the no-longer-flickering god sent its army of animatronic beasts to waylay the forlorn gunner in her lair. You watched as they are all slaughtered. But the strange woman, arms covered in the oily gore of her enemies, did not return to the god's fairytale tower. She stood as the weak sun set at the horizon, looking up at the god's chamber room. Then she sped away, quick as a car, zigzagging across the ruins of the old world.\n\nYou yourself were not allowed to leave Wonderland ever again. You were their only customer; you had no money to pay for the ride you took or for the 'chicken nuggets;' after heated debate you convinced the god not to fry you up in its kitchen. Now every day you get out of a dusty bed and test rides, fix those that you can fix, repair the ancient fence. The horseheaded thing, after six or seven years of aloofness, finally revealed to you that it was in fact a //she//, and after a short courting period the god wedded the two of you in the corroded Chapel of the Queen of Hearts. You never set out on the road again, and never reached your destination.\n\nTHE END\n\n\n(or, to save time, you can [[ask]] to see a different outcome)
After a harrowing meal of horsemeat and a single sip of what turned out to almost certainly be a cup full of grease, you ask politely to leave the castle. \n\nThe god makes a laughing noise, but without a face it is hard to judge its actual mood. "Say, buddy," it says. "While you're out there, could you do the management a little favor?\n\n"You see, I am a little under the weather. A little girl who got separated from her parents had a tantrum while I was taking care of her and ran away. You can see I still have a bruise on my face." It points to the sparking air over its shoulders. "Anyway, she took my my my my my my my searching for lexicograpical comparitor //INHALER//, and I'd like it back. I think I'm on the verge of an //asthma attack//."\n\nThe "little girl" must be whatever it was that damaged the god so severely. Obviously the inhaler was some necessary component without which the god would run down and die. \n\nConceivably you could refuse the implied mission. But if the flickering god doesn't kill you outright it could still take decades for it to die out completely. And you'd still be stuck in this damn room. \n\n[[new objective: find girl, retrieve inhaler]]
Through the bars of the rust-orange fence you see a cracked cement plain encircled by low-lying buildings, mostly intact. Everything is covered in sickly yellow scabgrass.\n\nYou loosen your face scarf and press closer against the gate to get a better look.\n\nA cartoony horse head, easily the size of a van, lies on its side in front of some pink booths. There is a nest in one of its empty eye sockets. \n\nWhat kind of place was [[this]]?
\nVOLUME: ''ON''\n\nSFX: ''ON''\n\nDIFFICULTY LEVEL: EASY|''MEDIUM''|[[HARD]] \n\nFRIENDLY FIRE: ''ON''|OFF\n\n[[Start]]
You struggle against the animatronic beasts. You make no headway. \n\n"Of course, I am sure there is merely a faulty optic cable," says the god. Its voice begins to skip and speed unevenly, like the music outside. "I will open the cryovat, and gaze into my own face, eyes closed in slumber. It will be an unsettling experience, especially since I should be inside the skull I'm looking at... but I am the master of Wonderland. I already have an idea for a new ride."\n\nThe god waves a hand. The cylinder flashes CONTAMINATION one last time. Then its lid pops and hisses as the opening sequence begins.\n\n"The rogue customer will test it out... a hall of mirrors," says the god, softly. \n\nSirens wail. Fog billows. Nozzles pop out of the floor and ceiling. They spew foam in every direction, but you and the god remain intent on the opening cylinder. The bad smell is overpowering: the god's composure would be proof enough that it is not human. But if you open your mouth to say that you will vomit.\n\nThe fog obscures the cylinder and the god now. It rolls towards you. You squint, trying to see. The lid has now popped completely off.\n\n"CONTAMINATION BREACH," said a female voice. Is the cylinder's inhabitant a woman? Is there another god locked within this tower? "ANTI-INFECTION MEASURES NOW COMMENCING: A CLEAN PARK IS A HAPPY PARK."\n\nAnd then the [[screaming]] begins. \n\n
You wake up in a gloomy fairytale castle, surrounded by animatronic beasts in fancy clothes. Besides you and some tracks across the marble tiled floor everything is covered in a thick layer of dust. Pointed windows let in light, but just barely illuminate the toppled throne that the beasts all kneel towards.Or perhaps they kneel towards the dull cylinder of steel the size of a man that hums behind it. \n\nYou hop to your feet, hand on your BLASTER. You don't like the wakeful feel of this place, like something is watching you. And you are sore and weak and hungry. You look round for an exit, but you see nothing but fairy finery--and, glaringly out of place, the exit, a metallic blast door. No way you could get that open without help.\n\nWait. Beside it on the wall is a switch. It might open the sealed door.\n\n[[press switch]]
Rare they are, sad, powerful, forgotten things in the ruins of their temples. An electric god that screamed through its wires powered the homes of a village you passed through once. In the cold bright crumbling homes there you could still see the charred remnants of the villagers, arm-ashes upraised, like shadows frozen in time. \n\n[[BEHOOOLLLD! I AM OZZZ, THEEEE GREAT AND TERRRRRIBLE!]]
Metal benches in plastic teacups that spin slowly around and around. You sit in a blue patterned cup and feel your stomach churn along with the landscape. How did ancient people derive any enjoyment out of this mechanism? You deem five minutes to be long enough to fulfill the requirement; you fake a smile at a nearby camera and head towards the hiding spot of [[the girl]].
You have to ride one of them, or the flickering god will do who-knows-what. Your stomach feels queasy as you look at the available rides. No roller coaster for you. No to the log flume as well; the logs are moving but there's no water to cushion their tumble from the top of the ride's mountain. \n\n[[ride a unicorn on the merry go round]] \n \n[[teacup ride! teacup ride!]]\n\n[[ride the creepy clown train into the tunnel and ancestors willing back out again]]
[<img[]]\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nOutside the air resounds with this annoying tune ( that repeats and overlaps itself. It sounds like every speaker is a little out of sync with the others. \n\nImmediately you head for the fence. If the hologram can't reach the 'girl,' then maybe--\n\n''BANG''\n\nThe ground by your left foot spurts up as the bullet lands. You follow the line of fire and see--the thing! That damned [[horse-creature that carried you up the fairytale tower!]] \n\n
You consider using your BLASTER. But in this ruined world each uranium bullet is more precious than a working Trans-Mat Foodmaker.\n\n[[take your chances with an old god]]
Wasteland Adventure!
There is very little pain.\n\n"Congratulations," says the forlorn gunner. "You are now, for all intents and purposes, a Citizen. A priceless gift. And a burden heavier than most." She brushes dirt from her pants, refuses the hypodermic needle when you try to hand it back to her. "Thank you for taking care of that god for me. It means more than you know."\n\n"Where will you go?" you ask. \n\n"Not sure," she says, lips pursed. "I have nothing to live for, now."\n\nYou have heard such words before. Sometimes even from your own lips. "A word of advice," you say."To someone new to the wasteland. Find a goal and keep it. Any old goal. A search for food and shelter. To gather the lost knowledge of the old world. To grow a patch of sweet onions. Only grab onto it, and hold on tight. After all, there's precious little to hold onto out here."\n\n"The road, perhaps," says the gunner. \n\nYou tip your hat, adjust your facial scarf, and continue walking. You do not watch her stretch her legs to long needle-thin points and leap westward through the dead foliage. You kept going towards your goal, wandering through strange lands under a sky that's not been blue for centuries. There are wonders hidden here and there, good people and bad, too. All part of the world that is, rather than what was. All part of the wasteland. \n\nTHE END\n\n(unlesssss you want to see other endings in which case you'll have to [[ask]])
Since you live in a world without books or working telescreens, the reference goes over your head.\n\n[<img[]]\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe [[god]] stands before you, clad in the fashion of a race long vanished from this earth. It flickers and fades, wounded. Its face is gone; only fizzing lights remain.\n\n[[blast the god]]\n \n[[politely greet the god]]
A red warning light returns. The two of you look at it. Then the god calmly turns its flickering not-head to you.\n\n"A traitorous customer. I see." The hologram flits closer to you. You run for the door but it is too late: the blast shield blocks the way again. "I can feel the sickness in my body. You have polluted my form that sleeps in the cylinder yonder. WHY??"\n\nA metal hand cuts into your thigh. You look down to see a kneeling animatronic rat in a top hat clutching at your leg and staring up at you with fake plastic goofy little eyes. You kick it away, only to be grasped firmly by the sheep on your other side.\n\n"Were you sent by Cosmoland? Or that mouthbreather from the Null-Grav Entertainment Center? SPEAK UP!"\n\n"No reason to!" you gasp, ripping a hydraulic tentacle from your windpipe. "You're not the real owner of this place, you are merely its custodian!"\n\n"Nonsense," says the god.\n\n"You are confused! You can't remember whether you are here to serve guests or to hide from nuclear devastation! You say you are still waiting for someone? She is surely long dead!"\n\n"I AM A HUMAN BEING!" Screams the god. The windows shatter; more warning signs blip into existence; smoke rises from the marble tiles. "YOU ARE A BAD GUEST. I THINK YOU SHOULD LEAVE."\n\nThe crowd of animatronic beasts lift you up and carry you towards an open window. You will not survive the fall. You wrack your brains, and a last-ditch idea comes to you. The forlorn gunner had pointed your attention to the cylinder...\n\n"It is easy enough to prove," you say. "Awaken yourself. Show your human form to me, then wipe out my existence. I say that there is nothing in there but an electronic soul--the source of your existence. Prove me wrong!" Then, as the animals prepare to heave you out into the abyss, "PROVE ME [[WRONG]]!" \n\n
The flickering god snaps its fingers. "Silly of me to forget. I uploaded myself into that cylinder back there. My body's drifting around in there til my, ah, friend gets here. Then I'll thaw out and... we'll run Wonderland together, was the plan. I think. Now scoot; I'm not feeling too well."\n\n[[Scoot on down the spiral staircase]]
Yes, breathing. You suck in huge lungfuls of fresh air several miles down the road from Wonderland Theme Park. \n\n"I hope you are feeling better," says the forlorn gunner. You relax your BLASTER, though you keep it on her for the entire conversation. \n\n"Do you have any food?" you ask. "Was that the 'priceless prize'?"\n\n"You're not going to ask how I found you here, or how I haven't yet collapsed from bloodloss?"\n\n"Not remotely interested," you say. "If you have no food to share I suggest we part company here. I'd like to think about things alone for a while."\n\nThe forlorn gunner pulls a hypodermic needle from her back pocket. "I asked if you were a Citizen. Then I promised you a priceless prize," she says. She draws some blood from her wrist with the device, then holds it out to you. "You are heading that way? That is the direction I came from to get here." She has a serious look on her face. "I failed to find what I was looking for, but you will find food at the end of the road... if you inject yourself with this, and follow this road to the bitter end, you will find a mountain."\n\n"A mountain?" you say. You have seen many maps of the lands you are wandering toward: there are no mountains.\n\n"Yes," says the forlorn gunner. "Mt. Sinai. Climb it, and you will find at its top a Citizen's Gate."\n\n"Such things are impassible to modern humans," you say. \n\n"Aye. But Citizens may pass through into the complex beyond. My blood in your veins will make you a Citizen, and the guardians will let you through. In that place you will find all the food you could ever eat. And more. Oh, so much more. Including twenty-eight people sleeping in pools of ice." A mirthless grin. "I highly suggest you don't wake them up."\n\n[[inject her blood]]
''VRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRMMMMMMMMMM'' \n\n\n\n\nLights flare along the sides of the room. The stench of stale gasoline assails your nostrils. Something is waking up, and you think an EXPEDIENT EXIT might be best.\n\n[[try the window]]
There is no point. The heart of such a creature always lies elsewhere. This regal human shape before you is but a hologram. //Something// seems to have gotten to it, though.\n\n[[politely greet the god]]
BLASTER in your left hand, bogey knife in the right, you crouch and face the coruscating light coalescing before the toppled throne. \n\nA man's voice pipes through ancient speakers, speaking in Old American.\n\n[[BEHOOOLLLD! I AM OZZZ, THEEEE GREAT AND TERRRRRIBLE!]]
The thing sits on the roof of a small cement building not thirty feet away, cyber-rifle aimed right for you. You both watch each other for a bit.\n\nYou move towards the fence.\n\n''BANG''\n\nAnother pivot of dirt is thrown up.\n\nYou move in the direction of the now-active rides.\n\nNo Bang.\n\nPerhaps the horseheaded thing is one of the animatronic beasts, activated by the flickering god to patrol its grounds while it slept. That's why it knocked you out and brought you up to its master.\n\nMaybe it's some thing else.\n\nYou have survived in this wasteland this long by not messing with things you didn't understand. You think that this is probably a bad time to deviate from tradition. \n\n[[Head for the rides]]
[<img[]] \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n[[continue]]
There is something wrong with this god. Gods do not build things: they themselves are built. Gods are also able to analyze and index objects with unerring accuracy. This god lies to you, possibly intending to make you into the next batch of 'chicken nuggets'. Or, even worse, it has gone completely mad, and thinks itself a human. \n\n"Are you having fun?" The hologram is now inches from you, a hand rubbing at its nonexistent chin. "No fear if you aren't a fan. We can also whip up some Mock Turtle Soup if you like, or maybe some lembas? Are you having fun?"\n\n[[yes]]\n\n[[hell yes|yes]] \n
WASTELAND ADVENTURE!\n\nYou are a RESTLESS NOMAD following an''BANG''\n\nYou look down at your vest. Blood is spreading like ripples across a pond. You feel woozy,,,,\n\n''BANG''\n\nA sniper from the roof of a nearby ABANDONED NAIL SALON has BRUTALLY AND UNFAIRLY MURDALIZED YOU while the OPENING NARRATION was setting up the game's scenario. \n\nMaybe this difficulty level is TOO HARD for someone not used to HOW FREAKING DIFFICULT OLD GAMES WERE BACK WHEN THEY WERE DESIGNED TO TRICK KIDS IN ARCADES OUT OF MAXIMUM ALLOWANCE MONEY.\n\nWasteland Adventure!, out of pity, reverts its difficulty level to normal.\n\n[PRESS RESTART]
She squints into your face. "Are you a Citizen?" she asks, and that is odd, for only old decaying apparatuses of the old world ask that quesiton. Against such it is sure death to lie. She seems human enough, but you have no reason to risk it. \n\n"No," you say. "Whatever Citizens are, they died out millenia ago."\n\n"Not so long as that," she says. Her smile is forced. "I have a suggestion: a trade of goods and services. The goods? This." She hefted the metallic orb. "The service? Well. Kill the god."\n\n"But if the god is dead I have no need of the orb," you protest.\n\n"The "orb," as you call it, will be the method of death. I have sabotaged it. The god will die in seconds. I want you to deliver this to the god without revealing the trick. When it is dead, return; I will give you a priceless prize."\n\nHm. You ponder your options. \n\nYou know nothing of this convoluted machinery. The only thing you can do (besides spend the rest of your life in Wonderland) is choose whether or not to warn the flickering god. \n\n"Why did you try to destroy the god, anyway?" you ask.\n\nThe forlorn gunner shrugs. She is very sad, you realize. Older, too, than you originally thought. "It is... a maggot," she says at last. Whatever that means. When you try to get her to explain further, she suggests only that you look inside the cylinder after the god is dead. \n\n"You mean the god's original human body," you say.\n\nShe squeezes her belly and laughs and laughs. The ground around her is stained further with her blood. How has she lasted this long? How long has she managed to hide in this hole? Wounded as she is (or rather //seems//) how could she move the fence to cover her hideaway?\n\n"So what do you say?" she asks.\n\n[[give orb to god without saying anything]] \n\n[[warn god as you return orb]]\n\n[[attack forlorn gunner, threaten her to fix orb]] \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
You raise your hands in surrender. She says something in Old American, then repeats it in an imperfect but understandable rendition of the modern dialect. \n\n"Are you the one who reactivated the god?" she asks.\n"By accident," you say. "The god's equine minion trapped me in the god's chamber. I can't leave this place until I retrieve something from you."\n\nThe forlorn gunner droops. You think about your BLASTER, but her LAZGUN does not droop as much as the rest of her. \n\n"How did you damage the god?" you ask. "That is quite a feat."\n\nThe forlorn gunner shrugs. "I had the weaponry and the dexterity, as well as intimate knowledge of the workings of such beings." She presses her hand against her stomach, and you wince at the new blood that spreads across her shirt. "Obviously I have lost the dexterity, and grief and horror have curtailed my desire to try and kill the god again. It no longer wears his face; as I die here I find that that is somehow sufficient." \n\n"The god wants something from you," you repeat. \n"Yes," she says. "This." And she pulls from her pocket a lumpy metallic orb with wires dangling from various outlets. "Without this it will run out of power within a week."\n"May I have it?" you [[ask]]. \n
The flickering god appears to bow in return.\n\n"Not a fan of Frank L. Baum? No fear. Plenty of other entertainments here in Wonderland."\n\nIn halting Old Americanese you decline further experience of Wonderland, however pleasurable.\n\nThe hologram flares.\n\n"Surely you are here to have fun. That's why I built this damn theme park! Come, I hear your stomach growl--Kitchen staff, awake!"\n\nA grandiose gesture flung in the direction of a sensor starts a rumbling in the floor beneath your feet. A table ascends beside you; upon it is a blue plate of... meat, you think, as well as a glass filled to the brim with an odious black fluid. \n\nBut you dare not refuse the flickering god. You take a piece of meat.\n\n"Chicken nuggets! Master chefs slave for you all, my beloved relaxationers!" \n\nYou eat the chicken nugget. It is, without a doubt, [[horsemeat]].
The god was screaming. With no lungs it did not need to stop for air, so the keening never ended. It is deafening to your ears, and you cover them with your hands. Your hands--free from the grip of the animals! You look around. Dimly you can see their shapes through the fog. They have all gone stiff again. You leap to your feet and draw your BLASTER. \n\nSomething buzzes past your ear. A fly? \n\n[[investigate the cylinder]]
Remains of the old world lie scattered across the wide gray expanse before you. So few people remain that it is not uncommon to discover ancient caches of long-lasting food. But where to search first?\n\nThere's an overgrown fence there. Maybe there is something worthwhile [[beyond]] it.
There! Just barely visible among some brambles you see a series of painted letters.\n\n\nW E L OM E T O W O N D E R L A N D\n\n\n\nIt is in Old American. It takes you a couple of minutes to puzzle it out. "Wonderland," you say to yourself. "More like 'Wasteland.' "\n\n\n''BANG'' \n\nA bullet ricochets off the fence just an inch from your right ear. \n\n[[TURN AND SHOOT WITH YOUR BLASTER]]
It tells you where the girl is hiding. "Along the way enjoy one of Wonderland's fun rides! They were sleeping for some reason. I fixed that! It's important to have fun."\n\nYou ask if it wouldn't be more important to get the inhaler first.\n\nThe hologram darkens. \n\n"You must have fun. I built this parks for Citizens to have fun and to forget whatever unpleasantness may or may not exist outside the bounds of Wonderland. Fun is mandated. You. //Will//. Have. Fun."\n\nThe blast door unseals with a hiss. Before you descend down the spiral staircase you push your luck by asking why the flickering god isn't able to get its 'inhaler' under its own steam.\n\n"A little out of breath, I'm afraid."\n\nNot, you suggest, because its servos are rusted and its harddrives are crashing?\n\nA mistake.The flickering god bats you against a wall, and you crumple to the ground beside an animatronic hound in a suit.\n\n"No rudeness here, sir, or I will put you on the roller coaster and keep you loop-de-looping for the next sixty years. I am a human being. I built this theme park. I kept it running even through the government rationing. I'm still in business... or. No." \n\nThe flickering god put its hands in its pockets and hunched over. "No. I was waiting for someone. I was scared. No customers in years. Good hiding place from the bombs. She's not here yet."\n\nYou sidle towards the door, ready to sprint if the god shows hint of force again. But the hologram seems more at ease now, if a trifle more [[melancholy]]. \n\n\n
You hesitated only for a second. But in the time it took for you to take your hand off your blaster and dive for the dubious cover of a bush it all became moot. The butt of a cyber-rifle smashes into the back of your head, and everything gets gray and hazy. \n\nYou feel, or perhaps dream, of something small but strong lifting you onto its shoulder. You smell warmth and hay. Your eyes flutter open. A hideous horsey face leers down at you. Pale blind eyes sear into your soul, and the teeth--God, the TEETH!--They spread wide as they come nearer your face!!\n\nYou pass [[out]].
There--behind a (thankfully empty) petting zoo--some earthquake tore open the cement beside a building, leaving a crack wide enough for a human to slip through. You arm your BLASTER and creep nearer. \n\nHuh. The 'girl' or whatever it is has fortified its new home. The crack is sealed with a chainlink [[fence]].
You attempt to blast apart the fence with your BLASTER. Only a small portion evaporates. The forlorn gunner fires her LAZGUN but you are already at her throat. But. But....\n\nHer bloody //other// arms shred apart her shirt. Their claws slice your belly open and dig hungrily into your innards. \n\n"The worst part," says the forlorn gunner, "is that I sit here, thinking about what //he// must have been thinking to try what he did. And I have to wonder: am I any different?"\n\nAs she unhinges her jaw to feast on your rapidly cooling flesh, tears streak down her face. "I sometimes think about what I used to be. Human, I mean. And look at me now. All in the name of survival. What would the original, //human// me have thought? Would she look at me with disgust just as he would look on that thing up in the tower with loathing?"\n\nYou cannot respond to her musings, as you are DEAD. You will never walk the cracked roads of the wasteland again.\n\nTHE END\n\n(unless you [[ask]] nicely. In which case you can try another choice)
[<img[]]\n\n\n\n\n\n\nThe flickering god roars with satisfaction as it returns to full power. "Haha! At last!" it says. "First thing I'll do is pull that little girl from her hideyhole. She'd be great for testing sweets and--"\n\n"Why is your head still missing?" you ask.\n\n"What nonsense are you saying?" says the god. "It's stuck good and tight on my neck, just where... it ought to.... [[be]]." \n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n
"Halt," says the god. You find yourself gently placed back on the ground, though several arms of various types hold you immobile. You can still see the cylinder, which has lowered to the ground and begins to turn. \n\n"Look upon me, sinner," gloats the god. "I begin to fuse my consciousness back with that of my true self, my mortal vessel. Once I am again awake and enfleshed, pardner, I will show you the ''true'' hospitality of Wonderland. My imagination is fervid, my contempt for you illimitable-- wait."\n\nA new sign, yellow and flashing, hums a warning on the skin of the metallic cylinder. In Old American:\n\nC O N T A M I N A T I O N\n CONTENTS ARE BIOHAZARD\n FLUSH CONTENTS NOW\n INFECTION RISK HIGH\n\n\nThe hologram peers at the lid of the cylinder. "What's wrong?" It asks. Then: "It can't be. I am me. I'm in there. I'm thinking right now so... I have to be okay.\n\nYou begin to get a bad feeling in the pit of your stomach. There's a new odor in the air. A gut-wrenching stench. You are sure that the sickness at the heart of the god has manifested itself in the contents of the cylinder.\n\n"Maybe we should leave you alone in there," you suggest. "Let me leave your lovely theme park. Wait for the next set of customers. Let all things be well, and all manner of things--"\n\nThe god holds up a hand to stop you. "I have failed to sync with my bodily consciousness. I am entirely external. The system shouldn't allow that to happen." The hologram turns to you. Its sadness is of the same kind, it seems to you, as that of the forlorn gunner. \n\nThe god says, "[[I have to know]]." \n
You are a RESTLESS NOMAD, following an ANCIENT HIGHWAY to whatever pre-nuke city moulders at its end. Your ancestors survived the nuclear winter by hiding in caves or fleeing to the jungle lands to the south or maybe even by altering their DNA, but you have left your past behind you, as must every traveller out here in the big stony [[silence]].
Appalachian Entertainment
You must. And then you will run for the fence and the outer world beyond. The noise and the stench are nearly overpowering, but you persevere. You blunder through the fog and spraying nozzles till you reach the silhouette of the cylinder. It is most definitely the source of the smell. \n\nOh.\n\nOh no.\n\nYou throw up. The spreading puddle misses your boots, luckily.\n\nYou catch a glimpse of the cylinder's contents. It is... indescribable. No wonder the god could not connect with... what had been in here. There was honestly very little of the original occupant to interact with in any capacity. You are glad that the original occupant seems to have stopped living centuries ago. \n\nAs for the //other// inhabitants...\n\nWell, the forlorn gunner had, in fact, mentioned something about maggots. \n\nThe colors were surprisingly beautiful. Blooms of rose and bruised violet, a vibrant grass green here and there... all pulsating together, as if in mockery of the original inhabitant's [[breathing]]. \n
BLASTER has 11 uranium bullets left\nTRENCHCOAT is covered in the dust of the road\nFOOD SUPPLIES are dangerously low\n\n[[scrounge for imperishables]]
\n\n\n\n\n\n\n * bloop *\n\n\n The screen goes dead.\n\n\n What else did you expect? Now you are back in the real world. You'll live your life, I guess. Make art. Grow older. Maybe sometimes you'll look to the corner where your SNES gathers dust, and heave a sigh equally gray and powdery. But you're an adult now. 'Time to put away all childish things,' or whatever the heck that quote is.\n\n Or. Or, and stay with me on this--\n\n Or, you could maybe turn your SNES back on..... ?\n\n\n [PRESS RESTART TO TURN SNES BACK ON]