This kickstarter has far exceeded all of our expectations. As promised, Zach has been unveiling bits of the story from Trial of the Clone and based on backer-feedback, chosen an adventure, of sorts, which we'll sum up thus far below:
You are zero years old, suspended in a warm, moist sac. You've been sitting here happy and stupid for, if your marks on the wall are correct, approximately nine months.
Behind you, a slit of unbearable brightness appears and draws your gaze. You want to turn away, but an overwhelming sense of purpose and meaningfulness propels you to this mystical opening. In a triumphant burst, you leap headlong into the light.
You find yourself in the waiting arms of a physician. Instinctively, you whirl around, knowing that behind you is someone who will love you unconditionally as long as you live.
Your vision unblurs and you find a plastic gestation vat into which a young technician is already squirting a syringe of clone sperm. The first emotion you feel in your life is disappointment. Interestingly, it’ll also be your last emotion, and about 80% of the emotions in between.
* * *
Sixteen years later, it is your birthday.
Your entire life has been spent in the confines of a small space-orphanage near Ritni Otvor IV. In the early 28th century philanthropy became fashionable among the wealthy, and there was a shortage of orphans to adopt. Hence, your existence. By the time you were synthetically gestated, the wealthy had moved on to fighting for access to healthcare for wiener dogs. Hence, your sad existence.
Despite being the only child in the orphanage during your cutest years, you were passed over time and time again. Some cited your hair, others your physique, others your conversation. However, when exit surveys were filled out, by far the most common sentiment was simply "Meh."
Now that you are 16, you are legally unadoptable. Father Nadezda fills out some forms, notes that you are "now unadoptable for two reasons," and grimaces at your eyebrows. As you reflexively cover them, he explains that you will be sent to the Silene Monastery at Skubnuti Prime. He hands you a strange golden note, which you are not to open.
Go to 17.
* * *
You arrive at the Great Monastery of Skubnuti. It is a tall tower of black stone, covered in shimmering jewels and strange writing. It is funded by government tax subsidies and by convincing poor people to donate a percent of their income.
The Silene Monks were once the champions of justice and peace in the galaxy. But, later, all their mystical powers were superseded by advances in weapons technology. Now, much of their time is spent amusing tourists and smoking slightly different cultivars of marijuana.
At the front gate, you are greeted by a gaunt man in black velvet robes – Master Belmopasek. He looks you over, briefly snarls in disgust at your eyebrows, then indicates for you to enter. You hand him the golden note.
He reads it for a moment, looks up, then pokes you in the eye. He observes you as you whine “not in the face!” then nods his head and writes a few words on the note.
You follow him inside, expressing your profound rage with a mumbled threat to “write a blog post about this.”
* * *
You've spent the last 3 years learning the ways of the Silenes. You learned that there is a mystical energy that surrounds and binds the universe, which can be harnessed to lift shit or to shoot lightning.
You learned that there is a Good Side of The Energy and an Evil Side. You were informed that the Evil Side is generally preferable, since the learning process is much shorter and you gain all your power just by being upset or cowardly. The Good Side requires rigorous mental and physical discipline to achieve comparable results.
Ever since the Silenes were utterly marginalized by improvements in technology, both Goodsiders and Badsiders spend most of their time watching movies and browsing the Internet.
Now that you are 19, it's time for you to learn a craft. You head to the Silene Monastery’s vocational training campus.
If you choose to be a medic, go to 51.
If you choose to be a fighter, go to 52.
If you choose to be an engineer, go to 23.
So you want to be an engineer!
Since you have a deep-seated need for control over your tiny little life, but no pressing desire for the finer philosophical notions that underpin reality, you decide to enroll at the technical school.
Amidst the many glorious obsidian spires spread about the Silene Monastery complex, there is a gray concrete structure that looks like a penitentiary for the criminally boring.
You knock on the door of the engineering department. Instantly, a camera shoots out and looks you over. It looks with approval on your squinting eyes and prominent Adam’s Apple.
The door dilates and a floating robot leads you to the headmaster. Her small office is festooned with mint condition action figures in the original packaging. Their yellowed plastic casings glitter in the unnuanced light of her desk lamp.
“Enter,” she says in a monotonic nasal beep.
You assume she’s talking in a funny voice and chuckle. Whoops.
Your inelegant attempt to convert your laugh to a cough is noticed, but taken as a sign that you will fit in well at a technical school. She hands you a small pistol-shaped object. You ask if it’s a soldering gun.
“Setting 1 is laser pointer, setting 2 is flashlight, setting 3 is soldering gun heat level 1, setting 3b is self-destruct, and setting 3c is soldering gun heat level 2.”
Gain Alpha Ray: +1 fighting for remainder of current scene. May only be used twice.
“Why did you put self-destruct between settings that aren’t related to it?” you ask.
She glowers at you with a special and profound rage which engineers reserve for people who like intuitive computer interfaces. She picks up a limited edition Cybo-Staff (tm) signed by the author of Cybo-Wars I (tm), IV (tm), V (tm), and VIII (tm), and points toward the technical school dormitory.
* * *
5 years later (not counting the year you spent in China, which you claimed was for research and cultural exchange, but which was actually a thinly-veiled and unsuccessful plan to get an Asian girlfriend) you are near graduation. Although your main activities were masturbation, sleep, and sleepsturbation, you have learned quite a bit. And, you have gained some notoriety in your field for inventing sleepsturbation. But, you are not an engineer yet.
Today is final exam day.
Because you spent last night with your friends, drinking, playing video games, and talking about how you were all glad not to be tied down to a longterm relationship, you are in very bad shape. Panic begins to set in. The time for smart plans has passed.
If you decide to kill your professor and take his brain, go to 29.
If you go to the psybrary to downbrain as much information as possible, go to 6.
You had assumed the psybrary was a high tech way to download information directly into your brain. Turns out it's a cute name for the kids' section of a regular library. Just to be certain, you talk to the sweet middle aged lady in overalls and pigtails who works the front desk.
With the kind of smile that usually accompanies a repressed urge to murder, murder, and murder a third time, she explains that you can indeed download information directly into your brain… through your eyes… by reading!
She tells you reading is an adventure. You flick her off, tell her her face is an adventure, then walk away. “Nice one,” you mutter to yourself.
Then you notice something strange. All the children here are popping ADHD medication like clockwork every 5 minutes. And not only are they constantly using drugs, it seems like their mothers aren't even watching them!
If you seize the opportunity to beat one up and take his delicious drugs, go to 36.
If you suck it up, read your books, and take the damn test, go to 64.
* * *
What's next? We'll have to wait and see! In the meantime, please spread the word about our kickstarter and if you want to explore all of this epic saga, be sure to get a copy for yourself!
We've been floored by how well-received our fundraiser has gone so far. We've already reached the milestone for the Geek Celeb Audiobook; there will be a sequel if we hit $100,000! Help us make it happen.
Even if you don't have the money to back this project, it would be a great service to Zach and breadpig if you simply spread the word.
Thank you so much for already helping us get this funded (our goal was hit in about 8 hours!!) and helping both science (Zach's wife!) and the internet (non-sustainable portion of our publisher profits donated to Fight For The Future).