"Why are crocodiles brown and flat?"\n"I don't know, why?"\n"Because if they were yellow and round, they'd be lemons."\n\n[[Groans]].\n
"Why, hello there, you wonderful thing," Stephen says. "Did you know that camels can't eat strawberries? Isn't that remarkable?"\n\nIt's time for [[hugs]]!
Proudly but peacefully, you turn to walk away.\n\nSomeone hits you in the back of the head.\n\n[[Ow!]]
"But if there is one thing that is genuinely hilarious in this mess, it's that these fucking politicians can't even walk down the street anymore. People just beat the shit out of them. And it's not young anarchists or something, it's old people! Seeing one of these bastards getting punched in the face by an eighty-year-old is... glorious."\n\n"And they say old people have nothing to contribute!"\n\n"I think old people should start organizing against the system. Imagine whole battalions of old people going into battle wielding canes and handbags... it would be terrifying!"\n\n"Not that the police would mind attacking them. We've seen that."\n\n"Granted, granted. But imagine them trying to attack two hundred armed grannies. It would be [[mayhem|Granny Mayhem]]!"
"You really need to relax," Stephen says. "Let's go somewhere nice."\n\nThat sounds good.\n\nSo!\n\nLet's go to [[Alpha Centauri|Warp Speed]]!\n\nOr let's go to [[that nice little anarchist cafe|That Nice Little Anarchist Cafe]]!
You turn into an African Grey Parrot! They are beautiful and highly intelligent animals, and being one is awesome. Thankfully, no-one has clipped your wings.\n\n<<display 'Fly'>>
You try to get up.\n\n//What it aims at is an Individualism expressing itself through joy. This Individualism will be larger, fuller, lovelier than any Individualism has ever been.//\n\nYou're [[disoriented]]. \n\n//Pain is not the ultimate mode of perfection. It is merely provisional and a protest. It has reference to wrong, unhealthy, unjust surroundings.//\n\nEverything is kind of [[fuzzy]].\n\n//When the wrong, and the disease, and the injustice are removed, it will have no further place. It will have done its work. It was a great work, but it is almost over. Its sphere lessens every day.//
"Did you know that in Mexico, nachos are called totopos?" Stephen says. "In general, of course, many foods that we call Mexican should more appropriately be called Tex-Mex. Not that transparent or rainbow nachos are traditional Tex-Mex food - in fact I do wonder where these came from. Would you happen to know, Alan?"\n\n"I'm a strobile," Alan says.\n\nThe nachos taste like goats, but the goats that they taste like are quite delicious. The cheese-jalapeño sauce which only just appeared on them is very hot and has a wonderfully alliaceous aftertaste.\n\n<<display 'Next'>>
A somewhat large woman wearing what appears to be a cheaply-made Egyptian headdress is sitting on an ornate chair (not yours) with her legs crossed. There are two small [[mechanical-looking balls|Balls To You]] attached to her face, right next to her lips.\n\n"Oh," you hear someone say, "I think that's [[Madonna's Lip Woman]]. She's going to start a sêance now."\n\n"That's not how [[séance|Aigu]] is spelled," Stephen Fry says.
"I'M NOT RACIST, BUT..." the journalist begins.\n\n[[Interrupt]] him? Or let him [[continue|But]]?
"The truth," he says, "is an elephant being examined by blind men. They cannot agree as to its nature until it has run them over."\n\n[[Tell me another, Metaphor Brother!|Go On]]
You drift off, into the depths of space, until the Earth is just a pale blue dot. Stephen is somewhere, but you can't see him.\n\nYou hear Carl's voice, and beautiful music.\n\n//Consider again that dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every "superstar", every "supreme leader", every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there - on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.//\n\nSlowly you begin to [[descend|Kalogria]].
"You are a racist!" you say.\n\n"MUSLIM SCHOOLS BAN OUR CULTURE" he responds.\n\nThis is seriously [[not OK|Not OK]].
You may not be able to win, but let's give them hell anyway!\n\nYou run towards the riot police, screaming back at them and throwing stones. The stones bounce harmlessly off their shields, but they seem surprised at this lone figure storming them like some mad prophet.\n\n//Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.//\n\nThey take you [[down]] in under a second.
That noise was a beach bar. Actually it was three beach bars; one evidently isn't enough. They're playing music that consists of the same three notes repeated over and over again: thump-thump-thump, thump-thump-thump. You don't come to the beach for the sand and the sea anymore (thump-thump-thump) you come for the loud music and drinks (thump-thump-thump) sitting on chairs so the sand won't touch you (thump-thump-thump) making sure you stay away from the the water because it might ruin your hair (thump-thump-thump) hoping people will admire your perfect body, your burning hot red body with the skin cancer (thump-thump-thump) better enjoy it now because in a few years you'll look like a fucking mummy (thump-thump-thump) those sexy boobs and awesome abs will go all Imhotep on you, you wrecks of human fucking beings (thump-thump-thump) and you've dumped sand on the river to extend the beach, who gives a shit about the wildlife (thump-thump-thump) let's enhance the tourist experience (thump-thump-thump) let's make everything just right for these slobbering creatures that not even the most despairing satirist could have imagined (thump-thump-thump) these walking product placements, these brainless, spineless, hopeless blind monkeys burning themselves on the beach while a world of infinite beauty dies behind them and in front of them (thump-thump-thump)\n\n"Take a breath," Stephen says. "There's a [[ship|To the Stars]] coming." (thump-thump-thump)\n\n"Fuck me, that's annoying," he adds.\n\n(thump-thump-thump)
At first the swampy river seems to be empty of life. Then you notice tiny fishies, and frogs, and tadpoles, and dragonflies - and finally the turtles arrive, curious, hungry, staring at you like tiny triangular ships whose metaphors don't make sense.\n\nThey are black and have yellow dots and their eyes are mysterious. It's almost as if they are asking some ancient question, like...\n\n[[What if you had toast?]]\n\nOr maybe...\n\n[[What was that noise?]]
The ship is blue and white and luminous as it descends from the sky to land right before you. Its captain is a Big White Poof-Poof.\n\n"Arf!" it barks, which means [[get on|Get On]].
You go back to your hole.\n\nThe End
The walls grow.\n\nThere's nothing you can do to stop them.\n\nThey become so big that they blot out the sky.\n\nEverything is dark now.\n\nYou know [[where you are]].
This is the hole you live in. It's the hole you were in before you came to the party.\n\nIt looks huge from up here, impossible to climb out of, but once you're inside it, it's tiny. There's [[no space]] to move at all.
Nachos! The only food available is nachos, but they seem to be really cool nachos. Multicoloured nachos! Blue nachos, green nachos, white nachos, transparent nachos, rainbow nachos.\n\nSomeone is talking about nachos. It would appear to be - can this be true? - [[Stephen Fry]].
Look, this isn't an anatomy class. Enough about Stephen's heart. It's sugary and delicious and you can't have it, so let's focus on something else, like his [[nose|Stephen Fry's Nose]].\n\nOr you could just [[talk to him some more|Talking]].
You decelerate as you approach the triple star system ([[unless you're not counting Proxima|Alpha Centauri AB]]). An enormous [[space station|Space Station]] floats in orbit around the suns.
You start building a sandcastle with your dad. Well, you build a castle, he builds a sphinx. There's not a bit of white in his hair.\n\nYour sandcastle is built with ambition, but as usual it's pretty terrible. It'll probably survive the waves longer than most, but in terms of elegance and design it's... a little clunky. (Clunky? Who are you kidding? It looks like something a giant shat out after eating an architect.)\n\nYour dad's [[sphinx|Sphinx]] is magnificent. How the hell does he do it? He probably showed you, but you don't remember, because you don't listen to anyone and you'd rather continue building your clunky, overambitious parodies of a real sandcastle.
Your [[eyes|fuzzy]] burn. Your lungs [[burn]]. \n\n//What it aims at is an Individualism expressing itself through joy. This Individualism will be larger, fuller, lovelier than any Individualism has ever been.//\n\nYou're choking.\n\n//Pain is not the ultimate mode of perfection. It is merely provisional and a protest. It has reference to wrong, unhealthy, unjust surroundings.//\n\nWhat the fuck is this [[stuff|burn]]?\n\n//When the wrong, and the disease, and the injustice are removed, it will have no further place. It will have done its work. It was a great work, but it is almost over. Its sphere lessens every day.//
"Where do you pick up a pirate at an airport?"\n"I don't know, where?"\n"Arrrivals. What do you call a thousand pirates on land?"\n"What?"\n"An arrrmy."\n"Sigh."\n"At sea?"\n"..."\n"An arrrmada."\n"The pain..."\n"And both? Arrrmageddon!"\n"Aaah!"\n"If you built a pirate computer, what would it be?"\n"Irritating?"\n"An arrrtificial intelligence!"\n"Who is the patron goddess of [[pirates|Arrr]]?"\n"Pleaseshutupia?"\n"Arrrtemis!"\n"..."\n"What do you call it when a pirate sets you on fire?"\n"..."\n"Arrrson. Do you know where most American pirates live?"\n"Florida?"\n"Arrrkansas. Though there are also some in Arrrizona."\n"You're having way too much fun."\n"What do you call a pirate with 8 legs? An arrrachnid."\n"Grrrr."\n"That reminds me. How do [[pirate|Arrrr]] dogs bark?" \n"It's going to be something stupid, isn't it?"\n"Arrrf."\n"Yes indeed."
You sit in the cafe with Stephen and the others. The atmosphere is warm and cozy; people come here to talk and have fun, not to show off.\n\nEverything is sort of orange.\n\nEveryone is smiling.\n\nYou could talk about [[bad jokes|Bad Jokes]] or [[Star Trek|What is Trek]] or [[politics|More Bad Jokes]].
You're on the ship.\n\nNot in the hole.\n\nYes, you're [[OK|Take A Deep Breath]].
You run towards the girl and the policemen, but before you can get there, something hits you in the back of the head and you fall down.\n\n[[Ow!]]
There's no cat at this party. There are just some [[celebrities|Guests]].
Some jokes just get funnier the more people groan at them.\n\nSuddenly someone is shouting at you. What a weird reaction to a joke. Hmmm.\n\n"This joke has been outlawed!" the riot policeman screams at you. "Get off the streets, you punks! Don't you know that joke is illegal? Don't you know? Don't you know?"\n\nYou could try [[calmly walking away|Walk Away]]. Or you could tell him something about [[freedom of speech|Freedom of Speech]].
"Good choice!" the drink says. "Why don't you go back to Metaphor Brother? Go on, I know you enjoyed listening to him."\n\nThe drink is right, so you go back.\n\n<<display 'And One More'>>
You find Carl Sagan near the Sea of Tranquility. His sweater is beautiful and he's building some sort of enormous [[machine|Voyager]].\n\nHe smiles when he sees you and it's like the sun just came up, but wiser and less cruel to people in deserts.\n\n"Hey there," he says. His mellifluous [[voice|Carl Sagan's Voice]] makes you feel like you've suddenly become a better person.
"What would you like to talk about, dear?" Stephen says.\n\nYou could talk about\n\n- [[Time travel|Making History]].\n- [[God|God]].\n- [[Sweets]].\n- [[Endangered species|Last Chance to See]].\n- [[Star Trek]].\n- [[The monarchy|It's All About The Ears]]. (Don't.)
This is where you first understood that magic exists, some kind of human magic but magic nonetheless, that all those things you defended but never believed in are actually real, and you can be loved and desired and understood. The lamppost is gone now, but one day you came back here and there had been a storm and the sky was dark and foreboding on one side of the pier, and there was a rainbow on the other side, and you asked her to marry you, and it didn't feel romantic then because part of your soul was still in the hole, but it feels romantic as hell now, and you wish you could go back there, you wish you could be wiser and know the future and make brilliant choices and-\n\n"Take a breath," Stephen says. "There's a [[ship|To the Stars]] coming."
Kakapos are flightless, idiot.\n\nInstead, turn into:\n\n- A [[Golden Eagle]].\n- An [[African Grey Parrot]].
You're in the hole.\n\nYou've always been in the hole.\n\n"Stay where you belong!" someone shouts from above.\n\nThey're putting a big metal plate over the exit. Not that you can climb up there. There's no space to move and the walls are slippery and the weight on your chest is back.\n\nNow they're pouring concrete over the metal to make sure you [[never get out]].
You decelerate as you approach the binary star system ([[unless you're counting Proxima|Alpha Centauri ABC]]). An enormous [[space station|Space Station]] floats in orbit around the suns.
"Let me tell you about [[the history of the Universe|Once Upon A Time]]," the teddy bear says in your father's voice.
The ship docks with the space station.\n\nSomething goes bzzt grrbt bzzt brggg wnffffffffff.\n\nNow you're on the space station. Inside the space station there is an enormous beach.\n\nThere are millions of stars overhead, and tiny fires in the distance where other people are camping out. It's very quiet, except for the waves.\n\nA big brown [[teddy bear|Teddy Bear]] approaches you.
You can't move. You're always sitting there, always in the same spot, with the machine that never stops droning, and it's dark even when you turn on the light, and you don't know what to do, you try climbing out but the walls are slippery and anyway you can barely get up and you can't breathe and you're so tired of this, so tired of this hole, but the hole is everything now, it's every day and every hour and none of the things you once imagined have happened, and there's a big heavy stone on your chest, you feel like someone increased the gravity to the level of Jupiter, you're still in this hole and it's noisy and someone nailed your favourite ideas to the wall so you can be reminded of how they failed, and the washing machine is driving you mad with its whirring but you don't have the strength to get up, and you reread the same passages from Moab Is My Mashpot because somehow reading about Fry's youth comforts you and moves you, but even that is a purely mechanical reaction now, just another way of staving off panic for a few hours so you can fall asleep and -\n\n"Hey," Stephen says, "are you [[OK]]?"
Something seems to be going on at the back of the room. People are gathering around [[someone|Someone]].
"Well, after the big explosion, everything started flying outwards, but it was still very hot. A long, long time passed as it cooled down and all that stuff that had come out of the explosion started coming together, dust and gas and all that, and it started forming stars and planets and asteroids and all the things we now know. About four and a half billion years ago, some of those materials formed... the Earth! And a billion years later, by some strange accident that no-one entirely understands yet, the materials that were floating around in a big soup on the Earth became alive! And from those first few living beings, over billions of years, all life on Earth evolved, including you and me."\n\nYou look up at the [[stars|No Trespassing]] and realize that you share a common history with them; no-one in the universe is truly alone.
It's a plant thing. Don't let it upset you, this is a nice party.\n\n"Why, hello there, you wonderful thing," Stephen says. "Did you know that a strobile is a plant thing? Isn't that remarkable? This one is called Alan."\n\nIt's time for [[hugs]]!
So, you're at a party. It's taking place in somebody's apartment, which is amazing, because it's also a hotel. A number of [[celebrity guests|Guests]] are here, milling about and enjoying the [[food|Nachos]]. You're not sure why you're here, but apparently [[one of the chairs|Crap Chair]] belongs to you, so you're welcome to stay.\n\nOr you could [[go|Gone]].
Suddenly someone is shouting at you. You're not quite sure why anyone would do that; it's such a nice beach.\n\n"Get off this beach right now!" the riot policeman yells. "Camping on public ground is not allowed to the public!"\n\nYou could [[comply|War is Peace]] or you could [[tell him what you think|The Truth Will Set You Free (Not)]].
You run through the streets, trying to get away. And you do, for a while. You hide in an alley where no-one can see you. You're safe.\n\nBut then you realize that the alley has [[no exit]]. None at all.
They're done. You're [[trapped|never get out]], put in your [[place|never get out]]. It's dark and cold and noisy and you have to fight for every [[breath|never get out]]. The same old mixture of [[apathy|never get out]] and [[fear|never get out]] settles over you, the one you know so well from all your days in the hole, the one that comes from living with nothing but cold, deadening panic in your veins.\n\nThey've won. They always [[win|never get out]], they're always going to win. They'll build a factory over your [[hole|never get out]] where unpaid workers will struggle against one another for [[scraps|never get out]] and no-one will ever know that you existed, that you fought, that you [[dreamed|wake up]]. Stephen Fry is [[gone|never get out]] now because he never existed, because you'll [[never|never get out]] meet him or anyone else you admire.\n\n[[This|never get out]] [[is|never get out]] [[all|never get out]] [[there|never get out]] [[is|never get out]].
Your awareness of their presence makes the ghosts become visible. They are not just humanoid, but human.\n\nOne of them, a grey-haired woman, walks up to you. You notice that Stephen is no longer an owl, and you appear to wearing a red uniform. You've been wearing it ever since you got here, actually.\n\n"Have you come to [[build the city|Boldly Go]]?" the woman asks.
You tell the riot policemen (there are ten of them now) how you feel about the fact that putting up a tent is a crime but putting up an enormous hotel is not. You tell them that they're spending their time intimidating people for sleeping on the beach but will risk life and limb to defend those who are ruining the country's ecosystem.\n\nThey do not seem impressed.\n\nYou're about to tell them more about how hypocritical all of this is when one of them punches you in the face.\n\n[[Ow!]]
"Come to us, Cleopatra! Bring us your wisdom."\n\nWith a whooshing sounds not unlike that of someone sneezing behind a curtain, Cleopatra appears. She is entirely naked.\n\n"I'm busy," she says. "Fuck off."\n\nMadonna's Lip Woman gets angry, and attempts to use the mechanical balls attached to her mouth to get Cleopatra to stay. It doesn't work.\n\n"But you have to stay!" she screams. "We summoned you! We went to all this effort! We deserve your wisdom!"\n\nCleopatra punches her. Stephen Fry shrugs.\n\n"Let's get [[out of here|Beyond]]," he says.
"This is Voyager 3," Carl Sagan says. "I've been working on it for years, ever since we gave up on space."\n\nIt doesn't look like Voyagers 1 and 2.\n\n"That's because it has a much more specific [[purpose|Pale Blue Dot]] than its predecessors."\n\n
"That's a good question. No-one really knows. There are many different scientific hypotheses (a hypothesis is a theory that hasn't been proven yet) but no real evidence. Maybe we can never fully answer the most basic question of all: why does anything exist in the first place? Some people think it's because of God, or various gods, but maybe the answer is just - it just is. It's always been and it always will be."\n\nYou look up at the [[stars|No Trespassing]] and you think that is what it means to be human: to live in a world full of mysteries, striving for answers, but knowing that some things will always be out of reach.
There's no shame in running away from violence and hatred. These people want to harm you.\n\n"We're going to show you sons of bitches!" they scream. "We're going to fuck you up!"\n\nYou see them grabbing people, breaking their bones, dragging them by the hair, using them as human shields against those who try to fight back.\n\n//Disobedience, in the eyes of any one who has read history, is man's original virtue. It is through disobedience that progress has been made, through disobedience and through rebellion.//\n\nThere is no shame in being afraid of pain. There is no shame in wanting to live.\n\nYou [[run]].
The waiter is called Nikos and speaks five languages, but he's also [[Kevin Spacey]]. The cook is an old woman called [[Antigone|Secrets]].\n\nThe food is [[amazing|Childhood]].
"I'm so, so sorry," Stephen says. "I realize that with my Enlightenment values and my belief in intellectual and political freedom, I should be a firm opponent of any system of monarchy, and the British monarchy in particular. But the truth is that ever since I first met Prince Charles, he has controlled my brain using the astonishingly powerful psionic emitters in his ears."\n\n"He can't control me," Alan says, "because I'm a strobile."\n\n<<display 'Next'>>
"Oh God, I love sweets. I love them far too much, and always have. I used to sneak away from school to buy sweets from the village shop, which was forbidden."\n\n"Stephen grew up in the 19th century," Alan says, despite being a strobile.\n\n<<display 'Next'>>
You fly to a really nice Greek restaurant by the [[beach|Beach]]. It doesn't look like anything special from the outside - it's certainly the least touristy of all the restaurants on the beach - but it's the one where the people are the most friendly and the food is the most yummy. The most yummy ever. Seriously.\n\nWow, you're really [[hungry|Food Now]] now.
"Come on, I'll show you," Stephen says.\n\nYou go out on the balcony, which is enormous and has a donkey on it. The donkey doesn't mind you. It is being fed carrots by a small, bald man called Thanasis. He's been here this whole time.\n\nBack in the room, a fight seems to be breaking out. Madonna's Lip Woman is screaming at someone about arrogance and presumption.\n\n<<display 'And Then'>>
"They never understood Star Trek," you pontificate. "The writers, I mean. They always thought it was about who we are, but it's about who we ''could'' be. As a species. It's about the [[hope|Hope]] that if we get rid of our socio-economic problems, if we build a society that works on principles of reason, we could dedicate ourselves to doing something more interesting and more fun than killing each other for profit. We could be out there, exploring, finding awesome new things, not because of some military necessity, but out of sheer curiosity."\n\nThis is important to you.
"I can really see this happening! Revenge of the Nazikiller Grannies. They've spent the last few decades baking cakes and taking care of the children, but when the old enemy returns in a new form, they face a whole new challenge! In a world where corporations have taken over the government and threaten the freedoms we all cherish, the Nazikiller Grannies must come out of retirement... or face the end of everything they love. Coming soon to a revolution near you!"\n\nSuddenly someone is [[shouting|Illegal Jokes]] at you.
It was the last time you stayed on that beautiful beach where you grew up, before they built ugly houses with bright blue pools and perfect green lawns, when it was all wilderness, when it was quiet, when the beach belonged to the crabs and the seagulls and the thorny plants and you made the fish jump with your flashlight and talked about the stars with your cousin and suddenly there was an amazingly bright light in the sky, and at first you thought a plane was coming down, but it was a meteor, the brightest falling star you've ever seen, a fireball that lit up the world like it was day, and you've always wished you could see that again and remember-\n\n"Take a breath," Stephen says. "A [[ship|To the Stars]] is coming."
You remember hearing something about how the chemicals used in this tear gas are so aggressive that they'd be illegal to use in a war.\n\nIt's hard to think about that right now, though, what with the burning [[pain]] and the [[near-blindness|fuzzy]] and the [[confusion|disoriented]].
"Yo," says Metaphor Brother. "A dream is a mirror: sometimes you see a reflection of yourself, sometimes someone else stares back at you."\n\n[[Tell me another, Metaphor Brother!|Another]]
Urgh! The drink really is awful. You throw it overboard.\n\n"Hey, you asked for it!" the bartender says.\n\n<<display 'And One More'>>
This is how these conversations go these days; everyone has a little snippet of terror to offer.\n\n"Man, my mother still isn't getting her pension. What the hell is up with that? She keeps calling them but no-one ever answers the phone. Thirty years of saving lives for less [[money|Hah!]] than a waitress earns in another country and you don't even get a pension."
You land on the beach, not far from where the swampy little river flows into the sea. This is where the turtles live!\n\n"Let's go see the [[turtles|Turtles]]!" Stephen says.
It's not terribly interesting. I mean, it's a chair. OK, if you sit on it just right, it makes you look like Dracula. That's pretty cool. But it's very heavy and cumbersome. At least the [[cat|What Cat]] likes it.\n\nThe chair smells vaguely of [[Stephen Fry]]. Could that mean...
"Art is not a building, it is a city."\n\n[[Tell me another, Metaphor Brother!|And One More]]
"You'd think people would figure out it's a scam, wouldn't you? They're constantly stringing us along, then throwing us some crumbs every now and then and we're so stupid we even celebrate when it happens!"\n\nThe waiter brings the drinks. This is one of the few cafés where prices are something resembling reasonable.\n\n"Yeah, you'd think it would be obvious. But try explaining that to my uncle. We should probably lock him up when there's an election so he can't go vote for the same idiots again. He still thinks this is 1980 or something."\n\n"You know, we made the same joke about my granddad, but he really gets it. I guess he's seen real poverty before. Hell, he's seen genocide. He got so [[angry|Angry Old Men]]... he said he was going to vote for the communists!"
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Well, that was short.\n\nThe End
Shit. Oh shit.\n\nYou're surrounded by [[walls]].\n\nOutside the police sirens wail.
"At least she got paid! Nowadays half the people I know are working without getting paid, and they're too scared to do anything about it because then they won't have a job at all."\n\n"My best friend is in exactly that situation, she keeps thinking about quitting but then she tells herself that maybe they'll pay [[next month...|Always Next Month]]"\n\n"It's just completely [[insane|How Do You Explain]]."
There's nothing to do but run.\n\nThe question is... [[run away]] from the bastards? Or [[run towards them]]?
So, a pirate walks into a bar with a wheel between his legs.\n"What's that for?" the bartender asks.\n"Arr, it's driving me nuts!"\n\n[[Death by laughter]].
"Wuff! Wuff!" says the Big White Poof-Poof, which means "Warp speed! To Alpha Centauri!"\n\nAnd [[off you go|Alpha Centauri AB]]!
What happens to a dream deferred?\n\nDoes it dry up\nlike a raisin in the sun?\nOr fester like a sore —\nAnd then run?\nDoes it stink like rotten meat?\nOr crust and sugar over —\nlike a syrupy sweet?\n\nMaybe it just sags\nlike a heavy load.\n\nOr does it explode?\n\n- Langston Hughes\n\n[[Start|Prologue]]\n[[Credits]]
by [[Jonas Kyratzes|http://www.jonas-kyratzes.net]]
"I'm detecting something else," Stephen says. "There are energy patterns moving all around us. They appear to be humanoid in form."\n\nStephen doesn't know what they are, but you do. They are [[chronoton ghosts|Chronoton Ghosts]].
"The pirates' favourite action hero?"\n"I'm trying not to listen."\n"Arrrnold Schwarzenegger."\n"Hrumph."\n"What do you call a pirate who thinks he's better than everyone else? Arrrogant."\n"My brain hurts."\n"How do pirates say goodbye? Arrrivederci!"\n"Oh dear, I shall have to kill you."\n"Wait! At least let me tell you the [[perfect pirate joke|Perfect Pirate Joke]]."
"What kind of dog can jump higher than a building?"\n"Oh, I wasn't born yesterday, you know. Any dog! A building can't jump."\n"Damn you. How about some [[pirate jokes|Arr]]?"
The bartender hands you the drink and a couple of coins.\n\n"It said they're for you," she says.\n\nYou go back to Metaphor Brother.\n\n<<display 'And One More'>>
"I remember an episode of Star Trek that ends with Jim turning to McCoy and saying 'Out there, Bones, someone is saying the three most beautiful words in the galaxy.' I fully expected the nauseous obviousness of 'I love you.' But Kirk turned to the screen, gazed at the stars, and whispered: 'Please, help me.'"\n\nStephen looks thoughtful.\n\n"Strange, the potency of cheap television."\n\n<<display 'Next'>>
Then they beat you. They smash your face against the street. They break your teeth. They grab you by the hair and drag you, screaming and bleeding, to a police van. They throw you [[in]].
<<display 'Explode'>>
"THEY'VE STOLEN ALL OUR JOBS!" he continues.\n\nThis is seriously [[not OK|Not OK]].
"MIGRANTS TAKE ALL NEW JOBS IN BRITAIN" he says.\n\nYou're pretty certain this isn't actually [[true|Because I Read It In]].
"All the world's a stage," Metaphor Brother intones, "and all the men and women are non-union actors."\n\n[[Tell me another, Metaphor Brother!|Yet Another]]\n\n(Or hold on, let me [[get a drink|Get A Drink]].)
Last time you saw the small black woof-woof she was old and blind, but she isn't right now - and that is a gift. So play!\n\nYou run around on the deck of the ship, chasing each other, playing fetch, rolling on the ground. You turn into a woof-woof yourself, for a while. You bark. Some of the guests are slightly perturbed, but the Big White Poof-Poof smiles approvingly.\n\nYou are happy in that way that only playing can make you.\n\nThe ship [[sails on|The Hole]], over stars and clouds and raindrops.
"The doors of perception," Metaphor Brother says, "squeak when they open."\n\n[[Tell me another, Metaphor Brother!|He's Got Lots Of These]]
"Yes," Stephen says with a grave expression on his face, "I did a documentary about endangered species for the BBC, with Mark Carwardine, a follow-up to Last Chance to See by Mark and my good friend Douglas Adams. It was an experience that I may never quite find the words to describe."\n\n"I liked the episode about the blue whale," the strobile says.\n\n<<display 'Next'>>
You stare at Stephen. He seems to be slightly embarrassed, like a person reading their second John Irving novel.\n\nIt's time for [[hugs]]!
"Once upon a time, long before you or I were born - about thirteen billion years ago, there was what we call the Big Bang. That's when there was a huge explosion - bang! - that created everything. In fact, everything that now exists once existed in a single point, all together, you and me and your mother and the beach and the stars, everything together in one spot."\n\nAnd [[then what|Coalesce]] happened?\n\n...or, come to think of it, what happened [[before|Before the Beginning]] that?
You speak eloquently about freedom of speech: how it is the basis of any democracy, how we must respect the opinions of those we disagree with, how dangerous it is for everyone if expression is suddenly-\n\n-and they punch you in the teeth.\n\n[[Ow!]]
//GILBERT. Yes: I am a dreamer. For a dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.\n\nERNEST. His punishment?\n\nGILBERT. And his reward. But, see, it is dawn already. Draw back the curtains and open the windows wide. How cool the morning air is! Piccadilly lies at our feet like a long riband of silver. A faint purple mist hangs over the Park, and the shadows of the white houses are purple. It is too late to sleep. Let us go down to Covent Garden and look at the roses. Come! I am tired of thought.//
"It's sort of silly that this city is called Selene," Stephen says, "because as you probably know, Selene is just Greek for the moon."\n\nStephen is right, but it's also a beautiful name that is rather fitting for this city of green parks and small white houses under a gleaming dome.\n\nYou could go [[in|City of Ghosts]], or you could turn around and [[look for Carl Sagan|Looking for Carl]].
The person Stephen just corrected scowls at him.\n\n"You actors, you always think you know everything. But there are mysteries in the universe that you can never understand."\n\nThis is true. Why anyone is still reading the Daily Mail or the Bildzeitung or the New York Times is hard to understand.\n\n"Why can bumblebees fly?" the irritated individual continues. "Why does light create rainbows? What are the stars?"\n\nWait a moment. Didn't you go to school with this person? Yes, yes, definitely.\n\n"I don't want to talk to you anymore, you're always so aggressive."\n\nThe [[séance|Spirit World]] begins.
Madonna's Lip Woman raises her hands to the sky. Well, to the ceiling.\n\n"We are gathered here today to seek the wisdom of the Spirit World," she announces in a trembling voice. "To learn from all those who are departed, and the mighty beings beyond this Earth, we call upon the spirit of the greatest of all queens, she who is called Cleopatra."\n\n"Do we really have to [[listen|Listen]] to this?" Stephen moans. "I can think of far more [[interesting things|Interesting Things]] to do."
In your marvellous new shape, you beat your wings and leave the ground behind.\n\n"Where should we go?" Stephen asks. "We could go to the [[Moon|On the Moon]]! Or that nice [[restaurant|Antigone]]! Or how about that [[swamp|Kalogria]] with the turtles?"
You start throwing pieces of toast to them. They gobble it up enthusiastically.\n\nMore and [[more turtles|More Turtles]] show up from higher up in the river, where you can't go (though you'd love to) because there are so many reeds.\n\nYou notice that there are tiny rivulets everywhere now, not just one big river. The sand around them is really solid; this would be a great place to build [[sandcastles|Sandcastles]].
"My hunger is a shark," he says, "or something like that. I need to get a snack. Is Kevin Spacey here? He has the best food ever."\n\nThe ship [[sails on|The Hole]], over stars and clouds and raindrops.
You take the small black woof-woof into your arms and hold her as you watch clouds drift underneath the ship.\n\nHow long ago was it that you and your cousin were teaching the small black woof-woof how to go up the stairs? How many years since she last ran around the garden because she was so happy to see you?\n\nStroking her black fur, you remember the first time you held her, when she was so tiny and so calm. And the last time you saw her, when she was old and weak and blind, but still excited to see you.\n\nDoes anything in this universe make any kind of sense?\n\nThe ship [[sails on|The Hole]], over stars and clouds and raindrops.
"This joke is illegal! You are inciting to riot!" the riot policeman is screaming.\n\n"Calm down, man!" a young girl says. The riot policeman punches her.\n\nMore riot policemen appear. They start beating the girl.\n\n"All because of the violent language of the Left," an academic mumbles, watching as the policemen grab the girl by the hair and drag her off.\n\nYou could try to [[help her yourself|Help]] or [[call the police|Call the Police]].
Stephen is at the bar, talking to Oscar Wilde. His cheeks are quite red.\n\n"What sort of drink would you like?" says the bartender. The bartender is striped.\n\n- [[An encouraging drink|Encouraging]].\n- [[A generous drink|Generous]].\n- [[An awful drink|Awful]].
Ah, but the truth is that this isn't just a hole. Yes, it's cold and dark and you can't see the sun, but the place you're trapped in is a cavern: a vast, endless cavern that stretches under every city and every village of this world.\n\nAnd in all this darkness and all this cold, you are not alone. There are others here, thousands upon thousands, and if you opened your eyes you would see them glowing like [[stars]].
You fly to the Moon. It's not very far.\n\nThe Earth is below you now. Actually, it feels more like it's above you. Never mind. It's beautiful - so bright, so blue. It's just another place. Why do we have borders?\n\n"I don't know," Stephen says. "It's all just islands and mountains and oceans and plains and all that. It's been around much longer than any of us. The very idea that we could own it is absurd."\n\nCarl Sagan would agree. You could [[look for him|Looking for Carl]]. Or you could [[visit the city|Selene]].
"NOW THEY WANT TO BAN YOUR LAWN" the journalist exclaims. He seems angry that you have a problem with what he's saying.\n\nTry [[explaining|SHOCKING]] what journalism is actually about, or talk to the [[small black woof-woof|Small Black Woof-Woof]] instead?
You try to focus on something but you can't. People are [[running]].\n\n"What the hell are you doing?" someone is shouting. Someone else is crying.
There's a spider called Bob living in Stephen's delightfully bent nose. Bob has built an enormous base in there, which includes a dinosaur launching pad and a particle accelerator.\n\nOh dear, we seem to be going off topic. How about you just [[talk|Talking]] to Stephen?
"What kind of monkey can fly?"\n"Let me guess... no, tell me."\n"A hot air baboon."\n"This is causing me actual pain, you know."\n\n[[Muahahaha]]. [[Giggle]].
"The city is already built," Stephen says. "Unless my eyes deceive me, it's right here. Something must have happened to you. Perhaps we can help you?"\n\nBut Stephen is wrong. The city itself is a ghost. Nothing happened here, and that's the point. These are the insubstantial echoes of things that never happened, futures we imagined but never created, because... because what? Because we decided looking inwards was easier than looking outwards, because we'd rather tell ourselves that there's nothing out there, there can't possibly be anything out there, and our world can't possibly have any limits, so that we no longer have any responsibilities, we don't care, we don't need to care, and we can dress up our lack of caring as some sort of humanitarian feeling, oh let's not waste money on going to the stars when there are still problems down here, let's sit here and talk about the end of history and the self-referential nature of art, did you know theories are a form of art, evidence is just an illusion, all that exists is the discourse, technology is really a bad thing, all the bad things in the world are caused by technology, hand me that organic coffee created the traditional way by African virgins and let me show you this video about the folly of technological progress on my iPad, yes, that's what we've become, a bunch of drooling self-involved idiots looking in the mirror and trying to find God while an infinite universe surrounds us, and here we are boldly going nowhere and telling ourselves that we are grown-ups now that we've redefined the world to include nothing but the playground, and shouting like monkeys at anyone who suggests that there might be something beyond the sand that smells of shit and the toys we outgrew years ago, and-\n\n"Take a breath," Stephen says. "There's a [[ship|To the Stars]] coming."
Doctor House is a very grumpy building that walks with a crane and heals other buildings by diagnosing their structural weaknesses. It's a relative of Sherlock Homes, the interior designer.\n\n"You should really [[try|Nom]] these nachos, they're arse-smashingly marvellous," Stephen Fry says. "Or we could have a [[conversation|Talking]]. I do love a good conversation, don't I, Alan?"\n\nAlan is still a strobile.
The city is quiet. The houses are dark, the parks are empty. The Earth hangs above the dome, a reminder of how close and yet how far away home is.\n\n"The air is breathable," Stephen says, checking his [[tricorder|Ghosts]].\n\nYou walk around for a while, looking for people. There's no-one here.
...oh wait.\n\n<<display 'Help'>>
You don't know most of them, and can only recognize that they're celebrities by the fact that they look like they were all made in the same factory. You wish that actress who was born with twelve fingers was here, she's awesome.\n\nThen again, the room is quite full, so maybe she's here but you can't see her. Who knows?\n\nWait, is that [[Stephen Fry]]?
You politely apologize and turn to leave. One of the riot policemen (there are ten of them now) hits you in the back of the head.\n\n[[Ow!]]
"You're right. It's... it's like we're in some really bad comedy or something. Or some kind of over-the-top Soviet propaganda movie. They're like, muahaha, we're the evil capitalists, watch us be completely evil!"\n\nThe waiter brings the drinks. This is one of the few cafés where prices are something resembling reasonable.\n\n"They're like cartoon characters. You know how they say that in a good story the villains never know they're villains? It's not true. These people know. And some of them even get off on [[trolling|Angry Old Men]] the rest of us by telling us that everything's our own fault."\n\n"I was trying to explain it to a friend of mine from another country the other day and I suddenly realized that what I was describing sounded like a James Bond plot. Reality has become so ridiculous that our critical faculties dismiss it as fiction."
"What's that?" you hear someone say. "What's that down there?"\n\nYou're flying over a deep dark hole.\n\nYou [[know]] this hole.
"Two cannibals are eating a clown. Says one to the other-"\n"-does this taste funny to you?"\n"Damn you! Time for some [[pirate jokes|Arr]], then!"\n"Oh God."
Let's talk about God! That's never controversial.\n\n"I've had my moments of inexplicable belief, but usually they go away after a while," Stephen says. "I'm rather grateful for that, to be honest. I'd rather see the universe in all its magnificent, heartbreaking glory than reduce it to some all-powerful father figure. Mind you, many of the artists and thinkers I admire most were deeply religious, but they also lived in different times. The churches of the modern world cannot offer a tenth of the beauty and spirituality that the world of science has opened up to us."\n\n"I'm a strobile," Alan says.\n\n"Deep down, I've always been of a Greek persuasion," Stephen continues with a smile. "And I refuse to believe that religion has some sort of monopoly on beauty or insight."\n\n<<display 'Next'>>
"What would like to drink?" Nikos asks.\n\nYou thank him for K-Pax and tell him The Negotiator is really underrated. He's been in a lot of movies you loved. Stephen says that Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil was rather amazing, and thanks him for Cinderella.\n\nNikos smiles and goes to get the [[food|Childhood]] you ordered.
The small black woof-woof is insanely happy to see you. It runs around the ship, startling the other passengers. And it jumps - how it jumps! It jumps over your head! You realize it has a small white spot, just like your cat, and... \n\nWait.\n\nYou know this small black woof-woof. It's your aunt's woof-woof, the family woof-woof. It's not an it but a she, and she's been dead for years now, though in your mind she is still there, just like your grandmother.\n\nBut is this the time for [[reflection|Reflection]], or the time for [[play|Play]]?
What's a journalist from the Daily Mail doing here?\n\n"Grr," the Big White Poof-Poof says, which means "I don't like how he smells but he's supposed to be impartial."\n\n"BAN THIS SICK FILTH," the journalist mutters.\n\nDo you want to try [[talking|It's Absolutely True]] to this person, or would you rather talk to [[Metaphor Brother]]?
You lie on the floor, unable to move. Your legs must be broken. Somehow it bothers you less than your broken teeth. It was good to have teeth. You're going to miss chewing.\n\nIt's awfully [[dark]] in here.
It's night now. Your dad is back at the bungalow.\n\nA kid comes running up the beach with one of those firecrackers that look like dynamite sticks. You're supposed to like them because you're a kid, too.\n\n"Let's blow up the sphinx!" the kid says.\n\nYes, let's blow it up! Blowing things up is what kids do, it's fun, it'll be cool! Except you don't really feel like blowing this up, it feels wrong somehow, it feels like sacrilege, because blowing things up is only good if they are terrible things, and this isn't a terrible thing, you read about the sphinx in Egypt and it's fascinating, and your dad built this, and now the kid is putting the little stick of dynamite in the sphinx's head and it blows up and the sand collapses, and the kid laughs but it's not really very impressive, all that's happened is that a beautiful thing became sand, and though you know your dad won't mind because he's built these things a million times you still mind, because you can never get this back, you can never be on that beach again with your parents and the bungalow with the lizards and you'd give so much to see that sphinx again, to remember what it really looked like in the moonshine on the beach when everyone was young...\n\n"Take a breath," Stephen says. "There's a [[ship|To the Stars]] coming."
The beach isn't that interesting, you've seen prettier ones, but the pier is special. It's just a big ugly concrete thing, a crumbling line into the sea, but it matters. There used to be a [[lamppost|Lamppost]] here that came from Narnia, and you once saw an octopus, and there was a big fish sitting on a stone in that corner, and crabs are scuttling along the side of the pier and your parents are young and sitting in the tavern and you're playing with your red-haired friend and time doesn't matter because the summers don't end and the stars rise above and if you had a flashlight you could make the fish jump like you did when that [[meteor|Light]] fell...
"I think that's naive," says a red-headed troll.\n\nGrrr. This requires a proper response.\n\n"Why? Seriously, imagine your life in a world where money isn't an issue. Where you don't have to worry about survival or even disease - and you know very well that if we invested the money we're investing in weapons in medicine, we'd have solved most medical problems humanity faces. No, don't say maybe, you know it's true. So imagine what life would be like. Sure, there would still be unhappiness, we'd still fight about things with each other on a personal basis, but life would be profoundly different. If we used technology for the common good, we could have true individualism. It's like what Oscar Wilde wrote in The Soul of Man Under Socialism-"\n\nHe yawns.\n\nGrrr.\n\nTake your revenge with [[pirate jokes|Arr]] or go to [[Alpha Centauri|Warp Speed]] instead?
"Woof," says the Big White Poof-Poof, which means "I'm really glad to see you because I like you because you smell good! You don't need to be scared of anything while you're on this ship, because I will protect you. There are many other nice people and you can talk to them if you want to. I like cookies."\n\nThere seems to be something of a party going on. Who would you like to talk to?\n\n- [[Metaphor Brother]].\n- [[A tabloid journalist|Daily Fail]].\n- [[A small black woof-woof|Small Black Woof-Woof]].\n\nStephen has spotted Oscar Wilde and is off to talk to him. He seems nervous.
You're on the [[ground]] now, and [[tear gas|weapons of mass destruction]] canisters are dropping around you.
Written by [[Jonas Kyratzes|http://www.jonas-kyratzes.net]] using [[Twine|http://gimcrackd.com/etc/src/]].\n\nExcerpts are from Oscar Wilde's //The Critic as Artist// and //The Soul of Man Under Socialism//.\n\nThe poem quoted on the title page is from //Montage of a Dream Deferred// by Langston Hughes.\n\nLearn more about Twine:\n- [[How To Make Games With Twine|http://www.auntiepixelante.com/twine/]]\n- [[Creation Under Capitalism and the Twine Revolution|http://nightmaremode.net/2012/11/creation-under-capitalism-23422/]]\n\n[[Back|Explode]]
Stephen Fry is made of 100% tweed jelly, with no preservatives or artifical tweed enhancers. His shoes are courtesy of De Saussure, his buttons polished by Alexander Berkman. Inside him beats a huge, benevolent [[heart|Stephen Fry's Heart]].\n\nYou can actually feel it. It's like a drum. A massive drum, the kind you can keep small children in if you're entirely mad. What would Doctor [[House]] say about this?
You turn into an eagle - a large, majestic, graceful, don't-fuck-with-me-cause-I-eat-baby-cows kind of bird.\n\n<<display 'Fly'>>
Part of you is amazed at how much pain people are willing to cause others just to earn some money.\n\nThe rest of you just wants to [[run|running]].
How does she cook such magical food? She looks like nothing special at all, some old fat woman from the village, the sort of person well-paid chefs with stupid hats would laugh at, but her [[cooking|Childhood]] is better than anything you'll ever get in some fancy restaurant.
"The purpose of Voyager 3 is to take the perfect picture of Earth. A picture that will finally make people understand. How little our world is, how precious. A picture that will make them see how absurd our conflicts are, how needless our tribal divisions. But it has to be perfect, perfectly clear, perfectly detailed..."\n\n"Carl," Stephen says, "Voyager 1 already took such a picture."\n\nBut it wasn't perfect, was it? It should've been, but it's not, because here we still are, falling for the same propaganda, fighting the same wars, still believing that the lines on the map matter, still making the same stupid excuses for doing nothing, still telling ourselves that silence is something other than complicity, still being the same old fucking idiots who sit around while cities are bombed for self-defense and innocent people like you and me burn from the inside-out with white phosphorus and we say it doesn't matter, it doesn't matter, let's talk about some inane shit, let's play with ourselves like the dumbest monkeys ever to walk on the planet while we drool over the latest mass-produced toy for overgrown children and Carl Sagan sits on the moon and we don't look up anymore, because we've embraced hopelessness like hipster philosophers whose heads are full of adolescent whining and-\n\n"Take a breath," Stephen says. "A [[ship|To the Stars]] is coming."
Yes, Stephen Fry is here. Big, cuddly, fact-obsessed, no-longer-taking-cocaine, 90% gay novelist, essayist, presenterist and actorist Stephen Fry of Norfolk is right here! At this party! That you're also at!\n\n"Why yes, Alan," he appears to be saying, "as much as I wish to avoid being sesquipedalian, I do believe the only way to describe this nacho is to call it devastatingly splendiferous, even olympian in its culinary majesty."\n\nAlan doesn't respond, because he is a [[strobile|What The Hell Is A Strobile]], for some reason. Nevertheless, Stephen Fry seems satisfied. Then again, Stephen Fry always seems satisfied, doesn't he?\n\nYou could [[talk to him|Stephenesque]]. Or [[gawk at him|Gawk]]. Or just [[leave this party and never return|Leave]].
Yes, this is definitely Madonna's Lip Woman. You can't see Madonna anywhere, though. She probably wouldn't come to such a dingy apartment.\n\n"Shh," Madonna's Lip Woman says, "the [[séance|Spirit World]] is about to begin."
"Grannies are dangerous, man! My grandma used to kill flies by just aiming perfectly and squishing them with her finger. It took, like, a billion diseases to take her down. Strokes, heart attacks... that was one tough woman. She was the nicest, kindest person I ever met, but ten of her could [[take on an army|Nazikiller Grannies]]."
//GILBERT (at the Piano). My dear Ernest, what are you laughing at?\n\nERNEST (looking up). At a capital story that I have just come across in this volume of Reminiscences that I have found on your table.\n\nGILBERT. What is the book? Ah! I see. I have not read it yet. Is it [[good|Party Time]]?//
Thanasis gives you two carrots, and you turn into birds.\n\nStephen is an owl now. What would you like to be?\n\n- A [[Golden Eagle]].\n- An [[African Grey Parrot]].\n- A [[kakapo]].
They whirr with electromagnetic energy strong enough to cause Alan Alda's cellphone to play the theme tune from Scientific American Frontiers. Someone tuts at him.\n\nThe [[séance|Spirit World]] begins.
Mmmmmmmm... crunchy fish and yummy fries and cold drinks and tomato salad and amazing bread and grilled octopus and those divine fried zucchini slices, food that makes you happy, how can food be such an important thing in our lives, it's just eating, and now stars rise over the waves and there is music and laughter and the food tastes of childhood and dreams and your parents are young and time is infinite and the summer never ends, you can stay here forever and ever and nothing will ever hurt or disappoint and-\n\n"Take a breath," Stephen says. "There's a [[ship|To the Stars]] coming."
You look around, but the police van seems to be gone. Instead you're surrounded by walls. What's going on? Did you pass out and wake up in prison?\n\nNo. No, you know [[where you are]].
"What do you call the pirate elite?"\n"..."\n"The arrristocracy."\n"..."\n"Who is the greatest pirate philosopher?"\n"..."\n"Arrristotle."\n"What is a horny pirate?"\n"Do I want to know?"\n"Arrroused."\n"Oh dear, I shall have to kill you."\n"No, wait! Let me tell you the [[perfect pirate joke|Perfect Pirate Joke]]!"\n\n
The Big White Puff-Puff grabs the journalist with its teeth and throws him overboard. He screams something about the war on Christmas as he falls.\n\nThe ship [[sails on|The Hole]], over stars and clouds and raindrops.
"I wrote a book about time travel once," Stephen says. "Which makes me a science fiction author, though you're not very likely to hear what one might term 'the literary establishment' call me that."\n\n"I like that book," Alan says, "but I thought The Liar was better."\n\n"That may be so, Alan, but you're a strobile, and you can't even talk, let alone read."\n\n<<display 'Next'>>
Wow, there are so many turtles here now! And some of them are so small! Here's a turtle as big as your toe... here's one as big as a coin... here's one that's no bigger than a peanut...\n\nThey're so tiny and cute! And everywhere you look, there are more and more and more and more and tinier and tinier and tinier and tinier.\n\n"It's turtles all the way down to the subatomic level," Stephen says.\n\nWow.\n\nNow what about that [[noise|What was that noise?]]? Or those [[sandcastles|Sandcastles]]? (The sandcastles are better.)
Clouds of gas everywhere. It's like being lost in fog, but with an extra dose of [[pain]] and people [[running]].
"Capitalism is a disease," he says, "which causes one organ to devour another until the body itself dies. Meanwhile the brain makes up excuses to justify its own damnation."\n\n[[Tell me another, Metaphor Brother!|And Another]]
"My grandma fought in the Resistance. I remember when I first heard that grandma knew how to handle a gun, and I realized she had probably learned that to shoot Nazis. If she was still alive, she'd be livid about what's happening to the country. She knew what to do with fascists: [[shoot them|Nazikiller Grannies]]!"\n\nYou remember that your grandfather still had his rifle from back then. Your grandparents fought in the Resistance, too.\n\n"See? Imagine old people like that forming attack squads! Parachuting in behind police lines - from balconies, throwing flowerpots! Pouring soup on their enemies! Stealing water cannons and using them to water their gardens!"\n\n[[Granny mayhem|Dangerous Grannies]]!
You throw him overboard. He screams something about the war on Christmas as he falls. \n\nThe Big White Poof-Poof does not seem to mind.\n\nThe ship [[sails on|The Hole]], over stars and clouds and raindrops.
You go out on the balcony, which is enormous and has a donkey on it. The donkey doesn't mind you. It is being fed carrots by a small, bald man called Thanasis. He's been here this whole time.\n\n<<display 'And Then'>>