Things Are Complicated (Project on hold)


This was submitted to CoG last month and was too short for publication! I don’t see bringing up the wordcount in my current workload, but maybe sometime in the future there will be time for this. Thanks to all for the feedback and reads, and to CoG for considering it.

This is a plot-driven short story surrounding a single moral question, set at the end of this millennium (when not much has changed: money is tight, bosses aren’t perfect, and family is weird). You play as a scientist trying to make a career out of studying Jupiter. Things get complicated when you discover something you are not meant to know.

Interest in Short Stories?

Sounds a lot like the cog game , “dilemma” or something I think it was?


I’ve played Dilemma. In that story, the player works as the protagonist’s conscience throughout several disconnected decisions. In my story, there’s really only one question.


I don’t know how much feedback you’re looking for if this was mostly to cut your teeth on using Choicescript, but technically it was great. Good explanation for choices and good pacing and storytelling to boot. I liked the concept and it was a fun read. Now, it was a little weird to just get sent to prison for 30+ years . . . .


Thanks for the feedback. Since this story is something I wrote, I’m always happy to hear feedback! “Weird” as in disjointed or unexpected or…? (And did you try to get sent to prison for less time?)


I’m a lawyer so due process is sort of second nature for me. For my character to go from being a PhD at a space exploration lab to a jailed prisoner, without trial, is sort of jarring. I know you had a line in there about how you were being jailed for life through the slow bureaucracy rather than the rule of law, but still. It was just presented as this thing that had happened to you and next thing I know I’m being offered choices, a la Shawshank, about how to tutor the other inmates in astronautical science. Then it’s 32 years later and Wes and his son come to tell me all is forgiven (and I’ve saved the Thing). I’d expect more resistance from somebody put in that situation. More despair. Again, like in Shawshank.

I did everything I could to save the Thing – that was my priority – so I chose things that half the time I expected would get me taken out back and shot.


startup line 42: Invalid indent? Expected an #option here, not *set


Sorry, Chwoka. That was because I was working on adding gender and names, and didn’t realize how dropbox works. Should be back to normal now; I’ll upload all the changes at once, when I’m sure there are no errors.


@distracteddad I do feel a little awkward about the similarities between Shawshank and the tail end of this story, especially because Shawshank is so well-crafted and prison.txt is not.

I’m straddling a dilemma between making no astrophysical sense (in taking only a few months for Wes to Jupiter and back) and no legal sense (many years for Wes=lots of prison time). Do you have any suggestions? (House arrest?)


Maybe just move the existing accusations around. As I played the game I think I had 3 or 4 opportunities, at least, to give in to Vrein and the agents and just let them destroy the Thing. So instead of that, maybe after the first rejection have the game send you before some secret tribunal a la Gitmo. It could be like Galileo going to Rome to answer charges of heresy – stick to your intellectual guns and potentially die a martyr or back down but live to fight another day. Then maybe after a couple of years’ good behavior they send you into the general prison population now that another mission has gone to Jupiter and there’s nothing you can do.

There could also be other branches at that Gitmo/Galileo point. Maybe they send YOU on the mission, ironically, to keep you isolated and out of the way. Or maybe you just get sent to a non-secure part of the company and are demoted into doing crap work, and have to try to work your way back in. Stuff like that.


I vote for shorter time and due process.

It’s set in the future, why can’t they have fast propulsion allowing travel to Jupiter in a few months?


Probably much more acceptable. I guess it really comes down to my lack of knowledge about due process. Research time!