WELCOME TO PIRATES V2.2! WOULD YOU LIKE INSTRUCTIONS?
THE YEAR IS 1665. YOU ARE A SWASHBUCKLING, SEAFARING LASS ABOARD THE HMS COMMODORE, A LAW-ABIDING MERCHANT VESSEL WHICH SAILS THE TRADE ROUTES OF THE CARIBBEAN. THESE TRADE ROUTES ARE OFTEN BESET BY PIRATE SHIPS: VESSELS FULL OF VILLAINOUS ROGUES WHO WILL STOP AT NOTHING TO GET THEIR HANDS ON YOUR CARGO. I WILL BE YOUR EYES AND HANDS. DIRECT ME WITH COMMANDS OF 1 OR 2 WORDS.
(IF STUCK TYPE HELP FOR SOME HINTS)
A FELLOW SHIP IS SIGHTED OFF THE PORT BOW. IT IS FLYING THE UNION JACK, BUT SOMETHING SEEMS SUSPICIOUS. SHOULD YOU WAIT, OR INVESTIGATE THE SHIP?
Wendy laughed, looking over her brother’s shoulder. “You’re not meant to do that! It’s right there in the text. You always play things so safe.”
THE SHIP ALIGNS ITSELF ALONGSIDE THE COMMODORE. ITS CAPTAIN, A TALL AND BROAD-SHOULDERED MAN WITH A MAGNIFICENT BLACK BEARD BRAIDED WITH RIBBONS, STANDS AT THE HELM. ONE GLANCE FROM HIM STRIKES FEAR INTO YOUR HEART. YOU REALISE SOMETHING IS TERRIBLY WRONG, BUT IT IS TOO LATE TO RAISE THE ALARM.
IT IS TOO LATE TO RAISE THE ALARM.
A PLANK BRIDGES THE GAP BETWEEN THE TWO SHIPS AND THE RED-DRESSED CAPTAIN BOARDS. WITHOUT A MOMENT’S HESITATION HE SHOOTS THE BO’SUN IN THE CHEST.
YOU HAVE A DAGGER STRAPPED TO YOUR LEG.
YOU HAVE A PAIR OF PISTOLS AT YOUR WAIST.
YOU HAVE NO SHOT IN YOUR PISTOLS. TO YOUR LEFT THERE IS A WEAPONS STORE WITH BULLETS AND GUNPOWDER.
YOU ENTER THE WEAPONS STORE. AS YOU ARE LOADING ONE PISTOL A SHADOW DARKENS THE DOORWAY. YOU LOOK UP TO SEE THE MEAN FIGURE OF THE DREAD PIRATE STEDE BONNET, CREW MEMBER OF THE NOTORIOUS QUEEN ANNE'S REVENGE. HE HAS A REVOLVER POINTED AT YOU. THERE IS NO WAY YOU COULD FINISH LOADING AND FIRE IN TIME.
THERE IS NO WAY YOU COULD FINISH LOADING AND FIRE IN TIME.
“It just said that, John! Weren’t you reading?” complained Michael, seated to his brother’s right. “You always type pointless stuff.”
“I have to try every course of action, don’t I?” John defended himself. “Go on, if you know better, what do I do now?”
“Hide somewhere! There must be barrels of gunpowder and stuff in the store.”
BONNET HAS ALREADY SEEN YOU. THERE IS NOTHING TO GAIN FROM TRYING TO HIDE.
“Hah,” said John smugly. “Now who’s typing pointless commands?”
“Mine was better than what you wrote,” said Michael, but John had stopped paying attention, clicking his fingers triumphantly.
YOU SWIFTLY BEND DOWN AND GRASP THE KNIFE STRAPPED TO ONE LEG. WITH A FLICK OF YOUR WRIST, IT SPINS TOWARDS BONNET AND EMBEDS ITSELF IN HIS HEART.
“Yeah! One pirate down,” John cheered, as Michael sulked over not having thought of using the dagger.
“When do I get a go? You always go on the computer first, it’s not fair.”
Wendy smiled at her brothers’ bickering. She was secretly pleased that they found her game gripping enough to puzzle and argue over it. She’d poured a lot of hours into ‘Pirates’ and sometimes wondered if she’d be better off dedicating her time to something else, but John and Michael’s reactions encouraged her to think that maybe she could have some success as a game creator one day, if she kept at it and did well enough at university.
Just then, their father’s head poked around the door. “Boys! Your mother and I can hear you arguing from the garden. Either play nicely with each other or you won’t be allowed on the computer again.” It was an often-repeated threat, but the three children had no doubt that their father would carry it through, so John and Michael immediately quietened down.
Mr. Darling turned to Wendy and gave her a significant look, then beckoned. Wendy sighed and reluctantly followed him out of the playroom. She had a feeling she knew what was coming next.
Mr. Darling shut the playroom door behind them and addressed Wendy quietly. “Wendy, I bought that computer and modem for use with my work, and I gave you, and only you, permission to use it for preparation for your university course. It is a serious tool, not a toy for you and your brothers to waste valuable time on.”
Wendy bit back several comments regarding how little her father would even know about what a computer could be used for. His grasp of the world of computing was so limited, yet he tried to come off as some sort of expert. Still, she depended on him allowing her access to the computer and so she had to play by his rules. “I’m sorry, Dad. I just wanted John and Michael to test out my newest programming venture.” She tried to phrase it in terms that would appeal to her father, but Mr. Darling was not fooled.
“A game, Wendy. About pirates. How is this relevant to a course in computing at a leading university?”
“Dad, I don’t leave for Durham for another month!” Wendy burst out in frustration. “You can’t expect me to be preparing for it twenty-four hours a day! And the game is relevant. A lot of the most well-known programmers and System Operators on BBSes develop and play these sorts of games. They’re at the forefront of computing.” This was fudging the truth slightly, but her father didn’t know enough about modern computing or BBSes to contradict her.
“And that’s another thing, Wendy,” said Mr. Darling, his nostrils flaring slightly. “These BBSes. Do you know how much our phone bill cost last month thanks to you dialling in day and night?”
Wendy wilted slightly. She knew she’d cost her parents a lot of money through her ignorance about long-distance calling charges and her eagerness to explore this new network of computer users that had suddenly opened up to her. But she’d already been lectured, apologised, promised to be more careful so many times that she didn’t know what else there was to say. “I do know, Dad. I didn’t realise how much it was costing at the time but I won’t do it again. I’ve already promised that.”
Mr. Darling’s glare didn’t soften. “Make sure you keep that promise. And I don’t want to see you wasting time on the computer with your brothers in future.” With that, he turned on his heel and walked towards the door, adding, “You must have course reading to be getting on with,” as he left.
Wendy ground her teeth together; her father always had to have the last word. “I’ve already done all my course reading,” she muttered bitterly.
“Wendy?” Michael peered timidly through a gap in the playroom door. “We’re stuck again. Can you come and give us a clue?”
Wendy smiled down at her youngest brother and ruffled his fair hair. “Of course.”
“Did you get into trouble because of us?” he asked anxiously, trailing behind her into the playroom. John leaned on the back of the computer chair and waited for her answer in apprehension.
“Oh, just the same old stuff,” said Wendy, lightening the mood for her brothers’ benefit. Her dad couldn’t take away from her the enjoyment that came from creating this game, or take away her brothers’ excitement at playing it, no matter how hard he tried. “Dad’s all bark and no bite.” And in a month’s time, I’ll be free to do what I like, she thought.
So, this is a great start! One entry in to my new routine and I'm already a day late x3 Yesterday I had a completely free day and managed to forget to do my blog post. Today I was busy all day but made myself squeeze in some editing so that I could get this up before midnight. Let's see if I can do better on Tuesday ;)
I considered posting up another random excerpt from midway through the story, but decided to treat you guys to a longer chunk of writing, the first half of Chapter One. Though I may edit it a lot in the future, I'm pretty set on opening the story in this way, with text from Wendy's 'Pirates' game. In case you're not familiar with text-based adventures, that's what this is. You can read a bit about them here, and I also highly recommend the online documentary 'GET LAMP', which will appear in a future Tuesday post. I based the wording and format off transcripts from Will Crowther's Adventure, the first and most famous text adventure game.
Originally this passage featured Hook and Starkey of the Jolly Roger rather than Blackbeard and Bonnet of the Queen Anne's Revenge, but then I realised it would be rather stupid to have those characters appear in Wendy's adventure and also be characters in the novel, so I quickly changed the names. xD Bonnet was the only member of Blackbeard's crew that I could find a name for (on Wikipedia, anyway).
This is all still first draft territory, but I hope that you find it an interesting opening nonetheless :) Critiques are welcomed.