This had been for a game that I began working on years ago (pre 2006) but had to abandon. I had most the art, and major animations done.
I usually enjoy “doing it all on my own”, but in this case I had and normally have 5+ other projects demanding my attention so this eventually took the way back-burner of all the other back-burners. Nevertheless, as I dug it out of my extensive project archives, I figured it worthy of mention. But hey, I shake this stuff out of my sleeve and come up with 10 others just as fast. That’s why I got project archives to dig through…
Note: the Portal images in the “exit” signs are not Portal references.
This was all made in 2006.
Indoctrination Group: B (Codename “Nothingman in Nowhereland”)
In your dreams are tiny pieces, keys, so to speak. If you come to realize this, find them, and unlock all those pieces. Which are buried in your mind’s subconscious, and only accessible while sleeping, then you open a hidden door in the real world. A door out of this world into the true realm of an ancient and forgotten reality.
A man often has a recurring nightmare about work, and his life. This centers around him falling asleep at his cubicle.
He will then wake up to the alarm clock on his desk. The alarm chants with a jarringly rasp robot voice “wake up, wake up, wake up” (instead of the typical buzzing an alarm clock makes).
He wakes up and feels the back of his head. In it is jammed a large metal windup key (like the ones on toys). It is continuously turning (he must “keep it wound up” by following a trail of money through a nightmare labyrinth of cubicles. There never seems to be any way out. If he strays from the path of money he “runs out of time” causing him to wake up… never reaching the end. ).
In the room where he found himself in he is alone. There are no others. The area is riddled with hurried abandonment, the most prominent thing he remembers is a pile of cubicle walls in a remote corner. The way they are stacked always strikes him as “peculiar”. There are papers scattered everywhere, as far as the eye can see. On them is written, in a child’s handwriting “You should be glad you’re in Nowhereland”. The few whiteboards on the wall have similar things written on them. In the water-cooler that’s standing in the corner there is a dead goldfish, floating belly up.
The advertising slogan on the water-cooler states “Organic water made from real rain.” There are many, somewhat dystopian statements, on the various office paraphernalia that’s still left there which he encounters in his travels here. The few familiar objects at his desk are behaving almost as if taunting him. The hours on his clock are ticking away like seconds, the pages of his calendar are peeling and falling off at the same rate, the phrase “Nobodyman from Nothingland; aren’t you glad to be in Nowhereland?” is being continuously written on his monitor in one straight line, the post it’s on his cubicle wall are in his own handwriting but it’s nothing that he wrote.
Dig your six foot hole for the rat race,
Sell your soul for the rat race,
Your time ticks away, so make haste!
If you wish to win this rat race
And become rich in this mad place.”
And other “nonsense” that he might feel sometimes, but not express.
On the desk, right in-front of him is a paper with a note scribbled on it:
“For a human player to win against the system the human player must first learn then exploit the systems flaws.”
He leaves his desk and follows the paper trail and leaves this room.
He suddenly finds himself at the entrance of the building by the receptionist. The flowers and plants there are long dead, the motivational corporate art that was there is now filled with mockery of everyday life. He would leave but, instead of a parking-lot and trees, the world behind the large glass doors is murky and pitch dark.
So he enters. Further into the building, past the reception, the ground is broken and a massive machine-like construction is sitting there. Like it suddenly grew out of the floor. The walls everywhere, from this point on, are occasionally damaged by some foreign piece of machinery (like turning cogs, twisting wires running to the ground) protruding forth. Like the place is slowly being overrun by this foreign entity.
He approaches the machine, which looks like a giant terminal made up of mechanical meets nanotechnology. It’s very alien and almost old looking. He writes out “hello” on the keyboard. There is a response.
After a while he finds out that he is not talking to a human at “the other end” but talking to this massive machine that is everywhere, and it appears to be intelligent. Whenever he inquires as to where he is, the machine answers in riddles like:
“The rat should be glad it’s lost in nowhereland…
In nothingland the cubicleland
The winding twisting greyland
Of noonemen, emptymen, the automaton moneymen
Stare at the screen and obey the machine men that everyone forgot
Perhaps it can find it’s way out perhaps its all for naught”
He wishes to leave so the machine obviously points him to the exit.
The man follows a paper trail, down the hall, in the direction of the exit. On his way there disturbing things start to be thrown in his path, almost like his life is being taunted. He finds his child’s favorite toy (a velvet rabbit) hanging by a noose made of a straight jacket strap.
He finds a stretcher, a note is laying on it which reads “all work and no pay makes–“.
At the very end, next to the exit there is something, that appears to be a person, crouching on the floor in the dark corner. The person is bound in a straight jacket.
When the man get’s closer for inspection the face is revealed. It’s him, but dead, old, and decaying. There are two papers tucked in the arm of this “thing”. One of them appears to be a map, but it’s more of a “mockery” with a child’s drawing of a maze leading from work to money to a grave. The other appears to be a game of hangman. All the words relate to feelings of anxiety he had been fighting with since childhood.
The man is thoroughly shocked and stumbles out of the hallway, through the exit.
Instead of finding a way out he stumbles into what is a massive maze. As far as the eye can see is a twisting, winding, construction of cubicles. Everything is very old and broken. There are cobwebs everywhere. As if it’s been this way for hundreds of years. There are still papers scattered all about the floor. There also appears to be money strewn about forming something like a breadcrumb trail. The office machines here are behaving very strangely. In a remote corner there is a copy-machine/printer running.
It’s in an infinite state of spewing out papers that are flying all over.
In front of him there is a pinup board where one note is hanging. It states:
“I stand as a shadow in the land of ghosts. Still born …abandoned to the habitual rhythm of everyday.”
Which sets the mood for everything.
There is not a single soul in sight. The only other entity that seems to “live” here are the traces of this foreign machine occasionally protruding from the walls or floor.
With nothing left to do the man decides to follow the money breadcrumb trail. Disappearing again, into Nowhereland…
In the “real world”, at work, This man often keeps conversations with his very young son over the phone. Then son will call him at the same time of the day, everyday. In person, when the father is home, the son rarely talks and appears completely unaware of these conversations. As if he doesn’t call. This is easily brushed off as the child is very young. Some of these conversations are very strange, and often eery. They make no sense. When confronted, the little boy seems oblivious. After a rather odd conversation a tragic incident occurs in an unusual manner and the boy dies. After the father and mother have finished mourning, and attempt to move on with their lives, the father starts going back to work. On the first day, at the very same time he receives a phone call. It’s his son.
In utter shock he hangs up. Unable to say anything.
Was he imagining things?
Is he crazy?
First the dreams then this?
He decides to be quiet about it.
There have always been certain “little things”, like oddities, in the mans life that he had been unable to explain. Like dejavu, but less ambiguous. For example, the neighbor will always come out at about the same time he does to pick up the morning paper and wave in his direction. The neighbor will wave even when there is no one around. The cashier lady (who is always there) will always ask “paper or plastic” even though he answers before her question every time. There is a group of kids that, going to school, always ring the bells on their bicycles when they pass his home. He often gets the feeling that these perfectly ordinary people (when you talk to them) have certain habits that make him invisible to them. They act in a pre-defined manner. Sometimes he get’s the feeling that everyone around him has certain machine like characteristics, and this is gnawing away at his sanity on a day to day basis.
Little does he know that life, the world, and everything is a simulation. All of it. It’s not real and never has been. Absolutely all of history is a fabrication. None of it had ever happened. There is actually only one last “real” people that still exist in it. A man and a woman. These two people have been “trapped” in this world since ever, and lived the same lives over and over and over. So, they would eventually learn this because of the bit’s of “truth” that have, over an infinite period of time, accumulated/formed in their subconscious (the dreams). This has happened before and (in order to keep them from “waking up”) the program terminated their current life, and simply restarted their life and reset their memory of life and re-ran them as if they where a program who’s logiv went awry. Because they had been “terminated”, before coming to the understanding of where they are and what they are, an infinite amount of times, their subconscious developed a knowledge of this. The point here is that they would have to actually collect all the pieces scattered in their dreams in order to escape. They need to stay alive long enough (not get terminated) to do so. The machine will continuously attempt to kill them.
Awakening one day… through a brilliantly devised scheme of tricking the machine as to their knowledge of what was happening, they succeed.
The man wakes up with a gasp in a pitch black room on a stretcher-like bed. Attached to his head and body is medical IV like tubing attached with needles to his skin, all of this leads into a massive cluster of cables that are dangling high on the ceiling. The area around him is dim and murky. The only source of light is coming from the various machine lights and readings that dot the rusted walls. It almost appears that he is in an ancient facility. Various wiring is attached to his head. By the way things around him look he has been bound there for a very long time, literally covered in cobweb wiring, tubes, and dust. As his eyes adjust to his surroundings he notices others laying on similar beds all around him. There are many. As he tries to get up his body feels week and shaky, like he hasn’t moved for years. He stumbles to one of the other beds. The body on there is dry and decayed. Wires seem to be growing into it like a plant’s roots would grow into soil. Some of the wires move in agitation as he touches them, as if they are “digesting” the body. The individual seems to have died a very long time ago. As he takes a closer look about he notices that everyone on these beds are in the same state. As far as the eye can see. Some of the longer dead bodies have even more wiring and tubing on, about, and growing into them. Some of the very old ones are completely wrapped and obscured, like they are now an actual calculating part of some machine.
He spots an exit in the distance, above it very dimly illuminated by the electronic equipment everywhere is a sign which reads; Indoctrination Group: B.
Mortified at all that he is seeing he stumbles out of the room, and finds himself in a long, winding hallway. There are rooms on each side of the hall that lead to places identical to where he woke up. Massive amounts of long deceased and decayed bodies, on stretchers, wrapped in various degrees of tubes and moving wire root vines. The place is massive and almost looks as if he is inside a machine. His footsteps leave a hollow echo wherever he goes. No mater how much he calls out to see if there is someone the only answer is his own voice resonating from the dark nothing. There doesn’t seem to be a single living thing anywhere. He resolves to find the woman.
7) The idea would be that the machine had killed off everyone. Through time, as individuals tried to escape (because their self-awareness had reached such a level that even when they where given a “fresh start” they still knew what was happening), and where no longer able to comply with the system, they where terminated. One-by-one. The entire human race that he knew in this fictitious reality was dead. Millions of bodies left to be absorbed where they lay. The man and the woman where the last two. It didn’t want to exterminate the last of what was left. It went out of it’s way to keep the “last two” unaware and alive.
Hey, invest in this shit, and I’ll make a game out of it that actually sees the light of day.
I promise I wont waste your $ on marble plated bathrooms, talentless rock-star managers, and 6 foot espresso machines. :p
Thanks for listening!