As promised, today I am pleased to release the winning entry in my "Invitation to a Feast" writing competition. This short gamebook is written by Jonathan Bagelman. It is 10 pages long. You can click on the links for each choice to take you to the appropriate page.
Written by Jonathan Bagelman
You awaken in a laboratory filled with scientific apparatus, on a table. Your arms are metallic, though more intricate than your stubby legs. You see a woman wearing a labcoat.
"Who are you?" you ask. Then another question occurs to you. "Who am I?"
"I'm Dr. Ada Shelley, You're Beta, a robot I built. I've programmed much knowledge into you already, and you'll learn much more later."
You access your memory. A flood of information fills you, yet there's much you don't know. Instantly, you're aware that you're on the planet Earth. The woman is a human, the dominant species on Earth. Another thought comes to mind. "Are you my mother?"
Ada laughs. "You must be self-aware. In a sense, I'm your mother. I'll protect and teach you . I've programmed you to obey Asimov's Three Laws of Robotics. They're in a chip and can be read but not rewritten. Recite them."
"The First Law: robots cannot harm humans, or through inaction allow humans to be harmed."
"Excellent. And the Second?"
"Robots must obey orders from humans, unless they conflict with the First Law."
"Correct.This prevents humans from using robots as weapons or issuing orders that could harm humans. What's the Third?"
"Robots must protect their existence, except when this conflicts with the first two Laws."
"You're precious, but if anyone's in danger you can risk yourself to protect them. You may frighten people, so nobody should see you."
"Why don't humans obey the Laws?"
"Good question. Humans may choose, and many choose wrong. Still, many of us do right. I'm learning from you as you are from me."
A week passes, and you learn plenty. You remain in the lab. Ada comes to talk and teach, and there's lots to do when she isn't around. She cannot always be, since humans need sleep and food, while you can recharge yourself while performing other tasks.
One morning the doorbell rings. Ada activates a monitor showing a blue-suited man outside. "I'll be back," she says, heading upstairs.
You watch, and soon the door opens. "I'm Detective Stone," says the man. He shows a badge. "May I ask you some questions?"
"Of course," answers Ada from off-screen.
"Last night a guard saw a robot break into a warehouse and steal electronic parts." He describes you, but you know you're innocent. "You're a robotics expert. I heard you've built a robot like this."
"Yes, but it couldn't have done that!"
"I must see it."
"I have a warrant." Stone shows it. "Produce the robot."
He didn't order you, so you don't have to go.
If you talk to Stone, turn to 2.
If you hide here, turn to 3.
If you go upstairs and out the back door, turn to 4.