In the aeons it takes for a ship to cross the galaxy, there can be no way of sustaining life. And so it falls to (link: "the undead")[ghosts, liches, vampires and the like] to steer the course through the stars.
This is the tale of the starship [[Necrovoyager|necro1]].(set: $pace to 0)(set: $year to 1200)(set: $sys to 0)(set: $charts to 0)(set: $location to 1267)(set: $blood to 0)(set: $spirit to 0)(set: $mind to 0)
The Necrovoyager was in its twelfth century among the stars, piloted by you...
[[...a goldsick dracolich blinded by the lure of lucre.|draco]]
[[...a once stylish vampire, paralysed with ennui.|vamp]]
[[...a studious lich faced with the weight of immortality.|lich]]
[[...a reanimated skeleton bound to a distant master.|skeleton]]
[[...a forlorn ghost, still haunted by your own demise.|ghost]]
(link-replace:'"I offer you wealth beyond measure, fell beast," the CEO of Necrospace Industries had said.')[(link-replace:"Wealth")[(link-replace:"Beyond")[[[Measure|draco2]]]]]
You were (link:"embraced")[turned into a vampire] 1200 years ago by a space agency recruitment officer. That blossoming moment her teeth sunk into your neck was your last moment of genuine pleasure.
There followed a whirlwind of (link:"dances")[(link:"parties")[(link:"orgies")[(link:"blood")[(link:"blood, blood")[(link:"blood, blood, blood")[[[blood, blood, blood and more blood|vamp2]]]]]]]].
Immortality. What more could you desire? Ah but when one is immortal you have to think about (link:"things very carefully")[(link:"how precarious things might become in the future")[(link:"the very real chance of vengeful do-gooders finding your phylacteries")[[[taking drastic measures|lich2]]]]].
You were dead when the ritual bound your spirit once more to your bones. The astrotech cultists in their grey jumpsuits and dangling lanyards chanted from the in-house codex. Your flesh had long since (link:"rotted")[rotted. Only a few strands of hair clung from your cracked skull]. But unlife came to you all the same.
Their instructions were imprinted on your very soul. You were wrenched from whatever (link:"afterlife held you")[afterlife held you (you have long since forgotten if ever you knew)] for the purpose of (link:"piloting their star ship")[(link:"being the savior of the human race")[piloting the [[Necrovoyager|necro2]]]].(set: $kind to "skeleton")
You were (link:"murdered")[murdered, all the best ghosts were]. Your killers were a part of the necrospace project. Your soul was captured and bound under (link:"controlled")[[[painful|pain]]] circumstances.
The painful death, that was the easy part for them. The tricky part was compelling you to (link:"pilot their star ship")[(link:"be the savior of the human race")[pilot the [[Necrovoyager|necro2]]]].(set: $kind to "ghost")
(if: $year is 1230)[It's only two years until you reach the planet. The ship has been steadily decelerating for over 600 years(click:"decelerating")[ (so it doesn't fly straight through the planet)]. [[Time to get ready for disembarkment.|disembark]]](else:)[The (link-reveal:"year")[ (back on Earth] is $year. The viewports show only the endless void. (if: $kind is "dracolich")[Your gold is nice and shiny. ]What to do?
[[Check all systems are operational.|systems]]
[[Check the star charts.|charts]](if: $kind is "dracolich")[
[[Count your gold.|gold]]](if: $kind is "vampire")[
[[Organise your wardrobe.|wardrobe]]](if: $kind is "ghost")[
[[Reflect on your death.|reflect]]](if: $kind is "skeleton")[
[[Pace the bridge.|pace]]](if: $kind is "lich")[
[[Study your tomes.|tomes]]]]
So when you were offered the chance to pilot the Necrovoyager, you (link-reveal:"jumped at the offer")[ (well, after a decade or so of deliberation and contingency planning)]. This would take you as far away as possible from every other being and once you began there would be no way of (text-style: "shadow")[anyone] from catching up with you. The plan [[was perfect|necro2]].
(set: $kind to "lich")
When you were came to your sense from the your (link:"days")[(link:"weeks")[(link:"months")[years]]] of blind feeding, your were aboard the necrovoyager.
Apparently, according to their (link:"evaluations")[years of surveillance], you were the best candidate. In your less ensanguinated state, your cool demeanour and pragmatic fatalism was deemed a perfect fit for what they looked for in (link:"the pilot of their star ship")[(link:"the savior of the human race")[the pilot of the [[Necrovoyager|necro2]]]].
(set: $kind to "vampire")
The only way they could get you to leave your old hoard was to offer you a bigger one. The bridge of the Necrovoyager was stuffed with (link-reveal:"gold")[ (to the value of half the operating budget for the entire space program)].
"Will that be enough?" said the CEO.
[["It's a start,"|necro2]] you hissed.
(set: $kind to "dracolich")
(set: $year to it + 1)You spend a long time running system reports on every aspect of the ship.(set: $sys to it + 1) (if: $sys is 1)[It's operational](else:)[It's still operational]. [[How reassuring.|necro2]]
(set: $charts to it + 1)(set: $year to it + 1)You go over the star charts(if:$charts > 1)[ again]. The ship moves fast and the whole universe is turning around itself in confusing ways so frequent calibrations are needed to keep the ship on course.
Currently the ship is heading moving towards a candidate for habitation.(set: $location to 1232)(set: $location to it - $year) You're currently $location years from reaching the [[planet|planet]].
[[Unfortunately, the ship is going as fast as it can.|necro2]]
(set: $year to it + 1)It takes you months and months on end to count every gold piece. Finally you reach a tally: (random: 32000000,40000000) pieces. Wait that can't be right. [[Maybe you should check again?|necro2]]
(set: $year to it + 1)This year you will mostly be wearing (either: "hooped", "spiral", "scarlet", "laced", "ruffed", "twirled", "speckled", "frilled", "inverted", "flowing", "ominous", "recontextualised", "silk", "velvet", "leather", "lined", "pre-creased", "stuffed", "blood-stained", "tight", "viscous", "pointed", "black", "noir", "puffed", "streamlined", "dangerous", "shocking") (either: "brocades", "antimacassars", "capes", "winklepickers", "shirts", "trousers", "skirts", "hats", "visors", "gowns", "ponchos", "jackets", "trenchcoats", "monocles", "headphones", "hairpieces", "wigs", "moustaches", "shoulder-pads", "undershirts", "lingerie", "jumpsuits", "codpieces", "brassieres", "capes", "blankets", "frogging", "stockings", "pantaloons", "waistcoats", "dentures", "sunglasses", "gloves").
[[If only you had a mirror.|necro2]]
(set: $year to it + 1)This year you mostly focus on the (either: "feel of the blade as it sunk into your soft belly", "look in your killer's eyes as he took your life", "spluttering of blood in your throat as your life was ended", "vengeage you would love to wreak upon those that stole your life from you", "fact that your loved ones have been dead for centuries", "fact your death will have been forgotten by everyone but the NecroSpace corporation", "impact of your body as it fell lifeless to the ground", "first time you gazed down at your corpse from your new ethereal perspective", "final words your killer said before they stabbed you", "words your killers said to you as they bound your spirit to this place"). [[It passes the time.|necro2]]
(set: $year to it + 1)You spend a year pacing, lost in the mesmerising creak of your bones and the (link-reveal:"click")[(link-reveal:"-click")[-click]] of your feet upon the metal floor.(set: $pace to it + 1)(if: $pace is 3)[ During the third year of pacing, you realise the sound must only be in your mind as there is no atmosphere and you have no ears. Still you pace.](if: $pace is 8)[You mull over the precise wording of your commanding, searching for a loophole.](if: $pace is 9)[But no. You were commanded to do all you can to get to the planet and should the planet be inhabitable, to send the signal back to Earth. Where's the loophole there?]
[[You are incapable of boredom.|necro2]]
(set: $year to it + 1)You had the ship stocked with the entirety of (link-reveal:"your library")[ (and the libraries of three of your rivals)]. What to research this year?
(if: $blood < 5)[
[[The properties of the blood.|blood]]](if: $spirit < 5)[
[[The properties of the spirit.|spirit]]](if: $mind < 5)[
[[The properties of the mind.|mind]]]
(set: $charts to it - 1)(set: $year to it - 1)(You often wonder what the planet will be like. (if: $kind is "dracolich")[Will there be gold?](if: $kind is "vampire")[Will there be anyone to feed on there, or will you have to wait another millenia for the first settlers to arrive?](if: $kind is "ghost")[Will you finally be at peace there?](if: $kind is "skeleton")[Will the master's commands still hold sway there?](if: $kind is "lich")[What secrets could it hold?] For now you wait and stare at the [[charts|charts]].)
You spend a year (either: "drawing up new ways to catalogue your collection of tomes", "making oragami animals", "designing video games", "learning a new martial art", "writing poetry", "composing electronic symphonies", "recalibrating your phylacteries in to new objects", "splitting your soul again to create a new phylactery, just to be on the safe side", "devising speeches for the next time you command minions", "plotting and counter-plotting", "devising labyrinthine contingency plans for //every// occasion"). [[Time well wasted.|necro2]]
(set: $blood to it + 1)(if: $blood is 1)[You draw up a schedule for studying the properties of blood. [[It takes you a while to plan out all your initial thought experiments.|necro2]]](else-if: $blood is 2)[Blood. Blood is the lifeforce. Blood is animation. And yet, you have no blood. [[You spend a year reflecting on what this means for you.|necro2]]](else-if: $blood is 3)[You think for another year on the nature of blood, perusing your tomes for every mention of the stuff. It's red. It's wet. [[And you don't have any of it.|necro2]]](else-if: $blood is 4)[(link-replace:"Blood")[(link-replace:"BLOOD")[(link-replace:"BLOOOOD")[(link-replace:"It's hot")[(link-replace:"wet")[[[and you don't have any of it|necro2]]]]]]]](else:)[You spent a final year collating your research on blood into a finely bound manuscript. The greater part of your time is spent discreetly excising all the ravings. [[You're quite pleased with the finished tome.|necro2]]]
(set: $spirit to it + 1)(if: $spirit is 1)[You draw up a schedule for studying the properties of the spirit. [[It takes you a while to plan out all your initial thought experiments.|necro2]]](else-if: $spirit is 2)[Spirit. Geist. The inner-essence. The soul. [[You spend a year drawing up and comparing different definitions.|necro2]]](else-if: $spirit is 3)[You know you've split your soul several times. So the spirit must be divisible. But if it's divisible it must be finite. And all finite things have an end. [[So does that mean the soul cannot be immortal???|necro2]]](else-if: $spirit is 4)[(link-replace:"S")[(link-replace:"P")[(link-replace:"I")[(link-replace:"R")[(link-replace:"I")[[[T|necro2]]]]]]]](else:)[You spent a final year collating your research on the nature of the spirit into a gold-leaf thesis. The introduction takes up more than half the volume. [[You're quite pleased with the final volume.|necro2]]]
(set: $mind to it + 1)(if: $mind is 1)[You draw up a schedule for studying the nature of the mind. [[It takes you a while to plan out all your initial thought experiments.|necro2]]](else-if: $mind is 2)[What is a mind? Is personality immutable? Are you the same person as the one who split their soul asunder all those centuries ago? Is 'mind' a meaningful category of thing? [[You spend another year outlining all the questions you want answers to.|necro2]]](else-if: $mind is 3)[Again and again you come back to the question of personhood through time. Over and over you formulate and reformulate ways for you to be the same through time. [[After all, what point is it to be immortal if it is a different person who enjoys the immortality?|necro2]]](else-if: $mind is 4)[(link-replace:"You wouldn't have spent a year on this back when I was alive.")[(link-replace:"Yes but you didn't have years on end to waste then.")[(link-replace:"Yes but we're getting side-tracked, we should...")[(link-replace:"WE? SO YOU ADMIT IT! SPLITTING YOUR SOUL SPLIT YOUR MIND!")[(link-replace:"A figure of speech old friend.")[[[We're merely talking to myself.|necro2]]]]]]]](else:)[You spent a final year numbering your aphorisms, linking them up in a thick treatise. When you arrive on the planet, you'll be the foremost philosopher present. [[Not that there'll be any competition.|necro2]]]
(link-replace:"Time to get off this flying metal can.")[(link-replace:"You power down all the unneeded sensors.")[(link-replace:"The star chart is stored in its black box.")[(link-replace:"You Recycle the spare thruster for material for the ground command.")[[[And then it's almost time to land.|land]]]]]]
In the year 1232 the Necrovoyager completes its maiden voyage. The sensor equipment is ready. It will shoot back at light speed whether this planet is habitable. Beyond the ship the planet is green and lucious, giant mushroom like structures burst forth out of a vast ocean.
(if: $pace > 9)[You never send the signal out. You were asked if the land was habitable. But they never told you for whom. You decide that it's not habitable for cacti and leave it at that. Your skull is cast in its permanent grin as your bones collapes into dust as the command dissolves.](else:)[The signal goes out. Now to wait 1200 or so years for the rest of humanity to catch up with you.]