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COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_01 Our story begins in the remote village of Zinshire, a hamlet just west of Zinport, in the country of Zinland, on a planet known only as Zin. By nature, the Zin people are an uncultured and slow-witted lot, easily entertained by such diversions as arm wrestling and counting the spots on one?s back. The people of Zinshire most especially fit this description so I?m sure you can already foresee the struggles I endured in life.
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_02 The first of those struggles were my parents. My father, a simple butcher, was a small man with a fierce temper. Of all the things I learned from my father, the one that sticks with me most has to be:
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_02_CH1 THE PROPER WAY TO TO BUTCHER A ZINPIG
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_02_CH2 A THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_02_CH3 A LUST FOR POWER
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_03 Most assuredly not. My father?s butchering technique was deplorable.
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_04 You?re not even paying attention! My father was as dim as the second sun on the fourteenth of Zinuary.
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_05 My father, though as thick as the back hair on a newly-born Zinfant, did indeed have an unquenchable hunger for control. While he never managed to rise higher than the head of a simple village council, he nonetheless carried the dream.
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_06 My mother on the other hand, a gifted seamstress who married far below her station, wanted me to enjoy the things so many others could not. I remember clearly, on the eve of my thirteenth birthday, her taking me to:
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_06_CH1 TRAVELING ZINSPEARE COMPANY'S LE DANSE ROMANTIQUE
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_06_CH2 ZINKAR'S PASTRY SHOPPE
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_06_CH3 A CAMP FOR ROWDY CHILDREN
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_07 Please. As if a traveling company of such renown would step foot in a hovel such as Zinshire.
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_08 One might think a place such as Zinshire would not support a fine bakery-and you would be right; it closed after a year-but it was not for lack on trying on my mother?s part. She wished for her only child to have an appreciation for the finer offerings of life and she began my education with Zinkar?s delectable pastries.
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_09 Not only did I sample the goods at Zinkar?s shoppe but I spent a summer there sweeping the floor, tending the counter, and even learning a bit of the culinary arts. I took to baking with zeal. Clients enjoyed my baked goods and I became known throughout Zinshire for my:
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_09_CH1 CREAM PUFFS
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_09_CH2 FRESH FRUIT TARTS
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_09_CH3 GANACHE-DRENCHED ECLAIRS
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_10 Alas, Zingrat?s Camp for Riotous Youth was booked for the season.
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_11 Ah, I can still feel the layers of crisp dough flaking gently on my tongue awash in a smooth release of sumptuous cream. Even though Zinkar?s endeavor was not long for this world, I continued to sell my renowned cream puffs door to door. A business which thrived, I must say, doing well enough to supplement my admission to the most prestigious private school in Zinland. \n\nBut that, my friend, is another story.
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_12 Alas, the climate of Zinshire is not conducive to the growing of fruit.
COL_TXT_ADV_01_SC_13 While my eclairs were amongst the best ever created, I was actually known for something else.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_01 I had acquired the money to attend the finest school in Zinland but that was just the beginning. While I would love to say Zinkov Preparatory Academy embraced me with open arms, the truth of the matter is I was not the finest student. In order to gain admission, I had to endure rigorous physical and academic testing before they would grant me access to their legendary halls of learning.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_02 As is usual for admission to a school of such acclaim, the first of these tests was:
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_02_CH1 A SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE EXAM
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_02_CH2 KILLING MY OWN PARENTS
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_02_CH3 TRYING OUT FOR A SPORT
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_03 As was my mother?s wish, Zinkov Prep was an institution that prided itself on its scholastic offerings. To that end, it only accepted candidates that displayed academic prowess and further promise. So it was that I endured many weeks of standardized testing and training prior to my entrance examination.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_04 I am proud to say that I took to the studies well and managed to bring up my scores across the board. Still, there was one subject above all others that I had a particular affinity for. As you may have already guessed, that subject was:
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_04_CH1 MATHEMATICS
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_04_CH2 ART HISTORY
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_04_CH3 SCIENCE
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_04_CH4 LITERATURE
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_05 My word! What sort of barbaric school did you attend?
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_06 While participation in competitive sports is encouraged, and a good source of income for any institution of higher learning, testing for such a thing was not required.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_07 While I am no stranger to the Euclidean paradigm, mathematics was not the subject that drew me in.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_08 Though it pains me to admit such faults, art history was my weakest subject. The life of a museum curator, how I shall never know you.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_09 To be honest, while I enjoyed the laboratory experiments greatly, I found science as a whole to be a rather dull subject.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_10 Ah, the written word. I had, like most Zin, learned to read while in utero but that was all very dry texts such as manuals and design documents. It wasn?t until this far more serious pursuit into academia that I came to love the classics.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_11 How surprised was I that some of the finest literature in the universe came from a tiny watery planet more than ten million lightyears away! While it would be some time until I visited that seemingly unremarkable waystation, I had fallen in love with its artistic offerings already. One author?s work in particular captured my imagination. Can you guess the scribe responsible?
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_11_CH1 MARK TWAIN
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_11_CH2 JANE AUSTEN
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_11_CH3 DR. SEUSS
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_11_CH4 CHARLES DICKENS
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_12 If I wanted to read about deceitful children, time-traveling charlatans, and overburdened bullfrogs, I?d?well, I suppose Twain would be the one. But no.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_13 Jane. Sweet, sweet Jane, how like my mother?s dreams, you are. Even now, all these years later, just the thought of Emma, Elinor, and Elizabeth?s exploits and romantic missteps brings a lump to my throat. Oh, the intoxicating back and forth between Miss Bennet and Mr. Darcy, how I could read those lines toward infinity.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_14 It was my celebrated essay on Jane Austen?s body of work that caught the attention of the Zinkov admissions board who not only allowed me entry into their fine institution but secured my later position as Head of the English-Language Appreciator?s Society.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_15 Thus was my love of literature cemented and access to Zinkov Preparatory Academy assured. Which is where I met the teacher who would help me find my life?s true purpose. \n\nThough that is another tale.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_16 The good doctor?s work is among the finest in literature, there is no doubting that, but I did not get lost amongst his colorful characters and impeccable rhyming structure as much as others.
COL_TXT_ADV_02_SC_17 I shan?t abide any author who dares suggest frugality and the demand for a proper work ethic are grounds for otherworldly intervention. I don?t care if the worker?s boy is on crutches! That man had a business to run! \n\nNo. Absolutely not.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_01 I clearly recall my first tentative steps into Zinkov Preparatory Academy. I was a lad from the countryside coming into the big city, eyes wide and mind eager. I had never seen a building so large or so many finely-dressed young people yearning for knowledge. It was the first time in my life I ever felt I was somewhere I truly belonged.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_02 Of course, not all of the Zinlings there were courteous, studious-minded folk. Predictably, it wasn?t long before I crossed the path of a brutish young man named Zinfax. We instantly loathed each other. It was obvious from the start that Zinfax took umbrage with my:
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_02_CH1 COAT OF MANY COLORS
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_02_CH2 LOWER-CLASS UPBRINGING
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_02_CH3 PROMINENT CRANIAL CROWN
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_03 Are you? are you quoting a song or something?
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_04 Typical, no? I was now entering the proud and prejudice-filled society I had read about so eagerly just a few months prior. While Zinfax was a boor and a constant thorn in my side, I found solace in my studies. Literature had engaged me early on but the offerings of Zinkov Prep allowed me to expand into even higher-minded subjects such as intergalactic warfare and how to exploit diplomacy for personal gain. What a world of knowledge there was to explore!
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_05 More than any of the Zinkov faculty, Professor Zinlow informed my later days. I remember clearly, it was just two weeks into my first year, when Zinlow pulled me aside after class and said to me:
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_05_CH1 ZINYAK, YOU ARE NATURAL BORN LEADER.'
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_05_CH2 ZINYAK, THESE PEOPLE ARE ALL YOUR INFERIORS.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_05_CH3 ZINYAK,NEVER LET ANYTHING-OR ANYONE-STOP YOU FROM PURSUING YOUR DREAMS.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_06 While I do consider it one of my finest features, my cranial crown was not the source of Zinfax?s ire.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_07 Well, yes, that?s evident. But those were not Zinlow?s inspiring words.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_08 While Zinlow must have been well aware of that, as a professor seeking tenure, he was obligated to maintain a façade of impartiality, I?m sure.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_09 Has anyone ever told you that before? What a remarkable thing to say to a formative lad! And he was right. I, as the poor son of an ignorant butcher, had made it to the finest university on the planet. I wasn?t just pursuing my dreams-I was living one!
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_10 Those words kept me strong through four years of demanding study, kept my mind clear from physical distraction, and are to thank for my graduating with honors from Zinkov Preparatory, a first for anyone from the hamlet of Zinshire.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_11 Upon receiving my diploma, I knew exactly what I must do:
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_11_CH1 KILL ZINFAX
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_11_CH2 ENTER MILITARY SERVICE
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_11_CH3 KILL ZINFAX AND THEN ENTER MILITARY SERVICE
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_12 Rather short-sighted, don?t you think?
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_13 Not before I settle some unfinished business, certainly.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_14 Order of operation, don?t you know. Yes, I admit, I let my personal dislike for that heinous bully overcome me and I snapped Zinfax?s neck like old bark flaking off a dying oak. My time at Zinkov Preparatory now at an end, I entered yet another phase of my life, one that would take me to a great many exotic locations and allow me to realize, finally, my true potential.
COL_TXT_ADV_03_SC_15 Thus ends my years as a plucky child. Next we meet, I shall regale you with the tale of Zinyak, the young man.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_01 After my time at Zinkov Preparatory Academy, I did what all young people on Zin must do: I entered the military. Prior to my days at Zinkov, I admit I did not look forward to this rite of passage but, after, I relished the idea of honing myself into the specimen I would later become.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_02 Basic training was, as it is designed to be, a particular sort of Hell. I don?t know what the rules are where you come from, reader, but military training for the Zin Army consists of a grueling eight-week course that pushes recruits to their breaking point.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_03 Some did not survive the training and were sent off to work in the mines or forced to join the Zin National Orchestra (famous across seven galaxies for how hideous their music is). In order to endure the training, I often relied upon:
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_03_CH1 THOUGHTS OF MY CHILDHOOD, A MORE INNOCENT TIME IN MY LIFE
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_03_CH2 MY IRON WILL AND DRIVE TO DO WHATEVER I MUST TO EXCEL
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_03_CH3 A MANUFACTURED HATRED OF THE ENEMY
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_04 Are you daft? We covered this in the very first chapter!
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_05 ?Relied? is perhaps a bit strong. I certainly ?possessed? an iron will but ?relied? on it?
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_06 A wise man once said ?Without a target, we are all just bullets in the wind.? I wrote that in my journal last week. And it?s true. Whenever you find yourself facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge, it helps to envision all the turncoats, opportunists, and megalomaniacs that are just waiting for you to fail so they can swoop down and pick the meat from your bones.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_07 With a furnace of pure hatred burning inside me, nothing would stop me from overtaking any challenge set before me. \n\nIt was evident in the latter days of my training that I was going to excel at:
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_07_CH1 FIELD COMBAT
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_07_CH2 COMMANDING TROOPS
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_07_CH3 CONQUERING WORLDS
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_08 I took to weaponry and tactics like a parasite to a vital organ. My sergeant said I was a ?natural born killer? who ?lacked empathy? and had an ?unparalleled predatory instinct.? \n\nHave kinder words ever been spoken?
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_09 After basic, I entered service and was sent to the front line of the great war that was brewing on Planet Bedard. There, I led the charge against the great Bedardian commander Franscot. Using my innately keen insight, I surprised Franscot by:
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_09_CH1 DRESSING IN THE ENEMY UNIFORM
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_09_CH2 SNEAKING INTO HIS BASE UNDER THE COVER OF DARKNESS
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_09_CH3 STUNNING HIM WITH A ROUSING RECITATION OF THE ZIN ANTHEM
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_10 Perhaps it?s my eloquent speaking voice or preternatural vocal range but I have always had a gift for oration. Combined with my undeniable charisma, getting others in step with my own ambitions comes naturally. I speak, they listen. Even if I do need to thrash them about the head a few times first.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_11 After basic, I entered service and was sent to the front line of the great war that was brewing on Planet Bedard. There, I led the charge against the great Bedardian commander Franscot. Using my innately keen insight, I surprised Franscot by:
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_11_CH1 SLAYING HIS SECOND-IN-COMMAND ATOP A VERDANT HILLSIDE
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_11_CH2 SNEAKING INTO HIS BASE UNDER THE COVER OF DARKNESS
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_11_CH3 BEDDING HIS FIANCEE BEFORE THEIR WEDDING NIGHT
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_12 It was evident even then that I had conqueror?s blood coursing through my veins. I took to every task with gusto, never accepting anything but the best from myself and all those around me. I had vision, I had drive, I had everything needed to seize the universe by the nebulas and make it mine.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_13 After basic, I entered service and was sent to the front line of the great war that was brewing on Planet Bedard. There, I led the charge against the great Bedardian commander Franscot. Using my innately keen insight, I surprised Franscot by:
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_13_CH1 MURDERING HIS SOLDIERS AND PUTTING THEIR HEADS ON PIKES
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_13_CH2 SNEAKING INTO HIS BASE UNDER THE COVER OF DARKNESS
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_13_CH3 PLAYING SELECTIONS FROM THE ZIN NATIONAL ORCHESTRA AT HIGH VOLUME
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_14 Those garish vestments? You must be joking.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_15 While it is a stirring morale booster, that was not the tactic I used.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_16 While it may sound like a simple tactic, you should be aware that the average day on Planet Bedard lasts an excruciatingly long time. But I and my charge held our position until the perfect moment to strike. We infiltrated Franscot?s compound, trampled his men under our mighty boots, and shattered the door to his bedchamber. Wherein I pounced upon the fool and smothered him with his own pillow.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_17 Even now, looking back, I can?t help but smile. \n\nFrom there, I led the charge after numerous enemies of the Zin Empire. Soon, the entire Bedardian Army fell before us and we had yet another notch on our already impressively-carved belts.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_18 No. Well, yes, I did slay Franscot?s lieutenant atop a hillside, but that was later.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_19 Don?t be crass.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_20 No, but I like the way you think.
COL_TXT_ADV_04_SC_21 Nobody deserves that.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_01 A magnificent victory under my belt, my military superiors saw fit to bestow upon me a Meritorious Service in the Glory of the Almighty Zin commendation and my first of many promotions.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_02 Recognition breeds contempt though and I made many enemies throughout my military career but perhaps none more scathing, more heartbreaking than Zinfob. The Brutus to my Caesar, Zinfob served with me well against the Bedardian army but his pride got the best of him when he:
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_02_CH1 QUESTIONED MY AUTHORITY IN FRONT OF THE TROOPS
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_02_CH2 QUESTIONED MY CHARACTER
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_02_CH3 QUESTION MY READINESS TO COMMAND
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_03 Not even Zinfob was foolish enough to do that.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_04 Impossible. My character is unimpeachable. Everyone can see that.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_05 Citing my unquenchable bloodlust, cold and calculating demeanor, lack of conscience-all the things that were held in such high regard during training-Zinfob dared to suggest that I was unfit for high-level command.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_06 I was brought before my superiors in a mock tribunal, held simply to satiate Zinfob?s whim, I assure you, where I was called upon to defend myself against these allegations.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_07 Complying with the tenets of the charade, I took my seat as defendant. As clear as the strained cries of a fallen foe, the charges were leveled against me. Against each one, I:
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_07_CH1 RAILED AGAINST MY ACCUSER
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_07_CH2 EXPLAINED MYSELF IN A CLEAR, CONCISE MANNER
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_07_CH3 REMAINED SILENT
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_08 To be honest, I didn?t give him much thought.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_09 Admittedly, I may have used some coarse language-as emphasis to underline my points-but I conducted myself as one ought during any legal proceeding. After carefully explaining myself to the council, they saw my point of view and dismissed Zinfob?s case against me.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_10 Afterwards, I hunted my accuser down and killed him where he stood. \n\nThat nastiness behind me, I not only continued to fulfill my role within the Zin Army but I excelled at it! After many more successful terrestrial campaigns against our foes, the officials saw fit to:
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_10_CH1 GIVE ME MY OWN SHIP
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_10_CH2 PROMOTE ME TO EMPEROR
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_10_CH3 ERECT STATUES IN MY HONOR
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_11 Hehehe. Yes. Very droll. I stay quiet for no one.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_12 Indeed! No longer was I a simple passenger on our interplanetary death vessels, I now had my hand firm upon the rudder. Metaphorically speaking, of course, interplanetary death vessels are steered by complicated navigation systems.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_13 Now a celebrated member of the Zin Army, with a seasoned crew at my command, I:
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_13_CH1 BLEW UP PLANET ZIN AND NEVER LOOKED BACK
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_13_CH2 THREW A GALA IN MY OWN HONOR
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_13_CH3 HEADED OUT TOWARD ADVENTURE
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_14 One does not get ?promoted? to Emperor.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_15 I appreciate your zeal but let?s not jump ahead.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_16 Zin may not be the most cultured celestial body but it?s still my home.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_17 I do not have to throw galas in my own honor, thank you.
COL_TXT_ADV_05_SC_18 It was time to leave terra firma behind me and venture toward the stars. After forcibly convincing my crew to celebrate my newly-appointed position with a soiree in my honor, we lifted anchor and spread our sails (again, metaphorically speaking) towards destinations just ripe for the picking. \n\nAnd that, dear reader, is where my tale gets most exciting.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_01 Like a Siren calling ships to the rocks, the velvety expanse of space has been a harsh mistress to many. To me, the unconquered reaches were a challenge I not only accepted but yearned for. So many poor souls blithely unaware of how mediocre their existences were without a firm hand to guide them toward greatness. Oh how I longed to be that hand.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_02 I am not a soul easily satisfied so I knew my dream destination must be a planet that could challenge not the collective might of the Zin Army but:
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_02_CH1 MY OWN FRAGILE EGO
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_02_CH2 MY POLITICAL ACUMEN
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_02_CH3 MY TACTICAL INSTINCT
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_03 Heh. Say that again and I?ll kill you.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_04 As if anything could.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_05 The terrestrial victories I had accumulated in my prior campaigns often failed to adequately test my keen tactical instinct. The maneuvers and strategies employed by so many of my foes were woefully pedestrian on their best days. I knew somewhere in the celestial womb, a leader must exist who could properly challenge me. How fortunate I was that I only had to eradicate twelve civilizations before coming toe-to-toe with the talented and well-trained forces of the Jetyang Theocracy.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_06 Despite what you may have heard about the people of the Jetyang quadrant, I assure you they were ahead of the rest in their martial prowess. Perhaps most impressively, the Jetyang had mastered:
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_06_CH1 BIOMECHANICAL FIGHTING MECHANICS
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_06_CH2 THE ART OF DIPLOMACY
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_06_CH3 PLANETARY SHIELD TECHNOLOGY
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_07 Despite centuries of effort dedicated to that pursuit, all of their attempts at melding flesh and technology resulted in nothing greater than automated harvesting machines.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_08 The Jetyang Theocracy?s so-called ?diplomats? could be bested by an amateur debate team.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_09 By harnessing the geothermal energy of Jetyang?s molten core, the Theocracy were able to power a Dyson Sphere-like shield around their entire planet. It sparkled in the sun like a chorus line of stars pirouetting in the sheerest glimmer of light. The way it shattered in the wake of our neutronic lasers was, simply, breathtaking.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_10 Upon our arrival on their planet?s surface, the head of the Theocracy, an imposing figure named Bishop Quirkzug, pleaded for not only his own life but the lives of his people. Always a fair man, I agreed to meet him on a level field of battle. Mano-a-mano as true gentlemen. I even let him select the contest. Much to my surprise, he chose:
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_10_CH1 A BOARD GAME
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_10_CH2 A DUEL OF SWORDS
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_10_CH3 ARM WRESTLING
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_11 As part of their theocratic doctrine, the Jetyang do not believe in flat surfaces.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_12 Oh, how I wish.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_13 And I thought I had left such uncultured diversions back on Zin. I learned then that this so-called ?sport? had reached a far wider audience than I had hoped. Yes, Quirkzug chose to challenge me at arm wrestling.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_14 ?How, for a society so advanced in technology,? thought I, ?could they be so taken with grasping hands and pushing??
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_15 Little did I know that the cephalopodian anatomy of the Jetyang, combined with the curved surfaces that pass as tables, allowed them great leverage at this sport. Oh-ho! How clever Quirkzug was! Luring me into a trap that played upon my own prejudices! Well done! Well done, indeed. As it turns out, the winner of that match was:
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_15_CH1 ME
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_15_CH2 QUIRKZURG
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_15_CH3 IT WAS A DRAW
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_16 ?no.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_17 Yes, yes. Quirkzug used his anatomical advantage to best me at that infantile test of strength. After shooting him through his enormous eye, I congratulated his corpse on a job well done. Giving the Jetyang people no quarter, we made hasty work of their pathetic planet and to this day I keep Quirkzug?s desiccated tongue in my pocket. \n\nI rub it for luck.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_18 Though I wasn?t aware of it prior, the Jetyang homeworld was a rich source of gemstones and minerals in rare reserve on other planets. With resources in high demand at our disposal, I was able to fund many more conquests throughout the richness of space. \n\nA fascinating story that I will tell you soon.
COL_TXT_ADV_06_SC_19 ?no.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_01 As you indubitably are already aware, the ?Grand Jetyang Victory? was just the beginning of my storied career in the Zin Army. I still had numerous conquests awaiting me, including my first venture out toward a place the native scholars once called ?Via Lactea.?
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_02 Possessing astute foresight as I do, coupled with my at-times all-consuming need for control, I knew that before I set out to do anything more, I must:
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_02_CH1 FIND A SECOND-IN-COMMAND
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_02_CH2 ACQUIRE MORE SHIPS
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_02_CH3 GET SOME DECENT FOOD ON-BOARD
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_03 Even I cannot be everywhere at once. I knew in order to keep my crew appropriately subordinate while still being able to have some essential ?me time? that I had to have someone I could trust implicitly to oversee the orders I gave. Someone who could be my eyes and ears and also tend to my every whim without question.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_04 It was a plucky young soldier named Zinjai who stood cranial crown and shoulders above the rest. I knew he would be make a fine lieutenant. But, as is customary to prove one?s successor?s worth, I first administered:
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_04_CH1 A SCHOLASTIC APTITUDE TEST
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_04_CH2 RITUAL BEATINGS
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_04_CH3 A QUIZ TO DETERMINE HIS UNDERSTANDING OF BASIC ETIQUETTE
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_05 Not to be immodest but my fleet was already quite impressive, thank you.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_06 Do you honestly think I would have traveled all the way to the Jetyang quadrant without bringing the finest chefs in the universe with me?
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_07 Oh, call back. Yes. Quite humorous of you.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_08 Those were already part of our daily routine. I saw no need to beat a dead horse. Do you see what I did there? I made a pun. It was a very good one too.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_09 I was not about to appoint someone as my military surrogate and manservant who was unable to appreciate propriety and tradition. I knew that if anyone were to even attempt to fill my proverbial boots that they had to be able to do so in any conceivable situation. So it was I constructed a battery of examinations designed to test his etiquette across all manner of occasion. They really were brilliant, if I do say so myself.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_10 I am proud to state that Zinjai passed every test in spectacular fashion-though we did almost have an incident when:
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_10_CH1 WE WERE ATTACKED PRIOR TO THE DINNER COURSE OF A FINE MEAL
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_10_CH2 ZINJAI'S BROTHER DIED DURING AN EXAMINATION ON PROPER CROSS-CULTURAL GREETINGS
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_10_CH3 A RABID ZINPIG GOT LOOSE UPON THE SHIP DURING A ROUSING DEBATE ON INTERGALACTIC POLITICKING
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_11 In what was a regrettable lapse in judgment on the part of famed Buunian tactician Ariel the Furious, the Buune Armada attacked us in mid-space during the most important segment of Zinjai?s testing. After destroying the Buune Fleetship and flaying all the crewmembers, I beheaded Ariel the Furious with a bread knife and threw his remains into the onboard incinerator.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_12 Zinjai and I then went on to enjoy a most lovely meal full of fresh Buune steaks and delightful conversation.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_13 His testing over, I formally named Zinjai as my lieutenant/servant, and we continued our trek into deep space. Per my grand plan, I set about culling the universe of its weakest cultures first, starting with:
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_13_CH1 THE KJOERTNERFER TRIBES OF CENTRAL ALSPAZIA
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_13_CH2 THE GOETZ-BRAY ALLIANCE
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_13_CH3 THE PEOPLE OF EARTH
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_14 As was custom in his native home of Zinburgh, Zinjai faced his brother in a duel to the death at the age of three years old. Zinjai won. \n\nOh, I should note that duels to the death are used in some cultures as greetings. A most curious tradition, that.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_15 Having endured my father?s atrocious meat preparation as a lad, I forbade the use of Zinpig in any on-board recipes.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_16 The Kjoertnerfer Tribes have been a blight on Central Alspazia since time immemorial. Really, I was doing everyone a favor by razing those heathens to the ground. But did the Unified Nations of Central Alspazia show me any gratitude at all? Of course not! \n\n?Monster!? they cried. ?Psychopath!?
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_17 Nothing short of planetwide genocide was going to shut them up. Which, thankfully, it did. From there, I continued on my path, conquering every planet that stood in my path. Yet, despite the sense of unparalleled accomplishment I felt, something was lacking. \n\nIt was not until later that I would stumble upon my greatest achievement. My defining moment.
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_18 As even neophyte Zin should know, the Great Linguistic Misunderstanding carved a wide political chasm that separated the Goetz-Bray Alliance millennia ago. What do they teach in schools these days?
COL_TXT_ADV_07_SC_19 Do you really count Earth as one of the weakest cultures in the universe? You really should think higher of yourself.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_01 Yes, I held the keys to the universe in my grasp yet something was missing. These victories, numerous though they were, felt hollow. I found myself wanting more, needing more. What could I possibly be missing? I had everything. Civilizations trembled when I announced my presence. My own army lived in fear of my wrath. What could I possibly be lacking?
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_02 Then, like an evolutionary link crawling from the depths of a primordial soup, it hit me. I had taken so many lives-for what purpose? Conquering was not enough. I needed to test them. To challenge them. To collect them. It was then I decided to build:
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_02_CH1 A MUSEUM DEDICATED TO THE GREATEST CULTURES OF THE UNIVERSE
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_02_CH2 A PETTING ZOO
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_02_CH3 THE SIMULATION
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_03 In its own way, I suppose it is. But that?s not the answer I?m looking for.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_04 I considered it but ultimately opted for something else.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_05 I could not trust those who fell before my might to roam around unsupervised in the real world but a virtual one, that was another matter entirely. It came to me as a vision! A vast interconnected web of simulated worlds designed not only to contain the best and brightest in the universe but to break their wills and make them subservient to me, Zinyak, Galactic Overlord and Head Emperor Supreme of the Zin Empire. Oh, did I forget to mention I killed my predecessor and claimed his throne for my own? My apologies for the oversight.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_06 I tasked Zinjai with overseeing the Simulation?s construction. We would hold the physical bodies of my fallen foes in a nutrient-rich suspension designed to accommodate even the most peculiar metabolisms. Meanwhile, their minds would be go on in a world of my own creation, based on each subject?s:
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_06_CH1 FONDEST CHILDHOOD MEMORY
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_06_CH2 DEEPEST FEAR
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_06_CH3 FAVORITE FOOD
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_07 And how would a comforting reminiscence break their will exactly?
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_08 Yes! Everybody, aside from your humble narrator, is afraid of something. Familial loss. A straying loved one. Anonymity. Spiders. And by subjecting each victim to their deepest fear, to replay their most dreaded moment over and over again until their psyche shatters and their minds become malleable putty in my eager fingers, I could control them. I could control everyone.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_09 Once the Simulation was completed, all I needed to do was:
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_09_CH1 START HOOKING UP VICTIMS!
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_09_CH2 THROW A PARTY!
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_09_CH3 FIND A TEST SUBJECT!
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_10 I do wish you were taking this more seriously.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_11 I was excited too but we mustn?t be rash.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_12 What?s that idiom about counting chickens?
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_13 And who better to test the Simulation upon than my right-hand man. Zinjai was not eager to partake in the Simulation but after a brief, though intensely painful, discussion, he saw the benefits of the architect being the first to walk into his own building.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_14 For hours, I heard Zinjai?s screams echo throughout the ship, like the mellifluous song of a child in mourning, and I knew then that the Simulation was my raison d'être. It would set the standard for forward-thinking empires throughout the universe. And if any should ever match its brilliance, I will crush them and claim their design for my own.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_15 After extracting Zinjai from his personal nightmare, he gave his most whole-hearted approval. When asked what his version of hell was, he said:
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_15_CH1 A LIFE WITHOUT ME
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_15_CH2 A LIFE WITH ONLY ME
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_15_CH3 A LIFE SPENT CLEANING THE LAVATORIES OF THE ZIN MOTHERSHIP
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_16 To be honest, Zinjai didn?t tell me what his deepest fear was and I didn?t press the matter. For I had other things to do. With the Simulation as my crown jewel, I took to universal conquering with renewed zeal. I found a pleasure in forced subjugation of sentient lifeforms I never thought I?d have again.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_17 My enemies didn?t simply fall by my sword-their wills were snapped like the bones of a mouthy subordinate. I no longer had only the echo of their dying words to remember them by, I had a whole world of twisted imagery and deep-rooted doubts and phobias. Oh joy! Oh cascading bliss!
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_18 And I could visit them whenever I wanted. I had complete control. I held their brittle consciousnesses in my hand and could play with them, like flicking seeds into the wind.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_19 The Simulation was not perfect. Nothing is. Even the masterwork Venus de Milo is short a couple appendages. But it was mine. And it was beautiful. For those who tested my patience by attempting escape, I had protocols in place. When needed, I intervened personally. Though it was rarely necessary. Many of the subjects thought they were exceptions to the Simulation?s rule but I put everyone of them summarily back into place.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_20 So it was I went about collecting the exemplary specimens from cultures throughout the entirety of the known world. With one exception. A certain destination whose exploitation I wished to savor. A place whose artistic contributions had first set me upon my path. There was someone there I especially wished to meet-and with the time-bending capability of the Mothership, I could. But also I knew any planet capable of literary work of that caliber must also breed warriors unlike any other. I was excited, reader. Every part of my essence shivered with anticipation.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_21 With the might of the Zin Empire behind me, I set out toward the far corner of the universe, toward a new galaxy, to conquer a planet I had only enjoyed through its culture: Earth.
COL_TXT_ADV_08_SC_21_CH1 LE FIN
COL_TXT_ADV_END TO BE CONTINUED...
COL_TXT_ADV_NEXT CONTINUE
COL_TXT_ADV_RETRY TRY AGAIN

Duplicate sectionsEdit

The "After basic, I entered service..." page has 3 alternates. Unfortunately, only one of the images has been uploaded. The most obvious reason I can think of is that the options change when you get them wrong. -452 (talk) 02:33, January 9, 2015 (UTC)

OrderEdit

With the other text adventures, I've always placed the "wrong" options first, so that it can be read from top to bottom with little confusion. Unfortunately, the internal string order is NOT ordered in this way, they are ordered as-is, so the wrong choices are often AFTER the next choice. I'm going to re-order them with wrong first, but I'm keeping the internal IDs for convenience. -452 (talk) 02:36, January 9, 2015 (UTC)

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