Chapter 11: A question of life or death.

The story so far: The team (minus Abe) have made it to Super-Sunny-Happy-Bright-Fun Land and located a piece of the Trinity Key. To obtain it, however, they'll first have to complete a dangerous challenge proving their intelligence. References so far to Cher, a popular singer, songwriter, actress and gay icon in the late 20th and early 21st century: 0.

The rules are simple: for every question you get right, step forward one place on this game grid. Complete five questions correctly and you collect this piece of The Trinity Key.” A small pedestal rose out of the ground – hovering ten inches above the pedestal was a black, sphere-shaped object about the size of hockey ball. “Get one question wrong and your selected player dies – but don't worry, you can play again until you're all dead. And, should you decide to quit before that point, you won't go home empty handed. That's right! You'll get this lovely Who wants a piece of the Trinity key? boardgame, yours to play in the comfort of your own home. So, shall we begin?”

Liberty looked across at Google. “Are you sure about this?” she asked.

I need that key Lib. I don't think I can defeat Mykur without it. I mean, look at me.”

But who knows how hard these questions will be. It could be suicide,” Justice pointed out.

Billions of lives are at risk if we don't get that key,” Google replied.

Ok, we accept the challenge,” Justice told the hologram.

And who shall be your nominated sacrifice should you answer a question wrong?”

That would be me,” Justice replied.

What!? We should discuss this first,” said Liberty.

Come on sis, there's nothing to discuss and you know it. It can't be Google; I dare say we're not paying Jupiter enough to risk his life. And, well, we both know Google has a better chance of staying safe if he's with you.”

But you don't get to...”

We don't have time to argue,” Justice said, looking over at the clock counting down to the next 'Snow Show'. “Remember the family oath? We must do what's right, no matter the cost. Now, let's just make sure we answer the questions correctly.”

Ok,” said Liberty a new look of determination coming across her face.

Would the sacrifice please step this way,” said Alexander's hologram as a guillotine swiftly rose up out of the ground. “Now, simply rest your neck here. Should your team get a question wrong, it will be painless and quick. Hopefully.”

The lights dimmed and the game show music started up once again, sounding slightly more ominous this time.

Okay, let's begin. Please choose a topic from the board.”

Liberty looked over at Justice, worried. “I guess you should get to choose, considering.”

Justice strained to see the board, now that his neck had been locked in place under the guillotine.

I studied Arty History in the Academy – I choose that.”

Arty History it is,” said the hologram happily. “Okay, first question: Who am I? Considered an arty icon in the late 20th and early 21st century, I was a popular singer, songwriter and occasional actress, most commonly known by just my first name.”

The group looked across at each other blankly, before Justice called out, “Madonna!”

Correct. You may all step forward one space and choose another topic from the board.”

There are more questions specialising in history – let's stick with that,” said Liberty.

Very well. Question 2: The following are four celebrities from the 21st century: Barack Obama. Paris Hilton. Tom Cruise. George Bush Jnr. Which one was later proven to have been a robot?”

Jupiter and the gang laughed, relieved to have been given such an easy question – quickly answering it and moving ahead one step.

Okay. The next topic will be chosen by I,” said the hologram. “I select sports. Question 3: Which sport has the highest yearly death toll?”

Liberty turned to Jupiter, “Sports are a frivolous waste of time only enjoyed by simpletons and idiots - what's the answer?”

Um, I don't know. It could be anything,” he replied.

Do you think, maybe Deathball?” Google asked.

No, that's pretty safe.”

I need an answer please,” said the hologram.

Jupiter went pale, glancing across at the blade poised above Justice's neck.

Um, Extreme Lawn Bowls?”

Correct! Fun fact: More senior citizens die of heart attacks during Extreme Lawn Bowls than all other causes of heart attack combined.”

Justice breathed a sigh of relief as the rest of the group took a step forward.

Very good. You're on the home stretch now. So what will it be next?”

I think we should choose Famous Relic Hunters,” Jupiter told Liberty. However, before she could reply, the hologram interrupted.

Oh, I'm sorry, I forgot it's my turn again. I choose Science and Nature.”

A collective groan echoed around the dome.

Question 4: Name three ways in which the Bonobo Ape is different from a Chimpanzee.”

Everyone turned to Jupiter.

You just couldn't bring the damn monkey with us, could you?”

What! This is not my fault! How was I supposed to know that'd be a question!”

Can we phone a friend?” asked Google.

It's not that sort of game I'm afraid. I need an answer now.”

Uh, I think they're better at pac man...” said Jupiter.

They're more peaceful, egalitarian and have a larger sexual repertoire,” Justice said quickly.

That's four ways... but they're all correct. Very good. You may move ahead.”

The group walked one step closer, the piece of The Trinity Key just out of their grasp.

Now the final question – you have a free pick of the board.”

I choose Famous Relic Hunters,” said Jupiter.

The hologram went static. “The correct answer is 16 paintings.” The static then cleared and the hologram was normal again. “Okay, question five: In the 22nd century, famous treasure hunter Jasper Jennings became the richest art collector in the galaxy when he located the priceless painting series Dogs Playing Poker. How many pieces were in the set?”

16,” Liberty answered.

Wait, you gave us the answer before you even asked the question. You told us the answer was 16,” Justice told the hologram.

What are you doing!?” said Liberty annoyed. “Shut up!”

Did I?” asked the hologram.

Yes, you did,” answered Justice.

I guess my programming must have glitched, because 16 is the correct answer. Hmm, I guess I'll just have to ask another question then... very well.”

What? Are you trying to get killed!?” Liberty yelled at her brother.

We can't cheat! That's what Mykur would do. We need to be better than that. Remember – no matter the cost,” he replied.

Stop trying to make mum and dad proud, it's going to get you killed!”

The hologram coughed.

Question five: What number am I thinking of?”

Justice swore.

Jupiter swore.

Liberty swore.

Google gulped.

7?” answered Justice.

Incorrect. Sorry, the correct answer was: 3.14159. Too bad!” said the hologram.

Noooooooooooooooooooooo,” Liberty yelled, dropping to her knees as the blade sailed swiftly through Justice's neck.

Ah... why aren't I dead?” asked Justice.

5 Response to Chapter 11: A question of life or death.

  1. Luke says:

    For the record, the ape answers are true. Justice's information is from wikipedia and Jupiter's is from this video linked below. The relevant pac man bit is around the 15/16 min mark, but I recommend watching the whole thing – it really is fascinating!

  2. Luke says:

    PS. Originally this chapter didn't have the last sentence by Justice - was unsure whether to have it or not. Makes a better cliffhanger without it, but tonally it felt wrong to end a chapter of a comedy story with someone being decapitated!

  3. Jimzip says:

    lol, yeah that would have been kinda dark.

    TED always fascinates me, the talks are really something you never get to hear on an every day basis, so having them available, free, to the public is truly cool.

    That video was really neat though, the ability to speak, draw and (MY GOD) play pac man!? Awesome.

    Curses to you for teasing us with that Madonna question too!! X)

    Jimzip :D

  4. Dale says:

    Curses indeed! It was way scandalous of you!

    Very entertaining installment. So holograms think about pi(e)... Remarkable. :)

    Maybe you could think about selling this format to channel 9. More extreme than Wipeout, and a stepping stone towards Extreme Lawn Bowls.

  5. Luke says:

    Forget to say, well spotted on the pi reference, Dale. Figured that since holograms are constructed using mathematical codes, that it's likely they may think in mathematics so pi might be a number that would come to mind. Oh yeah, I be deep. (Nevermind the fact I'm not sure mathematical code is involved in making holograms. Shhhh!)