Ultra Vires


Choose Your Own Adventure: The Map to HH Island

For those of you who somehow grew up with books that dictated your adventure to you within the strict confines of traditional narrative, a Choose Your Own Adventure book gives you the freedom to take the reins of your own story. Do you jump into a dark chasm, or try climbing over it on a rickety bridge? Do you go on a quest for gold, or do you try to live a quiet life in your quiet village, which is subsequently invaded by brigands? No matter what you choose, there is always a chance you will end up being killed in one gruesome way or another. If you came here looking for study advice, then you came to the wrong place. It’s time to go on the adventure of a lifetimethat is, if you choose to do so.

Part One: Desperately Seeking Summaries

You’ve avoided thinking about it for weeks now. You wake up at night and you almost let it get in; your heart starts to pound, your mind begins to race, but you fight it off. You count down from one thousand and you fall back to sleep, but you know it’s out there waiting. It’s coming for you. The Dread. Exam dread! Paper dread! Having to see your family dread! Real spooky stuff.

So, for the first time in your entire life, you decide to be proactive. You’re going to tame this dread before it has a chance to rear its ugly head, and you’ve got a plan to do it. You’re going to start studying early this year. It’s only November —wait, what, it’s November 29 already?! Okay, that’s fine, it’s still early. You’re going to start studying right now. Just as soon as you have a little snack.

Do you:

  1. Have the bag of celery sticks you brought to school with you?
  2. Go home and eat an entire Domino’s pan crust pizza?

This was only a practice round—you of course go home and eat an entire Domino’s pan crust pizza. You also eat an entire thing of cheesy bread, whatever, who cares? You’re now at home, in a position on the couch you might describe as “snake that just ate a deer.” You’re still going to study today, but you need a second to digest.

All of a sudden, you remember— there’s part of a bottle of wine left! Wine helps you digest, right? You read that somewhere. I’m pretty sure you saw it somewhere once. Was it on goop? It doesn’t really matter, the point is you’ve read it at least once and so you drink the rest of the wine.

Now you’re getting sleepy. Verrrrry, verrrrrrry sleeeee—

You wake up and it’s—WTF?!—a week later! You know this because you set a calendar notification for your first exam and it’s going off and the exam is twenty minutes from now. “How can this be??” you ask yourself.

“What is happening!?” you say aloud.

Suddenly there’s mist all around you, and a sort of weird smell you hadn’t noticed before. A disembodied voice speaks: “It was Buster, the Spirit of Dread.”

With every word from that raspy voice, a figure begins to form, starting as a translucent spectre and becoming more and more corporeal until a woman stands before you, dressed in a sort of worn-out pirate outfit. Imagine Tilda Swinton starring in Pirates of the Caribbean and you get the idea. No bandanna or hat though, so don’t picture that. Do imagine what you think Jack Sparrow probably smelled like and that is what the woman smells like. It is not great. And somehow you are still full from that pizza so you really don’t need that right now.

She speaks again: “Buster stole your time. He wants to claim you as his next victim. But I can help you avoid this fate!”

“The Spirit of Dread’s name is Buster?” you ask.

“We don’t have time for this right now,” the woman replies. “If you’re going to foil Buster, you need to start immediately!”

“But like… Buster?” You are having a hard time letting it go. The woman gives you a stern look and you remind yourself to get into it again later if you have time. “Okay, but what’s your name?” you ask.

“Julie, the Spirit of Last-Minute Exam-Preparedness. Yes, Julie. I don’t know where the names come from, okay? What’s your name? Something sooo cool, I bet.” You start to answer, but she cuts you off. “Shut up, you don’t think I know your name? I just appeared in your living room.”

You’re starting to feel a little bit annoyed with this spirit who just showed up out of nowhere and is now stinking up your apartment.

“Listen, Julie—” you begin.

“No, you listen. You have an exam in twenty minutes. No more wasting time. You have two choices. You can come with me to Mapland, and I will lead you through the Ultimate Map of TrutHH to HH Island, where you will have access to the UrMap, which will guarantee you an HH in every class. Or, you can go to school now and write the exam using just your notes and hope that you can somehow manage to get a passing grade even though you haven’t studied at all. What’s it going to be?”

You lie on the couch paralyzed. On the one hand, you can follow a weird, sort of rude, smelly woman whom you’ve never met to another land that she claims will lead you to guaranteed HHs. On the other hand, you can try to write an exam using only your own notes. What do you do?

  1. If you go with Julie, turn to “Julie”.
  2. If you go straight to your exam, turn to “Why Would You Choose That?

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