AI Dungeon Presents: Escape from New York

Are you saying we have to die so the world won't end?

Escape from New York is one of my favorite films, and a remake has been kicking around studios for a decade or so. It’s generally seemed silly given 21st-century New York gentrification, like the Daredevil series where there’s a Potbelly’s across from a gritty black-market pawnshop. But the year is 2020 and I’m living in a quarantined pandemic exclusion zone that the president left for dead. This is our chance.


Elsewhere in AI:


“Escape From New York”

[PROMPT: The year is now, but futuristic. Abandoned to the ravages of the coronavirus, New York City has been surrounded by an impenetrable barrier opened only for supplies, wealthy residents returning from the Hamptons, and the Thiel Foundation, which has taken an interest in city-dwellers' antibody-rich blood.

You are antihero Snake Plissken, and you have been recruited to rescue a scientist who supposedly holds the cure to COVID-19. You land atop the Oculus Mall and] drive to the location where you believe this scientist lives: a run-down apartment building on the outskirts of town.

You arrive at your destination and park outside the building, then walk inside. The door opens and you see a man with graying hair wearing glasses sitting behind his desk. He looks up when he sees you, but doesn't say anything.

"Hello," he says. "I'm Dr. Robert Stadler. What's your name?"

"Snake."

He nods. "Good. I trust that answers my question about why you're here."

"Yes, it does," you reply. "What was the last thing you ate? It seems like you've had quite a bit of time since we last spoke."

"Ah yes, that. Well, I just finished making some more serum. This one should be able to treat all those infected in the city."

"And you need me to do that?"

Dr. Stadler smiles slightly. "No, not that. I think you know what I mean. I can explain better if you meet me somewhere else.In fact, you'll probably want to wear something more comfortable than jeans and a t-shirt. I don't mind people looking, but I'd prefer they didn't touch."

You nod. "Okay.”

> You walk away and go find some more comfortable clothes.

You follow Dr. Stadler out of the office and into a hallway, then turn right and head down another corridor until you reach a stairway leading up to the roof. As soon as you step onto the steps, you hear Dr. Stadler call after you.

"Oh, and don't forget your shoes! We're going up!"

You take a deep breath and begin climbing the stairs. When you get to the top, you look around and notice that there are several other people dressed in similar clothing standing near the edge of the roof. They seem to be waiting for someone or something.

"Well, I guess we're doing this the hard way," you say aloud.

The elevator doors open and you enter them. After pressing a button to lower the ride's speed, you wait patiently for the doors to close before stepping out into the cool night air.

> You ask Dr. Stadler for the coronavirus cure.

"So...what is the cure?" you ask.

Dr. Stadler looks over at you and shrugs. "It's a secret formula. It's been kept from the public because it could kill millions of people instantly."

"How many?"

"Thousands. The only reason why it hasn't been used yet is because it would destroy civilization, but that day may come soon."

You pause for a moment. "Are you saying we have to die so the world won't end?"

Dr. Stadler laughs. "Of course not! That would be insane! But I'm sure you understand how dangerous an infection like this could be. If we don't stop it now, it will spread throughout the world and wipe us all out.”

> You tell Dr. Stadler you need to get him out of the city.

"I can't let you stay here. This isn't safe."

Dr. Stadler shakes his head."There's no point in arguing with you. Let's just leave this building together. I'll drive, and you can catch the bus back home."

You sigh and agree to his plan.

As you walk through the streets, you try to think about what you should do next. Is it better to hide out somewhere else? Do you really want to live in fear anymore? What if Dr. Stadler finds out where you are? Will he hurt you? Or worse?

Suddenly, you feel a sharp pain in your side. You quickly turn around and see Dr. Stadler holding a knife to your throat. He seems angry, but doesn't show any signs of being scared.

"What are you doing?!" you exclaim.

He smiles and points the blade at your neck. "Do you know who I am? Do you even care?" he asks. "Because if you did, then yes, I probably killed someone today."

> You realize that Dr. Stadler is actually Peter Thiel, head of the Thiel Foundation and an immortal vampire.

"Oh, shit!" you shout. "This is too much! I've got to help you!"

Dr. Stadler grabs your hand and pulls it towards himself as he steps back. "Don't worry, I'm not going to kill you right away."

He walks up to you and puts his arm around your shoulders. "We're going to go find a place to hide out. We'll meet again later tonight." With those words, he turns and leaves without another word.

> You escape from New York.

The last thing you remember is running down the street and into a nearby subway station. As you lie on the floor, numb and confused, you hear a voice call out to you.

"Hey! Wake up!" It's your mother calling out to you. She looks like she's been crying for hours.

When you open your eyes, you find yourself lying in bed with your mom standing over you. Her face is pale and her hair is disheveled. "Are... Are you okay?" she asks.

"Yeah,"you reply. "Where am I?"

She takes a deep breath before answering. "Your room."

You sit up and look around the room.

> You realize it was all a dream!

A dream? No way! Your mind is telling you so. You shake your head and say, "No, it couldn't be..."

Mommy places a comforting hand on your shoulder. "It's okay son, we're dreaming."


I for one welcome conversation about Escape from New York and only Escape from New York. Send it to adi@robotlit.com.