|A former member||
Beginning with the theme of freshman year of university, excluding aliens and including Montana and a radical movement, Terry, Megan and I created a story that began as a more realistic account of the challenges a pair of girls meet in their first year of university but radically swerved into something more sinister toward the end.
Anne and Jess, high school friends, though not particularly close, arrive on campus for their freshman year of university. That very first night they are invited to a party by Lauren, a sophomore. Anne, nervous but eager to meet new people, attends, but Jess does not when she meets a boy and loses track of time talking to him. Later during orientation week the Chancellor invites Jess to join the Program, an invitation Jess turns down. Looking for help in her Political Science 101 course, Jess receives tutoring from Richard, head of the College Libertarians, and joins the organizations after discovering the government's obtrusive and inefficient place in people's lives.
Life continues, and parent's weekend arrives. Despite promises from her parents to attend, Anne is left alone. Lauren tries to convince her it's no big deal, she left her hometown to leave her parents, but Anne isn't cheered until she hears from Katie, an old friend, that Anne's brother's scout troop had gotten lost while camping and they had decided to join the search rather than visit the university. Still, Anne's father and the Chancellor find time to get sloshed together.
As fall finals approach Lauren is concerned about her English grades and takes a few shifts in the writing center in the hopes of bolstering them. Her professor, Danielle Robinson, invites Lauren to her home in the hopes of inspiring her student and shares her copy The Story of O. Lauren, believing this to be an invitation for something more, comes on to Professor Robinson, and she, out of spite for her distant partner and encouraged by the bitter French professor Margot Dupuis, accepts Lauren's overtures.
Christmas break arrives, and the Chancellor meets with the Parent's Association to decide who will enter the university in the coming year. The Chancellor later asks Katie to procure a special acid for him for his taxidermy. Katie steals the acid from the university's chemistry lab, and campus security discovers the theft. They notify the Chancellor, and he refuses to accept the delivery from Katie, going so far as drive away when she arrives at his home. Campus security does some investigation and discovers that Katie stole the car from her dad. They pursue Katie, and the chase ends in tragedy when she crashes head-on with a tree in Montana. Jess discovers the death of her friend when Katie's missing from a party where she's trying to impress a friend still in high school with her greater maturity. Anne discovers from her parents, while they're drinking, that they regret sending her to the university.
The spring term passes uneventfully until spring break when Jess and her older sister, just returned from a term with the Peace Corps, party with the College Libertarians in Montana. The party is broken up, and the cops charge Jess with underage consumption when she blows a .12. University rules forbid students with criminal records. Jess' father attempts to bribe and find fault in the police's methods, but when those methods of protecting his daughter fails, the Chancellor agrees to allow her to stay in school if she joins the Program. Still hesitant to join the program, despite the encouragement of her father and the Chancellor's secretary that the Program, Jess only joins when the Chancellor makes it clear that her only other option is leaving the university.
Despite her misgivings, Jess enjoys the Program and leaves the College Libertarians. Miffed by her betrayal, Richard discovers that Program members receive inflated grades and leads a campus protest against it. Seeking to protect the Program, the Chancellor invites Richard for a private discussion to meet his demands, an attempt that fails when Jess throws the Chancellor's taxidermy acid on Richard's face. Shortly thereafter, the Chancellor disappears. By finals week, Jess' father assumes control of the Program, and the school is shut down.
It was fascinating to see this game change. The first rounds were what you might expect from anything in someone's freshman year of college as Anne and Jess attended parties, drank alcohol for the first time and got busted. The Chancellor and the Program weren't introduced until maybe the second or third round when Jess' father is trying to keep her in school. Then they came to dominate the game and were inserted into the story throughout. And we never defined what the Program was.
Nice write up.
To me this is classic microscope - you can't reveal your agenda, but can tug towards it, until someone thwarts it. It's fun.
I was riffing on the radical movement theme where the Chancellor was using his position at school to start a new movement.