Flashforward Index

An Invitation to Your Future

Last year, we invited the players of String Theory to participate in a reimagining of their characters — what they would be like in ten years' time if the dark future were turned around into something hopeful, something Bright.

This year, the staff of String Theory invite you to do something different — something darker. Instead of peering into the possibilities of another timeline, we invite your characters to take a look down the path which leads to Five Years Gone — an outbreak of riots, chaos, and destruction in the heart of NYC on the fourth anniversary of the Midtown Explosion. It is a very personal glimpse of what may happen right here, and the chance to explore the ramifications of such foresight.

(If you're familiar with the recent FlashForward series — yes, this is very much inspired by that.)

Here's how it's going to work: We'll put forth the broad strokes of events that may come to pass on one specific day — November 8, 2010. But it's you the players who will fill in the details, first by providing visionary breadcrumbs that texture those events, and then by shaping the months which lead up to the anniversary, either making or breaking these premonitions along the way. Maybe the events as seen in the Flashes will come to pass, maybe they won't, or maybe they will come together in a similar but differently arranged fashion.

String Theory has shown since the beginning, and in fact is founded on the idea, that the future is a mutable thing. Some events are harder to steer the course of time away from, but the future can be — and has been — changed. Whether the Flashes come to pass as you've written them for your characters or not is entirely up to you and the way the story progresses over the next several months. Don't feel restricted to acting out what your Flash shows on November 8th, and also keep in mind that the how and the why of your Flash needn't necessarily be determined when you write it — come up with a foreseen situation that interests you, and then let the intervening story unfold itself.

Do you want your character to be trapped in a collapsing burning building screaming for help, but have no idea how they'd get to that point? That's perfect! Your character might be sitting down to breakfast with their current nemesis, involved in a riot (or trying to avoid a riot), or just having a plain unremarkable day — the options aren't quite limitless but they come fairly close, subject to staff approval. The idea is that you can write almost anything, steer your character towards or away from the event as desired, and figure out how you get from Point A to Point B along the way!

For premise details and instructions on how to write and submit your Flashforward, continue reading this page.

To discuss ideas and collaborate with other people, check out http://string-theory.wikidot.com/forum/c-112877/flashforward.

For examples of Flashforwards, see http://string-theory.wikidot.com/flash:_logs.

What's In A Vision?

  • Each participating character is given only one premonition. You may have one premonition for each character you have if you so desire. The content of the premonition is of the player's creation, but must be approved by staff (submit by +request). Staff are also available to help brainstorm; you might talk to other players and discuss on the forum thread here to work out ideas.
  • A vision can encompass up to 60 seconds of subjective time; no more than that, though less can be fine. Also, if your vision writeup passes 500 words, it's probably getting too long.
  • Visions will be generated by an event which takes place sometime during the first two weeks of Volume X; an announcement will be put up when the date is decided. People on Staten Island, in Brooklyn, and in the lower end of Manhattan Island are certain to receive visions; those in surrounding regions, such as Long Island City in Queens, the Bronx, and the upper portion of Manhattan may or may not receive one.
  • The premonition must concern an event which takes place sometime on November 8, 2010, as seen through your character's eyes. You may share visions of the same event with another character, but each will see the predicted circumstance from their own point of view.
  • Although each character receives only one vision, they may appear in more than one, if staff feel that the two visions are appropriate and complementary to one another. For example, Meredith might have a premonition of talking to Hana in the morning on Staten Island, while Hana's vision puts her in the middle of the Queens fire that afternoon. Bear in mind that your character only knows about what they themselves saw — in this case, Hana wouldn't know about the morning event unless Meredith mentioned it to her, because that one was Meredith's vision.

In brainstorming your character's premonition, consider these three prompts:

  • In the chaotic backdrop we've described, where is your character? Do you want them to be in the midst of some action? Fleeing chaos and destruction? Endangered by something? Lost, confused, and bewildered?
  • What snippet of possible future would drive your character down some path of development? (Or, as seems to be standard, more trials and tribulations?) Perhaps you want something to startle them, to shock them out of their senses, to feed a sense of desperation; to drive them towards morality, or away from it into the ambiguity of gray.
  • Maybe you just have an off-the-wall idea that would be entertaining to explore, someone you want to meet, some interaction or impulse that wouldn't happen with your character here and now — but might, in a few months, depending on what the interim involves.

Example Flashes, and the collected archive of premonitions, are posted here. Submit your visions by +request for staff approval; please include the IC time, location, and players involved as well as the text of the premonition.

The Shape of Things To Come

To enable glimpses of the future but not spoil the story progression that has yet to come, a bulleted outline of events and times is provided here:

Noon: President Petrelli begins his memorial speech from the White House, commemorating the Midtown Explosion, broadcast on all major television networks and radio channels. It begins: My fellow Americans, I come to you today in the face of a country in crisis. Never has our sovereign nation faced such trials as it has seen over the last four years. and then immediately all picture (on television) and sound (in both media) cut out. Seconds later a voice can be heard over the radio and television: "If you vilify us, we will become your villains. If you demonize us, we will become your demons. If you martyr us, we will rise up. Every prophet in his house."

Noon and on: Unprecedented violence sparks at Summer Meadows on Roosevelt Island where violent riots begin, as well as in neighborhoods on Southern Staten Island. The violence escalates from noon all the way through twelve hours later with thousands of rioters hitting the streets. Cars are firebombed, riot police are put out, FRONTLINE is dispatched to handle evolved rioters. There are shootings, looting, and heartless carnage.

3:00pm and on: A fire is sparked in Long Island City in Queens. By 8:00pm eight square city blocks are engulfed in flames and smoke coupled with ash darkens the sky and the glow from the fires can be seen for miles.

6:00pm and on: In accordance with H.R. 5122 (which was not repealed in 2008 in String Theory's timeline due to the bomb) President Petrelli following an act of Congress institutes Martial Law in the city of New York, mobilizing the National Guard and US Army to help bring the rioting under control. The right of Habeas Corpus is suspended.

Furthermore, due to the intensity and scale of the violence, Congress enacts the suspension of the Posse Comitatus Act, which is the act that prohibits military (including national guard) from acting in any law enforcement capacity. US Army and National Guard then begin supplementing local and federal law-enforcement to bring the city under control.

9:00pm and on: _ferrymen safe houses are raided by the military, doors are kicked in and Ferry operatives are arrested and dragged out by force. Resistance by the network to the arrests is violent, and responded to in turn with further violence.

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