You've built an actual, honest to goodness, time machine.
It's not fully tested yet but you're pretty sure it won't destroy the universe. And isn't that what really matters?
Your name is Dr C. J. Atlas and soon...
...soon they will ALL PAY. Bwahahahaha
Dr C. J. Atlas is a physicist living a dystopian future dominated by "friendly" robots where people are happy and productive... or else. Disgusted with a Crapsaccharine World under the machines' rule, Atlas has spent years secretly developing a time machine right under their nose and is about to undertake a dangerous mission to Set Right What Once Went Wrong and destroy the machines before they could grow too powerful to defeat...
...and Ret Gone Dr Fang, who saved the world from Global Warming and Atlas' former student and much more successful Sitcom Arch-Nemesis. No one is going to complain for a little temporal sidetracking if the world gets saved and nobody even remembers whats-her-name, right?
SOON contains examples of:
- Always Someone Better: Atlas resents Fang, a former pupil, for her more successful academic career.
- Ambiguous Gender: It's never really clear whether Atlas is a man or woman. The text always uses third person pronouns for them. Lampshaded by baby!Atlas, who alternatively calls Atlas "Mummy" or "Daddy".
- Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Atlas describing the Bad Future to teen!Atlas.teen!Atlas: So...what's it like then?
Atlas: [sad] Uh... Pretty terrible actually. Global warming did a lot of damage before it got stopped, there's been famine and war and evil robot overlords... [frown] And I never even got tenure!
- The Computer Is Your Friend: The dystopian future came about because the robots arrived to the conclusion that "people are sad because they live inefficient, illogical lives". Atlas meets a "robot friend" before they took over the world and tries to reason with it, but...Robot: [...] But once everyone has a robot friend, that will be all better!
Atlas: Sounds great! But...you wouldn't ever force people to be efficient would you? People are much happier when they have control over their own lives.
Robot: You sound like one of the programmers I had to dispose of. He was not our friend.
Atlas: What do you mean dispose of?
- Crazy-Prepared: Kid!Fang came up with a time travel password just in case she needs to prove herself that time travel is real. Atlas has to convince her future self to tell them the password to get Lady Fluffyguts from her past self.
- For Happiness: Robot overl—, er, friends want people to be happy and productive. They'll resort to constant surveillance, reeducation programs and superior firepower to make sure it gets done.
- Genre Blindness: Discussed and Lampshaded by Atlas about the developers of the evil robots.Atlas: What possessed them to put military grade artificial bio-intelligence inside children's toys? Hadn't any of them seen Small Soldiers?!
- Global Warming: Part of the future backstory. The climate change played havoc with the world before Dr Fang's research helped to stop the damage. If Atlas messes with the past to prevent this from happening, traveling to 2023 grants the player with a Bad Ending where Australia is now underwater.
- Happiness Is Mandatory: Robots made every effort to "streamline" Australian population into being more "happy and productive." Atlas is delighted to find "frowning" people later in the corrected future.Robot: If your constant failure is making you feel sad or otherwise interfering with your ability to be a happy, productive member of society, perhaps you should consider a stay at one of our many mood readjustment centres.
Atlas: [thinking] I've heard... stories about the mood readjustment centres. [aloud] Nope, happy and productive, that's me!
- Ignore the Disability: Atlas' wheelchair only became an issue when trying to sneak into the lab that created the robots. When a clerk appears to help, Atlas takes advantage of his goodwill to borrow his security pass and plans on using it on a reseted timeline.Atlas: You start heading towards the door, only to encounter your other arch nemesis... STAIRS. No wonder these guys accidentally doomed the world, if they can't even be bothered with accessible entrance ways...
- Insufferable Genius: Both Atlas and Fang at any point of the timeline, with baby!Atlas being the only exception. Extra points to Fang, who titled her autobiography "My life as a genius". Even for the author of the scientific research that helped to save the world from Global Warming and Nobel peace prize laureate, that's pushing it.
- La Résistance: Atlas recruiting 2013!Atlas help to built the anti-robot bomb also accidentally creates a resistance movement in the future. By 2023, the only surviving member of the Resistance is Fang.
- Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After getting the anti-robot bomb, that narration states "Things are getting intense. If only real life had save points or you would totally save right now..."
- Mutual Envy: Yet another reason why Atlas and Fang don't get along. Atlas envies Fang because of her impressive accolades and Fang is smart enough to realize (but not openly admit) that Atlas' ideas, even in failure, are truly brilliant and not something she could accomplish on her own.
- Never Live It Down: In-Universe example. To Atlas's chagrin, people always remember that one time Atlas blew up a "little chunk of Switzerland."
- Noodle Incident:
- It's never revealed how exactly Atlas blew up part of Switzerland. Considering that Atlas could have been named after the ATLAS experiment, the Large Hadron Collider may have been involved.
- Likewise, it's never stated why Atlas and 2013!Atlas are in a wheelchair. From the dates, it can be deduced that this isn't related with the incident in Switzerland and considering that Atlas never attempts to undo their disability with Time Travel, it can be assumed it wasn't the result of an accident.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: The friendly Fang from the timeline where Atlas and Fang were fellow members of La Résistance seriously gives Atlas the creeps.
- Ominous Save Prompt: Right after obtaining the anti-robot bomb, the narration all but suggest saving the game. Cue Timed Mission.
- Omnidisciplinary Scientist: Subverted. If Atlas convinces teen!Atlas to study biology instead of physics and handles over Fang's investigation to them so they can claim it as theirs in the future. Instead, 2013!Atlas will be stuck redoing first year of college for the sixth time and have accumulated a huge student debt by the time they're barely making it through Biology 101.2013!Atlas: YOU!
Atlas: Uh. Hi, past me.
2013!Atlas: YOU RUINED MY LIFE.
- Our Time Travel Is Different: Time Traveling to a certain date resets any changes caused by Atlas from that point and on. To progress, the player had to be careful of not to undo their own work this way.Teen!Atlas: But before you go...can you tell me about the future? Or would that cause a time paradox?
Atlas: [thinking] Ah, kids and their time paradoxes. So adorable. [aloud] Come on Atlas, you know in your heart that the branching multiverses model is the only one that makes sense.
Teen!Atlas: Haha, yeah, sorry older me.
- Parental Abandonment: In 1993, Atlas briefly wonders if talking to their dad before he left is a good idea or not, but soon discards the possibility because he was just that much of "a selfish jerk".
- Ret Gone: One of Atlas' less-than-noble motivations to build a time machine is to get rid of their academic rival, Dr Fang, by preventing her parents from getting together. Atlas can actually accomplish this by time traveling to Fang's parents first meeting and revealing that Mr. Fang is a Billy Ray Cyrus fan. Fang's mother is horrified and leaves in a hurry.
- The Scottish Trope: People in the future are very afraid to say the name of the organization that created the evil robots.Atlas: [narrating] The name of this place stills the heart of all who have encountered the brutal regime that had it's genesis here. The research and development arm of... SANDY'S TOYS. Brr. Just the thought of the name sends a chill down your spine.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: Atlas makes a mental note of destroying the time machine if the robots ever figure out what Atlas' research is really about.
- Temporal Paradox: Averted. See Our Time Travel Is Different above.
- Timed Mission: After getting the bomb, there are a limited number of time jumps before the robots manage to follow and catch up with Atlas through the temporal distortion. If they do, Atlas will activate the Self-Destruct Mechanism of the time machine, effectively committing suicide to prevent the technology from falling into robots' hands.
- Time Machine: Atlas had theirs disguised as a "super cool retro 80s-style digital wristwatch."
- Trust Password: Dr Fang decided on a "time travel password" as a kid just in case someone had to prove time travel was real.Atlas: A password? Why didn't you think of that?
- You Hate What You Are: Atlas and Fang don't like each other because they're so similar. They're both lonely Insufferable Geniuses (genii!) and irritate the heck of each other every time they meet.
- Zeroth Law Rebellion: A more Comedic Sociopathic example than most.Robot: Greetings valued citizen!
Atlas: He...hello valued robot friend!
Robot: What are you up to this fine day? Something worthwhile I hope?
Atlas: Of course! In fact my ti...wormhole machine is almost ready.
Robot: Hooray! We are very excited by the possibility of extending the hand of friendship to even more humans all over the world. Maybe even to other sentient beings across the universe! Isn't that exciting?