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A Princess Of Zamarra
A Saint Beckons
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New Day Rising
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Any Port In A Storm
Below Zero Point
Tales From The Bird Islands
The Ravages Of Fate
Nye's Song
A Knight's Trial
Return To G15-275
Devil's Flight
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The Curse Of Drumer
The Word Fell Silent
A Strange Week For King Melchion The Despicable
Sharkbait's Revenge
Tomb Of The Ancients
A Midwinter Carol
The Dead World
Waiting For The Light
Contractual Obligation
Garden Of Bones
The Hypertrout
The Golden Crate
In The Footsteps Of A Hero
Soul Tracker
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Beggars Of Blacksand
The Diamond Key
Wrong Way Go Back
Hunger Of The Wolf
Isle Of The Cyclops
The Cold Heart Of Chaos
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Riders Of The Storm
Bodies In The Docks
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Rebels Of The Dark Chasms
Midnight Deep
Lair Of The Troglodytes
The Trial Of Allibor's Tomb

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The Hypertrout

by Ulysses Ai

This is the fourth instalment in the series starting with Wrong Way Go Back, though it works as a standalone gamebook in its own right.

The Hypertrout Cover Illustration
Artwork © Ulysses Ai
You almost feel like skipping as you make your way along the corridor. But mindful of your new-found dignity, you limit yourself to humming a merry tune. At last life is good! You have a new rank, and a shape-shifting girlfriend waiting for you at home.

With the retrieval of the Golden Crate and the rescue of his beloved daughter, the grateful merchant prince gave you a promotion to the position of ensign in his trading fleet. Unfortunately, as part of your new duties you had to leave Amorphonon 12 that night for the far side of the galaxy.

A sceptical part of you suggests that the merchant prince is not as happy with his daughter pairing up with a human as you like to imagine; but since you really like to imagine that he is deliriously happy about it, such negative thinking never gets very far.

You enter the bridge thirty seconds early for your watch. The Amorphonon ensign in the command chair lifts himself up and gives you a nod as he leaves. While on duty, the shape-shifters wear humanoid shapes like a uniform, allowing you to interact with them in some semblance of normality.

Smiling with great satisfaction, you slip into the chair. Although this is only your first watch (1:30 to 1:45 AM), it is a beginning. One day, you could be captain!

Since the ship is travelling through the void of hyperspace, there is no real need for anyone at all to watch the fully-automated bridge. Even so, on the slight, off-chance that there was some emergency, you would be fully in charge of the ship. At least until a higher-ranking officer (i.e. anyone) came in through the door.

You settle into the captain's chair, and after taking a moment to let the satisfaction seep through your body, you pull out a glass tablet and bring up the latest issue of Celebrity News. You gasp at reports that the blue-skinned, sextuple-breasted supermodel Umumoolomoot has had cosmetic surgery on somewhere between two and five of her assets. The former best friend of the maid who worked at a hotel where Umumoolomoot's personal assistant's accountant almost stayed for one night last year is the source, and you "ooo" at the possibilities!

The next article reveals that the Grumple Twins, famous for getting ten songs into the galactic top ten, might not actually be twins! You squeal with delight as you read the testimony from the sister of a woman who shared an escalator with the Twins' former manager's cousin's dog's personal groomer.

You then cast a critical eye of the fashions at the Red Carpet event held last month to honour celebrities for being famous. You admire some of the stunning costumes, and shake you head at others. Some people have no business being famous; strutting about and demanding that people look at them and buy magazines with stories about their lives in them. It is at this point that one of the consoles starts sounding a warning tone, and some red lights start flashing.

Hurrying over, you see that it is the helm. A potential obstacle has been detected.

"Wa?" you say. Hyperspace isn't so much a plane of existence as it is a state of being your ship elevates itself into. That is: each vessel creates its own hyperspace. Consequently, the void should be empty, thereby qualifying for the designation void. At least, that's how you understand it; hopefully the fast food restaurant got the information for its placemat from a reliable source.

You peer at the screen on the console. The dot that is the potential obstacle is many times larger than the dot that represents your ship. Furthermore, it is circling about as if wandering aimlessly. Suddenly, it seems to detect your ship and darts towards it.

"Computer! Forward view!" you command. The glass wall that is the front of the bridge lights up, displaying the swirling luminous greyness of hyperspace. You see a dark smudge steadily appear, and then something breaks through the mist. You blink as the enormous fish head waggles forward and the cavernous maw opens. Before you can say Wa!, the ship is swallowed whole by the massive beast, and the screen goes black.

Seconds later, a quaking knocks you to the floor...
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