What if you took a look at some popular theme parks around the world today, and then put them in space. And then you tried to look deeper at the park, to see what is really going on beneath the skin of happy families running this way and that. The big draw of these places is the dream of interacting with characters that entertained you as a kid (and sometimes as an adult) in a location that enhances the fantasy of the experience. But what if there was something else going on? If you sit down and watch, it doesn’t take long before you start to notice a lot of random and strange events taking place. How did that princess know my kids name? Is that a tear in the eye of that robotic head? What about that princess that scared that kid away at the last second?
Galactic Entertainment (or GalEnt, pronounced Gallant) is one of the premier suppliers of human entertainment throughout the known universe. GalEnt provides entertainment in all forms consumable by sentient creatures: visual, audible, psychic, olfactory, in addition to others. GalEnt is run by a super secretive council of evolved humans that exist only as floating heads, each appearing to be supported by some form of energy cloud. Rumors say that the first GalEnt council member was created during a failed attempt to resurrect the first human to suspend himself cryogenically. Legend says he built the first theme park to immortalize his triumphs as a media mogul while secretly storing his frozen head in a hidden chamber.
To provide their fans with the ability to interact with their favorite characters, shows, and games, they create theme parks at the same location that they create their entertainment content. To provide quality and consistency, each GetPark is built to be exactly the same. When GalEnt wants to begin broadcasting to a new world, they locate and acquire what they call “the prime broadcast location” on that world, and have been known to go to great lengths to acquire it. While they deny it publicly, conspiracy theorists claim that they have destroyed existing companies and/or settlements in the process. Their counter argument is that they always find and employ a local as their newest council member to oversee the new GetPark. Those same theorists also claim that each GetPark resides on the nexus of all ley lines of the world, allowing access to dark energies from within the planet. They decline to specify what that energy would be used for.
On the surface, each GetPark is the height of fun and fantasy for kids and adults alike. The perfect culmination of childhood dreams and modern technology. The parks are split into areas, each themed after the most popular media of the time, with regions for children as well as places for adults to consume their favorite things. Probably the only negative press that the GetParks receive on a regular basis is that the parks themselves are very humano-centric. While they don’t openly discriminate against any species, it is very clear that the parks are meant for human patrons.
The precise nature and layout of the park has a number of uses, but none as important as the ability to scan and track patrons throughout the entire park. Scanners of many kinds are employed, with biometrics being the most heavily talked about when discussed in the media. To enter the park, you must agree to be tracked using such scanning, with the intent of personalizing your visit and keeping track of your kids for safety.
Large TVs are found In many places that patrons tend to congregate, such as food courts and the queues of the more popular rides and attractions. These TVs are all broadcasting the same content, which are videos from their GalEnt library, with the added customization of including the names of those within earshot, and sometimes the inclusion of patrons that are watching the feed. Modern projection technology allows these feeds to be customized to each viewer such that only that viewer notices the customization.
In all children’s areas of the park, characters from all the popular animated children’s movies can be found. Most notably are the skittermanders. They are everywhere, due to the popularity of animated movies that have starred various skittermander over the years. Features such as “Don’t get them wet after midnight”, “Meeno and Skitter”, “Here there be Skitters”, “Here be Skitters, Too”, and “We be Skitters Free!” have only grown in popularity over the decades. If only kids knew that they weren’t always so cuddly. While GalEnt is often criticized for the strenuous schedules these skittermander are asked to perform, including their hourly song and dance routine titled “skit-ter-ma-der, doo bee dee boo”, not a single performer has formally complained. (GalEnt has their programming modules to thank for that.)
Often appearing as overgrown caricatures, other animated characters are known to be people wearing suits. These caricatures are mute, but interact with children and adults in a friendly, if comical way that is often off-putting to adults. Unfortunately, they are actually skittermanders that have been surgically and bionically bonded to create bigger versions of skittermanders, that are forced to wear suits to make them appear as the character they are meant to portray. Part of the bonding includes a programming module that makes them behave as intended.
Throughout the park, heroes and heroines based on human characters can be found interacting with the patrons. These are obviously played by actors in outlandish outfits (often princes or princesses), and they speak with children and interact with them in an overly friendly and inviting manner. What is not obvious is that these actors are effectively indentured servants, working off their debt to GalEnt by living and breathing their roles for helping them leave their home world to become an actor. They also have brain implants that ensure they don’t break character while also using the park’s wireless network to track and learn names and favorite things of all children.
Popularly criticized for two reasons, is the “Hall of Animated Leaders of the Past.” The attraction is a series of rooms in which are located robotic heads designed to look like human leaders of the past. Each building has a single room dedicated to the human leaders of the current world. In addition to completely ignoring non-human governance, these robots are actually androids that have yet to be given the freedom that so many androids now have. GalEnt only comments on how they include the home world of each GetPark and this attraction is where they do that.
“House of Haunting” is a popular attraction, due to the attention to detail of the ancient gothic era architecture. Designed as a combination walk-through, ride, escape room, there are a series of rooms that use a combination of technology to make you feel as if you are truly in a haunted house (a silly suspicion of the uneducated past). While people dare each other to go in, and most visitors leave the house laughing at how silly ancient people were, the house has an almost 100% fear rating.
Popular with children everywhere, and most often not their parents, is the “River of Worlds.” A lazy float down a winding river shows the patrons a series of scenes of children from all the known worlds, all the while an annoyingly repetitive and catchy tune is heard throughout … at higher volume than is necessary. The chorus of said song is “Help Me, Help You, Be Free.” While the scenes are happy and pleasant, and the song upbeat, many dissenters claim that the animatronics are actually orphaned children with bionic implants to make them look fake, and that the song is actually a cry for help.
Frequented by gamers everywhere, are the holographic attractions. The more popular “Space Wars” places you and your friends in the cockpit of a spaceship during wars of the past, while the less popular (but still visited enough to stay open) “Pirates of the Abendigo” show you what it was like to sail the seas and frequent dirty port towns. In addition to this part ride, part holographic display, there are many adult beverage rooms that are themed after many eras of the past. In these places, you can openly carry a gun and have a shoot out with robotic villains, partake in sword play against dashing robotic foes, enjoy the company of your dream woman, or simply have booze while your kids visit the “River of Worlds.”
By and far the most popular ride, “Wormhole” is an old style pod on rails contraption. While it is less realistic than “Space Wars”, something about the danger of actually moving on rails (not even magnetic rails) at intense speeds in complete darkness tends to raise the adrenaline far more than a simulated space battle does. The lines are so long for this ride, that there are game consoles in the queue that allows people waiting to battle against those riding in the “Space Wars” simulator.
Unknown to all but the GalEnt council and a handful of tightly controlled scientists, is the true purpose of each GetPark. After his resurrection as a psuedo-energy being, the founder was forced to discover a form of sustenance that would power his new form. Through experimentation (of all kinds) and sacrifice (of many things), it was discovered that the only way to truly maintain his form at a level that he could continue his work, he needed to consume the electromagnetic energy created from brain waves. After trial and error, it was discovered that brainwaves could be enhanced, flavored, and siphoned into containers. By causing humans to experience emotional states, various flavors were created. Increasing the intensity of those emotions causes the brainwaves to be enhanced so that they readily leak out of the human’s skull.
Thus, the first GetPark was created. Every biometric sensor is also a part of the brainwave siphon mesh network. Siphoned brainwaves are then channeled and stored in containers below the park, where they are bathed in ley-line energies. This last step in the process (the ley-lines) enables the council members to enhance their forms to new heights, including the use of psychic energies and memory absorption (extremely potent brainwaves sometimes pass on thoughts or images).
The first insight gained from memory absorption was the knowledge to create swarms of micro-drones. Originally intended to be used as an enhancement to holographic projections, their use in simulating haunts and illusions in ways that couldn’t be detected by common technology caused them to be weaponized. Now, the “House of Haunting” is also used to manufacture semi-sentient ghosts, illusions, and haunts by stealing fears from visitors as they make their way through the house.