Advancements in technology have led to a fun new reality competition!
Chapter Description: Contestants arrive at the Island, and attempt their first challenge.
“Welcome to season 1 of, The Mists of Time!” Said the brown-haired, middle aged, host. The camera pulled out from the host and showed a large tropical island.
“Here, 10 contestants are going to compete in the ultimate reality competition. The winner will go home with $1 million dollars, or lose EVERYTHING.” The dramatic music swelled and the opening titles began. They were over almost as quickly as they began, and the host returned to explain the concept of the TV show.
“The 10 contestants here will find a competition that is unlike anything ever attempted. Due to hitherto impossible advancements in technology, we have been able to devise a show that makes contestants put something on the line no one ever has before, their ages.” There was a dramatic pause and a metal shrieking noise.
“Every week, some members of a competing team will have their ages reduced. This can be done or prevented in a myriad of ways that will become clear as the game progresses. That being said, a player that has had their age reduced, could potentially regain their age in the following week.”
There was a cut, and the host was now inside, walking through a very well kept hallway. “Every week a player will be eliminated. They will be sent here.” The camera panned over to reveal an almost entirely white room with 9 cribs positioned around the wall.
“The Nursery.” Another metal shrieking noise played, and the music boomed.
“Here, the eliminated contestants will remain as infants for the remaining duration of the game. Following the completion of the game, they will remain infants and be returned to their families, to grow up all over again.” He paused to let it sink in. “We will explain other rules as they come into effect. With that, let us get into our contestants.”
“First up, Chelsea, from Seattle.” A white woman with thick brunette hair appeared, and shook the hand of the host. She was wearing a light blue tank top. “Chelsea is 28 and a Nurse.” The host added.
The woman spoke up, “I’ve had plenty of experience with kids, both playing with them, and delivering them, which I think will give me a massive leg up in such a child care reliant competition.”
“Next up is Jason, from San Fransisco” Jason was a large man, standing a head taller than the host and a head and a half taller than Chelsea. He was white, had a short buzzcut of dark hair, and extremely muscular. “Jason is 32, and a trainer” said the voice over. “I’m more than just muscle.” The man said. “I’m going to use my physical and social strength to make sure I’m the only one that is walking off this island, instead of in a stroller.”
“Here comes Alec, who’s from Chicago.” Alec possessed an average build, but walked with confidence. He was a white man with a crew cut and light brown hair. “Alec is 25 and a programmer.” His bio said. “Never underestimate me, I can see moves way in advance, and plan accordingly.”
“Our Next contestant is James, from New York.” James walked along the water, again of an average build. He was black and had short hair that was shaved into a fade. “James is 26, and an accountant.” James gave an insight into his personality and strategy, “In this world, nothing worth having is given to you. You have to earn it, and that’s just what I plan to do.”
“Julie is the next contestant, from Norfolk, Virginia” Julie walked down the deck, she was on the shorter side of the competitors. She was asian, and had long dark black hair. “Julie is 24, and is a radio DJ.” Julie explained herself, “People like to call me fiery, and I take that as a compliment. All I know if that these other kids are going to end up getting burned.”
Nina was next. “Nina is from Kansas City.” The host continued down the various contestants. Nina was a skinny black woman, and was walking down the beach. “Hi, I’m Nina, I’m 26, and I’m a photographer. My biggest strength, is knowing how to get people to do exactly what I want, and they don’t even know it.”
Cliff was relaxing in the back of a fishing boat. He was what seemed to be a prototypical redneck, very white and a little bit chubby. “Heya, I’m Cliff from Alabama.” He spoke in a heavy southern accent. “Cliff is 35, and is a mechanic back home.” It cut to his confessional, “I would say that I know more about the outdoors than the rest of these urbanites put together, no matter what age they are.”
Michael was sizing up the best way to scale a tree to retrieve a fruit. “Hi, I’m Michael, I’m 24 and I am a nutritionist from San Diego.” Michael was slim but muscular, with shoulder length light brown hair. “When you only have so many different types of food nearby, and you don’t know what you can eat, my skills start to really come in handy.”
Jessica was lounging in the sun, in a relatively skimpy bikini. “What’s up, I’m Jessica, I’m 23, I’m a Model slash Influencer, and I’m from Miami” She had bleach blonde hair, and seemed to not have a care in the world. “I have my hand on the pulse, and I know just what people want to see.”
“The final contestant, Stacey.” Stacey was sitting on a log staring out at the sea. She had curly red hair, and was slightly on the heavy side. “Hello, I’m Stacey, I’m 29 and I’m from Milwaukee. I’m a bartender.” Her confessional explained her advantage, “After all my years of tending bar, I can pick up on signal that people don’t even know they’re giving and use them to my advantage.”
The show cut back to our host.
“These are the 10 contestants that will brave The Mists of Time.” All 10 contestants were now standing shoulder to shoulder behind the host. “One person will walk out of here a millionaire, and the rest will have to crawl.”
“Next, we’ll divide the 10 contestants into two teams of five. Right after these messages!”
A man was walking down the aisle of a normal airplane, three dark blue seats on his left and right.
“I’m sure this plane seems familiar to a lot of you. A sign of an exciting vacation or a tiring business trip. But we’ve all had this happen…”
The man snapped his fingers and the row was full of three people. In the middle seat was a mother and a crying baby, on one side was a business man who was covering his ears, and on the other was a woman trying to fall asleep but being kept awake.
“Here at CupidWings, we offer a new way to fly.”
The screen faded into white and then back out, revealing a heavily modified plane interior. Where the large rows of 3 chairs once were, were now occupied by heavily modified infant car seats, with 6 in each row.
“Now with more babies than ever occupying normal flights, a flight designed so that none of the passengers will be annoyed by babies wailing!”
The man continued, “Since age reduction and restoration technology has been made available to the public, people have been de-aging themselves or family members for cheap flights! But for the designated adult, it’s made flights an absolute nightmare!”
“At CupidWings, you will be reduced to an infant of around 8 months, and be safely secured and cared for by our expert team of flight attendants and childcare experts!” A flight attendant appeared at the front of the plane, holding a floatation device in one hand, and a diaper in the other.
“Since babies weight a fraction of what adults do, we can offer tickets at 1/10th of the price of normal airlines! But if you’re looking for a more luxurious trip, we have no shortage of upgrades, for a few dollars extra, we will provide a pacifier for those who wish to be well rested when their age is restored!”
The camera returned to the row of adults being bothered by the crying infant. The screen faded into white again, and when it returned the scene appeared much different. There were now four babies strapped into the seats, with two empty ones on the end. The annoyed woman at the far end was now at peace, sucking on her pacifier. The previously flustered mother was playing with her toes, her bulky diapered bottom clearly visible through the infant restraint. Her baby was seated next to her, looking much the same, and still crying. The businessman turned business baby, seemed content sucking on some of his fingers.
The camera pulled back to show the host of the commercial again.
“The magic of innocence.” He walked to the front of the plane. “Also, all of our first class passengers get complimentary bottle service.”
There was another cut to a flight attendant bottle feeding a baby.
The man was now standing at the terminal, with four adults around him. The sleepy woman was holding a CupidWings pacifier in one hand and was beaming, the business man seemed similarly satisfied.
On the other side, was the overwhelmed mother, but her baby was an adult now, apparently the child was her husband the whole time.
“Fly with the wings of an Angel. Fly CupidAir!” The man concluded the advertisement.
“We’ll begin with an individual challenge. The two winners of this challenge will select 4 of the other contestants to join their team.”
The camera panned over the competition grounds. The setup was simple, there were 10 square wooden frames lined up across the beach, and a metal weight hanging from a short rope off the top crossbar.
“We’ll begin with a simple endurance competition. You must balance on the narrow wooden plank that made up the bottom of the frame, and hold the metal weight against the top of the frame for as long as possible, the last remaining contestant wins and receives first pick, and the runner-up picks their teammates second.” He added, “The mass of the weights is relative to your body weight, so there are no unfair advantages.”
The contestants all made their way to a spot behind a frame, and they seemed to size up the strange wooden contraptions.
It then cut to cliff talking through his thought process.
“I wasn’t too intimidated by it, I gotta carry stuff all over, so I figured this wouldn’t be much of a challenge.”
Alec was seen investigating the frame.
“I’m pretty athletic compared to most other programmers, but the competition here was much steeper than I’m used to. I knew that this was going to end up hurting pretty bad after a few minutes though.”
“Alright contestants, climb up into your frames! Don’t lift your weight until I give you the signal! If the weight stops touching the top bar, or you slip, you will be eliminated.”
Each one of them climbed up into the frames, and the challenge of even standing on the bottom rung became apparent quickly. Even the most petite competitor, Julie, had a significant portion of her foot forced to hang over the sand. It was similarly bad for every other contestant as well.
Julie talked to the camera.
“I’ve felt some discomfort before obviously, but I wouldn’t wish this kind of pain on my worst enemy. Actually, I wouldn’t wish it on some of my enemies. My worst enemy deserves it.”
“Three…” The music became deeper and rapidly shifted through each contestant.
“Two…” The pace continued to pick up.
“One…” It cut to a wide shot of all 10 contestants balancing.
“Lift!” The host shouted. The music went silent and all 10 of the weights hit the top of the wooden frame with a low thunk.
It held for a few seconds, watching the group. Then Jessica said “Nope.”
She stepped off the frame and let her weight drop.
“Jessica is eliminated!” The host shouted.
Jessica spoke as she stood in the sand, “All this just to pick my teammates? Not worth it.”
Then Jessica was in the confessional talking to the camera.
“I didn’t want to waste all my energy on that. Besides, this will just make them see me as less of a threat, which is exactly what I want them to think.”
“We’re already one down!” The host shouted to the nine remaining contestants. Only a few more seconds had passed and you could see several players legs starting to shake. Chelsea the nurse and Alec both were in obvious discomfort. Over the next few seconds of screen time, the music swelled and Alec fell, the pain being too much for him. Only a few moments later he was followed by Chelsea.
Chelsea confessed in private to the camera, “I hoped to last longer than being third off, but I gave it my best shot. I’m certain that I can prove my worth.”
“Seven more hanging in there.” The host commentated. Time elapsed, people seemed more steady than the last two contestants. Jason was obviously having no trouble with the weight, but repositioned his feet a few times to ease the pain. Then all of a sudden, Nina’s feet slipped off and she landed hard in the sand.
“S***!” She yelled, censored by television broadcast standards.
“Six!” Said the host. If Cliff and Stacey were bothered by the pain, you certainly couldn’t tell. Beyond a few seconds of deep inhalation it would be impossible to tell what strain their body was undergoing. The camera then panned over to Julie who was visibly sweating and very uncomfortable. She calmly stepped off the plank into the sand.
“I wasn’t going to be able to go much longer, and would rather go out on my own terms than slip.” She said afterwards.
“Halfway through the contestants!” These contestants were locked in, and weren’t budging at all. The show then entered a quasi-montage.
“Eight minutes!” The host called out.
“Ten minutes!” The same five still remained.
Eventually, James’ arms and feet couldn’t take it anymore and he let the weight drop and stepped off.
In the confession booth he said,“I was up there almost 15 minutes and that was only good enough for 5th place. My brain just wouldn’t let me take it anymore and made me step off.”
“Nearing 15 minutes, and we’re down to our final four.”
Cutting to each one as he worked his way through the list, he named each one.
“Stacey, Jason, Cliff, and Michael.”
Based on pure appearances, Jason would be the favorite to win. You could see every vein in his muscular arms, straining to keep by far the heaviest weight in the competition above his head. But this isn’t what Jason trained for. He was good at lifting heavy weights for a short amount of time, not for this long. His feet couldn’t take anymore, and he threw in the towel.
“Man.” He said later. “I got all these muscles and for what?” He paused. “I’m still not doing cardio though.”
“The final three! If you can outlast one more contestant you will be choosing your own team!”
The three were locked in. The strain was more than visible on all three of the contestants, but they weren’t about to give up after coming this far.
“20 minutes!” Shouted the host.
Something had to give eventually, and that something was Cliff. His strained and slick feet lost their grip on the plank and he landed in the sand.
“Dangit!” He shouted.
“Stacey and Michael will be picking! But who will go first?” The competition was set to continue, but then Stacey stepped off.
“I got to where I wanted to be. No sense in killing myself for first pick.”
“The winner of the individual challenge, is Michael!”
Michael seemed more relieved than excited, his arms falling to his side in exhaustion rather than staying up in victory.
“Alright contestants, I’ll give you a few minutes to rest and then we’ll reconvene for the draft!”
There was a Timelapse shot of the sun moving through the island sky, and soon the contestants were all back looking mostly recovered.
“It’s time for the draft!” The host announced.
“But first, Michael I’d like to present you with a choice.” All the contestants were confused. “You could either have the first pick, or you could let Stacey pick her four teammates, and you could gain immunity from elimination for the next Baby Shower and you take the remaining four.”
The music was very tense and dramatic, and showed the looks of shock on the contestants face.
Jessica was in the confessional, “If I knew that immunity was on the line I might have tried a little harder!”
Michael stopped to consider the exchange for some time.
“I’ll take the immunity.” He eventually decided.
Speaking privately to the camera he added, “I can’t pass up immunity. My team might lose more, but I’ll be safe for the first one, this also practically guarantees that I will be the most valuable member of my team, and least likely to get voted off.”
Stacey then began her team selection process.
“For my first pick, I’ll take Cliff” He had clearly demonstrated his gumption in the individual challenge, and walked over to stand next to Stacey.
“Hmm” She pondered. “I’ll also take Jason.”
Stacey was in the confessional explaining her pick. “Jason seemed like he would be useful in the physically intensive aspects of the game, and I get the impression that he isn’t much of a schemer.” He beamed and walked over to his new teammates, and shook hands with both of them.
“For my last two I’ll take Chelsea and Julie.”
The confessional explanation continued. “Chelsea is a nurse who is well versed in both first aid and child care, which I’m certain will be a big factor in the game going forward. Then with Julie, I think she has a lot going for her, what she lacks in hard skills she makes up for in pure passion.”
“Alright!” The host butted in. “The teams are set then. Chelsea’s team is Cliff, Jason, Chelsea, and Julie.” He looked at the four remaining contestants.
“Michael’s team is Jessica, Nina, Alec, and James!”
Michael admitted in private, “I ended up with a team comprised of an Influencer, a photographer, a programmer, and an accountant. But, I can guarantee that at least one of them is going to end up in that nursery before I am.”
“Teams, head to your camps and rest up, because tomorrow, the Mists of Time will begin their role.”
The teams all went off to their camps. The camps were comprised of rudimentary tents and held basic necessities for the time. Upgrades to their camps would be available to them through succeeding in their challenges, or they could have their already limited amenities strained even further.
Nina vented to her teammates “I could’ve gotten much further if my stupid feet didn’t lose grip!”
Alec responded “I would’ve won if everyone else would have just fallen first! Coulda, shoulda, woulda.” The team continued their mild bickering as Michael sat in silence, contemplating.
Back at the other camp, the five most competent members in Stacey’s eyes were more cordial. Cliff and Jason were getting along like a barn on fire, and Julie was very excited to be on ’The Dream Team’.
Soon, all the contestants were asleep in their tents and getting ready for their first true test tomorrow.
SomeNerdBird · Oct 17, 2023Really curious to see how this plays out, loved the commercials giving us a glimpse into a world where regression is a mundane part of life
SomeNerdBird · Oct 17, 2023Really curious to see how this plays out, loved the commercials giving us a glimpse into a world where regression is a mundane part of life