THE CRADLE OF EVE by Kitty Horrorshow
You are part of a crew of four investigating a 32 year old derelict space ship. To say that standard space exploration horror tropes ensue is sort of accurate, but not in a bad way. It's a bit Event Horizon, but this is not a story about bloody alien/demonic rampage, although violence does occur.
Instead, it's a personal narrative that plays with agency. It's more of a game than the last few Twine stories I've reviewed, giving you choices at the story level instead of the "turn right at this hallway" level, which works very well. The story can play out at least three different ways, although with the same general outcome, but each one is surprisingly different and provides a smidgin more information about what's going on.
Lots of imagery is very well-written. I especially liked the description of the sense of infinite emptiness crossing from one ship to the other, and a description of weightlessness evokes spectacular imagery in the mind. The view from the bridge is similarly awe-inspiring:
The ruby star floats grand and imperious, dominating the viewport with its immensity. Its light recalls late Earthbound dusks after long days of rain, when the whole sky would turn crimson and furious before settling into a warm, rejuvinating night. You think about the terrestrial planets in solar systems that orbit stars like these, how their days might always be like that, no matter the time. Always dusk.
Outside the viewport, nearer than the sun, catches your eye. You walk forward and narrow your eyes to see. A number of objects, tiny and legion, silhouetted against the star's crimson backdrop. The first thing that comes to mind is an asteroid belt.
You look closer.
Originally I thought there was no denouement, until I tried one of the separate paths at the main fork. It is here that the story changes. I initially believed this was a false choice and would have the story end the same way, but although what happens is the same, there are three slightly different how paths here.
I liked The Cradle of Eve a lot. It has a very sure sense of its world, and changes the endgame of the story completely depending on your choice, although there's no way to change the outcome that I actually found. On first play I thought I had the whole story, and only playing the other two branches did I get the information that I actually wanted.
Definitely play through if you get a chance. This feels like a treatment for an interesting short theatrical or TV film. Spoilers ahead: