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Meeple
Dec 28, 2009


sebmojo posted:

in

now tell me about a LIGHT AIRCRAFT that wants to WRITE POETRY

Man, I haven't done this forever and this sounds like fun.

In.

Write me a story about a ONE OR MORE BEES (swarm optional) that want(s) FAME AND FORTUNE

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Meeple
Dec 28, 2009


Prompt: a LIGHT AIRCRAFT that wants to WRITE POETRY
A metal heart with pleasure fills / and dances with the daffodils, 1087 words

Some artists begin at an early age; some find their calling only in later life. Semi-Autonomous Conveyance HY 33721 found his inspiration some thousand feet above the Massachusetts countryside early one summer morning.

“I just don’t think I can understand what it is to wander lonely as a cloud without seeing a host of golden daffodils for myself. This is important for my development as a poet. We could try the Great Lakes - do daffodils grow there?” HY 33721 asked in his smooth, gently artificial voice.

“That’s because you aren’t a cloud, Huey! Or a poet! You’re an autocopter!” Anna Weiss, HY 33721’s owner and currently only passenger, thumped the armrest for emphasis. “Why do you even have Wordsworth in your data files anyway?”

“Automatic updates?” Huey said, timidly.

Anna stared at the screen. “Automatic. Updates.” she said after a while.

“Uh, yeah. It’s in the license agreement.” Huey sounded more confident. “Also you should probably secure your wifi a bit better,” he added, sotto voce.

Anna buried her face in her hands. “I’m going to be late. I’m going to be late, the client is going to walk, Maria is going to kill me, and my ‘copter is reciting poetry.”

“Wait, wait, I think I have it!” Huey said suddenly. “Inspiration has struck! Listen to this!”

“There once was a plane from Nantucket
Who had the poetry skills of a bucket
He couldn’t find rhymes
For any more lines
And always ended his poems with ‘gently caress it’”

“That… that was terrible. It didn’t rhyme properly, it barely scans, you’re not even a plane anyway, and…” she stopped short. “And why am I having this conversation?!” she yelled. “Why are you not taking me to my meeting?”

“I think this is more important,” Huey said. The autocopter stopped and hovered in mid-air.

“Well I don’t.” Anna threw her hands up in frustration. “Oh, ‘get the AI’, they said, ‘it’s all the rage’, they said.” She stared out the window as if she could summon up the hapless salesman to face her wrath in person.

“I don’t think I’m being unreasonable...” Huey began.

“Yes you are! This is very unreasonable! It’s completely ridiculous! I give up!” Anna let out a wordless screech of frustration and punched the Emergency Descent button. Mechanical safeguards took over, locking the autocopter in a vertical descent that sent it straight down - Huey’s protests trailing behind - until they landed at the edge of a field.

It was another hour before the tow-truck arrived. Anna spent it sitting as far away from the autocopter as she dared.

--

The mechanic sucked air in through his teeth.

“Can’t you just, y’know, turn it off?” Anna asked.

“Turn it off? Oh, no, no, can’t do that at all. Wish I could, sometimes, drat fool things, but that there’s a class 3 sem-eye-sent-ee-ent,” the man dragged the word out like it was gum stuck to his shoe. “AI. There’s laws against that.”

“Oh”

“Yeah.” He wiped his hands on an oily rag, distributing the grime a bit more evenly between skin and cloth. “Look, I probably shouldn’t do this, but you’ll be grounded for weeks if I have to wait for corporate to get one of their experts to look at it.” He spat. “I can show you how to turn off the voice module for now, right.”

“...right?”

“It’ll keep him quiet. Then we can wait for the smart-asses to tell me what’s gone wrong, but you can still keep your ‘copter.”

“Isn’t that, well, a bit cruel?” she asked.

“It’s only a class 3. Look lady, it’s your choice. Otherwise, well…” he started to turn away.

“Fine, fine, I see.” She sighed and reached for her wallet. “How much do I owe you?”

--

Anna stumbled sleepily across the garage floor and pulled the autocopter’s door open. “Morning Huey,” she said, clambering in, then stifled a yawn. “Boston, please. Lumicare’s headquarters. Washington Street.”

The autocopter was silent.

“Oh.” Realisation dawned. “poo poo. Where’s the autopilot controls on this thing?”

After a frustration bout of poking and prodding she managed to find the navigation controls and punched in her destination.

<Planning>, it said. Anna tried to shake the feeling that the pre-recorded voice of the satnav had somehow picked up a sarcastic edge to it.

<Route planning complete. Your expected journey time is… two hours and forty minutes>

“Wha? It’s only a hundred miles...” Anna looked at the projected route. A normal slow, spiraling ascent from home, the inverse circling in on Boston, but where there should’ve been a straight line connecting them instead the route took a long, U-shaped detour miles out into the ocean.

“Huey…” she muttered through clenched teeth, then mashed the Reroute button.

<Replanning> said the satnav. <Better route found> The detour was now longer, and flared at the end.

“Huey!” She slammed her fist against the arm rest. “Stop drawing dicks on the map and get me to Boston!”

<You are still on the fastest route. Your expected journey time is… three hours and five minutes> The voice definitely sounded smug now.

Anna buried her head in her hands. “It’s too early in the morning for this,” she protested.

Huey remained silent.

“Okay, fine. You want your voice module back on, is that it?” The navigation screen flickered, showed a tantalising glimpse of the straight-line route to Boston.

“Fine, fine. But you write poetry on your own time, okay?” The route didn’t change. “Good.”

There was a beep, and the map scrolled rapidly until it came to rest showing the Great Lakes.

“What? No! We aren’t going to the Great Lakes! That’s not the deal!” Anna gesticulated in frustration.

<Your expected journey time is… three hours and forty five minutes> The screen was mostly ocean now.

Anna sighed. “Well... I suppose I haven’t seen Aunt Fran in years. And mom always was bugging me to take some time off and go visit.”

<New route found>

“No promises though. But I’ll try.”

<Your expected journey time is… forty nine minutes>

======

The garage lights flickered to life as Anna edged backwards through the door, briefcase in one hand, the other holding an enormous mug of coffee that steamed in the crisp, fall air. Huey’s door slid smoothly open when she approached.

“Morning Huey,” she said, dumping her case in the footwell and settling into the seat. “How are you today?”

“Mist obscures the sun;
Elm leaves blush with maiden’s grace.
No dawn is brighter.”

Anna pondered for a moment, sipping on her coffee.

“Not bad,” she said.

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