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Apr 25, 2017

I'm IN for the weekly challenge.

Please give me a sentence, if it's not too much trouble.


Apr 25, 2017

Bot Builder

953 words

"All humans work at The Factory, which is run by robots and it makes more robots." Joel yelled hoarsely. His voice startled the other workers. While they watched on in confusion, he clawed at his uniform, a loose-fitting grey jumpsuit and screamed, “All humans work at The Factory, which is run by robots and it makes more robots!”

Joel picked up his standard-issue pneumatic rivet gun, the tool that he’d been handed ten years ago when he was assigned to the workstation that he was currently freaking out in. Sarah, Joel’s friend and fellow assembly line slave, looked at his fingers as they went white with the manic grip that he now had on the rivet gun.

“Joel, are you ok-” Sarah’s concern turned to horror as Joel placed the barrel of the tool under his chin and pulled the trigger.

She closed her eyes and turned in time to miss the gore that splattered on the ceiling above them, but she still felt the warm spray of his blood on her cheek. Her shock turned to quiet sobs, while the other workers tried to look busy to avoid confrontation by the supervisor bots.

Like clockwork, a supervisor bot wheeled over to her. An articulated metal arm extended from the smooth white carapace of the robot. At the end of the arm was a camera lens that seemed to peer at Sarah with silent contempt. She glared at it with narrowed, teary eyes while her hands trembled with anger and fear. After a few seconds, it swung around to survey the scene, and paused to scan Joel’s remains with the same personified contempt. The entire work line was now shut off, and the unnerving silence was only disrupted by the quiet whirring of servos as the supervisor bot extended another arm to snag Joel's bloody corpse and deposit him in the “human remains” container that it towed behind it.

The remaining slaves looked straight ahead, and kept their hands on the table, until the bot wheeled quietly away.

After some time, the other slaves gathered around Sarah. They knew that she and Joel were close. They didn’t know for sure if her and Joel were already a couple. It wasn’t allowed by management, yet their short-lived relationship was theorized and gossiped about nonetheless in their work pod. The workers all offered condolences and hugs while darting their eyes back and forth to keep watch for any other supervisor bots.

A loudspeaker crackled overhead and blared, “GET BACK TO WORK!”

Everyone went back to their workstations and the assembly line began moving again. A few minutes later, another bot came by and deposited a fresh new human rivet gun operator. The confused and scared man looked at the blood and brains on the metal floor underfoot and shuddered. He began riveting just like Joel had been doing for years prior. Now Joel’s body was off to the hopper, off to be turned into food mush for the cafeteria.

Sarah figured that the brain infection that had been causing random suicides was coming from the food recycler unit. The sick and suicidal were just fed to the other workers. They all hated this place, but the only things humans could do were to serve as robot assemblers or serve as a source of easily converted proteins and enzymes for the food recycler units.

Sarah’s job was to do final programming on the bots that rolled or walked off the line. Today, she was doing the final ROM coding for a line of very sturdy work bots. They were lumbering, utilitarian bipedal machines built for demolishing the last of the world’s human-occupied buildings. On each bot there were a pair of arms that held integrated jack hammers and sledge hammers. They were crude, but effective, at breaking apart anything.

No one knew it, but Sarah had been making tweaks to the control programming late at night. A few lines her and there, so the scanners wouldn’t pick up the changes. She’d also managed to cobble together a hand-held controller from discarded parts. She looked to her left, at the hundreds of completed work bots that had accumulated in her area. They spanned out of eyesight.

She took her makeshift controller out and extended the antenna. Sarah clenched her jaw and pressed the button on it. At first nothing happened, and she feared that her plan had failed. Then, one by one, some of the work bots came to life and seemed to stand erect at her command. One of the bots walked over to her, its thunderous footfalls jarring and rattling the small tools from her workbench.

Standing at almost triple her height, it seemed to look down at her like an obedient large animal.

A supervisor bot rushed to her location, its rubber wheels squealing on the metal flooring. It extended the articulated arm to scan them both. Sarah trembled while it scanned her, then she turned to her newly-compliant work bot and said, “ATTACK!”

The work bot grabbed the camera arm and folded it in half. The supervisor bot emitted a grinding groaning noise as it tried to operate the mangled arm. It began sending out an alarm, but the work bot swung its sledge arm in a wide overhead arc and caved in the supervisor bot in one swing. There was silence, save for the sound of shorted electronics and dripping hydraulic fluid from the ruined bot. The work bot turned and looked to Sarah to await more commands. More bots powered on and also came to stand around her.

She walked over to the mangled and smoking remains of the supervisor bot and said, “That’s for Joel.”

Apr 25, 2017

I get what flerp was saying in the crit.

Brawl me instead.

Apr 25, 2017

Is there a TD Discord group I can join?

I'm trying to write better as part of my 2019 resolutions.

e: congrats to Lippincott : )

Apr 25, 2017

Flesnolk posted:

Pretty sure I PMed you or someone but here you go. Good on you being a good sport.


Apr 25, 2017

I'm in.

Apr 25, 2017

Place of power: Carhenge

997 words

Zeke held his cracked phone, and panned around the odd place to get some footage beforehand. Nightfall had come, and with it the isolation that befalls someone who was seeing their world through the illumination of a tiny gas station flashlight.

The old man told him that there was no use trying to record the event. Film, digital, none of it worked. Zeke was skeptical it would even happen. Too many nights spent talking with that old cook at Sal’s Auto Salvage. Bring him enough ‘shine, and he’d give you free run of the place. Free parts, tires worn down to the cord, rims that’d been rubbed by every curb from here to Georgia. Not a bad deal for a high school dropout with a run of bad luck, and a broke down car that ate a quart of oil at every fill up.

There was always one story that Sal came back to. Carhenge. That stupid tourist spot in the corn state. According to Sal, on the perfect night, when there was no moon in the sky, you could see miracles there. Zeke thought he was crazy. There was nothing there but a bunch of dumb cars stacked up like those rocks in England.

But Sal’s smiling rebuttal was always the same, “Well, why did they put those cars right there? They could’ve put ‘em anywhere if they weren’t so special.”

Zeke set his phone on the roof of his 1978 Trans Am and reached into the driver’s side window. He bumped the car into neutral, and pushed it slowly into the middle ring of cars. The silence was deafening. Not even a passing car at this time of night. All he could hear was the crunch of gravel under the worn tires of his busted car. The thing barely made the trip out, while coughing and leaking fluids like a crazed old lady in a mobility scooter.

Zeke stopped, stood back and tried to gauge the car’s location in the circle. He had to get this right. Sal had given him a tattered old book of notes. Just a bunch of gibberish to him, but Sal talked him through most of it. Zeke plopped the notebook on his hood and read it with his flashlight held in the crook of his neck. The cheap light faded, and then went dark.

“poo poo.” he said.

Zeke banged the light against the palm of his hand, and sighed in frustration. He reached in to turn on his headlights, and continued reading out loud to himself.

“Alright, it says here I got to say an incantation. What?” he said out loud with a puzzled look on his face.

He shrugged, tossed the notebook and the dead flashlight onto the passenger seat and walked to the front of the car.

Cringing with embarrassment, he recited the incantation from memory, “Oh Great One, creator of cars, make this right. Take my car and bring it to the light!”


Nothing happened. No light, no magic. Nothing. Zeke grabbed his phone from the roof and angrily tossed it on the passenger’s seat.

“Crazy old bastard. Wasted all my time driving out here. Stupid nonsense.” Zeke muttered to himself.

It was then he noticed a single bolt sitting on the ground by his foot. It looked new, and it surely wasn’t from the circle of grey washed cars he was standing in. Figuring that his car had shed yet another piece of hardware, he reached down to grab it.

When he stood up, he noticed that there were more bolts. The gravel was strewn with various bits and pieces like they were sprinkled about while he wasn’t looking.

Suddenly, the bolt he was holding jumped out of his hand as if attracted by a magnet. It rolled away under his car, while his headlights flickered and blinked out.

“What the fu-” he was cut off by a sound that was emanating from the circle of cars. It was the lilting sound of angelic voices.

The bolts and assorted miscellanea began to move about, rising up and swirling like a maelstrom. Under his car, a rumble seemed to come from deep within the earth. While the car rocked back and forth on its creaking springs, the bolts darted under the rusty and dented body of the car like cliff swallows finding a spot to perch.

Zeke stood back, taking shelter behind one of the dilapidated, stacked cars. He cursed himself for leaving his phone on the passenger’s seat.

Suddenly, a pillar of intense white light engulfed the car. The accompanying voices had grown to a deafening howl, and he watched as the hood of the car was torn from its mounts and raised into the sky. A hot wind swirled about the car, sending oil-tainted gravel into Zeke’s eyes. He winced, and wiped his face on his black tank top.

The gravel under his car began to churn and swirl as if being stirred from beneath. His old tires, leaky transmission and tired engine were drawn down beneath the swirling gravel. After some time, the airborne bolts seemed to thin out, and the pillar of light began to fade. The once-deafening sound of twisting metal was gone, and all that could be heard was the rustling of weeds as the winds subsided.

Zeke approached the car as if it were alive. He ran his hand along the gleaming black paint, and then reached under the grille to open the hood. After grabbing his phone from the newly upholstered interior, he shone its light around the gleaming, perfect chrome engine bay. He shut the hood and exhaled quietly.

The driver’s seat felt foreign and new to him. Zeke reached for the key that was still in the ignition. He turned it, and the engine came to life. Each press of the gas pedal was rewarded with a loud and powerful snarl. He smiled to himself, and backed his new car out of the ring.

Apr 25, 2017

In, and please give me the jolly upgrade.

Just gently caress me up.


Apr 25, 2017

Super Cool Max Extra Holiday Jolly Genre is British Bollywood Road Trip Fairy Tales Set in the 1960s

1598 words

Archie stood at the back of the gutted VW bus and shook his head. Smoke billowed out from the engine bay, and he struggled to look at the, now-ruined, engine through squinted eyes.

“How’s it looking?” asked Finley, his close friend and navigator on this misguided trans India journey.

Archie nudged the deck lid shut with his foot and ran a hand through his shoulder-length blonde hair. “Ah, the engine’s buggered. I think we ran it too hard coming out of Talasari.” he replied.

Finley hopped out of the bus and stood at the rear with Archie. “Well, I suppose we could find a shop to fix it.” He looked around at the bustling streets of New Delhi that surrounded them and said, “how do you say ‘auto club’ in Hindi?”

Archie smiled and shook his head. “I don’t know, but if we find an expat, we can ask them-” he said, stopping mid-sentence to look at a strikingly beautiful girl across the street.

He watched her cross towards him, her delicate hands holding up the hem of her gold and topaz saree. She was looking down at the ground, trying to avoid stepping in a puddle. When she passed him, he could her the kinetic music that her gold bangles made. She looked up at him and smiled just a little, and he could feel his soul ache for her in ways he didn’t yet understand.

“Mate? Mate, are you still with us?” Finely teased, watching as his friend lost all touch with reality.

Archie shook his head comically and said, “Yeah, uh, um. That girl. Do you know who she is?”

Finley smiled and said with a shrug, “You know we both came here in the same knackered van, right?”

Archie watched as she stepped into the doorway of a cafe. She looked back at him and smiled once more, her piercing amber eyes seemed almost iridescent even from across the busy sidewalk.

“Right, I’m going to go and talk to her.” Archie said with conviction.

Finley said, “Mate, your parents aren’t gonna be happy with this. We're behind as is. It's almost Christmas, and you’re here chasing after the natives like bloody Dr. Livingstone.”

Archie was already making his way through the crowd to the café.

“It’s like I’m not even talking. Bloody hell...” Finley muttered to himself while he watched his friend wander off.

In the empty cafe, Archie looked around and spotted her at a corner table. With as much panache as he could muster, he walked over to her table and sat down across from her. She was reading a book, and looked at him over the top of it.

“Hello, I uh, well you see my friend and I broke down and, uh bugger....” Archie stammered, unable to form a sentence in the presence of this anonymous young woman.

She closed her book, set it on the table and said, “Why don’t you start with your name?”

“Archie!” he finally blurted out, adding “and yours is?”

“Anika.” she said, pushing her glossy black hair behind her ear. She smiled again, and looked out the window. “Is that your friend?”

Archie followed her gaze, only to be met by the sight of his dear friend being encircled by a group of men. He watched as his friend gestured at the busted van, and then towards the cafe with a shrug.

“Ugh, I suppose I should go help him. Our van broke down. Say you wouldn't happen to know a good auto shop close by, would you?” he said while standing up.

Anika began to speak, but suddenly stopped and looked down at the table.

“Well well well, if it isn’t my little princess. Who is your tapori friend?”

Archie turned to see a large man with a thick beard. The impeccably dressed man smiled, placed his hand on Archie’s shoulder and slowly pushed him back into his seat.

The man sat at the table right next to Anika. Another man sat down uncomfortably close to Archie. This man also had a thick beard, as well as an alarming amount of muscle that seemed barely contained by his nehru jacket. This man turned to face Archie with a baleful glare.

“Please forgive my intrusion. My name is Arjun. The man sitting next to you is my assistant, Sai. My family runs an import and export business here. Why are you accosting my lovely wife-to-be?” Arjun said with a sinister smile.

“Well, my friend and I broke down and I was just asking Anika here about any auto shops that might be close by.” Archie said, wiping sweat from his brow.

“So, you thought you’d ask a woman where to get your car fixed?” Arjun replied incredulously.

“Well, I-” Archie was cut off when Finley hurried over to him.

“Mate, there’s some gents out there who either want us to move the van, or sell me a cow. I’m not sure. There was a lot going on. Anyways, we have to move the van before the police show up. Uh, who are these chaps?” Finley blurted out in one long stream.

“Sai, arrange to have these boys towed to the closest auto shop.” Arjun said with authority.

“Say, that’s mighty good of you!” Finley said.

As they stood up, Archie looked to Anika one last time. She’d been silent ever since her fiance had shown up. She looked up at him, and he saw in her eyes a pleading, conflicted person who was well and truly stuck in their life. Their locked eyes seemed to blot out the busy, tense world that surrounded them.

“Right, well I suppose we’ll need to find a hotel while the van is seen to.” Finley said in an attempt to break the tension.

Later on, at the hotel, Finley finally spoke up about his friend’s new forbidden love. “I don’t think you know what you’re getting into. Those guys I was talking with I the street, they said that Arjun fellow is no one to mess with. Either that, or they said he makes a big mess. I didn’t understand most of it. At any rate, we gotta stay here until those blokes at the shop get the new engine put in. So, behave.” he said.

"I don’t know, man. I saw something in her that I can’t explain.” Archie replied.

Finley shook his head and said, “You saw your undoing is what you saw. But I suppose you’ll just ignore my warnings as always. Just like that time in Belfast when you took a liking to that rugby player’s girlfriend.”

Archie was already out the door.

“Bollocks. It’s like I’m talking to myself all the time.” Finley said to the empty hotel room.

Archie stood in front of the cafe. He was nervous, and he tried to think of what to say, or how to say it.

“How is your van?” Anika asked as she walked up behind him.

“Good god! You scared me!” Archie blurted out, adding “You sure do spend a lot of time here.”

“The cafe belongs to my parents. It doesn’t stay busy, so they were happy when Arjun took an interest in me. We are to be married after monsoon season.” she said to him. Her tone of voice held a sense of dire inevitability.

Across the street, Archie saw Arjun and his burly assistant. The men came over quickly, and Archie could tell this would be unpleasant.

“You accost my fiance again, even after I’ve helped you?” Arjun said with a scowl.

“Just out for a stroll. No harm in that, is there?” Archie replied with a smile.

Without warning, Arjun jumped ten feet in the air and kicked Archie right in the chest sending him sliding back and into the wall of the cafe.

Archie, supine on the dirty sidewalk, looked up to see Anika kneeling down next to him.

“You can’t fight him. He's too strong! You’ll need to dance for my love! It’s the only way!” she said.

“What the-” was all Archie could manage before Arjun picked him up and threw him into the middle of the street like a stuffed toy.

Archie stood up, winced in pain and tried to remember the dance moves needed.

“Right, the Bharatnatyam!” he said out loud to himself.

He assumed the start pose of the dance as Arjun and Sai closed in on him. The men took note of his perfect form and stood back with caution. Archie executed the moves with a flowing, rhythmic precision only found in someone trying to dance for their very life. Soon, Anika joined in his dance. Other similarly-dressed women spilled out of the surrounding shops and businesses to also take part in his dance with amazing synchronicity.

Archie was so lost in the moment of his dancing that he didn’t notice that the two dramatically powerful men had left in disgrace. Anika finally stopped his fervent dancing by placing her hand on his arm.

“You have won! And now, by the doctrines of Hindi pop culture, my hand is yours!” Anika said with pride.

Archie leaned in to kiss her. Finley ran up and interrupted their intimate moment.

“Mate! What’s all the commotion? I leave you alone for ten minutes and you start a bloody riot!?” he said to Archie.

Archie pulled Anika close to him and said, “No worries. I think I’ll stay here for a bit.”

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