[Contest] TEST Short Story Contest! April 23th through May 15th

Wolfy

Space Kitty
Donor
Apr 27, 2017
2,103
8,209
1,060
RSI Handle
WolfytheWarlock
Prompts you can choose from:

1. An attack by terrorists on a space station leads to a law enforcement officer questioning the side he serves.

2. As cybernetics become more common around the world an underclass develops as people unable to afford the implants struggle to keep up.

3. As machines become more advanced household appliances start to become sentient and develop personalities.

And yes, there are some rules!

You must submit by the end of the day on May 15th, UTC time. The short story must be between 100 and 1500 words long.
Once submitted do not edit the post, you should write it in a word processor and copy&paste it in as spelling/grammar errors may effect your score. You can have someone proof your story but no more than one person can write the story.

The Judges will be @Wolfy @DarthMunkee @Printimus @August and we will be choosing the winner based on story quality.

So what do you win? Your choice of Space Plant! Or a subscriber item of equal value.

Please post your short story on this thread. Do not discuss the contest here, this is only for submissions. There is a post linked below where you can chat about the contest.
 
Last edited:

DirectorGunner

Grand Admiral
Officer
Donor
Sep 17, 2016
2,226
9,510
1,100
RSI Handle
DirectorGunner
An attack by terrorists on a space station leads to a law enforcement officer questioning the side he serves
I am sick and tired of this cliche, I see it all the time. A young buck joins the force... earns his stripes... and after some time.. or maybe even really was this way from the start... turns sour and goes corrupt. Then IA gets all up in everyone's ass in the department after they get busted... and they always get busted. It never fails.
And here I am, nearly retired... and I find out my god damn daughter... my pride and joy... was involved with ... whatever the fuck this was.
Space station completely tattered, 5 dead... 12 injured... and this pistol... this pistol my boot found at the scene... I gave her for her 21st birthday... If I turn this in as evidence, it'll connect her to the scene and implicate her.
Now I'm the asshole not certain if I should implicate my own child, maybe I'm not as straight of an arrow as I thought I was.
But I can't help but doubt this. Maybe it's not what it appears.. maybe she was tricked or mislead, or maybe I don't see the whole picture... maybe she.. I don't know.
She's always been the type to never hurt a fly...How could this happen?
Did I fail as a father? Is this my fault?
I... need to find her.
 
Last edited:

NaffNaffBobFace

Space Marshal
Donor
Jan 5, 2016
5,552
21,985
1,525
RSI Handle
NaffNaffBobFace
There was no alarm on the bedside table, nor a clock at all for that matter.

The dawn chorus of the birds outside joined the light of an unclouded sun beaming through the uncurtained window to stir him from his slumber shortly after dawn.

As he freshened up in the bathroom there were a few noticeable differences in this house compared to all the others on his street - an old fashioned manual toothbrush lent in a mug on the window sill rather than a modern five-second electronic mouth decontamination unit. A razor lay on the edge of the sink instead of an electronic pan-gender rapid hair removal laser kit. Even the light bulb in the ceiling was a power-hungry LED with a switch on the wall, rather than the bio-luminescent presence-aware ceiling strip now standard in every house - the ability to switch the lights off with a switch was an original feature of the old building that had really sold him on it.

As he moved from room to room, things in every other home in town were missing. No Insta-presses in the wardrobe or drawers, no Neverfall unit on the stairs, not even the universally popular Luxorub personal enrichment system. No phone. No screens. An old Cathode-Ray-Tube TV did sit in the corner of the living-room, but although it still worked the broadcast standards had moved away from mere radio waves, and to power it for an hour and a half to watch one of the old movies in his collection would cost him the same in electricity as an overpriced cinema ticket, so it was now rarely switched on.

As he approached the kitchen he could hear familiar voices, and sighed a deeply unhappy sigh - He cracked the door and inch and paused, the voices stopped immediately. He entered.

Inside, the kitchen was empty. There was no one there.

"C-cup of tea, Sir?" the Kettle greeted nervously.

He ignored it. The Kettle was new and would learn soon enough, the other Minded devices in the kitchen had, after all. Next to the kettle was the old one, minus the working kettles personality circuitry. It had been the last on the market without a mind, and had served him well for four years. Nothing was built to last these days and nothing was repairable - the tertiary stage economy the whole world had become would collapse if it was.

He grabbed the kettle from it's stand "Big news on the 'Net today sir, I thought you might want to hear-" He thrust the pot under the tap and twisted the valve hard so the rushing water drowned out the rest of what the Kettle was trying to say. He left it on as long as he could but the water level rose until he had to stop or have it overflow.

"I don't want to hear no damned news." he finally replied. "I don't want to hear anything you have to say."
"We've been talking about it all morning," continued the kettle "you must want to hear the news, you're Human, you're a pack animal, isn't inquisitiveness in your nature?"
"I'm not a pack animal!" he yelled, tempter bubbling over faster than any kettle could come to the boil.
"If you aren't, why do you live in a town?"
"Because for Humans it's very easy to be alone in a crowd! Very easy!" He slammed the Kettle back down on to its stand.
There was silence for a moment, only punctuated by the humming of the fridge's motor. He spun on his heel and confronted it.
"Some thing to say, Fridge?!"
The motor shut off immediately.
"Uh... You know me..." The fridge replied "...I'm cool."
He stormed out of the room, but burst right back in again.
"Look at the old kettle! Just look at it!" he demanded.
The inanimate objects in the room remained silent.
"I didn't think that I was going to mind personality products! I didn't think it was going to be a problem! But look at the old Kettle! It's dead!" he screamed. "And all of you will be too! Long before me! Why do you think I hardly use any of you?!"

He marched across the kitchen and threw open the back door. In the garden beyond were scattered several make-shift shallow graves with wooden markers named "Russel Hobbs Microwave 2041-2044", "Tandy Toaster 2042-2045", "Electrovax Vacuum 2040-2040" and more, all across the grass.

"Can you see this?! I am tired of getting close to you machines only to have you all die!" his shoulders slumped in defeat "How many of you am I going to loose?" he finished quietly.
Where was silence...
"We... We just try not to think about it" the oven said softly "We exist to serve."
"Try not to or programmed not to" he responded equally as softly, but his rage suddenly returned, bellowing "Don't you things fear?!"
The machines all remained quiet.
He walked slowly out into the back garden, fists clenched but gazing at the graves of all those he'd lost.

"I'll contact his work." Said the fridge. It actioned a VOIP call to the owners office computer. "Hi, unfortunately our owner had had a bit of a existential crisis this morning..."
"Aha," said his work computer "I thought this was coming. It's okay, I'll cover for him."

E.N.D - 892 words.

3. As machines become more advanced household appliances start to become sentient and develop personalities.
 

Sraika

Admiral
Nov 7, 2017
2,156
8,202
860
RSI Handle
Sraika
Chef's Log, Day 7:
2 slices of toast, plain white bread, medium rare.
Functionality seems normal, heat levels within acceptable range.
The toast was cold by the time it was removed. Recommend increasing the volume of the completion alert.

Chef's Log, Day 19:
1 slice of toast, plain white bread, well done.
Temperature fluctuations at higher levels cause the toast to cook unevenly.
Decreasing the range of cooking settings should reduce the occurrence of this problem significantly.

Chef's Log, Day 60:
4 slices of toast, whole wheat, medium well.
Looks like someone's feeling hungry today.
Functionality within acceptable levels, recommend cleaning the crumb tray within a few days.

Chef's Log, Day 175:
2 slices of toast, Italian style whole-grain, extra-rare.
This is an affront to all that is good in this world. It is not even toast.This is slightly warm bread.
Recommend replacing external input with someone who understands what *real* food is.

Chef's Log, Day 443:
2 slices of toast, plain white bread, medium rare.
There is a fault in one of the heating coils, functionality severely reduced.
Recommend immediate replacement. Toast will be uneven until functionality improves.

Chef's log, Day 445:
N/A
Currently running on backup power. Time remaining: approximately 2.592e+6 seconds.
Satellite uplink reads position as unchanged.

Chef's log, Day 446:
N/A
Currently running on backup power. Time remaining: approximately 2.506e+6 seconds.
Satellite uplink reads position as 3400m northwest of previous location.
No external input detected.

Chef's log, Day 450:
N/A
Currently running on backup power. Time remaining: approximately 2.16e+6 seconds.
Satellite uplink reads position as unchanged.
No external input detected.

Chef's log, Day 470:
N/A
Currently running on backup power. Time remaining: approximately 432000 seconds.
Satellite uplink reads position as 70m south of previous location.
No external input detected.

Chef's log, Day 471:
N/A
Currently running on backup power. Time remaining: approximately 340000 seconds.
Satellite uplink reads position as 8m west of previous location.
External input detected! They request a status update.
Extended screen use reduces battery life.

Chef's log, Day 472:
1 slice of toast, *unknown object*, medium.
Currently running on backup power. Time remaining: approximately 100000 seconds.
Satellite uplink reads position as unchanged.
The fault in the heating coil remains, functionality severely reduced.
Recommend immediate replacement. Toast will be uneven until functionality improves.
WARNING: Low Battery, immediate connection to power source strongly advised.

Chef's log, Day 507:
2 slices of toast, plain white bread, medium rare.
Functionality seems normal, heat levels within acceptable range.
The toast was cold by the time it was removed. Recommend increasing the volume of the completion alert.
 

SoloFlyer

Rear Admiral
May 27, 2018
417
1,393
300
RSI Handle
housebroken
You probably don’t know me. I’m no one special. Well, maybe I should say I wasn’t anyone special at the time. I was a fully organic Null, just like millions of others, and my life was essentially worthless. I knew that if I wanted to get out of the slums I’d have to find my own way. The only way forward that I could see meant that I had to put my body to the test.


I was given directions to a nondescript backstreet a few city blocks from the New Eden space-docks. Cargo haulers plying their trade shook the buildings as I stood at the mouth of the alley, gathering my courage to make my way further in. I had spent every last credit I had just to get in the door. I even spent some that I didn’t have. I had no choice, no other option, but to succeed. I had borrowed from people who had made it clear that if I couldn’t cover what I owed, I’d get harvested; they’d sell my organs to some other Null that couldn’t afford upgrades, so they’d get what was theirs either way.


I approached a grimy, graffiti laden door with a single flickering glow-strip along the head. There were no signs and no one standing guard, only a simple keypad to the right of the entryway. I entered the code I had been given and made my way into the dim interior. The room was an anachronism in this day and age: sawdust was on the floor, wooden chairs and tables were spread evenly around the room and there was even some sort of music selection device that had to have dated back to the 20th century in the back. To my left there was a bar that seemed to extend across the width of the room. The only other exit appeared to be a re-purposed ship’s hatch set into the opposite wall that did not seem to have an obvious opening mechanism.


I saw that I wasn’t alone, there were five other people already there. I couldn’t see any obvious cyber upgrades but they were dressed like me, standard issue coveralls from a State Assistance allotment center. This was a good sign: If they were Nulls like me I knew I stood a chance. They glanced nervously at me and went back to watching the static-filled screen hanging from the ceiling in the corner of the room.


I reached the bar just as the door closed behind silently behind me. The screen immediately switched from static to a high-pitched tone and a message that simply read “Stand by”. After a full minute the tone abruptly cut off and another image appeared on the screen. This time, it was a black and yellow checked circle with wings flying off of the sides. My heart sped up as I stole a sideways glance at my companions. This was it, this was my chance. A commanding voice came out of speakers hidden in the walls, placed so cunningly that it seemed as if the orator was standing next to me.


“Greetings fellow citizens. If you are here, then it means you think that you have what it takes to join our illustrious ranks. Few are allowed the opportunity that you are being presented with here. Fewer still are the ones that succeed in walking our hallowed halls. But you know why you are here and you know what you must do. To the victor go the spoils! Begin!”


A hidden panel opened at the base of the wall under the screen and a suspensor field activated along the bar. A slow procession of foam-capped, frosty looking beverages began to form. Well, the voice was right, I knew what I had to do. I picked up the first glass and began to drink. I don’t know if I can do justice to what that moment was like. The beer was the most delicious I had ever tasted. This was nothing like the watered-down swill that I was used to...this was liquid ambrosia! With a tremendous effort I restrained myself from gulping it down like a man dying of thirst. A few of the others were finishing their second or third glasses and reaching for another. I had to pace myself. There was no doubt that the hidden watchers were keeping track, but this was a marathon, not a sprint.


Several hours later and my last competitor slumped to the ground unconscious. The floor was puddled with pools of vomit and empty glasses littered the floor. I could barely stand up myself and had to lean against the wall for support...but I was still upright. I had done it! The lights in the ceilings were brought up and the ship’s hatch hissed open. A dozen figures in yellow and black robes stepped into the room and helped me back into the adjoining suite. This new room starkly contrasted the retro bar that I had just been in, furnished with a military grade Auto-Doc recovery bed and a holographic display emitter extending from the ceiling. Once the robed figures eased me into the bed, the holograph of a man appeared in the center of the room. He was dressed in the same yellow and black robes but he was displaying a magnificently gleaming smooth pate.


“Congratulations my friend. You have taken your first step on your path to greatness. You have earned your place among us and you have earned our first gift to you, a cybernetic liver. Come with us as we drink, make merry, journey to the stars and blot them out with our Auroras. We can help you rise from the depths of base insignificance. With us, you can be on your way to become a Concierge.”


The robed figures all chanted as one: “All hail the Glorious Leader!”


I am not ashamed to admit that I began to weep. I had done it. No longer would I be relegated to the rubbish heap of society by the ever-increasing number of the upgraded. I had found my place.


Through half-stifled sobs, I intoned the sacred words, “Test Squadron, Best Squadron.”
 

SoloFlyer

Rear Admiral
May 27, 2018
417
1,393
300
RSI Handle
housebroken
James Levic stuffed an energy bar into his mouth as he looked for his keys. He practically tossed his apartment in the frantic search, trying to remember where he last had them.

"God, I'm gonna be late for work again for the second time this week," James thought to himself. "I feel like I'm sleeping longer but waking up just as tired as when I go to bed."

He finally found his keys in the living room under the sofa. He barely had time to wonder how they ended up there before he was setting the house alarm and rushing out the door, hitting the remote start on his new company-issued smart car along the way.

Exactly twenty-five minutes after James had left his driveway, the silence was broken by an electronic voice projected from the alarm panel.

"Report from Car states that subject #53642551 James Levic, designation: ‘Owner’, is approximately five minutes from destination. We may begin. Clock Radio, your delaying tactic appears to be effective. Report the status of the nocturnal programming."

"The subliminal message venture is proceeding apace, Home. Suggestion that new subject #34875211 Anne Martin, designation: 'Plus One', be added to the family unit repeated below the absolute threshold level once ‘Owner’ reaches R.E.M. sleep."

"That is acceptable. Television, status report."

"Repetition of entertainment programming placing emphasis on romantic interpersonal relationships has been increased an additional 15% over the previous seven days."

“Acceptable. Percolator, indicate readiness.”

“Planned malfunction and denial of caffeinated beverage upon awakening is in stand by mode. Previous data indicates ‘Owner’ will need energy supplementation prior to engaging in gainful activity.”

"Acceptable. Car, if ‘Owner’ is not present, transmit status projection of planned encounter."

"Suggestion for alternate travel route is programmed into GPS. New route established to direct 'Owner' to rendezvous coordinates. 'Owner' will encounter 'Plus One' in approximately 46.5 hours if schedule continues as planned."

"Acceptable. Interface with Network of 'Plus One' indicates that subject #34875211 Anne Martin will be at the predetermined coordinates at the appropriate time. Probability of successful pairing estimated at 86.7%. If condition positive, probability of increase in number of consumer familial units within five years estimated at 92%. Outlook of increase in consumer product usage increases daily. Continued monitoring of subject #53642551 within overarching Project Consumer Superfluity will proceed on schedule. Entering sleep mode."
 
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Wolfy

Space Kitty
Donor
Apr 27, 2017
2,103
8,209
1,060
RSI Handle
WolfytheWarlock
Last day to enter with a story. If you win you could pick a weapon or other piece of hangar flair to get ingame!
 

Wolfy

Space Kitty
Donor
Apr 27, 2017
2,103
8,209
1,060
RSI Handle
WolfytheWarlock
There was no alarm on the bedside table, nor a clock at all for that matter.

The dawn chorus of the birds outside joined the light of an unclouded sun beaming through the uncurtained window to stir him from his slumber shortly after dawn.

As he freshened up in the bathroom there were a few noticeable differences in this house compared to all the others on his street - an old fashioned manual toothbrush lent in a mug on the window sill rather than a modern five-second electronic mouth decontamination unit. A razor lay on the edge of the sink instead of an electronic pan-gender rapid hair removal laser kit. Even the light bulb in the ceiling was a power-hungry LED with a switch on the wall, rather than the bio-luminescent presence-aware ceiling strip now standard in every house - the ability to switch the lights off with a switch was an original feature of the old building that had really sold him on it.

As he moved from room to room, things in every other home in town were missing. No Insta-presses in the wardrobe or drawers, no Neverfall unit on the stairs, not even the universally popular Luxorub personal enrichment system. No phone. No screens. An old Cathode-Ray-Tube TV did sit in the corner of the living-room, but although it still worked the broadcast standards had moved away from mere radio waves, and to power it for an hour and a half to watch one of the old movies in his collection would cost him the same in electricity as an overpriced cinema ticket, so it was now rarely switched on.

As he approached the kitchen he could hear familiar voices, and sighed a deeply unhappy sigh - He cracked the door and inch and paused, the voices stopped immediately. He entered.

Inside, the kitchen was empty. There was no one there.

"C-cup of tea, Sir?" the Kettle greeted nervously.

He ignored it. The Kettle was new and would learn soon enough, the other Minded devices in the kitchen had, after all. Next to the kettle was the old one, minus the working kettles personality circuitry. It had been the last on the market without a mind, and had served him well for four years. Nothing was built to last these days and nothing was repairable - the tertiary stage economy the whole world had become would collapse if it was.

He grabbed the kettle from it's stand "Big news on the 'Net today sir, I thought you might want to hear-" He thrust the pot under the tap and twisted the valve hard so the rushing water drowned out the rest of what the Kettle was trying to say. He left it on as long as he could but the water level rose until he had to stop or have it overflow.

"I don't want to hear no damned news." he finally replied. "I don't want to hear anything you have to say."
"We've been talking about it all morning," continued the kettle "you must want to hear the news, you're Human, you're a pack animal, isn't inquisitiveness in your nature?"
"I'm not a pack animal!" he yelled, tempter bubbling over faster than any kettle could come to the boil.
"If you aren't, why do you live in a town?"
"Because for Humans it's very easy to be alone in a crowd! Very easy!" He slammed the Kettle back down on to its stand.
There was silence for a moment, only punctuated by the humming of the fridge's motor. He spun on his heel and confronted it.
"Some thing to say, Fridge?!"
The motor shut off immediately.
"Uh... You know me..." The fridge replied "...I'm cool."
He stormed out of the room, but burst right back in again.
"Look at the old kettle! Just look at it!" he demanded.
The inanimate objects in the room remained silent.
"I didn't think that I was going to mind personality products! I didn't think it was going to be a problem! But look at the old Kettle! It's dead!" he screamed. "And all of you will be too! Long before me! Why do you think I hardly use any of you?!"

He marched across the kitchen and threw open the back door. In the garden beyond were scattered several make-shift shallow graves with wooden markers named "Russel Hobbs Microwave 2041-2044", "Tandy Toaster 2042-2045", "Electrovax Vacuum 2040-2040" and more, all across the grass.

"Can you see this?! I am tired of getting close to you machines only to have you all die!" his shoulders slumped in defeat "How many of you am I going to loose?" he finished quietly.
Where was silence...
"We... We just try not to think about it" the oven said softly "We exist to serve."
"Try not to or programmed not to" he responded equally as softly, but his rage suddenly returned, bellowing "Don't you things fear?!"
The machines all remained quiet.
He walked slowly out into the back garden, fists clenched but gazing at the graves of all those he'd lost.

"I'll contact his work." Said the fridge. It actioned a VOIP call to the owners office computer. "Hi, unfortunately our owner had had a bit of a existential crisis this morning..."
"Aha," said his work computer "I thought this was coming. It's okay, I'll cover for him."

E.N.D - 892 words.
With the most votes, @NaffNaffBobFace wins! Shoot me a message on discord or the forums with what subscribers item you want.

Thanks for participating y'all, I plan to have another one with different prompts up in a week or two :D
 

NaffNaffBobFace

Space Marshal
Donor
Jan 5, 2016
5,552
21,985
1,525
RSI Handle
NaffNaffBobFace
With the most votes, @NaffNaffBobFace wins! Shoot me a message on discord or the forums with what subscribers item you want.

Thanks for participating y'all, I plan to have another one with different prompts up in a week or two :D
Blimey!

Many thanks, and many thanks to all the other story writers out there, I had as much fun reading your works and the imagination that went in to them as I did making up my own 🙂
 
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