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Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 05:12 PM #141
Arwink, sorry to hear you won't be able to participate.
I thought it was vs. me tonight...I can start whenever though, I was just waiting for Arwink. If Delgar's wife is ready to go, bring it on....
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Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 05:14 PM #142
*hides emberassment at forgettign to respond before* Um, yes, tomorrow morning worksOriginally Posted by Graywolf-ELM
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 05:19 PM #143
This is Delgar's wife ... and I can start tonight as well. At the moment, I am a little swamped with editting something, but that will be done this afternoon.
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 05:22 PM #144
I am amazed that screename was available.Originally Posted by RPGgirl
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 05:25 PM #145
To Berandor, Congrats for moving on.
Reposted from the other thread (my comments):
Interesting story. I am left feeling a little confused. Basically, I got very early on that Robert was either a clone or a Robot. I'm a loss as to how he misunderstood his name tag and as to what his truly programming was supposed to accomplish. There were several miscellaneous things that jolted me out of the story [how can something be futuristic if we don’t know what the present is like?, it hard to be bossy while asking a question, rough transition from the Motel to the Apartments, can't ride/drive a motorcycle with someone in front of you & the laws around motorcycles, etc.].
The picture use was pretty good, in my opinion. I loved the eye and the car photos. The leaping photo was a pretty visual, but not something I thought was essential to the story. As for the black dot picture, given how tough it was I give you major props for having it be a recurring image.
Brief nit pick: Dialogue punctuation is as follows:
"What are you saying?" asked Rose.
The stuff inside gets the question mark, no comma, and the end of the sentence gets a period.
The ending was chilly, but at the same time I felt a little sudden. We didn't see Robot/Robert I go down and so the switch and being told [not shown] that the robot was down was a little odd.
The constant use of He early on grated, even though there was a good reason. I liked, however, that you didn't start using Robert until he knew what he looked like. Small smiles happened when you made reference to the writer's trick of the main character not knowing his identity. Another old hat trick, however, is the use of the mirror for description, just FYI.
All in all good story. Some room for improvement, but there always is for Ceramic DM.
MarauderX – Recruiting
Very interesting. You & Berandor both picked a chilly theme in the future. Interesting.
I liked the main character early on. He was easy to relate to and I thought I understood his motivations. I liked him being bright enough to want to learn about the various technologies and attempting to do so in a careful way. I foresaw the discovery of his actions. I cursed him going to the police. I found the invisible car suspect, especially the line "we used to work together until recently." Great foreshadowing.
Quibbles: Why didn't the techs remove the name tags so the automotron couldn’t focus on them? Or, since they were proven "loyal", why did they have targettable name tags in the first place? And why did they try to kill him, only to "give up" so that they could hire him? I would have expected the rays to be non-lethal, or some other give-aways that they weren't *really* trying to kill him. It did (belatedly) explain how he was able to easily get away.
I didn't understand what the big deal was about not shutting down the machine, but that is technical crap that I maybe just didn't understand.
I found the picture use pretty strong. The Eye one was okay as a good, but didn't really have a major role to play. The leap was a good use of explanation. The Car was chilly thing and predictable given the invisible nature of the machines. And the woman/spot thing was essential.
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 05:26 PM #146
So was I ... I actually signed up back in December, but didn't really post anything (I just read what everyone else had to say).Originally Posted by alsih2o
This will be my first ceramic DM contest, and it sounds like a lot of fun.
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 05:48 PM #147
The very easiest way to link to pictures is to footnote them--just put a number in brackets in the story and then list them at the bottom. Example:Originally Posted by Rodrigo Istalindir
"If I knew that you were coming," Sialia told the dragon, "I would have baked a cake."
When God hands you a gift, he also hands you a whip; and the whip is intended for self-flagellation solely. (Truman Capote)
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 06:15 PM #148
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Ceramic DM - Summer 2004
Round 1, Match 2
Francisca vs BardStephenFox AKA David Moore
Dr. Clayton waited in the small conference room. He had been frisked by the guards and signed off on the release forms nearly half an hour ago. He had to admit that it was likely his patient would have to go through more hallways filled with steel gates than he did, but Dr. Clayton did not like waiting, even if they were billable hours.
He was here to evaluate the state of mind of Darren Yu, the murderer whom the coast guard had recently caught with dozens of plastic wrapped packages of human flesh in his boat. He was dumping them overboard to the sharks. This was the same man that had been identified by witnesses three days earlier as having killed and then taken the body of a festival entertainer. There was little doubt in anyone's mind that Mr. Yu was the one that committed the murder, he had provided a full verbal confession, but the prosecutors wanted to counter any possible insanity plea. The night previous, the lead prosecutor had been emphatic about what Dr. Clayton's role was in the case. "All we need to know is if he understood the difference between right and wrong Doctor. By the law, it doesn't matter what his reasons were, all we need to know is if he understood that killing that woman was wrong."
Dr. Clayton sighed and then pulled out the tape recorder. He put new batteries, and a new tape, in it and ran through a test. At least the tape recorder was working correctly. Minutes ticked by before he saw a cluster of guards outside the door. Finally, the door opened and a short man walked in. The guard looked in, nodded reassuringly to the doctor, and said, "If you need us, give us a signal." The door closed and Dr. Clayton was left with his patient.
Darren Yu stood roughly 5'9" tall, with short black hair and darker skin. Dr. Clayton tried to decide if he was of Chinese or Japanese descent, maybe Korean? Darren smiled as the doctor looked him over.
"The proper term is Asian American, doc. My family has been in America for generations. Hell, my grandparents were put in one of the internment camps in New Mexico during World War II." Darren's voice was strong and smooth.
Dr. Clayton nodded absently and filed that information away for later reference. "Of course." Gesturing to the chair across the small table, he continued, "Please sit down. I am Doctor Clayton and I have been asked to make a psychiatric evaluation of you."
Darren pulled the chair out casually and sat down. Dr. Clayton noted that he was wearing jeans and a white polo shirt instead of the orange jumper that he had expected the patient to wear.
"Of course you are doc. I'm sure the prosecutor wants to be sure I am sane. He probably told you that he just wants to be sure that I can tell right from wrong. Let me assure you doc, I can." Darren smiled again and gestured to his clothes. "These? They always give me time to change out of my prison uniform. Something about not creating a bias against the accused and all that."
The two men sat in the room for a few moments, silence hanging before them. Finally, Darren nodded toward the tape recorder.
"You gonna turn that thing on or what?"
Dr. Clayton relaxed a bit. The young man had ceded control of the conversation back to him. This was good. Maybe he would be able to learn something. "That depends. If you are not comfortable with me taping our conversation, then I will leave it turned off."
Darren shrugged. "Whatever works for you doc, it's not like the thing will work anyway."
"Why not Mr. Yu?"
"Well, Lou makes sure that nothing permanent is recorded about me. Little things like video tapes and tape recorders just don't work near him. Computer records get mysteriously deleted and even when you try to take notes things will happen."
Dr. Clayton reached forward and turned the tape recorder on. Reaching for his paper tablet, he pulled out his pen. This might be interesting. If the patient really believed that nothing would be recorded about him, it might make it much easier to get him to open up and speak.
"OK Mr. Yu, who is Lou?" The little wheels in the tape recorder slowly pulled the tape through the recording heads.
Darren laughed. "Call me Darren. As for Lou, he is ..." The young man trailed off as he considered. "I'm not sure you would understand yet. So, let's call him my shadow."
Doctor Clayton's pen scratched across the surface of the paper, but no ink ran onto the page. Surely he wasn't out of ink, he had replaced the cartridge just a couple of days ago. He tried again and only got scratches from the pen. Reaching into his briefcase, he pulled out a pencil, and then noticed that the tip was broken. Darren sat there, smiling, while the doctor rummaged through his briefcase looking for a pencil sharpener. Finally, the doctor gave up. He still had his tape recorder. His memory would have to suffice for any other details.
"Well Darren, I guess I just won't make any notes right now. But, that's OK, we can still talk about whatever you want to talk about."
Darren shrugged again. "Whatever works for you doc. What do you want to hear?"
Dr. Clayton leaned forward. "Why don't you tell me your story, in your own words?"
"Sure doc, why not? Where to begin? You ever seen death doc? I mean, really seen death. Looked it in the eye and understood it for the horror and the beauty it represents? Tell you what, there is a town northeast of Amarillo called Pampa. Nothing really in the town because the chemical plant there blew up a while back. They rebuilt the plant, but the company bought up all the damaged buildings in the town. They claimed it was some sort of industrial accident and promised all sorts of improved safety features." Darren leaned forward. "It wasn't an accident, it was a Druid."
Dr. Clayton looked at Darren quizzically, urging him to continue.
"See doc, the Druids didn't like the chemicals the plant was pouring out. So, they blew it up. But, most people don't know magic when they see it. Just like you think that your pencil breaking and your pen running out of ink are coincidence instead of the work of Lou. Anyway, if you drive up through Pampa, stop and take a look at that Druid. She is still there. Lou and I killed her a year or two ago. As you drive up from Amarillo, you will see the chemical plant there. Take the road past the turn off. About another mile further down, you will see a side road. Take that for about a quarter mile and stop. On the fence there, you will see what looks like a bird, hanging on a barbed wire fence. Stop there and just gaze at that bird. When the sun is behind it just right, when the clouds are roiling in the background, it almost looks like an angel hanging there. That's the Druid that blew up Pampa. She won't bother nobody anymore."
The silence between the two men grew. The little whirring sound of gears in the tape recorder was the only thing that broke the silence. Finally, Dr. Clayton asked, "What does this have to do with the woman you murdered last month?"
Darren looked incredulous. "They were both Druids! That woman was a Druid, changed into the shape of a giraffe. She knew that Lou and I were looking for her and she was trying to hide out."
Dr. Clayton leaned forward and with a placating tone said, "Come now Darren, you can tell me the truth. She was an entertainer in a suit that looked somewhat like a giraffe. Several people saw you shoot her and then take her body. You know as well as I do that she was just wearing a costume. What did she do to upset you enough to kill her?"
Darren's eye narrowed and his fists clenched. "Listen doc, I ain't the one with an axe to grind here. You said you wanted to hear my story, in my own words, right?"
Dr. Clayton sat back. The young man was alarmed and it would be better to let him tell his story before pushing him for the truth. "I'm sorry Darren. Of course I want to hear your story. But, if this woman was a Druid what did she do to deserve death? Why didn't anybody else see her as you did?"
Mollified, Darren leaned back in his chair. "Look doc, what does July 16, 1945 mean to you?"
Dr. Clayton shrugged. "The date sounds vaguely familiar. That would have been during World War II, so probably something to do with the war." The doctor was beginning to think that perhaps there was some sort of deep-seated resentment about the internment camps that his grandparents were put in.
Darren looked dumbfounded. "Something to do with the war? That's all? Trinity? White Sands? The Manhatten project? Do these things mean anything to you?"
Dr. Clayton nodded in surprise. "Oh, of course, the beginning of the nuclear age. Ah! I see, these Druids change shape so they must be mutants, like in the comic books?"
Darren looked at him disdainfully. "Yes, the beginning of the nuclear age. But, that's not all it was. It was the return of the age of magic! The Druids are not mutants, they are magic wielders. Magic exists in the world doc. There are people who are quietly using it to help humanity and then there are the Druids who are against using it if it 'harms the environment'. There is a war going on Doc! On one side are the people I work for who want to use magic to bring rain to places in drought and keep crop production maximized. Then there are the Druids that think that nature should take it's course and if people die, then they die. The Druids think that technology and magic should be stopped. They demonize the little magical outsiders like Lou that try to help us. You tell me doc, am I wrong for killing them when they try to kill the rest of us? Tell me doc, who is more evil? I want to see drought ended. The Druids have that power, as do others. The Druids refuse to use it to help. What's worse, they counter the efforts of those people willing to use their magic to help others. If I kill a Druid and it allows other to make rain and end drought, and that helps crops to grow, and hunger disappears, am I evil?"
Darren was beginning to get himself worked up, but it sounded more like rationalization. A story that was just a bit too clear-cut and convenient. "Please calm down Darren. Think about this from my perspective for a moment. An hour ago, I didn't know anything about magic being in the world and now you are telling me that there is a magical war with the stakes of ending world hunger. You have to admit, it does sound a bit fanciful."
With a nod of his head, Darren agreed. "Yeah, I suppose it probably does to you. I just get tired of all you psychiatrists asking me questions. You're the fourth one this week. But, Lou says your OK. The woman yesterday kept trying to figure out how to write a book about me. Lou and I didn't like her much."
The young man was talking about his shadow again. Maybe it was worthwhile to look into that aspect of his personality. "Darren, would you like to tell me about Lou?"
Darren shrugged. "What's there to say? He is what most people would call a demon. Hell, he even has the horns and all that. He watches my back and helps by cutting off the Druid magic. He made sure the ink in your pen dried up, broke that pencil, and hid your sharpener. Oh, he also reads minds. He says you will find the pencil sharpener in your car later today. He also has funny jokes and likes old TV commercials. He's a good guy and I like him."
"You say he cuts off the Druid magic. What do you mean?"
"Well, like with that lady that you think was an entertainer, he stopped her from changing all the way back. She was hiding out at the festival as a giraffe. But, Lou and I tracked her down. Well, mostly Lou did. We were walking along and I was mad at him because we hadn't found the Druid yet. He's holding this pack of cigs right? He's lighting one up and he nudges me in the arm and says 'I'd walk a mile for a camel.' Then he points at this giraffe. At first, I didn't get it. Then the Druid saw us. Anyone that has magic can see Lou, so she started to change back out of her disguise. Once I saw that, I realized he was trying to make a joke, see. I punched him in the arm and said 'Lou, that's a giraffe, not a camel.' Lou just shrugged and snuffed that cig out in his hand. The Druid, she stopped changing back. It was great 'cause she couldn't cast any spells like that. It made the job easy. He does stuff like that to the Druids all the time, see?"
Dr. Clayton just shook his head, the young man was clearly projecting and suffering from delusions. "But Darren, nobody saw the lady change from being a giraffe. Don't you think somebody would have noticed?"
Darren paused. "Here is what I think happened. See, nobody seemed to think it was a lady in a suit until afterward. I think they all saw what they wanted to see. When she started to change back, they all decided that it was somebody in a costume, not somebody changing shapes. People see what they want to see and then create a reality based on that."
"Like you are Darren? Is that what you are doing? Are you creating a reality to fit what you want to see? Or are you just trying to fake like you are insane? I think you liked killing that woman."
"No doc, she was just a job. I ain't the one who is delusional here. Why do you think we had to toss so much meat to the sharks?"
That caught Dr. Clayton off guard. He had heard the prosecutor talking with a detective about the flesh in the boat. There had been much more than would have been in a human body. They still hadn't found any identity for the woman either. Dr. Clayton shook the doubt out of his head. What the man was saying didn't make any sense. "You tell me Darren. Why did you have to cut that poor woman up and try to feed her to the sharks?"
Darren paused, if listening to somebody else say something, then chuckled. "I do make sense doc, if you can accept that there is magic in the world. And that Druids can change shape. As for the lady, well that is a little complicated. See doc, we are winning. The Druids are losing. So, they are starting to try to bring their fallen back from the dead. It's not enough to kill them anymore. We need to get rid of the bodies so they can be brought back. No body, no reincarnate spells." Darren leaned back in his chair. "That one was tough though. Since Lou stopped the change part way through, there was a lot of body to get rid of. It took me two days of hacking and chopping to get that part giraffe down to manageable pieces. Boy, you should have seen the pile in the boat when we got done! It was huge. When the Coast Guard found us, it was quite a bit smaller. We had tossed some fish on the pile to make people think that we just had some cut-up fish. It didn't quite work though. I think the Druids finally got somebody in the police force to believe them. When I was being cuffed and taken to a car, I saw one of the cops pick up one of the bags and put it in his coat pocket. I think that Druid will be back. That's OK though, I'll be free once the trial is over."
Dr. Clayton looked at Darren with disgust. His time was nearly up and he thought he could make an assessment for the prosecutor.
"No Darren, I don't think you will be free at all. I think you are making the whole story up and trying to concoct an insanity defense. Sure, you are not sane in a conventional sense. You need help. But, you are sane enough to know right from wrong and you are sane enough to go to trial."
Dr. Clayton turned off the tape recorder and started putting everything back into his briefcase. Standing up, he rapped on the door of the conference room. Darren called out from behind him.
"You don't understand doc, this trial will go through. They will convict me. In a few months, I will suffer a tragic prison accident and my body will be burned beyond recognition. I'll be free, and soon rain will come whenever we want. This isn't the first time I've been caught killing Druids. It's just the first time in Texas." Darren laughed as the Doctor walked out the room and down the hall.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The doctor rewound the tape as he walked out to his car. The parking lot was near the recreational area for the county lock-up and he could see Darren already walking the exercise yard. He hadn't been a bad patient. Perhaps after his conviction, he would be able to get some help. Perhaps Dr. Clayton would even be involved?
Sitting down in the car, the doctor immediately saw the small little pencil sharpener sitting on the passenger seat. It must have fallen out of his briefcase when he got out of the car. The tape finally finished rewinding and Dr. Clayton pressed Play. Dr. Clayton's voice came from the small speaker as he ran through the test sequence, then silence. He turned the volume up, but still nothing. He hit the fast forward button, let it run a little bit and then pressed Play again, but still nothing. The tape recorder must have malfunctioned. What the hell happened?
Dr. Clayton could see Darren walking around the yard. He was laughing, as if he were talking to somebody, but all the other prisoners avoided him. Dr. Clayton stood up and walked over to take a look at exercise yard. Darren was walking by himself, but there were two shadows on the ground. One was smaller, and had horns. Impossible he told himself and purged the image from his memory.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Even without notes, or tape recordings, all four psychiatrists testified that Darren Yu was criminally sane. He could tell the difference between right and wrong. While delusional, they all agreed that he was also competent to plead Guilty. Darren's public defender protested, but the judge allowed the plea to stand and sentenced Darren to life in prison. His pretrial paperwork was lost twice and the transfer order to the prison was mistakenly sent to the women's prison in the next county. Though there was talk of a book about him, it never came to fruition. For whatever reason, nobody was ever able to get the words on paper. Several months later, Dr. Clayton was driving through Amarillo when he heard on the radio that there had been a boiler explosion at one of the prisons. Darren Yu had been the only prisoner working in the area at the time and his body had been burned beyond recognition. Pulling to the side of the road, Dr. Clayton got out a map. There it was, Pampa Texas. It would be a little out of the way, but Dr. Clayton was curious.
Soon, he was passing the sign for the city of Pampa. It didn't look like anybody lived here any longer, but he could see a huge plant of some sort in the distance. He passed the sign for the chemical plant just as a news reporter announced the dramatic press release for a new company that promised they could deliver rain on demand, wherever it was needed. The farmers association of Amarillo was the first customer. Though the weather forecast called for another week of record high temperatures, rain was supposedly going to fall that afternoon. A mile later, Dr. Clayton pulled down a dirt road, running next to a barbed wire fence. A quarter mile after that, he saw the bird hanging on the fence. Getting out of his car, he sat down to look at it. Clouds were rolling in, toward Amarillo. The sun and clouds created a stark silhouette of the dead bird. Dr. Clayton thought back to Darren's words "When the sun is behind it just right, when the clouds are roiling in the background, it almost looks like an angel hanging there" Dr. Clayton had to agree, it did look like an angel. An angel of death.
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 06:29 PM #149
Acolyte (Lvl 2)
Wow! Congrats to Berandor. Good luck to RPGgirl. I will miss not seeing a story from Arwink though.
Francisca, just under an hour left!
Thursday, 1st July, 2004, 07:23 PM #150
Novice (Lvl 1)
Comments from other thread, more soon
Well, he was originally designed as a household helper. He knows how to drive, how to repair, how to clean, how to cook, etc.Originally Posted by Zhaneel
As to his misunderstanding of the tag, I should have included it in the story that he was designed not to know that he was a robot, and when faced with evidence he'd shut down. Sort of a fail-safe measure. That's why he kept wearing the glasses (the eyes being a weak spot), didn't wonder about not sleeping, not eating, etc.
In the end, there were a couple of things I would have liked to include (such as a little more explanation in the epilogue as to the robots' and the car's background), but time ran too short and I simply didn't think of it. As it is, with 4730 words, I probably couldn't have included evrything, anyway
While I didn't know about the motorcycles, I have regretted that I didn't really flesh out when the story was set (basically, 2005).There were several miscellaneous things that jolted me out of the story [how can something be futuristic if we don’t know what the present is like?, it hard to be bossy while asking a question, rough transition from the Motel to the Apartments, can't ride/drive a motorcycle with someone in front of you & the laws around motorcycles, etc.].
ThanksThe picture use was pretty good, in my opinion. I loved the eye and the car photos. The leaping photo was a pretty visual, but not something I thought was essential to the story. As for the black dot picture, given how tough it was I give you major props for having it be a recurring image.
Well, I had read at grammarbook.com:Brief nit pick: Dialogue punctuation is as follows:
"What are you saying?" asked Rose.
The stuff inside gets the question mark, no comma, and the end of the sentence gets a period.
, but even then I did it wrong, didn't I? Thanks, it didn't look right, either"Is it almost over?" he asked?
Well, one hour left, 300 words left, and still you're right.The ending was chilly, but at the same time I felt a little sudden.
Yeah, the "He" grated on me, too. But writing "the man" didn't seem right, either.The constant use of He early on grated, even though there was a good reason. I liked, however, that you didn't start using Robert until he knew what he looked like. Small smiles happened when you made reference to the writer's trick of the main character not knowing his identity. Another old hat trick, however, is the use of the mirror for description, just FYI.
I used the mirror mainly for two reasons: I needed Robert to know what he looked like so he recognized his "clone", and it sort of framed the story with him looking into the mirror at the end again.
All in all good story. Some room for improvement, but there always is for Ceramic DM.[/QUOTE]
Well, thanks again. "Good" is better than I feared, and I will use that room for improvement if I advance to the next round
"I desperately needed to go throw up, but I was so busy reading your story I made myself wait until I was done reading it" – Sialia
Read my stories (PDF):
Gwen / One Hour Later, Three Days Ago / Cold Fish / Indian Summer / Disillusionment / Rememberance / For Lack of a Better Term / The Hunt / The Second Coming (AU-Serial)
"Berandor, what a beautiful story. It made me cry at the end." – Eeralai on "Rememberance"
Disclaimer 1: Above all, I am a very silly man. So if a statement of mine can be construed as joke - especially if it's not funny - it likely is.
Disclaimer 2: I am also opinionated, so when not joking I am still voicing my opinion. Except when I am stating facts.