4th Platform Building Campaign 2nd Exercise

Boy 2.0
Trevor watched the red unit intently, wondering what its data limit tested out at. He appeared to have the largest capacity of any of the data retention units available.

His current memory unit had begun to age, bits of data had been corrupted and lost, and that was unacceptable given the timeline of his Department of Defense contract. However it wasn’t until the diagnosis of memory retention dementia that he’d been forced to take action.

The Data Espionage Wars of 2031 had left all silicon based memory devices infected, leaving bio-storage as the only incorruptible form of data retrieval. And since his DoD contract required a level 12 security encryption module, bio- storage was mandatory. However, even after 10 years, Trevor still struggled displacing the humanity from what was technically a human child. Legally, it was considered nothing more than a data storage device but it still looked and acted like a boy.

He was speaking with the salesman to arrange for delivery when the unit was brought over for inspection. Trevor moved to leave when he felt a small hand grasp his, turning he saw the child’s eyes lock onto his own. “Are we going home now?” he asked.




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The technician, Ron, was busy preparing the boy for the procedure. “This isn’t going to hurt,” he told him.


Not hurt, Trevor thought, just reformat your brain. Trevor got up to leave the room, but the boy called out to him, “Please, doesn’t leave. I’m scared.” Trevor hadn’t considered that he knew what was coming.


“Enough,” Trevor said grabbing Ron's shoulder. The move startled Ron, who accidentally brushed the green implantation toggle, causing instant activation. The device hummed, suddenly becoming ensconced in a swirling vapor cloud.


"Get me something to hold this thing that won't conduct electricity, we've got to contain the nano-docks!" Ron yelled. Trevor ran to the kitchen, grabbed a ladle, and threw it to Ron, who balanced the implant on the wood and tried to reverse the dispersion command, to no effect. The vapor cloud had already contacted skin.


Both the boy and Ron jerked in shock as the microscopic machines entered their bodies and began to work on their nervous systems. Without thought, Trevor grabbed the boy and ran.Whisps of vapor clung at first, but then redirected to Ron, whose eyes glazed over, blank.


Trevor looked down at boy and felt tears pool in his eyes.


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(Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts)


The pair ran until the man was forced to rest his injured leg beside the broken bridge, the boy’s hair was still wet from the dye that changed its color. Pausing, they watched a group of abandoned children dig through some rubble and the man wondered if any of them were created like the boy, alive but with no intended life. Just days ago he had watched the boy blissfully play away what was supposed to be the last moments of his humanity. The conversion process had, however, gone horribly wrong leaving a technician essentially brain dead, and the man scared of how close he’d come to losing the boy. The man told the boy to get some sleep and the boy, looking at the man, asked “Daddy, will I ever dream of more than flying lines and stars?”





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What I undertook:
  1. Write a short story/flash fiction piece of less than 200 words based on the prompts
  2. Write a poem/flash fiction piece (in less than 200 words) about the water pear *without* using the words “pear”, “spoon”, or “droplet”. 
  3. Write a story/poem in five sentences, each sentence based on one of the prompts

  • Complete at least three of the above activities and tie them all together with a common theme
  • Write in a genre that is not your own (I normally write Fantasy/horror, this was an attempt at Sci-Fi)


and.. PLEASE.. do feel free to critique my writing.  The only way any of us learn and improve is to write, learn, grow, and write again.  I will very appreciatively accept any feedback given in that spirit.


I know I probably messed up on the first prompt, I initially thought it was a prompt to write a flash fiction about one of the pictures, not all of the prompts, but I'd completed the second flash fiction by the time I figured that out, and I liked the story too much to delete it.. Like how Trevor comes to look at the memory unit as a boy, I've come to look at the flash fiction as 'my baby'.  ;)

I hope you enjoy, and as always, if you do.. Please Vote for me by clicking here and voting for #19
 ..or..
Even if you don't want to vote, please go read some of the other tremendous works by other writers at that link. These challenges are full of some very talented writers, so go enjoy.

Thanks,
Kevin.



Comments

  1. Duuuuude... Genius much???

    You're so... smart. I couldn't ever write stuff like this. It's beyond my brain capacity ;) I totally want to read more about Trevor and the Pear prompt was so clever!

    Consider yourself "liked"

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    1. Thanks Morgan. That pear idea took me a while to come up with.. that was difficult.

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  2. I totally agree with Morgan. I'm reading thinking, Damn, he's good and knowledgeable. :) I awwed when the boy grabbed his hand and asked if he was going home. Awww!

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    1. YES! (fist pump).. I got an "Awww".. exactly what I was shooting for. :)

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  3. Did we have to use all the prompts, I don't think so and I am glad you left the story just as it is. Reminded me a bit of the movie A-I (artificial intelligence.) I fear the day when this kind of thing becomes possible, hopefully I will be long gone by that time. I agree with Jennifer, that last line was priceless. Well done, I really liked this!

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    1. Thanks Siv. I actually have had an AI-esque idea in my head for a while, but it's different from this one too, but I do like the general theme of a dystopic future with like a 'disposable' youth population. Not that I 'like' it.. but I like the writing possibilities. ;)

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  4. I don't think you got the prompt wrong. I'm sure it's fine to pick just one of them. And wow, you made such a story of these three short pieces! Really awesome!

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    1. Thanks Rachel, sometimes it's hard to get the prompts the same way as others, not that it's written wrong but when I'm reading my brain is already running with the story. I think we all read that way at first.

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  5. Very clever! I think you could do whatever you wanted with the prompts so no worries there. I think yous was very well done. Good job! Mine is #5.

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    1. Thanks Nancy, I really liked yours as well. So cool with the wand, and I loved the name "Tazi". I have such a hard time coming up with good names for characters.. Tazi is great. I 'liked' yours right after I first read it.

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  6. awesome story! i love AI! i hope they make it!

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  7. I liked this! Is there more the read? The story seems really intriguing!

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    1. Meradeth, it's an idea I've had for a while, but I haven't really fully thought it out yet. I'm still working on a different project, but eventually I think there could be a story in this beginning. Thanks.

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  8. This would make such a terrifyingly "real" short story, you should develop and submit it someplace. Of course, I both want to read it and don't want to read it... Being the mother of a six-year old little boy just brings the cringe fact that much higher. Great work!

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    1. Kymele, I know what you mean, I've got (among others) a 9 year old, and a 5 (going on 6 in about 3 months).. and a 4 year old.. all boys, so writing like this hits home. Probably why I wanted to start it sorta sterile and move to a gradual reinterpretation of the boy's humanity. It was easy to put myself in Trevor's shoes.

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  9. Kevin-I really like your 1st entry and hope you keep it the way that it is! I'm intrigued by the concept of wars being fought by "data systems" and "bio-storage." Great job and off to vote :-)

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    1. Thanks Christy. I'm a little embarassed to admit I just sorta latched onto some 'buzz words' without much thought on technical accuracy. If I ever flesh this out I'll have to do a lot more research into the names of technologies. lol

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  10. So, the reason I can't write sci-fi is because I can't write about what you wrote about, lol. Well done! I think you did a great job on all your pieces! It's a challenge to write so many, to say the least!

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    1. It was definitely a challenge. I think I sat and stared at the prompts for a good 15 minutes before I even really understood what I was supposed to attempt. Sci-Fi is definitely difficult imho, much moreso than Fantasy.

      In Fantasy, I can make something up and if it's not correct I can just say, "Poof, in this world that's how it is." With Sci-fi, if it doesn't fit it's obvious to a lot of folks, and they love to point it out to you. :)

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  11. I like what you have going on here- a man discovering his conscience when encountered with this data storage unit/boy who has real feelings, real fears. I'm curious to read more!

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    1. Thanks Cynthia. I love that sort of theme, the confronting the reality of the accepted. Soylent Green(ish) if you will. Always been fascinated by the way different people approach moral dilemmas.

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  12. I would also like to read more, it is an intriguing story! I liked AI also!

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  13. I continue to be amazed at the ideas people come up with. This was terrific!

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    1. There are some really good entries into these challenges, aren't there? Some incredibly talented folks. It's sorta intimidating at first.

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  14. Wow. Original and tugged at my heart. Good job!
    Melissa Maygrove #14

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    1. Thanks Melissa. I liked yours as well, the familiar image of a mother appearing, but knowing it's probably synister while still holding out hope against that. Nicely done.

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  15. Yeah, I think it is fine to pick one of the prompts too. Great job!

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    1. Thanks Cherie, I hope it's ok because I don't seem to be the only one who went down that path.

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  16. Wow. I am super impressed. You are one crazy clever man! Great job! I love the whole concept. I can see why you were attached to it. :)

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    1. Thanks Erin, but you know they say one man's clever is another man's weird.. probably a little closer to the truth. ;) I really liked yours as well, even though I had to search for it. Loved the ending.. honestly I can relate with Everett's fears. (Hint to everyone else, it's #51)
      :)

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  17. That prompt was a little confusing as to whether we were supposed to use all or one of the prompts. I'm still not sure. I loved your story though, I thought it flowed really well through all three pieces. It could be a very interesting novel.

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  18. That was an exceptional ending to the first bit. Nice going.

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    1. Thanks Randy. I tried not to go too overboard.. I'm afraid I may have gone there on the second. If I could rewrite it I'd probably be a little more subtle, but at 200 words it's tough to get it all in exactly how you want it.

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  19. I felt the prompt were confusing. I only used one of them for mine. I like it though, as do I love yours. The last sentence of the first one brought so much life to Trevor. Sweet. Well done, Kevin!

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    1. Thanks Julia. I wanted to portray a profound paradigm shift in the MC in a very understated way, but coming in at under 200 made that more than a little challenging.

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  20. Brilliant!

    “Daddy, will I ever dream of more than flying lines and stars?”

    All I have to say is: "Where is the rest!"

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    1. Thanks Elise. I honestly couldn't think of any better way to describe the screen-saver lookin prompt. I sat there and thought for about 10 minutes before just saying.. "meh, forget it." and moving on. lol If I had time I'm confident I could've come up with something much more brilliant. (insert rolling eyes here) :)

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    2. LOL! When I start saying things like "meh, f..it" things start going south. (: Why I liked that line is because I could clearly hear a child's voice saying it and that gave me chills (the good kind). (:

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  21. I like that first prompt better actually, the second seemed a bit rushed and I would have liked more details. But I know that 200 word limit is pesty. I spent ages getting my own fiction down to that.

    #38

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    1. Gwen, thanks for the feedback. The second was harder for me for sure, the scene I originally wrote out was around 500 words.. and that was, (I thought), holding myself back in descriptions. I think that's my bane, writing concise, I like to let my paintbrush sort of go wild when writing a scene. Telling a story in 200 words is like telling me to shave my face in 3 swipes of the razor. ;)

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  22. That's pretty impressive for a first stab at sci-fi, you have the kind of imagination that I sorely lack. I liked how the pieces all flowed from one to the next. I agree with S.P., there's seeds for a novel here. Well done!

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  23. Replies
    1. Thanks. It felt heavy when I wrote it.. but I guess that's the point. ;)

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  24. I really, really like this. Great stuff, Kevin. I couldn't write science fiction to save my life. There was so much to like about all these pieces you put together, I can't decide which one I liked the best. Well done!

    Congrats on your last win, by the way.

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    1. I was tagged with the Lucky Seven Meme and passed it on to you. You can read all about it on my blog as I didn't have any other way to let you know I tagged you. :)

      http://jennykellerford.wordpress.com/2012/03/13/lucky-seven-meme/

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  25. Awesome job! Totally different take on the prompts. I loved it...excellent. :)

    Michelle
    www.michelle-pickett.net/blog

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    1. Thanks Michelle.. yeah I sorta have a different take on most things it seems. I blame it on my daydreaming farm boy childhood and being left-handed. :)

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  26. Gosh! You're so good! Trust me, sci-fi is NOT easy to write, especially when you'd never written before...I failed miserably, but you did a wonderful job! You rock it! "Like"

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  27. Hmm...you might just sweep this one as well too! It's amazing how you stayed true to your theme for all three pieces. I knew better to even attempt that. I have such a strong feeling of characters and storyline just from these three short pieces. Very well done.

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    1. Thanks Lauren, but getting to the winners circle with this crowd is a tall order. I'm just really enjoying being around all these talented folks who seem as obsessed with improving writing as I am. I don't feel so much like or a writing geek in this group. :)

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  28. Thank you very much for your kind words

    I thought your writes were cleaver and creative - that does not mean the same thing I hope as I don’t mean them to be.

    When I wrote my piece it didn’t occur to me that I would think about them again. But per your line of “your baby” my characters are sitting around in my head discussing what happens next...characters are like that.

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    1. Funny how you get attached to your writing so quickly. I hadn't really spent much time thinking about the theme I wrote about really.. but after I wrote it I sure had an itch to keep going. lol

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  29. Kevin,
    Your entry has been shortlisted to the next round of judging. Good luck!

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  30. Truly heartbreaking. I hope they can go on and find a new life, a better one.

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    1. Thanks Traci, I might have to see where this story goes eventually.

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  31. This is amazing! I applaud you for using so many prompts. Consider yourself liked :D

    Samantha
    Writing Through College

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    1. Thank you Samantha. I liked yours, the first date, as well. It was a welcome switch. Obviously I wasn't the only one that thought so since you went through 1st round of judging. Congrat's!

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  32. Gosh I wonder what's going to happen to them now? And you used all the prompts! "Are we going home now" rang straight through me. Great writing.

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    1. Thank you Susan. I tried to make that first statement by the boy carry some emotional weight. Glad you felt it.

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  33. Very high tech! Your use of the lingo was totally believable. Good job!

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    1. I really threw it all together very quickly so your comment that the lingo was believable is a nice compliment. Thanks.

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  34. Wow - I loved the first piece the best. That's a book I'd probably read in one sitting. Nicely done! :-)

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    1. Thank you. I spent way more time on the first, and it obvously shows. After about half an hour writing it I put up the other 2 in about 10 minutes. After struggling with the prompt, I just wanted to get it done and posted. :)

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  35. I love how they each carry the theme thread throughout. Great job at that. The five sentence prompt was an excellent way to end the challenge. Mixed genre - sci-fi/horror (#103)

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    1. Thanks Elizabeth, I'll make sure to swing by yours and give it a look.

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  36. Unbelievable! Great job. Loved the DOD aspect.

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    1. Thanks Mina.. Sci-Fi always needs a good Government conspiracy type of set-up, right? :)

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  37. I do a bit of sci fi, and for someone who normally doesn't write it, you nailed it! Reminded me a lot of A.I. Nice one, sir! :)

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    1. Thanks David, coming from you I consider that a nice compliment.

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  38. You've been shortlisted and are advancing onto the semi-finals! Congrats and good luck!!

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  39. Very cool! Loved the premise of your flash fics!

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  40. I loved how the pieces all flowed together and your use of the prompts. Great job and congrats on making it to the semi-finals.

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  41. Okay, I delayed checking your entry, wondering how you could get so many votes twice in a row. This is a great story whether or not you used all the prompts. You deserve to be shortlisted. I'm number #57.

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    1. Thanks Sher, but I think the vote on this second one was influenced a great bit by my former win. Honestly there were a number of entries on this second go round that are far superior to mine, imho.

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  42. This was awesome. I loved the idea. Very creative.

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  43. I liked the opening bit about the machine using a boy as a 'data storage unit' - chilling and thought-provoking. Thanks for sharing!

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  44. Beautiful! I love it...

    I was too late to enter, but if you don't mind... you can read my story here: http://www.clairelfishback.blogspot.com/2012/03/boy-on-bridge.html

    Thanks!
    Claire L. Fishback

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    1. Really good Claire.. very sad. I wish it were only a story but to too many children this is a sad truth.

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  45. This was so creative Kevin, well done and great use of my prompts! Congratulations - I've awarded you third place in the Judging Round! Woot, you’ve cleaned up with prizes this Campaign!!! Make sure you check out my post to see what you've won this time :)

    Congrats again!

    Hugs,

    Rach

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    1. Thanks Rachael.. can't tell you how much this means to me.

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  46. Kevin,
    Congratulations on your third prize. I thought your entry was amazing! Truly...all along, I thought you would be the overall winner. Great job!

    Liza@MiddlePassages

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  47. Congrats on your wins! I donated one of the prizes for your third place win in the judging round. You can email me at jocelyn at jocelynrish dot com so we can figure out how to get them to you. Congrats again!

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