Monday, February 22, 2010


This is a descriptive short I whipped up for my English class, and I have to say I'm quite proud of it. Down the line, I'm even considering making some logos and sketches to help better realize it. I did get a bit carried away during the writing process, though, so it runs a bit longer than many of my other works. If you wanna see the tale of a boy and his affront to scientific logic, take a look after the jump. As always, feel free to leave any thoughts you may have on it

I can’t believe how much I’ve traveled over the past few weeks, and without spending a dime on plane tickets or lodging. As I’m writing this entry, I’m lookin’ at trinkets I have from Sweden, Spain, South Korea, and who knows how many other places sitting on my dashboard, and it’s all thanks to something I got from the Research and Development team I’ve been helping out over the years. You see, by trade I’m a Public Relations specialist, and one of the first job offers I got was helping this transportation technology development team market their still-in-progress tech at the time to potential buyers. When I saw the specs for their product, which they told me was small enough to fit in jeans pockets, but able to expand enough to get people around, I knew I had a big order ahead of me in trying to make this something investors won’t look at and say, “You’re an absolute nut and we want you removed from the premises”. Doing this has got me booted from more than a few meetings, but it was more than worth it when their lead developer approached me after work, still decked out in his lab coat and goggles, and said, “Thanks for all the help. With your PR wizardry, we finally got a call back from potential investors, ready to put our blood, sweat and tears to good use. As a token of our appreciation, I’ll give you this G-10 Shaw prototype.” After which he presented me a spiffy metal briefcase he was lugging around. “Whenever you wanna give our tech a spin for yourself, open it and follow the stuff we included. Just remember that this was made for you and only you” That night I decided to celebrate their (and by association my) success with some of my work buddies, going so club crazy that the next morning, I felt like a semi smacked me across the face. It was that morning I saw just what I was pushing all these years, and how much it would change the life I knew.
            At around 10:00 AM I woke up, bundled under my silky cotton blanket and smacking the alarm clock. After a few minutes of shaking off the sleepies I rolled out of bed, tripping on the suitcase set beside it. I reached for the handle and dragged it in front of me, popping it open to reveal this handwritten letter from the team:
            “This suitcase contains all the time and effort we poured in to make this happen, yours included. You knew about the legalities of buying, selling and talking about it when you first joined, so the only thing I’ll say is use common sense and don’t try anything stupid with it, especially since it’s only assigned to work for the person it recognizes as its owner, in this case you. The unit will guide you through the how’s and why’s of using it, so just turn on the included laptop, watch the magic and have some fun
~The G.U.E.C Team
P.S. Be sure you have some good clothes on when you activate it
            I pulled the magazine size, cobalt blue laptop from the suitcase, and was struck by the pebble-like design of the casing, as well as its pebble-like weight in my hands. I flipped it open to have a peek at the keyboard, and almost immediately it powered on and, in a distinct Cockney accent, spouted off this during the boot up:
            “Unit G-10 Shaw initiating one-time auto sequence. Confirming subject identity…confirmed.  Teleporting subject and briefcase to assigned location. Hope you don’t mind the woods, sir.”
I looked up from the screen and noticed the azure skies where the roof used to be, as well as the endless stretch of pine trees all around me as I asked myself, “OK, what the hell just happened?”
“You have been teleported to a secure location in order to minimize unwanted attention while I show you how to use the G-10 Shaw.” was its answer to my rhetorical question. “I mean, there is that whole one-guy-in-the-woods-with-a-camera bit, but better one than one hundred, right?”
“Right. So, what’re you made of, exactly?”
“I’m nothing more than chips and transistors, altered in the lab to enable all the functions of that capsule.” I grabbed the cobalt blue, pill shaped capsule it referred to from the briefcase as it continued, “That capsule, however, is a different beast. The nanotechnology in there took years of research, trial and error in the lab to make, and is so complex merely studying it rendered one of the technicians unconscious for 2 days. On the plus side, that same scientist was able to solve Algebra problems by merely looking at ‘em when he woke up.” I put the capsule next to my ear and gave it a shake to guess at the contents. “Hmm, swishy”
“Indeed. Also forgive my rudeness and allow me to introduce myself. I am the G-10 Shaw, part of the General Unrestricted Exploration Capsule, or G.U.E.C. line of products the team’s research is powering. If you want, you can also call me Cherri, my original codename taken from the lead programmer’s little angel.”
“Pleased to meet such an advanced A.I. With a British accent, apparently.”
“Three words: Monty Python binge. Then again, if my programmers had been watching more illicit entertainment by the time they gave me a voice, I’d probably sound more sexed up than I do now. Speaking of programming, since this is your first time having a go with me, would you like me to show you how this all works? Since that’s the whole reason you’re here, and all.”
“Sure. Not like there’s much else to do out here.”
“Right. Now would you fancy seeing the travel or housing capabilities first?”
“You mean this can be more than 1 thing?”
“Just choose.” Picking myself up, I set the laptop and briefcase on a nearby stump as I answered, “Housing, then. I could use a good change of clothes right now.”
“Very well. Double click the house icon, press the clicker on top of the capsule to activate the timer and give it a good toss. Preferably on a good space of ground not near a cliff.” I did as Cherri suggested, and in a few seconds an Acme grade puff of smoke appeared before me, slowly dissipating to reveal a pearl white, sizably square structure with sliding windows on either side. “Reminds me of what I stayed in during college, when Ramen was what’s for dinner.”
“Hush, you. If you don’t like it, you can always use the editor program to change it later. Besides, it’s the inside that counts, or did your mum not teach you that?”
“She taught me how to salvage a burnt piece of steak, does that count?”
“Hmm, perhaps so. Now c’mon, let’s have a look inside, at the real meat of this set-up.” Doing so, I swung the oak door open to reveal a room that made a Ritz Carlton look worse than a Motel 8, at least from a guy’s perspective. Cherri started the tour by pointing to the right, as she said, “If you look right, you’ll see a queen sized bed covered with a zebra patterned blanket, with space age pillows on top and the silvery comforter right under.” Slipping my hand under the blanket to feel its buttery smoothness for myself, it continued, “I assure you it has quite a high thread count, and is like sleeping on a cloud.”
“I notice the headboard and bed posts have a wavy curve to ‘em and look very dark. Is that redwood?”
“Correct. Your favorite kind, if my data isn’t mistaken”
“It isn’t. I assume the night stand next to it is made of the same stuff?”
“That’s a sharp eye, but c’mon, you know what happens when you assume.”
“I do, just sayin’.” Just a bit above the headboard, a rainbow flag hanging there catches my gaze and I ask, “Is that the team’s way of insinuating something about me?”
“Oh heavens no, merely a placeholder they used to test the color range. Nothin’ wrong with if you do bat for the other team, of course.”
“Of course.” I made my way towards a jet black bar set on the opposite corner of the room while Cherri continued her tour spiel. “Now if you’ll care to look, you’ll find a place to mix drinks to your heart’s desire, complete with mixing cups, martini glasses and the like. I know you don’t like the hard stuff, so your bar’s stocked with Bacardi, Smirnoff and all those other pansy drinks girls like.”
“Will I be restocking my own stuff and supplying my own mixing skills?”
“Quite. There are programs and videos I can install to help you not look foolish while you do it, but that’s another matter for another time, and I need you dry for the tour.”
“But of course.” I then saw a pair of door knobs in the wall and asked, “Where do those go?”
“For now they lead to a mere closet, but once you fire up the editor you can change the room to your whims, and this to something beyond a closet with one pair of jeans and a T-shirt” Feeling out of place in my plaid PJs, I opened it up and saw the shirt had the message “I can has Cheezburger?” printed on it in a comical font. “I see your programmers were very sharp dressers, Cherri.”
“Yes. Quite sharp, and as always, you can add your own gear later on. Now then, look to your left and tell me what you see.” I did as instructed, and saw a Dance Dance Revolution cabinet and stand up arcade cabinet sitting side by side, telling her, “I’m seeing where most of my money went during high school. What arcade game does the stand up cab have?”
“Any kind you can find and install, with both a track ball and joystick set up for maximum versatility. For legal reasons I can’t point you to where to get the games, but I suspect you already have a fair clue as to where you can.”
“Indeed I do. I’m sure that computer station over there has nothing to do with how to acquire them.” I turned my gaze over to the other corner of the room, where a simple computer work station with a large, red office chair and combo scanner and printer on the desk beside the screen were stationed.
“Indeed not. However the bookshelf next to the work station has much literature that can educate you on many subjects, from the mystery of the opposite sex to the mystery of changing the timer on a VCR.”
“Who uses a VCR anymore?”
“Well they have to watch those sex tapes on something, correct? Anyways, if you step outside, I can start the travel half of the tour. Once you’re out, just double click the plane icon and watch the magic” I did as she said and saw the same cloud of smoke from before, this time revealing a mobile home, it’s shape and size reminiscent of the great killer whale, if a killer whale had windows running along its side.
“This is amazing, Cherri. For some reason I wanna watch Free Willy again.”
“Well if you want to, you can watch it in the flying mobile contraption. Now c’mon, we have a tour to get through so you can start using its perpetual energy and fuel to see the world’s biggest ball of yarn.” I entered through the rear door and quickly took note of the 2 bunk beds on either side as Cherri said, “As you can see, the travel part was meant to be more of a social experience, so we decided to give you some extra beds for your friends to sleep in, if you want to bring some along. If not, well then now you have extra space for your purchases, and what not.”
“Hmm, well that’s all well and good, but what about if nature calls? I won’t have to use a bag, will I?”
“Oh heavens no! In fact just up ahead is a loo the team built to take care of your different bodily functions and odors. Hopefully they didn’t leave any of their own behind after testing it out.” Seeing as it took up one part of the vehicle’s right side, I swung around on the left to get at the entrance on the other side. After swinging the door open, I flipped the light switch and took a peek at the facilities. “Hmm, pretty clean and white for something guys used. I can still see through the clear shower doors, Toilet on my right doesn’t seem to be emitting any man stench, and the sink in front of me doesn’t have any stray hairs or any of that. Think I’ll change that soon enough.”
“Yes, quite. On a related note, located directly behind you is the entertainment center of this contraption.” I turned to the left to see what it meant, and at once I beheld the marvelously large flat screen TV stationed on the wall, as well as the black cabinet directly below it holding so many modern game systems and media centers I nearly wept with joy. “Are…are those-”
“Yes they are. The media center and each of the consoles is equipped is high grade wireless internet, so if you wanna stream something from Netflix or watch someone get their twig ‘n’ berries smashed on the big screen, you can.”
“There’s so much beauty in the world…”
“Oi! Pull it together, man, we have a tour to finish! Speaking of, to the left of the big screen is a bookcase dedicated to holding any physical media you wanna keep on hand, be it DVDs, magazines, ill gotten goods or what have you.”
“Which the computer station on my left has nothing to do with?”
“But of course. And to the right of that is a black sofa made to feel soft and inviting to the touch. Give it a sit if you wanna see for yourself.” I planted myself on there and ran my hands over the supple fabric. “Mmm…like the gentle caress of a mother holding her child. I can see many hours spent here with my feet up on the little coffee table in front of me and reading some good lit.”
“Precisely. What’s more, both the computer and the media center can be accessed directly from the laptop. Just head to the appropriate subfolders and let it rip.” No time was wasted in putzing around in all the songs left in the laptop by the team, and since it was there, I decided to play something in Cherri’s personal collection. “Is that Time Warp? I see you have a good appreciation of British theatre”
“As well as men brave enough to dress like women. Also feeling a bit hungry. Anything to munch on, on board?”
“Indeed there is; right in the next room, if you would be so kind.” Proceeding through the hallway, I stepped into what seemed a lot like my home kitchen as Cherri said, “On the right hand side, you’ll find all the basic bits you’ll need for food consumption and clean up, including a dish washer, kitchen sink, fridge and all the drawers you could want to stock your tools of the trade. Obviously the sharp, pointy things are kept in those drawers, and the drawers are sealed air tight when no one is touching them. I’m sure you wouldn’t want your cutlery flying about while steering this thing.”
“I do prefer to stay puncture free during my travels, yes.” My gaze turned towards the sleek, metallic looking stove beside me, and I asked, “Now how about this thing over on my left?”
“Oh c’mon, even men should know what that does and how to use it. However I will say that this laptop can function with it in many ways, from setting temperature to step by step instructions, even letting you know if your food’s cooked a bit too much and is starting to char.”
“Nifty. Does it work with the fridge, too?”
“Oh yes, in fact, once you set it with your fridge at home, you can transport food from it to this fridge, if it’s there during the operation and there’s room for it in this fridge. The boys in the lab set up a test fridge, so you can try it out. Go on, start up the fridge program and give it a whirl.” Doing so, I opened the fridge and found a turkey club sandwich with a small note on the plate from one of the team members:
“Hope you like a bit of 1000 Islands with your sandwich”
~Shelly, Graphic Designer for the G.U.E.C Team
Taking a bite, I gave it a good chewing over, then came to this assessment, “Hmm, the lettuce has a nice crunch to it, and the 1000 Islands gives it the right amount of zing. Kid does good work.”
“I’m sure she’s sneezing at such an excellent compliment. Now then, shall I show you the brains of this operation?”
“Please do.” As I made my way through the corridor, I expected such an advanced piece of machinery as this to have gauges out the wazoo on the dashboard. What I saw, however, was a steering wheel covered with black leather, one speedometer on the left side of that and a single screen on the right. With a scratch of my crown, I asked Cherri, “So, uh, how does this thing work?”
“Well, to activate the systems, just double click the wheel icon on the laptop, and watch it work.” With that double click, the thing sprang to life as the screen powered up and a panel popped out beside it, revealing a set of keys and a clicker. “I assume those are to get this thing mobile?”
“Correct. Just set your location and I’ll get a path ready to go for you. Before that, though, I have a bit of a query.”
“Fire away, Cherri.”
“Well, according to my database, this was what you requested the very first day you worked for the G.U.E.C team several years ago. Why hasn’t that changed over all the time you spent getting the good word out about this project?” I sat myself in the plush pilot’s seat and set the laptop in the compartment space, telling her, “Simple. I want to travel this world and see all there is to it, but have never been able to. In college it was because I couldn’t afford plane tickets or make time between classes, and when I grew up it was because of how packed my schedule always was. The only times I ever did travel it was for business, and I couldn’t visit or do squat outside all the meetings I had to attend so I could seal the deal. In my personal life I want to see as much of this world as I can and understand how different people from different cultures and customs can connect, regardless of any barriers impeding that. To me, traversing this world means traversing the concept of human understanding, as well as finding out how much it means to be human, to be alive, to communicate with everything and everyone around me beyond the external, and peering at the internal of what composes each and every one of us.”
“Oh my, that’s…certainly something I didn’t think I’d hear from you.”
“What, we’re you expecting me to tell you my take on The Aristocrats?”
“Hmm, perhaps so. Anyways, whenever you’re ready, set your desired coordinates, strap yourself in and you’ll be ready for takeoff.”  I followed what she said, and used the keys to fire up the ignition; mere moments later I felt a body shaking rumble as it lifted up in the air. I didn’t know how it was doing it at the time, and neither did I really care. In that instant I felt free to go anyplace I desired, and that I did from that day on. When my job permits, I soar among the clouds to see places my friends tell me about first hand, taking in as much of the atmosphere as I can. As a matter of fact I can still feel the heat from the chili I tried while in Texas last weekend. Perhaps I’ll head to the fridge and get a cool glass of milk (I hear it helps cool off your mouth after you have a spicy dish). 

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