Hard drive cleaning

  • In a recent inspection of my hard disk, I came up with some... (hopefully) interesting material.

    Some of it included my pre-Cythera attepts at fiction. I wrote mostly sci-fi, (Of marginal quality, but decent enough for my parents to encourage me to make more of it), but I had also developed a fairly interesting alternate world, populated by Humans and artifical life-forms called 'Toons'

    Anyway, here you have one of the stories I wrote in that world. I would like to know what you think of it.

    A few definitions -
    Toons are artifical life-forms made by humans and used for a variety of purposes, including entertainment, the feild for which they were designed (From 'cartoons')
    Toons come in a array of types, with varrying intilectual and physical capiblity. There are also many manufacturing processes used to make them, and they are devided into classes on these criteria. The classes are further devided into varriants, such as C-ABD1 is a varriant of C class.
    C and S class toons have rights roughly comprible to humans, A and B types are not so legaly fortunate.

    Starline is a rather overambitious corparation that makes C class (Matrix based) toons. It's sort of the microsoft of the toon world.

    Matrix based toons are those of the S and C classes. They are superior to A and B (inflated) classes. They are senteint beings.

    Inflation toons are aledgedly nonsenteint toons, based upon a diffrent method of creation than C and S class toons. Inflation toons include A and B class toons. Starline does not make them and wants exiting ones to be eliminated to create a market for C class replacements only they can provide. Inflation toons need periodic (and expensive for independent toons) gas refils to maintin their solid form.


    The story that fallows is of a toon druing the Starline reign of terror, about 4 years ago.

    The room was cold. Bright flouresent lights shown down on the Spartan decor.
    There were no windows, only a door - but it was electronically locked from the outside.
    The plain walls were draped with sterilized plastic, and video camera stared down at me...
    the penetrating feeling of being observed.

    I remember it all clearly, as if it were just yesterday. Of course, being a toon, I remember everything as if it was yesterday... If only I could forget.

    I suppose I should explain a bit more. I am a C-ABD1 toon. So as not to become the target of legal or other action from “Starline”™, I am withholding my name. It has been several years since the events I will describe, and Starline has long since been reduced to it’s medical division, Starmed.
    I have nothing against Starmed, so don’t take this as an attack on them. This is an attack, if you want to view it as such, on the people that ran Starline. The people that organized such atrocities as the A toon massacre. I’d like to make it clear that nobody told me to write what I am writing, and although they are helping me with publishing, page layout and such, they weren’t an influence on my writing. I’d also like to thank them for their help, and support in my effort to bring these awful truths to light.

    As I was saying, I was in the aforementioned room. That room is the first thing I remember. Since I’m a toon, I never was an infant, I wasn’t even born, I was manufactured. I was “Turned on”, so to speak, in that room.

    I came into the world, unlike a biological child, at my permanent size. While my knowledge was limited compared to now, I already could speak fluently in English, Spanish and Japanese, as well as a high density toon language known as “Pikish”. I also knew how to act in normal human society, and had all the practical knowledge it was thought I would ever need, plus the ability to aquire new skills and learn as needed.
    Quite impressive for a one-minute old person, but average for a toon.
    One minute, incidentally, is the time needed for a toon to initialize the Trilogic databanks on initial activation.

    I laid there on the bed which was the center of the room for 10 seconds - More than enough time for me to take in and process the entire room.
    I looked at the camera in the corner. I identified it as a “STL-50 Security camera.
    "Used to convert light in to electrical signals that can be displayed at a remote location or transmitted by radio.”

    I knew I was being watched. My temperature sensors, imbedded in my sculpt, the toon equivalent of skin, told me that the ambient temperature outside my body was 60.5 degrees farinhight.
    Chilly by human standards, but well within both Human and toon tolerances. Pressure sensors, as they are mechanically described by humans, are what give toons a sense of touch. Not a system of Solder and silicone, but of Ci3O2, (Tricillium Dioxide or toon dust ) and various other compounds in the Cilium family.

    As you may know, Cilium is to toons what Carbon ( and stupidity, at least with certain ones, ) is to humans and other non - computer forms of earth life. At this moment, my pressure sensors dected, based on the constant of my weight, that the room I was in was on a 1G world. In all probability, Earth.
    After thinking about this data for a while, I sat up. My pressure sensors detected in increase in the pressure applied to my lower body, and a decrease in the upper. I swayed slightly, calibrated my balance system. I became aware of cables attached to my neck and side. My pre- programed knowledge identified these items as a BTLF Support cable and a Trilogic Probe. Quite normal things for a newly activated toon to have attached to his or her anatomy, but not permeant. I was obviously revived at there temporary nature.

    As a pondered the new view from my upright position, I heard a noise. “REMOVE BTLF CABLE. END INS, CODE 2, END OF LINE.”
    My instruction analyzer told me exactly what that ment. I pulled the cable attached to me off and laid it aside. It clunked on the padded ground.
    “REMOVE TRILOGIC PROBE. CONT 5, END OF LINE.” I pulled the tether off my neck and dropped it on the floor alongside of the other cable.
    I looked up at the speaker that the sound originated from. It was below the camera. I was wearing a thin, gray and blue T-shirt and shorts, embroidered with the Starline toons logo. I climbed off the bed rather auqwardly onto the floor, another triumph for my newly calibrated balance system.
    A bit unsteady, I hobbled over to the door. I reached out with my right arm and touched the door. I ran my hand over the smooth surface of the door.
    As I looked at the door, it suddenly sided away. In place of the door was a human. The first human I ever saw.

    I recognized the human as a Male, about 35 years old. Jake Henderson, the inventor of C class toons, and my creator.
    One note, even though he at the time was employed by Starline, I find no guilt on his part. In fact, he was to a good degree responsible for the downfall of Starline.
    Jake then spoke the first human speech I had ever heard.
    “Hello <My Name>. Are you felling well?”

    “Yes”, I replied.

    “Please come with me.”

    I followed Jake down a long hall into a second room. Waiting in the second room was a second human. Female, about 32 or 33 years old.
    “Pam Henderson”, My programing told me. She was Jake Henderson’s Wife, and also a toon maker.
    “Hello” She said.
    Her voice was different from Jake’s voice. Interesting, I thought. Pam and Jake spoke for a few seconds in a much faster and less clear manner than when they spoke to me.
    Of course, I understood their words, but it astounded me the sacrifice of quality when humans talk fast. After conversing for a few seconds about me and “going out to lunch” they turned around and left the second room and shut the door behind them.

    It took me a second to realize that they had just left me alone. I was alone again. The first human’s I’d seen had just left me alone in another cold, bright room.

    Different from the last room only because of it’s larger size and a Large machine at the center. Curious, I decided to take a look at it. It was covered in buttons of various geometric shapes. I identified it as a ETL tester. Almost like a “Simon says” game, the goal was to repeat a pattern of shapes the computer gave. Since it was designed for toons, it was much harder.
    The only humans that could beat it were the ones that designed it.
    I flipped the device on, unaware that the machine’s presence was not a test of my memory but my curiosity.

    Now mind you, Humans now hold that toons become sentient at about 8 months of age. I don’t remember any dawning flash of revelation, so ether it must be a gradual thing or it happens immediately.
    So there I stood, pressing buttons on the machine like a starving hamster on the world’s last sunflower seed. After I beat the tenth level, I lost interest in it and walked over to the door.

    I pressed the door opener button. To my surprise, the door opened. I’d thought Jake and Pam would have locked it, but rather it was left unlocked - a terrible breach in security, but I didn’t care. I gingerly walked out the door and turned down another hallway, which terminated in an elevator. I Walked inside and pushed the “Basement” Button...


    In a few moments I arrived at my floor.
    The doors slid open to reveal a long hallway. It was quite dilapidated, and the smells of rust and mildew were everpresent.
    I heard strange noises - disturbing noises - and rodent noises.

    However, my curiosity overpowered my sense of reason and I pressed on. The hall opened into a large room.
    A little light came from a single bulb hanging without a real fixture ( Only a free-hanging socket ) in the corner of the room.
    I saw a desk in that corner, and I walked over to it. Sitting down at the 70’s style swivel chair, I proceeded to make a investigation of the desk’s content. Pulling open one of the drawers reviled a slightly yellowed piece of paper. In was stamped “confidential” in red ink. My data banks told me that it was from something called a “Stamp pad”.
    Before I could make out the poor quality type - after all, while I could read far better than a human of my age, I wasn’t used to reading real-world, irregular text - I was jolted by the noise of a electric motor starting.

    Dropping the paper, I got up and walked over to the wall, apparently the origin of the sound. I listened intently to the noises.

    “Did ya get the next batch of Fizz ready?” I heard.

    Fizz, I knew, was human slang for Inflation toon dissolver, a primitive form of which is the so-called “dip”. Mind you, C toons, myself included, are not dip-soluble. For a C toon, being “dipped” was of as much importance as a insect hitting the windshield of a car, barring damage to clothes.
    Being rather naive, (At least so far, no way to program common sense, except hard, situationally specific programing, has been discovered.) I did not see the significance of this statement.

    “Yeah. How’s the status on the next batch of A’s?”

    “Great. The trucks brought in a good ten dozzen.”

    “You realize that this means we’ve got to work overtime.”

    Intrested, I looked up to a air vent. It was covered in a decade’s worth of dust. It was all too apparent that the entire room had seen little use. Dispite my programing that the task would be dangerous, I pulled up the swivel chair in order to get to the vent.

    I gave the vent a tug, but it held fast. I looked for screws, but none were present. Improvising, I applied my full strength to the vent. Mind you, toons are a good bit stronger than the avarage human. Thus, with one gesture, i ripped the pathetic peice of brass from it’s mounings. Then, totaly oblivious to the hazard, I climbed into the vent.

    I crawled for several meters into it’s dank and musty bowels, untill I came to a very large vent, serving to cool or heat a huge loading bay.
    I peeked inquisitvly into it’s depths. Sprawled irregularly like the limbs and torso of some giant robot, dozens of crates, tanks, computer arrays and other items large and small, were scattered about the floor of the bay.

    Dominating the center, almost directly below my perch in the air duct, were two enourmus tanks, a good 10 feet in diameter and twice as deep.

    I’ll brefly leave you in suspense here, sorry but let me speak for a second on toon nature

    - don’t worry, this ties in with the aforementioned event. We toons vary widely in intelegence - A class toons, the first developed in moderen times, are, no offense intended, about as smart as a smallish monkey.

    B toons have more advanced minds, and are atleast on the level of a gorillia. C-ABD1 toons, like myself, are roughly equivelent in cappacity to a twelve-year-old human.
    The C-5FX and S classes are equal or greater (Marginaly) than humans, although that is a matter of vicious debate in theese days.

    In terms of sheer memory, though, even a C-00A0 toon dwarfs even the most advanced of binary computer systems. The memory of a single S class toon could store the memorys of 1/5 of the computers on the planet today. If fact, S class toons capture very detailed, (Perhaps exesavly so), data on there opperation, including 72 frames-per-second 8096x2048 pixel 256 bit picture input into there memory every waking moment of there lives.
    Also, stereophonic data, even of hypersonic and subsonic frequencys, is stored in there minds, and synced perfectly with the above picture data. Full tactile, ofacotory and internal diagnostics are also captured, and in total, over 4 gigabytes (alot, for the computer-illiterate) are stored eace second.

    Add to this the ability to search this vast memory from start to finish in a fraction of a minute, and it can be seen why S class toons are so expensive.
    What? but toons are sentint, how can they be sold, you may ask. Well, they can’t. It’s illegal to sell a toon, and we are given full rights as sentint beings under toon island goverment law. The system by which ample profit is had by all is beyond this writing.

    While a “lowly” C class toon like myself is not quite up to the specs of a S toon, we both share a desire, call it curosity, if you like, to fill those databanks with interestong stuff.

    Hey, can you blame us? After all, you humans are quite near obsessed with “seeing the sights” and “boldly going where on one has gone before”, ect.
    Furthermore, we are made more-or-less in our creator’s image, why wouldn’t we have some common interests?
    But, I must digress.

    I return to my previous line of thought, alredy in progress.
    So, I was looking down from the vent onto those huge tanks. Confined withing the tanks, a greenish liquid, heated to 130°, acorreding to my infa-red vision, swrilled. My ever-helpful databanks informed by of a 70% chance that the gooup was Inflation toon disolver, colaberated by the converson I overhered previously.

    I watched as a truck backed into the bay.
    On the side, it was marked “FREE GAS REFILS FOR ALL TOONS”.
    Odd, I thougt. For one, not all toons needed gas refils, so I assumed that the message was ment to entice only inflated toons.
    Second, I saw nither logic nor rational in offering free gas refils to inflation toons. Still, I was not without the emotion needed to be pleased with an act of charity. Perhaps Starline was trying to improve it’s public image.

    I still did not make the connection between the tanks of fizz and the potental for entraping curious or desprate inflation toons in the trucks.
    As I looked on, Starline gaurds filed out, fallowed by about 40 toons.
    My exelent hearing detected, amid the chatter of the Starline personel, sevral screams and crys for help from the gaggle of toons.

    My curosity reaching exterem levels, I observed the group of inflation toons being led - or, more acratuly, forced - into a cage.
    The cage was of loose construction, but the guards kept it’s prisioners form making any serious escape attempt. I could not comprehend the reason, but I was none the less fasinated when the Starline grunts attached the cable of an overhead crane to the cage and lifted it into the air.
    To curious to do anything, I continued observing the humans in their natural habitat.
    The crane lifted up the cage and stoped over the tanks. Then, as if for some twisted dramatic effect, it began to desend into the tank.
    I was shocked. Didn’t the Starline people know that this would harm the toons?!

    As the base of the cage, and by extension, the feet of the toons, touched the near-boiling fizz, there was an explosion.

    This explosion was caused by the sudden decompression of the gasses inside each toon as their feet and lower body melted away.
    As they desended into the greenish cavity that would be the death of them, more iregular pops of varying magnatude resounded through the cavrenious loading bay, caused by the gasses escaping from the poor toon’s body parts.
    I heard one toon scream out, as if it would save him, but he never finished his yell - his lung-chamber was disolved before he could.

    Stuned by what my infernal curosity had led me to see, I backed up out of the tube and steped down into the dlapidated office where I had heard the voices.

    “We’re all redy for the next batch” I heard them say.

    I turned around and walked back into the elevator. When the lift reached the floor from which I originated, I walked out just in time to see the Hendersons returning form “Lunch”.

    “Hey, what are you doing out?” they asked me.

    My databanks told me that a full acount would be inaproprate. As they shuffeled me into the cleanroom for more testing, I comprehended the phrase
    “Curiosity killed the cat" (f. domesticus - a qudraped nonsentint carbon-based lifeform).

    Okay, I know it's kinda lame... but please comment anyway!
    - Bryce

    In general, what exactly makes a game good isn't that easily
    quantified - perhaps the absense of things that make it bad? - Words of Wisdom from Glenn Andreas

    (This message has been edited by Bryce (edited 08-30-2002).)

  • I just realized, upon rereading the above text, that I had almost no formating skills. I am going to format it nicer...

    (edit) done

    In general, what exactly makes a game good isn't that easily
    quantified - perhaps the absense of things that make it bad? - Words of Wisdom from Glenn Andreas

    Where do you want to (url="http://"http://www.macclassics.com/cythera/tricks/rJade.htm")teleport(/url) today?

    (This message has been edited by Bryce (edited 08-30-2002).)

  • This is actually pretty good, Bryce. (Full of spelling errors, but I shan't nitpick. :) ) I like the concept, although it did tend to stray off-topic a bit.

    The idea of toons is interesting. You said they were developed for entertainment...what else, though?

    Unfortunately I've become too used to reveiwing chronicles...^^ Are you planning on writing anything in the future related to it?

    The Coldstone Chronicles are apparently a bit short of chrons...I dunno, with a bit of fixing up (spellchecking and such) you might have a good, albeit short, chronicle. :)

    A sense of peace fell over me as I watched the sunrise from my room...then I realized my window faces west.

  • It almost sounds like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?".

    Key Part in the making of (url="http://"http://homepage.mac.com/mdwgmalc")Xichra's Revenge(/url).
    "Yo ho ho and a bottle of Snapple! Cap't and his Pirate Crew!
    Microsoft is better than Apple! I have more software than you!"

  • Quote

    Originally posted by ferazel_09:
    **It almost sounds like "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?".

    Yes, that was one source from which I drew the basic concept, although I don't think they ever had the toons devided into types. Their toons all seemed quite intelegent but seemed to have had almost no rights. The other source of inspiration was my mom, who told stories about toons sometimes, and she was drawing partily from rodger rabbit, so there you have it...

    One of the reasons I stoped doing this is that the idea wasn't entirely mine (As it Cythera, for that matter.) and that it was getting hard to keep track of things.
    Since I'd been making toon-related data it over the time of several years, the quality was diffrent, and I'd be struggling to reconcile details I'd created when I had less of an understanding than I do now. (Such as selling senteint beings - I eventualy realized this was a problem, and did work out an explanation, but it is beyond the scope of this document as well)

    In general, what exactly makes a game good isn't that easily
    quantified - perhaps the absense of things that make it bad? - Words of Wisdom from Glenn Andreas

    Where do you want to (url="http://"http://www.macclassics.com/cythera/tricks/rJade.htm")teleport(/url) today?

  • Quote

    Originally posted by iKaterei:
    **This is actually pretty good, Bryce. (Full of spelling errors, but I shan't nitpick.

    I'm sure it is, I didn't have time to spellcheck it. I only went over it to make sure it didn't contain any major errors in logic.


    Originally posted by iKaterei:
    **I like the concept, although it did tend to stray off-topic a bit.

    Yeah, like when the toon talks about the nature of toons... oh, well, It is kinda a nessicary evil, as it is needed to inform the reader of the things concerned, although in retrospect I should have handeled it better. It kinda inturuped the flow of the story.


    Originally posted by iKaterei:
    **The idea of toons is interesting. You said they were developed for entertainment...what else, though?

    Almost all toons are made for use in 'animated' movies, as the price of the types one might want to employ is generaly prohibitive. However, movies are a one-time deal unless there is a sequal or series, and even those don't last forever. Since many types of toons live quite a while (Bordering on clinical imortality for S class) there is a need for things for them to do after their time in the limelight is over -
    In the olden days, many A and B class toons died as bums, unless they were big enough stars to be purchased by collectors. (Legal in those days, A & B were regarded as nonsenteint)
    This was because they lacked intelegence for any serious mental labor, and were too silly/unfocused for most phisical labor. Since they acted retarted, no one wanted to employ them unless they were after their looks.

    Later, when smarter toons like C and S class came along, they were much eaiser to employ. Human and Toon worked for the first time in what was pretty much mutual satisfaction.

    C & S classes could do pretty much any task a human could, and could sometimes do it better, so they find fairly ready employment after they retire from the movie world.
    Starline used very intelegent toons that looked like humans as lab hands and assistants for their R & D lab, they numbered about a hundred and were easily the largest use of toons for non-entertainment.


    Originally posted by iKaterei:
    **Unfortunately I've become too used to reveiwing chronicles...^^ Are you planning on writing anything in the future related to it?

    No. On the other hand, there is quite a bit of toon related material stowed on my hard drive, some of it better than what I posted here (But often unfinished, or in the form of a script) so I could get some more if you are interested.


    Originally posted by iKaterei:
    **The Coldstone Chronicles are apparently a bit short of chrons...I dunno, with a bit of fixing up (spellchecking and such) you might have a good, albeit short, chronicle.:)

    Heh, I hear they are pretty brutal with their reviews over there... I doubt it be a very good hit. Thanks for your input Kat.

    In general, what exactly makes a game good isn't that easily
    quantified - perhaps the absense of things that make it bad? - Words of Wisdom from Glenn Andreas

    Where do you want to (url="http://"http://www.macclassics.com/cythera/tricks/rJade.htm")teleport(/url) today?

  • Say, does anyone else have samples of their pre-cytherian writings?

  • Quote

    Originally posted by Bryce:
    **Heh, I hear they are pretty brutal with their reviews over there... I doubt it be a very good hit. Thanks for your input Kat.

    Brutal...hrm. Well, perhaps. Depends on how you look at it- the way I view it, they just give good critisicm. ^^

    I'll give you (url="http://"http://www.AmbrosiaSW.com/webboard/Forum49/HTML/000051.html")this link(/url) and you can decide for yourself if that's a 'brutal reveiw' or not. :)

    (Actually I just want people to read my chron...but whatever.) ^^;

    A sense of peace fell over me as I watched the sunrise from my room...then I realized my window faces west.

    (This message has been edited by iKaterei (edited 08-31-2002).)

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