Famer's story writing debate Round #2 Draferman VS TUF
I thank my opponent TUF for taking part of Famer's story writing debating tournament. This is the second round of Famer's knock-out tournament. Both debaters must create a story together. Whoever creates the most interesting continuation/orientation/conclusion of the story wins the vote for "most convincing arguments"
Rules of this debate:
8000 characters maximum
72 hours for time to argue
7 days voting period
Yes to voting comments
Points for spelling and grammar are awarded as per usual.
There will be no points awarded for sources.
However, as the rules of the tournament goes, if any of the debaters forfeits a round (unless both forfeits an equals number of times), they will, by default automatically lose all 7 points as a result.
==== Monday ====
---- 11:40 ----
From the outside, the garage looks like any you'd find attached to your typical house. Vinyl siding, automatic door. However, what is inside is hardly typical. You'll find no cars or boxes of trinkets or junk. Tables line the walls of the shop, save for one spot in the corner. In this spot sits a machine, the best description for which is a large, metallic egg. The space on the tables is mostly occupied by cables, thick and thin, leading to this egg.
From inside the machine, various sounds can be heard. Tinkering, whirring, hammering. After some time, part of the machine moves, revealing a previously hidden door on the side. It opens, showing the machine to be hollow, just big enough to fit two people, and currently holding one.
Steve exits the machine, carrying tools both mundane and fantastic, shutting the door behind him. He walks over to a laptop sitting on the table, tapping at the keys intently. After a few seconds a very low pitched humming fills the garage, originating from the machine, the kind that causes your bones to vibrate. Tools begin to rattle, moving toward the edge of the table. The noise begins to increase in volume, forcing Steve to cover his ears. Just when the noise becomes unbearable, it ceases.
Steve drops his hands and glances tentatively at the machine, walking over to it. He cautiously places his hand against the surface. After nothing bad happens, he smiles and runs his thumb over a hidden panel that causes the door to open from the outside. Where before the interior was dimly lit, it now emits a strong green glow. Steve's smile broadens as he raises a foot to step inside the machine.
Steve's expression instantly turns to one of frustration. He shuts the door to the machine and heads over to a table where the ringing is coming from, moving parts and cables to uncover a cordless phone.
He squints his eyes as he struggles to hear the voice on the other end. He raises his voice.
"I can't hear you, this phone is on the fritz again, hold on and let me find another phone."
Steve looks at the machine and groans in irritation before opening the door to the house. Just as the house door shuts the one on the machine opens. The previous empty machine now has two occupants: Steve and another individual. They both step out of the machine, looking around. Steve turns to his companion.
"See? It worked."
The other looks around, then back to Steve.
"Listen, what you're proposing is just..."
"Is just the truth. Look at the clock, Ed."
Ed checks the clock and shakes his head.
"You've played more elaborate practical jokes before."
Steve takes a step toward Ed then opens his mouth as if to argue, then pauses, thinking.
"Sh1t, we don't have much time."
Steve walks over to one of the tables and disconnects the laptop, closing it and heading toward the main garage door. "Come on Ed, we'll continue this in the shed."
"The shed? Why? What's going on?"
"Listen! There isn't time to argue, just come with me!"
Once the door was high enough, Steve and Ed exit, pressing the button to shut the garage door behind them. They make their way around the house to the back yard, entering a tool shed there. After entering the shed, Scott reopens the laptop.
"Are you going to tell me what's going on, Steve.?"
"Give me a second..."
After a few moments, Steve turns the laptop around to face Ed. On the screen is a video feed of the interior of the garage they had just left.
"Ok, what should I be seeing?"
Ed watches the screen, his expression turning to confused interest as, on the screen, the house door opens and Steve walks through.
"Wha... what is this?"
"It's the garage. You see what I'm saying is true now."
"This could be prerecorded, it wouldn't be too hard to do."
"You're not going to cut me any slack here, are you?"
"It's certainly more plausible than accepting what you say as true."
Ed pauses and begins to watch the video feed more intently. "What the hell..."
Steve turns the display back around. On the screen, the Steve inside the house was intently examining the machine, pressing his ear against the door. Suddenly he doubles over in pain, collapsing onto the floor, apparently unconscious. The Steve inside the shed suddenly goes pale.
"I don't remember this..."
He sets the laptop down and abruptly leaves the shed, Ed following him. Steve's pace begins to slow as they approach the shed, finally stopping and bending over, his hands on his knees. Ed catches up with him and places a hand on his back.
"Steve, are you ok? Just what the hell is going on? If this is a joke it needs to stop."
Before he can respond, Steve falls to the ground. Ed looks between him and the garage, finally running to the garage door. He enters the code to open the door, standing their dumbfounded as he sees Steve lying on the floor inside the garage. He runs over to the body, bumping against the machine. As he examines Steve on the garage floor, the door to the machine opens. Ed looks in side and, stunned, falls onto his a$$. Inside the machine was another Steve, this one also unconscious.
As Ed sits there, attempting to process all of this, the Steve on the garage floor begins to groan and stir. Reflexively, Ed grabs the third Steve from inside the machine, hefting him over his shoulder before exiting the garage, making his way back to the shed. On his way, the Steve outside has recovered. He looks at Ed, bewildered, following him back to the shed.
After they enter, Ed sets the body onto the ground and turns to Steve behind him, pushing him up against the wall.
"Alright, just what is going on here?"
Steve looks past Ed's shoulder to see his own body on the ground. He pushes past Ed to examine his double.
"This shouldn't be happening."
As Ed and Steve argue over the situation, the laptop screen shows the Steve inside the garage having recovered, looking inside the machine. Rubbing his head he picks up the garage phone, calling someone. After a few futile attempts to have a conversation on the faulty phone, he goes back into the house.
Inside the shed, Ed and Steve continue to talk over each other.
"Listen! Ed! Just stop! If you'll at least permit what I'm saying is true I can try and explain this!"
Ed, fuming, nevertheless sits down, patiently waiting for an explanation.
"Ok, ok. It's a time machine. Ok? I told you this, but that's why all of this is happening. Right now me, from the past, is calling you to have you come over. Do you remember that?"
Ed nods silently.
"Ok, well, you're about come over, and we're going to go back in time, which is what you and I just did."
"Ok... now you have me confused."
"The Steve in the garage is me from the past. You from the past is about to come over."
Ed motions to the body on the floor. "And who is this?"
"The only explanation is that it's me from some future.
"And what's with the falling unconscious?"
"I don't know. This is the first time I've time traveled. Maybe it's some reaction to being near oneself from different time periods to prevent paradoxes."
"Then why aren't you unconscious now?"
Steve stands there for a few minutes, looking at the body on the floor.
"Easy. It's because he's dead."
The Paradox Problem
The shock on Ed's face is so imminent, that it looks as though he has just been told pigs could fly. With everything going on right now, Ed no longer doubts even THAT is possible.
Ed Looks as if he is about to say something, though the words will not escape from his mouth.
Finally Steve breaks the silence.
" I can't say I know entirely what is going on, or that my hypothesis will even make sense, but I am going to explain this to you now the best that I can" Steve starts. "As you know I have been working on this project for quite some time now. That project obviously being time travel-"
Ed rolls his eyes at this, but let's him continue.
" I have been studying time relativity through other planets, and have developed the process to disrupt the space, time continuum. The answer so many scientists have been looking for for years, has finally been achieved! The answer was so simple. All I had to do was a magnetic structure that had the ability to maintain gravitational momentum in space. When that magnet enters space, and into different realms of time (a black hole for example), the concepts of gravity is no longer the controlling mechanism of the magnet! A single Magnet like the one I have obtained can carry the dimensions of time simply by coming in contact with the black hole!"
Steve seems so proud of himself, that Ed feels his head will up and float away with how big it is getting.
Ed finally speaks "Okay so how did you acquire this magnet?! Never mind, I don't think I want to know... is there any explanation for... For this!?" Ed exclaims pointing at the dead Steve on the ground.
Steve looks pensive for a second, before proceeding to answer.
"The grandfather paradox, is the best explanation I can give you, Ed. The grandfather paradox is a hypothetical situation in which a time traveler goes back in time and attempts to kill his grandfather at a time before his grandfather met his grandmother. If he did so, then his mother or father never would have been born, and neither would the time traveler himself, in which case the time traveler never would have gone back in time to kill his grandfather. Now obviously our situation is different, but the paradox still remains, or at least I think it would."
Suddenly there is movement on the screen on the laptop, and both looks down at the video feed. They see a casually dressed man approach the house. Ed's jaw drops in astonishment once more, as he sees himself as he was only less than an hour or two ago.
Past Steve opens the door for Past Ed, and Past Ed enters curiously. Past Steve is excited and erratic. " I must show you my new invention!" He quickly grabs Past Ed's arm and pulls him over to the time machine quickly explaining a bunch of gears and gadgets to Past Ed, who understands literally none of this.
As Steve and Ed watch the video feed, everything seems so familiar, it is almost unreal.
Then something different happens. Past Steve looks towards Ed. Then he looks over to the table. Past Ed Looks incredibly confused. Almost as confused as the Present Ed is now watching this.
"Where is my laptop!? It is missing! I swear it was here only moments ago! I can't test the machine without the launch codes, which are all in my laptop."
Past Ed Starts frantically searching around the room desperate to find his missing computer.
Present Steve suddenly speaks to Present Ed from within the Shed. "You see, this is the Paradox I was talking about. As you can see, our Past Selves no longer have the means to travel in time, thus creating a paradox. The only thing is... The only thing is we shouldn't be here if the paradox really worked."
Ed Finally gives up looking confused and states " You lost me at 'Paradox', Steve."
Suddenly from the video Feed on the laptop, they see Past Ed become angry. "Listen Steve I don't have time for this bologna. I am going back home." He turns towards the door.
"Wait!" Past Steve Stops searching, and darts towards Past Ed. " Just wait, I have something to show you! I am not crazy I swear!"
With that The two from the past leave the house.
Steve Looks down at Future Steve's body, limp, pale and as cold as a dead fish. How was he going to clean up this mess now? They had to get back to the present.
Then he notices it... The little tiny piece of paper clenched in the dead Steve's hand. "What's this..." He says as he picks it up. Ed looks up at Steve curiously.
Steve Unfolds the tiny slip of paper to see his bad hand writing scribbled over the paper. He reads it out loud to the best of his ability.
"Not a Paradox. Multi-Verse theory."
There is another few words scribbled under this, but it is so illegible, that Steve has a hard time depicting what it says.
It almost looked as if it said "Death return Piccot." But that didn't make any sense.
Steve stuffs the Piece of paper into his pocket.
Ed Speaks "Multi-Verse theory?"
"The multiverseis the hypothetical set of multiple possible universes that together comprise everything that exists and can exist: the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them. If this is a multi-verse situation, then that means the relevance of time is only a partial factor to time traveling. This is Extremely Dangerous, Ed. I didn't consider that when I made this machine. If an entity from one universe can enter into an alternate one, than they could drastically effect the original Universe."
Ed seems to understand, but still has the look of many questions on his face.
" So, what does this mean?" Ed asks.
"Not now. Quickly, lets get back to the time machine. We have to return to the present, while our Past selves are not here."
The two quickly rush backs towards the house. Steve instantly hooks up his laptop, and enters the proper codes. Him and Ed hop in the machine. All is dark. Suddenly the whirring sounds starts. The hammering, and the green light. The feeling they experienced not too long ago was being re-lived. Suddenly The Vibrations, and the noise stop. Steve presses the button to release the door to the egg shaped machine, and suddenly sunlight filters in.
The two men Step out into the world, only for their excited faces to be turned into that of expressions of horror. Where one there was Steve's home, now they appeared to be in a Junk yard. The sky above is dark with fog. The air smells of fire, and smoke. Gun shots and screams are heard in the distance, along with police alarms. The world is chaos.
Steve's expression turns dark, and expressionless.
"Our entire present time has been ruined... Everything we know and loved will be altered in some way or another. We Shouldn't have come here. We have already potentially damaged the future by interacting with my Future self."
"What do we do?" Ed seems nervous and afraid.
"We have to go back in the past. Again. This time Back to when I invented the machine. I need to somehow prevent myself from creating this machine. If we don't do this then we will be stuck in this dimension."
Ed looks around. In the middle of no where. That's where they were. There was rubble, and trash everywhere, for miles. And alone in the middle of it all was a large damaged steel eggs with two confused and frightened men standing out side. Ed Looks at the machine, and suddenly his heart drops.
"Umm Steve... That sounds like a great Idea and all, but... I think we are going to have a problem getting back in the past with this." He points to the Machine, and Steve notices the damaged control panel.
"Great. Were stuck here. This is going to take me months to fix!" Steve shouts angrily, and he kicks the machine, with a hard THUD.
Steve falls to the ground and plants his face in his hands in defeat. Everything was lost. His time travel experiment had turned horribly wrong.
Steve is Angry. Then he looks up and Sees a sign That reads "Avery Piccot" Pointing in the direction of a Giant pile of rubble.
The two were going to be in for a long day.
They walked along in silence for a long while amidst a city of garbage. Eventually, Ed broke the silence.
"I just don't understand. How could this happen? We only went back in time a few days."
"The only answer is whatever event that resulted in this present had to have happened far in the past but..."
"The theory of time travel I have been working off of forbids anyone from traveling further in the past then when the time travel device is first created. That was day we were just at, the day I completed the device and turned it on for the first time. No one should be able to go back before then."
"So what, the theory is wrong?"
"Unlikely, The Time Travel Tourist hypothesis says..."
"The Time Travel Tourist hypothesis. It says that if unbounded time travel could ever exist, then we would be inundated with time traveling tourists. We aren't, so unbounded time travel can't exist."
Ed thought about this.
"Well, maybe our time is just boring."
Despite himself, Steve chuckled. They resumed their walk, following the signs leading to Avery Piccot.
After about fifteen minutes they rounded past a rather large pile of junk before coming face-to-face with a damaged metallic egg. They both stared in disbelief.
"Steve, is that..."
Steve stepped forward and examined the machine.
"It's the machine. It's still damaged. We couldn't have been going in circles. This is impossible."
A voice spoke up from behind them.
"You'd be surprised to learn what is considered possible, these days."
Ed and Steve turned around. In front of them was unsavory fellow dressed in torn, raggedy clothing. As he sneered at them, they could see his single tooth. In a more normal reality, this would be the type of person they'd spend time avoiding on the subway. If it weren't for the AK-47 he was brandishing at him. As the two men processed this development, three more men appeared: one on each side, and one behind, each also pointing semi-automatic weapons at the duo. Ed put his hands up. Steve narrowed his eyes at Ed before addressing the man who spoke.
"Listen, you don't know who I am, but I can help-"
"We know very well who you are. We've been waiting for you. And you'll be helping Mr. Piccot, don't you worry. Now come along."
The man motioned with the muzzle of his gun that they should follow. The other three men provided further impetus. Ed put his hands down as they fell in line behind the first armed man.
"This is the way we first went, it doesn't lead anywhere except back to the machine."
"It leads where it needs to lead, if you know how to follow it. Straight ain't 'xactly straight anymore, Time Man."
Despite the danger, this piqued Steve's interest. He walked faster till he was abreast with the man.
"What do you mean by that? Have there been effects on the fabric of space and time as a result of all of this?"
The man glanced over at Steve.
"I haven't the slightest clue what you just said. Do I look like I know anything about them fancy words you just said? This is what I know."
He pressed the barrel of the gun into Steve's cheek.
"I also know that this world is sh!t, but Mr. Piccot has a plan to fix that."
The man lowered the gun. The rest of the walk was in silence.
Steve tried to note any differences in the path they were taken, but he could not discern any. Yet, instead of arriving back at the machine, they came to a small building. The two armed men on either side of the party stepped ahead and pulled aside the large canvas that was hiding the entrance. Ed and Steve entered with the lead armed man.
The inside of the building was dimly lit. It was, essentially, an office. In contrast to the general theme of the junkyard, the desk was rather nice. The man sitting behind it, however, was not. On the desk was a nameplate that said: "Avery Piccot." He turned in his chair as they approached and mentioned for Ed and Steve to sit. They looked around, confused at the lack of chairs, and then realized that the piles of debris lying around were meant as guest chairs. They said, sinking into the garbage a bit, while the arm man stood behind him.
"So we meet again, for the very first time."
Avery chuckled at his own joke. He was a fat man, with a triple chin. He would have been considered well dressed, if his suit looked like it had ever seen the inside of a dry cleaner's. It was clear that he had managed to salvage the fanciest stuff in this yard, and put in a great deal of effort constructing an air of refinement and higher class.
Steve and Ed glanced at each other, trying to see if the other knew what Avery was talking about. Finally, Steve looked toward their host.
"I don't know what you're talking about - Mr. Piccot, I take it? That machine out there, is mine, and I can fix it and help fix this reality -"
Avery held up a hand.
"Yes, yes. I know all about it. It is why I brought you here. I brought you here, because I sent you there!"
He chuckled again in self amusement.
"My little joke. A test to see if you are new here, or not. I've noticed that you can be rather cunning."
Before Steve could speak, Avery continued.
"You don't know what I'm talking about. Of course. I suppose it doesn't matter anyway, so I’ll explain."
He spread his hands out.
"This 'reality' as you call it. Is different from your own. Much worse. You suspect that something in the past has changed to make it the way it was and you want a chance to go back and fix it. I know this because you have told me this before, at least a dozen times.
"And, my response to you is always the same: We are not interested in making things the way they were. My employer wishes to exploit the current... 'instabilities' he calls them. Given your knowledge of the time machine, you are the perfect person to do this."
Avery sat back in his chair, smiling in self-satisfaction.
"I don't know who your employer is, but I'm not going to make things worse! I'm not sure how you expect to get me to cooperate but..."
The world went silent. Or, rather, it went silent except for the ringing in Steve's left ear. The man behind him had fired a single shot from his gun. Steve was startled to the point of falling off of his garbage seat. He raised a hand to his cheek and pulled it away. It was covered in blood. He wasn't in pain, so he was either in shock or he wasn't shot. If he wasn't shot, then who? Steve looked around and noticed that Ed was not on his seat either. Steve rushed over and rolled Ed onto his back. His face was missing.
"This is how we get you to cooperate. You see... ah... I need the cards for this part..."
Steve sat on the ground, stunned, as Avery rummaged through the desk, pulling out a small stack of cards. Avery cleared his throat.
"The Multiverse Solution for Time Travel suggests that, instead of travelling back and forth in one's own timeline he instead travels to a point in time in a different universe that, up until that point, is identical in history to the original universe. After that point, it diverges. In this solution, whatever is possible can actually come to be in one of these multiverse incarnations. Your friend has died many, many, times. This demonstrates both our resolve and the lack of care we have for your lives. There are an infinite Eds and an infinite number of you. At some point, one of your incarnations will be both willing and able to perform the mission we have for you."
After flipping through the last card, Avery placed them back in the desk.
"We will not go into the details of your mission at the moment. You are clearly not in the proper state of mind."
Avery snapped his fingers. The armed man slung his gun over his shoulder and stepped over to hook his arms under Steve's. He lifted Steve off of the ground and dragged him into an adjacent room. Steve did not resist.
This new room was constructed out of concrete and had a steel door. The first thing Steve noticed was a figure in the corner.
It was Ed.
Steve is pushed into the room with a heavily forced shove, and then he lands on his behind.
Steve winces through the pain, and tries to ignore it. He stares at Ed in dis-belief, and Ed stares back at him almost just as confused.
Ed is wearing the same clothes, but they look a little bit more worn and dirty. His face is unshaven, and his eyes look tires, but sure enough, it is the same Ed he had always known.
" Ed... Is that... really you?" Steve says slowly.
Ed just nods dumbly.
Then he speaks... "How are you alive Steve?"
Steve is so taken aback by this, that he feels that Ed must be joking.
"Wh-What do you mean? You the one that just had your face blown off not even 5 minutes ago!"
Now it's Ed's turn to look confused.
"WHAT!? Just last week you and I just traveled back in time, were confronted by those bozo's out there, and when you refused to comply, had YOUR Face blown off! And I have been sitting in here for a week just wishing someone would come in and kill me, and now you run in here with a fresh face like nothing ever happened. Steve. What is going on here! You brought me in to all of this and I demand answers NOW!"
The last installment of Ed's words seemed to reverberate off the Concrete walls, and echo in the small room.
Steve looks pensive, and starts to think, putting on his familiar curled lip, while he strokes his chin.
Finally Steve shares with Ed his conclusion "Okay Ed, if you haven't noticed, we are obviously in deep sh1t here. I apologize for getting you into all of this, I honestly didn't expect for any of this to happen, but it did, and now we need to work on getting out of it."
"Okay so It seems that my Multi-verse theory was correct. Though we have severely altered the space time continuum, Are recent selves will continue to go back to the present (which was technically going into the future). So yes, the only way to fix our problem was to go into the past. But we did not go in the past. Now we have to find our way out of this situation. But first, we have to figure out why me in the future sent us that message. For now I am going sleep, and get my head cleared from all of this."
"Right." Ed responds.
With that the two take a much needed sleep.
The two are awakened by a loud slam, as a steel door crashes into the concrete.
"Gerrup, ya rocks, we've got work to do!" Shouts the big man they first met.
Steve rubs his eyes groggily as he attempts to awake from his uncomfortable sleep. His back feels pained from the concrete floor.
Him and Ed follow the man with the gun outside and back into the room where Steve was before.
As they enter the room they see Avery sitting on his office chair, looking quite comfortable. He beckons the two to sit on the Garbage seat once again.
Steve winces as he sits his strained back against the rubble 'chair' which could best be defined as a upturned bucket with a straight board nailed to it, making a "back rest".
"Good morning chaps! Nice to see ya up and ready to get workin'! Now after our little conversation last time, I don't think
there are any complaints as to helping little ol' Avery out, is there?" Avery says in a cool manipulative tone.
Both men shake their head, obviously not eager to see each others face blown off again.
"Good, then let's get started."
He rummages through his scratched up desk and finally emerges with two lumps of papers that's are crudely stapled.
He reaches over the desk and hands one to each of them.
Steve looks down at the papers in dis-belief. In his hands is all of his research notes, launch codes, and processes.
Everything he has researched over the past 3 years was in this packet.
But... How did Avery get this?
Almost as in response to Steve's thoughts, Avery explains "These were given to me by you, Steve. You told me that in order to get this machine working, that you would need these."
Steve thinks about this. What was the future Steve trying to tell us, what was he trying to accomplish here?
"Not without further ado, here is your mission Chaps." Avery begins.
"First off... You Steve, with the help of your little friend, are going to repair that time machine of yours. That machine is the leading factor in our little mission. You yourself, informed me that all you would need were those notes for you to begin your work. If you need any specific objects that aren't readily available to you, then you will inform my men, and one of them will fetch it for you. You will inform them when you are complete. Then you will send me into the future, so I can see what needs to be done about fixing our obvious little problem here."
Suddenly Steve intervenes. "Sir, with all due respect, I highly recommend you do not do that! By going into the future, you can destroy and alter the time much worse than it already is! In fact, your whole reality being messed up it widely attributed to the fact that me and Ed-"
Avery pulls out his 12 gauge and aims it directly at Steve's face.
"Are you telling me what to do!? I think you know that I don't like being told what to do." Avery said, and proceeds to cock the weapon.
Ed looks to Steve, and shakes is head, implying for him not to respond further.
Steve ignores this.
" I strongly recommend you do not do that Avery. You see, if you kill me, there will be no more Steve's coming to visit you. In fact, me and Ed will be the last time travelers you ever see alive. Before we came here, we stole the launch notes which I needed in order to travel in the past. The second I did this, I put a block in the Multi-Verse. So prior to me stealing the notes, We were able to visit the future frequently, which explains how you have met our past selves multiple times. But the second I stole those launch notes, I blocked that from happening. You see, according to the multi-verse theory, I havealtered at least two universes so far. This one, and the future. My past self no longer has the means of time traveling. He will have to create a whole new set of launch codes, which will take months for him to do, as he will have to alter the machine. As a human, our thoughts and Ideas constantly change. By the time My past self readies the machine once more, he may no longer have the idea to go into the past so recently. This will then create a whole different dimension. No matter what, you will never see another Steve and an Ed again. So I highly recommend lowering your gun, sir."
Avery stays motionless, an expression of anger plastered on his face. He stays there for a few moments not saying anything, seemingly considering Steve's words.
Finally he lowers the gun.
He starts with a low growl. "...You better fix me my time machine. You have 1 week. After that I blow both of your heads off."
Ed and Steve had been working on this machine relentlessly for 6 days straight. They are both very tired. Steve fees pressured.
They only have one day left, and the machine is no where close to finished. Maybe runnable, barely, but not perfect by any means.
Steve looks behind him to see the man with the gun snoring methodically behind a large piece of trash.
"You know the plan, Ed, right?" Steve whispers to Ed.
Ed nods "Got it."
Steve quickly enters the launch codes. "This is it. I hope this works."
If it didn't, well then they were dead, simply put.
"Umm, where are we going again?" Ed asks.
Steve beckons for him to be quiet, and the whispers "Were going in the past. I need to stop myself from creating the machine. I first started working on it, in 1975. Ed, this is where I will need you to come in. I didn't meet you until 1980, so you will have no recognition of me. You will need to do whatever it takes to keep me from building this machine, without disrupting the machine, and I will have to do my best at not being seen." Steve whispers.
"But-" Ed tries, but Steve cuts him off, and shoves him into the egg. He presses the button, and hops in with Ed. The man outside has awoke. Bullets bounce off the egg, and then stop, as they travel back in time.
As they sat in the machine, Ed merely stared at Steve. The commotion outside had dissipated, and now there was only silence. Finally, Ed spoke.
"Do you want to tell me what is really going on here? I know you're not my Steve, but I imagine that you are working on the same theories and principles for this contraption, right?"
"While I really haven't understood one word you've said about this whole concept, I do remember you, him - whatever - saying that you can't go back in time before when the machine was first activated. So how can prevent the machine from being built?"
Steve sat there in silence for a moment.
"I have a hypothesis. The machine is like a train car. Only it doesn't move in any of the three spatial dimensions; it moves only in the time dimension. It goes back and forth, from beginning to end and any point in between. It can't deviate from that. Are you with me so far?"
"We are the riders of this train car. Imagine you were on an actual train car and it was heading, full speed toward the end of the track. When you get there, the train stops but the occupants..."
"...are thrown from the train," Ed finished.
"Exactly. It's about momentum."
Ed jerked up, banging his head on the top of the machine.
"Are you insane?! Are you trying to kill us?!"
"Ed, sit down, calm down. I know it is a risky maneuver but it is the only way to get us to travel in time before the existence of the machine. We need to, essentially, launch ourselves further back in time than the machine is capable of going."
Ed sat back down.
"And what, exactly, are the risks?"
"I couldn't say. Like I said, this is merely a hypothesis. There's a possibility that nothing will happen at all."
"Or that we could die."
Steve shrugged, but didn't deny it.
"There's another caveat. Since we're going back in time before the machine exists, we have no way of coming back. This is a one-way trip."
Ed's face turned red, but before he could rail against this new development a loud screeching sound filled the inside of the machine. Steve grasped whatever he could, bracing himself. Ed followed suit. They but shut their eyes tight as they waited for whatever may come.
Suddenly, it went quiet. There was no crash, or jerking. The machine was still there and there was no apparent harm to either of them. Hesitantly, they opened their eyes. Suddenly, there was a knocking sound on the outside of the machine and a muffled, "Hello?"
The door to the machine opened and light filled the cabin. Steve and Ed stepped outside of the machine, their eyes adjusting to the light.
They were still in the junkyard.
Before them stood Avery Piccot and half a dozen armed men. He was grinning, clapping his hands together and rubbing them.
"Through the many versions of you that we have had the pleasure of dealing with, a consistent factor has been your arrogance. Almost every single one of you tries to escape using this machine. Did you think that we would not have put in precautions against this? Perhaps you do not give us enough credit. Rest assured that we understand this machine far better than you realize."
Avery snapped his fingers and the men closed in on Ed and Steve, escorting them back to their prison cell. The walk back was in silence, Steve hanging his head dejectedly. Ed looked ahead, with an occasional furious glance to Steve. When they were shut inside the cell again, they sat against opposite walls, not speaking.
After a few hours, the door to the cell opened, and a tall man, of Indian ethnicity stepped in. His clothes were not as tattered as everyone else's, though he was skinny enough to make malnutrition a serious diagnosis. His hair was long and scraggly, and he wore thin rimmed glasses. He looked right at Steve.
"Good afternoon, Mr. Driscoll. I am Dr. Vaskar. I am your assistant."
Vaskar smiled a genuinely friendly smile.
"Yes, you 'left' before you could be fully briefed. Mr. Piccot has a position of importance and is charged with making sure this plan is directed efficiently, but I am afraid that he does not fully grasp the necessary concepts. If you will forgive the immodesty, allow me to assure you that I am well educated in technical and scientific matters relevant here. But, first, I must fill in some gaps in your understanding of the situation.
"As you know, rather than there being a single timeline, which is irrevocably altered due to temporal disturbances, there are an infinitude of timelines. The time machine, then, rather than simply going back and forth in time, takes users to these other timelines. The only restriction has appeared to be that the timelines that are traveled to are identical up until the point in time that the traveler appears, then diverge. This, I'm sure, you already know.
"What you don't know is that some anomaly in the operation of the machine cause one of your iterations, to travel to a timeline that was not identical in history when compared to the origination point. This accident brought that iteration here. We call this iteration 'Steve-Prime'.
"We are not particularly fond of strangers here and Steve-Prime was quickly apprehended by our employer."
Vaskar paused, closing his eyes and lowering his head slightly in apparent reverence. He then continued.
"While you may consider us simplistic and savage, there are those of us who understood the full implications of this accident!"
Vaskar began to speak more passionately now.
"Time travel, in and of itself, is a powerful tool, allowing you to choose whatever future you want. But the ability to travel to completely different parallel universes? The possibilities are literally endless! You are no longer bound by the history of your own timeline. You can go to a universe where you are emperor, or king, where they've found a cure for all disease, or a pill to make you immortal! You can, indirectly, shape reality to your whim by simply selecting the reality of your desire!"
Vaskar composed himself.
"And that is where you come in. Steve-Prime was treated well, and had no objections to helping us, so long as it got him home. However, he was unable to perform this mission, and our employer got patient, and killed him. Very sad. However, we did learn enough of the machine to make our own alterations. We turned the machine into kind of a temporal net. When activated, anyone else using a similar machine in any other universe is redirected here. We have used this ability to pull other Steves from other universes here, in the hopes that one would be able to help us."
"We want you to find out how the original accident occurred, and then configure the machine to be able to travel across universes in this manner on demand. We have kept copious notes on your copies' work as well as the internal logs of the machine. Hopefully, with all of this data, we can puzzle out a solution."
Vaskar stood up.
"Your friend..." Vaskar motioned to Ed, "...is of little use to us academically, though I understand you have some emotional attachment to him. For now, he stays here. Please, come with me."
Steve stood up, still processing all of this and followed Vaskar out of the cell, giving a look over his shoulder at Ed. Ed was staring at the ground and wouldn't meet his gaze.
Vaskar led Steve to a small shack outside. They entered. The shack was designed almost identically to the one he had behind his house back home. This was no doubt due to the direction of one of his previous iterations. In the middle was a table open which were piles and piles of documents. Vaskar spoke behind him.
"Your notes. I suggest you familiarize yourself with them. Time is short."
Lost in time
"So... I have a few questions to affront you with Sir." Steve asked in a blended tone.
Vaskar just nods.
"First if there have been so many Steve's introduced to Avery and his gang, what happened to all of them?"
"Well, Steve, Let's just say, that based on my experience of you, you are very hard headed, prideful, eager, and determined. You seem to have an overwhelming need for freedom and independence, and have tried escaping many times. Let's just say that Avery isn't very patient, if you know what I mean. The only reason you are alive after that little shenanigan you just pulled, is because Avery is finally grasping the concept that blowing your face off ten times, will not help him, and that we need to if we are ever going to get this done." Vaskar explains.
Steve seems pensive about this. It is kind of a surreal feeling to him having someone that he has never met before, know so much about his thoughts and personality.
Steve considers Vaskar words, then his interest is peaked once again.
"Okay speaking of that, my next question is why. Why does Avery still need me if he has you? From my meeting with you so far, I have learned that you basically know this whole time travel theory and solution much better than I do. You currently contain every research note I have, why do you need me to find out how this accident occurred?"
Steve waits for a response, but Vaskar is silent.
Vaskar suddenly walks out of the of the shack, as if Steve and Ed were not just talking to him moments ago. Steve is confused, but he and Ed follow him anyway.
"Where is he going!?" Ed whispers to Steve.
"I don't know!" Steve retorts.
Vaskar walks for a while, out into the junkyard, where they originally crash landed. They approach the time machine they had just been in, which was now covered in dents from where the bullets had re-bounded of the machine. Vaskar stops, Glances at the two in silence, and continues walking further into the Junk yard. Steve and Ed, of course follow.
A few more minutes go by and Steve sees The time machine once more.
What the- ?! Had they gone in a circle? No... He was sure they had just gone straight... This couldn't possibly be true though, because the time machine was back about a quarter mile. Yet here it was.
Ed scratches his head. He is so beyond questions at this point, that nothing seems to phase him anymore.
Then Steve notices it. This machine lacks the dents from the bullets that had just so recently been fired.
Steve remembers when he first arrived here... How strange and surreal everything seemed to him. He thought he was imagining the first time when he saw the second time machine, but now he knew this was real.
"H- How is this possible?" Steve whispers loudly enough for Vaskar to hear him.
Vaskar finally speaks up. "You see, Steve, this is the part we hoped you could answer. Until today, we have been pulling you here from one time machine. The one you were just working on. However this time machine randomly came here today, in addition to the other one we received weeks ago. We don't know why. I have been attempting to explain the situation to Avery myself, yet have been un able to do so entirely. My biggest theory right now, is that you guys are from a completely different universe. Not just a multi-verse, but a multi-multi-verse. A completely different set of time. We have been pulling multiple Steve's and Ed's out of our universes, our time lines. But we don't have any clue or theory about how this could have happened. Yet it has."
He pauses, and waits for a reaction from Steve.
Steve gives no reply, as he tries to grasp everything being relayed to him.
"Now for the most crucial part of your question: Why specifically do we need you to time travel when we have the means to do it ourselves? Well, Steve, it's because we can't. None of us here can, but you. Steve-prime fixed the time machine up for us the first time. He tried sending Avery and myself into the future, to see what sort of remedy we needed to fix our situation. The time machine didn't work, and instead Mal-functioned, and broke down right in front of our noses. This has happened several times, with several Steve's working with us trying to figure it out. At first we thought maybe we weren't the right size or shape, or the machines bio-engineering was not made for us. But upon having you explain it to us in further detail, we realized that this was simply not the case. So we decided we would send you back. We needed to send you here, through different means. So we wrote you a note. We wanted to be as vague as possible such that we could clue you here, rather then forcibly urge you here, as we know you to be prideful and ignorant."
Steve's Face turns red at this.
It is his turn to ask a question now.
"Okay not that it matters now, but what in the hell did that message even mean anyway?"
Vaskar's Expression turns dark, and cold.
"Death: As in the fact that the Steve we sent back to you will die, as a direct result of the poison we gave him prior to his leaving. We don't want him screwing up reality more than he had to.
Return: We needed you to return to us as you are still highly needed in our time traveling expeditions.
Piccot: Of course, our master Piccot, if you haven't figured it out already. We needed to leave you some sign or clue, in case you were to arrive in our dimension far away somewhere. There are signs pointing to Piccot's residence throughout the country, as he is probably one of the most revered men in these parts. We were in hopes that you would find your way to us in curiosity, and luckily, you were."
Steve gulps. These people were purely sinister. Everything being explained to him like this made his stomach want to drop, as he thinks of his dead self lying before him not so long ago.
Ed, after sitting on the ground silent for some time now, suddenly stands up.
"Wait a second... I have one more question." Ed says seemingly confused about something once more.
Vaskar almost seems annoyed by this, and gives a vexed expression, clearly not thinking Ed knowledgeable enough to ask any certain question of valuable importance. But he answers anyway.
"What is your question Ed?" Vaskar says sounding almost bored.
"Okay, so what your saying is that you poisoned Steve, and sent him to our time right? Well that explains his death... But how do you explain OUR past Steve, keeling over, and passing out upon his arrival? Also The Steve here, almost the same thing happened to him. He passed out, and I practically had to drag him to the house. Steve explained this to me as some sort of paradox, resulting in death. But now you are revealing that Steve died through other means?"
Vaskar seems shocked at the news. He wears a painted expression obviously resulting in confusion. He seems lost in thought for a few moments.
"I- I don't know... We have never dealt with more than one Steve at the same time. Same with you Ed. In fact this is the first time we have mixed two beings from different universes together so far."
Suddenly, the Earth begins to rattle. Steve, Ed, and Vaskar, all stumble and they try top keep balance upon the now shaking earth. The earth is rumbling intensely.
"EARTH QUAKE!" Ed screams at the top of his lungs as he falls on this his @ss.
"This is No earthquake." Vaskar shouts, as he clutches Steve for support.
Suddenly A loud impact resounds across the valley, as an object crashes into the ground just a few feet from them. Green mist fills the air instantly.
Everything is shrouded and covered in mist. Finally the mist begins to clear.
Steve Starts coughing intensely and falls to the ground. His vision begins to fade, and he finally passes out.
Ed and Vaskar stare in dis-belief at what lies in front of them. The two stand staring at a futuristic and Ginormous egg. About 3x the size of Steve's original machine. Two figures step out into the mist.
The mist slowly began to fade, revealing the two figures. Predictably, it was Steve and Ed. However, they looked about 20 years older than their present-day counterparts. The older Steve raised his hand, tapping at a silver metal band wrapped around his wrist as he glanced over his shoulder at the older Ed.
"Looks like it works. 'Bout time we solved that little problem."
The older Steve and Ed began to walk towards the present day group. Suddenly, armed men appeared from behind various piles of junk, Piccot's men, drawn here by the commotion. About a dozen rifles were aimed at the future Steve and Ed, who paused. Steve cleared his throat.
In the remaining mist, faint red lines appeared, the scattering of red laser beams emanating from inside the larger time machine. A handful of low-pitched thuds were heard, and Piccot's men all collapsed to the ground.
From inside the machine, approximately 20 men, clad in futuristic body armor, with sleek looking weapons, emerged, assuming strategic positions around the larger time machine. The future Steve and Ed continued their approach to the present group.
Vaskar and Ed simply watched as the future Steve knelt down to his doppelganger and placed another silver band around his wrist. Within a few seconds, the present Steve began to stir, groaning and sitting up.
"Ah, excellent." Future Steve smiled.
Finally, the present Ed mustered the courage to speak.
"What the hell is going on here?!"
Future Steve grinned, turning to future Ed.
"You never did seem to get a grip on this whole situation. Did you?"
Future Ed smirked sarcastically. Future Steve turned to present Ed.
"In the context of what you've been told, I'm Steve-prime. I was the first Steve to come to this branch. I'm the one that set this whole series of events into motion. And I've come back to finish what I started."
Present Steve glanced up at them.
"They told me that you were killed when trying to escape."
"That's what I told them to tell you. Piccot - the idiot - thinks that he's working for some native employer trying to exploit the nature of Multiverses in order to find a paradise. He's working for me."
"I had to leave. I managed to solve most of the problems they are trying to get you to fix. I faked my death to make it seem like these problems were still issues to be solved. It was a way to keep them busy and prevent them from screwing me over. This story about Piccot waiting to go to the future. That is what I did. I went into the future, and I've come back with reinforcements."
An awkward silence passed between then, then past Ed took a step toward future Ed.
"Wait... why am I not passing out?"
Future Steve smiled broadly.
"I'm honestly impressed that you managed to notice that. The answer is simple, he's not really you."
The future Ed reached out grabbing the present Ed by the throat and, single-handedly, lifted him off of the ground. The present Ed clutched at the hands around his throat, feet kicking wildly. Future Steve sneered slightly.
"Enough. We may need him for fodder, or something."
The future 'Ed' let go, and present Ed collapsed to the ground, gasping for air. Future Scott turned to Vaskar.
"Pick my younger self up, and let's go, shall we?"
Obediently, Vaskar hooked his arms under those of present Steve, and helped him to his feet.
"Where are we going?"
"Well, not to that sh1tty shack you guys have set up. As you can see, we have more room to work with."
Future Steve and Ed turned and made their way back to the machine, Vaskar, present Steve and present Ed trailing behind them.
Inside the machine was what could only be described as some sort of Control Center. The walls of the room were covered in large monitors, and desks filled the main area, manned by dozens of technicians working on computers. In the center of the machine was a smaller room, isolated from the rest of the area. The group entered, shutting the door behind them.
This smaller room had a desk for future Steve, where he could monitor everything that was going on outside. The other members of the group sat down in the available chairs, Steve behind his desk.
"I suppose you want a more thorough explanation for all of this."
Steve continued without waiting for an answer.
"What you've been told is mostly true. Our goal here is to discover a method for locating specific multiverses; multiverses that conform to whatever criteria you desire. The problem is: there are an infinite number of them. It is impossible to enumerate or know, ahead of time, where you are going. We are trying to fix that, or, at least, work around it."
Future Steve pressed a few buttons on the control panel on his desk. Above the desk, a holographic image appeared. It looked like a jumble of lines. The lines originated from a single point in the center, extending outwards, branching into more lines at many points along the way.
"This is what we've mapped so far. The lie that you've been told is that we need copies of myself to fix problems with the machine. I fixed those problems when I first arrived. However, I manufactured additional problems in order to keep Piccot doing what I needed him to do: bring more copies of myself from other multiverses. You are brought here, not to work on any problems, but as a sample of the multiverse from which you originate. You are, essentially, a slice of your universe. We can determine many aspects of your home world through a simple analysis of your atomic make-up, at the quantum mechanical level. You, and all of your predecessors, are little more than data points that have allowed us to create this."
He motioned to the holographic map.
"Our hope is by sampling enough multiverses we can discern some sort of pattern that will allow us to extrapolate multiverses that we have yet to come in contact with, so that we can deliberately go there without needing to have already been there, or having to had some from there come here. We think we are very close to a breakthrough, hence our return here."
"And what do you intend to do now that you're here?"
At that, both future Steve and future Ed grinned maliciously.
"Take down the barriers between realities."
The Ultimate reality
"What!? But How Can you-!? What is-!?"
Present Steve didn't know what to say or how to answer in response. He didn't understand.
"Oh yes. We plan to take down the barriers between Realities, and in it, create what we call Val-Halla. Val-Halla, will be a place where we can rule, in the safety, comfort, and peace of freedom. People will view us as kings. And people better damn well treat us like kings or else...." Future Steve says with a menacing chuckle, as Ed seems to almost laugh on cue with him.
Vaskar Steps in.
"You Can't do that! The repercussions would be too great! Do you know what will happen if the barriers are broken down, Steve-Prime? Everything that we know and love will be gone, vanished, wiped out. We will be forced into a universe of other dimensions, with people who have come from realities far worse than ours. Trust me, I know of them. We have encountered Steve's Who have been sent into realities far worse than you could ever imagine. We have no idea if breaking the barriers between realities, will provide you a Utopia! How can you expect us to experience Peace, Love, and Serenity out of Chaos?"
Vaskar says desperately.
Steve Starts to chuckle once more.
"I never said that you would experience these things. In fact, you my old traitorous friend, will join everyone else who will serve me, as a slave. You pitiful fool. You really don't understand do you? Without me and Ed, Your existence here, along with everyone Else's is completely meaningless. We have created something un-stoppable. We have created devices that your puny mind will never understand. we have created things, that were meant for gods. We. Are. Gods."
He says this with such power. Ed prime Smiles in a evil menacing way.
Past Ed seems afraid.
"Is what I am Ed? Is this what I have become? A selfless, heartless fool, who can do nothing but blabber about utopias and being kings? Is this really me? If it is, than I don't know who I am anymore. I never could fathom myself doing this. Ever. Yet here you are, proving me that everything I have learned in life is meaningless."
Future Ed instantly Retorts "Everything you know IS meaningless. You are the epitome of Stupid. I used to look at you, knowing that in some past life, I was that blubbering, idiotic coward. Now, I look at you, and feel proud. Proud that I have made the transition to change. My metamorphosis, is un-comprehensible. And as a sense of Freedom, Ed, you will join among my personal slaves. You will serve me, as a deserving, loved king. You will serve, such that I may serve as an example to you." He peers intently into present Ed's eyes.
Present Ed starts to tear up.
"No.... NO! How can you be like this? How can you do this?! After all your life experiences, before this time travel mess? You know better than this, because I know better than this. Please Ed. Think of everything you've ever been through. Think of mom. Would she have wanted this?"
Future Ed is furious.
"Mom? You mean the dead b1tch who left us alone to fend on the world for ourselves? Who gives a sh1t. She is gone. She taught me a valuable lesson the day she died. I didn't realize this, until my later years. Death is inevitable, you cannot escape death. Cancer ate at her like a fvcking moth eats at an evening gown. There was nothing I could do to stop it. NOTHING. She left. Cancer, is an unstoppable force, and it gets what it wants. Always. The only way to get what you want is by becoming an unstoppable force. That's what we are. Unstoppable. Nothing you say can stop us. We are here, we are coming, and we will get what we want. There is not a thing to do that can stop us. But don't look so down, Ed. I don't think you fully realize the glory you will have in serving me, your ever so humble and wise self. Maybe you will see the glory in this. If not, then you will find glory in death."
The venom in his voice was menacing.
"He. Is. Not. You." Present Steve tries to calm Ed down. "He is you from an alternate Universe. He has been through things that me and you could never possibly fathom, to make him like this."
Future Steve cuts in.
" You have no idea. This time machine I created, is the best invention ever. It has turned me upside down from nothing. Steve, you and I both had nothing before this. Now we have everything. Maybe you can find something in glory, through this. I hope you do. Because what we have in store for you is beyond exciting. Prepare to be inspired."
It is Vaskar's turn now.
"You won't do this! You can't! You think you and your small little army can change everything that easily? Even they will be overpowered. Even they, can die."
Future Steve laughs so loud at this that the entire room seems to reverberate. Everyone almost seems to be sick of the laugh at this point, even future Ed.
"You think we need them to create this ultimate creation? You really are stupid then, old man." Then with a quick motion of his wrist, Future shoots a blast of energy from his palm in the direction of the group of men. Instantly they are consumed by a big blue ball which shrouds them. They scream in terror, as they are consumed, and absorbed. The ball gets smaller and smaller, before finally dissipating, leaving no sign that there was ever any men in the area.
"I can move mountains. I can destroy empires. You don't understand the things we have created. And I don't expect you to ever understand. So kindly, step out of our way, so we can complete our long awaited process." Steve then starts to walk towards a big machine plastered against the back wall. He walks slowly, but each step is filled with confidence.
All the present witnesses, are in shock. Past Ed, Feints.
"Pathetic." Says Future Ed, as he follows Future Steve.
Vaskar, and Steve's mouth are so wide, it looks as if they had just seen a ghost. No, what they have seen was MUCH worse than that.
Vaskar Regains his senses. He lets out a scream as he charges future Steve. It happened so fast. Moments before impacting the man, he is thrown and pinned against a wall so hard, that the entire room shakes. Future Steve has his palm held up towards Vaskar, which is emitting such a force, that Vaskar cannot move, as he is pinned against a wall 15 feet up the wall.
Vaskar rips out a scream, as the pressure crushes his bones into the wall. Future Steve laughs Maniacally as he listens to he pained man groan.
"STOP it!" Steve shouts at Steve Prime. Ed Laughs at this.
"Or what will you do if we don't?" he says.
The screams suddenly get louder, and it is apparent that the magnitude in force has increased.
Steve had to do something. Ed, was still out cold on the floor, in apparent shock. Vaskar was being tortured, and was surely going to die. Steve could not do all of this alone. HE needed to think of something, without putting himself in the same predicament. He looks around the high tech "Shack" looking for anything he can use to his advantage. But there is nothing. Most everything is just random bunches of machines, Steve knows nothing about. No loose tools, or objects are anywhere to be seen. Steve Feels hopeless.
Vaskar starts to bleed out of his ears and nose, as he continues to scream in pain. The sounds in the room, are horrible and deafening, and leave Steve's ears ringing. Why was there NOTHING he could do to stop this!?
"So Steve, would you like to join your little friend here on the wall of pleasure here, or would you like to serve us in honor? You get one choice. Choose wisely." Future Ed States primly.
Steve Drops to his knees hopelessly, and bows.
Future Ed's laugh is so strong, is almost overpowers the screaming man on the wall.
Suddenly there is a loud cracking noise. Vaskar's ribs, and bones were breaking feebly under the pressure. Steve looks up. A piece of Steve Primes sleeve slips down, revealing, a shiny mechanical object.
Steve had to destroy that object. But how would he do it?
Sorry. I've lost interest in this and other things are taking up my time. I forfeit.
It was fun while it lasted! Thanks to all the viewers who have kept up with this!
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||3|
|Agreed with before the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Agreed with after the debate:||-||-||0 points|
|Who had better conduct:||-||-||1 point|
|Had better spelling and grammar:||-||-||1 point|
|Made more convincing arguments:||-||-||3 points|
|Used the most reliable sources:||-||-||2 points|
|Total points awarded:||0||3|