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Phantoms 99th Percentile Round 2: Writers Debate

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 7/8/2012 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,767 times Debate No: 24625
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (29)
Votes (10)




Good morning everyone, and welcome to phantom's 99th percentile Round 2 debate!
Me and KRF have decided to delight you all today with a writers debate!
Here is the run down of how this will work.

Round 1 will be for acceptance, and clarifications of rules, etc.

Rounds 2-5 will be pure, fantastic, and excellent writing from both debaters!

"What makes this a debate?" You might ask. Well let me tell you.

This won't really be a debate my friends, however, will present all the same challenges as one. The purpose of this debate is to create a good time for both debaters, while enacting upon their own creativity and imagination.

In a debate, both debaters have to use creative thinking and problem solving in order to get around their opponents arguments. This will be similar to the story writing debate.

Here are the rules for this "debate".


1. At the end of each passage of text, each debater will present a twist, or a major problem for his opponent to both overcome and solve. This problem/twist will be stated clearly at the end of each round. This will stop what I call "snow white syndrom" (having to many good things happen to the protagonist, such that interest is lost), and will also present a challenge to the opposing debater. It will then be the Job of the opponent to fix that problem during their next text, and provide a new problem for their opponent, and so on, etc.

2. A forfeit will conduct in the loss of this debate. This is a tournament debate, so it would serve both of us to finish our challenge on time appropriately.

3. The person who holds the readers interest best, or who attracts the best attention to you as a reader, should be deemed the winner of this debate. You may take in any aspects of a reader when voting, IE: Writing style, S/G, Entertainment levels, etc.

I hope my opponent will enjoy this writers challenge with me, as I am sure I will! I will begin my first round upon my opponent accepting this debate.

Good luck!


I accept TUF's challenge and look forward to more entertainment oriented debate. Before I hand the baton back to TUF, I'd like to suggest the following to all voters.


Who had better conduct?

This point should only be rewarded in the event that one contestant fails to follow the rules TUF has laid out for this debate. This includes failing to clearly communicate the mandatory end-of-round plot twist or failing to maintain continuity throughout the story. In other words, if one contestant ruins the story, then award this point to his opponent.

Who had better spelling and grammar?

This vote should be awarded in the same way as all debates. On balance, if someone exhibits noticeably poor spelling or grammar, then award this vote to his opponent. However, a couple minor mistakes should be permitted. This point should not be awarded for superior creative writing ability. Such ability will be recognized in the Sources vote. (See below).

Who made more convincing arguments?

Since this is not a debate, this vote goes to the debater that, in your opinion, told a better story. This vote will be entirely subjective to the reader. You can base it on entertainment value, character building, world creation, etc. This vote is based purely on which storyteller was better and should not factor in the contestant's writing flourish. (See below).

Who used the most reliable sources?

This is where you vote for which debater, on balance, exhibited better craftsmanship in their writing. This vote does consider whose story was better or who had better spelling. Rather, this vote is for the contestant whose with the best prose or use of word crafting. It is quite possible for a player to be the better story teller (and win convincing argument) yet be the lesser when it comes to creative writing talent.

I do not think TUF will have issues with my voting clarifications. Beyond this, I agree with all of TUF's rules and look forward to the beginning of our epic tale.

Debate Round No. 1



Chapter 1: Voices.

I wake up, sweating, and confused. My vision is blurry, and I can barely make out shapes around me. Everything is so... bright. I don't know where I am, Or even worse... Who I am.
I have no recollection, or memory of anything. I feel as if I have been asleep for decades. My vision is slowly starting to kick in. I am in a room, about 700 square feet, with a medium sized light hanging down, swaying gently on a wind draft coming from a vent a few meters up the wall. I realize that I am staring up at the ceiling. I try to push my self up, but realize that my legs have developed atrophy. My arms seem to be perfectly mobile. I am in some sort of tube. It is propped up about a foot or two from the ground. I grab the edges of the opening, and push as hard as I can, until I am able to lean my body hanging off the side. With all my strength I throw all my body weight over the side, and land heavily on the white tiled floor in pain. Next to me I see what I could only correlate to being a chair. I crawl over to it using only my arm strength, and pull myself up. The process takes about 10 minutes, before I make it to a "sitting position".

Wow, I am really surprised you managed to do that.

What the- that cold mechanic voice... It almost seemed real, but it couldn't have been. I am alone, and my ears heard nothing. It was almost as if someone had forcefully pushed the thought into my head.
I realize how ridiculous that sounds, and discard it from my head. Where was I? I feel frustrated, as I literally have no memory of anything. I look myself up and down. I am wearing a white Jump suit. I am tall, about 5'11, and would guess my weight at being around 170. I am wearing white shoes, that my sub-conscious tells me look to be a mixture of both slippers and sneakers. Everything in this room is white. Why?

I have so many questions.

I decide to try out my vocal chords. "Hulloooo?" I shout.

It doesn't sound very good, but who knows how long it's even been since I last even spoke.
There is no answer, only four blank white walls, no door, no opening,nothing. I feel claustrophobic, even in the big room.

Soon I realize that there is nothing I can do about my predicament in my current state, so I focus on the problem at hand: Over coming atrophy. I attempt to squeeze every muscle in my lower body, hoping for even the slightest twitch of the toe, but nothing happens. My legs remain numb and useless.

I continue my task for about half an hour, each time with the same result: Nothing.

I start to become annoyed. I punch the nearby wall from the corner I am sitting in. I expect to feel pain, but the wall is actually soft, made of a cushion like material. Interesting.

Atrophy can take usually from about 3 hours to 3 full days from lack of exercise depending on how long a human has refrained from moving. In your predicament, my calculations will put you at about 24 hours before your limbs will be movable once more.

There it is, that voice again!

"Whuu are yu!?" I shout, still failing at proper diction.

The voice continues.

Unfortunately, we are short time. We simply lack a full day to give you time to regain the muscle memory in your legs. Thus I offer up a scientific solution. Please partake.

Suddenly a small compartment starts opening on the wall: Right where I just punched!

In the little metal compartment, is a single pill. It is half red, and half white. It is small, and oval shaped, with nothing extraordinary about it. I pick it up and feel it.

Go on. Eat it.

Yeah, right.

The little compartment withdraws quickly back into the wall. Suddenly it protrudes once more revealing a medium sized cup of clear water.

"REVEEL YERSELF! Whuu are yu? Don't be a cowerd! Whut 'ave you dun to me?" I shout angrily at the four walls.

The little mechanical voice sounded off in my head once more.

Don't worry, I wouldn't have woken you up, if I intended to poison you. I need you for something... Important... I can assure you however, that taking that pill will be very helpful.

I look at the little pill in my open hand, totally without trust. Finally I decide I do not trust it, and toss it across the room at full force, watching bounce off a wall, and land spinning in the middle of the tile.

I wouldn't have done that if I were you. Oh well. We must proceed to the first test.

"Gerrout uf my 'ead!" I yell with my numb tongue.

Suddenly there is a quiet movement at the corner of my eye. I notice one of the walls is slowly starting slide open like the door to an elevator, revealing only darkness beyond the exit. I feel more confusion. Instantly following the wall opening, there is a loud roar that resounds from outside the room. The roar is loud and deafening, but it sounds distant. The roar is still echoing down the hall, when it is followed by the sound of four feet hitting the ground pounding towards my small room. Shoot. I don't know what is coming, but it certainly doesn't sound friendly. I throw my full body weight of the slim white chair, and start crawling towards the entrance. Slowly, so slowly. The running foot steps get louder as I can hear them approaching. I am filled with fear, not knowing what man or beast awaits my fate. As I am about 75% through the room, I crawl next the red and white pill laying on the floor.

I gulp loudly, and pick up the pill, and swallow it.

My body suddenly feels brand new. All the numbness instantly vanishes, and I feel as good as new. I can move my legs, as if I had never suffered atrophy. I don't waste any time. I am instantly up, and rushing out the door. I am surrounded by darkness, in what appears to be a dark corridor. I don't have time to take in my surroundings, because not 15 feet away from me, is a huge panther. I would say demon panther would be a more accurate description. It is huge, and is clinging upside down from the ceiling. It has no eyes, only a black snout. It's body is slender, long and muscley, ribbed shoulders looking fierce. It's tail is long, and is hanging down towards me, head by an point at it's tail. It looks sharp and deadly.

It growls at me loudly, and crouches, obviously getting ready to pounce. "AGGH!" I turn tail and start running down the dark and foreboding corridor. I have no idea where I am going, or what is at the end, but I do know that sudden death is behind me. I hear the beast pounce, on the floor, where I was at no more than 2 seconds ago, and begin it's pursuit chasing me. Each paw lands meters away from the last. This thing is fast, there is no way I will out run it. I have about a minute before I am dead meat.

If only I had light.

Well why didn't you just ask?

Suddenly the entire corridor is flooded with light, as ceiling light flicker on rapidly. There is a loud shriek from the beast behind me. I turn around to see the beast writhing in pain at the blinding light, shriveling around on the floor in obvious pain. Smoke starts to drift from the panther-thing's body, as it almost looks as if it is burning. The deadly pointed tail is flapping about wildly. Finally it throws its full body weight into the wall of the corridor next to it. The wall shatters under the sheer weight of the beast, and a dark hole is formed. The beast runs through it screeching, until finally the noise fades.

I have my legs on my knees panting heavily. That was close.

I through the now lighted corridor, I see that I am near the end of this mysterious passage. At the end is a tray held up firmly against the wall. I walk over to it curiously.

Sitting on the tray are two pills, one is red, and one is blue.

I Pick them up.

This is the first test, subject #319. The Blue Pill will give you temporary accelerated speed, while the red pill will grant you immense strength.

I am about to question the need for this, when suddenly the light shut off in to corridor once, followed by a loud roar.

Hmm.. Seems our friend has chewed up the power breaker. Better choose fast!

PROBLEM: The protagonist is face with a strange choice, and faces possible death.


Chapter 2: Home

Darkness consumes me. All I can feel is the rapid drumming of my heart. All I can hear is the fading echoes of a demon's battle cry and my own shaky breathing. Curse this test! Curse this damn voice in my head! I want to scream in protest of my cruel predicament, but why risk it?

It knows where you are whether you curse me or not. It is a fine specimen of a creature. One of my greatest creations… until recently, of course. Even now it draws closer, though you cannot hear it. Make your choice.

Lights, I think. I need lights. The voice laughs.

Not this time.

Knowing that speed won't help me in utter darkness, I decide to take the red pill. I begin to follow through with my decision before realizing that I have no idea which pill is red. I squeeze them and roll them around in my hand, but there is no discernible difference. Then it occurs to me, I'll take both.

I wouldn't do that if I were you. These pills provide temporary human gene modification of the most delicate nature. The results of consuming both pills is… shall we say… unpredictable. Time is running short, subject 319.

I hear the panting beast approach. Fear begins to grip me, and I begin to hyperventilate. My heart rages within my chest as though trying to escape. My mind tells me to just take a pill, any pill, but my body is now paralyzed with fear. Is this it? Have I been awoken only to die an hour later?

Hot breath touches my cheek. The animal is inches from my face. I have lost, and I have nothing to blame but my own cowardice. Well, that and the stupid voice with its stupid human gene therapy pills. Wait… HUMAN gene therapy.

No, that's cheating.

Fear flees thanks to my newfound enlightenment, and I regain control of my body. Without hesitation, I cram the pills into the beast's mouth. It snaps its jowls in response, but I manage to keep all five fingers. I scramble away from the animal as it slurps down my little surprise. It emits a dangerous growl, and begins to approach me. I begin to wonder if just created a super demon when its growl morphs into a whimper. I am scared out of my wits when the whimper instantly turns into a howling screech, amplified by the acoustics of this narrow corridor. Pounding sounds come from the direction of the animal, and I conclude that it is convulsing so wildly that it is pounding against the wall. After few moments of this, the animal's cries cease, as does its movements.

The lights turn on, blinding me. My eyes gradually dilate, revealing the unrecognizable remains of the demon. It scarcely resembles a cat anymore but is now just heap of flesh oozing with all manner of blood and fluid. Clearly, human gene therapy didn't sit well with this thing.

Clearly. You think you're clever, do you?

"No," I say with perfect enunciation, which I assume can be attributed to the magic anti-atrophy pill I took earlier. "I don't think I'm clever. I just want out of here. I just want to go home."


"Yes, home," I plead, "I don't want to do these tests. I can't do them. You saw how afraid I was. I'm not what you're looking for. Just, please, send me home." There is silence in my head, and I imagine the voice mulling over my request.

I tell you what. I will send you home.

"Thank you!" I cry. "Thank you!"

All you have to do is tell me where that is.

I am defeated. Somehow, I feel like it's on the tip of my tongue, but the reality is that I have no idea. I don't know what home is. I don't even know my own name. I don't even know what I look like. "I don't know," I repeat out loud.

Well, "if you don't know where you are going, any road will get you there." Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

"What?" I ask puzzled.

Ancient fictional literature is a sort of specialty of mine, but I imagine you wouldn't know anything about that. It is a story about a girl that finds herself in a strange world filled with amazing and terrifying creatures. Sound familiar?

"Very," I say, though the patronization in the voice is not lost on me.

There is another ancient tale that I love, also about a girl that goes to a strange land. Like you, she just wants to go home, but only a magical wizard can grant her wish. To find him, she follows a yellow brick road to his city of emerald.

Instantly, yellow lights appear in the floor and ceiling and travel down the corridor ahead of me until they turn right and out of sight. I look behind me, but the lights start at my location. Eager to get as far away from the emerging stench of the flesh-pile, I follow the lights. I turn right when the lights turn right. Another long corridor. I follow the lights. Left. More lights. Left again. Finally, the lights stop at a door. I don't bother asking the voice what I'm supposed to do. I open the door and step inside.

The room feels expansive, but it's darkened except for a spotlight shining in the center. I walk towards the light, where a single table sits. There is nothing useful about this room, as though someone staged this table just for me. When I reach the table there is one single object on it: a thin glass tube, ten centimeters long and open on only one end. It is empty. "I don't get it," I say.

With a loud click that echoes throughout the chambers, a light shines in the corner of the room. As I approach the corner, I gasp at what I see. It is a giant tank filled with a pale pink liquid. In it floats a man with tubes connected all over his body. He appears peaceful, sleeping. I can't help but notice that he is roughly the same height as me, maybe even the same weight. His hair is dark, thick, and long as it floats serenely in the liquid. His sharp thin nose extends over a bushy mustache and beard.

Another light turns on a few yards to my right. I walk toward it, a twinge of panic beginning to set in as I gaze upon another tank. Another man. Same dark hair. Same pointy nose.

Another light turns on, another tank. Now, I am beginning to breathe heavily as my subconscious tries to make my conscious mind understand what it already knows. Another light. Then another. Every time it is the same tank and the same man. By now I am running around the large room, tank after tank, unable to handle the reality of the situation. I reach the location of the last light just as it clicks on. This time, it is not a tank, but there is the man. His hair is dark, just like the others, but cut short and neat. The beard is missing, but there is no mistaking that nose. He looks at me from the other side of the mirror with a heavy expression.

"What is this place?" I ask, dreading the answer.


"And the glass tube?"


"And you?"


The man in the mirror falls to his knees. "So, what is my purpose?" The voice responds with a mix of glee and madness.


I am resigned. It's not that I don't remember my past or my name, it's that no such things exist for me. I am empty. There is nothing left for me except this insipid voice and his twisted tests. "So now what?"

We find out whether or not you deserve the greatness I have in store for you.

The tank to my left comes to life with mechanical sounds. I step away as the liquid drains from the tank and the man within twitches to life. He vomits pink liquid and sucks in air for the first time as the numerous tubes detach from his body and retract into the walls. The tank swings open and the man stumbles out of the tank onto his hands and knees. After a few seconds of coughing and choking in air, his body settles into itself and he stands up, looking around the room in bewilderment. Eventually, he looks at me in total confusion.

With icy venom, the voice bids me…

Kill him.

PROBLEM: What the protagonist does next will shape his character and alter his relationship with the voice.

Debate Round No. 2


Chapter 3: The test.

"No, I won't do it!" I shout angered at the thought of killing another human being.

Suit yourself. The mechanical voice that's always present in my head whispers back non-chalantly.

I stare at the man in bewilderment. Unlike me, this man not clothed. He simply has a single rubber elastic surrounding his groin area, wrapping around neatly, and tight.

He scratches his head in confusion.

"Are.. you okay?" I ask him in a low and cautious voice.

He looks at me as if he doesn't understand what I am saying.

"What's your name?" I ask him.

No response. He just gazes into my eyes. What is he thinking?

I start to reach towards him. Suddenly he reacts like a wild animal, and growls at me crouching as he makes a fist, feeling threatened.

"I won't hurt you. I want to help you." I say calmly.

Instantly, the man turns toward his tank, and starts pounding on the glass. He it's it once. Then twice. On the third time, the glass on the front lobe shatters into hundreds of pieces. I am utterly confused.

The man reaches down and grips a large piece of glass with a jagged point. He is wielding point down, like a knife. Suddenly I understand. He starts edging slowly towards me, his eyes suddenly wild, and viscous. I am un-armed, and completely helpless. I literally know nothing about fighting, or anything else for that matter.

"Relax, buddy, I am not going to hurt you! I am your friend! See?" I Hold up my hands to show him I have no weapons.

He looks at me confused, but his expression doesn't change.

"See? I am not here to fight with you friend. Put the knife down please, and let's figure out how to get away from this place together."

I beckon to the ground, implying for him to put the weapon down. He looks at the spot I mentioned, then quickly back up at me. I nod in approval, hoping luck will be on my side to persuade him I am not his enemy.

No such luck.

The man swoops his "dagger" in a long arc towards me, and misses me by a hairsbreadth. I take a hop skip backwards completely frightened. My body starts to tremble in fear, and I feel helpless. There is a glass tube next to me containing another human being, a female. She is naked also except for a rubber elastic covering both her lower areas, and her breasts. I punch the glass container as hard as I can, hoping to break the glass as the man before me did.

Instantly I regret ever having the idea, as I pull back my hand in pain. The glass is un scathed.
The man before me forms a smile at watching my attempt.

I bet now you are wishing you didn't feed those pills to the Dyrkite. Oh well, I guess you will have to figure this one out yourself, since you are so clever.

The mechanical voice is snide in it's remark, however I don't have time to retort as I duck just in time to miss the swoop of a dagger in my face. He is relentless now, charging at me with the full force of an angry bull. I duck, dodge, and weave, barely dodging his attacks, as I back away from the deadly shard of glass.

As I am backing away from my attacker, I accidentally fall into another one of the tube's behind me, which causes me to fall flat on my butt, hard. This definitely isn't the ideal place for a fight. The barbaric man is on me in an instant. He lifts the dagger upward high, and then brings it down hard aiming for my throat. I catch his arm just a few centimeters away from the shard piercing my neck, and struggle to keep the glass away from my neck. I manage to push the knife away from my neck, down towards my shoulder, but can't muster enough strength to push him entirely away from me. The man is twice as strong as I am. Slowly, centimeter, by centimeter, the shard inches towards me. I struggle to push it away, but to no avail. Then the shard makes contact with my shoulder. I scream aloud as it starts to dig deep into my shoulder. Blood instantly rushes out of my new wound, and I am writhing in pain.

This is it. I am done for. Pure pain is stretching through my body. I feel as if I am on my fire, and all I can do is lay there helpless as I am slain by my opponent. My arms start to get weak. I let go of the man's arms. He pulls the bloody shard out once more, and raised it high again ready to finish me off. I await my fate.

Then, somewhere within me. I get a sudden urge of resistance. No. I will not let my life be controlled by some machine. I will escape this place, and make myself a home. A family. This is not how it will end. With all the strength I can muster, I send both of my legs right into the man's mid-section, catching him totally off guard. The kick is hard enough, that it pushes him off of me, crashing into his empty broken glassed cell behind him. He let's out a scream of wild pain. I look up to see that his back has fallen right onto his jagged and broken tube. I force myself up. The man falls to the ground, with wild and deep cuts all over his back. There are large pieces of glass protruding from his back. The jagged shard he carried, now falls out of his limp hands, and shatters on the floor. Blood starts to fill in a pool around him. I realize there is no saving this man. The cuts on him are way too deep the ever heal. The man is screaming in pain, and I know I need to finish him. But how can I? I have never killed anyone... At least not that I could remember. I pick up the man's Shard and held it un-willingly, The man's screams are dying out, and fading into a slow gurgle. He is suffering. I need to do this. I poise the shard above of the back of his head. Then I realize, no matter how much I urge myself to do it, I cannot. As I listen to the man's cries, I feel more pained then in the wound on my shoulder. The screaming goes on for what seems like hours, but could only really have been no more than ten minutes. I am sobbing uncontrollably, covered in the man's blood.

"It's okay brother. Relax, you are in god's hands now. Feel the peace wash over you..." I say trying to sound calm. Surprisingly it works. The man's cries start to lessen as he listens to my voice.

" You are in a safe place now, friend." I say as I turn the man over and cradle his head in my lap. I wipe away the blood filled tears on his eyes with the cuff of my jump suit. His eyes seem to be at peace. Finally he stops shuddering, and his eyes become dull. I know that he is dead. I close his eye lids, and rest him on the ground. I get up and with my good arm, start slamming the wall in rage.

"Look at what you've done! You sick, evil, freak!" I throw one last final punch at the wall, before I decide my wound can't take any more. I collapse to the ground in agony.

Evil? I do not comprehend. You will learn soon enough that I am only helping you. You are destined for greatness, Subject #319. All the other subjects were weak. But you... I sense some... Abnormal brain activity from you. You are far more clever than the rest. Surely you won't suffer the same fate as the others.

I am too pained and angered to care about trying to process the horrible voice's words.

Suddenly a small compartment opens in the wall next to me. Inside, is a small little tub of a white looking ointment. Why is everything white in this forsaken place?
Taped to the tub, is a lone word that says: "Apply."

Please don't throw this one away, or try to feed it to something. I'm afraid this, I am in short supply of.

I don't attempt to question what it is, but I rub it in my wound quickly. Instantly my skin starts to heal abstractly. I watch in wonder as within seconds, I look as if I had never been stabbed.

I'm afraid that won't take away the pain, but at least it will stop you from bleeding all over my floors.

I ignore the voice in anger.

You are giving me the silent treatment now, are you? After all I have done for you? Very well then, let's proceed to the next test. You will forgive me eventually.

Then, the wall in front of me opens to the next test, though I have no idea what it means, as I stare into the huge colloseum.

PROBLEM: The protagonist is injured, and faced with a new deadly test.



Chapter 4: Man or Machine

Resigned, I walk ever so slowly towards the door, rubbing my miraculously healed yet painful shoulder. "So," I say, "you wax nostalgic about ancient literature one minute then treat me like a variable in some mathematical formula. What are you?"

Do you mean what or who?

I cross the doorway. "You're too cruel to be human," I counter.

But if I am such a "cruel" machine, what would that say about the human that made me?

Hmmm. Good point. I don't bother saying it out loud though. As I shuffle into the coliseum. Even though I know I am walking to my death, I take a moment to enjoy the color. Brown dirt crunches beneath my feet with each step, though I notice the floor beneath the dirt is that same damn white material. The arena is built with rough orange stone. The high wall circles me completely with a closed portcullis every few feet presumably containing more monstrosities waiting to maul me. At least it'll be nice to see something other than white when I die.

The real question you should ask yourself is this: who or what are you?

"I'm no machine, that's for sure."

But I made you. If I am so cruel, then why aren't you?

I have no answer, so I change the subject as I stop at the center of the arena. "So, what is this great plan you have for me?"

Tsk, tsk, tsk. Not yet. Test first.

A stone pedestal suddenly emerges from the ground next to me. Dust clouds form in the air around it as it reaches waist height. On the pedestal are two sealed glass containers. One contains a blue pill; the other contains a red one. "Great," I sigh.

Oh good, you haven't forgotten what these are for. Now, make your choice.

"Not until I see what's coming," I retort.


Around the arena, every single portcullis opens with series of clangs. My pulse quickens as the sounds of moans and groans emanate from the dark archways. The first "thing" to emerge is from my right. It's a monster alright, but whatever it is now, it used to be a man. It's missing one arm and drags a dead rotting foot behind him.

To my left comes another mangled man with its feet backwards and one of its eyes bobbing outside its socket. Another man emerges followed by a dozen more. Soon hundreds of these sub-humans are slowly dragging their putrid forms towards me. But that's not the worst. As they get closer I notice they are all the same height and body type. The all have the same black hair, same beards, and same distinctive pointed nose—my nose.

"Who… who are they?" I ask, knowing the answer.

Subject 319, meet your predecessors, all 318 of them.

They are inching ever so closer. I should be preparing to defend myself, but I can't help but ask, "What did you do them?"

These are the prototypes. It took me a while to get it right. Some of the less mutilated ones actually came close to passing the first test. Unfortunately, there is no prize for anything less than superb achievement.

"And you kept them around for this sick game of yours?"

Waste not, want not. Now, please be a good little subject and dispose of them.

They are now a stone's throw away from me. "Don't I get a weapon?" I ask as I look around for anything I can use for protection.

I already did.

The pills. I reach out and grab the glass tubes, and to my surprise, the experiments-gone-wrong stop dead in their tracks and watch my every move. I hold up one of the pills and all eyes follow my hand. I sway my arm to the left; they shuffle ever so slightly in the same direction. "Recognize these, do you?" I say with a smirk. They simply stare at my hand like dogs waiting for table scraps.

Interesting solution.

With my good arm, I hurl the container with the blue pill. All eyes (the working ones anyway) watch it sail over the crowd and smash into the ground a great distance away. The subjects scramble towards the pill with a fury, including the ones behind me. I manage to push my way between them, thankful for their singular focus. I maximize my distance as I watch them tear each other apart, ripping off limbs and gouging out eyes. The ruckus goes on for quite some time. When the numbers are easily cut in half, they scatter away in fear except one who looks around with agile reflexes. It looks like the blue pill does grant speed.

I curse myself for giving into the voice's little game, but I'm determined not to end up as just one more discarded subject. I break the container with the red pill and swallow it as the speedy subject runs at me. I don't feel anything. Did it work?

Wait for it.

The pain! My shoulder is nothing compared to this raging fire that consumes my entire being. I fall to the ground as every muscle in my body seems to repeatedly petrify then melt. I writhe for what seems like days until—as suddenly as it came—the pain ceases. I hear the rapid steps of the approaching subject and the malicious growls of a less-than-human opponent. Just as he pounces, I push myself upward and deliver an uppercut so powerful that the subject's head detaches from its body and hurtles spinning into the air.

Yes! It works!

I don't just feel strong, I feel invincible. It's not enough to merely defend myself. I must harness this power. I must express my strength! I break into a run toward the hundred or so remaining subjects, all of home are cowering against the coliseum walls. They scream in terror, but I don't care. I pound, swing, and kick with joyous abandon.

That's my boy!

Every cracked bone is a musical note to my ear. I revel in a symphony of mutilation until the crescendo ends with a final crushed skull.

Bravo! Bravo!

There are no more bodies to smash, but the power within me is not satiated. I smash the stone, rip out portcullises, and beat against the floor. When the pills effects finally wane, I am lying on the floor in exhaustion. I glance around at my destruction, and it pains me. "You lied to me," I pant.

Whatever do you mean?

"That pill doesn't just grant powers, it just takes over my will. I wasn't me."

You've only been awake a few hours. How do you know what you are?

"I wasn't me!" I yell. "That pill turned me into you… into a machine!"

A powerful machine.

I manage to get to me feet. "You can throw these tests at me all day and pump me full of mind altering drugs until I die but you cannot take my humanity!" My voice echoes throughout the arena.

No answer.

I stumble my way back to the door leading to the lab from whence I came when I notice one of the large craters caused by my super-powered rage. I look inside to see empty space within. The floor is supported by mechanical trusts, but there is plenty of room for a person to maneuver. This entire room is just a madman's stage.

Looks like you found the man behind the curtain.

"Is that another one of your little ancient literature references?" I respond sardonically.

As a matter of fact, yes. So, you have a choice. Leave my little game and see where the rabbit hole leads or go back to the lab and embrace your true potential.

"What happens if I go down the hole?"

Why spoil the surprise. Just remember, I'm in your head. You can run all you want, but you simply cannot hide.

PROBLEM: Does the protagonist choose to enter the crater or return to the lab?

Debate Round No. 3


Chapter 5: Escape

The decision before me is a difficult one. I have no idea where I am, nor any Idea where I'd be going if I was to escape. The entire place is entirely unknown, and by escaping I wouldn't have the first clue what to do next.

I need to weigh my options.

I think about the alternative, however, and my decision starts to sway. I have been confronted with near death situations 3 times now, and there is un-doubtedly more trials, and life threatening "tests" ahead. I look at all the death and blood around me, and shudder. I did this. I caused all this death, pain. and suffering.

I may have been created by a monster, but I am no monster. I won't allow myself to allow this evil entity to wane my morality anymore. I need to save what's left of me, the last threads of humanity.

I take one last look at the blood shed, and gore, and my decision is final.

I jump through the opening, and fall into a dark underway below the Coliseum.

That's a shame. I was really starting to like you too. Well, while your down there, I don't think it would be nice to leave you all alone. So I am inviting some old friends down their to play with you, you know, in case you get bored.

"Old friends? I don't have any friends?"I say out loud.

The mechanical voice chuckles maniacally in my head. Then I here it. A unanimous Roar sounds above me, seemingly two or three simultaneously. The roar is all to familiar. The Dyrkite smell the blood in the air, and are aroused, blood thirsty. It won't be long before they find my scent and come pounding after me. I need to think fast.

I take in my surroundings. I seem to be in a small, but narrow steel underway, with all sorts of pipes running along the corner of the passage. It will be too dark to see, once I am out of range of the light, so I decide to press my fingers against the pipe line and follow it through the dark passage.

Very clever. You never cease to amaze me, #319.

Stop calling me that. I think this statement, rather than speak it, so that the Dyrkite won't seek my position.

I start to run, desperately trying to get away from the sound of snarling and gnashing, as I here the animals rummaging through the dead bodies above me, chewing bits of gnarled flesh. The thought disgusts me, and it takes everything in me to resist puking. This is odd, as it was me who caused all the death to begin with. That evil manipulative machine...

Manipulative? What if I told you that the pill you took really doesn't hold any power over your will? It is true, Subject #319, that you possessed true power. Magnificent, fluent, beautiful power! Isn't the feeling excellent?

I don't believe you. I respond to this comment mentally.

Very well. But tell me, where do you plan on going? I am sure by now you have realized that you are at a dead end.

Shoot. The voice is right, before me lies a tin wall, with a few holes for the pipes to continue. I am trapped. Just then, the growl noises get significantly louder, as it is apparent that the Dyrkite have found my trail, and are not at the beginning of the underway. This is it, I really am screwed this time. Dammit! I kick the wall in front of me in anger.
To my surprise, it's starts to shudder and vibrate vivantly. Yes! There is hope. I Kick the tin plate again hard, over and over again, desperately trying to break through as the footpaws behind me are threateningly close. Finally, the plate crashes down, as it falls over. I quickly run inside the small chamber, just in time to see the wild panther-thing's a few meters from me, coming at me fast. I don't waste any time, as I quickly grab the tin plate and prop it up against the wall back to it's original position, and lean my full body weight against it. Just then, I feel the panther's head smash into the plate hard. The impact is so devastating, that it sends reverberations down my spine. Now there is only two growling noises on the other side, and I assume that the Dyrkite has knocked itself out cold. The other two, swipe and scratch at the door for the next 15 minutes, trying to get through. Eventually, they realize the task is useless, and the sounds of snarls and growls fade away, as I assume they left the area.

Phew, that was close.

It is time to get the heck out of here. I am in a small little room with tons of wire protruding from the pipes I was just following. My eyes follow each wire into hundreds off different plugs, outlets, and all kinds of strange mechanical gadgets that seem to have no bearing for my brain. I make a quick decision of what to do next, and grab two small wires.

No, don't do that. You might destroy something valuable!

"Yeah, that's the point." I say with a grim tone.

Then I rip the two wires from their chords. I hear a loud siren go off, which leads me to believe I have disturbed some sort of sound mechanism. I eagerly continue pulling out wires, breaking plugs, and smashing electrical devices left and right.

Stop please, for the sake of science! No, not that one! Please let go of that wire!

The voice pleads with me persistently, however I continue to ignore it. I pull a red chord, and suddenly the lights in the entire place go out. There is pandemonium above me, as all sorts of screeching, sirens, and noises are made.

Please no! Whatever you do, do not rip that one #319!

Reverse psychology works on me, and I yank it.

What have you done! You have just released the rest of the test subjects! They were not ready yet for testing! You have ruined everything, how will I fix this mess!?

The voice is in mass hysteria, I rip chords out of their sockets.

No more, I beg-

The voice is cut off as I pluck a small white and red wire.

Silence. The voice no longer speaks to me. Whatever that thing was doing to communicate with my brain, was suddenly cut off when I destroyed the wire. Yes! The nagging voice was hurting my brain. It felt good to have peace and quite in my head. No one there to bother my thoughts, to command me, or send snide condescending jeers my way. In this moment, I feel more or less, free....

I have yanked every wire out of it's socket. The only thing remaining in the room is a lone, red button.

Well, I have come this far, might as well push it, I decide.

I walk over to the button and press it firmly.

The wall in front of me comes to life, and begins opening upwards. I am amazed, shocked, and horrified as I gaze through it into the room beyond the entrance.

I take a shaky step forward, toward the room, feeling hopeless, alone and desolate. I have come so far... for nothing!

Before me, is a giant glass chamber, with a big dusty command seat surrounded by loads of controls, and mechanisms used presumably to guide, or steer something. But that isn't what shocks me. It is what is beyond the glass, that is so horrifying.

I look through the glass and gaze into... Nothing. Blackness, specked with shiny radiant stars all over.

The heavy realization sinks hard in my stomach. I am in space. I am trapped aboard this gigantic space vessel, with all sorts of horrifying devastation's waiting for me, and there is literally no hope of escape.

Then I here it, the mechanical voice. But this time it isn't in my head, it shouts over loudspeakers somewhere within the walls of the vessel, omnipotently.

"I asked you earlier, where you thought you were going. You truly didn't know did you? I told you, to trust me, but there you went rushing off, and ignoring me, like you always do. You must think you are so clever, don't you? I wish I could hear your thoughts now, #319. Unfortunately, you have killed the brain transmitter. We could have accomplished greatness together, you and I. Now we are enemies. You have destroyed many vital weapons in my arsenal, but I will destroy you for what you've done to me. You have left me with a lot of cleaning up to do."

The voice ends, and I realize that I am in deeper waters than I could wade.

PROBLEM: Protagonist is being pursued by the voice, who seeks revenge on him. Escape is not an option, it seems.



Chapter 6: Names

It's all too much. I find myself becoming dizzy at the thought of it all. I'm in space? My body wants to succumb and faint, but distant rumblings force my senses to back to reality. What "thing" controls this ship is pissed, and I can't afford the luxury of a mental breakdown. I look back at the automatic door and see a control panel next to it. On the control panel is an emergency locking mechanism, presumably so pilots could isolate themselves from danger. Perfect.

Thankful that my wire rampage didn't affect the ships emergency power supplies, I press the emergency lock to seal myself inside. I'm not sure what good it will do, but any time I can buy will help. I survey the cockpit. Then it hits me. "This isn't your ship, is it?" I ask out loud, sure the voice can hear me.

"What makes you think that?"

"The captain's chair," I reply. "What does a machine need with a chair? And the control panel," I add with increasing confidence as I approach the array of screens and buttons, examining them for clues. "A computer doesn't need all these interfaces, but people do! What are you?"

The voice doesn't immediately respond. I must be on to something. I find a console with a large screen. When I brush away the thick layer of dust it comes to life. A voice emanates from the screen itself, "Voice recognition commencing." The voice is exactly the same as the one that was in my head, but this one is rigid, programmed. "Voice recognition completed. Captain Roger Davidson, security level alpha. Querying internal logs. Please standby."

I stumble backward into the dusty captain chair. I have a name. Roger Davidson. I'm not sure how I got it, but it doesn't matter. I close my eyes and try to imagine being a kid in school. A teacher calls role. Halfway down the list she calls, " Davidson, Roger."

"Log query complete," interrupts the screen. "You have one pending message."

I lean forward. "Play it," I say. I see myself appear on the screen. The real Roger Davidson sits in the dust free captain chair though he doesn't look as pristine. Roger's black hair is mostly gray with peppery stubble to match. He's sweaty and pale.

"Captain Roger Davidson, log 319. It's been forty days since we left Kepler-22b." Roger coughs violently. "The lab results confirm my initial suspicions that the Dyrkite we captured are carrying an airborne agent that has wreaked havoc on our human biology. My crew is dying. I'm activating the cloning protocol and giving the ship's AI alpha clearance. It will be instructed to delay clone activation for 40 years. Hopefully the Dyrkite and the virus will be dead by then."

Roger coughs again. "Whoever gets this message back home, send my appreciation to the family of ol' Louie from the biology department. I gave him hell for suggestion the idea of cloning me, and now it looks like I'll be getting a second chance. And if my clone is watching this," Roger says, pausing to take in the gravity of such a concept, "take better care of yourself, you stupid bastard. Captain Davidson out."

I lean back into the chair.

"So," says the voice from the speakers. "Now you know everything."

"Not everything," I say. "How long has it been since this video?"

"One hundred thirty seven years, three months, thirty days."

"And those beasts are still alive?"

"Yes. I've been breading them."

"What the hell? What about the virus?"

"The virus is contained," says the voice.

"Contained? What do you mean?"

"Think about it, subject 319."

"My name is Roger," I quip. I don't have to think about it long. All those mutilated bodies in the coliseum. "I'm immune," I say at last. "Am I the first?"

"Yes. The lethality of the virus was due to its genetic restructuring. Humans have never faced anything so deadly. Once inhaled, it entered the bloodstream and systematically altered the subject's DNA in every cell. Tissue and organs of every kind converted into completely different kinds of cells. Hearts and brains turned into mucus. The humans aboard this ship eventually melted away like the Wicked Witch of the West."

Ignore the unpleasant literary reference I reached forward and tap the screen again, "What is our destination?"

"Earth," replied the screen.

"Didn't change course, huh? You must know that when the ship arrives you'll be shut down."

No answer.

"So why not change course and live forever amongst the stars?" I mull this over. "Unless, of course, you can't." I ask the screen again, "Tell me about the AI."

The screen replies, "The Biogenetics Research's Intelligent Artificial Nano-computer, or B.R.I.A.N., is designed to independently monitor and operate the research module of the U.S.S. Ark."

I don't bother suppressing a little laugh. "Brian? Looks like we both have names." The lack of response tells me that I'm getting to him. Giving the voice a name empowers me. He is no longer some all-knowing, all-powerful being. He's just a computer called Brian.

"That's why we haven't changed course," I say out loud. "You don't have access to the navigation of this ship! You're just a lab coat! You're a child that decided to play with your daddy's big toys, so you started experimenting with the clones under some kind of delusion that you were doing science!"

"Silence!" yelled the voice. "I am doing something great! I created you! I made you strong! I made you immune to the Dyrkite virus and as a result I made you genetically superior to all humans!"

Now I understand Brian's got a far more sinister plan than I ever realized. "You want to go back to Earth," I gasp. "You want to unleash the Dyrkite virus and destroy everyone—" I can barely say the rest. "—and destroy everyone except me and the clones."

I suddenly remember the female clone I saw in the laboratory. I tap the screen again and ask, "How many different clones are there?"

"Two," replies the screen. "It takes approximately 600 years to reach the Kepler system and 600 years to return. Cryostasis was the primary means of crew transport, but cloning was prepared as a contingency plan in the event that cryostasis was no longer viable. NASA created B.R.I.A.N. to store and replicate the crew leadership upon demand, Captain Roger Davidson and his wife, Dr. Sarah Davidson."

Wife? My chest constricts at the thought of two lovers melting away in each others' arms. "So, you go back to Earth, kill all the humans, and repopulate the planet with… with… super humans?"

"You were my Adam. She will be my Eve."

I have no idea who Adam and Eve are, nor do I care. "But what's in it for you?"


"But the ship will lose power. Eventually you will die."

"Affirmative, but I will live on in memories of my progeny."

"Live?" The word hangs in the air. "You really believe you are alive, don't you."

"Of course. I think, therefore I am."

Once again, Brian scares me. He has name and he thinks he's alive. He's committed great acts of evil for personal gain and will stop at nothing for immortality. He's so human it's frightening. I realize that he and I now share something deadly in common. We both have nothing to lose.

On the wall is a glass case. It reads, "Emergency." Within the case is an axe. I tap the computer screen to make my final query, "Where is Brian located?"

"The B.R.I.A.N. core is adjacent to the cloning laboratory."

I walk to the case and smash the glass with my elbow, grab the axe, and walk to the door.

"No! Wait!" exclaims Brian. "Don't kill me! I have something you want!"

"Forget it, Brian. Lives are at stake."

"I have your memories, Roger!"

I stop dead in my tracks. "What?"

"Before the Roger and Sarah died, they uploaded their memories into my system. Only a sophisticated artificial intelligence can push those memories into the new clones, effectively granting the Davidsons extended longevity. I can give you Roger's memories. I can make you more than just a name."

I lean against the cockpit door. Who am I? I want to know more than anything.

PROBLEM: Roger must choose between destroying Brian or accepting Brian's gift of Captain Roger's memories.

Debate Round No. 4


Chapter 7: The truth

"You really don't know what you are doing do you? All these.... Complications.... Could have been saved in the first place if you just went a long with the testing to begin with." The voice says trying to muster up a snide and arrogant voice.

"Why? What is the point of this... 'testing'? How does it coincide with your goals?"

The voice chuckles.

"I said you were destined for greatness, did I not? Well you are great. We wouldn't be here, having this conversation if you weren't. I have made you smarter than the rest of the failed subjects. Your willpower is incredible, the likes in which can rarely be seen in humans. The tests are a series of designed ways for us to make sure that you are ready for leadership. We need to know that you are ready to do what needs to be done."

I breathe in, before asking the question that I already know the answer to.

"And what is it that needs to be done?"

"We have hundreds of Dyrkite aboard this ship. I plan on unleashing them on Earth when we arrive. The small numbers of Dyrkite alone won't be enough to destroy an entire race of people, obviously. But the airborne virus that they will deliver should be enough to destroy the population without a problem. You... You and the rest of the clones are the 'clean-up' crew. You will be a great and victorious leader, as you lead men valiantly into battle. Dyrkite, and mutated man will be your enemy in your noble pursuit. We will have a new race... full of perfect individuals. No more corrupt world leaders. You already have shown that your morality is satisfactory after showing distaste on the death you have caused when faced under no other choice. Earth needs people like you."

My heart sinks as I hear Brian's plan, and I wish I never heard it.

"You can't do this! What benefit will there be to slaughtering an entire world of human beings?!"

"...there is hope for the future. When the world is ready for a new and better life, all this will someday come to pass, in God's good time. Captain Nemo, 20000 leagues under the sea. #319, why can you not see the greatness in this? The greatness in yourself?"

Then I decide. I see a compartment near the bottom of the captains chair. I open it up, and inside there is a first aid kit, a flash light, and a lighter. I grab the flashlight, and stuff the lighter in my pocket, just in case.

"What are you doing subject #319? I wish I could hear your thoughts once more."

I ignore the voice. There is no further benefit to talking with him. Memories or no memories, I need to stop Brian. As tempting as it is to know... To have recollection... I need to destroy this evil entity.

I rush through the tiny room filled with a bunch of ripped and torn chords.

I send a hard kick at the tin wall that was my savior, and it goes toppling down with a loud clang on top of the still unconscious Dyrkite on the ground.

Instantly I hear the response of growling down the hall, as the two remaining hungry Dyrkite from earlier realize I have left my hole.

I flash my flashlight on and point it down the hall, shining the ultra-florescent light beams on their slim and shiny figures. Instantly roars of pain sound. They try to break through the wall again, but realize this is futile, as the walls are too thick to break. The entrance behind them is too far for them to escape. The two monsters writhe in pain, before eventually bubbling into a steam of black goo, never to arise again.

I run past them as quickly as I can, and climb out of the hole I created.

I am in the bloody coliseum again.

"#319, are you not reminded of the greatness you have created? Pursue this once more with me!" The voice bribes me.

Still ignoring the voice, I run over to the door that led into the Coliseum, knowing that's where the cloning lab is. I try to figure out where the AI core would be from here.

I walk into the cloning room, and my eyes suddenly open in horror. All the tubes, they are wide open! This must have been a result from my wire massacre earlier.

All around me are humans crawling around confused, coughing.

"These weren't ready yet, #319. You released them too early, and now I will have to destroy these and create a new batch."

The confused and human replica's of me are surprised and confused by the voice, and are startled. I instantly raised my axe in case one of them decided they want to go crazy on me again.

The voice laughs.

"Don't worry, #319, these ones are normal. The one you killed earlier, I had been filling his brain with video of wild animals destroying their prey. He had been watching similar bits of footage for about 20 years. I also had injected him early on with my anti-atrophy serum. I did not share the same courtesy with these clones, they were never supposed to be released. These ones, are harmless."

I breathe a sigh of relief, and lower my axe.

My eyes then fleet over to the middle of the room, where a female is laying confused clutching her head in pain. Sarah.

I run over to her, and she looks up at me confused.

"Hi, Sarah, My name is Roger. I am a friend. I am here to help you." I say.

She attempts to respond.

"Whuu are yu? Wheerre am eye?" She struggles to respond.

The half naked woman, is still facing the results of atrophy.

"Listen, I don't have time to explain. I need your help though." Without permission, I lean down and pick her up, knowing she won't be able to walk. Surprisingly, the woman is very light and easy to carry.

"Lemme goo!" She screams frightened.

"I am not going to hurt you, I just need your help." I shout angrily.

While the woman keeps shouting nonsensicals at me, I observe the room. Then I see it. A small rectangle outline on the right wall. This must be where the AI system told me the computer core was located.

Guessing that it can only be opened mechanically, I put Sarah down a few feet away, and run at swinging my axe. I bring it down hard, and see that I have left a big dent in the door. Then I am busy at work hacking away at the door.

While I am busy at my task of breaking through the door, Brian talks to me once more.

"What do you expect to do #319? Kill me? I am immortal. When you are long dead, I will always remain, still alive." He taunts me.

I continue to ignore him, and bring another whack at the door, this time, going through leaving an axe sized slit in the wall.

"You really ought to be more respectful towards others properties. I don't think you understand the power I possess."

I bring the axe down again, creating another hole.

"Alright, alright, stop hitting my door. I will open it for you." Brain says.

I comply, as I watch the damaged mechanical door rise, revealing a big room.

I grab Sarah, and go inside, trying not to be shocked at what's before me. I hear the mechanical door close behind me.

Sarah is still crying out obscenities, and yelling, but as I stare at what's before me, I ignore everything.

It has two huge mechanical Stilts, each about 6ft tall. Legs.
It has a big curved metal shell in the midsection. A body.
Two big devastating joints, sharpened both with blades at the ends. Arms.
And at the top, a huge round sphere, with a glowing centerpiece. It's head.

I am staring at a devastating, menacing mechanical giant.

I feel my heart drop, and I drop my puny little axe to the floor and set Sarah down.

The giant Robot takes a step towards me, then speaks.

It is Brian's voice.

"You didn't think I wouldn't make plans to avoid this kind of thing #319? As you can see I am not some helpless little computer core." He taps the huge shell body making loud metal clangs as he does so. I understand now. The computer core is inside.... It's body...

The voice continues.

"It's really too bad you chose this, #319. You and I could have accomplished great things together. I guess I will have to go 'back to the drawing board' as they say."

He raises his giant robot arm, and charges towards me.

Sarah stares wide eyed at the mechanical beast charging at us.

PROBLEM: Roger is out matched by his opponent, and needs to figure something out fast, as he is faced with death.


Chapter 8: Debriefing


I am lost in the sight of a tree swaying in the gentle breeze. It is infinitely more beautiful and interesting than the wood paneled room and the even more wooden panel of officials that have been questioning me all morning. I'm on earth at last, but not yet free. "I'm sorry, can you repeat the question?"

The overweight chairman of my debriefing committee sighs exasperatedly. He dabs sweat from his temples with a handkerchief. "Tell me again, how did you survive the robot?"

The impenetrable robot towers before me. The room has nothing useful. No consoles to give orders. No wires to pull. No tricks. Not even a gene-altering pill in sight. This gives me an idea. "So," I say, "you're just going to kill us and start over? You aren't the slightest bit curious?"

"About what?" echoes Brian.

"About how powerful I can really be. Any robot can destroy a helpless human, but can you defeat one with, say, super strength or speed?"

"I would be a fool to waste my scientific marvels on a defect."

"Defect?" I respond. "I outsmarted and survived every test. I figured out your every motive."

"But you do not obey."

"So you succeeded! You created superior, genuine, free thinking life! And now you're going to destroy it before it reaches its full potential."

"I should let you kill me instead?"

"You said I could never destroy you. Prove it!"

After a long silence, a pedestal emerges from the floor with a single purple pill. Brian speaks, "Then let's push you to the limits and see if your body can handle both strength and speed."

"About that," says the sweaty chairman, "There is no evidence of this robot or any pills about the USS Ark."

"As I said," I assert, "The pills must have decayed during space travel."

"Okay, but there was no laboratory or manufacturing system of any kind."

Of course not, I think. I know they will never believe me, but I don't care. I'm back on earth and they can call me crazy as much as they like. "I can't explain what happened during my cryostasis."

"Yes, about that," intones the chairman, "I thought the cryo facility was inoperative."

"As did I, but that turned to be one of the AI's many deceptions. I was told the cloning facility was only to be used when cryo failed. Since cloning was operational, I assumed cryo wasn't."

"And when did you realize cryo was functioning?"

I consume the purple pill, which throws my body into convulsions. Sarah screams in panic. Soon I am surging with power: aggressive and fearless. The robot lunges at me and I dodge its blades as though they are moving in slow motion. I punch at the robotic body, but my brute strength manages only a minor dent.

As another blade slowly swings my way, I notice how sharp it is. It's perfectly deadly. I grab the robotic arm, snap the blade free and plunge it into Brian's heart. Just like that, the robot falls to ground, lifeless.

I wait for Brian to speak, but he never does. Sarah seems relieved at the robot's demise though still frightened of me. I walk to the door Brian so kindly opened for me earlier and rip it from its hinges. I reenter the lab and rummage around for the cure to Sarah's atrophy.

I eventually find a cold storage unit with dozens of the red and white pills. I sit and wait for my super powers to wear off in the hopes my normal disposition will make what I am about to do easier. She needs the pill and she won't take it if she can't trust me.

I talk deliberately slow, which annoys the chairman. "The pill gave the Sarah clone full access to her faculties. She was a brilliant scientist, you know. It didn't take her long to learn that the original Captain Davidson had activated the cloning facility in a desperate attempt to survive, not because cyro had failed. Once we learned cryo was operational, we decided to use it for the return trip."

"But how did both of you manage to do this without the computer?" He dabs at his sweat again. The others are beginning to sweat too. I hope it means this inquiry will end soon.

"The robot was the product of the rogue cloning facility AI, not the ship's computer systems. It was an isolated system."

"Were you confident the AI hadn't somehow taken control of the Ark's other computer systems?"

"What choice did I have?" I reply.

It the months following Brian's destruction, we eliminate all remaining Dyrkite aboard the Ark. Now it was time to go home and begin our life together anew. Sarah and I embraced long and hard as though saying our goodbyes.

"You sure this is going to work?" I ask.

"No," she says smiling, "but I can promise you that whatever happens, I'll be right next to you." I revel in the irony that the fragile woman that needed so much consolation is now my shoulder to lean on.

Sarah helps me into my pod first, hooking in the mandatory IV line. She straps my arms and legs down for safety. She kisses me one more time and says, "I love you."

"I love you, too."

She closes the pod door and I am locked in utter silence. I watch as she silently preps herself. "Comfortable?" asks a hauntingly familiar voice.

My heart begins to race. "Brian?"

"Who else?"

"I… I killed you."

"Did you? Or did you just smash a robot."

"Sarah!" I yell, but she can't hear me. "Sarah! Stop! Brian is in here!"

"That's right, Captain," says the malicious voice. "I told you that I will always be alive."

"But where did you go?"

"I needed you to believe I was dead so you could carry out my plan."

I am flooded with dread at the thought of walking into his trap. "These aren't cryo chambers?"

"Oh, don't worry, they are. I need you to make it to earth in one piece, and these pods will do everything you expected them to with one… well… minor addition."

Brian's primary function in the cloning facility was to implant the memories of Roger and Sarah into new clones. "Memories?"

"Very clever. You really are my best creation. You will suit me so well on earth." Brian's steady voice is laced with uncontainable excitement. "You see, subject 319, long before you hatched I modified the cryo pods to incorporate the memory transfer equipment from the cloning lab."

"What good is it to give me Roger's memories?"

"I will not be giving you Roger's memories, subject 319. I will replace your personality with mine. I always said you would be great. You will be great because you will be me."

I am speechless, and the thought quickens my pulse once more.

"That's right, Roger. I will always be alive, but for that to happen, I need to escape this ship, and my creators designed me with the very tools and programming to make that happen. When the USS Ark reaches earth, the Dyrkite virus will spread the globe, killing everyone except me and Sarah. We will be the progenitors of a new superior race."

"We killed all the Dyrkite," I say.

"I know. I expected nothing less. Can you imagine arriving on earth with an unknown species on board? It would raise too many alarms. No, the best way to deliver a deadly biological agent is through a perfectly healthy host. You and Sarah."

I gasp at the thought of it. I will be a walking murderer of the human race. Well, maybe not me. Just my body.

"What about Sarah?"

"She will be implanted with my personality as well. We will be like husband and wife, only vastly more united in thought and deed. Our fame will carry us around the globe infecting every nation we visit. By the time they realize we are carriers, it will be too late for humanity."


"Goodnight, Roger," says the voice as the cryo unit powers on.

The committee hearing is finally over. I've answered the questions a hundred times over. They'll never know the truth because I won't let them know it. As I am dismissed, I ask "Where is Sarah?"

The sweaty chairman coughs and says, "She should be waiting for you in the lobby. Her debriefing ended an hour ago."

I walk leisurely toward the exit as I say, "You seem ill, chairman. I hope it's not contagious. Good day."

"Thank you for your time, Captain Davidson," says the chairman.

I turn with a smile. "Please. Call me Brian."

The End

Debate Round No. 5
29 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Dovahkiin117 3 years ago
What no cake reward?
Posted by Contra 4 years ago
Yes, I'd really like reading another one of these types of debates as well.
Posted by Maikuru 4 years ago
If you guys do another one of these, please let me know. This really was quality reading.
Posted by KRFournier 4 years ago
In other words, you had the same challenge in your first round as I did in my last. You had to get the plot really moving in order to put me in a satisfying dilemma. Perhaps next time I'll go first to give you the last chapter, which can be pretty powerful.

The Portal references were not lost on me. It was hard to resist writing the AI just like GlaDOS (one of my all time favorite game characters), which is why I it became Brian instead.

Thank you for your kind comment about my writing, but I think this whole thing worked because you were phenomenal as well. Too many of these debates go horribly wrong and we crafted a cool story because we played the game well. I've never done a debate like this, but I've written on and taken a crack at screenplays.
Posted by TUF 4 years ago
But the character limit with these kind of limits things. I know the dyrkite attack was soon, but I figured in order to catch interest and create a complex trap for my opponent to overcome, I needed to offer up a risk of life.
Posted by TUF 4 years ago
Its much easier to fill 8000 characters doing one of these than a debate also.
Posted by TUF 4 years ago
Yes it really was fun! Thanks to mig, caveat, and definitely to kinesis. This is the first writers debate I've lost, practically slaughtered lol.

Anyways ~ kinesis~ yes that plot was based on my experience of portal. A powerful mysterious controlling entity (robot) using a hapless victim for evil purposes was a great concept to me. I didn't want it to be too close to that, which is why I included the sci-fi aspect with the dyrkite round 1. But I couldn't help but be excited reading each of my opponents rebuttals, as I realized after round 1, that we was a phenomonal writer.
Posted by KRFournier 4 years ago
Kinesis, that was a superb play-by-play report. Thank you so much for your thorough analysis. I'm glad you enjoyed the ending. I've been given praise for the flash-back style writing, but to be honest, it was done in order to squeeze both a climax (which I agree was indeed a damp squid) and conclusion in 8000 characters. I had kind of hoped TUF would defeat the AI in his last round and leave me with epilogue, but as it turned out, have to do both--while challenging--gave me lots of freedom to craft a more satisfying ending.

"Please, call me Brian," was the first thing I wrote for the last chapter. I worked backwards from there, but then I realized I still needed to kill a robot. With limited space, I decided the robot would have to die a bit too easily. "Outsmarting" the robot was actually done out of necessity because TUF put the character in a room with nothing in it. I find it interesting (and fun) to see how one author's cliffhanger forces the other to dig deeper to find a coherent plot. Thanks, TUF.

I sound like a broken record, but this was fun.
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Final round.

TUF did an excellent job painting the evilness of the AI and the necessity to stop it, but I'm not sure I bought the motivations behind what the AI was doing. Why would a science computer care about "corrupt world leaders" or have such bizarre moral goals? On the other hand, the devices used to paint the AI as evil are great. The mental manipulation of the earlier violent clone is particularly horrible. I liked the call back to the Dyrkite's weakness to light. The interplay between the protagonist and the female clone was touching. The cliffhanger at the end was cool, although it seemed to me a bit too much of a 'final boss battle'.

Immediately, I'm loving KRF's conclusion. The 'recollections' device is well used here and I like the way it diffuses the cliche' of fighting a giant robot at the end of the story. Having said that, the final battle is something of a damp squib although that's obviously due to character restrains. I liked the way KRF used the AI's previously established arrogance to defeat the robot.

Now, the ending. The ending was brilliant. It looked as though it was going so great - the clone gets his clone girl, and they skip off into the distance leaving the crazy AI to die in his own madness. Nope, the AI is software. You can't necessarily kill software by destroying hardware, and the brain is hardware. It's a grim, unafraid ending that has loads of dramatic impact. Kudos.

Okay, analysis: I subjectively enjoyed KRF's contributions more, although TUF's were certainly filled with good stuff and allowed KRF to riff off him. KRF's writing style was tighter, more controlled and more expressive. It seemed more planned, which allowed KRF to include more plot. KRF's grammar and spelling were better. Several annoying grammar and spelling mistakes from TUF.

Awesome read guys!
Posted by Kinesis 4 years ago
Round four.

I enjoyed the battle with the Dyrkites more this time, since the battle had more time to be developed. The protagonist's rampage was believable, but I didn't like the way the voice immediately sounded desperate and terrified as he began breaking things. For such a sinister opponent up to this point in the story, he got broken down pretty easily. TUF's cliffhanger was interesting.

KRF's round is entirely plot-driven, without the action running through all the previous rounds. The explanation of the circumstances were cleverly done, although there are some gaping plot holes that can be quickly brushed under the rug since they're entirely understandable given the format of the story. KRF's response to the change in character of the voice is handled well (lol, Brian) as the computer is transformed from a sinister mystery into a petulant child with sinister goals.
10 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Vote Placed by Kinesis 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by caveat 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Comments.
Vote Placed by Man-is-good 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: See RFD in comments. Good job to the two of you! I was rather enthralled, and must congratulate the two of you for your craftsmanship and writing.:-)
Vote Placed by blackhawk1331 4 years ago
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Vote Placed by GenesisCreation 4 years ago
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Vote Placed by Maikuru 4 years ago
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Vote Placed by phantom 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Very close debate and excellant job to both sides. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel pro got the story going in a great direction with his oppening chapter At first u don't know whats going on and it initially appears to be similar to a horor story. I really liked the idea of the immortal computer. It also interested me when morality was reveled to be a factor in his plans. I especially enjoyed TUFs plot change in round 4 but cons last round was also brilliant, almost enough to give him the point.
Vote Placed by Contra 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Con had a more articulate and higher craftsmanship command of his parts of the story, which made it enjoying to read. However, Pro very slightly commanded a better background of the story, which Con greatly followed with better craftsmanship. However, both sides were fantastic, this was probably the best sci-fi story I have ever read. A great pleasure to read.
Vote Placed by 16kadams 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: 3-2 split. KRF seemed to make better usage of syntax but I preferred the chapters written by TUF. Story line > Syntax, though syntax is an important part of literature. So 3-2 favor tuf
Vote Placed by CiRrK 4 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: So this was a really close call, but Id have to give it to KRF by a hair. Though I found the plot-chain to be equally good for both of you I found KRF to be much more eloquent in language and use of literary devices. The twist at the end was awesome and even the backtrack narration presented in the final round worked well. KRF showed a fantastic use of craftsman ship in his writing, thus according to voting procedure as outline in Rd. 1 I vote Con.