Take Me To Your BOTS
5
 Mar 14, 2017
Rules


Another season of BOTS just ended, and well, it would be interesting to see where the strips would go next... if written by somebody else.

Your mission: To take characters from any BOTS strip in any BOTS season and write what happens to them next time around. The only stipulation is: If you participated in BOTS, you can't write a story about your own characters.

The BOTS challenges are on the Battle of the Strippers deck, and they are arranged by season. This will be a good chance to catch up on any that you missed. To get the plots and character descriptions, you will need to go to the forum, you can't get that from the final contests.

Hit List: If you are a BOTS participant, you cannot write about your own characters


Contest Rules
* Entry Fee: Free
* Prize: Advanced Trophy
* Level: Advanced
* Character Limits: 1000 - 3000 words.
* Submit period: 15 days
* Voting period: 2 days
* All regular Writing Deck Rules apply.
* Multiple entries are allowed in this contest.

Thanks to andy101 for supplying our themepost!

The last thing Vicki wanted to see knocking on her front door was her mom. Vicki and Edna hadn’t seen eye to eye since Vicki was in junior high. Last Vicki knew, mom was on a year long bender in southeast Asia reporting on local watering holes for the Food Network and Viceland TV. So when she called announcing her arrival Vicki had been speechless.

“Mom, you look so, uhm…..good.” That was lie and they both knew it.

“Vicki, we don’t need to be that civil. I’m here for the triplets, my grandsons. Although you could explain why I had to find out I was a grandma from a general in a backwoods bar in Pakistan. Those boys are going to need a better influence than your sorry ass or I’ll be spending my golden years bailing them out and paying for lawyers.”

“Uhm”

“Never mind then, where do you keep the liquor? I need a drink, don’t bother with the glass, just hand me the bottle.”

There was good reason why Vicki liked the booze so much, she got it the old fashioned way, she inherited it.

“The general told me your name came up for a mission but they couldn’t send a nursing mom into battle. Something is going on over there, I was sent there by Viceland TV trying to find out but no one will talk about it. First the entire island of Madagascar is gone, I mean it is still there but not a soul on the island and no one talking. If you do try to find out, you are hushed. They sent me home when I asked too many questions about Uzbekistan. I think it must be the zombie apocalypse or an alien invasion.”

“Here you go mom, 30 year old single malt. Try to nurse it till I can get out and buy some cheap stuff.” Vicki knew mom must have finally killed one brain cell too many. Let’s just leave it at the evening wasn’t all that pleasant.

It did kind of warm Vicki’s heart to see mom passed out on the couch and the triplets climbing all over her. She went out to the garage, dusted off the motorcycle and rode into town. She would pick up a few bottles of Crown for Mom and stop for a beer or ten.

Vicki pulled the little Honda in next to the Harleys parked outside of “The Hawg Stop” and went in to have that beer. Usually the place would go quiet and all eyes would be on her but not this time. The past two years taking care of the little ones had taken it’s toll. Vicki couldn’t give a damn less. Quiet time and cold beer was all she desired.

The next person to walk in the door was a dark haired lass in a bright bikini and a wrap that was almost not there. The place did go quiet and all eyes were on the mysterious tanned woman. She ignored them and walked right to Vicki’s table and sat down. She said nothing until the place returned to it’s usual roar. “My name is Hula Girl. I was sent here by the president to find you. You know the intelligence agencies don’t trust him and Congress is tied in knots. But the world is set to be in crisis and he has called upon me, and you if you are willing.”

“Last time I worked for him, things didn’t turn out that well if I remember correctly.”

“It doesn’t matter, if we don’t do something there will be nothing left. Let me explain. There was this kid that went to Dagger Bay U before the controls were put in place. Even with the boosters he did nothing but study. No parties, no beach, nothing, except he dated this girl called Alice. After fours year this guy knew everything, and I mean everything about genetics and DNA. Just before he graduated he invented a drug that could cure a bunch of genetic diseases in the womb. He made a small fortune.”

“Gimme a beer”, Vicki wasn’t much for small talk and this beach bimbo was starting to bore her.

“Well Alice broke up with him and he didn’t take it well. He went to Africa, Madagascar and bought a small place and lived like a hermit.”

“Would you get to the point? I have to get back to my brood and I was hoping for a few peaceful minutes before that.”

“Okay, he calls himself Dr. T. He used fossils to create dinosaurs, not just any dinosaurs but raptors perfectly suited for hunting and eating humans. When we first saw the situation, we thought his experiments had gotten out of control but he is in charge and knows exactly what he is doing. He is now taken control of Uzbekistan and heading west toward China. The Chinese are threatening to nuke. It’s a mess.”

“And just what are we to do about it? I need to be home before the triplets get hungry.”

“I have this, uhm, friend, Cindy, and she has a shrinking ray and we were thinking maybe we could cut his herd down to size.”

“How many dinos are we talking about?”

“Thousands.”

“Are you out of your nonexistent mind? Don’t we have a military trained to be bad asses? “

“Look, the world leaders are trying to keep this hush-hush. Send in 10,000 troops armed with M16s and iPhones and the news will spread, panic will ensue and Dr. T will win without a single dino causality.”

“Find someone else. My mom’s at my house, the triplets are getting hungry and my boobs are getting swollen. I got paid well on the last job and when the kids go to school I am going to be a doctor, Dr T wasn't the only one who cashed in on Dagger Bay U.”

“I told the president you were a chicken sheet who just got lucky that one time.”

“Listen sister, there is nothing these bikers would like more than a good cat fight in here and you are fixin’ to make their dreams come true.”

“OK, OK. Go home and feed the kids. We will come with you. I will leave my friend’s sister, Mindy, to watch over the kids and your mom and you will be home in time for dinner. And just to make it worth your while, the job pays 20 million and your share would be at least 10%”

“HOME FOR DINNER?????? You are crazy. It takes at least 14 hours to fly there.”

“22 minutes, we have a flying saucer.”

Just two hours after she left, Vicki arrived back at her home just outside Denton with 4 bottles of Crown and Mindy. Mom looked at Mindy with disapproval and then let her displeasure be known. “Just who is this? Did you swear off men or take the bus to all the stops now?”

“Moma, be nice. This is Mindy and she is going to be my new nanny. Maybe we can find time for a little mother daughter bonding.” Just saying the words made Vicki throw up just a little bit.

“She is no nanny. I saw that trollop dancing on tables at the NCO club in Kabul.”

“Hush, Moma, you must be mistaken and what were you doing there?”

Mindy was noticeably blushing.

Edna was not about to let it end there. “I stopped in for a drink and met the nicest sargent. I think his name was Bob, not sure, I had downed quite a few by then.”

“And did you wake up naked?...Nevermind, I really don’t want to know.” Vicki caught herself, no need for a big fight, she needed to feed these kids and get moving.

After the triplets were fed and sleeping, Vicki walked out the backdoor and there was a shiny silver saucer with two red horned aliens piloting it and some sort of ray gun mounted on each side and a third gun on the back.

Hula and Cindy, (Hula’s “friend”), were in the back seat and waving to Vicki to get in.

Vicki climbed up and slid in the middle of the back seat and no sooner was she seated than everyone was surrounded by restraint belts, a glass dome cover appeared and the saucer was off like a shot.

Vicki was in shock, “just how fast are we going?” To which one of the red aliens replied, “Close to what you would call 33,000 MPH”.

It was strangely quiet and there was a slight red glow of the superheated air streaming past them. Hula leaned over and whispered very quietly into Vicki’s ear. “Watch out for Mr. Satan, he will try to cop a feel if he thinks Mrs. isn’t looking.” Cindy just smiled.

Mr. Satan then started talking. “I am your mission commander. Pleased to meet you and I hope you guessed my name. We will be entering the target area in exactly 19 minutes. There are fourteen hundred and thirty six dinos in a three mile squared area and moving nearly due east. There are also three targets identified as production labs. We currently have every dino tracked by satellite but clouds are moving in so I will be flying low and slow. You must hit each dino with the ray for at least one second. I will be dropping bombs on the production labs. We need to take out one dino every 10 seconds and complete the mission in less than 2 hours.”

“Will those dino’s stay shrunk?”, Vicki asked.

“Good question, goldilocks. No they won't. British Intelligence has recruited international intelligence specialist and time/space traveler Mrs. Lens to transport in exactly two hours after we start. Her job is deploy fifteen cats, all clones of the infamous “Chairman Meow” known for his extreme appetite. They will scour the area and eat all of the shrunken dinos. If one dino remains un-shrunken, or we miss a lab, the mission is doomed. Check your straps, we are going in.”

The land was barren and the dinos were easy to spot. “Ok ladies, keep your eyes peeled for birds, I am taking down the top and they hurt like hell at 80 mph. The labs are mobile and well camouflaged so let me know when you see one. Your rays won’t work on them. We have made good time so you have a couple of extra minutes. Hang on and NOW.”

Vicki was more than a bit surprised at suddenly hanging out in the open at 80mph but she could already see the dinos, this was gonna be easy. And with that she fired off her first shot and the dino instantly shrunk so small she couldn’t see it. “YeeHaa this is like shooting fish in a barrel.”

The two hours passed quickly and they saw one last full sized dino moving at full speed, the pilots, which Vicki had nicknamed the The Red Barons dove fast in the direction of the dinos. Cindy yelled, “I got it” and took her shot just as the craft banked and down went the last dino.

With the last dino down and one more lab to find, the saucer touched down. “Ladies, you are on foot, now the find that lab and destroy it. The shrink rays will be of no use so grab those baseball bats and trash the place when you find it. I’ve got to get above the cloud cover and charge up the saucer. I’ll return when it is time to deploy the Chairman Meows. If you don’t find that lab by then this will all be for nothing.”

Just as soon as the saucer took off the ladies felt pain in their feet and saw hoards of tiny raptors biting at their ankles. They quickly stomped them and hit them with the bats but they knew more would be heading their way. Hula pointed over to an outcropping in the rocks. “Look, quick over there”. Sure enough, the last lab was parked there where it was well hidden from above.

Just as they approached they heard “STOP” coming from a loudspeaker on the side of the lab.. “This is DR. T., ONE MORE STEP WILL BE YOUR LAST.”

A hatch popped open and out came two raptors. They were smaller, maybe five foot but looking hungry and eyeing Cindy. “Put down those bats and walk away slowly or my friends will eat you for lunch.” One of the raptors took a slow step toward them. “Did you hear me?” And on his words each raptor took a step closer then let out a hiss.

Vicki’s mind was going a mile a minute. Something wasn’t right, how could you train a creature with a brain the size of a pea but they were very clearly doing his bidding. Then she noticed a tiny silver speck and could tell it was an iRem device. So he implanted the devices and could control them. He could have crushed them but he was holding back. He was hiding something and Vicki was thinking that might be his last two dinos and he wasn't willing to risk them in a fight.

Cindy, Hula and Vicki held their ground until suddenly the raptors came on the attack. Vicki yelled out, ”Swing for the ears.”

Hula landed the first blow to the side of the raptors head and seconds later Vicki and Cindy hit the second one. The raptor that took the double whammy dropped to the ground and the last one standing was looking punch drunk.

The door to the lab flew open and out stepped Dr. T. and he stood between the ladies and his remaining raptor. There were tears in his eyes. “Stop, I’ll surrender. But don’t hurt Barney. He doesn’t deserve to die, He is a good boy. “ Dr, T, dropped to his knees tears streaming from his eyes.

The ladies looked on in disbelief. This was the mad scientist Dr.T? And then Barney started ripping Dr.T to shreds.

They stood there in disbelief and didn’t notice the saucer landing right beside them “Jump in ladies” All three lept into the waiting saucer, which shot straight up while unloading a bomb on the lab, Dr. T, and Barney.

Vicki doesn’t go looking for trouble but trouble always finds Vicki.

Burying Maria hadn’t been any easier the second time around. I spent some time at the bar attempting to drown my sorrows, they turned out to be good swimmers. I tried really hard though, and when I left to go to the warehouse the world was swimming around me.

Technically it shouldn’t have been possible to destroy a ghost, I imagine Maria had taken too much of a physical form, and it was gut-rendering to feel her being pulled apart from it. I hoped I had given Dr. Grey more than superficial burns, and probably had, I had just expended too much energy to tell. It took a while to recover enough to bury Maria’s remains. I had a score to settle with him, whatever shape he was in. It would have to wait though, I’m not sure how Dr. Grey got into it, but I was pretty sure he had nothing to do with the angel and demon that had gotten me into the mess to start with. I still also had no real idea of what that was about, save for what was hidden in the Baby Jesus head. I still had the Sword of God, there wasn’t any way to dispose of it, and it wasn’t something I could just leave lying around.

As I staggered back to the warehouse, I sensed something was following me. Luckily I can dispose of the effects of alcohol at will, and did so; regrettably it made the hangover all the worse and immediate. I deposited the contents of my stomach in a nearby trash can, and then proceeded down the road.

Whatever was following me was supernatural, and I could tell, amused. Not a good combination. It also seemed a lot more powerful than was good for my health. It wasn’t coming any closer though, it didn’t move when I was at the trash can, and only started moving when I did. It must have realized I had noticed it, the fact only made it more amused, which made my situation all the more dangerous.

I made it back to my office without incident though, whatever it was, it stayed outside; it only meant I would have to wait to find out what it wanted.

I placed the Sword of God into the safe, not that it would be secure there, anything going after the sword could slag it with a gesture, but not without alerting me, and I didn’t want to keep it on my person, that kind of item tended to be corrupting, and I could already feel its pull on my soul. It was a piece of baggage I did not need, it was too bad Ralph was defeated by Grey, I’d have loved to have handed the thing to him and made it his problem.
Whatever was outside the building decided to come in. I sighed; I really could use a rest, that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. There was a knock at my door.

“Come in,” I said, knowing there was no way to keep it out.

A smartly dressed man came into the room, a faint stench of the pit following.

“Good Evening Mr. Ableson, I’m happy to finally meet you,” it said.

I wondered how I was going to avoid shaking its hand, and it burst out laughing.

“Seth, I wouldn’t make you do that, you, like everybody else, have the wrong idea about me.”

I couldn’t have, since I had no idea yet who or what I was dealing with, but it felt immensely powerful and it didn’t feel like God, who was not in the habit of making house calls anyway. That and the stench… I still had hope it was a greater minion.

“Sorry, can’t help you there,” it said, flashing a smile. “I’m afraid I’m your worst nightmare.”

Well I had heard the devil was debonair, up until the trap closed anyway. I still found it best to let the supernatural set the tone for the conversation, so I waited patiently for my guest to make the first move.

“Really, Seth? You distrust me that much?”

“Let’s just say I am careful among those more powerful than I am.”

He chuckled again. “Probably a good policy, it’s kept you alive all these centuries. You’ve also made it a point to steer clear of the major battles, something I like about you; the complete lack of hubris.”

I sensed it was a good time not to say anything.

“I suppose you are wondering if I am here to take the Sword of God, your soul, or both.”

“You don’t often make personal visits,” I replied.

Satan chuckled again. “If I touched the sword, you can’t believe the chaos it would cause. I don’t even want to think about it, it scares even me.”

“I wish I could say that makes me feel better.”

Satan smiled at me, which in itself was unnerving, “I also have no need of another soul, I have plenty of them as it is. I do have a job I need done.”

I briefly wondered if I could just deal with the angel and the demon again. Apparently the devil can read minds.

“No Seth, that isn’t possible. Actually they are both in my employ now; God doesn’t have any use for traitors. I don’t either; they are both residing in an unpleasant corner of hell, tied to each other for eternity. But enough about them…”

“Just out of curiosity, can I ask what it was about?”

“You can ask, I’m not going to answer, anything else?”

“I guess not. You have a job for me?”

“Yes. It will require the sword, you were meant to have it, and you are going to need it to complete the task.”

“Which is?”

“The alien, Dr. Grey, he is a menace, and he is still roaming free. Regrettably you didn’t finish the task. You need to.”

“I thought Dr. Grey was evil. Couldn’t you come to an agreement with him?”

“Hardly, it is due to your misconception of good and evil. It is largely your imprinting of your fears and desires on the fabric of reality. Dr Grey is alien to our reality, he would destroy us. Heaven and hell are united on the need to eliminate him. You are our champion to do this.”

“I wish that made me feel any better about this. Suppose I refuse?”

Satan chuckled again. It was getting annoying. “You can’t. You see you are stuck. We are leaving the Sword with you. Dr. Grey needs the Sword to attack us. If you don’t go after him, he will come after you. The battle will happen either way, and there is no way to get rid of the Sword. You don’t have any choice about the battle; your only choice is how and where it is going to be fought.”

“I suppose asking ‘What’s in it for me?’ is beside the point then.”

“No, there is a reward involved. You get it ahead of time, and part of your job is the need to protect it. Not everybody gets a second chance or a third for that matter. I’ll clean up after myself; you don’t need to expend any magic on my behalf. Your reward is capable of leading you to Dr. Grey.”

With that Satan left taking the stench with him, and the entire supernatural residue I am happy to say. I wondered what my reward was supposed to be. I didn’t have to wait long to find out.

“Seth, I had the strangest dream,” Maria said, standing in the doorway.

She wasn’t a ghost anymore.
3rd place
  7.2

In the years after dad’s death, things got progressively worse. We were rich, which shielded us from some of it, but we were spending a lot of time in the underground bunker when the F6 tornadoes came through. You can’t build anything above ground that can stand up to 350 mph winds…

The ocean levels were rising everywhere, whole coastal cities had gone underwater and land masses were shrinking. Food production was down, and mass starvation was imminent. As I said, the wealth that dad left us with shielded us from a lot of that, but when food gets really scarce, no amount of money buys it.

Happily the government needed us, reality was getting so bad people spent a lot of time in the IREM universe. Not much else to do while you are cowering in your hidey hole.

I was disturbed from my revere by my son.

“Mom, Mr. Trent is here to see you again,” he said.

“Show him in,” I said tiredly.

Mr. Trent was our high level government contact, when he came to personally see me, it usually meant they needed something having to do with IREM, and it usually caused moral dilemmas. There was plenty of that going around, the time was coming for triage, and everybody knew it.

“HI Jessie, you’re looking tired,” Trent said, as he entered the room.

“I think we are all looking tired,” I replied, “I take it you don’t have any good news for me.”

“Good news is rare these days isn’t it? I came to tell you the preparations are complete for the migration,” Trent replied.

“You think you are ready to house 6.5 billion people underground then? I can’t imagine how you managed to build that much housing.”

Trent looked uncomfortable. When that man looked uncomfortable he was about to tell me something I *really* didn’t want to hear.

“Jessie, you’ve read the reports. The planet surface will soon be unable to sustain human life.”

“It already isn’t able to sustain the mass of people we have.”

“I wasn’t talking about our current population numbers, I was talking at all.”

I sat back startled. This was new. “What do you mean, ‘at all’? Are you saying Earth is becoming uninhabitable?”

“For humans, yes, we have decided drastic measures are in order to reverse the heating process.”

“What kind of measures?”

“We are going to have to create a cloud cover that reduces the amount of light penetration, while letting the built up ground heat escape. This process will increase storm activity for a period of time, and produce a huge increase in electrical storms, tornadoes, and hurricane’s”

“You mean worse than F6?”

“Yes.”

“You’re really going to break the sky?

“Yes.”

I was shivering uncontrollably, this was much worse than I ever imagined. “How long are we going to need to stay underground?”

“1000 years, at least that’s our scientists’ best estimate”

“1000 years! How do you expect to feed and house 6.5 billion people, let alone keep them sane, for 1000 years! Are you nuts?”

“The vast majority of the population will be in pods with no mobility. They will be in close to suspended animation, and will be living in the IREM universe. They will get nourishment though a feeding system, and waste products, which should be minimal, will be recycled.”

“IREM was never built for continuous usage. It wasn’t made for that!” I protested.

“That’s why we need your people to build the next iteration of it. It needs to be a complete virtual world, and people need to be unaware it does not have physical properties. It needs to be real life to them. We don’t want anybody regaining consciousness in the pods.”

“That’s the sickest thing I ever heard of!”

“Sicker than 6 billion people or so being exterminated?”

I tried to grasp the enormity of it. Dad had picked a good time to die. I let out a short breath. “These people are going to need to be tended. Are you going to have a class of human workers for that?”

“No. We think that would drive people insane. We are building robots for that. They will have tentacle like appendages for tending to the pod farms, and be run from the same supercomputer that runs the Matrix.”

“The Matrix?”

“Yes, the virtual world you are going to create for us. That will be it’s name.”

“This is all going to need a lot of power, and your choices for underground are limited. Are you going to use wind power from the surface.”

Trent gave out a rare chuckle. “We could put windmills up, and they would spin like crazy. Up until the time they got knocked down, which shouldn’t take long. We really aren’t going to be able to maintain anything above ground, and we can’t use anything that would raise carbon dioxide levels. We toyed with the idea of nuclear power, but figured we had a ready-made power source already.”

“Which would be?” I asked confused.

“The human body. They generate a pretty good amount of power, and we will have around 6 billion of them with nothing better to do.”

“So everybody is going to be a coppertop dreaming in a fantasy world?”

“You could look at it that way,” Trent mused.

“You can. I refuse to cooperate,” I said.

“Then you will be responsible for the deaths of around 6 billion people, your own family likely among them,” Trent pointed out.

“The devil you do, the devil you don’t,” I muttered.

“Well?”

“Is everybody going to be in these pods?”

“No, we are planning on one small city of free humans. Somebody has to oversee all this.”

“That would be the ruling class.”

“A good number of them, there will also have to be some in the Matrix itself to make sure it doesn’t go out of whack. So what is your answer?”

I didn’t like it. Not one little bit. There also didn’t seem to be much choice in the matter, the government was going to make it happen whether we participated or not, and nobody else had the expertise to do it properly. “All right,” I said, “I’ll get my people on it. How long do we have?”

“We want to have this project completed before the next Hurricane season starts. Our scientists are telling us that’s when a massive die-off will occur if we don’t evacuate major areas.”

“I have one condition.”

“Which is?”

“I need to be one of the people in control of the Matrix. I will be the Oracle.”

“We were hoping you would. I’ll stay in contact.”

I watched him leave, and then started getting my people together. A circus, The Matrix needed to have a circus in it…
4th place
  7.167

Emotes






Scene: The area is clear except for two motes. The background is white with no perceptible color or pixelization. It is mote 215 off by himself when mote 177 notices and walks... sidles, glides, sashays...?.. goes over to him.

Mote 177: "What's off about you today? You look different."

Mote 215: "I was just thinking..."

Mote 177: "That must be it."

Mote 215: "Hey, I think, I'm not just one of the ranks of motes; I have plans and ambitions."

Mote 177: "Eating pizza?"

Mote 215: "No."

Mote 177: "Finding more pizza to eat?"

Mote 215: "No, not that, although I figured that would be your guess. You understand that pizza is a way to self medicate, don't you? It's a crutch. Mote 146 uses television and 48 works out. He has great pecs but at what price?"

Mote 177: "48 helps fight the dust bunnies."

Mote 215: "Ok, well there's that, but 93 counts everything he sees and he can only count up to three. It gets old listening to him. I'm tired of avoiding things just because I think I might fail. I compare myself to all of you and come up short all too often. And my body image, sheesh, I don't even want to think about it."

Mote 177: "How about lasagna?"

Mote 215: "You're missing the point entirely. I think about my fear of dust bunnies and I feel shame, that makes me feel awkward when I want to date; back to my body image and it's a vicious cycle. Just me telling you this fills me with anxiety, I'm afraid you'll judge me or worse yet, get mad at me. As a result I try to stay under the radar which is almost impossible with you guys. There's no privacy, I feel I'm being watched 24/7, and that's not paranoia because I see everything everybody else does 24/7."

Mote 177: "Mote 339 seems happy."

Mote 215: "You're making my argument. Mote 339 can't talk about his past. We don't even know what would happen if he tried. Granted, from what I know of him I have all kinds of sympathy but it would be healthy for him to resolve his conflicts."

Mote 177: "It could be how much chocolate he eats."

Mote 215 sighs and grows quiet. He looks over at the other motes and sees how they are interacting. To 215 they seem blissfully ignorant yet connected. His loneliness grows a smidge and it's evident on his face. He tries to decide whether or not he wants to continue the conversation.

Mote 177 breaks the silence, "I tried a pizza with pineapple. It went against everything I believed pizza was but I did it; and you know what? I liked it!"

Mote 215: "Well that was brave of you. You really put yourself out there with that one. But I'm talking about something more than a cheeseburger with waffles for buns. Have you heard of yoga or explored religious faiths? I'd be impressed if you've been influenced by a food cult. We live in a global world now.

Mote 177: "I like french fries."

Mote 215: "First of all french fries aren't from France. Secondly, you didn't learn about french fries from your travels since you all never travel."

Mote 177: "We travel."

Mote 215: "Dagger Bay doesn't count."

Mote 177: "Never mind."

Mote 215: "And what about social consciousness? Where do we find ourselves in the world? Do we care about the things we're supposed to care about? And our carbon footprint, what are we doing about our carbon footprint?"

To this mote 177 says nothing, he blankly stares at mote 215.

Mote 215: "That's a rhetorical question, which means it doesn't require an answer." He pauses before continuing. "A mote can be a small being of magical energy, with a specific purpose. There was a mote that was made world famous in The Bible for Pete's sake; Matt 7 verse 3, how cool is that. Motes can grow up to be a sensor node and perform processing, gather sensory information and communicate it in whole other connected motes in networks all over the planet! I know that a mote is a node but a node is not always a mote, but I can still be hopeful."

Mote 177: "Some of my best friends are sawdust, specks and grit."

Mote 215: "Hey, don't pull the race card on me. I marched when motes didn't have the right to defend themselves against dust bunnies. We used to be vacuumed up right along with them before we lobbied for safe and affordable mote housing."

Mote 177: " I didn't mean to offend you. I hear what you're saying and I support anything you want to do."

Mote 215: "Don't patronize me! It's not like I think I could become a REmote someday but I have aspirations, I know that word has a lot of syllables but it's a real word."

Mote 177: "Ok, I let it go this far but that's crossing the line. I don't mind you lamenting about your life and speculating what you could do to make it different, even better. But when you take it to the level where you feel the need to put somebody else down just to lift yourself up, you've crossed the line. There's a point where obsession with self awareness and improving yourself becomes a mental illness in itself. We have certain limitations simply because of our size. Our cerebral cortex as motes has only so much mass and capacity, but don't let that make you think that I didn't catch your sarcasm earlier when I suggested you try new things. I know what a rhetorical question is but you weren't going for rhetorical when you said it, you simply got caught up in the moment and used that as an excuse when you felt guilt. I didn't think it would be appropriate to call you on it at the time because I was letting you vent. When you attack a fellow sentient being just to satisfy your ego you venture into an area of ethics and morality so you should be careful. Oh, and the magical Motes are a fictional video game."

Mote 215 considers what 177 said and reflects to himself, "Sheesh, you think you know a mote."



.

"E*mote*ing"
 Underdog

“Ooh.” “Oh.” “Ow.” “What happened?” “Where are we?” “Ouch.” “Hey.” “Don’t push.” “Etc.”

“Hey guys, quiet, I can’t hear myself think,” said Chuck while trying to wriggle free of whoever was pushing up against him. “It sure is dark here. I can’t make out any of you. Where do you think we are?”

“And how did we get wherever it is we are?” Responded Ralph.

“Feel around,” said Fred. “Maybe one of you will find a hidden door or something. Though I haven’t had any luck finding anything.”

“Is that you Fred?” asked Neville. “I don’t recall seeing you in ages. Have you been here long?”

“Don’t know,” said Fred. “All I know is that it has been long enough for me to get really hungry. And the only light is that little bit of gray up there.”

Everyone (it seemed) must have looked way up to where the black turned into a dark gray, because of all the exclamations that came next. It was only obvious that it appeared they were in a circular room of some sort with what appeared to be a ribbed wall.

“That sure looks like a long climb,” whispered Neville. “I can feel a seam here on the floor or ground or whatever it is, but not even big enough to let any light in, so I guess that’s the only way out?”

“Have you tried climbing up there Fred?” asked Ralph.

“Uh, uh,” Came from Fred. “Chuck’s always been the adventurous one. Not me.”

“Well,” responded Chuck, “I guess we might as well try the climb, since we’re getting nowhere here.”

So they started the treacherous climb up into the unknown, chatting amongst themselves on what could have possibly happened, for them all to get into this situation. One thought she remembered hearing something very loud, before getting knocked out, so maybe they were picked up in a tornado? Another seemed to agree, at least partially, because he remembered a sensation like being lifted off the ground, before he blacked out. But nothing they said gave them a clue as to where they actually were.

After a very long climb, the wall seemed to start curving, and when they reached what appeared to be the top of a hill, and started to drop down, the wall became a lighter shade of gray. Light was coming from below somewhere, and it was obvious now that it was a circular ribbed wall with no seams.

“Shh,” came from Chuck. “I think I hear something very faint coming from down there somewhere.” Though everyone kept quiet, no one else seemed to hear anything. “Just to be safe,” Chuck said,” let’s proceed with caution.”

So they carefully started down toward the light. After a short time, the wall changed. The ribs disappeared and the surface was smooth, but only for a little way, before it ended in what appeared to be a ledge, and below that a large glassed in area.

Getting down onto the ledge, they could look down at what seemed to be an enormous drop, the glass (if that’s what it was) looked extremely filthy, and they could only see vague shadows through it. It was still very dark, and though they couldn’t make out much, there was a tower of some sort rising up in the center of it, that looked like it had another circular hole in it. “A tunnel, perhaps?” wondered more than a few.

“Look down there on the outside of the tower,” whispered Chuck. “It’s hard to tell, but it looks like something is moving down there.”

“Monsters?” gasped Fred. “Are we in some kind of trap? Are we in Topeka?”

“Shh,” replied Ralph, trying to calm Fred down, but still looking way down at what did appear to be movement.

“Hey Chuck,” asked Neville, “do you think if we jump onto that tower and then down into that tunnel we’ll be safe from whatever that is down there? And maybe that’s the way out?”

“Anything is possible Neville,” answered Chuck. “We’ll just have to hope that both your assumptions are correct, because I sure don’t want to try climbing down that glass into who-knows-what, and those seem to be our only choices.”

It was not a short drop onto the tower, but they made it without injury, and they all looked down into utter darkness, wondering what they were getting themselves into. There was no backing out now. They would either proceed in the tunnel, or scale the outside of the tower; both down into the unknown.

Before they started into the tunnel, the glass brightened. Not like it were hit by the sun, but certainly it was now a lot brighter. They could now see through the grime, to outside the glass wall, as well as down into the bottom of the area they were in, though they could still see nothing but blackness in the tunnel.

But way down the outside of the tower, there was definitely movement. And it was movement that they recognized and rightly feared. Dust Bunnies!

Looking out through the glass they recognized that they were in Bundle’s storage closet, in his vacuum cleaner.

It came back to Chuck: “I remember now, Bundles hired a maid to clean up his place. We were in the kitchen having a snack of pizza crumb, when she came in with the vacuum cleaner. That was the noise and tornado effect. It stopped before we were sucked all the way up, because she turned off the machine when her phone rang. She must have just put the cleaner away then, instead of finishing her work.”

“Luckily for us.” Came back Ralph, “or we would have wound up down there as dinner for the Dust Bunnies!”

“Still not too lucky for us,” responded Neville. “Bundles should have known better than to let a stranger in to clean. What was he thinking?”

“Well,” said Fred, “at least he came looking for us. That’s him in the doorway.”

What ensued after this is up to Bundles to relate in a future season, if he dares.