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  1. Raven
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    Raven Banned

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    Weekly Short Story Contest (08)

    Discussion in 'Bi-Weekly Short Story Contest Archives' started by Raven, Sep 7, 2007.

    Short Story
    Contest
    08





    Please post your entries in this thread, and I'll do the rest.
    Good luck to you all.
    There is a ten percent leniency above and below the upper and lower word limits, respectively. ​


    Theme: Courtesy of Me Hulls Raven
    Theme would be Heresy within an Empire.

    A Link To Explain Heresy

    Purpose: Try to devolop the literal element of theme, like the "theme" in a book report, 'the author's underlying messege to the reader.' Time for an update? - Writing Forums



    Length: 800 - 3500 words.
    Start: 7 Sept, 2007
    End: 14 Sept, 2007

    (The word count for this contest has been increased after multiple requests due to the nature of the theme. I hope that no one else has a problem with this at all and if there is please contact me via pm only. Posts about this in this thread will be deleted. Thank you for your patience.)
     
  2. Raven
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    From now on the winner of the short story competition will be stickied for seven days in the Short Story section of the forum.
     
  3. wordwizard
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    wordwizard Contributing Member

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    neener neener Raven spelt weekly wrong. Not that it matters I am just teasing ;)(in the title)
     
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  4. Raven
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    Raven Banned

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    lol! I can spell honest. But I type so damn quick i miss words off or just spell them wrong. lol

    Thanks Wordwizard.
     
  5. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    I actually have a halfway decent idea for this. I think I may be entering this week :)
     
  6. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    i read what the word means and everything but i still don;t get it. anyone care to explain in lamen terms please or should i ask my dad :p
     
  7. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Heresy is basically going against the norm, i.e. the government or whatever institutions are in power. For example, Galileo was considered a heretic for claiming the planets went around the sun, because it went against the Catholic view that everything went around the earth. Does that help at all heather?
     
  8. Heather Louise
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    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

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    oww, yea, thanks darling. :) i asked my dad about it last night and he said it was to do with religion aswell, so I think I'm gunna do about that. attempt ot anyways :p
    thanks :)
    Heather
     
  9. Raven
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    I like to think the themes are as much of a challenge as writing the story itself. Which is one reason why I picked this theme.
     
  10. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Well I thought it was a great theme personally. Really inspired me. I'll be posting my entry up shortly, after a quick edit :)

    EDIT: Hmmm, I'm afraid it's turned out very symbolic, and I'm not sure its exactly right, but I'll post it up anyway.
     
  11. Banzai
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    Song of the Heretic

    Song of the Heretic



    ‘Still your foolish tongue!’

    The sharpness of the command cut straight through what I was saying, and I obeyed without the slightest thought either way. I looked at the only other occupant of the cell with surprise; this was the first time I had heard anything other than a one-word answer from him, and I must say I had expected nothing so forceful.

    Truth be told, I had begun to wonder what it was exactly that was so dangerous about the much famed and feared David Moulin. He was sat sedately enough, against the stone wall, with shackles around his wrists and ankles. But though they must have been heavy and uncomfortable, he didn’t seem to mind them. At any rate, even with their heavy, iron presence, he seemed not so much a prisoner, as some kind of observer to the whole thing.

    His small dark eyes had watched me since the moment I had entered his cell, and his thin, pale lips had moved softly and delicately, shaping words I could neither hear nor read. I suspected they were French, but I soon forgot them altogether. As I asked him my usual probing questions, performing a journalistic reconnaissance to see just how open to my interrogation he was, he had kept his answers brief and honest.

    So when I had begun a tirade about social responsibility, and the justice as demanded by the needs of the people, I had expected only vague (if truthful) answers, and certainly not to be berated in the manner which I had just witnessed. I felt ashamed and chastised; like a schoolboy, caught unawares by the headmaster.

    ‘Do not speak of what you do not understand,’ Moulin continued, in that same indignant tone. ‘You tell me party lines, patriotic slogans, but do you understand any of what you say? Do you know where it comes from, what it really means?’

    ‘Erm…’ I searched for words, clutching desperately at them with both hands- an embarrassing and humbling position for a writer to be landed in. ‘My apologies, Mister Moulin,’ I managed in the end. ‘I did not mean to offend-’

    ‘Of course you didn’t,’ Moulin said with a sigh, leaning back on his bench. ‘No one does. And yet somehow people always end up offended. Have you noticed that, Mister Hardy? Is all offence simply misunderstanding? Or do some mean the offence they cause?’

    ‘I- I don’t understand what you’re asking, sir.’ I genuinely didn’t.

    ‘Don’t call me that.’

    ‘Call you what?’

    Sir.’ His face assumed an expression of disgust. ‘It’s a term of respect, and you clearly have no respect for me, else you would not be here.’

    At that I felt almost insulted myself. I had a great respect for the man sat before me, and it was out of that respect that I had come to speak with him, to be the last person to ask him these essential questions before he served out his sentence upon the gallows. ‘I assure you sir- Mister Moulin- I have nothing but respect for you.’

    ‘You think you do, I’ll give you that, lad.’ It struck me as strange that he addressed me as lad. I wasn’t sure how old he was- to my discredit, I’m afraid, for it completely slipped my mind to check before the interview- but he couldn’t have been more than a few years my senior.

    ‘You think you respect me, and perhaps in a way you do,’ Moulin continued, either unaware of or unconcerned with my private musings. ‘But that which you respect is not me. It is the figure that the government of His Imperial Highness have chosen for me. It may bear some passing resemblance, but I assure you that it is not me.’

    ‘So you deny the crimes you’re accused of, then?’ I asked, my journalistic nature undergoing a sudden rebirth, and my fingers seizing my pen ready to take down every word he uttered- whether it be blasphemy and lies, or philosophical gold.

    He chuckled, and with the harsh grinding noise of the rusty chain moving, he raised his hand to rub his temple. ‘My mind isn’t what it once was,’ he said, softly. ‘Nor my memory. Remind me, what is it I’m to die for?’

    A little surprised by the blasé way he spoke of his execution, I sifted through my notes to the chorus of crackling paper, and drew out the sheet on which was printed in black type the information I wanted. In an official sounding voice - or at least I thought so- I read aloud, ‘High treason against His Imperial Majesty the Emperor, Conspiracy to commit treason against the government of His Imperial Majesty the Emperor, Conspiracy to undermine the well-being of the realm, and Heresy.’

    ‘Hmmm, yes. I remember now.’ Moulin reclined lazily, looking almost comfortable in the drab and spartan confines of the cell, with the fading ghost of a smile on his pale lips. ‘Read them through again, lad. In your head.’

    I was thoroughly confused by this point, but his kind manner, and those dark eyes persuaded me to do as he requested. I read through the convictions. In my mind, I imagined the judge in his purple robes, banging the gavel with great fervour to still the chaos of the High Court chamber before reading each one out, whilst Moulin looked on emotionlessly. I had never seen the High Court chamber, and I hadn’t attended Moulin’s trial, but for some reason I have never had any trouble imagining the goading crowd beneath his pulpit.

    ‘You see,’ his voice interrupted my imaginings, ‘none of the convictions have any real…substance. No one deed I have done can be attached to any of them; no tangible evidence can be presented. None of them are any more than philosophical conjecture based upon theoretical assumptions.’

    ‘Hmmm,’ I murmured, unwilling to voice an opinion either way, for fear that unfriendly ears might hear, and that I might follow Moulin up the steps to the gallows- for of course, I saw and understood exactly what he meant, even if I didn’t want to. ‘But are you guilty of the convictions?’

    He smiled- the first genuine smile I had seen from him. ‘You’re more astute than I first thought,’ he said, in a low voice, leaning forwards towards me. For a moment I worried that he might try to grab for me, but then the absurd and overwhelming irrationality gave way, and logic calmly dictated to me that such ideas were nonsense. ‘Yes,’ he whispered. ‘Yes, I suppose I am guilty of them all. Especially heresy.’ His smile looked almost wicked with satisfaction at that last statement. ‘What is heresy, anyway?’

    ‘Erm…’ My mind drew a blank, and as he ploughed on I felt my cheeks flush, realising the question had been rhetorical.

    ‘It’s an archaic crime, left over from the dark ages. And surprisingly enough it still performs much the same function. A way to remove dangerous people from a position where they could do damage. The next thing you know, they’ll be burning people at the stake as witches.’

    ‘So you’re ready to die?’ I asked, my hand scribbling away in a frenzy, wanting to record every last word he would give me.

    ‘As ready as one can be,’ he said. ‘Besides, for a cause this great, we’d all be willing to give our lives.’

    Two questions immediately popped into the front of my mind. ‘What cause do you mean?’ I asked. ‘And by “we”, do you mean your followers?’

    ‘Followers is too strong a word,’ he said, quickly. ‘They don’t follow me. Or any other man, really. That’s what separates us from everyone else. None of this worship-cult stuff. But it doesn’t really matter, I guess. They’ll be there, at any rate.’

    ‘The heretics?’ I asked, before realising what I’d said. He didn’t seem to object to the term though, so I continued. ‘They’ll be there? At the execution?’

    He nodded. I was- understandably, I think- surprised. I’d assumed that any friends of Moulin’s would steer clear of the event which the courts meant to humiliate him. ‘They’ll be at the front,’ he said, ‘cheering the loudest. Cheering for the cause.’

    ‘And that cause is?’ I asked, gripped by a sudden crushing sense of anticipation.
    He smiled again. ‘Have you ever heard of a song- an old song mind you, from long before the Empire- called “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”?’

    I couldn’t say that I had, but before I could voice my lack of recognition, he carried on speaking, in the same hushed but heavily dramatic voice, which was steadily building in both pace and fervour. ‘If you find that, if you listen to it- or at least read the lyrics- then I hope now you’ll understand what it is I’m giving my life for. And perhaps you’ll find what you came here looking for.’

    He stopped speaking, but as soon as I tried to ask more, he raised his hand, and with it silenced me as effortlessly as he had done with that first cutting statement. ‘The guard is here,’ he said simply, craning his ears.

    And surely enough, there came the sound of footsteps from the hallway, and the uniformed guard unlocked the door and came in. ‘Time’s up,’ he said, gruffly, and persuaded me to my feet, with his fingernails digging into my shoulder. ‘Time for you to leave.’

    Being quickly frogmarched out of the cell, I heard behind me the slam of the gate, and wondered what had happened, that without a word of propaganda, or slander against the government, my heart felt suddenly different- lighter and heavier, both at once. And from inside his prison, the confident and resigned voice of David Moulin, softly said- sang, even- to me something which I immediately recognised as the words that had been silently upon his lips when I first entered…

    Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord…
     
  12. Kem Rixen
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    Kem Rixen New Member

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    Hmmm, I can't say I wasn't confused by the purpose of this, even after following the link, but I hope this is the correct thing.

    Band Week

    “Yes, you as well could own this fine-” the channel switched.
    “But Maaaaa, I don't want to go to school!” Once again the channel changed. An action movie was on, a man came crashing through a spotlight, mowing down and proceeding to beat the snot out of any villain he could get his hands on. Just as he was about to throw one off a ledge, the channel changed.

    “Five time champions of the two on two world thumb wrestling competition, from the talk show capitol of the world, here are your Jackson and Timothy!” roared the announcer as the sound stage was soon illuminated in lights and the studio audience stood and applauded. The hosts Jackson and Timothy were seated behind desks on the opposite ends of the stage itself, pointing in such a way that they were facing each other, and the audience at the same time. Jackson was a tall man with short mustache and beard who had a secret hobby for breeding rabbits, not that anything was particularly terrible about that, it was just a strange hobby. Timothy was more of an average height, and possessed no hair on his head at all.

    Jackson chuckled, “Yes, and wel-” cutting himself off to bow and the audience applauded for just a little bit longer, until it silenced itself.

    “Alright, as you all well know this is Band Week. So far we've had Popsicle Stand as well as Lymonade, but today we're bringing you perhaps the biggest band out there at the moment. Ladies and Gentleman, your favorite...Bad Spatula!” But the last bit of Spatula was cut off by another round of massive applause. While the applause continued the band walked on stage, a group of five young men in their early twenties of about average height. They proceeded to sit on a very long coach, that was between the two desks.

    “So, I'm sure you get this question constantly, but, when's the next album coming out?” said Timothy in the enthusiastic way that every line is delivered in, on television. The band either didn't seem to notice this, or plain didn't care. The one closest to Timothy replied, in a very layback sort of way,
    “Well, we've been working on it for ages and...what in the world?” His last few words having much more of a quizzical tone, as if he was now far more interested. He pointed and stared out the huge window that covered the entire back of the sound stage. Outside there were tanks running through the streets of the city, with men positioning themselves right in front of the building that the show was situated in.

    Timothy tried to hide his nervousness at the situation, and Jackson replied quickly with, “Well, will you look at that, just standard army procedures.” Turning towards the camera, with a far more serious tone of a man trying to sell something, he continued “Yes, for those of you out there, the army welcomes new members with open arms, so please, go to your nearest enlistment office and sign up. Remember don't be smarmy, join the army!” The slogan was chanted with grandiose energy by the audience, one they clearly knew and loved.

    Jackson turned toward the man from Bad Spatula who had previously been talking, “Please, continue Richard.”
    “Right, anyway, ummmmm, yeah, what was the question again?” replied Richard, taking a few moments trying to regain his composure.
    Timothy hurried out the words, “When your next album is coming out.” While constantly glancing out the window.
    Richard, was of course, completely unaware of this and replied happily, “Haha, of course, right, as I was saying, we've spent a lot of time on it, close to a year now. Basically any time we aren't on tour we've been working on it, nearly finished now, I hope, haha.”

    Another member of the band jumped in with, “Hopefully before the end of the year.”

    Quickly another member replied with, “Unless someone wants to change something,” while throwing a quick angry glare at another member of the band. Timothy by this point was completely white in fear as the men outside had made it, quite easily, into the building. Soon there was a pounding on the door that led into the sound stage. Then the door came flying off it's hinges and a battalion of men came in and dragged Timothy off, meanwhile he begin screaming, “It's all a lie! The Emperor no longer has the power, it's all in the Arm--” The whole channel went to static, it was followed by black and the voice of a calm man began speaking, “We apologize for this quick interruption of your beloved television show, but standard army procedures have temporally made this station unavailable.” The television channel returned back to static.
     
  13. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Come on people! Let's see some more entries :p Kem Rixen and I want some competition!
     
  14. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    You'll get some this afternoon. I've been busy.
     
  15. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Woot! Dom's gonna enter! :D
     
  16. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Fear my AWESOME!!!
     
  17. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    *cough*
     
  18. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    Heretical Thoughts

    Heretical Thoughts​

    Richard paced his luxurious room impatiently. The end was so close, only two hours left, and everything would be out of his control. He relished the thought.
    The tv that blared in the background, a constant noise, even for the Minister of Entertainment, suddenly stopped. He had been expecting that, The Guide of The People, would want to speak with him before the Program was released to the world. He turned smiling to the tv and video camera, as a face appeared on the screen.
    "Mr. Atkinson," the face said, "The Guide of The People requests your presence in the Golden Chamber, when it is convenient."
    Richard smiled broadly, "I am honoured by the request. I will go immediately."

    The Golden Chamber gleamed in the harsh fluorescent light. Tiny robots moved sedately cleaning every surface, keeping it from being desecrated by unclean people. Statues moved smoothly reenacting scenes from the Holy Book. Richard knew the statues were constantly watching the room for assassins and were programmed to kill if The Guide seemed to be in danger. He also knew that he had been scanned, and was being scanned by hundreds of different means to ensure the safety of the Guide.
    He was not afraid. Hurting The Guide physically, was the furthest thing from his mind.
    Stopping exactly fifty feet away from the gold throne on which The Guide sat, Richard kneeled in supplication. The Guide looked down on him, his eyes were covered by a dark silky band that made him look blind, but allowed him to see through any camera connected to the net. A golden net covered his hair and was draped over his body like a shroud. Like the eye band, it connected his every nerve to the net, giving him more control then anyone else on Earth could hope to attain.
    The neural garb hid The Guide in shadow, giving him a ghostly appearance. Akin to what ancient oracles achieved through torchlight, caves and careful positioning.
    "My Guide, I have come," Richard whispered to the recorders that would send it to the Emperors ears.
    A stern voice spoke from the walls, as the Emperors' mouth moved silently. "Everything is prepared?" the voice asked.
    "Yes, my Guide. Our programmers have successfully placed your Program on the Net. Your message tonight, and ever after shall be heard in every media that can be reached by the Net. All shall hear your message, from your loyalest subject, to the most cursed rebel," he said in awe.
    "Good," the voice boomed. "The heretics shall no longer be able to use background noise of the Net, to hide from the Message. The Message shall drown out their voices. Their cause will lose hope, and coherence." A rare smiled appeared on The Guides face. "I have watched you, as the Holy Mission has permitted. You have done well in guiding the programmers, and extending The Holy Message across the Net. You, will have the honour of initiating the Program."
    Despite the fact that he had expected this honour, Richard had no difficulty in making himself sound grateful. "I thank you for this honour my Guide. I have only been following your Guidance, and the Holy Mission."
    Again The Guide smiled, "Your humbleness is honourable. I, and the Holy Mission shall remember it. You may go and prepare now."
    Richard pushed his face to the floor, before silently leaving.

    Richard sat in a comfortable chair, VR equipment already in place, meditating amidst the frenzied activity. Programmers were ensuring everything was in order before the initiation of the Program. If anything should go wrong, everyone in the room who could not prove their total innocence would die. Richard felt sorry for them.
    But it couldn't be helped. Something had to be done. The Guide controlled everything, using advanced technology, and religious fanaticism. The few who tried to fight only had the anonymity of the vast net to protect themselves. Tonight if the Program succeeded, they would lose even that.
    Richard had seen too many death camps to let that happen.
    He prayed that he was doing the right thing.
    The VR equipment came on, making his brain believe he was now alone in an old fashion tv booth. A screen was counting down, five minutes to show time.
    Richard placed his hand on his head, and began rubbing his stomach. "The Guide shall protect us, even as we walk through the Valley of Death," he whispered.
    The movement and quote released a new program within the Program. If anyone was watching all they should see was Richard moving awkwardly, and quoting a common phrase. But Richard had spent the last two years making weird movements as if too calm down before big events. They were never the same, and people eventually put it down to a strange quirk. Which was exactly what Richard wanted.
    He started typing in commands on the keyboard in front of him, exactly as he was supposed to. Only unknown to everyone else, the board wasn't now hooked not only to the Net, and The Guides computer system. It was also connected to Richards brain.
    All he had to do now was press any key on the keyboard to initiate his own program.
    He started shaking. This was the final part. If he stopped now, no one would ever know.
    Could he press the key? Doubt welled up in his mind. There wasn't even a certainty that anyone could gain from what he was about to do.
    This could cause the death of millions of people including himself. At least now there was peace.
    Three minutes left before the Program started. Not much time now, he thought.
    His finger pressed the key.
    Better to die fighting for freedom, then to die screaming for saying a wrong word.
    His brain felt strange. It felt like fingers were poking and picking at his memories. Some memories were thrown away like useless trash. He felt images of his mother and father disappear into blankness.
    Other memories carefully chosen months in advance marched before his eyes. The blank stare of prisoners at Death Camps, euphemistically called Worship Areas.
    He tried to blot out the images, he still had work to do. His mind was tearing itself apart, but there were still certain tasks that had to be done.
    Cringing, his fingers typed the necessary codes into the keyboard activating the Program. He felt the Net shudder as the Program woke up.
    Only a minute left.
    He forgot what his name was. The body, formerly called Richard Atkinson, no longer cared what was happening to its mind. The images zoomed past its eyes, even as they grew blank. Only a small portion of the brain still worked, it kept a steady stream of commands going to the fingers.
    None of the people checking his vitals noticed anything. The body was physically fine. If they had been beside him, they could have notice a trace of drool rolling down from the mouth. Or the blank dead face that simply stared at the screen that it could no longer understand. They might, if they looked very closely, have noticed a trace of terror in the blank animal like eyes, as what little was left of the shredded and torn mind looked on in horror at what it had done to itself.
    But no one did. They knew that commands were still being inputted, his physical signs were normal, and if the brainwaves were odd, they were still functioning.
    Finally with one final act of will, the body of Richard Atkinson pressed enter, releasing the Program from its final bond.

    Across the world tv screens, radio's, computers, and virtual reality chambers went blank as the Program ripped apart firewalls, passwords, and anything else that stood in its path. Only key Church and Government areas remained free.
    Once it had control the Program flooded everything with its' message.
    The Guide watched, waiting to hear his voice speak out against the heretics. His smile turned to horror.
    Instead of his voice, a small girl pleaded for food. He was surrounded by starving people, thin, fleshless arms pulled at his clothes, begging for forgiveness, asking for a scrap of bread.
    A louder voice, the voice of Richard Atkinson, spoke. It explained who these people were, how they had been killed by The Guide's orders for speaking out for freedom.
    The Guide tried to run, he fled through the Net, but everywhere the Program showed the same images.
    Finally the scene shifted. A map of the world was laid out. It listed every death camp, every government or church building, every secret base. It showed how many guards protected each one.
    The Guide screamed in fury. He tried to override the program, but his passwords wouldn't work. looking over the codes he knew he could break them, but it would take time.
    Again the Net shifted. It showed Richard, The Guide, and many others writing the Holy Message.
    The Guide shrieked, cursing Richard to Hell. How dare he do this. He was The Guide. He controlled everything.
    Furiously, he tried to break through to the program. Even as the Net shifted showing secret after secret.
    Finally he was through. He entered the old fashioned tv room that controlled the Program. The mindless icon of Richard was still in the chair, drooling. The Guide tossed the body out of the seat.
    He could still make it right, he thought frantically. If he worked quickly he could control everything.
    A scream of rage filled the room. The keyboard was gibberish. Instead of being laid out properly it was covered in meaningless symbols. It would be impossible to figure out what the keys meant.
    The Guide raged. A tv screen continued to play images from Richards head. Each one a dagger straight into the heart of his Holy Empire.
    Finally he summoned his powers. If he couldn't control the Program he could stop it.
    His image flared as he channeled the power of the Gold Room directly into his equipment. The tv room ceased to exist.
    The Net went down.
    The Guide sat on his throne, sweating and shaking fiercely. His headset beep incessantly calling for his attention.
    With a thought he opened a connection. "What is happening?" The Guide demanded.
    "My Guide," the voice said, obviously scared, "we are reporting rebellious behavior around the globe. We have already lost at least five military bases."
    The Guide slumped in his Throne. All he could do was gasp a single, disbelieving word. "No."
     
  19. Domoviye
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    Domoviye Contributing Member

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    I guess I should have had the story written before I posted about my awesomeness, shouldn't I?
    Ah well. Look on in awe now. And remember not all Heretics have to be burned at the stake. :D
     
  20. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Nope. Mine was hung :D



    ...well, maybe :p
     
  21. Kem Rixen
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    Kem Rixen New Member

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    I can't remember how mine ended, let me check...
    ...
    ...
    ...
    Oh, right, it's a mystery, his fate is unknown :eek:
     
  22. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I do believe you mean "hanged", which means executed by hanging. The meaning off "hung" in your sentence would be inappropriate on this forum.
     
  23. Banzai
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    Banzai One-time Mod, but on the road to recovery Contributor

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    Darn you Cogito :p I really should have seen that...
     
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