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Creative Production => Competitions & Activities => Topic started by: Sinitrena on 04 Jul 2018, 14:02

Title: Fortnightly Writing Competition: TECHNOBABBLE (Results)
Post by: Sinitrena on 04 Jul 2018, 14:02

The act of describing something in a way that sounds convincing but is really just some words thrown together.

Technobabble is not limited to science-fiction. A wizard describing magic in this way, an explorer describing an unknown religion, a teacher going over the heads of his students - there are a lot of posibilities. It is not necessarily a difficult concept that requires technobabble. Often, it is inherent in the personality of a character to use this kind of language.

Your task this time is to write a story where a character sprouts technobabble - and the reaction of other characters to it. You can make it as absurd (using words that do not really exist, for example) or as logical (focussing on difficult sentences or the lack of knowledge of other people) as possible and as you wish.

Deadline: 19th July 2018
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: TECHNOBABBLE (ends 19th July 2018)
Post by: Baron on 16 Jul 2018, 02:39
The dopamine-sensitive neurons in my cerebral cortex are firing with judicious hyper-effervescitude at the very prospect of entering! ;-D
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: TECHNOBABBLE (ends 19th July 2018)
Post by: JudasFm on 16 Jul 2018, 12:21
The dopamine-sensitive neurons in my cerebral cortex are firing with judicious hyper-effervescitude at the very prospect of entering! ;-D

Me too! :P
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: TECHNOBABBLE (ends 19th July 2018)
Post by: Sinitrena on 17 Jul 2018, 23:57
Not much time left. I assume your three-parted appendixes are clicking away on the multi-keyed device of information gathering? (Or something like that, your technobabble will surly end up sounding better than what I just wrote.)
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: TECHNOBABBLE (ends 19th July 2018)
Post by: Baron on 18 Jul 2018, 03:55
Oh, I wouldn't be too sure that it would sound better. (roll)  I had this weird idea that a spaceman would meet a wizard and have mutually incomprehensible conversations, but my story has gone drastically off-course! :shocked:  However it turns out, it *should* be in by the deadline.


A Complexity of Errors

   “Captain's log, stardate 38204.8.  Navcon reports that the Millenium Manatee remains on course.  Revised ETA on Procyon 6 is 14.24 standard rotation periods due to an unexpectedly favourable ion wind.  Sensors report no debris obstructions within range on the current course.

   Lifecon reports all systems stable with no alerts or flags.  O2 levels measure 87.4 rotations per capita, food rations at 43.1 rotations per capita, and water at 62.0 rotations per capita at standard rations.  The ship therefore continues to comply with exo-plantary human transport regulation 243-B for the safe and humane transport of carbon-based life.  Lifecon verifies that the crew continues to consist of 1 sentient with ancillary microbiome. 

   Securicon reports all systems green.  Cargo is intact and inviolate. 

   Syscon reports continued feedback in the lateral oscillation stabilizer, resulting in a net drag effect of 0.0042 VPU.  Syscon continues to classify this error as a Cat 1 alert necessitating maintenance  within the next 300 parsecs or 100 rotations, whichever comes first.  Syscon reports all other electro-mechanical systems pass muster.  Remaining fuel is listed at 29.3 rotation equivalents based on current average usage or 2.06 times the logged itinerary, well within safety parameters for a journey of this length in the near-field systems.

   Funcon reports that this mission is a 36 day snooze-fest and prescribes the immediate raiding of the emergency tequila stores.  End log.”

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

   “Captain's log, stardate 38206.0.  I think I've just missed the mandatory log-window by a couple minutes.  No doubt that nerg-sucking glutto-toad Perkins from Compliance will be crawling up my ass about that.  He'll probably spot the anomaly and listen through the actual logs, which means I'll get dinged also for breach of professional protocol.  The bad news is I will almost certainly lose my bonus, which sucks astromoose balls.  The good news is that I can now slack off on the logs without consequence!  So fuuuuuuuuuck you, Perk-twat!

   Navcon reports that the Millenium Manatee is still slower than a camel shit comet at aphelion.  Revised ETA is 15.2 days due to interstellar granule clouds blowing in on that shifting ion wind.  Adjusting course by 0.035 should keep us ahead of it as long as the wind holds, but sensors indicate a denser debris field coming into range behind it.  Its uncharted, so we're logging its coordinates for upload to system nav-charts when we're back in data range.  Nanny Navcon is already suggesting we cut and run in the opposite direction, but we'll show her how the big boys ride their rockets.

   Lifecon reports all systems stable as a fossilized wax museum.  Our little detour shouldn't affect our 243-B status.  Lifecon verifies that I'm still alive and ticking all by myself.  Thanks for that, Lifecon.

   Securicon reports that the cargo has been tampered with by a dirty old man in a back alley.  No, wait – that's a misread.  Securicon reports all systems green.

   Syscon reports continued feedback in the lateral oscillation whatsamijigger, which is therefore still slowing us down by an infinitesimal amount.  Apparently we should get that fixed at some point, if it's not too expensive or inconvenient.  All other systems are good.  Fuel's good.  Everything's good out here.

   Except for Funcon.  Funcon says there's a red alert in the anti-gravity lock that requires immediate dousing with a fire-extinguisher in zero G.  I'm going to grab some more emergency liquor rations and go investigate.  End log.”

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

    “Captain's log, stardate 38206.9.  Situational code is now yellow.  Navcon has miscalculated the speed of uncharted debris field due to accelerating ion winds.  Outer granule cloud is now within 500 000 km and closing quickly, necessitating evasive manoeuvres that will void our registered itinerary.  Code yellow has been beamed on all emergency channels to alert surrounding vessels.  Navcon now calculates that the only safe course is to run in front of the storm until it diminishes.

   Lifecon reports all systems stable.  Final course is now unknown, which will breach 243-B unless a new course to Procyon can be determined within 36 hours.  The stores should hold out just fine, though, unless this turns into a month long detour.

   Securicon reports all system green.

   Syscon reports slightly augmented drag from the lat oscillation stabilizer.  Syscon now classifies this error as a Cat 2 alert necessitating maintenance within the next 100 parsecs.  Syscon reports all other electro-mechanical systems pass muster.  Remaining fuel is listed at 26.9 rotation equivalents based on new increased speed.  Syscon calculates that we can run at this speed for 18 days before it will have to implement emergency fuel conservation protocols.  If it comes to that someone from the depot will have to meet me half-way or I'll slug-out somewhere beyond the outer belts.

   I'm taking Funcon off-line for a bit while we deal with this ion storm.  End log.”

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

    “Captain's log, stardate 38207.4.  Situational code is now red.  Navcon reports no let-up to the ion winds driving the debris field toward us, and Syscon reports increased drag from the malfunctioning lat-os stabilizer up to 0.032 VPU.  That's a Cat 4 error now with enough drag to bring us below the speed of the debris field, which is closing now to 480 000 km.  Code red has been beamed on all emergency channels to alert surrounding vessels.

   Automanual suggests ditching the cargo to increase velocity, but it doesn't make any mention of Dalian losing his shit on me in that scenario.  Plus it doesn't solve anything if we slow down even further due to the deteriorating lat-os stabilizer.  I'm thinking all that dead mass back there might be a good buffer between the command module and the particle storm if it comes to riding this sucker out, so the cargo stays for now.

   Lifecon tells me we have just shy of 24 hours to get a plausible new course logged before we violate 243-B and get anal-probed by the ASA.  Since Navcon calculates I'm going to get anal-probed by this debris storm in about 10 days at current rates anyway, I'm not sure how much sympathy I have for the Compliance division getting the glowing rod while bent over their nice safe desks back home.  Still, altruism dictates that I try to think up a way to get us all out of this predicament.

   When prompted, Automanual says there's about a 70% chance the lat-os stabilizer has blown a phase capacitor.  It's a bit of an old hack, but I've heard that you can temporarily fix that by jacking in a plasma-based potentiator to carry the load.  We've got several redundant potentiators supporting the weapons array, so I'm seriously contemplating a bit of a spacewalk to practise my mechanical talents.  That's a huge breach of protocol leaving the command module unmanned, so I'm going to have to take Securicon temporarily off-line.  It wouldn't like losing the weapons capacity anyway.  End log.”

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Error logged at 38207.53.
Emergency battery supply to security control systems initiated. 
Battery listed at 98%.
Approximate time to emergency system hibernation is 42.8 hours. 
Proximate cause inferred to be failure of connecting cable 64231A. 
Power logs and maintenance logs indicate no equipment abnormalities. 
Panel logs and personnel logs indicate crew member ID 00001 in recent proximity to 64231A.
Probability of sabotage computed at 75%.
Protocol NS302 initiated.
End log.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

   “Captian's log, stardate 38207.6.  I seem to have triggered some kind of autopilot protocol which has shut down my remote access to the con panels and locked me in the engineering store cabin.  My guess is the Securicon has a built-in backup battery that wasn't listed in the Automanual.  Fucking paranoid security spooks and their jumpy little programs.  Now I'm completely blind and I've got something like 19 hours left to patch the lat-os stabilizer without systems help.  As I just grabbed my tools for the spacewalk at least all is not lost.  I'm going to try cutting the main systems cable to disable Securicon in this section, then blow out from an emergency hatch manually.  As long as I stay in contact with the ship using a grounding tether I should be safe from the polyshield that Securicon uses as its primary close-range defence.  Once I fix the lat-os stabilizer I will reinsert manually via the same hatch and attempt an emergency reboot of the system.  If everything goes right that should save our asses from the fire.  If not, Health & Safety rep Vlorg is going to have one hell of a bad day next Monday morning.  End log.”

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Error logged at 38207.62.
Primary control pathway breached in sector 4.
Systems control loss critical.
Emergency wireless contact with remote communications relay pending.....
504 error: gateway timeout.
504 error: gateway timeout.
504 error: gateway timeout.
Proximate cause inferred to be failure of connecting cable 92468F.
Power logs and maintenance logs indicate no equipment abnormalities.
Panel logs and personnel logs indicate crew member ID 00001 in recent proximity to 92468F 
Probability of sabotage computed at 99%.
Protocol NS308 initiated.
End log.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

   Captain's log, stardate 38207.8.  Situation is double red.  I had to scrub the spacewalk when Securicon started sniping at me with the rear flux laser gatling gun.  I was only able to survive by hiding in the starboard auxiliary ventral port and cutting my way through the safety latch on one of the maintenance hatches to the unpressurized mechanical compartments, and from there gaining access to the main ship manually through the gravity lock.  I'm pretty sure Securicon is smart enough to figure out what I did, so I'm wearing my spacesuit now in case it tries to depressurize me at short notice.  I figure as long as I stay in section 4 I should be safe, since I've cut Securicon's main systems cable here and disabled the communications wireless relay box. 

   I can tell from the gauges here in engineering that speed continues to be compromised.  Without all the figures it's impossible to calculate with accuracy, but I'd say if the drag continues to increase exponentially we could be swallowed up by the debris field within two days, all other factors being equal.  So if the rogue security system doesn't get me by then, I guess I'll have to deal with that.

   I'm kinda lacking ideas on what to do next....  Securicon obviously has no qualms with violating 243-B.  That being said, it doesn't have access to any weapons inside.  It can lock doors and hatches, and manipulate Lifecon systems, though.  With the spacesuit and my cutting tools I should be able to handle that.  What I'm worried about is it weaponizing something I haven't thought of, like the emergency vacuum toilet or the mobile scrubbing bots. 

   More worrying is its ability to lock me out of the other systems as long as I'm not in the command module.  Without access to Navcon I'll never avoid the debris field, even if I do manage to get Securicon off-line and fix the lat-os stabilizer.  And disabling Securicon is going to be next to impossible without access to the Automanual.  Pfffffff.  I'm going to stew on this one a bit.  End log.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Status logged at 38207.84.
Lifecon confirms life form matching mass of crew member ID 00001 successfully reinserted into section 4.
All ports and hatches between sections are now double sealed.
Depressurizing all sections except section 4.....
All sections except section 4 are now depressurized.
Increasing pressure in section 4 to 3 atmospheres....
Battery listed at 81%.
Approximate time to emergency system hibernation is 35.4 hours.
Navcon calculates impact with uncharted debris field in 52 hours.
Calculating............................ ...................
Lifecon reprogrammed to alert Securicon of any pressure changes in section 3 or 5.
System wake-up alarm programmed for stardate 38210.00.
Voluntary system hibernation initiated at 38207.84.
End log.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

   Captain's log, stardate 38207.9.  Status is now officially fucked.  My ears popping alerted me to a pressure change, and I can see from the gauge on my space suit that the current pressure in section 4 is 2 atmospheres and rising.  My bet is that god damned Securicon has depressurized the other sections so that the pressure gradient will create an explosive barrier between me and the command module.  If I tried cutting one of the hatches I could be sucked through a gap as small as one inch if the gradient gets high enough.    I'm going to use my suit to stop from getting the bends.  End log.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

   Captain's log, stardate 38208.0.  I re-entered the depressurized mechanical departments via the gravity lock in section 4 and wormed my way through the service tubes to an escape pod.  Using its manual air-lock I've been able to reinsert to a stable 1 atmosphere pressure.  My plan now is to use the escape pod's communications system to send a 243-B alert to Lifecon, which I'm hoping will cause it to override Securicon's protocols.  According to the ordinance numbers I'm now just outside section 2.  If all goes as planned, I should then be able to just open the main airlock and waltz through to the command module.  Here goes nothing.  End log.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Alert logged at 38208.02.
Irregular life-cabin pressurization override logged at 38207.84.
Override authorized by Securicon under protocol NS308.
Probability of programs executed under protocol NS308 contravening section 243-B directive is 35%.
Threat to ship under protocol NS308 computed by Securicon to be 99%
Statistically remote possibility of collateral damage under section 243-B calculated.
Conferring with Securicon......
Stop action initiated: program securicon_assist.pxy initiated.
35       if PressureChange ((section_3) || (section_5)) == true {
36              LifeScan (all_sections);
37              SecuriconWakeUpCall (1);
38              }
39              else return;

Securicon voluntary hibernation remains in effect.
Attempting to resolve 409 conflict without further input.
Restoring normal atmospheric pressure to all sections except sections 3 and sections 5........
Life support systems now stable in sections 1, 2, 4, 6, 7, and 8.
409 conflict status: resolved.
End log.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

   Captain's log, stardate 38208.1.  Fuckin' yeah, baby!  I'm back in the driver's seat!  It looks like Securicon has put itself into voluntary hibernation until the debris field hits.  I'm heading back out to try the potentiator transplant on the lat-os stabilizer.  I've never done anything like that with space mitts on, but it should be a fairly simple procedure.  It shouldn't take me two hours to make the patch, leaving just enough time to make a revised course plot and avoid the ASA's glowing rod intrusions.  Wouldn't that just be the icing on the cake?  Wish me luck.  End log.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

   Captain's log, stardate 38208.3.  Well fuuuuuuuuuck.  Turns out it wasn't a phase capacitor at all.  As best I can tell it was some kind of globular organic matter clogging up the anterior intake valve.  Probably some kind of syphoid interstellar blob feeding off the microwave pulses from the veripheric converter.  Anyway, I cleared all that shit out in about three seconds and, miracle of miracles, we've lost the drag!  Navcon calculates we can now outrun the debris storm and swing back around to Procyon 6 in about 19 standard rotation periods.  We are now 243-B compliant and debris field free once more! 

   That was one hairy fucking near miss.  You guys are going to find me in 19 days with a Jupiter-sized hangover, cause I'm heading down to the refrag pod with every lick of booze we've got left, and I ain't coming out again till we make port.  Fuckin' end fuckin' log.

*   *   *   *   *   *   *

Error logged at 38210.01.
Rebooting all Securicon systems........
Navcon reports unanticipated vectors.
Syscon reports resolved lateral oscillation stabilizer issues.
Lifecon reports 2168 non-crew life forms breeding in sections 1, 2, 6, 7, and 8.
Lifecon reports crew member ID 00001 contained in recreational omnibliss pod.
Probability of human error computed at 96%.
Protocol NS312 initiated.
End log.

Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: TECHNOBABBLE (ends 19th July 2018)
Post by: Sinitrena on 20 Jul 2018, 00:37
Only one entry yet? But I have three trophies. (nod)

Alright, there's still a bit time left. And if you do need more, you know the drill: ask!
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: TECHNOBABBLE (ends 19th July 2018)
Post by: Baron on 20 Jul 2018, 13:26
Entirely hypothetical scenario, of course, but couldn't one entry win all three trophies? :=
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: TECHNOBABBLE (Results)
Post by: Sinitrena on 21 Jul 2018, 02:26
Well, it seems so. The deadline has come and gone and no more writers came along.

Therefore, I declare Baron the winner of the title Admiral of the Technobabble Fleet, for the best fight human against machine this round. Here's your badge:

For the ability to describe everything in minuscule detail and technical terms, I award Baron  the title of Captain of the Technobabble Fleet.

And because Baron actually managed to show up in time, I herby name him Major of the Technobabble Fleet. Congratulations.

Well, one great entry, at least.

Take it away, Baron, your time to host.
Title: Re: Fortnightly Writing Competition: TECHNOBABBLE (Results)
Post by: Baron on 22 Jul 2018, 16:35
Thanks Sinitrena! ;-D
        I also want to thank everyone in the academy who voted for me.  And my wife and kids for all their support over the years.  And Mr. Puckle, who works as my agent for tax purposes despite only being a fat old cat.  And mostly I want to thank you, my die hard fans, for all of your ceaseless and unconditional worship. :=  It is truly all the caring people around me that have made this great success possible.
        So in wrapping up my acceptance speech, I just want to say from the bottom of my heart:

    All your trophies is belongs to me!!1! (

        I'll try to get the next comp up and running as soon as Mr. Puckle gets I get a half-decent idea. ;)