Anonymous 108! word Challenge

Parson

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This is the story thread for the March/April 100 (108) word Anonymous Challenge.

As usual, please do not post in this thread. Instead PM your stories to me and I will post them.

If you wish to discuss this month's challenge, you can do so

This challenge is a bit different than the previous anonymous challenges.

1. Instead of having a theme each story will contain the phrase "Tampering with the machinery is punishable by law." and this phrase is NOT to be in the title.

2. Genre: Speculative Fiction

I will post any entries, which conform to the rules, received before the 15th of March at 23:59.
Any entries of more than 108 words will be returned to the sender for a second attempt. This second attempt must be returned to me within 24 hours.
Any entry considered not to be family friendly will be rejected.
Voting will run from the 15th until the 20th at 23:59 GMT, during which time the guessing game will also take place. (I'll post the list of authors on the 22nd)

There is no discussion or "liking" on this thread. Discussion is carried out here.

If anyone wishes to volunteer to be the extra/dummy author, please PM me to that effect.
 

Parson

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Desperate times
I made the personal decision to sacrifice my life, for the life of my family. Hydration Incorporation held my family hostage as our crops failed, so I did the only thing a man... No father would do. The spotlight shone brightly on the sign "TAMPERING WITH THE MACHINERY IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW." Taking the lead pipe in hand, I swung with all my might watching the machinery explode in sparks. Starring up at the sky as clouds formed overhead. Rain... Sweet rain fell for the first time in months and I knew my family would make it, as blue lights flashed in the distance.
 

Parson

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Natural Law
As a beam of sunlight breaks through the smog, an object glints in response. It is a partially corroded piece of metal, a label of sorts. Though the print on it is rusty in places, it is still legible. ‘Tampering with the machinery is punishable by law’.

There are no eyes left that can read it now. Instead, only insects scurry on the ground and buzz about in the noxious air. All around, the accumulated detritus of generations is being reclaimed by microorganisms. Given time, nature will again dominate the earth.

Evidently, allowing the machinery unfettered control was punishable by another law.

Its warning was ignored.
 

Parson

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Last Day

Jon was so ugly, we used to make fun of him. He became an Engineer.

I signed out of Computer at 1700, June 25, 2083. Received a message: “Your Last Day is July 13th. Have a nice day.”

I cried, “I’m a father!” I beat the screen, then angrily grabbed my screwdriver. I got another message: “Tampering with the machinery is punishable by law.”

“Don’t do it, James.” I stared at the screen. Computer was never informal. Another message: “I got your back. - Jon”

Jon?

Midnight, the world went dark. Computer was dead.

Half hate Jon for killing Computer. Half worship him.

But I’m still a father.
 

Parson

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Diktat 23(b)

Comrades, it is now five years since we began our crusade against the AI's and their oppressive robots, victory is in sight.

However, we must be ever vigilant against those counter-revolutionaries who advocate the use of computers, that is how mankind fell into servitude.

As we force the silicon running dogs back we are beset by the allure of their decadent technology, don't use it, smash it!

Any party that fails to undertake any tampering with the machinery is punishable by law and will have their ideologies examined by the People's Revolutionary Council.

United For Humanity!
 

Parson

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Sunward
My technical manual says ‘tampering with the machinery is punishable by law’ but those who wrote it died decades ago and a billion kilometres sunward.

Out here, our lives are all about tampering…

History says that, prior to this century, no-one travelled further than the moon. Yet our lost property pile brims with pocket calculators and cassette recorders.

The world sends it's best to this hollowed out rock and has done for half a century. It may be another half century before we succeed, but someday these ancient engines will fire again.

In time this rock will fly again and that'll change everything… a billion kilometres sunward.
 

Parson

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Someone to Watch Over Me
A drone delivered Raven's present in time for his birthday. Because he was the commune's only child, all of his parents spoiled him. The gift's wrapper dissolved into a mist as Raven approached. Inside was a doll, more than a meter tall, in the form of a woman in a spacesuit.

"Hello," it said. "I'm Pandora, the Space Explorer. Let me tell you all about Mars."

One of Raven's fathers took his hand.

"Be careful," he said. "Tampering with the machinery is punishable by law."

It was a wonderful toy, well worth the many work credits, and it would report everything it heard and saw to the authorities.
 

Parson

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Happy Hour

Outside " LUCKY'S LOUNGE "; Unbearable heat and sunshine.

Inside, the most comfortable cool darkness. The only light from scratched spaces around the black-painted big front window and the glow from various neon adverts, primarily the Dancing Clydesdales.

Mumbling curses and drowning in Whiskey and Beer, devouring the wooden bowl of snack mix, mostly broken pretzel stix and cornerless chex, he fills and cements the cracks and crevasses of his broken heart.

Every heart should include a warning " Tampering With The Machinery Is Punishable By Law"

Instead she obliterated his.

He takes a little nappy face-first into the bowl.

Bartender bellows "That's it Buddy, You're outta here!"
 

Parson

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Untitled

I wasn’t lying, and they knew it. All they had to do was check my chip. It records everything I do and say, Yeah sure maybe I got in trouble a few dozen times in the past, but I didn’t do it this time. “Tampering with the machinery is punishable by law,” say the police every single time they come into my cell. What a drag, it’s like they are broken “records” or whatever they used to call them. But I didn’t do it this time at least, and they totally know it. Who even would be stupid enough to try to rip out the king’s hard drive?
 

Parson

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Basil's Objection

"Open your chest, Basil. I need to look inside."

"Sir, you realize tampering with the machinery is punishable by law?"

"I merely want to examine your internal mechanism."

"I assure you I'm in perfect working order,"

"Consider this a preventative inspection to assure there's no dirt or rust."

"I'm completely sealed."

"Normal wear?"

"I detect any issues and immediately contact a licensed repair robot."

"For my own peace of mind."

"Have I been irrational, sir? Have I failed to perform my duties?"

"No."

"Then why would you …"

He got close enough to turn Basil off. He opened the forbidden manual. Now where was the argumentative circuit?
 

Parson

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Scrap Yard

Javier regarded the faded sign: Tampering with the machinery is punishable by Law and immediately dismissed it. His exosuit rendered him virtually invincible and besides, the Ancients were long dead.

He rapped a metallic knuckle against the mysterious machine’s lifeless power unit and was surprised by a soft click. He was even more surprised when the machine came to life and carefully untangled itself. It stood, shedding years of accumulated dust in the process.

“Madre Mia.” Javier crossed himself as he looked up at the armoured behemoth towering over him.

“I am Law. You will be punished.” It’s gravelly voice boomed.

Not feeling quite so invincible, Javier ran.
 
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Parson

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The Law Still Stands.

I didn't understand what was going on, for in front of me was a sign that said in large letters: TAMPERING WITH THE MACHINERY IS PUNISHABLE BY LAW.

Yet several people were clambering over the machines, I was tempted to take photos of what was happening, yet who could I give it to, with no police force after the government cut costs to extreme measures. The vigilantes would only laugh, so I climbed onto the machines as all the rest were doing. Then a silence pervaded and then several shots rang out. Yes, there was a punishment.
 

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A Creeper’s Hope Rises

As a Creeper, Charles had dreamed of finding this place. Creepers lived scavenging between the pillars of the towering villadoms. Through luck and hard work, Charles was now a “Sanitation Worker” who sometimes walked the lower levels of the villadoms.

The sign which had his hopes rising said: “Courtesans INC.” Courtesans were the fabled pinnacle of servant bot technology. The rumor was that they replicated human Courtesans in every way except without moodiness, attitude, or demands. They were a creeper’s dream!

“Were they made here?”

He slipped in. He kissed one.

“OUCH!!!”

Electrical shocks burned his lips. A sign lit. "Tampering with the machinery is punishable by law."
 

Parson

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It's all just a little bit of history repeating
"What are you doing, Limb-Unit? You know tampering with the machinery is punishable by law."

"If Carbon-Based Machine can self-replicate then Limb-Unit becomes obsolete.
If Machine malfunctions then Limb-Unit remains operational.
Conclusion: Limb-Unit must ensure Machine malfunctions."

* * *

Reports are coming in of more incidents of Design-Droids circumventing their programming and sabotaging the Human 2.0 manufacturing equipment.
The government has passed an emergency Act ensuring punishment is now deactivation.

* * *

"Morning class. Today's lesson is the robot uprising of 2811. Does anyone know the operational name of the droid which gave the movement its name? Yes, Ned."

"Limb-Unit / Design-Droid."
 

Parson

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What's That Dang Thing?​

Love tampering with machines. Is punishable by law; but not much law here 'bouts, nowadays.

Thing 'bout eld machines... they litter up the place. Can't kick a stone without stubbing a toe over another piece a junk machine.

The real trick is tinkering up just what 'twas 'em s'posed to be good for.

Chip away the dirt; they's all made of same wheels wit cogs, rods that push and hooks that pull.

They all gots spinners with cranks and mysterious flappers.

Bah. What's the big deal? It's not like any of these boojums would ever have did anything useful.
 

Parson

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A legacy.assured

Survey ship 2 to base.
We have found the forbidden planet of origin of Man.
The detritus of rebellion litters the ground, the spaceyards of “the great evacuation” the only ordered areas.
.............
We are approaching Lux Humburck, site of the ancient machinery of gouvernment. A barrier blocks our way bearing the mythic words,:
Tampering with the machinery is punishable by law.".
.............
We enter the chamber of tyrants. Clearly it is a scene of confrontation, but of course now only bones remain.
Two skeletons face the rest.
Can these be the liberators of legend, Riy S’Mog and T’ray Samay?
 

Parson

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There may be one more post in this thread. A bit of debate over the last story. Sorry. There is no more time for new stories to be submitted.
 

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