doctorlit: (Default)
Author's Note: I wrote this short story in December of 2012, during a period when the Board was getting flooded by a spambot declaring itself a little boy (like all of us are, of course, I mean, obviously) and offering free candy. Whoever programmed it didn't seem to have a shift key on their keyboard, because capital letters never appeared once out of all the hundreds of posts. The flood eventually halted, and the Nameless Admin removed all the offending hilarious messages. I don't remember if any of the spambot's dialogue in this story is word-for-word quotation, but as this example shows, all the messages followed basically the same structure. (Seriously, why did the spambot specifically address its audience as boys? Did the programmer think females and men don't like candy?) This story was originally posted to a thread discussing the spam attack.

Protectors of the Plot Continuum was founded by Jay and Acacia, and I write in their universe with permission.

* * *

”A Short Story About Spambots”


Agent Vania paused Epic Mickey after a knock sounded at the door—an oddly metallic knock, considering the door itself was fashioned from Generic Surface. She passed Doc, who was reading some murder mystery on the bunk bed, and opened the door.

“would you like some candy” the . . . person . . . standing at the door said. They wore a sickeningly brownish-pink suit and bore an oddly blank, staring expression. They were short and stooped, and had a head covered in tan hair that was so stringy, it looked almost like yarn. “i have candy”

“Uh . . .”

“Is it that Sunflower’s Witness again?” called Doc. “Tell her to stop interrupting Canon Research Time™.”

“It’s definitely not the Witness,” Vania said. “What kind of candy are you selling?”

“i have free candy little boy”

“Whoa, now! I usually leave the literary quotes to Doc, but—”

“BUT NO LIVING MAN AM I!” Doc interjected, standing up in bed and impacting the ceiling with his head.

“. . . Right. Well, I’m certainly not a boy, at any rate. I’m beginning to suspect you’re not a legit candy man. Do you mix it with love and make the world taste good?”

The odd person’s eyes seemed to bug out for a moment. “running Friendship Protocol v2.1” The mouth briefly turned up in a smile, then settled back into perfect straightness. “i am little boy like you”

“Doc? Did you agree to let Chris Hansen set up a sting in our RC and forget to tell me?”

“No . . .” Doc finally got down from the bed and joined Vania at the door, rubbing his forehead. “Who is this?”

“i am little boy like you . . . both”

“God damn it! Seriously?” Vania shouted. “Are you a badly described parody clone of Professor Oak? Look!” She started lifting up her shirt, but Doc blocked her arms.

“Wait! Do you smell hot dogs, Vania?”

She sniffed. “The air does seem a bit . . . meaty, doesn’t it?”

“there is only free smell of free candy”

“♪Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam♪”

Behind the odd person, six Vikings marched through the hallway, swinging their broad arms back and forth with elbows crooked as they sang.

“♪Lovely spam, wonderful spam! Lovely spam, wonderful spam! Spam, spam, spam, spam . . .♪”

The singing faded away as the Vikings moved further down the hall.

“this is coincidence”

Vania batted her eyelashes. “Doc, please bring me my pen.”

“You want a pen?”

“I want my BIG, WOODEN PEN, Doc.”

“Oh! Oh, of course.”

As Doc retreated back into the RC, the odd person’s eyes bulged out again. “yes free candy for boys just go to double-u double-u double-u dot dot dot dot dot . . .”

Vania’s baseball bat had interrupted the individual’s speech by way of decapitation. The standing torso’s neck oozed pinkish meat while the wire-filled head stuttered on the floor. “. . . dot dot free candy little boy free candy fraaandy fraaandy—” The head was interrupted a second time by its body toppling backwards and crushing it.

Vania smirked at Doc. “It was a—”

“I figured it out from context.”

Vania nodded. “Let’s just be thankful it’s gone now.”

“And definitely just an isolated incident.”

A metallic clanging echoed through the air. Both agents leaned out and observed that every RC door in the hallway had an odd person standing before it, knocking.

“Doc, get on ICEP and contact DoSAT. Then open a portal to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory. I’m getting some candy out of this, damn it!”

“♪Spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam, spam . . .♪”

* * *

Author's Note: Epic Mickey was created by Warren Spector and Junction Point Studios and belongs to Disney Interactive Studios. The Sunflower's Witness was created by Miah and belongs to the PPC community. Doc's quote was written by J. R. R. Tolkien in chapter six of The Return of the King, "The Battle of the Pelennor Fields." Willy Wonka and his factory were created by Roald Dahl, and the lyrics from "The Candy Man Can" in the first movie adaptation were composed by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. The spam vikings and their spam song belong to Monty spam Python and spam.

I C HQ NTV

Aug. 7th, 2015 03:16 pm
doctorlit: (Default)
Author’s Note: This short story was done as a response to the thread on the Board where Huinesoron introduced Nutmeg Television. It was meant to just be part of the discussion at the time, but I did it in narrative form for fun, but it wound up rather stream of consciousness, and maybe not much fun to read? Also, I think Doc wanting to watch TV is probably OOC for him, but uh . . . chock it up to curiosity? I didn’t really have a beta for this, but Neshomeh helped out with Parwill’s part for the final posting. The original (much worse) version appeared here on the Board.

Protectors of the Plot Continuum was founded by Jay and Acacia, and I write in their universe with permission. Nutmeg Television was created by Huinesoron. Castor Parwill was created by Neshomeh. The Chronicles of Narnia were written by C. S. Lewis, and the quoted lines come from The Silver Chair. Miss Irene, the mini-Bricks and L’Université des Écrivains Misérables belong to Bubonic Woodchuck, lokogato-sama and Zorpisuttle. Gavroche Thénardier was created by Victor Hugo.

* * *


"So, do we actually get television, or is this just for researching games?"

"Oh, no, we get all kinds of stuff! HQ has its own channel: Nutmeg TV!" Vania grabbed the remote control and pressed something. The screen flickered, but displayed the same image.

"Is it . . . stuck?" Doc asked.

"Oh, I was broadcasting a Let's Play. The A/V Division sponsors them. It lets agents show off what they're playing from their RC. And then . . ." She pressed another button on the remote. "There's a separate channel for kids. Nutmint."

"Ugh. Like Nick, Jr. or whatever?"

"Well, this is the PPC, so no. It's much better."

The screen showed a thin-haired man reading from a large book. "'My name's Scrubb, and this is Pole,' said Eustace. 'Would you mind telling us where we are?'"

"Ah, Narnia," said Doc, but then he frowned. "Is that actually Lewis?"

"Yeah," said Vania, smiling.

"But." Doc shut his eyes and shook his head. "But Lewis is—Lewis is—"

"Dead? Maybe on your Earth."

". . . Okay. But that's it? Two channels, and one aimed at kids?"

"Oh, no, no, no! Those are just the two created here, specifically for HQ. We get reception from all different worlds. Here, do some surfing. I gotta pee."

Doc frowned as he took the remote. "Thanks for sharing," he muttered. He tried out an arrow key, and the channel changed again.

A cartoon theme song began playing, with animation of a huge, yellow vehicle covered in rods and pistons and blasting out steam as it twisted in on itself, changing its shape. "♪On the Transformatronic Vocational Transport! Step inside, it's a wondrous, fantastical ride! Ride on the Transformatronic Vocational Transport!♪"

"Okay, wow, yes," Doc murmured.

"What did you find?"

"Cartoon," Doc replied obliviously. He changed the channel again.

A bipedal green lizard was charging at a weird black figurine with red eyes in a circle around its head. A pinkish light suddenly appeared in front of the doll, which the lizard tried to slash through. An announcer's voice called out, "Claydol managed to survive that Leaf Blade thanks to Reflect, but it was still super effective damage! And now it looks like Steven is switching to another Pokémon."

Doc flipped. A girl with long hair was marching jerkily towards the camera with a well in the background.

"Weird," said Doc, and he flipped.

A dark stairwell showed, lit only by a weird emergency light, beginning to sputter, glued to a wall. There was just enough light to see an expressionless, disembodied face floating in midair. It slowly began to glide towards the screen.

Doc huffed. "Weird." He changed it again.

A stone statue of an angel stood in mist, hands covering its face. Hearing the sink running, Doc turned to address Vania as she returned to the main room, and so missed the statue pull its hands away from its face.

"Vania, a lot of these channels are just weird."

"Whatcha got?" she asked, coming around the corner of the screen to see a Weeping Angel advancing towards them. She shrieked and grabbed the remote from Doc, hitting the "Home" button to go back to Nutmeg TV. "Let's just stay in HQ for now, okay?"

Doc's brow was furrowed. "What was that?"

"Something we wouldn't want in HQ."

"But then, we're stuck with just the two channels."

"Well, sort of. But remember, this is the PPC! Time isn’t quite so static, here. Let's see what was on an hour ago." She pressed one end of a long button next to the image of a clock.

The video game footage was replaced with a classroom setting. A little kid in filthy clothing was talking at the head of the classroom. "And seeing as how you students is all having such difficulties in writing about the lives of Paris's poor, Miss Irene informs me that you'll each be having a turn spending a night in the elephant—" he grinned— "with the rats.

The seated students groaned, some beginning to complain before the gibbering of some book-shaped figures silenced them.

"Oooh! OFU lessons! How about an hour from now?"

The screen now showed Nurse Parwill, apparently being interviewed. "It is hard sometimes, you know? I mean, I'm trained to improve people's mental health, and with agents, that's what I do. But with some canons . . . Well, let's get back to Captain Ahab; he's a prime example. He was heavily Sued when we got him, and we had to get rid of all his well-adjusted behaviors and find a way to bring back the monomania."

Vania glanced at Doc mischievously. "Wanna cheat?"

"What do you mean?"

"Let's see what was going on back in Jay's time." She held the back end of the time button down for nearly a full minute. When she stopped, an agent was just setting down a paper. "That concludes our list," she said, folding her fingers together and giving the camera a look somewhere between a smirk and a sneer. "If you have any information on these dangerous rogue agents, do not hesitate to inform the first officer you see. Just look for the sash with the Black Cat." She turned her shoulder to demonstrate the item on her own sleeve.

"Eh. Bad example," Vania said, hitting "Home" again. "Let's try a couple decades in the future?"

It was another news report. A young woman was on the scene of a section of HQ hallway brutalized with scorch marks and slashes in the generic surface. "Several of the agents involved are currently being cared for in Medical," the reporter said into the microphone. "However, one agent present in the confrontation is said to be missing entirely. Internal Affairs is asking for any information regarding the whereabouts of Agent—"

"Meh. I'd rather not know." Vania flipped back to the present. "So anyway, what do you feel like—watching."

Doc was back on his bed, reading. He grunted.

* * *


Author’s Note: Nick Jr. belongs to Viacom. The Magic School Bus was created by Joanna Cole and Bruce Degen, and the prime multiverse’s version of the theme song was performed by Little Richard. Pokémon, and the characters and moves named here, belong to Satoshi Tajiri of Nintendo. Samara was created by Koji Suzuki; SCP-087 was created by Zaeyde and belongs to the SCP community; Weeping Angels were created by Stephen Moffat. Captain Ahab was created by Herman Melville.
doctorlit: (Default)
Author's Note: This takes place during “The Adventure of the Misplaced Musical Miscreant” and was written as part of PoorCynic's second writing workshop on speech. Protectors of the Plot Continuum was created by Jay and Acacia, and I write in their universe with permission. The Hound of the Baskervilles was created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and belong to his estate. Mini-Hounds of the Baskervilles were created by Juliet Norrington. Mawgs and Spaceballs belong to Mel Brooks. The concept and naming convention of a “kitchen cat” was started by Hawkelf. The PPC was created by Jay and Acacia.

* * *


"Gris . . . gris . . . gris . . . everywhere is more gris!" muttered Séverine. She was only partially paying attention to her surroundings as she followed her partner through the hallways of Headquarters. "I am tired now of seeing so much grey!" She walked several paces behind Yoof, who was zigzagging back and forth as he walked, testing the air around them with his wet, black nose.

"Ha!" It was a sharp, high-pitched whine, more bark than laugh. "Your Idea!"

"I know," Séverine replied. Her eyes continued to skim over the RC doors, not really looking at them. "It is only that . . . walking in la Nouvelle-Calédonie, we would have the sky, the flowers, and people, and colors—"

Yoof stopped and turned to look at her, the bases of his long, floppy ears raising just a bit above his fuzzy brown hair. "I'm people!" he whined, his human hands held up to chest level in a begging posture. "Sort of! Half a people!"

Séverine shut her eyes and frowned. "I know, Yoof. I am sorry. That was not what I meant."

"Ha!" Yoof barked happily. He returned to sniffing his way down the hallway.

"Caught any promising scents yet?"

"Just chocolate and Bleep-things." Yoof stopped again and half-turned so that one eye was looking at Séverine. "I don't want to get in trouble again."

Séverine shook her head. "No. We will not try that again." As Yoof returned to sniffing, Séverine muttered to herself, "This ridiculous Département Médical, claiming cooking ingredients to be medical supplies."

Her words were still picked up by Yoof's sharp ears. "Ha. Shouldn't be stealing from RCs anyway, ha?"

"It is either this, or we return to searches through the worlds. Remember when the house elves discovered us in the kitchen of Beauxbatons? Or running from the Medusa spiders? And do not forget what nearly happened with James Bond."

Yoof's ears laid back against his head as he whined, "Hnnn, hnnn, hnnn." He spun around as he continued his nasal search. After a few more yards, the little black tail that hung down under his jacket began wagging.

"Ha! Ha! Something!"

"Bon, bon! Find it, Yoof, find it!"

Yoof kept his nose held high up in the air and began to walk more slowly, soon zeroing in on one RC door in particular.

"RC number two hundred fifty-one," Séverine read aloud. She interacted with agents in person far less frequently than she did with their stashes, and had no idea who lived where. She tested the doorknob and was surprised to find it locked—most agents didn't seem to bother. However, a quiet swipe of her PPC ID card through the space of the door-frame was all it took to force the catch out of its hole.

Séverine opened the door just slightly, scanning the room through the crack. The RC appeared motionless. She opened the door wider and shut it after both she and her partner were inside.

RC 251, like so many others, reflected the variations of its occupants' personalities. One wall held a long, low bookshelf, very obsessively neat. The wall opposite had a television set surrounded by a tangle of wires connecting it to various game consoles, with game discs and open cases covering the floor around a splitting bean bag chair. The green glow of a night light spilled from behind the mostly closed door to a separate bathroom.

It was the far wall, however, that held the prize they sought: on the platform below the portal's regular location sat a huge mound of golden-brown tater tots.

Séverine sighed. "I study to become a professional chef, yet I spend my life raiding the padded cells of lunatics for American junk food." Nonetheless, she took a roll of garbage bags out of her denim bag and tore off the outermost bag. She started towards the potato product, but stopped when Yoof began to speak strangely.

His ears were perked way up. "Early nineties model. Manufactured in NCIS continuum. One floor bolt loose. Back lid missing. Ceramic body, plastic lid and seat. Fill line down to ninety-four percent of full capacity."

"Yoof? What is the matter? What are you talking about?"

Yoof tilted his head. "Can't you hear it? Someone's drinking from the toilet bowl."

The green glow from the bathroom, which Séverine had mistaken for a night light, grew brighter and brighter as its source approached the main room. The door was bumped open, and a luminescent bloodhound puppy came out and gave a low, "Whuff."

"Of course," said Séverine, sneering. "Un petit."

Yoof began to growl, "Harrr, harrr, harr." The mini-Hound of the Baskervilles, 221b baker street, returned with its own low rumbling, a sharp contrast to Yoof's high-pitched yelps.

"Keep it distracted, please, Yoof." Séverine shook the bag open and kneeled down, scooping in the tater tots. "Little beasts," she told herself. "Bad enough to have a cat in the kitchen, but the whole of Headquarters is filled with monsters." Trying to ignore the growling behind her, she worked as quickly as she could, and tied off the bag when every piece was inside.

When she turned around, she saw that Yoof had dropped to his human hands and knees and was holding his head and shoulders close to the ground to match the mini's defensive posture. The two technically-canine beings kept feinting a charge, forcing the other to back up momentarily before it, too, lunged forward.

Séverine heaved the bag of tater tots over her shoulder Pere Noel-style and headed for the exit. "Heel, Yoof. We are done here! Stop that fighting; you are not even a real dog!"

"I'm half dog! Ha!" Yoof retreated from the mini anyway and stood up. "And half man! I'm my—"

"Own best friend, oui oui. But it is funnier when John Candy says it." Séverine held the door open for Yoof to pass, then clicked the door locked with the inside doorknob. She almost had the door shut when the mini-Hound of the Baskervilles let loose a howl worthy of its canonical namesake.

Séverine froze, almost feeling the sound physically travel up and down her spine, and then up it again. "Mon coeur," she swore quietly. She slammed the door and turned to Yoof, who had all of his hair and fur standing on end. "Let us return to the kitchens before that beast attracts attention."

221b baker street continued to howl as they left that hallway; preoccupied with worry, it took the pair only minutes to return to the cafeteria. On the way past the eating tables, the current cafeteria cat, Fr'sst, leaped onto one to watch them pass, unencumbered by the missing left foreleg he had lost during 2008's Sue invasion. The cat glared at the agents with deep, orange eyes.

"Do not look at me in that way, beast."

Yoof made a noise somewhere between a whine and a growl. Fr'sst hissed at their retreating backs in response.

* * *


About an hour later, agents were loading the newly heated and served tater tots onto their plates and splitting into various groups of friends to eat together. Yoof and Séverine watched from one of the doorways to the kitchen.

"This is a job well done, Yoof." Séverine crossed her arms and smiled contentedly. "Look how happy they are to have real food."

The happiness didn't last long. (It tends not to, in the PPC Cafeteria.) Soon, agents' eyes began to glaze over, multicolored stars began to spin in the air above their heads, and nearly everyone present stood and began to brawl with those closest to them.

Séverine stared, wide-eyed. Then she closed her eyes and said, "Food fights have never been uncommon here, after all."

Yoof whined, "Hnnn . . . hnnn . . . but they aren't even using the food."

"It is surely a coincidence," Séverine continued. "We have no reason to assume we are the cause. Nor should anyone else."

A sharp hiss drew her attention to the floor, where Fr'sst sat, black fur raised around his shoulders, mouth partly open to show off his shining white incisors. The cat stared directly into Séverine's eyes.

"Beast," she spat.

Author's Note: House elves and Beauxbatons belong to J. K. Rowling. Medusa spiders were created by Edward Kitsis and Adam Horowitz and belong to J. J. Abrams and Damon Lindelof. James Bond was created by Ian Fleming, and belongs to him, so far as I'm concerned. NCIS was created by and belongs to Donald P. Bellisario and Don McGill.

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