Robot Wars: Beginnings

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Science Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Say hello to Jennifer, Jake and Jessie! They are your typical 'kids next door' but with an extraordinary talent for building the most incredible robots.

The trouble is, they have run afoul of Corporate giant Robo-Con and its ambitious and evil CEO Mr. Tolliver—who wants to take the 3J Robotics’ technology for himself!

Fortunately, our three stalwart heroes are far more than they seem—far more even than they themselves know.

Those secrets are held by Jake and Jennifer’s missing parents—and sought after by shadowy government agents! Yikes!!!

Come along for the ride as Jennifer, Jake and Jessie are launched into the fast paced world of intrigue, danger, adventure and yes…even romance as they leave everything they know in safe little Brattleboro, Vermont and venture forth to battle Corporate theft, kidnapping, teen relationship angst, their mysterious pasts and completely unexpected future...
Saving the World from an invading horde of rapacious alien Monsters!

Chapter 1 (v.1) - Robot Wars: Beginnings

Submitted: October 31, 2009

Reads: 204

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Submitted: October 31, 2009

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ROBOT WARS THE COMIC.COM
Author's Forward:
In August 2005, something magical happened to me. The Brattleboro Museum of Art hosted a 24/24 Comic book Challenge. You probably have no clue what this means, so I will explain. A 24/24 Comic book Challenge is a particular form of masochism, where a group of comic book creators all get together for a single, twenty-four hour period. The goal is for each to create an entire twenty-four page (standard size) comic book, complete! That’s one page an hour, each and every hour for twenty-four hours. You can blame Steve Bissette of “Swamp Thing” fame for inventing this horror!!!
As a long time comic book reader and dabbler in the creation end, this seemed like a perfect project. I had an idea which had been percolating, and so I decided to give it a whirl. Twenty-four hours of madness later, Robot Wars the Comic book was born. At the time, I had no intention of doing anything with the title—unless another 24/24 Comic Challenge came up, but I left the comic open ended in the best of comic book traditions!
Fast forward to April 2007, while surfing the Net, I stumbled upon my first webcomic in Deviant Art. I followed a few links and found myself on the best and most inclusive webcomic site on the Web. The name is a bit off-putting...especially to Moms concerned about their impressionable kids, but the fact is, Drunk Duck Web Comics is probably the biggest and best web comic site out there. Suddenly I had a comic book to post, and a place to show it! It all came together and Robot Wars the Comic book series became a reality!
Fast forward once again, to now. Robot Wars the Comic book has been up and running for going on three years. Ten issues and two Graphic Novel compilations are in print, with fifty issues planned! On Drunk Duck, Robot Wars the Comic book ranks in the top ten percent or so of regularly updated comics, and I generally post two to three new, full color pages a week. It really isn’t a money maker, most webcomics aren’t. We do our comic books out of sheer love of the process, and we love to tell our stories.
But I also love to write books. My novel, Memories of Ghenna is in print and I have a number of other novel ‘projects’ in mind...however, writing a book has always been a fairly solitary pursuit. It is also hard to come up with time, when Robot Wars the Comic book eats up ninety percent of all my free time as is. Books also, in this day and age, are not money makers either. You can get lucky with a bestseller occasionally, but mostly it’s a nickel and dime proposition. Even more disturbing, the hardcopy ‘book’ format is rapidly becoming obsolete as more and more people are doing their reading electronically on the net, or on e-book readers. Book Publishers, like newspaper publishers, are discovering, you have to adapt to the new publishing world, or die altogether.
The new wave is here, staring you in the face. To compete in the fast, furious, full color world of the Internet, the book has to change, and I believe you will find that change here, with Robot Wars the Novel: Beginnings. This e-book is a fully interactive, color illustrated (with sound coming) novelization of Robot Wars the Comic book. The book will have links going everywhere. There will be links to character bio’s, the illustrations which will be drawn from Robot Wars the Comic book, will link directly to the full comic book page, if you are curious. Links will also go out to points of interest. Want to know more, click the link!
Robot Wars the Novel: Beginnings, takes place in the very real world of today, so fall right in, I think you’ll enjoy it.
One last note:Robot Wars the Comic book was originally a 24/24 comic and the rendering engine used to produce it was fairly fast and dirty, as was the art. Many comic books started out this way as well, with art improving as time went on. Currently I now spend six to eight hours doing pages I once did in one! I hope you will judge the original art kindly, and accept that as a professional, I have not been resting on my laurels!
Michael W. Sorensen

CHAPTER ONE:

Hartford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

The enormous expanse of the Hartford Convention Center was thronged with the colorful, the extreme and the excited. No…it wasn’t a comic book convention, but for the nerd-at-heart it was almost as good. Cramming endless booths and kiosks were the companies and vendors who put the ‘tech’ in ‘High Tech.’ It was, of course, the Annual Technology Fair; an open venue for the display of bleeding edge technological goodies. Tech toys for the big boys and girls!

Want to acquire a 100 core Tevaile CPU capable of accessing a petabyte? This was the place. Need an Industrial robot for your manufacturing operation? Ditto. Or maybe you just wanted a tiny robotic mouse that sat up and begged…for your girlfriend. You would find it here as well! The big Technology Companies were all well invested at the center of the fair; from AMD to Samsung with Apple, Microsoft and Robo-Con filling in. They had the flashy, ‘must have’ toys that brought in the hordes of drooling geeks and gamers, slavering to their displays.

But if truth were to be told, the real ‘heart’ of the fair wasn’t at its center, but out beyond it. Out among the tiny little booths where inventors and innovators and entrepreneurs spread their wares to the harsh light of competition. It was in such a place that Apple got its start with its little, garage built, hobby computer—and brought Microsoft along with it to become giants! And it was from here that no doubt would come—the next Big Thing! The central turf of the fair was just the machine that ran it all, and one of the biggest was Robo-Con.

Based in Boston, Robo-Con was to the field of robotics in the United States, what Intel was to CPUs; the eight hundred pound gorilla at the top of the heap! Making high-tech industrial and military robots was its stock in trade, and in that fourteen billion dollar a year realm, it had few peers. That being said, it is also a truth of the tech industry—if you rest on your achievements for long, you’ll be buried with them! The only direction for tech industries was forward! Forward meant ‘cutting edge’ and in Robotics, the scalpel’s bloody edge was in humanoid robots. Never mind that the real money was in military weapons systems and machine integration; to the person on the street a ‘robot’ wasn’t a ‘robot’ if it wasn’t built to mimic a human being. So Robo-Con’s Convention Team was arrayed behind their diminutive robotic mascot, ASOK, whose shiny plastic exoskeleton gleamed invitingly in the overheads.

Ordinarily ASOK was a pretty good draw and a crowd pleaser. With hardwired locomotion programming, ASOK could walk in a disconcertingly human fashion and could talk quite nearly as fast as its programmer Toby Giametti could type—which was surprising fast! On this day however, ASOK was not drawing much in the way of attention, which clearly disgruntled the CEO of Robo-Con, Edwin Tolliver.

Mr. Tolliver (not to be called ‘Ed’ or ‘Win’ at any cost) was a large, bluff man in his early forties. Significantly balding, he chose to let nature take its course and he was comfortable with that decision despite having ample wherewithal to effect a change. He was, in fact, comfortable with most of his decisions. Not one to let his conscience rule, he was easily ruthless enough to hold onto the top corporate spot in a multinational conglomerate, and quash any attempts to unseat him.

Generally Mr. Tolliver had little but contempt for people. In his mind they were simply sheep in need of herding, fleecing and the occasional butchering. Of course he rarely let people see that side of him—sociopaths being very good at camouflage! Ordinarily he exuded charm, and bonhomie, and was reputed to be quite the ladies’ man. He also knew how to front a business. Press the flesh and show a winning smile!
Now though, his impatience was beginning to show. The real business of the convention, the meetings behind the closed doors of the adjacent luxury hotel; with the medal studded Generals of the DoD and the Saville Row suited Senators who supported them, had already finished. Contracts were signed and money was moving. Nothing like a pocket war to grease the rails of the money train! So he had come down to join his team on the Convention floor, to enjoy the ebb and flow of the awed sheep as Robo-Con Tech amazed and enthralled them…only the sheep were elsewhere.
He turned to Susan…., his very private ‘executive assistant.’“This is the deadest Tech Fair I’ve ever attended. ASOK should be pulling in the crowd, but no one is even looking! Where are the people?”
Susan Atkins was tall, blonde, runway model slender and altogether lovely. Even with nerdy glasses (which she wore because she knew they made her look smarter than she thought she was) and her hair pulled back, she still looked like a tasty confection. She was twenty-four, and sadly, she knew she was already at the pinnacle of her career. Currently she worked on the top floor of the Robo-Con monolith, with her desk overlooking Boston Harbor. A luxurious, prestigious job but one she had not earned by dint of education or aptitude. Oh, she tried hard, truly she did, but she knew that she kept her high paying position more by the work she did on her knees, than the work she did at her desk. Chances were the only path for her from here…was down, but she wasn’t going to give up without a fight!
Immediately thrown on the defensive by Mr. Tolliver’s interrogative, she replied, “I was in-formed that this venue was well attended…”
Ignoring her, Tolliver sat up suddenly, “Hey, Honda didn’t show up with that clunky cludge ‘Asimo’ did they?”
“Sir, I was very careful to check with the organizers and Honda was a ‘no show.’” but she bit her lip under the realization that she had, in fact, not checked personally

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“Well something sure smells fishy in Copenhagen.” Tolliver grumbled. Then, spotting a young boy on the edge of the milling throng who was giving ASOK the eye, he called out, “Hey young fellow, want to talk to the coolest robot in the world?”
Under Toby’s smooth guidance, ASOK turned toward the boy and said, “Hello, boy…my name…is ASOK.What is…yours?”
The boy gave ASOK a withering look, “Nah, that’s not the coolest robot in the world. It can’t even talk except that guy over there types in the words.Sabre’s waaayyy cooler than that!”

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This was not an answer that either Tolliver or Susan expected! Off to the side, however, Toby Giametti winced.

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As a Ph.D in Applied Robotic Design from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Tech Fairs such as this were to Tony Giametti what nectar was to a bee. Already he had spent hours wandering the venues, examining this bit of hardware, checking out that software package and already he had stumbled upon the truly huge surprise that was shaking the Fair to its proverbial knees in awe. He had agonized over whether to make the reveal or keep his mouth shut, and had finally decided on the latter. He knew, from long experience Mr. Tolliver’s temper when confronted with unfavorable news, and he knew it would be Susan who would bear the brunt of that ire. The fact that she, quite literally would have had no way to know what was hidden among the back booths, would be no defense.I n Tolliver’s World, your executive assistance was PAID to know what was going on, regardless!
“Well, that cuts it…” he thought sadly, 'Now the fur is really going to fly!"
He glanced longingly at the shapely woman sitting next to him.He knew every curve of her, the way she walked, the sounds of her voice, the way the light made a nimbus of her golden mane, and yet he had never touched her. She was so far out of his league it hurt him on a gut level, especially since he had to work with her nearly every day. He would have done anything to spare her the grief she about to get, but his hands were tied.All he could do was wait for it, helplessly.
“And where,” Tolliver rumbled dangerously at the impertinent lad, “Can I find this…‘Sabre’?”
“Way down back, under the balcony.” the kid said, unaware that he was talking to one of the most powerful CEO’s in the United States, and unimpressed at any rate, “They have a small booth, but boy, have they got some cool ‘bots!”

As the boy shuffled off, back into the throng, Tolliver stood and held his hand out to Susan, “Well, let’s go see what it is you did miss…”

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Practically dragging Susan along, Tolliver strode off down the aisle toward the back areas of the Fair.
Susan trotted, nearly running, to keep pace with him in her high heeled boots. She was visibly trembling in distress and near tears, “Honestly, Mr. Tolliver, Sir!I checked out all the minor vendors, and anyone who looked like they had resources to develop any kind of competition for us.”
“We shall soon see if your assurances are all they're cracked up to be...” Tolliver said with dangerous calm. "Or if I shall have to seek a more proficient personal assistant!"


© Copyright 2018 Michael Sorensen. All rights reserved.

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