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Vanguard3000

An interesting idea (well, I think so, anyway)

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Right now, I'm reading a book called Five Fates. It's actually five short stories by five different authors (incl. Frank Herbert and Harlan Ellison - two of my favourites), but all five stories are about the same general idea (in this case, William Bailey dying at a euthanasia centre). It's really neat to see how all five authors told such different stories. I thought it would be a neat thing to try here. I'll give a basic plot, and anyone who's interested can write about it. We'll start with something simple:

***

A man picks up a hitchhiker.

***

I'm working on a short story about this, and I'll post it when I'm done. I look foreward to (hopefully) seeing your ideas.

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Steven Sharpie Drove home from work like any other day.

The two hour drive from Chicago to Goshen was boring at best. The radio was his only companion.

Work had been dificult to find in the current econemy. He was a electriction one of the first jobs to be hit with a slumping econemy. No one wanted to build anything if they didnt have any money, and people dont get money with a slumping econemy.

He sighed and changed the radiostation as the reception faded into a cracking hiss.

Traffic was slow, it was alwas slow around this time of night. He grabed the bottle of moutain dew between his legs and took a long slug of it.

Papa Roaches Born with Nothing die, with everything suddenly stoped playing on the radio. A disterbed news man's voice replaced it.

"We have just, Gotten reports. That there has been a terrorist atack on the Sears Tower. I repeat there has just been a terrorist atack on the Sears Tower. Reports are still coming in, but it apears that a massive explosive device detenited in the buildings basement. It destroyed the ground floor, the basement and sub basments, and the second and third floors.

1,500 hundred people are still traped in the tower, with no way to get out. Fire and police personal are rushing to the scene, but fear of biological or chemical gasses are keeping them at a safe distence untill goverment personal can arive.

I repeat there has been a terrorist atack on the series tower."

Steven could not belive his ears. The war on terror was suposed to be going well. There was still debate on rather to invade iraq or not, but there had been no terorist atacks after the world trade centers.

It was nearly 6:00 P:M one could make out the chicago skyline in the distence. Steven decided to pull over he wanted to see the Tower. He needed to see it for some reason.

The cars around him drove on oblivous or simply not careing about the incident.

He was in the right lane, he turned his flashers on and pulled over.

Getting out of the car and turning towards the sky line he was shocked at what he was seeing.

Smoke was billowing towards the sky. A earie reminder of the 9/11 terrorist atacks.

But they would put the fire out, It was only a small bomb.

A b-25 had slammed into it in the 30's and the building still held. It wouldnt go down.

But thats what everything thought of the World Trade Centers as well.

He noticed that other cars started pulling over as well.

Murmered gasps could be heard over the nearly deafning sound of traffic.

Steven gazzed at the tower. Transfixed.

How did this happen? He asked himself. How did we let them do this to us?

The smoke begain to stop. and Steven felt relived.

Three blossems of fire erupted from the sides of the building.Sending massive fireballs into the sky. The smoke was so thick that he couldnt make the tower out any more.

A tear ran down his face. Chicago was his town. He had worked in it for over two years now. How could this happen? such a permenent statute. The emblem that was Chicago. Atacked? His mind couldnt focus.

Trafic almost stoped complety. People just stoped there cars and watched in striken shock and awe.

Men woman and children all begain to sob.

Steven himself almost lost control.

The Tower begain to shake. Its foundation caving in. Steven knew what was going to happen next. He didnt want to see it. He wanted to drive away. Pertend it dident happen. But how could he? How could he not watch his tower in his town die?

It colapsed on itself. The roof section falling down fastest. Shoving the floors benith it down.

Massive dust and debree flew into the air.

A complet silence was felt among every moteror. Not a word,not a cry, not a tear. Just shocked utter disbleif.

The Tower colapsed at 6:47 P:M only 10 minutes after the explosives went off.

1,580 americans died during the terrorist atack. The Chicago skyline was painted white with dust.

Steven felt a overwelming urge to break down. To cry. He faught it off long enough to get in his car.

His head slammed against the head rest, and he broke down. The radio still on continued.

"The Sears tower has fallen! oh my god! How did this happen? how did this happen? God help us all. God help us all." Said the frightened newscaster.

Steven wiped the tears off his face and did the best to recover himself. He looked out the window. People were visibly shaken. Crying in each others arms. Some full of rage banged there arms against there cars, screeming for blood shed. Steven couldnt feel hate, he couldnt feel anything except what he just seen.

He looked at the mirror. Horror, shere utter horror, in every sense of the word. His heart sank to the floor. Numbness. He had to get it out of his sight. He knew he was going to lose it if he stayed.

He put the car in drive and drove down the side of the the road. Most of the people who stoped, had stoped behind him , or on the road. he had no one in front of him.

He drove faster. Nearly 40 MPH down the side strip, Thosands of cars,trucks, SUVS, semies, were stoped on both sides of the road. Transfixed. He had to get out of there.

He finaly found the end of the traffic line, nearly 5 miles from whare he had pulled over, he got on the main road and drove on.

The newscaster had regained some composure. "From what the mayor is saying. One explosive devivce detenated in the sub basment, blowing upword, taking out the main floor, the basement, and floors one and two.

The second explosion was on floor 35, the third on floor 83, and the last on floor 101. They were placed with percision. destroyign the buildings main suport girders. That is why they belive it fell so soon."

Ryan shoved a CD into the the CD player.

"Better tried, sick and twisted, want a army I'm enlsited, Trust yourself, trust no one else, fuck a hero be yourself. I dont need your lowsy hand outs, I'l find my way out, I'l find my way out, find my way out." Came the familer song.

Steven regained himself some. Thats one thing they will never be able to take away, not with bombs, gas or guns. He thought to himself. Music will alwas be around.

He cranked the volume up to its maximum

"People wake up and sing along, I trust no one, my trust is gone, born with nothing, die with everything, born with nothing, born with nothing, die with everything. "

He found the song fit perfectly with the moment. Who could be trusted in the world any more? a terrorist could be your next door neihbor. Your son could be a drug dealer.

He needed someone to talk to, he despretly wanted to get home sooner.

"In the days since days go bye, faster and faster I speed through life, now I have to take control, of my mental and my phsyical, never shelterd from life harsh storms, I was cold but now I am warm. but inside I am warm." The song continued on.

Steven got off the high way, decided to take country road 31 to Porter county, then county road 18 to saint josheph. then take 31 home.d.

"Searching and finding the turth inside my self, searching and finding the truth inside my self, inside myself." the song continued. "searching....finding....truth.. Better tried, sick and twisted, want a army I'm enlsited, Trust yourself, trust no one else, fuck a hero be yourself. I dont need your lowsy hand outs, I'l find my way out, I'l find my way out, find my way out. Born with nothing, die with everything, born with nothing, born with nothing, die with everything. born with nothing, born with nothing, die with everything." the song ended

Ryan continued to listen to the others, but none at the meaning of that perticular song.

He drove into porter county, trying not to think of the atack, but couldnt help it. The image of the fireballs was eteched firmly in his mind. He could see it everytime he closed his eyes.

He seen some one walking along the side of the road. Thumb out asking for a ride.

What the hell thought Steven. He wanted some one to talk to, and the man didnt apear in the least to be arabic. He pulled over, by the man and opened the passanger door.

"Hop in." He said

"Thanks." He said getting in.

He had a scratchy grayish brown beared, short hair and sense of confidence in him.

"I have been trying to get a ride since about 5:45" but no one seems to be coming down this road.

"Whats your name? Steven asked extending his hand towards him. Steven Sharpie. Nice to meet you. You said 5:45 right? so you dont know then?"

"David Tyler." He said shaking Stevens hand. Know about what?"

Steven turend the radio on.

"Once again, The Sears tower has been destroyed by a terrorist atack." It said. Steven turned it off before it could finish.

The man didnt seem that disturbed by it. He let out a deep sigh. and grabed a pack of ciggeretes from his coat.

"You dont mind do you?" He asked.

"No go ahead. Steven said.

David lit a ciggeret and took a long drag off of it. he exhalled slowly.

"How many people did we loose?" He asked.

"1,600 they are saying now." He said grimicing at the numbers.

"What happend? Another hijaking?"

"No, four bombs, one in the basment, the others higher up, it fell it 10 minutes."

" The man rubbed his temple. How could this happen? He asked.

"I dont know. but they are going to pay. Bush is going to nuke the hell out of whatever terrrorist group did this."

"Yea..." David mubmled.

"Whare ya headed to?" Steven asked changing the subject.

"South bend. I have some friends there i need to meet."

The two men continued talking, trying to stay off the topic of the atack. Steven thought he was a prety good guy, aside from his lack of emotion of the atack. A person that he felt he could become friends with.

"Hey if you need anything in goshen you just stop on by ok?" He told David as they neared South Bend.

"Yea, sure." He said looking out the window.

"You have any family?" Steven asked.

"No, Their all dead." He said sadly. "What about you?"

"Sorry. "Steven said " No wife or kids. a few brothers and sisters. that sort of thing."

They pulled near the Century Center in downtown South Bend.

"This is good enough. Thanks for the ride." He said getting out.

"No problem."

The rest of the drive home was un eventfull. Steven missed his hitchiker. He may have been quite, but he was just the sort of person that Steven could open up to.

He pulled up in the aparment complex in South Centeral Goshen. Parking he walked in to his room and tossed his keys on the table. Grabbed a Coke from the frig and sat down

He turened on the T.V.

The coke fell from his hands, spilling onto the ground. He staried dumb founded at the T.V.

His mind un able to accept what he was seeing.

"If you have any information Concering This man." A picture of took up the screen. "Contact your local law inforcement or the FBI imidently. His name is David Tyler, and he is wanted on the bombing of the Sears tower. He is to be considerd armed, and extremly dangerous.

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Good stuff! Here's mine:

Oh, what the hell, thought James Riley, seeing the lone hitchhiker at the side of the road. It could be fun.

Riley pulled his sedan over to the side of the quiet road, rolled down his window, and waved awkwardly to the hitchhiker.

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Thanks. I was going for something like that. I just love twist ending.

In your story, is there any specific reason the hitchhiker's family was killed? Did he do what he did because his family was killed, or did he kill his family? By the way, I really liked the part where Steve picks up the guy because he doesn't look Arabic. It says a lot about the character, as well as a lot of people's mentality as a result of 9-11.

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A/N: Okay, my response to the Hitchiker pickup, I hope you like it. I typed it up pretty quick.

He drove along, not to fast on this rainy night. The roads were slick, and the water of a nearby stream was rising quickly. He had to choose between safe speeds and not getting his car floated downstream once it hit the roadway.

Within the corner of his eye, as he approached a turn, he saw a man dressed in what appeared to be a black cloak and hood. He slowed to a stop, knowing that this man would drown if left to hitchike on this flooding roadway.

"Get in," yelled Darrel, over the howling wind and the pounding rain.

The man in the black cloak and hood complied, quickly opening and shutting the door. He even put on his seatbelt as Darrel stepped on the gas, sacrificing safe speeds for less chance at being on this little road when it flooded.

"So where are you going stranger," asked Darrel, his voice friendly.

The man replied, his voice a rich timber, with a definite British accent," I go to where I am needed."

Darrel smiled, it figured he'd pick up some old crazy," And where might that be Mr..."

The man smiled beneath his hood and replied," Pendragon. My last name is Pendragon."

"So where might you be needed Mr. Pendragon," asked Darrel, now that he knew the man's name.

"To the airport if you don't mind," said Pendragon, his voice almost pleading.

"No problem buddy," said Darrel, cutting a corner sharply," I'm on my way there myself. I'm hoping my flight doesn't get cancelled, bad weather and all..."

"We cannot allow the flight to be cancelled my boy," said Pendragon, his rich British timbre sounding urgent.

"Whatever you say," muttered Darrel under his breath, wondering why he picked up this hitchiker again.

Finally they spun into the parking lot, and screeched to a halt. They both got out of the car quickly, the rain battering them almost down to the ground.

"Well it was nice meeting you Mr. Pendragon," said Darrel, as he shouldered his carry-on bag," but I must be going now."

"I thank you kind sir," the hitchiker returned," your generosity has possibly saved lives."

Darrel was in too much of a hurry to think about what the man said. He breezed through security with the ease of a frequent flyer.

His hitchiker however, sat off the alarm. Darrel was intrigued, wanting to see the face of the man he had helped bring here, and what he had carried that set off the alarm.

Slowly security coaxed the hitchhiker to remove his hood, and then slowly, Pendragon dropped his cloak. At his side swung a sword.

"You have kept me from saving a plane," uttered Pendragon disgusted as Security moved in to take his sword from him and place him into custody.

That was when the windows blew out, and the torrential rains poured into the terminal, as well as heavy smoke. Darrel realized then, that he had missed his flight, and that the plane which had just gone up in a fireball on the runway, was his own.

As he looked back to Security, he saw the two guards standing in shock of the explosion, and of the fact that their man had disappeared. Darrel thought back to the sword dangling at the man's side, and his name Pendragon...

Then it hit him, the man's name was Arthur Pendragon! That had to be it, and the legends had always said that King Arthur would return when he was most needed. Maybe, Darrel mused, as he gaped out at the flaming wreckage of the plane, that age had come at last.

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I just typed this up, prob ain't very good but ahhhh well..

David C. Bryant was not one to pick up hicthikers, but tonight many things would change for David.

David was battling the forces of nature as he drove his Silver Lexus down the lone highway with the snow falling in mass quanities upon him.

His wind sheild whipers flew back and forth feriously trying to keep up with the snowfall, so far they were losing the battle.

"Can't see a dam thing in this freaking blizzard, god I hate traveling." He moved around his seat feriously trying to activate a higher intensity button for the lights. He shoved across many items in the rental car with no success.

Extending one hand he reached over to the glove compartment for the instructions manual. Opening it he felt around, tape, cd, cd, cd, ah there it was, the manual. Grabbing it he started flipping through the pages occasionly shooting a glare at the text.

He soon found himself almost indulged in the boring text still not able to find what he was looking for and the blizzard was getting only worse.

Gazing up he saw a figure close to the car and slammed the breaks gripping the cluch as he swung it into park. The traction control wasn't on and the car slide feriuously off the road, spinning, and spinning, David sensed death.

THUD the car slammed into a dicth barried only a few feet off the highway. David bolted forward and hit the steering wheel just light enough for the air bags not to activate. He rubbed his head and looked out to see the lights shooting upwards but no man. Scared that he hit the stranger he gazed out more until he heard a tap on the window...

Slowly turning his head he looked in utter horror to see a figure of a man, but he couldn't see his face by the blizzard. Fumbeling around to tryed to get a pen or something to fend off the intruder if he were to attack, but his fears soon evaporated as he heard a clear, calm male voice not belonging to that of a killer over the blizzard.

"Hey sorry about that! My names James Wies, I'm a marine in the U.S navy, need any help?"

Taking his hand off of his pounding heart David reached over and opened the passenger door.

"Get in, its freezing out there."

The marine looked like he would of normally declined the offer to be nice but it was so cold that any one with a once of logic would of jumped right in.

"Hi good to meet you sir." David extended his hand and the marine shaked it.

"Um not to be inconsiderate sir, but how about we get out of this dicth perhaps?" David looked out and noticed the car was still in the dicth and the seats still bolted to the sky. Laughing loudly David took a few breaths.

"I like that idea James, and my name is David Bryant, no need to call me sir, your the one that knows how to use a gun afterall."

The marines lifeless face cracked a grin. David moved his hand down onto the cluch and hit the gas, the car bolted out of the dicth and onto the road again. Sighing David didn't even want to imagine the damage. The marine read the troubeled look on the drivers face and smiled.

"Dont worry David, no damage I could see to then car, little dirt and snow but thats all I saw."

Exhaling a sigh of relief David started down the road again. The two began talking about numerous things.

Then David suddenly thought during a conversation with his passenger. I never did get those lights to work..

Part two maybe...

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man, these are good, i look forward to seeing more.

i would write one if i was that creative...

i really liked ExAtreides's .... great ending to all of these stories... although i am still waiting to read the end of Vilgent's

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The blizzard started to let up, David was thankful feeling that the wind shield whippers would kill the battery at the speed they were going.

"So, what brings you here marine?" Asked David eyes pinned onto the road now.

"Ah well, we were going home for our two week break for Christmas you know. I was hoping to finally eat some eatable stuff."

David chuckeled remember his far distent years in the military and the dreaded food, more like the cardboard box painted to LOOK like food.

"Anyways we were going back on the bus to the airport, and our Sarge is more of a errr...Psycho pathetic freak than anything else. I said something about how the 49's have been sucking this season, and well I didn't know it was his uhh favorite team."

"Oh lord, from my military experience that can never lead to something good." The marine grinned at this and went on.

"Well ya so one thing lead to another and he sorta kicked me off the bus and said to find your own ride."

"In THIS weather?" David felt ashamed that his fellow country man would do that to a soldier.

"No, no, it was earlier in the day and the snow started coming down, and before I knew what led to what you came."

Davids mouth formed a silent Ahhh. "So, you were going to the airport huh? Thats where I'm going also, what times your flight?"

The marine gazed down at his wacth on his left hand and snorted. "Dont matter now, thanks a lot Sarge."

"Ah well m'boy, we'll get you a flight when we arrive, where do you have to be?"

The marine's voice suddenly became urgent. "In New York City, Tommarow morning."

David shot a odd glare at the mans face, the attitude had changed so adbruptly, but why..

The two checked the car in to the car rental building at the airport and rented a room in a hotel nearby, the marine helped pay with what measly scraps of cash he had left in his pocket.

The Two got to the room and slept in seperate beds, David woke up early that morning to find the marine gone. He jolted up and looked at the clock 10:15, it was later then the marine had wanted from his voice and David hoped the man got to his flight on time.

Getting up he yawned and walked into the bathroom to shave and brush his teeth before leaving from his home in Cinncinati on a flight later that day, what he found in the bathroom shocked him. Lying there was the coat the man had been wearing the day before with many various types of weapons, pistols, blades, darts, a small sword and a small semi automactic.

Running out of the bathroom he jumped on the bed in a panic not knowing what was going on and grabbing the phone was about to call the desk when he stopped. He could just throw the things away and no one would ever know David had been with a man carrying weapons, regardless of marine or not. Sighing David wanted to cool himself down and flipped on the t.v, he looked through the channels for his personal favorite, CNN.

Finally getting to it he flipped it on and his face went pale with what was displayed... Planes ran into the Two Word Trade Centers and a womens voice echoed.

"I repeat the Twin Towers have fallen, planes were hijacked and used as bombs against the buildings, the FBI has only a few ideas of the hijackers." A slight pause came across the t.v as it swicthed to a different announcer, the t.v still showing the images. A man came up wearing a blue suit and cleared his throat.

"The FBI has released this information on the hijackers, they know of one for sure, his name Aleda Taluck, this man used many disguises such as cook, teacher, marine and what he used today, a flight attendent."

The image of Bryan came up and David gasped...He had transported one of them! A sudden fear shook him as he knew the country would never forgive him. As if some other force posseced him he walked into the bathroom, picked up a silver hand gun, and slowly pointed it to his head.

Suddenly the main door busted down as men in black special ops uniforms dodged in, they stopped feet away from the man.

"Drop the gun" one of them muttered through his mask.

Crying David muttered "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, please god forgive me...I didn't mean to..." One shot rang out as David pulled the trigger...His body slumped to the ground and his eyes closed, he entered eternal black slumber...

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The blizzard started to let up, David was thankful feeling that the wind shield whippers would kill the battery at the speed they were going.

"So, what brings you here marine?" Asked David eyes pinned onto the road now.

"Ah well, we were going home for our two week break for Christmas you know. I was hoping to finally eat some eatable stuff."

David chuckeled remember his far distent years in the military and the dreaded food, more like the cardboard box painted to LOOK like food.

"Anyways we were going back on the bus to the airport, and our Sarge is more of a errr...Psycho pathetic freak than anything else. I said something about how the 49's have been sucking this season, and well I didn't know it was his uhh favorite team."

"Oh lord, from my military experience that can never lead to something good." The marine grinned at this and went on.

"Well ya so one thing lead to another and he sorta kicked me off the bus and said to find your own ride."

"In THIS weather?" David felt ashamed that his fellow country man would do that to a soldier.

"No, no, it was earlier in the day and the snow started coming down, and before I knew what led to what you came."

Davids mouth formed a silent Ahhh. "So, you were going to the airport huh? Thats where I'm going also, what times your flight?"

The marine gazed down at his wacth on his left hand and snorted. "Dont matter now, thanks a lot Sarge."

"Ah well m'boy, we'll get you a flight when we arrive, where do you have to be?"

The marine's voice suddenly became urgent. "In New York City, Tommarow morning."

David shot a odd glare at the mans face, the attitude had changed so adbruptly, but why..

The two checked the car in to the car rental building at the airport and rented a room in a hotel nearby, the marine helped pay with what measly scraps of cash he had left in his pocket.

The Two got to the room and slept in seperate beds, David woke up early that morning to find the marine gone. He jolted up and looked at the clock 10:15, it was later then the marine had wanted from his voice and David hoped the man got to his flight on time.

Getting up he yawned and walked into the bathroom to shave and brush his teeth before leaving from his home in Cinncinati on a flight later that day, what he found in the bathroom shocked him. Lying there was the coat the man had been wearing the day before with many various types of weapons, pistols, blades, darts, a small sword and a small semi automactic.

Running out of the bathroom he jumped on the bed in a panic not knowing what was going on and grabbing the phone was about to call the desk when he stopped. He could just throw the things away and no one would ever know David had been with a man carrying weapons, regardless of marine or not. Sighing David wanted to cool himself down and flipped on the t.v, he looked through the channels for his personal favorite, CNN.

Finally getting to it he flipped it on and his face went pale with what was displayed... Planes ran into the Two Word Trade Centers and a womens voice echoed.

"I repeat the Twin Towers have fallen, planes were hijacked and used as bombs against the buildings, the FBI has only a few ideas of the hijackers." A slight pause came across the t.v as it swicthed to a different announcer, the t.v still showing the images. A man came up wearing a blue suit and cleared his throat.

"The FBI has released this information on the hijackers, they know of one for sure, his name Aleda Taluck, this man used many disguises such as cook, teacher, marine and what he used today, a flight attendent."

The image of Bryan came up and David gasped...He had transported one of them! A sudden fear shook him as he knew the country would never forgive him. As if some other force posseced him he walked into the bathroom, picked up a silver hand gun, and slowly pointed it to his head.

Suddenly the main door busted down as men in black special ops uniforms dodged in, they stopped feet away from the man.

"Drop the gun" one of them muttered through his mask.

Crying David muttered "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to, please god forgive me...I didn't mean to..." One shot rang out as David pulled the trigger...His body slumped to the ground and his eyes closed, he entered eternal black slumber...

Sorry if my storie isn't great cause I didn't have the time to make it great, I hope the ending was somewhat surprising though..

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Nice work, Vigilent. I'm actually pretty surprised at how well this "project" took off. Good stuff, all! I look foreward to seeing more.

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