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Thread: The Hit and Run - A Dragnet Parody

  1. #1
    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default The Hit and Run - A Dragnet Parody

    Author's note: The illusion of the Tale of the Week is not that it is easy to write the minimum, but how to pare down your writing to fit under the maximum. There have been a few times I could not shoe horn a tale under the maximum of 500 words including all the sundry notes and titles. This is an example of one of those times for Tale of the Week 283: Starship Down - SUBMISSION THREAD. I would edit this and then it would be 10 words longer. I cut out a character completely and cut down another character substantially and this is the result just under 1,000 words. Not even close, but better (word count wise) than the 1600 I started with. I am posting it here. I wonder if I cut too much out for the message to be clear though.

    If Robert Heinlein had the power to make the decision to put women holding authority and skills into space, we could already have colonies on the moon. She may be a Harsh Mistress in men's eyes. Would she be differant with the women? This might be one of Luna's stories from the future.

    The Hit and Run
    By NorseThing
    Det. Francis narration voice, Tuesday, February 29. It was quiet with the solar flares subsiding on Luna. We were working the day watch out of Traffic Division. My partner is Joy Moon. The boss is Holly Golitely, Chief of Detectives. My name's Anne Francis."

    The view is on the inside of the Luna Communications Center. Det Francis and his partner Ofc. Moon are making their first inquiry in the hit and run incident from yesterday.

    Det. Francis, "I am Detective Francis of the Space Traffic Division. I understand you took the mayday distress signal yesterday at 1500 Luna Standard Time. Tell me what you heard."
    Steve, "Yes. I am Steven Gilley. I was on duty from noon until midnight that day on the 911-LEN."
    Det. Francis, "Sir, what is LEN"
    Steve, "Well it is a long story, since I am not a regular on that station."
    Det. Francis, "That's okay, sir. Just give me the facts."
    Steve, "LEN is the Luna Emergency Number, the 911 is the old style universal digital contact code."
    Det. Francis, "You answer communications."
    Steve, "Yes, this was not unusual. We usually monitor several of these mayday messages each shift. They are mainly from the transport automated control systems. Nobody touches the devices normally."
    Det. Francis, "Normally? This was not normal?"
    Steve, "No, this was a real person... in panic... stressing: 'Mayday, Catastrophic Failure, Mayday, Impact coming, No escape'. This was repeated over and over. I could not get a single word in to respond."
    Det. Francis, "What is the procedure?"
    Steve, "Well..., this is rare, Officer Frances. I am sorry, Detective Frances... I do not know if there is a standard procedure. I sent out a general alert to ELS. That is the Emergency Luna System. I sent the location and time stamp of the transmission. There was no more I could do. I am sorry, but that is all I know."
    Det. Francis, "Thank you. Officer Joy Moon may be contacting you for a follow up. She is my partner.
    Steve, "Moon as a name... it would seem like she gets some ribbing."
    Det. Francis, "She does and she can take it. All part of the job, sir."
    Det. Francis in a narration voice, "I then joined up at 1015 with Officer Moon and proceeded on to the ELS Commander, Lisa Hardy."
    Ofc. Moon, "Did you learn anything from the Luna Emergency Center?"
    Det. Francis, "They played it by a wing and a prayer. No book procedures. They get several of these every shift. All are automated maydays. Transport machines send out the mayday. This was a human voice. Panic. No communication."
    Det. Francis in a narration voice, "We then pulled up at 1015 at the ELS Command and entered the airlock.
    Det. Francis, "We have an appointment with ELS Commander, Lisa Hardy. We are the investigative team from the Traffic Division."
    The receptionist responded, "Commander Hardy is expecting you. Please enter her offices, first portal to the left."
    Det. Francis, "We are from the Traffic Division and investigating yesterday's human mayday. Officer Moon, my partner has some questions."
    Ofc. Moon, "I understand you personally supervised the impact site investigation."
    Hardy, "Yes. This was special since a human voice was involved. The impact site was debris from the mid 20th century. About the time of first manned mission to Luna. It was just the moon in those days before colonization."
    Ofc. Moon, "Interesting. So this was at one of the ancient archeological reserves from about 400 or 500 years ago?"
    Hardy, "Yes. Something we didn't understood was at this particular site. It appears to be an old commercial sign stating 'McDonalds. Millions and Millions Sold'. We have no idea what it means or where it came from. We have never seen it before yesterday. It must date back centuries ago when men needed to make money for their families. The crashed vehicle seems to be an exact working replica of the first lunar lander. It was buried down several meters. It appeared to be upside down as if the landing thrusters were used to accelerate into the lunar surface at what would have been a great speed in excess of landing capabilities for that time."
    Ofc. Moon, "Did you retrieve the on board plasma records?"
    Hardy, "No plasma records were used in the older days. Just semiconductors and printed circuits with tape media to record the electronic information. Very primitive. Mostly burned. We could only retrieve a small portion of the records."
    Ofc. Moon, "What are the results?"
    Hardy, "The transmission was from some organization in Boulder, Colorado. Computer simulation of human speech along with a written message. I think they called it NCAR. The message read, 'Congratulations! You have crashed the lunar lander into the moon and destroyed the only McDonalds on the moon.' You already have heard the simulated human voice message transmitted. Except, our records show nothing of any colonization for another 100 years. This is a complete mystery."

    Det. Francis narration voice, "We left Commander Hardy office at 1025." 
    Ofc. Moon, "I will drop you off at the traffic division and then return to the
    Luna Communications Operations Center. I have some more questions for Gilley at the Luna Communications Center. Commander Hardy raised up some items we shoul have addressed earlier with Gilley.
    Det. Francis, "Good. I will get the first draft of my report ready for our boss. Chief Golitely wants this resolved."

    Det. Francis narration voice, "It is now 1034. Ofc. Moon now returns to the Luna Communication Center. She approaches the reception desk."
    Ofc. Moon, "Det Francis and I had been here earlier. We had spoken with Steven Gilley. I have some more questions involving yesterday's hit and run."
    Alan (the reseption clerk): "I will notify Gilley. Please take a seat in the adjacent conferance room."
    Gilley (as he is opening the conference door), "Ofc. Moon. I undeerstand some of what we discussed earlier is not clear to you?"
    Ofc. Moon, "Just a few questions to clarify the matter. First, you stated that the you were not at your regular station. What are your regular duties and why were you at this station when the human voice transmitted a distress over what is an automated system?"
    Gilley, "My regular duties are mainly to keep the communications room in order. I step in when a member of the staff needs a break or when a member does not show up for shift. I was simply helping out when the distress came through. I was the closest to the station, so I handled the mayday."
    Ofc. Moon, "Thank-you. You also seemed to know this was a human voice, but Commander Hardy at the ELS had clearly stated that their investigation showed the voice to be computer simulation of human voice. Why were you so certain it was human?"
    Gilley, "Well... Perhaps not so certain. I simply was responding that it was human."
    Ofc. Moon, "In the age of nearly no human emergancy transmissions, why would you make such an assumption?"
    Gilley, "My son, John, is interested in the 20th century. He fiddles with models and with replicas of early computers. The mid century interests John. It is so differant from today. Kind of a role reversal of the sexes and so on. I think it all for his school studies. He often tries to recreate the early human voice simulations. They are obvious and not as good of a simulation as we have today. I guess I just jumped to the conclusion. Sorry. I did not intend to mislead you in the investigation."
    Ofc. Moon, "Thank-you for your answers. I am now going to return to Traffic Control and help Det. Francis to complete the investigation report for our chief of detectives.
    Gilley, "I hope this does not get my son in trouble. This is for his school assignments. You can check with his teacher, if you wish more informantion.
    Ofc. Moon, "Again, thank-you."


    Det. Francis narration voice, "After a brief moment we will return with the results of this case."

    Det. Francis in a narration voice, "Steven Gilley and his son were apprehended. Mr. Gilley was tried in Department 187 of the Superior Court of Luna, in and for Luna-IV. He was convicted of noncooperation with civil authorities and sent to psychiatrists appointed by the court, judged mentally incompetent and committed to the Luna mental hospital for an indefinite period time. His son was sent to the juvenile retraining center in Brussels, Earth."
    Det. Francis narration voice, "This concludes the investigation. A case of physical replication of a computer game program for the purposes of Lunar vandalism. The names have been changed to protect the guilty that escaped capture by minders of state thinking."
    Last edited by NorseThing; October 04, 2018 at 04:33 PM. Reason: added a bit to recreate what was edited out

  2. #2

    Default Re: The Hit and Run - A Dragnet Parody

    Thanks for sharing the story. I will re-read it again later because I think the message went over my head. (Does one need to be familiar with Dragnet/Lunar Lander to understand better?)

    Quote Originally Posted by NorseThing View Post

    If Robert Heinlein...
    Oh snap, I am reading a Robert Heinlein book right now.

  3. #3

    Default Re: The Hit and Run - A Dragnet Parody

    I like this a lot. It feels authentic and odd and mundane, much like actual police work is today. I also like that you "handled" the dialogue intros/outros by simply not handling it. That is 1) a sharp way to accomodate TotW limitations and 2) a clever way to avoid repetition of "she said" at the end of each sentence. I mean, Steven Carrel might love every sentence to end that way, but I'm a bit over it. I like what you've done here.
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  4. #4
    NorseThing's Avatar Primicerius
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    Default Re: The Hit and Run - A Dragnet Parody

    I edited the first post a bit to recreate some of what I had edited out (to make it fit). So much for saving before the edit. I hope you will all learn from my error here. It might make some more sense now. Maybe not. Heinlein believed that women were as capable as men, though capabilities have differences between the sexes.

    I did a search and could not find what I wanted, but this may give some clues:

    Heinlein and Clarke discuss the Moon landings as they happen | Ars ...
    1. Cached
    2. Similar

    Dec 21, 2016 - Walter Cronkite, speaking shortly after the Moon landing, but before the ... Both Clarke and Heinlein then suggest that such an event might ...
    The bit I was trying to point out was that if the society is either male or female dominated, the results may be similar. A balance is tricky. My tale gets the balance wrong with the result of female domination. Perhaps the Male Lib of Steven Gilley and his son John could be a bit like we criticize some of the Feminists for today.

    This was not meant to be hyper serious. Perhaps I had tried too hard to make it fit the competition requirements of the TotW contest rules. I should know better, but then... In general, to fit the constraints dialogue (if used) should be in one scene with a minimum of character development. One small and simple to express idea is best. On this I did learn something about my own limitations to writing.

  5. #5
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: The Hit and Run - A Dragnet Parody

    I enjoyed this, with (as Kilo11 said) the authentic re-creation of the style of a Dragnet-style police investigation show and the apparent references to different strands of culture, from Lunar Lander to Robert Heinlein, perhaps with a hint of Blade Runner in the uncertainty over whether the voice was human or machine (of course, Blade Runner was far from the only science-fiction story to explore this ambiguity)?

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