1392: Terminator: Robot Storm – Chapter Two

Title: Terminator: Robot Storm
Author: Tha Shadow 750 / Comrade Jerkov and Volkov
Media: Video Game / Movie
Topic: Command and Conquer: Red Alert / Terminator
Genre: Sci-Fi
URL: Terminator: Robot Storm
Critiqued by TacoMagic

Hey, folks!  Going to be another short one this week; I injured one of my wrists last Wednesday and it’s still on the mend, so instead of combining the next two chapters, I’m tackling them one at a time so I can rest a bit.

Last time we got a very bare-bones introduction.  And a stupid one at that.  The CliffNotes version is that Einstein brought about the robot apocalypse.  Which would have been more impressive if the world hadn’t already just had an apocalypse due to a three-way war.  That’s pretty much it.  It’s a rare treat to have an introductory chapter that is so entirely bare-bones while still being way too wordy for what it is.  And by “rare” I mean “we see it all the freaking time.”

But, to be fair to the author, none of it was his.  So that merely makes him guilty of plagiarizing and having an inability to recognize quality (or lack thereof), but not bad writing.  No, to establish that guilt, we look at today’s chapter.

Chapter 2: Divergence, Division, Disection

Not a good sign when you misspell a word in your chapter title.  And you use three words that all mean approximately the same thing.

*Living Stone smashes through the wall into the riffing chamber*

*Taco reaches under the desk and pulls out a confection*

Peach Crumble Surprise?

“What surprise?”

Knowing Gumdrop, probably Megalodon.

The plan was working perfectly.

Was this the plan where almost everyone died in the war, or the follow-up plan where everyone left was killed by robots?

Information about the Xenoverse Project had been leaked to Nexus, they were coming.

Aha!  The thing was given to the dude so that they would come!  It’s all so clear now!

The plan began to fall apart at that point,

How the crap is the plan going perfectly, then?  Hold on, let me look at their plan.

*Taco pulls out a clipboard with the plan on it.*

The Plan:

Step 1: Plan fails.

Ah, well, I guess it is going perfectly.

the original plan was to lure at least one of every type of unit Nexus commanded to the Xenoverse Sphere.

Guess we’ll need to revise the plan a bit.

The Plan:

Step 1: Lure the stuff to the thing.

Step 2: Plan fails.

Once there the Sphere would lock on to their defining characteristics and fling them to another world, parallel to their own.

So, you lure an extremely small portion of the opposing force into the thing, and the thing flings that handful of robots into another dimension.  Great plan.  Why are we doing this, again?  Trying to annoy Nexus?  Maybe you’re trying to seed the rampant AI into another universe?

Seems like we’re rocketing at full steam toward step 2.

The plan was falling apart because of a blind oversight,

They forgot to take into account that their plan was stupid and didn’t make any sense.  A classic blunder.

the powerlines were relatively unguarded as they were not an issue, or so they had thought.

So the world ends because nobody thought having a generator around would be worthwhile.  That’s certainly a viable way to achieve the goal set in “The Plan.”

Nexus was pumping huge amounts of power into them, forcing the Xenoverse Sphere into an uncontrollable activation.

That’s not how electricity works.  You can’t just put a whole bunch of it into a bicycle pump and squeeze it into something.  And even if you could, all that’s going to do it burn out the transformers in whatever is hooked up to it, making whatever it is turn off. And probably catch fire.

Also, WHY THE FUCK WOULD YOU HOOK UP YOUR THING TO A POWER-GRID IN THE ENEMY’S CONTROL!?

With haste forces from across the globe were chronoshifted in to stop the machines, but it was too little much too late.

*Dumps some commas out of his private stash into the fic*

I knew these weren’t going to last.

The machine began to spin it’s inner ring wildly, the intradimensional quantum oscillators pumping wavelength after wavelength into the very being of the universe.

So close to minimally acceptable techno-babble, yet so far.  Let’s borrow Lyle’s chalkboard for a second:

  1.  “Intradimenionsal” means “within the current dimension,” which is opposite of what you want.
  2. While I give you credit for knowing that oscillators create waves, you don’t mention what the oscillators are oscillating, just that they’re oscillating at the quantum level.
  3.  A wavelength isn’t a thing.  Rather, it’s a property of a thing.  You can’t just send wavelengths at something.  That’s like saying you’re building something with inches.  Or coloring something with hue.
  4. The fuck does “the very being of the universe” even mean?  Is this like finding the very essence of potato?

Dude, take a few minutes and watch the Star Wars movies and catch a few seasons of Star Trek.  They are great case studies in how to properly phrase gibberish so that it sounds scientific.

As technicians rushed around the Commander sat down next to Volkov who was scratching the ears of his dog Chitzkoi.

Oh hai, Volkov.

Quick question: Why is the Soviet’s greatest cybernetic super-soldier at a research facility sitting around petting his dog when there’s an apocalypse going on?

Oh right, the author needed a name-drop.

Volkov and Chitzkoi were Soviet cybernetic experiments put into stasis long ago at the first fall of the soviet union, only to be reactivated by the Freedom League.

Okay, that’s… nice?  Again, why is he sitting here instead of doing something useful?

How much time until the jump Volkov?”

The heck is a “jump Volkov”?  And what kind of attire is generally accepted at it?  I’d hate to show up to the jump Volkov under-dressed.

I am invited, right?

The cyborg quickly ran the numbers.

Greatest super-soldier produced by the Soviet cyborg program.  Used as a calculator.  No wonder humanity is almost extinct.

“At the current influx of energy, I would predict a jump occurring within five minutes.

For being in a state of uncontrollable activation, it sure is easy to predict.

I also predict the jump will take our forces with use and completely destroy the device.”

Very easy to predict.

So wait, the plan changed from “teleport a handful of robots into another dimension” to “sit here while it teleports us to another dimension.”

I think I have to revise the plan.

The Plan:

Step 1A: Lure the stuff to the thing.

Step 1B: Plug thing into enemy powergrid.  Let hilarity ensue.

Step 2: Watch thing spin.

Step 3: Teleport to place while thing explodes.

Step 4: Plan fails.

The plan is still going perfectly!

Great,” the Commander grumbled, “So instead of removing Nexus we’re coming along for the ride too.”

Your goal wasn’t to remove Nexus, numb-nuts, it was, and I quote:

lure at least one of every type of unit Nexus commanded to the Xenoverse Sphere.

That’s like saying eating one of every kind of apple is the same as eating all the apples in the world.

Do not worry Commander, judging by the instability of the device I am sure our forces will be separated upon arrival.

Again, that’s oddly specific information about a machine that is ostensibly out of your control.  Do you have one of the PCC’s datapads of endless knowledge hidden on you somewhere?

Judging by the positioning of our forces, we will be split back into our factions upon arrival.

Because vidya gayme mekaniks.

Seriously, can you actually take a few minutes and look at your work and ask yourself, “How plausible is this?”  If the answer is, “absolutely not plausible at all,” maybe you should exercise that delete key.

Speaking of which, I must just the League, if you’ll excuse me.

You’re gonna what the who now?  Do I need to get Swenia in here before you start?  She’d never forgive me if this got dirty and I hadn’t invited her.

Two minutes until jump.”

Whoa, now, you’ve said like three lines since you said the jump was five minutes away.  What the hell is going on that it took three minutes to say those lines?

We miss you, Alan.

Volkov’s words did little to calm the Commander.

Understandable.  The ambiguity of the phrase “our forces will be separated” would put me a little on edge.  I’d probably be wrapping duct tape around myself as a precaution.

‘Oh great,’ he thought to himself ‘instability, separation, just what we need. Not.’

*Taco picks up the script*

“The part of the Commander to be played by Wayne Campbell.”  Huh… unusual casting decision to say the least.

As he sat there the world tore itself to pieces, quite literally.

Except that it’s the spinning thingy that is tearing the world apart, not the world itself.  So you actually meant: “figuratively.”

Across the room, which was now bending 90 degrees of the ground

Um.  What?  The room is bending 90º of floor?  The hell does that even mean?

Einstein could be heard yelling about Quantum Fluctuations and Temporal contingencies.

The hell is a temporal contingency?  Is it extra time in case you’re late for something?  Or maybe more like deja vu?

In fact, what the fuck does any of this chapter mean!?  Why is any of this happening!?  Why does it matter!?

*Shakes the fic*

WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON AND WHY SHOULD I CARE!?

The door choose that moment to cave in, revealing several Nexus troops.

Fucking doors, amirite?  Always deciding to cave in at the wrong moment.

Before they could get a foot inside, however, the entire area begin to rise before flashing various shades of blue.

You know, when we use Blue as a reasoning device, we aren’t serious, authors.  You can’t just have things happen because of Blue, even if you involve multiple shades.

With an all-mighty CRACK!

I’ll just leave this here for Herr.  He so loves to see onomatopoeia in the prose.  Especially when it’s pretentious onomatopoeia.

The area vanished leaving not a trace of it ever existing.

“The area” being… the planet?  The room?  The door?  The area outside the door?  The whole facility?  Bueller?  Bueller?

Across the world Nexus facilities went dark as the AI went offline.

You mean across the chunks of the world that “quite literally” tore itself apart, right?

*GONG*

Don’t use words you don’t understand.

It would take half an hour for the AI to compensate losing such a large amount of processing power.

Which it lost because of Disco Blue.

Unluckily for the computer programme, however, it did not have thirty minutes.  As the lights went of and the forces shut down, masses of Allied and League troops swarmed the bases, capturing or destroying all of them.

That was anticlimactic.  I guess it was really, really lucky for the remaining humans that the Nexus was stupid enough to invest so much of itself in a small contingent of troops aimed at taking over a single base.  Enough that losing those troops caused its massive network of soldiers and bases to shut down.

This might be the fastest second-order idiot plot we’ve ever seen established at the Library.  Less than 700 words into this thing, and the entirety of the plot has been executed through people, and now AIs, being tremendously stupid.  The very foundation upon which the rest of the fic will be written is made of stupid.

That bodes well for the next chapter.

At every sunset in every country, people celebrated.

At every awkward, the author typed.

For once they could come outside for something other than battle.

Since we have no idea of the time-frame, it’s hard to know if this is true.  But since Einstein was still alive, I’m guessing this is your standard over-exaggerated narrative.  Likely there are still people alive who remember the time before the war.

But it was also a day of mourning, for finally could every person get there rightful burial.

If we give the prose an unfair benefit of the doubt, then the “billions” dead mentioned in the first chapter would mean exactly two billion, leaving about 1.75 billion left.  If we once again are generous and say that the alpha-strike on Yuri, collapse of the Soviet Union into civil war, and robot apocalypse only claimed half that, you’re looking at each person left on the planet burying four others.   They’re going to be busy for a while.

The war was over, it had worked.

The war worked?  What was the goal?  Casket shares going up?

Finally the world was free from the machines.

The morons who created the situation that lead to this whole mess, however…

-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-

The fuck is that supposed to be!?  Is that a line break!?  Sweet crap, dude, what is wrong with an <hr> tag?  Hell, even going old-school with three asterisks is preferable to that monstrosity!

Far, far (far far, far far, far) away

*GONG*

NO!  Bad author!

*Rubs TS’s face in the fic*

someone’s thoughts were very different.

Yet no less vague.

John Connor sat at his desk, head in hands, wondering how to defeat the machines that had killed so many in one day.

Oh look, finally the Terminator tie-in!

So, let’s take a step back for a moment and bask in the majesty of what this fic is.  Essentially, this fic is based on a mod where the mod authors ripped off the Warzone 2100, in which an apocalypse is kicked off by a military AI named NEXUS, and ported it into the context of Red Alert.  In making this “port,” the devs obviously used the similarities between Warzone and Terminator to flesh out their mod.

This author has taken that, stripped away the faint traces of plausibility, and ported that over to the Terminator universe, which already had its own robot apocalypse going on.  He has done this merge despite the situation existing in “Robot Storm” already being nearly identical to the one in Terminator.  I presume that singular moment of wish-fulfillment at the end of this chapter is the real motivation behind making this pointless shift from one situation to the same one in a different dimension.  Either that, or the full-conversion mod this is based on wasn’t finished yet and the author didn’t want to have to go back and re-write anything should the mod authors go in a different direction with their plot.  Why he didn’t do something more direct and just merge Red Alert straight into Terminator without the pointless stop in “Robot Storm” is anyone’s guess.

My guess is that doing it this way allowed him to get a whole extra chapter without doing any work.

In any event, that’s the end of chapter two!  Join me next week as we finish off this pile!

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40 Comments on “1392: Terminator: Robot Storm – Chapter Two”

  1. SuperFeatherYoshi says:

    http://www.moddb.com/mods/robot-storm
    Found the mod that this is based on, can’t tell whether it’s good or bad at a glance, though.

  2. GhostCat says:

    *Taco pulls out a clipboard with the plan on it.*

    The Plan:

    Step 1: Plan fails.

    Ah, well, I guess it is going perfectly.

    That’s more planning than most fics see.

  3. batjamags says:

    The thing was given to the dude so that they would come!

    Bow chicka bow wow.

    I’m sorry.

  4. batjamags says:

    -1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-1-

    What is it with the weird-ass line breaks this week?

  5. Syl says:

    The fuck does “the very being of the universe” even mean? Is this like finding the very essence of potato?

    I think you people call that “vodka”.

  6. batjamags says:

    The Plan:

    Step 1A: Lure the stuff to the thing.

    Step 1B: Plug thing into enemy powergrid. Let hilarity ensue.

    Step 2: Watch thing spin.

    Step 3: Teleport to place while thing explodes.

    Step 4: Plan fails.

    I couldn’t come up with a plan that stupid if I tried. *Sniff* It’s beautiful, really.

    In other news, I almost accidentally typed “I couldn’t come up with a fic that stupid if I tried,” which is also accurate.

  7. GhostCat says:

    With an all-mighty CRACK!

    I’ll just leave this here for Herr. He so loves to see onomatopoeia in the prose. Especially when it’s pretentious onomatopoeia.

    :sigh:

    I’ll have Eliza prep the pie launcher.

  8. GhostCat says:

    The area vanished leaving not a trace of it ever existing.

    The Formless Void is going to vanish?

    :gasp!:

    IT’S A VOID INVERSION! WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE!

    :pop!:

    …Although it appears respawning wearing festive party hats is also an option.

  9. AdmiralSakai says:

    With an all-mighty CRACK!

    I’ll just leave this here for Herr. He so loves to see onomatopoeia in the prose. Especially when it’s pretentious onomatopoeia.

    Actually, how can there even be an almighty crack if the entire planet, atmosphere included, is vanishing at once?

    • GhostCat says:

      I’m gonna blame it on Disco Blue.

    • batjamags says:

      There’s your almighty crack.

      • GhostCat says:

        I have no idea who that is, but I’m going to guess they are from the DC universe – possibly one of the cavalcade of weirdos that populate New Genesis.

      • batjamags says:

        That’s SNOOOOOOOOWFLAME, and unfortunately, our planet is responsible for his existence both in-universe and out. He is from the DCU, but he was a one-off villain of the New Guardians (Not those New Guardians, an obscure team from the late ’80s by the same name). He appeared here: http://dc.wikia.com/wiki/New_Guardians_Vol_1_2.

        He would be entirely forgotten, but Atop the Fourth Wall turned him into a meme. Long story short, he’s a hilariously hammy supervillain who gains super strength, pyrokinesis, and the power to get people high by touching them… from doing cocaine. Yes, you read that right. I think Snowflame wasn’t the only one on drugs when he was created.

      • GhostCat says:

        Yay, I was half-right!

        Also – damn. In the 1980s the writers over at DC were doing all the drugs.

  10. Addicted Reader says:

    Pretty sure this could not be any more vague and still have enough plot to summarize.

    Is there really going to be a story here?

    • TacoMagic says:

      That really depends on how you define a “story.”

      There are words. There are events, of sorts. And there are people. It’s got at least some of the ingredients right.

  11. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Once there the Sphere would lock on to their defining characteristics and fling them to another world, parallel to their own.

    So, you lure an extremely small portion of the opposing force into the thing, and the thing flings that handful of robots into another dimension. Great plan. Why are we doing this, again? Trying to annoy Nexus? Maybe you’re trying to seed the rampant AI into another universe?

    Hey, you know what? If they were suddenly launched into the parallel galaxy in Parallel Realities, I think that would do everyone a favor, would it not?

  12. Herr Wozzeck says:

    The plan was falling apart because of a blind oversight,

    “Blind” oversight? Is there really any other kind?

  13. Herr Wozzeck says:

    The machine began to spin it’s inner ring wildly, the intradimensional quantum oscillators pumping wavelength after wavelength into the very being of the universe.

    *sigh*

    You know, I just took an entire fucking course on electronic music techniques. Like, is it a sawtooth wave or a square wave?

  14. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Why is the Soviet’s greatest cybernetic super-soldier at a research facility sitting around petting his dog when there’s an apocalypse going on?

    I mean, it would also ensure step 2 of their plan happened.

  15. Herr Wozzeck says:

    I also predict the jump will take our forces with use

    I hope Command and Conquer doesn’t function like Fire Emblem, because if that’s the case…

  16. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Speaking of which, I must just the League, if you’ll excuse me.

    Who and what now?

  17. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Whoa, now, you’ve said like three lines since you said the jump was five minutes away. What the hell is going on that it took three minutes to say those lines?

    They spent two of those minutes trying to figure out how they could get their voices to sound like they do in the Twin Peaks movie. Which is hilarious, but hey, if one of them’s a cyborg I’m sure he figured it out.

  18. Herr Wozzeck says:

    Across the room, which was now bending 90 degrees of the ground

    The difference that one missing consonant makes, folks!

    • TacoMagic says:

      The real victory here for the author is that even if he had used to the right word, it still would have been nonsense. He managed to create nonsense so deep that he’d have to fix it just to be incomprehensible.

  19. Herr Wozzeck says:

    With an all-mighty CRACK!

    I’ll just leave this here for Herr. He so loves to see onomatopoeia in the prose. Especially when it’s pretentious onomatopoeia.

    Thank you for being oh so considerate.

    *BAM* *BAM* *BAM* *BAM* *BAM* *BAM* *BAM* *BAM* *BAM*

    Bad author! Bad!

  20. Herr Wozzeck says:

    At every sunset in every country, people celebrated.

    *headdesk*

    What the fuck is this turn of phrase!?

  21. Herr Wozzeck says:

    If we give the prose an unfair benefit of the doubt, then the “billions” dead mentioned in the first chapter would mean exactly two billion, leaving about 1.75 billion left. If we once again are generous and say that the alpha-strike on Yuri, collapse of the Soviet Union into civil war, and robot apocalypse only claimed half that, you’re looking at each person left on the planet burying four others. They’re going to be busy for a while.

    Not to mention they’ll likely run out of space unless they start doing mass burials.

  22. "Lyle" says:

    Let’s borrow Lyle’s chalkboard for a second:

    My chalkboard is like the town bicycle of the Library…

    • SC says:

      Specs: Oh Lyle, you silly! How could a chalkboard be a bicycle? That’s just nonsense!

      He says shit like this, and it’s really easy to forget that he was once a tactical mastermind.

  23. Lina says:

    The heck is a “jump Volkov”? And what kind of attire is generally accepted at it? I’d hate to show up to the jump Volkov under-dressed.

    I am invited, right?

    Why, of course you are! *frantically scribbling on a piece of paper attached to a clipboard* You’ve been on the list for months. *shows Taco the guest list on the clipboard, his name inserted on the bottom in rushed, sloppy handwriting*


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