January 15, 2021

Verba ex Machina

Words From The Machine

Photo by Photoboy720 on Pixabay

This was my own prompt, and the response was mostly written by me with a few choice lines coming from GPT-2.

“And that’s why they call me ‘The Admiral’.” She grinned in a way that belied her seriousness, and the sound of a small but satisfying clang reverberated through the bar.

“What’s that??” he asked incredulously, not understanding the implication of either the noise or her comment.

“Fucking yokel,” The Admiral thought, teetering between letting the poor dirt smuggler off the hook and embarrassing him in front of his friends. The decision was easier when he shifted on his barstool, a barely concealed knife moving into view.

A number of people in the bar received simultaneous notifications on their comms and made themselves conspicuously absent as rapidly as they could. One of the last to leave called out just after they had turned the corner and were out of sight, “Go easy on the guy.” The shout triggered a round of quickly retreating laughter and did nothing to improve the attitude of the fine local gentleman.

“Oh Johnny, you’ve swung way above your weight class and I would encourage you to stand down,” The Admiral said, downing the last of her drink and signaling to the bartender for another.

The bartender, a tall but lean man, looked over and nodded. “The name is Stren, not Johnny, and I don’t care what your friends call you, no one beats me in a fair game of poker.” His hand had just barely started to move towards his blade when a blinding light filled the bar through one of the exterior windows that previously had been dark except for the running lights of a few passing shuttles.

Everyone else in the bar had either dropped behind some sort of cover or was shielding their eyes.  The Admiral however merely reached out and relieved Stren of his knife. “You my friend, have brought a knife to a naval engagement,” The Admiral yawned out the phrase, turning the knife over and examining it, “and a dull one at that. It’s not just a nickname, it’s a rank. While we’re at it, that’s not a search light, it’s a long range comm laser. Right now it’s politely saying ‘hello’,” the light wavered perceptibly with the rhythm of The Admiral’s speech. “I’m not going to bother explaining what a proxy is, but I suggest you apologize for impugning the honor of a ship-of-the-line before it stops being polite about it.”

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