Friday, March 24, 2006

Challenge #10: Vader's Judgement

One of the irritating things about being dead is that I do not have the kind of control I would ideally like to have for controlling my corporeal manifestations. At one moment I am all pimped out in my black armour, and the next moment I am helplessly alternating between a twisted and scarred old man and my boyish good looks.

Let me assure you: nothing can ruin a pleasant chat over cocktails like spontaneously flitting from twenty to forty, pretty to burned. I was once interrupted right in the middle of what I thought was a very moving speech about sensible galactic governance by this buzzing little Toydarian bitch who kept asking, "Where did your eyebrows go?"

Nevertheless, to business: I have called from oneness with the Force in order to judge this contest, at the behest of my partner in evil, Jar Jar Binks. Thank you for this opportunity, Mr. Binks. I know we have had our differences over my compensation package, but I think you will agree that we have now struck an equitable bargain. I suggest you pray that I do not alter the deal further.

To begin I had all three robots join me on the back terrace.

The first to arrive was Captain Tycho's DEEJAY unit, whose mode of locomotion is a mix between a slow shuffle and a non-traditional mambo. The unit did not stop its frenetic jigging even when it stood before me, so I froze all of its limbs with a twitch of the Force.

"Stay," I commanded.

I had to admire the classic styling of the helmet, as well as the conservative white colour scheme of the track suit, which stood in stark contrast to the mishmash of competing design motifs demonstrated by Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator's UTEP-1 protocol unit, which was next to arrive. UTEP-1 shuddered to a halt and proceeded to make an irregular buzzing noise as it stood in place.

"Stop making that noise," I instructed, to which the droid cryptically replied:

"My hovercraft is full of eels."

Finally we were joined by Fluke Starbucker's untitled chess-playing femmebot (UCPF) unit, which spun in and screeched to a halt, the vapour of burning rubber casting off her four wheels in a languid plume. "I am ready to serve you, Lord Vader," said the UCPF with excellent voice modulation and a flick of her purple tresses.

I started the evaluation with a simple interview.

"What is your function?"

"I lay down the tracks to bring funkiness to the max," reported DEEJAY.

"I am fluent in over six forms of communication," claimed UTEP-1.

"I run fast and hot," said the UCPF.

Next, for the purposes of benchmarking I had each of the droids run through a battery of standardized tests, including stacking heavy stones into a neat pile, solving a Hardy Boys mystery without reading the last chapter, and applying a sixty-four pixel Gaussian blur to a high-resolution image in Adobe Photoshop.

To explore their capacity for understanding the nuances of personality and behaviour I ordered the droids to each do an impression for me. DEEJAY did a reasonably credible if less than creative interpretation of a turntable, UTEP-1 imitated one of the statues outside of the Coruscant Legislature, and the UCPF did a more than fair portrayal of an X-34 Landspeeder complete with whining engines and sporty decals.

In the drama section of my testing the droids opted to recreate a historic scene in galactic politics together. After a few moments of consultation they trotted out and re-enacted the call for a no confidence vote in Valorum's leadership, with the UCPF playing the role of Queen Amidala, UTEP-1 playing Senator Palpatine, and DEEJAY lurching about with the two of them balanced on his back as he acted like a hovering podium.

"I have come befo you to resolve this attack on our sovereignty nouw," quoth UCPF, holding her head in an artificially static pose.

"Maintenant ils eliront un nouveau chancelier. Un chancelier fort. Un qui ne laissera pas cette tragedie continuer," promised UTEP-1 darkly.

"Ooooo-ooooo-ooooooo," hummed DEEJAY, bobbing up and down.

I had the droids fight each other, gladiator-style, as a test of their combat muscle, but we encountered an unexpected delay when UTEP-1 fell apart into about three dozen pieces upon first being struck by DEEJAY's funky hip-check. There was no one to view this except as a sign of sloppy construction. Upon further examination of the wreckage I was able to determine that an inferior brand of solder had been used on some of the components.

"Can we get a Wookiee in here to put this trash-heap back together?" I called.

"Buenos dias!" chimed the head of UTEP-1, rolling down the terrace steps.

When UTEP-1 was reassembled we began to final test: who had the best screen refresh rates for processor-intensive first-person-shooter gaming? DEEJAY scored very high on this test because of the integrated TFT screen behind his chest-plate, designed for displaying iTunes-style trippy graphics during performances. UTEP-1 lacked any kind of display mechanism but demonstrated a willingness (if not any great ability) to "act out" the first-person-shooter scenario. I am slightly abashed to report that the UCPF unit housed her display in an unmentionable place.

I then retired to my hyperbaric chamber to tabulate the scores and smoke a death-stick.

Afterward I recorporated in the livingroom and handed out my judgements, pleased to find myself appearing once again my black armour (though for some annoying reason my left leg remained fleshy, naked and youthful in undignified contrast). I limped awkwardly before the assembled droids, my hands clasped behind my back.

"I will now deliver my final judgement, and you will report back to your makers," I said.

"Cool, man," said DEEJAY.

"Ja," nodded UTEP-1.

"Anything you say, my Lord," replied the UCPF. "And I do mean anything."

Briefly I turned into a withered old man and then back again. I cleared my throat, my breathing natural and then electronic with alternate breaths. "The second place winner is Fluke Starbucker's Untitled Chess-Playing Femmebot."

The UCPF unit squealed and then drove around in excited circles until I stopped her using the Force. UTEP-1 and DEEJAY exchanged anxious glances.

"The first place winner is -- Captain Typho's DEEJAY. Better luck next time, Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator. Thank you for playing."

DEEJAY hugged UCPF and both hooted for joy. UTEP-1's shoulders sagged. "Oh God I'm so depressed," he said. "Here I am brain the size of a planet and I couldn't even win the challenge."

"That is the first intelligible thing you have said," I pointed out.

"Who cares?" grumbled UTEP-1, shuffling slowly away.

"It almost breaks your heart, doesn't it?" commented DEEJAY sadly.

"No," I said.

The droids left me, and I dissolved into the non-substance that fills time between the seconds. My covenent with you is fulfilled, Jar Jar -- I am released to the void, to commune with the Force, and to drink cheap wine and shoot my television when it offends me.

May the Force be will you all.


Blogger Lt. Cmdr Oneida said...

Yay! Congrats on winning :)

10:54 AM  
Blogger Vegeta said...

Hmmm as one evil guy to another, those were excellent tests. My favorite was the combat.

11:38 AM  
Blogger flu said...

Well... congrats Typho.

Things prolly would've turned out different if he woulda taken them one at a time to the back room... for, uh... some head-to-head chess.

Thanks for sitting on the throne for this challenge, Darth guy.

Oh! Hey, wait!... do we get to keep our droids?

12:27 PM  
Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

But UTEP had a hook. A hook!


Fluke, you can have UTEP if you want.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Darth Vader said...


The ability to use a hook is insignificant next to the power of the Force.

D. Vader

1:30 PM  
Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

Well, he's got a point there.

1:32 PM  
Blogger Private Hudson said...

Oh yeah, well if you pull out the Force, I'm gonna pull out my gun.

If you pull out a bigger Force, I'm gonna pull out my bigger gun.

'Cuz, that's the Colonial Marine way.

1:33 PM  
Blogger flu said...

uh, Jon, thanks, but no thanks.

However, I wouldn't mind having that oversized green lego piece off of his knee there...

1:36 PM  
Blogger A Army Of (Cl)One said...

We need to have a party with DEEJAY spinning the gansta polka...Why is everyone shaking their head no!!

3:06 PM  
Blogger Captain Typho said...

Wow! Judged worthy by Lord Vader -- what an honor!

3:23 PM  
Blogger Lt. Cmdr Oneida said...

AOC, you and your gangsta polka! I thought we conditioned that out of you.

3:27 PM  
Blogger Jon the Intergalactic Gladiator said...

I kid you not folks, I've seen a punk rock polka band perform. They. were. AWESEOME.

3:29 PM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Woo-hoo! Go Typho, go Typho, go-go-go Typho!

Hey, at least Anakin made the right decision this time.

6:24 PM  
Blogger Chancellor Palpatine said...

Excellent Job Lord Vader!

Now, that Jar-Jar has compensated you for your time, there is a little matter of 20 credits that you borrowed from me.

12:04 PM  
Blogger Cheeseburger Brown said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5:07 AM  
Blogger Darth Vader said...

Dear Palpatine,

Come closer, and I will deliver...what you are owed.

D. Vader

5:08 AM  
Blogger Jango Fett said...

Vader must like Palpatine. :)

12:34 PM  

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