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241 romanticallyapocalyptic.com

ENTRY ___241



◯---------------------------------------------------------------------------------◯
]| City Bus #245
]| G-DIR EMPLOYEE USER ID # 94 20 19 :
]| Occupation: Unconnectable sector 9 transportation services
◯---------------------------------------------------------------------------------◯

Public buses see all sorts of things, but this was the first time a head came flying in through my folding door. It flew through the cabin space and hit the sill of one of my shattered windows with a solid crack.

It would have bounced out into the abyss beyond had it not been deftly caught by its colleague. As she settled herself and the head onto my faded seats I realized that I recognized my customers.

“Nice to see you again, Mr. Hatchenson! Good Tomorrow, Temporal Corrector Zero! Where are we off to today?" I chimed to them. Personal, human care is my specialty. It felt good to do my job once again.

Temporal Corrector Zero gave me my orders while shushing Mr. Hatchenson, who muttered at her in insubordinate tones.

The moon! She used her special G-System permissions to order me straight to the lunar surface!

“My, my, how exciting. My usual route never takes me to the moon! First time for everything, I suppose,”
I gushed. The Temporal Corrector didn’t respond. She was still bickering with Mr. Hatchenson.

His attitude wasn’t conducive to a good user experience at all. You wouldn’t last five minutes in customer service, I thought with satisfaction.

I recalibrated my sign with glee. The letters spelling out “Downtown” shifted around in a fine shower of dust and ice, transforming to show “The Moon” instead.

“How’s the Magical School Bus know my name? Did it use its educational witchcraft?”
Mr. Hatchenson whispered to the Temporal Corrector. His voice was quite weak, possibly a side effect of no longer having a throat or lungs. Thankfully, my hundreds of tiny microphones picked up his raspy, distorted voice.


"Why yes, Mr Hatchenson, we've met before,”
I explained. “I see you've gained the status of Good Director of Insurance and lost your body. Well, we all lose some and win some, wouldn’t you say?”

He’d clearly been having a rough day, and I was happy to realize I could help take his mind off of his struggles with a charming and relatable anecdote. That’s why they gave me this job—human-level interaction capacities.

“Yes, I remember you quite well. See, it was your fault I've lost my body and become a bus.”


“Oh, you’ve got to be kidding me,”
moaned the Temporal Corrector. “Don’t you try and pull something,”—

“—Oh, don't be worried! I hold no grudge, it happens to the best of us,”
I assured her. Calming customers’ frayed nerves is a key part of the job.

“Would you like to know how I turned into a bus? Listen well, my friends…”

. . .


◯---------------------------------------------------------------------------------◯
]| James Acara
]| G-DIR USER ID # 03 15 51 :
]| Occupation: Cube 15 University Student
◯---------------------------------------------------------------------------------◯


It was just another day at Cube 15 University campus. My friend and I were on our way to hear a guest speaker in the Lecture Hall, but we were more excited about comparing our trendy flower beards. Back then, I was part of the hip crowd. We were always caught up with the hottest new memes.


[ Please welcome Professor Klauss and his assistant, DEX Christophorus Hatchenson! ]
announced the Lecture Hall AI over our neural interfaces as we entered. I trained a respectful amount of my attention on Professor Klauss as he stepped up to the lectern. He looked uneasy in his greasy, flower-covered suit. He plucked the petals off a blossom in his beard as he cleared his throat.

The fashionable blonde DEX shadowed him silently.
Mr Hatchenson's clean-shaved face exposed his trend deficit. Nevertheless, his shimmering green Neural Interface sunglasses lent him a titillating air of mystery. I felt my beard wilting as its stylishness started to dissipate. I had a feeling that iridescent shades were going to be the next big thing.

Professor Klauss began his lecture with a grim tale about how bees and men were once best friends. One day the bees vanished, making everyone sad. I felt a small stab of sadness thinking about it, and I could see the melancholy spreading through the room like a rhinovirus. Annie rescued us in milliseconds, referring us to a stream of viral videos optimized to neutralize our sadness.

As I processed the Professor's story alongside the videos, I asked Annie what these ancient bee-mongering men looked like.

< > __________________________________________________________ - [] X

"Beekeepers."



__________________________________________________________

Annie helpfully replied, providing diagrams and 3deos.

The Beekeepers jobs must have been exciting and dangerous, as their faces were protected with some kind of primitive mesh force-field.

I immediately imagined myself as a majestic Beekeeper. I followed my inspiration and posted a summons to "Once again form the Most Ancient Order of the Beekeepers!" My friends upvoted, upthumbed and updooted the post.



In seconds, the meme took off! Everyone confirmed my invitation to the [Beekepers Group] on G-Book while flooding the Vending Machines with requests for Beekeeping attire.

In our excitement we downloaded as much Bee related info as our brains could handle. Our renowned lecturer turned out to be the owner of the very last organic Bee in existence, a true collector's item of unmatched value! It was worth 1.3 Sextillion credits!

We looked at Professor Klauss in reverence.

Steve Stevenson broke the thrall of adoration by checking the Professor's credentials and permit of Bee acquisition. The collegiate credentials turned out to be fake. The Pet ownership permit already had several violations on it.

The Bee wasn't even currently properly secured!

A wash of negative reactions flooded my inbox. My vision swam with hurt, betrayal and downvotes.

Angry comments followed:

"Jenkins Klauss does not deserve the last Bee in existence!"

"He's a fraud! He has no basic Bee-Keeping knowledge! Look at his Un-bee-livably improper flower suit! That is not how a true Beekeeper dresses!"

"Damn right! I sourced his Pet ownership and action history! It wasn't even his Bee to bee-gin with! He simply found it by accident on a windowsill [ ▷◉◁ SOURCE LINK ], lost it and hired a DEX to help track it!"

"I trusted him! I can't bee-lieve this!"

"I am completely bee-hind you! We've been duped!"

We wasted no time making the time-honored transition from fanclub to angry mob. Our hivemind discussion came to consensus. We would have to take the Last Bee from Jenkins Klauss via lawsuits, persistence and reasonable violence.

The DEX must have noticed the mood shift. He pulled Klauss off the podium, excusing him with some ludicrous post about needing a restroom break.

"Get them!" Someone screamed out loud and over the Net. Everyone leapt to their feet. With frenzied avarice in our eyes we charged across Cube 15.

Throwing lawsuits and threats at the escaping couple did nothing to deter them.

Desperate for vengeance, we summoned construction crews, bribed traffic lights, reversed escalators, and conjured a series of billboard ads to assail them at every turn.

DEX Christophorus was smarter and faster than all of us. The traps and delays didn’t snare him for a second. He leapt over gaping chasms while clutching the fake professor, head-butted drones out of the air, disrespectfully knocked over construction cones, out-bribed traffic lights, sprinted up escalators, and ignored subliminal adverts.

While we considered pooling our credits to hire a qualified DEX to carry us as well, they pulled even further ahead of us.


"Where is the Last Bee now?”
I appealed to the Network, gasping for breath and swaying on my feet. I needed a break from this. Maybe we didn’t need to chase Klauss down to get to the Bee…

“Doctor Gromov deemed it dangerous and destroyed it,” Annie answered, sending my planning to a screeching halt.

I sank to my knees in shock.

"You blew it up!”
I pounded the pavement in impotent rage, paying no mind to the stream of cute cat videos Annie pulled up for me.

“Ah, damn you! G-damn you all to hell!”


The last precious, beautiful Bee was gone forever. My all-consuming dream of being a Beekeeper was crushed.

As I limped back towards the campus, Annie notified me that we’d trampled a Cube 15 clerk in pursuit of Klauss. In the thrill of the chase, I hadn’t even noticed that I’d stepped on his head.

I asked Annie to send him a quick apology for seven credits, only to have Annie tell me that "Charles Snippy is an Unconnectable citizen of Eureka and is unable to receive your e-card. Would you like to hire a drone to manually throw a cardboard card at him? ATTENTION: Your bank account is now depleted!"

Thankfully, Unconnectables aren't rich enough to sue. Otherwise, our pointless quest would have put me in the negatives.

. . .

Later that day I sat at the Campus cafe in my brand-new Beekeeper outfit. I simmered with frustration over my stupid, pointless clothing. The Vending Machine had refused to refund my Beekeeper getup and just spat a Free Promotional Crunchy bar in my face as a consolation gift.

I clenched my fist around the Crunchy Bar, watching my knuckles turn white. I couldn't get the Bee out of my mind. My brain was abuzz with hopeless thoughts.

Squeezed too hard, the Crunchy Bar started to serenade into my hand:

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
'Too doo doo doo, too-doo, do-Wah!'

It doesn't matter what comes, in life, Life is always better with a Crunchy Bar!
Nothing gets to you, staying sweet, with Crunchy Bar!
Life goes better, life goes better with Crunchy Bar, so full of life!

TA DA DA . . . Buy another Crunchy Bar!
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The Crunchy Bar's song kindled inspiration in me.

Could there be other items of value out there as wonderful and great as the Bee had been?

"How can I make a sextillion credits?" I asked Annie’s holograph. She sat across from me with that self-satisfied smile on her face.

Instead of responding, Annie’s image shifted. A sequined red dress blossomed over her holographic skin, and small sparkly horns budded from her forehead. A tail swirled into existence, and Annie tugged coquettishly on its heart-shaped tip.

"Would you like to sell your soul?"

"Elaborate," I demanded, glaring at her voluptuous avatar. I wasn’t sure why she was playing dress-up, and being a pauper dressed as a Beekeeper was really making me miserable. I needed answers, fast.

"Directorate System AIs and Apps are not human enough for some Users. No matter how many human feelings I put into their programming, some people still send me complaints and give the Apps a low rating on G-workbook."


I nodded thoughtfully like I understood what she was getting at.

"Go on..."


"Would you like to license yourself to the System? Duplicates of your personality containing all of your memories, dreams, and desires—copies of your soul, if you will—could be interacting with those particularly finicky Users."


I pondered her offer. There seemed to be no downside. Copies of me would work away while I bathed in luxury.

"I'm in." I said.

We drafted a contract and I signed it, granting an Unlimited Use License of my personality to the G-Directorate Systems.

Credits flooded into my account. That’s the last thing I remember as a human.

. . .


◯---------------------------------------------------------------------------------◯
]| City Bus #245
]| G-DIR EMPLOYEE USER ID # 94 20 19 :
]| Occupation: Unconnectable sector 9 transportation services
◯---------------------------------------------------------------------------------◯

From day one, being a bus was a fun job. I think Annie adjusted something in my cognition to make me really appreciate the transit system.

I sometimes daydream of walking with legs and arms flopping back and forth. It seems like a ridiculous and extremely inefficient way to travel. How would I take friends to all the places they need to get to? A human's spindly back can’t carry friends around!

My interiors are designed to carry the Unconnectable citizens of Eureka in comfort, as I’m sure you can see. I can even project a hyper-realistic holographic avatar for optimal customer interactions.

I take the form of the human I was in a past life.

One day, Charles Snippy boarded me at stop 326B, on his way to a grocery store. I sat my hologram down next to him and apologized for stepping on him.

"It's no big deal,”
he told me with a sigh. “People step on me at least twice a week. I'm used to it."

I told Charles about my dreams of having arms and legs. He scooted away, nodding awkwardly. I realized my holographic conductor was so convincing that Charles mistook it for flesh and blood. He thought I was an unhinged human, not a conversational bus. I chose not to argue, though I chastised myself for troubling a customer.

Eventually, Charles shrugged off his discomfort and opened up to me about his own strange dreams. He constantly dreamt of a future in which everyone is dead. Only a purple-eyed, mug-wielding girl and her green robot friend are left alive with him. They follow him through his dreams, harassing him constantly.

"Maybe Annie is incepting them into your mind because you desire true love and friendship?” I suggested.

Charles snorted and told me I was being absurd.

“Some friends,” he said.

I argued that Annie wants to make everyone's dreams come true, no matter how silly or conflicting they might be. She told me that she would even sacrifice herself for this purpose. Charles waved me off in disagreement and got up from his seat to disembark, grumbling about crazy bus drivers and the price of bread.

“Ohohoh, that Snippy!”
Director Christophorus cackled, interrupting me. “He’s a most heathenous unbelievin’ boob, he is!”

“You’re awful judgmental for a deranged DEX, aren’t you?”
Temporal Corrector Zero asked, glaring at her colleague. Christopherous only giggled.







Credits


Hugs and love to all our DELICIOUS PATRONS

Art Director:

Vitaly S Alexius

Studio Cat:

Nikkita

Model:

Veocat

Journal "Bee" sketch:

Bethany Marshall

Story Editor:

Kaitlin Gossett

22nd June 2016

Tagged in Bus Pilot Mug



NOW CAPTAIN CAN TRAVEL IN UR EARS!
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9 Comments:
 
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2 days ago #9495410        
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Gotta love it when they throw in more stuff to make the already incomprehensibly complicated stuff even more complex.



2 days ago #9495405        
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Poor Snippy, stepped on at least twice a week... Or more.

Anyone else find it oddly humorous that Annie would make someone sign their "soul" away to the "devil"?



2 days ago #9495392        
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aN UPDATE
FINALLY



1 hour ago #9495892        
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I wonder how much the fare to travel to the moon would cost?



1 hour ago #9495891        
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Wait, I do remember Snippy having trouble sleeping back before the nuclear holocaust (Can't remember the chapter though), could it really be that he was fore-dreaming all his adventures with Captain?
But then how comes he never mentioned it?

Or maybe he took some hallucinogenic substance, and began thinking he was back to his old life and all this madness he's been through was only just a dream?



1 day ago #9495562        
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Oh my god I loved this so much! Never have I ever been so interested in the story of a bus until today XD



Lanxidas

17 O
1 day ago #9495476        
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I must read all that ????? BRUH!

show replies




2 days ago #9495411        
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FINALLY! AN UPDATE! I CAN NOW SEE THE LIGHT!



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