by Rafael Luis Regalado
In ‘Rafa Vs. Robots’ I will be pitting myself and my skills against AI. In this scenario, I am going to go up against Deepstory.ai, in writing a christmas-themed story. First, I will say the rules of how this works, then I will show the stories, and finally, I will discuss the stories.
I am giving myself a time limit to write a story based on a theme, I am allowed to think about ideas and what I’m going to write, but I am not allowed to write anything– I am not allowed to write my story, my ideas, or anything else about my story, outside from my time limit. I am not allowed to edit or change anything about my story after the time limit.
I am using Deepstory.ai to generate a story. I gave Deepstory a short introduction, to start it in the right direction of the theme; I gave it the sentence “Snow falls and carols are sung. Christmas has come.”, from there, I will let it generate the story completely on its own and I am not allowed to edit or change what it has generated.
Footsteps thunder through the cabin, the sounds ending some short distance away from an ornate dark wood door. Standing there, is the silhouette of a man, obscured in the shadows. The man bends forward on one knee, his long wavy gray hair and dark and mud-colored coat being rendered visible, he picks up a letter, snow still lay on top of it and its red rubber stamp seal. The man brushes off the snow and opens the letter, which reads in crookedly written script “Hello again old friend, it has really been a long time since we last met. I hope you’re not too cozy up there in that cabin of yours, there’s something that I need to ask you. I know that you’ve sworn off it, but would you be willing to join me in one last ‘thing-grab’? Look, I know, I know, you already have safer, more legal ways to do it, but I’ve gotten myself in a tight spot and could do it with the help. Plus, I’ve heard that your facility isn’t even working, you’re in a drought. It’s a win-win, if we can pull this off. For old times sake too. One last time.” The burly man turns, with the letter in hand and walks to his chair and sits. He chuckles to himself and grabs a mug and chugs its contents. He smiles. “One last time”
25 days later
The grayed man stands in front of a bridge brick building, it’s just like the last time they were there. Beside him stands another man, wearing a rugged black coat, black unkempt hair, and piercing yellow eyes. As the brown-coated man stares up at the building, its windows, vents, and posters, the other man throws a rope upward, the rope clinging to a vent, he tugs on it with one hand and pulls the vent opening down, catching it with his other hand “After you” says the black-coated man. The grayed man snaps to the vent and unlocks another rope on his belt, this time hooked, and throws it up it hangs to the recently-opened vent, he quickly climbs it, followed by the other man. He crawls through the vent, the light is dim and the shine of the vents are dark. “You,” says the grayed man “you go that way, you do the preparing, I’ll do the grabbing” “Really just like old times” mutters the black-haired man, and they part to different paths in the vents. The grayed man continues moving, when he hears chatter from underneath him, as rectangular beams of light shoot up at him. Guards. Guards right outside a vault. Security has increased, he thinks of a plan, if he just remembers the map of the building right. He backtracks to where he and the other man separated, four paths shoot out. He closes his eyes and thinks back. He shuts his mind from all else, other than focusing on the matter at hand. Every moment here is a moment wasted, a moment that brings the mission closer to failure, for he knows that as soon as the preparations start, it’s a ticking clock that could doom the mission iif not executed right. After moments of focus, he figures it out and remembers he moves through one of the paths and rattles the vents, he crawls back to the guards prior positions to find that they have moved, one more part of the mission is accomplished. He continues and grabs a bronze tool from his belt, he presses a button and a moss and cherry colored beam shoots out, destroying the vent, he hops down into the gray vault and grabs everything and pushes them into bags upon bags that he carried with him in his tool belt. He uses the same bronze tool, at a higher power, again a moss and cherry colored beam shoots out, disintegrating the nearby wall, through the smoke and rubble he can see the glowing yellow eyes of the other man, he runs over to him to see that the preparations have been completed. He lugs his bags into the ornate red and gold box and quickly hops into the back of it, the other man jumps in, sitting on the ledge of the box. Both men laugh, once more at a mission accomplished. Christmas has been saved and Santa and Krampus have done it.
Snow falls and carols are sung. Christmas has come.
His eyes meet Sarah’s, and he is struck by her beauty. The bar crowd briefly makes a break for the more lively crowd in the adjacent pub. It is Christmas Eve, after all. For the moment, however, everyone is safe and sober and happy. Up on the marquee of the church: Christmas Eve, 1955. a shimmering gold star is glued to the center of the door and the word chirst gathered snowflakes. Kane and Carol stand near each other. They remain frozen and quiet, arms linked. Again: The bar holds more anticipation than excitement. Beside Carol, Kane has changed his sweater. He’s wearing grey underwear, no socks. Carol now notices the men dancing and chatting on the other side of the room. She tries to stare into the future. In a shadowy corner of the back room, it’s performance time. In a series of calculated steps, Kane leaps through the air. He kicks off his shoes. He washes the snow off his nearly invisible underwear. He empties his wallet and steps back through the doorway. He’s led down to the church lawn where the rehearsal is now being held. He is about to meet with the camera, but his eyes fall on kane�s mother, up on the stage. she’s entering the living room and no doubt the bar scene. She passes the star-gazer, reaching into her purse and he catches a glimpse of her clasping a short, gold chain necklace.
the necklace in her hand is placed around a young woman’s throat, a gift of hope. She closes her eyes as Kane clambers down the pier steps.
Christ. Save a few for me, won’t you? i don’t like to turn anyone down. Not even you. Nor you, nor your son-in-law, nor your son. Never. Not a leaf. Nor a feather.
It has been a long time since i heard him. a long time.
i want to say–
i want to tell you that i’m going to try to be more of a friend this year–and i can only hope that this will be the last Christmas that we’ll never speak again–and i–and i know i have my whole life to make amends and to make up for all i’ve done that i didn’t know–but i don’t know if i will ever be able to be what you want me to be. And, anyway, this Christmas will always be the last Christmas of the old year, 1955. And i think if i sit here and try to be what i try to be, that that Christmas will never come again, and–and i don’t want to talk any more about it, but–but i feel the whole world crumbling–and it just seems that by Christmas Day–well, in an instant i realized what i had, you know, everything, and that morning i would die here, and i wouldn’t be here, and it would all be over–and i just felt so tired–so tired–
Kane has begun to move toward Carol. For a moment he is a helpmate to her, and she looks up at him and takes his hand, and she turns from him. Her eyes fill with tears. She breaks away and is heading down the steps. There is a silence. There is a tearful look between them. Finally:
Kane lets go of her hand and steps toward the foot of the stage. Carol steps away and under the archway, looking back at Kane. She disappears. We hear the sound of carol continuing to sob. Kane steps through the archway, crying out to the rehearsal:
Is she okay? is she o. K?
s fine, i bet she’s “snippy” as well. But the space begins to shudder as he reaches for the power, for the blessed tree. we zoom in on Carol’s blue hand as she kneels down in the space. The change of transmission in her demeanor is startling. She continues to kneel. We pull away to the center of the marquee. Kane takes the hand of the power. With an undeniable measure of calm, he steps toward it. The light sways with him. The shuddering is a sign. The tears fall down Carol’s face.She goes to bat conduct. The tremblinn starts to become part of his breathing as sways across the landscape behind her as she vies batonless, whirling, through the steps and the steps and the squares, to the edge and along the edge and the penthouse. the tree with the lights on it -. But what the light embraces he knew. what he hoped for. the opportunity. When it comes. It’s Carol the Batsuit no more.a hospital room a. The hospital doors do shut a. Ocular thunder.
In this segment, I will discuss (or, arguably, ramble about) my writing and the AI.
I gave myself a time limit of 30:30 (30 minutes and 30 seconds), now, why “30:30?”, you may ask, well this actually has a really simple explanation; my original time limit was 30 minutes, but I extended it by 30 seconds to finish my story… Moving on, I’m not really sure where I got this idea from, specifically, I remember thinking of ideas like “Santa’s a creep”, where I would write about a creepy character doing Santa-things, but framed like he was evil and then revealing that it was Santa, or a “Christmas Killer” idea. But, I thought that those might’ve been predictable and looking back at it, not very family-friendly. I’m glad with the story idea I ended up with. Santa and Krampus used to heist toy storage place-thingies, but Santa retired from that lifestyle and manufactured his own toys instead, but he was drawn back into it for one last heist. So that’s it for my story, moving on to the robot’s story.
While AI is fun, I advise caution when using it, as all the ones I know (which to be fair, are all free) don’t really have family-friendly checks. I don’t mean to say don’t use AI, I, myself love playing with AI, but just be careful when using it. Anyways, Deepstory.ai calls itself an “AI driven script & story generator” so it writes sorta like a movie script, so that’s why the dialogue looks weird in the story. Deepstory’s formatting is also different, so I actually had to center the text from Deepstory’s story on docs. Deepstory’s story varies in quality, for example, in a dialogue, it wrote “i want to tell you that i’m going to try to be more of a friend this year–and i can only hope that this will be the last Christmas that we’ll never speak again…”, although it ignores the capital “I” grammar rule, it’s genuinely pretty good. But then it devolves into “It’s Carol the Batsuit no more.a hospital room a. The hospital doors do shut a. Ocular thunder.”, which… is interesting. I don’t think I need to explain why that doesn’t make sense. Now then, finally, a final statement; you can bet that if the robot invasion ever happens, it’s not going to be Deepstory.ai.