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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Hard and Soft (04/23/09)

TITLE: Elizabeth Research
By Tim Pickl


Worldwide financial recession swept the globe and hard times hit home. A victim of the cutbacks when he was laid-off from the robotic research facility, Dr. Frank finally had time to complete his personal project:

The world’s first fully functional human-like android.

“Elizabeth is almost ready for the first full test of her systems.” Dr. Frank enthusiastically said to Rogi as he wheeled through the local electronics store. “I need a few more hardware components.”

Dr. Frank always enjoyed shopping for technology with his crippled son. They were both hurt in the car accident that took his wife two years prior when Dr. Frank lost his legs and Rogi’s back was broken. Dr. Frank used a wheelchair; Rogi could still walk, but hunched over.

They worked well together and leaned on each other’s strengths.

Rogi turned his head toward Dr. Frank. “But—Father—do you have her software finished? I know you were working out the personality subroutines last night.”

“We’re ready, son. Elizabeth is tough on the inside—her skeleton is made of titanium and aluminum—hard, yet flexible. I wrote the software the same way. She’ll be tough-minded, yet filled with softness…and love.”

“And her skin is so soft, too.”

“Yes… Thank you Rogi for all your help on this project: Nothing can stop us now—Elizabeth will live again!”

“We shouldn’t talk in public like this.”

“Rogi, you’re right, son. Let’s get back to the laboratory. Please bring the truck around while I pay for this.”

“Yes sir.”

A stubborn storm seemingly parked over the abandoned brick laboratory building at the top of the hill. Wind-whipped rain and hostile hail crashed mercilessly hard onto the rusting metal roof.

“A perfect night, Rogi, a perrrfect night!”

Lightning flashed and thunder followed several seconds later, rattling the worn-out wood windows.

“Should I get the last piece of hardware from the cooler, Father?”

“Yes! Hurry. The lightning is almost here.”

“Right away, Father.”

Elizabeth was lying on old hospital bed in the main lab area. There, Dr. Frank spun his wheelchair and whipped a beat-up plastic medical cart around. The laptop on the cart almost slid off, but he caught it with one hand.

Whoa – we can’t lose her schematics.”

Dr. Frank was jolted by a yell from the back room. “Father, Father!”

Lightning flashed and thunder followed a few seconds later.

“What is it, Rogi? Hurry! The lightning is much closer!”

Rogi appeared in the doorway. “I can’t open the cooler. Remember you had me lock it up last night when you thought you heard a thief was trying to break in?”

“The keys are hanging on the middle pole.”

“Let me go look… Aha-heh-heh. Found them!”

Lightning flashed and thunder followed almost immediately.


The wind doubled and buffeted the building. Eerily, a tornado siren started.

“Here, Father.”

Dr. Frank took the component from Rogi and slid it into the side of Elizabeth’s head, then closed the access port door.

“All we need now is power—lots of power!”

Bright lightning flashed and thunder immediately followed. The electrical bolt hit just as Dr. Frank wanted, travelling from the lightning rod on the roof down along the wall and into a power Transform-generator.

“Now, Rogi, now!

Rogi pulled a large lever on the side of the Transform-generator. Then, simultaneously, the laptop fried and Elizabeth—the world’s first human-like android—opened her eyes.

“It’s working! She’s alive!”

Elizabeth turned her head.

Dr. Frank wheeled in closer to hear. Rogi leaned in, too.

She whispered, “F-F-Frank? R-R-Rogi? Where am I?”

Dr. Frank smiled big. “Elizabeth, you’re home.”

“Mom…” Rogi started crying.

A tornado roared adjacent to the laboratory, causing part of the metal roof to fall into the main research area. Rogi saved his father’s life by pushing him out of the way. A metal tile severed the power connection from the Transform-generator, and the sudden break caused a power surge.

“Some-something’s wrong…”

Elizabeth died, again.

After the storm passed, Rogi pushed Dr. Frank’s wheelchair back through the wreckage.

“No…noNO!” Dr. Frank wept. “All this work, all the hours and pain and sacrifice. All for nothing!”

Rogi touched Dr. Frank’s shoulder and comforted him. “Dad?”


“All our work and research could be used to help people.”


“Just the limbs alone you developed could help even you. Think of it, Father.”

“Rogi, you’re right, son. Your mother was a wonderful Christian woman, and she’d agree with you. I have an idea.”

Elizabeth Research Laboratories was born.


Reference: Isaiah 55:6-13 (New Living Translation)

Seek the Lord while you can find him.
Call on him now while he is near.
Let the wicked change their ways
and banish the very thought of doing wrong.
Let them turn to the Lord that he may have mercy on them.
Yes, turn to our God, for he will forgive generously.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
“And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways
and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

“The rain and snow come down from the heavens
and stay on the ground to water the earth.
They cause the grain to grow,
producing seed for the farmer
and bread for the hungry.
It is the same with my word.
I send it out, and it always produces fruit.
It will accomplish all I want it to,
and it will prosper everywhere I send it.
You will live in joy and peace.
The mountains and hills will burst into song,
and the trees of the field will clap their hands!
Where once there were thorns, cypress trees will grow.
Where nettles grew, myrtles will sprout up.
These events will bring great honor to the Lord’s name;
they will be an everlasting sign of his power and love.”

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Member Comments
Member Date
Joanne Sher 05/02/09
What a concept! Their determination was so clear.

Your dialogue felt just a bit stilted. Try reading it out loud to see how it sounds so you can make it sound a bit more natural.

Loved the hope at the end.

Lollie Hofer05/05/09
This story is a unique slant on this week's theme. I enjoyed the drama that was played out from beginning to end, especially the irony of the mother dying twice. What a great truth...God does work in mysterious ways, He really does know what is best.