May 2012 Contest Results

Lobo For a Day Contest: The Winning Entries

We asked you what you would do if you possessed Lobo, the A.I. battle spacecraft from Mark L. Van Name’s popular Jon and Lobo series. Here, in no particular order, are the winning entries as judged by Mark and a panel of associates.


Alia Duffy

Most of us don’t know very much about the workings of the technology that make our lives possible. So if a human, even a extraordinary human like Jon, from a technologically advanced civilization visited earth for a day there would be a limited amount of useful science and engineering he could convey. But Lobo is a different matter. He probably has all sorts of memory capacity given the other abilities he has displayed. Maybe he has some school text books stored in memory. (After all I have have some on my Kindle, just ‘cause, well,... I could.) At very least his own tech manuals and the algorithms he uses to predict his own and others known combat capacity could be analyzed to figure out all sorts of fascinating principles. He’s smart and intuitive enough to know what might be useful to me and, with his hacking ability, he should have no problem figuring out a way to download it to my computers.

So the first thing I would do would be to ask Lobo to perform such a download of all the delicious data. (“You’ll be performing the good deed of spreading knowledge and creating interesting chaos at the same time! What’s not to love, Lobo?”) Of course the information wouldn’t do me that much good without the ability to digest and develop it, and I couldn’t do a good job of that by myself. So the next thing I would do would be to call a bunch of friends who know something about technology or related fields and beg them to drop everything and come meet Lobo for themselves. I’ll want them to interact with him so they don’t think I’m crazy to believe in this data but are instead willing to invest their own time and effort in making a tangible difference with this information.

I’d be in a hurry to get this done, because if possible, I’d want them to have time to reach out to their own network of friends and have them come over (or be picked up, a spaceship buzzing around Silicon Valley, picking up employees on their lunch break? “Oh, that must be just Google’s latest extravagance.”) for their own experience of Lobo. I wouldn’t be able to keep control of most of the information. It’s unlikely I would be the main, much less the sole, center of attention in the resulting fervor. But by being willing to share and displaying openness some of the people I’m friends with would be willing to share back and take me along for the ride. And the discoveries we would make in that data would be an adventure, not just for a day, but just possibly, for a lifetime.


Lynn Bessette

Having Lobo for a day should warrant an opportunity to assassinate a bad guy, or conquer hunger, or something equally as noble. However, if I could have him for one day, I would use his special powers for one task.


Not revenge for the bad things that evil people have done all over the world, but personal revenge for all the people that have done me wrong throughout my life. The bitchy comments, the snide remarks, the full blown bullying. Yep, revenge. Nothing too horrible, but just a minor pain in the ass revenge.

Lobo has a special relationship to other machines. He could “convince” them to a little tom-foolery for a brief period. I would use him to infiltrate the homes of women from my past and make their lives, let’s say, uncomfortable for a day.

For example, one snotty woman who criticizes my clothes choices and never misses an opportunity to ask me if I am gaining weight, should have everything she washes, shrink. Not shrink so much as to be unwearable, but shrink just enough so that she thinks she is getting fat. And, a little shredding would be welcome.

Another woman who embarrasses me about my hair, could have her blow dryer, um, malfunction so that it blasts air so hot, her hair is one huge frizz ball that won’t lie down. A little singeing on the edges would be okay.

I think a car mishap might be a nice payback for the girl that made fun of the fact that I took the bus in high school. Maybe having her car die while turning left on a very busy road, which causes all traffic to stop in all directions. I don’t want an accident, just a little mortification.

A fellow coworker who constantly tells me that she only works because she is bored and her paycheck goes towards “fun time”, should try to extract funds from her bank account and find that she not only has no money, but is severely overdrawn and all her credit cards have been cancelled. The panic until it is straightened out might humble her a bit. Or at least, shut her up.

To that girl in junior high who used to wait for me after school so that she could chase and then hold me on the ground while she punched me, Lobo could convince school lawn mowers to chase her like a fox on a hound whenever her presence was detected. Not hurt her, just scare the crap out of her. Well, not hurt her too much.

And, finally, to those people out there that find it necessary to be mean or spiteful, should have one day when their microwave blows up, their dvr doesn’t record, their cell phone won’t work, their coffeemaker doesn’t produce and life, in general, is just a little more of a pain in the ass. Just like them.

Thank you, Lobo, for a little retribution. I think I have been vindicated.


Ray Evans

After hurtling around the known universe enjoying the experience (although I was a military test pilot, I never got higher than 42,000 feet!) and sorting out the reality of the Mars myths (the Face, etc.) and what's "living" on/in the moons of Jupiter, I would sneak back to earth, covert, and make all the nuclear weapons facilities in North Korea, Iran and all the India/Pakistan weapons inert, convert the uranium/plutonium to lead, etc. I’d then sneak around the corner and use Lobo's computing abilities to crack into all the Taliban, Al Quieda accounts, transfer the money to the Red Cross and Medicines Sans Frontiers for a start, while doing the same to the Saudi's who are supporting the repressive groups. We would then sneak down to Africa and do the same for all the dictators’ regimes and remove all the assets they've stripped and return those assets back to the countries treasuries and then "persuade” them to do a proper job..or else! Then, sit back, enjoy the frustration, mayhem, nipping in and out to all the anti-democratic governments, "persuading" them to change their ways, or else. Busy day, but trouble is it’s probably a lifetimes work!