Flat file 1000 article site pestered by bots, scrapers, and human content thieves.
Rather than a full-blown CMS, and registration wall, or membership package, is there a secure script we could use, and call on pages to insists visitors either; login, or answer a simple non-captcha question to gain access to an article or two?
That's certainly possible, but depends on your server setup and technologies.
You could use some very simple techniques, for example use SSI to check for a cookie and set that cookie after the login / captcha solve. Clearly, that'd be easy to circumvent, but it'd probably stop the general bots that are not modified for your site.