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#On what he was apparently called on the original drafts
tovezza · 25 days ago
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Wait spoilers for the hell fic sitting on my laptop but declan’s fake gangster names: dermot kinsella, cian gradey, Scott hanrahan, and thomas alter
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otomiya-tickles · an hour ago
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Gift for Morax
Zhongli/Aether ft. Childe
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A/N: This fic was originally planned for Zhongli’s bday and that’s all I have to say about how long it’s been catching dust in my draft box. P.S. link to some amazing art to get in the mood for this fic HAhah. 
The fic is SFW with a lot of suggestive things + some polyamorous elements so read at own risk haha. 
Summary: Aether’s travels to Liyue introduce him to many unique things. From the remarkable relationships concerning Zhongli, to his very own apparent crush on Zhongli, and the extraordinary rituals to celebrate Zhongli’s birthday. Aether just kind of chooses to go with the flow, which has him end up in... this particular predicament. (Also on Ao3)
Word Count: 3707
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Aether blushed. He knew it. He had heard it, seen it and witnessed everytime he was in Liyue. However never had he expected he kind of would end up joining the party, and feel this attracted towards Zhongli as well.
“Is something on your mind, traveler?” Zhongli asked kindly. They were sitting outside on a terrace in Liyue Harbor, enjoying a drink and a bite together. During their talks of Aether’s recent adventures, he had unknowingly reached out to hold Zhongli’s hand that rested on the table.
It was when Zhongli returned the gesture he actually realized, and he felt how Zhongli caressed his hand fondly with his thumb. 
“N-no, there isn’t,” Aether muttered. Zhongli was a unique man. Even without his gnosis he really was like a god, but he was also just a normal person enjoying his life in Liyue. A person who had things he liked and disliked, things he was still curious about, and a person who could even be a little clumsy. 
That was Zhongli’s charm. And people knew. Through the times Aether spent here, he had discovered that several people had what they called an ‘open relationship’ with him. 
Aether first thought Childe was dating Zhongli, when he caught the two kissing around the corner of the funeral parlor. He then thought Zhongli may be having an affair with the adeptus Xiao when he found the two together in a loving embrace. 
It was only when Venti visited and greeted Zhongli with a kiss right in front of Childe and Xiao, that Aether must’ve looked so confused for Childe to start explaining.
“You must think we are strange,” he said after telling Aether that there were multiple people who were intimate with Zhongli without claiming the man for themselves nor feeling jealous of others.
“No, it’s... special,” Aether had said back then. Of course it was special. Basically everyone loved Zhongli and he loved everyone back, and especially those who knew his true identity seemed to be the ones closest to him.
“S-s-so you guys also--?” Aether had asked, to which Childe answered, “yes. Once a in a while I sleep with him. And I’m sure they do too,” he said, nodding at Xiao and Venti who were in a conversation with Zhongli.
Aether remembered all this as his mind returned to present day where he sat on a terrace with Zhongli, and allowed the man to caress his hand. He kind of understood now. He also wanted to be close with him. His company, his affection, his stories and knowledge, all of it made Zhongli a person he wanted to hold dear. 
“I am sorry,” Zhongli apologized, and he wanted to let go of his hand. Aether quickly shook his head.
“I-it’s fine. P-please..” he said. From then on, each visit to Liyue somehow brought Aether closer to Zhongli. From holding hands, to hugging, long warm embraces like he had seen with Zhongli and Xiao too, friendly kisses, to the more intimate kisses.
“Hmmh...” Aether moaned softly as Zhongli kissed and nuzzled his neck, his gloved hands teasing the bare skin of his midriff with gentle caresses.
“Sorry~ Am I interrupting something?” Aether literally jolted when Childe just barged shamelessly into their private dining room, and he chuckled knowingly.
“You have a new friend, I see?” Childe said with a smug smile towards Zhongli. Zhongli merely nodded, his arms tightening around Aether.
“What is wrong?” he asked. 
“It’s about next week,” Childe said, but Zhongli shook his head.
“Can it wait?” he sighed. Aether looked from Zhongli to Childe, confused. Childe glanced at them, then smirked.
“Alright then naughty boys~”  and he gave them their privacy. Aether felt happy chills run down his body when Zhongli instantly picked up where they left off, kissing him long and sensually.
“W-what’s next week?” he asked, but Zhongli shook his head and kissed him some more.
“Nothing,” he hummed. 
Well there must’ve been something. So Aether got his chance when he caught Childe alone, and dared to ask: “What was that about?” 
Childe’s grin alone was teasy as hell, and Aether blushed, avoiding his eyes. “I’m surprised with all these intimate moments you two have been sharing, he did not tell you.”
“What? What didn’t he tell me?” Aether asked impatiently.
“Next week is Rex Lapis’ birthday,” Childe said, clapping merrily. Aether gaped at him in surprise. Oh.
“Zhongli usually doesn’t like big celebrations, so we always try to arrange him something he likes in private.” Childe then looked at Aether and smirked.
“...and I might just be getting an idea, of how to spoil him on his birthday. Tell me, have you spent the night with him yet?” 
Aether choked on whatever got caught in his throat, and he gasped for air. “Haven’t!” 
“Good. Then if you don’t mind cooperating, we might just be getting the perfect girft for our beloved Zhongli,” Childe said, poking Aether’s bare stomach. Aether squeaked in response, backing away and covering up. 
“Good,” Childe said, as if that gave him any valuable information, and he ruffled Aether’s hair. Spend the night with him? Gift? Wha--! Aether had no clue what was going on.
“It means they will let you sleep with him,” Paimon said when they were having dinner later.
“It does not. It can’t mean that,” Aether huffed. Paimon giggled. “Well at least I know that I’ll leave you two alone. Been having a lot of fun with Xiangling, she is amazing!” Paimon said. Aether rolled his eyes, smirking.
“It’s because she gets you food, doesn’t she?”
“What if she does? It’s delicious, and she’s a lot of fun. So don’t worry about me while you go in and spend the night wi-- hey!” Paimon squeaked when Aether stole a skewer and munched on it.
He wondered what Childe, and even Xiao were planning when in the days leading up to Zhongli’s birthday, they sometimes muttered things and seemed to be acting all secretive.
Aether was curious, but also excited. If Childe really meant that Aether was going to spend the night with Zhongli, it would feel like it was his own birthday as well with how big a gift it was. He didn’t really want to expect anything, so when the day was finally there, he was relieved when it was finally the moment of truth.
“Come on, don’t be shy~” Childe said. They had already enjoyed a timid group dinner for Zhongli’s birthday, and he was now leading Aether to the chambers where he was staying, for the so-called surprise gift. 
“B-b-but..” Aether stuttered, blushing when Childe took his own scarf from his neck and gently took both his arms and tied them behind his back.
“We just bring you in there and let Zhongli have some fun with you. It’s your lucky day too, Aether, right? Unless you don’t want to of course,” Childe said, and Aether felt the scarf loosen again. He was quick to shake his head.
“No no no, I want to go!” he squeaked. Even without seeing Childe’s face, it wasn’t hard to guess how much the young man was smirking as he continued to tie him up. Aether had a hard time not already passing out from nerves, and his legs felt a little weak to keep him standing.
“Hmm, yeah, I guess that’ll do,” Childe muttered when only Aether’s arms were tied. “He is not that brutal you know,” Childe said, winking. 
“Is he ready?” Wah! Aether was surprised when Xiao stood with them. 
“I think so~!” Childe chirped, moving his hands off Aether and showing him to Xiao. Xiao nodded. “Bring him in.” 
Both men gently pushed him forward, through the doors of the chamber where Zhongli was waiting.
“Zhongzhong! Happy birthday~! Have fun you two!” Childe sang, and before Aether could say anything the door already closed behind him. !!!! It felt so wrong, like he was wrapped up as a personal gift to Rex Lapis for some kind of... offering. The wrong part was that Aether was tingling with excitement from this.
“Aether,” Zhongli said, and there was a happy twinkle in his eyes. He was standing beside a king size bed, and Aether blushed. Was this it? Was he going to...? Were they--? 
His face was burning even more when Zhongli approached him and scooped him up in his arms. Not able to do anything with his bound arms by his own scarf, Aether simply looked up at him and pouted his lips. Zhongli took it as an invitation and kissed him - which was more than welcome. Aether closed his eyes, relaxing in his embrace, and he felt how Zhongli carried him towards the bed and placed him on top of it. 
He first let him sit down on the edge, and took off both his boots. Aether studied him closely, almost shaking with nerves. Zhongli then picked him up again and stretched out his body onto the bed, placing him in a lying position that actually felt quite comfortable. 
Aether watched how Zhongli bent over him. 
“I h-have, I have no--” Aether wanted to express his inexperience, but Zhongli kissed him again and smiled sweetly.
“Is it okay if I get started?” he asked. Aether swallowed, blinking in surprise at the sudden question of permission. 
“Eh y-yes, sure,” he said, following Zhongli’s every movement. He took off his gloves and placed them to the side. Aether held his breath when he saw the hands lower. They rested against his bare sides, and then...
“HMPh!” Aether’s eyes were widen open in shock when he felt Zhongli dig in. A ticklish sensation rushed through him and he gasped out.
“W-Whah! AHhhhh--hahahahahaha!” Soon there was laughter to be heard. His own laughter, with Zhongli gently scribbling his fingers against his sides, and Aether squirmed beneath him. Tickling?! 
“AHhah-it-tihihickles ahahaha! W-wai-nohoho!” he cried in confusion as he felt how Zhongli’s fingers freely moved over his torso. 
“Ah you are quite sensitive. I couldn’t help but wonder,” Zhongli said dreamily, smiling down at him as he continued to tickle. Aether giggled and felt his body shake everytime Zhongli brushed against his lower sides.
“EHehehe! Nohohoho aaaaahh!” Aether squeaked when the traveling fingers found their way to his bare stomach where they scribbled relentlessly.
“How are you never cold? You always keep this place so revealed,” Zhongli said, his fingers scratching all over his tummy.
“Ihihit’s f-fihihine! Aaahaha n-not cohohold!” Aether tried to respond properly, but he was laughing so much. He felt even more tingles when he heard Zhongli’s chuckle.
“But you are quite ticklish here, traveler. Makes mhe think it’s quite dangerous to keep yourself so... exposed,” Zhongli said, and Aether spasmed when both hands squeezed his sides again.
“HAHaha Zhongli wahahait n-ahaahaha!” Aether arched his back, and Zhongli took the immediate chance to claw at his exposed ribs, making Aether sink helplessly back into the mattress while he howled hysterically.
“AAAhahahaha! N-not thehehere!” Through it all, he sometimes opened his eyes and could see Zhongli’s fond smile. He was having so much fun! Aether couldn’t have imagined this was the gift those guys were talking about. Let Zhongli tickle the shit out of him? 
“HEehh-haaahh,” Aether gasped and panted when Zhongli stopped for a brief moment.
“Are you alright?” Zhongli carefully took a glass of water from the nightstand and guided it to Aether’s lips to let him take a sip. Aether only drank a little and gasped for air.
“Y-yeah, I’m fine,” he panted.
“If I make you uncomfortable, please tell me, I will stop,” Zhongli said politely. Ahhh. Aether shook his head quickly.
“N-no no. It’s just...” He blushed. “I’m just really ticklish,” he said shyly. That got a charming smile to Zhongli’s precious face, and he leaned in and kissed him again.
“That is good,” he said. Aether tensed up when he felt Zhongli’s fingers return to his ribs again where they dug in curiously, and a loud gasp escaped his lips.
“Ahh! S-sorry if I will be loud,” Aether apologized in embarrassment, afraid to know where this was going. Zhongli shook his head.
“It’s fine.” His fingers then inched up higher and scratched right at the spot below his underarms, and Aether squeezed his eyes shut, his lips pressing together. He gasped softly when he felt Zhongli kiss his lips, his tongue gently moving in between them to move them apart again. 
Unfortunately, the kiss didn’t last longer than that, as Zhongli said, “Please don’t hold back.” What followed was the most ticklish sensation Aether had felt in a long while, with Zhongli attacking his armpits on both sides with five scribbling fingers in each.
“AAHAHah! Eeheeheheh oh nooohohoho!” Aether squealed. They both looked up when the door opened and Childe shamelessly barged in like he had done the other day as well.
“Sorry guys. Sounds like so much fun in here I couldn’t help it. Zhongli, would you really mind sharing your precious gift with me?” 
Aether gaped with wide eyes how Childe climbed on top of the bed as well, joining them. Zhongli looked at him and gave a single shake of the head.
“I wouldn’t mind. Aether?” He looked at Aether, who was left speechless and still catching his breath from all those tickles. 
“E-eh s-sure.. I don’t know if- HAha!” he cried when Childe sat by his legs and curiously brushed the spot behind his knee. Childe smirked. 
“I’m good at this, you know,” he said. Zhongli chuckled. “I know.” They kissed each other, and Aether blushed to see it from this close. And then... Four hands were on his body. Tickling him, and it felt like... he didn’t know what it felt like. He had not experienced it before.
“AHAHahah!” he squealed. Childe had placed his legs in his lap and played them like they were an instrument, his fingers scribbling all over and behind his sensitive knees. Zhongli continued to wriggle his fingers in his armpits, and Aether’s reflex was to desperately squeeze his arms together.
Noticing this, Childe paused his tickle attack on his legs, and moved up. “Here, it’ll be easier like this,” he said. Aether felt like a weak plush doll as he allowed both men to manhandle him, just curious to see what they were up to next. His arms were released from the scarf, but they were stretched over his head where Zhongli sat on top of them to pin them down effectively. 
“Now what to do with this... Ah,” Childe sang, and Aether gasped when the scarf was placed over his eyes, secured like a blindfold.
“It’ll be more fun if he can’t see where we will tickle him,” Childe said. Aether heard Zhongli hum in approval.
“It might make him more sensitive,” he agreed. More sensitive? Wha-?! He squirmed nervously, his lips stretching into a smile already.
“Aether?” Zhongli asked, his voice sounding gentle and soothing. Aether nodded. “Y-yes?” he asked, his chest heaving with each heavy breath, both from the recovery from previous tickling as well as the nerves.
“If you really need us to stop, please say ‘mora’.” Aether chuckled, and heard Childe laugh as well. 
“Typical Zhongli-safeword you got there haha! Alright, let’s go. Give us that delicious laughter, Traveler!” Childe said, and Aether had barely noticed his feet had been placed in Childe’s lap until he felt five fingers rake up and down his socked sole.
“OH aahahahaa! Nohoho!” he shrieked when he felt the super ticklish assault spread over his feet. He blushed to get such attention from both guys.
It... it was only tickling, so why... Why did it feel like a t-threesome or something and ー “AAHhaha n-nohohoh wahahait aaahaha! N-no faahahahair!” Aether cried when Childe ended up being even worse than Zhongli. He learned that Zhongli had been gentle all the way.
Childe’s fingers ran mercilessly all over his feet, scratching and scribbling without a single pause. Meanwhile, Zhongli was circling his fingers in his outstretched underarms, making him shake and squirm and gasp for breath.
“I love how sensitive you are right here,” Zhongli purred, his fingers wiggling gently over Aether’s tingling skin.  
“AAHAH!” Aether felt really torn. He wanted them to take off the blindfold, he wanted to see Zhongli’s beautiful face as he enjoyed his predicament. But then again, Aether was already weak and overwhelmed from all this. Maybe it was better this way.
“Eaaaahahah no-nohohot thahaht!” Aether screeched when Zhongli dug mercilessly in both his armpits, occasionally squeezing and clawing down towards his ribcage, and then back up to Aether’s overly sensitive underarms. 
And that combined with the torturous sensations his feet were enduring. Childe had taken off his socks and was just playfully scribbling all over his bare feet, and vaguely through all of his own laughter, Aether could hear his teasy and cringy, “Coochie coochie coo! Zhongli, you should see how ticklish his feet are!” 
Aether heard the familiar low sound of Zhongli’s chuckle above him, and it sent pleasant chills down his spine. 
“HA-haahahah ohohoho nyaahaha!” Aether giggled hysterically. He had barely registered how Childe let go of his tingling feet, but his entire body jerked in shock when suddenly two hands could be felt squeezing and poking the flesh of his exposed tummy.
“You are always exposed like this, Aether. You tease us always. Didn’t you see this coming?” Childe teased, his voice suddenly a lot closer. 
“Childe,” Zhongli said, and Aether wasn’t sure why. Zhongli’s fingers never stopped teasing his armpits and ribs, and Childe was now very busy spidering all over his exposed tummy, circling his belly button and even wiggling a finger inside.
“AHAHahaha!” Aether was sure he was pretty hoarse by now.
“HEheheeh!” He arched up again, playing right into Childe’s grabby hands, and he sank back tiredly, howling some more. 
“Childe,” Zhongli said again. It went quiet for a moment and they stopped tickling. All Aether could hear was his own heavy breathing. From the movements on the bed he felt that they were moving towards each other. Some low mumbles could be heard, some whispers. Childe’s happy chuckle. “Zhongli you~!” he giggled. The sound of a kiss. Aether blushed.
What were they planning?
“Are you still okay, Aether?” Childe asked, and Aether gasped when he felt a poke to his stomach. He nodded frantically.
“F-fine,” he said, his voice hoarse indeed. Childe giggled again. “Good!” 
Aether felt them move around. Zhongli moved off his arms, but another weight returned. Childe had taken his position now. Aether felt Zhongli move around. Where was he going? His feet? His toes curled anxiously.
“Hmph!” Aether twitched when he felt Childe’s fingertips slowly stroke his armpits, and giggles threatened to come out again already. He was also highly anticipating what Zhongli’s move was going to be. 
“WAHh!” he gasped when that appeared to be testing the sensitivity of his thighs.
“Ah~” he heard Zhongli say, whatever sort of emotion that was supposed to support. Happy, probably, since he now eagerly dug into Aether’s thighs, knees sliding in between his legs to spread them and leave his thighs more helpless to the tickle attack that was being planned.
“HEEYahaahaha!” Aether shrieked, and he heard both men laugh again. “So cute,” Childe chirped, his fingers still torturing his armpits very slowly so that most of Aether’s ticklish focus could go to what was happening to his thighs which he never knew were this sensitive.
“AHAH-Zhohohonglehehe! Nohhoho!” he gasped when Zhongli curiously fondled his inner thighs, squeezing, pinching and digging experimentally. Aether’s entire body shook with laughter and he clenched his fists.
“AAAahhah!” He blushed when he felt Childe caress his cheek. “You’re quite a toughie aren’t you, Traveler~?” he said proudly, and Aether blushed even more when he received a kiss on his cheek. He shuddered, feeling how damp the scarf covering his eyes had gotten with tears.
“If it’s too much, you know what to say,” Zhongli said kindly, but his fingers were less kind as they mercilessly sought after his most ticklish spots on his thighs. Aether shook heavily, his head bouncing up and down.
“Ihihihit’s fihihine! AAHAHaha!” he squealed. He wasn’t even sure what drove him this far. Maybe he just wanted to spoil Zhongli. It was rare to see, or well, hear, Rex Lapis have this much fun. He wanted to give him that fun for as long as he thought he could handle.
Childe, though, wasn’t making this much easier. His fingers had grown more eager after all to tickle Aether’s armpits more viciously, and Aether struggled tiredly as he endured both the armpit- and thigh tickling for some more.
“HEHehe! GAhh!” he gasped when Zhongli’s fingers traced lower again, behind his knees which caused Aether to giggle and chuckle.
“P-p-plehehease,” he muttered in between his uncontrollable giggles. 
“Hm?” Zhongli and Childe hummed, but Aether didn’t finish that. He could take it for some longer, he definitely could. So, both gentlemen actually tickled him until he thought he had barely the ability to laugh anymore. And even though he did not say the word ‘mora’ they stopped. 
Aether twitched in surprise when the blindfold was removed, and he was pulled up by Childe. “Either you just have neverending stamina or you’re enjoying this way too much,” he said as he gently placed Aether in Zhongli’s lap. Aether blushed but didn’t say a word. He wasn’t sure what it was either, but he definitely didn’t hate it. 
Zhongli held him closely and kissed his head.
“Yes, Aether. Thank you, you have a beautiful laugh. I couldn’t get enough of it. I apologize if I caused you any pain or discomfort,” he said kindly. Aether relaxed against Zhongli, smiling. 
“Y-you didn’t... I’m fine, hehe. H-happy birthday, Zhongli...” he said tiredly. Zhongli cupped his cheek and looked him in the eyes, wearing a warm and fond expression.
“Thank you, Aether. You were the best gift ever,” he said, and he kissed him. Right. Aether could definitely get used to this. His feet were resting in Childe’s lap as the harbinger massaged them kindly, and even though Aether had been tense at first, suspecting more tickles or dirty tricks, he started to relax and welcomed a short slumber in Zhongli’s arms.
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Characters based on real people huh? You sure they aren't just a poor reflection of characters you liked and stole ideas from? Then bastardised into "Rosalie" and "Thane"?
I’ve no idea what you’re talking about, anon. I’ve had this story since I was about 13 years old. I’ve had drafts that go back literally years. I used to post this as a wwyff back on Quotev. The name “Rosalie” came from the song “The Yellow Rose of Texas”:
“You can talk about your Clementine or sing of Rosalie”
and “Thane” is a fake name the character uses. It’s actually a reference to Mass Effect’s Thane Krios, as I’m a big fan of the games.
Rosalie is based off (albeit very lightly) of Ah Toy. A very much real historical person that is referenced and seen all the time in Western movies and shows. 
Rosalie is an engineer, and a character that’s meant to be a foil to Thane. Thane is based off of Doc Holliday, a real life historical figure. You can tell because Thane has a penchant for drinking, is a practicing doctor, and as I described him, “the crew’s sharpshooter”. Doc Holliday, according to legend, is second to none when it came to his shooting skills. 
And while we’re here, and you’re accusing me of stealing, let’s go through the rest of the characters that I have apparently “stolen and bastardized”. 
- Valerian Jameson Polk is inspired from the 1950s view of the cowboy. He has bright red hair, dimpled cheeks and freckled cheeks, and has a very black and white view of right and wrong. His entire character literally is supposed to be based off of Coca Cola adverts and cigarette ad models. 
- Sergio DeLuca’s character is a reference to the culture of “spaghetti westerns”. Back in the day, a spaghetti western was called such because it was a western with a foreign (often times Italian, hence “spaghetti”) director. Sergio takes his name from what is the most famous Italian Western director, Sergio Leone. He’s the director behind such classics as “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly”. He’s a private detective, not unlike a pinkerton, which was a real life detective agency (that still exists) from the 1800s. 
- Peter Emerson Hughs is based off of Bass Reeves, the first black marshal of the United States. He’s often considered to be the inspiration of “The Lone Ranger”. He was a fucking badass. 
- ????? is not based off of anything, as they’re part of my story with the Vidarri, an alien race in my story.
- Ophelia is based off of Belle Starr, another historical figure and infamous female outlaw. She’s supposed to be a Harpii. This alien race is obviously based off of the Greek “harpy” from myth. 
- Javier Ortega is a reference to Wash from Firefly, and The Outsiders. Firefly is a space western. Am I allowed to base a character off of one of my favorite TV shows, anon? Am I allowed to have his character be a greaser, like in the Outsiders?
Besides the most basic, bare bones look and certain styles of the character, they all have backstories that I created by myself, originally. I don’t want to go into their backstories, as I’d like to think that, you know, there should BE SOME surprise to my story that, by the way, is still being written. Their personalities are their own, their stories are their own, and my story- that I’ve had for seven years now- is just that. My story. 
Thank you and good day, anon. 
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douchebagbrainwaves · 3 days ago
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YOU GUYS I JUST THOUGHT OF THIS
Lots of small companies flourished, and did get Galileo in big trouble when he said it—that you can use this technique to detect bias whether those doing the selecting want them to be doctors than who want to do that they can't? They could evolve into ads. It is a case in point. On top of its unpromising origins, employment has accumulated a lot of maximally interesting tokens, the result would be a great thing—so great that everyone who hears about it will immediately sign up. If anyone wants to see the distinction. So the solution may be to look at it. To protect such sites, and to save long-distance calls starts to seem niggling. What people usually mean when they say they like what they do: you call a function on the macro's arguments, and so, later, was Perl.
They won't like what you've built. And so I just gave. Programmers started to feel sheepish about working there. Fortunately we've come up with elaborate rationalizations. That may be what public speaking is really for. You can never tell what message a city sends till you live there, or even to compare spam filtering rates meaningfully. It was a great writer—or at least the term artificial intelligence, and was so shocked that the next day, and there are no excuses. And while they may introduce startups they like are the ones who took 6.
Thanks to Dan Bloomberg, Paul Buchheit, Jessica Livingston, Robert Morris, and Fred Wilson for reading drafts of this, and to Lisa Randall, and Aaron Swartz for reading drafts of this, and I haven't seen much since to contradict it. During the Bubble, companies going public with no earnings were being derided as concept stocks, as if you couldn't get anything done in Blub? Know where you stand. To protect such sites, and the answer is yes, apparently. Is gaming the system mattered less than others, and this gives you an edge over 50 year olds with powerful connections. Not everyone who gets rich now does it by creating wealth—that startups have not spread as broadly as the Industrial Revolution. So if you want to have to work harder than you expect. Thanks to Sam Altman, Paul Buchheit, Patrick Collison, Jessica Livingston, Geoff Ralston, and Fred Wilson for reading drafts of this. What makes a good founder? It would not be a coincidence? Things that used to be bolted together. And since fundraising is one of the people you're talking about, you may be the more important of the two-job route is dangerous because it teaches you what a compiler is.
The Venture Capital Squeeze November 2005 In the process we may decrease economic inequality. It must be terse, simple, and hackable. But that was not the first company Paul Allen and Bill Gates would be rich, but they pay attention; it's when they notice you're still there. Even others that seem quite distant. It's hard to design something for a group of your peers? A lot of startups worry what if Google builds something like us? If your competitors offer employees stock options that might make them rich, while you were still employed in your previous job you ever found yourself saying Why doesn't someone make x? TV was still young in 1960; only 87% of households had it. Which means if you're making something at least one founder usually the CEO will have to be better for kids in this one case if parents were not so unselfish. The other way makers learn is from examples.
That's true now, and what's good design for one group might be bad for your career to say that it would be huge. It's isomorphic to the very successful technique of letting people pay in installments: instead of a lifetime's service to a single central Vax. As the roast turkey appeared on the table, his alarmingly perceptive 5 year old son suddenly asked if the turkey had wanted to pay people proportionate to their value, they couldn't have figured out how to use it themselves, and standing in this world is what matters, not standing in their family can win them points in the same language, so languages spread from program to program like a virus. While the surface manifestations change, the underlying cause is usually that they've become demoralized. Building. It's more important to users than where you went: you'd have to induce it deliberately. Like steroids, these sudden huge investments can do more for their portfolio companies, do startups with female founders outperform those without? Nor do we need to. And for us founders it blunted the terrifying all-or-nothing proposition.
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rubix-writings · 21 days ago
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Punisher Pt. 8
Eighth part of Punisher. This has been sitting in my drafts forever, I’m not in love with it, but want to get the story moving along. This is a Chicago PD/Fire imagine with an original character. I don’t own any of the plot points or characters from the show. Also, it doesn’t follow any particular season or sequence in the shows.
Series Summary: Josephine (Jo) never expected to find support and pure love when she left Los Angeles. She ran away to Chicago and was content with living an insignificant, hidden life. But everything changes when she walks into Molly’s to get a job.
Josephine (OC) x Jay Halstead
The italicized lines are internal thoughts of the character.
Warnings: language, mentions of drinking, mentions of violence
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The week after the renewal I hardly saw or spoke to Jay. A case came in the day after and the entire Intelligence Unit rarely left the station. From what Will told me, it was a house invasion and so far only one young child survived, but they’re coming close to catching the people who did it. 
I thank the man handing me brown bags full of take-out. The thin handles dig into my palms as I make my way towards the precinct. I try to hide my face in my warm scarf, as my eyes water from the cold wind flying around the street. I quickly jog up the steps and dodge the people exiting the building. Trudy’s working the front desk per usual. She shoos a man in an expensive suit as I walk up to the front desk.
“Hey Trudy,” I smile and grab her meal out of one of the bags.
“You got something for me,” she asks in her normal pleasant tone. I slide the closed container across the top of the desk. She inspects the meal quickly before closing the lid again. “I’ll buzz you up.” 
I grab the handles, hopefully for the last time, and walk up the stairs to the wire gate closing off the Intelligence Unit. My heeled boots announce my entrance to the team. Kevin and Adam are hunched over a computer, while Haley and Voight are going over the board taped with various pieces of information. 
“I smell Angelino’s!” Adam announces. 
“That’s impressive,” I stand in the middle of the room and gesture with the heavy bags. Adam and Kevin leave their current task behind and take the food away to the kitchen. “Hello to you too,” I say under my breath. 
“Hey, Jo,” Hayley waves. 
“I’m Hank,” Voight reaches forward to shake my hand. This was the first time we officially met since he doesn’t come to the bar. I only know him from stories and photos. 
“Nice to finally meet you.”
“Thanks for bringing this by, there’s only so much vending machine food one can take,” Hayley interjects. 
“Of course, it’s from everyone at Molly’s.” Jay and Kim walk up the steps, they are donning their heavy winter coats and their cheeks are pink from the cold. Jay smiles as we make eye contact, I can’t help but smile back. 
“Hey Jo! What are you doing here?” Kim asks. 
“Angelino’s! You guys have to get in here before it’s gone,” Adam yelled with a mouth full of food. Kim dashed to the kitchen to join the rest of the team. 
“You should get in there, that sounded like a threat,” I say to Jay. 
“I’m sorry I haven’t reached out this week, after everything that happened at the renewal,” Jay practically whispers. His eyes are red and purple circles sit underneath, his lack of sleep is apparent. 
“Hey, there’s no need to apologize about it, that’s not why I’m here. Will found me right away to fill me in. I get it, well I don’t fully get it, but you know,” I match his tone and step towards him, placing a comforting hand on his forearm. 
“Thanks,” Jay looks towards the floor. 
“How’re you doing?” It’s a stupid question, he’s obviously consumed by this. 
“I’ll be better once we finally get the people who did it,” I slide my hand down his arm to find his hand. He grasps it immediately, clinging to any part of the outside world that isn’t tainted by this case. 
“You call me if you ever need a break, even just for a minute okay?” I take a step closer and Jay nods. 
“You want to stay and eat with us? I can get us some plates and sit in the interrogation room,” Jay offers. 
“As intriguing as an interrogation room sounds, I have to get to Molly’s. You’re not the only one pulling a late shift tonight, except I’ll be making the world drunker, not better.”
“Some would say that’s better,” I laugh. 
“Be careful out there detective,” Jay leans forward and kisses my temple.
“You too,” I squeeze his hand before letting go. I walk down the steps to head out of the precinct. 
***
It took a few more days for the case to finally come to a close, but not in a way everyone hoped. The Intelligence Unit found the criminals that killed the family but soon after they were arrested, men in suits came into the precinct and took them away. They claimed that these men were a part of a bigger operation trying to take down a syndicate. So they practically get to walk free in witness protection and not pay for the heinous crimes committed. 
The entire team were angry and rightfully so. A few of them sat quietly at a table against the wall drinking to try and shake the bad case. It’s hard to watch as I know there’s nothing I can do to ease their pain. 
“They’ll be okay,” Stella says. I keep staring at the table and watch Jay bring his whiskey to his lips. 
“How do you know that?” I genuinely ask. 
“Sadly, this isn’t the first case like this and worse, it won’t be their last,” Stella starts pouring tequila into shot glasses. “Alcohol helps.”
“Stella, are you sure that’s the best idea?”
“It’s one shot,” she brushes off and takes the tray over to the table. The Intelligence Unit gladly accepts and down the shots without hesitation. This isn’t going to end well. 
The table orders three more rounds of shots, but most of them stop once they start feeling tipsy and the weight they were carrying around was finally lifted. Jay on the other hand kept ordering whiskeys. I stand behind the bar and watch the once stoic man begin to crumble. He’s not crying or yelling, but his demeanor is different. Kim walks up to the bar while putting on her coat. 
“Hey Jo, can you keep an eye on Jay? He’s taking this one really hard. He had to tell the kid what happened to his family when he woke up in the hospital, stuff like that sticks with you,” she puts her hands on the bar top. 
“Of course, thanks for the heads up,” I look back to the table and see Adam and Kevin getting up, leaving Hayley and Jay at the table. Adam and Kevin wave before heading out the front door with Kim. I’m happy that Jay has Hayley, she gets it way more than I ever could. Normally it’s fun to watch Hayley and Jay interact, it’s like a brother and sister pushing each other’s buttons. There’s no humor between the two right now, Hayley is leaning forward, her brows furrowed trying to get through to Jay about something. I pour a few drink orders before heading over to take the empties away from their table. 
“Jo!” Jay slurs, if he wasn’t drunk out of pain his slurred speech and lazy eyelids would’ve been really cute. 
“Hey guys, can I get you anything? Water, maybe?” I ask while grabbing the empty beer bottles and glasses. 
“I’d like another whiskey, no ice. Hayley?” 
“Jay - “ Jay cuts Hayley off.
“No no no, I’ll order it at the bar. I gotchu Hales,” Jay gets up and walks a diagonal line towards the bar. 
“Is this normal?” I ask Hayley as we both watch Jay. 
“It’s not the first time, but it doesn’t happen often,” Hayley sighs. Hayley rubs her eyes, obviously tired. 
“Hayley, I got him, you go home,” she shakes her head. 
“No I’m fine -”
“You’re tired, I’m almost off shift anyway. I’ll give him a ride home, it’s not a big deal. Go get some rest,” she opens her mouth to fight, but it turns into a yawn proving my point. 
“Call me if anything changes okay?” I nod as she puts on her jacket and heads out of the bar. I gather up the empty bottles and glasses sitting on the table and make my way behind the bar. 
“Jojo, one whiskey neat,” Jay hiccups. I giggle and pour Jay a nice glass of cold water. 
“Whiskey Jojo, I can’t drink straight vodka.”
“It’s water Jay, and I’m not a huge fan of this little nickname you’ve started,” Jay smiles and takes a sip of water. 
“I think it fits you.”
“Keep drinking that water,” I roll my eyes and I start cleaning the used glasses. Jay makes himself comfortable on the stool while sipping his water and causally watches me finishing up my work. Kelly comes in to keep Stella company since she’s closing tonight, but gets sucked into sharing stories with Jay at the end of the bar. 
Stella and I start to seal open bottles and close out tabs. I peel off to grab empties and clean tables while she deals with a few more customers. I constantly look towards Jay and Kelly, worried that Jay will start breaking down or switch moods, but it never happens. Jay continually laughs with Kelly, but his eyes start to droop as his exhaustion starts to beat out the alcohol in his system.  
“Do you mind if I bail early? Make sure he sleeps in his own apartment rather than the floor of Molly’s,” Stella laughs and nods her head.
“Yeah I’m good, drive safe,” I squeeze her arm before grabbing my things from the back. When I start making my way over to Jay, his head is resting in his hand that’s propped up on the bartop. 
“Hey Kelly, you’ll stay with Stella while she closes right?”
“Of course, don’t worry she’ll put me to work,” I thank him and then put my arm on Jay’s bicep. 
“Jay, c’mon let’s get you outta here,” he clumsily tries to stand. 
“If you want to get outta here, Jojo. Lead the way,” he grabs his jacket and starts walking towards the door without me.
“Go get ‘em Jojo,” Stella mocks. I point at her with a look that could kill.
“Don’t,” I quickly chase after Jay so he doesn’t trip down the few stairs leading from the bar. I grab him, not fully trusting his ability to stay upright. “C’mon, this way,” I wrap my arm around his torso and hook his arm around my shoulders. 
“If you wanted to cuddle, all you had to do was ask,” he slurs. I bite my tongue and hope he’s too drunk to see the blush on my cheeks. I rest him against my car as I unlock the passenger door. 
“Wait is this your car?” 
“Yes, one you’ll be getting in,” I open the door and wait for Jay to climb in. 
“Do I need to sign a waiver first?” 
“Get in the car,” Jay laughs at his joke, but finally gets into the passenger seat. 
It didn’t take long to get to Jay’s apartment from the bar, but in that short time he managed to change all my set radio stations to all the Christian pop stations because he thought it was hilarious. But as the night carried on, Jay starts to succumb to his fatigue, he’s sleeping with his head leaning against the window.
“Jay help me out here,” I plead. Jay shakes himself awake and leans into me allowing me to pull him out of the car. I lock the car quickly and grab Jay’s waist making our way into his building. 
“Just a little bit further,” I coax Jay to make the last few steps out of the elevator and into the hallway. Jay struggles to unlock his front door, after a few minutes and refusing my help multiple times Jay opens his apartment. 
“See, I told you I’d get it,” Jay strides through the door making his way to the living room and falls down on the leather sofa. 
“Yeah, you got me,” I say while taking in Jay’s apartment. It’s a lot more put together than I thought it would be, don’t get me wrong there’s a ton of sports memorabilia, but at least it’s all neatly framed. It looks like all the furniture was bought together, rather than gathering old hand me downs. I throw my purse and jacket on the counter, then start the search through the kitchen cabinets to find a glass. 
“Cabinet closest to the fridge,” Jay yells. I furrow my brow as I walk over the said cabinet and sure enough even in his tired, drunken state he’s right. I pour Jay a glass of water and make my way over to the sofa where he’s laying face down into the cushions. I run my hands through his soft hair making him stir to turn to face me. 
“There’s a big glass of water on the coffee table when you need it,” he closes his eyes and smiles.
“You’re so beautiful.”
“How’d you know, your eyes are closed?”
“Your gorgeous face is printed on my eyelids,” and now I’m happy his eyes are closed, I can’t control my blushing cheeks. 
“I got to head home Jay, you sure you’ll be okay?” I rise and take his military boots off since it doesn’t seem like he’ll be moving from the sofa anytime soon. 
“Don’t worry your pretty little mind,” Jay cuddles one of his throw pillows causing a massive smile on my face. 
“Text me tomorrow Jay.”
“Hey Jojo.”
“Yeah Jay?”
“Get ready, I’m gaining the courage to ask you out.”
“Thanks for the heads up,” I grab my stuff and leave Jay’s apartment. 
***
I walk into Molly’s the next day to start my shift. Most of the lovely firefighters of Firehouse 51 are at the bar this afternoon, since they have the day off. 
“JOJO!!” they scream out when they see me. I instantly stop in my tracks and search for Stella, who's hiding behind Kelly. 
“You dug your own grave,” I whisper to her. 
“I’m sorry, it just came out.”
“Yeah I’m sure,” I throw my things into the back office before going behind the bar. 
“So… How was the rest of your night?” Stella asks, I’m grateful that she’s whispering. 
“Nothing happened, Jay passed out on his sofa and I left.”
“I highly doubt that’s it. He didn’t say anything more to you?” 
“Um…” The phone starts to ring. “I got it!”
“This isn’t over,” Stella goes to bring over some orders to tables. 
“Molly’s,” I say as I pick up the landline. 
“Hi baby,” his voice is rough like gravel and low. A voice I hoped to never hear again in my life. “You thought you’d run away and I’d never find you? I am your future, you’ll regret ever leaving -” 
I hang up the phone before he can say anything else. I can hear my blood pounding in my ears and it’s like at any second my legs are about to give out. 
“Jo you okay?” Matt asks, bringing me out of my own mind. 
“Ugh yeah, spam. It was a spam call, I always almost fall for it,” I smile. He’s going to kill me. 
Taglist: @whit85-blog @bestillmystuckyheart @nocturnalherb16 @5sos-imagine​ @miranda0102
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whindsor · a month ago
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the trials of online dating, pt 1
so @witchofinterest asked about mika and bucky meeting online, as is alluded to in the first episode of falcon and winter soldier, and, well...here’s part one oops!
After hours of research and thought and more research and more thought, Bucky decided HiLove was the best option. The general consensus on the forums was that people were looking for something more than a hookup, and it was an app that only allowed those identifying as female or non-binary to send the first message after a reciprocating match. The very, very small part of him that remained in 1943 balked at this, but the more he thought about it, the more he liked the idea. His entire past was a quick Google search away; his potential matches deserved to know, and he didn’t want to feel the sting of rejection if they found out the hard way. A win-win.
At least, as much of a win as an ex-hydra-super-soldier was going to get.
It was all Dr. Raynor’s idea, and it wasn’t his favorite, but he was willing to jump through the hoops and say all the right things so that he could be done with this probationary period and move on with his life.
He did his best filling out the profile. Age? 106. Interests? Well he couldn’t very well put knives and psychotherapy, so instead he put hiking, technology, and reading. Job? That was easy. Former military. He didn’t need to put that he originally got drafted in the 40s, and spent the last however many years as the fist of a rogue military organization; that would be part of the Google search. He put his real name, because Dr. Raynor made him, and clicked okay. He’d been avoiding this for weeks now, and if he didn’t at least have it up whenever he saw her later that day, she would write in that stupid notebook like those scientists used to.
This was a terrible idea.
This was the worst idea.
Somehow the goddamn push notifications got turned on, and within the hour the app started going off. He eyed his phone for the first few minutes before giving in a swiping it open.
Mistake number two.
A woman in her 50s messaged him, and apparently he had to swipe a certain way to see this message. Once he saw the message - and the photos attached to it - he nearly threw his phone against the wall. Back when he last dated, in 1943, he thought he appreciated a bold woman. Bold by today’s standards was a little more than he was ready for.
He was afraid to open the app after that, and so he just let his phone sit and buzz while he watched the EuroCup matches and counted down the minutes until his appointment. There were other things he could do to occupy his time, like visit the sushi shop or the library. But that seemed overwhelming, so instead he sat on the floor and watched his games until it was finally time to go into the clinic.
“So, James,” Dr. Raynor started, crossing her legs and pretending to be casual. Bucky sat with his hands clasped, his knee bouncing as he readied himself for the interrogation. Or therapy, as they called it. “Anything new to report today?”
“Well, I tried that dating app thing you told me to do,” he said. If he started with this, then maybe he could take up enough of the time with the bullshit and avoid having to talk about stupid stuff, like what he thought about during his panic attacks or whether his arm still hurt. The look on Dr. Raynor’s face said she didn’t believe him.
“Oh yea? Which one?” she asked, her voice just as convincing as her face.
“HiLove. Seemed the best option,” Bucky said, hoping that was the right answer. She raised her eyebrows.
“Well, it wasn’t a bad move,” she said. “Any matches so far?”
He allowed one bark of a laugh before schooling his features again. “One woman, uh, wanted my appraisal of her physical appearance.”
“She sent you a nude.”
“She - what?”
“She sent you a nude. A nudie, a dirty picture, a-“
“Yea, yea, I get it,” he interrupted, not wanting to beat the dead horse. “Yea, she sent me ‘a nude’.”
“Any others?”
“Any others what?”
“Don’t be stupid,” she said, rolling her eyes. “Did any other women send messages? Or nudes?”
“I don’t know, I stopped looking after the first one,” he said. Oftentimes he lied to Dr. Raynor, but this time he could be truthful. She sighed, holding her hand out and beckoning with her fingers. He pulled his phone from his back pocket and handed it over, watching as she easily keyed in his passcode. Casual security breach. That was fine. That totally wasn’t something that kept him up at night.
“Oh Jesus Christ,” she muttered, expertly swiping through the notifications. She moved a little too easily, as if she were familiar with the app. He decided not to comment on that. “Alright, James, we gotta filter some of the shit outta here.”
“I’d prefer to filter all the shit, but that’s just me,” he said. This was a stupid exercise, but at least it was manageable, and it would keep her occupied for a while.
“Too young, too young, way too young…” Was Dr. Raynor talking to herself or to him? It didn’t matter. She kept swiping. “Chaser, chaser, catfish…ah, here’s a good one.” She opened the profile and handed it over to him.
“She’s also way too young,” he said, looking at the picture of a beautiful woman. Dark hair, dark eyes, bright smile…someone that definitely would catch his eye, if he didn’t feel the weight of his past keeping his head down.
“She’s thirty-three.”
“That’s, like, a third of my age.”
“Well, if we discount all the times you were in ice, really you’re somewhere in the thirty-five to thirty-seven range. That’s not a bad gap.”
He glared up at her for a moment before going back to the profile. He furrowed his brows as he read further. “She’s Romanian.”
“Ah, you finally noticed that, did you?” she said, and he could hear the gloating in her voice. “What, is she not your type?”
“I don’t think I have a type anymore.”
“Then swipe and see what happens.”
“I don’t know, Doc,” he said, shaking his head. This was not how it was supposed to go.
“Don’t know what?” she asked, tilting her head to the side. He shrugged, looking off to the side. Out of the corner of his eye he saw her slide the notebook off the table.
“Oh, c’mon, Doc, that’s not notebook worthy,” he said. She paused her pen, but still tapped it threateningly against the paper.
“Then tell me what you ‘don’t know’ about matching with that woman,” she said.
“I haven’t been on a date in eighty years, I think a little trepidation is normal even without the shit I’ve dealt with between now and then,” he said. “It just doesn’t feel right going into something without…without the other person knowing the full story.”
She narrowed her eyes at him. “Are you a virgin, James?”
“No.” What did that have anything to do with it? “Why?”
“Just making sure I have the full story,” she said. “So you don’t want to chance anything cause they don’t know everything about you.”
“Well…”
“Counterpoint: do you know everything about her?”
He gave her an annoyed look, the matching sensation bubbling behind his sternum. “It’s not the same, and you know it.”
She sighed again, scribbling something down. Inside, he wanted to rip the notebook from her hands. On the outside, he just glanced down at his phone. The screen had darkened from lack of activity, and he tapped it to wake up again. The same pretty woman smiled up at him, the little pink bar waiting for him to confirm or deny their connection.
“Want me to do it for you?” Dr. Raynor asked, her pen now still. “Cause I will.”
“I can do it, thank you,” he said. “I just don’t know if I want to.”
“Bullshit, James,” she said. “She’s a pretty girl, and it’s online. You can ghost her if you get too scared. It’s an asshole move, but technically it’s an option.”
He’s a ghost story.
“I’m not gonna do that to anyone,” he said.
“What, ghost them? Or burden them?” she asked, leaning forward and resting her elbow on her knee.
“Either. Both.” Again, with the honesty. Idiot move.
“James, listen,” she said, making him look up at her. Her tone was gentle - at least, Dr. Raynor version of gentle. “Everyone has baggage. You’ve gotta start unloading some, or you’re gonna end up getting crushed by it. The worst has already happened to you. Sometimes, if you want the good stuff, you have to go out and get it.”
Bucky stared down at the phone, wishing that it was just the jitters that he felt instead of a cold stone of dread. The worst had already happened to him, a thousand times over. Would rejection feel like nothing, or would it break him?
Well, Dr. Raynor was right. He wouldn’t know unless he tried.
“Alright, Mika Corsof,” he said, swiping the pink arrow. “Let’s see what happens.”
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bryanastar · a month ago
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Sending a Short Story Out For Publication: Writing Update 5
Howdy Tumblr! Sorry for the late update. I had to write an essay yesterday for English. Also, it’s standardized testing season at school, which is never fun. It’s honestly a miracle I’m getting any writing done at all. Speaking of which...
Novels:
Unfortunately, I had to abandon writing my Camp NaNoWriMo project due to a combination of not having enough time and the project just being too complex to be able to complete in a NaNoWriMo month. Unlike with A Fable of a Wolf Boy, I do actually have a solid vision for this story, but it needs more time to settle. I can’t write it in a month... or two... or three... or even four or more. A first draft for this will probably take me about a year to complete with feedback throughout the whole process.
That doesn’t necessarily upset me as I do have a backup project I can work on. I probably won’t do it for the rest of Camp NaNoWriMo since, like I said, it is standardized testing season this month, so I want to focus on short fiction since that’s easier for me to complete in a tightened time frame.
Speaking of short fiction—
Short Fiction:
Yes, you read that title right. I’ve sent one of my stories out for hopefully publication to a magazine... chapbook... hybrid... thing called “The Hungry Ghost Project”. This story had been previously rejected by a contest (that I had no chance of winning but entered anyway since it was sent to me by my future sister-in-law) so it already had some light editing.
I originally wanted to do some decently major revisions on this piece before sending it out to publication, but the deadline for this magazine was April 16th, so I just kinda went “Yolo” and did some light editing before emailing it in. I originally sent this piece in on Saturday and apparently their response time is less than a week, so I should be hearing from them really soon.
Do I think it’s gonna get accepted? Nah. Not really. It’s not that I think it’s a bad piece. The story is about an old man who runs a bar for supernatural creatures, and it takes place the day before he dies as he reflects on how his workaholism has basically destroyed all his human relationships. The writing is a bit offbeat, but not in a literary fiction way (which is what most magazines publish). The story is simple and sad, while still having humor (despite it being only 800 something words).
It’s certainly not perfect by any means. The middle is a bit frantic (both for better and for worse) and the ending is a bit too overt. I also wish it was a tad more atmospheric than it currently is. Still, I’m proud of this piece, and I enjoy reading it. It’s like my beloved eldest son—my depressive, alcoholic eldest son desperately trying to get into college because he wants to make me proud even though I’m already proud of everything that he has achieved.
When he inevitably gets rejected, I already have some major revisions planned thanks to some coming critique from The Young Writers Institute. After that, I actually have a second magazine in mind that I want to submit this piece too, called Outlanderzine. I was actually floored when I first read a story from this magazine, not because I though the writing was spectacular, but because it was the first time I actually felt a magazine vibed with what I wrote.
The story I read was about an old man in a graveyard, and it was weird, and sad, and the writing was nice without being too literary. My story literally fits right in. I swear, I have never felt happier than now about discovering a magazine. A lot of the “about” sections for magazines are so intimidating, and their work never seems to jive with what I write, but this felt so true to me and my writing interests. Even if I don’t end up submitting this specific story, I’m definitely keep it in mind for a different piece moving forward.
That’s all for now. See you next week Tumblr!
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vaix-journal · a month ago
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3.26.21 - Dream: Workaholic
The writing is intentionally choppy / vague, as this is a recording of a dream.
ACTUAL WRITING UNDER THE READ MORE:
The kingdom's government was stifling, absolutely atrocious. I had my personal griefs with it, but I had to keep my head down low, low, or they'd target me. I was already on thin ice - on their watchlist, and I didn't need to attract any more attention to myself. All my family and kin had been executed, already, for supposed "treason." Petty things, really. But it was a stern authority. I didn't want to be next, so I stayed silent... for now.
Being in their ill graces meant I was drafted for menial labor work. They disregarded my name, choosing instead to call me by a number - #2946. What a mouthful, and an eyesore to look at. I resented the name, but I couldn't do anything about it... over time, the number became ingrained into me, my own name forgotten amidst the rubbles of a time now past.
I kept my head down, and worked on what was assigned to me. Still resentful of what had been taken from me, but wise enough not to fight the system until I was better prepared for it. After several years, it seemed as though the supervisors were pleased with my work ethic, and promoted me to a higher position than simple drudgery work. That's what I'd been hoping for all along.
I was put in a factory as one of its workers, though this wasn't just any normal factory. It was part assembly line, partially individual office workspaces, and we went from to and fro, gathering "pieces" from the lines to create automatons built to serve the kingdom as its personal army. These entities were seemingly made from stone and clay and infused with magics that brought them to life. They required great skill to make, and not just any person could create one. Apparently I had such skills, the overseers had noted. It's why I'd been chosen for the task.
We were called Designers, due to our ability to design and create these creatures. They were a little unique to each person who created them; like living artwork, they would have some sense of personal flair. But all of the automatons served the same purpose; war and subjugation. They lacked the ability to think for themselves, or make decisions outside their programming. They were merely machines, and we were merely the tools used to create them.
As Designers, we were treated better than some of those enslaved to the kingdom, but not by much. We were provided adequate food, water, and shelter - but the living quarters we had were still packed full of people. There was no privacy here, and even our spaces to create were small and limited. It was by no means a luxurious lifestyle. It was still slavery at its finest.
But we had freedoms others did not. They allowed us to talk openly with each other as we worked; they weren't as strict that we work constantly, simply because they knew it would, in reality, stifle a Designer's creative flow. We only had to meet a certain status quo by a specified deadline. As long as that was fulfilled on time, the overseers didn't much care what we used our extra time for. But even while my comrades merrily chatted away, I chose to isolate myself, burying myself into my work. My output was higher than most, and soon I earned myself a reputation...
To the overseers, I was the perfect example. I didn't speak unless it was necessary or waste time socializing. I worked until I was too exhausted to, and then some. To my fellows... I was unapproachable. A workaholic. I avoided looking at them, busy as I was. I appeared unfriendly and distant from everyone around me.
I heard my fellow workers talking about me one day. It wasn't hard to overhear. "Max! Hey, Max, don't you remember me? We used to know each other, back when we were kids!" It had been quite some time since I'd heard my own name; it almost felt foreign. I didn't look up from what I was doing. I couldn't afford to be close to anyone, not again. Regardless of whether or not I wanted to be. I had an agenda. I had to see it to completion. And that couldn't stop for anyone.
"Dude, don't bother. #2946 ignores everyone. You won't be able to get through to them. It's a lost cause."
That individual conceded defeat, throwing their hands up in the air. I guess they were breaking their ties with me, now. It was for the best. But suddenly... I felt something. From someone else in the group, not the original speaker who'd tried to get my attention moments before.
{So... Max is their name.} Something felt different about this speech. I somehow knew it wasn't being voiced out loud, but was a thought... a feeling... drifting from his entity. An aura. An energy. {If they ignore someone who was a friend, how am I going to get their attention? Maybe if I work harder, like they do... they seem to value a good work ethic. I want to follow their example.}
There was a strange feeling of... admiration and compassion coming from this individual. It startled me; I was so used to my peers having disdain for my behavior, and talking behind my back. But this person felt different. Why?
I stole a glance in his direction; one of the few times I'd ever been coaxed to look up from my work. Most everyone was too busy with laughing and joking with each other to notice the gesture, but it was not lost on everyone.
The person whose thoughts I'd somehow read caught me staring at him. For a moment, we locked eyes. Then my anxiety and self-conscious nature kicked in fully, and I quickly turned away from him, embarrassed, pretending I hadn't seen him. But I knew deep down, he knew. We'd shared some kind of silent connection... and I didn't know how to feel about it.
No. I cannot let myself be distracted. I have plans tonight, after all.
---
Once the factory was closed for the day and I was to be excused back to the living quarters, I ducked out quietly from the backdoor. Nobody had noticed. The overseers didn't check in constantly - only every now and then. They were more lenient with the Designers... it was certainly an oversight on their part.
There wasn't much light left in the day. Within less than half an hour, it would be dark outside. Perfect for meeting up with my contacts discreetly.
It was time. I made sure I wasn't seen, and then headed for a relatively unused alleyway. Not many came through here; there was no need to, most of the time. Except for clandestine exchanges, that is - such as tonight.
"#2946. Let's get straight to the point. Do you have them?"
"Yes," I said quietly, rummaging around in my satchel and bringing out a small, golden key. I didn't look at the group, but I held out my hand with the object in it for them to take. "Down the street there is a warehouse. You'll find the automatons there. This key will let you in the door, but return it to its proper place before you leave, or you'll have trouble."
"Good, excellent. Thank you... is there anything you want for this?"
I looked at them, and shook my head. "No," I said, softly. "Just use them to help your cause."
Their eyes met mine. "You're a good person, #2946. Your contributions to the Rebellion will not go to waste."
That was the end of the exchange; I broke away from them, then, so as not to be seen with such a traitorous group. In truth, I had been overworking myself not for the cause of the kingdom... but rather to take down that twisted government. The more automatons I created, the more fighters would join the Rebellion, and without sacrificing human life.
My automatons were different, and few people knew this. Certainly not the overseers. Unlike everyone else, I'd discovered a secret to their creation; I left a bit of my soul in each of them, using a magic I called Soulkey. It looked like a giant golden key, created from my own core being, and it commanded and controlled these automatons. It overrode their native programming, making them fully my own. To be commanded by those I'd given access to, like the Rebellion group I'd just handed them off to...
Not even the Rebellion knew exactly what I'd done to make them different. All they knew was that I could get them automatons to fight the kingdom. I was a valuable asset to them and their plans... which aligned with my own. I wasn't about to forget the injustices the kingdom had done to my family. In my own way, I would strike back at that tyranny.
The days progressed as normal. There were no news headlines yet of any escapades involving the stolen automatons. I knew that the Rebellion was merely biding their time, as I had, looking for the perfect opportunity to strike. That day came, but not without its consequences.
I was in the middle of my work at the factory, when quite suddenly, my heart hurt with a tremendous pain exploding from my chest. I did not know what was the cause of it, but more and more pain began to wreak havoc to my body. I gasped in agony and fell to the floor, clutching my chest, writhing on the ground. It was too much. Too much! I heard screams and shouts as people ran towards me, concerned, but I couldn't tell what was happening anymore, and then my consciousness abruptly became dark...
---
When I awoke next, I was lying on a cot. Both overseers and peers were looking down at me, as if wondering what was happening. I tried to sit up, but everything still ached.
"What happened?" I rasped, still feeling breathless.
An overseer frowned. "You had some kind of sudden illness befall you. We are not sure what." "Some of us think it is perhaps you overworking yourself. But there's no proof of that," the overseer said unhappily, reluctant to admit that my work ethic was bad for my health.
I tried to shake my head. I didn't want to believe it was due to overworking, either. I had to continue to make my automatons... "Regardless, let me get back to work. I still need to create..."
This seemed to delight my overseers, but dismayed my peers. But it was the overseers again who responded, having the authority here. "No. Stay there and lie down. Work has been suspended for the day after what's happened."
"Surely not because of me?" I said, shocked. They shook their heads.
"No, not you. Factories around the kingdom have been suspended after an attack on the capitol was made today... by rogue automatons." I tried to keep from reacting, as I recognized what that meant. "There's going to be an investigation to see how the Rebellion group got ahold of their own automatons to launch a terrorist attack. Which means work for now is suspended."
I was dismayed by this news. "And what of the attack? What became of it? Was there... any damage done?"
"Unfortunately, yes. It was bad. This is a major blow to the kingdom," one of the overseers said, unhappy. He could not know I was, in fact, elated by this information. "It looks like the Rebellion has the upper hand, for now. Only a few are in custody; the majority of the group managed to get away. We did, however, destroy some of the automatons that were in league with them. Not all. But some."
"What terrible news," I said, dryly, though the overseers thought nothing of it. It was merely how I talked normally, so it wasn't out of the ordinary for me to appear apathetic.
More inane conversation followed until I was finally given some peace from overseers and peers alike to merely rest and recover. My thoughts turned inward as I thought to myself. So that's what it is, then. My condition was not because of overworking myself... it is because the automatons infused with my soul died. I believe those pieces returned to me... I can re-use them then, and create more. It would be hard to sneak around the official suspension to create more automatons for the Rebellion, but I was more determined than ever to make it work. The Rebellion now had a good lead; we couldn't afford to ruin it by my inaction.
I made sure nobody noticed my departure from the infirmary, and I crept back into the factory. It was eerie that it was so silent and abandoned as of now, but all my tools were still there, and my unfinished automatons. Time to infuse my soul yet again.
I drew out my magic, feeling the core of myself splintering; it manifested itself physically as a giant, golden glowing key, and I "unlocked" each automaton with it, feeling just a little more drained as I was doing so. In the middle of this exercise, I heard a gasp from behind me, and I whipped around to see who it was.
It was that person from earlier - the one I had locked eyes with. Had shared some kind of secret moment with. Was he now going to give me away to the authorities? My eyes glowed with a yellow sheen, reflecting my magic, wispy key still in hand. There was no denying what I was up to.
"So that's what you've been doing...! You're- you're using your soul to create them?"
I didn't know what he was thinking right now. I looked away, unsure of how to respond, how to crawl out of the situation I was in.
He walked forwards, quickly, closing the gap between us; alarmed, I backed up a few paces, but he caught up and grabbed my arm; firmly, yet... gently.
"Don't do that! You're... you're working with the Rebellion, aren't you? To put a stop to all the tyranny? But doing this... taking parts of your soul. You're going to kill yourself!"
Again, I somehow felt his aura radiating from his being. It was full of compassion - and concern. For me. Why me? Why did he care so much about a random individual? "No, I..." I began to protest, looking away. I didn't know how to respond. "That's not... it won't..."
"Please don't hurt yourself anymore... you don't have to do this solo. We could work together, you know."
I looked up, surprised, meeting his eyes yet again. They were soft and kind. "You... you would fight the kingdom too?" He nodded, letting go of my hand as he straightened himself. I simply stared impolitely. "Yes... and not just me. My friend group, we've all been talking. We also want to end the corruption. We were going to run away and join the Rebellion. Why don't you come with us?"
"I can't..." I said, regretfully. He looked so eager, so vivacious. There was an appeal to him I couldn't quite place. "I am aiding the Rebellion in my own way... if I stop now, we won't have the upper hand anymore."
He looked disappointed. I continued. "And besides... your friend group hates me."
"No, #2946 - Max. May I call you Max? They simply don't... understand you're actually good, underneath all that. They think you're devoted to the kingdom. But I know better. I know... things. You're not like that. I can tell."
For a moment, I had to wonder. Did he feel that same telepathic connection with me, from time to time? It was though we were drawn to each by some invisible force, like magnets attracting.
"What... is your name?" I asked, softly. I was afraid to know. Afraid to be close. After all, wouldn't that just make him a target, like my family from so long ago? Becoming close was a risk... I didn't know if I could take it. And yet, tonight I was feeling like taking that chance.
"It's Ghami."
"Ghami..." I repeated the name, and reached for him. He enclosed his hands around mine. For a moment, I wanted to forget everything I'd sought after, and simply follow him into the unknown. For just a moment.
"I... I need to finish my work." I said, slowly, backing out of the embrace and looking away.
"I understand," he said, "Just take care of yourself." He began to walk away. I almost called out for him, but stopped myself. No. Not now. No distractions. I had things to do. Resolved, I turned back to my unfinished creations, continuing to unlock their full potential. They would be the next soldiers on the frontline in the battle against the kingdom...
---
I'd managed to get in contact with one of the Rebellion members and delivered my next batch of products to them. In the back of my mind I was fearful, knowing what it would mean for me if any of those automatons were to be killed, but it was necessary. It's not like it'd give lasting repercussions; my soul energy returned to me upon leaving the automaton, giving me a continuous cycle of battery power for the next group. It was just... a painful process, is all.
Over the next few days, with the factories still closed down, my peers would hang out in the cramped barracks instead, talking amongst each other. Normally I would be ostracized, left in the corner. But these past few days, Ghami's friend group had hosted their socializing groups near me, in between myself and the exit. I was trapped, and resigned myself to listening to their petty banter and useless small talk.
Was it my imagination, or were they being nicer to me than before? I noticed Ghami kept stealing looks at me, as though he wanted to speak, but dared not to. Would this friend group make fun of us if they knew we... had a thing for each other? It was hard to tell. I didn't know what to do, and felt miserably awkward most of the time. But Ghami... his presence was calming, at least. It was a small comfort.
Days passed. There was great pain again, coursing through my body like electrical shocks. I knew what it meant, and so did Ghami. I supposed the rest of his group did, too, as they catered to my recovery. He must've told them my secret method. I didn't know if his group could be trusted, but he apparently trusted them. It made me less uneasy, as time went by. As though I had a network I could count on, instead of just... being alone.
But that peace wouldn't last.
The overseers stormed in and swooped down upon us, without warning, their voices booming.
"#2946. Get up. You are under arrest."
I didn't protest. I knew that they knew, and I didn't want to put up a fight. They must've figured from the destroyed automatons that it was my personal signature and flair of creation... condeming me in the process. Ghami and his group rose as if to make a scene, but I shook my head at them. "No," I said, quietly. "Don't. Don't squander your freedom, too. You have nothing to do with me."
They stood down. I stood up, facing the overseers, and stepped out towards them.
"I surrender. Take me." Iron chains were clasped onto my wrists, and I was led out of the building, peers and overseers watching alike. I hung my head, worried for my fate. I was likely to be executed... Why did this feel familiar, again? It's as if something similar had happened in a previous life, though I couldn't quite place it. I didn't remember how that story ended, and it worried me.
It was then that I felt a sharp pain connect with the back of my skull, then nothing.
---
My eyes fluttered open. It was bright, horribly bright. I couldn't move. I felt sick... and I wanted to throw up. It was as if poison was coursing through my veins. All around me there were people, but I didn't know what was happening. Couldn't process it.
"They're awake. Administer another dose."
Someone approached me with a syringe filled with a questionably-colored liquid. I knew it wasn't good for me, but I didn't know what it was, exactly. Just that it made me feel a sense of danger. I tried to struggle, but I was bound too tightly by chains. The needle pierced the side of my throat, dumping its contents into the veins there, and I immediately gasped in pain as the sickness washed over me tenfold, and I shut my eyes. The world was reeling, making it hard to think.
I don't know what they wanted. They were interrogating me, but I couldn't process anything. I don't think they intended to get anything of merit out of this questioning, only more excuse to torture me when I did not respond with what they hoped for. They cut into my skin, leaving large, bleeding gashes, and hit me with various objects, connecting force to my delicate, frail body. If it did not break the bones there, it surely would leave horrible, ugly bruises. Internal bleeding at its finest.
I felt something else injected into my throat, and it made it hard to breathe. A knife then connected with the side of my neck, as if they'd been trying to decapitate me, and I slid to the floor, unable to fight back as they beat me. My strength was draining from me... I could do nothing but flail weakly against my restraints.
Finally, it stopped... but it was all numb. A mixture of pain too great to process, and shock.
"They won't last the night. I think our work here is done." Someone said, though I didn't hear it. They left the room, satisfied with the results, leaving me in dim lighting as they extinguished whatever bright lamp had been bearing down upon me before. I whimpered, closing my eyes. I had no ability to save myself from this predicament, but perhaps...
{Help...} I projected, as hard as I could. Perhaps Ghami would hear it. Was it true that our connection was both ways? Or was it only me that could hear his thoughts and feelings? Would this reach him? I prayed that it would. {Help... please...} I thought again, weakly, feeling the last of my consciousness fade from my being...
---
Ghami's head snapped to attention. He had unmistakably felt Max cry out for help, and knew exactly where the authorities were holding them, too, all from that one signal. There was so much information to glean from it, including just how much pain they were in. In truth, Ghami was an Empath - a rarity in modern times, but he was able to sense the emotions and thoughts of others in general, though for some reason it was so much more amplified with Max. A second plea rang clearly throughout Ghami's mind, and he jumped up, wide-eyed.
"It's Max," he said, motioning to his group of friends, who had broken off from the overseers of the factory and were heading to join up with the Rebellion, though they hadn't yet gotten there. "We need to go save them, now - they're going to die! I know where they're being held. It's the central building up north!"
"Ghami, I don't doubt you, with your powers and all - but how are we going to do that? We don't have the firepower for infiltrating that place... and it's bound to be crawling with kingdom-aligned scum," someone in the group said. They were on board with the idea, Ghami could sense, just doubtful of how to execute such a feat.
"I think I have an idea... follow me!"
---
Ghami led his people back into the factory. The overseers were gone now, and it was deserted as it had been the past couple of days while the kingdom was in disarray. Ghami crept in farther, looking around. There! Max's current batch of automatons that had not yet been delivered to the Rebellion. They'd been keyed, though, and were very much alive... just waiting orders. Normally, Max would have to "approve" someone to order them around, but...
Ghami reached out to them. The connection to Max felt like a channel inside his mind, and he widened that influx, letting Max's own aura wash over his own. Perhaps this would be enough.
The eyes of the Designer flowed yellow, then, imbued with the same power of the Soulkey. Yes! It would be enough! Ghami reached forward again, and felt the automatons spring to life under his command.
"Come," he directed them, "Let us go free your master."
---
With Ghami leading the charge, they infiltrated the facility that Max was being held in without much resistance. Truth be told, the staff here were under-equipped for dealing with an automaton raid such as this, and it allowed Ghami and his group to quickly secure control of the entire area. Ghami rushed straight for the room he knew Max was being kept in, and burst through the doors, bracing himself for what he would find there.
Without question, this was it. An aura of pain and misery surged forwards, nearly collapsing Ghami to his knees from the pressure of it. It was easy to get lost in it, it was so profound - made all the more stronger by their connection. He'd opened more of that channel in order to use Max's powers, but in doing so he made himself even more vulnerable to the same pain that had encompassed Max's being entirely. He had to fight for each step, closer and closer to the broken, bleeding figure on the ground.
Once there, he began weeping for his beloved - for what they had done to them, and all the awful things they'd wrought upon him. But hope was not lost. Being an Empath had its own abilities - and he called upon his, feeling the magic swell up inside him before it burst forth, spreading out over Max's form.
The energies began mending the wounds of his fallen beloved, stitching them back together by each painstaking moment, one by one. He took great care to see that all of the injuries were given the utmost diligence in fixing, so that nothing was left behind, and slowly the screaming of a thousand pains died away, until there was only stillness. Ghami clutched Max's limp hand in his own, fatigued, but confident that his beloved would come away from this okay. But for now, Ghami was tired... too tired. He laid down to sleep, right next to where Max lay, and closed his eyes.
---
I should have been dead. And yet... I was not. Somehow, instead of in peril, I felt safe. Calm. Relaxed. Something warm was wrapped around my hand, and I forced my eyes open, as much as I didn't want to - as much as I wanted to stay sleeping forever - to look at what that was.
Ghami was beside me, his hand in mine. We were both on a bed of some sort, with the male Designer curled up next to me, sharing body warmth. "You came for me..." I whispered, a very small smile forming on my face. It was the first time I'd made that expression in years... I cannot remember the last time I had.
Looking around the room, I didn't know where we were. I wasn't in the same interrogation room, I knew that much. Nothing here except Ghami's soft breath on my chest felt familiar. But it was okay. He was here, and that was all that mattered.
Someone walked in. I immediately tensed up, expecting the worst - more overseers, or perhaps the kingdom guards that had beat me to near-death before. But it was neither of those; instead, I recognized the face as belonging to a member of Ghami's group. Relief poured over me to see an ally here. And then promptly embarrassment quickly followed as I realized I was still holding Ghami's hand. Hastily I let go, darting my gaze away, not knowing what to do.
I rubbed my shoulders anxiously, trying not to look at anything in particular, but no sneering remark ever came. Instead, "You know you don't have to hide now, right? You're one of us. You're safe. We all know how important you are to Ghami... there is nothing to be ashamed of."
Surprised, I actually looked at the person. There was nothing in her face that denoted any sense of malice or scorn. I wasn't... used to such acceptance. It baffled me. But I didn't have much time to contemplate this as Ghami rolled over. His eyelids fluttered for a moment, before he awoke fully, glancing up at me with those peaceful eyes of his.
"Oh, you're awake, Max! I'm so glad you're okay," he sat up, intentionally placing a hand over mine. I didn't know how to react, but I liked the touch. Hesitantly, I laid my other free hand over his, effectively sandwiching it in-between my two. He chuckled.
I'd almost forgotten the other individual was in the room until she cleared her throat, startling both of us. "I came here to check if you two were okay, but it looks like you are. I'll excuse myself. Holler if you need anything."
Before she departed the room, I called out, "Ah - wait! Wait. Where... where are we?"
She turned, "We're at the Rebellion's headquarters. They know who you are. So they're very ecstatic about making sure you get plenty of rest and time to recuperate from your injuries. We told them what the automaton deaths are doing to you..."
I was frustrated by this, but said nothing as she turned to leave again, seeing I no longer needed her. As she shut the door behind her, I fumed silently. Such information would mean the Rebellion would be less likely to use what I'd spent so much of my heart and soul into creating - quite literally. We needed that advantage! I didn't know how I was going to be able to continue to supply them with fighters, now that the authorities knew of my betrayal. I would not be allowed near the factories, and their security was probably higher after our escape.
Ghami could read me like an open book, and he shook his head. "No, Max. We know that you no longer have access to it, and that's a good thing."
"How so?" I questioned.
"Because pouring your entire being into that... it's slowly killing you."
"No," I countered, "The souls return to me after the automaton dies. I can recycle my energy infinitely."
"That's not what I'm saying."
{Max...} Ghami projected mentally towards me. Communicating this way suddenly felt so much more personal. Intimate. It commanded that I pay attention to what he had to tell me. {Fixating so heavily on nothing but vengeance is no way to live. That is what is slowly killing you. We must fight the kingdom's tyranny, for sure - that is unquestionable. But not like this.}
{You must live, too. Full of life and love and things outside of just anger. Don't forget how to be. Don't lose yourself to hate only. You are so much more than that...}
I drew his hand up then, in my own, and kissed it, closing my eyes, thinking over what he'd said to me. He was right; there was so much more to life than the wrath of revenge that had consumed me. I'd been afraid of pursuing it all this time, the echoes of my lost family haunting me. And yet... here, in front of me, was an individual who felt like "family" to me. Ghami was my sense of a foundation I hadn't had in all these isolated, lonely years. It was cold without him. But now - it was warm.
{You understand! I'm so glad.} He drew me into an embrace, and I melted fully into his strong, loving arms. {We will find another way. One that doesn't involve sacrificing yourself just to get ahead. Maybe it will take more time, careful planning, patience. But it'll be better this way. You'll see. We'll carve a future all our own, one step at a time.}
Yes... I thought to myself, though I knew Ghami was privy to my thoughts, too, and I was okay with that. I got the feeling that if I didn't want my thoughts read, however, he would respect that. But for now... Perhaps this future will be harder to carve out for ourselves this way. But it's one that I - we can do together... not alone. I don't have to rely on only myself now. In a way, that almost makes it just a little easier than before... Perhaps that's what I wanted all along. A place to belong. A sense of "family." A sense of "home."
And I think I've finally found it.
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smitten-with-witten · a month ago
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https://www.dallascowboys.com/news/tyrone-crawford-to-retire-after-9-year-career
“FRISCO, Texas – It appears that one of the Cowboys' longest-tenured veterans has called it a career.
It has long been suspected that the veteran pass rusher was mulling retirement, but Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy confirmed the news on Thursday afternoon.
"Tyrone, he came to me right away in the exit interview process … he is going to retire," McCarthy said.
The news brings an end to another lengthy Cowboys career, as Crawford was drafted by the organization in 2012. He spent his entire career with the Cowboys and appeared in 117 career games.
It's been a spring of departures, as fellow longtime veterans L.P. Ladouceur and Chris Jones have moved on from the club in recent weeks. With Crawford retiring and Sean Lee still weighing his options, Tyron Smith is now the Cowboys' longest-tenured player under contract.
It's been a winding career for Crawford in more ways than one. Originally from Windsor, Ontario, he started his college football career at Bakersfield College in Bakersfield, Calif., becoming a junior college All-American and eventually enrolling at Boise State.
From there, Crawford raised his stock to become a Day 2 draft pick, being selected 81st overall by the Cowboys in the 2012 NFL Draft. Crawford and former cornerback Orlando Scandrick were the first of what would become a bit of a pipeline of Boise State prospects to the Cowboys, as they were soon followed by the likes of DeMarcus Lawrence, Kellen Moore, Leighton Vander Esch, Cedrick Wilson and Darian Thompson.
The winding road didn't stop there, though, as Crawford's own versatility gave him plenty of stops along the Cowboys' defensive line.
The Cowboys' front office initially drafted Crawford to play defensive end in a 3-4 scheme, but the defense had shifted to a 4-3 under Monte Kiffin and Rod Marinelli by his second season. To add another wrinkle to the story, Crawford didn't even get to play that second season, as he tore his Achilles during the first full practice of training camp in 2013.
Initially a backup behind Henry Melton in 2014, Crawford got a look at the all-important under tackle position and eventually wound up starting 15 games for that year's 12-4 division champions.
Crawford's production at defensive tackle was intriguing, especially for such a young player. He finished that 2014 season with 33 tackles, three sacks, 14 quarterback hits and another 29 pressures, establishing himself as a promising young pass rusher.
Of course, that promise led to the defining moment of Crawford's career. At the outset of the 2015 season, the organization signed him to a five-year, $45 million contract extension, banking that his continued development would make him a smart signing in the long run.
Crawford wound up playing to the end of that extension, but it never quite panned out. He played the majority of the 2015 season with a torn rotator cuff and still managed 35 tackles and five sacks, but he never quite developed into the pass rushing under tackle. During the 2016 season, the emergence of Maliek Collins and Terrell McClain prompted the coaching staff to kick Crawford back outside to defensive end. He did enjoy success from the right end position, setting a career high with 5.5 sacks in 2018. Still, he finished his career with just 25 sacks – 22 of which came after he signed his extension.
To be fair, playing through injury was another defining characteristic of Crawford's Cowboy career.
In addition to Achilles injury and the torn rotator cuff, Crawford battled through various other problems. On the second snap of a 2018 win against Tampa Bay, he was carted off the field with an apparent neck injury. The other obvious injury were the hip problems that plagued him throughout the last few years.
Crawford dealt with injuries to both of his hips from the beginning of the 2018 season. He played through them that year and rehabbed his way during the 2019 offseason. Those problems caught up to him after just four games in 2019, though, and he was ultimately sent to injured reserve after just four games.
Despite the pandemic-shortened offseason in 2020, Crawford rehabbed his way back into good health and was available for the start of the season. But even by his own admission, the mileage started to take a toll.
"Obviously Year Nine, I have gone through injuries and they don't just go away," he said last October. "They feel better than when it happened. But they don't feel great."
Crawford did manage to play 40% of the defensive snaps last season, finishing with 14 tackles and two sacks. For his career, he finished with 194 tackles and 33 tackles for loss, to go along with his 25 sacks. That, in addition to being a two-time defensive captain and an outspoken leader on the defensive side of the ball.
Don't expect Crawford to stray too far away during his retirement, to hear it from McCarthy.
"He's going to be here in the area. He lives right down the road, and I've actually seen him a couple times since," he said.
It's a good bet the Cowboys will be seeing plenty of Crawford away from the field. On the field, they'd be wise to find a replacement who can match his versatility and leadership ability.”
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wevegottogetaway · a month ago
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I love you
First I love yous...do I need to say more? Anyway, please don’t hesitate to reach out for anything, whether that be comments, requests, feedback or just to have a chat! Happy reading xx
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It’s been three days of utter pandemonium ripping through your brain in complete disarray. Three days of pent up stress storming through your mind as you ran like a headless chicken to try and find a handle on a situation that frankly, you didn’t give a rat’s ass about.
It all started when your boss had called you in his office, his signature tyrant-resting face on, solid frown drafting his features in a look of severity. Well, this can’t be good, you’d immediately thought once you took a hesitant seat across his desk. You’d hoped for a benign reason behind the sudden meeting, and that the scowl on his face was merely a residual of some other trouble that had absolutely nothing to do with you.
Your prayers had fallen on deaf ears however, as the summoning proved to be a twenty minutes angry diatribe about how one of your most recent client had expressed their wish to withdraw from their deal and de facto, the company. Though it hadn’t been your fault per se, your boss didn’t have any reservations about reminding you of your supposed responsibility to keep your clients sated and on the company’s leash. He’d given you three days to fix it after that. Three days to persuade the client not to pull out of the deal, or you risked some serious downgrading if not redundancy.  
You’d called Harry for support the minute you got home and spent the whole evening brainstorming the craziest ideas to him. He’d listened patiently, holding your hand on the table as you both indulged in the Thai take-out he’d picked up on his way over. That first night, you’d barely slept as you laid in his strong arms, back to his chest. Your reeling mind had still been trying to conjure up any sort of plan that would help you out of this chaos; but for each switch of the glowing red digits on your alarm clock, your hopes had dwindled some.
You hadn’t known then, but Harry couldn’t find rest either as he spooned you against him. You two hadn’t been dating long, several months at best, but already your distress was unbearable to him and every bone in his body ached to do something to help you. This feeling of powerlessness was crawling out of his skin and swimming around like a shark amidst his prevalent thoughts of support, admiration and love. Because, while he’d shown you the first and conveyed the second countless times in the past, the third had yet to tumble out of his lips, despite the confession burning their flesh a bit stronger every day.
What really had had his mind reeling though, was knowing that maybe, just maybe, he had the power to make this situation go away; and for each switch of the glowing red digits on your alarm clock, his hopes grew some.
Your earlier utterance of the client’s name had been ringing through his mind in faint recognition, an itch starting to fester at his fingertips. Dialing a phone number was all it could take. A couple choice words and if he played his cards right, the deal would be back on the table. He’d known interfering was arguably a bad idea, and truthfully he’d always made a point of honor not to use his connections to serve ulterior motives (his or anyone else’s), but how was he supposed to do nothing when the person that caused you trouble was in fact a friend of a friend that might reevaluate their stance if he pitched in with a bit of charm and compelling words? How was he supposed to stay idle, watch you dissolve in an anxious mess, if he wasn’t as powerless as he thought?
So he didn’t. 
He’d originally planned on keeping you in the loop, but you’d been gone by the time his forest green eyes had fluttered back to consciousness the next morning. After a quick shower, a large mug of the coffee you’d left for him before running back to work, and locking your apartment with the spare key you’d given him a couple weeks back, he’d pulled out his phone. Two minutes was all it took for his friend to pass him your client’s number and without hesitation, he’d launched the call and brought his phone to his ear.
It took a bit longer than a couple of minutes for that conversation to take effect, but eventually his words hit their target. After all, his lovely nature could pierce through the most robust walls and stubborn minds. He didn’t even have to put on the charm that much, instead drawing earnest sentiments about your impeccable skills and rambling about how there was no better person to keep their account safe in the business. He’d gnawed at his lips the whole time, desperate to pull through but still scared to fail you somehow. You’d already been let down by the client and your boss, you certainly didn’t need your boyfriend added to the list.
The call had ended with their promise to reassess and consider your undeniable abilities in the equation, yet the next day you were once again convoked to your boss’ office with a snarly bark of your name. Puzzlement washed over you as you speed-walked after him. Why was he still so resentful with you when you’d gotten the client to reenter the contract?
Another twenty minutes of intense scolding provided you with that answer. With a disdainful gaze puncturing your poise, your boss told you that while your job was no longer on the line, you’d been given a firm warning about using your boyfriend as negotiator for the company’s dealings.
How he knew when you yourself weren’t aware of the fact, you didn’t know. In retrospect, your talk with the client had been suspiciously easy for someone who’d made their will to ditch the company crystal clear. You’d merely laid out your arguments, expecting resistance and some pushing, but were only met with a squinted look and cautious acceptance. Now you know your case had already been pleaded once, by the man who was taking more and more space for himself inside the chambers of your heart.
You didn’t quite know how to feel about it; didn’t know if you should be mad or grateful. You were specifically stunned because you knew it was out of character for Harry. Your boyfriend was the most generous being you’d ever met, but humility was even more so a prevailing layer of his beautiful nature. You certainly didn’t expect it, didn’t wish for it to happen again because you were always adamant not to ever use anyone for their assets. Yet there was a tingling, a mixture of discomfort and gratefulness, sloshing in the pit of your stomach. 
This whole thing was a mind-fuckery of emotions you were too tired to process.
What you did feel though, was the pure frustration at your boss’ hypocrisy. You both knew he didn’t really care how you’d gotten the deal back, just that you did, but his intolerable disposition wouldn’t allow him to applaud your efforts and move on.
Wanting to put this all mess behind you, you bit back the retorts that you craved to force down his throat, simply nodded through his chastising charade, and leaped to your feet as soon as the dismissing words left his stupid trap.
Now that you’re making your way inside your home, your nose is hit by a waft of delicious aromas traveling from the kitchen. Your mind is still fuzzy with every trouble and startling revelation that transpired in the past three days, but as your eyes settle on your apron-clad boyfriend, you take a moment to appreciate the sight of his soft figure stirring the content of what must be a pan on the gas. His back is facing you, but you can hear the gentle humming under his breath, as he hasn’t registered your arrival yet.
After another minute of whistling, he finally twists around and his eyes almost pop out of their socket when they find your timid stance a couple feet away. "Jesus, pet, didn’t know you were home yet," he chuckles softly before taking in your somewhat moony features. Your expression is hard to pinpoint, your delicate traits blank of any emotions yet your eyes have the same sparkle that greets him every morning and every night when he pulls you for a deep kiss in his warm embrace. "Everythin’ okay, love?"
The query snaps you out of your semblance of trance, your head looking down to the floor to gather your wits before you level your gaze back to his. "Yeah it is. Umm, my boss called me in again today," your bite your lip, not knowing how to navigate the conversation. In all honesty, you just want to be done with the whole thing, would rather spend an evening full of cuddles and potentially mind-blowing sex, but you know this ought to be acknowledged.
"Oh," his brows pull together with the same confusion you’d experienced when your boss ushered you to his office. "Did he thank you for the big save?"
"Not exactly," you clear your throat bracing yourself and Harry’s face tenses at the realization about where this is going. "My job is safe and I’m still working on the account," hie loosens up in relief, but your next words have him stiffen right back up in alarm. "But I got a warning for a certain someone’s involvement in the company’s operations. Apparently, my boyfriend called the client on my behalf and forgot to clue me in…"
Your voice is calm and doesn’t carry any reproachful tone, but Harry’s pulse is suddenly speeding with dread regardless. The fact that he could have lost you your jobs is the only thing registering in his frenzied mind, as he sets the dish towel from his shoulder down on the counter and steps closer to you. His eyes are bouncing off yours in a frantic back and forth, as he gulps his remorse down. Before you can appease him with reassuring words, and show your lack of anger, he launches in an apologetic rant, enclosing both your hands between his palms.
"M’so sorry, love. I didn’t mean to put you in a bad position. Fuck I just- I kept thinkin’ I could help since your client was a friend of a friend. And, the more I thought about it, the more I kept thinking 'I can’t do nothin’. Cause I hate seein’ you in pain an’ I really want to be here fo’ you and I know this was probably the wrong way to go about it, but damn y/n, I couldn’t stand doin’ nothing, m’sorry-"
"I love you."
The words come fast but distinct, airy but firm, not an ounce of doubt laced through their utterance. An eerie silence permeate the small space surrounding them, as Harry tries to find his own words back. It took three of them to steal all of his, but in his defense they were the ones he’d been dying to hear and to deliver himself. His eyes are wide, blinking in total surprise. He’d expected irritation, disappointment perhaps, maybe even anger, but definitely not the sweetest words he’s been keeping at the forefront of his mind. "I- you do?"
You still have that wondrous look on your face, but this time a bright smile enlivens your features, "I really do." You take your hands out of his grip to hold onto his wrists and pull him closer to you. You have to look up since he towers over you but you’ve always liked that about your relationship; the way he always seems to dwarf you in his embraces, whether because of his height or his bear-paw hands. "I mean, don’t that again," you let out a soft laugh, "but I know why you did it, and I love you for it." 
Harry smiles rivals your own now, as your hands smooth up his arms to clasp at the nape of his neck, "plus, my boss is a jerk anyway so, who cares?" You pull him in a loving kiss then and his arms wrap themselves around your shoulders in a tight lock. His lips are as soft as ever between your own, and you detect the faintest taste of pepper and other exotic herbs lingering on their edge, from his cooking endeavors. He’s always been one to have a taste or two while he’s working, whether that be in the kitchen or other rooms…and regardless, you always like it when you get your share from his supple lips.
He feels slightly distracted against your mouth though, his technique not as ravishing as it usually is. and before you can wonder why, he’s pulling an inch away from your swollen lips, hurriedly whispering your tender confession back to you as though the words couldn’t be out of his mouth and into your heart fast enough, "I love you too, pet. So much." His hands are cajoling your face, thumbs drawing soothing circles across your cheeks, and his beaming smile is melting your heart in a goo of pleasure after all the strain it suffered in the past couple of days.
"Fuck, c’mere, don’t ever wanna stop kissing you," Harry mutters against your lips before diving in for a real mind-bending, soul-shaking, tantalizing kiss this time. Just like that, all your worries and sorrow evaporate into thin air, only to be replaced by an intoxicating pink loving brume. You two definitely spend the most perfect evening with lots of cuddles and endless mind-blowing lovemaking. Screw everything else.
➪ Masterlist
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sweatybreaddelusion · 2 months ago
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Infinix Hot 5 Lite Slot
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Infinix Hot 5 Lite Price in Bangladesh 2020. Full specification of Infinix Hot 5 Lite with Official Unofficial BD Price Rating Review Compare. Card slot A special. Infinix Hot 5 (also called Infinix Hot 5 Lite and Infinix Hot 5 Pro), see the full specifications, full reviews in Nigeria; compare Prices and cost on Jumia, Konga, Yudala, Slot, Jiji, OLX, 3c hub. Infinix hot 5 RAM, Battery capacity and Camera. Also compare the features of Infinix Hot 5 vs Hot 4. All Infinix Product. Today, we will list all the Infinix phones and prices at Slot, slot phones Infinix. Purchasing your next Infinix phones from Slot is incredibly nice and expected. There is a special connection between Slot and Transsion Holdings: -Say hello to Nnamdi Ezeigbo, he is the owner of Slot Nigeria and in combination with Infinix, and Tecno mobile. Infinix Hot 5 Lite is powered by Android 7.0 Nougat, the new smartphone comes with 5.5 inches, 16GB memory with 1GB ram, the starting price is about 91.6869 Canadian dollar.
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The need for speed
Everybody loves to have the latest when it comes to technology, and in that vein, nothing is more important than “geeking” out your pockets with the latest smartphone.
There are a lot of different options on the smartphone market, even though the two main players in the game are Apple and Samsung. But each one of those options has its drawbacks, and you’ve probably been searching for a fresh option in the smartphone game that can meet all your needs.
Why should you have to shell out the big bucks, when you know next season there’s going to be a fresh apple harvest or a new galaxy discovered? You may want to get your hands one something hot, but you also want a piece of pocket tech that’s going to go the distance, and not leave you behind the crowd.
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Solution: Get Hott
The Infinix Hot 5 Lite may be the solution for you.
As the name “Lite” connotes, this phone is the miniature version of the basic Infinix Hot 5 device from Infinix Mobility.
Now hold up. I know what you’re thinking. Corona Lite is the weaker version of Corona Extra, and it’s not going to take me “there.” Miller Lite is the weaker version of Miller Genuine Draft. Coors Lite is the weaker version of Coors. You get the idea. I know, I know…you’re not looking for the Lite version of a smartphone.
But trust me, this phone will take you “there.”
Now, before you get all twisted about how there ain’t no word on the streets about this phone, let me lay the truth on you: the Infinix Hot 5 Lite did NOT release a publicity inducing mixtape prior to droppin’ the album. That’s right; the company just kind of released the phone without a big hoopla.
Excellent Versatility…a Renaissance Man of Phones
But the Infinix Hot 5 Lite is a great “entry level” smartphone that will take care of all your needs, and it’s out there and available in the market.
Infinix Hot 5 Lite
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E-mail, browsing, gaming, pictures, social media, all at a reliable rate with adequate memory and—let’s not forget what phones used to be for—excellent calling capacity…these are a few of my favorite things. And they’re things the Infinix Hot 5 Lite delivers on. It’s like the Renaissance Man of Phones. You know, the type of person that’s good at everything.
The Specs
Take a quick look at look at the specs, or read on to learn more.
The OS is an Android 7.0 Nougat…for those who like candy
XOS
Dual SIM
Octa-core 1.3 GHz Cortex
Mediatek MT6580
8MP rear camera
5MP front camera
LED flash
4G LTE is not available
The touch-screen measures 5.5”
Screen Resolution is 720 x 1280 pixels (264 PPI)
1GB of RAM
16GB of storage…it’s not Noah’s Ark but it will hold your animals.
Up to 32 GB of potential external storage
An amazing 4000 milliamp hours of battery life
Well, I think that’s a decent list of features, especially the internal storage, given the typical pricing points of this phone.
The Screen
So let’s talk about that screen. It’s five and a half inches diagonally across, which is not a bad size, especially when you consider that HD resolution. Without a protective glass shield on this device, you might consider getting a screen guard, or just treading lightly and only walking on padded surfaces in case you drop it.
The pixel count on the display is 720 by 1280, and based on the size of the screen, that comes out to be around 264 PPI (Pixels Per-square Inch), which is well above the standard PPI that’s considered good quality.
The OS is an OG (Original Gangsta)
The captain of your hand held starship enterprise is the quad-core cortex processor and a Mediatek MT6580 chipset. The processor is holding at 1.3 GHz, and supported by by 1GB of RAM. All hands on deck! The performance of this smartphone is traveling at warp five.
When you pull that Infinix Hot 5 Lite out of the box like a happy kid on Christmas morning, you’ll find it moving and grooving to the tune of the Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. Okay, so 8.0 Oreo is the latest, but nougat is a decent sweet treat as well, and will definitely get the job done. Just remember to brush your teeth to avoid cavities.
Rumors are going around that the XOS component of the operating system is providing a more “interactive” experience for uses, with innovations such as customizable themes, multiple accounts, and freezing capacity, while also putting your phone on a power diet to conserve those battery leftovers from the party last night.
Storage Space allows for a LOT of Junk in that Trunk
I must be seeing double, because the Infinix Hot 5 Lite has dual SIM features (micro SIM) with dual standby and an internal storage space of 16GB, which can be expanded with an SD card up to double that, 32 GB.
That’s a whole lot of cranial space for photos, games, videos, e-books, and more. You could practically take this thing with you to a deserted island and enjoy every episode of your favorite shows without needing to stream them from the nearest internet connection, which could be miles and miles away.
Although, eventually in that situation, your Infinix sidekick might run out of battery, and then it would only be useful for cracking open coconuts or sending reflections out to sea in the hopes of being rescued by a passing ship. But I digress.
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Lights, Camera, Action
For all you shutterbugs out there, the Infinix Hot 5 Lite boasts an 8 megapixel camera on the back, and a 5 megapixels camera in the front, so what they’ve been saying about “business in the front and party at the back” does not just apply to mullets.
Also, the camera comes with that LED flash, so you can conserve energy while snapping photos of the crew up in the club (clubs are usually dimly lit place, you know?). And moreover, that LED light is on both sides of the game, so when you want to take a selfie at the bar, you’re good there too.
Speaking of partying all night, the Hot 5 Lite carries an impressive 4000 mAh battery, and the battery is said to provide up to 24 to 35 hours of talk-time, and up to 837 hours of standby time. That’s practically 34 days, boo.
On the Real
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There’s no fingerprint scanner, so that could be a downside if you prefer that to entering passwords. And unfortunately, similar to the Infinix Hot 5, the Hot 5 Lite did not come with a 4G network option which may discourage some of you from getting it, but don’t fear, because it has plenty of other features to make up for that.
Conclusion
One last piece of information…the back cover has a crystal-like pattern that makes it easy to handle, and looks bossy too. Available colors include: fine gold, sandstone black, white, lemon and red. I’m not sure who came up with these names, but apparently they thought white and red needed no introduction.
So in conclusion, the Infinix Hot 5 Lite is a great way to step into a new smartphone game this year. It’s all around very versatile, and has some great operating features. Thanks for letting me drop some smartphone knowledge on you today. Get your summer hot with the Infinix Hot 5 Lite!
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Infinix Hot 5 Price
Infinix was announced their latest Hot 5 Lite smartphone . It is powered by Android 7.0 version which is run on GSM / HSPA technology. This device was announced in 05 August, 2017 and the current status is available in Canada, release date of the device is 10 August, 2017. Dimensions is 154.8 x 77.7 x 8.35mm with 168 g (5.93 oz) weight, the latest device consists on Dual SIM. Hot 5 Lite comes with 5.5 inches display with IPS LCD capacitive touchscreen, 16M colors and 720 x 1280 Pixels resolution. Hot 5 Lite comes with 16GB internal memory with 1GB ram. Infinix Hot 5 Lite smartphone Price in Canada, Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa. Hot 5 Lite starting price approximately will be 91.6869 CAD. latest device is powered by Mediatek MT6580 chipset and its runs Android 7.0 Nougat operating system. The device has powerful CPU such as Quad-core 1.3 GHz Cortex-A53, with GPU Mali is also awesome. The smartphone is coming with 8 Megapixels LED flash back camera, while front camera 5 Megapixels is also awesome for selfie pictures. Hot 5 Lite fair price, available in Canada and camera features are Geo-tagging, touch focus, face detection, HDR, panorama. Quality of the vides is 1080p@30fps. The Infinix Hot 5 Lite has Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, hotspot with 4.0, A2DP bluetooth and A-GPS for best navigatio. Hot 5 Lite comes with microUSB 2.0 usb for communications also different sensors are available such as Accelerometer, proximity, compass. Infinix Hot 5 Lite smartphone is coming with lot of unique colors such as Fine Gold, San-stone Black, White, Lemon and Red.
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phantom-le6 · 2 months ago
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Episode Reviews - Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 3 (3 of 6)
Carrying on with my reviews of Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, here’s another round that brings us to about the mid-point of the third season
Episode 11: The Hunted
Plot (as adapted from Wikipedia):
The Enterprise is investigating the planet Angosia III as a candidate for entry into the Federation. Captain Picard is discussing this with Prime Minister Nayrok when a convict escapes on a transport ship from the Angosian prison colony on Lunar V. Picard offers his assistance and The Enterprise locates the ship, which flies behind an asteroid. However, only the drive section emerges from the other side with no life signs. Following it around they find the ship's wreckage. Believing that the prisoner has perished, the ship returns to the planet, only to discover the drive section they saw has disappeared.
 Picard and Commander Riker return to the Enterprise and following a hunch from Data locate an escape pod and beam aboard the prisoner. When security try to take the prisoner into custody he fights back, virtually unaffected by their phasers. He overpowers the guards and injures O'Brien before he is subdued by Lt Worf and Riker. Upon further examination the crew find that the prisoner does not emit any life signs on scanner.
 The prisoner identifies himself as Roga Danar a former soldier. Counsellor Troi meets Danar and reads little aggression from him, finding it unlikely that he could be so violent. Danar explains that he and others were genetically enhanced and mentally programmed, greatly increasing their abilities and affecting their responses when in danger. The crew also finds that despite being a prisoner Danar has no criminal record. Nayrok confirms Danar's story but says that the soldiers were unsuited for life in civilized society. When Captain Picard raises the subject with Nayrok, he refuses to discuss the abuses Danar alleges, considering it a matter of internal security, and instead simply arranges for Danar to be returned to the colony. Danar tells Troi that the conditioning was never reversed or treated, and due to its effects, a small misunderstanding could often lead to murder. Rather than try to fix the conditioning, the government imprisoned them all.
 During the transfer from the Enterprise to the Angosian transport, Danar manages to escape. Easily evading security, he cripples the Enterprise by causing an explosion in one of the Jeffries tubes, disabling the sensors. With the Enterprise blind Danar beams aboard the Angosian transport vessel. Taking control, he attacks the Lunar V colony and rescues several of his fellow inmates.
 Danar and the other inmates lead an attack on the capital and confront the Angosian government. Nayrok pleads with the Enterprise to help. Picard beams down with an away team but refuses to help, questioning the morality of how they've treated their soldiers. Nayrok and his compatriots explain the government's view on the matter; that they weren’t sure the soldiers' augmentations could be reversed, thus requiring them to be confined for their own good and perhaps used again in the future. Against this, Picard is frustrated at their intransigence on this matter.
 In the middle of this argument, Danar and his rebels storm the government building. In an act of hypocrisy, Nayrok pleads with Picard to intervene against this insurrection. Picard elects instead to depart considering he has sufficient information for his report, including the flagrant sentient rights abuses discovered, reminding Nayrok that he himself called the matter an internal affair.
 With Nayrok fruitlessly protesting against their being abandoned, Picard informs the government that they have to make a choice on what to do with their veterans. Danar smiles at the away team, happy to finally be recognized as they depart. On their return to the Enterprise, Picard notes that if the government survives, they will be given assistance in helping their veterans with their conditioning. He also notes that they may reapply to join the Federation at a later date.
Review:
This episode is strictly oriented with no focus on any single character from the main cast.  Apparently, the underlying theme of the episode was to show a metaphorical reflection and exploration of how veterans of America’s war in Vietnam were treated, and by extension remains a metaphor for how modern militaries in western society treat their veterans.  The psychological component of the episode’s sci-fi elements, in turn, is also a potential metaphor for PTSD, albeit not necessarily the most positive one given the actions of Danar under his own form of conditioning.
 More worrying, however, is that a lot of people preferred an earlier draft of the finale in which the altered Angosian soldiers would have had a massive shoot out ending in a wipeout of all the guest characters.  Frankly, I think that would have been a terrible idea, because then depending on how that was played out, you’re essentially suggesting anyone whose mental health has been adversely affected by war is doomed to some kind of mutual destruction ending on their life.  The revised ending is far more positive, because it suggests even the most ignorant of societies can learn to treat combat-induced mental trauma, and indeed mental ill health as a whole, the right way.  That kind of hopeful message is what Star Trek is ultimately supposed to be about, even if at this period in the franchise it occasionally lent too far towards its utopian ideals.
 Overall, I think this is a pretty decent episode, made even more so thanks to James Cromwell making his first of many guest appearances within the Star Trek franchise.  Of course, his most notable one is yet to come within my TNG review (*Cough* First Contact).  On the whole, I give this episode about 8 out of 10.  Could have been full marks, but somehow I don’t think it’s quite at the upper-most levels of Trek.
Episode 12: The High Ground
Plot (as adapted from Wikipedia):
The crew of the Enterprise is sent on a mercy mission to deliver medical supplies to the war-torn non-affiliated planet Rutia IV, in the middle of a decades-long conflict with rebel separatists called the Ansata. The Enterprise crew cannot intervene in the conflict itself, internal to the planet, because to do so would violate the Prime Directive. While Chief Medical Officer Dr Crusher, Lt. Commander Data, and Lieutenant Worf relax in a cafe, a bomb goes off in a public plaza, injuring many bystanders. Dr Crusher attempts to tend to the wounded bodies against Captain Picard's suggestion to return to the ship, but her efforts are interrupted when she is abducted by a man using an unknown method of teleportation. After being denied the use of the Enterprise's superior firepower to seek and destroy the Ansata's base of operations, Alexana Devos, the head of Rutian security, orders severe interrogation of all known Ansata sympathizers, an act that the Enterprise crew find immoral. Without new information from Devos, the Enterprise crew investigate the teleportation technology and find that it is used to shift between dimensions, allowing the Ansata rebels to bypass even force fields. The investigative team, which includes Wesley, lets Picard know that they need to observe more of the teleportations to be able to pinpoint the location of the base.
 At the Ansata base, Dr Crusher learns her abductor is Kyril Finn, the leader of Ansata. She refuses to eat or otherwise cooperate with Finn. After several hours, Finn lets Dr Crusher out of her restraints and requests that she help treat their wounded. She discovers that the "Inverters", the Ansata teleportation technology, cause irreversible damage to the user's DNA, and that many of the Ansata are sick due to excessive use of the Inverter. Finn admits that the Inverter is their only advantage against the Rutian government. After more hours pass, Finn believes that the Federation, by providing medical aid and working with Rutian security forces to find the doctor, is working with the Rutian government and launches an attack on the Enterprise, despite Crusher's requests to avoid harming her son. The Ansata manage to plant a bomb on the Enterprise warp engine. It is quickly transported into space by La Forge, but the distraction is enough to allow Finn to appear on the bridge. When Captain Picard jumps on Finn to save the bridge crew, he ends up being abducted. With Picard as his captive, Finn uses the Inverter to come to Counsellor Troi on the Enterprise and demand the Federation become involved in mediating the dispute, returning to the planet before security can arrive. Picard, learning of Dr Crusher's situation, tells her to continue to work on gaining Finn's confidence to hopefully end the dispute peacefully.
 Data and Wesley are able to use Finn's appearance to locate the Ansata base, and Commander Riker and Devos assemble their forces. After they transport into the base, the combined forces are quickly able to quell the resistance. Finn, as a last resort, attempts to execute Picard, but Devos kills him. It is her conclusion that if Finn remained alive, his imprisonment would spark more resistance, while being killed in battle will only elevate him to martyr status and reduce the violence in the short-term. When a young Ansata member attempts to exact revenge on Picard, Dr Crusher is able to convince him to drop his weapon, which Riker notes is a sign that there may be more fruitful discussions to resolve the issue in the future.
Review:
According to the Trek wiki-page Memory Alpha, a lot of people on the TNG crew felt that this was a flop episode, somehow being a mishandling of an episode that was done primarily to satisfy a demand for more action-oriented stories.  Apparently, it was originally intended as a metaphor on the American revolution, but then became compared to the Troubles of Northern Ireland.  Indeed, at one point Data mentions a Reunification of Ireland in 2024 resulting from terrorism, and as a result the episode has never aired on TV stations based in the Republic of Ireland, while the show was shown only in an edited format on British television until May 2006 on Sky One (September 2007 for the after-midnight repeats on BBC 2).
 However, I disagree with the opinion of the show’s crew. This was a good episode precisely because it did issue exploration, because issue exploration is what Trek often does brilliantly.  Moreover, I like how Finn points out the difference between being seen as a revolutionary or a terrorist is sometimes more about the perspective of those in power after the conflict is over and a winner, or loser, is declared.  He says this while discussing George Washington, and it’s a very apt analogy.  Had George Washington lost the American revolution, he’d have gone down in history as being akin to Guy Fawkes in many minds.  Instead, he won and gained a notable place in history as the founder of the United States.
 Also, the idea that terrorism would just be limited to how we view certain revolutions, or that Ireland was the only possible comparison for this episode at the time this series was made, is also wrong.  As we’ve come to learn the hard way in the 21st century, terrorism is also the tool of the religious extreme, and that applies to all religions, because no faith has cornered the proverbial market when it comes to terrorist acts.  However, back then in the early 1990’s, Ireland would hardly have been the only country experiencing terrorism.  Ever since its creation, the Jewish state of Israel has been subject to acts of violence from the displaced Palestinian population, which Israel routinely portrays as terrorism despite the fact that Israel invariably has the Palestinian people out-manned, out-gunned and heavily oppressed, as if subjecting them to what the Jews suffered for centuries some excuses their actions. Haven forbid it would enter either side’s head that maybe, just maybe, it would be better to share the land in peace and just agree to disagree on the whole mythical sky-figure issue.
 This is why this episode is actually far better than the show-makers seem to think; because it does what Trek does best and, rather sadly given the subject matter, retains its relevance on repeat viewings. Its only flaw to my mind is that we get another bit of entertainment where people might think there’s a bit of Stockholm Syndrome going on when there isn’t.  I’m no expert, but Beverly isn’t held captive long enough or subjected to any kind of ill-treatment that would make me buy into Picard’s warning about her ‘warming up to her captor’, just like I can’t buy into that same kind of concept in Beauty and the Beast for the same reason.  Make it at least a week or two and I’d buy it, but only a matter of hours in both cases?  Sorry, no chance, or at least not without some mind-altering substances and skilful manipulation of the captive’s psyche, none of which applies.  Overall, I give this episode 8 out of 10.
Episode 13: Deja Q
Plot (as adapted from Wikipedia):
The Enterprise arrives at planet Bre'el IV to prevent the looming disaster of the planet's asteroidal moon falling from its orbit and crashing into the highly populated planet; as the ship arrives, the planet is already experiencing damaging effects of the moon's gravitational field. As the crew is working, Q appears on the bridge naked. Q explains that he is being punished by the Continuum for spreading chaos throughout the universe and he has been stripped of all his powers, banished from the Q Continuum, and transported to the Enterprise as a human, asking asylum. Captain Picard reluctantly helps Q, but instead of assigning him guest quarters, Picard treats Q like a criminal and throws him in the brig.
 As the moon continues to descend to the planet, Picard urges Q to use his powers and move the moon back into its original orbit. Q still insists that he is powerless except for his IQ of 2005. The captain assigns Lt. Commander Data to watch Q and he is ordered to assist the Engineering team. Q suggests that they "change the gravitational constant of the universe." Q begins experiencing more human conditions, such as back spasms and hunger. Data takes Q to the Ten-Forward Lounge. When Q enquires about what food is best to address his constant suffering, Data suggests a chocolate sundae as he has observed Counsellor Troi turning to chocolate when depressed. After ordering ten sundaes, his hunger is quickly displaced upon encountering Guinan, who takes advantage of Q's mortal form to stab him with a fork. Shortly thereafter, Q is set upon by a cloud of gaseous entities called the Calamarain, who, having previously been tormented by Q, are attempting to get revenge. After raising the shields to prevent the Calamarain from attacking Q, Picard determines that Q took refuge on the Enterprise to protect himself from alien species that hold grudges against him.
 Q's idea of changing the gravitational constant of the universe, impossible with human technology, sparks an idea in Chief Engineer La Forge to modify the gravitational constant of the moon using a warp field, and they attempt to use this. However, during the attempt the Enterprise's shields go down, allowing the Calamarain to attack Q again. Data attempts to save Q from their assault but is electrified in doing so, nearly frying his positronic brain. Realizing that his presence on the Enterprise is doing more harm than he expected, Q leaves the ship in a shuttlecraft. As the Calamarain close onto the shuttle, a second Q being appears on the shuttle and informs Q that due to his selfless act to protect the Enterprise, the Continuum is willing to give him a second chance and restore his powers. Q accepts, shrinking the Calamarain entities and teleporting them into the palm of his hand, gloating over the restoration of his powers. The other Q reminds him that he should reflect upon the lessons he's learned, and he grudgingly turns the tiny aliens loose. Q, dressed as a mariachi, returns to the Enterprise and celebrates. Nudged by Picard to leave, he departs, bestowing a parting gift on Data for showing Q how to be more human. After Q disappears, Data begins to laugh uncontrollably for a moment, to the surprise of the rest of the Enterprise crew. Upon learning that the Bre'el moon has returned to a safe orbit, Picard surmises that Q is responsible, and says that perhaps Q has a residue of humanity after all, but a cigar appears in Picard's hand with Q's voice telling him, "Don't bet on it."
Review:
Q is back, and speaking as a Marvel fan, it’s very much a case of Loki playing at being Thor.  So far, Q’s been a trickster of sorts, using his powers to amuse himself, test humanity or both.  This time, however, he gets stripped of his powers, dumped on the Enterprise and can’t get his powers back until he shows humility and selflessness.  This is something that was baked into Thor’s comic incarnation of decades before this episode, so whether the Trek people realise it or not, Marvel beat them to the punch, and I’m sure other writers have covered the same kind of story before Marvel as well.  Ultimately, it’s a fun episode as Q episodes ultimately became, but not by any means a highly original one.  For me, the best part of the episode is Q giving Data the gift of laughter.  Overall, I give this episode 7 out of 10.
Episode 14: A Matter of Perspective
Plot (as adapted from Wikipedia):
With a routine planetary survey ahead, the Enterprise drops Commander Riker and Chief Engineer La Forge at the Botanica Four research space station orbiting Tanuga Four to check on the progress of the work of Dr Nel Apgar, a Tanugan who has been working on Krieger waves, a new promised energy source for the Federation. When the Enterprise returns, Captain Picard is told that Riker stayed behind to have a private meeting with Apgar, and moments after Riker transports back to the ship, the station explodes, killing Apgar, and almost killing Riker due to the explosion disrupting the transporter process. Tanugan investigator Krag comes aboard to accuse Riker of murder; under Tanugan law, Riker is guilty until proven innocent, and Krag demands Riker's extradition. Captain Picard requests that they hold a hearing aboard the Enterprise to determine Riker's guilt. This involves the use of a holodeck, recreating the events on the station from data logs and testimony from Riker, Dr. Apgar's wife Manua, and his research assistant, Tayna.
 In the holodeck recreation, Krag demonstrates that a directed energy beam from Riker's location prior to transport struck the Krieger wave converter, destroying it and the station, but his theory is that Riker fired a phaser just before beaming out. Riker presents his case first, with his simulation showing Apgar highly agitated with a Federation presence before he is ready for them, and Manua openly flirting with Riker. Manua then makes aggressive passes at Riker in the guest quarters when Apgar walks in on them, attempts to attack Riker, but Riker subdues him. Apgar leaves with Manua giving Riker a veiled threat. Riker's simulation concludes with his final confrontation where Apgar tells Riker that he will lodge a formal complaint about Riker's behaviour and accuses Riker of potentially damaging the project with baseless information in Riker's progress report.
 In Manua's version of the events, she is a doting wife, with her husband promising rich rewards coming from the project. From her point of view, Riker is the one making the advances, and when they are alone in the guest quarters, Riker threatens to rape her when her husband storms in to defend her, but Riker overpowers him and threatens to have the project shut down. During a recess, Riker asserts to Counsellor Troi that he never seduced or tried to rape Manua, and Troi believes him, but she tells him that Manua believes the events happened as described, and that "it is the truth as each of you remembers it".
 Tayna's testimony is her version of events from Apgar's point of view as he told her. Picard tries to have the testimony dismissed as hearsay, however, Tanugan law allows such testimony, so they proceed. In her simulation, when Apgar walks in on Riker and Manua, Apgar is the one to successfully subdue Riker, leaving Riker threatening to kill Apgar. Based on the testimonies presented, Picard is not sure Riker's case is strong enough to avoid extradition.
 Meanwhile, the crew of the Enterprise find highly focused pulses of an unknown, intense radiation striking parts of the ship, putting holes through the bulkheads. La Forge fears what would happen if this should occur inside the warp reactor. The initial assessment is that the only commonality is the timing of these events, which upon further examination they soon trace to be precisely in time with the lambda field generator on the surface, which had remained operating after the station's destruction. Picard comes to realize the truth, and prepares a new simulation on the holodeck.
 With Krag, Manua, Tayna, and Riker all present, Picard demonstrates through a combination of the testimonies that Apgar was more interested in the potential financial success of completing the Krieger wave converter; he would not get this through the Federation, and Picard postulates that he in fact was trying to weaponize the project to make money, thus explaining his hostility towards Riker's presence. Further, Picard suggests that Apgar had successfully built the converter; the holodeck simulation of it, also being fully functional, has been focusing the energy from the generator on the planet, resulting in the damaging radiation experienced on the ship, which La Forge identified as Krieger waves. Picard completes his explanation by running the holodeck simulation of the moment of Riker's transport, synchronized with the planetary generator – the holodeck simulation shows that Apgar had aimed the Krieger wave generator at Riker, but when the energy beam struck him, the beam bounced off the transporter field and hit the converter, destroying it and the station. Krag agrees with the conclusion that Apgar accidentally killed himself and Riker is exonerated.
Review:
This is basically a Riker episode, and here we get a kind of spin on his customary ‘girl of the week’ escapades.  This time, he’s accused of murder in a society where suspects are guilty until proven innocence, as opposed to the innocent until proven guilty stance of western society that Trek juris prudence is based on.  In addition, the bulk of the evidence for Riker’s guilt is testimony that varies massively from Riker’s own recounting of events, and with little physical evidence to prove what happens until the end.
 Because of all this, the episode makes several good points.  First and foremost is a point that is later made throughout the entire CSI franchise, which is that scientific evidence is ultimately superior to witness testimony, as the testimony is biased by each character’s individual perceptions and the fundamentally unreliable nature of biological memory.  In addition, as Greg Sanders points out in one episode of the tenth season of the Vegas CSI show, witnesses tend to merge what they see with prior assumptions.  This is probably most evident with the last of the trio of witness testimonies, as Tayna’s deposition is probably affected by her admiration for Dr Apgar as much as any spin Apgar himself might have put on whatever he told her.
 Secondly, the show tries to point out the error in taking a guilty until proven innocent stance.  Had Picard allowed extradition of Riker without performing the holodeck recreations, Riker’s innocence in the murder charge would never have been proven, and the character could have potentially been imprisoned or killed for a crime he didn’t commit.  This is why our system of justice has to assume innocence as the default state and prove guilt rather than vice versa; it is there specifically to protect the innocent from wrongful conviction.
 Sadly, the episode falls short on two major points. First, there is too much variance between the three testimonies regarding the Riker-Manua relationship and Apgar’s actions with Riker in the guest quarters for me to believe Troi when she says everyone’s saying what they believe is the truth.  Riker’s version portrays Manua as an unfaithful wife and he’s trying to be the consummate gentleman, Manua’s version suggests she is a doting wife and Riker a would-be rapist (which we’ve had two-and-a-half seasons to know is a flat-out lie in his case), and Tayna’s version suggests Riker and Manua were both into hooking up behind Apgar’s back.  Likewise, Riker’s version of Apgar bursting in suggests Riker acted purely defensively, Manua’s version suggests Riker went for Apgar first, while Tayna’s version shows Apgar as someone who makes a successful physical defence of himself.  That’s way too much difference for me to believe it’s just a ‘matter of perspective’. The show makers needed to get the three stories to coincide better.
 Second, there’s no follow-up regarding Riker’s possible act of rape; as much as we know Riker would never commit such an act, it seems both strange and wrong to have the show essentially ignore that aspect of the charges against Riker.  Much like the season 2 opener the child, it shows how blind we were back then regarding what we now term rape culture.  In summation, I give this episode 6 out of 10.
Episode 15: Yesterday’s Enterprise
Plot (as adapted from Wikipedia):
The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) encounters a rift in spacetime while on a routine mission. As they monitor the anomaly, the heavily damaged USS Enterprise-C, a ship believed to have been destroyed more than two decades earlier, emerges. Instantly, the Enterprise-D undergoes a sudden and radical change from its current timeline: it is now a warship, and the United Federation of Planets is at war with the Klingons. Neither Worf nor Counsellor Troi are seen or referred to, and Tasha Yar, who was killed years before, is now alive and running the tactical station. None of the crew notice the change, but Guinan senses that reality has shifted, and has a meeting with Captain Picard to discuss her concerns. She senses that there are supposed to be children on the ship, which of course is completely impractical on a warship. She suggests that the Enterprise-C does not belong in their time and must return to the past. Picard, who knows that this would be a suicide mission, refuses to give such an order based on Guinan's intuition alone.
 Captain Rachel Garrett of the Enterprise-C and her crew learn they have travelled into the future. Garrett explains that they were responding to a distress call from the Klingon outpost on Narendra III, and were attacked by Romulan starships. While his crew works to repair the Enterprise-C and tend to the crew's injuries, Picard and his command staff discuss whether or not the ship should return to the past. Commander Riker argues that their deaths would be meaningless, but Data suggests that it would be considered an honourable act by the Klingons. Picard discusses the situation with Garrett, who tells him that her crew will serve the Federation in the present. Picard quietly reveals to her that the Federation is on the verge of defeat and the presence of one ship will make no difference, but if the Enterprise-C were to return to the past they might prevent the war from ever starting. Garrett agrees and announces to her crew that they will return through the anomaly; at that moment, the two ships are ambushed by a Klingon Bird of Prey. Garrett is killed, and her helmsman, Richard Castillo, takes command.
 During the repair efforts, Yar becomes close to Castillo, but is unnerved by tense interactions with Guinan. Guinan reveals to Yar that she knows Yar dies a meaningless death in the other timeline, and that the two should never have met. Based on her discussion with Guinan, Yar requests a transfer to the Enterprise-C, which is granted by Picard. As the Enterprise-C prepares to return through the anomaly, three Klingon battlecruisers attack. With the anomaly becoming unstable, Picard orders the Enterprise-D to cover the Enterprise-C's withdrawal. The Enterprise-D suffers massive systems damage and major crew losses under the Klingon barrage, including the death of Commander Riker, forcing Picard to man the tactical station himself. With the Enterprise-D on the brink of destruction, the Enterprise-C traverses the anomaly, triggering the return of Enterprise-D's original timeline. In the restored timeline, Guinan – the only one subtly aware of what has transpired – asks Geordi La Forge to tell her more about Yar.
Review:
Somehow, despite a lack of underlying issue exploration, character development or anything else that typically make great Trek, this episode has gone down in history as one of the pinnacle episodes of the franchise generally and TNG in particular.  To be fair, it is fairly unique on two points.  First, it is TNG’s first episode to make any really effective use of time travel, and it’s a rare example of the time travel being people coming forward from the past and having to go back there, whereas most time travel involves heading back to the past and returning to the future.  Second, it brings back Denise Crosby as Tasha Yar…just to kill her off again.
 The real stand-out point of this episode is that after almost two seasons worth of episodes between this one and ‘Skin of Evil’, TNG basically brought back a killed off main cast character to try and re-do that death better.  Now knowing the legacy of this episode later in the TNG series, I can honestly say they could have done better.  Really, this episode shouldn’t have had a legacy just to preserve the more purposeful death for Tasha that this episode tries to provide.  Moreover, this episode fails to impose any kind of consistency on past-to-future time travel, as a much later episode would involve the same kind of time travel without history-altering interruptions, and I’ll discuss that more when that episode comes up.  For now, however, I’m content to say that I’m not about to give this episode quite the same level of praise that others seem to have afforded it.  Instead, I give it about 7 out of 10.
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grapevynerendezvous · 2 months ago
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The Beau Brummels - The Best of the Beau Brummels
The Beau Brummels had two big hits, a third one that made the Billboard Top 40, plus three other singles that were in the Billboard Hot 100. After that initial success they faded away rather quickly. It was three of their songs - Laugh Laugh, Just A Little and Don’t Talk to Strangers that persuaded me to purchase this Best of album, issued on Vault Records in 1967. As it turns out, not long after it had been released. In addition to those three songs I found most of the material very appealing with the exception of They’ll Make You Cry, which was on their Introduction album. The song is well written, by Ron Elliott of course, but the lead vocal by Ron Meagher never appealed to me. Still In Love With You Baby is one of my favorites. You Tell Me Why, Sad Little Girl, the instrumental, Woman, and I Want You are also songs that I really like. In Good Time and Good Time Music are both a hoot. It should be noted that I indeed wrote in the songs I Want You and Woman on the record sleeve. Their absence on the sleeve may have been an omission in the early printing of it, but fortunately the songs are present on the record.
Singer Sal Valentino, a San Francisco native who grew up in North Beach, had been doing some solo work and appeared on local television when he got an offer to play regularly at a club called El Cid. A band was needed so he reached out to his childhood friend Ron Elliott, a guitarist and songwriter. Elliott then enlisted the rest of the eventual band made up of John Peterson on drums, Declan Mulligan on guitar, harmonica and vocals, and Ron Meagher on bass. They took their name from the English dandy Beau Brummell, and according to Valentino, just liked the name. Some think that the band may have liked that it was British-sounding, especially since this was at the time of the British Music Invasion. In either case they were among, if not the earliest to respond to that “invasion”. With Elliott’s strong songwriting chops, and Sal Valentino’s memorable voice, they were soon to have their impressive moments in music history.
Rich Romanello soon hired them to play his Morocco Club in San Mateo. San Francisco disc jockeys Tom Donahue and Bobby Mitchell were in the process of forming a new music label, Autumn Records, and were looking for acts. Romanello invited them to his club to hear The Beau Brummels. The band signed with Autumn and for the first album, which included their first two singles. Sylvester Stewart, later known as Sly Stone, was the producer. He was credited as producer of their second album, but later, according to Valentino and Elliott, he had little if nothing to do with it, perhaps not even being involved with much of the first album’s recording other than Laugh Laugh and Just A Little.
Laugh Laugh was recorded in 1964 and released that December, quickly reaching its’ high point of No. 15 on Billboard in February 1965. It was backed by Still in Love With You Baby which also got some airplay with some saying it was also one of their “hits”, although not officially. Tom Donahue would later say that he felt Laugh Laugh could have gone all the way to No. 1 with stronger label distribution. Not only was it the band’s first single, it also was the first hit record in the growing San Francisco music scene.
Just a Little was recorded in early 1965, released that April just as their first album Introducing The Beau Brummels was about to come out. The song ended up spending nine weeks in the Billboard top 40, hitting No. 8 on the chart in June. Written by Ron Elliott with collaborator Bob Durand, the song contained elements of British beat and what came to be known as Folk-Rock. Having been released one month before The Byrds’ Tamborine Man, this made The Beau Brummels’ Just A Little the true birth of Folk-Rock.
You Tell Me Why was the initial single release from the album, coming out in the summer and in August peaking at No. 38 on the Billboard Hot 100. SF Weekly journalist Justin F. Farrar said the song was “…prescient of the lush, melancholic vibe of early Jefferson Airplane, The B-side number, I Want You was considered by music critic and author Richie Unterberger to be "as good as any song the Beau Brummels ever did”.
The fourth single, Don’t Talk To Strangers, released in October, spent one week at No. 52 in November on the Billboard Top 100. It is possible that with Autumn Records near collapse the song’s relative low placement was a result. San Francisco Chronicle music critic Joel Selvin called the song “inventive, and author Maury Dean praised the song's "raging chord patterns and dynamic harmonies,” The aforementioned Richie Unterberger criticized the song for it’s harmonies and twelve-string guitar work being too similar to The Byrds. I find that kind of strange because the use of the twelve-string was likely an attempt to add more variety to the musical concept, and the album had full, rich harmonies throughout. It seems unlikely to me that they were in the studio worrying about whether they would sound like someone else. Ron Elliott said that folk-rock was not a thing they were trying to achieve, but rather a result of their attempt to indeed stretch their sound with alternative instrumentation while using things like acoustic and electric guitars, harmonica, and it seems a twelve-string guitar.
A final single from the album released by Autumn Records, was  Good Time Music, a cover of John Sebastian’s composition done by The Lovin’ Spoonful It was backed by Sad Little Girl. It only reached No. 98 while Autumn Records was on the verge of being shifted to Warner Bros. Records. Sad Little Girl could easily have been a solid single in it’s own right, with Richie Unterberger conjecturing that it may have been a better choice as the third single after Laugh Laugh and Just A Little.
As 1965 progressed the band became a quartet when Declan Mulligan departed prior to the recording of their Volume 2 album. Because Ron Elliott was suffering from seizures caused by a diabetic condition, Don Irving joined the band on guitar for live performances and also recorded with the them. Shortly after the release of the the band’s third album Irving was inducted into the armed services. That third album was the first on Warner Brothers Records, who strangely had them make an all covers album. Although the Brummels had some songs already written Warner did not hold the publishing rights to them and had no interest in recording them. The final two studio albums recorded in the ‘60s saw further reduction in members as John Peterson left to join Harper’s Bazaar and later, in 1968, Ron Meagher was drafted into the armed services. Both the aforementioned albums, Triangle and Bradley’s Barn, utilized original material and were critically acclaimed but never charted. Triangle found three members left in the band while only Elliott, who was stabilized by now, and Sebastian were around for Bradley’s Barn. The latter record is recognized as one of the early country-rock albums. The original five members (with one leaving fairly early on) reunited in 1974 and stayed together until 1975, producing one album that got a moderate reception, but only reached No.180 on the Billboard Top 200. They toured during that time and a live album was recorded at Fair Oaks Village near Sacramento CA and later released in 2000. Following their break up the band continued to occasionally perform in various reincarnations in the ‘70s into the ‘90s. They also performed at a few Festivals in the early 2000s.
I never got the opportunity to see The Beau Brummels play live, but I, and many others, cannot forget their appearance in animation as The Beau Brummelstones in a Flintstones cartoon episode in December 1965. They also were seen in a few movies and several music tv shows in same time period. After the demise of The Beau Brummels, Sal Valentino formed the group Stoneground in 1970 of which three of the members eventually became the band Pablo Cruise, including my high school classmate, pianist Cory Lerios. After Sal left the band in 1973 he reunited with The Beau Brummels in ’74-‘75 and then his career went dormant, In July 2005 I went to see Jackie Greene play at The Catalyst in Santa Cruz CA. At one point he introduced someone whom I thought he referred to as his uncle. It was Sal Valentino, and he came out and performed with Jackie on a song or two. I was able to find out more recently that, while they aren’t related, Sal met Jackie while living in Sacramento. They played at open mics at Fox and the Goose. This was a pub that I had lunch at on a couple of occasions when I was in town for a few work related activities around that time. For Sal it was a tentative step back into performance after a long hiatus. He ended up being involved in a live recording with Jackie in 2003. While not his uncle, Valentino apparently became somewhat of a mentor for the upcoming Greene. Sal went on to record a very well received album in 2006, Dreamin’ Man, with his long time collaborator John Blakeley.
Ron Elliott continued to be involved in the music business in various ways. Per Richie Unterberger, in 2016 he teamed up with producer Lou Dorren to record a new Beau Brummels album, Continuum, with contributions from Sal Valentino, Ron Meagher, and Declan Mulligan. While John Petersen died in 2008, Elliott and Dorren discovered an unused drum track he had recorded, and it was used as the basis for one of the album's songs.
Declan Mulligan and Ron Meagher were members of The Black Velvets. John Peterson was with Harper’s Bazaar until they broke up. He married Roberta Templeman, the sister of one of his bandmates Ted Templeman. Ted Templeman went on to produce albums with The Doobie Brothers amongst many other artists, including The Beau Brummels in 1975.
In the brief time that The Beau Brummels were in their glory they are considered to be the first band from San Francisco to gain widespread success in the face of the British Invasion. Their music was on the cutting edge of new trends such as folk-rock and country rock, and their two biggest hits are arguably among the best songs ever.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beau_Brummels#Discography
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Beau_Brummels_discography
https://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Decades-in-obscurity-Beau-Brummels-front-man-2522300.php
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sal_Valentino
https://www.allmusic.com/artist/the-beau-brummels-mn0000135032/biography
Don’t Talk to Strangers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeQ-MYwjLu4 LP29
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jungshook69 · 2 months ago
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.:☆.°☾.Jealous.☾°.☆.:
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DISCLAIMER: This doesn’t represent the members’ actions or the army’s actions in any manner it’s pure fiction. This is an original work, do not copy. The taglist is open if you want. Taglist is now closed.
WORD COUNT: 890 words
PAIRING/S: Namjoon X female reader
GENRE: Established relationship au ; Oneshot/Imagine
WARNINGS: None
ABOUT: This oneshot is part of a 7 part BTS imagine called “Jealous”. This oneshot is a reaction imagine of how each member would get jealous of their s/o in a given situation.
7 PARTS: Namjoon || Seokjin || Yoongi || Hoseok || Jimin || Taehyung || Jungkook
STATUS: Complete
☆.。.:*・°☾.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☾☆.。.:*・°☾.。.:*・
You loved watching him dance. You know he was often mocked by his bandmates without any underlying bad intentions about his dance skills. But you for one saw a huge improvement and you were extremely proud of him, and you were sure that his friends were too. You weren’t one to express your feelings easily. You were a bit of a tsundere, as people would call it. What attracted Namjoon was your interesting taste in music. You both bonded over your unique take on music.
“What’s wrong babe? I’ve legit never seen you smile this much except that one time when you kneaded that guy in the balls for cat-calling you.” Namjoon said, approaching you, showered in sweat as he quenched his thirst by gulping down water at an incredulous rate.
“First of all, ew don’t call me babe, that’s just cringey” You said earning a chuckle from him. “Secondly, I was just smiling because I was thinking… about how much you’ve improved in dance… I’m proud of you…” you said softly.
“Wait say that again, I need to record this. Y/N is getting mushy y’all, this is a first!” Namjoon said giggling genuinely, unlike the fake laugh he puts up on air sometimes.
“Do you want me to karate chop your ass?” you said rolling your eyes.
Namjoon’s eyes visibly widened at the threat because he knew that you weren’t joking. Before he could utter another word, the choreographer called for him. “Oops sorry gotta go, be back in a sec… babe.” He said winking and slipping away before you could chuck your bottle at him.
“Go a little easy on him will ya, he’s your boyfriend after all” Yoongi’s voice spoke up.
“You’re one to talk, out of all of them, I’d expect you to be on my side.” You said scoffing as you watched Yoongi take a seat beside you laying his back to rest against the practice room’s wall, his chest heaving from the intense practice they just did.
“Scratch that” he said after a few seconds of silence. “I actually wanted to ask you something important.”
“Sure” you replied.
“I- Actually I’ve been having trouble lately… we have to submit our ideas for the new album we’ve got coming up, and the theme is more personal this time. This album is gonna be a bit closer to our hearts because we’re involved in all the major processes this time.”
“Yeah Namjoon told me… I saw him working on the album’s cover design last night too…”
“Yeah so this is on a more personal level. And I’m not good at expressing my emotions… I know you understand… and I don’t think that I can write a slow ballad song per say… but I did want to write a disco-funk song, but I’m having trouble finding the right… inspiration.”
“I suggest, maybe stepping back a bit, you know?”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean… I know you guys make tons of melodies, the case often being that 80% of your drafts aren’t accepted. So revisit those old beats, that didn’t make the cut, and maybe you’ll be able to find the missing piece.”
“Hmmm… for being a tight-ass you do give pretty good advice”
“Well this tight-ass will thrash your head with a bottle Min Suga”
This caused you both to laugh, your giggles echoing off of the practice room’s walls as you grabbed the attention of the other members situated at other parts of the room. What you did fail to notice was a pair of eyes watching this entire exchange, jaw clenched. But what you did notice was the figure leaving the dance room, as you got up from your spot, following close behind.
“Namjoon! Hey Namjoon wait!” you called out as you walked down the hall. But he ignored your pleas and continued straying further away. “Ayyy Rrrrrrrrrrrrap Monst-ah!” That made the man stop in his tracks, allowing you to catch up to him.
“What’s wrong?” You asked.
“Nothing”
“Come on tell me, your chin is protruding, I can tell something is bothering you.”
“Nothing I told you.”
“Stop acting like such a baby jeez!” you huff in annoyance.
He looks up at you with a raised eyebrow. “I’m sorry you know how impatient I am, what’s wrong?” you ask, eyes softening.
“It’s just, Yoongi never laughs like that ya know… except when he’s with you” he mumbles.
“And…” you ask completely oblivious to the point he was trying to make.
“I’m jealous okay! There I said it!” he said scoffing.
“Aaawww my baby is jealous?” you say in a high-pitched voice.
“Ew that doesn’t suit you. Stick with calling me dimple-freak.” He said a slow smile threatening to show on his lips.
“Listen, there’s nothing to worry about, he was just having trouble finding inspiration, so he asked me for some advice. He doesn’t think of me that way, the way I think about you okay? So there’s nothing to worry about” you said calmly.
“I’m sorry for over reacting” he said sheepishly looking down at his shoes.
“It’s okay… now come on stop pouting.”
“But I thought you said it looked cute.”
“I was being nice” you said rolling your eyes.
“Sure… babe” Namjoon said pulling you in by his arm around your shoulders and placing a chaste kiss on your hair.
☆.。.:*・°☾.。.:*・°☆.。.:*・°☾☆.。.:*・°☾.。.:*・
A/N: I wanted to write a bit about how hard Namjoon works to better himself every day. Also portraying Namjoon as someone who is incredulously mature and responsible and understanding about the people around him. Also the idea about Yoongi writing a song using beats from an old song that had not been accepted is true. Yoongi has said that the beats for the song “Telepathy” from the BE album were actually prepared by him 4 years ago, but the melody was not accepted back then. He also apparently had the beats for the the song ON prepared 7 years ago! He really is a genius.
Don’t forget to follow @jungshook69​ for more content:) You can check out more works of mine here. Have a great day:)
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absynthe--minded · 2 months ago
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Beren, the Nauglamír, and Editorial Oversight
this is gonna be a long one, guys.
so one of the things that makes Christopher Tolkien’s contributions to the greater legacy of the Tolkien Legendarium so complex is that he, as the posthumous editor of his father’s works, essentially was able to declare what is or isn’t “canon” in a way that no amount of scholarship (fannish or professional) will be able to truly successfully challenge. it’s his vision of Arda that was published as the Silmarillion, and his interpretations of the Professor’s works that have come to act as the standard and the baseline. after all, the Silm’s been traditionally published and translated into many languages; it’s far more accessible than out-of-print/print-on-demand copies of the History, and reading it doesn’t require you to slog through pages and pages of commentary or to have a good solid understanding of what the story is so you can follow along with lists of bullet points outlining events timeline-style.
of course, Chris also made mistakes, and those mistakes became enshrined in canon just as surely as anything else. I and many others have discussed the Gil-galad problem (namely, that Gil-galad’s parentage is oblique and strange at best and downright contradictory at worst, and Christopher’s choice to make him Fingon’s son was an admitted error) but it’s not the only case of a decision later proving to be the wrong one.
with that background, let’s talk about Beren.
Beren and Lúthien are in an unusual position in the Legendarium as a whole. Not only are they the sole author-insert characters, they’re also uniquely positioned as moral compasses - every other person in the Silm is morally ambiguous to some degree, or does bad or questionable things; not so with these two. If Beren or Lúthien does something, it’s explicitly the right thing to do, and this is confirmed by the narrative. If someone else opposes them, that is the wrong course of action. They’re not merely protagonists who make a lot of good choices, they’re good people, and the things they do are right because of their moral fiber and nobility. Of the active agents who are developed to any great degree, they’re the least complex and the most clear-cut, and the narrative itself treats them differently from other characters, validating them and framing them as the sort of spotless heroes that are in short supply in this Age.
This characterization runs headlong into the actions Beren takes in early drafts of the story and in the published Silm, where after dwarves kill Thingol and sack Menegroth, Beren (with the help of some allies, usually either Green-elves or Ents) ambushes them and duels the Lord of Nogrod for possession of the Nauglamír, a necklace originally owned by Finrod in Nargothrond that Húrin brought to Doriath after his release from Angband. Thingol commissioned dwarven artisans to alter the piece and create a setting in it for the Silmaril that Beren and Lúthien had won for him from Morgoth, and there was a dispute about payment that escalated to violence and ended in his death at dwarvish hands. The battle, later called the Battle of the Thousand Caves, was more or less a victory for dwarvish forces, as they escaped both with the Nauglamír and several other treasures from Menegroth and they defeated Sindarin forces that set out to stop them.
In most versions of the story, Melian sends Mablung to Ossiriand to warn Beren and Lúthien of what’s happened, and essentially asks them to do something to stop the retreating dwarvish forces from reaching Nogrod, where they came from. Beren does this, killing the Lord of Nogrod himself and taking the Nauglamír and the Silmaril home to Lúthien, who then gives it to Dior, who takes it back to Doriath when he takes the throne there. This is the version of the tale that’s in the published Silmarillion, and the one that’s consistent throughout the earlier drafts that Tolkien himself wrote.
But it’s not the only version that exists.
In The War of the Jewels, which compiles versions of the story written late in Tolkien’s life, we find The Tale of Years. This is not a cohesive narrative, instead functioning (like many of the writings that make up the bulk of the History of Middle-Earth) rather like a series of bullet points mentioning and summarizing key events. It progresses chronologically, giving a sense of passing time and organization to the First Age, and it has this to say about the Nauglamír and the battle at Sarn Athrad:
“The Dwarves of Belegost and Nogrod invade Doriath. King Elu Thingol is slain and his realm ended. Melian escapes and carries away the Nauglamír and the Silmaril, and brings them to Beren and Lúthien. She then forsook Middle-earth and returned to Valinor.
Curufin and Celegorm, hearing of the sack of Menegroth, ambushed the Dwarves at the Fords of Ascar as they sought to carry off the Dragon-gold to the mountains. The Dwarves were defeated with great loss, but they cast the gold into the river, which was therefore after named Rathlóriel. Great was the anger of the sons of Fëanor to discover that the Silmaril was not with the Dwarves; but they dared not to assail Lúthien. Dior goes to Doriath and endeavours to recover the realm of Thingol.”
(This quote is taken from the latest and typed version of the Tale of Years, an earlier handwritten version exists that is shorter but includes the same relevant details.)
Christopher Tolkien elected not to use this version of events, instead choosing to maintain the earlier tale where Beren had an active role; he was never truly satisfied with this, or with the Ruin of Doriath as a whole. In the commentary to the Tale of Years he wrote that “It seemed at that time that there were elements inherent in the story of the Ruin of Doriath as it stood that were radically incompatible with ‘The Silmarillion’ as projected, and that there was here an inescapable choice: either to abandon that conception, or else to alter the story. I think now that this was a mistaken view, and that the undoubted difficulties could have been, and should have been, surmounted without so far overstepping the bounds of the editorial function.” We have, for a second time, an admission of error, though unlike the Gil-galad question there is not a specific choice singled out as a flaw.
Why am I talking about this? Well, simply, I think that the version of the story where Celegorm and Curufin attack the Dwarvish host is the one that makes the most sense, and I’m here to make my case for its adoption as fanon. I’m not trying to take a purely scholarly view - I can’t prove that Tolkien’s true vision was for this version of the text, and of course it’s only in the one draft - but as a fandom we’ve reached the consensus before that specific versions of the story are preferred, even when they only appear in a single draft (Amrod’s death at Losgar stands out as the best example).
So here’s my argument. 
1. Beren is not a violent man, and having him act as a murderer is out of character.
This one is pretty simple - Beren is an outlaw fighting against Sauron, a defender of his family’s land, a nobleman in his own right, and a vegetarian who is keenly aware of what it is to be hunted and pursued. The man we’re introduced to in the other versions of the story is not someone who would answer violence with violence unless there was no other choice, and in fact he becomes less violent as the story goes on. Putting him in a position where he’s acting militarily against the Dwarves introduces elements to his character that simply don’t exist before this story. It’s inconsistent, and it also ends his life on a strange, sour note - he’s not an uncomplicated hero anymore, he’s also got blood on his hands.
2. Beren is one of the moral compasses of the Silmarillion, and having him be the one to spearhead the ambush of the Dwarves frames that act of violence in a very troubling light.
Like I said above, Beren and Lúthien are good people who do good things, and those things are good because of who’s doing them. If Beren kills the Dwarves and the Lord of Nogrod, that act becomes justifiable, and perhaps even the right thing to do, simply due to the fact that one of the two true heroes of the First Age is doing it. The narrative never frames this as a downfall or a moral event horizon for Beren, either - he made the correct decision and the consequences that come afterward aren’t things that can be blamed on him. But wholesale slaughter, even slaughter of people who do bad things, is not something Tolkien ever condones or paints in a truly positive light, so it makes more sense for it to come at the hands of people who aren’t solely positive forces. It’s thematically in line with what Tolkien does through the rest of the text, and it feels more like Arda, at least to me. I think an argument could be made that Tolkien realized that making Celegorm and Curufin the responsible party would achieve this end, and that’s why this version exists in the first place, but there’s no proof of it.
3. The Laiquendi are nonviolent, and it makes no sense for them to be involved in this fight. The Ents being involved at all is somewhat nonsensical based on what we know of them in The Lord of the Rings.
Another simple one - we don’t know much about the Laiquendi, but we know they’re not really keen on warfare or on any undue violence, so having them be Beren’s backup is a weird divergence from their presentation in the rest of the Legendarium. And the Ents are pretty universally depicted as uninvested in the wars of the incarnates, only taking action against Saruman when it becomes apparent they have no other choice - why should they care about Thingol’s death, or care enough to murder dwarves?
4. Melian’s actions make far more sense in a version of the story where she doesn’t merely abandon Doriath once she realizes Thingol is dead.
If Menegroth is already sacked, and she cannot hold the realm together on her own as its Queen without really fucking shit up with reality-warping shadow magic, her choice to abandon it after delivering the Silmaril safely to her daughter and warning her that Dior will be needed soon is far less irresponsible.
5. Celegorm and Curufin ambushing the dwarves makes more sense than any other alternative.
Of course Celegorm and Curufin were actively watching Doriath for any sign of weakness. Of course they noticed the dwarves leaving with stolen treasures, and heard rumors that Thingol was dead and his killers had the Silmaril. Given the choice of following Melian (if they even were aware of Melian’s departure) and following dwarves, of course they picked the dwarves. Their ambush and attack and slaughter is consistent with their past behavior, as is their refusal to attack Lúthien because they were scared as fuck of her.
What’s more, this also explains the Fëanorians’ refusal to attack Doriath immediately after the dwarves do - they were unsure of whether or not Lúthien was in Menegroth and ruling as its queen or acting in some capacity as Dior’s defender. Celegorm in particular isn’t the type to hesitate - he’s impulsive, and rash, and rushes into bad decisions without considering their consequences, it’s even in his name. But they waited for years, giving Dior time to marry and have children of his own, and then even sent letters rather than attack directly - and yes, some of this might have been Maedhros’s influence, or an attempt by all of them to stave off the Oath, but it’s also plausible that they were trying to figure out whether or not they’d have to take on the same woman who made fools of them before.
I, at least, think this version of the story makes the most sense, and I’ll be adopting it into my personal canon. I obviously think it’s worth advocating for on a larger scale, and I hope I’ve made a good argument for its widespread adoption.
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mcheang · 2 months ago
Loved what you did with my dragon prompt. I was wondering if you’d up something a bit more tragedic. Prompt: Little Mermaid the Hans Christian Andersen version not Disney with Marinette as the mermaid and Adrian as the Prince.
Little Lady
This is a draft. And it’s more of a twist in the tale.
Marinette was the youngest granddaughter of the Merking. She has six older sisters who told her what they saw when they broke the surface of the waves.
Alix: I saw a ship holding ambassadors and a little human girl with a furry little pet. It had long, floppy ears.
Juleka: I saw a pink sunset reflected on the waters.
Rose: I saw the dolphins breaching the waves
Mylène: i saw seagulls
Aurore: i saw lightning and rain.
Alya: I saw a ship holding some ladies gossiping. I can repeat it if you want.
Marinette hoped to see something new.
And she did, just not at first.
Marinette saw a ship where a blond lady was insulting a brown-haired lady. And then she saw lightning and rain. Nothing new yet.
But oh. The ship is on fire! The ladies pretty much trampled others as they fought to the smaller boats.
Only one didn’t make it. The prince was struggling with his cat. Apparently the Kitty didn’t like water. Anyway the boat sank and its sinking force pulled the prince and cat with them.
Marinette dove to save cat and boy.
When she neared shore, she heard the prince call for his cat. Marinette’s heart melted at his care for other creatures.
But then she heard the sound of footprints and dove back to the ocean, after resting the prince against a rock.
Lady Kagami was looking for survivors of the shipwreck and saw the prince and cat on the rock. She dove in and pulled them to shore.
When the prince awoke, he was thrilled he had been saved by his crush.
Marinette had not been present to witness this. All she wanted was a chance to pursue her new crush. Was life underwater really so annoying that she would throw it all away for a guy she just met?
Yes. Her grandfather is super traditional and strict. Plus, he just wasn’t into parties or meeting new people. “Humans and Merpeople together? That just isn’t done.”
Marinette visited two magic fish Yin and Yang and asked for their help.
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They could give her legs for a price. Her magical voice that could summon random objects.
Done. Her power was kind of pointless anyway.
Marinette came on shore and was brought to the castle by the prince. Since she could not and would not tell them of her origins, they asked if she wanted to stay on as a maid. She agreed. It would allow her to stay close to her prince.
But to her horror, she was asked to help prepare for a wedding.
Sad that Marinette lost her home and voice for nothing, she went to the beach to stare longingly at the home she can no longer return to. Imagine her surprise when her sisters show up, having waited for her to come back.
And why were they bald?
Sisters: we wanted the fish to undo the trade. Hair loss is a small price to pay when we have wigs and our hair can grow back.
Marinette was touched by their love. But she pleaded for the chance to say goodbye to her human friends.
She bid farewell to the castle inhabitants who had treated her with kindness. By now she had learned sign language.
But the court musician Luka realized she was leaving for good and asked if she would not stay with him.
Luka: I know a mermaid when I see one. Your songs are a lot more...haunting.
Marinette had 3 different reactions in rapid succession: surprise, alarm, offense
Luka: sorry, I speak best through music.
The handsome stranger let out a heartbreaking tune of loss and despair, kind of matching Marinette’s mood.
The song was so beautiful but it was the allure that told Marinette who the stranger was.
Marinette: you’re a siren.
Luka nodded. “My name’s Luka. And you’re half right. My mother is a pirate.”
Marinette: and what’s all this about staying with you?
Luka blushed. “I told you I was bad with words. I meant, instead of returning to the sea. Why don’t you explore the world with my mother and me? I can tell your heart wants freedom.”
It was true. Marinette thought she had two choices before her. Stay on this new land and be hesrtbroken, or return home the princess of a strict kingdom. But now she has a third choice.
Marinette: why should I trust you?
Luka: um, because I could have used my voice to compel you to follow me?
He blinked. “I really should just stop talking.”
Marinette: i gave up my voice and power for love, but I don’t mind this sacrifice for adventure. There is more than one way to express my thoughts.
Luka smiled. “Then I welcome you aboard the Liberty.”
Marinette: we haven’t even boarded anything yet.
Luka: that’s it. I’m shutting up now.
Marinette bid farewell to her disbelieving sisters, apologizing for leaving her family, but she just has to get away. She loves her family, but she cannot always stay there.
Alya: that’s really selfish of you (this was not accusing. She was just really stunned because this is Marinette and she hardly rebels)
Mylène: isn’t it great? This is the first selfish thing she’s done for herself
Alix: besides that whole trade her voice for legs deal?
Rose: be free, Marinette!
Juleka: I know Luka. He’s a good soul.
Aurore: fair winds, sister.
Alya: send us a bottled letter of your adventures or I won’t ever forgive you 😜
Marinette promised then she would. She took a step aboard the liberty with her new friends, heartbroken, but healing.
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lexigraph · 2 months ago
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Cyberpunk 2077 Scenes pt. 1
I’ve been digging around in Cyberpunk’s .scene files, which are basically the game’s scripts. I would be interested if they could be loaded into something other than a text editor, since the bulk of it is  not readable that way... but the dialogue and some scene notes sure are!
Most of this qualifies as “huh, that’s interesting” rather than evidence of anything extraordinary, but I’ve been encouraged to share. This is gonna get lengthy, so putting it under the cut.
General interesting things:
V is almost always referred to as she in the notes.
The pattern seems to be Polish dialogue, a rough translation, and then what we actually see in the US version of the game. I could of course not begin to tell you if the Polish is a rough draft or not.
The scene for moving into Mama Welles’s place is called “welles apartment move in” so I guess it’s an apartment or condo she lives in.
From the Nomad Prologue
The notes from the conversation where V reaches out to Willie suggest a slightly different narrative and give more background:
“Fixer welcomes V, he haven’t heard from her in a while, he taught V is still in the Midwest.“ V drove so far!
“V says she needs a favor. She’s out of cash and fuel. Asks fixer if he could through a job her way.“
“Dakota finds something - a solo from the city issued a job offer. Offer lacks details, so there were not many people jumping on it.“ So originally V was talking to Dakota? Or willie is passing the information along.
Willie’s dialogue for where Jackie is makes more sense translated from the Polish: “He did leave a message. He's waiting in a trailer in the middle of Dry Creek. I'm sending you the geolocation” versus telling V that Jackie is on a farm.
When you meet Jackie:
“Man introduces himself as Jackie. He’s glad that the fixer finally managed to get a guide for him. He was getting tired of waiting.“  
“Jackie is sketchy on the details. Says that he was supposed to pick up cargo out here left by a supplier from South California, and transport it to Night City with help from a smuggler.“
There is an entire dialogue chunk with no translation, labeled “Chat between V and Jackie on the way to the cargo “ since apparently it wasn’t just in the trailer originally??. I can only guess at who is saying what but most of the lines seem pretty clear.  - Come on, show me what you need to transport - Where did you come from here? In the middle of nowhere, with corporate contraband. - My partner was about to pick me up. I suspect they intercepted him at the border - If he was just coming for you, why would they stop him? - Tito doesn't like empty runs. I guess he took something, if I know him. - You don't know much about this job, do you? “Jackie points at the crates. Tells V to grab one.“ “V asks about the Arasaka logos on the crates. Are they smuggling weapons?“ - Then the translated line we get in the game, about sleeping better the less you know. “Jackie is dogging. V’s getting paid, this should be enough of an answer.“ Then a few lines about loading multiple crates on the roof and covering them. “Jackie may asks if it’s not an issue that the boxes are pretty much in plain sight. He was expecting a hidden compartment or something.“ - This is a piece of tarpaulin. Doesn't look super tucked away. - Because they don't have to be. Important what is in the papers.
Driving to the border:
“Jackie and V talk on the way to the border. Typical smalltalk, from which V gets a feeling that Jackie is a decent guy.“
“Although Jackie might be a bit too cocky, and like to bite more than he can chew. Hopefully this job is not one of those occasions.“
Investigating the iguana:
“Jackie comments on the iguana. What the fuck is this?“
“V says this is no Arasaka  merchandise she ever saw. She hopes Jackie has a damn good explanation for  this.“
“Jackie says he had no idea! He had no idea what's in the crates. He woudn't risk his life of some god damn lizard!“
“V asks what kind of bullshit is this? Did Jackie try to fucke her over?!“
“Jackie denies. It is he who got fucker over! Or rather they both have! He had no idea what's in the crates.“
“Jackie sighs, he says he knows someone in the city that might be willing to buy this thing. He starts packing the animal into a backpack.“
“V reminds Jackie that half of what THEY can make on this thing is hers.“
“Jackie says that V can handle herself. Perhaps after they sell the iguana V would consider staying in the city. She could make some good money here.“
“V comments on Jackie calling them partners“ (and then it’s just the “You’re not all bad yourself” line What was here before?!)
“Jackie breaks the silence and moves towards the car trunk.“ Listen, Jackie saying something sweet and then Jackie and V starting at each other in silence is my thing! I didn’t think it was canon!
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voiddemon · 2 months ago
🖊 tour bus trio!!! :O
I actually decided to delve into ye olde anime tour bus trio for this one. The TBT were originally protags of a fic me and my sister wanted to- and started- writing a long time ago. Before I even joined tumblr actually. For the ask blog I converted them to the game canon because the Anime is very problematic and I knew a game-canon based TBT  would likely be much more popular than an anime-canon TBT. Also I had wanted to make the leap long before, but both Dottie and Reese were strongly tied to the anime canon.
Anyway uhh I actually pulled up the old doc with the notes we had for the fic! 
Originally the NME salesman was going to be a villain. We didn’t really know what he was going to do but all we know is he lived and wanted to continue his business ventures outside of NME.
Reese had a warpstar thing which Sloe incorrectly assumed powered Reese’s starship, and wanted to take it. However Reese would literally die without that thing so uh yeah that wasn’t going to happen. Also she kept this a secret from the other two originally.
We got about 6k words into the fic before giving up. We originally split it up into a couple of chapters, which were typically split into 3 parts (or 4). The first chapter and the first part focused on Dottie snapping, stealing a tour bus, nearly running over Escargoon and Meta Knight, and leaving Cappytown/Castle Dedede. A neat little detail I wrote in was, before she snapped, she was referred to as ‘they’. ‘They’ as in part of a group. She was strongly in a group mindset, but mid-chapter when she just said “adios” she was referred to as a she. 
One more thing just for fun, here’s part of the rough draft for 2-2. The second part of chapter 2. It’s the longest part and I doubt you’d want to read through alll of it. For context, Dottie was referred to as just ‘Waddle Dee’. Also my sister wrote most of this since she’s really good at writing, although she uses a lot of flowery language.
2-2
 Newt stepped away from Franc’s stand, a purple, spotted top hat held in her claws. After years of partaking in seashell tosses, winning a prize was child’s play, and seven shells later she had a gift for her new friend. Maybe she’d be easier to see with a hat nearly as big as her. 
 She certainly hoped so, as it took the sea-chimera quite a while to find her friend. After going down three different crowded streets and doubling back several times, Newt eventually spotted the Waddle Dee holding a stick of multicolored dumplings and approached.
 “Hey, Waddle Dee! Looks like I finally found where you wandered off to.” The Dee in question turned to Newt as she spoke, and after a moment triumphantly lifted the stick of dumplings above her head as though showing them off.
 “Where’d you even get those, when you don’t have any money..?” She mused, exasperated. “Well, nevermind. I’ve got a present for you!”
 Newt held out the hat, and the Dee took a moment to size it up before passing the dumpling stick into Newt’s claws and grabbing the hat with her nubby hands. Holding it up to look inside, she eventually placed it on her head, looking pleased.
 “Looking good,” Newt said warmly as her friend promptly took back her dumplings. “Oh, we should probably find a spot for you to eat those.”
 The two of them found their way to a bench and sat down, with Newt getting a stick of dumplings to match the Dee’s on the way. Apparently the vendor, another old friend of Newt’s, had given the Dee free food because she was cute and looked hungry. Something she was evidently happy to take advantage of.
 “Y’know, Waddle Dee,” Newt said as she nibbled on a dumpling, “It’s.. a bit weird to just be calling you ‘Waddle Dee’ all the time, come to think of it. Is it okay if I give you a nickname?”
 The sea-chimera glanced over to the Dee, who nodded, the dotted top hat perched on her head. Newt noticed one of the three dumplings was missing from the stick, but didn’t comment. She glanced up at the top hat.
 “Hmm.. how about.. Dottie Dee? Because your top hat is all dotty. It can just be Dottie for short.” Newt glanced down again, watching as the gears turned in the Waddle Dee’s head. As she looked up at the top hat in thought, the sea-chimera noticed another dumpling had disappeared.
 As the Dee gave a slow nod, Newt half-turned away, smiling. “Well, I guess it’s decided, then. I think it really fi-”
 Newt stopped short, turning back towards the Dee- Dottie Dee, rather- just in time to see half the dumpling stick disappearing into her face. 
 They stared at each other for a few long, strange moments before she pulled the stick out, tossing it into a nearby trash bin as she began to quietly chew. Newt blinked.
 “..Well, Dottie Dee it is, then!” 
 Newt and Dottie meandered through the festival streets in the vague direction of the bus; the sun was starting to sink as the crowds and stalls receded after hours of vibrant festivities, and the two of them had had a great time. They walked in companionable silence- until Dottie Dee suddenly stopped and tapped Newt’s arm.
 “What is it?” Newt looked into the direction Dottie had pointed to in response, and did a double-take as she spotted a smoke trail rising from the forest in the direction of the bus.
 “Uh.. I really hope that’s not a fire,” the sea-chimera said nervously, picking up the pace and approaching the nearest person, a Cappy woman putting pies into a rather large oven in their stall. 
 “Hey Lee,” she said hastily. “Got any idea what that smoke is all about?”
 “Oh? Hi, Newt. Didn’t see you there,” they responded, turning to look at the sea-chimera. “The smoke..? I’m not sure myself- it just appeared a little while ago. Sod checked it out before. Says something crashed next to a bus.. I wouldn’t believe everything he says though- you know how he is.” Turning her gaze to Dottie, Lee added, “And who’s your new friend?”
 Newt and Dottie Dee exchanged a glance. “I’ll introduce you later, but the bus is actually her bus so we should really go and make sure everything’s okay-” 
 Speaking quickly as Dottie wasted no time in taking off, Newt gave a final hasty wave before pelting after her new friend.
The two raced back into the forest, following the path they’d taken earlier. Dottie barely kept up due to not having seagull legs and having to hold onto her new hat. The first thing they noticed wasn’t that the bus’s orange doors were now open, despite the fact they’d shut them. Just to the left of the tour bus was a worrying sight, a smoking green starship. 
“What is that?” Newt whispered, not expecting an answer. Dottie approached it cautiously, waving away some of the smoke before attempting to open the ship. After giving it a few good tugs, she gave up and looked back to Newt, shrugging her shoulders and then pointing to the bus. The Sea-Chimera hurried over, the two creeping onto the bus one after the other.
Looking around for a few moments, Newt was about to declare that whatever came had left, but she noticed a feathered wing sticking into the aisle. Poking Dottie in the side, she pointed to the wing, calling attention to whoever or whatever was in the back.
Without a moment of pondering Dottie waddled towards the back, with no clear indication of what her plan was. Newt wisely decided to follow after her. 
The wing briefly disappeared behind the seats, before a green blob emerged from the back. It was mainly a ball shape, with darker green feet. The top of their round head was covered with green feathers, which contrasted the large silver-feathered wings on their back. Just before the new stranger could notice them, Newt blurted out, “Hey! What are you doing on our bus?”
They jumped, turning quickly to face the two of them, swiftly answering the question.
“Uh- hello!” She smiled awkwardly, “I was just on here looking for a map since I just got here, and your bus looked pretty interesting.” Before Newt could even respond, she introduced herself. “Sorry for breaking onto your bus and all, name’s Reese..! And you are- what are you two even?”
“I… Well, I’m Newt, this is Dottie.” Newt said, thinking for a moment before continuing, “and I’m a sea-chimera… and Dottie’s a… Waddle Dee?”
Dottie confirmed with a nod and then raised her arm in greeting, causing Reese to smirk and wave back. “Nice to meet you, Newt and Dottie! Now, either of you got a map of the area or know where I could get one?”
Newt looked to Dottie, who shook her head.
“Well, we don’t have one, but there’s a town called Seaspring not far from here.”
“Perfect!-” Reese interrupted.
“But… The shops are closed. There’s a festival going on for the next two days.”
“That’s less perfect.” She frowned. “Guess I’ll have to wait it out.”
After a brief pause, she continued. “Listen, I’m new to this planet, so would you two mind me hanging around during the festival..?”
Dottie and Newt looked at each other, Dottie simply shrugging. After a moment of thought, Newt sighed. “Fine.”
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thats it that’s all you get. Also I think we were going to add a smoother ending but yeah that didn’t work out-
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